31 Oct 2016

Fathomhell: "Non Pietatem Erit"

Somewhat accomplished black metal meanderings
Enveloping their core of black metal in a burdening cloak of cold atmosphere, Fathomhell from Spain at first seem pretty average. Starting out in 2010, it wasn't before 2012 that the release of their first demo EP - Non Pietatem Erit - would see the light of day. Where the Spanish trio awaken curiosity is with their tasteful but sparse use of synths and carefully programmed drums.

28 Oct 2016

Hammerfall: "Built to Last"

As the regular writer on TONEwood is obviously way too busy listening to tapes, sewing on limited edition patches and doing other trve metal stuff, and not having the golden hair it takes, I was given the opportunity to write a review of the new Hammerfall album Built to Last and – if you’re already a fan of Hammerfall – you are in for an absolute treat!

26 Oct 2016

Apocryfal: "Ravens"

Abundant confindence makes for music that, if nothing else, passes the time
Every scene has its own trademark sound or fell, and Finland's death metal scene is primarily known as the filthy, strange, doom-laden kind. Apocryfal from Jyväskylä, however, aren't the types to follow suit and as such have taken their band in a different direction - A direction that involves a 3-song demo, adding up to 12 minutes of full-throttle death metal.

24 Oct 2016

Apocryphal: "Embrace of Death"

Apocryphal is to death metal fanatics what a turtleneck sweater is to autoerotic asphyxiation fetishists. The right idea is there, but it isn't quite tight enough to cause any real excitement.
Spayd and Polingyowma have taken up a  task of making doom-laden death metal in a simple, back to the roots fashion with their project Apocryphal. Embrace of Death is the resulting misshapen, writhing mass that is the band's first demo, presented with a simple gore-ripping cover to get the message across.

21 Oct 2016

Urðun: "Horror and Gore"

Stupefyingly rotten and delinquent death metal from the island of black metal
These days Iceland is primarily known for their export of fantastic, naturalistic black metal, and with good reason. But apart from its glorious nature and vast black metal scene, the beautiful island also has a serving of horror and gore-laden death metal on offer.

19 Oct 2016

Sathanas Urine: "Everything You Need to Know About Witchcraft"

An exercise in the worst music has to offer
Some would argue that the purpose of metal in many aspects is the ever-ongoing chase for counter-culture, extremity and a level of aggression that most - even as rock music likewise has followed suit into heavier territory - would find offensive or even unlistenable. True to the blasphemic roots that drove early black metal, Sathanas Urine - from the Veneto region in northeastern Italy - search for the vilest and most far-away corners of music. 

17 Oct 2016

Tormentstorm: "Into the Ominous Door"

Huge improvements that ultimately end up stranded in shallow waters
Most would probably agree that Tormentstorm's earlier outing, the Up From the Grave demo from 2012, was a misbegotten mess of black-thrash instrumentation. The demo was poorly received because it was poorly conceived. Tormentstorm's driving force, Malice, however, does not let himself sway easily, and as such returned the year after with a full length album.

14 Oct 2016

The Budos Band: "Budos Band III"

Vast, boundless and brazen, a testament to the sexuality of music
The Budos Band is a Brooklyn gem. Nine members strong, they have through the course of a four album career toured the world and gathered a large cult following. Throughout each record the band, complex as their make up may seem with the throng of musicians taking up the stage, has evolved from an unrefined and budding entity to the full blown phenomenon we see today.

12 Oct 2016

Avulse: "We Are All Code"

The prime example why focus is important
Patrick Hasson from Maine, USA, has numerous releases under his belt, in no small part due to his vast musical horizons which reach from doomy death metal (Black Chalice - Years of Flame, Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour, Submission) over neo-folk to black metal atmospheres (Auspicium). The next in line of Hasson's many projects is Avulse, marketed as a crusty black metal outfit with a firm punk vibe.

10 Oct 2016

Stone Magnum: "From Time... to Eternity"

Let the demagogue spew his evil speech, and let the riffs fill you with hate
Doom metal is all about that thick, heavy feel that those big and bulky guitars can produce, and the tasteful aroma of riffs and melodies crafted with the utmost care, the striking of the drums like hammers on an anvil. Stone Magnum, from Michigan City, Indiana, have all those elements, and more, in ample amounts.

7 Oct 2016

Messenger: "Threnodies"

Immense sophomore effort from prog's shining star, a piece that is sufficiently on the heavy side to bring forth depth
The very nature of progressive music, or progressive rock for that matter, is always up for discussion. The concept is, in essence, hard to define. The still newly established Prog chart lists groups, musicians and bands from Radiohead, electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre, heavy metal-rock leaders Katatonia and heavy metal warriors Grand Magus over avant-garde musician Brian Eno, progressive metal bands Dream Theater and Periphery, to classic acts like Electric Light Orchestra and Hawkwind. In the meantime, a new heavyweight in modern prog emerges from the shadows...

5 Oct 2016

Mind Affliction: "Pathetic Humanity"

Mindless ramblings that take form and wildly twist before condensing into Pathetic Humanity
The coal-filled soil of Poland is home to many well known, and of course many more lesser known, metal acts. From experience, the lesser known bands show a remarkably high level of musicianship and flair. Mind Affliction, who hail from the ancient city of Kraków, emerged from the rich Polish culture in 2009, though Mental Disorder - the band's first demo - wasn't released until 2011. Pathetic Humanity, released through Metal Scrap Records, was in turn unleashed in 2013, featuring two tracks that were in some shape or form originally featured on that first demo.

3 Oct 2016

The Infernal Sea: "The Crypt Sessions"

The mix between old and new that works out just right
Black metal as a genre never quite got the same hold in the United Kingdom as it did in the neighboring countries in Scandinavia. Sure, a few well known bands sprung up here and there - primarily in the more melodic spectrums of the genre. But in recent years the British scene has begun to flourish in a way that it arguably hasn't previously, with bands like Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone and Fen garnering much attention and many positive reviews, and bands like Written in Torment and Nordland (Nordland & The True Cult of the Earth) crawling around as well.