Later, just after the transition to December, the single Tro, håp og kjærlighet were released without me getting around to covering the event at the time.
Anima Sola consists of 55 minutes of music, unfairly distributed across ten songs, and play upon a broad emotional range.
Tro, håp og kjærlighet (Faith, hope and love) opens the album with naked vulnerability and brutal honesty. Minneriket (Realm of Memories) is a project that doesn't just give vent to musical creativity. The band is also a channel for agonizing feelings, painful thoughts, sorrow and frustrations.
Rather than just worshipping the diabolic, the lyrics often have an unpleasant realistic baseline that many to some extent can relate to. The lyrics also appear more rational than those found in dsbm, as the thematic of the more depressive aspects feels more down to earth, while the goal seems to be catharsis - purification and just letting off steam - rather than self-destruction.
The music's expression varies over a wide range, making Anima Sola relatively splaying. This is also reflected in Stein's diversity of vocal styles. At its most black and hateful, the immersion is electrical. When the vocal scratches like stone against stone, an aura of disgust sparks in air saturated with methane.
Associations to Burzum were mentioned in connection with the first single. The rest of the album also reveals more cold and apathy in the form of atonality and industrial sadism. Similarities to Mysticum can also be tracked. Particularly in the programmed drums, that deliberately sounds inhuman. After a somewhat monotonous emotionless and ruthless reign of terror - lead in particular by the two long songs Between Infinity and Melancholy and Det lyset jeg ikke kan se, lasting for more than 20 minutes together - a nail is hammered into an already crushed cranium in the form of claustrophobic Sorger er tyngst i solskinn, a song that gives some associations to Slagmaur.
More songs follow. The stay in the pressure chamber never ends. The inevitable dissonant discomfort seems endless. For almost 56 minutes, Minneriket keeps us on the rack. That's a long, long time. A very long time. Our eccentric antagonist delivers somewhat odd material with a rather self-made touch. This still makes up some of its charm. The charm in the harm. Anima Sola nevertheless feels just about bizarre enough to become an album that'll appeal most to those particularly interested in such.
As a travesty, a distorted reflection of contrived and feigned idyll, Minnerik holds up Anima Sola in front of you, as an unadulterated mirror for your soul. A mirror that portray your inner pain, your bereavement, your sorrow and despair, without any filter. The only question is; can you fucking handle it? Rating: 4
Self Released, 22.10.17
The Indian quintet Eccentric Pendulum was formed ten years ago, and released its first full-length in 2011.
The band's style is described as "Thrash/Death Metal/ Metalcore" on Encyclopaedia Metallum. I'll simply settle for calling it progressive extreme metal. Tellurian Concepts is their second EP, an 18 minute long threefold piece, consisting of intro and two songs.
As the title suggests, it's a concept related to planet Tellus; Earth. More specifically, it deals with how we have neglected our planet, and ignored that we've allowed it to lapse, right up till (and beyond) the point of no return.
The intro Nil consists of discreet, low-key sounds, and doesn't have a whole lot of value as such. The songs Accelerated Extinction and Contrivance songs take up most of the duration and offer jazzed metal with distinct fretless bass and dominant saxophone from prominent guests Micheal Manring and Bruce Lamont. Togethet with psychedelic guitar and progressive strokes, this creates a suggestive atmosphere that can easily be recommended to fans of the genre. The adjective technical can also be added to the description.
Colin Marston, from Gorguts, has mastered euphonic Tellurian Concepts, with the dynamic range hitting respectable DR9.
Fallen Empire, 27.11.17 Entheogen is once again a new entity worth taking notice of, if your attraction toward cosmic maelstroms and intense ominous currents don't know its limitations.
The quartet consists of experienced guys from the United States.
Guitarist and drummer S. Blackburn and J. Blackburn, from among others Chaos Moon and Esoterica, along with bassist B. Tiffin and vocalist A. Poole, have at some time or another initiated a collaboration that has resulted in a resounding, astral, eradicating solar storm.
With Without Veil, Nor Self, Entheogen seeks to let reality's physical matter dissolve and evaporate. The band wants to transform your perception of reality. Exactly what they want you to comprehend and believe, or what they themselves seek to achieve in the process, has not been revealed. Individual emotions and interpretations are probably entrusted to the listener. No answer key exists, only an infinite multiplicity of possible personal meditative routes to take in this dim labyrinth.
Multi-instrumentalist Alex Poole partake in the two previously mentioned entities, and is also part of the constellations Krieg, Martröð and Skáphe. His role in this case, however, is to handle the vocals. Something that is done in a psychotic rabid fashion. And, as such, in line with the deranged music.
Without Veil, Nor Self was mastered by J. Buczarski (Mare Cognitum), and resonates as of an intercontinental echo. The digital version has been available since the end of November, and may be yours for an optional price on Bandcamp. Thereafter, you can invest in a physical format if the album provides you with physical and mental well-being. Without Veil, Nor Self was distributed on polyvinyl chloride - fresh from the press - on the first day of the year, while the polycarbonate version is expected later this year via the label Mystískaos.
Entheogen deliver a solid piece of boisterous and thunderous sonic chaos that can hardly be combined with a wholesome mental health. I would've recommended it to fans of acts like Almyrkvi, Aosoth and the likes, but in fear of your mental condition, it would not be wise to suggest you give the album a chance. Therefore, I simply leave it right below in a careless and mindless manner, before turning my back. Rating: 5
Inverse Records, 01.12.17
The Finnish pagan-metal trio Wolfhorde was paid a visit when the debut album Towards the Gates of North was released two years ago. I was admittedly far from impressed by the result, but I give the wolves a second chance. The EP The Great Old Ones is also something completely different, as it doesn't contain any new material from the band.
The title doesn't refer to Lovecraft, but to Finland's pioneers in folk/viking waters. The Great Old Ones is a tribute to Finntroll, Moonsorrow and Amorphis, with a cover of each of them.
Jaktens Tid from the album with the same name, released in 2001, comes here in a version that is true to the original, although it wraps it in a rounder, more modernized soundscape. Kylän päässä hail from Moonsorrow's second album Voimasta ja kunniasta, even that one from 2001. Again, Wolfhorde offer a good version without becoming a caricature of the original.
The Amorphis song Sign from the North Side is an elder one. It's taken of the debut The Karelian Isthmus (1992). That means that there's more room for renewal, something the fresher Finns know to utilize. Wolfhorde adds more meat to the bone of the song. A song that in its original take appears as more sparse in comparison.
The interesting thing is that Amorphis themselves has also overhauled this song - on Magic & Mayhem - Tales from the Early Years (2010). None of these versions fuck around with the original composition, but the various versions are still very different.
The Great Old Ones is a completely unnecessary, yet highly alright EP. The material is of course solid. These are all classic songs. To rate EPs in the same way as full-length still feels wrong, even though I've dropped Impressions. Therefore, I'm putting the less formal skeleton grading to use for such short releases from now on.
Godz Ov War Productions, 15.01.18 Labyrinth Entrance is a debuting band from Poland. I've had plenty of time to let Monumental Bitterness charm me ever so much before finally reaching for my quill and inkwell.
When at long last I start studying the press papyrus that accompany the promo gramophone, I realize the unimaginable; that Labyrinth Entrance is in reality a one-man band.
That Hunger alone handles all instruments, in addition to vocals, is simply not possible to hear nor suspect.
Monumental Bitterness consists of the short intro Canto 0, followed by the five songs Canto I to Canto V, which ain't far away from 8 minutes on average. The album lasts for 40 minutes.
What, on the other hand, is far more interesting, is what Polish Hunger has prepared to quench his ravenous appetite. Here, however, traditional genre denominations fall short. Both black metal and death metal can be traced, but Labyrinth Entrance doesn't sound specifically as neither. The band steer clear of stereotypes, and plough their own way in the darkness. Not that you haven't heard similarities before, although references are difficult to dig out of an ageing memory characterized by unorganized piles and stacks of vintage impressions.
The music has a mildly progressive twist in its structure, without straying into prog metal territory. It also has intoxicating moods of another dimension that is difficult to explain with words. Since no description fully reveal the essence of Monumental Bitterness, I recommend listening to at least one song from start to finish. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then imagine what 7-8 minutes of sonic spectral extreme metallic delight is worth.
Deep, resounding hypnosis, soaring metallic strings, dark, male vocals with a guttural mark of a hardened throat, and hard, accurate blows against tight leather, are all inexorably captured and immortalized in 666studio. Michał Grabowski has taken care of the entire production line, and the sound is deliciously deep and organic, tailor-made for the music. The dynamic range is low, but the dark, and not too intense expression, can take a bit of extra pressurization on the stereo.
The material on Monumental Bitterness ain't exactly unusually intricate, and might not contain the uttermost profound substance, but the music is still above average refined. The album's combination of euphonious sound and mesmerizing properties makes it very comfortable to listen to, while the sapid subtleties found in the details prevents the album from ever becoming humdrum. A mighty impressive debut! Rating: 5