GMN - Vol 25 - Crimson Darkness, Shield Of Wings, Crescent Lament, Napoleon Skullfukk, Lolita Komplex
'The Devourer Of All'
Southampton Atmospherically-charged Black Metal band Crimson Darkness return with their second blazing of Vampiric Metal, their second album 'The Devourer Of All' comes after a twelve-year wait since their debut and what a wait it was, sounding similar to Cradle Of Filth but also Darkthrone, Crimson Darkness plague their seaside city with eternal darkness and Gothic-tinged imagery, so much for the saints of Southampton when these lads are clearly Lord Dracula's brothers. 'The Devourer Of All' is a solid reminded of how romantic Black Metal can be, an essential for any Black Metal fan's collection.
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
SHIELD OF WINGS
As heavenly as soaring angels above the stratosphere, Shield Of Wings make their debut count in emphatic and sonic style, with real power and passion driving the album forward, this is clearly the American's answer to the successful Dutch band Within Temptation, majestic melodic vocals in the female form collide with deep male vocals to add such a contrast it rivals the ying-yang theorem. Fast-paced drums, symphonic orchestral-like keyboard tunes and magic-laden guitars all combine to create the perfect audio storm. This is Illinois' finest hour but for Shield Of Wings, this is just the beginning of something far more epic.
 RHYS STEVENSON
'The Forgotten Winter' + 'Crescent Lament'
Firing up the Oriental side of things is Melodic Black / Gothic Metal sextet Crescent Lament from Taiwan, with their two 2008 releases, 'The Forgotten Winter' (EP) and 'Crescent Lament' (demo) taking the form of a little touch of melancholic's to form the basis of 'Oriental Dark Metal', whilst the music itself plays well and is composed cleverly, the vocals on the male side could be a little less harsh so that it contrasts with the melodic female vocals, but overall 'The Forgotten Winter' EP is a decent release. As for their self-titled demo which was released prior to the EP, the melodic music is very smooth but the drums and guitars are a little rough and unclear, at the same time the vocals seem ok but do not carry such a burdening negative sound unlike the EP. Overall two decent releases from which the band can use as a foundation to get better on.
[6.5] +  RHYS STEVENSON
'Swollen & Torture Metal'
Oulu-based Death Metal merchants Napoleon Skullfukk remorse their seven year career with a tasty compilation of their best works, 'Swollen & Torture Metal' features extremely deadly riffs, cascading drum beats and perhaps Grindcore vocals instead of classified Death Metal, whether this is a new adaptation of the subgenre remains a mystery, but essentially this release is guarenteed to kick off moshpits, break necks and chaos emphatic oblivious turn-outs, 'Swollen & Torture Metal' is a compilation of the sickest music you'll find in the Finnish Metal scene
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Le Cabinet Des Marionettes'
Austrian Visual Kei-inspired Gothic Metal / Rock sextet Lolita Komplex emerge out of the darkened corners of Vienna where once great Mozart reigned with classical music, whereas today Lolita Komplex reign with classical Gothic Metal infused Gothic Rock with the Visual Kei image to complement a growing trend in European Visual Kei bands, musically they sound similar to bands like Siousxie & The Banshees whilst adding Moi Dix Mois influences into their music, creating a dynamic sound, sensational dual vocals combined by two talented vocalists and four musicians to back up the potential genre they have mustered, essentially Austrian Visual Kei / Schwarz Metal. What makes this band all the more impressive is them singing in English and Japanese, even with their Austrian accent. But no matter how many times it takes to become acquainted to the band's sound, it always seems everything is in the right order, so much so this could be Austrian Gothic Metal album of 2011.
 RHYS STEVENSON