Dimmu Borgir & The Norwegian Radio Orchestra & Choir / Forces Of The Northern Night

Forces of the Northern Night

Dimmu Borgir (/ˌdɪm ˈbɔːrɡɪər/ or Norwegian: [dɪmmʏ bɔɾgiɾ] or Norwegian pronunciation: [dɪmmʏ bɔʁgiʁ]) is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. The name is derived from Dimmuborgir, a volcanic formation in Iceland, the name of which means “dark cities” or “dark castles/fortresses” in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse. The band has been through numerous lineup changes over the years; guitarist Silenoz and vocalist Shagrath are the only original members who still remain with guitarist Galder being a longstanding member.

The Analysis—-

Xibir [Orchestra Only]—-If you are a fan of Dimmu, or even slightly acquainted, this recording seems only natural in the grand scheme of things. What an experience it must be as an Orchestra member to play with such a dark and epic band. This track is lush and full of orchestrated moods and energy. Combining the choir of voices with the overblown music comes together to create something damn magical.

Born Treacherous—-The opening strains of the band are greeted by a huge swell of excitement. The music played by the band is bolstered and made so much larger by the Orchestra. Shagrath and his growl seems to wrap itself around the magnificent strings. This only makes the band seem even larger. I love this recording. When the choir joins in on the chorus it is an incredible journey in itself.

Gateways—-With a huge swell full of strings and those magnificent drums and bass line. this song becomes literally huge. Like an epic journey through guttural vocals accompanied by a beautifully landscaped Orchestra, the dichotomy is incredible. Shaw makes an appearance here….I never cared for her very much.  She nor a full choir can even come close to the incredible vocal style from ICS Vortex…..a huge mistake for the band to lose him.

Dimmu Borgir  [Orchestra Only]—-Serving as almost an introduction to the proper song, the choir soars with a huge anthem style delivery that just sounds beautiful. The swells of voices, strings and movements are like a huge movie come to life. Magnificent.

Dimmu Borgir—-Perhaps one of my favorite tracks from the band as of late, this is delivered with a huge and intense grandiosity. As Shagrath takes his proper place at the microphone and urges the crowd toward mania, the Orchestra and choir keep pace with the venom remarkably well. This is even better than the original version of the song. I am enthralled and in love. The swells and huge string delivery with the backing choir all come together to create a perfect magnificent storm.

Chess With The Abyss—-This seems a bit more straight forward in delivery…the orchestration is there…but not overly pronounced. The vocal here is the powerful force….along with the lead guitar that is blistering fast. The choir does an incredible job with the backing vocal, but Shagrath is the star here…sounding driven and demonic.

Ritualist—-With sound effects and an almost gentle acoustic intro, the sound falls away to invite the mayhem to the center stage. The vocal from Shagrath just seems so comfortable with all the members of the choir and orchestra. This is an amazing endeavor and recording.

A Jewel Traced Through Coal—-Delivering an incredibly huge sound, the energy of the recording threatens my ears and speakers. The strings swell to an almost bursting apex. The vocal from Shagrath always front and center and never drowned by the band or all the other musicians on stage. The choir adds a back swell that makes the song so huge. Just incredible.

Eradication Instincts Defined [Orchestra Only]—-Jaunty and overblown, this is delivered with a lot of flourish and grand choir overtones. I like it….but I can take or leave this…it all has a same like quality to it.

Vredesbyrd—-Stepping out of the depths of hell with a vocal that that belies and grandiosity, this track is pure and simple classic Dimmu. You almost miss the overblown backdrop of the orchestra simply because the vocal is so aggressive. This is fantastic….the crowd seems literally out of their minds…and the participation in fantastic. A stand out track…I have not heard this song in a long time.

Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse—-Perhaps the most well known track from the band, I love the backdrop of the swells of music, but the choir can not even come close to replacing the soaring vocal of former member Vortex. This is a bit of a disappointment for me…..I just miss that classic clean vocal line.

The Serpentine Offering—-Perhaps my favorite track from In Sorte Diaboli, the orchestration here makes the sound and the energy seem even larger than could be imagined. The orchestration was always here on this song from the original…but here it becomes even larger. What surprises me is how Shagrath never loses the power of his vocal despite all that is going on. Just remarkable.

Fear And Wonder [Orchestra Only]—-Overblown and moody, this serves as a slight transition I suppose….but to me….it would be a lot to sit through…..

Kings Of The Carnival Creation—-Jetting into the back catalog for another fan favorite track, Shagrath sounds just as evil as he ever did….despite the delivery of the song. The buildup is maddening before the band truly kicks in….and for me, the song loses some of its venom in his setting. I like it….but I will take the original any day…..

Puritania—-Huge and incredible drums introduce this track…the distortion on the vocal adds to the credibility of the band. The sharp and quick bursts of music takes me back to the days when the Black Metal sound of Dimmu was more pure if you will. This is delivered with a nice energy…it is easy to remember the old days.

Mourning Place—-True in sound and delivered with just the right attitude and tone of venom this is just magnificent. I love the snarl that Shagrath delivers….backed by the higher tones of the choir…..it all comes together to create an incredible sound and energy.

Perfection Or Vanity [Orchestra Only]—-Ending what must have been a very long evening, this is delivered with the same beauty and intricacy as the opening track. This is certainly a journey all of it’s own. Now….it’s time for Dimmu to return to what they do best…….recording….please?

**** out of 5

 

Loudwire.com 2013 Metal Album Of The Year—-Gorguts / Colored Sands

 

Colored Sands

Gorguts is a Canadian technical death metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, formed in 1989. The band has been through many personnel changes since its inception, and its only constant member has been guitarist and vocalist Luc Lemay, who remains the primary creative force in the band. To date they have released five full-length albums and one EP. Their most recent release is the EP Pleiades’ Dust, released on May 13, 2016, which consists of a single 33-minute song about the House of Wisdom that once stood in Baghdad. Their latest full-length album Colored Sands was released in 2013 and was nominated for a Juno Award. Musically the band is known for its complex, musically dense form of technical death metal, and has become “one of the most advanced, experimental, and challenging groups in the entire genre.

Colored Sands is the fifth full-length album by technical death metal band Gorguts. It is Gorguts’ first studio album since 2001’s From Wisdom to Hate. The album features the band’s first recordings with guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston, and the band’s only recordings with drummer John Longstreth. It is a concept album based on Tibet. The album was released digitally on August 6, 2013, and the release of the CD and vinyl versions on September 3, 2013.

The Analysis—-

Le Toit Du Monde—-Powerful and driving right from the very first chord, the band delivers a different type of Death Metal than you might expect. I find the sound of the band pretty experimental…but still technically sound in the genre. The vocal is so distorted it is hard to catch a single vowel…but the music is huge and powerful…..propelling you onward and then crashing you down with a slight pleasant interlude. remarkable.

An Ocean Of Wisdom—-Little in the way of introduction, the band manages to create a literal wall of sound that wraps around your head and threatens to snap your neck. The power and the venom that is produced is just incredible. I wish the vocal was a bit more moved to he front…it seems like the drums have the spotlight….but never the less…this is huge in sound…great with tempo changes and delivered with pure brilliance.

Forgotten Arrows—-Brilliant right from the onset…clear and bright high hats on the drums….soaring guitars and an actual melody you can sink your teeth into. the vocal is as usual it seems, pushed to the very back of the mix….but musically…this track is stellar. It has a huge epic feel without the typical orchestration and string effects…..brilliant.

Colored Sands—-An actual introduction ushers in this track…..clear guitars and the lack of heavy drums form the melody line of the song that raises it’s head throughout. The song takes a bit to get going…sounding plodding and Sabbath inspired…..this track is epic…..I find no fault here…this is brilliance.

The Battle Of Chamdo—-With a marching upbeat almost orchestrated intro to the song, you wonder immediately where this is all going to go. The instrumentation is fantastic…I love the jaunty feel of the song as it progresses….the swirls of strings…the melody that sounds like a classic movie soundtrack…..this is incredible…where did all this come from?

Enemies Of Compassion—-With a full and proper return to the brutality of the band, this tracks kicks you in the fuckin face from the first chord. The rhythm section of the band is incredible…the drums and the bass line are epic. There is so much sound here….my head wants to explode….instead I just sit back and smile.

Ember’s Voice—-Continuing in an almost identical vein, this sounds like a brilliant extension of the song that was previous with added breaks. The vocal enters with possibly the most violent and aggressive moment of the release so far. I literally want to jump up and punch something…I get such energy from the music. This makes me really feel…..I love this record!!!

Absconders—-Again powerful but with a nice structure to the melody line that runs underneath all of the mayhem. This is epic in sound….the wall of noise that is created just brings a huge smile to my face…the sharp bursts of guitars….the muted disgusting vocals add to the dirtiness of it all. This is so deep and dank…but somehow so bright and fantastic. The purest form of healthy aggression.

Reduced To Silence—-I almost hate to hear this release end…but of course you can listen again and again and again. This is explosive yet pleasant…giving a nice mix of everything of the album thus far but a nice slight tempo change to bring everything to a close. When the entire band really kicks in…so do your teeth….jaw and facial bones. This is fantastic!!!

***** out of 5

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 2011 Metal Album Of The Year—-Septicflesh / The Great Mass

The Great Mass

Septicflesh (formerly known as Septic Flesh) are a Greek death metal band from Athens, founded in 1990.

The Great Mass is the eighth studio album by Greek death metal band Septicflesh. It was recorded between July–September 2010 in Devasoundz (Greece) and The Abyss (Sweden) and produced by Peter Tägtgren. The orchestration was written by Christos Antoniou and recorded by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon release, the album received critical acclaim.

The Analysis—-

The Vampire From Nazareth—-If you really enjoy the grandiosity of Symphonic Death Metal, the opening strains of this are right up your alley. This has a lot of ‘classical’ elements, but once the band and the vocal kicks in, you know this is not pretty. Brutal…full of blasting beats and incredibly dark vocals all riding over a huge grand orchestration makes for a stellar kick off.

A Great Mass Of Death—-Coming out from a fog, the music rears and smacks you right in the head as this track begins. This is huge,,,with epic strings in the background…all the while wrapped in a short circuited electric blanket that shocks your senses with the contrast of violence and beauty. Every track is a journey! The variance in the vocal…including a female back drop singer keeps things interesting and epic.

Pyramid God—-Very listener friendly right from the onset, the under lying melody line is addictive and pleasant. The vocal enters and sounds like a perverted Rammstein. The power of the instrumentation is fantastic….I love how the original melody line never leaves the song…you can always hear it playing underneath the mayhem that intermittently occurs. This is epic!

Five-Pointed Star—-You can tell…..as the intro to the song enters that this is gonna be incredible. I wish I cold catch some more of the lyrics…but that is a slight complaint to the love that I have for this record. The intensity is never underwhelmed by the slight grand sounds that play underneath the instruments. This is aggressive yet remarkably accessible to even a casual fan. A landmark recording.

Oceans Of Grey—-Almost wispy and beautiful at the onset the strings give way to the death knell and the blast of the instruments. The drums beat you upside the head…and the slight breaks in the music allow you to realize the orchestration remains through out. The song has ‘movements’ taking you here and there….female vocal interludes…but always brings you back to the power and the aggression.

The Undead Keep Dreaming—-Little in the way of orchestration at the onset, this track is a bit different than most of the tracks heard thus far. The vocal is odd…going from a groveling whisper to an accessible mantra the song leaves me a bit underwhelmed. I like the power chords of the track though….there is so much swirling around your head. This is nice…not my favorite…but by no means a waste of space.

Rising—-at the onset, this has brighter tones to the music. The lead guitars seem to move much faster and gives a melody line that is easy to follow and become addicted to. The intermittent clean vocal seems to make it even more accessible. This is a stellar track….I like the play between different styles all rolled together in one nice package. Fantastic!!!

Apocalypse—-Chaotic at the beginning…but suddenly falling away to give room to a rather nice pleasant and epic introduction to the track. The power…the huge symphonic elements are so addictive and pleasant…you can’t get the melodies out of your brain. This is incredibly well constructed music….giving you so many different elements in each song…a really talented bunch of musicians.

Mad Architect—-Sharp bursts of piano and swirls of strings introduce the song….making it all seem like a movie soundtrack. The vocal enters accompanied by a marching bass line that turns this into a battlefield scene in my brain. This is huge….magnificently built and really well delivered.

Theriantropy—-I really hate to hear this all come to an end….but you can always push replay!!! The clean vocal that introduces the track just sets us up for the onslaught that is beautifully constructed and delivered. This could have all sounded like one repetitive song…but the band constructed such a well put together release…every track is epic and it’s own adventure. A fantastic listen!

***** out of 5

 

 

Loudwire.com 2003 Metal Album Of The Year—-Children Of Bodom / Hate Crew Deathroll

Hate Crew Deathroll

Children of Bodom is a melodic death metal band from Espoo, Finland. Formed in 1993, the group currently consists of Alexi Laiho (vocals, lead guitar), Janne Wirman (keyboards), Henkka Seppälä (bass), Jaska Raatikainen (drums) and Daniel Freyberg (rhythm guitar). In total they have released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, two compilation albums and one DVD.

The band’s third studio album, Follow the Reaper, was their first album to receive a Gold certification in Finland, and since then, all seven of the band’s studio albums have acquired the same status. In Finland, Children of Bodom has released three consecutive albums that debuted at number one on Finnish album charts, and has also seen chart positions on the United States Billboard 200.

The band has incorporated many different musical styles, leading critics and fans to label their work as melodic death metal,”extreme power metal“, thrash metalsymphonic black metal, and neoclassical metal. They are one of Finland’s best selling artists of all time with more than 250,000 records sold there alone.

Hate Crew Deathroll is the fourth album by the Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, released in 2003 under the Century Media label. The album is the final one to feature guitarist Alexander Kuoppala. It was successful both in Europe and the USA, which is demonstrated by the appearance of the “Needled 24/7” music video on MTV2‘s Headbangers Ball. “Needled 24/7” also featured on the heavy metal documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and the 2012 horror comedy video game Lollipop Chainsaw.

The Analysis—-

Needled 24/7—-Huge and blistering from the very first note, the sway back and forth of the guitar is incredible. The Speed of the onslaught makes me smile inwardly……I needed to hear this today…..the melody line that runs underneath the chaos shows a well constructed song. The vocal is not as extreme as on later releases…but the power and the brutality are in full effect. This is a huge track…loaded with the best of everything.

Sixpounder—-Walls of bass smack you right upside the head as this all begins. There is the vocal I was speaking of….brutal and literally seeping with a venom that makes your ears bleed. The aggression is huge….the bass that drives the song is incredible….but there is that magic melody line that gives everything a structure. This is extreme…in a most fantastic way!

Chokehold [Cocked N’ Loaded]—-With a nice build up to the mayhem, the song has a galloping feel that makes me feel right at home. The vocal comes at you hard…spitting right in your face with a nice mix of clean and guttural voices. This is fantastic….the entire band adds to the chorus….making it larger than life and giving it much more body. Extreme…….and fantastic!

Bodom Beach Terror—-Nice drums and sharp blast of guitars welcome you into the pit as this song takes you on a journey that travels 1000 miles an hour. Never losing the brutal feel of the music nor the structure of the melody line, the talent was written on the wall even now. This is fantastic….the chorus is built for crowd interaction….and I can feel my enthusiasm rise with every blast.

Angels Don’t Kill—-The intro is scary and sounds like a horror movie come to life…..just brilliant. The deep and dank plodding feel of the music makes the track huge. The vocal has a clarity that surprises me…..the slight guitar squeals a promise of things the band would deliver with later releases. This is a fantastic track….full of a foreboding and darkness….but still menacing and intense.

Triple Corpse Hammerblow—-That scream sets the song off to a blistering pace that is fueled by an anger and venom you can’t quite figure out. There are huge blasts…..almost orchestrated and built for audience participation. This is a favorite track of mine…I love the quasi orchestra feel fueled by keyboards…it gives it a huge feel….and the drums……my God….they are blistering.

You’re Better Off Dead—-Deeper in tone and filled with a slight bit of an angrier tone, this is none the less…extreme. The band…sounding so tight…..keeps pace with the vocal rather than vice versa. The lead guitars soar above your head and the entire band joins in on the chorus….built for an audience to lose it’s mind to. This is incredible…powerful….dark and aggressive.

Lil Bloodred Ridin Hood—-With a huge drum intro, we are soon off and running with the pack once again. the bass line and the drums are matched perfectly…while the vocal seems to swim right over all of the aggression with an added layer. This is just too good to be true….have not listened to this in a long time…too long.

Hate Crew Deathroll—-Ending the proper release with the same energy and venom that it began with, you can now pick yourself off the floor and clean up. This was just a promise of the grandiosity to come from the band….but if you need a starter kit…..pick this one!

***** out of 5

 

Loudwire.com 1998 Metal Album Of The Year—-Death / The Sound Of Perseverance

 

 

The Sound Of Perseverance - Reissue

Death was an American death metal band from Orlando, Florida, founded in 1983 by guitarist and vocalist Chuck Schuldiner. Death is considered to be one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in death metal. Its debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, has been widely regarded as the first death metal record, while the band’s driving force, Chuck Schuldiner, is acknowledged as the originator of extreme metal. Death had a revolving lineup, with Schuldiner being the sole consistent member. The group’s style also progressed, from the raw sound on its early albums to a more sophisticated one in its later stage. The band ceased to exist after Schuldiner died of brain cancer in December 2001, but remains an enduring metal brand.

The Sound of Perseverance is the seventh and final studio album by American death metal band Death, released on September 15, 1998 by Nuclear Blast. This is the only album to feature guitarist Shannon Hamm, bassist Scott Clendenin and drummer Richard Christy.

The Analysis—-

Scavenger Of Human Sorrow—-The first thing I really noticed first off with this release is the lack of the trademark deep bass tones on many bands that fall under the Death Metal moniker. The second thing of note is the incredible vocal….lacking the guttural feel of many of the Florida bands, it is easy to catch the lyrics to the song and to understand the darkness of the content. The track has nice mood swings…brutal but damn accessible to the casual listener. This is great!

Bite The Pain—- A nice dark plodding melody line opens the track,,,,but it comes alive as it progresses. The intricate bass line is incredible…really steering the song and the melody of the track. The voice is incredible….this is damn technical Metal….not your typical all out Thrash of Death screams and scary lyrics. Well formulated and played with mastery….these guys deserved to be kings.

Spirit Crusher—-Again with the incredible bass line lead in, this band has really surprised me with the incredible finesse it plays with. To think that this is my first exposure to the band is almost unthinkable…but it is true. I will be investigating them much more after this adventure. I really love the talent that is all over this record…a true mastery of the scene….they set the bar very high indeed.

Story To Tell—-Much fuller instrumentation at the onset of this track, the high soaring lead guitars are phenomenal. The heavier bass line returns as the song begins to form….but it never seems to be to heavy or overwhelming. The vocal often times makes me think of Dani Filth when he sings in a regular style tone. This track has a huge marching element to it…but then breaks magically and gives you a clear soaring guitar…just incredible.

Flesh And The Power It Holds—-Again, the song opens with a nice fuller guitar sound that seems to last longer than on previous tracks. The sound is crashing through my headphones…swirling around my head with a melody that is undeniable. The lead guitar adds to the full sound of the song…and then the drums really pick up the pace of the song. The vocal comes at you fast and filled with brutal lyrics….making me smile inside with the irony of it all. i love this stuff. Especially when it is played with mastery and talent such as this.The mid song melody break is phenomenal.

Voice Of The Soul [Instrumental]—-At the onset…intricate and really sounding quite familiar at this point in the record. The guitars seem to repeat a line that has been played over and over…and perhaps this might very well be by design. By the second bar of the song, the tone of the song changes….adding a backdrop of acoustic guitar that plays well with the electricity of the lead. This is really…dare I say…a beautiful song.

To Forgive Is To Suffer—-as a nice change, drums kick off the intro to this track and the song is off to a blistering romp after the sedate beauty of the previous instrumental. The sounds, I must say, are very familiar though. Although I love this record, it suffers from a sameness sound that you can’t escape….even the breaks and ‘movements’ in the songs seem almost predictable….but I will take this over many of the things being released today under this moniker of Death.

A Moment Of Clarity—-With a slight marching bass line that steers the track, the Maiden style galloping bass line comes and goes like magic. This is a stellar track…underneath the bass and the drums…there is a clarity with the guitars that transfix me. I really, really like this band. How did I miss this stuff first time around? Really a great listen.

***** out of 5

 

 

Loudwire.com 1995 Metal Album Of The Year—-At The Gates / Slaughter Of The Soul

Slaughter of the Soul

At the Gates is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. They are a major progenitor of the Gothenburg sound. At the Gates were initially active from 1990 to 1996. In 2007, the band announced a limited reunion tour between April and September of 2008. However, they reformed for a second time in 2011, and have since continued to perform live. The band released At War with Reality, their first album in 19 years, in late 2014.

Slaughter of the Soul is the fourth studio album by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates, released on November 14, 1995. It was their last album before their eleven-year breakup from 1996 to 2007. Slaughter of the Soul is considered a landmark in melodic death metal and played a major role in popularizing the Gothenburg scene, alongside The Jester Race by In Flames and The Gallery by Dark Tranquillity. The album was recorded and mixed in Studio Fredman, early 1995.

Andy LaRocque‘s neo-classical guest solo on “Cold” was widely acclaimed as one of the greatest metal solos and guitarist Anders Björler admitted in 2007 that he still couldn’t play it properly.

“Blinded by Fear” was covered by The Haunted (composed largely of ex-At The Gates members) on their Japanese version of their live/double disc album, Live Rounds in Tokyo and was also covered by Fleshgod Apocalypse on their Mafia EP. The song also appeared in the game Rock Band 2 as downloadable content.

The Analysis—-

Blinded By Fear—-Dark and foreboding at best on the onset, the music soon begins and the technicality of the whole thing is immediate. The vocal is as you would expect…forceful…full of gravel and delivered at a blistering pace. The drums…outstanding, are very in your face…but it will be be the guitars..with the soaring melody lines that you notice right from the onset. Well constructed and very listenable.

Slaughter Of The Soul—-Seeming to meld from the previous song, you have no time to catch your breath before the speed of the music wipes you on the floor. The voice is abrasive but not as bad as some of the bands I have come to adore. The guitars are so clear…the rhythm section very pronounced. This is excellent.The mid point of the song…..the guitars seem to literally levitate above your head…..

Cold—-Beginning with a wall of bass guitar, the mayhem soon commences with an outstanding ascending guitar line that forms the melody line of the song. The bass line that begins the song…remains clear throughout the entirety. The voice is removed a bit from the track…the music is the star of the show…this is exquisite…you can hear the technical elements of the band all over…from the breaks, the tempo changes and the masterful upswing again…this is incredible.

Under A Serpent Sun—-Again. we are off and running right from the very first note of the song. The guitars form a melody line that you actually find your ears tuning into and drowning out the death screams of the vocalist. The soaring tones….the temp changes….the rhythm section that is so present…have made for a landmark recording.

Into The Dead Sky—-Beginning with a beautifully constructed acoustic guitar, the intricate melody that opens up and adds a bass line is exquisite. The vocal enters with a eerie whisper that runs underneath of the beautiful music….giving everything a ‘dark around the edges’ feel. This is incredible and a really nice surprise.

Suicide Nation—-Leaving the dark beauty behind and digging back in the trenches for mud to sling at your head, the mayhem picks up from where it left off. The vocal is fast…spitting at your face with a disgust and venom. The music is fast…with a heavy bass melody line. This is fantastic. Very dark with a disturbing lyric….but still fantastic.

World Of Lies—-Huge walls of aggressive bass kick off the song…the drums are really prominent and excellent. The groove that is produced is soon interrupted as the song dissolves into a huge mess of sound that comes at you from all directions. But the construction is very technical and in good form. This is not just bashing out a song….there is a lot of thought here. When that galloping bass line kicks in mid song….I can do nothing but shake my head in amazement.One of my favorite tracks on this release.

Unto Others—-Offering what you have come to expect, the death scream at the intro to this track is incredible. The drumming threatens to ruin your life as it pummels right in the center of your forehead. The guitars offer a melody line that magically seems to rise right above all the noise and mayhem. This is the most organized chaos I have ever heard. The acoustic break that magically appears in the middle of the song will leave you shaking your head in amazement.

Nausea—-Another death scream and we are off and running at an incredible pace. The band seems to almost leave the vocal behind….but there it is again….that magical melody line that appears…disappears but magically leads the song in the direction it is going. The bass takes over….falls away and you are right back to the technical melody that soars clear above your head and keeps you from sinking into the black water. Amazing.

Need—-Not to much new at the onset of the track….the established and trademark sound of the band is now permanently tattooed in your frontal lobe. The vocal….becomes tiresome at points…..it is only the magical mastery of the music that makes you crave more from the band. This is ground breaking.

The Flames Of The End—-Ending the release with atmosphere and a surprise intro, the band again shows its talent and versatility with a slow and melodic intro that leads you down a scary path into a darkness you are not sure of. The blasts of guitars that appear and disappear are monstrous and then gone….here and then there. This is stellar. The tone of the song…so dark and eerie. Not a single word was uttered with this final song…but it pt you right where the album wanted you to be.

****3/4 out of 5