Ván Records, 28.08.2015 The Spirit Cabinet is a relatively newly created Dutch quartet with members from Urfaust,
Cirith Gorgor, Grimm et al. That absolutely sounds both promising and exciting. Even band and album
title, as well as cover art tickle my curiosity.
Musically however, this isn't particularly interesting.
Moderately doom-influenced and NWOBHM flavoured heavy metal is on the menu. Fair enough, but there is little meat and gravy,
and too much rice on the plate this time. Neither instrumentation nor sound impresses, though neither is unpleasant either.
The song material isn't distasteful either, but there is of course a weakness that it just keeps running out the other ear.
Unfortunately most of it remains rather anonymously.
The only thing I personally really dislike, although not largely, is the vocals. Snake McRuffkin sings with
clean vocals and has often got a bit of an operatic touch that becomes rather theatrical.
I find no goodies capable of heightening my impression, and I won't be picking up Hystero Epileptic Possessed
in the future. Yet this is absolutely fine in the background. I probably should have been stricter, as in the case of
Bonehunter (four steps below), but I'm not as tired of generic heavy metal, as of mediocre extreme metal, so I choose
to be a little gentle with this newcomer constellation consisting of veterans.
There's a new born month awaiting us, but in order to keep my system intact, I'll post two more Impressions,
Wederganger & The Spirit Cabinet in the August section (as they were originally posted on
August 31st in the Norwegian sector), before summoning a September edition.
Remember how I said last Friday
that I was likely to finish the four Friday releases before next month? Well, guess what, that didn't happen. I've been
preoccupied with hectic activities and active hectivities. What's kept me busy? Does this look like a fucking pink
You probably hate me now for keeping you waiting. Well, hate is good. It spawns great art. In fact, I just finished
translating a review of Hate. Just for you!
Ván Records, 28.08.2015
All right music at the intersection between okay and good comes out better in full-length format than
in short format. In the longer context, the atmosphere has more time to seep into and poison the prey. It's quite possible
that's the reason why I'm a little bit more sympathetic towards Wederganger now than when I wrote about
the 7-inch Gekderse Drek last December, calling it a bit simple and repeated/insistent.
The two songs are brought along to the album, albeit in a slightly more rounded sound.
The music itself is also in an intersection. It has more firepower than post-black, but the pace and state of mind is
calmer and more melancholically landscaped than pure black metal. I find plenty of tristesse, but little disgust, and
not really enough depression to blend in dsbm. Perhaps I'll have to resort to atmospheric black metal, although
Wederganger doesn't offer soaring forest lays drenched in synth.
Although Halfvergaan Ontwaakt is admittedly mood laced metal with sliding guitar tones, it has a rather
earthly and slightly occult character, thus we can probably not steer clear of some pagan heresy either.
The pace is mostly quiet. When the drums fires machine guns, the guitars often creates monotony enough to reduce the speed
sensation, and even when the strings are subjected to intensive tremolo riffing, the boys is apparently in no hurry to
change chords. The development within the tunes are slow and often melodically shaped. The quietest songs, like
Dodendans, can also provide a hint of Hamferð.
Yet nothing is written in stone. Without feeling wobbly, the band alternates a great deal in terms of style. Some tracks
have a quicker and livelier, yet more demonic touch. The vocal contributions also shed its skin many a time along the
way. Rough Dutch words in a spoken voice spits the words out, viking fashioned chanting vocals occurs, and raw, screaming
black vocals is a recurring articulation.
Halfvergaan Ontwaakt have different moods that winds and meanders in restless ways, but the interaction
between different directions still works surprisingly well together. I think the album succeeds in creating its own
atmosphere, and it manages to justifies its own existence adequately. I place it in the lower area of the segment “good”,
as it is comfortable, yet far from mandatory.
I Hate Records, 27.08.15
This was originally released 25 years ago and it's probably considered a cult classic by some. I have a moderate
knowledge of some of their later releases, but I haven't heard the début before.
Czech, then Czechoslovakian, Root has its roots in black metal of the first wave, and
Zjevení, now released on freshly pressed vinyl, is certainly on of a kind.
The band was labelled as satanists by the communist government behind the Iron Curtain early on, and struggled to find
a suitable location to record the album. Yet they succeeded in creating one of the most distinctive soundscapes the genre
has seen heard. The sound is absolutely marvellous, with its authentic, somewhat primitive charm. The
instrumentation is not as insanely intense, and so the music gets an airy feel with good elbowroom, and thus good dynamic
headroom. With all elements in addition being very clearly audible, with raw sounding guitars, drums, and vocals surrounded
by flattering reverb, the sound gains a great sense of dynamic and realistic naturalness. This is in its turn echoed by
the dynamic range that lands on a solid DR9.
The music, itself is also special. It is dark and eclectic, ranging from creepy and gloomy lower, to a rawer higher mid-tempo.
There's good variation in the music, yet it has an almost constantly chanting and satanic overtone.
Both vocals and music is relatively reminiscent of Tormentor. The vocals have a clearly articulated and demonic
touch that definitely stands out in the crowd. It can also be mentioned that singer Big Boss founded
the Czech branch of the Church of Satan, and that Zjevení begins with a barely two minute excerpts
from Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible, voiced in Czech.
This is music that surely must have raised a number of eyebrows in 1990, and not just behind the Iron Curtain. Today this
music would no doubt be pigeonholed as dark metal, as Root's version of proto-black metal has a fairly
quiet, melodic and “gentle” touch compared to other bands in the same genre.
Zjevení is a nice curiosity with suitably eerie music, but I limit myself to an “okay” grading.
Root's first offering to the dark prince contains a bit too eclectic metal to become a regular visitor
in my ear canals. Nonetheless, this is certainly a quite all right listening! I Hate Records re-released this on CD in 2009, and now time has come for the vinyl. The 333 first copies are
available on red/black swirl. In the mean time it has been re-released by Nuclear War Now! under the English
title The Revelation.
I can't seem to find any official stream, so you'll just have to search, yourself.
Dark Descent Records, 21.08.15
Time flies, and I can hardly keep up. Friday is the week's big release day, and this is the last album I review... from
last Friday. I fortunately only have four releases on the schedule this Friday, so I might maybe just
be able to get through with them before the end of the month.
Adversarial is a Canadian trio that is soon approaching their ten years anniversary. The début was
launched five years ago, and this is their sophomore full-length.
One more thing. Don't let the ranking fool you. This is reasonably solid stuff.
We return once more to the chasm of hell, through a swirling wormhole of flames. As the album title indicates, the
Canadians performs their sulphur-stinking inferno via a mixture of death and black, were death metal poses the main bulk.
I like the style, and I love how the vocals gives the expression a touch of occult black magic. Adversarial's
offspring of the stylistic sub-genre has an intense, dissonant and chaotic feel. The compositions seems fairly solid, but
some tiny quibbles prevents a higher rating.
Mid-tempo, and lower pace, brings delightfully uncomfortable moods. When the speed occasionally increases to full throttle,
the atmosphere is whipped and chased, and the remaining frenzied aggression easily emerges as a bit incomplete and stressful.
Another shortage is the sound. Yes, it is thundering, but still a bit too deranged to create a good illusion of hells
antechamber. (Yes, I notice how contradictory that sounds). In addition, it becomes pretty intensely, something that's only
amplified by the low dynamics of the production. (DR6)
If I am to be caught in the maelstrom, I must believe that it's there, but with Adversarial's
“hubbub” of a production (to exaggerate somewhat) it appear more like a two-dimensional backdrop.
I'm pretty finicky now, but it is mostly to separate wheat from chaff. I've heard better, but also significantly worse.
As a dystopian sonic void, Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism is absolute decent,
and then some. Adversarial is Advocated to All
that Appreciate Additional Aberrants of
Abyssal Arrays And
Apocalyptic Art, As Azavatar,
Akhlys, Antiversum og Abyssal.
Hells Headbangers, 21.08.15
Behind one of the least appealing artworks I've witnessed in recent times, we find dirty and sordid thrash with a stench
of punk that will surely find oodles of followers in the underground. I can, however, control my enthusiasm. Not because
I'm completely apathetic, but rather because simplistic and careless music don't arouse any excitement.
Yet, even if Bonehunter doesn't have a single sensational chromosome, they still have enough positive
attributes to avoid total slaughter at my hand.
The Finnish trio has been around since 2011 and has got a good handful of smaller releases behind them. This is their
début full-length. The 30 minute long album was released on CD in June and is now also available on cassette and vinyl.
Only a few of the nine songs stretches past the four minutes mark. A higher number clocks in under three. The songs go
straight for the jugulars, though not quite as brutally as expected. No build-ups or structure, and hardly any finesse.
I admittedly find some cool rhythms, effective transitions, good float and parts with surprisingly clean and tidy guitar
solos that contrast the rest of the dirty and rusty metal. Song-wise ingenuity and a coherent purpose or direction is
however absent, and I can't find memorable riffs even with a loupe.
I can accept rotten sound if the music is killer. I've heard my share of old black metal demos, to put it that way.
Here, however, the shitty production just amplifies my impression of the music.
The dynamic range is vivid, though, with as much as DR11 on six of the nine tracks.
Evil Triumphs Again gives me absolutely fuck all, but it's not in any way annoying either. It's fairly
passable, one might say, and thus I could have awarded it a medium grade. Still, personally I consider it weak and
pointless when not a single song is worth mentioning, and the album just leaves me utterly indifferent.
Season of Mist, 21.08.15
The trio Hate Eternal is out with its sixth dose of good old Florida-based death metal. The band, which
has been going strong since 1997 now consists of original guitarist/vocalist Erik Rutan (ex-Morbid
Angel) as well as J.J. Hrubovcak on bass and backing vocals and Chason Westmoreland
behind the drums.
The album begins brutally, but rather generic with Locust Swarm, and the fear that this would
be a trend throughout the album did not let go until almost half the album had passed. Some sequences with creeping subtle
moods of howling guitars seemed promising, but could it be enough to place Hate Eternal in the elite
series where they belong?
Song five out of ten, the title track Infernus, is for me the first track where the band's potential
really comes to life. After four hasty and bloodthirsty attacks, this creates appropriate contrast with its
dark moods, where slower pace gives guitars and drums better room to shine. The song is more powerful than the other
material even in time, as it lasts for over 6 minutes. Two more than the typical length.
Then it's back to the raging brutality, but it seems both band and listener has awoken now, for I perceive the albums
second half as a notch stronger than the first one.
However, I hold the possibility that this is just a phonetic illusion open, for isolated the first songs sounds equally
strong. The feeling also decreases when the album rotates on repeat, but resurges persistently every time I've taken a
break from album. Yet I believe the second half to holds some more finesse and tempo shifts as it succeeds a bit more at
grabbing my attention.
The trio is technically competent, and offers a lot of hefty instrumentation. Solos, transitions, cool rhythms and bass
lines. The expression may have glimpses of both technical and majestic nature, without being overstated or sacrificing
the affiliation to their old school roots. The growling is almost decipherable, and the sound is, as expected from the
genre and region, brutal, hard-hitting and meaty (albeit with commonly generic low dynamics). A winning formula that
there's no reason to tamper with.
A significant proportion of the straight-in-your-face brutality sadly feels fairly recycled. This prevents top grades,
but don't let that prevent you from checking out the album.
As a conclusion once more a slightly longer track follows. 6 minutes long O' Majestic Being, Hear My Call
provides symmetry to the vinyl version and finishes the album with mighty guitar based moods.
I do not have such an in depth relation to Hate Eternal that I will comment on their development,
but Infernus is in any case a good album that offers plenty of killer death metal with hefty instrumentation
and ditto sound.
The songs The Stygian Deep and Pathogenic Apathy can be found here.
The rest you can hear over at No Clean Singing. Especially the title track!
Spinefarm Records, 21.08.15
If you're not familiar with Wolfheart you might as well read the brief introduction i wrote regarding
the début. At least if you like melodic, easy soaring, Finnish death metal.
«Finnish Tuomas Saukkonen has cancelled all his other bands, and now focus solely on Wolfheart.
The music here is fairly quiet, melodic and mournful melo-death/doom. The guitar works is of a floating, dreamy sort. Not
dissimilar from his previous projects, like Before the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon and Dawn of Solace. After a quick comparison,
I find Black Sun Aeon to be the best reference. Aside from some guitar solos performed by Mika Lammassaari of Eternal Tears
of Sorrow, everything is conducted by Tuomas. The album seems beautiful, with strong melodies.»
At first listen I get a feeling that Wolfheart has moved in a little more heavy and possibly a touch more
technical direction. After a quick round with Winterborn (2013) I don't think that that's the case. It's
probably just Aeon of Cold, the first song on Shadow World, which misleads me with
rather monotonous intensity early on, after an initial piano snippet, that is. Tuomas Saukkonen and
company was probably just as technically versed when our paths crossed last time as well.
On his début, as mentioned above, this was a one-man band with some guitar solo contributions. Now Mika
has become a full-time member, as have bassist Lauri Silvonen and drummer Joonas Kauppinen
(eks-Misery Inc. et al.). The latter has also drummed for Tuomas in Before the Dawn.
Aside from the requirement of good sound, the song-material is more or less alpha and omega in this genre, and the sound
is as expected very good, though it unfortunately has mediocre DR6 in dynamic range. The songs does by no means offer any
surprises. They are as usual characterized by good melodies, descent variety and all right structure, along with moods
that alternate in landscapes of melancholy, grandiose power anthems and soaring nature inspirations.
It's of course beneficial that the artists can also play, but I take that for granted when Wolfheart
is on the menu. Especially the guitar must be mentioned. The instrument produces abundant delightful ear-treats this time.
Shadow World is of course very fine, although I do not think it exhibit the man's very best songs.
I consider its predecessor even more memorable. This is still a safe purchase for followers of the man's musical activities,
and the album shall get the character it deserves. This can obviously be seen as a positive thing, but there's a different
side to the coin as well.
I'm personally a little bit disappointed as I think Tuomas is playing it a bit safe. After so many
years in constellations like Before the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace and so on, perhaps
time is ripe to break the comfortable pattern a bit. I had personally hoped for slightly stronger compositions, and perhaps
even some adventurous development in style and expression, and so it doesn't reach the top grade. It's still good, though.
Pulverised Records, 21.08.15
The quintet from Phoenix, Arizona (which has increased to a sextet in retrospect) defies all genre conventions,
and the promo leaflet describing them as an “An American Rock & Roll band from the 1970's trapped inside of a
Scandinavian Metal band from the early 1990's, scoring a John Carpenter film.”
Strangely enough that makes perfect sense.
They mix genres vividly, yet naturally. The band doesn't alter or stumble between different expressions, but has
placed themselves in an abstract intersection between different horror-inspired extreme metal genres and occult 70s
doom. That might perhaps sound peculiar, but Take Over And Destroy makes it sound like the world's
most obvious habitation.
The only thing that changes a great deal on Vacant Face is pace and punch, and partly vocal. In upper
mid-tempo a tough, moderately diabolic touch is prioritized, while the more eerie moods predominate in lower pace. The
vocals are either as a rasping thrashed variant of black vocals, or a bit sleazy clean vocals in style with for example
Take Over And Destroy roams in the outskirts of my preferences, but disregarding my subjective “quite
good”, the band has a healthy dose of characteristics, and they've succeeded in creating a record with a consistent style.
And that's gotta count for something.
The album was originally released via Comfort Point Records a year ago, but will probably reach more ears this time.
Season of Mist, 21.08.15
The Greek giants have, after 28 years and 11 studio albums, found time to be ripe for their first live album,
recorded - as its title suggests - in Athens. Lucifer Over Athens has in many ways become a large-scale live document, but a few elements
prevents it from being fully as monumental as I had hoped for.
After more than 1200 concerts, the band is undoubtedly professional on stage. Unfortunately I have not been able to see
them live, and nor am I doing so now, for this is barely a CD, and not a visual presentation. Thus, it is difficult to
say whether bag pipes, for example, is played live or if they are just samples.
Did I say CD in singular form? Sorry, I meant two CDs. Unless you prefer the triple vinyl. This is namely nothing less
than a collection of 31 songs, which together lasts for extravagant 140 minutes.
Live CDs has lost a lot of its magic over the years, but as long as the right conditions are met, the format can still
be something that gets its irregular playbacks now and again. I'm naturally thinking about aspects such as the band and
song material being of the right calibre and the sound is fit for some quality sofa time.
This band is undoubtedly of the right sort and the song material is extracted from virtually their entire career. Only
the album Khronos is somehow not represented. Even songs from the early demo days and a Thou Art
Lord-cover has been found worthy a spot.
The sound has preserved the live feeling in impeccable manner. One easily hears that this is live, and the audience is
in the background as they should be. Yet the sound ain't completely optimal. Some minor debris is passable.
In fact, concerts without any such is most likely fixed too much in the studio afterwards. All live are are
exposed to more or less retouching, but Rotting Christ sounds far more authentic than the biggest snobs.
I wonder, however, a bit as to why the cymbals and high-hat occasionally sounds so “shaky”. (For example, in the middle
of The Fourth Knight of Revelation). Not that it bothers me, though. A more critical objection is that
the strings occasionally winds up somewhat behind the drums and vocals in the mix a couple of places. This varies during
the show, but a song like The Call of the Aethyrs ends up a bit thin and tender as a result, whereas
In Yumen - Xibalba however is blessed with thundering guitars.
A bit more consistent thrust in buzzing string resonance from bass and guitar, and some juicier and more
vigorous sound would have matched the band's mighty expression better, but by all means, even this objection doesn't
rock the live album's boat, for the sound is by all means more than approved.
Lucifer Over Athens shows a skilled and persevering band in great shape, which offers a massive amount
of killer songs, but I would of course have preferred a DVD.
From Portugal comes a debuting female-fronted black/doom/sludge quartet. All band members have other bands behind them,
some more than others, and a couple of guys also got duties in a solid handful of parallel constellations. Adversarial Light was released on cassette in March, but by the help of two labels, wider distribution
and probably a higher number of prints, the plan might just be to conquer the world.
Portugal has got barely 600 active bands with registered releases (compared with just over 666 bands in Norway), but just
a handful can be said to have a solid name. Thus it can't hurt if the scene gets a little more attention.
The music took some time getting used to. Mainly because of the somewhat unnerving vocals. At the first listen I believed
it was a bit hoarse guy with fairly high pitched and screaming voice that fronted the material, but it turns out to be the
other possible option that is the case; female black vocals. Sophia is fairly aggressive, and can become
tiresome in parts of ample vocals, but the desperate and anguished rasp (I wouldn't call it shrieks as it's a bit
whispered in style) still fits the style of the music greatly.
The music consists of slow-moving, sharp and dark tones with depressive melody lines that reek of sadness, hopelessness,
gloom and despair over the world's meaninglessness. Adversarial Light don't just bring slow black tonality
with its blac/doom, but rather a black version of sorrowful death/doom in the style of tardy dsbm.
A becomingly sludge-touch fits the style well, and the percussion, with often vital use of the sticks, creates some sizzling,
sputtering and blistering motion in the viscous pot.
The band is a coordinated entity, where thoughtfully calculated instrumentation creates good dynamic flow and spices in the
music. I think I'll stretch as far as to say that the band has a pretty original twist. When the sound conveys the band's
expressions so rich in detail as it does here, it ends with an album that I was basically pretty sceptical at, having grown
to an unpleasant pleasure, or vice versa.
Vaee Solis convey unadulterated disgust in complete lack of faith, hope and love, on an album crammed
with discouraged, troubled moods. The digital version of this little piece of grandeur is out on Bandcamp
for name your price, while the digipak version comes in limited edition and the vinyl is expected early next year.
Hells Headbangers, 21.08.15
There's certainly enough frenetic extreme metal lurking in the underground, that with breathless tempo, aggressive
expression, identical sounding songs and cheap productions ends up in a chaotic, noisy stir. This considered, it's
an especially nice surprise when a band of this calibre comes knocking on the door completely unannounced.
British Scythian is the first English band signed to Hells Headbangers, and they don't dishonour
their homeland heritage. On the contrary, they deliver good and euphonious black/death, spiced with epic Viking influences.
In good British tradition these men offers well-structured and coherent songs. That the expression sometimes is hasty and
heated doesn't make it a deafening chaotic and unrestrained turmoil. The guys keep rage and mannerism in check to show
who's in charge, and the result is palpable. Nine structurally tidy tracks provide good sensuousness and gives the listener
a useful overview beneficial for taking part in the war when these trolls launch attack in a strategic manner.
With moderate use of Bathory-inspired Viking themes and airy guitar solos, the songs get a vivid boost, contributing
to the character and preventing Scythian from becoming one with the crowd.
This album is, just like the Impression below, recorded with Greg Chandler (Esoteric,
Lychgate) in his Priory Studios and mastered by Leon Macey (Mithras etc.) in Dreaming
Studios. The sound is round and powerful, and well-suited for Hubris in Excelsis, even if the end
result has left the production compact as a fishes arse (DR4).
It may be mentioned that the trio, with members from acts such as Craven Idol, Crom Dubh* and Sepulchral Temple*, now seems to have been reduced to a duo. On the
album one of the band's former guitarist also features as a guest.
Not entirely essential, but certainly a very pleasant surprise of an album that in my ears works best when melodies and
moods gets a chance to roam in mid-tempo passages. Available on CD and LP upcoming Friday.
Blood Music, 18.08.15
Like the album beneath, this also roam on quirky, unmarked trails. This one, however wanders at night, in obscure,
occult and terrifying landscapes, shunned by most people.
London-based Lychgate released their first works in 2013, the eponymous album highly deserved made
itself noticed in the underground.
The atmosphere Lychgate creates with their new work of art, continues unabatedly its pitch dark
symphonic-sounding efforts with Panopticon-related topics.
The music is far from typical black metal, but it doesn't have the commercially available touch of its symphonic half
brother either. Church organ constitutes a substantial part of the expression, and makes it all sound like an organized
black mass taken from one of Lovecraft's short stories. The organ is used to a much greater extent than on the début,
Abhor's usage of the instrument completely in the shadow. That's not really strange, when one learns that
they've been granted extremely professional help from the profiled organist Kevin Bowyer.
The whole structure is more reminiscent of a distorted liturgical, classical symphony written for pipe organs tuned in
minor, set in large, dim cathedrals. Than, the 50 minute long unholy seance also begins with Unto My Tempest,
after the pioneer
Marcel Dupré. The remaining material was written by guitarist, organist et al. Vortigern. He's
got another four men with him on a regular basis, including members of more or less renown constellations as Ancient
Ascendant, Macabre Omen, Omega Centauri og Esoteric.
The album was mixed and mastered in Priory Studios by the studio's owner and the band's vocalist and guitarist
G.A. Chandler (Esoteric). Both music and sound is powerful, almost reverent, in all its pitch
black glory. The musics powerful dynamics is matched by the good dynamic range of the sound (DR8), and creates an abhorrent
blasphemic nightmare in ten acts; a mass the baptism of Satan first-born son worthy. A very good and ominous album with
excellent compositions, where variation, progress, coherency, sound, instrumentation and originality all seems to be
prodigally carried out to the fingertips. I have yet to read the lyrics, but they are located on Metal-Archives, and so
I have something to look forward to some dark, clouded night.
An Antidote for the Glass Pill is, like Öxxö Xööx's Nämïdäë, posted for free download
on Bandcamp, with proposals of costs after what wallet and conscience dictates.
Blood Music, 01.08.15
The French band with the hopeless diction Öxxö Xööx, is out with their sophomore record. Their
name is part of a fictive language they've made up. This is also used in the lyrics, along with some English.
The name means 69, something that's also reflected in the binary equivalent of the letters (0110 = 6, 1001 = 9).
The band was founded in 2006 and plays an atmospheric, somewhat quirky variation of gothic-sounding doom metal.
The trio offers nine songs that extends to wholly an hour and a quarter.
In convention with its genre, the music is fairly quiet, but the soundscape is almost filled to the brim, and
Nämïdäë thus feels moderately intense. Every single element, such as church organs, electric and acoustic
guitars, whispering, shouting and chored male and female vocals and various samples, doesn't occur simultaneously, but
there's much present at almost any given moment.
Their theatrical appearance resembles many different bands (like Grand Alchemist, Dismal Euphony,
The Covenant, etc.) to some extent, but it also differs much from each one. The conduct of Öxxö Xööx
is more ambient, atmospheric, operatic, soaring and a bit peculiar than the associations I get, and every
reference I can think of. Thus, this is a bit of a demanding record that more versatile souls with greater interest in
exploring rather odd and tangled genres surely will find greater pleasure in investigating.
The band has clearly put a lot of work in both intricate composition and execution, and the result is professional,
with fitting sound thereto.
I may be the wrong man for the job of delving into this album, but I've given it a few spins and a fair chance. Even if
this ain't my cup of psychedelic substances, I nevertheless wish to inform you about the album, as I'm sure this
glass shoe will find a matching foot (or rather ear) out there. Approved, but not quite my thing, so ignore the ranking.
To counteract piracy, the band has posted this on Bandcamp for a voluntary price. Check
the suggestions of payment near the bottom of the page, and donate if Nämïdäë appeals to you.
This is the début of a Canadian band consisting of two permanent members and two session members. The music, primarily
melodic and symphonic black metal, has a plethora of well-known elements, and doesn't sound particularly original as such,
although the combination and balance of the compositions mixes good ingredients in a fairly new way.
If a melting pot of stuff like Windir and Carach Angren, with hints of folk, viking and pagan sounds
alluring, this might be just what you need.
Should Gladius Sky get away with such conspicuous theft of sogna-metallic means as that they do here?
(With sogna-metal being a style named after the origin of Ulcus (Molle), Windir, Sigtyr,
Mistur, Cor Scorpii, Vreid etc.) Well, songwriter Tanner Revak makes no secret
of his inspirations, and perhaps it's time to let others attempt to create new magic in the vain of Windir now,
11 years after Valfar's tragic demise. Gladius Sky blends these stylistic elements with other melodic black metal styles, adding a symphonic slant,
a little acoustic cosiness, a few grains of subtle Finnish forest metal moods - which is enhanced by the few seconds of
accordion found in Alchemy of Spirit - and stirs it all together in the black cauldron. Out of the pot
comes one good song after another.
The sense of imitation, however, won't fully let go.
The symphonic is more inspired by classical music, including baroque, than the more soundtrack-based style that Dimmu
and their kin apply. The symphonic flare isn't just found in the moderately used orchestral samples, but also in the neoclassical
guitar work. The guitar otherwise alternates between the neoclassical and the notably Windir inspired style.
Instrumentation and samples works very fine. There's a lot of genuinely tremendous guitar playing on the album, and with
Hannes Grossmann (Alkaloid, Ex-Obscura) on percussion, one can rest assure that drums
is professionally handled.
Editing, mixing and mastering is done in Woodshed Studio in Germany by V. Santura (Dark Fortress,
Triptykon, Obscura, etc.). The sound is detailed and powerful, with decent dynamics (DR7).
The songs have more than enough variety. The mixing ratio creates a kind of distinctiveness, but the album borrows just a
bit too much to reach the very top ranks. If you enjoy mentioned styles and references, there is no reason not to give their
début Ex Metallo a chance.
Nuclear War Now! Productions, 15.08.15
This is another re-release, and we're going to have to go all the way back to 1995 to find the origin of Elysian
Fields' début Adelain. I nearly bypassed this album, as the first impression was rather feeble.
What little I've read about the album praise and glorify it, and no promos in the pile is scheduled for release before
next week, so I decided to bite the bullet and start looking for something positive.
It has taken some time, and I have kind of regretted the decision.
It is quite possible that the years that have passed have brought so much more and better music that time as a result
hasn't treated Elysian Fields' expression well. There is also a vague possibility that I am
the one that there's something wrong with. Anyhow, I can't seem to get the complete hang of Adelain,
that by the way comes with three demo songs as bonus, and will be released on CD and double LP.
Elysian Fields has its background in the Greek scene, and there is a moderate hint of that kind of black
metal building blocks here. With frequent use of peaceful pace and mildly mournful melodies, as well as the incorporation
of synthesizer-based piano and fiddle, the music gets a strong vampire romanticized gothic feel.
I have no big problem with that, but none of the songs are consistently strong enough to support the concept.
As pure black metal, however, Adelain is just useless. Even fast paced parts feels quiet and harmless.
The songs are composed of various segments, and they are diverse as such, but the better sequences is basically wasted
when mixed with more generic portions, and the sense of overall completeness suffers from this.
The sound is pretty lousy. It's not so much rotten as it is cheap. The production is flat and lifeless, and the grand
piano and violin are hideously synthetic. I can listen to music with poor production as long as the material is strong,
but in this case a juicier sound would have improve the listening experience a lot. That the album was recorded in
Storm Studio by the hand of George Magus (Necromantia), that the sound is clear and that the
dynamics are very good, with several songs meeting DR11, simply doesn't help.
It may very well be that Adelain would have appealed to me 20 years ago, but at the present it goes
into one ear and out the other, and it has done so for at least five times now without leaving as much as a single
On one side the music is perfectly okay, and occasionally even quite nice, whilst playing. On the other side, the album
still feels like a long indifferent yawn. I could have been more strict on the grading, but I don't want to be too hard
either, and I begin to feel that I have already used up the quota for that this month.
High Roller Records, 14.08.2015
Among the many bands bearing the name Hammerhead, we find these NWOBHM Britons.
The guys have actually been going since 1978 and can therefore be regarded as veterans. Though... been going? During
the more than 20 years that went by from the last demo in 1984 to the first album in 2005, only a compilation saw the
light of day, and this was released as late as only a few years prior to their début album.
This proto-metal genre has never been my favourite. Much of what I've heard has been considerably softer than many
ordinary rock bands. A lot of it has also been ruined by revolting castrate vocals.
To tell the truth I'm not even sure whether NWOBHM is considered a proper genre or not, as it seems to me to be more
of a collective phrase for a cultural wave than a singular, distinctive and defined musical direction.
It all opens in the land of ballads. After a few seconds of sleigh bells, providing more of an x-mas connotation than
anything else, the opening track continues in a quiet manner before apparently deciding to rock out a little at the
end. The ten minutes long title track follows up with more ballad. Completely stripped down through the initial minutes,
before heavier guitars with distortion comes in. It continues calmly but the track contains both cleverly rhythmic
build-ups, clean vocals that fits well, and some slightly cool stereo effect on the guitar. The last minutes is reserved
for quite delicate, yet hardly very intense guitar solos.
Although the song is the most frisky of the album, the basic structure of “gentle and quiet heavy metal with an occasional
enjoyable solo” can be said to be symptomatic for most of The Sin Eater. The album as a whole is mostly
characterized by calm songs, only occasionally replaced by rocking beats and nifty instrumentation.
The album is well-suited as background music and for driving, but I can't really imagine what kind of metalheads would
find pleasure in such assemblies of semi-ballads. The vocals have a slightly flat, monotonous and poppy touch, but at
least, it's exempted from feminine vocals, and so I'll just refrain from complaining.
The albums longest song, almost 13 minutes long Psilocybin gets the honour of concluding the album.
After approximately four normal minutes, the tune changes character, and thus live up to its title. (Psilocybin
is the psychedelic compound in certain mushrooms). A few minutes of eerie psychedelic moods follows before some lad with
a British accent describes a trip characterized by strange hallucinations and paranoia, set to quiet music that gradually
increases in intensity in accordance with the crescendo of delusions.
Funny closure and some elegant parts also elsewhere on the album. Decent melodies and structures, with as much spirit of
the late 70s as of the early 80s. The instrumentation is good, and the sound has good dynamics and fits the music. The
album in its entirety still comes short on adrenaline on my part. All in all, I'm rather disappointed and I won't return
to this record, something that explains the low rating. That doesn't mean that it is a poor album.
You know best whether or not this is your style. If so, take a listen to the song The Sin Eater.
Profound Lore Records, 23.06.15
From the darkest resounding pits, meet Abyssal, a British one man band. The productive
G.D.C. recently released his third album since the inception just four years ago.
Along with him we find Timo Häkkinen from among others Sotajumala on drums.
With swirling cacophonic and frenetic riffing, only broken up by dystopian-sounding dissonant, pandemoniacal clamour,
a delightfully uncomfortable ceremony begins. A sacramental rite honouring idols only the most repugnantly primitive
and cynically heartless secluded tribes of cannibals would ever consider worshipping.*
As a conscious and thinking personification of purified hatred, as a constant pressure wave of concentrated discomfort,
the wall of alarming sound beats toward the listener. At the same time, small twinges of involuntary telepathic
hallucinations emerge inside the brains. Compelling visions and thoughts of the most unpleasant memories to the mind.
If you were for example to hear a music box repeated in five full minutes during the second half of Veil of
Transcendence, you could be sure that it was probing your mind for fear and traumas dating back to childhood.
The infernal foghorn feed on the energy of negative emotions.
The sonic spirit have formed a protective wall around the last true disastrous cult of idolaters and their final
cataclysmic ritual. A ceremony that will conjure inhuman monstrous idols whose purpose and meaning is to end all
harmony and restore anti-cosmic chaos.
The perfect soundtrack to the Cthulhu mythos, in other words.
Blood Harvest, 10.08.15
We shall remain in musical grottoes where darkness reigns, and mould and fungus thrives. We move, however, in a direction
toward infected carcasses, as Chilean Istengoat (which roughly translates too God Goat) offers
a more deadly sphere.
The divine goat worshippers dug up just in time to witness the release of last year's début on vinyl. I missed out on it
then. Thus, this re-release suits me well.
These minor-key-possessed grave robbers have come a long way in the decomposition process.
I basically like their dirty worm infested death metal well. Despite all death, the lively guitars keep the songs advancing
energetically and the beastly vocals parallel Necros Christos in an alluring cursed course. Together this creates
a great atmosphere, fully able to hold the listeners attention alive.
Nevertheless. I was (overtly) strict with Majestic Downfall, and so I should be equally strict with
Istengoat. There's just so many dirt clad band sticking their long-haired heads out of caves and tombs,
that one needs to require a little bit extra from the songs/albums before they qualify for grand recognition and a solid
The album is good and dirty, with all-right songs and occasionally mighty and vigorous sections. Fans of this type of death
metal should of course check out Istengoat and their bloodthirsty Atlas Shrugged.
If I should feel guilty about the almost undeserved low rating, I only need to hear the first minute of Es Brent,
for that dreadful Hindu/Bollywood-thing doesn't fit in at all.
Daemon Worship (CD), 10.08.15&
Iron Bonehead (LP), 28.08.15
Followed by a syrupy, yet fast lava flow, you run barefoot down rocky ridges below the volcano. Shoes were lost in the
panicking tumults when the disastrous eruption was a fact.
Nooks, corners and edges threatens with imminent danger of twisting an ankle or two. You have already stumbled badly once,
and pain is now shooting up the leg for each step. Sprawling thorns scratch and claw you to blood, while sharp rocks and
shells down on the rocky shores cuts deep burning and bleeding abrasions underfoot.
Behind you; more than a thousand degrees viscous molten rock. In front of you; the sea.
...only separated by heavy torrents and high waves that will nevertheless keep you in an iron grip until the magma flows
over the edge and scald you alive. Any attempt to swim for your life, to a certain death by drowning in the open sea,
or to become an easy prey for the infamous great white shark, will undoubtedly just end in the five-meter high waves
crushing or impale you against the jagged cliffs...
Sorry about the dramatic intro, but it's dramatic music the trio from New Zealand has created. Or maybe words like
sinister and disturbing would fit better. Perhaps I should have use something creepier, like a haunted
house as an analogy, but I was carried away by the massive musical lava flow which in turn floated directly into the
maelstrom that has been titled Revenant.
The band has been active for over ten years, and has released two previous records. Two of the members also reside in
stoner/doom outfit The House of Capricorn, but the differences could hardly be more striking.
In Creeping, moderately occult sounding labyrinths of doomed black metal has the priority. During half
an hour this is a journey of pitch black landscapes. Often rather viscous in pace but with descent tempo variation. With
creepy atonal tritone riffs, (un)pleasant melody lines in vital shape is created. The band stays within limits that
might appear rather monotonous, but that in truth consists of constantly changes. The music, with its eerie
and eclectic moods can not easily be explain. Therefore, I will encourage you to listen yourself.
What I can say with 100% certainty is that I really appreciate the dark journey Creeping have brought
me along on. Although there's lots of other bands slithering in the same dark back allies, it's not always as successful
as in the case of Revenant.
PS: I chose to use the cover art from the vinyl on the cover above, since I liked it
better than the CD cover.
Pulverised Records, 07.08.15
The Mexican duo Majestic Downfall is once again out with a new album. I was not particularly pleased
with Three (2013), and I'm not entirely impressed this time either. But still, they have an
ability to convey a changing diversity through four long songs, seasoned with a variety of moods. Something that can't
be explained away with anything but a certain quality in the compositions.
The death/doom the band performs is varied in expression, and with rather good sound. It lacks, however, a bit of what
is required in order not to slide right out the other ear.
The first notes of the title track opens with unexpected originality, before mighty and mournful tones make their entry.
This creates high expectations of potential that remains somewhat repressed.
The duo has an utterly crude expression, the genre taken into account, and they create quite claustrophobic moods. When
they occasionally increases to breathless pace the atmosphere becomes more uncomfortable and stressful.
The title track, with its less than three minutes, can practically be considered as an intro. The four successive songs
extending from barely 12 to about 16 minutes. The sound is dark, thundering and sultry, with prominent bass.
Although I don't feel that the songs manage to stick very well, and that the record therefore does not gratify completely,
it should be said that the songs seem to grow, and that certainly takes some time. It is very likely that I
have not spent enough time and that I am slightly unfair with the classification. After all, after nearly four hours I
like what I hear pretty
well. On the other hand, even if this is a “honourable album”, that is nevertheless equivalent to a fairly average result,
based on the hard competition.
...When Dead is a more than descent, but not mandatory, release from Majestic Downfall,
and genre fans will hardly regret an investment.
Ready for a dose of melodic black metal of the type that could easily have led to hate mail and death threats from real
puritans 20 years ago?
The struggle to preserve black metal shining (or matte) black is long lost, but even if the so-called sub genre have no
connection with true black metal, I have nothing against it musically.
Isar on vocals and Fjalar on all instruments and clean vocals now constitutes the duo
Istapp (meaning Icicle) from Mjövik by Karlskrona, south in Sweden. The same duo make up the band
Nivlhel, from Vintersorg's home area Skellefteå, a long distance further north. Fjalar has been involved since its inception in 2005, and four members have quit or been replaced since
then. In 2010 the first full length album, Blekinge saw the bleak light of day.
With abundant melody windings, Istapp reminds a bit of early Mörk Gryning, albeit with fewer
devil worshipping moods and a stronger viking-metal approach. The sound is also suitable. Packed DR5 in the dynamics
doesn't provide the most lofty result, but the production is still both good and fitting. Istapp aims to extinguish the sun. The guys worship the coming Ice Age, with survival only for the
strongest, who will endure snow, ice and freezing conditions. I would think the controversial song title Vit
Makt (White Power) reflects this concept, though such a careless move could easily lead to an unfortunate
labelling. Otherwise, the music ain't quite as bitingly icy as their hyperborean arctic cultivation of Fimbulwinter,
the eternal winter, but there isn't any sunny or heated references to be found either.
Melodic black/viking of the form Istapp reel off, naturally isn't genre-defining. Where
Blekinge largely consisted of memorable tunes, Frostbiten doesn't have as many melodic hooks.
The title song is probably the one that sticks out the most in this respect, with its choir hymns. With reasonably good
melodies, skilful and well working instrumentation, fine vocals that alternate between adequate delightful resentment and
good Nordic clean vocals and nice sound, the Swedes have nevertheless released another good album, where ten new songs
offers a fairly catchy drift. The album also generally surpasses many of the melodic soot-stained metal releases with
inclination to viking aesthetics out there.
CIANIDE, SARITAP, BARBATOS, DEIPHAGO & SCARNIVAL
Ladies and Headbangers of the jury, dishonourable judge Gorger hereby summons you from the deepest pits of Hell to
cast your votes and spells on Cianide, Saritap, Barbatos,
Deiphago & Scarnival.
They are hereby charged with the following indictments: Waging Raging War Upon Humankind (could have been a song title, right there, and there's more to follow, both
fictive and real), or at least upon incidental listeners, attempts at Igniting Arson and Burning Earth
'Till But Scorch Skulls Remains, performing Rites of Death, performing Sorcery in Satan's Service,
encouraging Calculated Sexual Bloodbath, the Ritual Lies of Genetic Biotechnology and other Viciously
Violent Violations on Bleeding Ears.
Proposed punishment: Death, obviously. What the fuck did you think?
As you might have guessed by now, I'm taking the easy and lazy way out. As written in conjunction with Throaat
three steps below, I've got no less than eight releases scheduled for yesterday. I never have time to cover every release
that I'd love to listen to and write about. Sometimes a promo or two also turns out to be stuff that I don't love
to listen to, nor write about. And than there's those in between.
As the sole dictator of Gorger's Metal I hereby decide that I'll give these five a short presentation rather than
pushing them into oblivion. I shall decide no more. In case you have forgotten, YOU, geists constitutes the jury,
and it is your verdict that counts. In the long run, it always is. Oh, how that plagues this evil dictator.
High Law of Lucifer's Principle Honesty for our Greater Benefit calls first accused Cianide to the
altar. CIANIDE - DEATH, DOOM AND DESTRUCTION
Because of your Distribution of Poisonous Substances to minors and geriatric seniors alike, I suggest death by... Gee, I
don't know what... Arsenic? Now, what the fuck do you plead?
But seriousely, the only crime this Chicago, Illinois based bunch is guilty of is fraud, scam, hoaxes and swindles alike.
I was led to believe that this album was released recently, yet it was actually released back in 1997. How's that for a bluff?
This slow-paced dirty and rotten death'n'roll ain't to bad. Perhaps even the best on the list of this incriminated bunch.
However there's at least ten releases every week that is just as good, to be brutally honest, and thus I'm not sure why, or
even how, I, or you, dreaded member of the jury, should fit this into our busy schedule.
It was launched by
Hells Headbangers, and it's up to you to lynch or let go.
These lads may actually turn out to be descent kids, after all. They participated in Headbangers Against Disco in their
youth, after all.
Okay, I'm tired of this judge and jury bullshit. Ain't you? Lets just get on with it already.
SARITAP - SORCERERS OF THE SEVEN GODS brings filthy, under-produced, amateurish black metal
with some favourable properties. All in all the this repress of their demo cassette from last year doesn't please
me, but in all fairness, somewhere in between the razor sharp guitar and the freezing drifting iceberg, there is certain
atmospheres that makes me want to worship Satan, even if its to late and I'm to tired at this time of night.
The Bulgarian one man band might in fact turn out to cast a proper spell in a not to distant future.
Iron Bonehead is the ones to blame for this chill up the spine. Now, you'll be the judge (okay, I'll stop. For now).
BARBATOS - STRAIGHT METAL WAR
Its nearly nine years since previous lull-length from these Japanese heavy/punk/thrash maniacs. They haven't rested on
laurels in the mean time (pun intended). They've been busy releasing splits as usual. After nearly 20 years you would
believe that they didn't still sound like a dead drunk Billy Idol singing karaoke of unidentifiable songs from an
unheard-of Vladivostok punk band, on a complete fucking binge. At least I would. And no, a drawing of a pierced nipple
ain't gonna save you from the gallows. If you had only used a proper image.
I hold the Japanese, as well as
Hells Headbangers responsible for these crimes (I just wont stop).
DEIPHAGO - INTO THE EYE OF SATAN
The raving mad trio from Philippines, now operating their filthy business from Costa Rica, performs chaotic black/death
on the verge of noise. I don't care how trve this is intended to be. Write some songs till next time for fuck sake.
I highly recommend this to those who can never find metal extreme enough for their filthy perverted cravings.
The cover art is fucking amazing, though!
What say ye, jury... Death by Bloodshed? Or will ye all turn on me in a unison mob?
Hells Headbangers has its ups and down. I know what category I'll put this in.
Technically, SCARNIVAL - THE ART OF SUFFERING stands out as the best in this bunch. But only technically. And
that's an objective fact. The album will be embraced by many of those who hear it. Yet there are reasons why I won't write
about it in a normal Impression. First of all, It just sounds better. As opposed to at least the three latter
releases, this is properly produced. The vocals are rather harsh, and the clean vocal doesn't sound gay (I don't give a
rats ass 'bout other folks orientation, it's a matter of fuck' privacy, literally, but I recent feminine behaviour from
creatures with physical balls). There's frantic drumming here, well some, but no blasting, mind you. Some
thrilling guitar stuff's going on at times, and occasionally there's a dark mood to be noticed. But than it goes away.
Also, the vocal is varied. To varied. It contains annoying and dull vocals a lot as well. (Hell, if I'm going to nitpick,
I might as well go all the way).
The problem is that the German débutantes add other stuff as well. The wrong stuff. And yet, with all these elements, the
compositions still lacks something to bind it all together. The song structure is coming apart, the melody lines are strait
forward in the opposite direction of the ultimate goal; a classic song. There's a touch of monotonousness in between the
goodies, also there's those fucked up coreish rhythms that sparks My Satanic Longing For a Cold Bloody and Painful
Killing. Neh, not unless the jury finds you guilty, but I have a good feeling (man, do I hate those) those soft,
gullible wimps will sett you free for bail, so that they can buy whatever the hell they want with the cash.
Kernkraftritter Records is a fairly new German label with a short, but apparently fast growing and varied rooster.
We won't prosecute them, as we wants to know what they're up to in the future.
Watch and judge:
The Art of Suffering (Official Music Video) and
Watch Me (lyrics video) featuring Björn "Speed" Strid of Soilwork fame.
Let the jury speak now, or forever shut the fuck up.
I am the autocratish (intended) judge Gorger, the terrible, and I approve this message.
Have the jury reached five verdicts. Why not, your Dishonour. We, the schizophrenic jury of Legions find the Accused......................................
Dark Descent Records, 07.08.15
About 20 years ago I picked up a CD with a reasonably sick cover from one of them on-offer-boxes, and I bought it unheard.
The album was
Internal Caustic Torments, Wombbath's début from 1993. By the time I had bought it, the band was
When Wombbath (as in “Womb Bath”, not
wombat) now return from the grave, it is with
guitarist Håkan Stuvemark as only remaining original corpse. (The other three must have dissolved due to
One of the first thing that strikes me when I compare the two albums is the sound, which is far more compressed this time.
With massive DR11, Internal Caustic Torments had large and airy contrasts. Downfall Rising
is with its DR7 another victim of musical vacuum packing, although thankfully the sound is far from
as packed as many other modern masterings are. Otherwise there's not much to nitpick about on the production. A bit muddy,
yes, but that really fits this living dead band.
The material is not directly uneven, but it is not equally strong throughout the record either. Just as well,
as some peaks in their condition still maintains a generally good quality. Third song I Am the Abyss,
for example, surprises with a symphonic intro. It wouldn't hurt if this element had accompanied the death metal further
on, but it ends just as abruptly as cascades of riffs erupt after only a few seconds. The song is still of the solid
kind with hypnotizing melodies just below the murky surface.
Than it snowballs in hell, with mighty Fall Of The Weak and dystopian oriented Putrid And Bound
(By The Seed Of Satan).
After Paid In Blood, a more uneventful song, the album ends with two minutes of majestically symphonic
grandeur in Abandoned Furthermore.
The two opening numbers ain't bad either, for the records. They possess very good parts, but to my ears they also contain
less exciting “transport stages”.
With exception of the sonic aspect I will not compare this album with the debut significantly. It was probably somewhat
more even, and likely made more on an impression when it was released in younger days of death metal, but I will not
comment on which one is best set up against each other. ...Torments has gathered some undeserved dust
in the shelves over the years, as this was not my preferred genre at the time of purchase, and it has more or less become
a forgotten relic over the years.
With highly subjectively three more than decent songs, three really strong tracks, as well as a generic intro and an on
the contrary mighty fine outro, I consider this slightly brutal half hour as a very nice lethal dose that definitely
deserves thumbs up. A welcome comeback. Unless these zombies are after my brains, that is.
Iron Bonehead, 31.07.15
The trio Shroud of the Heretic released their first album Revelations in Alchemy last
year and is now ready with their sophomore record.
The promo letter uses the term "sepulchral death metal" and I second that description.
With doom filled pace, moderate occult character, cobweb for beard, soil and dirt under the fingernails and vocal a tomb
worthy, the naming couldn't even be more fitting. This is certainly death metal from the grave.
The album only features four songs, but then again these occupy 42 minutes.
The pace is kept mostly in the lower part of the mid-tempo registry, where an instant there-and-then image would, if
possible, typically reveal a quivering wall of dirty dissonant guitars, pounding drums with locked up anger and deep
rumbling death-grunts echoing in fury.
The music is tough and sound mighty and muddy. That the originality is missing is tolerable. That the drums sometimes
beats the carpet by staccato manners, I can put up with. That the songs lack a bit of prominent finesse, such as memorable
melodies, is a bit more unfortunate.
Well, there's some shortage of distinctive character on Unorthodox Equilibrium, and the record doesn't
really live up to its name as such. But as a torture chamber filled with electric drilling- and cutting-tools however,
the album works extremely well as a mood-filled piece that brims of abhorrent atmospheres.
Invictus Productions, 03.08.15
I shouldn't really take time to write of so many compilations and re-releases. There's never a sufficient amount of
time available to cover everything I wish to. But what the hell, one must indulge in a little bit of individual
amusement at times.
I work on catching up, but it doesn't look good. Friday sees another 8 releases that I'm not fully prepared for. But
before I get to that, I have a few other presentations on the docket.
The trio Throaat from Brooklyn, New York is inspired by the first black wave, black/thrash and other
tough and hard forms of metal from the same era. Maybe they should have been inspired to a greater extent of the eighties
free rein to search musical challenges and uncharted terrains without restrictions, for if it's something one could and
should learn from band that broke new ground it is the ambition to aim for that exact same objective.
Throaat may do as they want, even if it means to splash around in the basin rather than exploring new
The band is young, so it's always possible that they will find new directions with time. The guys have actually managed
to record five demo/split/EP's before this one, despite only a few years in activity. The Black Speed
EP consists of four songs, plus a cover, showing some potential, at least. The guys write all right tunes and presents
them quite charmingly.
Sound and style is reminiscent of the trio format we know from the golden era. With rocking riffs and (simple) guitar solos,
space between the instruments and ditto airy production, it's not difficult to see that Motörhead og Venom
is amongst the sources of inspiration. Musically, these also some provide a gesture of musical orientation as Black
Speed can be seated somewhere in between.
After four al-right songs in a rocking proto-black landscape, they sign-off with a superfluous but nifty version of
In League With Satan. The EP is perfectly okay, and better than the EP below. Unfortunately, I can't find no stream
to share with you.
This young quintet from England has been around since 2007, but didn't manage to complete their second EP before tragedy
struck, and the band's drummer died in an accident last year. With help from another rhythmic mate,
the guys have now continue where they left off, and the result is three songs on a 14-minute EP.
The term “modern metal” is just asking for trouble. How is one to refer to such a phrase in ten-fifteen years, when it might
be reduced to only “dated metal”?
What theses lads play may be called something like “modern” melodic “thrash”.
The trick is to try to overhear the annoying and feigned, as in unnatural, vocals perched like a hoarse crow on top of the
mix, for the music itself really ain't too bad.
The songs consist of constantly changing riffs, guitar licks and rhythms with more than passable variation in the handiworks.
Even if it's built on a foundation of thrash, the cones have fallen far from the trunk this time. The instrumental work is
melodic, although the songs doesn't exactly consist of coherent melodies. A fairly technical aspect is incorporated as well.
The instrumental thus offers far from innovative, but quite all right, and at times fairly good music, with all-right sound
and a good dynamic range (DR8).
But then there's the insistent crow. When he occasionally tries to growl it sounds almost half-hearted, since the guy
lacks the deep, masculine and animalistic force required to make a real effort. It never takes long for the annoying
poultry to resume anyway. The vocals make up such a large part of the band's expression that even a grade of "medium" is granted
under strong doubt.
Blut & Eisen Productions, 30.07.15 Barshasketh is a new acquaintance for me, but they have been going since 2007 and is now back with their
third album. The first years as a one-man band, though.
This is an album that sets the right moods for these dark autumn evenings.
Is it still summer you say? The Norwegian summer is obviously cancelled this year.
Krigeist set the whole thing in motion in his native New Zealand, strongly inspired by black metals
second wave which washed out of Scandinavia as a new series of Viking raids in the early nineties. After the debut-album
Defying the Bonds of Cosmic Thralldom (2010), he moved to Scotland. There he eventually teamed up with
three like-minded lads with experience from acts such as Cnoc an Tursa, Saor and Haar. The
sequel Sitra Achra (2013) was thus released as a full band.
The quartet took the trip to Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm to record these 7 songs, simply titled
Ophidian Henosis I - Ophidian Henosis VII.
Gloomy and atmospheric tones opens in quiet fashion before all hell breaks lose. With occasionally frenetic pace in the
percussions, it's nevertheless megalomaniac doses of moods, brought on by the nightly rides of the mare, that seem to have
driven the cursed vocals to insanity. Also the sliding and sometimes virtuous guitar seems to be infected by feverish
obsession whence they produce their swirling melody-lines.
Through 47 minutes the listener is dragged through a roller coaster chased by demons with changing temperament, without
any possibility of exit. Not that one wants to departure either, for the horror filled exuberance this joy ride possesses
causes shiver all the way down the spine. Thoroughly aided by a vital bass that makes the crumbling carriage vibrate,
and its petrified passengers quiver and scream in fear. Necromorbus seems to have been a good choice in this respect, for the dark euphony lets everything shine clearly
yet tremble forcefully, and the
dynamic range matches the music's dynamics with a value averaging closer to DR8 than DR7.
It's one hell of a trip, and I think I'll jump back in the cart for another tour.
Avantgarde Music, 17.07.2015
Feel free to read the preamble for the compilation below before proceeding.
The main disadvantage of compilations is that they almost never have the overall feeling as an artistic work of art, a full
length, possesses. Thus, they often end up as dust collectors having filled their purpose of introducing you to assorted bands.
In Decay We Trust Vol.1 came out as far back as 1998, but I've actually picked it up on an irregular basis since that
time. Volume II doesn't cover the years that have passed. In fact, it's only found room for excerpts from
albums released so far this year, with one exception.
Italian Avantgarde Music hardly requires a presentation. The label has been around for over 20 years, almost
25 if we count the first few years under the name Obscure Plasma. According to my calculations, they'll release
their 250th release under the current moniker in September. Along with the sub-label Wounded Love Records they
are closing in on 300 releases (which they've passed if the Obscure Plasma releases is added).
It begins gloomy, as Movimento d'Avanguardia Ermetico presents entirely 15 minutes of thrilling, woebegone black
metal. Alien Syndrome 777 on the other side offers synth and programming in its avant-garde approach to the genre,
while The Clearing Path bestow primitive brutality and atmosphere. That's okay, but I'll rather wait until Swiss
AION before handling out new superlatives. Their nearly 8-minute long song brings dark clouds of fear and disgust,
brimming with eclectic thunderstorms. That the rain starts lashing and whipping at my window just as the song is in the midst
of an evocative valley in the latter half might of course be a coincident...
Hornwood Fell continues within black frames, mixing the traditional with melodies, oddities and discomfort, while
Solefald brings a song from the demo Jernlov (Iron Law) from 1995. In more than two minutes it's atmospheric
black metal that reigns. When they calm down and clean vocals enters I can to some extent recognize their unconventional
expression of recent years. As with Hornwood Fell, Alien... and Movimento..., Tundra's
contributions (no, not Thundra) is a sample from and upcoming album. Their approach to the genre is monotonous,
dark and insistent.
Oslo based Dystopia Nå! debuted with Syklus in 2011. An exciting, depressive, misanthropic and urban form
of raw post-black. The track from their new album, which I unfortunately haven't heard, is a natural continuation, but more
raw, with some slightly jazzy elements. I catch myself thinking about some of the first songs on Enslaved's
Mardraum without the resemblance being too vivid. Dystopia Nå! goes through several wardrobe changes within its
nine minute dystopia. Swiss Cold Cell not unexpectedly follows up the misery in an excellent way. I've barely heard
their last work, but I'm aching to hear more.
I've encountered Italian Black Flame before, and I must say the song from their new album sounds promising once again.
I imagined that this was a Swedish band, but that might say more about the music, and in a positive sense as such. Argentine
Downfall of Nur has received some attention for their début which was released in March. It's not ground breaking, but
it's still understandable. Here, the band performs 14 minutes of evocative and atmospheric black metal. I feel some Blood
of Kingu vibes, but the Argentines is presumably even closer to my preferences.
I didn't have the highest expectations for Nocturnal Depression, but they surprise me positively with their very good
melancholic black metal this time. The American one man band Ashbringer offers obscure tristesse, before Canadian
Harrow round off with over 11 minutes of calm and partly acoustic dreamy metal of the nature worshipping variety.
Bands without origin being mentioned are all Italian, by the way, showing off an energetic scene in the country.
In Decay We Trust Vol.II is a very good collection of songs from this company, which offers great diversity within black
borders. Here's something for every taste. The whole glory lasts for an hour and 51 minutes, and can be yours for digital
inheritance for modestly € 1.77 ($ 1.92). The collection is certainly worth the low price!
Les Acteurs de L'Ombre Productions, 26.07.2015
Compilations are an excellent tool for record companies to show off their roster and for you and me to discover new items
of expenditure. Another thing that is undeniable is that if the songs are selected with care, a compilation could emerge
as a cavalcade of golden grains, a parade of pearls on a string.
The worst thing is that you discover how much you miss out on. In past, presence and future.
I always hear an album a handful of times before I praise or piss on it. I will now do, not one, but
three two exceptions. I content myself with one spin before the sentencing. For this and two other
one more label sampler.
This French label's got six years in the game. They have 14 full-length albums behind them, releasing additional four
records in the middle of September. Additionally, the Sub-label Emanations has three discs and an EP on their
conscience. On this compilation album, we receive 12 songs with a total playing time of about 71 minutes.
It opens bombastic and slightly claustrophobic as Regarde Les Hommes Tomber gives a hint of approaching doomsday,
before Moonreich brings a portion of liquid chaos to the witch's cauldron. Déluge slows the pace, but
increases the throttle, besides from a short passage with frenetic pace. Maïeutiste thrives in approximately the
same speed, but the sadist also thrive on creating anguish and discomfort. Mare Cognitum sweeps forward
like a biting blizzard with a song that originates from an album released on I, Voidhanger. Sühnopfer
immediately gives some Sarke vibes, but it doesn't take long before the song changes direction... through kind
of baffling melodies, cries of pain here and Viking chants there.
Time for a paragraph to avoid placing all the text in one big pile. We are half way through, and I'll take this opportunity
to inform about ... yeah, okay, you can grab a cup of coffee in the meantime. So, where was I? Yes. Les Acteurs de l'Ombre
Production specializes in experimental black metal, and it's evident that not all artists on the label's is generic
and square metal, although naturally there's no point exaggerating such a point, as practically nothing stands out in a
bewildering sense these days. Have you fetched your coffee now? Fine. Let's continue then, shall we?
It takes a little detective work to find out that the next song is performed by the band Darkenhöld, normally
“belonging” on French Those Opposed Records, just like Sühnopfer. The song is completely straight mid
tempo black metal with good variation in a diverse midsection. Further brain-teasing reveals that Aezh Morvarc'h
is behind the next song. This one's also pulling in slightly different directions with their whimsical melody lines. With
In Cauda Venenum the pace, the pitch and the mood again falls down into a black pit. Atmospheric but not soaring.
No lofty flight over mountain peaks, imagine rather a journey through the mine passages below. Lifestream offers
monotony of gradually changing shades, as shadows in the fires perimeter, and Profundae Libidines concludes this
odyssey with primitive misery.
The label is new to me and this sampler compilation thus gives an interesting insight into their varied repertoire.
Sampler MMXV offers everything from a little too familiar BM to the delightfully grim, the eclectic
and the occasionally exciting performances.
This is downloadable for free from
Bandcamp. Where you also get the cover art (something I had forgotten) that reveals that my painstaking
detective work amounted multiple wasted seconds.
EDIT 05.08.15: Proofread today, and thus some minor changes for the better, as I didn't have time to do so before publishing
this Impression yesterday.
Hells Headbangers, 27.07.15
South America's got three different Perversors to offer up. We're going to Chile, and probably the most
prolific of these.
Expectations is a bitch. Take a good look at the cover (by clicking it). I had expected something dark, winding, intricate
and evocative, and why not in the form of a raging, hellish maelstrom. Black, death or occult metal in the style of for
example Execration, Bölzer, Hetroertzen, Antiversum or Misþyrming.
No fucking wonder then that one becomes slightly disappointed when another outburst of everyday semi-brutal scorched (as
in blackened) death/thrash once again erupts from the soil of the speakers.
At its best, the Chileans are rabid and frantic in their breathless brutality as well. Yes, they are doing a relatively good
job, with adequate variety, malicious riff bonanza and bla bla bla, but when all is said and done, that just ain't enough.
Besides the song Infinite, which sticks out positively, this is a collection of generally quite similar tunes
on very representative three and a quarter minutes on average. Most songs have staccato rhythms more reminiscent of an angry
old motorboat or a sour old music teacher who keeps beating the baton against the catheter to quiet the class, than a pissed
off drummer giving it all.
The disappointment gives me no motivation to penetrate the identical sounding porridge. When the album is finished after half
an hour, it honestly feels as if the same riffs and strokes has been repeated for exactly half an hour. And that's not fucking
far from reality either. (And yes, I've tried to decipher some quality four times without any luck).
Islander over at No Clean Singing is more enthusiastic than yours truly, and he's posted streams of
Bestial Path & Anticosmocrator. Which one of us you choose to rely on in this case is of course entirely up to yourself.
Solitude Productions, 16.07.15
I could have re-used the very same prologue as on the Impression below, but I'm not quite that lazy.
When I wrote “the similarities ends there” I might have been a bit hasty jumping to that conclusion. There are several
musical similarities, though the two bands expression differs slightly.
This is released as a compilation, but Fallen may just as easily be regarded as a re-release of the band's
début, and only album, A Tragedy's Bitter End, released in limited edition on Aftermath Music
in 2004, now including two bonus tracks.
The band was starting in 1996 and released a two track demo in 2004. I can't guarantee that the trio behind the demo also
founded the band, or if any of them tagged along afterwards. Drummer Anders Eek and guitarist
Christian Loos came both from the band Funeral, while vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist and bassist
Kjetil Ottersen joined Funeral's ranks in 2001.
Both songs from the demo was brought along to the début. The two bonus tracks originated later, originally intended as
material for an upcoming release that was put on hold after Christian's tragic suicide in 2006. Anders Eek currently remains as the sole member. His future plan is reportedly to revitalize the band
and release a sequel when he has gained new suffering souls to the constellation.
We shall once again embark on syrups-sticky musical paths where the tristesse reigns. Besides being even darker than
Funeral in aural clothing, the biggest difference is the vocals. We need to lower the choral frequency by a few
octaves. Right down to the clean vocal basement, where Kjetil sings darker than Peter Steel
(Type O Negative). Not at all times, admittedly, but more than enough to make a characteristic part of the
band's early expressions.
Whether this dark form of vocal can be defined as a baritone, I'm not going to claim in a cocksure matter, for it doesn't
hold the warm bass sound that the vocals form tends to be known for.
The light in the end of the tunnel that the vocals added to Funeral is lacking here. Even the uplifting guitar
playing that the latter used is absent. What? Didn't I mention that? Go figure.
If gloomy piano, melancholic flute or weeping violin strings can be seen as mitigating elements, they are the only encouraging
circumstances in the darkness this time.
The expression Fallen conveys, or should I say preaches, is theatrical, with a taste of monastery
and burial. It provides tracks from barely 3 to nearly 18 minutes, and the entire ceremony lasts for almost 80 minutes, of
which A Tragedy's Bitter End occupies 56.
The sound carries a moderate touch of début. The sound is certainly not bad, and it fits the dystopian landscape
well, but it varies a bit too much from song to song, and it requires some volume to “show its true face” as well. The
dynamic range is high in the two small clips To the Fallen (DR10) and The Funeral (DR11),
but that's quite normal for minimalistic instrumental tracks consisting of piano keys and fiddle strings. The real songs
cover a wide range from poor DR4 to very good DR9.
As in the case of Funeral, several of these songs could have had a stronger structure, but there's also a lot
of goodies hidden in the grooves. The album also grows over time, and patience is thus a most necessary virtue.
Fallen offers a consistent funeral march which admittedly could have provided a more solid material, but that
still makes itselves useful just as it appears. A Pretty Good release of the exceptionally down-tuned
kind, both in atmosphere, vocals and instrumentation.
Solitude Productions, 16.07.15
As mentioned in connection with the massive compilation from Solitude, early albums from Funeral
and Fallen was re-released half a months ago. And they have more in common than being re-releases on the same date,
by the same label, with material from the early years of the millennium, and the letter F. Both are in addition from Drammen, Norway,
where three members' been involved with both bands, while also moving about in the same musical territory.
However, the similarities ends there.
Disregarding a minor break, Funeral has been active since 1991. The only remaining original member is drummer Anders
Eek, who's also done percussion in Glittertind and Myrkskog. Curiously enough, he is also the only
remaining original member, in fact the only current member at all, in Fallen.
The début Tragedies was released in 1995, but it is the sequel In Fields Of Pestilent Grief
from 2001 we're going to take a closer look at this time.
Apropos curiosities, Idar Burheim, better known as Archaon of 1349 fame, is one
of two guitarists on the album. Talk about the extremes of pace, for Funeral is (as the name suggests) not
among those who's in most of a hurry to reach the finish line. Approximately 55 minutes is used on completing the album's ten
songs, and here we're also offered two demo tracks as a bonus. These got male vocals, which gives the songs a different feel.
The bands death/doom's got heavily influences of funeral doom, and with Hanne Hukkelberg (later with a
musical career outside of metal) on vocals, the album also take on a strong gothic twist. The first two albums is also the
only ones with female main vocalist.
The band appears here as a very melancholic and depressive offspring of the gothic metal scene of Stavanger, Norway. No
virtuous fiddle tones or other merry antics is to be found in this mournful adaptation. Very little light and hope, indeed.
Only sorrowful melancholy where the closest thing to light is the mellow opera-sounding female classical soprano, and its
plea for better times.
In Fields Of Pestilent Grief doesn't appear to have as strong songs as later releases. The album in its
entirety, and the songs separately, lacks a little direction and coherence. The album is pleasant enough to listen to, if
you have patience, but can hardly be characterized as more than pretty good.
Witch Ghetto Productions, 08.06.15 Disfago consists of three rebels from London that “don’t give a fuck about anyone’s scene and they care
even less for genre rules and regulations”. Sounds great, but hopefully they don't give a fuck about me not giving a fuck
about them either.
I know fuck all about the gang, but they play a form of drunk punk metal with thrash elements.
The pace varies between fairly quiet tanked staggering and intense puke bonanza.
Binged punk might be seen as a key word. If you like to jump around in mosh pits while waving your arms and spilling
your beer, this should certainly be right up your ally.
To making a mountain out of a molehill: I like compositions, not random chords played with boxing gloves on. Oh well,
it's not that awful, but I still consider Disfago a wast of time! Not that much is wasted,
the EP consists of five “songs” in 14 minutes.
Hells Headbangers, 24.07.15
My first encounter with these destructive Australians was the A Prophecy of Nihilism split which was
released almost a year ago. With two songs I didn't see it as remarkably valuable. The men's second full-length on the
other hand provides more meat on the bones in more than one way. One of these is in terms of quantity.
Where the band contributed one four-minute song on the split, they now present seven songs, totalling 33 minutes.
We also get more flesh on the knuckles in the form of greatly enhanced sound.
The track Besiged from the split is also included this time, and it clearly demonstrates a pronounced difference
sonically. The sound appear more powerful, juicy, aggressive and violent.
In retrospect, the split, where the lower frequency register is absent, seems fairly flat and boring. Listen for yourself:
Musically Opprobrium is still in the same landscape. Frantic and angry black/death with memorable
melodies and great variation in riffs and percussion. With militant precision, but without the related discipline, the
trio goes completely berserk. Like indiscriminate and disrespectful Gremlins after a spontaneous break-in to a military
armory, they fire off machine guns and toss grenades haphazardly in any direction.
The analogy may be somewhat incorrectly since the songs structure in no way have been created randomly, but as an allegory
to the men's notably destructive power it works fine. After a little more than 24 minutes of blind violence it fits superbly
with a nearly nine-minute closure that calms down the pace for a few minutes while offering more atmospheric moments. Of course
it's a deceptive trap. The trio lays in ambush and soon launches a new frontal attack after having caught their breath a bit.
Fans of annihilating destructive and fast black/death knows what they have to do.