Hells Headbangers, 25.11.16
Polish Cultes des Ghoules have released their third album, an epic piece of music of almost a hundred minutes,
that's also a concept written in theatrical form.
When I realized that time was running out on me due to hectic activities and too many duties and responsibilities, I considered
waiting till the digital platform release date of February 17th, but when occasional listeners started hailing Coven
as one of the year's highlights, I found out that I couldn't (or didn't want to) wait. Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love is a huge musical lift since my only encounter with them.
I notice that the debut Häxan from 2008 has received some good feedback, but to my ears, it still sounds remarkably
amateurish. I unfortunately never checked ut subsequent Henbane (or Sonic Compendium of the Black
Arts) (2013), but from what I've heard in retrospect, it was a big step in the right direction, sizzling and dripping
with intense sonic horror. I see that it has been praised in several locations, something which is probably well deserved.
Coven will no doubt be among my monthly favourites, but only time will tell how far the album is able to climb
on the list when the year as a whole is to be summarized. The band has created a rather idiosyncratic work that is large-scale
in moods, though not as grand in musical diversity. One can question the album's need for a length of no less than well over
an hour and half. Specifically, 98 minutes. The music could have easily been edited to under an hour without losing any content
as there are plenty of repetitive riffs. The story itself doesn't require that much time to unfold either. The good
music, the peculiar sound and the hypnotic atmosphere nevertheless prevent the duration from becoming an objection.
The album is inspired by Master's Hammer's black metal operetta The Jilemnice Occultist, and Cultes
des Ghoules wanted to create something similar without the romantic aspects, but rather with a greater and more serious
focus on witchcraft.
The riffs and melody lines are not very complicated, and the story is not unusually complex. Yet, the Poles create a quaint
expression of fairly unique sound and rather distinctive atmosphere. Droning guitar sound and frantic vocal in between maddened,
bewitched scientist and cackling crooked old witch, gives a thunderous sound with lots of bass and punch, and it's difficult
to avoid becoming bewitched oneself in the midst of it all.
M. from Mgła has been responsible for mixing and mastering, and serves as narrator in the prologue
The Prophecy, the first part of Scene I, Devell, the Devell He Is, I Swear God.... It's still the
dramatic sequence from 16:30 that drills deepest into my mind and soul.
The next scene starts with believable moods from the church, where this takes place. Mischief, Mischief, the Devilry
Is at Toil... depicts a battle between dark and pious forces, of which the piteous vicar have no actual authority. Strange Day, See the Clash of Heart and Reason... is a scene drenched in an atmosphere of mystery, where the
usage of cello is helping to set the right mood. Bestial Devotion from Funereal Presence and Negative
Plane contributes with resounding strings.
The fourth scene, Storm Is Coming, Come the Blessed Madness... has its successful sequences, as the playful
instrumentation which peaks with prominent bass guitar at a bit over over three minutes. The song also has moods of chaotic
rituals and hectic mental vicissitudes during the last five minutes. In between, the material may admittedly be somewhat repetitive.
The curtain closes. Intermission. Time to stretch ones legs and get a refill of wine after almost 70 minutes. We who enjoy
our pipe tobacco take this opportunity, while other prominent guests prioritizes visiting the comfort station. As act 2 is
announced, we go as in herds from the foyer to find out seats and enjoy the last 28 minutes. Scene V Satan, Father,
Savior, Hear My Prayer... occupying this whole act, and fills the theatre with the most occult moods of the play.
The rumbling sound, the possessed vocals and the atmosphere in the gradual shifting music is quite hypnotic, and more than
enough to keep the listeners attention, even if the piece don't providing much extra beyond that. A Polish gentleman from
Doombringer with the pseudonym Tribes of the Moon contribute with guitar and
guitar synth here.
When the play is finished and we wander spellbound and electrified out into the night, there are many impressions to process.
When we eventually see it from a distance, we are left with a nifty experience that is unique in its own way. It's still not
the most sophisticated performance we have witnessed, seeing as all how the composition isn't exceptionally clever and intricate.
After more than ten visits to this obscure soiree staging, I vacillated profoundly between grade 4 and 5, but I initially
chose to let my instincts and gut feeling decide. As you so observantly have perceived already, that means I've ended up
with five points, for it is undeniable that I thrive very well with this strange and obscure Broadway production.
Sick Man Getting Sick Records, 16.12.16 The Great Work is the first part in a trilogy from this black metal band from somewhere in the northern
part of New York state. The Great Work is also a highly misleading title from what strictly speaking ain't a great work what
so ever. The album's got just about enough songs to fit an EP. Namely four. Even the duration of just over half an hour
could pass as a prolonged EP.
But to be fair, there is a perfectly good explanation to this, and if The Great Work had been marketed
as a demo, I would perhaps have been a bit more tolerant.
This is presented as rough and epic USBM. The music isn't outrageously bad, but it's got too much debris and insufficient
quality to provide a very positive impact. Sure, the guys play fairly rough metal, but not particularly sharp and hateful
such. Their charcoal grey metal has atmospheric vibes and traces of post-black. They even try experimenting with melodic
and rhythmic antics. Partially successful, I guess, but quite often not. Parts of the material feels feeble, as the
rhythmic mess around five minutes into Nocturnal Reprive. Parts of the performance becomes both staccato
and non-tight, as two metronomes a bit out of step. The vocals are screeching. With low volume. Something that both
prevents it being quite so exhausting and at the same time just sounds completely wrong.
What the press release don't mention, but what's also impossible to miss upon doing research, is the fact that
I: The Great Work is a re-release of a demo from April 2015. It puts things in a slightly different light, but
still doesn't justifies a CD release. Definitively not presented as an album.
The release is not terribly miserable, but it's never particularly interesting. To tell the truth, this is well below par,
and compared with the better half of the tidal wave of new music, this is just a pointless wast of time. Only time will
tell how Sallow will develop. Until then you can certainly save your money.
The more streams I present here, the slower this page takes to load.
I therefore send you to Bandcamp to hear I: The Great Work.
Revalve Records, 01.07.16
Somewhere in the borderline between the extreme metal troika death, black and thrash, Italian Nerodia
meet up for action. The band supposedly evolved from a pure thrash band with punk influences, but are now interspersed
with every genre, and they're not easy to place on the map.
All four members have other bands to relate to. Drummer David Folchitto, residing in
and having a past in Novembre and more, is with his six active bands and several live commitments probably the busiest of 'em all.
On Vanity Unfair, the guys unfolds with energetic panache while they cross borders between genres at
will. Imagine a thrashing variant of Demonical's black/death hybrid, and you have a rough clue. The music has testosterone
on the tank and direct injection of adrenaline.
The music is characterized by tough riffs and solid rhythm section that alternates excellent between fast and hard-hitting
mid-tempo. A lively passage with hefty guitars are also incorporated every once in a while.
The song structure is full of variety. The guys are fittingly hyperactive, and the music never stands still. Repetition
is an unknown factor in their repertoire. When the songs are mostly located in the range of 3-4 minutes, it can be said
that the band squeezes in a lot of music onto short duration.
Nerodia's musical melting pot, wrapped in a professional production with punch, is of modern
origin, but the music's components are a tribute to classic extreme metal from the late eighties and early nineties.
Compared with other extreme metal alloys of more primitive and raw orientation, such as Black Grail, Deiphago, Disfago, Infant Death, Midnight,
Shitfucker, and some dozens of South American bands, Vanity Unfair sounds far better, both due to
superior song-writing and proper sound-quality where others swear to (or can only afford) under-produced garage recordings.
I thrive a lot with Vanity Unfair, something even the punk-infected song Pussywitch 666
can't prevent. The album is tougher than the train and well-constructed, but the songs are not so intricate and
memorable that I think 5 points reflect the content correctly. Therefore 4. I'd like to point out that this album is
considerably more entertaining than some of the other 4-point reviews on this page.
Nihilistische KlangKunst, 12.12.16
My knowledge of Kerker was exceptionally limited as I initiated my first meeting with Ban All
Lights. That the duo is German and plays black metal was all the information I had access to while forming a poor
first impression of the album.
A little more research reveal that the band have celebrate 10 years of existence in 2016, that three of the four members
also dwell in another German black metal band named Todeskult, and that this is their second album.
The cover art shows signs of a concept, but I have no knowledge to whether this is the case or not.
The band's black expression is cold, pale and phonetically minimalistic. The music is stripped down to a lone guitar, cutting
vocals and a set of muffled drums, sometimes with an dim back wall of synthesizers. It's reportedly supposed to be a bass in
there somewhere, but the bassist must have been home sick during the recording session. This may sound trve, but it
becomes far too subdued, and the guitar sound is too rounded to give the correct sharp feeling of pitch black spiteful furore.
Only the vocal secretes the right vibes in this respect. With an ear trumpet, you can clearly pick up mediocre
drumming. Without such hearing aids, the crackling hi-hat and cymbals are easiest to unveil.
One could of course consider the style as atmospheric black metal instead, considering the synth and softly sliding
guitar, but the sound is too barren and anaemic. Ban All Lights thus becomes too toothless to fit
within either one of the two styles, and no, this doesn't make it stand out. The album falls gallantly between two
stools. Two dissimilar chairs with a non-negligible space between.
In And Then They Took The City, the sixth out of eight songs, it seems that Kerker tries
to compensate by increasing the dosage of the instrumentation, as well as adopting piano and wind instruments towards the
end. But by then it's too late. The first song where the melody builds moods that give me something at all, is the closing
Some albums can be hard to put away when moving on. Ban All Lights is already forgotten.
Sliptrick Records, 10.11.16
I'm preparing for a new era, an era where reviews are presented under the Reviews tab.
I cannot continue to write lengthy articles every time just to hide the fact that I am unable to describe the music, though.
(Tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation with only the slightest hint of truth?) Anyway, reviews doesn't have be long,
even if there's certain albums one would want to dive deeper into, preferably sinking all the way to the bottom. There's
been many such records recently.
This presentation will be a bit shorter, cause, you know, I'm incapable of describing the music, remember.
I wouldn't have been comfortable taking a chance on placing In My Embrace on the map, and Sweden sure
wouldn't have been my first guess anyway, for there's not much stereotypically Swedish about this band. Both cover and
name suggests grief and loss with a certain aesthetic air, and I would probably have guessed death/doom with gothic
overtones. To some extent, I've let myself be mislead.
The band hails from the Gävle area of Sweden, pretty much the same area as In Aeternum comes from, and they mainly play melodic pagan
death/black. Elements baring stylistic similarities to death/doom can, with a bit of goodwill, be said to exist. Albeit
to a lesser extent.
Parts of the material on the 10 songs and 35 minutes long album is characterized by moderate melancholy, as of pagan hymns
in honour of fallen ancestors. But the music also has a halfway tankard-swinging character of Vikings funeral ale; a wake
according to ancient customs. There are, however, no downright merriment to be traced. Proud and intransigent moods basically
constitute the essence. The vocals are smouldering and black with the music often drifting well in mid-tempo. The riffs are
tough and powerful, but the captain is burdened by gravity in a solemn manner. Thus, the majestic touch remains subdued.
Black Waters Deep shows good improvement from the first EP, Dead to Dust Descend (2014), released ten years
after the band's creation. (In the mean time, one single has been released.) However, the album doesn't excel greatly, and
both expression and scraping vocals can to a certain degree feel somewhat similar sounding throughout the album. Despite this
nitpicking, it has nevertheless become a good debut album from a band I'd like to hear more from.
I was initially prepared to award 4 points, but I became a little bit uncertain. After reading up on my own description, which states that 3 point equals
“Perfectly fine. Listenable, but not at all mandatory”, while dice 4 equals “Pretty good and recommendable”, I believe that
three points seems more adequate. I wouldn't discourage anyone from checking out Black Waters Deep,
but among the flood of god releases, I can't heartily recommend this album either.
The only sampler I can find is a concise and aesthetically stylish but unfortunately musical insignificant
teaser”. Also, the November release apply to Europe only. USA will have to wait until February 10th, whilst
Japan and the rest of the world have to hang in there till March 10th.
W.T.C. Productions&Dark Adversary, 06.12.16
It's about time I get to know Crimson Moon. The band has a long history and a solid catalog to show for.
American Scorpios Androctonus is known for his work in Acherontas, as well as previous abode in Ancient and Melechesh, and live performance
for Hortus Animae and Zemial. Among other bands. He established Crimson Moon on his own in
1994, and relocating to Germany a few years later. After many years with varying line-up, Scorpios returns
to one-man format on his third full-length album.
He has acquired some help though, with Ralph Santolla (ex-Deicide, ex-Obituary), Ixithra
(Demoncy and more), Hierophant (Acherontas et al.) and Acherontas V.Priest
(from you-know-where) as guests on selected tracks.
In retrospect, a new line-up with members from amongst other Agathodaimon and Narvik was establish with concerts and future
material in mind. This includes a split scheduled for release during 2017.
Not unexpectedly, the music has a Hellenic whiff in its black metallic foundation, but it's been mixed with other influences.
Amongst other, we come across a rich display of pagan tradition in a heathen heritage stretching back to archaic times.
Oneironaut contains many shamanistic rites that bear witness to primitive ceremonies without newfangled
remedies. We also meet oriental tones of Eastern mysticism. Along with black metallic instrumentation and ditto vocals,
acoustic guitar, fretless bass, chanting voices and hushed chorus that hums like sombre hummingbirds are used. Several
exotic instruments are applied, such as the stringed instruments Esraj and Tanpura from India, the three-stringed instrument
Cretan Lyra from Crete and the archipelagos between Greece and Turkey, as well as frame drums, known in particular for its
shamanistic ceremonial practise. Altogether, they create an unreal, occult-sounding backdrop.
The music is just as difficult to explain as all this would imply.
With all the inspirations Scorpios have interwoven, many reference bands could have been mentioned, but
I can't think of anyone who is really that similar. I'm not going to speculate on whether this is solely due to
disorder in my own mental archives. The band's expression can be said to consist of familiar elements. The assembly isn't
innovative, but you'd probably be facing difficulty attempting to find something with a very similar expression. The band,
after all, sounds fairly distinctive.
The album consists of six songs, four of which lasts from eight to nine minutes, while one is slightly shorter, and the
closing title track withstand the urge to cave in for as much as 20 minutes. I feel that this album grows from start to
finish for each and every spin, similarly as to how the size of the Great Pyramid would seem to grow in proportions if
you were to spent an hour just walking in a straight line towards it. The album wouldn't have faded out before you
reached the foot of the pyramid's almost 53 thousand square meters, or 63 thousand square yards of land area. The songs
coil up like snakes. They twists and turns and lure you into the swirling spirals of spiritual chaos. The three final
songs feels more dynamically varied, and I appreciate these contributions even more than the first half.
By coincidence, the sonic dynamics are also a notch more lofty here. The first three songs are measured at DR8, and the
last three to DR9. The music is intense, but the sound still has an organic feel. It may also appear, especially to begin
with, as somewhat odd, as the sound is located in separate layers, mixed with different volume and covered with dissimilar
degrees of echo and reverberation. This can cause dizziness and confusion among ye weak souls, but contributes to create
a charming character. It takes some time to get used to Oneironaut, and it takes even longer to become
familiar with it, but it's absolutely worth the time. When the album gradually seats, it's difficult to separate from it.
I simply do not tire from this dizzying Gnosticism.
About ten years have passed between each album from Crimson Moon.
Let's hope it doesn't take another ten years before the next album sees the blood-red light of dawn.
In addition to the stream below, you can watch the video to Molding of a Spell, with pictures from the animal kingdom, and you
can compare Urilian Worm with the rough mix of the same song.
I definitively wouldn't mind hearing the rough mix of the whole album.
Prophecy Productions, 02.12.16
German Bethlehem can rightly be called one of “depressive suicidal” black metal's pioneers, but
the band's self-destructive self-pity gradually glided into the experimental and quirky.
The band was founded in 1991 and celebrates its 25th anniversary with this self-titled album. The eighth album in the row.
It's quite fitting, for the album also marks a return to dsbm.
After three cheerless albums in the nineties, the new millennium was initiated with very alternative dark metal, miles from
the debut Dark Metal (1994), on Schatten aus der Alexander Welt (2001). Mein Weg
(2004) saw the band take a direction toward Eisregen and Rammstein, and I finally gave up on
the Germans. Just as well, for subsequent A Sacrificial Offering... (2009) received historically negative
criticism. Despite this, I made a new attempt in 2014. My impression of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
(or “666-phobia”) was fairly moderate, but the album wasn't miserable. It just wasn't Bethlehem.
With this many years behind them, and such a schizophrenic development, it's natural that the band has gone through a
corresponding replacement of members. Jürgen Bartsch is the only remaining original member, while drummer
Wolz, who was a part of the band in the period 1999-2011, now have returned. Russian Karzov
is their newly hired guitarist, while vocals from now on, and hopefully for a long time to come, will be handled by Polish
Onielar, known from Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult.
Bethlehem doesn't alter their expression utterly and abruptly, but retain more than a tinge of their
deranged frenzy and bizarre absurdity when they return. The combination is very flattering. Folly-feathered batty birds
tend to flock, and self-destructive psychotic paranoia is always entertaining. At a safe distance.
Onielar laments her suffering as a crazed mistress in distress in deep despair before heartbreaking distorted
screams of anger cries out and echoes in the night. With her shrill sawtooth vocals, she's one of the better female black metal
vocalists around, and in this case she sounds as if she belongs in a lunatic asylum. And also in the kind of music that
Bethlehem exhibit. Namely schizophrenic dark metal with hapless undertones and sudden bursts of aversion. And that's
not just pretty words and figurative speech. The music can be lightweight and melancholic, yet under the circumstances harmonious,
with proggy structures of Agrypnie or later Nocte Obducta in one moment, but how long was Adam in Eve before
she sought refuge in psychoactive substances from plants and poisoned frogs? Suddenly and without warning, the music explode
in raw and barbaric outbursts of manic depressive tantrums.
After the band's last, and partly disappointing display of elevator music, it is gratifying to again see Bethlehem
in their depressed and mentally deficient element. Odd sections and less interesting sequences are hard to avoid
when the music alternates this much. I can for example spare my enthusiasm for a song like Gängel Gängel Gang.
Although the darkest corner of resigned maddened gloom is appealing, what I enjoy the most here, is when anger gets free rein.
Ergo, my zeal over the aggressive and ominous opening track Fickselbomber Panzerplauze is far greater than
my enthusiasm for the melancholic and fairly toothless ending song Kein Mampf mit Kutzenzangen.
I was set on 5 points for a while, but eventually fell down on a solid 4. Despite some small flaws, the music is largely very
good. You may fell free to revel in others' miserable torment at will.
My Kingdom Music, 02.12.16 Crest of Darkness from Gjøvik, Norway, has always had a knack for standing out. The band delivers black
metal where rigid boundaries, perceived like claustrophobic prison cells, are torn down with a heavy hand. Not to say
that the band offers ground-breaking schizophrenia, but they are free to experiment, explore and incorporate exotic
elements at will.
A self-created privilege that the band knows to take advantage of without abusing.
Can you imagine a collaboration between Ingar Amlien and Kamelot's Roy Khan? The answer
will reveal how well you know Crest of Darkness' background, as these two were among those who constituted
the band Conception in the early 90s. Ingar eventually went separate ways, or rather, he travelled
in a different, but still parallel direction to give vent to other creative sides, as he didn't leave Conception
when he started Crest of Darkness in 1993. After an EP, two albums were released before the decade faded
away. The last of these, The Ogress, is the only one of them I have a relationship to. Subsequent
Project Regeneration (2000), however, was my initial encounter with them. The album was a industrial affair that
mixed various aspects of the Zeitgeist, like fair maidens vocals à la Dismal Euphony and elements of techno, into
a fuming mechanical mix with some semi-automatic rapid-fire rhythms. Delightful avant-garde Matrix Metal that possesses
some, albeit kind of vague similarities to Covenant's Nexus Polaris.
The two following albums passed under my radar, but in 2013 I was alert enough to pick up
In The Presence Of Death. The album was more militant and warlike, with far blacker
fringes. I unfortunately failed to write about it in the short final months of the year where this site was active.
I was planning to write about last year's EP, Evil Messiah, fronted by “Abbath” on the
cover, but those plans also crumbled in the sands of time.
Thus we greet the deceased. Welcome The Dead is an album with a dark and bleak mood that isn't typically dystopic, yet that
contains nuances of destruction, loss and isolation as subtle undertones of said unnerving atmosphere. Much like
a nervous gut feeling. The moods are mixed with an atmosphere of mystique as we venture into unknown spheres.
The music is eclectically varied, and mixes in elements from the industrial, without reaching the levels of
Project Regeneration, although the song Borrowed Life has marginal similarities to sixteen
year old Hominis Nocturna. The band also finds rooms for classical guitar work and thrashing sequences
in black metal that embraces an assortment of sub-genres. The guitar solos from around four minutes out in the start-
and title-track and from about five into The Almighty must be mentioned. There are those who dislike
classical solos in black metal. There are those who could have a use for straitjacket and supervised medication. You
hear me? For seasoned veterans (or ageing men) with a special and nostalgic relationship to more innocence metal from
a bygone era, this is just delightful.
The extensive structures, however, prevents me from analysing these and other details to death. The fairly progressive
multiplicity and the diverse ingredients rather draw me into this strange journey. Welcome The Dead
is not a record I feel like reflecting and commenting on in detail. It's a suggestive trip in a strange dimension that
feels more right to simply enjoy, although a scent and aura reveals that only a thin layer of some kind of cosmic-astral
membrane substance separates something very harmful from breaking through the invisible barrier and eradicating our
fragile reality. As in the most unpleasant attractions of an amusement park, insecurity and danger to life feels like
only a hair's breadth away, although the safety in most cases are well taken care of.
Various members have come and gone in Crest of Darkness. After 12 years in the company, Kjetil
Hektoen (Enthral et al.) was replaced by Bernhard (ex-Pale Forest) on drums
a couple of years ago. Guitarist Rebo now has ten years of service, while Kristian Wentzel
is the bands new keyboardist.
I seem to remember a little bit of controversy circulating Crest of Darkness. In a country where rigid
puritanism had a strong grip, this is something that has affected most bands who have taken new directions and “diluted”
the borderlines of the black realm. But artistic freedom are among the pillars of which metal is built on, and those who
reject conformity with qualitative creativity, deserves honour for their integrity. The worst case alternative is chronic
I'm not familiar with all six of the former albums from Ingar Amlien & co, but those I've heard have
largely appealed. And so is the case this time around. Crest of Darkness seems to be an underrated bands
in the Norwegian fauna. An underdog with a focus on quality, which therefore deserves recognition.
After a dark and ominous voyage, Welcome The Dead ends with calm and soaring Katharsis.
A pleasant closure of a very good album, that in the second half is accompanied by dramaturgical monologue performed by
Rebo's brother, Espen Reboli Bjerke.
Dark Essence Records, 02.12.16
In 2006, ten years after tnbm was well established and then some, Sarkom launched their first full work. But
within the confines of true black metal, one should never roll out the red carpet and offer the key to the city unconditionally.
Each and every one ought to prove they're made of the right stuff.
Now, another ten years into the future, the band from Norway's Oslo area have long since demonstrated that they've got what it takes.
Both current and former members are indeed merited figures in the Norwegian underworld.
Today's line-up consists of people from Svarthaueg, Svarttjern, So Much for Nothing, Nocturnal Breed
and more in the ranks. Amongst them, acclaimed sound engineer Tom Kvålsvoll, alias Thrawn.
The debut Aggravation of Mind (2006) was primitive and straight for the throat, with quick and sharp black
metal with sufficient melody and satanic atmosphere. I still wasn't completely comfortable with the vocals, and the sequel
Bestial Supremacy (2008) was more mature in expression with better sound and vocals that suited the more
dystopian moods. A downright good album, from what I remember. Yet I still thought that Doomsday Elite
topped this with more fiery disgust. Those who swear by rawer guitar-sound and a generally more natural sound of the drums,
might want to reverse the roles, as Doomsday's professional production is not as primitive. The songs were
killer, and I doubt the vocals should be disputed. It rasped in discordance with the falsified creator.
The men's fourth album is short and concise, and don't just offer on traditional black metal. Anti-Cosmic Art is indeed more artistically landscaped, somewhat experimental as it is. Sarkom
know to renew themselves. The sound again feels more organic, but also intense, as the band blare away with
resolute and arrogant moods of pride. The pace rise and fall, but not necessarily through longer passengers. The rhythm
has a partly progressive touch that transmutes the pace suddenly and without warning. The mood on the album also varies,
but an uncompromising satanic fume spreads when the band threads their own path.
After a good opening with a few slaying tracks that fits into conventional forms without resorting to too much adaptable
flexibility, Ruins of Our Family Tree offers music that would require undreamed goodwill to push through
the same needle eye. With psychedelic guitar distortion from the 70s, this short and peculiar piece drags my mind to acid
rock and Nazareth's eminent Bob Dylan cover The Ballad Of Hollis Brown. Guitar virtuoso Ronni Le Tekrø
(TNT) guests somewhere on the album. Could it be within this short hippie-track he's hiding? Even Come,
Dear Cancer clocks in at the same length; exactly 2:49, and even this shows a will for peculiar diversity.
Pehr Skjoldhammer from Alfahanne guests on this one with his sick, punk orientated vocals, and the song
contains enough hallucinogenic acid for the trip to last the rest of the year. There are other songs with hectic guitar
works on the album too, and Peter Huss (Shining) also contribute with frantic string bending. His
donation is installed in song two, Mind-Abscess.
Between said 3-minute tracks, the longest and most evocative song has been positioned. Seen Through the Eyes
of a Paedophile Priest (6:40) is a raw and unpleasant title of a, if possible, even more uncomfortable song.
Unintentionally(?) it reflect the contemporary times, where new perverted swine seems to be revealed as sickly deviants
every fucking day. It's certainly not just depraved Catholics who deserves a slow and painful death. I would probably
have lost both temper and patience, making a short shrift before heads would be rolling quite literally.
With frenetic Sodomy and Lust, a Sodom cover, a rather schizophrenic album from Sarkom
ends. The seven songs on Anti-Cosmic Art alternate and diverge in expression. From highly
solid tunes, as the first two tracks and Seen Through the Eyes..., via the acid-head soundtrack
Ruiners..., and onto somewhat more run-of-the-mill Black Metal Necrophilia and the frivolous
punk-infested ...Cancer-track. The band deserve respect for bringing diversity and exploration to the table,
but due to the loss of a stronger overall feeling of coherence and proportionate quality, I content myself with 4 points.
“Tristesse” is a word that sums up the works of Clouds. Departe is the band's second release, and the proficient veterans apparently don't waste time on anything
less than full-length albums consisting of tear-jerking misery. The irony is that I can't stand films in the same genre.
I rattled off members in connection with a quick Norwegian review of the band's first fall from grace, the self-pitying debut
Doliu. With an all-star constellation like the one we find here, a little name-dropping is quite inevitable.
I'm not making a reprise of said enumerating, but rather make this variations on a theme, eventually leading into a useful
link for you to explore this “super-band” for yourself.
The line-up is located in different countries, where the two respected death doom nations England and Finland are represented
by members of
Ennui, Eye of Solitude, Shape of Despair et al. (Britain's representative admittedly hail from Romania, but he's
surely indoctrinated by pale, industrial, British despondency by now.)
The other four comes from the Netherlands, Faroe Islands, Belgium and Bulgaria. (As known, Déhà from
Lebenssucht has also been on the move.) A detailed list of members and their respective respectable exploits can
be found at on Encyclopaedia Metallum.
The music they create is death/doom so slow and depressed that it also inherits some of the lamentable effects of a
burial from funeral doom. The music is at the same time so subdued and quiet that it is likely to appeal almost just
as much to fans of traditional doom, despite some depressive growls from the mental cellar. The music has a dark view
on life, and must be said to be exceptionally mournful.
In addition to guttural hopelessness, Jón Aldará from Hamferð put his distinct mark on the
music, like vocalists with a notable signature-voice often do. This by means of plaintive clean vocals, so woeful it's
like a harrowing sigh of utter hopelessness.
The music is like symbolic raindrops flowing down the panes of the window while nature slowly die as the thermometer
inevitably creeps downward in anticipation of winter's ruthless iron grip, and newspapers brim with disasters, suffering,
and victims of repulsive cynicism. Departe can be considered a favourite among the candidates for the
award for the most crestfallen contemplation in grief and despair of the year.
As expected, the performance is executed with panache and the melodies are good. They are not as strong as they are
melancholic, however. I can't find melodies which stick to mind permanently in good old My Dying Bride-fashion.
The six songs on average stretch beyond ten minutes each, and live more off sorrowful atmosphere than anything else.
The atmosphere is of course not the sole quality. It's accompanied by pleasing and beautiful tones. The gorgeous flutes
launching In the Ocean of My Tears are among the highlights of the approximately 66 minutes long album.
The gradual variation glides naturally, but they also slide with sparse friction. The stream flows without unforeseen
obstacles that could have created eddies, turbulence and unexpected, abrupt twirls. The songs blends without shaking
up the listener too much. Given the dozens of sovereign bands the members are involved in, it must be allowed to hope
for a little more drama and excitement.
For precisely this reason I fall down on four points despite the heartfelt mood of loss, sorrow and depression being
touchingly passionate, hitting a nerve that's begging for five points. The music is graceful, plagued and frail, but
not very eventful. If saddened and tearful moods is what you crave in your wretched discouraged wistfulness,
Departe might be considered another breathtaking album from Clouds.
Sliptrick records, 10.11.16 Marianas Rest is a gratifying new acquaintance from Finland. But the joy is apparent on my side, for
the poor Finns seem oh so sad.
The music can be defined as slow, melodic, melancholic, hushed and doom-infested death metal, but the term death/doom
would of course also do the trick.
The band delivered a self-titled demo in 2014, while their 52-minute debut-epos Horror Vacui is my first encounter
The band hail from the coastal town of Kotka, in the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea, near the Russian border, between
Helsinki and St. Petersburg. I said in connection with Feral that we wouldn't have any more lessons in geography today,
but that was yesterday. Even though the Mariana Trench, a good distance south of Japan, is far away, I guess it's this
oppressive depth that have inspired the band name.
The band have a good traditional Finnish flair for strong melodies and moods, which they here take full advantage of.
The music is calm, floating and relaxing, but also burdened with grief. The guitars are largely dreamy, but not without
a certain sting of riffs with fuzz. Vocal styles vary heavily, and see both traditional uvula-killing frequencies with
guttural undertows, razor sharp witch shrieks, whispering disgust and hints of more modernistic dread, but not nearly
enough to count me out.
The mournful melodies Marianas Rest supplies, are extremely good, and leaves me perplexed and speechless.
The only thing that surpasses the melodies is the overall mood. It puts me in a hypnotic state that feels as physically
as a heavy vacuum or as a bath in pleasantly temperated cement.
That the Finns have acquired a very good production on their first works, really amplifies the mood.
Horror Vacui has a lyrical concept, but I'm unsure how consistently this leitmotif is. The album question
whether the human race really learn from their mistakes, or if we just plow ahead without thinking of the consequences
while repeating historical mistakes ad nauseam. With samples from The Final Breaths of Astronaut Roger McMillan on the US Glory,
a monologue audio drama (or radio theatre/play) about an astronaut witnessing the planet's destruction, reinforced the
sense of a concept about irreversible perdition.
The music is mournful and gloomy, and radiate melancholic Finnish death/doom of the melodic type. That's nevertheless
a bit of a cliché, all the time one can find similar musical depression metal-world wide. It's also quite pointless to
list similar bands en masse. Marianas Rest also differ a bit from many by having an organic and round
sound that glides like rainbows coated with honey set to the tones of 70s organs through the ear canals. Omnium Gatherums Aapo Koivisto is also this band's keyboardist. In some places, the use of
synth is fairly extensive, but even the very melodic guitars are helping to create a soft resounding expression that
smoothens the sharpest edges, although the music remain heavy as lead. Their sound can be said to be “available”, but
I wouldn't call it “commercial”. Nor an objection. I just want to establish that the music can be perceived
as somewhat smooth.
This lubricant effect still don't remove all friction, and the music never goes into a comatose overdose of over-polish.
Certain parts may be a little poppy, but don't be affected by that. This isn't consistently in all songs, but rather
limited to certain areas of the record, most visible in The Millennialist and For the
Heartless. These sequences ain't nowhere near preventing me from enjoying Horror Vacui.
Ergo they rather contribute to some welcome change.
The most hard-boiled amongst ye is nevertheless warned.
I am dumbstruck in deep hypnosis, and I have trouble thinking clearly, not to mention the difficulties expressing myself,
lost for words as I am. I inquired this promo after coming across an unofficial stream, and I've had this in my possession
for a long time. I've played this a lot during the past month. Exceptionally many times, in fact. I've still
struggled violently with finding the right words to convey the essence of Horror Vacui. Of course I
haven't listened primarily in the quest for the right word, but because this is a pleasant and varied album with strong
material. I have also used it as a sedative a dozen bedtimes. “Soporific” may be synonymous with “dull” and “dreary”,
but in this case it means relaxing, calm, beautiful and comfortable. Horror Vacui ain't too sedate. It ripple softly and gently, moving with the elegance of a deer.
Or a moose, considering its sheer weight. An acquaintance who isn't particularly thrilled about metal even called segments
of this album the most beautiful music he had heard in a long time. You probably won't find more alluring and pleasing music
on the radio, and Marianas Rest can be said to have a wide appeal.
At its best this is simply gorgeous!
The band have created a video for the song I have the least taste for on the album. The Millennialist opens the album with a
bit too rosy vibes and a proper overdose of synth. That the video is also in excess cheesy, makes me encourage you to
rather just listen below. As mentioned, I've played the album much, and I've become unusually fond of it. The album
induces a very deep trance, and I suspect it of emitting subliminal backmasked messages that attempts to hypnotized me
into giving it a full score. I am dangerously close to giving in, but I pull myself together, and deduct one point for
those smoothest, most glossy parts. The five points are still strong as granite.
Global release dates diverge as a straddling ballerina doing the splits. The album has been out since November 10th in
Europe, while North Americans must wait until the same date in February. The rest of the world will for some reason
beyond me have to wait until the same date in March.
Independent, 18.11.16 Khonsu is the name the Egyptians gave the moon-god, and its meaning is “he who travels across the night sky”. Khonsu is admittedly not the first metal band in space, figuratively of course, but they can still be called
metallic space-pioneers, as they roam where no man has ever travelled before.
Several have attempted to place the futuristic astronauts in a pigeon-hole, but Khonsu execute a form of extreme
metal that hasn't gained an “official” name yet.
When a new generation of hopefuls start copying this expression, and the big magazines start naming the style, a common terminology
for the sub-genre will probably be determined and universally adopted. Until than, I cling on to the term Sci-Fi Metal.
Space Metal (the next frontier) would also work. Just saying.
Norwegian Khonsu was created by S. Grønbech - brother of Keep of Kalessin's Obsidian C. - after
moving from Trondheim to Bergen. S. have previously contributed on composing the Reclaim EP, which
became a transition from traditional black metal for Keep of Kalessin. S., however, had nothing else on his resume when debuting with Anomalia in 2012. In 2014, he
once more received standing ovation from many who appreciate a bit of exotic spices rather than just rehashes of tnbm, when the
EP Traveller was released. After more than two and a half years of hard work, The Xun Protectorate
is finally here. Khonsu consists of multi-instrumentalist Grønbech junior and vocalist T'ol
from Killing for
Company and formerly of Chton. In addition, Rune Folgerø from Atrox (and live for
Manes) assists with clean vocals.
The music isn't a traditional ethereal journey among astral bodies in the Milky Way, and I won't list the usual references;
other bands that engage in intergalactic exploration. Khonsu have put both journey and exploration behind
them, as they've already colonized an alien part of the galaxy. We're situated many light years from Earth. After a long
time in cryogenic sleep, while autonomous robots and drones have constructed a space station the size of Tokyo, we also find
ourselves far into the future. This is science fiction and metal in perfect, clinical fusion.
I'm not sticking to the script here, but rather fabricating freely from what little I know about the concept in advance and
the moods I absorb. The stories nevertheless make a surprisingly good match.
The only thing organic here, is mankind, completely cut off from their fellow species on the gradually dying planet Earth.
After centuries in an induced coma, and further decades of artificial intelligence as acceptable social relation, the question
is how organic they remain, concealed and anonymous in their half-uniformed protective suits. The primitive animalistic
concept of body language is subjugated in favour of concrete machine friendly factual neutrality. The best preserved human
emotion is emptiness. The absence of animals and insects, nature teeming with life, biodiversity and perhaps some good old
mud, dirt and filth, can bring unforeseen and unexpected longings.
After a dystopian but dreamy prologue, a mood which is representative for much of The Xun Protectorate, I
get a bit of Keep of Kalessin vibes of the guitar, but the brothers Grønbech do have some natural
similarities in their technical approach. The music is cold and clinical, separated from conventional human emotional
irrationality and organic feel. A bit emotionally blunted, perhaps. The sterile environment leaves its mark.
The music is a seamless progressive architecture of cold synth with drops of avant-garde techno, hints of electronica,
and partly indefinable extreme metal. The metallic segment must however be said to be related to melodic but icy black metal,
although the end result thus can't be called black metal. Yet Mysticum's inhuman mechanical style is something
that keeps appearing in my mind due to the industrial amalgamation of absolute diversity.
Also associations to Alkaloid's technical sovereignty emerge, especially at the start of Death of the Timekeeper
that is somewhat reminiscent of the song Cthulhu. The thoughts wander and stop by Ayreon as well. The
resemblance is indeed as absent as the whispering wind, the splashing throbs of the waves and birdsong on the space station;
here is nothing but hissing ventilation, droning generators and other electrical and mechanical background noises. The
commonality between the two is thorough structuring where numerous elements are welded together primarily by a single
protagonist, forming an album so unified in mood and execution that it reek a long way of superb concept-album (something
it also is). The progression through sliding melodies and countless transitions, as opposed to the spectral moods of distant
emptiness, is very natural.
There are elements here I know I shouldn't embrace. The dark metal trance song The Observatory, complete
with bright clean vocal, or especially A Dream of Earth, with its strong techno-jungle-trance-rave-house
party acid and blissful female vocals. Yet it all fits absolutely perfect together. I know I said I wasn't going to recite
stereotypical references, but to offer a slight comparison: if Below the Sun and Monolithe were to merge with Semargl
The whole thing is enormously thoroughly implemented. Even the aforementioned songs are full to the brim of melancholic
moods. I have no real objections. Even the sound is impeccable. I consider the unique atmosphere the concept in its entirety
provides unprecedented, and the album as such as a modern classic. I see therefore no way around the top score.
A summary for the benefit of busy or lazy metal heads, and in favour of dyslexics, may be appropriate. The Xun Protectorate is a concept based on a futuristic tale of events occurring at a huge space station
orbiting the sun in a distant future. With elements of techno-electronic music and melodic black metal, as well as switching
between extreme vocals and sensitive clean ones, create a distinct and unique feel of intergalactic, clinical and synthetic
isolation, capable of giving earthbound beings a strong sense of claustrophobic fear of the future.
code666, 25.11.16 Aenaon released one of my favourites albums of 2014 and they charmed more than just me with
Extance. It was an intricate and complex album that I compared to the spoken parts and saxophone from
Swedish Shining mixed with the Hammon organ usage of In Lingua Mortua, the psychedelic jazz of
Diablo Swing Orchestra, along with conventional jazz, prog and burlesque.
An ambitious project where they nevertheless managed to unravel all the loose threads, and sew everything together in
a surprisingly functional way, creating order from chaos.
Something has changed since the last time, and I regret to report that it is not for the better. The band seem to have
teamed up with Yello, and are now closer to Norwegian Shining than the elements of the Swedes would suggest.
Hypnosophy is the third full length by the Greek quintet, and it opens quite cool with
that blends very different extreme and emotional clean vocals in a very good way, depicting soul and empathy.
The melody is good, and the fervent derisive and unrestrained vocals that almost mocks the purer voice, creates good
contrast. When saxophone enters, it brings more nerve to the music. When 7 minutes long Fire Walk with Me take over after
almost 8 minutes, it's in the same alley, with proggy melodic extreme metal. The start reminds a tiny bit of
of Kalessin due to the rhythm in the melody. The song is good, but I can't quite get the hang of the clean
vocal line in the chorus, which gives me a somewhat uncomfortable feel.
Earth Tomb the unfortunately cabaret animal awake from dormancy. This is the start of the “Hypnosophy
curse”. On the last record there was one song in particular that I didn't particularly enjoy, and
Hypnosophy builds a bit too much on the foundation of the very same ingredients. The song is fairly good
and well-written, but the music also feels slightly more power-prog-poppy, particularly in the heinous musical-like
choir-chorus that makes me feel even more uncomfortable.
Weeping, mournful saxophone opens Void, but as soon as I find tranquillity and melancholic satisfaction,
jazzy female vocals of a type I can't stand comes along. For this very reason, I have nothing to compare with, except
the song Funeral Blues from Extance. It was the albums biggest drawback due to the
exact same ingredients.
The song Tunnel brings more jazz elements that are likely to make bigger fans of Yello burst
with incomprehensible joy. I'm just getting dizzy.
The album picks up slightly towards the end. The proggy moods of Thus Ocean Swells ain't once so bad.
At least if a light avant-garde mood of schizophrenic yet muted jazz-prog is your thing. The song is still a bit dull
and unexciting. 15 minutes long Phronesis - Psychomagic ends a rather disappointing work from
Aenaon. The song is largely calm and dreamy, but it definitely has its moments. The expression, like the
atmosphere, is characterized by fairly monotonous melancholy, and I had to hear the song an extra number of times as my
concentration kept dropping out. In other words, the song has a bit too anonymous a feel all in all.
Song-by-song reviews are often frowned upon, but with Hypnosophy's gradual development, or decline, as
an unfortunate drive off the cliff, it felt like a natural approach. By starting off very well and by provoking less near
the end, Aenaon don't crash and burn entirely, though.
If you have a bigger taste for alternative music than me, Aenaon might surely appear as an exciting band.
In addition to saxophone, synthesizer and conventional metal instruments, they use both bouzouki, sitar, oud and bağlama.
Four old stringed instruments widespread around the area of South/Eastern Europe, West Asia and the Middle East. For me,
however Hypnosophy is too little bread and too much circus, and when the Greeks act as big-band jazz, I
feel the aversion creeping like insects underneath the skin.
The album is well played and the song-writing is partly clever, with some good melodies and hooks, skilled implementation
of a wide array and great diversity. The expression can be said to be very well carried out, something that's also required
to avoid falling through with such a schizophrenic mixture. Properties those who appreciate this musical direction will
I'm still rather disappointed, personally. The album is rather uneven, and parts of it don't appeal at all.
I must nevertheless emphasize that the album is a matter of taste. It has a preponderance of ingredients
that don't fit me, but that can possibly sit just right with you.
Iron Bonehead, 25.11.16
Swiss Bölzer was put on the pedestal after only a single EP. The name quickly spread quicker than wildfire
in hot cakes, and the subsequent EP didn't alter this matter.
A rocket start to the career is a dream situation for any fresh band, but it's also a somewhat nerve-racking situation.
When the debut is now finally being released, the band has huge expectations to fulfil.
Despite the impact of Aura and Soma, I approached Hero with an open mind. Partly because
previous premièred songs have indicated a certain change, but also because creative musicians tend to avoid stepping in
their own footsteps. The two EP was after all not terribly different in expression, and as such, chances were
that time was ripe for development. Hero do quite right move in a slightly different direction.
The duo still blends a fairly kaleidoscopic maelstrom of red-hot blackened lava and occult-sounding tributes to the realm
of death. Hero has a certain hypnotic mood and a pretty rounded atmospheric expression. The sound in
particular underpin the last two aspects by resounding with a warm, epic ethos. Some of the raw savagery is gone, or it
have at least faded.
The intro, Urdr, consists of gruesome whistling, and the album ends with a correspondingly
lamentably outro in the form of of Atropos, where vocalist KzR (earlier of
Witchrist and Deathcult) does a poor imitation of Billy Idol, Danzig or whoever. The album even has
a silly interlude called Decima, where "hey-o-hoy-o" vocals gives associations to a Native American
infected by the common cold. The six songs, however, fortunately have a higher quality.
The music is more melodic. Without following in the footsteps of the Eurovision Song Contest, of course. The songs ain't bad,
and the suggestive atmosphere work its magic. Compared with the two EPs, Hero nevertheless feels fairly
diluted and tame. The first two songs don't fascinate me too much. The Archer is to some extent characterized
by feeble vocals, and the title track sees the return of that horrid whistling. None of these items impair in a sufficient
degree to spoil the songs, though. Subsequent Phosphor still comes more to its right despite a monotonous
character and a half minute of ritual voices, whistles and bell-rattles, leading onto said Decima.
After the break, I am III arrives, showing a bit more savagery via dynamic diversity along with different
vocal forms that actually works great. As we'll see, that's not always the case. The drumming is one of the aspects of the
album that, at its best, appeals the most. Take Spiritual Athleticism as reasonably random example. Although
the pace is steady and firm through sequences of the track, percussionist HzR varies the rhythm considerably
through good variety of tom-toms and timps. Don't take the latter literally. (Timpani not included.) This is like a basic
course in how to prevent monotony from sounding monotonous. The drumming is still not entirely outstanding. The beginning of
said track for example, don't impress much.
There is thus a bit more friskiness and spirit in the album whence its well underway, but closing Clorophylia
becomes somewhat protracted and uneventful, and reveal that the second half ain't flawless either. Bölzer
unfortunately don't do everything right on their first full length album, and consequently don't live up to the hype this
time around in my ears. Yet, we have barely scratched the surface of the cardinal error.
The album's biggest and most controversial change concerns the vocals. Nowhere is it ever as raw as before, even if it
remains fairly coarse several places. It's still the inclusion of a much brighter clean vocals that almost certainly will
split listeners into different f(r)actions. The mournful, plaintive vocals howl like the autumn wind in poorly insulated,
and derelict mountain huts. It is clearly a matter of opinion. My original opinion was that it was perhaps not directly
bad, but that it didn't add much (if anything) to the music. Gradually I even perceived the lion's share of it as a
disadvantage, a nuisance, and it doesn't help that it has a (probably deliberate) hint of out-of-key. If it had been applied
only exceptionally, it would likely have contributed to greater diversity, but it is used quite a lot, and emerges as all
too soft and blissful. The clean vocals is simply far from optimal.
Hero is a perfectly fine album, but when the band behind the 46 minutes is called Bölzer,
and is the most hyped newcomer in modern metal history, it's allowed to be disappointed with a “decent record”. Even the
cover is rather stale in my eyes. I could have given this a lower grade based on subjectively disappointment, but choose
to rank the album as “pretty good, but not distinctly as such”. It's a weak 4 though.
Listen to Spiritual Athleticism, and finish with the dessert, I am III, showcasing
Bölzer anno 2016 at its very best.
As far as I can remember, Conceived By Hate is the first band from El Salvador who honour us with a visit.
The band plays thrashing death metal with excellent technical skills and ditto sound. The song material on the other hand,
needed some time to bloom, but even the better part of this gradually came to its right. Death & Beyond is, to me, an album that sounds good from the first spin, but that requires some time before
it begins to grow. The growth curve is not directly proportional with time...
Before the curve-climbing took place, the album remained steadily on “tough as hell, but of little depth”.
The substance eventually snuck up on me, though.
“The Devil is in the details” used to be my favourite idiom. Turns out I had it all wrong, as it doesn't mean that
good quality stem from first-rate details, or “qualitative details makes a quality product”. As the son of anti-christ,
I refuse to use the phrase “god is in the details”. Nevertheless, Conceived By Hate offer precise
details in their otherwise rabid metal. The music is fast and aggressive, but the five Central-American guys have
oodles of finesse compared to lots of similar savagery.
The music is vital, with evident enthusiasm from those involved. Mood-sequences and brutality are nicely merged together,
both characterized by good and skilled instrumental craftsmanship. Both guitar and bass demonstrate execution with a hint
of technical flair. The solos are unbridled and fiery. The drums offer some bizarre rhythmic transitions. Check, for example,
the first few minutes of Chaos Upon Us. The downside is slightly directionless, and thus fairly aimless
Three songs stands out quite a bit more. We Choose Who Suffers is a slower song with malicious moods and
proper amounts of sombre melody, located in the middle on the album. Playful and enjoyable use of fretless bass takes place
in a sequence. Even a backdrop of synth reveals itself later, but the usage ain't exaggerated. The droning guitars stands
in front and dominate along with hard beats and sick, rasping vocals.
Also in Below the Pale Sky, synth appear. At first together with calm guitars, before the synth
withdraw to the back of the car when noisy teenagers board the subway. The contrasts are striking when droning
guitars with thundering sound takes over. Another wonderful song.
After a short track with lovely guitar solo, the album ends with the 7.5 minute long title track. In short, Death
& Beyond is a real killer with heaps of nifty guitar works. That these three are the albums longest songs are of
course gratifying as they are also my undisputed favourites. That all of 'em are placed from the middle and out, also means
that I prefer the latter half of the album.
The album as such, is a bit uneven, from songs without striking melodies, to hypnotic giants that blows me over,
but the quality of structures and other aspect are nevertheless constantly top notch.
Give Death & Beyond a try, or preferably more.
Temple of Torturous Records, 18.11.16
I discovered Eternal Deformity with their fourth album, and I have a suspicion I'm not alone in doing so.
I don't know whether The Beauty Of Chaos represented some kind of breakthrough, but after checking out
album number three, Frozen Circus, I quickly realized that the band had taken a step by leaps and bounds
in the right direction between the two. For that very reason, I never dug deeper into their back catalogue.
The gothic and theatrical appearance of relatively symphonic Frozen Circus (2007) is, as the name suggests, full of psychedelic
circus pranks, with extensive use of fair female vocals and gypsy fiddles, along with some synth and barrel organ. An
interesting mix, for sure, but also a bit schizophrenic and poppy. Moreover, the sound was a bit woolly. Even the cover
art felt rather pompous.
The Beauty Of Chaos (2012) on the other hand, went in a more light-proggy, symphonic, melodic, playful and floating
“black” metal direction. The music was more up my alley, and the sound was clearly improved.
The sound is my biggest real objective objection when it comes to No Way Out. It still remains clear and
free from cheap cloudiness, but somewhere in the process, someone have turned the vice a notch or two too far. A dynamic
range of DR6 in most songs isn't necessarily hyperbolically compressed, but it sounds unfavourably clipping in the sequences
where the values of volume actuation exceeds the critical limit. Nevertheless, it's primarily those fastidiously preoccupied
with sound that will obsess on this enough to become too irritated to be able to enjoy the music. I like No Way
Out, enough to focus on the music rather than fixating on some debris along the way. It should also be mentioned
that not all the songs are equally intense. Sweet Isolation is the most fervent of 'em all, and thus also
the track where this is most evident. The album is still not difficult to enjoy. As such, it's also deservedly of more
spacious dynamics with enough headroom to avoid clipping.
The music is not the easiest to explain. It can indeed be called melodic black metal with symphonic undertones, but it
can just as easily be defined as progressive extreme metal. There is some, but not a lot of black metal
incorporated into the expression. It's mostly the vocals that inherits this aspect. The vocals alternate between growl,
snarls and cleans in a good manner. The music lays in limbo between the calm and the extreme. At its quietest, it's halfway
dreamy as it twist and turn in restless sleep. Anxiety never fully set in, but the danger of uneasiness and cold
sweat is definitely present.
The music has a delightful drift and a full bodied soundscape where traditional instruments share space with organ, piano,
backing vocals and orchestral elements in an ever-changing scenery. The melodies are ravishing, the guitars occasionally
brilliant, all transitions and those rich structures are exemplary, as Eternal Deformity drug you down
and lure you into shady surroundings of bad neighbourhoods. Strange enough, it's not certain you'll react with either panic
nor protest when you realize that there is No Way Out.
I enjoyed The Beauty Of Chaos, but I do believe the Poles have surpassed it this time. This album
was actually released about a year ago by the band themselves, bearing the artwork on your left side. (Which becomes
the right hand side for me, as I'm prowling on the other side of your screen.) With a label in the back and
correspondingly increased publicity, plus a more eye-catching cover, there's a hope that it'll reach out to a wider
audience. Eternal Deformity should be able to appeal to a fairly wide audience, and after more than
20 years of steadfast determination, they also deserve a little extra attention.
The grade is a wee bit weak, but it's a 5 nonetheless.
Debemur Morti Productions, 28.10.16
A wholehearted effort to visualize Clandestine Sacrament through performance art, would have resulted in
severe pain, and possibly loss of life. Placing an industrial size woodchipper in a dystopian landscape of abandoned factories,
firing it up before commencing to willingly crawl through the rotating blades, is the first and best adequate attempt my morbid
logic envisions. A correspondingly fucked up method would be necessary to fully describe the music through action.
Matron Thorn from Ævangelist et al. is the main man behind Death Fetishist, and thus you know that
the sonic aspect is doomed to be grim. The man nevertheless take advantage of this solo project to present some other aspects
of his obscure personality, and this doesn't just sound like the mother-band. The music does have intensity in common, but this
is by far more gross, and the associations the music provides is not a pretty sight.
Gespenst, Abyssal, and so on, Death Fetishist bid us eclectic, claustrophobic dystopia through rather
kaleidoscopic black/death soaked in dark ambience, threatening noise and raw, sociopathic, emotionless, industrial disgust.
You may think you see the picture. Sure, we're facing discordant loathing and cacophonous dissonance, but I don't think you
fully understand the extent of just how morbid this is. Allow me than to continue painting with a broad brush. As with
Slagmaur, the music is constructed in layers like a narcotic fog where vague memories of elaborately studious plans
for physical and psychological torture by tools, corrosive liquids, temperature fluctuations, pressure chambers and any other
appalling item keeps reappearing in the mind. The music itself elaborate on a terrifying and appalling, violence-glorifying
atmosphere. Moods and the mental images involves industrious use of hallucinatory date rape drugs and perverted “dealings” with
obtained carcasses of injecting drug users, plus mutilation, dismemberment and even more unmentionable stomach-turning acts.
Matron Thorn has conceived the music in his sick minds, and taken care of vocals, instruments and effects,
while G. Nefarious, an active fellow in the American underground, handles percussion. Besides these, a good
handful of heartless souls has contributed. D.G. (Misþyrming et al.), Doug Moore (Pyrrhon) and less prolific
Julia Black have all lent away creepy voices, while Jürgen Bartsch (Bethlehem) and Mories
Tongues) has delivered cold and uncomfortable synth.
Whoever needs something to kill time until Deathspell Omega release their long-awaited sixth opus, are hereby recommended
to give Death Fetishist a thorough chance. But be aware that an unwelcome feeling of nausea is almost inevitable
if you possess a touch of human compassion and empathy. Sensitive souls are discouraged from venturing into the foul regions of
Clandestine Sacrament. Vomit bags can be located in the seat pocket in front of you. If you
have no barf bags, nor a seat pocket in front of you, that's your fucking problem. You should have thought of that before.