Nuclear War Now! Productions, 31.03.16
The EP Remnant Spheres of Spiritual Equilibrium,
originaly released on cassette in January 2013, was re-released by Nuclear War Now! in December the following
year. As a blemish, but not alone, it's sorted in the section of remaining “work in progress” on my list of 2014.
The band hails from Australia and consists of a gentleman named IV, otherwise also known as
Desolate. A man with a past in Pestilential Shadows amongst other bands.
Where the EP consisted of just under 40 minutes of slow, doomy black metal, Æ.Thy.Rift consists of
just over 40 minutes with even doomier and more sluggish black metal. I choose to label it funeral black metal. Ill Omen has been around since 2006 and this is the third full length album.
The four songs, two of which nearly clocks in at 15 minutes each, wades through the marsh with a head full of ominous
chaos. Or possibly with an empty mind. Empty like an abandoned cathedral where the echo after the last ungodly ceremony
still reverberates as a lost spirit. The music has a persistent droning sacral timbre that never fades. Underneath this
fictitious dome, fever-demons rages in a sick man's mind.
The songs move in ominous ways via liquid transitions. The music is neither complex nor innovative, but its dystopian
nature, its infamous chanting and intensely powerful sound, invokes demons from Hell while the sky is falling down, the
walls are closing in and the rope tightens around the neck in a claustrophobic nightmare.
If you'd like to sleep well tonight, it may be better playing it safe, going with Leaves' Eyes, Sonata
Arctica, Edguy or anything else that does not hypnotise you into thinking dreadful thoughts, seeing
horrific visions or hearing terrifying sounds.
With that said; there's other albums having the same effect too, of course. Æ.Thy.Rift isn't an album
that stands out or impresses profusely, but it delivers what it promises, it does so effectively, and I like it. I guess
that's what I expect and demand to rate an album as good.
Moribund Records, 26.02.16
American Morbus 666 brings grief-stricken black metal without visions of innovation, yet also without a
If you'll settle for primitive discouragement and a demotivating view on a rotten existence in a society that
slowly accelerates towards an inevitable downfall, than Ignis Divine Imperium might as well
serve as your soundtrack.
The band's second blasphemous full release is like poisonous spores of ergot. Besides from the “handy” side effect
of providing you with gangrene, which literally can cause the body to rot, the infection has a decomposing effect on
the mind. The listener, through the psychosis, is robbed of all light and hope, and ripped through the sewage of reality,
a reality most sheep in denial try to embellish with lavish façades.
The Texans ain't the uppermost proficient. Nor do they write the very best songs. They don't bring the most exciting
ingredients to the table, and they care very little about originality. Morbus 666 brings cold and lifeless,
satanic, unhappy and uncomfortable black metal. Raw, primitive, naked and honest. No more. No less.
There's a deviant within us all, and Morbus 666 just tries to convey their views on the heinous truth.
Sure, there are many albums I like even more, but I enjoy Ignis Divine Empire, and its cold authentic
disgust. The album ain't mandatory, however, unless you've swallowed, nodded and totally agreed with the misanthropic
description. In which case, it just might be.
If you're still uncertain, hear
Fiery Abyss and A Gateway Beyond The Funeral Shroud:
Osmose Productions, 25.03.16
French Phazm was created in 2003 with the goal of designing black/death with a rock'n'roll feeling.
This is my second meeting with the band, and the first since the debut. The band has released two albums in the meantime.
The debut, Hate at First Seed (2004), did consist of some obvious inspirations from blues-based
rock, which gave a certain uniqueness, but those ingredients seem to have silenced over the years.
A blood soaked video was made for the song Loneliness of the debut, but that one didn't testify to said roots.
Although the band has evolved a lot since its inception, they have still remains a quaint feel we don't find too often
The music Phazm offers today float and drift as an unmoored Viking ship between melodic midtempo black
and death, a bit like Bloodthorn's penultimate album, with assorted suitably detours as potent spices, including
hints of Ásatrú as well as a (far too) short passage with nyckelharpa and an entry of female vocals in
Scornful of Icons. The music has an airy feel with room for clear melodies, while preserving brutality
The opener Ginnungagap, is somewhat reminiscent of Vikings such as Fortíð, Ereb Altor
and Moonsorrow, while thrust and force makes Amon Amarth a more apposite comparison. The vocals that
concludes the song consists of two layers, the deepest is so low in the frequency spectrum that it almost gets a touch
of throat singing. The remaining material continues along the same deadly path, where the harsh smell of gigantic trolls,
drunk on high-octane dominate, whilst Viking moods give way for other concoctions.
The band doesn't just have good variation within each songs, they also alternate so much on riffs, rhythms, vocal style,
melodies, speed and techniques that the album feels very diverse. Over a steadfast foundation of solid concrete, all the
details in the various cracks, pattern, colour shades and pores creates clear musical structures with depth.
The songs are as mentioned often placed in the medium to upper mid-tempo register, with a nice balance between pace and
heaviness, and they generally have good dynamic structure with room for variation and solos. With angry vocals, heavy-handed
drumming and fierce guitars with rowdy distortion, the Frenchmen reel off eight songs with satanic temper. Not eerie, but
with a diabolical grin.
Even the sound is in tune with the musical fists and playful touches on Scornful of Icons. The production
is spacious and clear, with attention to detail, whilst simultaneously favouring a juicy, vibrant, manly and warlike character.
It sounds great, and the dynamics of DR8 makes it more pleasing to enjoy the album.
Finally, let me mention that this is an album with many subtle refinements and nuanced details that not only requires a
little time, but that gives something back by growing to a very strong album. The only thing that annoys me a bit is the
otherwise superb cover art, where the child's hands ought to have the thumbs facing outwards when the palms are facing up.
And you know it has to be good when that's my only complaint.
Heathen Tribes Records, 20.01.16
The quartet from Norway's Stavanger area don't make any compromises when they bring pedal to the death metal.
After fermenting, brewing and yeasting since 2002, the band is now ready to spread its epidemic pest.
That is, the album was released digitally and independently last year, before being launched on glassy polycarbonate.
With song titles like Dead Girls Don`t Say No and Calm Down Lets Not Turn This Rape
Into A Murder there's not much doubt these vile Norwegians keeps healthy death metal traditions alive.
Being traditional still has a flip side. It's almost 30 years since death metal detonated, and it can be a cumbersome
balance between the traditional and the generic. Shotgun Surgery still has enough quality to offer to
land on their feet on this debut.
Deathfare offers an aggressive assault with solid punch, presented with a rich and nice wall of sound.
It's the American style the band is most related to. The recipe is thunderous riffing, animalistic grunting, bass with
fairly loose strings that surface no more often than a whale, and a drummer who doesn't just hammer as a nail gun, but
rather puts down vital groove and variety. Their death metal can be said to be in line with acts such as for instance
Deicide and Dutch Sinister.
Speaking of vocals; Mikael Stokdal, which handles the microphone, seems to have done the same on
Myriads' debut, which made an original twist on the local gothic metal of the '90s by adding black vocals. It should
also be mentioned that Attila Csihar has laid down some disturbing vocals on the track Fistful Of Fuck.
Hover mouse over image.
The Norwegians offers descent diversity within each of the 11 tracks. The songs are good, although they don't stand out
much in the bigger picture. When these slaughter-tunes are accompanied by juicy sound, Deathfare ain't
far behind their more renown congeners. Some guitar acrobatics may be tracked, but there is surprisingly little shrieking
shreds to be found in terms of genre. Shotgun Surgery is a solid album that still offers rather few surprises. The atmospheric, but oh so short
guitar part just before the three-minute mark in 10,000 Nightmares could have been drawn out for an eternity
on my part.
Powerfully, vulgar, brutal and tough, yet very little original. A juicy debut that smell of corpses in the closet and
robust potential. I still won't mind a bit more signature next time around, thank you.
Invictus Productions, 28.03.16
You might be familiar with the Bergen, Norway based band Deathcult. As it turns out, there's at least
five other bands utilizing the moniker. Dwelling amongst them are Swiss Deathcult, which we'll debate
tonight, and specifically this CD re-release of their 2012 demo cassette.
If you are fortunate enough to be familiar with Cult of the Dragon, the 2007 debut by said Norwegian act, then
you know that it consists of necro-rowdy black metal.
It turns out that this Swiss dirt-rowdy death metal can be found in similar landscapes, much like a death metal equivalent.
If that's a useless reference we can always try a few others who have spread their furore a bit more in the underground,
and we use the same two countries. The thrashers in Deathhammer has a more punkish and chaotic style, whilst
the black death mongers of Bölzer lead a more controlled form of vile darkness. Somewhere in between,
Deathcult sits whiles giving you the finger.
Deathcult exhibited a hellish drive on their first release, which consisted of four songs. A short bonus
is now added, pushing the duration to almost exactly 25 minutes. After an intro simply called Intro,
which is actually a propelling headbanger-friendly song and not just a collection of sounds, it's time for the title track.
When this slams into action I get some vibes of very early Sespultura, although the resemblance ain't at all
dominating. This is death metal of the sepulchral type, and a vital such. The band conveys reckless moods of equal parts
misanthropic indifference and hateful disgust. Deus Bonus Est isn't the name of the bonus track, but the title of a nearly 11 minute long raw and
occasionally hypnotic nightmare. The bonus track is otherwise both shorter and less interesting than the intro.
In 2014 Deathcult released the EP Pleading for Death... Choking on Life, and the guys
are now working on material for their first album. After the EP, guitarist and vocalist O. Ketzer
left to focus on Bölzer.
I'm droolingly anticipating the debut, and in the mean time, I enjoy Demo '12.
Moribund Records, 18.03.16
I've followed Wyrd loose and peripherally over the years. The band don't play spectacular metal, but I
consider them a stable supplier of fairly pleasant music.
The band plays atmospheric forest metal or doomy pagan if you will, with soaring yet earthy moods.
The sextet is out with their ninth full-length album. I've heard three of them, as well as a split.
It's possible that the band's nature-embossed metal with acoustic drips of Empyrium was more original at the time
when Hellkult was renamed Wyrd back in 1998. Originality within the genre may have fallen, but
the band has been improved over the years and now mixes several ingredients that helps preserving a distinctive identity.
On Death Of The Sun I find a little bit stronger melodies than what I seem to remember from my sporadic
meetings with the Finns. The biggest surprise, however, is the clean vocals used on Man of Silent Waters,
The Sleepless and the Dead, Inside og Rust Feathers. The voice actually
has a little hint of ageing, rusty and a bit hoarse Bruce Dickinson (not too unlike the way he's been sounding
after the millennium shift, in other words).
None of the previous albums that rests on the shelf has been worn out. I don't have such a great love for the alloy of
pagan metal and semi-acoustic folk. I still have a fascination and respect for the primordial instinctual nature approach
Whether or not the album should be packed and brought along on your next trip to the mountains remains uncertain. The
band mixes elements of doom, heavy, black and pagan to a slightly schizophrenic hybrid. They admittedly catches some of
the night forest's soul, but the music is no pure natural product in that respect, and it's hardly suitable for a family
camping environment. Ergo I do not really know who I should recommend this to.
The music can be fairly great, especially when Wyrd offers good melodies as in Man of Silent
Waters, but not everything on the album emerges as strong. Most of the songs hold good melodic segments, and
even a few exciting sequences. The Sleepless and the Dead opens with stylish riffing and contains
tastefully accordion, while the two songs with Pale in the title brings some good folk-melodies, to give a
few examples. The last of these even with moods of medieval balls and banquets.
Nevertheless, I also find plenty of more primitive and anonymous sequences on this relatively long album.
I've got this impression that Wyrd seemingly always serves value for money. It turns out, however, that
several of the discs I have not heard is about 40 minutes long. Death Of The Sun provides over
50 minutes by the bone fire, or wherever the album is best enjoyed.
Some things very good, some parts less interesting, and a bit schizophrenic. In sum, fairly good. The most elaborate melody
can be found in
Man of Silent Waters. Check the opening and title track Death of the Sun as well:
Nuclear War Now! Prod.&Battlesk'rs Prod., 18.03.16
At first brief listen, French Darvulia can seem like a very dissonant and atonal orchestra. They are.
Thus they radiate a rather repugnant expression that could easily scare away quite a few. Good riddance. Way to rid of
outsiders in a flash.
Specialists in French disgust will quickly point out that I'm six years late on this one. Mysticism Macabre
was originally released on CD by Battlesk'rs Productions in 2010, but is now being relaunched on vinyl in
collaboration with Nuclear War Now! Productions.
The name Darvulia is probably derived from the mysterious and little-known woman Anna Darvulia, who
apparently was in cahoots with Elizabeth Báthory, and is even referred to as a witch. This infamous woman allegedly
influenced Elizabeth's bestial acts to expand in scope.
A good name in this respect for a band that takes the most bizarre and grotesque French delirium in a further perverted
and obscure direction. Dissonant melodies and a primitive raw sound creates unpleasant claustrophobic moods. The musics
partly repetitive mark creates a dystopian landscape where gnawing anxiety constantly threatens to remove the last straw
of grip on reality.
Kobal, who handles everything except the drums, has a vocal that already seems to have given up hope of
any spiritual connection to the material world. The whole world has collapsed like a corrupted, undermined house of cards,
and the sharp and frantic vocals testify to a stale mind ravaged by decay and disgust.
The sound is mercilessly unvarnished, sharp and primitive. As made for their ghastly sonic expression.
If this sounds appealing in some macabre way, it probably is. If not, stay away!
Non Serviam Records, 25.03.16
Swedish Rimfrost has been around since 2002 and has recently released their third opus. I've encountered
them before, but too brief to remember much.
Their self-titled album quickly brings vibes of Immortal, which are only enhanced when vocalist Hravn
soon enters with his rasping voice.
Besides from obvious similarities with said Norwegians, the Swedes have a melodic touch that to a certain degree can
also bring associations to for example Einherjer.
Hravn started the band along with drummer Throllv. The welded duo has, due to various
unfortunate reasons, had some turnover of bassists. Partly because the band relocated from Hagfors to Borås. Their new
man on thick strings simply calls himself B.C..
If you have a penchant for Battles in the North and At the Heart of Winter, Rimfrost
is a very nice substitute when you need new songs to revel in. The band don't just offer identity theft, though. The
style and vocals are in the same lane, but one can still not accuse the band of plagiarism. There are far more
Darkthrone-clones out there. Rimfrost even has a well-developed flair for melodies them selves,
and they presents eight self composed songs of high quality.
Towards the end of the opening track As the Silver Curtain Closes, LOTR-moods are manifested, but
besides from this, epic depictions are left to Summoning. Rimfrost could nevertheless served
as the soundtrack for crossing hazardous mountain passes and hunting orcs in ancient Dwarf mines.
One can feel the raven's flight over icy tundra in the quiet sections, and the violent strength of an avalanche when
the drums beats at full strength and vocals shake the landscape like an earthquake.
If ye have little faith in Demonaz and Horgh having what it takes to deliver the goods without
Abbath, this album is a very good candidate as credible replacement. Or surrogate. And if Immortal
should come to convinces us with their new epos, which reportedly will be recorded this year, there's no harm in eating
the cake whilst still preserving it.
Blood Harvest, 28.03.16
I've heard quite a lot of new music in recent days, but I haven't had the chance to write a whole lot.
At the moment it's a few hours past midnight, and I intend to prioritize beer, spirits and old classics.
Nevertheless, I've reviewed this album, that'll be released today on 12 "vinyl via Blood Harvest, earlier.
Long live laziness.
Recycling of Impression: Ectovoid - Dark Abstraction.
Napalm Records, 25.03.16
We stick to roughly the same genre defying crossover-recipe that Kuoleman Galleria posed, in the sense
that even the New Jersey based band Hammer Fight balances on the border between rock and extreme metal,
with the whiskey bottle in one hand, the beer bottle in the other and the guitar around the neck.
The band's second full length album consists of 12 songs and three quarters with high octane and high blood alcohol.
It is a far more vital hybrid we come across here. The men pick rhythms, riff- and vocal-style from rock'n'roll, thrash,
punk, heavy metal and hardcore, mixing it all up as the most natural thing in the world.
There's a lot to take pleasure in on Profound and Profane, but also ingredients I personally could
have done without. Good Times in the Dark Ages has a hint of Iron Maiden's Purgatory,
the acoustic guitars of Low & Broken has the characteristics of modern Southern rock and the calm
half of Guns n 'Roses' Lies, while The Ultimate Sacrifice makes an approach toward
Clawfinger/Rage Against the Machine.
The album has plenty of def riffing and juicy guitar work, such as the lovely trills in Private Stock,
but the hardcore/rapcore vibes that often comes forth in rhythm and vocals in particular ruin the fun a bit for me. I
never could stand the sound of such.
If I ignore that part of the music, the guys deliver bitchin' drift, punch and enthusiasm in their lively pot pourri.
None of the songs however have the last icing on the cake, that little extra to make the songs stick to the mind
permanently. Did I say none? Well, there is one. The instrumental The Crate contains lovely
guitar works all across the board. Even without the least sign of plagiarism, this could have slipped right into
Master of Puppets. A perfectly delightful song that unfortunately sits on its throne in majestic solitude.
The album as a whole is no classic, but it's probably a decent disc to put on when the party starts getting festive.
Inverse Records, 25.03.16
The debutants of Kuoleman Galleria are branded as some kind of “groovy black'n'roll” by the press
release, and I'm buying that.
Imagine Ajattara playing cover songs of some lesser-known Finnish rock bands from the '60s to the '90s in
a loose, playful and rocking but laid-back form in some informal setting. Then you might be on to something.
The barely 60 second long intro, adequately titled Perkele!, impose a blissful satanic grin on the
face of yours truly, as we're being served some juicy Finnish profanity.
After this, the music opens with quite good punch in Kärsimys Kunniaan, which at first makes me think
of a melodic and rocking offspring of death metal. But the thrust from the melodic death'n'roll opening don't persists.
The vocals are fierce, powerful, rabid and fucking tough all the way, but the ten ordinary songs, clocking in at four
minutes on average, eventually proves to be a little boring over time.
The band varies approach a bit from song to song, but each song is basically as a four-minute demonstration of fairly
repetitive songs. Elämän irvikuva starts in a little Nirvana-sounding fashion, but otherwise,
variation from song to song ain't too spectacular either.
This style of music, which I to be honest fail to take entirely seriously, requires strong songs with good
melodies and reinforced steel hooks to prevail and that's where I feel that Kuoleman Galleria fail
to pull through with Kärsimys Kunniaan. A song or two is fine, but then it's sort of enough for me.
In concluding Haittavaikutus the band shows some interesting moods, but by than, I've pretty much
buckled under, unfortunately. Even this one becomes too monotonic, I'm afraid. The digital version also includes a
cover of Barathrum, without it making any difference.
I like the forcefulness the guys conveys, and I've got a soft spot for the vocals. Their stylistic path might
work, but if so, the guys have to work much more with the material. At least if they're to make this grumpy old
motherfucker to change his mind.
Iron Bonehead Productions, 25.03.16
Scottish Ifrinn, launched in 2014, is yet a new name to take note of. The band seeks to combine the
primitive and cold with the esoteric sounds of the spiritual other side.
The name Ifrinn simply means Hell on the now little-used Celtic language Scottish Gaelic.
They use the tag “Caledonian Black Magick” for their Luciferian works, where Caledonia is the Latin name of which the
Romans referred to Scotland.
Attention to artists is, also according to the band, an unnecessary distraction that will only undermine the focus that
should be solely on music. The Scotsmen (Scotsman? - There's only one man in the enclosed band-photo) sounds professional,
but impressive newcomers keeps popping up rather frequently.
As a black metallic medium, the music takes the listener down the hidden back stairs in the subconscious, to the maze of
the occult realm.
The band blends different forms of black metal, dissimilar styles of riffing and variable rhythmic approaches, constantly
focusing on frosty and bitter landscapes. Catacomb walls are dripping with slime, or perhaps blood and organic gruel or
slurry. The dim light leaves the cruel truth to the fantasy. As a hybrid of Mgła's stark and unadorned harsh
brutality with Misþyrming's infernal and demoniacal maelstrom, allowing the listener to see the kingdom of night,
death and the antagonists from their perspective.
O Ifrinn, you sepulchral, labyrinthine, spiritual underworld of icy downward-spiralling anti-theistic
worship, yet red hot kaleidoscopic vortex of lava and cryptical black magic. Bring us your Celtic occultism, and you will
be met with open ears amidst the vile voracious hordes, always thirsty for blood and spiritual nourishment.
I've booked a guided group tour to the underworld, and you are invited.
The cover art is by the way an edited version of Bridge over Chaos (approx. 1826) by British painter John Martin.
PS: The disc, a 12" MLP, is slightly delayed from the pressing plant, thus the release date will be slightly postponed.
Immensity admittedly plays doom/death, but the probability is still rather slim.
If you saw that one coming, you should definitively buy yourself a lottery ticket today.
Immensity has only got one demo behind them, carrying the artistic name The Lonely Aquarelle.
They just as well added the two songs from it to the five new songs on The Isolation Splendour. Thus,
you get their whole discography served here. When the majority of the songs are about ten minutes long, this makes for a
long duration affair, and perhaps a protracted one too. 67 minutes of mournful music that flows slowly as a river of thick
honey can be a test of patience if you (meaning I) focus on the over ten promos that should have been reviewed
during the week. It's a good thing, than, that this is quiet and pleasant music that soothes frayed nerves.
Taking ones time is the only sensible option when new music is to be digested anyway.
Immensity's form of death/doom is of the rather benign kind. Their metal is generally not very hard, although
it's a bit heavy. The music is more atmospheric and dreamy, with a gentle touch of gothic moods, than rumbling and ominous.
Where some exhibits gloom full of indignation and underlying thoughts of revenge, the Greek sextet are closer to innocent
sorrow and despair. Need references? Consider Draconian, The 11th Hour, Daylight Dies and
Hamferð as a few fairly similar and rather random examples.
The two songs from the demo does also remind me a little bit of the first song of The Foreshadowing's Days
of Nothing and My Dying Bride's 34.788% ... Complete in occasional riffs and lines of melody.
This is generally a genre that rests quite heavily on melodies, especially when the music is in the quietest end of the
death/doom scale. Immensity offers neat and comfortable tunes and melodies, but after close to seven
hours in the company of The Isolation Splendour, I miss melodies with hooks that really probe
the frontal lobe and connect to the cerebral cortex.
The song material might not be top notch, but this is still a solid piece of nice music, and time well spent.
The Isolation Splendour is available digitally for an optional price on
Bandcamp via Solitude Productions' official North American distributor
Hypnotic Dirge Records, which this album is also released in collaboration with.
Heathen Tribes Records, 23.01.16
Last year the Swedish quartet changed their name from Jormungand to more modern and international, but
less distinctive Voodus. I have no idea about the intention behind this transformation, and I won't offer
any naive speculations.
The band, which has been active with an apparently stable lineup for 12 years, has in any case altered their expression
slightly by weeding out most of the death from their previous black/death metal.
NightQueen was originally released on cassette via Jawbreaker Records on October 31st yesteryear,
but was released anew in January of Heathen Tribes, a rather new label whose Greek founders reside in Germany.
The Swedes offers three long and elaborate songs, as well as two shorter tracks.
The longest songs ranges from 8 to 11 minutes. These have plenty of variety within each song, and a hellish expression,
more on the mental plane than on the musical. The music is airy and not very extreme or intense, but the moods are evil
and ominous, while retaining a protoScandinavian proud and erect attitude that shines through.
The music is partly melodic, but in an eerie and sinister form. This tastes of both Dissection and Norwegian
moods, while a hint of French/Icelandic maelstrom is colouring the sound. The latter albeit limited to parts of their
And the vocals? You could fillet fucking flatfish with it, for it's as sharp as a razor.
Ciller as a cruel and coarse clown with a chainsaw on a carnage! Oh wait, Killer is written with a K, damn it.
Then there's the shorter segments. The Burning Light Of Daath is a cool little bully in well under 5
minutes, but it just doesn't fit in. The rhythm guitar drowns. In its place we find a prominent bass. The audio has more
cotton than the other songs, and 20 seconds of silence at the end is scarcely necessary. And last but not least, this
lies significantly closer to death metal than the other material. I see now that this wasn't part of the cassette release.
3 minutes long Metamorfos puts up the Viking sail and plough the waves with salty foam around the dragon
head on the prow. A short but nifty thing.
The Swedes shows their muscles, albeit with a somewhat unfinished demo mark over their works. Nevertheless, the song material
is mainly pretty damn slaying and well executed. Despite some debris, one helluva tough EP that testify to a damn promising
future under a new moniker. I hope Voodus gets tons of attention and positive feedback on their negativity,
and that they go off to create new material for an upcoming perfected fullength asap.
Bandcamp you can also check out Jormundgand's one full length album.
22.03.16: An Impression of German Festung Nebelburg's newest creation, Zwischen den
Jahren added to the necrology.
I Hate Records, 18.03.16
It has taken the Greek band just over ten years to get the debut out. Greece is not widely known for pure doom, but that's
the style these guys, with Father Alex at the helm, has taken a fancy to.
Bassist and vocalist Alex is the only remaining original member of what is now a quartet.
The music is probably archetypical doom. Doom by fans and for fans, as the band says.
I must state that I'm not, nor have I ever been a fan of classic Doom. Still, I've heard this a few times and for me it
would just be a waste of expensive time if I weren't to pass on my impression. Only hassle is I'm lousy at describing doom.
The music is in the lower part of the mid-tempo spectrum, it's melodic, and the moods are melancholic. I think that description
should be general enough to fit at least 90% of all doom albums on the market.
The 54 minute long debut contains 7 songs from 5 to 12 minutes. My generic description sure fits like a spirit in a bottle
here, too. The music is not particularly thrilling in my ears, but it does have a genuine touch of sadness, and quite pretty
melodies. The album was recorded live in an abandoned music hall, and the sound is comfortable. Not too heavy, not too light.
Deep resonating bass. Spacious dynamics.
This is not something that turns me on, and the vocals could have been deeper, but as I've said; Doom ain't my thing. Forevermourn is an album that doom fans should check out and judge themselves. I'm just the messenger.
Test Your Metal Records, 18.03.16
American Rapheumetas Well merges melodic extreme metal, symphonic music and conceptual
science fiction stories with an enthusiasm Arjen Lucassen probably would approve of.
The band's first album, Dimensions (2014), was the start of an adventure that continues
on The Exile.
I don't have access to the lyrics, but the concept seems intricate. The story takes place on alien planets, where
inter-dimensional travel is a possibility, and for our main character, a necessity. Dramatic events, conflicts,
war for resources and a political turbulent climate namely forces our antagonist Darmak in exile.
As with the Ayreon universe, it's possible to feel the drama behind the music solely by listening to the moods
conveyed. In addition to extreme metal and the symphonic spectre, the music takes use of dramatic melodic means, female
operatic vocals, choirs and synth effects to build a credible backdrop as frame around its theatrical staging.
The band conveys their epic in a professional manner. The only thing I find to nitpick slightly at is the male extreme
vocals, which is of a type that feels a little bit out of place at times. Soundwise in particular. The music resonates
as in a mighty cathedral, while the more flat vocals is more like a badger in a shoebox. I'm exaggerating a bit to make
a point, but it is a little bit too dry here and there. This does however not ruin the overall impression, but it should
still be mentioned. There's also a genuine risk that the most barbarous extreme metal mongers will find this too
pompous, but aside from them, those of you with more flexible taste should be able to enjoy the album to its fullest.
It takes a few spins to become familiar with this universe, and I'm probably not quite there yet myself. I can
at least confirm that the music grows. With The Exile on my ears, I quickly feel the hypnotic suggestion
embracing me and dragging me along on a thrilling adventure in space and time.
For a quick insight, feel free to watch the promotional video for The Exile.
The entire album can be heard below, but if you want some visual effects, please see the following on YouTube.
The first one is a lyric video.
The German death squadron Dead Eyed Sleeper was conceived in 1994, but then under the name Legacy.
After two albums, amongst others, the quintet changed their name in 2007.
The line-up, including three members with ties to Ahab, has otherwise been stable for over ten years,
and this is their third album under the new moniker.
The band offers death metal with somewhat progressive rhythms, but expect no light-footed ballerina dance on rose leaves
for that reason. Vocalist Sam Anetzberger (Fragments of unbecoming) sounds like a medium-sized
ogre on the warpath, and the music shows no willingness to turn the other cheek.
Through the first rounds, this brutal beast of a bulldozer seems to drive on without yielding. People run to safety while
houses breaks like matchsticks.
Eventually, a creeping feeling comes along, saying that it might not be all that exciting to witness splintered planks fly around
for half an hour after all. Yet there is something inside the tornado dust that ain't all easy to put the finger on.
The band has a fine variety of riffs, and mixes in techniques and rhythms from “outside”. Some djent here, a little groove
metal there. Without direct comparison, one can pick up tiny vibes and hints from various sources, such as Nader
Sadek, Meshuggah and Cattle Decapitation. This playful genre hybrid makes itself heard most evidently
in the song Grodek, while Der Krieg I remains mostly classic death metal. The song
Erinnerung also stands out with slow riffs and rhythms and bitter melancholy.
Whether it all makes for an interesting combination or a rather schizophrenic coexistence, each must decide for them selves.
I, for one, like Gomorrha., and especially the latter song. I can't call this release absolutely mandatory,
With five songs and 28.5 minutes, this could have passed as an EP, but it's released as an album. As always, you find the
digital release by clicking the Bandcamp logo on the player, while a 12-page digipak is available via the blue link at the top.
See a studio clip of
Menschheit, and watch the deadly serious teaser from their stay in the studio.
Season of Mist, 18.03.16
Canadian Necronomicon “rejects” typical Québécois behaviour, but the band can actually celebrate their
30th birthday in just a few years, and veterans, as we all known, not only rises above unwritten conventions, they were
there long before that kind of expression manifested itself and was permanently established.
With their fifth album, the trio advance on the same (devil's) path as with the predecessor
Rise of the Elder Ones (2013).
The press release draw parallels to amongst other Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir. Advent of the Human
God has much of the same majestic characteristics as its predecessor, while I feel that the Canadians has shifted
focus a bit from the former to the latter of these bands. The title song could have slipped straight into one of the four
last Dimmu albums.
A small part of me points out, or rather claims, that the market is starting to become overexposed to this specific
recipe of symphonic black/death, but I'm not willing to listen to such nonsense. We are drowning in lots of things these
days, but qualitative orchestral extreme metal ain't one of them.
The material on Advent of the Human God is just so majestically pompous, well-composed and grandiose as
fans of the genre probably wants it. Necronomicon write good songs that weave an epic and proud metallic
bombardment seamlessly with sacral choir, doomsday trumpets and vengeful violins, to a towering diabolical expression that
proudly rises as Lucifer from the abyss on the day of redemption, retribution, revenge and retaliation.
Euphonious, satanic, symphonic and exalted again from experienced Canadians. Let the mighty tones resound while the fallen
leading star rises and takes his rightful place as liberal guidance for the wolf in man.
Meanwhile, Yahweh's bastard son is nailed firmly in place to be tormented to death as the charlatan he undoubtedly was for
the very last time, before he is devoured by oblivion (and legions of demons).
If nothing else, at least these carefully chosen words are symptomatic of the moods I fall into when Necronomicon
brings stand tall antagonistic atmosphere and attitude.
War Arts Productions, 18.03.16
I was uncertain as to whether or not to check this out at all. The sound doesn't reflect typical bedrooms, where young
one-boy bands tweak things on their PCs until it sounds presentable. This sounds more like one-take rehearsal room recordings.
I've been involved in such sessions myself, recording stuff on walkman and cassette players, even with headsets used as microphone.
The fact is that the first of these recordings, made as early as in 1992, sounded better than most black metal demos
released around the same time. ...o mundo morreu!, however, is approximately on the same level as my
own first modest experimental musical endeavours was.
Something in the music triggered my curiosity, so I downloaded the promo and enqueued it. Still sceptical, though.
Meanwhile, I read a positive review in a Norwegian magazine that worked as a pep talk, providing me with much needed
motivation to get going with this hubbub of a disk.
If your acquaintances raises their eyebrows and shakes their head at the music you usually play, you risk a visit to the
business psychologist if your co-workers catches you listening to Morte Incandescente's new album.
This Portuguese duo is not out to sow hope or seek renewal. With their fourth release, they acquired an expression in which
they pursue the primitive roots of the most unholy and hateful genre. Not literally in a musical sense, mark you, but rather
as an approach to black metal's spiritual roots, where hatred and disgust reigns. They do this without copying neither
prototype, with Venom in front or the next wave, led by Mayhem. I do however find stronger vibes of the
French scene. It smells a little charmingly depraved, as of Peste Noire. Unfortunately this material ain't even
close to that level. Sonically this is miles better than LLN, just to have compared with another French phenomenon, but
that doesn't really take much to accomplice.
The Portuguese began their career with rather cheap Darkthrone worship on their 2003 debut ...Your
Funeral. Since then, they've releases an a couple of albums and a good handful of splits etc. Sure, Morte
Incandescente conveys an essence of obscure and cold misanthropic contempt for accepted norms and such. But why
the hell should I care? I have numerous shelf meters with CDs that convey similar feelings tens of times better. Who's got
time to waste on mediocre shit?
I've only heard this four times. Something that is too much. I am of course aware that music grows with each number
of spins, with the music slowly penetrating the skin and details being revealed. Just what the hell do you take me for?
But if something still sounds like shait after four spins, then it is shait! Fair enough, I've heard worse than
...o mundo morreu!, but it's nevertheless poor.
To idolize everything that is rotten and vile just because it is corrupt and evil, testify to lack of perception and
perspective, just as this duo shows a lack of self-criticism by presenting nearly 50 minutes of dull, yawn-inducing black
metal with lacklustre quality.
If you're 20 years old and have just discovered black metal, this may perhaps impress you. If, however, you've been submerged
in the cesspool for that many years or more, I find it beyond my comprehension if you should react with much less arrogance.
Provocatively indignant greeting from your unpropitious uncle Gorger.
See the meaningless video for Distúrbio absoluto, and listen to Nas esquinas da alma, while I go grab an Aspirin
and an overdose of antidepressants.
Remedy Records, 18.03.16
When the music's blaring out of the speakers and vocalist Andreas Babushkin comes in, there is one
question that arises; Power/thrash, is that a thing as well?
But I'm ahead of the storyline here. Lets first look at the facts.
German Paragon was started about 26 years ago and now releases their eleventh album. The band played
on the main stage at Wacken nearly 12 years ago, so these are no newcomers to the game.
When after a few spins I consult the Encyclopaedia Metallum, I get my impressions confirmed. Someone has defined
Paragon as power/speed metal, apparently with no large-scale protests. Maybe not strange than, that
I haven't lent them my ear before, given that power metal has never been my favourite brand. The music quite correctly
moves as a bullet train on the track midway between power and speed/thrash. Imagine, if you will, a rather uplifting
Overkill at its very cheeriest, or likewise, rapid and fairly aggressive power metal.
The music in itself is quite cool.
Profusion of melody, energy and hefty dual guitars drag my mind many, many years back.
The biggest challenge, as you may already have guessed, is the vocals. Andreas is definitely not the
worst singer, though. He doesn't have the balls stuck in a vise, although he at times takes a trip up treble-pitch lane.
He's actually got some punch and a becoming, not excessive vibrato. At his best it actually reeks slightly of Udo
of the vocal performances, and I can live just fine with that.
After years of an almost resigned relation to newer classic 80s styled metal, Hell Beyond Hell brings
a joyful nostalgic revisit. The veterans use a traditional recipe, but offers relatively good songs with lively vitality.
Nothing spectacular, but welcome indeed, although they could've benefited from leaving the most power metallic habits
behind on my part.
Genre fans will hardly come to dislike the album, but whether it offers anything new is a different matter.
I like the band best when they floor the pedal a bit, but the title track Hell Beyond Hell keeps the pace bottled up.
Eisenwald Tonschmiede, 18.03.16
The name clearly tells us that it's French metal we're dealing with, which the anguished black vocals soon leaves
little doubt to as well. Cantique Lépreux still don't come from France but from French-Canada, namely
With gloomy, cold and black metal, they shows an affiliation to the scene, but they can't be compared to the elite.
The trio performs grim and cold black metal with grieving melancholy, or vice versa, without these three troubled souls
having what it takes to move me much with their misery.
After a rather lamentable intro, things rapidly changes for the better, but my scepticism don't let go easily. The drums
are fast paced, the guitars mournful and dreamy and the vocals full of bitterness and resentment. The expression is a bit
rawer than post-black, but still borrows pretty much from it. The music has underlying gloomy melodies, but the melody
lines are somewhat mediocre, and the band drives pretty safe and straight forward without either variation nor hooks to
talk about. These Canadians falls quite far from the kind of Québécois black metal Sorcier des Glaces et al. performs.
I basically enjoys this expression too, but during the three first proper song, it's generally too monotonous. During
the second half of Cendres Célestes, things finally start to settle a little bit more. In particular
when the monotony starts loosing its grip slightly due to the nifty start of Tourments des limbes glacials.
When the following Transis also starts a bit different, and surprises with a long and delicious guitar
sequence, the moods finally seep through, and I can enjoy the final song Le mangeur d'os, but than the
albums is completed
I've tried again and again, with the same result. The album is alright to listen to, with fairly nice melodies and sore
moods, but does not possess enough excitement or originality for a direct recommendation. It has at least grown
from below-average to slightly above. The band has only two years behind them, and this is their debut, so I guess it's
allowed to hope for progress until next time. On the other hand, all the members are fairly experienced from other bands,
which should justify my high expectations and requirements.
Indie Recordings, 18.03.16 Vredehammer (or Wrath Hammer) in many ways continues where Purgatory left off, a few notches
below, but with Violator the Norwegians don't have any significant difficulty filling the shoes left
behind after that massacre. The only problem is that I am about to run out of handy clichés. Stone from the Oslo-area and Swedish Felix, both with experience from the Bergen based
band Canvas Black has taken over bass and drums in Vredehammer, led by former Elite
soldier Per Valla, located in Mo i Rana in the northern part of Norway.
Talk about geographic entanglements.
With Violator, Vredehammer has taken a solid step into the Dead Marshes. I was fond
of Vinteroffer (2014), which I gave 4/6 points in a Norwegian review back than, but this time the band
shows one hell of an attitude. That album had its share of deadlines amongst its black riffs, but I guess I never gave
the aspect proper contemplation. This time, however, the deadly factors in the band's black/death are far more significant.
The first song's been given the appropriate name Light the Fucking Sky. With delightful riffs and fiery
percussion, the guys sets off one hell of a fireworks from the very first song. With gradual transitions and good subtle
melody lines behind a wall of aggression, Vredehammer makes a point of the importance of good song writing
prior to an aimless flow of rapid brutality.
Valla says he's been inspired by older albums, where each song stands as timeless monoliths. Not only
recognizable, but even unforgettable. Admittedly, there ain't no Master of Puppets quality to
Violator, but the album combines that kind of mindset with contemporary brutality and disgust, while adding some
riffs and rhythms that doesn't really belong, yet are still made to fit quite naturally.
Their songs offer magnificent moods, that with boosting pride oozes of invincible strength. The expression is pulverizing,
but the foundation is made out of thoughtful rhythms, sometimes with a playful touch, and various sequences and passages
seamlessly woven together into good structures. The band don't go all the way with their melodic aspect, but it
is present. Surely, they've included some intriguing guitar works and an occasional solo to accompany the freight
To a greater extent than what is typically within blackened death nowadays, the songs got their own life with a considerable
amount of hooks, but it's still far from the unique song identity that was more common before pure extremity became the norm.
With the song Blodhevn, Vredehammer gives a nod to their black past, with sharp guitars
and Norwegian lyrics, whilst not afraid to add small spices of strange calibre, as the Meshuggah-like effects
from 4:08. Cool song, but the king of the hill is called Ursus. A moody monolith with delightful melodies.
The sound on the album is by the way just as rich and magnificent as the music.
When ereyesterday (bring that word back into your vocabulary, kids), I said that Purgatory didn't grind
everything to smithereens, it was specifically with Violator in mind. Some albums roam
the earth like giants, and even the world's largest meat grinder can touch them.
With one band after another better than the previous, I have painted myself into a corner of the grading scale. Like a
marzipan covered cream cake, Violator appears a bit rich and satiating. After 5-6 spins I needed a break,
but after a few days, a full dish of delights again tastes just as good.
This is a big step up and forward for this northern sledgehammer! With just an ounce of doubt I award them the with a
killer grading for a badass piece of demolishing machinery!
This demo consists of two completely frenetic songs that show a one-man band ready to sign a deal.
Ukrainian Denis Reich, now residing in Poland, handles all instrumentation, but is visited by Russian
S.A. (Old Man of the Desert), which supplies some guitars on the first track.
The Ritual I, as the first song is called, begins with droning low frequency and hushed exotic plucking,
before a hellish inferno breaks loose. A cacophonous outbursts of fierce rhythms and breathless riffing that have just
enough atmospheric background sounds to make the wholeness obtain a rather ritual expression. Even when the pace calms,
the intensity and burning temperature stays intact.
The Ritual II don't change a winning formula, but continues to pour gasoline on the flames.
The vocals do their best to contribute to this infernal furore. This devilish, belligerent, sharp voice, oozes
of disgust and contempt.
Denis Reich has taken care of all of the production, and the speakers are practically smoking.
Although The Hexagram has only existed since 2013 and Denis don't seem to have lots
of prior experience, the band is more than ready for the full-length format. If the man manages to write equally
strong material that triple to quadruple the duration of these ten minutes, that is. And I have faith he will!
War Anthem Records, 18.03.16
When Convulse dilutes their death metal with a progressive slant, and even bestial Australians can't be totally
trusted, since Decrepit Soul defiles clean and pristine death with black thoughts, who then can we trust? Florida,
Poland and Stockholm are such stereotypes. How about... Germany, perhaps? Germans are known to be both diverse, skilled
A fairly wide variety of bands have chosen the moniker Purgatory, but lets go with these Germans.
Purgatory has been operating for over 20 years, something the 20 Years Underground
compilation, released at the end of 2013, testify to. This is their eighth(!) full-length album. And yes, these guys play
unsullied death metal with punch and thrust. If you don't have no relation to them, you can blame yourself. As I do.
It should be said that there's a little Immortal vibes initially in the first song, and that in (amongst others)
Codex Anti, there's a hellish drive, not too unlike Marduk/Dark Funeral. I won't deny that also
these deathmongers holds a somewhat scorched approach, not unlike Swedish Diabolical. Nevertheless,
Ωmega Void Tribvnal is undoubtedly death metal.
The cover gave me a sensation of ramshackle underground extremity without significant quality, but the truth is quite
different. Purgatory offers sturdy hate-filled crushing metal. As a giant mill standing as a monolith,
grinding everything to smithereens. Everything? Not quite. There are releases that gravel even more, but we'll rather
come back to that another day.
Whether the band fires of the flame throwers and push the pedal to the metal, or offer mid-tempo sequences, it's still
heavy as an aircraft carrier, and explosive as its projectiles.
There are many clichés here, but the music is fortunately not as generic. That is, we've all heard similar, but
Ωmega Void Tribvnal is still a very tough record with tons of brutality. The album is not only an
uncompromising brute. It contains melodic and rhythmic hooks, mighty and dark moods, and powerful sound that pulverize
Iron Bonehead, 18.03.16 Convulse has left their most brutal work behind them, but if we take the trip to Australia, we should be
guaranteed some ferocious bestiality, right?
A title like The Coming of War!! sure hints at a full blown explosion.
I had admittedly expected a raging bolt of pure deadly downpour from Decrepit Soul,
but I sort of hit the nail's head somewhat off-centre.
These Aussies blends a reckless brew of death and black scorched brutality. Not entirely without finesse,
although hellish fury tops the agenda. However, I believe I can promise to come back with some authentic death metal
later today, if the devil stands by me, and that is what you thirst for.
The band supposedly started as a pure black metal band, but has thus decided to blend it with crushing riffs from the camp
of the competitors. The band operates as a duo, consisting of Kakorot from Violent Bloodshed and
dissolved Altars of Sin, and Marcus Hellcunt from Vomitor and earlier Bestial Warlust
et al. The former maul his vocal chords and mutilate his hands on axes wrapped in barbed wire, while the latter
butcher the drum kit.
During half an hour, the band of course throws a lot of bricks right in your face, but in addition to guitars and drums
going in one hundred and hell, they also offer riffing with leaden boots, along with fine heavy rhythms and malicious
moods. Some staccato rhythms exist but Hellcunt is a vital drummer, shifting technique habitually,
creating a great momentum.
The seven songs typically clock in at somewhere over 4 minutes, and offers half an hour with rich sound and deranged
aggression. Apart from the good variety, the material don't offers no very big moment or any stylistic surprise.
Without particularly memorable killer riffs or otherwise intricate depth, we're not dealing with a future classic, but
The Coming of War!! is still a very cool strike of lightning when you need some in-your-face adrenaline!
Iron Bonehead used to deal primarily with vinyl and tape previously, but they have apparently
begun to discharge a few releases on CD as well. Including this one, which comes on both on LP and CD.
Hear Storm of Steel:
Svart Records, 18.03.16
This is the first Convulse release I lend my ear to, although the band is neither unknown nor newcomers.
Having heard through Cycle of Revenge two or three times, and formed an early impression of a quaint album,
I remembered that I had in fact read a review of the album a few days earlier. At the time of reading that one, I actually
didn't remembered that I had indeed already downloaded the promo.
Have I mentioned my symptoms of pre-dementia?
Said review did, from what I remember, make a point of Convulse having changed practically beyond
recognition, which may also explain my first impression; the band's name, meaning something in the vein of spasm, a
dark and “worn” cover art and growling from the nether regions, stands in stark contrast to the music.
I expected death metal before I started listening, and my subconscious had a point there. Either caused by associations
concerning cover and name, or because I've run into the band before and the subconscious having a better memory than
the consciousness. It turns out that Finnish Convulse quite rightly has its origin in death metal.
The band started in 1990, but split in 1994 after going in a more death 'n' roll direction. In 2012, the band announced
their reunion before launching their third album, Evil Prevails, the following year. This
saw the band return to pure death metal, but with Cycle of Revenge, the band has again fallen into
If there really is a cycle, the band will anew go underground, and return with uncompromising death metal around 2035.
Expectations can be alpha and omega.
If you expect (or demand) aggressive brutality, you may easily end up disappointed.
So what can you expect?
The vocals' in the basement, as mentioned, but we find different vocal expression that accompanies a melodic hybrid of
jazzy rhythms and well-structured songs with progressive construction and substance. It's a far more playful approach
the band showcase. It's admittedly not “happy schnappy” metal, but despite fierce vocal, the music is very vital. The
music has got partly atmospheric moods and a slightly melancholic slant at times, as well as some tiny overtones of
technical whims. It's not what I'd define as technical, though.
If you have an open mind, and the term progressive death metal sounds interesting, it may very well be that Cycle
of Revenge will appeal to your taste. Without any particular expectations, and after hearing the album another
3 or 4 times, I find 34 minutes of good music and eight songs that gradually grows stronger.
Independent, 16.03.16 Horizon of the Mute from Finland is Jani Koskela's one man band. He started it last year,
and completed his first album earlier this year. This is as fresh as it gets.
The music is death/doom, so dark and sluggish that I think we'll simply call it funeral doom.
The bright, slightly fiddle'ish synth that starts of 13 minutes long Chime, automatically gives me vibes
of an equivalent at the beginning of a song called The Maimed God by Maltese Apotheosis. Perhaps
partly because I mentioned the band in conjunction with a review of Mussorgski two weeks ago. But the similarity stops there.
Sound effects of rattlesnakes in old western revolver duals, and the sound of sprinkling stars, rather similar to of the hallucinogenic
angel dust that Peter Pan and Tinkerbell push to minors, while deep droning guitars comes in, creates a slightly idiosyncratic feel.
Slow and evocative as the building of tension towards the final shootout in Dodge Bullet City, the music moves through
the terrain of the Dead Marshes on its way to Mordor to join Sauron's army.
9.5 minutes Black Bleak Nebula aims for the stars. The droning style that Jani adopts,
together with various sound effects, works very well to create an otherworldly sensation, and when the lyrics generally
seek the unknown, it's suitably to leave the tiny idyllic blue marble, where harmony has been spoiled and corrupted by
the two-legged race homo septicus.
One minute shorter Wall of Eridanus reaches the outer limits of the universe, while rumbling music with
atmospheric means and growling characterized by an emotional touch, makes me wonder whether it is from this godforsaken
place that Lovecraft's elder ones has originated.
Horizon of the Mute offers hypnotic, droning funeral death/doom with remedies and spices from the
industrial, the electronic and the atmospheric ministry. Without the focus ever shifting from the former.
The self-titled debut has become a marvellous moody affair where Jani Koskela in a passionate way drags
the listener along into his obscure, explorative cosmos.
Season of Mist, 11.03.16
In a small cove at the very western coast of Norway, only separated from the vast seas by barren archipelagos, virtually
isolated from the outside world due to its location surrounded by mountains, you'll find a medium-sized kaupang named
Bjørgvin. people and trade have prospered as long back as the clans story go, back in forn yesteryears. For the
navel–gazing citizens, who just didn't know better, an inherent local patriotism grew forth as a natural defence
mechanism against all the foreign on the other side of the mountain range.
To be honest, that's a fairly misleading intro, but we'll rather come back to that.
Several metal bands have interpreted local history by means of metal in the past decade. In Bergen, Svartediket
made an attempt, but with the exception of the successful theatre staging that followed, the album was seen as a misfire.
Helheim has had more success incorporating local historic flair.
Both Enslaved and Wardruna has stared far into the Sami drum and brought out the soul of aboriginal
primordial spirit-life in widely different ways. Einar Selvik composes the score for the television
series Vikings with authentic instrumentation, and in collaboration with Ivar Bjørnson, a commissioned
work was written for Norway's democratic commemoration. The production of this piece was performed by Enslaved
and Wardruna on Eidsiva Blot festival at Eidsvoll on September 13th, 2014 during the 200-year anniversary of the
Norwegian constitution. (Sure, Norway is much older, but both the fucking Danes and the fucking Swedes had to go play
imperial conquerors for a while. One day, you motherfuckers. Just you wait).
The album Skuggsjá is the studio version of this work, a through-and-through Norwegian product, and not
just a Bergen-based such. But if you want me to tell you what Skuggsjá is all about, I would without
hesitation highlight a taste of the wild Western coast and its Viking culture.
The music is rather varied, from muted parts with whistle, lure, frame drums, whispering vocals and gentle violin, to an
intense but not very metallic expression comprising of many simultaneous instruments and melancholic choir-like vocals.
But despite of the diversity, the music moves slowly from one sequence to the next, and it all appears as rather monotonous.
With ancient monotonous stev (Scandinavian folk song) at one end and esoteric contemporary music in the other,
Skuggsjá balances in between.
Ivar handles vocals, bass, guitar and keyboards, while Einar “Kvitrafn” handles vocals,
percussion programming and a wide range of ancient instruments; tagl-harp, kravik-lyre, Billy Goat Horn, trumpets, birch-bark lure
and bone flute, quite likely the oldest instrument in the world. This Norwegian interview with Einar also showcase some of the instruments.
In addition, Cato Bekkevold contribute on drums, Grutle and Lindy-Fay Hella on vocals,
Eilif Gundersen on birch-bark lure and Olav L. Mjelva on Harding fiddle.
It is a comprehensive piece of music these prestigious artists offer. Everything from what I traditionally think of as folk,
and that I'm rather fond of, to the eclectic, ambient moody mosaic, which can be a bit too much. Quaint, but often delightful.
The question is, would you have bought this if it weren't for the fact that these esteemed gentlemen was behind it?
At its best, this is quite marvellous. At its least good, it can be both monotonous and painstaking. To be music created with
folk instruments and calm, faded metal instruments, the sound is also a bit too loud and intense. In quiet sections I turn up
the volume, and it sounds extravagant, but then fiddle and layered vocals start to increase until the intermezzo rings in my
ears. The highest frequencies should have been kept restrained, so that lower frequencies could have benefited from a better
dynamic range. Besides from intro and outro with DR11, the average is clipping at DR6, which is far too little for music that
should preferably sound naturally organic.
The album lasts quite exactly for an hour, which is too excessive for me. Fascinating and distinctive, indeed, yet somewhat
humdrum, I'm afraid, and I'm not entirely happy with the sound either. Most of this negativity, is in terms of
subjectivity (now ain't that almost a poem?). After all, I don't even have the patience to sit through an entire
Wardruna album, as pure and true metal is my thing, so why bother listening to me at all?
Thus, perhaps you will be spellbound by Skuggsjá?
Behold, if you will, the video for the title track Skuggsjá.
Indie Recordings, 11.03.16
The artist behind the pseudonym Sarke made himself renown through Tulus, started in 1993, and
later in the practically parallel band Khold, started in 2000. But that wasn't enough for a creative
musician. Ergo, the solo-project Sarke was initiated in 2008, with greater focus on making music with
a bit freer frames, inspired by this and that, that the man himself had lent an ear to.
After just a few years, Sarke had become a full-blooded band with a fairly stable line-up and the band
has now released the fourth album.
Putting Sarke in a single pigeonhole would be slightly amiss, but the band might be said to circle around
a laid-back mid-tempo black 'n' roll expression. Bogefod is the band's first complete concept album, which deals with the Icelandic Eyrbyggja saga, which
takes place during the Christianization of Iceland. Torolv Bogefod apparently dies a rather brutal
death before coming back to terrorizing the village as an undead after having been buried. Not just once.
The idea comes from the Norwegian black metal, viking and biker movie ( - with zombies, no less)
which sees vocalist Nocturno Culto in a leading role. The film hopefully premieres this year.
Sarke has always made good music with small interesting details as tasteful spice to good craftsmanship.
Nevertheless, the band has never been one that creates enormous enthusiasm for yours truly. As before, I think the music
is tough, with a lot of diversity. The band has a fairly naked expression with plenty of room for dynamic experimentation
and many different inspirations. As before I'm not blown away completely.
I have most certainly heard Bogefod at least 10 times, probably more, during the recent days, and it
wouldn't have bothered me the least to hear the album both ten and twenty times more. There are considerably worse things
to listen to.
Based on the two albums I've heard before, Sarke still sounds like Sarke. They've come
up with new songs that don't copy old ideas, whilst maintaining their sound. Or rather; this time Sarke
has written nine new songs himself, before the other three in turn have coloured them.
In addition to said protagonist, which by the way plays bass, and the well-known singer, the band consists of
Steinar Gundersen (Spiral Architect) on guitar and Anders Hunstad (ex-Tulus)
Calm, doomy Barrow of Torolv stand out, especially with the atmospheric middle section and the floating
moods towards the end, but nothing (well, except from a review like this) can prepare the listener for what the song
Dawning offers. I don't see it as unlikely that The 3rd and the Mortal may have been one of
the inspirations, but we probably don't have to reveal everything.
An inconvenient factor concerning intense extreme metal is that the compact freight train of sound takes its toll,
demanding a clear path, as it can easily drown in a noisy environment. Sarke is airier by nature, and
rises naturally above everyday sounds as a helium balloon. This makes Bogefod suitable for a road trip
etc. Almost unbelievable considering the paltry DR5 in the sound.
The guys deliver the goods, I'm enjoying myself so-so, but don't take off completely. Therefore a subjective minus.
Watch the video to Alternation, official soundtrack to Saga, and the lyric video for Sunken.
Wrath of the Tyrant, 11.03.16 Alastor comes from Rohrbach in Austria, where the land borders to both Germany and the Czech Republic.
There, on the border between the two latter, lies the Bohemian Forest (aka Böhmerwald in German or Šumava in Czech),
mountain range and national park. Complete with ancient castles, myths and legends. Waldmark is the
woodland around the southern mountain ridge, not far from Alastor's habitat.
The band turns 20 years and releases their third album, which also ends the wooden trilogy.
The music is melodic but dim and mysterious. Call it pagan, call it black, toss it in your jute sack. There is something
close to nature in the musics atmosphere, without it becoming some sort of “three-hugger” for that reason.
When the album starts of, it's with a slightly thin sound, but much of the scepticism I feel instantly disappear when the
guitar sound thickens after 44 seconds. The remaining scepticism must give way to the feeling of wonder and mystique when
the music drags me deep into the dark primeval forests. The moods that prevails has something in common with Nocte
Obducta and Zgard without musical similarities beyond that.
Waldmark mixes elements from black and pagan with a primitive spirit of the forest into something that is
exotic, yet familiar at a primal instinctive plan. Whoever likes a bit peculiar and intriguing bands such as The Vision
Bleak, Eisregen, Denial of God or Klabautamann, knows approximately what I'm talking about. Waldmark is my first encounter with Alastor, a band that sounds extraordinarily primitive
for having been around since 1996, but that still charms me immensely with bewitching melodies and enigmatic moods. Hopefully,
there won't be another eight and a half years until the next album comes out of the forest below the mountain ridge.
EDIT 15.03.16: A small portion of this already short review has been left out. I initially had access to files with
a little glitch, but the tiny, unproblematic problem was quickly rectified. It's human to fail. Hell, even we, the
undead, do it from time to time.
Cyclone Empire, 11.03.16 Blot · Ilt · Taut, are old Swedish words, hailing perhaps from runic Norse or the middle
ages, meaning Blood · Fire · Death. A fitting title indeed for Ereb Altor's
tribute to one of their more important sources of inspiration; Quorthon's Bathory.
Seven of Bathory's songs from the first half of the discography is given new life in new suit. Ereb
Altor treats these treasures with respect, while of course not presenting an unnecessary carbon copy blueprint.
Ereb Altor has chosen to pick a selection of material from the early legacy, because it's these old
classics the band members grew up with. The selection ranges from The Return...... (1985), to
Twilight of the Gods (1991), albeit the song The Return of Darkness and Evil was originally
released as part of the 1984 split Scandinavian Metal Attack.
From this vast cultural heritage, Ereb Altor has made a careful selection, ending with a 45 minute
homage released on vinyl and digital only.
The most significant difference, especially in relation to the oldest albums, is what about 30 years has done to audio
production. I like the good and full sound modern productions can provide, but I'm not exceedingly excited about the
unnecessarily loud volume new releases are equipped with. The original songs had a typical average of DR10, while
Ereb Altor's renderings lie between DR7 and DR8. It's more fun to crank up the volume myself than
getting pre-tuned loudness. You wouldn't buy pre-chewed fruit if you were given the offer, right. Give us viscosity,
density and texture, rather than a uniform wall of sound, reaching to the roof!
Not that this sounds bad, mind you. I'm just fucking around on Ereb Altor's behalf a bit concerning their
somewhat low dynamic range here, but that's simply because the difference is so striking when compared with the over 25
years old song material. This release sounds good, and the dynamic range is modern for better or worse. It's not even
particularly low set up against the contemporary average.
Some will prefer Woman of Dark Desires with primitive, slightly raw and rotten sound, some will embrace
the massive and magnificent interpretation Ereb Altor offers. I'd have it both ways, thank you very much.
When the quartet from Gävle regenerates Bathory-classics, there's no doubt that it helps to reinforce the songs
inherent epic qualities. Sure, the sound is set unnecessarily high, but where Bathory recordings may seem to sound
a bit thin in hindsight, the same songs now sounds rich, bordering on the pompous. So kick back and turn up the volume. No,
wait, you don't have to think about that yourself in this damned age.
Ereb Altor is a band consisting of talented musicians, and I think they have done a very good job with
Quorthons heirlooms. It's obvious that they've put their soul into this, and if I am to point out something in
particular, it must be the clean vocals, which are fantastic, beautiful and full of emotion. Blot · Ilt
· Taut is a mighty fine collection, performed with respect, but with the band's own signature, which
should satisfy both new and old Bathory fans and appeal to others with a penchant for epic Viking hymns.
Eisenwald Tonschmiede, 26.02.16
German Total Hate plays traditional black metal of the uncompromising blasphemous sort.
The band was started by Adrastos in 2000. He took care of vocals and guitar, before gradually gaining
more members. The band released their second album, Necare Humanum Est, in 2010. Since that time,
Adrastos has handed guitar duties to second guitarist Erebos and former bassist
Aer while newly acquired Lykos now handles four strings.
After 63 seconds of introduction to destruction, armoured vehicles covered with sharp barbed wires comes rolling into town.
After another two minutes, the first grenade shells detonated from a band who have heard their share of Marduk.
Whether the pace is high or midtempo, Winterheart controls drumsticks with steady hands and pedals with
rapid ankles. The guy hammers for Norwegian Hinsidig, insofar as they are still active, and has a past in
Nyktalgia, Krieg and Armagedda amongst others.
Nevertheless, Lifecrusher ain't solely a display of speed, but rather a demonstration of the strength
that lies in the combination of disturbing, hostile moods and a cacophonous bombardment of sadistic thrust. The moods the
band conveys, is more hateful than eerie by nature. Like psychotic Dobermanns with cropped ears, Total Hate
sneer with froth at the mouth, while snapping at anyone who comes within range.
The sound is just as crushing as the expression, and with adequate DR8, it's not too compact either.
He who seeks originality have to continue his search, but you that'll settle for 36 minutes of aggressive warmongering
with German precision need look no further. To elaborate; the album lasts for 42 minutes, but 6 of these consists of
silence due to a hidden track. One can certainly wonder at the effect of such in the digital age, but verily, it may have
an effect if you're a bit absent-minded. Lifecrusher - Contributions to a World in Ruins consists of wrecking, well-played, trve old-school schwarzmetall.
Quite killer. Simple as that.
Iron Bonehead Productions, 11.03.16
I was hoping this was the same Veneficium that released De Occulta Philosophia... in
2008, but that black, symphonic and occult band came from Canada, and is unfortunately disbanded now.
This gang comes from New Zealand and plays death metal, and this is their first demo.
The men's deadly pandemonium consists of dark, rumbling death metal. The vocal, gurgling like the death rattle from
someone about to be boiled alive in the witches cauldron, is symptomatic of the music in general. The volcano is
seething and boiling, but the large-scale eruption leaves me awaiting.
The sound is deep and roaring and songs have indeterminate and unpleasant moods from the purgatory. Eponymous
Veneficium is a very good demo, and isolation a good EP, if that's what it's now being launched as. In a wider
context, the three songs, at about 4:30 on average, will probably still come a bit short. Albeit the songs are quite good
and moody, they're not very imaginative or spectacular. The originality is so-so, although I'm not able to come up
with any good examples of similarities. I've still heard enough metal cut from the same cloth to cover my most urgent needs.
The potential is there, though. Isolated, the thundering sound is pretty good, even if it may perhaps be a bit exaggerated,
but after spending lots of time lately with Sulphur and Total Hate amongst more, this also sounds a little
Absolutely not bad, just a bit meaningless when considering the relentless competition. Reasonably good, I'd say. You can make up your own mind after hearing Veneficium here:
Mycelium Networks, 08.03.16
Canadian Jeremy Perkins is concerned with, not only his own roots, but cultural traditions and genuine
ethnological customs and practices in general, and he is concerned about how superficial and moulded our modern
plastic-society has become. He has an affection for authentic cultures and man's relationship to nature, but looks with
disgust at how greed, indifference, colonization and commercialization has deprived the world of a natural development
from a primordial state, and corrupted the healthy values of old.
He wrote poems about these thematics before he got the idea to use the lyric as a starting point for a musical expression.
After being realized in 2010, Éohum has grown to a full six-piece band, which also has a few guest musician
aboard on their first EP. The band only have one demo behind them. Ealdfaeder consists of five songs and
lasts for almost half an hour.
With elements of death and black metal, and a touch of folk and prog, the Canadians goes to work without any modern
nonsense. The first song opens and closes with stylish flute that I would have liked to hear more of. Éohum
does however incorporate (French) horn that fits very well into music and concept. It's still the metallic elements that
dominates. With hard and aggressive conduct, they perform both mid-tempo and frenetic extreme metal. The band plays their
music with varied rhythms and distinctive riff and melodies behind a hissing vocalist.
On Ealdfaeder clear instrumentation and a moderate melodic touch is combined with an overlying primitive
expression. The sonically dynamic range didn't sound very ample, but I'm still a little surprised to measure it to only
DR5, for despite the brickwall, the various elements of music emerges as distinct in the mix.
The music has a little doomy touch, as well as changing rhythms in otherwise coherent songs. Moods of dejection and
dismay testifies to someone holding a grudge, not willing to forgive. The mixture works well and appeals to me. Somewhat
undeveloped perhaps, but it is still very charming. Ealdfaeder is a pretty good EP that shows a very promising potential. With a little stronger compositions
and better sound Éohum can prove to be a band to be reckoned with.
The three first songs are available for streaming. 1 & 3, Eurocide and The Apathetic Plague
can be heard here, whereas number 2, Unmasking A World Of Deceit can be heard on YouTube.
Iron Bonehead Productions, 11.03.16
“Really now? Another poorly assembled demo released as EP”, was my first thought when the intro started, consisting
of medieval instrumentation, Middle Eastern flair and rhythmic marching in some temple or palace.
In some cases, the song material from demos are acceptable enough to earn itself a spot on the first full length
album, in re-recorded versions.
In most cases, however, home made demonstrations of a band's song-writing skills only deserves an undignified burial
in the record company's drawers and archives....
...A few, however, are so comprehensively executed that it earns them the right to life and continued
existence on a professionally printed EP on fine-feathered vinyl.
When the music commence, after a shallow three minutes intro, it's with 15 minutes of pulverizing and transcendental
black/death awaiting. Unexpectedly, equipped with very good and extremely powerful sound.
Voidnaga is a solo project from Malaysia, created last year by a shaman named Adlan
(formerly (un)known under the name Blackblood Debauchery of Blasphemy), after putting his previous
project Impious Blood to rest.
The three songs have a ferocious drift and a raw and brutal expression, but also underlying swirling melodies and a
certain spiritual and hypnotic feel.
The fascination for ancestral magic, cosmic horror, occultism and Malaysia's mythology and demonology has been the
spiritual impetus, and it has likely made its impact on the ungodly mood of sulphur and hell-fire conveyed.
With bubbly enthusiasm, I was on the verge of revarding this a stronger grade, but it must be said that the degree of
originality don't really nominated the band for any price. With many sluggish and leaden sections characterized by
sinister eerie, and some faster sequences marked by aggressive anger, this is clearly not some sensational innovation.
It's not really memorable either, but that might simply be caused by my bad case of premature senility.
It still kicks ass!
Demo MMXVI is without doubt the best demo I've heard in ages, and it deserves
initiation into the grooves on a vinyl, and possibly even a place on the top shelf in your home.
Eisenwald Tonschmiede, 26.02.16
Third album from these Germans is my first encounter with Krater, a band with more than ten years of
experience, and it's a red-hot handshake I'm, presented with.
The Germans admittedly opens with an ominous intro, but after 92 seconds, all hell breaks loose. It virtually explodes
into a glowing inferno. During a total of 45 minutes, we also meet more moody songs.
Based on a few quick impressions on YouTube, the band has obviously become both angrier and better over the years,
and just as importante, they have achieved a far better sound...
...even if YouTube ain't the most reliable source for researching phonetic quality, of course.
When I use flames as metaphors, it's the fiery guitars I am referring to. Over steady riffing we find a lead guitar
that flickers like a campfire and that abrupt and volatile changes its course as bats in the dark autumn nights.
The guitars offers sharp, evocative notes, that appears more like wild wasp than real melodies, when it doesn't actually
contribute a real blazing solo.
The drummers feet move as nitro-powered pistons, while both arms are everywhere on the upper part of the battery.
The guys perform black metal with fierce pace and vital passion, consisting of intricate instrumentation, swirling melodies
and reckless moods. Opening song Non Serviam is a real powder keg, while subsequent Bury the Light
has gliding guitars that creates atmosphere in the style of Watain. In Flammen Im Vakuum
the flames continues to lick the guitar, but it's followed by a few tracks with less luminous glow. That is...
Anti-Vists and Vexillum Luciferi don't feel as strong, which is really just because the
first three songs demolishes everything around them.
The albums second half, starting with the latter song, has a variety of samples that admittedly offers Luciferian moods,
but what really gives artistic breathers is that the pace is often lowered. Krater picks up the thread
from Bury the Light and give us slower, heavier and darker songs with satanic moods, not unlike
Behemoth and Rotting Christ in every second song. I obviously like the kind, but after the infernal arson
they've lit in places, Urere almost requires a little mental readjustment.
Urere shows two sides of the devil's medallion; the passionate, intense and flaming enthusiasm, and the
self-adulation, hedonistic, occult ceremony. First, war and triumph, marked by hell-fire, then celebration with wine,
mead, hypnotic intoxication and unrestrained lewdness.
Some tiny quibbles and slightly splayed style (let's rather call it variation) notwithstanding,
Urere is an utterly delightful album.
I vacillated long between the highest and second highest ranking, and time may show that I have chose wrong.
When it almost starts becoming embarrassing to hand out very high scores, it's rather easy to become too strict at the
wrong time and place.
Deathstrike Records, 04.03.16
The duo Black Priest of Satan consists of German Avenger on the three conventional
instruments, and Finnish Molestor Kadotus on vocals. Combined, these guys have been involved in nearly
30 bands. Mostly in various extreme styles. Mainly deep underground.
Among these, Avenger dwells in Nocturnal, which I have at least barely heard, and The Fog,
that I most likely will return to in about two to three weeks. Molestors Kadotus is involved in Anal Blasphemy and has played in Baptism, a band I
possibly should have known.
In Black Priest of Satan the two guys plays a rather sludgy kind of black metal, and exactly this
thundering storm, rumbling like an upset kebeb-stomach, is what separates them from the crowd.
The music is mid-tempo or slower and have basically simple or staccato drum beats. Just what is boomy bass and rumbling
guitar ain't easy to separate, without that necessarily being negative by itself. The problem is that the songs don't offer
hooks with barbs, neither in melody, rhythm, mood, instrumentation or other aspects. In my book, much of the material is
actually closer to droning sludge/doom with an occult stoner-touch than black metal.
The song Unheard Prayer has a negatively charged character with fairly evil ritual moods. The five other
tracks on this nearly 45 minutes long record however, leaves me fairly indifferent. Element Of Destruction
has a deep, thunderous and boisterous sound. Probably exactly the way Avenger and Molestor Kadotus
wanted it. For everyone else it becomes a matter of taste. The dynamics are closer to DR8 than DR7, and that is
Black Lion Productions, 04.02.16
Brother Sweden, you bloody spawn of scourge. You just won't cease giving us Norwegians strong competition in the eternal
battle, battle in the north, of northern dominance and monopoly to the black throne of Scandinavia.
Their latest bred Army Hyperion presents the Swedes' latest weapon, Seraphical Euphony.
They presents just over 50 minutes of melodic black metal of tremendous quality. I wonder if they haven't, in addition
to hearing their dose of Dissection, also lent their ear to Mörk Gryning...
...for here we find strong melodies with clever transitions, symphonic structures and a generally playful touch.
Parallels can be drawn to many melodic black and extreme metal bands with a certain symphonic approach. A litany of
reference may not be very imaginative, except for the fact that Hyperion reminds me more of a bygone
era than today's scene, except from in the sound. I recognize an aura of semi-old albums from bands like Tartaros,
Kvist, Naglfar, Mactätus, Limbonic Art, Old Man's Child and so forth, without the Swedes in any way plagiarising
others. They have rather been inspired to write real musical works, consisting of various musical components and
The sextet from Stockholm has written intro plus eight songs with strong identities and tremendous idea-wealth, where
acoustic sections, great riffs, exemplary varied drumming and blistering solos are peppered with unexpected transitions,
choirs, grand piano and other orchestral elements. The way they constantly lead the songs in new directions, and change
the ingredients and proportions thereof without losing sight of the leitmotif red thread, is simply fabulous. Even some
exuberant jesting, in line with circus Arcturus is at times incorporated.
Whilst song-writing and instrumental execution is of superb character, Hyperion never get lost in sterile
showoff. Thoughtful compositions notwithstanding, Seraphical Euphony never lacks soul or feels calculated,
but rather come of as heartfelt and evocative. Hyperion offers both old and new, with new compositions, delightful nostalgia and modern production,
meaning good sound that narrowly balances on the brink of compression. In spite of similarities with others, this band has
guaranteed spent enormous resources to construct good songs, marked by signature, substance, credibility and ingenuity.
The guys deliver an unrivalled feat, where the final product is truly thrilling!
The album is available on CD through Black Lion Productions, and digitally via
Bandcamp, where it can be downloaded for an optional fee. If this appeals to you, I suggest
you go for the CD or pay full price for the download. It's definitely worth it!
Eisenwald Tonschmiede, 29.01.16
In 1995 we got aquainted with albums like Ultima Thulee, Through Chasm, Caves And Titan Woods, Nær solen gar niþer
for evogher, Panzerfaust, Storm of the Light's Bane, Kronet til Konge, Seen Through the Veil of Darkness, Battles in the
North, Høstmørke, For Kunsten maa vi Evig Vike, Til Evighet and Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr i 5 Capitler.
Some might even have gotten to know a Swedish duo by the name Mörk Gryning.
Dimmu Borgir; talented composers, one of Norway's biggest musical exports, and still a favoured hate object.
With roots in the Norwegian black metal scene of the early '90s, corpse paint, satanic content and promo images at night,
with spikes and medieval weaponry, they lay too close to black metal. With melodic touch, pronounced use of synth, hell,
even their own keyboardist... and add a silly top-hat as icing on the cake, they were too far astray from the dangerous
black metal, and contributed to making it a more housebroken and commercial genre. All according to the more genre-conservative.
(Fair enough, Dimmu Borgir can scarcely be considered pure, unsullied black metal, but I don't hate them for that reason).
A thousand years have passed since I came across and bought Tusen år har gått, and I've been curious ever
since, wondering how this album would have been received by the same orthodox fundamentalists who hates For all
tid, released the same year.
Probably not very good, though who knows (and who really cares?), for the music consists of fierce black
metal added moods of both pride and eeriness.
You see, Tusen år har gått is soaked in melodies, epic moods and good compositions, but also added the
means that two youngsters of 16 and 19 years had to imitate orchestra; synthesizer.
About as many times as I have caught myself whistling the ghostly mid-section of Mother North, epic Dagon
has flowed across my cracked lips. The subsequent double bass-drum attack in Journey is not as
easy to whistle, but the transition to blistering ice-riffs and frantic drumming is no less appealing. On the contrary.
The band, consisting of Draakh Kimera (drums, lead guitar, keyboards and vocals) and Goth Gorgon
(bass, rhythm guitar and keyboards), took intro, interlude and eight songs with strong melodies and very solid
structuring, and went to Dan Swanö in Unisound in May 1995.
The band added to their compositions youthful aggressive pitch-black vigour, impressive instrumental skills, acoustic
elements and a symphonic slant, and created a concept album with a mixture of Swedish and English lyrics, not to mention
a wonderful mystical aura.
The re-release is fortunately not remastered. The original master from Cutting Room has plenty of punch and adequate
dynamics between DR7 and DR8. Although contemporary synth may seem a bit charmingly dated today, it ain't so widely used that
the album becomes a quaint antique. The material still works remarkably well, and will likely remain towering considerably
longer than most releases coming out in 2016, and I'll even go as far as saying that the sound will knock much of today's
easy solutions over as well. Tusen år har gått has definitely stood the test of time.
The album comes with an extended booklet and two bonus tracks. The demo version of the title track shows a grittier and more
undraped version without lyrics. In this version, without any window dressing, melodies and structure, and thus the boy's
impressive flair for song-writing, becomes clearer. When Moonshine Is the Only Light is picked from the
band's first demo in 1993, and is an interesting curiosity for the fans.
Four albums and ten years after the band's gloomy dawn, the end was unfortunately reached for the saga of Draakh
Kimera, Goth Gorgon, and their Mörk Gryning.
PS: My policy refuse re-releases in the Reviews section. Otherwise, I'd give this delightful album 6 points.
Serbian one-man piece Temple of Gnosis released the first EP,
Mysterivm Magnvm last fall.
It found its way to my list of interesting issues, but time, or rather lack thereof, separated our paths.
The band's debut album The Secretis Naturae Alchymica however, had to be explored.
The band's sound has evolved somewhat, but the musical base is more or less the same.
H.M.T., creator and commanding officer of his lone vessel, plays ethereal, occult metal built on a
death/doom foundation seasoned with symphonic overtones. It's a spiritual experience he invites the listener to. I get
a little sense of ambient sound collages of these evocative tracks, but the songs does have cohesive melodies.
The most peculiar aspect, or rather quirky and odd one, is all the extended monologues. In Tree of Life
for example, almost three minutes is used on the story of Adam and Eve. Hell knows why. There's a whole lot of chatting
during the album, but vocal effects prevents a feeling of listening to an audio-book. Much of the narration moves
integrally as one with the hypnotic music.
Ambient, ethereal, soaring, spiritual and ritual are all words that can describe this artwork. It's somehow no use
analysing this kind of music. The individual segments are too quirky to operate separately. If, however, you just allow
yourself to flow downstream and drift away with the music, the wholeness will form a hypnotic device that leads you
into other dimensions. Well, sort of anyway.
Therein lies the difference, I guess, between the ability to enjoy The Secretis Naturae Alchymica, or
to regard the whole thing as fairly far-fetched. As the (fallen) deity I am, I'm able to see both sides of the coin
simultaneously. Therefore I treat this to a quite ambivalent grade.
Although I lean mostly toward a positive standpoint, as I willingly and knowingly, let myself be hypnotized by this.
Hells Headbangers, 04.03.16
This is a split between two veterans of the Finnish scene, and I described the last full-lengths of both bands in positive
words. The full and complete title is Lux Satanae (Thirteen Hymns of Finnish Devil Worship), and
Archgoat in particular definitely don't sound like anything but proud Finnish devil-worshippers.
On this split, both offers a re-visitation with old material in a new guise, or “same shit, new wrapping,” as it's so
Satanic Warmaster presents four songs, against Archgoat's nine. This uneven distribution
doesn't affects each bands duration, though, cause both bands chip in just about 21 minutes.
Satanic Warmaster go first. The band has made some changes to their expression over the years, especially
in the sound. From pure pitch-black metal to a somewhat more pagan touch. I remember Fimbulwinter as a very pleasant surprise last year.
What the band does here is simply to boost new life into old classics.
The song Black Destiny from Opferblut (2003) probably lose a little black magic in some
folks eyes when the necrotic is robbed, but what the hell, it sounds powerful, magnificent and evil in a new aural robe. Wolves of Blood and Iron from Strength & Honour (2001) was hardly fucking listenable in
the original garb. The Pest cover Satanic Winter has only been released on the live album
Black Metal Massacre (2007). Both deserve a second chance, and the difference is significant. My Kingdom of Darkness originates from the classic Carelian Satanist Madness (2005).
It's risky to tamper with such, but what fans of Satanic Winter would complaints of having the song in
two different packagings?
I don't know Archgoat's story that well, and I can't find the origin of their songs without searching the
web for each and every one. It's not that important. What I have heard, has often been characterized by monotony
with small amounts of moods. The exception was last year's The Apocalyptic Triumphator, a massive surprise!
If these songs hail from “obscure” small releases, which I suspect, they have probably been given a better production this
time. That doesn't imply that any of the songs are polished. On the contrary. This' as raw as it gets. The drawback is that
much of the material is monotonous and staccato. Exceptions thankfully exist, like the guitar part just before halfway in
Death & Necromancy, and the short solo in Penis Perversor, a few seconds of ominous church
organ in Soulflay, and some other moods underway. The song Rise of the Black Moon, from the
band's first demo, Jesus Spawn (1991) is the one that offers the very darkest and most ripping stuff here.
Archgoats expression, execution and raw sound is fucking killer, but the material ain't much to
write home about. Satanic Warmaster does the honour of pushing up the average this time.
Grand Sounds PR, 03.04.16
This just in...
This is not an ordinary Impression, but rather a presentation of an official stream.
Grand Sounds PR, one of my faithful pushers, supplying parts of my daily dose of metal, for injection straight
into the ear, now offers a sampler consisting of 21 songs.
The following bands are participating: Circle Of Indifference, Lost Eternity, Matubes, Inlandsys, Agaroth, Third Ion, Rapture, Witching Hour,
Zord, Dark Letter, Miecz, Statue of Demur, The Shiva Hypothesis, Phantasmal & Enslaver.
The press release states the following:
Grand Sounds PR launched digital version of the latest sampler – volume 6.
Just enjoy by 21 bands from all over the world!
If anybody would like to participate in vol. 7 – please write to Grand Sounds PR
directly to email@example.com
How bloody seriously do you take your metal?
The British duo Bykürius's previous release was titled Sons Ov Southern Hampton.
The lads play blistering, pitch-black, fuming, scorched, “blackburned” metal, albeit with occasional use of synth
(Fie! Ya fockin' posers!).
The guys tear of a dozen songs, all covers of famous and beloved thrash and heavy metal classics.
Expect a full blown Blaze in the Southern Hampton.
Our World Blackened is a hit parade, painted black. Jet black. With blast beats, icy razor guitars and
sharp tormented screamed vocals, the band plough through familiar titles like Am I Evil, Wild Child,
Fear of the Dark and Bark at the Moon before the last remains of gunpowder is burned away by torching
selected goodies from Dio, Judas Priest, Megadeth and more.
I've heard this album but once, and I offer no grade. We've all heard similar, and most of you will probably agree that
this sort of gag is enjoyable just once, and barely then. The whole thing is fairly well carried out, even if it doesn't
sound very professional. Our World Blackened is actually not quite as cheesy as Six Feet Under's
dumbfounding series of deadly versions of undying song material. Perhaps simply because this is done with more tongue in
cheque in the first place. Also, the band has received help with violin and flute, and some guest vocals.
Pure heavy metal fans will shudder of this, fundamentalist black metal mongers will sneeze at it, and others will most
likely reveal a brief smile. Well, at least the album is free on Bandcamp.
The Metallica song Blackened really suits a blackened, necro expression, but that was sort of in the
cards, no wasn't it.
It's Friday, so lighten up you grumpy old caviler, and crank it up to 11.
Relapse Records, 04.03.16 Inverloch from Melbourne, Australia consists of two members from Disembowelment, and three
additional men. Together they create a droning offspring of post-death/doom. These crushing tones are served in perfect
harmony with more hovering moods.
The guitars are tuned down and resounding. I've probably recycled the phrase “resonating through the halls of Hell”
before and now I do it again, for along with growling, thundering as the echo of tunnel-blasting, and drums subjected
to double gravity, this is dark as night and heavy as a locomotive.
That part of Inverloch's expression gives the feeling of being buried alive under a landslide, but while
the music adds stone by stone to your involuntary tomb under the heap, your spirit levitates well above ground, via
occasional mournful and soaring moods.
The music goes through gradual changes, but does have a somewhat monotonous funeral/shoegaze touch. The music glides
slowly as a ghost ship through dismal waters. With the right, patient mood, Distance | Collapsed is a
beautiful, but woeful journey with all the worlds grievance as weight on the shoulders.
Inverloch delivers the gods, but at the same time, I've heard both better and more exciting metal in
a funeral pace. For reportedly being “one of the most anticipated full-length debuts the metal underground has seen in
years”, I honestly think you'd come to expect just a little bit more. Everything simply ain't equally interesting but
make no mistakes, there's much to be enthralled by too, after all.
Especially the sound makes this a very good experience. It sounds massive, colossal and vigorous. There's hardly any point
in listing studios and names, but the dynamics range from DR8 to DR10, which is extraordinarily much when the sound is
so utterly leaden.
Hardcore speed metal fans and impatient souls will shake their heads in disbelief. Let them, for they know not what they're
missing. I was somewhat impatient to begin with myself, and It was no bed of roses attempting to digest this at first. As
expected, things came to its own gradually, and Inverloch has gain an open invitation to come trample on
my head, at least in a calm evening or a drowsy morning, when I'm relaxed and receptive.
I was almost about to call this a near ultimate hybrid of the atmospheric and the leaden, but I found it to be a bit
pretentious. Sure, the band masters the amalgamating superbly, but to suggest that they are world leaders, performing
pioneering work, would be rather excessive.
All in all, I have a taste for Distance | Collapsed, although I don't obtain a fanatical relationship
with bands nor album.
Sliptrick records, 19.02.16
I don't have much background info on Italian Seventh. The band comes from Venice, and was a duo with a
hired drummer during the making of The Herald. The band now consists of five men.
The album is a concept album, and works as an allegory of a man's quest for freedom and a life without restrictions and
The band plays a kind of fairly proggy post-metal, with hints of hardcore. I could do without the somewhat annoying vocals,
and post-metal is a genre I'm largely fed up on by now.
Ergo, not full score, but Seventh offers more than enough variety and other musical qualities. I have no
problems recommending The Herald to metalheads with a slightly different taste than yours truly. I even
feel like upping the grade a notch at times.
The album har a strong touch, and a good one as such, of melancholy. The band also offers a diverse expression, the
genre taken into consideration. Some of the little bit jazzy rhythm and riffs, leads my thoughts to Tool, and
the Italians seems competent at what they're doing. Thus, the music never becomes directly sleep-inducing and monotonous.
Certainly, 45 minutes can some times feel tedious due to my musical preferences, but I wouldn't really call it boring.
I have no problems getting through The Herald, nor do I struggle with hearing that Seventh
has put a lot of hard and good work into this music. The sound is also clear and crisp, despite rather compact sound. The
album was recorded with and produced by Paolo “Pablo” Bertoncello in Putrefashion Empire Studios, and
mixed/mastered by Luca “Peo” Spigato in Hate Studio.
Sliptrick Records, 29.02.16
Turkish Carnac was formed only a few years ago, and this EP is their first sign of life, or rather
sign of death, since the quintet plays dark and ominous death metal. The band released this independently in October,
but Sliptrick Records showed interest and took the release under its wings. Frail Sight consist of 16 minutes divided onto four songs. The band has a relaxed attitude to
expressions and alternately sounds both old-school and slightly modern. The tempo varies, but are mostly set within a
Hericide begins quite good, with powerful tones that suits the colossal monoliths on the cover.
The rhythm easily spreads in the bloodstream, resulting in unconscious movement in various body parts. Menhirs Of Enmity shifts towards more melody, as well as incorporating a bit more technical structures. Debaser reinforces the furious and frantic, with swirling death metal and a hint of black roots. Servant To The Void takes the band in a slightly more progressive direction with more intricate rhythms
and transitions en masse.
Carnac moves within progressive death metal with a touch of black metal, with dark, deep sound and
ever-changing rhythms. The musical frames can also be said to host a band like Bölzer, just to give a hint of
musical direction. The Turks are admittedly not quite as distinctive, and their songs not nearly as strong, without the
similarity between the two being that significant. It's just that I can't call to mind any others to compare
with at the moment.
Isolated, the songs are fairly strong, but the totality felt a bit inconsistent to begin with. It will pass and
Frail Sight will end as a good and promising opening of a band from a country I don't remember having heard too
much from in the past. Carnac is definitely a band to keep an eye (make that an ear) on in the future.
Despite already enormous amounts of music, I still get in touch with bands and labels from time to time to plead for
other music that I'm excited to hear and pass on to you. When someone on the other hand makes contact with me, it
unconsciously wakes up my latent scepticism.
After listening a bit to what this debuting Polish quintet had to offer, however, all doubt quickly had to yield.
The Poles don't break no new ground, but rather start of on a safe pathway, if aggressive death metal really can be
called safe. Admittedly, the band has a characteristic smell of fresh leather. The album was partially produced unassisted,
and its compositions may not be particularly daring, but they've managed to succeed nonetheless.
7 songs and 28 minutes is a nice first dose. The music is fierce and swift, fronted by deep guttural vocals. To my delight,
it's fortunately far from repetitive. The men in Resurrection sees the necessity of creating nuances in
the material. In the passages between the larger rhythmic transitions, shifting riffs and solos, they've put subtle diversity
in both percussion and strings. What debutants concerns, these guys must be said to be well above average.
Betrayed by God offers seething rage and moods of abstract dimensions in the wonderful solos. The latter
is rather reminiscent of Morbid Angel's occasionally otherworldly moods.
Only the drums seem to be recorded in a studio, but the album is mixed and mastered by outsiders. It does in fact sound
professionally. The dynamic ra(n)ge lands on steady DR5, which is weak, but it doesn't sound distinctly compressed.
Resurrection will be exciting to follow. With a little more experience, and a finicky producer at their
side, I'm sure this band can go far. They have already taken a very good first step, for Betrayed by God
is a demonstration of power in itself.