Nattfödd (Nightborn): Finntroll

Rating: 90%

Finntroll-NattfoeddReleased in 2004, Finntroll’s “Nattfodd” has been one of my favorite releases, in fact, I don’t think there has been a bad release by Finntroll. There is a great quality of musicianship that these guys demonstrate. They are also having a lot fun it seems. The band is really into it when it comes to their fans. I love the vocal performance of Tapio Wilska. He adds a certain overall appeal to the sound of the music when he sings into the mic. Throwing out these fast catchy riffs are guitarists Samuli “Skrymer” Ponsimaa and Mikael “Routa” Karlbom. You can not deny the fact that the bass also sounds fantastic. Sami “Tundra” Uusitalo really throws out some heavy and enjoyable bass lines. Bringing home the rest of the important aspects of the music is drummer Samu “Beast Dominator” Ruotsalainen. Then you add all of the background elements such as horns or whatever, you have the talented keyboardist Henri “Trollhorn” Sorvali Jan “Katla” Jämsen is the original vocalist who no longer can sing due to health reasons, so he helps to write the lyrics for the songs. So, the musicianship is top notch and plays very tight. 

Musically, I love the fast tempos and the way the music just swings. This could be because of the fact that Polka is being used as an outline. Then you add in the Black Metal and Folk Metal aspects, and you have a band that sounds great. The music just makes you want to dance, swing, and or head bang. I love how the music can be very aggressive and heavy one minute and very Folk and light the next. This album is a great example of how Folk Metal should sound.

Tracks:

1. “Vindfärd/Människopesten” (“Windtravel/Human Plague”) 05:36
2. “Eliytres” 03:46
3. “Fiskarens fiende” (“Fisherman’s Enemy”) 03:47
4. “Trollhammaren” (“The Trollhammer”) 03:33
5. “Nattfödd” (“Nightborn”) 04:51
6. “Ursvamp” (“Ancient Mushroom”) 02:03
7. “Marknadsvisan” (“Market Tune”) 02:00
8. “Det iskalla trollblodet” (“The Icecold Trollblood”) 03:54
9. “Grottans barn” (“Children of the Cave”) 04:37
10. “Rök” (“Smoke”) 02:23

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Passiondale: God Dethroned

Rating: 80%

Passiondale_(album).jpgRather than creating albums dealing with satanism, ancient ones, death, and war, God Dethroned went to create something much different. So in 2009, God Dethroned brought us the first of a trilogy of World War One concept albums. The main concept on this album is about the Battle of Passchendaele of 1917. But before writing material for the an album concept like this, Henri Sattler had to do a lot of research. So writing songs that tell the stories of World War One isn’t easy. But Henri did it in a manner that was honorable, and bringing attention to a forgotten subject in world history. 

The musicianship is very tight. Vocalist and guitarist Henri Sattler sounds amazing. He recorded all of the guitar parts as well on the album. He throws out some massive riffs. Bassist Henk Zinger and drummer Roel Sanders just add to the thunderous tone of them music itself. As far as Blackened Death Metal, the entire band sounds original and solid. 

The music is what you would expect from a Blackened Death Metal band. Lots of fast paced guitars, excellent guitar solos, bass, blast beats. I think what you have here is a strong, and memorable concept album. Musically, it’s well balanced and sharp. This album to me is is well focused and I think that lyrically, it’s well thought out and researched.

Tracks:

“The Cross of Sacrifice” – 1:05
“Under a Darkening Sky” – 3:59
“No Man’s Land” – 3:14
“Poison Fog” – 6:39
“Drowning in Mud” – 3:44
“Passiondale” – 4:05
“No Survivors” – 3:51
“Behind Enemy Lines” – 3:38
“Fallen Empires” – 4:49
“Artifacts of the Great War” – 2:57

Snowy Shaw Brings Back Old School Shock Rock

Snowy_Shaw_-_Wacken_Open_Air_2016_08.jpgI found this guy while checking out YouTube. So, when I brought Snowy Shaw’s live at Wacken Open Air 2016 up onto the screen of my TV, I was very surprised and blown away. I thought that I was watching King Diamond, Alice Cooper, and Marilyn Manson all wrapped up into one man. The band itself was fantastic, especially wearing those black hooded costumes. The whole show features this certain degree of weirdness mixed with a certain degree of eeriness and creepiness. Yet, musically it combines old school Heavy Metal. A very simple formula, that worked well in the 1970’s to the present. Yet, it’s original and refreshing to hear. I could not turn my TV off. I would laugh one minute at the vocals, and yet I was amazed at how well the entire show was. I kept wanting to be entertained even more by this guy. That’s when I looked at my wife and said “Damn this guy is a fucking genius at entertaining his crowds, with old school Heavy Metal appeal and adding that to a traditional Shock Rock show.” The Hoverboard on stage thing during the opening song at Wacken Open Air was a nice tou

So where did Snowy originally come from? Snowy has been around for a while now. He’s been in many bands, since his joining King Diamond in 1989 as a drummer. As far as what he does? Well, for starters, he can play drums, bass, and guitar. He also shreds on the guitar. At the same time he is also a vocalist and a song writer. So, on his own studio videos, he’s a one man band. But live, he’s still playing everything, just one song at a time.

So watching his videos from the soon to be solo album of all original stuff, this guy seems to have a very promising future. His first real solo album “WHITE IS THE NEW BLACK” is set to release soon. So far, I have enjoyed all of the songs that I’ve heard from “Krampus” to “Don’t Hurt The Animals, or I’ll Have To Kill You.” And don’t judge, that song about the animals is for a good cause with helping PETA. I know, but the dog’s are just so cute in that video with these long haired guys. So, check Snowy out and give him a try.

 

Melana Chasmata: Triptykon

Rating: 100%

Melana_Chasmata.jpgTriptykon’s second album was released in 2014. It’s a perfect example of Extreme Metal that blends everything from Death Metal, Black Metal to Doom Metal with some Gothic Metal influences thrown in. The end result are songs that are well written out with an amazing and original sound.

The musicianship us top notch and tight. You have former Celtic Frost and Hellhammer guitarist & Vocalist Thomas Gabriel Fischer. He has proven that he still can write quality music and lyrics. This album is well thought out. His vocals are both harsh at times, and clear the next. I do like his more spoken vocals on many of the songs. Guitarst V. Santura, just like Tom knows how to create great riffs. There is plenty of great guitar work throughout this entire album. The leads are so atmospheric.  Bassist Vanja Šlajh is such a great bass player and backing vocalist. Her voice compliments Tom’s work. Her bass lines with providing that drive and tempo is outstanding. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite Heavy Metal bassists. Drummer Norman Lonhard is also a great. 

So musically, you have a strong and well shaped solid record. The vocals are very strong and distinctive. The instrumentation as I already covered is outstanding. It’s well balanced, rich, and compelling. For the artists themselves, they are imaginative, skillful, and creative. 

Tracks:

1. “Tree of Suffocating Souls” 7:56
2. “Boleskine House” 7:12
3. “Altar of Deceit” 7:32
4. “Breathing” 5:50
5. “Aurorae” 6:17
6. “Demon Pact” 6:07
7. “In the Sleep of Death” 8:10
8. “Black Snow” 12:25
9. “Waiting” 5:55

Welcome To Hell: Venom

Rating: 90%

Venom_WelcomeThe year was 1981, and with the release of their debut in December, Venom would take the world by sheer force. They rode the tide of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal before becoming a critical key element with the creation of many sub-genres of Heavy Metal. Their brand of Heavy Metal music would go onto influence Speed Metal and Black Metal. But later would influence Thrash Metal as well as Death Metal.  I like the reissues of this album complete with bonus tracks re-release by Castle/Sanctuary in 2002.

The musicianship at times can be a bit sloppy and yet tight. The production sounds like shit, almost demo quality, but that is what makes this album sound very raw, intense, and aggressive. I have always loved the style by Venom. The tempos are fast, but not crunchy like that of Thrash Metal or even the more later or second wave of Black Metal. Venom’s marksmanship is spot on in the delivery of their music and that is why they are considered the craftsmen of Black Metal and also Speed Metal.

Venom is made up of three musicians. You have bassist and vocalist Conrad “Cronos” Lant, guitarist Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn, and drummer Tony “Abaddon” Bray. These guys throw out some great riffs, solos, and drumming. I also want to say that the bass has proven itself as a lead instrument as well. I’m thinking of Lemmy of Motorhead style, but much darker.

Track listing:

Side A
1. “Sons of Satan” 3:38
2. “Welcome to Hell” 3:15
3. “Schizo” 3:34
4. “Mayhem with Mercy” 0:58
5. “Poison” 4:33
6. “Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)” 3:59

Side B
7. “Witching Hour” 3:40
8. “One Thousand Days in Sodom” 4:36
9. “Angel Dust” 2:43
10. “In League with Satan” 3:35
11. “Red Light Fever” 5:14

Bonus tracks in 1985 re-release by Combat Records
12. “In Nomine Satanas” 3:28
13. “Bursting Out” 2:56

Bonus tracks in 2002 re-release by Castle/Sanctuary
12. “Angel Dust” (Lead Weight version) 3:03
13. “In League with Satan” (7-inch version) 3:31
14. “Live Like an Angel” (7-inch version) 3:54
15. “Bloodlust” (7-inch version) 2:59
16. “In Nomine Satanas” (7-inch version) 3:29
17. “Angel Dust” (Demo) 3:10
18. “Raise the Dead” (Demo) 3:29
19. “Red Light Fever” (Demo) 4:51
20. “Welcome to Hell” (Demo) 4:57
21. “Bitch Witch” (Out-take) 3:08
22. “Snots Shit” (Out-take)

To Mega Therion: Celtic Frost

Rating: 90%

To_Mega_Therion_-_Celtic_FrostIn 1985, the debut “To Mega Therion” was released by Celtic Frost. I purchased this album after listening to S.O.D.’s “Celtic Frosted Flakes” song. I remember listening to this to band when I was younger, but never purchased anything on CD of theirs. Well, that changed after watching “Locked Horns” with Sam Dunn and crew during their episode of Early Black Metal.

Now, Celtic Frost isn’t for just anyone. They are classic early Black Metal. There music is a bit raw and intense. It also features a much faster tempo, a classic trait of Black Metal. It’s a bit more tighter than their former band Hellhammer. The songs on this album are a bit more lengthy than most Black Metal bands. Lyrically, their songs deal with a more anti-Christianity themes. Celtic Frost has been a huge influence in the formation of and in the genre of Black Metal.

Musically, this album is a bit more polished. It features those undertones of heavily distorted guitars and more of a lower growl vocal style. The music structure is again, is much tighter. The musicianship is a great. The guitar riffs, solos, and vocals growls are done by no other than Tom G. Warrior. Lot’s of guitar work throughout this entire album. The bass work is by  Dominic Steiner. Following up in the drums and percussion spot is Reed St. Mark. This album is just a great example of early Black Metal.

 

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Innocence and Wrath” 1:02
2. “The Usurper” 3:24
3. “Jewel Throne” 3:59
4. “Dawn of Megiddo” 5:42
5. “Eternal Summer” 4:29

Side two
6. “Circle of the Tyrants” 4:36
7. “(Beyond the) North Winds” 3:04
8. “Fainted Eyes” 5:00
9. “Tears in a Prophet’s Dream”  2:30
10. “Necromantical Screams” 6:06

Mareridt: Myrkur

Rating: 90%

Myrkur,_Mareridt_Album_CoverDuring the later half of 2017, Myrkur released her second record “Mareridt”, meaning “nightmare” in Danish. I remember when her first album came out and how metalheads bashed her being more or less a Pop star, which she was. But, I really enjoyed her first album and saw a lot of potential for the crossover success.

Musically, there’s a lot of things going on that makes this album very exciting. I really like the Folk Metal elements she has used along with some of the experimental styles such as Goth that makes this album fall more or less into Ambient Metal style. Several of the songs seem to be built around a heavier Atmospheric sound. I really enjoy the mid tempo and melodic rhythms. I think when you combine everything, it gives her style of Heavy Metal, texture.

As far as the instrumentation, I like the usage of crushing guitar riffs one minute and then the blast of drum beats the next. This really helps to break up the pace of the music. The piano work on “Crown” along with the eerie fiddle work is amazing. Her vocals are very strong from her clean to her harsh. Lyrically, this is a concept album about her nightmares that occurred during sleep paralysis.

Track listing:

1. “Mareridt” 3:24
2. “Måneblôt” 3:33
3. “The Serpent” 4:04
4. “Crown” 4:56
5. “Elleskudt” 4:22
6. “De tre piker” 3:12
7. “Funeral” (Featuring Chelsea Wolfe) 3:00
8. “Ulvinde” 4:24
9. “Gladiatrix” 2:51
10. “Kætteren” 2:11
11. “Børnehjem” 2:22