Paganizer – Land of Weeping Souls (Death Metal)

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Paganizer was created in 1998 born from the ashes of Terminal Grip, plays classic Swedish death metal and have been producing a ton of EP, split and full-length albums since it’s creation. With that amount of releases it isn’t weird that there has been some varied quality over the years but when Paganizer are on form I consider them one of the best old school death metal acts. Rogga Johansson, the creator, vocalist and also on guitar in the band has to be the most productive member in the death metal community. He has always been the bread and butter for Paganizer and on this album he has some friends joining him since the last full-length release, Kjetil Lynghaug (Echelon, Mordenial, Stass) on guitar and Martin Klasén (ex-Vicious Maggot) on bass. So where does Land of Weeping Souls stand with a new lineup?

Well not much have changed, but that’s alright since I am expecting that classic death metal sound. It’s raw sound is mixed and produced just the right amount to be filthy death but not sounding like a garage demo, as some bands seems to go for and I really dislike. Your Suffering Will Be Legendary starts off the album well with it’s pedal to the metal force but not making too much of an impact on me. It’s with the title track Land of Weeping Souls I really get into headbanging mode and find a track that sticks out. Here the guitars and drums just seems to jell better from the starting tracks and The Insanity Never Stops follows that up great with another solid track. Selfdestructor feels like it’s taken from a book on how to create classic death metal, the whole flow of the song and chorus screams old school. Again it doesn’t stick out but it’s well made by a band that definitely knows the genre by now. As an old school death metal fan this is candy I easily devour but I am sure plenty of people out there will think this isn’t something new nor interesting. If you’re not an old school death metal fan looking for more of that sweet 90’s sound then this isn’t for you.

Death Addicts Posthumous is another track I really liked, takes the vibe Selfdestructor gave me and put in some wickeds solo into it. To follow it up The Buried Undead comes, the best song on the album in my opinion. A pummeling machine of death with great tempo-changes, solos and Rogga on vocals is always a joy to listen to.

Slow start but it gets better over time. Nothing new under the death metal sun but fans of Paganizer knows this is what the band is all about, well made classic death metal. In the bands vast discography I would say Land of Weeping Souls stands somewhere in the middle, solid release with some ups and downs which will please fans of the genre. With Rogga holding the lines you can be sure to expect quality death metal with any lineup. Land of Weeping Souls is what I was expecting and support Paganizer for sticking to it.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/paganizersweden
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Grave and Dismember
Favorite song: The Buried Undead
Score: 3/5

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Altar of Betelgeuze – Among the Ruins (Stoner Doom/Death Metal)

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Altar of Betelgeuze is a Finnish band which was formed in 2010 and has since released an EP and full-length album prior Among the Ruins. Their music is said to be quite special in a grey area between stoner, doom and death metal. Among the Ruins is the first time I ever listen to be the band but seeing the reviews they’ve received I am more than interested to see what they are all about.

Surely enough this is great music made by great musicians. Altar of Betelgeuze gives me a feeling of the old school Black Sabbath as much as it does with one of last years better releases Khemmis and stoner giants Electric Wizard. While I am not usually the type of guy who goes for stoner music I can’t help the fact to be taken away by the music when it’s really well made, like Khemmis last year. Among the Ruins is filled with great solos, slow paced groove, awesome clean singing from Olli “Otu” Suurmunne and equally good growling from Matias Nastolin. The more I listen to the album the more I start to get into it and headbang to this sweet music. Sometimes I really get what stoner music is all about and it’s usually with these kinds of bands that don’t go all stoner but mixes it up with other genres. It’s heavy, emotive sounding that makes you sit back, relax and submit to the music.

Altar of Betelgeuze is definitely a band I think can battle with the greats in it’s genre. Along with Khemmis they are one of the very selected few bands within the stoner sphere I am looking forward to hear more of. I like this, when bands makes me get out of my comfort zone of music and appreciate something I usually don’t. More bands and albums like this and you might even call me a stoner eventually (pun intended).

Among the Ruins is out now through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Aobofficial
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Khemmis and Electric Wizard
Favorite song: Absence of Light
Score: 3/5

Somnium Nox – Terra Inanis (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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It’s been a long time I got to listen to some new atmospheric black metal! Finally the time has come when I can be taken into the vast darkness that atmospheric black metal usually offers. Hailing from Australia the band was formed last year and features the drummer from Norse, which was a big reason I wanted to check them out. Distorted guitars, harsh atmospheric background music with screeching from the depths of hell, tempo-changes and use of various instruments. You know what I am talking about, it’s the backbone of any good atmospheric black metal album and Somnium Nox does it better than most. This is a very deep album that stirs up emotions throughout the three songs, songs that could in all honesty be seen as one as they transition into each other really well.

Speaking of using various instruments, the use of a didgeridoo is present on this album but Somnium Nox definitely don’t overuse it. It’s just there to create some background atmosphere, just like their samples are and I think finding the balance on using these things is what differs a good and a great atmospheric black metal band. There are a lot of good atmospheric black metal bands out there but only a few that can really get all these components to really jell together. Fen, Saor, Panopticon, Winterfylleth and Agalloch being some of these bands that comes to mind but Somnium Nox debut album is one of the best atmospheric black metal albums I’ve heard this year, if not the best, I am interested to see if they can be consistent enough to play with the big boys in a few years.

Terra Inanis is a great example on how to make a atmospheric black metal debut. The future is very bright for Somnium Nox and I wouldn’t be surprised if people name them when talking about the atmospheric black metal greats in the future. Terra Inanis is out now through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SomniumNox
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Panopticon and Fen
Favorite song: The Alnwick Apotheosis

Norse – The Divine Light of a New Sun (Blackened Death Metal)

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Hailing from Australia we have a band whose name would makes me think they were from Scandinavia, Norse. Norse were formed in 2005 and have since the creation released two EP’s and three full-length albums with The Divine Light of a New Sun being Norse third release.

One thing you need to know before giving the album a spin is that Norse delivers some of the most wicked and dark blackened metal I’ve listened to. The atmosphere and sound is so dissonant and filled with the purest darkness that only people with nothing but darkness in their hearts will dare to listen through this album and understand it. I really like the way Norse creates this twisting, heavy and unsettling aura around me, making me succumb to madness. This is an experience unlike any other that’s been released this year and fans of Portal, Wolves In The Throne Room and Altar of Plagues will have a great time. It’s not something for everyone but at the same time Norse isn’t a band trying to make metal music for everyone.

The Divine Light of a New Sun is out now through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/norse.official
For fans of: Portal and Altar of Plagues
Favorite song: Synapses Spun as Silk