ALBUM REVIEW: Necronomicon – UNUS

Honest question: Who started the whole let’s get an orchestra or symphony type shit behind extreme metal? I know Dimmu Borgir has made some serious bank behind it with the fabulous Death Cult Armageddon and Fleshgod Apocalypse has obscured their lack of riffs with said gimmick, but can we let that trend die? I think I’ve had my fill. But what the hell do I know as Necronomicon has an album worth in Unus (Season of Mist) of synths and faux orchestrations designed to elevate death metal from simply crushing to the upper echelons of the avant-garde. Continue reading

PODCAST: Episode 42: Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth Talks New Album and Progressive Music

Ghost Cult had the distinct pleasure of chatting with the one and only Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth recently. In a wide-ranging chat with our Chief Editor Keefy, Mikael discussed the new album, In Cauda Venenum, due out September 27th via Moderbolaget Records / Nuclear Blast Entertainment. We discussed his creating both English and Swedish language versions of the album, using an orchestra and choir, concept records, progressive rock artists he likes such as Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Peter Gabriel, working at Park Studios, philosophical lyrics, and why he treated this album like it was the final Opeth album. Continue reading

Abyssic – High The Memory

Funeral Doom Metal has always been a curiosity. To the average music fan, listening to music inspired by the tragedy and sorrow of a funeral isn’t exactly high on their list. However, like everything, it has its place and when it’s done well; it can paint powerful musical imagery which can invoke powerful emotions. With a name like Abyssic, gothic, dark and ancient images come to mind. However, as shown throughout High The Memory (Osmose Productions), darkness and light have their place in the context of such an emotive genre. After all, the spectrum of human emotion is not measured in absolutes. Continue reading

Santeri Kallio of Amorphis Talks Queen Of Time

After several decades it would be completely forgivable for any band to ease their foot on the peddle as it were, but then again Amorphis are no ordinary band. It is well documented how they weathered a substantial transition in style through the 90’s from death metal with the classic Tales From The Thousand Lakes (Relapse) into a much more melodic entity with Elegy (Relapse) two years later. Continue reading

Evanescence Live At Kings Theater

 

On a frozen and blustery early November day Evanesence brought their “Synthesis Tour” to Brooklyn’s lovely King’s Theater. The restored vaudeville theater is astoundingly cool. Regal even. The setting was perfect for Evanescence’s tour which featured a different symphony orchestra accompanying the band in every city and played for the official record release of their Synthesis (BMG) album.

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Asking Alexandria – Asking Alexandria

Asking Alexandria have been through some dramatic turbulence in the last few years and if music is the best therapy, this experiment is proof that music is the best medicine. Continue reading

Evanescence Perform New Material Live On “Synthesis” Tour

Evanescence, by Julia Sairy Photography

Evanescence kicked off their “Synthesis” North American Tour this past weekend, and their latest set list includes a lot of new material. Continue reading

Dimmu Borgir – Forces Of The Northern Night DVD set

Top hats off to Dimmu Borgir. While it has been five years almost to the day between the recording of the second of these sets (2012’s Wacken performance where they were joined by almost 100 musicians) the release of the Forces Of The Northern Night  (Nuclear Blast) double DVD set is a perfect way to close a simply huge cycle celebrating the monumental Abrahadabra album Continue reading

Ulver – Messe I.X-VI.X

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If any band deserves the black metal tag, then it’s Ulver. Though sonically a far cry from what most associate with the genre, it is the spirit of the lawless master that Ulver have long demonstrated in their musical career. But of course, Ulver transcend tags. Never a band to stick to the tried-and-tested, the formulaic, or the predictable, they are a band that live up to their own name. Following their own path and sating their desires to the fullest, wolves they are. And whether or not you approve of any or all of their diverse oeuvre, it cannot be denied that Ulver are concerned with the music as a form of expression, of imagination, and, more importantly, of illumination. And it is this latter aspect that is at the heart of Messe I.X-VI.X (K-Scope).

Commissioned for Tromsø Kulturhus in cooperation with the Arctic Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, in the liner notes of this CD, the band’s directive is stated thus: “Make something grand, gothic and Ulver-esque,” they said. “Ok.” And without being unnecessarily complex or attempting to challenge every boundary of music ever in existence for the sake of it, so they have. As the next release from this band in particular, while hardly a surprise that they should take such a step, it is simply stunning. Balancing the orchestral with the electronic in perfect measure, this is an experience that demands attention, and one that rejects as much as it embraces. In this work are melodies that captivate, arrangements that enthral, and soundscapes that engulf as much as there are distant depths, walls of subtle yet unfeeling noise, and unsettling tension hanging in the album’s ethereal shades.

This works as an album both to be put on in the background and left alone and as one to set aside for forty five minutes of pure indulgence. It’s uplifting and introspective, subtle and penetrating, all-encompassing and delicately defiant. The masters are at work. Of course it’s not without its flaws (Ulver’s vocalists have never had the greatest of voices) but they are far outweighed by the ambition and its realisation found at every instant. There’s no other way to put it: Messe I.X-VI.X is beautiful.

8.0/10

 

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Jason Guest