Band Reviews

ANTIDEMON

The Death Metal pioneers from Brazil are back again with a new album. Vocals are brutal and the music is heavy, variable and it also got plenty of crunchy and catchy thrash rhythmes. In fact it is their catchiest album so far. They manage to get the music extremely heavy but still remain melodic. Production is also really good. With improved production and much more variation this is by far their best album. On the negative side some tracks however gets somewhat repetitive. Other than that this is really cool stuff.

The lyrics are very biblical and are both in english and portugese. All in all a really cool brutal Christcentered album and definately one I highly can recommend.

References: A most have if you are into brutal grinding and catchy death metal. Think any Death Metal fan will enjoy this release.

CRIMSON MOONLIGHT

In Depths of Dreams

Crimson Moonlight are truly the masters of brutality. This four track EP contains some of their best material yet. It is very varied in tempo with both relentless blastbeats and slower parts and a great mix of brutality and heavy catchy rhythms. They are tightier than everand Pilgrim has developed his voice even more mixing shrilling shrieks and growls. This is also an album that grows on you the more you listen to itand needs a few spins before it really sinks in. Favourite track is Alone in Silence with its majestic sound and great lyrics talking about that in heaventhere will be no more sorrows and pain. Also really nice to hear some words in Swedish(!) on this cool track. My single complaint on this EP is that the lyrics on the track Shiver of Fear is way too gloomy and depressive to my taste.

All in all a great album, I just wish it was longer! An EP with 4 tracks is way too little and makes you hungry for more!

References: A must have for all fans of black metal!

 

GRAVE DECLARATION When Dying Souls Scream

Grave Declaration are finally here with their anticipated full length album, and it has definately been worth the wait! Cause here we have an excellent Atmospheric Black Metal Praise album! Yes, this is praise in the brutal vein. Last track is even a church psalm in Norway that is also sung in Norwegian. Not an album for the faint of heart, but for those that want to praise God loudly with brutal music that is an album you don't wanna miss! Musically this is top quality album and almost a classic. The band has managed to do a brutal, but yet melodic and atmospheric album. Excellent album both musically and lyrically and definately a most have for anyone into atmospheric black metal.

References: Fans of Atmospheric Black Metal like Antestor, Vaakevandring etc will totally enjoy this excellent album! If you are not familiar with these bands I can also highly recommend it to all that are into secular bands like Dimmu Borgir.

HILASTHERION - Taken From Darkness

Wow, what an album! This albums stands out in all ways. Musically it's filled with bonecrushing Melodic Death Metal. Fans of secular band Children of Bodom will be knocked to the ground when they hear this excellent album. If you ever wanted a quality Christian Metal band in this genre Hilastherion is what you have been looking for. What really stands out is the heavy rhythms and the tasty guitar solos. If you enjoy the melodic harmonies of Schaliach you will also greatly enjoy this, although Hilastherion's sound is much faster. Lyrically, this is also one of my favourite albums, since the lyrics are both very honest and Christcentered, and you can really see that the band cares for people and wants their best. An outstanding album in all ways that you can't afford to miss if you are a fan of Heavy & Melodic Death Metal!

References: Must have if you are into Melodic Death Metal and especially if you are into Children of Bodom.

HERO Bless This Nation

Remember Sons of Thunder? The guitarist from that band Michael Hero has now started up a new band called Hero. The other members in the band are Tomas and Torbjörn Weinesjö from Veni Domine and Björn Sundström. Compared to Sons of Thunder this is more melodic and has more guitarsolos and more of an 80s feel on it. Music has plenty of hooks and choruses as well as some tasty guitar solos. Really love the guitarsolos on this album! What holds the band back a bit though are the vocals, that do need to be improved. Some singing lessons would be good to Michael Hero, so he can improve his singing technique. Favourite tracks are Holy, Deo Gloria, Superior and Bless This Nation. Would love to hear more tunes of this caliber on coming releases. Bless This Nation is as a whole a cool cd that gives good hope for the future. I give it two thumbs up and a 3+ rating.

References: Check it out if you are into melodic metal.

PANTOKRATOR Incarnate

Pantokrator has taken several steps forward with this quality Death Metal release. Production is top notch and musically they have incorporated much more catchy harmonies and variation into their brutal sound, than they had on Aurum and Blod. These improvements make their heavy doomy Death Metal so much better! But don't get me wrong this is still brutal to the bone with heavy hardhitting riffs. I really enjoy this album not only musically but also lyrically, since the lyrics are both biblically based and well thought out.

All in all an excellent album and one I highly can recommend.

References: A must have to all Death Metal fans! Highly recommended if you like Schaliach, Terraphopia, Hilastherion, early Mortification etc. If you like Death Metal you gonna love this cd.

SANCTIFICA Spirit of Purity

Hailing from the dark forest in Sweden, there is a talented black band that are spreading light in the darkness. Their name is Sanctifica and here we have their first fullength cd. I really liked their demo In The Bleak Midwinter. The cd continues on with Sanctificas significant sound of atmospheric black metal. The keyboards does a big part in creating the special atmosphere that fits so well in this genre. The music is mostly ultrafast and vocals are shrilling so it ain't nothing for your grandma. :-) But if you are into atmospheric black you will most probably enjoy it. I do anyway, even though it took some time before I got into this cd. My favourite tunes are Landscape, Riket and the Wanderer. Sanctifica is best when they speed up and play real fast. Hubertus also got a great shrilling voice that fits good to the music, one of the best when it comes to black metal. On the negative side the drums are mixed way too low. A few cuts also gets repetitive and are too chaotic. I want more melodic harmonies and less chaos. Most of the tracks is good though so I give this album a 3+ rating overall.

References: Check it out if you are into atmospheric black metal like Crimson Moonlight, Mordecai, Emperor.

CIRCLE OF DUST

Brainchilde

Brainchild was originally a side project between Klayton and Doug Mann. Their album, Mindwarp, was released on R.E.X. Music in 1992. R.E.X. wanted Klayton to make a second Circle of Dust album, but there wasn't enough money to make another album. So R.E.X. re-released the album as the second Circle of Dust album, Brainchild. The same cover artwork and layout was used for both albums.

 

The album contains sound bites from James Cameron's movie The Abyss, while the song "Deviate" contains samples from such sources as Ren & Stimpy, The Twilight Zone episode "The Mind and the Matter" and RoboCop. The only difference between Brainchild's and Circle of Dust's versions of "Telltale Crime" is that the sound clip of Geraldo Rivera was removed from the beginning of the song. Also, this is the only song for which Circle of Dust ever made a video; the video includes the band's live musicians, Daren "Klank" Diolosa (of Klank) and Klay's brother Dan Levler (of LVL).

 

Reviews

ADMONISH

The Swedish black metal pioneers are back with a new 5 track EP. Two of the tunes are beautiful instrumentals and have lots of classical influence. Compared to their previous this EP is a big step forward in all ways. Production is much better, Martin Norén's vocals sounds better and the tunes are faster and better composed. I really like the track Istid (Ice Age), especially the addition of the beautiful female vocals that makes a great contrast to the brutal sound. Talking about Admonish's sound it's very Viking Metal sounding now and it sounds like they have really found their style. I really hope they continue on with this style cause it fits them well. Lyrically Admonish are pointing to Jesus, the answer for our troubled world. In conclusion I enjoy the EP and it's a big step in the right direction. I give it a 3+ rating. Now I'm just waiting for the fullength.

References: Check it out if you like black/viking metal, especially if you are into bands like Vaakevandring, Antestor and Parakletos.

CRIMSON MOONLIGHT

Veil of Remembrance

Looking for brutal metal? Then this can be exactly what you are looking for. Crimson Moonlight have alwaysbeen an extreme band and with this release they take it a notch higher. Compared to previous releasesthis is both faster and more brutal. Musically I also hear a definitive influence from Extol. Pilgrim's voice sound better than ever and now he has broaden his voice and even growls at some tracks. As I said this is really fast and brutal and nothing for your grandma :-) Lyrics are darker than previous releases while still pointing to the Eternal Emperor, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, what do I think about this release then? Well, I think it's really good but I still prefer The Covenant Progress to this album, mainly because Covenant Progress had some more harmonies in it. This album gets a bit repetitive. But productionswise and vocalwise this is by far the best Crimson Moonlight ever done.

References: Fans of black metal will gladly add this brutal cd to their collection. For those of you that aren't familiar with christian bands Crimson Moonlight can be recommend to fans of Dissection.

HILASTHERION Signs of the End

Hilastherion is back with their 2nd album of pure Melodic and Progressive Death Metal. Like their first album this one is filled with plenty of heavy rhythms and tasty guitar solos. Sound is both brutally heavy and yet melodic and progressive. Lyrically, this is one of my favourite albums, since the lyrics are both very honest (about struggles we can face etc) and Christ centered. Here is one example of the lyrics from the track Through You:

"It is not about what I 've done. Through Your blood I am saved.

Therefore I can stand tall when temptations come my way. I want to live for you only my Lord. Let my life be your holy witness.

Through you my God almighty I can achieve anything."

An excellent album in all ways that you don't wanna miss if you are a fan of Brutal & Melodic & Progressive Death Metal! However, since I am not the biggest fan of Progressive Metal, but prefer when it 100% Melodic I won't give it a 5, but I will definately give it a rating of 4+. Cool stuff, indeed! Death Metal fans will be delighted to hear this excellent and wellproduced album.

References: Must have if you are into Melodic and Progressive Death Metal and especially if you are into Schaliach, Terraphobia or secular bands like Children of Bodom.

 

FEAST ETERNAL Prisons of Flesh

Feast Eternal hails from the US and plays brutal death metal. Production is good, much better than on the Crimson Thorn album. But there is one big problem with their tunes and that is that it's too repetitive and gloomy to my ears. And I miss the crunch that won't let you go! I feel like something is missing. Some tunes sounds good like the second one. More tunes in this caliber would do good. Lyrically they are full on for Christ so they surely seem to have their priorities right.

If this band wanna reach the masses they need to make the tunes more crunchy and melodic.

References: Crimson Thorn, Corpse, Bolt Thrower and In Flames.

HERO Immortal

Immortal shows a big improvement, especially when it comes to the vocals. You can really hear that Michael Hero has taken song lessons. Besides the vocal improvements, the band has also incorporated more catchy hooks to their tunes. The album as a whole also has a really heavy and groovy sound and the more you listen to it the more it grows on you. Fans of bands like Him will definately enjoy Hero's heavy and melodic sound. Really cool stuff and definately one album I can recommend.

References: Heavy & Dark Melodic Metal. Fans of Him will definately enjoy this.

PANTOKRATOR Songs of Solomon

Pantokrator is another of all the talented bands that are coming from Sweden. They have released three demos prior to this mini-cd. But the demos are nothing compared to this quality cd with six tracks. What we got here is in fact some of the very best death metal I have ever heard! Melodic and brutal this is and tight as well. They are also a very good liveband which they proved at this year's Bobfest What a fantastic gig they performed there! Music can be compared to Schaliach and early Mortification but most of all it reminds of Vital Decision (remember them?).

The music has plenty of harmonies but still it's very brutal. The singer Karl Walfridsson got a great growling voice which fits perfect with the music. On Separated By Night he also sings a duet with Marie Berntsson. Her beautiful female voice and Karl's brutal voice makes a great effect. Reminds me of Mercy Lord with Antestor. Most of the tunes have lyrics that's based on the book Song of Solomon in the Bible. Something I really like is also the booklet, great to see an independent band that does such a professional booklet! On the negative side I can't get into their first tune. But besides that this cd totally rules. Get it if you are into death metal, it's an absolute must-have if you are into this genre.

References: A must have to anyone into death metal! Highly recommended if you like Schaliach, early Mortification etc. If you like death metal you gonna love this cd.

PANTOKRATOR - Songs of Solomon

PARAKLETOS Offerlammets Makt

Parakletos are hailing from Osterbothnia in Finland. In this region most people speak Swedish and that's why they are singing in the cool Swedish language. (Nice to hear some black metal in Swedish!) Before I start talking about music I want to give the band credit for the megacool booklet that truly is metal to the bone. When it comes to the music there are many great tunes to enjoy. Something that sets this band apart from many other black bands is that the music has plenty of melodic harmonies and tasty guitar riffs. Music is overall both varied and well thought out. This makes the music very enjoyable.

I totally love the lyrics! They are as Scriptural as they can be. Parakletos have even done a black metal version of the Lord's Prayer! Many lyrics are taken directly from the Bible and I can really feel the presence of God on the whole album. I really feel uplifted in my spirit when I listen to this cd and it draws me closer to God.

My favourite tracks are the Antestor-influenced track I Denna Mörka Timme (In This Dark Hour), Äktenskapsbryterskan (The Adulteress) and Den Eviga Morgonen Gryr (The Eternal Morning Dawns).

On the negative side the band hasn't a real drummer but are using a drum machine. With a real drummer this band has the potential to be one of the absolute top bands in black metal.

I give Parakletos a big metal salute for this excellent debut album. It really makes me hungry for more!

References: Highly recommended to fans of melodic black metal like Vaakevandring, Vardager and Antestor.

 

VAAKEVANDRING

Vaakevandring was a Norwegian unblack metal band that was active from 1996 to 2007. The name in Norwegian is a reference to the resurrection of Jesus.[1] Vaakevandring played atmospheric, epic unblack metal with keyboards and folk melodies. Their self-titled EP was produced by Stian Aarstad of Dimmu Borgir and gained world wide appreciation.[citation needed] Despite releasing only an EP, Vaakevandring's influence on the unblack metal scene was significant because they were one of the key bands to change the dominating "anti-satanism" lyrical theme led by the genre-founder Horde[2] to a more philosophical and emotional direction.[3] Vaakevandring were co-headliners with Antestor at Swedish Endtime Festival in 2007.[

CRIMSON MOONLIGHT

The Covenant Progress

Crimson Moonlight fans rejoice! Finally they are here with a new release. Gone is the keyboarddominated atmospheric metal and it has been replaced by brutality and heavy harmonies. Another change with this release is the tempo, which is much faster than on Eternal Emperor. A good thing is that they manage to keep the tunes melodic eventhough they are very brutal. There are many tempochanges and lots of variation on the album that keeps the tunes interesting. Included on the disc is also a new version of Eternal Emperor that is faster than the old one.

On the negative side there isn't much to say. There are only a few tracks that I can't really get into. One of them A Thorn In My Heart could be much more direct and melodic than it is. Last track The Covenant is way too slow and long. Parts of other tracks are also too complex to my taste. Besides these few remarks this album just shreds!

One of the best things with this release is that it's so good musically so it can beat any black metal band out there, christian or secular. The big metal magazine Rock Hard from Germany gave this cd the rating 9,5 of 10! Who needs Darkthrone, Satyricon and other evil bands when Christian bands like Crimson Moonlight just blows them away, both musically and lyrically? Crimson Moonlight just improves with each release, I'm really happy to recommend this band and album to all you black metallers out there that are looking for a quality band with a clean message about the Eternal Emperor, Jesus Christ.

References: Quality Black Metal and a must have if you are into black metal. For those of you that aren't familiar with christian bands Crimson Moonlight can be described as a cross between Dissection and Dimmu Borgir.

HORDE

In 1994 black metal was very popular. In that year this groundbreaking album with Horde was released, an album which radically differs from the usual clichés in black metal. Musically and vocally its just as fast, grim and brutal as ordinary black metal bands. But what differs is the lyrics. Instead of worshipping satan the lyrics on this album speak against the devil and all evil and proclaims Jesus' victory of satan. As a result Horde alias Mr Anonymous immediately become very hated among the satanic black metal bands and the band and its label were threaten to death by many. A very controversial album, indeed that also became the first christian black metal cd and the start of this genre. Then in 2004, ten years after the album was released originally Hellig Usvart (Holy Unblack) was rereleased including the bonustrack O Master on Rowe Productions. This is a really cool album and despite its brutality it still contains brutal harmonies that are very catchy. Highly recommended to fans of early Black Metal.

A legendary release for any fan of the real brutal stuff!

References: A groundbreaking release that started the whole movement of Christian Black Metal! A must have for anyone into this genre.

DEUTERONOMIUM The Amen

Deuteronomium is back on track! FINALLY they have returned to the classic sound that they had on Tribal Eagle - Melodic Death Metal that is. The Amen is the title of the new record and it is filled to the bone with catchy rhythms and brutal but yet melodic tunes. A very enjoyable album, indeed. This album is tons better than Here To Stay! I also totally dig the lyrics that are true worship lyrics. Feels so good to praise Jesus with Death Metal! If you ever have longed for a Death Metal Praise album this is the album to get!

References: A must have for any fan of Melodic Death Metal! Fans of Schaliach, Hilastherion and Terraphobia especially will totally dig this quality album.

IMMORTAL SOULS Under The Northern Sky

Finland is here with some more Winter Metal to enjoy! Typical for Immortal Souls is that the lyrics often talks about that the beauty of Winter is a clear evidence of God's existence. Under The Northern Sky is their first fullength album and it shows that they matured and got more skilled and tight. Cause what we got here is a real quality release of melodic death metal. It is not pure death metal though since it has a lot of classic metal harmonies incorporated in their sound. Music is fast and crunchy and easily got you headbanging. I would say that this is the perfect christian alternative to secular bands like In Flames and Children of Bodom. Typical for Immortal Souls sound is that it is fast, crunchy and melodic. On the negative side a few tunes at the end gets slightly repetetive, but when most of the tunes is this good it doesn't really matter that much. To sum it up, this is a brilliant release of melodic death metal you just shouldn't miss.

References: A must have to anyone into melodic death metal! Recommended if you like Schaliach but want something faster. Fans of secular bands like In Flames and Children of Bodom should also definately check this out.

MORTIFICATION Scrolls of the Megilloth

Look here if you love real grinding Death Metal! Cause here we got Mortification's legendary release. Originally released 1992 when Death Metal was at its prime, this classic has been rereleased several times and this is the limited release on Metal Mind Productions. It has been remastered giving it a fuller, crisper and heavier sound. If you love your metal brutal to the bone this is the album to check out! No matter what some think about the bold Christian message no one can deny the fact that this is top quality music and a classic in Death Metal. It is very brutal and also very varied in tempo with plenty of relentless blastbeats as well as slower parts, yet it contains plenty of catchy heavy riffs.

The death metal genre are known for the multitude of occult and satanic messages, but Mortification shows that it works perfect to combine this brutal music with a noncompromising Christian message that makes you think about where you will spend your eternity.

The drumming of Jayson Sherlock is totally worldclass and so is Steve Rowe's growling voice. My only complaint is that I only wish Michael Carlisle had added some cool guitar solos as well. Think that is the only thing this album is lacking.

A must have for all fans of Death Metal! If you are not familiar with Christian bands you will totally enjoy it if you are into bands like Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower etc.....

PANTOKRATOR/SANCTIFICA (Split - CD

This is a split containing Pantokrator's cd Songs of Solomon and Sanctifica's cd In The Bleak Midwinter. And this is a perfect combination! In The Bleak Midwinter was originally released as a demo but not it's finally available on cd. (You can read a review of it at the demo-section)

Typical for this cd is the bands great combination of melody and brutality. Favourite tunes are King of Kings and Lord of Lords with Sanctifica and Separated By Night with Pantokrator. Sanctifica and Pantokrator are definately two of the very best death and black bands that are out there. If you like brutal death metal with melody and harsh melodic atmospheric black metal this is a must have. Definately two of the absolute top christian bands when it comes to brutal metal. Check it out and you will be pleasantly surprised. With quality bands like these there is no need to listen to secular bands like Emperor or Suffocation.

References: A must have to anyone into melodic death metal bands like Schaliach, early Mortification etc or likes atmospheric black bands like Antestor and Emperor.

SHADOWS OF PARAGON

Looking for fresh christian black metal from Sweden? Then maybe this band can be something for you.This 5-track cd is their first release. Sound is brutal but still has melodic parts where they incorporateinfluences from classic metal. The two tracks I like most are Screams of Silence and Psalm that are bothmelodic, brutal and majestic. Vocals are overall very brutal. The guitarplayer Zharlie also adds female vocals on some tracks that makes a good contrast. On the negative side I feel some tracks could be better thought out and sound could also be tighter. On coming releasesI would also like them to include more melodic harmonies to their sound. Lyrics are really good, they are Christcentered and show that the band hasgood knowledge in the Bible. Lyrics are both comforting and upbuilding.

Overall this is a cool release so I give it a

References: Fans of black metal that want some something fresh can give this a try. They are not in the calibre of Crimson Moonlight or Antestor yet but with some more work they may be.So check it out and hear it for yourselves.

SAVIOUR MACHINE

The band was formed by brothers Jeff and Eric Clayton in the summer of 1989. By the time of its first tour in 1993, the band was Eric Clayton - vocals, Jeff Clayton - guitars, Dean Forsyth - bass, Jayson Heart - drums, and Nathan Van Hala - keyboards. The band took its name from a song on the David Bowie album The Man Who Sold the World. Saviour Machine recorded and released their first demos in 1990. A theatrical stage show featuring pyrotechnics, images projected onto a background screen and other props attracted a growing fan base in Southern California.