Sunday, September 21, 2008

Intro5pect - Intro5pect

Artist: Intro5pect
Album: Intro5pect
Genre: (Electro-)Punk
Year: 2003
Origin: USA

Good old school street punk with killer electro beats. You might expect something like this to be over-produced (one of the big problems with newer punk bands like Against Me), but they stick to the fist-pumping, chant along, too fast style of punk without any compromise. The songs are quite catchy though, and they are host to some passionate lefty, working class lyrics. They are from southern California, but the keyboard player is from Reno - represent!

band site

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pagan's Mind - Celestial Entrance

Artist: Pagan's Mind
Album: Celestial Entrance
Genre: Progressive Metal
Year: 2002
Origin: Norway

Pagan's Mind will sound familiar if you know progressive power metal like Symphony X. It will sound familiar, but it won't just be more of the same. The depth of the song-writing is unparalleled, even among progressive rock/metal bands. I get the feel that this is sort of a concept album (aren't all prog albums?), though I can't really be sure since I don't listen to this for the lyrics; it just progresses between songs on this long, full record. The band has some other solid releases as well, but I think Celestial Entrance is definitely the best. And I'm not sure if this should influence you or not, but on metal-archives it has 6 reviews with an average of 95% (half of them said 100%).

band site

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Flower Travellin' Band - Satori

Artist: Flower Travellin' Band
Album: Satori
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Origin: Japan
Year: 1971

This is a psychedelic rock gem from Japan, the home of some of the weirdest psychedelia I've come across. There is a notable Black Sabbath influence and I think it is heavy enough to please any heavy metal fan (and it's listed on metal-archives), but I would stop short of calling this a heavy metal album. It's just too... hippie. The whole album might as well be a single track, for how all the songs seem to build off each other, and you just might feel that you are on a deranged trip in the time of Hunter S. Thompson.

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Darkspace - Dark Space II

Artist: Darkspace
Album: Dark Space II
Genre: Black Metal / Dark Ambient
Origin: Switzerland
Year: 2005

Darkspace's most recent album, creatively titled Dark Space III (the song titles are equally creative), is much more of a standard black metal release, though rather atmospheric, and it seems to have gained quite a few fans among internet black-metallers. But Dark Space II (this album) is much more interesting, and it is what I think you should listen to! It is very ambient, which is fitting for a band that claims to be going for a sound "like the nothingness of space". Here you will find three very long tracks (dark 2.8, 2.9 and 2.10), with rather slow, hypnotic guitar parts, minimal synths and a fuzzy production that adds to the droning feel. I wouldn't recommend this for someone's first black metal experience, but if you enjoy black metal or dark ambient, this is a record for you! Also, the guy from Paysage d'Hiver is in this band, just so you know.

band site (nothing much there at the mo)

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sleep Terror - Probing Tranquility

Artist: Sleep Terror
Album: Probing Tranquility
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Origin: USA (Seattle)
Year: 2006

I'm not normally a big death metal fan, so for me to listen to it death metal needs to be really good or really weird. This album is both. It's a purely instrumental album from a band that is now a one-man outfit (I guess some of the band's other material has death metal style vocals... but I just can't imagine that fitting in very well). The album is filled with technical guitar wankery that will please fans of Necrophagist (I am also a fan of Necrophagist), but the songs tend to be jazzy or funky as much as they are heavy.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lunar Aurora - Elixir of Sorrow

Artist: Lunar Aurora
Album: Elixir of Sorrow
Genre: Black Metal
Origin: Germany
Year: 2004

Lunar Aurora is the band I've listened to the most in the past year, and I wish I had found out about it sooner. It's a band that makes very dense, atmospheric music that is quite clearly black metal but is also somehow different from anything else I've come across. In fact, the only thing I ever really dislike about Lunar Aurora is the occasional use of battle/screaming samples, which is really unnecessary for a band that crafts such amazing dark atmosphere with every song. The album Andacht is my favorite, but this one is fantastic as well! If you are a fan of Drudkh, I think you will definitely enjoy this.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Ningizzia - Dolorous Novella

Artist: Ningizzia
Album: Dolorous Novella
Genre: Symphonic Black Doom metal
Year: 2003
Origin: France / Sweden

If you think of Novembers Doom, My Dying Bride, Swallow the Sun, etc. as death doom metal, then this would be black doom metal. One of the members of Ningizzia is also the man behind the very similar sounding Forest of Shadows. I find the songs to be catchier in general than most doom metal, which is a product of some quality guitar riffs. This album features violin and flute parts as well as some well-integrated synths. If you are into slow, melancholic music, I predict you will love this album.

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