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Tales from Bandcamp: Empires of Ash by Sojourner

a0681834603_10I always appreciate when a band chooses a name that aptly describes what their sound is. Even more when they live up to it. Dream Theater, Agalloch, Moonsorrow, Cannibal Corpse, to name a few. With a lofty name like sojourner there is lofty expectations for the music to take me on one hell of a journey across sprawling landscapes and through magical realms. And boy does this debut of theirs deliver.

As equally majestic as it is furious, Empires of Ash channels that epic spirit of black metal bands like Summoning, Saor, and even Emperor. What really sets Sojourner apart from their contemporaries for me is how well they weave the folk instruments into their songs; a variety of flutes, piano, and cheesy-as-fuck synths (and I mean that in the best way possible) pour personality into the music. When ever they make an appearance they really heighten the atmosphere and give just the right amount of spine-tingling punch. Add in a smattering of pristine medieval-styled female vocals to break up the throaty rasps and the mystical element is delightfully accentuated. I also really appreciate the diversity of the songs on the record as well as the songs themselves. Some have touches of doom others bask in ballad territory. Each one has its own distinctive touch yet they all flow well together. This is definitely an album to be appreciated as a whole rather than piecemeal.

So, yeah, if you love yourself some epic folky black metal, do check Empires of Ash out. I see myself really taking a many trip with these Sojourners.  As always, give it a listen and if you dig it go dig in your couch or back seat for some spare change to toss to the artists, they deserve it. Annoy your friends with recommendations too!!!  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

Tales From Bandcamp: Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom Score by Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom

a3608266349_10The second I saw the band name and cover art for Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom I had to click on it and see what it was all about.  Expecting some sci-fi doom band I was pleasantly surprised that the record is a score for a ten-cent sci-fi schlock-fest film by the same name and the music is an homage to the glorious scores of 80s sci-fi and horror flicks like Blade Runner, Day of the Dead, Terminator, and 80s John Carpenter.  Jam packed full of synths and more synths I immediately fell in love with this electronic cheese.  Not really metal, but whatever, the band name makes it metal enough.

If cheesy sci-fi synth music is something you can get down with, give the record a spin, it’s atmospheric and fun.  If not, just watch the trailer for the film, which is undeniably metal as fuck.  Now, if you excuse me, I need to go get my hands on that flick.  Enjoy!!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Roundtable Review: Sonus Mortis – Propaganda Dream Sequence

00_DigipakPhotosLabel:  Unsigned

Release Date:  1 Mar 2014

Songs:   11

Length:  63 Minutes

Genre:  Doom/Symphonic/Atmospheric

Studio Albums:   This is their Debut

Location:  Dublin, Ireland

WarpRider – Unsigned?  What shame!  I like the more melodic approach to this death/doom/atmospheric metal 1-piece act.  Often, these individual subgenres can be extreme, but under the right circumstances, together can be beautiful deathly hallowed music.  Sonus Mortis (the one guy); hit the nail with the hammer.  3.8 

Atleastimhousebroken – Neat-O album (horrible album art though.  Drop me a line, I’ll MS Paint you a masterpiece next time 😉 ).  Went in expecting a Fleshgod Apocolypse/Septic Flesh rip off, left thinking that this album is near equal both those bands best albums.  While songs can meander here and there, the songwriting and performance is superb and packs a heavy punch when called for.  The vocals deserve special mention as they have that gut-rumbling quality I look for in my growly guy vocals. 4.0

Irmelinis – It was surprising to find out that this is a one-person-project. It’s pretty impressive considering this is an album packed with high quality songs and superb songwriting, in the same vein as Therion, Septic Flesh and at times even reminiscent of Devin Townsend. Recommended! 3.5

ChristopherMammal – This solo project by Kevin Byrne delivers the best blackened death-type music I’ve heard in a while. I’m sure my endorphin count went up to “Level: Bliss” while this album was playing. The overall impact is a smooth deluge of sound. But listen to the individual instrumental components – there’s an ocean of frigging good variation and skill, washing over you in swirls and drawing you in like a maelstrom. The same goes for the vocals, which span deep gutturals, higher-pitched growling, clean singing and gruff narration in an Irish accent. And all that from just one guy… fantastic job, Mister Byrne. 4.5

A Metal State of Mind Score – 4 out of 5 

Stream of the Week – Whose Hearts Were His

This week’s Stream of the Week hails from Kansas City, Missouri.  Gabe Fry is the brain behind Whose Hearts Were His – his new solo project.  He was formerly part of Solace and Stable, a band we featured here on A Metal State of Mind a couple of years ago.  If you would like to check that project out as well, you can click here.  The new self-titled album is set for release in the near future – not date indicated just yet, but if I am supplied one I will let you know.  For now you can check out this track, Tongues Like Knives, to water your mouths for more of what’s to come.

For fans of:  Gojira, Between The Buried and Me, The Red Chord

Members:  Gabe Fry

Mini Album Reviews: Symbolic, Subscale, Fear Theories, Oceanus

symbolic scarvest frontcover-bigBand:  Symbolic

Album:  Scarvest

Record Label:  Twin Peaks Records

Release Date:  30 August 2013

Nationality:  Germany

Style:  Technical / Brutal / Death Metal

Death metal comes in pretty much four forms; groovy, brutal, melodic, and lastly technical.  Some bands do a good job of lacing together more than one of those aforementioned styles.  The lines could be drawn even wider, but for the sake of this review Symbolic is one of those bands that encompasses a little bit of everything.  Their complexities and rhythm stood out the most.  From the beginning track, Everlasting, I was impressed with their ability to be lace brutality with tight riffing and inject melody in between, but not the kind of melody that takes the song in a different direction.  Some songs are harsher than others, but they all seem to find a moment where guitar solos take over and a more rhythmic cadence sets the tone – The Greed, for example.  Another thing I found interesting was the song length.  With the exception of one rather short song, Mysery, the rest “average” 5-6 minutes.  The length of the songs accompanied with the varying tempo changes gives the songs additional depth.  The fact that Symbolic doesn’t adhere to one particular style of death metal opens the door for them to explore the spectrum of harshness; for which they leave no stone unturned.

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Mini Review: Mortal Form; Grimmortal; Dark Moor; Bakken; Circle of Unexisted

Mortal Form coverThe Reckoning is the forthcoming album from Dutch quintet Mortal Form.  The thrash/death inspired band brewed a concoction of brutal riffs, killer double-bass, and vicious vocals.  Reminiscent of Death, Kreator, and In Flames; Mortal Form can carry a headbanging harmony, incorporate melodic solos, and also be completely and utterly evil.  The Reckoning is about 40 minutes of ferocity with a great deal of appeal to fans of Thrash and Death metal.  The entire album is an uncompromising blitz of 10 songs surely to encourage sore necks and broken furniture.  It’s nice to see something come out of The Netherlands that isn’t coated with symphonic keyboards and female vocals…not that those bands are  a bad thing at all.

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Song of the Week: Walking the Crowpath by Fen

After seeing a bit of buzz pop up on the internets about an atmospheric black metal band by the name of Fen I grew a bit curious and went and checked them out.  I have to say, I am quite impressed.  If there is one style of black metal that I tend to always find a connection with, it is always the style that tends to have a deep, nature themed, druidic atmosphere that their music is built around.  Think Agalloch, Krallice, Wolves in the Throne Room, or Panopticon.  Something about it just seems to put my mind in this beautiful trance and this zen aura comes and relaxes my body.

But anywho, the tune “Walking the Crowpath” is the closing track off of the bands newly released record Dustwalker.  Like their atmospheric, nature-tinged, black metal brethren, this tune is a great schooling in creating and maintaining beautiful and transcendental atmosphere.  For the 13 minutes the track plays there is nothing but engagement as the song drifts to and fro in the beautiful darkened forests and mountains they bring you to visit.  So, check out the tune, and if it’s your bag, give the album a shot, you won’t be disappointed.  Enjoy!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Album Review: Lord Agheros – Demiurgo

Lord Agheros cover

“A colossal has seen the dark of night and light of day, it walked

into the depths of harsh lands of fire, saw lost souls,

stepped in mortals’ fertile soil and bathed in moonlight.

Now the colossal is free in a black symphony form called Demiurgo.” 

This is the fourth full-length from the Italian one-man band Lord Agheros. It’s a concept album divided into two parts and the first chapter contains tracks with atmospheric black metal elements slightly similar to Summoning’s music, while the second chapter is filled with lighter, experimental ambient music.  After a couple of listens the songs leave me with a positive impression and a wish to find out more about this sorrowful music.  Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Kentucky by Panopticon

It should come as no surprise I am a big fan of musicians embracing the idea of infusing heavy metal with traditionally not-very-metal genres.  Stuff like Diablo Swing Orchestra’s brand of ‘New Orleans swing metal’, Blood Ceremony’s ‘jazz flute metal’, and Ihsahn’s ‘sexy sax metal’ all tickle my fancy.  So, when I caught wind that one man black metal band Panopticon had released an album that was to be a combination of atmospheric black metal and traditional bluegrass, my interest was piqued to say the least.  I love me some atmospheric black metal and I totally dig on some bluegrass, what could possibly go wrong.  In theory, the stark differences between these 2 styles would lead one to believe that the combination would be quite jarring when blended together, hence why no one until now has released a full album of the mix.  But in the hands of Kentucky native Austin Lunn, his passion for both styles of music and love of his home state have led to one of this years most interesting and best releases.

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Album Review- Mike Patton- The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Mike Patton’s latest work comes in the form of an album entitled The Solitude of Prime Numbers.  Within is music taken from the score of the Italian film La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi, which he scored, and also music inspired by the book of the same name which the film is based on.  Unfortunately, since I have yet to read this highly acclaimed book by Paolo Giordano nor see the film so I can not give you an honest opinion on whether the music does in fact capture the feel of the film and book.  I can, however, let you know that Mike Patton’s work on this release is well worth listening to.

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