This Month In Metal: March 2010

The menu for March is black and death with some more black for dessert.

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Unleashed - As Yggdrasil Trembles

Released: March 19 Genre: Viking death metal Label: Nuclear Blast

Bassist and vocalist Johnny screams Viking death metal! Viking death metal! on the third track, Wir Kapitulieren Niemals, and that's really as quick a rundown of Unleashed's sound as you'll get.

In 3:27 you get the core of their sound, the raw old school death metal production, the lyrical approach and the general take-no-prisoners attitude.

As Yggdrasil Trembles retains some of the charm and brute attitude found on Hammer Battalion, but it's still somewhat mind-boggling when you consider how little this band has changed or evolved in their 20+ years of existence. If you've heard an album or two by this band, you've definitely heard the style presented on As Yggdrasil Trembles. Unleashed are reliable and you know what you're going to get, but since they've basically been doing their thing since 1066 or thereabouts, you're either a hardcore fan (and loving it) or you're like me and can't really stand it anymore.

Rating: 6

Burzum - Belus

Released: March 8 Genre: Black metal Label: Byelobog Productions

If one considers the amount of media attention Varg Vikernes has generated in the past year or so, one can only come to the conclusion that he's a black metal superstar.

One of my esteemed colleagues on UG dubbed it the most anticipated extreme metal album of all time, and I can only agree. It was clear that whatever Varg pursued musically would be controversial, because people find him to be just that.

Obviously the genre does not remain the same, and from a musical perspective Belus is about as controversial as my rug. Time has not stood still in Norway and it's not 1994 anymore and thus black metal like the one found on Belus is more or less run of the mill. With that being said, Belus has its appeal with black metal done Varg-style, complete with lo-fi production, a guitar-sound that would make Andy Sneap cringe and Varg's trademark shrieks. It's not Hvis Lyset Tar Oss Part 2, but then again what is?

UG Review Rating: 7

Alcest - Ecailles de Lune

Released: March 29 Genre: Black metal/post-rock/shoegaze Label: Prophecy

Ecailles de Lune has a distinct post-rock/black metal vibe to it, yet it does not. People who have followed this article series may remember a french band called Amesoeurs that were featured in March 2009 if memory serves right. Like with Alcest, Amesoeurs was a band that could be difficult to grasp. I suppose that's the effect of the shoegaze-influence, which at times is pretty intense on Ecailles de Lune. Long, heavy passages with a wall of distortion coupled with female vocals, not relying so much on traditional vocals and lyrics, as treating the vocals as an instrument like any other. The result is nearly hypnotic when they manage to hit home with all the ingredients.

Ecailles de Lune is a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde-type of album. You have a mean black metal streak to it, and then you have the female vocals and the shoegaze-sound. The glue that holds it all together is however the melodies that pop up at just the right time and keeps the album from growing too schizophrenic and thus I'm over the moon about it.

Rating: 8.5

Darkthrone - Circle The Wagons

Released: March 8 Genre: Punk/metal, thrash Label: Peaceville

Casual fans will forever remember Darkthrone for their black metal efforts with the minimalistic production, or the photoshopped cover of Transylvanian Hunger that circulates the internet.

However, Circle the Wagons and their other recent efforts has little in common with those releases and is more akin to punk-metal, and early primal thrash. Production-wise, it is by contemporary standards very much a raw, garage-sounding album with minimal editing and polish.

It is a bit of a pity that Darkthrone have, at this point in time, released what feels and seems like a thousand albums. When you open a dictionary and look up the word prolific', there ought to be a picture of or a reference to Darkthrone. Circle the Wagons has some good tunes, good riffs and a big bucket of ugly, yet unmistakeable charm. It is the antithesis of all the over-written and over-produced modern metal albums we hear and read so much about, but with that being said, let's not flood the market with albums like Circle the Wagons. It is enjoyable and charming because it is raw, gives a big nod to the old days and because it is far from perfect.

UG Review Rating: 6.5

News and tidbits from the past month:

  • Sabaton will release their new album Coat of Arms on May 21 via Nuclear Blast.

  • Thrash veterans Forbidden have signed a record contract with Nuclear Blast.

  • Rhapsody of Fire's new album The Frozen Tears of Angels will be released on April 30th via Nuclear Blast.

  • Dragonforce have parted ways with their singer ZP Theart due to insurmountable differences of musical opinion.

  • Annihilator will release their new, self-titled effort via Earache on May 17th.

  • Symphony X recently entered the studio to begin work on their new album due mid-2010 via Nuclear Blast.

  • Evergrey have announced that not only will there be a new album in the fall of 2010, but that there will also be MAJOR changes in the world of Evergrey, and we are confident it will all be for the better.

  • Ozzy Osbourne has announced that his new album (tentatively due in July) will be entitled Scream, rather than Soul Sucka as it was originally called. I guess anything would be an improvement from Soul Sucka...

    That's all for this month, thanks for reading and as always you can recommend/suggest albums for the coming months by dropping me a message.

  • 112 comments sorted by best / new / date

      AdenZerda
      pariah206 wrote: Wow, absolutely nothing on Periphery???? ok.....PERIPHERYS DEBUT ALBUM DROPS ON 4/20, pick it up if you like awesome prog metal
      I've got it already You won't be disappointed
      true_bacon22
      Vargs trademark shrieks? What? He has totally dropped the god awful shrieks of Burzum to HLTO on this one. Normal shrieks aren't Vargs trademark...
      Jøhnny
      Jastul wrote: holy sh!t!!!!! Rhapsody of Fire's gonna release a new album? fukcin A!!!!! that's so awesome!!!!! and why am i the only one here that seems to be excited about that?
      I'm damn excited about it, so you're not the only one. The new Rhapsody is going to be the most epic album of the year!
      Jastul
      holy sh!t!!!!! Rhapsody of Fire's gonna release a new album? fukcin A!!!!! that's so awesome!!!!! and why am i the only one here that seems to be excited about that?
      Panasonic3
      touji-za-nai wrote: This month in rock would be a lot more marketable. Metal, I don't even give a shit. Metal is annoyingly boring.
      i hope that guy doesn;t come back... but this month seemed rather uneventful.
      Cobalt Blue
      oh Ozzy you can't name an album 'Scream' Chris Cornell ruined that for everybody.
      marianoarnaiz
      one word TAROT!!!!! i still that this column is too much on the side of black and death metal leaving all ther rest outside
      touji-za-nai
      This month in rock would be a lot more marketable. Metal, I don't even give a shit. Metal is annoyingly boring.
      metal15head
      Dragonforce have parted ways with their singer ZP Theart due to insurmountable differences of musical opinion.
      LiquidMotion
      P.s why is there no review for Revocation - existence is futile came out at the end of last year and went in my top ten of last year, and that includes all other genres.
      LiquidMotion
      Check out Son of Aurelius! the farthest reaches is soo good from start to finish. I know most of you can't get ahold of it till the 14th, but son you need to get on that shit asap
      Cianyx
      duncang wrote: Seriously, only so many albums can be covered and these four are probably the most important four to be released, except for perhaps Unleashed.
      Eat me Unleashed is classic DM. Nothing eventful this year for me so far: Immolation has released better, so has Burzum, Triptykon is nothing compared to CF. Alcest's new album is not exactly the most metal thing around is it? Still better than the other stuff though. I'll listen to PN now. Got high hopes for it. When's Cosmic Atrophy's new album coming out? Eat me
      SomaGuye
      illuminatiano wrote: veil of maya, periphery and the ocean are not metal.
      You elitists can say this all you want, but the simple fact is, they are metal, no matter how much you dislike them.
      STABxYOU
      touji-za-nai wrote: This month in rock would be a lot more marketable. Metal, I don't even give a shit. Metal is annoyingly boring.
      And rock is even worse.
      Alex_Boro
      This weeks months metal review has been pathetic! The only good thing is Alcest's new album i think you should do something from Roadrunner!
      Reviewer Pete
      DarkXoa wrote: YAY! DRAGONFORCE IS FALLING APART... btw dont put them on here anymore unless its more news about them sucking or dying. why? because they ARE NOT METAL!!!!!
      ROFLCOPTER.
      EpiExplorer
      true_bacon22 wrote: RDSElite wrote: DarkXoa wrote: YAY! DRAGONFORCE IS FALLING APART... btw dont put them on here anymore unless its more news about them sucking or dying. why? because they ARE NOT METAL!!!!! F*** Metal elitists. Nay, this kid listens to commercial metalcore crap and nu-metal. He isn't an elitist, he's just an idiot. Even an elitist won't deny the metalness of Dragonforce.
      Exactly, no matter how cheesy it is.
      true_bacon22
      RDSElite wrote: DarkXoa wrote: YAY! DRAGONFORCE IS FALLING APART... btw dont put them on here anymore unless its more news about them sucking or dying. why? because they ARE NOT METAL!!!!! F*** Metal elitists.
      Nay, this kid listens to commercial metalcore crap and nu-metal. He isn't an elitist, he's just an idiot. Even an elitist won't deny the metalness of Dragonforce.
      RDSElite
      DarkXoa wrote: YAY! DRAGONFORCE IS FALLING APART... btw dont put them on here anymore unless its more news about them sucking or dying. why? because they ARE NOT METAL!!!!!
      F*** Metal elitists.
      DarkXoa
      YAY! DRAGONFORCE IS FALLING APART... btw dont put them on here anymore unless its more news about them sucking or dying. why? because they ARE NOT METAL!!!!!
      RAH7747
      Why?! Oh Pete?! WHY?! I never question your judgment regarding the bands you select to review but considering that only 4 were reviewed this time, you have definitely forgotten some good ones.. Ikuinen Kaamos - The Fall of Icons - Next month's issue.. PLEASE!
      diefordethklok
      Damn, I've been trying to get that Alcest sound across for a few years now. My old band was very dark shoe gaze metal. A bit heavier than Alcest, but so chill, and we'd go out and play shows, and people would just look at us, not knowing what to think or to do, like questioning what the hell we were doing, haha. We were a 3-piece, me being guitar and lead vocals.
      STABxYOU
      illuminatiano wrote: veil of maya, periphery and the ocean are not metal.
      They're more like metal than hardcore. Shitty mall metal is still metal.
      xXshadowswordXx
      well looking forward to the ozzman's new cd and sabatons coat of arms i was impressed with their Primo victoria album.
      mosher117
      Dragonforce have parted ways with their singer ZP Theart due to insurmountable differences of musical opinion
      Even the vocalist realised the band were shit and voiced that opinion and the rest couldnt see it, so they kicked him out.
      RDSElite
      The Alcest album is amazing. I WILL be buying it. Thanks to this feature, or I'd never have heard of it.
      ride-the-spiral
      illuminatiano wrote: veil of maya, periphery and the ocean are not metal.
      I can't really see a basis for Periphery not being metal other than the fact that the way they operate seems to be with the hardcore scene (Signed to Sumerian, tour with metalcore/deathcore bands). But their music is quite metal though.
      metallifreak77
      Mmm, I do not like these articles, the reviewing is biased towards trend-fetished versions of "metal", so the name of this monthly pile of dung needs to be changed. Agreed on the Overkill, deserved a spot over all four of these albums. That is a fact, they have been around long enough to earn at least that???