Via Nocturna, 30.09.16
Earlier today, I was contacted by the Romans in Lectern, who tirelessly continue to promote their latest album, Precept of Delator, released 11 months ago. In a time marked by an abundance of both music and information (true as false), attention is gold worth. And I don't mind creating a little buzz.
The name seemed familiar, and it appeared I had already received the promo from Via Nocturna a year ago. Despite me thinking of it as promising at the time, it eventually drowned in the overflowing tide.
As you can read on the news page, a new page dedicated to contributing bands is launched, and Lecternjust made it to the bottom of the list in time for the premier.
I got around to hearing through Precept of Delator a couple of times earlier today, and now the Italians' angered death metal once again pour out of the speakers in a violent torrent on repeat. What's more fitting then, than to round of the month with a somewhat impulsive journey in death and decay signed by Lectern? At least I'll avoid forgetting about the album for another year.
The band has been going since 1999 and released an EP the same year, but most of the activity has taken place from 2010 up till now, with two EPs and two albums, including this one. Only vocalist and bassist Fabio Bava has endured all these years. Over a dozen have participated at one point or another, while all three other current members have been enlisted over the past five years.
Roughly, the band plays death metal in three paces; Slow and devilishly moody - mid-paced, groovy and headbanger-friendly - plus furiously fast and blasphemous without hesitation or inhibition. The material alternate frequently in riffs and pace, without the structures ever becoming artificially chaotic. Quite the contrary, the guys seem to have good control of the song-writing, in addition to playing tight and heavy, with the occasional febrile shredding.
Whoever enjoys their death metal old, morbid, putrid and profane, gets the picture. Fans of good old Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and such will, find a thing or two to enjoy on Precept of Delator. I find myself tapping my foot and nodding my head practically continuously. The grading is a tiny bit gentle, but the guys nail the style and therefore achieve a very strong, and well-deserved approval.
Blood Harvest, 01.09.17 & 29.07.16 Ossuary was the name of the death metal band that was created in Minnesota, USA in 1991. Something they were called until 1995. Just a single demo was released under their original moniker. As Ossuary Insane, they released their sole full-length Demonize the Flesh in 1998.
The band existed in various ways and different forms until about 2010, although the line-up seems to have been unstable. The band did created a good deal of music, but life was turbulent and not a whole lot was ever properly released. Until last year.
But let's rewind, and start this hasty band recap back in April 1996.
A young band with limited experience goes in to the studio. They've booked a week but end up blazing and shredding through the songs - live in studio - like a fireball on speed. After a single day, the material was nailed to tape without unnecessary tinkering, fiddling and perfection.
Ossuary Insane strikes me as a fairly rowdy band, prone to boozing, sparking up sweet leafs and partying hard. The story, as I interpret it, suggests a young band that, to a large extent, lived out the dream of a debauching, careless and irresponsible way of life. This is kind of speculations on my part, but the fact that they never got around to released more than a couple of demos thereafter, also imply that this wasn't the most well-organized band. In contrast to the apparent unstructured behaviour of the band, the music was structured. Albeit even that in a wild, half-crazed and semi-chaotic manner.
The band's death metal has a rough edge and a malignant black sting. The vocal is rasping and sinister, and the music is primitive and raw. It's fairly speedy, and rhythmic changes and other transitions occur frequently. The manic appearance of the riffs has an overtone of thrashed rawness, and the guy's high-octane metal gives a real adrenaline injection.
After a single album, music enough to fill at least one full-length was written, but never duly published. In 2011, original member Celebrants took his own life, and the band's wild journey ended without too much to show for besides good memories. Only when Olivier Meschine from Liquid of Life fanzine began to hassle Der Prophet, one of two other original members, any thoughts of a proper release finally became reality. Olivier even took the initiative to go label shopping.
Material originally recorded in 2001 and 2003 was collected for a 46-minute compilation consisting of ten songs. Just over a year ago this collection of rare and unreleased songs was released on Blood Harvest.
The full length is perhaps regarded as a cult classic, while the later material continues in the same untamed style.
For die-hard old-school fans, both of these are safe purchases. Hell, it's even your duty and obligation to own these.
For other, more general deathmongers, Ossuary Insane is an interesting curiosity.
Still other metalheads might do fine without it.
The music kicks ass, but you'll have to decide which category you belong to for yourself.
Black Lion Records, 31.08.17
After an EP and a debut I missed out on, a mediocre EP was released in 2014 and then re-launched by Black Lion in April last year. Following this, the Swedes made the accomplishment of releasing a full-length where all aspects were tightened and the razor's edge (or soundscape if you will) was sharpened. Something of a feat, although I had fate that the guys had it in them.
The releases we're talking about are the EP Temple Of Stilled Voices and the masterful album Absence. Mist Of Misery hereby launches Shackles of Life, the first part in a series of two EPs.
With its seven tracks and 30 minutes, Shackles of Life is a chunky EP. It offers many of the well-known ingredients from the full-length. Gentle moody piano, (a bit too evidently) synthetic violins, angelic female choir, male monk choir and various melancholic acoustic and orchestral constituents blend with crestfallen metal. As much as four tracks are acoustic interludes without a trace of metallic fragments. In the remaining three songs, which together make up for 20 minutes, the metallic part is based on black tremolo riffing, harsh drumming and heartbroken disillusioned vocals that curse the recklessly negligent architect of life in a red hot fury of desperation.
The material is once again masterfully composed and performed. Some may consider the blissful acoustic and symphonic components as too dominant. I'm inclined to agree, whilst I also consider the acoustic parties to be good and otherwise a matter of taste. In any case, it helps to give the band a distinctive, somewhat fairytale'ish gothic expression. Similar - although not directly comparable - things have been done before by bands such as Dismal Euphony and Tartaros, although it's not very commonplace.
My biggest objection is the timbre, which resonates with a somewhat exaggerated clang. That the reverberation of the grand piano fills the room is highly adequate, but the black metallic fragments should perhaps not resound with the same intensity. Excessive sacral sound still fits in with the fairylike and fairly reverent expression, and it's quite suiting that the furious, saddened vocal casts a ringing echo. I can live with the sound, but I still prefer the sound on the album, where the contrast between hostile metal and serene elements came a bit more into its own with the classic “beauty and the beast” formula.
It was with excitement I approached Shackles of Life. The EP might not live entirely up to expectations, but in spite of some nitpicking, I still find I have a taste for it. It certainly has its moments. Its release also brings both good and bad news. The EP sees guitarist Phlegathon participate for the last time before leaving Mist Of Misery. On the positive side, he intends to focus on the writing and recording of the highly anticipated sequel to Hyperion's masterful debut.
I'd like to highlight two songs in particular. Enormously wistful Broken Chains is an almost ten minutes long and very atmospheric composition, while the delightful opening of the song Dagon, which otherwise offers Transylvian moods with pipe organ and bewitched vocals, can be said to be part of the legacy of Dissection and Mörk Gryning.
The next EP in this mini series is baptised Fields of Isolation and will be released sometime this winter.