Ragnarok: Runaljod

Rating: 90%

Runaljod_-_Ragnarok.jpgSo, as many may know or not know, I am a huge fan of Viking and Folk Metal. After buying the acoustical album by Fintroll, I realized how traditional this neofolk music is. It’s deeply rooted in the old Nordic faith, folklore, and tradition.

The vocals are amazing. They’re huge, rich, and soothing. Even the chanting is the same way. This is the type of traditional music that has meaning and purpose. It really does speak to me. There is a mixture of male with some added female vocal work to it. Both, compliment each other and isn’t overwhelming.

Musically, the drums and other traditional instruments are very noticeable. The drum beats give this music a huge sound, while the other instruments compliment the overall sound, style, and feel. The horn is absolutely breath taking when you hear it mixed in with the tempo of the drum.

So, if you’re looking into a type of music to relax to after a very stressful day at work, this works well for me. It does lighten the mood.

Track listing:

1. “Tyr” Týr 6:30
2. “UruR” Urus 10:11
3. “Isa” Ice 7:13
4. “MannaR – Drivande” Man – Pushed 4:09
5. “MannaR – Liv” Man – Life 5:13
6. “Raido” Ride 4:46
7. “Pertho” / (Rune’s meaning still unknown) 2:18
8. “Odal” Patrimony 5:29
9. “Wunjo” Joy 5:20
10. “Runaljod” Runes reading 7:36

Black Aria II: Glenn Danzig

Rating: 60%

Glenn_Danzig_-_Black_Aria_II.jpgIn 2006, I was excited to hear the release of Black Aria II. After purchasing the CD, and listening to it, I was disappointed. The music itself, is a tad bit boring in some places as it didn’t hold my attention. But not all is lost as there are some decent pieces within the tracks themselves. Again, melody is lacking. It is worth listening to around Halloween, but I rather listen to it’s previous record, Black Aria from 1992.

Track listing:

“Overture: Winged Night Demon” – 1:21
“Abbandonment / Recreation” – 4:12
“Zemaragad” – 3:57
“Lamia” – 4:14
“Bridal Ceremony of the Lilitu” – 2:16
“Dance of the Succubi” – 2:21
“Unclean Sephira” – 3:46
“LCKR” – 1:43
“The Succubus Feeds” – 2:20
“Shiddin” – 2:37
“Demons Reprise” – 3:13
“Lamenta Lilith” – 2:36

Embedded: Meathook Seed

Rating: 80%

Meathook_Seed_-_Embedded.pngIn 1993, musicians from two bands came together to form a side project called Meathook Seed. It features Obituary drummer Donald Tardy and guitarist Trevor Peres, who is the main vocalist for this album. It also features Napalm Death guitarist Mitch Harris on guitars and bass along with the programming.

This project is a decent collaboration of combining elements of Hardcore Punk, Death Metal with Industrial Metal. The result is a sound that is very huge and rich. The guitars are polished with a rich sound. There are some very weird guitar riffs on this album that isn’t overwhelming. It’s hardcore, thrashy, and yet, heavy enough using the elements of Death Metal. The bass lines are the same way. The drumming is progressive, heavy, and monstrous. Donald Tardy plays a very tight shift. The electric sound of the programming is another feature one will notice. It’s well balanced and doesn’t take away from the overall sound. This is a good overall album that is somewhat a forgotten record.

Track listing:

1. “Famine Sector” 4:09
2. “A Furred Grave” 3:47
3. “My Infinity” 3:01
4. “Day of Conceiving” 3:20
5. “Cling to an Image” 2:48
6. “A Wilted Remnant” 4:34
7. “Forgive” 3:24
8. “Focal Point Blur” 3:04
9. “Embedded” 2:07
10. “Visible Shallow Self” 2:27
11. “Sea of Tranquillity” 13:43

Daydream Nation: Sonic Youth

Rating: 90%

SonicYouthDaydreamNationalbumcover.jpgI remember when I first heard this album upon it’s release in 1988. When I first heard this, I was like what the hell is this? After listening to it again, I heard very complex song structures that were hard to duplicate on guitar. It’s not wonder why?

Both Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo were great musicians and great guitar players who knew how to make noise into music. Neil Young is another guitarist that has this trait. Listen to his album called “Arc” which Neil Young consulted Thurston Moore about the idea. Then, I heard Kim’s bass lines and I was totally blown away. She is one of the most influential female bassists. Her bass and guitar style is very unique. Her vocals are the same way. Steve Shelly’s drums lines are just as complex as the band. He has some very weird tempos, of beats and rolls.


Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. Getty Images

Musically, there are some great melodies here. They flow from song to song as if you were in a daydream. The music is smooth, not aggressive, but relaxing. At the same time, there is a certain jam style in between verses that is weird, but at the same time it was written to be atmospheric. There is a great deal of improvisations. The harmony of the music itself it wonderful.

The music also features a good combination of female and male lead vocals. Each member of the band contributes equally. The musicianship is very tight. It’s no wonder why Sonic Youth is such a major influence to Indie Rock, Alternative Rock, and Punk.

Track listing:

Teen Age Riot 6:56
Silver Rocket 3:46
The Sprawl 7:39
‘Cross The Breeze 7:00
Eric’s Trip 3:46
Total Trash 7:30
Hey Joni 4:17
Providence 2:39
Candle 4:57
Rain King 4:38
Kissability 3:06
Trilogy: a) The Wonder 4:27
Trilogy: b) Hyperstation 7:04
Trilogy: z) Eliminator Jr. 2:37

Of Stone, Wind and Pillor: Agalloch

Rating: 75%

of_stone_wind_and_pillorIn 2001, Agalloch released their EP “Of Stone, Wind and Pillor. This album is a decent collection of folk and atmospheric hard rock that boarders Heavy Metal. It’s also a unique blend of electric and acoustic instrumentation and clean and dirty vocals. It does pull some influences from Black Metal or at least the first song,  “Of Stone, Wind and Pillor.”

The musicianship is pretty tight. John Haughm’s vocals, guitars, and drums sounds pretty good. He provides much tempo to the band. Don Anderson’s guitars are pretty decent. Bassist Jason William Walton and keyboardist Shane Breyer also does a fine job at their posts.

Song structures seem to be lacking a bit on “A Poem by Yeats.” But the first four tracks are great. The melodies of each song is different and presented in classic Agalloch way. There are some weird guitar parts and beats which holds my attention. The entire album features many different styles of music influences from Black Metal to acoustical folk music. If your looking into this band, I would go with another album instead of jumping right into this one.

Track listing:

  1. “Of Stone, Wind and Pillor”   6:59
  2. “Foliorum Viridium”   2:43
  3. “Haunting Birds”   3:45
  4. “Kneel to the Cross”   5:54
  5. “A Poem by Yeats”   8:39

Her von welken Nächten: Dornenreich

Rating: 75%

Dornenreich-HerVonWelkenNaechten.jpgIn 2001 Dornenreich”Her von welken Nächten” released their third album. So, let me warn you know, the entire album is sung in Austrian. But that adds to the album experience, musically and lyrically. Three musicians make up the band. Evíga on vocals, guitars, bass, Valñes on vocals, synthetizers, and Gilván on drums. There are other staffers who play the cello and violin as well. Is this beginning to sound weirder to you? If not, it should.

This album is a concept album about the ghost of the night. For a black metal album, there is a lot of melody which is why it was classified under Ambient and Avant Metal as well. This album also has a lot of bone crushing guitar riffs which gives the album a chunky sound. There is some lead work on the album which is an added touch. Some of the leads are actually harmonizing with the vocals giving them an eerie sound that haunts many sections of the album. Lots of drumming and hard pounding bass lines. Vocally, the vocal work is creepy, eerie and yet, it’s brilliantly structured.

Lot’s of sounds, lot’s of tempo changes and lot’s of bridges that close the gap and pulls all songs together. There’s a bit of off beats that adds a touch of weirdness to the album. Then hearing the piano or cello and violin adds to that haunting sound. This is a really good composed album. Many good highlights and if you’re into experimentation where genres of metal are thrown together, you’ll most likely enjoy this album.

Track listing:

“Eigenwach” – 6:44
“Ich Bin Aus Mir” – 6:13
“Wer Hat Angst Vor Einsamkeit?” – 6:19
“Grell Und Dunkel Strömt Das Leben” – 5:00
“Innerwille Ist Mein Docht” – 5:51
“Hier Weht Ein Moment” – 6:30
“Schwarz Schaut Tiefsten Lichterglanz” – 7:29
“Trauerbrandung” – 6:17
“Mein Publikum – Der Augenblick” – 8:30