Pulverised Records, 01.07.16
It's been two years since we last heard from these Swedish savages, then with their third album
Relics of Sulphur.
It was a good album, but in my opinion, Vanhelgd has still gone ahead and outdone themselves this time. Vanhelgd blends occult death metal with pitch black disgust and doomy hopelessness. The music is mighty,
but full of grief and fury, as a lone regent who's eventually chased away everyone around him, and lost all his power. The
bitterness and the mocking sight of that cursed disempowered throne escalates into a violent rage and aversion for everything
It's the legacy of SweDeath which acts as the core of the band's work, but they bring in destructive depression of lethal
British and Finnish tristesse, traces of devilish conspiratorial alchemy à la Necros Christos, and they sprinkle
with drops of paganism à la Thyrfing and Moonsorrow.
It's primarily the three songs with Swedish title and lyrics that has melody lines with a touch of Nordic flair hovering
over and floating through them, even though the title track has a bit of this as well. In general, the Swedish tunes are
the heaviest and slowest, while the four English-language tracks offer more fiery and frenetic blackened death. Even it
these also echoes of doomsday in sound and expression. Allt Hopp Är Förbi (All hope is gone), however wraps it up in a twofold manner, where the first half has
a “Swedish approach”, while the final sprint goes berserk.
The sound ain't quite as sharp as on its predecessor, while the volume is turned down a bit. The dynamics have also
increased from DR6 to DR8 over the past two years. The sound on Temple Of Phobos is more deep and
resounding, and characterized by an eerie and unholy atmosphere, which fits the music very well. Tore Stjerna
has put the finishing touches on the album in his Necromorbus Studio.
The cover art is again designed by the band's front-man Mattias 'Flesh' Frisk, just to mention it.
This, of course, ain't no metallic revolution, but Vanhelgd's amalgam tastes exquisite and Temple
Of Phobos is not inferior compared to previous exploits. I'm very pleased with the album, even though the style and
quality of song-writing varies slightly. A heavy and gloomy song like Gravens Lovsång (Praise to the Grave)
exhibits Nordic melancholy at its best, while the album's first premier, Rebellion of the Inquitous, becomes
a dash more common. None of the songs are however even close to feeble, and even if I was a tiny smidgen away from
Approved Plus for a long time, I finally decided to just go for it, for this is a very solid and diverse album.
This is an album with everything needed to appeal to both fans of sepulchral death metal, occult and hostile black metal, and
bleak comfortless, furious and spiteful death/doom.
Only one song up on
Bandcamp thus far, but I guess that'll change by the morrow.
PS: Dark Descent Records will handle this release in North America.
Hells Headbangers, 24.06.16
The US Death Eaters are back after a teaser of forthcoming furore, some 18 months ago. The EP Rebirth Through
Brimstone contained two good songs, but with a total playing time of about 8 minutes, I didn't consider it a
The release was however a harbinger of a potentially lively clash of corpses.
When the guys now release their first album, they also meet the expectations to the fullest.
The band became a fact after a tribute concert as homage to the deceased Tom Rojack and Cleveland's death metal
pioneers Blood of Christ. Shed The Skin somehow continue in their footsteps, much like
Gruesomme have taken over the legacy of Death.
The band's death metal is dizzying melodic, without having anything to do with so-called melodic death metal. When fingers
run up and down the strings as African killer ants, and ultra-tight rifftastic eruptions have an impact on the Richter scale,
Shed The Skin's double guitarmageddon emerges as a beast that splinters steel with its front teeth while
molars grind and pulverize glass with a chafing sound. Harrowing Faith may offer some rivalry for Cleveland's
existing waste renovation and recycling department.
Chronic riffing, hectic, variable drumming and animalized growls are no news to the underworld of death metal, and much of
it sounds relatively similar. Shed The Skin doesn't sound similar. Sure, the foundation is the same, and it
sounds death metal through and through, but in addition, the guitars creates a firework of barbaric melody. The vital, yet
still devastating death metal is never boring to listen to. The fact that it also alternates between sadistic joy and gloomy
hatred creates additional variety.
Allow me to steal the following sequence from the press release, as I like the formulation and agree completely. Harrowing Faith balances between “...melodic vs. gutted, blastbeaten vs. doomed-out, headbanging vs.
The sound is juicy and hard-hitting, albeit without a stellar phonetic dynamic range,
with the finishing touches handled by Dan Swanö.
Behind an outer exoskeleton of timeless death metal, Shed The Skin offers a generously meat-stuffed
signature, which comes much better into its own with a duration of barely forty minutes, where the music's ominous moods
have the time to soak the listener.
The biggest death-mongers amongst you can likely add a plus to the rating, for
Harrowing Faith is deadly fire-power.
Godz Ov War Productions, 26.06.16
If forced to guess, I would hesitatingly say Sweden, albeit the guitar sound doesn't really match. Eteritus proves however to be a Polish quartet with one EP on their conscience.
Old school death metal is a genre that requires “the extra mile”; memorable riffs, exceptional guitar
works, hypnotic groove or other barbed hooks. Eteritus is almost there, showing very good promise with their debut.
The band was formed in 2013 and released the EP Tales of Death the very next year.
Following The Ancient Path is an album with juicy death metal, where the band offers hefty brutality with
peculiarly idiosyncratic sound on the rhythm guitar, at times providing tiny associations to Inquisition (especially
in Incinerator). The volume ain't directly low (DR6), but there is still no constant wall of sound that's
dropped over the listener's head. Each chord feels very clear and distinct in the band's airy rifforama, even when both axes
The bass is in the back, painting the backdrop murky, without declaring its existence. Rhythms and lyrical performances
however sticks their heads up. The percussion is diverse and good. It's located slightly behind the guitar, but the rhythm
guitar also helps by offering rhythmic riffing itself, and the two complement each other very well. The vocals are
graveyard-guttural in all its gory glory.
Solo guitars adds icing on the cake with lovely evocative demonic horror.
The Poles have a number of nifty passages through the corridor to Hell's portal, but also sequences that doesn't stand out
quite as much. They may not have a striking amount of that “extra mile”, and doesn't appear as constantly impressive and
spellbinding from start to finish, but they do their death far better than the more generic genre-brethren. Following The Ancient Path is a strong debut, solid enough to rival more established groups. Whilst I hope
for slightly more hooks on the sequel, this is a highly approved first fist in the diaphragm of society!
Hellthrasher, 24.06.16 Gjendød hails from Nidaros, and consists of two guys with relatively cryptic names.
KK on drums and vocals, and K on all remaining instruments.
There's been a lot of killer releases from my birthplace in recent years, but I'm not entirely
pleased with Gjendød quite yet. The potential, however, is present in full measure.
The band hereby presents four demo songs within a little over 20 minutes.
I choose to believe that the demo sound must chiefly be held responsible, for the guitar in particular reels of some mean
surging works that would probably emerged as excelling if the sound permitted it. Certainly, though, it's important to get
across that it's not horrendous in any way. Many a demo of the 90s sounded far more lamentably.
Behind the moniker Gjendød (“Dead Anew”), we find black metal. Through the first three songs, the pace is
fast, but the breathless warlike modus operandi is of a type that requires some phonetic clarity in order to not sound too
muddy and identical. The frontal attack comes in cascades which also have breathers in the form of more evocative parts. I
can't, however, free myself from the idea that much of this would have been considerably rawer with better sound.
A good demo so far, but it's not directly exciting before Likdans (Corpse Dance) rounds things off with
swirling guitars and devilish waltz in a possessed pace that rolls like waves out of the headphones.
It'll be interesting to follow Gjendød, seeing as they're presenting reasonably good black metal, and almost
all experience shows that band grows considerably from the playful demo stage to the more serious circumstances surrounding a
proper album release. I look forward to it, and encourage the band to bring Likdans along to the next round.
Hellthrasher now releases the band's first demo on CD in collaboration with Darker Than Black Records.
The two labels also launched Gjendød in April, in digital format and on cassette respectively.
Blood Harvest, 24.06.16
Chilean Violent Scum released this demo on 500 CDs in November, and it's now being released anew
by Blood Harvest. In 150 copies. On those passée strips of magnetic tape.
The demo proves to be very promising. The sound is more than approved, the format taken into consideration, and the
men's demonic death metal is a joyful diabolic surprise.
The quintet have varying experience. (Including bassist SS from Uttertomb.)
In about 11 minutes, the vigorous men burns through three songs.
The length is probably what prevents my greatest accolades for Festering in Endless Decay. It is, of
course, all too short. But then again, it is indeed only a demo(nstration). The sound is of course not on a par with
professional productions, but as mentioned, it still does the trick with panache.
The music consists of furious riffing, devilish guttural vocals and breathless pace, topped by ripping solos.
The striking, but oh so brief piece kicks butt, although it does not offer anything more unusual than blistering songs.
But don't let me bore you to death with dry chat. Check rather Festering in Endless Decay on your own.
I'm looking forward to hearing where they're headed.
Harrower Music, 27.06.16 Harrower comes from New Paltz, a village in the Hudson Valley, about 80 miles (130 km) north of New
York City and 70 miles (110 km) south of state capitol Albany. The band, named after the agricultural cultivator tool
(think fine-calibre plow for even distribution of the soil), has been so kind to send over their debut album.
I feared from the outset that I wouldn't be able to be especially nice in return. The rating probably doesn't seem
very uplifting, but never mind that. Read about what this is instead.
Harrower plays a mixture of biting cold black metal and despondent post-black. The goal is to create
a tense atmosphere of desolated isolation and a strenuous struggle for existence in a rural landscape. They succeed
very well with building this atmosphere, for the soil is emaciated, the farmer's strength is drained, and the resources
The first half of Remembrance acts as a soundtrack to this desperate state of bitterness and desperation
on the brink of resignation, while the end symbolizes the recognition and tolerance for a golden mean, where one succeeds
in making ends meet if oneself contributes by living in harmony with nature, and accept the long and hard hours needed to
survive. A feeling of mastery of the physical hardships, which in turn strengthens the morale and makes life manageable.
A concept that is easily recognisable. Not only because it could have been directly related to my and your ancestors,
but because many are struggling today, whether they live in rural or urban areas. The very strong moods of trials and
tribulations, the existence or fading away, permeates Remembrance in superb fashion. If you allow the
very atmosphere to become the significant feature, I see no reason why you shouldn't come to value this album.
My own first focus was however on the musical side of things, where the soil is figuratively equally barren. This might
as well have been a one-man band, for it sounds outright thin. Black metal suits both cold and sharp expressions, but
this sounds extraordinarily stripped and skinny. Just as the ageing farmer and his nutrient-poor soil. The sound is
pointy, harsh, glaring and anaemic, the instrumentation is minimalistic, and the vocals are shrill. The advantage is
that this fits the album's conceptual mood. The music alternates between post-melancholy and black furore (where the
latter unfortunately contributes to prejudice against American full-speed-straight-ahead-without-substance black metal),
but at least it alternates a lot, gaining them a plus for structuring with supplementary details.
The musical aspect is wavering in the middle of the road. Both above and below par. The sound is clearly distinct, but
frail and chafing, and places the band among the challenging and inaccessible. The atmosphere is what saves the album,
and this alone makes me want to increase the grade a notch. It conveys the hardship, suffering and distress splendidly,
which in a way is reflected in the aforementioned sound and musical aspects. The album thus induce a coherent feel,
which partly excuses it's more impoverished properties.
At the time of writing this, Harrower hasn't published a stream of
Remembrance. I'd guess they'll be doing so by tomorrow's release.
Iron Bonehead, 24.06.16
Based primarily on the name, I guessed nostalgia-fuelled doom. The cover art could hint at that sort too, although
ominous tombstones in the nighttime eclipse could also indicated other musical directions.
Doomy eerie nonetheless, I was pretty damned wrong. There's no taste of 70s psychedelia nor any feeling of desert-dry
stoner to be traced.
Based in London, rather unknown Light of the Morning Star brings three songs at about four minutes each.
Songs that are easy to like, but a bit harder to define.
I basically know nothing about this band, but it's apparently an O-A behind this. Absolutely nothing
in the music reveals that this is performed by one single soul, as this is professional in every aspect.
The music floats like an inky pond of poison between multiple pigeon-holes. I's doomy, slow, dark and dreary. It has a
bit of black metal's discouraged aesthetics, where all hope is lost, and the light at the end of the tunnel has too high
a concentration of radioactive radiation anyhow. The music is like the graveyard's closest neighbour, the dilapidated
villa which has been empty and abandoned for decades. There seems to be high spiritual activity and skeletons in the
wardrobe enough to go around. Also, I fear there might be something lurking in the basement. The music has a putrid whiff
of gothic, atmospheric horror.
Meanwhile, Cemetery Glow is kind of subdued melodic, neither infested with lively tunes, nor introverted
anti-melodic in atonal, sharp or barbaric ways. Light of the Morning Star conveys hopelessness, sadness
and creepy moods suitably for remote cemeteries when thick clouds cover the sky like a black blanket, and you sense every
sound that's out of place while uneasily waiting for the vision to adapt to the darkness.
As the grade suggests, it's a great start for a grim British band bathed in a mysterious glow of graveyard aura.
Whether the lurking dangers have a natural explanation or not; they are still just as real, and
Cemetery Glow gives no
comfort. Only an anxious sense of being observed, followed by an increasing discouragement.
Iron Bonehead, 24.06.16
Finnish Front, also known as FRΩNT, have only existed for a year, but the three
members have decent experience.
Amongst other, everyone plays in exquisite Sacrilegious Impalement.
The style they literally reel of, is a garage version of black/death, with punkish reckless attitude and a home-made touch.
The music has its charm, but my level of excitement is a bit up and down.
The sound has an intentionally quite simplified touch that still works fairly fine. The vocals ends up slightly askew
in the mix, to express myself diffusely. It's slightly off in the sense that it's a bit in front of the other members,
yet at the same time being located on the outside of the rest of the music, as if it was located on a remote, jarring
track of the recording. The sound still has decent dynamics, even if the vocals sounds somewhat grating.
The songs have a lot of tough stuff to offer. Cool riffing and nice guitar licks. The drummer seemingly goes berserk, but
is slightly drowned behind the towering vocals. The variety is looked after and the song-writing testify to imagination,
although it's not quite optimal if the band wants to distance themselves from the crowd.
A few occasional short samples are incorporated, but only for decoration. For a while I imagined that the band was playing
around with a voice box, but it's probably rather vocal overdubbing that gives a diabolical character at places. (Hear
Legion Front.) Another effect that should be mentioned, is the short n' pithy percussion opener of
I Am Death.
A tribute to Silvester Anfang in miniature, perhaps?
Somewhere in the musical ruin between Marduk, Sadistik Exekution and Motörhead, we find
Front's 36-minute debut. It's pretty ass-kicking, but a bit murky, and far from spectacular.
If the style appeals to you, than check out Iron Overkill for yourself.
Moribund Records, 24.06.16
Now that we have alternated between “unavailable necro” and “commercial show-off”, I think we'll simply continue with that.
This time in the shape of a single release. Weihung Auf Satan opens with fairly necrotic orthodox black metal from the basement floor of the underground.
We don't need specific examples. Just think of all the generic black metal discs where you only got one album by
each band in your collection, an album you never pick out of the shelf. After the bloody crisp vocals having bruised your
hearing within a short time, however, something a bit out of the ordinary happens.
Suddenly a guitar-phantom in Blackmore, Malmsteen, Satriani og Vai's footsteps steps in
and adds some incredible guitar licks. Incredible...? Well, considering the genre, anyway.
So then, all of a sudden we seemingly have a new genre on our hands, or rather yet another hybrid, to be precise. Black Shred
Metal. Sounds a bit cool, actually, but the fact is that you have to search a bit to find these little Easter eggs. 90% of
Weihung Auf Satan comprises alright necro-black made completely unbearable due to the most cutting bandsaw
vocals I can remember ever hearing. This covers such a large area of the duration that it hurts.
The killer guitars, however doesn't cover particularly much area, with a short sequence in each song. Just the last track,
Cosmic Funeral has two solos.
Between traditional tremolo we find a bit more melodic guitar work, but it's far between the really impressive solos.
The virtuoso Toby Knapp is releasing his third Waxen album, and it is not for me.
My constructive advice is the following.
1) Get a singer who doesn't damage the listener's hearing.
2) More shred. Much more shred! A few minutes of guitar masturbation makes no new genre hybrid.
Summary: Quite okay underground black metal, short but cool solos, providing a taste for more,
and terrible screeching vocals that will surely have a bad influence on tender minds.
Melodic death metal, melodeath, can take many forms in terms of qualitative ebb and flow, but when it comes to the Australians
in Be'lakor, the quality at every stage of the process is once again painstakingly taken care of.
Sadly, I haven't listened to the three previous albums nearly as much as I ought to.
Alas, have me excused for not attempting a comparison.
The quintet is among the world leaders when it comes to melody-fronted semi-extremity with both quiet, melancholic passages,
elements of acoustic instrumentation and harder sequences with rapid, throttling pedal operations behind the drum kit.
I doubt that I need to go into details to make you get the picture, but I can mention that the band have wrapped up this album
without the habitual use of clean vocals to create a soft contrast. Every word is growled with panache.
On Vessels, the band conjures up one alluring melodic gem after the other, and not just from song to song.
The abrupt transitions appears suddenly and unpredictably, but the float remains natural although the waterway changes
its course. It can be tempting to refer to this clever structuring as progressive, in the same way as it may be tempting to
think of the highly competent instrumental perfectional capability as technical.
Like their Melbourne townsmen in Ne Obliviscaris, Be'lakor, with its highly competent compositional
and executional capabilities, is a sure winner among the metal-loving majority with diverse taste-buds. This is music with
depth and substance, and without comparing with previous exploits, I still claim that the band has done it again. This is
fairly sure to find its way onto many a year end list from those who doesn't dive in the depths of the underground
exclusively. Moreover, the two Finnish “omnium bands” Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum are the ones
that's most frequently used as references, just as a final clue.
Sepulchral Productions, 24.06.16
It's interesting to see how Forteresse and Neige et Noirceur in 2016 have evolved in different
directions, or at least chosen very deviate approaches to their Canadian black metal. Where the former opted for a red-hot
homage to devil and fatherland, Neige et Noirceur has chosen the anti-conformist's path of highest resistance.
The only similarity is a warlike disposition.
Where Forteresse seems to wish an armed revolution welcome, Neige et Noirceur focus on an elder
conflict, namely the Great War.
The sound is gritty, as usual, but this time even the music is harsh granite-jawed and churlish as a pimple on society's butt.
The whole thing is a sharp and filthy experience that scratches like sandpaper against the ear. Where some help make black
metal more sanitized, Les Ténèbres Modernes (The Modern Darkness) is completely incompatible with commercial
The vocal barks, grunts and rasps as a grater in an open wound. Guitar and kick-drum, aided by a wilful distinct sound, hurl
blasting fires as machine guns. Sharp guitars sounds like meat hooks slowly carving scratches on a blackboard. Layer upon
layer of ominous and unpleasant samples (somewhat akin to Slagmaur at times), predominantly of war-related
sounds, provides an ambient mechanical touch, suitable of providing discouragement and physical discomfort.
Les Ténèbres Modernes bear little resemblance to its predecessors, although the coldness subsist and the
music is still a bit challenging and quite inaccessible to the vast majority. Indeed, with a significantly greater coefficient
of friction and resistance to general amusement than ever. This is uncompromising, caustic and suffocating claustrophobic,
and can consequently only be recommended to those who find pleasure in odious, bitter, abrasive and hostile metal. If a band
such as (and without further similarities) Imperial Triumphant becomes too repulsive, you might want to keep your distance.
Gruelling, rude and inhuman as pressure washing of the testicles or sandblasting of the eyeballs, but Neige et
Noirceur is still wonderful hypnotic in all its hideous glory.
Sepulchral Productions, 24.06.16
With a relatively small scene as the hard core of Québécois Métal de Noir, you risk certain periods of high activity. It's
just been four months since Sorcier des Glaces saw their sixth offspring, North, leave the nest, and now both
Forteresse and Neige et Noirceur are ready with their fifth albums. Forteresse is unfortunately one of the bands I've lent my ear least to. At least it feels all the better
to ascertain that they make a clean sweep with Thèmes pour la Rébellion.
With “Themes for the Rebellion” as the title, and the stated objective of honouring all those who yearn to finally hoist
the banner of liberty, and see it wave high and proud, there is a whiff of separatism over these French Canadians. Their
objective is also to pay homage to the old traditions in a time when few remember the historical and cultural aspects that
helped shaped La Belle Province, the beautiful province, Quebec. The band's parole is patriotic, epic black metal with
obvious revolutionary undertones.
Whether or not they really support the paramilitary Front de libération du Québec, ain't my fucking business.
The cover design is, however, not taken from any
revolutionary action, but from one of several major fires in 1845 and was painted by local artist Joseph Légaré.
The first thing I notice is the juicy and intensely powerful sound that surrounds this treaty for the rebellious Quebecoide
revolution. The sound is not as necro as it used to be round the edges, but don't despair, it is still sharp in both scratch
guitars and rasping vocals, lacerating holes in the eardrums to provide the music with a passage so that it can flow freely
and gnaw through the nerve fibres. Mixing and mastering in Necromorbus Studio has surely had an effect on the final
result, which has a grand burning touch.
Even the music has changed a little, at least if Forteresse, as I imagine, have previously been musically
related with others from Quebec and Montreal. The local patriotic variety of black metal is typically characterized by epic
atmospheric moods with raw necrotic wrapping. A lovely contrasting combination.
Pitched guitars are also this time hovering above the hammering riffs, creating atmosphere, but the bombastic and belligerent
apparition has got a bit more in common with traditional aggressive Norwegian and Swedish frontal assaults this time. The
drums runs at a speed of one hundred and hell, and the combination of fuming jet black metal and burning sound constitutes
a red hot storm that burns and char everything in its way. Much like a nuclear sonic test explosion in urban areas.
The awesome as bloody hell expression alone makes Thèmes pour la Rébellion a joy to listen to, while
atmospheric spices, and almost subtle changes in drums, riffs and vocals, are like flames; in ceaseless motion. Because the
songs melodic and structural properties ain't the easiest to spot and capture, I was unsure of the durability, but although
the album seemed extremely sturdy at first encounter, it seems, if possible, even more killer after a good handful of spins.
Devilishly good from Forteresse!
Osmose Productions, 24.06.16
The band from Bay Area, San Francisco, reels of a kind of frantic and atonal black metal of witch I struggled to get the
complete hang of for a rather long time.
At places it was working like hell, whilst the music elsewhere seemed to fall through thoroughly.
The trio, all with links to Sentenced to Burn and Necrite, will soon release their first album.
It's black metal, often of the breathless type, the band performs. It's fast paced, and it's brutal. Meanwhile, they blend in
some moods. Not proud, majestic moods, not primarily reckless, murderous and sadistic moods, albeit partly evil, obscure and
anti-christian moods, but first and foremost obscure, dystopian moods, performed in a discordant way. This works close to
optimally at times. Other times, however, the attempt to achieve a pale, colourless, grey world lead to fairly generic
tremolo riffing and repetition. That's seemingly when monochrome becomes monotonous.
Yet there is something about the frenzied savagery, the dissonant and arrogant mood of ruined wastelands that appeals. When
one tries to convey the feeling of futility, it's with a real risk of appearing as futile. Sure, Black Fucking Cancer
can be monotonous at times, but something about the oppressive atmosphere holds the listener firmly locked
to the ground while the relentless punches and kicks keeps coming. After the first four rounds, where the album actually
mastered the feat of growing weaker, I was on the verge of passing up on it. I couldn't see no deep well to fish any details
from, and the album for a while felt both indifferent and unnecessary. Experience has, however, taught me to have a little
more patience, but of course it's boring to spend hours and hours trying to figure out whether it's worth spending hours
and hours on an album. Eventually, and fortunately, this trend began to reverse.
Acid Ocean stands as my undisputed favourite. Not because it with it's twelve minutes is the longest, of
course; Even this one has its share of what I for a period regarded as “tiring, indifferent and staccato standard-riffing”.
When we after barely six minutes catch sight of this lake of acid, we realize that it's not necessarily named after its caustic
content of sulphuric acid, but perhaps more so for its volume of lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD. The acid
dropped in this lake is enough to give a permanent bad trip, making your worst nightmare come true. Black Fucking
Cancer really excels in the latter half of the song. They occasionally shine elsewhere too, when the diversity is
at its best, but ironically, the Americans biggest Achilles heel is that they themselves prove that they can make even bigger,
better and more exciting hooks.
By skipping Acid Ocean, a song that definitely ought to end the album, the rest of the material appears
stronger, as it no longer need to live in the shadow of this colossus, and it should be said that there are also many other
sequences without striking pace that are sauced with acid. This is also an album where it takes time to separate the songs
and their seemingly random barbaric brutality apart, and where it takes time to discover all the details. Not least because
the album lasts and lasts ad infinitum. The Americans' debut actually have a duration of quite exactly one hour! The trio
performs their work well. Wherever on the album one listens, ravishing wind-swept spite can be found, and the sound is fiery.
However, a full hour without any firm hold to grab on to, quickly becomes a frustrating and confusing seance until you get
the music under the skin. In that sense, there's a little lack of depth and substance in much of the material. From there on
and out, however, there's just plain sailing.
After nine spins, my draft has gradually been daubed into what feels like a thick, bloated snowball, and it was badly in need
of a clean up. After nine hours, I still feel that I have a way to go before I see the entire picture in the right
perspective, but I no longer hold the same ambivalent relationship toward the debut. And so, it's time to call it a fucking
day while the going is good.
Black Fucking Cancer is in a way a fairly demanding album. Whoever does not give this music his full concentration,
could easily miss the small nuances that prevents it from imploding into a grey mass, and whoever does not have the patience, will
never finish the marathon. I don't always feel that the album contribute in particular in capturing the listener's attention.
Full throttle. Pedal to the metal. Wanna tag along, than hold on tight. The responsibility is left to the audience. I advise
you to be patient and grab on tight. It's a bumpy ride, but it's worth it in the long run.
Under a sky dominated by a beautiful rainbow and a cosy, mild and magical lighting, we encounter a
jovial figure that hands out candied apples and tells warm, edifying stories to all the children.
I'm not really sure you trust me. It's quite possible that you imagine something uncomfortable residing in this picture.
Just because this creature, named Cuckoo has a rather unorthodox presence and hasn't been able to afford
to paint his somewhat dilapidated cabin, or because the photographer had some bad luck with colour balance, and settings
for gamma and contrast, you may tend to believe that the music could have a touch of eeriness to it.
You probably believe we could find atonal abominations in terms of disturbing avant-garde black metal and elements
of post-hardcore, baked together in a synthetic-sounding discordant jumble. You most likely envision kidnapping, torture
and cannibalism in a bloodbath scenario, a terrifying inferno of horror and pain.
If nothing else, simply because nice people from bands like This Gift Is A Curse, The Moth Gatherer,
Antaeus/Aosoth og Blut Aus Nord has helped out Cuckoo and his two harmless friends
Risperdal og Hibernal, both benign as Care Bears, providing an appropriate soundtrack to their idyllic
and trouble-free environment, far from the crowded hustle and stress of commercial pressure in the big city.
You ought to be ashamed of your lively fantasy and prejudiced. You should really head out to this tranquil, lush woodlands.
Feel free to bring the entire family along. Cuckoo and his friends love visitors. And don't worry
about food. Come dinnertime, you will be served. Cuckoo insist on it :)
The upbeat music on the cheerful trio's third album might have a bit too strong a synthetic dash of Teletubbies
for me, but there is nothing to say on the implemented moods. Since you don't trust me, you might as well
hear for yourself.
Prosthetic Records, 17.06.16
“Life is too short to write music that already exists”, says vocalist Shane McCarthy of Denver, Colorado
based Wayfarer. However, I feel that I have heard corresponding similarities ad nauseam.
The band plays atmospheric metal in tinted landscapes, and thus you probably know roughly what to expect.
Just as death/doom have common features with, but not direct equalities with the two genres, Old Souls
becomes as a black/doom combo of relatively soaring and pagan type, sprinkled with suitably, somewhat intricate structures.
The music has a lot of melancholy and sorrow, but I hesitate to use the term black metal as such. Soaring guitars fills the
air with sadness, and their tears fall like rain on a grey and hard day. Both sharp riffing and acoustic strumming occur.
Equivalents does exists. I've heard it before. I've forgotten it before. It's pretty, by all means, and the way
Wayfarer changes pace and direction, as on a winding forest road in rough terrain, has a fairly clever jazzy touch
that might be called proggy. I wouldn't call the music consistently progressive, though.
Rhythmically and propped with diversity, Wayfarer may makes more out of this style than many, but there are
of course many other talented bands too, who do exactly the same. Both melodies and style still smells of archetypal “atmospheric
black metal”, and that requires melodies strong as steel to impress me. These songs are consistently audible, but they have no
overall goals. They just are. In the present. Besides said variation along the curvy and hilly path, I can't seem to
find the biggest barbed hooks.
I won't claim that life is too short to listen to music that already exists, there will always be details and nuances that
distinguish the various contributions within any range, but this is something that I've heard both better and worse so many
times, and the style ain't even extremely exciting in the first place. So I'll be doing fine without it.
It must nevertheless be said that the band is doing a decent job, and that bigger fans of atmosphere should check out
Underground Activists, 17.06.16
When, after my initial spin of Dust to Lust, I discover that Grave Desecrator hails
from Brazil, I must admit that the thought hadn't even crossed my mind. This is pure and evil death metal with a frantic
whiff of thrash. Ergo, what country the band originates from, makes no big difference in my opinion.
The primitive, barbaric savagery otherwise agree with the music, and moderate similarities with a young Sepulturacan be traced with a bit of goodwill.
Grave Desecrator performs traditional, bestial thrashed death metal without any nonsense, but they
fortunately know to incorporate an extra ingredient or two not to sound like absolutely everyone else. Dust two Lust has gloomy graveyard moods of the kind that only comes after dark. The album opens nifty
as hell with Temple of Abominations, whose got eerie, occult moods and howling guitars, but unfortunately,
not everything that follows are as interesting.
The album is characterized by occult undertones, where gravestones with mysterious inscriptions and symbols often appears,
but the moods ain't always as good (or evil), or they are too unwrinkled, and the good intricate structures goes on hold.
But they always return, and when they do, they feel even stronger. The wait never feels downright boring either, as
wicked savagery keeps you company.
The sound is powerful, with rabid vocals with adequate reverberation over howling guitars and aggressive riffs. It sounds
brutal and tough when the bands offering spray dusty old cobwebs with fresh blood. When it comes to instrument usage, the
only thing I can complain about is quite frequent use of somewhat tedious staccato rhythms. It's nevertheless never annoying,
but the experienced drummer M. Cult show elsewhere that the music gets better with more technical diversity
behind the battery.
Dust to Lust sounds killer throughout, while the material alternates between killer and a bit more ordinary.
By ordinary I mean good death metal that struggles a bit to stand out. Although I'm not the one who has been listening most
to the genre, one becomes a clue demanding after borrowing ones ear to death metal through 25 years. The difference from band
to band is after all not very distinct after having consumed a few hundred albums.
This however remains as reasonable slaying.
Music is always a matter of taste. Some times more than others.
When Blut Aus Nord and Ævangelist releases a split, it will also split the fans.
Both bands are in the experimental, avant-garde mood this time around.
Blut Aus Nord brings four tracks clocking in on almost 20 minutes in total. The music is pure ambience,
without any of those aspects we consider as metal. It's not controversial to say that it feels artificial, for with this
band, nothing is left to chances. With intention, the music has been given an industrial feel, while it has undertones
of ceremonial rituals. The band offers music which admittedly can put patient black metal heads in a hypnotic trance,
and which has multiple layers of dissonant inhumane nature that can easily drag my mind toward Slagmaur, but
without any trace of metal, I'll have to ask myself... Would I have listened to this if it was an unknown band,
and am I going to return to this in the future? The answer to both questions is, frankly, no.
Ævangelist deliver one 22 minutes long song. Threshold of the Miraculous is characterized
by dissonant, synthetic sound collages with a fairly mechanical and monotonous character as it snails through various
segments like an astral reptile. Even this tries to induce a trance-like moods for fans of black techno. The spoken vocals
throughout the second half is more reminiscent of rap, especially the experimental dark and spiritual Cypress Hill
album Temples of Boom, since the music has similarities in the mood. (Don't ask.)
There is little here that is reminiscent of the respective bands signatures, and so it doesn't matter if you're a fan or
not. You don't need this even if you like both bands, and you don't need to enjoy any of them to acquire Codex
Obscura Nomina. The question is solely whether you like dystopic ambient avant-garde. Both bands of course does
a good job, but personally I can control my enthusiasm for the genre.
In truth an obscure codec, and definitely not my taste. Maybe yours?
Satanth Records&Black Plague Records,
When the brutal death metal band Execration moved from Colorado to Texas last year, the brothers Wyatt
(vocals) and Jerred Houseman (instruments) grabbed the chance to fulfil an old dream of a
new and different project.
They started Helleborus, a somewhat odd, eccentric and schizophrenic black metal band. Still, it's not
the lads' first project on their own. They already have the Middle East-inspired black/death band
Akhenaten. (Which I hope to return to some day.)
In a way, it's tempting to think of Helleborus as an American The Vision Bleak. The band is a duo, they
are exploring partly unknown musical terrain, and they're channelling their creativity into a fairly melodic black
metallic expression consisting of familiar elements, yet sticking slightly out of the crowd. In addition, Wyatt
in particular has this rather bohemian look, resembling artistic minds having consumed their share of absinthe.
The band wants to explore a dark but romantic side of the black musical universe and convey the essence of this unknown
black matter that they've had a vision of, and formulated as “masculine and powerful, yet sensual and respectful;
The music has a quite gloomy and exploring character, as of archaeological adventurers exploring alien worlds. With
headlamps and torches they venture gently onward into dark landscapes where the sun's light never shines. At least not
the sun we know. In unnerving, thrilling manners, the music balances the razors edge between dreamy and
The music is well composed and well played. We could call it a form of melodic black metal with an atmosphere of
mysticism, a gentle touch of ethereal ambience and harsh rasping vocals.
I have a taste for this fairly quirky, yet not completely avant-garde variety of the black sphere, but I'm not completely
satisfied with the sound. The sound is basically all right, as in the recording sounding alright. Thus, the
pre-production might be flawless, but it seems someone has been a bit too zealous with the volume controls in the
post-production. The final product sounds excessively loud, with jarring noises of clipping. I can't remember the last
time I was this convinced of the dynamic range being creakily compressed under its own weight.
Quite right. When running the files through various audio analysis software, I find that the volume level often lies
flat as a pancake in the ceiling. There, it is of course mercilessly cut right off. With a maximum value of DR5 on a
couple of tracks, a minimum of DR2 on several songs and an average of DR3, this is perhaps the worst case of lousy
phonetic dynamics I've ever seen. (Metallica's Death Magnetic admittedly had the same low numbers,
but I haven't even bothered checking out that album.)
Conclusion: Although the music is not directly innovative, it is both interesting and good, with good song-writing and
nice identity in the different tracks. Unfortunately, the sound is so hyperbolically boisterous that listening to
The Carnal Sabbath simply ain't as enjoyable as it ought to be. I choose not to reduce the rating enormously,
given that musical integrity weigh heaviest, but one is supposed to listen to the music as well, especially with
such good song crafting. Thus, the grade unfortunately falls a notch down. I could (and probably should) have been more
strict toward this violation of taste in sound.
Dusktone, 01.06.16 Svartelder challenged nerves and peace of mind with one of last year's strongest EPs, Askebundet,
and now the debut is ready for consumption.
Meanwhile, the members identities has been revealed confirmed.
Through 45 minutes Svartelder gives nourishment to insecurity, while they erase the distinction between the
accepted, established truths, and the painful discomfort of reality.
The bands abominable expression has a bit in common with dsbm and Shining's degenerated outlook, but instead of
moaning and resorting to depressions, Svartelder conveys the corrupt state of affairs with a cold distance,
leaving it up to the individual listener to exhibit apathetic indifference or to resign with razors or pills.
Svartelders dystopian landscape is perhaps marked by increasing insanity. A focus on disgust results in a
downward spiral of mental deterioration, where only a flourishing psychosis can find fertile ground. The band is as such in
good(?) company with for example Den Saakalte and Angst Skvadron, and helps keep the legacy of madness from
Carpathian Forest alive. Svartelder is still pretty much one of a kind.
The press release and/or Metal Archives confuse some of those involved, and I'm on the verge of hysteric lunacy attempting
to determine who is who. Signs eventually points to the band consisting of the following morbid individuals:
Vocalist Doedsadmiral from Nordjevel, which in this band maul and distort the vocal cords in a more bleak and demonic manner.
The admiral manages to squeeze out aloud the most sickening sounds of death rattling, and it sounds as if the man is about to
retch and vomit before choking on his own puke.
Keyboardist Kobold (aka Mr. Fog) has a number of projects. I don't have a thorough
knowledge of the man's exploits, though. On Pyres he spices up things with disturbing eccentricity.
Drummer AK-47 (aka Kobro) has been a part of Carpathian Forest since Strange
Old Brew. His list of merits is otherwise long, and his executions are naturally accordingly.
Bassist and guitarist Maletoth is reportedly based in Pantheon I and Den Saakaldte.
Seidemann and Sathan has been a part of both bands, but the right person is probably Tjalve,
which is currently active in both bands. Even he's got a long “criminal record”, and not surprisingly he makes a supreme effort.
That such a star-studded team chooses new pseudonyms and lets the music speak for itself, deserves respect. As I wrote last
year, before I knew who was behind this, the music is gold on its own.
The sound is still very good. A little more rounded, perhaps, but full-bodied and spacious sound in a disturbing way amplifies
the negative and depressive message. Not that I have any idea what the lyrics are about, but it's hardly uplifting reading
of idyllic themes. Again I find similarities with some of the aforementioned bands. Especially Den Saakaldte. Where
some apply the dismal timbre of trumpets or saxophones, Svartelder utilize modest seasoning of Hammond. Is
it done to reinforce the feeling of emptiness? Is it to add atmosphere and contrast? It feels more like the music's enjoying
itself watching you suffer. Smiling viciously as it's mocking your misery, your soul and destiny languishing and withering
away. I believe it takes pleasure in rubbing it in. I truly do.
I've spent days trying to find the right words, but still don't feel that I'm doing the music justice in this respect.
I consider my shorter review of Askebundet as more concise. The song Ingen Vet Jeg Var... stems from the EP,
something that rightfully indicates that the band hasn't changed their objectives and tactics all that much.
It is not without a certain schadenfreude'ish delight I conclude that the Norwegian underground still delivers proper pitch
black metal. We have a (negative) story to be proud of, but we don't have to subsist on faded grandeur and withered laurels.
Long live the madness, the evilness, the negativity and tnbm.
And beware of reality. It really wants you no good!
Are you absolutely sure you won't rather live out your rosy delusion. Are you really ready for the darkness of
Something that could be explained by Batu Çetin having many years of experience, as well as two other one-man
bands in various adjacent genres.
The music is infuriated death metal with enough details to create sufficient friction between the ears, but not enough to
stand out in particular.
Allow me to be brief.
Batu does a great job with instrumentation and demonic cellar-vocals, and even present a concept of inverted
inquisition. This time it's the Christians who goes through the mill in the uttermost diabolical torture chamber.
Its a rumbling, resounding clamour, and it's devilishly tough. Not ace, perhaps, but more than fine. Only problem is, there's
too much close to identical death metal flying around already, and so I don't see the need for Demonic Inquisition.
If you're an above average death-monger, I'm confident you'll revel in Grotesque Ceremonium.
Whether you'll feel that the album offers anything new is a different matter.
Listen to Demonic Inquisition, and decide for yourself.
High Roller Records, 17.06.16
From Mausoleum Gate and '70s proto-metal, we venture on to Vulture and '80s proto-thrash.
The quartet from Germany delivers a fiery display of passion for early heavy, speed and thrash metal, performed with
The band recorded four songs intended as a demo and warm-up for forthcoming material, and released them on cassette in limited edition,
but High Roller Records for obvious reasons enjoyed it so much they launched it on both CD and vinyl with new artwork.
The vocals, to start there, is of a pitched and demented variant you'll only find in speed/thrash. It's the sound of the
utterly insane surgeon, high on laughing gas and helium. There's probably divided opinions to this style, but L.
Steeler does a formidable job behind the microphone.
The music is vital, swift and delightfully varied through four quick, but not too short tracks, which together approaches 17
minutes. Here you'll find a fairly adrenalin and testosterone filled diversity of riffing and short solos with high octane
propellant rhythmic drift. Maybe not very exciting, but definitely cool and well done, with ditto sound.
Cruz Del Sur Music, 18.06.16
We are moving to the metal's outermost borderland here. These Finns play a kind of proto-metal naturally belonging in the '70s.
The band debuted with a full-length last year and Metal Archives recognizes the Finns as Metal, more specifically
heavy metal. I guess I'll have to do the same, although the vibes of heavy rock has an almost rich texture, much like smog
that could be cut with a knife.
This 7" single has got two songs at about 4 and 6 minutes each.
A scarce 70-second intro, incorporated into the first song, quickly gives associations to Ozzy Osbourne's Mr. Crowley,
but when the song actually starts, these hints disappear like dew before the sun. With Hammond, Mellotron and MiniMoog, it's rather bands
like Deep Purple,
that emerge as mental references. (Surely, there's no need to link to any other than the last, which is by the way very enjoyable,
but we can't discriminate against anyone, now can we.)
This side A title track is a little rocker that glides smoothly down without leaving any real after-taste. There ain't much that
reminds of pure metal, even if the drums are quite fast. Even the guitar becomes a bit faded in this respect, except from in the
solo, which otherwise ain't blazing enough to leave skid marks behind. The vocals, the bright clean vocals, is what closest
Not exactly a new Speed King.
The song Demon Soul on page B leaves a slightly sweet and sticky after-taste which fortunately does not last for long.
This mid tempo semi-ballad is, if possible, even less metal.
Not exactly a new Child in Time.
Sound and performance are both good and rather authentic for being 40 years late. Marketing this toward pure metal fans is a
bit wrong. AC/DC is more metal than this. But of course, if you have a wider taste in music than just metal, and might
settle for some commonplace hard rock, you should by all means check out Metal And The Might.
Old Temple&Metal Throne Productions,
After an increasing number of visits to Deisidaemonia's tangled undergrowth of carnivorous creepers, a veritable
jungle of exotic plants and wild and vital sounds, I was still unsure as to where on earth this black metal band was spawned. Khthonian Hymns feels like a melting pot of various black metal expressions and sub-genres.
In retrospect, I realize that I probably should have put my money on the Hellenic empire, for after all,
there is a lot here that points in that direction.
There are however a few other elements here, such as Northern European melodic black metal, and many a genre hybrids in turn
emits a small Greek whiff along with other scents.
Or maybe it's just I who simply haven't noticed the forest because of all the fucking trees that keeps blocking the view.
The black metal is melodic and soaring without becoming directly atmospheric. It has a moderate occult touch and a sense of
grand Luciferian pride, enhanced by discreet brass-fanfares. Mood and anger go hand in hand. Rhythm and music is constantly
changing, and even the more staccato rhythms works fine in this setting, especially when the pace is at its most fierce,
hasty and impetuous.
The vocals may not stand out much, but the soft-spoken satanic sizzling and hissing suits to the music. It's possible that
it's not very distinguishes simply because it glides so naturally in to the scenery, prowling the forest fringes at night,
all dressed in black. Only occasional use of lively bass (fretless?), makes it all the more distinctive and stylish, but it's
the guitars that really dominates and excels. Don't misunderstand, the guitar works are supported excellently by the other
aspects, but the winding, vibrant, swirling and whizzing guitars swarms as aggressive bees, stings like wasps and strike as
rattlesnakes. The whole thing is melodic, yet angered and diabolical.
I might be laying the over-romanticism on thick here, but this is a fiery sonic spectacle. Nor is it so damn strange that I
exercise a little extra enthusiasm when I've been trilled about Khthonian Hymns from the start (in addition
to it growing further since) and discover that not only is this a debut, it even hails from a one-man band! That's especially
impressive when the material is so cracking, the quality is so exceptionally high, and the sound is by far better than what
the Greeks could boast of when the nation's pioneers established the scene.
This sounds killer in my ears. Time to fill your ears with Khthonian Hymns.
Dusktone, 01.06.16 Kvalvaag is a self-titled band, started by a gentleman from Oslo four years ago. The debut Noema
was released a few years ago, and somewhere out there in the capital's murky underworld, there reportedly lurks
an unreleased album titled Fomalhaut from the band's beginnings that can't withstand the light of day.
Whether Kvalvaag counts as a one-man band, a solo project or a complete dictatorship is not known.
That sort of terminological concept only constitutes a theoretical definition anyway.
Our protagonist (or antagonist) has experience from bands like Astaroth, Valgaldr, Arvas
and more. He obviously knows his limitations and uses hired muscles to handle those apparently unwieldy drums.
On Noema, Ishtar (Dødsfall, Sorrowful etc.) took care of percussion, while it's now Telal (Troll,
Astaroth, ex-Endezzma, and more) that shows crafty force of impact. In addition, Rammr (Elvarhøi)
contributes with some clean vocals.
Malum is absolutely a solid step up and forward in relation to the first album. The performance still
has an unpolished touch, which undoubtedly has its genuine charm. The songs have a stronger distinctive character, being
independent but interconnected, and soon emerge as more memorable separately than is the case with much else released in
this age. The individual feel is probably due mainly to Kvalvaag's approach. The black metal is of the
folkloric type, where the darkest, murkiest corners of fairytales has crept in to the music to a greater extent than what
traditional folk elements have done.
Orchestral elements are used a whole lot to mirror the magical atmosphere. Not that I would pigeon-hole the music as
symphonic black metal for that reason. And the rosy term “fairytale-metal” is of course useless. Admittedly, those with
synth allergies should take their medicine before they possibly venturing into this, for even though it's not directly
excessively, there is a somewhat velour-soft blanket of keyboards in the background. It is the underworld that reigns,
with mythical fabled creatures lurking in the shadows. Wights, gnomes, trolls, draugr, neck and ill-natured spirits.
The wild hunt comes from the darkest corners of fantasy and superstition and gather for a Witches' Sabbath.
A mood of restless creatures gives the album a solid signature, while the fairly primitive black metal drags my mind back
to the 90s. Other, more volatile moods of everything from harsh Norse winters, endured by Vikings tough as nails, to dark
Tolkien-influenced medieval darkness, seems to waver as light-less candles in the shadows. If it's not just my imagination
Kvalvaag is in a ways a continuation of the folk-metal flirtation we found a lot of at the time, and
takes elements from bands like Ancient, Dismal Euphony and Kampfar, as well as a mysterious
and majestic whiff of Tartaros further into the imaginative dark universe of
Theodor Kittelsen. I've always had a taste for this direction, and the comparison is a compliment, as
Kvalvaag has its own identity and their own songs that stands firmly on its own without resorting to
plagiarism. The title track for example, stands out. After Rammr has left his mark with evocative vocal monotony,
a segment that oozes of loneliness and isolation follows. at least, that's how I interpret it. The cover version
of Troll's Naar Solen Blekner Bort from the classic Drep de Kristne (Kill the Christians) slips
fairly neatly in amongst the other material, making this in itself a small indication of style and expression.
Malum, which you can check out here, is a surprisingly spirited
album in a genre which largely has left leprechauns, imps, revenants and various critters, beasts and spirits of unexplored
woodlands behind in favour of Satan's demons. This could just as well have been a newly discovered 20 years old hidden jewel.
Hells Headbangers, 10.06.16
American Bat exhibited progress from demo to EP last year, and since I presented both band and style
in connection with those, I'll just go ahead with Wings of Chains.
Without recalling the exact details of my Impression from May last year, I just pressed play and spun this debut
without any prejudice. It didn't take long before vibes of Venom hit me. Lots of it also sounded suspiciously familiar.
Having revisited last year's exploits, both the bands and my own writing, I can instantly conclude that Bat,
not surprisingly, seems to have found their niche. They still play octane fused punk/speed-influenced proto-black with
traces of Motörhead and similarities with Midnight. To say that the guys continue where they left off
with Cruel Discipline would have been misleading, unless we're talking about the five new songs. We
namely find all the seven songs from last years releases here, draped in a new, harder and sharper armour of sound,
all neatly wrapped in barbed wire.
The new songs settles closer to the B-side song Rule of the Beast than the title track from the EP, as
they prioritize speed and adrenaline in place of groove. Even the song Cruel Discipline loses much of
its original atmosphere, something I'm not too excited about.
For existing fans it can certainly be nice to have the demo songs from Primitive Age served with a
less primitive sound.
Rawer sound suits the band well, although it could have been somewhat juicier and not just sharper, but the
new songs are showing clear signs of improvement in writing skills, so there's progress to ascertain.
With more old than new songs, one can always discuss the necessity for anyone but die-hards. Personally, I would rather
say that the old demo is now redundant, but I still have a taste for the EP. Besides, those who didn't obtain the two
former releases can now get all the Bat material in one bundle.
The material is not unforgettable, but it's an alright steam blowout. Those who can't get enough of early
Venom and howling speed metal solos can grab this blindly. Those who have been sitting on the fence so far,
should take a listen before choosing side. I'm no big fan, but the band shows glowing enthusiasm, and the reckless mood
rubs off and makes me thirsty. The guys deliver the goods, and an approval is in its place. They conclude with the
eponymous song from the demo. This is the album's longest track, and just one out of two (from a total of twelve) songs
that transcend the three minute mark! This was the opening tune on the demo, but works just as well at the end, offering
a good last impression and leaving the listener wanting more.
For now, only a couple of tracks are available on Bandcamp, but you can stream the album
in its entirety over at Decibel Magazine.
Shadow Kingdom, 03.06.16
Kentucky is probably best known for fried chicken, but there are of course also metal there. Both iron, copper, steel
and aluminium, I'd reckon. Now there is also Tombstalker, a death metal band that debuts with
The band has admittedly been around since 2008, and their debut was, it appears, first released last year.
With down-tuned vocals, abrasive grinder-guitars, jackhammer-bass and nail-gun as percussion, the guys are ready to
build their own mausoleum.
The cover art stands out, and when the nearly two minutes long intro consists of harmonic acoustic twin guitars, it's
not easy to know what you have in store. The press release mentions Bolt Thrower as one of several reference
points. I haven't listened much to the deadly Britons for the past twenty years, but the landscape don't seem completely
different. It's fast, hard and violent. Variation exists and the guitar sound stand out like a hacksaw amongst traditional
hand saws. There is not a lot of atmosphere to trace. Just pure savagery.
I'm not quite sure what to think. It sounds killer tough, but it sort of stops slightly right there. The wheels of the
band spins, and they remain on the same spot. The echo of yelling, barking, biting and blistering, scolding tongue-lashing
reverberates as the members curse and swear with the uttermost profane and bile vociferations. During the construction
of their mausoleum, most of the time is spent on quarrelling, uproar disputes and tumultuous arguments, leading to heated
fist-fighting. When they go for the kill, there's a clamorous pandemonium.
Tough as the train, hard as granite and well executed, but oh so dispensable. Mostly, the only thing missing is songs with
stronger arrangements and hooks. With a greater focus on writing, these guys can go far, for they have a lot of potential.
Fans of aggressive brutality without fucking frills will undoubtedly thrive with Black Crusades. I thrive
insofar fine too, but I'm not working up any strong ties to the band, and when we are now separated, it's without any
sentimentality what so ever. The mausoleum was eventually raised, but there is a shortage of paint and fixtures... and
an apt smell of death and decay in the form of moody atmospheres.
Recently, two versions of wonderful cover art has ornamented rather lamentable content. The illustration that gives
Light of a Different Sun a visual identity, doesn't arouse curiosity in the same way, but the music
that reveals itself has some appealing qualities.
The band comes from Connecticut, USA, and has recently undergone some changes in the line-up, without us getting
in to the details here.
The band has been around since 2007 and have demo, album and EP behind them. One of each.
Archaic Decapitator plays a form of light progressive melodic death metal with elements of toothless
black metal and technical whims. They present here just over 25 minutes of their music.
There are bands with far worse songs, but the five tracks on the EP have a tendency to flow undramatically out the
other ear. The songs have decent melody lines, but lack a comprehensive mindset and approach. The band seems to have
a sense of direction, but doesn't seem to have a set goal to aim at, thus ending up with slightly directionless songs.
The vocals are kind of half-growled, with touches of raspy black, and doesn't appeal that much to me. The music is
rich in variety, and the band exhibits skills and do a lot of good things with their respective instruments. The drums
can feel a bit sterile, even if I'm not able to put my finger on why, for the drummer truly puts on a solid effort.
The band is best when the guitars grow wings and head out for a soaring atmospheric flight.
Not bad, but a bit anonymous. It should be said that the music grows a bit when it finally tightens its grip, but it
takes some time before it does, and the prize of patience ain't all that rewarding. It should be noted that the grade
grew from “medium plus” to “approved minus” at the last minute, although it's not quite on par with the last four with
the same rating.
Check out Light of a Different Sun if gentle melo-prog/tech-death tempts you.
Some harmless “death metal in tonal major” definitely ain't the worst you could enjoy under the summer sun!
French ADX have a long history, but also a turbulent past. The band started in 1982, but gave up after
ten years. A brief reunion came at the end of the nineties, before the band was again put on ice. Finally, ten years ago,
the guys had their renaissance, and the activity has been on top since. Non Serviam is the tenth album from ADX, short for acier doux, or mild steel
in English. An iron alloy with low amount of carbon that as far as I've understood has largely replaced wrought iron.
French culture and history is supposedly a speciality of this band, and they allegedly play heavy/speed metal. I don't
know what they've done in the past, for this is my first encounter with the band, but I think we can safely draw the
band in a slightly more gentle direction as of today. The guys harmless melodic deeds have a strong bouquet of power,
but elements of said genres are also parts of the whole.
Another thing I unfortunately can't comment on is the lyrics. Judging Non Serviam by its cover, it can
certainly seem as if there's a fiery sermon we're exposed to.
The music seems surprisingly gentle and toothless. It is largely due to the vocals, which sits at the forefront, taking
a lot of space. Vocalist Phil Grélaud mainly sings clean and fairly pitched, though he adds a bit of
moderate distortion of the vocal cords at times. The vocals are a bit poppy, and some mild vibrato in his voice gives
a moderate operatic touch that gives associations to slightly epic and seemingly pretentious bands in poppy power
landscapes. I have nothing against French lyrics, but in this setting, the vowel provides a rather unfortunate eurovision
song contest odour that doesn't suit the music whatsoever.
The music, which unfortunately ends up somewhat in the shade, seems to be quite alright Powerpuff metal. After a lot of
spins, it still stands as a bit anonymous. The performance is competent, the sound is good and there are all right melody
lines and sequences where tougher elements of thrash and heavy metal shine through.
There are sparkling riffs and blazing solos, capable drumming and bass with its own will, but generally speaking, the
song structure becomes grey, boring and generic, making me lose all interest. In addition they supplement with an
excessively pompous vocal. All in all, this feels like a somewhat harder and less epic offspring of Kamelot. And so,
there is practically nothing here for me.
Black Lion Productions, 25.04.16
Where riff-based band within some traditional genres sometimes requires solid songs to stand out, there are those who
have an extra weapon to turn to; atmospheres.
Meet Mist Of Misery, a band from Stockholm who commit gene splicing of symphonic and depressive black metal.
The EP Temple Of Stilled Voices was originally released in 2014, but has now been offered improved
distribution via Black Lion Productions.
The band became a reality in 2010, and acted as a duo when this material, consisting of four tracks, was recorded.
The lyrics are however partly credited the band's former vocalist. Mortuz Denatus took care of drums, vocals and programming of the recording that took place in
Forlorn Halls Studios in 2012/2013, while Phlegathon from marvellous Hyperion played guitar and bass.
Later, even Anders Peterson from Hyperion has taken hire on board with his synthesizer.
The music is reasonably simple and primitive thus far, but everyone has to start somewhere. I automatically become
sceptical when a riff in lower mid-tempo, consisting of five chords, is repeated in loop alone through the first 150
seconds of the first song, without being replaced until three uninterrupted minutes have passed. It doesn't take long
before the same riff returns either.
This surpasses the Geneva Convention's limits for repetition by far.
The music consists of fairly monotonous and mournful misanthropic black metal with a rather cheap wall of synthetic
choir and orchestra. The sound is below par, especially when everything's drowning in synth during Bleak
Autumn, but the band are saved by gloomy moods and beautiful guitar works. The songs are all in all far
from particularly exciting, and although I have no trouble hearing through this scarce half an hour, I have to be
so honest as to say that this can't compare with anything worth spending money on, whether within dsbm nor orchestral
black metal. It also turns out that three out of four tracks originate from a home crafted EP from 2010. (We used to
call that sort demos back in the days.)
Nevertheless, I've got a positive attitude, for with two guys from Hyperion, and a bit more experience, it's
allowed to have quite high hopes for Mist Of Misery's future, although this obviously is not music
that seeks to impart hope, and I risk losing all integrity by being positive toward anything
whatsoever. As three years have passed since the recording of Temple Of Stilled Voices, I hope
(hell, there's that awful word again) to hear more from them soon!
There's room for improvement in both song writing and sound, and I'm sure these guys got what it takes to hone their
shit like hell.
By giving them a negative rating, at least I do something right. I don't want to fucking disappoint the Swedes either.
You can check out this EP for a pay what thou wilt on Bandcamp, and note also the gorgeous
cover art, created by Russian Alex Tartsus.
Iron Bonehead Productions, 02.05.16
After Nervosa's razor sharp thrash riffs, the dirty death-thrashers from New Zealand occur as soaked in mud.
Hefty and good drumming shines clearly through the tangled vines and the thick mud that drapes the dirty strings, while
the vocal bobs and gurgles in the surface.
This trio is in the starting blocks, and it's by no means a bad start we're exposed to.
Rot ain't just drivel. The 21-minute five-track EP has a reckless mood of red-hot anger. Which is its
strongest card. For, as usual, we find to a great extent metal that is raw at the time of spinning, but that doesn't
stand out or leave any permanent memories.
The lyrics deals with the horrors of war. Authentic macabre details of a grotesque reality. The songs do have a few solid
portions and the press-letter's description as “high-octane thrash tempos, morbidly dripping sewer riffs, militant vocals,
and chaotic soloing” hits the nail. At the end of the day, however, Rot won't be remembered. There are
thirteen albums like this in a dozen, to use a Norwegian idiom.
I am perhaps a bit harsh now, but this is unfortunately easy-heard and easily-forgotten. I expect to hear more from this
gang, and if material and sound is improved a few notches, I won't rule out a more positive reception by then.
Napalm Records, 03.06.16 Nervosa, Portuguese for nervous women, is a female thrash trio from São Paulo, Brazil.
The ladies are out with their sophomore album these days.
When Brazilian thrash is on the menu, especially from said city, it's hard to avoid comparison to Sepultura, but
those shoes are difficult to fill, something other bands in the same genre and country shouldn't have to be punished for.
The three furies may not look like Amazons, but they are probably just as aggressive where they play fierce riff-based
thrash with the smell of the country's death metal heritage hanging in the hair. The relentless and merciless frontal
assault of these chicks reminds me chiefly of the Teutonic form of thrash metal.
The band started in 2010 and their second full length album is adorned by far niftier cover art than their debut.
Nervosa doesn't seems nearly as nervous as the name implies. They don't seem nervous at all, just incredibly
angry. The chasing music could be said to be played with the devil at their heels, but it's rather the trio that hunt their
enemies with a well developed taste for blood. Pitchu Ferraz' drumming are at times very tasty, but I could do without the simpler staccato rhythms that
sometimes pops up. Prika Amaral delivers solid riffing, although the riffs will probably not enroll the
annals of history. Fernanda Lira snarls with seething resentment, and the slightly higher pitched voice
that female extreme metal vocalists inevitably got, just creates a becoming sharp edge that fits nicely into thrash. The
latter also handles the not very markedly bass that mostly backs the guitar.
Something that don't occur naturally in thrash is soul-sounding vocals. When the song Wayfarer
opens with a clean feminine voice in the style of Janis Joplin, and ends with pure gospel, it's easy for a poor
listener to have the beer go down the wrong pipe. There's no flaws to the execution. The first sequence fits in as a
fairly odd break, but the last two minutes of this closing song could, and should, have been omitted.
The sound is juicy and roaring. It's easy to hear that the volume is predefined at a slightly exaggerated high level, which
is confirmed by a dynamic range of only DR5, but it doesn't matter all that much, for the sound is otherwise ass-kicking.
The material on these 12 tracks, which only a few times reaches above 4 minutes, incline more toward tough, aggressive
attitude than to memorable tunes. On this aspect, comparing with Sepultura must be allowed, as they are (or rather
were) an excellent example, forging tons of immortal songs containing both raw aggression, cleverly exciting
structures and highly memorable melodies. I think the ladies are doing a superb job on conjuring a pulverizing attitude, and
the performance is very competent, but besides from the killer-as-hell-right-there-and-then effect, Agony is
missing the needful hooks that could entice the listener and draw him/her back for new listening sessions, time and again.
My favourite is Hypocrisy, which features disturbing moods, good variety and some juicy solo guitar.
Via Nocturna, 07.06.16 HexHorn has existed as an idea for a long time, but these thoughts weren't concretized until 2014.
The band members to a great degree comes from the band Hegeroth, who plays a melodic, semi-symphonic
form of black metal. Here they vent their need for crushing and destruction through gruelling angry death/thrash.
As 2016 had come into being, the rehearsing of material for their debut was completed, and in January the band recorded
their first video. The line-up seemed determined and stable, but in February, when the release date was scheduled, the
band's now former singer withdrew at the last minute, and the band was forced to write new lyrics and find a replacement
hasty as hell. With yet another member of Hegeroth, as well as a few hectic months of writing
and arranging new lyrics and recording the album and a music video, HexHorn made the finish line.
As in the case of The Drowning, and so far too many others, HexHorn doesn't permanently engrave
its emblem in my consciousness. I will probably remember the band, and perhaps even that the music was tough, but no
details will forever remain remembered. With that said, they thrash and riff good, with decent, if not memorable melody
lines. The bass is just right, prominent, but not dominating, and the vocalist is angry as hell. The drumming is also
varied and precise, so fans at the crossroads of death metal and thrash shouldn't really be bored through these 9 songs
that clocks in at typical 4:00-4:30.
Pretty cool, but not particularly strong in character. This is just a debut, and with stronger material, I think
HexHorn can prove to become more entertaining. Therefore, a medium grade so long.
See the video with original vocalist and arrangements of the song Follow, later renamed
Murder, and see the new video for the song Suffering.
Casket Music, 03.06.16
I've been checking out most of what British The Drowning has released, but I could ask myself why. The
band has been plagued with a slightly amateurish feel since its inception in 2003.
Behind often simple covers, which may have prevented some curiosity, death/doom of varying quality has hid, with fairly
flat, lifeless and under-produced sound. Putting a damper on the eagerness to absorb and explore hidden details.
After a five-year hiatus, steadfast The Drowning are back with their perhaps strongest album to date.
During those inactive years, vocalist since the beginning, James Moore, has taken his rasping, semi-growling
voice and left. New man, Matt Small, growls deeper and supplement with some sizzling black shrieks. I won't
claim that Matt does a better job, as I also have a taste for James approach, but that's a matter
of taste anyway, since both seem to have delivered the goods.
The sound on Senescent Signs isn't impeccable either. The production is professional. It sounds juicy and
powerful, with good coverage along the entire frequency register. The sound is far more powerful and richer than what the
band have previously achieved. Unfortunately, the volume is a bit exaggerated, with some annoying clipping as a result.
Take House of the Tragic Poet as an example. When it kicks off after barely a minute, it clatters as hell
in the ear canals if the volume is turned up slightly. As it turns out, this song has a dynamic range of DR4. The average
however lies on DR5. I would still characterize the sound as good, as all other production-related aspects (asides from the
volume) definitely measures up.
The material is absolutely approved, but still manages to becomes a small objection in some respect. The music is mournful
and very nice to listen to, but don't differ significantly from the crowd. They mix in some fair female choirs and a gentle
touch of sublime orchestral elements in a varied repertoire of death/doom with aggressive, fierce vocals. They do the job
well and I very much enjoy spending time listening. Isolated, the music is very pleasant, but as said, it doesn't make
itself noticeable in the big picture, and none of the songs remain as memorable menhirs. Thus I mark this by approved minus,
with a recommendation to genre fans of checking it out and making up your own minds.
Take a trip to
Lords of Metal, where you find a full stream of the album by scrolling down.
Witching Hour Productions, 03.06.16
Fuck, Satan, bloody hell, fuck! I've crafted my entire draft based on Morthus being the same band that
released the EP Into Oblivion in 2014, but then it turns out that the EP was released by German Morthus, while this
is the debut of Polish Morthus, who also released an EP in 2014.
That's what I get for listening, making up my mind and writing a my script before doing any research. The hell if I bother
to rewrite absolutely everything. The Poles must therefore tolerate being compared to the Germans.
In said EP the Germans conveyed headstrong black and deadly creepiness with wonderful dynamic instrumentation and gorgeous
guitar antics, but with some minor debris to the sound. And so, after this misunderstanding, I'm still hoping that the band
will refine their brutality with juicier punch on their debut full length album. My first impression when hearing the Poles
at work, was namely that the sound was still a touch thin, while the music had become less bombastic and flamboyant.
Both bands have elements of black metal. The Germans leaning a little more towards melodic black metal, and the Poles with
a moderate shift towards death metal, but the dissimilarity ain't significant. And so, it can be fairly easy to make a
mistaken. So why then not just continue the comparison. At least it'll give you an idea of the music and the different aspects.
Said EP was very promising, and any argument that the sound were up to par are insofar valid, for the impurity one could find
there was adequate based on the genre, while the drum sound gave a solid thundering thrust to the diaphragm. Nevertheless,
I feel that the flaming guitars, the infernal drumming and the diabolical vocals would have suited an even more red hot sound.
A burning inferno, even if the sound might have become a touch more polished.
The sound on Over the Dying Stars is a bit tame in comparison. It doesn't sound equally “dank bunker”,
but rather a bit more like neutral studio. The sound of course works out alright, and it's cool that the bass occasionally
makes an intruding appearance. Yet this is not the sea of flames I was looking forward to when I imagined that this was
the refined expression of a German band. Admittedly, without these expectations I would perhaps not have been as pessimistic.
The material and the dynamic instrumental/vocal interaction of Into Oblivion stood aflame. The way the
fiery guitars and powerful drums formed a robust framework for glowing melodies... You get the point.
I vividly imagined how the material must have been attempted impregnated with some kind of flame retardant this time
around. The Poles certainly don't sound bad, and they do grow little by little, but it all appears to be significantly
more ordinary. There are sequences that stand out in a positive sense, and again I'm probably a bit characterized by
being too biased. Overall I was quite disappointed because I considered that Morthus have a potential for
greatness which they haven't quite found outlet for here. But than again, it's not the same band we're talking about.
It nonetheless indicates that this too could have been a little bit better.
The music is good, at least considered separately, but unfortunately becomes somewhat halfway decent in global competition from
other black/death-wielders, such as German Morthus. I urge you to put all your “prejudices” aside, and listen to
Over the Dying Stars with an open mind. Maybe you'll succeed better than me.
Shadow Kingdom, 03.06.16
At first glance, I thought the cover depicted a vampiric slut who attempted some necromantic hanky panky, but upon closer
inspection it most likely turns out to be a newly widow who haven't yet come to terms with her valiant warrior having passed on.
That's how wrong a first impression can be.
After being formed and recording a demo in 2013, Beyond the Omens is the first album from the Chilean quartet
Lucifer's Hammer. The men swear by heavy metal as the genre appeared during the first half of the eighties.
At the same time, the guys got a lot of hard rock in their sound. Here is serves eight songs and 40 minutes which lays
somewhere in between TNT and Iron Maiden in style. The songs are not remarkably strong, but the instrumentation is outstandingly.
Especially the guitar solos should be enough to make women born around 1970 become clammy in the crack.
The first two tracks offer galloping rhythms, where the eponymous song has a slight touch of Children Of The
Damned, before things calms down with heavy rock ballad'ish Dying. Shining Blade
brings more of the genre, but this time with a bit more stout attitude, tough riffing and cautious head movements which
admittedly never escalates into headbanging. With Black Mysteries we once again cross the border into
heavy metal, barely, without being stopped at customs.
The guys at times deliver a frantic whirlwind of guitars which is somewhat reminiscent of Iron Maiden. That's
one hell of a testimonial, right there. In addition, the sound's on top. Yet I'm not completely carried away.
First of all, the album lacks strong melodies and above average songs. The title track is however alarmingly close to
gaining status as “outstanding”.
Secondly, this is not tough enough, which only becomes ironic given that the band comes from Chile, where most metal is
rawer than sushi and more beastly than zoo. To play classic heavy metal, yet blend in 50% hard rock testify to scarcity
Thirdly, they could damned well have hire a vocalist without the fucking mumps. The guy is off key and he ain't got no
The instrumentation and sound, however, is enough to give stalwart fellows about 40 minutes of erection. At least you can
do without Vigra. If you like both TNT and Iron Maiden, you should definitely check out Lucifer's
Hammer and their debut Beyond the Omens. If they improve on the areas I've poked at, I'll be sure
to check out the continuation!
Between you and me; Sometimes the digital release are cheaper on the band's Bandcamp profile than on the label's. This time,
however, you'll be saving $ 2 by visit Shadow Kingdom.
Who would have thought that I would end up hearing Beware The Rat Kingso many times after
initially having gained an aversion for singer Ant Majora, who sing just so warped that it sounds as if
the rat on the cover has manifested and taken over the microphone.
The music of these French prog-thrashers still had something that needed a more thorough investigation.
Hell knows why they choose to call an album with seven tracks and over 40 minutes of playing-time EP.
The vocals are distinctive as a delirious Dave Mustaine with throat catarrh, and the music ain't a touch
better. It admittedly don't have any problems with its windpipes, but it has at times a delightful unique and completely
eccentric touch. Of course there is music with more LSD floating around its blood vessels, but when the basis is thrash,
it could hardly be more bizarre than this.
Thrash with unpredictable transitions, jazzy sequences, fiery instrumentation, rough solos, an unexpectedly dosage of
variety and close to psychedelic vocals, is about as good an explanation as I can give you. What is it with the French
and manic frenzy? The band concludes by making their own frenetic twist on Scavenger Of Human Sorrow,
the opening track from the Death classic The Sound of Perseverance. A natural choice, as the song is
not a sober A4 song in the first place.
I didn't like Beware The Rat King at first listen. That's what I call growing-potential.
Napalm Records, 03.06.16
It's been 30 years since one of doom metal's real classics, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, saw the ill-fated
light of day. This is being marked by the EP Death Thy Lover and the advertisement of Mats
Levén as a full-time singer.
Regular readers will know that doom ain't my favoured cup of viscous fluid, as reflected by my rather lukewarm grade,
but it should be said that I at least believe that a quality bands like Candlemass deserves respect.
Here's a pretty quick presentation.
After Robert Lowe (Solitude Aeturnus) delivered his resignation after the release of Psalms
for the Dead (2012), the band has exhibited a fairly low profile. Perhaps this marks the start of more activity?
Robert Lowe had big shoes to fill himself after Messiah Marcolin. Like his predecessors, Mats
Levén, from Krux et al., is a competent vocalist with the right voice for the genre. He has also
participated in a few recordings with Candlemass before, so all parties should know what they're in for.
Death Thy Lover consists of title track plus three other songs. Altogether 25 minutes. The title song
has a cool guitar fade-in before pounding drums shows up. When the track gets starting, both rhythms and vocal style
helps to create some vibes of newer Iron Maiden. Compared to heavy metal, the song has a ballad-sounding touch,
while it's also quite vibrant from a doom-perspective.
All the songs have great sequences, where especially the guitar solos excel on my part. The solo from two minutes into
Sinister n Sweet for example, works very well.
Death Thy Lover is of course no new Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. I don't think anyone
would have expected that. Yet I don't think doom-devoted doomsday cultists will be disappointed. These four songs works
okay whilst being played, but I'm not going to miss them when I move on.
It's not quite that long since Drudkh last released new material. The album
A Furrow Cut Short was duly covered by yours truly a year ago. Drudkh has decided to release new material in the form of a series of split-releases,
and now they share the first two songs with their surroundings. Both lasts for about on nine minutes each.
Drudkh's discography is often characterized by evocative monotony, where atmospheric black metal at times
have been flavoured with elements of suiting Eastern European folk-music. After so many years in the game, it's probably
not unwise to alter the recipe slightly.
When the song Golden Horse opens with driving rhythms and intensely hellish vocals snarled through clenched
teeth, monotony is not the first thing that springs to mind. In addition, the local folk instruments are for the occasion
replaced with synthetic violins and horns in the background. In good Drudkh tradition, the song's got a
fairly repetitive touch, but this is a band that master duplication well, and that adds just enough variety to avoid stagnation.
The song is dreamy and hypnotic, while frantic and frenetic vocals contrasts by attempting to shake the listener violently.
The song Fiery Serpent unfolds in the same musical landscape, and rather than fleshing out, I'll just
conclude by saying that One who Talks With The Fog is a tasty EP from the Ukrainians.
Hades Almighty's part, the EP Pyre Era, Black! was featured in October, and so there's not much to add here, but
as I've already decorated the right side with the cover art, where the band's new vocalist Ask Ty
is allowed to dominate, as if to symbolize that he is now a full-time member, I'll just fill in with some stuffing.
We can't very well just leave this space empty either.
To offer some relevant information: The band is in the studio working on their upcoming full-length album, the
first on in fifteen years. The release date is not yet set, but I'm really looking forward to hearing it.
Black Lion Productions, 16.04.16
The title almost suggests that this is a form of compilation released in 2015, but most albums are collections of various
shorter works with a musical leitmotif, and as such; anthologies. Antologi MMXV is the band's second album,
released digitally in mid-February, and released on CD a few months later.
The band's first album came out in 1999(!), the same year as the band started up. At that time blackened dark ambient
was supposedly on the agenda.
Gradually, the band disappeared from the radar all together...
Exactly what has happened in the meantime is beyond me, but the band re-emerged in 2014, and the line-up is
seemingly completely replaced. The Swedes have also changed their musical direction into quite melodic, but still pretty
raw black metal. The band now consists of the duo Skärseld (guitar and bass) and Gast
(vocals), with Vintermord as hired drummer and Peste as guest guitarist on three songs.
The music is a rich wall of vital guitars, not entirely unlike Mörk Gryning in style. Gast has replaced his vocal
cords with rusty razor blades, and the vocals may be a matter of taste, seeing as it's more necro than the music. We're
talking stylistically somewhat akin to Hat on the first Gorgoroth albums and Nocturno Culto on
the good old Darkthrone albums. (Just a directional clue, not exact references.) I have a liking for his sharp
voice, and I appreciate the hissing even stronger in Hymnens Svarta Toner, the only song with Swedish lyrics.
At first listen, the band feels somewhat imperfect, but hypnotic rhythms and swarming guitar, along with shrilling
roughened witch shrieks, creates a wonderful hypnotic effect. The band writes good songs, where even intense sequences
have enough dynamism and diversity to maintain attention, while the music can stand being played loud. The only thing
that pierces the eardrum when I crank up the volume is the barbed wire vocals, and that's the intention.
I'm not a big fan of the opening song, but from there on this kicks ass in the means of juicy profanity, and when you
learn that the band offers a name your price, you have no excuse to escape.
We interrupt this program to bring a brief message that a preview of Harm's
new album October Fire is finally available. Recommended for thrash-sodomites all over.
Rain Without End Records, 28.05.16
When I discover or buy albums from two bands at the same time, especially when similarities exist, my mental associations
sometimes intersect slightly. I'm probably not the only one with a somewhat bungling mind, ending up mistaking one band
or album with another.
A few days ago, we discussed Heaven Grey, located in a completely different musical landscapes, but every time the name has
appeared, it's the cover of Heavy Rain that has popped up on my mental canvas...
But than again, it's also a despairing grey sky that adorns Seeming Emptiness' new album.
The one-man band has over ten years of experience, and conveys emotions without words. The band is a channel where German
Kevin M. vents his frustration over the mismanagement this globe languish under. The instrumental album
of course has no vocals, but it has a kind of concept anyway. Corruption and greed leads to undermining of the entire
system, which is followed by mistrust and vociferous disputes, that in term leads to war. Finally, the planet must bite
the dust. After the “humane” extermination, however, mother earth gets a fresh start where vegetation and wildlife again
flourishes in a well-functioning symbiosis.
The music that accompanies this imagined scenario has elements of post-rock, death/doom and instrumental guitar-based music.
The music is melancholic, but soaring and constantly progressing, and touches on everything from gloomy and dejected misery
to Pink Floyd, while some modern rhythms add a touch of contemporaneity. It's also a very guitar-oriented album,
where the guitars replaces vocals. We're not talking complete guitar-masturbating shredding, though.
Vocal is something you don't usually miss until it's absent. Only then you'll realize just how much it means for the whole.
Seeming Emptiness achieve a lot without it, and succeed at conveying moods without words.
Everything ain't equally good, but at its best, masterful moods are created. The title-track in particular, as it's
reminiscent of mournful Swedish/Finnish death/doom at its best. The guitar works are very good, but as in all pure
guitar-based music, it requires good songs, and a couple of the songs here do get a wee bit dreary. Most of
the material is still rather good, and the variation within the established frames is good.
Take a trip down Bandcamp lane if instrumental atmospheric guitar music tempts.
Signal Rex, 03.06.16
Portuguese Enlighten's first EP (practically a demo) didn't get a good reception at this site. Phösphorvs
Paramovnt was a jarring hubbub, where only the outro passed (almost) unharmed through my needle's eye.
The duo is back with a new EP, and we'll give 'em a second chance. Illvmantithesis offers a stylish cover, fronting two tracks totalling 11 minutes.
It starts quite alright, with atonal dissonance, but it only takes 100 seconds before the rowdydow is back on track,
with wispy guitar, thin sound, staccato drums and a vocalist who ought to book a doctor's appointment, for that
pharyngitis doesn't sound good.
The guys call this “Black Death Metal Chaos”, but the song Pallor, besides from a misleadingly promising
start, rather comprises of something in the style of muddy, slightly rowdy, partly monotonous post-black/core. Shroud also opens slightly better than what follows, although the track do contain a bit more variety
than the first song. Here, the first one hundred seconds shows a rather calm and okay melodie with a slightly melancholic
mood, where strange sound actually helps form uniqueness. When simple drums and quite grisly vocals come in, this
filthy-melodic phrase continues to characterize the track until we're halfway, and dissonant staccato monotony takes
over. Then it alters a bit back and forth, but what begun fairly interesting eventually evolves into boring repetition.
Illvmantithesis is better than Phösphorvs Paramovnt. But it's not good. The 7-inch
is limited to 250 copies. That should basically be more than sufficient.
Debemur Morti Productions, 27.05.16
Finnish Behexen was founded under the name Lords of the Left Hand in 1994, but has now ravaged
under their current moniker for 20 years. Vocalist Hoath Torog and drummer Horns has been
the band's steadfast backbone, while guitarists (and partly bassists) has come and gone since co-founder Reaper
withdrew in 2009.
The band has, until now, consisted of roughly the same line-up as Sargeist, but earlier this year, both
Torog and Horns (and the bassist) pulled out, but that's another story.
Behexen has in turn said goodbye to their guitarist since 2009, Sargeist's founder Shatraug.
They have, however, kept Swedish Wraath (aka Luctus), which also distorts his vocal cord
and/or bends strings for the bands One Tail, One Head, Mare and Dark Sonority in Trondheim,
Norway, after having launched his Nidrosian career in Celestial Bloodshed.
I only have a few Behexen albums in my collection, but one probably knows quite well what to expect when
the Finns erupt in another tantrum.
The Poisonous Path without problems surpasses Sargeist's latest album, and I really think this
must be the top echelon of what Behexen have delivered too. The album has some brief ethereal sequences
introducing half of the tracks in a ceremonial way, but overtones of cryptic ritual moods rests like an evil shadow over
the entire work. Torog's voice can have parts of the credits, as it sounds more like the devil himself
roaring profanities after using sulphuric acid as mouthwash. Wraath deserves honour as well for his
delightfully freezing, malicious and sinister guitar works, while Horns hammers in demonic manners.
The last album, Nightside Emanations, was absolutely not bad, but the unholy, pitch black mood that
manifests when these guys go chasing Christian blood this time, outshine the predecessor. The aggressive and satanic,
but also cleverly strategic frontal attack is accompanied by a resounding sound, which anew sets its predecessor in the
shade. It's clamorously reverberating as a roaring wildfire within the mountain when Satan organizes drag racing in his
oversized throne room.
This is fucking killer!
I prefer to attach a stream here, but as mentioned in “the news”, I want to prevent the page from being colossally heavy to load. Thus, I am sending
you to Bandcamp, where you can both listen and order.