Tag Archives: Independent

The Crimson Brigade| Blood Battalion

crimson brigade
There are few things I find more satisfying than receiving a download that isn’t encrypted directly from a band that’s just beginning to get their feet wet in the murky sea of black metal.  Except for maybe when the album is quite listenable.  The Crimson Brigade have the kind of sound that one automatically thinks of when someone mentions black metal.  Their debut, “Blood Battalion” is remiscent of early Dimmu Borgir, before they got all soft and weird like a drunken weiner, with the release of “Death Cult Armageddon”.  Maim me with your words for that statement if you please but you must admit that many of the tracks on “Death Cult Armageddon” sound like they were stolen directly from the soundtrack of a Disney movie.  I’m not talking about Dimmu though.

Luutnakki, Marshel, and BlutKommendant teamed up to form The Crimson Brigade in 2013.  Their debut “Blood Battalion” was released in the UK in November of 2014.  There is a succinct, symphonic, and bombastic air to “Blood Battalion, reminiscent of the extreme metal that was blustering from the UK in the 1990’s.  “Dusk and Her Embrace” era Cradle of Filth instantly comes to mind because of this band’s heavy use of keyboards.  Even though BlutKommandment’s keyboard playing adds an eerie, horror film-like ambiance to Crimson Brigade’s unique sound, it can get a bit excessive at times.  Tracks like “Battle for Crucifix Hill” and “Iron Clad Beasts of Kursk” lack aggression because of the band’s heavy use of the keyboard.

The Crimson Brigade also has a tendency to rely on drum machines and digital effects which creates a mechanized, industrial feel.  Although I never quite grasped black metal’s tendency to digitalize their sound, this sort of experimentation is quite common within the genre.  The Crimson Brigade manages to inject enough groove and aggression into their sound to remain appealing to a more jaded black metal elitist.  In fact, the entire LP, which is quite lengthy, has an underlying, yet obvious groove permeating throughout.  Although the slow dirge driving the sound and feel of the album is hypnotic at times, I would recommend that for future recordings The Crimson Brigade work on refining their sound in the same way they’ve refined their look.  The occasional rock and roll riffs sound awkward at times, whereas tracks like “Dark Angels of Mons” deliver the aggression craved by fans of extreme metal.  Given a few years of practice, this band’s tendency toward experimentalism combined with their stellar attention to quality production could make them the next Meads of Asphodel.

Overall, The Crimson Brigade are a quite listenable band for dabblers in the black metal genre.  Fans of ambiance, and grooving riffs will be pleased with this bands debut.  With their theatrical look and palatable sound, I project we will be hearing more of this band in the future.  For now though, revel in the fiery groove of unsigned hellions, The Crimson Brigade.  Happy listening!  Hails!

Advertisements

Inoculation

3540360542_logo

Hailing from my hometown, Cleveland, I am proud to present Inoculation.  I seldom get this excited about a new band, especially one fitting the description of death metal, but Inoculation is keeping things fresh with their newest release, Elysium.

Over the years, technical death metal has become engrossed in redundancy, with droves of Necrophagist wannabes polluting the scene and almost irritating arpeggiated riffing overpowering the sound, but Inoculation has toned it down a bit without losing their technicality and (more importantly) their melody. Elysium is a bit of a regression back to sounds similar to early Sadist, Katatonia or Revocation, with progressive undertones, brutal vocals and thrash-like riffing. With interesting lyrical themes, including alien abduction and the esoteric, Inoculation holds listeners captivated. The samples featured on the EP are appropriate, never redundant and cool (for lack of a better word).

Elysium is a scholarly ride through Area 51, that immediately sucks listeners into a wormhole of speed and progression. In six quick tracks, Elysium secures a crushing grip, met with an intoxicating melody. Some might complain that this has all been done before and it lacks a certain freshness that keeps things interesting. While the sound found here is all too common, anything done this well is still quite worthy of recognition.

Inoculation is still young and their sound is still hungry and perhaps a bit immature, but give this band a few more years and they will almost certainly hone a sound and audience all their own. The musicianship and production is impressive to say the least, especially for a new and unsigned act. It won’t be long before labels begin to take notice of this band. For now let’s remain ahead of the labels and take a trip to Roswell with Inoculation. Happy Listening! Hails!

Blood Coven

3701_photo

Since I started this blog, I have wanted to do a tribute to Cleveland metal. Being a Cleveland native myself, I am no stranger to the greatness that is Cleveland’s music scene, despite its being the home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The first Cleveland band I will pay homage to is the ruthless, Black/Death metal act Blood Coven.

Formed in 1993 by Dann Saladin, Blood Coven is a force to be reckoned with, terrorizing Cleveland with brutal live performances and intense new releases. Despite forming in ’93 the band only has three full length releases to date, Ashes of Autumn Burning, Battle Cult Empire and 2012’s Of Blood and Battle. The newest full length album seems to be re-mastered versions of earlier tracks compiled onto one merciless and beautifully crafted LP. The band maintains it’s distinctive sound, never watering down their unique blend of Black and Death metal for the mainstream masses. What sets Blood Coven apart form so many other Black/Death acts is their range in vocals (from shrieks to growls) and stunningly melodic, clean soloing.

While so many bands have forgotten the art of soloing, Blood Coven celebrates it, featuring a beautifully rendered solo on every track. The guitars range from melodic unmuted tones to heavy distortion and in true Black/Death adulation, the lyrics are heavily Anti-Christian. Tracks like Ashes of an Autumn Burning, An Angel’s Rage and Bloodwrath, grip the listener into a dark world of unadulterated pain, to no protestation.

The band has suffered a slew of lineup changes over the years and is currently looking for a rhythm guitarist. I am confident, however, that Blood Coven will find a guitarist soon. Until then, I welcome you into the bowels of Hell itself with Blood Coven. Happy Listening! Hails!

http://www.myspace.com/bloodcovenband

Abduction

3540316483_photo

Doom and gloom is everywhere you look anymore. French quartet Abduction are no exception to this rule with their 2010 demo Heights’ Shivers. An intriguing mix of melody emblematic to Sweden’s distinguishable sound and shoegaze, Heights’ Shivers conjures images of dreamscapes and dead forests drenched in rain.

The demo showcases solid musicianship, catchy melodies and hypnotic acoustic interludes. Not intricate enough to be defined as progressive and not depressive enough to be shoegaze, at times the demo fails to capture a definitive feel, specifically the song Banquet for Another Dead World, leaving he listener a bit confused.

Emulating bands like Sweden’s Dammerfarben, China’s Midwinter and even early Opeth, the demo will likely please most shoegazers and headbangers alike, with progressive changes and depressive lapses, followed still by melodic black metal riffing. Time will tell if Abduction is to hone their sound to a more tangible feel. For now Heights’ Shivers is an interesting addition to my collection, but, as usual, I will let you all put this artist to the test. Happy Listening. Hails!

http://www.last.fm/music/Abduction

Herode

3540273639_photo

You know a band kicks ass when you’re headbanging to their demo, sans company, in comfort of your bedroom. This was exactly the state of which I found myself whilst listening to Herode’s most recent demo Antichristus. From the bowels of Judecca, Canadian quartet Herode (side project of also unsigned Difamation), assaults listeners with classic, in your face, melodic death metal.

Thrashy riffs, perfectly timed breaks and demonic dual vocals characterize the band’s 2009 demo, Antichristus, leaving a scar-like impression on unsuspecting listeners. Reminiscent of bands like Dismember and Autopsy, death metal connoisseurs are sure to be pleased with tracks like Beast or State of Decay. The 2009 demo is a war march, beginning to end, never boring the listener with sloppy soloing or predictable breakdowns. Instead Herode provides catchy riffs, interesting interludes and solid production.

With only one full length release entitled Death of Vengeance and latest demo Antichristus, one’s left with the question of why the band has not released more material. We can only hope that freshly pressed, new Herode will soon be underway. For now, though, I invite you into Hell with Herode. Below are links to the bands Myspace page, Lastfm and even a live video. Happy listening. Hails!
http://www.last.fm/music/Herode
http://www.myspace.com/herodemetalband
http://www.myspace.com/zonemetalquebec72/videos/herode-quebec-2009/56365632

Appalachian Winter

appalachian winter

Who says America isn’t “cold”? Hailing from the ice capped mountains of Pennsylvania, I bring you Symphonic one man project Appalachian Winter. With five full length releases since 2008, visionary and brainchild behind Appalachian Winter, D.G. Klyne shows no signs of slowing down. Appalachian Winter’s unique brand of Symphonic Black/Folk Metal is sure to please even the harshest critics because, while the genre drips in cheese, there is an intelligence in the band’s sound, reminiscent of Summoning or (dare I say it) Nordland era Bathory.

In an age when Europe is so often celebrated for it’s legacy in Black Metal, Appalachian Winter seeks to put America on the map with the band’s latest release, Ghosts of the Mountains. Song titles like Rebellion Within the Young nation, Pennsylvanian Fire and The Cemetery Where Slaves Lie Buried celebrate the darkness of the American countryside. From hearty minstrels to battle hymns to sheer symphonic eargasm, Ghosts of the Mountains resonates a fullness and quality unmatched by many.

While the band’s material can be difficult to procure, D.G. Klyne has made some of his music available free for download on Lastfm.com. One can’t help but recognize the integrity of an artist willing to do that. While I’ve yet to hear a track I didn’t like, I will let readers put this artist to the test. This is the first track from new release Ghosts of the Mountains entitled Rebellion Within the Young Nation. Happy listening. Hails!

http://www.last.fm/music/Appalachian+Winter?ac=appalachian winter