If you have found this blog, it probably means you were searching for something that isn’t in the public eye. My intention is to promote awareness of artists that you would otherwise likely never know existed. If you like what you hear, support the artist by purchasing their music so that they can continue to create, and enjoy the release in the quality they intended.

Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Axis of Metal.

Adagio – Archangels in Black

Posted by T. Bawden Friday, 20 August 2010 2 comments

Adagio – Archangels in Black – 4.5/5
{Link Removed at Request}

Upon doing my research, I happened upon a review in metal archives that it must be said, I found rather appalling, believing the low rating wholly unjustified, though not unexpected. Described as progressive symphonic metal, I’d have added neo-classical and power to that description, but even that doesn’t describe the tone presented here. If you go into this expecting the images this usually conjures, be prepared for a surprise. This is aggressive bordering on melodic death metal more often than not, with no shortage of a deep gothic atmosphere, deathly growls and more solo’s than you can count, this certainly satisfies the description of being unique.

The drumming is very basic, creating a framework to build upon. Whilst many layers present themselves, the drums are given little share of the spotlight. Instead the spotlight lies on the incredible guitar work, from both the bassist and the lead guitarist. The bassist comes through thick and clear, providing many of the main riffs for the album, deep and heavily distorted the atmosphere this creates is nothing short of impressive.

And this is only topped by the magnificent acrobatic display shown by the lead guitarist. Literally packed with solo’s, from the upbeat neo-classical, the slow emotional and melodic, the dark and twisted, the groove style riffs, the variety and manner in which they are conducted leaves no shadow in my mind that this album should place right up there with the Romeo’s and Petrucci’s in the genre. But he isn’t the only one with his fair share of solo’s here, the keyboard player too adds his touch. From the heavily classical inspired introductions and interludes, to the ‘keytar’ solo’s often played off of the guitarist in a sort of guitar duel, and the manner in which he succeeds in adding a second layer of atmosphere, with his riffs intertwined with the guitarist and the bassist, all performing simultaneously in coherent manner.

Unfortunately, the vocals are the main point in which this album falls short. When confronted with an aggressive and powerful instrumental force, the vocals have to more than match this in order to power over it. Don’t get me wrong, the new vocalist on this album is more than competent, he simply fails in adding that final kick in the line-up.

I went into this album with high expectations – something I usually try to avoid for fear of disappointment – but this album has risen to the challenge, and succeeded in producing a perfect blend of their darker classical take in ‘underworld,’ and the more standard affair neo-classical style in ‘dominate,’ as they intended. This won’t be remembered as an equal to their masterpiece with ‘underworld’ but it certainly came damn close.

Highlights: Vamphyria, Undead, Archangels in Black

P.S. Yes, I did laugh when I realised how many genres this seems to fall under. If I could shorten it, I would, but I couldn’t see how. They’re all present, and fairly prominent.

By T. Bawden

Album: Archangels in Black
Artist: Adagio
Released: 2009
Rating: 5/5
{Link Removed at Request}

I decided to start off by reviewing one of my favorite albums of all-time. Adagio is a Symphonic Progressive Metal band. With the following members Vocals: Christian Palin, who is the bands third singer, he had sent a demo to the band in 2004 but didn't get accepted due to his deep Finnish accent. Lead Guitar/Backup Vocals: Stephan Forté, who is considered to be the genius force behind Adagio. Bassist: Franck Hermanny. Keyboards: Kevin Codfert. And lastly on Drums: Eric Lébailly.

If you are a fan of fast double bass playing then the drummer busts in to drum beats, great and catchy breakdowns, memorable buildups, and mind-blowing solos. This is an album for you. The album in my opinion has the greatest song to start off an album I have ever heard my entire life. The opening song (Vamphryi) has a bit of everything that is in the album. A great start of course, as it automatically tells you what the album is like. Telling you to not listen, or to kick back and enjoy the music (while of course head banging).

The album also has killer riffs that will make you want to listen to the song five times more. (Example) In fact this song is filled with sweet riffs. Personally, I swear I could listen to this album around 80 times till I might think it’s just OK, so this album you will most likely never get tired of. The keyboardist Kevin Codfert has many brilliant passages on his piano, giving a feeling of darkness. Vamphyri at 2:38 has good example of such, then there is a sweet build up, and an amazing solo following closely afterward. And even on Vamphryi it has a synthesized solo.

I enjoy Stephen Forte's touch and feel so much that IMO, he goes up with Eric Johnson for best touch and feel with a guitar. I think that his style of playing fits perfectly with their music. The drums and guitar fit perfectly together. And Eric LeBailly's drumming fits perfectly with the guitar as well. The atmosphere of the album is mostly dark and eery, which is why the background violins and piano breakdowns fit seamlessly to the music. Overall this is simply perfection fit into one album, and is a VERY highly recomended album by me.

The highlights of the album: Vamphryi, The Fifth Ankh, and Archangels in Black. Every other song from the album is equally good, but IMO these stick out as the best of the album

By S. Monyette

Mordax – Slaughter

Posted by T. Bawden Sunday, 8 August 2010 0 comments

Mordax – Slaughter [EP] – 4/5

It's funny how things have been falling into my lap of late. Despite not specifically looking for new music, new artists still manage to somehow grace my ears and this unsigned Danish death/thrash act have succeeded in keeping my attention. Which for Denmark – a country known for King Diamond, Lars Ulrich, the Danish pastry and little else – places them in a rather special category already. This debut self-produced EP unquestionably comes with some issues in the production department, everything kept perhaps slightly too raw for my liking, feeling instead a little 'fuzzy' and blurred as opposed to the crispness I usually prefer. It's not even consistently raw, each track jarring into a slightly different manner of viscerality.

That said, there are many early demo's of now well known artists that are highly sought after for more than just collectors items and gaining metal man-penis points but for the actual music contained, and if they continue writing material as strong as this then 'Slaughter' could very quickly find its way to that status. Get past the production and what you discover is some mid-paced thrash, deathly howls and the definite highlight in the guitars; between the epic chorus lines, gentle solo's and shredded passages, the guitars when not relegated to the occasionally monotonous chugging duties demonstrate the sort of melodic sensibilities to be expected of already well established artists.

The bottom line is that you'll not find anything particularly original in this piece; there's little that doesn't feel as though it's been done before but what this EP does is re-create that old school vibe of where the likes of Sodom and Exodus reigned supreme and follow in their footsteps two decades on. It's target audience is quite clear; if you like thrash (in particular), and like how it was done back in the day then this is one band that is more than deserving of your time.

Highlights: Buried Alive, Devoured By Life, Eyes of the Weak

NOTE: The Link is a repost from here who have received it with the bands blessing.

Ad Inferna – DSM

Posted by T. Bawden Saturday, 7 August 2010 0 comments

Ad Inferna – DSM – 4.5/5

My discovery of this artist I remember well; initially looked up for Asphodel (Pin-Up Went Down) providing some of the guest vocals, and whilst I was initially listening to their earlier Blackened works this new release is something entirely different, and I don't just mean from their own back catalogue but from music in general. The best comparison I can give is that of Samsas Traum, perhaps with some Diapsiquir thrown in for good measure; a sort of Dark Industrial Trance, complete with gothic wails, enraged Frenchman, samples (notably from the show “Dexter” if my ears don't deceive me) and simple but strong electronic melodies that not only provide the main focus but much of the forboding atmosphere as well.

The entire piece flows into one another in a blur, lending a gradual transition from the start to the end and yielding an oddly progressive sense to the proceedings. The only real continual presence is the atmosphere itself – though the simple steady beat of the drum machine makes a notable appearance – morphing and contorting itself as it proceeds. It's unlikely to convert someone from their dislike towards the electronica genre but that does little to insult its experimental style and unique accomplishments, the lack of variety between the tracks compensated for by the inherent unconventional tone of the piece as a whole.

Make no mistake, this is entirely electronic in its construction, but apart from the strong enveloping darkness the style feels very much free-form; the heavy bass and kick from the drum machine wouldn't be far out of place in dubstep, the rhythmic movement-inducing melodies fit for a devilish night of trance, and yet its still able to step back for the gentle ambient interludes. All traces of their Blackened origins have by now dissipated and we're left with the raw hypnotic melodies that have taken hold and are refusing to let go. It usually takes something special to draw my attention to this genre – much of it feels too repetitive for my liking – but this darkly seductive and romantic release has succeeded in casting its spell.

Highlights: Der Ball der Verdammten, Second Half of the Sky, Celeste



Guide to the Ratings
0/5 - This caused me physical pain
1/5 - This is really bloody awful
2/5 - This was below average
3/5 - This was above average
4/5 - This was pretty darn good.
5/5 - I cannot fault this epitome of perfection.

I cant guarantee all reviewers adhere to these guidelines, but work as a general guide.

Author's credit is given on all posts.