• Jennie Tebler's Out Of Oblivion - Till Death Tear Us Part

    Dic 12 2008, 4:23

    Straightaway most of you will probably be wondering “Who’s this Jennie Tebler character, and what has she done for the metal scene that warrants her name tagged onto the front end of some bands moniker?” The short answer to that question is very little. An interesting fact about Ms. Tebler is that she collaborated with Bathory’s fallen hero Quorthon back in 2004 and is rumored to be his kid sister. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant to the music of Out Of Oblivion, so from this point forward I’ll be dropping the Jennie Tebler part of the name since nobody has ever heard of her other than her supposed family.

    Rarely in the female fronted metal circuit is one fortunate enough to stumble across an act that genuinely defies the cut & paste and cash in mentality of said scene. Bands such as Aesma Daeva, To-Mera, and Amaran are a few that have all opted out of the goth status quo to forge their own innovative paths. While Sweden’s Out Of Oblivion doesn’t completely push the envelope of originality, it is apparent that they’re fairly comfortable with the idea of being different (at least part of the time), as evident on their debut effort Till Death Tear Us Part.

    In terms of quality, the ten tracks on Till Death Tear Us Part can be divided into three classes. First, there are the somewhat innovative songs like “Brand New Start” and “Life Full Of Lies” that dare to deny the norm and exhibit a certain degree of technical proficiency and heaviness. Next are memorable songs such as “Demon’s Ode”, “Enchanted”, and “Mistake” which place emphasis on preserving the catchiness and haunting melodies that the genre is known for. Lastly, and certainly least, are repetitive run of the mill goth rock tracks like “Queen Of Ice” and “Succubus” that take the potential of all the previously mentioned songs and impede their promise by diving headfirst into the mold that has produced countless other generic acts of the kind. Fortunately there are few of these moments and the handful of missteps won’t hamper your overall enjoyment of the album.

    While Out Of Oblivion do occasionally borrow from some of the better known acts of their style, it’s more than obvious that they’re willing to explore outside the goth boundaries that they are rooted in and Till Death Tear Us Part is as good of an album as one can expect from a brand new band in any genre. In short, Out Of Oblivion don’t venture quite far enough off course to attract listeners who aren’t regular followers of this style, but if Lacuna Coil, Xandria, and Leaves’ Eyes are your cup of tea, then you’ll most certainly find something to like about this young act.
  • Thy Majestie - Dawn

    Nov 30 2008, 21:35

    Though hailing from Italy, Thy Majestie have less in common with fellow countrymen Rhapsody than most (present company included) might immediately presume. However, upon hearing the Sicilian sextet firsthand many will likely draw comparisons from other regions of the world, Sweden in particular. Sharing much stylistically with the Swedish power metal scene, Thy Majestie sits comfortably somewhere between Axenstar and Dragonland, if not a more symphonic and less epic representation of each, respectively. Their fourth full-length and first on the young Dutch Dark Balance imprint, Dawn is a well written and dynamic offering that should appeal to all power metal fans, no matter which brand you generally prefer.

    Divided into three chapters, it would appear that Dawn is a concept album of sorts, however, without any liner notes or lyrics it’s near impossible to determine exactly what the plot of the story being told is. Given that past releases have delved heavily into historical events rather than fantasy, it’s safe to assume that this outing would follow in suit. From what I’ve gathered I could elevate toward a handful of different scenarios but in the end I’d still probably be way off, so I’ll spare you my speculation.

    With twelve remarkable tracks spread over fifty-plus minutes, finding the one song that stands out among the others is a daunting task, as nearly every second of Dawn is competently and passionately performed. Each track boasts a well balanced mix of mid to up-tempo pacing with a heavy emphasis on melodies that are as technical as they are memorable. Some may argue that the five part centerpiece “The Legacy Suite” as a whole is the album’s crowning achievement, and while I won’t dismiss its significance, I feel it’s too short in length to warrant the multi track treatment when it could have just as easily been one fifteen minute song. Other than that single inconsequential grievance there is nothing negative that I could possibly say about this album.

    While I was previously unfamiliar with Thy Majestie, Dawn has impressed me enough to ensure a trek through the band’s back catalogue, sooner than later. What I initially assumed would be a generic Rhapsody knockoff surprisingly turned out to be nothing less than top tier power metal with the occasional progressive accent. If you enjoy the aforementioned Axenstar and Dragonland as well as acts such as Nocturnal Rites, Dark Moor, Crystal Eyes, and Kamelot, I’d strongly recommend adding Dawn to your album collection as it possesses all of the genres finest qualities and very few of its faults.
  • Behemoth - Ezkaton EP

    Nov 30 2008, 21:33

    While I’m sure it’s been by their own choice and almost certainly in their best financial interest, Behemoth have had a bit of a nasty habit of jumping into bed with a different record company every other release they’ve notched on their belt over the years. To usher in their new business relationship with the promiscuous Polish death peddlers, Metal Blade is offering up a small treat for devotees of the band in the form of the seven song Ezkaton EP before their full-length debut on the label drops some time in 2009.

    Fans have the option of a discounted digipak version of Ezkaton or a much more impressive, yet modestly priced, limited edition vinyl set that includes four gorgeous seven inch picture discs, a Behemoth logo pendant, and the abovementioned CD all in a deluxe box.

    Employing a by the numbers EP format that has been used countless times throughout their career, the Ezkaton set starts off with a variation of an already known Behemoth song (in this case “Chant For Eschaton” from Satanica), followed by a pair of less than remarkable covers (Master’s Hammer and Ramones) and a handful of live tracks (”From The Pagan Vastlands”, “Decade Of Therion”, and again “Chant For Eschaton”), all of which have appeared on other expansion compilations in one shape or another.

    On the music front, very little new or noteworthy content is presented on Ezkaton and shouldn’t be used as a starting point for those new to the band. However, from a collectors view point, the beautifully packaged box set is a must have for diehard Behemoth enthusiasts.