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Black Metal Reviews: Tvangeste / "Damnation of Regiomontum"

Golden Lake Productions - UK - (91/100)

"Hailed as the best band in Russia and with over 5000 copies of this album already
sold in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, I was expecting big things from this band.
And to say that I was suitably impressed on 1st listen would be a major
understatement. This band will blow away all competition in the symphonic black
metal arena.

If you were to take all the best parts of Cradle of Filth, Bal-Sagoth and Dimmu Borgir and throw them together then you can imagine how Tvangeste sound. The musical
complexity and song writing intelligence is simply breathtaking with excellent
orchestrated keyboards weaving in and out of the guitars and varied vocals
(screams, growls, spoken, male and female).

I was hooked from start to finish as I was mesmerised by the rich musical textures
caressing my eardrums. The production is top notch as well, therefore, accentuating
the elegant prowess of this band. This is one of those albums that sounds better and
better with each listen and you will hear something different each time.
All Hail Tvangeste!!"



LIVE4METAL.COM - UK - Band of the Month / June 2001

Tvangeste - Damnation Of Regionmontum
By Steve Green

To prove that everyone receives equal coverage regardless of stature at Live 4 Metal, I've chosen a band for Album Of The Month that I'd never heard of until a week ago.
But the reason I've chosen them is purely to do with the quality of music.
It's very hard for an Eastern European band to get noticed in the West.
Apart from the staggering amount of quality Polish bands receiving good press,
no one else really gets a look in.
Hopefully that will all change for Russian Black Metal band Tvangeste who have
signed to Norwegian label Valgalder.

Their album "Damnation Of Regiomontum" is one of the best debuts I've heard
in years. Although they fit nicely into the Black Metal genre, there is so much
more to their music.
With only 5 tracks and a running time of over 50 minutes, there is always a chance the listener will get bored with long drawn out tracks. Thankfully that doesn't happen here. All the tracks are thoughtfully constructed with plenty of time changes and various influences on show. Symphonic Black Metal merges with gothic/doom segments and even twin guitar harmonies a la Iron Maiden.
The vocals range from uniform Black Metal to a more aggressive style that reminded me of Wotans Return from the In The Woods debut Heart Of The Ages.
The much maligned (but a favourite of mine) combination of female vocals, violins
and keyboards add the all important atmospherics.
The female vocals are provided by Olaa who gets a credit as a guest member.
Whoever she is, she has the most amazing Operatic voice I've ever heard.
I hope she appears on the next Tvangeste album which is to be recorded in the Autumn. No album is perfect, but I don't have a single criticism to make about this one. As I've said before. "One of the best ever debut albums".

I'm guessing that Tvangeste are largely unknown around the world, but in Russia
and Ukraine and Belarus they've shifted over 5,000 cds and have been recognized
as one of the best Black Metal bands of recent years. They've also managed to play with Cradle Of Filth in Moscow. I hope the rest of Europe discovers this band as they deserve to go all the way.
Thanks to the internet any band has the chance to be heard due to MP3 files. Go to the Tvangeste site and start downloading the sample tracks, give them a listen and then buy the album.



Metal Reviews / Sweden 5.5/6

Review by Jon Henning Orten
Release: 2000 / 2001
Record Label: Valgalder Records - Cataloguenumber: VG3 003
Total Playingtime - 51:40

'Damnation Of Regiomontum' is the debut of the Russian black metal act Tvangeste. After having sold 5.000 copies of it in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, they've signed with Norwegian record label Valgalder, who are releasing the album all over the world. What kind of black metal then, symphonic? yes, but not like all the other bands. Tvangeste plays mid-tempo metal with synths, black screech vocals and female opera vocals, but they have their very own sound...

The guitarplaying varies from catchy rhythmic riffs to melodic tremolo picking and beautiful solos. The synths take place in intros and outros, and on the pieces where it's used in the music it's mostly mixed just below or on the same level as the guitars, seldomly dominating. It adds another layer of melody and beauty to the music with its piano, organ, various atmospheric pads and majestic pieces. The band also uses real violins and cellos, but mostly for intros. Vocally, there are grim black screeches that fit well into the sound of Tvangeste, as well as female opera vocals. These sound very professional and are used in appropriate doses through the album.

The compositions of 'Damnation Of Regiomontum' are as mentioned all mid-tempo. This could be considered as a bad point, but actually it works out pretty good because of the variation and complexity of the songs. There are no songs here shorter than 8 minutes, and the longest lasts for 13 minutes, but fortunately Tvangeste are skilled songwriters. A catchy song of rhythmic straight-forward riffs might fade over into a beautiful solo, and then again over to an atmospheric piece with female vocals and melodic guitars, then back to catchy straight-forward riffs again. It doesn't even sound like interludes (although there are a few interludes here too), the music flows naturally through different phases. 'Damnation Of Regiomontum' shows a band of skilled musicians with good songwriting abilities. It is, no doubt, a strong album, but although the variation is good, it gets a bit alike towards the end of the album. There are no weak songs, here, but Tvangeste seem to repeat the same ideas a bit too many times. A surprise or two on the last couple of songs wouldn't hurt. Still: This is one hell of an album!



Kogaionon Magazine / Romania
TVANGESTE (RUS) - "Damnation of Regiomontum" CD

It is incredible how good this album can sound! Although it is almost a year since I have it, I still listen to it any time I have the opportunity and with the same pleasure. Perhaps it is because of its stylistic diversity obtained by these endowed Russians while Black or Doom are solely a few succinct marks. Well, well... what could we find here?!... Female voices, diverse male ones, intense keyboard, violin, cello, ultra-rapid rhytms in accordance with melancholic parts dominated by piano and whispered lyrics, Heavy Metal guitars... The entire complex sound mesmerizes and attracts like a magnet, the rhythms' changes and the amount of trends presented inside the tracks, which are rather too extended (about 9-10 minutes), simply prove seriousness and inspiration. It is curious that the album was conceived almost four years ago yet only after sales of 5000 samples inside the former USSR (tapes only) the album succeeded to penetrate the rest of the world and all due to this fr esh Norwegian label. I truly recommend it!



Himnos Rituales de Guerra - Colombia

TVANGESTE "Damnation Of Regiomontum" (Vagalder Recs) The newest symphonic black metal sensation of comes from RUSSIA and has been released by a label from NORWAY ( strange but true, it seems black metal from Norway is dead)
This band will be the delight of followers of DIMMU BORGIR, CRADLE OF FILTH, CHILDREN OF BODOM etc, and we'll be hearing a lot from this band very soon.



MODERN ATOMIC.com

15-Dec-2001, 5:55 am Tvangeste Damnation of Regiomontum Tvangeste is one of the best 'atmospheric' black metal bands I've heard recently. Lots of organ and keyboards, mixed male and female vocals, and really heavy at time. According to their website, "[t]he name 'Tvangeste' stands for the ancient Russian heathen belief." Heavy Slavic Metal!



TARTAREAN DESIRE magazine / Sweden - 8/10

Tvangeste - Damnation Of Regiomontum Valgalder Records, 2001 8/10 Luckily all black metal bands of today don't follow the same old path of play-as-fast-as-you-can and the be-as-evil-as-possible concept. Tvangeste is a Russian band who has dared to cross the borders and create interesting black metal with a different sound. They still have the raspy vocals and the pounding drum machine but in addition they also have female soprano vocals, cellos, violins, symphonic keyboards and beautiful pianos. Most of the music is not as fast as most black metal bands and there are plenty of slower passages with nice melodic work and spoken verse. They do have clear influences from Cradle Of Filth but I don't think they have tried to copy their sound, at least they don't sound like a CoF clone. It's hard to describe the Tvangeste sound because they are not simply a black metal band (if you care to look beyond the vocals that is...). Their music is kind of like a mix of doom and black metal, classical music and some Iced Earth riffing. This is one of the most interesting new black metal acts out there and Im very curious to see what they can achieve with their next album where they will take use of a symphony orchestra and a church choir.

Vincent Eldefors



THE GATES OF HELL.org

Tvangeste Damnation of Regiomontum Valgalder Records [6 Tracks] [51:42] 2001 True Prussian Black Metal! Hailing from the desperate shithole that is Kaliningrad, the desolate surroundings have inspired this band to create a brilliant slab of inspiring and unyielding melodic black metal.

Fledgling Norwegian label Valgalder Records has gotten behind Damnation of Regiomontum with the release having sold 5000 copies in a previous pressing. What sticks out on this album is the incredible rhythm underpinning the structure. It holds everything together, combining the necro vokills as well as the very atmospheric keyboard passages.

A variety of tempo also adds to the albums longevity, accompanied with male and female vocals, the former being both rasped & a spoken vocal (quite similar to Bal- Sagoth), and the latter being transfixingly beautiful.

This album is full of talent, with all members having past lives in other bands, most notably keyboardist Victoria's involvement with Dis Pater. This release is unique in its proficiency and the incredible sound that flows through it, accompanied by the up-tempo rhythm, which is pulled off without sounding at all commercial or cheesy. Overall an excellent album, worth tracking down.

Reviewed by Adramelech



TOMHET web magazine

TVANGESTE "Damnation Of Regiomontium" CD Even before I got this CD, I have red many positive reviews on this band. And I was not disappointed, then I first listened to their music-truly an excellent band! Simply everything is beyond reproach!!! This CD released in Norway by VALGADER Rec. More than 50 minutes of melodic black metal with keyboards and female on vocals! Fans of such bands like ENSLAVEMENT OF BEAUTY or CHILDREN OF BODOM will not be disappointed with this CD! I wait with impatience for their new works!



UNRESTRAINED magazine / Canada - 7/10

TVANGESTE Damnation of Regiomontum (Valgalder) Listening to Tvangeste, a talented black metal-inspired band from Russia, it is quite obvious to see how some might assume that they just play the usual black metal with harsh vocals, blasting drum beats, and female vocals thrown on top. At first I was thinking the same thing, but then something clicked. Tvangeste are more than just a common black metal band. Bands have done this style of music to death, pushing the savage black metal wails as far as they can go, and it is nice to hear a band like Tvangeste collect their ideas, borrow from their chosen genre, and produce beautiful results (thanks to work from violins and keyboards). The atmosphere of Tvangestes music is one I have yet to feel from any black metal-inspired band, a calm, collected swelling of emotions (check out the title track) that gather within a dark world of ideas. And with six songs spanning more than 51 minutes, you pretty much know this journey is going to take you many places that youll want to revisit.



GNOZIS ZINE - USA

Tvangeste - Damnation of Regiomontum (2001)
Valgalder
Reviewed by Sulphur
'Atmospheric and powerful'

Okay several things set Tvangeste off on an excellent start, most importantly the maturity of this creation, seeing that this debut release was created on a low underground budget and the bands first outing since their 1998 single. Though it seems to say everywhere that the band is black metal, I highly challenge this statement. Essentially there are many symphonic black metal elements, but the band treads areas around dark/doom/gothic metal far more, most importantly due to their mixture of keyboards and female vocals.

The bands maturity is shown by the use of these elements, female vocals are kept to specific chorus like sections, and the keyboards are used for atmosphere and not to cover anything up. The twin-guitar work is what drives each song, and rather than using fast single chords in the black metal style, we have more diverse and complex sections. Maybe the first two Dimmu Borgir albums come close to this sound, especially 'For All Tid' with its many moody sections, but Tvangeste really tread in different areas.

The Cradle of Filth debut also comes to mind, but Tvangeste lack any brutality of that sort, at most times the music is rather reserved and dark, it stays in a wallowing atmosphere that is easily understandable seeing that Victoria has played in both doom and gothic bands. The pagan feel is strong, as may be noted by the sun-wheel on the cover, the band aims to preserve their Prussian culture, rather than have any political motivations. I really enjoy this album, it doesn't attack brutally, it sways in the wind singing its song, lamenting times past and reliving old glories. I like the way the band try to awake some belief in oneself, sticking to topics that their music can deliver. The guitar work is well defined, taking a bold lead and creating emotion that mixes with the classical instrumentation, the powerful vocals and strong harmony. Bombastic chorus work also keeps this album very unique, twisting and turning throughout long and well structured songs.

On this demo the band indulges in a drum machine, unfortunately clicking away quite a bit, but its the next album that I am getting very excited about. An hour-long symphony using the Kalingrad Symphonic Orchestra and Church Choir, this will certainly take their sound to a new level, with a live drummer also! Finally I'll just mention that this album can be found online at their official website (check our links section please), as well as a ~60 mb DivX;-) video clip to 'From Nameless Oracle', very well done considering the bands budget at all times. Certainly a strong newcomer to the scene, here I find a band with a true belief in their message, playing music with a strong feel. A fantastic combination of atmosphere and melody, with a strong mixture of guitars and synth-work. Don't let the mention of keyboards and female vocals stop you from checking this out, the atmosphere is really there, no kooky melodies just pure cold and funeral fog.



DIGITAL METAL.com - USA

Tvangeste
Damnation of Regiomontum
(Valgalder Records)

Tvangeste was formed in 1996 and the line-up was complete some two years later in 1998. They call their music 'True Prussian Black Metal.' Damnation of Regiomontum is their debut. It is quite professional and polished for a first recording. Before I get into the music, some background is necessary. Who are/were the Prussians? Prussia was a former Germanic kingdom near the Baltic Sea. The name of the band, Tvangeste, was a small Prussian town destroyed by Christians in 1255. They built their castle on the ashes of this proud nation and renamed the town Koenigsberg, and it was German territory up to 1945 when the Soviet army seized the city and forcefully depopulated the Germans. The Russians renamed the city Kaliningrad, which is the band's home. They categorize themselves as heathen, saying they are not satanists, they believe in people as 'Great Nature's Creations.' One other thing to clear up before the musical discussion, that is not a swastika on the cover. The band says, 'We are not nazis - it's not a swastika - the symbol we use in our logo is a pagan Russian and Prussian symbol it means sky...there you can see clouds, heaven circle and sun symbol.' Musically, there are black metal vocals, Scandinavian melodic death aspects, keyboards, violins, female vocals... It's all here, but before you say it's been done to death, let me say that it's been done with mediocre results by many bands. Tvangeste does it with style, great musicianship and good songwriting. The violins and cellos are not added because it's expected of this style of metal, but because it fits within the structures of the songs. It is also a minor part of the disc, which is a strength for not being overdone. Female vocals are the same, not done as a gimmick, used sparingly, and to great effect when they are used. Before going further, let me give some musical background. Keyboardist Victoria, who also plays piano, has a background in doom and gothic, and bassist Vano comes from a death metal band. The release from the record label says, "5 beautiful, emotional and atmospherical tracks. Grand art with classical instrumentation, seductive and enraptured female chants, everything in perfect harmonization of aggressive, speed guitars." Do they live up to this lofty praise? Almost. Miron has excellent range to his voice, always grim, but changing his delivery to suit the music beneath him. He does an 'evil' screech style reminiscent of Enslaved, and a low snarling growl with a bit of a sneer to it; not so guttural as to be death metal style, and a higher pitched growl/shriek combo halfway between that is more typical black metal. Vano adds a deep haunting chanting spoken voice. The title track has a nice duet with the grim vocals and lofty female vocals singing together for several minutes. The pace of the music is slow with intricate guitars with many faster and slower sections within songs. The keyboards never overwhelm the other instruments but are not mere accent pieces. Many bands use effects to imitate classical instruments, Tvangeste uses the real thing. Cello and violin passages are memorable flourishes that add to the majestic feel. They are Russian but all lyrics are in English. Grammar is problematical but the scope of ideas is impressive. While many black metal bands are content to spew anti-Christian sentiments, some go further by writing about their pagan beliefs in a more positive approach. Though Tvangeste are obviously anti-Christian, their message is one of religious and cultural tolerance. Miron says, "We don't hate any nation but we want respect for our native Russian culture." He says Prussian culture has been assimilated into Russian culture, Prussia has died. The lyrics are lengthy. Here are some excerpts: From Nameless Oracle; "what's the point of freedom and power? Are you ready to lose? What's the point of honor and bravery? Are you ready to die?" The only shortcoming of this album is a lack of intensity. Some blastbeats during up tempo parts or just a bit more aggression to match the vocals would add to its effectiveness. This album is highly recommended for fans of intelligent music. There are many bands that sound like parts of this album, or if you prefer, this band shares traits with many others, but Tvangeste is the complete package lyrically and musically. Mature, talented songwriters, Tvangeste deserve your support - you will not be disappointed. [Grimulf]



EDGE OF TIME.com Magazine / Lithuania 4/5

TVANGESTE Damnation of Regiomontum Valgalder Records Geography often adds its touch to the music, and bands coming from regions that are relatively unknown in metal often show bigger hearts than their counterparts from everyday metal places. Tvangeste are one of the few -- if not the only -- black metal bands from Kaliningrad, Russia, and their debut album is dedicated to their ancient land Prussia, which doesn't exist anymore. While Tvangeste, unlike many ex-USSR dark metal bands, do not incorporate folk influences into their music, their black metal does not sound like a second-rate copy of Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir. Tvangeste do not have riffs as intense as the later works of the mentioned bands, but they convey more feel with their music. Songs definitely tend to the epic side (the albums lasts 50 minutes but contains only 5 songs) and are more melodic than aggressive; keyboards, pianos, violins are used but not overused. "Damnation of Regiomontum" doesn't knock you down, and it leaves a lot of room for the band where to go in the future, but it is a well-prepared and finished piece of work, as well as a good black-metal artifact. (GS) [http://www.tvangeste.com/] [http://www.valgalder.com/]



Colombian Metal Pages - Colombia

This Russian band performs Atmospherically Black Metal, though we believe it is more than that. Tvangeste's music is mostly based on black metal but they've penetrated into the paths of other styles like gothic doom to create a very peculiar sound. We're not so used to go into this kind of style but we know to acknowledge when there's quality in a band and Tvangeste has demonstrated in this work that they definitely have that. Apparently, they didn't have so many difficulties to find an own sound which to be identified with, the same that maybe in our eyes shows itself a bit too melodic for moments, but we also acknowledge that you can feel the sentiment put on every song. The album has a majestic atmosphere of melancholic and mystic passages created by excellent keyboards. Moreover, the nice female vocals and piercing sound of the violin and Cello add an even more deep touch to their music. The songs, that despite having a long length, don't go monotonous but they show themselves well worked. A demonstration of that are the riffs and the way that they fit perfectly with the keyboards and background in general. Although we think the music would be even more intense if it had a bit of aggressiveness. Currently the band is working on another recording that would be directed to their same style, in which the Kaliningrad Symphonic Orchestra would be performing. "Damnation of Regiomontum", album debut of Tvangeste that has been released through the Norwegian label VALGALDER and presents 5 dramatic songs: "From Nameless Oracle"; "Angel's Retreat"; "Damnation of Regiomontum"; "Thinking..." and "Born to be King of Inner-self". Another important detail to be mentioned is the production and artwork, both are very professional and reflect the personality of the band with no doubt. If you're follower of the Atmospherically Black Metal that goes into the depressive, majestic and melodic, with instruments oriented towards the classical, then this album should not take so long to be in your hands.



PRELUDE TO DARKNESS - Peru

TVANGESTE
"Damnation of Regiomontum" / Rusia

This Russian band performs Atmospherical Black Metal, though we believe it is more than that. Tvangeste's music is mostly based on black metal but they've penetrated into the paths of other styles like gothic doom to create a very peculiar sound. We're not so used to go into this kind of style but we know to acknowledge when there's quality in a band and Tvangeste has demostrated in this work that they definitely have that. Apparently, they didn't have so many difficulties to find an own sound which to be identified with, the same that maybe in our eyes shows itself a bit too melodic for moments, but we also acknowledge that you can feel the sentiment put on every song. The album have a majestic atmosphere of melancholic and mystic passages created by excellent keyboards. Moreover, the nice female vocals and piercing sound of the violin and Cello add an even more deep touch to their music. The songs, that despite having a long lenght, don't go monotonous but they show themselves well worked. A demostration of that is the riffs and the way how they fit perfectly with the keyboards and background in general. Althought we think the music would be even more intense if it had a bit of aggressiveness. Currently the band is working on another recording that would be directed to their same style, in which the Kaliningrad Symphonic Orchesta would be performing. "Damnation of Regiomontum", album debut of Tvangeste that has been released through the norwegian label VALGALDER and presents 5 dramatic songs : "From Nameless Oracle"; "Angel's Retreat"; "Damnation of Regiomontum"; "Thinking..." and "Born to be King of Innerself". Another important detail to be mentioned is the production and artwork, both are very professional and reflect the personality of the band with no doubt. If you're follower of the Atmospherical Black Metal that goes into the depressive, majestic and melodic, with instruments oriented towards the classical, then this album should not take so long to be in your hands. Definitely, a production which draws the listener into an atmosphere of hopelessness.



MUSICA MUST DIE (Russia) 9.5 of 10

And this russian band is the greatest newcomer of this Year! Their album makes Your feelings rely crazy! Very interesing listening is waiting for You! Slavonic simphonic back with big doom inspiration. Excelent eyboards, guitar passages background and fury of black metal rhytm section and guitar riffs attack. Nice sound. Album includes 5 tracks and each of them is potential hit (top song in charts). Different styles music with many temp changes and stuck mind guitar solos. English yrics but there's severa russian parts in some songs. I think Tvangeste has al chancet to be famous all over the world. Let's wait...



Agonia.pl - Poland - 4/5

Tvangeste "Danation of Regiomontum" (Valgarder Records)

Another tallented band from Russia which has already made some fuss on their local scene... Tvangeste performs something between melancholic doom metal and symphonic black... I could say that this is surelly an interesting band it is not innovatory one too. All tricks contained on this album are certificate of ingeniousness and high skills of the band. In my opinion after such recording the team should show, that stand theirs now onto brave arrangements and firm hitting. Surely "Damnation..." is a skilled masterpiece but there is something that should be changed to ot remain another clone of Dimmum Borgir or Cradle of Filth. Its sound not leave too many to wish and also each song is more or less absorbing. An interesting fact is that as permanent member there is performing Victoria, previous member of well known Gothic project Romove Rikito... I command this album simultaneously forestalling that further fate of team depends from this what way it will choose. http://www.valgalder.com/



SCREAM MAGAZINE - Norway - 4/5

TVANGESTE:
"Damnation Of Regimontum" (Valgalder)
IV (Reviewed by AJ. Blisten)

There is more than one Russian band I like. People who knows me knows that. TVANGESTE is a relatively new band from the Russian province Prussia and "Damnation" is their first full length album out on a new Norwegian label called Valgalder. The Valgalder boys embraced and praised the music and I'm sure they wanted to see a top score for this album. Well, it's close. But there are still things that can and will be better with music of Tvangeste. The music is symphonic black metal with female vocals and I love that concept. The female vocals on "Damnation" are just awesome and it makes all my body hair stand right up, but it should be more of it. The other vocal parts are also good. It's cold and evil and well performed, but it doesn't stand out as something extraordinary. A little bit more creativity in the songwriting and better production to make the sound a little bit more powerful will do the trick on the next album.



CHARON'S CHRONICLES / Prussia

CHARON'S CHRONICLES / Prussia TVANGESTE '2000 "Damnation of Regiomontum" Valgalder Records / Norway 5 tracks. Well known Kaliningrad band. Definitely They are the leaders of Russian metal scene. Their music...oh tere's alot of good good music. No limits no templates... they clear all borders between music styles. All kinds of metal music... even traditional Heavy Metal included. To be short they are something about "atmospheric Prussian Black" but it's more ideological than musical identity. Music is music forever. Somebody likes it and somebody not. Defibnitey they can use musical instruments and I hope they will be famous abroad. They could be a real competitors for almost (maybe all) all metal bands worldwide. What I can feel after listening their music is sorrow about Land where we live and about lost Past...



Suffering Jesus / Italy

Tvangeste "Damnation of Regiomontum." Grand Russian black metal of the highest possible caliber.