Reviews : Search Results for Candlelight Records

242 reviews for Candlelight Records:

1349, "Hellfire" 1349
Hellfire
Candlelight Records
2005

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Satan's choice Scandinavian sons return with their apparent masterwork, a rampant grindfest of torrential blasting, cursed riffing and possessed shrieking. The overall barrage of everything scary and devastating about 1349 has been upped, the riffing, Frost's nonstop skin assault, and Ravn's throat is certainly an instrument of the devil himself, thus culminating in the sharpest blade in the label-backed glossy...
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1349, "Beyond the Apocalypse" 1349
Beyond the Apocalypse
Candlelight Records
2004

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Until Beyond the Apocalypse, my only knowledge of Norway's 1349 lay in a lukewarm review of Liberation. It summed the band up as poorly produced, been-there-done-that old-school black metal. I still haven't heard Liberation, but Beyond the Apocalypse surely can't be described with such a ho-hum attitude. The production on this disc isn't 100% clean,...
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Abigail Williams, "Legend" Abigail Williams
Legend
Candlelight Records
2007

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Legend is Phoenix-based Abigail Williams’ debut EP. The five songs herein are absolutely scorching, showing songwriting adeptness and ability far beyond the band’s newcomer status in the metal scene. Blending mostly early Black Dahlia Murder style brutal, dense melodic death metal with a tasteful amount of Enthrone Darkness Triumphant-era Dimmu Borgir black metal, this band sound fucking fearless....
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Abigail Williams, "Legend" Abigail Williams
Legend
Candlelight Records
2007

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The once disbanded Abigail Williams, a massive embodiment of all things metal, has regrouped! Their debut EP, "Legend," displays incredible amounts of strength and talent for these musicians. They deliver genre defying elements; composing a hybrid of bombastic black metal, Gothenburg style death, and hints of hardcore breakdowns. This is greatly in favor of fierce undeniable black...
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Almah, "Edu Falashi" Almah
Edu Falashi
Candlelight Records
2007

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Of the many unique experiences ProgPower USA had to offer this year, perhaps the most intriguing had nothing to do with the bands on stage. Although it’s still unconfirmed, some informed parties at the festival this year were saying that Angra are now ‘on-hold’. Surprising as this may be at first, it’s not all that difficult to believe, as many...
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Amoral, "Decrowning" Amoral
Decrowning
Candlelight Records
2006

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Amoral’s second album, Decrowning, is so good it’s going be sending me to the thesaurus any minute now to find all the superlatives I’ll need to describe it. These five Finns do their goddamnedest to write tight, coherent, technical, thrashing death metal that’s well structured and completely engrossing. The whole album is pretty much perfect in this way...
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Amoral, "Decrowning" Amoral
Decrowning
Candlelight Records
2006

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Amongst technical, melodic metal bands, there seems to be two types of bands: those that are technical first, then incorporate melodies a la Anata and those that are melodic, but happen to shred a la Arsis. Amoral, however, straddle this line on their second full-length effort, Decrowning. Amoral play what could be called progressive melodic death thrash. Sometimes they take on...
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Ansur, "Axiom" Ansur
Axiom
Candlelight Records
2006

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Ansur are a Norwegian black metal band who like to combine the old school raw black metal with more industrial and acoustic passages to strange effect. I like what they want to do here, but sadly they fall well short of what they are going for. This is probably due mostly to the drumming, which is rather clumsy...
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Audrey Horne, "No Hay Banda" Audrey Horne
No Hay Banda
Candlelight Records
2005

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Audrey Horne plays rock and roll. No frills, no bullshit, no overt aggression, no sappy soft rock lullabies. Catering to the post Mtv crowd of Queens of the Stone Age, Velvet Revolver and the like, No Hay Banda is an extremely competent, yet explicitly sullen record full of dark melody, and hooks without being goth, and without being Nu-rock garbage....
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Bal Sagoth, "The Chthonic Chronicles" Bal Sagoth
The Chthonic Chronicles
Candlelight Records
2006

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Pairing up a black metal assault with Cradle of Filth-esque theatrics, Rhapsody's epic fantasies, and an almost power metal-inspired symphonic backing, England's Bal-Sagoth returns after five years of relative silence with a wide-scoping, sci-fi black metal ambition. From the ambitious, swirling, quasi-operatic opening of "The Sixth Undulation of His Chthonic Majesty," the untrained might think this a grimmer approach to...
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Battered, "Battered" Battered
Battered
Candlelight Records
2006

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Einherjer is dead and gone... I can accept that. After delivering the stunning "Blot" album, the guys decided they'd done what they'd set out to do and folded the band. I don't blame them a bit, even though I'm sad that one of my favorite bands is no more. Therefore, when I...
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Belef, "Infection Purification" Belef
Infection Purification
Candlelight Records
2004

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Upon first glance Belef receives the best artwork of the year award in the "scene from the haunted house ride at the fair" category. Upon first listen they receive the"We've been listening to Marduk" award. The Legion-esque shrieking, coupled with nonstop blasphemic speed and riffs-a-plenty, Infection Purification is certainly the top contender for Panzer Division 2005. "Brutal Destruction," an ever...
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Belef, "Infection Purification" Belef
Infection Purification
Candlelight Records
2004

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I hope you're hungry for unrelenting blast-beat driven ugly black metal, because Belef is serving up a double helping with their debut Infection Purification. These Frenchies span the gap between Marduk and Zyklon with the eight songs on this disc, all the while appealing only to the most brutal of black metal tastes. It's a rare moment that...
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Benea Reach, "Monument Bineothan" Benea Reach
Monument Bineothan
Candlelight Records
2007

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A large chunk of down tuned riffs , a hefty dose of core vocals, and with a very small amount of doom-laden chords, Benea Reach take the stage. Now, these fellows are from Norway, so what's with all the core? I will say that it is certainly more sludgy and post-metal-ish, but that still means it will most likely...
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Birdflesh, "Mondo Musicale" Birdflesh
Mondo Musicale
Candlelight Records
2007

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I'm really, really bad about judging bands by their name/artwork/general aura before hearing them. I mean, I'm right a lot of the time, but every so often a band like Pig Destroyer or Birdflesh comes along and completely knocks me on my ass. When I first got a glance at the cover art for Prowler in the Yard I intentionally...
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Blood Tsunami, "Thrash Metal" Blood Tsunami
Thrash Metal
Candlelight Records
2007

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If you’re a metalhead, and more specifically, as a metalhead who can’t get enough thrash, you know exactly what I mean when I say that there are albums out there that just make you want to pound shots, fuck anything that moves, drive waaaaaay too fast, and kill all in your way (not necessarily in that order). Because when...
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Blood Tsunami, "Thrash Metal" Blood Tsunami
Thrash Metal
Candlelight Records
2007

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Their name is Blood Tsunami –– let's give 'em 10,000 points right outta the box. But the album is simply called "Thrash Metal"? Let's take those 10,000 points back. Call me a dick, but there's nothing cute or even reverential about the album title. It's just dumb. Especially coming from a band who seems to know precisely what they want...
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Blut Aus Nord, "Mort" Blut Aus Nord
Mort
Candlelight Records
2006

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With more dissonance per bar than all your Voivod and Gorguts albums put together, this might be a polarizing album for most folks, who will likely either worship or reject it outright. While the same interesting electronic beats featured on their earlier albums break up what might otherwise be a very hypnotic sound, the other instruments break into some of...
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Blut Aus Nord, "The Work Which Transforms God" Blut Aus Nord
The Work Which Transforms God
Candlelight Records
2004

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Blut Aus Nord hail from France and they play one of a kind black metal on The Work Which Transforms God. The poor production, overuse of synth and trance style atmospheres that basically make the disc what it is, show us listeners what a black metal band with "vision" is all about. Sarcasm aside, Blut Aus Nord take...
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Blut Aus Nord, "Memoria Vetusta I (Fathers of the Icy Ages)" Blut Aus Nord
Memoria Vetusta I (Fathers of the Icy Ages)
Candlelight Records
1996

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Well, first off, why they lost the Francois de Nomé artwork in favor if the blurry green landscapes and illegible text is beyond me. At least the music is the same. Years before Blut Aus Nord decided to venture into space, they crafted fucking epic ghoulish black metal. And while the synth work has always been prevalent (not so much...
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Blut Aus Nord, "Ultima Thulee" Blut Aus Nord
Ultima Thulee
Candlelight Records
1995

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This, the first effort of France’s Blut Aus Nord, is a competent meld of horror synth and sparse, vague, Emperor-isms, culminating in a completely fucked, scary slab of thick black metal. Reminiscent of elder Immortal, Moonblood, Graveland minus the folk, Ultima Thulee stands as a strong debut, and given the use of the synth-scapes, can easily stand as a grindy...
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Cadaver, "Necrosis" Cadaver
Necrosis
Candlelight Records
2004

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First they're Cadaver, then they're Cadaver, Inc. Now they're Cadaver again and they've got a different label. On the band's fourth album Necrosis, this once cutting-edge Norwegian black/death metal band takes another swing at things. From the opener "Necro as Fuck," it becomes immediately apparent that Cadaver aren't really interested in competing with Myrkskog or Zyklon anymore,...
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Callenish Circle, "Forbidden Empathy" Callenish Circle
Forbidden Empathy
Candlelight Records
2004

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This review is going to be kind of a strange one, due to the fact that this is a re-issue that has 4 recordings on two discs. Disc one has their second album, Graceful... Yet Forbidding and the preceding EP Escape. Disc two has their first album Drift of Empathy and their only demo Lovelorn. So I...
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Callenish Circle, "Forbidden Empathy" Callenish Circle
Forbidden Empathy
Candlelight Records
2004

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Callenish Circle’s two-CD set Forbidden Empathy is a collection of the band’s early work. It includes the entirety of Graceful…yet Forbidding and the band’s self titled EP, as well as their debut Drift of Empathy, and their only demo, Lovelorn. Disc one, containing the first two albums listed has the newest material here, and is far more interesting...
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Carnal Forge, "Testify For My Victims" Carnal Forge
Testify For My Victims
Candlelight Records
2007

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You remember back in grade school when the cool kid asked, “You know what’s grosser than gross?” And you’d say no, and he’d chuckle and say, “Being stuck in a dump truck full of dead babies and having to eat your way out!” Well, if I had to guess if there were anyone in metal who would do...
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Carnal Forge, "Testify For My Victims" Carnal Forge
Testify For My Victims
Candlelight Records
2007

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It has been nearly three years since Carnal Forge’s last release, ‘Aren’t You Dead Yet?’, which came out in 2004. In that year, the band parted ways with their original vocalist Jonas Kjellgren and soon replaced him with the relatively unknown Jens Mortensen. Due to the rather quick succession of these events and Jens’s prompt inclusion in their touring line-up,...
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Centinex, "World Declension" Centinex
World Declension
Candlelight Records
2005

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The long-running Swedish metal outfit Centinex may not be a household name in the world of death metal, but with the release of World Declension, the band very well could fit itself in amongst some lofty company. Utilizing blast beats, ripsaw musicianship, and the Scandinavian production sound, World Declension wouldn't be out of place among giants Dismember, Kataklysm, and Immolation. Unfolding...
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Centinex, "Decadence - Prophecies of Cosmic Chaos" Centinex
Decadence - Prophecies of Cosmic Chaos
Candlelight Records
2004

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Sweden's Centinex have been around for a long time. After listening to their prior releases, "Diabolical Desolation" in particular, I thought they would never make a truly great album. The band just seemed to be about three years behind and not quite interesting enough. But now, with their 2004 release of "Decadence -- Prophecies of Cosmic...
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Centinex, "Diabolical Desolation" Centinex
Diabolical Desolation
Candlelight Records
2001

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I heard Centinex for the first time when I got to listen to an mp3 from Hellbrigade. I was impressed to say the least. The music was aggressive, hard-edged and damn fun. So I was really happy when I got their new one in my hands. I was even more surprised to see Carnal Forge front-man Jonas Kjellgren on the...
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Christian Death, "Lover of Sin" Christian Death
Lover of Sin
Candlelight Records
2002

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I had always wondered what I had been missing by never listening to Christian Death. If the band's 2002 offering Lover of Sin is any indication, then it would be safe to say that I've missed very, very little. Virtually everything about this disc is either sub-par or has been done before and better...
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Crionics, "Human Error : Ways to Self Destruction" Crionics
Human Error : Ways to Self Destruction
Candlelight Records
2004

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Crionics hail from Poland and, as is clear on Human Error - Ways to Self Destruction, the band's second album, they have been carefully studying recent works from the death/black metal greats of the last few years. The disc is teeming with IX Equilibrium guitar-isms, successful, catchy keyboard hysterics ala Dimmu Borgir and a throaty vocal delivery...
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Crionics, "Armageddon's Evolution" Crionics
Armageddon's Evolution
Candlelight Records
2004

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Ye gods I don't know where to begin with this album so I'll start by telling you it’s amazing. These guys manage to combine the mechanized mayhem of Myrkskog's Deathmachine with the bleakness of Emperor's Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. I have no idea who thought of combining the two like this but I'm bloody impressed. ...
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Crionics, "Armageddon's Evolution" Crionics
Armageddon's Evolution
Candlelight Records
2004

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Crionics blew the world away with their last album Human Error: Ways of Self Destruction, a disc that was full of surprisingly tight, scathing music that could have been the lovechild of Emperor and Vader (please don’t try to visualize that!). Almost too quickly these kids from Poland are back with another round, adequately titled Armageddon’s Evolution. This disc, much...
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Crowbar, "Lifesblood for the Downtrodden" Crowbar
Lifesblood for the Downtrodden
Candlelight Records
2004

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Crowbar is Crowbar is Crowbar, through and through a forever boot to the skull, a draining southern excursion of sludge done by the masters. Kirk Windstein and company craft anthem after stone cold droning, heavy as fuck anthem. “New Dawn” reigns in supreme as an instant classic, the hardcore gut churn and breakdowns of “Angel’s Wings” and “Underworld” leading to...
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Cruachan, "The Morrigan's Call" Cruachan
The Morrigan's Call
Candlelight Records
2007

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As usual, my ears are stunned into submission by Cruachan. This band has been consistently releasing good albums for more than a decade and "The Morrigan's Call" is no exception. I was trying to explain the concept of "folk metal" to someone recently and the look on her face said I wasn't getting through. ...
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Dam , "Purity : The Darwinian Paradox" Dam
Purity : The Darwinian Paradox
Candlelight Records
2005

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English five-piece, Dam throw down the gauntlet with their release of Purity (The Darwinian Paradox). The disc plays like something straight off the Earache roster back in 1991, sounding like Carcass somewhere between Symphonies and Necroticism but with today’s smarts for melodic death/thrash and some extremely tasty riffs. Granted, the recording quality is also stuck in ‘91, but...
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Dam , "Purity : The Darwinian Paradox" Dam
Purity : The Darwinian Paradox
Candlelight Records
2005

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Holy 1994. You really don't realize how spoiled you are with 2005 record production until you get a record which prides itself in rebelling against it. This band is comfortably retro, however, and the bass heavy cave dweller production works for them rather well. Somewhere between Carcass' Necroticism record and maybe the long lost Disgrace stands the...
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Damnation, "Destructo Evangelia" Damnation
Destructo Evangelia
Candlelight Records
2004

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Damnation are one of those cult black metal bands from the late 80s/early 90s that have a miniscule, yet rabid following despite the fact that the group never did much more than release a few demos until now. 2004 sees the group finally releasing its debut, Destructo Evangelia. I don’t know about you, but I surely wasn’t chomping...
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Damnation, "Destructo Evangelia" Damnation
Destructo Evangelia
Candlelight Records
2004

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Weathered, cold, old school black metal, where it rises in effectiveness, it certainly lacks in appeal. Translated; this is killer late 80s, early 90s Darkthrone black metal, but this is 2004, and this album will soon be buried under piles and piles of similar poo. Hopefully with Candlelight behind them, and their strong, educated sound, Damnation can fight through the...
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Dark Funeral, "De Profundis Clamavi ad te Domine" Dark Funeral
De Profundis Clamavi ad te Domine
Candlelight Records
2005

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Dark Funeral are back to remind us they still exist, as it has been far too long since 2001's Diabolis Interium, a much-respected album in my household. However they have decided to do it in a live fashion instead of with a new studio album, although one is apparently coming soon. Not soon enough, and on an unrelated...
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Dark Funeral, "Attera Totus Sanctus" Dark Funeral
Attera Totus Sanctus
Candlelight Records
2005

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Sweden's Dark Funeral have always played dark, evil brutal black metal. Until they recruited Matte Modin from Defleshed to fill in on drums for Diabolis Interium, however, their music had seemed a little ordinary. With this addition on their last album, however, something clicked, and the band catapulted their music to a position that rivaled bands like Dissection...
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Dark Funeral, "Attera Totus Sanctus" Dark Funeral
Attera Totus Sanctus
Candlelight Records
2005

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Finally thickening up, but never faltering, never slowing down, Dark Funeral have created an extremely fucking svelte beast of death worship, hell fire and unwavering riff devotion, Attera Tottus Sanctus is just the Dark Funeral I have been waiting for since Secrets of the Black Arts. After the immensely boring Diabolus Interim, the aura and thick as fuck riffing have...
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Daylight Dies, "Dismantling Devotion" Daylight Dies
Dismantling Devotion
Candlelight Records
2006

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Daylight Dies is one of the few bands that can pull off the whole melancholic, doom-laden eight-minute songs without either being wimpy or putting me to sleep. In fact, 2003's No Reply caught me by surprise and was a pleasant introduction into the world of gloomy melodic death metal with melancholy sadness. That world might not be too densely populated,...
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Dead Man in Reno, "Dead Man in Reno" Dead Man in Reno
Dead Man in Reno
Candlelight Records
2006

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Now here's an interesting acquisition for Candlelight Records: Tuscaloosa, Alabama's Dead Man In Reno isn't quite what would be expected through the band's affiliation with the English label predominantly specializing in black metal. Instead, Dead Men deal in a decidedly metalcore sound. I hate using the term, but here it applies: breakdowns and screams lie in proverbial sin with Swedish-influenced...
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Debris Inc., "Debris Inc." Debris Inc.
Debris Inc.
Candlelight Records
2005

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I don’t give a flying fuck whether Debris Inc. have members of St. Vitus and Trouble in their ranks, because the band’s self-titled debut is a total piece of dog shit. I also don’t care if the band is trying to mix the 80’s garage-punk sound with doom, because from the sound of this disc, they either fucked up...
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Debris Inc., "Debris Inc." Debris Inc.
Debris Inc.
Candlelight Records
2005

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Debris Inc. features Saint Vitus guitarist Dave Chandler and Trouble bassist Ron Holzner who are out to recreate the sludgy, hard core punk of the early 80s. Doomy riffs reminiscent of Vitus intermix with basic Black Flag-inspired chord changes and gang vocals. The production and mix are fucking horrible, muddy as hell with buried vocals, just like things were back...
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Destruction, "Thrash Anthems" Destruction
Thrash Anthems
Candlelight Records
2007

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Unlike many bands, Destruction has released a greatest hits type album that actually makes sense. What we have here is 13 tracks of classic Destruction completely re-recorded (and in some cases slightly rearranged) in addition to two brand new cuts. They’ve got Schmier back in the fold doing vocals, so this particular version of “Cracked Brain” is the only...
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Destruction, "Inventor of Evil" Destruction
Inventor of Evil
Candlelight Records
2005

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Destruction, by far the most active of the three German thrash titans, return with their fourth album since Schmier rejoined the band. This might also be their best of the four, although The Antichrist and All Hell Breaks Loose are quite good too. Metal Discharge was a bit off to my ears. There aren't really any new...
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Dismember, "The God That Never Was" Dismember
The God That Never Was
Candlelight Records
2006

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Death metal legends Dismember return hand-in-hand with the band's now trademark fuzzed out grooves, flawlessly melodic guitar hooks, and relentless vocal barking, all of which retain death metal roots, yet unequivocally scream (from within the halls of a burning church) one thing: Dismember. While the band may have taken some slack for its incorporation of melody as of the past...
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Elvenking, "The Winter Wake" Elvenking
The Winter Wake
Candlelight Records
2006

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"The Winter Wake" is the third release from this merry band of Celtic-influenced power metallers from Italy. I picked up the debut, "Heathenreel", back in the day, but I wasn't impressed by vocalist Damnagoras' efforts, thus I didn't buy their second record "Wyrd". Well, as Fate would have it, Damnagoras left the band in 2002, so he wasn't on the...
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Emperor, "Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath" Emperor
Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath
Candlelight Records
2003

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Seeing as how Emperor has been considered by most as one of the best Norwegian black metal acts that ever was, it wouldn't make any sense for the group to end its career without leaving us a greatest hits disc. And that's exactly what Scattered Ashes is, though it really is a double CD with...
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Emperor, "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise" Emperor
Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise
Candlelight Records
2001

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Legendary band...last recording...early pioneers...reigning kings of black metal...blah blah blah. Now that that's out of the way, let's see if the final Emperor album is a worthy note on which to leave the stage. In a word: Yes! Perhaps due to Samoth's lack of involvement or perhaps in recognition of the criticisms leveled at "IX Equilibrium", Emperor have stepped away from...
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Emperor, "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise" Emperor
Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise
Candlelight Records
2001

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Emperor have always been the undisputed lords of the black metal realm. Each and every one of their ingenious releases has garnered them the respect and praise that only the best bands in metal receive. And, as the forerunners in the genre, it has been Emperor's burden to bring to us lowly peons a...
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Emperor, "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk" Emperor
Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
Candlelight Records
1997

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This is quite probably black metal's finest hour. Arguably for the first time, a true band, risen from the ashes of Norway, entered a studio and emerged with an album of such importance, such quality, that no one could any longer cast doubt on the skill and talent of the genre. Everything that Emperor had hinted at on "In the Nightside...
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Emperor, "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk" Emperor
Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
Candlelight Records
1997

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The tagline on the links page proclaims that, "Love them or hate them, they (Emperor) were a cornerstone of black metal." It's a claim that is impossible to dispute; they recorded the two most important albums in the history of the genre ("In the Nightside Eclipse" and this one) and were among its first purveyors, and yours truly just so...
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Emperor, "Reverence" Emperor
Reverence
Candlelight Records
1997

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Emperor's limited Reverence MCD was an immensely important release for a few reasons. Most obviously, it marked the band's triumphant return to the black metal scene, having been on a three year break due to legal problems we need not delve into at this time. Out went the corpse paint and in came new drummer Trym, completing the core of...
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Emperor, "In the Nightside Eclipse" Emperor
In the Nightside Eclipse
Candlelight Records
1994

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This was recorded a year after Mayhem's De Mysteriis when Emperor was still dangerous and in danger. Churches had been burned and a couple of members were facing prison terms. But once again, out of the chaos came brilliance. In the Nightside Eclipse is one of the defining albums for black metal, capturing all the essential ingredients : murky production, drums...
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Emperor, "Emperor" Emperor
Emperor
Candlelight Records
1993

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Emperor's self-titled debut was originally released on a split CD with Enslaved's "Hordane's Land," by Candlelight in 1993. It was later re-released on a CD called "Wrath of the Tyrants," by Century Media. This release bundled the self-titled debut with 1992's "Wrath of the Tyrants" demo. Overall, the songs here are raw and nasty sounding, and lean more towards "Morbid Tales"-era...
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Ensiferum, "Victory Songs" Ensiferum
Victory Songs
Candlelight Records
2007

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There's no way that Folk metal can be done well without involving a little bit of fun and cheese, and genre veterans Ensiferum have found the perfect balance between the folky campiness and dramatic flair while releasing an album to which the head of any living metalhead will surely bang. From the start of the instrumental opening "Ad Victoriam," the listener...
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Enslaved, "Ruun" Enslaved
Ruun
Candlelight Records
2006

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When it comes to black metal, I'm admittedly a noob. For the longest time I was put off by the genre because of the cheesy corpse paint, awful production jobs, and general lack of listenability. In fact, if I had opened up this review a few years ago, I would have probably already moved on to another review. I wonder...
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Enslaved, "Isa" Enslaved
Isa
Candlelight Records
2004

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I'm sure your reaction to a new Enslaved record was the same as mine. Where does this Viking longboat go next? First they added three new crewmembers in guitarist Arve Isdal, keyboardist/vocalist Hebrand Larson and drummer Cato Bekkevold. The last of these changes is what concerned me the most, as I was quite a fan of Dirge...
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Entombed, "Serpent Saints" Entombed
Serpent Saints
Candlelight Records
2007

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When the news came that Entombed had lost their rhythm section and co-founding guitarist Uffe Cederlund, it seemed that the Swedish rough and tumble stalwarts were going to take a tumble of a different sort. Uffe had been a major contributor to Entombed dating all the way back to their Nihilist days in the 80’s, and was the primary songwriter...
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Entombed, "Unreal Estate" Entombed
Unreal Estate
Candlelight Records
2005

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Holy shit! Get this: Unreal Estate is an entirely live Entombed album recorded with no overdubs at the Royal Opera Hall in Sweden as music for a professional ballet performance. Much of the band’s material has been altered to fit the performance better, and a good deal of it is spacier and quieter than you’d expect. This doesn’t...
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Entombed, "Unreal Estate" Entombed
Unreal Estate
Candlelight Records
2005

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At first, Entombed's Unreal Estate seemed weird to me. It's a lethargic, atmospheric recording from a band I had only known from the Wolverine Blues era. How could a band progress so far as to ditch their death metal roots for something that sounded like a Slayer-meets-Buckethead-meets-Philip Glass project? Well, serves me right for not reading the bio sheet ahead...
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Entombed, "Inferno/Averno" Entombed
Inferno/Averno
Candlelight Records
2004

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A long, long fucking time ago Sweden's Entombed played scene-shaking death metal. Ever since To Ride, Shoot and Speak the Truth, however, the band has been trying to make the most of death n' roll, despite the genre's ability to forever ruin otherwise decent groups. On the stateside release of Inferno, Entombed gift to us a second disc called Averno,...
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Eternal Majesty, "Wounds of Hatred and Slavery" Eternal Majesty
Wounds of Hatred and Slavery
Candlelight Records
2006

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Eternal Majesty doesn't screw around when they make a record. This is some really old school black metal with a martial style beat to it. The vocals are a lovely cold rasp that sound like it comes from beyond the grave. The riffs are very much from the Darkthrone school; although the production is much better in...
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Farmakon, "Robin" Farmakon
Robin
Candlelight Records
2008

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Robin starts out quickly and propitiously as Farmakon make no bones about their early-Opeth-reminiscent attack. The first three songs on the band’s second album hit hard and impressively as the group furthers the better aspects of the sound they cultivated on their premature debut, A Warm Glimpse. The music is heavy and thrashing for prog; catchy and...
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Funeral, "From These Wounds" Funeral
From These Wounds
Candlelight Records
2007

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As new-school, European post-Candlemass Doom Metal goes, Funeral are thoroughly old-school. They put out their first two LPs way back in ‘94 and ‘95, before a half-decade hiatus and a couple untimely deaths took them out of the doom spotlight. They haven’t been heard from since 2002 (make that two hiatuses, then), but they’re back now. A cursory listen confirms...
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Furze, "UTD : Beneath the Odd-Edge Sounds to the Twilight Contract of the Black Fascist / The Wealth of the Penetration in the Abstract Paradigmas of Satan" Furze
UTD : Beneath the Odd-Edge Sounds to the Twilight Contract of the Black Fascist / The Wealth of the Penetration in the Abstract Paradigmas of Satan
Candlelight Records
2007

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I see what happened here. What’s the most underground, esoteric thing you can do, besides making utterly grim black metal? Making that black metal as obnoxiously fucked up as you can. Make your guitar tone as thin and irritating as possible, don’t worry about learning to play, and at random times throughout your absurdly longwindedly titled album, start twisting the...
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Furze, "Trident Autocrat" Furze
Trident Autocrat
Candlelight Records
2006

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Furze is the brainchild of black metal weirdo Woe J. Reaper. Originally released in 2000, Trident Autocrat is the band's first official release, though the material on 2003's Necromanzee Cogent was written before it and had a much different style. On Trident Autocrat, Reaper drops most of the strange doomy psychedelic elements from Necromanzee Cogent in favor of a more straightforward,...
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Furze, "Necromanzee Cogent" Furze
Necromanzee Cogent
Candlelight Records
2006

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Originally released in 2003, the material on Necromanzee Cogent was actually written well before 2000's Trident Autocrat but for whatever reason didn't get released until later. Truth be told, the releasing order actually feels about right as this is a more experimental and interesting listen than their 2000 release and seems like it would come afterward. Whatever. This is a damn...
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Gentlemens Pistols, "Gentlemens Pistols" Gentlemens Pistols
Gentlemens Pistols
Candlelight Records
2007

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Gentlemens Pistols is a Leeds-based hard rock act with only a small handful of 7inch releases under their belt previous to this, their self-titled debut. The band formed in 2003 and since have made a name for themselves with said releases and an energetic live show. It seems like everyone is trying their hand at this style recently, so the...
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Gorgoroth, "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam" Gorgoroth
Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam
Candlelight Records
2006

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Few bands outside Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir’s quasi-black metal domain have caused the level of metalhead polarization that Gorgoroth has. They are alternately idolizedby their fans, scorned as ‘untrue’ by their critics, or simply ignored by those with the good sense not to get involved in such conflicts. Recent conflicts within the band (disgruntled departure of prominent songwriter...
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Grand Magus, "Wolf's Return" Grand Magus
Wolf's Return
Candlelight Records
2005

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Until Wolf’s Return I hadn’t heard Grand Magus…though with the band sharing their vocalist with Spiritual Beggars, I was more than a little interested. What I found when I spun this disc in the ol’ stereo, however was not what I was expecting. “What the fuck is this?” I thought as “Kingslayer,” a full-blooded metal anthem poured from...
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Grand Magus, "Wolf's Return" Grand Magus
Wolf's Return
Candlelight Records
2005

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Now this is what I've definitely been in need of: marching war doom with a dash of deathly and blackish guitars. JB from Spiritual Beggars heads up this mighty power trio and he combines monster riffs with his warm, warrior's pipes. Dude has a great mid-range voice, whether he's crooning in his vibrato-laden chant style or belting it out like...
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Grimfist, "10 Steps to Hell" Grimfist
10 Steps to Hell
Candlelight Records
2005

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First of all, while I don't hold this against the band or this fine record let me take a second let out a "Fuck You" in the general direction of Candlelight records for sending me a promo that has the volume going in and out in order to prevent ripping for later downloading. How do I tell you how...
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Grimfist, "Ghouls of Grandeur" Grimfist
Ghouls of Grandeur
Candlelight Records
2003

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I'm sure like you any interest in Grimfist started with the news that this would be how Horgh would be occupying his time after Immortal broke up. Then I heard Frediablo (Necrophagia, Gorelord, Wurdulak among others) would be joining the band and I became less enthused. This was a mistake on my part because this record is a...
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Hearse, "In These Veins" Hearse
In These Veins
Candlelight Records
2007

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Hearse play old-school style death with a slightly off-kilter feel, a touch of melody and a sense for strange yet effective songwriting. Their members have spent time in Arch Enemy and the highly underrated Furbowl prior to their contributions to this band. On Hearse’s fourth full-length album, In these Veins, we see the group continuing where The Last...
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Hecate Enthroned, "Redimus" Hecate Enthroned
Redimus
Candlelight Records
2004

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Hecate Enthroned hail from England and play symphonic black metal… and if the world were a kinder place for this band, there would be no such thing as Cradle of Filth. If Dani and crew were to vanish from the scene, our thoughts, and the constant abuse in my stereo, Hecate Enthroned would be fucking rock stars simply because...
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Hecate Enthroned, "Redimus" Hecate Enthroned
Redimus
Candlelight Records
2004

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You know, as I have said before, I was once a pretty big Hecate Enthroned fan, but Redimus is just another re-hash of old ideas, in a genre that has already been pushed beyond its limits. Much as Graveworm faltered with Engraved in Black, Redimus is a textbook romp through overproduced death metal riffs played with black metal flair. I...
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Hemlock, "Bleed the Dream" Hemlock
Bleed the Dream
Candlelight Records
2007

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Here is your next entry into the “New Wave of American Heavy Metal”. The first thing you will notice is an unbelievable resemblance on the vocals to Jamey from Hatebreed. With the exception of a few variations, the majority of the vocals could pass as a guest appearance. Apparently, this is actually a re-issue of the bands self released album. The...
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Hevein, "Sound Over Matter" Hevein
Sound Over Matter
Candlelight Records
2006

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The combination of metal and symphonic elements is really nothing new. We've all heard the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the combination of these elements. Everything from the breathtaking beauty of Therion, to Metallica's questionable S&M, to synth-laden black metal. Rest assured, Finland's Hevein mix the elements with the utmost of taste and delicacy. Hevein remind...
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Ihsahn, "angL" Ihsahn
angL
Candlelight Records
2008

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With ‘angL’, Ihsahn’s post-Emperor experiment continues to gain steam, establishing his solo career as both legitimate artistry and a commercial success. Although he had worked in other projects before—Peccatum’s ‘Lost in Reverie’ being on par with any Emperor effort—it was only when he took up his own moniker as a band name that his reinvention was completed in the public...
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Ihsahn, "The Adversary" Ihsahn
The Adversary
Candlelight Records
2006

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So, good ol' Vegard Sverre Tveitan (who sometimes goes by Ihsahn) is at it again, this time shedding the black metal look. This is his first solo album, branded by its maker as being "A contunation of my work within the metal genre. It incorporates influential elements from all periods/stages of my background since I first picked up the guitar...
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In Battle, "Kingdom of Fear" In Battle
Kingdom of Fear
Candlelight Records
2007

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In Battle is one of the many modern Swedish death metal bands flying just under the metal world’s collective radar. Over five releases, the band’s style has evolved from black/Viking roots as members come, go, switch instruments, and grow into their talents (the self-titled debut was recorded when they were but 20). As things stands today, every active member has...
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In Flames, "Subterranean" In Flames
Subterranean
Candlelight Records
2005

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The mid 1990s were, in my opinion the very best era in death metal. This is almost wholly due to the fact that melodic Swedish death metal is my single favorite type of music, and that during this time period, At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames were writing music that has yet today still not been topped....
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In Flames, "Lunar Strain" In Flames
Lunar Strain
Candlelight Records
2005

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In Flames’ debut Lunar Strain saw the light of day in 1994 on Wrong Again Records. Featuring Mikael Stanne on vocals and brimming with melodic guitars and diverse instrumentation, it was clear even then that this band’s future was (as Tom Petty might say) wide open. Tracks like “Behind Space,” “Lunar Strain” and “In Flames” all helped define...
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Iniquity, "Grime" Iniquity
Grime
Candlelight Records
2002

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Blurrrrggghhh! If you want to get your face kicked in fiercely, cross this brutal Danish death quintet. Iniquity plays bone snapping, skull pummeling, downright mean and ferocious death metal in the vein of country mates Infernal Torment and Illdisposed. On the band's fourth release, Grime, we see Iniquity extending their dirty reach even further, encompassing all that they grasped for...
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Insense, "Soothing Torture" Insense
Soothing Torture
Candlelight Records
2006

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Hailing from the cold Norwegian city of Oslo, Insense has a surprisingly un-black metal sound, despite coming from the frozen tundra that has spawned forth so many vile-spewing bands before. Combining sparsely-used clean singing alongside chunky, thrash influenced guitar rhythms, resulting in a thrash metal / hard rock hybrid. According to the band, Insense, on its second release, Soothing Torture...
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Insomnium, "Above the Weeping World" Insomnium
Above the Weeping World
Candlelight Records
2006

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Finland's best melodic death band, Insomnium, have matured noticeably while still staying true to their original brand of melancholic melodic death here on their third full-length album. Here the young Finns have slightly altered their style; instead of delivering bleak, cold, hauntingly beautiful soundscapes throughout the album, they choose to infuse more thrashy, staccato-riffed passages, which give the album a...
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Insomnium, "Above the Weeping World" Insomnium
Above the Weeping World
Candlelight Records
2006

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Ever since Finland’s Insomnium released In the Halls of the Awaiting I have been hoping that there’d be some justice in the metal world and that this band would find instant critical acclaim and their album sales would go through the roof. With their third release Above the Weeping World, I’m totally convinced that this group is the single...
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Insomnium, "Since the Day it All Came Down" Insomnium
Since the Day it All Came Down
Candlelight Records
2004

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Insomnium threw down the gauntlet on their debut In the Halls of the Awating. The disc blended the absolute best elements of Sentenced with aggression and drive reminiscent of earlier Dark Tranquillity, and the result was an edgier, far more engaging listen than 99% of the bands in Finland or Sweden could ever even hope for. With...
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Insomnium, "Since the Day it All Came Down" Insomnium
Since the Day it All Came Down
Candlelight Records
2004

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Just when I think Insomnium can't get any better, they come out with this work of art. The melodies are more haunting; the songs have even more depth and atmosphere, and in "Nocturne", they have the single best introduction that I have ever heard. A haunting piano and violin piece both sets the mood and segues perfectly into the blazing...
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Insomnium, "In the Halls of Awaiting" Insomnium
In the Halls of Awaiting
Candlelight Records
2002

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I'm not sure I've ever before heard a debut album that's been this good. Finland's Insomnium sound so accomplished on In the Halls of the Awaiting it's almost preposterous to think that this is their first disc. Borrowing the best elements from both the Swedish and Finnish scenes, and carefully mixing them with their own...
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Insomnium, "In the Halls of Awaiting" Insomnium
In the Halls of Awaiting
Candlelight Records
2002

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In the Halls of Awaiting is the debut of this foursome from Finland, and for all the hype about, "frosty doom and gloom from the land of a thousand lakes," Finnish bands do bring a refreshing intensity and enthusiasm to what is, for them, a newer genre than for their Scandinavian neighbors. Insomnium is no exception, and the reputation Finns...
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Insomnium, "In the Halls of Awaiting" Insomnium
In the Halls of Awaiting
Candlelight Records
2002

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Damn, these guys are good. Hailing from Joensuu, Finland, Insomnium has popped out of nowhere and released a debut CD that immediately puts them on par with giants such as Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, In Flames, and Soilwork. The guitars, unleashed by axemen Ville Friman and Ville Vänni, stand out. While not being blazingly fast, they combine magnificently fashioned harmonies,...
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Jorn, "The Duke" Jorn
The Duke
Candlelight Records
2006

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So of course Jorn Lande's vocals are way up front on this, the latest solo offering from the former Masterplan vocalist. And yes, I'm somewhat of a sucker for his vocals; looking at his discography, I've got at least half of it in my permanent collection, from Ark to Masterplan to The Snakes to Mundanus Imperium and...
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Jotunspor, "Gleipnirs Smeder" Jotunspor
Gleipnirs Smeder
Candlelight Records
2006

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This is the latest project from former Gorgoroth members King ov Hell and Kvitrafn. Between the two of them they handle everything on the album, though there isn't a ton going on. This is rather primitive black metal in the Norwegian tradition. All of the lyrics are in their native tongue as well, so I have no...
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Kaamos, "Lucifer Rising" Kaamos
Lucifer Rising
Candlelight Records
2004

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The Swedish death metal revival movement is still fresh in its stride with more bands releasing quality albums everyday. But as there is more quantity being produced the bar of quality is getting pushed farther up everyday. With old masters like Grave and Dismember mixing it up with newer upstarts like Bloodbath (who sort of changed directions) it's hard to...
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Kaamos, "Lucifer Rising" Kaamos
Lucifer Rising
Candlelight Records
2004

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Finland’s Kaamos take a tried-and-true approach on Lucifer Rising. The disc is an eloquent 36 minutes of simple yet engaging old school death metal played with the usual heavy low end, brutal vocals, and an ample number of blast beats per track. Fortunately, Kaamos aren’t simply replaying the best of Entombed, Carnage and Grave on this disc, as...
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Kaamos, "Kaamos" Kaamos
Kaamos
Candlelight Records
2002

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After the release of the "Curse of Aeons" demo, Kaamos was signed by Candlelight Records and sent back to the studio to record a proper full-length debut. The result is the sef-titled "Kaamos", and a sure-bet that this band will soon be a force to be reckoned with in death metal. Largely boycotting all...
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Keep of Kalessin, "Armada" Keep of Kalessin
Armada
Candlelight Records
2006

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Norway’s Keep of Kalessin is pure fucking black metal, and their fourth release, Armada, demonstrates the band’s supreme power. Usually when people use the word “shredding” to talk about a metal band, it’s in reference to lead guitar work and technical hot-dogging. For Keep of Kalessin, shredding is just about all they do, but it has very little...
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Keep of Kalessin, "Armada" Keep of Kalessin
Armada
Candlelight Records
2006

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Somewhere between the planes of Celtic Ireland and modern-day Texas, Proscriptor McGovern is waiting on his royalties check. This is not to say that Keep of Kalessin is truly an Absu knock-off, but the similarities are strong and unmistakable. Interesting that this comparison has not been made more often. ‘Armada’ has been one of the year’s most perplexing releases in terms...
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Khold, "Krek" Khold
Krek
Candlelight Records
2005

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Norway’s Khold have insisted on playing simple, cold black metal with mostly Norwegian lyrics. On the band’s previous releases they pretty much wore the style out, or at least what was left of it since they weren’t the first to play true Norwegian black metal. On Krek, though the band marches forward with all the headstrong determination of...
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Khold, "Krek" Khold
Krek
Candlelight Records
2005

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Khold are one of black metal's most unique bands. Not in the sense of genre-splicing or being progressive per se; these Norwegians simply don't play by the rules. Rather than an all-out blast fest or some synth-infused garbage, Khold stay somewhat true to the original ideas of black metal, however, there is an undeniably different feel to what they do. They...
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Khold, "Morke Gravers Kammer" Khold
Morke Gravers Kammer
Candlelight Records
2004

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Cold simplicity is what Norway's Khold have peddled on prior releases, and the band has not changed much in philosophy for Morke Gravers Kammer. The disc is 10 tracks of nihilistically uncomplicated, dark, mid-paced black metal, and all the lyrics are in Norwegian. The surprising thing is that this formula works well for the band, despite the continual...
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Killing Joke, "Inside Extremities, Mixes, Rehearsals, and Live" Killing Joke
Inside Extremities, Mixes, Rehearsals, and Live
Candlelight Records
2007

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This is two discs devoted to Killing Joke's 1990 album Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions. I was probably the wrong person to review this collection as I have never heard the album in question. I only got into Killing Joke following Sebastien's review of Hosannas from the Basement of Hell. (Thanks again Seb.) So when...
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Knights of the Abyss, "Juggernaut" Knights of the Abyss
Juggernaut
Candlelight Records
2007

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The current deathcore boom absolutely blows my mind. I mean, I like the style well enough, but can every suburban kid between the ages 16 and 22 just pick up an instrument and instantly start shredding like a legend? Anywho, Knights of the Abyss are a Phoenix-based 'core-friendly death metal band, sharing many similarities to bands like Despised Icon, Job For...
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Kotipelto, "Serenity" Kotipelto
Serenity
Candlelight Records
2007

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The third solo album for the singer of Stratovarius and it's back to speedy power metal land for my well worn ears. Timo has collected a good band this time around, with the incomparable Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom) on keyboards leading the way. The engine room is made up of Lauri Porra on bass and...
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Kryoburn, "Enigmatic Existence" Kryoburn
Enigmatic Existence
Candlelight Records
2005

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New Mexico’s Kryoburn show their affinity for Demanufacture-era Fear Factory with their debut Enigmatic Existence. Thankfully, the band also incorporate a few Meshuggah-isms and some of that patented Southwest style rhythmic hatred prevalent on many of Pissing Razors’ albums. The result is an eleven-track disc that sounds mostly like the best of Fear Factory updated for the new...
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Kryoburn, "Enigmatic Existence" Kryoburn
Enigmatic Existence
Candlelight Records
2005

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Kryoburn play an energetic brand of metal that resists easy categorization into one or another sub-genre of underground music, but has a sound familiar enough to anyone who’s been paying attention to modern day metal. If you take as your starting point “Soul of a New Machine”-era Fear Factory, then travel up the road to Pantera land,...
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Limbonic Art, "The Ultimate Death Worship" Limbonic Art
The Ultimate Death Worship
Candlelight Records
2002

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So this is what all the hype is about... I'd heard Limbonic Art a couple times, and had some tracks from "Ad Noctum," but I'd never really sat down to absorb them. Now that I'm presented with their spectacular new album, "The Ultimate Death Worship," I've gone back and listened to it all with a fresh ear...
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Limbonic Art, "Ad Noctum: Dynasty of Death" Limbonic Art
Ad Noctum: Dynasty of Death
Candlelight Records
1999

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It's really difficult to keep up with the Norwegian black metal scene these days. No longer can we just focus on Emperor, Enslaved and Immortal, because if we were so foolish, bands like Myrkskog, Zyklon and Limbonic Art (just to name a few) would go unnoticed, and we'd be the worse for it. Speaking...
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Limbonic Art, "Ad Noctum: Dynasty of Death" Limbonic Art
Ad Noctum: Dynasty of Death
Candlelight Records
1999

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This is the re-release of Limbonic Art's follow-up to the magnificent Moon in the Scorpio. On Ad Noctum, these two Norwegians continue to create their brand of eclectic and ravishing black metal. While the songs on Ad Noctum are still incredible long [the average song length here is over 8 minutes], complex and dark, gone is some of the atmosphere...
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Litmus, "Planetfall" Litmus
Planetfall
Candlelight Records
2007

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Litmus is a retro space rock band and unless you're an acid-dropping, dyed-in-the-tie hippy pining away for the second coming of Hawkwind, this album will probably only serve as an interesting distraction. There aren't any songs on here that will surprise you (unless you've never heard Hawkwind), but the record is chocked full of fun, old school, simplistic guitar riffs...
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Lord Belial, "The Seal of Belial" Lord Belial
The Seal of Belial
Candlelight Records
2005

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Swedish black metallers Lord Belial may never get the recognition that Dissection or Emperor had, but their fifth album, The Seal of Belial, shows them fighting tooth-and-nail for all they can get. As black metal goes these days, this disc utterly kills. The songs are grandiose without the band pouring gallons of sappy keyboardage all over their music....
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Lost Eden, "Cycle Repeats" Lost Eden
Cycle Repeats
Candlelight Records
2007

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Japan’s Lost Eden debut with Cycle Repeats, a 36-minute workout in all that is good and holy in melodic death metal…plus a few less excellent ideas that only a young band would attempt. Focusing on the negative first, this album has a few too many marginally metalcore moments, but otherwise is full of early-day In Flames style riffs. ...
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Lost Eden, "Cycle Repeats" Lost Eden
Cycle Repeats
Candlelight Records
2007

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After an atmospheric intro from Japan's "best kept metal secret" - Lost Eden, one of Candlelight's latest additions kicks into full steam on "Squeeze." Billed as a melodic death/hardcore band, it's a fitting description and just about on target. Mixing melodic death riffs, with aggressive, throaty vocals that remain decipherable and some cleanly sung choruses with occasional tasteful leads, scaled-back...
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Manes, "How the World Came to an End" Manes
How the World Came to an End
Candlelight Records
2007

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Manes' newest album. How The World Came To An End is a trip-hop/electronica album. I mean, this has more in common with Radiohead than Machine Head, so why the hell are we reviewing it here? Because it's on Candlelight and Manes used to be a black metal band, that's why. Regardless of the reason, I'm happy this sucker came through...
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Manngard, "Circling Buzzards" Manngard
Circling Buzzards
Candlelight Records
2002

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Manngard play a herky-jerky brand of technical death/thrash. Not as intense, chaotic or gripping as Meshuggah or Dillinger Escape Plan, but in a similar arena. Here, parts are allowed to find the occasional groove, but the squirrely tempo shift (and occasional time shift) is definitely a dominant force in the songwriting. I feel like I'm a sightseeing tourist in a...
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Marduk, "Plague Angel" Marduk
Plague Angel
Candlelight Records
2005

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Every review I read about Marduk is “oh, they’re so fast, oh they’re so brutal, oh they’re so blasphemous.” Please! Give me a fucking break. I’ve owned a few of Marduk’s albums in the past, and I have plenty of reasons why they’re no longer part of my collection. The plain and simple fact about this...
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Marduk, "Plague Angel" Marduk
Plague Angel
Candlelight Records
2005

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As has been the case in the last couple of years, the slow, crushing songs by these Swedes seem to do the most damage when piled against their faster standards. "Life's Emblem Steel Inferno" and "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" are the names this time around, pulverizing your ears from a gaggle of blazing black metal tracks. New vocalist Mortuus...
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Martriden, "Martriden" Martriden
Martriden
Candlelight Records
2007

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I’ve decided that Candlelight Records are a bunch of lying bastards. The reason is that Martriden’s four-song, self-titled EP is way too good to be a debut effort. There’s just no fucking way that this Montana-based group can write music as incredible as this on their first try. The four songs span nearly the entire death metal genre,...
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Martriden, "Martriden" Martriden
Martriden
Candlelight Records
2007

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These guys might very well be the first band I've ever heard from Montana. They make it pretty clear that they get their hands on the good stuff out there as well. Their style is fairly aggressive melodic death metal, though they don’t lack heaviness either. The first song has elements of Decapitated and Behemoth to it,...
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Masterplan, "MKII" Masterplan
MKII
Candlelight Records
2007

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Led by Roland Grapow, Germany's Masterplan is sporting a new vocalist on the second album, having parted ways with Jorn Lande. Now stepping up to the mic is Mike DeMeo (from Riot) who adds his smooth delivery and soaring melodic sense to the blueprint of slightly progressive power metal. Mike is a solid vocalist who always...
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Masterplan, "Aeronautics" Masterplan
Aeronautics
Candlelight Records
2005

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This second offering from Masterplan has been out for quite awhile now and I've been listening to it for ages trying to make up my mind about it. If you're unfamiliar with the band, it consists of ex-Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch along with vocalist Jorn Lande, keyboardist Axel Mackenrott and bassist Jan S. Eckert. Lande's vocals...
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Memfis, "The Wind-Up" Memfis
The Wind-Up
Candlelight Records
2007

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Of the many musical genres that Sweden is known for, prog and the elusively-titled ‘modern metal’ are not among them. Yet. Between the rising act Canopy, the burgeoning success of Burst, and now the recent arrival of Memfis, Sweden appears to be gearing for yet another genre takeover. (For those curious, Memfis is the Swedish spelling of ‘Memphis’, and was...
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MindGrinder, "Riot Detonator" MindGrinder
Riot Detonator
Candlelight Records
2005

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Mindgrinder are fans of the blasting approach to death metal favored by bands such as Hate Eternal that combines with some death/thrash in the vein of Dew-Scented. It's decent stuff although it's a little too much like Hate Eternal in that it everything starts to sound the same not far into the album. They also have a clear love...
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MindGrinder, "MindTech" MindGrinder
MindTech
Candlelight Records
2004

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MindGrinder are a relatively new band from Norway, and having put out two demos, are now attacking the world with their premier release, "Mindtech". When it works, this blend of space/death metal and programming can be pretty cool. The guitar work is solid, technically proficient and even interesting at times. Cosmocrator (aren't pseudonyms...
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MindGrinder, "MindTech" MindGrinder
MindTech
Candlelight Records
2004

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Norway's responsible for some really sick shit; bands with members in jail for murder and church burning, and probably worse even. It's no doubt, then, that some of the sickest music comes from this part of the world. Beginning with Emperor, way back before black metal was what it is now, then came Zyklon and Myrkskog right when...
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Mithras, "Behind the Shadows Lie Madness" Mithras
Behind the Shadows Lie Madness
Candlelight Records
2007

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Mithras come to me by way of England and they are an interesting sound to be sure. They are not perfect by any stretch but I am impressed by what I hear. They play a pretty straightforward brand of blackened death metal in the vein of Belphegor and Zos Kia Cultus-era Behemoth. However the best comparison might...
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Mithras, "Worlds Beyond the Veil" Mithras
Worlds Beyond the Veil
Candlelight Records
2004

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Mithras open Worlds Beyond the Veil with a six-minute intro that does nothing for the album. Every second of "Portal to the..." makes me want to beat these guys with a lead pipe (I can see it now: swinging away screaming "STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!" at the top of my lungs). Yeah, it's that bad, that unnecessary...
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Monolithe, "Monolithe II" Monolithe
Monolithe II
Candlelight Records
2005

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Oh how I love funeral doom. In desperate need of a new Skepticism record, I voraciously opened this promo in preparation for some vein-opening, skull crushing burial dirges, and I got what I wanted. Well, it's actually one dirge in fact, a 50 minute behemoth of a track that delivers on each suicidal level. Much like Skepticism's...
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Morifade, "Domi<>nation" Morifade
Domi<>nation
Candlelight Records
2004

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Morifade are a Swedish power metal sextet, and their album, "Domi<>nation", doesn't do that much that hasn't been done before. Though the music is solidly executed and fast, like most bands in the scene, these guys are quick to overindulge in poorly placed keyboards and loftier-than-thou sung choruses. Vocally, Morifade sounds like a second-rate Angel Dust, yet this...
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Murder Squad, "Ravenous, Murderous" Murder Squad
Ravenous, Murderous
Candlelight Records
2004

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First of all there is only one way I can start this review. The cover art of "Ravenous Murderous" is the worst cover in the history of metal! This makes whoever did "God Was Created" by Vehemence appear to be Dan Seagrave or Necrolord in the midst of one of those moments of divine inspiration that has led...
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My Dying Bride, "Songs of Darkness, Words of Light" My Dying Bride
Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
Candlelight Records
2004

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Doom. Not fuzzy, spaced out doom, but doom nonetheless, and heavy. Heavy like a tank, yet somehow graceful. That My Dying Bride's newest work, Songs of Darkness Words of Light. The disc is an hour of completely rejuvenating, wholly refreshing melancholy like I've never heard before. If you've ever liked doom, especially for...
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Myrkskog, "Superior Massacre" Myrkskog
Superior Massacre
Candlelight Records
2002

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Myrkskog follow up 2000's, "Death Machine," with "Superior Massacre," and I ain't liking it. First off, the music is more of that Hate Eternal/Pessimist/Zyklon, "I can play faster than you can," hornet's nest style of death metal that offers so little in the way of substance in spite of how many notes they spit out....
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Necrophobic, "Hrimthursum" Necrophobic
Hrimthursum
Candlelight Records
2006

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Necrophoic return to the studio after far too long an absence, their last recording being the 2002 slaughterfest Bloodhymns. This is a much different band than the one that last graced my speakers. First of all, this is the first album that they have recorded outside of Sunlight Studios, without Tomas Skogsberg as producer. This is a...
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Nightmare, "The Dominion Gate" Nightmare
The Dominion Gate
Candlelight Records
2006

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On "The Dominion Gate", France's Nightmare has shifted gears from the "modern" prog metal approach that they took on their last release, "The Silent Room" and re-embraced their epic, double bass-based Euro power metal style found on 2001's "Cosmovision". True, Euro power 'tis a style that is super saturated by second, third, fourth and twentieth tier wanna-be bands, but Nightmare,...
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Nihilist, "Nihilist" Nihilist
Nihilist
Candlelight Records
2005

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You know you've been waiting for this for ages now. Finally Threeman Recordings and Candlelight Records have teamed up to bring you one of the most essential underground recordings ever. On the off chance you don't know this already, Nihilist was LG Petrov, Ulf Cederlund, Nicke Andersson and Alex Hellid of Entombed along with Johnny Hedlund of Unleashed...
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Nihilist, "Nihilist" Nihilist
Nihilist
Candlelight Records
2005

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Before there was Entombed, there was Nihilist, and they never released any official albums. Thankfully for all you diehard Entombed fans out there, Threeman Recordings has released five legendary Nihilist demos on CD. The 14 tracks on this album come from the Premature Autopsy, Only Shreds Remain, Drowned, The Drowned Sessions, and But Life Goes On (as Entombed)...
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Nyia, "Head Held High" Nyia
Head Held High
Candlelight Records
2004

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Nyia, it's Polish for ye fucking gods I think. This is just an assault on the senses from all directions. The overall sound reminds me of a mix of The Dillenger Escape Plan meets Origin. The album is very jagged in that it constantly stops and restarts to the point there you don't even realize where one...
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Nyia, "Head Held High" Nyia
Head Held High
Candlelight Records
2004

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Poland's Nyia lay down 12 tracks in just under 25 minutes on their full-length debut Head Held High. Boasting of former members of Vader and Prophecy, it's little surprise that the all out death metal/noise attack contained on this disc is at the very least well played and properly recorded. Some tracks, like "Wherever You'll Be" are even...
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Obituary, "Xecutioner's Return" Obituary
Xecutioner's Return
Candlelight Records
2007

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Techincally, Xecutioner (Obituary's name before "Slowly We Rot" was released) returned in 2005 with "Frozen In Time," but last year's "Xecutioner's Return" proves that the band is not, in fact, frozen. Or are they? The Tardy brothers, Trevor Perez, and co. continue their signature brand of swampy Floridian death rot with the fervor of an aggravated mama gator. The thing...
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Occult, "Elegy for the Weak" Occult
Elegy for the Weak
Candlelight Records
2004

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Occult have just been revealed to me for the first time, due to this reviewing gig. This is why I do this thing. I find good stuff. Occult come to us from Holland, land of Altar and pretty little Dutch girls. These guys are very much into the death/thrash vein of music championed by Defleshed. ...
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Octavia Sperati, "Grace Submerged" Octavia Sperati
Grace Submerged
Candlelight Records
2007

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The sophomore release from these Norwegian lasses (and one dude on drums) finds them heading into a groove-laden rock 'n' doom direction that conjures comparisons to Evanescence. The more direct approach will no doubt illicit cries of "sell out" from some camps, but I can't blame the band for trying to cash in and get some air play. I reviewed...
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Octavia Sperati, "Winter Enclosure" Octavia Sperati
Winter Enclosure
Candlelight Records
2005

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Octavia Sperati are a six-piece doom rock project out of Norway. Lead singer Silje Wergeland is obviously a fan of Anneke van Giersbergen from The Gathering as she borrows heavily from her tone and phrasing, and the rest of the band wear The Gathering influence on their sleeve as well, as moody atmospherics collide with jarring metallic guitars. Instrumentation is...
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Octavia Sperati, "Winter Enclosure" Octavia Sperati
Winter Enclosure
Candlelight Records
2005

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I thought I was about through with the emotive death/goth/rock stuff that bands like Lacuna Coil and The Gathering have been spewing forth recently. Fortunately, I gave Norway’s Octavia Sperati a fair chance even after identifying it as another of these female fronted soft-metal bands. The group turns out to be entirely comprised of members of the fairer...
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Of Graves and Gods, "Slit Throat Andromeda" Of Graves and Gods
Slit Throat Andromeda
Candlelight Records
2006

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Never thought you'd see the day Candlelight would release a metalcore album? Oh boy. I suppose to be more correct Of Graves and Gods are more in the "deathcore" vein similar to Despised Icon, Beneath The Massacre, and All Shall Perish. Although to me deathcore seems like beefed up metalcore with death metal drumming. To use an analogy, deathcore is to...
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Omnium Gatherum, "Stuck Here on Snakes Way" Omnium Gatherum
Stuck Here on Snakes Way
Candlelight Records
2007

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In 2003 when Omnium Gatherum released Spirits and August Light, it was like they had revolutionized the Finnish death metal sound. Somehow they’d bridged the gap between Amorphis catchy, spacey rock and the heavier stuff. It was smooth, thick and ripe with as much atmosphere as aggression. Their release of Years in Waste saw the band gravitating...
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Omnium Gatherum, "Stuck Here on Snakes Way" Omnium Gatherum
Stuck Here on Snakes Way
Candlelight Records
2007

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There are clear similarities to Soilwork and later In Flames within the creations from Omnium Gatherum's release, which undoubtedly can be both welcoming and unwanted. However these fellows seem to have quite a complex way of thinking as it shows in there structure and leads. Of course that sets them in a higher league as apposed to all...
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Onslaught, "Killing Peace" Onslaught
Killing Peace
Candlelight Records
2007

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"Killing Peace" is this U.K. outfit’s "comeback" album after an 18 year hiatus. Back in the day Onslaught was one of the numerous "second tier" thrash bands notable for churning out Satanic anthems back when that sort of thing was still considered dangerous (also of note is that they penned a track called "Death Metal" on their debut album that...
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Opeth, "My Arms Your Hearse" Opeth
My Arms Your Hearse
Candlelight Records
1998

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"My Arms Your Hearse" is a concept album which tells the story of a ghost who is looking back at his life and how the people who were close to him are getting on with their lives now he is gone. It is told in a mix of growled and cleanly sung vocals which perfectly compliment Opeth's style. It seems...
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Opeth, "Morningrise" Opeth
Morningrise
Candlelight Records
1996

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It's impossible to even attempt to describe what Opeth has created with this stunning masterpiece. To pigeonhole the musical style of Opeth is very difficult because it extends its reach into virtually every musical genre. I'd be reluctant to call them melodic progressive death metal, but I guess it's the closest I can think of, and even then it would...
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Overmars, "Affliction, Endocrine... Vertigo" Overmars
Affliction, Endocrine... Vertigo
Candlelight Records
2005

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There is so much pain in this album. Long messy songs that hit a primal chord of anguish. Overmars is a band that I had not heard before but they have succeeded in sucking me into their dimension of complete musical despair. Musically the band has similarities to sludge and the Neurosis Through Silver in Blood era vibe. They also have...
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P.H.O.B.O.S., "Tectonics" P.H.O.B.O.S.
Tectonics
Candlelight Records
2005

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Well if you didn't figure this one out already P.H.O.B.O.S. like Voivod. This is never a bad thing of course but these mad Frenchmen take it up a notch. They are most inspired by Eric Forrest era Voivod with quite a bit of Godflesh style industrial dirge thrown in for good measure. In fact much of the ambient...
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Paganize, "Evilution Hour" Paganize
Evilution Hour
Candlelight Records
2007

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If Paganize is meant to be taken literally as in that act of turning someone into a pagan, which it very well may be, it's a bit corny for a name. Luckily that is the only thing being labeled as such. Beyond the name lies an excellent dosage of old fashioned heavy metal. Coming out of Norway,...
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Pantheon I, "The Wanderer and His Shadow" Pantheon I
The Wanderer and His Shadow
Candlelight Records
2007

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Pantheon-I have set themselves quite the task in living up to their chosen moniker. Full of majesty and vitriol, they play a brand of epic, progressive black metal that's not unlike fellow Norwegians, Emperor. However, where Emperor was influencing (and participating in) a wave of churchburnings more than a decade ago, Pantheon-I is, for the moment, paradoxically following in the...
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Peccatum, "Amor Fati" Peccatum
Amor Fati
Candlelight Records
2001

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Amor Fati, Peccatum's second full-length album, sounds something like a convoluted, confused, lighter version of more recent Emperor. Since the guitars and some of the vocal duties are Ihsahn's responsibility, the likening to such this black metal elite makes perfect sense. What this disc lacks that Emperor has with some to spare, however, is direction and...
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Pro-Pain, "Age of Tyranny" Pro-Pain
Age of Tyranny
Candlelight Records
2007

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I'm going to get through this review without mentioning the mythical town of Arlen, Texas, or one of its better known inhabitants, or said inhabitant's occupation as a seller of... ah, but there I go, blowing it already. Pro-Pain is back and pissed off once again about the war in Iraq. Hey wait... weren't they pissed off about Iraq...
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Pro-Pain, "Prophets of Doom" Pro-Pain
Prophets of Doom
Candlelight Records
2005

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With 15 years of experience behind them, veteran hardcore/metal band Pro-Pain is back with another new album, 'Prophets of Doom.'Buzzsaw guitar riffs and a relentless vocal approach from Gary Meskil lightens up occassionally from Pro-Pain's brutal, but accessible delivery, to bring the occasional anthmetic musical moment, or a guitar solo more reminiscent of Iron Maiden than Hatebreed or Agnostic Front. Straddling...
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Pro-Pain, "Raw Video" Raw Video
Candlelight Records
2005

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Pro-Pain's release of Raw Video really needs to be reviewed in two separate parts since the DVD is comprised of a live show with 16 tracks and 9 music videos. Lets start with the videos: It's obvious these guys haven't been on MTV much. On none of the videos do I get the sense that Pro-Pain knows enough about...
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Pro-Pain, "Raw Video" Raw Video
Candlelight Records
2005

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Pro-Pain's Raw Video is the veteran hardcore/metal band's first DVD, despite a good decade and a half of experience behind them. The band's reliable, solid songwriting is back in fine form, this time in the shape of nine music videos and a 16-song performance live from Germany a few years back, all on one DVD. Some of the videos are interesting,...
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Pro-Pain, "Raw Video" Raw Video
Candlelight Records
2005

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Pro-Pain's Raw Video is the veteran hardcore/metal band's first DVD, despite a good decade and a half of experience behind them. The band's reliable, solid songwriting is back in fine form, this time in the shape of nine music videos and a 16-song performance live from Germany a few years back, all on one DVD. Some of the videos are interesting,...
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Pro-Pain, "Fistful of Hate" Pro-Pain
Fistful of Hate
Candlelight Records
2004

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Pro-Pain is a band without a home, I feel. They're way too metal for the hardcore crew, and not death enough for those of us who either want more blast beats or guitar focus. What all of us have probably not done is given the band a chance, because if Fistful of Hate is any indication,...
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Project : Failing Flesh, "A Beautiful Sickness [reissue]" Project : Failing Flesh
A Beautiful Sickness [reissue]
Candlelight Records
2005

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The reasoning escapes me now, but I’d somehow gotten it into my head that I was going to hate this album, even though Eric Forrest is a vocalist I’ve always liked (Voivod and E-force). Maybe I thought it was going to be yet another nu-metal malignancy, more aural cancer; and while “A Beautiful Sickness” is more new...
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Ram-zet, "Intra" Ram-zet
Intra
Candlelight Records
2005

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Hot damn! I was looking forward to this record, hearing it touted as a combination of black and power metal (interesting, eh?), so when I threw it on, I was taken back a bit by the sound. More of a combination of blackened death metal and gothic rock, Ram-zet gets better each time I listen to it. Now easily in...
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Red Harvest, "Internal Punishment Programs" Red Harvest
Internal Punishment Programs
Candlelight Records
2004

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Norway's Red Harvest play industrial black metal, we know this. We also know just how hard it is to make a musical genre that is the mixture of two already very dark styles and have it actually sound fresh and new. On Cold Dark Matter, it seemed the band hadn't quite gotten the mixture right, though now, two...
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Red Harvest, "Internal Punishment Programs" Red Harvest
Internal Punishment Programs
Candlelight Records
2004

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This is my first exposure to this band, and upon reading the industrial bio tag, I expected another Fear Factory clone band such as Mnemic and the like. What I got instead was surpringly less rewarding. This is a very mid paced record that feels much more forced than the aforementioned FF in that the band chooses not to blend...
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Reign of Erebus, "Inversion Principle" Reign of Erebus
Inversion Principle
Candlelight Records
2003

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Maybe I felt the need...the need for hyperspeed...blackmetal. Also defined as no holds barred ripping true kvlt necro blackmetal. Well whatever that gibberish is, this is indeed some extra-potent dose of blackmetal. Yah, all you blackmetal poseurs out there just wait Reign of Erebus tears your head off. All joking aside Reign of Erebus delivers what it is supposed to deliver....
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Reign of Erebus, "Humanracist" Reign of Erebus
Humanracist
Candlelight Records
2002

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I'm probably not in the best mood to be fair to this British black metal outfit...but then again I don't know when I'll be in a good mood after listening to Humanracist. Though the title is poorly thought out, I believe the band's intention was to create a word that carries the same meaning as misanthrope...okay, fine, I don't...
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Rob Rock, "Holy Hell" Rob Rock
Holy Hell
Candlelight Records
2005

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Rob Rock is one of the better "power" metal vocalists out there (I admit, I dunno how one differentiates power from trad in alotta cases). Dude has been recording at least since '87 and has sung on releases from Impellitteri, Axel Rudi Pell, his own solo records (of which this is the third) and appeared on releases from Frost, Edguy...
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Sahg, "Sahg I" Sahg
Sahg I
Candlelight Records
2006

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Hailing from Norway, Sahg play a groovy brand of bong-friendly, metal-tinged hard rock with just a slight Scandinavian flavor for a unique twist. For the most part, Sahg's sound is rooted in the driving rock of Kyuss or Clutch, a little bit of Monster Magnet's catchy heaviness, and more than a pinch of Electric Wizard's stoned out doom. The music on...
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Sahg, "Sahg I" Sahg
Sahg I
Candlelight Records
2006

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Doom. Big fucking walls of monolithic blackness. Oppressive, full of drive and played like the band could cover Cryptopsy but simply chooses not to. That’s Sahg’s debut, I, in a nutshell. This Norwegian quartet has mixed evil, occult images with stoner/doom/metal in a way hasn’t so boldly been done since the early days of Sabbath, and...
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Satariel, "Hydra" Satariel
Hydra
Candlelight Records
2006

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Sweden’s Satariel had released two very strong albums prior to Hydra. Both showed this band’s ability to play proficient and interesting blackened death metal and incorporate clean vocals without ever sounding at all soft. There was something regal and sophisticated about Phobos and Deimos and Lady Lust Lilith that you couldn’t help but take seriously. On Hydra,...
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Satariel, "Hydra" Satariel
Hydra
Candlelight Records
2006

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Hydra is certainly a fitting name for Satariel's second full-length release, as they show about as many faces as the mythological 8-headed monster. The album runs the gamut from awful ballads to modern rock to melodic death. The lyrics vary from intellectual questioning and reassertion of faith to the incredibly mundane "You are made of shit and piss." Par Johansson's...
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Scenteria, "Act of Aggression" Scenteria
Act of Aggression
Candlelight Records
2004

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Scenteria hail from Sweden and their album Art of Aggression is a workout in proficient thrashing death metal. The production is cold and crisp, the drums hit with machinelike accuracy and the band even incorporates little hints of melody to keep tracks like the ripping opener, “Acts of Lunacy,” and “Reign of Hate” from getting dull. Scenteria’s approach...
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Scenteria, "Act of Aggression" Scenteria
Act of Aggression
Candlelight Records
2004

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This is Scenteria and the album title Act of Aggression is not just a nice choice, but also a warning to what the album contains. I have to be honest this isn't the most distinct album I've ever heard. It is however quite enjoyable, especially if you're into Dew Scented, Impious and bands of that ilk, as I...
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Sceptic, "Unbeliever's Script" Sceptic
Unbeliever's Script
Candlelight Records
2004

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Thie band started out sounding like Death and they're going to end sounding like Death. That isn't necessarily a bad thing nowadays with all the tripe being released, but these guys can be pretty shameless about it. "Controlled By Mind" borrows riffs from both Death classics "Spirit Crusher" and "Symbolic" in the same song, but these guys look...
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Sceptic, "Unbeliever's Script" Sceptic
Unbeliever's Script
Candlelight Records
2004

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Poland's Sceptic play bewildering, melodic, technical death metal on their third album Unbeliever's Script. The only way I have been able to think about the music on this 9-track disc is to imagine Symbolic-era Death slowed down to mid-pace and spiced up with some The Gallery style Dark Tranquillity guitar work. On paper this formula appears quite solid, though...
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Scum, "Gospels of the Sick" Scum
Gospels of the Sick
Candlelight Records
2005

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Scum are a super group assembled of members from Emperor (Faust and Samoth), Amen, Mindgrinder and Turbonegro. Their debut Gospels for the Sick might just be the most proficiently played old-school metallic punk album in existence…though you’ve got to admit, the genre isn’t known best for tight musical execution, so Scum don’t exactly have stiff competition. The promo...
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Scum, "Gospels of the Sick" Scum
Gospels of the Sick
Candlelight Records
2005

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Supergroups are fascinating aren't they? They hold a certain aura that makes you giddy like a school girl. Or at least they do for me. There's just something about seeing the heroes of your favorite bands collaborating to form a massive rock 'n roll Voltron. The sad paradox of supergroups is that they rarely equal - much less surpass -...
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Setherial, "Death Triumphant" Setherial
Death Triumphant
Candlelight Records
2006

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Weaving an intense brand of black metal malignancy, Setherial is a band that pulls no punches in delivering their message of Satanic malice while never delving into the world of musical cheesiness. The whole package is well-produced, but not in such a way as to detract from the intensity of the music, which focuses more on speed and brutality (Mysteriis'...
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Seven Witches, "Amped" Seven Witches
Amped
Candlelight Records
2006

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Seven Witches has always been a band that defies any categorization aside from "plain ol' heavy metal." Jack Frost's outlet for cheese-laden rock has never really been about being the most intense, the heaviest, the fastest, or the anything-est in the rock community. It's always just been a traditional hard rock approach to 80s-style heavy metal. The vocals, the riffs,...
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Seventh Cross, "Scorched by the Flames of Vengeance" Seventh Cross
Scorched by the Flames of Vengeance
Candlelight Records
2006

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Mixing the throat-searing vocal delivery of black metal with traditional, galloping riffs, passages of competent double bass battery, a touch of Swedish melody and the odd inclusion of brief breakdown-esque sections and whatever you call those dissonant, screechy guitar chords that pissed off hardcore dudes utilize, now-defunct United Kingdom oddballs The Seventh Cross released the Staunch Records debut Scorched by...
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Severe Torture, "Bloodletting" Severe Torture
Bloodletting
Candlelight Records
2005

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Severe Torture play solid, yet rather unoriginal brutal death metal. They’ve released two albums and had some decent touring opportunities. None of this, however, warrants the release of Bloodletting, a compilation of some of the band’s live, cover and demo tracks. The way I see it, before releasing a “from-the-cutting-room-floor” album a band ought to make it big…and probably have...
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Severe Torture, "Bloodletting" Severe Torture
Bloodletting
Candlelight Records
2005

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If you need a sample of what this Dutch band has to offer, this album might be something to consider, as they try out a few tracks from their entire catalog all the way back to their demo days. The sound is quite good considering, though this might bring up the question as to the necessity of a live album...
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Shakra, "Fall" Shakra
Fall
Candlelight Records
2006

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Shakra blasts out 12 tracks of radio-friendly hard rock, but also has enough metal guitar attitude, adept musicianship, and memorable vocal hooks to keep those who absolutely abhor radio rock well in check. These Swiss cats know how to construct a rock record and still infuse it with plenty of guitar work to keep things interesting. With so much melody...
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She Said Destroy, "Time Like Vines" She Said Destroy
Time Like Vines
Candlelight Records
2006

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Man, I really wanted to hate this album. I was getting all warmed up for an acidic, highly ironic and gleefully sarcastic full on trashing of yet another metalcore band trying to claw out of the seething birth pits. Even the band name was pissing me off... "She Said Destroy"... destroy what? And...
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Siege of Hate, "Subversive by nature" Siege of Hate
Subversive by nature
Candlelight Records
2004

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Siege of Hate is a grind outfit from Brazil, and I have to say a fairly decent one at that. They don't really do anything special that differentiates them from most grind bands but they do a very good job of it. I can't really go into the lyrics too much since I didn't get any but from...
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Sinister, "Afterburner" Sinister
Afterburner
Candlelight Records
2006

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After disbanding in 2004, Sinister have risen from the proverbial grave and shifted things around a bit, mainly moving Aad from drums to the vocals spot and obviously, dropping Rachel off the roster. Alex switched from bass to guitars, Bas is on bass (not sure if he recorded on the album, but he is touring with them...
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Sirius, "Spectral Transition - Dimension Sirius" Sirius
Spectral Transition - Dimension Sirius
Candlelight Records
2000

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Sirius play Emperor-styled black metal with some keyboards and futuristic samples, but retain enough rawness in both their playing and sound to keep it brutal and black. The drums sound kind of fake [could be a machine, but I'm not sure] but the guitars rip and the vocals are great, ranging from high shrieks down to death-like...
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Skymning, "Artificial Supernova" Skymning
Artificial Supernova
Candlelight Records
2001

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The word "industrial" does make it sound a bit intriguing at first making the listener expect something that goes against the grain of the typical Swedish scene. Yet this is so very far from being intriguing or even interesting. Granted there is both melody [Swedish style] and industrial, but there is no ideal marriage of both. Perhaps the biggest let-down...
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Slumber, "Fallout" Slumber
Fallout
Candlelight Records
2005

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Have you wondered where all the life once abundant in bands like Amorphis and Opeth has gone? Until hearing Slumber’s Fallout, it wasn’t entirely clear to me. Now, however, I realize that these Swedes have been secretly siphoning it off and storing it in preparation for their seven-song debut opus. Huge, sweeping, energetic and focused arrangements of petulant melodic...
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Slumber, "Fallout" Slumber
Fallout
Candlelight Records
2005

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I can't get enough of the gothic doom genre. Since I can't seem to get my hands on the new Rapture recrd, this release is a perfect placeholder, as it's a collection of two of the finest demos I've heard. You know what you're getting and you know if you'll like it. Katatonia/Rapture/Opeth type melodic metal at...
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Solar Dawn, "Equinoctium" Solar Dawn
Equinoctium
Candlelight Records
2002

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Close your eyes and drift off to imaginary land where anything is possible. Now picture this: an album that picks up where In Flames' magnificent The Jester Race left off, but with the cold crisp production of Studio Abyss, a denser guitar sound and just enough more aggression to make the music sound truly ominous....
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Space Odyssey, "The Astral Episode" Space Odyssey
The Astral Episode
Candlelight Records
2005

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Keyboard maestro Richard Andersson (Royal Hunt, Yngwie Malmsteen, Transatlantic, Majestic, Time Requiem) drops the second offering from his Space Odyssey project. Based on his list of credits, it comes as no surprise that neo-classical and prog shredding (keys and guitars) abounds. Magnus Nilsson returns on guitar, and while Andersson is the kingpin, he leaves plenty of room for his partner...
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Spektr, "The Near Death Experience" Spektr
The Near Death Experience
Candlelight Records
2006

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I am on the fence with this one. Spektr present us with post-black metal, avant-garde noise akin to label mates Blut aus Nord melded with gritty, loud production and an attempt at soul draining din. Album opener “The Violent Stink of Twitching Terror” (Bava reference, maybe?) is four minutes of ambient/warble/drone noise that bands of this ilk are so very...
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Starkweather, "Croatoan" Starkweather
Croatoan
Candlelight Records
2006

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Having come together in 1990, Starkweather have two full-length albums as well as several compilation appearances and 7-inch recordings. Originally released on vinyl only overseas, Croatoan finally sees American shores as the first new recording from Starkweather in the last five years. The press sheet likens the band to Converge, Eyehategod, and Swans, all of which are valid comparisons, but then...
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Stonegard, "Arrows" Stonegard
Arrows
Candlelight Records
2006

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Considering it's from Norway, this is at least different. More in a hard rock/heavy metal vein than the usual fare I've come to expect from the Norwegian music scene, Stonegard are clearly aiming for something that's accessible but still retains some aggression. I'm not sure I buy into the whole "Sabbath meets Slayer meets early Metallica...
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Susperia, "Cut from Stone" Susperia
Cut from Stone
Candlelight Records
2007

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Susperia started out playing mechanized, thrashy black metal, and after two albums, in a bewildering but ingenious gambit reached for and found their stride with more traditional thrash. Their last disc, Unlimited was a mix of their old sound with a very healthy serving of Testament and Pantera influence. Susperia’s fourth album, Cut from Stone, is now...
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Susperia, "Cut from Stone" Susperia
Cut from Stone
Candlelight Records
2007

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A new Susperia album makes my blood boil. I've taken a liking to these rampaging Norwegians and their potent brand of blackened, melodic thrash metal, so when "Cut From Stone" make it's way into my hairy paws, I couldn't wait to unleash it upon the unsuspecting ears within 1000 meters of my speaker stacks. And what do you know......
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Susperia, "Unlimited" Susperia
Unlimited
Candlelight Records
2004

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A couple weeks back I read the beginning of a review for Susperia's third album Unlimited, and it started out with a comparison to Pantera, Testament and Slayer. I stopped reading the review after that sentence, because the Susperia I know, despite their thrashy moments, were a futuristic blend of Norwegian black metal and melodic death and certainly nothing...
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Susperia, "Unlimited" Susperia
Unlimited
Candlelight Records
2004

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I'm guessing that Tjodalv (drums) doesn't regret parting ways with Dimmu Borgir, despite the success and mainstream flirtations of the Dimmu lads. Simply put, Susperia, which Tjodalv formed upon exiting the Dimmu camp in 1999, is a band of which he can be very proud. After the debut "Predominance" and the sophomore follow up...
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Swallow the Sun, "Hope" Swallow the Sun
Hope
Candlelight Records
2007

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I could have sworn this was Swallow the Sun’s like, twelfth album. I should have been tipped off by my imagining also that all of these albums seem to have been released in the last three years; I will confess that at times I am unable to keep every Finnish (or Finnish-style—O, lucky Finns, that they now have a style,...
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Taint, "The Ruin of Nova Roma" Taint
The Ruin of Nova Roma
Candlelight Records
2006

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I like Taint. There, I said it. Happy now, guys? Ya friggin' Welsh wankers. This is good stuff. Nice and sludgy, yet broken up with pretty little emotive arpeggios and more noodles than a Vietnamese restaurant. Thick on the simple, four-on-the-floor rhythm section. And bound by vocals j­­ust gruff enough and in-tune enough to lead a tune. To be sure, there's...
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Tenebre, "Heart's Blood" Tenebre
Heart's Blood
Candlelight Records
2006

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Finally seeing a proper American release with some bulk to back up a record, Sweden's Tenebre, on the band's fifth album, shows off its well-honed gothic rock approach that is suprisingly 10 years old, injecting guitar solos, sporadically-included quickened paces and soothingly baritone vocals in what might be called a bastard child of rock and roll, gloomy goth, and serious...
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The Bronx Casket Company, "Hellectric" The Bronx Casket Company
Hellectric
Candlelight Records
2005

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Well, this is my first exposure to the band, and their line-up is confusing the bejeezuz outta me. The promo sheet lists the group as DD Verni, Tim Mallare, Jack Frost and Myke Hideous. The web site lists the band as DD, Jack, Rob Pollotta and Charlie Calv. Hideous sang on their first two releases - I don't know if...
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The Capricorns, "Ruder Forms Survive" The Capricorns
Ruder Forms Survive
Candlelight Records
2006

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Ruder Forms Survive is the first full-length effort from London's Capricorns, a collective featuring former members of Iron Monkey and Orange Goblin. The follow up to their debut EP and hot on the heels of several successful shows with the likes of Pelican, Melvins, Jesu, and Unsane, Ruder Forms Survive is sure to make a splash (enough name dropping?). Capricorns...
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The Deviant, "Ravenous Deathworship" The Deviant
Ravenous Deathworship
Candlelight Records
2006

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The promo sheet says that if you like Behemoth, Marduk, Zyklon, Immortal, Slayer, 1349, Dissection, or Satyricon, you'll also find Deviant interesting and worthy of your hard earned dollars... and who am I to argue with a promo sheet? Let's see... what's The Deviant's pedigree? What do you know... they're Norwegians! ...
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The Project Hate, "Armageddon March Eternal" The Project Hate
Armageddon March Eternal
Candlelight Records
2006

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Holy hell. I’d gladly suffer through eternal damnation drinking hot lava and having an ass full of hot coals if this were the soundtrack. Sweden’s The Project Hate have unleashed a masterpiece of Satanic death metal while managing to sound completely different from the 9 million other bands out there doing the same thing. Their secret should be no...
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The Project Hate, "Hate, Dominate, Congregate, Eliminate" The Project Hate
Hate, Dominate, Congregate, Eliminate
Candlelight Records
2004

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Damn, I don't quite know what to think of this one; I was unfamiliar with The Project Hate's two previous albums ("Cybersonic Superchrist" and "When We Are Done Your Flesh Will Be Ours") so the mix of electronics and extreme metal caught me somewhat by surprise, but it was a pleasant enough surprise. First off, Lord K. Philipson (guitars, bass, programming,...
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The Wake, "Death-a-Holic" The Wake
Death-a-Holic
Candlelight Records
2006

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The Wake attack Finnish death metal a little differently than many of their Bodom-worshipping brethren. On Death-a-Holic, their second album, these guys reach first for fast and dense rhythmic delivery and grating screamed death vocals before they add the melodies and guitar leads. They also bravely forego all keyboard and synthesizer action. The resulting music is still...
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The Wake, "Death-a-Holic" The Wake
Death-a-Holic
Candlelight Records
2006

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Could have fooled me that The Wake is from Finland...Death-A-Holic, the band's US debut via Candlelight, has a lot more in common with In Flames (yes, before they sucked) and Dismember with a bit of Arch Enemy lead runs than the typical twin guitar / soaring keyboard shredfests Finland is famous for. That said, The Wake does retain plenty of...
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Theatre of Tragedy, "Storm" Theatre of Tragedy
Storm
Candlelight Records
2006

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For whatever reason, when I requested this promo, I had myself convinced that Theatre of Tragedy was a progressive death metal band. So imagine my supprise upon puting Storm into my CD player and being greeted by a piano-infused, female-fronted gothic rock band. You know the stuff; Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Epica, etc. Rather than the mainstream fodder of Evanescence, Theatre...
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Throne of Katarsis, "An Eternal Dark Horizon" Throne of Katarsis
An Eternal Dark Horizon
Candlelight Records
2007

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Interesting production job on this one. Every once in a while the snare flares up in the mix for a fill, and it sounds good—not clean, of course, but immediate, and crisp in its own way. Similarly, one finds an acoustic guitar popping up in the strangest of places, with that same immediate, overexposed sound, hearing the strings and the...
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Thyrane, "Travesty of Heavenly Essence" Thyrane
Travesty of Heavenly Essence
Candlelight Records
2006

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Shuffling off the plane of present existance by cancelling its final shows in the end of May, Thyrane is a now-defunct blackened death metal band that had been around since 1994; and with this, its' sixth release, its' members are calling it quits. These metal veterans have released a solid album that, with a little tinkering, could have put them...
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Thyrfing, "Farsotstider" Thyrfing
Farsotstider
Candlelight Records
2006

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Album number five I believe for these Swedes. I've always enjoyed these guys and their approach to the music, and "Farsotstider" (times of plague? plaguetimes?) is a fairly natural progression from "Vannsinnesvisor". I was more into what they did on "Urkraft" but I recognize a band that isn't content to repeat the formula five...
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Time Requiem, "Optical Illusion" Time Requiem
Optical Illusion
Candlelight Records
2006

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This is another project band from keyboard-player extraordinaire Richard Andersson (of Majestic and Space Odyssey and a million other groups). "Optical Illusion" is the third release from this particular band, but I have no idea who's performing alongside Richard on it as all I have is a torn-in-half promo sheet that pretty much contains only a B&W image of the...
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To-mera, "Transcendental" To-mera
Transcendental
Candlelight Records
2006

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I love the opening on this disc, as vocalist Julie Kiss and band do a great job of mimicking Sheila Chandra and Monsoon (my favorite Indian-music-based band - investigate them now, all ye who love female vocalists and have a taste for world pop) before delving into a short Devin Townsend-influenced guitar ramble that fades into acoustic piano noodling. It's...
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Torchbearer, "Warnaments" Torchbearer
Warnaments
Candlelight Records
2006

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Torchbearer’s second album Warnaments is immensely heavy. It’s a fucking blitzkrieg of thick ‘n chunky riffing laced with some of the very best melodic guitar hooks, and true chaos in the rhythm section. Unlike the band’s debut, Yersinia Pestis (which, in it’s own right is quite solid), this album has a lot fewer black metal elements, is...
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Torchbearer, "Warnaments" Torchbearer
Warnaments
Candlelight Records
2006

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The days of Gothenburg’s reign are done. Its popularity wanes, its power fades, and its stalwarts have either fallen in battle or turned their cloaks. There is a new power rising in the North. A new school, as it were. The ‘new’ style of Swedish death metal shares much with its older cousin but retains enough modern style to give new interest...
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Torture Killer, "For Maggots to Devour" Torture Killer
For Maggots to Devour
Candlelight Records
2004

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Finland's Torture Killer aren't a bad band. Their album For Maggots to Devour has a fucking sick cover and the album is brimming with headbanger-friendly death grooves and beats. Moreover, the vocal delivery is brutal, low and delivered fast which is an excellent change from the slow rumbling that too many guttural bands choose. I lose patience...
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Transmission0, "Memory of a Dream" Transmission0
Memory of a Dream
Candlelight Records
2007

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Hints of Godflesh, Tool, Neurosis and Dutch peers, Burst, abound on Transmission 0's second album. They drone, dirge, play with time signatures, experiment with atmosphere, take their songs on epic journeys -- and of course, do a lot of angry yelling. How effective is all this 10 years (or more) after the aforementioned influencers committed these same sounds to acetate?...
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Trendkill, "No Longer Buried" Trendkill
No Longer Buried
Candlelight Records
2006

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Swedish metalheads Trendkill have been trashing around Europe since 1998 and for once the bio sheet, which sites Meshuggah, Machine Head, Sepultura and Pantera as influences, is actually pretty close to correct. With more press kit labelings like, "...will appeal to thrash, death and the more adventurous metalcore audiences" though, it shows why press dubbings are oftentimes not quite up...
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Tulus, "Biography Obscene" Tulus
Biography Obscene
Candlelight Records
2007

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This is a resurrection album of sort. Sarke and Gard laid Tulus to rest in 1999 to work on the more purely Black Metal band Khold. No that venture has come to an end and Tulus has it’s first new release in years. Biography Obscene is an interesting album in that it contains a pure, filthy, ugly style of Black...
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U.D.O., "Mastorcutor" U.D.O.
Mastorcutor
Candlelight Records
2007

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This is the fourteenth release from Udo Dirkschneider's self-monikered band. If you're new to the metal world, Udo sang for Accept back in the day, and if you're so new to the metal realm that you do not know who Accept were (where does the time go?), know that they were one of the primordial metal bands that ushered in...
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Vader, "The Art of War" Vader
The Art of War
Candlelight Records
2006

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You know the sound of Vader when you hear it. The most recognizable of all Polish metal bands brings The Art of War, their latest EP. Its a taster of things to come in September later this year. Vader EPs are a fairly common thing and they are usually real tasty. In fact Vader might be at its best...
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Vicious Art, "Fire Falls and the Waiting Waters" Vicious Art
Fire Falls and the Waiting Waters
Candlelight Records
2005

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Cascading, blasting fury greets the listener on Vicious Art’s debut, Firefalls and Waiting Waters. This Swedish quartet means fucking business with a capital B. From the opening moments of “Debria Seems to Be Bleeding” to the last gasp of “Why Would the Captured Set Free the Flies” their slick, sick aural evisceration doesn’t falter. More specifically, we’re gifted 10...
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Vreid, "I Krig" Vreid
I Krig
Candlelight Records
2007

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I loved the first two Vreid albums. I Krig is rather different from the first two however. Those were filthy old school black metal, I Krig aspires to be something different. It succeeds in that regard, though at some cost. The ferocity of Pitch Black Brigade isn't really present on here. They also try a...
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Vreid, "Kraft" Vreid
Kraft
Candlelight Records
2004

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Vreid play classic, old-school black metal not unlike Khold and Darkthrone. The guitar tone on their debut album, Kraft, has that signature buzzing Norwegian sound, yet there’s something cleaner and more finished about it than other bands playing in this style. Moreover, where the aforementioned groups have had a tendency to become monotonous (much less so on their...
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Vreid, "Kraft" Vreid
Kraft
Candlelight Records
2004

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Unlike predecessor Windir, Vreid is an all out scathing black metal band, full of violent riffing, demonic shrieking, and somber melodious breaks. “Wrath of Mine” commences gracefully, opening Kraft and unleashing a glorious torment of old school black metal not unlike Carpathian Forest, Gorgoroth and the like. Interspersed by somber clean guitar and inventive black metal guitar, the record is...
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Whitechapel, "The Somatic Defilement" Whitechapel
The Somatic Defilement
Candlelight Records
2007

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Whitechapel is one of the bigger names in the quickly growing deathcore scene. The band features the technicality of bands like Arsonists Get All The Girls, but feature the death metal delivery of bands like Cattle Decapitation and Incantation. The most dynamic thing about the band is the multiple vocal deliveries. There are death metal growls, a more screechy delivery,...
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Winters, "Black Clouds in Twin Galaxies" Winters
Black Clouds in Twin Galaxies
Candlelight Records
2007

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Well, this is an interesting band, but I don't think they're going to appeal to the average metalhead, and they may be too rock to get doom metal fans to lift their weary heads up from the tombstones. Winters combines the simplistic riffs of early Black Sabbath with strong overtones of grunge while tossing in some vocal melodies akin to...
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Witchcraft, "Firewood" Witchcraft
Firewood
Candlelight Records
2005

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How to put this: Witchcraft don't just wear their influences on their collective frilly sleeves. Their entire musical wardrobe has been lifted from the well worn road cases of several other bands, Black Sabbath in particular (I hear Jethro Tull, myself. Muxlow), but also Tull (good call Jason) and Hawkwind, Uriah Heep, and even 13th Floor...
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Within Y, "Extended Mental Dimensions" Within Y
Extended Mental Dimensions
Candlelight Records
2004

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I know what you're thinking, I thought it too. "Within Y...yeah, and with that cover, these guys probably play progressive rock like Andromeda or something, maybe worse even." You'll want to just cut that shit out right now, because the second you push play on Extended Mental Dimensions the only associations you'll make when looking at...
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Wolverine, "Still" Wolverine
Still
Candlelight Records
2006

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First up, I've got to raise my pint mug to Deadtide's own Bob D. for getting a nice quote at the very top of the promo sheet for Wolverine's latest effort, in which he aptly describes Wolverine as "A melancholy mixture of mainstream prog rock and progressive metal," which makes a lot more sense than "...emotionally bruised songs that slither...
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Yattering, "Genocide" Yattering
Genocide
Candlelight Records
2003

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Poland: the hotbed/spawning ground for brutal, thrash-influenced, technical death metal. Such groups including Behemoth, Decapitated and Vader have all become well-known in the metal scene for perfecting the heavy death metal sound, and blowing away all the competition. Yattering is yet another of these heavy, brutal death metal acts hailing from...
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Zyklon, "DisIntegrate" Zyklon
DisIntegrate
Candlelight Records
2006

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Hailing from Norway, Zyklon burst onto the metal scene in 2001 with their debut, World Ov Worms, which gained critical acclaim and garnered a worldwide fanbase. Aeon came to us in 2003 and increased the band's popularity, but didn't quite get the job done for me. So here we are in 2006 with Disintegrate, the newest Zyklon release featuring guitarist...
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Zyklon, "Aeon" Zyklon
Aeon
Candlelight Records
2003

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Having not been familiar with Zyklon (in sound, not existence) prior to Aeon, I really did not know what to expect. The artwork and layout, themed of tornadoes (?) and industrial factory photos (?) really do not exactly reek of death metal. I do however know they play death metal, I know that this is supposedly an album to be...
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Zyklon, "World ov Worms" Zyklon
World ov Worms
Candlelight Records
2001

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Until I first heard Myrkskog's debut Deathmachine I wasn't quite convinced that black metal needed a boiling lead enema. That album changed my mind and made me think that alteration and progress would be a good thing in the scene. Damn was I right too! If bands like Zyklon are the result of...
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Zyklon, "World ov Worms" Zyklon
World ov Worms
Candlelight Records
2001

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I hate to say it, but technically, Samoth's post-Emperor band's debut may have been more successful than the last Emperor release he worked on (IX Equilibrium), as he seems to have assimilated the death metal influences into his guitar playing better on World ov Worms than he and Ihsahn had on IX Equilibrium. World ov Worms is not that far...
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