Virgin Black – Fortissimo

A bit slower paced than the last albums almost to the likes of doom metal. The artwork was catchy as most of their artworks. Their was an apparently large amount of growling on this album in the doom metal style. Nonetheless “In Winter’s Ashes” and the “Fragile Breath” both ended quite heavy and amazing in their last minutes of the tracks. You can still hear some of Rowan London’s voice in the second track just after 2 minutes.

I recommend this album only because of their previous works – and this being a continuation of their music. This album on its own merit though was unique in sound but quite lacking for me in terms of its musical expression that I am use to from Virgin Black.

Virgin Black – Mezzo Forte

I grew a bit discontent with Virgin Black for making a more mainstream appearance than an underground one. I found Sombre Romantic to be their strongest work which would explain why some of the remnants of their early work can be felt within this album like the remake of “Drink The Midnight Hymn”. Although I found this album lacking in the original quality Virgin Black contained within the first two albums they put out (Sombre Romantic, Elegant and Dying) and the Trance EP; I finally gave this album another listen after such a long time. I found some of the remnants of their earlier original quality present with parts of certain tracks being interesting but then overdoing it to the point it became boring overall to listen to or felt like the album all sounded similar – leaving no actual “favorite tracks” to be able to decipher.  The best track on this album is “Midnights Hymn” except this time it seemed more toned down with the female opera voice compared to the expressive Rowan London. “In Death” at about 5minutes becomes an amazingly epic track with great classical mend with black metal style with classical Rowan London wailing followed by citing of some sort of omens by druids with a female voice lurking in the background somewhere. You won’t forget “In Death” for its theatrical feel. A track that went nowhere at all “And I Am Suffering…”, until the last minute of the track where it became amazingly epic before concluding itself. “Domine” was another track where London’s voice captivates your attention starting at close to the 3minute mark. This track seemed a bit twisted, and the chanting certainly stood out.

To conclude, I suppose I had formed the negative impression of Virgin Black for going mainstream rather than the fact that their music became lacking. Mezzo Forte was definitely not Sombre Romantic, but this album still beats the majority of what exists out there and is a album I would recommend without hesitation.

Continuing with the Virgin Black collection of albums.

Woods of Desolation – Torn Beyond Reason

So, I couldn’t find myself to enjoy this black metal, but I had to mention this album, as I found it be somewhat of a good album that many would enjoy. I used this album as background music for when I was writing. The music had many acoustic moments that exploded into black metal – and I never personally found it interesting, but I’m still mentioning it because this band may have potential to be better.

Slagmaur – Domfeldt

Vandalen’s Hevn, immediately makes you feel as if you are entrapped within a solitary confinement, somewhere in a dungeon possibly for feelings of psychosis (of which it certainly seems to put you into this trance). Immense yourself into this slow puzzling rhythm and it would leave no room for a smile to appear. Gagner is a track that’s filled with landscapes of imagery of which appears to be hazed and fogged forest. The drums droning seem to sound so distant at times. The vocals by Slagmaur differ each time, on the Skamdem track it sounds like goblins or evil trolls talking to each other. They maintain their psychotic melody, rightfully so, not in the vain of doom-metal which I find I don’t like too much for its slow pace. I agree their approach can not be defined as doom metal – but an unorthodox black metal.

Slagmaur – Shrekk

In the same year as Svin they released this album Shrekk. Although they maintained their style nothing caught my interest on this release as their other releases I have reviewed other than one track “Til Fosen Faller” with the lady’s somewhat psychedelic voice. The eerieness of this album swayed away a bit but nonetheless the artwork was still admirable.

Slagmaur – Svin

Delusional thoughts and haze return with the listening of the first track Nekk Brekk Support by Slagmaur. They are extremely creative. This was apparently their first self-released demo back in 2006. Unbelievable opening track that reminds me in similar style to Virgin Black’s Trance EP which stole the spotlight in black metal and creating darkly haunting imagery if you immense yourself into this music. The blend of their vocal usage especially on a track like Skrell Skjaer Svin mends perfectly well maintaining a certain sort of melodic beat to their music through drumming. The long track Will Sher Svain lasts close to 10minutes but I found the last 3 minutes to be the most interesting.

Norway has once again defined itself as the source of true black metal. This band has further interested me into them, that for the first time I have bothered to read an interview of the band behind this expression-filled music. The only other band to take this sort of interest from me was Virgin Black. I held them as the basis of my entry into black metal and the underground.