CD Review

Album


AGONY LORDS (Mexico)
The Sun Of The Cursed
Ozz Production, 1997

An old release but I still want to mention about it here. Of course, they must be great or I wouldn't bother making this review. 11 tracks of melodic death metal. It is not comparable with In Flames or any gothenburg death metal. The vocals are typical death growling and the music is a bit slow than In Flames. The music is a bit calm and not to agressive but the good melodic riffs makes the music interesting. This make a bit of their own identity. It is not a waste of money getting this 11 tracks (excluding a hidden which is not mentioned in the booklet, a re-make of the first song), spinning for more than 50 minutes CD. Perhaps Diliana Iankova (Brutallica Mag) should listen to this CD before making the review on Mexican scene. This is one of Mexican worth-mentioning band. 
c/o Jesus Bravo, Apdo P.3-49/CP. 36517, Traphato, Gto. Mexico.
http://www.ira.itesm.mx/al760045/agonylords.htm al760045@acAdemi01.ira.itesm.mx

4/5

AS SAHAR (Singapore) 
Baku Karama
Nebiula Productions, 1999

Local most talked about album ! Everyone seems to condemn this release maybe considering the fact that they are the most cult black metal band in the local scene. Pioneer of malay mysticism in black metal which lead to many local band follow their demonic path. "Baku Karama" definitely out of this topic ! 10 hard rock songs with clear vocals making most of their loyal fans puke on first spin. I am open-minded when reviewing this release, leaving the past music historical fact behind. I will only talk about their new music-style. Frankly I was optimistic to listen to this album since the 'preview' in Storm Of Nebiula Compilation 2 (1998). The song "Senandung Suralaya" is actually a good song, even with drum machine and One normal vocal (the screaming on the last moment of the track is awesome). The sound of the song is quite dirty for that kind of music and the same problem also happen here. The drumming is played by Fauzi from HAIL as guest drummer. There are few melodies and solos which I like to hear repeatedly and even on some tracks it driven me to 'sing a long the song'. Red-One (or One Barchiel) vocals sucks a bit and the guitar doesn't sound good enough. "Baku Karama" is definitely not 'Bakul Sampah' Karama as some might say because I can swallow the music. Those who are still caught to their proud black metal day may said otherwise. Just don't kill me for this positive review, okay. Infact there is a good news for you black metaller. Red-One is out and Hanael will bring back the glory of the old days. So cheer up...
3.5/5

ASHES YOU LEAVE (Croatia)
Desperate Existence
Morbid Records, 1999

Correct me if I'm wrong, AYL is the only doom/gothic band in Morbid Records, right ? The must be something special in them. If not Morbid might not invest on them. After few listening to this 8 songs/56 minutes CD, there are few characteristic which I think belong only to AYL. The blend of flute, violin, the beautiful angelic female vocals and growling male vocals with doom music makes "Desperate..." a relaxing and melodic CD. Most of the songs are slow but there are some parts which are fast and helps "Desperate..." for not become a boring CD. I might fall asleep if not these fast part intervene in the song (circulating around 5 to 9 minutes). AYL is not the all time music for me but on certain occasion I would like to hear something soft but at the same time it also heavy. At that time I will search for AYL kind of music. 
4/5

album-bazzah-death_is_all_i_see.jpg (12804 bytes)BAZZAH (Malaysia)
Death Is All I See...
Nebiula Production, 1999
Second full-lenght from Malaysian most obscure black metal band. If   I can recall correctly, I've never seen their picture in any zines or in the cover of their releases either, except one in a Brunei metal zine. That was a long time ago in 1995. Never paying much attention to image, they delivered somekind of black metal which is raw, fast, merciless black metal attack is what you will hear in all 8 tracks here in this CD. Without any usage of keyboard and female vocals but still this release stand high compare with other black metal releases nowadays. Right now bands care more on their appearances and create too much sweet melodies then making true music for darkness worshipper. This album featured a guest vocalist beside the permanent vocalist and actually 8 men playing for this whole album. The production is good for this kind of music. Worth to spend your money with.
5/5

album-bifrost-mythistory.jpg (17215 bytes)BIFROST (Holland) 
Mythistory
Hammerheart Records, 1998
If I'm not mistaken BIFROST have released some album before under Germany's NAXGUL EYRIE PRODUCTIONS some years ago. I try to get some info from the band's website but the url stated in the booklet of this CD leads me HTTP 404 Not Found error message in Internet Explorer 5.0. Since this is the fisrt time I heard of BIFROST so I can't make comparison. Heavy metal with some thrash/death is what they offered in Mythistory and I urged everyone to purchase this CD at once ! Great songs with some keyboard, great and memorable riffs and varied vocals from growl, normal and shout plus other stuffs being mixed prefectly to create a great album ! This is the Dutch band after OFFICIUM TRISTE and ORDO DRACONIS that really attract me.
The Heathen Newsbringer, Smaragdstraat 15, 6412 SV, Heerlen, Holland.
4/5

DARK TRANQUILITY (Sweden)
Haven
Century Media, 2000

"The Projector" sparked some negative comments as some say they have become mellower but I still ranked that release as one of DT best release. In "Haven", the is not in the same style as the previous album. Except for the song "Emptier Still", there are no longer normal male vocal and the music is a bit fast. Everything is aggressive here but still possess the element that makes Swedish scene so well-known, the melodic riffs. Beside "Emptier Still", the other 10 songs are almost perfect if the keys are less used. To compare the last 2 DT's release will be hard since both are almost different with each other and both are great in some aspects. One thing for sure, melodic death metal fans will not be dissappointed with "Haven".
4/5

album-doomsday.jpg (16368 bytes)DOOMSDAY S.O.S. (France) 
Conditioned !!!
Self-Released, 1997

I've encountered with lots of self-financed CD (demo or album) from France. Whether those French don't like to be under a label (or didn't get a deal) or simply they are rich to do everything themselves. Budget for recording, CD production and distribution, everything is made by themself. Conditioned !!! is one of those CDs and I admired a lot their hardwork for this release and giving me a copy of it. 9 tracks of 'street thrash' or hardcore/thrash metal music with an angry vocalist shouting the lyrics. An intense and full with anger release but not very much fit with my taste.
Lionel Hozette, 184 Rue Du Plessis Bouchard, 95130 Franconville, France.
2/5

DYING BREED (USA)
Fleshflower
RPM Entertainment, 2000

The band have been 'awarded' by Metal Maniac mag as the best unsigned band in 1997. Well, that's a big compliment and somehow this release is highly anticipated in the US metal scene. 40 minutes album, 7 tracks and plus one more hidden track which is not listed in the booklet. Dying Breed is a cross breed of brutal death/grind with hardcore. Like those 'new age' metal. The music also include samples (synth of spoken words taken from movies). Very deep (great) guttural death vocals. The music does not suit with my ears. However, putting those samples is the music is quite original. The coolest track here might be the hidden track. The music is more like techno but they sing in death growling vocal. I hate techno/rap but this one is quite interesting. I like their motto though, 'Porn + Music = Art'. I hope to see some porn included in the CD like Lividity do in their releases. 
http://www.dyingbreed.com
2/5

EIBON (Singapore)
The Garden Of Theophrastus
Dark Artz Releases, 1997

Originally this album was released in cassette in 1995. Under different label (or maybe the same label with a new name ?) it is now available in CD and also includes their demo "Spirits Of Barbuelis" (formerly the band is known as Debauchery). Releasing this 2 stuffs in CD is a very wise thing to do. This album was a monumental release for me back then. And my opinion about this release now is still the same. They are the only band till now in the local scene playing this kind of melodic black/death metal with a very dark, satanic aura. The music is fast with some breaks in between and the 'horrifying' moment can be heard on this break when music is slow and then comes the brilliant keys and magnificent female vocals. In "Spirits.." demo, they are a bit different. They are not fast as now and using less key and female voice. The sound of that demo is really bad. As a whole, this is a recommend release. That's why I din't bother reviewing this old stuff. However I suggest them to re-release it again and this time with a bit more professional in making the booklet. I think it is too simple and does not match with the high quality music that they deliver.
4.5/5

album-einherjer-odin_owns_ye_all.jpg (12680 bytes)EINHERJER (Norway) 
Odin Owns Ye All
Century Media, 1998
This is the first time listening to this Norwegian viking metal. 10 tracks presented here which quite 'soft' but really entertaining. The music is like mid pace heavy metal, with clear male vocals and some scandinavian folk music. The lyrics is just talking about Odin and stuffs related with scandinavian/norwegian myth. Talking about the subject they're singing is not my area of expertise and sorry if I misinterpret something. There are actually somekind of stories in the lyrics and great to read them to. Even on some part of the song I can't help myself singing along the song. The lead and backing vocal is just perfect. Some songs sounds like somekind of folk music but it was made a bit heavier with the sound of the guitar. Folk music is not really bad sometimes but I couldn't stand some of this kind of folk music like OTYG for example. EINHERJER kind of folk music should be used for children cartoon show, well, for the cartoon about ancient/folk stories. It's a bit heavy but not really harming I guess. Haha ! The booklet are all in chocolate color with some drawings in it. For those who are open-minded in metal music, this will be a pleasant album indeed.
4/5

ENTIRETY (Italy)
The Moth Of Hate
Harrowing Souls Production, 1999

I've forgotten from whom I get this CD. I must thank him for introducing me a great music from an unknown band. (I assume from the bar code) Entirety is the label's first CD release and indeed they started with remarkable debut. 8 tracks, 30 minutes of melodic black/death metal. Keyboard does not make the melody, it is all made up by great guitar work and fast drumming. If you are comparing them with Dimmu Borgir then you are wrong. The music is more like swedish melodic death metal but with some black metal-like fastness and black metal vocals. I only have to complain about the simple 4 pages booklet but not the music.
c/o Macchi Davide, Via Girola 1, 21050 Gorla Maggiore (VA), Italy.

4/5

album-faerghail.jpg (8156 bytes)FAERGHAIL (Finland) 
Horizon's Fall 
1997

A new finnish band I guess since I haven't heard about this band before. Dark heavy metal is being labelled by the distro where I bought this CD but I personally think Horizon's Fall is more than just dark heavy metal. You can hear black and doom elements can be heard more in this CD either music, vocals and the lyrics. There 12 tracks clocking for 60 minutes of music that feed my ears perfectly ! I like this CD very much. Fast black metal with some doomy part with keyboard and female vocals. I couldn't find the label releasing this CD. If this a self-released CD ? If yes I must give an extra credits for the good package and professionalism in this album. I being told their previous EP is also included here, probably the last 4 (extra) tracks. One of these extra tracks, Dark Ocean Calms reminds me of a track from MANTAK (East Malaysia metal band) not-worth-mentioning debut demo. The music, the vocal pattern is very much the same but FAERGHAIL did it much better. So who copy who here ? FAERGHAIL seems does not care about image. Look at their guitarist. While the rest look like a metaller, Kai Lehtinen looks like he is going to the goverment office (next time wear necktie, hehehe). Good stuff !
c/o T. Kangassalo, Eerontie 3, 32700 Huittinen, Finland.
faerghail@hotmail.com
4/5

IGNORABIMUS (Estonia)
Dab Da Zorp
Guano Records, 2000

I got this CD by trading although at first I didn't asked for it. Well, I believe good musician exist everywhere and IGNORABIMUS have proven this. To find these musicians depends on how hard you search for them (if you're dedicated and really interested in listening to bands from these 'obscure' land) or simply by luck. In this case, I am lucky to have this CD by trading. 9 tracks, 48 minutes of melodic mid-paced death metal. Almost all aspect of this release belong in the 'high class' category. The music itself moves you from start till the end. The melodies will stick in your mind long after the CD stopped being playing. I could'nt help myself to play the CD all over again. The artwork and the booklet design was also another hightlight of this release. The color combination and the manipulation of the drawing of the cover artwork gives a 'cold' feeling. Overall the lyrics talk about sadness, etc. I really don't want to discuss the lyrics of the music I heard. I rarely pay much attention to lyrics but reading one of the lyric here is one of my funniest moment. The song " Bazaar " is actually talk about an ugly man selling his water-mellon in his van. Maybe it has some hidden message behind the story. It may not sound funny here but if you read it, you may have the same feeling as me. There are only few stuffs reviewed in this issue were released in the year 2000 and this one is one of the best stuffs I listen in the year 2000.
4.5/5

IMPENDING DOOM (Germany)
Signum Of Hate
Perverted Taste, 1998

11 well-executed old school music, where thrash, heavy and death well mixed together. In one song, couple of persons (the member of Atanatos, Cryptic Wintermoon, Prossatanos, Purgatory, Scuweigen) contribute their voice as background screams (I think so. I don't exactly now on which track the are in since there's no info said on the booklet. Only names.). They also made their own version of "Dethroned Emperor" and "Chapel Of Ghoul" but the title of the songs have been changed. You might not noticed it if you don't read the lyric (I hope I guess it right). Their music can be said as thrash with great solos and riffs and also with a great vocals. The normal vocal "Demon (Men)archy" is great ! I can't choose one best track since every track is different and have its own style. A new album from them is now available.
c/o Andy Kaufmann, Dorffelstrasse 1, 07570 Weida, Germany.

5/5

album-impiety-skullfucking_armageddon.jpg (14313 bytes)IMPIETY (Singapore) 
Skullfucking Armageddon
Dies Irae Productions, 1999
S.E.A. extreme black metal terrorist are back their most wicked album ever. After hearing some sound samples from their website prior to the release of this CD, I was hoping that this album can outcome the previous cassette EP, Funeralight... because from listening to the samples it can and it does ! Funeralight... already top out their debut Asateerul Awaleen, so rationally, can you think how great and barbaric Skullfucking Armageddon are. This time, IMPIETY has add more speed, fast drum attack even to the re-recorded tracks from the EP. You will not hear even a single second to 'relax' your ear, all songs are really torment to your ears (in a positive way, that is). Some thrash also can be hear but not too retro (except for Shyaithan vocal) like most of the band now who are trying to copy what Kreator have done like Torment In Fire for example. IMPIETY is still stick to what they have started since the beginning while some of their compatriots either lost the will to fight or change to a totally different concept. The songs in this album and the track title like Skullfucked : The Speed Metal Hell, Ironflames Of Hate, Diabolical Witching Aggression proved it. But after hearing it many times, I still love Funeralight... more than this CD though. Musicwise, Funeralight... is more black and wicked but this one is speed thrash/black. The music, vocal are different. Rating Skullfucking Armageddon in all IMPIETY, it will be put in the second place after Funeralight... . Yes it will earn 6 out of 5. This CD is released in limited digiHellpak edition. A cool one too. Get it before it run out of sale.
5/5

album-istidraj-metafizika.jpg (20519 bytes)ISTIDRAJ (Singapore) 
Metafizika

Esoteric Art Production, 1999
Extreme melodic death/black metal. The band say that, not me. I couldn't find the extremity in this 8 tracks CD. Even with the inclusion of female vocal. I was looking for the 'touching' melodic solos which often the band in this genre create. The CD booklet/back cover are not professionally design. It looks so amateur. After reading the interview I made with them, one might expect an above average release from them considering the fact that of 6 years of existence in the scene and after all, this is a CD ! Except for the first track, Inaugaration which can be said as intro with its instrumental keyboard passage, the rest of the track will bring you to a certain height but never will bring your heigher. Never will you reach the climax (or orgasm, whatever you want to say). Each track starts with interesting riffs and that's it. No interesting follow up, solo, anything that will excite you. The last track Ngecongan Ngestabe remain the darkest and the only best track here. Black metal growling accompany with accoustic guitar and keyboards. Metafizika is not a good starting. Hopefully the next one will.
2.5/5

JUNGLE ROT (USA)
Slaughter The Weak
Morbid Records, 1999

Morbid Records release this under license from Pavement Music for European market. Everybody should know what Morbid specialised in, brutal music. So you can already expect what JUNGLE ROT will deliver in "Slaughter The Weak". I was introduced with JR with a song in S.O.D. sampler CD. That issue contain sampler from Pulverised Records's bands as well as Dies Irae bands but with few inclusion from S.O.D Records bands beside another compilation CD. No thanks to that sampler CD, I didn't like JR and I think they ruined the CD because Pulverised's bands has their own specialties and the sampler gathered interesting bands with their great songs. JR (and non-Pulverised/Dies Irae bands) didn't belong in that category. After listening "Slaughter..." CD, I still feel the same. 9 songs here are just plain US brutal death metal. Fans of Cannible Corpse, etc might love this one. As for me, it is just an okay release which lack a certain punch that I seek while listening to extreme music at home. In live show, it maybe fine but that is in different situation.
2.5/5

L'AHK┴ MUZA (Slovakia)
Sen Ohraniceheho Zivota
Sonicca L.t.d., 1998

I'm sorry if I make any spelling mistake on the band's name and this CD title. It contain some alphabet/character that are not the usual one we use and I don't how to create it using my PC. I have look it in Windows Character Map but manage to find that '┴'. This is a 8 tracks CD, not a metal CD but just dark synth and drum programming. I rarely like this kind of music but this one is an exception. I forgot how I get this CD or who send it but I thank him for sending this CD. I am not into these kind of scene, maybe know a little about Cold Meat Industry bands but that's it. About this CD, what I like most is the dark music created by synth and not so boring drum programming, accompany by female clear voice. With the music combine with her great voice creates a horrifying, scarry feeling while listening. You feel that you're being haunted or a ghost is inside your room. Just like listening to Endvra. (I just want to tell you that this music does scares me but the example I give does not display what I feel. I am not really scared with ghost. I am looking forward in meeting one since I haven't yet see any ghost until now. Are they really that scarry that will make you piss in the pants ?). This album comes in 'gold', from the CD to the booklet and everything is in gold color. The lyrics are in Slovakian language (I guess) but they include English translation. They should hire professional in designing the booklet next time.
c/o Lahka Muza, 972 21 Nitrianske Sucany 57, Slovakia.

lahkamuza@hbp.sk
4/5

album-maniac_butcher-cerna_krev.jpg (11199 bytes)MANIAC BUTCHER (Czech)  
Cerna Krev
Pussy God Records, 1998
7 tracks of raw black metal, the music that what this band played since the beginning and they will not change it in future. I don't want to say much about this CD, but if had already listen to MANIAC BUTCHER before, this one is just another MANIAC BUTCHER release. So if you like the past, this one will just be fine. There's one instrumental track called Intermezzo which quite good. The rest didn't leave a postive impact on me.  But for true black heart who didn't like the way black metal sounds gay nowadays with the usage of female vocals and keyboards, this will be your delicious meal.
2/5

maniac_butcher-invaze.gifMANIAC BUTCHER (Czech)  
Invaze
Pussy God Records, 1999
The latest and the 5th album from this Czech black horde. Never being tired of delivering the usual old fast raw black metal. Actually this CD is bit better, faster than the previous and ofcourse, no female vocals and keyboard. This CD is a tribute for an old Czech band called ASSESSOR. The last song is the cover song from this band and this CD title is also the same title as the only album ASSESSOR ever released, Invaze. There's a story about old-school trend in Czech in the CD booklet that's quite interesting. Overall, this is the best release I heard so far from them. Track 3 (I can't write the title, it's too long) and the last track is best for me here.
3/5

MANIPULATED SLAVE (Japan)
Burst Into Blue Flames
World Chaos Prod/Lightout Recs, 2000

Another masterpiece from World Chaos !!! This time the form of 9 track CD. How did they manage to find such fine musicians such as Manipulated Slaves ? Melodic death metal combined together with thrash, a bit of female vocals with piano attach to the music, you will get a great album that should not be missed by anyone. What I like most are those melodic and powerful riffs and ofcourse the great vocals Yutaka Kageyama. With these, it will make you move and headbanged yourself. The inclusion of piano and female vocals on certain tracks makes the music stand higher than other songs in this album. Just a killer release ! I don't understand why this CD does not come with thick booklet like Terror Squad. Only simple 6 page that only display a huge thanks list, a bit of recording info and small picture of the band. Not as rich as Terror Squad's which have additional drawing on the tray card and different artwork for each of the lyrics on the booklet. The package of this CD is just too simple for this kind of masterpiece.
4.5/5

MESMERISED (Malaysia)
Kuasa 
Nebiula Production, 2000

This is the first of its kind in Malaysia. Fronted by only 2 well-known person in local metal scene, this project is quite original. They are Jaie (vocal in Sil Khannaz) and Jadam (the brainchild of Profane Creation, a brutal death/grind band). Jadam already known with his industrial project called "Gorb" so this is not really a surprise. However, the shocking fact is, Jaie sings in his clear, normal voice. This band first appear in Storm of Nebiula 2 compilation, with the track "Who Kill The Sun" (also included here) and since then, "Kuasa" is one of the release that I am waiting impatiently to hear. Mesmerised depends a lot on the beautiful synth melody and the vocals. In some song, Melissa Chaostar (also in Vociferation Eternity) contribute her great angelic voice and fully sing in "Twilight Lunacy". They use drum programming and it fits perfectly with their music. Although the music is depressive at times but it also melodic, relaxing and entertaining but to listen to "Kuasa" will need you to be open minded.
3.5/5

OBSCENITY (Germany)
Intense
Morbid Records, 2000

The band's 4th full-length under Morbid Records. "Intense" is really intense ! Extreme destructive brutal death metal. Great riff and solos here and there, throughout the whole 9 songs. Every tracks has its own specialty making "Intense" is a pleasurable listening. Usually brutal death metal sound monotonous and didn't offer anything different in the whole release, making me tired listening from the start to the end of that release. Maybe I'm not born to be a brutal death maniac perhaps. But that is not the case here, everthing is well done here. Furthermore, this CD also include video clips of their recording session and their tour. It will open up your internet browser immediately after the CD inserted in the CD-Rom drive (of course if you enable the auto run mode). Beside the link to the video, there are also internet links to OBSCENITY-related websites. "Intense" almost got 5/5 rating but this is a promo CD. No booklet which I can evaluate and to sum up the review. Anyway, you should check this one out and you will not be dissappointed.
4/5

OBTRUNCATION (Holland) 
The Callous Concept
Damnation, 1995

This album was recorded in January 1995 and the label didn't send any info about this release. To be honest I am not sure when it was released but it still available for sale. I'm not sure the origin of this band either. Judging from the name of the line-up, I guess they are from Holland. Here you will find 12 brutal death metal with on few occasion you will hear some doomy part as well. The keyword of OBTRUNCATION music are brutal and annilihate everything ! 
Lyrically thay are more into anti-religion and blasphemy. No gory, sick lyrics. The guitar sometimes sounds like Morbid Angel or something but it doesn't appeal to me that much. Another brutal release which should please the fans of this style.
2/5

OTYG (Sweden)
Alvefard
Napalm Records, 1998

OTYG is my first Scandinavian flok music band. Phew..really hard listening to "Alvefard". Musically they are like 'cheerful' gothic rock or something. They even use traditional musical instrument here but I don't know what to called it. Normal male vocals and sometimes female vocal singing along in the language I don't understand. Quite cool on the first few tracks but it then start to bore me after a while. I can say they are less heavy than Einherjer (the coolest band in this 'folk' music). Some vocal line in certain songs like "Ulvskrede" sounds interesting making me wanted to sing along the song. The good thing here is the booklet. The artwork, layout design, color combination are great. This is the only strong point why should buy this CD and quite a weak one I might say.
2/5

PANIKOS (Argentina)
Eclipse I
Southern Hellish, 1998

Once a while I will come up with a worth mentioning slow, doom bands. 10 tracks, 47 minutes of dark/doom metal presented here. There are few band that can be forgiven for using drum-machine and they are one of them. It just fits with their music. The synth are great and together with spoken female vocal, they create a great dark atmospheric feelings, so refreshing and also melodic at times. The music have a bit of the 'greek melody' which you can usually hear from any band from Greece. No fast metal attack, just a calm, soothing dark music. 
c/o Temptor, EL gancho 2197, Jose C.Paz (1665) Buenos Aires, Argentina.

4/5

PENTACLE (Holland) 
Rides The Moonstorm
Damnation, 1998

Old school death metal was being labelled by some mailorders but I found out PENTACLE has more thrash than death metal. "The Fifth Moon" and "Exalted Journey" are few of their releases I remembered reading it from a catalog sometime ago. Of course it depends on your own definition and how categorize the music and the band. I've read some interviews stating something I would not agree but I think Celtic Frost, Possessed, Kreator fits well with 'thrash metal'. Musically PENTACLE gas the combination of these old-school bands in most of their song, especially Celtic Frost with death metal. Just listen to "...Rides The Moonstorm" or "Yeilding To The Scepter Of Flesh" for example and you believe what I said. The CD even starts with an intro of Tom G. Warrior shouting on stage (taken from World War III Festival in 1985). If you are bored with so many 'new' thrash metal releases, listening to this CD might add to another boredom in your life. But for me they play their music well. The sound, the feeling, all are there in "Rides...". All the 9 tracks are recorded in Hallow Productions studio in surprisingly 4 days. There is also a double LP version of this album and if I were you, I will grap the vinyl version to add in my old thrash metal vinyl collection.
4/5

RAVENLORD (Malaysia)
Martyr, Hail
MusicTrax, 2000

Formerly known as Misanthrope and once appear in "Intrusion Of Dark Journey" compilation tape in 1994 (featuring some great Malaysian black metal !). The name have change and their music have also change. 8 tracks, 45 minutes of... what should I say, a mixed black metal album ? Basically there are 3 separated style present here. Some songs sounds like Satyricon (in "Nemesis Divina"), some like viking metal/folk (Enslaved) and fast norwegian black metal. It takes time for me to digest their music. The music is not really original and a song is sung in Norwegian really makes it hard to be accepted into my system. Only the "Desolate Flesh" doesn't have connection with any style I mentioned above and remain the best track in this CD. A re-make of "Unholy Invocation Moonspell Of Winged Goat" (the track that appear in "Intrusion..." comp) also present here but it is a bit messed up and too chaotic. The original one is much better. If you like Satyricon, Enslaved and fast norwegian black metal in one single CD, get this one. One unique thing about this release is, it has a thick booklet. I have never seen any local extreme metal release which have such booklet. Definitely this CD comes in a very good package.
3.5/5

ROTTING CHRIST (Greece)
Khronos
Century Media, 2000

I'm quite hesitate to buy this release eventhough at the pre-release of Khronos, the label said this will sound more like their earlier work. I'm hesitate because, since RC move to CM, their music is less interesting than before. So can they ring back the magic in "Thy Mighty Contract" ? Yes, they almost succeed but the music is still not comparable with their prior release (not under CM). The music is aggressive with dark haunting keyboard and melodic at times and now they use less normal male vocals. This is a lot better than any of their studio work for CM. The most interesting part is adding the 'greek' touch to Current 93 "Lucifer Over London". Although I haven't heard the original version of this songs since I am not interested in satanic non-metal project, but I'll bet this one is better than the original. The cassette version is made available in Malaysia by Psychic Scream Entertainment. Please Malaysian, get this tape instead of those so-called 'imported' tapes and 'licensed' tapes which comes with bad sound and cover design. Avoid such un-professional, rip offs stuffs ! 
4/5

album-sakaratul_maut_the_land_called_mahsyar.jpg (15160 bytes)SAKARATUL MAUT (Singapore) 
The Land Called Mashyar
Sonic Wave International, 1999

Those who have hear SAKARATUL MAUT in Metal Legion (and all tracks in that compilation) might think twice before buying anything from the label who responsible releasing this compilation and also the bands involved due to its bad sound production. Fortunately, sound-wise The Land Called Mashyar is much better than the compilation and the songs from SAKARATUL MAUT is much better and matured. The guitar solos, dual vocals, guitar effects, everything have outcome the 2 tracks SAKARATUL MAUT's contributed in Metal Legion. Compare the new and old version of track Jahanam and you see what I mean and this track is my fave track. However, SAKARATUL MAUT is a one man death/industrial band and he use drum-programming making this CD hard for me to digest. The overall songs is less interesting compare to Jahanam and bored me after a while. Looks like the songs have been arranged with the best track first and the most boring one last. The Land Called Mashyar is an above-average release and pity the artwork cover for Malaysian version have been censored.  Maybe afraid of this album banned here as it might be regarded as anti-islam, so the Malaysian version will not have the arabic caligraphy like you see in the picture above.  That's the problem with country such as Malaysia who cannot appreciate art.
3/5

SARGATANAS (Mexico)
The Enlightenment
Conquistador Records, 1998

12 tracks, clocking for about 60 minutes. 12 doom/death tracks with deep guttural vocals. The sound is heavy, especially the drum and the guitar sometimes. (The drums) Its like listening to a bomb explosion (boom !). The music is not really slow doom-like but mainly mid-pace death metal. There are also some fast part but not many. The songs are quite long without many variation in the music and might make you bored after a while. The track "Ritual Of The Advert" is a bit melodic than the rest. Listening to "Satans Curse" is like listening to Impiety demo (when they are not as fast as now) musically and the vocal. Really exhausting to finish the whole CD. You must have a special mood to listen to this CD. At first, I am okay listening to this album. The next time I listen to this CD, the interest have fade a bit (or a lot !). 
Sargatanas, Apdo. 1521, C.P. 44101 Guadajalara, Jalisco, Mexico.
sargatanas@lettera.net
2.5/5

album-scepter_im_going_to_hell.jpg (9439 bytes)SCEPTER (USA) 
I'm Going To Hell
Merciless Records

I like metal lyrics to be full of blasphemy, hate, filthy, darkness, obscenity, etc. This CD from SCEPTER deliver the kind of lyrics of what metal should be sung. Yeah, sometime it is are away too much or beyond normal human thinking but if it is only in lyrics, that's okay. But if you want me to go to hell or rape some one or fuck a corpse, then don't count me in. I don't want to be involved in such activities. I'm Going To Hell contains 10 tracks, 30 minutes of death/thrash metal. The drums is not the best drumming I've heard, sometimes I thought like hearing drum programming. The best track is Obsessed By Metal musically especially the solos and the lyric. They might have new album. Better get the new one I guess because overall, this CD is just a fair release.
2.5/5

album-shellyz_raven-desolation.jpg (29648 bytes)SHELLYZ RAVEN (Norway) 
Desolation
Self-Released, 1999

A Norwegian band that doesn't play black metal. It is quite surprise that they play THE GATHERING-like music. Depressive doom/goth-rock with great and beautiful clear female voice. 9 tracks that keeps me playing it again and again. Pity this band use drum programming because sometime it sucks. I don't know whether this album is out for sale or not because I download all songs from their website, complete with front, back cover and CD label. So I just write my own audio CD of this album. I don't know why they are generous enough to put all these songs in full version, CD quality mp3 since most band only put excerpt of their song or 1 or 2 full song in their website. I'm curious to know why. This album is my current fave. No info available at all on how to purchase this CD so I guess you have to get it yourself from http://www.shellyzraven.com or contact
Oysten Kristoffer Paulsen, Haugenesveien 37, 4870 Fevik, Norway.
4/5

album-silkhannaz-conception_of_madness.jpg (14302 bytes)SIL KHANNAZ (Malaysia) 
Conception Of Madness
Nebiula Production, 1999
This is the re-release of their mighty album 1993. I've read in some local zine saying that Nebiula is wasting their money in re-releasing of stuffs. Well, this might be an old material but the content is great in all ages ! I remember that I like this album very much when I bought it years ago. Brutal, melodic, technical death metal. Brilliant ! Beside some songs in this re-release album have been added few touch-ups which are quite interesting compare with the original version like track Sinner Burning... . Furthermore, 3 unreleased tracks, previously intended to be featured in Gerbang Kayangan album also added here. These songs are : The Fading Lunar (lyric written by One Barchiel. The song was later used a different lyric and renamed to Gerbang Kayangan), Santapan Terakhir Raja Bersiong (vocal by Dark-E) and Purnamarjuna (vocal by CD Khanzab). Interesting songs indeed. So this is very essential release to be added in your death metal collection especially SIL KHANNAZ fans. This is not a waste as many would claim !
3.5/5

SIL KHANNAZ (Malaysia)
Bara Pawaka
Nebiula Records, 2000

"Bara Pawaka" is one of Malaysian metal highlight of the year. I was surprised at first looking at the number of the songs here. A 10 songs album. Previuosly, news have been spread and poster have been printed, mentioning "Bara Pawaka" will be a MCD release. I guess it is a MCD release at first because there are 5 of their newly-composed songs but maybe to get more royalty, the added 5 cover songs and they can get more payment. After the-hard-to-accept "Gerbang Kayangan", with some fuss and turmoil in the line-ups may would wanted to hear what the band will bring next. Even in their gigs prior of the release of "Bara Pawaka", they don't play any new song. Now the wait are over and again the music is different compare with their previous release. They don't really stick to one specific style but still remain in the death metal category. The music is a bit brutal especially the guitar but it doesn't amazed me much. Fortunately Jaie's lyrics and vocals wanted me to play this CD all over again. Jaie's lyrical approach are quite interesting, written in old-malay language. The other 5 songs are their version of covering DEATH, CELTIC FROST, KING DIAMOND, JUDAS PRIEST and BLOODSHED. Not really interesting but the last two, with Rosdan (former singer of Bloodshed, local hard rock band and also sing for Malaysian pioneer f thrash metal, PUNISHER) contributing his voice is among the highlight of this CD. Quite a luxurious packaging and the design are great. This is the first time I saw a Malaysian musician having it release in digipak and the perhaps the first one in Malaysian music industry. At least they are the first in Malaysian metal scene that have done so. 
3.5/5

SUCKERHEAD (Indonesia)
10th Agresi 
PT Aquarius, 1999

This is somekind of "the best of..." compilation and perhaps released to celebrate their 10th anniversary. This is my first Indonesian metal CD. Before, I just heard that metal band didn't release CD there but they manage to release it after sign for a mainstream label. 14 tracks, with a wide range of style in one CD. The songs are gathered from their previous albums, EP and single and in each release, they sound different. Songs from album 1995 have more thrash/death rock metal while from the latest Single 1999, the songs are like 'happy' punk like music. Songs are sing in English and Indonesia. So actually you will hear 4 kind of style (because the songs are taken from 4 release) which you can said as progression or wimping out. Hear how they develop in those 10 years. I actually like almost all the song here, from death to slow rock and even those punk tunes (due to its funny lyric). Want to taste mainstream metal (for Malaysian, add this one along ith your XPDC collection, if you have one) try this 'domestic-only' release. I guess you can't find it outside Indonesia. 
Suckerhead, Studio 29, Jl. Mesjid I no. 29, Tegal Parang Selatan, Jakarta 12790, Indonesia. 
suckerhead@duatiga.com

3.5/5

TUATHA DE DANANN (Brazil)
Tuatha De Danann 
Heavy Metal Records, 1999

One of this issue most surprising release. A totally unknown to me and perhaps to many of the readers too. Tuatha De Danann plays some kind of heavy metal with a bit folk/medieval. The closest comparison might be Einherjer and the bands alike, except Tuatha De Danann add a bit growling vocals to their music and this make they some how original. The 'medieval' feelings was brought up by the flute and some accoustic guitar, very well-combined with heavy metal music together with the keyboard. Through the songs, you will hear fast heavy metal to depressive music and melodic at times. Both normal and growling vocals are awesome too. This CD features 4 songs and 4 bonus tracks taken from "Faeryage" demo. The demo have more of this folk-ish thing compare with the new songs and the vocals (normal and growling) is a bit different. I wanted to make an interview with the band for this issue but due to limited amount of time, the plan have to be pushed forward for the next issue. But I am lucky Orc Moon (of VINTAGE SOLEMNITY, Turkey) have made an interview with them. So for those clueless fans out there, read the interview for more info. 
4/5

album-terror_squad-the_wild_stream_of_eternal_sin.jpg (11474 bytes)TERROR SQUAD (Japan) 
The Wild Stream Of Eternal Sin
Worldchaos Production, 1999
"Real Thrash Metal" is what Worldchaos labelled TERROR SQUAD music. Considering the fact that more and more bands claimed to play thrash or add some 'thrashy' element in their music after known for years with death/black metal. Another copy of Kreator or Sodom you might say and I also think the same before. But they do have their own identity and originality. What I liked about them is the strong, fast and aggressive thrash metal with occasional melodic heavy/hard rock solo or tempo changes. In all 7 tracks there have speed then into slow melodic and then start berserk again. The best lyrics must be the song Disco Bloody Disco, talking about killing those whimpy disco music lovers. This song was also appeared in Primitive Art's "Headbanger Against Disco Vol. 3" 7"EP. Killing, war, revenge is the theme of this album actually. The booklet is filled with Japanese comic/drawing. What seem to be the 'mistake' here is they put a cool artwork for the CD tray (depicting a woman holding a bloody samurai sword and on the other hand holding someone head). It is much better than the front cover artwork.
4.5/5

album-the_path.jpg (10100 bytes)THE PATH (Italy) 
Nightbirds And The Blooming Moon
Self-Released, 1998

Another new Italian band I think. Never heard about them before. I got no info about this band which play dark gothic doom rock kind of music. For the first 60 second, this CD sounds like the Fujico CD but then the music change with a heavy guitar which not as sucks as those fujico. I can listen to some normal male vocals but I couldn't stand this one although the music is quite good for me. This CD is very relaxing, slow ballad songs with good solos and keyboard at times. Sometimes you need a break from listening to the usual brutal death or raw black metal. A fine release but it will be much better if a female sing for this band. I don't like this kind of gay male vocals.
The Path, Via Val D'Asta 19, 42030 Asta (RE), Italy.
2.5/5

album-vociferation-ocean_myth.jpg (13503 bytes)VOCIFERATION ETERNITY (Malaysia) 
Ocean Myth
Nebiula Production, 1999

This album was released in 1996, back then it really rules but after re-listening (I've lost the cassette), my taste for this album have decreased a bit. Luckily Nebiula re-released it in CD with improved sound and new cover due to demand from local metal fans as stated in their flyer but I do believe re-released this album is a wise idea. Many may have not listening to VOCIFERATION ETERNITY own blend of dark death metal. This CD was supposed to be released before Meadows Yearn with 2 new track as a 'warming up' release before fans listen to their new composition. Meadows Yearn  is a bit aggressive and fast compare to Ocean Myth. Ocean Myth will suit you fine if you listen to this album first. A good CD to be in your collection but if you have heard Meadows Yearns first, you will find this limited edition CD will only take the amount of space in your CD shelves, not in your CD player. Recommended for fans only like me.
4/5

album-vociferation-meadows_yearn.jpg (10291 bytes)VOCIFERATION ETERNITY (Malaysia) 
Meadows Yearn
Nebiula Production, 1999
Superb melodic dark death metal delivered by one of Malaysian finest metal act. The genius behind this band are also the members of LANGSUYR and SIL KHANNAZ, another well-known and respected local death metal. Those 2 bands produced great releases which greatly influenced the local metal scene, no wonder this CD is so perfect to my ears. After 3 years of the release of the successful Ocean Myth debut, they finally release this album. Compared with Ocean Myth, Meadows Yearn is much more melodic and yet its still aggressive. No keyboards and female vocal except for the revamped Vociferation Eternity track and the last track (sort of an outro), the melodic melodies are made with guitars and guitar effects, from fast to slow tempo changes and depressive acoustic part. The songs are not just for headbanging but also great to sing-along-the song while listening to it, not to forget the great layout of cover inlay good sound. If you like something melodic and yet aggressive dark death metal, you will find this 8 track CD very satisfying like I did.
5/5

album-will_o_wisp-enchiridion.jpg (15853 bytes)WILL O WISP (Italy) 
Enchiridion
Pick Up Records, 1997
I got this CD by trading. That's save me a lot of money then buying it from mailorder. If I bought this CD, I will regret it ! Not saying that Enchiridion is not a really good release. Their dark/death with accordian and piano is quite interesting and original too but the keyboards sucks ! This will be a great album if minus the keyboards. It spoilt the whole mood I have in this CD. The keyboards is not melodic and didn't add dark atmosphere in the music either. 9 songs, lyrics about Egyptian myth or something like that. If only the keyboards is as beautiful as the keyboardist, then I recommend this.
2/5

WILLOW WISP (USA)
Delusion Of Grandeur : (A Gathering Of Heretics)
Fullmoon Production, 1998

The make-up of this 4 guys looks very gay like Marilyn Manson. Its is normal if you guess they play like Marilyn Manson just by looking at them. I like the front cover, depicting a picture of muslim women praying. It is among the coolest artwork I've ever seen. Lyrically, they are about hatred toward religion especially christian. Musically they are far away from M.Manson and much better. "Delusion..." is a strange album. 12 track, 67 minutes. It doesn't have a distinct concept/style to be called. Some tracks are like slower version of Faith No More, some dark synth, some black metal, some grind and doom. Vocals are in 3 types; growling, normal spoken voice and screaming. Track #2 is the funniest and the best track here. The intro of the song is a sermon/speech praising Jesus. Lastly the preacher ask "who is on your side" and instead of answering "Jesus !", some guy shout "Satan !" and then the music start. This track is an example of melodic symphonic black metal like C.O.F and also track #5. Undeniabably I hate looking at them but the music is quite interesting. Don't look at them. Just listen to their music.
Willow Wisp, P.O.Box 9352, N. Hollywood, CA 91609, USA.

http://www.willowwisp.com

4/5


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