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Music Reviews: Meltgsnow, Shadowgarden, Atrocity, King Giant, Dark Age, The Breathing Process

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Its that time of the week again and here is another collection of metal reviewed. Its diverse and from all corners of the world. The language of heavy rock and metal is truly universal.

CD Reviews

Meltgsnow: Black Penance

The first thing that is striking about this lot is not about the music, which is decent goth metal, but their land of origin. They come from a land that starts with S, but it ain’t part of Scandinavia. Would you believe this bunch come from Singapore, that city state in the Far East? Singapore is a fairly rigid society, so it’s even more surprising these guys are as good as they are. Even more interesting is that they recorded some of this in Thailand, as well as touring that nation.

They have been around since 1999 and clearly have been honing their chops. This is a solid release of goth metal that, while not ground-breaking, is satisfying enough to keep any fan of the genre happy. The band were clever enough to have the album mastered by Jens Bogren, who has worked with a whole myriad of top dark metal acts including Katatonia and the mighty Opeth.

The only criticism I can think of which could be seen as a tad petty is the fact that the band have little of what you call local color in their sound. It does come across as a bit too much like what else is out there. A band to watch certainly.

Shadowgarden: Ashen

This bunch of annoyingly talented Swedes is listed in some places as without a label, but you would never guess it. This is a tight goth-tinged power metal album with a variety of vocal styles. They wallow in the harder end of the world of Within Temptation and Tristania, especially on the track “With Love and a Bullet.” The track is not only catchy as stink it has a quality to it that is dare I say it “danceable” without being twee.

Then again there is a reason the band is so tight and professional. It is in fact, especially on the above mentioned song, the band Draconian with all four members appearing in various capacities: A side-project of two of the members of the band who seemed to have roped in their band-mates depending on the songs. It would be possible to wonder what the point of a new band name is, but I am sure they have their reasons. There is a subtle difference between the two bands, but one that would be lost on all but the most anal genre junkies.

As you can imagine it’s a mix of full male, full female, and combinations there of depending on the tracks. This is a solid release set to attract listeners of bands of this ilk. I quite enjoyed listening to this set of tunes and found nothing objectionable. If they keep producing catchy tracks like most of them here they should go far. Another band to watch certainly.

Atrocity Featuring Yasmin: After the Storm

They are called Atrocity and they use that poncy “featuring” tag normal reserved from crap Euro-trash pop singles that go in one ear and out the other. Even better their label refers to the band as “ethno metal.” So needless to say I had a no clue what to expect from this bunch, except being from Napalm I expected something heavy. And I would be wrong, quite wrong, in fact.

This is far more goth metal or even just goth heavy rock than anything else. Probably because they toss in all sorts of ethnic chanting they are considered ethno metal. I have no idea what the heck the tag means or who came up with it. The reason they are called Atrocity is because they were once a death metal band before morphing into the goth heavy rock outfit they are today. Also amusing is that if you add Liv Kristine to the line-up (who is the wife of the wonderfully named Alexander Krull) the band morphs into Viking fantasy goth metal of Leave’s Eyes for the share the same members. In fact Yasmin Krull is a session musician/vocalist on this release.

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