Napalm Records, 30.09.16
Last year's, no fuck it, the decade's most frenetic, energetic and entertaining thrash album was called
Of Pleasure, and was even a debut.
(Of course there's many other thrash albums I haven't heard, so take my haughty bullshit with a few pinches of salt.)
Belgian Evil Invaders is back, albeit only with an EP.
Two of the songs are new, and the two remaining are live versions of songs of the album.
One thing a semi-old nostalgic fucker misses in today's metal is the extremely strong riffs and melodies that's glued solid
to the inside of the skull forever. Evil Invaders ain't there either, but they make me thinking of
such because they're not far away from it. The band offers an occasional riffs that stick well, along with vital solos that
tugs at the ear hair.
Jöe Anus still has his signature vocals intact, obviously, it's not as if he's aged significantly since
last time, and his voice is just as virile live. From half-dark heavy vocals with a becomingly rasping touch, to high-pitched
steam whistle and air defence siren with an acceleration that would make a Porsche 918 Overkill-green with envy.
The two new songs are speed metal with nitro turbo injection directly into the combustion chamber and in your face, and the
live songs are raging, although the sound becomes somewhat tame on tape compared to the sound of the studio recordings. I'm
not sure where the two are recorded, by the way.
I've spilt most my high-octane-clichés. Is it the keyboard or speakers that smells scorched? One word remains, though. A
keyword in Evil Invaders context; Adrenalin!
If you're thirsting for [insert cliché], you could do far worse than jacking a beer and banging to In For The Kill.
I would, however, check out Pulses Of Pleasure first. The music is cool, but neither new songs nor live recordings
are invaluable. Hence approved minus.
Immortal Frost Productions, 26.09.16
After three years of activity and some shorter releases, the Belgian in Ars Veneficium are ready to conquer
the world with bestial black metal. They must still line up in queue with the horde of hopefuls, but should the competition
for places be stiff, and even result in physical scuffles, these Belgians might actually have a solid position. At least, it
doesn't sound as if they're afraid to swing the battle axe.
Should the fight consist of musical competition only, it would certainly be a little bit worse, for the rivalry is indeed fierce.
Nevertheless, there's a good chance the band will reap their share of acclaim from the hungry hordes of long-haired fans,
as the band offers a hellish drive, and a frenetic unvarnished inferno of foul contempt. Like black smoke from the tires fire,
The Reign of the Infernal King fills the chamber with choking black nerve gas and rumbling fury that makes
the room shake, and its foundations to creak ominously at the seams.
The bass has a prominent role that helps to create this effect. The band lean more toward warmth than coldness. Extreme heat
from Dante's infernal flames. The flames doesn't provide much light, though. It's dark, compact and violent. Someone have
locked you up inside the sauna, turned the heat to maximum and thrown away the key.
The vocals are intense and plagued as it roars in pain and anger, while the skin slowly, initially,
achieves first-degree burns. Intensity and punch is Ars Veneficiums' trump card. (That's
trump with a lower case, mind you.) The melodies swarms in the whirlwind like embers of the
remnants of a smouldering camp-fire, but vanish almost as soon as they appear. As an infernal racket in the present,
The Reign of the Infernal King works excellent. The album however never becomes a memorable and timeless masterpiece.
Despite some "near-objective" nitpicking, I still award an approval without hesitation, for the album is muscular like a
runaway bull from Hell. This is just as ass-kicking as pyro. If one were to be a hair-splitting prig, one might sarcastically
state that it is about as indispensable as pyrotechnics as well. On the other hand; the fireworks you can buy for the same
amount of money probably won't last nearly as long as this album. So if you're going to burn the money on something that
detonates, you might as well go with The Reign of the Infernal King.
Invictus Productions, 26.09.16
I completed my review of Demo '12 by proclaiming that “I'm droolingly anticipating the debut...”.
The time has come for Swiss Deathcult. At last the undead rise from their respective coffins to declare their
morbid and rabid sepulchral death metal in its most deranged fashion.
I threw a few references around last time, and might as well offer a few new ones now. The men have built their mausoleum
on unhallowed graveyard soil with a strong whiff of the old school.
The musical territory the band has taken root in, is formerly occupied by veterans like Autopsy, Obituary
and Asphyx and inheritors of sins like Obliteration. The band also fits nicely into the range of a younger
generation who look to the distinguished pioneers for inspiration, such as Bölzer, while a frantic whiff of youthful
zeal in keeping with Reptilian and Sepulcher forms part of the expression.
The contrast between the extremes is classic. Slow and evocative or rapid and frantic. Deathcult does not
change this formula. Sequences where the mania has a full impact on the mental Richter scale, and psychotic chaos burst
into full bloom, is impeccably implemented. A hectic, stressful freight train, as always, creates the best drive when
repetition is avoided. Deathcult knows this, and vary the rhythm to keep monotony at arm's length, and one
can sense the speed with the same effect as ramming through railroad ties/railway sleepers head first.
The despicable, putrid moods of death and destruction, on the other hand, works just as excellent. They come creeping in the
most gruesome manner to devour your soul slowly and painfully. Much like a fog of poisonous gases that's seepingly closing in
while your boots are stuck in deep mud, and you're unable to move at all. Even a doomy mid-tempo middle ground is occasionally
present. Like the rest of the material, it offers well played variation, and febrile sound containing a whiff of soil and
decay, not to mention savoury thrust.
The production has matured since Demo '12, something the title track on the new work attest to, as it was
also found on the demo. The sound was murky, rabid and unpolished then, without being too under-produced. The sound is
this time more professionally produced, but fortunately still covered in cobwebs and humus. Hence, it's not overproduced,
nor compressed. The dynamics is basically around DR9.
Lately, I've been fussing a lot about lack of idiosyncrasy. Deathcult have neither reinvented the
wheel, rediscovered fire or improved the recipe, but when applied like this, it makes for pretty good dynamite anyway.
The recognition factor is of course present, and I often need to get through a few songs before I sink down
into the marsh. Maybe because the second half of Beasts of Faith feels sharper.
Don't be fooled by a colourful cover art. The music is dark red as coagulated blood, black-brown as the soil in the grave
and green-brown as mildew and rot. If you swear to vinyl, you'll have to wait a little longer for the LP release through
Two songs are presented thus far. Barren Land can be found on Decibel Magazine,
while No Clean Singing offers Death In July.
Immortal Frost Productions, 26.09.16 Sina, the Iranian who practically became Norwegians in order to play true Norwegian
black metal without risking prosecution by the Ayatollah, is back.
That was a rather simplified tongue-in-cheek presentation. I haven't seen the documentary Blackhearts,
and I don't know the exact background of his emigration.
Those who like their metal black, nevertheless knows what to expect.
From the Vastland pose no shocking surprises.
That is also my strongest objection. One of few, but not an insignificant one as such. Chamrosh generally sounds familiar, and thus a little safe.
The band is still a one-man project but with the invaluable help of more or less permanent guest-artists. In addition
to composer, guitarist and vocalist Sina, Tjalve is back on bass after “lending the
spot” to Nul Blackthorn on the Blackhearts EP. The bass lie dormant as a towering snoring leviathan in the depths,
in the sense that it's not very prominent in the mix, but it colourises the music with a many shaded palette, most visible
in the track Saurva, Demon of Hunger, where the bass has a life of its own. Vyl is however replaced
by Spektre (Horizon Ablaze & Harm) on drums. Vyl leaves big shoes that can be difficult to fill, but
Spektre does a fine job, and comes away with his honour safely intact. Sina's guitar and vocals rival each other at sounding most grainy and harsh in an intentionally filthy
and vile sound. If the goal is to sound like a rusty saw carving at a tombstone, the raspy vocals must be said to emerge
victoriously. It's slightly more jagged, serrated and prominent than before, and may be slightly in excess. The instrumental
performance otherwise helps to improve the impression of the album.
The band offers songs where hostile disgust and dim eeriness is central, and that offers good alteration. While the drums
drive nails in the coffin in Christ, it's sawn in two by the chainsaw guitar. Chamrosh offers quite cool
black metal, but I nevertheless struggled a bit with boredom while the album was still growing, and the expression still feels
a bit too ordinary now, many spins later. There are many good individual segments on Chamrosh but the hooks
don't penetrate tremendously deep, they don't stick to the mind like barbed hooks would, and the totality sometimes
feels more random than comprehensive. Expectations must also take some of the blame for a tiny twinge of disappointment.
From the Vastland still earns an approval, this time as well, but a rather weak one as such. The songs are
definitely alright, but not outstanding, and with relatively conventional song writing, the material becomes a little bit
too forgettable, even though the album provides a usable experience of evil and miserable atmospheres there and then.
Having gained a fairly ambivalent relation to the album during the first four or so rounds, I've spent quite a lot of time
to decide which way the wind is blowing on my part. I do find a few debris to nitpick at, and I found Temple of
Daevas to be considerably more gratifying.
All in all, I still find myself enjoying the album more than I do the opposite, although the approval is this time hanging
by a thin thread. There are sequences where I feel like reducing the ranking a notch, but the better sequences makes me
give Sina and his dubious companions the benefit of doubt.
Satanath Records, 20.09.16 Seven Sins debuted in 2012, and they're now launching the sophomore album, presented as
“a conceptual journey through the dark and obscure side of the Middle Ages in Eastern Europe and Asia”.
Who and what, then, is Seven Sins?
The band is a quintet from Kazakhstan. With its about 30 active bands with releases to show for,
the country ain't the most prominent on the metal map, thus that probably doesn't tell you much.
It sure is a good thing, then, that I can help shed some light on the matter.
The band plays gentle, melodic and grandiose symphonic extreme metal, with local seasoning. Although Kazakhstan might
not be associated with the means and resources the west possesses in terms of recording and production, Seven
Sins have constructed a powerful piece of music that sounds wonderfully epic. Fragments of unpolished
sound only creates flattering debris in the audio-machinery. Something that comes in handy when the music's surprisingly
gentle expressing can benefit from a wee bit of cloudiness not to appear too toothless. That the orchestration is
synthetic is no problem either.
The band's compositions ain't analysed in a jiffy. Due Diaboli et Apocalypse ain't insanely complicated,
but nevertheless fairly complex. There is a lot of sound her, to put it that way.
Metal and symphony are fully integrated into melodies that don't appear as neither malicious, creepy or aggressive, but
rather with a powerful and good whiff of folk-inspirations. Much like the exotic smell of strong oriental tea and Turkish
hashish. The folk instruments that are used can to some extent remind me of both Arkona and Melechesh,
and these elements and moods separates Seven Sins from natural western references such as Dimmu
Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Anorexia Nervosa et al. With its gentle melodies and elements of gothic
melodies, which could have been partly inspired by Nightwish, these sinners are closer to bands like Old
Man's Child than Necronomicon. The band, in any case, ain't as harmless as Orphaned Land.
Seven Sins have enough sting, intensity and punch to be defined as extreme metal.
The metal segment of the whole must also be mentioned, although the bonded aspects are inseparable. Good drumming and
varied extreme vocals are vital elements, but it's the lively guitar that shines most with its swarming approach, albeit
not most of the time. Along with brass, violins, piano et al., as well as local instruments, the album in its entirety
becomes greater than the sum of each component.
Structurally, the Kazakhs has drawn inspiration from classical music, film score and folk music, and the song's design
fluctuates between waltz and epic drama, with elements of amongst other gothic, primitive and occult undertones. With a
bit stronger melodies, this could quickly have become a modern classic within the genre. Few of these melodies are easy
to hum in retrospect, but the band's blend has its signature even if the individual ingredients basically are well known.
The music therefore ought to be recognizable, and that's not something everyone can boast about. Moreover, it sounds
fantastic at the moment and it's in the moment we're living, right?
Seven Sins has delivered a very thorough pieces of work, which really impresses. The album is a
delight to listen to, and no one in the target audience should feel disappointment. What, exactly, is the target
audience, however, ain't all easy to determine. It must be allowed to regard Seven Sins as an excellent
representatives of Kazakhstan in the global metal scene, and they're just a hair's breadth away from a stronger grade
this time around. A little more memorability to the melodies till next time, and I'm sure it'll fit like a knucklebuster.
Invictus Productions, 23.09.16
I presented the Americans' first demo, MMXIV from 2014, when it was re-released the following year, but I unfortunately never got around
to process the second demo and the subsequent split with Vorde.
The band plays alkalic and alchemic black, deadly doom, and has evolved favourably without neglecting its roots.
The demo was a veritable vortex of roaring disgust, a demonstration of hypnotic rumbling echoing in mine shafts and
labyrinths of unexplored caves deep within the bedrock.
Said split moved the band to the top of the mountain range, where various mountain, hill and cave trolls have established
their mighty throne halls. With their self-titled debut album, the band has grown demon wings to soar over the mountain
passes, while still thrives in mildew-infested catacombs.
The music don't remain as dark and rumbling as in the bands outset, but rather much airier, although the air is presumably
quite noxious. The sound is deliberately dreadful and dirty, but with plenty of room for the instruments, which appears
much clearer this time. Especially the far more pitched guitar shows a new side of the band. At least relative to said demo.
The eternal question of how much significance should be attached to distinctiveness anew arises, as
Predatory Light, especially at first listen, sound like so many others. The band, however, writes songs that
works very well, with dreamy and disturbing melodies and ditto moods hand in hand. The band's songs are also a display
of wonderful dynamic diversity. The extremes, with striking frantic drive and beastly atmospheric nightmares works as
hell, and in between, every intermediate state can be found in a blazingly vital whirlwind.
The production suits the music excellently. Even the dynamics corresponds exemplarily by lying steadily on very respectable DR9.
Fortunately, quality sometimes surpass originality and this is clearly such a case. But be aware that
the album requires time to sink in before the troll king opens the gate to the massive echoes of the mountain, and allows
you to experience the innermost claustrophobic maze of the depth, and the majestic view when looking out from the high
peaks, from which demons circle in flight on their loathsome black leather wings.
Obscure Abhorrence Productions, 20.09.16
The Quebec-Canadians in SDG strikes while the soot-black iron is hot, and give us another 30 minutes of
icy black atmospheres on a split with their fellow kinsman in French Ende.
It's no more than seven months since the sadistic glee of North reinforced the than still prevailing winter moods.
Cold French-Canadian winds this time brings two by four tracks totalling nearly an hour, on a split whose title translates
to “The well of the dead”.
One could almost say that Sorcier des Glaces uses the same ingredients as Drudkh but the mixing
ratio is significantly skewed. Both mixes black and atmospheric elements, and both are good representative of their
respective regions, with a tradition of preserving local flair.
The similarities stops there, though. SDG plays icy black metal with a glacier's callous apathy for lost
lives, and applies atmospheric moods to lower the temperature even further. Vocals, sharp as steel shavings under the lathe,
cuts through frost mist and blizzards like swirling ice crystals in the night, far, far to the north.
A detailed description should be superfluous, everything you need to know is that the band delivers again.
Nevertheless, I wish to mention the bewitching forest-moods that sometimes manages to melt through the meter thick layer
of snow and ice on the tundra, when the moods for a moment ain't preoccupied by black hatred.
On the song Le Puits Des Morts, the duo Sébastien and Luc has been
joined by pals from the Québécois necro-black scene, from bands like Monarque, Forteresse and Cantique Lépreux, and one of the two members
of the Ende, without it actually making a big fucking difference back or forth on the listener's part.
Ende has not been presented on these pages earlier, and the fact is that I unfortunately don't have any
relationship to their works. The Frenchmen have released two albums during their six years, the last of which was released
just barely a year ago. The duo dwells in the same colourless, barren winter landscape, but where SDG
offers breathing pauses by balances rasping frenetic black metal a bit more with the meditative tranquillity of nature,
Ende appears fierily intense. The band fires of sharp, red hot disgust with blue welding flames which
are perceived as bitingly cold. A small exception are more ambient-sounding and/or atmospheric segments of frostbitten
moods. A major exception is the last track, Fehér Isten, that creates an atmosphere of loneliness,
isolation, helplessness and obscurity via ambient synth. I can personally control my enthusiasm for that bit, but the
three remaining tracks are solid as permafrost-hard ice. One of them should also be familiar. As if Bathory
wasn't familiar enough, Call from the Grave, with its interlude from Chopin's Marche
Funebre, is covered countless times. Ende presents one of the better version of this nearly
Both bands deliver cold, gloomy and onyx black moods marked by despondency and hateful hostility in inhospitable Arctic
regions. The polar night lowers its dim and frozen duvet over those who choose to enter Le puits des morts'
Sorcier des Glaces' half of the split is available on their
Bandcamp profile in its entirety,
while Ende plays the cards a little closer to the chest, and presents the nine-minute
opening song Notre falaise. Not a bad choice.
SOM - Underground Activists&Nordvis, 16.09.16 Drudkh returns with the second release in their announced series of splits.
This time together with Grift, the Swedish commissioner of small town anxiety.
Drudkh as usual deliver good quality, but “over-exposure” to their usual style, gradually gives
a sense of “idling”, however weak. This time, my meeting with the Swedes is what provide the greatest profit.
Drudkh hasn't been outstandingly exciting in recent times. The band's atmospheric black metal,
with its post-whims, doesn't differentiate that much when the market is flooded with bands in a corresponding
landscape. The Ukrainians still retain their fairly strong signature mark in peace, and they're still in control of a
small territory that ain't all trodden down. The band also understand the need for variety in compositions, and the
ability to create moods has so far brought them to where they are today.
Their music feels unnecessary to explain. Drudkh have indeed changed over the nearly fifteen years the
band has been around, but then in fairly nuanced forms. The band's gradual transitions is like a nod to their monotonous
expression. As long as they write good and atmospheric songs like here, they hardly need to take further actions in order
to avoid stagnation, though. Slightly stronger variation, wouldn't have made any harm, however. The songs might not be
the most memorable, and doesn't offer anything new, but they're still good and that's most important after all.
Even if not innovative nor mandatory, the two tracks nevertheless don't leave me numb. The first impression was admittedly
not the very best, but with time they grew and became very pleasurable to listen to, both in style, performance and sound,
and the music has a delightful hypnotic effect.
After Drudkh having delivered the goods without any major surprises, it's time to become acquainted
with a Swede who seems determined at spreading depression, gloom and despondency. Grift is the one-man band of Swedish Erik Gärdefors. Grift has five
years of experience, and released another split and an album titled Syner last year. Sadly, I missed both.
Drudkh's lyrical themes revolve around historical persons of Ukrainian descent or affiliation.
Grift choose to focus on history from a fictional, yet realistic perspective. The listener is taken back to
olden days, where life was tough and full of hardship. Our fictional protagonist seems to be one of those who really
struggles. To fight for survival with limited resources, and completely on ones own, wasn't just a gruelling physically
ordeal. Toiling from morning to evening in total solitude, no matter how you feel and without medication to resist scarlet
fever, typhoid, dysentery and cholera, also took a heavy toll on the psyche.
After one and a half minutes where rainstick and more creates an ambient atmosphere, the tones of an old accordion, along with
quiet guitar in minor and subdued drumming meets us. Accordion in sparse lighting by the kerosene lamp in the small hours
provides neither the desired consolation from loneliness nor protection against the perpetual draught in the frail, decrepit
shack. Desolation and bitterness propagates through the music as it gradually assume a more depressed expression, peaking
with disheartened, troubled vocals full of resentment and grudges.
The music renders sore tones of bygone rural Swedish scenery, but can just as easily mirror poverty and misery in Eastern
Europe or America from a time when most settlement could still be regarded as countryside, and until today. For the
atmosphere of the music is unfortunately still just as relevant many a place right now. Erik has reportedly toned down the music to a more tranquil expression, but as the press release emphasizes,
the music has retained “an ominous sense of vulnerability and loneliness”. My meeting with Grift is truly
an exciting encounter with ill-fated downtrodden gloom.
Boris Records&Pale Horse Records, 15.09.16
Metal Archives specify two out of three bands with the same name as “black metal”, while the third band from Singapore is
categorized as “raw black metal”. As it turns out, however, we're heading to the United States.
If the band from Singapore is rawer than this, I actually think I'll let them pass, for the Americans mostly speed off
in full throttle with their unpolished brutal contempt. Whipping up enough pedal to the metal and rev to cause burnout
in hasty motion.
The men have three full-length albums and oodles of shorter stuff on their résumé after more than ten years in Satan's service.
This time, it's two furious black tracks in complete infuriation the band throws after the listener like
ninja stars soaked in arsenic. The songs are as unpolished in structure as they are in the uproar they call sound.
The pace is not high all the way, but these eight crude minutes is still not intended for an easily frightened audience.
This is rather intended for the those who cultivates disgust and who shun anything intricate.
The music fulfils its purpose, I guess, but is as obligatory on the record shelf as an encyclopaedia on the bookshelf.
Einheit Produktionen, 02.09.16
In 2012, I picked up a solo project by Alexander Paul Blake, that as far as I can remember delivered
quite good melancholy in the form of atmospheric black metal.
The following year, I found delight in the magnificent and mournful compositions on Aethernaeum's
debut. If I ever were aware that the two bands in practice was the same, it was nevertheless lost knowledge by now.
Last year Aethernaeum dropped sophomore Naturmystik, but I missed out on it.
We will, however, take a quick look at this single.
Zwischen zwei Welten (“Between two Worlds”) is a 7" single with two unreleased songs spread across the
vinyl's two sides.
Blut & Tränen
(“Blood and Tears”) is a new song that soars mournful over dim marsh and flatland in a beautiful display of
hopelessness, while Das UrWort, or “the primordial word”, stems from the recording sessions of said Naturmystik,
and is a frail and beautiful bridge, constructed between lands of contrasts. Black hearted mindset and discouragement on
the one hand, and serene, carefree, folk-inspired atmosphere on the other. As in the fairy tale of Snow White, however,
only one angry dwarf draw a lot of attention. The music has both sadness and despair, but overall appears as
beautiful and peaceful, and the fabulous fiddling puts the icing on the cake.
The band from Berlin has been compared to variable acts like Agalloch, Dornenreich, Empyrium
and Moonsorrow. Something that tells a little bit about the diversity of their music, which spans a wide area
where elements from folk, pagan, atmosphere, black, post-black and goth are incorporated and form an evocative coherency.
I'll obviously try not to miss out on their next album.
Heidens Hart Records&Amor Fati Productions,
16.09.16 Orewoet. Once again a debutant. Yet again a release with good extreme metal that basically lacks
the desirable uniqueness to excel remarkably.
I still have a taste for the band's black metal as it swirls as witches and demons around the listener. A listener who in
turn is boiled alive in a pool of seething and simmering mud.
Individually, the Dutch deliver tremendous vicious riffing with a hellish drive and satanic black vocals that sandblast the
ears like a strident grater. The infernal vocals tear the skin from the listener and provide the perfect finishing touch.
Despite this, despite the professional appearance and sound, and despite an abundance of authentic, whipping, black and
antagonistic moods, I'm struggling a bit with my enthusiasm. Some of the band's songs, especially the first and last track,
slays as fuckin' hell, but in the middle, I find the album suffering some creeping anonymity. I could probably mentioned
dozens of albums with identical expressions released this very year, if my memory weren't useless. It has, however, resigned
long ago, unable to keep up with the rat race. As in the case of Aum, this just over half an hour long EP is something I personally
mostly value, but that I can't recommend to the fullest degree. Standing out is admittedly not easy these days.
Genuine originality is uncommon, and in spite of some weaker songs, Orewoet still succeed pretty well.
The band treat us to half an hour with five songs that in pace and frenetic rawness rips damn good. The opposition between
the strongest and the more mediocre parts, as well as between certain objective and subjective criteria, are in fairly stark
contrast to each other. I mainly choose to favour the subjective values; that I mostly enjoy this album. If I were to put a
lot of emphasis on originality, I would have had to downgrade the ranking, for the Dutchmen ain't unique, but this time, I
take the subjective liberty of not giving a fuck about the latter.
Unlike a great deal of blackened bands, Orewoet has this authentic something that grants them
unquestioned access to the black sphere. Along with said grater of a singer, furious riffing and killer drive, the Dutch
mixes both swirling and, at its best, memorable melody lines into a resounding sound that enhances the intense and aggressive
After many attempts, I obtain a decent enthusiasm, although not all the material is equally strong. At
least the opener and closer leaves a rock-solid first and last impression. Personally, I'm pleased enough
to urge you to lend your ear to Afrodisiacum der vroomheid.
Unlight Productions, 15.01.16
Although I have a shit-load of promos piled up with recently expired release dates, I also have other temptations in store.
To preserve motivation, it must be allowed to make a detour from the stipulated program once in a while.
Austrian Nocturne has about ten years of experience, but
didn't debut until early this year, and they just as well did so eponymously.
The guys plays a mild, fresh and melodic form of black metal with ample and adequate accessories, and they've clearly taken
their time to do it right from the start. The band is a duo, but have been lent a helping hand in the studio. Essark
and Tenebris are specified as singer and drummer respectively, and in this respect, Stefan
Traunmüller has been an important contributor, for Nocturne would hardly have been much of an album
without guitars. The men have also lured more famous Dan Swanö into singing on the De Infernali-cover song
Sign of the Dark that concludes the album.
(De Infernali being a 20 year old electronica side project of Dissection's Jon Nödtveidt and
Damien from Midvinter.)
While we're speaking of names; Tore Stjerna has mastered the grandeur in renown Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm.
The blackened landscapes the band operates in, has got a relatively airy feel and lots of melody, which helps to create
memorable tunes with enough individual touch to create interesting difference without fracturing the coherency. The band also
takes various inspirations into use, but with sensible moderation. Pagan-related ingredients with vibes of adjacent folk and
viking moods, is the most dominant in this respect, but also moderate impulses of atmospheric black metal, piano, choir and
orchestral tinges finds its natural foothold where such is befitted amongst altering moods. A sense of melancholy seems to
linger and reoccur if briefly vanishing, forming mental lithographies of nostalgia over bygone greatness. The music's rough
and stout-hearted nature still provides a sense of absolute pride in a heritage gradually deteriorated by modern society.
The songs hold an abnormally high level of quality, especially considering today's usual standard where songs often blend
anonymously into one another and becomes hard to remembered, hardly leaving the faintest of memories. Unless there's just
something seriously wrong with my head, that is. I won't exaggerate, there are a lot of other treats out there
too, but Nocturne offers melodious songs with snazzy punch and fairly thoroughly designed structures.
The execution is sound, but I sense a whiff of débutantes nonetheless. It's just charming, though, and it leaves me all
the more impressed of the admirable quality and the lavish diversity within each song and across the album.
Oftentimes, the volume is muted because a fellow chap wants to inform me of what I'm already aware of; that I'm listening to
a promotional copy of Nocturne's debut album. This is a phenomenon I vividly remember reviewers for metal
magazines being rather dismayed by about ten years ago, and I can just as vividly understand that such could drive a reviewer
crazy. Voice-over was an unpopular anti-piracy measure that seems to have been called off entirely. Well, almost. I actually
haven't had the dubious pleasure of experiencing this phonetic nuisance at all. Until now. Well, I'm one experience richer,
and I'm not going to hold it against them. Still, I won't mind if it never happens again.
Nocturnes self-titled debut has become a more than honourable album with good and varied content
spread across nine solid tracks and as much as 54 minutes exhibiting absolutely no obvious flaws or weaknesses. A very
enjoyable debut from a band I already can't wait to see where's going from here. I hope you take the time to enjoy
Nocturne. There's also a music video for Into the Great Below, and a video for
Eleven, with moving cinematic footage from the band's first ever gig.
Soulseller Records, 16.09.16 Rogga is back, and thus you surely know what genre we're about to take a close look at. Hell knows how many
albums Rogga attends during a year. Metal-Archives might have an idea as well. One of them has whispered in
my ear that we might be talking about eight albums so far this year.
The man stands for quality, but not everything he touches turns to gold. It rather turns to death.
He's not King Midas. He is the grim reaper. Apparently.
Three years ago he began collaborating with another veteran; Paul Speckmann, known from Master
et al. After two albums and a split, the band teamed up with drummer Brynjar Helgetun
Dawn, Liklukt and more), while Paganizer's lead guitarist Kjetil Lynghaug now
participates as a guest.
Edge of the Abyss is clean, or rather dirty, but at least pure unsullied death metal. For better or worse.
The guys deliver the goods without including new ideas. Resounding guitars and fiery drumming is fronted by vocals that's
more lunatic than growling this time, and Kjetil delivers some morbid and fairly ethereal licks that elevates
the creation a few notches. Otherwise, everything is business as usual. The songs have a few extra cool sequences, but differs
little from the great rotting unwashed pile of corpses.
“Good but not exceptional” has become so commonplace a synopsis to the stuff I take time to listen to, that it feels pretty
dime-a-dozen. But I should not forget all the shit I avoid. Hence, this is really above the mundane average.
Nifty, but far from exciting, is the feeling I'm left with.
The band consists of folks from Hellstorm, Katechon and Thorns amongst others, and on their third
full-length, they still reel off filthy, frenetic black/thrash without significant finesse. If you're in search of
careless, depraved speed metal, you've just hit jackpot.
Infant Death have hardly evolved since I disproved their sophomore album Total Hell
in 2014. Ergo, as a lazy impulse, I've decided you might as well simply read those words, for they apply just as much
to Violent Rites.
It's good to purify the brain and blow out some earwax at times. Especially after listening to too much mellow and serene music.
In chemistry, acids are neutralized with bases. In the field of musical metallurgy, restlessness after placid and tedious tones
can be compensate for with swift and rash savagery. Thus, we venture to Nidaros to meet three guys with wristbands studded with
nails and spikes, and erect musical middle finger.
The trio was created in October 2012 and consists of BT on bass, Kim Kane (Hellstorm,
ex-Aptorian Demon etc.) on drums and Knegge (Hellstorm, Thorns etc.) on guitar and
vocals. The men issued two demos and a full length album last year and the sequel is just around the corner.
The music they've create by manhandling their instruments in the most reckless way, is black/thrash/speed metal with punk orientated
attitude and striking speed. The speed limit is made to be broken. The 12 songs barely holds three minutes on average, and doesn't
sacrificing much time nor space for pussy-behaviour like well-organized system in the pandemonium. Even intricate subtleties, depth
and substance are willingly sacrificed on the granite altar when these barbaric savages gives two fucks and full throttle.
With more moods and structure, Infant Death could have been a pinch closer to old Slayer. The music is
rather tough and has its moments, and thus has a great potential, something I don't believe these guys gives a damn rats ass about.
Doubtlessly, they create just the music they want to make. This becomes too rowdy and disorderly for my taste. The fact that I
disapprove of this album, however, doesn't mean that you can't find pleasure in it. If you think thrash in general is a
little too orderly, you should check out Total Hell. In addition to the CD version, this'll be available on LP,
limited to 500 copies.
I'm not entirely lazy, though. After all, I added this album to Encyclopaedia Metallum.
Infant Death attempts to go for something in the vein of Deathhammer, Inculter and Sepulcher, except I don't quite feel that they succeed. They aren't far behind,
though, but they lack that little extra that separates the wheat from the chaff.
The men ought to lent their ears more to Harm, Nekromantheon and Blood Tsunami, and be inspired to find their latent
source of greatness.
Check the song with the uplifting title
Vomit Funeral, and judge for yourself.
Soulseller Records, 16.09.16
For the first time in many years, two old Norwegian fighters in sooty costumes show new signs of life these days. None
of them can however be called soldiers at the front, for although both have a peripheral connection to early 90's black
metal, none of them were direct representatives for tnbm.
If I remember correctly, Ancient were scolded somewhat for their gothic/melodic vampire-romantic direction.
Though they didn't receive as much tongue-lashing as Dimmu for their reviled easily digestible synth-based symphonic
approach, or Antestor for their foolish “unblack metal”.
To me, a lot of black metal's ethos is synonymous with individual reflection and headstrong choices, and I have never
had any major issues with increased commercial availability. Melodic black metal is probably not as antagonistic and
anti-christian, but it'll still never become a commerce that'll attract the everyman.
Enough preaching. 12 years after the last album, Night Visit, and 24 years after its conception,
Ancient are back with their seventh album. A powerful album in sound, expression and length. The album
lasts for well over an hour, but fortunately there's no obvious weaknesses. As such, it steals a lot of time without it
becoming a disadvantage.
The music still has a melodic aspect intact, but with rich sound and intense instrumental punch, Back To The
Land Of The Dead don't sound distinctly atmospheric and family-friendly. The riffs are thick and compact,
while Nicholas Barker's drums roll like an egg beater along with rumbling bass in the background. At
the very front, sharp, sadistic vocals.
Front-man Aphazel (now shortened to Zel) started the band in Bergen, but has in the
meantime moved to Greece, via the United States and Italy. Dhilorz, Italian guitarist and bassist, is
the third seafarer on this ship, having sailed with Ancient for sixteen years.
The songs ain't extremely tuneful, and melodic hooks ain't very sharp. On some of the band's former
releases, songs are easy to tell apart. That's not the case here. I've spent a lot of time with Back To The
Land Of The Dead, without me being able to remember specific sections. I'll have to write that on the account
for negative aspects. Yet, everything is very listenable thanks to killer riffing, rich sound, hellish vocals, fiery
percussion and other guitar works.
I am happy with the album, but notes a small minus for lack of memorability, that despite all the advantages makes this
album a bit more anonymous than what's good for it. The advantage is that you won't get quickly tired of it,
and the album thus appears as excellent pastime when autumn darkness slowly drapes the northern hemisphere.
All songs are out on SoundCloude. Listen and decide for yourself.
PS: The second Norwegian band that's back after a long hibernation can be found here.
Napalm Records, 16.09.16
German Finsterforst have for years fought for making a qualitatively pagan/folk metal brew, and creating a name
for themselves. Eventually they managed to climb out of the generic starting block and rise up into the elite.
As soon as they've laid all amateurish first difficulties behind them and released one of the best folk metal albums in recent
times, Mach Dich
Frei, they decide to discredit the name Finsterforst with new infantile antics.
Sure, it's allowed to experiment or kid around a bit in the EP format, but to go from serious and superb metal to frivolous
German nonsense-metal is still an unnecessary quantum leap. Like today's teenagers, the band uses the acronym YOLO (you only
live once) as a provocatively pubertal excuse for their antics. And hashtag? Spare me!
Four new songs with schizophrenic mixture of simple drinking songs, Mexican horn section, jazzy Diablo Swing
Orchestra-elements, mediocre power-pirate flirtation in the worst Alestorm style, gypsy-circus
shenanigans in the style of Mr. Bungle, Yellow or hell knows what..... is presented before six
quite atypical cover songs take over.
Finsterforst certainly doesn't play it safe when they choose to cover Miley Cyrus and Michael
Jackson. Not that I feel like complimenting them for originality for that reason.
The slick and glossy pop-teen-ballad Wrecking Ball ain't better off transformed into smooth power-metallic syrup.
Apropos this track, there is already an metallized music video parody out there called Winterball.
Those who have never liked Michael Jackson, and I'm probably among those who to the greatest extent have never liked
Michael Jackson, will never embrace this silky smooth and jazz-trumpet-funky version of Beat It either. The
detestable dubstep-intro must unfortunately also be mentioned. Disgraceful.
Then follows three totally unknown songs infected by techno and hillbilly gestures before a decent version of the Irish
tankard waving Wild Rover concludes a rather foolish EP. Týr otherwise offers a better version.
“Love it or leave it, there’s nothing in between!” the press release proclaims. Given these two options, I'll probably have
to go with the latter. Finsterforst should basically stick to what they're good at and concentrate on composing
seriously good music, rather than wasting time and effort on juvenile rubbish like this!
See the banal video for
Auf die Zwölf, if you care.
Rain Without End Records, 10.09.16
Sometimes, you just feel the chemistry smiting you at the very first spin. The only thing that remains when you feel that
a band nails it, is to enjoy the music while hoping that detailed and intricate shades will provide a long and prosperous
longevity. In the worst case scenario, a lack of such might lead to gradual disappointment.
From the start, everything indicated that the Turks in Khepra would acquiesce neatly in amongst the
most successful first attempts, and fortunately, as desired, the satisfaction didn't languish.
Khepra blends mighty metal with roots in death metal and inspirations from black metal, with a local
heritage of folk music from the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. To top it all off, and to really take the
listeners breath away, they then add orchestral elements. Less is more? Fuck that!
The band don't crush the sound area, though. With respectable self-knowledge and judgement, the band refrain from heaping
all ingredients into a single pile. The band has constructed ten dynamic songs where they incorporate what they can
accommodate from a generous array of adequate regional folk instruments and ditto assortment of orchestral segments. I'm
not sure whether the whole caboodle are authentic goods, or if something may optionally be digitally generated, but the
list of guest musicians and local instruments is long and impressive. The men treat their metallic instruments with
proficiency, and the remaining organic contributions are also impeccable.
It all sounds fairly sovereign, and although the DR7 of the sound ain't as dynamic as the musical content, it's within
the acceptable limits.
The most important aspect, and unfortunately often the weakest link, is the song-writing. The men obviously wants to prove
once and for all that Turkey can deliver at the same level as “the rival” and, in a musical sense, the more well-oiled
machinery Greece. The compositions are professionally taken cared off, and they are profoundly diverse. The songs coherent
melodic progress is probably not on par with the best bands it may be natural to compare them with, but the advance of melodies
throughout each song still works well, and all the individual elements and the encompassing structure is utterly delightful.
Details is a fixed keywords, especially in the exotic instrumentation, where only the band themselves may have a
full overview of the number of different components. Little, if anything, are entrusted to chance, and Cosmology
Divine grows along with the details being revealed and digestion of the lush riches becoming achievable.
I intentionally avoid taking on a lengthier description, as it would be too lengthy. Besides, you might as well explore
the intricate nuances yourselves. Turkish Khepra brings oodles of joy with intricate songs that literally
drowns a happy listening in a harem of mellifluous and euphonious tones. The guys deliver a debut made for gourmets. If
an aristocratic cornucopia of depth and substance, or a majestic hybrid of Melechesh's foreign folk and
Septicflesh's sovereign symphonic performances sounds alluring, Cosmology Divine will most likely appeal to you.
Time is short for a stressed out rabbit with vest and pocket watch, so this will be a short presentation only.
Giordano Boncompagni is a guitarist of the technical competent kind,
and the Italian slides nicely in amongst other guitar-masturbators.
Super Guitarists have practically always been better at showing off than writing songs. Not that I have
anything against technical excelling. Perhaps that's why this kind of music always sounds totally schizophrenic?
In good tradition, elements of various metal and rock are fused with everything from the spice rack. Some jazz, some
neo-classicism, aspects of prog, bossa nova, flamenco and easy listening. The result is called shred, and the ten tracks
diverge in all directions, from the seriously awesome to the practically pointless.
I reckon you know whether or not this is for you even before you've heard the first tone of
New Shred Generation.
Hear a clip from Millennium Force and check out delightful Technical Winter.
Hopeful artist sprout and grow forth from every crack and cranny, and the newcomer Faustian Dripfeed
from Stavanger, Norway is a resolute young ensemble that tries to establish a position as steady supplier of
The guys play death metal with a melodic approach, and they don't put neither home nor genre to shame. Especially since
they put a far greater range to use than what I initially expected.
At just under 20 minutes we make acquaintance with five relatively clever and varied songs from a hungry band that I
really believe has what it takes to make it.
Genetically Modified Homicide opens with a theme that illuminates the grim drawbacks of biotechnology,
seemingly in relatively ordinary melo-death. Like so many other places we come across small samples that relate to the
lyrical themes, and that fits well in. The music is obviously adapted to a natural inclusion of these. Solos and fittingly
intricate structure does not provide a conclusive evidence of unusually well-written death metal, but serves as a good
Fortunately the trend continues with the song Murder Circus, dealing with the O.J. Simpson case, and
it doesn't stop there. The song with the flamboyant name Kalibrer Ditt Moralske Kompass (Calibrate Your
Moral Compass) mainly blends growling English verses with Norwegian choruses. The latter also surprises with combination
of mild clean vocals in an atmosphere more typical of post-black, and black vocals with small vibes of Einherjer.
Becomingly acoustic guitar midway soon gives way to its electric brother. The band don't allow repetition of separate
passages to overstay their welcome, but are constantly on the moves in an agile fashion.
Chris Hansen BBQ refer to a TV host in a somewhat controversial program called “To Catch a Predator”,
which utilize relatively reprehensible and speculative methods, where the end justifies the means at any cost, to expose
paedophiles. Or to increase the viewer ratings by hanging out any random fool, perverted enough to be lured by some
virginal jailbait. All depending on how you see it. A World of Emptiness concludes this mini-album. After a hard opening, the band surprises by calming
down and incorporating deep, Type O Negative'ish clean vocals and relaxing The Foreshadowing-like voice in a gorgeous chorus.
Without overstating the level of detail in the description above, I simply conclude by stating that Faustian
Dripfeed has written a fairly intricate piece of music, and recorded it with empathy and soul. Meanwhile, the
band has potential for improvement and growth, and they will for sure be interesting to follow.
Hear for yourself: Faustian Dripfeed - Between This And Death
Dark Descent Records, 16.09.16
After at least five trips on Nox Formulae's hidden path, my knowledge about this band were still
non-existent. After a little research I still knew no more about the Greeks than nationality, that they hadn't
released music before (at least not in full-length format), that they created their Fakebook profile at the end of
last year, and that they weren't yet added to Metal Archives.
In addition to them being above average concerned about secret occult rites.
It's even claimed that the band through this album for the first time ever
reveals segments of a supposedly real esoteric clan of Luciferian black magic.
Fanatical sect or not, we concentrate on the Greek's musical aspect. I possess no other facts anyway, except that
the band is a quintet, and that we find nine songs spread over three quarters on The Hidden Paths to Black
Ecstasy, which as said is Nox Formulae's debut. And an exceptionally good first attempt
as such. Of course we're talking black metal here, and the Greeks, like a number of Hellenic entities before them,
succeed in creating something quite distinctive. Having resigned in my quest for information, I kept spinning the
album, sinking further down the rabbit hole.
Over a somewhat monotonous base of thunderous percussion and riff, where especially the latter is rather distant in
the mix, bright guitar tones with a strange sound levitate and hover around, creating a distinctive feel I have trouble
putting into concrete words. In between these contrasting guitars, vocals reside. In utter loneliness in the wastelands.
The vocals are plagued by painful memories which together with an unbearable godforsaken existence is tearing at the soul.
The Hidden Paths to Black Ecstasy doesn't have as occult a mood, as it has a sturdy chronic atmosphere
of sorrow, regret and bitterness. The bright guitars constitute strips of hope, but soaring too high, they are inaccessible
as an unachievable dream. No one has yet succeeded at picking the moon down from the night sky, and any hope is equally
unrealistic for Nox Formulae, which shuts the world out, locks the door and throws away the key.
Nox Formulae seeks inward. And find comfort and trust in Lucifer.
This album has required a bit of me as listener, and has absorbed a great deal of time, which
nevertheless has paid off in the form of a dark and dreary experience. I'd like to share it with you now.
If you think you're worthy of walking The Hidden Paths to Black Ecstasy.
Kaotoxin Records, 22.07.16
The amount of releases almost makes it tempting to solely concentrate on full-length albums,
but every once in a while you come across interesting releases in other formats too.
And of course, as a good Antichrist, I willingly let myself be lead into temptation.
This exactly 10 minutes short piece wants to direct your attention to two
French black metal bands who may not have received too much of that.
On side A, we find Azziard. The band's last release was rewarded with five points on these narrow-minded pages.
Sophomore Vésanie is my only meeting with them, and a mental refresher absolutely didn't hurt.
Today's contribution is called Unus Mundus and didn't impress me quite as much as expected at very
first listen. Based on my knowledge of the Frenchmen, I expected a little sharper underground feel, while Unus
Mundus sounds more professional. There's of course nothing wrong with that either, and when the ear soon becomes used
to a slightly different expression, it's really a blazing bliss, with driving rhythms and dark, thumping, deranged madness.
I have no prior knowledge of Nirnaeth, but uncle internet can revel that they have just as many albums
and years behind them. That means two albums and about fifteen years of experience. Nihil in Me is the name of the song they've recorded for the occasion. This has more of the sharp charged, pitch
black moods I was expecting of Azziard, with sizzling tremolo-riffing, foaming fierce vocals and furious drums.
Both bands can beat their chests proudly with proper productions, carrying the fire from the creative mind and onto
the listener's ears without losing any power and thrust along the way. Nirnaeth have made a video for
Nihil in Me, and both songs can be downloaded for an optional fee from Kaotoxin. Both songs bring an appetite for more to a black hearted soul, and is also available on 7".
Blood Harvest, 29.07.16
The Americans of Impure Consecration is yet a fairly new band, and their Succumb to Impurity
Fire is a warning of upcoming hellfire.
The EP consists of two tracks totalling almost ten minutes. Strangely enough, the two tracks got extremely different
sound, and as such works as an excellent example of how much sound actually matters.
It sounds as if these were recorded in different location, and as if they only had enough money to hire a producer in
one of two cases.
I take proviso that something may be wrong with one of the received files, but the condition is the same on Bandcamp.
We might as well begin on side B. Apparitions of a Malevolent Spirit sounds so woolly that it gives otherwise furious death metal an
unfortunate monotonous character. It is possible to hear the frantic qualities through layers of soundproofing, but
it requires deeper concentration, and can thus not be enjoyed fully.
The situation is completely different on side A. Succumb to Impurity Fire sounds as hellish as the title suggests. The sound is red hot, and allow
morbid death metal with hectic rhythms, diabolic vocal and disc grinder riffs to appear clearly, and burn into the
listener's mind as livestock branding.
With occult vibes, beastly variation and reckless driving, this song alone convinces that the upcoming full length
album is going to become killer.
The composition ain't so indispensable that procurement is essential, but the title track alone is kick-ass enough
to open your wallet. Side B prevents a higher grade at this time.
Hear for yourself: Impure Consecration - Succumb to Impurity Fire.
Blood Harvest, 12.09.16
The Mexicans in In Obscurity Revealed is once again a promising band to keep an eye on. The guys plays
what you'd call blackened death metal, but the promo leaflet suggests that these furious tracks just as easily could be
considered deathened black metal.
They've got a point, for the amalgam of evil and bestiality sounds as an alloy with no joints.
On the positive side, the band creates a sustained mood of seething chaos with its technical playful approach, and the
result is quite tough.
The downside is that the style ain't too original, and that the sonic vortex don't become particularly memorable.
The sound is glowing, albeit slightly sharp round the edges. It does fit the music well, though. I like what I hear,
and I'm looking forward to the upcoming album, but I hope for somewhat stronger hooks by the time. Longer duration may
in itself be enough to soak the listener in this dim and harsh atmosphere. A pretty cool teaser with some potential.
Hear Grim Fumes of Revelation.
Blood Harvest, 12.09.16
The name sounded familiar, but I was probably confusing Morbosatan with Morbo and Morbosidad.
These guys come from Peru, and has been active since 2013. The line up amongst others counts Toñyn Destructor
from Anal Vomit behind the drums. The Last Sacrifice consists of three songs and fourteen minutes of bestial black/death that smells
of mildew, rot and primitive underground.
It sounds like an old cassette that's been laying in moist soil since Sarcofago's heyday, and the putrid
content is roughly in the same vicinity.
After an introduction you wouldn't want your family and neighbours to hear, it kicks of with close to insipid rumbling
disgust and sonic torture, so hideous that only those with special interests may benefit from it. I note hints of kicking
riffs, rhythms and solos in the pandemonium of excessive under-produced sound, but snare, hi-hat and oestrus roars
drowns out most of it.
There is a golden mean between necrotic and over-polished. If Morbosatan one day
discovers this, it may soon be more interesting to write home about their adventures. Otherwise,
The Last Sacrifice may as well live up to its name for all I care.
Iron Bonehead, 09.09.16
Canadian Amphisbaena deliver technically competent (if not direct technical) chaos-infested death metal.
The implementation is successful, and frantic moods are conjured up.
Yet I've had a somewhat ambivalent relation to the band's work.
The quartet mostly consists of people with good amount of experience. The self-titled EP is their first release, and has four
songs, very unevenly distributed over 24 minutes. The sound is dirty and muddy, and Tore Stjerna have mastered it.
Creating controlled chaos involves a certain risk. One balances on a knife's edge between too much chaos and too much
control. Technically speaking, the band succeed at keeping its balance, but the expert panel disagree deeply regarding
the score for aesthetic. The scorecards differ exceedingly. The sound is dark and appropriate, and seething poisoned
moods along with structural variation counts in a positive favour.
A bit of unsteady staggering on the tightrope, with some seemingly random structures and indications of staccato rhythms,
however draws the average down. One of the main judges also complain about the lack of originality. Some protests, while
others refuse to emphasize that criterion to any significant degree.
While the quarrel between the voices in my head escalates, and I take a visit to my emergency psychiatrist, you can
check the song Chthonic Macrophagi at your own risk.
Between you and me, I've actually gotten a bit of a taste for Amphisbaena, despite some debris in the machinery.
Boersma Records, 09.09.16
So, than. What metallic pigeon-hole does these melodic Germans sort under? The first thing I think of is so-called
melodic death metal, a fairly diffuse term, as it's used both for real death metal with a melodic appearance, and
on Gothenburg metal.
We're talking something closer to the latter, with additional accessories. They call it dark metal themselves. Another
relatively diffuse genre. It's nonetheless an adequate description.
Schwarzmaler don't paint the walls black, although the vocals are a bit black and serrated around the
edges. It also has a touch of screamo-core, which harmonizes with the rhythm. The music has a powerful and arrogant
character, enhanced by symphonic instruments. The many directions still doesn't diverge. The men brings the loose ends
together and creates a thorough and consistent quilt.
When the melodies and the epic moods are at their best, the Germans succeed pretty well in my ears. But when it becomes
too core'ish, however, I drop out. Unfortunately, this lays murmuring almost all the time. The sound is professional,
and the expression is carried out competently. Pentarium clearly has some good objective properties,
but my subjective antennas does not respond too well to the meeting with their modern approach. Schwarzmaler
as such never becomes my cup of favoured brew, but if the mixture seems alluring, you should taste the elixir
for yourself: Pentarium - Schwarzmaler.
Solitude Productions, 05.09.16
It feels like much time has passed since I last was granted pure death/doom of vintage recipe. From the Czech Republic comes
the debutant of Self-Hatred, a sextet mostly consisting of people with limited experience, who performs leaden
sadness as if time has stood still under a black veil of eternal sorrow for the past 25 years. Theia opens in classic manners, with heavy riffs, deep growl and beautiful melodies of desolate sadness
enveloping the listener and stunning all other senses than hearing in a soothing fashion.
The music doesn't require the most meticulous description. We're talking good old traditional death/doom of British ancestry,
albeit with a gothic fairytale touch of yesteryears in an enchanted tower in rural areas behind overgrown paths. Synth with
church organ sound and fair vocals from Rapunzel in the tower, preserves some colour in the ever greying woods.
The album requires a few spins to find the right footing. Although it was good to hear the genre in all its glory without
modern influence, it took some time for a creeping scepticism to let go. Theia is naturally far from the
height of the genre's most immortalized moments, but it's a good and pleasant album from a band on the starting block.
The elf-voice of the forest nymph gives tiny glimmers of hope. With crystal clear voice, she sings out her message of hope for
better times, of life that again will return to normal and move on, and that the heat of the sun's rays anew shall break through
the enchanted fog of grief and misery.
I'm not sure whether her melodious prayers can give any redemptive results. The country is still cloaked in coldness and
discouragement as I leave. It probably takes more to break the spell. Maybe your sympathy can help?
Self-Hatred's debut Theia is so competently conducted that it's clearly approved, but
I think the band has more to give that lays dormant. I hereby give them a gradation with room for further development.
Northern Silence Productions, 09.09.16 Loth, is what they've chosen to call themselves, these two Frenchmen.
A name of which I'm afraid I can't shed any light. Loth is once again a band that's somehow become convinced the world needs more atmospheric
They have, however, not received any new bright ideas that could contribute to versatility or whatever new in the genre.
The eponymous Loth, is an album that could go both ways depending on state of mind, how much standard
nature-worshipping atmospheric metal one has had to digest recently and such. Put simply, the music is fairly dreamy
and relatively relaxing, but completely unoriginal. The song title Nemesis Mundane says it all, for
within the genre, this is music with a humdrum expression, no more, nor less.
That the quality ain't even close to the top echelon either, does not help the overall impression.
The French who, quite right, turn out to be freshmen, claims to be inspired by traditional and melodic osbm along with
newer incarnations. The band mentions Immortal and Burzum, without me hearing just what that's got to
do with anything. They also mentions Drudkh, Wyrd, Häive and Walknut, something I can
relate more to. Especially Wyrd is a reputable supplier of acoustic campfire-strumming and atmospheric tremolo in soaring yet earthy
tribute to Mother Earth. Overgrown forests in particular.
Nice and neat, and done better oh-so many times before. That's the conclusion.
You may decide for yourself whether the verdict is too strict or too generous.
CD available from Northern Silence this weekend, while Specific Recordings released Lothdigitally and on vinyl a quarter of a year ago.
Morbid Skull Records, 06.09.16
A couple of years ago, Chilean Juan Pablo Nuñez (previously in Bloody Torture and Swarm of
Hatred) and German Alvaro Lillo (Execrator and live for Watain), which apparently
hail from Chile too, put their heads together.
The goal was to create dark and raw black metal, a ritual portal to the abyss, spiritual chaos, a fully devoted channelling
manifestation of ancient occult knowledge, ecstasy, trance and satanic commitment.
Along with them, they dragged Pablo Gatica (from Pagan Funeral) to handle the drums.
Divided opinions will always exist in an extreme-metallic genre where strong and conflicting viewpoints prevail. In my
ears, the band sets hairy goals, but sadly they don't quite live up to these ambitions. Black Rites begins with the sound of Xalpen sharpening their knives. My own sanded
slaughter knives, however, will not come to use this time. Black Rites might not be optimal, but I would
still characterize it as good.
When the blades are sharp enough, it's black metal all right, signing up for action. The first thing I notice is a somewhat
peculiar sound. The next is that the music also differs slightly. The music is fairly intense, with a sound that sounds like
666 participants in a large-scale occult mass in a massive stone-Cathedral is drowning in blood. There is something gurgling
and reverberating over the production. It's obviously the resounding echo of the cathedral ringing. It fits the expression
quite well. The atmosphere might reflect this unholy ceremony, but mostly just from the outside. At least the band doesn't
succeed in dragging this listener with them in the spiritual escape into the mystical otherworldly dimensions.
The black metal is dark, intense and chanting, with a blend of monologue vocals and unreal howls. The expression, as well as
the aforementioned audio is booming, and most certainly creates strong moods. I still get a little bit disappointed when the
music doesn't live up to its self-defined intentions, but if ignoring this, Xalpen delivers quite well on the
first attempt. Not exemplary or ground-breaking, but the band nonetheless stirs together a witches' brew that tastes a little
different than what's served by the most generic among the general herd. Bitter as Campari, but with sufficient after-taste.
It seems this has been marketed as full-length and not EP, which seemed a bit odd, as it only lasts for 24 minutes, 5 less
than Reign in Blood, which in addition to acting as the ultimate proof that short is good, or at least adequate,
also in a sense has served as an unwritten definition of the borderline between the two formats. Anyway, it seems the band is
clear on Black Rites being an MLP, so I'll consider this an EP as well.
Fallen Empire Records, 10.08.16
After barely one and a half minutes of pointless ambient intro, which oddly enough also plays the role of title track,
the New Jersey band shows what they're made of (or rather what he is made of) through barely eight minutes
long Endless, Aimless, Ruthless Power, the first of two killer songs.
I should perhaps have written “shows what has taken residence in him”, for my suspicion is of alien parasites that's
taken control of his nervous system and reduces its host to a bloodthirsty primitive and aggressive predator.
The band plays something that by outsiders would have been regarded as frantic jet black disgust in the form of atonal
cacophonous brutality. We who agree with such music, would perhaps come to use the same words, but then of course with
an approving nod. Otherwise I wouldn't really call this cacophonic, even if it sounds roaringly infernal, for it's not
“chaotic and noisy”, it's just raw as salmonella-infected meat in Hell.
The band, which consists solely of T. Warrior from Death Fortress, here plays black metal, and
debuts with this fifteen minutes long EP.
The music simulates eeriness via uncompromising intensity. The wall of riffs are of thick, reinforced and rough concrete,
but are nonetheless perforated by the striking percussion. Drums and cymbals kicks like pistons, and sounds rapid like a
rattlesnake in a Colombian drug-cartel, while the vocal rasps like sharp knives till the throat bleeds and the lyrics are
uttered through a seething fountain of blood.
That Lux Absentia only delivers about 13 minutes of music, that's even introduced with 83 seconds of
retarded noise, doesn't mute my enthusiasm. The two scorched songs are totally ass-kicking black metal, with an inferno
of sound when barbed guitar-strings and drum skin are whip to blood. This EP, which even cost exactly what you want it
to do, is a true joy to share with you! I want more! Now! You hear me Tom?
Screaming Victims Distro, 25.03.16
Welcome to a quick review of a split between four Greek extreme metal band, released almost six months ago.
Do not expect stereotypical Hellenic black metal, but rather black/death hybrids, mostly emphasising aspects
concerning brutal demise.
In the course of 15 minutes, they all manage to deliver their contributions, so buckle up.
Abyssus has participated on a good handful of splits through their five years, and released their debut
album last year. From that one, they've picked the song they present here, but now in a new version. R.I.P has a chasing occult touch of manhunt in dark woods, and an unmistakable whiff of acts such as
and Obituary. The guitar is tuned down into the realm of the bass, and after a minute of quiet, occult-sounding pace,
trotting strokes and unkind tribute to death and destruction are asserted.
Slaughtered Priest will soon have laid ten years behind them, and they actually launched their fifth album
last month. Hellsound - Spellbound is the name of the band's contribution, and it only uses seconds to accelerate to
full gallop. The band lives up to their unholy name by bidding on a blacker expression. The song follows a winning formula
by pushing the pedal to the metal, without unnecessarily revving the engine or losing control. The band also knows how to
incorporate an adequate, but not excessive amount of melody in their irascible and memorable riffs. Diabolical variation
and transitions fits like a glove.
Death Courier actually started up nearly 30 years ago, but after about six years the band was put on ice
until 2009. The band has released two albums, one before the ice age, and one after the re-activation. Immune to Burial is the festive name of this grant, and then we more than sense that death is once more to
be worshipped. The song may have all appearances of classic death metal, but with hunting rhythms, frantic vocals, killer
riffs and clawing licks, this is a zombie on speed, darting like a vampire, striking like an ogre, tearing the limbs of
everything still breathing.
DreamLongDead have released two albums sporting sentence-long titles during their five years. On their first
split, the quintet are assigned the task of ensuring the last impression. Vomit Earth is a title that suggests we're moving in a direction of distasteful morbid regurgitation.
We primarily stick to death's embrace, while the band in lower midtempo spew forth heavy riffs and librettos of puke that
insists we are nothing but the Vomit of the Earth. This might not leaves the strongest legacy, but it still works.
None of the tracks are weak, but I appoint the two middle songs as personal favourites. Each band has nevertheless been
nice to greet, as they're all new to me. The split is short, and of course not an absolute must, but the music is good,
and thus recommended.
Also, you pay what you want for this quadruple split. Check it out, and cherry-pick your own choices: Abyssus / Slaughtered Priest / Death Courier / DreamLongDead.
Independent, 06.08.16 Illusions Dead is a Finnish black/death entity with one album on their conscience. Immortal Domain is a single with inviting cover art, consisting of a just over four minutes long title song.
I shall not comment on how the full length Celestial Decadence sounds, as I unfortunately
only have spent a brief moment checking it out myself. Immortal Domain on the other hand combines rawness with lots of melody in a nice way.
The sound is a little bit thin, and the vocalist's quite literally razor-sharp laser beam voice may be a clue exaggerated,
as it would have suited necro black metal to a far greater extent. None of these aspects are however harmful enough to
prevent me from enjoying the song.
The drums are racing with the devil at their heels, whipping the swirling guitars in front of them. The rhythm generally
holds a fast pace, with varying rhythms, but even tempo variations are applied along an axis of sliding melodies. The music
is vital, the song quite well written and the performance is good. A little bit of guitar solo rounds off a short but
succinct release that makes me curious about what we have in store from Illusions Dead in the future.
Not 100% flawless or mandatory, but certainly likeable, and the price is definitely affordable for everyone.
Check for yourself: Immortal Domain.
Old Temple, 12.03.16 Hellspawn is a Polish death squad with 13 years in activity. Thus, their third album is fully capable
of creating expectations, or at least a desire, although the name as such has till now been unknown to me.
And so, it's very pleasing to see that the Poles fulfil this anticipation.
This prologue is nevertheless fairly misleading, as I didn't have the faintest
idea as to the band's origin when I was initially impress by the album.
Behind the shroud we find fiery riffs and tight rhythms, which together with slower, tougher undertones creates a fairly
powerful touch. The music admittedly don't have a full fledged majestic expression, but an unmistakable sense of power,
courage and strength is still there. This is naturally strengthened by the symphonic tinge that gets some of the songs
started before metallic elements take the lead and maintain firm thrust through natural transitions. Orchestral elements
even enhance moods and expression elsewhere, contributing to a fuller sound, but is in these cases left relatively deep
in the mix, whispering obscene words into the subconscious.
The two first songs can almost be reckoned as warm-up before the competent guys with Antitrinitarian
show what they're made of. Hellspawn is a quartet which to be fair has a few conventional and staccato
sequences they don't quite manage to sweep under the rug, but that nevertheless impresses greatly. Juicy riffs,
great transitions and skilful balance between heaviness, speed and slowness, are among the elements that creates tough
killer death metal with a whiff of grand Polish grandeur. Along with good solos (which certainly could have been more
dominant in the sound), delightful rhythms and rich, spicy sound, the positive aspects of the death metal outperforms
the remaining minor flaws by a wide margin.
Fallen Empire Records, 10.08.16
Gradually renown Mare Cognitum is back. This time in collaboration with (somewhat) less familiar
Aureole. Together they embarked on a manned journey through the vast emptiness of cosmos. The band's journals
aren't* as foreign as the monstrous (huge, that is, not fucking heinous and foul, one might hope) unknown universe would
suggest. After all, the metal industry has employed a number of astronauts over recent years.
This story, arriving from alien worlds, is far from “boring”.
*(Sorry bout using the word aren't in a non-interrogative
connection, but I needed a minor hiatus from “ain't”, and the band, they are...)
Mare Cognitum is a one-man band from California, in case you didn't know, and have during the past
five years succeeded in making their, sorry, his mark over the course of three (according to most of my
experience highly) acclaimed albums.
California based Jacob Buczarski still plays atmospheric black metal, where different riffs create
buoyancy of more than sufficient thrust despite the sheer gravity-pulling weight and mass of the launch vehicle. We
do of course come across well known esoteric moods in the music, holding and sporting many emotions. Emptiness. Hope.
Longing. Regret. Most of all, the music facilitate escapism, and personal associations.
The band's two tracks, titled Crimson Abyss: NGC 2237 and Crimson Abyss: NGC 2238,
separately swirls seamlessly through time and space, and ends on a total of 19 dreamy minutes.
The next two contributions to the log originates from co-pilot Markov Soroka, hired consultant from
the cosmonaut agency Aureole Enterprises. Here, the two files Void Obsidian: NGC 2244
and Void Obsidian: NGC 2246 are filed in the protocol. The two would take about 22 MB in “good” old
128 kbps MP3, as they clock in at the same amount of minutes.
The band is located in the same waters, although with a somewhat more ambient intensity. Here, is told an intensely
thrilling story of critical encounters with interplanetary objects in velocities making a conventional projectile to
shame, and startling observations of black holes within gravitational pulls length. It quickly becomes quite a bit
darker and colder as a sombre silence fills the cockpit. A sturdy mood cloaks the listener as these ominous events occur.
The totality is yet again well interwoven with rich and relevant information spread across each page of the report.
Having held their breath in tensions, our friends pull though and come away from it with just a vivid memory of horror
as side effect. Approximately a month ago, when the crew of the excursion were safely back in the harbour and had
informed their superiors on the Board of Fallen Empire Holdings, these astral journals were published.
Both bands paints vivid moods, strong as good acid. Not that I've tried.
Aureole only have the album Alunar to show for, but I'm sure we'll hear
more from their diverse assault on the senses. Mare Cognitum, on their part, will be back very shortly. The album Luminiferous Aether
is to be released via I, Voidhanger Records on September 16th. Doesn't Occultated Temporal Dimensions sound promising?
In the remaining two weeks, Resonance: Crimson Void is an excellent companion to shorten the wait.
Pay what thou wilt (or can) for Mare Cognitum and Aureole's just over forty minutes
long split Resonance: Crimson Void. Donate the mites (or more that) you can
afford, and enjoy cosmos.
Hells Headbangers, 26.08.16
Behind Mario Lopez' hand-painted cover art, we allegedly find death metal of the old school. Stevo do Caixao from Impetigo and more have found inspiration in the leading suppliers
of horror and gore, malice, brutality, heaviness and speed, and has been joined by five other seasoned musicians. Autopsy, Grave, Funebre, Demigod, Repulsion, Terrorizer,
Crematory and Incantation are cited as sources of inspiration.
Unfortunately, Surgikill doesn't remind me the least of any on that list. The Cincinnati/Kentucky band
has a more rowdy speed/death touch than all of these, and are more reminiscent of a cacophonous modern offspring that
deliberately attempts to sound ugly, dirty and boisterous. It all sounds rather clinking and I'm initially a bit unsure
whether this is intentional, or if parts of the production has tightened the screws too much on the dynamic range. With
an even DR6, which ain't exactly critical, at least we can rule out that aspect as the weak link.
In short, Sanguinary Revelations should be able to appeal to bigger fans of a band like Midnight.
(Sorry 'bout the lack of references on this point.) These guys have a tougher, more lethal expression, than Whipstriker
at the bottom of the page, but the hooks and the tantalizing structures are unfortunately simply absent. The music
is raw, and as such tough, but the songs and their simple arrangements appears as reasonable chaotic. Others can have and
enjoy this for themselves. I've got much more cunning and challenging music to tackle and probe.
The artwork stands out positively, though.
Heathen Tribes, 31.08.16 Blight plays a kind of black metal that seems to have made a turn at a little-known crossroad along
the evolutionary path.
Could the band, like the label, perhaps have its roots in Greece, where a branch of proto black metal took root and
developed into its own direction? Hardly.
American than maybe, or possibly Central American?
Wrong again. But not quite as wrong.
These children of Lucifer hails from Canada and plays a fairly peculiar form of black metal, where the rounded and frantic
guitar sound in particular stands out. There is an unmistakable Inquisition mark over parts of the guitar works on
The Teachings. Just like dawning insanity grinds down sharp edges in mental areas affected by psychological
disaster, without making the patient less unstable for that reason, the strings sounds balanced on the surface, yet potent
enough to hide lurking danger just underneath the surface.
The expression is antagonistic, and the atmosphere lays somewhere between controlled rituals and uncontrolled anger.
Especially the vocals are struggling to control its temper.
Blight clearly sticks out a bit with their idiosyncratic style, and all honour to them for that. To begin
with, I was still not quite sure what to make of this 25 minute long EP. There is a plethora of good sequences and
the expression appeals. The coherence is alright, although parts of the structure gives a small sense of cut and paste,
rather than an entirely floating connection. The sound is good, once you've gotten used to it. Screaming vocals, alternating
between black howls, witch-shrieks and over-the-top strained screeching, can admittedly go both ways, but I'd go with saying
they're just inside what's acceptable and comfortable.
I was a bit sceptical at first, and my initial draft was a tinge more nitpicking. But after all, one should
grant fresh supplements to the scene an extra chance. The band is admittedly not newcomers as they've been
around for a few years, and have a couple of releases behind them in terms of demo, split and EP. All in all,
The Teachings consist of black metal with a slightly different approach. The EP ain't
flawless, but the songs gradually grow, and the music is charming. Tout ensemble, I have gradually acquired a
taste for these five songs. If black metal is your favoured cup of cyanide, you should give it a shot (or more).
Hypnotic Dirge Records, 25.08.16
Fully aware of Hypnotic Dirge Records' reputation, the label amongst other cooperate closely with Solitude
Productions, I said yes to review this without knowing what I was in for.
When it appeared that Frigoris didn't fit into the safe, good death/doom profile, but rather colours
the world dark grey with sombre blue shades in the form of monotonous post-metal, I was about to resign.
Let me nonetheless present Nur ein Moment… für Sie, der liebt post-metall.
When the band calms the pace and presents beautiful, tearful melancholy, the band's rather graceful melodies shine
through. As usually, the melodies are often presented via, or even behind, generic shoegaze riffs.
In conventional manners, the melodies are fair, but as so often within this genre, they differ not from the masses.
The vocals are angry and black, but the overall mood is neither completed furious, hateful, black, depressed or
devilish. Vocals without hope, over tunes with a hint of sunshine, just feels whiny and emo and I become dejected
and impatient. Will these six songs never finish. With a duration of over 50 minutes, the album feels as if it'll
last for half an eternity.
The violin in closing Station is however gorgeous as hell. I'll give the emotional Germans that.
This most certainly didn't become the objective review I originally had in mind, but hey, fuck it. We all have different
tastes, and this album is really quite nice. I'm just tired of self-pitying monotonous moaning. If you have a
taste for what I am weary of, fairly regular, whining and complaining post-monotony, it may very well be that you
will embrace the quartet's third full-length album, Nur ein Moment…
Ergo, you're strongly advised to form your own opinion!
Einheit Produktionen, 02.09.16 Vike Tare from northern Germany doesn't play Thuringian Pagan Metal, they play Frisian
Pagan Black Metal, a more direct and tradition form of pagan, with blackened lines and elements of folk heritage
and cultural baggage in the melody lines, but without the use of folk instruments.
As the album title Feed The Flames suggest, you may throw on all the wood you want, building a bone
fire of manly proportions.
Participants and spectators to this informal pagan ceremony wield and swing their German beer tankards and swords in
amicable duels. Some try their skills at axe throwing before the alcohol take effect... and at fist-fighting when the
golden home-brew has separates the mind and intellect from primitivity and lack of impulse control.
Mood-associations aside, the title and cover is actually related to a real pagan custom called
Biikebrennen, traditionally celebrated on February 21th. The flames was originally an offering to Odin,
but the practice has over the years evolved into a farewell party for the fishermen who again head out to sea when
the winter begin releasing its most biting grip.
The men show good melodic flair of their own, but also borrow three ballads of famous German cultural figures. As Frisia
is located in the north of Germany and the Netherlands, south-west of the border to Denmark, the guys also have a connection
to the sea, and as such incorporates some maritime themes. The borrowed feathers all have marine links. Poet and author
Otto Ernst's story Nis Randers is previously set to melody and Vike Tare's version is
named Die Späte Rückkehr. Poet, prose and stage writer Detlev von Liliencron is the man behind
Trutz, Blanke Hans, a Frisian name of the North Sea, while Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the poet,
writer, humanist and natural scientist behind Faust, is the man behind the ballad Der Fischer.
All these interpretations glide imperceptibly into the band's own repertoire.
The band has taken a fairly melodic expression, which should be able to appeal to a wide audience, at the same time as the
paganism shines through clearly, and insistent black vocals keeps the most innocent lambs at arms length.
Einheit Produktionen, 02.09.16
The sextet Surturs Lohe celebrates as much as 20 years without previously having invaded my privacy.
The band may not have had any major breakthrough, but they haven't been the most active on the release front either.
A few albums were released early this century, and a third album was released five years ago.
The band from Thuringia, in central Germany, define their expression as Thuringian Pagan Metal.
The Thuringians delivers a fairly nifty and elaborate work, which contains light diverging elements of pagan and folk,
with moods of wild nature, medieval times and maybe a passing viking now and then. Yet it doesn't become entirely
schizophrenic, although the band suffer from an innocent delusion that they inhabit a majestic castle which is now
hosting a grand ball. Surely, it doesn't matter, as long as we now receive our imaginary invitations.
After a (for me futile) German narrated intro-monologue with symphonic instrumentation in the background, melodic metal
with tremolo-riffing and black-tuned vocals arrives in Lohe Surt. Seelenheim rapidly
changes tactics, when it opens quietly and acoustically before fair female vocal are introduced. After some pleasant
guitars and whispering male vocals, we go back in the direction of the fuss pedal and mild Viking moods in the fog while
the fair maiden still sings her serenades in the palace's garden. A brief flute sequence lead my thoughts toward
Dismal Euphonys Soria Moria Slott, while more medieval flute and acoustic string-picking from the Renaissance
opens Under der Linden along with the virgin's song in duet with the prince in the tower.
I won't bother you with all the details, but rather confirm that the album consists of contrasting instruments
that are sewn together into a varied and well-structured expression, presented through swell melodies. Seelenheim
is an elaborate piece of medieval metal. If that sort of thing would please you, I strongly recommended you
attend Surturs Lohe's fictional banquet and ball in their imaginary castle.
I must honestly admit that my scepticism was thick as fog at first listen, but that blew quickly away during just a
few spins. Clear and bright sound from a good production also helps. The style is so thoroughly executed that the
band's practically reaching for a higher grading.
If a mixture of heavy speed and punked proto-black is just what you need to get through autumn, and if a light-footed
hybrid of Venom and a handful of other bands with rowdy fuck-all attitude may tempt thee...
You get the picture. On the band's third full-length album, nine songs are served, whereof one reach the four minutes
mark whilst over half of them thrive well on just under three minutes. The music is straight forward and simplistic. The
structures are simply dry-as-dust. The solos delivers some punch, but unfortunately there's not nearly enough of such.
The music is okay in the background, and would probably work fine for an out of control tequila binge party, but I don't
consider it something to sit down and actually listen to.
Retro-speed punk thrashers that never left the 80s, fans of Midnight for instance, are recommended to check out
Only Filth Will Prevail. Everyone else might as well not give a fuck.
In just a few days, Whipstriker will also release their eighteenth split.
This time with their conspecific peers in Croatian Hell's Bomber.