Lupus Lounge, 27.02.15
I still consider their début The Corpse of Rebirth (self released in 2008) as an original, eccentric
journey in a troubled mind. A very good album, in other words. Sophomore Opportunistic Thieves of Spring
(2010) continued in many ways on the same track, but I didn't feel that it completely managed to capture the essence equally
masterful. Maybe I just wasn't patient enough. Album number three, A Shadow Play for Yesterdays (2012) was
never checked out. Thus it is with some excitement I again seek out the peculiar British to find out what they're up to now.
The band's music don't have the same desperate and troubled expression as on their début. The style has shifted more
towards melodic, becomingly weird and light progressive metal with roots in black landscapes. The Englishmen almost
feels more French than British as their musical recipe tends to be characterized by deviations from conformal formulas. Dreamy and soaring are adjectives suitable to describe big parts of the music, while shifting
is yet an inescapable word.
Katie Stone, aka Queen of the Ghosts, who's been a part of the band since the beginning,
and who's participated as a violinist and keyboardist on a couple of My Dying Bride releases in 2009, plays her
part in giving the band a distinctive touch with violin, flute and vocals. The use of Hammond on the album also helps to
create atmosphere on an album with great sound. The other six members also does an outstanding job, without the need of
listing them all.
The most progressive material comes towards the end of the album. Pawn On The Universal Chessboard is
a composition divided into six pieces, and make up just over a third of Beware the Sword You Cannot See
with their 21 minutes. I can't remember the last time I encountered the likes of delicate hypnotism as in Part IV:
An Automaton Adrift.
I must say I'm very pleased with this album. The sound is great, the bass is comfortable, and all instruments comes out
clearly. The dynamics of the song material is, if not downright overwhelming, at least very elaborate. The sonic dynamics
are, at least, acceptable.
I feel like there's no telling whether this can replace the début at the top of the pedestal concerning the band albums,
as both look and feel is too different for a direct comparison. For fans of everything from Ayreon to
Alcest, sovereign Pawn On The Universal Chessboard alone will be worth a purchase.
Iron Bonehead, 27.02.15 Iron Bonehead releases three minor releases today. In search of “the darkest, gnarliest gems of the metal
underground”, two demos from Canadian Isabrut and Greek Ithaqua respectively are released. Both on
cassette. Only the dark lord knows what the point is, for none of these are worthy of time nor money.
Therefore we skip both and go straight to Swarþ.
The band released a couple of demos and an EP in 2012/2013, and Iron Bonehead released a collection of songs
from those last year. The fact that all songs are named Untitled was probably a source of confusion. The same
is the case with their new EP, which with two songs of barely six minutes each, have more in common with a single.
It's not only considering song names the band is secretive. They don't give interviews and refuses to state both names
and pseudonyms of band members. They won't even reveal country of origin.
The two songs are raw and rough, black and dirty death metal with good home production. The primitivity provides a
genuine reckless mood, and the songs have enough variety to keep the listener's attention. Pretty cool, but in the whole,
this is likely to drown in the myriad of dark, rough and gnarled releases. To be quite honest I hardly even bother throwing
them a lifebuoy as they're going down.
This song is called (...drum roll...) Untitled:
Century Media Records, 23.02.15
Not long after Sweden's longest-living black metal institution Marduk delivered a new album, we hear from
Second-in-Command Dark Funeral as well. Just a single this time, but it's just over five years since
the last album, Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus, thus this single hopefully carries a message of increased
activity on the composing-front, and a shortly return to the full length format.
Emperor Magus Caligula retired as vocalist in 2010 after 15 years in the band. He also took care of
the bass from 1996 to 2001. Meanwhile, three bassists has been involved, while Nachtgarm has worked
as a vocalist during a few years without releases. New man behind the microphone is Heljarmadr
(Domgård and more), and Natt (Angrepp, Withershin) acts as new god of thunder.
During ten minutes we get to taste two new songs. Nail Them To The Cross is the first song out. The song is mighty, with blasphemous lyrics. It's
rather mid-tempo in Dark Funeral context, even if Dominator's drums probably smell
burned after this session. Temple of Ahriman is a bit slow and melodious song where the destructive idol Ahriman is worshipped.
Ahriman, or Angra Mainyu as he was called 3000 years ago on the now extinct ancient Persian Avestan language, is
described as an enemy of life and fertility, and an evil, extroverted spirit. The guitar melodies towards the end
especially appeals enormously.
The single Nail Them To The Cross is a very promising document from Dark Funeral,
and Heljarmadr does a good job. The black vocals in places goes so deep that it almost touches on growl.
Watch the video for Nail Them To The Cross. Lyrics and various relevant links can be found
Relapse Records, 23.02.15
Are you (or do you know someone who is) in excess excited about 70s metal, without having complete control over metal
released in its first decade?
Jump into the Gorger's Time Machine (patent pending), and we'll set the destination for U.S.A, 40 years ago.
Bedemon was formed as a side branch of Pentagram in 1973. Three out of four original members
came from there. I have never been bitten by the Pentagram-bacillus. According to the press report,
Bedemon are darker landscaped with a more doomy expression. Not impossible, for this band is closer to
Black Sabbath than what I can remember the “mother band” being.
What we got here is a collection of tracks from various recording sessions from 1973 to 1974 and 1979, the years the band
was active before they left the band on ice until 1986, and then to 2001. This compilation was originally released in 2005
on Black Widow Records, but have been out of stock since then.
The music is doom metal with some Black Sabbath in the expression. In the case of Frozen Fear,
the similarity becomes too apparent, as the melody in the verses have the same melody and rhythm as Black Sabbath's
Snowblind from Vol. 4 released the year before Bedemon formed.
The sound varies slightly, but not as much as one might expect, considering that this material is derived from various
recordings. The whole album is characterized by a somewhat rumbling and jarring demo touch. Especially in the guitar sound,
but in a rather charming way.
The vocals can be placed somewhere between Ozzy and Alice Cooper, and in good 70s spirit, the texts
avoid the most ambiguous messages. If there's anything we should have learned from religious texts, it's that anything
that can be interpreted will be misinterpreted. The texts revolves mostly around dark themes.
Child of Darkness is an interesting document of metal history from America's first doom-metal band.
The band never managed to release anything before they went into their first hiatus. If Bedemon had
gotten around to release a full length or two with descent distribution in Europe before the golden decade began, they
would likely be mentioned in the same breath as the British pioneers. The first album was released on Svart Records
as late as in 2012.
For me, this is a cosy curiosity, but not much more.
Hells Headbangers Records og
Kvlt Records, 24.02.15
We'll stay in South America, but we move 2640 km (1 640 miles) north-northwest, from Santiago, Chile to Lima in Peru,
where we shall meet some barbarous savages.
You didn't expected otherwise with a band name like Goat Semen?
The band has existed since 2000 and has just like Atomic Aggressor spent some years trying to get to their début.
The band doesn't hush up the fact that lack of money has been a real issue. Even member replacements and lack of recording
facilities have contributed with spokes in the wheels. When Arthur Rizk, owner of Solomon's Gate Studios
in Philadelphia contacted the band a year ago with an offer to mix the album, the ball finally began rolling for real.
The music these maniacs create is ferocious black/death, with crackling drums and guitars that pricks as needles and cuts
like rusty blades. A sonic chaos is born of hellfire, that will make your neighbours hate you, and your family appoint you
the title as black sheep. The vocals is something of an abnormality. It's layered as voices in your head. Rabid and demonic
voices in a rambling madman's mind.
The songs are raw and insane, with apt dark and deep production. Fans of underground extremism and trve chaoz cvlt will
go amok in ecstasy. The rest of us may consider this fun now and then. Well, the majority will most likely call this “awful
noise”, but the majority enjoys whatever is on radio, and in the weekend they're chuckling to some lame TV-entertainment,
while sipping to their weekly glass of red wine. Fuck the majority. Goat Semen is tough and violent, but
not something I hear ten times a week. A bottle of red wine and two spins of Ego Svm Satana on a calm Friday
evening is just about right. A few months or years might soon pass before the ritual is repeated, though.
So, would you like a cup of goat semen with your listening session?
Hells Headbangers Records, 24.02.15
Chilean Atomic Aggressor is here with their first full length album, just 20 years after the band was
formed. It should be noted that the band was put on ice for 15 of those years. Until 1992, the Chileans managed to release
three demos, and after the revival in 2008 a compilation, a live album and two splits has seen the burning daylight.
On Sights of Suffering the quartet continues their work as if time had stopped at the transition between
the 80s and the 90s.
The band plays death metal of the old school. Occasional passages can feel reasonably straightforward, but transitions
followed by thrill riffs, delicate solos and other goodies, is never far away. With all the death metal that's being
released, this may perhaps feel somewhat less mandatory than if it had been released ten years ago. The aggression,
variation, solid instrumentation and juicy growl that the band offers is still so good that it should be welcomed into
the record collection of genre connoisseurs. At least among those who like their death metal with strong links back in
The album initially lasts for a little less than 50 minutes, but if you go for the version with the bonus track
Twilight Spectres, first recorded for the band's second demo, you may add 6 minutes to that. Bon appétit.
Season of Mist, 23.02.15
Concert DVDs can be enjoyable, but live albums has somehow lost both purpose and magic over the years. I haven't seen
the DVD that's supplied with this digipak when it hits the store. This will therefore be treated as a live album.
I won't say much about band or genre this time. Those considering buying this one has undoubtedly a good relations
to the Frenchmen already.
The sound is crisp and clear, but the bass drum sounds a bit special. On the positive side, the audience is clearly
audible when the band is not pouring on. I won't say too much about the choice of track-list either. All death metal
songs sounds just the same anyway. (Were you provoked? Death metal shall provoke thee). No, the songs
actually stand surprisingly well apart. They are picked from the second half of the discography. Approximately half
of them from Carnivore Sublime (2014), slightly fewer from Asylum Cave (2011), a
pair from Icon (2007), and one from the preceding year's album. I dare not say whether the choice
of songs ought to satisfy the fans. I don't know the French's discography that well.
Speaking of French; that's the language that you need to deal with between songs. During the songs, however, it doesn't
matter, as Julien Truchan grunts like a vacuum toilet anyway. Neh. He's vocals are actually unusually
varied, and said vocal technique is only one of many styles. Bassist Pierre Arnoux perhaps contributes
some of this. He's listed as backing vocalist. The lyrics are in English anyway, but you need to have pretty fucking well
trained ears to capture much of the lyrics.
Brutalive The Sick lasts for nearly an hour without having trouble keeping your attention. It's been
a long time since I heard death metal live in audio format. (Without video, that is). It's actually possible that we
have to go all the way back to Gorefest - The Eindhoven Insanity released in 1993. Thus I consider
Brutalive The Sick to be a rather refreshing and enjoyable affair. As said, you get CD and DVD in one an the
Behold the far to short teaser, watch Collapse, and stream Let the Blood Spill Between My Broken
Teeth right here.
Odium Records, 01.01.15
A better intro, with sword fighting and seriously creepy piano creates expectations. When the music really kicks of,
it is however with insane anger and reckless pace. During the first song I was almost absolutely certain that someone
had set the speed on the drum machine to “Ultra fast”, but now I'm leaning more toward the theory that they've hired
Animal, the most rabid character of The Muppet Show.
The start of these four Polish black metalers début album is with frenetic guitar playing, full speed and beastly furore,
giving a light touch of fuck all attitude. Reign of Hellfire could also have been placed more strategically,
as the band would have been better served by accelerating at a pace that let the passengers keep their food. The G-forces
comes unexpectedly, sudden and hits you in the face. The drummer is by the way made of flesh, blood, sinews and bowels.
Next song, Dominus Muscarum, has a riff that takes my mind to Gorgoroth's Incipit Satan.
There's not much slowing down through the first 3-4 songs, but in between the brutality there's glimpses of satanic nerve gas.
When the Poles eventually calms down both one and two notches, moods seep as plague-ridden sewer gas from corroded pipes in
the musical catacombs. The fifth song, Popioły 2014 A.Y.P.S. is a devious, misanthropic and perverted
evocative demon, dripping of depravity. This quickly becomes my favourite.
After two more songs and an outro, follows a cover of Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss from Immortal's
Pure Holocaust. It's okay, but the original is of course better.
The album was mastered in Necromorbus Studio, and the sound is well adapted to the outrageous musical expression.
When the day dawns anew, and it's time to crawl back under the coffin lid again, this is an album with a lot of tough
moments, but slightly exaggerated wildness dispels some of the overall mood. Do not expect anything cunning or something
you haven't heard before, most likely even better. Taran still delivers in such a raw and joyless manner
that an approval is in its place, but the approval is weak, and the album thus not mandatory. Is fast-paced black metal in
the spirit of 1349 and Panzer Division Marduk close to your heartless crater? If so, it is recommended
that you listen for yourself.
Obscure Abhorrence Productions, 31.01.15
This album is almost a year old, but after being available digital and on tape (via Eternal Rabies Cult
and From the Dark Past), it's finally available on plates of polycarbonate. Good music is timeless anyway,
and this one has snuck past the radar one time too many.
Meet Morgon, a debuting four-man band from Deutschland that engages in melodic black metal.
It's chilled, but not ice cold black metal the Germans offer. Not totally unpolished, but not polished glossy either.
Not extremely aggressive, but nevertheless fittingly raw black metal performed without synth. Watain is not
an entirely unnatural comparison. Especially considering the amount of guitar-based melody and partly because of the
satanic moods both bands create.
With grim vocals, steady drumming, alternating tempo and very good guitar works, the underworld is summoned up. Light
folk musical vibes awakens spirits and goblins from subconsciousness and somewhat conjures up bands like Eljudner
and Blåhø. In this musical costume, the entities of the underworld comes with glassy glance and a flesh
hungry appetite. Hope dwindles, before one in a liberating black light recalls that the next stop is Lucifer's kingdom.
Solitude Productions, 20.10.14
Lots of music is released in Eastern Europe at the time, but the quality varies greatly. Torrens Conscientium
has left the bedroom behind what sound and expression concerns, bringing dreamy misery to the masses.
The trio comes from Ukraine and plays atmospheric doom/death. They released a demo in 2012, and débuts with All
Alone With The Thoughts, where they present seven songs, of which the four longest lasts for about eight minutes.
It is an emotional journey the band invites us on. Peace and serenity, solitude and reflection, frantic fear and
persecution mania are all ingredients in this emotional cocktail. With a bundle of nerves and all senses on red alert,
the Ukrainians guides us around in barren landscapes.
As in a dream you passively follow. You follows the authoritarian growls, you march to the slow pace and you're lured
further and further into the misty sea of pleasant soaring melodies from weeping guitars, forlorn synth and downcast
All Alone With The Thoughts is recorded and mixed in Blacklight Recording Studio, that's also
been visited by acts such as Khors, Luna and Semargl. The sound is dark and comfortable,
albeit slightly “flat”. The vocals could have benefited from a little more reverberation, but the sound is generally
clear without being too polished, and distorted bass and guitar works well.
None of the expedition members ever returned, and no one has been recovered. This is the only recording found. The hazy,
barren wasteland is a risky area that can easily drive people insane. The search party had to retire after two members of
their own crew disappeared without a trace after having followed what by colleagues were described as "the sirens song."
In the open sea in the south-west part of Norway lays an elongated archipelago with rocks, knolls and crags in rugged
terrain marked by a windswept scenery. On “The black island” which some interpret the name to, the locals have fought
for survival for thousands of years. I have a connection to this wild and warped landscape myself, and when I first
saw the cover of Øyen i Havet (The Island in the Sea), I realized almost instinctively that this was
the home of a line of my ancestors,
The way I interpret it, RNR is raised on Sotra, but like so many others young adults, he has moved to
Bergen (or Bjørgvin, as it was once called). He started the one-man band Kveldsmoerke (evening darkness)
at age 16 in 2010, and released a demo the same year. Six months ago he released both single and full-length.
On this EP there's two tracks with a total playing time of almost half an hour. The music on this EP are closer to
post-black than pure black metal. It paints rather dreamy and atmospheric images in a meek fashion. Like most home-made
and self-released albums it doesn't sound hundred percent professional. The production shows clear signs of “kids room”.
At its best, the jagged guitar sound gives weak associations to Nocte Obductas Schwarzmetall, but the
sound is generally closer to the début Lethe in this respect. (Not that anything but than moderate similarities
in the guitar distortion allows for comparison). I'm also fund of the bass. It gets fairly free rein, and work largely as
“a separate instrument” that not only supports drums and guitar. It is also quite clear in the sound without dominating.
Although Øyen i Havet sounds a bit “simple”, its got a pleasant hypnotic effect, especially in the first song.
RNR does a more than decent job with the instruments, but the vocals might need some more work. Structures
and moods ain't bad in any way either. Kveldsmoerke still has a way to go to compete with more established
bands. If this is not just a hobby he should work on a little tighter compositions, perhaps with a little more concentrated
focus on clear musical direction. I consider this almost as a demo, and the sound is more than good enough. A conventional
official release however requires a bit better production.
Good demo, okay EP.
Every release are uploaded to
Bandcamp for free download, for an optional financial donation.
Quality Steel Records, 20.02.15
With two singers, two guitarists, bassist, drummer and keyboardist, German/Dutch Andsolis is a seven-headed
troll. Not that the band is neither particularly trollish in a bewitching or musically rude and vicious way. They have a
gentler touch than that. With some goodwill you may come across slightly fairytale-ish moods, though.
It's guitarist Simon Abele who have fostered the basic musical ideas behind Andsolis.
The band plays 70s inspired melodic death metal with mindset and techniques drawn from prog, folk and some ambience.
The band is ambitious in its initiative, but manages to wrap it all up without problems.
We find calm and half-fast parts with friendly clean vocals and musical elements of melodic metal in general. It's
Oliver Kilthau that delivers the carefree and seemingly effortless vocals. He sounds as unaffected
and blissfully cultivated as the lead singer of Rush. He does not have a particularly rough voice, yet he's
got fullness and good vocals. Not directly comparable with the current two vocalists of Borknagar,
yet located somewhat in the same alley.
The music never gets particularly enraged, but when Manuel Siewert enters on vocal, it takes on a
far more aggressive direction with his somewhere midway between black vox and growls.
With Hammond and other tangents Martin Pohl colours the music with progressive nuances and patterns,
while Marco Tecza ensures good rhythms and Bryan Zwiers backs up the rhythm section
with thick strings. As ax-wielding side-kick, Simon has been joined by Stefan Rosenmeyer.
Not unexpectedly, these create a rich wall of sound that is eventful but fairly tightly packed. Low dynamic spaciousness
unfortunately creates a more tense character than necessary.
Some of the progressive structure and genre mixture found among bands like Opeth and Enslaved, are
present here. Add a bit of nostalgic prog à la Ayreon, and some of Vintersorg's natural, carefree
expression. Not really on the level of these artists, but still well-structured and “house-warm”, or should I say
tempered. Not quite my everyday kind of metal, but variety is the spice of life and these débutants surely
Moribund Records, 17.02.15
Okanogan County is a county in the US state of Washington, located on the opposite side of the US in relation to the
city of Washington DC. Okanogan is a scenic area with lots of woods, a few tens of metric miles east of Seattle and
Vancouver in linear distance. Pay attention now, you will get this on your geography quiz. Zamiel comes from Okanogan. Zamiel has no friends. Zamiel play in
a band by himself.
With Wende he tries to recreate the magic of Burzum. Something a cover version of Móti
Ragnarǫkum also testify to.
This is his second album. Original a re-recording of his first demo from 2009, released independently in 2012.
There are some discouraged rows of tones here, capable of creating moods. there's also melodies here that takes on an
almost foolish jolly touch, which destroys the overall impression. In addition, someone has filled my speakers with
spray foam. The sound comes from far, far away. I demand no commercial clinical production, but porridge is better to
consumed with sugar and cinnamon, Zamiel.
I have only heard this twice, but you can safely take my word that this album does not recreate other than the feeling
that too many youngsters with too much time on their hand makes music in their bedrooms. Wende's
version of “Towards Ragnarok” is actually better than the original from Dauði Baldrs, but that probably says
more about the original.
Watch out for Vlad Dracula's ghost, for we're of to Transylvania. The band was started by Corb in
2007, inspired by his homeland's bloody history and myths. After a couple of unfortunate record contracts the band
ended up on code666 in 2008. They started the work on the first album, which also would become the first part
of a trilogy.
The band was put on ice for a while when Corb joined Negură Bunget, also
from the city of Timișoara, after two members having left there. During 2010, his focus was again aimed at his own
band and their début was released the following year.
As soon as in 2012 the sequel came out, and today the final chapter in the trilogy is here.
Musically, we are talking about a form of pagan black metal with moderate orchestral instruments, where the mood is
constantly changing. Synthesizer, often disguised as church organ, is used locally to reinforce the presence of
bloodthirsty vampires, while more symphonic instrumentation provides a more cinematic and heroic feeling.
The vocals are in places clean and sore, often with more mournful moods in the background, and it's found room for
operatic female vocals, but the rough vocal dominates. The wholeness is dramatic and rather theatrical, without it
being too exaggerated. One easy gets a feeling of witnessing a large-scale event, but sort of blindfolded since the
language is foreign.
The music is diverse and quite original, with relatively frequent use of local folk instruments. I've heard it about
4-5 times, and I find that it seem both meticulous, exciting and good. I suspect, however, that this somehow pompous
and rather special music may be too weird for some. If you fancy the idiosyncratic dramatics in vein with The
Vision Bleak, this might just be an album - hell, perhaps even a whole trilogy - just for you.
Century Media Records, 19.01.15
Sometimes I'm too predictable, even for myself. I original started this sequence with the line “Time for a little thrash”
before I out of curiosity checked when I last wrote about the genre. It turned out to be in excess of two months ago.
The band was Onheil, and I started the intro with the exact same sentence.
Well, there's not too much good thrash release any longer. Can the Spanish quartet Angelus Apatrida
compensate for this with some quality?
The men has been going for fifteen years, and with Hidden Evolution they've released their fifth album.
The thrash they deliver is of apt melodic nature and the guys are technically skilled, without resorting to artificial
technical antics en masse. Stylistically they are not very far from Megadeth. But where the Daves
created many a memorable riff with firm bites, Angelus Apatrida don't have the same flair for writing
songs (even though they have a guitarist named David among them).
The album Clockwork from 2010 was a little more aggressive and speedy than what the band is this time.
Hidden Evolution is not directly laid-back, but focus more on melodies and moods, without 100% success.
Several of the songs lack a little hooks in that respect. The opening track, for instance, gives a first impressions
that doesn't provide too much appetite. At the opposite end of the scale (in double sense) we find the nine-minutes
title track that concludes the album in masterfully manners.
Overall Hidden Evolution offers proper medium to high-tempo thrash with all right tunes. Two guitarists
both shred excellent solos, the drummer does a good job, bass punches the diaphragm and the vocals have okay 'edge' and
spits out society critical lyrics. The production is good, but the dynamic range is low.
No future classic, but decent enough for an a little bit weak approval.
Terratur Possessions, 07.02.15
We're once again off to Iceland, for yet another dose of intense and claustrophobic black metal. Thus, you might already
have formed an approximate inner image of this leviathans form and shape. You probably know approximately whether
Misþyrming is located within or outside your comfort zone. The list of reference band was listed barely
two weeks ago, and so I hardly need to bother you with a reprise “for the benefit of new readers” (and a
pain in the ass for everyone else).
«En natt skal jeg reise til Helvete» is a well-known line from Burzum's Snu mikrokosmos tegn.
It translates to “One night I shall travel to Hell”. Misþyrming have come upon the portal, ventured
and returned. They've brought with them the flame, and the ability to convey it phonetically. The music is full of
strange noises. Disharmonious, otherworldly tones that would have made Peste Noire proud. How the hell they're
able to conjure up all these ethereal and demonic vices only Satan knows, but it sounds cursed and haunted, and it is
Combined with bestial infernal vocals and rhythms, the result is a mass soaked in the Devil's own font. Whether it's
the devil's work that hides behind cover art depicting red-hot lava and fire, you can find out for yourself by
downloading the album from
Bandcamp, for a couple of taster laps. If it pleases you, order it.
This smells of brimstone!
Iron Bonehead Productions(LP) &
Necroshine Records (CD), 13.02.15 Death Karma is yet another new band, without it being transparent in the musical content. The members
are two experienced guys. Infernal Vlad from Cult of Fire is the brains behind the concept,
and he takes care of vocals, guitar and bass, while Tom Coroner from the same band is seated behinds
The Czech duo released their first sign of fatal exposure, the EP A Life Not Worth Living, two years ago.
The extreme metal they perform has elements of both black and death, and is without inhibitions seasoned with Hammond,
church-organ, and a generally alternating expression. The instrumentation is rich, occasionally brutal and smelly like
a runaway herd of musk oxen, sometimes melodic and evocative (as Barren Earth on their most extreme), and
occasionally primitive and ritualistic as the music of a tribe of genuine cannibals, dancing after a feast on human flesh.
Like the “mother band” they behave like wild animals, with exactly zero respect for cubicles and genre-paddocks. Whether
this is part of the regional culture, I have no idea, but Tormentor was just as anarchic cultivate in that respect.
Call it black/death with a little bit extra on the side.
As the title may suggest, we even get a concept in the bargain. The album is part 1 of a study of different cultures in
relation to death, especially the ceremonies around funeral and burial. Each song deals with a country and the customs
there-from. In Madagascar one dance with shrouded parts of the cadaver, in India you can find towers where corpses are dumped,
and in China you can come across coffins hanging along the side of hills etcetera, where the dead are left in peace.
Six such stories are told in just over 40 minutes. The vocals are remarkably hard to decipher, so I can't guarantee that
the lyrics is “sung” in an understandable language.
The sound is rich in content and it's massive and quite mud-soiled, as well as very compressed. Apart from a
bit annoying crackling (that more often drown in the phonetic death-tribute) this is basically just noticed by
everything being just as loud as everything else. That's a bit of a pity, but it doesn't prevent me from enjoying
these Czechs bestial madness.
There's been many approvals recently, and here is another one. I'm not complaining.
(Although I sometimes send my sharpened slaughter knives a a longing glance).
Candlelight Records, 26.01.15
There are more than enough bands sharing this name, so to avoid confusion, we are talking about the band from Liverpool,
UK. They've got thirteen years of experience, but they've only published a few self released EPs before this. The Brits
apparently began in a black landscape, but has now followed in the footsteps of Fleshgod Apocalypse & Co.
Through 40 minutes the British pumps out massive, powerful and pompous extreme metal with hints of Dimmu,
Winterburst etc. As with Septicflesh, Gromth et al. the orchestral follows as a solid back
Based on the name dropping you understand what musical direction the compass is pointing in. The drums
pumps instantly, guitars provide melodic meander here and there, and the vocalist hisses forth black sentences.
Technically, they have come a long way, and the way they incorporate the symphonic elements works perfectly. The bands
impediment is a shortage of the really strong and memorable tunes. Thus, Opus Aethereum will
never gain status as an immortal opus that genre fans must have in your collection.
The orchestral elements are nevertheless extremely well composed and adapted to the melodies the band has written. The
music is never boring, and it's got solid punch. If you enjoy said reference bands, and a few dozen others in the same
area, you will surely enjoy this one too.
Not a must, but too good to not be stamped as approved. If Ethereal gets the last piece in place for
the next round in the ring, they can start thinking about challenging the big boys.
Hells Headbangers Records, 10.02.15
From the always delightful country of Denmark comes Dwell, a rather new band, established in 2012.
They started out as a duo, but after some almost obligatory fumbling around with session members they have grown to
six men. Several of those involved have worked together earlier. Four of them have played together in rather unknown
The Vein, three in Cerekloth and a pair in more renowned Glorior Belli.
Vermin and Ashes mixes death and doom with an ambient flair, without reminding too much of the more
typical death/doom outfits. The lads and their “alternative death/doom” might not originate from a parallel universe,
but the metal has a whiff of the 70s, without sounding distinctly like any of them typical retro bands either. Of six
songs and barely 38 minutes, the pure metal forms four songs and 28 minutes. These songs have devilish vocals, good
bass, organic-sounding drums and vital guitar playing. It takes a few spins, but not many, before the music dances
around your ears like stars in the cloudless sky on a twinkling night of electrical blackouts.
The two remaining songs comes as second and fifth track on the CD version, and thus they'll end up in the middle of each
side of the vinyl. They are both ambient, yet very different from each other. The first of these is dark, eclectic and
psychedelic. Like insects it crawls up the arms of a poor bastard psychotic with delusions, before the strings produce
sounds that bring Nazareth's heavily distorted and dystopic droning on the eminent cover version of Bob
Dylan's The Ballad Of Hollis Brown to mind. This is so mental that it in a way blend in as a (5:27)
long interlude. The penultimate song is more synthesizer-ambient with a very atmospheric touch. With the sound of wind
chimes in the background, and UFOs in the garden, this forms a hallucinatory psychosis which becomes a little bit strange,
and that doesn't really fit right in, entirely.
It should be noted that the first three songs are new, while the last three originated from the demo Ash Tombs
(2013). Thus, future releases can prove to form yet stronger coherency. Very good début. If anyone is able to combine hippies
and fans of violence-glorifying extreme metal into a long haired community, it must be the Danes of Dwell.
Relapse Record, 09.02.15
It's 25 years since California-based Exhumed began their deadly work, and 17 years since their début
full-length album. As the title indicates this is the début served anew. The Americans have gone into the studio and
recorded the whole shebang once again, releasing it along with the original album. The 1998 version however wasn't
included with the promo, so I can unfortunately not offer any comparison.
The band consists of six men, whereof Ross Sewage and Matt Harvey shares vocabulary
duties. Where one sounds like a thrash singer in Steve "Zetro" Souza (Exodus)'s ally, the other offers
vacuum-deep rumbling. The vocal mix definitely creates enjoyable variation in my ears. I won't go into detail on the
instrumentation. As expected, it's performed with sturdy quality overall. Moreover, it feels rather silly to explain
the music given that the majority of the target audience surely knows Gore Metal far better than
I do. Nor do I get to measure it up against the original either, as I don't trust youtube what sound quality is concerned,
and I'm having big problems with my home network currently. Therefore let's do this quick and easy.
This is 40 minutes of solid death metal with crushing riffs, frequent licking solos, fast, diverse pace and poignant vocals.
If you're among the target audience and you've missed out on the début, you sure know just what the hell you have to do.
Solitude Productions, 04.02.15
Today's second single comes from Ukrainian Embrace of Silence, and consists of one track lasting for
nearly seven minutes. We could almost let the music speak for itself , so please press play.
After five years of existence and two EPs, the band débuted with the delightful
Leaving the Place Forgotten by God in 2012. The song Last Winter
has a slightly lighter expression than the depressed death/doom we found on the album. I unfortunately don't know whether
a new album is brewing, but today singles often works as omens of an imminent offensive, so I guess it's allowed to hope.
As the single below, even this can be downloaded for free, preferably in exchange for a small token of appreciation, over
(PS: Whence translating this as late as on Halloween 2015, I still haven't heard any more news regarding new musical
outputs. It's nothing but silence, and I command you to embrace it).
Debemur Morti Productions, 06.02.15
I normally prefer to write about full-length albums, as these constitutes complete works of metallurgical art. One- and
two-track singles are almost too short to create their own overall mood, but some singles are still too good to be
leapfroged. Today I therefore do two exceptions, not from the rule, but from my preferences.
First in line is Porta Nigra, which releases a two-track single to promote the new album
Kaiserschnitt set for release 09.03.15 on Debemur Morti.
Femme Fatale opens with the track of the same name, taken from the upcoming album. This shows that the
Germans are still just as drugged on the green fairy (absinthe) as earlier. After five minutes time has come for a remix
of the song Megalomaniac from the last album (i.e. the début) Fin de Siècle from 2012.
The mix is done by T.T. of Abigor fame. It's half a minute shorter and have a slightly different sound,
but is otherwise not a radical change from the original. These barely 11 minutes can be downloaded free from the duo's
Bandcamp. Thus you have something to warm up with before Kaiserschnitt is to be digested.
Selvfinansiert Utgivelse, 01.01.15
Folk music, like metal, can hardly be seen as one genre. Scandinavian, Russian, Chinese, Brazilian, Egyptian,
African... Different regions has its unique approach and style, as subgenera under the umbrella term folk music. When
the best of two worlds meet, we have folk metal. Basically that's also what happens when the worst of these two worlds
meet, or rather collide. We're off to Spain to listen to Irish/Scottish-sounding folk metal, oddly enough.
There's no flamenco, fandango or other typical Latin elements to be found here. Spanish music should certainly be
diverse enough to dig into (according to Wikipedia), and there's surely enough Northern British folk in the world
of metal already. I do enjoy the leprechauns traits, whether it's joyous, devious or full of wrath, but it would
have been more exciting with something new, built on the actual habitat of those involved.
Downfall and Rebirth is the second attempt in full-length format for the Spaniards. The self-titled
début was like... pancakes without maple syrup, bacon or other accessories. Or something like that. It had a lot of
straightforward instrumentation and some all right melodies, but lacked the last pieces of the puzzle to complete a
unified whole with the ability to stand out. I have on earlier occasion mentioned that the genre is overcrowded with
mediocrities, and that album was one of those. This album, however, is a good step in the right direction, with more
thought out songs, better vocals and sound. Some of the vocals are coarse by nature, but much is sung clean and in
harmony. the music is melody driven and not particularly hard. It alters between the serene and the rather rapid, often
soaring and suitably evocative, while other parts are reminiscent of pub visits with raised seidels and jolly singalong.
The melodies are often neat and violin, jaw harp and synth-based flute, harp, accordion etc. creates a genuine atmosphere.
There is still a little shortage on unique ideas, that little extra, that creates mental hooks. Thus the album in
some ways fits better as relaxation- or background music for the lads weekend beer consumption than as a record one listens
concentrated to. With competition from Cruachan, Eluveitie, Oakenshield, Crimfall and
many more, its a bit difficult to stand out, and the band has arrived too late to be considered pioneers within the style.
Northland doesn't blow me away this time either, but they show good progress, and the album is pretty
descent company for enjoying a red or brown ale, a porter or stout, and then a few more. The quality ain't completely
consistent throughout the entire (almost) 55 minutes. With somewhat varying quality, usage of the editing scissors should
have been implemented. Still, there's lots of pleasing folk metal here, and the music don't just glide slippery out the
other ear when it has gotten a few spins. Thus I raise my wooden tankard and toast an approval. With that said;
I'm going to impose stricter requirements to the band on the next occasion.
Century Media, 19.01.15
A new Marduk album is (as you surely know) out and has been so for almost three weeks. You have probably decided long
ago whether this will adorn your CD/LP collection or not. Thus my account is redundant in PR terms, but that's okay. I
have not been granted a promo, and Marduk is long since an institution that barely need any promotion
beyond the knowledge of a new albums very existence.
Some would probably compare Frontschwein against one Marduk album or another. The most
fanatical fan base will put it up against the discography in its entirety, and others against extreme black metal in
I leave the close to ten discs alone at this time, but notes that there's a scent of Panzer Division...
to trace on Frontschwein at times.
When Marduk once again wage war against everything and everyone, it is with ingredients like speed,
heaviness, punch, mood and reckless attitude. This is probably not the coarsest calibre of their catalogue, but it's
far from the worst album from Swedish veteran-stance. The variation within each song is not prominent, this is an
offensive war machine you know, but the songs come with different expressions, and so the variation from song to song
is better than what one can require. Take Nebelwerfer as an example. It is slow and tenacious as fight
scenes in slow motion. Or Thousand-Fold Death, where someone has written far too long lyrics.
Mortuus in fact needs to sing (or scream) really fuck fast to accommodate everything. The man has good
timing, for he nails it just in time. My favourite is Wartheland. Its rolling, driving and hypnotic
rhythms combined with grim, hateful moods and frantic vocal appeals incredibly.
Since the Swedes are pacifists they have lots of unused gunpowder lying around. Marduk have helped
themselves to a shitload of the inventory, and burns it all during these over 50 minutes. Considering how much poor
black metal that is spewed out, Marduk is still to reckon as a tank in the crowd.
Hear Wartheland and Rope of Regret here, and don't hesitate to watch the
video of the former.
Forever Plagued, 09.02.15
Italian Mourning Mist has a somewhat original gimmick, where they let the fiddle be the main instrument.
Unexpectedly, then, this isn't either traditional death/doom nor gothic metal. Even the musical species is quite far from
generic. The band vacillate genre-wise between ten chairs and are difficult to pigeonhole. With elements of doom, and
...well, diverse, this sounds like a really exciting concept. Portions of the art they paint is also very appealing, even
if the stroke of the brush often creates an abstract style on the canvas. And I don't even like cubism.
Whimsical choices can really come into its own when the music gets settled. After the initial spin there were several
flaws I got hung up on. First I thought that some of the elements of the song structures came in a bit randomly order.
After a few spins, I'm a little unsure just where I picked that up. The songs have indeed a certain avant-garde
touch, but the structures are mostly rationally landscaped.
I also had concerns about the sound. It is not exactly good, and it can give an unfavourable impression of amateurishness.
I've grown accustomed to the odd production, and it basically contributes to a sort of retro atmosphere that essentially
has its function. When the music finds a loophole in the psyche and sinks in, the production fits the strange music well.
A final objection is the rather ghastly and “screaming” vocals. This point is still valid, but there is little vocal on
the album, and I can easily live with that.
My sceptical eyebrow sank deep into my eyes for a while, but the albums beneficial aspects slowly came creeping.
Relieved, I can honestly say that I'm feeling better now, thank you for asking.
This Italian quartet débuts with a 38 minute self titled disc. Beside the doom metal being the foundation, genre is
irrelevant. During first track one can glimpse Norwegian gothic metal from the 90's, but even the guitar gets to shine
a little. After a bit mighty mid-part we encounter slightly moderate extreme metal. Song two, Freefall,
opens in Vivaldi's spirit, but soon moves in new directions. In Rise and Decay I also sense a
taste of Asia in the fiddles. The music is like a hyperactive ADHD child on a sugar-high. It never stands still for long.
I occasionally get some vibes of Diablo Swing Orchestra and Arcturus without that meaning that fans of
these necessarily have to lie in a sleeping bag outside the CD store to be first in line.
Mourning Mist gives a bit of a challenge. I really appreciate that. Fascinating album.
Hear Freefall and Rage here, and feel free to check the
Total Metal Records, 02.02.15
We stay in Greece a little while longer. We'll be checking out some guys who makes melodic speed metal.
Vocalist Alexandros Papandreou and bassist Akis Prasinikas started their music
careers in 1997, but it took some years and constellations before they débuted under the name The Eventide.
It didn’t take long before they were on their own yet again, after internal musical disagreements. After a name-change,
they self-released the first part of a conceptual trilogy called A Crimson Dawn in 2011. The year after
they got a new guitarist in Thanos Shaffer, and they started touring heavily.
With Lithras (Nordor, ex-Bare Infinity) as session drummer, these guys are out with
the second chapter of their trilogy, that tells the story of «a symbolical hunt for the true sun and everything that this journey means to every man. The quest for the light that
exists in everyone’s heart, a tale of [a] quest that never ends as [long as] hope exists».
The basis of the music comes from eighties melodic metal, with fast pace. According to Encyclopaedia Metallum they play
power/thrash, and that's a fine description. They mix in inspirations from most of the genres adjoining to their basis,
from nwobhm to extreme metal. We aren't talking about complete psychedelic schizophrenia, since they borrow in moderate
portions, and includes it naturally. The song structuring isn’t that good, so the mix becomes a bit mashed up anyway.
It is still many good ingredients in the cocktail, and some of the guitar play gives me some really nostalgic vibes.
Unfortunately Hunt For The Sun doesn’t have enough fresh ideas to justify almost fifty minutes of playtime.
The result would most likely have been better if they had carved and slashed away a few expendables. But they do have a
story to tell, so I would think they skipped such an editing to be able to tell the whole story.
A bit weak song-material and low excitement around the song structures, but still highly listenable.
III Damnation Productions, 30.01.15
From Greece comes Άγος, where Van Gimot (Virus of Koch,
eks-Acherontas et al.) handles all the instruments. He gets assistance from Astrous (Aenaon
et al.) for lyrics and visual/conceptual design. This three track EP is the first sign of life from Agos,
and I’m already looking forward to the full-length début.
Through almost twenty minutes, the music savages the poor listener with aggressive riffs, angry pace and alkalic vocals.
It's viscous death metal draped in poisonous black veils. The vocalist expresses unmistakable loathe and hatred. The
strings are impregnated with mud and arsenic, and the riffs are dark, corrupt and hellish. At the same time there are
lighter guitar-tones that mocks satanicly, and shed light of infected “infernalty”. What can I say? This is fierce metal.
Nykta Records, 08.12.14
This Italian band has taken its name by threatening omens in the form of dreams. B.G. is the man
behind what started as a one man band, and black metal is the basis of what he likes to express his artistic visions
with. He writes all the music and text, plays guitar and (programs?) drums, he sings the clean vocals and takes care
of production. Along with him he's got a vocalist and a temporary bassist.
The début Inter Peritura from 2011 consisted of black metal with Norwegian and Italian black metal
from the '90s as the main inspiration. I was hoping that album number three also tinkered with more grim and satanic
affairs, but this leans more towards atmospheric black metal with ambient whims.
The album lasts for just under 40 minutes and has 4 tracks. After one lap I was almost ready to press X, but one should not be as impatient and superficial as Idol judges. An
album must be given the chance to sink in slightly. The first track has slow tempo and rather melancholic black/doom
atmosphere. The vocals are desperate, while the song is melodic, pleasing and characterized by resigned depression.
The next track, on the other hand, is a synthetic instrumental thing. A sound collage of ambient ding-dong clocks
slides over in quiet, almost sacral moods. To me, a rather unnecessary track.
Third song out lasts for almost twelve minutes and it fortunately returns to the recipe from the first song, while the
last track takes a different direction; acoustic, atmospheric and dreamy instrumental music that starts very quiet with
harp and flute, before it grows in strength with fiddles and piano. After eight minutes the soaring melodies have faded out.
After some spins the album grew to be quite nice. I was gradually closing in on
V, but I was still planing going to withhold my verdict slightly. There is no innovation to trace, and
corresponding metal has been heard too many times to build up extraordinarily enthusiasm. End of the story is still that I've
developed a taste for the Italians' melancholic journey, thus this will be approved anyhow. It's not mandatory though.