Satanath Records, 15.12.16
I still have a few drafts from the end of last year. As I was destroyed yesterday due to alcohol abuse the night before, I have not been able to prepare anything else. And as my spare time today is limited, something already half-written suits me fine.
With the exception of the logo, there is nothing about the cover that gives any real indication as to musical direction. You may as well determine what associations the cover give off for yourself, but it is beyond doubt musically misleading. Conceptually, however, it's more fitting.
French Aksaya is first and foremost inspired by black metal, but don't perform an orthodox version of the genre. The band's lyrical vision is to bring science and technology into the music, along with a dose of futuristic sci-fi. However, the music is neither ethereal nor abstract or avant-garde. The form of black landscapes the Frenchmen operates in, borders on the land of death, and is also soaked in a melodic gusto.
The melodic tunes of the band have a slightly strange feel, though. Some of the material conveys melancholy, while other sequences almost seem joyful. Those who expect black metal will thus easily wrinkle their noses due to the contrast between the band's expression and the listener's expectations. On the other hand, if you listen with an open mind, you will find many interesting melodic approaches to a distinctive expression.
I didn't quite wise up to Kepler half a year ago, and when I pick up the thread where I left of, I see why I never finished the review. Aksaya is a rather skilful, but also schizophrenic trio who will surely appeal to some and rub others up the wrong way.
A lot of good melody and variety, as well as good performance and sound, should perhaps suggest an approval, but as said, I'm still struggling with figuring out what to make of this. That's kind of an artistic achievement in itself, but I hold back on the grading and encourage you to form your own opinion, or at least to make an attempt.
French Wastes was founded by Laurent (Mourning Dawn, Funeralium) after a night of drinking binge, as a channel to create dirty, rotten and uncomfortable music in any state but sobriety.
Rumours spread, and this fallen occupied shack eventually became a haven for David (Sordide, Year of no light), Kostas (Pantheist), Nadine (Ashtar), Fred and Julien (Ataraxie*, Funeralium).
Together, the sextet have created a 45-minute work divided into 7 adjoining segments. The piece wriggle slowly forward like an alarming serpent soaked in cement. Yes, this is funeral doom from Hell's forecourt. The rhythm guitars are down-tuned and resounding, while the lead guitar creates spooky and nasty moods. The vocals consists of desperate and despairing growls that cry out its anguish without receiving any compassion in return. Between each drum stroke you can recite Shakespeares' collected works or calculate π with 17 decimals. If you're damn fast, admittedly.
Into The Void Of Human Vacuity was mixed by Kris (Funeralium), and is atmospheric as civil defence sirens and bubonic plague, hypnotic as a mass suggestion generator, courtesy of your local mad scientist, and euphonious as the resounding echo of foul sewage systems full of hungry and infected rats. As the course of events is not really terribly eventful, it's basically reduces to a course. Or in this case, the flow down a drain. Therefore, the album receives an approval, but not a definitive recommendation.
Godz Ov War Productions, 30.04.17
Polish Loathfinder has dropped their first EP. On Encyclopaedia Metallum, the list over band members is limited to one man. On bass! the guy's name is Kacper Półchłopek, and the bass certainly plays a prominent role on the EP with the somewhat curious name.
The Great Tired Ones has four tunes of varying lengths which together clock in at rather exactly 28 minutes. That's really all I know about this bands and releases.
The first three songs are roughly about 6 minutes each, and offer slow, sludgy doom metal with heavy distortion and vocals that reek of an approach to black/death. The music, however, holds a certain distance to extreme metal, and prefer to lurk crouching around in the shadows in the outskirts of the light of the bonfire's flames. Loathfinder offers leaden riffs, but not the violent aggression that the harder genres are associates with.
The sound is abundantly down-tunes, dirty and distorted. Buzzing melodies convey dark and gloomy prophecies. Bass and guitar are on the same wavelengths like two concurring doomsday prophets.
Before the night is over, or at least before we've heard the last from Loathfinder for now, the band saw through the 9.5 minute title track. Viscous rhythms, malignant moods and distorted vocals fill the night anew. Swedish/Polish Haldor Grunberg, who plays in Thaw (and who also handled the sound on one of my 2015 favourites, from Non Opus Dei), has mixed and mastering in Satanic Audio studio.
The Great Tired Ones is suitably evocative, and the sound roars deep and droning. The biggest flaw is that nothing really happens along the way. There's no solid hooks to keep the interest. This is a first EP, and the potential is there, but better song material is required to generate viable value and staying power.
Daemon Worship Prod.&Carnal Records, 16.12.16
This is a draft I've had lying around for six months. In conjunction with a review of Svartsyn, I realized that it was time to blow dust of old notes.
The Swedish trio Grafvitnir has been active for the past decades. However, from the constitution in 2007, a few years passed before all preparations were in place. The band debuted with an album in 2012, and released a demo the following year. From 2014, the guys have released an album a year. This is the fourth in the series, and the first one I get acquainted with.
The band plays rich and powerful black metal with angry moods and glowing pace. The lads melodic inclination to some extent prevents classification as traditional trve black metal, but it doesn't automatically assign them in the midst of the melo-black either. These devils are a bit too frenzied and diabolical for that.
The trio does of course play authentic black metal, albeit not of the necrotic type. Let's nevertheless conclude with stating that they end up in limbo between the two versions, because the limbo is metal. I like both branches, and Obeisance to a Witch Moon pleases a lot. Especially considering how killer it sounds.
The vocalisation's hissing screams gives associations to infuriated witches that frothing in a hysterically frenzied manner lets her entire repertoire of spells hail over the listener who unwittingly dares to set foot in her cursed forest. The vocal can be a matter of taste, and may be perceived as a bit hoarse and monotonous in the long run.
The sound is thundering. Sharp riffs, breathless pitch black drumming and audibly rumbling yet not too prominent bass, blare and resound in the witch forest.
Obeisance to a Witch Moon wouldn't achieve sixth points in a more profound review, but I go with “killer” as grading in part to distance a significantly better album from other good albums, and partly because it slays! The album's span of just under 40 minutes also suits the blistering style well.