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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Reviews: In Solitude, Twilight Of The Gods, Counterhold

In Solitude: Sister (Metal Blade)

Three albums into their career and In Solitude have cemented themselves as one of the biggest bands in occult rock and with every album they become more obscure in their dark malaise. The riffs range from Sabbath doom and early Maiden galloping with frontman Pelle Ahman bringing his bewitching vocals to every song. With bands like Ghost bringing occult rock to the masses In Solitude have focussed more on their occult influences while expanding into some overt doom on A Buried Sun, some pulsing bass led metal on Pallid Hand and Horses In The Ground which also features guest vocals from ex-Swans singer Jarboe. This third album is very good and it shows why In Solitude are seen to be one of the brightest lights in the underground scene, the production is authentically, scratchy and analogue like an old LP, the band have also tried to bolster their sound with melodic and acoustic guitars see He Comes and the 8 minute plus freak out Inmost Nigredo and they have also added vibraphone/pianos from Martin Konie Ehrencrona add some real depth to the voodoo rhythms of Lavender and shows that the band are trying to bolster their sound away from the other occult based retro-styled bands in this overcrowded genre. Yet again In Solitude have come up with the goods and with this more varied album they have set out their stall not to be the next Sabbath but the first In Solitude. 8/10

Twilight Of The Gods: Fire On The Mountain (Seasons Of The Mist)

TOTG started life as a Bathory tribute band made up of Black Metal superstars, however after a tour playing homage to the band, the five members of TOTG were offered numerous deals to re-record Bathory songs but they instead took the only honourable course of action, taking a leaf out of the Black Star Rider's book they kept the name but instead of covers they focused on writing their own material. The band are made up of Primordial's Alan Averill on vocals, Rune Eriksen (Ava Inferi) and Patrik Lindgren (Thyrfing) on guitars and a rhythm section made up of Frode Glesenes on bass and Nick Barker on drums. So because of this membership you would expect this album to one that is full of Nordic Black Metal anthems with guttural vocals and icy sharp guitar riffs. How wrong you would be as this sounds nothing like Bathory or any bands in their genre, Fire On The Mountain is an album that harks back to the mid-seventies and early 80's bringing to mind Black Sabbath (both Ozzy and Dio era's) This is glorious riff heavy retro metal in the style of Grand Magus, every song has Sabbath like bottom end, that brings the overarching doom to every track but especially on Preacher Man and the 8 minute plus The End Of History. The album is full of endless guitar licks that make you want to raise your leather studded arm in the air and bang your head furiously. Every song tells of pagan ritual and ancient warriors and it is just the kind of fodder that you want from this kind of metal, this is a heads down worship at the altar of the almighty riff that is topped by the surprisingly great clean vocals of Averill who has a brawny signing voice that fits perfectly with the music. This album is excellent for anyone raised on Sabbath, Dio and even Manowar, chest beating heavy metal at its best! 9/10

Counterhold: All Of Them Slain (Self Released)

Counterhold! No strangers to this blog have FINALLY! released their debut album, well they have at least given a copy to me so I can review it. (I am truly honoured honest). So what is it like? Well the first thing I noticed was that the production is crisp and punchy meaning that the band sound like a metal freight train kudos then to Triaxis' Glyn who took the producers chair. The band are no slouches either the drums of Ryan Salter power through like a wrecking ball, the bass of Ben Saunders rumbles with a bone shaking power. Both of the rhythm section anchor the bands melodic modern metal sound that merges the cutting guitar tones of Killswitch Engage, with the dual leads of the Maiden (Out For Dead) and the massive breakdowns of LOG (Time To Die) et al. Speaking of the guitars both Karl Silverthorn and David Birbeck do a stellar job on the six strings laying down some killer riffage and some serious fret wankery on the solo front with guest solo on Stand Or Die by Andrew Moyes (Ben's cousin.) The strong musical foundation is topped by the superb vocals of frontman Steve who has a mighty bellow and can also bring the odd scream/roar to proceedings see Hellsgates which also has a progressive thrash element which moves into the huge hooky chorus of The Beast Within the band widen their sound with the acoustic opening on the 8 minute plus mega ballad Walk On Water and live favourite Fatal Taunt is only topped in the best track category by the awesome Children Of A Lesser God however every track on here is a testament to the bands obvious talent. British (or should that be Welsh?) metal is definitely alive and well. 8/10

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