Various Artists, "Metal Message, Vol. III"
Mistur - Skoddefjellet - These guys open the compilation up. However they are not terribly up my alley as there are too many keyboards going on. It reminds me a lot of Finntroll, a band that I cannot understand anyone liking. Honestly it sounds like their keyboard player was a session player for this song. There are some more raw moments here but for the most part this combines Finntroll with a much too polite Enslaved for my liking. This needs either to be nastier or simply to drop the polka elements of the music.
Lost Legacy - Lost Legacy - Imagine really clunky Dimmu Borgir with Magus Caligula of Dark Funeral on vocals. The keyboards are among the cheesiest I've ever heard. Sadly they stomp all over what would be a decent midpaced black metal song. I just can't get over the synths this song is soaking in. The production is pretty solid, though it would be even better if they had buried the keys in the mix. It's not overblown enough to be enjoyable like Dimmu, but not raw enough for most black metal fans I know. This would probably appeal most to someone who just heard the last few Dimmu albums for the first time.
Eluveitie - Your Gaulish War - These guys have a bit of a Celtic folk feel to the songs, although all the flutes end up doing is weigh the song down. There is some pretty good melodic death/thrash here, but sadly the flutes end up turning this into a Irish Spring commercial gone horribly metal. The production is pretty good and I love the raspy vocals, but the flutes kill me here.
Finsterfrost - Schatten der Nacht - This is basically bad power metal with a squeezebox accompaniment. Yeah, I am not the person that should be reviewing this song by a longshot. There is way too much noodling here and not nearly enough song. I love a good guitarist as much as anyone, but I hate a good guitarist who loves to hear himself play.
Thiasos Dionysos - Heidrun - Polka metal with random goat noises. To be honest this isn't so much bad as kind of funny. The baby goat sounds crack me up. Less accordian, more guitar boys.
Episode 13 - Forlorn ...Til Dawn - I liked this song bettwe when Dimmu Borgir recorded it under the title Progenies of the Great Apocalypse.
Hatred Divine - Sorrowfields Under the Ravensun - Thisd is some decent black metal here. Raspy vocals, fast guitars and a bit of piano. So far it's the best song on here by a lot, although it's mediocre at best. There are also some solid clean vocals here, but mostly this is straight ahead fast black metal. The only thing that derails this is a rather clunky guitar solo.
Kromlek - Kromlek - This is borderline power metal with raspy vocals. Then the folk overpowers everything, including my appetite. I just can't get into oompah-metal.
Hordak - Silvano, Senor de los Bosques - This is another song that sounds like an Irish Spring commerical gone metal, the only difference between this and the Eluveitie song is that I can't hear the drums worth a damn here.
Heiden - Polarni Den - The guitar reminds me of Mercyful Fate, though not nearly on that level. The raspy vocals eventually kick in, but this song is way too long and not nearly memorable enough to make it worth my time.
Arafel - Wrong Future - This is decent fast melodic black metal with some rather horrifying keyboards, but luckily they end up low in the mix by the time the song really gets going. They have the requisite raspy vocals and throw in some strings just for fun. This is decent, but nothing you don't already know by heart.
Legion of Darkness - Forgotten Path to my Salvation - This sounds like earlier Enslaved, a low-fi Blodhemn would be the best comparison. There is however a bizarre break with about two minutes left in the song which I wouldn't care about but then it sounds like another song starts up. This one has a bit more of a Satyricon- Nemesis Divina feel to it, though it's no Mother North.
Demonic Resurrection - Spirits of the Mystic Mountains - After a rather bombastic opening this settles into some decent blasting black metal. The only problem is that chorus is done with some rather weak clean vocals instead of continuing with some really good growling. They even throw in a pretty solid solo at the end. The clean vocals are the only problem I have with this song though.
Trollech - Volam Do Lesu - This isn't bad, but to be honest they just remind me of a watered down Dark Funeral clone.K.Huckins