Friday, September 21, 2007

Ancient Rites

Band: Ancient Rites
Formed In: 1988
Genre: Black Metal, Viking/Folk Black Metal
Country of Origin: Belgium

Ancient Rites are, at their core, a Black Metal band, but they craft into their music Symphonics and Viking and Folk Metal riffs and melodies. Combined with a worship of ancient Europe and lead vocalist Gunther Theys wide knowledge of history and mythology, you end up with some excellent music.

Album: Rvbicon
Year: 2006

Track Listing:
  1. Crusade
  2. Templar
  3. Mithras
  4. Thermopylae
  5. Rubicon
  6. Invictus
  7. Ypres
  8. Galilean
  9. Cheruscan
  10. Brabantia
Rvbicon bears many similarities to Dim Carcos--it's Black Metal mixed with Symphonics and Viking/Folk Metal and has a romantic ancient theme--but it is also completely different. The focus of the album is on Rome, Greece and the Middle-East, with the Folk melodies echoing that theme, particularly in the opening riff of the fantastic "Templar." The songs are also more mid-paced, and Gunther delivers his vocals differently as well. He takes a more sinister approach to his harsh vocals and his clean vocals aren't as bellowed and high, creating a different though equally magical atmosphere. Rvbicon is another brilliant album, doing justice to the name of Ancient Rites.

Album: Dim Carcosa
Year: 2001

Track Listing:
  1. The Return
  2. Exile (Les Litanies De Satan)
  3. Victory Or Valhalla (Last Man Standing)
  4. ...And The Horns Called For War
  5. North Sea
  6. Gotterdämmerung (Twilight Of The Gods)
  7. (Ode To Ancient) Europa
  8. Remembrance
  9. Lindisfarne (Anno 793)
  10. On Golden Field (De Leeuwen Dansen)
  11. Dim Carcosa
Dim Carcosa is one of the most passionate Black Metal albums I've ever heard. It's incredibly personal to Gunther, displaying his love of literature with songs like "Exile (Les Litanies De Satan," dedicated to Charles Baudelaire, and "Gotterdämmerung (Twilight Of The Gods)," inspired by the German philosopher Nietzsche, his love of his European heritage with "(Ode To Ancient) Europa" and his love of History, Mythology and the mysterious with really every other track on the album. "Remebrance" is the best instrumental interlude ever to grace a Metal album, it is a truly beautiful piano piece. The way the Black Metal is mixed with Viking and Folk riffs, as well as Symphonics at points and the perfection of its unique and varied song structures and composures makes it unique and ever interesting. Gunther is also an incredible clean vocalist, and his singing marks one of the greatest highlights of the album. I dare say this is a necessity for Black Metal fans.

Note: If you enjoy the albums, make sure to go to Ancient Rites' website and read the linear notes for Dim Carcosa and Rvbicon. From the side bar on the left, go to Textuals and you'll find links to the lyrics/linear notes for both albums. It gives one a deeper understanding of the meaning and history behind Gunther and each and every song.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Death in June - But, What Ends When the Symbol Shatters?

Band: Death in June
Album: But, What Ends When the Symbol Shatters?
Genre: Neo-Folk
Country of Origin: England
Year: 1992

Track Listing:
  1. Death Is the Martyr of Beauty
  2. He's Disabled
  3. The Mourner's Bench
  4. Because of Him
  5. Dædalus Rising
  6. Little Black Angel
  7. The Golden Wedding of Sorrow
  8. The Giddy Edge of Light
  9. Ku Ku Ku
  10. This Is Not Paradise
  11. Hollows of Devotion
  12. But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?
But, What Ends When the Symbol Shatters? is an excellent little album by the legendary Death in June. Neo-Folk is basically idealic European Folk music mixed with a bit of Industrial/Electronica. I'm not sure how to better discribe it. Regardless, the album is beautiful and atmospheric, with almost chanted vocals. It's very meditative. According to wikiedpa, "He's Disabled", "The Mourner's Bench", "Because of Him", and "Little Black Angel" are covers/re-interpretations of songs from Jim Jones' People's Temple Choir 1973 gospel album He's Able. The original songs were "He's Able", "Something's Got a Hold of Me", "Because of Him", and "Black Baby", respectively."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape

Band: Sigh
Album: Imaginary Sonicscape
Genre: Avant-Garde Black Metal
Country of Origin: Japan
Year: 2001

Track Listing:
  1. Corpsecry - Angelfall
  2. Scarlet Dream
  3. Nietzchean Conspiracy
  4. A Sunset Song
  5. Impromptu (Allegro Maestoso)
  6. Dreamsphere (Return to Chaos)
  7. Ecstatic Transformation
  8. Slaughtergarden Suite
  9. Bring Back the Dead
  10. Requiem - Nostalgia
Imaginary Sonicscape is a pretty interesting album. The riffs are fantastic and the song structures interesting. Not everything is standard Black Metal, Sigh break downs boarders with songs like the poppy "A Sunset Song" and Stoner Doomish romp "Ecstatic Transformation." Permeating the album are fantastic synths and sound effects, orchestrated by Mirai Kawashima, including numerous, excellent hammond organ solos. Great stuff anyone who wants something interesting.

Lunar Aurora - Andacht

Band: Lunar Aurora
Album: Andacht
Genre: Black Metal
Country of Origin: Germany
Year: 2007

Track Listing:
  1. Glück
  2. Geisterschiff
  3. Dunkler Mann
  4. Findling
  5. Der Pakt
  6. Das Ende
Very cold, eerie and powerful Black Metal from Germany. All the songs are long and epic, the shortest being 7:53 and longest being 11:09, and they're all full of great riffs, excellent synths and atmospheric sound effects with very agressive and abrassive harsh vocals. One of my favorite 2007 Black Metal albums, definately worth a listen.

Cor Scorpii - Attergangar

Band: Cor Scorpii
Album: Attergangar
Genre: Black/Viking Metal
Country of Origin: Norway
Year: 2005

Track Listing:
  1. Fall of man
  2. Transcendental Journey
  3. Attergangar
  4. Når Enden Er God
Like Vreid, a band started by Windir members after the death unfortunate death of great Valfar. Windir like Black/Viking Metal with excellent leads and fantastic synth work, especially at the beginning of "Transcendental Journey." Fans of Windir should definately get this.