Album Review – The Spirit / Cosmic Terror (2020)

The soundtrack to the fear of vast nothingness in the form of melodic and progressive Black and Death Metal made in Germany, beautifully dragging the listener into a musical catharsis.

As far-reaching as the literary, philosophical and psychological meanings behind the term Cosmic Terror might be, for German Black/Death Metal trio The Spirit naming their sophomore full-length album with this title opens up a world of its own. They do not want to explain anything nor to analyze their lyrics, characterized by misanthropy and social criticism, having only one simple goal in mind, which is to let their music speak for itself. The result is a bold and breathtaking album containing seven raging tracks that blend and bend Black and Death Metal, extensive instrumental passages and some of the most face-ripping riffs you’ll hear, which apparently even attracted nearby snakes to the studio’s terrace during the recording according to the band members themselves.

Formed in 2015 in Saarbrücken, the capital and largest city of the state of Saarland in the always beautiful and vibrant Germany, The Spirit are currently comprised of MT on vocals and guitars, AT on bass and MS on drums, a talented and unrelenting trio of fairly anonymous musicians who have been making a name for themselves in the underground scene since the release of their debut opus entitled Sounds from the Vortex, in 2017, being highly recommended for fans of bands like Dissection, Satyricon and Naglfar, among others. Finalized with a unique cover artwork by French artist Valnoir (Metastazis), Cosmic Terror tears the listener into a musical catharsis, with the band once again crafting their own soundtrack to the fear of vast nothingness.

The trio wastes no time and begin blasting their crisp and incendiary Black Metal in Serpent As Time Reveals, offering over six minutes of classy and vicious extreme music for our avid ears where MS is a true beast on drums, while MT growls the song’s beautiful lyrics in great fashion (“The ability to spread agony / A sick craft you truly master / The enduring thirst for power and dominion / Poison, obsessional voracity / Dangerous strength to the perverted insane / Unleash hell to enhance pathetic egotism”); and they continue their obscure and melodic attack in Strive For Salvation, with MT’s heavier-than-hell riffs and AT’s fulminating bass lines generating the perfect ambience for the enraged gnarls by MT while MS keeps pounding and smashing his drums manically. Then drinking form the same infernal fountain as renowned acts like Marduk, Immortal and Mayhem, the trio explodes our senses with the fantastic Repugnant Human Scum, a lesson in Black Metal infused with Death Metal and Melodic Black Metal nuances.

A melancholic and somber intro morphs into a mid-tempo headbanging feast titled The Path Of Solitude, where all band members are in absolute sync and with MT sounding diabolical with both his roars and riffs, resulting in an ode to darkness and solitude in the form of ass-kicking Black Metal. After such dense tune, it’s time for more disruptive and Stygian sounds by The Spirit in Pillars Of Doom, where MT sounds possessed with his demonic riffage while AT and MS make the earth tremble with their respective weapons of mass destruction. In The Wide Emptiness the band doesn’t stop hammering their instruments and consequently our heads, showcasing classic Black Metal with more contemporary nuances, not to mention how impressive it is that only three guys can generate such bold and hellish sound, with MT’s soulful solo serving as the icing on the cake. Lastly, the title-track Cosmic Terror comes as an arrow piercing our ears and minds, concluding the obscure Black Metal journey by the trio that started “long time ago” with the opening track. However, despite being an amazing display of extreme music, the fact that it’s only an instrumental song takes away a little of its rawness and energy, but that’s just my opinion as I truly enjoy MT’s harsh vocals.

In a nutshell, the excellent Cosmic Terror, which is available from the AOP Records’ BandCamp page, from the EMP webstore, from IndieMerchstore.com in CD or 12” vinyl format, as well as from several other locations which you can check by clicking HERE, not only points to a bright future for The Spirit, positioning the band as one of the most promising names of the German extreme music scene, but it’s also a mandatory listen for fans of the more contemporary wave of Black and Death Metal bands with a huge focus on progressiveness, melodies and atmospheric passages. Hence, don’t forget to give The Spirit a shout via their official Facebook page, and let the cosmic terror flowing form their wicked creations penetrate deep inside your damned soul.

Best moments of the album: Repugnant Human Scum, The Path Of Solitude and The Wide Emptiness.

Worst moments of the album: Cosmic Terror.

Released in 2020 AOP Records

Track listing
1. Serpent As Time Reveals 6:38
2. Strive For Salvation 4:34
3. Repugnant Human Scum 5:18
4. The Path Of Solitude 8:07
5. Pillars Of Doom 5:51
6. The Wide Emptiness 6:13
7. Cosmic Terror 6:32

Band members
MT – vocals, guitars
AT – bass
MS – drums

Album Review – Sun Of The Dying / The Earth Is Silent (2019)

A driving force of Doom Metal from Spain is ready to show us all how solitude, grief and serene landscapes can be translated into first-class extreme music.

There’s nothing like a good dosage of Death and Doom Metal to make any Friday the 13th even darker and more enjoyable, don’t you agree? And that’s exactly what Madrid, Spain-based six-piece horde Sun Of The Dying is offering us all with their sophomore full-length opus The Earth Is Silent, the follow-up to their 2017 debut album The Roar of the Furious Sea. Formed in the year of 2013 as a side project between former vocalist Lavin Uruksoth (from CrystalMoors) and guitarist Daniel Fernández Casuso (from Apocynthion), Sun Of The Dying is highly recommended for fans of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Katatonia and Anathema, among others, blending their 90’s-rooted doom music with a more modern sound taken from bands like Shape of Despair, Ahab and Swallow the Sun, with the 45 minutes of extreme music found in The Earth Is Silent being a must-listen for admirers of such distinct style.

And the band now comprised of the aforementioned Daniel together with lead singer Eduardo Guilló, guitarist Roberto Rayo, bassist José Yuste, keyboardist David Muñoz and drummer Diego Weser really stepped up their game in their new album, featuring a minimalist and straightforward cover picture by Spanish photographer Miguel Urbaneja (Dissociated), and recorded, mixed and mastered at The Empty Hall Studio in Madrid. From grim, atmospheric passages to heavier-than-hell moments, The Earth Is Silent is a powerful statement that Sun Of The Dying are not just an average band, but a driving force of Doom Metal from the Spanish underground scene that’s ready to penetrate deep inside your soul and show you how solitude, grief and serene landscapes can be translated into first-class extreme music.

The sound of the waves give a raw touch to the somber intro The Earth Is Silent, darkening the skies for the Stygian anthem A Dying Light, which begins in a lugubrious way to the keys by David while Eduardo delivers a huge dosage of melancholy through his deep, clean vocals. In addition, Diego smashes his drums slowly and steadily in great Doom Metal fashion, with Eduardo’s cavernous roars bringing darkness to their crushing musicality. Speeding things up a bit and enhancing their background epicness and obscurity, the band offers us all A Cold Unnamed Fear, where the stringed trio Daniel, Roberto and José sound almost full Black Metal with their incendiary riffs in another brutal display of extreme music, with a delicate touch coming from David’s keys; and they continue their voyage through desolate and cold lands in Orion, where the sound of the guitars by Daniel and Roberto will mesmerize your mind throughout the song’s over eight minutes of solitude and ethereal passages, while Diego keeps the rhythm as sluggish and nocturnal as possible.

Showcasing lyrics that exhale hopelessness darkly vociferated by Eduardo (“When the morning came / There was no hope / There was no joy / When the morning came / The sun was white / Behind the clouds”), When the Morning Came brings forward an interesting paradox between the rumbling bass punches and whimsical keys generated by José and Davi, respectively, with the song’s last part being a brilliant ode to silence and nature; followed by Monolith, offering our ears an imposing an ominous background while at the same time leaning towards Blackened Doom, or in other words, a spine-chilling creation by the band filling every single space in the air with its phantasmagorical keys, flammable guitars and endless heaviness, not to mention its bitterly cold words declaimed by Eduardo (“Another day of calm and cold in this ship / waiting for a sign of mercy of our god / Meanwhile the ice bright like a silver knife / Behind the mist I suppose I see something dark / A cyclopean stone with many lights like stars”). And finally, the piano notes by David kick off the closing tune, entitled White Skies And Grey Lands, before Eduardo’s smooth vocals bring serenity to the music, with all instruments uniting in a climatic and thrilling sound exhibiting the strength of Doom Metal spiced up by the beauty of classical music.

If you’re a longtime fan of the grim and somber fusion of Doom and Death Metal played by bands like Sun Of The Dying, go show your support to those talented Spanish metallers by following them on Facebook, by listening to The Earth Is Silent in full on YouTube and on Spotify and, above all that, by purchasing your copy of the album from their BandCamp page, from Indiemerchstore.com (in CD or vinyl format), or simply click HERE for each and every location where you can find this excellent opus of extreme music. In a nutshell, Sun Of The Dying are not among us to bring happiness nor hope. Quite the contrary, the music found in The Earth Is Silent is the perfect representation of the harsh future that awaits us all in our decaying world, and of course that could only be done through the Stygian and cryptic sounds of our beloved Doom Metal.

Best moments of the album: A Cold Unnamed Fear, When the Morning Came and Monolith.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 AOP Records

Track listing
1. The Earth Is Silent (Intro) 1:39
2. A Dying Light 8:23
3. A Cold Unnamed Fear 5:41
4. Orion 8:09
5. When the Morning Came 5:21
6. Monolith 8:47
7. White Skies And Grey Lands 7:22

Band members
Eduardo Guilló – vocals
Daniel Fernández Casuso – guitars
Roberto Rayo – guitars
José Yuste – bass
David Muñoz – keyboards, backing vocals
Diego Weser – drums

Album Review – Spiral Skies / Blues For A Dying Planet (2018)

Get ready to be put in a trance and to be taken on a unique musical journey by a psychedelic Swedish band and their “rock from another planet”.

With influences ranging over decades, Swedish Occult Rock band Spiral Skies has created a sound that can most easily be described as “rock from another planet”, a unique blend of folk, doom and 70’s-inspired rock music the likes of Jefferson Airplane, Curved Air and The Devil’s Blood, all embraced by a unique visual performance at their intense and enchanting live shows. After their debut EP A Queendom to Come, released in 2015, it’s time for Spiral Skies to further spread their sorcery with their brand new album beautifully titled Blues For A Dying Planet, an ode to the past that’s at the same time always looking into the future.

Formed in 2014 in the Swedish capital Stockholm, Spiral Skies are the talented Frida on vocals, Jonas and Dan on the guitars, Eric on bass and Daniel on drums, each one with a different musical background and distinct influences, but all sharing the same passion for 70´s genuine rock and metal music. In Blues For A Dying Planet, which features a classy cover illustration by Vadim Karasyov, cover and booklet design by Atmanoid, and cover photo by Björn Pettersson, the band brings forth an amalgamation of styles with a strong Psychedelic Doom Metal and Rock core essence, putting you in a trance and taking you to the golden years of rock, always spearheaded by the mesmerizing vocals by Frida.

An organ and the sound of the wind in the intro Black Hole Waltz ignite the feast of Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal named Awakening, with Jonas and Dan dictating the rhythm with their Iron Madein-ish riffs while Frida gives a lesson in passion and energy with her flamboyant vocals. Put differently, this rockin’ hymn has an old school Heavy Metal vibe that, when blended with its core Doom Metal essence, makes things even more captivating. Following such powerful start we have Dark Side of the Cross, a very good song to dance under the stars that leans towards the classic Doom Metal by Black Sabbath with a more whimsical Rock N’ Roll aura, also showcasing a great job done by Daniel with his intricate beats; and The Wizard’s Ball, where Frida keeps delivering sheer awesomeness through her charming and potent vocals, with the rest of the band keeping the music at a very pleasant and gripping pace, flowing smoothly until its climatic ending. Then it’s time to dance with Frida and the boys in Danse Macabre, a classic Hard Rock song with tons of psychedelic elements from Doom Metal added to its beautiful sonority, with Jonas and Dan blasting straightforward, old school guitar riffs that effectively help embellish the ambience.

Labyrinth of the Mind is perhaps the most Black Sabbath of all tracks, with a great balance between the heaviness of the guitar riffs and the gentle voice by Frida, resulting in a hypnotizing musicality perfect for closing your eyes and letting the band take you on a one-of-a-kind musical journey. In Shattered Hopes we’re treated to a hybrid between pure Psychedelic Rock and more contemporary Doom Metal and Hard Rock, uniting past and present through the riffs by the band’s guitar duo and the always fiery vocals by Frida; whereas the poetically-titled tune Left Is Right and Right Is Left Behind has its name translated into classic Rock N’ Roll with tons of psychedelia added to its mesmerizing waves. Furthermore, Eric with his solid bass lines and Daniel with his fierce beats create the perfect background for Frida to shine once again on vocals. And lastly, their feast of classy and gripping sounds is majestically concluded with the lesson in Psychedelic Rock and Metal named The Prisoner, a full-bodied voyage led by the heavy and very melodic guitars by both Jonas and Dan.

The enchanting voice by Frida and her Spiral Skies can be better appreciated through the band’s Facebook page and Spotify, and if you want to buy a copy of Blues For A Dying Planet and consequently have all that’s needed to prance around the fire pit under a moonlit sky, you can find the album on sale at the AOP Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, at the Nuclear Blast webstore, on iTunes or on Amazon. Although the 70’s might be long gone and everything is now just a distant memory, the music by bands like Spiral Skies is what keeps the spirit and passion of that golden decade burning bright inside our souls.

Best moments of the album: Awakening, Danse Macabre and The Prisoner.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 AOP Records

Track listing
1. Black Hole Waltz 1:25
2. Awakening 3:31
3. Dark Side of the Cross 4:04
4. The Wizard’s Ball 5:36
5. Danse Macabre 4:18
6. Labyrinth of the Mind 5:42
7. Shattered Hopes 3:18
8. Left Is Right and Right Is Left Behind 4:38
9. The Prisoner 6:02

Band members
Frida – vocals
Jonas – guitars
Dan – guitars
Eric – bass
Daniel – drums