Ván Records, 27.01.17
It's been quiet from The Ruins of Beverast since the release of the album Blood Vaults - The
Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer, in fall 2013. Thus, it was pleasing to see new music from the German
I must however admit that I wasn't entirely happy with the music's gradual movement away from the obscure and gloomy moods
of the past. Hypnotic black/doom went more in the direction of gloomy and dreamy death/doom à la My Dying Bride.
Admittedly, I like that sort too, and the album was good, but I admire the band's two first albums in particular a bit too
much to wish this change welcome.
The two songs that make up Takitum Tootem! ain't very good. As usual, we're talking long songs
with spiritual moods, but the ritualistic moods are given a new twist via exotic moods this time. The band has never
stagnated in its development.
The 12" opens with the nine-minutes title track with the subtitle “Wardance”. As this implies, it has a strong touch of
primitive native American war dance, along with strange sounds and ethereal vibes. When this lasts through the entire song,
it becomes a bit too much Ratamahatta and avant-gard on my part.
Side B of the vinyl contains 12 minutes long Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, which turns out
to be a Pink Floyd cover. It's a bit more rumbling and ominous than the original version, but also got a lot of
the same themes as the first song, combined with repetitive monotony.
There's not a whole lot of vocals around, but it's clean and characterized by vibrato, giving it a rather churchly character.
The spiritual psychedelia presented via these more than 20 minutes, constitutes the first part of a bipartite meditative
tribute to “manhood's loss of the crown of creation”. Don't ask. I just hope these songs ain't representative for the
music on a new full-length that'll eventually be released later this year, but there's a certain danger of it, as it'll
constitute part two of the concept.
If you are unfamiliar with the band, do yourself a favour and check out the discography.
Memento Mori, 23.01.17
The debut of Italian Ekpyrosis is released 3-4 years after the band's inception, at some time during 2013.
In the meantime, the quartet have made an EP and a couple of demos public. Memento Mori makes a point out of the band's traditional form of death metal not being either “retro”
nor “old school”, as the recipe has remained unchanged without following trends since the very beginning.
Old school is still a respectable term for timeless extreme metal that shuns trends like the plague.
Ekpyrosis is Infamovs' nemesis in the sense that the music is the antithesis within the same
framework. Asphyxiating Devotion does not offer nearly as many ghostly howls of torment from morbid
guitar strings, but compensates violently with a volcanic eruption of riffs. The band is a veritable riff monster in
comparison. Hectic instrumental activity creates a vibrant expression, as of spouting magma, making their granite hard
death-curse anything but boring.
There are, however, bands that deliver stronger hypnosis than Ekpyrosis. Hour of Penance's
new album which will be released this Friday, for example. In the large context, this isn't staggeringly killer death
metal. But, if a solid sonic beating is what you yearn for, than Asphyxiating Devotion should cover
your deviating masochistic needs with good margin.
A preview is of Slagmaur's upcoming Thill Smitts Terror is now available.
Three songs are streaming here.
Memento Mori, 23.01.17
The quintet from Chile hereby presents their debut. The band has about three years of service, and one EP behind them.
The band lean toward a dark kind of obscure death metal where the lower part of the frequency register dominate in solitude.
The band namely incorporate some more pitched guitars that are howling in furious ecstasy while flapping around like
winged demons in abstract formations.
I certainly have a taste for these howling demons that casts grotesque shadows. The legacy of both Slayer and
Morbid Angel are well preserved in this aspect.
Virtually any signs of substance ends there, unfortunately. The material on Under the Seals of Death
is largely characterized by monotony and lack of depth. That the rhythms in addition are rather staccato, also prevents
all hints of suggestion. Well, not every attempts at it. There are sequences where a hypnotic effect sneaks in,
but the duration is unfortunately not long. The first song, Dawn of the Black Dance, is among the better
in this respect, and the extra dark and rumbling Interlude is a doomy monstrosity that lies dormant just
below the surface.
All-in-all, Under the Seals of Death becomes a repetitive and uneventful inferno that gives me very little. Infamovs could learn a thing or two from Ekpyrosis, whose new album Asphyxiating Devotion
will soon be presented.
Hear Dawn of the Black Dance below, and check out the song Chaos-Madness.
Xtreem Music, 15.01.17
The quartet from Spain release their first-born a year after coming together.
In other words, it didn't take long to become pregnant with this debut.
The band swear to a relatively brutal offspring of gore-based death metal. And as if a bloody dripping expression wasn't
enough, they pick up the scissors to maim the corpse a little extra. For that purpose, grindcore is used as a remedy.
The result is frantic, unusual and quite cool.
The sound is crisp as crackers. The basis of the music, delightful death metal, is somehow laying a bit in the
background, while abstract intense whispering vocals occasionally sticks its head all the way out of the speakers.
The main vocals are course but not excessively gurgling. Equally whimsical echoing sound effects also come into
view, so to speak. Resounding solo guitar leads to increased spiritual activity in a diabolical landscape of angels
gone morbid. The obligatory samples are in place to lead the thoughts to unspeakable barbaric activities in dilapidated
shacks in rural regions, far off the beaten track.
Time isn't coming, it's going, and it's going fast. I therefore present this as an Impression. Rather than
bothering you with a more elaborate description, you may digest these 40 minutes on your own. Notice the raw version of
Chopin's Marche funèbre (or Funeral March) in concluding Exhumation Requiem.
Heidens Hart Records, 15.01.17
The two gentlemen and brothers Athelstan and Wulfstan can celebrate Forefather's
20th anniversary this year.
The guys have released seven albums, the last one a couple of years ago. They've also got a band named Athelstan
going, and both have attended a few Folkearth albums.
I was pleased with medium fulfilment with Forefather's second album, The Fighting Man (2000) which was re-released
fifteen months ago. We shall now take a look at Engla Tocyme, the third album, originally released in 2002.
Yet another re-released in other words.
The men's epic and medieval heavy/pagan metal is probably familiar to most with interests in that direction. The
music has a light viking-touch, but the Anglo-Saxon tradition the two men laud, is more likely to have considered the
Vikings as the enemy. Ergo, we can call it melodic Anglo-Saxon-metal, or Anglo-Saxon folk-metal. You see the picture.
I had some difficulty deciding what grading to apply to this album. I could just as easily have ended up giving my approval
in the form of a thumbs up, simply because it is a quite good album that I won't mind spinning again. The alternative was to
bestow a somewhat more ambivalent grade because all the materials don't feel as necessary, and because I won't miss the album
a whole lot. As you can see, I have a somewhat ambivalent relation to Engla Tocyme, something that eventually
made the selection a bit easier.
I'm no expert on hearing the difference between organic and synthetic drums, but the drums on this album sounds very
programmed. A disadvantage that will harm those who are incapable of shutting such a feature out. Among the other
instrumentation, I also allow myself to nitpick slightly at the synth. The keyboard is used considerably, and could
favourably have been toned down slightly in quantity. The keyed plank fortunately don't become especially dominant
in the sound. When it act as horns in The Fate of Kings, it comes more into its own.
The instrument also fits very well in The Swan's Road, but only for those who appreciate dungeon synth,
a genre I have barely mentioned before, but have now come across for the third time in just a month. It works as a kind of
interlude, much like The Call to Arms from The Fighting Man. In the same song we also find
timpani. I dare not guess whether these are artificial or real, but they still sound a few notches better than the drums.
With the worst criticism out of the way, it must be said that the rest of the instrumentation and vocals are good.
There is plenty of alright guitar works on the album, and it consists of songs with good traditional melodies backed
by a vocalist with control of his voice. Some of the songs may be kind of anonymous or weak in the context that the
album provides, but they all have their distinct expressions, without scattering in all directions. That some of the
songs have a tame character, may just as well be due to other songs and sequences being quite strong. Iron
Hand has a lot of nice instrumentation, but is still topped by subsequent Fifeldor. Something
in the vocals and melody of Forever in Chains give me tiny associations to Lacuna Coil's
To Myself I Turned, just to mentioned it. The final songs offers on a lot of nifty music, without leaving
a very robust impression of being essential.
If you enjoy this style, however, Engla Tocyme is certainly an okay release, worthy of being dragged
out of oblivion for an annual spin.
This re-release comes with Loyalty bound as bonus track. It's picked from a compilation called
“Anti-Geldof Compilation” (a protest against Bob Geldof and his Live 8), and it's remixed to fit in here. The
song is pretty decent, but not so valuable in itself that you should pick up a new version of the album because of it.