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Fear Thy Name - "I - The Awakening" (Demo, 2002)
This is the debut demo of Fear thy Name, a new project coming up from Porto. With this demo, they managed to unite very different influences creating a very characteristic sound, which I can label as a blending between Blackmetal and Darkmetal with strong Thrash influences, especially in the guitar lines. I must also congratulate the band for the production of this release, because it’s not common to see a so very well produced demo in Portugal!
I - The Wakening” is composed by five songs, being the first one and the last intro and outro respectively, that recreate some kind of epic atmosphere. These instrumentals are well achieved, but nothing transcendental though. The real songs are mainly dominated by the strong presence of the guitars, which play very consistent and somewhat technical riffs. The guitars’ work is sometimes helped by the synth, which is not misused, fortunately, so it doesn’t muffle the guitars. About the vocals, I think they are well inserted in the songs.
Concluding, Fear Thy Name showed, with this demo, that they’re a band that we must have in count in the future of the Portuguese
Metal scene. Good work guys.

1 - Abesse Propius a Morte
2 - Embrace the Dark
3 - Mist of Avalon
4 - Circle of Hell
5 - Mysterium


FirstBorn Evil - "Rebirth of Evil"  (Guardians of Metal, CD, 1998)
This portuguese band released a 5-song demo in 1996 ("Awakening of Evil"), and despite of the innumerous clichés, it turned out to be a good piece of Black metal. To those unfamiliar with FirstBorn Evil, I can say that their sonority is strongly influenced by (old) Cradle of Filth (the screeching vocals, keyboards and atmospheric parts combined with fast sections); I think they are also inspired by Bathory, specially on the mid-paced moments. Initially they used a drum machine, but in this album they've opted by a real drummer (Wolfchild) that has good skills, but sometimes reveals difficulties when the rythm gets faster. About Glaurung's voice, it's impressively scratched with variations that sound really imposing and fit well in the music... however some of his hysterical screams were a bit unnecessary. My favorite tracks are "As The Black Nights Raid" (I like the thrash-style introductory riffing and the drumming) and "Evil Triumph" - notice the remarkable vocal work (lengthened malefic screams, vociferations and hysterical shouting in the end). Concerning the production...in spite of not being terrible, it's very far to be considered something to be proud of. Anyway, watch out for these guys.

1 - Warfare (Intro)
2 - The Soulsword of The FirstBorn Warrior
3 - As The Black Nights Raid
4 - OverLord
5 - Evil Triumph
6 - In The Kingdom of The White Daga
7 - A Quest for Vengeance



Flagellum Dei - "Victory Of Tyranny" (Spit Of The Cross Productions, CD,2002 )
What the hell… here is a fact - There
are very good Black Metal bands in the Lusitanian Lands. After a great Demo-Tape, which showed me how good this band is, arrives this CD-r, which surprised me. When I listened to this album for the first time I noticed a great evolution since their Demo-Tape “Thy Plague…”, I’m not saying their demo isn’t a good one but this album is better. This CD combines a lot of feelings in their tracks, what I think is positive, exploring the sound but keeping the essence of the spirit.
About the instrumentalization, Nefastus has an extreme and hateful voice, the guitars are very well played and sometimes we can hear some solos, the drum is fast and well played, the bass line is excellent too, it isn’t here just to fill the sound, there are many parts where the bass line is used as lead.
What I really like is the essence of this band, they can combine a brutal and merciful sound with sorrowful parts without guitar distortion obtaining an excellent result. The third track, “Odium” is the track I liked the most, the drums made it more aggressive but the riffs and the vocals seem to show a light far away, on an endless tunnel, that’s the spirit which surprised me. The other tracks are good too and even if the production is OK it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have chaotic and disharmonic melodies on the tracks.
The booklet
has just one flaw: the lyrics are missing… the rest like line-up, the place where it was recorded, photos of the band members (No Cradle stuff like a photo-album, only simple photos).
This CD has a guest on keyboards on the fifth track “Victory Of Tyranny”, guess who? Ignis Nox from Corpus Christii and he
did well is job.

This is a release, which we can’t loose, and it’s bands like this who deserve support. I’m expecting very good releases from this band in a near future.

1 - Warmageddon (Intro)
2 - Beholding the Moon with Demon Eyes
3 - Odium
4 - The Old Gates of Night
5 - Victory of Tyranny
6 - Sepulchrum
7 - Holocaust in Flames (Outro)


Lord Infaustum

Front Beast “Procreation In Fire” (Hell War Productions / Deathstrike Records, Demo-Tape, 2002)
This is the third release of this German one-man-band. After “Apocalyptic Vengeance” and “Satan’s Wrath” Evil Avenger rocks again with a new attack. What can we find here? Well, one Introduction, two new devastating Black Trashy hymns, an Outro and a cover.
The intro seems to be bells or something… then the show starts and after a sequence of slow riffs and a mid-paced drum on “Assassin Unleashed” you listen to trashy riffs… and the real war starts, hell yeah! I like the way Evil Avenger performs the riffs. This first track has mid-paced and fast-paced moments. The third track, “Armageddon has Just Began” is an excellent track, to give you an idea there’s a part in the middle of the music that it seems he’s improving, like he let himself flow, I admire that… The fourth track “Outro” is only guitar but not a solo and the last track is a cover of “Darkness and Evil” from Sabbat, it is very well done but a little more faster than the original version and with the Evil Avenger’s painful vocalizations, just perfect.
The guitar riffs remind me Burzum in the slow parts of the tracks and the others are Thrash in the old way reminding me of Root in certain aspects... Sometimes I thought the guitar riffs were not well performed, but then I realized, it must be of the production and I kept that idea until today… The vocals are ah la Varg but it fits perfectly on the tracks. Here we have one of the few Black Metal bands with the right attitude: more Metal than Black. Get this masterpiece immediately.

1 - Intro
2 - Assassin Unleashed
3 - Armageddon Has Just Began
4 - Outro
5 - Darkness and Evil (Sabbat Cover)


Lord Infaustum

Funeris Nocturnum - "Pure Satanic Blasphemy" (Woodcut, CD, 2000)
After the magnificent demo-tape "Slay and Burn" here is the debut album of this Finnish band. I must confess that this album was their first release that I had the opportunity to listen, I only listened to their demo a few months later. But anyhow, this is a great debut album. I must say that this is one of the fastest and brutal Blackmetal releases that I've ever put my hand in to.
About the instrumentalization, the drum part is astonishing, I don't know how Draco can handle it, really; the guitars play also a good role in the sound of this band, playing very consistent riffs occasionally very melodic, sometimes the keyboards also appear creating some kind of darkened atmospheres, but fortunately they're not overused, the bass contribution is almost imperceptible, but sometimes it also appears as lead, for example in the beginning of "Slay and Burn". About the vocal work, Torment has a hell of a great voice, joining typical Blackmetal scratchy and malefic screams with guttural voice typical of Deathmetal.
The production is quite good, we are able to clearly listen to all the instruments, and what a shame it would be if we wouldn't!.
Concluding, this band really caught me by surprise, this debut album is one of the recent albums that stayed in my stereo for long time (it still is) and one of the best that reached my hands in the last months.

1 - Burying the Last Breath of christianity
2 - Damnation of INRI
3 - Withering Life
4 - Slay and Burn
5 - Pure Satanic Blasphemy
6 - Kuolontoive
7 - Seitsemas Portti
8 - Three Steps Closer To The Truth
9 - The August Hammer Of Satan



Funeris Nocturnum - "Slay and Burn" (Demo, 1999)
"What a brutality!" were the first words I spoke after listening to this demo-tape. By this reaction you can clearly see the impact that this Finnish band created in me! This demo is clearly the best that I've had the joy listening in a long time.
When listening to this work, first thing you notice is that the drums' speed is absolutely astonishing, but what I enjoyed the most in this demo is the constantly changes between guttural and screaming parts, this changes are really well done and bring their songs another step forward towards my consideration.
The production is quite good specially if you have in count that this is a demo, not a studio album! This good production allows us to perceive the work of the different instruments, and, as I said before, the drummer is the one which extols the most, but the other instruments are very well played, nothing transcendent technically thou, but clearly quite effective.
Watch out for this guys, because I predict a great future for them, and judging by this demo they will certainly make their mark in the Underground!

1 - Damnation Of INRI
2 - Seitsemäs Portti
3 - Slay And Burn
4 - United By Darkness