Sigil – Kingdom of the Grave (Death Metal)

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It’s that time again my friends! It’s time for an old school death metal album to review! Woho! Sigil is an American band who in 2014 released their first demo but it’s been quite quiet since then, until now. Kingdom of the Grave is the death metal four-piece debut album.

You notice really fast where the band has drawn influences from. Already on the second track Even the Gods Will Burn it’s hard not to think back on Entombed’s monster album Wolverine Blues. It’s raw D-beat death metal in it’s pure form. Continue on with Lick the Blade you can hear the flirts to legends like Dismember and throughout Kingdom of the Grave you get those old school vibes but from different bands and with something extra added to it. Speaking of that what makes Sigil stick out the most from bands playing old school death metal is their lyrics. It reflects a lot on how the band sees how our society is going and about the occult. Not something I generally see in death metal acts (usually about war, hate or death) but it’s something I find being a nice touch to write very personal lyrics.

All in all I had a good half an hour with Kingdom of the Grave. I am sure fans of death metal will enjoy Sigil’s take on the old school with their own personal touch. Kingdom of the Grave is out April 7th through one of the coolest label names I’ve come across Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Sigilmetal
For fans of: Entombed and Dismember
Favorite song: Summoning Hate

A Lie Nation – Begin Hate (Melodic Black Metal)

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Finnish black metal is from my experience usually very gritty and satanic. They don’t often touch the melodic side of black metal but today I have a promo from A Lie Nation, a Finnish band that does exactly that. Granted it’s a mix of different styles, or as A Lie Nation call it melodic extreme metal. However I choose to call it melodic black metal as that’s the closest genre I can put them into (don’t be a genre freak though, good metal is good metal no matter the genre). A Lie Nation was formed in Oulu 2009, then unnamed, took the name A Lie Nation in 2010 and released their debut EP Human Waves in 2015. Begin Hate is the bands sophomore EP and the band has really picked up the pace now.

The main reason I go for the black metal mentions is due to the vocals. Miikka Pyykkönen nails those black metal vocals and the aggressive, yet melodic sound surrounding him makes this a listen that make me draw parallels to the black and death masters Dissection and Naglfar. Along with other new Finnish black metal bands who somewhat differs from the old school Finnish sound like Paara and Kyy. From the beginning A Lie Nation captures me and the music evolves over time, the more you listen to Begin Hate the more you notice new things on the four tracks. They differ quite a bit in sound, Rot of the Spirit being a bit towards groovy trash and Shooting the Messenger captures the essence of melodic black metal as examples. My favorite track has to be A Burn Afar (Shooting the Messenger is a very very close second though). The slow acoustic intro with whispers leaves an eerie feeling until it blasts out into sheer black metal aggression, then change the tempo back again to beautiful acoustic harmony. The track is a perfect ending to a good album.

Begin Hate comes out April 5th via Inverse Records. I suggest you get it!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alienationofficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/alienationmetal
For fans of: Naglfar and Dissection
Favorite song: A Burn Afar

Acrimonious – Eleven Dragons (Black Metal)

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The Greek trio in Acrimonious have actually escaped my grasp and I only got to know about them when I saw they were going to support Valkyrja and Mgla on their tour. I am not even surprised anymore that I sometimes miss veteran bands, there is simply too much great metal to be able to know them all. Having been formed in 2003 Acrimonious is one of the older bands still kicking from Greece. Eleven Dragons is the bands third full-length release and it’s been five years since their last release Sunyata, which received a lot of praise from the black metal community.

Acrimonious plays the more standard, what you expect from today’s black metal, kind of style. Satanism and occultism is on the agenda, with shrieks and growls that gives you nightmares. The riffs are relentless and punishing, adding to that satanic feel and guides you to the depths of hell. The album is one of the longest ones I’ve listened to since I started this blog, clocking on one hour and six minutes. At first I was afraid that would make me lose interest after awhile but Acrimonious does a splendid job keeping the listener interested throughout Eleven Dragons. It’s nothing I haven’t really heard before but at the same time it’s so dark and well made I can’t help but to get sucked into this vortex that will lead me straight to hell. Acrimonious also feels like the real deal, I wouldn’t be surprised if they wrote this album while performing their black arts.

Over one hour might feel like a but too much for quite a few of you out there but don’t let the time get to you. This is fine black metal coming from the same circle of hell where Watain, Ofermod and Nightbringer resides. Eleven Dragons is out now through World Terror Committee.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ACRIMONIOUS-114756638618913
For fans of: Watain and Ofermod
Favorite song: Satariel’s Grail

Blood of Angels – Rise of the Fallen Gods (Melodic Death Metal)

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The sunny city of Florida has spawned many big metal bands during the ages so it’s always fun to get a promo with a new band that comes from there. Blood of Angels features current and former members of Motograter, Foreshadow, Denied Til Death, and Leprosy with Rise of the Fallen Gods being the bands debut.

The four-piece combines the American death metal sound from Six Feet Under with the Viking-themed lyrics and melodic touches a la Amon Amarth. Add a bit of Dark Tranquility and Dying Fetus influences in the mix and you got yourself a viking ship set to raid the east coast fast and vicious. The EP is 11 minutes long and features three tracks, Miscreant Deeds of Loki, Odin’s Wrath and The Final War. I find the album growing on me with each track and as Chris Iibucha does a superb job sounding like Chris Barnes (Six Feet Under) I get almost overwhelmed with the flurry of riffs Aaron Robinson (guitar), Michael Stewart (bass) lashes out. As Odin’s Wrath comes on and Chris yells out I AM ODIN I really get into the headbanging groove this Sunday morning. Rise of the Fallen Gods ends with The Final War, which is also the best track on the EP. This is the most punishing track on the album, fast and brutal where Blood of Angels just clicks and pulls of a perfect song to showcase what they are made of.

Rise of the Fallen Gods is a great debut, it grew with each track and I see a lot of promise in Blood of Angels. Rise of the Fallen Gods is out 21st April through Hollywood Collective.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bloodofangels1
For fans of: Amon Amarth and Six Feet Under
Favorite song: The Final War

Antikythera – Antikythera (Melodic Death Metal)

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I get a lot of promos nowadays. Too many even so sometimes I just have to review an album very late after it’s release (sometimes I skip it all together). Don’t get me wrong, I love getting a lot of promos I just wished I had the time to listen to them all and give all bands the attention they deserve. This is one of those albums that was sadly left behind. Being released late in 2016 Antikythera’s self-titled EP was a release many of you (me included) probably missed due to all the “album of the year” lists starting to come out. The name is after an ancient analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes.

Antikythera is one of the better debut’s I’ve heard in the melodic death metal filed in a long time. It’s full of wonderful solos (3.30 minutes into the opening track as an example) and the vocals got a lot in common with the legend Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity). That alone puts this EP above the average. It sounds very modern and heavy influenced by the Finnish and Swedish melodeath scene. It’s not just Dark Tranquillity I draw parallels to, it’s also bands such as Insomnium, In Flames, Kalmah and Children of Bodom (especially getting those vibes on the Vagrant Hearts track). None of these are your average metal bands but top tier acts I am more than happy Antikythera draws influence from.

The five tracks you get are good and offers a bit of variation in style. Some more heavy on the synth for example, some got clean vocals and you also got tracks more focusing on the riffs and solos. It might not be perfect but it’s a solid record. Take into the fact that this is a independent digital bandcamp release and a debut then you can guess that these guys can probably pull off a wicked full-length album in the near future. Antikythera’s self-titled album is out now on bandcamp. If you love the more modern Nordic melodic death metal then this is an album you will enjoy.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/antikytheraband
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and Children of Bodom
Favorite song: Lightkeeper

Vorzug – Three (Blackened Death Metal)

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Being one of the shortest singles I’ve reviewed (three songs and total length of 15 minutes) I was afraid this would leave me with nothing to really review. I mean one or two bad/average songs and the single all of a sudden means next to nothing for me. Good thing is none of the songs are weak, they all deliver quite good blackened death metal! Before we start going into the songs let me give you some Vorzug background. Vorzug is an American band formed in 2014. The band consists of five members, where the core got a past in death/black metal band Lustmord. The band’s debut album Call of the Vultures reached #1 on both iTunes and Amazon. Whereas Three has reached Best Seller status on Amazon, reaching number one on their best seller list for both New Releases and Metal Releases. So the band certainly got a big following behind them already.

The Ever Living kicks off the single (keeping it simple, three songs so name the single Three) and Vorzug presents a varied style of catchy riffs, intimidating growls (high and lows) that does their black and death style justice. You get that old school death metal feel but with a nice fresh touch of black and death. Nocturnity gives more space to the bass player Rock Rollain as he rocks away to start it off. This is a more groovy style and pure old school death metal sound than the previous track. Ending Three we got Under a Dying Sun, here you get some furious blast-beats and guitar riffs coming at you and it ends the single on a high note, making it my favorite track.

Throughout the whole album I am a fan of their catchy riffs and dark melodies while yet keeping it quite brutal. The vocals are quite different and stick out for me, I had a hard time really digging it at first but it grew on me. All in all this is a solid release. It’s three tracks that are catchy which you will enjoy but maybe not remember. However it did get me wanting to listening to their full-length release and see how they do a whole album, so job well done.

Three by Vorzug is out now digitally through The Apollyon Entertainment Group.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vorzugmetal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VorzugOfficial
For fans of: Gruesome and Sulphur Aeon
Favorite song: Under a Dying Sun

Valhalore – Voyage into Eternity (Folk/Viking Metal)

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This is a journey, or as the album title says a Voyage into Eternity. Starting off with a storytelling voice and calm melodies it soothes the listeners mind. It eventually becomes a epic symphonic blast of melodies as it was Nightwish together with Eluveitie themselves recording this. Vocals ranges from the high and lows, growling and clean singing. With three members in the band sharing vocal duty it sure does give the album an extra twist and different ways of telling this story of Vikings. The ferocity in the music is like that of the berserker’s of old and the melodies clings on inside your head like the ballads from Blind Guardian or Amon Amarth. Across the Frozen Ocean for example really does make me think about the legendary song The Bard’s Song by Blind Guardian.

I get the feeling of going on adventures when listening to this album. It’s the sort of epic music that takes you to the epic worlds from Lord of the Rings, Witcher or Dragon Age. The use of various types of instruments like mandolin, cello and whistle puts that extra epic mark on Voyage into Eternity. To me Voyage of Eternity is the definition of epic folk music. Not only due to the use of various instruments with great melodies and riffs but also due to the great song-writing and great use of different vocals to deliver a sweet story. Plus the fact I love vikings, any story with vikings in it is a plus in my book!

Valhalore was a big surprise to me. It’s well produced and features so many elements I like in good music this is an instant classic for me. Fans of bands such as Ensiferum, Wintersun, Eluveitie, Blind Guardian and the likes take heed (and of course drink mead). Valhalore are here to stay and their debut Voyage into Eternity is one of the best releases so far this year. Voyage into Eternity is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: /www.facebook.com/valhalore
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/valhalore
For fans of: Eluveitie and Blind Guardian
Favorite song: Guardians of Time