Angelseed - Crimson Dyed Abyss
Arabs in Aspic - Victim of Your Father's Agony
Avitas - Pioneers
Brutality - Sea of Ignorance
Chalice of Suffering - For You I Die
Desert Dragon - Before the Storm
Efpix - Evil Sides
Elvaron - Ghost of a Blood Tie
Endarker - Among the Shadows
Fallen Icon - North of Nowhere
Genus Ordinis Dei - The Middle
Hate Them All - Last Feast with the Beast
Heimsgard - Ordrag
Holy Battalion - Cosmic War  Breaking the Face
Isolert - No Hope, No Light...Only Death
Lastwar - Darkness in Eden
Legion - Righteous Killing
Malevolentia - Repvbliqve
Mario Gronnert and Commonsen5e - Nightmares and Dreamscapes  Silhouettes of Urbia
Marius Danielsen's Legend of Valley Doom - Marius Danielsen's Legend of Valley Doom Part 1
Ofghost - The Awakening
Overunit Machine - Aldaraja
Pravia - Bestie ze Wschodu
Ravnkald / GjallarhornFjord - Split
Razend - White Goat II
Skoll - Of Misty Fire We Are
The Burning Dogma - No Shores of Hope
Unothera - Broken

Band: ANGELSEED
Country: Croatia
Title: Crimson Dyed Abyss
Label: Slitrick Records
Year: 2015
Style: Symphonic Power Metal

Review:
Although formed in 2007, Angelseed became active on discographic level only in 2014 with the release of their first EP, and here we are, a year later, with this debut album, a full hour effort featuring 11 tracks, each of them around 5-6 minutes long. At first the heavy digipak with its 24 pages booklet and the eye catching cover artwork are enough to spark your interest, then the professional band image and the tremendous good looking female vocalist are something extra for a perfect welcome to the band's music. Talking about music maybe Power Metal is not the right or the complete definition for their music, but a mix of it with heavy dose of Gothic Metal and generic Melodic Metal, a strong symphonic backbone and even some healthy guitar and drums Heavy Thrash elements would make you see things clearer, or maybe not but at least get a better picture of what this band is capable of offering, and their technical skills, completed with good abilities in coming up with some nice arrangements are making Angelseed a proud representative of the current Croatian Metal scene. Luckily enough the good looking Ivana is more than just looks and she is at least at the same level as the instrumentists are, her voice timbre is both enchanting and strong but definitely well worked out. A beautiful album, an excellent debut, and a band to keep your eyes on if you're a follower of female fronted Metal bands, or simply Melodic Metal bands, they have the ability to reach the top of their game, no doubt. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
angelseed.info
sliptrickrecords.com

Band: ARABS IN ASPIC
Country: Norway
Title: Victim of Your Father's Agony
Label: Black Widow Records
Year: 2015
Style: Heavy Progressive Rock

Review:
Way softer than what we usually feature here Arabs in Aspic's music is a very pleasant meeting. This Norwegian quartet seem to be firmly rooted in '70's Prog Rock, and from my point of view sounds like a good mix of Pink Floyd and Uriah Heep influences, based on a complex and tasty guitar work supported by a mostly mid-tempo rhythm section (intricate drumming, intense bass lines that gives a Heavy impression all the way), impressive keyboard / organ parts and leads by an excellent vocalist ranging from soothing, light parts to heavier, more energetic ones, with plenty of soft male choirs and background vocals to emphasize and offer more expresivity. Very eclectic gathering of tracks when it comes to length, they are ranging from one minute to more than 8 minutes, and the total amount for the 9 tracks featured here is around 37 minutes. I'm sure this comes in vinyl format, but the CD version comes with 8 pages booklet and nice paintings whose links with the actual music I haven't really understood. Fans of '60's and '70's Rock, not only prog Rock, will definitely enjoy this, I know my wife does and can't wait to get her hands on this disc after I'm done with it. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
arabsinaspic.org
blackwidow.it

Band: AVITAS
Country: Canada
Title: Pioneers
Label: Bud Metal Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
Solo project of Myrtroen, also owner of Bud Metal Records, Avitas offers us here its fifth full-length, released only 2 years after the previous work. Avitas has a political agenda for sure, I never discuss a band/project's political approach, but in this case I'm not sure if the concept of this album is more political or more satanic as both topics are intensively present here. Anyway, speaking about the music on this new album we get 8 tracks (one of them being a cover of Ministry's N.W.O., and the last one being a hidden acoustic version of the 7th) clocking 45 minutes of playing time, a harsh, raw and primitive offer highlighted by an organic and unpolished production, stuffed and fat sounding bringing the guitars in front of everything. The last two tracks (or one if you want, as it's the same track but different versions), with the heavy addition of acoustic guitar and subtle choirs, are the best and most expressive in my opinion giving a strong Pagan vibe to the whole. I find the rest of the album a bit too chaotic and rushed (some lacks of syncronization are obvious at times) and the lack of a proper booklet to help with the lyrics is not helping either. A raw, barbaric album strictly limites to 300 copies.  
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 5.5/10

Contact:
avitas.bandcamp.com

Band: BRUTALITY
Country: USA
Title: Sea of Ignorance
Label: Repulsive Echo Records
Year: 2016
Style: Death Metal

Review:
I've been listening to this new Brutality record for the past two months plus, and I still find it fuckin' flawless, I love it to death! The brutal trio Jeff (b, v), Jay (g) and Scott (v), now joined by young but experienced drummer Ruston Grosse, delivers a hell of an excellent come-back album, although the band was not completely dead at least over the past half a decade. Anyway, we get here 8 tracks (one is a fantastic cover of Bathory's Shores in Flames - what???) full of all those good things the band used their fans (including me): long, melodic and catchy guitar solos, ferocious yet comprehensive vocals, lots of rhythm changes with enough focus on each to make things both steady flowing and interesting, demolishing bass lines highly influential on the overall outcome, and last but not least the exact drumming this band needed, Ruston proving he's a fuckin' beast and at the same time proving he's the right man for the band. It all sounds like the perfect soundtrack for any old-school Florida Death Metal fanatics, as I said I'm hooked with it for a couple of months and there's no doubt this will be one of my very best for 2016. Repulsive Echo did a great job releasing this as Digipak CD the comes with a 12 pages booklet that unfolds with the lyrics on one side and the complete artwork on the other, like a mini-poster. Not a fan of the artwork though, makes me thing of Obituary's Wold Demise on one hand and on the other I hate seeing TVs on Death Metal coversm, somehow they don't fit well in my views...
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 10/10

Contact:
brutality2.bandcamp.com
repulsiveecho.com

Band: CHALICE OF SUFFERING
Country: USA
Title: For You I Die
Label: Times End Records
Year: 2016
Style: Atomspheric Doom Metal

Review:
Debut album from Minneapolis based Chalice of Suffering, a young band founded a year ago which managed to complete and record 8 long tracks that deserve your attention if you're into '90's Doom Metal or Funeral Doom Metal. The band's music is pretty complex and its repetitive parts are not as monotonous as one could think when seeing the band advertised as Funeral Doom Metal; to me it seems the band starts as Atmospheric Doom and progressively passes into Funeral Doom throughout this album, with the pinnacle of Funeral in the 7th and 8th tracks. It feels like the music becomes darker and heavier as the album progresses. During the 72 minutes of playing time there's much to discover and enjoy, the band offers many feelings and emotions to the listener and no small influence comes from the versatile vocal part ranging from clean, warm vocals to funeral, cryptic growls, but I have to also mention the good guitar work, the subtle but important keyboard background layers, the steady and methodical rhythm section, and the fantastic impact of the addition of flutes and bagpipes in parts of this album; at times I felt like in a sequel of Braveheart, haha. Very cool and interesting release, I hope they will add more flutes and bagpipes on their next works, that will give them an identity.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
chaliceofsuffering.com
timesendrecords.com

Band: DESERT DRAGON
Country: USA
Title: Before the Storm
Label: Sliptrick Records
Year: 2015
Style: Progressive Rock Melodic Metal

Review:
For an award winning band like this one I have to be honest I find the presentation of this CD as poor to say the least: no booklet, so no lyrics printed, only a 2 sides insert that makes the cover, I would have expected more... And since I mentioned the band as being award winning I have to mention that their track Save My World was winner of the Best Rock Song at the Malibu Music Awards, but there's much more to discover on this album. The tracks inhere (11 tracks, 43 minutes) are very diverse one from another ranging from Blues Rock to '90's Hard Rock to '70's Progressive Rock to Melodic Metal to Southern Rock, totaling into a very enjoyable, very interesting album that will most certainly impress a wide range of listeners, a light album for light days. I very much liked the fact the band clearly plays exactly what they want without any trace of barriers but in the end the final result sounds tight and unitary. To sum it up the band's music is way above the CD presentation, I hope they get the deserved credit from the listeners. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
desertdragonofficial.com
sliptrickrecords.com

Band: EFPIX
Country: Russia
Title: Evil Sides
Label: Sliptrick Records
Year: 2016
Style: Industrial Modern Death Metal

Review:
Even if not as aggressive as Black Metal has, Death Metal also mutated in lots of different directions over the years and comparing the different corners of this mutation now is like listenting to totally different genres. Efpix (man, I really dislike the band name) are still a Death Metal rooted group, but their music is highly influenced by other genres, too, most importantly by Industrial and Electro, but in the end, this debut album of theirs is still pretty heavy and aggressive in order to be still considered Death Metal. To me it sounds like a mix of Hypocrisy, Tiamat (the third part of their activity), Pain and maybe In Flames, with a heavy dose of Electro Industrial thrown inthere. From the band's image to their music everything seems to be highly professional and carefully assembled in order to impress. Versatile and expressive vocals ranging from clean, manly tones to Death Metal growls, to Black Metal shrieks, sci-fi synths all over, aggressive riffing, melodic leads, intense rhythm section, and above all complex and varied compositions, this is what Epfix are offering on their debut album, and I really hope they get a chance outside of the Russian territory, too.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
efpix.com
sliptrickrecords.com

Band: ELVARON
Country: France
Title: Ghost of a Blood Tie
Label: Fantai'Zic Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Progressive Thrash Metal

Review:
After 9 years of silence (at least on discographic level), France based combo Elvaron releases their fifth full-length album in their 23 years of activity, what an achievement despite the band has numerous line-up problems in the meantime. This album also marks the band's comeback to Fantai'zic Productions, their previous collaboration being dated 11 years ago, the 2005 The Buried Crown album. The newest member of the band, keyboard player Shuguang Li has a tremendous impact on their music, adding all sorts of classical influences perfectly fit with their already intricate and largely open minded music. I'm personally not too fond of the vocal tone, I find it quite unimpressive in regard to the instrumental work and I honestly think the band could do much better with a different vocalist, but except for that I find the whole album overwhelming, very laborious, complex, expressive and challenging, especially since it has a concept behind based on the poetry of Melanie Fazi, poetry that also makes the album's lyrics. The guitar work is tremendous, the keyboards are working hand in hand with the guitars, and the rhythm section seems like a beast on its own, starting with the unrelenting and highly imaginative drum patterns and ending with a subtle yet very influential bass line. An album that takes time to digest, not an easy listening for sure, this one oozes dedication and hard work from all its pores. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
elvaron.net
fantaizic.fr

Band: ENDARKER
Country: Sweden
Title: Among the Shadows
Label: I Hate Records
Year: 2016
Style: Thrash Black Death Metal

Review:
I've always wondered why these compilations are always starting with the most recent material and end with the oldest, and that because the obvious interest in such a release is to get to know the band it presents and especially understand their progress, if any. This is a compilation of all recorded material by this old Swedish band that was was active between '86 and '93, for some the golden years of Death and Black Metal, and totally lead and conceived by current Marduk bass player Devo. In this band/project Devo took care of bass, drums and vocals and was joined by two friends, Peter and Necrotech. To me it seems the music evolves from a primitive, Hellhammer, Bathory, Venom influenced Speed Thrash Black Metal towards a more aggressive and Death Metal oriented music, so it seemed like the band was trying to get on a wave, any wave, but failed in the end. Actually the music is not impressive at all for nowadays standards, but I can see it back then turing some heads as it features a few cool elements like catchy guitar riffs, weird vocals (a mix between Thrash and Abbath-like vocals), a pretty dark atmosphere and a good production on the last release. All in all it's a good way to get to know another band from those effervescent and so influential years of Swedish Extreme Metal scene, and also I have no doubt Marduk fans will want to know it as well.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: -/10

Contact:
ihate.se

Band: FALLEN ICON
Country: Malta
Title: North of Nowhere
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2015
Style: Groove Death Metal

Review:
By the looks of this EP's cover / booklet artwork I wouldn't in a million years expect a groovy type of Death Metal from Fallen Icon, but that's exactly what I got to experience here. These 6 tracks (almost 25 minutes) constitute the debut release of Fallen Icon, a Maltese trio founded back in 2010, so it took them some time to come up with something to shop for labels (I guess). The 6 compositions are exactly like the band's logo expresses, fresh and modern, yet still paying tribute to the old patterns of this style (Death Metal that is), a perfect mix of Groove and Death Metal with important yet not overwhelming influences from Stoner, Thrash, Brutal Death Metal and I think I've heard some Progressive Metal somewhere inhere, too, but as stuffed as it may all this seem, the tracks are pretty aired and tight to be headbanging friendly, too. I can see this as potential good entertainment for both old-school and new-school Death Metallers, the musicianship is top-notch, the compositions are interesting and quite varied, the presentation and attitude strict and professional, only good things. The only part I'd do different would be the vocals, a bit more versatility won't hurt for sure, at least in my case these raspy screams tend to get boring and even annoying after a while. I have to also mention the excellent by Etienne Bugeja, excellent indeed. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8/10

Contact:
fallenicon.bandcamp.com

Band: GENUS ORDINIS DEI
Country: Italy
Title: The Middle
Label: Mighty Music
Year: 2016 (re-release)
Style: Symphonic Death Metal

Review:
Ok, from the first sounds of this album you can easily see why Mighty Music decided to re-release this debut album from Genus Ordinis Dei after the band first released it in 2013, the professional production and massive sound quality is a major win for the band and its debut album. The Middle features 10 tracks in 45 minutes of playing time, a fresh, dynamic, entertaining and expressive Melodic Death Metal, the Children of Bodom, In Flames type, with melodic guitar leads and long solos with roots in Heavy and Thrash Metal, energetic rhythm section, subtle but important keyboard backgrounds, and two types of vocals with growls as lead and screams as support. It sounds and flows very good, well thought and intelligently delivered, but unfortunately this genre is quite overwhelmed nowadays, it's hard for something or someone to come up with something new or surprising and G.O.D. haven't either. The band is very promising though.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/genusordinisdei
mightymusic.dk

Band: HATE THEM ALL
Country: Poland
Title: Last Feast with the Beast
Label: Old Temple
Year: 2015
Style: Thrash Black Death Metal

Review:
A mix of the m,ost important Extreme Metal subgenres and not only, that's what we're getting from this debut album from Poland's most pissed off group, Hate Them All. After serving the underground with plenty of demos and splits for the first 5 years of their existence as a band, Hate Them All finally manage to record and release 12 tracks on the same material, and here we have a bit over half an hour of mid-tempo to fast paced dirty Metal, simpler than you'd expect from the mix of Thrash, Black and Death Metal, an old-fashioned outburst of dirty and raw Metal that goes hand in hand with the nowadays "old-fashioned" Metal revival. The compositions are simple but entertaining and not boring at all, although I would have liked a bit more versatility from the hateful vocals. Unfortunately there are also some subtle bass lines or guitar leads that will pass unobserved because of the raw mix, but all in all I'd say it won't disapoint the fans of this genre. Not original or challenging, but a fun and enjoying piece of Metal, if that's what they wanted to offer it's perfect, but if they wanted to push some boundaries they certainly need more work. I'd be curious to know if the drummer plays in a Hardcore-like band, too, he has the right grooves for sure.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6.5/10

Contact:
hate.webd.pl
oldtemple.com

Band: HEIMSGARD
Country: France
Title: Ordrag
Label: Epicural Productions
Year: 2015
Style: Pagan Black Metal

Review:
One man band of Raido, also guitarist in Malevolentia, Heimsgard was founded in 2012 and this is its debut full-length album. More than an hour of quite "friendly" and epic sounding Pagan Black Metal the sort I used to review a lot 10-15 years ago, mid-tempo to fast paced, highlighted by a raspy Black Metal-like vocal, abundant keyboard arrangements and Power Metal influenced guitar work. Overall a successful album with good atmosphere but speaking for myself this is far too light and happy, also I tried to follow the lyrics... big mistake, apart the fact they are quite generic and unprovoking, Raido's cadence and pronounciation are awful even though some would say this is not important for a vocal part you can't really understand. The absolutely best element in Heimsgard's music is the tasty and complex guitar work and the fact that all in all the music gives me an organic, honest impression, so there's hope here. Try it if you're into Ensiferum, Wintersun, Amon Amarth or Falkenbach, bands their label mentions as major influences.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6/10

Contact:
facebook.com/heimsgard
epictural.fr

Band: HOLY BATTALION
Country: Poland
Title: Cosmic War / Breaking the Face
Label: Thrashing Madness Productions
Year: 2010
Style: Thrash Metal

Review:
Thrashing Madness seems commited to unburying old Metal gems from Poland, or at least they were because I have no idea if the label is still active nowadays, all promos they sent are a few years old at least and there's no active contact for the label either... Anyway, Slawno based Holy Battalion were active between '88 and '94 when, because of the improper conditions of the local scene they decided to split up and never reunited again. Speed Thrash Metal is the name of the game here, aggressive, as fast as possible, quite complex and technical I might add. This compilation is made of all three band's demos: Cosmic War from '89 (clear sound but lots of execution mistakes along the way, it's clear it was all recorded in a hurry; the music is very organic, honest and enthousiastic), Breaking the Face from '90 (again recorded in a hurry, an even worse recording unfortunately; the music becomes even faster and more technical, I'm sure I would have been a massive fan back then) and Mr. Dolly from '94 (the recordings are better, but the mix is awful having the bass lines way too in front of the other instruments; the music becomes groovier but still keeps its roots firm). Even if the first demo impresses only through the band's energy and enthousiasm, maybe with their technical abilities, too, the next compositions become interesting and catchier, I'm sure if the band have had the chance to record in a proper studio they would have been a massive name in those years, not only locally.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: -/10

Contact:
thrashing-madness.pl

Band: ISOLERT
Country: Greece
Title: No Hope, No Light...Only Death
Label: Ogmios Underground
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
It seems like full line-up bands are appearing less and less nowadays since it's so easy to record by yourself, at home, and basically everyone does that, a band implies more work and the road is arduous. Here we have a new quartet from Greece founded in 2015 and presenting us their debut album, an excellent 6 tracks (+ intro) effort following the Scandinavian '90's way much more than the Greek one as many (including me) might expect; so we get a mix of Norwegian Black Metal with good technical display a la Swedish Black Metal, with good armonies on guitars, energetic rhythm section, versatile, expressive and well-toned vocals, and good compositions that follow the old-way of doing things while still keeping things fresh and interesting. Traditional Black Metal delivered with good taste and definite passion, I'd say it's the perfect debut for a band that wants to honor the old-school and at the same time make a statement for the future.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
isolert.bandcamp.com
ogmiosug.fr

Band: LASTWAR
Country: Poland
Title: Darkness in Eden
Label: Thrashing Madness Productions
Year: 2011
Style: Thrash Death Metal

Review:
This is a compilation of all material released by this band that at the time (early to mid '90's) seemed very promising for the local scene but later proved to be too lazy or incredulous to step up a notch and get to the next level. Well, at least they did try with their '94 demo, tracks 8-11 on this compilation, to find a label, but the lack of a favorable response I guess led to the band demisal. The first 7 tracks are taken from the band's '92 very successful demo with the same name, demo released on local Carnage Records that at the time was releasing stuff like Vader, Turbo, Magnus or Necrophobic and many many amazing licenses, so was at the peak of its game. This demo also benefits from a very good production, crystal clear and at the same time as dirty as this genre required; Thrash Death Metal, mid-tempo to fast paced, based on a quite technical guitar work, intricate drumming and excellent vocals. The second demo, the one from '94 they were trying to shop for a label has an infected sound, and to be honest the compositions don't have the same energy and catchiness as the previous work, so there's no wonder they remained unsigned, although they've added a bit more complexity in their game this time. The last 2 tracks are recorded in 2010 by the only member still interested in keeping this project alive, Maciej Wasewicz, as a solo project and display a faster paced but still very complex Thrash Death Metal on the same old-school patterns, with the same vocals, and better sound quality. Not impressive but very good for nostalgics.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6.5/10

Contact:
oldschool-metal-maniac.com

Band: LEGION
Country: Philippines
Title: Righteous Killing
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2015
Style: Death Metal

Review:
Holy shit fuck-storm! This band hailing from the Philippines might probably be one of the best kept secrets of the Southeast Asian Extreme Metal scene! Desipte the awfully unoriginal band name, Legion from Philippines are teaching us here a fantastic lesson in how to play Death Metal nowadays and still sound credible and interesting. This is their debut full-length album that comes out at the right time, after they tested the reactions through an EP in 2013 and a split with Canadian Death Metallers Necrodios in 2014, a correct and old-school trajectory for the band so far. What impresses on this debut album are multiple things, so let's take them one by one: the production is absolutely gor(e)geous, the compositions sound complex and fresh balancing between old-school Brutal Death Metal and modern Black Death Metal, but with a firm grip on the traditional Death Metal path, the execution is flawless, the vocals are raspy and apalling but at the same time comprehensive and somehow catchy, the rhythm section is complex and imaginative, and the overall atmosphere is as crushing and brutal as anyone could expect from a good Death Metal release. A professional album selfreleased, offering also intelligent lyrics and impressive illustrations in its 12 pages booklet; interesting enough the CD comes with an alternative cover, bloodier than the main one, so I guess this is for censorship reasons after all. All in all this is certainly one of the best Extreme Metal debut I've had the pleasure to assist to; fantastic band!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
legionphilippines@gmail.com

Band: MALEVOLENTIA
Country: France
Title: Repvbliqve
Label: Epictural
Year: 2016
Style: Symphonic Black Death Metal

Review:
Not sure if that's only my impression, but I feel like French Black Metal bands are getting prouder and prouder of their country and of showing their heritage day by day, and to be honest I think this is absolutely normal, it's a question why are there so few French bands at the moment venturing on such territories, and probably an answer would be this profound fobia of being labelled as nationalists / ns I personally find stupid as fuck. Anyway, enough digressions, the third full-length from Malevolentia offers us 14 new tracks in almost an hour of playing time. Deeply symphonic and tragic orchestrations are wrapping an otherwise raw and ferocious, even brutal I'd say, Black Metal structure with heavy Death Metal influences, technical and somehow melodic on its own, lead by a demented female vocalist that sounds like a fukin' wounded rabid animal that's about to get you anytime. The music is rich of interesting and involving elements including epic choirs, theatrical sopranos, horns, percussions, and an overall fantastic keyboards work, it's very expressive and seems to build a final monumental concept I personally would like to see continued on future releases as well. The French lyrics are also very interesting sounding, a perfect addition to the concept, and here I can name the excellent booklet artwork as well. Excellent album to prove the effervescence of the current French Black Metal scene, probably my fave now.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/MalevolentiaBM
epictural.fr

Band: MARIO GRONNERT AND COMMONSEN5E
Country: Germany
Title: Nightmares and Dreamscapes: Silhouettes of Urbia
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Drone Ambient

Review:
Opening with a 22 long track and featuring 6 other, might make you think we're dealing here with a very long full-length, but it's actually normal size (53 minutes), which is less normal for a genre like this though. Anyway, Mario Gronnert structures his musical expression on keyboards, piano and synths, and manages to deliver what he describes as nightmares and dreamscapes; I would agree with the second one, but not actually with the first. Yes, the music is like a dreamscape, continuously floating over and through weird, undefined atmospheres that are changing all the time, but not actually as scary as being nightmarish, I would better say dark, desolate, maybe even depressive, with a post-industrial shade all over, but not as far as creating disconfort. Anyway, a very nice trip through Mario's immagination, not overly original, but fairly suggestive and quite interesting I would say.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6.5/10

Contact:
mariogroennert.bandcamp.com

Band: MARIUS DANIELSEN'S LEGEND OF VALLEY DOOM
Country: Norway
Title: Marius Danielsen's Legend of Valley Doom Part 1
Label: Crime Records
Year: 2015
Style: Symphonic Power Metal

Review:
What this young fellow, Marius Danielsen, succeeded with this debut album is most probably every Metal kid/teenager's dream, including mine when I was that age: to release an album with his own compositions but helped by his Metal heroes. And here we have a gathering of guest musicians of astronomical proportions: Tim Ripper, Edu Falaschi, Mark Boals, Timo Tolkki, Chris Caffery, Ross the Boss, Robb Weir, Barend Courbois, Mike LePond, Alex Holzwarth, just to name a few from the 30+ musicians featured here! Marius is vocalist / guitarist in Norwegian Heavy Metal band Darkest Sins, so it's no surprise this solo album was built having the band as backbone. The music is melodic, symphonic, epic and at the same time proud, energetic and highly Metal, a perfect mix of everything Power Metal brought to the scene at the end of the '90's - beginning of the 2000's, that complex, very technical, grandiose genre that took the World by storm back in those years, and that probably nowadays can be considered as old-school since it features no Electro, Industrial or other such influences to make it modern. Fans of bands like Rhapsody (old Italian Rhapsody), Blind Giardian, Vision Divine, Angra, or Stratovarius will most probably enjoy this album to its last drop, it's a constant delivery of melodic, expressive vocals, operatic choirs, epic keyboards, melodic guitar leads and long solos, catchy guitar riffs, intense bass lines and complex drumming, all mixed with good and professional taste. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
mariusdanielsen.com
crimerecords.no

Band: OFGHOST
Country: Finland
Title: The Awakening
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Industrial Extreme Metal

Review:
Cool, Sami is back with his 5th (4th under this moniker) full-length album to date, and since I'm lucky enough to have had the oportunity to listen to them all at the time they were released I can clearly say this is his best work to date. Sami does everything by himself, that's not impressive anymore in the nowadays scene, but what's impressive about his music is that he follows no particular path, I couldn't say he's fixed on Black, Death or Industrial Metal, he does his own thing and keeps getting better at expressing himself. This new album features 7 tracks and clocks a bit over 25 minutes only, but it's enough to fully enjoy it and avoid any traces of boredom. The Finnish lyrics this time make the vocal part sharper, even more abrasive, keeping the same Industrial vibe Sami used his followers, the guitar part is very well thought, complex and ranges from straight-on brutal Extreme Metal to melodic stuff, the drums are blasting from start to finish and the energy they transmit is contagious, and the keyboard backgrounds section is very important in the overall equation. There are also traces of Punk, Rock'n'Roll, old-school Peaceville-like Doom Death, dirty Thrash, basically verything the man thought of, but the final result sounds curdled, strong and very well-done. Ofghost needs more exposure, I keep saying this for the past 2-3 albums...
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
ofghost.bandcamp.com

Band: OVERUNIT MACHINE
Country: Italy
Title: Aldaraja
Label: Sliptrick Records
Year: 2016
Style: Electro Experimental Progressive Metal

Review:
I'm starting to get used to the high quality releases Sliptrick Records offers so far and I only hope they'll have the potential and ability to continue doing so for long time to come. Here's another excellent find, a band that was formed back in 2000 and released two full-lengths and an EP prior to this third studio album but at least for me it's a new name so the surprise is even bigger. Overunit Machine are a quitet from the North of Italy and so far they've gained plenty of experience; with this third album they manage to display a totally professional and attractive music, a mix of Electro, Metal, Alternative Rock, Progressive, or as they call it Experimental Metal, a modern type of music that can blend listeners from multiple niches without problems. There's plenty of complexity here but overall the album sounds curdled, mature and interesting, the band the both technical ability and good potential for coming up with catchy compositions, and although this is not really my cup of tea I can admit it's well done and I'll most probably spin it again in the future whenever in search for a light attitude and good quality Progressive Metal.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10

Contact:
overunitmachine.com
sliptrickrecords.com

Band: PRAVIA
Country: Poland
Title: Bestie ze Wschodu
Label: Art of the Night Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Pagan Death Metal

Review:
Debut album from this young (foudned in 2014) Polish band, Bestie ze Wschodu seems to be directed both on symbolistic and lyrical aspects towards a Panal path, and that's not so common especially since the band's music is following a Death Metal way, a moder one, with plenty of Deathcore (yes, you read it well) influences, so from this point of view Pravia seems to be quite original (I also met a Metalcore/Deathcore band from Poland that was mixing its music with Folk, but it sounded so awkward I wasn't able to listen to the whole release). The 9 tracks featured here (a bit over half an hour of playing time) sound quite well curdled, well composed and well executed, presenting us a technical, groovy and promising band, but I felt no Pagan influences whatsoever in their music and in the end it feels awkward to label their music Pagan. I think if they'll be able to incorporate some Folk influences in their music they would have better attraction to the Pagan community, now I don't know how keen is this community to support a Deathcore influenced band. Anyway, I stand by my opinion that this band is promising, they just need to dwelve deeper and find their own way.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
pravia.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/Art.of.the.Night.Productions

Band: RAVNKALD / GJALLARHORN / FJORD
Country: International / Ukraine / Canada
Title: Split
Label: Wolftyr Productions / Azermedoth Records
Year: 2015
Style: Pagan Black Metal / Pagan Black Metal / Folk Metal

Review:
Opening this split are Ravnkald, a Mexican / American duo offering 4 tracks of raw, war-like Black Metal with Pagan attitude and epic atmosphere. Razor-sharp guitar riffs, unrelenting drums and a bass that's mixed a bit too in front of everything, all these lead by distant shrieking vocals that if mixed a bit more in front would have been really comprehensive and could have given a totally different image to the music. So 4 tracks of raw Pagan Black Metal a la beginning of the '00's. 
Gjallarhorn from Ukraine have already more than a decade and two full-length albums underbelt and their maturity is shown on these 3 own compositions plus two covers (Absurd and Immortal). Colorful and expressive guitar work, synthetic sounding but not annoying drums, versatile vocals, and good compositions that will please fans of Russian / Ukrainian Pagan Metal. Not impressive but well done.
Closing this union are Canadian Fjord with their 4 tracks with rehearsal-like (awful) sound quality; not even on the third track, which is acoustic, the band delivers a clean sound, and even if the vocals are clean, Viking-like, you won't be able to understand what they are singing about. It seems these tracks were recorded in 2007, I really hope they managed to change their studio or recording habits since then as this is not right, it's like listening to a mid-paced Folk Metal band with War Metal fuzzy guitars and bass lines that almost cover the drums... 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 6/10   7/10   5/10

Contact:
gjallarhorn.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/Ravnkald-1520605998180169
wolftyr.com
azermedothrecords.tictail.com

Band: RAZEND
Country: Holland
Title: White Goat II
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Thrash Metal

Review:
If you can pass over the absolutely childish (read awful) cover artwork, probably one of the worst for 2016, and actually decide to buy this CD after learning that Corinne from Acrostichon is a member, you might have a good surprise like I had. First of all the band is not as new as their bio shows, they are actually all the members from a former Tilburg based Melodic Death Metal band called Outburst, active since the '90's, with only one line-up change in person of Corinne van den Brand who took over the vocal duties in Razend since they got the new name. Labelling Razend as Thrash Metal doesn't do justice to either the band and the genre, but that's the closest to what they are playing, so just imagine a base of traditional Thrash Metal with Melodic Death Metal, a bit of Heavy Metal and even Progressive Metal thrown on top of it, with a Corinne that's really versatile and extremely expressive, doing an excellent job. Then the guitar work is complex and interesting from start to finish, the drumming is top notch too, and I have to mention the intense and heavy bass lines too, all these delivered with a professional yet somehow traditional and unpolished production. There are plenty of melodic parts to air things up, but the whole is crazy intense and energetic just like it was meant to be. If you don't look at the stupid front cover and actually turn this digipak CD to a picture of the band (the back of the case), mixed with the amazing music on it, you might have just discovered one of your favorite releases for 2016, I know I did. Hell yeah!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
razendband.com

Band: SKOLL
Country: Italy
Title: Of Misty Fire We Are
Label: Fallen Angels Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Pagan Black Metal

Review:
The Italian Skoll was founded more than 20 years ago and this is their fourth full-length album to date, a 7 tracks effort clocking almost 50 minutes of playing time. The band features members with serious experience on the Italian Black Metal scene from bands like Opera IX or The True Endless, bands that shouldn't be a mistery to anyone at the moment, so both the band's longevity and its band members experience leads us to think we're dealing with a mature, serious band that has passed the test of time. The music on this new album is not innovative or highly complex, but it's exactly what you'd expect from a mid-tempo Black Metal with important Pagan influences and lyrical topics about epic battles and situations. The atmospheres are mostly epic and quite uplifing, but there are some parts of the album when the music becomes quite melancholic and even bleak, and some others when everything becomes symphonic and majestic, preety neat, isn't it? The technical display is ok although not impressive, the production is nothing to argue about, and the general impression after spinning this album a few times already is a good one, maybe even sparkling a question in the listener's mind: why aren't these guys more known after so many years on the scene?
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
skoll.altervista.org
back69.com.ne.kr

Band: THE BURNING DOGMA
Country: Italy
Title: No Shores of Hope
Label: Sliptrick Records
Year: 2016
Style: Electro Blackened Death Metal

Review:
Wow, very far from what I expected when finding the band's profile on Metal Archives, The Burning Dogma's music, or at least the one the band offers on this debut full-length, has nothing to do with Doom Metal, but I would rather pinpoint their compositions between a Blackened Death Metal and a Melodic Death Metal with lots of Electronic inserts all over the place yet not influencing the actual tracks but rather managing to calm things down between a track and another. The overall impression is of a highly energetic, even aggressive band (there are some parts when you can say you're dealing with a Brutal Death Metal band...) and the atmosphere that dominates on this disc is mysterious and dark, always in expectance of the worst creatures to crawl out of the shadows at any time; very successful atmosphere I have to stress out. Although at first I thought the Black Metal type of vocals would go on forever without any fluctuations I was wrong, there's plenty of versatility on the vocal level of this album reaching even the addition of a female vocalist as guest; the guitar work is impressive, with emphasis on the amazing long and expressive solos; the rhythm section is faultless I'd say, and last but not least the keyboards (a la Dimmu Borgir at times) are absolutely perfect, from subtle and supportive to leading and influential they manage to evoke the dark feelings throughout the album. I have to mention the interesting, well thought lyrics as well as the impressive cover artwork, all leading towards an excellent debut album I recommend you to give a chance to.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
facebook.com/theburningdogma
sliptrickrecords.com

Band: UNOTHERA
Country: Holland
Title: Broken
Label: Big Bad Wolf Records
Year: 2016
Style: Melodic Doom Death Metal

Review:
Born from the ashes of Alice Day, Unothera decided to continue as a trio at least for the moment, and stop searching for a female vocalist which probably was the leading element in Alice Day. Unothera are in for a fresh start although their music clearly reminds of the good old days of the '90's in Doom Death and especially of the Peaceville bands of course. Here we get 2 real tracks and three piano intermezzos totaling 14 minutes of playing time, and although not enough to form a coherent opinion on the band's music, I'd say they have full potential and this comes from a big fan of the '90's Peaceville releases. Slow to mid-tempo rhythms, two vocal types (clean and raspy - although I admit I'd see the band complete by an additional female vocal), synthetic but not annoying drum programmings, melodic guitars and atmospheric keyboards on the background, with a second track (The Sun of Contradictions) highlighted by a perfect, haunting, dreamy, melancholic leading guitar as closure, a guitar (well supported by keys) I would love to hear more in the band's future music. Really psyched about this band's future, can't wait to hear some more of their stuff.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
facebook.com/unothera
bigbadwolfrecords.nl

Email: contact@pestwebzine.com