Various Artist

Rating: See individual reviews

Reviewed by: Thomas Nielsen, September '04
Label: Enclave Productions
Style: Death, Doom, etc.

Metal Ostentation Vol. III & Metal Ostentation Vol. V

It’s always difficult to give a collected rating of compilation CD’s. However, these two compilations from Portuguese Enclave Productions contain a varied mix of mostly unsigned underground bands from around the world and gives you a good idea about what’s moving out there. I’ve decided to give you my view of each song on the two CD’s instead of overall ratings of the two releases. Here goes…

Metal Ostentation III

Praetorian – “Soul Collector”

This song from Australian Praetorian is standard, mid-tempo death metal with a lot of keyboards. Growls are mixed with clean vocals, and the four-piece have a penchant for cool breaks. Not bad.

Taliandörögd – “Progeny”

This is Breton black at it’s best. Probably the only Breton black metal, come to think  of it :] Taliandörögd is clearly heavily inspired by Emperor, and not at all a bad clone at that. The drum production could be a lot better.

Soul Fallen – “Only To Be Cast Away”

More black metal, this time from Finland. Again, not bad, yet nothing new. It has all been done before by Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir or Emperor.

Atem – “Yöhön”

More Finnish music, this time from Atem. The track “Yöhön” (no idea what that means!?) is a somewhat confused mixture of styles. Kalasniemi’s vocals are more or less black metal, but the music isn’t. I like it, but I’m not sure what to call it.

Midgard – “Another Trip Through Space”

Midgard from Austria purports a well-played but standard melodic death metal. Their singer is certainly an acquired taste (and sadly not my taste).

Alchemy X – Penance

Dream Theatre/Fates Warning clones. Next!

Guardians of Time – “The Journey”

This is power metal the way I don’t like it. This song has been done a trillion times before and better by others. Leave it to the Germans, boys…or, even better, to Iron Maiden.

Vyndykator – “Rot on the Chamber”

Though sharing most of their line-up with abovementioned Alchemy X, Vyndykator play a most more straightforward sort of heavy metal. They have very close resemblances to good old-fashioned Accept, Priest and Savatage anno circa 1986. A tad behind their times, you might argue, but for an old-school geezer like myself it’s awright.

Force Fed – “Self Control”

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence that French Force Fed share name with a Prong album – but the influence seems to be there! This is nice and tight thrash metal with a brutal voice. Good stuff!

Divinus – “Beyond Infinity”

The liner notes try to sell Divinus as “atmospheric death metal”, but I can’t see any of the two terms apply. The vocals sound flat, the music is contrived without actually being more than mediocre.

Annatar – “Remember”

Following the slipstream of Lacuna Coil and Beseech, Dutch Annatar attempt to make it with their brand of dark metal, mixing female vocals with male grunts. These days this is not exactly new, but Annatar perform it well. “Remember” even tends to be a very beautiful song at times. Thumbs up.

Solicitude – Fire

Nothing-new-death-thrash from Germany. Might as well have been from 1989, by the sound of it. Solicitude have a great, heavy sound but lack terribly in originality.

Clashing Blade – “Kill”

To-the-point thrash metal with growl. Again, not highly original, but not at all bad, either.

Organic Infest – “Of Gore and Disgust”

Puerto Rican trio Organic Infest apparently have been around for quite some time. That doesn’t change the fact that they sound like Suffocation anno 1995, only with a slightly inferior production.

Finsternis – “Phantom Carrack”

“Phantom Carrack” is a curious blend of very simplistic black metal, medieval-inspired chanting and church bells. I think I can see where Finsternis want to go with this, but they don’t succeed the way Moonspell did with “Wolfheart” almost ten years ago.

L.Minygwal – “I, euphorically, burned my…”

This is cool! This German outfit mixes heavy-as-f*ck thrash with busy rock á la Pixies. The female vocals are haunting, sounding like a combination of Martin Walkyier in the narrative parts and my wife when she has her period in other parts of the song. By far the most interesting track on this compilation!

Baby Wild Cherry – “Let me free Let me go”

Exactly why this song by Japanese Baby Wild Cherry is on a metal compilation, I don’t know. If you like cliché techno rock, this is where you want to put your money.

Tragedy Divine – ”Maybe One”

A tragedy indeed… This is no way to complete an otherwise interesting compilation. Rarely have I heard a “singer” so much out of tune, rarely have I heard music so artificial. I’m lost for words. Utter crap. No more, no less.
(If you must)

Metal Ostentation V

Agonizer – “Whatever”

I suppose that Nightwish’s success has a positive effect on the Finnish scene and that it has spawned a clone or three. And, yes, there are hints of Nightwish in the music of fellow Finnish band Agonizer. The keyboard bursts are there, the characteristic powerful drumming, only Tarja’s beautiful isn’t there. This is well-produced and well-performed and the vocalist has a suitable voice. Thumbs up.

The Outburst – “Everlasting”

Warning: Don’t buy this band’s releases if you’re fed up with female vocalists. If not, French The Outburst are actually quite good. A nice mix of male and female vocals, energetic and straight-forward heavy music with hints of Pantera.

Burst of Fire – “Perception of Normality”

Burst of Fire sound professional, to the point, razor-sharp – like someone who should have a record deal and tour with Pro-Pain and the like. Metalcore in fine shape. Not necessarily my taste, but I can’t help being impressed!

Vörgus – “Hellfuck”

These Swedes play straightforward, fast and brutal thrash metal. The energy level is high, but there’s nothing new here.

Deformed – “Power Spear”

More brutal music from Sweden. This song suffers from demo production but the bands qualities still shine through. The sound is very early nineties (Euro thrash a la Kreator), up-tempo, bordering on death metal.

Bornholm – “On The Way Of The Hunting Moon”

Apart from sharing name with a small Danish island (?) and making nonsense titles for their songs, Bornholm from Hungary play good-quality and energetic black metal with nods to Bal-Sagoth and their Norwegian brethren. Not bad at all!

Dryados – L’amour n’enleve pas vraiment la depression…”

No doubt, this russian three-piece is a talented bunch of musicians. There are really great details in this piece (the title track from their debut album), but overall it’s not very interesting. A shame, because you sense that they are just that one step from getting it all right.


Fallen Sentinel – “Before, part III”

Fallen Sentinel create a fairly complex soundscape with no less than two keyboards, guitars that are all over the place, a brutal male voice and a spherical female voice. The liner notes call this “black gothic progressive metal”, and I suppose it’s not entirely wrong. Is it good then? In parts, yes, on the whole, no. The whole thing gets too messy and the male vocals are for some reason mixed really low, which is sad – mainly because they could’ve given this tune more structure.

Whispering Gallery – “Mistress Guardian”

Whispering Gallery from Holland want to be doom, but they lack the venom of early Paradise Lost, the depressive sound of My Dying Bride, the slow-drive of early Cathedral, the pure quality of Candlemass. “Mistress Guardian” is not a bad song, really, it’s just not that interesting. The band mix clean vocals with growls, and I must say that the growl parts are the most efficient.

Frequency – “The Wicked is Born”

Swedish Frequency sound like Helloween on a bad day. Very little originality, not a very good singer, very polished.


Mandylion – “Distance For The Glory”

Now, this is a dilemma you often meet. Japanese Mandylion are over the hills and far away musically; fast, precise, adventurous and could outrun most Italian/German prog metal outfits any day. The vocal performance, however, leaves much to wish for and drags the overall performance down. Check them out, perhaps you like Michal’s voice!

Definition of Chaos – “Malignant”

DOC from Sweden have good ideas, the only problem with this track is that the sound is flat and that the song gets a bit boring. I have a feeling the band can do much better, but sadly they don’t show it here.


Plazma Zatzuma – “Stigmata”

Norwegians Plazma Zatzuma are Sepultura in disguise. The riff used throughout “Stigmata” is lifted directly from “Chaos A.D.” and hidden behind “uuuhiiiuuu” vocals. Somehow, this rocks. I want to see them live!

Dispersion – “Ungeteiltes Leid”

This is German death metal with American influences. The echoes of Tampa and Morrisound Studios are evident. What the band lacks in originality they make up for with brutality. Good stuff.

Gathering Darkness – “The cold of the Limbs”

Too bad that the sound is so bad on this demo recording, because I would like to hear this Spanish band’s brutal death metal with a real sound. Seemingly influenced by Deicide and My Dying Bride, changing tempo throughout the song, and experimenting a lot with the vocals, the band also ads their own indefinable something.

Amok – “Idle and Silent”

Swiss Amok aren’t quite as efficient as the two prior death metal outfits. They don’t lack brutality, but they try to be more virtuosi than they in fact are. The drummer seems to have trouble following his own ambitions, the guitarists likewise.

Heresy – “Savage Rapture”

Very middle-of-the-road death metal which doesn’t convince.

Exekrator – “Acheron’s Call/Back to Hell”

This is where it’s fair to say that Arcturus haven’t lived in vain. Exekrator from Denmark take a stab at avant-garde black metal, adding rock elements, acoustic guitars and clean vocals to the furious black metal that creates the foundation of the song. It takes a couple of spins to get into this, but then you might get hooked.

P.R.I.D.E. – “Pain”

Right…the liner notes state that this obviously very young combo from Mallorca wouldn’t mind being able to get away from the paradise island and live off their music. That is all very well, guys, but I’m afraid you have to stop copying Korn and Coal Chamber and make up your own stuff, then.

Lantz – “2040”

I’m not sure what to say here. Lantz is a Swedish one-man effort. Erm, I want to say that it’s crap in a nice way, but I can’t. It’s electronic crap music, and the poor sod apparently can’t sing.

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