Monday, January 31, 2011

H.O.P.E. - Reason and Divine (2007)

genre : symphonic/avant-garde/industrial black/death
similar bands : Solefald, Transcending Bizarre?(1st album), Kadenzza
origin : France
strong spot :songwriting, orchestrations,originality
weak spot : production is plastic but fortunately doesn't ruin the compositions

H.O.P.E. stands for Human or Pain Existence (!!?). Well..., despite its terrible and naive name, this one-man project is very interesting and reveals a rare talent. You can not categorize H.O.P.E.'s style since it embraces lots of different elements from different styles such as modern prog rock, progressive metal, symphonic black, industrial etc. This is a big risk and most of the times yields in non-solid, strange-sounding, messed up albums. But here all the heterogeneous elements blend almost flawlessly and result in an bizarre, yet catchy masterpiece. I haven't heard such a brilliant eclectic release since the re-release of Transcending Bizarre?s debut album ''The Four Scissors''. 

9,3 out of 10 goatheads 

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genre : pagan/progressive black
similar bands : A Forest of Stars, Enslaved, Kerbenok, Alcest, Agalloch
origin : UK
strong spot : songwriting, atmosphere
weak spot : production is a bit rawer than it should, clean vocals sound weak at parts

Fen present a very emotional album, a real journey in the depths of the British forests. The black metal elements are the primary ones but there is also room for post-rock or shoegaze touches. Τhe production in this genre is usually very raw but Fen exaggerated a bit.Their new album is due for release on the 11th of February 2011, so stay tuned.

8,8 out of 10 goatheads 

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Monday, January 24, 2011


genre : melodic/ progressive black
similar bands : Windir, Dissection, Naglfar, Enslaved, Istapp
origin :Norway
strong spot : songwriting, awesome production
weak spot : nothing too obvious

Iskald once again deliver brilliantly performed modern progressive black metal. Most of these melodic black albums out there suffer from songwriting as the musicians usually have lots of ideas but mess their music up due to the lack of musical knowledge or musical comprehension. Iskald is a different case, they present  tasteful riffs and interesting melodies that prove their skills and their musical.talent. If you liked their previous endeavour, you will definitely like this one too. I need some more time to decide whether the new one is better o not.

9 out of 10 goatheads 

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Friday, January 21, 2011


genre : progressive post-black metal
similar bands : Todtgelichter, The Ocean
origin : USA
strong spot : songwriting
weak spot : nothing too obvious

Ludicra's new album was a very pleasant listen, especially for me , a huge fan of Todtgelichter's ''Angst''. Ludicra play modern black metal that includes lots of new elements such as post-metal, progressive, shoegaze etc. I should highlight that they have a female singer who is screaming and shouting even better than a man.

8,3 out of 10 goatheads 

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011


genre : progressive/depressive post-black metal
similar bands : Enslaved, Agalloch, Klabautamann, Todtgelichter, Mogwai
origin : Finland
strong spot : songwriting
weak spot :  drums performance is  simplistic

I am not very familiar with Svartkraft's old albums but from what I've heard, it is obvious that the band keeps pushing the boundaries in every new album. The black metal duo from Finland shows a wide range of influences in their new endeavour and includes post-rock (i.e. slow passages and grungy guitar sound) and progressive black metal (i.e. rich chords and guitar arrpeggios) influences. The tracks are mostly mid-tempo and the vocals are sometimes clean/melodic and sometimes typical BM screams. There are also some symphonic elements here and there adding an extra spice to the whole depressive atmosphere.

8 out of 10 goatheads 

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011


genre : symponic black metal
similar bands : Carach Angren, Lyfthrasyr, Dimmu Borgir, Little Dead Bertha, Hermh
origin : Austria
strong spot : diversity
weak spot :  cover is cheesy

Interesting symphonic black from Austria containing mainly lyrics in German. 

7,8 out of 10 goatheads 

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genre : black/dark/heavy metal
similar bands : Kind Diamond, Black Sabbath, The Devil's Blood, Watain
origin : Sweden
strong spot : catchy refrains
weak spot :  I'd prefer more diversity in the vocals (if there were some screams they would definitely add in the atmosphere)

Rarely do I recommend albums with clean vocals, especially if the music is close to heavy metal. But Ghost are not the conventional heavy metal band since their lyrics talk about Satanism, witchcraft etc and their image resembles that of a black metal band. The music is also really dark and full of obscure melodies, creepy solos and catchy refrains in the vein of Kind Diamond. This album definitely comprises black metal elements even though the guitar distortion and the band's performance is very close to 70s rock and 80s heavy metal.

8,9 out of 10 goatheads 

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Monday, January 3, 2011


genre : progressive/doom metal
similar bands : Opeth, Katatonia, Alcest, King Crimson
origin : France
strong spot : originality
weak spot :  production is messy,muddy and in general more terrible than the genre requires

Some good ideas here and there, nice arrangements but everything is ruined by the production. Try it if you are into this genre.

7 out of 10 goatheads

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Sunday, January 2, 2011


genre : progressive/art metal
similar bands : Oranssi Pazuzu, The Ocean, Callisto
origin : USA
strong spot : nice use of saxophone
weak spot :  kick drum is almost absent due to the terrible production , songwriting is bad, clean vocals are ok but they lack character and passion

A quite mediocre album that relies on the use of saxophone in order to sound different. The songwriting is ''cheap'', slow parts that include overused chord progressions, some more progressive parts that don't blend with the slow parts of the album, and...we are done! There is no songwriting, no musical composition, just a bunch of chords thrown here and there. I read they are influenced by progressive/art bands such as King Crimson but I saw no resemblance to the innovative compositions of latter. 

6 out of 10 goatheads 

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