DEMO WORKS
 

ASTRA KHAN
“Black Dust”
rating: 5 / 6
“If you think you can replace our drumcomputer, contact us!” Hmm, I always appreciated honesty. Besides; replacing drummachine isn’t really a necessity, for it sounds good enough. Apart from that, ASTRA KHAN (quite amusing if spelled in Russian, by the way) aren’t what they want to be, at least if referring to the bio sheet they enclosed. A combination of black, death and thrash metal? Not quite. Or, most likely, not at all. I couldn’t find any reminiscences of thrash, although “Black Dust” doubtlessly can be considered both black and death metal. Oh… not really, as I hear my pals saying. Well, to make things a bit more clear, this demo CD features four tracks of excellent cross between black metal and death / grind (!), with emphasis on the latter. And it’s not what we already got used to, right? Exactly! That’s why ASTRA KHAN is a band, which in my view, has no right to stay unnoticed. Glory to the neophytes. Or something like that… :))
Website: http://www.phys.uu.nl/~duine/astrakhan
Email: astrakhan@freemail.nl
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

BAIGALIIN HARANHUI
“Hermel Tchetger”
rating: - / -
ANTHRAX. “Spreading The Disease”. I hope at least few of you remember and still rejoice listening to that LP. In fact, the tape I currently have to review could illustrate how “spreading the disease” looks like quite perfectly. Black metal conquers the world like plague once did, and therefore it’s no wonder that Mongolia (!) also spitted forth a black metal act. If you expect anything exciting, you’re just a fool. Obviously, “Hermel Tchetger” is a complete disaster. Starting with a weird intro – best track off this “work”, by the way – strongly impregnated with Mongolian folklore (?), it features few more “tunes” surprisingly played with chords. No riffs whatsoever. And remember, it’s not OPETH what we deal with here. Drums? None. Voice? Seems like the “singer” was heavily drunk whilst doing his work. In other words, and just like I said above, it’s a disaster. Total, utter and complete. They had a glorious past. Below-the-third-world-country now. And “Hermel Tchetger” is yet another proof to it.
Email (!): cagaan@mol.mn
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

CELESTIA
“Promo Tape 2001”
Drakkar Productions
rating: 4 / 6
Holy fucking hell! These trollbarking bastards seem to be influenced by early ex-USSR black metal scene as much as I can’t even describe! What’s happening, what’s the world coming to?? Austrians sing in Russian, and French (CELESTIA comes exactly from France, in case you didn’t know) seem to have found inspiration in the older works by THRON’, LUCIFUGUM, NOKTURNAL MORTUM and few others… Hmm, don’t even know what to say. Ok, this promo tape is comprised of two tracks taken off “Evoking Grace And Splendour” 7’EP, whilst five that’re left originally appear to be “Dead Insecta Sequestration” demo. Yes, it sounds pretty similar to early LUCIFUGUM (Ukraine), which is definitely not a bad thing, at least if taking into consideration the 100% underground origin of CELESTIA. I guess I ought to interview Noktu (bass / vocals, and also the mastermind behind Drakkar Productions) some day…
http://www.multimania.com/celestia
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

CRAZER
“Oderint Dum Metuant”
Fatal Forum Productions
rating: 3 / 6
“Crazer”… Stupid name, isn’t it? But discussing moniker definitely isn’t what this review is for, so let’s talk about music for a while. Erh… actually, I just figured out I don’t know what to write down, since I surprisingly managed to forget what CRAZER is all about. Completely forget. And it doesn’t have anything to do with sclerosis. Most likely, it’s due to the fact “Oderint…” is utterly unmemorable piece. A hint: if you’re going to review this work, let it play in your stereo until you finished. But ok, what is it, afterall? Technical death metal should be the answer, I guess… Musicianship? Good. Sound execution? Not bad either. Originality? None. And I hope you remember me saying, it’s far from being memorable… There’re works which stuck in your mind for a long time, and there’re works which do not. “Oderint…” should be reckoned to the latter. All in all, this offering isn’t anything crappy… and isn’t worth immediate ordering as well.
Email: stalnoi@mail.ru
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

ETOILE NOIRE
“Sleeping Black Eyes”
rating: 2 / 6
How could I even imagine that both Pasquale Scotti and Ferruccio Milanesi @ ANIMA IN FIAMME will ever start up a project as worthless as this one is. “Sleeping Black Eyes” consists of five tracks, whilst only “Point Of No Return”, the very last one, is worth anything. In short, this is straightforward gothic rock (not even dark wave, you see), i.e. the kind of music I don’t happen to get high on. And what if it also features more or less irritating vocal lines and somewhat blurred musical canvas? Nah… I don’t need this.
Website: www.etoilenoire.net
Email: etoilenoire@katamail.com
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

GLIS
“Advanced Promo”
ADSR Musicwerks
rating: 5,5 / 6
This one doesn’t really have anything to do with metal at all, however listen to what I’ve got to say anyway… GLIS come up with excellent… well, better like this: EXCELLENT… mixture of dark wave and EBM, and even though I don’t quite appear a diehard fan of this music style, I got high before “It’s Empty In Her Eyes”, the opening song, was over. Don’t expect me to describe anything, better wait until GLIS put out a full-length CD and check it out.
Website: www.glisonline.com
Email: adsr@adsr.org
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

HOLOCAUST
“Friday The 13th”
rating: 5 / 6
There're many bands named "Holocaust" around, however only one of them was covered by METALLICA. I just thought you need to know that. After a long-long silence they're finally back on the track, whilst a brand new CD - "Primal" - should have been released by the time you're reading this. "Friday The 13th" serves as a demo of what to expect, featuring three tracks off the aforementioned CD. Well, I guess now I know why METALLICA paid homage to this band. They certainly deserve it. It's a bit old-fashioned cross between thrash and heavy metal, old-fashioned though not an utter anachronism. Surprisingly brutal, based on hammering riffs, excellent work of rhythm-section and appropriate vocal lines (the voice is "clean", however not squeaky if that's what you thought of), it leaves incredibly good impression - and, consequently, I'd be glad to give a listen to "Primal" and interview the band once it's been released.
Website: http://www.holocaustmetal.com
Email: breadfan@cybercom.net
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

KHARON
“The Fullmoon Curse”
Neodawn Productions
rating: 5,5 / 6
Hmm… a nice listening experience, indeed. Sort of enigmatic dark / black metal… truly enigmatic. Even if KHARON may be loosely compared to WALLACHIA and SUFFERING (does anyone recall “Sowing The Seeds Of Suffering”? Sadly enough, I guess not), “The Fullmoon Curse” is highly original piece, the one you’d be listening to over and over again… Mostly mid-paced, featuring both low-pitched grunts and typical blackish screeching, it’s quite simplistic in terms of arrangements and overall composition, however exactly this simplicity turns “The Fullmoon Curse” into such a mesmerizing audial journey…
Website: www.neodawn.de
Email: info@neodawn.de
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

NECROPLASMA
“Necroplasma”
Neodawn Productions
rating: 5 / 6
Ultra-blasting Swedish black metal the Norwegian way. Reminds me a bit of the earliest works by EMPEROR (circa “Wrath Of The Tyrant”… “As The Shadows Rise” 7’EP is rather good comparison as well). If black metal is what you live for, this offering must be yours.
Website: www.neodawn.de
Email: info@neodawn.de
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

SARCOMA
“Necrophagous Lust”
Sugar Free Music
rating: 3,5 / 6
Pretty typical death metal the early CANNIBAL CORPSE way, quite enjoyably performed and well executed… However, the principal point is: “Necrophagous Lust” was recorded back in 1992 (!), whilst the band itself comes from Moldova (!). Moreover, I was kinda knocked down when I found out there’s actually no snare drum here, but a potatoes-box used instead (!!!). Still, the overall sound is way better than most of ex-USSR death metal combos contrive to come up with nowadays… The band is dead for many years, however if you once see this MC (obviously unavailable anymore) being sold or traded anywhere, get it at once. (Herr Stalhammar)

SCAVENGER
“Keeper Of The Knowledge”
Fatal Forum Productions
rating: 4,5 / 6
Hmm, interesting. Despite that Estonia has quite a few death / black metal acts, this country’s scene doubtlessly may be named a strong one, since most of these “few” appear as those worth attention. SCAVENGER is no exception. “Keeper Of The Knowledge” is comprised of eight tracks, most of which are rather short, whilst musically it’s just what I mentioned above – death / black metal, although a bit different from bands delivering seemingly the same kind of audial torture. Once you listen to a particular song, you think it’s only well-crafted stylistic amalgamation, but then – hooops! – you’re knocked down by sudden techno-death elements thrown in. This is what happens all the way through “Keeper Of The Knowledge”. If only the production was better… Anyway, since it’s only a demo, I guess the CD they sooner or later make available, will be a masterpiece, or at least not so far from that. All in all, I wish SCAVENGER the best of luck. They deserve it.
Email: stalnoi@mail.ru
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

SLAVIA
“Gloria In Excelsis Sathan”
Drakkar Productions
rating: 5 / 6
Strange moniker for a Norwegian act. And what’s even more strange, is the presence of Russian national hymn (!) right before “Blasphemic Art” starts to shred your ears. This is something doubtlessly not for the horny girls getting high on CRADLE OF FILTH. Surprisingly well executed, “Gloria In Excelsis Sathan” offers some more or less atmospheric blackened death metal WITH variety. Fortunately Norway still have some few worthy acts left to pick up, listen to and having pleasure. Norgay in case with MORGUL and ULVER, and Norway in case with SLAVIA. By the way, somehow I feel “SLAVIA is not a political band” or any other statement of this kind is a lie. Sorry.
Email: Slavia@innocent.com
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

THERM.EYE.FLAME
“Spherical”
rating: 5 / 6
Once a good friend of mine told me “Spherical” makes him recall BURZUM (the metal era, of course), I thought I should give the tape this guy passed me, a listen right away. Well, and so I did. Sadly enough, it almost doesn’t have anything to do with any of Varg’s creations. Starting with a riff, which sounds like it’s been stolen from BLACK SABBATH (!), later on it turns into slow-downed, dismally grieving sort of black metal slightly larded with a small number of electronics. If I told you THERM.EYE.FLAME is a one-man band which comes from Odessa (Ukraine), I bet you just wouldn’t believe me. Not a problem. Just consider it regular project of Norwegian origin, and enjoy these sounds of darkness…
Sorry, no contact address available.
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

THOUSAND TRIBES
“Pagan Gods”
Fatal Forum Productions
rating: 2 / 6
These guys have some good ideas, however fail to carry ‘em out. If you still don’t know what the question is, THOUSAND TRIBES made an attempt to deliver… well, what else if not pagan metal? Mostly slow-downed and drearily atmospheric, “Pagan Gods” offers quite a lot of variable harmonies as well as few surprisingly impressive passages one may face here and there, but in general, there’s MUCH to work on. Some of you probably know I usually cavil at drummachine, however not this time. It doesn’t make the whole picture worse. “Clean” vocals do, though – even if they’re not as disgusting as you could imagine. It’s music in the whole, which lacks something. And this “something” usually goes by the name “maturity”. If they don’t cease to exist in a couple of years from now on, I guess THOUSAND TRIBES’ second demo would be quite enjoyable piece.
Email: stalnoi@mail.ru
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

V.E.L.D.
“Time Is Now”
Mass Cruelty Productions
rating: 1 / 6
Horrible. Seems to be unbelievable, but “Time Is Now” is even worse than “Promo 2000”, which strikes as the former work by these Belorussian wannabes. Don’t consider it an insult, but this is what they are: wannabes. Nothing else. “Time Is Now” is comprised of three own tracks also featuring a cover of “Symbolic” by DEATH, however none of them sounds enough intriguing. Most likely, completely on the contrary. Dull, colorless, motionless, pathetic (techno?-)thrash / (techno?-)death metal with beyond disgusting vocal attempts. I wish I could state anything on the opposite… but… no chance.
Snail mail: c/o Sergey Moroz / P.O.Box 50 / 210029 Vitebsk / Belarus
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

VINTERRIKET
“Sturme Der Letzten Stille”
Neodawn Productions
rating: 5 / 6
Instead of wasting my time on reviewing what, figuratively speaking, has been already reviewed, I’d better re-address you to a review on VINTERRIKET’s “Promo 2001”. Believe me, everything’s almost the same. (Kai Mathias Stalhammar)

WEEDS IN VOGUE
“Gravestone Poetry”
rating: 4 / 6
Not much to say here. This is a young Moscow’s duo who has just put on tape the very first effort of theirs, recorded at CDM Records Studio (ROSSOMAHAAR, RAKOTH, NARGATHROND, STIGMATIC CHORUS, etc.) and comprised of eight pretty short tracks of melodic semi-black / semi-death metal, simultaneously reminding of DARK TRANQUILLITY and MYSTIC CIRCLE. Rather enjoyable listening experience for sure, however I wish they had slightly more personal approach. Anyway, ordering this work definitely won’t be a loss of time and money. Try it.
Website: www.weedsinvogue.nm.ru
Email: weeds_in_vogue@hotmail.com
       vermillon@mail.ru
(review by Herr Stalhammar)