Band: LATHSPELL
Country: Finland
Title: Torn Cold Void
Label: Wolfspell Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
I could say this is a real super-group of the Finnish Black Metal scene incorporating members from Azaghal, Hautakammio, Wyrd or Oath (if you haven't heard of them before you should think of getting a serious update on the current scene in Finland), and even though many of them are younger than Lathspell, they are better known. Lathspell was founded back in 1998 and this is their fifth full-length album, a 4 tracks effort clocking 40 minutes of razor-sharp, vicious, evil sounding Black Metal. Organic to the bone, traditional but not stale at all, epic at times, offensive and energetic all the time, Torn Cold Void is a fine example of what the Finnish Black Metal scene can still produce. It's not innovative and I don't think it was intended to be that way, but it's damn well arranged, structured and executed, if you'll listen carefully you'll be delighted by the lush guitar and bass work, by the intensity of the drums and the sharpness, flesh-cutting tone of the vocals. A good surprise was the apparition of the guitar solos, short but still a good addition; the World needs more guitar solos in Extreme Metal, I tell you (wink). All in all Torn Cold Void is an album that convinces and consoles fans of Traditional (oh well, better said fast and evil) Black Metal that quality comes with experience and this band has both. Released as 3 panels digipak featuring lyrics for 3 of the 4 tracks (I wonder why they haven't included the lyrics for the first track, too...).
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 8.5/10

Contact:
lathspell.bandcamp.com
www.wolfspellrex.com 

Band: MACARIA
Country: Italy
Title: A Strings’ Dramedy
Label: Revalve Records
Year: 2016
Style: Folk Death Metal

Review:
Macaria performed under the name FolkenTroll from the beginning to 2013. Under a new name it appeared only the first album, but you can hear that in the composition does not play newbie-metallers. Album "A Strings' dramedy" is signed as a folk / death metal stuff and simplified so you can just call the sounds generated by italian Macaria. There are a lot of elements originating from film music, good kicking ass vocals a la Pro-Pain from the time of "Make love not war" and a lot of boost symphonic choral vocals and folk flair. Macari combines a progressive playing, combining water with fire (read weird riffs with „sadness” cello) and acoustic guitar. As a result, the album came out very interesting, coherent and logical.
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 8/10

Band: MINDAHEAD
Country: Italy
Title: Reflections
Label: Crown Metal / Revalve Records
Year: 2016
Style: Progressive Symphonic Metal

Review:
The wording of the Italian MindAhead defies unequivocally determination. This is widely understood symphonic metal with elements of electronics, dark-ambient, neofolk, gothic rock and post - and within in one song! This music can be associated with The Gathering, a little bit with some of the achievements of Liv Kristine, many here also audible art rock. Female vocals with progressive smartness compete with traditional metal sounds of growling in the lead role. This „boiled” a crucible of different approaches to the widely understood metal "Reflections" is impressive! The „jumping moods” on „Reflections” are really enormous and require a pretty good focus on music MindAheaD to her embrace. Well worth it!
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 9/10

Band: MYR
Country: Italy
Title: Habits
Label: Revalve Records
Year: 2016
Style: Post-Progressive Metal

Review:
MYR band from Roma, Italy define themselves as post-progressive metal. And this is an extremely customs determination. Post-rock smuteczki well here remarked with sharper, progressive playing riffs. Here and there the singer Enrico Giannacco trying przygrowlowac but it is a complement to whispers, male voices styling for choral singing and reciting that dominate the wartstwie vocal album "Habits". MYR smuggled it to your music as a pinch ethno and jazz. It turned out interesting!
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 8/10

Band: MYRKGRAV
Country: Norway
Title: Takk og farvel; tida er blitt ei annen
Label: selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Blackened Folk Viking Metal

Review:
One man project Myekgrav in 2016 released their second new album in its history, ongoing since 2003 - and disbanded... Lars "Leiðólfr" Jensen on the new album played the role of metal Scheldt and this is why recorded sounds are more folk than metal as well. The proportions between the acoustic playing and melodic riffs are spread out in a thoughtful way and the album itself, such as single play, is very extensive. The echoes of Scandinavian blackmetal are also present, and it very clearly. But the biggest advantage of the album is a combination of traditional and neo-traditional playing of musical recognition of black and viking metal, where the metal rhythms are based on folk, not vice versa! Lars interceded on board several complex instrumental pieces and the whole ends strictly folk outro. Very good stuff!
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 9/10

Band: OHTAR
Country: Poland
Title: Euthanasia of Existence
Label: Deathrune Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
After almost 10 years since their previous full-length Ohtar are releasing their fourth studio album, a 6 tracks effort clocking over 40 minutes of Black Metal ranging from slow, oppressive rhythms to mid-tempo, even fast paced tempos at rare times indeed. Good idea to have the lyrics printed in both Polish and English, at least the listener can understand better and get more involved in this material; there's where I learnt Ohtar's current lyrical themes are quote morbid, depressive and hopeless, not the epic, NS themes I thought they talk about. The music reminds me of Burzum's trademark in using repetitive, mesmerizing guitars in its compositions; the drumming is pretty monotonous I'd say, and this impression ultimately transmits to the whole release although if you listen closer you'll find plenty of variety in both guitar and bass structures. To be honest I quite like the instrumental part, it sounds organic, interesting and displays a powerful epic atmosphere even though there are no keys or other additional instruments used here, but my real problem with this release is with the vocals, abrasive, raspy vocals without any versatility or complexity, way too monotone for my tastes. 
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
deathrunerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ohtar-euthanasia-of-existence

Band: PANOPTICON / WALDGEFLUSTER
Country: USA / Norway
Title: Panopticon / Waldgefluster
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Atmospheric Black / Folk Metal

Review:
This stuff is just the 4 tracks’ split and musically this is more than half an hour sorrow hailing straight from the fjords... First track by Waldgeflüster - marching, chorus, mechanically. Piece is of Black Metal, slow wall of sound, nostalgia, darkness with acoustic inserts. The second by Waldgeflüster too - a guitar with classic neofolk for mainstream smeceniem. A. Lunn (Panopticon man-orchestra) then start the third, and it is Black's slaughterhouse interrupted briefly ambient. The fourth song is something like the country, kept in the dark and acoustic style, with elements of blues and playing straight from the scout camp at the evening campfire. The combination of these four tracks on one disc is interesting but also very consistent - but in its own way to understand ...
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 7/10

Band: REAPTER
Country: Italy
Title: Cymatics
Label: Selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Thrash Metal

Review:
By the way, that thrash is some variation, it is not expected. And yet! Thrashers from Lazio surprised me that the closer musically are Megadeth, Metallica and Sepulturze than progressive playing, which in 2016 in larger quantities recently from Italy came to me. "Cymatics" is not obviously copy old patterns but creative approach to the subject of course! On the basis of thrash and without 
too much surfeit combinations Reapter created a very melodic metal with audible technique in hand guitarists. It is the rate energy is the essence of thrash, the motor skills are really good solos and for that there is no feeling of weariness. Six years after the previous album, Reapter issued another, which was worth the wait!
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 8/10

Band: REX MUNDI
Country: USA
Title: Ontology
Label: Wolfspell Records
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
It's weird how the front cover of this album doesn't announce anything at all and seems quite dull and uninteresting while the inside of the 20 pages booklet is so classy in both artwork (paintings actually) and layout... 5 years after their debut album, Rex Mundi returns as a duo with the followup album made of 7 tracks composed between 2006 and 2013, an album that offers a traditional form of Black Metal made of frantic drumming, intense riffing slipping into melodic parts at times, subtle but solid bass lines and vicious Black Metal shrieks seconded by powerful and hateful screams here and there, with the addition of a superb piano part Valence and Salience tracks and melodic guitar leads on a few tracks, but all of these delivered with poor production that got on my nerves at times by being so raw... this release, these compositions would have deserved better, clearer production in my opinion, but anyway, the compositions are interesting enough not to get into boredom, the band offers us plenty of rhythm changes and surprising turns in order to keep us attentive to their art. If you don't mind a raw, fuzzy sound quality to your Black Metal and you're a follower of '90's Scandinavian Black Metal, Pagan Metal and Epic Black Metal you'll pretty much find some interesting stuff on this album.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
wolfspellrex.com

Band: STOJAR
Country: Russia
Title: Hammer thunderstorms, in the twilight of battles...
Label: Stygian Crypt Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Folk Metal

Review:
The band Stojar was born in Yaroslavl  in 2005 in Russia and always played and still playing melodic folkmetal. Their stuff, apart from fast guitar riffs, based on deeply growling vocals mixed with delicate female voices and keyboards flow imitate accordion or other folk instrumensts. Fans of russian folkmetal (bands like Grai, Arkona, Kalevala or SatanKozel) will be happy after listening „Tearing down the hammer in the twilight struggle”. This album perfectly captures the atmosphere of contemporary russian folkmetal, with all its pathos, slavic heathenism, myths and elements of slavonic patriotism. The album was released in autumn of 2016 and this is the third studio album of the group. That’s just have a good made-melodic folk metal, which is nothing surprising, but which quite pleasant with listening it.
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 7/10

Band: SUICIDAL MADNESS
Country: France
Title: Illusions funestes
Label: Wolfspell Records
Year: 2016
Style: Depressive Black Metal

Review:
Let's start with a bit of background: in 2011, Molasar, drummer in P.H.T.O., commited suicide at the age of 43 (as a side-note, but very important for this review, he also did session drumming for Suicidal Madness' debut demo the same year). His friends, and especially Alrinack (who also wrote for Pest Webzine at a point in time), founded Molasar's Dreams, a gathering of Depressive Suicidal Black Metal bands that are seemingly trying to honor Molasar's memory. Suicidal Madness reached now their second full-length album with Illusions funestes, an almost 50 minutes long effort made of 6 new tracks plus intro and outro following paths previously opened by Burzum, Shining and especially their countrymen Nocturnal Depression. A slow paced, ice-cold, depressive to the core, helpless and hopeless DSBM delivered with a raw production that might turn away some listeners but sounds organic and honest. The execution, especially the exquisite vocal part and the clever bass lines, is good enough to build atmospheres and transmit deep emotions, and in my opinion the only part where the band needs some more work is the composition part, the band sound capable of delivering some memorable compositions in the future but they did not so far unfortunately, this album will only be remembered by the deep atmospheres, desperate vocals and probably by the great intro. Released as CD with 8 pages booklet featuring all lyrics (in French, of course), no doubt a good addition to every follower of DSBM.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
suicidalmadness1.bandcamp.com
wolfspellrex.com

Band: THE KREOLES
Country: Italy
Title: Psycho
Label: selfreleased
Year: 2016
Style: Heavy Metal Rock

Review:
Light heavy metal broken by hardrock with female vocals. Very melodic but powerfully stuff, sometimes comes and the thrash ("Disease"), but there are also humorous motives stylized Tyrolian folk broken by country style ("Dolomites"). The basis of "Psycho" is, however, the border between hard rock and metal without the great novelty - but nice! Singer's voice sounds pretty post-punkrock way, something between Wendy James of Transvision Wamp and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt but with Hard'n'Heavy metal smartness and sounds good. On the one hand album "Psycho" is not anything especially insightful or surprising - but the other was a pretty good piece of rock and metal music with cool, female vocals of Valentina Merlo.
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 7/10

Band: THRAWSUNBLAT
Country: Canada
Title: Metachtonia
Label: Ignifera Records
Year: 2016
Style: Melodic Folk Black Metal

Review:
Canadian Thrawsunblat on the new album skillfully combines elements of folk, blackmetal, symphonic and melodic playing music! Almost one hour the material is a kind of musical journey through different worlds stapled metal buckle soooo widely understood „folkmetal”. Acoustic play vs chaff, choral chants vs angry growl, and other apparent contradictions is a musical base "Metachtonia". Extensive, long pieces does not allow you to get bored even for a few seconds. Rage interwoven with nostalgia, sadness broken bursts of energy, styling parts for the old songs in league with metal energy ... This is the strength of this album! Thrawsunblat proudly represents the metal scene signed between flag of Maple Leaf.
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 8/10

Band: THY CATAFALQUE
Country: Hungary
Title: Meta
Label: Season of Mist
Year: 2016
Style: Avantgarde Metal

Review:
Black-garde road roller again left out of the abyss of darkness, he, he ... mighty power of the keys, coming from afar disturbing vocals and cutting air (and coils in the brain) guitar riffs from the first seconds of the album "Meta" realize that it is Thy Catafalque in the form of! I was sure about that Tamás Katai not fail and not make a mistake! "Meta" pulls in your world like a giant, intergalactic vortex. Power black metal riffs, ambient neofolk-rustling, progressive electronics, disturbing murmur, coldwave frost and butcher drums - this is the new album Thy Catafalque! A distant echoes of folk too. The whole end martial sounds playing on autchorities. "Meta" is more than an hour musical work worth the highest score!
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 10/10

Band: TIMOR ET TREMOR
Country: Germany
Title: For Cold Shades
Label: Trollzorn Records
Year: 2016
Style: Pagan Black Metal

Review:
I'm curious what it takes for such a band to be considered succesful in Germany because if I look at Timor et Tremor's history I see more than a decade of activity (not as a studio project but as a live band), 2 prior albums that were well received, at least the 2012 Upon Bleak Grey Fields being considered highly mature, and a current album, the one I'll talk about here, considered as their best so far, released on a serious label, with raving reviews so far, so a lot of criteria for a band to be considered successful in my books, but not sure if the band actually feels this way. Anyway, talking about this third studio album, it is made of 8 tracks with a total duration of 45 minutes, a mostly mid-tempo type of Melodic Black Metal the band calls Chattic Black Metal (term taken from an old Germanic tribe), with plenty of Pagan influences in its themes, and instrumentally based on intense drumming, melodic / epic guitar work, hoarse and angry vocals supported by clean screams from time to time, with heavy yet subtle bass lines. I guess the epic guitar leads and slow, melodic, simple and memorable guitar solos might be the highlight of this album, but as a whole is as impacting and memorable, nothing to complain about, a complete material that should not miss the year end tops in my opinion.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
facebook.com/chatticblackmetal

Band: WALDGEFLUSTER
Country: Germany
Title: Ruinen
Label: Nordvis Produktion
Year: 2016
Style: Black Metal

Review:
This album begins with ambient’s deep and terrible sadness (intro as a track called "Die Ruine als Schmuck") and screamed, blackmetalic-nostalgic-nihilistic-depressive state lasts more than an hour. From the third song ("Trummerfestung") begin to appear acoustic elements and elaborate guitar solos, emphasizing the depressing sound. In their own way, "Ruinen" is a beautiful piece, monolithic machine of sound based on the Nordic black metal with a touch of coldwave, the software even sadness. This is the great strength of the formation Waldgeflüster that men can play "sorrows" in a convincing way so he wanted to come back to it. This is a great art and very much appreciate reaching the second time and another after "Ruinen". Spaces and moods are here masterfully orchestrated but not contrived. The end, that is the last piece of "Susitaival" is a peculiar catharsis, cleansing the brain after black metal scream by acoustic neofolk. However, I think that the album is a bit long and sometimes days, he can overdo it. That's why I do not give a full score for „Ruinen”.
Reviewed by Vilcin
Rating: 8/10

Band: WYRUZ
Country: Norway
Title: Judge and Jury
Label: Battlegod Productions
Year: 2016
Style: Thrash Death Metal

Review:
This band has been around since 2002 yet this is only their second full-length album, released 4 years distance from their debut, so we're not exactly dealing with a pery productive ensemble. This new album is made of no less than 13 tracks totaling a bit over 50 minutes of playing time and displays a modern, technical and extremely tight blend of Thrash and Death Metal that first takes your mind to Slayer but that doesn't mean Wyruz are a copycat. Not at all, in fact this new album abounds in intricate structures, rhythms, speeds and above all, feelings, it's not that "hate to the max" album a Slayer copycat would offer. I'm very impressed how tight and precise everything sounds on this album, it seems the band spent an eternity preparing it so I have no doubt their fans will be satisfied and even more, with this album it's time to conquer new territories and new followers. After spinning it a few times I can say I clearly don't have a favorite instrument performance like I have on most other albums; I'd say the guitar work is the most complex, but then I won't be fair to the fantastic drumming that at times reaches incredible speeds, and at others is so metallic and groovy it makes rhythms stick to your mind, and i'd say the same about that intricate and quite upfront, easy to follow, bass lines; last but not least that vocals are spot on for this type of music, rough and abrasive at first, they slowly become natural and cool after a couple of tracks. Sick album, top notch performance!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
facebook.com/wyruzband
battlegod-productions.com

Band: XAOS OBLIVION
Country: Poland
Title: Rituals from the Cold Grave
Label: Lower Silesian Stronghold
Year: 2015
Style: Black Metal

Review:
I wouldn't know if Xaos Oblivion is a solo project of the musician with the same name, or if it's a duo since Piotr Bajus (aka Revenger), his partner from Abusiveness and also member in Graveland or Moon among others, joined him on guitars right after the 2014 fourth full-length album Black Mountains Spirits. Anyway, this fifth opus is made of 6 new tracks and clocks only a bit over half an hour of playing time, but it's so intense and dense that this seems like the perfect duration in order to enjoy it again and again. The music is highlighted by Xaos' disgusted, grim, ghastly vocals that could remind of Attila's from Mayhem, and beside that we're treated with highly intensive drumming, incisive bass lines and multiple layers of guitars that at first might seem simplistic and repetitive but at a closer listen are quite complex and manage to perfectly support and build on this demented, desolate, sickening atmosphere. The lyrics, sung in English and quite comprehensive from Xaos' vocals, are an excellent addition to this whole horrifying story, and although the pronounciation might not be the best, it's worth following the lyrics while enjoying the music. The album comes with one of the best booklet artworks and layouts I've seen in a long time, classy and sinister at the same time. An album I'd listen to over and over without being bored; recommended!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10

Contact:
xaosoblivion.bandcamp.com
trueunderground.cba.pl

Band: ZAUM
Country: Canada
Title: Eidolon
Label: I Hate Records
Year: 2016
Style: Psychedelic Doom Metal

Review:
First look at the cover artwork... well, the music on this album is the audio representation of the artwork and vice-versa, the two work perfectly hand in hand and I find that excellent. This is the second full-length from this Canadian duo, a 2 tracks effort clocking 41 minutes of mysterious, story-telling, hypnotic and psychedelic Doom Metal. Most of the 41 minutes are ambient, atmospheric soundscapes made on synth, flute and whitles, choirs, even female vocals or sitar, and of course nature sounds to depict a mysterious, magical, ritualistic world. When the band gets in full gear and the Metal influence starts to kick in the whole is led by heavy, electric (really electric, don't get any closer) sounding bass lines, oppressive drums, psychedelic guitars and hypnotic vocals, an interesting and original mix I'd say. Unfortunately it failed to fit on my taste but if you're into Doom in all its forms you might find a good surprise in Zaum.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10

Contact:
zaum.bandcamp.com
ihate.se

Email: contact@pestwebzine.com