4 Skulls= Classic 3 Skulls= Very Good 2 Skulls= Good 1 Skull= Never Happen
1993 Rhymes of Lunacy: An astonishing first outing. Strong doom influences with a touch of progressive elements. Some incredibly classic songs.
1994 Life, Death, and Other Morbid Tales: The albums starts off where the previous left off, with a continued emphasis on morbid power chants. The band also ups the ante by increasing the progressive components, with the addition of a full-time keyboardist. Unfortunately, I have never been a big fan of keyboard solos, ala Dream Theater, so there are a few songs that lack. Be it known though, this is a solid album- "Heathendom" is one awesome composition.
1996 La Danse Macabre: Though most were skeptic of the bands longevity, following the loss of two key members- Messiah Marcolin and Snowy Shaw, the band endured. The addition of Kristian Andren was by far a positive new force in the band. His vocals are strong and fit perfect with the sound. Thankfully the keyboards are a bit more subdued, going as far as adding a fitting dimension to the group.
1997 Black Mark Tribute: The song Memento Mori contributed to the album is "Sold My Soul," from the band Nazareth. The song itself is not that great; there are however, two high points: 1. Mike Wead's solo in the middle of the song, brillant as always 2. Kristian Andren's vocals. This song has one of the strongest vocal performances I have heard from him. Other highlights on the album include Tad Morose's "Power of the Night" (probably the best song on the album), Hexenhaus' "War" (classic rock song brought to power metal---awesome), and Nightingale's "Return to Fantasy" (better than Gamma Ray's version). In final, do not buy this disk if you want an introduction to Blackmark bands; it does not give an accurate representation of what the bands actually sound like. I do, however, find the disk rather enjoyable, but one must take it on its own merits... G.A. Hood
1997 Songs for the Apocalypse- Vol. 4: First and most noteable is the return to a five-man outfit. Miguel Robania is no longer in the band and there is no mention of him to be found within the linear notes. Also, Tom Bjorn is the new man on drums. The music is awesome! The sound is slightly different from the previous releases. The sound is cleaner, Messiah's vocals are clearer, and the music flows perfectly with it all. Another thing worth noting is that more of the band members are writing music. Messiah contributes lyrics and music this time around(most noteably the song "I prayed" about his father's bout with heart disease)... G.A. Hood
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