[Release: 31 March 2017]
First off: this album has a lot of low end. A lot! Now, continue reading.
Thill Smitts Terror is the third album by this Norwegian unique sounding metal group. At least I have never experienced music sounding like this before. The production of this album is a continuation of a journey that really started with their last album album, Von Rov Shelter in 2009. A journey to completely envelop the listener in deep bass, sprinkled with buzzing guitars and evil croaking, mostly in mid-tempo.
I tried to fiddle with the sound of the album but I couldn’t get the pounding bass to normal levels with the equalizer I have on hand. It’s really deep seated and permeates every little piece on the record. Except for the symphonic intro and outro that is. The first time around I thought something broke in my headphones when the audio changed so drastically from the first track to the first song proper.
They are a strange group of people, Slagmaur. They play with masks and use wicked stage-names and their real identities are supposedly still unknown. The platform of their music is black metal, but they have turned it into something completely their own. Anyone into the esoteric and avant-garde will probably find something interesting on Thill Smitts Terror. I am on the fence about this one. On the one hand I am interested to hear what the album would sound like with a normal mix and master. But on the other hand, the band has made its choice to present their music in this way, and maybe it would get lost without this over the top conflagration of sonic vibrations.
When the steady beat of the drums sometimes is broken up by devilish chanting you get some chance to breathe, but otherwise this is probably the most oppressive listening experience I have ever made myself repeat on several occasions. Such is the game of the reviewer. I could have put this aside after the first rotation, but I made myself push on, and while not cheaply, Thill Smitts Terror has more than a little something to give. It is not the greatest record I have ever heard, but it is interesting. Good job on Osmose Productions for picking up Slagmaur anyway. I hope that more people get to hear them!
- TBOJ score: 3.0/5
- DR score: 5
[released February 24, 2017]
It’s tough when you have so very high expectations of, well anything, and then finally arrive to meet whatever it is you have looked forward to. In pure self-defense I tried to not think too much about Aathma since after its announcement, but the closer the release date crept, the more my spine was becoming titillated by sheer anticipation.
Persefone is one of very few metal groups out of the small nation Andorra, situated in-betwixt France and Spain. They are a serious force, writing complex and ultimately very rewarding music. For years since their inception they were building up to the massive Spiritual Migration album, which landed in 2013 and, after some hesitation on my side, completely blew up the year end list. I was on the verge of writing them off as a metalcore type deal, and not a very interesting one, but since I was reviewing the album (Spiritual Migration was my first contact with the band) I felt I had to play it one more time, and that changed everything.
What Persefone became, and still remain with Aathma, is something so beautifully layered and immensely gratifying that I find myself longing to hear it every now and then. Aathma is up there. The 2017 effort from the band is using all the same ingredients as its predecessor and puts them together in just the right way. The grooving drums, technical stop-go guitars and ever-changing vocals are arranged with remarkable precision and never become too complex. It’s a hard thing to write this kind of music so fluid and grandiose, but Persefone manage, and the band, together with producer Jens Bogren have created a top-notch product.
I have listened to Aathma pretty much every day since it was released and by now I feel almost as familiar with it as Spiritual. For good and for bad. I know for a fact that I really like this album and that it’s amazing, but it’s also harder to describe why without getting too abstract at this point. The short version would be that Aathma is massive, hard-hitting, beautiful, epic, progressive and positioned right at the top of the Best Of 2017.
- TBOJ score: 5/5
- DR score: 7
Since I shared the news of the Wintersun campaign the other day, I thought I might as well link to this one as well.
Eterknight are an up-and-coming symphonic folk/melodic death metal outfit from Mexico. The Wintersun influences in their music is very apparent, especially on their second release, Winter’s Calling (that name alone…), but they also had the good taste to include a cover of Ensiferum‘s “Hero In A Dream” on their Ragnarök EP.
Both these releases have been independently recorded and released, and I think the band sounds very good. To take the next step, they are now asking for donations to be able to purchase their own studio equipment. Much like Wintersun, but their end goal is 100(!) times lower. Perks for pledging money includes digital access to the coming album and merch in several forms.
You be the judge. Are Wintersun a hundred times better than Eterknight? Link to the campaign on IndieGoGo here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/eterknight-crowdfunding-music-mexico
This was my most anticipated record of February 2017. I have played it a few times, but I am not ready to score it yet. It is far from an easy or direct album, but it is a grower and it sounds like a natural follow up to Spiritual Migration. I will be back with a proper review within short, but in the meantime I want you to listen to the album for yourselves.
Wintersun have kicked up a storm on their Facebook page these last few weeks, leading up to the start of their crowdfunding campaign today. Many have been very negative about the whole thing, thinking the band asks for too much. Personally, I like the music way to much to waste my energy on flaming the band. They are entitled to ask for whatever they want, and considering that the campaign has already reached 80 % of its goal during the first day, I’d say people are willing to pay.
Check out the campaign on this link, or just watch the embedded video below.