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

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

Iced Earth - "Horror Show" (Century Media, CD, 2001)
One of the most awaited releases of the last months, this new album from one of the best bands in the Heavy Metal scene, and it was worth the waiting.
At their 6th album, Iced Earth release a really strong work, a conceptual album based on imaginary monsters. The guitars, mostly work of the ever-present Jon Schaffer (who also wrote about half of the lyrics) are very fierce and solid, ranging from the more aggressive ("Jack" or "Damien" for example) to the more calm, acoustic stuff (beginning of "Dracula" and "Ghost of freedom", this last one a ballad that kind of remembers me of "The Fiddler on the Green", from the Demons and Wizards project).
Consistence is some of the first things that leap out of this record - not only the guitar, but everything here is very solid, and the album maintains a very consistent obscure aura throughout the whole record...maybe too consistent for some...
Gary Barlow also has a very inspirated participation, very varied and powerful, managing to transport some of the feeling carried by the stories themselves to the listener...difficult to choose my favorite vocalizations...they're all good and equilibrated...he even gets to sing a duet with a female singer on the epic "The Phantom Opera Ghost". The drums (Richard Christy) are fierce and accurate, the lead guitars (Larry Tarnowski) sound good (big iron maiden influence, like everyone else in the band) and the bass (Steve DiGiorgio, who's not in the band anymore) is also good...consistence again!
One of the best Heavy Metal albums from these last months, probably one of the best of the year, not an instant-listening one, but that will keep you going through it for a lot of time. A special version of this release comes with a "Transylvania" (from Iron Maiden) cover.

Tracklist:
1 - Wolf
2 - Damien
3 - Jack
4 - Ghost Of Freedom
5 - Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh's Curse)
6 - Jeckyl & Hyde
7 - Dragon's Child
8 - Frankenstein
9 - Dracula
10 - Phantom Opera Ghost
11 - Transylvania

18,5/20

Zoid

Krisiun - "Conquerors of Armageddon" (Century Media, CD, 2000)
The Deathmetal veterans Krisun are back, more brutal than ever, this time  prepared to conquer all Deathmetal fans out there!
Now the album... The main difference between this album and it's precessors is the production, miles ahead from any other album they've recorded until now, we are now able to listen to the drums and to the guitars at the same time, what didn't happened before. The production allied to the brutality that Krisiun has used us to, makes this one of the best Deathmetal releases ever - simply 9 tracks of pure brutality!
The guitar work is in the vein of the other albums but much more perceptible (as I said before), the vocals is the typical guttural Deathmetal voice, and the drums, absolutely astonishing, I don't know how Max Kolesne handle to play so damn fast, he is a GREAT drummer, joining both technique and quickness in a unique way.
This album is just essential to any Deathmetal fan, but if you are not a Deathmetal fan I think you'll love it anyway.

P.S. Thank Century Media for providing much better conditions to Krisiun, than they had in Brazil  for the record of this precious jewel.

Tracklist:
1 - Intro-Ravager
2 - Abyssal Gates
3 - Soul Devourer
4 - Messiah's Abomination
5 - Cursed Scrolls
6 - Conquerors of Armageddon
7 - Hatred Inherit
8 - Iron Stakes
9 - Endless Madness Descends

18/20

Shemahmforash


You can find the official Century Media website at: http://www.centurymedia.de/

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