Boarhammer – I: Cutting Woods for Magickal Purposes

 

Boarhammer – I: Cutting Woods for Magickal Purposes
Demotape / Eigenproduktion
29:46 min
Black Metal

The dark duo Boarhammer have released a cassette that makes me jump for joy. Black metal in its purest form is on the programme; it rattles and thumps properly, which is to be understood as a compliment throughout.
The band thankfully avoids any sound polishing, and behind the rough shell appear enchanting guitar runs and beautifully headbanging rhythms.
The vocals don’t really sound like that, but they remind me of Tschösi on the two legendary first Messiah albums.
In general, there is a wonderful old school feeling here; the music sounds as if you had ordered a Black Metal cassette from a good but unknown band in 1996, and not in Scandinavia, but rather in Eastern Europe or something.
Right on!
Everything about these wonderful thirty minutes sounds authentic, dark, serious and filled with glowing metallic heart and soul.
The attitude is also a joy to listen to; in short, they don’t want to have anything to do with racism, misogyny, sexism or fascism, for example.
The six interesting and high-quality original compositions are rounded off by an unusual, but great Mercyful Fate cover version.
Heart, what more do you want.
As of March 2022, there should still be a few tapes available, so shoo shoo to the bandcamp!
https://boarhammer.bandcamp.com/album/i-cutting-wood-for-magickal-purposes

(merula]

Scorpions – Rock Believer

 

Scorpions – Rock Believer
Vertigo
44:31 min
Hard Rock / Heavy Metal

For God’s sake, what kind of cover un-artwork is that?!
Dear Scorps, this record will sell hundreds of thousands of copies, including downloads, it’s the first official album in seven years and I’m sure you had a consultant, or even two, for this longed-for release.
And then a screaming woman with a bag or curtain over her head?
Granted, this is not the worst cover of your great career, but please do not take it as a compliment.
The compliments start right now, because everything else about this album is just great.
Every single song is a medium to good hit. The fact that there is no world hit rather confirms the very high average of this after all world class album.
Minus said ballads and global hits, “Rock Believer” is most reminiscent of “Love at the first Sting” and even “Black Out”, but with an even warmer rock sound.
After the atmospheric rocker “Gas in the Tank” and its successor “Roots in my Boots”, more melancholic songs like “Knock em Dead” or “Call of the Wild” follow, alternating with heartwarming, optimistic rockers like the title song and probably the biggest banger of the album, “Peacemaker”. And yes, the last song is a ballad. It’s called “When you know (Where you come from)” and is definitely not on any hit parade in the world.
Admirable.
The album is also available as a limited double CD with studio bonus tracks. You can have it, but the listening pleasure won’t be a bit worse without it.
Finally, a personal apology.
Scorps, after the rise of Death Metal, and even more so after the quasi-elitist Black Metal captured me in the mid-1990s, I joined the chorus that mocked and verbally tore you apart, I made fun of your perceived stale image and Klaus’ accent. As if Nana Mouskouri’s Greek accent and Mireille Mathieu’s French accent weren’t just the incentive to buy for millions of fans in the German-speaking world.
But I never wanted to go with the flow. But well, a few years ago I remembered all those moments in the 1980s when the band “Eisenherz” from Frankfurt (Oder) played “Big City Nights” live on the beach at Lake Helene and I went into the splits in a fishnet shirt and skinny jeans and headbanged, playing air guitar as hard as I could.
Scorpions, I love you. Forever.

(merula)

Arcane Sun – Arcane Sun

 

 

Arane Sun – Arcane Sun
Sentinel Records
64:13 min
Epic Death / Doom Metal

Well, this is not really a new release, but an adequate appreciation of this criminally underrated album was sorely needed, and since Brian Taube’s enterprising label Sentinel Records did a great job, giving the debut album of the Dublin metal pioneers a new coverartwork, a bonus track and a much better sound, and since many younger metalheads don’t know the long out-of-print album anyway, I’ll just classify it as “new”.

The consistently high-class to excellent song material impresses with great variety and progressive structures, but everything is always headbanger-friendly and never over-head.
In the first song “Canto I (The Search)” you think you can still recognise friendly, somewhat chummy death metal with pleasant melodies, but with the following “I Was Alive Then …” the picture changes to great epicness and fate-laden drama. And by the way, you have hardly ever heard such an interestingly staged song transition or beginning before (or since).
“Sundrenched” starts as a heavy death metal neckbreaker before turning into melody and melancholy.
Besides the outstanding guitar work of Mr. Fergal Flannery, Mark Higgins’ superb drumming, which sounds much more powerful in the new mastering, must also be emphasised.
Piano passages and sounds of nature alternate, as do sustained doom, hefty death and graceful epic metal.
And towering above it all is the unmistakable voice of Paul Kearns, who several years later helped the legendary Solstice to the best sung record of their career.
“Promised (So Many Years Have Passed)”, the regular closing track of the album, once again expresses the enormous potential of the Irish, who unfortunately disbanded after a more or less unreleased second album due to lack of support.
The bonus track from the band’s (or Paul’s) unloved album follow-up closes this wonderful, boundary-breaking CD.
Paul Kearns and Fergal Flannery, please do it again!!!!

(merula)

Categories: New

Fornhem – Stämman Från Berget

 

 

Fornhem – Stämman Från Berget
Trollmusic
49:11 min
Viking / Black Metal

Raw sound and great melodies not only make a nice pair, but also a pleasant contrast to War Metal on the one hand and Symphonic Wacken Metal on the other.
The best recent example is Fornhem from Norrköping, whose first album “Ett fjärran kall” was already inspiring, but the present second album immediately entered the first league of my heart.
The opener “Den Längsta Dagen” begins with crackling fire and gloomy laughter, a magnificent piece of Viking Metal in its powerful stomping midtempo form.
The guitar theme, as simple as it is utterly moving, is constantly developed. Very slowly, bit by bit more and more dramatic and sophisticated, it leads into the raging fast middle part of the song.
Supported by pumping drums, a croaking vocal and a raw, yet transparent and all the more powerful sound, this song, this album goes deep under the skin.
This marvel lasts eleven minutes before it opens the gates to the fast neckbreaker “Uþarba spa”, where the great drum work stands out once again.
Shimmering guitars and melodic bass guitar accents announce “Förlist”, a ten-minute repetitive-meditative epic of a special kind. Just this repititive element almost brings me to ecstasy, similar to “Hvis lyset tar oss”.
The following title song then sets off again with a tempo that only leaves me with a broad feel-good smile on my face. Boy, when their dragon boat goes off like that, they overtake the fiercest north wind without batting an eyelid!
“Untergang” is the name of the final work on this album, a gripping piece of music, an instrumental, of dense, tension-filled drama, especially striking here the eerie, ominous drums of doom.
Of course for Trollmusic, the music is packaged in an appealing exterior, and the great sound was conjured perfectly by the master Devo Andersson.
There would be so much more to tell about this album, but you know what Frank Zappe said: Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
Which is why I’m off to a quick hour of polka at the Kreiskulturhaus, and you can get your hands on this album in the meantime.

(merula)

Count Raven – The Sixth Storm


Count Raven – The Sixth Storm
I Hate
73:32 min
Heavy Doom Metal

To call singer Dan Fondelius an Ozzy plagiarism is just as inappropriate as denying any comparisons to the gloomy Birminghamers.
Count Raven sound independent and, by the way, absolutely great, but listening to their new (sixth) album, you can’t help thinking about the subject.
If at all compare, then really with the first five Black Sabbath albums, or not even rather with the first three Ozzy albums? Shame on anyone who treats these three works disparagingly compared to the mother band.
Well then, the new album starts with grandiose doom metal of the heavy metal rocking kind – that the band plays their doom far away from the extremes of funeral and death doom should be known.
Hearty, gripping HEAVY riffs meet coherent choruses, and all this is excellently packed into a crushing sound, which doesn’t sound the least bit modern and yet so powerful and clear.
Outstanding!
In the first part, to return to the opening theme, rather Black Sabbath, until the fourth, unusual and untypical song “Heaven’s Door” leaves the inclined listener quite touched.
From then on, if I may say so, it becomes even more Ozzy in the sense of his early solo albums.
On the one hand, it’s more likely to be a hit and more chorus-oriented.
But especially those who have lived through long, difficult and bad times in their lives in an unhealthy relationship with substances, see the early Ozzy records in a completely different perspective than the happy average person does.
That balance, that pairing of deeply tragic, sad, bitter parts with the little smile on top. Concerned people know what I mean.
So in this way dramatish and melancholic the song material turns a little and finds a brilliant climax in the poignant “Baltic Storm”, for which alone I would buy the record.
The long and epic “Oden” is followed by the last song “Goodbye”, and leaves the writer of these lines speechless, with salty water in the corners of her eyes.
Memories are awakened, song titles like “Changes”, “So Tired”, but above all “Alone You Breathe” (Savatage) force themselves upon you.
Brilliant.

(merula)

Helheim – WoduridaR


Helheim – WoduridaR
Dark Essence
57:14
Black / Viking Metal

Helheim from Bergen have released a new album, which in itself is reason enough to rejoice. However, with this, their eleventh longplayer, they have heaved such a great milestone into their oeuvre that it is worth collecting enough firewood for a whole bonfire.
After a short quasi-intro, the album starts brilliantly with the high-speed slashing weapon “Vilje av Stål”. With a murderous twenty-second scream, a firework of drumming and wild guitars begins, which, however, quite soon change into – still high-tempo – melodic guitars and delightful alternating vocals between harsh and clear.
Adorable! Sounds so much like the best mid-nineties Norse Viking / Black Metal that even Helheim themselves could hardly manage in their time.
It continues with “Forrang for fiede” with a still high musical tempo, which however offers plenty of variety within the speed that makes every black metalist happy, as well as quite progressive guitars and ulveresque Bergtatt vocals.
The following title track deepens all this and, apart from a very successful vocal, relies on a ravishing, melancholic mood and stylistic devices such as ominous drums.
As if variety wasn’t already a big issue on this album, “Åndsfilosofen” even tempts with sublime bitter-sweet choruses that almost remind me a little of a black metal version of “Sistinas”. Great!
“Ni s solu sot” starts with very melodic guitars and is generally a bit quieter, but all the more epic. This points the way for the further course of WODURIDAR, because the album becomes more and more thoughtful and epic, finally ending with the hymn-like “Det kommer i bølger”. Am I mistaken, or does the band very skilfully combine Bathory / Viking Epic with Americana or Dark Country?
Listen to it and form your own opinion.
Buy it, or at least check it out!

(merula)

Fluisteraars – Gegrepen Door de Geest der Zielsontluiking

Fluisteraars – Gegrepen Door de Geest der Zielsontluiking

Eisenwald

35:35

Black Metal

Opinions were divided about the previous album “Bloem” – but I loved it before I had even heard the first note. A Black Metal record with a flower meadow on the cover, that’s what I always wanted!

Opinions will also differ on “Gegrepen Door de Geest der Zielsontluiking” again, but maybe not on the warm, light-filled atmosphere of the predecessor, but on the really exuberant joy of experimentation of their newborn.

Shall we talk about it?

After a few short drum beats, “Het overvleugelen der meute” begins with a furious tempo, shimmering guitars with a nice amount of reverb and full of heartrending, melancholic drama and immediate vocals from Bob Mollema, who, by the way, is jangling in exactly the right direction.

The piece changes tempos every now and then in just the right way, the last two minutes then consisting of more experimental sounds.

It’s not that I wouldn’t like the song without those two minutes – it’s still fun to listen to and let yourself fall into it.

“Brand woedt in mijn graf” starts seamlessly afterwards and roughly follows in the footsteps of the first song, which is meant as a great compliment.

The third of three songs is the 20-minute “Verscheuring in de schemering”, and here you would be doing the band an injustice if you regarded the experimental part of the song as an accessory – after all, it is an essential part of the song with all its surprising, not always (fortunately) easy to follow pans and changes, with its adventurous, spacey instrumentation and the spiritual mood. Which is also deeply enthusiastic in its black metal sector.

And while we’re talking about enthusiasm – I especially like the biting bass in the pleasantly transparent, differentiated overall sound, the guitars are noble-black, the vocals matured and partly of the very finest really hysterical high screeching, the drums good and song-serving. Nice cover and booklet too!

P.S. If you always wanted to know how real experts transform a rock n roll riff with minimalistic variations into an epic black metal riff in no time, listen to “Verscheuring in de schemering” from 12:45 min. on.

(merula)