Invictus Productions, 30.10.15
The British newcomer Lunar Mantra is probing the terrain with 35 minutes of ethereal intensity. I'm
still waiting for someone to speak out and name this maelstrom of infernal lava-infested spiritual chaos-agnostic
netherworldly black metal. You probably know what I'm referring to.
Genesis was originally released digitally and independently way back in January, but now Invictus
has taken pity on the occult trio from Glasgow that in retrospect has grown into a quartet.
The Scots spend the first few minutes on shamanistic chiming and clunking sounds before sharp guitars make their
entrance. The men may be attempting to achieve uniqueness by wrapping their frantic work in an atmospheric expression.
However, this results in a rather runny lava flow that runs smoother than what would be favourable. Intensity may have
a tendency to come across as monotonous when it is performed in dreamy manners.
The band adds melodic elements, but these potential hooks isn't strong enough to attach themselves significantly. If I'm
to be a little extra nitpicking, the sound is also characterized by some debris. It's simply a bit too thin and sharp.
Lunar Mantra offers a good, tried and tested foundation, but Genesis comes a bit short
when the formula is slightly well used and the album lacks that little extra sting to assert itself among the hordes.
The music is by all means not annoying, but for me there's no escaping that it's got a somewhat mediocre touch. At least
thus far, for there's definitely a presence of potential in this band. After all, Genesis is quite
pleasant to listen to even if nothing is particularly memorable, and the release is pretty good to be the first from a
brand spanking new ensemble.
Napalm Records, 30.10.15
In a well-hidden vault, whose location is known only by a few chosen ones, lays a well-kept secret. Safely stored behind
thick concrete walls reinforced with steel plates sits the Holy Grail of death/doom, they very mould from whence its born.
To preserve the essence of past grandeur the template hasn't been cleaned in 25 years. Slag, plaque and other deposits,
however, eventually led to an acute need for cleansing.
In early 2015 the form was overhauled with both caustic etching and sandblasting. The result surprised those involved.
Admittedly, this is just a theory, but the circumstantial evidence is clear. Amorphis and Paradise Lost
have delivered better than in a long time, and the same in addition allegedly applies to My Dying Bride. Also
other bands with a foot or two inside the genre, like Enshine, Below the Sun, Majestic Downfall
(yes, I was too nitpickingly strict), Exgenesis, Mare Infinitum, Soijl, Sorrowful,
Doomed and many, many more, has impressed greatly.
Our sorrowful Swedish friends lay with their sixth album a new weight to the already heavy burden on their shoulders.
To specify, though it's hardly necessary, Draconian plays mournful, gothic sounding death/doom with
beauty/beast vocals and some use of the fiddles weeping resonance.
The album opens stronger than chilli with fantastic Heavy Lies the Crown that reminds quite strongly
of genre legends My Dying Bride around Songs of Darkness, Words of Light, and particularly the middle
My Wine in Silence. Draconian thus sets the bar high. The other eight tracks admittedly don't
live up to such an exquisite level, but they are not particularly far behind, and the songwise quality keeps a fairly
constant level. With those eight the most striking similarities with said Brits also vanishes.
New feminine singer in contrast to male bestial grunting is Heike Langhans. She does a formidable job
with technically good vocals and immersion in the material. Her soft tones may however be slightly in excess gentle and
poppy if you nurture a scepticism toward epic female voices.
As expected, the sound is impeccable. Even the dynamic range is relatively good as it float between DR7 and DR8.
The songs are generally good, though with exception from the opener, they are not picked from the very top shelf.
There's nothing wrong with the very next shelf either, but something extra(vagant) it required in order to become
permanently engraved in the collective metal-consciousness. Sovran is certainly a good album, but it's no immortal classic. One can ask whether the minus next to
the thumb is really necessary, but at least it separates wheat from chaff between wholemeal/whole-wheat flour
and refined flours.
Check out the lyric video for Rivers Between Us (featuring Daniel Änghede of Crippled Black Phoenix) and possibly the
Temple of Torturous, 19.10.15 Moloken comes from Sweden, and a quick listen may very well become a bit misleading. I instantaneous
picked up that the band had fairly dark, maybe even dystopian moods, but it wasn't until I sat down and listened
concentratedly that I caught up with other aspects of All is Left to See.
For better or worse.
The music of Moloken's third album has a rather dismal dreamy touch bordering on nightmares. This fits
the album's concept like a glove. All is Left to See represents the first part of a trilogy entitled
Mörkrets Kärna (Core of Darkness), and deals with the issue of completely losing control in a
downward self-destructive spiral.
Its rather progressive appearance was not something I noticed at first, hasty gaze. This aspect creates good and
distinctive structures which at least distinguishes the band from much of the stuff I normally process.
The guitars are often soft, but has a somewhat intense "shrilling" or "crackling" feel. This is probably deliberate, for
these guys seems technically capable, and the sound is otherwise controlled and rather clear and spacious when the music
isn't too intense. The bass is hard and quite deep, and along with the percussion its reasonably significant. The album
was largely recorded live in Tonteknik Studio in their home town Umeå.
What makes me wrinkle my nose is the hardcore/metalcore/screamo vocals that tear holes in the eardrum as an uneven,
choppy old drill. Nor this element was observed until I opened my ears properly. Then it was too late, and I'm afraid
my hearing is permanently damaged by this shrill noise.
The song length is often short, but varies greatly, from one to seven minutes, and the album lasts about half an hour
with its eight-tracks. The songs have a bit monotonous character, but are drenched in the sweaty discomfort of bad dreams.
The last song Beginning of the End relieves frayed nerves with serene violins, but insidious tones towards
the end gives a highly disturbing feeling that the nightmare is not really over yet.
The album is well executed technically, and the songs all have individual imprints. Despite a bit monotonousness and rather
awful vocal I think the swedes have done a very good job.
In the United States to meet up with men with an affection for ancient Nordic culture. Heathen appears to be the founder who dreams of a place at the long table in Valhalla, but since the
bands inception in 2002 Cold Northern Vengeance has grown into a full band.
The music don't have quite as strong Viking relations as anticipated, though.
It is melodic, melancholic and atmospheric metal in pagan garbs that meets the listener.
Six tracks of approximately seven minutes on average moves mostly at a leisurely pace across the plateau with the north
wind shrieking around the ears and wolves howling in the distance. It's not until The Darkness of Once Was
that the wind strength increases. Blacker metal whips up a blizzard, while the azure blue sea that can be glimpsed down
by the coast is coloured foamingly white.
Maelstrom ain't really some kind of vortex. Maelstrom is atmospheric and introverted. Heathen & co has written some fine tunes and made them come to live with good instrumentation. The man
himself has a comfortable clean vocal that is sometimes interchange with black articulation. Also the sound is approved.
Still, the music isn't particularly exciting, and I've heard both tantamount and better similarities too many times to be
amply impressed. Pretty good quality, rather pleasing to the ears, absolutely not bad, but still reasonably tame.
Now it's your time to judge:
Non Serviam Records, 30.10.15
The label warns against imminent danger of whiplash, tinnitus and bodily overheating (something about breaking a sweat)
when exposed to Invoker.
I have taken my precautions. Neck collar, hearing protection and sweatband has been constant companions during these sessions.
There's not much to do about the fact that it is impossible to capture the details of the music with earmuffs on top of earplugs.
Bullshit aside. Invoker is four Germans with five years length of service, and Aeon is their second disc.
The band plays evocative death metal with a melodic aspect and black overtones. The band steer away the most typical barbaric
and frenzied brutality and rather concentrates on brutality in the form of fairly mighty and suitably arrogant moods with
brutality in terms of heaviness and thrust. Most of it drifts in different degrees of mid-tempo, but one finds parts that
deviate from such general description. Sometimes it's reasonably fast, but the quartet even enters the basement a few times
to pick up heavy doomy rhythms in accordance with Black Sabbath's spirit.
Colossal amounts of music are released nowadays, and the tip of the iceberg that I have the relished opportunity to cover
has got a fairly high and quite even quality. The downside is that an awful lot sounds rather similar. Invoker
doesn't revolutionizing our metallic everyday either, but with that much melody tucked in between the grooves
of extreme metal with such a vivid amount of force as they convey, they still stand a bit out from the majority.
The moods drops by both the mighty and majestic, the sorrowful and melancholic, and the chaos-agnostic, as all portals
open and Lucifer's legions crush the pillars of heaven, causing all that is pious and virtuous to fall straight to Hell.
The audio has descent dynamics, and is juicy, heavy and crushing. The songs got an individually and recognizable mark
that makes them distinguishable. In addition to grim death/black the band adds a little spice here and there, like the
amazing violin works in the short interlude The Wolves Chant.
Summing up, it doesn't matter that Aeon don't win any awards for innovation, or that it ain't a hundred
percent mandatory. The album kicks ass. It's that simple.
Avantgarde Music, 25.10.2015
This Italian band was created in the wake of Draugr's dissolving. The duo released their first single last
year, an EP in February and now their first album has just been released.
The aim is to recreate parts of the mysticism and folklore that the country's various ethnic inhabitants has left the
Italian folk heritage over the years.
The style they have chosen to achieve this task is atmospheric and symphonic folk/black metal.
A well of local traditional folk instruments has been implemented, and the result leads us deep into the country's forests.
That the press release mentions Khors, Drudkh and Negură Bunget is quite natural considering
the exotic and eccentric use of instruments. Kroda should be mentioned in this respect as well.
That Windir is also referenced is not as obvious, although both of them play melodic and evocative folk hymns
rooted in black metal.
In the background rests a veil of synth-based orchestra that creates fullness in the sound. Despite copious amounts of
different elements, the sound has in spacious ways let all the details come together in mighty but soaring, airy and
dreamy fashion. When many components fight for their place in the room, it can get a little bit intense, but it still
sounds quite wonderful. With DR7 usable elbow room is created, although it can get cramped when everything wants to be
With one short song and five long ones, that together extend to over an hour, the songs wind down crooked paths through
historic landscapes. We constantly meet passages with new, exciting and breathtaking details. However, I lower the grade
a notch due to few melody lines having strong memorable features as well as the pagan metal in the base lacking genuine
originality. Nevertheless, the music is both evocative and nice.
Without revealing more I simply end by recommending a dive into these two wolves multifaceted contributions to conservation
of cultural values.
album teaser contains moody photo-graphics, and you can hear all what heart and mind desires here:
Iron Bonehead, 23.10.15
Portugal is a country I have not previously had any particular metallic relation to, and we have already visited the
country twice before this month alone. (Carma & Lux Ferre). Whether or not things are starting to loosen in
Europe's south-west spearhead to the Atlantic, or if it's governed by chance I dare not quite answer, but both
quantity and quality seems to increase considerably. Onirik has existed side 2002 but autocratic member Gonius Rex has reportedly dealt with
the primitive, raw and impulsive.
...up till now!
The one-man band has three albums behind him, and all I've heard is a ten year old split. It was no big deal to write
home about. Casket Dream Veneration is said to be a new birth where the song writing is taken to new
heights, and pleasurable production has reportedly been prioritized for the very first time. Compared with the
aforementioned split this definitely seems to be the case. Excerpts from the band's BandCamp also suggests the same, and as much
as six years has gone by since his previous effort saw the mellow light of the moon.
As most one-man bands, Onirik belongs to the black sphere, but even if the music is cold and a bit sharp,
it remains far from especially hard and unapproachable. Slow black tones with ethereal character reveals progressive
structures as one gets closer to the album. I would not exactly call it prog-metal, but certain similarities with
Hidden in the Fog can actually be traced. The clean choir vocals, that there's a lot of and that contribute to the
spiritual mood, led me onto that particular track.
Thematically even the lyrics are concerns with spiritual observations, individualism, otherworldly quests, dreams,
irreligious freethought and general satanic reflections. I think the title of the first song describes it pretty well.
This is a Requiem for a Profane Liberation.
As a dark waltz into the depths of the subconscious, where the portal to the magical and occult dimensions are hidden,
tonality with a seeking character brings the listener on a journey that feels strange, yet familiar, in obscure and
hideous surroundings which nonetheless feels more secure and satisfying than disturbing.
Heavy, forceful blows to the drums and rather rich bass gives dreaming guitar works and choirs a becomingly contrast-filled
bite, while grim occult vocal lay chanting on top. The production is far from amateurish, but rather dark and rough in an
Do not let my inability to capture and convey the full and entire essence of Casket Dream Veneration
in an effective and enlightening way prevent you from checking out Onirik's fresh works. It is to the
highest degree a comfortable dark journey that fits perfectly to this beautiful full moon night.
Heidens Hart Records, 14.10.15
I've encountered the fairly jolly British brothers of Forefather on a few occasions, but they haven't
left deep traces in my mind. The Fighting Man doesn't see the band return with a new album. This is a re-release of their second album,
originally released 15 years ago. At first glance and listen it may seem likes Celtic Vikings on a raid, but these
Anglo-Saxons are , similar to Skiltron, out to defend the honour of ancient British traditions.
No wait, Skiltron is Argentinian, and team up with the Scots. Talk about confusing identity crisis.
Lets rather call Forefather arch-British melodic and galloping folk-metal, then. The Fighting Man is, according to the press release a career highlight. Uncle Internet, however,
seems to prefer Steadfast (2008).
The album lasts just under three quarters, has ten songs, and is quite varied in style. Rather epic hymns have strong
melodic touch in common and otherwise mostly alternates between a pagan-metallic touch and songs with a clearer hint
of NWOBHM. They've also found room for jovial medieval moods and Celtic trills in The Call to Arms and
When Our England Died respectively, whilst a song like Out Of Darkness with its clean
vocals give a vibe of Pearl Jam. The vocals also moves in various directions. From grunge vocals to dry black vocals.
All in all, The Fighting Man is a completely all right dish which nonetheless don't have strong enough
songs to bite permanently into my cortex.
However, there is scientific evidence to assume that there are people out there with a different perception.
If you're a bigger fan of Anglo-Saxon mello-pagan, this was released on vinyl last year, and the CD was released on the date of
the Battle of Hastings, which is also the album's core theme. The CD comes with the song The Lady's Gift
as a bonus.
Otherwise it may be mentioned that Forefather released their seventh full-length album, Curse of
the Cwelled in April. I embed a stream of that one as a bonus right under a stream of The Fighting Man.
Rain Without End Records, 18.10.15
Compared with Alien Syndrome 777 below, Enshine also utilizes a great deal of synth,
and we're not ready to leave cosmos yet either. Enshine has nevertheless a more organic feel and far
more empathy in their musical universe.
With Singularity the band moves through interstellar space with somewhat greater agility and experience
than what was the case on their début Origin.
Except for the drums, the duo Jari Lindholm from Sweden and Sebastien Pierre from
France takes care of all instrumentation and vocals themselves. This time Fredrik Widigs (Marduk,
Rage Nucléaire et al.) lend his rhythmic skills to the duo.
For over 50 minutes nine songs brings dreamy and soaring moods on wings of strong and good melodies. Musically we can
call this melodic and atmospheric post-death/doom. Much is the same since the first album, but for yours truly
Singularity in a sense feels smoother and more mesmerizing. It may be due to stronger melodies and improved
use of synthesizer, or it may be due to richer sound.
The synth is quite dominant, marked and "modern" at its most massive, and it's not very far from bordering on the pompous,
but it balances perfectly on the edge. Nevertheless, it is very possible that Enshine with its calm and
friendly metal might be too smooth and available for some extreme-metal mongers.
There's a distinct hint of post-metal à la Alcest here, but the music also tastes a bit of melodic Finnish
death/doom. In addition, we find the astronomical influences from cosmos, which this time is brighter and more pleasant
landscaped than the gloomy and dark parts of the cosmos Russian Below the Sun told of. Thus Enshine
ain't too easy to fit geographically with its plural inspirations. On the other side, it might not be easy to
point out exact locations on earth from somewhere in the nebula anyway.
Only lack of time prevents me from writing a full review, for this has been heard many times, and I shall hopefully hear
it many times again. Very comfortable and qualitatively from our international and interplanetary heroes!
Avantgarde Music, 25.10.15
This Italian trio plays black metal with seemingly minimal human intervention, where emotionless black metal is spliced
with sterile electromechanical components in avant-garde union.
The industrial part of black metal is not the one I know best, so I'll avoid referring to too many relatives. Still, one
of the most obvious references, compatriots Aborym, may as well be mentioned even if the expression ain't all
Even if Outer is not quite as clinically intense and inhumane as Mysticum's Planet Satan,
30 minutes still feels like a decent dose in a virtual journey characterized by synthetic surroundings.
The sci-fi-tasting samples apparently seems to lives its own autonomous nano-technological life with instinctive
protocols for constant wireless communication, and piezoelectric actuators and indicators that bleeps, ticks, rings,
buzzes and flashes. It seems the chance of finding organic matter would be higher on the International Space Station.
Along with alien, psychedelic and disturbing moods of inhuman nature we receive sociopathic black metal with equally
eerie surgical precision.
Cold melodies and moods do their best to preserve a minimum of human characteristics in a lifeless universe. Even some
clean vocals offers human recognition, as these may provide some Enslaved vibes.
Whether Alien Syndrome 777's inherent nature is of organic flesh or mechanical pneumatics, one can
only speculate. Their Outer unfolds in a remote and bleak future, but is nevertheless highly
fascinating and a bit addictive. Strong début!
Agonia Records, 23.10.15
The Greek veterans are ready with yet a new release, but not a mandatory one as such for other than hardcore fans. The Confessional of the Black Penitents is an EP consisting of three new tracks and four live songs
taken from a wide spectrum of their rich catalogue.
Let's get straight to the point.
Three new creations gains the honour of opening this ball.
The title song tries to set the mood, but these 3:40 have a hesitant touch that keeps me on my toes, while also inflicting
me with impatience. Sinister Recollections, however finally gives me peace of mind. With everything from
moods that comes sneaking in like smoke through knotholes and under doors to a proud Greek offspring of proto-black metal
in tapping feet -friendly mid-tempo, the band alternates good in a 7.5 minutes long song with light progressive transitions
and slightly blurry French associations. Utter Blackness continues in the same lane, only 30 seconds long,
with melodies, rhythms and moods that gives my fantasy vibes of unfortunate circumstances and destruction with inconsolable
pain as a consequence, without our arrogant narrator intending to show any signs of compassion. This might be just a feeling
that I get.
I have a sense for the two proper songs here. They remind partly on the better moments of Untrodden Corridors of Hades
that I gave four points in a review last year.
I have never had the sense for the début His Majesty at the Swamp (1993). I'm pretty sure that the paper-thin
sound must take some blame for that. Then it's actually quite all right to hear the song Unholy Funeral with
richness and punch. The four live tracks was recorded live in Larisa on May 16th, and the band's guitarist Achilleas
took on the mastering duties for these. The studio-recorded songs were however recorded in Infinite Loop Music
Studio in Greece, and mastered in Strype Audio by Tom Kvålsvoll.
Cassiopeia's Ode from Walpurgisnacht (1995) sounds more vital than the original, and the
same thing is the case for Descent of a Prophetic Vision, which apparently originates from an old EP,
One Step Beyond Dreams from 1991. Kabalistic Invocation of Solomon originates from the last albums, and hasn't changed significantly since that.
All in all, this is a release that hardcore fans hardly could be without. Personally, I think the approximately 40 minute long
EP is rather cozy, but I can't see that it constitutes an obligatory part of the discography for casual fans. Hence a small minus.
Profound Lore Records, 04.09.15
Behind a cover that can cause feverish associations to everything from wild seas to desolate desert wilderness and both
death and cursed regions, we find four Britons with long experience and names like Winterfylleth, Grave
Miasma, Deströyer 666, Sarpanitum and much more on their conscience.
As a persistent curse the album has also haunted my mind. During a month and a half I have returned to Charnel
Passages periodically. I never got around to write about it, but I never got enough of it either.
All aforementioned associations can provide your imagination with steroid stimulus. The theater machinist in the back
of your mind may get a lot to do when Cruciamentum's tones flows from the speakers.
The Englishmen plays death metal of sky high quality. The band has admittedly been around for almost ten years, but this
is their début, and the band has certainly experienced its share of replacements. Thus, it is allowed to get a little
extra astonished when fierce, powerful death metal with brutality and moods are attacking side by side.
Warlike rhythm and furious riffs attack from one flank, while diabolical vocal and possessed spirits without awareness
or mental presence blindly flock in heinous ambush from the other side.
Although the British perform death metal they managed to conjure up some truly exquisite relentless terrifying moods
that fills the arteries with ice crystals. I shall by no means assert that this is the very definition of black
metal, but it has always been a trait and a hallmark of good black metal.
With their very first album, Cruciamentum is dangerously close to bringing the best of both worlds. The myth
has it that when that happens, it shall mark the start of Armageddon. Doomsday is soon upon us... Oh hell, now I'm
just full of shit again, but the objective fact that the album is fucking ripping you will find enclosed evidence for below.
Dark Essence Records, 23.10.15
Always pleasant (former) incendiary Jørn has for years assured that new material is practically just
around the corner, but Chinese democracy keeps dragging out. There has probably not been entirely easy to find a
replacement for vocalist and bassist Janto. After all, the trio Jørn, Janto and
Remi has stuck together as an unholy trinity for 17 years.
Still, it wasn't until last year that the frontman handed in badge and service weapons, and whence the band finally is
back in the saddle again, I had hoped for more than three tracks. Fortunately, they are just warming up. When the
machinery is put in motion as much as 14 years after The Pulse of Decay, it will not lose momentum
any time soon. Moreover the three tracks that this tunnel boring machine moves on clocks in at as much as 18 minutes,
and so fans will have something to sink their teeth into anyway.
New vocalist is Ask Ty, residing in Kampfar and Krakow, as well as having several
other constellations behind him. His vocal screams, snarls, hisses and bellows in animalistic manners, while the words are
still quite easily deciphered. There are those who are always sceptical towards anything new or different. I see no reason
to make an extensive comparison with Janto. Ask's voice suits a band that has evolved further.
The music has a common thread from the last album, but still stands out from previous exploits. Where Pulse...
had a more galloping, chasing touch, this is more soaring, without hovering off into the sky like helium
balloons for that reason. With Bergens undisputed reptile king (Remi is the “snake and croc-chief” at
the Bergen aquarium 123) behind the drums, earthy bombastic rhythms drag the music in a direction of primitive rituals
performed by indigenous people with simple, open minds, not contaminated by civilization and modern culture. They see
stars where we pollute the night sky with electronic lighting. They have kept in touch with the primordial instinct,
the ancient shamanistic traditions and forgotten idols from the dawn of time, whereas modern man chases the minute
hand in perpetual search for life in the moment.
The sound that well-versed scholars provide is naturally raised far above demo level. This sounds distinct and comfortable
regardless of how low or loud the volume is turned.
Almighty Hades takes a step back and two forward as they look back to proto black metal, and builds
upon it with melodic, atmospheric and contemporary means. This is an ethereal journey without physical laws and limits
whether you get a glimpse of Norse or Greek gods in your delirium.
If you happen to be in Bergen in November and the BlekkMetal metal and tattoo festival fits into your schedule, the
band can be caught live there on Friday 13th, no less. If you happen to be in the Netherlands tomorrow, make sure you
catch them at the Aurora Infernalis Festival in Arnhem.
The only thing that remains is to wish Hades Almighty welcome back! A new full length album is scheduled
for release next year.
Iron Bonehead, 02.10.15
It's no longer allowed to smoke in the waiting room, so we might as well go to the birthing center and cut the
umbilical cord since we're witnessing a new bands birth.
The proud parents are French K. Desecrator (rhythm guitar, bass and drums) and F. Goathroat
The bastard Venefixion was conceived when both moved back to France after getting the idea while living
in Australia and Germany respectively, and in addition they hired a local variant of mad-test-tube-geneticist,
W. Cadaver on solo guitar.
The souvenir we are left with after the visit to the madhouse maternity ward are four diaper with pitch-black
smelly content. Four rotten, infected and frantic songs, that is.
Genre-wise the trio is attracted to glorification of death, and as frost injured corpses, it is also covered with toxic
and festered black gangrene crust.
Totally about 15 minutes of evil, rather evocative death metal with agreeable idea-wealth is served with rather woolly
demo sound. Nothing new under the sun, but solid song material foreshadows another devilish offspring.
This is very good for being a demo, and I look forward to observing this spawn of Satan grow stronger.
Naturmacht Productions, 18.10.15
With such a name there can be no doubt that it is the Finnish forests that beckons us. Havukruunu
is a duo that mixes this and that in the black cauldron and end up with something we could simply call pagan metal. Havulinnaan is the band's first release, something one also can get a sense of due to some minor
debris in the sound. The production might not sound completely professional in every aspect, but it is most certainly
not bad either, and a bit scruffy character often goes well with the rural environments around the camp-fire.
Elements from black/folk/viking are established ingredients in the recipe. Humö (bass and vocals) and
Stefan (guitar and drums) have also opted to borrow elements from the primary source, heavy metal, to
add a bit more spice in the pot. Slightly acoustic seasoning also does the trick next to the crackling bone fire.
The band has selected 8 songs to entertain us, and the show lasts for almost three quarters. The music starts with signs
of fibulwinter, where some similarities with Immortal materialize, before choiring backing vocals and melodies
gives a more epic touch. The vocals soon stands out as an object for nitpicking. Admittedly its brutality with clear
dictation is something I have a taste for even if the language is foreign, but the screaming can easily feel a bit too
uncontrolled, creating more noise than euphony.
Otherwise, languages one does not understand is well suited to create mystery, and what languages sounds more like ancient
magical incantations than Sami and Finnish? Maybe absence of language issues constitutes part of the reason why metal-heads
greet metal from all regions of the world so warmly?
Musically the duo has done a solid job. Great melodies creates dreamy moods and the instrumentation doesn't bear witnesses
to fresh meat. Effects like tremolo vibrations 2:25 into Sinervä (track 6, which has been given the wrong
title on Metal-Archives), the stringed instrument that follows parallel to the electric guitar in the last minutes of
Rautalintu and the transition from howling guitar solo to subdued acoustic instrumentation toward the
end of the last song, are examples of thoughtful details in the music. Said heavy metal contributions also works absolutely
superb. Classic solo works can certainly provide worn pagan metal with a boost.
Besides intensity in the sound at places, the sound is actually surprisingly good once the ear gets warmed up, and the
dynamics of DR8 is better than average. I should reduce the grading slightly because of the vocals, but I give a little
débutante-discount by not adding a minus to the thumb, for otherwise this is a brilliant first album in a genre where it
takes quite a lot to distinguish oneself.
This is a band I look forward to follow into the dark uncharted future!
Black Skull Records, 16.10.15
In 2010, four Germans with long experience from other constellations came together to make something new
different. Similar to a band like Demonical, the Germans performs vintage death metal with quite visible
parallels to the black sphere.
Behind a somewhat unintentionally cheerful cover art we find forceful diabolical death metal with juicy sound.
Purely technically the music is firmly rooted in the realm of the dead, but as I mentioned initially the metal has dark
moods that is close to inevitable to associate with black metal.
With groovy pace the quartet plow through nine songs in just over half an hour. Despite short tracks they've found room
for plenty well-sounding brutal eeriness and adequate amounts of variation.
The originality within a “drained” genre can certainly be disputed, but when the band writes tough songs and the quality
of both effort and sound fall to my taste, than I'm certainly satisfied.
Witching Hour productions, CD 18.09.15 & LP 15.10.15
Whether the Polish black metal quartet has kept a low profile in the underground or if my radar needs re-calibration
shall remain unanswered. The band has in any case been in existence since 1997 and has six albums to their credit. Diabeł, el Diablo or the Devil, is a concept about satanic cults in Poland.
Non Opus Dei's black chamber is a soundproof Fritzl-basement with a wide range of torture implements.
Both atmosphere and dissonant instrumentation glows dull and chilly of overwhelming discomfort from the very start.
From the first dystopian tones, it seems clear that the Poles wants us to suffer. The vocals is just as slick and
devious as the music, which lures us in with unconventional rhythmic patterns and an irresistible veil of progressivity.
A seemingly monotonous exterior just acts as camouflage for sharp hooks, razor guitars and sadistic moods.
Whether Non Opus Dei has stood out earlier, I unfortunately can't say nothing about, but
Diabeł shows a band that dares to go separate ways. Their technical appearance reminiscent somewhat about
Alkaloid (among others) but lack of empathic human emotions like consciences, sympathy and compassion paints
their metal black.
Just like Nomad's EP a few notches down, the LP version of this album is released a short month after
the CD. The vinyl version offers cover art with less left to the imagination, and comes in 400 copies.
Hellthrasher Productions, 02.10.15
When the Gateway is opened all Hell is unleashed. Rumbling resounds and tumults are released.
As if hordes of bison ran straight through the room, the clamour and thunder becomes a token of doom.
Masses of unstable stone cave in, in mines rock slides. An earthquake in the depths, moves as high tides.
Heavy granite break loose, quivering and tumbling. The avalanche resonates in endless rumbling.
Deep underground, reverberating echo wrawls.
All the way down to great Lucifer halls.
Gateway received some attention with last year's demo Aeternae. The band's self-titled début
was nonetheless digitally released independently on July 23rd, but now Hellthrasher has taken action.
The Belgian one-man-band was, as I understand it, created by Robin Van Oyen a few years ago. The
style is described in the press release as “sluggish and barbaric death metal infused with ungodly doom and sludge”,
and I have no objection to that description.
With thunderous bass, deep rattling growl and occasional soaring melodies the music moves with the agile progression
of a bloody sloth. Crackle, creak, clank, crunch.
Those who search closely may find stubs of melody lines to cling on to. Some would probably call it hypnotic. Even
white noise is said to be sleep-inducing. Some will embrace Gateway, but I liked the demo better!
It had more dynamics in the sound, which gave each element, especially the drums a far more pronounced character.
Riffs, vocals and melody lines were clear and stood out from each other. The full-length have levelled all ingredients,
and the result is gravel, reminding more of indistinct mud and quicksand than those sharp cliffs.
Judge for yourself, but give the album some time if this style appeals to you.
Whence asked to review this I told head of Hellthrasher that it sounded gnarly in more than one definition of
1. Gnarled; misshapen.
a. Characterized by violent motion; powerful or turbulent: gnarly waves.
b. Unpleasant or difficult.
c. Remarkable; outstanding.
To me, Gateway's new album just happens to be a bit too gnarly.
Nuclear War Now! Productions, 18.09.15
When the band Order from Chaos was split in 1995, it did not take long before two of the members started
Ares Kingdom, a death metal band from Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
The band's last release was a tribute to some of their heroes. We must go five years back in time to find their last ordinary album.
The lyrics on The Unburiable Dead is based on the book The Great War for Civilisation, written by
Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent for more than 20 years. The book revolves
around various aspects of the Middle East events and complications in modern times, and the lyrics are available on
Metal-Archives as well as most likely in the booklet, for those who want to immerse themselves. I find that the music
has more than enough details to concentrate about at this time.
The trio concentrates on death metal with thrash style. Heavy, but fast, as a berserk lawnmower with artificial
intelligence, the album go for the jugulars in highly aggressive manners. The most impressive thing though is that this
frenzied rampage fronts songs founded on almost sadistic ingenuity. In essence, we find excellent structures, vital
variation and thoughtful musical solutions. That in turn, as mentioned, is fronted by masochistic brutality with thrust,
frenetic pace and ominously awaiting passages with great drive, and lively instrumentation with ditto solos.
The production itself might be flawless. The underlying sound seems to be very good. The end result however feels a bit
compact, something the dynamic range of no more than DR5 can testify to. This takes my impression down a small notch,
but not more. The music, with its immense diversity and span, its vividly playful and enthusiastic execution, is unlikely
to disappoint any death/thrash mongers that puts quality before sheer brutality.
Witching Hour productions, 18.09.15 (CD) & 15.10.15 (LP) Nomad has been around for over 20 years, but the Polish death-ensemble hasn't been very active on the
The band's new EP was released a short month ago, and is now also available on vinyl. While the supplies last. The EP
has four tracks, and serves as an appetizer for an upcoming full length album.
Tetrawind starts with calm, atmospheric guitars before swirling drums and heavy riffs makes their
entrance. Gurgling vocals and some black vocal hissing contributes to an already very cool sound. Unfortunately, there's
really not much happening in the song. Tetrawatet is loose and playful in rhythm, but the mood is suitably spooky. Unfortunately, there's
really not much going on other than that. Tetrafire brings more nifty drums and heavy guitars, along with possessed vocals that echoes in the night.
Unfortunately, not a whole lot takes place during the song. Tetraearth starts of quiet and insidious until it approximately halfway creates mighty atmospheres for
a few brief seconds. It soon returns to melancholic eeriness. Moderate signs of strange atmospheric guitar tunes towards
the end notwithstanding, there's no real progress or development to speak of.
Tetramorph in all respects sounds juicy and ripping, but Nomad must work harder on
their compositions towards the album that's planned for next year. I get a bit of Ratamahatta vibes; exciting
for a minute, then repetitive ad nauseam. Nevertheless, the Poles definitively got potential. The band has, in addition
to many years, even five albums behind them, and I won't rule out that the guys have already delivered solid stuff.
The four Tetra elements clock in at about 16 minutes, and the 12 inch that's now being released comes
in 300 black editions with etched B-side.
Heidens Hart Records, 14.10.15
A new acquaintance once again, this time in the form of a Belgian duo accompanied by a “support person”.
Abstrusus takes care of vocals and guitar, S.P. handles bass, while Jonas Sanders
works as session drummer.
The band has been active for over ten years, and has one album and an EP on their conscience. Pugnare...
was apparently released independently a few months ago, but now Heiden Hart Records has picked it up and hereby
releases it in cooperation with Vapula, Wolfmond and Abstruce Eerie Radiance Prod.
Fate's capricious ways are paved with coincidences, and for that reason we don't leave the black trails yet. This
thorny left hand path, along ominous silhouettes of dead and crippled trees, is however illuminated by Lucifer's
lantern, and a glowing, swirling lava vortex.
The ritual doesn't last for much more than half an hour. Of course, that doesn't matter as long as the tour brings a
taste for more. And it does. As soon as the roller coaster reach the surface again, and I've finished vomiting, I get
back in line for another round.
With Satan's foul sulphur breath down the neck, the journey set off into the night and into the underworld. Guitars
howl and screech as old mine cars on worn rail tracks. The bass throws hollow echoes in the tunnel shaft. The vocals,
obsessed by the beast, leads the seance as a born manipulator. The drumskin is whipped to blood by intricate patterns
of ancient incantations. Mesmerizing. Diabolical.
To cut the flow of praise from you humble serpentine preacher... Absolutus doesn't necessarily do
things better than other malignant souls on the same night-train, but even the Belgians delivers solid hellfire.
I have on earlier occasions bothered the reader with negative comments regarding two-track EPs. Aosoth / Order
of Orias is not only an exception to the rule because the mini-LP is a split and not an EP, but also because
the duration provides solid value for blood and sweat.
The two songs keeps the listener hostage and exposes the victim to relentless sonic torture for more than 24 minutes.
The trio Aosoth likely have a stronger name than their sparring partner. The Frenchmen has persisted
since 2002, have five full-length albums behind them, and they get the honour of stabbing the victim first. Through
over 10 minutes they let the razor blades work strenuously. Sharp, uncomfortable and disharmonic black metal cuts
through flesh, chops tendons and punctures capillary veins en masse. Their claustrophobic, phonetic dissonance is not
for everyman. Our gift from artists with deep scars in the soul is to inherit the very same ourself.
Australian Order of Orias is a newer brand that's only got one album. The duo has written and recorded
a song of almost a quarters length for this occasion. These Australians are far less rabid than the sadistik compatriots
below, and they have a somewhat more controlled feel than Aosoth. Slowly and patiently the soberly
conducted Australians perform elaborate and studiously macabre torture with various clamps, ties and fasteners, as well
as compressed air. When the torture after nearly ten minutes seems to fade out, it's just an illusion created to give
Aosoth's raging stabbing and cutting is basically some tough shit. I have a taste for the two albums
marked by Roman numerals, but I feel that they're almost going to extremes with glaring sound and monotonous intensity
this time. Not bad, just not very good. The French are thus awarded “approved minus” this time.
Their song Appendix B follows Appendix A that was released on a split with
Kommandant in July. Appendix C is due for release on a new EP, titled IV, Friday
next week if all goes according to plan.
Split brothers Order of Orias has a more restrained sonic expression, which together with marvellous
oppressive moods, very fine instrumentation and vocals, as well as good variety ensures mighty mesmerising suggestion
in the pressure chamber. This makes them easily deserve “approved plus”.
The sum is a clean approval. Now I have to go wash off all the blood and bandage the wounds.
I can't find any audio samples, but check out other stuff from Aosoth and Order of Orias if you're new to any of them.
Nuclear War Now! Productions, 15.10.15 30 Years of Agonizing the Dead (aka “Sadistik Exekution’s Shittest Hits”) is,
as the title suggests, a celebration of the Australians' first 30 years in the service of perversity.
Here the most morbid and depraved will find the demos Agonizing the Dead (1992) and Suspiral
(1991), as well as the singles Demon with Wings (1996) and Sadistik Elektrocution
(1997), along with a 20-page booklet packed with macabre photographs, abominable artwork and an interview with
mental-case Dave Slave. Surely filled with frenzied and vile utterances.
And as if that wasn't fukked enough, the corrupted and rotten souls in Nuclear War Now! flush a die-hard (aka
“dick-hard”) LP version into the toilet known as society. This includes the nuclear waste rarity
Rehearsal Demo 1987 as a bonus 7" EP for the worst sociopaths and the most fanatical psychopaths out there.
9 obscene trace amounts to about 34 rabid minutes with smelly infected septic smear. Fire tongs and protective gloves
is recommended before you approach this putrid affair.
Warning: Listening may cause nausea, discomfort, reduced mental abilities, mood swings, bad
attitude, social failure, involuntary behaviour and generally crumbling quality of life.
Lupus Lounge, 02.10.15
More black metal, more quality, and we'll stay in Germany.
I frequently find new musical acquaintance who turns out to have been around for many years and has produced plenty
of releases. Often one thinks something like the cliché “where have you been all my life.” It turns out,
however, that Eïs was known as Geïst before 2010, but they changed their name due to
a rock band with almost identical name.
The Germans released three albums as Geïst, and has recently released their fifth album since changing
the name. Admittedly, Eïs didn't appeared on my radar until now. Which also applies to the three bands
We shall once again return to, or rather not even leave, black landscapes, but now we venture into a more melodic scenery.
Bannstein does sound dark and negative enough to escape the big ugly commercial spotlight though.
The albums five songs lasts from 8 to 10 minutes, and has slightly varying expression although they also play on the
same team. Ein letztes Menetekel have a rolling rhythm that quickly spread to various body parts,
while Im Noktuarium is characterized by bombastic, almost pompous orchestral melodies. Über
den Bannstein tastes at times a bit of Limbonic Art in its symphonic leaning, but has its own
atmosphere that winds through 10 minutes. Fern von Jarichs Gärten follows a gloomier trail despite
the not totally appropriate use of artificial synth. Finally Im Schoß der welken Blätter draws the
tempo all the way down. Here we also come across acoustic sections with (artificial) violin strings.
Similar to what I've heard of Geïst, there's a ghostly melancholic mood resting over
Bannstein. This is a very good album, with good songs, instrumentation and sound, but I take away an intended
plus due to some overtly synthetic keyboards. I was wondering how long this wave of “thumbs up plus” would last.
The album is available as CD (digisleeve), LP (gatefold with poster) og dobbel CD with
other versions of each track as bonus.
Stream the album here, and hear more of the band on BandCamp.
Talheim Records, 09.10.15
Whilst we should probably be proud that a German black metal band honours our Norwegian scene by calling a song
Dette er tysk svart metal (Norwegian for This is German black metal), it also feels a bit embarrassing
to hear a German sing in broken Norwegian accent.
Did I say sing? The vocals vary, but there's luckily plenty of sharp black screaming around. Thus it becomes
impossible to capture whether the rest of the song has Norwegian or German lyrics.
Ze Germans are releasing their fifth disc. In true Nordic black metal spirit it nonetheless sounds slightly début'ish
of Dekaden. Thyrgrim is not the most aggressive band in the genre, but dark riffs
and gloomy melodies are still mixed with generous amounts of fierce and rapid crossfire, especially in the first five
After these fairly aggressive songs, clocking in at less than five minutes on average, four longer songs follows,
separated by an acoustic interlude. These songs have a bit more focus on dark atmospheres. Not that we're met by a
very marked distinction.
The sound is quite naked and raw, and I immediately perceived it as rather primitive compared to parts of contemporary
black metal. The sound is, however, far from necro, and a hint of primitiveness is just flattering.
With Dekaden the band also offers strong song material that should be able to attract both fans of
traditional and melodic black metal. (That's Metall with two Ls in Norwegian, dear Germans). I was
somewhat sceptical at first listen, but the album has grown into a(n) (un)comfortable companion in the autumn darkness.
Altare Productions, 01.10.15
We return to Portugal, where black metal warriors Lux Ferre reside.
The band is out with their third full-length album, the first with complete line-up. The band's been around for almost
15 years, and six of those have passed since the last album.
It seems the time has been spent well.
Lux Ferre appears as a quintet where each individual's performance are united to a greater, roaring
entity. Their black metal primarily belong to a generation witch has been spawned in this millennium.
Through nearly an hour the Portuguese takes us on a turbulent journey in Lucifer's empire. The black metal has an
atmospheric feel with elements of wild lava flows and partly a mighty touch mixed with despair and disgust. The music
emerges as forceful and uncomfortable, with moods of hatred and indifference, indeed even sadistic mockery, of the poor
souls whose skin melts in the flames of hell beneath the VIP tribune.
Excaecatio Lux Veritatis is a spiritual seance that reverberates in the halls of Hell.
Grand, atmospheric, depressive, reckless. All in a glorious satanic blend in the form of a pulsating maelstrom.
Mortis Humanae Productions, 13.10.15
This album has used suspicious methods of sneaking in the promo queue. A genuine CD lay awaiting in my mailbox on
Friday. As if that wasn't enough to arouse curiosity, my unfaithful CD-rom also refused to recognize it. This sure
put a damper on the ability for digital playback in woods or asphalt jungle. I cracked a beer and popped it in the
CD player. I'm convinced I did the right thing.
When Mortis Humanae comes knocking on the door, the topic of the day is always underground black metal, usually
of French descendent. The quality in the depths may vary but Neptrecus are no newcomers. The band has
existed since 2011, and from earlier they have one album in their backpack. All current members, after their share of
replacements, also has experience from other constellations.
The quartets black metal goes of with a bang. After a war related intro they head straight into the battlefield of furious
“Panzer Division landscapes”. The sound is cold and mechanical, and the drums are at times so frantic that I for
a moment suspected that a drum machine was doing the job. Lagodas has been playing for Moonreich,
but has not participated on any releases there. He also plays in The Negation, which released an exciting album
this summer. I guess I'll never get around to cover Memento Mori, but at least now I have mentioned the album.
It takes some time to penetrate Frères de Sang's harsh and hostile armoured exterior, but when
my armour-piercing determination finally breaks through, the gain is high.
In close combat, it turns out that the French offers plenty of melody and mood. Melodies that does not compromise
on rawness and hateful character, and asocial moods that reinforce the albums malignant expression.
Frères de Sang, or blood brothers in English, can be coldly recommended to fans of grim black metal.
Sojil was created by Mattias Svensson (ex-Saturnus, ex-Istapp) in the
year 2008. But it wasn't until the end of last year that the swamp monster really began its journey.
Last year, Henrik Kindvall (Skald, eks-Nidrike) joined the ranks of Sojil,
and they received positive feedback on songs made till then. Hence they needed to keep the monster in motion and write
In a genre marked by recycling there's an overhanging risk of blending in with everyone else. Many death/doom bands make
good albums, but far from everyone are able to come up with real classical melodies that sparkles magic and is remembered
Track two, Dying Kinship is one such song. Especially the wonderful part that begins after not much more
than a minute and is repeated several times later makes this song deserve being mentioned in the same sentence as
My Dying Bride. Admittedly the song in its entirety ain't a bloody masterpiece, but it is nevertheless very good.
The looming danger however is that the duo burns of all gunpowder to early.
Albeit the débutants aren't able to follow up and reach the biggest heights again, we nevertheless find them on a very high
plateau where they create strong, emotive and atmospheric moods of hopelessness, but steadfastly pride. Through seven tracks
with almost an hour's duration Sojil paints the sky dark blue with gurgling vocals, vigorous drumming, long
compositions with delightful sound and variation, that can measure up to most contemporaries on the mournful, windswept peaks.
If it would have paid off waiting with igniting the sparkling powder of Dying Kinship till the end of the
record, or whether it is smarter to have an enticement placed early on the album is open for discussion. Endless
Elysian Fields nevertheless contains 6 strong track and one sparkling dark blue ruby.
Iron Bonehead, 02.10.15
Is Pentagram Chile better now than at my first encounter with them?
Is Pentagram Chile maybe better in small doses?
Does Pentagram Chile perhaps emerge as better compared to Unaussprechlichen Kulten's
rabid goat desecration?
I leave the questions hanging in the air for a little while.
The full and complete title of this split is Ritual Human Slaughter / La Mujer, El Diablo y El Permiso de
Dios. It contains one song from each band, and clocks in at not much more than ten minutes.
I'm no big fan of very short releases, but when the music kicks as much ass as it does here, there is no reason to
hold back on the verdict.
Pentagram Chile's début album The Malefice (2013) disappointed me a bit. The music
had solid thrust, good sound, and was reasonably headbanger-friendly. All in all a winning expression. Still, the songs
were too monotonous and featureless in the larger context. It went on and on without actually going anywhere. The song
Ritual Human Sacrifice on the other side has one hell of a groove.
The six minutes begins in slow moving Obituary landscapes, with deliciously creepy moods before a few minutes
later taking a new turn for more aggression. The song frequently switches tempo and offers very good diversity, awesome
rhythms, frantic vocals and a thick layer of malicious atmosphere. The band has shaken off their thrash elements and now
stands as pure solid death metal of the old school. What a ripping surprise from this bunch!
Pentagram Chile appear as rather controlled compared to compatriots Unaussprechlichen
Kulten. When the song Intro - Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggura burst out, my immediate perception,
well after the initial goat bleating and ritual “Silvester Anfang drums”, is of reasonable brutal and chaotic
fury compared to the first song. The unspeakable cult delivers a brutal and grotesque sonic blowout that don't succeed
in impressing on the same level as Ritual Human Sacrifice, but that still ain't far behind.
Both bands deliver solid vintage death metal with occult undertones that leaves large portions of the South American
80s-inspired scene completely in the shadow. I guess I can't claim not having “heard it before.” The first 25 seconds
of Pentagram...'s contribution in particular sounds insanely familiar. Yet, there's no reason to be
hung up in such an aspect when the quality is as high as this.
Unfortunately I can't seem to find no audio to share with you, but if the description sounds alluring I doubt that you
will be disappointed!
EDIT 15.11.15: Radio Fenriz presents Pentagram Chile.
Essential Purification Records, 01.10.15
My first encounter with these four Germans take place five years into their orbit. The band combines traditional black
metal with pitch black moods and unsympathetic samples from electronica into a grim and cynical wholeness.
The atmosphere the band creates is like a sterile operating room with cold and sharp lighting, where nurses with no
hint of smile or empathy and doctors without ethical boundaries removes kidneys, spleens and other organs for wealthy
ringleaders without scruples.
As they have no moral barriers, such vile surgeons have become known as Doctors Without Borders. Nah, I'm just fucking
After hastily hearing a small taste from the band's back catalogue a week ago, I met ...The Psychospherical
Chapter with relatively high expectations. These were quickly taken down a few notches. My disloyal and
deceitful memory let me into an ambush. Hence, I expected some absurd hyperactive madness, an insane technological
bedlam of psychedelic black techno, but the music actually has a far calmer character. The songs move relatively slowly,
often in ethereal surroundings, with ghostly qualities.
As shady spiritual entities that may only be glimpsed in peripheral vision, like words on the tip of the tongue, so
close yet so far away, as those dreams you almost remember, but cant really grip (now that the fucking alarm
clock has jerked you out of sleep), Stellar Master Elite offer unpleasant dreams where shadows, smoke
and mirrors creates bizarre effects without actually revealing its true purpose.
Although I was expecting a hellish carousel of electronic schizophrenia, I soon come to accept what I'm being served;
a dizzying tour of obscure ethereal landscape and derelict industrial installations. Amongst others I encounter
elongated passages characterized by clinical repetitive coldness. Slow, churning emotions that best suits the patient.
Not quite what I expected, but I really like to walk these eternally long creepy corridors in the cellar beneath the
ward of the criminally insane.
Thus, Stellar Master Elite comes across, albeit on different terms than predicted. If you consider
Mysticum to be a bit too eclectic, raw and stressful, III: Eternalism... can offer a calmer bad trip.
Hells Headbangers, 02.10.15 Evil Army consists of the twin brothers Michael Murder and Rob Evil
from Memphis, Tennessee. Together they've played thrash since 2003, except from the years from 2010 to 2012, when
Rob was in the slammer for something or another.
Here they serve a five track EP on just under a quarter.
The music isn't directly bad, per se, but their thrash appears fairly generic on Violence and War.
I, for one, require a little bit stronger songs from a band after ten years of activity with a fair amount of releases.
Competent instrumentation, and in particular some chunks of lively guitar, makes the music audible, but there's certainly
not too much of the latter. Something in the monotonous vocals and music, especially in the song My Rage
Unleashed gives me some punk/core vibes I don't care much for, and the volume varies from song to song.
Agonia Records, 02.10.15
Despite more than fifteen years in the service of extreme metal, and a plethora of releases, Temple of Baal
has only crossed my path once. The Black Unholy Presence demo from 2002 was a primitive piece that didn't
provide much appetite, but the Frenchmen have evolved considerably since that time. Mystery is a tasty black scorched and deadly buffet with red-hot metal and burning chilli.
In other words, Temple of Baal conduct mighty black/death with their fifth full-length album.
Whether the music rages in furious matters or the pace calms down, a grim and threatening mood always lies lurking, while
relatively hefty guitar works lurks in the shadows. These can lie dormant, waiting to give you their seductive, euphoric
death blow until you practically beg for it.
To put it briefly, the album contains grand music with hefty drift, possessed melody lines, demonic vocals and strong
instrumentation, built up with constant progress in dark landscapes marked by the eerie, yet magical diversity shadows,
embers and shades brings in the flickering light of the flambeaus in the dark woods.
With seven tracks ranging from 6.5 to over 9 minutes, plus an interlude, Mystery extends to over 55 minutes.
Thanks to creative song-writing presented with powerful sound produced by Andrew Guillotin in Hybreed Studios,
every minute feels almost equally vital.
The 12" vinyl has a cover of Bathory's The Golden Walls Of Heaven as bonus, but I can't comment on it
as I unfortunately haven't heard it.
Blood Harvest, 02.10.15
If you recognized the band name Denial, that's not necessarily surprising. There is at least 12 bands
with that name around. We're going to Mexico City, the worlds 19th largest city by population (8.85 million. Only about
3.8 million more people than in all of Norway).
The band has been active for almost ten years and consists (after customary replacements) of five men with good experience.
Their discography already consists of an EP and a full length album.
Two evenly long songs, totalling just over 11 minutes, make up this EP. The band plays dark, atmospheric death metal with
touches of hateful anger. I thought I heard signs of occult undertones, but these were more or less replaced by a more
technical approach. The band plays far from typical tech. death, but they blend in rhythmic solutions in that direction.
Heavy riffs, and howling guitars sets the agenda, while more rapid gunfire breaks up this progress before the band risks
repetition, something thy don't seem to risk anyway, as their death metal is in constant motion.
The clean death metal is really solid, but I was in doubt for a moment as to whether the technical aspect contributed
to their barbarous essence, or whether it kept their beastly temper back. It is definitely spicing things up while also
creating character, but I'm still not sure their deadly assault wouldn't emerged as even more profane and morally depraved
without these more civilized fractions.
No matter what the fuck, this sound so killer that I'm adding a plus to an already good impression.
(And for those who wonder: I tried to plot the coordinates 11°22.4'N 142°35.5'E on a map page
to find the position. I ended up in the sea north of Papua New Guinea and east of the Philippines, not far from
Guam. Hell knows what I was doing there).
Iron Bonehead, 09.11.15
I don't run this page to be a bastard and throw shit at hard working artists. Yet I must admit that I downloaded this
promo with the intention of finally getting to use my (until then) unused skull on the right side here.
By the time I got to Tetragrammacide I had actually managed to use my slaughter knifes. With
on the altar, the symbol of poison got its début 2.5 months after the other symbols.
So why spend time on something I practically know I won't like? I decided to give the band an honest chance. Partly due
to shear curiosity. Could this racket also contain hidden qualities?
Before I started writing about metal, only two valid options existed for each new release: Buy and listen, or neglect.
(Which led to the two original symbols V and X,
but that is a digression, hence the brackets). While I now usually hear a record at least five times just to form an
Impression the decision was then often based on an impoverished premature impressions formed after hearing
a mere few minutes. To hear an album in its entirety should still be adequate to determine whether an album is worth
both time and money, although I know I won't be able to capture all the details. This one I have even heard more than twice!
A synthetic noisy intro that is agonizing to the ears is followed by dissonant poignant and über-brutal extreme metal
under a thick layer of atonal raspy frhonetic* noise. (*compound of frenetic and phonetic).
The first half of the name Tetragrammacide is probably derived from Tetragrammaton, the Hebrew
name of the sheet dressed imbecile with the beard. The suffix -cide is used for murder. (Homicide, genocide, suicide etc).
Ergo the name seams to mean exactly the same as Deicide, drawn from deity (from the Latin deus,
or "god"). Tetragrammacide makes Portal sound like The Jackson 5. If you gather up the 20 most
obscure minutes of Portal, Teitanblod or one of those rabid black/death bands I've raved negative about,
feeding them into a sound editor, add a noise-generating filter, plays it backwards at 50% higher speed, normalizes the
volume loud to achieve 100% clipping, save it in hyper-compressed 64 kbps mp3 and play the crap on a pair of
blown plastic speakers... you might end up approaching this frantic nonsense.
I've seen sci-fi B-movies from the 80's/90's where military or extraterrestrial “noise weapon” slayed its fucking victims,
but they weren't even close to this noise bomb. Various military powers has on several occasions used less
menacing music as psychological weapons. Metallica at Guantanamo Bay? Hah... try Typhonian Wormhole...
I think this must be the very first time I've experienced that no tracks on a release reaches more than DR4, or at least
DR3. The dynamic range
here is fixed at DR0! Zero!!! On each and every god-damn song! Un-fucking-believable!
Musically, Indian Tetragrammacide is still a more interesting listening than the Jacksons, even though
the songs are impossible to hear. They seem unstructured and meaningless, though. But the sound doesn't invite to anything
but migraine, and it makes the album completely impossible to listen to.
Holy fucking hell what a piece of bloody mindless rubbish! Utter stinking garbage! God-damned brain-dead junk!
PS: the release date has been moved from October 2nd to November 9th.
Labyrinth Productions, 01.10.15 Carma released their début digitally in July, and it is now out on
cassette (no comment...) via Labyrinth Productions, a sub-label of Altare Productions, specializing
All members of this Portuguese trio also dwells in a black metal band called Everto Signum, and with
Carma they find an outlet for their bleak and ominous side through funeral doom.
After a four minutes intro, characterized by solemn silence as the church organist honour the deceased with soft, sore tones,
the thunder blasts and makes the walls vibrate just as the coffin is lifted up in order to start the funeral procession.
The band's first release offers both beautiful and varied funeral music with booming sound, slow, heavy chords, black,
snarling and hostile growls and drums that compensates for low tempo with hard pounding. Those who like this genre will
most likely also come to enjoy Carma.
The problem is that the Portuguese have not had time to develop capabilities of highly idiosyncratic song writing yet.
Besides the song Lamento, which is based on three movements from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt,
the tunes remains a tad too anonymous to stand out in the crowd.
It doesn't mean that the Portuguese's first attempt in this ensemble don't measure up. The music works very fine, and
holds the hypnotic qualities that's as dazing as anaesthesia when one is a bit tired and relaxed. The band has potential,
but should enhance compositions and attempt to work toward a more idiosyncratic signature, if they wanna climb to the top.
Whether you believe in karma or not, Carma has a certain charisma, and the album is definitely good.
You can watch the lyric video for Feto even if your Portuguese is a bit rusty.
Metal Scrap Records, 21.09.2015
The band from Moldova has existed for about six years and are now presenting their second full length album. The band
performs a form of melancholic melodic death metal with doomy touch and gothic scent.
The quintet has a lyrical concept of how the human mind deteriorates in a modern society where traditional values and
healthy attitudes, old ways and practices lose all status. If I've understood it right.
The music reflects this discouraging irreversible reality. Heavy, mid tempo death metal with affinity to death/doom
retrieves tristesse and atmosphere from doom, and dresses it all in a slightly gothic-sounding synthetic symphony and
a melodic wrapping. The result is dark, sad and bitter.
The result is also quite nice, but not very exciting. The band does nothing intrinsically wrong, but there is a certain
distance to go from not failing to actually succeeding. The songs are decent to listen to. The grim growling and the
symphonic backdrop colours the music well, but the song material doesn't attach itself to my mind. They lack strong
melodic hooks and other clever passages to be remembered.
The sound is decent, but nothing more. Hi-fi nerds can safely ignore this. For the rest of us, the sound won't be the
huge objection, but rather the songs themselves. Part Of Humanity is not bad to listen to, it's rather pleasant, but it becomes a bit average and
negligible, just like the grey, faceless mass of the big city.
Nuclear Blast Records, 04.09.15
I heard quite a lot of Amorphis in the mid 90s, but towards the end of the decade, the band started
to disappoint a lot with lack of punch and lively tunes.
After ten years of releases that gave little appetite, the band again started to show some potential, but it requires
a little extra to take the band into heart after such a long duration of ice front.
With Under the Red Cloud, the band launch a diplomatic campaign, proposing to old fans, and I'm more
than happy to sign the peace treaty.
The Finns offer good and memory friendly melodies here. The music is still soft and comfortable, but not as tame and
boring as it often has been over the years that have passed. Not only are melodies, harmonies and their characteristic
keyboard usage far more vibrant, but the good old growls are back as well.
Perhaps the band has released other good albums in the meantime. They can even have used growl for all I know. It's
been an icy front with cold shoulders.
It took a few rounds to shake off my ingrained scepticism, but eventually I just had to realize that this sounds
unmistakably Amorphis as I knew them. Confidence was restored.
Have you, like me (and probably many others), really enjoyed their early discs, but felt a strained relationship with
the Finns after Elegy? If so, I suggest you give them a second chance now. The time is ripe, and all
the conditions are present for a renewed friendship.
The album lasts for 50 minutes (or 60 with two bonus tracks), and the band could have trimmed away a couple of songs,
since a few tracks may be a bit meek, but that's just my opinion. The playing time is otherwise not too long.
After all, Elegy lasted over 56 minutes.
All in all I can't do anything but to wish Amorphis welcome back in good old shape.
Hear Death Of A King, a song that flirts with some of the same Indian snake charmer trills as
Better Unborn, via stream here, or watch the video. See also the video for