Music Review: HOLY BLOOD – Day Of Vengeance

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holy blood day of vengeanceHOLY BLOOD
Day Of Vengeance
Bombworks Records
2015

For quite some time, my Holy Blood collection was incomplete. For, while all the other Holy Blood releases have been made available as a purchasable download — including the recent Glory To The Heroes EP — for whatever reason, their 2015 release, Day Of Vengeance, never was made available in that format. And there isn’t any information I can find to explain why, either. Not that the band owes me or anyone else an explanation, mind you. They can do whatever they want; release an 8-Track only, if they want. Actually, that does sound kind of cool. Maybe a reel-to-reel release. But, I digress. Point is, I finally broke down and purchased the physical CD through Amazon. My Holy Blood collection is now complete.

So, anyway, what’s the METAL like on Day Of Vengeance? Glad you asked.

Upon initial listening, I can understand why many were taken aback a bit with the style it went with. While early records had a more Black Metal-leaning style, and subsequent releases went with Folk Metal stylings, Day Of Vengeance is mainly a straight forward Melodic Death metal release, with a couple of flashes of the Folk Metal of past releases, mostly by way of the two instrumentals, the opener “Dawn Before Battle” and “In Paradise”. The overall quality of the album’s music is very good, featuring some good n’ heavy riffs and hooks, with most of the songs affecting a mid-paced yet brutal heaviness. The song “Holy Blood” also has a touch of the ol’ Folk Metal, and is a bit doomier in execution, and “Powerless Darkness” utilizes choral vocals for texture, but for the most part this is an album of heavy riffs, blastbeats and hooky rhythms with growl vocals. It’s not bad by any stretch, really.

So, overall, I found Day Of Vengeance to be a satisfying Death Metal release. It’s not a Folk Metal album, to be sure. But, if we can’t allow bands to deviate from the norm, they won’t be able to grow, right? Guys? Fellas? Eh, worth checking out.

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Music Review: HOLY BLOOD – Glory To The Heroes

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holy blood - glory to the heroesHOLY BLOOD
Glory To The Heroes
Vision Of God Records
2017

Since the release of their most recent full-length release in 2014–one that hasn’t been released as a downloadable purchase yet, for whatever reason–it was a three year wait until any kind of new material was released by Ukrainian folk metal band Holy Blood. To be fair, there were some changes within the band in-between those releases, which is actually par for the course for Holy Blood. They do tend to change not only members but also the style of folk metal they play from album to album.

No different for the recently released EP, Glory To The Heroes. Available as both a physical CD and digital release from Vision Of God Records (try and guess which format I went with), this is a nice five track short but sweet bit of Folk Metal goodness.

Beginning with the track “Primary Rus”, the EP kicks things off right with a great, majestic sounding symphonic metal instrumental that’s epic and has a great solo. This is followed by two proper songs, “By Fire And Sword” and “Get Ready For Battle”, which are different from previous Holy Blood releases in that the style is more mid-paced and features none of the black metal overtones, and the vocals are all sung instead of growled or shrieked. Whether they’re going to stick to this kind of style or just do this for the EP, I don’t know. All I know is, I like this direction they took here. The folk instrumentation really blends together with the metal nicely; there are some chanting used on “By Fire And Sword” that works well. “Sophia Of Kiev” is another instrumental that mixes in bagpipes and trumpets into the metal, along with featuring another great guitar solo. The EP then ends on a high note with the title track, “Glory To The Heroes”, bringing everything together nicely.

Overall, while those expecting the staple death growls that were prevalent on the previous records might be thrown a bit by the straight singing and chanting that’s featured on here, Glory To The Heroes is a nice, if brief release of quality folk metal.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – May 6, 2017

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MAY 6, 2017

Finally, after taking two weeks off to deal with a massive sinus cold infection, Uncle NecRo is back to continue the weekly dispelling of the Brutal Music Therapy we all crave…

Featuring cuts from:

Music Review: A HILL TO DIE UPON – Holy Despair

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music-review_-a-hill-to-die-upon-holy-despairA HILL TO DIE UPON
Holy Despair
Bombworks Records
2014

Third release from Illinois melodic black/death metal band A Hill To Die Upon. Usually, I would have been waiting not-so-patiently for the release and had been upon that like an overused simile; but, due to the release coinciding with a certain existential meltdown brought on by the dissolution of reality at the time. Long story. Rather would not get into it right now.

Anyway, once I got back onto the proverbial horse, I finally got around to discovering that one of my favorite go-to bands for delicious Scandinavian death metal from America released a third album back in 2014, I wasted no time purchasing Holy Despair and giving it a solid listen, back to front, at least a handful of times during the day.

Holy Despair continues on with the mid-paced melodic death metal style like with the previous two releases; and like the other two, the band just doesn’t stop at that, mixing in some dark and doomy flavoring, some neo-black metal styles, and some folk metal leanings to keep things from getting stale. It’s heavy, dark, with a lot of atmosphere, but also with some great riffs and melodies going on throughout. There’s an acoustic instrumental interlude a bit past the mid-way point (“Somme”), and I’m certain that the cut “Rime (Jerub-Ba’al)” is a continuation of “Rime” from the first album. The highlights that cap off the album, though, are the nifty death metal arrangement of the traditional folk tune “O Death”, and “Satan Speaks”, which is based on a poem by C. S. Lewis that has a nice groove to it.

Overall, Holy Despair does not disappoint. Here’s hoping I’m more on the ball with the next release. Highly recommended.

Music Review: GRAVE DECLARATION – When Dying Souls Scream Praise

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grave declaration - when dying souls scream praise

GRAVE DECLARATION
When Dying Souls Scream Praise
Bombworks Records
2013

This fist full-length release from Norwegian symphonic black metal outfit Grave Declaration is…well, I won’t mince words, here: When Dying Souls Scream Praise is pants-wettingly awesome. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating one bit when I write that, either. I know, I can tend to be overly enthusiastic when it comes to \,,/METAL\,,/, but trust me, here it is warranted.

This first and so far only full-length release (not counting the EP from a few years prior) by Norwegians Grave Declaration is a greatly refreshing Arctic blast of thick and meaty extreme metal bombast that skirts the lines between symphonic black metal, folk metal and death metal, throwing in some experimental elements in there to keep things from going stale too soon. The production is fantastic, giving a fullness to the quality. The music is well-crafted, and that shows with the flow of the entire album. If this isn’t the perfect metal album, When Dying Souls Scream Praise comes bloody close. Do yourself a favor, and obtain this album post-haste, pop it in the player, and get all tingly and moist with this two-fisted exorcise in awesomeness.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – Series 3, Session 2

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…after finding a decent WiFi connection, I was able to finally foist this second Session of Brutal Music Therapy of the new Series for your ear-holes. You’re welcome.

Featuring cuts from:

aletheian antestor believer crimson thorn extol holy blood incubus living sacrifice mortification vengeance rising

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Music Review: HOLY BLOOD – Waves Are Dancing

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HOLY BLOOD - Waves Are Dancing
HOLY BLOOD
Waves Are Dancing
Bombworks Records
2005

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You want the good stuff, you gotta import. Nothing against our fine domestic American metal, but any metal connoisseur worth their metal salute knows you must sample the fine flavors from abroad.

Man, that sounded all kinds of pretentious, didn’t it? What can I say. I’m an elitist. Snicker all you want, there. Anyhoo…

The second full-length from Ukrainian folk metal group Holy Blood is one of the better imports that the always awesome Bombworks Records brought us. Waves Are Dancing finds the band incorporating more of the melodic folk metal style with the black and death metal awesome. The music has recorder melodies and keyboards, with occasional ethereal female vocals and folk choir singing, flutes and acoustic instruments are mixed in with the spinal injury educing blast beats, blistering guitar riffs and shrieking vocals, crafting something equally beautiful and terrifying.

Folk Metal, Forrest Metal, Viking Metal…whatever you call it, Waves Are Dancing is a fantastic album of metal brutality. If you don’t get this, I’ll have to come over and get all elitist on your buttocks, there…

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