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A

Abigor - "Verwustung - Invoke The Dark Age" (Napalm Records, CD, 1994)
Dark and quite melodic Black Metal, here's a brief description of the debut's material released by this Austrian band 7 years ago. Most of the songs here featured appeared in the band's demos, so we can call it a "large improved demo" or something like that. From my point of view (and concerning their complete discography), I think that this album was the "first part" of their best-produced and most melodic album entitled "Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom)", wich is obviously good. These songs have many tempo changes, the guitars are in the style of (old) Emperor (with a few melodic solos) and the drumming is somewhat energic, with some good breaks and an excessive use of the ride (proper of any worthy Black Metal band). Here and there you can also hear some interventions of a keyboard and an acoustic guitar, but nothing special though (during "Universe of Black Divine", for instance). About the voice, its typical hoarseness is all there, I would be very surprised if such didn't happened. Regarding the production, I think it's quite decent, with the intentional (and also-typical) harshness. This is my favourite Abigor album until now, contrasting with 1998's replet of good ideas but poorly produced "Supreme Immortal Art". If you're trying to get into black metal now, I think you shouldn't start by Abigor, because you might get slightly deceptioned...try something more convencional such as CoF or Dimmu Borgir.

Tracklist:
1 - Universe Of Black Divine
2 - Kingdom Of Darkness
3 - Beneath U Steel Sky
4 - Eye To Eye At Armagedon
5 - In Zin
6 - My Soft Vision In Blood
7 - Beeping Widwintertears
8 - Diabolic Unity
9 - A Spell Of Dark And Evil

17/20

Damned

Abigor - "Nachthymnen (from the Twilight Kingdom)" (Napalm Records, CD, 1995)
Before this album - although in the same year - Abigor released a 13-song MCD entitled "Orkblut - The Retaliation" (wich unfortunately I still haven't got the opurtunity to listen, but according to some opinions it's rawer, more direct and with more epic feeling than their debut). Well, as I've said on the previous review, this is their album with best production. If you like "Verwustung...", you're definitely gonna love this one; the band continued with it's characteristic style (a bit more "polished" I'd say), but now adding some emotional parts, through a female voice and the (now even more important) presence of some keyboarding. These elements made them lose some of their "how-evil-we-are" image, but in my opinion that's not minimally relevant. One of my favourite songs here is "Reborn Through the Gates of Three Moons", at a certain time everything stops and an accoustic guitar (along with some wind sampling and a short speech) can be heard, it's great; the initial percussion and the riffing are also interesting. The less appealing track is "Dornen", wich is something like a "ballad", I almost fell asleep while listening to it. 

Tracklist:
1 - Unleashed Axe-Age
2 - Scars In The Landscape Of God
3 - Reborn Through The Gates Of Three Moons
4 - Dornen
5 - As Astral Images Darken Reality
6 - The Dark Kiss
7 - I Face The Eternal Winter
8 - Revealed Secrets Of The Whispering Moon
9 - A Frozen Soul In A Wintershadow

16/20

Damned

Abominattion - "Rites of the Eternal Hate" (Progress Music, CD, 2001)
This is the debut album of the Brazilian Abominattion, and it's also the debut release of this new Portuguese label - Progress Music. When you think of Deathmetal coming from Brazil, the first name appearing in your mind is surely Krisiun, but this guys manage to made some kind of an original Deathmetal, not following the typical "cloning" of well succeed bands of this style.
But let's talk about this album... This band really shows a great amount of technique, the guitar work is amazing, allying very technical riffs with some outstanding solos, the drumming part is also very good, Cipriano Maffei is constantly using the double drum pedal and some very well executed breaks.
About the lyrical part, I can classify them as Satanic Deathmetal, but the lyrics are one of the weak parts of this album... because one can see very grammar errors, and this errors cause you sometimes the feeling of don't understanding what they are trying to say. The other weak part of this album is the production, the guitars seem very distant, being constantly muffled by the drums, and this is a little bit frustrating, because, as I said above, the guitars play very good riffs and solos.
Anyway, I think this is a good debut album of a good band that has a great future ahead.

Tracklist:
1 - Rites of the Eternal Hate
2 - Abominattion of Creation
3 - Real Glory Revealed
4 - Diabolical Redemption
5 - Burn on Behalf of god
6 - Hated by the Flames
7 - The Emptiness of the Flesh
8 - Smell of Death

16/20

Shemahmforash

Abramelin - "Abramelin" (Repulse Records, CD, 1997)
Initially known as Acheron, this Australian band (considered by many almost a legend within the underground scene) released a 7"EP entitled "Deprived of Afterlife", back in '91. In 1994 they've changed the band's moniker to Abramelin and edited the "Transgression from Acheron" MCD. In 1997 - and with almost 2 years of delay - their homonymous debut CD was released worldwide (including a surprising cover of Dead Can Dance). Abramelin play brutal death metal, with intense drumming and fast riffing that together incite to a serious headbanging session. The double bass here is a constant, it's power allied to the guttural voice is quite brutal and it really delights me. There are also lots of heavy mid-paced parts, and in my opinion that's what these guys do best throughout these 9 tracks.. Here and there you can also find some melodic solos, but don't be deceptioned because the band's (only and well achieved) purpose is to spit sheer brutality. I look forward to listen to their next work, it will also be released through Repulse that has the right to license another album.

Tracklist:
1 - Misfortune
2 - Grave Ideals
3 - Spiritual Justice
4 - Humble Abode
5 - Stargazer - The Summoning
6 - Stargazing - Stargazer II
7 - Deprived Of Afterlife
8 - Invocation
9 -Cantara

16/20

Damned

Abyssic Hate - "Suicidal Emotions" (No Colourrs Records, CD, 2000)
Another great band signed with No-Colours-Records! This German label is becoming one of the most important within the Underground Blackmetal scene. But keeping that apart, let’s talk about what really matters in this review, Shane Rout’s Abyssic Hate second album: “Suicidal Emotions”.
This new release, composed by four very long tracks, is quite different from Abyssic Hate previous releases, the songs now are typically much slower and are like very long and desperate cries of hate.
The atmosphere that flows from “Suicidal Emotions” is quite astonishing, being at the level of the Blackmetal classics, like Burzum – “Filosofem”, for instance. The atmosphere is due, mainly to the cold and repetitive guitar work, helped with Shane’s magnificent vocal work.
About the lyrical concept, as the title of the album suggests it has Suicide and Death at its most important topics, and let me tell you that the lyrics are very good and fit perfectly the musical landscape.
Anyway, this is clearly a step forward in the career of Abyssic Hate,
and one of the best Blackmetal albums for 2000.

Tracklist:
1 - Depression - Part I
2 - Betrayed
3 - Depression - Part II
4 - Despondency

18/20

Shemahmforash

Ad Hominem - “Planet ZOG – The End” (CD,  Musique & Tradition, 2002)
After the release of a demo-tape entitled “Omnes Ad Unum” and a split with Cantus Bestiae named “Mankind’s Suicide” this is the debut full-length of this “one-man-band” conceived by Kaiser Wodhanaz. This album starts with a very dark introduction that leads right into a very apocalyptic environment (with the song “The Art of Schizophrenia”)… I must say that I was really impressed and felt in the middle of a concentration camp in the WWII.
I think that the names of the songs fit really well with the sound and that the music flows really well, leaving apart the monotony.
As for the higher point of this album I choose the track “WWIII” that is a very direct and brutal song.
The drums are programmed, but the sound was very well achieved and together with the guitar and the give presence to the typical harshness.
About the production, it is not bad, but I prefer the split tape, just a matter of personal taste, as always. I think that the band should concern more about the booklet in the following release, because now it is very hard to understand what is written there due to the font and to the colour.
Ad Hominem is a very promising band within the Underground Blackmetal Scene that has assumed clearly NS ideology.

Tracklist:
1 -
Invocation Of Madness/The Art Of Schizophrenia
2 - Planet Zog
3 - A. Rules
4 - The Psalmody of Sub-Humans
5 - WWIII
6 - Wolf Power
7 - Delirium Tremens
8 - Soldiers of Wotan
9 - The End

16/20

Lord Infaustum

Aeternus - "Beyond the Wandering Moon" (Hammerheart Records, CD, 1997)
If you don't know this band, by their name, by the title of the album or by the cover artwork of the album you will certainly think that this is one of the "fancy-keyboards trend" Blackmetal band, but, fortunately you are wrong.
Aeternus is a Norwegian band, that manages to join both Deathmetal and Blackmetal styles in a good way, creating their own sound, and that really surprised me, because most of the bands that try to do this, end up quitting and return to the typical Blackmetal or Deathmetal.
About this album in particular, the songs are very well written, with simple (but quite effective) guitar riffs, helped by a discrete presence of the keyboard. Sometimes it also appears an acoustic guitar , that brings a little touch of folk into the songs. About the vocal work, it is guttural most of the times.
This album has two instrumental songs, an intro named "Under the Blade of the Dead", that is only a piano playing and fits in the typical "instrumental song" in a Blackmetal album, and an outro that is a traditional Celtic Harp song. These instrumental tracks, not being in any kind original are very good, recreating great atmospheres.
I sometimes associate this band to Immortal, it must be due to the constant references to winter, snow and storms in the lyrics.
After listening to this album I say that this is not a geniously conceived album, but it is a good work.

Tracklist:
1 - Under the Blade of the Dead
2 - Sworn Revenge
3 - White Realm
4 - Sentinels of Darkness
5 - Embraced
6 - Vind
7 - Waiting for the Storm
8 - Winter Tale
9 - To Enter the Realm of Legend
10 - Celtic Harp solo (The Last Feast)

16/20

Shemahmforash

Amon Amarth - "The Crusher" (Metal Blade, CD, 2001)
I bet my ass how this album was recorded on the more-than-seen The Abyss studios (probably every band in the world has recorded something there). So, the sweden Amon Amarth (oh, they're sweden...what a hell of a surprise this was...) are back with "The Crusher", the successor of their debut entitled "Once Sent From The Golden Hall". About the influences displayed here, I think that they were heavily inspired by 3 bands: Hypocrisy, Hypocrisy and let's not also forget Hypocrisy. Please guys, can't you have a bit of creativity? Don't you know the meaning of the word "originality"?. If I were a band member, I would be more than ashamed to release something like this (some years ago It would be great though). The riffing, the drumming, the voice, the songs' structure, 90% of the material here featured sounds like fucking Hypocrisy! And this typical Swedish sound... arrgghh!! I'm completely sick of it! Ok, The Abyss is an excellent recording place...but what's all the fuss about? Is it the only good one around here??. In these 10 tracks I can only see originality within the solos...I actually like them, they're well executed and fit the music very well, giving it an epic touch ("A Fury Divine" and "Releasing Surtur's Fire" contain the best examples). Apart from that, I would rather listen to albums such like "Hypocrisy" or "Into The Abyss". About the lyrics, they're mainly focused on nordic mythology (where have I seen this before?). By the way, the last track of this album is a cover version from Possessed, entitled "Eyes of Horror".
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is a bad album... but Hypocrisy were here before.

Tracklist:
1 - Bastards of a Lying Breed
2 - Masters of War
3 - The Sound of Eight Hooves
4 - Risen From the Sea (2000)
5 - As Long as the Raven Flies
6 - A Fury Divine
7 - Annihilation of Hammerfest
8 - The Fall through Ginnungaga
9 - Releasing Surtur's Fire
10 - Eyes of Horror (Bonus)

14/20

Damned

Angel Corpse - "The Inexorable" (Osmose Productions, CD, 1999)   
These guys broke up last year ( due to the depart of Helmkamp, who has more important things to do... he's gonna get married or something like that) and I'm still not conformed. For sure I'm one of those people that wake up everyday and say: "Why Angel Corpse?? Why not The Sins of Thy Beloved or Goat Thrower?". (yes, there's a ridiculous band whose name is Goat Thrower). Anyway, this was Angel Corpse's third (and last) release. Once again, the great cover artwork was executed by Joe Petagno (this guy really knows what he's doing). About the music, it is a hurricane of brutality; just the beginning of the first track ("Stormgods Unbound") will make you say: "Wow!". The fast, powerful and schizophrenic riffs (and solo shredding) of Gene, along with the ultra-intense drumming of Tony Laureano (currently he's replacing Nile's drummer, Pete Hammoura, who got injured) and the constantly screamed voice of Helmkamp is what you can find within these 8 tracks released through the French label Osmose (by the way, my favourite track is the powerful "Wolflust"). Concerning the originality this album isn't a masterpiece, but it's soooo fucking aggressive! Killer!!

Tracklist:
1 - Stormgods Unbound
2 - Smoldering in Exile
3 - Reaver
4 - Wolflust
5 - As Predator to Prey
6 - Solar Wills
7 - Begotten (Through Blood and Flame)
8 - The Fall of the Idols of Flesh

19/20

Damned

Anorexia Nervosa - "Drudenhaus" (Osmose Productions, CD, 2000)
I still haven't heard this band's MCD entitled "Sodomizing the Archangel" (wow, this is very original...), but according to some people, they've improved a lot since then (yeah right). Anyway, this can be defined as symphonic Black Metal, with excessively used keyboards (their melodies remind me of violins) that muffle EXCESSIVELY the guitars' sound. The vocalist (that looks like Marilyn "Gay" Manson) makes three extremely distinct voices: he screams, he screams and he also screams...and despite of my taste for screamed and angered vocals, these REALLY tend to annoy after the first couple of listenings. The drummer is the best performer of the band, using quite well the double bass and making some good breaks (nothing transcendental though). The lyrics are mainly in English, but some of them are written in German and French (i.e - "The Drudenhaus Anthem" and "God Bless The Hustler"). Well guys, next time give the keyboards a more discreet appearance and get someone else to scream, the Humanity will appreciate that and you'll certainly get better results. I didn't managed to chose a favourite track, it was impossible to listen any of them till the last second. As for the vocalist, (whoever he is), please will someone tell him to get rid of that ridiculous gay look?

Tracklist:
1 - A Doleful Night In Thelema
2 - The Drudenhaus Anthem
3 - God Bless The Hustler
4 - Enter The Church Of Fornication
5 - Tragedia Dekadencia
6 - Divine White Light Of A Cumming Decadence
7 - Dirge & Requiem For My Sister Whore
8 - Das Ist Zum Erschiessen Schön
9 - The Red Archromance

11,5/20

Damned

Antaeus - "Cut your flesh and Worship Satan" (Baphomet Records, CD, 2000)
Another French band...and fortunately for all of us, without overused keyboards, like the one referred above. When I saw the title of this release by the first time, immediately I thought that it would be very unlikely to find any kind of softness within the music... and I was correct. So, if you're fed up with the "happy-synths-and-female-voice" shit and want some extremely violent, raw and destructive piece of music, then you must check out this band and this album as soon as you finish to read this crappy review. This is Black Metal how it was meant to be, fast, harsh and with evil spirit, but sometimes a bit repetitive for me (although it has several speed changes). About MkM's snarling vocals, they fit perfectly in the music...I had opportunity to read a couple of comments and to see some pics of the band performing live and let me tell you...this fellow has a really powerful stage presence, along with the other members...infernally headbanging all the time! This release includes also a live track entitled "Daemon" (the initial riff reminds me of "The Principle of Evil Made Flesh", but the rest of the song isn't similar in any aspect!).
If you think that "raw is the law" and want to feel some of the evil spirit mainly present in the old days and forgotten by many nowadays bands, then it's about time to cut your flesh and start to fucking worship Antaeus.

Tracklist:
1 - Inner War
2 - Seventh Ceremony
3 - Devotee
4 - Those With no Eyes
5 - Specimen 23
6 - Bleeding Blasphemy
7 - Nihil Khaos
8 -Daemon (live)

18/20

Damned

Antaeus - "De Principii Evangelikum" (Osmose Productions, CD, 2002)
One the finest French Blackmetal bands is back. The expectations were high for this second full length album, especially due to the superb reaction to "Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan". I don't think that anyone that enjoyed their first album will be disappointed with this new one, for this is yet another album of pure fury and rage!
As you probably understood by now, their new album is in the same vein of its predecessor, the main difference I can point is the guitar's sound. The guitar's are more down-tuned now and have a more preponderant role in the music.
Antaeus are one of the most extreme nowadays Blackmetal bands, but they don't confine to do repetitive riffs, their attitude on stage and their capability of spreading disease and violence through their sound is remarkable, so if you're a Blackmetal maniac what are you expecting? Get this album as soon as possible!

Tracklist:
1 - Intro: Intravenal Call
2 - De Principii Evangelikum
3 - Seen Through Skarz
4 - Wormz On Dan Vi
5 - Nave X Kathedral
6 - Illegal Angelz
7 - Xristik Throne
8 - Sanctus
9 - Blood War III
10 - Hidden Track

17,5/20

Shemahmforash

Arch Enemy - Wages of Sin(Century Media,CD, 2001)
The Swedish death metal band presents their fourth album, “Wages of Sin”, once again produced by Fredrik Nordstrom, and introducing a female singer, Angela Gossow, replacing Johan Liiva.

Gossow´s art is near the front line of female singers as Cadaveria, from Opera IX and Rachel, from Sinister, marked by violent screams and scratchy voice. Result: More melody, combining classical heavy metal/hard rock riffs with trash/ death rhythms.This album contains 2 discs: the first is set by originals with “Lament of a Mortal Soul” audiotrack and “Ravenous” video as bonus. The second as an in memorium of songs available only in Japanese editions, and covers of the classics “Aces High”, of Iron Maiden, “Starbreaker”, of Judas Priest and “Scream of Anger”, of Europe (!).This is an album to hear as entertainment, not as strong as others. Tracks that deserves attention: “Enemy Within”, ”Ravenous”, “ Burning Angel”.

Tracklist:

CD 1
1 - Enemy Within
2 - Burning Angel
3 - Heart of Darkness
4 - Ravenous
5 - Savage Messiah
6 - Dead Bury Their Dead
7 - Web of Lies
8 - The First Deadly Sin
9 - Behind the Smile
10 - Snow Bound
11 - Shadows and Dust
12 - Lament of a Mortal Soul (Bonus Track)
+ Videoclip of "Ravenous"

 

CD 2
1 -
Starbreeder (Judas Priest cover)
2 - Aces High (Iron Maiden cover)
3 - Scream of Anger (Europe cover)
4 - Diva Satanica
5 - Fields of Desolation
6 - Damnation's Way
7 - Hydra
+ Videoclip of "The Immortal"
17/20

LubnaMagnis

Armagedda - "The Final War Approaching" (Breath of Night/Merciless Records, CD, 2001)
Still by the name of Volkermorde this guys from Sweden released an homonymous demo tape, after that they changed their moniker to Armagedda and this is their debut album.
And what a great debut this is! When I listened to this for the first time I was completely taken away from time and thought that I was in the early Blackmetal days! The guitars riffs are completely awesom, seeming to me that they were written by Euronymous himself. This means that the riffs are very cold and direct. The drum's part is also very well achieved, playing most of the time in fast rythms, the bass has a quite descrete presence and the vocals are also very good - completely harsh.
This is what a Blackmetal album should be, simple, but with great effectiveness! So if you are into Blackmetal this is an essential album! One of the best that i've put my hands to in the last few years.

Tracklist:
1 - Deathminded
2 - Sign of Evil
3 - The Final War Approaching
4 - Skogens Morka Djup
5 - Unholy Sacrifice
6 - Undergång
7 - Död & Pina
8 - My Eternal Journey

19/20

Shemahmforash

Armaggedon - “The Wrath Of The Black Empire” (Hell War Productions, Demo-Tape, 2002)
Someone said “this was one of the best releases of the year 2002” and I agree… I don’t know too much about this band, but they are from France and at the first time I heard them, their sound really captivated me. They say they play “TRUE ELITIST BLACK METAL”, if they do it… I don’t know.
This Demo-Tape or should I say Cass-LP as this release has 9 tracks of pure Black Metal in the way it should sound. Here we can find some tracks with very good riff composition and even sounding melodic on titles such as “Daemon’s supremacy”, “The Ride Of The Ancestral War” or “Worship The Goat”… these three tracks are my favourites because of their melodies and feeling they are just amazing. I’m not saying the rest of the songs are bad because they’re good as well. The other tracks sound in a more grim and violent way, faster and with no compromise. The tracks, “Eternal Eclipse” and “Join Us In Blasphemy” were written and composed by Hredh… This guy is probably a guest musician.
The vocals are very well performed; it reminds me a little Xaphan from Seigneur Voland that is a good vocalist… I can’t say anything about the lyrics because you will not find the lyrics on this release.
The drum sound is very nice, it does not have a clear sound but it is very characteristic and should I say original, I can’t even explain what it sounds like but I like it.
Sad to say but this band's ideology seems to be NS as they are showing a Celtic cross on the photo on the booklet… anyway, they play with a great feeling and I sincerely like the way they do it. This tape is limited to 666 hand-numbered copies.

Tracklist:
1 -
Under the Banner of Viktory
2 -
Daemon’s Supremacy
3 -
Eternal Eclipse
4 -
The Ride Of The Ancestral War
5 -
Join Us In Blasphemy
6 -
Worship The Goat
7 -
Crush The Trends
8 -
Kill The pope And Rape the virgin Whore
9 -
The Wrath Of The Black Empire

17/20

Lord Infaustum

Armaggedon/Necroplasma/Epuration Satanique - “Glory of the Ancient Gods” (Chaos Productions, CD-R 2002)
This is a three way split, limited to 333 hand-numbered copies featuring two French hordes (Armaggedon and Epuration Satanique) and one Swedish horde, all of them well known in the Underground Black Metal.

The French Satanic cult act, Armaggedon strikes back with two new tracks and one cover. The first two tracks are very violent and sick. You’ll not find too many slow parts on this release because the drums are almost every time fast. The guitars are aggressive, very aggressive such as the vocals that are one of the best things on this band. I don’t’ think the speech on the first track “Les Legions de Satan” fits well, “Sieg heil… sieg heil… sieg!” but its ok... The third track is a cover song of “Through the occult veil” from Graveland and it is well done, close to the original version.
The Swedish extreme Satanic horde Necroplasma doesn’t give us anything new, the three tracks as far as I know aren’t re-recorded versions but re-release of old tracks to put in this split. “Goat Sodomy Eternal” and “Black Funeral Horns” from the Demo-Tape “Black Funeral Horns” and the track “The Cold of the Uncaring Moon” from the homonymous Demo-Tape, anyway these three tracks are always good of listening, giving us almost ten minutes of Satanic cold and fast Black Metal with some trash influences. The vocals are just phenomenal… the vocalist seems to be possessed by something… the guitars; don’t need to say too much, in the minimum, aggressive at its maximum.
Epuration Satanique was the revelation on this split, at my point of view. These guys surprised me. They perform a Chaotic Black Metal, and I never heard about these guys. The band delivers us three very good tracks… if this is their debut release, so I just have to congratulate them because this is positive and very good for a first release, if not, it is still good.
On the first track it seems like it is running away from you, when you start entering on the riffs, the riff changes to another one, anyway, the composition is very good and doesn’t fall in the absurd and ridiculous. The second track named “No compassion” is my favourite, it is a very dark track… the riffs reminds me a little of Necroplasma, this track is the most violent and with some trashy influence, you can find some Death Metal parts on this track as well, at my point of view.
The third and last track from Epuration Satanique, and from this three way split has chaotic riffs in the vein of noisy Black Metal acts such as Beherit and Blasphemy.
As for the conclusion this split is a good one, with good bands… but the cause should be better. Anyway, union is strong…

Tracklist:
Armaggedon
1 -
Les Legions de Satan
2 -
L’Ordre du Chaos
3 -
Through the Occult Veil (Graveland Cover)
Necroplasma
4 -
Goat Sodomy Eternal
5 -
Black Funeral Horns
6 -
The Cold Of The Uncaring Moon
Epuration Satanique
7 - Incantation de la Funeste Mort
8 - No Compassion
9 - Vae Victis

15/20

Lord Infaustum

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