War Anthem Records, 29.01.16
Swedish Bombs of Hades began as a crust punk band, nearly fifteen years ago. Or so I've been told, anyway.
The band is now considerably closer to death metal, despite undertones of crust, that shines through quite clearly.
Although I have merely encountered the band earlier, Death Mask Replica is my first real handshake with
As so often in recent weeks, we're again talking about music that basically struggles to impress noteworthy.
Much of the material on the 36 minute long album has, to put it bluntly, a fairly generic touch. I don't like to use the
G-word. It's a terribly negatively charged word, but it could nevertheless have been applied to practically every release
these days. “Show me the band that does not sounds like any other band”.
After four songs lasting from one to five minutes, songs with decent Swedish death metal with said crust scent, songs
without significant hooks, the band surprises the fuck out of me by pulling the ground away from beneath my feet with
over seven minutes long Burning Angel (Uhuru). This sure as hell raises the bar at least a few notches.
Heavy, viscous and creepy riffs open, before vowels marked by resentment suggests that someone should watch their fucking
back! After a few minutes with doomy tonality, for a while followed by choir'ish synth, comes a crossroad in the music.
After a transition, deep in the quagmire, comes melodies led by guitar and bass, which in turn leads towards sliding
and languorous solo guitars. It all also leads the mind towards the 70s. A little acoustic guitar and cello sets an
Follow-up, Old Fires Die, that you can stream below, slides somewhat back to old habits, but still
retains a touch of the 70s, and when your mood first has been raised a few notches, it's easy to become a little more
tolerant. Cool stereo effect on the vocals just over three minutes into the song, by the way. It's getting dangerous
intimate when the vocalist grunt straight into my ears.
But... how long was Adam in Eva? The remaining songs are decent, but they lack that little extra.
Death Mask Replica consists of 80 % “heard it before” and 20 % “now we're talking”.
For me, an okay album that offers few surprises, unfortunately.
VERDICT NOT PASSED - PART I
Sometimes one bites off more than one can chew. Then it may be an idea to gather the remains in some sort of a compiled
round-up at the end of the month, to get all loose ends meeting, and close off the protocol.
Other times I fill my plate in good faith with what proves to not be to my taste. It's fairly easy to become demoralized
when nothing on the table is tempting.
These are promos I've downloaded with the best intention of describing and grading. I will confine myself with a brief
summary because I think it is better to present these releases to others who might be closer to the target audience,
than to sweep them under the carpet.
Maybe I am wrong. Perhaps I should rather just keep my big mouth shut.
Nevertheless, we all have different taste, so give these albums a shot yourself.
Contains music from Spektr, Momentum, Serenity, Absent/Minded & Disquiet.
DISQUIET - THE CONDEMNATION
Soulseller Records, 29.01.16
Dutch Disquiet plays melodic thrash with a strong contemporary flair that doesn't appeal to me. The
band's second album at times gives me a slightly foul taste in the mouth with their over-melodic core-like approach.
I have tried several times, but Disquiet just don't hit the right spot with me. That doesn't mean that
they won't hit home significantly better with others, for the guys handle their instruments impeccably. So listen and
judge for yourself!
The sound is good, and it feels far more dynamic than what the figures speak of (DR5). V. Santura (Dark
Fortress, Triptykon) has produced Alight at Woodshed Studio.
The music keeps going at a leisurely pace, while my thoughts are drifting away. I'm not able to stay focused through
this barely 40 minutes long session, although some sections gains my full attention.
Especially the latter half of Skies of No Return stands out as rather good.
SERENITY - CODEX ATLANTICUS
Napalm Records, 29.01.16 Serenity from Austria releases their fifth album. As the band sort under power metal, it's not really
strange that I've never encountered them before. The band also operates in the symphonic corner and that, along with
the cover art, is what hesitantly made me curious enough to decide to check out Codex Atlanticus - a
concept album about Leonardo Da Vinci. Complete with his art and science, but also covering conspiracy theories with
hints to Illuminati.
I have no quarrels with the performance. The orchestral part is masterfully executed. Unfortunately, as feared, this
becomes all too gentle and pretty for me. Especially the vocals lack the punch I demand in metal.
There are some who argue that music can be good without being metal.
Painstaking research on my part, however, shows that this is not (or at least rarely) the case.
The Icelandic band originally released Fixation, at Rest in 2010, thus, this is a re-release. Their
progressive metal has overtones of post-metal, and in addition to melancholy and mild despair in their atmosphere,
the mood is characterized by resignation and apathy.
They seem skilful, but to me it seems rather feeble, trivial and barren. Indifference is not all that I get
from Fixation, at Rest, but unfortunately it forms the majority of my emotion toward it.
SPEKTR - THE ART TO DISAPPEAR
Agonia Records, 29.01.16
I checked out the eccentric French duo's second album, Near Death Experience, in 2006. It consisted
of icy black metal, draped in cool, sterile, industrial remedies. It's inhumane touches were a bit much, and I don't
believe that the album has been heard since. I wasn't even avare of the album Cypher from 2013.
The band's new bizarre play with ambient industrial madness, occasionally has a delirious drift, and certain hypnotic
aspects that might have embraced me, if I had suffered through a high enough number of preliminary spins. Some stuff
is quite tough here, but there's too much that just becomes nonsense. In addition, there are parts that are threatening
to harm my hearing, like the abhorrent intro on That Day Will Definitely Come.
I entrust this to bigger fans of meaningless sound effects.
Sick Man Getting Sick Records, 29.01.16
Africa unfortunately still lag behind in metal context, as in other contexts. Four buddies from Cape Town in South Africa
is among those aiming to turn the table what the music concerns.
The men received international acclaim for their debut The Writing of Gods in the Sand four years ago.
Of course I had to hear what brought such a furore, but I felt that the whole thing was a bit overrated. A band should
of course never receive increased attention solely based on origin, not that I suspect anyone of doing that.
After hearing the album a few times, and concluded that we're still talking atmospheric, calm and drowsy post-metal,
I turn to the press release. This tell of black metal, a “genre whose borders are so aggressively patrolled for the
slightest aberration in tone, image, or philosophy, Black Metal was fast-approaching the status of some menacing,
indivisible monolith jutting out askew from the rain-sodden countryside of an otherwise bucolic Bergen, Norway...”,
and about Wildernessking, one “among a growing number of artists whose edict is precisely to contest
and resignify the very precepts and peculiarities upon which Black Metal established its self-assertive but limited
sound, and evincible notoriety”.
Are these introspective shoegazers about to revitalize and redefine a stagnated genre?
Does Darkthrone play live? No!
My first impression, “fine, but oh so painstaking and tedious” and “practically lounge music” persists even after four
or five spins. When nothing have succeeded in penetrating any further than just beneath the skin by then, I'm just
getting bloody tired. I would like the whole world to appear on the metal map, and Wildernessking
probably do their share for the continent, but they do nothing for me. Post-metal is a genre with diluted
metal, where only a few succeed in creating something fully enjoyable, and the only mood I pick up on Mystical
Future, is four frowning gentlemen who stand still, staring at the tip of their shoes, while one of them mumble
some introverted vocabulary.
Sure, it is quite nice sometimes, but the overall picture is still terribly dull and insipid.
Also, post-metal will never revitalize black metal!
They play what they, or perhaps the promo letter author, defines as brutal old school death metal
with their own spices added.
I'm left with the choice between being difficult, or to compromise on my integrity.
This is neither old school nor especially brutal. It's pretty heavy and aggressive death metal all right, but it mixes in
relatively large amounts of melodic elements and more than a hint of core-like rhythms, showcasing a fairly modern touch.
The vocals are often dual, but far from the harmonic kind. Growling, at times of vacuum-type, constitutes the primary
vocals, while black coloured wheezing becomes the secondary vocals.
The songs have some engaging sequences, like the fine guitar melody from the middle of Sea of Sickness,
backed by gently pounding bass and appropriate percussion, as well as the subsequent bass solo. The guys are definitely
onto something here.
Many other sections unfortunately go quickly out the other ear.
The music ain't too bad, although it doesn't differ noticeably from other semi-melodic and semi-brutal bastards. The
sound, however, is not top notch. Dynamics and clipping is admittedly not worse than normal, but still there's
I won't dismiss the Finnish debutants as poor, for it's not that bad after all, but it's not very exciting either. If
they focus more in one direction, and concentrates on the elements that stand out most, they may very well
deliver the gods one day. Good melodies, for instance, seems to be a strength the band can build on, something the
title-track among others hint at.
So far I can't very well recommendWrathrone, although Born Beneath is okay.
ATMF, 29.01.16 Titaan is a one man band, without it really shining through. The mysterious Lalartu
has constructed an occult concept about bygone Mesopotamian culture, complete with ancient idolatry.
The music is a tasty mixture of primitive and raw black metal, esoteric elements and ambient sound collages.
Delightful frenetic downpour is accompanied by atmospheric and evocative orchestral passages, and an unfortunate
amount of eclectic nonsense. The former elements blend together excellent, but the latter creates unnecessary
breathing pauses. Kadingir lasts for almost 70 minutes, of which nearly half is eaten by an excess
of theatrical absurdity. That kind of debris in the presentation unfortunately prevents a higher grade.
The song Itima consists of a short sequence with backward vocals that loops for almost three minutes.
I've tried reverse playback, without it making any more sense. Sabitu, Magururnuabzu,
Azag and Erset La Tari are made up almost entirely of ambient sounds at low volume.
Apsu, Utukagaba and 12 minutes long Nibiru consist of a little
more sound. I normally consider this kind of superabundant abuse of soundscapes as rather unacceptable.
In addition, the eponymous song comes to an abrupt stop in a relatively inappropriate manner, while Sebet Babi
has one minute of silence before the music continues in the next song.
More self-criticism and self-discipline could surely have been applied.
Parts of the ambiente stuff fit well in, though, and builds upon the mood, but the amount of such material should
definitely have been tightened and trimmed. Despite these objections; if I'm really strict, we're left with 35 minutes
of really good black metal, which tears the soul apart. With a few al right breathing pauses with some content,
like Apsu and Utukagaba, we get 40 minutes of severely killer music.
With fiery intensity, traces of Necros Christos, Slagmaur and a somewhat Greek touch, orchestral elements,
gloomy moods, some harp here and an Egyptian feel there, the benefits clearly carry most weight.
Titaan has with the very first release created an ominous and idiosyncratic brew, which at its best
is absolutely unreal, but that unfortunately is pulled down a few notches by lack of judgement and editing. We just
have to weed out the most pointless sequences ourselves. Well, at least that's how I feel.
High Roller Records, 29.01.16
The Canadian trio Cauldron has gone from Earache to High Roller Records. Other than
that, there's no difference to be traced.
The band is one of those I have previously checked out in search of good heavy metal with - if not feet - than at least
roots firmly planted in the 80s.
The band originates from the ashes of Goat Horn, which released slightly brisk heavy/doom at the beginning of
the millennium. Cauldron was born in 2006, and the two remaining original members have also played with Thor.
The EP Into the Cauldron from 2007 had a slightly unfinished, yet somewhat promising touch, while the
debut Chained to the Nite was of a gentler sort. The two subsequent discs, Burning Fortune
(2011) and Tomorrow's Lost (2012) was never investigated.
As usual, it's a sad affair for those looking for tough music with lots of punch. It's well played, and the sound is
good. Low dynamics despite (DR6), the guys have more suitably debris in the sonic machinery than Lethal Steel.
The melodies are neat enough and there is not much to nitpick at if you're looking for comfortable, reasonably pretty,
nice and clean melodic metal. But Brother, where is your sting? There are no signs of bite here.
Where is the barbed wire axe, where is the wild barbarian behind the battery, where's the lead singer who throttles
the microphone and gives it all as he bellows his lounges out? Where's anger, rebellion and dedicated diabolical
immersion? Am I just too young at heart (or juvenile), while everyone else has grown up?
Is it really strange that I almost exclusively listen to extreme-metal these days?
Some of the first horror movies I saw were films like The Exorcist, Evil Dead and
Braindead. Thus, a lot seemed quite anaemic in comparison. Likewise, many of the first metal bands
I heard had vocalists with throats of unpolished steel, vocal cords of rusty iron wires and voices like chafing gneiss.
There were of course questionable vocalists in the 80s as well, but the somewhat erroneous perception that this was
the only right vocal form for the genre, has followed me since.
Of course, Cauldron could have saved their own neck by writing superb songs, as for example
Helloween did, but of course, the songs on In Ruin ain't that great. And the vocal
is just too pure and meek to match my demanding prejudices and prejudiced demands.
With so little edge, it reminds almost as much of hard rock as metal.
Basically fine but rather tame, unfortunately.
Burning At Both Ends is perhaps the song with the most thrusting drift:
High Roller Records, 29.01.15
The Swedes have positioned themselves as faithful providers of traditional heavy metal, and strictly speaking, I should
have been very enthusiastic about that.
Unfortunately I don't feel passionate over the NWOSHM we are witnessing, not from Lethal Steel nor others.
The band was formed in Stockholm in 2011 and consists of five men. They handle their instruments in an approved manner,
and there's nothing wrong with the sound. On the contrary, they seem skilled with their sonic tools, and the sound is
crystal clear (almost too much so) and dynamic (DR9). The melodies and song structures are not impressive, but even they
earns their approval. Compared to timeless oldies from the great heroes of the 80's, however, Legion Of The Night
still seems pretty flat and uninspired.
What it's lacking most is adrenaline and attitude, though. In a song as Rosier I even get vibes of
lyrical heartache. Not good. They admittedly sing about Satan too, as in Into the Void of Lucifer,
but I miss a little rudeness, some energy, some genuinely engaging charisma. The excessively clean vocals doesn't
contributes to prove that the band is made of lethal steel either. No, this smells more like role-playing
Take the plunge, go over the top, go flat-out and floor the throttle to the metals, for fox ache!
Not bad, just terribly little rewarding. Ergo it becomes a dust collector, and who needs a new one of those?
The band deserves cred for singing in Swedish in Nattsvart. It actually creates a little character.
The opening track Sirius will stand as an example of what I call (misplaced) gentleness in midtempo:
Iron Bonehead, 15.01.16
If you've heard the debut album Unholier Master (2014), you know exactly what you have in store.
Aggressive and bestial South American black/death with fierce riffs, howling solos and frenetic drive.
The band starts with violent provocation, not because they openly worship Satan of course, but because this EP opens with
some fucked up, damned sharp and loud shrieks that threatens to drill a hole in my head, from ear to ear. Bloody unnecessary!
The band did have a Turk in the line-up, but is now regarded as a purely Mexican band, as far as I can see.
This is 110% atonal, crude, barbaric, beastly, bestial, filthy, deranged, diabolical and heretical metal that mocks
both god and soft-metal poseurs. Describing Sacrocurse requires all stereotyped clichés in the book,
but is that really necessary? Hardly.
This is headless South American... eh, to hell with it, you get the picture.
The music is exactly as expected, and in my eyes, that is also where the band fails. This is actually one hundred
percent predictable. And that's also a mistake that makes this EP glance off me (like water of a goose - Norwegian
idiom). But I've heard worse, so I'm adding a plus to my disapproval.
It simply means that big fans of uncompromising and hostile blasphemy gets exactly what they want. Moderate fans can
rather pick up Unholier Master.
As the fourth track at the moment for the umpteenth time concludes the barely 14 minutes long 7-inch with a cover of
Bathory's Total Destruction, the material on Destroying Chapels has again gone into
one ear and out the other without leaving nothing behind. Raw. Tough. Superfluous.
PS: The cover was originally so dark that the brilliant design almost disappeared completely. I could of course not
refrain from doing something about that.
PPS: Remember that I've warned you against the initial infernal screaming.
Ván Records, 15.01.16
This is a re-release of Belgian Kosmokrator's demo from November 2014,
both on black 12" vinyl and on digipack CD.
A somewhat odd choice, as there are better things to spend time on.
“Bestial Death/Black from the abyss” is the characteristic used, and that's a decent description.
The band evidently revel in lengthy compositions. Two of the three tracks lay around 12 minutes each, while one settle with
well over 5. It should be said that about 10 minutes in total of the two longest tracks is used for ambient soundscapes.
The music has a thunderous low frequency sound, rabid vocals with echo, which casts an occult flare over the music,
as flickering light from an open fire. And yes, it alternates between breakneck throttle and sticky steamroller dough.
The music do have potential, but there's a dog eat dog situation out there, and these wolf puppies must consider
themselves beaten by the bigger alpha males. Kosmokrator don't lay down a bad effort, and one day they may be leaders of the pack themselves.
To end with a little semi-constructive criticism; improved song writing, better sound, much more idiocrasy,
and please don't fill a third with collages of ethereal sounds.
Art of Propaganda, 22.01.16
Doom, especially of the stoner type, ain't among my absolute favourite genres, and sludge often falls completely outside
of my comfort zone. For that reason, I've choosen not to evaluate this album, but rather just try to convey the essence.
Despite this, the pristine Canadian band do have appealing aspects.
The band was born as recently as autumn 2014 and Vol. 1 & 2 is a combined release of the two EPs
Vol. 1 (January 2015) and Vol. 2 (released in parallel with this compilation).
The music is a bit like stoner-doom, with something extra, wrapped in down-tuned guitars and resounding bass.
The vocals are relatively clean and can sometimes be reminiscent of Michael Poulsen of Volbeat,
when not screaming and shrieking, while the music carries on the legacy of Black Sabbath, while simultaneously
sounding just so outlandish that it feels more natural to compare with Black Debbath.
The first song, Glimmervoid, blending various vocal expressions, not all to my liking. The initial
vocal lines, for example, have very good melodies, performed in a highly technical competent manner, which creates a
very appealing section. The bridge, with thumping bass and harmonica also fits nicely in.
A song like Antibody combines parts of the main riff from the title track on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
with ethereal moods, and a hint of Nazareth's droning version of The Ballad Of Hollis Brown.
The album has a lot of heavy dissonance, and a contrasting atmospheric touch.
The band varies well, and seems to be successful at what they're trying to do, and they've written some pretty good
songs melody-wise. I'm not the right person to tell whether the band stands out or not, although I do have a hunch
that they do. Listen and judge for yourself.
In addition to the full stream, you can check out the video for Hive Mind.
Iron Bonehead, 25.01.16
Despite three previous albums, Italian Baphomet's Blood have passed under my radar in stealth mode until now.
The Italians blends heavy metal with a touch of rockarolla, frantic thrash and blistering speed.
Rapid velocity creates friction and overheating. The quartet's high-octane speed metal creates enough heat to melt
the various types of metal to an incandescent mass, a magma-like substance that hardens into an adamant, rock-hard alloy.
I envision Motörhead, at times played at 1.5x speed, added a dash of diabolical thrash.
Some traces of Venom, Sacrifice, Exciter, Exodus.
Centrifugation rhythms, whiskey vocals, adrenaline fuelled riffs and solos.
The result is energetic, fast-paced speed, with the combined strength of the metal alloy intact.
A bit like a runaway freight train with high momentum, screeching so damn loud on the rails that the steel sings.
In Satan We Trust is like introducing Tequila on a calm party, it's guaranteed to raise hell.
The telltaleing song title Infernal Overdrive says it all, and you've got the picture.
Hardly obligatory, admittedly, but tougher than lead poisoning!
And let me lastly compliment the cover art. Swell!
Iron Bonehead, 22.01.16
With a few, and generally quite good exceptions, our Scandinavian brother, Denmark, has not stood out much on the metal
map. With releases from Slægt (meaning family/relatives/generations), Serpents Lair and
Gespenst with short intervals, the country performs a slight foray. Or, these three at least
does an honourable efforts for the red and white motherland. Slægt have been residing in black landscape earlier, but I have no good knowledge of the Danes.
They have evolved in one, or rather more, other directions with the moderately suitable titled Beautiful and
Damned. The attractive and the accursed do meet in various forms and landscapes.
A mild version of mid-tempo extreme metal of virtually unspecified nature, bearing somewhat wistful moods of dejection
and frustration, collide with elements of melodic and quite harmless heavy metal. It results in a relatively seamless
fusion that meet half way, and who adopt certain expressive qualities of doom.
Three songs with about seven minutes each, supply all right melodies and varied riffs and rhythms with good meek
and blue drift, where melodic guitars sometimes light up and provide comfort in hours of dusk. In addition, we get
a shorter clip with neat pickings from acoustic twin guitars.
The music is neither very good nor ground-breaking, but it should be credited for treading its own separate
ways. A fresh approach that probably can appeal to those not fully immersed in the most frenetic stuff covered on
The album is admittedly not neither extremely Beautiful nor Damned, but it's still touching upon a higher grade.
Vinyl out now. Available digitally since November. CD and MC can be obtained via sub-label Necroshrine Records.
Iron Bonehead, 22.01.16
Raven-black death rattling, ceremonial idol-occultism, lava and brimstone. We shall once more meet a band that unites
black devil-worship metal and sadistic, death-glorifying mass-murderer metal.
Members, four of them, employ adequate pseudonyms, but apparently originates from Chile, Sweden and/or Greece.
The Dark Goddess is their second EP. The first was Dies Irae (2012), after an
initial demo, Temple (2008).
Three ordinary songs with a total playing time of 20 minutes, are followed by 6 minutes of ambient gibberish.
As with Chthonic Cult, a few Impressions down, Temple Below don't really do anything
wrong when seen isolated. In the big perspective, however, what they define as “Black Magic Metal of Death”, becomes
more like black generic zombificated metal. I don't mean to denigrate the band, but the only little extras they present
here, is visual art created by an external creative soul.
Three beautiful paintings, in a triptych, to dwell and rejoice in for those of us who don't considers conventional art as
particularly appealing, painted by hand by Chilean Daniel Corcuera (aka Nekronikon of Slaughtbbath).
The ambient track consists of deep, rumbling bass, raspy frequencies and ethereal soundscapes that bobs like a buoy in
high swells. Utter nonsense, of course.
I guess I sound enormously negative now. I must be influenced by all the joyless music I listen to. But seriously, I
believe that you understand, and acknowledge, my nitpicking objections.
The final score in the upper right corner also suggests that I find just as much that appeals as what don't in this music,
for this is absolutely not bad, just a little too common, familiar and mundane to thrill me. It lacks that little extra,
including the memorable hooks.
Inverse Records, 22.01.16
No prize awarded to those who guess in which genre the Finnish trio operates, although the moniker works both for folk
metal, viking and pagan, and the cover has something about it that perhaps could indicated a more technical approach.
This is pure folk musical metal. By the book.
At times, boredom comes creeping during the first spin. The packing slip tells of a rich stew of contradictions;
distorted and clean, electric and acoustic, hard and soft, fast and quiet, jovially and melancholic...
Sounds like a description of every folk metal albums on the market. Is this as generic as the first round indicates,
or are there goodies hidden in the depths of the grooves?
The start of the album reminds confusingly of the computer game Age of Empires. Quiet Mediterranean-oriented moods
with daily routines in a less advanced civilisation as background. We eventually set out at sea, joining as crew of
a Viking ship, itinerant in trade, and the journey takes us to the Celtic islands, and around Europe. Of course with
occasional trips back to Suomi, with the obligatory accompanying parties during shore leave.
The folk music ain't easy to place geographically, but seemingly, Europe has a partially common musical heritage to
play on, as travellers took music with them, and bards and minstrels was often inspired by one-another. It must be
pointed out that this is speculation on my part. I'm no expert, but similarities can be traced around the continent.
The music partake of a bountiful table, and ends up with a versatile and fruity portion. It paints a picture of merry
times, in a country characterized by good crops, with a romantic atmosphere of the best of medieval times as a backdrop.
The palette is colourful and the music naturally cheerful without being all too excited. The band writes quite
nice melodies and conveys the moods well, although some of it sounds a bit synthetic.
With time, songs with quite comfortable atmospheres emerges, albeit they're not very exciting. The songs are
almost more characterized by accordion than guitar, thus it's extra fun when the Finns swing the guitar axe, as in the
song Lycomania. I'd like more of such, and metal in general, thank you very much. Otherwise, the final
song The Gate Of North is a nifty piece of work.
I wouldn't characterize Wolfhorde as generic, though they ain't innovative either. The quality however
tilt a bit more toward mediocrity, which doesn't mean poor, by all means. If the description sounds like something up
your alley, than it probably is, but the album is hardly mandatory.
Signal Rex, 22.01.16
With a promise of almost incandescent Icelandic black metal, members from Carpe Noctem, Misþyrming
and a host of other bands, together with good (although varying) reception in various media, this undeniably tickles
my expectancy-senses somewhat.
Of course, it's not solely because of this “hype” that I am disappointed, but rather because the music simply ain't
much to write home about.
Surely there is black metal in the foundation of Naðra's stylistic direction, but the result is miles
from anything I associate with the genre.
The music has an atmospheric, but monotonous touch and a melodic-sounding expression without real melodies. Slightly
rounded and room tempered, rather than cold and sharp. The only thing sharp here is the vocals. It's screaming, but
not in the “correct” way. It sometimes sounds as if the guy tries out a hundred ways of uttering “blargh” or "yowl".
The fact that I can't interpret the words, or that I don't even know the language, isn't the issue. That has
never been an obstacle when it comes to Finnish, Portuguese, Greek or Japanese extreme metal.
Allir Vegir Til Glötunar means something like “all roads (leads) to destruction”. Here I feel that
endless dilapidated corridors leads nowhere. It's not black gold all that glitters, and everything ain't automatically
killer just because the perpetrators are residing in Iceland.
Iron Bonehead, 22.01.16
This album seemed very alluring, but sometimes albums are punished by their rather randomly assigned placement in between
Chthonic Cult has members from Germany and Poland, and reel off contemporary black/death with main focus
on brutal and aggressive conduct with apocalyptic moods.
The album kicks of with a bang, almost literally. After listening to some music with a lower mixed sound and better
phonetic dynamics, the volume knot had been turned to eleven when I pressed play on I Am the Scourge of
It so bloody loud that even if the speakers don't crumble, it seems quite possible that the eardrums 'll come loose.
Strange enough, a double check of the dynamic range shows a score of DR7, which ain't really that fucking terrible.
You'd naturally have to expect some clipping, but not more than normal these days, and it doesn't sound distinctly
Beyond this, the band's frenzied tantrums sounds raw and rumbling, as it should.
The trio offers frantic and reckless riffing that sounds as destructive as cyclones. Fans of devastating, barbaric,
straightforward and in-your-face rudeness, will probably dig this obscure meat grinder.
I like what I hear, but compared to for example Humanitas Error Est and Serpents Lair (review under
preparation), ...Scourge of Eternity don't have much substance, and than there's the common shortage
of distinctiveness. Listen for a minute, and you know roughly what's in store for the remaining 47.5 minutes. The album
is like a fierce sledgehammer in the back of the head. Over and over again. There are some moments of repetitiveness,
in other words.
Subtle variations do gradually materialize, though, and the album has this frenetic, dirty and unpolished expression
that nonetheless appeals. When Chthonic Cult in addition draws leaden doomsday atmospheres out of the
hat in the last two, of four long songs, I certainly see no reason to be stricter with the rating.
The band alternates between all right and quite delightful black/death metallic cascades, with imminent danger of heavy
and sombre sequences in wait. You've heard it before, you're going to hear it again. You already know if you wish to
lend your ear to these newcomers, too. The band has the potential to give it the little extra push to go the extra mile.
To quote the American football coach Jimmy Johnson; “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra”.
Slightly stronger song material and a more organic mastering, and it'll fit like a knuckleduster.
Yesterday sees the vinyl release through Iron Bonehead. They first released the album digitally and on tape,
while Necroshrine Records issued the CD, at the beginning of November.
Satanath Records, 11.01.16
Six German individualists, with misanthropy and lack of respect for any religion as common ground, brings a powerful
discharge, about as explosive as a high voltage short circuit.
The idea is to give society the finger simply by holding up a mirror, for a world ruled by power-hungry sociopaths,
incompetent leaders, corrupt advisers, narcissistic bureaucrats and square, authoritative and often sadistic enforcers
in all positions, deserves nothing but unadulterated hatred in return!
The band plays black metal of the fast and aggressive sort, where straight-in-your-face, foaming and furious loathing
in it selves crafts the necessary mood. Now, don't get me wrong, cause that doesn't mean that the songs are simply
The band tread in the footsteps planted by Gorgoroth, Marduk et al., and in an era marked by divergent
sub-genres, it actually feels fucking fresh.
The intro more than suggest an industrial direction, but besides an expression free from human values on the agenda, it
doesn't smell distinctly mechanical of Human Pathomorphism. That the guys are performing with an inhuman
drive, and that the drummer is a machine, an animal, a beast, or simply possessed by the devil, is another matter.
The band does everything by the book, without any kind of plagiarizing. That genre-fans gets what they want, while others
will do without it. I, for one, will gladly take this album for a new spin.
What to the greatest degree makes Humanitas Error Est differ from similar acts is their two singers.
Sure, that'll probably not sound so outstanding, until you learn that none of them wield either four- or six-stringed
axe. The highest pitched vocals can become a bit screeching, but it helps to create a frantic expression.
Intro, outro, nine solid and coal-black songs distinguished by disgust and brutality, all spread across 40 minutes.
It definitively gives me a taste for more, and when the play time isn't any longer, it is easy to be tempted
to replay this delightful album.
Nothing would be more apt than to end this with the bands mighty fine motto: “Where is your god, when creatures like us are raging?!”
Napalm Records, 15.01.16
German Varg was formed in 2005 and debuted a few years later. Yesterday they already release their fifth
In October the wolves released an EP that I never covered. I might as well begin by saying a few words about that
Rotkäppchen focuses on a song about Little Red Riding Hood, with high oompah-oompah factor. The song
comes in six versions.
The original version from 2011 and a 2015 remake, both with contributions from Anna Murphy of Eluveitie,
an instrumental karaoke version (seriously?), English version - with guest appearance from Christopher Bows of
Alestorm, and a partly Norwegian version - in cooperation with Trollfest. To top the madness, an additional
16 minutes long instrumental which apparently repeats the main riff forever, is added. I haven't heard it through!
Two normal songs is applied. These have a more “conventional” melodic metal touch. Especially Ein Tag Wie Heute
is quite al-right. This EP is for those with a very special interest in Varg. If nothing else,
it left a hope for something in between melodic German metal and Finnish polka-metal on the new album. A style which really
ain't my favourite, but that still serves as a decent diversion from all the atonal disharmony I put in my ears.
Of course, all right melody lines and good instrumentation exists, but none of the songs leaves lasting impressions.
The songs have okay variation between them, even if there's not much diversity within each song.
The opening track is warlike, Revolution has some nu-boyband-metallic touches, with ugly screaming and
sickening “pretty” vocal every other time. Streyfzug got folk/viking-vibes. Achtung
carries Rammstein rhythms.
The remaining half sort of continues in the same variable manner.
So be it that it's relatively simple, and cheesy as cheddar. My most significant objection is the main form of vocals.
Hell knows if this metalcore-shit counts as screamo. It's feigned in a contrived way. Call it mannerism or affectation.
It sounds fairly monotonous and pretty terrible. Despite a plethora of good individual parts, with good moods, melodies
and instrumentation, the album as a whole fall through, and Varg fails to enlist me as a fan.
With horrid vocals on top of a fairly simplified expression, any attempt at enjoying some melody based tongue-in-cheek
metal that doesn't take itself too seriously just goes down the drain.
Relapse Records, 15.01.16
I struggle struggled a lot deciding how I feel about Chasms, the sophomore album by American
Lycus. It took a long time to get their dirty and frantic mixture into the bloodstream, and I don't
didn't know whether my body will would accept or alienate this foreign body over time. Lycus quickly made a name for themselves in connection with Tempest, their first album,
released in summer 2013. I barely heard it, but at the time I chose not to deal with the burden of making up my mind.*
Put shortly, the band mixes funeral doom with filthy frenetic extremity. The music has passages with more typical funeral,
where slow heaviness and depression prevails. Where four tracks make up nearly three quarters. Where the strokes are
minimalistic and violins weeps sap. Not everything is as heavy, however. They even incorporate elements of post/shoegaze.
Contrary to what one traditionally associates with the genre, it sometimes sounds as scabby, mangy and rabid as a
licentious wild dog, and the tempo derails from the familiar pulsating cosmic serenity. The press letter describes
inspirations from black metal, death metal, noise and darkwave. Truly a mixed breed bastard, in other words. Anyone
who's tried mixing all the nice colours in a paintbox to create a new “super colour” knows that the result is a rather
disgusting blot, useless for anything but painting a black picture of whatever.
The mixing ratio may perhaps be original, but no single element is new. A thought that has haunted me the last few
days is the question of whether this album will leave more than a vague memory after, say, ten years. Although the
album seems to have good durability in the conventional sense, I doubt that this will be mentioned in the same breath
as timeless classics in coming decades. Such thoughts should really apply to many a release, as lots of present-day
distributions are doomed to drown or be buried in obliterated in some way or the other.
Despite rather low dynamics, it Chasms sounds good, if grungy and harsh is compatible with the word
good in your book. The songs are crawling like insects through various gloomy soundscapes. The progress is
good. The music is occasionally gorgeous, sometimes hideous, but in a rather appealing way. Yet somehow it doesn't
quite attach its grip permanently. Chasms can be a capricious (un)comfortable introspective journey right then and there, but like a
repressed memory, it leaves almost no trace.
My body has accepted, my mind has tolerated, but I'm still not entirely sure what ranking Lycusreally deserve. Compositions and implementations of this frantic work nevertheless deserves acceptance, and I
don't feel more uncomfortable than I'm supposed to do, so for my part, I think I hit the spot quite well.
My job is just to give you a guidelining idea of musical form and shape.
It's your job to find out if it appeals.
You can do so here:
*EDIT 25.01.16: I'm a presenile moron. I actually wrote about, and approved the debut
Tempest almost two years ago. It didn't leave an everlasting impression, though.
Northern Silence, 15.01.16
German Augrimmer's very existence has surpassed me in silence. It all started as a one-man project in
1998, but grew into a full band before they recorded their first demo in 2007.
The first album focused on the former material, while the next one, as well as this third album, reportedly has slightly
different approaches, compared with each other.
The music of Moth and the Moon has elements from the project's origin, black metal, but isn't bounded
by genre limitations. Augrimmer moves freely as wolves across the borders. Part of their new material
roam in post-metallic regions, and we'll even find sections bordering on death/doom. The vocals are mostly extreme, but
you'll come across deviations. The Lament of Gods contains clean, melancholic Seigmen-like vocals,
and Sultana has traces of high pitched King Diamond-sounding vocals. The guitars also embark on
a hike, and come back with melodic solos in the luggage.
The Germans welds various elements together into a natural whole, with some melodic and rhythmic playfulness and a mild
atmospheric touch. With elements of both cold northerly winds and mild southerly winds, Augrimmer gains
a whiff of autumnal colours.
Moth and the Moon is a well played album, with reasonably good sound, though not with the best dynamic
range. The album is pleasant to listen to, and it's occasionally got very relaxing and rather hypnotic moods. Even though
the album ain't directly thrilling, the music is at least more way more interesting than most cases of pure post-metal.
This is an album with soul, and a decent amount of individuality, although it's not exactly exceptional.
I content myself to a little bit weak thumbs up for a good and often alluring release, strict as I am (or aim to be).
Duplicate Records, 11.01.16
Some underground fanatics have probably encountered Nera Estasi already. The album saw the gloomy and
depressing light of dismal day on cassette via Hexencave Productions in 100 copies in February last year, and
then on CD in 500 copies via Altare Productions in April.
The Italians, which only has one EP on the criminal record, may prove to be recognized as one of the nation's very best
outfits in the genre. A genre as black as the vinyl recently launched via Duplicate Records in 500 copies.
Gorrch's black metal is like a fire development in a chemical factory; a frantic, dirty and polluting
inferno which nevertheless explodes like fireworks in colourful effects.
The music is intense, atonal and furious, yet intricate and swirling like a tornado.
Frenetic drums crackles at an inhuman pace, but adds abrupt transitions and clever variation. The vocals spit and hiss
in unforgivable disgust and chant his infamous doctrine. The guitar riffs monotonous as an institutionalized patient
rocking back and forth in a corner of a filthy white hallway of the asylum, while high pitched guitar strings swirl as
Even the quietest sequences sounds anguished and uncomfortable, something that becomes particularly evident in the title track.
Gorrch's form of black metal is akin to bands like Deathspell Omega and Blut aus Nord,
without direct comparison. Nera Estasi gave me associations to Outre and Mayhem's
latest creation, even if it doesn't really sounds very similar. I guess Au-Dessus and Non Opus
Dei display greater similarities.
Yet, Gorrch sounds mostly like themselves, fortunately, but the other names might at least provide a
general pinpoint to the terrain in which you can find the Italians.
Nera Estasi is a very good and highly impressive debut (that's not just “impressive for being a debut”)
from a band it will be interesting to follow in the future. There is some room for improvement regarding the sound (where
Crudo Primordio in particular sounds a bit sharp), although the sound is by all means more than good
enough. What the band otherwise might decide to develop further is not good to say. Songs and performances are already
at a very high level!
Cinico dominio and Altra bile can be seen as personal favourites with small margins,
for the quality is quite stable.
PS: Both members also form the death metal act Inverted, that released another exciting release, named
The Age of Harvest a year ago. Check that one too, while you're at it.
Naturmacht Productions, 09.01.16 Hyperborea is my first meeting with Finnish Ancestors Blood. The band was founded in
2002 and has just parted with album number three.
The quartet plays atmospheric mid-tempo black/pagan of the synth-driven and fairly low-key variety. The music is melodic,
and relatively friendly adorned, despite rasping vocals, and it has a dreamy, monotonous expression, despite fairly
The guitar is often a bit far behind in the mix, and therefore gains a somewhat subtle touch. It is the synth that forms
the music's most significant melodic impetus. Along with choir, it wraps the music into a thick veil.
As well-worn as this atmospheric metal is, it never becomes very exciting. I's benevolent and soothing, but it does take
a little more than that to stand out; to be remembered.
The album is at its best when the guitar is allowed to shine. There are parts with fantastic guitar works on
Hyperborea. Barely one and a half minutes into the opening tune The Way of the Spirits, barely
five and a half minutes into Autumn (Metsäpirtti part II) and barely two and a half minutes into
Elegies, as well as in the two remaining tracks, guitarist Raud pull long and gorgeous guitar
trills that on the one hand raises the music a few notches, but that on the other side outclass his fellow team players
and the remaining material. But then again, synthesizer has never been the toughest weapon in metallic art of war.
During the ten minutes long Rite of Passage, traditional guitar-riffing are implemented, by the way.
The running time of 52 min. includes 5 minutes of swishing, ethereal synth and burbling water in the form of the intro
Descension, a 4 minutes long and equally unrewarding outro (Ascension), and an equally
long “plink-ploink” interlude (Hyperborea) in the style of Han Som Reiste (only much worse).
That leaves about 40 minutes of quite pleasurable, but not particularly original or gripping moods of loneliness,
desolation, snowstorm and isolation.
Deathhammer Records, 07.01.16
Among the 40 active registered metal bands on the island of
Cyprus, we find 13 that deals with the devil's preferred genre, black metal.
Debuting Temple of Evil was founded in 2008 and is one of them.
The quartet released The 7th Awakening digitally at the beginning of last month, and a digipak CD,
limited to 500 copies was recently released via Cypriot Deathhammer Records.
Initiation sets the tone with dreary piano moods, followed by creepy string quartet and backing choir,
before razor sharp guitars cut through and take the lead. The guitars are relatively melodious, but the melodies are
gloomy and hostile. As swirling poltergeists, vital guitars play a main role on The 7th Awakening.
The instrumentation is good, and the guitars are not alone to boast. The drums are intricately high and low, while
fast paced sequences are also well taken care of. Even the bass is allowed to take the helm, as at the beginning of
...on Devil's Wings and One Last Breathless Sigh for Everlasting Rest.
Besides occasional performances of the chanting ritual vocals and black mass choir, it's primarily snarling black vocals
that dominate this blasphemous ceremony.
With clearly distinct, yet apt murky sound, the band creates nice evil spirited moods with occult undertones and great
drift on their first album. Just lean back while the high priest invokes the devil, that in turn initiate the prophecy,
and summon swarms of locusts to obscure the sun and devour all life.
What a dazzling debut. Set aside just under ten minutes to enjoy the title track, and visit
Bandcamp to download the digital version for an optional price.
Iron Bonehead, 11.01.16 Hostium hails from Vancouver, in the English-speaking part of Canada, and plays black metal. They don't
have much in common with the scene in the French speaking part of the country. They actually have more similarities with
the southern part of the continent in this respect.
First album from Hostium is a display of clamouring black metal with reckless attitude and a touch of
I end up with a rather ambivalent relationship to The Bloodwine of Satan. There is a lot that appeals,
but also something that does not excite my senses, as well as some components that are about as much annoying.
Take the drumming as an example. This pulls me in different directions. Drummer Luzifaust demonstrates
already in the first song Through Realms of Oblivion that he can both use different techniques and full
throttle, and at the start of the subsequent Holy Spirit of Satan, he shows that he doesn't struggle with
quieter segments either. Although one can also find many other good individual sequences during the album, it unfortunately
offers up many long passages with identical and occasionally annoyingly staccato drumming. Thus the percussion ends up
as kind of unexciting in the long run.
The latter also finds its parallel in the rest of the music.
Through some songs, the band's infamous satanist-metal is more than good. When the band calms, unholy moods are created,
and when they speed up, they spawn aggressive blasphemy. Without accusing the band of shaping pronounced depth and
substance, that is. Through 41 minutes, parts of the material becomes rather repetitive, though.
I'm a little bit strict now, for the music is not distinctly weak. The idea that the debutants could have reduced
this to a very strong EP by resorting to stricter self-criticism and scissors, however, strikes me, and
refuse to leave. It should not be necessary to tell you that you've heard similar and better so many times that
in a larger context, “middling” would be the correct term, technically speaking. “Good, but sort of generic”, you
might say. On the other hand, much of this appeals so much that I feel an urge to raise the grade a notch!
Iron Bonehead as usual offers vinyl, but even CD will be available, released the same day via NecroShrine. Bloodwine Chalice stands out as one of the better songs, and is therefore a natural choice for a preview,
but if you should happen to come across the song Arcane Deathtomb, you definitely need to hear that one too.
Season of Mist, 08.01.16
Due to a vocalist with a third degree throat infection and a touch of emphysema, I was a bit sceptical to these, for
me, unknown musicians from the state of Missouri in the United States, and their second full length album.
Still, the music sounded quite exciting, and I don't regret taking the chance with them.
The band's music is not absorbed in a jiffy. It took longer than expected to capture the essence of their fiery hybrid
of progressively landscaped and black edged sludge.
The music is a story in itself, but first I had to penetrate a thick layer of grating primal vocals. Meet Rick
Giordano, king of the howler monkeys. Directly from the jungle comes shrill, shrieking vocals, making my
eardrums tremble. Listen from about 2:50 in the closing track The Horror of Existence, for a good
Not my favourite, but it might suggest that I'm perhaps not the right person to evaluate The Lion's Daughter.
Sludge is not on top of my list of favoured styles either, thus Existence Is Horror is definitely an
album you must lend your ear to yourself. With that said; I do have a taste for this somewhat quirky mixture.
The music, with its ringing and droning sound, overlapped by sharp soaring and partly high pitched guitars, leads me to
think a bit about the split between Dragged Into Sunlight and Gnaw Their Tongues. It's relatively dystopic, but also characterized
by chaotic nightmares caused by high fever. It's feverish, strung, ominous and difficult to grasp hold of. As the buildings
in R'lyeh, Cthulhus resting place, marked by formlessness and bizarre angles, a macabre, sickening feeling of genuine fear,
disgust, horror and delusion lies over the volatile guitars, roaring bass, resounding riffs and pounding rhythms. The music
throws its demented echo between twisted onyx-black and slim-green edifices that defies all rational laws in the accursed city.
The sound is well produced, but the intensity can sometimes be about as jarring as the vocals. The sound is a little
bit clipped, and it sounds slightly compressed. The dynamics alternates between DR6 and DR7, with emphasis on the
former, which a bit insufficient for this kind of music.
The album's got ten songs, is available in digipak CD and gatefold LP, and lasts for about 40 minutes.
The Lion's Daughter, formed in 2007, might end up as a band to love or hate. Purely subjective, I hate
the yelling vocals, though I must admit that I've almost gotten used to it. The warped music, however, is fascinating
in all its hypnotic insanity, and audio nitpicks doesn't ruin my impression.
Hear Mass Green Extinctus, Nothing Lies Ahead, Four Flies and
The Horror of Existence.
More might also appear on Bandcamp.
Independent, 04.01.16 Istårn (Ice tower) are located far off in the periphery of Sotra, an island described
and I've had a few sporadic chats with vocalist Kadaver now and again.
When he recently sent over this single without any conditions, I quickly decided to give this little-known band a little
publicity in return, although the single only consists of a single track in just over 5 minutes, which in all likelihood
must be the shortest release I've ever described.
I have no relation to the band's earlier exploits, but they've been around since 2010 and has managed to give out an
EP and an album.
The song Cosmic Scar opens intensively with screaming, rasping vocals and fiery rhythms with a rear
wall of synthesizer. Melancholic and weeping guitar gradually slide in, and settles like a soaring hawk over a changing
The music gradually changes its appearance in an almost unnoticeable fashion. The intensity soon calms down in favour
of more dreamy and mournful moods.
There are many shades of black in the metal, but also a melodic edge that makes me think of genre exploring, yet not direct
experimental bands, parallel to the more typical black metal movement from the nineties and onwards into the following decade.
Istårn still smells a little youthful, but there's not necessarily anything wrong with that.
I like this atmospheric song, and I look forward to following the continuation.
The single can be yours for not much more than 1 €/$ on Bandcamp.
Prosthetic Records, 08.01.16 Exmortus is again on the move with striking melodic thrashing metal characterized by solid guitar works.
The virtuoso riders is eventually starting to become one of several regular house bands on this site.
Of course, I have no objections to that.
The warm-up to Ride Forth, For The Horde, was hastily commented a little more than three months
ago, and my (Norwegian only) description of the previous album, Slave To The Sword, was just about generic
and hazy enough to practically just recycle the text here.
Well, almost anyway.
One thing that has always puzzled and annoyed me with traditional guitar masturbators, are missing song-writing
capabilities. Impressive guitar playing with no hint of clever song-structuring or poignant melodies are just
frustrating. Exmortus might not be guitar-gods up there with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie
Malmsteen etc., although Jadran "Conan" Gonzalez and David Rivera do an
outstandingly excellent job, but they know how to do build audible tracks and spice them up with crushing guitar works
and gorgeous solos.
Everything isn't all sunshine in the musical world of these guitar buddies, however. Apart from the melodic guitar
acrobatics, traditional riffing ain't the boys' strongest card. When they don't (guitar) pick melodic roses or throw
seductive solos and flaming licks, we are left with a lot of power/thrash-sounding material, with a little hint of
Alestorm and Satan's Host.
Especially a song like Black Sails is archetypal pirate metal. This is not as exciting, and I eventually
find myself waiting for heftier sequences to come along. Ergo, I do not feel that the staying power is as good as on
their last album.
Should the California based quartet lack inspiration to come up with new ideas, they certainly don't rip off any riffs.
They rather borrow a bit from classic master composers, as in Appassionata, with ripping neo-classical
shredding as a result. Of course they put The Great Kat's absurd, crazed and burlesque modus operandi in the shade.
The album opens and concludes relatively fresh, but in between, Ride Forth feels a bit suboptimal, at
least in Exmortus context. Slave To The Sword had both more feats of blistering twin
guitars and stronger underlying melodies. The horsemen still cross the finish line with approved character even on
Iron Tyrant, 07.01.16
Brazilian Bode Preto, Portuguese for “Black Goat”, is about to release their second album.
The guys are some fierce barbarians, as they plow through over 12 songs in less than half an hour.
Unfortunately, only the two other tracks, Intro and Outro leaves a mark.
Not that these imprints are very impressive or lasting either.
There are moments that work better than others. Dirty Honey has for instance hints of good moods
toward the end. Most such instants, containing particularly grim riff or rowdy guitar licks during the albums bestial
black/death downpour, last however such a brief time that they evaporate within the blink of an eye. The song duration
is namely on a grindcore level.
The sound, particularly of the vocals, has an artificial metallic reverberation that becomes more prominent and disturbing
for every listen, and the amount of listening sessions the short playing time of just under half an hour opens for in
about three hours, have unfortunately not made the song-identity manifest itself. The different songs blends to a uniform
mixture, and lack everything known as individuality.
The different (yet samey) songs are, viewed separately, not bad, just a bit simplistic and boring. The album, as a whole,
is anything but exciting, and thus rather weak.
More variation could have done wonders for Mystic Massacre, but as it is, it's simply unsatisfactory.
Hear the albums decidedly longest track, entirely four minutes long Wraith / The Stage and the Meadow:
Iron Bonehead, 05.01.16 Khtoniik Cerviiks' chaos cultist demo,
Heptaëdrone, did not impress me enormously back in 2014.
The music was a bit too chaotic, and I don't see no huge reason to spend time/money on demos when there's
so much else to pick from.
This time, however, several aspects are improved.
Black obscurities, deadly riffs, fierce drums and occult, chanting and snarling vocals, combined in a maelstrom of
The music is like a glimpse into an ethereal plane, summoned by a secret, ancient ritual. As in a dream, or
perhaps a nightmare, the distorted melodies conjure up visions of deep red spiralling cloud formations, blitzing
lightnings, swirling winds, circling ravens and an ominous sense of something evil afoot.
The lyrics spins around the relationship between the spiritual and the carnal, set in a context marked by bio-technology,
pathology and genetics, as well as astral influences on these. I'm afraid I can't go into any more detail.
Demos are primarily demonstrations of song writing, and to some extent of the skills to convey the material. I demand
no rich audio from them. Thus, I didn't hold low acoustic properties against it. I'm still glad to learn that the sound
quality on the Germans' first full-length release is highly upgraded. Sure, it's a bit dirty, but that's just flattering.
Fortunately, according to my taste, the band has also cleaned up their musical expression considerably, though fans of
shapeless and untidy chaos is likely to disagreed. The trio has retained a portion of infernal turmoil, but the music has
a far more uncluttered and orderly style and a clearer direction. It is otherwise a natural and positive development from
the demo-level to professional artistry. Far better than expected, actually.
Khtoniik Cerviiks have made incredible advances in a musical sense, but they have retained an inaccessible
mark, with both feet firmly planted in the underground, although I sense a coming storm of recognition*. *Written before I realized that the album was actually released on CD
just over a month ago via Iron Bonehead's sub-label NecroShrine Records. It's now being released on vinyl.
Recommended to fans of Necros Christos, Bölzer, Deathspell Omega, Svartidauði et al. SeroLogiikal Scars... is not recommended for pious and virtuous souls or fans of peaceable and
Check the song SeroLogiikal Scars (Sequence 1.0: Vertex of Dementiia) here.
Edit 11.01.16: Even the song Biinary Epitome (Spyder's Web) has now been made available.
Underground Activists (S.o.M.), 13.11.15
I discovered French Hegemon around the time that I first came across the compatriots in Hilderog,
something I remember simply because both band names beginning with common Norwegian (amongst others) female names of the
same letter. Anyway, Hegemon was formed in 1996 and débuted in 2000. The band plays black metal with a
My first encounter with them was Contemptus Mundi from 2008, an album with some vibes of Immortal.
After that one, it's been really quiet.
In addition to black metal with a melodic twist, they apply a somewhat epic feel, and elements such as acoustic guitar,
horns and choir. The band feels a bit different from what they did almost eight years ago. Especially the sound is slightly
modernized, and although I hesitate to call The Hierarch symphonic black metal, the album has got a touch
of grandiose symphony. There are orchestral elements on the album, but they aren't so pronounced that I would choose to
stick that label on the album.
The album's character is coloured by songs with strong variation and good structure, along with moods of otherworldly
mysticism and devotional occult undertones. Nice sound and elegant yet fierce drive through various passages and
well-engineered transitions, creates a natural flow. (PS: I stole the “elegant yet fierce” from the press release.)
The five members cares little about fame and self-aggrandizement, but all honour to them for the effort they commit here.
The Hierarch is easy to float, and drift away, into.
The lyrics deals with war and strife, because that's been descriptive for mankind since day one.
During 42.5 minutes eight tracks are presented on a conveyor belt with a steady, comfortable rate, without my attention
getting any good opportunity to escape from its iron grip. Of course there are passages that are less exciting than others,
but that doesn't prevent Hegemon from becoming an additional candidate to the list of favourites from 2015.
Season of Mist's sub-label Underground Activists have existed since 2007 without my knowledge. They
serve more controversial and less commercial music than what the parent-label typically considers its niche. The
Hierarch was released in limited edition of 666 CDs and 333 LPs in November. Due to technical failures(?) I didn't
receive the promo until a few days before Christmas. If it's out of stock in physical format, you'll have to find comfort
in the fact that digital format never sells out. (Unless it's by a fucking sell out poser artist, that is.)