- The Veiled Garden
- The Cold March towards Eternal Brightness
- Drifting through Moss And Ancient Stone
- The Spiral Fountain
- A Rider through the Lands of An Infinite Dreamscape
- Cosmic Significance
Release Date: 2 May 2014 – I, Voidhanger Records
“Colorful Waterfalls of Dreams”
From the early ’90s the Greek black metal scene not only has captured the north and frost feeling of Norway, but also the most bands have managed to take music even further. In paths that no one could ever dream. The progression of black in Greece can be called without fears and prejudices as culture. Zemial, Aenaon, Hail Spirit Noir and Spectral Lore are some of those who see and act beyond what is seen.
Have you ever picked up an album which could be the soundtrack of nature or dreams? Can 88 minutes of music be a spiritual expression of something transcendental? Yes, it can and “III” from Spectral Lore is exactly this soundtrack. The music of this album is not a philosophy, it’s a belief where ambient, progressive and black are becoming one. Ayloss proves to himself more than anyone else, that he has abilities to make the human mind travel outside the fake reality and let it face its real expressions. This is the feeling as a mental product of music.
Singularity and Eternity; two sides where dreams pass from a close place to an open sky. Both sides are overwhelmed by epic black riffs and yet harmonic as well. “The Cold March Towards Eternal Brightness” and “The Spiral Fountain” are expressing definitely the black/fast riffing of luminous mountains where thoughts can travel. And on the other side, “The Veiled Garden”; a doomy blackened silence with acoustic moments that can make you see through fog. As for the vocals of Ayloss… are out of the cosmic sound.
And if the above songs can haunt your soul, the biggest journey, the brightest madness comes in “Drifting through Moss And Ancient Stone”. A majestic field of acoustic progression where strings speak their own lyrics. I could say that in this song there might be an affect from the Canadians Harmonium and their epic song “Histoires Sans Paroles”. After follows the one and only “Cosmic Significance”. Guys the melody of the ambient keys could stop the streaming of the earth and when the guitars bring the peak, we could say that this is the moment when the child touches the eternity, that was never promised to it.
Listen to it even if you don’t like black metal. Trust me, here black metal is under the command of art.
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- From Ashes Reborn
- Lords of Deceit
- The Order
- Angels at War
- Legion Lost
- Vicious Dominion
- Grim Steeds
- Eye of the Storm
Release Date: 16 June 2014 – No Remorse Records
“Faith, Glory and Honor”
Crosswind are a classic instance of the bands having been created in the mid ’90s and due to several difficulties release their debut after all those years. You see, it’s their vision and tenacity to stay alive, get over every hurdle and be here to offer “Vicious Dominion”.
Their debut will satisfy to the fullest the fans of teutonic power metal. Whoever has missed the firmness of Helloween from their first three albums, the ignorance of Hammerfall on their debut and the inner power of Innerwish, now can lie his/her tears of happiness in this album. If in the first demos and the compilation, the band showed that has something to say, with this release things are being more certain than then.
And now what exactly have to say about the songs? From one side the power immediacy of “The Order”, “Angels at War”, “Aeons” and “Eye of the Storm” (A song from the past). Refrains that will be sung even while you are sleeping and leads that stuck in your head like the leech in the body. And from the other side the epic majesty in “Vicious Dominion” and “Legion Lost” (with an “a la John Arch break scream” in the beginning). Speed riffs and solos as you ordered them many years ago.
As the tradition asks great singers in power/prog bands from Thessaloniki, Crosswind played with the “Mat move” and brought Vasilis Topalidis to be their frontman. So, hearing this voice in a metal album after Horizon’s End is dreamy. His voice fits every single second in the songs and the rest is history. While power metal is not as strong as it used to be, I’m saying this and not because I’m a Greek; bands from Greece step on stuff that many other bands did in the past, but the feeling through the songs is strong and alive!
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- Northern Lights
- Born once Again
- Point of No Return
- Perfect Fantasy
- Beauty Queen
- Winter Poem
- Change of Time
- Love Lies
- Words Left Forgotten
Release Date: 17 March 2014 – Rising Records
In power metal many young bands try to step on the path of German bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian or to combine those bands with other famous from that sound. Secret Illusion, let us say, make the difference and after the great band from Finland, Twilightning, present their endless love for Stratovarius.
In the second album of their young career, “Change of Time”, we can find several moments from Strato and actually from their best era (from “Dreamspace” to “Visions”). Riffs that you’ve heard of before and melodies on the vocal lines that come from another decade. Also, the smell of songs and great production recalls memories from the decade of the ’90s, when the Greek bands were trying to have this sound.
Now, I think the most important attempt by me, is to present you some songs of the album which express the whole image of the band and doesn’t stand just to Strato. For the first time after… I don’t remember the albums nor the years, I’ve heard one of the best intros ever. “Northern Lights” is an intro whose melodies on keys go deep into the mind and stay there. From this intro I noticed that the band maximized the sound and the melodies of Greek non metal musicians from the distant past, who wanted to explore Mediterranean sounds. This is happening in “Beauty Queen” as well, but I’m not certain if Stefanos Korkolis or Michalis Rakitzis (the main melody in “Point of No Return” is like the one in his song “Forever Yours”) affected them that much.
Two more songs that tend to configure the personal sound of the band in the future are “Winter Poem” and “Words Left Unspoken”. We have to do with songs that touch without prejudice progressive paths and everything become even beautiful. The attempt of the use of the child choir is totally successful and personally I would like to hear more things like this in the next recordings. Think; strong riffs, melodies on piano and vocal lines and the result, a huge lyricism.
The only thing that curdled me was the vocals. The voice of their new singer sounds to me weak and I think that he needs a lot of work in order to become even stronger and work on his accent a little bit more. In case you ‘ve missed that Mediterranean power metal, this album could accompany you.
Review by Dr.Feelgood
The Greek power metallers Crosswind joined the forces of No Remorse Records and their new album “Vicious Dominion” will be released on June 23rd.
The band stated: “You can expect maniacal riffing that collides against epic orchestral arrangements with intertwined guitar harmonies that bind with multi-layered, multi octave vocals, backed by a fine-tuned rhythm section’s onslaught.”
The line – up of the band is: Vassilis Topalides (vocals), Kyriakos Vasdokas (guitars), Leon Tsorbatzoglou (guitars), Vassilis Kyrkos (bass) and Vassilis Mitsaris (drums).
“Vicious Dominion” tracklist:
1. From Ashes Reborn
2. Lords of Deceit
3. The Order
4. Angels at War
5. Legion Lost
6. Vicious Dominion
8. Grim Steeds
9. Eye of the Storm
The Greek doomsters Sorrows Path are glad to inform together with their label that on 12th of September, their new album “Doom Philosophy” will be released via Iron Shield Records.
The band has been existed since the mid ’90s and they go on in spite of the several difficulties, like nothing can be strong enough to stop them.
“Doom Philosophy” tracklist:
- Intro/First Beam of Darkness into Light
- A Dance with the Dead
- Brother of Life
- Everything Can Change
- The King with A Crown of Thorns
- The Venus and the Moon
- Clouds Inside Me
- Damned (O)fish/L.S.D.
- The First Art
- Deathtrip Chronicle
- Grau Diva
- A Treatise on the Madness of God
- Der Mude Tod
- Closer to Scaffold
- Land of No Water
- Algernon’s Decadence
- Funeral Blues
Release Date: 20 January 2014 – Code666
“The Grace of Painting”
As months go by, I realize more and more the real meaning of the art of progressive. It’s not just when you belong to a music spin – off, but much more it’s when you exceed yourself. When you follow your deepest music vision even if some people will never pay attention to this. Robert Fripp was one from the very first who did that with King Crimson and after some decades this thing goes on and especially by extreme metal bands like Thessalians Aenaon (Greece). Do you want to see them as a simple black metal band? Well, they are not and “Extance” denotes that black metal can greatly be married with prog/art/jazz/avant – garde elements.
Actually, Aenaon are not the first who did marry the extreme metal sound with the above elements, but it doesn’t matter as we are not looking for those who will have the precedence. We want to be pleased by the final result. An hour of songs that are full of charged moments and appeal the human brain is more than enough. Tones of riffs, which making black metal be heard as the simplest genre in the world and a drumming that can smash everything. The prime of the songs is when other colors beyond the well – known are settled in the canvas. The saxophone in “Deathtrip Chronicle” with a Floyd aura around or the hallucinogenic keys (Harris from Hail Spirit Noir; families are never alone) in “Grau Diva” and “Land of No Water”, set a peace in the perdition of the songs.
Both saxophone and keyboards are being played by special guests, who with some others like Mirai Kawashima from Sigh, Sindre Nedland from In Vain (his participation is in “Der Mude Tod”, a song in which all of the musicians play with their personal limits while it is proved to be one of the most challenging songs) and Tania from Universe 217 (in the jazzy and contagious “Funeral Blues”) are not behaving like common guests, but more like members of a family whose appearance was supposed to be a “Must” for the final corollary of the songs.
“Extance” to me is an album in the range of albums like “Ghost of Perdition” (the light Opeth references can be shown and in the relaxing “Pornocrates”), “Imaginary Sonicscape” (the participation of Mirai wasn’t lucky), “Elements” and “Lizard”. In an album where the Norwegian or Swedish black riffing – blasting is combined with elements being played mainly in small artistic bars, you can find things that in every listening are going to be heard like new. Think that the guitars of “Palindrome” still keep playing in my mind when it ends. A masterpiece!
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- Intro – Evoke the Pain
- Damnation Enslaved
- Senseless Reallity
- Morbid Terror
- Savage Violence
- The Crusher
- Under Snow and Blood
Release Date: February 2014 – Athens Thrash Attack
“Battalions of Anger”
My home, Greece, is regarded as one of the most productive countries in metal music. The scene of thrash metal could actually be paralleled with the German scene in the mid ’80s. The bands and the albums are coming out every day and the meaning of the underground touches the light of overground. Demon Prayers tend to take place among many other ambitious bands.
“Evoke the Pain” is not a debut that smashes everything else has been released, but the promised endeavor of those young guys can turn you on. Nothing new and yet not disinterested. Riffs everywhere, some of them say “Thank you, Suicidal Angels, for what you have shown and we’ll keep observing you”. Others have the smell of black metal from the early days of Sodom (“Damnation Enslaved”) and the solos are the typical ones make you saying to yourself “Hey, grab your air – guitar and work out your neck!”. The song that really grabbed me is the instrumental one “Atonement”; the way of the riffing can stuck you looking in the vacancy.
They still need work, in order to do what they have started even better. The choir parts in the album makes much sense and they show that they want to do things promoting their sign. Of course, all the young bands had their affects remarkable in their debuts and the beginning of Demon Prayers is absolute positive!
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- Abandon All Hope
- Existence in Extinction
- Damage Decontrolled
- Figure of God
- Lament of the Soul
- Closing in… Time Is Gone
- Hostile Vortex
Release Date: 7 March 2014 – Secret Port Records/Athens Thrash Attack
“Clocks and Bullets”
Among cold mountains and next to a beautiful lake, four guys from Ioannina (Greece) introduce us through their debut “Existence in Extinction” a technocratic thrash that personally I have ached for it. It is usual for debut thrash albums showing their affects; actually something between Kreator and Slayer. But, these guys trying to play their songs manage to say “This is who we are” and you can name thrash giants on small parts of the songs.
Yet, this awesome production must be mentioned and more than that this sound on shellfired drums which are totally close to the drumming sound of “Coma of Souls” and the last two Overkill albums; killing stuff from every side and Duke is as maniac as technical. Tight riffing in every song, sometimes just thrashy and fast following the German School and other times touches the Switzerland limits of technicality. And here makes more sense what I am talking about: “Bloodlust”, “Existence in Extinction” and “Lament of the Soul” are the 3 on 3 songs of the album in which you are hearing preludes and solos and you want to be one with them. So attractive things and the miracle just came as an offspring from Coroner.
And prepare yourselves for “Ligeia” which on the contrary to the other songs may not be that technical, but the whole work in 8 minutes and especially the unstoppable solo can grab you and set you down on the floor hearing carefully and staring emptiness. So, my dear girls and boyz listen directly to the closing of the Vektor – thrashing attack “Hostile Vortex”. Do you feel it? It’s nothing over yet, the first step is done; to be continued…
This is what I needed and the lovers of tech/thrash keep your eyes on them. The continuity will be sharper!
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- Blood guru
- Demon for A Day
- Satan Is Time
- Satyriko Orgio (Satyr’s Orgy)
- The Mermaid
- Oi Magoi
Release Date: 20 January 2014, Code666
“Τέχνη, Μουσική, Ζωή”
Walking among beautiful gardens, you see plenty of flowers you have never seen before and thinking of planting those seeds in your soil and thus creating your personal garden with flowers that have the most fresh smell. Yet that smell makes the watchers recapturing memories in the air. Now, how this romantic atmosphere can be one with the Norwegian culture of black metal? Only Hail Spirit Noir know how and with them all of us walking as often as we want outside their garden, enjoining the smell of an orchid (“Pneuma”) and being witnesses of a new seed (“Oi Magoi”) tending to be the flower that somehow reflects us.
I confess that describing “Oi Magoi” is not as easy as having the wish to listen it unstoppable. This album can move all those who love listening to psychoprog/folk/black albums, which can be described by on word: Artistic. It’s not just the atmospheres behind the black metal marks on guitars, on vocals, on drumming that remind of Darkthrone in the age of “Panzerfaust” or Enslaved. It’s also the successful painting of the ’70s sound, just as it begun with “Pneuma” and in “Oi Magoi” goes on, touching the top.
More distinctly all the songs of the album will capture your existence through music and lyrics. In contrast with “Pneuma”, in here there are more lead guitars and melodies as in the second half of “Blood Guru” where you are magnetized by the repeated melody and in “Demon for A Day” with the folk chorus. All together we can thank Goblin for their contribution and if you have heard of the songs “Suspiria” and “Witch”, then you can realize where all the guitar galls are accredited to. This is just the half true for the singularity of the album.
The other half is the perfect use of all the synths and keyboards. For example in the finale of the black metal attack “Satyriko Orgio” the peace of the keys comes to mop you up. In there underlies the “magic” of Manos Hadjidakis. You can also find him “cooperating” with Goblin in the prelude of the grand opus “The Mermaid”. A song that together with “Satan Is Time” typify the psychoprog sound of the ’70s.
I won’t tell you what to do. You know who are those that must act on the usual way. In case you smell it, you will loose the ground under your feet and one more thing; the lyrics are a reality of the human soul: lost, possessed by thou will and able to lead innocent faces to the mental death.
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- Ancient Arcane Scrolls
- Under Scythian Command
- In the Arms of Hades
- Breathe of Pestilence
- The Small
- Out of the Cage (A tribute to John Cage’s famous composition “4:33”)
Release Date: 31 October 2013, Hells Headbangers Records
“Moon: The Source of the Lost Souls”
A production that smells natural landscape, without the touch of the contemporary hand, songs that create imaginative landscapes in the mind and lyrics that behind all the modern pretexts emanate a truth that humanity does not accept it. All those things are existed in a black/thrash album? Oh yes. And add that the most songs prove the progressive way of thinking of Archon Vorskaath, the only leader of Greeks Zemial.
How does it seem to you having in your hands a black/thrash album, carrying within prog rock elements that take it far from the usual things? Such as a surprise? Maybe and yet the most pleasant surprise you couldn’t expect. From one side you feel through the listening the spirit of the early Bathory, late Darkthrone and Venom (but not as aloud as the Swedish band). “Ancient Arcane Scrolls”, “Under Scythian Command” and “Breathe of Pestilence” are the example of the simplest black/thrash songwriting with a riffing that either attracts you more and more or in seconds touches the limits of heavy/speed sound.
On the other side, you are facing songs in which the marriage of black with prog rock seems the most normal thing in music. Through “In the Arms of Hades” and “Pharos” we stop talking about simple and daily songs. We are talking about Culture, the vector of art, which music ministers. Here Archon unfolds his deepest vision with touches that invoke to Camel (in my point of view) and his personal sign through the Mediterranean melodies on guitars and the sci-fi keyboards leading to a majestic result. And if those two songs are the longest, pay all your attention to the five minute “The Small”. His title is a huge paradox, as it is an eternity on its own. Every second of sound is an image to my eyes, ears and mind.
Like this album, there are some out there, but the theme is who’s paying the right attention on them… Whether you like black/thrash or not, do not miss the chance to listen to “Nykta”. I repeat, it’s not a common album and yet the Egyptian atmosphere on keyboards and the grafical performance of Archon capturing you, like the light of the full moon attracts you.
Review by Dr.Feelgood