Thursday, October 04, 2012

Metal Briefs: Candlelight Cult Series

OK, So It's Cult, but Is It Kvlt?

Candlelight is of course one of the best-known metal labels out there, but they don't strictly release the bigger names. The label's "cult series" celebrates lesser-known musical acts that the label apparently thinks are worth your time and money. Are they?

Khors: Wisdom of Centuries (2012)
3.5 out of 5 stars

Khors is a Ukrainian melodic black metal outfit who know how to write a memorable song that's simultaneously sad and angry. They use keyboards in such a way that they add to the atmosphere without drawing too much attention to themselves. The riffs are excellent (especially on "The Last Leaves"), the sound is great, the drums are very interesting. But there are some drawbacks to Wisdom of Centuries. Between the instrumentals and the other pensive musical passages, there's nearly as much time without distortion as there is with, and they are so much better with. Although they flirt with doom (the title track) and certainly aren't playing the same thing the whole time, the record really only has one mood that it explores. It's dynamic mostly in the sense of an on/off switch, without many layers. Still, check those riffs. Nice.

Buy Wisdom of Centuries

Wodensthrone: Curse (2012)
4 out of 5 stars

As I alluded to when I reviewed the latest from Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone is also an English Wolves in the Throne Room. (The similarity is unsurprising, given that one member of Wodensthrone was in Winterfylleth.) Compared to their fellow Brits, I feel like the songwriting and riffwriting are stronger here, and the music has much more immediacy. Really, Curse is quite the excellent album. Except that it's stretched out much longer than necessary (68 minutes) and some of the songs get dragged out longer than they should. Standouts like "First Light," "The Great Darkness," and "Wyrgþu" are absolutely worth it, but you'll rarely want to listen to the entire record. If it were leaner, this could be an end-of-year list contender.

Buy Curse

Reverence: The Asthenic Ascension (2012)
3 out of 5 stars

Reverence doesn't exactly sound like a "cult" band. Their well-produced sound and modern songwriting echoes Dark Fortress in a lot of ways. Certainly no strict adherents to a lo-fi 1995 aesthetic. They also throw in a couple of symphonic elements on occasion, and you can tell they've heard fellow Frenchmen Gojira (see "Cold Room"). When I think about Asthenic Ascension, I think that I should really like it. The description, the elements, they seem like something I should love. The songwriting is dynamic enough and original enough, and the record doesn't seem excessively long. Yet for some reason I just can't get into it that much. I enjoy the individual songs, but I've never been terribly enthusiastic about the album by the end. I think I like it, but I'm not really feeling it as much as my brain says I should. It could be my problem?

Buy The Asthenic Ascension


  1. For whatever it's worth, I've been having the same problem with the Reverence album. Given my tastes, I really should like it, but something about it keeps it from sinking in. I love that Khors album, though.

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

    I imagine the band reading a review like this and getting really pissed off. I imagine musicians can deal with a review that is one of three things: 1. positive, 2. constructive, 3. so entirely negative that it can be dismissed entirely. But something like this? That has to be frustrating.

  3. I actually quite enjoyed Wodensthrone, though you're definitely right about it dragging too much.