M: Myrkur

Rating: 80%

Myrkur_M_cover.jpgSo, I heard all of this smack about this woman who is a well known Pop star that turned Black Metal. I was like huh? Then I heard how the Heavy Metal community was all up in arms that this woman couldn’t do Black Metal and instantly, everyone began trashing her music. So, I decided to take a listen. Well, I wasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure.

Musically, this album contains a lot. Many influences and elements here from classical to folk and yes, classic Black Metal. It’s all thrown together. This album contains a little bit of everything, plus more. Plus, and this is a major plus, she plays everything. She is a one woman band. And talented she is.

The music is very rich and full when you throw in all of the elements of Black Metal, Folk, and yes Pop. Some of the chorus lines are very full. But as broad as this is, somehow Amalie Bruun pulls this off and brings it home. There’s a nice collection of melodies mixed with harsh and clean vocals.  I love the riffs of the guitar all the way down to the folk instruments. With all of the influences, Amalie somehow balances the music out to compliment the overall sound. There’s also some atmospheric pieces which is where the classical or folk comes in. The song structures are pretty good and yet VERY dark.

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So, where are the complaints and controversy? I think, this woman pretty much pulled it off and made an album that isn’t perfect, but an album that damn good. She does have one hell of a good voice and song writer. I think that this album is very underrated.

Track listing:

1. “Skøgen skulle dø” (The whore had to die) 5:17
2. “Hævnen” (The revenge) 3:23
3. “Onde børn” (Evil kids) 4:09
4. “Vølvens spådom” (Prophecy of the Völva) 1:37
5. “Jeg er guden, i er tjenerne” (I am God, you are the servants) 4:03
6. “Nordlys” (Northern light) 2:15
7. “Mordet” (The murder) 3:41
8. “Byssan lull” (Swedish lullaby best known version by Evert Taube) 2:38
9. “Dybt i skoven” (Deep in the forrest) 3:09
10. “Skaði” (Skadi) 4:29
11. “Norn” 2:17

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Queen of Siam: Holy Moses

Rating: 75%

Holy_Moses_-_Queen_of_SiamIn 1986, the Speed and Thrash Metal community was taken by a storm with the debut of Holy Moses. But once the dust settled, and the years past, they became one of the those average Thrash Metal bands. Since then, these German musicians have been overshadowed by other bands like Sodom and Kreator.

The musicianship upon first listening is super tight. Vocalist Sabina Classen has that classic Black Metal style. She has the growls, shrills, and the screams down. When I hear this album with her vocals, I think of Celtic Frost and Hellhammer. Guitarist Andy Classen knows his ax. He throws out some well though of riffs and leads. His overall sound isn’t as heavy as Sodom or Slayer, but he does sound good. Bassist Ramon Brüsseler can be heard clearly in the back. He adds a certain harmony to the overall melody. Kicking and pounding the skins is drummer Herbert Dreger.

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Lead vocalist Sabina Classen

Overall and musically, this is a pretty solid debut for a mid 1980’s Thrash Metal band. The sound is raw. It does lack a certain degree of aggression to the overall music. A tad bit more effort could have gone into some of the songs. Some of the songs seem more like a filler. But then again, other songs like “Walpurgisnight and “Don’t Mess Around with the Bitch” the band just nails it with energy and excitement.

The music itself isn’t full or rich, but it does have that nice thrashing feel to it. The tempos are built upon speed and I do like the guitar fill ins whether they be during a verse or part of the bridge. I do like the vocals as they do add a certain evil feel to the overall music. I think Sabina Classen is talented for that and many female vocalist should look up to her as she was one of the first doing this.

Track listing:

“Necropolis” – 3:39
“Don’t Mess Around with the Bitch” – 5:35
“Devil’s Dancer” – 4:20
“Queen of Siam” – 4:24
“Roadcrew” – 3:12
“Walpurgisnight” – 3:21
“Bursting Rest” – 3:39
“Dear Little Friend” – 5:36
“Torches of Hire” – 3:06

The Thousandfold Epicentre: The Devil’s Blood

Rating: 90%

The_Thousandfold_Epicentre.jpgLate in 2011, this album was released. When I first heard them on Sirus radio, I was blown away. It was like stepping back in time to the era of early 1970’s Progressive Rock with tons of Black Sabbath thrown in.

The musicianship is really good. Farida Lemouchi the vocalist is what really stands out. Her vocal style is amazing and fits in with those female artists of Goth Rock. The next thing you’ll notice the guitar and the leads that goes with it. Great bass and drumming all around.

The music itself is full of melody. Also, you’ll notice some of the progressive, goth, and psychedelic styles and influences. Lyrically, its about the occult, sex, and paganism. The best tracks are the opening track, “Die the Death”, and “Feverdance.”

So grab your witches brew, light up the night with a fire, and drink some wine, because you’re in for a pleasurable listening experience.

Track listing:

1. “Unending Singularity” 2:18
2. “On the Wings of Gloria” 7:04
3. “Die the Death” 3:53
4. “Within the Charnel House of Love” 3:35
5. “Cruel Lover” 7:26
6. “She” 5:39
7. “The Thousandfold Epicentre” 9:02
8. “Fire Burning” 5:06
9. “Everlasting Saturnalia” 6:13
10. “The Madness of Serpents” 8:28
11. “Feverdance” 15:15

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

The Fame Monster: Lady Gaga

Rating: 95%

The_Fame_Monster2009 saw Lady Gaga release this ep called “The Fame Monster.” Now, it’s been known that I have liked Lady Gaga’s music for some time. I think she is a brilliant artist and entertainer.  The reason I got into her, was the fact that talk radio was always putting her down and degrading to women. So, I did the next best thing. I wanted to hear for myself as to why she was always being attack. I found the opposite when I listened to her. Her music actually speaks many truths.

This ep contains several good songs. The difference between this album and her debut “The Fame” is the fact that she seems to be more comfortable as her vocals are much stronger. She is proving that she is the next sensation rather than a fad. This album has somewhat of a cleaner sound to it. It has lots of great “Club Beats” or Techno style beats to dance to if you’re into that sort of thing. Great melodies and music. I do like her darker and more sexual themed lyrics.

High points, on this ep included “Bad Romance”, “Monster”, and “Teeth.” I do like “Alejandro”, but it does kind of drag out. “Telephone” would be a great song only if you dropped the duet vocals of Beyoncé. I am not a Beyoncé fan at all.

Track listing:

1. “Bad Romance” 4:54
2. “Alejandro” 4:34
3. “Monster” 4:10
4. “Speechless” 4:31
5. “Dance in the Dark” 4:49
6. “Telephone” (featuring Beyoncé) 3:41
7. “So Happy I Could Die” 3:55
8. “Teeth” 3:41

Winter: Oceans of Slumber

Rating: 90%

Oceans-of-Slumber-Winter-500x500.jpgMy friend gave me a copy of this album called “Winter” by Oceans of Slumber. Upon my first listen, I was actually blown away. Their style of Progressive Metal is really good. This album was released in 2016 and marks their first official release, even though, they have two previous works.

Musically, this album has a lot to offer. There are a lot of great riffs and leads. The vocals are amazing. The song structures are really good and the album itself has a nice flow to it from start to finish.  “Nights in White Satin” originally by the Moody Blues, I find was well done and a nod to the Progressive Rock sound of the earlier days. With the Progressive influences, this isn’t your ordinary Progressive Metal album. I find it refreshing. There is a great del of atmospheric and melodic elements that adds to the richness of the music and overall sound. “Lullaby” is a nice small mellow and vocal piece that leads into a acoustical piece “Laid to Rest.”

Oceans-of-Slumber-band-2016

New Noise Magazine

 

Track listing:
Winter 7:58
Devout 5:08
Nights In White Satin 5:45
Lullaby 1:46
Laid To Rest 1:41
Suffer The Last Bridge 5:01
Good Life 2:08
Sunlight 5:34
Turpentine 5:32
Apologue 6:55
How Tall The Trees 1:33
… This Road 7:44
Grace 3:21

Burning Insight: Frantic Amber

Rating: 90%

456368.jpgSwedish Death Metal band Frantic Amber released their 2015 debut “Burning Insight.” For the most part, this all female band minus the drummer dude hits the head of the nail. Think of a female version of Dethklok. Frantic Amber is made up of bassist Sandra Stensen, drummer Erik Röjås, lead guitarist Mio Jäger, guitarist Mary Säfstrand, and vocalist Elizabeth Andrews.

This album is truly a piece of art. It’s got a lot of great parts musically to it. Listening to it, there is a good bit of harmony to certain sections of music. The melody is very strong. Mix this in with very gritty riffs of the guitars and bass, and the madness of the drums, plus the harsh vocals, and you have a good Melodic Death Metal album. Each note is precis and prefect. The leads and the fill ins are one thing that sticks out. Another piece of instrumentation that is well done, it the bass. It’s always good to hear the bass in Heavy Metal that is creative. There seems to be a lot of very complex drumming that sets the tempos. The harsh vocals feature a certain degree of growls, shrills, and screams. I have not been able to locate a dull moment on this album. It’s an epic masterpiece. It’s got a certain degree of some eerie and creepiness on the slower tempo music. One thing is for sure, it’s not boring and the flow of the music is very exciting. Everyone seems to be comparing this to Arch Enemy, but, this band to me, is a hell of a lot better.

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Frantic Amber. Blabbermouth.com

Track Listing:

1. Intro 01:08 instrumental
2. Burning Insight 04:27
3. Bleeding Sanity 04:18
4. Soar 05:29
5. Drained 05:39
6. Awakening 03:51
7. Entwined 04:35
8. Wrath of Judgement 05:01
9. Unbreakable 05:23
10. Destruction 05:31
11. Ghost 05:52