Sunday, 27 May 2012

#166 Burzum - Umskiptar

I've quite enjoyed Varg's post-prison albums, but on a grander scale, the metal community doesn't have a very definite consensus on the matter. Helpfully, Varg is releasing albums with a quite impressive frequency, an incentive for us to make our minds up. The latest of these is Umskiptar, his third album in as many years.

Whether or not you consider him a complete mental-case, Varg does possess a good mind, and often directs it effectively into his music. Yes, certainly Burzum can be considered to have peak albums and trough albums, but I've never encountered a Burzum album which didn't feel to an extent "thought through". Umskiptar seems to be no exception, and the characteristics of the last two albums are continued, expanded upon and developed to varying degrees. In character, the album feels more mythological in essence than it's predecessors, and seems to be somewhat more overtly Viking, if only by a small degree, perhaps accentuated by the more "medieval" sound which a number of the songs seem to possess. There is also a slightly more "epic" feel in the music, albeit not the same as keyboard-laden albums like "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss". Something more akin to an Enslaved-esque soft-voiced Norse feel is present in many of the songs, and Varg has continued to deploy clean vocals, more so than in "Fallen".

A lot of the album's material manages to juxtapose the uniqueness of the material which Varg manages to write with a conventional feel - it's certainly still black-metal, as recognisable from "back in the day", which is only natural, considering that Varg is a man who very much helped to establish the genre at that time, but at the same time, it manages what Burzum consistently manages; to be simply different. A lot of Burzum's material is noticeably hypnotic and repetitive, often effectively so, but the repetition on this album is quite prominent, perhaps a little above most of Burzum's back catalogue. I'm a bit on the fence about whether it works as well as usual on this record, but while I'm constantly noticing it, it hasn't been annoying. Perhaps it slightly limits the album to a specific mood and style, but it certainly doesn't make it bad; a little uneventful in places due to it's simplicity or minimalism, but not really bad at all. It's the sort of album which will definitely take me a couple of listens more to form a fully-functional opinion of, but the album album already feels a bit  more solid than my initial impressions suggested.

Umskiptar definitely has filler here and there, but  the album also boasts some very enjoyable tracks, and in my mind, that outweights the vague mundanity of the filler, when it crops up. As far as I'm concerned, Varg has made another fairly robust album, and that's enough for me.

I'm giving this 7/10.

Burzum Offiicial Site
Burzum on Metal Archives

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

#165 Jethro Tull - Aqualung

Jethro Tull aren't, if you ask most people, a band who instantly come to mind when heavy metal is mentioned. They are, however, a band who seem to recieve a lot of  respect from the metal community in general, and the many mentions, cover-songs and homages which a great number of metal-bands have produced is definitely a testament to this. Aqualung is one of the band's quintessential, and most recognised works.

To my ears, Jethro Tull have, and always will be a band who are undisputedly something else. Not so much by thinking outside of the box, but by completely negating to recognise the existence of a box. One of the few bands which I can fairly confidently say are genuinely unique, and actually be agreed with, Jethro Tull's sound combines an almost uncountable number of influences; folk, rock, and elements which I can't place, all of which work together to create an intricate, fascinating, but also highly memorable and instantly recognisable brand of progressive rock. Aqualung is probably one of the band's albums which I have listened to most thoroughly, and certainly seems to effectively showcase what the band do; Ethereal and pleasingly bizarre flute playing smoothly carries along the more conventional, but nonetheless still profoundly imaginitive elements of the music, with the guitar, drums, and other instruments managing both to sound progressive in the truest possible sense, but also to exude a rock and roll atmosphere in the way that they should, all the while catchy, and often also powerful, beautiful, and often a lot heavier than a lot of what was going on at the time.

Thematically, Aqualung is also an album of consistency but also juxtaposition, darkness with light. The cheery atmosphere often generated by the songs is countered by the sometimes dark, often bizarre, but always meaningful lyrics. That isn't to say that the album is, musically, unrelentingly cheerful - the title track, especially it's intro, posesses a twisted feel which doesn't rely on anything over the top or complicated to be as such. That's one of the things which makes Jethro Tull special; Not only are they very progressive, but manage it in a very honest sense - There isn't anything crude about it's wierdness, or indeed anything too far the other way - The album doesn't dip it's feet too deeply into pretension, or, for want of a better word, wankery. They are progressive not in being in a progressive genre, but by truly taking a sound and progressing it. Aqualung is a solid album with songwriting which genuinely rewards the listener, which is it's crowning achievement, on top of being so thoroughly

It's been interesting to depart from reviewing something which isn't overtly metal, and I hope that this adds a little bit of the unexpected to the range of things which I review. Jethro Tull are a fascinating trip into the progressive rock world, from a time when progressive really meant something, and I hope you enjoy it.

9/10. It's a bona fida classic.

Jethro Tull Official Site

Friday, 18 May 2012

#164 Mastodon - Crack the Skye

Mastodon are probably one of the biggest metal-bands to arise to popularity in recent years, and Crack the Skye, aside from being the Mastodon album I like best, is possibly their most iconic and memorable work, and certainly fired them like a nailgun nail into the metal mainstream. The album is a concept album, the story of which was explained to me in near-autistic detail by a friend once, but the finer points of which I can't remember. I still vaguely enjoy it though.

As track ordering goes, Crack the Skye really doesn't mess around. The catchy single opens the album up in unmistakable "Oh, this is really good" fasion, followed by about two songs worth of "...I think", before picking up in quality again with "The Czar". I wouldn't consider Divinations and especially Quintessence to be overtly bad songs, but they don't stick out very much to my ear. Perhaps not filler, but definitely a supermarket own-value filling between the finest-quality bread of "Obliveon" and "The Czar". By the time I'm a few minutes into listening to The Czar, however, this brief sandwich-analogy can be forgotten and cast-aside, because the song sums up what I like most about what Mastodon did on Crack the Skye - make songs which are unapologetically psychedelic, catchy, and a bit innovative. The Czar, and the album as a whole, manages to combine a very odd combination of moods and styles and make it work - manically yo-yoing between melancholy and a very cheery, bouncy vibe which the riffs seem to produce in a manner which is second to none, with tight, memorable melodies and solos which are very honest in their evocative-air, as opposed to being pretentious, as a lot of the progressive music I run into has an annoying tendency to be.

A lot of people seem to complain that most of Mastodon's drumming is sporadic and saturated with fills, but in all honesty, it has yet to annoy me, although it'd definitely the kind of thing which, when noticed, cannot easily be ignored, and I can certainly hear it now it's mentioned to me. I enjoy the drum sound though, and it's quite similar to the style in which I'd be tempted to drum, if I was any good at it. They're well produced too, as are all of the instruments. It sounds professional, neat, a little bit plain, perhaps, but it does the job. The songwriting is engaging and typically enjoyable, and doesn't seem to mess around for the sake of it, instead, and more importantly, all of the technical stuff seems to be done for the sake of the songs. As I said earlier, the songs themselves don't seem to be pretentious in the slightest. The only thing which does seem to hover very precariously on the thin line betwen being incredibly deep and incredibly pretentious, is what I can remember of the storyline. That's probably my main, and perhaps only greivance with what is, otherwise, a solid record. It just doesn't feel like a concept album particularly; There aren't any easily detectible recurring motifs through it, and to be honest, I've never really felt like listening to it as a concept album, which is something a concept album should make you do.

Crack the Skye is definitely an album with peaks and troughs. The first, last, and central tracks are magnificent, and often come close to making me really, really get into Mastodon, and the others, well, they're not filler, but neither are they quite as good. All in all though, I definitely enjoy the album.

I'm giving this a 7/10.

The Official Crack the Skye website
Mastodon Official Site
Mastodon on Myspace
Mastodon on Facebook
Mastodon on Metal Archives

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

#163 Fisthammer - Devour All You See

There are plenty of bands which end or begin with the word "Fist", and there are plenty which end or begin in the word "Hammer". Fisthammer, on the other hand, weren't happy to have merely one of these, and thus, have both. "Devour All You See" is the bands first album, and in addition to being excellent advice for all buffet situations, is also has a catchy ring to it, as does the music it contains.

The band's music encompasses a wide range of things, with hints of death-metal, melodic death-metal, thrash and some groove moments, all united under the banner of sounding quintessentially modern. Unapologetically neat and crisp in terms of production, the album definitely doesn't aim at any retro or oldschool qualities, but still, importantly, manages to dodge the clicky bullet of overproduction and plastic-sound - the kick drums may most lilkely be triggered, but they don't sound too bad, between being more than competently played, and quite tastefully produced. The exact stylistic direction of the album as a whole is a but intangible - I can't tell exactly what the band are playing, or what they're aiming at, and with many bands this would be a weighty problem. With Fisthammer, it seems, this isn't such a great hurdle as anticipated, with the journey through the album being an engaging one, even if I can't see where the journey is leading to. Paradoxically, the material on the album does seem to fit together as one definite unit of work, but still possesses the ambiguity; Is it straight up death metal? melodeath? There are certainly some fairly mainstream groove and perhaps even core influences hovering around the sidelines as well, which make the album more diverse, and also more unpredictable.

One thing is very certain about the album though - it's very energetic throughout, and I can well imagine it sounding excellent live. The drums give the music a really strong, solid backbone, and the riffs are about as energetic and crunchy as they come - in the vein of  bands like Vader. The album also seems quite melodic and lead-heavy, however, and there are plenty of solos and catchy hooks, with a good variety of techniques utilised, with sweeping, tapping, and all kinds of other stuff that I don't know how to do, to the point that the lead guitar, I'll venture to say, is probably the defining feature of the album, and definitely the most notable embellishment on many of the songs. That's not to say the other facets of the band are lacking - the rhythm guitar and bass sounds fine, and the drums are top notch, fairly tight and certainly technically able, but it's certainly the lead guitar which I first noticed.

If modern metal is your thing, then I'll certainly reccommend this band, and this album, to you. Whilst not the kind of metal which I actively seek out, one of the things I love about reviewing is that I am given bands which I'm not actively looking for - and in the case of Fisthammer, for instance, they turn out to be good.

A solid 7/10.

Fisthammer on Myspace
Fisthammer on Facebook
Fisthammer on Metal Archives

Monday, 14 May 2012

#162 Electric Wizard - Dopethrone

I've know of Electric Wizard for a long, long time, but I discovered them last night, when I listened to Supercoven. Dopethrone seemed the album to take a look at to get started with the band, and I feel like I'm about to take a sonic journey which me, and my speakers, may never be the same again in light of. Time slowed down, the walls closed in cosily, and then my mind left my body and had an adventure...

The bearded, horned, distinctly wizardly character, smoking a bong, portrayed on the albums cover art really sums up the band's sound far better than I possibly could; Dark, hypnotic, crushing, and very, very stoned. The throbbing lower end which accompanies the whole album is immensely mind-altering, and immediately takes you to a place which is unlike the sane, rational and euclidean one you were just in - a psychedelic, slow-motion world, tumbling over and over through the soundscape. I'll add, at this point, that I could review the album in a less kaleidoscopic manner, but the sheer weight of bass pressing down on my brain is very much encouraging me to go down an abstract path. The riffs which pulse through the album are catchier than I initially expected, and many of them are extremely memorable, with a real prospect of addictiveness beyond the albums initial perception-bending qualities, which really stands in it's favour. The feel of the whole album is very genuine and earthy in that respect - it's an album which you want to chuck in the CD player and experience. I've never heard, and I exaggerate not, anything quite as enveloping as this - the feeling of transcendence which accompanies every reverberating note is like an inescapable whirlpool in the ether.

The album as a whole feels like a cocoon, and certainly transported me away from my normal state of mind - Electric Wizard don't seem to be capable of being background music, and my attention was held by the whole album - I almost physically couldn't become distracted from it, and even writing the review was difficult, so thoroughly caught in the music's gravity I was. The delirium which accompanies the whole album is utterly ensnaring, with the ethereal vocals coming at you through a sea of incredible tone, which enshrouds everything like a thick fog. The atmosphere seems ambivalent in places, and certainly varies throughout the album, with some songs feeling warm, whilst others feel cold, almost sinister in places, but even then, still very slow in terms of feeling, as well as just tempo.

When the album finished, the entire world felt too quiet. Coming back out of an album like this is as interesting an experience as going into one, and I may have predicted right when I described the album as a musical journey. I'll end this with the only phrase which I can think of; Fucking hell.

This is a 9/10, easily. It's an amazing album, and I'm definitely going to listen to more.

Electric Wizard on Myspace
Electric Wizard on Facebook
Electric Wizard on Metal Archives

Friday, 11 May 2012

#161 Artillery - By Inheritance

I've been meaning to do an Artillery review for quite a while, quite easily six-months, in fact. Artillery are what I'd consider a "miscellaneous" thrash-band, and I can't quite fit them into any schema - nonetheless, they're a good-listen, and "By Inheritance" is widely considered one of their classic albums. A good place to begin, I think.

By Inheritance is made up of a mixture of melodic thrash metal, which seems to border on speed metal in many points. Falsetto vocals and memorable melodies really dominate the songs, but at the same time manage not to detract from the aggression - It's still very much a thrash album at heart, and possesses the rough-edges which are vital for it, unlike many of the "only-just..." thrash bands I've listened to. This presents a very interesting mixture of melody and energy which is unlike anything else I've heard. There plenty of bands which spring to mind a bit when listening, but it's exactly that - a bit. Nothing I've heard is massively similar, and the uniqueness is probably a big explaining factor in the reason that I can't quite place Artillery's sound into any broader category. The riffs are very solid, crisp and tightly played, and laced thoroughly with melodies which are epic, catchy and syrupy smooth, with a hint of speed metal, or perhaps even power metal thrown in. I found it pleasing that the music, while sounding in many ways quintessentially thrashy, also feels like it's coming from the style at an entirely different angle to most of the bands in it.

After a while of listening to the album, it suddenly becomes noticeable that the songs are not just tight, but extremely technical as well. This technical prowess, however, comes with a modesty - it's all done for the sake of making the songs sound good, and that makes it all the more enjoyable, sounding neither over-the-top or over-complex, and all the better for it. The songs do have a lot going on in them, but they still flow very nicely. The solos are blistering, and really stand out as accomplished and impressive, as does the vast majority of the guitar-work throughout the album; There isn't, I'd venture, a single song which isn't in some way as impressive as it is enjoyable. I tend to neglect vocals in my reviews, but I can certainly praise them on this album, being both acidic and vicious sounding in the fast-paced sections, but also astoundingly beautiful and soft in the quieter sections, which the band is prone to having, which are pockets of calmer beauty amongst the frenzied and oftentimes epic uptempo material.

Listening to some Artillery proved very much to be a refreshing decision on my part - I feel I've certainly finally listened to something which now, I suspect I will listen to again in future. Thrash was my first love when it came to metal, and I'm glad to have discovered a part of it which I missed out upon.

I'm giving this 8/10.

Artillery Official Site
Artillery on Myspace
Artillery on Facebook
Artillery on Metal Archives

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

#160 Jute Gyte - Isolation

"I really ought to review that new Jute Gyte album" I thought to myself about a week ago, followed by "oh, he's made another one!". It's a testament to the man behind the project, Adam Kalmbach's, work ethic and impressive creative output, releasing many albums per year, some of them black-metal, some of them not. Isolation is the first black-metal album by Jute Gyte so far in 2012, and carries on where his previous four black-metal albums left off, much to the enthusiasm of the project's growing underground following.

My knowledge of musical theory may be sketchy at best, but Kalmbach's evidently isn't - The man knows what he's doing, and the album is, as accustomed, packed with a lot of musical wizardry which very much causes it to stand out from just about everything else. The Bandcamp page proclaims that the music is full of things which I've never even heard of, let alone am capable of recognising, but even a musical-cretin like myself can tell that the album, and Jute Gyte's black-metal in general, for that matter, is unique and fascinating. The signature desolate atmosphere which Jute Gyte mastered is ever present, and the guitar-sound is as caustic and hypnotic, but also seemingly more intricate and concentrated than the earlier records. This has the effect of making "Isolation" as thought-provoking, mind-melting and generally many-layered as the past albums, and then some. One of the things I always notice, and enjoy, about Jute Gyte albums is just how much there is going on - the songs are not only diverse, but work on several levels at once, some signatures of the projects style, other's novel and new. Isolation keeps all of the key features of Jute Gyte's sound, but also shows a steady development in sound and style which is pleasing to watch unfold, and it's very engaging that all of the albums sound a little bit different.

In what seems to be a custom, intentional or not, track four of the album, the title-track in this case, is ambient; relaxing but still enthralling, deep and rewarding to listen to. It offers a serene island in the harsh and wind-blown landscape of the rest of the album, and demonstrates Kalmbach's ability to work equally well with electronic elements. The drum-programming is also excellently done, and the drums keep the rhythm and decorate the music nicely. They sound a little inorganic and cold, but this is certainly something which they make up for with their other attributes, and most of the time they work together with the rest of the music, not against it. In terms of production, Jute Gyte's sound hit the nail on the head quite early on, and this album simply carries on that style - all of the layers are audible, with the full insanity and brilliance of the music laid-bare, designed to be heard. The harsh, slight background fuzz adds to the character and the dry, haunted atmosphere, and on the whole, the sphere of production and indeed tone are top-notch.

Like the albums before it, Isolation is a really unique album. As far as I know, literally no other black-metal band even comes close to sounding like them, and this certainly makes the music, impressive in it's own right, feel all the more special and visionary. Thinking-man's black metal, and very solid, at that.  Give it a listen, and pick up on the enjoyable and intangible qualities I neglected to adequately describe.

This is definitely a 9/10.

Jute Gyte on Bandcamp (The whole album is available for free here)
Jute Gyte on Myspace
Jute Gyte on Metal Archives

Sunday, 6 May 2012

#159 Thrashist Regime - Fearful Symmetry

Reviewing bands I've seen live is something which I have developed a bit of a tendency to do. Thrashist Regime are no exception, and I was sufficiently impressed by their energetic and charismatic live show to buy a copy of their debut album, Fearful Symmetry. I've listened to it a number of times now, and feel that a review is the obvious thing to do now.

Thrashist Regime, who have quite possibly got the most memorable name in the whole of the modern thrash scene,  play a very catchy brand of thrash metal, with songs which, like their name, are a good deal more memorable than the thrash-revival average. The hair-raising machinegun tempo is impressive, with very competent and memorable vocals and lyrics slotted neatly into the rhythm, which go a long way to giving the songs a ton of oomph and fist-pumping energy. The band has a sound reminiscent of oldschool Bay-Area and New York thrash but with slightly more melodic leanings, the occasional catchy chorus or atmospheric section thrown in quite effectively. The playing overall, for that matter, is tight and the production carries it along quite well - perhaps a little clean and polished for that "retro" feel which some bands go for, but definitely letting the music reach it's potential and showcasing everything in the mix. The musicianship is technically-able, regardless of tempo, with songs like "Hotel Blast Terror", introduced live as "about a pub which blew-up" showcasing the bands ability to play blisteringly intense and fast material, whilst still managing to throw in some, frankly slightly brain-melting solos. 

The album covers an enjoyably disparate range of lyrical themes, with songs about films, gas explosions, and a closing trilogy of songs vaguely about Spiderman , among other things. How many bands do you know who've done that? Much like the lyrics, the music holds an equal diversity, with plenty of the aforementioned blistering speed, but also plenty of atmosphere, with the traditional "ballady bits" which thrash has always been partial to, and also a generous helping of angry mid-tempo swaggering, which works really well in a lot of the songs in which it is placed, adding a boost of attitude and energy and demonstrating that the bits which make you bang your head aren't neccessarily the same as the bits which are fastest. There doesn't really seem to be a great deal of filler material throughout the album either, and while debuts seem usually to be the albums with the least filler, this album seems to carry this characteristic more than some - the songs really don't mess around, and I really got the impression that time and effort has been put into making them, which is something which can really add to the listening experience.

I couldn't find a video of any of the band's studio material, but never mind - They've got a few songs up on their Facebook page, which I've linked to below, as always. Anyways, to conclude, one of my tenets when it comes to reviewing music is that theres nothing wrong with playing a tried and tested formula, so long at you play it well. Thrashist Regime play a tried and tested formula. They play it well.

I'm giving this an 8/10.

Thrashist Regime on Facebook
Thrashist Regime on Metal Archives

Friday, 4 May 2012

#158 Owl - Stone Loner

The rather awesomely named Owl are another band from the San Francisco Bay-Area, and share a drummer with Hazzard's Cure, who I reviewed in the past. It's not usual for me to review something with such a short running time, but I'm quite impressed by how it sounds, and feel I can probably write a few things about it if I put my mind to it. I wasn't sure what to refer to this EP as, as I've seen it in some places as "The Owl EP" and in others as "Stone Loner". I've gone with the latter, as that's what the cover art proclaims it as.

What owl do is combine influences from late 70's and early 80's heavy metal bands, with plenty of Sabbath and Iron Maiden styled material, and to this very retro sound and add to the mix a thicker, slightly stoner-metal feel which works wonders for the musics distinctiveness . The band manage to sound very organic, with a sound which could quite credibly be a long-lost recording from back in the day, with production values and a musical style which really captures the spirit of those times. A lot of the music is, of course, very much modelled on the style of early heavy-metal, there are enough divergences to keep the EP interesting, for instance at the beginning of the closing minute of the title track, there are occasional slow, somewhat atmospheric sections which take a different path from the traditional riffing, and promote the band into the ranks of originality - there's definitely more to the band than being a "worship" act, which is pleasing, but at the same time, the strong, traditional influences make the two songs a fun listen. The opening riff from "Feaster From the Stars" for example is a fantastically catchy section, which is well written and has a really enjoyable tone. I expect it to be stuck in my head for quite some time.

 The vocals have a lot of energy and presence, without being over the top - Vocals aren't my strong point knowledge wise, but they definitely have a bit of a Paul Di'Anno sound to them, but with a more stoner-metal, perhaps even stoner-rock sound to them. The production is pleasantly natural sounding, especially the drum sound, which really keeps it's percussive quality in the mix, but doesn't sound overproduced. The recording sounds really multi-dimensional too, with everything sounding discreet from everything else - there's no overlap of indistinguishable noise in the mix, which is something which I'd dare to say a great deal of bands end up having underneath whatever part of the music the listener is noticing at the time. It's very clear what every instrument is, and what it's doing, and above all, it sounds like the product of a band. It's cohesive and solid.

While Owl may not be the most unique, original sounding band I've ever heard, they certainly know how to make a fun EP - it feels very complete, and is all the more enjoyable for that fact. I've never had anything against bands which use tried-and-tested sounds, as long as they do it well. My ears tell me that Owl definitely do it well. 

I'm giving this an 8/10.

Owl Official Site
Owl on Bandcamp
Owl on Myspace
Owl on Facebook
Owl on Metal Archives

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

#157 Wodensthrone - Curse

Curse, by English black-metal outfit Wodensthrone, is probably my most anticipated album of the year so far. Loss, the band's full length début is easily cemented among my top ten black-metal albums of all time, so naturally, I'm eager to find out if this album carries on the brilliance which the band have already established. Going by what people who have already had a chance to hear it have said, I'm in for a treat.

Things have changed a little since Wodensthrone last made an album. For starters, three years worth of development have come and gone in which the musicians in the band have toured, worked, and generally existed, and the consequence seems to be a more mature sounding album. The things which make Wodensthrone great are entirely still present, with vast, epic soundscapes of beautiful synth and intense black-metal atmosphere, but a little more refined, and flowing - Loss was beautiful, but Curse takes the same beauty and paints it in a slightly more even coat. The album seems to venture into slightly darker places than Loss, with songs like "The Great Darkness" being dark in more than just name - carrying a more grim atmosphere than anything from the previous album. It may sound superficial, but the artwork of the album really fits the tone - while Loss had a golden vision of a forest, in Curse, the sky is dark and brooding, and the music often reflects this, the songs sounding more warlike and often more angry. A lot of the music is still fantastically beautiful however, which is something that I hope the band never feel they should change. The diversity of atmosphere, however, really takes this album step beyond, and it feels more addictive and enrapturing than Loss felt when I listened to it at first.

The album has a lot more diversity vocally, too - Brunwulf, the vocalist who performed on Loss left the band in 2011, and as a result, the other members have split vocal duties between them. This adds a lot variety to the vocal dimension of the album - there are a few different styles of harsh vocal, and the occasional burst of harmonious clean voice. It's not really the vocals which make Wodensthrone for me personally, but I'll venture to say that they sound just as good, if not slightly better, in this album. The song-writing on Curse seems solid, sure-footed and confident.  I wondered how they'd manage to follow up the music of Loss, and it seems they've definitely managed to make something which rivals it in strength. I'll have to wait until Curse settles into my routine listening before I can decide which I prefer, but both albums are magnificent in their own right. One of the things I love from Loss, the magnificent and hauntingly beautiful tremolos, seem to have been expanded on in Curse, and there are several shimmering moments which immediately sent shivers down my spine -  the melodies which they summon are quite easily among my favourite by any band.

I can safely say that this album has most likely pushed Wodensthrone even further up my list of favourite bands. The sound is developed, matured, but also as beautiful as it has always been. I'm thoroughly impressed, and I'm glad that the band have managed to keep up with the quality of their début. If a three year gap between albums means that the albums are a good as this, then I'm happy to wait. It was well worth it.

I'm going to give this a 10/10.

Wodensthrone on Myspace
Wodensthrone on Facebook
Wodensthrone on Metal Archives