Everlasting Spew Records, 28.08.17
The self-titled debut EP of Portuguese Gaerea was released in November last year. I take the full responsibility for not presenting it back then. The advantage of this minimalistic delay is that I now also get the chance to present Endless Lapse, a bonus song on the brand new vinyl released, and the only song they've made a video for*.
Encyclopaedia Metallum states three names, but on band images, up to five masked individuals appear. Not that we're going to delve deeper into this micro-mystery.
The music the band reels off sorts in under the black sphere, but ain't the very easiest to classify with precision. It contains elements from different sub genres, and these are naturally woven together into a unitary whole. The first song of the release, Sanctificato, suggests mighty and moody black/death in the style of Behemoth, while Final Call quickly moves in a more downcast, deeply unhappy and comfortless direction with wretched vocals full of despair and broken dreams. The resounding guitars have a lot of melody to them, without traditional melodies being created, and atmospheric vibes seep out without a sensation of woodlands sneaking up on me.
The deranged vocal shows profane aversions in Pray to Your False God, while Through Time and Void of Numbness mirrors misanthropic despondency and lack of confidence in humanity through resignation and rage. The latter concludes the original version of the EP with a majestic mix of melancholy and monumentality, where resoundingly sonorous guitars flow like freshly melted snow from high peaks. With the vinyl re-release and the new digital version, Gaerea is expanded with just over five minutes to a total of almost 33 minutes. Endless Lapse combines several of the aforementioned moods of loathing, and lets paralysis give way for fury and despair.
The vocals, tending toward roaring and screaming, can be a matter of taste. I'm struggling a bit with that aspect myself. The amount of melody might also appeal to potential listeners to a varying degrees. Gaerea nevertheless has what it takes to quickly gain a name in the scene. The Portuguese come off as very promising with a strong first release.
Terratur Possessions&Oration, 24.08.17 Sinmara no longer needs any introduction, but of course you can read about the split with Misþyrming, released back in January.
With their new EP, Sinmara goes in a slightly different direction, without completely leaving their turbulent path. Within the Weaves of Infinity consists of three songs almost reaching 20 minutes together, and was first released digitally by the band a month ago.
Like Schammasch, Sinmara has toned down slightly on the most malignant and occasionally intense maelstrom, and incorporating more dreamy shamanistic moods. The music is still dissonant and kaleidoscopic, though, but the moods are not quite as evil and hostile as on the debut. The sound, on the other hand, is more intense, albeit not as atonal as the song Ivory Stone from said split.
Despite a more soaring feeling, the music still has an ominous touch that is amplified by its sonorous sound. Every instrument, including the bass resonates boomingly. The bass is handled by Wann, who runs Studio Emissary in Reykjavik, and who, like earlier, has taken care of the production. He left Sinmara just after this EP, and the band has already found a replacement.
I was a bit sceptical at first listen, but Within the Weaves of Infinity quickly grows into a good release at the intersection where comfort and discomfort meet and blend in a natural flow down rocky rapids. It should, however, be said that it isn't quite as good as Aphotic Womb, but of course, that doesn't mean a whole lot.
American Khazadum don't come from Florida, but from Milwaukee.
Whether or not that's the reason why they have chosen to take their death metal in a different direction, would of course only be speculations.
The fact, nonetheless, is that the band's metal is based on Lord of the Rings and that the guys mix death with orchestral elements.
This is the band's first album, following a 2015-EP named In Dwarven Halls.
Besides flattering choir and symphonic spices, the guys play aggressive and intense death metal. The music is solid and full of punch, but at the same time the content ain't incredibly impressive. The variation isn't absent but neither overwhelming. Details are found in the band's technically skilled performance, but the level of detail is basically not very intricate.
Without sequences with transitions, great instrumentation and a moderate symphonic touch, Plagues Upon Arda could easily have become boring in the long run. The nifty solo exertions unfortunately don't come along too often. The music, on the other hand, has a nice drift and a hint of the well-known hypnotic effect.
At its best, in the mighty solos and under the orchestra's majestic influence, the music is very good. Unfortunately, other sequences becomes more run-of-the-mill. All in all, we may call Plagues Upon Arda a relatively good release, but a far from obligatory such.
The American place of Valle Crucis in North Carolina houses a church called St. John's Episcopal, where remarkable sightings are said to be made. Especially the story of a demonic mongrel, a hellhound, is being told.
The black metal band Valle Crucis hails from Laurens, South Carolina, about 240 km (150 miles) further south, but that's wherefore they've taken their name.
The duo consists of vocalist and guitarist Jonathan "Skullcrusher" Sager and the chick Empress Ashriel on drums.
I feel (to the extent that emotions is anything more than misleading illusions) that there's been a lot of death metal over the last two months, while major parts of the black metal that has crossed my path have not been interesting enough to mention or have deviated from the traditional recipe. As such, it seems good to hear pure, unadulterated and unpretentious black metal. But unfortunately Valle Crucis must be said to have more potential than momentum and feasibility.
The hammering, riffing and barking becomes feverishly hot and blasphemous after a more moody, malignant start. The band needs not be ashamed of their accomplishments, but they never truly manage to seduce me entirely. The strategy becomes too simple to achieve that. The plain song structures blend with each other like an unnuanced porridge. A little more experience, along with more intricate song-writing, is needed before I get hooked. Things ain't all bad though.
As a very first EP, Valle Crucis is quite all right.
The vocals in particular beats many of today's more anaemic vocalists.