SOM - Underground Activists, 14.04.17
A few weeks ago I reviewed Czech Inferno*, a band with a distinct Greek whiff. In that regard, I mentioned a shortly “revisit with another Greek band”. It's not the first time I'm making a blunder when it comes to American Nightbringer.
The band recently participated on a very good split with Abigor, Thy Darkened Shade and Mortuus that I intend to get back to. I presented the band two years ago when reviewing their fourth work Ego Dominus Tuus, and awarding it five points. Unfortunately in Norwegian only. Let's not waste time on trivialities either way.
...for time is overripe for a closer look at Terra Damnata, a difficult album to get a firm hold of.
Like fire, smoke, insect swarms or abstract concepts such as hope(lessness), the totality can be easy to observe, but even when we're talking about the most concrete physical elements, it's not possible to clutch the entirety. Whether it consists of smoke particles or small flying organisms, all those individual details are too many and too disjointed for the volatile whole to be tamed and shaped. Terra Damnata forms a shapeless coherence that is hypnotically from the outset, but that has a core of mystery concealed behind the outline of its shady contours.
As Wolves Amongst Ruins opens like a burning river of hatred when the dam suddenly and unexpectedly burst. The sky immediately darkens and day abruptly turned night is without warning swarming with winged demons. Misrule see the gates and portals of Hell open wide, and appear aggressive like a war between two bitter rivalling factions of Mordor. Three guitars provide a softly pulsating and undulating wall of organic matter. Armageddon unfolds, but hypnotic anaesthesia from ethereal guitars acts as biological weapons, and an ecstatic feeling of comfort spreads throughout.
On the outside, a glidingly winding mass is sensed. Available and palpable, but difficult to grasp or recall. Without resistance, each and every one allow themselves to flow with the stream of dumbfounding shades and nuances without perceiving the underlying warning signs of a shady operations in which our civilization is quickly transformed into an inferno that would have made even Dante go pale.
Terra Damnata is a game of contrasts, where demons disguised in sheep's clothing seduces the masses by exploiting man's inherent instinct. Only the most sceptically oriented have the right receptivity to see the devil for who he is. Only the distrustful has the ability to see through the trickster's fraud. Only those with open and unspoilt minds are receptive to the sound of the war drums, able to observe the tracks of the charlatan's hooves and to uncover the ongoing charade of deceptive treason.
I have no idea what Terra Damnata really wishes to convey. A fact I desperately attempt to hide behind my own hallucinatory delusions. In reality, I just float along while feverish dreams rushes through the remains of a waning consciousness. Nothing matters but there and then, the feeling of the very moment. Everything else is unreal. Meanwhile, Lucifer's legions may very well be conquering the world, effectively setting up a long since carefully planned stronghold as a stance in that final war. Or, for all I know, medical personnel may also be in the process of tethering me to the bed and medicating me heavily by needles before transporting me to a secluded existence in a padded single room, for the benefit and preventive protection of society.
Nightbringer delivers an unsettling and unreal occult maelstrom that leans on the Greek heritage and bestow upon us spiritual black metal with strings swirling like embers in the night sky. The album's essence is of a type that can be enjoyed for its dreamy atmosphere or its combative aggression. Whether you choose to float on the surface and let it lead you wherever the current takes you, or you choose to sink into the matter in order to take a closer look at the intricate details, Terra Damnata will please you like a devious, infamous and treacherous hypnotist. Whoever delves into the depths, will find a multifaceted organism, a thick substance of cleverly and refined finesse. I have long since lost count with my recurring visits to this febrile netherworld, and if I only could, I would have chosen to remained here, becoming one with the madness. And when you foolhardy allowed yourself to be lured to follow, I'd be waiting to haunt you. Rating: 6
Thanks for choosing Gorger's Metal, your source for balanced, sober and analytic reviews.
Satanic Art Media, 07.04.17 Örth was started by V-Rex in Bergen, Norway in 92/93. After a while, bass player Ares (Aeternus) and drummer Grim (Borknagar*) joined the team. Both associated with Gorgoroth* and Immortal. Örth was one of the west coast city's earliest black metal bands, but their only album, recorded in the middle of the nineties, was never distributed according to plan.
In this respect, Nocturno Inferno is among the most authentic tnbm recordings you've probably missed out on.
When manic depressive Erik “Grim” Brødreskift took his own life in 1999, the band was left for dead, until a few years later being restored as Arvas*. Enough history. Time to get steeped in sonic historical flavour.
Nocturno Inferno is a record that probably would have been a more cult album by now if the distribution had not failed. As a 2017-release it risks drowning in the crowd, whilst it in 1996 would have made a bigger impact. In that sense, it would have been more interesting to hear from one of those who ended up with a rare original or good copy 20 years ago. You'll just have to settle with me, though.
The forty-five minutes long album opens serene and evocative in the intro Hymn Des Mortes Pt. 1, where only strings prevail. In the second half of the album we also find part 2, a leisurely two-minute clip with acoustic guitar, and part 3, an eight minutes long calm song. The latter is performed with reasonably sharp guitar in combination with fair and fairylike choiring female vocals. The guitar roll like billowing knife blades. Still, it's eccentric and peculiar, as in a very strange dream with a disturbing soundtrack. Just at the very end, the knife grows serrated teeth as a little bit of riffing takes place.
This is still the exception to the rule. Between Hymn... Pt. 1 and Hymn... Pt. 2, we find five songs. Four of which is entirely of the type you'd expect. Feverish hell-fire, flashing like the lightning, swirling as northern lights during a sun storm. Satan is loose, and only the devil can restrain him. Right in the middle of these songs, is Bonded, which seems more... bound... with its feet on the ground. The song reflects demons parading in step. It is slower. Darker. More evocative. Filled with and soaking the listeners in a pleasant arrogant sense of one's own spiritual power.
After “Anthems of The Dead Pt. 2” - Path Of Sorrow, Hymn... Pt. 3 and Den Gamle Manns Profetier (The Old Man's Prophecies) carry the coffin into the grave. Path Of Sorrow portray far deadlier riffs. Ares must have gotten his will here, for this is definitely in line with Aeternus, who has also used sequences similar to Hymn... Pt. 2 many a time. It is aggressive, misanthropic as a lycanthrope and mercilessly murderous, no doubt, and as far as I understand, Ares has written one song on the album. No doubt which one.
The final prophecy from an old geezer opens pretty much like Hymn... Pt. 3 finishes, with fair mildly unsettling arias from Synnøve Ugelvik. The song stands out. From most stuff, actually. The first half opens fast and tight like a box of anchovies and basically have quite an odd psychedelic touch. The second half gives the expression a turn on a dime without sounding artificial. The transition flows naturally and comfortably as sensually heated water around the equator. Figuratively speaking. Delicious swaying tones with a mild folk-touch riffs calmly while the mountain troll roars in anger because you've gotten away alive. (The mountains became so much more unsafe whence the trolls discovered that Christian blood tastes anaemic. The government ought to hire more troll hunters!)
Nocturno Inferno was, as was timely rightfully, recorded with Pytten in Grieghallen. It was recorded in two sessions; October 1995 and February 1996. That the sound wasn't spoiled by polish is of course not a problem, but the album is a bit murky, and it could advantageously have been a bit sharper round the edges. Beyond that, this is a historic treat that also deliver lots of diversity in a true Norwegian lapskaus.
Cold School Black Metal \m/ Rating: 4+
Take a look at the two other videos on Satanic Art:
• Stylish promotional video with annoying volume mix.
• Interview with V. Rex.
Pulverised Records, 07.04.17
Norwegian Beastcraft was formed in 2003 by Tsjuder's*Trondr Nefas (R.I.P.) and Sorath Northgrove (Hagl, Vulture Lord et al.). During ten years, they managed to release a pair of albums and a good handful of other releases.
Four years after the band broke up, the last chapter in the saga of Beastcraft is bestowed upon the non-worthy. The Infernal Gospels Of Primitive Devil Worship is from what I've understood primarily based on re-surfaced demo recordings signed Trondr Nefas.
For those who have no knowledge of Beastcraft, they're one of the bands that have carried the torch for Darkthrone's primitive, icy, minimalistic and misanthropic style from the early mid-nineties. I haven't heard Into the Burning Pit of Hell (2005), but the unmistakable Darkthrone style is evident on Baptised in Blood and Goatsemen (2007).
The song Demonic Perversion that follows shortly after the intro Aapenbaring (Revelation) leaves no doubt. As expected, an arch-blasphemous hymn with raspy sharp guitars and rasping vocals is revealed, addressed lord Satan in devoutly reverence. The song carries a certain touch of Natassja In Eternal Sleep. Surprisingly, this formula is not followed in the lion's share of the eight songs, although most have sequences with equivalent full throttle.
Like the pioneers of necrotic black metal, Beastcraft knows how to create dynamic groove that prevents monotony. The fastest song material goes straight for the throat, but didn't fall in exceedingly good grace immediately. Similar savage force has been done almost ad nauseam by far inferior Darkthrone clones. The songs on The Infernal Gospels... appeared to be good, but songs like Waging War on the Heavens or The Devil's Triumph didn't distinguishes themselves as particularly distinct. It picks up with several spin, though, but there are a few other aspects which primarily makes the album a definitive winner.
One is the proportion of tracks and sequences that actually stand out, even if the first impression don't necessarily indicate this. Already in Deathcraft and Necromancy we hit a tough vein of lead, where moods seep out slowly as toxic gases. Subsequent The Fall of the Impotent God, as well as Reborn Beyond the Grave has some of the same effect, albeit not in as viscous form. Concluding The Beast Descends is practically angelic, in a devilish way, and other songs blends these expressions with good structure. The diversity gives the album a lively vitality.
The other is that even the most conventional infernal high-octane throat-attacks are carried out with an authentic immersion. A timeless sensation of sadistic evil brutality executed with an effort marked by genuine commitment helps make The Infernal Gospels Of Primitive Devil Worship pretty fucking killer. A smoldering heard-it-before feeling prevents the highest honorary awards, though.
Lars Fredrik Frøislie (Angst Skvadron, In Lingua Mortua and more) has mixed and mastered the album. The man has previously been involved in the band, and handled the drums under the name Ghoul. It sounds crass, primitive and unpolished, while the dynamics are truly cared for. With ample DR10 you can safely crank it up and blast the volume without damaging both speakers and eardrums.
The Infernal Gospels Of Primitive Devil Worship is released on CD and LP. The latter in 500 copies. Both with bonus DVD containing three live recordings, two interviews and a rehearsal recording. I have unfortunately not had access to this, so it'll have to go uncommented. The album has otherwise grown from already respectable four points. Rating: 5
Agonia Records, 07.04.17
Six years have passed since the last sign of death from Polish Azarath.
The Poles, now honouring us with their sixth album, may not be a household name. This despite nearly 20 years of experience and a lot of slaying metal in the luggage. The band was started by among others previous Behemoth drummer Inferno and has rightfully been described as a demonic mutation of Krisiun and Behemoth with shades of Immolation, and I'll add a little Vader to the list. And not just to compensate for the geographic imbalance.
Some of you are certainly already familiar with Azarath, and those of you will surely agree that it is apt to spread the name even further.
As those who don't know the band already have concluded, Azarath plays death metal. Blackly scorched such. And they do so with panache. Despite rapid pace and devastating expression, the guys include a lot of rhythmic variation where drums and diabolical riffs are coherent and tight. The Poles are not reinventing the gunpowder, but by setting it on fire, they ignite one hell of a pyrotechnical firework. (PS: I know it's supposed to be reinventing the wheel, but for this purpose, the Scandinavian idiom simply works better.)
In addition to said genre foundation, and much like Vader*, there's also a lot of thrash in the expression. From the frantic pace with matching frothing vocals to howling guitars. To this quartet, genre-boundaries don't seem to be an obstacle. Every dirty trick in the book is used to knock out the competitors and leave them in the dust.
The album is full of blistering rough high-octane adrenaline, and enough substance to hold the listener's attention through 40 minutes till the end. Yet it's not a very intricate album. Azarath pushes no boundaries that are not already bulldozed. Therefore, the grade ain't higher. But the album is recommended, and as always it's now up to you to make up your mind. The baton is hereby yours. Rating: 4+
PS: The drummer's alias is most apt in these days, as the band visits the Oslo festival of the same name this easter.
It looks like vocalist since 2009 (and guitarist since 2011), Necrosodom, has resigned, though.
Fuck knows who'll be stepping in for him when the band takes the stage at John Dee this Thursday.
Also, the release show will take place in Warsaw, and the band will partake in the open air festivities of Party.San.