Australian Rise of Avernus only has four years of experience. They've still managed to release a self-titled
EP in 2012 and the album L’appel du Vide in 2013. The band has passed by underneath my radar until now.
They call their music symphonic progressive doom metal, and that's true in a way, but the music also has elements that causes
it to tend towards extreme metal.
The music the Australians perform is mostly fairly calm in pace, but it has both weight and punch. The vocals mainly alternates
between growl and good cleans, but a hoarse and whispering kind of black vocal is applied too. The orchestral instruments leads
an almost dominant role on this half-hour EP. Well, maybe not dominant, but they're at least always present. This takes
a lot of space in the sound, but vocal, guitar, drums and bass shines effortlessly through. Thus, I'm not complaining.
I like to listen to music with minimal prior knowledge the first few times. Open mind gives minimal risk of pre-judicial
prejudice. In the midst of Dramatis Personæ, in the middle of the song Act Est Fabula,
something most unexpected appears. Norwegian speech! Verily, Grutle from Enslaved has lent his grim and
spine-chilling narrative vocals to these Aussies.
Between releases of more infernal character, Rise of Avernus emerges like an oasis in the desert. This is
a very good EP, having the fragranced hallmarks of quality. Mix and mastering are done by Dylan Mitrovich, one of
Australia's most renowned recording engineers. The dynamics ain't particularly spacious, but the production and balancing of
the mix is great.
The digital version can be purchased via Bandcamp. When doing some research just a week or two before translating this exact
post, I was surprised to learn that 90 copies of the limited original 500 fashionable physical digipaks were still on the shelf,
as there were only 114 remaining at the time of my original review. But now I see that it's completely
sold out. I guess there must have been some kind of glitch.
Watch the lyric video for said Act Est Fabula. Grutle's contribution, from 2:43, is unfortunately for you not subtitled.
Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum, 30.03.15
I've never tried to hide the fact that the type of black metal that was conceived in my home country about 25 years ago, is
amongst my favoured kinds. That the promo-letter states that “the Norwegian black metal scene in the past has lost touch with
its roots and its primeval spontaneity” is a statement with modifications at several points. I'm not going to let that kind
provoke me. You've probably figured out what they're hinting at. Arvas are presented as the solution. The
inverted messiah of black metal.
My first reaction, a moderately deep sigh, eventually slipped into a semi-resigned state.
After all, Arvas does possess a primitive brutality that not everyone can boast about.
Arvas' history stretches back to 1993. The Bergen-band went under the name Örth until 1999,
but unfortunate circumstances put a steel rod in their wheels, and no releases saw the glaring light in the blackest of decades.
In recent years, V‑Rex has finally gotten more wind in his sails. The captain of the ship has his crew.
Some new ones are recruited, and some has walked the plank. I don't have the full and complete overview.
To complete the specifications sooner rather than later: Black Satanic Mysticism is composed, produced and mixed by V-Rex, and finally mastered by
Tom Kvålsvoll in Strype Audio. The album is surprisingly roomy in its dynamics (DR8). Thanks, guys. We get
12 tracks including intro and outro, and almost 48 minutes of playing time.
I had a bit of a taste for Into the Realm of the Occult, released in November barely eighteen months before
this one. My very first impression of Black Satanic Mysticism was that this album appeared to be somewhat
more rough and reckless, almost bordering on sordid, trashy, vile and vulgar. I like primitive black metal, but it's not
enough just punching the hell out of the drums, crushing the guitars with diabolic tremolos and roaring into the mic. The
songs also seemed carelessly wobbly in quality.
This album is raw, aggressive and boastful. I miss a bit of the chilly cold – the “calculated” atmosphere of its
predecessor, but Arvas still has something to it that insists on being taken seriously. Crank up the volume,
and the frenetic drumming, the sharp, diabolical guitar and the infernal jagged vocals, with serrations on the cutting edge,
gives off a genuine stench of satanic evil.
I've shaken my head profusely at some obscure black/death releases, and the last week I've received some promos of this kind
that I couldn't given a damn about. Still, I occasionally give black metal with no hint of refined depth my horns up. Why?
Because black metal has an inherent trait that death metal can't exhibit in the same way. This might be why death metal need
that “extra mile”.
Black metal has hatred, loathing and disgust. A downright heartfelt, unvarnished and genuinely
sincere hostile rage built from bitter contempt!
For black metal ain't just music. Be it rapid or slow, sophisticated or simplistically vulgar. What made second wave black
metal big, and prevented the genre from dying out, is something deeper than tonality, something spiritual that is greater
than the music itself.
Arvas' unrestrained and warmongering black metal has some of the genuine credibility that feels authentic,
and that makes it feel damned good to be angry while blowing out the walls with Satan's favourite music on an obstreperous
volume that's certain to wake the dead in the middle of night.
The album isn't perfect. Both sound and songwise approach wobble slightly, and 5 to 10 minutes could have been
cropped. Nevertheless, if primitive, raw black metal with red hot antipathy and aversion to life and folks triggers
something instinctive within you, make sure you check out Flames of Black.
Personally, I would rather have chosen Follow the Raven and/or Starlight Eclipse
as a pre-listen, though.
I, Voidhanger Records, 30.03.15
Based on cover art (created by Brian Smith), band name and label, I expected
insane death metal or other extremity. No matter how many times I fool myself, I never learn, for one knows that within
metal, one often can judge a book by its cover.
The Cyprus one-man band Tome of the Unreplenished is an exception in this respect.
Hermes has been a part of Necrosadist and takes care of guitar and vocals in RCO under
the name Ω.
In Tome of the Unreplenished he's undertaking an inward journey.
Today's cosmic journey is set to the sound of atmospheric black/post-black with ambient moments. At first listen, I was
waiting for the music “to begin”. This form of philosophical and transcendental metal can work well when the songs are
good enough. Unless melodies and structures are appealing, it quickly becomes reminiscent of a pretentious stone soup.
Some bands, such as Beyond the Sun succeed very well. Other balance on the edge, while some fall flat, unable to rise again.
It quickly becomes very subjective whether a band is good or not within soaring atmospheric metal. For my part, Tome
of the Unreplenished is a band that balances, loses the balance, has to lean a bit onto something, but never gives
up. If this album “falls”, it's quickly on its feet again to totter forward anew.
I call it a good (first) attempt, but I stroll on rather than spending much more time on this daring and relatively
good street artist. Best in test: Closing The Precessional March.
Shiver Records, 27.03.15
Belgian Signs Of Darkness are here with their fourth album. I could have sworn that this was a debut.
The band reportedly plays “epic black metal”, and this album is “inspired by incarnations of early black metal”. I'll
leave that formulation without commenting on it.
After an intro with polyphonic acoustic guitars, comes a few calm melodic seconds before hell breaks loose for real.
The drummer are breaking the speed limit and taking some detours. the guitar works is melodic black metal. Here is
neither a traditional comfortable guitar-hum or icy raven-dark notes. I'll get back to that. Let me just first say
a few words about the intrusive vocals. It is sharp (in the wrong way), monotonous and annoyingly overbearing.
The sound is generally warm and stinging, and uncomfortable at high volume. A bit like the sound of cartoon mice,
where the pitch is turned up to achieve the right effect. The band has recorded and fiddled with the sound in
Artsounds Studios with their own guitarist as producer, and the result is like hearing Jaq & Gus and the
mouse-ensemble performing 40 minutes of metal-parody.
The song material is not completely miserable. They occasionally come up with okay parts, but far from often enough to
form reconciling gestures to off the hook from this critic. Generally it sounds far from exciting. The material
and execution is nothing but uninteresting. When the album ends as it began, with acoustic playing, it's reasonable to
assert that they are the albums best moments.
The rather gruesome cover art is by the way made in close collaboration with Marc of Artware Media Design.
III Damnation Productions, 25.03.15
Three Greek black metal bands with varied years of experience each contribute to present one (approximately) 17-minute-long
song. All of them offer rawness, intensity, and suggestion (hypnotic, that is), and the tracks suit each other surprisingly
well, despite differences in production, which is something that is also fitting, as they are bonded together by a concept.
It feels natural to do this short review, song by song, band by band.
the three fates in Greek mythology. The similarity with the corresponding Norns in Norse mythology is striking. The myths of the
Moirai, the Norns, as well as the Fate goddesses of Roman Mythology, seem to have a common source, but its native soil does
not seem to be certain. The duty and task of The Three Fates were to spin, measure, and cut the human thread of life,
and even the gods had no power to overrule fate. Man’s fate was his destiny, predetermined by Moerae.
The song Clotho is Awe's first release, except from a short song on the compilation album
Mono Maniac vol.4 released by Blast Beat Mail Murder last September. There’s little information
about the band, but they have been around since 2007, they have recently signed with Pulverized Records, and the work
on their debut album Providentia is completed. Clotho is dedicated to the Fate goddess of the same name.
She is the youngest of the three, and spins the thread of life.
The song is long, but wastes no time blasting straight into cacophonous landscapes. Intensity and monotony persist awhile before
jazzy arrangements emerge. These are eventually replaced by moderate avantgarde sound-collages before hell again breaks loose.
Vacantfield has existed since 2001 and spent ten years before releasing a very good EP, titled
Iteration on Duplicate Records. Two of the members have been in End and two more still are.
This band has also contributed a song on the aforementioned Mono Maniac vol.4. Lachesis is the second Fate goddess. She measures out the length of the thread of life. Vacantfield start just as battering and assaulting as Awe, and eventually prove that the “experimental”
character of the EP is still a part of their signature. To my highest appreciation that is, for in the midst of the myriad
of bands and releases, to stand out requires some distinguishing marks. Gradually, different melody lines are formed, kept
in the background, secondary to the dominant frenzied savagery. They are still there, for those who listen, and they help
to create a hypnotic stage.
End was formed one year after Vacantfield, but their discography consists of three full-length albums. Atropos is, as you’ve already guessed, the name of the sister with scissors.
And it’s not the umbilical she slashes, truncates, and cuts short. End provides ferocious frenzy too. During their rabid speed-attack, they’ve got a scent of hatefulness about
them, partially thanks to the most classical black and vindictive vocals on this split. The pace gradually attenuates, first via
mid-tempo, then further into sticky notes, and finally in an almost stagnant ambient moorlands, halfway into the song. When the
music abruptly returns to its normal angry self, the saga of the Moirai is concluded by varied and very good charcoal black metal.
Destiny is apparently not particularly cheerful, judging by the character of Moerae. The destiny of
Moerae has had some bad luck with its destiny itself. Not only was it leaked prior to its release date, but the vinyl
pressing also run late. Thus, fans of rotating, spiralling, synthetic plastic polymer plates with 95.75 cm circumference, had
to wait until June. Moerae was however released digitally by III Damnation Productions shortly before
this review was first published.
Stream, buy, enjoy!
PS: This translation was initially featured on No Clean Singing, in spring 2015.
I have used that translation, as Islander was kind enough to correct my minor lingual flaws. Thanks, mate.
Schwarzdorn Production, 27.03.2015
Icelandic/Norwegian Fortð started as an Icelandic one man band. On the three first albums, the Völuspá
trilogy, Eldur did most the work himself. After moving to Oslo in 2008 and completing the trilogy
in 2010, the crew was expanded to a quartet.
This was intended as a full-fledged review, but things don't always go according to plan. I haven't been able to scribble
down any draft or keywords. Nor have I heard the album quite as many times as desired in terms of rating it.
The music of this act has always been pagan/viking-based black metal, but Fortíð has nevertheless evolved.
The amount of brutality, intensity, and the mixing ratio between the different musical main ingredients have varied somewhat.
Even the sound has evolved. To the better more “well-produced”, you might say. Where the first album had very
thin and flat sound, part two had more thrust. The sound there is quite necro, but there might still be a risk of trve necro
black metal mongers barely wrinkling their nose in dismay anyway due to the use of synthesizers. Völuspá Part III:
Fall of the Ages had a better production than the two predecessors. Its blend of beautiful, tranquil moody sequences
and fairly intense extreme metal was my first, and also positive, meeting with Fortíð.
The first album with a full line-up was Pagan Prophecies, released in late summer 2012. The brutality in the
wall of sound was toned down somewhat, but the songs, the interaction and the coherent entirety was still good shit. Pagan,
viking and black elements were closer intertwined than ever before and the album contained some masterful compositions.
With 9, Fortíð continues a good tradition of not repeating themselves too much. We are
still (thankfully) not talking major musical leaps. On 9, the band has settled into a different mood than
before. Where the previous record had a stride standing power pose and a jovially ostentatious testosterone level, this has
a more melancholic expression. Eldur's use of clean vocals is the first item to revealed this aspect. Although
the vocals isn't directly reminiscent of Sólstafir or Hamferð, it has some of the same clean, unvarnished,
wistful and desperate characterization. The music itself has also evolved slightly in the direction of these bands, but
just a hunch as such.
9 do continue Fortíð's most important tradition, though; delivering very good Norse, pagan
metal. The sound is clear and good (albeit not with the most generous dynamics). It took some time for this album to find its
place in my ear canals and beyond, and for a while I feared that this was a weaker intellectual property from the band than
their past glory. It has, however, grown into a strong and far more melancholic version of the band.
As of today, I'm wobbling a bit between dice 4 and 5. If this had been given more time in order to become the purposed
review, I suspect 9 could perhaps have grown into a steady 5 points, but just like the rabbit
in Alice in Wonderland I'm running a bit late, and thus I confine myself to a very good impression.
Part of the reason for my delay is due to the world's most useless internet connection at the time of writing. I ain't got
a chance in hell to see the videos for Hrafnar and Galdur, and can't even tell whether they're lyric videos or not.
(They turned out not to be, so you might as well settle for the embedded stream.)
Battlegod Productions, 23.02.15
Whether my taste buds have become more versatile with age or if I simply appreciate a challenge, I can't even ascertain myself. The
fact is that I increasingly often plough my way through albums which normally falls somewhat outside my traditional comfort-zone.
The artist that's now out with his fourth solo album is in Norway probably best known for his membership in TNT from
2007 to 2013.
Strictly speaking, Tony Mills ain't got nothing to do on a pure metal site, but the hard rock the man offers
has elements also found in metal, and I might as well be slightly flexible. The man has sung on a wealth of releases, but in
addition to TNT, it's mainly Shy and Siam he's been a permanent member of.
Not surprisingly, it's calm and greatly melodic music we're served. The man sings more pitched and “cleaner” than an ageing
Bruce Dickinson, but his voiced splendour is equally well-controlled.
The music is too quiet for me to ever pick it up to let my hair down, but if it had been packed with gilt-edged melodies, it
could have works fine in certain contexts. Therefore, the melodies is the only aspect I see a point in commenting on. And they
are not exactly top-notch. Fairly alright is my judgement. And then I'm certainly not strict. I can insofar also mention the
song structuring. With some samples, a few solos and a bit of variation in the different sequences, the man doesn't walk straight
into the verse-chorus trap, but it's really not far from it. Not a lot of exciting and intelligent structuring, in other
words. Some great guitar works can be found on Over My Dead Body, but that doesn't surface too often either.
The sound is neat, and although the phonetic dynamics are compressed, in doesn't clip the wings of the airy music.
Fans of the genre may cherish the album. What do I know. I'm permanently finish with it.
War Anthem Records, 27.03.15
If anyone should be in doubt about my loyalty to black/death after my cold reception to Gouge and Perdition
Temple, my far better relationship with Shadows can't correct that impression.
Swedish Trident, with members from amongst others Dissection and Death Tyrant, plays a
completely different kind of black/death in this respect. And in my opinion, that's the right choice.
The band started in 2007 and debuted with the album World Destruction in 2010. Three years ago, three out
of five members were replaced, without no need to delve into the details.
My first encounter with the quintet consists of 22 minutes of Swedish black metal with death metal riffs mixed in. All
distributed over 4 songs. The guitars offers lots of melodic tonality, not unlike Thulcandra. The music still doesn't
have a very melodic feel. The aggressive Marduk-slant prevents it. The good percussion has decent variation,
but also an overall rapid speed. The last two songs demonstrates the scope of pace, where the title track is quite sluggish,
while Thy Kingdom opens fire.
The atmosphere in the band's music is of satanic art. The music also has a relatively mighty expression, where the night's
proud creatures holds their heads up high in a stand tall fashion. This music shows no mercy, no forgiveness. Only brute
strength and sharp claws.
One of the melody lines in the opening song Aftermath sounds suspiciously familiar, but I'm not able to place
it exactly. (My gut feeling is pointing toward Keep of Kalessin.) Ten points to whoever is able to identify it.
Cruz Del Sur Music, 21.03.2015 Illusions In Infinite Void has ploughed through the thick porridge I have in and between my ears a
number of times recently, without time having stood me by to carve as much as a keyword on my notebook. During this
time the band has been American. When I'm finally able to scribble down a few words about the impression the Americans
has left on me, it turns out that we are instead dealing with a group of Greeks! Not that it matters, but at least it
does provide a minimal idea of musical direction.
It might help if I add heavy metal to the description, though the cover may have revealed that already. Add some
progressivity to their structure for a more comprehensive understanding. Some Canadian albums have probably been
spun by the Greeks, for there are aspects, including unexpected transitions, reminiscent of the structures
of Rush and Annihilator. Hear for instance Panic in Urals... at the bottom.
Vocalist Dimitris has a light voice and offers some high pitches that few could do him after. He does
however not sing on the highest tones all the way. On the contrary, he even offers segments with a more muddy thrash
approach to his voice. The music varies good, and not only in terms of odd twists. The pace tend to jog with a nice flow,
but expect both calm stretches tending nearly towards metal ballads and fast speed metal outbursts. The band safely steer
away from acid-prog, and focuses on good tunes with traditional melodies. Said progressive aspect ain't exactly “prog”
in that sense, but more like natural spices used moderately or generously, depending on what works best with any given
The strangest part of Illusions In Infinite Void is the vocals, and it's simply charming and tough.
Not directly original, but definitely a welcome diversion for someone who listen mostly to extreme metal.
One has heard better songs, by all means, but hell knows there are far more humbug at the other side of the scale.
There are lots of killer and vigorous guitars occasionally, which also draws up the overall impression. The sound is
adequate, and the dynamics are well taken care of. All in all I thrive very well with these 50 minutes.
If I were to poke at something, I could mention that approximately four minutes of silence before a “hidden track”
works far worse in the digital age than at a time when everyone was fooled into thinking that the album was finished.
All the better reason to buy a physical format.
I have however no real objections from recommending you to check out this if the 80s never becomes too
Hells Headbangers, 24.03.15
In their constant quest for the planet's most rabid black/death, this label drowns the world in angry and obscure acts
who wants to level the world into a desolate desert. The intention is probably good, the thought of a refreshing swim
in blood, entrails, bone-splinters, pieces of meat and crushed skulls, is always tempting.
The catch is that dozens of relatively identical bands reduces distinctiveness and idiosyncrasy. When these hordes of bands
fills up all imaginable musical space between existing band, it eats away, etches and erodes at each individual band's
intrinsic value, and undermines the genre.
What a delightfully negative start of a review of The Tempter's Victorious. Have Perdition Temple
deserved such an acidic pessimism on my part? No. At least not alone. Since the Geneva Convention condemns the
use of collective punishment, it just happened that this exact bunch received the scolding, what them being readily
available and all.
If The Tempter's Victorious is considered individually, it becomes a whole different matter.
Perdition Temple has a lively energy to their burlesque and frenetic extremity. The music is rapid and straight
in the face with no room for respite. Something these guys are doing better than many, is to give the music pulsating
life of constant alteration in the chaotic riffing tone-rows. A few other vital elements are wild and absurd solos used
fairly often, as well as quite frequent tempo changes. Add an barking deranged singer, and we've probably mentioned all
the musical aspect the quintet from Tampa, Florida touch onto.
Other deviant diversity are of course not present. We're talking breathless profane and reckless extreme metal without
any other moods than adrenaline-induced wild untamed savagery. Of course this is not music of width or depth. The
expression is narrow but efficient. Seen isolatedly, The Tempter's Victorious rips, claws and bites hard.
But why should Perdition Temple get the preferential treatment of being probed individually in a scene
that spews fort similarities? The album is admittedly among the better that this sub-genre, with its narrow style, has to
offer, but it's in good company with dozens of similar frenetic releases. If this was measured and compared against 666
other killer albums with more atmosphere, greater diversity and richer substance, this would come short. I therefore
see no particular reason why complex and multifaceted souls should spend a lot of time with The Tempter's
Whoever feels offended, because this precise genre is their favourite, can order this on CD or vinyl without even
listening first. Neither music nor sound separates it from the three months old 7-inch Sovereign of the Desolate, if you remember
it. Within the genres limitations, this be good shit!
Doomentia Records, 20.03.15
The trio Sathanas have ravaged for 27 years without me having noticed too much of it. The album
Nightrealm Apocalypse has (somewhat undeserved) collected dust for a long time, but otherwise the
Americans has really passed me by unobserved.
The band has reportedly never cared about where the dividing lines between the various extreme genres are located. I buy
that theory. Wrapped in spikes, the band pushes the pedal to the metal with any means the band feels like incorporating,
and they seem to feel like executing crushing, deadly, black and reckless metal.
The sound of the trio's ninth full-length album is hard, metallic and sharp. The bass could have been more
distinct, but that's unnecessary nitpicking. The rasping production suits the band's raw and creepy expression well.
The album was recorded in Innertube Studio with Nick Kucel at the controls. A man they've worked
with several times before. Like all albums from Crowned Infernal (2007), it's the mixed by Tore
Stjerna in Necromorbus Studio, Stockholm.
Tough punch and rough riffs constitute the core. Negatively charged melodies and a breathless solo now and than
spice niftily. Paul Tucker's sharp and cutting black-vox and incessant barbed massacre, Jim
Strauss' varied and violent hammering, and Bill Davidson's evocation of darker powers and
tones via thick strings, whips up a sinister mood and creates a malicious cauldron.
Worship the Devil has become a fast-paced, tough and apt varied, barely 40 minutes long album that
kicks ass quite well and deserves an approved rating. The album is perhaps even a notch fiercer than Nightrealm
Apocalypse, at least sonically. To be painful honest, it might require more not to drown in the maelstrom of
releases. The present release extravagance is definitely out of control. Even if I wouldn't mind pulling this from the
CD-rack once in a while, I hope it's not allergic to dust.
As always, enjoyed best at high volume, with a cold beer.
Hells Headbangers, 24.03.15
Does rotten, obscure, fairly rowdy and angry, death metal with grindcore structure and a bit woolly sound, sound tempting?
12 songs are fairly evenly distributed over half an hour, giving rather rapid 2.5 minutes on average. (The press letter
claims that the album contains 10 songs. Well, I can count.)
Those who by accidentally has done the blunder of entering Gorger's Metal in the past, may very well have an
eerie suspicion that this is not my cup of murky sewage. Quite right. Since the guys are Norwegian, and by all means
able to rack and ruin their instruments to heart's content, at least limited to the genre, I'll still add this for the
Kolbotn-duo's sake. (The Kolbotn area being famous for housing Darkthrone, Nekromantheon,
Obliteration, Mion's Hill and more.)
The music's got speed and punch, but a flat sound and limited dynamics. The songs appear to be simple, anaemic and as
innovative as reality TV in replay. Even after five spins. The nearly five-minute long closing title track has arguably the
best variety and structure, and clearly shows what the band should prioritize in future song-writing.
This is probably cool live, though. In the crushing crowding in front of the stage, with sweat gushing from flapping manes
(not spirits of the dead, mind you) and spilled beer dripping from black holey t-shirts with obscure and indeterminable
logos, this may come into its own.
However, I will not waste either my or your time with further opinionizing. I don't find much of substantive here. You might.
I exercise mercy and give the debutant the benefit of the doubt. This I leave up to you, dear juror. You can write the ruling
on the walls of a public toilet with a black marker pen. Out now on CD and vinyl.
Art of Propaganda and
Catatonic State, 23.03.15
The four Swedes constituting Gloson released Yearwalker, their first album, on their own
as free digital release in September last year. Now it's been made available from two labels on vinyl. The band plays a
moderately sludgy kind of post-metal, which gives small associations to stoner-doom.
The band makes themselves brief what album-length concerns. The album only lasts for about 33 minutes. Nothing negative
about that. Better short and consistent than long and drawn-out. (Something I probably should have had the self-knowledge
to learn myself). Songwise they aren't quite as hasty. The four tracks ranges from 6.5 to 10 minutes, and winds their way
in a slow tempo.
The band's music is syrupy, slow and not very exciting or eventful. Now, it's not the band's intention to create
impressive breathless song material, but rather good, meek and ethereal mesmerizing music. The music might not have a
multitude of imaginative antics, but it's not directly uneventful. Time shifts and different sounds and melodies from the
electrified strings, partly strange and often beautiful, propels the songs forward. After Dynfari's post-metal
perspective, Yearwalker bored me to begin with, but by the time the album had completed its first spin,
its oppressive grip had embraced me.
The album starts with shamanistic rhythms before guitar and later vocals comes in. Dual vocals, where the most rasping
growls are really good. It was likely the last 62.5% of The End/Aftermath that finally took a hold with
its rocking, hypnotic form. After this, the hypnosis was not broken.
As mentioned, I felt the first fifteen minutes of Yearwalker as rather tiresome at first listen. “Skilled
folks, but just too slow, unvaried and humdrum, not at all my style”, I thought to myself while instinctively
alternating between vx and X.
That just goes to show how wrong a first impression can be. When the Swedes first grabbed me by the balls, the dreamy mood
with its hypnotic effect just wouldn't release its grip. The sound is clear, dark and fine, with a becoming amount of gravel
in vocals and guitar.
Galy Records, 17.02.15
My very first review on Gorger's Metal was for the album Solium Fatalis, the self-titled
debut from a young and promising American death metal band with not so young members. Since then, two men have left the
quartet, and three new ones has joined in. Two of them even sojourn in Montreal's Cryptopsy
The band's powerful approach pleased me immensely, although I should perhaps have been stricter based on the compressed sound.
In my original review, short as the intro of a contemporary review, I basically wrote this:
This is a debut so hot that it's smoking. This is death metal with moods that should appeal to black metal fans out there
as well. It serves profusion of variety, striking drums, great guitar works as well as growling and grunting black vocals
in dystopic disharmony. All wrapped up in solid sound. The album is even, while the different tracks has their own identity
...While also adding that if I had to take a wild guess, I'd gone with Poland as a shot in the dark.
And I consider that as a compliment.
The first thing I notice on the sequel The Undying Season is that elements of hardcore has crept into the
music's rhythm and appearance. Not an element I particularly appreciate. Fortunately, it is primarily in the first songs
that these impulses manifest themselves. Secondly, vocalist Jeff DeMarco has acquired a more whining style.
I prefer the growling from the previous album, but I can probably live with this sharper variant to. Drummer Flo
Mounier (Cryptopsy, ex-Nader Sadek) has taken over the sticks after experienced Dirk
Verbeuren (Soilwork, The Project Hate MCMXCIX etc.) which has about 40 bands on his resume.
Flo is himself well-versed, filling big shoes with ease.
I'm still impressed by the band's deadly attack, but I'm not pleased with the far too compressed sound. The production
itself is admittedly clearer and better than last time, but it's noticeably cramped. A scratch in the paintwork for
The Grid Studios in Montreal. I nevertheless choose to overlook this and other nitpicks. The execution is formidable.
With solid efforts, guest solos from Christian Donaldson (also Cryptopsy) and guitar virtuoso Toby
Knapp, plus additional guest contribution in the form of guitar work from Ryan Beevers (Excrecor)
and synth from Ludovick Daoust (Far from Reality), the instrumental aspect is properly looked after.
The songs has got solid punch, lovely riffs and killer rhythms. An occasional melody line also provide the songs with an
independent footprint, something at least I know to appreciate. Despite some debris, Solium Fatalis still
delivers the goods.
A lyric video was created for the album's second song
Salient. Otherwise, check out the album below. And loan your ear to the song Corruptor.
The Reykjavik duo Dynfari debutet in eponymous manners in summer 2011 after a year's time in business.
Late autumn the following year, they released Sem skugginn which hid multifaceted sinister black eeriness
behind a rather simple cover photo. The band continues on the same track on Vegferð Tímans. If I were to
put the band in some kind of pigeon-hole, I'd choose something like depressive atmospheric post-black. The band's expression
is not stirred together like the ingredients of a stew, but rather spread around as the topping of a pizza.
Although it would be hard to describe Dynfari's musical work without words like atmospheric
and post-whatnot, the band has a more depressive and aggressive expression than many bands within that sort
of landscape. As mentioned above, the music also changes character quite frequently. Post-metal meets dsbm, quiet and
meek parts meet aggression and loathing, sluggish funeral sequences collide with raw black-metallic pace. Sliding,
overlapping and with scenic acoustic parts, organ, samples and other elements scattered about. The music is also
dressed in good, spacious and resounding sound with deep, rumbling bass.
Dynfari uses familiar and partly threadbare elements but puts the pieces together in their own way.
Not revolutionary, but both magnificent and distinctive enough to earn your attention if black metal's more calm and
forlorn bastards atmospheric- and post-black is for you.
Napalm Records, 20.03.15 Heidevolk is most likely a familiar name to many. Just how many there is who have good knowledge of the
Dutch folk/viking metal is another matter. The band debuted a decade ago, and are now out with the fifth album, without
me having bothered to examine their works in detail on previous occasions. Maybe I've been too hard with this band as well,
for it doesn't sound quite as generic as I had feared.
For every original bands in the genre, there's at least a dozen trite run-of-the-mill bands. The biggest surprises are
probably not to be found in Heidevolk either, and thus they end up in a far from exclusive club. They
have qualities, however, that gives them a foothold amongst more noble and dignified company.
The band is also not among the most self-critical. With 56 minutes of music they could and should have peeled away some
excess fillers and gotten rid of some unnecessary cargo weight.
That's also the most negative I am able to say about the band in connection with Velu.
Although the negative aspects affect fairly critical points, especially concerning your procurement decisions, it should
be noted that Heidevolk are among the best in the class when it comes to less original folk metal. That's
why they've made a name for themselves in the crowd after all. Here they come up with a variety of melodies and moods that
can be characterized as everything from alright to great. Sound and instrumentation sounds absolutely
professional. Good vocals and delicate tones of the fiddle count in the band's favour. The music is also pleasantly evocative,
nice and pretty calm. I see absolutely no reason why fans of the genre should not be able to enjoy Velua.
The seven men orchestra has not come up with any concept, but has tied the songs together with a common leitmotif, as all
the lyrics take place in the woods of Veluwe in the centre of Netherlands. The septet has made a good album that
fans of the genre likely ain't going to regret having purchased. If I had to choose, I'd give priority to Galar.
If else, I'd go with both.
See the video for Winter Woede, or hear it below.
If you're really interested, you can also see part 1 and
part 2 of the making of the music video.
Total Metal Records, 12.03.15
This EP is like a mental garage sale. Jacob Ottosson, aka 145188, has namely cleaned
out a few ideas from a creative top floor. Possibly to preventable a mess and total chaos in the attic. Linköping's
most vile and bestial (and thus most honest and humane) musician has gotten a short half hour out of the system, to
our delight or disgust. Whatever is applicable.
There's been lots of mediocre dsbm bedroom-bands in the wake of Shining. I've heard my dose of utter crap, and I
easily tend to prejudge bands of the genre. What little I've heard of Vanhelga has quickly been rejected
because I don't care about wasting time on junk. This suggests that I've been too rapid forming a simplified first impression.
Vanhelga doesn't offer the most complicated or most well-written music. A sceptic don't take the bait
of simple remedies like excessive distortion and sad, spoken vocals easily to heart. When the music gets to crawl freely
around the skin before penetrating it, it turns out that there's both content and substance to Happiness.
From the suicidal melodies and moods, covered in thick mechanical distortion, to the ten minutes of lonely, depressed piano.
They should have left out the horrible ending with the equally stupid title “Mjau” (That's Miaow
in english!). During two minutes, we're presented with cheap Commodore64 techno including simple synthetic and out of key
Vanhelga was started as a one man band 15 years ago, but the man behind the pseudonym 145188
has been joined by three other musicians in recent years. Among many minor releases, three full-length albums
have seen the matt, lifeless light of day.
The misleading title Happiness refers to all the self-destructive things some individual resorts to in
order to feel “happiness”, be it self-inflicted wounding or use of drugs. Jacob is the first to admit
that the EP was recorded under strong influence. He's not saying of what, but the stripes on the cover might therefore
conceivably turn out not to be baking powder dosed to clean the coffeemaker three times. The result is a small
half-hour study of dysfunctionality and self-directed disgust. Not exactly mandatory, but I like it. Certainly something
to revel in for all sadistic bastards who like to drive damn slowly past the scene of accidents, stop, eat
take-away, take pictures while posing smilingly, and finally drive of without aiding assistance. You sick fucking cunts!
Ván Records, 06.03.15
In addition to two albums, the Dutch duo Urfaust has a bunch of splits, EPs and so forth on their
conscience. After more than ten years of existence, they still have an air of underground to them. Some bands just
fits better into dark caves than on the high peaks. I've tasted the band's brew at a number of occasions, without
having been noticeably impressed. This appeals somewhat more.
Despite only four tracks, Apparitions clocks in at nearly three quarters of an hour. The first three
songs last for about 7 minutes each. It's the song The River (a title which associations should not
be mentioned) that with its nearly 23 minutes is dragging the time out. Apparitions is not an EP for
those with lousy patience.
Urfaust starts in the atmospheric corner. In The End Of Genetic Circles they create
slow synth-painted and ambient soundscapes, with a drowsy, dreamy mood. The use of tremolo is reminiscent of old
Italian horror films on well-worn and exhausted VCRs.
After the first song having glided imperceptibly into the title track Apparitions, we're introduced to
cello(?), backing vocals and drums. Gradually, slightly toneless string picking also appears. Everything sounds dreamingly
absurd and psychedelic, and a pleasant hypnotic suggestion is spreading throughout the body.
As we slide on to The Healer, down-tuned and distorted guitar and bass lines creeps in on quiet manners.
One doesn't want to wake the patient from anaesthesia just yet.
In the last song, if song is even the right word, we get choirs, voices and some industrial sounds, where echo and
reverberation gives similarities to the sound you sometimes can experience in a long tunnel. An ascending and descending
plaintive sound being thrown back and forth between rock walls, providing a nagging feeling that some entity has been
disturbed in the midst of the mountain.
The EP Apparitions balances on the line regarding what can be defined as metal, but they paint
esoteric and peculiar moods that primarily appeal to metalheads. I have a taste for the title track and The
Healer. They offer delicious hypnotizing, deep, dark and droning tones. Excerpts from the first and last song
could have worked fine as intro/interlude in another context, but for my part a scarce half an hour of pure ambience is
too much. The band shall be rewarded for uniqueness, though.
The EP was recorded during one ritual night in Kindertranen Studio together with Herr Deportator.
Mortis Humanae Productions, 15.03.15
The French label Mortis Humanae is the only one I know of that ships physical promos exclusively. If this had been
a digital promo invitation, I would have heard a few songs before headshaking and dismayed refraining from the promo. As
this has manifested itself in the three dimensional mailbox and taken physical property on the shelf, I felt almost
obligated to give it a try. Something I regret. But still, there's a lesson to be learned. The moral is; physical promos
do get attention!
The French quartet expresses intense, overbearing “black metal” with raspy, distorted guitars and sharp, nagging vocals.
When the vocal nightmare kicks off, it seems to never end. Two vocalists, one of each gender, share the miserable howling
between them. They can keep it going for a long time while taking turns on roaring on every fucking exhale.
The most conciliatory aspects about Alienation is the elaborate drumming, the bass' freedom from strict
guidelines and the sound. Their sound is basically good, with relatively good dynamics. But, when stubbornly monotone
guitars rasps without significant dynamic musical substance and vocals act as annoyingly arduous lumber-men on a godforsaken
Sunday morning, good sound really doesn't do much for the overall impression.
There are hint of evocative melodies in the band's monotonous and dissonant chaos. Unfortunately it drowns in noise. (You
heard me. I used the N-word). The result is repetitive and intrusive. I was tempted to change CD just two minutes into the
first song. After two or three songs I seriously considered dropping the whole project. I've endured two full rounds of
this exhausting 64-minute drivel, which, just to top it of, concludes with seven minutes of dreadful and gruelling feedback.
Now it feels as if something inside me is permanently damaged.
My contention: Keep your distance!
Hells Headbangers, 17.02.15 & 17.03.15
From the US comes Bat, with Felix Griffin (ex-DRI) on drums, Nick
Poulos (Volture) on guitar and Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste) on vocals and
Together they play fierce and sleazy speed metal.
These are two short releases, recently released a month apart in anticipation of the band's first full length.
The 12-inch Primitive Age is a demo originally released towards the end of 2013, while the 7-inch
Cruel Discipline consists of two brand new songs. These clocks in at respectively 14 and 5 minutes.
It basically sounds stressful flipping a 7" every 140th second, but that's a digression. Besides, I would guess this
is one of those one-side or two duplicate sides vinyls.
The music sounds like a speed metallic mixture of heavy/punk and black/thrash in the wake of Venom's first
recordings. The sound of the demo has a cool, genuinely early 80's feel, while the EP has slightly more elaborate sound.
That still doesn't prevents a '80s feel to it.
The demo doesn't impress very much musically. It serves up all right music with punk orientated flavour at the crossroads
between Motörhead and Venom, somewhat in the style of Midnight, but without a lot of character
or the best song material. The part about character can of course be discussed. Not too many bands songs like this in 2015.
Cruel Discipline impresses somewhat more with a little better song structure and rather cool guitar works.
Especially the title track does the trick.
A development that makes it more tempting to check out the debut when it's eventually ready for launch. EDIT 23.04.16: The debut, titled Wings of Chains, will be released by Hells Headbangers
on June 10th 2016.
Blood Harvest, 16.03.15
If there's one thing Americans know how to do, it's how to make leaden, crushing death metal. Thus, we set course for
Phoenix, Arizona. Lago was founded in January 2010 and released an EP in November the same year. After
a demo in December 2012, with two songs intended for the upcoming disc, the quartet released their first full length
Tyranny on CD in limited edition last September. It is now run through the vinyl pressing and is most
likely favoured with a far better distribution.
The band has all feet planted in classic death metal, where the recipe is hard and heavy riffs, deep growls and rather
hefty drumming. Both drums and riffs vary well in pace and rhythm on Tyranny, and the guitars comes up
with many evocative melody times and vital solos. The music, in a sense, has a somewhat mighty touch that doesn't shine
through all the way because of dirty, slightly fuzzy sound. Fans of silt and mud in the sound will probably disagree, but
I think the band's expression would've been better off with a clearer, more forceful production. The bass, for instance,
drowns a little, but sounds good in those places where it shines through the clouds.
The last minute and a half of Reckoning offers an unexpected but fresh input before Pox of the
Weary rounds of the 40 minutes album in a hypnotic way.
Lago delivers lots of cool music that real deathmongers will appreciate. The sound doesn't provide the
material full justice, though, but it still ain't bad at all. I will not comment on whether or not this band will
become “ruthless leaders in the death metal underground” as the promo letter advocates. Oh, what the hell; I have my doubts.
Still, I have no doubt that the band has the potential to go far.
The unholy trinity Devathorn sacrificed their
first born to master Lucifer in 2007 and has subsequently mixed blood with Enshadowed, Burial Hordes
and Angstridden on one split, and later with Blaze of Perdition on another.
Their second album is my first encounter with them.
Devathorn offers as much as 11 songs and 67 minutes of satanic claustrophobia and reckless moods. The
music is a profane frontal assault, constantly changing, yet with an overall coherent feel. Besides from fierce riffing,
guitar tones moving like a leash of volatile, winged serpents. The black metal is restless, rabid and swift, topped by
rabies-infested articulation from hell. Pace, rhythm and moods are constantly changing on an album that is rich in details,
tied together in an intricate Gordian knot.
The album is well played and well produced. Recording and mixing took place in Incorporated M. Studios, and
the album has been mastered by Tore Stjerna in Necromorbus Studios. A number of guests, including
Acherontas V. Priest has helped to contaminate the sonic aspect further.
It has taken its time to finalize this taciturn and diffuse “explanation” of the Greeks' second work of art. The rambling
nature of the music, and the mighty atmosphere might not be impossible to describe in words, but I feel that I come up
short myself. How do you explain the feeling that the living room is being transformed into a hotbed of black magic and
occult ceremonies, where Satan's presence can be sensed?
With an expression of forceful megalomania, Devathorn glows, virtually bathed in the illuminating light
of Lucifer. Magnificent!
Hear the album below, and feel free to check out this informative teaser and the lyric video for
Cathedral of Seth.
Quality Steel Records, 13.03.15
Newcomers keep flooding the market these days, but as long as we're served quality à la Crimson Swan,
that must be said to be a first world problem.
The band comes from Hamburg, and was started by three friends five years ago. (That's six by the time of this translation.)
After the EP Icon from the end of 2012 the band has grown to five men.
The quintet plays grief-stricken melodic death/doom.
It may not be the most complex or innovative music the Germans create, but the melody lines and the moods conveyed holds
a high standard. It's slow, heavy and sad, but beautiful. Their death/doom have mud wading guitar riffs underneath a
layer of clean and neat, yet grieving guitars. The bass is dark and comfortable, the growls muddy and deep, whilst parts
of the vocals are clear and clean, along with some vocal harmonies. Grand piano and string quartets have almost become a
permanent fixtures in such music, but of course there's a reason for that. Some sparse use of organ also emerge.
But most importantly is the simple fact that this is beautiful tear-wet melancholy.
Is it original? Absolutely not.
Is it pleasant? Absolutely.
Ván Records, 13.03.15
We shall once again venture on a trip to The Hellenic Republic. No, wait, we shall not. Multi-instrumentalist
Alexandros has left Rhodes behind and moved to London, but the music is most likely still the same. Macabre
Omen has been at it for 21 years, with front and back door wide open so to speak. There's been a considerable
turnover in the line-up in other words, and only Alexandros remains from the original crew.
He's accompanied by drummer T. J. F. Vallely, who has been involved for a few years.
My first encounter with the band was a split with the Trondheim based band Ad Inferos in 2001. That was honestly
a rather sour experience that didn't really sharpen my appetite. Three demos and six splits has been produced through the
years, and the first (and until now - only) album came ten years ago. I can't say that I know the band, but I can confirm
that Gods of War - At War is an album that easily offers a taste for more.
The music is pagan black metal of the epic kind. It mixes a lot of instruments in order to make the sound rich and
full-bodied. Alexandros has in addition to vocals, put down backing vocals and choir, and besides from
the usual instruments, he takes care of acoustic and classical guitar, sampling, synthesizer and jaw harp. His partner
T. J. F. Vallely doesn't rest on the laurels either. Beside from ordinary percussion he has created
rhythms and mood with timpani, medieval drums, bodhrán and other frame drums, tambourine, gong and hand cymbal. Their
sound has also become quite overwhelming. The use of various elements are admittedly moderated enough not to become too
bombastic and pompous, though 60 minutes might be a slightly mighty dosage. Fortunately, the dynamic spectrum is good
(DR9). It creates a little elbow room and headroom between the layers of music.
The album lasts for an hour and is so diverse and expressive that it is surprising how cohesive the album actually feels.
It's probably due to certain recurring elements and a production that works as a common denominator throughout the entire
album. The vocals are varied, but different ingredients tends to reappear. The echo-filled howl of Alexandros
is probably the one item on Gods of War - At War I grow most tired from. It can be a bit irksome in the
Gods of War - At War is forceful, but not typically mighty and majestic. It has in some ways a somewhat
more primitive feel. More antiquity than medieval. The sound is also not clean and pretty, but rather a bit flatteringly
“slipshod”. All in all, I like the album. It sticks out a bit from the crowd. An hour can however, as mentioned, be a
little bit much. Approved, but not mandatory.
Ván Records, 13.03.15
When the British quartet Crom Dubh release their début after more than ten years of existence,
that is something we can take delight in. For these lads deliver rapturous grimness and a poignant fresh take
on “melodic” extremity.
Someone have put the band in the black cubicle on Encyclopaedia Metallum. I can only acknowledge this as long as we
add that the band has torn down the decayed walls to some adjoining cubicles.
Crom Dubh is a band that must be heard. The music the band plays is founded in black metal, but with
so much more to offer. The sound has a dirty dissonant touch, and a certain timbre that is unique in itself. The band
mixes atmospheric, melodic and folk-metallic elements, but with a complete lack of respect for genre conventions.
Take Sedition as an example. Here, Scottish notes are being served as if they've been swiped from the
closest bagpipe-festival, but without the typical clear and clean sound you would come to expect. Crisp, distorted tones
dominate the soundscape. It's not taken to the “extremes”, such as Nocte Obducta's Schwarzmetall or
Vanhelga's work of anguish, though. Like a raw, rough, gruff and harsh thug!
The mix of elements from different styles is run cynically and tactlessly through the same rusty grinder, and comes
out the other side as a mutual, rancid unit, where big contrasts are not the goal but rather a consistent product
that tastes metallic on the tongue. I am mighty impressed by Crom Dubh's début Heimweh!
A cool début that could melt steel hearts like a blowtorch.
Earlier material can be downloaded from Bandcamp. Similarities exist, but their previous EP is not completely representative
for the approach on their fresh album. (It doesn't sound bad, though).
PS: This was posted over at
No Clean Singing not much more than a year ago,
and Islander was kind enough to correct some of my worst linguistic mistakes.
These Suomi perkele Finlandians has ten years of experience and two full-length albums behind them, and plays thrash
with a foul stench of death.
Behind a reasonable killer cover art, we find 34 minutes of fast paced and headbanger-friendly rhythm and string works.
The vocals are not quite down my alley, but I can pretty much condone that aspect.
Although the guys, four in numbers, calms down at time, I find the band name a bit misleading. The guitar works are fairly
melodic. Not directly Megadeth-melodic, but there is more speed and punch than dark moods in the men's thrash.
The music is alright, and easily gets the foot a rocking. The downside, as mentioned, is the vocals, more reminiscent of...
hardcore? I don't fucking know. It's certainly not my style. This drag my mood down a little and the music ain't a must
in itself, although it has a good number of cool parts. It has such great diversity, enthusiasm, instrumentation and sound
that I choose to be a bit gentle on a sunny Friday the thirteenth. Even if the sun has gone down.
Since I'm possessing this info, I'll share it with you: The album was recorded and mixed in Electric Fox Studios
by Tuomas Kokko and mastered by Jaakko Viitalähde in Virtalähde Mastering.
Ván Records, 06.03.2015
German/Icelandic Árstíðir lífsins, meaning seasons of life, has received much well-deserved
attention for its two previous albums. This time they're generous enough to bring a double album to the table.
If you already have a good relationship with the band, you can safely buy Aldafoðr ok munka dróttinn
(Odin and the monk's lord).
If, however, you haven't discovered or checked out the band, I recommend you continue reading.
With members from Helrunar and Carpe Noctem amongst others, the band composes music at the crossroads
between folk, viking and black metal. Although none actually made music like this a thousand years ago, the feeling
of going back in time is rather dominant. Back to a time when forests and sea constituted essential constituents of
our ancestors' lives. Some elements in the music, as singing in old Norse language, at times in harmony, and deep
masculine choir, one can obviously vividly picture being frequently used at the time. The band blends its quiet,
atmospheric, gentle and partly sombre metal with becomingly varied use of acoustic guitars, samples of sea and wind,
Icelandic monologues, shaman drums, violin, cello, horn and deep, harmonious and melancholic choirs.
This band can of course be said to have traces and elements from others and related groups. That is inevitable. But
Árstíðir lífsins does not sound distinctively as any others, which is an undoubtedly positive trait. The
result is, as always, very euphonious, beautiful, atmospheric and evocative music. This time in as much as 81 minutes.
If, for various reasons, you have postponed your first meeting with Árstíðir lífsins, time has come
to do something about it. Where in their discography you decide to start, doesn't really matter. The band has solely
delivered impeccable quality.
Ván Records, 06.03.2015
From Norrköping, Sweden comes a band with technical and scientific topics as themes in their lyrics. Exciting! Cybernetics,
science history, transhumanism, multiplexing perpendicular sine waves with thyristor steered solid state relays in vacuum
and the sort. (Okay, the last one was my contrivance). And some occultism. The name Wardenclyffe is taken
from Nikola Tesla's attempted tower for wireless energy transmission.
The band plays a kind of death/doom with an unusual amount of authentic '80s doom in the mix. This expression is enhanced
by mild clean vocals. The album starts so calm and gentle that I momentarily imagined NWOBHM/doom as the trendsetting
expression on Control All Delete. The guys ain't particularly extreme. Here is more weight than punch,
and although heavy, it's never leaden. The sound has suitable '80s aesthetics and the ability to stand out in the crowd.
At least amongst what I usually listen to. Wardenclyffe plays metal that should be able to appeal
to both fans of death/doom and fans of traditional doom. There's admittedly a bit rougher vocals here, but it rarely goes
as far back in the throat as growling does. The vocals should be possible to consume even for conservative traditionalists.
The band was formed by three men in 2011, and when Jacob Nordangård (vocals, guitar) were to take his
Ph.D. in 2012 with the thesis “Ordo Ab Chao: The Political History of Biofuels in the European Union”, he decided to add a
soundtrack to the dissertation. It resulted in the demo Ordo ab Chao. The songs Orcadian Dream
and Macroshift is taken from the demo.
After this the line-up has grown by two men. The most recent addition to the crew is solo guitarist Robert Karlsson
(Misericordia). The five mad scientists plan to commence work on the sequel, titled “The Temple
of Solomon” this summer. They intend to soldered while the soldering iron is hot, so to speak.
EDIT 04.04.16: At the time this is finally being translated, there hasn't surfaced any breaking news on The Temple
of Solomon. Let's hope they are working on it secretly, like true insane scientist tend to do.
Control All Delete might not be a must, but the album is enjoyable, with good sound and instrumentation.
Pleasant and agreeable, indeed.
Rain Without End Records, 22.02.15
The only information I can find in the press release is that this is a bunch of newcomers from Kiev in Ukraine who released
a single last year, and that the singer is female. The latter I already had guessed based on listening. Although the hissing
growl/black vocals could have been done by a poor male vocalist, it's not hard to hear that we're dealing with a lady.
It is not long since the last time I mentioned that women rarely get a proper hang of extreme vocals, and now I'm repeating
this bloody discriminatory claim. It should be said that Natalia "Malice" Androsova is among the strongest
representatives of the weaker sex in this respect, delivering the wares competently.
The music is death/doom with elements of black metal. Often dark, melodic, sluggish and angry, but the band knows how to
tread the pedal to the metal at times. Both dreamy passages and raw fury is represented. With synth, they generate some
“pling-plong/ding-dong” sounds and artificial violins in the background.
The Ukrainians are diverse and do come up with a number of good melodies and evocative parts. Nevertheless, I'm not able to
show of one hundred percent enthusiasm. There's just as many sequences that just keeps going by in generic manners, and the
feeling of indifference is proportional with the heard-it-before feel.
Ván Records, 06.03.15
Another split. This time between two German extreme metal bands with somewhat longer experience.
Both gets to express themselves in about 18 minutes, with five songs each.
First to go is the one-man-band Truppensturm that started out under the name Sturmtruppen
in 1996. Over the course of ten years, the guy dropped one demo. The last scarce decade, the activity has
picked up rather well. After an EP and two albums under new moniker, the band now participates on this split with
its fairly blackened death metal.
Vangard von Rimburg delivers dark death metal with black elements with his solo band
Truppensturm. The pace is rapid, and it sounds fairly tough. That one has heard both better and more varied,
can still not be ignored. Few, if any, of the riffs sticks to mind. The pace don't calm down until the fourth song,
Dawn of Hadaikum. Sluggish tones breaks with the uniform pour. This is quite a better song, but nor this one
has the traits needed to distinguish the band from the crowd. It all ends a bit more diversely with varied melodies,
rhythm and tempo in The Thrice Is Greatest to Ninnigal, but that's not even a Truppensturm
song, but a cover of a band with considerably stronger quality, namely Absu. Kudos and cred for an evocative
intro in the first part of the first song, Flaming Naphtha, though it's probably a sample. Nevertheless,
said Absu cover illustrate my point that this is not elitist extreme metal from the highest division.
In the second act we meet Thorybos, a quartet with 7 years, 5 demos and one full-length album on their
resume. These guys (also?) start off with a sample. A few seconds are taken from Sergej Prokofjev's famous suite
from Romeo and Juliet. Even these guys occasionally speeds away, with an even darker sound. The also let slower
sequences in a little more often. the second song Entering the Seventh Gate of Tophet mostly treads in
glue. Generally, this band has a somewhat higher degree of variation. Relatively speaking, of course, as the genre don't
really encourage an abundance of diversity in the expression. The music also has a slightly more atmospheric character.
Another aspect that is relatively is whether or not this should be recommended. More on that topic at the bottom.
Both bands have sound to suit the genre. Truppensturm sounds sharper and more reckless with completely
obsessed vocals, while Thorybos is far deeper and darker with sepulchral tomb-vocals. Both means works
out well. Both bands are basically rough and tough. On one side, fans of crazed, grimy death metal will surely enjoy this,
and it's available in digipak and Gatefold 12" LP.
On the other hand, this release barely becomes a footnote among similar rabid extremity in the damn year 2015. When the
year shall be summarized I'm not even going to remember this release. Unless I remember the cover art, which is of course
pretty cool. To put it in a cliché way: You've heard this many times before, and in far better wrapping.
EDIT a year later: I don't remember these bands or their music, but I do remember the cover painting now that I see it.
Iron Bonehead, 06.03.15
What we got here is a 7" split EP between two rather frantic underground black/death mongers. Let's start with
Goatblood, as that's what the split does. This German duo has been at it since 2011. Three demos
has been recorded prior to this one, and the band is ready to launch their first album in the midst of May.
Nuclear Perversions consists of three tracks that are totalling as much as 8 ⅓ minutes. I do my
best to avoid calling any metal noise, but the fact is that Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven,
Mozart and all the other great composers would have rotated uncontrollably and uninterruptedly in their underground
chambers if this had reached their ears. Heaps of staccato drumming, riffs that are as exciting as a slice of bread with
yam or cheese and a vocalist that roars in animalistic manners. No, thanks.
We move over to Nuclear Perversions which has gained a measured time of entirely four minutes. The
duo consists of Nocturnal Werewolf of Blasphemous Devastation and Nuclear Goatvomits (beat that one!)
and Malignant Invoker of Kosmik Apocalypse. Who they are and where they come from, the devil, and
only he knows. They just as well spend the first minute of the first song on sirens and wolf howls. The two minutes of
music that follows are bestial and ultra-fast blackened death. The last track (I don't think I'll refer to this as a
“song”), one minute long Rituals of Menstrual Blood continues on the exact same path. The brutality this
band serves appeal considerably more than Nuclear Perversions, but three minutes of extremism without
substance don't justify no purchase. If the layout of this mini-review seems messy, you should hear this seven-inch.
Svart Records, 06.03.15
When throwing a quick glance at the cover I imagined a thrash album, but the music that knocked me like a fist was sluggish
and extremely thunderous death metal.
Last year, four corpses and carcasses crawled out from one of the thousand lakes to spread sinister eeriness with mud under
their nails, algae in the hair, freshwater in the lungs and crustaceans between the teeth.
Finnish Morbid Evils is a new band, and their debut is release tomorrow. Their zombified metal is heavy
as a locomotive and chewy as a zebra skins. The men have recorded everything their selves in the rehearsal room. They've
also produced the sound but have received helped with the finishing touches. Pre-mastering is done by Scott Hull
at Visceral Sound Studios and the last hand on the mastering was placed by Mika Jussila at Finnvox
Studios. The sound is muddy and rough, leaded, rumbling and quite nifty, despite unfortunate lack of dynamics.
The music is slow, sludgy and angry, but unfortunately without the richest amount of events. At times, very little happens.
Some hypnotic effect can be felt, albeit not quite as much as it should be allowed to hope for. This nevertheless helps to
create some value. The album is fairly pleasing to hear with its crushing weight and raven black moods. Nearly approved, but
the lack of eventfulness in the song material tilts the impression of the album downward. I almost feel a little harsh, but
after all, this ain't among the best stuff you can spend your money on this month.
Argonauta Records, 02.03.15
The band with the odd name hails from Italy and released a self-titled EP as the first signs of life in 2006. The debut
full length Volume I was released in 2008. In 2011 they began to record a CD with new and old songs with
acoustic guitars and assorted unconventional instruments. This collecting album came out under the title Volume
III last year, and the band is now here with Volume II. Confused? Just wait till you see the
The cover, with a goat on black & white forest-and-sky background, easy provides associations to atmospheric black
metal, and may thus be a bit misleading. Last minute to Jaffna plays an original(?) form of doomy,
fairly progressive post-metal. The music is “meditative” and atmospheric. It slithers quietly forward with light and
jazzy lounge-music like rhythms and melodies of both clean and serene type and even more dirty and distorted black
fashions. Sound collages of fairly noisy, droning/sludgy character also appears. The guitars throws echoes, the bass
casts shadows, the vocals whispers or comes in the form of monotonous tones on long exhales, when not growling deep
in the background. Heavy but soaring, dissonant but relaxing.
The 70 minute long album has songs with titles Chapter... followed by Roman numerals in fairly random
order. One would have thought that the Italians had better understanding of Roman numerals. The album was recorded with
Lorenzo Stecconi and mastered by Collin Jordan in Chicago, Illinois based The Boiler Room Mastering.
The sound fits the music well, and the dynamics are acceptable. The album, according to the label, is recommended to fans
of bands like Cult Of Luna, Isis and Neurosis. That may be, without me remembering (or having
time to check it out) exactly how these sounds.
Volume II is not quite my cup of hypnotic and soporific rose hip tea, but the album is seemingly professionally
executed and all right to listen to. Some diversity in life doesn't hurt either. With varied food for the mind, one can
at least be sure that the ears get all the necessary nutrients.
Metal Scrap, 02.03.15
Three Australians are back with their third album. The band is unknown to me, but I would think that those who take the
time and listen will likely not forget them very soon. The music namely holds a myriad of styles and elements welded and
glued together in kaleidoscopic patterns.
The band was born in 1997 and the discography consists of albums in 2002 and 2007, and an EP in 2010.
The band plays a crossover of hardcore, punk, death, grind and thrash, with sprinkling of everything from reggae and
electronica to jazz and black metal. The music is not particularly aggressive, but has a more cheerful, light and playful
touch. Although the music is a conglomeration of different styles it's far from as eclectic and ambient as for instance
Mr. Bungle. It actually moves rather naturally along its own axis.
The album is otherwise mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice, Dysrhythmia etc.),
and has been give a decent dynamic range.
The Music Of Chance offers 48 minutes that falls a bit outside of my preferred comfort zone. The album
is still so well carry out and coherent to such a degree that I choose not to go bring out my slaughtering knives.
Since we're in the '80s mood, we might as well swing by Night, a Swedish band that's got both feet
planted firmly in 1980. The cover art, created by Mattias Frisk (Vanhelgd), reveals nothing, but
it's pure heavy metal the band has to offer, and of a somewhat gentle kind.
The vocals are pitched, but with volume and distinctiveness. Similarity to Kai Hansen on Walls of
Jericho is a clue striking, but I would never imagine this being an attempt a plagiarism. This is a kind
of voice you either have, or you can probably just forget about trying. I'd think.
The vocals are most likely dually layered some places, if it's not one of the other guys that's backing up. Hear,
for example, the refrain from 1:15 in Above the Ground (track 4). I can't say for sure which is
the case, but Burning Fire (as the lad calls himself) has a rather unique character nonetheless,
with a voice that sometimes almost sounds out of key. He still seems to have both sturdy control and
accurate hitting of the notes.
The music is a gentle form of heavy metal. Added a tiny drop of doom. Melodic, mid-tempo, quite key minored (as in
melancholic) but with descent punch. Not leaded, but still with some force and attitude. Although I “recognize” the
music from the '80s, I can't mention any directly comparable albums. The closest I can think of off the top of my
headlessness is said debut and eponymous EP from Helloween.
The album is not nearly as lively as Evil Invaders' debut below, but equally nice and nostalgic in its own
little laid-back way. The album was recorded in Studio Underjord with Joona Hassinen at the
controls, and produced by Niels Nielsen. The sound is good, and the dynamics clocks in at DR9, so you can
safely crank up the volume.
I wouldn't mind a bit more speed and punch, but Soldiers Of Time has earned an approval.
When did you last see such a (deliberately) tacky music-video as the home crafted one for
Out of the Ashes?
Napalm Records, 02.03.15
That I'm addressing this precise album right after DeadlySins is basically completely random, but it's actually
very fitting, because Belgian Evil Invaders attack roughly the same genre with a totally different approach,
and ends with a completely different result.
EDIT 22.03.16: This day also marks the date of another hideous and cowardly terror attack from detestable brainwashed
islamic extremists in Belgium. May you find an ounce of strength in Pulses Of Pleasure.
We might as well start with the vocals. I've probably written a hundred times before that light male feminine vocals gives
me a rash. The case of high pitched vocals is however something completely different when the singer screams so hard that
the guts are sucked out in the undertow and get stuck between the front teeth. Some backing vocals notwithstanding, it's
Jöe Anus that wring the vocal cords to shreds. He is high and low in the register with an energy only
matched by the music. Such vocal usage may be a matter of opinion, but the difference between high and low tones is pretty
impressive and although I've heard other vocalists with approximately the same range and expression, this gives the music
a much more distinctive touch than what many other bands down the same road accomplice.
The music is classic high-octane speed/thrash/heavy metal with energy and enthusiasm. The songs are never stationary, but
rather swirl all over the place in very dynamic manners. The drums galloped and the guitars hurls out riffs and solos.
The album's got an infernal, blazing drift, and a concert must surely be a sweaty séance for both band and audience.
Really killer 80s nostalgia!
PS 22.03.16: In hindsight (and off the top of my head),
I'd say this was probably the very best old school speed metal album of 2015.
You can listen to Fast, Loud 'n' Rude right here,but you'll get a better audio-visual experience by watching
the video. You may also see the video for Pulses Of Pleasure,
and a track-by-track video of the album here.
Independent, November 2014
French DeadlySins released their second album independently some 3-4 months before these words. The quintet
comes from Lyon and has been operating for 15 years. After releasing demo and EP, their first album came out in 2012. The
men are now excited to spread their name and get out on the roads to thrash Europe.
My first impressions of the band's thrash wasn't much to brag about. The feeling that it just keeps going straight forward
is quite dominant.
Vocalist Mathieu must take some of the blame for the monotone character. The vocals are
in fact rather monotonous. I've heard of “finding the tone”, but this guy might have taken it somewhat literally, finding
a tone, and sticking with it. I'm exaggerating slightly, of course. Besides, the sound must also take some of the
The vocals have an angry expression with a little black mark to it, and is not directly poor beyond the fact that it's
rather single-minded. I make an effort to ignore the vocals and just listen to the music. It is not entirely easy as the
vocals are reasonably obtrusive. Yet, quite lively thrash with decent variety reveals itself. The music is not original,
and at times it appears slightly laid back and characterless. Other times they jolt forth with more engaging lines. There's
nothing wrong with the pace, but there ain't too much spontaneity, as variation is not very strong. The band however seems
to possess dedication and passion.
The two guitarists Laurent B. and Laurent K. and bassist Lambert Dewarumez,
make an approved effort with their respective weapons. Drummer Kévin Paradis is a competent man who also
plays in Svart Crown and Melechesh (live) amongst others. His tempo is often hasty, but with fitting
The production is basically honourable. Some musician named Fred Duquesne has however mixed, mastered and sadly
compressed the last remnant of the dynamics out of the music. The band dash through 10 songs in under 40 minutes, and
although I've heard this album 6-7 times during a month, it's almost as if it has been lubricated with Teflon. The material
does not quite measure up, the uniform vocals smooths out any hint of melodies, and the sound is a bit flat. Thus,
DeadlySins is unable to hold on to my attention. With a more expressive and varied front man and a proper dynamic
master, Anticlockwise would likely have emerged as much stronger, but the guys might as well work a little
more with the material as well.
Absolutely all right, but far from flawless thrash.
Metal Scrap Records, 02.02.15
From Italy comes a fresh band consisting of three women and two men. One of these ladies came aboard after the
recording of this album. They've been at it for two and a half years, and have an EP behind them. The Press letter describes
their music as a fusion of symphonic black metal and melodic death metal with gothic influences. I buy that.
The album is divided into two parts, Sweetness and Blasphemy. The former consists of the more melodic
songs the band has written. The latter comes first, funnily enough, and they contain more crude and blasphemous songs.
The difference is however marginal.
Few women get get the hang of black vocals. Elena succeeded no more than average, she either. My thoughts
goes towards Opera IX. (Which I haven't heard for 15 years, and so I dare not compare). The music in general sounds
like another Italian assembly line product. Songs lacking ideas, overtly synthetic synthesizer and rather sordid drumming.
I don't feel no cold draft, no malice, no hatred.
An occasional sinister passage, alright moods, melodies in minor mode and drips of good instrumentation and keyboard usage
popping up here and there. Not enough to save the entirety, however. If they'd carved away 20 of the 60 minutes the album
lasts, they'd likely be left with stronger material. Cruenta Lacrymis' debut ain't worse than that it is
audible. I will, however, not return to this mediocre product again.
Non Serviam Records, 02.03.15
This Polish band has quite a long history. They started in 1991 and has released three albums and
lots of other bits and pieces. Yet they are a new acquaintance to me. The somewhat strange title
Izi.Im.Kurnu-Ki apparently means something like Fire.Wind.Hell.
They supposedly started out as a death/doom act, but has risen through the ranks toward black/death.
The band consists of six men. One of them is credited for electronics, and it's precisely that aspect that distinguishes
them most from other extreme metal bands. The use of electronic elements is neither excessive, nor (as in the case of
newer Semargl) too poppy. Although the use of synth/techno/electronica separates the band a bit from the crowd,
it's still only spices in a dark extreme metal expression that stands perfectly well on its own.
To spice up the music to achieve uniqueness, don't create originality by itself, but the metal segments is as said not
half-bad in any way. The band might not blend the industrial techno elements quite as seamlessly as
Infestum but it definitely don't sound like artificial additives either. All in all the
combination works well. This is an album I would have liked to give a little more time to explore the growing potential
further. However, due to lack of time, I must reluctantly move on.
Dark Descent Records, 03.03.15
From Philadelphia, USA comes this fresh five piece orchestra called Crypt Sermon. The members all
have some experience, without me having much knowledge of their previous work. It may have to do with the genre.
This constellation namely plays pure doom, a genre I haven't spent too much time with.
The band released a demo a couple of years ago, and are ready to debut. I don't know much more about them, besides
from a handful of (for me) unknown artists and band names.
The music has all the symptoms of doom; slow mid tempo, “tail heavy” (as in a somewhat laid-back style) music with
blue moods. No aggressive tendencies, more honest and pleading. The band feels more open than enclosed on a mental
level. They don't drown in sorrow and depression, but rather try to remain hopeful. Not afraid to talk about what's
bothering them or reach out an arm and ask for help. Well, that's the moods I'm picking up, anyway.
On a musical level, it's like slow heavy metal, but without no major compositions. It's still absolutely alright to
listen to. The vocals are rather pitched, but fortunately offers a more hairy approach than the falsetto-crows that
power metal presents. There are some short guitar solos here, but they're just too short to be really
impressive. Quite alright and straightforward doom.
I have an impression that last year's EP Goliath gave a united metal press corps collective orgasm. It was a
fairly natural progression from the debut Abominamentvm. The recipe is this: Take something intense and
utterly psyched out and squeeze the motherfucker in an even more demented direction.
I thought the band had reached the top (or bottom) of madness, but the insane cover art should have made my mental yellow
triangular warning signs flash in reflection from my cognitive red warning lights.
This sick shit should have been equipped with red and white barrier tape, for fuck sake.
The New York quartet Imperial Triumphant don't hold anything back on Abyssal Gods.
They simply give full throttle straight toward the cliff. Their raw brutality and hyper-speed constantly changes both
rhythm, hat and coat. Frenetic, ostentatious, eclectic, dissonant chaos. Intense, psychotic, boorish and dissonant chaos.
The guitars produce the sickest sounds. The drums runs wild as the devil's grandma's sewing machine. The vocal growls deeper
than the Mariana Trench. And we're still only talking about the first song. Outbreaks of trumpets, choir, ukulele, hell's
church bells and an intermezzo of the choir of agony of the damned in hell. Everything gushing like eruptions of lava from
For people who abhor extreme metal, this must be seen as a pandemonic cauldron of clamour, noise and racket, the incarnation
of the infernal regions, straight out of Dante's Inferno.
And they say that the US forces used music by Metallica in the fight against the Taliban. Tsssss....
What impression one gets from music easily depends on the circumstances. State of mind and current mood included. Tired as
hell after five hours of sleep the night before, on a soporific bus, Abyssal Gods suddenly made complete
sense. Constant changes notwithstanding, the music flows in a monotonous manner that provides delicious hypnotic means.
The album ends with four minutes of seemingly improvisational contemporary jazz, where random haphazard reigns more than
in the lottery. One can always squeeze a little more toothpaste out of the tube. Has the band finally taken the madness to
the limit, or will they manage to squeeze the concept even a little bit further until next time? Imperial Triumphant emerges as infuriated, and for a moment I seriously believed that this 42 minute long
noisy vermin infested monstrosity would remain too incomprehensible for my taste. You know... pointless and unprovoked
madness without substance or system. I nevertheless find Abyssal Gods comfortable in some absurd way.
But be warned: ☣☢☠
This album makes conventional misanthropy emerge as a walk in the park to feed the ducklings.
Buckle your seat belt, tighten the helmet, put on safety goggles and bulletproof vest, but fuck ear protection.