All reviews by Steve Thomas-Green
As I have a stupid amount of promos in right now, here’s five shorter reviews as I attempt to tackle the backlog.
We’ll begin with Tears of Fire and their album Aeon कल्प kalpa.
The band originally formed in Tehran in 1998, but are now based in Germany. In their infancy, the bands first concert was broken up by the secret police and some band members were arrested. So I have nothing but respect for their dedication to Metal. Nowadays, the band has members from Iran, Sweden, Germany, France etc… so it’s a huge melting pot of influences.
Style wise, I guess torturous Funeral Doom would be the most apt description. Lots of crazy sounding screams and growls, over a desperately slow beat.
And it’s intriguing. I actually love the style, especially as the off-kilter Middle Eastern influences give this a different dimension.
The production is slightly on the raw side, but this just enhances the overall experience and this comes very highly recommended.
Obsidian Tide – Pillars of Creation
Obsidian Tide are a trio from Tel-Aviv, Israel and they released their debut album, Pillars of Creation, in 2019.
I’m sure the band are sick of comparisons with their countrymen, Orphaned Land. Ok, it’s a kind of lazy comparison as the music of Obsidian Tide is a lot more intricate, but if you like one, you’ll probably like the other as well.
This is well thought out Progressive Rock/Metal, with Opeth being a big influence… a band I’ve seen live a few times, but have never fully embraced, like my better half has (she’s travelled a lot to see them over the years).
It’s extremely easy on the ear, even when the clean vocals (sounding like an angelic Geddy Lee) are replaced with roaring Death Metal ones… and I absolutely love Seven Master, which sounds like a Middle Eastern version of Jethro Tull having a massive Progressive jam session
It’s not a style I normally listen to much, but this is amazing.. . bordering on World class
Hammer Of The Sky – Aarni
Hammer Of The Sky are a Finnish duo, who formed the band in 2018. This is their debut EP, and that’s about it, as far as band info goes (as that’s all I have)
So, the ep contains 4 tracks, with a running time of about 20 minutes.
They’ve been put in the bracket of “Ambient / Pagan / Folk”, which is spot on. But everything is very minimalist… there’s not a lot of variation throughout the duration of each song. Yes, it’s mesmerising, in a very laidback ambient kind of way… but for all its stark beauty, it does need something extra to create a bit of interest, because my mind did start to wander… especially after a few minutes of stagnation.
I love ambient music, but this requires just a little injection of something special to take it up a notch or two. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with next.
Theophagist – I Am Abyss
I love getting albums when I know absolutely zero about the band and when you hit play… wow… it just blows you away from the get go…
Theophagist are from the Metal hotbed of Luxembourg… and nothing against Luxembourg. I toured Europe in my teens and had a very nice stop off in the capital on the way to Germany…
Anyway, the music. Death Metal is the core, but it’s twisted around Blackened Thrash and it’s like being attacked by something that has an amazingly precise attack… If music could beat the shit out of you, this album would do it with controlled aggression.
I really wish I had more time, right now, to explore this album a bit more as, I think, in a month or two, I’ll still be salivating over it…
It’s like old Paradise Lost, but with added rocket fuel… the majestic lead guitars wrap themselves around everything and for my ears, that’s just about perfect.
This is a self release and I really hope a bigger label picks this up
Ayyur – Balkarnin
We’ll end this round-up with a two tracker from Tunisian band, Ayyur.
Now, genres are subjective… especially so here. The band call themselves Black Metal, and yes, there is some Blackened influences here. But it needs to be expanded upon and I got feelings of Ritualist Doom, hints of horror, huge swathes of avant-garde / progressive bleakness, as well as a bit of a battering in the 2nd track… the micro list of nuances goes on and on… which is pretty good, considering there are only 2 tracks to listen to.
So a fabulous sound, but a bit of a fucker to pin down… now please release some more music like this. Thanks