Reviews by Michael O'Brien

  • Dragged into Sunlight - Widowmaker
  • Dragged into Sunlight

    Widowmaker

    By Michael O'Brien | 26 November, 2012

    An ambitious though ultimately flawed release

    Three years ago the UK’s Dragged into Sunlight dropped their debut album, Hatred for Makind. It was an album that explored a variety of styles including black metal, death metal, and ...

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  • Ufomammut - Oro: Opus Alter
  • Ufomammut

    Oro: Opus Alter

    By Michael O'Brien | 24 October, 2012

    A weighty conclusion to the ORO story

    With the first part of Ufomammut’s ORO double album having settled itself into our collective consciousness since its release some six months ago or so, the question that has been at the fore...

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  • God Seed - I Begin
  • God Seed

    I Begin

    By Michael O'Brien | 22 October, 2012

    A very promising and somewhat surprising start

    After the acrimonious split that occurred in the Gorgoroth camp which was then followed by former lead-man Gaahl’s announcement that he was retiring from metal altogether, the prospe...

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  • haarp - husks
  • haarp

    husks

    By Michael O'Brien | 11 October, 2012

    Seething, glacially-paced sludge from NOLA

    Having never heard haarp before (yes, they like to spell everything lowercase – I apologise in advance) I had no idea what to expect of them when the promo invitation arrived in my inbox...

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  • Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
  • Anaal Nathrakh

    Vanitas

    By Michael O'Brien | 10 October, 2012

    All is vanity

    The rate and regularity at which Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt release new Anaal Nathrakh material is quite impressive but that the quality of the material is always, always, at the highest of levels is nothing short...

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  • Cryptopsy - Cryptopsy
  • Cryptopsy

    Cryptopsy

    By Michael O'Brien | 19 September, 2012

    Cryptopsy return with a statement but what that is is open to interpretation

    Montreal’s Cryptopsy are a band who I’ve always found to be much more interesting on paper than they are in actuality. They have a particularly fr...

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  • Serpentine Path - Serpentine Path
  • Serpentine Path

    Serpentine Path

    By Michael O'Brien | 13 September, 2012

    Heavy and doomy as hell but not without its issues

    As a fan of Unearthly Trance, the news of their demise earlier this year was unpleasant to say the least but the reports of a new project featuring the entire band as well as Tim Bagsh...

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  • Winterfylleth - The Threnody of Triumph
  • Winterfylleth

    The Threnody of Triumph

    By Michael O'Brien | 12 September, 2012

    Pleasant enough but far from unique

    The folky, introspective, and culturally-explorative side of black metal has certainly gained a fair amount of traction over the past handful of years and while there are some bands who err towards t...

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  • Xibalba - Hasta La Muerte
  • Xibalba

    Hasta La Muerte

    By Michael O'Brien | 11 August, 2012

    Dynamics? What dynamics?

    There’s something to be said for music whose sole agenda is to pummel its listeners into submission, acting more as a blunt bludgeoning instrument than a vehicle for expressive, emotional conveyance but a...

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  • Nechochwen - OtO
  • Nechochwen

    OtO

    By Michael O'Brien | 11 August, 2012

    An interesting and somewhat unique take on the folk metal genre

    While I can’t honestly say that the folk metal sub genre tends to do all that much for me from a musical perspective, I do have an appreciation for the anthropologic...

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  • Samothrace - Reverence to Stone
  • Samothrace

    Reverence to Stone

    By Michael O'Brien | 06 August, 2012

    Light on length but heavy everywhere else

    It’s been an especially good time to be a doom fan lately with some utterly spectacular albums having been released over the past 12 months including those from the likes of Esoteric, Aha...

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  • Vintersorg - Orkan
  • Vintersorg

    Orkan

    By Michael O'Brien | 25 July, 2012

    The good side of folk metal

    Anyone who has read my reviews over the years may be aware of my general repulsion when it comes to folk metal. It’s not a genre that I hate per sé, but it’s definitely one that rubs me th...

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  • Borgne - Royaume des Ombres
  • Borgne

    Royaume des Ombres

    By Michael O'Brien | 23 July, 2012

    A great sound and atmosphere but a little short on ideas

    With the relative affordability of home recording equipment these days, putting together a respectable one man band is far from the daunting, barely attainable task it once was, ...

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  • Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
  • Elysian Blaze

    Blood Geometry

    By Michael O'Brien | 04 July, 2012

    An epic monument to bleakness

    As someone who spends a hell of a lot of time listening to drone and doom, I’m well acquainted with songs and albums of considerable length and have often felt a sense of amusement when others who ar...

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  • Nile - At the Gate of Sethu
  • Nile

    At the Gate of Sethu

    By Michael O'Brien | 27 June, 2012

    Dung incantation

    While Nile’s popularity and market penetration has gone from strength to strength over the years with each successive album and the band find themselves sitting amongst the upper tier of death metal acts they hav...

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  • Ihsahn - Eremita
  • Ihsahn

    Eremita

    By Michael O'Brien | 20 June, 2012

    Complex, intricate, yet a little cold

    There’s no denying the impact of Ihsahn on the world of metal and progressive music. I’d submit that there are few, if any, who consistently push the envelope with as much free abandon ...

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  • Ahab - The Giant
  • Ahab

    The Giant

    By Michael O'Brien | 18 June, 2012

    A more appropriate title they could not have chosen

    Of all of the doom bands I listen to and love, there are few that consistently conjure imagery as vivid as that of Germany’s Ahab and fewer still that write music to such a ridi...

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  • Burzum - Umskiptar
  • Burzum

    Umskiptar

    By Michael O'Brien | 01 June, 2012

    A variety of ideas marred by inconsistency

    The rate of Burzum releases since Varg’s parole from prison in early 2009 has been swift yet wholly within the norm when you take into account his prolific approach to song-writing prior...

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