Bölzer - Aura 

I will be the first to admit that I have been a complete stranger to metal over these past couple years. It's as if I were living under a rock in a far away land. Bölzer are just one of the many fine examples of great bands that I had been missing out on in my what you would call "vacation" from all things music.

Bölzer are not an unknown name by any stretch nor are they quite yet a household name  I believe they're on the verge of of creating something special and are certainly on their way to making themselves a well established band in the Extreme Metal Scene. Their music sums up the attitude and tone of their vibe of their music. It certainly is is smashing and packs a punch much like a Bulldozer so brace yourself.

The thing that immediately struck a chord with me and caught my attention was that rich, and thick guitar tone. It carries so much weight, and with the repetitive and memorable riffs you can't help but bob your head a little as if you were in a hypnotic state. After listening to both of their EPs I now see why this band was so hyped up. In it's very essence it is powerful, brutish and ominous and much much more. I can hardly wait to see and find out what this heavy-hitting Swiss duo will grace us with next. 



Beithíoch is a black/death/doom metal band from Ireland. The name means (Irish) ‘Beast' Reportedly beginning with an "ambient black metal" sound on Aisling Dhorcha, it has develoed into into something described as being more powerful, and a tad folky. "Conquest draws on historical stories of massacre, battle and rebellion - combining the muscle of early Amorphis with the compositional sensibilities of Burzum in an album exploring the savagery inherent to human nature." Wicked. I'm in.

As I hit play, I am immediately clubbed with a combination of Portal and Abyssal meets Viking
metal. Racing tremolos lead us to battle with "The Fury of the Sea." The unique melodies are quite intriguing at times. The layering of reverb and hooks in the distance creates a sound full, much like a battleground filled with the immediate clashing of swords and more distant cries of agony. And when things get fast, the enemy is pulverized.

But you'll remember doom was mentioned here as well. As with the fluctuations of Behold! The Monolith, other songs have a strong doom element as with "Smashing the Shrines." The mixture of funeral and more classic Sabbath sounds with black and atmospheric death continues to walk the path of keeping things fresh. There's even a small dose of ambient on a few tracks.
But whether it's this sludgy slowness or the raging blastbeats of "Conquerers," save room for a helping of big chunky distortion. Some similarities to Dalkhu, but with a bit more early Amon Amarth in its veins. "The Ruins of a Forgotten People" instrumental would have fit nicely on the last Portal album as well. But no matter the comparisons, Conquest is the sound of warriors riding each other down in limbo, forever reenacting battles long since over. Yes, some very Dante-esque Viking metal. Time speeds up and slows down for the kills, but this is less The 300 and more Valhalla Rising. The album even ends similar to how it started, beginning the cycle once more.
So if that sounds like your sort of thing, definitely check this out. It's a different take on on genre fusions that kept me going. You can stream and buy below, as usual.



Selvans is a black symphonic folk metal band from Italy. On their latest full length release through the excellent Avantgarde Music, a label I have come to trust for quality underground metal releases, Selvans definitely bring their A game. Lupercalia is the name of an ancient ritual that was meant to purify and drive out evil spirits from the city. I dunno, it sure feels like we're welcoming them in.
The real treat here is all of the great, folky instrumentation: flutes, mandolin, strings all partake in addition to the more traditional Emperor-style symphonics. These all make some great statements in their careful placement within the larger composition. "Hirpi Sorani," in particular, comes to mind with its perfect flute flourishes and mandolin layering that reminded me of the main title track for Silent Hill 3.

But the keyboards pull plenty of weight for themselves. There is a great expanse conveyed through the resulting atmosphere. Each sustained, angelic note inspires a plethora of emotive responses. It's no wonder choices were made at times to pull back all other instrumentation and allow these passages to stand alone. The resulting dynamics can be quite breathtaking.
So what about the metal? I've spent the bulk of my time here highlighting all of the hybrid elements from classical and folk tradition, so where do things get heavy? Be still, my little acolyte, there is still plenty grimness to be found. Vocals are harsh and throaty throughout. I can hear the resulting larynx damage true to black metal tradition. Taake may be the closest comparison. Lyrics are often in what I assume to be Italian, but they are vile enough to make this difficult to surmise. Things really escalate by the time "N.A.F.H." comes to a close.

Meanwhile the guitars and drums definitely do their part to make this an engaging piece of work. Nothing out of the ordinary: varying degrees of tremolo, minor chord picking, blastbeats, d-beat, double bass. What is important in this genre tends to be how it all comes together. In Selvan's case, it does soe quite well. Compositions, despite being quite long, feel conside and well-structured. Melodies are catchy and the rhythms will get you moving.
If you are ready to check this thing out for yourself, it just came out today (10/19/15) and is ready for your consumption below. Digital copies are pretty cheap for purchase as well. I definitely recommend it.



      One of my fellow scribes summarized his distaste for atmospheric black metal as follows: “Whenever someone mentions atmospheric black metal, I automatically know that there is going to be a lot of standing around and doing nothing”. While this is applicable to most of today’s bands that overdo the repetition part, not all bands can be generalized like this. Done right, this form of music can result in something grim and beautiful. Case in point is the new record from Raventale, titled ‘Dark Substance of Dharma’. The seventh full length from this Ukranian one man project takes a thematic shift towards Indian and Tibetan philosophy, and the music showcases a fine balance of atmosphere, synth melody and guitar riffs.

Raventale Dark Substance of Dharma

Starting with familiar sounds of nature in ‘Intra-Mantra’, the whisphered words add a mystic flavour and sets the mood for the rest of the record. The guitar tones slowly and steadily emanate to the ritualistic beat of the drums, creating an occult atmosphere. The subtle synth work provides the melody and imparts a soothing character to the music, which though contrasting, works well with the harsh guitar work.

Many of bands playing this style of music, produce music that is quite one dimensional, focusing on the atmosphere alone. Raventale on the other hand, takes cues from the likes of early Burzum and Drudkh and the music has a harsh side to it. The repetitive guitar riffs and melodies find measured usage which proves very effective. On tracks like ‘Destroying the Seeds of Karma’, the guitars tend to take a softer approach, contributing to the atmosphere, while the title track sees the riffs taking the centre stage. The band’s vicious side is revealed on the track ‘Kali’s Hunger’, where the black metal chaos is unleashed in short span of 3 minutes. This variation is what sets Raventale apart from the monotonous herd.

Black metal is known for it’s repetitive riffs, the whole point of which is to nail the idea deep into the listener’s head. But when not done in the proper way, it can be very annoying. In Raventale’s case, the repetitiveness doesn’t feel cumbersome at all. The atmosphere, coupled with acrid vocal work and the mystic tone of the music makes even the longer tracks enjoyable. There are a couple of instances, however, where a wild breakdown appears (‘Last Moon Fermata’ and ‘Dark Substance of Dharma’) and these little bits feel very out of place. Then again, these are very small bits and are nowhere near enough to disrupt the experience of the album as a whole.
The album has a rich, layered sound which aids the atmosphere really well. The subtle synth and the abrasive guitars are just perfect in the mix. The duality of the soft atmosphere and the harsh guitars is showcased very well in the music. This combination makes the music sound vile and beautiful at the same time. It’s hard to come across a band that balances soothing, beautiful atmosphere with vicious guitar work as effectively as Raventale. 

The band seems to be going strong with seven full lengths to their credit, each maintaining a level of consistency. ‘Dark Substance of Dharma’ is a solid addition to the Raventale catalogue and is a good jump in point as any other record in their discography.
Rating: 80%



Hi everyone, this post is much different than probably anything else I've ever posted on this blog. It's not about the trivial Youtube videos I enjoy, or the newest and coolest obscure album I've listened to but instead: It's for a great  and important initiative. It's concerning the lives of many on the basis of Fundamental Humanitarian grounds.

    I've been a huge proponent of the advocation of Human Rights for many years now but it hasn't been until now that I have decided to follow upon my desire in a meaningful way by being an active participant. What might this organization be you might ask? What I'm referring to is Hanvoice.

Hanvoice is an Advocacy/NGO group established to assist North Korean's in Canada as well as in North Korea. One of the main objectives is striving to bring both grassroots and political  awareness of North Korea on a larger scale (much beyond the scope of what many have learned from pop-culture). In doing so, we hope to enligthen the people of North Korea on a gradual basis. Any bit of support, or sharing of this is greatly appreciated; so please take a couple moments out of your day and check out their website. Cheers


Oldd Wvrms

NØT cover art

It's been just little over two months since i reviewed Oldd Wvrms First Release 
and it didn't take much time at all for me to review their second. It of course helps a bit when the band themseles come forward by giving me such an opportunity to share my experience and of course discover them (though I'm surprised anyone knows about my blog ahah). 

Leaving off where they did with their first release, the opening track Corrosive continues off in the same vain with powerful, piercing vocals and killer riffs. This I think right here is the theme and the driving force that gives the album it's character and oomph. The EP is not super-fancy with ultra complex sturctures or any bits of charm but it's just straight, in your face Doomy Sludge. Straight to buisness, full of attitude and ferocious just how I like it. If you like this approach to your Doom/Sludge then I think you will thoroughly enjoy this release and won't be disappointed. Here'sto hoping that Oldd Wvrms wastes no time and gets back into music writing mode.