Krucyator Productions, 10.04.18
French Autokrator is back with more thundering intensity.
It's been two years since we were last sonically raped by the French. That was with The Obedience To Authority, which despite its droning noise from hell was less cacophonous than the debut.
With Hammer of Heretics, the band takes another step in an “easily digestible” direction. The sulphur vapour remains dense and suffocating, and the flames of the hell-fire roars. So don't expect any fucking civilized mannerism from Autokrator.
Where The Obedience To Authority was resoundingly monotonous, like having the ear to a calving glacier, or the roaring flames of a booster rocket, Hammer of Heretics is more dynamically inclined. Various nasty soundscapes and other uncomfortable noises wage war over the space. They all have in common that they are coming for your mental sanity. The doctor is only going to give you an injection. And then operate ever so little. Fear not. You won't feel anything. And when the doctor is done, you won't ask a single unpleasant question. Guaranteed.
The sound of clanking chains, crackling fire, screams of shooting pain, gurgling and coughing, blends with spiritual activity from thousands of suffering souls trapped in limbo, in this sonic torture chamber. Besides creepy and macabre effects, it is rumbling, and droning death metal that reverberate so forcefully that the earth quiver and tremble, till it breaks apart, dissolves and crumbles. End time. Doomsday. Armageddon. Apocalypse. Götterdämmerung. Ragnarok.
Thanks for everything. And nothing. And goodbye. Rating: 5-
Under Ether is the German's third album, being released eleven years after the band's inception.
I still haven't heard the band's debut album Consolamentum (2010), but I can confirm, on the other hand, that Ascension delivers very respectable quality on the present side of the time-line.
The Germans play black metal of the threatening, diabolical and atmospheric kind, a bit in the same alley as Watain, with a touch of the Greek approach. At the same time they offer intricate details and thoughtful structuring. Every aspect is professionally conducted. No element in the compositions seems random. The music is, however, so naturally vital in execution and sound that its texture don't appear as forced or calculated.
Under Ether consists of intro and seven songs, lasting for about three quarters of an hour. From the first (not too impressive) spin, the album grows with each and every listen. The music never feels too intricate, layered and polished, as it has its whiff of primitiveness intact. Still, one refined incantation after the other is revealed, as if the music was influenced by black magic. For Under Ether has without doubt got its substance. It's just not very concerned with showing off, in search for attention and recognition. The album instead offers clever elements without putting an evidently smug smile on its face.
I won't embark on a vain attempt to describe the many guitar- and drum-technical features. I'll rather simply confirm that Ascension has developed a nifty balance between playfulness and deliberately plotted calculation. The music experiments with riff patterns and progressive rhythmic methods without sounding artificial or feigned. All the complex and odd acrobatics are implemented as natural elements in a larger ritual whole.
Under Ether is strongly recommended to fans of intelligent spiritual black metal with proficient architecture. The music's tasteful and memorable nature, and pleasant sound, provide aural pleasure with long durability, for its continuous growth never seems to come to a complete halt. Rating: 6
Osmose Productions, 26.01.18
In 2015, two experienced musicians came together to create a new project. The result of their first endeavours is four songs totalling 24.5 minutes.
The two are A. and Destroyer. Drummer A. also plays in Armagedon, in addition to having played in amongst other Lost Soul, and having worked with amongst other Behemoth. Vocalist and guitarist Destroyer has his permanent workplace in Kriegsmaschine, as well as a past in Hate.
Without hesitation, the duo steer clear of the demo stage, and deliver professionally from the first second.
The guys have latched onto black metal as their weapon of choice, but this ain't the primitive and cold type. Nor is the music distinctly occult, ritualistic and/or atmospheric. To call it introverted also becomes a bit misleading, as the music isn't quietly reserved and modest, but the music has spiritual aspects that floats to the surface from the deep tarn of the mind.
The duo plays rather ominous black metal with proggy disharmony and somewhat industrial undertones. Associations to Mayhem's present era arise among dissonance and coarse, creaking vocals. Untervoid doesn't play the uttermost kaleidoscopic form of black metal, but the music contains more than enough alarming turbulence.
As mentioned, the EP is highly qualitative. In particular the song Inner Shrine offer arrangement and atmosphere that commands respect. The recording has taken place on different locations, such as Sound Division and No Solace Studios, and the finishing touch has been done by Satanic Audio. Apart form flat dynamic range, I don't find anything negative to put my finger on, though it should be said that the rating is quite gentle.
Work on the first full length has commenced. Now that's something to look forward to.
Horror Pain Gore Death Prod.&Blood Harvest
Personally, I believe bands would basically be better off if they defined their first, short releases as demo rather than EP. After all, it's easier to show a little goodwill and cut them some slack regarding debris when the format itself is short for demonstration, and not a release meant for marketing to the masses.
This four tracks and 17 minutes long first sign of life is in a quite different league, though.
The quintet from Indianapolis, USA, plays death metal with horrifying moods, and use unconventional means to lower the temperature of the blood circulation.
The expression is altogether old-school and primitive. More so than most bands that gets these designations thrown after them. The sound is professional, but at the same time a bit “old-fashioned”, as if haunted by the spirit of the late 80's. This actually fits the music like a glove. Rather than a wall of roaring, crashing and riffing, where single segments drown in the cacophony, the listener is met with an airy material where all segments in the mix are equally simple to point out. With DR9, the sound is even as dynamic as the content.
What stands out most is nevertheless the vocal. Vocalist Kyle Shaw sounds like he just woke up next to Saddam Hussein's ghost. The man's panic-howls sounds like a kind of strange hybrid of Ozzy Osbourne on the song Black Sabbath and Greifi Grishnackh on Spell Of Destruction.
With Sermon to the Snake, Obscene has announced their arrival in the manner of a triumphant parade. Although I'm not hysterical in my admiration, I consider this a distinctive start that deserves a sincere portion of honour. The band released the EP independently in October, while Horror Pain Gore Death and Blood Harvest released the music digitally and on cassette during the first two months of this year.
“Secondary-releases” like EPs, splits et al. has to a large extent ended up at the back of the queue recently. One of them is called Ecstatic Violence & Hatred, and was released as an EP in January. Looking at all circumstances, it's tempting to define the release as a demo. In addition to being the band's first sign of life, it's produced and released without interference from outsiders.
Thus, Ecstatic Violence & Hatred becomes more of a demonstration of Mausoleum Of Death's expression than a standalone musical product. So, does this rarity have more than “sentimental value” to show for?
This new ensemble consist of two Norwegians and one Italian guy, and came together during the year before last. Vocalist Untermensch (also known as VempireChrist) and drummer Bonecrusher (also known as Dáublódir), represents Norway, and have even collaborated in the sonic pus-boil known as Cryptic Scream. Meanwhile, barbed string is administered by Snarl of Black Faith.
This EP consists of four songs of about 20 minutes all together. The CD version also has a bonus song at around 5 minutes. Killing Your Illusions opens with slow riffs at the crossroads between heavy and sharp, just like a guillotine in action. The pace rises, the mood becomes threatening, oppressive. The vocal barks odiously while the drums chase through rough terrain and the sharp metallic riffs are hurled around like ninja stars in the air. Especially when Snarl goes berserk in frenetic shrieking solo masturbation in the middle of the song. The song doesn't have a lot of variety and depth, but compensates with rawness and adrenaline. Subsequent Death Incarnate does much of the same, even though the last minute stands out slightly with sluggish, yet shifting and occasionally thundering rhythms that accompany dim guitar-atmosphere and devilish chanting vocals.
The song title I døden er vi alle lik, is a pun that can be translated to either In death, we are all alike or In death, we are all corpses. It's not just the funniest song title I've seen in quite some time, it's also got some of the most ripping riffs on this here release. Simultaneously, it also clearly demonstrates its biggest Achilles heel. The entire production is self-made. Mostly, it works well, though. Unlike a lot of home-made low-budget recordings, I have a taste for the energetic animalistic sound of Ecstatic Violence & Hatred. The mix, on the other hand, isn't optimal, and there are of course some debris that would have been weeded out in a studio. As with live releases, imperfection is often considered as a part of the charm of underground releases.
The sequence from about 2:30 in the latter song, is the start of a cool passage, but also an example of guitar and drums recorded separately and glued together as crookedly leaning wallpaper. The askew joint around 3:20 could almost have been an attempt at an odd time signature, but is more like accidental luck, as the asynchronous and lopsided lack of symmetry turns out to be a miskick that nevertheless ends up in the net somehow. The war-drums from just over 4:10 are, however, very successful.
Odium Manifesto also begins with slow viscosity before barbaric fury again takes over. After finishing with rapid-fire, only queer Odium Manifesto (Mausoleum On Acid mix) remains. This cut-and-paste bonus can hardly be said to have the greatest significance. The rest of the EP, on the other side, ain't too bad, although it feels a bit self-made by the means of trial and error. Considered as a demo, Ecstatic Violence & Hatred is a nice little rarity.
Approved under slight doubt.