Of The Fallen
Ancient Gods of Battles Past

I received this CDR unsolicited and with no packing information, but I learned from MP3.com that they are a four-man band based in Texas with a style that covers black, death, and thrash metal. Very well, I might add. I don't know of another band that sounds quite like this - the best description I can give is like a cross between black and power metal; it's got that dark atmosphere and vocal style of black metal, and a lot of the riffs are black-metalish (or at least black-thrash-ish), but the song structures and some of the melodies, changes, and especially the guitar solos have that grand, epic feeling of classic power metal - but still dark and sinister like black metal... Believe me, it works much better than the description I gave above.

The musicianship all-around is top-notch - the drumming is utterly relentless, the guitarist handles the blackened riffs well and effortlessly shreds the fuck up on solos, and the keyboards... oh, what an original way to use keyboards in black metal: really play keyboard lines, not just synth pads! But above all the technical performances is the song writing - it's genius. Epic, dark, sinister, but still with some grandiose, triumphant twists. Songs like "Dawn of the Blackest Sun", "Desolation and War" and the title track are just great damn songs, bottom line. If some label is smart they'll sign these guys soon, because they fucking rule. It's albums like this that raise the bar for independent releases everywhere.

2000 lord vic