Category: Album Reviews (Page 1 of 2)

Kimaera’s Imperivm reviewed…

I did not know Kimaera before hearing about their new album “Imperivm” and boy am I mad that I did not. I will give my tl;dr now and say this album is so freaking good, it made me raise my standards for other death metal albums. With the OCD personality I have, I had to dig up everything about the band and listen to everything they recorded, and this was such a fun ride, that ended in me finding out that the vocalist Jean Pierre Haddad had passed away in February of 2022 and I genuinely felt sad, because it reminded me of Chuck Schuldiner and how I was depressed for almost a year when he passed away (coincidentally, Chuck’s birthday is today or the day I’m writing this article.) Jean Pierre’s passing was a huge loss to the death metal scene locally and internationally as he was a pioneer in the Lebanese metal scene from early on (early 2000s) and this album and all the other things he recorded will keep his memory alive.

The album starts with De Amare Et Bellvm which is one of the best intros to a death metal album I have heard in a while, a perfect orchestral arrangement which is shattered by guitar chugs and double bass kicks, while keeping the choirs in the background giving a very dark ambiance to the song. JP’s vocals are one of the best guttural growls and shrieks in recent years. Midway through the song, the music is blessed with some lute (the Arabic Oud) riffs and some Arabic style vocalization which makes this song such an intense journey and, again, one of the best starts to an album.

The Die is Cast follows with a strong start of guitars alongside a sample of an impassioned speech that I unfortunately could not trace but it definitely fits the mood as this is a war song. The music and the lyrics flow perfectly together, and you can hear a lot of middle eastern influences in the music and the vocalization in the background, which is a signature Kimaera trope that will repeat in all the songs. Following is what I think is the highlight of the album, VVV, another warsong that makes you want to carry your pitchfork and just go out and protest something. This song has probably one of the best mixing and mastering of any death metal song I have heard in a long time. As a musician, this is one of the main things I listen for, and Kimaera have hit it out of the park. You have piano parts, orchestrals, strings, vocalization, blast beats, breakdowns, this song has everything and I just wish it was longer than 7 minutes.

Following the masterpiece that is VVV, is The Ides of March which was released as a lyric video and is my second favorite in the album, mainly because of the amazing intro and guitar riffs in the first half and the piano and guitar solos that are quiet yet fit perfectly with the tone of the song. The next couple of songs, are not really my favorites as they rehash some ideas and feel a bit repetitive, but should definitely not be discarded as great productions, Imperator has a wonderful creepy piano part followed by an epic guitar solo, Vi Divina continues the creepy vibes with a superb piano intro mixed in with blast snare beats leading to the main part of the song, and Capvt Mvndi (no idea how that is pronounced) is the perfect outro to the album with it’s folk-y intro into an orchestral grand opening and around the halfway mark it goes full middle east folk (I can imagine a belly dancer in a king’s guest room.) and then goes back to the metal mood with two harmonizing guitars, and finally an ending that feels like a proper end to an adventure that took a lot of energy off you and you can see the finish line.

The bonus track Ya Beirut, a cover of the Lebanese singer Majida El Roumi’s song, which for an Arabic metalhead is an amazing transformation of a pretty famous song into metal with amazing clean vocals of Cheryl Khayrallah and ends with the soul crushing growls of JP. But the original singer was not so happy with this and sued the band for using her copyright without permission and she called the song a disgrace and racist (huh?), but then again, death metal is not for everyone and there are still people in the Arab world that immediately link growl vocals to satanism (but this is a topic for another article.)

As a final verdict and to summarize the above, I’d say this album/band is a must listen for any death metal fan, while not pure death metal (I’d say it walks between folk, orchestral, gothic and melodic sub genres of death.) It still has a lot of themes that will please any metal fan. One of the highlights of this album is the superior quality of the production which some death metal bands don’t pay a lot of attention to. I’d give this album a 9/10 and I recommend it for anybody.

R.I.P. Jean Pierre Haddad

 



Album Review: Kalandra’s Kingdom Two Crowns

I started listening to Kalandra a little over 2 years ago, when Mr. Spotify Algorithm decided to give me their song Brave New World in my weekly playlist, and boy was I hooked. Katrine’s vocals on this song were phenomenal and the music was very well done. At that time, they had not released any full album yet, but had just a couple of songs on an EP. They later on released a cover for Warduna’s Helvegen which blew me away. I listened to this song on repeat for months. I’ve been following them and hoping for more ever since that fateful day.

Their first album was more than just some songs gathered together on a CD. It was a trip into a new world that amazes you from the first second of Borders to the last second in It Gets Easier. I don’t know what it is with Norwegian bands, but the ambiance that bands with a folk influence create is so mesmerizing (I will be using this word a lot throughout this review, so buckle up.)

When Kalandra released the song My Kingdom back in 2021, I was shocked with how good it was, the ambiance and atmosphere in it were just crazy good. They mentioned this was a soundtrack to the indie game Kingdom which was released back in 2015-2016. I did not know back then that this was going to lead to a full soundtrack album, and then, BAM! All of a sudden they release a full 12 track album with music for the game. 

The album is a concept album with sounds and music that plays in the game. It is mostly made up of ambient music, choir harmonies and folk sounds. While a bit different from their previous album, it is still a masterpiece in its own right. The first time I listened to it, I played it twice, because one time was absolutely not enough and I wanted to stay immersed in the world that the music created. Katrine’s vocals are what I imagine angels sound like, they take you to different places and guide your heart and soul to a different plane of existence.

We start with Eikthyrnir (meaning: a stag which stands upon Valhalla) which is a combination of strings and vocal humming, and is an excellent start to the album as it sets the tone for what’s to come. I felt like I was taken to a huge green field and was slowly dissolving and becoming one with nature. Ferden (meaning: journey) comes after that and the calm keyboard playing throughout the song has your heart racing a bit but the flute calms you down. After that trip is finished, Drømmefanger (meaning: dream catcher) takes you back to where Eikthyrnir was and you feel peaceful and safe. Be ready for sadness and melancholy, because Veiviseren (meaning: the wizard) pulls no punches and the bagpipes immediately play with your heartstrings. 

The next song dips into Norwegian folklore and is the theme of Skogtroll (meaning: the forest troll) which is a bit upbeat and feels like you are in the forest dancing around a campfire, only to be led to Katrine’s mesmerizing vocals again in Mørke Skoger (meaning: dark forest) and back into a world of mystery and a bit of fear. With tense emotions we start Synnavind (meaning: southern wind) which has a more calming effect with the choir and the percussion.

The highlight of the album is of course Helheim (meaning: the realm of the dead,) a song that is a signature Kalandra song. Katrine’s superb performance along with the ambiance, strings, bagpipes, percussion and harmonies. It is a mixture of feelings, you feel scared, you feel excited and anxious. You want to run and fight. I literally felt like a viking in a battle (even though I was sitting on my comfy chair at home sipping on some hot tea.) I was full of Norwegian pride and went to amazon to buy a viking axe. 

After all that tension, we are hit with Nordlys (meaning: northern lights) which is a short set of horns being blown in the air to signify the end of a battle and tell the warriors that everything is over, and after your heartbeat calms down and you feel at ease, the warning horns ring in the air and your village gets raided. Greed makes you feel just that. After all is lost, you go to your trusted steed and run away with the feelings of loss crushing you, Hrimfaxi  (meaning: the shining mane) explores feelings of loss and defeat. We end the album with the best finale to this journey, Valkyrja (meaning: Chooser of the Slain) is one of the most atmospheric songs I have ever listened to, you feel calm but still excited, you feel at ease but fearful, like you are finally rested but the shadows of the past still follow you, I doubt there could have ever been a finale that fits the whole album better than this.

Kalandra have created a masterpiece that befits a survival game set in Norse history. It literally took me on a ride where I felt happiness and sadness, defeat and victory, love and loss without a single word being spoken. This is a talent that few bands nowadays have and the Norwegians absolutely excel at it (Wardruna comes to mind.) I give this album an 8 out of 10, the only reason it’s not a 10 is that it is only 35 minutes long, I would have loved to stay in this world for way longer. Whether you’re a fan of Kalandra or not, this album is a must-listen, believe me, you don’t want to miss it.

You can stream the album here and let us know your thoughts



Meshuggah’s “Immutable” Album Review

Meshuggah’s “Immutable” Album Review by: Mayaz Dimashki

As someone who is a fan of djent, I never really got into Meshuggah, and when I decided to listen to this album I was expecting the famous 0-0-0-0 guitar chugs, and I was not surprised when this is what I got. Starting from the first riff in the first song “Broken Cog”, I realized that this album will not be surprising me with any genre defying music. 

While this album did not change the usual tone of Meshuggah as a band when it comes to their playstyle, it was also not even remotely bad, even for a person like me who is not that into the band. I actually enjoyed it! The technicality of their riffs, the blast beats by the beast Tomas Haake and Jens’s vocals are top notch. I usually judge an album by how many of its riffs get stuck in my head after I’m done with it and at least 5 riffs and sections have stuck with me here, which is more than some of my favorite bands’ new albums (looking at you Dream Theater.)

We start off with Broken Cog that sets the tone for the whole album, while not as complex and fast as the other songs, it still fits perfectly as a first track that eases the listener and grabs their hand leading them to the pits of hell that is the next track. The Abysmal Eye comes next starting with an immediate blast beat after the whispering outro of the previous track. I immediately fell in love with the guitar solo here, it made me feel entranced with how it fits wonderfully with the ominous vibe the whole song gives off. The same could be said about the next song on the list, Light The Shortening Fuse, which slows down a bit in the middle adding a tone of melancholy before Jens growls his way out of that vibe back to the general ominous tone the album has built up until now.

While the songs so far have been a bit on the extreme/djent side, the next song Phantoms adds some groovy riffs to the mix while maintaining the feeling of extremity and power. Going to a complete halt half way through with a nasty breakdown (I can already feel myself getting injured in the mosh pit at this exact moment.) Ligature Marks returns to the djenty vibes but adds some lead riffs that add a terrifying mood to the song before the vocals assert the fear. The next track, God He Sees In Mirrors, sounded the most Meshuggah to me, with a super complex solo line, deadly blast beats and overall harsh vocals.

Almost halfway through the album, we are welcomed with a calming clean guitar intro in the longest song on the album, They Move Below. This is in my opinion the crown jewel of the whole album, although it’s an instrumental. A lot of feelings get invoked throughout the song and the genius arrangement just gets better every minute as it gets heavier and heavier and more technical. Following that amazing trip, we are grabbed by the throat and pulled back down to the heavy riffs and vocals of Kaleidoscope, the highlight of this song is the technical solo around halfway through. Black Cathedral is 2 minutes of scary guitar riffs. I can imagine a 15th century church burning in the background, which culminates into the next track. 

Unfortunately, this is where the album starts feeling repetitive and boring, the songs quickly become very familiar and very predictive. While generally not a bad thing because they maintain the same theme throughout the album, it still feels like the album ended and is repeating the previous songs again. Up until the last track Past Tense which begins with a clean riff that takes you out of the repetitiveness and into a confusing and ominous feel for about 3 minutes then back to the “how long is left in this song still?” feeling.

Overall, I’d say the album is not a masterpiece, but it is also not bad. It is worth a listen if you’re not a fan, but you’ll love it if you are. The mixing and mastering is of high quality and the band is excellent in their instruments. I would give this album a 7 out of 10.

 

Album Art Cover and Track-listing:

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. “Broken Cog” Mårten Hagström Hagström 5:35
2. “The Abysmal Eye” Tomas Haake Dick Lövgren 4:55
3. “Light the Shortening Fuse” Hagström Hagström 4:28
4. “Phantoms” Haake

Haake – Lövgren

4:53
5. “Ligature Marks” Hagström Hagström 5:13
6. “God He Sees in Mirrors” Haake Lövgren 5:28
7. “They Move Below” (instrumental) Hagström 9:35
8. “Kaleidoscope” Haake

Haake – Lövgren

4:07
9. “Black Cathedral” (instrumental) Hagström 2:00
10. “I Am That Thirst” Haake Hagström 4:40
11. “The Faultless” Haake Hagström 4:48
12. “Armies of the Preposterous” Haake

Haake – Lövgren

5:15
13. “Past Tense” (instrumental) Hagström 5:46



OSTURA | The Room Album Review

Out of the ashes they surged in 2012, shaking off the rust from the wings of a dormant phoenix that had waited for years to have a sip of Lebanese metal glory. And heavily rewarded were they, with an entire generation eagerly awaiting the continuation of this journey, to quench their thirst and support a local band which looked so promising on its debut, yet couldn’t string it all together again until 2018, after almost all hopes of a new opus had been lost. Continue reading

Helloween Chameleon Review

Helloween Chameleon Review!

Band Name: Helloween
Album Title: Chameleon
Genre: Power Metal
Year: 1993
Origin: Germany
Length: 71:13

Helloween Chameleon Review

Misunderstood, underrated, and underappreciated are the verbs to describe Helloween’s 1993 album, Chameleon. At this point, Helloween had not one, but two big hits with their dual albums in the form of “Keepers of the Seven Keys Part I and Part II”. It’s going to be hard for the band to have better follow-ups. “Pink Bubbles Go Ape”, such a strange album title name, was decent with some good to even great songs, but it’s been awfully forgotten. But now, we have “Chameleon”, which, at this point, Kai Hansen had already departed and Michael Kiske on the borderline of leaving the band, got snuffed by many who considered the album the worst Helloween album yet. I, personally, disagree. 

 

It’s very interesting that each track has its own rules like the song “When The Sinners” which has a very Bon-Jovi-esque Hard Rock vibe to it, but still enjoyably to listen to. “First Time” is a very solid opener but the middle section of the album has a solid streak of excellent songs starting from “Crazy Cat” which is weird but highly energetic with its explosive chorus but then, you have “Giants” which is an incredible song. “Giants” is the best song on the album with pounding guitars and even an epic feel to it. It sounds special compared to the other songs on the album and sounds something you could hear from the “Keeper” records. The only gripe that I have against this album is that there are 3 to 4 ballads which may not favor everyone. My favorite ballad is “Windmill” which is surprisingly calm and soothing yet beautifully written and has its charm. So, those three tracks are the highlight of the album with really excellent music back-to-back. “In The Night” sounds like 60’s rock ‘n’ roll which feels very Elvis-ish, which does not technically work.

 

The last portion of the album goes into epic length territories with “Music” hitting the 7-minute mark which is musically impressive with some great vocal delivery from Kiske and the guitar soloing is incredible. “Step Out of Hell” is fun and quite sunny, which is the best way to describe this song. The album switches from Power Metal to Pop/Rock or even Rock ‘n’ Roll. Some songs do work, others are just “meh”.  “I Believe” is the longest track clocking in 9 minutes and it’s as impressive with its mood and atmosphere. There’s something creatively composed in the song and guitar soloing is brilliant.

Overall, effort has been put throughout the album and it does show. It may not be appealing at a first listen but needs to be given several chances until it does have some quality music. The album’s reception by many has been unfair to describe it as Helloween’s “St. Anger” which is not NEARLY as bad as that album. If it didn’t work out the first time, it’s worth giving it many spins to witness that it isn’t as bad as many had perceived it. As I’m listening to it right now, I’m enjoying it. So, take it as it is… as for me, it’s a really damn good album with a fantastic track called “Giants”.

 

Final score: 74/100

-Review By: Simon Nader


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NERVECELL – PAST PRESENT TORTURE Album Review (77.5/100)

About Nervecell

Formed in 2000 as one of the first extreme metal bands to emerge from Dubai, U.A.E. and having supported legendary metal bands such as Metallica, Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Suffocation, Nervecell have become the most prominent band to arise from the Middle East and truly are the torchbearers for a Middle Eastern wave of metal. Delivering a unique blend of Middle Eastern death/thrash metal, and maintaining a reputation for highly energetic live performances. Continue reading

Eden Sworn Obedience Prerelease Review By MOLOCH

Eden Sworn Obedience Prerelease Review by MOLOCH!

Eden Sworn Obedience is the latest release of malevolent sonic energy from the Phoenician shores.

The Lebanese thrash quartet’s debut, is a 5-song mini CD with a sixth song, ‘Penetration’ which is a Nefilim cover and a couple of additional demo tracks added as bonuses. Continue reading

Damage Rite “The Dehumanizing Factor” – Reviewed

*Heavy Breathing Intensifies*

The Band:

Thrash Metal seems to still hold ground onto our Lebanese metal bands. But, it is only when it is crossed with Death Metal that we get this nostalgic wave of brutalness we once had in our music back in the day. And what more of a nostalgic feeling can you get when the band, Damage Rite, was created by Post Mortem’s JM Elias.
Damage Rite have released their debut album, “The Dehumanizing Factor”, on February 28, 2017, after 8 years of releasing their first single, “Whispers of Ages”, and here is what the band said about that:

“It took a while for the band to engage in the recording process due to line up amendments that occurred during the precedent years which led to the absolute and current arrangement designed to bestow the thrashiest and deadliest tunes, to fulfill the rights of the listeners to undergo on a metal experience like no other”.

The news already sounded brutal to our ears, but what about the actual music?

READ MORE: Damage Rite Releases A New Album 2017

The Album:

Damage Rite "The Dehumanizing Factor"

“The Dehumanizing Factor” starts off with the intro track “Dehumanize”. The sound of someone marching with a danger alarm soon turned into some Thrash riffing that clearly tells us there will be no mercy on our ears.
The second track is the released single “Whispers of Ages”, aggressive and fast, along with angry growling, showing how Death Metal is largely incorporated in the Thrash sound.
The album continues with “Cities of Blood”, “Homicidal Death Machine”, and “Oppression”. Tracks of tight changing rhythms, technical sounding solos, yet with a taste of melody, and not to forget, some rhythm breaks one can’t help but headbang to.

Track 6 is the album track, it pretty much sums up the sound of the album and includes the same theme from the album’s intro.
Last three tracks from the album are “Set Apart”, “Chaos of Souls”, and “Thy Will be Done”.
The lyrics match the album title, they question morals, purposes, truths, and you guessed it… blood and war.

To sum it up, “The Dehumanizing Factor” is a solid release, one we guarantee you will love; it is straight harsh and in your face brutal. However, one thing might stand in the face of this album breaking through. It is common among such genre: the lack of a definitive idea that separates it from the rest. Therefore, if Damage Rite can get their hands on that, we’ll be waiting for something big coming our way.

Total rank: solid 90/100
Favorite track: Set Apart

You can buy the album from Damage Rite’s Band Camp.

SVENGALI Unscathed – Album Review

SVENGALI Unscathed Album Review Originally Published in Issue 5 Pages 18-19

Dubai’s Svengali have officially released their debut EP, “Unscathed”. A project initiated by Adnan Mryhij and Fadi Al Shami. Continue reading

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear: A Remarkable Evolution – (9.2/10)

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear – (92/100)

BLAAKYUM Line Of FearWe’ve come a long way from the competent but uninteresting ‘Lord of the Night’. Where the debut draws heavily from every outside influence, ‘Line of Fear’ draws inspiration from within, meaning Lebanese history, culture, and mythos. Where the traditional percussion of the ‘derbakke’ was mostly filler in the debut, it is now a major contributor to the overall mood of ‘Line of Fear’. The overall mood is now enhanced manifold, not just due to the addition of this oriental instrument, but by the perfected alchemy of all instruments with the vocals, providing a solid structure and form, fused with meaningful folk lyrics. Continue reading

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