0N0 - Reconstruction and Synthesis
Aethernaeum - Naturmystik
Ancient Myth - Aberration “Pt”
Arkhe - Λ
Balflare - Downpour
Bloodrain - Bloodrain V: Adora Satanae
Church of Necrolust - Church of Necrolust
Countess - Fires of Destiny
Defiant - Morbid Spiritual Illness
Drudkh / Grift - Betrayed by the Sun / Hagrinar
DSM - DSM
Ear Slaughter - Fuck You All
Eilera - Face Your Demons
Eteritus - Following the Ancient Path
Extreme Smoke 57 - Who Sold the Scene Live DVD
Heretic - Underdogs of the Underworld
Human Vivisection - The Perpetual Gap
Ivar Bjornson & Einar Selvik’s Skuggsja - Skuggsja
Khaldera - Alteration
Korpse - Unethical
Kozeljnik - Death Gives Unto Life
Mental Disaster - Raping the Symbol of Humanity
Mhonos - Miserere Nostri
Mussorgski - Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae
Norns - Pazuzu
Oath - Mustan liekin veljeskunta
Phidion - Mother Pestilence
Picture Ann - Blaspheme 2009 (Remastered & Reinforced)
Sinoath - Meanders of Doom
Sons of Sounds - In the Circle of the Universe
Sunrunner - Heliodromus
Thokkian Vortex - Into the Nagual
Undiluted - The Withering Path
Virtual Symmetry - Message from Eternity
Wederganger / Laster - Split
Wolf Counsel - Ironclad

Band: 0N0
Country: Slovakia
Title: Reconstruction and Synthesis
Label: The House of What You See
Year: 2016
Style: Psychedelic Industrial Doom Death Metal

Review:
Founded back ibn 2005 as a one man project, 0N0 became a trio and so a live band in 2013 and this is the band's second full-length album, the first with this line-up. It's the first time I meet this band so I had no expectations whatsoever, but to tell you the truth they kind of impressed me with their thirst for twisting and twirling their music in all imaginable shapes and forms to a degree it's almost impossible to pinpoint their music to a certain genre. Still I'd say their compositions are orbiting around a mix of Doom Death and Progressive Industrial Metal atracting influences and elements from all around the music sphere. 6 tracks in almost 50 minutes of playing time, an oppressive and experimental music that feels boundless and wide but at the same time claustrophobic, dreamy and ethereal but at the same time abrasive and offensive, with high attention to details (especially on the drums part), but unfortunately with a poor production not fit for this band's potential. A schizophrenic, totally mindfucked and terminal slab of Industrial Doom Death well worth a chance. With a proper production this would have been among my top 10 releases of this year!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
facebook.com/ono0110

Band: AETHERNAEUM
Country: Germany
Title: Naturmystik
Label: Einheit Produktionen
Year: 2015
Style: Melodic Folk Black Metal

Review:
After activating for a year between 2012 and 2013 as a solo project, Alexander Paul Blake decided to move forward as a real band and gathered a few talented musicians to form what now is Aethernaeum, a quintet that released its second full-length album almost a year ago. Naturmystik is an awesome 9 tracks effort clocking a wooping 66 minutes of playing time, and it perfectly reminds me and somehow continues the work started in the second part of the '90's by legendary bands like Empyrium, In The Woods and maybe even Dornenreich, a melodic, Folk-influenced, melancholic, heavily inspired by nature type of (Black) Metal. The slow to mid-tempo rhythms highlighted by a wonderful cello and a very expressive vocal part, are taking their time to guid you through these imaginary woods, to develop and "paint" a real journey with its ups and downs if referring that way to soft parts and the more aggressive, Black Metal-oriented parts. Acoustic guitars, keys, various percussions, whispers, choirs, female vocals, nature sounds, there's plenty to enjoy here, the compositions are carefully built and structured, there's a certain simple template as backbone, but the kills these guys demonstrate make this album to blossom into something wonderful. Every instrument has its own important role in this story, and I'm sure the lyrical part is as important, too, but unfortunately I don't know German in order to understand them. Fantastic production, too! If you're into the bands mentioned above don't waste any more time, these guys are your new heroes!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 10/10

Contact:
aethernaeum.de
einheit-produktionen.de

Band: ANCIENT MYTH
Country: Japan
Title:     Aberration: “Pt”
Label: Fastball Music
Year: 2016
Style: Symphonic Metal

Review:
Third full-length album from this liong-lasting (14 years and counting) Symphonic Metal combo from Japan, Aberration is released in two versions, digital with Japanese lyrics, and CD (I guess digital, too) with English version, actually the CD booklet features the lyrics written in both languages which is a cool idea for their fans. Since it was my first encounter with their music I had no idea what to expect but somehow I wasn't at all surprised to get a fast paced, uplifting, technical Symphonic Metal with female vocals. The production is weird at first, the vocals are way too in front of the instruments, or at least that's how it seems, but after a while you'll get used to it and focus on the actual compositions. The guitars, in my opinion, are the highlight of this band, very technical, expressive and catchy, but the vocals are not to be left aside, either. A plethora of keys and synths are accompany and support the compositions to buid a fairytale-like atmosphere throughout the whole running time. Aside the weird production, in the "I don't like" category I'd also mention some moments when the instrumental part becomes too stuffed and you feel like they are trying to add too much, and also I have to mention I like the japanese version better than the English one, pronounciation plays a serious role in this. All in all an interesting release, professional and thoroughly crafted, but not actually a masterpiece of the genre.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
ancient-myth.com
fastball-music.com

Band: ARKHE
Country: Hungary
Title: ?
Label: Nail Records
Year: 2016
Style: Experimental Music

Review:
Not sure why but to me it seems almost normal for a guy like Andras Nagy to start his own project at some point in a totally different area than what he was used to, meaning outside of his Black Metal field that polished him as a musician in Sear Bliss and Nefarious so far, and here we have his newborn project, Arkhe, with its debut album, ?. Mixing all sort of elements from within and mostly outside the Metal field, Arkhe's music and especially the vocal part makes you feel like you're part of Andras' quest in search for his musical identity, and although such a statement would make one think of unfinished business, of incomplete music, which is not the case here. Andras seems to have done everything he wanted on this album and so we get pieces of Alternative Rock, Gothic Rock, Electronic, Ambiental, Dark Rock, Metal, and a hint towards the UK Doom Death Metal scene after they stopped being Doom Death if you know what I mean. It sounds mature, interesting, borderless, ingenious and full of potential, a project to keep an eye on if you're into either Rock or Metal with an experimental wibe.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/arkhehungary
metalshop.hu

Band: BALFLARE
Country: Japan
Title: Downpour
Label: Fastball Music
Year: 2016
Style: Melodic Power Metal

Review:
Initially released by local Black-listed Productions back in 2012, the fourth full-length and at the same time the latest by Japanese Power Metallers Balflare, is made of 12 tracks clocking a bit over 50 minutes of playing time. Fast, epic, synthetic, symphonic and uplifting Melodic Power Metal is what we get here, delivered by an undoubtedly talented group of instrumentists, but unfortunately for me with an awfully synthetic drums sound that get on my nevres most of the time. The vocalist is good but clearly not pushing himself to max only here and there and on other parts sounding like he's on a break from good vocals. The rhythms are most of the times fast to very fast but manage to build an epic, fairytales-like atmosphere throughout and here I would mention the complex symphonic keyboard work and the exquisite guitar leads and solos as main artisans of this atmosphere. I'd compare this band to Dragonforce, just think the same insane speed, but a bit more symphony and a more synthetic approach. Music you can't listen just standing still.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
facebook.com/Balflare.net
facebook.com/FastballMusic

Band: BLOODRAIN
Country: Russia
Title: Bloodrain V: Adora Satanae
Label: Metal Race
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
Russian blackmetallers from Tver strike back! At the instrumental beginning you can hear deeply inspirations of Slayer but next track are starting merciless blackmetal screamed in russian language. My pay attention was turned to very good guitar solos which are differ from black-punk riffs. All album is a border between totally oldschool sounds of drums, rhytm guitars, bass and vocals and nuanced guitar solos. There you can hear echoes of Darkthrone, Motorhead, Slayer (and too included one Slayer’s cover in russian version). and The Exploited. Limited 500 copies on CD just beautiful in its simplicity, which is almost perfectly flattering – but still oldschool!
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 7/10

Band: CHURCH OF NECROLUST
Country: Austria
Title: Church of Necrolust
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2015
Style: Death Metal

Review:
Young band from Austria featuring experienced members, most prominent being Oliver Neussl (aka DisPater) who played bass on Disastrous Murmur's 2001 album ...and Hungry Are the Lost, and who plays drums in this new band. A quartet that seems to be devoted to delivering an ugly, demonic, organic and abrasive form of Death Metal, and the good thing is they succeed in releasing a kick ass debut EP here, 6 tracks in almost 25 minutes, a Black Metal influenced vicious and bestial Death Metal highlighted by the excellent vocal duo of bass player Blasphemic Berzerker and guitarist Reverend Necrolust who are creating a violent and evil atmosphere from start to finish, very visceral, very honest sounding. What I liked a lot were the catchy choruses, especially on the title track which is the best on this release by my standards. The guitars are delivering good riffs, and the bass lines are pretty incisive, too, nothing spectaclar though. The drums have an organic sound I like, even though maybe a bit more polishing wouldn't have hurt in this case. To complete this with the band's rotten image and old-school looking cover artwork, I'd say Church of Necrolust delivered a promising debut EP, no doubt the next release will be on a label.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/churchofnecrolust

Band: COUNTESS
Country: Holland
Title: Fires of Destiny
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Epic Black Metal

Review:
If you're one of those who consider different as being interesting, the new (fifteenth!) album from Dutch Black Metal legends Countess is just the right treat! Actually Countess hasn't changed that much along the years, but as far as I'm concerned they are now doing what could well be considered as Proto Epic Black Metal a la '80's, with the same organic and unpolished production as the underground releases from those years, with the same type of keyboard backgrounds that remind you of Conan and such epic/legendary charcters; comprehensive, raspy, angry and inflammatory vocals, blasphemous and at the same time fantasy lyrics, catchy as hell guitar riffs and incisive bass lines, all these combined to create a damn fine record you HAVE to give a chance to, and if you'll find it weird and weak at first, you'll soon discover an almost ingenue kind of charm in this really old-school Black Metal, much more old-school than many of those pretending to be that way nowadays. It's impressive and curious at the same time that a band of this experience and caliber decided to release their new album independently, but I guess we'll find out more in an interview with them soon. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
countessmetal.com

Band: DEFIANT
Country: Coatia
Title: Morbid Spiritual Illness
Label: Miner Recordings
Year: 2015
Style: Melodic Black Death Metal

Review:
After a 3 years hiatus since their previous album, Croatia based Defiant return with their third full-length album that sees the band angrier and more determined than ever, maybe in no small part due to the new vocalist's gushing energy and enthousiasm. Along the years the band has shifted from Melodic Death Metal to a visceral, aggressive, technical and demonic sounding mix of Black and Death Metal and what we get here are 11 tracks in almost 45 minutes of playing time where Defiant manages to convince the listeners of their potential. The instrumental part is quite technical, these guys don't miss any chance to show their skills, but they also work well together so that the compositions sound curdled and benefiting from a powerful and crystal clear (although highly organic and not over-polished) production manage to deliver a mature, professional and entertaining full-length album. Powerful is the word that first comes to mind after spinning this disc, one that I recommend to you too.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/defiant.croatia
miner.rs

Band: DRUDKH / GRIFT
Country: Ukraine / Sweden
Title: Betrayed by the Sun / Hangrinar
Label: Nordvis / Season Of Mist
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
This stuff is a EP/split form released as limited edition 700 copies on 12’ vinyl.
Side A is a kingdom of Drudkh, Side B is a domain of Grift. Ukrainian blackmetallers serve mix of water-flow sounds, some post-rock acoustic guitars „sorrows” and slowly but deeply blackmetal with darkfolk elements. This is characteristic for Drudkh soundmachine taken from steppe grass fields. Sweden one-man project is very similar wirh earlier Burzum’s sounds crossed with battle blackmetal energy. This stuff  is another one in this year Drudkh’s split with metal band from Scandinavia, but in my opinion, this is more collector's edition, than to often listening.
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 6/10

Band: DSM
Country: France
Title: DSM
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Death Metal Deathcore

Review:
No, DSM doesn't come from Depressive Suicidal Metal as one minght think nowadays with this term (actually DSBM) being so popular, but it stands for Delicate Sound of Murder which in my opinion would sound better than simply DSM, anyway, it's the band's choice. This is their debut album, released 5 years after the band's foundation, a 10 tracks effort clocking almost 40 minutes, a mix between Modern Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal and Deathcore, quite technical, mid-tempo to fast paced most times, with loads of rhythm changes that could be tasted by fans of Progressive, but I doubt will be enjoyed by fans of clean, smooth flow in their Metal. All in all the tracks are complex, varied and interesting enough, with an Industrial flavour, with a good production, so all in all I think DSM made a good first impression.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/dsmdsm

Band: EAR SLAUGHTER
Country: Slovenia
Title: Fuck You All
Label: Kaos Records
Year: 2015
Style: Grindcore

Review:
Got this CD a while back and started writing this review a few times already but never got to properly get to it for some reason or another, but now it's the moment. Ear Slaughter were a short-term band from Slovenia that activated as a trio between 93 and 95 but decided to broke up because of line-up and rehearsal place problems. In 2011 two founding members got together and recorded this demo under the Roka Smrti title, which eventually got re-named and re-released last year in the actual form (professional CDR in DVD case with A5 a cool 16 pages booklet featuring the band's story and all lyrics, limited to only 50 hand-numbered copies) by Kaos Records. 9 tracks recorded in a studio (or at someone's house) plus a live track and a cover of Napalm Death's Scum, all this in 18 minutes of playing time. The production is not polished, very organic and visceral I'd say, but sounds perfect for this genre, and even the live track sounds acceptable, the compositions are good enough, and the overall impression is quite good, it's nothing new or original, but it definitely sounds good, and the short chaotic Death Metal type guitar solos are just a very nice addition to the flavor here. It reminds me a bit of the Czech band Pigsty, and although not as catchy, Ear Slaughter brings a heavy and healthy dose of Death Metal influenced Grindcore, the traditional, ugly and pissed off way.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
earslaughtered@gmail.com
kaosrecords@hotmail.com

Band: EILERA
Country: France
Title: Face Your Demons
Label: Echozone
Year: 2016
Style: Celtic Rock Metal

Review:
Got mislead by this album cover, I thought I was going to listen to some sort of Pop music by a lady called Eilera. Well, I wasn't totally off because the main charcter of this project is indeed a lady called Eilera, but she's joined by a few musicians on this recording and what they produced is a very good Gothic Metal record complete with loads of influences from other styles like Folk Rock, Gothic Rock, and even Power Metal. Eilera is, of course, a vocalist; her vocals are not over the top impressive when it comes to tonality at first sight/listen, but she carefully composed these tracks in order to compliment her abilities and put her voice in the best light possible. You know what? She did it! She sounds amazing, just the perfect amount of everything thrown into this pot of music, with the right amount of versatility and the right amount of spotlight, too, in order to leave space to the instrumental part to make its mark, too. And the musicians she chose to join her on this recording seem to have the best taste and potential since they managed to deliver a tremendous material. I tell you, by the end of this 12 tracks (2 of them and Finnvox covers) album I can't decide which of them I like best since each of them has its own sound and identity, but I can say for sure it's a charming, elegant, professionally produced and delivered piece of Gothic Rock Metal, one of the best I've heard lately, and if you're into this music I have no restraints to warmly recommend it to you, too. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9.5/10

Contact:
eilera.com
echozone.de

Band: ETERITUS
Country: Poland
Title: Following the Ancient Path
Label: Godz ov War Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Death Metal

Review:
Old-school Death Metal to the bone, I wouldn't expect any other from this band's debut album, their logo and the cover artwork perfectly prepare the listener to what he's about to witness. Good and oppressive production, chunky guitar riffs, loads of leads and solos, an angry, comprehensive roaring vocal, and tight rhythm section, that's what we get on these 9 tracks of mid-tempo to mostly fast-paced Death Metal with serious Swedish (Stockholm) Death Metal influences sprinkled all over. The best part of the album are the guitar leads and solos, and maybe the meaty riffs, too, not overly complex, but enough to avoid boredom, and also enough to create a dense, obscure and brutal atmosphere. The album is quite short, only a bit over half an hour, but Eteritus manage to prove everything in this half and hour, and especially to make themselves a name as promise of the Polish Death Metal scene, just imagine a mix of old Dismember and Bolt Thrower and you get the picture here. CD comes with 12 pages booklet featuring all lyrics.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
eteritus.bandcamp.com
godzovwar.com

Band: EXTREME SMOKE 57
Country: Slovenia
Title: Who Sold the Scene? Live DVD
Label: Pharmafabrik
Year: 2014
Style: Noisecore Grind 

Review:
Like in Ear Slaughter's case, I visited this DVD a few times already and somehow I wasn't ready to write a review, but now I'm in perfect mood for this genre, so "nota bene", I am as well recommending you to experience this only when you're in the mood for the most violent, hateful, chaotic, bestial, obliterating noise that's somehow close to music, Noise Grindcore that is. This seems to be the band's set at the Ljubljana Noise Fest in 2013, about 10 minutes of total devastation produced by drums samples, bass, guitars and two demented and totally wasted vocalists, a fantastic experience of complete and utter disgust, something you have to experience to understand, so I'm actually glad this was produced on DVD, it gives the whole a better effect, and I must say the production is top notch, the gig being filmed by three cameras and professionally edited and mastered after. Very cool DVD, recommended if you're into Grind and Noise, for sure. A a side note I found it hillarious when one of the vocalists presented a track "this song is about", then the next tracks "this song is not about". :)
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
es57.bandcamp.com
pharmafabrik.com

Band: HERETIC
Country: Holland
Title: Underdogs of the Underworld
Label: Ván Records
Year: 2016
Style: Punk Metal Rock'n'Roll

Review:
Former Black Metallers Heretic are back with their 5th full-length album, a 10 tracks effort clocking a bit over half an hour continuint their recent tradition (since their 2009 album Gods over Humans, Slaves Under Satan at least) of blending Punk, Metal and Rock'n'Roll or if you want Ramones, Misfits and Motorhead influences all in one single pot. The Digipak CD version I have here impresses through it's 24 pages booklet full of no short of amazing graphics, some of the best and most complete I've seen in a long time, and moving over to the music on this album I'd say the Dutch quartet have moved up a notch in what concerns production, if until now they have used their public with a dirty, fuzzy production, this time we're dealing with crystal quality sound that fits the music better in my opinion. The lyrics are as blasphemic and offensive as ever, and although I'm not the biggest expert or fan of these genres I'd say their compositions are complex enough if you have the time to disect them. Anyway, a big step up for the band, I'm sure this will be their biggest success.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/HereticManiacs
van-gbr.de

Band: HUMAN VIVISECTION
Country: Belgium
Title: The Perpetual Gap
Label: Rising Nemesis Records
Year: 2016
Style: Brutal Death Metal

Review:
4 years into their career young Belgian quintet Human Vivisection release their debut full-length album, with nothing previously released to prepare us for it, so this one drops like from nowhere. 11 tracks, 35 minutes, Brutal Death Metal, that's what you'll get on The Perpetual Gap, and album that fails to satisfy my taste in what concerns cover artwork and production (way too thin for this music), but wins me over when it comes to compositions and execution, and maybe to boldness, too. Gathering elements from all Death Metal spectre but definitely keeping the same Brutal Death direction, I have no doubt The Perpetual Gap will win the fans of this genre in an instant as it sounds daring, easy flowing and laid back and at the same time well though, tight and brutal as fuck. The highlight inhere is the complex and technical guitar work, but again, the production is dragging it back, it sounds too synthetic, too bedroom-made, not professional enough for these tracks, but anyway if you're into Brutal Slam Death Metal you'll find this album interesting for sure. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/HumanVivisection
risingnemesisrecords.de

Band: IVAR BJORNSON & EINAR SELVIK’S SKUGGSJA
Country: Norway
Title: Skuggsja
Label: Nordvis / Season Of Mist
Year: 2016
Style: Folk Metal Post Rock

Review:
This CD is very open-mind music created by Enslaved’s guitarist and Wardruna’s mastermind and five session musicians. Fusion of some pagan worlds, fusion of folk/neofolk/metal/postrock and psychodelic lands taken from deep Scandinavia. Legends from fiords, resurrection of the Old Spirit and strange but very interesting folkmetal’s point of view. 8 tracks are totally different, combined barely visible thread of paganism. From paganfolk to blackmetal with trumpets. From murmurs to choirs, from clouds to rocks. Metal and folk in one and next to each other. So just visit: www.skuggsja.no 
This trip from the deep forest to fiords in the dark will be little amazing!
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 9/10

Band: KHALDERA
Country: Switzerland
Title: Alteration
Label: Czar of Criskets Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Experimental Psychedelic Post Metal

Review:
Hailing from Switzerland, Khaldera offer 3 new tracks in 18 minutes on this second EP of theirs released 3 years distance from their debut. This power trio produces an experimental, psychedelic and quite relaxing music, Post Metal that is, instrumental only, without the use of any type of vocals (although I have to confess I felt the need for vocals most of the time here). The three tracks featured here are varied and at the same time sound unitary, both psychedelic and powerful / metallic, and even if the beginning of the first track and the complete third track is more Space Ambient than Metal, this EP gives the impression the trio is looking to deliver a strong and heavy music rather than a dreamy, synth based ambient soundscape, the drums playing a major role here. Still this EP is not enough for the listener to form a concrete opinion on Khaldera so my suggestion is to take it as an advance for things to come.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
khaldera.com
czarofcrickets.com

Band: KORPSE
Country: Holland
Title: Unethical
Label: Rising Nemesis Records
Year: 2016
Style: Brutal Death Metal

Review:
...the fuck! My first meeting with this band and it's music, this second album of theirs totally blown me away right from the start. After seeing this awful, childish cover artwork I had no high expectations, but right after I pressed Play it totally annihilated me! Fast, groovy, vicious, hateful and totally brutal Slam Death Metal at its best, no doubt about it, 11 tracks in a bit over half an hour of playing time would make the PERFECT soundtrack for your training if you're a gym maniac, and if you're a fat ass like me it would still make the perfect soundtrack for an atrocious meat feast. Fat and memorable guitar riffs, low tuned, explosion like bass lines, insane drumming and inhuman vocals, a big, fat WOW. If there whould have been some guitar solos to top this up it would have been a perfect 10 release for me, but it's still close; one of the best in this genre for 2016, this has to make the year end tops!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9.5/10

Contact:
korpsesbdm.bandcamp.com
risingnemesisrecords.de

Band: KOZELJNIK
Country: Serbia
Title: Death Gives Unto Life
Label: Possession Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
Serbian blackmetallers from Belgrade released new EP. Darkness, deeply sorrow, doomed flow, slowly drilled in brain... Two guys, hidden under pseudonyms L.G. and K. Created really good black/doomed metal stuff. They combined with slowly rhytms, interesting weaving between black and doom slippery rocks weaving over the precipice. Just four tracks, each other but all united. This is not typical blackmetal, this is much, much more. I'd say closer to doom metal, in any case - this is outstanding! 
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 9/10

Band: MENTAL DISASTER
Country: Norway
Title: Raping the Symbol of Humanity
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Thrash Death Metal

Review:
Hailing from Norway, Mental Disaster are a quartet decided to follow a Thrash Death Metal path instead of the usual Black Metal we're all used to hear popping out of Norway all the time. This is their second full-length album, and as a novelty again, the band is not signed yet, another unusual thing for the nowadays scene, especially for a band with a debut album already out three years ago; that doesn't mean the band is a disaster, not at all, I guess they were more interested in composing stuff than shopping for labels, or they simply want to take care of everything by themselves. Raping the Symbol of Humanity first surprises or even shocks with the offensive cover artwork especially for those most sensitive to religious topics. The music on the 10 tracks featured in a bit over half an hour of playing time, is a brutal, fast and aggressive Thrash Metal heavily influenced by Death Metal, with double vocals that unfortunately don't impress at all (production is to blame on this one, but not only), drums that at times sound too thin, but definitely brutal to the bone and as technical as needed, a supportive, subtle bass line, and the highlight, in my opinion, the guitar work, really heavy, catchy and varied ranging and balancing from Thrash to Death all the time. As an overall impression I'd say the band is great, the production on this album not so much, but at least it's cystal clear and won't make you problems in enjoying the compositions. An album that deserves some attention for sure.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
facebook.com/mentaldisasternorway

Band: MHONOS
Country: France
Title: Miserere Nostri
Label: Zanjeer Zani Productions / Necrocosm
Year: 2016
Style: Ritual Drone Doom

Review:
This is the debut album from French six-piece Mhonos, but it's not a new release actually, it was first released independently in 2010 and re-released this year by unknown to ne so far Zanjeer Zani Productions as digipak with extremely simplistic but highly efficient artwork, one that advances the atmosphere you'll find in this band's music. And we get 4 tracks in 40 minutes of playing time, a weird mix of Ritual Doom, Drone, Dungeon Ambient, Noise and even Black Metal building towards a sombre, desolate, claustrophobic yet less monotone that it might sound after this description. No guitars are used here, but instead there's plenty of basses, amplifiers, synths, multiple layers of vocals ranging from creepy whispers to dreadful growls, to ritual choirs. At times (especially on the third track), it reminds of Burzum's Ambient recordings, but this one if far more obscure, more oppressive sounding and more demonic than anything Burzum ever did so don't take it as a major influence though. If you're into the above mentioned genres you should definitely check this out, but I'd only recommend it if you're not a profane of Drone Doom sounds.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
mhonos.fr
necrocosm.net

Band: MUSSORGSKI
Country: Poland
Title: Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae
Label: Godz ov War Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Ambient Industrial Black Metal

Review:
Founding member of one of the most savage and long-lasting Black Metal bands in Poland, Arkona, Khorzon is also the only member still active in Mussorgski (not sure if Ronus, the vocalist listed on this CD's back tray is a permanent member though), a project started back in 1990 but laid to rest 5 years after only to take shape again in 2009. It's already 5 years since we last heard from Mussorgski, but somehow, not sure how and why, I kept hearing this name in the meantime, too, not sure if from other musicians talking about it or if Khorzon was indeed active in this time. Anyway, the latest, third full-length from Mussorgski offers 8 new tracks in 50 minutes of playing time, a deep journey through a dreamy, highly atmospheric, Ambient Metal that slowly separates and distances itself from the traditional Black Metal and somehow reminds me of Sci-Fi movies' soundtracks even if the Extreme Metal element is still active and kicking. So the new album has two distinct parts that at times intersect and blend together, an extreme, brutal and terryfing Metal characterized by ultra-fast blastbeats, razor-sharp vocals, tremolo guitar riffs, and the other more into Dark Ambient, Space Ambient, and Industrial, an interesting attempt that at times sounds really, really good and succeeds in creating a story, a soundscape full of futuristic / extraterrestrial elements, this until you link it with the cover design and start wondering if Khorzon actually meant to "display" the chaos in one's mind. Interesting concept, interesting music, interesting project.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
facebook.com/mussorgski
godzovwar.com

Band: NORNS
Country: Finland
Title: Pazuzu
Label: Deviant Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
Although the cover picture maight make you think you're dealing here with a one man band, Norns are actually a trio, and what we have here is their debut EP released after a huge period of silence of almost 10 years. 4 tracks, 18 minutes are enough to get to know this outfit and what's their path: traditional second wave Black Metal built on a backbone of very well thought and delivered melodic and expressive guitar riffs, with a distant shrieking vocal and drums that interleave blastbeats with groovy (yes, not the right word in this contexts, but that's how they sound to me) rhythms on top of the skeleton. Nothing overly impressive or innovative in any way, but definitely very well composed and created, with potential to be on the liking of most of the '90's Scandinavian Black Metal. The sound quality is not polished to sound crystal clear, but this kind of raw, abrasive production is prefect for Norns music, I wouldn't like it better any other way.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
facebook.com/Nornsbm
deviant-records.de

Band: OATH
Country: Finland
Title: Mustan liekin veljeskunta
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
Finnish Oath seem to be getting along pretty well with Belgian Immortal Frost Productions, this would explain this already third collaboration between the to parties, and this is, of course, a good thing, it proves underground labels can cater uprising names like this for a longer period of time rather than just being a launching ramp. Anyway, getting to this second full-length from Oath, it comes after a high-profile split with more well known country mates Azaghal, a perfect time to nail the spotlight for sure. There are only 5 new tracks presented here but the total duration is well over half an hour, and the music will certainly satisfy the band's followers as it continues the same traditional Finnish Black Metal path, mostly fast paced, with occasional mid-tempo passages, highlighted by melodic and charming guitar riffs and leads, bast beats all over, heavy bass lines and hoarse vocals singing in Finnish language, all trademarks for this country's Black Metal scene. The music on it won't be innovative, or surprising, or original in any way, but it's perfectly delivered, catchy as hell, well structured, technical, and above all (in my opinion) it offers a mesmerizing atmosphere, one of the best I've heard lately. Traditional Finnish Black Metal at its best, don't miss it! 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/Oath-560816623947688
immortalfrostproductions.com

Band: PHIDION
Country: Sweden
Title: Mother Pestilence
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Thrash Death Metal

Review:
This Single is made of 3 tracks and clocks only 8 minutes, but it's enough to understand what these guys are all about. Phidion were formed as a band in 2003 but have been quite lazy during the first decade of activity in what concerns discographic activity. Starting 2012 they started recording more and this Single is an advance to their first album to be released sometime soon hopefully. A solid Death Metal with Thrash influences, traditional and sinister, complete with excellent creepy bass lines, doomy bells to enhance the atmosphere, ferocious yet comprehensive and easy to follow vocals, powerful guitar riffs, strong rhythm section and a crystal clear production. I'd say they nailed it with this Split, let's hope the album will feature more of these goodies. Oh, I also have to mention the awesome, tragic and expressive cover art of this Single, I hope they'll use the same artist for the album, too.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
phidion.st

Band: PICTURE ANN
Country: Denmark
Title: Blaspheme 2009 (Remastered & Reinforced)
Label: Floodgate Moods Productions
Year: 2016 (re-release)
Style: Ambient Black Metal

Review:
Picture Ann is a one man band from Denmark and this is its debut album, initially released in 2010 and now remastered and re-released by J.N.'s own label not sure if on physical format, too, but for sure digital. What we get here are 8 tracks in almost 50 minutes of playing time following a path initially opened by Burzum with its buzzing, repetitive, almost ritualistic guitar riffs supported by crystal clear, shiny and ethereal synths, or better said a combination of Dungeon Synth Ambient with Lo-Fi Black Metal, with a clear emphasis on the first. Not bad at all, I must confess I found myself dreaming with open eyes by the third track, and by the end I still hadn't enough of it. Each track has its own identity and expression, some are really dreamy, some are depressive and melancholic, and although there's not much to impress on the technical level, the atmospheres J.N. manages to create inhere are really deep and touching. Interesting.
Reviewed by Adrian

Rating: 7/10

Contact:
floodgatemoodsproductions.bandcamp.com

Band: SINOATH
Country: Italy
Title: Meanders of Doom
Label: Final Earthbeat Productions
Year: 2015
Style: Doom Metal

Review:
Sinoath were first founded back in 1990 (!), but broke up after 6 years. The second installation was in 2003 and it seems they are active since then although not really productive I'd say; the band only released two albums and a couple of demos in almost 20 years of activity, plus this EP I have here and that hopefully will fire them to start releasing more stuff. The music on these 2 tracks (+ an intro) is a strange combination of all types of Doom and not only, I can even sense a subtle Industrial presence although not in its traditional form. The compositions are ok but a bit outdated I'd say, the riffs, in major part, are way less than I was expecting, simple and beaten up, the guitars bring no interesting elements to the game here (well, maybe the leads are a different story); the vocals are a mix of Gothic Rock and Black Metal, comprehensive and scarry-wannabe, but they become monotone after a while; the drums sound tied and lazy. The heavy bass lines, on the other hand, are killer and together with the creepy keyboard backgrounds are the highlight of this band in my opinion, but unfortunately not enough to make them interesting. Sorry, not my cup of tea at all.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/SinoathOfficial

Band: SONS OF SOUNDS
Country: Germany
Title: In the Circle of the Universe
Label: Fastball Music
Year: 2016
Style: Heavy Metal

Review:
It's all in the family here as this band is actually a trio made of brothers, three brothers playing together as Sons of Sounds since 2006 and reaching their third album with In the Circle of the Universe. 13 tracks in 74 minutes of playin time, a genre I wouldn't be able to label in a way or another, that's why I chose the generic Heavy Metal, but actually it's a combination of Hard Rock, Hard'n'Heavy, Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, Rock'n'Roll and in smaller doses some other breeds of Rock and Metal, too, just think of a combination of Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Iron Maiden, WASP, Megadeth and Helloween, or simply how they label it, Free Rock. These guys are doing a very good job and despite the fact they are only three you won't ever feel there's something missing and that means excellent composition potential. The guitar work is top-notch, the bass is bad-ass, the drums are not spectacular but definitely precise and Metal to the bone, and the vocals, even if at first might seem dull and not special at all, manage to be so versatile and expressive that by mid-CD they become the highlight of the band. A solid effort from a band that's certainly living the dream, just take a look at their Facebook and see how much fun these guys have all the time. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
facebook.com/sonsofsounds
fastball-music.com

Band: SUNRUNNER
Country: USA
Title: Heliodromus
Label: Minotauro Records
Year: 2015
Style: Progressive Metal

Review:
The third full-length from Maine based Sunrunner is an excellent treat for any Progressive Metal fans, especially for the traditional Progressive Metal fans if I can say so, the ones who enjoy a healthy mix of their fave style with Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Doom Metal and Folk / Ethnic Rock. 8 "normal" tracks followed by one that is more than 21 minutes long, the title track, the track that best sums up everything Sunrunner is about and that shows the band is not afraid to try everything is on their mind whatever the costs; nowadays when everyone is in a permanent rush and we struggle to find time to listen to a simple track from start to finish, this 21+ minutes long track is also a statemnt, a bold statement from a tenacious band. Great! The band's technical skills are perfectly displayed throughout these intelligently crafted compositions that will keep you glued to your player for at least an hour, everything is done with style and even if the band has allowed so many influences and genre elements to gather under one roof, it all sounds perfectly balanced and well thought. I wouldn't say something is the highlight here, but I was especially impressed by the versatile guitar work and the excellent folk and acoustic instruments' addition. A perfect album!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 10/10

Contact:
sunrunnermusic.com
minotaurorecords.bandcamp.com

Band: THOKKIAN VORTEX
Country: USA
Title: Into the Nagual
Label: Unexploded Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
Finally, after many, many years of more or less activity, Kaiaphas, well-known ex-member in Ancient and Grand Belial's Key, is back with a new album of his project, Thokkian Vortex, formerly known as Thokk until 2006. Now as a trio, Thokkian Vortex deliver a traditional Black Metal album that I'm sure many will have on their purchase list. 11 tracks, 51 minutes of playing time, guest appearances by Lord Ahriman (Dark Funeral), Scorpios (Melechesh, Zemial, Crimson Moon), Mantus (Patria, Mysteriis) and Vargblod (Draugul, Kaospath), and music that could be labeled as theatrical and expressive traditional (a la Dark Funeral mostly) and organic Black Metal with loads of influences some of good taste, improving the dark, mysterious and highly evil atmosphere of this album and some completely out of the picture, like on the Industrial'n'Roll track Evil Sluts of Satan, the Gothic inspired En Kamp I Skogen, or the groovy and happy sounding 11th track, Huginn and Muninn in the Realms of Mist, which is not even mentioned in the booklet/inlay. Yes, I get it, Kaiaphas and co. experimented a lot and did exactly what they wanted, but the overall impression is of an album split in two, one theatrical, serious and grave, a pleasure to immerse into, and the other an experiment and nothing more. Anyway, an album that deserves your attention even only for the names of the musicians involved.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
thokkianvortex.com
unexplodedrecords.com

Band: UNDILUTED
Country: Germany
Title: The Withering Path
Label: STF Records
Year: 2015
Style: Doom Metal

Review:
Started in 2010 as a solo project of Hanzi Herrmann, Undiluted gradually evolved into what nowadays is a four piece band yet this debut album was recorded and originally released in 2014 when Undiluted was a duo with drummer Rico Skerra completing the line-up so by now I think it isn't very representative for the band anymore. Anyway, since the album was picked up and re-released by SFT Records late last year, and since it's my first enocounter with the band's music, The Withering Path is the perfect ocasion to get to know the Hanzi's ideas. We're treated here with 6 long tracks clocking over 50 minutes of playing time, a melodic and melancholic slab of Doom Metal reminding me mostly of Lake of Tears but also Anathema and My Dying Bride, a mix of all these in their middle-periods, a deep, depressive at times, always intrinsic music reflecting a troubled and dreamy mind. From the instrumental point of view there's not much to be considered original or innovative in any way (actually retro would be a better description for its direction), and the highlight are always on the clean and troubled vocals of Hanzi, with a deep, incisive bass line, repetitive guitar riffs and drums that have nowhere to progress that make the album sound dull at times and maybe some tracks could have been shortened as they feel a bit too artificially and forcedly stretched. Anyway, for fans of above mentioned bands Undilutem might prove to be an interesting choice, I'm just curious where the band is heading now that it's a complete line-up.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
undiluteddoom.com
stf-records.de

Band: VIRTUAL SYMMETRY
Country: Italy
Title: Message from Eternity
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Progressive Metal Art Rock

Review:
„Message from Eternity”’s beginning is very similar to Vangelis or earlier Jean Michel Jarre stuffs... Then my ears was attacked by a lot of progressive sounds like Dream Theatre, The X-Japan, The Gathering, Bon Jovi, Satellite and sth like this – with piano jazz influenced. Virtual Symmetry was born in 2009 as one man project but this year they released first full-length album. I can understand why, idea of this stuff required to find good musicians. From 2012 they worked as a full band. Now they released „Message from Eternity”. If you like untypical sounds in metal and found this album, you won! 
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 8/10

Band: WEDERGANGER / LASTER
Country: Holland / Holland
Title: Wederganger - Laster
Label: Ván Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal / Black Metal

Review:
A split between two Black Metal bands from Holland I've never heard before, so it's exciting even more than after looking at the classy and at the same time sinister presentation of this Digipak CD. 
Opening are Wederganger from Arnhem, a band made of five members alrhough I'm not sure if all of them are permanent members or if some of them are only guests on this recording. They present us a 15 minutes long track that ranges from psychedelic, intoxicated mid-tempo Black Metal to straight-on fast as fuck Black Metal based on repetitive and mesmerizing guitar riffs and blastbeats. Very imaginative and varied piece of music fronted by a versatile vocal part where 4 of the members are contributing. Dark, eerie, creepy and disturbing Black Metal at a good technical level, definitely worth a spin or two.
Laster from Utrecht are next, again with one track only, an 18 minutes long composition that's enough to understand what's this band all about, at least at this moment. This trio comes up with an impermeable wall of razor-sharp riffs, blastbeats and vocals that are impressively expressive pointing towards extreme desperation and madness, and all this blended with atmospheric subtle keyboards and melodic Post Metal-like guitar leads, building a curious creature that ranges between extremely ugly and deformed and almost delicate, fragile and ethereal forms. A massive effort, a band that needs to be given a chance.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10   8.5/10

Contact:
wederganger.bandcamp.com
laster.bandcamp.com
van-records.de

Band: WOLF COUNSEL
Country: Switzerland
Title: Ironclad
Label: Czar of Crickets Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Doom Metal

Review:
Wolf Counsel seems to be a hard-working band as they were formed only 2 years ago and already their second full-length album is ready to be released by Czar of Crickets in September, complete with solid distribution and promotion. Although the band's promo picture shows a duo, and the band was actually started as a duo, this year it is getting to hit the stages as a quartet and things seem brighter than ever for them. Getting to the music on this new opus, Ironclad is made of 7 tracks dominated by an avalanche of heavy and catchy guitar riffs rooted in the '80's Sludge and Doom Metal, killer solos here and there, impozing bass lines, quite a complex drums section and a solid vocal performance from founding members Ralf Winzer Garcia giving the whole an epic, uplifting feeling, not that the rest is in any way depressing or such. It's not an innovative material and I don't think they are even aiming to be innovative in any way, but it's a highly entertaining release I'm sure traditional Doom and Sludge Metal followers will find on their liking. A release that demands and imposes respect, no doubt about it!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
wolfcounsel.bandcamp.com

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