Issue 31 - Jnauary 23-24, 2002

Demonspell

cheating the polygraph
Apr 29, 2001
15,352
32
48
44
dead between the walls
www.ultimatemetal.com
DEMONSPELL'S SONGS TO WATCH
DARKNESS OF WINTER EDITION
Written January 23-24, 2001

Greetings, devoted readers! I apologize for the recent lack of updates. I am still unsure when this column will return to its weekly publication schedule. But of course, I’m still committed to informing my readers about the best in relatively obscure progressive and extreme metal. And thanks to all my readers, this week’s content is nearly entirely reader suggested. Songs To Watch is brought to you by the letter SOS. And now, the songs…


Angel Dust - Memories, Where The Wind Blows: Despite the fact that I love this band, their new album (Of Human Bondage, March release date) always slips my mind when discussing upcoming releases. In preparation, here is one bonus track from the Bleed reissue, a melodic rocker, and one excellent song from Border Of Reality featuring two of the band’s biggest strengths: superb choruses and skillful use of keyboards.

Arise From Thorns/Brave - Persia, The Red And The Black: After 2000’s critically acclaimed Before An Audience Of Stars, this female fronted act changed their name to Brave and released a good but short EP. These songs are from the previous release. The former track is an atmospheric song with mostly wordless vocals, and the latter is a haunting nine-minute piece, no relation to the BOC song of the same name.

Blaze - Leap Of Faith, The Tenth Dimension: Blaze Bayley returns this month with his second post-Maiden effort. Personally, I find the former track to be very predictable, although Maiden diehards will surely find something to like. The latter title track, available at www.metalexpress.no, does show greater potential for improvement, but Bruce Dickinson he simply is not.

Ephel Duath - The Embossed, The Flickering Warmth: Avant garde extreme metal suggested to me by Lee Barrett. This is some very strange material, recommended for those who favor experimentalism in their black metal, including strong electronic elements on the former. Both songs available at www.earache.com/extremeteam, password required.

Equinox – Mystery Mountain, Ruins Of Old Panama: Progressive rock act I don’t really know that much about, but both of these songs are worthy of inclusion here. Former song is an eleven minute epic with an impressive arrangement, and the latter is an instrumental alternating between heavy and mellow sections.

Forest Of Shadows - Eternal Autumn, Under The Dying Sun: An unsigned band recommended to me by the always enlightening Opeth forum on this page. Both of these songs, the latter lasting fifteen minutes, are highly reminiscent of the progressive melodic death masters, with a greater folk influence. Both songs available at www.mp3.com

Hollenthon - Enrapture, Eclipse Vita Nova: Last year’s Vilest Of Worms brought this innovative symphonic metal act to greater attention. These songs from the earlier Domus Mundi, on which every song has a Latin subtitle, are almost as accomplished if less bombastic. The latter composition is especially haunting. Samples available at official site.

Katagory V - The Beginning Of Our End, Morning Light: Unsigned progressive metal act from Salt Lake City (of all places) discovered through the support of Progged Radio. Both of these songs have a strong Queensryche influence, the former having a memorable chorus and the latter a strong arrangement. Samples available at official site.

Kharma Cosmic - Left Without A Word, Moment Of Clarity: Reader suggested unsigned progressive metal act from France. Don’t let that discourage you, as both of these songs show that this band deserves a contract, especially the latter (no relation to the Death or Satyricon songs of the same name) with its great chorus and the former eight-minute track. Both songs available at www.mp3.com

Mundanus Imperium - The Unborn Breathes In Silence, Stargazer: To the best of my knowledge, this Norwegian act produced only one album. The main attractions here are Ark’s Jorn Lande on vocals, putting his vast range to good use on the latter cover of Rainbow’s best song ever, and great symphonic keyboards. Samples available at www.666metal.com

November's Doom - Silent Tomorrow, In Memories Past: I shouldn’t have to tell you what genre this reader suggested band is in! J Both of these songs from The Knowing remind me of Eternity-era Anathema, the former, available at www.666metal.com, having a hypnotic lead riff. More information and songs available at official site.

Obliveon – Imminent Regenerator, Droidomized: Reader suggested French Canadian technical death metal act who has released several albums, these being from one called From This Day Forward. Both of these are reminiscent of Death, with more of a science fiction bent as the song titles suggest.

Quo Vadis - Legions Of The Betrayed, The Day The Universe Changed: Another reader suggested Canadian technical death metal act. Again both of these songs seem inspired by Death, the former having some insane riffs and tempo changes. Latter song is an inspired instrumental. Both songs available at www.mp3.com

Sanvoisen - Against The Fears, The Difference: Melodic rock act with strong progressive leanings who has released two albums. Both of these songs are good for the genre, the latter having a strong lead riff and a memorable chorus, while the latter ballad features a great vocal arrangement.

Scholomance - The Next Step, The Psychology Of Demons: Another highly intriguing act on The End with strong avant garde leanings, their double album The Immortality Murder has received some impressive reviews. Both of these songs feature weird but captivating arrangements, and longer song titles I don’t feel like printing. Both songs available at www.theendrecords.com

Sieges Even - Water The Barren Tree, Dreamer: Tragically ignored technical metal act highly regarded among devoted followers of the progressive genre. These songs are from Sophisticated, their fourth release and first without genius Markus Steffen. The latter song has an incredible chorus (in a perfect world it would have been universally recognized), and the former song has a typically inventive arrangement.

Solefald - Pornographer Cain, Charge Of Total Affect: This band has received a lot of attention for their latest album Pills Against The Ageless Ills, which has one of the most original themes on a concept album I’ve seen (for more information, see the official site). The music is similarly unconventional, the former having some great riffs and the latter features an odd but effective use of the Hammond organ!

Sonus Umbra - Soul Dusk, March Of Folly: I got into this Mexican (!) progressive rock act after reading some impressive reviews at Progressive World (my favorite site covering the genre). Both of these songs are impressive and highly atmospheric, the latter, available at official site, having some effective instrumentation and the latter some good acoustic work.

Strange Land - Fatal Flaw, Injustice Rising: Unsigned progressive metal act from Milwaukee (of all places) discovered through the support of Progged Radio. Both of these songs are highly reminiscent of Dream Theater, the former, available at www.mp3.com, having some great riffs while the latter eight-minute track has a strong arrangement with some Rush influence apparent.

Sun Caged - Curiosity Kills, Four Guilders: Dutch progressive metal act featuring two former members of the defunct and sadly underappreciated Lemur Voice. Both of these songs are from the Dominion ep, which unlike their previous has a single vocalist, a welcome improvement. Latter song is a complex instrumental. Both songs available at www.mp3.com

Tad Morose - Order Of The Seven Poles, I Know Your Name: Swedish power/prog act who has been consistently overlooked during their career. Latter song, available at www.metalexpress.no, appears on their latest Matters Of The Dark. The former song is especially good, featuring many strong riffs and soaring vocals from Urban Breed (yeah, I know his name sounds like a rap act. Now please shut up.)

Ulver - Proverbs Of Hell, Darling Didn't We Kill You?: Garm works in mysterious ways, having released a companion allegedly limited edition EP called Silencing The Singing, the latter track following in the haunting electronic direction of Perdition City. The former track from his concept based on Blake’s Marriage Of Heaven and Hell has a similarly avant garde arrangement, with a greater emphasis on multilayered vocals.

Within Temptation - Dark Wings, Deceiver Of Fools: Just as Italy never seems to run out of bombastic power metal, the Dutch seem to have a surplus of attractive female vocalists, this band’s Sharon Den Adel being one of the best. Both of these songs are from the critically acclaimed Mother Earth, the latter having great atmosphere.

Wolverine - Leaving Yesterday, The Storm Inside: With melodic death on an apparent decline, progressive metal looks ready to fill the void in Sweden. This band has received great advance press for their album The Window Purpose, and these songs do not disappoint, especially the latter, which includes moments reminiscent of countrymen Evergrey and Pain Of Salvation. Latter ballad includes female vocals, and the latter and several other songs occasional harsh vocals.

Thus ends this chapter. Next week is an usually big one for new releases this early in the year, with Blaze’s The Tenth Dimension, Vanden Plas’ Beyond Daylight, Ark’s Burn The Sun (domestically anyway, but still worth mentioning here. Also worth mentioning: it was voted album of the year on Progged Radio.), Pain Of Salvation’s Remedy Lane (already being considered their best to date by many), and of course the new Dream Theater. I have finally heard the album in its entirety and I consider it a masterpiece. Next week’s issue will contain an extensive analysis of the new album, particularly its monumental album-length title track, along with some additional DT-related content.

In prog we trust!