REVIEW: INFESTUM - Monuments of Exalted

A true rarity, INFESTUM and their 'Monuments of Exalted' really drum up some hope when it comes to the future of Black Metal and Blackened Death Metal. For a genre full of stubborn old-school elitists - its nice to see that INFESTUM knows how to breathe some life into a Metal genre that desperately needs it.

To me, INFESTUM seems to have all the versatility and vision of DARK FORTRESS but take it to a level all their own - combining classic Black and Death Metal composition with towering otherworldly Pads and pulse-pounding electronics. 'Monuments of Exalted' isn't a release that wants you to feel dreary and disillusioned - INFESTUM wants you to bow before their monumental force.

To say there is anything genuinely bad about this release would be night impossible for me. From beginning to end 'Monuments of Exalted' pulls you in and lets you feel what INFESTUM is all about. The only nay-Sayers I could imagine are purists who dislike the inclusion of electronics in their music or higher budget production values. To that, I say that eventually Blackened Metal had to take a step forward and this is it.


REVIEW: PUTRID EVOCATION - Echoes of Death

Oh, its Death Metal time folks. And, I'm not talking like Melodic Death Metal like IN FLAMES or TRACEDAWN - nope, I'm talking classic mid-era Death Metal. The sort of stuff that actually had something to do with topics such as... well, death!

Apparently, PUTRID EVOCATION takes their metal very seriously - being a extreme band from extreme Chile, or so I'm told. This is European extremity by the way - so your most likely going to feel like throwing up after you've finished listening to ECHOES OF DEATH in its entirety. Sadly, the whole thing is a been-there-done-that sort of album. Don't get me wrong, I like Death Metal and I enjoy its tropes. Hell, I even like how this album sounds as if it's been recorded in some deep chasm somewhere. However, I've heard this album before so many times - even the vocal style is extremely akin to bands like CEREKLOTH. Actually, this whole album could pass easily as just another CEREKLOTH album - every bit of it. Though, I suppose its in the nature of 'classic' to follow tropes and traits of older, more successful bands.

On the positive side, PUTRID EVOCATION's ECHOES OF DEATH is most definitely real, pure-blood, Death Metal. With that, however, it also falls into the same-old tropes and styles of similar acts. You aren't really getting anything new or unheard of. Still, its worth checking out if your a hardcore fan of the genre.


REVIEW: Edge of Haze - Illumine

For those who don't know, I am a fan of Doom, Gothic (what few 'Gothic' bands remain), and Progressive rock/metal breeds. The vast majority of my personal music collection mostly consists of these genres - just because I review a decent amount of Black Metal doesn't mean I listen to it exclusively or for recreation. Anyhow, that being said, EDGE OF HAZE really fits into a rather comfortable niche for me - and will no doubt do the same for fans of DEVIN TOWNSEND, OPETH, and the like. Actually, I'd go as far as saying that EDGE OF HAZE really gathers the best progressive elements of DT and OPETH to make what I'd consider to be some sort of vastly misunderstood mega love-child.

Now, I don't really see how the Gothic bit fits in. I think its a tired and overused junk statement that this band instantly rises above. For instance, the only true Gothic band I know of is MOONSPELL and though they are one of my own favorite bands, EDGE OF HAZE is a whole other beast. The band has this fantastic idea of taking tired chunky simple-riffs and applying them without much shame - which I actually like, despite that seeming like a negative statement. ILLUMINE almost carries the aesthetics of punk in that way, consisting of endless simplicity though layering it to create something wholly new. I've heard the heart-wrenched and angry harsh lyrics followed by cleans - but here the lyrics remind me of OPETH songs while the music has that Neo-progressive vibe of DEVIN TOWNSEND's 'Z2.' And no, they certainly didn't copy anything. Its just there and wonderfully different but all-the-same familiar. Perhaps the production also helps support that statement as its up there with all the over-polished big bands these days, only I think if I went to see EDGE OF HAZE live it might actually sound exactly the same as what I'm hearing on ILLUMINE.

EDGE OF HAZE is a treat for Prog lovers and they really show it with ILLUMINE. Laying up at night and going through tracks such as 'A Storm At The River' and 'The Newfound Horizon' was something I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did.


REVIEW: VYRJU - Black EP

My e-mail inbox, since the advent of bands such as DEAFHEAVEN (though the band isn’t bad by any means), has been pelted with way too many meloncholy progressive black metal bands. I mean, when your aim is soley to be a carbon copy of a band - I don’t honestly even see the point in pooling all your money and time into some shoddy rip-off, really. Jan F. Lindsø’s VYRJU, just so you know, has no affiliation with with that comment. I bring up the project because, to be frank, even with a few flaws - VYRJU doesn’t try to be something it isn’t; doesn’t try to copy.


Now, I’m honestly not fully sure what genre to place this EP in - I’d thought black metal or something along those lines (Not because the title of the EP is ‘Black’) but as you progress from beginning to end with ‘Black’ the whole thing sort of finds its own voice. The vocals, initially, are crazy intense and I do mean crazy. Jan Lindsø screams like a crazy person who want to do crazy things to you; put crazy ideas in your head - strangely a very good companion to Black’s fiercely emotional song-writing.  In a rare stylistic choice, however, this is contrasted with some very nice singing vocals by guest Tim Yatras (Germ, Austere, ex-Nazxul, ex-Woods of Desolation etc). It places the EP into a melodic light and towards being more of a experience than just a run-of-the-mill collection of songs.


Now, the project has just a few flaws, something I enjoy about music like this - it isn’t over-processed. At times the progression is very typical for the blackened approach to metal. Later tracks glide into a typical trebly, screechy, and minor scale sort of direction - attempting to provide a wall of distortion to carry the intensity of the vocal styles. This is somewhat a shame because the opening track ‘The Constant Void’ really has a good hook/groove/rhythm/melody thing going on.

Though not exactly new in style or progression, maybe even a tad obvious in direction at times,  Jan Lindsø manages to pull you in by the end of his 4 track EP ‘Black’. Here is hoping to hear more from him with VYRJU.