Author Archive

REVIEW: Trocaria – The Dark Nears

Band: Trocaria
Album: The Dark Nears
Release: 2012
Label: Humid Records
Genre: Symphonic dark metal

‘Dark metal’, while being more an umbrella term than a genre itself, gives a strong indication of the gloomier side that metal has to offer, and Trocaria offers this on their début album The Dark Nears. Blending elements of symphonic, gothic and doom-death metal, the duo of Joan Palmer on instrumentation and Jon Slough on harsh vocals aim for a minimalist approach, dominated by orchestration and dialed-back guitars, with the vocals and piano often left to carry the album.

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REVIEW: Svartalvheim – Cosmic Sorrows

Svartalvheim - Cosmic Sorrows

Band: Svartalvheim
Album: Cosmic Sorrows
Release: 2012
Label: Unsigned
Genre: Symphonic extreme metal

Do you remember those chance encounters that turn into full-blown love affairs at first listen? The bands who tell you, from the first moment, that you are going to highly enjoy whichever brand of music they have to offer? This affair happened with me, the band in question being Svartalvheim, a New Zealand band I discovered while researching for the There’s Metal Here series (post here). Their music is symphonic extreme metal, evoking influences from both Greek and Italian quarters, but their style is unique enough to avoid cries of plagiarism. Cosmic Sorrows is the début album, after an untitled EP in 2009, and it’s a rip-roaring ride from full-on blasts to flowing cinematic orchestration, and a frequent melding of the two.

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REVIEW: Amadeus Awad – Time Of The Equinox

Band: Amadeus Awad
Album: Time Of The Equinox
Release: 2011
Label: Unsigned
Genre: Progressive rock/neoclassical shred

It has been often been said that music is a universal language, and the original country of any band or project should be no boundary to the experience of a finished product. However, I cannot avoid raising an eyebrow to the diversity of countries that engage in one or more of the many subgenres of rock. As a case in point, I present a prog-rock/shred influenced guitarist hailing from the Lebanon, by name of Amadeus Awad. Last year, he released his début solo album Time Of The Equinox, combining a myriad of influences and styles and resulting in an album that encapsulates his beliefs about harmony and balance in the universe.

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REVIEW: Leviathan – Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt. 1

Band: Leviathan (DE)
Album: Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt. 1
Release: 2011
Label: Twilight Vertrieb
Genre: Progressive melodic death metal

Leviathan is such a common band name that you might not be expecting much originality from this up-and-coming band, but you’d only be half-right. While they’re not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt. 1 is not an album to be dismissed based on unoriginality. Its execution borders on perfect, serving the listener a balanced dish of progressive folk-laden melodic death metal, taken from mostly Finnish cuisine despite the band’s German origins, and drawing from Kalmah, Wintersun, Bodom with a smidgeon of Disillusion, although those aren’t the only flavors included.

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REVIEW: Quicksand SwimClub – What We Go Through EP

Band: Quicksand SwimClub
Album: What We Go Through EP
Release: 2012
Label: Unsigned
Genre: Pop-punk/post-hardcore

Caught in between the catchy melody of summer-time pop-punk and the heavier tinge of post-hardcore, Quicksand SwimClub, a relatively new band coming out of the Midwest US, are soon to release their sophomore What We Go Through EP. Evoking some nostalgia for childhood in both the music and lyrics, the 17 minutes provided are a snippet of the band’s accessible style. Each of the four tracks stands alone and yet flow together with few bumps, showcasing the various influences that pop up along the way.

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All Change, Please.

As the more observant of you may have noticed, this site has not been updated in a fairly long time. For that I apologize; I have a long line of bands piled up to tell you guys about, and I will get to them soon. The reasons things have slowed down here are manifold. Over the past few weeks, I have:

    1. Moved back from Russia to England near the end of last month.
    2. Re-organized my room and possessions as my parents moved house while I was in Russia.
    3. Traveled to Metalfest Austria to do some gig reporting and band interviewing, the results of which will be emerging on Metal Recusants very soon.
    4. Most recently, I’ve been struck down with a mixture of a cold and hayfever, which feels like my head is being churned through the same torture device that the people who created hangovers use.

For these reasons, and others that I will mention soon, I have decided to change the way I operate, and that directly affects this site of mine. Given my current workload at the moment (collaborations with the aforementioned Metal Recusants, Death Metal Baboon, A Metal State Of Mind and a forthcoming not-to-be-named-yet-project), I am going to change this site into primarily a portfolio project, advertising my work to those who may be interested. I will still be writing here, but on a much less frequent basis.

What does this mean?
The layout is going to change! The new site should be fairly similar and simple, but as a general idea, I’m going to have three separate pages for reviews & articles elsewhere, list of reviews here, and the blog itself.
For the readers: When you first come here, you will see a welcome screen which will direct you to whichever part of the site holds your interest. The blog section will be updated weekly with the new articles going up on the various other sites mentioned (and maybe guestposts on others, who knows?), and sometimes a post that I feel wouldn’t fit in my other collaborations.
For the bands: As mentioned, I do have a stack of promos to get through, and those will be seen to in good time. The ones I have received until this date will be dealt with on this site unless the band messages me. To any bands who contact me after this date, we will arrange something via e-mail (check the contact form at the top), but it’s most likely that the final review will end up on a collaboration site and not here.
For the promotional agencies: If you have a problem with me taking promos to review for other sites, then please send me a message using the contact form at the top.


In The Spotlight: Trevor Strnad

The post got messed up, so reposting it now. Sorry about that.

Name: Trevor Strnad
Age: 30
Location: USA
Associated acts: The Black Dahlia Murder

Trevor Strnad is an extreme metal vocalist of Detroit origin, although his name is of Polish descent. Mostly known for his work in The Black Dahlia Murder, Trevor has a reputation for being an extreme metal and horror movie addict with a great if wicked sense of humor. When not delivering his trademark maniacal howls and guttural grunts, he’s been known to play Dungeons And Dragons, or partaking in certain homegrown hallucinogenic drugs. His writing can also be found in his ‘Deadspeak’ column for Gun Shy Assassin.

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REVIEW: Seven Thorns – Return To The Past

Thanks to Rock N’ Growl Promotion for setting me up with this album!

Band: Seven Thorns
Album: Return To The Past
Release: 2010
Label: Nightmare Records
Genre: Power metal

Spurning the recent trend of power metal bands mixing in other elements such as progressive or gothic touches, Danish sextet Seven Thorns announce their proper full-length début under their current lineup, Return To The Past, as “no bullshit, just pure power metal”. That gives a fairly solid idea already with regards to expectations, but it does nonetheless beg the question of whether a band can worship at the European power metal tri-altar of Helloween, Gamma Ray and Stratovarius while also retaining musical integrity and creating something catchy and yet with substance.

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REVIEW: Despite Exile – Re-Evolve EP

Thanks to Team All About The Music for setting me up with this EP!

Band: Despite Exile
Album: Re-Evolve EP
Release: 2012
Label: Self-released
Genre: Djenty deathcore

Back for more after their début EP last year (review here), it appears that Italian upstarts Despite Exile have had a change of heart after providing Americanized melodic deathcore last time round. Although not a complete U-turn, the band have now morphed into something more machine-like…They’ve now added djent into the formula, along with a couple of other improvements and adaptations in Re-Evolve EP, a digestible portion of three songs at 11 minutes total, all of which have been premiered on various sites.

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REVIEW: AK-11 – Legendary, Demonic & Invincible

Band: AK-11
Album: Legendary, Demonic & Invincible EP (demo)
Release: 2011
Label: Self-released
Genre: Black metal

When a band’s biography announces that they play “triumphant black war metal” inspired by Russian and European history, I’m fairly certain that one of the last places I’d consider looking for such a band would be Australia. However, to surprise you all I present AK-11, a one-man project masterminded by Valak, whose début demo EP Legendary, Demonic & Invincible was released last year. It’s an intriguing little number, for a number of reasons including the above-mentioned location, combining the cold grimness of Norway’s older scene with a touch of the rawness found in oldschool Nathrakh and a remarkable amount of melody within its 6 tracks.

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Concert Report: Billy’s Band @ Avrora

Billy's Band band picture

I’d like to make a quick shout-out to Sofya for providing me with the opportunity for this cool experience, thanks very much!

Band: Billy’s Band
Venue: Avrora, RU
Date: 21st April 2012
Genre: “Romantic alcojazz”

Sometimes I surprise myself with the concerts which I end up attending. Amidst all the usual metal and punk gigs, there are occasions like this where a bit of diversity helps to spice things up, and keep the concert experience fresh. The combination of a new venue and a new style of music was at first a little alien, but I soon got into the swing of things. The venue, Avrora, was a spacious area with a psychedelic ceiling lights display and a very large stage set up with a whole bunch of equipment. The band, Billy’s Band, play a self-styled “romantic alcojazz”, heavily inspired by Tom Waits, and have released an extensive discography, all while eschewing a record deal. It seems to have done well for them, as the concert was very well-attended, and I found out later the band have also played internationally, in London and New York. Their songs are a mixture of Russian-language and English, both covers and originals, blending in jazz, swing, blues and rock, with a surprise or two on the way.

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5 Unconventional Reasons To Own An Anaal Nathrakh Album

Anaal Nathrakh funny

Little known fact, I also engage in humor pieces every so often. This is one of them, but naturally tied in with metal as well. Inspired by my close friend Chrissie, who runs Litflick. Enjoy.

Newer readers of this site and my other writing may not be aware of this, but I like Anaal Nathrakh. That may be a bit of an understatement, but it’ll do for the time being. However, I realize that not all people share such an undying adoration for the gruesome twosome from Birmingham, and yet I still insist on you all buying (not downloading, buying CDs of) their records. They’ve got a few of them out, the latest being Passion, and it made my top 10 of 2011.

“But Angel!”, I hear you cry, “what if we do not share the same passion as you do with this talented pair?” And while in most moods I may smite you down for insolence, in one rare occasion I have decided to impart a few tips and tricks that mean you can successfully utilize your newly-procured Anaal Nathrakh album. Here are but 5 small examples of ways to use such a CD, despite not being a die-hard fan.

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INTERVIEW: Fallen Joy

After giving my thoughts on their 2010 EP Order To Die, French melodic death metallers Fallen Joy were kind enough to take some time off video games playing music and preparing for Spread The Metal Festival to answer some questions in their first ever English interview. So I decided to grill guitarist/vocalist Victor and drummer Leandro on the band’s current line-up situation, their influences/love for Dark Tranquillity, cover songs and the upcoming album Inner Supremacy! With some fun along the way of course…

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Spread The Metal Records Announce Charity Festival

A press release just dropped into my inbox from Spread The Metal Records, detailing an all-ages charity metal festival that’s taking place in Halifax, Canada. It’s only $50CAD for a day, or $70CAD for the whole thing, so around $4 per band. Not bad, eh? (more…)


REVIEW: Nuclear Summer – Nuclear Summer

Many thanks to Rhys Bufford of Xenosis (Facebook here) for introducing this kickass band to me.

Band: Nuclear Summer
Album: Nuclear Summer
Release: 2011
Label: Self-released
Genre: Post-rock/hardcore

It seems that music always has a way of holding surprises for listeners in the formation or reinvention of genres over the past couple of decades. Post-hardcore has been given a fairly bad rap in recent years, with bands like Funeral For A Friend and Hawthorne Heights being slated on a regular basis by those who look down their nose at the developments of the genre. Well, to those who snub, I offer you a reinvented form of it, taking the name as an amalgamation of post-rock and hardcore punk. The combination sounds fairly jarring on paper, but Nuclear Summer, hailing from Brisbane, execute it almost flawlessly on their début eponymous album.

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REVIEW: Orrenda Acciaieria – Orrenda Acciaieria

Band: Orrenda Acciaieria
Album: Orrenda Acciaieria
Release: 2011
Label: Cosmic Swamp Records
Genre: Experimental Stoner Metal

Some albums have this intangible ambience about them, which can give the impression that you feel under the influence despite not having touched any substances. Usually these releases have some psychedelic quality, as though traveling on a journey of some description. Italian trio Orrenda Acciaieria (translates as Horrible Forge) play a style of experimental stoner metal without vocals, but instead blend in other elements (not all musical) to deliver a strange half-hour eponymous début.

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CONCERT: Iron Savior @ Orlandina


Band: Iron Savior
Venue: Orlandina, RU
Genre: Power/speed metal
Date: 13th April 2012

There is one thing which I love about power metal: it remains almost impossible not to have a grin on your face while headbanging. While some of the more saccharine style is not really to my taste, German quartet Iron Savior add in a bit of bite from speed metal to make it sufficiently heavy for my ears, and this was full demonstrated to me in their first ever gig in Russia at the Orlandina Klub. I can only imagine that the issues were visa-related and not from a lack of audience participation, which St. Petersburg provided in buckets. The venue was a little on the small side, and the audience were not exactly numerous, but they more-than-compensated in terms of volume, including the usual slurred cries for “Riding On Fire” and “Touching The Rainbow”.

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REVIEW: Forever’s Edge – Chaotic Silence

Update/Correction: Just been told by Pisano that the keyboard parts were written by him, and the instrumental intro was written by him and Rossetti. Thanks guys!

Thanks to Team All About The Music for providing the promo for this review, check them out.

Band: Forever’s Edge
Album: Chaotic Silence
Release: 2010
Label: Nightmare Records
Genre: Melodic power/prog metal

Concept albums are normally a welcome aspect of metal from my point of view; a band able to weave both a story and music simultaneously creates a further sense of intrigue to the album as you follow the plot. US power/prog metal quintet Forever’s Edge however, while crafting brilliant music, never quite seem able to make both lyrics and music glue together on their re-released début album Chaotic Silence. Their blend of Evergrey and Circus Maximus/Symphony X makes for high quality in the keyboard-centric approach, which is logical given three of the five members are from Suspyre. Comparisons to the latter band are unfounded though, as the band pull some quirks out to make for a more eclectic album than at first glance.

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INTRODUCING…: Diementia

Diementia band picture

There seems to be something about Scotland that means they are able to create some kickass death and thrash metal. From the fast-rising death metal act Cerebral Bore to the thrashier end of Achren, the country’s provided some cool releases over the years, and recently-formed power-trio Diementia have been doing their bit for giving the scene a kick up its collective behind, and they’re set for more ass-kicking very soon.

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REVIEW: Fallen Joy – Order To Die EP

Band: Fallen Joy
Album: Order To Die
Release: 2010
Label: Spread The Metal Records
Genre: Melodic death metal

Any press release that claims “fans of Amon Amarth, Gorgoroth and Stratovarius should try this” is bound to get my attention, even moreso if the band actually deliver on this claim, and French melodic death quintet Fallen Joy certainly deliver on that promise, while delivering some catchy tunes on their début EP Order To Die, the precursor to 2012′s Inner Supremacy. Channeling the blackened spirit of Gorgoroth with Noumena-like riffs and a powerful Stratovarian base, the band only have 4 songs to work with, but they make the most of them to promote their individual style.

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REVIEW: The Omega Experiment – The Omega Experiment

Band: The Omega Experiment
Album: The Omega Experiment
Release: 2012
Label: Self-released
Genre: Ambient/progressive metal

Writing memoirs about a personal experience is certainly nothing new in the literary world, but when someone decides to take an autobiographical approach in the form of a metal album, you know you’re in for something extraordinary. The Omega Experiment, masterminded by multi-instrumentalist Dan Wieten with aid from Ryan Aldridge on keyboard and samples, definitely covers the term ‘extraordinary’. A journey through both light and dark phases while blending multiple influences (Devin Townsend being most prominent, although others emerge along the way), it takes a while to wrap your head around the layers woven into the music of this self-titled début.

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INTERVIEW: Shattered Skies

For those who missed the introductory post on one of the most promising new wave of melodic metal bands, Shattered Skies are a melodic groove/djent metal band from Ireland, formed in late 2010 and have since released 2 EPs on Bandcamp, showcasing a style removed from the Meshuggah ripoffs. They’ve gone from strength to strength, and have now taken the time out of a busy schedule to answer a few questions here about their origins and musical style, finding vocalist Sean and what the future holds for them as a band.

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REVIEW: Centimani – Aegaeon

Band: Centimani
Album: Aegaeon
Release: 2012
Label: Self-released
Genre: Blackened death metal

Many metal groups claim to and succeed in mixing together styles, but this usually comes in sections, swinging from one extreme to another. Fewer bands manage to synthesize aspects of two opposing styles (in this case, black and death metal) into a hybrid that satisfies both camps, but US new-schoolers Centimani have done an excellent job on their début album Aegaeon. Taking the best parts of Ex Deo and Dimmu’s symphonic elements, they also inject their own love of Roman and Ancient Greek history to create some strong tracks that follow on nicely from their EP Usurping The Throne Of Flesh.

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