December 2003 Archives

Majesty: Reign in Glory

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Majesty: Reign in GloryCD, Massacre Records 2003

Track list: Heavy Metal Battlecry - Into the Stadiums - Reign in Glory - Will of the Cobra - Defender of the Brave - Lord of the Damned - Heroes - Thunder in Silence - Troopers of Steel - Falcon in the Storm

Since Manowar is not what it used to be, there's a need for new Manowar. Finnish Teräsbetoni hasn't released an album yet, so Majesty from Germany might be the strongest contestant right now. Reign in Glory is a blow of true metal which should please the fans of the real, epic heavy metal. There's enough range from faster tracks to epic ballads, level of the musicianship is certainly good enough. Lyrics are chock full of cliches and the cover picture is really horrible. It's perfect. ****

Fields of the Nephilim: The Nephilim

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Fields of the Nephilim: The NephilimCD, Beggars Banquet 1988

Track list: Endemoniada - The Watchman - Phobia - Moonchild - Chord of Souls - Shiva - Celebrate - Love Under Will - Last Exit for the Lost

Thanks to Secret Santa, I finally got this album. I actually consider it one of the most essential goth albums ever, so it's a real shame I haven't bought it before. The Nephilim presents us the band in it's prime, weaving their subtle elegance with a great style and atmosphere. The album sounds hazy, but that's just part of it's attraction. Carl McCoy shines on the vocals and the songs are just brilliant (the final three, Phobia, Moonchild, The Watchman...). This is a must-buy for goth fans. *****

Apostasy: Cell 666

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Apostasy: Cell 666CD, Black Mark 2004

Track list: Crowned in Thorns - Infernal Majesty - Cell 666 - Icon - 7th Throne - Beneath the Lies of Prophecy - Reign of Chaos - Beauty of Death - Metempsychosis

Fans of Arcturus and like might want to check Cell 666 out. Apostasy spices up their black-ish metal sound with classical influences (that is: piano bits), reaching fairly progressive sound. Unfortunately, Cell 666 falls far from such masterpieces as Sham Mirrors. It's pretty good, but that's just about it. ***

Amaran: Pristine in Bondage

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Amaran: Pristine in BondageCD, Listenable Records 2003

Track list: Atropine - Revolution Without Arms - Coming Home - Inflict - Without Stains - Katharsis - 24 Pills - Wraith - Crow Me - Primal Nature

Swedish Amaran features a female vocalist Johanna DePierre, who is indeed quite talented. I was still left missing more attitude - her clear vocals aren't heavy metal enough. Their music is pop metal, even though it's described as heavy trash. Easy and melodic, with some power metal influence. It's hard to dislike, but it's also hard to be enthusiastic about it either. ***

Grand Magus: Monument

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Grand Magus: MonumentCD, Rise Above Records 2003

Track list: Ulvaskall (Vargr) - Summer Solstice - Brotherhood of Sleep - Baptised in Fire - Chooser of the Slain (Valfader) - Food of the Gods - He Who Seeks Shall Find

If you like thick 70's-ish heavy metal sound, doom metal and stoner, Monument might be just the thing you need. Vocalist JB (also known from Spiritual Beggars) is an excellent stoner vocalist and the trio backs the vocals up with thick layers of base-heavy metal sound. The album ends with the epic "He Who Seeks Shall Find", most of which is very slow (the album has generally slowish and drowsy tempo) doom crawl. Other songs also reach the same quality. Monument is, indeed, monumental. ****

Swallow the Sun: The Morning Never CameCD, Firebox 2003

Track list: Through Her Silvery Body - Deadly Nightshade - Out of This Gloomy Light - Swallow (Horror pt. 1) - Silence of the Womb - Hold This Woe - Under the Waves - The Morning Never Came

As you can see from the song titles, Swallow the Sun isn't a group of merry men. Their sound is heavy and bleak, leaning towards doom metal. If you want to be drowned in sorrow, The Morning Never Came is a pretty good choice. As a debut, it is very convincing - these guys from Jyväskylä, Finland will go far. The album sounds and looks very good. ****

Akercocke: Choronzon

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Akercocke: ChoronzonCD, Earache 2003

Track list: Praise the Name of Satan - Prince of the North - Leviathan - Enraptured by Evil - Choronzon - Valley of the Crucified - Bathykolpian Avatar - Upon Coriaceous Wings - Scapegoat - Son of the Morning - Becoming the Adversary - Goddess Flesh

Akercocke was a bit of a surprise. I had never heard of the band before I read a review of Choronzon and bought the album. Turns out I've missed a lot! Akercocke plays vicious black or death metal, with a satanic theme. The vocal range is wide, from high-pitched screaming to low death metal grumble, with occasional clear vocals. There's energy and aggression. Simply great. ****

Najponk Trio: Autumn in New York

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Najponk Trio: Autumn in New YorkCD, Cube / Metier 2003

Track list: Mr. Beautiful - Back at the Chicken Shack - If I Fell - Dreaming - Dream for Two - Nine Eleven 2001 - Harlem Waltz - Autumn in New York - Girl of My Dreams - In the Groove - I'll Remember 21st May

Najponk Trio is an award-winning Czech jazz trio (piano, bass, drums). Their latest album is a tribute to post-911 New York, which is usually enough to make me sick, but fortunately as this is instrumental jazz, I don't have to listen to corny lyrics. Instead I can focus on their smooth sounds and good groove. This isn't groundbreaking stuff, but should please anybody looking for good and easy jazz. ***

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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