Rastilho Metal Records, 02.03.18 Infraktor is a fairly new band from Portugal. The band has about five years behind them, but has (if I understand it correctly) been on a hiatus. This is nevertheless the quintet's first sign of life.
The Portuguese play thrash metal with a deadly twist. The guys deliver - at least initially - angry, aggressive and speedy thrash furore on their debut album Exhaust. The sound and instrumentation is full of blistering punch, and immediately invites to extensive head-banging.
However, it's not fire all that glows...
After a cool intro, the band sets the bar aloft with rather hefty Blood of the Weak. Son of a Butcher and the title track bodes for a real thrash-o-rama with delightful drumming, riffs that smells scorched, and Slayer energy. It's with Confront, that the unfortunate downturn starts. From heron, the cross-over does its entry, or rather; these items can no longer be ignored. Undesirable elements from hip-hop are becoming increasingly applicable. This completely overshadows the basically rad metal and destroys an album that starts off killer.
Vocalist Hugo Silva's core-like approach should not alone be blamed for ruining the fun. Even the jump-around rhythms and parts of the riffing is based on modern groove that give vibes of Pantera and Sepultura after Chaos A.D. (along with newer shit that I don't know the names of). This puts a real damper on my impression of otherwise very tough music from Infraktor.
On average, Infractor should perhaps deserve three points, but when unwanted elements (an undeniable subjective fact!) are mixed in, the entirety unfortunately becomes inedible. Rating: 2+
Vendetta Records&Broken Silence, 09.03.18
When the moon shines, pale and lonely, when the freezing wind kills, the sound of a death march will break what's left of silence, as the wind whistles hushed while sweeping over a frozen snow-clad winter scenery.
Chains rattle. Heavy feet trample to a steady beat in dry, squeaking snow when men with hanging heads walk toward their final destiny. Death doesn't pardon anyone. Especially not a group of men sentenced to death, on their terminal journey.
The above descriptions of mood, made partly with text lines plagiarized from classic Norwegian black metal lyrics, are just an example of the atmosphere Danish Ole Pedersen Luk, creates with his one-man band Afsky (meaning Aversion). The band hails from Copenhagen, and plays cold and raw black metal of the saddened sort. The pace is therefore not the very highest. The night is settling slowly. The darkness creeps in on you almost unnoticeably. The cold sets in, and eventually reaches under the skin, all the way to the bone.
Hasty element exist. Black clouds move swiftly over the night sky. Icy riffs and frothing rhythms whip out the moods, in the same way as soothing waterfalls also makes ice-cold water boil. The atmosphere itself is still calm, with its persistent, quiescent grieving expression.
Afsky was never meant to be anything but a personal one-man project, but after an EP released in 2005, Ole has gradually met the growing fan base's demands for concerts in Denmark and Germany. He has thus assembled a live crew, and in addition brought other artists along to bring his musical visions to life on his debut album. Troels Nørgaard (Huldre) handles hurdy-gurdy, while Martin Haumann (Mother of All) plays drums. After a short acoustic interlude, Sorg ends with Oh måneløse nat, a composition that starts and ends with nyckelharpa, played by Myrkur, who also offer us a bit of her beautiful fairy-vocals.
Sorg (meaning Sorrow) is a beautiful and melancholic, yet inhospitable album, with good compositions at the crossing between relentless physical coldness, in the form of harsh riffing with primitive, gnawing sound, and equally merciless mental frostbite, in the form of gloomy sadness and irreversible heavy thoughts. Rating: 5-
Shadow Records&Regain Records, 28.02.18 Wings of Antichrist was released in 1999 on somewhat legendary Necropolis Records, and is allegedly considered by some to be one of the most undervalued or overlooked works within classic Scandinavian black metal of the nineties. If they'd waited a year with this re-launch, they could've call it a jubilee. Triumphator was created by, among others, Marcus Tena, owner of Shadow Records, in 1995, and has had a few familiar faces in the ranks. Wings of Antichrist has been re-issued several times, including through renowned Listenable Records.
Regain Records' sub-label Helter Skelter released the album on cassette half a year ago, before it's hereby being released in remastered version with a bonus song on the CD and the band's 7" EP as bonus on the vinyl.
On Wings of Antichrist, Marcus wields bass under the name Deathfucker, while Fredrik Andersson, who also played in Marduk at the time, handles drums, and Arioch from Funeral Mist, later known as Mortuus in Marduk, distorts his vocal cord and takes care of those barbed wires.
Speaking of names; Well-known Peter Tägtgren has taken care of recording, and former Death, Obituary and Testament guitarist James Murphy has mastered the release. How this remaster compares to the original, I'm not going to comment on, but at least the files I've received are good.
Like recent acts, such as Kadaverdisciplin and Avslut, there's no doubt about the band's origin. The pedals run as drumsticks, and the drumsticks gallop as an egg beaters. The riffs are infernal, and the vocal is diabolically rasping. Yet, the material doesn't feel entirely fucking timeless.
The expression is admittedly timeless. Triumphator is close to Marduk in style. The song material on Wings of Antichrist might lack a bit in distinctiveness, and there's also a shortage of finesse. The disc is an ass-kicker, but the songs can hardly be called remarkably memorable. In addition, the rhythms ain't the most creative. Many a song ride along at the same pace without leaving much of an impression behind.
I feel in excess strict, for I enjoy my stay, embraced by the Wings of Antichrist, rather well, but unfortunately, the album doesn't give me quite as much as I had hoped for. The album's energy admittedly rub off on the listener, but there are many albums I'd rather pick up anew. I won't go as far as to say that the release appears unnecessary. The album is almost there, but it lacks that little extra, and I can therefore understand why it's been overlooked by history without leaving a deeper footprint.
I am to a certain degree haunted by a frustrating ambivalent feeling for this album. I nevertheless adjust the rating from 3+ to 4- just before this review goes to press. Of course, you should give the album a fair chance of your own! Rating: 4-
Malpermesita Records, 08.12.17
French Azziard has previously released two full-lengths. Both inspired by World War I. The second of them, Vésanie, became my first encounter with the band, and it was a very positive surprise. The band hereby kicks off the first part of a new concept.
Prior to this release, the band made a small recap of their progress and success thus far, when in November releasing the Disruption EP. This testimony to their development, in the form of a mini-compilation, presenting a few tracks from their new works, as well as three songs from earlier in the career.
The album with the full title Liber Primus - Métampsychosis, is by many simply referred to as Métampsychosis. With and without acute accent. This third opus from the French extreme metallers, also appears as the sheerest magnum opus. A profound and refined work from a mature band. As a poisonous black orchid in full bloom. A desirable temptress that turns out to be a full-fledged poisoner.
With sound, whose sonic attributes roar like a chainsaw in a swarm of wasps, the French offer flaming black metal. From satanic glowing abhorrence with a whiff of madness in the song Enfer, the music evolves towards stronger manic insanity in Le meurtre du héro. Inner reality is about to collapse, after the prevailing external circumstances first falling apart at the seams.
I'm merely describing the music in diffuse terms here. Azziard spill over with infuriated rage, but are also fighting a fruitless inner battle, where different perceptions of reality rip each other apart. The technical details of the music are subordinate to their mental cause and effect. The musical aspect is merely a symptom of the warped condition of the mind. The album has a coherent mood that needs to sink in and settle - as poison in the veins - in a listening session that can't be replaced by simplistic scriptural rambling.
The album doesn't remind a whole lot of its closest predecessor. The music has evolved and the sound is richer, more flaming and roaring. Than again, it's practically a new band we're witnessing. Three of the quintet's members have been replaced. Two of the three recruits have been part of The Negation, just like the two remaining members.
Together, the ensemble explores humankind's complex psyche, its deep, dark instincts and metaphysical aspects, and the collective unconscious mind, in a concept based partly on the psychoanalytic work of the Swiss physician and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, and his notes eventually published as The Red Book.
You can download Disruption for free, but you should spend some moolah on Métampsychose. It's worth it! Rating: 5
Century Media Records, 23.02.18
Almost 4.5 years have passed since Swedish Necrophobic last honoured us with their presence. Not counting the Pesta EP, which is basically a single.
The band has been through a number of internal replacements since last time. Half the band has been replaced. Only the rhythm section consists. Including original member Joakim Sterner, the band's drummer for almost 30 years. The “new” guys are actual old-timers who are back in the saddle.
With Mark of the Necrogram, the band feels that the line-up is complete, and they feel rejuvenated.
The energy is there, and the band is hungry. Something they celebrate by making use of their necrogram symbol, 16 years since last wielding it on the cover of Bloodhymns.
The band's previous album was Womb Of Lilithu (2013). I wrote a short presentation where I mentioned my somewhat peripheral relationship to the band. I've heard the majority of Necrophobic's full-lengths, but I don't have an in-depth acquaintance with many of them. An amusing experiment in such cases is to try to sort the releases chronologically solely based on the sound of each album. In the case of Necrophobic, the musical expression has stood the test of time, while the production to some extent can be said to have become more full-bodied as time has gone by. Growing like an out-of-control fire.
Necrophobic should need no introduction, but the Swedes play a form of black/death. Rather than calling the music blackened death, I'd go with deadly black. The music has more in common with melodic, rather mighty black metal, with a touch of death metal.
The song material on Mark of the Necrogram is consistently strong. Necrophobic knows how to give each song an identity, while leading them through different sequences. The internal variations of the tracks slide smoothly, with good drift through thorough transitions. Lyrically the album pick up the thread where Death to All (2009) left off. I don't intend to go into details, though.
As in the case of Womb Of Lilithu, not a whole lot of the songs on Mark of the Necrogram stand out considerably. At the same time, this might simply be due to the high quality of most songs. When the bar of each song is generally high, it becomes even harder to top them. Nevertheless, I have an especially weak spot for some of the ten tracks served, such as in particular Requiem for a Dying Sun and Odium Caecum. Only nine of the tracks are proper songs, but Mark of the Necrogram still lasts for almost 50 minutes. Which ought to give a bang for the buck for fans of deadly melodic black metal with more than just a sensation of proud majestic moods. Rating: 5-
Lacerated Enemy Records, 01.01.18
Much suggests that only two guys makes up the hard core of this new death metal battalion. In total, however, four men have left their mark on The Summoning, the first sign of death from Norwegian Dominant.
Bassist André Bjerring also plays live with another death metal band, while guitarist and songwriter Robin Larsen has had a few more irons in the fire.
To open a new chapter in their career with a bang, the duo has hired American Jimmy Javins, vocalist in Necrotic Disgorgement, and Brynjar “Tapir” Helgetun, Norway's answer to Rogga Johansson, on drums.
After an introductory sampler, it's hard and frantic rhythms, extreme riffing and raging vocals that threaten with blind violence to the eardrum. Tapir floors it and André lets the thunderclaps of his bass make a distinct mark, like smouldering rumbling from the depths. Robin riffs hard and brutally, while Jimmy twists his throat like a demonic entity on its way up from the abyss.
To achieve top rating with a full-length, an even stronger atmosphere is required to forms its own coherent universe. On a first EP, that is even a very first release, we can afford to be a bit more gentle. The Summoning is full of delicious punch in everything from creepy riffs and battering rhythms, to juicy sound. The EP, as such, is a macabre delight to listen to. They can thank Tony Tipton, ex-Necrotic Disgorgement, for the sound. He has also reeled of a short solo in the last song.
Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Max was soon enough left on his own.
In November 2016, he released the debut album Of Ruins..., a beautiful 50 minute death/doom opus, that I never got around to write about.
Before time runs out, and only memories remain, I intend to prevent myself from doing the same mistake again. Where The Sullen Waters Flow consists of three compositions of around nine minutes on average. These combine leaded gravity with airworthiness. Heavy riffs make the ground tremble, and the trees shake, while light cotton clouds float lazily across a blue sky without a care in this world. The melodies and moods are murky, but restrained. “It'll just have to go the way it goes”, says the mood. “We'll just have to make the best of it. There's not much else to do.”
I'm not going to say that this EP is better than the debut. Sorrowful Land was already mature at that time, and further development is hardly a huge point for Max. Composing and presenting new creations is probably a more important goal. The sound, on the other hand, has changed slightly and feels more open and transparent, honest and sincere, in a way. This is just a sonic illusion, giving the music an innocent naive touch. The tragedy within the doomic misery is all the greater. As when an innocent child is left alone when the ashes settle on the ruins.