Witching Hour Productions, 18.11.16
The melodic black metallers in Polish Christ Agony had the honour of initiating last year's November
Impressions with the EP Black Blood, which came with a promise of a new full length album this year.
What than could be more appropriate then allowing them to round off the same month this year. Silly rationalization
aside. That makes no sense. It's just a matter of some trivial delay, as it's almost two weeks since Legacy
coloured the daylight blood-red with its warlike arrival.
Legacy is a step forward from the aforementioned EP. Partly because 8 tracks offer more variety than
3 tracks on repeat, and because 50 minutes gives more time to immerse in the music than mere 20, but also because the
songwriting feels a notch sharper this time.
Christ Agony anew deliver melodic black metal with a substantial ethos of salty waves thrusting and
foaming against the side of the Viking ship, and a whiff of atmospheric pagan. I mentioned traces of death the last
time, and such may be traced in the technical aspect, but style and expression don't hint in that direction. Originality
is still not a priority, but that don't mean much. The band may as well have been part in laying the groundwork for this
musical branch. After all, the band has been going strong since 1990 (disregarding a few years under different moniker)
and released eight (or nine) albums before this. I don't know them particularly well, and recognition of my own incompetence
in this field makes me tread carefully on thin ice.
In nine minutes long The Legacy of Sin & Blood, the sonic aesthetics of the Viking spirit becomes most
evident between rough riffs, barking vocal lines and threatening moods. Tough and good rhythm section must also be mentioned.
With chanting Polish monologue and background choir set to primitive ritual rhythms in a five-minutes long occult outro,
finalizing Dziedzictwo is the most distinguished track. I could do without it, but what what the hell.
It's probably there to lower the adrenaline levels and normalize the pulse before the grey light of day is glimpsed when
the flames extinguish and the mist of steaming blood settles.
Without comparing too much, both cover and music reminds me slightly of Satanic Warmaster's
Fimbulwinter, but that's just mentioned to give you a vague idea of where the compass needle is pointing. Legacy is a cool album with resounding sound that fans of mighty and stout melodic pagan/black should take notice of.
Via Nocturna, 30.11.16
Polish Srogość released the debut W Szaleństwie digitally in 2014. It was re-released on CD by
Via Nocturna last year and the sophomore album is scheduled for release next year. Meanwhile, the duo release a
three-track EP with a four-track demo from 2013 as bonus.
The band isn't recognizable from the debut, but they have on this occasion most likely purposely approach the style of the demo somewhat.
W Szaleństwie was a display of majestic, symphonic-sounding melodic black metal with an alternative, though
not excessively experimental twist. Umbra Mortis is more primitive and evil black metal, and the three tracks
offer appropriate moods and associated rawness.
The demo Nicość rozścierwiona od padołów aż do wyżyn was initially intended as the first and final sonic
journey for this project. The two members did, however, acquire a taste for more. Considering last year's release in particular,
and maybe even next year's release, we ought to be pleased with that decision. The demo is far more primitive. Especially in
the sound, but also to some extent in the material. The four songs are, as they state, inspired and heavily influenced by
the works of a poet Tedeusz Miciński. The poetry, fiction and dramas of this playwright, was often characterized by
dark romanticism and expressionistic gothic gnosticism. The sound is thin and frail, and is best suited for those who
steadfastly swear to a fairly necro sound. One and another short-lived acoustic sequence do however sound organic, and the
thunder closing of the first demo song Wilcze Kurhany is lifelike.
I like the three new songs very well, while the demo tracks becomes more like a historical document and a curiosity than
enjoyable music. I am therefore left somewhat tepid overall, but I look forward to the next ordinary release. The grading
is therefore also located in-between “good” and “middling minus”. If I were to rate the three new tracks alone, you'd be
looking at a thumbs up for sure.
Check out Umbra Mortis / Nicość on your own.
Since only the new track Apostles of Hate is available at the time of writing, you can
also check out the demo here.
Helter Skelter Prod.&Regain Records, 25.11.16
Fashionable Swedish Regain Records had a plethora of behemoths in the stable (yes, them too) from the beginnings
in 1997 to the last breath in 2011. Whether this EP marks a step towards new activity, or if the label only operates as a
distributor in the background, has not yet been clarified. Helter Skelter Productions is in turn a relatively new label, which seems to have been established about eighteen
Together they nevertheless release the first glimpse of sadistic lava from Finnish Cynabare Urne.
The Finns have been active since 2014 and released Fire the Torches themselves in the latter half of
July. The cover is simple, and the EP is very brief and concise with its two tracks totalling just over 7 minutes.
The flaring flames of the torches still ignite something deep within me. All information channels, the few there is,
refer to death metal. I, however, hear the bestial diabolic roar in the flames, and I dare venture into calling
this black/death. Albeit I do so without taking the biggest risk. Even if riffs and technical approach generally belong
on the mighty throne of death, and the neck muscles feels the urge to initiate its helicopter rotor, the moods have a
sulphur breath from hell. A whiff of doomsday must also be mentioned, for the pace don't exactly break the sound barrier.
With just under 3.5 minutes, the title song don't waste no time on introduction, but goes straight to the point with
thrilling, ass-kicking and gloomy riffs with rumbling bass and hard-hitting mid-tempo pace. Paralysing as the certainty
of impending resolute death as you see the trailer just two seconds before it makes tomato juice out of you.
Triangle of Essence is generally somewhat slower and grabs hold of the listener with hard and weighty occult
gravity as a black hole in outer cosmos. Two ruthless tracks that promise very well and leave high anticipation for what
the future holds.
With sparse information about the newcomers, I expected just that; newcomers. Yet there was something familiar about
the name of lead singer and guitarist Jani Koskela, and connections to his colleague's name left no
doubt this wasn't a coincidence. The entire rhythm section is handled by Sameli Köykkä and these two names
have previously figured together in 0 X í S T, while they now handle their instruments in Saattue. The latter
man has a history in Colosseum, while Jani operate Horizon of the Mute by himself.
I'm still waiting for the final confirmation that this is indeed the case, but I take my chance, being so bold as to
presume that these gentlemen are precisely the same.
The music is not as melodic and melancholic as 0 X í S T, but rather more raw, malicious, proud and erect. You could
draw parallels to bands such as Kuolemanlaakso (albeit not the last album, mark you) and Ajattara for partly similarities. I've fallen
hook, line, and sinker for these killer tracks, and I voluntarily let myself be carried away by the volcano's glowing flames.
Pre-listening and digital purchases at your disposal via Cynabare Urne, and cassette & T-shirt bundle available through
This split can be said to be twofold in the sense that it has a cover and a title for each of the two involved bands.
Sure, it's been done before, but no one has claimed otherwise. Both sides of the 12" vinyl have also been released as
separate EPs earlier this year. The bands otherwise hail from each side of the big puddle.
As you probably know, both parties play good old morbid death metal.
Gravehill - Skullbearer:
The men from California have been at it for 15 years and they have a solid amount of releases behind them. Releases of
whom I have no relationship. On Skullbearer they present 4 songs in just under 20 minutes. All songs
actually clock in between 4:50 and 5 minutes. The death metal is located at the intersection between good and generic
in the sense that it's tough, fast and diabolically aggressive without deviating an inch from the recipe. That it goes
slavishly by the book, is an act I can easily forgive, as it sounds raw and rough, even in the sound. Gravehills contributions as such deserve approval, but it must unfortunately be pointed out that
Skullbearer don't have very deep meat hooks, and that the EP in that respect is in danger of sliding
into oblivion in a larger context.
Mordbrand - In Nighted Waters: Mordbrand from Sweden have ten years on their conscience, and as many releases, if one only counts
In Nighted Waters once. Their only full length album, Imago from 2014 is also my only
encounter with them. They continue more or less in the same path now, but I think the album seemed somewhat better.
Side B of the split is somewhat like a Swedish equivalent of side A. Five songs with good brutality and variety, along with
a taste of buzz-saw, on par with its American half brother, but not more distinguishing, tick in at just under 22 minutes.
The two EP together constitute a 41 minutes long split that will appeal to most people who love death
metal, but that will hardly stand out and excel enough to be a mandatory purchase. Check out the split via
Doomentia, and hear more of the Swedes through their
Black Friday, they call it as they try to lure you into shops bountiful of snobbish and dollish wares and vain, smug
customers, while crappy ceiling mounted speakers pump out commercial mass produced crap music that poison the last little
spark of motivation you had for picking up a new pair of jeans. Fuck that. I give you Black Friday. On Saturday.
For as usual, plans went down the drain and strait to hell. Lebenssucht is a trio from Germany / Bulgaria, according to Metal Archives, while the two non-German
members hail from Belgium.
Belgium, Bulgaria, potayto, potahto. They may have moved. What the hell do I know. They are in any case pitch black minded.
Months have passed since the trio debuted with the EP with the cheerful name Fucking My Knife. Three
tracks and 20 minutes of gloomy, furious depression is what the band churns out. There's no beginners we're dealing with
either. The two gentlemen Déhà (guitar, bass) and Ahephaim (drums), both contribute
with some vocals, but S Caedes is the one that primarily display suffering and disgust in her tormented
shrieks. Along with Ahephaim, she also dwells in Humanitas Error Est. Ahephaim also takes care
of duties in
Rogash, and the list of previous exploits is extensive (and include a few years in Enthroned).
Déhà has a long resume, and many irons in the fire, with Clouds and We All Die (Laughing) as
highlights. Both guys are also involved in the “supergroup” Vaer.
For the opening track, Beloved Depression, a video was created. It suits the release title! You're
thereby warned against strong scenes. The drums are hammering, the guitars weep blood and the vocals howl of despair.
The sound allows each anguished detail to roam freely, and the band's immersive passion don't spare the listener of
the highly traumatizing moods of distress and torment.
After nearly nine minutes it's the slightly shorter Until We Die and the title track which spreads
jet black eerie. The first of these through good conventional self-destructive misery. Conventional compared to the
last track, which is not a song in a conventional manner. The title track bids on depression in terms of those peculiar
sound collages I feel that I nag and slam at several times a week. I must admit that it works quite okay as outro for
this music, but five minutes is still too much for a three-track EP.
The two songs are however razor-sharp as sooty and grimy daggers.
The 200 CDs are probably torn away, but €4 is a reasonable price for the digital
version of Fucking My Knife.
EDIT 27.11.16: Déhà has relocated to Sofia in Bulgaria, while Ahephaim has settled
down in Leipzig, Germany, where S Caedes also resides. And there are still physical EPs in stock!
Dark Essence Records, 18.11.16 Black Hole Generator was created by Vulture Industries main man and regular producer for
Taake and Helheim, Bjørnar Nilsen in 2006.
An EP titled Black Karma was released the same year, and now, ten years later, the first full length is
finally in store.
I missed out on the aforementioned EP, and Vulture Industries is not quite my thing, so my basis for comparison is
thin. The music is still located somewhere between Vultures' avant-garde industrial revolution and conservative black
These dark souls do however manage to twist this hybrid in a distinctive direction. I use plural, as Bjørnar
haven't worn out all alone, but acquired help from among other guitarist Arve Isdal from Enslaved and more. Gjermund Fredheim,
also contributes lead guitar on three songs, while the renowned Bergen-musician Dreggen seem to be like a half-permanent member
to reckon, and fills in some additional guitars.
The music emerges as quite original, while the clean vocals give vibes of bands like Hamferð (and to some extent
The alloy just makes the music more distinct as the music doesn't have any particular Viking-vibes, but rather strange moods
of unhinged mayhem. The music is dizzying as a relatively calm mental carousel at one moment, and swirling like a runaway
tornado in the next, as if this vertigo reaches the top of the roller coaster and accelerates wildly in virtually free fall.
The only thing missing to really rub it in, is a saxophone and the heavy scent of strong hashish in some shady French
underground cabaret club or disreputable dive.
Black Hole Generator plays a peculiar form of proggy chewing-tobacco black stained metal with jazzy
influences, and I wouldn't have declined a couple of rusty brass instruments that would somehow have made the madness
complete. Especially since a few discreet piano-keys have been allowed. Along with the aforementioned vocals, the mildly
delirious sonic madness can insofar even give occasional associations to Arcturus.
The frenzied waltz of the drums, often done with double kegs in the bottom and frenetic diversity on top, creates delightful
progress, while the guitarists know their way around the bends. The sound fits the miserable jesters and their dynamic antics
well. But than again, Mr. Nilsen is also a sound engineer.
Do you feel the need for some light psychedelic circus in the form of just as disillusioned moods of isolation as the
grey everyday you're fleeing from? If so, A Requiem for Terra should cover your needs.
Godz Ov War Productions, 18.11.16 Misanthropic Rage is a Polish duo that comes down like a bolt from the blue with their thorough
and distinctive debut.
The band has been considered to be located within the border of the black spheres, but stand out enough to be placed in a
halfway isolated outer edge. Don't expect no revolution, though, there are limits to how much it's possible to differ while
constructing art within confined limits.
Progressive black metal is the label the band has been given on Metal-Archives.
Behind a delightful cover, we find dreamy and ceremonial metal with inspirations from various sources tastefully
incorporated. At times the music is somewhat dissonant. Other times, however, it can be harmonious in an almost catchy
fashion, as in the progressive sequence towards the end of I, The Redeemer, or the nearly oriental
sequence in the second half of Into The Crypt. Never without an abrupt transition just around the
corner, though. Clean singing, chanting voices and beastly, feverish wildness in perfect harmony. Unstable and risky
as unsecured grenades and undetonated explosives.
Gates No Longer Shut breach the gates to strange worlds of swarming insanity and swirling winds. Via
black magic rituals, a universe where inconsistencies and contradictions forms seamless links in an abstract chaos of
chain, are created.
The slightly peculiar sound takes a little bit of getting used to, but it soon works its charm. The
airy expression almost makes the dynamics on otherwise acceptable DR7 sound more dynamic. The album is
single-handedly recorded and produced by the two poles.
Misanthropic Rage debutet with the Qualia EP nearly five months ago, and now
deliver a piece of music you have to hear to comprehend the magnitude of. In times of hustle, bustle, pressure, tension
and stress, it's important to take a time-out for a moment of enjoying metallic meditation to shut the world out. So do
yourself a favour and put aside 40 minutes to let yourselves be bewitched and enthralled by mystical
Gates No Longer Shut.
Argento Records, 19.11.16
Three seemingly unknown Greeks constitute Natvre's. The band was started a couple of years ago and
released this debut digitally on their own almost a year ago. In January, Greek Clean Head Productions dropped
the album in digisleeve format, before Dutch Argento Records now tempts thee with Wrath in
limited edition digisleeve/digipak in anticipation of the next album scheduled to appear in 2017 via the latter label.
The music ain't quite easy to place, as it doesn't have a distinct whiff of Greece.
The band plays black metal that could just as easily have originated further north in Europe.
There are two things I immediately take notice of. One is that Natvre's play fierce black metal with
pitch dark moods and completely manic vocals. The second is that the sound is hermetically compressed. I'm no audio freak.
I no more schooled in the fine art of metal than you. I'm just a metal-head stupid enough to devote all my time to sort
promos, correspond with similarly single-minded halfwitted loonies, listen intently, write as often as possible and
operate this vulgar and insipid site. Nevertheless, it's not difficult to hear that the dynamic range is narrowed down
to an absolute minimum. Albeit sound that is rough around the edges suits Wrath, a brick wall of muddy
sound becomes in excess unpolished. Five of the eight tracks are measured to DR3, while two songs just reach DR2.
The one track that stretch all the way to DR8, is not a short acoustic interlude as it usually is in such cases, but rather
the album's longest track on 8.5 minutes. Hinterland can still almost be consider an interlude, as it
consists of monotonous and seriously repetitive ambience. Pointlessly till the absurd, of course.
The trio have taken care of production themselves in Stealthsound Studio. They should obviously have left the
job to professionals. It must nevertheless be said that they must have done something right, for the drums beats
as the devil on the door, and guitars whips as ice crystals in the snowstorm.
Besides a little over eight minutes frivolous nonsense, we find about 36 minutes worth of good black metal, that even
a crude and claustrophobic production can't prevent me from appreciating. The guys namely perform black metal with punch
and intensity. The pace ain't alarmingly high, but rather stick mostly to aggressive mid-tempo, and there's a lot of
steadfast, arrogant attitude in the songs. The performance is insanely feverish and crammed with glowing disgust. The
rhythm sometimes lean toward morbid, sharp black'n'roll, but the tar black riffs and sequences of furious blast beats
refuse the rocked ingredients a real position of power.
The songs are well composed, with drifting, killer and chilled riffs and an adequate amount of transitions and
variation in riffs and rhythms. The vocals are... well, unusual. Hear for yourself. I prefer traditional rasping,
but it fits the frantic expression. Wrath is indeed an appropriate name for this album.
I may be a little bit kind to the debutants, considering the flaws the album contains, and I will come to demand
more when the sequel is available. Despite said teething problems, this is still a very promising start, as
Wrath contains lots of very good black metal. Visit Cvlt Nation to hear the song Lazarina.
Satanath Rec.&Cimmerian Shade Rec., 11.11.16
With a barbaric name and a cover to underline the message, one could perhaps have expect a breathless brutal cacophony,
but Barbarian Swords do in fact deliver a significantly more viscous kind of tar. It's nevertheless a
sludgy goo made of filthy mud, septic gore, half-coagulated blood and unholy ectoplasm we're facing.
The Spaniards we encounter, play a soot-black equivalent of death/doom, namely black/doom. Or perhaps it's funeral black?
The music is certainly full of resounding doomy misery and pitch black depravity.
There's admittedly nothing called slow tremolo, but it doesn't prevent these guys from flooring it in slow motion. With
insanely sharp and mentally questionable vocals over heavy riffs and guitars that scream in pain, a rather idiosyncratic
mood of absolute negligence are created. The stench of careless degeneracy in a self-created slums of waste, feces, rot
and drug abuse, is utterly pungent. Those who dwell in this inhumane sewer have not seen soap or cleaners in decades.
This is the absolute nadir of degenerated decay, and it comes with adequate sound; dirty, but resounding and boorish,
and as distinct as the unusually nauseating images from the crime scene.
Both Pure Demonology and The Last Virgin on the Earth, Sodomized sees Barbarian
Swords increase the pace a bit. After the latter, the album has lasted for 40 minutes and this could have been
a nice place to wrap it up and call it a day. It would have been a decent dose for the listener, and it even seems the
band is getting a bit impatient by now. The music loses its natural progress when it runs headlong into a rowdy and
punkish pool of puke, with just over two minutes short Carnivorous Pussy. The song with the catchy title
increases the pace more and incorporating unsavory pornographic samples which by all means suits the album's vulgar touch.
Then the Spaniards continue tirelessly with the albums two longest tracks, of 18 and 11 minutes respectively. These are
by no means bad, but by the time these fade out, the limit of my patience is long since depleted. 70 minutes all in all
is definitely much too much for a depraved works of droning guitars and rabid, perverted psycho-vocals.
I thrive with a lot of the material, but they should have been more self-critical, and put the scissors in the cutting
room to use. 40 minutes would have gone a long way. I guess even less would have been an okay and manageable dose for
a larger share of potential listeners. The grading is thus kind of gentle, but the quintet offers genuinely horrid and
detestable moods which nonetheless deserves an approval.
Ván Records, 11.11.16
When you hear a single, distinct ding of a bell, it's most likely a fairly sure sign that some spiritual ceremony is
about to begin. It could have been an intrusive cyclist or the doorbell at your local barbershop, but in my case, most
other options than ritual metal can be easily eliminated.
We have rejected Belgian Kosmokrator before. I saw no legitimate reason to encourage you to burn off
money on the
To The Svmmit demo, and I summarized four points that required improvement.
The Belgians have of course taken cognizance of this. Self-adulating narcissism aside. The band plays fairly
rumbling and partly ambient black/death that thunder like an earthquake conjured by occult necromancers.
• The most important point on the list of aspects for improvements were the sound. The transition from the demo
stage to the first EP can be huge. So even here. The sound is clearer, but still dirty. It is powerful and rumbling,
unlike the tame sound of the demo.
• Further, I asked for improved song-writing. I absolutely think the anonymous quintet has achieved that, especially
if we takes the last point on the list into consideration.
• I sought more peculiarity, as thunderous ceremonial extremity has become a competitive market. Not surprisingly,
Kosmokrator fail on this point. To stand out either requires a particularly unique approach, exceptional
flair for the art of composing or the well-known short-cut to success; creating a new hybrid of two or more well-known
ingredients. These Belgians do not sell their soul quite that easily, but rather continue unabated with doing what they
• Last but definitely not least, I demanded that the release wasn't soaked and plagued by more than 30% of ambient
noise, or “collages of ethereal sounds” as I put it. Not entirely unlike my reaction to otherwise good Adaestuo
six notches below. On this point, Kosmokrator capitulate unconditionally and eat crow. They've reduced
the pure non-metallic sequences to an absolute minimum. Besides the last four of a total of nearly 33 minutes that this
full-length long EP lasts, peculiar and abstract sounds of astral origins scarcely even occurs sporadically.
Kosmokrator show all the signs of full cooperation. They've applied lots of elbow grease and made an
effort, rectifying most of what we've discussed. Gratifyingly, I have therefore no difficulty recommending
First Step to Supremacy to anyone in the target audience.
Avantgarde Music, 31.10.16
The transition from various albums containing rich, almost physically bass, to the supercooled, ice pick sharp Antarctic
dimension of Earth and Pillars isn't just distinct. I actually had to cross-check with another recording
as reference to make sure my headphones weren't malfunctioning.
It's nevertheless claimed that this album is a step forward in production versus its predecessor.
The music these Italians perform can be said to reside in the neighbourhood of post-black, yet it's often colder and
at times much rawer. Frostbitten synth is helping to create a deserted, bitter and lonesome Antarctic atmosphere. The
windswept and biting cold ice plains where nothing staggers the wind, is not a place to live. It's a place to survive.
And hardly even that.
The use of synthesizer actually inspired the crew of this weather-bound ship to record another album in parallel, using
synth only. Towards to Pillars is available as a bonus to the limited version of Pillars I.
For the record: I haven't heard that one.
Pillars, the first song, starts atmospherically before going in for a hard landing. Frenetic pace
and hateful moods of a fatal northerly wind rules large parts of the 18-minute track. Myth begins similarly, but loses momentum around the halfway point, before the wind picks up again.
It does calm down a little before the next track takes over. Solemnity uses four of its fifteen minutes on a ferocious gust before fading, and coming to a halt.
Partly ambient and soaring tones takes helm for a brief moment, before they're mixed with a whipping blizzard. Penn is another hybrid, where a white and lifeless world gradually reveals itself.
The promo sheet mentions Darkspace and Wolves in the Throne Room as examples of bands with a related
expression. Sure, similarities exist, but these two have a bit more variety, and they exploit a wider frequency range.
Earth and Pillars are simply icy and cold, bordering on sterile. Sterile because bacteria are dormant
under such extreme cold and hostile conditions.
Pillars I lasts for an hour, which is extremely abundant for an album where the expression, to a
certain degree built on two contrasting types of monotony, is frankly quite limited. I'll nevertheless give
Earth and Pillars credit for the moods they create by not flinching an inch. The stinging sensation in the
eyes after crossing miles of barren landscape covered by frozen snow is nothing compared to the biting chill that
gnaw like the sharp teeth of a rodent against poorly clothed skin.
I won't hide the fact that the music isn't entirely my thing. I thrive best when the guitars cuts like hacksaw
blades into my cranium. The grading thus reflects a cross between the objective and the subjective parts.
Thermo-gloves and cocoa in a thermos is recommended, for Pillars I is liquid nitrogen.
Northern Silence Productions, 11.11.16
Kilt-clad Andy Marshall is back after a longer stay in Scotland's rain-soaked nature with the bagpipes
faithfully at his side. Thus my imagination visualize Saor's ways.
I finished my delayed review of the debut album Roots by implying that I wanted to hear the man next work, Aura, but time was unfortunately insufficient
for more than a single spin.
Album number three, Guardians, however, has coloured my everyday with life and culture taken from proud
northern-Celtic traditions, be they of Pictish or Gaelic origin.
Roots mirrored the Scottish highlands, as they lie looming as lush prairies of rugged terrain with the
silhouettes of mountain's spires against the horizon. A bit like the Norwegian mountain range
Dovrefjell, I fantasize, only wilder and more exotic, with a vista of the sea a few hundred meters downhill.
Again, this is not factual prose, but rather the feelings and lively pictures I was left with.
Guardians begin the descent from the ridges, fells and plateaus, and the scenery becomes wilder. Beneath the
timberline, the growth is thicker. Steep slopes, icy rivers, thickened forests and precipitous cliffs as steeples of granite.
But our wayfarer knows the way through overgrown valleys towards crop-rich villages. He occasionally makes a stop in glades
and clearings to play his bagpipe in tribute to the surroundings.
Guardians feels wilder and more voluminous than the first album, but no more than what the circumstances permit or
demand. The music varies widely. Beautiful passages with fiddles succumbs to the waterfalls of guitars, and drums as fleeing wild
horses. A gust of rancid vocals fade away when the wind dies out and the sun comes out to the mesmerizing sound of Scottish flute.
Attempting to explain the music without resorting to metaphors of nature, simply becomes unnatural to me. Guardians
blends with the wild, heathen nature. This is Andy's hymn to the unspoiled, nearly untouched
parts of the motherland, and maybe even the clan's ancestry through generations, and that's something everyone should
experience; the joy and pride of ones home country, unvarnished by politics, spared from controversy, prejudice, corruption
and intrigue. Only land(scape) and man. This is national romanticism of the harmless but genuinely heartfelt variety. Roots was good, but almost feels monotonous compared to Guardians. I have no doubt
that I like the new work a few notches more. Compared to the debut, Guardians requires a little more time, but
it's really worth it when you can close your eyes and travel to a different, perhaps distant part of the world in you
own mind. Stunning cover art, by the way.
Signal Rex&Avantgarde Music, 15.11.16
Recitations is another band that seeks to explore the dark and unknown via ethereal and esoteric
dissonance. The members stem from more or less well-known acts in the extreme metal underground, but wishes to avoid
a focus on individuals, supposedly without a pretentious attempt to be intentionally mystical.
The band comes from my birthplace, Niðaróss (Trondheim), something I wasn't aware of until after having written most of
these words. No matter who we're dealing with, I bid you welcome to a disturbing journey in their collective eclectic minds.
Recitations initially released The First of the Listeners as a demo back in March,
adorned by the cover art to the right. I reckon that the version now released via two profiled labels is identical.
The band's first sign of life after having survived the round trip in the labyrinths of the netherworld, last for almost
exactly half an hour. With four tracks, this could have been presented as a lengthy EP, but after all, they meet
Slayer's minimum requirement for full-length duration with good margin. That three of the tracks can be characterized
as long, fortunately doesn't mean that they feel protracted.
The distorted vocals twist the throat like a tattered floorcloth, not unlike Attila, ritual drums calls for
war, guitars act as volatile poltergeist, and the listener is surrounded by resounding echoes of transcendental sounds.
I deliberately choose to ignore the obvious; that we've heard similarities quite often in recent years. I do so for
subjective reasons. I think, namely, that Recitations does their thing very well.
The guys create some distinctive character by making use of many different instruments and arranged them in layers, creating
a thick alkaline smog. The constellation are most idiosyncratic when different electric organs emerge and form psychedelic
disorder. Just over halfway into Tongueskull Sacrament, a cacophonic whirlwind of Hammond and Moog hit land.
The destruction is enormous, and perfect chaos is a fact. Unparalleled!
Along with heavy ambient noises, thundering discomfort, quiet ritual passages and hailstorms of furious drums, this
represents elements of the formula that may help to explain The First of the Listeners' success.
I look forward to the continuation! Avantgarde Music offers a full previews,
while the album also can be obtained through Signal Rex.
Northern Silence Productions, 11.11.16
That a destructive mindset hides behind a depressant name as Gateway to Selfdestruction, is quite
obvious, and the debut album's discouraging title Death, My Salvation gives no reason for optimism.
The music and lyrics the five discouraged Germans presents, shows no signs of glimpses of light in the darkness. The
lyrics revolve around the individual turning point where someone chooses to fight on or resign and end their own life,
along with appurtenant preamble and aftermath.
Mara is the name of the sombre woman that demonstrate sadness, frustration and pain through a diverse
vocal exhibition. Some cleans are used, but only in fragments. Mostly, it's heartbreaking rasping with the rue voice of
a raven or insane screaming in a formidable black metal manner. A wailing damsel in distress, is more agonizing than a
pitiful moaning bloke, something which can easily appeal to your sympathy.
The music uses dark grey shades of post-black with wistful melodies and downtrodden midtempo rhythms that provide drift
despite overlying moods of resigned monotony.
The music succeed at constructing the right moods of despair and loneliness, and Death, My Salvation
puts the listener in a constant state of tristesse through 46 minutes. It should be noted, though, that I don't find
this to be very depressive. The music is a little bit too mild and round to rub a plethora of salt in the wound.
If a despondent atmosphere, decent performance and adequate audio properties sounds alluring,
Gateway to Selfdestruction have the necessary funds to prescribe a lethal prescription.
Personally, I think the song material lack a little something, as it's not terribly exciting. It's an alright but also
a somewhat similar sounding album that is insofar worthy of an approved. Purely subjective, however, another revisit
isn't quit as tempting as it ought to be.
Dark Descent Records, 11.11.16
The trio from New Jersey only got one single to brag about, but none of the three guys are new to the game.
Drummer Shawn Eldridge has also resided in Funebrarum and also plays in Death Fortress
(who dropped album number two in March) and Abysmal Gates*.
Guitarist Alex Bouks has played with Incantation and Funebrarum and handles guitar
live for Master.
Vocalist and guitarist Matt Medeiros has two other bands going on, and he as well has a past in Funebrarum.
(*Which unfortunately has not released anything after the tasteful synth-symphonic 2004 EP Divine Deception.)
With the boys' background, it should come as no great surprise that death metal is on the agenda. The Americans' death
metal is brutal, but not sacrificing groove and dynamic versatility to insane intensity. It mixes inspirations from old
and new, as well as nearby genres, into a mighty stew of arsenic. But don't expect the guys to jump from style to style
as schizophrenic rabbits. Moderate influences from thrash, grindcore and doom are run through the death metal grinder
until the uniformity of the muddy porridge feels just right.
Matt grates the vocal cords enough to give the listener sore throat just by listening. Albeit distorted
screams and guttural gurgling isn't quite in line with the vacuum slurping of a faecal sludge truck, it's not necessarily
very far from it either. The rhythm varies as Shawn delivers good handwork along with dribbling of pedals.
As mentioned, both Matt and Alex handle energized barbed wires. Thick and juicy riffs
meets howling high frequency. Not revolutionary, of course, yet not ever boring.
Bestial intensity is all very well, but it seldom give anything new under the blood-red moon. I thrive best with the
debut when solid moods and malignant melody lines escalate. Especially in sluggish tunes as Procession of Ceaseless
Sorrows and well over 11 minutes long Through Stygian Catacombs, room are made for more intricate
instrumental wizardry that highlight identity a bit more than what traditionally downpour will.
Ruinous delivers timeless extreme metal with crushing sound and aggressive behaviour, and they do it just
as well as their competitors. All in all, Graves of Ceaseless Death don't stand apart
violently, but with quality in every aspect, they deliver an overall good package, full of demise.
New day, new acquaintances. Adaestuo hails from... hell knows where. Parts of the song titles can however indicate Poland, while
the music tastes a bit of Deathspell Omega et al. They play a remarkably spiritual form of black metal with
dreamy, otherworldly moods of ambience.
The transcendental journey lasts for just over 20 minutes, and moves through four movements of highly variable form.
The music is disturbing, unless you're on the same wavelength. Over galloping rhythms and sharp guitar, classical, near
operatic, clean female singing lay bobbing in foaming waves, backed by choiring male vocal through half The Abyss
(Otchłan). Then the voice is distorted like a she-devil who tear off her virginal disguise.
Song tree, Destroyer of Constellations (Niszczycielem Gwiazdozbiorow) continues after a pause on the same
dystopian and partly discordant track, with the spiritual atmosphere of seeking black souls in synergy with extraterrestrial
energies. By flipping the order on the head, fiery intensity shifts into slow ritual moods about halfway.
In between these approximately 6 minutes long songs, Cicatrices Plexae (Scar-Braids) is seated, consisting
of 2.5 minutes of whispering voices and distorted solar winds with hushed one-toned air ride alert as ambient background.
Fair enough, but to serve us additional 6 minutes of the same, along with several outlandish sounds in closing Tacent
Semitae (Silent Paths), feels somewhat unnecessary. Bells and chains, chanting choirs, incantations from the dark
side of Hinduism, whispering and sobbing women... In my ears; pointless ambience.
With 60% ominous, chillingly distanced and rather inhuman black metal with an artistic twist, and 40% decadent spiritual
seance, the gradient becomes 60% approved on my part. I've heard of others who have reacted stronger to the deviant eclectic
sound-collages, but I'm not particularly impressed by peculiar noises. I prefer music. The music they actually offer, do
taste like bloody steaks with scorched crust. Decide for yourself: Tacent Semitae.
Self-Released, 10.11.16 Invasion of the Tentacube is the first full-length of US Xoth and it has its charming
beginner problems. Charming because the band makes songs that are fun to listen to.
Part of the fun is how difficult it is to pigeon-hole their technical metal.
The vocals are black as a chimney sweeper, but the music has more in common with proggy deathrash. It's highly melodic.
Almost to the extent that the melodies, via transitions, runs the whole songs through.
The music feels different than most of what it would have been natural to compare to. It's likely caused by the production
and sound, which seems fairly home-made. Not in the sense that it sounds amateurish, but rather as if otherwise competent
musicians have attempted something they don't quite master; To record the music themselves.
Invasion of the Tentacube is a good example of music where imperfect audio take a back-seat to
the immersive joy of performing. A pleasure caused by the knowledge of good and energetic song material.
Moods? Hmm. Well, there's an overall joviality with a reckless gleam to the eyes. It's playful and fun first and foremost.
For the benefit of those familiar with my extreme-metallic preferences, it should be mentioned that there is more playfulness
than malicious recklessness to be traced on Xoth's debut. There is no eeriness, just proggy happy-metallic
technicality. Bigger fans of such should really check this out!
Godz Ov War Productions, 30.10.16
Polish Warfist plays black/thrash. A branch of extreme metal that admittedly ain't directly
comparable to the compatriots in Vader. If we still look at what they have in common, it would be rather
unfortunate for Warfist to go on stage after Vader, and Metal To The Bone does come
a bit short with several days of the dark force of The Empire fresh in memory.
These hopeful Poles still deliver the goods in a more than alright way, though.
In the case of Warfist, the thrash is the dominant part of the expression, while the blackened
ingredients have a touch of proto-black.
It's aggressive and flamingly fiery, especially in the title track, where various guests help out with coal-black
vocals. Vocalist HellVomit himself have a more spoken, light-rasping vocals that is articulated jerkily.
He also handles the axe, or chainsaw as the press sheet says, and offer tough riffing, while Wrath
drives bulldozer. The bass is mixed a bit low and feels a bit chaotic at the floor of the canyon. Infernal
Deflorator who has also drummed for Taran, is credited for “skullcrushing”, and hell yeah, there's no lack of energy
behind the battery.
The music rips quite well right there and then but the songs don't have much depth and essence, and
Metal To The Bone will probably never be the first
album I come to think of when I want to let my hair down and crush empty beer bottles against foreheads
ov poseurs. Plus for eye-catching cover art.
Vault of Dried Bones, 04.11.16
Aaargh! Turn down the volume, for fuck sake! Some of us still got more than 60% of the hearing intact. Sorguinazia is one of these godforsaken bands that worship occult black magic and remain anonymous until
the metal fans' own intelligence service, Internet, reveals who we're dealing with. Until than, they get to enjoy their
The header states Demo/EP. Well, this is initially a self-released demo, now re-released as EP.
I'm primarily of the opinion that demos, at least in authentic demo format, don't need a good production. They are homemade
demonstrations on songwriting and other skills. Thus I forgive the excessively crass and screeching sound. In fact, it pretty
much suit the band's morbid black metal. The occasionally deafening treble with deplorable DR3-DR4 as measure of compressed
dynamics can however be advantageously eliminated in the long term.
When the first song, VI, are launched like a used syringe out of the headphones and right through my eardrums,
I swear and curse before sharpening my butcher knives, but with a hypodermic needle in each ear, and infected morphine injected
directly into the cerebellum, I find something in Sorguinazia's despicable universe that appeals.
The music is dirty, infernal and unholy. Without being industrial, it nevertheless produces some of the same nerve-racking
turmoil. The music turn the back to aesthetics, and conjures up ominously eeriness through rough riffs, sick throaty vocals,
disturbing melodies and unidentifiable sounds. The roaring and shrill sound crackles like the aluminium foil you eventually
find it necessary to wrap around your head before you end up rocking like a madman in a corner.
They reel off three songs during 15 minutes, where especially the somewhat slower final song II stigmatize my soul. Sorguinazia is cold and bleak, and completely devoid of empathy. Do you really need any other reason to keep an eye
on these newcomers in the future? The debut album is scheduled for discharged via the same label next year.
Witching Hour Productions&Nuclear Blast, 04.11.16
The Polish veterans continues unabated to drop albums of deadly hardened steel,
forged with a pinch of thrash for intensity and attitude.
With a title like The Empire one would almost think it was to finally confront their own
moniker. But in such a case, they would likely have graced the cover art in the style of Vondur's
Striðsyfirlýsing. Vader indeed stop by “Lord Vader's empire”, but only in the song
Genocidus, where snippets of Imperial March are performed, accompanied by pieces of lyric like “Join the
Empire” and “Enjoy the Dark Side”.
They've made use of Imperial March as live intro, but then probably in the form of a sample. Unfortunately I haven't
had the honour of witnessing them on stage. As far as I know, this have never happened on record before, although I'm not an
expert. Said song is still not drenched with an ethos of Star Wars, despite some small references, and the rest of the album
doesn't hint at the fight against those bothersome robe-clad Jedi either.
The rest of The Empire consists of crushing riffs, killer guitar trills (read: solos), intense drumming and
Peter's signature vocal as we know them. Peter's ability to distort his voice gutturally,
while sounding so damned distinctively articulate, is a vocal style I have a huge taste for, and that few seem to master.
Hybrid vocals like this is at least used by few. At least successfully.
Album number 13 from the 34 year old Polish death pioneers is not their very best album, but neither their worst. The quality
is quite even. A little too even, perhaps, as the album is missing the biggest highlights. The band have nevertheless
(again) coined good songs with enough content and variety to keep the listener in an iron grip through spin after spin, until
The Empire becomes a natural part of their mental repertoire. With ten songs spread across 33
minutes, you know that it's pedal to the metal, and that Vader don't stall for time with drawn-out repetition.
No song overstays their welcome. They go straight to the point, shift riff, transition, new rhythm, solo, change of pace, other
riffs, finished. Concisely, tough and elaborate.
Saturnal Records, 04.11.16
It thunders and roars when Finnish Hoath blare away from start on their third release.
The band released their only demo in 2002 and named it Codex I: I.R.E.. The band continued the concept with
the first full length album, Codex II: K.E.T.H.E.R. (2004) and are still counting with Codex III:
Crown of the Mind.
I know not the detailed schemes and ideas behind the band's dogmatic principles, but the music is used as a medium to express
and spread the ritual guidelines the band stands for.
The band wants no attention to their line-up, but wishes instead give a wakeup call to confront those widely recognized,
definitive and final established facts. I have nothing against this notion, but you won't succeed if you don't reach out to
the people, and Crown of the Mind will never reach the largest mass. One might not need to appeal to the
majority to get some kind of radical breakthrough, little strokes fell great oaks, but Hoath are unlikely
to become a hot name even in the underground. I'm also disrespectful enough to announce that the band, which seems to be a
duo, consists of established musicians from Horna/Sargeist and Satanic Warmaster.
The music, rumbling, hard-hitting black/death, ain't original or qualitative in any another sense than that it's being
uncompromisingly droning and rough. The sound is raw and brutally honest, without costly polished garnish. The whole thing
is tough and unvarnished, and the expression as such quite alright. Still, the songs miss finesse. It rumbles, roars and
thunders, as said, but there's not a whole lot going on within the never-ending detonation. The sound from Blackvox
Studio is intentionally dirty and ugly, but also unintentionally (I presume) compressed. The squashed brickwall of
DR5 is much more palpable and evident than in the case of Unlight two notches below. Still, it's the a lack of
actual content in the material that brings Hoath down, throwing a spanner in the works of
Codex III: Crown of the Mind. Standalone stream
for the songs Crown Of
The Mind and Of Virgin Moon And Serpent are also available.
Debemur Morti Productions, 04.11.16
The Russian pagan-metalers of Arkona, I know, but not the Poles of the same name. That despite the fact that the
Polish black metal ensemble has been around since 1993. It would as such felt a bit wrong if I were to to lecture you in
the band's history.
The music has roots firmly entrenched in the second wave, but sounds in no way dated.
The metal is black, doomy, saddened and testy. The wall of tremolo and other guitar-riffs perform mournful melodies full
of pain, while synthesizer and orchestral instruments hint at possible hope...
The yearning for a distant liberating redemption, a way out of the existential misery, seems futile, but no matter how unlikely
it seems, it's the driving force by virtue of being the last and only resort. The drums places its trusts in growing fury and
dismay. The anger and grief that builds up, coiling like a black cobra in the abdominal region, form blinders that blocks any
other thought than the sheer idea of retaliation. With red-hot hatred, the drums are hammered to splinters. The vocal alternate
between human emotions in the hardest of times. Tremendous disgust, regret and frustration is reflected in rasping indignation.
We are a hair's breadth from dsbm, but unlike the inconsolable grief and suffering of the damned, Arkona haven't
given up the idea of a bloody confrontation with the past. When the opportunity arises, they will be ready. Ready to rise. To
carve their path through vindictive violence. To reclaim their lives in a proud fashion. But for now, everything is dark, black
and full of loathing.
The metal is standing steadfast on its own feet, while the moderate and subtle use of symphonic constituents enriches the music further.
Arkona has been in No Solace Studio with Mgła's M to immortalize their latest
Lunaris has become one hell of a dive into vile depravity and miserable bottomlessness, obtained via dignified pride,
powerful atmosphere and hypnotic moods.
War Anthem Records, 04.11.16
The melodic German black metallers in Unlight are ready with a new disc. The seventh, actually. That
means I've missed a few. The previous release, The Katalyst of the Katharsis, was released early in
2014, a few months before this page saw the digital light of day. Ergo I never got around to presented it.
Antihelion however, offers a new chance. Unlight has been doing their thing for almost 20 years now and its obvious the band has become more
proficient. The performance is tight as latex when the band offers blistering black furore in a colourful display.
Colourful black metal? Isn't that a contradiction? Well, fire-breathing dragons without natural enemies don't need
camouflage. But to be serious; the band don't play pitch black, satanic, intimidating and hostile black metal, but rather
a more melodic and harmless form, except I don't want to use words like “smooth”. Through the parts of the discography
I know, the band has at times played it slightly safe, with somewhat “streamlined” song-writing, but on Antihelion, the Germans unveil their best compositional side.
And don't think for a moment that the music is gentle. The vocalist curse the earth he tread, and the drums
are chasing as in furore. Your stepmother would instinctively hate these “noisy Satan-rockers”. The atmosphere is proud
and majestic as a malignant spiritual leader in a sacrilegious sect, surrounded by snakes on a throne of stone. Using
his telepathic skills, this satanic patriarch puts the enemy out of action when his sharp and rough vocals starts haunting
their minds and carving threatening hieroglyphs in the palm of their hands. The atmosphere has undertones of distant
regions, and associations to the land of the Pharaohs sometimes come to mind. The extravagant, flamboyant guitar works steal
lots of attention, but that's entirely all right, of course.
Sonically, the band has long since abandoned its initial, synthetic, cotton wrapped origin. The sound is crisp and clear
as the quartet embarks on landscapes probably inspired especially by the legacy of Dissection. The sound admittedly
ain't very dynamic (DR5), but the sound is still good, although some will likely consider it over-produced.
It's three bombastic quarters (of an hour) the band delivers with Antihelion, an album whose powerful
melodic black alchemy can be said to contain traces of pollen from anything from Immortal to Behemoth.
There are hints of Bathory, Watain, Thulcandra, Dark Fortress and Necronomicon.
Unlight is not quite on par with the very best, but with almost 20 years behind them*, and
a very good album out these days, the band deserves to be mentioned in such good company. They even surpass some on that
list. If you need only one reference, think Naglfar. *Two of the four members have kept at it since before the first
demo, while the other two have joined during the past 7 years.
I doubt that Unlight is attempting to mark a new era with Antihelion but as connoisseurs
have surely noticed, the band has changed their logo. A bit unnecessary if you ask me, but I have no doubt the Germans are
at the top of their game top, for Antihelion must be among their finest hours.
See the video for Create And Annihilate. In a hurry? Watch a teaser.
What kind of death metal should we discus today? How about post-death? Joke with serious undertones aside.
The press-release describe the Americans' style as atmospheric tech-death. That ain't wrong, but there's more to it as
well. There is amongst other a whole lot of post-metal in the mix. Let the moniker roll around your tongue a few times.
Sounds a bit like technical-progressive deathcore or equivalent, right?
Feast your eyes on the cover art for a moment too. Not exactly stereotypical teck-death that either.
“Making post-metal great again” could almost have been a fairly adequate slogan.
As long as artists dare to be artistic and creative in the true sense, putting their soul into the art by incorporating
individuality and creativity, it's still possible to do something new with a stranded ship as post-metal. In its purest
form, the genre has stagnated quite bigly. What? That's not a word? Post-metal is scarcely an own musical genre, but
rather a playing style, an approach with a different expression, overlaying existing genres as a filter. Burial
In The Sky is able to think outside the box and rather use post-modernism as spices.
Persistence Of Thought is obviously not for everyone, but the band succeeded in what they set out to do.
Without resorting to ground breaking ambitious and hairy goals they have nevertheless constructed a relatively creative
hybrid, and followed through with good songs and technical skills. The songs alternate much in rhythm and intensity, via
fairly intricate patterns and transitions. Both technical death metal, dreamy atmosphere and post-elements are evident
separately, but the alloy also feels seamless. The constant changes in expression, covering everything from Pink Floyd
also keep the post-genre's tiring monotony at bay. The music feels intricate without becoming too improvised or complex,
and a mild melancholic touch in the surreal melodic flood prevents enthusiasm from turning into merriment.
The gentlemen William and James created Burial In The Sky in 2013,
and was joined by session drummer Samus Paulicelli (Decrepit Birth, ex-Abigail Wiliams).
In retrospect, they've hired one Sam Stewart as full-time drummer. The debut has become a very nice
album. In the outer edge of my preferences though. Bigger fans of Rivers Of Nihil and Fallujah should,
according to the press letter, take extra heed of Burial In The Sky. Good. That means I don't have to
examine the dusty attic of my grey matter for references. I was considering giving a highly subjective middling plus,
but found that the music is too well-constructed for a tepid, slightly indifferent grading. I'm still adding a minus
that only reflect personal taste. That's not something you need to take into account. The band is highly
competent, something Persistence of Thought proves.
Hells Headbangers, 28.10.16
We have apparently entered at an era under the sign of death. Death metal in all its multifaceted shades is raining as
blood from a pale grey sky. The Americans of Crucified Mortal offers a hybrid in the form of deadly thrash.
The men have experimented a bit with the nuances, but playfulness notwithstanding, the music is of course dead earnest.
The trio comes from Cleveland, and released their debut in 2011, ten years and as many minor releases after the formation.
The band mixes the testosterone-filled, careless don't-give-a-damn attitude of thrash with death metal's lack of
self-restraint and low threshold for resorting to violence. With tough riffs and reckless posture, songs with decent drive
are created. The press release mentions Hobbs Angel of Death, which is pretty much an alright reference, though there's not a
tremendous similarity. Even Crucified Mortal has a hint of proto-metal in its old-school approach. Some
Slayer-vibes, as in the delightful aggressive closer Bringer of Death, can also be mentioned.
Many others could be mentioned too, but I blame it on laziness to cover up increasing dementia.
Something that gives the songs individual touch, and the album longer lifespan, is the exploration the guys have done
in the studio. Different pedals and amplifiers have been exchanged and tried out from song to song. Not to such a degree
that the album has gained a schizophrenic feel, but more than enough to create interesting shades in the details for those
willing to take a closer look at Psalms of the Dead Choir.
I'll settle with briefly ascertaining that the album is pretty cool, though not absolutely mandatory.
Not unlike previous releases from the same band, in other words.
I'd like to add that the gear-experimentation is indeed a nice touch, helping
Psalms of the Dead Choir sound a bit fresh.
Dark Descent Records, 28.10.16
Finnish Krypts are here with their sophomore album. Unending Degradation was a good album, but I think it must have drowned in the multitude on my part.
At least I only recall it vaguely. Fortunately it's a different matter with Remnants of Expansion, for it has
inertia enough to create its own crater after impact in the cerebral cortex.
The band plays death/doom, so leaden, dark, rabidly hostile and bulldozingly morbid, that it can easily be interpreted as good,
sluggish death metal. You won't find the bottomless, self-pitying sorrow from British death/doom pioneers here. Just overt vindictiveness.
After weeks of cascades of death metal in all its forms and flavours, where most of it have calm, heavy and atmospheric sequences,
it may be easy to become saturated. Krypts ain't exactly thoroughly innovative either, but they have an insane mood.
It's neither netherworldly nor otherworldly. Just terrestrial. It doesn't seek to be anything but itself; natural heartfelt disgust.
Although Remnants of Expansion don't basically stand out songwise, it still does. And there are several reasons.
The riffs. The infernal murky and gloomy guitars. So steeped in authentic malice. The vocals. The grave-serious coarse voice of
guttural articulation. The Mood. The hypnotic aura of hostility, full of hateful inadequacy from the depths of man's most obscure
psyche. The sound. The rich and resounding phonetic roar of the wilderness.
Original or not. Remnants of Expansion offers a killer cold-blooded atmosphere in the form
of surging and strong mesmeric doomsday prophecies. Dumbfounded, I take my hat of.
Antiq Label, 25.10.16
I expected French-Canadian black metal when I saw the album title, but the band is French only,
and the style is just partially black. Créatures is a one-man band with one demo released in 2009 behind him.
Sparda is composer and instrumentalist, while vocals are performed by guests. Le Noir Village is a concept album where the story circles round a village in the 12th century, being attacked
by terrifying monsters. Various vocalists take on the role of the different characters in the play.
Sure, it sounds alluring, and when looking at the different styles that are intertwined and the unconventional instruments
being used, it sounds straight out exciting, giving the expectation a boost.
Inspired by King Diamond, Tartaros and Notre Dame, Sparda has composed a weird
hybrid of extreme metal, doom, symphonic, acoustic and ambient music. Créatures sounds pretty unique, with
theremin, pipe organ, piano, trumpet and violin. The problem is that it also sounds aberrantly odd and appear as somewhat
schizophrenic. I was close to dismissing Le Noir Village all together, but the distinctive variation from
my daily wholemeal bread and a taste for an occasional challenge, made me man up and get cracking at this hour-long piece
of insane experimental music.
The drumming is often simple, and the sound is thin as diluted skimmed milk. The person(s) behind the blackened narrator-voice(s)
practically sound like the same shrill amateur all the way, while various clean vocal contributions don't make matters any better.
The idea behind Le Noir Village is interesting and the result singular, but Créatures bite
off more than they can chew. The album, in my ears, doesn't succeed with the refined balance required to bring home the bacon.
It ends up being quite messy and unstructured, in addition to the production not measuring up. Is the music really supposed
to sound so out of key at times?
The unsigned Italian one-man band Chiral has been productive during the past few years, with one EP, two
demos, two splits, and three albums, if we include Gazing Light Eternity. This over barely three years.
The Italian with the same pseudonym as moniker is inspired by conventional and Cascadian black metal and post-rock.
The sum of the various constituents can be considered as atmospheric black metal with strong post-influences.
I can understand the appeal behind pale, mournful and monotonous music like this. It is very evocative. But when four songs
slither slowly along in surroundings consisting of little variation, and repetition becomes a tool, it still feels as if my
patience is being tested. There's just so much music with stronger objective attributes. The music still doesn't leave me
completely blasé and indifferent.
The music certainly ain't entirely repetitive, and the songs not wholly similar sounding, although the two shortest tracks
on six minutes each, and the long ones of fourteen don't vary a whole lot in rhythm, riffs and transitions. The expression
does vary in the sense that the two shortest tracks are characterized by calm, sedated, somewhat ambient and also a bit
mesmeric post-metal with adequate samples as spices, while the two long songs creates greater friction with raspy guitar and
jagged vocals. The music is quite simplified, but guitar, vocals and synth creates a persistent depressed mood via gloomy
melodies and the few transitions which are present and that prevents utter uniformity.
Despite some debris and nitpicking on my behalf, Gazing Light Eternity does have its charm. Personally, I don't get very sentimental by these
wistful reveries, but the music is not poorly constructed or executed, and it's got profound moods that can be difficult
to be completely immune to. I might be a bit too tough, but can you resist?
Eisenwald Tonschmiede, 28.10.16
Except from some deplorable underground-bands whose quality is below any criticism, depressive black metal is a sub-genre
that strangely enough hasn't become completely subject to inflation.
At least as long as you disregard all kinds of cheap replicas from kidz bedrooms.
Emotionale Ödnis, or “emotional wastelands”, is Swiss Tardigrada's debut and a very
mournful one as such.
The album consists of two types of tracks. Five short acoustic interludes carries Roman numerals as titles, and acts as
intro before each of the equally numerous, but lengthy songs.
The one to two minutes long sequences are calm, with tearful moods of loneliness and loss moving in a melodic post-black
landscape of melancholy.
The actual songs are approximately ten minutes long, and holds elements of post-black as well, but wisely avoid monotonous
apathy. There's different pace and magnitude of thrust and impact here. From the stripped down, to fierce, sharp riffing
with impetuous lack of acceptance for the grief one suffers from. In the otherwise quiet night, furniture and inventory
pays the penalty when depression, suffering and disgust turns into rage. The vocals screams in pain, and cuts sharply and
painfully as a knife stabbing into the heart.
Emotionale Ödnis is a very gloomy dsbm-debut with sore melodies and mournful moods.
If this is a genre you value, this hour-long session won't leave you indifferent.
Agonia Records, 28.10.16
As the market is practically overflowing with death metal releases, it is particularly important to write songs that in some
way attach, or give the listener something extra. Straight-in-your-face brutality is pretty much a dime a dozen, and just
doesn't cut it when it comes to justifying spending money. You expect seasoned veterans to be aware of this.
Still, Deranged opens their ninth album with crushing death metal without significant finesse.
For newcomers; Swedish Deranged has been at it for a quarter of a century, and only remaining original member,
drummer Rikard Wermén, is the band's driving force. The band plays brutal death metal, more akin to a US than
Swedish expression, with some groove and traces of technical execution. Grind influences are mentioned, but goregrind, grindcore
and such has never been my thing, so I'll leave that for others to decide.
My first attempt at Struck By A Murderous Siege, took place on a road trip. Lamentable car stereo with more
than enough background noise, is far from the optimal approach to hyper-aggressive anger-metal, and I soon had to forfeit.
With headphones, the situation is indeed another in the sense that the music becomes much more distinct, and the concentration
can be dedicated solely to it. The material is, however, never very exciting.
Sure, and of course, the band delivers a masterfully tight performance, and the songs have good drift. Through its eight songs
and 40 minutes, we find crushing riffs, killer solos, decent variety and root-cellar vocals, but nothing we're not fed just
This is a perfect example of the narrow distinction between approved and disapproved. The music is good in isolation and in the
present, which could justified an approval, but it doesn't stand out, and leaves no memorable sequences, which could justify
disapproval. I land in between. Bigger fans of death metal and Deranged will probably get a bigger adrenaline
rush of Struck By A Murderous Siege.
PS: on the same date, the compilation Postmortem Rituals was also released.
It includes re-masted tracks from demos, singles and other curiosities.