First of all, I feel I should offer my apologies for the lateness of this review. I’ve had a lot going on lately. (Speaking of which, please check out this post.)
Norse’s “All is Mist and Fog” had been tempting me on Bandcamp for quite some time. When I initially discovered the band’s Bandcamp page, I was immediately intrigued. Surely this release had everything? A fantastic band name, a terrific title, haunting artwork, a promise of something Black Metal flavoured… I was going to love it, right? In fact, I was so confident of the fact that I was going to love it, that I popped it straight onto my Wish List without even giving it a listen.
But, alas, my Wish List is freakishly long. I think if I were to buy every single item on my Wish List I would be able to repair the economy in most countries. It would cripple my bank account, but the rest of the world would be fine. So, because I apparently want EVERYTHING, buying this Norse album got put temporarily on the backburner. Luckily, I have a rather lovely contact who signed the band to his label and so offered me the album for review. I immediately took him up on the offer… but then life got in the way and I’m only just getting around to reviewing the album now. Better late than never…
My first listen to “All is Mist and Fog” was somewhat surprising. In my (rather unique little) mind, I’d built it up to be something world changing. Without ever having listened to a single note of it, I’d decided that it was going to blow my mind and be one of my favourite albums of all time. As a result, my first listen was a little disappointing. It didn’t change the world. It didn’t change my life. I didn’t suddenly sprout wings and fly to the moon in search of a cheese that didn’t have any calories in, but still retained its flavour. It was just an album.
However, that was just my first listen. Upon further inspection, this album proved to be a thing of absolute wonder. While it still didn’t alter reality, it did help to escape it – if only for a short time. In fact, it’s bloody brilliant.
Norse are not what you would expect. For a start, they hail from Australia – not that that’s obvious from their music. Based on their music, they could well come from the moon (I’ll have to ask them about that cheese). A name like Norse conjures up stereotypical images of Vikings or, at very least, Black Metal created in caves. As much as I love both Vikings and Black Metal created in caves, Norse have created something equally as impressive. It’s Black Metal, it’s Death Metal, it’s extreme, it’s progressive and it’s obscure. The first hit may not have got me, but the listens beyond that have lured me in. I’m now very much caught in Norse’s sticky, and slightly odd, web.
Tracks like “Towards the Shining Sky” were, at first, difficult for me to listen to. Although I can appreciate the technical playing of music like this, I tend to usually go for atmosphere. On having listened to this album a few times, I was soon able to get drawn in. Norse have created an atmosphere. Once I was used to the interesting riffage, I was able to lose myself in the music. I was able to close my eyes and imagine my own little visual accompaniment for Norse’s soundscape.
“All is Mist and Fog” may not be life changing, but it is mind blowing. Give it a listen via the widget below and judge for yourself.
Oh, and “Plaguewhore” is genius. As is “Black Ocean”.
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Assuming I don’t die in a random, yet gross, snot related incident between now and 7pm, I shall be attending the Pure Rawk Awards this evening (this particular shindig is being sponsored by none other than our very own Metal-Buddy.com). As a result, I’ve been slipping as much of the rock stuff as I can into my playlist. One song that’s had a fair few listens today is “Going Down” by Silent Jack (who sadly won’t be at the awards, but hey!). This track was featured on the site yesterday – and you can download it for free!
I’ve been aware of Silent Jack for quite some time and “Hot Luvin’” has been lurking on my iPod quite happily for a while. I liked them. They were good. However, after hearing “Going Down” I can now officially count myself as a fan. This track has everything a good rock song should have – a big hook, a sing-along chorus, guitar solo, catchy riffs – the whole shebang!
Listening to “Going Down” will have you reaching for your denim, leather and spandex (I’m two thirds of the way there already…) and banging your head. Fantastic stuff!
If you haven’t downloaded this already – do it now. It’s the perfect start to the weekend
I first spotted this album towards the tailend of 2012, when its incredibly eye-catching orange artwork jumped out at me from the CD Baby website. Due to the fact that I rarely have any money, I wasn’t able to pick up the album straight away, but I mentally filed it in my “To Buy” folder (it used to be a mere list, now it’s a folder… a big, huge, overgrown folder). Fast forward a couple months and I happened to notice that the album was sitting in my Haulix account, just waiting for me to give it a go. So I did.
“Towards the Baphomet’s Throne” is pretty much a straight forward Black Metal album with Death Metal touches. Fiends at Feast seem to wear their influences on their collective sleeve and throughout the album I’m reminded of Black Metal greats such as Marduk, Taake, Carpathian Forest and Dissection. These influences are not over the top, but you can clearly hear where these guys are coming from. It’s a path well-travelled, but it produces fantastic results. That’s not to say that Fiends at Feast are just going through the motions – Nope, these guys know what they’re doing and they certainly bring their own stuff to the table.
Fiends at Feast have successfully created a tremendously harsh and frozen atmosphere on this album, which is completely at odds with the band’s Californian location. It’s an unforgiving listen that demands your full and undivided attention. The tracks are very well written and suck you in from start to finish. I think it’s the combination of full blown evil, combined with insane tremelo picking and a hearty dose of catchy riffage that makes this album so damn addictive. I’m seriously beginning to think that “Towards the Baphomet’s Throne” is the Black Metal equivalent of a tube of Pringles – once you pop, you really can’t stop. This is the reason why Satan will need to go to rehab.
Although the whole album is worth a listen, there are some tracks that stand out more than others. At the moment, my current favourite has to be “Hedonistic Heresy”. Not only does it have those addictive qualities that I mentioned in the previous paragraph, but it is also home to an amazing guitar solo. It’s definitely one of those ‘jaw to the floor’ kinda moments.
At the beginning of this review I told you that I grabbed this little beastie from my Haulix account. After listening to it numerous times, I’m pleased to say that I fully plan on tracking down a physical copy and adding it to my collection. Damn good stuff.
You can listen to the album via the Bandcamp widget below – if you like it, buy it!
My love for Bandcamp is, by now, relatively well documented. Not only do I love Bandcamp, but I also find it extremely dangerous – both for my bank balance and for my hardrive (that thing is filling up FAST!). Anyway, last night I decided to go off on one of my little jaunts around Bandcamp’s well-nourished underbelly to see what little gems I could discover. Usually, I will just search through everything tagged with ‘metal’, but lately I’ve started to search for random words. The Word of the Night last night was ‘funeral’ (I put the fun in funeral… sorry… I’ll get my coat…) and it turned up a whole bunch of deliciously dark treats (most of which will probably be featured on this site in the future). One of the search results was a band called Cathedral of Foe (probably due to their track “Satan Funeral Moon”.
On Cathedral of Foe’s bandcamp page there is an album sampler and a collection of three tracks lovingly titled “Trashcan Archive”. Apparently these tracks will not be appearing on the band’s forthcoming album, but they were just too good to throw away… and I’m inclined to agree.
While the Black Metal on offer here won’t be winning any prizes for originality (the band haven’t, for instance, adopted the kazoo solo), it most definitely feels real. From the creepy clean vocal interlude in “Satan Funeral Moon” and the unnerving “Sei Satanist!” to the full blown intensity of “Philosphy of Destruction”, Catherdral of Foe show great promise. The Black Metal is raw and the music is as gritty, dirty and nasty as the filth lodged underneath the Dark Lord’s fingernails – and this is a great thing!
These tracks demonstrate a tumultuous relationship between frantic violence and omninous atmospheres. Considering these tracks are to be left off the new album, we can only imagine how evil that little beauty is going to sound!
“Trashcan Archive” is available for (FREE) download from the band’s Bandcamp or via the widget below:
It’s been a little while since I listened to any straight-forward Heavy Metal (I’m sure my Iron Maiden collection is feeling somewhat neglected – don’t worry, folks, I’ll give it the attention it deserves soon enough). Anyway, since my ears are currently tuned to the more extreme end of the metal spectrum, hearing “New Sound of War” for the first time was something of a surprise. It was a good surprise though…
Iron Knights used to be known as Stuka Squadron until very recently. Since I do not know the whole story, I’m going to refrain from writing any more about the incidents that lead to that name change… there’s plenty of stuff dotted around the web for you to sink your teeth into if you’re really that interested in the politics. So, yes, for the most part, Iron Knights are the same undead vampire pilots that gave us such anthems as “We Drink Blood” and “Stuka Squadron”.
It would be easy to say that “New Sound of War” picks up where “Tales of the Ost” (Stuka Squadron’s first and final full length) left off, but that’s not really the case. While both albums hold the same high level of musicianship and song writing skills, there’s something different about “New Sound of War”. I don’t know whether it’s accidental or by design, but “New Sound of War” feels grittier. The whole thing has a rawer edge. We’re treated to the same kind of heavy metal that we’ve come to expect, but it’s a bit dirtier (not in that way – get your minds out of the gutter!). It’s like everybody’s favourite vampires are still feeding on our blood, but they’re not brushing their fangs between bites.
The highlight of the album for me is something of a curveball. At first “Tell Me Strange Things” had me raising one eyebrow in a quizzical fashion. I just wasn’t sure how to react to it. However, subsequent listens have caused me to love it. The chorus is damn catchy – I even find myself singing it in the shower.
This album gives me the urge to wear denim and leather… which is a good thing since I already wear those things on a regular basis.
If you’re looking for something with big choruses, catchy melodies and epic leads, then “New Sound of War” could be right up your alley.