Naturmacht Productions, 28.01.17
Finnish Author is a one-man band run by J.V.
The music is black metal in the wake of the traditional second wave.
With all sorts of divergent branches, it's difficult to estimate what wave recent expressions belong to, but no
matter how much new delightful stuff is created, I never tire of pure, icy and unadulterated satanic hatred of
the old school. Author master the grim expression from the 90s and thus offer music with killer expression and lots of potential.
The guitar sound is freezing and biting as sharp icicles, while the drums tick like a stopwatch intended for deciseconds
and the vocal screeches like a meat hook dragged across the blackboard of the dilapidated closed down school. I obviously
exaggerate slightly, but at least you get the picture. The style, the sound and the performance works quite perfectly,
especially considering it's a one-man band. The material, however, lack a bit of substance. It's refreshing to hear
something that sounds elderly Nordic after having listened to all kinds of other stuff for a while, but the joy doesn't
last throughout the album. Through 36 minutes, parts of Lopun Alku becomes a bit selfsame, and it
soon becomes clear that several of the songs lack the necessary wits, depth or barbed hooks to become very memorable.
The performance is as mentioned wonderful, and it reeks of disgust and antagonism a long way, but the gist is unfortunately
somewhat thin on this debut. It must nevertheless be said that J.V. is on to something at places. The
title song and Kadotus stand out positively with reasonably good song writing and a sharp flow of
meltwater, while Ei ikinä enää offers testy grief. The other three tracks have occasional hints of
sapid sequences, but mostly fall through due to rather vacuous downpour.
If tfbm appeal to thee, thou art requested to consult the streaming service in the attached form. Rating: 3
Independent 07.01.17 &Minotauro Records 10.11.17 Begerith is a Russian-born band based in Poland. Their background is for me unknown, and the members
operate with Roman numerals for names. So does the songs on A.D.A.M., the band's sophomore album.
It must nevertheless be said that their names are easily available on-line, and that they haven't done
anything to my knowledge to achieve anonymity, save for wearing a bit of deathly pale corps-paint.
The band released their first EP in 2011, yet I didn't discover them until recently. Still I instinctively knew that
I had come across a gold vein.
I simply had to find out just how deep the vein went and how many carats it had.
The ten songs, A.D.A.M. I to A.D.A.M. X, exhibits majestic extreme metal that can
give even Behemoth a run for the money. The only track that doesn't follow the template for naming slavishly
is the intro Nome Fatas Hiss Mortus, where amongst other dissonant orchestral elements helps to create
an ominous mood.
The songs are armed to the teeth with powerful melodies and fanfares of guitars waving as confident medieval pennons
in the wind. The steady and ingeniously varied drums are executed with panache, while the vocal grinds foul utterance
from his throat like an indignant and furious false idol. As in the case of Nile, Begerith
have a becoming whiff of bygone exotic grandeur.
Despite having missed out on the quartet's past, it still feels as if everything's just coming together on
A.D.A.M.. The album proves to be just as potent as expected, and spin after spin only reveals new details
and no real weaknesses. If defects exist, they are well hidden. A.D.A.M. IV would admittedly have
fitted better as the last song with its soporific ending, for I jump every time A.D.A.M. V kicks
of with a bang. As you see, the music is related to others, and so it's not exactly breaking new ground. The songs
don't have very catchy melodies that you'll catch yourself whistling to, but that kind of memory-friendliness is not
necessarily a target in itself. There's enough meat-hooks here, though.
Begerith have recorded in Dreaming Stars Studio in Vladivostok, while mixing and mastering is
done by experienced professionals; the brothers Wojtek and Slawek Wiesławski of well known Hertz
Studio. The sound is rich and grandeur, and thus suits the music excellently, despite the dynamics being measured
to an unfortunate Behemoth-level of only DR5. I wish it had more, but I intend to let it slide as long as it
nevertheless sounds resoundingly killer.
A.D.A.M. is a juicy and opulent mean motherfucker that can be easily recommended to fans of monumental
colossi and colossal monuments like Behemoth, Hate and Nile in particular. Simply an exquisite
piece of mighty music. I don't hand out the highest honours generously, but I'm enjoying the hell out of
A.D.A.M., and thus find it worthy of receiving this gold plated decoration, for it turns out to be 24 carat. Rating: 6
Aesthetic Death, 31.01.17
The French black/doom band Mourning Dawn attempts to think outside the box,
and presents a 72:36 minutes long trilogy named Waste.
I assumed this was the band's fourth album, but according to Metal Archives, it's an EP. I've spent a lot of time with
it, and my firm conclusion is that the EP format is the most adequate, in spite of its duration.
The release consists of three just as long tracks of 24:12 minutes. The core of the first two are the same,
but there's a number of differences in nuances. The third track put these together to create a separate song.
It sounds interesting, but I think I can hear the gears in the brain kick in among sceptics and critical thinkers. A
complex song, recorded in a studio, will always consist of a number of layers. -“Waste thus consists
of one song which has been laboriously pealed into two parts that's first presented separately to make the playing
time three times as long?” You ask. -“Yes”, I answer, you could also put it that simple.
This is a single 24-minute composition drawn out across the hour mark. A triple EP, if you will.
Admittedly, the main composition, called Waste (deconstruction of a human being), isn't just cut in half
with a jigsaw. The first two tracks, The One I Never Was and The One I'll Never Be, works
perfectly well individually, and doesn't feel stripped down as one might expect. I would on the contrary claim that they
largely overlap. If both contained 50% of the material, and yet worked well both separately and in parallel interaction,
I would have been impressed. Here, it feels more as if the core is common and consists of approximately 80% of the final
The music is droning and monotonous, but not too uniform. Instrumental diversity, as well as vocal and effects creates
a comprehensive ethereal symphony of resounding atmospheric rituals. Layered music always requires time and patience
of the listener. You don't need to launch the CD again after 25 minutes. You just let it go on while you get three
slightly different versions served. The release in its entirety still feels more repetitive than an equally long lone
composition in line with Monolithe would.
The final version, Waste (deconstruction of a human being) that is, resound well and contains rich
variety, even in its pace.
Whether this somewhat peculiar concept of get-acquainted-with-all-the-layers-in-the-music is worth doing again or
copycatting by others, is up to the individual to judge. Personally, my attitude is doubtful. Waste
could strictly speaking just as well have been presented as a single song EP. I'd actually prefer that. The main song
has a churning funeralistic touch, but the unnecessity of the two bi-tracks draws the overall impression down.
Despite my scepticism of the method, I at least endorse Mourning Dawn's creative attempt at innovation,
although the result is neither ground-breaking nor 100% successful.
The song is good, but not a necessity in the collection, and the different variants are about as redundant
as a single with a couple of futile remixes. Unless they can serve as some kind of “Layers one-oh-one”,
a basic course in layered composition and production. The previous album, a monumental double album named
Les Sacrifiés (2014), was a couple of notches more essential. The rating is a bit
strict, mind you. After all, I do like Waste (deconstruction of a human being) rather well. Rating: 3+
The first preview was rather short, so I choose to stream the newer teaser.
The newcomers in Kashgar promotes themselves as Kyrgyzstan's only active metal band. I thought I was
clever when I smoked them out by claiming that Darkestrah also hail from Kyrgyzstan. I still had to eat my
accusation of forgery, for the trio from the steppes is of course right when enlightening me that Darkestrah
flagged out many years ago and turned Germans.
During the past four months, another Kyrgyzstani band named Panzer Bulldozer have popped up on
Encyclopaedia Metallum. But let's ignore that, as I'm not interested in making an ass of myself one more time.
The trio plays a kind of black/death that does not quite fit into any square pigeon-hole. The expression also varies
somewhat on the album, something that doesn't make it easier to define the music. Not that it sounds way too schizophrenic
for this reason. Much like Black Hole Generator and Black Anvil, for instance, the band has a somewhat
diffuse expression that's rooted in black metal, but that differ from the usual recipe. A majority of the songs may be
said to have a partly melodic and relatively progressive slant, and a rather gloomy atmosphere.
A majority of the songs have a relatively calm feel, albeit with aggressive undertones, while they sometimes seems to
lose their temper and resort to rage. At first listen, Scent of Your Blood hardly seem compatible with
the expression in the first two songs, while Albarsty riffs like a ragingly rabid Black Sabbath,
high as a kite on fly agaric. These songs, and some other segments, has a stronger, more inaccessible underground feel.
The expression has nevertheless commonalities that prevents too much splay, and the last time I checked, it was still
allowed to experiment a bit on a self-released debut. Not that it's easy to look up the related laws as it basically
consists solely of unwritten rules. In addition, there's status in breaking the rules.
The self-titled debut has a certain home-made charm, which falls naturally considering thay've done everything besides
the mastering on their own. The band's guitarist Ars is the one who has torn off his hair in despair
attempting to fine-tune the sound, while the mastering was entrusted to Achilleas C. of Varathron
and Aenaon fame. The deep, rich and suitably distinct bass sound in particular deserves praise.
The lyrics focus on Tengrism, a traditional religion, not only of the Kyrgyz, but of the Mongolian and Turkic people. The band
Tengger Cavalry is named after Tengri, the sky deity, by the way. Kashgar apply a shamanistic approach.
You can read the following interview if you'd like to learn more about
their motivation and history.
I received the promo half an eternity ago, but it has been pushed back in the queue by the eternal flood of new releases.
When the 38-minute debut was released on vinyl via German Manifest of Hate Creations about three weeks ago, however, I found
the time over-ripe to get my finger out.
The album has a somewhat strange and primitive feel, but it is also charming. With a little airy and splayed
gap in the material, it's not easy to say exactly where Kashgar will go from here. The future may
prove to become interesting. Rating: 4
Northern Silence Productions, 27.01.17
We've encountered Horn a few times before. The enthusiasm has been somewhat lacklustre,
but rising. The one-man band has been around for fifteen years, and this is album number seven.
It's of course pleasing to be able to report that his tireless work,
among the five albums I've heard by now, is gradually paying off.
To the extent that these test samples form credible statistics, the trend of an increasing
positive attitude on my part fortunately continues with Turm am Hang.
Horn plays a kind of pagan metal with elements from the surrounding regions, something we more or less
ascertained in connection with Jahreszeiten / Die Kraft der Szenarien and Feldpost. I see, by the way, that I've accidentally
come to write Horna a few places. German Nerrath isn't associated with the Finns, of course. I've
long since ceased (or given up on) correcting old blunders. I can only apologize.
Despite similarities in taxonomy and pigeonholing, Horn is located rather far from the partly atmospheric
and severely resounding approach of Árstíðir Lífsins. With Horn, earthy moods and marching rhythms
have a higher priority. The music has a touch of good hard rock, actually, without this being overly apparent.
The moods of Turm am Hang ain't directly merry, but not particularly grim and sober either. Imagine a kind
of cheerless tankard swinging with a grumpy chief at the end of the table. One drowns their sorrows in mead, and toast to
the lust for blood revenge. The feeling of dispirited hopes and futile wishful thinking gives a peculiar associations to the
famous and somewhat despondent line of lyric; What Shall we do with the drunken sailor.
Feldpost was the band's first studio-produced album, and the sound is even better this time. A little more
round and lively, something that suits the material well. The material is gratifyingly also a couple of notches better. Some
songs are better than others, which of course is absolutely fine, but even if not everyone leaves as lasting impressions,
no tunes appear distinctly anonymous or tedious. It should be noted that the album isn't particularly uneven either.
It starts strong, with two of the better songs, and continues just as well with two more sturdy tracks. Then it languish
slightly on my part. After the strange “interlude” Lanz und Spieß however, where psychedelic guitar effects
prevails, the material improve again.
The album ends with the song The sky has not always been this way, a cover of the American black/ambient
Bitter Spring Sleeps. The vocals are actually done by the band's own vocalist Lord Sardonyx (who also
dwells in the band with the suspect moniker Satan's Almighty Penis), which almost makes it more of a collaboration
than a pure cover-song. It'd be interesting to hear what Sardonyx himself think, for my opinion is that this version
outdo the original by a wide margin.
All in all I would say that this is a good album. I advise you to watch the time-lapse video showing Timon Kokott painting
the cover art. Both because it's stylish and impressive, and because the music in the song Turm am Hang is worth the next five minutes of
your life. Rating: 4
Ván Records, 27.01.17 Árstíðir Lífsins, previously presented in conjunction with their third album
Aldafǫðr ok munka dróttinn, released in late 2014, should be familiar to most of you.
The Icelandic / German band consisting of Árni from Carpe Noctem, and Stefán and
Marsél, both associated with Helrunar. They've had the same stable crew over the years, except for
Georg from Drautran who departed during 2014.
The band hasn't been around for ages, they can celebrate their ten-year anniversary next year, but they've certainly made their mark.
Heljarkviða consists of two tracks, and is presented as an EP, but the fact is that each song is as lengthy
as a respectable EP on its own. Together, the two clock in at 40 minutes. Enough bang for the buck to justify a review.
Árstíðir Lífsins doesn't use typical Viking tonality, but you can find sturdy moods of a long bygone age
in the well-preserved Norse vocal and the dramatic music. The style can be called a kind of pagan metal with elements of
black, Viking and the atmospheric sub-genre.
The album's concept is based on Norse mythology, and sees a warrior die outside of battle. Briefly put, he thus end up
in Hel, and not in Valhalla. This unfortunate event is closely followed by Ragnarök, where the dead returns to earth.
If I listened solely to the moods of the music, however, I could just as easily have interpreted it as a dark and sombre hymn to Odin.
The music has a number of quiet and dreamy passages, albeit at times marked by disturbing dramatic violin. When the music
is not characterized by acoustic and orchestral instruments in harmony with the sounds of nature and the sea, with water
playing out its versatile repertoire of sound effects, the music has a somewhat resounding and massive appearance. Intensity
occurs in the music, but in a calm and lightly surging pace with a hypnotic effect like tranquil waves. The vocals are at
times black and biting, but often appear in the form of deep, manly Viking choirs. Some Teresa is also credited
for guest vocals, but I can't say I've noticed a fair maiden astray at sea or bewildered in woodlands.
The two songs have lots of mood in stock, and is characterized by great variety and competent performance. I know that
Árstíðir Lífsins master their profession, but my amazement at just how incredibly proficient they do
it never seem to cease. The music is simply exceptionally comfortable.
At times I argue that an occasional release isn't obligatory. Well, if you appreciate dramatic, evocative and hypnotic
pagan metal, Heljarkviða is mandatory, whether you choose to recognize it as an EP or LP. Rating: 5+
Feel free to dive deeper into the band's discography if you have gaps to fill.
Season of Mist, 27.01.17
French The Great Old Ones plays a kind of eerie ethereal extreme metal strongly influenced by H. P.
Lovecraft. So much in fact that the master of horror is even found worthy a place on the band's promo picture. EOD is short for Esoteric Order of Dagon, a cult known from The Shadow over Innsmouth
(1931), part of the Cthulhu mythos, and the only story published in book form during Lovecraft's lifetime. A Tale Of Dark Legacy is written as a continuation of the book, something the author would approve of as
he encouraged others to adopt from and build on his stories.
The music is partly related to Deathspell Omega, but with mighty atmospheric pauses. These Frenchmen haunt
the absolute outer edges of the kaleidoscopic landscape, located somewhere within the sphere between nightmarish dreams and
reality, where the boundaries are hazy and diffuse. To my own surprise, I see that I compared the band's previous (and
sophomore) album, Tekeli-Li to post-black metal. Not that I reject that statement now. The music is much
more than mere post-black, but the slow and gnawing form of black metal has a soaring tonality that has a lot in common
To begin with, the music feels too brutal. Not too ferocious for fans of extreme metal of course, but too aggressive to
fit the creepy horror of Lovcraft's obscure universe. His stories are characterized more by uncanny and alarming
undertones than of sheer savage. But when the album starts growing with time, hidden tunes sneak up on an unsuspecting
listener. The beauty in the nameless detestable vileness reveals itself. Poisonous soporific gases seeps from crevices in
the depths, inducing hypnosis. The world as we know it fades and shifts shape, imperceptibly and subtly. When the fog clears
as morning dew facing sunlight, it's not home sweet home that depicts its silhouetted against the horizon, but diabolical
outcrops towering ominous in front of you, rendering what's perceived as mocking grins in the outline of its cracks. And
the fractures are dripping with glistening greenish, unearthly and fetid mucus.
I enjoy EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy more than Tekeli-Li. Whether it is due to the material,
the resounding sound or that my own tastes have evolved, I can't say for sure. The difference is hardly more significant
than fans of the former album will come to like this as well. Which of the two you'll come to rank higher, is most likely
only a matter of taste. Rating: 5
Werewolf Records&Hells Headbangers, 06.01.17
If I were to guess, I'd take a stab at Mordskog (Murder Forest), much like for instance
Dødsfall, From the Vastland and Khaospath, consisting partly of migrated black metallers. It emits
a Nordic odour, while a vague exotic essence spice up XIII slightly.
However, the band with the Scandinavian moniker hail fully and entirely from Mexico.
Throughout the band's 14 years long history, the crew has been subjected to massive replacements, the last of which took
place after the recording of XIII. The band is currently a trio, and this is their first full length album.
They have truly been inspired by the Nordic originators, and constructed a satanic séance that erases physical
borders. The influences are legion. A scent of known material can sometimes be traced. On Mors Vincit Omnia
I initially get a little vibe of Satyricon's The Dawn of a New Age, and in Mors
Est Vitae Essentia it occasionally smells a bit of Crest of Darkness. Otherwise the music has a hint
of black'n'roll as it jog along in upper mid-tempo. In general, the black metal got a whiff of Nordic hostility,
sometimes with a hint of Immortal. The moods are however somewhat more negatively charged than what they've
been known to trumpet. Some songs also have a more crazed sense of Den Saakalte, like the opening track
Lautum Novedialem, while the mixture of subsequent Nascentes Morimur, and parts of
Mors Est Vitae Essentia, amongst other, drag my mind in direction of Carpathian Forest.
In ominous C.A.M., the schizophrenic clean vocals are layered in a frantic singing way that sounds very
Swedish. I could have sworn I picked up a few morphemes and lexemes of Swedish vocabulary, like “smärta och sorg” (pain
and sorrow), “jag ofrar min själ” (I sacrifice my soul) and “frostbiten” (make a wild guess), but I guess these are only
pieces of Spanish that becomes unarticulated vocable gibberish to me, only for my brain to shape into more recognizable
glossary. Or maybe it's a a sonic mirage. What the hell do I know?
The sound on the album is characterized by unusually rich bass, and a kind of airy feel that compensates quite well for
weak dynamic range in the sound. The album's production sounds slightly different in a way. On rare occasions the guys
offer on a bit of acoustic guitar legacy from the Iberian Peninsula. Slightly more Latin American inspiration baked into
the dough could have given a more distinctive character.
The Mexicans delivers an album with sturdy, towering and resounding black metal of a semi-Scandinavian type, that sounds
familiar, yet somehow different and exotic. The songs work fine together without melting into a single inseparable lump,
and the music got nifty drive and instrumentation. If this sounds tempting, I recommend you become better acquainted with
Mordskog's XIII. Rating: 4+