Saturday, 19 April 2014

Pyre / Entrapment - Split

PYRE / ENTRAPMENT - Split (Soulseller Records - LP 2013)
I was trying to hunt a copy of this split 12”MLP for few months, but finally I got one! Hell yeah, here’s yet another really fuckin awesome piece of old styled, filthy and creepy death metal! And on this black wax we have joined forces of two bands: Pyre from Russia and Entrapment from The Netherlands! I’m a fan of both for some time, so I just had to put my hands on this vinyl. And I am damn happy to have it, as both bands did not disappoint and delivered exactly what I expected to find.
First comes Pyre. This band is a phenomenon to me. Russia – despite being such a huge country – is a shit, speaking of their metal scene and really there’s not even one single band from there, which I would like. Come one, all this pagan shit like Arkona or Alkonost is completely useless. There are also no death metal bands, which would be good… except of Pyre. This band is the first Russian band, which I truly liked and I will definitely keep to support them and have my eyes and ears open for all their future offerings. The debut MLP “Ravenous Decease” was incredibly good and now I can listen to their two new songs… And damn, they do not disappoint and I can only speak about them in superlatives. I love the production, which Pyre managed to get… A sound, which fits this kind of rough, aggressive and obscure death metal perfectly. It instantly awakes the feeling of something dark and utterly horrendous. Like some indescribable creature was hiding in the dark, lurking at you and freezing your blood, devouring your fear… Anyway… Hehe…Two excellent songs, stylistically between some Swedish acts like Repugnant, Maim, Degial, Bastard Priest and the always influential Autopsy. I love “Into the Chains” especially, oh, just listen to this opening riff in it… what a killer tune! But really, absolutely everything here sounds just right for me; it kicks ass, it is vicious and dark, it is violent but has a great feeling and is sort of memorable. Pyre rules, that’s it!
And now Entrapment. I am afraid that I still didn’t manage to put my hands on the band’s first album “The Obscurity Within​.​.​.”, because I am stubborn and want to get this album only on vinyl… and the first press LP was criminally limited to barely 300 copies and not even one was left for me. Fuck, so year and a half after its release I still have not heard it. But I will, Michael promised me that “The Obscurity Within​.​.​.” shall get a vinyl repress soon. I am fuckin ready for it! What is all this fuzz about? Well, Entrapment is awesome. I first got their “Crawling Morbidity” 7”EP, which was just killer and later I also bought “Irreligeous Abominations”, which turned out to be one of the best Dutch death metal releases in years. And I love many Dutch bands. So, it’s finally time to listen to some new slabs of putrid death metal. And damn, this word putrid fits this music perfectly. The sound is even more rough and filthy that on Pyre side and the same can be said about the music. It feels more messy and almost primitive, even though it probably is a bad word to be used here. But that’s mainly due to this harsh production, which gives Entrapment music almost kind of the demo / rehearsal feeling. I am not totally sure whether I like this sound in 100%, maybe the whole material feels slightly too much underdeveloped, if you know what I mean. Which doesn’t mean it is bad. The music of Entrapment has a strong Swedish death metal touch, like the melodic theme, which opens “Graves Disease” – damn, I just know this melody for years, maybe it sounds so much like old Tiamat? I like when these harmonious parts mix with more aggressive and severe riffs. Yeah, this is almost like a classic Swedish death metal demo!
So, two great bands are here. I personally liked Pyre songs this time more, they really do fuckin shred here and I give them 90/100, while Entrapment would get 70/100. The average for the whole is 80/100 then.

Final rate: 80/100

Into Darkness - Transmigration of Cosmic Creatures into the Unknown

INTO DARKNESS - Transmigration of Cosmic Creatures into the Unknown (DOOMENTIA - 7"EP 2014)
Last year I had a chance to hear and review the excellent debut release from Italian death metal ghouls called Into Darkness… and this CD had some of the most impressive tunes that I have heard that year. So I was very eager to hear some more music from the band… but it took them a while, before next offering was ready. First Into Darkness witnessed some line up changes (leaving only Doomed Warrior left from the previous line up), then recorded “Cosmic Chaos” demo cassette – which I am afraid I did not hear and finally the time came for the 7”EP “Transmigration of Cosmic Creatures into the Unknown”. This single contains two brand new songs – the title track and “Dreadful Omen of a Dark Millennium” and let me tell you – if you liked the first Into Darkness MCD and also like all these obscure, punishing old styled death metal bands then I sure that “Transmigration of Cosmic Creatures into the Unknown” will be perfect for your taste!
When I compare “Transmigration of Cosmic Creatures into the Unknown” to “Into Darkness” then I can say that this new EP is just equally strong and solid effort. It is again very good, killer death metal, born in the fuckin pits of hell, filled with brutal, massacring riffs, ghoulish vocals of Doomed Warrior (she is awesome!) and more so, it has this dark, eerie atmosphere of horror. Into Darkness clearly knows how to compose some killer tunes and yes, they did succeed, delivering pure slaughter again! I think that the material on this EP is faster than on the debut CD, but style wise it is still pretty much the same kind of morbid and obscure death metal a’la early Asphyx and Derketa. I especially loved “Dreadful Omen of a Dark Millennium”, which is just absolutely perfect for me; it has some fast, neckbreaking parts, but also some slower, doomy moments, there’s even a nice melodic theme in one part… but in its entirety, it is just fuckin killer track, a total traditional (Dutch like) death metal worship. Fantastic! But the title song is also great, so I really have enjoyed this single a lot, both the band and Doomentia Records did splendid job when releasing this. It is a must to have… But now I wait for the full length album!

Final rate: 85/100

Putrevore / Putrefact - Funebre Plague into Darkness

PUTREVORE / PUTREFACT - Funebre Plague into Darkness (UNHOLY PROPHECIES - 7"EP 2014)
Funebre Plague into Darkness” is the split 7”EP, which a new label on the scene has just unleashed. The label is called Unholy Prophecies and I can say that they already on the start have some great bands in the roster (like Morbid Flesh, Insulters plus they also released three killer 7”EPs). “Funebre Plague into Darkness” joins the unholy forces of Putrevore (yeah, Rogga again!!!!! In this band he’s in collaboration with Dave Rotten from Avulsed) and Putrefact.
I started to listen to this 7” with the Putrefact side, because I have never heard of those Mexicans before and I really wondered what are they like. This is rather new band, having only a couple of releases prior to this split, but I was very eager to hear them, as some Mexicans bands are really fuckin awesome – like Infinitum Obscure, Omision, Denial and Ominous Crucifix. And definitely this one song titled “Morbido Obscuro” did not disappoint, so I can add yet another killer band to this list! It shreds like a fuckin bulldozer! It is harsh as hell, obscure and morbid (hehe) death metal, based on vicious riffing, severe vocals and frenzy, relentless fast pace. Great, great song, really, I actually like it even more than Putrevore side of the split, as there’s something truly ferocious in it, with great atmosphere and it’s that kind of death metal, which I can compare to such Throneum or Sadistic Intent and which I always liked so much. Killer stuff!
Putrevore offers a song titled “A Cold Grasp in the Night”. And I guess that if you’ve liked this band’s two previous albums, especially the killer “Macabre Kingdom”, then I think you won’t be disappointed with their song. Putrevore’s death metal is quite different to Putrefact, it may not be so vicious and possessed, but surely it is more brutal and heavy, with some truly crushing riffs and deep growling parts of Dave Rotten. The production on this song is maybe not 100% what I like, but it is not bad either. Definitely this is another cool song and in total I must say that the whole “Funebre Plague into Darkness” is just a brilliant 7 inch piece of red vinyl. I like it a lot, so I recommend you getting yourself a copy. There are barely 300 units released, so you better be quick!

Final rate: 80/100

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Hooded Menace - Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze

HOODED MENACE - Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze (DOOMENTIA - MLP 2014)
It’s damn hard to keep track on what Hooded Menace is releasing. They have quite impressive number of split MLPs, split EPs or whatever else, plus there are three killer full length albums behind them. So, one need to really invest big money to get everything, especially when such releases like the split 7” with Asphyx goes for ridiculous money. This is why my collection of Hooded Menace recordings is still poor. But when I saw the newest MLP “Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze” is getting released, I got a copy immediately, before it’s too late. All in all, the last LP “Effigies of Evil” was simply amazing, so I hoped that this 12” MLP will continue this and be also damn impressive.
And definitely the signs of genius can be found in these two songs of “Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze”. I dare to say that all fans of the utterly mournful, dark, sorrowful and fuckin doomy death metal will love it to the bone. Hooded Menace hasn’t changed much, if comparing this MLP to the previous efforts, maybe their music is even more obscure and terrifying, bringing the atmosphere of eerie, ghastly horror in every sound. The first song for that matter, “Chasm of the Wraith” is based upon the old horror movie “Cry of the Banshee” (based on Edgar Alan Poe novel)… Arrghhh, just listen to the intro from the movie, when the head of the coven curses lord Whitman... it sounds so creepy! The band sets a perfect mood for it, basing this song on very slow, massive, heavy riff, with some more harmonious patterns used here and there to make it sound more interesting. The result is brilliant. Nothing innovative, sure, but I like it a lot! And “The Creeping Flesh” (based on the British horror movie of the same title) is even better! It has moments, when the music reminds me the good old Paradise Lost… just listen to these harmonious guitar parts, with slow, doomy background riff... And Lasse Pyykkö’s vocals are utterly deep, abyssal growls all the time. So, everything here is  just as it should be, really.
Ah, I really have listened to this MLP with a great pleasure. I did so several times during last night and damn, what a killer atmosphere it created! Meanwhile I received an info about yet another release of Hooded Menace; a split with Loss. Anyone has some spare money, so I can get myself a copy??

Final rate: 80/100

Monday, 14 April 2014

Paganizer - Dead Unburied

Rogga Johansson and his Paganizer belongs to the most active and prolific death metal bands of the recent years. Basically every year brings us some new recordings! OK, to be honest, not all of them are totally great, some are little bit boring, some clearly have just material of fillers and mediocrity (like the split with Depression). But most of the full length albums of Paganizer are really awesome. Especially in the early 00’s the band has spawned several great albums and every next year another killer came. 2001 was a year of “Promoting Total Death”, then 2002 was the year of “Dead Unburied” (and then next year “Murder Death Kill” arrived and in 2004 “Divine Rapture”, another two fantastic albums!). “Dead Unburied” was again released by Forever Underground, what makes it quite hard to get nowadays (but it was re-released on a compilation with first three Paganizer albums)… But believe me, it is worth getting.
When listening of “Dead Unburied” there’s one thing, which strikes you from the beginning and which when compared to the “Promoting Total Death” album is a great advantage and improvement… and that is the production of “Dead Unburied”. The album was recorded in the Sunlight Studio with Tomas Skogsberg. More so, the mastering was fixed by Dan Swano… So, two masters of the Swedish death metal sound are responsible for this record! And you can hear it; the sound on “Dead Unburied” is fantastic. It is brutal, the guitar tone is low, fat and heavy, the whole music is like a bulldozer of Swedish death metal. And finally, also Rogga’s growl is kind of deeper and better. So, in this aspect I think that “Dead Unburied” is a great improvement when comparing to the previous album.
Musically maybe the difference is not as big, because both albums walk the same path of brutal, crushing mid tempo death metal in the vein of Grave (who else hehe!). Paganizer didn’t really change much when comparing to the previous album, but maybe the one, but quite important modification, is the fact that on “Dead Unburied” there are many more faster, blasting parts, what only makes the whole album even more aggressive and massive. Really, quite many songs on this album have the tempo increased, so imagine how the whole music sounds, with this crushing production! It is just a death metal slaughter! Just listen to such killer songs as “Even In Hell”, “Napalm Burial”, “Flesh Supremacy”… So, with such fast songs, in many ways, this album is better than its predecessor, more ultimate, devastating piece of old styled death metal. I also must mention such slower masterpieces as “Beyond Redemption”… and yes, what a killer stuff is here! It is just a shame that Forever Underground Records didn’t do much to promote the album at the time of its release...
Standout tracks: “Even In Hell”, “Landscape Made of Human Flesh”, “Flesh Supremacy”, “Beyond Redemption”

Final rate: 75/100

Paganizer - Promoting Total Death

PAGANIZER - Promoting Total Death (FOREVER UNDERGROUND - CD 2001)
First time I have heard of Paganizer was when I received the promo copy of their fourth album “Murder Death kill”. I instantly liked the band a lot, their old styled, brutal death metal was like a light in the darkness for this style of music, as back in these days – which was around 2003 – the number of such bands and such albums was not as big as it is nowadays. Paganizer really shred and instantly, along such Kaamos, Repugnant, Necrovation, Verminous and Nominon, they became my favourite death metal act from Sverige in these times. Obviously I wanted to get more Paganizer music, so this is how I finally also got their other CDs (and nowadays, when Rogga Johansson is so well known death metal dude and plays in quite few bands I think that the number of CD/LP of his in my collection is well over 30 pieces hehe). And at some point, around 2006, I managed to buy the first pressing of “Promoting Total Death” CD. It was released by Forever Underground Records, US label, which does not exist anymore, but which specialised in death metal. But Paganizer is the only band, which I am familiar with from their old roster.
I still, up to this day, have never had a chance to hear Paganizer’s debut CD “Deadbanger”. I’ve read some opinions, also from Rogga himself, that it was more like thrash / death metal oriented music, but somehow I never managed to buy a copy of this CD. But if it‘s true about Paganizer thrash metal influence in it, then on “Promoting Total Death” they are all gone for good, as this album is just classic, straight to the point, relentless, brutal, pure death metal record. There is no toying with any other styles, no will to bring something extraordinary or original to the table… death metal is the only law on “Promoting Total Death”. And I like it a lot. The album breaths with the classic Swedish patters, but unlike bands, which sickeningly try to copy Entombed, Dismember, God Macabre, etc., and have the so called Sunlight sound, Paganizer for me personally sounds more like a bastard son of Grave and Seance from their first LP. So, their music is rather devoid of the Swedish melody and harmonies (I think there’s one melodic theme on the album, with the harmonious guitar lead in the beginning of “Life Slips Away”… and very few more) and focused almost entirely on simple, gut ripping, kind of groovy maybe, but brutal death metal riff. The tempo is almost entirely mid paced, with some slower parts here and there and barely any fast parts at all (“Only Ashes Remain”)... It is just that kind of great death metal, perfect for headbanging and obviously quite catchy as well, if we can only speak of any catchiness in bands like Grave and Paganizer. But definitely the atmosphere of this music is gruesome, is violent… The whole stuff is quite simple, but effective as hell. And this is it! I can say that the title of this album fits the music perfectly. And I would also add the title of the debut, as it really is deadbanger! Also, I must say that musically it is something what can remind you also what later has been done in such bands like Bone Gnawer (also vocal wise)! All in all “Promoting Total Death” may not be the most massacring death metal album ever, but I still like it a lot. It is damn awesome.
Standout tracks: “Promoting Total Death”, “Brutal Way to Die”, “At War”, “Life Slips Away”

Final rate: 70/100

Friday, 11 April 2014

Berserk - Rites of Supremacy

BERSERK - Rites of Supremacy (OAKEN SHIELD - CD 2003)
I think that Spain has never really been known for great black metal bands… Actually, I don’t think that generally Spanish extreme metal scene has ever been known because of any more famous and spectacular bands. We can mention obviously some older death metal bands like Necrophiliac, Unbounded Terror, Sacrophobia, etc… and yes, they were all good, but not quite as good to be in the major death metal league. They were just one of many, second rate bands. Isn’t it weird? All in all, it is a big country located in Europe. So, we can mention some cool death metal bands, but black metal? I was never a fan of Cryfemal, Balmog, Ouija… I remember I liked Lux Divina, but I have heard only their one demo and it was over ten years ago. Same for Foscor. But here is a band, which I was quite surprised, when I played their album recently. They’re called Berserk and the album is “Rites of Supremacy”. I think I got this CD for review around 2003, but after completing my first review I just forgot about its existence. A coincidence made me play it few days ago again after 10 years and well, I can honestly admit that it is a pretty decent and worthy piece of black metal. Probably the best black metal I can think of now from this country.
OK, “Rites of Supremacy” will not be your most precious, innovative and killer piece of black metal. Berserk walks the paths, which were walked many times before, mainly by some classic Scandinavian bands. But somehow their music is interesting and good enough to raise my interest and enjoy it; especially as I just like the cold and harsh feeling it invokes and more so, I also like the epic and atmospheric sides of it. To get the things right, Berserk called themselves pagan black metal. I honestly don’t know what ancient gods they summoned or what were their lyrics about (Celts???), except that they were definitely antichristian. The name itself will obviously remind you Viking themed bands from Scandinavia, but I feel like here it may be a misleading trace. So, forgetting about the conceptual side of Berserk, I would rather focus just on the music.
And that is really OK. There is a good mixture of harsh, often fast, kind of primeval and barbaric heathen black metal, with an epic side, for which Berserk incorporates more atmospheric and melodic parts, some with keyboards, some with acoustics and even with few clean vocals. It is deeply rooted mainly in the old Norwegian scene, if you think of such albums as “For All Tid” for example, as well as such bands as Kampfar, Enslaved (to some point at least) and so on and on. There is some resemblance also to the early / mid 90’s Polish bands like Graveland, Sacrilegium, Abusiveness, Iuveness...with the difference that “Rites of Supremacy” is way better recorded. I’m far from praising Berserk for recording the best album ever, but I also won’t moan here at all. It is just decent and solid piece of music, with such great songs as “Rites of Supremacy”, “Berserker’s Blood”, „De Este a Oeste” (instrumental acoustic song, with kind of tribal drumming, flutes, etc), “Gaze at the Sky”. Sometimes the arrangements on the album could have been better, in stronger fashion, maybe there’s some lack of truly impressive and memorable ideas... And somewhere near its end, the album may feel more and more repetitive, but despite that I still think it is not so bad. And enjoyed listening to it. And while it is the only Berserk album I know, then I am quite curious what their last album “Cries of Blood and Hate” is like.
Standout tracks: “Rites of Supremacy”, “Berserker’s Blood”, „De Este a Oeste”, “Gaze at the Sky”

Final rate: 70/100

Fleshcrawl - Impurity

FLESHCRAWL - Impurity (BLACK MARK - CD 1994)
I feel a great respect for bands such as Fleshcrawl. If you look at what was going on in the death metal scene around 1993-94 then you can see that the majority of old bands has started to suffer for the annoying lack of ideas or the need to change their musical style and thus started to walk away drastically from their original style and sound. Than can especially be noticed among some fellow German bands, such as Morgoth and Atrocity, both of which have destroyed themselves when recorded some utter, pure shit after a couple of truly classics records. Meanwhile Fleshcrawl never disgusted us with such crap. They didn’t give a shit about the trends or the fact that death metal is not as popular anymore and just played this music with passion and enthusiasm. And this is why they managed to record several truly killer albums. After a phenomenal debut “Descend Into the Absurd” they came out with a second CD “Impurity” and well, the slaughter carries on! I guess there is only one thing, which I don’t like about “Impurity” and it is the artwork for this album. And the fact that they didn’t use their original logo (which obviously wouldn’t fit the artwork… but that should be a good reason not to use it and find a better picture to have on the front cover hehe!). Other than that, “Impurity” is an essential, pure death metal record and a real must have for every maniac’s collection.
Fleshcrawl’s first album was a great piece of kind of doomy death metal. “Impurity” brings some changes. First off, I think that the production is more similar to the classic Swedish sound, especially the guitar tone. Musically it also has some similarities to few bands from Sverige, mainly the mighty Grave, but not only. I can spot also a resemblance to the British monsters from Bolt Thrower, Benediction and such. Finally I cannot forget that there are way more faster parts on “Impurity” with less slow and doomy fragments, so the album feels just more brutal. Generally though it is just a pure fuckin death metal beast with several excellent songs! There are some tracks here, which I just love, like “From the Dead to the Living” (for being so damn fast and relentless, but also so well arranged, with some diversity as well), “Stiffen Souls” (maybe the best song here?), “Center of Hate” (with very Swedish like doomy theme in the beginning… which I just love!) and “Inevitable End” (total Bolt Thrower / Benediction worship!). So yeah, there is just a killer death metal on “Impurity” and I am afraid that for me personally it sounds like almost impossible to resist to these truly fantastic riffs and great brutality. Fleshcrawl did not come up with anything new, this music was already quite explored at this moment… but somehow they managed to compose just excellent songs and so this is why “Impurity” sounds so damn awesome, nowadays maybe even more than in the past.
Many years have passed, but the time was merciful to “Impurity”. Oh, I didn’t mention also that Fleshcrawl have a cover of Demigod’s “Resurrection” on this album… and it also is just fuckin amazing! I actually am quite surprised that they have covered a band like Demigod already back in those old days… but I guess this is to honour the great Finnish band, which I think was already split up in the time of the recording of “Impurity”. Anyway, “Reincarnation” (which originally was on Demigod’s demo / split with Necropsy) sounds awesome. And is a perfect addition to already an excellent album. Very recommended.
Standout tracks: “From the Dead to the Living”, “Reincarnation”, “Stiffen Souls”, “Inevitable End”

Final rate: 85/100

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Bloodthirst - Let Him Die

BLOODTHIRST - Let Him Die (PAGAN Records - CD 2007)
Poland is not really famous for their thrash metal bands. Actually I must say that personally there are barely two or three bands from this style in here, which I like; the rest may not exist for me. And Bloodthirst is one of these very few exceptional bands. I remember that first time I have heard their music in the radio show “Mroczna strefa”, when they aired band’s very first demo “End is the Beginning”. Since then I was interested in this Bloodthirst’s music and tried to get all their recordings. And trust me; some of these releases are truly fuckin awesome. My favourites are probably split with Ebola, “Żądza krwi” EP and split with Exordium. But obviously I cannot forget about both full length albums of Bloodthirst… and the first one “Let Him Die” is a true thrash metal devastation! Damn, I just love this album!
When reviewing it, I would want to try to avoid the comparisons to another legendary thrash metal bands / albums, as I really don’t care about it. Besides, such band as Bloodthirst, even if is so deeply rooted in the classic, old school traditions of the genre, somehow manages to bring something fresh and more personal into the style, which is great of corpse! Firstly, I just love the production of “Let Him Die”. It is truly powerful, aggressive, energetic and every riff, every drum part sounds just right and so the music kicks ass. I like the guitar tone, also the bass is well audible, what is very important for such music! Speaking of which, the music is damn ferocious, harsh… it’s sharp as a knife thrash metal, with a lot of great, memorable riffs and hooks. Each song has something characteristic and recognisable, so I bet you’ll scream the chorus lyrics every time you’ll hear such “Excommunion (Sacrifice for Hell)”, “Desecrate the Life” or “Let Him Die” – if only you’ll have enough time between the maniacal headbanging, which must be practised while listening to “Let Him Die”. Yeah, Bloodthirst doesn’t come with anything innovative, but their music is just brilliant, it has everything what one would want to find on aggressive thrash metal record… And I really mean aggressive, not a wimpy Exodus clone crap with bad vocals. Speaking of the vocals, Rambo screams like crazy with almost blackish scream, what fits the whole music perfectly. So, is there anything more to add? Not really. “Let Him Die” is a pure antichristian thrashing madness and that’s it!
Standout tracks: “Excommunion (Sacrifice for Hell)”, “Desecrate the Life”

Final rate: 80/100

Monday, 7 April 2014

Interview with Heiden

And now maybe not the most usual band for this blog, even if originally rooted in black metal... but Heiden music has developed and evolved strongly. Into what? Dark, melancholia. I like their all albums anyway, so I wanted to get this interview... which my friend Karel did for This here is nothing else, but an English version of the same interview, to support the great Czech band. Heiden!

Hi, Same guys as on previous record, brand new album and totally different music. What pushed you to make such radical changes of genre? Was it a fact that black metal at some point was holding you down or maybe you feel that you have much more to offer to the world?
Einsk: Hello, you're right. Every each album is little bit different from the previous albums. The reason is our own entertainment. The main cause why we still do the music, is that we love to try new things and discover unknown places in our music. It would be very boring to play the same music for years. We need to push our work forward. It is very important for us. We don't think about our music like about the genre. It is just our music and the fact that black metal disappeared was not planned before.

Those changes weren't violent, but really smooth, just step by step. Can you mark on your timeline that particular moment when you seriously started to think about doing something different with your music? Could it be the split CD with Trollech, where we can hear Heiden as a (still black metal) mature band versus more typical harsh & a little bit folkish black metal by Trollech? Or maybe it was a time when next album („Obsidian“) appeared?
Einsk: In early years we have been playing pagan black metal. But all what we wanted to show was done and we felt empty since “Tinne” album. Also our minds moved forward and we started to compose more rock influenced music as well as more melancholic lyrics. This album was „Era 2“. However more progress could be found on the split with Trollech. It was our symbolic „goodbye“ to pagan black metal act. “Obsidian” was very grim album. We have taken all of our personal darkness and putted it into the music of “Obsidian”.

„Dolores“ came out two years after „Obsidian“ and it's clearly obvious from the first note that the music was different this time. Less brutal, more diverse and simple at the same time with some remarkable melodies. There was no black metal at all on this record. It was a time when melancholy just dominated everything: the atmosphere, the lyrics, even the sound of the guitars… I really enjoy this album because it was very fresh at the moment. What are your thoughts about it after couple years?
Einsk: “Dolores” is very special album for us. With lots of personal feeling and memories. These times weren't easy for all of band members. Kverd's serious hand injury in job has changed everything. We decided to delete all already finished songs and start with the new ones. More atmospheric, more eerie and spiritual. When you listen to this record maybe you feel really compact mood. This album was very successful here in Czech Republic and won Anděl (Czech Grammy for best Hard&Heavy album) and Břitva award for best metal album. Our career 's highlight moments.

And after I heard it there was no way you can run away from similarities to early Katatonia („Brave Murder Day“ or „Discouraged Ones“ era) and on the other hand Agalloch – that was easy hearable, but in a good way. What do you think about latest album of Swedes? Because I think they had their best time and now it's just ride with the same ticket…
Einsk: We don't know Agalloch so much but Katatonia is really great band for years. However I think their music is more melodic on these records than ours. Somewhere behind our tunes there is a little touch of black metal still to hear.
Latest Katatonia albums are great and we always look forward to another one and never miss. I can find the differences between their last albums. So here I must to disagree with you :-)

„Dolores“ it's pretty good album, with up and downs, but after I heard „AKUNVST“ my first thought was: damn, it's so delicious! Best spent 10 euros lately! Really, congratulations on your latest effort – this album turned my top list of 2013 upside down! How was the writing process look like? Was it different is some way than the previous?
Einsk: The writing process of “AKUNVST” was little bit different, more focused on details and more than before we worked with atmosphere. Also we felt that harsh vocals are not enough for this upcoming record. This is the most complex Heiden record. The recording works in the studio were also harder than before.

Call me annoying, but still I hear mid-Katatonia influence on the new record. That just my impression, but I think your arrangements are pretty solid, natural, I don't know – even less complex maybe? One of the coolest things about this album is that I can say that it sounds like a… Heiden album! Do you think you found your own sound this time?
Einsk: I think we have found the Heiden sound completely on “Dolores” album. “AKUNVST” needed clearer sound but to keep the atmosphere. Sound is natural and real. It was hard to mix it together but it worked out well, I think.

Plus of course Czech language – one of your biggest advantage in my opinion – it just fits your music very well. What is the main reason you are holding to your native language from the beginning? Some people may perceive it as some exotic thing since Czech language isn't popular in Europe. Are you not afraid that this one particular thing could close many doors to your music?
Einsk: We need to use Czech lyrics, because themes are very personal and we can't translate these thoughts in English without loss of sense. Maybe someone has a problem with the Czech language and Czech can sounds unusual, but we don't care about that. I know lot of Russian, Swedish, Finnish bands, which use the native language also and no doors seems to be closed for them.

Can you explain those who don't know a single world in Czech language what is „AKUNVST“ about? Some titles are clear for me, but I'm curious what's behind those words of yours. I'm pretty sure you don't sing about positive things at all. Or maybe you do, but in a very sad way :)
Einsk: “AKUNVST” (“A kdybys už nebyla, vymyslím si tě”) means “If you won't exist anymore, I'll imagine you”. This album is about the fact when you have lost your closest person and you don't want to accept it and feel you'll never forget. Whole album is conceptual in lyric theme. Some tracks are about the reunion, lost, lies, disappointment and loneliness. We also use lot of allegories in Czech.

How fans / critics react to your new album? Did you met haters and alikes on your way? Hypothetical situation. Someone said: „they sold out“, „their latest CD is so soft I can use it as a sponge in the shower“ :D What do you have to say all those, let's not afraid of this word: losers? Yeah, I know, world is brutal and some people are stupid, but hey, everyone may say and think whatever the hell they want…
Einsk: Critics are very good , I must say. We are grateful that people welcome the progress in our performance. Sure we hear some opinions that it's too soft. You know, we do what we do and it's your choice and taste if you'll enjoy our tunes. We have lost some black metal fans and got lots of new rock fans. We are very attentive to critics but they can't affect us.

What was the reason to change your previous label? You didn't fit to Naga Records anymore? Or you want to try something new? Correct me if I'm wrong but Epidemie Records is much bigger label, is that true? Any expectations you have with your new management? What's your opinion about them so far?
Einsk: Naga Productions was my own label, but I was tired with that work and have no energy to lead that anymore. So the label split up and we wanted to self-release “AKUNVST”. But 3 months before recording Martin from Epidemie Records offered the deal for the CD release. We are glad to cooperate because Epidemie is steady label at Czech scene and we like lots of his releases. Epidemie isn't bigger than Naga was, I think. The level is the same, but Martin is very cool guy with lot of energy and ideas about music. We have also released limited “AKUNVST” vinyl version with THE AARDVARK music zine.

There are two important people with whom you continue cooperation. First one is an author of your cover Ludek Rezac. I like this picture, even if it’s much quite opposite to previous one. Was it a painting on demand or you choose it from his portfolio?
Einsk: The painting was on demand because we had a complete idea about the cover. We chose the swan because they live their life with the only mate. And when the mate dies they live alone for the rest of their life. Very sad... Luděk is very skilful guy and helps us so much. And another great thing is exclusivity, because Luděk is our friend and don't work with any other bands :-)

The second person I have on my mind is your keyboard player aka Werlinga. This guy fits very well to your style and even if I'm not a big fan of this instrument (OK, Hammonds are great) this time I think he did an awesome job. Is he a friend of the band? I see he also take pictures of you this time?
Einsk: Yes, SHE has made great job and now I can't imagine “AKUNVST” without keyboard. This instrument help us with creating the atmosphere. We don't like the orchestrations so much, but these hammond sound fits to us great. Werlinga plays with Morgue Son band and she is very closed person for us. And of course she helps to take photos when we need new band photo to do :-)

You have played couple gigs in Czech with bands such as Morgue Son and Et Moriemur. Are they your friends? What can you tell us about them? How the newest music was receive by people at concert?
Einsk: Yes, we know some of these guys for years and we always support each other. Morgue Son plays atmospheric progressive metal with lot of very cool influences and Et Moriemur plays true funeral doom. Very devastating old school act. All the gigs we played with “AKUNVST” were great and people were amazing. Hope we will play more live shows in future.

Is Heiden a popular band in your country? What is the condition of rock / metel scene behind our south border? I know Six Degrees o Separation or Brutally Deceased and Draco Hypnalis. Do you have bands (beside Heiden of course;) that can seriously conquer the Europe or World? Some recommendations from you would be appreciated.
Einsk: No, we are not so popular here. We are underground band and lot of our activities we organize by ourselves. We are very satisfied with the responses but still we are more unknown than popular, I think. Yes, we have really great bands here. Try experimental electro Floex or indie rock band Sunshine. Great acts. And if you like some metal bands try Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy or Dying Passion.

Thanks a lot for your time! Wish you all a great year!
Einsk: Thanks a lot for all your support! Great work!

The Dead Goats - Ferox

THE DEAD GOATS - Ferox (Self released - CDR 2014)
It was quite unexpected, but definitely a nice surprise to see that The Dead Goats releases a demo. Unexpected, because they only just released their last MLP “Children of the Fungus” few months ago and besides, it is not something common, when a band with a debut album and MLP releases a demo. But this is a great surprise, also because I have enjoyed the previous recordings of The Dead Goats totally, so it is never too much to hear good music from such an awesome band. I managed to get a copy of “Ferox” on CDR, which the band released themselves in limited quantity of 300 copies, but there is also a tape version released by Arachnophobia Records (100 copies only), which may interest the die hard maniacs as well.
“Ferox” are basically just three songs, so this material would probably be perfect also for a 7” single, not just for the demo. Anyway, with these three songs the Goats only proved to be excellent band and that they unleash some of the better death metal from the Polish abyss these days. These three songs are enough to cause a serious hearing damage and neck ache, and I say that after listening to “Ferox” several times, playing it loud as hell and banging the skull maniacally. Love this music, love the production of the demo (which is better than the sound of “Children of the Fungus” in my opinion!) and these aggressive, furious, a little punky death metal songs, so deeply rotted in the Swedish dods metal scene. Finally, I love the riffs and that dark, sinister horror atmosphere of this music – which is only underlined by the brilliantly fitting intros (supposedly taken from the old “Dracula” movie). With all these things “Ferox” seems to be like the best of all The Dead Goats recordings so far. This music is sick, but infectious like the deadliest of all diseases. “Final Death” is so fuckin awesome song that it will make your ears bleed and the people will run away from you, when they smell the putrid stench of the dead and goat’s poo which you’ll be soaking with after listening to this music. Arrghhhh, fuckin beautiful, no more words are needed here. Praise the goat again, eat his shit and listen to “Ferox”.
Final rate: 90/100

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Blood Mortized - The Demon, the Angel, the Disease

BLOOD MORTIZED - The Demon, the Angel, the Disease (CHAOS Records - CD 2014)
There are many old school death metal bands nowadays, many of which play this music in the classic Swedish vein. As with every genre, there are some better and some worse acts, but definitely such bands as Entrails, Puteraeon, Tormented, Bombs of Hades, Graveyard (Spanish hehe!) are among the best. And I can easily add Blood Mortized to this list. This is just awesome band. Two great albums, especially the second CD was brilliant. They also did an excellent EP "Bestial", which I have on the limited to 100 copies cassette. And finally the time came to unleash their third plague, titled "The Demon, the Angel, the Disease". And damn, I am very excited about this album. Anders Biazzi was so kind that he sent me it and right after I finished torturing myself with his another killer band Just Before Dawn, it is Blood Mortized what ruled over my stereo. To explain it as simple as I can: "The Demon, the Angel, the Disease" is a killer album and I love it. For many of you it will be just another album in this style of music, some will probably say that it is nothing special and such album is cool, but no one will remember it in ten years. But I don't care. I feel very passionate and enthusiastic towards "The Demon, the Angel, the Disease" and really fuckin love the record, so I have no such worries. I just know that even in few years time this album will shred and will be a great piece.
I am pretty sure that this album will sound perfect for the maniacs of the rough, aggressive and classic Swedish death metal. I mean there are all the ingredients, which will always make these Swedish albums sound so bloody fantastic. And quality wise Blood Mortized stands above the majority of the bands from this style of music. There are some songs, which are all about the aggression, violence, brutality and headbanging; such as the opening track “Bastard”. It is pure ferocity in the Swedish vein. Also take a listen to “Blessed Are the Dead” – what a nasty fucker. The same can be said about the second song “The Black Flames of Desolation”, although this song contains quite few more melodic riffs / leads, which will resemble you the cult bands such as Desultory, Epitaph, Necrophobic, Macabre End, Goddefied and so on and on. “Noiseterror.08” will on the other hand be a perfect offer for the Grave fanatics (love that melodic theme in the middle of this song!!!). “I am the Dead” will blast like crazy, crushing and ripping with no mercy… but damn, when this song slows down into the mid paced, memorable chorus part I just cannot resist and always scream the lyrics together with Parkkila. More so, this is one of those songs, where I can say that Anders Biazzi shows his amazing skills for composing / playing brilliant melodies… this one being kind of melancholic, but it sounds so damn awesome that it instantly becomes one of the most memorable parts of the entire album. But the thing is that "The Demon, the Angel, the Disease" is filled with many more such fantastic and unforgettable parts. I always love these slower songs the most, when the band turns almost into the doomy beast, with some great classic Swedish melody… but when it blends with the death metal aggression and dark, obscure feeling, then it is just the best thing I could imagine. Songs like “Master of Pain” and “The Black Flames of Desolation” are some of the finest examples for this, but I would especially like to mention “I Leave With Hate”, which is a superb epic death metal tune. I truly love these beautiful melodies and the whole dark, mournful atmosphere of this song.
It may all sound like I’m flattering too much to Blood Mortized, but the thing is that this band, this album – both are just bloody excellent. There may be one or two songs, which are slightly less infectious – like “Dysphoria Dystopia” – but this is nothing major, but just a minor fault. And definitely it is nothing what would affect "The Demon, the Angel, the Disease". In its entirety, this album sounds just great. It has fantastic production, the performance of every member is top notch, so I have nothing to complain about. Definitely if you’re a maniacal freak of bands as Entrails, Puteraeon, Facebreaker, Paganizer, Malfeitor, Smothered, Interment and so on and on, then "The Demon, the Angel, the Disease" is an absolute must to have for you.
Standout tracks: “I Leave With Hate”, “Bastard”, “I am the Dead”, “The Black Flames of Desolation”, “My Soul, Your Flesh”, “Noiseterror.08”
Final rate: 83/100

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Some changes.....

I guess it was about time to make some changes in the look of this blog, the whole design, the title artwork, etc. So I have made some... I will probably fix something soon, when I get used to everything, but for not this is it. It at the same time reveals a small sample of the cover art for the upcoming issue of the paper fanzine.... :)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Just Before Dawn - Precis innan gryningen

JUST BEFORE DAWN - Precis innan gryningen (CHAOS Records - CD 2013)
I was really looking forward to hear Just Before Dawn. First time I have heard of this project was when I discovered that Rogga Johansson is involved in it. And OK., some of you people may be fed up with his 213123 bands, but I really like and support most of them, for me this guy has this golden touch for death metal and most of his bands simply sounds awesome. But then I realized that Just Before Dawn is actually a project of Anders Biazzi, a guitarist for Blood Mortized and Rogga was only involved in writing some lyrics and doing vocals for one song. Just Before Dawn actually reminds me Rogga's Megascavenger. Or Fred Estby’s Necronaut. We have eight songs on the album and different vocalists growling for each of them. Great idea, isn’t it? So, that’s wh we can find members / vocalists of such bands as Puteraeon, Godhate, Zombiefication, Revel In Flesh and Paganizer / Ribspreader / etc here. But it is Anders, who's a mastermind standing behind Just Before Dawn. “Precis innan gryningen” is a debut album of Just Before Dawn and damn it! This is another really fine and killer gem of Swedish death metal. I guess some will moan and moan that it is nothing special, because it doesn’t bring anything extraordinary and unheard before, but fuck that. For me “Precis innan gryningen” is damn solid and worthy album, with great riffage, great atmosphere (with lyrics talking about the Second World War!) and with some great vocals. Do I need to hear anything else? No, because this is classic death metal!
“Precis innan gryningen” is obviously deeply rooted in the traditional Swedish death metal style. Not only the guitar tone is THE ONE, but also stylistically there are many influences from the great classic crews. For instance “As Death Breaks the Surface” has this classic Dismember / Grave riffing and it is pure bulldozer, heavy as fuck, brutal… But there are also many similarities to such bands as Asphyx and Hail of Bullets, for example in “Raped Soil”, which is just a superb song, very doomy, very monumental and almost kind of epic, with some beautiful, mournful melodies or in “Pulverised”, which is another massive, heavy fucker. If you add some influence of Bolt Thrower, similarities to such newer Swedish bands as Paganizer, Facebreaker, Ribspreader, Puteraeon, then you know everything about “Precis innan gryningen”. It is just a classic death metal record. No experiments, no progressive stuff is needed here, just straight to the bone, guts ripping riff and heaviness. And that is exactly what “Precis innan gryningen”. So, if you like heavy, brutal death metal with many doomy parts, which would take equal influences from the Swedish and Dutch death metal scenes, then Just Before Dawn is a must have for you. Very recommended! Oh, the second album is on its way - can't wait to hear it!
Standout tracks: “Raped Soil”, “Ten Megaton War Machine”, “The World Burning”, “As Death Breaks the Surface”
Final rate: 80/100

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Bulletsize - The Apokalypse

BULLETSIZE - The Apokalypse (Self released CD 2011)
This is the previous to “Numb” (which I was listening to / reviewing yesterday) album of the Swedish thrash / death metallers Bulletsize and I can say that there is one significant difference between both albums. And that is a fact that while “Numb” was very well produced album, sounding just totally spotless, speaking of the modern production values, then “The Apokalypse” is in this matter much rawer and so it is more underground and messy sounding album. And with such dirty and rough sound, the whole music also seems to be more aggressive, more furious and uglier. But style wise it is still pretty much the same kind of stuff, so relatively melodic thrash / death metal, in almost typical Swedish vein, similar to… well, some quite popular bands, let’s say hehe!
I must say that I liked “Numb” a lot, but “The Apokalypse” sounds also not bad at all. Its harshness works well here and definitely the songwriting is great. Again there are some hooks, balancing between the Arch Enemy catchiness and At the Gates, it also strongly reminds me the recent works of Evocation (especially vocal wise). One can feel impressed with the guitar work, also with these memorable riffs, which Bulletsize came up with. I definitely like such songs as “The Apokalypse” (total At the Gates worship hehe! But the riffs are killer and vicious, plus there’s that melody in the middle… great!), “Out of Silence” (vicious and aggressive as fuck!), “Cassandra” (with its more melodic riffing) and “From Ashes”, which has just brilliant finishing part, with some keyboards, acoustics etc and which sounds fantastically dark and eerie. I guess there is only one moment on the whole album, which I am not so enthusiastic about and it is the song titled “Alone in the Dark”. The riffing in it gets dangerously close to such Dark Tranquillity, what is not really a problem, but the chorus has been sang with the help of the female vocalist Sol Skugga, what sounds… well, maybe not awful, but I just don’t like it too much… It’s too sweet, too soft sounding, it bangs too much to the doors of commercial metal and is not in my taste. But all in all I guess I can say that Bulletsize did not bad here; the album is good, so fans of this sort of music should definitely check it out! Mind though that I think that “Numb” is even better!
Standout tracks: “The Apokalypse”, “Out of Silence”, “From Ashes”
Final rate: 68/100

Bulletsize - Numb

BULLETSIZE - Numb (CD 2013 Sliptrick Records)
I have just received a couple of CDs from the band, which I didn’t know at all before… they’re from the Swedish winter sports centre, Östersund and are called Bulletsize. Musically they offer kind of thrash / death metal, in this more modern, not obscurely old school way, but I must say that I have really enjoyed their recent album titled “Numb”. Even if I hardly ever listen to such music, I must say that Bulletsize was able to force the headbanging and simply crushed with some great riffs and songs.
Style wise I guess I can compare the music from “Numb” to such popular bands as Arch Enemy, Hypocrisy, Evocation, Dimension Zero, The Crown… This is highly energetic, powerful, aggressive, groovy, as well as quite melodic thrash / death, with great, kick ass production. Quality wise I can honestly say that Bulletsize is just as good as all those bands I mentioned above, they do not lack anything and it certainly is stuff, which big metal labels would and should release (somehow though “Numb” was released by small Sliptrick Records). Their music has some truly great riffs, it is very well played and I cannot imagine that any fan of the bands from above would dislike “Numb”. All songs are catchy, but aggressive, there are many hooks, many powerful moments and while the vocals are mainly harsh and screamy, there are also few parts sang with clean voice (“Titans”). My favourite song is definitely the title track, which has a great, memorable chorus part and generally reminds me Hypocrisy’s more melodic, epic songs. I also like the opener “Swallow the Pain” for its great thrashing riffing and great heaviness and “Pay the Price”, but really I can say that all songs are very good and damn solid. With 35 minutes on the clock, the album doesn’t even get close to boredom, its timing is perfect I suppose, so I can only recommend it to all metal maniacs. It is nothing original and innovative, but fans should not care, as long as the music is good. And “Numb” is damn good!
Standout tracks: “Numb”, “Titans”, “Swallow the Pain”
Final rate: 70/100

Friday, 21 March 2014

Entombed - Left Hand Path

ENTOMBED - Left Hand Path (EARACHE - LP 1991)
In many interviews you can hear the question “what are you favourite albums ever?!”. And usually I agree with the answer that technically it is damn hard or even almost impossible to name just five or ten favourite and very best LPs, simply because there are many, many more. But I think I can say that there are several titles, which are like a 100% sure candidates to be on this “best ever” list… Mainly they are the albums, which I have known for many, many years, probably since the days of early 90’s, when I started to listen to this noise. So, speaking only about death metal I would certainly mention such “Altars of Madness”, “Deicide”, “Like an Ever Flowing Stream”, “Testimony of the Ancients”, “False”, “Into the Grave”, “The Nocturnal Silence”… and this one; Entombed’s finest piece and their debut record “Left Hand Path”. Yeah, this certainly is one of the best CLASSIC albums, which I’ve been worshipping for over 20 years now and will do so until I die. No matter how much everything around me is changing; the life, world and even the metal music… albums like “Left Hand Path” remain brilliant and perfect.
I’m not going to write about the importance of Nihilist’s demos and later also of the Entombed’s debut album on the creation of the scene, the sound – or even the whole movement, which was the Swedish death metal. There were so many publications, which described everything perfectly, that there is simply no point. Everyone should know by now what happened back then in Stockholm and what “Left Hand Path” really is standing for. I guess that instead I should rather write how important is this album for me… But again, would I write anything new? No, this LP has marked a sign on thousands of maniacs and it still does, I guess, seeing how many new bands and new fans are praising Entombed from this period of their career. I was only 11 years old, when I got a pirate cassette of “Left Hand Path (released by Polish pirate label Baron – good old days hehe)… And I guess that in the beginning I didn’t even like it so much, because it wasn’t as brutal and fast as Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide or Sinister. But obviously later, with years passing by, I started to like it more and more and nowadays I see this LP as simply amazing, one of the best death metal materials ever released. No doubt about that!
When I listen to “Left Hand Path” nowadays it feels like listening to “the best of…” kind of thing, as basically almost every song is a killer and immortal classic. It’s the same with all these albums, which I have mentioned above, they all are complete and contain only killer stuff… “Left Hand Path” is no different; every song is so memorable, so fantastic… And obviously Entombed has never even got close to repeat and write such excellent material again; even their second LP “Clandestine” – which obviously is also very good – isn’t as great as the debut. Why is that? I don’t know why the debut albums of so many bands are their best ever. Was it the passion and enthusiasm of the young band or they simply had more time to prepare killer material, which was often selected from various demo recordings? “Left Hand Path” for that matter contains some songs from the Nihilist era and obviously also from Entombed’s only demo “But Life Goes On”. No surprise then that there are so many brilliant and instantly recognisable classics. Anyway, the truth is that the whole “Left Hand Path” with all its ten songs is perfection. A perfection in every aspect. Starting with the artwork… Damn, look at their killer logo and that bloody excellent painting done by Dan Seagrave… Not only the music turned out to be the most influential and immortal ever, but even the artwork for the album is like that! Seagrave did many excellent paintings for death metal bands, but this one is in my top three favourites, if not even his best one ever. Plus that logo… Entombed’s photo with that cross in the background? OK., maybe Dismember had more blood on their photo session for the debut LP, but this one is also great. The production… Damn, this is the band, which created the whole fuckin Swedish sound! Thanks to them we had a chance to hear this fat, crunchy, powerful and so characteristic guitar tone, very low tuned… rough, but clean hehe! Even the vocals of L.G.Petrov are kind of unique and different to the typical death grunts.
“Left Hand Path” is filled with brilliant songs, with absolutely no fillers to be found anywhere. The opening song is their best EVER, with some amazing guitar riffs, great eerie, horror atmosphere and that finishing motif, where Entombed used that awesome melody from “Phantasm” horror movie… It sounds… well, I dare to say it is one of the best things, which I have heard in my life. But then we have more monsters: “Drowned”, “Revel in Flesh”, “Supposed to Rot”, “But Life Goes On”, “Morbid Devourment”, “When Life Has Ceased” – isn’t that a dream tracklist? They all have something significant, something memorable, some hooks / riffs, vocal parts… whatever, what makes you remember and love them. More so, if you have a CD version then you get two killer bonus tracks, also composed in the good old Nihilist days. Yes, definitely this album is brilliant. It sounds damn vicious, it is dark and aggressive, often fast, but with lots of diversity and it has this classic D-beat, which originates from bands such as Amebix, Discharge, etc... and Autopsy! Yes; this is how the Swedish death metal was born; after several demos “Left Hand Path” came and nothing was the same anymore. I cannot believe it’s been so many years since this LP was released and that it still sounds so damn fresh, so damn awesome and is still so influential, now for new generation of death metal bands. This is what you call a “cult / classic record”! No collection is complete without “Left Hand Path” in it, it is a fact.
Rest in festering slime!
Standout tracks: “Left Hand Path”, “Drowned”, “Revel in Flesh”, “Supposed to Rot”, “But Life Goes On”, “Morbid Devourment”, “When Life Has Ceased”
Final rate: 100/100

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Satyricon - My Skin is Cold

SATYRICON - My Skin is Cold (INDIE - EP 2008)
I must say that I am quite sceptical towards all these MLPs, which bands such as Behemoth and Satyricon release. They can be a nice collector's item, but let's be honest - their musical value is often just poor. Satyricon has three MLPs released in their career - "Megiddo", "Intermezzo" and "My Skin is Cold" and I can say that each, along with some truly great content, includes also some incredibly poor fillers, which are just completely uninteresting and useless. I guess that the worse example would be that awful and shitty remix of "Dawn of the New Age" included on the MLP "Megiddo". But here I have "My Skin is Cold" EP and I think I can risk saying that it is the best of all EPs, which Satyricon has released. First off, it comes in great packaging; in 7" vinyl gatefold cover and includes two songs on 7" vinyl and all five on CD. That is already something very cool!
As for the content, I must say that I like all songs from "My Skin is Cold" and I am sure that this EP will be a great addition to the collections of many maniacs. Personally though I can find hardly anything here, what would be new for me - what doesn't change the fact that these songs are awesome! First, we have the title song, which supposedly is a different mix to the album version. Whatever... you can probably hardly hear any difference anyway. All in all, it certainly is one of the best songs from "The Age of Nero" LP. Then there are two songs, which appeared as bonus on the vinyl version of "Volcano". And since I have the original "Volcano" LP, then they were known to me already. I bet though that all Satyricon fans, who don't have the LP will listen to these two songs with a great pleasure, as they are killer. Yes, both are truly awesome and I wonder why such good songs ended up just as a bonus on vinyl, because they deserve something better. "Live Through Me" is a vicious, quite rough Satyricon, classic tune for their "Volcano" era and damn, it is just brilliant (it also reminds me some Darkthrone from such LP as "Ravishing Grimness"!!!). "Existential Fear-Questions" is more epic, I love these Hammond keyboards in it; what an outstanding and creepy atmosphere the band created in it; and more so, it sounds like truly old school prog doom metal in places hehe. Finally the EP offers two live songs - first there's "Repined Bastard Nation", which is fine, but it is "Mother North" live version something, what sounds for me the best here. Ah, this is such a classic song, it never gets boring and this live version sounds incredibly fresh and great, with trumpets highlighting the best melodies and epic parts of the song.
So, "My Skin Is Cold" has five songs, of which three I know so well and two are just live recordings, but all in all, I can say that this is a very cool EP and a great offer, especially to all fans, who don't have the "Volcano" vinyl. They'll find here two new songs! I am less enthusiastic, as this is not new material for me, anyway it is always a great pleasure to listen to these songs. And all in all, I can say that this is the best of the three EPs, which Satyricon has released. And I love the front artwork; it is just brilliant!
Final rate: 70/100

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Odraza - Esperalem tkane

ODRAZA - Esperalem tkane (ARACHNOPHOBIA - CD 2014)
Attention people! Achtung comrades! Uwaga kurwy! This album has not been released yet, but I can already say that most likely I am just listening to one of the best newcoming bands of 2014! Yes! And certainly this is going to be also one of the best releases of this year, at least according to me! And because I don’t care about others’ opinions, then this is a fact that no one should deny, because… I don’t give a shit hehe! Here is a band called Odraza who have their debut album “Esperalem tkane” released by Arachnophobia. Who stands behind Odraza? Well, two maniacs are on the board – Priest, who plays drums for few other awesome bands, such as Massemord and Voidhanger. And Stawrogin – who’s playing the bass and guitars and is also responsible for the vocals and who is also a member of Massemord. This duo has really created a truly impressive and insanely brilliant material; an album, which I think is just spotless.
OK., the front artwork may not be the most attractive of all, which I have seen lately, but certainly it fits the band’s name perfectly. Odraza means loath, abhorrence in Polish! And this albums is as filthy, disgusting and vulgar as fuck (especially in the lyrics). I have read somewhere that “Esperalem tkane” is very Polish album, that it is soaking with Polish feeling and Polish stench and I couldn’t agree more… There is something unique about this band, about their music, their lyrics and maybe the foreign listeners will have some difficulties with understanding all this, especially when the lyrics are in Polish, so it will be ever more difficult for them to capture everything, but in that case they can at least enjoy the music… And the music of Odraza is – in my opinion – just perfectly composed, arranged and performed. For instance the performance of Priest is just brilliant. This man plays drums like crazy, his blasts are so damn perfect and intense that I am impressed fully. Stawrogin’s vocals are another thing, which I must mention, as this guy did just excellent job. I guess many will compare his vocals and the lyrics to Furia, Morowe , FDS and all the other stuff, where you can hear Nihil and Namtar involved. Well, let’s be fair; there are many similarities, but generally I think that Stawrogin is slightly different, maybe more possessed, vicious and furious in his performance. Finally, the production of “Esperalem tkane” is just spotless! I love how they have done everything here; the guitar tone, drums’ sound, which is very natural and not so damn unnatural, plastic and trigggered…
The best thing about “Esperalem tkane” is that every song – I mean it, every song! – brings something different and spectacular, being very unique. And more so, I can say that each part of this album sounds extremely good, so I just cannot stop listening to Odraza. The variety of styles, which you can hear here is surprising, but don’t be worry – everything is done in black metal way, if I can say so. “Esperalem tkane” has a black metal sound and feeling, but it sounds like some schizophrenics have played it! Why? What else can I say, if one motif brings a total annihilation with brilliantly performed, utterly fast riffing and drumming, only to be followed by almost kind of bluesy or rock passages? There are many moments of melancholy here, where the guitars play some cleaner tones with melodic and peaceful parts and which will bring you the resemblance to the post rock / post metal styles… Obviously some of these fragments, especially with these unique vocals of Stawrogin will have to remind you such Furia, FDS or Morowe, but it is inevitable. All in all, they do sound fantastic, especially if are followed by more classic blackened riff. Priest’s blasts sound totally insane and guy is a real maniac, I must say. I love his playing (not just when he plays blasts, but on the whole album! Amazing performance!) and definitely these fast parts are some of the strongest points of “Esperalem tkane”. Arrghhh, just listen to “Gorycz”; what a ferocious and killer stuff! This is a total annihilation, in my opinion! Obviously Odraza doesn’t want everything to be straight and simple, so even in this song they have some moments, which sound… hmm, let’s say weird hehe! And did I mention “Wielki Mizogin”, which has almost kind of punk dirt and aggression and where even the vocals sound slightly different (and the lyrics… damn, they are controversial!)? Yeah, what a contrast! Sometimes it feels like a day and night or really like music, which was composed by some lunatics (give a listen to the title song, which is the sickest of all and see what I mean!).
And this is what I meant about the diversity of “Esperalem tkane”. Odraza composed and recorded a spectacular album, filled with so many different emotions, so many feelings and in the end I can say that they have found their own way of expression and add something unique into the overall sound and style of this black metal extravaganza. Such bands as Furia, Morowe, FDS and now Odraza are the best thing, which happened to the Polish black metal scene ever! And also to the black metal scene worldwide, even if I am afraid that these bands will never be hugely popular abroad… because they are just too Polish. Although I do hope I am wrong and people will value them as much as they deserve. Among my favourite songs I can mention “Gorycz”, “Wielki Mizogin”, “Niech się dzieje” and finally the brilliant “Tam, gdzie nas nie spotkamy”, which has a strongest accent putted on the long instrumental passages and it is also a reason, why it sounds the most like a post (black) metal track. Yeah, total avantgarde. But I enjoy it. For me it is an album, which will surely end up on the list of the best stuff released in 2014 and certainly it also is one of the strongest debuts. Very, very recommended!
Standout tracks: as mentioned in the review!
Final rate: 93/100