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Satyricon - "Nemesis Divina" (Moonfog, CD, 1996)
This is the third album of Satyricon, one of the most important bands within the Norwegian Blackmetal scene. As all of you know, Satyricon is only formed by two members, Satyr and Frost, but to record this album, they had the help of Kveldulv a.k.a. Nocturno Culto in Darkthrone.
Now the album... It is a bit different from the first ones, I think it is more direct, but at the same time more brutal and more melodic (this seems a contradiction but if you listen to the album, you'll understand what I'm saying). The songs are faster and have a lesser folk contribution.
About the instrumentalization, the drums are very good allying precision with speed, in a way that only Frost can do; the guitars are very good to, playing very consistent and melodic riffs, sometimes helped by the bass, the vocal part is the typical Satyr's voice, but in some songs (The Dawn of the new Age for example) appears a clean voice, what brings a different dimension to the songs. About the keyboards, this time they make part of the song structure, they don't appear only in interruptions as it happened on the other albums.
The lyrical part, besides half of the songs are written in Norwegian and sadly I don't understand Norwegian, is about the Nordic Mythology as it was in the previous albums.
I think this was the natural evolution of Satyricon previous sound, and this evolution results in a great album.

1 - The Dawn of a New Age
2 - Forhekset
3 - Mother North
4 - Du Som Hater Gud
5 - Immortality Passion
6 - Nemesis Divina
7 - Transcendental Requiem of Slaves



Satyricon - "Rebel Extravaganza" (Moonfog, CD, 1999)
After the not very well received "Megiddo" EP, Satyricon are back with a very different album - Rebel Extravaganza. First thing one notices when listening to this new Satyricon album, is the much more progressive approach. Besides the progressive approach this album has still very brutal and fast parts.
The instrumentalization is quite complex: the guitars have a very powerful and clear sound playing very good and technical riffs, the drums are very fast and precise as Frost used us too and the voice is the typical Satyr's scratchy voice. This album is very different from the typical Blackmetal albums, and from Satyricon's previous releases, being very original, which for me is very good, because the Blackmetal scene nowadays has a constant lack of ideas - the majority of the bands are making what some other bands had made in the beginning of the 90's. So if you like to hear something original being nonetheless metal, check out this release, because this is VERY GOOD material!

1 - Tied In Bronze Chains
2 - Filthgrinder
3 - Rhapsody In Filth
4 - Havoc Vulture
5 - Prime Evil Renaissance
6 - Supersonic Journey
7 - End Of Journey
8 - A Moment Of Clarity
9 - Down South, Up North
10 - The Scorn Torrent

Note: This CD was only released by Moonfog in the Scandinavia, in the rest of the world was distributed by Nuclear Blast.



Setherial - "Endtime Divine" (Regain Records, CD, 2003)
"Endtime Divine" is the fifth album from this Norwegian band that plays a very fast Blackmetal in the vein of Marduk or Dark Funeral.
Their previous albums are quite akin with the bands referred above, but with this new album they managed to create a somehow original sound. The slower paced moments are the main reason for this originality, because they now are present in all the songs and have a preponderant role in every music, not like in the past when they were only used a couple of times in an album. With this innovation their sonority became much more stronger and coherent.
Technically this is a typical Blackmetal album in the nordic vein, with the guitars playing very simple, but cold and sharp riffs, the bass work almost unnoticed and only used for rhythm purposes and a scratchy voice screaming words of blasphemy.
All in all this is clearly a step forward in the career of this band.

1 - Crimson Manifestation
2 - The Underworld
3 - Subterranean
4 - ...of Suicide
5 - Entity of Night
6 - The Night of All Nights
7 - Endtime Divine
8 - Transformation
9 - Storms



Severe Torture  - ”Misanthropic Carnage (Hammerheart Records, CD,  2002)
Severe Torture may be considered just one more acceptable band in the brutal Death/Grind scenario; however, it is clear that they have affirmally improved technically, since two years and a half ago, as the Nederlands industry remains untouched.
“Misanthropic Carnage” is the second long lenght of this Dutch band, once more labeled by The Plague, sub- label of the Hammerheart Records Company and produced by
Berthus Westerhuys and Robbie Woning, at Franky's Recording Kitchen.
This album has unmistakeable influences of the goremasters Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Suffocation in the constituition of the lyrics and riffs...- which makes me wonder if they aren't inspired enough or simply doesn't dare to offer something brighter.
Actually Severe Torture reinforces the Grind/Death Metal scene next to names as Vile, Disgorge, Deeds of Flesh, and other bands from Holland, such as Pyaemia, the extinct Centvrian, Inhume e Malignancy. In this album we can assist to everything that we have expected from S.T. since “Feasting on Blood”. The growling insanity vocalized by Dennis, guitar distortions and effects, (pitches, delays and fasers in small measure, well applied), enthusiast rhythms, direct lyrics and beating drums gathered in a bloodshed technical cult.
In my opinion, Severe Torture is one band that are meant to play live and loud and not so good to hear in the stereo: the constant rhythms aren't so original and it may let us fall into boredom or indifference. This album has a particularity in terms of its production: the bass is really more perceptible comparing to “Feasting on Blood”. The dragged sound does not appear anymore by negligence or by mesmerizing “Mortician style”; it is clear and well composed creating harmony inside disharmony. A fine production and a technical support for the tracks that are brutal and good but too similar as ever. If the first album had this production I think that they would not needed to make this one because the formula is used and ordinary. I hope the band is aware of the path that they will follow create something different on the next work- although we'll be cursed to hear movie samples and banal death metal riffs all the time.

1 - Mutilation of the Flesh
2 - Meant to Suffer
3 - Carnivorous Force
4 - Misanthropic Carnage
5 - Blinded I Slaughter
6 - Impelled to Kill
7 - Castrated
8 - Forever to Burn
9 - Your Blood is Mine



Sirius - "Aeons of Magick" (Nocturnal Art Productions, CD, 2000)
After the so welled received "The Eclipse Demo" released in 1998, it finally came out the awaited first SiriuS album entitled "Aeons of Magick".
Before the release of this album, Z (drummer) left the band, thus the drums where recorded by Vukodlack.
Surprisingly, the album was released by Nocturnal Art Productions (owned by Emperor's Samoth) and recorded in Norway.
Now the album... Sirius have a very characteristic sound mainly based on synths parts but, in this album, they managed  to make very good links between the fast parts of the songs and the synth atmospheric "interruptions". But the main  thing that one notices when listening to this record is the reduced guitar contribution, the guitar appears as lead very few times, being the synth much more prominent.
The lyrical concept  is based upon cosmical concepts and  let me say that the lyrics are very well written, but a little bit difficult to understand specially to someone who is not familiarized with archaic English.
One of the things that really surprised me in this record was the drum part, Vukodlack showed that besides his well known skills as keyboard player he is an excellent drummer.
For me this is the Portuguese metal album of the year (2000), they showed that good Blackmetal isn't played only in the Nordic countries, it can be played all over the world, all that is required is a big passion for Blackmetal.

1 - Sidereal Mirror
2 - The Collapsing Spheres of Time
3 - Ethereal Flames of Chaos
4 - The Stargate
5 - Travellers of the Stellar Ocean
6 - Aeons of Magick
7 - Beyond the Scarlet Horizon



Sirius - "Spectral Transition - Dimension Sirius" (Nocturnal Art Producions, CD, 2001)
Their debut album "Aeons of Magick" (reviewed above) created many expectations, specially in Lusitanian grounds, about this new release. First thing you notice is the correction of the principal mistake of the previous album: the guitars now have a dominant role in the sound, the orchestrations that dominated the first album, at the first listening, seem to be forgotten, but after you hear the album with more attention, you'll discover that they are still present but in a different way, this time to make the atmospheres, not the lead.
About the lyrics, they are still based upon cosmical concepts, and continue with their inaccessibility to the ones who are not familiarized with archaic English.
The instrumentalization is much more complex now, the guitar work is very technical and the drumming is very, very good - the best played in Portugal.
Now the bad part, this album was released almost at the same time as Zyklon's "World ov Worms" and the similarities with that album are evident, maybe this happened because the two bands recorded the albums in the same studio, and the producer of this Sirius album was Samoth, who is the mentor of Zyklon.
This is a very good album, but the resemblances with Zyklon, don't go in their favor, specially to whom have not listened to their first album...

1 - Spectral Transition
2 - Spiritual Metamorphosis - Destroy The Earthly
3 - In Astral Plains Of Trance
4 - Abstract Eerie Corridors
5 - Desolate Magnetic Fields
6 - Into Forbidden Dimensions
7 - Axis
8 - Stellar Transcendence
9 - Paradox Timeline
10 - Dimension Quantum
11 - The Majesty Of The Nightsky (Emperor cover)

P.S. Faust participated in the recording of "The Majesty of the Nightsky"



Sirius - "...The Eclipse (The Summons Of The Warriors Of Armageddon)" (Demo-tape, 1999)
At last, after several delays, the demo tape from Sirius is out. I was pleased a great deal with this recording, mostly due to the fact of their professionalism. Beneath the pro-printed cover, lies one of the most skilled and effective material that has emerged in recent times. Consisted of 4 tracks, it presents us an awfully grand and superior Black Metal structure, close to the likes of Limbonic Art (especially in the synthesizer slot). “Fiery Strife At The Cosmic Gates Of Armageddon” was the first song they ever recorded as a promo, but have placed it next to their new pieces, and it fits perfectly (no one that is alien to the band at this point will notice the difference, since it was re-recorded). On “Out Of The Serpent Line”, the vocals and the guitars are tangled incredibly, with the synthesizers on the background reinforcing the melodic structure, up to an upper surface of sonic tapestry, and the drum-machine throbbing like a mallet in the outer space blankness, hence attaining the pureness of the line. Next we have “The Quest for Dreamlore Essence”, an instrumental section provided by maestro Vukodlack, that could possibly fit beside Bal-Sagoth (on their “Starfire...” era); it’s like a star-stride heading to face the authoritative dragon in the ensuing track, entitled “Unveil The Path Of Algol, The Riddles Beyond The Stars”. As the music unfolds, one perceives a resemblance to what Emperor treasured in “In The Nightside Eclipse” (the strings are evidently akin), nevertheless, the guitar work is beyond belief, and in unison with the percussion, creates a hell of an atmosphere! Lord Gornoth’s screeches thrill me a lot, as this fiend delivers a hoarse eruption of shattering twinge along the “journey”, occasionally reciting on one or another poetic branch, which are rather undermined compared to his yelling. The production is quite uneven, since the guitars get drowned in the maelstrom of disharmony quite easily, and the bass is roughly useless. Nonetheless, this is clearly an advanced demo tape, which I haven’t had the joy to listen in a very long time. A Must!

1 - Fiery Strife at the Gates of Armageddon
2 - Out of the Serpent Line
3 - The Quest for Dreamlore Essence
4 - Unveiled the Path of Algol, the Riddles Beyond the Stars

Courtesy of Baron Webb @ The Lodge

Spawn Of Possession - "Cabinet" (CD, Unique Leader Records, 2002)
Spawn of Possession hail from Sweden but their demolitions have nothing to do with the typical Swedish arts. Anti common melody, anti keyboards and anti mythological conceptions, SOP proves that Sweden has more to show in terms of technical death metal. Signing their debut in Unique Leader opened up for them a singular style and possibilities to reveal it live
- as it occurred in Portugal last March 2003 when they released the sickness in “Violating Europe Tour” next to Vile, Inhume and Disavowed.
SOP are a surprise for any death metal fan that doesn’t consume ordinary brutality, in fact they can assume an elaborate composition component, with diverse rhythms and calculated contr
etemps reminding me a lot of the Polish bands precision. The music is clear, with hybrid sharp guitars, with equilibrated frenzyness and energetic drums and bass riffs. Dennis Röndum, studio drummer and vocalist marks out his presence with a strong guttural voice, unstoppable and quick. Their ultra speeded fingerings seem to urge with growing tension in an unachieved explosion, in dialog duets between two guitars and a constant not camouflaged bass played by Niklas Dewerud, that joined the band in 2000, after the recordings of the first demo cd, “The Forbidden”. This is the first chapter of a band that will probably shake up the structural pillars of Swedish metal. Spawn of Possession….

1 - Lamashtu
2 - Swarm of the Formless
3 - Hidden in Flesh
4 - A Presence Inexplicable
5 - Dirty Priest
6 - Spawn of Possession
7 - Inner Conflict
8 - Cabinet
9 - The Forbidden
10 - Church of Deviance
11 - Uncle Damfee



Storm Legion - "...Statement"(Demo-tape, Drakkar Productions, 2002)
This is a new project featuring some well known musicians of the portuguese Blackmetal scene, namely Nocturnus Horrendus, Ainvar and Vulturius. What I can say about this demmo tape is that it is a very grimm piece of Blackmetal limited to 333 hand numbered copies.
Besides having some Corpus Christii's influences, they managed to make a different sound with this demo. But don't expect nothing very original though, for this is Blackmetal at its most primitive state and with its most primitive feelings.
This lack of originality as, for me, two points of view, one is that Blackmetal is more than overfilled with bands sounding like the same, but the other point of view, the most important for me, is that today some of the spirit and attitude of the early nineteens has been lost, and its in bands like this that we can see the ressurrection of the long lost spirit. So fuck off with the originality and all hail Blackmetal as it should always be - grimm and necro.

1 - Statement...
2 - The Wolven Path


Storm Legion "Rebirth of the Flame" (EP, 2002, Hiberica)
By the second attack I must say I saw an evolution in Storm Legion’s sonority. Now, I can call it Storm Legion, only, because now I don’t see absolutely any influences of the bands where these guys are involved. Their sound became a little more atmospheric but still with some intense parts. What surprised me in this EP was that they made a personal style without influences of the other bands they’re into, I think it’s difficult because there are things we still do on our way of playing the instruments even if we are in completely different projects, maybe the band should know it better than me…
Anyway, I like the songs, specially the first one… “Messengers”, it has a nice feeling and combines calm parts with faster parts and I think it’s an intense track. The production it’s ok at my point of view, but I just think the voice in the last track “No Horizonte Uma Torre” should be louder, but that’s nothing special. This EP made me like a little more this band, I never though they can do such material, I wasn’t expecting more melodic riffs and different vocals… I was expecting something in the vein of “Statement…” but sincerely I prefer this way, Storm Legion way.

1 - Messengers
2 - Daughters of Misanthropy
3 - No Horizonte uma Torre


Lord Infaustum