Promotional Sampler - Vol. 1
(Hammerheart Rec.)


MARK: 75/100



Interesting comp. from the well-known Dutch label consisting of 18 tracks (two for each band) for a total of more than 78 minutes, undoubtely a good insight of their latest releases touching very different kinds of metal. It starts with the Irish Cruachan, playing a sort of celtic-tuned metal, characterized by real folk instruments (tin whistle, Irish flute, Bohdran, Uilleann pipes, elbow pipes, Harp, Bouzoki, which was originally a Greek guitar, but now it's been adopted into Irish and Scottish music), not keyboards, nor samplers, and featuring guest vocals by Shane mcGowan (Pogues/Shane mcGowan and the Popes); the second track, "Ossian's Return" is surely more dynamic and therefore better. They tell old Celtic myths and legends of their past or hardship and rebellion tales Ireland endured in the past, through medieval atmospheres combined with HM/Rock arrangements. Then we have Satariel, nowadays playing very inspired melodic death with some guest vocals ("Holy Trinity") from ex-Candlemass's and Memento Mori's Messiah Marcolin's exceptional voice; quite a good band and production from Daniel Bergstrand (Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend). The next 2 songs are from a new band from Sweden, Demons of Dirt; the music is pretty weak and anonymous, and the singer likes to clone Phil Anselmo's vocals. Even if they're young, I'm sorry, but I can't excuse'em, we'll see at their next record; to me this is the lowest part of the compilation, and I don't even think they'll sell a lot, so I still wonder how an intelligent label like HHR might have chosen'em; mistake, friendship with Patrick? After all, it's not my biz and ain't so important. A little better are Mercenary, mingling heavy and melodic moments, fine clean vocals alternated with growlings ("Seize the Night"); cool Swedish metal, although they have to improve their songwriting to reach In Flames' and Vintersorg's tops. Good sound power metallers Morifade, with catchy melodies and fluent songs. Nothing new under the sun, but at least they play very well. The most obscure band of the 9 are Carpe Tenebrum, grappling with an old-style death metal, reminding Morbid Angel as to the vocals and drum-work. The guitars, fat and crushing, are unfortunately not supported by the high range, mixed too low, which penalizes already cold drum sounds. And it's a shame, cuz C.T. are very interesting and groovy, and it's worth buying their record in spite of this. Another band you have got to take notice of are Necrophobic, whose style is mainly death soaked with some black guitar riffs; they are able to write professional songs, vocals, guitars and drums do their duties in a smart manner, and their breaks give that something more enabling them to emerge from the average to let them reach the metal Olympus soon.. "Act of Rebellion" isn't that far from some stuff from the mid-period Impaled Nazarene, however N. own a quite proper style, which isn't a quality you can meet everyday. Congratulations, cohorts! Sinister need no introduction; their skillful brutal death metal displays an incredible bunch of anal-ripping riffs and time changes, Aad's drum performance is once again a confirmation (for those who still needed it) of his fast ultra heavy style, exactly like in latest Houwitser's. The two tracks come and all the others go home; and as I happened to see live at the No Mercy Festival, Rachel is a true charming possessed, Lori Bravo's true heiress; needless to say they're both my kind of girls as to attitude, yet one should ask their BF's if they're actually so in other circumstances. I don't usually like gossip, thing is that there's nothing like a metal chick, so I'm making an exception. Danse Macabre close the CD and aren't bad, they feel like experimenting, mixing gothic male vocals with female oriental-flavoured ones. I pass the bands gifted with courage of doing new things, even though everyone knows it's impossible to do at 100%, but D.M. give the impression of not doing it just because "you have to do sthg new", but because they feel their music, it doesn't sound prepared or thought before. Of course a compilation can rarely keep very high standards along all its course, anyway, this is definitely the best way for an indie to show their bands, and I feel happy HHR gonna release further volumes in the future.