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Other Recent Reviews
Delain – The Human Contradiction
Author: adg211288
Rating: 83

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Aborted - The Archaic Abattoir
Author: UMUR
Rating: 80

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Aborted – Goremageddon: The Saw and the Carnage Done
Author: UMUR
Rating: 70

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Ex Libris – Medea
Author: DippoMagoo
Rating: 98

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Vanishing Point – Distant is the Sun
Author: DippoMagoo
Rating: 97

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Iron Savior - Rise of the Hero
Author: DippoMagoo
Rating: 82

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Fenris – Across the Darkened Skies
Author: adg211288
Rating: 48

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Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us
Author: UMUR
Rating: 90

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Аркона/Arkona - Явь/Yav
Author: adg211288
Rating: 95

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Aborted – Engineering the Dead
Author: UMUR
Rating: 70

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Hatesphere - Murderlust
Author: UMUR
Rating: 75

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Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinth
Author: UMUR
Rating: 80

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Aborted – The Purity of Perversion
Author: UMUR
Rating: 60

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Abigor – Time Is the Sulphur in the Veins of the Saint - An Excursion on Satan's Fragmenting Principle
Author: UMUR
Rating: 70

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Abhorrence – Abhorrence
Author: UMUR
Rating: 60

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Abhorrence – Vulgar Necrolatry
Author: UMUR
Rating: 55

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Xandria - Sacrificium
Author: adg211288
Date: 15/04/2014
Rating: 93

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1349 – Chaos Preferred
Author: UMUR
Date: 15/04/2014
Rating: 50

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16 – Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds
Author: UMUR
Date: 15/04/2014
Rating: 60

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3 Inches of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom
Author: UMUR
Date: 15/04/2014
Rating: 75

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See Older Reviews

Welcome
Welcome to Heavy Metal Haven, the open-minded heavy metal forums!

Recent Reviews
Scythia...Of Conquest
Genre: Symphonic/Progressive/Folk-Power Metal
Release Date: February 24th 2014
Label: Self-released.
Author: adg211288

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...Of Conquest (2014) is the third full-length album by Canadian folk metal act Scythia. It was self-released by the band in both physical and digital formats. It's been three years since the last Scythia album ...Of Exile (2011) although they did also release an EP, For the Bear (2012) in the gap between the albums. ...Of Conquest represents something of a departure for the group though with the main focus of their music shifting from folk metal to power metal.

And Scythia's take on power metal is an incredibly varied one. ...Of Conquest is like a rotating blend of folk-power metal, symphonic power metal and progressive power metal with a few extreme metal influences thrown in as well in the form of growling vocals. Most of the vocals are sung cleanly though as is normal for a power metal release. Frontman Dave Khan's voice strikes me as something of an acquired taste (I like him though) but is especially suitable for the most folk influenced of the music as the mini-epic Bear Claw Tavern will demonstrate. His voice gives the album an overarching folk vibe even when the music itself has turned towards either pure or symphonic based power metal. Khan is joined at different times during the album by bassist Terry Savage who does the growls, and to a lesser extent drummer Celine Derval also provides some lead vocals, as in the intro of Reflections.

Instantly impressive, ...Of Conquest is the sort of album that sets the standard for other releases from the genre to better. Scythia blend their folk, symphonic and progressive influences into the core power metal sound flawlessly. Despite the chopping and changing of ideas the album flows incredibly well and never feels mishmashed. You've got incredibly lively folk-power metal like Bear Claw Tavern to slower paced balladry in Land of Scythia to dramatic symphonic influenced pieces like Rise of the Kraken, which also happens to feature a very progressive rock sounding keyboard solo section to round it off. The progressive elements in the songs can strike at any time, particularly in solo sections but there is none more progressive than the album's epic length track Path Through the Labyrinth. All the songs I have mentioned by name are definite highlights of the album but it would be wrong to not also namedrop Sailor's Accolade and Army of the Bear in particular.

...Of Conquest is an early highlight of 2014 for both power and folk metal and I'm sure that despite the on/off use of folk melodies and instrumentation the release will be of equal interest to fans of both styles. A rating in the high end of 4.5 stars is most definitely appropriate. 93/100

:star: :star: :star: :star: :halfstar:


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AbriosisTattered And Bound
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Release Date: March 6th, 2011
Label: **** Knife Records
Author: UMUR

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Tattered And Bound is the debut full-length studio album by Canadian death metal act Abriosis. The album as released through **** Knife Records in early 2011. Tattered And Bound is available for free and can be downloaded through the band´s Myspace page.

The music on the album is technical death metal. Lots of impressive fretboard noodling and tempo- and time signature changes. The vocals vary between deep growls and higher pitched aggressive growling. The latter is the dominant vocal style and it has a core edge to it, that´s probably an acquired taste for fans of the genre. While the technical playing is very impressive I unfortunately feel that the many tempo changes take away from the flow of the tracks and in the process make them less powerful too. I actually like Abriosis the most when they play the most straight forward death metal sections and concentrate less on technical playing. Other than that the album is pretty solid and consistent in quality. There´s nothing on the album that sticks out as being of especially high quality or are wildly innovative and the tracks aren´t that memorable either but Tattered And Bound is pretty enjoyable anyway. At least while it plays.

Tattered And Bound should please fans of contemporary technical death metal while fans of the more old school technical death metal sound, might have a slight issue with the core leanings and the way the tempo changes are executed. I´d say a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted. 60/100

:star: :star: :star:


Comment.

AborymKali Yuga Bizarre
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Release Date: April 1st, 1999
Label: Scarlet Records
Author: UMUR

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Kali Yuga Bizarre is the debut full-length studio album by Italian black metal act Aborym. The album was released through Scarlet Records in April 1999. While an Italian black metal act coming out of nowhere usually didn´t turn heads, the case is a bit different with Aborym, as Kali Yuga Bizarre features the vocal services of prolific Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar (on three tracks). At that point former vocalist of Tormentor and more notably Norwegian legends Mayhem. Such a stunt is always bound to attract attention.

The music on Kali Yuga Bizarre is black metal with symphonic sounding synths. The drums are programmed but are overall pretty well programmed and suits the music well. The vocals are raspy and delivered in a convincing manner. The material are generally of a decent quality, but it´s an album featuring little material that stick out. The production is raw but not too raw and primitive. The synths provide the polish that means the album isn´t really raw sounding. The lyrics more or less cover the usual occult/anti-Christian subjects that most black metal acts cover (with an occasional added Hindi theme though in tracks like Wehrmacht Kali Ma and Tantra Bizarre), which is also obvious when reading songtitles like Horrenda Peccata Christi, Darka Mysteria and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.

The musicianship are on a decent level too and Kali Yuga Bizarre is upon conclusion a pretty good release by Aborym. It´s not exactly an album that makes my blood boil, but it´s an alright start to Aborym´s career. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted. 60/100

:star: :star: :star:


Comment.

Super Massive Black HolesCalculations of the Ancients
Genre: Jazzy Technical/Progressive Death Metal
Release Date: April 29th 2014
Label: Minotauro Records
Author: adg211288

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Calculations of the Ancients (2014) is the debut full-length album by Canadian act Super Massive Black Holes. Originally started as something of a play anything act the sound that Super Massive Black Holes seem to have settled on is a heavily jazz influenced take of technical/progressive death metal.

Musically Super Massive Black Holes show themselves to be an incredibly well playing act both when it comes to the death metal orientated sections of the music and the slightly less common (but pretty overt) jazzy sections that calm things down every so often. There's definitely something about these two very different kinds of music that just go hand in hand, with albums such as Pestilence's Spheres (1993) and Atheist's Elements (1993) being well known examples. Although a totally DIY effort Calculations of the Ancients also sounds professionally done, allowing all the jazzy/technical/progressive details to stand out to their full potential.

This is where my positivity ends though, because as impressive as the music on Calculations of the Ancients is I have to say that the release is also unfortunately marred by a sub-par vocal performance. At worst the vocalist sounds like he is really straining to get some of the growls out, and he sounds generally weak at the best of times. The music is strong enough to make the vocals tolerable and it's not a long album by any means which helps, but I can't disguise the fact that the vocals are detracting from my enjoyment of the music and creating a rare instance where I wish a release was fully instrumental, which isn't something I usually enjoy. Fortunately there are actually plenty of drawn out instrumental sections despite the overall short running time. The fully instrumental Ghosts of Bhopal is naturally the highlight of the release.

Even with the issue with the vocals Calculations of the Ancients is an impressive debut album from Super Massive Black Holes. Based on the music alone I'd be prepared to give the album as high as 4.5 stars but for the whole experience the band has served up the end result is more in the 3.5 stars bracket. I'm definitely keen to hear more from them as they grow and evolve as a band though, as Calculations of the Ancients is one of the more innovative records I've heard this year so far but they do really need a stronger vocalist to completely carry what they're doing off. 70/100

:star: :star: :star: :halfstar:


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Album of the Month
GorgutsColored Sands
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Release Date: August 30th, 2013
Label: Season of Mist

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Colored Sands is the 5th full-length studio album by Canadian experimental/progressive extreme metal act Gorguts. The album was released through Season of Mist in August 2013. Gorguts are one of the pioneers in using dominant dissonance in extreme metal music and their Obscura (1998) album is a seminal release, that has inspired prolific acts like Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate, just to mention a few. Of course there were acts that incorporated dissonance to their sound before Obscura (1998) came out (especially Voivod comes to mind), but it featured a chaotic darkness and dominant use of dissonance that was unheard of at the time. Their 4th full-length studio album From Wisdom to Hate (2001) toned down the dissonance a bit and made a slight return to the more regular US influenced death metal style of the band´s first two studio albums, but still retained a dissonant element, that sets the album apart from most other releases in the genre.

The band were struck by tragedy though as drummer Steve MacDonald committed suicide in October 2002 and band leader Luc Lemay put Gorguts on hold until 2008 when he chose to resurrect the band again with a completely new lineup. On Colored Sands the lineup consists of Luc Lemay (Vocals, Guitar), Kevin Hufnagel (Guitar), Colin Marston (Bass), John Longstreth (Drums). These are all very seasoned musicians, having played with acts like (among others) Behold the Arctopus, Krallice, Dysrhythmia, Dim Mak, Angelcorpse, Origin, Vaura and The Red Chord and as a consequence the musicianship on Colored Sands is top notch. And that is exploited to the full on Colored Sands. All four guys are very active and audible in the soundscape. Great interplay between the two guitarists, very skilfully played drumming (and varied too) and busy adventurous bass playing. The vocals are mostly growling and pretty low in the mix and along with the atmospheric sections this give off a strong post rock/metal vibe.

The lyrics on Colored Sands are politically motivated. It´s a concept album describing the Tibetan culture and later the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 and the following oppression of the Tibetan people by the Chinese occupation. I think we can safely establish that Luc Lemay is not going to travel to China anytime soon after this...

The music on the 9 tracks, 62:49 minutes long album is, except for the instrumental classical chamber piece The Battle of Chamdo, a chaotic sounding, dark and twisted but also atmospheric type of extreme metal, with nods toward both death metal, post rock/metal, avant garde metal and progressive metal. although there are familiar elements in the band´s sound Gorguts continue to challenge conventions. Dissonance and tempo- and time signature changes are dominant elements in the band´s sound and sometimes those elements make for an almost nauseating listen. The way the band sometimes combine fast paced drumming with slow dragging dissonant riffing (not completely unlike the atmospheric doom/death of Disembowelment) has the effect on me, that I feel like I´m being torn apart inside. I´m not sure if I should headbang like a madman to the complex rhythms or just sit there drenched in the feeling of despair that the music so vividly convey. Somehow that´s a wonderful ambiguous feeling.

The same can be said about the sound production which in many ways is strong, as it is both powerful, detailed and relatively raw. At the same time it features a drum sound that may put some people off. Especially the bass drums feature quite an odd clicky sound. Personally I´ve formed the opinion that I think they fit the music well and provide it with another otherworldly and alien element to add to the rest of them. This is in every way possible a very unique and innovative sounding release by Gorguts, which might draw on some of the same elements as their groundbreaking Obscura (1998) album did, but at the same time adds a lot of atmosphere to those elements and therefore ultimately sounds very little like that album. There´s no arguing that Colored Sands is an incredible comeback album by Gorguts and to my ears maybe their strongest release to date. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved. 100/100

:star: :star: :star: :star: :star:




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