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October 2016:

31.10.16

ULCERATE - SHRINES OF PARALYSIS

Ulcerate - Shrines of Paralysis Very Good

Relapse Records, 28.10.16
It can be difficult to catch everything, even when you're fully aware of each individual release. There are a number of renowned bands that have released albums I haven't had time or opportunity to cover this year, and there are some who have earned a well deserved reputation without me having caught up with them.
A band of the last type is New Zealand's Ulcerate.
The band managed to release three albums before I could get on the carousel with the previous album, Vermis 2013.


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31.10.16

KINGDOM - SEPULCHRAL PSALMS FROM THE ABYSS OF TORMENT

Kingdom - Sepulchral Psalms from the Abyss of Torment Good

Godz Ov War Productions, 30.10.16
What you've got in store from these beastly Poles can almost be read in the title of their third album. Much like Burial Hordes, a few notches further down the page, this band has a whiff of sulphur and a layer of black crematory ash swirling as road dust when the trio goes full throttle.
When the band calms down in occult, satanic and evil moods, the soot settles again, making discoloured cobwebs reappear.


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29.10.16

FLUISTERAARS - GELDERLAND (EP)

Fluisteraars - Gelderland Passable

Eisenwald Tonschmiede, 28.10.16
Besides two demos, the Dutchmen of Fluisteraars have delivered two alright, but far from ground-breaking or particularly distinctive albums. A year after Luwte, and almost three years after Dromers, the trio presents a two-song EP on just under ten minutes.
I have previously accused the band of a bit excessive monotonous post-atmosphere. Gratifyingly, the two relatively short songs on Gelderland contain more variety than the band's often much longer compositions. I'll give'em credit for that.

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28.10.16

ABDUCTION - UNE OMBRE RÉGIT LES OMBRES

Abduction - Une Ombre Régit Les Ombres Very Good

Finisterian Dead End, 28.10.16
Ten years ago, Abduction took form, inspired by Dissection, Primordial and French black metal.
The plague doctors convey a schizophrenic alternating style, which fluctuate between soothing moods of forest clad sceneries and sharp explosive intensity.
After an EP released in 2010, this is their first album, and a very successful one as such.


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28.10.16

BURIAL HORDES - EXTINCTION (EP)

Burial Hordes - Extinction Good

Folter Records, 28.10.16
Greek Burial Hordes' 15 year long history has passed beneath my radar. Or so I thought. It would, however, turn out that I had heard and even written about their previous album, Incendium (in Norwegian) back in 2014. Two of the band's three former albums have been released via Pulverized Records and Hellthrasher Productions.

The band has changed somewhat since the last time, but not very much. Slightly sluggisher. Slightly heavier.


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27.10.16

HORIZON OF THE MUTE - TROBAR CLUS

Horizon Of The Mute - Trobar Clus Good

Death Shrine Offerings, 26.10.16
Circumstances may have quite a bit to say when forming an impression of music. The Finnish one-man band Horizon Of The Mute reel of his funeral doom so syrups-slow and monotonous that it feels like getting glued to the pavement while time gradually slows down to a standstill.
I enjoyed the EP Horizon of the Mute, which I mistook for a full-length debut half a year ago. When attempting to listen to the actual debut Trobar Clus an early morning, however, it felt like an everlasting protracted affair.

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27.10.16

NETHERBIRD - THE GRANDER VOYAGE

Netherbird - The Grander Voyage Superb

Black Lodge, 28.10.16
Swedish Netherbird was an unfamiliar name to me until they released their third album, The Ferocious Tides Of Fate after nearly ten active years. Considering their seemingly anonymous existence, the album was a very positive surprise. The music consisted of a highly professional hybrid of evocative, melodic black/death with strong compositions.
When the fourth album is finally released, the band has slowed down the pace and rupturing punch a few notches, and put greater emphasis on moods.


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27.10.16

ZEALOT CULT - KARMENIAN CRYPT (EP)

Zealot Cult - Karmenian Crypt Good

Blood Harvest, 24.10.16
Irish Zealot Cult's first EP was released independently earlier this year, but has now been etched into the grooves on 12" vinyl.

Self-released debut EPs are comparable with demos, and the opening riff only increased my scepticism. The release is presented as “a blast from the past and a detonation of the present”, which my critical mind quickly translates into typical contemporary “generic clones”.


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26.10.16

ZAUM - EIDOLON

Zaum - Eidolon Middling minus

I Hate Records, 24.10.16
4.5 minutes is the time it takes before the metal aspect in the first of two 20 minutes long songs initiate.
Zaum hails from Canada according to the press release, but I lean more towards the theory that this is a recording of an unknown tribe deep in the impenetrable Amazon jungle. The band exploits the opportunities funeral doom possesses considering amalgamation with other genres.


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25.10.16

WATCHTOWER - CONCEPTS OF MATH: BOOK ONE (EP)

WatchTower - Concepts Of Math: Book One Bra

Prosthetic Records, 07.10.16
No medal to the first ones that guess technical death metal after having glanced at the cover. Or so I thought. Still, the music of this American ensemble surprised me. Positively, I might add. The initiated will understand why, other ignorant fools, like myself, could do well with a little explanation.

The band was formed as much as 34 years ago and is acclaimed in certain metallic circles. The activity has however been variable.


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24.10.16

ANATA - THE INFERNAL DEPTHS OF HATRED (Re-release)

Anata - The Infernal Depths of Hatred Very Good

KaosKvlt Records, 21.10.16
It's closing in on 20 years since Anata's classic debut was released via Season Of Mist. Of course I have nothing new to add, that existing fans don't already know by heart. I frequently avoid re-releases, but sometimes it's nice to revisit an old acquaintance, and there's always someone who for some reason haven't discovered any given album.
Therefore, a brief review of The Infernal Depths of Hatred, now released via Kaotoxin Records' sub-label KaosKvlt.


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24.10.16

PENITENCE ONIRIQUE - V.I.T.R.I.O.L

Penitence Onirique - V.I.T.R.I.O.L Good

Emanations, 16.09.16
The French duo Penitence Onirique wishes to offer an escape from reality via esoteric black metal. It's a nice thought, and I appreciate the offer. My impression is still somewhat ambivalent. However, it improves gradually.
The Frenchmen creates dreamy moods by mixing an atmospheric approach with black furore and tristesse. The process gives rise to comparisons with the musical half brother, the deranged ambassadors of discouragement; the eastern Canadians.


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23.10.16

OBITUARY - TEN THOUSAND WAYS TO DIE (Single/Live)

Obituary - Ten Thousand Ways To Die Good

Relapse Records, 21.10.16
Ten Thousand Ways To Die is basically a two-song single from the veterans in Obituary, but in quantity, the bonus material draws the longest straw.
They namely incorporate 12 live recordings from their Inked In Blood world tour.
The likes of generous bonus package, I think you'd come short trying to find on any other single.


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22.10.16

ZORNHEYM - A SILENT GOD (Single)

Zornheym - A Silent God Good

Non Serviam Records, 21.10.16
Singles anno 2016 are typically released as previews on YouTube, often with a lyric video, or at best a proper music video. Physical single releases with the aim of creating expectations months before the release date, belongs to a bygone era, and this is thus a digital single.
Brace yourself for men in white coats who enclothe you in a straitjacket and force you back to Zornheym - the asylum for the criminally insane, with the second single from the upcoming Where Hatred dwellers, And Darkness Reign.

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22.10.16

ENDALOK - ENGLARYK (Demo)

Endalok - Englaryk Middling

Signal Rex, 07.10.16 & Hellthrasher Productions, 21.10.16
A quick peek at song titles as Hræ Guðs Fargað and Óhugnaðurinn quickly brings a suspicion that we're off to Iceland. I can confirm the suspicion.
In the wake of kaleidoscopic Vikings who most deservedly have been globally hailed by black metal fans, all sorts of offshoots begins popping up like weeds. I fear that these wannabees will spread on the saga island just as rabbits once subjugated Australia under their small hare paws. At least rabbit's feet brings luck.

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22.10.16

SHADECROWN - AGONIA

Shadecrown - Agonia Fairly Weak

Inverse Records, 21.10.16
Finnish Shadecrown was conceived in 2012, and dropped both demo and EP the following year.
My first encounter with them is this full-length.

It begins pretty decent, and the music possesses reasonably good quality, but certain undesirable elements have a tendency to pop up time and again, and ruin some of the dismal fun.


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21.10.16

VERBERIS - VEXAMEN

Verberis - Vexamen Middling

Iron Bonehead, 21.10.16
Oddly enough, I tend to be drawn toward music I actually enjoy listening to. Since I don't have time to review everything, I easily end up prioritizing the goodies, and turn a deaf ear to the rest. Drops in the ocean has no identity, and leaves me dispirited. Verberis may not be quite that hopeless. They have a lot of potential, but with Vexamen, it remains relatively untapped, and it leaves me halfway indifferent.


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21.10.16

SPECTRAL VOICE / PHRENELITH - SPECTRAL VOICE / PHRENELITH (Split EP)

Spectral Voice / Phrenelith - Spectral Voice / Phrenelith Fairly Weak

Iron Bonehead & Dark Descent, 14.10.16
Dirty, under-produced, necrotic death metal is what it's all about when US Spectral Voice and Danish Phrenelith find each other like two rotting corpse in necrophilous carnal knowledge.

Both bands have a small number of years and demos behind them, and delivers one exclusive song each on this split.
The whole session is done in 11 minutes. Hell, even I last longer.


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21.10.16

HANNES GROSSMANN - THE CRYPTS OF SLEEP

Hannes Grossmann - The Crypts of Sleep Very Good

Independent, 02.09.16
German drum virtuoso Hannes Grossmann is, as you're probably aware of, back. Unless melo-progg-technical extreme metal ain't your thing. In which case it may of course have passed you by unnoticed.
This year's release almost fades a bit, overshadowed by last year's monolith from the collaborative constellation (read “super band”) Alkaloid. Perhaps in particular because Grossmann as a solo artist operates in roughly the same landscape.


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20.10.16

ESCARNIUM - INTERITUS

Escarnium - Interitus Superb

Testimony Records, 14.10.16
Death metal seems to seep out of every Hell-hole in spades these days. Much is wicked as fuck, and some even tougher, but even Mercyless below sounds awesome and ace in a not utterly spectacular fashion. At least compared to Escarnium from Brazil, who offers a lethal injection of another world.

The quartet hails from Brazil and has been through their share of replacements and miscellaneous minor releases during the past eight years.


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20.10.16

MERCYLESS - PATHETIC DIVINITY

Mercyless - Pathetic Divinity Very Good

Kaotoxin Records, 07.10.16
The market is flooded with death metal of the classic variety. Think Immolation, Sinister, Krisiun et al. Much of what I lend my ear to, just make me mentally fatigued. Death metal without distinctiveness and hooks can be pulverizing enough, but drowns in identical hopefuls, void of identity. Sometimes you still come across something that sticks out in the crowd.

That the cover art is ugly as a scorched porkchop long lost under the porch, and fills me with disgust, is bloody irrelevant.

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14.10.16

THEM - SWEET HALLOW

Them - Sweet Hallow Weak Middling

Empire Records, 30.09.2016
Do you regard King Diamond's classic "Them" as sacred ground? Do you consider any attempt to recreate the magic by replicating the style as profane sacrilege? If so, you may want to avoid reading any further.

If, on the other hand, you can't get enough, and you might settle for a considerable paler copy, Sweet Hallow might be just your thing.


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12.10.16

TORTORUM - ROTTEN. DEAD. FORGOTTEN. (EP)

Tortorum - Rotten. Dead. Forgotten. Good

W.T.C.Productions, 13.10.16
Two years have passed since the Bergen, Norway based band Tortorum, where the two original members hail from Britain and Poland, released the excellent Katabasis.
Meanwhile, renown Dirge Rep has come and gone as drummer. Sulphur's Vrolok was the one handling the sticks on both their albums. With panache.
Barghest, as always, takes care of vocals and bass, while the guitars are still handled by Skyggen and Specter. Skyggen has assumed responsibility of hammering on this EP.


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12.10.16

DECOMPOSED - WITHER

Decomposed - Wither Good

Chaos Records, 03.10.16
Swedish decomposed have released their third album.
Although the legacy of Stockholm has had a certain impact, it is still wrong to compare the band from Sundsvall to classic HM-2 death metal.
The crew is on this album reduced from quartet to only Jesper Ekstål on everything besides the drums, which is left to the guest musician Emil Leijon from another new and promising death metal band, Cerecloth.
The tough and leaden death metal these guys deliver, has roots deep in the grave, and is discharged as ominous curses.

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12.10.16

MIST OF MISERY - ABSENCE

Mist of Misery - Absence Superb

Black Lion Productions, 13.08.16
It's been four months since we dissected the Temple Of Stilled Voices EP from Swedish Mist Of Misery, and I complained over both song-writing and sound. The band has of course taken my words into consideration.
That's just the way it is. My profound authoritative influential impact is voluminous and highly revered.
Joke aside, I really believed these Swedes had what it took to deliver, and with their sophomore full-length, they have indeed fulfilled my hopes.


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11.10.16

SKILTRON - LEGACY OF BLOOD

Skiltron - Legacy Of Blood Good

Trollzorn, 30.09.16
There wasn't much warm moods of Scottish highlands to be found in Haar's rancid universe, so to remedy this, and to offer a dose of real Gaelic highlander metal we go directly to Argentine Skiltron.

Confused? It's quite simple, really: These Argentinians have dedicated themselves to Celtic folk metal. It's as natural as if a Spanish band were to do the same thing, or as if a Finnish band should have played Japanese samurai metal.
Though that's probably never going to happen.

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10.10.16

UR DRAUGR / HAAR - HAAR / UR DRAUGR (Split)

Ur Draugr / Haar - Haar / Ur Draugr Very Good

ATMF, 07.10.16
Near the end of last year, Australian Ur Draugr delivered an album called With Hunger Undying, that made a very strong impact on your truly.
Scottish Haar also got my approval for their latest work, The Wayward Ceremony, although the song material wasn't entirely flawless.
When the kilt-clad barbarians now meets the untamed predators from down under in a sonic duel, they've stepped up their game and raised the stakes.


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08.10.16

GATECREEPER - SONORAN DEPRAVATION

Gatecreeper - Sonoran Depravation Good

Relapse Records, 07.10.16
With Relapse backing the newcomers, Gatecreeper have managed to make their mark reasonably fast.
The band from Arizona plays pure, leaden death metal of the timeless sort, and has done so since 2013. After an EP and participation on three splits, Sonoran Depravation is their first full length.

I veto the band name. Gatecreeper couldn't even sneak up on a deaf and senile old hag in a coma. Gatestomper would perhaps have been a better moniker, or even better; Gatecrusher.

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07.10.16

MARTRÖÐ - TRANSMUTATION OF WOUNDS (EP)

Martröð - Transmutation of Wounds good

Terratur Possessions, 15.09.16 & Fallen Empire, 20.09.16
Martröð is again an exciting new acquaintance. The band is an international collaboration between artists from Iceland, France, USA and Italy, and the members are otherwise based in a shitload of prestigious bands.
The music they've constructed together, is black metal of the anxiety-generating, claustrophobic type.
We are hereby present with two songs clocking in at about eight minutes each.


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07.10.16

NORDWITCH - MØRK PROFETI

NordWitch - Mørk Profeti Very Good

Satanath records & Darzamadicus records, 30.09.16
The quintet NordWitch hails from Ukraine, and was formed in February last year. On the debut with the nifty Danish/Norwegian title Mørk Profeti, which translates to Dark Prophecy, we find a squirt of clean, Hungarian blood... from drummer Donets Stepan, but subsequently, he's been replaced. Otherwise, the line-up is stable.

The band plays death metal with a lot of melody and mood, as well as aggression and punch, and a whiff of sulphur and soot.

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06.10.16

ANTIMATERIA - VALO AIKOJEN TAKAA

AntimateriA - Valo Aikojen Takaa Fairly Good

Purity Through Fire, 01.09.16
With minimal knowledge of AntimateriA, it was still easy to form a picture of the band as a Finnish one-man band.

The band plays an atmospheric, melodic and melancholic offspring of partly ambient-sounding black metal.


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05.10.16

VIRVUM - ILLUMINANCE

Virvum - Illuminance Good

Self released, 16.09.16 & Season of Mist, 24.11.17
Whether an album is compared to the rest of the bands discography and to adequate releases of related bands, or if it's being judged separately, independent of its own and others' history, can affect the results significantly.
To achieve the most accurate impression, it's clearly best to put an album in the proper context. I do however not listen a lot to technical/progressive death metal, and especially not to bands that explores this direction.


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05.10.16

DOOMED - ANNA

Doomed - Anna Very Good

Solitude Productions, 26.09.16
The Germans with the characteristic green cover arts are back to spread genuine grief and discomfort.
For those who have no knowledge of Doomed, the band plays death/doom with sadness and misery à la funeral, but with a more vital and progressive approach.
Unlike all too many home-made one-man bands, Doomed it what it may be tempting to call a professional one-man band. Except from a few guests, mainly vocalists, the full burden lies on Pierre Laube's shoulders, and Anna is his fifth Doomed album since 2011.

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04.10.16

SKÁLMÖLD - VÖGGUVÍSUR YGGDRASILS

Skálmöld - Vögguvísur Yggdrasils Fairly Good

Napalm Records, 30.09.16
In a few months it'll be two years since the Icelandic Vikings in Skálmöld released their third full-length album.
Having spent time with Viking raids to promote Með Vættum, the guys have had shore leave, prepared the next expedition and anew set sail.
With lullabies for Yggdrasil, the tree of life, the listener is taken on a musical journey through the nine homeworlds of Norse cosmology.


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03.10.16

NOCTEM - HAERESIS

Noctem - Haeresis Very Good

Prosthetic Records, 30.09.16
Spanish Noctem are anew ready to make an effort for king and fatherland. Though, they probably care fuck-all for monarchs and regents like the rest of us, and it's not exactly jolly anecdotes from their homeland they present us with.
At first glance, so to speak, Haeresis emerges as at least two notches more sterile than masterful Exilium. That first impression changing quickly, though.
No one expects the Spanish Inquisition, but here it returns with full force.


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01.10.16

NEGURĂ BUNGET - ZI

Negură Bunget - Zi Weak

Prophecy Productions, 30.09.16
About a year ago, Negură Bunget embarked upon their Transylvanian trilogy with delightful Tău, which explored local nature and legends. Now the band is here with the second part, which takes a closer look at local traditions and rituals, with special focus on the traditional development phases and associated initiations men undergo from children, through teens and young adulthood to fully fledged warriors, and onward to outcasts.


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