Invictus Productions, 15.09.17
The Chileans in Oraculum are back. Contrary to what I envisioned when I wrote about the Sorcery of the Damned EP three years ago, the band's next release was not their debut album.
What we get is instead a new EP with four tracks, of which on is an intro and three are proper songs. Half a minute shorter this time, as the guys reel off the material in less than twenty-one and a half minute.
Not that it matters. The reunion is pleasant all the same.
First, let's have a look at what I wrote about the previous EP:
Oraculum - Sorcery of the Damned (EP)
Released by Invictus Productions on October 27th 2014, and approved by Gorger on November 6th. Oraculum consists of three Chileans who play death metal of the primitive, “noisy” type. The first two songs on this four-track EP were released as singles in September. On the one hand, the music appear like a steamroller loaded with dynamite. The sound is rough, and the compositions ain't just straightforward, but possess rawness, variety and tough melody lines. On the other hand, you might have heard its kin a bit too many times to become enormously impressed? Especially considering that this is only a 22 minute seance.
Here, however, the benefits dominate. Although I won't call this release obligatory, it's content is killer death metal, dripping with tar-black moods. A more than approved start of the Chileans' career. Now all we have to do is wait in anticipation for enough material for a full-length to be scraped together.
I'll rather dive deeper and more thorough into the material whence that's being launched.
Now, back to Always Higher.
After Exeunt, the intro, Lex Talionis kicks of with occult frenetic clamour, where the atmospheric interlude about a minute into the song becomes a highlight. Semper Excelcius brings a gloomy fiendish fume as smoke from the fireplace of an infamous ritual, and in my ears surpass the previous song.
The band ends with 9 minutes long Sphinx a cover song by German Poison, picket out from their critically acclaimed cult classic Into the Abyss, first released as a demo in 1987, and then as a full-length in 1992. I don't consider YouTube to be a trustworthy source of audio quality comparison, but Oraculum anyway provides a more resounding punch than what the case is with the versions I find on YouTube.
The Chileans again deliver a good release with ample details in the instrumentation. As on the previous EP, the sound has a very suiting echo, which amplifies the occult touch. I'm not sure whether the material is as good it was then, but after a bit of comparison, I find that Always Higher and Sorcery of the Damned are quite even with a negligible margin.
Again, I refrain from defining the EP as mandatory, whilst it's undoubtedly good. As last time, we're talking deadly ritual metal that drips with tar-black moods, and you should know best if you can pass this EP by in silence, or if the void in the collection will devour your soul.
Xtreem Music, 12.09.17
The only thing I've heard from Purtenance is the debut Member of Immortal Damnation (1992). In return, I've listened very little to it. (Just to express myself a bit eccentric.) It seems clear that the cobbler is sticking to his last. And that he's rather bitter about not having done more out of life. The shoemaker is grumpy and annoyed.
The band is from the city of Nokia in Finland, not far from the bigger city of Tampere. The band was established in 1989, but if we take the break from 1992 to 2012 into account, the guys can't brag of having been in the death industry for close to 30 years.
The funeral agents, now with two original members in the ranks, are still versed in the field and have released two albums since the comeback, in addition to this and a former EP. Paradox of Existence consists of four songs, and clocks in at barely 19 minutes.
The Finns play death metal with punch, and adds a lot of hypnotic groove and moods. Something that prevents boring moments from ever taking place. From gloomy omens, via ominous threats, to violence with blunt objects, the Finns deliver solid death metal. Even though you've obviously heard the genre done better, it would be a much more tediously circumstantial job to account for all the cases of less rewarding moments in the presence of death. This firing squad empty their magazines at will, making the execution a memorable affair I wouldn't mind taking a reprise of. Paradox of Existence is thus very easy to recommend to the disciples of death.
Silver Lining Music/Motörhead Music, 01.09.17
But Lemmy Kilmister wasn't dead... Or so it seems.
Before the man was clothe in wooden suit, his body naturally preserved by alcohol, Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee enjoyed playing classics and favourites from other artists together. With Lemmy's charismatic, characteristic and always flattering vocal, the band left their motörized signature effortlessly onto whatever you could throw at 'em.
Now, someone have compiled 11 such cover songs on one release.
The band needs no introduction, and the songs should basically be of well-known calibre. The sound and execution is of course as expected of high quality. Therefore, I'm not guiding you through Under Cöver, but rather letting you off your leash to go through the song material on your own.
The years in parentheses are time of recording.
01. Breaking the Law (Judas Priest) (2008)
02. God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols) (2000)
03. Heroes (David Bowie) (2015)
04. Starstruck (Rainbow) (2014)
05. Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent) (1992)
06. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones) (2001)
07. Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones) (2015)
08. Hellraiser (Ozzy Osbourne) (1992)
09. Rockaway Beach (The Ramones) (2002)
10. Shoot 'Em Down (Twisted Sister) (2001)
11. Whiplash (Metallica) (2005)
Most folks should be able to find their favourites here. The biggest Motörhead fans probably got most of these recordings in some form or another already, although there is one unreleased song among the material. Heroes were recorded as a tribute to David Bowie shortly before Lemmy passed away just thirteen days before the decease of Bowie. Now, in any case, these songs are put together and made available on CD, LP and in digital formats.
The selection of songs is obviously among the more famous songs the band has covered, and thus appears as a “best of” or “greatest hits”. One can always irritate oneself over the fact that this opportunity to collect all of Motörhead's cover songs once and for all has been squandered away. The release thus inevitably becomes kind of unnecessary, and if you don't need Under Cöver, you may steer clear and pretend (as sturdy as possible) that this release never took place. If, however, you take Under Cöver for what it is, it's a simple compilation of good songs that combine rock, punk and metal as only Motörhead was capable of.
I, Voidhanger Records, 15.09.17
It took some time before I noticed the similarities between the Spaniards' debut Shrines Of The Void, released last summer, and Watain. This time, the association came by themselves. I had of course completely forgotten about such a minute detail in the meanwhile.
Where Shrines... was located more between Casus Luciferi and Sworn to the Dark, the EP Infamata can to a greater extent be placed between Sworn... and Lawless Darkness.
If someone has any trouble with that, they'll have to look for new music elsewhere.
Personally, I have no objections as long as the band writes solid material that stands firm on its own feet. And if Watain don't return to former state and condition after somewhat disappointing The Wild Hunt, the world can nevertheless benefit from a successor.
Guitarist C.S. from Graveyard, who recently left Morbid Flesh, is the one who compose the music, while bassist A.T. helps out with the lyric. Vocalist A.K. delivers warped outbursts, assisted by guest vocalist NSK from Teitanblood and Ofermod on the song Sister of Sleep, while drummer J.F. from Cruciamentum and Ered ensures steady rhythms. The sources, however, differ on whether live guitarist P.K. participates on the EP.
Like last time, the recording was done in Moontower Studios and mastered by Cruciamentum's Dan Lowndes, and like last time, the vinyl edition will be released by Me Saco Un Ojo Records. That's going to happen in October. The sound, resounding in a comfortable, dreamy and narcotic manner, is somewhat more rounded and instantly available than on the debut. The dynamics have admittedly dropped a few notches from DR12 to DR9, but that's still very good.
Otherwise, the recipe follows the same basic concept, with hypnotic effect through adequate variation via clever instrumentation that attach its hooks and drag you to the netherworld. The feeling of leaving the body and travelling in the astral plane is perhaps even stronger than on Shrines Of The Void.
Infamata lasts for 27.5 minutes and reaches its crescendo with nine minutes long Sister Of Sleep. The ten second sequence at 4:09 reminds me of something from Watain. The same can be said about a few brief guitar melody lines in A Dying Sun. Not that we're talking plagiarism. I just thought I'd mention it. Seen in a different black light, I'd say that leaves a lot of black metal with a similar expression yet with unmatched riffs et.al. Something that can testify to respectable compositional creativity.
Sheidim delivers damned solid profane black metal, and is a must for fans of both the Spaniards and the Swedes.