Godz ov War Productions, 12.03.18
16 months after the debut Gates No Longer Shut, the Polish duo Misanthropic Rage is back with more distinctive black metal.
Sophomore Igne Natura Renovatur Integra is admittedly not as peculiarly and odd as the previous album, but it does have the band's bizarre signature mood intact.
Much thanks to the sound.
The soundscape feels like the resonant echo that you might encounter in long tunnels. The atmosphere assumes a form of tunnel vision, as you fall into trance.
The music is somewhat hypnotic as it flows in rapid currents, like old stinking bathing water down the drainage pipe. There's a whole lot of dark and morbid moods between the grooves on Igne Natura Renovatur Integra. But even though I thrive very well, there's no hiding that the first album was a bit more exciting. It offered an arsenal of abstract dream-fragments, and appeared as more thrilling and potent.
The composition of the anaesthesia becomes a bit strong this time, and the music appears to be somewhat flatter when the listener lies paralysed in a near comatose state, rather than dancing feverishly between various hallucinogenic conditions. The music is still varied and atmospheric, and qualitatively well above average. It's just not quite as exciting as last time around. The album might not be a must, but I still consider it very worthy of a recommendation. Rating: 4-
Northern Silence Productions, 30.03.18
The Danish one-man band Angantyr ought to be a well-known name among connoisseurs of blasphemous underground extreme metal. Sole ruler Ynleborgaz, has fronted naked, cold and primitive black metal since the 90's. It is now 20 years since Angantyr released its first demo.
Although the band is probably Denmark's most famous black metal band, the name doesn't seem to be the hottest. Ulykke, meaning Accident, is the sixth album since the debut Kampen Fortsætter in 2000.
My somewhat peripheral relationship to the band is limited to the first three albums, of which Hævn (2007) is a crystal clear favourite.
On Ulykke, we find an hour of black metal of the uncompromising and inconsolable type. The music frown at the world and shakes its head frustratedly and testily. The antagonistic and snappish, but also discouraged tones, are performed in monotonous manners, though. Hypnotic suggestion is likely the goal, but there's too many mediocre examples of straight forward black metal with minimal variation and an apathetic atmosphere of emptiness, to become particularly impressed.
Sombre repetition were probably moodily evocative the first few times. 666 such albums later, and the same approach appears as a generic lack of distinctiveness and quality. Isolated, Angantyr offers quite alright, cold and stripped black metal. In a more realistic perspective, Ulykke offer elements that one has heard till boredom. Something in the last two songs, however, makes it difficult to resist the manipulative hypnosis. As these slowly unfold, I therefore upgrade the rating from a strong 2 to a weak 3. Rating: 3-
Agonia Records, 23.03.18
The combat machine Demonical roll tirelessly on.
The band is back with another dose of blackened scorched death metal. The constellation now has over ten years of experience, and was briefly and incompletely presented in connection with the EP Black Flesh Redemption.
The band sounds unmistakably Swedish on Chaos Manifesto. No expense is spared on buzz-saw distortion. The use of HM2 pedal ain't used sparingly.
I have a taste for Demonical, although the band don't impress a whole lot this time around.
The line-up has been exposed to quite colossal upheavals since the previous full-length. Only bass player Martin Schulman (Centinex) remains. Both new vocalist Alexander Högbom and drummer Kennet Englund reside in Centinex. Kennet plays with Martin in Interment, while Kennet and Alexander are colleagues in the band Moondark. The latter also sings in October Tide, as well as in the band Spasmodic together with rhythm guitarist Johan Haglund, who also participated on the previous EP. That only leaves Eki Kumpulainen. The lead guitarist have participated live since 2015. He made guest appearances on both Black Flesh Redemption and Doomsday Rituals, and have now been granted status a regular member.
The song material mixes heaviness and melody into an ass-kicking expression that goes berserk in the ear canals. For those who don't require anything more, Demonical delivers the goods, for the ground trembles when the powerful resounding clamour of more than 50 tonnes of heavily armed reinforced steel comes a rolling.
What I miss is stronger individual songs. Given that the Swedes have a melodic approach, much of the material on Chaos Manifesto becomes relatively similar. Few of the songs on the album form highlights that leaves the most lasting impressions. That the guys give their mother tongue a go in Välkommen Undergång is admittedly a nice surprise, although it doesn't actually cause any kind of purchase obligation.
The absolute highlight becomes the song Towards Greater Gods. Unfortunately not entirely without leaving a bad taste in my mouth. The sequence just over two minutes into the song namely sounds suspiciously like the main riff in the song Journey by the compatriots in Mörk Gryning. I'm not say that Demonical deliberately commits plagiarism, but it still puts a damper on an otherwise killer song.
My judgement on Chaos Manifesto becomes something like “highly listenable and reasonably tough, but in no way neither innovative nor irregular, and thus not very exciting and rewarding”.
PS: The album has been available for quite some time in Europe. Americans'll have to wait till the end of April though. Rating: 3+