Sunday, June 1, 2008

Godspeed You! Black Emperor-Yanqui U.X.O. (2002)

Post-rock masters Godspeed You! Black Emperor released this album in 2002 before going on indefinite hiatus, and that has been the status of the band ever since. This album, overall, has a more urgent, if not panicked, feel to it... a sort of "impending apocalypse" atmosphere, yet still contains the trademarks Godspeed characteristics, from delicate, bleak, somber passages, building crescendos, to absolutely glorious, sweeping sections, absolutely awash with guitars and feedback, creating an almost cathartic atmosphere. As with all Godspeed releases, HIGHLY recommended. Constellation. 

1. 09-15-00  16:28
2. 09-15-00  6:16
3. Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls  20:43
4. Motherfucker=Redeemer  21:23
5. Motherfucker=Redeemer  10:10

Total Running:  75:00


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Godspeed You! Black Emperor-Life Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000)

Second full-length release from Canada's post-rock champions, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This album, as one will notice, has a slightly more uplifting and triumphant feel to the music, but there are still moments of incredible despair and stark bleakness. Overall, this album creates crescendos from minimalist, beautiful delicacy, to absolutely soaring, spectacular, all-encompassing roars of music, creating such an emotionally involving and moving listen. This album is also styled, in a sense, after a four-movement symphony, both structurally and conceptually. I cannot begin to explain how rewarding these releases are... you must just take my word for it. HIGHLY recommended. Constellation. 

Disc 1
1. Storm  22:32
I. Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven...  6:15
II. Gathering Storm/Il Pleut a Mourir [+Clatters Like Worry]  11:10
III. Welcome to Arco AM/PM... [L.A.X.; 5/14/00]  1:15
IV. Cancer Towers on Holy Road Hi-Way  3:52
2. Static  22:35
I. Terrible Canyons of Static  3:34
II. Atomic Clock.  1:09
III. Chart #3  2:39
IV. World Police and Friendly Fire  9:48
V. [...+The Buildings They Are Sleeping Now]  5:25

Disc 2
1. Sleep  23:17
I. Murray Ostril: '...They Don't Sleep Anymore on the Beach...'  1:10
II. Monheim  12:14
III. Broken Windows, Locks of Love Pt. III  9:53
2. Antennas to Heaven  18:57
I. Moya Sings 'Baby-O'...  1:00
II. Edgyswingsetacid  0:58
III. [Glockenspiel Duet Recorded on a Campsite in Rhinebeck, N.Y.]  0:47
IV. 'Attention...Mon Ami...Fa-Lala-Lala-La-La...' [55-St. Laurent]  1:18
V. She Dreamt She Was a Bulldozer, She Dreamt She Was Alone in an Empty Field  9:43
VI. Deathkamp Drone  3:09
VII. [Antennas to Heaven...]  2:02

Total Running:  87:21


Godspeed You! Black Emperor-Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada EP (1999)

1999 EP from Canada's post-rock masters, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This EP showcases more of their trademark lengthy, post-apocalyptic, emotionally-charged, soaring and sweepingly atmospheric post rock of the absolute highest order. As is typical with Godspeed You! Black Emperor releases, one of the songs here prominently features "vox populi" samples that paint a picture of social and moral decay and collapse. Overall, a very bleak, dark, yet absolutely moving and gorgeous recording. As with all Godspeed releases, HIGHLY recommended. Constellation. 

1. Moya  10:51
2. BBF3  17:45

Total Running:  28:36


Godspeed You! Black Emperor-F#A#∞ (1997)

I have no words to properly just how much I absolutely adore Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Certainly one of my favorite bands of all time, this is easily one of the most well-known and well-loved post-rock bands (Along with Mogwai and Tortoise, to name a couple). Godspeed is known for long, almost classically-arranged compositions (each song is broken into 'movements', much like classical music), that are unbelievably atmospheric and evocative, creating vast, sweeping masterpieces of sound, interjected with vox populi sound clips, to create something wholly unique and amazing. This debut album, from beginning to end, deals with the end of the world, in various forms, and the music certainly speaks to it: images of post-apocalyptic wastelands, twisted urban decay, clouded, dark skies, and complete desolation come to mind when immersing one's self in this music, yet there is a certainly uplifting and beautiful aspects to this music, as well. HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommended. To everyone. Constellation. 

1. Dead Flag Blues  16:27
I. The Dead Flag Blues (Intro)  6:37
II. Slow Moving Trains  3:33
III. The Cowboy  4:17
IV. The Dead Flag Blues (Outro)  2:00
2. East Hastings  17:58
I. ...Nothing's Alrite in Our Life.../The Dead Flag Blues (Reprise)  1:35
II. The Sad Mafioso...  10:44
III. Drugs in Tokyo  3:43
IV. Black Helicopter  1:56
3. Providence  29:02
I.  Divorce & Fever  2:44
II. Dead Metheny...  8:07
III. Kicking Horse on Brokenhill  5:53
IV. String Loop Manufactured During Downpour...  4:36
a. unlisted segment of silence  3:32
V. J.L.H. Outro  4:08

Total Running:  63:27


Friday, May 30, 2008

Thus Defiled-Daemonspawn (2007)

Most recent album from blackened thrash maniacs, Thus Defiled. This is yet another ass-kicking album, from beginning to end, chocked full of neck-snappin' thrash riffs, blasting black metal parts, face-melting solos, and produced by the legendary James Murphy, this is everything a blackened thrash fan wants. Topped off nicely with an awesome Slayer cover, this is a blackened thrash album to have. Highly recommended. Shadowflame Productions. 

1. Genesis in Darkness  1:26
2. ...And They Shall Fear the Night  9:13
3. Blackreign (Crown of Horns)  4:39
4. Demonwielder  3:43
5. Beyond the Seventh Circle of Fire  8:55
6. Dreamraper  6:01
7. Astaroth (The Art of Balance in Darkness)  8:02
8. The Living Shadows of Sumeria  1:04
9. Black Magic (Slayer cover)  4:18

Total Running:  47:21

United Kingdom

Thus Defiled-Weeping Holocaust Tears (2003)

Amazing 2003 release from one of the most underrated names in blackened thrash, Thus Defiled. After the dark and moody intro, this album kicks you in the face, right out of the gates. Ass-kicking, neck-snapping blackened thrash riffage of the highest order. As i've said before, this is a criminally underrated band in the blackened thrash scene, but if bands like Deströyer 666 and Nifelheim are your bag, or you're just looking for a solid, awesome slab of thrashin' black metal with a keen sense of melody, Thus Defiled is for you. Highly recommended. Shadowflame Productions. 

1. Awakened by My Summoning  2:28
2. Spiritual Abduction  3:29
3. of Shadow and Storm  8:02
4. When Seduction brings Forth Damnation  4:48
5. The Angelblood Chronicles  17:24
6. Fire Serpent Dawn  6:21

Total Running:  42:32

United Kingdom

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thus Defiled-WIngs of the Nightstorm (1997)

Second full length from the British blackened thrash powerhouse, Thus Defiled. This album sees a departure from the more traditional black and death metal stylings of their first album, and sees them venture into the thrashier side of black metal, with absolutely incredible results. Absolutely ass-kicking riff after riff, delivered with the ferocity of black metal, and the headbangability of thrash metal, but with a higher level of proficiency than is standard in this genre. A MUST for all fans of bands such as Deströyer 666, Gospel of the Horns, Nekromessiah, and Nifelheim. Truly a terribly underrated gem of a band that will have you snappin' your necks in no time flat. Dark Trinity Productions. 

1. To Yearn that which Again Shall Be  2:38
2. Rapture of Twilight Burning  6:36
3. (Angelblood) The Tears of an Age now Dead  7:23
4. Through Eyes of Fire  6:39
5. Illumination Through Darkness (A Calling for the Chosen)  1:55
6. Winter's Dawn (Crowns My Empire)  3:38
7. Empire of Souls Bleeding  5:43
8. On Ravenwings I Fly  4:58
9. The Final Fall of the Light  10:07

Total Running:  49:37

United Kingdom

Thus Defiled-Through the Impure Veil of Dawn (1995)

First full-length record from, in my opinion, one of the most grossly underrated bands in the blackened thrash scene. While this first album leans more towards pure black metal with hints of death metal, the ass-kicking, thrashing juggernaut they were to become shines through in moments all over this album. Absolutely killer riffs, slayer-esque solos, headbangable, all-in-all amazing songwriting... it's all here. If kick ass blackened thrash is your bent, you'd be hard pressed to find many better bands than this. Dark Trinity Productions. 

1. Wings of Fallen Majesty  4:00
2. A Crimson Vision in the Glade of Shadowfire  3:28
3. Prelude to Midnight  1:14
4. Under Blackening Horizons  4:39
5. Through the Impure Veil of Dawn  3:11
6. Dreaming Beyond Dawnless Realms  4:44
7. Dominus Luciferi  4:01
8. Fear Us for We Are the Darkness  4:53
9. Darkness Rape the Tranquil Shore of Eternity  5:13

Total Running:  35:23

United Kingdom

Geist-Patina (2005)

Spectacular first full-length release from Germany's Geist. This album opens with delicate keys and acoustic guitars, setting a very ethereal, yet very cold atmosphere. When it all kicks in, it becomes quite apparent this is a damn good black metal release. Well-written riffs, good black metal production, as well as lengthy dark ambient segments, beautiful neofolk-ish acoustic sections, and an ability to create amazing songs across the gamut of black metal genres, with depressive influence, heavy second-wave norwegian influence, folk influence, you name it. I recommend this to all fans of good, atmospheric black metal. Solistitium Records. 

1. Snow White  2:55
2. Wanderer Bei Feis Und Fjord  5:36
3. Thanatos Phobein  7:56
4. Winters Schwingenschlag  9:09
5. Norn  3:56
6. Patina  12:12
7. Jingizu  3:56
8. Spätsommerabende  8:17

Total Running:  53:57


Funeral Procession-Funeral Procession (2006)

Wonderful first full-length release from Germany's Funeral Procession. Funeral Procession plays a mixture of traditional second-wave-styled black metal, with heavy use of ambience, to create an absolutely great piece of black art. Parts of this album bears slight resemblance to the "Orthodox Black Metal" style being championed by bands such as Deathspell Omega, Watain, Ondskapt, and Ofermod.  Some of the guitar riffs on here are just insanely memorable. If you dig your black metal traditionally, with a melodic edge, Funeral Procession is for you. Nightfog Productions. 

1. Heavenlie Aeons Grimlie Torne Apart  6:39
2. When Moonshine is the Only Light  5:23
3. Beholde the Stars Fall from the Heavens  1:59
4. Bloode of the Elder (Building the Anti-Kosmos)  7:21
5. Doom  3:11
6. The Death Empire on Burial Ground Pt.I  5:59
7. The Death Empire on Burial Ground Pt.II  1:36
8. Millennium of Revenge/Jerusalem in Ashes  10:55

Total Running:  48:04


Explosions in the Sky-All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (2007)

Spectacular most recent release from post-rock heavyweights, Explosions in the Sky. On this album, all the elements of previous Explosions in the Sky albums are here, the delicate and beautiful sections, the cathartic buildups, the uplifting, sweeping, emotional highs... overall, just a spectacular album. In addition, disc two of this album is a collection of remixes of Explosions in the Sky songs done by other artists. Highly recommended! Temporary Residence Limited. 

Disc 1
1. The Birth and Death of the Day  7:49
2. Welcome, Ghosts  5:43
3. It's Natural to Be Afraid  13:27
4. What Do You Go Home To?  4:59
5. Catastrophe and the Cure  7:56
6. So Long, Lonesome  3:40

Total Running:  43:34

Disc 2
1. The Birth and Death of the Day (Jesu mix)  9:48
2. Welcome, Ghosts (Adem mix)  6:24
3. It's Natural to be Afraid (The Paper Chase mix)  6:53
4. What Do You Go Home To? (Mountains mix)  10:23
5. Catastrophe and the Cure (Four Tet mix)  8:33
6. So Long, Lonesome (Eluvium mix)  5;40

Total Running:  47:41

United States of America

Explosions in the Sky-The Rescue EP (2005)

A wonderful concept album of sweeping, gorgeous post rock from Explosions in the Sky. As with all Explosions in the Sky releases, this is an album of cathartic, beautiful, sweeping, emotionally-charged post rock, that builds from moments to dream-like, ethereal beauty, to grandiose, triumphant, uplifting passages. As with all Explosions in the Sky material, this is HIGHLY recommended. Temporary Residence Limited. 

1. Day One  4:32
2. Day Two  3:47
3. Day Three  4:34
4. Day Four  3:00
5. Day Five  4:35
6. Day Six  5:18
7. Day Seven  4:23
8. Day Eight  2:35

Total Running:  32:48

United States of America

Explosions in the Sky-The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place (2003)

2003 release from easily one of my favorite post-rock bands, Explosions in the Sky. This is another piece of flowing, atmospheric, triumphant, dream-like, ultimately uplifting and beautiful instrumental post rock. Beautiful, sweeping, swirling guitar parts, drenched with effects, to create a sound that is unmistakably Explosions in the Sky. I HIGHLY recommend all Explosions in the Sky's albums, and particularly to fans of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sigur Rós, Pelican, Jesu, and even Alcest. Temporary Residence Limited. 

1. The First Breath After Coma  9:33
2. The Only Moment We Were Alone  10:14
3. Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean  8:4
4. Memorial  8:50
5. Your Hand in Mine  8:17

Total Running:  45:37

United States of America

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Explosions in the Sky-Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever (2001)

2001 album from American post-rock group, Explosions in the Sky. If you are familiar with artists such as Sigur Rós, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, you'll know roughly what style of  music this is. But where Sigur Rós is more icy and ethereal in sound, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor is bleak and apocalyptic, Explosions in the Sky creates cathartic moments of triumph and beauty in their post rock songs, which they call "Cathartic Mini-Symphonies". This is all instrumental music, with vast washes of guitar, moments of subtle, pristine delicacy, and epic, uplifting triumph. I HIGHLY recommend all Explosions in the Sky albums, especially to fans of bands such as Sigur Rós, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Jesu, and even Alcest. Temporary Residence Limited. 

1. Greet Death 7:19
2. Yasmin the Light  7:03
3. The Moon is Down  10:02
4. Have You Passed Through This Night  7:19
5. A Poor Man's Memory  6:04
6. With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept  12:04

Total Running:  49:51

United States of America

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cor Scorpii-Attergangar (2005)

Absolutely amazing debut release from Norway's Cor Scorpii. After the unfortunate demise of Windir, half of the band went on to form Vreid, abandoning most of the melodic folk elements that made Windir great. The other half of the band, however, went on to form Cor Scorpii, and within the first moments of listening to this, you'll notice the true spirit of Windir carried through to Cor Scorpii. Very melodic, folk melody-infused black metal done right, with the trademark "Sogndal" sound that Windir pioneered. If you were a fan of Windir at all, you need this release; and if you have never listened to Windir, kick yourself, listen to them, and then listen to this. HIGHLY recommended. 

1. Fall of Man  5:27
2. Transcendental Journey  5:33
3. Attergangar  6:31
4. Når Enden er God  5:35

Total Running:  23:06


Onskapt-Dödens Evangelium (2005)

Another spectacular orthodox black metal release from Sweden's Ondskapt. Once again, this release hits the listener with a barrage of ferocious, twisted, dark riffs, head-bangable bits here and there, and an atmosphere of a religious orthodox satanist ritual. This is, all in all, just a very kick ass black metal release that you won't regret listening to. Recommended, particularly for fans of Watain and Deathspell Omega. Next Horizon Records. 

1. Djävulens Ande  7:12
2. Feeding the Flames  5:37
3. Revelations of Another Time  6:29
4. Lord of All Unclean Spirits  5:04
5. Akilkarsa  4:29
6. I Kristi Skugga  6:01
7. Fienden Hungrar  3:34
8. Interlude  1:01
9. The Fires of Hell  2:07
10. Blessed by Demoniac Wrath  3:23
11. Beast of Death  3:10
12. Witch  5:23

Total Running:  53:30


Ondskapt-Draco Sit Mihi Dux (2003)

One of the forerunners of the Orthodox Black Metal movement, Ondskapt plays a brand of very ferocious, at times, demented, black metal that just exudes a sort of ritualistic, satanic evil. Chaotic, yet at the same time, all very coherent, with masterfully crafted songs, wonderful black metal riffing, clear, audible bass, solid, well-played's all here. If black metal is your thing, Ondskapt will deliver. For fans of Watain, Antaeus, Deathspell Omega, and Ofermod. Recommended. Selbstmord Services. 

1. I  6:46
2. II  10:22
3. III  9:40
4. IV  7:34
5. V  4:57
6. VI  6:24

Total Running: 45:43


Lifelover-Erotik (2007)

Another album of twisted, macabre, depressive, melancholic, post-punk infused black metal from Sweden's Lifelover. Like Pulver, this is an absolutely spectacular release, chock full of dark, melancholic melodies, subtle keys, vocals that range from post-punk, Cure/Joy Division clean vocals, to anguished, twisted screams... overall, a wonderful release that I cannot recommend enough. For fans of everything from The Cure and Joy Division, to Amesoeurs, Alcest, and Joyless. Total Holocaust Records. 

1. Förspel & Intrång  1:28
2. Sweet Illness of Mine  3:12
3. I Love (To Hurt) You  4:01
4. En Man I Sina Sämsta År  4:38
5. Dödens Landsväg  3:50
6. Välkommen Till Pulvercity  3:41
7. Saltvatten (Du + Jag VS. Tellus)  3:38
8. Besatt  3:35
9. Höstdepressioner  3:54
10. Humörets Bottenvåning  3:11
11. Museum of Past Affections  6:21
12. Nitlott  11:08

Total Running:  52:37


Lifelover-Pulver (2006)

Easily one of my favorite black metal bands of all time, Lifelover is a very unique and completely ass-kicking new(ish) band from Sweden. They play a mixture of depressive black metal, with post-punk and shoegaze elements thrown in. This is a must for fans of bands such as The Cure and Joy Division, as well as those of you who love Amesoeurs, Alcest, and all of Neige's projects, as well as Forgotten Woods and Joyless. Just overall, an absolutely incredible release, full of beautiful, melancholic melodies, a sick and twisted depressive atmosphere, absolutely anguished vocals, bizarre and rather morbid samples... just beginning to end, a phenomenal release. HIGHLY recommended. GoatowaRex. 

1. Nackskott  3:16
2. M/S Salmonella  5:00
3. Mitt Öppna Öga  3:32
4. Kärlek-Becksvart Melankoli  4:44
5. Vardagsnytt  2:50
6. Avbrott Sex  2:07
7. Stockholm  4:13
8. Söndag  3:16
9. Herrens Hand  2:45
10. Medicinmannen  0:43
11. Nästa Gryning  6:25
12. En Sång Om Dig  3:40

Total Running:  42:31


Ljå-Vedderbaug (2002)

Spectacular 2002 demo from a relatively new band in the Norwegian black metal scene, Ljå. This is fast, melodically-inclined, masterfully created black metal, and doubly impressive for a demo, no less. Moments of blast-beat-ridden ferocity and buzzsaw riffing, mixed with delicate acoustic parts, midtempo melodic black metal segments... it's all here. I'd recommend this for fans of bands such as Taake, Dissection, and even bands such as Watain. 

1. Skamslåtte Engler  8:34
2. Vind  2:58
3. Guds Klamme Haand  5:23
4. De Med Pigger  4:01
5. Blodtaar  1:27
6. Udenomskjaersk Faen  4:39
7. Lanternens Grusomme Fravaer  0:11
8. Victorinox  2:58

Total Running:  30:11


Friday, May 23, 2008

Loits-Vere Kutse Kohustab (2004)

Great 2004 album from Estonia's pagan nationalists, Loits. Powerful, ass-kicking riffs, moments of acoustic delicacy and melody, clean production (but not annoyingly), a rather war-like atmosphere... overall just some damn good black metal to bang your head to and enjoy-a great example of the "black n' roll" music popularized by other bands such as Carpathian Forest, Darkthrone, and Nattefrost. Ledo Takas Records. 

1. Soomepoiss  3:59
2. Eesti Auks  3:33
3. Aeg Ärgata  3:29
4. Voitluslipp  4:34
5. Tuleristed  4:11
6. Vanade Leegionäride Laul  5:27
7. Eluruun  3:49
8. Nimeta Haud  4:22
9. Kodu  4:07
10. Furor Aesticus  3:16
11. Oskar Ruut  4:14
12. Raiugem Ruunideks  10:08

Total Running:  55:09


Loits-Raiugem Ruunideks (2003)

Another fine EP of Estonian pagan black metal you can bang yer head to. At times, this reminds me of more recent Enslaved, as well as later Immortal. Overall, very solid an enjoyable black metal. Eisenwald. 

1. Raiugem Ruunideks  5:48
2. Tuleristsed  5:00

Total Running:  10:48


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Loits-Legion Estland EP (2002)

Great nationalistic pagan black metal band from Estonia. This music, while being about Estonian pride and includes many volkish themes, the music is much more riff-heavy, head bangable black metal that, at times, reminds me of later Immortal. I would recommend Loits to anyone who wants some damn good pagan black metal that they can bang their fuckin' heads to. Ledo Takas Records. 

1. Vanade Leegionäride Laul  5:46
2. Terasvanne  1:52
3. Furor Aesticus  3:36
4. Demon's Night (Tharaphita cover)  3:31

Total Running:  15:01


Odal-...wilde Kraft (2005)

2005 full-length from German pagan black metal band, Odal. This is more absolutely amazing pagan black metal. Well-written, melodic riffs, a pervasive pagan atmosphere, a good, raw but not too raw production... this is every pagan black metal fan's wet dream. The music here sometimes reminds me of bands such as Satanic Warmaster, Taake, Angantyr, and even early Windir... so I would highly recommend this release to fans of those bands-but I would highly recommend this release to all black metal fans, as well. Christhunt Productions. 

1. Einklang  1:59
2. ...Wilde Kraft Entfesselt  6:09
3. Aus Hassgeschwellter Brust  4:48
4. Der Worte Gewalt  4:53
5. Die Rast Unter Der Eiche  1:40
6. Flammendes Schwert  6:06
7. Um Frei Zu Sein Pt. II  7:38
8. Gabe Der Vollkommenheit  7:17
9. Ausklang (Das Siegeslied)  4:09

Total Running:  44:39


Odal-Einst Verehrt von Allen EP(2003)

2003 EP from Germany's Odal. One of my favorite German black metal acts of late, Odal blends the melodicism and spirit of Satanic Warmaster, and even early Windir, with a distinctly pagan attitude and atmosphere. Absolutely wonderful riffs, beautiful, memorable riffs, and amazing atmosphere all collide to make an all-around wonderful EP of some of the finest in German pagan black metal. Highly recommended. Christhunt Productions. 

1. Einst Verehrt von Allen  5:04
2. Thüringland in Eisiger Kälte  6:14
3. ...Durchwandernd die Heimat  6:57
4. Germansk  2:37

Total Running:  20:52


Fullmoon-United Aryan Evil (1995)

Phenomenal 1995 demo from Poland's Fullmoon. This band was considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of the NSBM scene, despite never releasing any full-lengths, but rather just a series of demos and rehearsals. But on to the music: this is wonderfully-composed, raw, yet very atmospheric black metal; wonderful, memorable riffs, subtle and tastefull keys, a good, old fashioned raw (yet listenable) production, great vocals-it's all here. Graveland fans, take note: Rob Darken played a big role in the recording of this demo, not only playing and composing the intro and outro, but also contributing in the songwriting process itself; so naturally, there are some similarities to Graveland's music here. As with all NS releases, if you disagree with the ideologies, I still urge you to check it out for the music's sake: this is very well-made black metal that just happens to be NS. Don't let that make you miss out on a wonderful listen. Highly recommended. Isengard Productions. 

1. Aryans Ride over Falling Israel  1:33
2. The Wolfish Initiation  12:54
3. Carpathian Windspirit  1:49
4. The Pagan Mountain  7:50
5. Blood for Immortality  8:26
6. In Thy Silver Glare  1:26

Total Running:  34:15


Forteresse-Les Hivers de Notre Époque (2008)

Most recent album from Canada's Forteresse. This is intensely atmospheric, epic black metal, that I cannot recommend enough. Easily one of the best bands to come out of the Canadian scene in recent times, Forteresse plays a mixture of beautifully-crafted, epic guitar riffs, an underlying bit of synth (which adds greatly to the vast, all-encompassing atmosphere of this release, and a heavy dose of Québécois nationalism. Highly recommended! Sepulchral Productions. 

1. En Quête du Souvenir  4:40
2. Ancienne Voix  9:12
3. Veille D'espoir-Aube Funeste  1:14
4. Ténebres  7:33
5. Les Corbeaux  9:39
6. Fils de Patriotes-Peres du Renouveau  1:14
7. Déluge Blanc  6:37

Total Running:  40:09

Canada (Québec)

Fornost-Der Wind hat mir ein Lied erzählt (2003)

Great full-length from Germany's Fornost. This is a very riff-oriented pagan black metal release, with some definite influence from the Norwegian second wave. It is also quite atmospheric, with clean vocal touches, acoustic sections (which have a faint similarity to later-era Bathory), and light synth touches, making this, overall, a very solid and enjoyable piece of black art. Recommended to all black metal fans, especially those who lean more towards atmospheric bm. Nebelfee Klangwerke. 

1. Towards the Fall of Time   9:46
2. A.F.K.B. (In the Sign of Total War)  3:29
3. Namenlos  7:15
4. Call of Nergal  3:01
5. Birkenwald  9:01
6. Amorph  3:00
7. Bustum  8:54
8. Outro  4:01

Total Running:  48:27


Monday, May 19, 2008

Lucifugum-...And the Wheel Keeps Crunching... (2001)

Third album from one of the powerhouses of the Ukrainian black metal scene, Lucifugum. This album has a slightly meatier production quality, and is simply chocked full of wonderful, memorable black metal riffs. The keyboards play a greatly reduced role on this album than they did on previous albums, but the riffs more than make up for their absence. Overall, a great slavic black metal album! Recommended. Propaganda. 

1. Potroha Sprovedlivosti  7:00
2. Principov Zamsh  3:50
3. Zhivi I Dalshe  7:53
4. Jazvist'io  12:08
5. Bog Jest'... On ne Mozhet ne Jest'  5:22
6. Wolves  4:24
7. Pod Shelest Vetvey  4:46

Total Running: 45:20


Lucifugum-Na Kryuchya Da V Klochya (On Hooks to Pieces!) (2000)

Here, we have Lucifugum's second full length of masterfully made symphonic black metal. This album takes on some thrashier elements than the previous album, but overall, maintains the very atmospheric, epic, sweeping, chaotic, symphonic black metal they are known for. This band in general is a must for fans of Kataxu, Nokturnal Mortum, and even Emperor and Graveland. Recommended! Propaganda. 

1. Pridaviena Upavshem Sterzhnem Zhizni  6:34
2. Tsepju Svobody  7:17
3. Vse Materi Umirayut  6:56
4. Neosyazaemoe, Beskonechnoe, Nepostyazhymoe  5:43
5. Nadryvom Na Vydohe  6:33
6. Vam, Glupym I Zhyvuchim  4:02
7. Terpet Sebya-Sudba Tvoya  6:49
8. U Zhizni Net Ceny  6:20

Total Running:  50:36


Lucifugum-Nakhristikhryaschakh (On the Sortilage of Christianity) (1999)

Over the years, another band in the Ukrainian scene that has become somewhat of a household name, is Lucifugum. Very epic, sweeping. orchestral/symphonic black metal in the same vein as countrymen Nokturnal Mortum, and groups such as Kataxu, and even traces of Emperor. If epic orchestral black metal is your thing, Lucifugum will do you good. Oriana Productions. 

1. March of Hatred  6:19
2. The First and the Last  4:44
3. Black for Black  3:44
4. I Am the Law!!!  3:37
5. Wolves (Part II)  4:57
6. The Light of Immortality  3:45
7. Renovation  4:49
8. When Hatred Incinerates the Heavens  4:49
9. On the Sortilage of Christianity  6:48

Total Running:  43:32


Forgotten Woods-The Curse of Mankind (1996)

Second full-length from Norway's Forgotten Woods. This is a further perfection of their beautiful, melancholic, depressive, yet raw and hateful black metal. Some of the post punk elements that pervade the music of Joyless, Lifelover, and Amesoeurs can be found here, executed in a very memorable way. Slower tempos, beautiful melodies, inclusion of the occasional acoustic guitar, lengthy, epic songs, and a raw black metal gloss over the whole thing. Highly recommended! No Colours Records. 

1. Overmotets Pris  12:14
2. My Scars Hold Your Dreams  13:10
3. The Starlit Waters/I, the Mountain  18:26
4. With Swans I'll Share My Thirst  4:40
5. Den Ansiktsløse  12:25
6. The Velvet Room  11:08
7. Jomfrulysets Fall  6:34

Total Running:  1:18:37


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Forgotten Woods-Sjel Av Natten (1995)

Spectacular EP from Norway's Forgotten Woods. This album is yet another fine example of Forgotten Woods' interesting and unique take on black metal, fusing post-punk melodicism with depressive, melancholic atmosphere, and of course, their tried n' true black metal. Highly recommended, especially to fans of bands such as Joyless, Lifelover, Amesouers, and Woods of Infinity. Pagan Records. 

1. Sjel av Natten  11:10
2. En Natt med Storm og Ravners Skrik  10:28
3. Hvor Vinteren Rår  7:17

Total Running:  28:55


Forgotten Woods-As the Wolves Gather (1994)

A very unique band in the Norwegian black metal scene, Forgotten Woods has always had a very interesting and different approach than their fellow countrymen, preferring slower tempos, post-punk-influenced melodies, audible bass, and a generally more depressive atmosphere. Overall, I think Forgotten Woods is one of the most criminally underrated bands of the entire scene. For fans of bands such as Joyless (which is a side project of this band), Lifelover, and even Amesoeurs, and anyone wanting some unique, depressive, moody black metal. No Colours Records. 

1. Eclipsed  6:26
2. As the Wolves Gather  10:29
3. In My Darkest Visions  8:45
4. Winter  0:48
5. Grip of Frost  5:55
6. Dimension of the Blackest Dark  7:13
7. Svartedauden  1:49
8. Through Dark and Forgotten Valleys  9:01

Total Running:  50:26


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Forgotton Tomb-Negative Megalomania (2007)

Most recent release from Italy's dsbm masters, Forgotten Tomb. This album sees some slight evolutions in sound, with the addition of some clean vocals, and a slightly more melodic approach to their song writing. Influences of Katatonia are very apparent, and there are moments that definitely reminded me of such bands as Lifelover, and even Amesoeurs. But above all, the crushing, dark, twisted, and depressing black metal that Forgotten Tomb has been known for, is still very much here, with doom influences very much intact. Highly recommended. Avantgarde Music. 

1. A Dish Best Served Cold  7:49
2. No Rehab (Final Exit)  11:47
3. Negative Megalomania  11:40
4. The Scapegoat  11:39
5. Blood and Concrete  14:06

Total Running:  57:01


Forgotten Tomb-Love's Burial Ground (2004)

Stunning third full-length from Italy's Forgotten Tomb. This album has a much cleaner production than most DSBM bands, making it something akin to Shining's work; that being said, Forgotten Tomb has their very own unique, distinct sound, that is shown in aces on this album, with morbid, oppressive, dark, and melancholic melodies, cold, gut-wrenching vocals, their usual black metal influences, and the dirge-like, grave's pace tempos, similar to that of bands in the funeral doom genre. Overall, if you want a depressive/suicidal black metal release that will leave you feeling completely void of happiness (in a good way(?)), this is for you. Highly recommended. Adipocere Records. 

1. Malus Vivendi Part I  2:15
2. Kill Life  8:43
3. Alone  11:57
4. House of Nostalgia  13:09
5. Malus Vivendi Part II  1:04
6. Love's Burial Ground  10:55
7. Slave to Negativity  9:15
8. Forgotten Tomb MMIII  5:49
9. Malus Vivendi Part III  2:02

Total Running:  1:05:09


Forgotten Tomb-Songs to Leave (2002)

Long-known as one of the leaders of the Depressive/Suicidal black metal scene, Italy's Forgotten Tomb has made quite a name for themselves over the years, for their special blend of well-produced (shock!!) blend of down-tempo, dreary n' morbid black metal, subtle and beautiful melancholic melodies, with the crushing heaviness of death-doom and funeral doom. A must for fans of Shining! Highly recommended. Selbstmord Services. 

1. Entombed by Winter  10:57
2. Solitude Ways  7:42
3. Steal My Corpse  9:29
4. No Way Out  6:46
5. Disheartenment  12:42

Total Running:  47:36


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ulfhethnar-Von deutscher Art (2005)

Phenomenal full-length from Ulfhethnar, the R.A.C.-influenced side project of Widar, the mastermind behind the likes of Bilskirnir. This music, overall, has a very uplifting, almost triumphant feel to it, creating a very enjoyable atmosphere. The melodies that Widar creates are always wonderful, regardless of what project he's writing for, and this is no exception. If you like Bilskirnir, you need to check out this, as well. As with the previous post, this album is obviously an album centered heavily around German nationalism, but if you don't prescribe to those beliefs, don't let that spoil this for you, because this is just absolutely great music. Highly recommended! Wewelsburg Records. 

1. Einmarsch  1:47
2. Friedhof in Böhmen  2:31
3. Neue Weltordnung  3:39
4. Sonnenrad  3:44
5. Totengedenken  3:45
6. Heilig Vaterland  3:41
7. Kampfgeschlecht  2:20
8. Der Fahnenträger  3:09
9. Ein letzter Gruß  2:48
10. Entwurzeit, verblödet, umerzogen  4:13
11. Kameradengrab  3:28
12. Noch in Ketten  3:03
13. Heimkehr  2:05

Total Running:  40:21


Ulfhethnar-Streiter Germaniens (2001)

Spectacular demo from Ulfhethnar, the other musical project from Widar (Bilskirnir, Ødelegger). This is more R.A.C./Oi influenced black metal, but with Widar's special attention to melody. Essentially, picture Bilskirnir as a punk band, and you have an idea of what Ulfhethnar is. As is the case with Bilskirnir, I urge you to look past the lyrical content (which is highly nationalistic), if you have a problem with this subject matter; but instead, appreciate the music for what it is. As far as i'm concerned, everything Widar touches is gold. HIGHLY recommended. 

1. Kampfgeschlect  1:17
2. Er Fiel für Deutschlands Freiheit  2:58
3. Arche Noah  2:03
4. Battlesong  2:26
5. Streiter Germaniens  1:32
6. Des Blutes Stimme  3:20
7. Burn the Books (Squadron cover)  3:26
8. Den Ahnen  3:48

Total Running:  20:53


Prentiss Tucker-The Lost Key: An Explanation of Masonic Symbols (1927)

Symbols play a big part in our lives, but we often take them for granted. To Illustrate the meaning of symbols, this book uses the example of the American flag, and explains what the symbols found on the flag really mean. The Important point is that without an understanding of American history, we'd not know how to interpret the symbols on our flag. The same holds true for all symbols. Lacking enough background information causes us, many times, to miss their full meaning. The Lost Key is a book for Freemasons, and explains the meanings of their symbols. Masons are members of a longstanding fraternal order that functions along the lines of a mystical brotherhood. A number of rituals are performed as one progresses up the ranks, usually in the form of an initiation. Often times, Masons themselves do not know what the symbols within these rituals truly mean while they are being performed- so therefore, do not fully understand what they are really doing and the true purpose of the initiation. There are thirty-three degrees, or levels, in Freemasonry. This particular book covers the symbols found within the first three degrees of Freemasonry, making this an excellent guidebook for the beginning Mason, as well as providing a more complete understanding for those in the higher levels, who administer or oversee their rituals. In recent years, statistics show that Freemasonry has begun to lose some of it's members. The older books like The Lost Key, have gone out of print and younger masons may not have fully understood the purpose of their initiations--at least enough to hold their interest. The symbols found within Freemasonry operate on a number of different levels. Now that The Lost Key has been put back into print, it may help to enrich an organization that traditionally attracts high-standing members of communities across North America and the rest of the world. 

120 Pages