Album Review: Eoront – Another Realm

June 16th, 2017 (Russia);  Code666 (Aural Music)
LP (62 min.)
Atmospheric/Symphonic Black Metal


coverAbout the band

Eoront is a Russian Atmospheric Black Metal band that was founded in Krasnoyarsk in 2012 as a one man band. In 2013 the band independently released its first full length record “Neverending Journey”. In 2014, the German underground label Wolfsgrimm Records released the second album “Dhaar” consisting of two twenty-minute tracks. In the same year the band got a full live line-up and began to play concerts. One year later the band signed a contract with the Italian label Code666 and began recording their newest full-length album “Another Realm”. All members of the band participated in the recording and production of the album.

The band name “Eoront” is a neologism and the name of a fictious world with its own legends, myths, traditions and structure, which were initially the main content of Eoront‘s lyrics.

About the album

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“Another Realm” is a continuation of the journey around the world Eoront.
At this point in the history of this fictious world, Eoront has developed into a world of flourishing industry, pollution and large-scale wars. But it’s also a world where magic is always present. According to the band, the music on this album tries to portray the dichotomy and war between the decadence, dirt and chaos of the dark side of Eoront and the beauty and purity of its nature on the other side.
Lyrically, the album doesn’t explicitely talk about Eoront but consists primarily of poems by the Russian poets of the Silver Age – Nikolai Gumilev, Maximilian Voloshin, Alexander Blok and Konstantin Fofanov, who in their works combine the pain of the modern world and the enjoyment of the natural beauty of the past.

Track by track review 

The album is opened up by “The Rain”. The track begins with an Ambient introduction with a creepy atmosphere to it and then abruptly leads into raw Black Metal with the ambient theme still playing in the background. A very promising introduction into the album that sets the dark tone of the rest of the record very effectively and wakes interest for what is to come.

Track 2, “Two Worlds”, goes into a slightly different stylistic direction than the first track. The pacing is similarly fast, but the song isn’t as raw as the intro track and features a big amount of orchestral elements that play in the background. The orchestral elements, which immediately reminded me of the Norwegian band Kråke, are a major part of the whole album and give the music a very grand and epic atmosphere.

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The third track, “Genesis”, is a rather monotonous track with a very dark and pressing atmosphere. In my opinion, it’s a little too long for what it has to offer musically, but that’s just a minor flaw, considering the atmospherical value of this track.

“The Glow”, the fourth track on the album, is slower paced than most of the music on “Another Realm”, but contains multiple tempo changes, making it a very exciting song to listen to. Being both varied and atmospherically coherent, this song is a great example of a good balance between atmosphere and compositional creativity. One of my favourite tracks of the album.

“The Sea” is a song that begins with rather uninteresting classic Black Metal riffery but in the middle part it becomes very atmospheric and interesting. The orchestral and ambient elements are very effective on this track and give it a nice atmosphere that leads perfectly into the following song.

“Dreamcatcher” is again slower paced in the beginning and becomes a bit faster later on. This song has a very nice flow and takes the listener on an almost hypnotic and at times nightmarish journey. The drumming on this track is rather prominent and adds a dynamic element to the dense atmosphere. It seems like the longer tracks on this album are also the best ones. This song, much like “The Glow”, offers atmosphere and musical variance, it is both constantly atmospheric and musically creative. A great song, all in all.

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The last track on the album, “The Order of Light”, begins at very high tempo blast beats and guitar riffing with relentless vocals and impending symphonics in the background. A piano line adds a certain amount of “beauty” to the dark atmosphere and makes it an interesting listening experience that than leads into creepy distorted keys playing over a slow guitar riff and slow, heavy drumming. From there the song develops into an almost progressive sounding track with varied drumming and exciting synth and organ passages and ends with a nice ambient passage that is reminiscent of the album’s intro. A nice way to close the album off.

A few general things about the music, that more or less count for all the songs on this album: The vocals on the album are very good. They are not very versatile but in their range they are powerful and perfectly fitting for the music. The music generally sounds epic and “big”. This isn’t the lo-fi kind of Black Metal but is well produced and pleasant to listen to. In my opinion, Eoront really managed to create an atmosphere on this album that is both dark and frightening and kind of beautiful at the same time.

Conclusion

To sum it up, “Another Realm” is a very strong Black Metal record that provides a great amount of musical and compositional variance but is also very coherently atmospheric throughout the whole playing time. If you speak Rusian, I’m sure the listening experience will be even more interesting for you. If you like atmospheric, symphonic and/or melodic Black Metal, you have to give this album a spin!


You can purchase this album physically and digitally from Bandcamp.

Visit the band’s official facebook page.

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Album Review: DragonForce – Reaching Into Infinity

May 1t9h, 2017 (UK);  earMUSIC
LP (60 min.)
Progressive Power Metal


dragonforce-riiThis album is one of the most surprising records I’ve heard this year.

DragonForce aren’t exactly known for being a very innovative or experimental band. They are famous for their extremely high tempo and technically challenging guitar playing, but also criticized for playing “the same song over and over again”.

Until this year I had only heard a few songs by the band and although I found them very entertaining, they never really stood out from the rest of the Power Metal scene to be something I would come back to very often.

Generally, Power Metal is not exactly one of my favorite genres. Only a few bands manage to keep me interested over a longer period of time, one of them being one of my favorite bands of all time Theocracy. So, I didn’t expect to be blown away by the new DragonForce album.

But, man, this thing is crazy good. On the one hand, this album is classic DragonForce with crazily technical shredding and guitar harmonizing, excessive use of the whammy bar, simple song structures, cool breakdowns (“Judgement Day” – superb!), on point vocals and catchy melodies. But on the other hand “Reaching Into Infinity” has some really surprising progressive elements that are scattered throughout the album but really hit their peak in the 11 min centerpiece of the album – “The Edge of the World”. DragonForce completely step out of their comfort zone here. This song has a slower pacing than the typical DragonForce song and features elements of Progressive Metal and a completely surprising but perfectly fitting Death Metal (!) section with great guttural vocals by Marc Hudson. This song and especially the section described above completely blew me away at the first listen and still don’t cease to amaze me after multiple listens.

I really hope DragonForce keep moving further into the Progressive direction because I have the feeling that they are really good at it.

This album is a must both for fans of the band and for those who haven’t taken them seriously thus far. This album shows the actual range of their musical talent and sets the bar quite high for future records.


You can listen to this album on Spotify.

 

EP Review: Kari Band – Kari Ongen

April 26th, 2017 (Japan); Bellwood Records
EP (25 min.)
Jazz Fusion, Jazz, Progressive Rock


BZCM1088_FRONTJapanese Kawaii Metal phenomenon BABYMETAL is probably one of the most “controversial” bands in the Metal scene right now. There are probably only a few Metalheads who do not have some kind of opinion on that project. Many love it, many hate it, and that’s okay. But I think there is one thing we can all agree on: the musicians in BABYMETAL‘s backing band are some pretty talented dudes.

The Kari Band is the second project consisting of musicians who play(ed) in BABYMETAL‘s backing band after Takayoshi Ohmura’s solo project.
The Kari Band features Mikio Fujioka on the guitar, Yuya Maeta on the drums and the almighty BOH on the bass. The name Kari Band roughly translates to “temporary band” or “provisional band” and is a pun on Kami Band (“God Band”) which is the official name of BABYMETAL‘s backing band.

When I read about this project I had certain ideas about what kind of music this band might play on their debut. Considering the style of BABYMETAL, I expected a melodic and rather fast paced progressive Metal album. Well, I was not really close.

“Kari Ongen” is a Jazz Fusion album, stylistically similar to Nova Collective, who also released their debut album this year. The sound is a fusion between traditional Jazz and Progressive Rock, occasionally going into a more metallic, djenty direction, reminiscent of projects like Animals As Leaders.

This EP is labeled as a demo, but actually sounds like a fully realized, coherent album to me. While the songwriting, though very competent and interesting, isn’t extremely innovative for the genre, what really stands out here is the musicianship. BOH is a beast of a bassist – he already showed that in his work with Babymetal but here he finally gets the chance to really go for it. Mikio and Yuya are absolute masters of their instruments, as well. Also the guest musicians on the classical Jazz instruments, the wind instruments and the piano, do a great job.

As a whole this EP is a fantastic Jazz record by some insanely talented musicians – dynamic, entertaining and relaxing. I can’t wait for more from these guys.


You can listen to this album on Spotify.