Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Great Old Ones - interview

Hellzzzzzzz there! I don’t wanna start this interview with some boring questions about the history of The Great Old Ones, instead I would like to ask you about the times before The Great Old Ones, when all members were starting to play music. What were your first bands? When have you started to play music / metal and what are your roots? Are they exclusive to metal music or there were also some other musical styles, which you played?
Xavier Godart: I started a band in high school with some friends, we played mostly covers of classic rock and punk stuff. Then I was involved in some punk hardcore / math core bands, influenced by bands like Botch or Converge. I also did some music for myself, influenced by Cult Of Luna or Isis. TGOO is my first touring band. As for the others, Benjamin played in some hardcore bands like me, Jeff played in more bands than I can imagine, from folk to death metal. He played in Tormenta, a great math rock band. Sébastien played mostly in death metal bands. Léo played in lots of bands too, from jazz and funk to black metal.

So, why H.P.Lovecraft and not E.A.Poe, S.King or G.Masterton? Or Tolkien? What is so influential and intriguing about his works that it makes you base the music / lyrics of The Great Old Ones on his concepts? Do you remember the first time you’ve read his novels? What feelings does it awake in you?
Benjamin read HP Lovecraft work when he was a teenager and I think it has a huge impact on him. The universe he created is huge and it's an infinite source of inspiration. You can express feelings, as long as scenes or landscapes based on HPL descriptions. It could have been another author but for some reason, Lovecraft was a more natural match when Benjamin started to compose for this project. But maybe we'll find the inspiration somewhere else in the future, who knows.

Lovecraft has obviously inspired many metal bands, starting with Metallica in their early days, through such Morbid Angel and
finishing with some current underground bands like Unaussprechlichen Kulten. Why, do you think?
I think it's pretty obvious that thematics in HPL novels fit pretty well with metal. Feelings of horror, fear, madness are common theme.

Some people go as far as seeing some truth in the stories Lovecraft wrote, that he was a visionary who was able to see things that are hidden from the sight of normal people. I wonder do you believe in extraterrestrial or other such things, as ghosts, etc? For example, all these mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids… What do you think of it?
I will just say that we are all down to earth kind of people, so no, we don't believe in such things.

Tell us something more about the concept, which you chose for “Tekeli-Li”. It obviously is mainly based on "At the Mountains of Madness" novel, am I right? Your label has even released a special edition of the album with this novel, what – I must admit – is a killer idea!
Thanks! The album is entirely based on “At The Moutains Of Madness”. You can see it as a retelling of the story. As the novel is in the public domain, we had the idea to print an original copy, with some artwork from our singer and guitarist Jeff Grimal, who is also a great painter. We proposed the idea to our label and they were really excited about this thing.

I wonder how the songs for The Great Old Ones are usually composed? I mean, having such concept, you obviously must try to fit it into the music. So, is it difficult to capture the essence, the atmosphere and the feeling of Lovecraftian myths in the music? How does it usually look like? Also, the fact of having three guitarists makes the whole process easier or even more complicated?
Benjamin Guerry (vocals / guitars) is responsible of 80% of the material. He writes music with the concept in mind and then we let the music evolve in rehearsal until it reaches a point when everything seems complete. It's a pretty natural process. Also, having three guitars is not really a big deal (if you forget the weight of the gear...). Bands commonly records much more than two guitars in studio but aren't able to reproduce everything for live gigs. Keeping three guitarists in the band allows us to play everything live.

That sounds wise, I guess. Let’s speak of the music of The Great Old Ones. Obviously we all describe it as post-something. Post black metal, post metal, post rock… I do feel though that “Tekeli-Li” may sound too extravagant and too unconventional for most of black metal fans, even if it certainly keeps some influence of this music here and there. But there are many more layers in your music. So, to whom do you feel your music is directed to? What surrounding does it require when being listened to? And what kind of feedback did you receive so far?
We're open minded people. We're obviously influenced by black metal, but not only. We put a lot of things in our music, consciously or unconsciously. So, I guess you need to be open minded to appreciate our music. Feedback is really good so far. Of course, not everyone gets it, but most of the time they understand what we try to do. And that's great.

How do you feel your music has progressed since the “Al Azif” album? Did you try some new things, speaking of the technical aspects, playing, song structures, etc? Was is a challenge for you to compose an album, which would be better or at least as good as the debut?
“Al Azif” was our first effort, and as much as we like this album, we were unhappy of some little things, like the drum sound for example. We tried to fix these things on “Tekeli-Li” and I can say we're pretty happy of how it came out. ”Tekeli-li” is also much more resulted in terms of composition, everything seems
more consistent on this album for us. We're really proud of what we achieved.

The music of bands like The Great Old Ones often reminds me the movie soundtracks, so I wonder if they are any inspiration for the band when composing it? And more so, what would be more influential – black metal or the so called post rock / metal genre?
Well, I think we tried to write this album as a soundtrack for “At The Mountains of Madness”, so I guess that explains why you feel like this. As I was saying before, we're inspired by all kinds of music, mostly metal of course, but not only. We really enjoy bands that don’t put boundaries to themselves and try to experiment, and that's what we are trying to do too.

Such song as “The Ascend” sounds very special to me. It is a perfect combination of black metal with post metal. What purpose is of such instrumental song? Why did it actually end up being one and not having any vocals?
This track represents ascend of the mountain, just before William Dyer discover the non-Euclidean city. The storm during a few minutes, majority of blast-beat, and then the calm, when the plane stops, with acoustic guitars and cello... It simply follows the novel. And we felt that this part of the novel doesn't need any lyrics to be described.

We have also such song as “Behind the Mountains”, which is obviously absolutely amazing. But I wonder how does it work to play such long songs live, for both: you – the musicians, and for audience?
Well, all our songs are pretty long so that doesn't make any difference for us. Also, we usually play our setlists in a row, without stopping too much between songs. It's only a problem when you only have 30 minutes for a gig, we usually prefer to play 3 songs instead of one or two.

The artwork for the new album must be also something special for you. I mean it is not a typical metal cover and maybe the small CD size won’t let us see all the details, but it surely looks intriguing. Unveil some more details on the artwork, please.
Jeff Grimal our guitarist / singer makes all artworks for the band. It's a real asset for us. He works with the concept in mind and proposes us his vision. And that usually match very well with the music. On “Tekeli-li” artwork, I guess we can see an abstract vision of these mountains. We felt that an abstract work suited better, as we can let the listener draw his own vision of these mountains in his head.

The cover of Bjork’s “Bachelorette”… I must say it is not an obvious choice for a metal band to play a song of the artist like her. So, why did you pick this one up, what’s the story behind it?
We're all amateurs of the Björk work, but no one in the band is a real fanatic of her. Benjamin just heard that song one night at a party and just thought it could be great to write a cover of this track. And for some reason, he actually did it. We weren't thinking about releasing it, but in December 2012, our European
tour was cancelled at the last minute, and as we had this free time, we used it to record this track.

You seem to be a very special and significant band for your label, Les Acteurs de l'ombre Productions. How important is it for you to work with a label, which is French and also has such musical profile, very much connected with more avantgarde side of black metal? I, from my point of view, must say they seem to be doing a great job, when promoting their bands!
Our relation with them is really awesome. It's not only because they put money on the table. They are supportive whatever we want to do and that's really great and comfortable. I really think you can't have this kind of relationship with other labels, especially bigger ones. Gerald who runs the label and Romain who handle physical production are great guys and we are very lucky to know and work with this kind of people.

If you were about to record a video for a song from new album, which one would you choose and why? And more so, what would it look like?
We would love to make a music video, but it's a real budget and it's difficult to find the right people to do that. I don't know which one we would pick, but it would definitely be an animated movie, because we think that is the best way to transcribe everything.

You’re quite active live band, playing tour with Regarde les Hommes Tomber or bigger events like Roadburn. What feelings do you have about these gigs you’ve played so far? Any funny or especially worthy to mention stories from them?
We haven't been that much active so far, but it's becoming easier to tour for us. That's great, but as we all have a full time job beside this band, we'll never be a full time touring band. We had the chance to play in great festivals like Hellfest or Roadburn and that were our greatest experiences as a band. It feels great to be treated like a professional band. And there are no stories I can think of (at least, no one I can tell...).

Bands like yours, Paramnesia and Regarde les Hommes Tomber have certainly brought a new quality / sound into the metal scene. Obviously there are also some older acts like Agalloch, Wolves In the Throne Room, Alcest and so and on… But tell me, what do you think of all this? Do you feel like something special has been brought into life?

The bands you mention are great. We're definitely huge fans of Wolves In the Throne Room. Like I was saying, they are the kind of bands who doesn't limit themselves and that's what we really like about them.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Deiquisitor - Hexagon Vortex

DEIQUISITOR - Hexagon Vortex (ANCIENT DARKNESS - CD 2014)
It’s incredible how many awesome bands are still there, hiding in the shadows, waiting to be discovered?! Nowadays it’s almost every week, sometimes every day (!), when I make such a discovery and find out about new fantastic horde. And few days ago I made such a discovery, when I’ve started to listen to “Hexagon Vortex” from Danish band called Deiquisitor. This CD, released by Ancient Darkness Productions, really blew my head off and crushed mercilessly with some excellent death metal. And I was like “YES! This band is awesome, why no one knows Deiquisitor yet?” hehe. Well, partially it’s probably because this is relatively new horde, with only one demo released before “Hexagon Vortex” and secondly I suppose it’s also a matter of the overcrowded scene and just too many names of bands, which you have to catch up with. Some may simply go by unnoticed. Which I hope Deiquisitor won’t be, as this material I am listening to now is so deadly good that they deserve more recognition among the underground morbid death metal maniacs! Yes!
I suppose the first thing, which really hit and caught my attention, when I first started to listen to this CD, is the incredibly heavy, obscure, dense and black as a tar production of this album. I mean it really sounds fuckin beastly and intense, strong… heavy as fuckin mammoth. It is also quite rough, but all the instruments are audible enough and have powerful finish, so in this kind of music it is a perfect sound. But really, it sounds so deep, so severe! Obviously this production also fits brilliantly the musical style of Deiquisitor, which is MASSIVE, extreme, grim morbid death metal in the vein of some American classics such as Incantation, Immolation, Vital Remains, early Morbid Angel, Drawn and Quartered and some of these newer, but so deadly amazing acts like Father Befouled, Disma, Dead Congregation and so on and on. Deiquisitor is the band of the same quality and category and I really feel that there will be something exceptional and great coming from them also in the future.
But now it’s time of “Hexagon Vortex” and yes, this is great stuff. This EP contains only six songs with less than 20 minutes on the clock, which is a bit unusual, as majority of bands from this genre prefer longer, more extensive tracks. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with how Deiquisitor builds their music and what songs they have. And damn, as I already mentioned several times, they do impress with how heavy and brutal their music is. Chunky, bloodthirsty riffs, mostly played at fast or at least mid paced tempos (I actually do miss some utter slow parts here… they would give even more massive feeling to the entire EP), some very Immolation-esque broken rhythms, deep, guttural, unreadable vocals… Simple means, but great effect. And it all sounds excellent, with such abominable anthems as “Destroyer of Worlds”, “Through Ethereal Deeps” and “Forgotten Origins”. I think I have listened to this CD for at least twenty or probably even more times in the past few days and I still can’t see the end of it. Excellent material, which I highly recommend and now all that is left is to wait for another Deiquisitor recording.

Final rate: 80/100

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Morbid Flesh - Embedded in the Ossuary

MORBID FLESH - Embedded in the Ossuary (UNHOLY PROPHECIES - CD 2014)
Someone may ask how many times can we listen to bands and albums, which sound like 233424 bands and albums before? Well, my answer is always simple to that – as many times as we want, it only depends if the album, which we play now has something great to offer and more so, if it kicks ass. In case of the “Embedded in the Ossuary” we certainly deal with an arse kicking, guts shredding, killer death metal! And so I just don’t care if such style of old styled, classic Swedish sounding death metal has been explored a lot in recent years and that some may feel already bored and tired with such kind of playing, because it doesn’t change the fact that the Spaniards from Morbid Flesh did fuckin awesome job on this MCD! And I love this stuff totally. Yes!
So, I have simply no problem with the fact that “Embedded in the Ossuary” sounds typical and unoriginal, and that there’re many similar bands around nowadays. The most important factor here is that really Morbid Flesh recorded six truly killer tracks and that their music is more than just solid; it simply ticks all the boxes, if you check what ingredients make the old school death metal so awesome. It starts with the production, which in case of “Embedded in the Ossuary” is perfect. No surprise, really, because it’s been recorded at the Moontower, with Graveyard’s Javi Felez behind the deck. This dude recorded several fantastic Spanish bands already including his own Graveyard, as well as Ataraxy, Church of Disgust, Decapitated Christ, Insulters, Onirophagus and Necroven. So, I am not surprised that “Embedded in the Ossuary” sounds so bloody good and has such a thick, heavy, but powerful production – which is the only one I can accept in this sort of music!
And then there are these six tracks filled with heavy, chunky, spilled with blood riffs and harsh, deep growl. It is all deeply rooted in the Swedish death metal traditions, so you know how heavy these riffs are, but also kind of groovy and of corpse you can also expect some killer, totally memorable and dark melodies. Yes, Morbid Flesh has it all! And it is so well composed death metal… I love the opening instrumental piece “Embedded in the Ossuary”, for its atmospheric, dark feeling. But the real essence of this music and Morbid Flesh is in such tracks as “Charnel House”, which is just brutal and massive and “Summon the Sorcery of the Dead”, which on the other hand has some killer doomy and melodic parts in the beginning and then turns into another fierce, bloodthirsty beast. Yes, what a joy to listen to these songs! More so, I obviously have in my collection the previous release of Morbid Flesh, which was “Reborn in Death” album (compiled with the demo, by Memento Mori!) and I remember it was good and solid record, but in my opinion this new recording is far better and more vicious. Morbid Flesh is not a mediocre band anymore, but just as awesome as such Entrails, Puteraeon, Graveyard and Undead Creep – to name just few bands hehe. Can’t wait then to hear some more music from these Spanish maniacs!
Standout tracks: “Summon the Sorcery of the Dead”, “Embedded in the Ossuary”

Final rate: 88/100

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Darkified - Cthulhu Riseth - The Complete Works of Darkified

DARKIFIED - Cthulhu Riseth - The Complete Works of Darkified (WOLFSBANE - LP 2014)
Here is a piece of vinyl, which I am very excited to play now! It is newly released Darkified LP “Chulhu Riseth”!!! I really don’t want to remind you the whole history of the band, as I suppose all those, who’re interested know it already and also remember the band perfectly. Let me just say that Darkified was very short lived band, active between 1991-92 and in those two years they managed to release “Dark” demo 1991 and “Sleep Forever…” EP 1992 (both also released on CD “A Dance on the Grave” by Repulse in 1995). Yes, these two recordings of Darkified are truly classics of the old Swedish death metal scene, even if musically this band wasn’t a typical Swedish stuff. Obviously we are living now in times, when everything what’s old is reissued on CD and LP… And some labels also decided to exhume old Darkified recordings. This is how “Cthulhu Riseth - The Complete Works of Darkified” has been released, first on CD, later on cassette and now finally also on vinyl!!! Yes, a Dutch label called Wolfsbane released Darkified on LP! In my opinion this is just awesome news, I really think that if we’re going to collect all those old Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, American, etc classic demos or records on vinyl, then when speaking of the Swedish scene we could not forget about Darkified. Even if – honestly – they’ve never been my favourite band from this country. But I enjoyed their music a lot anyway! And finally the LP is out and in my hands!
I guess I should write first about how it all looks like. And damn, Wolfsbane did awesome job! The whole LP is limited to 500 copies, with 100 on silver and 400 on black LP. It comes in great silver cover together with A4 size fanzine fully dedicated to Darkified! On many pages you’ll find liner notes from the band (also talking about the history of the band, memories) and people like Dan Swano and Uffe from Entombed. There are also some scans from old fanzines with old interviews, photos, finally lyrics and details on both recordings… Damn, this booklet / fanzine looks just fuckin excellent! And it is for me the only way to release such demos / EPs again on LP! Of course the music is the most important, but such compilations are to pay a tribute to these old bands, so we must also get some extra stuff, including as fully informative booklets as it is possible. Otherwise it is simply pointless. In that aspect Wolfsbane did perfect job, in my opinion. You play the record, read something about the band, get to know their history… and this is what it all is about!
And now the music… As I mentioned  “Cthulhu Riseth - The Complete Works of Darkified” contains “Dark” demo and “Sleep Forever…” EP. The CD version of this compilation contains also some live and rehearsal tracks, but I am honestly happy that they’re not on vinyl. Usually I am just not interested in listening to some doubtful quality bootleg recordings, which have just nothing special to offer. When talking about Darkified only their two studio recordings matter and that’s it.
I mentioned that they aren’t my favourite Swedish band, although I do like their music. Stylistically they’re just different to such Grave, Dismember or Entombed. Sure, there is a trace of the Swedish sound, all in all it was recorded in the proper time at the Gorysound Studio… The guitar tone cannot be mistaken with anything else, but Darkified I think was putting more accent on being more atmospheric (using many keyboards and doomy parts) and at the same time there are also fragments of totally vicious and harsh death metal, with more insane, screaming vocals. Anyway, despite Darkified sounding so rough, both “Dark” and “Sleep Forever…” are awesome. I especially love their EP, as it has better production, the playing is tighter, everything is better executed… especially the song “Sleep Forever…” from the EP sounds great and so fast that it is almost close to black metal. Well, same for “The Forgotten City”, really, which is so damn vicious here. Obviously Dan Swano has been working on re-mastering these old recordings, to get as much as possible from them and I can honestly say that “Cthulhu Riseth - The Complete Works of Darkified” sounds better than ever before.
So, I have nothing more to say. Finally these songs have been released on LP and Wolfsbane did amazing job here. I sincerely advise you to get “Cthulhu Riseth - The Complete Works of Darkified” before it is too late, as it is just superb piece of Swedish death metal history.

Final rate: 85/100

Koldborn - The Devil of All Deals

KOLDBORN - The Devil of All Deals (ANCIENT DARKNESS - CD 2005)
I wonder how many of you have ever heard about Danish band called Koldborn. Well, I did hehe, I still have their debut full length CD “First Enslavement” somewhere in my collection and even if I have not listened to it for many years, I remember that back in the time of its release I did like it and I even interviewed the band for my fanzine. Ha, I definitely must exhume this CD one day and give it a listen again. Anyway, years have passed and someone decided to remind me about Koldborn, sending me their another recording, which is 2005 EP “The Devil of All Deals”.
First, I thought “cool”! I can listen to these Olsens again! But then I gave some listens to this EP and my enthusiasm went down a bit. Hmm, I am sure you know this feeling when you hear something and you tell yourself “OK, this is fine, not bad at all, but… well, it’s just not my favourite kind of stuff, really…”. This is my feeling, which I have when I’m listening to “The Devil of All Deals”. OK, Koldborn is death metal band and I obviously worship death metal. But not this kind of death metal, which those Olsens are playing. This one sounds too modern for me, I just don’t like such kind of riffs, rhythms, vocals... Sure, Koldborn also have some blasting parts here and there and generally there are some moments on “The Devil of All Deals”, which I like, especially with such track as “Behind the World”, which is awesome, starting totally in the vein of Vader. But then there is also such track as “Hand-Held Hate“ or “A Stir of Unreason” and I just don’t like it, sorry. It’s not a complete failure, as I mentioned the band is good and solid, they definitely know how to play and arrange their music, but most of the stuff, which I can find on “The Devil of All Deals” is just not entirely for me. It’s something I can listen very, very occasionally, not more often than once in decade and with no emotions. So, if the last time I listened to “First Enslavement” was a decade ago, then the same will probably happen to “The Devil of All Deals” now.
Final rate: 63/100

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Iconoclasm - Iconoclastic Warfare

ICONOCLASM - Iconoclastic Warfare (LUGBURZ - CD 1995)
“On my signal… unleash hell”; with this fragment - taken from “Gladiator” movie -  this album begins and damn, it is a perfect description for the whole “Iconoclastic Warfare”, because those Belgians do unleash hell and next 45 minutes are pure black / thrash metal slaughter, based on the tradition means for the genre. Iconoclasm plays damn relentless, violent and insanely furious metal, where the riffs combine the black metal atmosphere and thrash metal sharpness and aggression and are able to cut the throats, taking no prisoners, but just slaying them all with no mercy. Excellent playing, many totally awesome riffs, total headbanger… I suppose this is the best description for this album. And I sincerely enjoyed listening to it, yes! This album is filled with aggression and that energy, which blasts into your face with great strength. It is old school to the bone, but at the same time it is infected with that black metal harshness and atmosphere, so it is not just “cut’n’paste” the old riffs type of album.
And of corpse there are some other bands, which also are playing similar stuff… Let me just mention Desaster, Demonizer, Nocturnal Breed and more… maybe Iconoclasm is more infected by the (mainly Scandinavian) black metal than those other bands, as they really have some influence from such Enthroned, Marduk, even Darkthrone here and there… but they do it their own way, often blasting like crazy with some totally fast and sharp hellish metal, other time going into some slower, more memorable and catchy, traditional stuff. And I like this diversity of “Iconoclastic Warfare” a lot, it’s not one of those monotonous albums, but really Iconoclasm delivers some goodies and brings many great ideas into their music. There are many strong and awesome riffs, many ideas, which may seem typical, but here, with these songs, they’re just played in excellent way. Even the fact that in one fragment Iconoclasm decided to use a female vocalist (“Screams of Banshee”) do not disturb me, even if it’s so unusual for such raw and aggressive black / thrash metal albums. But if you like something totally insane and fast then check out the title song, “Sons of Fire”, “Beer Metal Satan” (which is like an anthem, dedicated to diehard metal maniacs!!!!! KILLER!), then also “Wolfpack”, which is both fast, but in other moments also totally thrashing monster. Then there’s “Welcome to Hell”, which… well, maybe it’s because of the title, but it does have more Venom than any other song on the album hehe.
And yes, as the booklet says, it is “another completely keyboards-free product”!!!!! It’s killer black / thrash metal devastation. I’m not sure what is Iconoclasm up to nowadays, if they still exist… I also have the last CD, which they released – split with Panchrysia – but it’s been released in 2006. Since then there’s a silence in Iconoclasm camp, but I hope this death troop will come back and attack one day!
Standout tracks: “Iconoclastic Warfare”, “Fedelm’s Prophecy”, “Wolfpack”, “Beer Metal Satan”

Final rate: 75/100

Absu - In the Eyes of Ioldanach

ABSU - In the Eyes of Ioldanach (OSMOSE - LP 1998)
“In the Eyes of Ioldanach” is kind of filling release of Absu between their two awesome albums: “The Third Storm of Cythraul” and the amazing “Tara” LP. It contains only four songs and seventeen minutes of music, so for some of you it may not be enough, but at the same time Absu never disappoints and this 12” vinyl is great again and deserves to be in the collection!
Obviously from the very first sound, when you listen to “In the Eyes of Ioldanach”, you just know it is Absu. This is one of these very few bands, which are so characteristic, unique and special in their style and sound that it is impossible to mistake them with something else. More so and luckily, no other band even tried to copy them, as it would simply be impossible to recreate the atmosphere and viciousness of Absu music (and that includes especially the furious drumming and vocals of Proscriptor McGovern). Of course Absu has also been changing and developing through the years and we can hear that from album to album they have been adding something new to their music. In that aspect I think that “In the Eyes of Ioldanach” is their most aggressive, vicious and harsh, violent recording. It is a crushing and thrashing black metal furious attack! So fuckin vigorous and obscure! Both songs on side A – “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” and “Hallstatt” – are as fast and powerful as you can imagine Absu ever to be. Of course it also means that “In the Eyes of Ioldanach” has no atmospheric parts, which made such “Barathrum V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” and “The Sun of Tiphareth” so utterly exceptional… but this is just an EP, so maybe it works in different way. What will strike you is how brilliantly and richly arranged that material is. Just listen to “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.”, a highlight of this EP… what a  killer riffs and totally mad and complex drumming of Proscriptor. Wow! In the entire material he shows his incredible talent and makes jaw drop to the floor. How can he do it and scream at the same time, keeping the fast tempo and everything? Amazing.
Side B is even better, it contains another two anthems – “Manannan” and newly recorded version of “Never Blow Out the Eastern Candle” and that fast pace is kept almost all the time, but at the same time there’s a lot of variety and so many special moments, fillings, amazing arrangements… Such “Manannan” may seem a simple song, as it is based on practically one motif, which goes on and on, with similar lyrics lines through it, but how brilliantly it works and what a grinder it is. And what can I write about “Never Blow Out the Eastern Candle”… it probably is the best song here, so awesome that I am not surprised Absu didn’t want to leave it unreleased (it only appeared on the Osmose compilation CD before!) and re-recorded it for this EP. What I like about it is that it has slightly epic feeling here and there, obviously the majority of is played in fast tempo anyway, but that feeling and dark atmosphere are there. So, it really sounds very, very cool, in my opinion.
Standout tracks: “Never Blow Out the Eastern Candle”

Final rate: 70/100

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Cadaver Inc. - Discipline

CADAVER INC. - Discipline (EARACHE - CD 2001)
Oh, these Norwegians. They really did dare to exhume their legendary death metal band Cadaver, transform it into Cadaver Inc and create a totally new concept. More so, they completely changed the music, for something what sounds like a hybrid of death and black metal, played in most vicious and relentless form known to the Norge people. How could they? Hehe! Don’t worry though! I have no problem with that! More so, I actually really like what “Discipline” offers, even if it is so unlike to “Hallucinating Anxiety” and “…In Pains” LPs. They are like two completely different bands, so maybe this Inc. in the end of their name makes some sense – although it was only temporary, one off thing, as for the next album they came back to being just Cadaver. So it is all just a matter of concept for “Discipline”, which brought a lot of controversy to the band and which was very clever, I think. What was it? Well, let’s just say the band “offered” some unusual service hehe, dealing with cleaning the crime scene, getting rid off the dead bodies, evidence etc. Cool, ha! The band even had some problems with the Norwegian officials because everything looked so real… supposedly hehe. Image and concept aside, “Discipline” is a totally different record to the previous Cadaver releases and that is a fact. 
I remember that the first song, which I have heard from “Discipline” was the opening track, “Primal”. And I remember that this song made a strong impact on me; I loved it immediately, even if this whole Cadaver Inc. had nothing to do with the old band, which I liked so much as well. But at that time - around 2001 I think - I was still hugely infected by such Norwegian bands as Mysticum, Satyricon (from “Rebel Extravaganza” LP, which I love!), DHG, Red Harvest and Thorns, then also by Zyklon (debut LP!) and Mayhem, later also Disiplin… So, mainly the Moonfog roster, with bands, which incorporated more untypical sounds into the cold and harsh black metal and made the whole music sound even more inhuman and cold. And Cadaver Inc with their new album fitted to this style as well. There’s this cold and grim feeling in their music and it also has this unique style of riffing. There’s only one difference here – Cadaver Inc. may have a lot of black metal harshness and coldness, but it also has some quite classic, sometimes almost thrashing riffs, which is as cool as unusual.
I remember that this whole Moonfog take on the futuristic black metal received a lot of criticism and there were probably more people, who disliked it than those who found something amazing and throat cutting in it. Personally, I just did not care about that whole condemnation, probably because this criticism was often coming from closed minded people, who were filled with envy and who were not able to lurk further than the shadow of their own arse. For me such LPs as “Thorns”, “Satanic Art”, “World ov Worms” and “Rebel Extravaganza” were and still are truly superb pieces! And “Discipline” is just equally good. 
Besides, I wouldn’t exaggerate much about that futuristic and industrial side of this album. Sure, it may have some traces of it and more so, even if it doesn’t use many samples and weird sounds, the style of riffing and vocal sound may bring you such resemblances. But “Discipline” is more oriented on the violent, stabbing, harsh and relentless black / death / thrash metal than on anything else. This album is just wonderfully straight forward, so powerful and energetic that it could probably wake the dead up! A huge portion of it is played is vigorous, fast pace, which is just blasting with ferocity and energy… It explodes with a great strength and I just love how it affects the listener, beating him up to the blood and meat, so dense and powerful this music is. It sounds fantastic, with that black metal, inhuman feeling and awesome vocals of Apollyon, who really is one of my favourite vocalists ever. And more so, the album is far away from being one dimensional, as there are also many slower and almost catchy, memorable moments, like “Rupture” and “Point Zero”. 
Whatever Cadaver Inc. would play, it always sounds just great and I love that inhuman, apocalyptic, cold atmosphere, which this album evokes. And it is always just powerful as hell. I love the vocals, amazing drumming of Czral… yeah, you can really feel it is something special. And what’s the best about this record also is that all – really, all! – songs are just top notch and very even, all are excellent and whole album is like a damn hurricane, which will destroy everything on its way. Yes, very, very good material and in my opinion it is a must to have for all maniacs. I hope that one day it will also appear on the vinyl, as I’m a freak and would love to have this and “Necrosis” on LP, since I have the two early albums of Cadaver of black wax already. 
Standout tracks: “Primal”, “Murder head”, “Rupture”, “Point Zero”
Final rate: 85/100

Portal / Rites of Thy Degringolade - The Sweyy / Our Dreadful Sphere

PORTAL / RITES OF THY DEGRINGOLADE - The Sweyy / Our Dreadful Sphere (Ancient Darkness Production - CD 2005)
Wow, I just got a bunch of CDs, released by Denmark’s Ancient Darkness and here is one, which I had to listen to straight away, because it is Portal (!!) on their split CD with Rites of Thy Degringolade. I honestly don’t know all the music, which Portal has released, but so far everything what I have heard from this band sounded so damn awesome and intriguing that I simply must get all their music. So, along with “Outre” this split is a good start. And then the split contains also songs from Rites of Thy Degringolade, which I had no knowledge about until yesterday, so it is always a cool thing to hear also some new, unknown bands (even if they split up already hehe)!
And first comes Portal of corpse, with three tracks of their… hmm, how can we describe the unique sound of this Australian band? Cacophonic, chaotic, insane, dismal, obscure death metal? You can try to describe it with many words, but who cares, you just must hear it to understand that it is not an average, typical death metal band, but something totally different. And unique. We all can call it death metal and sure, there are some riffs and particular fragments, which may bring some resemblance to such Immolation, Angel Corpse, even a bit of Morbid Angel… but it must be said that Portal arranges their music in totally unusual way, adding a lot of weird patterns through their songs, so in the end it just sounds like something you’ve never heard before. A lot of distortion, cacophony, noise, chaos, but also aggression, then there’s this absolutely fascinating dark, ghastly and eerie atmosphere, which Portal generates with their sounds... Damn, the way this band sounds is so unordinary, but also mesmerizing that it becomes impossible to focus on something else than the music. And when these three songs finish, I just want to play them again! Yes, Portal is absolutely amazing. Especially “Werships” sounds like a great, heavy, crushing masterpiece.
And now Rites of Thy Degringolade. I really have never heard about this band before (formed by a guy from Weapon) and I am not even sure whether their music actually fits to Portal, speaking of this split CD… but on the other hand this is also very good band indeed, I like their three anthems, so if Rites of Thy Degringolade fits to Portal or not, it just doesn’t matter. Their music is more black / death metal and when I listen to it I feel like they’re a black metal version of such Angel Corpse and Impiety, speaking of the intensity, aggression, barbarism and atmosphere of these sounds. It surely is very powerful and extreme stuff, not so focused on the atmosphere, as Portal, but on aggression. And such “Our Dreadful Sphere” is excellent, in my opinion, here is where I can hear those Angel Corpse influences the most. It is always great to find some new, unknown before bands and now I had a pleasure to listen to Rites of Thy Degringolade and I am very satisfied with it and will surely try to get some more recordings of them. I can see that they already split up, but there are three full length albums waiting for me to be discovered, which I will do in a proper time. Not as awesome as Portal, but also good! And Portal… Damn!

Final rate: 75/100

Monday, 11 August 2014

Last copies of Panzerfaust zine #6 available


OK, in May I made 100 copies of a new issue of Panzerfaust Zine. Three months later I have just three (3!!!!!) copies left, so if there's someone who really needs one then he better contact me before it's too late and make his purchase / offer a trade, because I decided that most likely I will not make more copies, concentrating on new issue #7!!!!!! 

Oh, the zine is also available at several distros, including HELLS HEADBANGERS, Old Temple (PL) and Wolfsbane Records, so you can bang at their doors as well

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Absu - The Third Storm of Cythraul

ABSU - The Third Storm of Cythraul (AGONIA Records - picLP 2008)
So, here is the third Absu record and I must say that this one brings me some mixed feelings. Why? Well, obviously Absu will always be one of my favourite black metal bands from USA, their excellent debut LP “Barathrum V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” is one of my fave albums ever, I also really like “The Sun of Tiphareth” and “Tara”… But why I especially always appreciated debut LP the most is that atmosphere of the music, its evil feeling, but also how epic an  monumental it is, combined with black metal harshness and ferocity. Maybe the second LP lacked a bit of that, even though it is still a damn good album. And then we have the third LP “The Third Storm of Cythraul” and Absu has changed a bit. From one hand this LP may be seen as sort of continuation of the previous ones, definitely there are many similarities between them all. Once you hear “The Third Storm of Cythraul”, you know it is Absu! But from the other hand this LP is just different, as it brings a great dose of old styled thrash metal to the table. Which maybe is not something terribly wrong, as “The Third Storm…” is still damn strong and great album, but I liked that epic, evil side of Absu from the debut more. Anyway, “The Third Storm…” is a furious thrashing black metal attack, with few more epic and atmospheric parts here and there… And I feel like with this record Absu really came back to their roots, to what bands like Dolmen and Magus were doing! Mind that on “The Sun of Tiphareth” they already did a song, which was more in this style of thrashing black metal, which originally was written by a Texas band called Morbid Scream. And on “The Third Storm of Cythraul” Absu lurks into the past again, bringing this style and again taking a Morbid Scream song for a cover.
And I suppose that “Morbid Scream” song, which originally appeared on the self titled demo of Morbid Scream in 1988 is not only one of the greatest pieces on the whole “The Third Storm of Cythraul”, but it is also a great summary of the entire album. Which is vicious, aggressive, obscure, almost kind of mad and possessed! And some other anthems such as “Prelusion to Cythraul / ...and Shineth Unto the Cold Cometh...”, “Swords and Leather” and “A Magician’s Lapis-Lazuli” are very much in the same vein. And as I mentioned, they’re different to such Absu LPs as “Barathrum”, speaking of the lack of these atmospheric parts, keyboards, etc, but on the other hand there also many similarities, which will allow you to recognize Absu. And I don’t only mean some specific riffs, but also the drumming, arrangements and finally the vocals, which on “The Third Storm…” have been sang by Proscriptor in major part, but Shaftiel is also involved – like in the excellent “Highland Tyrant Attack”, which is a great battle anthem, starting furiously to end in more epic way. But my real favourites are in the end of this LP, starting with the most epic “Customs of Tasseomancy (Quoth the Sky, Nevermore) Act I”. This is a killer track. It goes after the vicious and fast “Morbid Scream”, so it appears in great, epic way (there are even some clean vocals), then it rips with more crushing and aggressive manner, only to finish in more spectacular and atmospheric part. And that monumental and majestic feeling is carried on in the final anthem “…of Celtic Fire We Are Born” – a truly magnificent song, the best piece definitely, even though it is so different to such “Sword and Leather”, being way slower, less chaotic and furious, more melodic and atmospheric. But this is the EPIC side of Absu I love! Such songs are the essence of Absu style; I always like them the most and the same is here on “The Third Storm of Cythraul”. Fantastic finish to the whole LP!
Standout tracks: “Customs of Tasseomancy (Quoth the Sky, Nevermore) Act I”, “…of Celtic Fire We Are Born”, “Morbid Scream”, “Highland Tyrant Attack”

Final rate: 80/100

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Thunderbolt - Apocalyptic Doom

THUNDERBOLT - Apocalyptic Doom (AGONIA RECORDS - LP 2007)
If you’ve read my previous reviews, then you already know that I consider Thunderbolt to be one of the truly best black metal bands of the 00’s. Yes, this Polish legion of death is a malevolent force, which spawned some magnificent albums, of which “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder” is the perfect example for furious, devastating, utterly satanic black metal. The album is so intense and violent that it mutilates you and at the same time it’s not just about being fast and uncompromising, as it also has enough room for more atmospheric parts. And that only underlines the obscurity and eeriness of the music. So, you can realize that I also had great expectations for “Apocalyptic Doom”, which is the fourth full length LP of Thunderbolt. Sadly, it is also their last one, as soon after its release the band split up, mainly due to some fuckin problems, which they had with Agonia Records. I’m not gonna spread the rumours here though, no point doing it, especially as I quite like that label and many of their releases. But it is shitty situation, if such a killer band as Thunderbolt splits up so early… Good thing though is that on the ashes of Thunderbolt two other bands were formed: excellent Deus Mortem and Tortorum. But that’s another story… Here I’m going to write few words about “Apocalyptic Doom”.
And obviously my opinion on this album is again very, very positive. I mean, this band at some point raised the quality of their music into the dimension, which was reserved only for the best black metal bands and with “Apocalyptic Doom” they kept it intact. The album is just as good as its predecessor, it slays mercilessly and brings the annihilation of all what’s sacred and death and pain to the mankind! And more so, in my opinion “Apocalyptic Doom” is even faster and more relentless, more intense and violent when compared to its predecessor, on which Thunderbolt tried to incorporate some more atmospheric fragments, using keyboards here and there and having couple of acoustic songs. “Apocalyptic Doom” has nothing like this, and from start to finish it is a forceful attack, blasting with speed of light. Sure, there are some slower parts and “The Inner Beast” even begins with kind of industrial motif. But the main accent on “Apocalyptic Doom” is putted on fast and aggressive black metal.
In some ways this album reminds me Mayhem. And maybe I would even wish if Mayhem played something like this after “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” LP (but instead they decided to experiment with such albums like “Grand Declaration of War”… ahhh). Atmosphere wise it is quite similar I suppose and there’s also such song as “The Mark of Cain”, where even the vocals have been done in the Mayhemic style. There are also some arrangements, riffs and ideas, which I can put close to “De Mysteriis…”, maybe even to “Wolf’s Lair Abyss”. And it is awesome that Thunderbolt is bringing such resemblances. Obviously I can also bring comparisons to such bands as Urgehal, Gorgoroth, 1349, Tsjuder, maybe even to some Marduk… but I think that Thunderbolt was just better than Marduk, as they at least knew how to make more interesting songs, with a lot of killer ideas and arrangements of all instruments, instead of just ripping through with some monotonous and one dimensional playing. And really, basically every song on “Apocalyptic Doom” is superb, with few, which I find as extremely awesome. Which? Well, already the beginning is something I worship. First there’s a killer introduction titled “The Omen”, which transforms into a beast titled “Apocalyptic Doom”. Then there are such amazing anthems as “Infernal Redemption”, “Spadnie śmiertelny cios…” (where the Polish lyrics give something special and damn, I just love how it all sounds!), “The Mark of Cain”… Finally the LP version, which I was lucky to buy back at the day of release of this album, contains an exclusive track called “Damned Ones Anthem” and it is another fine piece of furious black metal. Arrrghhhh! What a killer stuff, really! So intense and powerful, so aggressive and violent!
I have no doubts that such LPs as “Inhuman Ritual Masmurder” and “Apocalyptic Doom” belong to the best black metal materials, which have been released this millennium. And I can only feel sorrow that the band split up and more so, there’s also this feeling not many maniacs know this band and value these two albums (and obviously the first two as well, as they were great also!). This is one of those underrated materials, which deserved more… So, if you ever have a chance to get a copy of it, especially the vinyl, take it without thinking twice!
Standout tracks: “The Omen”, “Apocalyptic Doom”, “Infernal Redemption”, “Spadnie śmiertelny cios…”

Final rate: 89/100

Friday, 8 August 2014

Silence - The Last Warrior

SILENCE - The Last Warrior (THRASHING MADNESS - CD 2014)
I think that this time Thrashing Madness Productions has done something greater than ever before. Obviously this small Polish label does always killer job, when exhuming some old Polish demos and albums, from bands, which are often totally forgotten and unknown (Lastwar, Nightmare, Morbid Vision, Armagedon, Egzekuthor, Merciless Death, etc). And yes, most of the stuff they released turned out great. But now I have a pleasure to listen to CD of a band, which really was completely unknown… until now! I have no idea how Leszek managed to find this recording and actually even heard about this band, because… well, they never released anything officially! And more so, this demo “The Last Warrior” from 1989 is their only recording, so I really have no idea why it never has been released and how Leszek managed to find it out. Maybe it’s because Silence line up consisted of two Merciless Death / Egzekuthor members? Aghhh! Yes, the short bio of Silence says that this band was formed just briefly after Merciless Death split up in 1988, when some members had been drafted into the army. Silence lasted only for one year, when they recorded this demo but soon later tp guys focused on Egzekuthor, so Silence split up… but damn, someone actually managed to keep “The Last Warrior” demo for all these years and now, 25 years after it’s been recorded, Thrashing Madness has released it on CD! Ain’t that something awesome??!!
And the music is also just great. You know, it’s 1989 and what else can a band like Silence play? Of corpse it is a total speed / thrash metal attack! “The Last Warrior” is close to Merciless Death and damn, they did sound killer. I love the harsh production of this demo, which is a typical for the time, but is so damn cool… and the songs are absolutely fantastic. It’s fast and aggressive, pure extreme metal and songs like “The Last Warrior” are great. Take Merciless Death, Protector or Kreator and here we go… this is thrash metal, which I love! Silence lived shortly, but the material they recorded sounds like some of the best Polish classics. Really, these songs are killer. Only minor fault is the bonus rehearsal track, which I think is pretty useless, it doesn’t sound as good as the rest of the CD, there are no vocals in it, so I could live without it, really, but I guess they added it to make the whole material longer, as it is barely 20 minutes…Despite that I am happy that Thrashing Madness made it happen and this old gem is now on CD. This is a real exhumation of the old corpse!

Final rate: 70/100

Lastwar - Darkness in Eden

LASTWAR - Darkness in Eden (THRASHING MADNESS - CD 2014)
Ready for another lesson in the history of Polish thrash and death metal? So, Thrashing Madness is coming helpful again, bringing forth another fine CD! This time they’re putting to the table one of the better Polish thrash metal bands, Lastwar! On this release you’ll find “Darkness in Eden”, which was their third demo, released in 1992, compiled together with “Demo 1994” – which was also the very last recording Lastwar did before breaking up few months later. Finally the entire CD contains two brand new songs, which were recorded in 2010, when Lastwar returned shortly as one man studio project to do these two exclusive tracks. And that surely is a nice surprise, as I didn’t even know that Maciej, one of the original three members of Lastwar, came up with the idea of doing something new with his old band (surprisingly without his old colleagues). Anyway, all together we have 55 minutes of music here, so it is enough to find out about what Lastwar was all about!
And the band was all about harsh, aggressive thrash metal! I have only a small memory of Lastwar from my early metal days, as I used to have their split cassette with Sparagmos for some time, before I traded it for something else, as I thought it is not brutal enough for me hehe. Yes, I was all about death metal then and even such Sparagmos was not good enough for me. What a shame I did that, as nowadays this cassette seems to be quite rare. Anyway, I did not like Lastwar so much back in the early 90’s. Today, when I listen to “Darkness in Eden” demo I am quite positively surprised, as it is very good stuff! There are actually some songs on this demo from the previous split with Sparagmos, but in new versions. Firstly, they have English lyrics and secondly I am almost sure (almost hehe, but hey - it’s been many years since I’ve listened to Lastwar last time!) they sound more aggressive here. This demo is thrash metal, but with quite a dose of death metal thrown within, so surely it is nicely aggressive piece! First and foremost, it reminds me Sepultura! Of course Lastwar was not even half as good as the Brazilians, they just didn’t have their quality, spark and total classic riffs. But other than that, “Darkness in Eden” is still a very good material. The riffs are fast, with some sick solos and more death grunts rather than typical thrash metal scream. Along with Sepultura, bring also such comparisons as Pestilence, Massacra, Protector and you may know what to expect from “Darkness in Eden”. “After the Existence” and “Rat Line” are excellent, also such “Struggle  for Life” and “Extermination”, where Lastwar sounds pretty close to Pestilence’s first classic LP. Even the vocals sound like Martin van Drunen in his early days, which is kind a cool. Yes, definitely this was a very good demo, I am especially surprised by the awesome sound quality of it.
Then we have the “Demo 1994”, which was the last recording of original Lastwar… and well, I have quite mixed feelings towards this demo. Sure, the style is intact, maybe it’s even more thrashing, really a lot of speed and aggression is there. So, it is fine, but… the vocals sound just annoying here. I really liked the vocals on “Darkness in Eden”, but on this 1994 demo Maciej sounds like someone, who had no energy to do the vocals and sang in quite boring, monotonous manner. The thing I like more about this demo is probably the guitar tone, which is maybe more aggressive… and really there are some great riffs there like in “Oblivion of Reincarnation”, which is really awesome, fast song – definitely the best one on the whole demo. On the other hand such “The Brutal Reality” is just weak and boring, especially as again the vocals are not so good here! Maybe this is why I feel like comparing “Demo 1994” to “Darkness in Eden” Lastwar did not create a better material, it was stagnation or maybe even going backwards. But until now this demo was unreleased, so it’s awesome that Thrashing Madness putted it on this CD.
Finally we have two songs from 2010, which entirely were recorded by the original member Michał Wąsewicz. I am not sure if the other two original members knew about it, but it is really cool to hear Lastwar again… And I also don’t know if these are two newly composed tracks or something what Michał exhumed from his old rehearsal cassettes and decided to record after so many years… But surely these two tracks sound fantastic and totally in the old style of Lastwar. Sure, the production is more modern, there’s drum machine (which doesn’t disturb at all, which is good!), but the feeling of the music plus the aggression are all the same. Two very good tracks here, definitely!!!!

Final rate: 73/100

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Freezing Blood - Altar of Goat

FREEZING BLOOD - Altar of Goat (FALLEN TEMPLE - CD 2014)
Ha, I just spent last several hours listening to one melodic doom metal band, which I was reviewing for another webzine… And now I decided to put on the CD, which I got from Fallen Temple, to review it for Panzerfaust… and the musical difference between these two CDs is just shocking hehe! And the Freezing Blood album, which I am listening to now, sounds almost like a chaotic, relentless, fierce, bestial attack, which wants to erase all pleasure and calmness, which the doomy band delivered hehe! About the band I don’t really know much, as “Altar of Goat” is their debut release and all information I have about them is what I can find on Metal Archives. Which is obviously not much. But I can see that Freezing Blood gathers some people from other quite well known underground Polish acts like Mordhell, Moloch Letalis, Martwa Aura… So, there are no casual people involved in the horde. And that’s good, because I can’t believe that such music would be possible to be executed by someone, who’s not a maniacal worshipper of the obscure metal and Satan! Someone like that would never be able to create such atmosphere in his music or bring such devastation!
Yes, Freezing Blood does all that! “Altar of Goat” do create the atmosphere of chaos and obscurity. The music is damn bestial and violent and of course it may also be considered as primitive noise, with harsh production, unlistenable riffs and furious, screaming nonsense vokills. But that is an attitude, which only people who’re not into such sounds will have. And those, who’re familiar with the fierce attack of bands like Archgoat, Bestial Raids, Black Witchery and many, many others like Teitanblood will surely praise Freezing Blood and understand what such bands deliver. And certainly the entire 15 minutes of the demo is a fuckin total devastation, desecration… great profanation! Of corpse “Altar of Goat” is nothing new; Freezing Blood plays very much like the bands I mentioned above, has similar song structures, riffs, tempos and vocals to some of them (even their image, with hooded, corpsepainted figures, wearing spikes, chains, etc is very typical)… but that’s not the point. I just worship not just the atmosphere such music invokes, but also the straight forward attitude, great riffing, diverse tempos – as there are many fast, chaotic parts, often interrupted by slow, crushing motifs...
And it all works damn awesome, for my taste! Love the powerful energy of this music, which erupts when you just play it loud and when the chaos engulfs you… And a lot of credit goes also for the production of “Altar of Goat”. I mean quite a lot of similar bands have sound, which is below criticism, taking a shitty rehearsal noise over something what can sound both raw, but also mighty and powerful. Luckily, bands such as Bestial Raids and also Freezing Blood take the better option. And this is why something like “Altar of Goat” crushes the skulls, when is played loud. My neighbours don’t love it, I do. Killer stuff! Oh, I must also say that I love the whole artwork and layout of the CD, awesome job.
Standout tracks: all are equally great!

Final rate: 85/100

Nightmare - Cryptic Songs

NIGHTMARE - Cryptic Songs (THRASHING MADNESS - CD 2012)
According to the all-knowing Metal Archives, there were / are 13 bands named Nightmare! Damn, so many hehe! But the one, which I will write about here in this review is Polish Nightmare (maybe they should have called themselves “Koszmar” – that would sound more original, even if foreign people would never be able to pronounce it properly hehe). It’s actually a second compilation CD from Thrashing Madness with Nightmare logo. Firstly there was “Misterium przekleństw”, which contained two demos from 1989 and 1991. And now it’s “Cryptic Songs”, which compiles the album from 1993 plus “The Evil” demo 1992. And again, just like with Morbid Vision, I can’t recall ever hearing Nightmare before. Yes, I do remember the band name from some reviews, which I’ve seen in few old fanzines, but have I ever heard their music before? I don’t think so, but it is awesome again that Thrashing Madness is exhuming such artefacts!
So I did not know what to expect here, but the better surprise is to hear such a cool thrash / death metal played in totally archaic and almost forgotten way. I can’t put one particular bands, which would sound close to Nightmare, my memory is so blank now… But I suppose the band was taking the influences from the best acts of their era, such as Sepultura, a lot of US thrash metal or thrash / death, including Possessed, Incubus and more, more… Again I must admit that I have an impression that the music sounds today very archaic and old, but not in a negative meaning of this word. It’s also interesting to spot that today no one is able to re-create such music, to sound just like these old Polish bands did back in the early 90’s. It’s that characteristic old production, but also the specific vocals, guitar riffs, which may not be so brutal and powerful as some of you would wish, but they are good enough to bang the skull while listening to them. I’m not saying that “Cryptic Songs” is perfect and all that… No, there are as many awesome moments, as those, which are just dull, some are even irritating, like some guitar solos, which I don’t like so much or the songs like “Fallen Love” (oh, really bad clean vocals here!). These boring parts are not many, and besides, there are also those awesome songs like “Cryptic Songs”, “Looking for the Paradise”, “Nocturnal Winds” or truly aggressive piece called “Celebration of the Wolf”, so the balance between good and average is in favour of the first one.
“Cryptic Songs” CD includes also “The Evil” demo as a bonus plus couple of live songs from 1992. The demo may not be something special, especially as it contains basically few of the same songs, which were also included on the album, only the sound on the demo is rougher… Nothing specially great, just decent stuff. As for the live songs, I must say I love them. Sure, they sound harsh like a bootleg, but I just like them a lot, they have such a energetic feeling, something what I sometimes miss in Nightmare studio version, you know? They played thrash / death metal, but it just lacked something powerful, in my opinion… live they had it all.
Anyway, to conclude the whole review - “Cryptic Songs” is surely another recommended release from Thrashing Madness. Just like with Morbid Vision, I can’t say that we’re dealing here with something totally exceptional, rather one of many quite mediocre bands from the early 90’s, which did not achieve anything special back in the old days (hold on! Nightmare did manage to achieve something – somehow they got a chance to support Iron Maiden in 1995! Now, that is something awesome!), but today they sound rather cool. So, yes, I did enjoy this CD.
Final rate: 69/100

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Morbid Vision - Visions of the Morbid Rites / Demonstration of Force 92/91

MORBID VISION - Visions of the Morbid Rites / Demonstration of Force 92/91 (THRASHING MADNESS - CD 2014)
Another compilation of old demo recordings from Thrashing Madness. And this one actually quite surprised me, as I can’t remember if I have ever heard about Morbid Vision before?? Maybe I’ve read some reviews of their demos back in the early 90’s, but I’m not even sure about that and more so, I am certain that I’ve never heard their music nor even seen a cassette anywhere. So it truly is a rare piece of death metal, which Necronosferatus managed to exhume from the old crypt. Cool, I suppose; it’s always a nice thing to have a chance to hear some old, many years forgotten tunes of death! In case of Morbid Vision we have two demos here: "Visions of the Morbid Rites" (1992, originally released on cassette by Baron Records, but I really can’t remember ever seeing this tape!) and "Demonstration of Force" (1991) plus two songs from the unreleased demo 1992. The band was active between 1990-93 and managed to record just these three materials and this CD has them all. Obviously the booklet contains a detailed history of the band, which I have read with great interest, finding out all I should know about Morbid Vision… More so, there are also lyrics and quite few photographs, scans, so everything what should be on such compilation!
Now, as for the music… I can’t say that Morbid Vision was something special. No, it was quite mediocre band, I suppose and definitely they were not as good as the best Polish death metal acts from the early 90’s. But even if both demos show a total mediocrity (but not poorness!), they kind of managed to entertain me anyway. I suppose that two things made me like this compilation: one is the pure curiosity for everything old and death metal. The more unknown band and demo, the better… And secondly, it would probably be the fact that these songs survived all these years, someone gave them a second life releasing the CD and somehow it is simply cool to listen to such ancient artefacts. These demos, even if are not as good as “Necromantical Exmortis”, “Dead Condemnation”, “Invisible Reality”, “Clairvoyant” or “Superior Ignotum” (to bring just few titles from the old days), are still good enough and besides, even if today we have so many so called old school bands, then none really sounds like Morbid Vision back in 1992. And the more I listen to this compilation, the more I like it, especially "Visions of the Morbid Rites" demo, which is really damn cool.
Musically Morbid Vision was typical death metal band of the early 90’s, blending some vicious, fast and aggressive death metal with a lot of German thrash metal. Bands like Pestilence and Protector must have had a huge impact on the creators of "Visions of the Morbid Rites"! The riffing is often coarse and slightly archaic, so is the production on both demos (“Demonstration of Force” especially), but it doesn’t disturb really. I like many of these thrashing riffs, the demonic vocals on "Visions of the Morbid Rites" are just fantastic… And there are many songs, which I just think are great, like for example “Morbid Vision”, “Thanatophobia”, “N.D.O.” and the opening song “Open the Mirror”. Mostly it’s the demo 1992, which I liked, but “Demonstration of Force” is pretty cool, I guess. As I already wrote, nothing truly exceptional, but solid and quality stuff anyway. And damn, I just recommend you getting this CD, as it’s just really cool to listen to such old stuff.

Final rate: 70/100