Solitude Productions, 29.06.15
The band Sorrowful originated in Mexico, but the duo has moved from Leon, Guanajuato to Gothenburg.
The band was active in the period 2009-2012, but has since had a break until 2014. In the first act, they released
a demo and a split (with April Morning).
Now that the two guys have congregated again, it has resulted in their début album In The Rain Fall.
We've met one of these guys before. I. Ishtar has many band behind him, but we
(ain't it funny how I speak on your behalf as well?) know him best from Dødsfall.
Partner, Jorge Vergara is probably less known, unless you've come across Isolated for instance,
where one also found I. Ishtar.
With Sorrowful the two gentlemen wants to recreate some of the classic (British) death/doom from the
early nineties. The genre was then often heavier, darker and more depressed than has been the case over the last 15-20
years. Many bands have both walked away from growling and headed towards a more gothic expression.
Sorrowful obviously wish to reintroduce the old fashioned way of doing this. Naked, raw, heavy, godforsaken, resigned,
They succeeded to some extent. Sorrowful have an expression that could have stemmed from around the
demo/début era of Anathema, Paradise Lost and My Dying Brides. In The Rain Fall
is not as melodic/epic landscaped as what the mentioned bands soon composed a lot of. Of these three,
Anathema is the closest, especially soundwise.
Harmonically weeping twin-guitars creates a feeling of discouraged despair. The sound is unpolished but not muddy. The
vocals are rough, as the growls come without excessive guttural gurgling, but rather with semi-clear diction. It's heavy
and mournful, with good melodies. It all appears to be timely... in 1990.
The song material on this début is unfortunately not strong enough to emerge as timeless classics on par with The
Crestfallen EP, Gothic or As the Flower Withers, but I think old fans of such will find lots of
(un)pleasant stuff to enjoy on In The Rain Fall. We should also remember that Sorrowful
is yet early in their career. A solid début!
Dolorem Records, 29.06.15 Abyssal Ascendant is a French trio who claim they prefer to preserve and honour the old school of death
metal. Personally I think they mix a lot of other deadly styles of later origin. Not that it matters as long as they play
pure metal without commercial tomfoolery.
They have spun their lyrics round well-worn themes. Because you have to press a button to read more you might as well guess...
(The cover may provide a hint).
Was the Cthulhu mythology your first or second choice? The Elder Ones appear so often in metal context that I
will soon be at a level where I wont be surprised if I meet Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Azathoth or Cthulhu on Wacken,
Monsters of Rock, Tuska Open Air, Dynamo, Ozzfest, Bloodstock etc.
The band was started by Florent (vocals and guitar) and Fanny (bass and backing vocals)
in September 2012. In 2013 the band was finally complete, when drummer Raúl entered the picture. The
trio released an EP in October the same year, and this is their first full length album.
The varied death grunts is hard to decipher anyway, so let's just concentrating on the musical rather than the concept.
It's varied rhythms and tonality the French conjures up. There's a lot of traditional crushing death metal here, but
also much more. Some guitar parts are going somewhat in the direction of the technical sub-genre, some passages smells
of brutality, while still others nearly tangent the mighty and epic offspring. I see no point in pinpoint a cubicle for
one-selves when one evidently got creativity and inspiration far beyond such limitations.
Quite contrary, I see the band's willingness to mix as a strength. Especially since they're also able to create a continuous
flow. The band is a little bit undeveloped for the time being, but this is a strong beginning, and I'm already looking
forward to the Chronicles of the Doomed Worlds – Part. II.
Art Of Propaganda, 29.06.15
The German quintet we now shall feast on debuted in 2003, after six years of existence. The album The Splendour
of the Repellent had very little in common with the sequel GTRD. It's been twelve years with
only one EP from 2008 appearing in the meantime, and Thornesbreed has undertaken a massive change in course.
From fairly brutal death metal to a black metallic equivalence, quite brutal black metal.
The eight tracks spread out over 42 minutes as alarming fever nightmares. Trapped aggression finally gets its outburst as
suppressed anger is spewed out in intense cascades. Without crossing the border to cacophony, Thornesbreed
still offers an intense affair.
This is the moderately chaotic variety of black metal, with its origins in Deathspell Omega and the
likes. On the brink of the abyss of Hell – where dizzying heights and even worse maelstroms reveals itself, where
torrents of lava stings the skin from afar and thick sulphur smoke adheres like asbestos dust on the sweat, burning skin
– eclectic dystopia is served. You get the picture.
On the positive side, Thornesbreed presents a frantic work of art that ooze of dispirited discomfort.
It alters adequately in pace and it offers good melodies and a hypnotic mood. The vocalist vary between deep growl and
both sharp and Abbath-rasping black vocals.
This is solid stuff in both performances and heavy, sultry sound.
The negative aspect comes in the form of an indirect First World problem
(or luxury problem as we so neutrally call it in Scandinavia).
With undisguised madness from bands like (e.g.) Katechon, Israthoum, Malthusian,
Svartidauði, Misþyrming, Devouring Star and Desolate Shrine fresh in memory,
Thornesbreed doesn't leave that strong an impact as it could and would alone. Isolated, it would be much more
impressive, for it's still very good music. Large portions of killer metal has made me spoiled, superficial and demanding.
Regardless, GTRD (whatever it may stand for) is more than qualified for an approval!
This band is completely new to me, and this EP is indeed their first sign of life (or death). When I come across new music
online, which usually happens many times a day, I normally confine myself to a quick listen. I rarely end up hearing the
release in its entirety, and it's even more scarce that I do so several times in a row.
When No Clean Singing presented this yesterday,
however, that is just what happened.
The trio consists of current and former members of infamous constellations as Von, Krieg and
Nachtmystium and equally well known (but less “notorious”) Abigail Williams, to name just a few.
Despite some German-sounding names, most of you will probably perceive that we're of to the States. To Chicago, to
be exact. Their first release consists of three tracks and 23 minutes of doom-laden black metal.
In accordance with the moniker, negative and oppressive moods is conjured. It's the heavy, sluggish and manic that reigns.
With rumbling sound, screeching guitars and frenetic vocals, only like-minded will be able to find anything “positive”
in this raw substance.
The faster parts shall not be forgotten. The stench of self-destructive hellishness can be smelled from afar.
The band's singer/guitarist/bassist has engined the sound at the rehearsal place himself, something that commands respect.
It sounds very good, while the different instruments (including the often underrated bass) appears clearly. That the sound
is so clear and distinct, yet dirty and unpolished, creates an authentic heinous and impious mood that suits the material
A Hymn to Disappointment is a rough taste of what the band has up both sleeves.
Something that certainly gives a taste for more.
It can even be downloaded as pay what thou wilt.
Naturmacht Productions, 28.06.15
The man (singular, not plural) behind Old Graves is a Canadian named Colby Hink.
He started up two years ago and released an EP and a split with Canadian Paths last year.
It's melancholic atmospheric post-black that lays close to his crestfallen heart, and now he gives us a 25 minute
audience into his gloomy kingdom.
After a nice acoustic intro, it's time for ambivalent metal. Not ambient, but fragmented and indecisive metal.
On the one hand, quiet, wistful and pretty melodies with muted guitars and a whiff of forest tranquillity. On the
other hand, pounding staccato drums, monotonous-intense tremolo-riffing and depressive black vocal apparently howling
its resentment to the moon.
This is, to be honest, a form of music I'm getting terribly tired of. Any band sound pretty much like everyone else,
and its kind of whiny and complaining style can be too much to tolerate in the long run.
Nevertheless... Colby Hink does a mighty fine job in switching between different forms of riffs and
guitar playing, pace and stroke. The melodies are pleasingly mournful in all its despair. And the man can play. In
Hang My Remains from the Crescent Moon we get some fairly allright guitar parts, to mention one thing.
If you like the genre better than me, I absolutely recommend a listen. Personally, I think it is all right, but unexciting.
Testimony Records, 26.06.15
This is full-length number four from a German quintet with over ten years of experience. The band has reportedly resided
in the melo-death region since the start, without anyone ever taking the trouble to make me aware of their existence.
They have apparently grown tired of cubicle incarceration, and has thus shaken things up a bit. In addition to breaking
genre barriers they approach two dark fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, and present their own interpretations.
Grimm I & II is is divided into two parts, but not as a double CD or in two distinct directions. There
is no musical difference separating the two parts. Nor any other phonetic indication revealing exactly when you cross the
invisible threshold in the transition between the two.
The first five songs are dedicated to the fairytale
The Armless Maiden. The origin of the story is probably difficult to estimate. Different versions of the folk-tale
is also collected in Russia and Italy.
The last four songs are sorted under the chapter Thoughts of the Sore. Hell knows what tale this section
is based on.
The metal is melodic, but full of force and drift. It spreads its wings and covers wide landscapes. Melo-death, technical
death, (symphonic) black and traditional metal with orchestral elements, proggy transitions and passages, as well as
acoustic parts are among the ingredients. They incorporate lots of stuff without it ever appearing schizophrenic or unnatural.
Grimm I & II occasionally got some Carach Angren in their expression, as grotesque fairy tales
is set to music by a profound variety of instruments, including symphonic elements. Some gothic-sounding drama à la
Cradle of Filth also lurk in the shades, but there's a lot of different details to be found here. With a moderately
comprehensive amount of expressions intertwined, it's hard not to get a dozen very different associations. There's no
innovative ingredients to be found, but the music is in no aspect generic either.
The album actually manages to stand out slightly from the crowd. The progress and the various landscapes alters naturally
with good and nice melodies and yet with a descent chunk of fervour.
The vocals alternates between various extreme branches. Even if every form doesn't hit home run, it's in any case technical
controlled and varied. The instrumentation is impeccable, and ensures that the band can bite off more than others can chew
without even staining the shirt. I would particularly like to highlight certain passages of amazing guitar work, although
there is much else that also should have been complimented. The sound is powerful, grand and wonderful, but with standard
DR6 in dynamic range.
KadavriK has created an interesting album that should be able to appeal to a wide audience.
Even in the last seconds the band can't refrain from experimenting, as the album rounds off with jazz trumpet.
Altare Productions, 22.06.15
These Portuguese are so fresh that no one has put them up on Metal Archives yet. There's not much to say about the
duo that now debuts with just over three quarters of atmospheric black metal.
The five tracks vary in both time and expression. From 6 to 15 minutes. From acoustic neofolk in style with Tenhi,
to intense black/post-black.
I might as well address the albums draw-back in the first place. In addition to non-existent originality and too much
shoegaze, the songs got long repetitive sequences and vast monotony.
Hadn't there been so many other bands with identical expressions around, I would regardless of subjective taste have
felt that the album had a reason and right to exist since this is an expression that there must be room for in the metal
landscape. However, as the crowding in the corner where everyone is gazing at their shoes has become packed like sardines,
it's time to put the foot down. Post-black/shoegaze is a form of expression with a narrow essence where nuances are few.
I have now doubt Névoa is talented, and as mentioned they cram in a descent amount of diversity in the
narrow corridors these sub-genres offers. The Absence of Void paints some nice moods, with fine melodies.
Unfortunately, they stop by an immense amount of worn-out and generic rhythms and tones as well. At its worst, the band
rehashes the same exhausted riffs in monotone cascades, to a degree that makes sure I wont revisit this album.
Objectively this band is just as good as the next in this landscape, but the complete lack of innovation makes them not
meet the requirements for a place on the podium. Purely subjectively, this is an X from
this grumpy guy but since Névoa offers roughly the same quality as the bulk of bands can boast of in the
genre, I'll rather be a bit generous.
These Chileans have cooked a spicy 47 minutes meal. They call their style Evil Grave Metal, which is fine by me.
It mixes the various extreme genres to a barely recognizable mush before chilli and jalapeño are added and it's baked in
metal pans over open bonfires.
Satanic Ripper consists of five men who all have some experience from other bands. The band was started
in 2012 and only had one demo from 2013 on their conscience before releasing this album via Apocalyptic Productions
about a year ago. Swedish Blood Harvest has now taken on the task of releasing this on (12") vinyl.
It's a violent and often speedy affair we get shoved down our throat, although Satanic Ripper has the
sense to calm down their reckless attacks once in a while to open up for blasphemous moods.
The album starts with a track of as much as 8 minutes, but that's an exception. Also the two between 2 and 3, can be
reckoned as deviates. The other eight songs never migrates far from the 4-minute mark.
If blasphemous South American extreme metal is a style that evokes your passion, I recommend a taste of Southern
Black Spells. I suppress my enthusiasm as (I feel) the band's got a way to go. The music is tough and the sound
is raw, but the songs are somewhat simple in structure, and some of the material feels more repetitive than varied. With
a little more flare and thrust in the compositions, it's quite possible that I'll be sold the next time around, for at its
best, this is a beast of aggressive discomfort.
Altare Productions, 22.06.15
From Austria comes a new acquaintance. Nahtrunar plays black metal in Central European spirit.
It smells of German and French wrath with an occasional breath of Swedish melody lines.
The band released a demo in 2013, but is otherwise a completely blank sheet.
It's a dirty, coarse-grained and rather raspy sound that meets the listener, but it fits in with their dim lightless
style. Unlike Dolentia below, Nahtrunar's got a clearly defined direction. They have renounced
the light and sought a journey into the dark maze of the netherworld. A good choice.
Six long songs, four of which extends over eight minutes, leads into cryptic underground passages where smugglers,
righteous witches, heretics and alchemists have hid from sheriff and priest in centuries.
In between there's glimpses of sunlight, and fresh air seeps into the stuffy odor of decay. Where porous rock wall has
given inn and left holes and cracks in the cave, forest can be glimpsed behind trees and bushes. Interludes, four in number,
bringing everything from leaves rustling in the whispering breeze and the echoes of the hill to chanting rituals and
alarming rockslides. In most cases it's acoustical Empyrium-flirting we are witnessing.
The album has songs with icy, evil and gloomy moods, with hateful vocals and an occasional melody line
Mörk Gryning worthy. The songs wanders through various passages, and the variety ensures that the songs never
feels stalling despite solid duration.
The debutants rough feel and unpolished sound suits the music well, and I am more than satisfied with Symbolismus.
The CD version is limited to 500 copies and 50 digipacks (the promo leaflet admittedly states "gigipack", but...)
with bonus tracks.
Portuguese black metal is not an everyday occurrence. If Dolentia is representative of the country's
black scene, that might perhaps be just as well, to put it a bit crude and strict.
This is the second full-length from the quartet. It was released on vinyl via Mordgrimm in February.
Iniciação Eversiva itself last about 41 minutes, but the CD version comes with three bonus tracks (two of which
are merged). These are taken from the demo A Idade da Morte, Liturgia do Sangue e da Agonia (2007) and
is re-recorded for the occasion. They contribute with further just over a quarter, pushing the whole thing beyond 56 minutes.
The music served is partly melodic, yet somewhat raw and intense black metal - where the sound, almost as much as the music,
is causing the rough expression. The guitars have an abnormally timbre but sharp appearance. Characteristic, sure, but
not particularly fortunate in my ears. The vocals are screaming black, striving with force, as done by those not able to
produce natural-sounding controlled barbed vocals from their throats. Some inappropriate yelling vocals is integrated as
well. The sound becomes too dirty and sharp to suit melodic black metal, and the expression is too light-hearted for
pure black metal. Ergo the Portuguese stumbles a bit between the sitting furniture.
The songs are unfortunately not amongst the strongest either. The guys is caught somewhere between a rock and a hard
place with its overly melodic touch, characterized by fairly weak melodies without memorable character or other hooks.
Apart from the sound I would call it a hunch generic in both melody and structure.
If the guys had made stronger songs I could always have look the other way regarding these minor adverse conditions, and
vice versa; had the guitar distortion, sound and vocal been more appropriate, I could have lived with tunes bearing low
uniqueness. The combination doesn't manage to tickle my fancy very much, however.
Instrument-technically, the four seems able to deliver the goods. Even if there's not much frost and hatred in the melodic
department I feel a potential for more memorable songs, something that is likely to be manifested when the band advances
in direction and expression. Especially the last bonus track, Era Portucalensis, shows signs of melodic
flair in a descent folk-metallic direction.
I'm not going to return to Iniciação Eversiva but I'm likely to get back to Dolentia,
as I have faith that one day they will surprise positively. The album is audible, but futile enough for me to disapprove it.
American Dagon (guitar and vocals) created Inquisition in 1989 while living in Colombia.
The band's early years were devoted to thrash metal. Three demos was recorded before he moved back to Seattle in 1996.
There he met drummer Incubus who joined the band in 1997. The following year they released their début.
During the first half of 2015, all full-length albums (except the newest) in the bands back-catalogue has been re-released
by Season of Mist with new cover art. Paolo Girardi, who created the cover of
Obscure Verses... (2013) has given the first five albums new motives, and constructed a new context. The new art
emerges as a blasphemous parody of The Last Judgment, a triptych (three-part
altarpieces) also known as “Day of Judgement”, by Hans Memling. The altarpiece is a representation of judgement day, where
we all allegedly shall be measured and weighed for heavenly qualities or rejection in a selection process resembling the
holocaust. We shall all be cast into an eternal exile in flames and torture. Christian charity my ass!
This will however not work as on the picture,
and besides, the outer parts of the internal motive is supposed to be on the inside off the cabinet doors.
There's a shitload of more or less known/unknown bands in the wake of the larger bands. The list of “second-rate”, or at least
peripheral black metal groups is long. Inquisition is probably among the more notorious of these, but even
though I have been aware of them for many years, I have never taken the trouble to get very acquainted with their discography.
With the exception of the last album. The plan to run a discographic review with dice based grades went down the drain as time
run out. Anyway, here comes a short revision.
New cover art (with zoom function) appears at the top, while images of the original cover (without zoom function) follow each article.
Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult (1998)
It seems to me that the début have stood the test of time good. I have no idea what reception it received 17 years ago, but
it doesn't sound dated, and the sound is decent. Qualitative it could of course not compete with existing Norwegian and Swedish
releases. They noted enough not probably didn't stand out it that way, and that was likely not a goal either.
Inquisition has never appeared as the most evil musically, even if the lyrics contain enough blasphemy.
Still, the band seems a bit remarkable, and there is probably no wonder they've made a name for themselves in the underground.
For being black metal, Into the Infernal Regions... is relatively calm, gentle and melodic. The beat is too
hard to be compared with what would eventually be defined as atmospheric black metal, but they nonetheless had some of the
monotonous and hypnotic style from the three hugging nature-worshipping variety hanging over them. Dagon is well known for his frog vocals. The vocals is in essence more of an excessive
creaking than croaking voice. Especially on the early albums.
The album is needlessly long, and not all the material is strong enough to justify 55 minutes. The weak links are fortunately
highly audible, but the highlights are few. Inquisition is a band that stands out the most when they offer
strong melody lines, and there's not too many of them on the album.
Highlight: Solitary Death in the Nocturnal Woodlands.
Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan (2002)
Invoking the Majestic Throne... continues in the same mid-tempo and slightly introverted style as its
predecessor. The songs do not have much depth and intricate song-writing to show for, and if you've missed out on it, you
haven't missed much. Nevertheless, the album is certainly okay to listen to. A charming melody is never far away, and
Incubus varies his drum play well. The rhythm guitar seems to have been given better sound on this album. The
sound at least has a more even and coherent feel, as it's less deviations from song to song.
It is easier said than done to decipher Dagon, but words like Satan og Lucifer kind of
shines through with a little extra glow.
With ten tracks of varying lengths, on this as on its predecessor, the tradition is pretty much settled. The duration is
reduced to about three quarters, which feels more apt.
An allright album, but not a must.
Highlight: Hail the King of All Heathens.
Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer (2004)
The duo opens raw and fast on this album. The guitar is both sharper and more intense. Where the two first albums were far
airier in expression, guitar tones hangs in the air as a continuous raspy wall as Magnificent glorification...
kicks off. Dagon still ain't one to riffs in classic tremolo-ways, something that together
with the special vocals creates a bit idiosyncratic touch.
The band has some passages that is repeated in excess. It can make parts of the material feel slightly more painstaking
than necessary, but it still isn't directly troublesome. The album feels more even than its predecessors, although several
songs stands out positively.
The original CD outro consisted of 4-5 minutes of silence and 8 minutes of distorted feedback. This is cut down to the
1.5 minutes the original LP outro had. (This according to the promo. Metal-archives do not agree). Two bonus tracks from
the same recording session, originally intended for an EP, was implemented as bonus tracks on a re-release in 2009. These
two are still provided, making the total playing time clocking in at nearly 50 minutes.
Highlight: Eternal Loyalty to Our Lord Satan. Crush the Jewish Prophet and Of Blood
and Darkness We Are Born also catches the ear.
Nefarious Dismal Orations (2007)
On Nefarius... the guys takes a step back concerning the technical playing style. The guitar is more
intense than on the two first albums, but not as frenetic as Magnificent...
The vocal is located further upfront in the mix, and Dagon's toad-vocal squeaks more than earlier. His
chanting style generally gives the band a somewhat blasphemous ritual touch.
Unfortunately, the music does not offer any innovative ideas on this album. Good ideas and moods frequently drowns in
repetitive riffs and songs with no clear direction. That the album is even doesn't help much, as I feel that it's all too
anonymous in an Inquisition context. No track stands out as particularly striking. The music is decent
enough, but very little exciting.
Although none of the songs have any immediate appeal, Enter the Cult can be said to be a favourite on
the album, as it's got a number of cool guitar parts that would have made the track absolutely superb if these had been
continuous, persevering and enduring.
Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm (2011)
Ominous Doctrines... combines the rapid and intense from Magnificent... with calm parts
where dark mood are summoned. A successful recipe. In tranquil parts, slow and marching strokes are often heard, and the
guitar licks as Lucifer's red-hot tongue, leaving burns in my ears. (Okay, that sounded a bit pretentious).
The material on this album is greatly improved since Nefarius.... The songs often have gloomy, ominous
or reckless melodies. Adequate rhythms again creates a sense of direction. Most songs have a more coherent and unified
touch than the ones found on its predecessor. The songs structure is better balanced between heaviness, speed and melody.
The album sounds more inspired and enthusiastic, resilient and vibrant than the duo's previous albums, and
Ominous Doctrines... thus appears as the band's first pretty good release in my ears.
The album is by no means spotless. There are certainly enough fillers and unnecessarily protracted repetition time as well,
but overall the album is fairly good. It provides a relatively interesting twist on a genre with many ramifications.
The album lasts barely 42 minutes, which also feels like a more appropriate dose.
Favoritt: Desolate Funeral Chant.
Obscure Verses for the Multiverse 2013
Impression first published 28.11.13
I wrote about this one eighteen months ago. I don't feel I hit the nail on the head in every aspect back then, so I'll
just briefly sum up the essence here.
The album still stands as Inquisition's strongest output to this date. As with Ominous Doctrines...
the songs got a connected feel. The songs on Obscure Verses... however seems to have more and
better internal variety, with several interesting and distinctive parts. Even in between tracks a higher divergence prevails.
All in all the album has a diabolic and ceremonial mood created by a form of monotonous, yet sinisterly slithering locomotion
Darkness Flows Towards Unseen Horizons has got the strongest signature, that's probably why it remains
my favourite, but Inversion of Ethereal White Stars shall also be mentioned because of solid character.
Inquisition plays descent devil worshipping metal without revolutionize anything. Few, if any, of
their releases is directly mandatory in my book. To put it bluntly: Compared with more essential bands, the the duo's
products qualitatively becomes a footnote in the black metal history. Just as with a few hundred other small and
medium-sized bands in the aftermath of Scandinavian exploits in the early nineties.
Never the less, priceless or not, albums as Ominous Doctrines... and Obscure Verses...
is pretty cool, and I will definitely follow the band onwards as they have an infamous charm that has been best expressed
on recent works. I don't expect no innovative breakthrough in the future, but if the good level of the last albums are
maintained, and perhaps even improve, I intend to be the one informing you about it! (Holy shit, I'm pretentious
Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult
Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan
Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer
Nefarious Dismal Orations
Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm
Prophecy Productions, 05.06.15
The following prologue is written in (and about) Norway. If you cant relate to the circumstances, consider yourself lucky!
If there were something even remotely similar to a proper summer in this godforsaken region on earth, I could have written
an adequate intro where I raved about you sitting in the sun with a fresh prawn sandwich in one hand and a cold lager beer in
the other. Right now that's just wrong, since the thermometer barely passes the ten degree hump (°C, that is, or 50°F), and
the “humidity” (or downpour, if you like) is higher than in the Niagara Falls.
I can't ask the reader to close their eyes and dream of warmer climes either, because they need them to read.
But suppose it was a sunny day, then, with strawberries and cherries and all that jazz. You sit on the quayside and curse them
gulls while empty bottles pile up around you. Listening to pitch black metal is somehow a bit out of place in such a setting.
You get an unnatural impulse that something quiet and comfortable would fit the occasion. But what?
Dare I suggest the début by Sunset In The 12th House?
The band is a side project of Hupogrammos and Sol Faur (Dordeduh, ex-Negura
Bunget). It consists otherwise of one full-time member and one live member of Dordeduh, but for this project they
have mainly left their metallic elements at home. Here the guys are hovering in a lightly psychedelic post-rock landscape with
occasional progressive twists. Like the recently reviewed album from Tempel, Mozaic is instrumental,
almost anyway. Not that it's a problem. There are some vocals in the last two songs, but it's marginal.
The album begins with gentle finger picking in the spirit of post-rock. After a few minutes a little harder guitars, bass and
rhythms initiates as well. A bit heavy, but not massively so, and it never really gets any harder on Mozaic
either. The music is pleasant and easy to digest. It glides smoothly and softly, with nice flow, progression and variation.
The sound is well suited to the expression. It is warm, soft and safe as a furry teddy bear, and pleasant and relaxing as a
mild foehn wind that ruffles mildly through your hair while you're laying nonchalant, gazing at those lazy waves, until the
police comes along to pick you up for public drunkenness.
Thanks to my musical advice you avoid being fined for public disorder.
Whether it's planned or not, I can't say, but the album starts off with the longest track at 14:43 and steps gradually down in
duration before ending at 5:48. The song Desert's Eschaton offers items from the Middle East. The oriental
elements easily provide associations to a band like Melechesh (who's new album I haven't been able to check out yet).
Mosaic is a great disc in its genre, but I prefer these quiet aspects mixed with extreme metal, or as short
interludes. The plan was to reduce the grade to vx based
on lack of metallic elements. However, I can't get myself to do so. The music is simply a bit too well done and comfortable.
If you have an open mind and like “post-prog”, this is the album for those (hopefully) fine summer days and nights.
Signal Rex, 29.04.15
From Portugal comes a band fronted by a person calling himself Atillla, and that's all I know about the
The band débuted with the album Örök in 2013 and the sophomore release was issued a few months ago.
The band's music is filthy blackened doom with varying intensity. Sometimes it flows slow as funeral syrup, other times
it speeds up to black scorched discomfort. At its best Örök merges depressive and creepy atmospheres
with raw tonalities from Deathspell Omega's landscape. Unfortunately, the over 50 minutes long record
has its flaws as well. The music can be somewhat monotonous, hectic and nagging, especially since the sound is dirty in
a “shrilling” way and the dynamic spectrum is low (
DR5). The vocals can become tiresome in a screaming manner, and the Portuguese generally doesn't manage to vary
the expression as well as the aforementioned Frenchmen.
All in all I have developed a rather ambivalent relation to Übermensch, and thus it ends up in the middle
of the road.
Season of Mist, 15.06.15 Shape of Despair has apparently set a goal of filling the CD to the brim. No less than in excess of 76
minutes is offered by the melancholic Finns this time around.
It's perhaps not surprising given that it is almost 11 years since their last full-length album. After the millennium,
three full-length albums came out in a row before a longer hiatus took place. A compilation from 2005, an EP in 2010
and a split the year after has marked the only signs of life since then.
The first thing I noticed compared to previous albums were the production. Deep and steady bass is like a thick layer of
mist on the forest floor, drums and guitars thunder and rumbles as falling rocks and creaking and splintering trees. The
vocal is like the echo of the mighty forest troll as he sits in his cave in the mountains just below the timberline,
while bright guitar tones, delicate violins and evocative synth trickles pure as a mountain stream and shines as clearly
as the moon reflecting on the quiet surface of the forest lakes.
Then the fair, vein, aerial and shimmering voice of the elf princess is heard. She is caught by the troll in the grotto,
where she is forced to sing for food.
The deep, rumbling growl and light, choir-like fairy song, both (in spite of infinitely difference) remain inarticulate to
the human ear. Approximately one-third into the album, these vocal forms are accompanied by clean vocals in a harmonic duet.
dynamic range lays otherwise on an even DR6.
Anyone with knowledge of Shape of Despair can be safely assured that the Finns have not tampered with the recipe.
Long songs, eight in numbers, moves slowly and hovering like mist on a grey and windless morning in woods and mountains.
For those uninitiated, the band plays a form of atmospheric funeral doom characterized by romantic and gothic undertones.
Like melodic death/doom in very slow motion. So dark, meek and depressed that almost only Britons and Finns dare to embark.
The band also consists of prominent artists who are or have been involved in bands like Impaled Nazarene,
Rapture, Finntroll, Thy Serpent, Clouds, Barathrum, Korpiklaani,
Throes of Dawn and Norwegian Fallen, just to mention it.
In addition to its most supreme sound ever the band has written numerous pleasurable, melancholic and nice melodies.
I guess I haven't really worn out some of the earlier CDs in the meantime, so I don't intend to compare the musical
qualities. Still, I have absolutely no belief that followers of this musical branch will be disappointed.
The album and the songs are lengthy, but relaxing and dreamy, with melodies that create progress and nice flow just
as water lilies sailing on the lake.
Temple of Torturous, 16.06.15 Total Negation is yet a one-man company in the world of music. German hr. Wiedergaenger
is general manager, and this is the firm's second produced product for sale. The problem is that this product is as
innovative as a... uh, poorly conceived and badly executed travel toothbrush with toothpaste in the shaft.
(Okay, I obviously have a credibility problem regarding innovative metaphors my selves).
I have no relation to the German's earlier work, but some minor research reveals that the project begun eight years ago
and it has now resulted in its third creation.
Based on this record I feel no greater appetite to increase my knowledge of Total Negation aside from this.
The man walks on the edge of the black landscape, but dares not take the plunge. I concider Zeitzeugen
more as dark metal. The music is slow, and tried-and-true, even if mr. Wiedergaenger tries to spice things
up sometimes. Among other things, we get some subdued portions of light jazzy rhythms and minimalistic guitars without this
doing any wonders. Total Negation also tries to bring nonconformity to the table with instruments such as
melodica and vibraphone, but it creates little more than a somewhat clever/subtle expression.
The vocals are German, sharp, harsh and slightly mental. Slightly charming in a sardonic way.
Zeitzeugen is an alright release to listen to, but not very much more. It delivers some decent melodic
and rhythmic ideas, and the unusual instruments provides an uncommon mood to some extent, but the overall doesn't feel
very original. Thus it's more appropriate to regard the album as a poor man's version of bands like Nocte Obducta.
In the bizarre world of metal, cooked wiener sausages costs the same as meaty barbecued bacon sausages, and so the choice
is easy. Even so, I don't want to be too strict, for this is certainly audible, even bordering on pretty good.
Quite good, but not very good, you might say. Not bad for a one-man band.
PS: Total Negation's discography can be checked out here if you're interested.
Signal Rex, 11.05.15
The first EP from Portuguese Enlighten was released about a month ago in limited edition of 100 cassettes
and 100 digifile CDs (fold-out cardboard cover) respectively.
The sales might not have been overwhelming, as the promo landed in my digital mailbox barely a month later. If it should
happen to be out of stock, there's still no reason to despair.
The duo presents quite melodic black/death characterized by repetitive passages and certain distorted, disharmonious and
atonal guitar sounds. The vocal is a jarring offspring of whispering black vocals that doesn't please this listener.
The sound is pretty much as “boisterous” as the music, and it literally crackles in the speakers.
After 16.5 minutes comes the outro Glomvgn. It slides better in the ears than of the tongue. In these
last 1.5 minutes they calm down with piano and fiddle. Despite for the most synthetic midi-violin I've heard on this
side of the millennium, it feels soothing for both ears and soul to know that the end is near... of Phösphorvs
Paramovnt, that is.
For the record, guest contributions from Alexandre Ribeiro (Grog, Neoplasmah etc.) and
Cristiana Silva (In Tha Umbra) should be mentioned, without that affecting the outcome.
Nuclear War Now! Productions, 15.06.15
Italian Mefitic plays occult death metal, like a heavy, aggressive and intense offspring of the metal
Necros Christos performs. The band has not rushed things toward dropping their first full length. They say it's
a notable quality increasement, but I couldn't tell. They may have evolved, but I really can't claim that they've spent
their time extremely well.
During their 11 years the quartet has released three demos, a pair of splits and an EP. (Seriously. When did the industry
start defining 7" singles with 2 track as EPs?)
Instrumentally and sound-wise I can't seem to find no faults. The guys are playing well, and the sound is dark and
devastating. The expression is altogether brutal and churning. Even if the variation isn't very palpable, one hears that
chords are fairly frequently replaced, and the drummer burns the candle in all directions with his energy.
There's a shortage, however, in the variation of the expression and also in recognizable and poignant melody lines.
There is little depth, substance or hooks to trace.
The vocal rasp-growls in a deep psychotic vain, the band works till the sweat runs in the dark cellar vault, and the
overall atmosphere is malignant and oppressive. The music thus has high potential, but when the songs do not live up
to the remaining parts it unfortunately doesn't help out on the overall impression.
It kinda goes on and one for more than 40 minutes, round after round, without Woes of Mortal Devotion
fastening a secure grip. It basically just makes me feel like playing Triune Impurity Rites.
Unless the quality of the song-writing picks up, the band may just as well use an equal amount of time before releasing
next album, for all I care.
Blood Harvest, 12.06.15
The Hungarian duo behind the band with the somewhat tongue twisting properties released their début, Horns in
the Dark on CD in February 2013. It went past my radar, but I didn't miss out on too much.
Now it's out on vinyl for those who can't get enough of blasphemous brutality from the underground.
If it's up to Tyrant Goatgaldrakona (Wasn't Tyrant Goat enough?), they prefer to beat the listener
over the head with a shovel before dismembering the corps. In other words, pure death metal is their weapon of choice.
The 7 songs they run through in this just over half an hour, ranges from 3 to 7 minutes. Overall it rips quite well, with
rumbling riffs, throaty, gurgling vocals and frenetic anti-melodic solos. It's got blazing thrust and the songs got a
swell flow. The drawback is that few songs stands out in particular. A few strong songs and some juicy portions ain't
really enough to distinguish itself from the masses. The sound perhaps stick out the most. Despite moderate dynamics,
the production itself is appetizingly deep and rumbling.
Horns in the Dark isn't at all bad, but I will have to downgrade the rating a bit for the somewhat
sparse idea-base in the majority of songs. If the five tracks between the opener and the closure had been as strong as
those two, this would have been an obvious approval. As the guys grow as songwriters, I am absolutely sure that they
will become more proficient, and before you know it they will be serving us bloody steaks.
We have paid a visit to Italian Vardan earlier this year, about five months ago. I was not exceedingly
Verses from Ancient Times were not hopeless either. If you find two full-length albums in five months to be a
bit over the top, then know this: this guy has released further two more discs in the meanwhile.
That's a typical sign of home crafted one-man bedroom black metal of the cheapest kind. Even if I'm extremely sceptical
to this album raising my impression of the band, I am willing to give him a second chance instead of just dismissing the
...but it ends with confrontation and spilt blood as Vardan must taste my slaughter knife...
The first thing that strikes me is the terrible sound. I wont call this "necro" as it would have been a compliment. I
call it a contemptible, putrid heap! Musically it's generic depressive black metal. Partially melancholic and atmospheric,
but at times more intense. Never directly frenetic. Hovering in the mix we find terrible, awful screaming vocals.
So is this good for absolutely nothing then?
Well, there are melody-related ideas here that could have worked in a more meticulous setting. As it is, these ingredients
ain't more conciliatory than a strawberry in a turd.
Fortunately this nonsense don't last any longer than its predecessor. About 35 minutes amateurish black extreme metal is
what we are favoured with.
My tip to Vardan: Increase your self-criticism, save the best ideas for maximum one annual release, hire
a guest-vocalist and record it in a proper studio.
If Shining doesn't make you consider "creative" usages of razor blades there is a real danger that
I can't find no stream on my first attempt, and nor will I waste more time searching!
Solitude Productions, 08.06.15 Ashes To Ashes, the début of this Ukrainian one-man band, was well received by me a year ago. I granted
it a 5 of 6 point score on my granite dice, and stated that despite its one song of close to an hour, it stood
out from such monolithic acts as Ea and Monolithe.
The first impression I wrote in 2015 was appropriately enough a new year present, in the form of a free EP from this very band.
That one also appealed to me.
Luna blends funeral doom with symphonic elements. Not a revolutionary touch, but it certainly
creates a distinctive character. Whilst the début consisted of one 57-minute track, On The Other Side Of Life
has chosen to distribute its 55 minutes on two respectively (approx.) 22 and 33 minute long songs.
As the first tones of On The Other Side Of Life seep out of the speakers, I'm quickly convinced
that this is something I can safely recommend for all fans of funeral doom. Unfortunately obstacles pops up and puts a
damper on my enthusiasm.
Grey Heavens Fall opens with sorrowful tones. Gorgeous and sometimes a bit creepy melodies with close
to heartbreaking melancholy is supported by a powerful orchestral background as well as some choir.
This form of metal is often quite repetitive by nature. The song still moves through heavy and light (as a feather)
passages without feeling monotonous. The song is cleverly stitched together with ample variety and solid mood.
I do not even notice that it's all instrumental before the press release makes me aware of it.
With one song down and one to go, Luna is almost halfway home free, well - at least 40% so, and the
group is well on their way to a place on the podium.
Then comes the 50% longer title track.
It begins a bit hesitating, but that's fine, it must be allowed to build up tension before approaching climax.
This track has got its share of great parts too. They come in a row as trains, but this freight train has got some
immensely long wagons/railcars and its running in syrup. The title track can not really endure concentrated listening
very good. What in your peripheral vision appears as scenic will at a closer look reveal flaws.
Although some sequences even in this song have very good melodies it's still more that turn out as simply passable.
In addition, the repetition it a bit excessive. The use of piano works perfectly when the instrument is used for its
intended purpose, playing melodies, but when as little as three tangents are used to emit scattered plunked tones in a
repetitive pattern in well over three minutes, it feels more like Chinese water torture.
The album is a little closer to Monolithe than their previous album was, as the guitar creates more soaring and
outstretched tones this time. Add a sense of Perfection or Vanity from Dimmu Borgir's Puritanical
Euphoric Misanthropia for good measure.
I considered for the longest time to turn a blind eye to these critical points, but unfortunately the title track doesn't
really hold the necessary qualities, and considering that it occupies 60% of the album I end up restricting myself from
approving this one. It is with a heavy heart, for On The Other Side Of Life is indeed a well above-average
album, and fans of funeral doom or calm and relaxing instrumental metal in general, should check out the album, and the
bands still manageable discography. If you've also got a penchant for symphonic fumes, than I order you to do so.
I, Voidhanger Records, 08.06.15 Absconditus crawled out of the ashes of the black/death metal band Borgia in 2010. It is not
too often lyrics are supplied with promos, but in this case they are of little use. Despite the quirky album title,
Absconditus consists of three Frenchmen.
I never had much sense of the French language in everyday speech, but in black metal, the language has got a delightful
The title Kατάβασις (Katabasis) is Greek and refers here to the
path one has to walk to achieve personal freedom and to fully master existence.
The band is basically a duo, but with a session vocalist the album is in practice recorded by a trio. The recording
have otherwise been done in RecRecRec Studio in Paris, where the mixing also has taken place. Sound engineer
Guillaume Pingard also contributes with “Draconian invocation” on Elegeìa (Confession au Cenotaph)
without me being able to notice any extraordinary summoning in the song. The mastering chores has been handled by
Tore Stjerna in Necromorbus Studio. The dynamic range is compressed down to impoverished DR4, but the
sound is “uncomfortable” and intense in a highly adequate way.
The band's metal is a demented offspring of black metal. The band is said to be occult landscaped, but I don't really
feel any typically occult-sounding moods on their début. With moderately absurd expression that never tread completely
into avant-garde-ish landscapes, this is scum of archetypical French dissonant disgust. An underlying melancholy creates
further dystopia and misanthropic atmosphere.
Drummer Anderswo pushes forward with frenetic drive and peculiar variety. Axeman Loxia
is high and low with his schizophrenic guitar tones. The man's bass lines are not always as striking, however. Session
vocalist Aliexagore could just as well have received permanent membership for his peculiarly guttural
articulation suits the disfigured black metal like hand in guillotine.
It takes some time to get the pieces firmly into place, but once they have penetrated my mind I would rather stay, and
never leave these fierce, foul and sombre crypts.
I, Voidhanger Records, 08.06.15
I have only heard this one twice in its entirety, and then some, and for a good reason. I could have heard
Gorgoroth's new albums ten times during the same period. Puzzled? Shards of Silver Fade is a
double-CD that's totalling just over 2 hours and 22 minutes. Two rounds in Midnight Odyssey's new
universe takes just over 4 hours and three quarters.
An unnecessarily lavish dose, but the music is swell, thus I choose not to reduce the grade as a result.
It takes nearly a quarter of dreamy esoteric tones with moderate ethnic and heavy astral vibes, before more metallic
elements makes an entrance. Some of this is reminiscent of Bathory's later era.
I've heard Australian Midnight Odyssey's previous album, Funerals from the Astral Sphere
(2011), also a double disc spanning more than two hours, but my knowledge of the band was virtually non-existent. The
length of this new album gave me a strong suspicion that this had to be a one-man band. Few full bands makes soaring and
atmospheric metal with such a long duration. It turned out to be correct. Dis Pater from Brisbane has
got two other one-man bands behind him (Tempestuous Fall and The Crevices Below), and he has written,
played and sung everything on this and the previous album. He has also drawn the cover art for Shards Of Silver Fade.
A(n) (equally) protracted explanation ain't really necessary. Press play on the player below and you'll quickly get an
On a bed of atmospheric, epic, soaring, ethereal and melodic black metal with minor ambient qualities, Midnight
Odyssey serves fine melodies, pleasant clean vocals and a few features of extreme vocals.
Exaggerated time nonetheless, this is both mood-filled and fine. The sound is also good, and the dynamic range is
very good (DR9).
Selvfinansiert Utgivelse, 05.06.15
There's several bands named Reanimator. We're going to Quebec, Canada, where this thrash constellation
rose from the grave a couple of years ago. Or should I say ....were reanimated?
The band started out in 2005, and managed to release a demo, an EP and one full length album before they went into
hibernation in 2011. The band's lead singer and drummer were joined by new bassist and two new guitarists on the
revitalization, sorry, reanimation of the band, and is now ready with album numéro deux.
There are plenty of apparently dyslexic thrash band that plays lethargic and insipid trash(y) metal. Fortunately these
Canadians have understood what the word thrash means, even if they come from the French-speaking part of the country.
Reanimator delivers energetic thrash with good speed and agility. A small dose of playfulness à la
Anthrax doesn't hurt either.
Their expression is fairly fast, rough and tough, without being either frantic or very raw and aggressive. Fans of more
“evil” and blasphemous thrash will hardly find this very appealing. Reanimator's thrash moves more towards
melodic party-thrash. It's almost tempting to call it groovy thrash-rock at times.
The songs are highly audible and quite enjoyable. It doesn't take long for the rhythm to take possession of my feet,
and some of the solos are darned awesome.
Still the song material doesn't stick particularly firmly to me. Another aspect I'm not completely pleased with is the vocals.
They sometimes feel a bit strained, and I associate it to a certain degree with bands in more “modern” genres.
Despite a few nitpicking faults, this metal rocks rather well and the bands got high self-esteem and ditto low
self-importance, as well as a healthy dose of humor. Horns up to that.
Approved but not mandatory (stop me if you've heard that one before), but Horns Up is situated
well above “mid-range” in today's thrash scene where inconstant qualities roam.
Belgian Possession has made a name for themselves in the underground, and the quartet are hereby out
with their third mini-release.
The demo His Best Deceit (2013) posed apt frantic black/death with elements from thrash and a whiff of
South America. Last year's EP (or rather single?) Anneliese offered a concept about the exorcism of
German Anneliese Michel. Still with a blistering touch, but with a little slower pace than on His Best Deceit
the year before.
1585-1646 hardly kicks off. After as much as thre minutes, monk-chants, church bells and heavy
rainfall is interchanged with a solitary guitar in one audio channel, accompanied by occasional drumbeats. After a further
few minutes we get guitar in both channels and more frequent drums, but it will take yet another minute and a half before
recognizable music reveals itself.
When the metal commence properly one can safely say that it is along the lines of its predecessors. The pace exchanged
between the extremes of the two releases, but the sound is noticeably improved.
Just as on the demo we find four tracks, albeit the first track can practically be regarded as two consecutive tracks.
Also, the duration is increased by approximately 50% to almost 26 minutes. Possession this time tells the story of a French “Witch” who was convicted and burned alive in 1646.
Anyone with fascination for obscure underground extremity, for example of the Hispanic type, can safely put this on
their shopping list, or at least take note of the name. Those who do not care on about primitive savagery can write
it down in the immense book of oblivion. The band has an authentic touch that undoubtedly would be highly delightful
to witness live.
Some rough edges, but it's part of the charm.
Northern Silence Productions, 05.06.15 Vallendusk debuted with the pretty good Black Clouds Gathering in 2013. I was almost
sure I had mentioned it in my first year, but obviously I never got around to that.
One might give a bit of goodwill to a debuting band, but there is no pity points awarded for follow-ups. The training
wheels has been dismantled. Homeward Path must stand on its own.
It has no problems doing so. Vallendusk has taken a step up and forward. They are located in approximately
the same landscape as Ethereal Shroud and Horn below but Vallendusk is as role model
and a guiding light in comparison. We can call off the search-and-rescue, for we don't need not penetrate a thick layer
of cloudy mud and murk to reveal the good stuff here. With great tunes wrapped in a good production we “arrive to an
already set table” as the Norwegian idiom for getting off easy states
The band is a quartet hailing from Indonesia. The year before the début they released a self-financed EP, which in turn
came out a year after the band's establishment.
Vallendusk offers moody, melodic and at times atmospheric metal, occasionally with a hint of prog, over
a foundation of pagan/black metal.
The men pose no typical atmospheric (black) metal, i.e. evocative and rather monotonous moods, but their music
is soaring and gliding by nature. Don't get hung up in the misleading use of the word prog either. This is not
progressive metal, but some unconventional structural ideas and the use of Hammond organ can sometimes give tiny associations
in those directions. The mind also wanders a bit towards Dark Fortress and Barren Earth (which has released
a new album that I haven't been able to prioritize).
The splendour lasts for over an hour. Such lengthiness is often a bit too excessive, but Homeward Path
offers such good melodies, nice, dreamy mood and good pace, thus the duration becomes not just passable, but even welcome.
The vocals are rather tame in a black context, and can get a little tiring, but that's less important when surrounded by
such mighty fine music.
Northern Silence Productions, 05.06.15
This album marks the beginning of a series of underground releases from Northern Silence. Under the concept
simply titled Underground Series the label intends to release obscure acts on standard jewel case CDs in
limited editions (of approximately 500 copies), with minimal background information so that the music must speak for itself.
First up is British Joe Hawker (Of Solitude and Solemn), with his second one-man band,
We are presented with three tracks on this album. The shortest song comes as number two. It “only” lasts for ten minutes.
This is flanked by two tracks clocking in at 25 minutes each. Thus, an entire hour.
Funeral doom, you ask? No, but it snails just as slow on its trail. I guess you could call it atmospheric post-black/doom
with esoteric vibes, or something.
Tedious music as this, is often an ordeal to get through the first time, and this is no exception. If this type of metal
is instrumental in addition, it becomes even more insufferable. Fortunately there are vocals here, but the whispering,
hissing and indistinct voice lies well behind in the mix. The cleanest elements have clear sound, but more intense
components and parts becomes as woolly as the (lack of) visibility in thick smog.
Fortunately the situation turns a lot after hearing the album a few times. The contours appear and slightly delightful
melodies and moods emerges. A somewhat Victorian idyll appears as the smog yield to gentle breeze, and the sun warms
anew. As a gentle tipsy from a few glasses of wine, the album creates a mild, gentle and relaxing sphere.
A full hour is still somewhat drawn-out, the sound remains rather murky and one must use a microscope to find hints of
innovation. Ergo, the final sum is fairly average and so this ends up in the middle-of-the-road.
This album is Ethereal Shroud's sophomore album, and was released independently towards the end of February.
Both this and its predecessor is out on
Bandcamp as name your price.
Northern Silence Productions, 05.06.15
I start the listening session, as I often do, with a blind test.
The band name and label is all I have knowledge of.
The music I get hit by / exposed to is folk/black of the cheapest kind. The sound is absolutely feeble, and the song
material is generic. This sounds literally like a home made demo, at best a pre-production. I better do a little
research and see if I can find out what this is all about.
Ah... that explains it. To some extent. This is the two first albums from Horn, a German one-man-band,
re-released as a double CD in digipak with elaborate new artwork and booklet. But does that really explain anything?
What I have heard so far is the first four songs from the début Jahreszeiten (2005).
New questions arise. Who released this ten years ago, and why? And for what reason does Northern Silence want
to revive this rotten carcass?
The first answer I quickly find an explanation for. Jahreszeiten was released independently by
The next question I can only guess at. Northern Silence has signed the band and the new albums have perhaps
received a bit of attention and gained some recognition, which may have led to a demand for the old material. Let's call
this a logical inference, or at best a qualified speculation.
Horna was started by Niklas in 2003.
The basis is nature-probing blackish metal. You know the type. Quite atmospheric and partly melancholic pseudo black metal,
not far from post-black, with touches of folk and Viking. Add a little spice in the form of an acoustic guitar and some
instruments from the pre-electric guitar era. Jahreszeiten was released on home burned CD-Rs, probably in limited editions. The album doesn't just
sound horrible. This was probably both idea-impaired and mediocre already in 2005, and as of today the material
appears as so meaningless and generic that it hurts my soul.
Die Kraft der Szenarien was the project's first real CD release, released via Black Blood Records
in 2006. Cheap production nonetheless, it sounds somewhat better. But where its predecessor lasted 40 minutes this
one lasts for a whole hour, for crying out loud. One-man-bands in this (often) substance lacking sub-genre is usually a
test of patience. So even this time.
The man has indeed tried to transfer some pretty good ideas from his head to the instruments. Unfortunately without
complete success. He has also incorporates an occasional all-right sequence with acceptable success. The song
Spätherbst ain't so bad as such. The music on this album isn't really bad to have in the background, I guess.
Concentrated listening however is much worse as the material is still rather mediocre. In addition, the sound is well below
par even this time around. Although Jahreszeiten really takes the cake what amateurish shit-sound concerns.
That the album's longest song consists of over ten minutes of ambient audio colleague speaks for itself.
Although Niklas hopefully have developed somewhat as a songwriter since this questionable material saw the
abominable light of day, I have developed a great aversion towards Horna, and at the moment I never want to
hear any of this man's drivel again. Completely useless it is!
PS: Having tried again a few days later after getting the album at arm's length, without much luck I might add, I would
however like to point out that Die Kraft der Szenarien is bordering on
vx. On average, the two discs still make themselves more than deserved of flunk.
Having taken a few deep breaths I also plunged into deep waters and checked out the three newer albums on
Bandcamp. Naturkraft (2008) and Distanz (2010) might sound a tad better, but is
nonetheless inferior. Konflikt (2013) however sounds much better in all aspects. Thus I will absolutely
check out Horn's future outlets.
After feeding my ears with musical sleeping pills for hours yesterday, It felt restituting for body and soul to get a
dose of dissonant misanthropy fed intravenously strait into my ears.
I did not manage to finish writing this impression yesterday, although I did heard the album four times. With two more
rounds today this could almost have been a review with a score of 4/6. Haar, from Edinburgh, Scotland is a new acquaintance for me. No wonder, since they only have a couple
of self-released EPs (or demos as we used to call them in olden days) behind them.
The Scots are inspired by the black metallic branch where one finds acts such as Deathspell Omega and Blut
aus Nord. They also declare that “We need a new beginning, to not fear this feeling to become surrounded by energies
and feelings we cannot fully control and dominate...” Based on this, it seems somewhat paradoxical that the band's music
nonetheless feels very controlled. The band is both technically skilled and conscious towards creating diversity in the songs.
I did not find the song material very exciting and thrilling at the first.
Even after six rounds, I'm not 100% satisfied. The songs are somewhat soaring with vague identity, they don't create the
most ruthless or frantic moods, the pace basically feels very calm and the songs have no particular melody lines, remarkable
structures or other specific pegs or hooks.
When I nonetheless gives it the green light, it's because of several aspects.
The album seems slightly calculated, but not sterile or spiritless. It flows well and alternates constantly in a slithering
fashion accompanied by varied percussion. Countless good segment are seamlessly joined together without unnecessary repetition.
Thus The Wayward Ceremony proceed with natural progression. Speaking of progression; the album also features
a light progressive touch. This makes the entire hour this record (almost) lasts feel comfortable.
The band still has some way to go before they will offer material as strong as for instance that of
The songs appear to be partly strong, and especially the last two proper songs raise my impression. Still, It's
the solid progress of the wholeness that impresses most.
The Wayward Ceremony will never be truly spectacular, but for being a band in a sub-genre characterized
by claustrophobic atmosphere, the album has a very comfortable feel and drift.
The album needs some time to fasten its grip, but ends up as as a likeable début from a band it's going to be interesting
to follow in the future.
Napalm Records, 01.06.15
How much opium do you have to smoke in order to appreciate this oriental-sounding, 70s-nostalgic, slightly progressive,
shoegaze-dull and not least instrumental music for the neural sensory?
It's hardly enough just to smoke a spliff.
The fact that the band is unwanted on Metal Archives is only fair. We must retain some principles! I should of course
not have written about this release myself, but when I had first listened suffered through it so many times
to give the band a fair chance, I will surely pester you with my pessimistic utterances as well.
I have encountered German My Sleeping Karma previously, without their works leaving an imprint. Thus
I should have known better, but at least than I didn't have to hear as much at once. I have therefore escaped permanent
damage. Until now.
Repeating gentle tones, drowsy light rhythms, touches of strings and keyboards softer than sofa cushions and moderate use of
guitars kind as a lamb.
This is elevator music best suited for supernatural “spiritual” souls, usually fragile hippies and yoga housewives with a
deep penchant for plastic crystals and other knick-knacks. Optionally for meditating Hindus and Buddhists in lotus position.
This record can easily be placed between the CDs with whale song, dolphin sounds, waves gently lapping and other nonsense
for gullible people with bad nerves and low confidence.
Just over an hour of muzak that is softer and moister than a mollusc does not give me peace of mind.
Quite the contrary. I get restless, impatient and irritable.
Purely objectively this is presumably fine as sipping white whine and well played as well. I don't give a fuck. It's possible
this has the potential to grow, but when I observe large amounts of repetitive tones and small amounts of variation at first
listen, I am absolutely convinced that these properties do not disappear over time. I've also heard the entire 54 minutes long
Dalai Lama -album three times now.
Are you're an omnivores, do what you please, but if you are a pure and true metal head, than you might as well steer clear.
This band is far more tedious than its reputation.
Amusing cover, though.
Wicker Man Recordings, 01.06.15
Ten songs dedicated to various places on the American side of the Atlantic aims to take the listener on a musical journey
from Florida in the south, via various archipelagos and up along the US East Coast and onwards to Greenland and Iceland.
Samples and local inspirations might sometimes give some association to geographic location, but not much. My geographical
knowledge is probably limited, and without lyrics it's also rather hopeless to follow the mindset of this crew.
In October 2013 the band released Pacificum, their first album since the very start in 2008. As the name
suggests, it dealt with the Pacific Ocean.
I can enjoy a few jazz elements in my metal but Ebonillumini feels more often as Jazz with metal elements.
The music consists of eclectic, a bit pompous jazz/metal with various metallic expressions, whimsical twists and sporadically
strange vocal expressions. One can of course call this experimental avant-garde jazz-metal, but all the songs here have
different expressions, and each one is equally hopeless to label.
That was the good news.
I hear some good ideas now and then, but I hear just as much peculiarities. I also hear a very unattractive dark female
vocal with a slight vibrato that would fit better in a smoky jazz cellar. It is quite possible she is technically proficient,
without that changing anything. Furthermore I hear variations stretched over long and fairly slow songs. Thus, the four
tracks extending 7 minutes is almost intolerably long and what than isn't the entire album when it turns ut that it lasts
for 65 minutes? It feels more like forever.
As a (possible) curiosity (at least for Norwegians) it may be mentioned that Thor Heyerdahl is (maybe) sampled in the song
It may also be noted that four of the five members have experience from rather strange The Meads of Asphodel. I
have indeed heard very little of them, but if Jihad (split with Mayhem) or Swine of Hades
(split with Taake, Sigh etc.) are representative of the band's work, I'm not so sure I want to hear any more.
Some all right parts, but all in all bizarre, eccentric, theatrical and damn painstaking!
Relapse Records, 01.06.15
The New York-based death metal band Skinless are out with their fifth full-length album, wholly
nine years after their last full-length release. The band was put on ice for a short period in the meantime, but
not for much more than a couple of years.
The quintet may not stand out very much with their new work, but they deliver classic crushing death metal of the
brutal kind, on par with the elite.
The hungriest death-mongers out there there may possibly argue that Skinless already belongs to
the elite. After all, the band has more than 20 years of experience and has gained high recognition for some of
their releases. Although the band can not be said to be unknown however, they're still not as big as they're
genre-relatives in Tampa, Florida.
Song-wise there's not offered anything new here, but the guys still have high energy and quality. The guy's death
metal is otherwise quite brutal, in the style of such acts as Benighted and Dying Fetus.
Those who have heard their Immolation, Aborted and Suffocation will certainly also
appreciate Only The Ruthless Remain but the song-material is fairly generic in a larger context.
Yet they land on their feet by showing just as much muscles as the next band.
Thick and good sound provide the impeccable instrumentation and the sometimes massive guitar playing a very
flattering frame. If anything stands out is especially the penultimate song Funeral Curse, where
creepy melodies really causes the skin to wrinkle comfortable.
Despite nothing new under the sun, the band delivers a solid piece, and if Morbid Angel doesn't take
corrective measures after the poor reception of Illud Divinum Insanus, Skinless is ready
to seize the throne.