Invictus Productions&Iron Bonehead, 07.04.17
Belgian Possession is finally here with their first full-length album. In addition to a split and a compilation, the band has released demo and two EPs. These have proved very interesting and have received lots of ditto well-earned positive feedback. I made a quick presentation in connection with 1585-1646.
But now, the trial period is over. Now it's serious.
Some may perhaps work best in small formats, in the underground...? Bölzer* did, for example, not succeeded entirely in the transition to studio album.
Possession has dabbled in conceptual ideas before. So also this time. Exorkizein addresses Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's last known exorcist, which by irony of fate died during the writing process. The guys even had to make a few changes when the demons saw their chance to grab Gabriele on September 16. The album follows the priest from he with youthful zeal accepts the responsibility for one of the church's most comprehensive tasks through history, until he lay tired and dying on his deathbed, haunted and plagued by evil spirits. Now, gentlemen (and possibly others), the devil's fry, the spawn of Satan, has free rein!
The sound has adequately enough matured a clue, but the music has fortunately not “grown up”. The guys still play furiously primitive and raw black/death. The biggest change in the Possession camp is the departition of vocalist Mestema. The echo of his demoniacally possessed and distorted voice will be missed, but his replacement Viriakh makes a solid effort, albeit with some more conventional methods. His frantic rasping voice covers the needs in a more than approved way. Viriakh is admittedly not new. He previously handled bass and background vocals. The first newly acquired musician since the beginning of the quartet's five years short history, is new bassist S.Iblis.
The album lasts for 35 minutes and starts with an intro that takes us behind a thick oak door with creaking iron hinges. The church organ plays Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata while church bells toll and the devil-bewitched girl, spiritually and carnally inseminated by Satan's spirit, scream, yell and cry. No wonder my thoughts wander toward Slagmaur, whose new album was reviewed last week.
The music that follows inherits the soul of old Venom and early Sepultura with a richer sound of the current era, outperforming even Possessions best sounding release to date, the last EP. But you know you don't have to worry about it being polished. It sounds raw, powerful, juicy and ungodly, as it should. “Wild and beautiful” is not an expression in English as it is in Norwegian, but it still comes up with a good amount of hits on Google. This is beautiful on our terms. The music is like a raven-black version of those Norwegian youngsters of Reptilian* etc. in the sense that they show an intense glowing passion in their frenetic execution. “Enthusiasm” is an all too positive word to use for such heartfelt passion for frenetic malignant jet black deathlust. Whether it is slow and leaden with heavy bass, in a pace marked by stoic demonic tranquillity, or it's so fucking fast Pz.Kpfw the drummer hardly has time to play as fast as he does, they put their soul into it - never to retrieve it.
Not every surprises is just as fun, like the start to In Vain. I don't speak a speck of French. On the other side, we darned Norwegians have been fucking with your heads for years with Norwegian speech on our classic releases, so we'll have to endure. Besides, we're only talking a few short breaks from a thundering sound wave of dirty abominable sacrilege. It's no inconvenience, really. Final Preacher's Death lasts the longest and has everything, including doomy pace, Speedy Gonzatan and glimpses of moaning, dispirited clean vocals shouting in vain as no one is answering. Killer song!
Words are superfluous. Listen for yourself. Possession has bought and paid for their one way ticket to Hell, and so have you if you listen to Exorkizein's frenzied brutality. So what are you waiting for? (Thanks to Slagmaur for that one.) Exorkizein is perhaps in excess primitive for some folks, but if you miss that good old savagery of first or second wave black metal and early thrash, and/or the primal raving wrath of death metal's birth, this is an album packed with barbaric high-octane testosterone of the putrid profane type. Which should cover your needs if this is something you're on the lookout for.
PS: it does takes a while to get it properly under the skin, and I was thinking 4+ for a while, but after multiple spins, and finishing it off at an even higher volume with a beer in my hand, I believe the following grade should be adequate. Rating: 5
Do not be deceived if the cover gives you associations to death/doom. Or maybe that's just me? Based on Entheogenesis (2013), an album I unfortunately never found the time to write about, I had a suspicion of what to expect. Relatively furious black metal with diabolical moods, that is. But little did I know that Atra Lumen would knock out its predecessor to such a degree with juicy, ominous and monumental furore.
The band's conceptual inspirations are various forms of mysticism, shamanism and esoteric spiritual directions of Satanism, Gnosticism et al.
The French started out in 2008. Before said album they dropped three releases over three years. One being an album. In 2014, a split between six bands was released. One of them being Begerith*. From there on, the crew have remained stable.
The band's third album doesn't waste unnecessarily time, but takes us right into rough and grandiose, but also disturbing landscapes suitable for occult ceremonial activities. The stone alter's few and irregular spots of granite between rust-coloured and deep red-brown matter suggests frequent scarification in blood.
The moods of the music is partly of epic proportions, and the atmosphere is quite airy and ethereal, but heavy and sharp riffs ensure ground contact by mooring the expression with solid chains. The drums alternates between blasts and atmospheric rhythms of primitive warlike rhythms. While the native cannibals beat rhythmically on tam-tam drums and hollow logs, the medicine man chants with deep, raspy and heretical voice. When the tempo increases and the music races away, he sputter and hiss profane voicings with rasping screams.
Greg Chandler (Esoteric, Lychgate*) in Priory Recording Studios has been responsible for the entire production process. We've witnessed his sound-related results several times, most recently in connection with Ashenspire* and Darkrypt*, and as usual, the goods are safely delivered.
Atra Lumen is very evocative, and the song material practically has everything from mighty horns and awesome instrumentation to smooth structures and versatility. There's been some damned busy days recently, so rather than stalling for time, I'll let you discover the details of a lovely dark album on your own. Rating: 5+
Satanath Records, 04.04.17
A stylish but somewhat stylistically misleading cover adorn The Sarcophagus' sophomore full-length album. Haste is certainly not the attribute that best describes the band. Nahemoth namely formed the band in 1996.
By the end of the year, there were 11 black metal bands in the country, a number that had doubled just two years later. Something that was rather symptomatic of the whole scene as it seemed to explode at the time, or implode as true purists would probably say.
With Swedish and French impetus, the debut album was most likely something of a breakthrough.
After the first ten years, only a demo and an EP had been launched, before Niklas Kvarforth was recruited on vocals in 2009, and the band signed to Osmose Productions. Niklas was, however, only considered a guest vocalist, but he participated on both a short EP and the band's first full length album before he retired to focus on Shining. With new impulses, also from other member-replacements, the band moved from a melodic/atmospheric/symphonic style and into a considerably rawer direction on the album Towards The Eternal Chaos, an aggressive seance with clear Nordic inspirations.
They eventually found a vocal replacement in Mørkbeast from Russian Todestriebe, and the band is once again ready to detonate. With Beyond This World's Illusion, The Sarcophagus returns to a little more melodic approach, but they've thankfully left the pompous and synthetic gimmick behind. The men now offers adequate punch and diabolical attitude.
I have not been able to hear much of the album until today, but in return, it's been spun a lot today. Save for small pauses, it has virtually looped on repeat regularly throughout the entire day. Yet it remains a wee bit anonymous. The song material does not stand out a whole lot, but vocals, instrumentation and sound seemingly never makes me tire. Despite its melodic expression, there's no melodies in a conventional sense. The guitars form glowing sadistic glee with swirling rhythms from session member Oktay Fıstık, who is generous on the gunpowder. Adequate variation on the upper deck of the drum-kit is mixed with high engine speed on double pedals below deck. Mørkbeast also does a good job, with a voice that is not as sharp as his predecessor, but rather more snarling. As in the case of Inferno below, Necromorbus has once again been tampering and mastered in a proficient manner.
Beyond This World’s Illusion is a good album. Far better than average if you include the lot of scrap that are poured out on the market. As you may know, I only have time to cover the tip of the iceberg, and of course choose to listen to the best and most interesting. (Something which is impossible in practice, as one can never know until one have listened). Within such a narrow sector, The Sarcophagus ain't much better than “somewhat over medium”. Precisely because of the lack of structured depth and memorable hooks. But even if the album don't adhere the way I was hoping for, even after a dozen spins in a row, it is still packed with killer riffs, intense drumming, sharp vocals and cool individual sequences which apparently can be enjoyed forever without getting worn out. I can not bring myself to award a lower grade than... Rating: 4
Below is a lyric video for Reign Of Chaos, and a full stream from Bandcamp. Check out the song Ain Sof in particular, for an ample complex content. I'm otherwise a bit weak for the more evocative sections in Sapremia of Earthly Creatures, but I guess I'm just a fucking sensitive person. Beyond This World’s Illusion is released in cooperation with Death Portal Studio, Fila Sophiae and Sphera Noctis.
My first encounter with the Czech band was with their fifth album Black Devotion, released in 2009. Inferno should not be blamed for me not recollecting the album. I had limited time to listen to and absorb everything I heard, and providing my memory with a much-needed aid and tool was one of the reasons for starting this site some years later, as the sheer amount of new music and names gradually threw me off balance.
The band had released another album which I hadn't heard in the meantime. Thus I was not prepared for what I had in store.
Others in the same situation can slowly put their expectations away, for Inferno has gone through a colossal molt since Black Devotion. With flaming black metal, the album was in line with the band's moniker. Gnosis Kardias... takes quite a different musical direction, however. And the album Omniabsence Filled by His Greatness from 2013, can be considered as a cross between the two.
The Czechs started up in 1996, and dropped six releases during the nineties. Their first full-length was released in 2001, and the band has since been very active on splits, EPs and live albums between new albums. Among the band's five current members, vocalist Adramelech is the only one who has survived the turnovers they've been exposed to over the years.
The band has embarked on a spiritual journey in time and space. Elements of black metal with influences from ambience constitute the basis for an ethereal work with abstract word paintings of the underworld. The guitars sounds like an out-of-key echo of 60's-70's psychedelia, as if the soundscape resonates with the wrong timbre. But don't misunderstand, the sound is good. Choir-esque vocals and carousels of bright guitar tones dance around the listener in dizzying trance while pulsating rhythms and riffs chant hypnotic hymns that sets secret primordial energies in motion.
My first impulse was to compare with Enslaved's* more calm and proggy sequences on acid, or perhaps a dystopian, ominous and distorted version of Pink Floyd, wrapped in thunderous rusty barbed wire, for Inferno offers a mildly resounding psilocybin-ceremony where these groups' tangible structures are reduced to impalpable changing colours that transforms like ballet dancing cumulus clouds, changing lighting as shifting cloudiness and melting together like weird scenes from The Beatles' psychedelic Yellow Submarine. I feel like I'm repeating myself, as I used many of the same words to describe the landscape according to Skáphe* just the other day, but there's a limit to how many good synonyms there is on the matter. The latter is more cacophonically psychedelic, but one might say that Inferno's fresh batch is a hybrid between Skáphe and something a bit more doomy and atmospheric, like for instance Mare Cognitum*.
I really ought to be able to come up with some more relevant references, had it just not been for my seemingly widespread progress of pre-dementia. Let me think. Howls of Ebb* is too deranged, but Carpe Noctem, an Icelandic band with somewhat more atmospheric and slightly less kaleidoscopic character than their kinsfolk, can probably be used as an example.
If grey reality and conventional black disgust don't meet your pathological needs, or if you enjoy variation and want something dark to meditate to, I strongly believe Gnosis Kardia (Of Transcension and involution) will do the trick. The album is hypnotic and pleasant, with a smooth, steady flow and sliding alteration. Their previous album Omniabsence Filled by His Greatness can as mentioned be seen as a cross between infernal black metal and esoteric rituals, and appears in this sense as somewhat reeking of Greek flavour. One could say that even Gnosis..., in addition to its occult spiritual style, has a Hellenic whiff, which is emphasized by Mr. Acherontas* contributing some vocals. You can by the way look forward to a new album therefrom in late May. (Moreover, it's also time for a revisit with another Greek band very soon, but that's something we'll get back to).
Inferno's seventh sonic suckling is recorded with Tore “Necromorbus” Stjerna helming levers and knobs, and the sound is distinctive, but very adequate and suitably airy. I naturally became sceptical when the first notes startled me. After all, I was expecting a more traditional form of black metal. The album has still grown considerably over recent days, and I wouldn't mind setting aside an extra day to be seduced by this, for it's a time-consuming piece that is difficult to rank no matter how much time you grant it. I might possibly be a touch strict, for I'm not sure the rating is strong enough to reflect just how comfortable this album is. Rating: 4+