Winter Within (Norway)
Epic influenced Black Metal, uses a slower tempo overall but has aggressive
moments throughout. Production is low, but the intent of the music is
clear. Very thick and rich atmospheres with good use of acoustical pieces,
and nice changeups. My fave pick is “Gathering Of Lost Souls”.
Dark and atmospheric Symphonic Black Metal punctuated with energetic
and blasting assaults. Guitars are perfectly toned and very well executed
in both single runs and charging rhythm, drumming is a solid platform
and full of interesting fills and backbeats. Vocals are slicing, grim,
and cold. Rich harmonies weave throughout every song. Musicianship is
perfect, production is excellent. My fave pick is “I’ve
Watched The Moon Grow Old”
Aggressive and intense Black Metal that can range from thrashing speed
to pounding heaviness. Thick guitars set the tone; keys compliment the
overall atmosphere in parts, drumming is powerful and very driven no
matter the tempo of the music. Vocals range from clean and clear to
grim and brutal. Musicianship is excellent, production is very good.
My fave pick is “From The Darkest Star”
Deep and frozen Black Metal, ranges from slow and heavy to fast and
intense. Guitars are fuzzed out, drumming is powerful, and vocals are
distorted. Some keys. Musicianship is decent, production is low. My
fave pick is “Ringer Of Death”
Slow and heavy Black Metal. Very dark atmosphere created by deeply reverbed
and echoed vocals and guitar. Drums provide base for the rest of the
music. Musicianship is decent, production is totally raw, but this is
an enjoyable listen. My fave pick is “In Kampf Gegen Christus”
Crushing and intense with no frills at all. No keys, no female vocals,
just hateful and aggressive Black Metal. The drumming is an endless
cacophony, the guitars grind and thrash to create an impenetrable wall
of sound, and the vocals are chewed up and growled out. Production is
low, but who cares? My fave pick is “The Corpse Of Christ”
Aggressive Black Metal with Death Metal influences, many tempo changeups.
Guitars grind straight through; drums vary from heavy back rhythms to
all out blasting assaults, and the vocals are deeply growled shouts.
Musicianship is very good, production is decent.
Possibly the best-known band hailing from Norway today, Borknagar has
made a name for themselves as being the pinnacle of achievement in Epic
Black Metal. A deep discography supports this claim to the throne, even
though a very noticeable direction shift has occurred from beginning
to current. Nonetheless, they are still an amazing band.
Aggressive, yet highly melodic with howling vocals that are deep but
very frozen and remain firmly in the true Black Metal style. The drumming
is incredible, and the guitars wind themselves around the rhythm. Production
is nearly perfect, and the musicianship displayed is top of the line.
My fave pick is “The Fall Of The Christian Empire”.
Highly polished melodic Black Metal, very key driven. Absolute cold
and frozen sound created by thickly echoed grim vocals and reverbed
guitar for that distant feel. Musicianship is very good, production
is below average for this sub-genre of Black Metal. My fave pick is
“Descendants Of Satan”.
Raw and hard hitting with good melody. Guitars create the direction,
drums are solid, and the vocals are very bitter and grim. Musicianship
is good; production is low but not bad. My fave pick is “Damned”.
Intense and heavy Black Metal with a mid-tempo approach. Wretched grim
vocals set the atmosphere, which is supported through eerie keys. Guitars
are slashing and pitched, drumming is an intense barrage that uses multiple
fills to cover the slower overall tempo. Musicianship is excellent,
production is raw (demo versions) but having heard other efforts by
this band, I can say this is not the best representation of what they
offer. My fave pick is “Agony Defiled”.
Thrashing and very aggressive, a sonic barrage of constant sound is
created with only basic instruments. This is hateful Black Metal done
the old fashioned way, with no frills attached at all (unless you consider
a brief acoustic interlude to be a frill). The production value is low
on one song, but the rest are of a decent quality. Very well executed
musicianship. My fave pick is “Lysningen I Skogen”
Highly polished and very well produced, uses thick keys to create mystical
introductions that are followed by blasting assaults. This band draws
heavily from the later Emperor efforts. The musicianship is flawless
and very high-end. Vocals are grim throughout with a short exception
where clean vocals are used. Both are done well. My fave pick is “Soulcrush”.
Very heavy and darkly atmospheric Black Metal. Rich in sorrowful emotion
and bitter anger translated into sound by moaning guitars, deep toned
keys, hard driven drums, and a mix of grimly shouted and melodic clean
vocals. Production is very good, musicianship is excellent. My fave
pick is “As My Dreams Wander”
Hard driving and intense Black Metal, very forceful and aggressive.
Rhythms range from mid-tempo to absolute blasting. Guitars set the atmosphere,
drumming is solid. Vocals are excellent, delivered in grim shouts that
translate energy into sound. Musicianship is decent, production is low.
My fave pick is “Fallen One”.