Rotting Christ – “A Dead Poem”

Century Media

Rating: 7/10

Greek legendary band Rotting Christ have released another CD that means another step forward on the band’s path towards maturity. On the same vein of its predecessor “Triarchy of The lost Lovers”, “A Dead Poem” is a perfect combination of snaking riffs, writhing melodies and hardness with a (still, yes!) Black Metal spirit. Sound is clear, very polished yet powerful and the CD has many arrangements that enriches RC’s music: industrial-like passages, keyboards, acoustic guitars… something really new for a band like RC. Anyway, those who love the classical RC’s guitar riffing sound don’t be afraid coz it still stays in the limelight due to their inspired melodies, something that is most noticed on instrumental “Ten Miles High”. In fact guitar is the most outstanding instrument throughtout the album, both in the riffing and solo-ing.

The album has real jewels such as “As if By Magic”, “Ira Incestus”, “A Dead Poem”, “Among Two Storms” (with guest vocals by Fernando of Moonspell), “Full Colour is The Night”…

Lyrically RC has definetely left behind the BM topics they were used to on their first works and continue the path begun with “Triarchy…”, being all written by both Sakis and Jim (the latter, due to personal reasons has left the band).

RC demonstrates how a BM band can develop itself keeping loyal to its roots. “ADP” is a 100% Rotting Christ’s CD that with no doubt will attract more fans to this dinosauric European BM band.

The artwork is also excellent, and note that with the CD comes enclosed a free Century Media compilation CD with bands like Sentenced, Borknagar, Sacramentum, Alastis, Old Man’s Child, Samael, Tiamat, Sundown, Ulver, etc… A real must for anyone involved in extreme Metal.

Cradle of Filth – “Dusk… and her embrace”

Music For Nations

Rating: 9/10

Their first work “The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh” made them become one of the very few really important Black Metal bands. It was an absolute success that was followed by another pure piece of art, “Vempire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein”. Now the britons release their long-awaited “Dusk… and her embrace”, that with no doubt will also become one of the most sold albums in the BM genre, if not the most. This album starts with a classical music track titled “Humana Inspired To Nightmare”. There are two more songs like this one throughtout the album among the proper Black Metal songs. These are very inspired and it is obvious that the guys have worked a lot on them as the result is perfect. Too perfect, I’d dare to say: “DAHE” is too perfect, too polished to be real Black Metal. This is no way a complaint, it’s just that sometimes I miss a bit of brutality, madness, violence, the sort of feelings one expects to find in a Black Metal album.

About the songs concretely, “Funeral in Carpathia” begins with an IronMaidenoid riff, “A Gothic Romance” is as depressing as the lyrics, “Beauty Slept In Sodom” is pure Cradle of Filth and “Haunted Shores”, my favourite one, is to me the most killer song and right-to-the-bone song in “DAHE”.

All songs have different passages with Dani’s screamings and growlings, instrumental parts, classical-like passages and of course those godly speecjes that CoF have always done so well.

About lyrics… What can I say? We all know Dani’s writing style: megaloid novelettes with an old-styled English on complicated, even sometimes senseless (except for Dani himself, of course!) topics, Synthesizing, Cradle of Filth have composed a perfect opera. Too perfect, for me…

Marduk – “Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered”

Rating: 5

Swedish blackmetallers Marduk have always been Marduk. It might sound obvious, but what I mean is that this band has always played the same, sounded the same, looked the same. Some may applause this attitude, some may criticize. I won’t do any of the two, but speak on this album. “HSBWWAG” is another ration for the Mardukmaniacs. Those who love Marduk will love this CD while those who hate them will also hate this CD. It could be titled “Dark Endless” or “Those Of The Unlight” or “Opus Nocturne”; it doesn’t matter as it is the same Marduk have always offered. Maybe this LP is even more simple and massacring than the previous, but this is the only differnce I can notice. Marduk have always included a slow song among this destructive tunes, and so do they in “HSBWWAG”. This time it is called “Dracula Va Domni Din Nou In Transilvania”. The fast songs have titles like “Infernal Eternal”, “Darkness it shall be”, “The Black Tormentor of Satan”, “Legion”, etc… so you may guess that the lyrics have also remained the same: Topics on Satan, Hell, Darkness…

There ain’t much to add. If you still want more Marduk, this is your CD. If you’d like to try something different, then forget this album.

Moonspell – “Irreligious”

Century Media 

Rating: 6/10

Portugal’s most famous band Moonspell have become extremely popular in many European countries, but in Germany they’re considered real gods. And they surely deserve it. “Under The Moonspell” was a great first step that putted them on the starting grill, and “Wolfheart” confirmed them as one of the most original outfits in Doom / Gothic Metal. “Wolfheart” was a masterpiece and therefore overpassing it was nearly impossible. So it would be stupid trying to superate “Wolfheart”, and pretty cleverly Moonspell have tried something a bit different.

The wolves have released by Century Media “Irreligious”, a work that honestly is not as good as “Wolfheart” was, but is a brilliant LP. There aren’t any folky songs like “Trebaruna” or “Ataegina” nor the arabic influences that appeared on “Under…”, but Irreligious has great songs that will become classics like “Opium” or “Fullmoon Madness”. Fernando’s vocals keep being quite similar to Type O’Negative’s Peter Steele and the team keeps playing as a swiss watch and sound is really clear and clean. “Irreligious” is a worth buying album, but don’t expect another “Wolfheart”.

Arcturus – “La Masquerade Infernale”

Rating 5/10

This once mysterious band is one of the nowadays mainstream trend many bands take part of in Norway: Symphonic, ultra-melodyc classic-musicaloid so-called Black Metal. Borknagar, Old Man’s Child, Dimmu Borgir… and now Arcturus. They are so melodyc and well-sounding that it is NOT Black Metal anymore. Nothin bad, though, cos all songs are very well composed, hard-worked and perfectly played and arranged. This is their second full-length CD (after 7” “My Angel”, mini LP “Constellation” and last CD “Aspera Hiems Symphonia”) and it bores me a bit cos it is extremely melodyc, symphonic and with loads of operistic parts (in fact, they are self-labelled as “Vanguardist opera”) that definetely bore me; surely Opera is an Italian or a German thing, but no way Norwegian!!! I expected a lot from this album for I was aware that many outstanding blacky musicians such as Hellhammer, Sverd, Samoth, Garm, Skull, Knut had been in this band, but, though this is definetely not a bad album, better things have come from Norway.

At Dawn “Demo’95


Rating: 6/10

At Dawn is a Spanish band from Tarragona, Catalonia, that so far have released this demo. If you want to know a bit more on this brilliant outfit, then check the interview here. This demo lasts less than half an hour but brings a clear clue to the music’s style: Doom. Slayer-like riffs (kinda “South of Heaven” or “Dead Skin Mask”) with cyclic guitar melodies, always quite slow, and half black half death growlings while sometimes the keyboards appear in the background. The first song is an ethereal instrumental called “Twilight”, and comes followed by “Life fades”, “The forest path” (a bit faster), “Burning Luxury” and my favourite, “Black soul consecration”. Despite a few differencess, these four songs are quite similar. The last one is titled “At Dawn” and it’s another ethereal keyboarded-based track that, I don’t know why, reminds me of Ancient’s “Fjellets Hemelighet”. About the lyrics I can’t say anything as they are un-understandable nor have I the lyrics printed. Unfortunately, the sound is not very good; guitars sound alright but drums and vocals do not, but it is a common thing in self-produced demos. Though this latter handicap, the demo deserves to be heard, you won’t be deceived.

Ouija “Riding Into The Funeral Paths”

Repulse Records


Probablemente nunca hayas oido nada de  esta nueva banda, pero realmente vale la pena echarle una orejada. Nacidos de las cenizas de los Levial, después de un promo que grabaron en 1997 y que debería haberse convertido en un mini a través de un pequeño sello UG (y que nunca se editó), los Ouija consiguieron firmar con la trabajadora Repulse Records para el lanzamiento de su bautizo de fuego “Riding Into The Funeral Paths”.

Desde la primera canción “When The Sun Shall Die” hasta el bizarro final de “Holocaust In Heaven”, los Ouija nos arrastran por su mundo de oscuridad, criaturas del bosque, ritos ocultos y fantasía mediante su Black Metal al estilo sueco. Su sonido es bastante similar al de los dioses Dissection; las guitarras, aunque no van tan rápidas sí van ágiles, las vocales son blacky y melódicas y, aunque la batería para mi gusto suena demasiado débil, el feeling que crean es de oscuridad y frío, a la manera nórdica. Partes habladas por detrás de las melodías guitarreras, ritmos de batería militares y algunos (aunque pocos) arreglos nos ayudan a sumergirnos en su mundo de odio hacia todo lo que es claro o luminoso.

No puedo finalizar esta recensión sin citar la verdadera joya del álbum que responde al nombre de “Unbridled Transylvanian Passion”, una canción que podría perfectamente aparecer en el “Storm of the light’s bane”. Otras canciones remarcables son “Before a possible relapse” y “Crossing the seventh gate”.

Vader “Black To The Blind” (Español)

Napalm Records

Rating= 7/10

La conocida banda polaca Vader atacan de nuevo con otra dosis de lo que hacen mejor: puro Death Metal. “Black To The Blind” (título extraído del libro de Anton Szandor LaVey “Libro de la Ley”) no es ninguna novedad para los deathmetaleros eslavos, es tan brutal como siempre. Producido por Piotr Wiwczarek y con el bombástico (hehehe) Andy Bomba como ingeniero, el último CD de los Vader no es ni mejor ni peor, es más o menos lo mismo que siempre han ofrecido al mercado. Aquí encontrarás una máquina de guerra que te ahoga desde el principio con “Heading For The Internal Darkness” hasta el final con “Black To The Blind”. Las guitarras vuelan bajo una martilleante batería en una ultrajante masacre sónica que, a pesar de que dura menos de 30′, te deja totalmente devastado. Si la Wehrmacht nazi tuviera que sonar de alguna manera, sonaría como Vader. Peter (v/g), Mauser (g), Shambo (b) y Doc (d/samples) nos aseguran que la sangre polaca aún arde. Como dicen los Unleashed, hail to Poland!!!

Dismal Euphony “Autumn Leaves”

Napalm Records

Rating= 7/10

Nunca antes el nombre de un grupo había significado tanto. Dismal Euphony (=Buen sonido triste) anuncia un CD de calidad de tristes sonidos, y eso es exactamente lo que encontramos!!! Son noruegos, pero no esperes el frío Black Metal típico del país sinó una brillante mezcla de estilos avantgarde, gothic, doom, metal y música clásica. En la parte lírica los vocalismos blackeros de Ole se combinan con la voz avantgarde de la cantante Elin. Musicalmente las canciones no son fáciles de describir puesto que son tan ricas en variedad instrumental (guitarras, organos, pianos, teclados…) y estilística (incluso industrial como en “Splendid Horror” y en la última) que etiquetar su música es tan duro como intentar capturar una serpenteante serpiente. La música rezuma talento, pues definitivamente no son nada cacófonos sinó realmente euphonicos!!! La última canción es bastante representativa de la bizarrez del álbum: Se supone que dura 4:40, pero cuando este tiempo acaba se da un absoluto silencio de tres minutos después del cual aparece una guitarra acústica primero y después un piano para dar lugar seguidamente a una distorsión que hace durar el tema más de un cuarto de hora!!! Bizarro,eh? Pues igual que el álbum entero…

Marduk “Heaven Shall Burn… …When We’re Gathered” (Español)

Nota: 5/10

La banda sueca Marduk siempre ha sido Marduk. Esto es una obviedad, pero lo que quiero decir es que esta banda siempre ha tocado lo mismo, sonado lo mismo y parecido lo mismo. Algunos aplaudiréis esta actitud, algunos la criticaréis, pero yo no haré ninguna de las dos cosas, sinó hablar del CD. “HSBWWAG” es básicamente otra ración para los mardukmaníacos. Aquellos a los que les guste Marduk les encantará este disco, mientras que aquellos que les odiéis también odiaréis este disco. Se podría haber llamado “Dark Endless II”, “Those of the Unlight II” o “Opus Nocturne II”, no importa pues es sencillamente lo mismo que Marduk siempre ha ofrecido. Quizµs incluso un poco mµs rápido y directo-al-grano que sus predecesores, pero esta es toda las diferencias que puedo encontrar. Marduk siempre han incluído una canción lenta entre la vorágine speed de sus discos, y aquí, por supuesto, también lo hacen, se trata de “Dracula Va Domni Din Nou In Transilvania”. Las canciones rápidas llevan títulos tipo “Infernal Eternal”, “Darkness It Shall Be”, “The Black Tormentor Of Satan”, “Legion”, etc… así que, como habréis imaginado, no sólo la m­isica no ha cambiado, sinó que tampoco lo han hecho las letras: Satán, el infierno, la oscuridad, la noche, bla bla bla… En definitiva, los que a­n queréis más Marduk, este es vuestro CD. Si en cambio queréis probar algo diferente, entonces olvidadlo.