Reviews by Michael O'Brien

Solefald

World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud

By Michael O'Brien | 09 February, 2015

A highly ambitious offering that will not be for everybody

To say that Norway’s Solefald has made a career out of the strange and the unexpected would be an understatement of the highest order. From their beginnings on 1997&...

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Gnaw Their Tongues

Collected Atrocities 2005-2008

By Michael O'Brien | 04 February, 2015

Screams from the past

Gnaw Their Tongues, the one-man act from The Netherlands that is fronted by Mories (Maurice de Jong), has been spewing forth its discomforting blend of experimental noise and black metal with incredible p...

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Hate

Crusade: Zero

By Michael O'Brien | 30 January, 2015

Little has changed but the results speak for themselves

Hate are one of the most enduring death metal bands hailing from Poland, having steadily released albums every two to three years since 1996. I first heard them on their fift...

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Xibalba

Tierra Y Libertad

By Michael O'Brien | 23 January, 2015

Viva la Revolución

When I reviewed Xibalba’s second album, Hasta La Muerte, a couple of years back, I didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about it. I loved the bowel-shaking bottom end of the band&rs...

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Ethereal

Opus Aethereum

By Michael O'Brien | 23 January, 2015

1997 calling

There’s a fine and often ambiguous line that exists between the kind of music that evokes long-established tropes and the kind of music that is completely beholden to said long-established tropes. In the case of ...

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Marduk

Frontschwein

By Michael O'Brien | 19 January, 2015

Another solid release from the dependable Swedish veterans

In their 25 years as a band, I can’t think of a single bad album that Sweden’s Marduk has released. Sure, there are definitely some that are better than others...

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Crown, The

Death is Not Dead

By Michael O'Brien | 16 January, 2015

A good but inconsistent release

Despite their impressive lineage and the considerable amount of adoration out there for them, Sweden’s The Crown (originally Crown of Thorns between 1990 and 1998) are a band that have complet...

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Ghoulgotha

The Deathmass Cloak

By Michael O'Brien | 14 January, 2015

Ghoulgotha may be capable of something good, but this isn't it

One of the primary things I try to convey in my reviews is what the experience of listening to an album “feels” like. I’ve never been one to find much...

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Devilment

The Great and Secret Show

By Michael O'Brien | 15 December, 2014

Nope nope nope

A band other than Cradle of Filth that features Dani Filth on vocals? It was sheer morbid curiosity that piqued my interest in The Great and Secret Show, the debut release from Devilment. I’ve not car...

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Nero Di Marte

Derivae

By Michael O'Brien | 11 December, 2014

Highly challenging but also richly rewarding

Modern death metal is a pretty mixed bag for me these days. While I still like the genre itself, the vast bulk of the bands that seem to be making waves are the ones who are, in my opini...

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Eye of Solitude

Dear Insanity

By Michael O'Brien | 04 December, 2014

An attempt at something new yields mixed results

Last year, the UK’s Eye of Solitude released what was easily one of the best doom albums of 2013 (if not one of the best doom albums of any year) in Canto III - their...

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Mysticum

Planet Satan

By Michael O'Brien | 07 November, 2014

A solid return that probably could've and should’ve been more

While it might reek of starry-eyed nostalgia, I genuinely believe that the mid ‘90s were a magical time for black metal. No doubt the specific period any gi...

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Necrophagia

WhiteWorm Cathedral

By Michael O'Brien | 31 October, 2014

Cheesy fun of the highest order

Have you ever wondered what Mortician might’ve sounded like if they played their death metal kind of like mid-career Carcass did? No, I haven’t either, but Necrophagia go some way to add...

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Rings of Saturn

Lugal Ki En

By Michael O'Brien | 22 October, 2014

Utterly ridiculous but strangely alluring as well

Prior to receiving the promo for Rings of Saturn’s third full-length release, Lugal Ki En, I was only vaguely aware of the band’s existence and that they someh...

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Winterfylleth

The Divination of Antiquity

By Michael O'Brien | 17 October, 2014

They continue to be good at what they do, but it just isn’t for me

Winterfylleth, who hail from the UK, are one of those bands that have enjoyed a lot of critical acclaim over the years that I’ve never really been able to ...

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Inter Arma

The Cavern

By Michael O'Brien | 14 October, 2014

The very embodiment of an act at the top of their game

One of the albums that made the biggest impact on me in 2013 was Sky Burial, the second full-length release from Richmond, Virginia’s Inter Arma. While it was only ...

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Xerath

III

By Michael O'Brien | 08 October, 2014

The potential they’ve always shown has finally been capitalised on

Xerath is a band that I’ve always wanted to like but have never really been able to in anything more than the most superficial of ways. Their swir...

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Electric Wizard

Time to Die

By Michael O'Brien | 05 October, 2014

Undoubtedly solid but unable to live up to the band’s best works

Come my Fanatics… and Dopethrone. Is there anyone out there who’s been bitten by the doom bug who doesn’t view these two early...

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1349

Massive Cauldron of Chaos

By Michael O'Brien | 02 October, 2014

A disappointing though not unenjoyable backwards step

Norway’s 1349 have had quite an interesting career but have also managed to polarise a lot of people over the course of it, especially in the five years since the release of ...

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Falloch

This Island, Our Funeral

By Michael O'Brien | 24 September, 2014

The sound is there but the variety most definitely isn’t

My introduction to Scotland’s Falloch came via their debut album, Where Distant Spirits Remain, in 2011. The experience wasn’t without its sh...

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