Sunday, October 19, 2008


Napalm Records

Alexander Krull has produced a hit record in “Elegy”, a soaring song which is punctuated by the beautiful, ethereal voice of Krull’s wife, known to most metalheads as Liv Kristine (formerly of Theatre Of Tregedy.)

Mrs. Krull’s voice is breathtaking on this track, most especially during the song’s stratosphere reaching chorus. The track, taken from the group’s incredible new record “Vinland Saga” is included here in both its single and album versions, each equally imparting the passion inherent in this ensemble’s musical endeavors.

Many fans of death metal innovators Atrocity will be surprised to discover that as the backing group to Liv, the band can create music which is beautiful rather than brutal and perhaps even more viable than the musician’s more extreme works.

Fans will find a demo version of “Solemn Sea” that is more than compelling as well as three non-album tracks, “Senses Capture”, “A Winter’s Poem” and “Mot Fjerne Land”, all of which take the listener on a musical journey across vast melodious soundscapes.

Alexander Krull proves here that his Mastersound Studio can turn out melody as well as brutality, establishing him as amongst the best of European producers today.

Leaves’ Eyes cannot be underestimated in their ability to craft music which effects the listener in a powerful emotional manner, making both this MCD and the forthcoming “Vinland Saga” essential listening.

Written By: Lewis Spiker

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

HIM - Razorblade Romance

Razorblade Romance
Universal Records

HIM is a bonafide phenomenon in their home country of Finland, shooting rapidly to the top of the European charts with albums that are literally filled with hits. With "Razorblade Romance, the group cemented their God-like status on that side of the pond and then set their sights on America with this amazing collection of gothic flavored, pop metal shots that win over the female fans by the herds. Led by the immensely charismatic Ville Valo, the band seem unstoppable on hard driving tracks like their instantly memorable "Poison Girl" and and their souped-up version of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game".

With one listen to the devilishly enticing "Your Sweet 666", it is evident that HIM are not your average musical entity. This cut's lyrics radiate with a subliminally evil allure and Valo's soulful crooning makes the track's message that more impacting. The ghostly call of "Join Me In Death" is dark, passionate and seductive in Valo's plea to share in suicide with his lover. Emerson Burton provides a tasteful ringing keyboard passage throughout the track that adds to the song's haunting, chilling quality.

"Right Here In My Arms" is highlighted by Valo's bassy vocalizations and a pulsating rhythm that breaks into an enormously memorable hook. The guitar tone on "Razorblade Romance" is ultimately godly in its sharpness and the flawless production overall gives HIM's well written tunes an overbearingly appealing presence.

The dirge-like "Bury Me Deep Inside Your Heart" owes a penance to Type O Negative musically, but Valo can go places with both his voice and lyrics that Peter Steele simply cannot begin to reach.The group lend attention to dynamics and it is the member's knowledge of when not to play that give these songs such an enormous feel.

When their songs kick in, they kick in hard. "I Love You (Prelude To Tragedy)"relies on a thrusting bassline from Mige Amour and a fuzzed out guitar sound that completely rocks.

The low register vocals employed by Valo during the chorus create an interesting and infectious juxtaposition with his softer vox. "Gone With The Sin" is a stellar ballad that is tonally creative and positively beautiful to listen to. Valo's voice here is soothing like none other.

The tight beats of Gas Lipstick power "Razorblade Kiss" and Valo sounds almost like Ozzy Osbourne during the chorus. Lily Lazer (he hates that) rips a devastating guitar solo here and the snare hits that bring in the final refrain sound absolutely killer.

HIM bashes it out on "Death Is In Love With Us" in true superstar fashion and the tripped out vocal effects in the bridge add a further mysterious dimension to this insanely rocking cut.

A band that seems that they can do no wrong, HIM have latched onto an addictive sound that is an unabashedly unstoppable musical force as the band prepares to tackle the US charts.

Written By: The Wizard

Saturday, October 11, 2008

DARKWELL - Metatron

Napalm Records - 2005

Darkwell straddles the line between Goth and power metal quite masterfully. It’s a prerequisite that the listener enjoys operatic female vocals, but for those fans who can appreciate the style, the wickedly beautiful, red-tressed Stephanie Luzie does the job wonderfully.

Her soulful harmony on tracks such as “Strange” and “Crown Of Thorns” is purely angelic. The group concentrates on manifesting wide soundscapes for Luzie to glide over, as the singer so gracefully does on “The Machine”. Keyboard accents give the music a well rounded feeling that moves from darkwave to pagan styling effortlessly. Guitar-wise, you’ll find galloping rhythms, piercing harmonics and dead on heavy power riffing that gives the group’s tunes a dark impression.

Although some of Luzie’s phrasing is decidedly European, her vocalizations have the ability to ring through across cultural boundaries as she so eloquently does on the funeral minded symphony “Nothingness”, where the singer reaches for soothing whispers as well as soaring aural stimulation that belies her high degree of vocal talent.

It is her performance that is the primary focus of “Metatron” and well it should be as she’s one of the most gifted operatic female vocalists in metal today.

Written By: Lewis Spiker

Friday, October 10, 2008

BESEECH - Sunless Days

Sunless Days
Napalm Records – 2005

Fans of Beseech will find much to like about the band’s latest effort, “Sunless Days”, as the group continues to hone their songwriting skills, balancing harmony and power in a manner that is unforgettable and moving. One must look no further than the album’s stellar lead-off cut, “Interlane”, in order to find one of the most singable metal tracks of the year. Although the group’s music resonates with a brooding atmosphere, it remains at once highly melodic, a feat that is difficult to accomplish.

From the ethereal songcrafting of “The Outpost” to a well done version of Danzig’s “Devil’s Plaything”, Beseech remain nothing short of phenomenal in both their delivery and the manner in which they craft their highly tuneful music. Most importantly, this group really gels as a unit on record, their fluid yet weighty tones resonating with a united force. In “A Bittersweet Tragedy”, you’ll discover the band locking into a gothic vibe that is as morose as Ville Valo’s outfit, while the juxtaposition of the male/female vocals of the band lends further texture to their overall vibe.

Recommended for fans of everything from Evanescence to Leaves’ Eyes to Orphanage, “Sunless Days” is nothing less than an astoundingly memorable collection of powerful, gothic-tinged heavy metal that you’ll find yourself becoming immersed in again and again.

Written By: Lewis Spiker

Thursday, October 9, 2008


In Requiem
Century Media

Over the course of the highly influential career of Paradise Lost, the group has dwelled in a stereotypical limbo, with each record delivered consistently reaching beyond the last in terms of creativity and substance.

What’s most interesting is that throughout all of the band’s experimentation with varied sounds, fans have largely stuck by the band no matter its sonic inclinations of the moment. If you were to play the band’s latest, the sprawling, gloomy “In Requiem” for someone that hadn’t heard the band since its Peaceville debut, “Lost Paradise,” it’s highly unlikely the listening subject would believe they were listening to the same band.

Having said that, the evolution of Paradise Lost has been gradual and prudent, yet even in the present day, certain parallels may be drawn to the band’s former works. Does that fact save blatant stabs at accessibility such as “The Enemy” from criticism? In many respects, yes, because no matter how much more commercial-leaning such tracks may be, the band’s music contains an underlying heaviness and sense of damnation that most other gothic bands fail to envision.

Many would note that the once doom/death outfit has been overshadowed by darker, more aggressive bands like My Dying Bride, but Paradise Lost has been in an entirely different headspace for some time now. In the case of the dim, melodic depressiveness of opener “Never For The Damned” and the delicately destructive “Beneath Black Skies,” Paradise Lost finds it’s current musical residence as being somewhere between Metallica and Type O Negative, with plenty of sullen majesty thrown in for good measure.

Continuing to reinvent its suitably down in the dumps vibe at each and every turn, “In Requiem” finds Paradise Lost once again proving there’s a immense amount of beauty to be found in the darkness of this world.

Written By: The Wizard


Firebox Records

Having discovered the last release from Fall Of The Leafe to be rather entertaining, “Aerolithe” was looked toward with great anticipation. This latest recording finds Fall Of The Leafe to have shed any indication of its once extreme metal past, now clinging to a sound that’s a melding of Rush-type progressive rock and gothic metal of the sort that Finland breeds like crazy. “All The Good Faith” is a stark example of the band’s progressive rock focus, an up-tempo number that resides in stark contrast to the depressive doom metal that’s been the hallmark of Firebox Records for years now.

Exhibiting an urgent rock edge that brings Daysend to mind, “Drawing Worry” embraces both melody and might, incorporating intensity when appropriate and keeping the listener on their toes with plenty of shifts in direction. As the band’s singer, Tuomas Tuominen has a tremendously distinct vocal personality. His baritone crooning matches up fully with his more forceful voice, with the latter tastefully used only when need be for dramatic effect.

A wholly enjoyable outing, “Aerolithe” makes up for its accessibility with enough strong musicianship and inventive songwriting to be of major interest to devotees of progressive rock music.

Written By: Glum Luminous