Nekrart Productions, 08.10.17
The one-man band Ifernach comes from the small town of Chandler on the Gaspésie peninsula in Canada's Quebec province. The Peninsula is called Gespe'gewa'gi by the native Mi'gmaq indigenous people, who live in the area where Canada and the United States meet on the eastern coast of North America, between the St. Lawrence River and the North Atlantic Ocean.
I don't know whether Mr. Finian Patraic has indigenous blood in his veins, but he finds his inspiration in exploring the surrounding nature, the mysticism of the ancestors and the Gespe'gewa'gi tribe's folklore and conflicts.
The half an hour long EP consists of 6 songs. The music is a form of black metal that can't automatically be recommended to just any black metal enthusiast. The sound is serrated and grainy, but also partially rounded, with atmospheric undertones. However, it alters a bit from song to song, which gives Maqtewek Nakuset a little demo-feel. The dynamic range, with DR12 on average, must be said to be sumptuous.
The opener Enemy at the Shores has thunderous distinctive and dominant bass and psychotic vocal, as well as an organ that could have been taken straight out of an Italian 70's horror movie. The song leaves a feel of Cultes Des Ghoules. The following Rivière funèbre becomes almost necrotic in comparison, although the strings rumble a lot here too.
Maqtewek Nakuset mixes the jagged and the atmospheric, with a touch of punky attitude, without any significant similarities to Quebec's traditional cold noir-expression. With tremolo-riffing and scraping vocals, at least Ifernach steer clear of the most monotonous American approach.
The EP, which was first released independently at the end of 2016, has a somewhat amateurish feel. Despite the initial skepticism, it has grown on me quite a bit. I've had to adjust the gradation upward, and thus giving it a careful approval. Ifernach participated on a split and released another EP last year, and the band's debut album, named Gaqtaqajaq, is actually just around the corner.
Three years ago, the German “super group” Alkaloid dropped their masterful debut The Malkuth Grimoire. In a fumbling attempt on categorization, I ended up with “progressive death metal with technical components and melodic finesse” as an attemptable description.
In February, this was released on vinyl via Season of Mist.
When the sequel is now being announced, I think it's worth mentioning. Sophomore Liquid Anatomy is scheduled for May 18th, and I'll return with the details.
Osmose Productions, 23.02.18
I've really looked forward to investing time in the debut album of Swedish Avslut.
That the band comes from Sweden, ain't difficult to hear. The fact that the place of birth is Stockholm, doesn't come as a surprise either.
The band has been around for two years, and dropped an EP and two singles in 2016. The quintet among other consists of C. (ex-Katharos), one of two vocalists and one of three guitarists, and drummer O., who also wield his drumsticks for In Reverence.
Deceptis' 43 minutes consist of nine intense hymns to the darkness. Breathless and blazing intense black metal is what our Nordic brethren serve us. Luckily, the band doesn't make the stereotypic fault of simply pounding away in a rushing avalanche, without hooks to create friction. With abundant moods, hundreds of rotting hands reach out of the mist and grab you, before the music rapidly accelerates to hypersonic speed without ever letting go.
Strictly speaking, that is all the explanation you need. But let's laying it on a little bit thicker. The lads have visited Wing Studios, run by Diabolical's Sverker Widgren, and the sound roars like jet engines when Avslut goes berserk. The powerfully resounding guitars also reel off enough sonic eeriness to make most of those uninitiated feel uneasy. Take Evigt Mörker (Forever Darkness), as an example. This is Avslut at its most clenched and flamingly hateful. Still, even a song like Legion, which opens in a hovering atmospheric fashion, has enough punch to avoid the post-metallic trap.
With good melodies and thick mood, profound textures, dazzling instrumentation and rich sound, the newcomers can, with a cocky attitude, take on experienced acts like Marduk and Dark Funeral any time. Deceptis is simply thrilling, resounding, hypnotic and glowing disgust from start to finish. Play it loud! Rating: 6
Dark Descent Records, 16.02.18
The Spanish Quartet Ataraxy can celebrate ten years of existence. However, it doesn't seem as if the band thinks they've got a whole lot to celebrate, for the music is far from jolly.
The band is out with their second album, where heavy melancholic death metal encounters the essence of hope-lessness in the form of doomy misery.
So leave all hope behind, and sink deep down, into a place Where All Hope Fades...
Through just over three quarters of an hour, the Spaniards offer six songs with highly varied length. From barely four to almost thirteen minutes. Every minute, every second, adds new stones to the existing burden on your tired, emaciated shoulders.
Asphyx is just a rather relevant reference. We are close to the fulcrum point, tipping toward pure death/doom, but the ratio between slowly tortured doom and pummelling death metal is asymmetrical and out of proportions.
Just as important as genetic classification and direction, are melody, moods, sound and performance. In short; different more or less qualitative aspects. Ataraxy succeeds well on all the aforementioned. The album is admittedly no classic. The melodies ain't strong enough and the expression isn't unique enough for that.
Where All Hope Fades should still not disappoint anyone. The Spaniards lay it on thick, smearing a feeling of hopelessness in your face, and thrusting it down your throat. The vocal tilts between desperation and utter insanity, and reinforces the feeling that all hope is lost. Only bottomless despair prevails. Appropriate sound that reflects the mood is powered by Javi Bastard from among others Graveyard* and Körgull the Exterminator*, in his Moontower Studios. Rating: 4-
Debemur Morti Productions, 23.02.18
A handful of bands have recently delivered very convincing black disgust cast in a timeless, primitive and necrotic mold. Cultus Profano step up to joins the ranks of the elitist league.
The duo surprisingly enough hail from Los Angeles. Surprisingly, since the percentage of American black metal that I approve of is, alas, disappointingly low.
All the niftier, then, to come across a band you can genuinely take your hat off to.
As in the case of Yhdarl, I soon suspect the presence of oestrogen in the somewhat pitched frequencies in the vocal's overtones. The pheromones doesn't lie. Along with the band's masculine alibi, Advorsus, Latin for adversary, we find the chick Stryzga, who has taken her artist name from a demon in Slavic mythology. Advorsus whips leather, mistreats bass and adds deeper growls, while guitarist and vocalist Stryzga ends up competing against herself when it comes to piercing black tones.
Although the guitar sounds biting and carving, the vocal must be said to be victorious in this duel. The vocal cuts like rusty needles, soaked in battery acid, revealing one of few femme fatales who truly and fully nails this rasping sonic echo of pain and aversion. Another reason to take off the hat!
The actual material is nothing short of a ground-breaking revolution. Black metal will never becomes the same again. Nah. I'm lying of course. Cultus Profano is loyal to the second wave, without sounding like an imitation. They deliver a timeless ritual that effortlessly connects the presence with days of yore, as the music summons forces from far beyond.
The structure of the music is no more complex than what is strictly necessary. The expression and the atmosphere is perfectly satisfactory in its naked and raw twosomeness. A cold and vicious mood hover gloomy over harsh and inhospitable musical landscapes, where the wind strangles all joy of life, and the waves of the coast crush the boats of the uninvited to splinters against the rocks.
The band was formed as late as in 2016, and Sacramentum Obscurus is an impressive first demonstration of raw, untamed and unpolished heretic strength and heartfelt hatred. I thrive as hell! Rating: 5+