Season of Mist, 17.02.17
Blissfully ignorant as I am about the existence of regular readers, I just keep pushing on as a rambling crazy professor
who talks to himself. Either way, any suspicious individuals crazy enough to return hitherto my padded cell, will surely
have figured out by now that brutal death metal is a genre I find it safest to handle with a fire tong. Benighted on the other hand is a professional act. We thus greet them and shake their hand,
albeit wearing extra thick protective infection control gloves.
In other words; brutal death grind isn't really my thing, but Benighted are among the best, and they
know to come up with enough variety and interruptions to create something entertaining. Hush Little Baby is the title of the intro that gets this show on road. Based on its name, chances are
they've calmed down considerably, delivering a leisurely ballad album this time. Or maybe not. The intro is unsettling,
but the balanced and calculated murderous mindset of a psychopath is quickly showing cracks. Benighted is an erratic monster that revel in bloody body parts with the meat cleaver and meat grinder
on constant high alert. Behind empty eyes and a ridiculous grin, the lights are on, but nobody's home. Let all wits vanish
and enter the mass murder's private slaughterhouse.
Insanity thrives and grows when the French gives full throttle with ridiculously brutal extremity. Pedal to the metal
from the band's fresh steam engine stoker who's shovelling coal into the drum machinery followed up by delirious riffs
and insane vocals. Drummer Romain Goulon is however not the only new face in the assembly. Bassist
Pierre Arnoux and guitarist Emmanuel Dalle joined just in time to attend the live
album Brutalive the Sick. One year away from next years 20th anniversary, original guitarist Olivier Gabriel
attend his last Benighted album. He is already replaced by Fabien "Fack" Desgardins,
who is too fresh for having participated on the album. The only remaining original member by now is sewer sucker singer
As usual, all kinds of septic excrement-vocals are being mixed, with animalistic growls, hog-like grunts and
swine-squealing straight out of the pigsty. Since when did the sound of screeching pigs seemingly become tough anyway?
The band offers lots of spices, effects and transitions in their bestial outburst this time, and far from everything
goes full fucking throttle. The slower ending of Psychosilencer and the evocative midsection in
Leatherface and Monsters Make Monsters come as pleasant surprises, the latter followed by
wonderful guitar works. The transition(s) towards the end of Forgive Me Father also stands out, albeit
not as much as the bizarre opening of Reeks of Darkened Zoopsia. The guys perform their genre with style,
and borrows elements from neighbouring genres to create diversity and finesse. Lethal doom, speed and groove in schizophrenic
union prevents stale sameness and makes Necrobreed a vital album with playful serial killer metal.
Although genres like ultra brutal death metal, grindcore and deathgrind don't have the greatest appeal to me, I have a
bit of a taste for Benighted. I could certainly do without the most technical grind elements and the
worst shriek- and slurp-vocals, but the band also delivers lots of varied deadly fun and Necrobreed
appeal more than what Carnivore Sublime did exactly three years ago. Bigger enthusiasts of said style
can safely run amok and grab this. Rating: 4-
Black Lion Records, 17.02.17
German Val Atra Niteris is back with the sophomore album of his one-man funeral doom metal
band, two years and two months after I gave his debut Funeral Impressions my approval.
The biggest challenge with funeral doom from a reviewer's standpoint is that music in slow motion requires
a lot of time to familiarize with. Melodies and structures don't easily let go of their deepest secrets.
An advantage of the genre on the other side, is that you can sleep on it.
Very little science suggest that it's possible to pick up knowledge during sleep, but scientists seems to be open to the
possibilities that the subconscious might improve the processing of impressions if also subjected to the same impulses
in the land of nod. Whether my mind has become better acquainted with Extinct after having used the
album as sleep medicine a few nights in a row, as such remains unknown. The quiet, droning, pleasant and soporific
genre is either way suited for the purpose. With its deep and rounded sound, Extinct is also better
suited as an alternative to sleeping pills than its predecessor. That sound is more rounded this time doesn't imply
anything other than it being less harsh and more resonating in its rich bass-deep expression. Whether or not the sound
is actually better, is basically a matter of taste, but the leaden echo of perdition that rumble from the
speakers during Extinct, appeal a great deal to me.
With melodies steeped in hopelessness and depressed mood, I would argue that Extinct in any cases
surpass Funeral Impressions. The minor-infected melodies come more into its own, as the gloomy sadness
of the notes in a way becomes a more cultivated focal point. Not to say that the debut didn't have apparent melodies and
sombre misery seeping out of every pore. There is still something about the new work that spreads unmistakable despair all
too clearly, yet oh so beautifully. Dynamic seasoning in the form of church organ, choir and other structural variation
also contributes to a powerful sense of universal depression in this extremely authentically felt funeral procession.
Speaking of dynamics, the songs are measured to between DR7 and DR9 in phonetic dynamic range, i.e. more than spacious
enough for a resounding echo of wretchedness.
Extinct lasts for a bit more than an hour, and sees two guest vocalists take their place behind the
microphone in the first two songs. Hardman from Suffer Yourself exhibits guttural vocalization
in Nocturnal Void, while Val Atra Niteris' colleague from the band Ad Cinerem,
Hekjal, bellow like a minotaur in Encumbered by Vermin. Val himself display
a deep and resounding growl that flows naturally together with the music.
The five songs on the album lasts from just over 6 to 21 minutes. The latter in monumental Buried Deep,
where Friedemann Wutzler contributes with pipe organ. The album ends with the shortest song, a cover version
of a classic piece that's been portrayed in metal armour many a time; Frédéric Chopin's Marche Funèbre,
a masterpiece from classical music's very own funeral doom, funeral marches. As the rating more than suggest,
Frowning presents a powerful piece of music where agony and woe are transformed into something poignant and ravishing.
On Bandcamp you can see a fairly odd video of Marche Funèbre, conducted with a perspective
and style that is recognisable from first-person shooters, and on YouTube you'll find a lyric video for the opening track
Godz Ov War Productions, 13.02.17
Cover art means a great deal concerning whether a record will trigger curiosity or not. If a simple home-made drawing had
graced I Become Death, it's quite possible I would have let Hereza go by almost unnoticed,
for I was strictly speaking rather sceptical toward the music from the moment I first heard it.
Still, the cover art was ripping, something that could testify to good taste. Thus, it wasn't inconceivable that the album
hid more quality than what first met the eye ear.
The band hails from Croatia, was founded in 2014 and plays streamlined death metal, straight in the face as a concentrated
jet of water from a garden hose. This is the duo's second album, and unfortunately a display of deficient song-writing.
The band's death metal has a rocked and thrashing touch, like a mixture of death'n'roll and deathrash. The music feels quite
brutal, but that's partially caused by the intensity in the excessively distorted guitar sound that exaggerates the sweadeath
concept of buzzsaw sound bordering on drone. We're talking death/sludge here. I thought I would get used to the sound during
the albums' 30 minutes, but no.
My main objection is monotony. After a brief and straightforward start with Oppenheimer's famous words “Now I am become Death,
the destroyer of worlds”, the most used or abused sample in the scene, the band blare forth with identically sounding sonic
artillery. Diversity is an alien concept, and depth an insulting phrase. The men tries to merge some modern
doom groove into their expression, but with ten short and directionless songs of three minutes each on average, the vibes of
second-rate deathcore becomes just as noticeable.
I Become Death clatter and whir like a centrifuge, making the walls vibrate and lamps shake. Sure, it's not straight
out awful, but when the contents of the material is just idle and boring, I find no arguments to waste time and money on it. Rating: 2
Art of Propaganda, 13.02.17
The Swedes in Gloson succeeded in persuading yours truly with their first EP, re-released by Art of
Propaganda two years ago. I admittedly presented 33 minutes long Yearwalker as an album, but when the boundaries
are wiped out, it doesn't really matter too much. The music is just as good anyway.
Grimen on the other hand, is a fifty minutes full-length, and thus the Swedes true debut album.
The men have grown into a quintet, and continues to play a sludgy kind of post-metallic doom, but they've put the most
experimental vocals behind them. They seem to have landed on the same conclusion as me, and now focus on guttural growls
along with sparse usage of more appropriate, dark and hushed clean vocals. Both glide seamlessly together, and blends
into the music like phonetic camouflage.
The genre can be done humdrum, but Gloson forms it like a living organism or an anthill of concurring
insects, also known as eusocial society. The music we find on Grimen may not be directly exciting,
but the album has a vibrant dynamic quality that makes it vital in an appealing way. The textured structures and the
combination of earthy weight and feathery dreamy melancholy, gives a vibrant lifelike feel and an organic and natural feeling.
The music drives slowly along the intricate pattern of ripples and waves along the stream of the riverbed, and is leisurely
comfortable, but also mournfully evocative. The instrumentation is performed well, and the sound is good. Whether or not
Gloson has obtained juridical permission to engage in audio-interactive mass-hypnosis, is not yet accounted for, however.
Grimen's pessimistic dreamy essence can be safely recommended for fans of gloomy but harsh doom, while others
may risk running low on patience, for although there are constant changes along the trail, these are nuanced, while the overall
picture is slightly grey. The album is wistful, pretty and relaxing. Stimulating, to a certain degree, but as mentioned not
extremely exciting. The album is touching upon a weak 4, but even if the record is fairly good, and the material is listenable
to the highest degree, the content ain't all too impressive in the long run. The album still has characteristics that makes me
enjoy its company. Different shades, such as the moderate use of the didgeridoo, reserved for the song Antlers,
violin limited to Specter, Hammond organ in Embodiment and an orchestral ting in
Cringe, are details that contribute to diversity. Rating: 3+
See the lyric video for the song Cringe, which was released as a single in September.
Northern Silence Productions, 27.01.17 Dead Limbs is a debuting trio from Brazil. Although, their EP Lighthouse from 2015 was
only 4 minutes shorter than 35 minutes long Spiritus/Sulphur.
The band have come up with a story titled “The ash seeketh embers”, inspired by Greek mythology and Hermetic philosophy,
where the protagonist tries to cross metaphysical boundaries to a mental state beyond the humane through transcendental
means. The concept forms the basis for Spiritus/Sulphur, and parts of the story are published with the
album, while the rest of the story will be made available shortly.
Generally speaking, it may seem like the band plays a form of atmospheric post-black/doom metal, with influences from
both dsbm and death/doom. After first of all having noticed the thick shoegaze atmosphere, I feared everything would be
facilitate for limited enthusiasm on my part. I still gave Dead Limbs a chance, for such is the burden
on my shoulders. But seriously, something about the music appealed to me immediately, and despite some moderate scepticism
I suspected a certain appealing depth within Spiritus/Sulphur.
According to the band, they're mainly inspired by Agalloch and Mgła. The former shining most clearly
through the band's rather distinctive brew. The music contains elements from all of the aforementioned branches, as well
as a dose of ethereal ceremony, without sounding distinctly occult. As with Agalloch, strong melodies and moods
have been given the highest priority, and the variation is very good. The diversity in the music's progress, with different
vocal forms, different guitar sounds and diverse rhythms and pace, is quite ingenious, and the difference between calm,
careful and dreamy sequences and aggressive rasping segments of intense misanthropic loathing, is like night and day.
There's a relatively large amount of calm and doomy music on the album, both soft and mild, almost acoustic-like, and
heavy, down-tuned and dirty. That's not a disadvantage, for it's the part of their works that Dead Limbs
master the best. The sore and frail parts are beautiful, and they sound really good too. The fastest parts are never
frightfully breathless and extreme, partly because of the drums that never take the plunge into the blastosphere. What
works the least on Spiritus/Sulphur is the vocal in the most intense sections as the depressive squeals
feels a bit contrived. The album splay a bit, as a few sequences don't work optimally, while other parts are entirely
magical. The benefits without doubt outweigh any disadvantages, though.
I would never have guessed at Brazil as origin, as Dead Limbs isn't what I associate with South America,
but I've probably grown an erroneous preconceived attitudes to an entire continent. I still don't hear any Mgła,
but the traces of Agalloch et al. can clearly be detected, along with a more indeterminable whiff, possibly from
as differing acts as for example Hortus Animae and Paradise Lost.
Spiritus/Sulphur condemn redundant monotony, and choose instead to contribute to intricate diversity with
soul. The songs are written with a natural drive in their constant advancement, which take the listener on a journey into
unknown and turbulent waters. I close my eyes and feel the butterflies go wild in my stomach. Along with thick, heartfelt
moods of grief and despair, loss and resigned acceptance, the Brazilians have created a debut that grows and grows until
words become as hollow as the mental lightheadedness one is left with. Compared to many a generic release within this and
similar amalgamations, this is a very good album, and I can definitely recommend it to anyone attracted to tristesse. Rating: 4