Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Few Unblack Metal EP's

This week I've decided to feature a couple of unblack metal bands and their respective demos/ep's. For starters I want to take a look at Vaakevandring who a few members joined Antestor in and around the "The Return Of The Black Death" era through "The Forsaken". As I mentioned last week, Antestor may be no more, however Vaakevandring who reunited for the Endtimes festival in May 2007 (performing along with Antestor) may still have a future. Who knows.

What I do know is that Vaakevandring play some beautiful symphonic black metal. The band has only one demo in their catalogue (2 if you count the original 3 song demo) as well as a song featured on the Endtimes records sampler "In The Shadow Of Death".

Their self titled demo (my copy is the re-issue with a bonus track) is a sweet blend of melodic black metal with folk melodies and heavy keyboards. With the weak production aside the music is well structured and memorable. "Fader Vaar" kicks the album off with a gothic folk like rendition of the Lord's Prayer in Norwegian. It's mid-paced and melodic and instantly catchy.

"Some Day" is mostly straight up black metal, raw and fast with melody driving keyboards. "Og Sorgen Stilnet I Smertens Vann" suffers from muffled sound, but is a faster raw tune with some nice drumwork and melodic acoustic bridge"

The bonus track "To Find Eternal Peace" too suffers muffled production, but is a majestic fast black metal song with loads of keyboards and a heavy intro riff. My favourite track is "Fader Vaar" as it sticks with me, but "To Find Eternal Peace" is a solid wall of fury.

Moving on to Frosthardr who have 2 ep's under their belt on top of their demo. Today I'll be looking at just the ep's. Frosthardr play a raw black/death metal style with doomy touches. On their first EP "Makteslos" the music is solid and heavy and cold without ever compromising melody.

The title track and album closer "Vandret" are ambient industrial sounding pieces with a slight Metallica style influence in the guitars. We then drift into "Koma"which is dark and hooky with a church-like doomy mid section. Raw and solid.

"Death My Relief" which seems to be the album favourite for most, mine included, is a sprawling 8+ minute epic of bleak and dark black metal eeriness and features a brutally heavy death metal mid section with vocals like the creaking of a crypt door. A killer tune.

The longest track "Ravnestrik" is more straight forward black metal with a bit more rhythm and groove. It's ridiculously catchy, melodic, fast and heavy.

Frosthardr's follow-up EP "Varg" is more straight up black metal and not as symphonic, but no less melodic. The album opener "Varg" is fast and pummelling, the guitars are thick and the vocals are razor sharp. "Tortured" is an epic 11+ minute track of fast and crunchy black metal. The song gets into a chaotic progressive feel without ever losing focus but retaining the listeners attention.

The last track is a cover of Christian thrash band One Bad Pig's "Thrash Against Sin". It's groove oriented and thrashy but still remains black metally. It sounds faithful while giving it their own unique style. It also contains the death metal vocals incorporated on their first ep.

I prefer Frosthardr's first album, because of the raw crunchy sound, but "Varg"s production is solid and the music is brutal and memorable. Another solid effort and I can't wait till they release a full length.

Coming up next week I'll be taking a look at Slechtvalk's catalogue of superb and under-rated melodic black metal.


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