Album Review – Kamra / Cerebral Alchemy (2022)

A veiled and secretive Slovenian horde is ready to attack armed with their debut opus, offering us all seven tracks of sheer Black Metal madness.

As a room’s confining embrace, the mysterious Slovenia-based Atmospheric/Experimental Black Metal entity Kamra grabs and plunges you in a world of allegories, ruminations and imagery with their upcoming debut full-length opus, entitled Cerebral Alchemy, following up on their 2021 EP Conversing With Ghosts (which was by the way recorded as a two-piece comprised of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist N.K. and multi-instrumentalist M.D., who are most probably still part of the band). Drawing influences equally from Norwegian Black Metal classics, modern death dealers, as well as experimental oddities, this Slovenian veiled and secretive horde, now expanded to five unknown creatures of the abyss, offers in their new album mixed by Anže Čanžek and mastered by Gabriele Gramaglia seven tracks clocking around 42 minutes of Black Metal madness, enriched with a beautiful artwork by by Jeff Christensen, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the most obscure and dissonant side of music.

Stygian guitars and sluggish Doom Metal beats will consume your soul in the opening tune It Burns Without a Fire…, a sulfurous intro that will crush you mercilessly before such uncanny entity comes ripping in Death Eternal, a raw Black Metal onrush that’s utterly and beautifully primeval, with the wicked vocalizations by N.K. adding a touch of dementia to the overall result while its guitars and bass generate a massive wall of sounds, not to mention its old school Black Metal blast beats. Then after such demonic extravaganza get ready for almost eight minutes of impious sounds, atmospheric passages and endless darkness in the form of Lantern of Ghostly Unlight, where its bass sounds and feels as primitive as possible, and with N.K. gnarling like a demonic creature in a great display of classic Black Metal with the band’s own experimental and sulfurous twist.

Resurgence of Temporal Malignity is even more demented and multi-layered, showcasing a great job done on the guitars which sound absolutely sharp while also melodic and enfolding, taking us all on a one way journey to the pits of the underworld; and those Slovenian metallers dive deep into the mouth of hell in the spine-chilling aria entitled Oozing the Thirteenth Hour, starting in a serene, grim manner before exploding into more of the band’s Experimental Black Metal, with all of its vile vociferations, somber and tribalistic drums, and piercing riffage turning it into a must-listen for diehard fans of contemporary Black Metal. The simple but effective interlude Last Lamentations sets the tone for the closing track, titled Colossal Blight, where their Atmospheric Black Metal vein walks hand in hand with their more hellish sonority, once again presenting a band that not only sounds extremely focused and in sync, but it also displays their undisputed devotion to sheer darkness, resulting in an climatic and eccentric ending to the album.

The voices of Kamra are inviting you to their grim lair in Cerebral Alchemy, an album that will surely please Black Metal enthusiasts from all over the world. Hence, don’t forget to give those Slovenians a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream their music on Spotify, and to connect with the band in all possible ways by clicking HERE. Soon you’ll be able to put your damned hands on Cerebral Alchemy by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Avantgarde Music, Sound Cave, Edged Circle Productions or Rock Inc. Mediastore, darkening your minds and souls even more while enjoying the first-class Black Metal by an enigmatic band that definitely knows how to craft great music in the name of pure evil.

Best moments of the album: Death Eternal, Resurgence of Temporal Malignity and Oozing the Thirteenth Hour.

Worst moments of the album: Last Lamentations.

Released in 2022 Avantgarde Music/Unorthodox Emanations/Edged Circle Productions

Track listing
1. It Burns Without a Fire… 2:20
2. Death Eternal 5:58
3. Lantern of Ghostly Unlight 7:47
4. Resurgence of Temporal Malignity 6:42
5. Oozing the Thirteenth Hour 9:46
6. Last Lamentations 1:59
7. Colossal Blight 7:54

Band members*
N.K. – vocals, drum programming
M.D. – guitar, keyboards, drum programming

*The other three members of the band are still unknown.

Album Review – Magick Touch / Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire (2018)

A “magickal” music journey to the golden years of rock and metal, reminding us all why we love those electrifying sounds so much.

In these times where trends seem to come and go on an almost monthly basis, sometimes it’s never more satisfying than to simply sit back and rock out. And that’s exactly what Norwegian Hard Rock/Rock N’ Roll power trio Magick Touch will make you do with their highly anticipated second full-length album, entitled Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire, a beyond exciting follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut endeavor Electrick Sorcery, released in 2015. In other words, there are no tricks, no special effects nor any other type of shenanigans in Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire, just three skillful musicians declaring all their passion for classic rock and metal through their music.

Formed in 2014 in Bergen, a southwestern coastal town in Norway, Magick Touch are HK Rein on guitar and vocals, Christer Ottesen on bass and vocals, and Bård Nordvik on drums, blending in their music several elements from the most classic forms of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll with a strong focus on the synchronicity between their vocal lines and the slashing power of their guitar riffs. This Norwegian trinity of rock will take you on a journey to the golden years of rock music through the 10 electrifying tunes featured in Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire, always reminding you why you love the gripping sounds of rock so much in your life.

And the Rock N’ Roll running through their veins becomes latent in the opening track, the upbeat Under The Gun, bringing the purest form of rockin’ riffs and the high-pitched, electrified vocals by HK, with the bass punches by Christer knocking us out within seconds, and keep banging your freakin’ heads nonstop and raising your beers to the soulful guitar lines by HK in The Great Escape, while Bård keeps pounding his drum kit mercilessly. Following such electrified start to the album we have Midnite Sadusa and its Cat Scratch Fever-inspired main riff, an ode to 70’s and 80’s Rock N’ Roll where Christer and Bård are responsible for creating a massive wave of rumbling tones perfect for the classic vocals by HK. Put differently, this is one of those songs that would have been an all-time classic if written 30 years ago.

Leaning towards more contemporary Hard Rock with hints of the sonority by bands like Nickelback and Breaking Benjamin (but also showcasing the band’s old school core essence), Believe In Magick is a song tailored for dancing together with your boyfriend or girlfriend at a rock n’ roll party; whereas the roaring bass by Christer takes the lead in this potent fusion of Southern Rock, Stoner Metal and Hard Rock titled Polonium Blues, which will certainly please all fans of the golden years of Southern Rock. In Siren Song we’re treated to a thrilling intro that keeps growing in intensity until groovy Rock N’ Roll fills our ears, presenting sharp guitar lines with psychedelic elements while the vocal lines sound hard and heavy just the way we all love in rock music. And speeding up their pace, Magick Touch deliver a flammable rockin’ chant named Lost With All Hands, with its guitar and bass slashing our brains while the beats by Bård don’t let us stop dancing for a single second.

Slowing down again and bringing elements from Blues Rock to their sonority, the band offers us After The Fire, a radio-friendly composition with a solid drumming and a catchy rhythm, despite losing its grip after a while, followed by Electrick Sorcery, the second to last Hard Rock comet by Magick Touch and, more important than that, their personal tribute to 70’s and 80’s Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal, showcasing amazing performances by all band members (especially HK with his passionate vocals and spot-on riffs), and with its backing vocals adding an extra touch of awesomeness to the overall result. Furthermore, the last part of the song is absolutely fantastic, with the band paying homage to KISS, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Dio, Motörhead and other rock and metal idols through the song’s clever lyrics. At long last we have a song which name could have been easily used by Manowar in one of their songs, the title-track Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire, a mid-tempo heavy-as-hell hybrid of pure Rock N’ Roll with the most rumbling form of Southern Rock and Metal, also displaying an amazing chorus accompanied by the lowering bass by Christer and the slow, steady and fierce beast by Bård, even presenting some Iron Maiden-ish moments effectively inserted throughout its faster and more complex passages.

I guess I don’t need to say you should definitely let your rockin’ heart be touched by the electrifying and magical waves crafted by Magick Touch in Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire, and in order to do that simply go visit their Facebook page, YouTube channel, Spotify and SoundCloud for news, tour dates, videos and, above all that, first-class Rock N’ Roll. Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire, which is already on sale through several online stores such as the band’s own BandCamp page, the Edged Circle Productions’ webstore (in CD or LP format) and the Season of Mist’s webstore, as well as on Amazon, on iTunes or at Discogs, doesn’t aim at revolutionizing rock and metal music. Quite the contrary, Magick Touch’s main goal with their new album is simply to remind the whole world how awesome our good old Rock N’ Roll is and will always be, and the band not only nailed it, but they also provided us all a “magick” soundtrack to our days and moments on the road, at work, at school or anywhere else good music is needed.

Best moments of the album: Under The Gun, Midnite Sadusa and Electrick Sorcery.

Worst moments of the album: After The Fire.

Released in 2018 Edged Circle Productions

Track listing
1. Under The Gun 2:53
2. The Great Escape 2:56
3. Midnite Sadusa 3:39
4. Believe In Magick 3:36
5. Polonium Blues 4:17
6. Siren Song 4:30
7. Lost With All Hands 3:13
8. After The Fire 4:10
9. Electrick Sorcery 4:26
10. Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire 6:18

Band members
HK Rein – guitar, vocals
Christer Ottesen – bass, vocals
Bård Nordvik – drums, vocals