STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION
These are reviews of the various CDs I have out, with regards to my solo-projects & to Night Conquers Day. Scroll down for more reviews. This obviously isn't EVERY review. I wish I'd kept better track of reviews. There are also some links to on-line reviews. If you know of any other reviews that I don't have listed in here(whether in written mags or on-line), then e-mail me. A few of these reviews have been translated into english, while others simply have bad english. Otherwise it's typed word-for-word as written.
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "The First Snowfall" 1998 CD#1 (from Metal Maniacs August 1998)
Holland's Hammerheart Records have released the debut from Night Conquers Day. This upstate NY band plays grim and melancholy slow textured black metal. "The First Snowfall" fans avant-garde musical winds with traces of Mercyful fate-styled metal and acoustic minded passages through a symphonic-driven motif. Night Conquers Day manipulates an original stylistic montage that will mesmerize patient open-minded black metal fans with an appreciation for slow atmospheric instrumentation, yet will bore the rest into hypothermia.
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "The First Snowfall" 1998 CD#1 (Davthvs Mag, issue #2, 1998)
With some disappointment I am now updating this review, possessing the entire album instead of the mere advance version. The advance was close to forty minutes, featuring the first four songs. I wrote the following in the advance review:
"After the good but not revolutionary synthesizer introit of the name
'Eastern Winds Mount The Virgin Winter', the first sounds of the twelve
minute title track turn up in the shape of slow, flowing riffs with a monotonous
chant. When the music picks up the pace the vocals remain slow and clean
for awhile before transforming into a more shrieky style
.These few minutes could sum up the musical frame of Night Conquers Day - a lot of variation both in the music and the vocals. The music is excellent, varied blackish metal with high quality riffing: just listen to the opening riff in 'What Was And Never Shall Be Again' and I think you'll know what I mean.
The vocals are a blend of clean ones, shrieky ones, occasional narrating, low chanting, high screams and in my opinion very effective weeping kind of laments and moans. Not often have I heard vocals as interesting as these."
....then when being presented to the last half of the 74 minute album
my enthusiasm wanes somewhat because although not being bad music this
last half an hour drops the standard. I would much rather have waited awhile
with these five songs until the next release, not because this would be
a too big piece in itself (as long as the music entertains the length is
not of consequence) but because the material appears only half-mature in
places.....although I cannot finish this without giving credit for the
nothing but phenomenal shrieks in "The Storm Before The calm" and "Footprints
In The Snow Where The Wanderer Has Been".
Nevertheless a good record by one of the very best new bands you could find.
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "The First Snowfall" 1998 CD#1 (Dark Moon Zine #5, June 1998)
Would NCD exist without the first snowfall on the northcoast of the USA? Don't bet on it! Although slightly flawed, "T.F.S." is a good slab of epic bm. Did I say flawed? Yeah, there are a few things that disturb me; The sound is a bit dry and the guitars are mixed a bit too low for my taste. Then there's the case of the vocals; some howlings and Absu-like screams piss me off quite much because they just don't sound very good. If these two vocal styles would have been dropped (or would at least have been done a bit differently) and more bm vociferation would've been used, I'd enjoy it alot more. The drumming could be better as Mikael seems to have problems with some double bass parts (e.g. on track three). I guess that this little inconvenience will be sorted out on the second album as the band now have a new drummer called Gregg. Despite the negative stuff I said, it seems that the American bm scene is improving and this is the best American act for me so far. The second album will also be released on Hammerheart Records, at the end of 1998. Not a bad debut, but there's room for improvements!
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "The First Snowfall" 1998 CD (Metal Shuffle #1, 1998)
3.0 (ok) out of a possible 6.0 (great).
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "Promo advance CD tracks 1997" (Dusk Woerot #2, 1997)
I haven't words to say about Night Conquers Day: they have entitled
their music as 'epic atmospheric northcoast black death' which is, in my
opinion only a little description with a feeble level of truth since NCD
go further than such description. Through NCD promo'97 one finds 3 songs,
or to be honest with all of you, 3 poems.....Yes, pure poetry! Just take
a glimpse on these titles and do think about the poetical death side: "Eastern
Winds Mount The Virgin Winter", "The First Snowfall", and "What Was And
Never Shall Be Again". In advance I'll make it clear: sounds quality, I
mean mixing and stuff, are in the fucking top! Pretty excellent! Well about
their music.....the first song is an intro, which makes me feel so rare.
The intro is made by a keyboardist very professional since one gets anxious
for the upcoming song but at same time one do not want to leave listening
to the keys, very rare, indeed! The creativity on this intro pisses Mortiis,
Amber Asylum off as well as all those non-creative & non-skillful bastards!
Sorrow and a bit of a warrior-oriented mood is what this intro makes ME
feel. The second song gets near to 10 minutes or maybe more....The poem-song
encircles a perfect mixture between harmony, a furious speed and melancholy.
Clear desperate crystal screams-implorations a la Mercyful Fate followed
by aggressives blasphemous black vociferations, both trying with an totally
successful result giving melancholy and wrath to the listener. The song
also possesses some undoubtedly majestically interpreted elements as the
acoustic guitars as the background gloomy piano-keys. All in all, the song
is so fucking variated, well structured and great that I think it must
be included in the "Best songs-poems by men ever done". Yes, NCD could
be face to face with musicians as Beethoven, Chopin, Slayer, Black Sabbath,
the Iron's and the Mercyful's as well as kicking out the whole (the fucking
entire) black, death and doom's currently '90's bands that we have made
godz. Hail new kings! But I still haven't commented upon third track of
this masterpiece! Well this track is more heavy and stronger than the first
one, and to let it clear, more heavy on guitars sound maybe loosing the
complexity from the first opus (second song!). I can be wrong but I doubt
it, some early Celtic Frost could be heard when the song is starting up.
But while the seconds are dying the song become so heavy and original that
one gets on kneels to worship NCD!!! A fantastic, excellent, original and
magnificient release from the currently North America's best black/death
band! The "Satan's Fall" made screams, the Mikael vocals, the brilliant
guitars (both acoustic and electric), bass guitar, drums job, etc, are
done by people who learned to play it when they were 5 - 6 years old I
guess, judging from the superb skillful they possess! An squandering of
poetical grief, overwhelming melancholy, demonic epic warriorlike speeds,
total musicianship brightness and maturity is the infernal poetry you'll
find through NCD's music. At last but not least, let's do an emphasis on
Night's keyboards which are mostly surrounding the whole 2 opus from background.
The most pathetic atmosphere that will make you how sadness is with you
to give melancholy the space to possess you. Fulfillment of NCD promise.
With our chest -they said- all adagios will become allegratos and sorrow
will be ours, only ours. A simple enchant! All in all, NCD's music is heinous,
epic, furious, melancholic...pure lyrism and allegory of Death....
But the most pathetic is that there are more songs, since the CD gets more than 70 minutes of pure unheard dismal art!! Await and see...
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "The First Snowfall" 1998 CD#1 (Worm Gear Zine #7, 1998)
U.S. soil can also harbour the insidious will of the blackened metal explosion, it just needs to be presented in such a way not to be deemed as yet a 100th generation, Scandanavian rip-off. With the scene booming out of control on a collision course with stylistic redundancy, we are beginning to witness minute clusters of U.S. black metal bands popping up. Yes, some are completely moronic on their transparent pilgrimage to poke the blasphemous cash cow, but newer bands such as Darken, Kreig, Thy Infernal, Epoch Of Unlight, and New York's Night Conquers day are actually whipping together common staples of the genre with good old american ingenuity, talent and an obvious desire to create something just a bit above the norm. This 2 man project has quite effectively recreated the vision of a wintry forest landscape with their debut for Holland's Hammerheart Records, "The First Snowfall". The initial sign that demonstrates the care that NCD actually possess for their music lies in the warm, very full sounding production of this disc. This further fills the memorable rhythms and competant solos with a dark power, as just the right amount of reverb seemingly hurls the listeners thoughts into despair. From strong, mood intensifying keyboard segments, to classical guitar melodies, "The First Snowfall" mixes culture with a mid paced black metal attack that doesn't shy away from an occasional application of speed. This really cakes on the variety and emotion - 2 elements that I desire most in any form of metal. On the vocal front, the virtual one man musical dynamo (he also handles drums, keys and guitars) Mikael, certainly has the throat ripping scream of this genre down, but he also attempts the King Diamond falsetto shriek and other Bathory themed chants which decorate the background. I commend him for attempting new and less exploited things, but the latter 2 styles sound weak and rather warbled in the delivery since his singing voice is in dire need of training. Don't let this discourage you on your quest to sample all that is black metal, for the musical content alone on "The First Snowfall" is enough to show those pioneers across the pond that the U.S. can tinkle with the big boys too....That is, if we just can't hold it.
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "The First Snowfall" 1998 CD#1 (Abyss Ritual #7, Jan 1999)
After an epic intro NCD show us their potential as band, and really this is interesting, the music at the CD is full of atmosphere using alot of elements as normal vocals and keyboards effects. But here the keyboards don't crush the sound but plays a good point together with the guitars which sounds dirty but with enough personality. The music turn a bit fast going into melancholic passages...The music could be labelled as atmospheric Dark/Black Metal with some Death Metal/Heavy Metal parts. These guys have together good elements which I hope will keep their spirits floating in diverse tunes of pain and sorrowful. This album contains 9 tracks, 74 minutes.
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "The First Snowfall" 1998 CD#1 (Revenant Mag, May 1998)
NCD is a new and promising band hailing from USA. "The First Snowfall"
is their debut CD for Hammerheart and contains nine long tracks, for 74
minutes of music. They play fast, old-style black metal with very atmospheric
parts and the final result is a great work, with a morbid touch. Also the
raw production helps to make NCD one of the most exciting musical reality
of this year. Buy this CD with eyes closed.
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "The First Snowfall" 1998 CD#1 (The Wormhole #13, 1998)
This CD is a masterpiece. The whole coverart is great. As for the music,
it's a mix of black, doom, metal, atmos, and they are very long songs.
Only the intro are under 3 mins. This cd is great cause it moves around.
Mikael goes from black vox to high/mellow tones and so does the music.
yes, they are a black metal band but I hear a big Mercyful fate influence.
This CD is one of the black metal cd from Rochester.
NIGHT CONQUERS DAY "Official Live Tape 1998" (Ocean Morphique #1, 1998)
Here is the live tape of the american black-metal band Night Conquers
Day. A good tape with good sound (unfortunately the sound is too low between
the songs, and we cannot understand what Mikael is saying...) and great
tracks well played taken from the album "The First Snowfall" (available
through Hammerheart Records). All the atmospheres of the album are perfectly
transpose. Also a good Bathory cover if you care....
TEARSTAINED "Monumental In Its Sorrow" 1999 CD#1 (Black Light Mag #2, 1999)
To say that Tearstained is the living counterpart of the old Mercyful
Fate, I believe that is now sufficient for describing this album. Since
the first riff until the voices be inspired absolutely in the vein of King
Diamond. The music is not this bad anything, although have that emphasis
that the production is beastly. The sound of the guitar saturates by all
parts. And the effects of the distortion used do not help alot to distinguish
the melodies. The slow themes are better than the fast parts, since in
these the music is submerged in a total chaos. To end includes a version
of "Equimanthorn" by Bathory, which I fear I'm not very assured of, and
Metallica or such a time of Testament nor imports alot of.
TEARSTAINED "Monumental In Its Sorrow" 1999 CD#1 (Metal Core #27, 1999)
This started off as a really good emotional black metalband, then went right into the picking guitar riffs and same ole black metal vocals and arrangements. This is nothing new as the guy sounds like Dark Throne, Immortal, etc. Those bands are better and we already have them. Not good.
TEARSTAINED "Monumental In Its Sorrow" 1999 CD#1
Read what EXTREME SUBTERRANEA has to say. They are an on-line order-distro.
TEARSTAINED - FINAL THOUGHTS - BARBARIAN WRATH
All disciples of eighties-styled black metal would want to own this,
the third Tearstained album. Adorned with depressive photograph and artwork,
the CD is a curious find. The man behind all instruments and vocals has
brought together an authentic King Diamond vocal impression, cloned early
Bathory music and sound, added a whiff of older Celtic Frost and convincingly
assembled eight songs (and the standard 'hidden' track) to turn out an
impressive emulation. Suicidal lyrics, authentic feeling and the vintage
touch of the aforementioned bands give Tearstained an inspiring aura. In
the shallow pool of underground bands, Tearstained is a cut above. - Ali
"The Metallian" Album of the month for October 2003 in Metallian Mag!
INTO THE SUNLESS MERIDIAN
INTO THE SUNLESS MERIDIAN 1999 CD (Vae Solis Mag 1999)
Rating: 5 out of 6
I didn't like most of Near Dark's releases, however a few of them appear as undoubtedly impressive ones, for example such as Melek Taus and Into The Sunless Meridian, yet one more project by Mikael, known thanks to Night Conquers Day, Shadowcaster and few other acts. 'Weird' is the best word to describe this CD. First of all, the album's appearence is really impressive and sombre in the same time, appearing as the photos of annular eclipse - and, no doubts, music presented on this CD can be easily compared to this magic phenomena. It's as dark, mysterious and fascinating. Beginning with an insane kind of introduction (reminding me of Thokk's "Rape And Vampirism" second part....remember the ambiental one?), later it turns into a strange mixture of black, death, thrash, heavy metal and ambient. If you want any comparisons, fuck off, simply because Into The Sunless Meridian surprisingly appears as the sort of band which can't be compared to anyone. Well, maybe with an exception for Night Conquers Day mentioned above. All songs are different - and similar to each other, simple - and complicated. Those craving for something different, innovative and original have to check it out. And remember that this band doesn't have anything to do with the term 'incomprehensible'.
BURIED BENEATH "The Last Rays Of The Moon" 1998 CD (Metal Nightmare #2, 1998)
It's a sad fact that not every band will become a big name in the underground. It's an even sadder fact that not every band with the potential to become a name will survive. Buried Beneath probably could have been huge. The ten songs on this retrospective CD are a testimony to that effect. For all you historians, BB was the precursor to Night Conquers Day, and they played a style of black/death metal that was firmly rooted in their time period. Even as bands such as Mayhem were just barely becoming known, Buried Beneath were spreading their darkness and evil across the underground. While it is true that BB broke up before theirultimate goal could be reached, they live on, and their songs sound as fresh today as they would have back in the early '90s. This one might be very hard to come by....
BURIED BENEATH "The Last Rays Of The Moon" 1998 CD
Read what EXTREME SUBTERRANEA has to say. They are an on-line mailorder/distro.
BURIED BENEATH "The Last Rays Of The Moon" 1998 CD (Metal Shuffle #1, 1999)
Mikael (of Night Conquers day) has put new vocals, keyboards, and remixed
the demos ('93 - '94) with his old band Buried Beneath, and gotten them
printed on CD with help from Majestic Union Records & Dark Trinity
Productions. It's a sin that this band is unnoticed, for the stuff here
is great. Good ole death/black metal with a mass of death riffs and genuine
brutality. I have actually a sense for this predecessor to NCD. "The Last
Rays Of The Moon" have one good underground feeling and musical sets this
as good death/black metal. It's rare in the scene...
BURIED BENEATH "The Last Rays Of The Moon" 1998 CD (Hellflame Mag #5, 1998)
I wouldn't spend too many words about this unlucky band, since you can
get many more info about BB in the ultra long interview here presented
with Mikael/Into The Sunless Meridian, who used to play guitar in this
New York based band. The stuff here present is taken from their demos (and
a track of NCD) with an interesting factor, there are re-recorded vocals,
and some morbid and horrific keyboards added as well. All the material
is remastered and the sound is generally good. Well here my personal statement,
that I know isn't shared by many people (even Mikael too), this is absolutely
a must of obscure Death/Black Metal from a band unfortunately disappeared
too early. The compositions are brutal and yet very mystical and atmospheric,
and there's a grotesque touch here and there that makes me crazy. It's
pure underground stuff and so is the package presenting old pictures, story
of the band, many illustrations, a great release indeed that I recommend
to everyone that still understand what underground is all about.
SHADOWCASTER "Temptation" 1999 CD & "Psychelectronic Experience" 1999 CD (Nordic Vision #14)
Two rather strange synth albums. Sometimes improvised, other times not.
These 2 CDs contain a lot of interesting sounds, but unfortunately it comes
across as too improvised, untight and that removes much the trustworthiness
from the music. Especially when some parts sound like the stuff you played
yourself when you were 13 years old, just playing for fun on the piano
or synth. But the music here has a dark approach and a bit of meditating
music feeling, but much of it becomes repetitive and not very interesting.
SHADOWCASTER "Psychelectronic Experience" 1999 CD (Metal Shuffle #1, 1999)
Shadowcaster (side-project of Mikael from Night Conquers Day) and the one part funny sound here. He uses 70 tall effects as gear a quite psychedelic experience and this not for a synth band ware. But like you the style or one more joint...
SHADOWCASTER "Temptation" 1999 CD (Metal Shuffle #1, 1999)
This is not Mikael's 3rd album with Shadowcaster, but a kind of new edition of the debut "Abandonment". One part change and a pair new trace. Not special music, check it out if you like it's kind.
SHADOWCASTER "Abandonment" 1996 CD#1
Read what EXTREME SUBTERRANEA has to say. Thay are an on-line mailorder/distro.
(CD is sold-out)
SHADOWCASTER "Abandonment" 1996 CD#1 (Black Moon Zine, iss #2, Spring 1997)
Ahhh..this is one of the most unpure synth-projects I've ever heard! Pure sadness and melancholy is what Shadowcaster provides in an original form....The blend of synthesizer with astonishing vocals (from whispers to anguished screams) creates a grim atmosphere of chaotic chants and invocations. The lyrics are also well done, in a mysterious way, filled with dark fantasies and longings. Tears for the sorrowed, high and obscure emotions for the lustful ones, hedonistic exaltations for the ones into the dark path...a stream of solitude flows in the land of the weak, as a spirit flies above the waters...abandoned.
SHADOWCASTER "Abandonment" 1996 CD#1 (Nordic Vision Mag, #7, 1996)
Shadowcaster try to perform music that is supposed to entertain, but unfortunately this is helplessly without talent at times, and that destroys it all! The whole music is so simple it is impossible to feel drawn to it, and honestly it just sound too immature. It is mostly material the average man can improvise! What Shadowcaster is all about is a non metal project with grim vocals, synth and keyboards. That's it and really there's nothing more. Not approved!
SHADOWCASTER "Abandonment" 1996 CD#1 (Dusk Woerot #2, 1997)
I must say that Shadowcaster is very great stuff. You know, I don't like this kind of non metal music but so many creative and and atmosphere as Shadowcaster's can not be refused to listen to. So friends of Amber Asylum and stuff as Tangerine Dream get in touch and support Mikael now!
Into The Sunless Meridian