Agonia Records, 08.07.16
If you have no idea what to expect from the band behind the moniker Centinex, this genre most likely
ain't your greatest passion.
I must admit that I don't have the greatest knowledge of the Swede's discography myself, but of course I know that
we're in for clean cut death metal when these guys plug in their amps.
Like Dawn of Disease below, this quartet don't take any revolutionary measures to renew a familiar genre.
Nevertheless, it's almost impossible not to get a few twitches in the neck muscles of the men's warlike frontal assault.
It's been almost two years since I reviewed the comeback album Redeeming Filth. The band has kept the
line-up stable since than.
The press sheet makes a point of the perfect mix between Stockholm and Florida, something I was actually thinking about during
my first two rounds of Doomsday Rituals. The Swedes do of course incorporating a minimum of melody into their
riffs, but basically, they'll leave it at that. The men emphasize an angry war hissing temper that thunders like an old
locomotive with coal firing when it hits you right in the kisser at full force. Not to say that the band don't offer any
hooks. The riffing is killer, and the sound of the war axe's never-ending destruction is enough to enforce a diabolical grin.
The band's own guitarist, Sverker “Widda” Widgren (Demonical & Diabolical)
has brought out the best of the band in his Wing Studio (which he started after he withdrew from the
partnership in Necromorbus Studio). The dynamics are otherwise steady on acceptable DR7.
If you're into good old death metal with crushing riffs, but exempt from modern affectations,
Doomsday Rituals will come to create a brutal gusto. Although
you obviously have heard the equivalent before. On the verge of a plus in the margin for the combative veterans.
Napalm Records, 24.06.16
German Dawn Of Disease have had a turbulent past, where a few line-up problems even led to a few years on
ice. The band has still endured and been active for more than ten years, and has recently launched their third album.
The Germans play melodic death metal, not too close to the most diluted melo-death, where heavy riffs duel
with melodic licks. It becomes naturally to compare with variable acts of the Swedish scene.
Worship The Grave breaks no new ground. The style is familiar and safe, despite the stench of death
and decay, but the guys writes good songs and deliver with conviction. When we learn that renowned V. Santura
has taken care of the sound, we know also that the riffs sounds fuller than Grandma's potato dumplings.
The songs are good, but not remarkable. The men deliver a fast-paced drive with juicy punch, and they do nothing wrong,
except from sticking to the recipe. Dawn Of Disease plays by the book, for better or worse. They do
their stuff with panache, and I certainly enjoy their deadly tirade, but the recognition factor prevents a top score.
If well performed megalomanian melodeath rifforama tempts thee, Worship The Grave will surely pave its
way through your earwax. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, however, you might wanna keep searching.
Season of Mist, 26.08.16 Inquisition has succeeded in getting their entire discography presented on Gorger's Metal.
Not because I've been following the band since their inception on this infamous website, but because I had the chance,
and took the opportunity to get to know the band a bit better than what I already did when Season of Mist
re-released their five first albums last year.
The full and complete title of the Americans' latest work spells Bloodshed Across The Empyrean
Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith, which actually breaks the band's previous record.
In my opinion, the duo has improved over the years, with the exception of the fourth album Nefarious Dismal
Orations. I had some hope for the band's seventh album, but I'm not going to hide that Inquisition
never was my absolute favoured black metal group. I enjoyed the last two albums well, but I didn't join the fan club.
The duo (who technically speaking never were Colombian because Dagon moved back to the US before
Incubus was recruited to the blasphemous expeditions and the debut was released) more than meets my hopes on yet
another capable work. Bloodshed... even surpasses my expectations, and climbs up to and beyond the band's
best works to date.
The album is among the band's longest, with a duration of almost an hour. If we disregard the rather irrelevant (and partly
irritating) intro and double outro, we are left with almost exactly 50 minutes, divided into the usual ten songs. The word
“catchy” is as usual quite inappropriate at describing black metal, but the songs are equipped with more hooks n barbs than
ever. As a barbed wire, the tunes coil up round the throat and tightens its stranglehold bit by bit for every spin.
Describing the band's style feels futile and pointless. Inquisition hasn't gone through any revolution what
expression is concerned. Inquisition still remains Inquisition through and through, but
they've taken somewhat drastic action regarding their song-writing. I would almost say with death-defying zeal.
Sharp guitars with fairly strange melody lines riffs tight whilst aggressive drums vary heftily at a rapid pace, and the vocal
rasping indoctrinate its satanic message via amphibious croaking manners. Astrophobos should have considered borrowing
Dagon's vocal cords for some tyrant diction on their latest EP. It should however be said that the man has lowered
his vocals to a deeper part of the frequency spectrum, while the traditional creaky part of the voice ain't equally distinctive.
Where the band previously has delivered a varying number of songs with or without very memorable riffs, this album on the
other hand offers noteworthily haunting sequences in each and every song. Be it in killer riffs, rhythms or other guitar licks.
Their compositional priorities has simply seen a significant upward adjustment. In addition, euphony with soaring guitars and
beefy punch in the backing are applied. The dynamics is on mediocre DR6, but I honestly don't notice a lack of vigorous dynamics.
As Inquisition eke out hooks with penance, Bloodshed... easily becomes the band's most
accessible album, but that doesn't mean that puritans will turn their back on them in disgust. Inquisition
still doesn't reel off mainstream metal.
If you haven't previously taken the trouble of checking out Americas' answer to Immortal, the time is now ripe.
If you like this, there's no guarantee you'll enjoy everything the band has done before.
(Again, read my hitchhiker's guide to Inquisition.)
However, if you have a taste for at least parts of the men's earlier exploits, I believe beyond doubt you'll approve of
Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith.
Boersma Records, 26.08.16
German Martyrion can celebrate ten years anniversary this year. The quintet released the self-financed
debut album Refugium: Exile in 2011, and followed up with the EPs The Early Days and
A New Beginning the following two years.
The band's music ain't the easiest to describe, as the guys obviously hasn't embraced one single genre, before adapting
and clinging on to this.
Melodic death metal, light progressive such, is the most natural cubical to put them in.
Please don't ask for any references. From the outside the band can seem anonymous and my first encounter with these 70
minutes would prove to be like an impenetrable grey mass. With patience as an instrument, things however gradually took
shape. The songs generated colour and personality.
Without comparing directly with Vehemence, parts of Our Dystopia has some of the same subtle
technical rhythms and melodies as God Was Created. The album ain't directly monotonous, but the melodic aspect
isn't dominantly prominent or easily catchy. A vague air of resignation and despair rests like a curse over the Germans
When the album finds its place under the skin, it appears as rather well written and fairly interesting, with fittingly
intricate content and variety. The atmosphere is softly mournful, but not without a glimmer of light at the end of the
tunnel. The performance is also technically competent.
70 minutes can be a lot to digest, especially when the music basically is of a type that requires time to grow, but the
music emerges as quite good, though not directly exceptional. My biggest objection is the vocals. Rather than utilizing
a wider melodic range to fit the music, the vox is growled in something that feels like the same key throughout. The metal
is otherwise pleasant, evocative and interesting.
If moderately proggy post-melodic death metal tempts thee, check the video for What We Leave Behind.
Blood Harvest, 26.08.16
Gorger's whatnot has visited Australian Vahrzaw before, but it's been a while since I did so.
The Australians' history stretches back to 1992. They adopted their current moniker a few years later
and endured until 1998. After a seven year long hiatus, the trio was back in the saddle in 2005.
The band mad an early switch from lethal death metal to pitch black death threats, but has retained
elements of capital punishment that shines through in a threatening matter.
Twin Suns & Wolves' Tongues was released independently a couple of years ago, before Blood Harvest
now re-releases it after having picked it up of the moldy gutter. I wrote a few words about it at the time, and
the album still feels fresh and raw.
The sound is ripping, and the band master the genre with panache, sporting excellent and varied tunes, peppered with
hostile rage, bestial dark moods and delightful unpredictable transitions, seasoned with delicate ghastly and morbid
solos, proggy technicality and furious, rasping vocals. The lads offers authentic uncompromising black metal
without boring the listener with generic and uneventful structures. Roughly half a dozen bands per ten could have learned
a thing or two from their clever compositions, which makes no compromise and sacrifice nothing at the expense of
hostility, aggression, anger and disgust.
I won't say more here and now, but rather present my erstwhile words from April 2014:
This is album number two from Australian Vahrzaw, who released their debut in 2009. The band plays
black/death of the evocative kind, and has an expression more typical of Scandinavia than Australia. Death metal of the
dirty type and solos in the vein of Morbid Angel, provides a solid underground feel, while onyx black moods
and vocals paints the devil on the wall. Whether or not Vahrzaw's honourable attempt to conjure him out
of drywalls and (analogue) wallpaper succeed, unfortunately remains unknown, but the band has at least created a good
half n hour of unholy extremities. Not all the songs have as much drift, diversity and moods, and so, everything doesn't
fascinate an old dog just as much, but there's still a lot of killer shit going on here, thus, this is obviously approved.
Let me add that the rating is highly deserved!
Visit Vahrzaw to listen, and
Blood Harvest to make your purchase.
Forever Plagued, 26.08.16 Nox is yet another newcomer wishing for a piece of the action. The trio from Colombia is admittedly not
fresher than that they've managed to release their first album, in addition to participation on a split, but with four
years of experience in the underground, they're probably still an unknown orchestra for more folks than just yours truly.
The band plays blasphemous black metal without showing signs of wanting to leave the underground.
PS: Based on individual preferences, the rating can be highly misleading!
The South American's black-scorched uproar is of the generic type that I can quickly lose interest in, although I
basically have a taste for the genre. The expression, with standard riffs, ordinary rhythms and vocals that sizzles
as an aggressive badger, is largely without the necessary distinctiveness. Some atmosphere and riffs out of the
over-ordinary mediocrity does exist, but not enough to make them interesting enough to excel.
The sound from the self-proclaimed unpolished South American extreme metal band, is as expected under-produced. The most
surprising about it all is that they resort to synth as complementary tool for atmosphere. If one aims to be orthodox
Satanist-musicians, one must be so through and through, and everyone knows that synthesizer ain't trve, and
definitely not necro.
The music isn't directly bad. It's in fact not far from being charming, but it balances on the knife's edge, and falls
down on the wrong side. The instrumentation measures up, the sound is adequate, and the songs are basically quite alright,
albeit recycled to infinity. It's quite possible that Nox can impress me upon a future occasion, but
Ancestral Arte Negro unfortunately gives me nothing. Or at least preciously little.
I feel that the grade above reflect my indifference better than a thumb down, but you can safely say that this is a fairly
The difference between gold and granite can still be minimal, and the band definitely has potential. They have the right
evil moods and fiery sparkle in place, and this could quickly have been significantly better with a few small corrections.
The first two songs are awfully simple, and set me in a permanently negative state that won't let go, even though the last
two songs have a whiff of hypnotic evil that I after all could enjoy. Parts of The EP is plagued with some drawn-out
repetition and staccato rhythms, and it's not mainstream or untrue to have some punch and rawness in the sound. It doesn't
have to sound as a moist basement.
I was initially disappointed because this sounded downright generic, but as the music did grow a little, I am equally
disappointed because I'd like to appreciative it more than I'm able to.
I'm hereby ordering you to try for yourself: Ancestral Arte Negro.
Svart Records, 26.08.16
From one disappointment to the next, is my first thoughts when I sit down to digest and disseminate
Kuolemanlaakso's last demented deeds.
The band's second album, Tulijoutsen, impressed me so damned much I wrote a Review, awarding
them 6 points, a month after having presented a positive Impression. Hell, I even decided to learn the band's
name by heart. And succeeded at that.
This time however, a cardinal sin of dimensions is committed. Apparently.
It certainly can seem like a large mistake to release a highly different solo album under the same moniker. But than again,
that's not the whole truth. Kuolemanlaakso was formed as just that, a solo project, but accomplice Finns
and international success was not long in coming. Thus M. Laakso actually fulfils his original intentions
with M. Laakso – Vol. 1: The Gothic Tapes.
The occasion was that vocalist Kotamäki was busy touring with Swallow the Sun.
It takes a lot of time to tour to promote a complete triple album, you know.
The album stands as a watered-down offspring of newer mediocre Norwegian Gothic metal in promiscuous association with
frivolous Britpop, which at best barely touches on Type O Negative, newer Moonspell and Amorphis.
With female vocals here and there, conducted by Helena Haaparanta (Crimfall), this becomes softer than
what is good for it, even if it might be bearable. Laakso otherwise sings on this album himself, with a little help from some Jaani Peuhu, while
V. Santura (Dark Fortress, Triptykon) contributes backing vocals and guitar. The latter was
also responsible for recording, mixing and mastering in Woodshed Studio. Needless to point out, at least there's
no cassette sound to trace, but rather bright and clean strings and deep, organic bass.
How long these poppy, Gothic cassette recordings have remained in the drawer, is of little interest to me. They
could have been left there till the end of time for all I care. If everything from Nightwish to Type
O Negative, from Life of Agony to Sisters of Mercy, and from Tiamat to Serenia
appeals to you, it may very well be that this hits bulls eye with you.
Even if Kuolemanlaaksodid evolve from a solo project, it has in bloody fact become a band
with an expression of its own and a name for themselves. Why drag it down into the dirt rather than creating a new
branch to release his solo album?
With its more gloomy and dark grey moods, No Absolution is the only song that leaves a relatively
positive impression. An occasional sequence may also sound fine, such as the end of Roll the Dice with the
Devil. Although much of the album probably could bear the description “pretty, peaceful and serene”, this
is just massively disappointing for yours truly.
SOM - Underground Activists, 26.08.16
The two gentlemen Vespasian and Horaz are releasing their fifth album.
The first album went beneath my radar, while the sophomore showed potential, which in turn was consummated with their third
attempt, Procella Vadens (2010). The fourth album, Meadows of Nostalgia (2013), was still
the one that brought the band to the peak of their performance, with sorrowful doom-laden black metal.
The Germans still ain't ready to rest on any such laurels in a state of standstill.
With Dis Manibvs they again showcase development, only partly surprisingly. The duo has taken a natural step...
in the wrong direction. This is of course highly subjective, but to go from highly evocative, creeping and minor keyed black
metal to light-soaring, blissful and atmospheric post-black is far from what I had hoped for, even though I respect that the
band doesn't want to repeat themselves with some kind of “Meadows of Nostalgia part II”.
The Germans still succeed in creating moods, albeit alternating more between melancholy and spirited hope. Without the same
sharp and rasping hallmark, the music still loses much of its friction. Dis Manibvs glides almost as easily
out the other ear, as in the first, although it will of course find its footing sooner or later. The album offers its moments,
but an album is an elaborately artistic universe where that listens don't wish to waste time waiting around for good shit to
emerge. The Germans continue to dwell around an hour in duration. This time a bit over. That's a bit in excess when the content
after all ain't more exciting that this.
I'm not going to claim that post-black is more generic than black metal (although it may be tempting), but when feelings
such as impatience and restlessness comes a crawling, it nevertheless feels that way.
Finishing Seikilos must be mentioned, as it stands out considerably by ways of almost medieval folk-feel
and a partly wonderful melody. They could indeed have built on the best parts, making the most of it, but the song is still
a breath of fresh air. If Imperium Dekadenz once decide to explore the vast regions of those direction of
atmospheric black landscapes, I'll be packing my bindle and tying my shoes, getting ready for an adventure.
There are of course plenty of melancholic bright spots, even if they are packed into monotony and wadding. The band's got
good melodic flair, and adds becomingly spices. The sacral moods towards the end of Still I Rise, which
fades out with fairy female backing choir and the equally solemn organ notes in interlude Pantheon Spells,
or the acoustic strumming in the interlude Somnia, for example. But I had rather seen such things woven
into actual songs than appearing as small independent snippets. Some blacker tones are on occasions also offered, including
in Vae Victis og Volcano, but the sound is too soft and rounded, and the result becomes
more dim grey than pitch black.
The album contains a lot of beautiful and melancholic music, and is a nice product under the condition that blissful, placid
and heaving dark atmosphere is what one is looking for. Considering the band's past, I had other expectations. Ergo the album
remains what I consider as fairly ordinary and frictionless, although this duo master the genre better than many. The album,
as such, is honestly a bit disappointing. You have every right to disagree, and if you thrive veiled in soft, blackish coloured
cotton metal, you should asap hunt down Imperium Dekadenz' fifth chronicle Dis Manibvs.
For the rest of us: Let's hope that Dis Manibvs doesn't live up to its Latin name, “In Memoriam/Remembrance”,
a tomb inscription forming a last salute to a departed soul, but that they'll rather prosper and develop onward. This is far
from awful, but as said, still somewhat disappointing. When I've gradually gotten used to their new expression, the grading
has grown from “Middling Minus” to “Medium Plus”. The music is probably worth “Approved Minus” at least, but I'm prejudiced,
and I admit it. I'm actually on the verge of raising the grade, but I'm not willing to rewrite the text, so to hell with it.
I had a taste for the Stockholm trio's melodic brutality and the musical inspirations from Dissection I picked up.
In retrospect, I realized they also had a lot of Mörk Gryning to them.
Enthroned in Flesh is an EP with four songs and 20 minutes. The band still has a melodic touch, while
the expression nevertheless scratches deep furrows in the listener's flesh and mind to the best of ability. And there
is no shortage of ability here. The vocals are still rasping and snarling, as it foams and spit out lyrical hymns to
idolatry and destruction. Their amphibious astral idol is ready to depose and reject all earthly custom, subjugate
humanity, and introduce their own horrifying and grotesque cultural abominations.
In the title track, lyrics about the cult's tribute to this blasphemous monstrosity are spat out to machine-gun rhythms,
as if Marduk's gallop and Dissections melodies were fused, while Tabula Rasa calls for
annihilation and pulverization of everything and everyone that stands in the way of the coming of the alien beast. Blood Libation blends raw pace with atmospheric stench as one offers oneself in full carnal submission
to the hideous creature. Finally, over eight minutes long The Cadaver Monarch rounds off. This is
characterized by gloomy raven black moods where a feeling of patient seeking prevails. Lured and drawn by a yearning
sense, one searches for the mighty Leviathan, Cthulhu, or whatever the name of that gargantuan stellar critter may be.
Enthroned in Flesh still see the band make use of a hired musician to take care of the rhythms.
Fredrik Widigs from the very Marduk controls the sticks with steady and precise speed, while vital guitars
and fiery, snarling vocals sets the sky ablaze. Meanwhile, the sound is improved since Remnants of Forgotten
Style and song material can admittedly not be said to be very original, but this is an infernal EP with a vividly
fresh galloping frenzy. Approved without a doubt, and also equipped with a small plus in the margin (under some doubt).
Argonauta Records, 20.08.16
The border between prog-rock and prog-metal can sometimes be diffuse, but exactly where the line is drawn, is a problem I
don't intend to give any attention. It's not necessary. Finnish Throes of Dawn are located at the rock side
of a fence covered with psychedelic graffiti. Their atmospheric approach with calm post-expression and soothing melodies are
best described with a single reference band; Pink Floyd.
At first listen, I was too restless, and quickly got problems with my patience. I decided to try again when I was a little
less energetic, more relaxed and receptive. That did the trick, and after this, it has been played quite a few times.
The band supposedly started with dark metal more than 20 years ago, but has evolved quite radically in this respect.
Our Voices Shall Remain is their sixth album, consisting of comfortable hovering moods where transitions drifts
off seamlessly like changing nuances in snails tempo. The vocal is set in an adequate mid-range, and is clean and mild as
watercolours, while the music is soft and feathery, without sudden movements or sharp edges. I thrive best when guitars get
free rein and real off flaming licks, leaving little doubt they immerse themselves totally in the music. Something which
typically occurs near the end of most songs.
The guitars comes like lightning-bolts of pastel coloured cotton candy floss and shoot out rainbows in all directions, while
we balance with arms outstretched, as if in hypnosis to sweet music on these sky-bridges of caramelised colourants.
66 minutes may seem a lot, but when the album gets to grown some more, the beautiful melodies and gorgeous
guitars comes to their right. If you're into Pink Floyd and similar prog-rock, you can safely check out
Our Voices Shall Remain.
Prosthetic Records, 19.08.16 Skeletonwitch has delivered melodic metal with steady instrumental leanings for a dozen years, without
me becoming entirely seduced by their exploits. The music has emerged as a little to merry compared to the death/thrash
genre the band has reeled of and the black/death vocals they have exerted. I wouldn't call it inapposite, directly, but
guess I have perceived their mixture of the grim, the modern and the almost polished as somewhat out of place. This has
left me with, not exactly a strained, but rather an ambivalent relation to the Americans.
The music does however fill the bill well in small doses, and thus it fits yours truly superbly that this is an EP with four
tracks and a running time at just over 21 minutes.
The music is lively and full of drive and variation, as it gallops effortlessly off in rugged terrain. Admittedly, the music
explore different topographies. The Apothic Gloom opens acoustic and slightly melancholic, but gradually
increase the pace. With Well of Despair we reach maximum speed. The drums are hasty and the guitars lively
in this one, located somewhere between thrashing aggression and melodic death metal's jovial violence with a sadistic
tankard-swinging touch to it.
With Black Waters, a gloomy feel is brought anew, although riffs and rhythms definitely isn't low-spirited
alone, and when this short track ebbs out, 7:25 long Red Death, White Light returns to a melodic speedy
assault that certainly can create a headbanger-friendly atmosphere. A lynching mode, possibly, for this also offers bottled
up anger. But don't misunderstand, there is a lot of joyous energetic violence, and many a jovially smile to trace behind
Former vocalist Chance Garnette is replaced by Adam Clemans (Wolvhammer), who
debuted for Skeletonwitch with the single Well of Despair, released back in March. The
vocals are still black and hysterically angry, in the same barking and rasping neighbourhood. Since the music has a more
rollicking touch, I still feel that something is somewhat off, but I can very well manage to ignore this through 20 minutes.
The sound is thick and rich, the melodies are abundant and the whole thing is of course well played. The Apothic
Gloom is just an EP, but nevertheless, or perhaps precisely therefore, stand as a pleasant surprise.
The Americans have five albums behind them, and have built up a solid fan base with their technically competent appearance
and flamboyant offspring of extreme metal. If you're among them, you'll surely devour The Apothic Gloom lock, stock, and barrel.
Even this demanding ass-hole have a liking for this EP.
Bindrune Recordings&Nordvis Produktion, 19.08.16
Two years ago, Swedish Stilla presented their second album, Ensamhetens Andar, an
album I, just like the debut Till Stilla Falla (2013), didn't quite get the hang of. The phrase “Odd
strokes and discordant melody snippets keeps popping up when I least want it to”, from my review, should describes
With A. Petterson from excellent Swedish Armagedda and Leviathan (which I've
written about for No Clean Singing here), and three other members from a
number of other constellations, it's still a leash of talented musicians we're dealing with.
The band has been better received by others but have still had a lot of potential in my eyes. With
Skuggflock, I feel that the band has evolved quite a deal. Unless it's me who has developed, for
the style has not undergone any radical changes.
Stilla's metal could be called progressive black'n'roll with atmospheric moods and ambient touches.
The band's two first releases were a clue to quirky for my taste buds, but they've dampened these quirks a clue, or
maybe it's my expectation that has prepared and adapted my centre for susceptibility. Whatever the reason, I find
Skuggflock to be a really neat feat.
the Swedes still pride themselves in sounding a little bit different, and their distinct hybrid of bitter melancholic
black tonality and vintage prog rock can of course leave a gap between two stools. However, there are plenty of potential
listeners that wishes musical thinking outside the generic box welcome.
Parts of the music can appear weird enough to raise an eyebrow or two, but not without catchy hooks catching the
listener like a whopper on the hook, and dragging him (or her) further into their mildly crazed carousel.
On Skuggflock, I pick up vibes of Darkthrone's more laid-back black-tinted tones from the time
after the millennium shift, along with oddity à la Tulus, drops of proggy touch in line with Emperor's
last work, as well as some Arcturus in closing Ett inre helvete - ett yttre helvete. All paired
with an atmospheric feel in the same alley as Skogen.
Said goody-song has a somewhat heavier, more melancholic touch than the rest of the material, and the narrative
sequence just after the four minutes mark needs to be mentioned. Rarely has Swedish sounded so Norwegian.
I know nothing about the recording, but the mastering has been handled by Tore Stjerna in Necromorbus
Studio and the dynamic range of DR8 must be said to be respectable.
Whether Stilla has gained more sanity, or my mind has gradually degenerated, will remain a mystery,
but I have a liking for their third opus. Lend your ear to a Skuggflock, and give it some time to sink in.
Non Serviam Records, 19.08.16 The Opposed is an EP with just one song from a new Swedish symphonic extreme metal
band named Zornheym. The song is a teaser from the forthcoming debut album
Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns, and as such, I choose to be brief.
Not only because the release has a short duration. If I reveal too much now, there'll also be less
meat to put on the bones when I'll finally get the honour of describing the whole album.
Zorn (ex-Dark Funeral, ex-Devian) is the musical mastermind behind this project,
whose first teaser rush past as an elongated ghost-train in less than five minutes. The song is part of a larger
concept, something we'll return to when time is ripe. The music can be described as melodic and symphonic extreme
metal, with powerful moods and aggressive attitude. With real string orchestra and epic chorus that's fully integrated
with fiery rhythms and riffs, a short but succinct solo and wonderful sound, grandiose ominous melodic moods are created.
The instrumentation, similar to the sound, is excellent, and the music sticks to the eardrums as clammy bedclothes after
a night of ongoing terrifying nightmares.
I shall say no more at this stage, but promises to return to Zornheym on the release of
Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns. Something I'm really looking forward to.
Watch the trailer for the music video for The Opposed, and hear the track in its entirety
over at No Clean Singing,
where you will also find a more detailed description.
Iron Bonehead, 19.08.16
To save fictional travel expenses, we'll stay in Australia for a while. Greet Spire welcome with horns
up. Not that Spire is necessarily a new acquaintance, after all they've been in existence since 2007,
and released a couple of EPs, including Metamorph but Entropy is
their first full album.
I liked the EP, and described it as dirty, filthy, nasty and hellish. As the sound of the marching hordes of hell, with
anguished cries of lost souls in background. But also with certain otherworldly aspects that still didn't take the reins
I also addressed some minor concerns that an entire album could possibly become an overdose for an impatient soul.
Spire has however taken their grips and made their adjustments, and put my concerns to shame.
With Entropy, the ethereal vibes are enhanced and the sound rounded off to amplify the music's inherent
hypnotic powers. In addition, they've added hallucinogenic, ambient segments that really puts the listener in an induced
After two songs of relatively quiet and dreamy nature, or rather uneasy dreams with running sweat, where the music offers
a fairly harmonious blend of melody and dissonant instrumentation while hovering over dystopic landscapes, comes the
soporific song (Remake). An ambient and extremely ethereal song that easily lulls a tired writer to sleep.
The abrupt transition when the track Void makes its entrance, ends this power-nap, and immediately sends
the heart rate sky-rocketing. This devil worshipping hymn of sorrow brews jet black eerie that pours liquid nitrogen in the
When the nearly 14 minute long title track have rounded off, the Australian quartet(?) has demanded our undivided attention
for a total of three quarters of an hour, but the mass suggestion is effective and when the album is played in loop, hours
can go by before I notice that the sonic lobotomy slowly sets in. Lovely.
High Roller Records, 19.08.16
Having heard through Awakened From The Abyss a few times, I was left with one big question.
Have Hellbringer explicitly aimed to follow in the footsteps of Slayer, or has their expression
just shaped itself after the early style of the thrash-legend in natural manners?
After their debut Dominions of Darkness from 2012, the Australians were described as “Iron Angel
on speed”. With their second disc, it's more tempting to call them “Hell Awaits era Slayer reborn”.
Surprisingly neither band nor label makes a point out of this similarity, although both parties emphasize the similarity
with thrash from the golden era, 83-86.
Besides from general stylistic similarities in aggressive high-speed drive, howling high voltage guitars and animalistic
barking aggression in the throat spectrum of the music, this is no copycat. Thus it may, as a positive surprise, be that
the band's genes has moved in that directions on autopilot. On the other hand, the track Realm Of The Heretic
do have a lot of Altar of Sacrifice to it. Especially in the vocal's rhythmic patterns through every
sequences in a somewhat suspicious manner. Moreover, it has happened that bands have resembled each other without being
aware of it, but everyone knows Slayer, so how random can it really be?
Awakened From The Abyss is, as the title almost insinuates, a revival after the “sleeping pills” the
mother band has provided us with after Seasons in the Abyss.
Drive and instrumentation is on good old Slayer level, although the material in these seven songs and 33 minutes ain't
on the same level. The music does however thrash most of what the Americans have done for the last 25 years. Killer!
It should be said that as more and more details are revealed, I hear several similarities that may explain why it might
not be the best idea to promote the band as Slayer's successor, all the time they might have been digging into
the vault and borrowed a bit more than they can explain away. With that said, they have written a lot themselves,
and performs it all in blistering manners, with severe instrumentation and authentic sound with as much as DR10 in dynamic
range. That's good enough for me!
Dark Descent Records, 19.08.16 Blood Incantation from Colorado plays death metal with a rich display of accessories. The band's
ill-fated assault on the eardrums is of a kind that simply can't be explain by the genre designation alone.
That “little” extra, not only separate the band from the masses, it also tastes wonderfully transcendental when
the Americans embark on a slightly different astral travel.
In addition to feverish sonic attacks, the band calms down in evocative sequences touching on death/doom. Nothing
revolutionary about that of course, but the method the band uses ain't the most commonplace. Via several bands, we've
visited various constellations in ethereal ways in recent years, but these Americans almost gives the word otherworldly
a new meaning. Without sounding typically atmospheric, dreamy hallucinations are still conjured when the band with
Starspawn takes the listener to other abstract dimensions.
The band's technical capabilities doesn't sound calculated, and doesn't dominate enough to put the band in the tech.death
cubical. Their ambient elements never becomes artificially synthetic, but gives a mild psychedelic, psychosomatic or
psychoactive effect. It all sounds elaborate and different, without being either pretentious or hard to digest. The basis
is dirty and old school, yet performed in a manner not reminiscent of dozens of others in the same alley.
It's logically enough being pointed out that the recording is done analogously. It sounds hot as Lucifer's breath, and
the instruments have been awarded an organic glow. The instrumental parts has a charming authentic feel and nerve, and
the music can be turned to the max without speakers or ears screaming in pain. The dynamic range of DR8 surely deserve
a bit of credit for that.
The press release uses the imaginative phrase “cerebral whirlwind” and what he band with the otherwise conventional name
Blood Incantation provide, is indeed an intellectual kaleidoscopic dust devil. Spend an ounce of your
allotted time on Starspawn. I doubt you will regret it!
Relapse Records, 19.08.16
Live albums have mostly lost much of its magic, after bringing an extra dimension to your favourite artists from about
the mid-70s and ten years forward. The excitement probably disappeared with cheaper mobile recording equipment, giving
some artists the possibility to spew out every tour in physical format, in addition to the growing range of bootlegs
on the market.
Even if live recordings ain't directly reserved existing fans, they're still the typically target audience these days.
When the fair Danish nymph Amalie Bruun takes her Myrkur into the stone hall that constitutes
Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, and adapt to the surroundings, a new dimension is indeed brought to the music. Something
which will of course appeal to many fans without necessarily appealing to everyone, and that might just as easily also serve
as a gateway for new audiences.
A year has come and gone since the debut split a black hearted audience in two, and I pointed out that Myrkur is
about as black metal as the emperor from the tale is clothed. Mausoleum emphasize
my point. Here, the music, mostly taken from the debut album, is stripped to the acoustic, with serene elf song, grand piano,
acoustic guitar and a girls' choir.
In addition to six album songs, we find the song Den Lille Piges Død, which was released as a single
in November, a new song called Frosne Vind, and a cover of Bathory's Song to Hall up
High. It all sounds spellbindingly breathtaking, with massive reverberating sound when the granite walls of
the tombs casts echoes. The acoustics in the mausoleum holds the tones for half an eternity. The beautiful, dark
atmosphere is successfully caught on tape, although the atmosphere of this particular scenario lit by torch or candle
light, with grotesque and erotic frescoes along the walls, must have been a unique and spectacular experience that isn't
possible to preserve in its entirety.
Mausoleum ticks in on less than half an hour, and is strongly recommended to bigger fans of
Myrkur and tranquil, epic and atmospheric female-fronted folk-tinged music in general.
“Successful” is an objective keyword that prevents me from attaching a minus to the score, though I, as a hardcore
metalhead, most likely won't visit Myrkur's Mausoleum very often myself.
Northern Silence Productions, 06.05.16
Norwegian Mathias Hemmingby is the lonely inhabitant of the land of Eldamar,
a fictional realm established just a year ago.
With The Force of the Ancient Land, Eldamar emerges as the purest arch-example of
atmospheric metal with ambient effects.
The music, which is presented as a conceptual story without lyrics, like a silent film in all summer's and autumn's
golden-warm colours, extends towards 1 ¼ hour in its entirety.
The intention is to let the listener “drift away in their own dreams” into idyllic surroundings in the elven kingdom. This
listener, however, doesn't possess the right amount of patience for repetitive synthesizer-based semi-monotonic pling-plong
or ding-dong music that seem to last forever, and the fair elf-choir don't relieve my frayed nerves like soothing ointment
as intended. Surely, though, the music, like the cover art, is pleasant, serene and even fairly seductive. At least at times.
Winter Night has beautiful melodies and violin strings that could have been taken from Falkenbach,
and Travel in Woods offers harp, which gives the right mood of a medieval castle high up on the mountainside,
overlooking the majestic river that meanders over fertile plains. Welcome to Narnia. In From Life to Spirit,
the storm sets in and we get rougher tones.
The variation from song to song is good, besides from reappearing segments, while the diversity within each song don't necessarily
appear as quite as strong. Overall, Eldamar's debut becomes a slightly drawn-out trial that is
sure to suit fans of Burzum's ambient works better than me. Anyone who swear by soaring atmosphere without ground
contact should urgently check out The Force of the Ancient Land. Other, who swear by more traditional metal, should take precautions
and approach with adequate caution.
Iron Bonehead, 05.08.16
With The Hecatomb, Australian Temple Nightside takes the sepulchral version of death metal
out of the tomb, in the sense that restless spirits have formed their own funeral procession, seeping in unified mass as a
deadly fog of biochemical nerve gas with collective consciousness, and approaching populated areas.
As lava about to solidify, the music moves with footwear of lead and concrete. It is thus more appropriate to compare with
funeral death/doom. Still, something ain't quite right.
Temple Nightside offers diabolical, but atmospheric moods, with sluggish, yet rabid deadly disgust, like
reverberations from the abyss. Literally. The sound differs quite markedly from the heap, with deep low-frequency rumbling
that resonates across the board. If you are testing your speakers' lower frequency register with extreme metal,
The Hecatomb is an option to consider, as the sub-woofer rumbles constantly like a volcano before eruption.
Temple Nightside sticks out a great deal, with resounding echoes as taken from a soundtrack to lost wanderers
in thin cloudy air on the plateau, in foggy valleys, in misty swamp and marsh landscapes as well as claustrophobic mines and
ravines, not to mention the stories by Lovecraft, but this approach is still not one hundred percent unique. Similar paths have
been trodden before, and it's lacking a bit in the song material.
Between six metallic tracks from four to nine minutes, we find three short ambient snippets. All provide thick atmosphere,
and one can easily become spellbound if being in a receptive mood. Unfortunately, they presents relatively little musical
content, I'm afraid, and as such; it won't work as well in any given setting.
I advise you to check out The Hecatomb for yourself. The album will probably
appeal far more to bigger fans of Sunn O))) et al., for this is droning black/death/doom. I suddenly felt an urge
to pick up a Faustcoven album now.
Iron, Blood & Death Corporation, 01.08.16
The Swedes in Bulletsize has reeled of angered hasty metal for more than ten years, and recently released
their fourth album. Or sixth, if we take the two heavy metal records released under the band's original name Metal
Wings into account.
I'm not familiar with the band's development, but the band has allegedly evolved from roots soaked in thrash. By today, the
arrival of death metal-influences in the band's music and sound has taken over the dominance, although the past also shines through.
The half an hour Bulletsize has set off to drive a tank through your conciousness, has in addition to the
aforementioned mixing ratio also got a dash of contemporary groove, without it feeling contrived. What has a stronger sonic
effect, is just how melodic the music is. Without compromising on lethal punch, melodies of relatively catchy art are
incorporated. Making the tunes easy to enjoy pretty quick.
Pansar offers thunderous drums, contagious killer riffs, bestial vocals, melodic guitar lines and solos, not
entirely unlike for example Amon Amarth in style. That the guys becomes a bit anaemic in both materials and
sound compared to big brother is of course forgiveable. The vocals could admittedly have been deeper, for my taste, and the
good melodies could have been a bit more consistently throughout. Unfortunately, there are also passages that goes along in
conventional manners without leaving much deeper feelings than mediocrity.
With a little teutonic thrash in the expression, Legion Of The Damned is a much better reference, though, and the band
can also be compared with the Norwegians in Deathfare.
Nitpicking aside. The Swedes have released a highly listenable album with several memorable sequences. Although I personally
would have liked to see those moments pose an even bigger aspect of Pansar, I don't intend to let such go
unheeded and unrewarded. If you think the amalgamation sounds interesting, check Pansar asap. The album
after all don't miss much on standing as a small stroke of genius. It should be said that I originally had glued a minor
minus to the rating, but I eventually found it to be rather strict.
Symbol Of Domination&Black Plague Records, 28.05.16
This is a split uniting four American black metal bands, all of which contributes three songs each.
64 minutes of sinister black malevolence, mostly of high quality, provides great value for money.
My only previous acquaintance, is a meeting with Wormreich's EP Wormcult Revelations
from 2014, which followed the band so far only full-length album, Edictvm DCLXVI from 2011. This split
became the last recording that guitarist and keyboardist Nazgul Vathron took part in, before tragically
dying in a car accident, only 30 years old, on tour last year.
After a quick warm-up with said EP, I must say that Wormreich disappoints a clue. The sound is far from
as killer as on Wormcult Revelations. The sound also varies too much from song to song. The music itself
ain't bad, though. Their black metal has elements of atmosphere and dissonance, and ingredients of dystopia and rituals.
Besides, it's possibly a bit unreasonable to expect that the band will manage to maintain the same high standards on every
release, and the EP was also exceptionally good. The band takes up about 19 minutes, and presents quite good black metal,
which still would have come more into its own with a stronger production. Maybe its difficult to find a good sound-studio
for blasphemous extreme metal in Alabama, in the heart of the despised Bible Belt.
Diabolus Amator was a one-man band, started in Virginia in 2012. Abyss has released two
albums, moved to Texas, and employed two assistants. The band delivers nearly ten minutes of ice cold and knife-piercing
black disgust. The production is cold, bleak and sharp in a way that suits the musical well. With moods and variety, the
song material also works very well. Raw, heretical and tough as nails.
Gravespawn are located in Los Angeles and have ten years and one album behind them. The band is preparing
a new album during the year, as well as a re-recording of an old demo with bonus material. The band's 15-minute contribution
will unfortunately remain as the least interesting of this split in my ears. The band's fairly melodic approach to black
tonality is far from polished. It is on the contrary rather woolly. Especially in the live recording, but also in the two
studio songs. The music would have been quite alright, albeit still rather run of the mill, if the sound had been better.
Vesterian concludes with the longest sequence, at just over 20 minutes. The band also has the longest
past, with over 20 years of experience, first under the moniker Centurion. Despite this, as well as a
lengthy list of replaced members, the band has just one album to show for, and it wasn't released until 2013. They
admittedly have almost a dozen miscellaneous releases, where demos constitute the majority. On this split they serve
fuming and fiery black metal with frenzied instrumentation and jagged, mocking vocals. The vocals surpasses the other
contributors, something even the rich and glowing sound does, unless you prefer the more necrotic and cutting variety.
By logically enough finishing with dessert, the listener is left with the best possible last impression
of a split consisting of a lot of diabolic black metal that allows the listener to become acquainted with
several bands at once. Although everything ain't on the same level, I'm generally very satisfied with
Infirmos Vocat Deus Fidei.
Deadly thrash with Norwegian origins ain't exactly an everyday meal. But of course it's nice to see that it thrives and grows
within all sorts of genre compositions in this putrid land.
The quartet comes from Kristiansand, best known for its zoo, and this sounds as if some primal genes from such a menagerie
has infected these vile men.
Guitarist Bernt Sørensen has the greatest number of other bands on the record, without me having heard of
any of them. Drummer David “Berserk” Olsen has a past from Faanefjell, while bassist and vocalist
Bengt Orstad and Jan Åge Lindeland both dwells in Blot, of which I've heard positive things.
Said bands operates in black/folk landscapes, and I would therefore have anticipated music with more Norse roots from such
a constellation, but not so this time.
The men's hybrid of heavy death riffs and fast crushing thrash riffs with a technical whiff is agreeable, but not without
a few nitpicks on my part. The vocals are twofold, with both grunting and wheezing. The death rattling could have been
further upfront in the mix at times, but that's just pettifogging. It's got a relatively pronounced articulation, despite
high howler monkey factor with deep resonance. It could have been more raw at times, but I still have a taste for it. The
reptile whispers on the other hand, struggles more to win my favour.
Even musically, it's a bit mixed. The music can sometimes be fairly run-of-the-mill and straight forward without enough idea
richness and content to maneuver safely around mundane waters at all times. With that said, Mental Disaster
occasionally really gets the ripping swing of it, with more than enough rhythmic and melodic content to steer far away from
boredom and monotony.
The album opens rather staccato in the title song, but more variety in rhythm and riffs manifests itself already from the
second song, while the third track, Victims of Fornication kicks in with fairly thrilling riffs. From thereon,
the song material wobble slightly between killer and mediocrity, albeit it never becomes bad. It may linger somewhat between
those form peaks, though. Postapocalyptic Bumfight and the ending snippet Fall of Moral shows an inclination toward
eerie moods, which helps create variety and a thicker ominous atmosphere.
Mental Disaster debuted near the end of 2013 with the album Let the Demon Speak, and are
now ready to dump the sequel on the market. The album is absolutely all right, but struggles a bit to stick out in the jungle
of similarities. Slightly more compositional variation, spices and hook, like nimble solos, more eeriness and riffs that
adheres permanently to the cerebral cortex, can help to ensure that the third attempt fits like a glove, because these guys
definitely have a potential.
A more than alright portion of death/thrash, which is probably better for casual listening than over-analytical attention.
Go Fuck Yourself Productions, 12.08.16
Yet another German band. This time in the service of death. After several years on the mental sketch board, the band was
manifested approximately three years ago.
The duo has a demo and a split behind them, and now releases a 12 "MLP with five songs and nearly 20 minutes of death metal
in the wake of Obituary et al.
As the grade suggests, Evoked does not succeed entirely but they definitely prevail in quite a
few respects too.
First, lets get the nitpicking out of the way. Although there's some hefty sequences, much of the guy's compositions appears
as generic in the big picture. The songs are generally missing some of those memorable killer riffs and irresistible hooks.
That, and the fact that everything within death metal has been done before, is still the only flaws Evoked
got. With juicy sound, solid punch, moods, variety, alternating speed, enjoyment, tight execution, and so on, it seems the
duo is both hungry and honest. The Germans exudes genuine spirit and will.
Said Americans footsteps is still a bit too deep for the Germans, but it's a good attempt. I'll give 'em that. With slightly
stronger song material, this can quickly become truly ass-kicking, for all other aspects have full coverage. There's a thin
distinction between mediocre material and slaying songs, and the Germans balances on a razor blade here. They almost succeeded,
but not quite. Artilleratör and Bonesaw, as they call themselves, have nevertheless not been
at it for long, and so I have good faith that the duo's furious death metal may grow to unknown heights during the time to come.
Check out the song Disintegrated Mind.
Northern Silence Productions, 06.05.16
South German Firtan was founded at the beginning of the present decade. The band has an EP and an album
behind them, but is new to me. The band impresses and pleases with their second EP, and must thus naturally be followed
with close eyes and ears in the future.
Firtan, for the occasion appearing as a trio with several vicarious assistants, only presents two songs,
but these also have enough length to provide a decent escapism.
The band's music is not easy to put in a single box, but the various components that together make Innenwelt,
melt and merge into a unified alloy. The style the band serves on this EP can be called a melodic kind of pagan metal with
strong inspirations and influences from black metal, as well as adequate elements of folk and Viking, and a layer of orchestral
ingredients that blends nicely in and provides some extra fullness to a rich and powerful sound.
Guitars giving vibes of Immortal's Fimbulwinter meets the listener at the beginning of almost seven minutes long
Innenschatten. Admittedly, the most significant similarities stops there. Especially the vocals lays in a
completely different landscape, and can be an acquired taste, even if it doesn't bother me personally.
The music is magnificent as the raven's flight over wild and unspoiled nature and high peaks, albeit more in a soaring,
atmospheric way than in a directly mighty and majestic fashion. While moderate fiddling are often located slightly in the back,
the brass section has taken its seat on the pedestal, providing a more dominant position when they're first making a noise.
Acoustic guitar, gentle violin strings, rattle percussion and the chanting voice of a shaman or medicine man leads us into
the scarcely ten minutes long Im Licht meiner Sonne. Pitched melancholic guitars and riffs in gale then sets
the mood, before whirlwinds of guitar anew lifts the listener up and gives a bird of prey perspective on existence. Solo and
melodic guitar works towards the end gives chills and frost mist along the spine.
The EP definitely appeal to me, and you are advised to check out
Innenwelt if you find pagan metal and related genres desirable.
Hells Headbangers, 12.08.16
About 2.5 months ago, I presented a split between a band I had previously acquainted with, and one that was until than
unknown to me.
The band that was new to me, was Chilean Slaughtbbath.
They are ready to launch their second split of the year, this time with a band we heard from no more than barely
two months ago, namely Brazilian Grave Desecrator. Musica De Nuestra Muerte (“music of our death”) contains 12.5 minutes of music, exclusively released on this 7-inch.
First up is Slaughtbbath, with the tracks Nefast Fireground / Tyranny from Sodomy welded
together. There's more momentum in the Chileans charcoal burned black metal this time, although they also dip their toes in
viscous tar a few times along the almost 7 minutes long ride on side A. As last time, the band sounds rabid, subject to a
demonic curse, whether the pace is in a frantic turmoil or in Zombie mode. It's substantially quite rapid. Strings and drums
swiftly fly by, as if having a money collector on it's heels, while the vocalist barks and spits his odious bile.
Grave Desecrator opens side B with just under two minutes of haunted intro titled The Fallen,
before also they speed up. SxSxSx (Sex, Sin & Satanism) is diabolical death/black with volcanic ferocity,
being best when the guitar spurts of lava here and there along the barely four minutes long route, right into the flames.
Both bands deliver tough, vile metal, but neither of them offers the kind of incomparably unique material that in my opinion
would make a purchase of this brief 7" obligatory for other than zealot fans.
Listen and make up your own putrid mind here: Musica De Nuestra Muerte.
Inverse Records, 05.08.16
Finnish Denominate has in common with Death, during their molt in the early nineties, that they
lie somewhere in between old-school and proggy technicality. Denominate might not border on the old masters,
just to point that out before you start drooling, but the Finns nevertheless offers pleasure for just that kind of angered,
but strategic, reflective and thoughtful blend of vindictive fighting spirit and intellectual doubts concerning the price
of an armed bloodshed.
This is the Finns' debut album, after a 2014 EP under their original band name, Encrypted.
Those Who Beheld The End is a record that requires some time to seat. Especially when many sequences ain't
raw and catchy in a direct manner, but rather contains both quieter and heavier melodic antics of somewhat monotonous nature.
More often with fairly clever structuring. However, there are parts that aren't able to penetrate too deep, even after a good
number of spins, but these are quickly forgotten when the band offers the best share of their material.
The material alternates slightly between old school, proggy and hypnotic death metal, which may not be completely seamless but
thereby also creating variation. Composing and instrumentation are well done, and the sound is adequate, despite some cotton.
Dan Swanö have mastered the work in his Unisound, but that doesn't mean he alone can be blamed for the low
dynamic range score of DR5. Denominate is not quite on height with the elite, but will most likely please fans of said alloy.
Although the guys also have growing potential to develop off, they already offer good metal. The grading as such almost
feels a little more strict than strictly necessary.
Fasten your seat belt and prepare for a turbulent immersion into one of the underground's most dirty and ugly extremes.
When Norwegian and American loonies with questionable backgrounds converge to create deranged black/death, you might wanna
lubricate your ear canals, for there's an absence of polished phonetics here, and the friction is high as sonic sandpaper.
The band was created by American Bård Schrecken Von Blut, with a past in Serpent ov Old,
in 2012, but after a demo, the one-man band slipped into a state of standstill.
When this wirepuller, now abusing bass, guitar and keyboard came into contact with two Norwegians, life was again blown
into the corpse. Presumably by means of mouth-to-mouth.
Computer keyboard warrior VempireChrist from Vestfold near Oslo, who has defiled his own and others'
existence with sarcastic quasi-literary disputations and other aptly verbal outbursts for Norskmetal.net, still use his foul-mouthed
razor-sharp tongue properties to spread profanities, albeit with more diffuse and guttural diction, as lead singer of
The masochist who torture the drums, calls himself T.Kharof this time, albeit I know him better as
Dáublódir, from Bergen and bands like Gandreid, Blodstaur and Doedsstraff.
The latter has in recent months spammed me with samples from this unfortunate misfortune, and in this respect prepared
me for the worst. I've known this scourge of a man for fifteen years, but my feeble attempts to pull out from the
perverted project of penetrating these vile vices due to biasedness, was abruptly and aggressively turned down.
After the unholy organ notes of the intro having faded out, dirty, necrotic and primitive black/death is on the agenda.
The pace admittedly ain't killingly breathless, but the frantic lack of a healthy mind is unmistakable. All competent
sense is arrogantly rejected already on the doorstep of Death & Damnation's morbid rich.
Satanism, sadism, death and deviant destruction, apparently constitutes the basis for Cryptic Scream's
existence. To report a ghastly work like this, feels like going undercover in a sect whose actions are too grotesque
to even mention.
My first encounter with the enigmatic cries were a track by the far beyond outrageous name One Last Dance,
which sounds more like a Garth Brooks song, and the situation doesn't really get any better based on the background
information stating that this “basically was a danceable song, until someone suggested we should try out more distortion on
the guitar, "vomit" the vocals forth and beat the living hell out of the pots, blasting the pedal to the metal”. Danceable
song for fucks sake? Argh... the mental images stings and burns. This starts with the lock, load and firing of a pump-action
shotgun, a really cool percussion effect which I would like to have heard tag along inward song. The vocals sound like it's
barked whilst inhaling. It's heavy and raw, eclectic, brutal and far from sane.
This is not the only place where samples are used. Several film clips has been included to set the sick mood.
Imagine a viscous slush mixture with elements of Slagmaur, portions of Portal, general French folly
and South American savagery, and the unstable mental health of Teitanblood or Norwegian Amok. After
the mixture fermenting and growing mildew in an old basement with soil for floor in a year or two, the brewed tastes
of unhealthy bestial underground, exempt from all social norms.
The sound is a story in itself. I actually had to ask if this was a demo just to be on the safe side. The various members
have themselves recorded their infamous activities to tape, probably with the one functioning half of a worn out Koss UR5
headset or an equivalent as microphone, or perhaps with the recording function on a Nokia 3210 or similar. T.Kharof
has taken care of mixing, probably done by putting three cassette recorders, each with its own recording, in a
triangle around a microphone, pressing play, and then setting bass, treble and volume level for each of them. Finally,
the guys left the mastering to a professional. To leave a work of angered art in the hands of Loïc.F, a maddened
Autokrator, is like soaking a cassette in acetone, fun but corrosively acrid. The sound is caustic and odious,
providing aural associations to badgers raped with a chainsaw in a container.
I choose not to grade this masterful abomination, this cruel accomplishment. Gradings are humane, Cryptic
Scream fucking ain't. Besides, as mentioned, I'm a bit incompetent. Also, it matters fuck all what I mean.
What's substantial is to present the grim and gruesome blemished sins for the kind of rascal listeners and other imps
that might be in the target audience. Still, when I've spun this service of Satan more than half a dozen times, it's
not because I like to torture myself.
After this merciless seance, forced to suffer through this travesty of purgatory, this cacophonous regurgitation, I
have to wash my ears with turpentine, consult a psychologist and spend hours with spiritual meditative CDs with the
sound of waves and waterfalls, to fully recover.
The first press of the CD comes in an abundance of 20 copies and is distributed by
Cryptic Scream, while cassettes in 100 x will be obtainable soon via
Recommended exclusively to degenerate fans of grotesque fatalities.
Do you have what it takes to meet the Devil in the door and dubiously laugh out shrill and heartlessly, and are you
willing to let your soul languish for a moment, or are you a wimp who prefers Kamelot? Your choice, motherfucker.
PS: If I haven't made myself clear in this satanic tongue-in-cheek review, I like it, but it's not for everyone,
and so I demand you check it out for yourself!
Sick Man Getting Sick Records, 05.08.16
The name Morphinist seems familiar, but I can't remember having heard the band before. German
Argwohn is the sole member, and apparently something of a chameleon. The band allegedly changes from album to
album, regardless of rules and trends, thus it's not even certain I would have recognized such a “master of disguise”. Morphinist has released two demos, 5 EPs and 10 albums since the inception in 2013, therefore it's
probably not so strange if it rings a bell.
On Terraforming we find three songs, two of them with 15 minutes duration, separated by a 5-minute track.
The music is located in a kind of depressed post-black/doom landscape that differs quite a bit from generic post-metal. The
sound is more dirty and primitive, and the atmosphere hostile, full of aversion, depression, sadness, bitterness and loathing.
I have some prejudice against one-man bands who release discs at (ir)regular intervals. Such are prone to become mass-produced
assembly line products, but I heard through Terraforming several times without a trace of prior knowledge,
and I liked what I heard. It's a little late to get cold feet and grow some kind of scepticism in hindsight when one has
already made up ones mind, hence the word prejudice. How Morphinist's remaining releases appear,
I don't intend to find out right now, but taken out of that context, at least Terraforming sounds good,
although the sound doesn't sounds all good. With a dynamic range of only DR3, this is in fact so compressed that
the clipping causes some jarring. The (most likely) home crafted production still has an okay gritty hypnotic depth.
Argwohn clearly has a flair for melody and atmosphere, put together via alright structures and good
diversity. The two longest songs never gets boring, as one or two playful guitars often has a few antics and jinks to
offer, despite grieving moods of despondency. Parts of the material could fit into dsbm, while other segments could've
slipped into death/doom, some sequences could've worked well in atmospheric folk metal settings, like Falkenbach,
while still others could have been plucked from gloomy, hateful black metal. The composition of this multifaceted
portrait never feels schizophrenic, though.
The amount of inventiveness is admittedly not remarkable, and the album is not tremendously exciting. When
taking fierce competition and said brick-wall into the equation, I finally decide to apply a tiny minus the score. It
should however be said that I thrive very well in Terraforming's dark universe, despite a few flaws.
If you give the album some time to seep in and settle, I think you might find Morphinist's tenth
symphony quite charming if likeable and chilling black/doom with tasteful post-elements tempts. Among over-productive
one-man bands, this must be one of the better.
Hells Headbangers, 22.07.16
The Austrians of Denouncement Pyre have reached their third album, and with it perhaps found their
niche. The band has at least evolved somewhat along the road.
Without dwelling on the past (1&2), the band's third consists of black metal that sounds both contemporary and timeless.
Not entirely distant from for example Watain round Sworn To The Dark or Lawless Darkness, without
further comparison, Black Sun Unbound finds a balance between ominous melodies with fashionable latter-day
production and a whiff of traditional archaic coal-black, sinister and aggressive ferocity.
Feast on the title one again; Black Sun Unbound.
The new work of the Austrians feels like a glitch in cosmos routines, as if the laws of nature abruptly undergoes an
unexpected transformation in which the earth stops rotating along its axis, while at the same time being hit by a
ceaseless eclipse, sending half the planet into permanent night, and setting the remaining half in a perpetual limbo
of darkened light of dusk or dawn. When these three vital celestial bodies are aligned, the temperature quite rapidly
starts falling. This unexpected cosmic offspring of nuclear winter quickly breeds mass hysteria, fear and panic,
which in turn leads to looting and violence. Hatred is smouldering and even pacifists arm themselves, revealing their
primitive survival instinct.
And that's just one of many possible dystopic nightmare scenarios the album may provide mental associations of.
Denouncement Pyre invites the listener to almost 50 minutes of sturdy perilous atmospheres, presented
through ten stunning tracks with good variety and skilled workmanship. That they succeeded so well is perhaps not all that
surprising, given that the trio consists of experienced rascals from constellations such as Order of Orias and
I hereby recommend a journey into this harsh ethos of inhuman heartlessness.
Enjoy the trip: Denouncement Pyre - Black Sun Unbound.
Eihwaz Recordings, 15.07.16
The quartet from Minneapolis wants to focus some attention on the contemporary negative commercial development with
their sophomore album, where overconsumption due to purchasing-pressure, throw-away mentality, disposable god, intentional
commercial production of short-lived low-quality products, along with general indulgence in an overcrowded world, leads to
both waste of resources and increased pollution through manufacturing of goods and packaging which in turn creates additional
toxins when not recycled.
An unsustainable development that threatens to destroy our shared planet and the future of our successors in particular.
The band plays a melodic form of extreme metal, where riffs and rhythms borrows from every extreme genre.
Black metal can be said to be dominant, but thrash and death is never far away.
With two guitars, the riffing and melodies receives a lot of vitality, while the structuring offers non-stop variation.
Hope Misery Death is a carousel that attempts to keep up with the vigorous mass-consumption of the western
world. It spins till nausea comes crawling, and than the Asian economic growth hasn't even been taken into account.
The music's got negatively charged undertones, but is no more aggressive than for example Dissection. The song
structures are good and the performance likewise, but still I'm not swept entirely off my feet of what is presented.
The music rolls a little too quickly out the other ear. Is it the music or my inflated expectations?
The music is good, certainly, but I probably had a bit too high expectations initially. I no longer remember exactly
what expectations those were, and neither what were lost along the way. It's been more than a month since I first heard the
album in its entirety, and even longer since I first discovered and felt a gravitational pull toward it after hearing the song
Peregrine's Timbre on-line.
The songs are more than all right, but still not as spectacular as I had hoped for.
The band does a great effort, but presents no notable original antics. Are there too many similarities out there, am
I saturated, perhaps picky, or is the approach of these Americans' just a little too toothless to sink their teeth and
bite to the bone? I can't quite put my finger on it, because I like what I hear, while my most thrilling enthusiasm is
only notable by its absence. I can “hear the hooks, but I can't feel them scratching me”.
At the same time, Hope Misery Death is a work that is more than alright to listen to, and that with its
somewhat progressive arrangements, melodic approach, technically proficient appearance and adequate sound, should be able
to appeal to a wide variety of metal fans.
If a melodic hybrid of death, thrash and black, without any specific flaws sounds tempting, I recommend you to dive deeper
into the material for yourself. Pestifere has what it takes to strike someone in the middle of the sweet-spot.
The album might not have hit me bulls-eye, but I was still wounded by a fierce stray shot.
SOM - Undergound Activists, 22.07.16
Vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Lord Sargofagian started Baptism with an acquaintance
back in 1998, in a town called Ylöjärvi, a name as Finnish as any. Whilst we're heading for Finland, the band's journey up
till now has however been a rather turbulent on in terms of re-localization and replacements, but Baptism
has endured for eighteen years with Lord S. at the helm. Nothing indicates that he's ready to put his helmet
on the shelf any time soon either.
The press letter begins surprisingly modest, with the proclamation that the band again delivers an album rooted deeply in
Orthodox Finnish black metal. It sounds almost understating, but a more nuanced descriptions and some obligatory bragging
naturally occurs down the road.
The music also contains a bit more nuance than what I associate with typical Orthodox Finnish 90's black metal. Not to say
that The Devil's Fire offers the deepest substance. Compared to what I mainly associate with Finnish Orthodox
old school black metal, Baptism offers a lot of melody this time, as the band also did on the previous record,
2012's As the Darkness Enters. It is admittedly chilly, distanced and hostile melodies that Sargofagian
The album is well done, with plenty of eeriness and lots of sound spewing fort from hasty drumsticks, scorched plectrum
and audible but not deafening bass. Although many an icy black metal piece of more necro art lay close to my frozen heart,
I like bass in amounts like this, as it seasons and paints the atmosphere black without overdoing it. The aforementioned
melodies is at the freezing point and drives the songs forward as liquid nitrogen. The frosty smoke creates a beautiful
sight, and I thrive in this comfortless landscape.
On a semi-Orthodox northern European manner, these arrangements still sounds a little too familiar for my enthusiasm
to go berserk, but the music is pleasing anyway, and I definitely don't mind quenching my thirst for misanthropic misery with
these devilish flames. Whether the band's fifth album hits your spot, you can determine by spending some time with
V: The Devil's Fire.
Elder material can be checked out on Bandcamp.