Whoops! Is it mid-2018 yet? It is. And thus high time to take stock again of records that excited us at RockmusicRaider since Tome VI appeared on the screens of our esteemed fans. Meantime, the deck crew issued a new Top 10 for 2017 and hammered out yet another edition of the Old’n’Tasty series.
Now, these intermittent digests are surely no top 10 list. But some of those albums might very well end up in a hall of fame or two. And the harvest of records to date is certainly surprisingly eclectic.
So – fans and friends – let’s begin with Tome VII:
Whoever said that bands in Switzerland cannot whelp good metal records? And then coming from a remote corner of this decidedly tiny country to boot. Meet Infinitas and their record Civitas Interitus. The band boasts an unusual brand of Folk Thrash Metal that they savvily mix with acoustics, real folk and instrumentals. The pretty tasty and cool mix of styles and nuances really renders it difficult to get away from the record. Until you – suddenly – reach the end. The quality of the pudding is in the eating? Rightly so – for this blog at least. Infinitas managed to appear on the 2017 Top 10 AND get a video posted in 2018. There you go.
If you are hunting for stellar Progressive Metal, look no further than … Lebanon. Yep, you heard that right. Ostura hail from the Levant and just unleashed their newest album called The Room. Yet it sounds like something reaching us from the Netherlands, with some additional Mediterranean savvy and juice added on top. And for cause. Ostura recorded the record with the input of Arjen Lucassen and his minions. But regardless of its influences, I have rarely seen a more refined piece of prog. It was an absolute delight to listen and review this record. ‘Tis definitely a candidate for the upcoming 2018 Top 10.
Talking about earthy Folk Metal straight from Italian outback country and you will not be able to avoid Kanseil. Their newest album Fulische again employs the same vein of sound that marked its predecessor. And yes, I know they often sing in Italian and chant in some weird dialect. But everything being part of a whole, this is just right. The right sound, the right use of archaic instruments and a style that we struggled hard to find elsewhere. From the Italian North they play, and long may they last.
Sometimes metal needs reflection. Deep reflection. So much so that a bunch of Folk Metal dudes and dudettes went all medievally folksy on their fan base. And concocted a side project worthy of your time. In this context, meet the Italians from Shadygrove and their studio album In The Heart of Scarlet Wood. Methinks there was this urgent need for some unplugged theatrics. So, they went ahead and got us a poppy-flavored piece of Folk and Folk Rock. I do admit: The record was on the chopping block for a long time, to be squished brutally and dismissed from the review list. But they finally made it onto the blog, and luckily so. For the end result really is refreshing and not something we hear too often this side of the metal divide.
Theatrics in folk and medieval genres are one thing. But theatrics in Extreme Metal are quite another. Meet the Black Metal heretics that turned this unholy genre into a circus. A circus? Well, this is what the Black Metal purists claim at least. Then – behold the Dark Lord – these same heretics added symphonics and a trifle melody to this blackened, metal brew. Carach Angren from the Netherlands and their 2017 piece Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten really live that specific dream. They continue to mess with the purity of the Dark Path, and I like it. Not because we are gleeful by principle (well … actually, we are sometimes). But the stuff they strut is pretty crafty and quite delicious.
And along came Amorphis. After their 2015 piece Under the Red Cloud we all thought there would be nothing better. That they shot their powder, all kegs empty. Bound to go down the poppy road of doom. But, hell no. Queen of Time is an amazingly juicy piece. And we are happy that we stuck around to give it our time of day. If I was to make a prediction, them folks of Amorphis are already on the list of the upcoming top 10 for 2018. But then, sometimes we are wrong and the year is still long and thorny. But until then, don’t miss this metal delight from the cold wastes of Finland.
It did this black soul a lot of good to stumble across Ildra, the Black Metal heathens from the UK. Their newest album Eðelland gets you this sense of the past. Of undiluted pagan delights, when knights were mighty and ruled their realms. Where kings had real power and did not just serve the gods of marketing. AND Ildra chant away in the language of ancient times, spoken when the Vikings ruled. Take that, Amon Amarth. In the end, their brand of Black Metal is just what the doctor ordered. Real Black Metal and balm for the tortured soul of the devout metalhead.
With all those metallic hues everywhere, it is time for some real rock. Punk Rock to be precise. You thought this genre is dead? Not so. And some hail from strange, far away places. Like Infected Syren and their self-titled album. Reaching our music machines from Cyprus (no shit…), they deliver delicious hints of The Clash, Sex Pistols, and the likes. Okay, they did not invent anything new, but their brand of modern punk packs some real oomph and variation. Like a cold refreshment on a moodily hot and sticky summer evening.
Sometimes it is good to stick to your guns. Too much invention and novelty risks to confuse your fan base. Right? And indeed, With Doom We Come of Summoning gives you precisely this particular impression. Silenius and Protector doggedly drone on as if there was no tomorrow, no competition to worry about and no inkling of change on the horizon. And you know what? That is good in a way. Metal food for comfort, a mighty metal rock that the fan can cling to in this ocean of change. And in a way, this is perfectly alright for me. So, raise your horns to a pretty cool, but decidedly comfortable new album from the Black Metal adepts of Summoning.
But so far we had way too much fun. I am sure you are in dire need of some tears and sorrow. To close this newest edition of the Intermittent Digest – Tome VII, we will give a nod to an astonishingly icy piece of Doom Death Metal. Born in Russia and imbibed by Siberian vibes, Shadows of October of Lorelei really piqued the RMR deck crew’s interest. I liked their somewhat gruff, yet meaty delivery of doom-ish metal that is up there with the top layer of the genre. Spiced with the occasional injection of female clear voice vocals, the record surprises until its very end. This is a band with a potential to go far. IF they decide to up their visibility some on the usual channels and networks, that is.
And this gets us to the end of this new edition of the Intermittent Digest – Tome VII. Stay tuned for more and – by all means – check back often.