Nachtblut: Dogma

Dogma the new album from German band Nachtblut certainly grabs the attention from its first surge of energy to the last. It is a storm of inspired black metal and symphonic industrial with strong strains of classic metal for extra flavouring to lead the ear and senses on a lively and corruptive journey. Like a festering brew of Rammstein and Deadstars with the insatiable blackness of a Cradle Of Filth or Dimmu Borgir, the album is a readily pleasing and intriguing release.  Though it does not really leave one breathless with excitement or amazement it without reservation treats one to an imaginative and compelling companionship.

Originally a solo project by vocalist Askeroth, Nachtblut meaning night of blood in English, evolved into a full line-up as the singer found like minded musicians to share his visions and imagination. Through their  love shows and the  self released  The First Supper of 2007 the band drew much attention their way. Shared stages with the likes of Immortal, Sodom, Watain, Varg, and Endstille followed as their provocative nature and sounds brought them acclaim and arguably equal despise but always attention. 2009 saw the band release their concept album Antique followed by its re-release two years later when the band signed with Napalm Records who also release Dogma. Long awaited the new album from Askeroth, guitarist Cross, bassist Sacerdos, drummer Skoll, and Lymania on keyboards, finds a defined maturity to their sound and an inspiring imagination, as well as an irresistible union between two distinct genres.

The album, opens with the title track and probably the song closest to being truly black metal on the album. The atmosphere brought from the simply keys and exploratory guitars sets the tone for the track with the blackened vocals of Askeroth as vehement as the songs is mesmeric in its emotive breath. The track is striking without leaving a lasting impression though the following Der Weg Ist Das Ziel certainly achieves that with its military like initial beats and driving riffs. Striding with a heavy metal intent and heavy symphonic air the song is a commanding and satisfying beast with extra impressive asides in the shape of the pipe like keys and melodic hooks.

The likes of the striking Rache and impressive Macht leave one further satisfied but it is with a trio of songs that the greatest highlights of the album are found. The excellent gothic gaited Ich Trinke Blut with its glorious full melodic heart aligned to a venomous intensity, the hypnotic  Eiskönigin, and the predatory industrial toned stomp of Mordlust, all easily standout. Each is a rampage of strong invention, imagination, and wanton desire to envelope the senses with an intrusive yet infectious majesty. Arguably the album as a whole does not quite live up to these songs but there is never a moment where ingenuity and compulsive listening is left wanting.

Closing on Vulva and Schritte further songs that are impossible to leave until their final notes depart, the album is an impressive fusion of styles brought in a fluid elegance and formidable might. Possibly Dogma as a whole lacks enough moments for more of its tracks to remain in thought and memory after their leaving of the ear but whilst together there is nothing less than a pleasurable and rewarding exchange of emotions and enjoyment.

Ringmaster 25/06/2012

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AtomA:Skylight

With a depth and vastness as dramatic as the story within it, Skylight the debut album from AtomA, is a mighty and stunning release. It offers a colossal mass of startling soundscapes with one overall giant and expansive journey which takes the senses, thoughts, and emotions on soaring and impactful discoveries of new worlds and fulfilling experiences. It brings forth a vast aural universe which is almost too expansive as one almost finds themselves lost within its textures and realms of aural beauty and striking intensity to border the loss of concentrated focus on the canvas before them as personal thoughts and images find their own adventure.

AtomA was formed in 2011 by vocalist and synth player Ehsan Kalantar alongside bassist Siavosh Bigonah (both ex-Slumber members) with drummer Markus Hill joining shortly after and later completed by guitarist Jari Lindholm. Together the band set out with the intention of creating vast and atmospheric soundscapes fuelled by heavy and imposing melodies and structures to bring a multi layered and faceted sound which enveloped and explored the listener as much as they searched through its richness. A line in the band bio states, AtomA was to become an escapism playground taking the trio far from earth, where obsession of ideas and innovations constantly drove the group to try achieving new ways of expressions within the metal/rock sphere. This is certainly what they have magnificently achieved within Skylight not only for themselves but in making a similar world for its recipienmts to immerse within.

Recorded in 2010 at The Panic Room with the official band sound-engineer partner Thomas Johansson (Watain, Torchbearer, Scar Symmetry), Skylight brings melodic and symphonic metal into a mesmeric blend with anything from death metal, electronica, ambience, and post rock to name a few.  It is a majestic and genuine self labelling creation which encompasses a spectrum of sounds as large as the galaxy its story travels. The album centres around astronauts lost and searching through worlds for refuge, the songs portraying and borne of their minds and emotions in their journey of discovery and the impact on their feelings and thoughts. The striking monolith symbol on the cover of the album is the representation of their ultimate discovery of a unique anomaly on a planet whilst the album and astronauts story, again as stated in their bio …very much reflects the groups own alienation and detachment from the world, and also a deep longing for an unknown home.

As one suspects from those lines the album is an ever evolving and growing story which starts with the opening track AtomA and its epic dawning of intensity. The track does not rush to fully expand its reach and vast expanse rather choosing to slowly stretch its view into sight within an intense and intimidating atmosphere of things distinctly unknown. With tribal and instinctive rhythms the track sprawls and looms larger and larger into view to fully engulf the emotions and senses.

The following title track swarms around the ear with a black metal aggression within a more powerful warm and melodic wash of thick and glorious grandeur. There is a challenging power to the song, a predatory edge which lies as a warning within the imposing and intimidating yet beckoning atmosphere.  Within these opening two songs one is fully involved and feeling part of the experience such the power and impressive craft within the album and a connection the stunning Hole In The Sky ensures is a permanent bond. The best piece on the album, its riffs puncturing the senses like aural missiles raining down and the melodies slicing through with a crystal clarity and acidic edge.  Intensive, aggressive and dramatically melodic the track is an immense piece of work as is the albbum as a whole.

Every track is as impactful as any other from Bermuda Riveira with its opening revelation of the reason for the journey of the astronauts, through the celestrial elegance of Solaris, onto Rainmen with its dazzling crystalline ambience and the closing ethereal grace of Cloud Nine. It is no undertstatement to announce by its end that Skylight is enormous in sound, atmosphere, imagination, and quality.

Each mutual journey with the album brings the discovery of something new to persistently confirm that AtomA has brought a truly impressive and fulfilling release that will endure an age as long as its journey.

RingMaster 01/05/2012

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