About This Blog

This blog is for unsigned Metal bands and bands on small labels. Whilst setting up my promotions company, I noticed that a lot of sites don't cover demo bands and bands just starting out. Hopefully this small corner of the internet will have redress the balance, ever so slightly

Sunday, 15 February 2015

February Reviews Round-Up

Sorry, I've been a bit slack with the blog recently. I've been stretching myself a little thin with the various projects I have on the go right now.

So here are some reviews, with another batch pencilled in for next weekend


There are very few definitive genres any more as bands continue to experiment and the number of styles incorporated into one album, continues to grow and grow.
A perfect example of this are Russian “Doomsters” Arthyr. Doom may be the over-riding genre used when describing the band, but throw in Shoegaze / Post Black Metal, Ambient / Drone (possibly with a Winston Churchill speech backdrop) , hints of Black Metal as well as groove laden Doom and a slower, more ponderous form of the genre and it’s a big mixing bowl of delights. The average song length is just over 7 minutes, with 2 tracks clocking in at over 10 minutes, so there’s a lot of style shifting and boundary hopping going on. But overall, you’d probably describe Corpus as a gloomy album.

I need to be in the mood to listen to Doom, mainly as I tend to listen to music while I work, and Doom isn’t the best style for improving productivity. But this album has enough subtle twists to keep my attention and the delivery of the bands ideas are top notch.

The album is out Feb 19th and is well worth checking out


Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus

Here are a couple of releases from Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus. The band are based in the US, but have a guy (Mika Mage) from Finland at the helm. So the band sound more European, than they do American.

With a new album on the way shortly, it’s time to dust off the bands output from 2012 and 2013.

To be honest, both releases could be good. But the muddy production ruins whatever chance these releases had.
Musically, this is Black Metal mixed with atmospheric  / ambient parts. The 2 styles rarely mingle, one tends to follow the other. With the more atmospheric parts, having the better sound. And at times they remind me of early Burzum.

So it’s the Black Metal parts that let down these releases. What’s on offer could be very promising, and it seems to be very well put together and full of Scandinavian pride. But I’m not a fan of this kind of production as it lacks any power and the drum machine sound is dire, at best.

The two tracks from the Väinämöinen EP are an improvement from the previous years effort, so there is a chink of light to be found. But they really need to improve their sound if they are to progress from here.

I’m really digging this 3 tracker from US duo Phantasmal. This is bullshit free, Heavy Metal with Thrash and Black Metal influences and it’s a perfect blend of all three genres.

The aggression is reigned in, but it still bears the hallmarks of classic 80s Thrash & Metal, a bit like Destruction, Mercyful Fate and NWOBHM forged together in fist pumping metallic unity.  Its old school and it makes you feel nostalgic while listening to it. Which is always a good thing, as far as I’m concerned, as a lot of the older bands are fading away, we need new blood like Phantasmal to keep the flame alive.

The production could do with a couple of tweaks, but overall this is a very satisfying debut demo.

The Passion Of Our Souls

The Passion Of Our Souls are a duo. Samuli Tuomas Mäkelä who handles the music and female singer Julia Mattila, who provides growls as well as clean singing.

Musically, this is melodic fare, somewhere around the catchier end of Death Metal. The vocals are harsh during the verses and pop-tastically catchy during the choruses. And that the deal with TPOOS (damn name is too long to type each time) Melodic Death with pop choruses.

The formula is ok. Julia has a good voice for both styles, but my major gripe is that they do the same on each song. Growl, growl, growl, happy, happy, happy.

TPOOS have got everything just about right, apart from the song-writing. None of the 4 songs on offer are bad, they just need to break away from the predictable formula they’ve employed as it wears thin pretty quickly as you know what to expect as every song is written the same way.

Victims of Contagion
Victims of Contagion hail from Pittsburgh, USA and they’re purveyors of Technical Death. They’ve supported a number of notable Death Metal bands and one track on this EP feature a guitar solo from Death’s Bobby Koelble, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if these guys started knocking on a few doors on their quest for World domination.

Everything about this release screams class, especially when they throw in a little acoustic salsa (?) snippet into Terminal Evolution and it seems like a natural fit. This may be technical, but everything flows in a progressive manner and it’s not ruined by endless twists and turns. And their obvious talents aren’t overshadowed by over the top fret wankery, they’ve got the balance just about right. The flashier bits are mainly tasteful solos and the aforementioned acoustic groove. They really know how to construct a good song.

A few years ago, Victims of Contagion would have been snapped up by the likes of Metal Blade, but with a different music industry in play today, it would be a shame if the band were overlooked. But I’m sure their hard work won’t be in vein.

Check em out via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victimsofcontagion  

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