Prosthetic Records, 27.01.17
Italy's most powerful death squad is back. Their previous work, Regicide, was rewarded with a five minus
upon its release in May 2014. Judging by the aggression, they have returned to finish off those still shows signs of life.
The band played at the now world famous Bataclan just months before the terrorist attack. This inspired a concept where
the band's seventh album take a look at a centuries-old conflict which has once again flared up.
The Catholic Templar's rampage in the Middle East was already at the time controversial, and without broad European support.
In modern Europe, the knowledge of the crusades, these ancient historic events, have been virtually absent among the common
man. At the same time, some Muslim communities have kept the stories alive, as if a united Europe launched a collective
attack on the Middle East about a week ago to rob them of their sanctuaries and relics. Hour of Penance rightfully believes that any injustice that occurred in the Middle Ages can't justify
an endless desire for revenge against the western world. Modern society has developed a peace-seeking ideology favouring
coexistence, while the most extreme Muslims have a medieval mindset incompatible with modern society, leading to a dirty
warfare between sane rationality and blind religious fundamentalism. Hour of Penance speaks of wisdom and reason, and urges to take a strong stand in defence of our heritage
and values, not giving an inch to senseless “holy warriors” who utilize cowardly murderous methods.
With Cast The First Stone, a furious deadly fireworks of rabid riffs and fuming strokes are provided
once again. Hour of Penance delivers undaunted quality at all levels, and I consider this to be a notch
better than the predecessor.
The songs' melodic aspect is of course of the sublime kind, but the underlying melody lines creates good flow with striking
instrumental drive. Fairly subtle orchestral instruments, sometimes taking a more dominant role, contributes to a majestic
feel. In addition, some sparse MiddleEastern samples can also be mentioned. The rhythm section is solid as granite, with
pounding hammer drill pace and highly competent diversity behind the battery. The guitars deliver juicy riffs and atmospheric
eeriness of taut barbed wires. The music, as well as the sound, has plenty of aggression and punch.
The quartet reports that they've put lots of work into the recording of the album. Countless set-ups of equipment and gear
have been tried out in Kick Recording Studio before the men was finally satisfied. Bassist Marco Mastrobuono
have been responsible for the mixing and mastering. The dynamics lies between DR5 and DR6, and should have seen a
higher level to create a more spacious and huge sound, but all in all it still sounds rich and killer, meaning the groundwork
has certainly been thoroughly conducted.
The details within the music is constantly changing on the nuanced plan. The constant stirring in the cauldron creates ripples
on the surface, while the drift still appear relatively even. The music is far from monotonous, but the hypnotic effect isn't
disturb by too abrupt transitions and unruly antics.
With delightful song-writing, superb and tight execution, and juicy (albeit compact) sound, Hour of Penance
again prove that they belong to the absolute elite within death metal. Rating: 5
Osmose Productions, 27.01.17
The quintet from Portugal's second largest city Porto presumably consists of men. Men whose identity is presented as
initials. On promotional images they also appear shrouded and inaccessible. That they lead an anonymous existence,
won't prevent them from becoming more sought after, after flexing musical muscles on Appaling Ascension.
I don't know much about the band, but the anonymity is due to a desire to separate the musical material from reality's
materialistic aspects in order to let the hypnotic effect of the transcendental death metal speak for itself.
The band also seems to have been founded in 2014. The men play an eerie, ominous, resounding and churning maelstrom of
death metal. I could having sworn having put the phrase “kaleidoscopic death metal” to use before, but I can't seem to
find conclusive evidence to back up such a claim.
After a foreboding introduction, clocking in at as much as four minutes, we launch with striking intensity. This doesn't
feel entirely symptomatic for the rest of the album, as part of the material calms down the pace, although the
resounding intensity persists in churning gravity. Several extreme sequences of violent attacks on the hearing will arrive,
but by then, the listener is hypnotized and gagged, with hands tied behind the back, reduced to a drooling and mentally
absent shadow of his original self.
After aforementioned intro, From Endless Chasms and Poison Fumes take turns pummelling
the listener. When the worst physical torture has left you battered, it's time for psychological terror. The “interlude”
Ateg Gibor Le-olam Adonai is malignant, slow, heavy and thunderous, before a few leaden songs give the
poor listener claustrophobia in the pressure chamber. Personally, I feel that the technical effects of the guitar around
two and three minutes into A Gray Outcast feels a bit misplaced, but that's just cavilous nitpicking in
the face of the perspective of the albums entirety. The song is mainly concentrated around lower mid-tempo. It does,
however, not only move along in a slow coiling manner of gnawing pace, but also floor it and pound away brutally
in the midst of the song. The tempo is gradually increased over the course of the next two songs, before the
ten-minute-monolith Consecrating His Mark crush the skull of the torture-victim.
The Ominous Circle's sonic warfare takes place among the elite of the sub-genre as an arrogant matter
of course. The guitars resound infernally as Inquisition, and the hellish drive can bear being compared to that
of Incantation. The music thunders deep and dark like Ophis and Ulcerate, but the music also
has a dim and mystical veil of occultism, not unlike Acherontas and Shaarimoth. The band succeeded in
creating the expressions that Aum unsuccessfully attempted. Apart from the atmosphere, which don't entirely
match that of Serpents Lair, the overall expression deserves many of the same superlatives.
This vital vortex of death metal is “blessed” with wonderful production and titanic dynamic range, at least by today's standards.
Respectable DR11 even surpass Serpents Lair narrowly. (Magical Circumambulating the Stillborn landed on
impressive DR10.) This gives the instruments and the animalistic guttural diction ample elbow room, which they sure
know how to take advantage of with lovely virile diversity in riffs and beats.
I trust that you by now have formed an inner sonic picture of the band's expression. If you haven't previously lent your
ear to Appaling Ascension, I reckon it's also likely that you have already started the player below.
The details and variation in the Portuguese's cacophonous lava flow is simply slaying. Here you will find 52 minutes without
a dull moment. Is it too early to crown this year's debutantes? Rating: 5+
My Kingdom Music, 20.01.17
Italian Infernal Angels will during this year have put their first fifteen years behind them. The
band have three albums, among other stuff, in their back-catalogue, but for my part, Ars Goetia
is the first time our paths cross.
The band plays melodic black metal with a sense of black/death to it, and the first half of the band's name hit the
nail on the head. Not that the Italians are the most intense act in the genre, but the pace is kept steadily high with
the finger securely placed on the assault rifle's trigger.
After an ambient intro that rings of eeriness, hellfire opens with Vine: Destroyer of the World. I
perceive the first couple of songs as somewhat generic, as the underlying moods spend some time to come out of dormancy
and envelop the listener, a bit like hibernating evil spirits, awakened at last. The moods are malignant, and the
album gradually comes to its own. A touch of clean vocal in Viking choir style occurs in Asmoday: The Impure
Archangel, giving associations to folk/black bands like Gandreid. It's still with Purson:
Matter and Spirit that the album really settles in the ecosystem of the ear canal. The album's nine songs
after the intro proves to be fully in line with my sonic sensory receptors. Although Ars Goetia
spend some time to really crank up and get going, it has enough songs to create the wiggle room needed to still leave
a good impression.
The style appeal to me, and the band's material measure up. I have, however, heard similarities implemented a notch
better. The performance is all-in-all a bit identical throughout the album, even though each song has enough internal
variation. The sound is adequately unpolished. Some gravel in the mix doesn't hurt, but a somewhat better mix and
higher dynamic production wouldn't harm. The vocals are overly forward leaning in the sound, and the compression is
unfortunate. Strange enough, the music has a quite airy and resounding expression that prevents full disaster despite
a brick wall production of just DR4, where three of the tracks are even down to DR3. The most evocative guitars actually
sounds very good, while the drums may be unfavourably intense.
Speaking of intensity. At its most intense, in the track Zagan: The Alchemist, the music gets a chaotic
dissonant feel of Imperial Triumphant. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, although it creates a little contrast
to the remaining mighty and occult hypnosis.
I can't comment on Infernal Angels' past, but Ars Goetia foreshadows a band worth keeping
an eye on. As the rating suggests, this is good stuff that can be recommended, albeit with some debris to report. Rating: 4-
Clavis Secretorvm, 20.01.17 Thron is a new band out of Germany's dark forests, who sets forth to create black/death of a good,
The music has a timeless melodic approach akin to acts such as Dissection and Unlight but still don't
feel “retro”. Many extreme-metallic branches have joined in since the mid-90s, but the traditional melodic approach has
never become entirely neglected.
Thron deliver a solid self-titled debut which helps to keep the flame alive, but they won't be taking over
the relay baton just yet. The competition is simply a bit to fierce. The style is well known and Thron most
likely won't take existent genre connoisseurs' breath away. They might, at their best, raise the pulse and cause some moderate
hyperventilation, though. The guys have constructed eight good songs with gloomy-diabolical moods that are easily appreciated.
The album is well written and performed without plagiarizing anyone in any way. Thron is a brand new
contribution to the scene, with anonymous members, so I know nothing of their previous exploits and experience. At least
they seem versed in the noble art of song writing and expressing the essence of their ideas seamlessly on their respective
instruments. The music possesses enough complexity to offer an interesting orgy of swirling riffs and nifty drumming, without
becoming progressively intricate. This is an honest attempt to expose a satanic intent with a sadistic melodic smile. And a
successful one at it. The production is adequately red hot, as if the flames of hell have already begun devouring the sacristy.
I've heard a bit too much from the same alley to become ecstatically thrilled, but for fans of melody-based ominous black metal,
these 40 minutes won't be a bad buy. I thrive very well with Thron. Rating: 4+
In addition to full stream below, you can also watch the video for Purified in Fire.