Nov 29, 2015

Gorod (2015) A Maze of Recycled Creeds

Band: Gorod
Country of Origin: France
Status: Active
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 44:00 min.
Release Date: 10-16-2015
Current label: Listenable Records
Release label: Listenable Records

IR Classification: Good (4.2 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Gorod delivers an extraordinary mix of Jazz, Funk and Progressive to fuse with their Tech Death metal

When you think in Gorod the French Tech Death metal band, you might think of another bands name within the genre as their fellow countrymen Gojira, the Canadians Beyond Creation, the Germans Obscura or the Americans The Faceless and even the mighty Nile, then you think; Why Gorod isn't there among the pack? if they have enough arguments to be respected as the aforementioned bands, "A Maze of Recycled Creeds" it is their fifth full length in their discography, preceded by their controversial album "A Perfect Absolution" in 2012, which was criticized by many, but hailed by others, however this occasion they simply decided to go further and make clear enough how Tech Death metal should be played.

"A Maze of Recycled Creeds" dwells into a mix of well balanced jazzy riff, funky passages and grooves that add boldness, their riff switches back and forth with a singular smoothness, that make the complexity, dynamic and brutality merge in a subtle and convenient manner, placing this album as one of the best Tech Death metal of the year.

Since the opener cut "Air De L'ordre" a smooth piano intro which does not represent or belong to "A Maze of Recycled Creeds"  you're clueless to what is coming, but suddenly the intricate guitar work that "Temple of the Art-God" carries with it, the drums are blunt and the raspy vocals complement this song and right away links to "Celestial Nature" what an awesome track with funky bass notes rumbling in the background perfectly integrated in their Tech Death sound, which takes you into an unpredictable twist, "Inner Alchemy" keeps up in the same vein, you have to listening loud, the guitars are fresh and sharp without interfere at all with the low frequency of the bass, only Gorod were able to pull off such amazing notes and conjoining them into a single track, "An Order to Reclaim" in my opinion could reach the top of the album, it's plagued of funky riff that are aggressive with nauseating drums to make another perfect twist by the end slowing down the pace until reach what I could call a strange fusion of Funk and Doom metal, "From Passion to Holiness" the grooviest track in the album resembles what the band did in their previous album, but this time adding some refined low tones, "Dig into Yourself" displays an inventive progression chords defiant and fearless to bring one of the best guitar solo in the album, "Rejoice Your Soul" and "Syncretic Delirium" anyone could close the album, both tracks are magnificent, the very last track in the CD is an alternate version of “An Order to Reclaim”, which is not included in the 12 inches version.

Gorod got engaged with themselves to deliver an extraordinary mix of diverse styles varied from Jazz, Funk and Progressive to fuse almost perfectly with their Technical Death metal sound, there are few aspects that prevent this album be what deserves to be, the piano intro simply get lost in time by the end you barely remember it and "The Mystic Triad of Artistry" for some reason I just don't get it, I could say the riff doesn't feel convincing or the crushing pace alters the previous balance, but there something that doesn't flow as it should be, however this is an album that you cannot miss, so what are you waiting for?

Track List:

1. Air de L'ordre (Instrumental)
2. Temple to the Art-God
3. Celestial Nature
4. Inner Alchemy
5. The Mystic Triad of Artistry
6. An Order to Reclaim
7. From Passion to Holiness
8. Dig into Yourself
9. Rejoice Your Soul
10. Syncretic Delirium
11. An Order to Reclaim (Alt. Version)

Listenable Records

All rights reserved © Insanity Remains.

Nov 26, 2015

Hatecrowned (2015) Newborn Serpent

Band: Hatecrowned
Country of Origin: Lebanon
Status: Active
Genre: Black Metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 40:00 min.
Release Date: 08-13-2015
Current label: Satanath Records
Release label: Satanath Records

IR Classification: Good (3.8 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Hatecrowned delivers such level of maleficent dark ambiance without hint of salvation

Middle East is not well known by their metal scene, talking more specifically about Lebanon a country hit by various facts, as politics, religion, terrorism, wars, social segregation, poverty, immigration and more, however the metal scene made its roots there long time ago and although their scene is relatively young, we can rescue some names of bands like Blaakyum playing Thrash / Heavy Metal, Kimaera with a Doom / Death metal style, Symphonic metal band Ostura, Black metal band Ayat and recently Hatecrowned also in the Black metal vein, and this time I want to dedicate a space for this band.

Hatecrowned finds enough elements in the Old-school Black metal, rawness, ambiances and ruthless riff that match the crushing drums, the vocals explore a wide range of sounds going from shrieks, adding some howls and traditional death growls, the band was formed in 2011 by Ayvaal in vocals and Dahaaka in guitar and keyboards, during 2013 they released independently their EP titled "Warpact in Black" with four tracks, gaining international attention which lead them to ink a deal, with Russian record label Satanath Records, to release their album debut titled "Newborn Serpent" in last August 13, 2015 as a limited edition, with five hundred copies, the band accomplished their recording, with some guest musicians Benjamin "GoreDrummer" Lauritsen behind the drums and Eddy Ferekh as bassist.

Despite their rawness and heaviness they were able to craft in this album, there are some tracks that simply fall into a muddy pit, call it a flaw in the mixing or mastering or whatever, but in the other side there are plenty tracks to save this album as the opener cut "Ominous Birth of Serpent" there is a bass intro with middle east vibe and raspy vocals, semi fast pace it takes over with blasting drums, "Infest and Conquer" brings me some memories of the old Immortal more alike to the album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism the riff are aggressive blends perfectly with a pummeling drums, "Void" the instrumental track precede "Redefining Purgatory" and "Newborn Serpent", both are intense, demolishing fast pace with death growls if you are looking for a feeling that approach to misanthropy and darkness here is an excellent dose for you, the short "Funeral Reverie" brings some depressive doom tones, with blistering drums to explore or expand their own path, "Wolves" will embrace you with an ambiance intro, howlings lost in a vast fog in the middle of the forest, blackened riff, pounding drums and vicious shrieks ends this album.

Hatecrowned delivers such level of maleficent dark ambiance without hint of salvation and I have to admit it, though I'm not very familiar with Lebanese metal scene, I felt somewhat attracted by curiosity but with great hopes, my boldness brought me a feeling of yore, even with the few flaws in this is album it worth your time to spend listening to them.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. Ominous Birth of Serpent
2. For Scum Thou Art and Unto Scum Shalt Thou Return
3. Infest and Conquer
4. Coronation of the Eternal and Pure
5. Void (Instrumental)
6. Redefining Purgatory
7. New Born Serpent
8. Cave of Salvation
9. Funeral Reverie
10. Wolves

Satanath Records

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Nov 24, 2015

Kampfar (2015) Profan

Band: Kampfar
Country of Origin: Norway
Status: Active
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 40:00 min.
Release Date: 10-17-2015
Current label: Indie Recordings
Release label: Indie Recordings

IR Classification: Excellent (4.5 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

An album that wrapped all their essence with emotions that linger heavy, dark and raw

Kampfar began their journey over twenty years ago, their career has been plagued of success in certain circles, but haven't yet reached the full recognition that they deserve and therefore unjustly relegated to the second page of the Black metal history, the band has clearly demarcated their own path into two episodes, the first episode embrace four albums which can be iconic for the sub genre specially "Mellom skogkledde aaser" released in 1997, but we will focus on the latest episode, that started in 2010 with departure of guitarist and bassist Thomas and one of the cornerstones in Kampfar sound, causing a shift in the composition that excels superbly, without underestimating the sound of yesteryear.

"Mare" released in 2011 began the most accessible Black metal period, stepping into a more melodic and powerful sound, but remain heavy with dense ambiances, during 2014 Kampfar released the sequel titled "Djevelmakt" which is not a superfluous Black metal album, it is an abundant recording on emotions, strength and creativity, but "Profan" becomes the link that unites these two previous albums with a more powerful sound and the most consistent in their songwriting.

The album opens with "Gloria Ablaze" eerie riff that explodes in your speakers with fury, dragging you instantly into a chaotic abyss, that gradually turns into a wonderful doom piece totally loaded in heavy tones, contrasting with slamming drums reaching its pick when the blast beats set in, the guitars are raw, while the morbid vocals linger deeper in your soul, "Icons" is another outstanding cut, it is intense, dynamic with orchestral arrangements and defiant drums, adding choruses that give an epic sense, "Daimon" not only one of the best tracks in the whole album, it works as their promo video clip, structured with infectious guitar riff that unleashes mighty landscapes of the underworld, relentless drumming while the raging vocals blend with the music seamlessly, the last song "Tornekrattet" seems to be the perfect closing track, skillfully with heavy melodies and gloomy passages builds an ethereal wall of sounds that suddenly ends letting you hanging on, while you regain your breath.

Kampfar after all were able to accomplish an album that wrapped all their essence with emotions that linger heavy, dark and raw; if I had to define "Profan" with three words, I can't think of any other way, Kampfar has proved once again they still have what it takes to make an excellent Black metal album.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. Gloria Ablaze
2. Profanum
3. Icons
4. Skavank
5. Daimon
6. Pole in the Ground
7. Tornekratt

Indie Recordings

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Nov 21, 2015

Voices of Ruin (2015) Born from the Dark

Band: Voices of Ruin
Country of Origin: US
Status: Active
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 49:00 min.
Release Date: 10-17-2015
Current label: Independent
Release label: n / a

IR Classification: Good (3.9 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

A record vastly rooted in the Gothenburg early sound with a twist of traditional thrash metal

Voices of Ruin emerges again from the Southern California scene with a devastating follow up of their debut album released back in 2010, titled "Into Oblivion", five years passed to deliver their newest production titled "Born from the Dark" which was released few weeks ago, I'm still in shock after several listening to this album, many can point out that Melodic Death metal is no longer a mainstream and such bands who still dwelling within the sub genre, they lack of originality they might be right, but who cares? there is one thing those who dare to point out can't denied, those bands carry on the passion, the intensity and the fury, with crushing riff and lethal rhythm sections they are capable to recapture the essence of Gothenburg sound at the beginning of the nineties and Voices of Ruin are among those bands they invoke bands like Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Amon Amarth as their influences.

Voices of Ruin have their headquarter in Costa Mesa, California; this five piece metal act was formed in 2008 by brothers Tom Barrett in guitars and Dave Barrett as vocalist, the band is complemented by Wally Myers as bassist, Steve Carlton in rhythm guitar and Lonnie Vanhorn behind percussion duties, "Born from the Dark" was recorded at Trench Studios and Ruin Sound & Recording, the album was produced by Voices of Ruin and Scott Fuller, (Abysmal Dawn, Annihilated) only to mention some of his previous works, it was engineered, mixed and mastered by Scott Fuller, framed by the exceptional cover art of talented Par Olofsson (Exodus, Immortal, Abysmal Dawn) are in his catalog.

Voices of Ruin, delve their sound into catchy guitar riff to drench with melodic waves and pummeling drums to infringe the brutality you has been craving for, "Born from the Dark" doesn't fail at all but neither reaches the pinnacle, with subtle changes of pace, they accomplish to take you in a memorial journey while you keep head banging with the stunning guitar work of Tom Barrett, "The Awakening" opens this album with distressing guitar riff, it suddenly becomes more intense with structured melodies and guttural vocals that shatter your senses, "The Black Horizon" made of intricate guitar riff and a heavy rhythm section it works perfectly to display the melodic vocal range of Dave Barrett, the ruthless percussion's by Lonnie Vanhorn keep up with the pace and the bassist Wally Myers weaves dense notes adding a sense of robust melody, "Death's Design" start with soft and melodious riff, that turn into a revival of the purest Melodic Death metal, resembling At the Gates or In Flames the dueling guitars stand out for the ferocious discharge of melodies and brutality blended so unsurpassed, "Fallen" is the following track and simply does that the emotion and intense head banging last longer than you would expect, at some point mentally you wouldn't believe from where it comes the embracing hell, but you let yourself go with the burning fire, it seems like Voices of Ruin leave the best tracks for the second half of the album, "Exiled... Into Darkness" the longest track doesn't let you down, rich guitar riff display their repertory and some tricks come out to keep you engage, the closing track "Blacked Out" kicks off with an intro of subtle drum and melodious bass to fuse with shredding guitars and vicious growling vocals, this is a track that never decline the intensity or balance of the whole record.

It is clear for me that Voices of Ruin have defined their sound through time blending somewhat their influences vastly rooted in the Gothenburg early sound with a twist of the traditional Thrash metal, what I really enjoy of this album is how they manage to pull a very well balance, clean and intricate production, this goes for all the record labels, here is plenty of talent to support, what are you waiting for? And you fans of the sub genre come join them! You won't be disappointed.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. The Awakening
2. Scars (Of My Sanity)
3. The Black Horizon
4. A Ghost Inside
5. Death's Design
6. Fallen
7. Exiled... Into Darkness
8. Blacked Out


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Nov 8, 2015

Manipulation (2015) Ecstasy

Band: Manipulation
Country of Origin: Poland
Status: Active
Genre: Deathcore
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 44:00 min.
Release Date: 09-11-2015
Current label: Satanath Records
Release label: Satanath Records

IR Classification: Good (3.6 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Ecstasy shines within the sub genre offering a varied listening experience

Here we go! this time with Manipulation a band formed in Gołdap, Poland in 2001, the band was active during six years, during this period they released two demos the first one "Live in Kotlownia" in 2003 a "Promo 2005" and their debut album "The Future of Immortality" in 2007, after releasing the album the band took a break and came up some lineup changes, but basically the core band remains intact, then they reunite to record their EP titled "Resurrection" in 2011 and their second full length "Passion" released in 2012, today they approach to us to perpetuate the stigma with their newest album "Ecstasy".

What we can appreciate here is a refined Deathcore, chugging guitars, accurate drumming, a crushing bass insertion and decaying vocals, which put them apart from their contemporaries in the other side of the Atlantic Ocean which seems to structure everything with a bunch of palm muted guitars.

Unlike many other bands Manipulation doesn't limit themselves, they explore and add some tremolo guitar picking, as dictated by the old school and in some cases chord progression is there present and of course with the classic palm muted technique, I never said it wasn't part of their sound, but at least is not so recurrent, "Ecstasy" is a ten tracks album which opens with "Insomnia" delivers crushing riff with some dose of melody and hellish vocals that excel, the composition feels more progressive, because they do not fall excessively in just riff, breakdown, riff breakdown, slower breakdown "Sic Itur Ad Astra" and "Paradigm of Existence" fit perfectly to this idea but "Sunset over Vatican" takes the whole album to another level, where they beat you down with a terrific melodeath passage, just to accomplish the highest peak in the record, while "Temples of Vanity" remains intense with unceasing drums, the gutturals, breakdowns, chugging and chords are vast, the closing track is the self titled album "Ecstasy" where they delves into a more ethereal ambience with demolishing riff, mid pace drumming and chants in the background supporting the raspy growls, definitely there is more than enough creativity contained in this album to explode your speakers.

Manipulation recorded this album at Monroe Sound Studio in Poland, the producer and sound engineer of the album was Arkadiusz “Aro” Jabłoński (Shadows Land, Masachist) and "Ecstasy" was released under Satanath Records, the current lineup is as follow: Rado Slav and Vulture on guitars, Bysiek on bass, Kriss on drums and Brużyc on vocals, something interesting to mention about track number six, "Sunset over Vatican" the guitar solo was recorded by special guest Jacek Grecki from Lost Soul.

Overall this album shines within the sub genre offering a varied listening experience and could easily fit as a Death metal act, but they still infuse those breakdowns that defines what they play, sometimes ending quite abruptly and leave you hanging on trying to understand what happened, however if you have predilections for such coarse transition moments, then you should listen to them.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. Insomnia
2. Sic Itur Ad Astra
3. Lifetime
4. Bad Boy
5. The Paradigm of Existence
6. Sunset over Vatican
7. Temples of Vanity
8. Burn Motherfuckers!
9. Dźwięk upadku
10. Ecstasy

Satanath Records

All rights reserved © Insanity Remains.

Nov 6, 2015

Arkaik (2015) Lucid Dawn

Band: Arkaik
Country of Origin: US
Status: Active
Genre: Technical Death metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 54:00 min.
Release Date: 10-30-2015
Current label: Unique Leader Records
Release label: Unique Leader Records

IR Classification: Good (4.0 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Tech Death metal that captures the essence of the subgenre

The Inland Empire's metallers has returned with a stimulant dose of Progressive Tech Death metal, Arkaik, came out more than ten year ago and since then, they have always treated us with creativity and brutality spreaded in their songwriting "Lucid Dawn" is the fourth full length in their discography and who else could released this album, well no other than Unique Leader a label reputed by acts like Deeds of Flesh, Fallujah, Inanimate Existence and Gorod just to mention few ones, the band current lineup is Jared Christianson on vocals, Ivan Munguia in bass, Alex Hernandez-Bent on drums, Greg Paulson on guitars and Miguel Esparza as lead guitar.

Tech Death metal is a very difficult subgenre to be successful, because it demands a lot of creativity, intensity and precision all blended in a cohesive form to explode in the right way at the right moment, loaded with a shredding riff, accurate blast beats and tempos that lead you into a labyrinth with chaotic sounds but disciplined.

"Lucid Dawn" captures the essence of the sub genre and packs it in a tremendous production, the albums kick off with a classic guitar "Intro" and rapidly takes you to the next track "From the Void" with ambitious riff and devastating bass lines supported by exceptional drums by Alex Hernandez which collide with sickest vocals of Jared Christianson, "Digital Shroud" made of a groovy riff and blunt vocals works out to shine the jazzy bass solo by Ivan Munguia, "Awaken the I" is an astonishing track that delves in groovy riff interwoven with melodies and a vicious guitar solo by Miguel Esparza, "Fleshwalkers" defies the beautiful chaos with that intro and suddenly it is immerse in nauseated riff and relentless drums, the onslaught is inevitable for the listeners, the self titled album "Lucid Dawn" is indisputably the kind of Tech Death metal that holds up this album, vibrant, intricate musical structure with sharp riff, powerful vocals that lay on a meticulous drum, the closing track doesn't let this album down at all "Temple Aflame" with a crushing riff, raspy vocals that rip your ears apart, actually the track is listed to last almost sixteen minutes, but end up around the minute 4:50 playing some outer sounds as wood burning in a pit and then a sample that talks about space, time and cosmic creation.

I believe that Arkaik has delivered a solid album within the subgenre, clever songwriting, clean production as demanded by the style, the potential contained in this album, can put them clearly into the eye of the storm, but definitely it requires them to explore and stretch the boundaries for their next recording, meanwhile if you liked Suffocation, Obscura or Decapitated, well you should try Arkaik, you might end up enjoying them.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. Risen
2. From the Void
3. Digital Shroud
4. That Witch Lies Hidden
5. Awaken the I
6. Fleshwalkers
7. Fusion of Epochs
8. Lucid Dawn
9. Conjuring
10. Temple Aflame

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Nov 4, 2015

Dalkhu (2015) Descend... Into Nothingness

Band: Dalkhu
Country of Origin: Slovenia
Status: Active
Genre: Blackened metal / Death metal
Type: Full Length
Format: Digital 320 kbps
Length Approx.: 44:00 min.
Release Date: 08-15-2015
Current label: Satanath Records
Release label: Satanath Records

IR Classification: Good (4.4 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

A crushing blackened death metal album

Dalkhu was formed in 2003 by J.G. on guitars, he was joined by  Kalki on drums and after few lineup changes the band was complete by Jurij on bass and Berstuk on vocals, with this line up ther recorded their album debut "Imperator" which was released back in October 2010, after the album released, Berstuk leave the band around 2011 and he is replaced by P.Ž. in 2012 and this is how Dalkhu began working on their second release, but lineup changes will hit the band again when Kalki and Jurij depart from the band in 2014, leaving the band as a two members band, however doesn't stop J.G. and P.Ž. to put the finishing touches on the songs for the new album, in August 2014 they enter at Nightside Studio, with Spawn of the Void as session drummer to record seven infamous tracks, the mixing ran by J.G. while the mastering was done at Necromorbus Studio by Tore Stjerna, to finally get the album released last August 15, 2015 under Satanath Records.

I have to be honest and tell you two important facts, first; as soon as I started to listen, "Descend... Into Nothingness" it blows me away and second I missed Dalkhu's first album "Imperator" five years ago, but I do not regret for it, because today's I can clearly witness the evolution of the band through all this time, listening both albums one after another and "Descend... Into Nothingness" stands by itself, not for been a groundbreaker but being creative, intricate and interesting, because you just can't get enough of it, this is an album you can hit re-play once and over.

Songs like the first one "Pitch Black Cave" with a superb guitar riff that shift you from one side of the room to the other, it has everything you been asking for catchy, brutality, dense and guttural vocals that freeze your soul, "The Fireborn"  rumbles your speakers and keeps up the same pace, Spawn of the Void does a neat work behind the drum set, while "In the Woods" slows down for couple of minutes and then unleashes their fury to magnificently returned to the starting point and thus continue in a chaotic seesaw, you can pick any cut off this album and you will find out a terrific songwriting riff that excel up to guitar tremolo that captivate your senses, "Soulkeepers" falls into melodious gloomy passages more oriented to the Norwegian influence and the closing epic cut, "E.N.N.F." reaching almost the ten minutes but unfortunately doesn't make the impact I was expecting, musically speaking, is not monotone is structured with different rhythms, probably there are many ideas in a song, that could well have become two tracks, who knows? Perhaps eventually I'll end up accepting.

Dalkhu does an extraordinary job, there is no question about it, they delivered a crushing Blackened death metal album, if you liked their debut album, prepare yourself to experience a renewed, energetic and aggressive sound, So if you are a fan within the genre don't hesitate to order your physical copy or download, you will not regret it.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. Pitch Black Cave
2. The Fireborn
3. In the Woods
4. Distant Cry
5. Accepting the Burried Signs
6. Soulkeppers
7. E.N.N.F.

All rights reserved © Insanity Remains.