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B

Behemoth - "Pandemonic Incantations" (Solistitium, CD, 1998)
After 1996's surprising "Grom" (that featured some Mayhem and Immortal influences, lyrics in Polish and were each track had a small detail of its own), Behemoth confront us now with their third full-length released through Solistitium (also label of bands like Helheim and Isvind). This album evidences more deathmetal attributes than their previous 2 (looks like the band is trying to follow a more aggressive musical course), however it still sounds like Black metal, in Behemoth's unique style. About the individual improvements within the band, the drummer Inferno surpassed everything and everyone, Nergal himself said in an interview to a portuguese zine that "We're not going to repeat ourselves"..keeping like this, I wonder how great the next release will be! By the way, he is the only original member left (the line-up is now completed by Inferno and Mefisto). Nergal also plays in a polish death metal band called Damnation (with whom Behemoth have split the re-edition of "And The Forests Dream Eternally", their first MCD). As for favourite tracks, "The Thousand Plagues I Witness" and "The Past is Like a Funeral" are the chosen ones..an intense feeling flows out from both of them. Notice that the Polish edition of this album features 1 more track entitled "With Spell of Inferno", that was also present in "Bewitching the Pomerania". Concerning the recordings, they were performed at Selani Studio, the same once used by their compatriots Christ Agony and Vader...and fortunately this time all the instruments are clearly audible. Anyway, one can notice here is that this trio is much more professional, both musical and lyrically. 

Tracklist:
 1 - Diableria (The Great Introduction)
2 - The Thousend Plagues I Witness
3 - Satans Sword (I Have Become)
4 - In Thy Pandemæternym
5 - Driven By The Five-Winged Star
6 - The Past Is Like A Funeral
7 - The Entrance To the Spheres of Mars
8 - Chwala Mordercom Wojciecha

16/20

Damned

Behemoth - "Satanica" (Avantgarde, CD, 1999)
The polish Blackmetal legends are back again, this time with a completely different approach.
First thing you notice when listening to this record is the big Deathmetal influence and the production, which is much better than in the previous records. Besides the big Deathmetal influence the characteristic Blackmetal topics are still present, but this time just differently.
This album, along with Myrkskog's "Deathmachine" where the first albums of the "extreme metal wave" that seems to dominate the extreme sounds nowadays.
About the album itself, technically it's much better than the previous records and the typical Blackmetal albums - the guitar's work is excellent, very varied and well executed technically, the drum work, by Inferno, really surprised me, he is getting better in each release; the voice it's simply brutal, joining both Death and Blackmetal styles.
Concluding, this is a great work, specially if you like extreme metal, but if you are one of those "old school" Blackmetal fans, I don't think you'll find this release interesting, don't know what you are loosing though...

Tracklist:
1 - Decade of qepion
2 - LAM
3 - Ceremony of Shiva
4 - Of Sephirotic Transformation and carnality
5 - The Sermon of the Hypocrites
6 - StarSpawn
7 - The Alchemist's Dream
8 - Chant for Eåchaton

18/20

Shemahmforash

Behemoth - "Thelema.6" (Avantgarde, CD, 2000)
Behemoth have been around for 9 years. At the present time (with 6 albums and 2 MCD's released) no one doubts that, along Vader, they're the best that Poland can offer. So, after "Satanica" and the good critics it received, they strike once again, this time with their most intense, technical, fast and direct material. Ok, this album is excellent, really well conceived and all that, but it didn't had the same impact that 99's masterpiece "Satanica", at least for me. As usual, changes occurred within the line-up; L. Kaos was replaced by Havoc (guitar) and Novy (member of the Polish death metal band Devilyn) was the responsible for the bass only during the recording sessions. Novy is also vocalist of Dies Irae, the project envolving a machine gun called Doc and Mauser from Vader. Anyway, about "Thelema.6", and in addition to what I've said before, it's a very coherent piece of music, heavier and faster than hell, with lots of great riffs and an overwhelming atmosphere partially due to some non-excessive and well inserted industrial parts. Concerning the lyrics, these are mainly about Nergal's life, his opinions about what surrounds him, the feelings inside of him...a very mature song-writing, where each track comes along with a brief description of it's content. The best tracks are "Antichristian Fenomenon", "The Act of Rebellion" and "Christians to the Lions". Devastating. 

Tracklist:
1 - Antichristian Phenomenon
2 - The Act of Rebellion
3 - Inflamed with Rage
4 - ÕAN åATYPOå
5 - Natural Born Philosopher
6 - Christians to the Lions
7 - Inauguration of Scorpio Dome
8 - In The Garden of Dispersion
9 - The Universe Illumination (Say "hello" to my Demons)
10 - VINVM SABATTI
11 - 23 (Youth Manifesto)

19/20

Damned

Belphegor - "Necrodaemon TerrorSathan" ( Last Episode, CD,2001)
The Austrian Belphegor have delivered us a great black/death album with their latest release. This album is one of the best albums of the genre that I've put my hands in the last months.
The sound in this release is quite powerful, and very clear, and that's what makes this such an interesting album. About the instrumentalization, the guitars play very consistent riffs that sometimes are helped with well executed solos, about the drumming part, this guy is not the best I've seen, but he handles well the job, the bass presence is quite discrete, but who cares? The voice fits really well the lyrics and the music - very scratchy and aggressive. Sometimes their also appears some samples from movies, like in the beginning of "Vomit Upon the Cross", for instance, that are very well placed and helps breaking the monotony.
Concluding, besides the fact that Blackmetal or Deathmetal are completely overfilled, this guys showed to many that doubted it, that nowadays a very good album can be made by blending the two more important styles of the extreme metal world.

Tracklist:
1 - Necrodaemon Terrorsathan
2 - Vomit Upon The Cross
3 - Diabolical Possession
4 - Lust Perishes In A Thirst For Blood
5 - S.B.S.R.
6 - Sadism Unbound
7 - Tanzwut Totengesänge
8 - Cremation Of Holiness
9 - Necrodaemon Terrorsathan Pt. II - Outro- Analjesus

18/20

Shemahmforash

Black Candle - "Nightfire" (CD,2002)
This is the first full-lenght album from this band from Luxemburg following two demo-tapes. This is also the first release from them that I had the chance to listen and I was really surprised, because this is good material.
This guys play raw Blackmetal with the typical cold riffs and harsh vocals, but they managed to insert some original components that make their songs somehow different and very catchy.
These elements I'm talking about are some heavy metal riffs, some death metal parts and a few acoustic "interruptions" that were inserted in the right spots.
As far as I know Black Candle is still a young band, so watch out for them, because judging for this album, they have a lot to offer to the followers of the Blackmetal scene.

Tracklist:
1 - As Darkness Rises... (intro)
2 - Millennium Battle
3 - A Strange Vision
4 - Nightfire
5 - The Black Stone
6 - Do wou Daischtere & Niwwel Regeiert
7 - Cosmic Icewinds
8 - Besiess vum Schwaarze Liicht
9 - The Summoning of Giddin-xul (outro)

17/20

Shemahmforash

Black Dawn - "Blood For Satan" (Necropolis, CD, 2001)
Oh no, another band trying to show how evil they are! I've never heard about this band before, but I know that they have roots back to 1992, so I don't understand why they are still trying to pass such an evil image, because by now a band that puts in the back cover of the album "recommended to be listened while self-mutilating" can only be labeled has pathetic.
About the music, this guys don't bring anything new to Blackmetal, the only thing that really pleased me in this release were some samples that they've managed to put in the right spots, but except for that this album doesn't get better than mediocrity.
As for conclusion, I advice this band to, in their following album, concern more about spreading the music instead of spreading the pseudo-evillness.

Tracklist:
1 - Pitbound (The 4th Trial Of Acolyte)
2 - A Hymn To Grand Darkness (The Creed Of Hoath)
3 - Of Blackest Witchcraft
4 - Enemy Of The Day
5 - Graverape Ritual (The Hoath Manifesto)
6 - A Horned Moon Rising
7 - Blood For Satan
8 - To Haunt And To Feed
9 - When The Shadows Become Flesh
10 - Within Ye Woods, Before Ye Throne ( Awakenyng - Ye Dawn Which Calleth Hate )

10/20

Shemahmforash

Bloodthorn - "Onwards into Battle" (Season of Mist, CD, 1999)
Well, I must confess that I don't know this Norwegian band very well, and seriously, I don't intend to. But anyway, before this album they've released their debut back in '97 ("In The Shadow of Your black Wings") and a split CD with And Oceans a year later ("War Vol. I"). About this album, it didn't aroused any kind of interest in me, it's unbelievably boring. Just slow melodic Black Metal, always with the same annoying rhythms, with keyboards (the band's creativity lies all here.), two voices - one throaty and the other kind of scratched - plus a female one (sometimes completely smothered, but quite pleasant). About the drumming, both production and performance aren't very good... but no one really cares about that. If you're hopping for some really dull Black Metal, go ahead and buy this, I'm sure it will fit your expectations. I would prefer to bathe in salt and alcohol (without no skin) than to listen these 8 tracks (50 min) of music again. To complete this band's lack of creativity, an acoustic track already heard millions of times in billions of worldwide releases was also included. The album's moniker should be "Granny's Eight Bedtime Stories".

Tracklist:
1 - As One in Darkness
2 - ... Of Aeons to Come
3 - Death to a King
4 - Dead Silence
5 - The Day of Reckoning
6 - Sounds of Death
7 - Beneath the Iron Scepter
8 - The Brighter the Light the Darker the Shadow

10/20

Damned

Blut Aus Nord - "The Work Which Transforms God" (Apease Me,CD, 2003)
At their sixth album, the french Blut Aus Nord delivers us an astonishing work.
Their previous sound can be perceived, but originality is the law in this album. It joins typical raw and fast Blackmetal parts, with some interruptions done by the keyboard, that are really well acomplished, so well acomplished that I shouldn't refer this keyboard parts as interruptions, because they are connected with the songs in a way that really surprised me.
The guitar work is well achieved, playing very simple, but dissonant and kind of melacholic riffs, that really fit well within the painful atmosphere created by the keyboards. About the vocalist, his presence is well noticed and he sings in a very depressive way lyrics that are very well written and focus mainly on mental aspects of man.
As for conclusion, this album is really very good, one of the best I've had the pleasure to listen during this year, so if you follow Blackmetal and are open-minded enough for some inovation, check out this album, I'm sure you'll not be regreted.

Tracklist:
01 - End
02 - The Choir Of The Dead
03 - Axis
04 - The Fall
05 - Metamorphosis
06 - The Supreme Abstract
07 - Our Blessed Frozen Cells
08 - Devilish Essence
09 - The Howling Of God
10 - Inner Mental Cage
11 - Density
12 - Procession Of The Dead Clowns

18/20

Shemahmforash

Borknagar - "Borknagar" (Malicious Records, CD, 1996)
Borknagar is some kind of a super-band, being constituted by several figures of the black metal scene: Garm from Ulver, Ivar Bjornson from Enslaved, Grim and Infernus from Gorgoroth... however, Borknagar's central figure is, at least to most, a stranger: Oystein G. Brun, guitarist from the death metal band Molested.
In the booklet is a text written by Oystein G. Brun, which tells that "Borknagar is a band inspired by the yearning moods that entertains fantasy, and calls revelations in our minds concerning the ancient past". Indeed. As you listen to Borknagar's debut album, you will probably not think in unholy stuff, but instead in nature, in the abstract reason which dominates this world. This album, despite being raw, and instrumentally similar to the musical genre people call "black metal", has a different, "un-evil" feeling. Such thing is helped by the "clean" stuff that sometimes appears throughout the album - instrumental tracks (a total of 5, some with better quality than others...)clean chanting, acoustic guitars...
The production isn't horrible, but it isn't something wonderful either. I wouldn't say it is raw, but it isn't exactly crystal-clear; however, it fits the music, and doesn't spoil it.
An excellent debut album, which automatically puts Borknagar in the top league of extreme metal bands; different in the feeling, with good Norwegian vocals (mainly harsh, but there are some clear, epic chantings...) and instrumentation (the guitar work is not the most original in the world, but it is good; the synth is not present at all times, but it works; nice drumming also); check out the song "dauden", it shows all that stuff...
A release for all of those who enjoy extreme metal, for this is a raw album, but who search for something with a slightly different mood; not absolutely essencial though.

Tracklist:
1 - Vintervredols Sjelasagn
2 - Tanker mot (Kvelding)
3 - Svartskogs Gilde
4 - Ved Steingard
5 - Krigsstev
6 - Dauden
7 - Grimskalle Trell
8 - Nord Naagauk
9 - Fandens Allheim 
10 - Tanker mot Tind (Gryning)

15/20

Zoid

Borknagar - "The Olden Domain" (Century Media, CD, 1997)
By the time this album, Borknagar's second, was released, the band (which now featured kay k. lie instead of Infernus, on bass) was already well known, thanks to their excellent debut album, and so there was some kind of expectation to see if there would be any significant changes in sound direction. Not much, but this album is miles ahead of the first. Starting by the production, it is much better (much more clear, now everything sounds great); thank Century Media for providing Borknagar with better conditions! And now the music: Everything that could have been better in “Borknagar” is now great in "The Olden Domain". The instrumentals are in less quantity (only two now), but in MUCH higher quality, check out for example "hum hondrede ar eer alting glemt", one of the greatest instrumental songs I ever heard on a metal record. The music is not so harsh, but it continues to feature very raw parts. On this album Garm (who now sings in English, instead of Norwegian) uses more clean chanting, and presents us with some of his most inspired vocals ever; the guitar style is in the same vein as in "borknagar", constantly featuring some kind of folk-inspired leads over basic chord changes, and it features some acoustic parts also; the drums and bass are basically in the same vein, also. And the feeling coming through this album... this is one of the most atmospheric records ever made - borknagar made an excellent job in passing melancholy, sadness and aggression in this second homage to the great powers of nature. An essential record, even if you don't like Borknagar's epic atmospheric black metal, give this album a try, it deserves it.

Tracklist:
1 - The Eye of Oden
2 - The Winter Way
3 - Om Hundrede Aar Er Alting Glemt
4 - A Tale of Pagan Tongue
5 - The Mountains Rove
6 -  Grimland Domain
7 - Ascension of Our Fathers
8 -  The Dawn of the End

19/20

Zoid

Borknagar - "The Archaic Course" (Century Media, CD, 1998)
After the excellent "Borknagar" and the outrageously beautiful "the olden domain" Borknagar are back with a new album, "The Archaic Course". The first thing one notices is the extremely important line-up change - Garm has been replaced by Simen Hestnes (a.k.a. I.C.S. Vortex). This predicts a slight change in vocal lines, and consequently an alteration in instrumentation, to better fit the new vocalist. In fact, there has been a change in musical direction - the new album is way more melodic. There are plenty of clean chantings, which are made in a slightly different way (no more "monk" style like Garm used to do), but which are nonetheless great; there are very few raw vocal lines, although Vortex can handle them very well (Borknagar have found the best replacement they could, all hail vortex!); The lyrics focus again in abstract things, like nature and existence. In terms of instruments, the songs remain in the "borknagar" style, featuring all the elements that the previous albums featured, although this time there is only one instrumental song, the last one (and a very atmospheric one, without doubt); the keyboards continue to play a small part in the music, the drums and bass are in the same vein, and the guitar work too, with the lead-over-basic-chords structure (and of course the beautiful acoustic parts), although it has developed a certain "progressive" sound, more noticeable in the latest parts of the album. A great album with an excellent production, very epic and without doubt the most melodic of Borknagar (check out the song "oceans rise", one of the, if not the best song of the band), although a certain atmosphere has been lost, or should I say, replaced by a more progressive and less raw one.

Tracklist:
1 - Oceans Rise
2 - Universal
3 - The Witching Hour
4 - The Black Token
5 - Nocturnal Vision
6 - Ad Noctum
7 - Winter Millenium
8 - Fields of Long Gone Presence

17/20

Zoid

Borknagar – "Quintessence" (Century Media, CD, 2000)
For each album Borknagar have made line-up changes, and this new release does not escape the rule: this time the changes have contributed much to the new musical direction - Asgeir Mickelson replaced Grim (committed suicide, R.I.P.) on the drums, and Lars Nedland (of solarfall) substituted Ivar bjornson on keyboards.
When you look above at those names a word comes immediately to your head - progressive. Yes, Borknagar do not have a progressive "touch", they now have a really immense progressive influence (contributing to this is the production from Peter Tagtgren in the Abyss Studios, a production which I believe could have been more "atmospheric", should we say).
This is Borknagar's most technical record up-to-date - every instrument is played in a more complex way, contributing to the more "progressive" sound. But to this thing also contributes the arrangements themselves, which are slightly different now. This is an excellent album, more raw and however more technical and with a more "rock" (yes, I am sick of writing the "P..." word!) feel. Borknagar will however lose some fans with this new release (for example, there are almost no acoustic parts, only a small (and great) instrumental); but don't get sad, there are a lot of both raw and epic tracks, which will without doubt become great classics ("colossus" and "the presence is ominous", for example). But maybe, only maybe, Borknagar could have evoluted in a better way (this is one of those situations in which you just have to judge by yourself, it's impossible to discover by just reading this lousy review).

Tracklist:
1 - Rivalry Of Phantoms
2 - The Presence Is Ominous
3 - The Ruins Of Future
4 - Colossus
5 - Inner Landscape
6 - Invincible
7 - Icon Dreams
8 - Genesis Torn
9 - Embers
10 - Revolt

16/20

Zoid

Burzum - "Burzum/Aske" (Misanthropy, MCD, 1995)
This was the re-release of the two Burzum demos. By the time this demos where recorded (1991), Varg was still out of prison, so he still participated in the recordings of this demos.
This release shows what most of the Nordic bands where doing in the beginning of the 90's: a very raw sound, allied with malefic screams. Instrumentally this is very basic, the guitar riffs are so simple that even a child of 5/6 years could play it, the drums are simple too. So what extols in this album is not the the quality of the musicians, neither the production, is in fact the enormous feeling that this guys transmit with their music.
By listening to this you'll certainly understand that they where not doing this for money, not with the purpose to sell, they where doing this because they wanted to transmit a message, and I think the purpose was completely achieved.

Tracklist:
1 - Feeble Screams From Forest Unknown
2 - Ea Lord Of The Depths
3 - Spell Of Destruction
4 - Channeling The Power Of Souls Into A New God
5 - War
6 - The Crying Orc
7 - My Journey To The Stars
8 - Dungeons Of Darkness
9 - Stemmen Fra Taarnet
10 - Dominus Sathanas
11 - A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit

16/20

Shemahmforash

Note: This release receives only a 16 because I am not a big follower of re-releases

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