Grade Scale adopted at Troll's Independent (starting from the lowest)

1 - Plop
2 - Hand-grenade
3 - Heavy-duty Shell
4 - Nuclear Explosion
5 - Troll-fart!!!

Osmose Productions

Captain Proscriptor and the Crew would like to welcome you onboard of our ferry and wish you an enjoyable trip through the bottomless pits of hell. ;) The long-awaited successor to the highly appraised 'In the Eyes of Ioldanach' has finally arrived at the store-shelves and all of the progress-oriented humanity is now storming the CD-shops to get their own copy of what is presented almost as the revelation of black metal. Right: Whatever: Let's get this out straight away - I am not saying that 'Tara' is a bad or dull album. By no means. This is a very professional record, which boasts both talent and good musicianship, with tons of blasting riffs, unbelievable drum-work etc, etc: It has an attitude, it has the vibe and atmosphere, it has consistency and solidity, but, Hellfire, this is no nothing new. My protest probably wouldn't have been that loud and emotional, hadn't I followed all of the hype that preceded the release of this CD. Oh, those pompous interviews and bombastic press-releases, oh, those groundless praises and granted admirations. What's the big fucking deal, bitch?! I ain't found nothing on this CD that would make it special and outstanding. Next, please... (Troll)

Strike Ten
Once upon a time, in the late 1980-s, a few talented bands such as Mad Max, Victory, Bonfire emerged in Germany on the wave of heavy metal's new-found popularity. Originally these bands tried to play this kind of music as melodic and cheerful as possible. Later many of them fell under the influence of the US stage and abandoned the German sound but didn't lose their talent and skills. The 10th anniversary album of the German melodic metal's living legend fits perfectly with the heavy metal scene of the new millenium. Nowadays when musicians try to combine the uncombined, metal intervenes (not always relevantly) in policy, ecology and religion, fans of different styles brawl with each other, new methods of making a still heavier sound are invented, this work is like a breath of fresh air, like the reminder that melody, harmony and professionalism are the most important aspects of music. Mind you that this particular formula once made metal different from many other styles... Bonfire are still true to old traditions - they recorded a diskful of high-quality hard'n'heavy with simple but beautiful songs among which are exciting rock-n-rolls, riff-driven blockbusters and sunshine ballads. The vocals of the band's mastermind Klaus Lessmann is always excellent. And he only gained from stopping to copy Bon Jovi. Of course, I'm not the one to claim that a die-hard corpse-painted blacker or a bald pierced-all-over alternative music lover will fall fans of this album and cover the walls of their apartments with Bonfire posters. However those for whom metal began not yesterday but 15-20 years ago will find many interesting and pleasant moments on this CD. (Fireball)

Winds of Creation
Wicked World
death metal
Yes we are a bit late with this review, I know. Just a tiny little bit late, but who gives a damn? After all it's not my fault CDs some time reach me too late, and when I heard the first 30 seconds of this record I knew I simply couldn't afford not writing about it. The world's youngest death metal band, or one of the youngest anyway, Poland's Decapitated started back in 1996 when the average age of the band was about 14.5 y. o. But well, that's already a well known fact. Another fact of common knowledge about this act is that despite the matter of their youngness they already have established themselves a solid name in the industry and have won the respect of both the public and fellow-bands in the trade. So, what's up with 'Winds of Creation', anyway? Try imagining a cross between Cannibal Corpse ('Eaten Back to Life'-era) Malevolent Creation, Nile and Vader boosted with uncompromising, dogma-killing, nihilistic attitude of an average pissed off teenager and a professionalism which could do courtesy to many bands which are a lot more experienced and old. Then stir it all up, add some fresh blood and some ground dinosaur bones, pour it all into a silver-coated chalice made of a human skull and: your dinner is served, sir! The maddening thickness of the sound packed with bestial aggression and unquenched hunger fuels you up like a 1.5K-ccl bike - roaring, evil, and unstoppable. You feel its power race through your blood vessels, pumping you with a rage impossible for a human. Heavy blade in hand you start axing your way through the crowd watching blood and gore fountain around like a Chinese fireworks. CHAARRRGE!!! (Troll)
P.S. The album closes with an excellent cover of Slayer's 'Mandatory Suicide' - boy, wasn't that good!

Listenable Records
grind core
Oh yes, my favourite pun label, know what I'm saying? Although, let's admit it, unlike many times before, this time it really is listenable - more than. Already pronounced the new gods of grind core the three Swedish butchers are a fine contrast to their skinny penguinized Scnadinavian brothers. This has nothing to do with your silly fantasy world of Satan, Christ and other fairy creatures - this shit is for real. The album stabs you right in the guts with its very first drum-hit and lets you jerk, moan, squeal, and shake on its bad blade all through the rest of the record up until the moment when you now, here I could have come up with some major metaphor, saying something like "up until the moment when your smashed and broken ever-bleeding corpse will be thrown against the blood-stained wall in the end of the album," or "up until the moment when your decayed remains stagger their crippled way to the gore-oozing banks of the Styx to catch their very last ferry" or, at least, something like "up until the moment, when your torn skin will find its last habitat on the great wardrum of Armageddon" I could have, but I rather keep it simple this time so I'll just say, up until the moment when you die like a fucking pig!!! I won't spend too much time on describing the guitar sound and the riffing either. Let's just say its thick, sophisticated and brutal as hell. And to all of you grindheads out there - listening to this album just once will instantly get you hooked on the wall in the delicatessen, that is! (Troll)

Avantgarde Music
gothic black electronic decadence
I have been listening to this album so many times I seem to know it by heart now. Every note of it is now carved in my memory as if someone has cut-sliced through my brain providing soft gray folds to store the evil magic of devilish sounds. Life is not a circus it's a fucking freak show, and no mistake. Coming from the Saima-area of Finland, Diablerie may be considered the Oscar Wildes of modern metal. Their impassible mixture of Kovenant-like electronics, gothic melancholy in the vein of the MTV-sugared H.I.M. and the infernal penny gaff atmosphere of Morgul is nothing but mesmerizing and astonishing. Already tagged as one of the most important releases of 2001 by their management from Avantgarde Music, Diablerie do stand a chance of becoming one. I wouldn't attempt describing their music in words for it will all be too far-fetched and approximate, but you should be prepared for an abundance of keyboards and a thick retro atmosphere of the smoked cafeterias of the stylish 30ies. The vocals go between deep glottal gurgling and hoarse screams, sometimes accompanied by female voices. The melody and style variations are also pretty much unlimited, changing industrial aggression for the lightness of new wave, and death-like heaviness. But what really took me out of place was the blues-like 'Until Death do Us Apart' with its classic quadruple structure and chord-sequence. If that is the debut, I am longing for a continuation. (Troll)

Napalm Records
HIM -- German edition
I don't know about you folks, but I am getting tired of the endless clones of Type o' Negative and the newly-born Finnish star of His Infernal Majesty. Eisheilig, the cherished and caressed "gawth-baby" of Napalm Records will grow up one spoiled fucking brat, folks, take my word for it. I mean it's just too easy for him, although I do have to admit it there is certain sense in what he does. Tell me, what are the biggest hits of metal today? I mean this-or-that metal artists which became popular with non-metal audience - right you are, Rammstein and the aforementioned HIM. Knowing that, all ya have to do to instantly become extremely popular is combine elements of these two in whatever proportions and off you go. Well, Eisheilig: IceHoly - what the fuck's that supposed to mean anyway? ;) so Eisheilig here did a very simpe thing - mixed standard gothic rock with German lyrics and: got a tasty contract with Napalm Records - no minor underground office in this business. As usual with such releases - taking one song for a compilation would have been really nice, but not the whole album. Too trendy, too dull, too unconvincing: Still is good quality music though, and the voice is nice and mellow, so I cannot say its too bad and still does deserve three fists, but should you be looking for something nouvelle and original, look some place else. (Troll)

Master of Disaster EP
Century Media
The Mighty Sabina and her Holy Moses are back from 7 years of silence. It's no way a reunion 'cause Sabina is HM and she recruited a whole new group of musicians altogether. The "Master of Disaster EP" is the first drop of sweat that will fall from the heads of the band's fans. Or is it a teardrop? 7 years have done their dirty job. The music changed especially regarding their last CD "No Matter What`s The Cause". It changed from thrash to a thrash-hardcore explosive mixture sometimes reminding of Pro-Pain. I'd call the style of this EP - Insane Thrash. But may be it isn't so bad and Holy Moses is not about to lose its old fans. No. Let's call it a new phase in HM history. I mean the aggressiveness IS still there. If you participate in a riot somewhere in Geneva during a G8 summit and you wanna do a breakthrough and crush everything on your way - that's absolutely your music. Very catchy thrash guitar artwork, nosebleed drumming, Sabina's vocals are even more infernal as they used to be. Lyrically there is nothing new. If you look at the song titles - you can understand me: Master of Disaster/Taste My Blood / The Hand Of Death / Feel The Pain / Down On Your Knees. The EP is a precaution for the forthcoming full CD release. (Felix da Katt)

Decade of Decadence
Osmose Productions

Yet another collectors' money-sinker. For all those who cannot get themselves enough of the sick Finnish god-goat-fuckers Decade of Decadence is a 31-track brain-crushing fire-breathing howitzer loaded with high-power "drzh-drzh-drzh" guitar-shells. Ummm, yammi! At the same time, I would really wanna see someone who can still find their joy in listening to another charge of IN? Being an avid and patient listener myself I couldn't wait for this album to come to an end already in the first ten minutes into the CD. This black metal gumbo-soup made of b-sides, 7inchers, unreleased studio tracks, rehearsals, demos and suchlike rarities is pretty much like all of them exotic gourmet dishes - everybody wants to try them, then munch on them thoughtfulness in their faces, make some witty remark about the strange but still interesting taste of the whole thing out of sheer politeness, and finally rush down to the toilet to force the goddamn thing out of one's digestion system. Some of the tracks are fun to listen to, but I really wouldn't recommend the whole disk. Fans only. (Troll)

Ars Moriendi
Ars Metalli
true and evil black
This one is even more true and evil that the already mentioned Thy Infernal. In fact the attitude here almost gets to the point of ridicule. The classic black-and-white cover artwork, the creaking voice of the lead singer slightly reminding of that of Immortal's Abbath, noisy buzzing riffs, and abundant blast beats, all of that nearly made Lunar Aurora sound like the biggest ever cliche of black metal, had it not been for the great deal of talent they put into this record thus making it a genuine diamond among the numerous fakes. Frankly speaking, I do not have a slightest clue as of how they managed to reach this and what is the secret, but somehow they breathed life into their music. The dark atmosphere that fills "Ars Moriendi" is literally haunted with unknown dangerous creatures and all possible incarnations of evil. They feast upon our ears and procreate in our brain cells like a tumor, the fill each and every little pore in our skin, and dwell in each and every sound. The mixing is a bit on the raw side but it does not spoil the album, and only adds to the morbidity of this brilliant record. Something wicked this way comes (Troll)

Grand Declaration of War - European Legions
Season of Mist
Repetitio est Mater Studiorum. Hot on the heels of its last year's blockbuster 'The Grand Declaration of War' Mayhem are now expanding their invasion to the barren lands of mother-Europe, taking no prisoners, showing no mercy, killing and, yes, maiming everything in sight. Basically the CD comprises a different studio version of 5 GDOW tracks, with somewhat thinner mixing and a bit different manner of singing, and 6 live classics, which include 'Fall of Seraphs', 'Freezing Moon' and, of course, 'Pure Fucking Armageddon'. Pretty interesting as it is for the devotees and those curious about the biggest talk of black metal, when it boils down to the basics, this album is more of a collectors' item than a separate standout piece of work. You might buy it, if you have an extra buck to spend, but if you feel you'd rather drunk it away - go ahead and get yourself a beer. There is nothing crucial here, that you might miss. Still five fists, because, collectors' piece or not, the CD is still great. (Troll)

Occult Philosophy
old school death
The musical beliefs of this South Urals' quartet stream between the mid-works of Death ('Human'), arhythmic tunes of the bygone Carcass and the untamed power of early Asphyx. The tape starts a-rolling like a 1-zillion ton steam engine speeding its way down the tracks with neck-snapping riffs that progress and procreate here like a metastasis multiplying itself in geometric progression all over the album. To be honest, at a certain point of listening I even started wondering about the reason for putting so many riffs into one song. This timeless complexity is probably the only but unfortunately a very weighty drawback on Occult Philosophy, making it extremely hard to listen to the album in one go. Far from being boring Miscreant are still very likely to put you into a very deep and long sleep (for lack of a better word) overwhelming your ego with their nuclear payload of guitars. This impression becomes even stronger because of the constant drum-breaks, rhythm shifts and long and no less witty solos. I mean for once in my life I wished the music was just a tiny little bit less intelligent and smart. Then again with the current number of tasteless, unprofessional bands I shouldn't be complaining really. After all, not every death metal band nowadays could play, say, Albioni's 'Adagio', eh? A good effort worth four fists any day of the week. (Troll)

Tagged & Bagged
Murder Corp.
Swedish death - Stockholm
Now, there should be a limit to everything, you know, even to brutal death. I am the world's biggest fan of the genre, but sometimes it goes over the edge, no denying. This wool-masked and camouflage-garmented Swedish crew, consisting by bigger half of Deranged members, is that very point of no return, where a cool idea gets overused and does not seem that cool any longer. Those of you out there, who still remember the bleeding early 90ies, when death metal seemed to be played by every band in the universe, probably do recollect Entombed's 'Clandestine' - the breakthrough album for the Scandinavian legend. That was a true masterpiece. Well, 'T&B' was originally called 'Clandestine-2 a tribute to E'. Certainly in fact it wasn't called so, but it should have been. It's not even Revision 2 or anything, not a sequel: It is simply the second unreleased half of Clandestine. Point is, it sounds so much like Entombed, I could have sworn it was them, hadn't I read the sleeve. And well naturally with an excellent album as 'Clandestine' was, you cannot possibly go wrong making a copy of it. And Murder Corporation certainly did not. The album is great in each and every possible way, save for the fact that it's called ripping off. Surprising and sad for a gifted bunch that Deranged are... (Troll)

Unsane, Insane and Mentally Deranged
Pavement Music
Stockholm death mammoths unite to praise Autopsy
Holey-fragga-rolley! This is just an impossibility - a four-strong squad evenly comprised of Entombed and Dismember members (pun unintended) teams up in a smoke and beer-ridden studio to pay tribute to the heroes of their misspent youth - the almighty Autopsy. To keep it short I'll just say that this CD is everything you could have expected it to be - fast as a shark, louder than hell, heavy as fuck and brutal as death itself. The combination of Entombed's trademark super-low pitched roaring guitars and the notorious diabolic growling of Dismember produces and effect that is completely beyond any verbal or graphic description. 30-something minutes of total sonic devastation and chaos sparkled with everything that is considered sick, bad, and weird. This impression becomes even stronger if you consider the intro and outro for the album, which is none else but Enio Moriconne's theme from Godfather ;) Overall, a wonderful record and an absolute must in the collection of any brutal death-banger. (Troll)

Ten Years
Primitive Recordings
"Primitive Brutality" is the solo work of Roger J. Beaujard guitar/drum programmer of MORTICIAN and drummer for MALIGNANCY. This CD entitled "Ten Years" is a compilation of materials dating as far back as 1989 and as recent as 1999" (end of quote) Now, isn't that exciting?! Aren't you just thrilled by the very idea of listening to what Master Roger has come up with in the past 10 years?! Does not the opportunity just send shivers of anticipation down your spine?! Of course it does: I mean, everybody who is anybody should go and get oneself a copy of this unique and truly innovative record? I can't imagine who wouldn't want to have this CD - only thick-skinned coldhearted people will not be moved by the touchy lyrics enclosed herewith, only those deaf, tasteless will not admire the musical genius of Master Roger. Right: to be serious I only put this as "3-" out of pity, for saying that a person did not come up with anything cool over a somewhat lengthy period of 10 years would of been too cruel. As to the music - go back to the beginning and read the first two sentences, that should be sufficient. ;) (Troll)

P... Of Different Songs In Different Sounds
Nuclear Blast

Welcome to the torture chamber! If your favourite Pyogenesis record is their debut or "Sweet X-Rated Nothings" make sure you never hear their new release. Having replaced almost the entire line-up, Flo W. Schwarz decided to re-write the band's history and re-recorded 15 songs covering the entire Pyogenesis career. If you've heard the last couple of records that Pyogenesis made you must know that ex-followers of My Dying Bride now play something between pop and punk with tons of electronics. So you can imagine how Pyogenesis classics sound in new arrangements. Frankly speaking, I wasn't shocked or angered by "P", it is a great and very hilarious record after all, and if only I hadn't heard most of the originals I would have named the album among my all-time favourites. However I happened to hear this band for the first time some seven years ago, and their doom metal themes have always appealed to me more than punk-influenced experiments. Therefore, four points and a warning: enter with care! (Maniac)

East West

It's really hard to add something new when you write about Scorpions - almost everything has been told and written. The band has received both lots of positive and negative response for their latest efforts. They were charged with almost every rock'n'roll sin! To tell the truth after the album "Eye II Eye" I really thought it was high time for the band to quit. So great was the disappointment after hearing that album. But deep in my soul I still nurtured the feeling that it ain't so bad as it seems. And the release of "Moment of glory" really gave some hope. When the new Scorpions album appeared I was anxious to hear it. After I've done it I must admit - the Scorps definitely rock! This album meets the highest quality and professional requirements. In most of the cases the difference between live acoustic and original tracks isn't that much but it doesn't mean that they are inferior to the originals. Some of the arrangements are simply outstanding, for instance "Holiday". The most part of the album consists of tear-ballads that have become a trademark of the band. However we still can find a couple of hard-rocking tracks and even several covers of famous hits ("Dust in the wind", "Drive" and "Love of my life"). And of course the Scorps just couldn't manage it without "Hurricane". This time it turned out to be with the number "2001". All in all, the album makes a very good impression. The band can be blamed for everything but one feature (and I'm sure that not only fans but opponents as well think the same) - Scorpions just don't play low-quality music. I can also foresee your question: why is it a 4+ then? The answer is simple - the most controversial and in my opinion the most insincere song ever recorded by Scorpions "Wind of change" is in the tracklist. (Big Daddy)

Spectral Transition - Dimension Sirius
Nocturnal Art Productions
Melodic sympho black-death

Like Diablerie this one turned out to be one of those rare records I can listen to several times in a row without getting tired or bored. Furthermore, this is one those really-really rare records about which you can say that this in fact is something new. Not altogether an innovation or invention, but that is an impossibility in the modern music world, so coming up with something simply new is already a major achievement. Musically Sirius is an extra-strong alloy of black, death and industrial with domineering influences of the likes of Dimmu Borgir ('In Astral Plains'), Morbid Angel ('Spectral Transition') that interlace with the electronic siege of nuclear keyboards and symphonic orchestrations. At the end of the line what you get is a 100-percent hit album, which offers both professionalism and originality. It is mostly fast and straight to the point too, a factor well compensating for its relative lengthiness, while myriads of various twists and unexpected turns in the structure will keep your inner strain from relaxing until the very end of the record, gripping your attention by the throat. Each and every song on STDS can be considered a hit and deserves an extra listen. Toadily brilliant! (Troll)

Warlords of Hell
Napalm Records
true-and-evil black
Not too impressive, I should say. The beginning of it slightly reminded me of Slayer and then it just bulleted down the track all through the rest of the record without any hint of a slowdown, or mercy. Just yer standard true and evil black metal with major guitarology and fabulous drumming, but an all too thin a sound. Basically the picture on the blood-red cover reflects the contents extremely well, and does not require any further explanations, and with song-titles like 'Armageddon', 'Rotting in Hell', or 'Lord of the Abyss' Oregon's Thy Infernal really lay all of their cards on the table. Inspirations from the likes of Abigor and Marduk are also pretty obvious. I do smell a potential in these lads, however, it is unlikely to evolve into anything beyond that, if the guys do not make a difference after all they were in business for 5 years now. (Troll)

Various Artists - United Tribes of Baltica
Dark fire Dancing
Dangus Productions
Baltic black compilation
Compilations are usually fun to review, folks, cause you got more stuff to pick on, you know. ;) This one spins off with a very atmospheric war-drum intro composed by Gdae, which then goes into a standard mid-tempo black metal attack by Kalm, nothing really too special about it aside from a nice acoustic bit in the middle. The rest of the song is pretty average hysterically-sung black metal, you can hear at about 80 percent of the CDs released in the Dept. Onwards we march to Peorth's 'Po Tula' an extra-heavy drum-based overload which then turns into a fastish violin-decorated riff, and goes back to superb drum-work in the chorus. Heavy, melodic and aggressive at the same time, this track shows a very successful attempt of diversity in the genre. Clean male and female vocals contrast nicely with a more death-like screaming and domineering keyboards. Next comes Skyforger with its weird mixture of pagan-metal and what sounds very closely to a traditional Viking drunk-song - cute and unusual, but not really special otherwise. These drunken folk-freaks are followed by a rapid gun-fire from Obtest sort of true-and-evil black-metal slightly reminding of the Troll's 'Last Predators' and a manner of singing which brought back the memories of a Russian band 'Korrozia Metalla'. This one is followed by an unbelievably classic Bathory-like song by a band called Loits - a heroic saga with a grand acoustic intro, a very annoying male-choir sing-along and all the possible genre cliches. The next track from Anapilis nearly killed me with its storming heaviness and then made me sick with its worst possible vocals. Doubtless original the singing pattern on this one is just totally out of place. These dudes are however soon replaced by an unprecedently melodic instrumental from Ugnelakis boasting some excellent acoustic guitar-craft and slow beautiful keyboard passages. Another Bathory-inspired gang is Tharaphita - outrageously good at riffing, but the singer... damn, I wonder if they were sawing off his balls right in the studio. Great music-wise tho... Heresiarh then breaks in with high-quality pagan metal, touched with splendid female vocals, which later speeds into some palm-muted snapping guitars molding almost without a pause into the bouncing roar of battle-drums and a duet of clean male voice and evil hoarse screams, which turn out to be Angis's 'Nesk, Borlau, Kovon!' Siarus - very primitive but yet enjoyable hate-song with programmed drumming and apparently one guitar (no bass that I heard), not really a killer but nice. This however is nothing compared to the following Valefar - quite probably the most complicated, experimental, and sick band in that compilation. Description is obsolete - you gotta listen to it. Assamalla got the unlucky number and came up with what can probably be considered the most boring song on the record. Slow-paced badly mixed black metal with not even a hint of originality and the dullest ever solo. 'Bite Lingo' - the closing folk track by Donis is a beautiful outro to this remarkable compilation. Congrats Dangus, helluvajob! (Troll)

(Fireball Reviews - Translated from Russian - Lynx)

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