Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Frostseele


Frostseele - PrækΩsmium
Self Mutilation Services/Razed Soul Productions, 2012
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Die Architektur des Seins
2. Diagnose
3. Du
4. Tabula Rasa
5. LD 100










If you check out one new band in 2012 it better be this band.  A lot of great stuff was released this year and I don't want to put it up against some veterans, so this is definitely a must hear new band.  Germany seems to be working very hard at producing some incredible Atmospheric Black Metal.  I feel like this is a somewhat new take on Black Metal, in the ever shifting world of this genre.  Sure, some bands have done something like this before, but I feel like it is really exploding.  How does Frostseele fit in against the growing avalanche?  I think they have the potential to really stand out in this genre, but "PrækΩsmium" still needs some minor work.

Frostseele play a type of Atmospheric Black Metal that could rank up there with ColdWorld and that is certainly no small feat for a debut album. Frostseele manages to blend together wonderful musical textures to beautiful effect.  The one thing I find fairly interesting about this genre is that it took a style that was basically fierce and unforgiving and crafted it into something that was actually quite beautiful to listen to.  Sure, beautiful sounding passages have shown up in Black Metal for decades, but I feel the true blending is what we are experiencing today.  "PrækΩsmium" starts our journey with some acoustic guitar that builds into a slow and solemn sounding Black Metal song.  The rhythm section is beautifully arranged and enhanced fully with the lead guitars.  One thing I'll say about Frostseele is that he is a master of layering and writing this music.  The songs are absolutely epic in length, except for the closing track, so it really does take a master craftsman to pull this off.  However, "LD 100" is more of an outro track it seems.  I'm not sure this worked for a closing because it sort of felt like the album peters out rather closing on a fulfilling note.

There are is a minimal use of vocals on this album, so the tracks wind up being mostly instrumental.  Frostseele manages to pull this off quite well, because the guitar arrangements are simply that good.  I am very glad they didn't use the high pitched wails a la Burzum, like a lot of bands in this genre use.  I feel like an attempt at this may have been made in "Du", but to a far less annoying degree.  The vocals overall were alright, but nothing spectacular.  I feel like there are some missed opportunities for vocals to enhance certain parts of songs, but the music holds up find without such treatment.  Luckily there are no clean vocals on this album, I feel like that always ruins things and I love the contrast between harsh vocals and music that sounds beautiful like this.  I can only hope he never decides to have clean vocals on anything... it will just ruin the creation.

Since the album is so heavily reliant on the guitar arrangements, I feel like they are too prominent in the mix.  Okay, they're mixed fine, but the drums are  too far in the background.  I would expect the bass drum to be at least far more audible in the mix, but it is actually fairly buried.  The cymbals seem to be in there quite well, but for some reason a few parts of the kit got lost in the mix.  I find this an odd turn of events, since everything else is actually mixed quite well.

Overall this is actually a very wonderful listen, despite very minor points of contention.  If you want a decent picture of this band, I would say it takes elements from Wolves in the Throne Room and ColdWorld.  They blend some piano, acoustic guitar, and violin into the mix, so it makes for a very interesting listen.  Frostseele is a great writer and I hope that we can see him progress even more in the future.  A must hear for sure!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Glorior Belli


Glorior Belli - Evil Archaic Order
Satanic Propaganda Records, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. Evil Archaic Order
2. Eternal Torments
3. Black Procession











Glorior Belli are hailing out of France and this is their rather impressive debut.  Unfortunately we only get three songs for this and I would have preferred to hear more.  This actually isn't as poorly recorded as I've heard from most demos out there.  There are some issues with the mix, such as the drums are a little too loud making the guitars feel a bit too far away, but we expect such things when listening to demo material from cassette's.

I feel the guitars are fairly well arranged.  Infestuus tried to give us a rather interesting arrangement where two guitars would play off of each other.  He really nailed some dark atmosphere in "Black Procession" and that is by far my favorite song on this demo.  I feel like they are going for something akin to early Deathspell Omega and for the time this demo came out that was still a fairly fresh approach to Black Metal.  Unfortunately I feel like the guitar arrangements aren't as interesting, I feel they could become as interesting on future releases, but it's not quite there yet.  Glorior Belli is clearly still developing their art into something even more sinister.  The vocals are probably another aspect that will stand out for this group.  Infestuus uses a strange guttural rasp that almost borders on being Death Metal... but it's not quite growl oriented enough to qualify for that!  It's something somewhat different, but it seems to work alright for Glorior Belli.

The booklet is pro-printed and has a rather eye-catching cover.  It looks like a painting trying to portray something from the Crusades.  I also like some of the graphic design on part of the booklet, the only thing I don't like is that the booklet's interior is blank.  If you're going to make a tape booklet that folds out, at least print something on the interior!  I hate it when things are published like this.

At this point, I'm not sure if I would say people need to rush out and hear this demo.  It looks like only one of the songs made it onto their debut album with "Eternal Torments" and this wasn't the most interesting on the demo.  Either way, here begins Glorior Belli's career and it looks like it might be promising.



Gosforth


Gosforth - ...God Failed
Black Blood Production, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. ...God Failed
2. Call from Beyond the Grave
3. Death is Better than Life
4. Eternal Devotion












This is really where my Gosforth collection begins.  The music from "Lyderhorn" was clearly good enough to get noticed by someone out there and now Black Blood Production has stepped in to release their second demo.  The quality is clearly a much higher caliber this time around!

The music feels a lot more complete than the prior demo.  At the very least they have given serious consideration to writing material with longer track lengths.  I feel this has given them the ability to write stronger arrangements for the guitars.  The guitar work is much stronger this time around, albeit they're probably nothing that new to Black Metal.  They have certainly considered adding more atmosphere into their music and during the tracks we'll hear slight touches of ambiance like bells being used in "Death is Better than Life."  This isn't a straight blast beat ridden demo either, Gosforth slows things down for almost all of "Eternal Devotion."  For some reason the slowed down rhythm reminded me of something Beherit put out.  Unfortunately, I thought this was the weakest track because I found their faster material to be much stronger.

The booklet and cassette are both professionally pressed.  Strangely the label felt the need to print their stringent requirements in the booklet.  "No trends, no melody, no gothic, no keyboard oriented shit, no clean female vocals, no posers, no clowns, no rip-off, no christians, no jewish, no muslims here... ONLY PURE FUCKING ARMAGEDDON."  At this point I find some of this stuff a little silly, although I do sort of have fond memories of seeing this written all over my Black Metal years ago.  Like "no melody", even the harshest of Black Metal bands have some melody in their music at times.  Female vocals can also sound very good if well arranged and I have a hell of a lot of respect for women who can pull off both types of vocals.  I certainly agree on all the religious points, Black Metal is not for any of that.  Either way this label put out a good product and I am glad to have a copy of it.

I think Gosforth put together a very promising demo this time around and I think we should all look forward to where this band is going in the future.  I think this shows the band is definitely ready to start recording a full length in the near future.



Gosforth - Lyderhorn
Self-Released, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dawn of a Funeral
2. Lyderhorn
3. Ancient Knowledge













So my friend Sam pulled her resources together and actually managed to find the mp3's of this demo.  Naturally this demo is long gone, so I must resort to reviewing what I can if I hope to review the full discography.

Gosforth's first demo is a very primitive sounding type of Black Metal.  It's very raw and fairly basic in terms of the writing.  It reminds of the days of early Darkthrone.  There is almost no layering in the guitars and it just generates that early 90's Black Metal feel when the genre was first being invented.  The music isn't really all that bad, it's just very general Black Metal, so there really isn't much to describe because everyone that listens to Black Metal should understand what the early 90's sounded like.

The production actually isn't that bad for a demo.  You really can hear everything just fine.  The drums overwhelm the mix a little bit here and there, but at least it isn't a constant problem.  The vocals may overwhelm the guitar at times, but again, I sort of expect this with early demo material to some degree.

In the end this is certainly not something you have to hear.  It's an all too typical beginning for a band that would get a lot better over time.  I was just curious to see where they started out.  It is interesting to see that bands post-2000 can still start out in the very early vein.  I don't know if they were trying to fully emulate that sound or they just did it because that's the type of writing they were capable of.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Faagrim


Faagrim - Blutfrost
Christhunt Productions, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. Winterstille
2. Marsch Durch das Nordland
3. Wenn der Schnee Schmilzt
4. Alte Werte Neu Entfachen
5. Unter einer Krone Dach
6. Kjelld
7. Blutfrost








Faagrim is the very promising solo project from Rottensang.  Aside from the beautiful cover there are a few flaws with this debut release, but a lot of things he did right.  Prior to this he was the vocalist for the band Northern Blood, which only put out a self-release CD and I have not heard this.  It must have carried some interest for others to go from no demo to releasing this full length.  Unfortunately spending some time in the demo phase may have done this a bit more justice, in my opinion.

Musically I think this sounds heavily influenced by bands like Sargeist.  With that comes all the other references of Horna and so on, but I think rhythmically this band is modeled more after Sargeist.  The only thing that really hurts this release is that in Sargeist there are two distinct guitars playing and Faagrim is like Sargeist without that lead piece.  Unfortunately this really detracts from what could have been a truly incredible listen.  I will point out that Sargeist didn't grab me with their first recordings either, so like them, I can definitely hear Faagrim's potential of becoming something much greater.

One thing that is sort of strange about this album is that I felt like the writing got stronger as the album progressed.  The two last tracks were by far the best on the album.  Albeit "Blutfrost" has a sort of acoustic interlude similar to into (Winterstille), but I felt this broke up the song in a way that wasn't as good.  Still the overall guitar arrangements were extremely well done.  This is why I think this band has serious potential to put together something extremely good in the future they just haven't hit that sweet spot yet.

Another issue I found with this is that the guitar tone is a little on the fuzzy side.  I think if they turned down the gain on the guitars ever so little it would give an excellent tone to the riffs.  The only other gripe I can think of is the programmed drums.  Though he used quite a good drum program with some fairly good sounding cymbal samples, I just don't think the drums are as varied as a real drummer would come up with.

This isn't necessarily something you need to rush out and hear, but it is a fairly solid debut for what it is.  I'm looking forward to what this band will produce in the future.  Anyway I close with "Kjelld" a very fine song.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beliar (Pol)


Beliar - Arcana Imperii
Lower Silesian Stronghold, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Introduction
2. Lord's Betrayal
3. 1410
4. Unholy
5. Imperium Superbia
6. Age of Sin









This is a new discovery on my part.  I saw that it featured ex-members of Moontower and since I quite liked Moontower I thought I would listen to a sample of their music.  I made it about thirty seconds into the sample before it solidified my decision to purchase this.  It was definitely worth getting my hands on this because the full package is quite well done.

Beliar play a type of Black Metal that I think just borders up against becoming Death Metal.  I think this is basically what Hate would sound like if Hate played almost straight Black Metal.  As you can see this is some vicious sounding stuff.  Despite the fact that I like the music quite a bit, it is still fairly standard form for this kind of Black Metal.  The guitar arrangements are very well composed and in tracks like "1410" they generate a spectacular atmosphere.  Some songs like, "Imperium Superbia" throw in some really killer thrashy sounding riffs that really hook the listener in.  The drum work is superbly arranged as I would expect from Moontower's ex-drummer (the only member of Beliar that was in Moontower mind you...)

The vocal performance is somewhere between the mid-range growls of Death Metal and the general Black Metal tone.  I would say they are most similar to what Thunderbolt performed on their last album "Apocalyptic Doom".  I think this vocal style really fits this music well, you could certainly get away with a decent high ranged screamer, but Sinister's vocals give a very powerful and brooding voice to this music.

I am really glad I purchased the CD, because the booklet has a really cool design.  It has a beautiful cover with very thick paper.  It features the lyrics and pictures of each band member.

Unfortunately this is really only an EP and I would like to see how this band would put a full length together.  However, this is a nice little teaser to get us started into Beliar's world.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Ziel Bevrijd


Ziel Bevrijd - Ziel Bevrijd
Les Productions Hérétique, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Straal Vanhoop
3. Oppression Lointaine
3. Un Chant d'Agonie
4. Perdu à Jamais
5. La Parfum des Larmes
6. Spleen (Peste Noire Cover)










Ziel Bevrijd is a one man Black Metal project from Canada.  This tape is a re-release of what was put on a split with Csejthe.  So I figured I would just review this rather than hunt down the split.  Unfortunately, the tape is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies, of which I own #66.   It has a pro-printed booklet and cassette.

The production is that of a decent quality demo.  Things are a little more muddled than I would like though.  You can technically hear all the instruments, albeit it is not perfectly put together all the time in the mix.  I feel that if Ziel Bevrijd recorded with slightly higher production values it would fit the sound perfectly.  I don’t want pristine production, which would actually take away from the majesty of some of this music, but just a little bit higher.  Something on a similar level to what Horna uses would be perfect for this band.

That being said Ziel Bevrijd plays some extremely beautiful Black Metal.  The riffing has a very majestic and soaring atmosphere.  Then when the lead guitars kick in it really just completes the overall presentation for me.  The only problem is that the leads drown out a lot of the music as they are playing, which is why I think having a slightly better mix/production would do this work serious justice.  The drums absolutely need better production, I can’t hear the bass drum at all and the whole kit is very far away in the mix.  You can hear them just enough to make out what should be taking place and your mind will fill in the missing pieces on its own. 

This would probably be a horrifying thing to listen to if the guitar arrangements weren’t as strong.  However, they absolutely hold this band together in a way most bands wouldn’t be able to stand.  “Strall Vanhoop” is by far the strongest and most well recorded.  It made me wonder if it was recorded after the rest of the demo, but I couldn’t find out anything from the liner notes.  I was really hoping that level of quality would keep up, but alas, it did not. The second track is much weaker until you get to the clean guitar section and then it really takes off with some spectacular riffing. Compositionally the rest of the album appears to hold up to the first.  This demo closes with a Peste Noire cover and it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album too well.  It’s probably because there are only five original songs and I feel unsatisfied by the time I get to the cover.

In the end this is relatively a must hear (at least the first song is a must hear), it is definitely a must watch project.  I would love to see if Ziel Bevrijd can get a full release together.  It’s been a while since this music has been recorded, but a re-release like this gives me hope that the project is not ended and maybe more is coming soon!



Abîme


Abîme - Échos De Gloire
Oaken Shield, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. End of Hope, Begin of the Conquest
3. Renaissance des Abysses
4. Death for the Slave
5. Constellation du Sens
6. Ode a la Haine
7. L'Appel du Sang
8. Outro







This is a completely random purchase on my part.  The only thing going for this band was that Oaken Shield put this out.  Since I like a lot of the material they have released, I decided to give this project a try… at the very least I might wind up owning all the Oaken Shield releases.  Besides, the album cover has a tank on it and tanks are pretty cool.

The tank on the cover of this album may be the best part of the CD.  This is a horrifically generic project and they’re not even doing something well within the realms of generic.  The guitar riffs don’t seem to be very terrible, so it was tough for me to figure out why I disliked this as soon as I heard it.  I think it has to do with the guitar tone.  The distortion setting on this album feels extremely “noisy”, which detracts from the kinds of riffs they are playing.  If you listen to Blut Aus Nord’s “Mystical Beast of Rebellion” you’ll hear an example of a guitar tone which sounds very good.

As I said before the riffs played on the guitar are actually fairly decent, but they are played far too much.  They’re fairly standard well done riffs, but they’re not epic or awe encompassing, so when you play them for eight minutes you’ve heard them too much.  I think that if the songs were half the length they are on this album it might not be such a daunting listen.  Or, an even better option put some killer lead parts over these riffs.  You can easily make these riffs into some really expansive Black Metal, but that never seems to happen.  All we ever get from Abime is the rhythm guitar and that just isn’t enough to hold this music together.

The drums on the album are also programmed, as far as I can tell anyway, and they are not programmed well.  For whatever reason there is simply no high-hat in the mix.  So when you go into a blast beat section that features the high-hat all you hear is snare.  I can’t tell if there are any crash cymbals in the mix, because the only cymbal I ever seem to hear is the ride, which shows up quite well.  I don’t know how this went wrong in the mixing process…

In the end I feel like this is a fairly lazy album.  There’s really no excuse for this kind of thing in 2005.  Even the booklet is fairly lazy.  It has a tank on the cover, a picture of Yggdrasil on the back and then the interior is all black with the lyrics printed.  That’s all we get for spending money on this.  Perhaps if they had spent more time with this it could have been quite a good album… but that is not the case.  Honestly, I would recommend skipping this, there are better things out there.



Saturday, January 19, 2013

Trollech


Trollech - Dech Pohanských Větrů
Self-Released, 2000
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

1. Introllech
2. Opět Vidím Lodě
3. Lesem S Jarním Úsvitem
4. Píseň Pro Zemi V Lůně Starého Kontinentu
5. Hagalz R
6. I See the Ships Again










Trollech is another project featuring Lord Morbivod, this time the music is supposed to be more folk themed. While they eventually manage to pull this off quite well, “Dech Pohanských Větrů” seems to rely on using “clean” guitar passages. I’m not sure this really gives it a “folk” feel, but it does give a different dimension than Stíny Plamenů.

This is not the blistering Black Metal found on Stíny Plamenů but that’s because Lord Morbivod’s involvement does not include guitar playing. On this release he only performed Vocals and programmed the drums. The guitar work is all courtesy of Asura Godwar Gorgon Ray and he clearly has a vastly different style of play. I suspect these projects sort of poke a little fun at the Black Metal genre just by looking at the album cover. I think they take writing the music seriously, but things are not too serious over in their world. I think Trollech and the other projects involving Lord Morbivod are generated by serious love for the music, but not so much the image of the genre. Trollech seems to be clearly influenced by the great Viking Metal bands of Norway, such as Einherjer and Enslaved. However, as with Stíny Plamenů things feel a little more upbeat and aren't nearly as harsh and dark as the usual Viking Metal bands. The only time things get dark is during the song “Hagalz R” which is only a little over a minute long and consists of one riff with nothing but blast beats. However, that one riff is one of the darkest on the demo. The demo closes with an English version of “Opět Vidím Lodě” or “I see the ships again.” This was interesting, but they never printed the lyrics in English… so there was nothing for me to read.

For a cassette this actually turned out fairly well. The booklet is pro-printed , but doesn't have much in the way of art or pictures. The lyrics are printed, but being all in Czech, I have no idea what’s going on. I don’t think Trollech is as story or character driven as Stíny Plamenů so I figure they probably sing about nature and forests or something like that.

“Dech Pohanských Větrů” isn't a case where the demo is some of the bands best material. I don’t consider this something every Trollech fan must hear, unless you're a die-hard collector and need to hear everything by a band like me. You can really just skip to the later releases where the music is much stronger and a degree more original.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Moonblood


Ensom Skogen/Forgotten Spell/Moonblood Split
Misanthrophia Discos, 2015
Genre: Black Metal

Ensom Skogen:
1. Herrschaft des Feuerkults (Part II)
2. Der Triumph, ist mein (Part II)
3. Gestank der Menschheit (Part II)
4. Lodernde Beschwörung (Part II)
Forgotten Spell:
5. Metamorphosis in a Spiritual Spectral Sphere
6. Aesthetics of the Necromantic Manifestation
7. Proclaiming Satan
Moonblood:
8. Slave of Eternity (Nachzehrer)
9. The Unholy


Side Ensom Skogen: here
Side Forgotten Spell: here
Side Moonblood:

As usual, when I saw the announcement of more Moonblood material being released from the archives I immediately ordered a copy for myself. I even got the t-shirt they released with everything around this time. These two songs actually came in two different formats, the format listed above is the three way split released on CD and the two Moonblood songs were also released separately on their own vinyl pressing. I have the clear vinyl edition as well which was limited to 150 copies.

Now, I'm assuming this is going to truly be the last release of Moonblood as Gaamalzagoth is not going to be delving into the rehearsal material. This is as "rehearsal" as our material is going to get. From this point on we'll have to turn our eyes to the resurrection of Demoniac.

If you'll recall back to the "From Hell" box set, in my review I made a rather offhand comment about how I wished the two unfinished tracks had been finished with vocals. Well, here they are! I'm actually fairly surprised Gaamalzagoth did this, since these tracks were pulled from "Rehearsal 13", but I am, nonetheless, very happy to hear these in a more finished form. The vocals are a little loud in the general mix, but that is, honestly, the only complaint I have. If you were a fan of the final albums from Moonblood, this really continues that whole style. They've had the remaster treatment along with all the other material being released at this time, so expect some really good quality material. I consider this a must have for any Moonblood fan out there and these final two songs are not to be missed. These serves as an excellent reminder of the past while giving us something new at the same time. I'm really glad Gaamalzagoth decided to finish off these songs and I know the rest of the Moonblood fanbase appreciates it as well.

Moonblood - The Winter Falls Over the Land
Misanthrophia Discos, 2015
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Moonstruck
3. I Am All
4. Hordes of Hate
5. My Evil Soul
6. Nightly Mass
7. The Gates of Eternity
8. A Land Where the Sky is Black
9. In the Shadow of Inverted Crucifix
10. The Winter Falls Over the Land
11. Outro




This is, sadly, the final installment of the Moonblood official re-release of material. Vinyl maniacs saw this released a few months earlier, but I waited for the CD edition, because of the four bonus tracks. As usual this comes with a very well designed booklet and everything is re-mastered.

This release marks the end of re-releasing all of Moonbloods studio material onto CD. The four bonus tracks can also be found in the "From Hell" box set for the vinyl fans out there. "Moonstruck" and "Hordes of Hate" originally appeared on the first two vinyl splits. "I am All" and "My Evil Soul" were originally featured on the "Blut & Krieg" cassette edition, I think. These were not featured on the "Blut & Krieg" re-releases either, instead those releases followed the vinyl edition's track listing.

After this we hear Moonblood's first studio album "The Winter Falls Over the Land" in full re-mastered form and released on vinyl/CD for the first time ever. I remember the recording of my original tape being pretty decent, but this is certainly superior. Gaamalzagoth has done a great job with the booklet, far more appropriate than the basic black cover of the original release.

Gaamalzagoth offers some interesting liner notes at the end about the product we hold in our hands. He states that "Basically, we both do not consider these recordings worth to be re-released..." I can, certainly, understand this sentiment. When faced with your more mature works in a catalog, they are better. However, sometimes hearing a bands beginnings is enjoyable for some listeners. Yeah, maybe I won't listen to this over "Taste Our German Steel" or anything, but I quite enjoy the history associated with "The Winter Fall Over the Land".

He also goes on to say that the rehearsal recordings will never be released officially and that "Would you like to see your musical ideas to get reduced to the first version of the song, played for the very first time? I guess not, so why should we do so?" This is, absolutely, a fair point and I understand his position. However, as a musician, I actually don't mind in process work or rehearsal material being heard. As an artist, I like hearing the things that didn't work or how a song is crafted from one stage to another. Sometimes things that didn't work for one band may work for another, or may inspire another train of thought in a different direction. Sometimes, I just like hearing how a band works in the writing stages, probably because it is extremely rare to capture this. I don't think this is the mindset behind wanting the rehearsals though, I think the desire for rehearsals is driven more by the fact that Moonblood is no more and people, just generally, want more Moonblood and they'll take whatever they can get. I think people also secretly think that they are harboring better quality versions of things like "Rehearsal 10", but that may not be true. Anyway, we must resign ourselves to what is out there for the rehearsals, because it's their music and they can publish what they wish.

I'm not sure the bootlegging of rehearsal material will stop, but, hopefully, these releases put a stop to bootlegging studio material! At the end of the day, these are the best versions you're going to get, so there really is no need. In the end another fine re-release and I am sad they are done.

Moonblood - ...Of Lunar Passion and Sombre Blood
Misanthrophia Discos, 2015
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dwelling in Darkness
2. As a Soul in the Blazing Banner of Darkness
3. The Quest for the Doctrines of Might and Wisdom
4. Under the Goatmoon
5. These Graves and Wooden Coffins are My Realm
6. Kingdom Under Funeral Skies
7. Burning in Hell
8. Fullmoonwitchery
9. Under the Abyssic Black Wings of the 3rd Angel


Given the fact that the prior CD's released by Mianthrophia Discos are practically all sold out, it's rather clear the Moonblood maniacs are replacing their bootlegs with clear glee. I know I am. If you were turned off by the crappy bootlegs floating around with their poor transfers, Gaamalzagoth has surely stepped up and released Moonblood in a quality CD format that it actually deserves. Where before it was easy to limit access by releasing on tape and vinyl, the internet age has really crushed a lot of that with people being able to make mp3 transfers of everything under the sun. However, the true fans out there are still buying up actual releases from these great musicians and are wholeheartedly willing to buy up these releases, because now our money actually goes to the musicians we really appreciated over the years.

This series of Moonblood releases, as usual, comes in wonderful new packaging with full lyrics and a rather large booklet to look through. "...of Lunar Passion and Sombre Blood" actually has slightly different mixes than we had heard previously. This seems to be a collection of music from the early days blended with some songs released on the split with Evil and Inferno. This almost finishes off the release of CD editions of the "From Hell" box set. I'm not sure if we'll ever get the "Templar's Penitence" material on CD, but only time will tell. Part of me really wants a CD version of that disc, but another part of me wants something to stay unique about the "From Hell" box set making that release quite special. I keep begging for releases of the rehearsals... but given how Gaamalzagoth feels about those recording, I doubt we'll ever see it.

Anyway, this is another great collection of Moonblood material, with a wonderful remastering in the Temple of Disharmony by Patrick W. Engel. The remastering has really made these a worthwhile expense in many ways and I feel as if the raw Moonblood sound shines through even better, but still maintains its original essence. Definitely another must have for the Moonblood fans out there!

Moonblood - Taste Our German Steel/Dusk Woerot
Misanthrophia Discos, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

Taste Our German Steel:
1. Embraced by Lycanthropy's Spell
2. Sarg & Tod (Part II)
3. Then Came the Silence
4. Troglodytin
5. Apocalyptic Vision
6. The Angel's Lament
7. A Walk in the Woods
Dusk Woerot:
8. Chapter I
9. Chapter II
10. Chapter III
11. Born to Live in the Shadows of Damnation

It is finally here, time to throw out those crappy bootleg CD's from seven, or so, years ago. When I saw "Blut & Krieg" coming on CD, I purchased it immediately and I simply waited and hoped that this would be forthcoming. If you have the "From Hell" vinyl box set, then this isn't going to be anything new for you musically. What is new is the fact that this is finally pressed officially on CD. If you bothered to by the bootleg, like I did years ago, because you simply had no other options, it's time to step up and buy the official version. Like the "From Hell" box set, this adds the extra incentive that everything is entirely remastered and the "Troglodytin" track is included. I was, honestly, just hoping for "Taste Our German Steel", but the deal was infinitely sweetened when I saw that "Dusk Woerot" was also being released on the same disc. These are, by far, my two favorites from Moonblood. I know some fiend for the old material and love 'Blut & Krieg", but there's just something about these albums that really strike a chord with me.

Even though the album art posted above is the same art featured on the "From Hell" box set, with this release we get a full 12 page booklet, dedicated to just these releases. I decided to put the "Taste Our German Steel" cover, because that comes first on the recording, but the booklet front cover is the original cover for "Dusk Woerot", which was featured in the "From Hell" box set as well. For me, this kind of release is long overdue and the remastering is extremely well done, which puts the bootlegs to shame. I hope the current releases will revive some interest in Moonblood and other bands from the 90's that really helped develop the Black Metal scene. There is simply no question with these re-editions, this is a must have.


Moonblood - Blut & Krieg & Sob a Lua do Bode
Iron Bonehead Productions, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

Disc 1: Blut & Krieg:
1. Midnight
2. In a Bloody Night of Fullmoon
3. Shadows
4. And Snow Covered the Lifeless Bodies
5. Blut & Krieg
6. Kingdom of Forgotten
7. Under the Cold Fullmoon
8. The Infernal Master Returns


Disc 2: Sob a Lua do Bode:
1. Forgotten Spells in Forests Nocturnal
2. Supreme Black Forces of Steel
3. A Silent Dream of Impurity
4. Bells of Apocalypse
5. I Hail the Night













If there was one thing I could possibly complain about the "From Hell" box set is that it didn't include the material released on these two vinyl.  It was somewhat disappointing that it didn't span the breadth of the Moonblood studio recordings, but what we got in extras from the "Rehearsal 13" sessions more than made up for that. I wasn't surprised that "Blut & Krieg" wasn't included with "From Hell" based on Gaamalzagoth's commentary concerning that release. I am surprised that he eventually authorized a repress in this form... perhaps the demand from the fans was just too high! Whatever the reason, I believe we now have the full studio efforts of Moonblood re-released and remastered for our listening pleasure... and all of it on Vinyl! This was also released on a single CD by Misanthrophia Discos, which I've also purchased.

Prior to this I only had the "Blut & Krieg" in the original 1996 tape form, but the vinyl re-edition here is based on the Sombre Records 1998 vinyl press. The difference here is that two songs appeared on the cassette that did not appear on the later vinyl presses. Don't worry though, the two tracks that aren't on this 2014 edition already have been released on the "From Hell" box set, so we do in fact have all the Moonblood tracks. If you enjoyed the re-mastering treatment of "From Hell" you'll find it just as good here. I do like the updated quality of the material and I feel like I can get an extra dimension to the music this time around. The majestic power of the song "Blut & Krieg" really strikes through even more powerfully. One of the things I thought was interesting with this release is that the album art was kept the same. They do print the lyrics for "Blut & Krieg" but the font used is fairly illegible. Aesthetically it really works well... but, luckily, I already owned the tape with the printed lyrics anyway.

"Sob a Lua do Bode" has the added treat of including the "Supreme Black Forces of Steel" track amidst their recordings. Previously this was only available on the split with Katharsis, which I do recommend hearing if you get the chance since Katharsis is a wonderful band as well. For this vinyl piece we get an extra poster inside the sleeve complete with lyrics and some new artwork. The new artwork is interesting, on one side it features a city falling into, what I think is an earthquake crevasse and it looks exceptionally awesome.

I really love seeing all this great material being brought into the light of day again. I feel like a lot of people do not remember the history of Black Metal anymore beyond bands like Mayhem and Darkthrone, along with some other random cult classics. There's so much more out there though. So many great albums that have, seemingly, been lost to the annals of time and that's one of the major reasons behind this sites creation. I really think the modern generation needs some level of exposure to this history and I am excited to see Iron Bonehead revisiting these influential pieces with the artist. By the way, if they want to go ahead and re-release all the rehearsals and demos on vinyl... I won't complain and I will happily be handing my money over to them with each amazing release! I truly hope that actually happens...

Moonblood - From Hell
Iron Bonehead Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal.

1. ...Of Lunar Passion and Sombre Blood
2. Taste Our German Steel
3. Templar's Penitence
4. Dusk Woerot
5. Fullmoonwitchery










When I first heard about this vinyl box set being officially released I was extremely excited.  I have been a long time fan of Moonblood and this looked like an incredible celebration of their discography.  The real "must buy" aspect of this set is that everything is remastered.  I really wanted to hear what a lot of these great works would sound like from the remastering process, especially "Taste Our German Steel" and "Dusk Woerot".  This set is limited to 999 copies, but I know a second press is supposed to exist.  I have no idea how often this will get repressed, but if they want to meet the demand of Moonblood fans around the world, two pressings certainly won't be enough.

Inside you will find almost everything a Moonblood fan could want... except maybe a patch.  But I already own a huge Moonblood back patch, so I guess I'm all set.  This comes with four 12" vinyl along with a 7".  Each vinyl comes with it's own packaging and artwork, which shows the amount of effort that was expended on this project.  They didn't just re-use album art, they literally generated new content.  It comes with a massive booklet (pictured to the right), again with it's own artwork.

This booklet was a great addition.  In the first pages you get a reminiscent essay from Gaamalzagoth about the band and their discography. He recalls what it was like as the band formed out of the ashes of Demoniac.  He makes comments about what it was like before the internet, something I remember as well.  I remember getting distro catalogs in the mail and having to call the place to order albums, because no one really had e-mail back then.  I have fond memories of getting the latest black/white catalog from Fullmoon Productions to see what new gems I could order.  After having read some interviews with Moonblood, the times have truly changed, because you can find an "lol" in this essay of sorts.  Just to get an idea of how much the internet has permeated into the world.  Turning the page you'll find lyrics printed, some probably for the first time.  Turning to the last page you'll find a sort of collage of Moonblood advertisements, magazine reviews, and various artwork.  This is, by far, one of the greatest aspects of the booklet, because you get to see what the Black Metal scene's reaction to Moonblood was it happened.  Not like my fairly retrospective reviews years after the release, even though I remember what it was like a little bit in the 90's.  I've definitely lost the perspective on what a lot of my first reactions to some of the material I heard back then, and it's great to revisit some of that.

All of this is stored in a heavy cardboard box.  Simply a beautiful product and well worth buying in my opinion.  Now that you know what's in the box, I'm going to go over each album inside individually because you get 30 songs, which is over three hours of music! Unlike my other reviews you will find no samples below. This is per request of the record label, and in honor of them releasing such a momentous box set, I will happily adhere to their wishes.  I can't imagine this will never appear on the internet someday, but it certainly won't be from my archive if it does.

Moonblood - ...Of Lunar Passion and Sombre Blood
Iron Bonehead Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dwelling in Darkness
2. As a Soul in the Blazing Banner of Darkness
3. The Quest for the Doctrines of Might and Wisdom
4. Under the Goatmoon
5. These Graves and Wooden Coffins are My Realm
6. Kingdom Under Funeral Skies
7. Burning in Hell





This LP wastes no time into getting into rare material!  Technically these are songs that have appeared on prior releases, but these are unreleased recordings.  This includes material from the Inferno and Evil Split, and I dare say that this mix of the material on Evil's split is a lot better.  Maybe the remaster is the cause, but I think the overall recording is better.  As for the Inferno split, this just sounds stronger re-mastered.

One of the big draws for this recording is "Under the Goatmoon", which seems to first appear on "Rehearsal 13".  I have never heard "Rehearsal 13" an I doubt many people out there have.  Given what Moonblood was doing at this time, "Under the Goatmoon" is probably my favorite track on this disc.  It's like a long lost gem from the peak of their career for me.  The other notable recordings are "Dwelling in Darkness" which originally appears on "Rehearsal 10".  I wish they had recorded more from this rehearsal, because it is one of the more poor quality recordings in my Moonblood collection.  This LP closes with "Burning in Hell", which originally appeared on "Rehearsal 12", not the best song on that rehearsal, but certainly a solid choice to bring into the studio.  It will definitely speak to traditional Thrash Metal fans out there!  It's an interesting closer here after so many tracks of epic Black Metal.  I do love Gaamalzagoth's vocals on "Burning in Hell" a lot though, probably one of his more grim performances.

The studio versions combined with the remastering really does justice to this sound.  I feel like I'm getting a lot more out of the Moonblood songs than ever before. You can hear some subtle aspects that were probably missed the first time you listened to the songs. One thing I do love about this is that the songs still maintain their raw nature, but are recorded well enough where the rawness adds to the atmosphere of the music.  This is really where Moonblood thrived.  Their song writing was fairly complex, so when recording quality got too poor their music suffered, but we finally get to hear particularly good versions of these songs.

Moonblood - Taste Our German Steel
Iron Bonehead Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Embraced by Lycanthropy's Spell
2. Sarg & Tod (Part II)
3. Then Came the Silence
4. Troglodytin
5. Apocalyptic Vision
6. The Angel's Lament
7. A Walk in the Woods







When I saw this in the list of recordings to receive the remaster treatment, I was immediately sold, even more than ever before.  "Taste Our German Steel" is probably my favorite Moonblood album.  The heavy reliance on tremelo picked guitar sequences is just intoxicating and with the remaster you can hear all the subtle pieces that may have been lost in originals.  I feel like you can make out the inter-play between both guitars a lot more clearly, which really adds a whole new listening to experience to these long loved songs. I still get excited to hear that opening riffs of "Embraced by Lycanthropy's Spell" and "Then Came the Silence".  During the recording sessions a track called "Troglodytin" was recorded, but it was only released as part of the "Black Metal Blitzkrieg Compilation" on End All Life Records.  However, here we get to hear the full recording session.  "Troglodytin" also appeared on "Rehearsal 12" and it was by far one of the better tracks on that rehearsal, so I'm glad to see it did get studio treatment.

A lot of "Taste Our German Steel" actually appeared on "Rehearsal 13", which must have been quite the tape given the high quality of everything on this album.  The only thing that really mars this album and the whole box set is the fact that this is the picture disc you get.  Luckily this gets it's own jacket and cover, because the picture LP looks terrible.  The picture is horribly pixelated and just looks awful. Luckily the music is so solid, because I would be pretty disappointed otherwise.  In the end I definitely prefer having the full recording session remastered and only one piece that looks bad in the box rather than not having it at all.

"Taste Our German Steel" is by far one of the more legendary albums in the realm of Black Metal.  When it comes to the songs on this album, few bands out there could ever do better.  The only complaint one could make is that they didn't include much of their medieval elements in this recording like they were wont to do with the rehearsals.  Even though this is the case, "Taste Our German Steel" is probably one of the finest recorded Black Metal albums.

Moonblood - Templar's Penitence
Iron Bonehead Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Moonstruck
2. I am All
3. Hordes of Hate
4. My Evil Soul
5. Templar's Penitence
6. Unfinished Track









Now here is quite a gem in the box set.  This has a few things I've never even heard before.  But first we start off with older recordings from 1995.  These appeared on various splits with Nema and Asakku and two tracks were originally on a compilation and also featured as bonus tracks on the cassette version of "Blut & Krieg".

Starting off with "Moonstruck" from the split with Nema shows Moonblood in a much more primitive light when compared to what we just heard on "Taste Our German Steel."  "Moonstruck" still has some extremely intoxicating rhythms and even has a touch of that medieval vibe that Moonblood was fairly known for around the time along with the mighty Desaster. The quality here is certainly better than ever and you can really get a good sense of how absolutely heart wrenching Gaamalzagoth's vocal performance really was on this.  If "I am All" sounds a bit ancient, you'd be correct, because that first appeared on "Rehearsal 4".  The studio treatment is naturally much better, but I really love the atmosphere generated by this mid-90's song, something I don't think bands can really do anymore.  It's too far removed from that actual time frame.  "Hordes of Hate" is also from the same recording session and also appeared on "Rehearsal 4".  Both tracks were featured as bonus on the cassette edition of "Blut & Krieg".  "Hordes of Hate" was featured on the split with Asakku, and as no surprise sounds great in this rendition.  All four of these tracks are from the same recording session and as usual, I just wish Moonblood had the money to commit more of their songs to studio treatment back then.  Even though Gaamalzagoth did not like the "Blut & Krieg" recording quality, I can't deny it is an important piece for Black Metal history.  I think these four songs have a better recorded representation of Moonblood's sound an perhaps if "Blut & Krieg" sounded like this Gaamalzagoth would look on it more favorably.

The last two songs on here are from a rehearsal session from 1999.  This is the long lost "Rehearsal 13" again and I have never heard these songs.  "Templar's Penitence" is an exceptional track and it's a real shame this never got brought into the studio.  Gaamalzagoth's vocals have a bit too much reverb on them, but you get used to that.  You can hear what they were driving at with the song.  It's definitely in line with the material found on "Taste Our German Steel," which should come as no surprise.  I almost wish they would release all these rehearsal recordings if they of similar quality to this.  At least between all the vinyl we almost have all the songs that were on "Rehearsal 13," I just wish I had the rest now.  The unfinished track on this vinyl sounds amazing!  Some of the most intoxicating riffing I've ever heard and it's a real shame Gaamalzagoth didn't give this his vocal treatment, because that would have made for an immense experience.  It's a lot better than "Templar's Penitence" even.  It would have been interesting if he had tried to go back and add those in now, assuming he could still pull off similar vocal performances today.  Ah well, at least the fans get to have a piece of this history!

Moonblood - Dusk Woerot
Iron Bonehead Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Chapter I
2. Chapter II
3. Chapter III
4. Born to Live in the Shadows of Damnation
5. Celestial Horsemen
6. Sarg & Tod
7. Sarg & Tod (Part II)
8. Unfinished Track







Seeing this on the list of releases to get remastered was another thing that made this the ultimate box set for Moonblood. They really went all out with their choicest material in my opinion.  "Dusk Woerot" is both one of the best and saddest moments for Moonblood.  While "Dusk Woerot" is absolutely one of my favorite Black Metal recordings out there, it also marked the end of the project.  Even Gamaalzagoth claims, in the liner notes, that this was one of their finest moments in the studio.  I couldn't agree more, and it's a real shame to see the project end on such a high note in some cases.  On  the one hand, they at least ended strong, but on the other there is nothing that could ever really mar such an immense and fairly solid discography.

Side B of this LP features more material from the 1999 recording session that I believe is "Rehearsal 13", however, the first song "Celestial Horsemen" isn't on the track listing that I can find.  So, as far as I can tell, this track has never been heard before and appears for the first time in this box set.  The track is fairly solid, it's not as good as the songs I heard on "Templar's Penitence" though.  Next we have "Sarg & Tod", which shows up for the first time on "Rehearsal 13," but the song sounds much older than that.  It actually has a much more ancient Moonblood feel to it than the more modern material we heard on "Taste Our German Steel," which is probably "Sarg & Tod (Part II)" is the one featured on the album. I do wonder if these songs were written together, or if the first is made up of very old riffs that are being reused.  Honestly, with all the rehearsals it's hard to remember precise riffs or pieces of songs.  Finally we close with the other unfinished song, from, I assume, "Rehearsal 13" again.  I don't think this song is as strong as the other unfinished track, but it is still fairly good song overall.  It's definitely a lot more of a traditional sounding Black Metal song, but it has a strangely dark atmosphere to it.  I say strange, because the scales being used on the guitar aren't necessarily as incredibly dark as you'd expect.  This is one of the reasons I think Moonblood was so special and different, they didn't use the standard scale concepts you'd find in Black Metal. You'd actually hear this approach to Black Metal being used more in the Czech scene in later years.

As usual, this was an incredible listen.  I loved hearing "Dusk Woerot" get remastered and the tracks feel more alive than ever.  I think I still like the original cover artwork more, but the new cover here is quite good as well.  The rarities in here really make this interesting and I'm glad they were able to fit "Dusk Woerot" on a single side so that you get to experience it as it is with no break to switch a side.

Moonblood - Fullmoonwitchery
Iron Bonehead Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Fullmoonwitchery
2. Under the Abyssic Black Wings of the 3rd Angel













Well... we've finally made it.  This is the last disc in the box.  It's the only 7" and features two songs recorded in 1996.  "Fullmoonwitchery" is a spectacular song and only appeared on a compilation.  It also appeared on "Rehearsal 7", but naturally the studio rendition is a lot better.  On side B we have "Under the Abyssic Black Wings of the 3rd Angel", which first appeared on "Rehearsal 9".  This studio version doesn't seem to have ever been released, further making this box set quite the gem to a collector.  The song is a little strange and quite different from the raw form I remember.  I feel like there was some strange effect used for a drum that gives it a sort of thunderous yet steel sound.  Gaamalzagoth made a comment about an E-kit being used at one point, so this is probably what he was referring to.

Don't believe what is written on this disc though, it has a pretty serious typo.  It says "33 rpm" on it, but it's really a 45, a mistake I made when first listening to it and wondered why "Fullmoonwitchery" didn't sound anything like I remembered.

Here we are though, it's about about three hours and six minutes since I began this review.  I listened to all of it in a single sitting and I consider it three hours very well spent.  I almost want to say I wish there was more material for me to listen to, but even I must admit that I am tired and should probably take a break!  "From Hell" is by far one of the choicest pieces in my collection of over 4,000 albums and demos, so don't take my praise lightly.  If you're a die-hard Moonblood fan this is a must have, it conjure up all kinds of memories of the glory days of old.  When we had to tape trade, get fliers in the mail, call up record labels and ask about their latest releases!  Sometimes I really miss those days... A great "Hails" to Moonblood.

Lightnings Over the Burning Church (A Tribute to Monblood)
Thor's Hammer Productions, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

1. Evil - Burning in Hell
2. Agazgul - Sarg und Tod (Part II)
3. Bagatur - A Land Where the Sky is Black
4. Perverse Monastyr - Under the Goatmoon
5. Lycanthropy's Spell - Under the Cold Fullmoon
6. Nargaroth - The Gates of Eternity
7. Pagan Hellfire - In a Bloody Night of Fullmoon
8. Ravagar - Blut und Krieg
9. Inferno - K Smrti za Zbuku Ocelového Pekla
10. Arkenstone - My Evil Soul
11. Rhûnhule - Bells of Apocalypse
12. Labatut - Hordes of Hate



I usually don't by tribute albums, but in the case of a band like Moonblood I decided to make an exception to my usual purchasing practices.  I was genuinely curious to hear how bands would treat the Moonblood songs and see if things came out different given the upgraded world of recording.  I think the focus on this tribute was to gather bands together that were very unknown projects.  There were only a few projects I had heard of with the big names being Nargaroth and Inferno.  I've obviously heard of Evil since they did a split with Moonblood, but I had also come across Pagan Hellfire due to their split with Folkvang.

Overall these bands did an excellent job on performing the Moonblood tracks.  The timeless sound of Moonblood really holds up with the modern production values.  Some of them even sound better and that is apparent with Pagan Hellfire's work on "In a Bloody Night of Fullmoon".  Even Evil did a pretty excellent job and their sound has come a long way from the days of their split with Moonblood.  The Inferno track first appeared on their split with Tundra called "Infernal Belief" and despite the Czech title, it is a Moonblood cover.  It's actually a cover of "A Walk in the Woods" off of "Taste Our German Steel".  The covers I didn't like as much were Lycanthropy's Spell, Ravagar, and Labatut.  Lycanthropy's Spell's guitar tone was a little too thin for my tastes and it just detracted from the track overall.  The Ravagar song is the one I liked the least, I think Moonblood's original rehearsal version of the song was more clearly put together.  So that's a track I just couldn't get behind.  Labatut's  cover would have come across much better if the drums weren't so overwhelming in the mix and that really ruined the track for me.  Actually everything about the Labatut track sounded pretty awful.  The vocals were atrocious on this one, the vocalist had no power to his voice unlike a prolific vocalist like Gaamalzagoth.  Even more perplexing is the bass guitar, which is far louder than the actual guitar and at times the bassist doesn't seem to hit the strings very consistently.  This was the worst track on the entire tribute, what a terrible thing to close with.  The Arkenstone track was pretty good except for the vocals.  The vocalists voice was run through distortion the whole time and that just comes across as disingenuous if you're not doing it for an embellishment in one section.  Other than that everyone else did an extremely fine job, even Nargaroth and I'm really not into that band very much.  In the end I think Pagan Hellfire put together the best cover on the entire tribute, their version of the song really did shine.

The packaging is fairly well done.  Everything is professionally pressed and the album cover certainly seems worthy of Moonblood.  On the back of the Jewel Case there are some interesting things.  The track listing not only names the band and song covered, but also says what country the band is from.  This really really shows how far Moonblood's influence has reached the world and I am really glad the label decided to include that element.  In the bottom right corner is the ebay logo with a line through it and under it says "!!!No Sale at eGay!!!"  Naturally I am inclined to agree with this stance given eBay's rather sordid history against Black Metal.  Where at one point they had thought the majority of Black Metal promoted Nazism so they started banning sellers from the site.  eBay is not interested in music, so if you really want to purchase music from a site built by music lovers buy your hard to find material on discogs.  A lot of good distros use that site too and I would much rather give my money to them than eBay.  There really isn't much of a booklet for this, but the liner had something interesting:

"This is the first official underground Moonblood tribute and it's done with the noble permission from Occulta Mors.  Some of the cover hymns were recorded exclusively for this tribute and are not available anywhere else.  The CD is limited to 500 copies and is dedicted to the real Moonblood fans!  Never to be re-released again!!!"

I thought that was pretty interesting and it was really great to see Occulta Mors' support behind the release.  I like to think that he has some idea of how much Moonblood influenced the world of Black Metal.

Overall this is a great tribute.  I think the bands did Moonblood justice and I am ultimately glad I purchased this.  I think one of the things this tribute was trying to show is the underground is still alive and well, where Moonblood's influence will not be forgotten.



Moonblood - Dusk Woerot
Ataud y Muerte Syndicate, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dusk Woerot: Chapter I
2. Dusk Woerot: Chapter II
3. Dusk Woerot: Chapter III
4. Born to Live in the Shadows of Damnation












Three years after the demise of the project fans were shocked to see a new release with three new songs a re-recorded version of a fourth song.  This tape is released by a small South American label in Columbia and it boasts of a possible vinyl release in the same year.  The vinyl doesn't seem to have ever come into existence.  It is done with a professional printed booklet and on professional pressed tapes.  It's limited to 666 hand-numbered copies.  The hand numbering is actually carved into the cassette itself and I have #491.

Moonblood are back in Reichsmusikkhammer Ruppertsgruen where they recorded "Taste Our German Steel."  They returned to the studio in 2000 after a successful recording session in 1999, but this time it appears they've used Katharsis' equipment.  This really affects things a lot and "Dusk Woerot" has a very different atmosphere from all the other Moonblood recordings.  All the riffing is patently Moonblood, but the distortion setting is patently Katharsis.  It makes for a very interesting and unique mix, which is probably why the "Dusk Woerot" recordings stand out to me so much.  They have this sharper edge to them than the other Moonblood material because Katharsis has a much thinner and vicious sounding distortion setting.  Thus we have this really unique blend that will never be heard again.  After the "Dusk Woerot" concept is done we have a re-recording of "Born to Live in the Shadows of Damnation", which is taken from "Rehearsal 8."  I am really glad they recorded this for a couple reasons.  First this song didn't transfer so well on my rehearsal and second it has that very classic medieval atmosphere that Moonblood is very well known for.  Hearing a medieval Moonblood track through the lens of Katharsis made for quite an exciting listen.  For some reason it sounds even more primitive than usual and just works perfectly.

Another curious thing to note is some of the statements in the booklet.  All the lyrics are printed on the interior of the booklet, but at the bottom of them it says: "And to all you fukking CD bootlegger out there: You desecrate our name with doing CD bootlegs!!!! You did never understand our goal!!!! Fuck the scene!!! Fuck CD's!!! Unholy Black Metal rules supreme!!!"  I find this statement interesting, because first off I am guilty of acquiring the bootleg CD's.  I consider myself a fairly big Moonblood fan and I don't feel too much shame for getting them, because their music was so good I feel it should be shared and never forgotten.  I can unerstand limiting stuff and I surely would have bought the vinyl if I knew it existed in the mid -90's, but let's be honest... Moonblood is a timeless BlackMetal band and their music should be celebrated.  If that means someone needs to bootleg the material in order to share it, then I feel having physical copies is better than downloading digital copies at the very least.  On a more odd note, I find the comment about CD's even more baffling because in 2001 Occulta Mors released his first CD with his Nachtfalke project on Christ-Hunt Productions.  Maybe hatred for CD's only makes sense in the context of Moonblood.

What can really be said at this point?  This an end to a truly incredible legacy.  Moonblood's art will never be forgotten at this point.  Even if a few listeners wind up being poseurs, I think it's worth the cost to some degree for what this band has ultimately done for Black Metal.  I hope the musicians behind the project can understand my stance on this and I do hope I am not besmirching the name of Moonblood too much, I really am trying to do the project justice as best I can.


Moonblood/Katharsis Split
Sombre Records, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

Katharsis:
1. Watchtowers of Darkness (Part II)
Moonblood:
2. Supreme Black Force of Steel











Side Katharsis: here
Side Moonblood:

Another Moonblood post mortem release resurrecting an old track recorded in 1997.  This was originally released on vinyl 7" limited to 666 hand-numbered copies and I own #657.  As usual with Sombre Records you will find an insert with Moonblood and Katharsis lyrics. Also you get some art in the margins that is not featured on the album itself, very cool stuff if you ask me.

This is another track from the Digan Studio recordings from 1997.  It seems like all of this was recorded around the same time as the material on the Deathspell Omega split.  The song "Supreme Black Forces of Steel" first made its appearance on the "Rehearsal 9"demo tape.  This was a very strong track off of that rehearsal and the studio version of it is certainly no exception.  This track has the slightly higher vocal mix, just like the ones on the Deathspell Omega split.  I don't think anything has been changed for this song, so merely enjoy hearing this in a proper studio setting.


Moonblood/Deathspell Omega - Sob a Lua do Bode/Demoniac Vengeance
End All Life Productions, 2000
Genre: Black Metal

Moonblood: Sob a Lua do Bode:
1. Forgotten Spells in Forests Nocturnal
2. A Silent Dream of Impurity
3. Bells of Apocalypse
4. I Hail the Night
Deathspell Omega:
5. Follow the Dark Path
6. Morbid Rituals
7. Yells from the Abyss





Side Deathspell Omega: here
Side Moonblood:

Even though Moonblood was done as a band the fans were in for a real treat.  Here we have some sort of "lost" studio recordings from 1997 at Digan Studio.  Apparently this was originally planned as a split with the Greek band Adhill, but the label involved fell through.  I imagine End All Life's release of "Taste Our German Steel" prompted the release of this old material.  This was originally released on vinyl and limited to 350 hand-numbered copies and I won #282. It comes as a beautiful 12" gatefold vinyl. Inside you'll find lyrics for both bands.

Moonblood give their effort to the split with their section titled "Sob a Lua do Bode" which is Portuguese for "Under the Moon of the Goat".  There is good and bad news about this chapter of the split.  The bad news is that there is no new material on this.  Everything appeared on a prior rehearsal.  The good news is that these are studio recordings from some of the stronger songs on those rehearsals.  Given how much overwhelming material this band has I think it is good to see them give some of the songs studio treatment. Below is a breakdown of where the songs are first found.

Forgotten Spells - Rehearsal 9
A Silent Dream of Impurity - Rehearsal 10
Bells of Apocalypse - Rehearsal 8
I Hail the Night - Rehearsal 8

These songs came out very well done.  The vocals might be a little high in the mix at times, but Gaamalzagoth's vocals came out great for this recording session.  Everything else is beautifully done.  Digan Studio is a great fit for Moonblood because they manage to retain that raw edge to the music while emphasizing the more epic and majestic aspects of the music that is sometimes lost in the rehearsal stage.  These songs are no exception and I really enjoyed hearing the transition to the studio version.  "Bells of Apocalypse" is really well done, they've even included a hit from a bell with haunting choirs in the background.  This was an excellent addition to that song.  "A Silent Dream of Impurity" is certainly a wonderful treat since my copy of that rehearsal sounds so poor in quality.  However, since I already uploaded that song I want to choose something different... let's go with "I Hail the Night."



Moonblood - Taste Our German Steel
End All Life Productions, 2000
Genre: Black Metal

1. Embraced by Lycanthropy's Spell
2. Sarg & Tod (Part II)
3. Then Came the Silence
4. Apocalyptic Vision
5. The Angel's Lament
6. A Walk in the Woods









In the year 2000 I finally got my wish of a new Moonblood full length!  Given the way their rehearsals were trending I had fairly high hopes for this release.  I will say, it certainly did not disappoint.  This was originally available on vinyl only and limited to 100 copies.  The fact that such an incredible opus was limited to only 100 copies is a travesty.  For this release I am glad it bootlegged, because this music needs to be heard.  More people need to know about how this style of Black Metal sounds!  Naturally I missed out on the original release, so I was forced to get a CD bootleg.  The CD version actually came out pretty well and whoever did this tried to preserve the art and layout as much as possible.  This would be even better if there weren't so many damn typos, but I guess I shouldn't complain since I was able to hear the music.

On this release Moonblood would give us three new tracks and three tracks from prior rehearsal recordings.  From the very first track "Embraced by Lycnathropy's Spell" the listener is instantly hooked.  That opening riff alone just immediately draws you into this album and doesn't release you for another forty minutes.  There are some opening riffs on the earlier rehearsals that might bear some similarity, but nothing as all encompassing as the new song.  "Sarg & Tod (Part II)" is the other new song the band offers up and while it is listed as "Part 2", I really have no idea what "Part 1" could be.  The track title means "Coffin and Death", but I don't think that's anywhere on the prior releases I have.  Perhaps "Part 1" is one of the untitled tracks I found, or I am just missing something entirely... the latter is more likely I think.  We first "Then Came the Silence" on "Rehearsal 11" and the studio version definitely gives us a better insight into how greaet "Rehearsal 11" really was.  "Apocalyptic Vision" seems to be a reworking of the song "Procreated Through the Sperm of Astaroth" from "Rehearsal 11".  The tracks are different lengths, but the opening riff is certainly the same.  I definitely like the newer title more, as the old title sounded rather silly and probably wouldn't have fit with the way the rest of the tracks were titled.  This is the longest and most epic track on the album and it closes with some clean guitar that just sounds beautiful.  I wish they had included more of their clean sections on this album because they sound so well done.  The last new song is "The Angel's Lament" and what an incredible song.  This song sounds so dark compared to the rest of the album.  It sounds on par with some of the heavier tracks on the last three rehearsals.  A lot of bands would mimic this approach for years to come.  The final song, "A Walk in the Woods", is original found on "Rehearsal 12".

Moonblood went into a different studio for the purposes of recording this album, Reichmusikkammer Rubberstgruen.  They also did an excellent job at preserving Moonblood's sound and keeping it very true to form.  The re-recordings from the rehearsals translated perfectly to the studio.  Looking at the liner notes, I see that there are some big names involved.  The mixing process was done by Moonblood and Katharsis members.  The layout was done by Shaxul, Deathspell Omega's original vocalist.

I think this album really sets the stage for seeing how ahead of their time Moonblood was.  They started working this kind of material in early 1997.  A lot of bands post 2000 would be following in the footsteps of this foundation.  Big names in Finland come to mind when I hear this kind of music, such as Horna.  This certainly had influence on the early works of Deathspell Omega.  A lot of legendary bands known today owe the roots of their sound in what Moonblood had presented here.  Unfortunately shortly after this recording the Moonblood project would be put to rest.  We sort of saw the writing on the wall when the rehearsal material stopped being produced.  I feel "The Angel's Lament" a good song and title to mark this passing.


Inferno/Moonblood Split
Mistress Dance Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno:
1. Ve Znamení Ohně
2. Geniové (Master's Hammer Cover)
Moonblood:
3. Kingdom Under Funeral Skies










Side Inferno: here
Side Moonblood:

This split with Inferno was released on 7" vinyl in 1999 and limited to 500 hand-numbered copies and I own #425.  At this point I am just happy they decided to do a split with this legendary Czech band, since the split with Evil was not a big success with me

I also own the cassette edition released by Ravenheart in 2005 (pictured right).  The tape is limited to 555 hand-numbered copies and I own copy #521.  They did a good job with this because they tried to preserve a lot of the information from the original booklet.  It comes on a pro-printed booklet with a dubbed tape.  I wish they had used the original art and preserved the entirety of the original release with the lyrics and everything.  This is unfortunate because it makes it look like this is an Inferno release, because that's the only cover art.

Despite having loads of material already written from the rehearsals, Moonblood have decided to furnish an entirely new song for us.  This time they've recorded in Namenlos-Tonstudio, which did their recording justice.  "Kingdom Under Funeral Skies" does justice to the direction Moonblood were heading in their last three rehearsals.  I'm not sure if they used any of the riffs from the songs on the rehearsals, I tried checking against some of the tracks I thought sounded familiar, but I couldn't find anything.  It seems they are transition into a "quality" aspect of their career now that they seem to have found their most natural sound.  "Kingdom Under Funeral Skies" is an exquisite track of raw and epic Black Metal.  This is definitely one of the finer moments for the band and I really want them to do another full length with all this incredible material they have waiting in the wings.


Moonblood - Rehearsal 13
Self-Releasd, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

1. Antichrist (Sepultura Cover)
2. Embraced by Lycanthropy's Spell
3. Templars Penitence
4. Under the Goatmoon
5. Kingdom Under Funeral Skies
6. Sarg und Tod Part II
7. Sarg und Tod Part I
8. I'm Your Eternally
9. Metal Slaughter
10. The Angel's Lament
11. The Trooper (Iron Maiden Cover)
12. The End of All Your Dreams
13. Instrumental I
14. Instrumental II


Here I present you "Rehearsal 13". This has often been contested as non-existent. I got this tape from another major collector and I truly wonder at this point if anyone else out there has a complete set of the rehearsal tapes on their shelf. The existence of this material is certain, because tracks have appeared on the "From Hell" box set released in 2013. One of the major problems with this release is it never got a cover. I think this was towards the end of Moonblood's career and they just weren't putting the effort into packaging this kind of material like they used to.

Despite the lack of effort in creating a booklet, the tracks are literally just hand written, as you can see in the picture above, this is still some of their best material musically. Between "Rehearsal 12" and this one, we get to hear the rehearsal versions of just about all the material featured on "Taste Our German Steel". The recordings are of varying quality with some songs coming out very well, while others are a bit fuzzier in production quality. It's interesting to see Moonblood open with a cover from Sepultura. Granted the song is from their legendary release "Bestial Devastation", but it is still interesting to see the likes of Moonblood covering this song. The strength of the material appearing on this rehearsal makes it no surprise that "Taste Our German Steel" was such an amazing album. As with any Moonblood rehearsal, not everything is incredibly stellar. Tracks like "I'm Your Eternally" and "Metal Slaughter" have a more traditional Heavy Metal feel to them, and don't really carry that Black Metal edge Moonblood is more known for. They are merely okay songs, but they stand out as not up to par with the quality of the rest of the writing. Thankfully Moonblood realizes this and that is probably why that kind of material was never fully released and is only found on the rehearsals. Then there are the songs I wish had made it into publication like "Templars Penitence", which is a really great song. The two instrumental tracks at the end are incredible, especially the first one. I really wish this material had seen some vocal treatment from Gamaalzagoth! That really would have completed it for an amazing song. I know Moonblood try to stay as close to an original cover song as possible and I think they do that with Iron Maiden's "The Trooper", but it really is an eyesore on this release. The grim Black Metal approach to the sudden 80's vocals is just too much of a shift to ever make that enjoyable. It really is the one black mark on this rehearsal for me.

Overall, this is some of Moonblood's best material and it's no secret that I truly love "Taste Our German Steel". I did notice that there is a lack of that medieval style that Moonblood often used in the earlier material, and I do miss that quite a bit. However, the intensity and viciousness makes up for it in this material. It just sounds spectacular, if I didn't already know what 'Taste Our German Steel" sounded like, I would have very high expectations after hearing this rehearsal work.

Evil/Moonblood - Fuck Peace! We're at War!
Southern Productions, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

Evil:
1. The Hammer Falls in the Southern Lands
2. Triumph of Sword
3. Horns Reflects on My Witchsteel
4. To Die with Honour and Loyalty
5. Let's Our Folk Prevails
6. Journey to the Ancient Battle-Times
Moonblood:
7. Burning in Hell
8. These Graves & Wooden Coffins are My Realm
9. The Quest After the Doctrines of Mighty & Wisdom





Side Evil: here
Side Moonblood:

Furnishing even more proof that Moonblood has reached a rather unproductive stretch in their career they offer up three tracks to do a split with Evil.  It comes with a pro-printed booklet and dubbed tape (at least mine did) on some small label I have never heard of.

Before you start thinking that we have some awesomely produced Moonblood, they didn't even bother re-recording these in the studio.  It's sort of apparent since there is no bass guitar on any of the tracks.  So in looking at the booklet it says "Moonblood side tracks was taken from rehearsal studio in 1998."  They really just pulled these tracks from "Rehearsal 12", which I reviewed below so just read that.  The quality on this tape was much better than my "Rehearsal 12" so I won't complain about hearing these tracks again.  I just wish they had also included "The Moors" and "Troglodytin", that would've made this an exceptional re-release for me.

So below is a track and you can clearly hear the difference when compared to my "Rehearsal 12" upload.



Moonblood - Rehearsal 12
Self Released, 1998
Genre: Black Metal

1. Endless Chaos
2. Domains of Hell
3. Witchfinder General (Witchfinder General Cover)
4. A Walk in the Woods
5. The Quest After the Doctrines of Might & Wisdom
6. Medieval Tunes
7. Into Frozen Forests
8. In the Moors
9. These Graves & Wooden Coffins are My Realm
10. When the Moonlight Takes the Sky
11. Burning in Hell
12. Troglodytin
13. As a Soul in the Blazing Banner of Darkness



It's been a long journey but here we finally made it to the last installment of Moonblood rehearsals.  This one was recorded between January and March and is also an hour and a half long, but right after this Moonbloood's furious output would start to dry up.  I don't know if Occulta Mors was getting into different things or interest started to get lost in this project, but it is sad to see the band's output begin to wane.  Just as they were moving into things that I thought were quite exceptional.  Since Nachtfalke started the year before Occulta Mors probably started splitting up his writing time with the projects and also Gamaalzagoth started working on his project Azaxul in 1997.  Whatever the reason we would only hear studio recordings from this point on.

"Rehearsal 12" was a mixture of good and okay songs.  I don't think the first couple of songs really pulled my attention very much, but they weren't outright bad or anything.  I think I have yet more tape damage on "Endless Chaos" because the audio fades in and out as the song plays.  This is disappointing, but at least it is not on a song I would consider essential Moonblood listening.  After the first couple tracks Moonblood present yet another traditional Heavy Metal cover, but this time with clean vocals.  I don't know if Gaamalzagoth did the vocals for this song, but if he did at least they are better than the first time he ever did it.  The song is atrociously recorded though and I don't think it's related to a poor quality tape, since the rest of the tracks sound fine and on par with the other rehearsals.  After this the rehearsal really picks up in quality though and everything starts becoming quite exceptional. On the prior two rehearsals there has been a darker and more vicious sounding track, well on this one "In the Moors" tries to blend that with their more epic and medieval sounding Black Metal.  The end result is one of the finer songs on the album and it makes for a very interesting listen.  Things get changed up again with "Burning in Hell" which is more of a tribute to traditional Heavy Metal in my opinion.  Luckily Gaamalzagoth goes with harsh vocals to perform this one giving it a good crossover of traditional Metal and Black Metal.  After this we hear one of the better songs on the rehearsal "Troglodytin" and this song has a certain majestic quality that is exceptionally well done.

All in all this is an excellent final output for the rehearsal sequence.  It's a little more varied than the prior two, but at least it's building on the themes developed on "Rehearsal 10".  I would definitely recommend listening to this since the majority of the songs are extremely well done.



Asakku/Moonblood Split
Sombre Records, 1998
Genre: Black Metal

Asakku:
1. Endless Woods
Moonblood:
2. Hordes of Hate












Side Asakku: here
Side Moonblood:

After Moonblood's first split with Nema I was beginning to worry about their choice of bands.  I had hoped they wouldn't fall into the realms of Horna in the modern day who seems to do a split with almost everyone regardless of quality.  Luckily fellow German's Asakku appear to be a pretty good match for Moonblood.  This was only released on vinyl 7" and limited to 500 hand-numbered copies and I own #166.

For this split Moonblood decided to give "Hordes of Hate" which first appeared on "Rehearsal 4".  Moonblood returned to Studio Digan to give this one proper treatment so it is certainly on par with all the other studio recordings Moonblood have presented thus far.  This track was certainly an excellent choice to do in the studio, because it certainly has that epic and vicious style that Moonblood are really trying to give the world.  Part of me wishes they had redone something from "Rehearsal 10" since my copy is so bad, but I can't complain about their choice.



Moonblood - Rehearsal 11: Worshippers of the Grim Sepulchral Moon
Self Released, 1997
Genre: Black Metal

1. ...To Be Immortal
2. Don't Fear the Dark
3. Path to Thy Funeral Light
4. Path to Thy Funeral Light (Part 2)
5. Entering the New Kingdom
6. Procreated through the Sperm of Astaroth
7. The Temptation of the Night's Empress
8. Then Came the Silence
9. Cathedral of Restless Souls
10. Nocturnal Shades in the Moonlight
11. A Shadow Born in Hell
12. Worshippers of the Grim Sepulchral Moon



Since the last rehearsal gives a time range of January to April and this one only lists December, I'm going to assume they spent the rest of the year with this rehearsal.  This is a very good thing because it means Occulta Mors is no longer composing music at such rate that there are guaranteed undesirable tracks.  It would appear some time was put into this demo and "Rehearsal 11" pays off over and over thanks to this.  For once I am incredibly glad this is nearly an hour and a half long.

I get the impression that with "Rehearsal 10" Moonblood have stumbled upon a sound that really works for them.  There is almost little need for the project to experiment anymore given how easily and vibrant this style fits with Occulta Mors ability to produce material.  "Rehearsal 11" is certainly proof that the marriage of their medieval elements with this extremely epic sounding Black Metal style is the way it should be done.  Very few bands at this time were presenting material like this and I would really consider Moonblood one of the forerunners of pushing this kind of Black Metal into the limelight, even if the material was this ultra limited.  Moonblood's legendary status in the underground certainly means someone out there was listening!  Just listen to that guitar intro on "Path to Thy Funeral Light", it is absolutely perfect and creates such an excellent medieval feel.   I will say it is interesting to hear this style played in such a primitive form, while I prefer slightly higher production quality, the sheer raw and vicious style does have its merits.  One of the songs that sort of switches up the rehearsal in feel is "The Temptation of the Night's Empress".  This song is a lot heavier and darker than the other tracks on this demo.  It's extremely well done, so amidst all the other similarly styled Black Metal we have this very different song shining quite brightly.  Another stand out track is "Then Came the Silence", which has a spectacular opening riff.  I believe this song eventually made it onto their second album "Taste Our German Steel".  This rehearsal closes with quite a treat for Moonblood fans though, the fifteen minute epic title track.  What an incredible close to a collection of simply amazing songs.

The production is the usual for a rehearsal tape for Moonblood, so now I'm torn between which song to feature below.  I would really like to feature "The Temptation of the Night's Empress", but it really isn't indicative to the majority of songs... so I'll stick with "Path to Thy Funeral Light".


Moonblood - Rehearsal 10
Self Released, 1997
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dwelling in Darkness
2. Angelwings in the Darkness
3. Abyssic Cult of Blood
4. Nebulous Spirits Between the Mournful Trees
5. Icy Winterspell
6. Untitled
7. Keeper at the Portal of Blood
8. Wizard of Uncreation
9. Symphony of an Age Forgotten
10. Medieval Storm of Screaming Souls
11. A Silent Dream of Impurity
12. Steeldawn
13. Tyrant in an Age of Christworship
14. Midnightcallings


As usual, Moonblood wasted no time in putting together another hour and a half long rehearsal in early 1997.  I feel like this is one of the most sought after rehearsals in the Moonblood collection, to the point where it sort of feels like I'm the only one who owns a copy of this anymore.  This is sort of a shame because the quality of my copy is not very good.  This is probably the worst quality rehearsal of the entire set I have.

Since I have never heard any other versions of this tape my copy might just have been damaged beyond all repair.  Side A sounds particularly horrible.  I've tried enhancing the volume and running the tracks through a few filters to isolate the frequencies where the music actually exists.  This was able to cut out some of the jarring low frequencies dominating my tape, but it didn't eliminate all the problems.  The worst part of this is that the song "Angelwings in the Darkness" was a casualty to this and is pretty inaudible.  That song is by far the best on the demo and I sorely wish they had re-recorded the track in the studio, but it doesn't seem that ever happened.  It seriously has some of the best riffing in a Moonblood song I've heard so far on the rehearsals.  Side B of the tape fared a little better.  I was able to touch up the audio a little bit better so that it was on par with "Rehearsal 9" or 8.

So after having fixed up the audio to the best of my ability one of the big things "Rehearsal 10" leaves an impression on me is that this is where Moonblood really started to develop the more modern sound the band would have in their later years.  This was the sound I instantly fell in love with when I heard it.  It feels like a more natural development from the "Blut & Krieg" full length than some of the rehearsal material that just feels rather boring.  I honestly found just about every track on "Rehearsal 10" interesting to listen to, that's how strong this rehearsal is and that's why it is awful that it is in the condition it is in.  Just about every track maintains an epic and intense feel throughout.  Within all this you can hear songs that bring out that epic medieval feel I loved so much in the other rehearsals, but this time it is blended with that perfect and intense Black Metal.  To give an idea of how epic this can sound look at "Symphony of an Age Forgotten", the opening sections sounds like it is taken straight from something Basil Poledourus composed for one of the Conan soundtracks.  Honestly, if you're music conjures up visions of a score written by Basil Poledourus you're probably on the right track for being classed as "epic".  Another interesting aspect of this track is it's entirely instrumental.

I really can't comment much on the production.  I think the production would have come out quite good if my tape was in better condition.  It would certainly have come out as one of the stronger rehearsal recordings.  The vocals are well mixed and we really get the full range of Gaamalzagoth's skill.  He ranges from standard vocals, to shrieks, and everything.

Despite the problems with my tape this is some really amazing material.  If you can get beyond the problems on my tape I think you will hear some astounding material.  I really wish I could share "Angelwings in the Darkness" below, but it's just so poor of quality I can't justify it.  It's by far the most damaged song of my entire demo, but it is also one of the most unique for Moonblood.  It's got such sinister and vicious riffing, that it really is unlike anything Moonblood have produced before.  Ultimately I leave you all with "A Silent Dream of Impurity", a very well done medieval epic.


Moonblood - Rehearsal 9: Unpure Desires of Diabolical Lust
Self Released, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

1. Remains of Painfull Memories
2. Under the Wings of a Wind Diabolic
3. Under the Abyssic Black Wings of the Third Angel
4. Night of the Incubus
5. Unpure Desires of Diabolical Lust
6. Into the Castle on the Blood-Rocks
7. The Curse of the Warlord
8. Forgotten Spells in Forest's Nocturnal
9. Thor-The Powerhead (Manowar Cover)
10. To Kiss the Timeless Eternity
11. Looking in the Eyes Infernal
12. Supreme Black Forces of Steel



After a long year with lots of new material Moonblood finally reach the end of the year and put out the last rehearsal.  It's another hour and a half of music from the band and after hearing 7 and 8, I was pretty eager to hear what "Rehearsal 9" had in store for us.  I feel like the quality in production has dropped quite a bit, so it's making the release a little less enjoyable than it should be.  These songs also don't seem to display the vibrant excellence of the prior two demos.

The first two songs on this demo give us a slow start.  They are both slow and plodding, but I'm not sure I could really get into them because they didn't really generate a great atmosphere.  Instead they just seemed to meander nowhere in particular, as if slow chords were being strummed for no real apparent reason.  Things don't pick up a little until "Under the Abyssic Black Wings of the Third Angel", but that eventually degenerates into some chugging riffs before long.  "Night of the Incubus" is quite a good song though and brings up the usual memories of what a Moonblood song should sound like.  This up and down pattern persists throughout most of this rehearsal.  Eventually we get to the Manowar cover, which shows some of their interest and roots in traditional Heavy Metal.  On this song Gaamalzagoth used his harsh vocals, I think learning his lesson from the first time doing a traditional song.  There is some clean parts, but they aren't really the lyrics, they're sort of a background part and not that annoying.  Other than that things are mostly standard fare.  I think "Rehearsal 8" was a lot stronger and some of that might have to do with the production.

I'm not sure if the tape I have is a massive error or damaged at this point in time.  On Side A only one of the channels shows up.  So I've tried to fix this digitally.  Unfortunately the overall production quality on this demo is quite poor.  There's this underlying low frequency permeating throughout the demo and it has been very hard for me to eliminate or correct with a mixing program.  I'm not sure if all of the "Rehearsal 9" tapes in existence suffer from this problem, but everything comes across as being very muted.  I think this has marred my general enjoyment of these songs, when I'm sure some of them are fairly decent.


Moonblood/Nema - Split
Unholy Baphomet Records, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

Moonblood:
1. Moonstruck
Nema:
2. Nocturnal Silence in the Forest












Side Nema: here
Side Moonblood:

Here we have the first Moonblood split and first Moonblood to be pressed onto vinyl.  I really can't remember why I was so adverse to vinyl in my teens.  I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I just didn't have a record player and didn't see the point in getting music I couldn't listen to right away.  I also think I didn't understand the limitation rampant within these releases at the time, well not to the extent I understand such things today.  This release was only limited to 666 hand-numbered copies and I own #524.  For me it was always tapes and CD's I would be after and I wasn't really as interested in tapes as CD's.  I would grow up regretting this so much, but I eventually tracked down my own copy of this.

"Moonstruck" first appeared on "Rehearsal 3", but back then it was "Moonstruck (Moonblood Part II)".  Given how strong "Rehearsal 3" was, they could have chosen quite few songs on that to record in the studio. They return to Studio Digan, which is where "Blut & Krieg" was recorded, to record this single track.  I wish that had spent more time and recorded a new album given how much strong material existed on prior to rehearsals.  "Moonstruck" is an excellent representation of Moonblood it has their signature fast and epic approach to the songwriting.  Having it done in the studio merely enhances these elements, but they still maintain a fairly raw edge to their recordings, which is perfect for a band like Moonblood.  One aspect that they added was some choral keyboards in the background.  This really enhanced the section of the music it appears in and I was surprised to see it worked so well with their music.  Usually all they need to generate a haunting and epic atmosphere is the guitars, but with the keyboards it added a slightly extra dimension to the music that wound up being quite pleasant.  They certainly understood that they shouldn't bathe their sound in keyboards, becoming Symphonic Black Metal, but strategically placed passages worked out very nicely for this song.  The Moonblood side of this split is a must hear... unfortunately I can't say the same for Nema.


Moonblood - Rehearsal 8: Conquering the Ravenland
Self Released, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

1. Born to Live in the Shadows of Damnation
2. Conquering the RavenLand
3. Claws of Fog
4. Under a Malicious Shade
5. Forgotten Pride of My Ancestors Cult
6. Blood, Fire, Death (Bathory Cover)
7. A Forgotten Vision of War
8. Show Me Your Wrath
9. First Snow - First Blood
10. Bells of Apocalypse
11. I Hail the Night




After a strong seventh rehearsal and the seemingly strong comeback of Moonblood they another rehearsal shortly after.  "Rehearsal 8" is probably one of the strongest rehearsals.  This material is simply stellar.  Nothing is re-recorded like on "Rehearsal 7", so they definitely went in vein of what they were already working on for that rehearsal.

I think my tape starts off a little shaky.  "Born to Live in the Shadows of Damnation" starts of with a wave effect with the audio coming in and out of quality.  I'm sure it's just my tape and it's probably lost some of the quality as it has aged.  Eventually this subsides and the rest of my tape is fine, so I really don't have much of a complaint for my copy overall.  Musically this is basically what I've been after for Moonblood to put out in full force.  Everything on Side A is very good in my opinion, albeit "Claws of the Fog" is probably a little bit more superior to the other tracks.  In any event, this is that raw Black Metal tinged with that Medieval aesthetic that makes their music so interesting to listen to.  It's also the reason the music can sound so epic and powerful.  Even their choice of a Bathory cover really fits with this.  Unfortunately after the cover concludes there are some tracks that really don't fit with the them of this rehearsal.  "Show Me Your Wrath" sounds like another attempt at a more traditional Heavy Metal song, but fails as "Warriors of Metal" did.  At least this time around Gaamalzagoth didn't try to sing in a high pitched Heavy Metal voice and instead stuck with his usual Black Metal styled vocals.  They were certainly on the shriek-y side of things though.  "A Forgotten Vision of War" comes off as being a rather boring song compared with the other material and that's really this songs biggest downfall in making it feel cohesive with the others.  Luckily after these two tracks things pick up again, but we are left wondering on "First Snow - First Blood" because the track abruptly cuts out before ending properly.  The final two closing tracks are absolutely spectacular and it's not wonder they would later find their way to the split with Deathspell Omega.

I feel like they've started getting a lot better at dealing with the drums.  They're still not really good enough, but at least now I can her the toms when he does rolls down the kit.  There are times when things don't cut through enough at all, but I feel like the rehearsals are all mainly guitar focused and writing a drum arrangement wasn't really that necessary to remember.  The vocals are pretty well under control for this entire demo and I certainly appreciate that.

This is definitely a must listen.  It's nearly an hour and a half long and there's a lot of very good material on this.  I leave you now with "Claws of Fog" since that was never re-recorded in the studio, enjoy.



Moonblood - Rehearsal 7
Self Released, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

1. Under the White Cold Snow
2. The Black War
3. Untitled
4. Only a Dream
5. In the Forest of Red Water
6. Glorious Days are Not Forgotten
7. The Awakening of the Serpent
8. Damned Christians
9. Geschmiedel im Feuer des eisernen Willens
10. The Immortality of My Dreams
11. Fullmoon Witchery
12. A Fortress of Your Dreams




After a very strong first full length I wondered what Moonblood had in store for us in their next rehearsal.  Would we pick up where we left off with the mediocrity?  Or would they be energized to create some extremely fine material?  Luckily the latter is the case!  With the recording of "Rehearsal 7" they did a lot of re-recording of material from 1994.  "Under the Cold Snow" and "The Awakening of the Serpent" are from "Rehearsal 1", "The Black War" and "Damned Christians" are from "Rehearsal 2", and "In the Forest of Red Water" is from "Moonblood", "Only a Dream" is known as something else and I can't figure out what it is.

After comparing my copy with some other transfers found on youtube, I think my copy has serious issues.  Everything is awash in a far away fuzz.  It's actually not as bad as it sounds I can basically hear everything that's going on.  Maybe the other people who transferred their demo had better copies or were just a lot better at touching up their copies.  I don't do very much digital enhancing of these demos, but I do try to do a little bit to offset the poor recording quality.  That being said, the material on here is magnificent.  This is probably one of the most consistently solid rehearsal tapes Moonblood has ever done.  Everything I love about Moonblood is here, the extremely long songs, the epic nature of the guitar riffs, that medieval aspect thrown in for good measure, everything. Even though this rehearsal had a lot of re-recorded material, the newly recorded tracks are extremely well done.  The "Untitled" track listed above is extremely well done and I'm not sure how that got left off of the track listening since it's nearly nine minutes long.  I really hope Moonblood continues to write in this fashion.  I would even prefer they record less material if it means writing music like this.  "Rehearsal 7" is definitely one of the strongest collection of songs.

Even with, what I think is tape wear and tear, some of the production is better than the original versions.  They are certainly getting better at recording the rehearsal material.  Some of the versions of the songs may even be a little different so it sort of makes sense to re-record some tracks you thought were pretty good.  "Only a Dream" is probably a very different version from it's original form, for example.

Below there are two videos.  The first one is the one I've upload and is the "Untitled" track listed above.  If anyone has a name for this track, please leave a comment.  The second track is from another user and they uploaded a higher quality version of "Geschmiedet im Feuer des eisernen Willens", so my readers can hear the quality difference between my tape and what someone else had.



Moonblood - Blut & Krieg
Majestic Union/Sombre Records, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

1. Midnight - Intro
2. In a Bloody Night of Fullmoon
3. Shadows
4. ...And Snow Covered the Lifeless Bodies
5. My Evil Soul
6. Blut & Krieg
7. Kingdom of Forgotten Dreams
8. Under the Cold Fullmoon
9. I Am All
10. The Infernal Master Returns






This is the first official full length from Moonblood and it's status has reached legendary proportions.  I managed to get an original version of the cassette which is limited to 666 hand-numbered copies and I own #210. The tape was later re-issued on vinyl in 1998, which was limited to 333 hand-numbered copies. It has an entirely different cover featured below, but I never got this edition. I'm not sure if I would pay some of the asking prices for it at this point. When I saw a bootleg CD pressing made available I quickly picked this up as well.  I realize these are bootlegs, but let's be honest all the original copies have sold out and the band has made all the money and support they ever wished to on the releases.  If an official CD release ever surfaced, I would certainly buy that to replace this copy.  The cover featured on the bootleg is the same as that on the vinyl release.  The CD itself features the cover for the cassette edition.  Whoever made this did a very good job on it.  All the artwork is there and inside the booklet the lyrics are printed.

I must confess that after going through all the rehearsals in 1995 I was a little worried about what Moonblood would put out for their very first release.  I am happy to report that the vast majority of the material on here is taken from the first three rehearsal tapes.  Rather than furiously write new material they've returned to what has already been written and re-recorded some of it.  "In a Bloody Night of Fullmoon" seems to be the only newly written material and that song is absolutely magnificent.  It's everything I would want in a new Moonblood song.  In looking at the track listing I remember not being too keen on all of these songs, but I think having them well recorded has changed my outlook on some of these songs.  I only thought  "Blut & Krieg" was mildly interesting, but having heard this version I realize how good the track actually is.  Hearing "My Evil Soul" in studio was really interesting because that track came out extremely well.  In the rehearsals I think it's a little hard to see the true vision Moonblood has in mind for the songs.  Listen to the song "I am All" and listen to how prominent that bass guitar is!  I don't think there is any bass on the rehearsals.  It's just such a stark difference to hear how the songs are fully supposed to sound.  The vocal performance on "Blut & Krieg" is spectacular.  Remember how I mentioned the vocals sounded great on "Rehearsal 6"?  Well I think Gaamalzagoth tried to emulate that on this performance, so it came out extremely well done.

The recording quality is very well done.  You can hear everything very well and there's even a heavy dose of bass guitar in the mix!!!  The vocals are mixed very well and it really gives a great feel to the music and atmosphere.  It makes me wish all the Moonblood material could be recorded this well, because I realize now how much context I am missing in their performance.

This is simply a must hear.  I was slightly disappointed that they didn't re-record any of the songs with serious medieval parts, but I think their choices were pretty good overall.  It comes off as a fairly traditional Black Metal release, but it really does stack up against the Scandinavian classics quite well.  If this had not had a limited release I think Moonblood would have been a lot more well known in 1996, rather than after the millennium with all their material being bootlegged.



Moonblood - Rehearsal 6
Self Released, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

1. Once there was Darkness
2. Night of Crimson Fire Storms
3. Enter the Eternal Fire (Bathory Cover)
4. Warriors of Metal
5. Under the Banner of Hate
6. Nosferatu
7. The Hordes from the Northside
8. Untitled








Moonblood's furious writing of material is continuing into this 1996 rehearsal.  Done in only one month!  Granted two of the songs "Nosferatu" and "The Hordes from the Northside" (previously known as "Infernal Screams in a Dark Night from "Rehearsal 2") are re-recordings according to the booklet and one song is cover... so I guess they didn't write that much new material in the month.

Starting off with "Once there was Darkness" made me a little concerned that the riffing on these songs weren't going to be anything special.  I found that track instantly forgettable, but "Night of the Crimson Fire Storms" gave me a lot more hope.  This song had some great parts to it.  The riffs are vicious and fast, but maintain that cold atmosphere we're used to hearing in the earlier Moonblood rehearsals.  The cover track is very well done... but then we delve into utter ridiculousness with "Warriors of Metal".  This is basically a traditional Heavy Metal song as the title makes you think, but it's just so out of place for Moonblood it comes off as sounding more ridiculous than interesting.  Gaamalzagoth even tries to do this sort of high pitched falsetto thing, but still being somewhat harsh.  It just sort of sounds silly.  Maybe I am just very biased towards such a traditional style of Metal, but I just don't think it really works with Moonblood's sound at all.  "Under the Banner of Hate" returns to what we expect to hear from Moonblood.  This song is grim and cold, as expected, but it has some very excellent riffs in it.  Like "Night of the Crimson Fire" there is this chugging riff thrown in, not sure why, but it didn't take away from the song that much.  The two re-recorded tracks were okay.  I'm not sure what the point was of re-recording a track from another rehearsal to another poor quality rehearsal... that just seems like overkill to me.  On my copy there is a song after the last track on side B.  It's only two minutes long and it might be a cover, but it is not listed in the booklet.  It's extremely harsh and sounds like it's performed with Bass guitar only.  I think it sounds like Moonblood playing, because the vocals sounds like Gaamalzagoth, but it could just as easily be part of a song that was left on a blank tape!  Oh well... it will probably forever be a mystery to me.  The track really wasn't very good, so I'm not too motivated to really hunt it down.

The recording quality of this rehearsal is about the same as that on Rehearsal 4 or so.  The quality does seem to vary a little bit from track to track, but for the most part it exhibits all the same production problems the other rehearsals have.  The drums are so far away in the mix, you can't hear the toms etc.  The guitars came out okay, I feel like they were recorded a little better on the other rehearsals... but it could just as easily be wear and tear on my tape given how old this is.  One thing that is a little different compared to the others is that the vocals sound really great.  Gaamalzagoth's screams are so much more tortured and perfectly well done compared to his other performances.  Aside from the awful "Warriors of Metal" song, the rest of the tracks are nearly flawless when it comes to a vocal performance.

I usually don't like doing track by track reviews, but I felt sort of stuck in this case.  All the tracks are so varied and organized in a way that they don't follow any sort of flow.  This probably is one of the worst rehearsal tapes so far.  Only two truly good songs from new material.  Oh well... here's one of the better tracks on the demo.



Moonblood - Siegfried
Self Released, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. In der Schmiede
2. Der Kampf mit dem Lindwurm
3. Der Nibelungenhort
4. Brunhilds Eroberung
5. Der Verrat











This is the fourth official demo from Moonblood and based on the trending from Rehearsal's four to five I suppose "Siegfried" is a fairly logical progression.  I am certain I must have a bootleg copy of this since only 50 copies of this were made.

As mentioned in the prior reviews Moonblood has been straying away from some of the more medieval blending in their music and I certainly hope this is not a permanent trend.  I feel like this is a very toned down version of Moonblood.  This demo is entirely in German and they should've made it more Germanic and Medieval in feel!  I know they are capable.  Instead the Black Metal is extremely traditional.  It's not terrible Black Metal, but you can Occulta-Mors is trying to write music that is a little catchier rather than more epic.  Frankly the epic writing is much better, so when Moonblood goes back to extreme basics like this I can't help but feel the compositions are rather pedestrian.  I really think this is the ultimate result when you compose too much material in a short time frame... by the end your finest work is just not coming through.  Composition should take time and careful consideration.  I'm just not getting that out of this release for some reason.  If you like the harsh and raw style of Black Metal that saws away at riff after riff then this is the type of release that you may still enjoy.  I had trouble getting into it and a lot of the songs just faded into the background and really didn't command much of my attention.

Like "The Winter Falls Over the Land" the recording quality is definitely well done.  It is nice to get out of the general rehearsal production problems and listen to something well recorded.  But I seriously wish they had pulled material from "Rehearsal 3" to re-record and really bring that to fruition.

Ultimately I am even more lackluster about this release than "Rehearsal 5".  I really do hope Moonblood pick up again soon, I'm realizing why I don't listen to a lot of their middle releases much and just fiend for the later material at the very least.



Moonblood - Rehearsal 5: Under the Cold Fullmoon
Self Released, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. Under the Cold Fullmoon
2. A Hiker in the Darkness
3. Blood on the Moon
4. A Good Day to Die
5. On Cold Wings
6. Raise the Dead (Bathory Cover)
7. Night
8. Sin is Here







I think "Rehearsal 5" is sort of a continuation of the ideas being developed on "Rehearsal 4".  There's sort of this abundance of rockier riffs thrown into the songs amidst a lot of the ultra cold harsh Black Metal.  This made for a more disjointed listening, because a lot of the song structure just doesn't flow.  I feel like some riffs are being forced together that just shouldn't be.  This happened a lot more often on this rehearsal than any of the others.  I really thought there was a solid gem with "Sin is Here", but suddenly towards the end a rock riff appears and it through off all the atmosphere that was previously generated perfectly.  "A Good Day to Die" was an excellent Black Metal song as well and I imagine the title is influenced by Bathory's "A Fine Day to Die".  This rehearsal also features the first in what would be a long line of Bathory covers, which begin in the Moonblood sequence and continue on to this day in Nachtfalke.  A new experimentation showed up in the song "Night" where Occulta-Mors added in some Middle Eastern flair, but it feels really out of place given the rest of the songs.

The recording quality is similar to that on "Rehearsal 4", so the listeners can certainly hear everything that's going on.  The vocals are mixed in about the same as usual. In the end this rehearsal gives off a rather lackluster performance.  After releasing a lot of fairly high quality music this fast you can't expect everything to be perfect.  I think 1995 was Moonblood's most productive year given the sheer volume of music written.  It would simply be inhuman to have it all be flawless.

I think I will end up choosing "Sin is Here" below, since that song was the best overall.



Moonblood - Rehearsal 4
Self Released, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Raven
2. Hordes of Hate
3. The God of Lies
4. Cold and Bloodred
5. The Eyes of the Forest
6. Für den Sieg
7. I am All
8. Kingdom of Forgotten Dreams








Moonblood wasted no time getting another rehearsal recorded.  It seems they'll sit down and do this every couple of months practically.  With this much material being written this quickly one has to worry about composing contrived or overused material.  While I thought this rehearsal was pretty good, I don't think it was better than "Rehearsal 3".

While "Rehearsal 3" gave us some variation into the ideas Moonblood like to play with, the unnamed "Rehearsal 4" was a lot more linear in it's approach.  It is certainly not a bad rehearsal by any means, but it is solid fairly straight forward Black Metal.  I think I like Moonblood's more epic approaches to the genre than their more straightforward material.  Now this rehearsal isn't devoid of some of those epic elements, there is certainly a riff in "The Raven" that comes through real strong.  Then the whole outro sequence is incredible!  Luckily this bridges into "Hordes of Hate" spectacularly.  "Hordes of Hate" is probably the best track on this entire rehearsal, but the rehearsal does close out with the very good "Kingdom of Forgotten Dreams".  Unfortunately, the rest of the material is merely alright by Moonblood standards.  I think the one I liked the least was "Für den Sieg", which is a shame because it's one of the few songs in their native language.  I would've expected something a lot more epic.  Some riffs are a little different for Moonblood like in "The God of Lies" and "Cold and Blood Red" there is a main riff that strives to have a much catchier feel amidst the other riffs sawing away at the guitar.

The recording quality is about the same as on "Rehearsal 3".  I think the guitars came out a little better on "Rehearsal 3", but the drums were a lot better on this one.  We can hear the full range of the drum kit most of the time.  Hearing the drum rolls down the toms adds an extra layer that we just don't get on the other rehearsals, so it was really great to hear it.  The vocals seem to be mixed a little bit better too.  They're still quite loud in the mix, but I don't think I found them nearly as overwhelming.  The fact that Gaamalzagoth didn't use a lot of the shriek styled vocals may have had something to do with this also.

All in all, this is a very solid rehearsal.  I still liked the third one more, but there are some serious gems on this rehearsal as well.  As usual you can't really go wrong with Moonblood if you want that harsh raw essence permeating through your speakers.  I'll leave this review with "Hordes of Hate", since I think that is the best track on this recording.



Moonblood - Rehearsal 3: Frozen Tears of a Vampire
Self Released, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. Blut & Krieg
2. A Soul of Shining Steel
3. Frozen Tears of a Vampire
4. Moonstruck (Moonblood Part 2)
5. The Message of Evil...
6. Paganblood
7. Lightnings Over the Burning Church
8. The Black Emperor








After hearing such good quality on "The Winter Falls Over the Land" it's a little tough going back to the even harsher recordings of the rehearsals.  Here we have the third installment of their rehearsal series.  One thing that I think is interesting about the rehearsals is how varied the songs are.  It really lets you see the full range of atmospheres Moonblood was capable of playing around with.

Rehearsal 3 starts off with the legendary "Blut & Krieg" and it would show up as the title of their also legendary full length.  Is this legendary status because the song is so good?  I don't think so.  In fact there are far superior tracks on this rehearsal.  Now, I will be honest here.  I think my tape is a little damaged and the first track didn't sound so good, but after that the recording quality seems to be fine.  Even with the tape error I can still tell this song isn't as good as "A Soul of Shining Steel" or "Moonstruck".  These tracks are simply spectacular.  "Blut & Krieg" did have some of that medieval flair I wanted to hear in their music again, but I feel it was better applied in "Moonstruck", which was also surrounded by excellent and soaring guitars. While Moonblood still play with some of those slower sections of Black Metal, I feel this rehearsal was quite a bit faster than some of their prior material.  I honestly love the change because songs like "A Soul of Shining Steel" are so vicious and furious you can't help but love the sound!  Then there is "The Message of Evil" while being performed in such a viciously fast way, still maintains a somewhat melodic feel giving it an interesting layer.  The vocal performance is what I've come to expect on the rehearsals versus official releases.  The vocals are a lot crazier on the rehearsals.  They go from fairly typical Black Metal performance to high shrieks of torture.  Strangely I've noticed the official releases seem to be a little more tame vocally for some reason, sticking with a more standard Black Metal approach.

As you can expect with a rehearsal you won't get the recording quality of "The Winter Falls Over the Land", but this is certainly very good quality compared to some of the other Moonblood recordings out there.  The vocals can be a little high in the mix, especially when using the higher range shrieks.  The drum production is better on this rehearsal than others, but the drums are still pretty far in the background.  You really can't hear the toms very well, but the snare and cymbals came out pretty well.  Since a lot of the drum work is driven by snare and cymbals this does make listening to the recordings very good with respect to the drums.

This is their best rehearsal so far and I don't think anyone could go wrong in listening to this.  This is a great mix of very fast and harsh Black Metal, while throwing in some of those majestic medieval elements into certain parts.  I think the only track I wasn't as into was the title track, but that's only because the other songs were so much better by comparison.



Moonblood - The Winter Falls Over the Land
Gospel of the Witches Promotions, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Nightly Mass
3. The Gates of Eternity
4. A Land Where the Sky is Black
5. In the Shadow of the Inverted Crucifix
6. The Winter Falls Over the Land...
7. Outro









This is the second official release from Moonblood and it is a pretty huge jump in quality.  I believe I have a bootleg version of this, but that doesn't matter to me much because the audio on my tape came out great.  I think this is the quality recording we've all been waiting to hear.  You can tell by listening to the earlier demos that this band is doing something great, but here we can truly hear it in my opinion.

I think this is the sound Moonblood would really get known for.  They are exceptional at creating cold and raw atmospheres with their music.  If you grew up around the raw Black Metal sound then Moonblood will surely rank very high on your listening list.  Unfortunately I think this sort of turns off a lot of the modern listeners, but for me "The Winter Falls Over the Land" is done well enough that I don't see why people would say the raw edge mars the quality of the music.  In Moonblood's case I think they've finally captured that balance where it enhances the quality of the writing.  While I expect the rehearsals to always have less than desirable quality, I'm expecting their studio recordings to be at a minimum of this recording quality if not a little better.  At least with this you can let the guitar riffs shine through pretty well.

The album opens with the usual intro Moonblood seem to be favoring on all their releases so far.  But then swiftly launches into a Black Metal assault with "Nightly Mass".  This being 1995 means the material will surely be very traditional and Moonblood delivers that.  After having listened through two of the Rehearsal's I've noticed some of the official releases don't have the epic track length the rehearsals do.  Also one thing that sort of disappoints me is the rehearsals will play around with this sort of medieval atmosphere, but the official recordings don't seem to be tapping into that.  Perhaps they don't think it's developed well enough yet?  Either way I'd love to hear it in a better recorded format, because I feel like that is something special Moonblood is doing.  The Medieval German atmosphere is certainly different than the Scandanavian atmosphere and Moonblood seems quite good at doing it, so I want to hear more.  I think I will have to wait for later releases, unfortunately.

Choosing a sample was quite hard because "In the Shadow of the Inverted Crucifix" and "The Winter Falls Over the Land" are exception songs.  I like to show off more than just the title track, so I went with "In the Shadow of the Inverted Crucifix".  I hope everyone enjoys!




Moonblood - Nosferatu
Unholy Baphomet Records, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro/Nosferatu
2. Listen to Nana
3. In the Moonshine
4. Burn Down the Heavenly Garden
5. Only a Dream of Dark Kingdom
6. A Journey through the Darkness of Night










I think this is the first material Moonblood has had released on a label.  While I do personally own a tape version of this, it is missing the insert and I think it may actually be a bootleg on top of that.  Side B was missing entirely, but luckily I was able to get the other three tracks off the internet.  However, the bootleg at least made a copy of the general booklet, so it doesn't look that bad.

One of the strange aspects of this demo is that I don't think any of the tracks appeared on the prior two rehearsals.  This kind of just makes me wonder what the point of the rehearsals even is at this point.  If they're going to constantly write new material, they should just release everything as they work.  Anyway, compared to "The Evil Rules" I found "Nosferatu" to be a somewhat disappointing follow-up... if it can be "termed" as such.  I just didn't get into this music nearly as much, I felt "The Evil Rules" pushed their creative envelope a little bit more and they blended a lot of rather medieval feeling elements into their music.  Unfortunately "Nosferatu" is fairly tried and true Black Metal approach.  It starts off with an organ styled intro, but swiftly launches into some very fast and raw Black Metal.  "Nosferatu" basically keeps this up for the entire recording and the best track, to me, is "Listen to Nana" by far.  Listening to that lead section kick in over the slow paced guitars near the beginning is just spectacular!  The other track that was pretty good was "Burn Down the Heavenly Garden".  This song has some great standout points with good leads as well.  I think the part that grained on me a bit were the use of too many chugging riffs.  Maybe the production Moonblood uses really ruined these for me, but with heavy palm-muting it can really overwhelm the mix.

While on the point of production, overall it actually isn't too bad on these recordings.  It's certainly a little better than the Rehearsal's, but I think they started figuring out how to record their music better after "The Evil Rules".  Other than the palm-muted riffs there were no other really major issues with the recording quality... well as far as very primitive sounding recordings go.

In the end this wasn't my favorite Moonblood recording.  It only really had two stand out tracks for me.  The rest is actually fairly high quality raw Black Metal, but I feel this would have made more sense as a follow-up to the first demo.  But on the coattails of the Rehearsals I have to point out that this was a slight downgrade.  However, if you only look at their progression on officially released material this is a great step in the right direction compared to "Moonblood", which was practically unlistenable by conventional standards.  "Nosferatu" is a fine raw Black Metal experience, but I know there is more creativity waiting in the wings of this band.



Moonblood - Rehearsal 2: The Evil Rules
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. The Evil Rules
3. ...And then I Died
4. Infernal Screams in a Dark Night
5. Damned Christians
6. The Black War
7. Triangle of Infernal Power
8. Shadows
9. Outro







Before 1994 even finished Moonblood had another seven songs to unleash on the world.  It's incredible how much material this band went through and most of it being capture as a "rehearsal".  The thing I find even more interesting is the difference between Rehearsal I and Rehearsal II.  For me "The Evil Rules" is really where Moonblood starts to do very well as a band.  I really like the songs a lot more on this demo.

As with all rehearsal recordings of any kind we expect a certain raw quality to the recording.  The rawness of Moonblood really works with "The Evil Rules" and the viciousness of the guitar lines really stands out so much more.  The thing that really makes a huge difference is that I feel everything is mixed much better.  I can hear the drums extremely well and the vocals aren't nearly as overwhelming as before.  They've really stepped up the composition in their music a lot.  In the intro we hear a very traditional sounding medieval thing for about thirty seconds, and I'm fairly sure this was a sample.  However, it does set the done for injecting a very medieval feel into their music and this demo does deliver on that notion.  Strangely the first track "The Evil Rules" doesn't have as much of this, but by the end of "...And then I Died" you can hear what I'm referring to quite well.  It gives a much more epic feel to their music and blended in with such a raw recording it gives a much more primal atmosphere!  This rehearsal has some more varied moments though, because some parts of "Damned Christians" doesn't really fit in with the flow or atmosphere of the rest of the rehearsal.  "Triangle of Infernal Power" is just a very strange track overall.  The actual song is about three minutes long and then it is just wind and pitch shifted vocals for three more minutes then slow guitar for another three minutes.  It's just an all around very strange track and really breaks up "The Evil Rules" a lot.  Finally things close with an outro samples from Basil Polidouris' Conan soundtrack.  I believe it's from Conan the Barbarian.

This is really where Moonblood began to shine for me.  I'm really glad I was able to get a copy of this rehearsal tape and the booklet is a little more involved.  It actually folds out to three panels, but is your usual xeroxed booklet.  It says "Black Battle Metal" on the back, which I think basically sums up the Moonblood sound on this demo.



Moonblood - Rehearsal I: My Evil Soul
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. When the Werewolf Howls...
2. My Evil Soul
3. The Awakening of the Serpent
4. Under the White Cold Snow
5. Through the Woods of Forgotten Daylight
6. ...And Snow Covered the Lifeless Bodies
7. A Warrior has Gone









Moonblood has decided to do something that I feel is somewhat unusual.  Now rehearsal tapes aren't all that unusual, Azaghal put one out and so have many other bands.  However, the sheer volume of rehearsal tapes Moonblood put out is incredible.  The large volume of music actually dwarfs their released material!  While I wasn't fortunate enough to get their first demo, even though I probably had the opportunity years ago, I did manage to get a copy of this rehearsal tape.

"My Evil Soul" is mostly lo-fi harsh and vicious Black Metal.  But there's so much more here if you can get beyond the production.  The atmosphere Moonblood creates is just spectacular, making this Rehearsal a very enjoyable listen.  It's not just a bunch of crazy blast beats, you can hear them include elements of some synths where appropriate.  The songs also can have a sort of medieval vibe to them which just adds to the wonderful presence Moonblood is trying to create.

This tape actually turned out far better than the first demo.  Despite some typical problems with old tapes, the overall sound actually isn't too bad.  The drums are not buried as much when compared with the first demo.  Unfortunately they're still a little more buried than I would have liked and is probably my main problem with this Rehearsal.  "My Evil Soul" doesn't get off to a good start for me though because I just didn't really like "When the Werewolf Howls..." very much.  There's a part in the song that just sounds like a mess of hitting higher notes.  I don't know if Occulti-is screwed up while he was recording and just decided to mess around or what, but it doesn't sound good.  I can see why this never made it onto any of the released material.  After this I think the rest of the compositions actually sound pretty good.  While the opening riff of "The Awakening of the Serpent" isn't very interesting, the rest of the song really redeems itself.

It really is a shame these Rehearsals never got released, I'm not sure why they never went back to put these out, while not everything is great most of it is!  I sort of understand the ideology behind Moonblood in not trying to "cash in" and only looking for real fans of Black Metal.  This is something I can surely appreciate, but when your music is this good I just feel like the rest of the world misses out and it's worth risking a few fake fans for it.  In the end I certainly recommending listening to this if you can.  The original rehearsals are probably long gone and I know they are very sought after collectors items.

The real stand out tracks on this are "My Evil Soul" and "...And Snow Covered the Lifeless Bodies", but since they appeared on "Blut & Krieg" I'm going to post "The Awakening of the Serpent" which never made it onto a full release.



Moonblood - Moonblood
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. Hope
2. In the Forest of Red Water
3. Graves from the Stone Under Cemeterymoon
4. Moonblood
5. In a Bloody Night of Fullmoon
6. Eternal Satanic Winter
7. Songs of Fullmoon
8. Signs of Evil
9. Demoniacs
10. In the Forest






Here begins the long and arduous task of trying to review all of the Moonblood releases.  I feel like Moonblood all of a sudden exploded in the mid 2000's for some reason.  It's as if the band broke up so everyone went nuts over them.  I remember people frantically tracking down Moonblood releases in a similar fashion to looking for LLN original prints.  Even though these groups would play some great music over time, not everything they did was spectacular.  Moonblood is a prime example of this, the later releases are wonderful, in my opinion, and I simply can't get enough of "Dusk Woerot" or "Taste Our German Steel!"  Since I own a decent portion of their discography in both original in bootleg formats, I figured I would start working my way through this.

After going through a name change from Demoniac (which I have never heard) Moonblood put out their first demo.  They even pay some homage to this original project by naming one of their songs "Demoniacs".  Unfortunately I am stuck reviewing a bootleg called "Triangle of Infernal Power", which is the only format I've been able to find of these original songs.  Having demo tapes from 1994 last well over ten years is quite a feat and I'm not sure if "Moonblood" ever sounded any better than this transfer.  The mix is very dominated by the guitars, but sometimes these can blur into a giant mass of noise.  The drums are the worst when it comes to the production value.  From time to time the listener can hear the crashing of cymbals here and there, but you can't make out any of the other drums very well.

Some tracks show up and you can really make out what is going on.  The self titled song "Moonblood" is by far a high light.  It goes from totally raging Black Metal and slows down to a funeral dirge, literally.  Then it strikes back with more raging furious Black Metal.  When I can hear the guitars well, I love the guitar lines that are being written.  You can tell the band certainly had potential, even though they were doing nothing incredibly fancy.  They generated a superb feel and atmosphere for listeners.  The vocals work well enough on this demo, they are slightly buried in the background at times.  They are merely standard Black Metal vocals but nothing else would probably have worked too well.

This is certainly worth hearing for the curious listener like myself.  I always love hearing how bands started out.  I expect demos to be fairly poor quality in the production department, so I try not to let that get in the way of my listening too much.  Moonblood produced so much music over the years they were active, I just wish they could have revisited it all and recorded it in fairly decent studio production.  They certainly don't need anything super pristine, because "Taste Our German Steel!" sounded great!  The rawer recording quality definitely works for Moonblood, but recording quality this raw doesn't work for anyone.  I, personally, want to hear some semblance of what is going on in the music.