Assaf Vestin
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit more than 2 years ago

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All Reviews/Ratings

23 reviews/ratings
MOONSORROW - V: Hävitetty Folk Metal | review permalink
AGALLOCH - Pale Folklore Folk Metal | review permalink
SCULPTURED - Embodiment: Collapsing Under the Weight of God Progressive Metal | review permalink
SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE - Temporary Psychotic State Progressive Metal | review permalink
RIVERSIDE - Rapid Eye Movement Metal Related | review permalink
DOL AMMAD - Star Tales Symphonic Metal | review permalink
VIRGIN BLACK - Elegant... and Dying Gothic Metal | review permalink
GRAYCEON - This Grand Show Progressive Metal | review permalink
GRAYCEON - Grayceon Progressive Metal | review permalink
PELICAN - The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
IN LINGUA MORTUA - Bellowing Sea - Racked by Tempest Symphonic Black Metal | review permalink
THE CHRONICLES OF ISRAFEL - Starborn, Tome 1 Progressive Metal | review permalink
*SHELS - Sea Of The Dying Dhow Metal Related | review permalink
ALTAR OF PLAGUES - White Tomb Atmospheric Black Metal | review permalink
SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM - In Glorious Times Avant-garde Metal | review permalink
EHNAHRE - The Man Closing Up Death-Doom Metal | review permalink
VIRGIN BLACK - Requiem: Mezzo Forte Gothic Metal | review permalink
SÓLSTAFIR - Masterpiece Of Bitterness Atmospheric Sludge Metal | review permalink
DARK SUNS - Grave Human Genuine Progressive Metal | review permalink
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE - The Bastard: A Tale Told in Three Acts Progressive Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Progressive Metal 8 3.69
2 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 3 3.50
3 Death-Doom Metal 2 3.50
4 Folk Metal 2 4.50
5 Gothic Metal 2 3.75
6 Metal Related 2 4.00
7 Avant-garde Metal 1 4.00
8 Symphonic Black Metal 1 4.00
9 Symphonic Metal 1 4.00
10 Atmospheric Black Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

EHNAHRE The Man Closing Up

Album · 2008 · Death-Doom Metal
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With Ehnahre being composed of musicians who played in Kayo Dot, the expectations are high for fans of the latter band. I was definitely intrigued and curious to hear what direction and style would be taken by this lineup. A crude sounding mixture of sludge, doom, black metal and experimental/atmospheric/ambient metal a-la Kayo Dot (first two albums) and Pan.Thy,Monium, greets (or rather assaults) the listener in this first release by this Boston based band. Whatever it is that they are attempting (stating atonality/12-tone serialism as the basis for their music as well as freely improvising), they manage to capture quite a captivating essence that while influenced from their "relatives" Kayo Dot, is distant enough to achieve a sound of their own. While it is interesting to understand the basis of bands composition process and style I am not adequately learned on these matters and shall leave it for others to analyze (though I can certainly hear and understand their approach).

The lyrics are said to be "based on the improvisational poetry of Donald Justice." As I do not know the output of this poet, I can't comment on that regretfully, but for those of you who know his poetry, this might be of interest for you. The music, can be fiercely demonic sounding, with raw black metal fast riffing (Part III for instance) and then become exhaustingly desperate sounding, slow-paced, yet still aggressive (beginning of Part I for example) and then move on to more laid back (yet still intense) atmospheric sections (such as in a section of Part II) . The vocals, rasp and harsh, are at times replaced with a clear voice (in Part II). Each song is quite varied within itself. Stagnation is not being employed here. There are frequent changes in tempo, mood and energy levels; the dynamic range of all of these is very appealing to me and quite accomplished in my opinion.

The overall sound is that of either an approaching apocalypse, an impending doom or that of the aftermath of such events. In Part IV for instance, an imagery of total devastation prevails in the mostly fragmented-like, free-form structure of this piece, intertwined with a middle fast paced organized black-metal-like section. If an album's purpose is to have an effect on a listener, The Man Closing Up has certainly achieved its goal with me. I find it a captivating album; as I like dynamics in music, the mingling of various sounds, styles and influences (but well done), this album strikes the right chords and riffs with me. It is dramatic scenery of fury, despair and destruction that permeates from the songs. Personally, I would recommend listening to the album in one sitting and follow the vast picture drawn by the music for the best effect. Though highly enjoyable may seem an odd thing to say about this album, it is definitely an album I'll come back to for more.


Album · 2007 · Avant-garde Metal
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The theatre of grotesque and bizarre delivers another heavy, creative and original sounding show

Theatrical: that would be the first attribution I'd give SGM and their music. Others would use the usual words like avant-garde and rock against rock pioneers etc. But in the end, this is a show. A show varied in musical styles, instrumentation and in approach to composition. Their albums are a show in which you travel through the different auditory acts. However, this particular release isn't a concept album as was Of Natural History, with its provoking and intelligent story line. Here every song stands by itself lyrically and the booklet has a short note on each. But, I would not want to compare this too much to its predecessor, as that album is a fantastic album that I feel is hard to surpass. This album follows in the tradition of SGM's sound and attitude, if I can call it that.

There are several facets to SGM's music and it's no different here; there's the more metal oriented as is heard on "Helpless Corpses Enactment" (growls, heavy distortion, fast riffs); there's the quirky avant-garde rock side (both in song structure, instrumentation and overall musical approach) in which they show another creative aspect in their music as is heard on "Puppet Show"; there's the more straight forward side such as in the opening song "The Companions" (and to a lesser degree in "Formicary"), where not much madness and quirkiness (in their standards) is portrayed and not much of the two aforementioned styles are prevalent. Just as a note, I'll mention that "Formicary" (aside from being similar to the song "The Creature" from Of Natural History) reminds me somewhat of U Totem's self-titled album (the female vocals, the slightly poppish sounding tune with the avant-garde edge, the type of playing).

SGM's previous release, Of Natural History, is one of my favourite albums, and though I don't think this one reaches the same peak as that one, it is a very strong and good album in its own right. In Glorious Times might not be, to me, as superior, compelling, heavy and boundary pushing as Of Natural History but this is only a relativistic issue, if you will. After all, I can't think of many (or any) bands composing and playing this type(s) of music, so powerful and creative, not afraid to go further on, experimenting, going wild, and bringing various styles into their music and creating their own new style and for that they deserve much respect and praise.

If you're an SGM fan, or simply liked their previous albums, then there's no question about it, go get this one! If you're not familiar with their music, this is actually a very good album to get acquainted with their music as I find it more accessible then the others; not as deterring as the previous albums might be to new listeners not used to their style. Either way, this is an album to experience; a show that is put on for you the listener to discover a different way to make music.


Album · 2009 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Black Metal to me is similar in a way to ambient music. It is about creating an atmosphere, soundscapes to allow the listener to evade his daily hassles, to detach oneself from the surroundings and immerse oneself in a "sea" of dark and depressive sounds, long riffs, shrieks, fast paced drumming and occasional interludes and shorter tracks filled with brooding effects to enhance the experience. Of course each band has their own take and creates their own variety, but there is a common basis, a shared vision that lies at the heart of this music. Altar Of Plagues from Ireland know quite well the basics of this art and builds very convincingly on them, creating a crushing, compelling and varied sort of black metal with progressive leanings.

This is not just "in your face" one chord repeated over and over with one constant rhythm music (which is good in itself for my taste); this album presents changing rhythms, multi-part songs and developing of themes that make this old-school-black-metal sounding album a gem to the fans of the genre. It is raw, yet epic in proportion, striving to be complex but not too much and at the expense of appeal, apocalyptic sounding and harsh but warms the heart while listening to it. The vocals themselves are varied: there is post-hardcore screaming as well as the more conventional shriek-like type vocals ? all fitting the music very well. All in all, the music of White Tomb depict very well what I think is the theme here, that of a crumbling Earth, due to the actions of humanity; the destruction leading this whole planet into being a big tomb for us all, animals and plants included.

There are some fabulous moments like at around 6:50 in Earth: As A Furnace, where the lead guitar plays a haunting spell-binding repetitive sound to back the heavy riffs of the rhythm guitar and bass. It then goes on to an ambient-like section where the guitar plays in the front without drums and bass, as if lamenting, creating a depressive atmosphere.

Made up of two parts (Earth and Through The Collapse), each split into two (connected) long songs, this goes on for about 50 minutes, which just seem to fly by. But as you listen to it, you realize this is in fact one long song, as they all interconnect and flow from one to another and should be heard in a single session.

An excellent varied black metal album, highly recommended.

*SHELS Sea Of The Dying Dhow

Album · 2007 · Metal Related
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When power and subtleness meet

Can you imagine an album in which you can literally swim in its music? For me, this is such an album.

The interplay of electro-acoustic guitars with the devastating heavy riffs of the electric guitars is a great ear-catcher. Done very well and makes for a great listening experience. This band puts emphasize on emotion, melody and power in their music. Crushing upon you with their heaviness is not the only thing they know how to do; they also deliver smoother and softer facets, creating beautiful soundscapes of marvelous power and beauty.

The music can come tumbling upon you like a ton of bricks (The White Umbrella Part 2). The riffs are just like I love them; crunchy, heavy, raw and wide. But here is also the good thing about these guys; there's no dominance of the heavy upon the subtle. On the contrary, where softness is needed, it is given its place; in the aforementioned song, the light and delightful part follows the heavy one and they co-exist together so well. The switch is natural, flowing easily from one to the other. The vocals are mostly on the clear and malleable side, fitting very well with the two opposing facets of the music, those being the soft where they enhance it and the harsher where they contrast it. When they are on the more ferocious side, they are very well done, fit the music perfectly and add to the rawness of the sound and to the volume of the music. Another good thing here is that it is not a shiny and clean production; rather it is crispy, hard edged and somewhat raw, whether in the overall sound or specifically in the guitar riffs.

I find that I make the most of listening to this album during night time; there is fantastic soundscape weaving here and a great interplay of mellow and harsh. It is an album that is pretty accessible but that needs several listens to appreciate its beauty and intricacies, mainly due to its length. There is a very good balance between the scenic musical soundscapes and the more song-oriented songs which makes for a well equilibrated album and a varied sounding album.

This album has all the right elements, and all act synergistically to create what is an exceptional listening experience. This is not a simply metal release; it is an exercise in texture making, in layering, and in building tension through contrast while actually reaching harmony. Powerful is a word that is used often, but in this case, the word does not only describe the metal elements, but also the emotions the music elicits. Last but not least, the art of composing an appealing tune is applied here throughout the album; melody is oozing from each moment of each track. It is compelling and haunting music; such that stays with me after the album is done and which makes me want to come back and listen to it again.

What you should do: Get this album, dim the lights, put this cd in your player, sit down, close your eyes and be carried away by and with the music.


Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
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Dominic Cifarelli, guitarist of the now defunct Montreal band Pulse Ultra, is the man behind the Chronicles Of Israfel project. He starts his solo output with the album Starborn, Tome I, which is a very good heavy/progressive metal release; rich and varied, this piece goes on to cover various moods and styles, from aggressive and fast to slower and emotional yet still powerful and heavy. A concept album revolving around the figure named Israfel which as I've read is on a self-discovery journey and goes through various hardships; it is not the only figure in the story as every musician on the album portrays a different character in the story. As I have a legal digital download version of the album I can't tell you much more about that concept and so can only expand on the musical side, which is the main issue anyway.

As said above, the music is quite varied in styles and moods. I can spot similarities in style to bands such as Pain Of Salvation and Dream Theatre, but not in a clone-like manner. The musicianship is of very high level, accurate and efficient, contributing to the rich and enveloping sound of the album. The 3 first tracks which comprise the three parts of the title track are mostly instrumental and provide a compelling introduction to the album, theme and music. It then moves on to songs with each providing melodic and heavy experiences with fitting vocals (clear, dominant and a little rasp at times). All instruments are well heard (good mix) and represented on the album and the combination of the guitar and keyboards part creates a well balanced multi-layered edge to the songs. The songs are not only thrilling and gripping but complex in their arrangements and intricacies. They also flow very well from one to the next, assisting in the creating the feeling of a continuous storyline.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this release, not having heard of this project before getting the album. However, I must say that this has been a splendid and most satisfying discovery and it's a great listening experience. Greatly recommended to all those who love melodic progressive metal especially in the form of concept albums.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Ansur for Black/Prog metal
    Norwegian band with two full-lengths, playing a progressive type of black metal. http://www.myspace.com/ansursitehttp://ansursite.com/
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Entry for D-A-D
    This entry D-A-D lists three different bands (apparently all metal), so it needs to be split.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in D.F.A. bio update
    The bio for D.F.A. mentions two bands: one is the band that is the purpose of this entry and the other is the Italian Prog-fusion, which needs to be omitted from the bio


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