Inverse Records, 05.04.17 A Lie Nation is a Finnish band from Oulu, far north in the Gulf of Bothnia. The quintet was created as a fusion of two garage bands in 2009, but remained nameless until someone came up with the pun on “alienation” the following year. The band released their first EP in 2015, and now releases EP number two, a four-song piece of almost 17 minutes.
The band plays a form of melodic extreme metal that combines inspiration and influences from a bit too rich variety into of a somewhat grey stew in a dirty pan.
The most obvious in A Lie Nations expression is a black/death mixture with a whiff of hardcore-thrash and a hint of unfinished garage-rock. The whole thing clad in a dirty-melodic touch and sound that most of all sounds as if it just became the way it did.
Rot of the Spirit kicks off fast and thrashing, but characterless. The song lasts for three minutes without anything happening that'll lift it out of an anonymous existence. Shooting the Messenger on nearly five minutes is slightly more pure-bred in style, as the music assumes a blacker fashion. There's a bit of intensity to be traced, but also a lot of monotony, as undertones of mid-tempo post-black does a bit more than just emitting a whiff. There's a fairly alright atmosphere here, but not enough to stand out. Into Black Divine swing a little more, leaving a circumstantial evidence of inspirations from more Viking-related areas. A pretty cool song, albeit rather homogeneous. A Burn Afar clocks in at well over five minutes, standing largely as a contrast to the remaining material. The song starts off very subdued, and has several quiet, somewhat evocative passages. This song has more structure than the others together, but could scarcely be called intricate because of that.
The gruntingly sharp vocals constantly sounds forced, and quickly becomes tiresome. The different tracks diverge slightly, indicating that the Finns have not found themselves just yet. The song material is otherwise not particularly strong, and Begin Hate in the whole appear as rather anonymous. An effort is required before the band starts thinking about releasing their debut.
Independent, 21.02.16 & 09.03.17
You might know Skáphe, but as usual we begin with a quick presentation.
The duo consists of American Alex Poole from amongst other Krieg and Icelandic D.G. from Misþyrming* et al. Both also take part in Martröð*.
The band released their second album Skáphe² last year, and has recently released an EP titled Untitled. I guess their creativity is limited to the music.
I never got around to write about last year's release, so when I'm now presenting their new EP, I'll just as well throw in a few brief words about the album in the process.
Skáphe was formed in 2014 and released a self-titled album in May the same year. The sequel was released in various physical formats by Fallen Empire Records, I, Voidhanger Records and Vánagandr at the end of January last year, before the band released it digitally barely a month later.
The band has in addition to the description “asphyxiating black metal death” given their musical direction the epithet “5-meo-dmt metal”, after the hallucinogenic psychoactive substance.
Skáphe² consists of 35 minutes of extremely nightmarish dystopic moods, presented via unreal atonal dissonance in combination with an ethereal atmosphere. As with unpleasant dreams, the material is to a great extent built on abstract forms. At its most quiet, serene and soaring, as in eight minutes long IV, you just need to close your eyes and go with the flow. The listener really don't have a choice but to submit to the capricious whims of the insane gods anyway. Nearing the end of the song, it compensates for blissful idyllic flow by reeling off one of the album's most intense sequences. Through its most infernally scorching parts, the listener is subjected to feverish cacophonous chaos.
When the unthinkable surroundings are characterized by unrecognisable absurd architecture and surreal angles, one could easily become very disoriented, and one is easily vulnerable to hyperventilation bordering on panic. But let's not over-dramatises and crisis maximize. Skáphe balances very well between claustrophobic desultory aimlessness, floating moods, and hints of conventional melodic and rhythmical structures within the pandemonium.
As is also the case on Untitled, which literally picks up where Skáphe² left off. The albums song titles consists of Roman numerals from I to VI, while the EP consists of one song on 22 minutes, titled VII. Again, we are taken on a turbulent journey into the overt mixture of utopian wellness and anxiety-inducing horror-visions of the subconsciousness. A manic depressive musical acid trip that feels all-encompassing. With total lack of rational patterns, something concrete to sense and grab hold of, the music feels universally timeless and aimless. Time and direction are illusions. Start and finish are remote concepts from another reality. I just am. The music simply is. There is nothing else. I drift away, forever lost in undulating disharmony, perceived as artificial harmony, in the centre of vast nothingness.
Goatprayer Records, 31.03.17
British Vacivus released the EP Rite of Ascension digitally and on prehistoric magnetic tape via Goatprayer Records last summer, before Hellthrasher Productions immortalized it on CD when autumnal storms gradually put an effective end to all voluntary outdoor activities.
The quintet from Sunderland, just south of Newcastle, is now out with yet an EP. Somewhat shorter this time, as they're content settling with two songs in 13 minutes. Both sound and expression is somewhat altered, but rather occult and rabid death metal with charred ethos still constitute the foundation of Vacivus' works.
Rite of Ascension's essence consisted of ominous spiritual presence and heavy, dark and morbid doomsday-worshipping death metal with undertones of raving madness. An explanation so diffuse it could just as easily apply to Nuclear Chaos. The difference is more difficult to capture, but its predecessor was a tad more oppressive, while the current EP is a little lighter on its feet, both in music and phonetic wrapping. Not to say that it is less lethal. Nerve gas is lighter than a tanks, but equally fatal, and on Nuclear Chaos, we're dealing with ultraviolet radiation, gamma radiation, neutron radiation and radiation from various radioactive sources. Potent and highly fatal, even without the initial pressure wave.
Ritual I: Unchaining the Winds of Uncreation is the title of the first track, where ethereal sounds increases in strength before ominous riffs and rolling rhythms breaks loose after ninety seconds. Roaring dungeon vocals joins in before the music eventually alter the pace. Change of pace and daunting, deadly riff, constitutes the core of both this and Ritual II: Blind Idiot God from the B-side of the seven-inch.
Short releases of few songs tend to require rather elaborate descriptions of guitar and drum-technical details, or meticulous descriptions of each song's progress. The former has never been my strong side, and the latter is about as exciting as listening to the harness racing commentator's monotone gibberish. The lack of necessity, as you're in fact already listening to the release via the integrated player below, makes such a demand unreasonable verging on absurd.
I had a notch more taste for Rite of Ascension, although the difference between the two is nuanced. Primarily , it lasted ten minutes longer, and an EP should preferably exceed 15-20 minutes in order to form its own micro-dimension.
As mentioned in connection with the previous EP, there is a full length album recorded by the predecessor to Vacivus, Dawn of Chaos in 2012, published via Vacivus with the title Dawn of Chaos in 2014, and later released under the moniker of the former band Dawn of Chaos, titled The Need to Feed in 2015. Enough room for confusion, that is.
It's almost time for the real debut of Vacivus, containing entirely new songs, to be released via Profound Lore during the year.
Five days ago, Pulverised released an EP by Norwegian Endezzma, whose new album will be out in two days from now.
The EP works just like a good old single, with a first glimpse track of the forthcoming album on Side A, and an exclusive rarity on Side B.
Morbus Divina is the first teaser of the band's sophomore album. The song starts of with the trotting rhythms before more intensity breaks loose. Dry and hissing vocals helps prevent black metal with ample melody from becoming too melodic. The solo guitar is admittedly given a freer rein than what many necro-orthodox band allows. Via several transitions, the band demonstrates versatile song structure. Always with good flow. The song bodes well, and I guess I can already reveal that the rest of the new album measures up.
The bonus song Black Tempest is a good choice as B-side, as it doesn't quite fit in among the rest of the material on the album. The song was written by the late Urgehal* frontman Trondr Nefas, and has a somewhat slower touch of dirty black'n'roll. The song is reportedly the last one Nefas wrote before passing away, and the drums on this track are handled by Desecrator from Krypt (et al.)
The two tracks clocks in at about six minutes each and are released on various 7"s limited to a total of 500 copies. The EP is not mandatory, but the music is good, and audio fanatics will appreciate the dynamics of these tracks ticking in at DR9, as opposed to customary DR6 on the album. A review of the album, entitled The Arcane Abyss, containing a more detailed presentation of Endezzma, will be presented soon.
To be continued... so stay tuned!