Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Venenum - Venenum

It is an undisputable fact that the German death metal scene has now became stronger than ever before in the past. And all these young wolves have managed to resurrect their scene in great way, after so many years of stagnation and simple dullness (for years I think only Fleshcrawl was really good death metal band from Germania, and behind their backs there few more mediocre bands and loads of shit crawling in the filth, unworthy and forgettable). I am not going to mention all these new band names now, but will focus on two. First is Excoriate - now sadly split up, whose "On Pestilent Winds..." LP was a real bone crusher. I am not sure at which point P.T. from Excoriate (also known from Hellish Crossfire) decided to form a new band, but in 2008 Venenum was born. The line up is completed with the ex-members of some other underground legions, whose names will not tell anything to most of you. Anyway, it is not important who's been playing where. The most major fact here is that Venenum with their debut EP simply slain.
Sepulchral Voice again did a great job, when releasing their LPs. I simply love the artwork, also because it is maybe not so usual for death metal bands, but just like in such bands as Invidious, Degial, Stench and Tribulation, it is rather unique, but fits the atmosphere of their music so perfectly (the slimy green colouring is awesome). I like the artwork, I like its haunting, horror atmosphere... it somehow reminds me some old horror satanic or whatever movies posters, but it just looks good! Morbid and profound!
The music counts most though and Venenum just knows how to catch the attention. Their death metal belongs to those few examples for the new quality within the old sounds. I mean, I mentioned some bands already (Invidious, Degial, Stench and Tribulation), plus I may add also such Ensnared, Vanhlegd, Repugnant, Vorum, Beyond... All these bands create a new sound, but based on some classic, old school patterns. They take a lot of influence from the classic death metal records, but just like in case of Venenum they're mixed with some influence from the 70's rock and heavy music. And it even has a small black metal feeling to it. As weird as it may sound to you, it does have a great sense and simply sounds awesome.
Starting with fantastic, very warm and organic, not digital and non plastic production, which fits so perfectly to such music, then with the ability to create a stunning eerie atmosphere... "Venenum" is death metal, with a great accent placed on haunting melodies and riffs, which are creating this sort of occult, obscure atmosphere, which makes you devour these sounds like in some kind of ritual frenzy. It's not necessarily a music to bang your skull and drink beers to, although you can surely do that as well, but I think it's more about contemplating it, letting its shadow surround you, freeze the blood and create some eerie visions. Yes, I am serious, as much as it sounds cheesy to you, this is how I receive these sounds. Of corpse “Venenum” is also aggressive, it’s a riff based music, with fantastic ghoulish vocals, some speedy parts, but also with a necessary share and worship for the classic Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore”, Autopsy new and old and early Morbid Angel influence.
The whole EP is based upon four killer anthems, which all have some interludes in between, so you can imagine that the whole is almost like a conceptual and very carefully planned and thought work. “Bewitched Craft” and “Lunar Tombfields” are surely my favourite anthems here, but seriously speaking the whole EP makes an enormous impression and is simply killer (OH, these riffs in “Sacrosanct Transcendence”!). For me it’s because of bands like Venenum the whole death metal scene became so interesting and unique again. They make new quality, created something new and fresh, all exciting again. Definitely a worthy recommendation! 
Standout tracks: “Bewitched Craft”, “Lunar Tombfields”

Final rate: 95/100

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Sear Bliss - Phantoms

SEAR BLISS - Phantoms (II MOONS - CD 1996)
I don’t know too many Hungarian bands, but among all those, which I do know and remember about Sear Bliss is definitely the best. This one band definitely stands above the rest of their (usually mediocre) scene and is also the only Hungarian act, which I regularly buy and collect, every time they release something new. Why? Well, it is simple – first, they have very original and characteristic style, which makes their music so special. Furthermore, they never putted out a bad album, never shamed themselves with weak and uninteresting record. Sure, some albums I like more, some less, but in total Sear Bliss is very solid and worthy band. And that’s not something common, right? I regularly come back to Sear Bliss CDs, their earlier stuff mainly and just recently I was thinking if / will they release something new? It’s been already three years since their last album “Eternal Recurrence” and seven since “The Arcane Odyssey”. So, maybe it’s time to do something new? And when thinking about it, I went through all Sear Bliss albums, starting with the excellent debut “Phantoms”. And because this record impress me so much every time I listen to it, I also decided to write few words about it, to remind you not only this excellent CD, but also Sear Bliss, who I think are still slightly underrated in the extreme (black) metal scene.
Sear Bliss for me are the masters of atmospheric, monumental black metal. Their music was always characterized by a unique mixture of harshness and obscure black metal, with a lot of atmosphere and melody. Since their early days Sear Bliss had special, exceptional riffs, brilliant arrangements, which make them sound like no other band around… and finally obviously they’re also known for using the trumpets, which add a special flavor and feeling to the music, making it sound even more epic, monumental or whatever you wanna call it. Important is that the results are always very good. And “Phantoms”, released in 1996 by Mascot Records sub-label called II Moons, is definitely among by favourite recordings of Sear Bliss. What an excellent debut it is. What a stunning music, brilliant compositions and everything!
One of the biggest strengths of Sear Bliss and albums like “Phantoms” is the diversity of the material here. More so, Sear Bliss is doing so well with both aggressive and more atmospheric playing, that both styles fit together perfectly, complement each other and are a unity. And the sound of the album can be described as powerful and monumental, aggressive but sometimes almost melancholic and even beautiful hehe although I know this word may freak you out hehe! That diversity can be noticed in almost every song. “Far Above the Trees” is slow, monumental, sorrowful piece, which really evokes that nostalgic feeling, with some heavy riff and dreamy keyboards. This very easily listenable, memorable tune is followed by “Aeons of Desolation”, which basically provides similar patterns, the atmosphere is quite alike, it’s melancholic, nostalgic, the music is again rather slow, but even heavier, when Sear Bliss adds the trumpets and the finish is very symphonic – and how awesome it sounds! Yeah, I love how well the band combines melody with heavy riff and harsh black metal vocals, which by the way have such a strong accent that maybe it will take you a while before you get used to them (tone of the voice is similar to Gehenna’s Sanrabb, but add the accent to it!). Definitely “Aeons of Desolation” is among my favourite tracks on this album. It is a killer anthem, so memorable, so perfectly arranged and performed. But “Phantoms” is built in strange way; it begins with slower, more epic songs and the closer to its end then the more uncompromising and faster the music becomes. Already “1100 Years Ago” will surprise with more uncompromising black metal attack, including some blasting parts (hey, the first line of the lyrics is “Oh Lord, let us fire every church…” hehe!), but obviously it all is also combined with a lot of atmospheric passages, again with some powerful sound of the trumpet, acoustic intermission and great harmonies. But then we have such fine examples for diversity of Sear Bliss music like “As the Bliss Is Burning”, “Beyond the Darkness” and “With Mournful Eyes”, which all are mainly concentrated on fast, blasting black metal, but spiced with some monumental breaks. And trumpets again! And that is really powerful,
So, what about those trumpets? Well, they appear here and there, more as a filler to the riffs, to make it sound even more powerful and monumental and surprisingly it did give the wanted result! I am always really astonished how well it sounds and that they actually fit such music perfectly. And I am sure that if the brass section was replaced by keyboards then the result would not be as good and interesting.
And last thing… the artwork. All these early Sear Bliss releases have awesome pictures painted by Kris Verwimp. “Phantoms” is also really nice one. It presents a white female figure, White Witch, which releases an eagle – which as far as I remember represents a human soul. Another important things showed on the painting are two trees with wooden female figures melted / devoured into these trees. And finally a snake in the roots of the left tree, hiding in its little cave.
So, how I can resume this review? Do I have to really? It is just splendid, 50 minutes of great, almost perfect music, which I could listen to over and over again. I am very impressed and again I can only wonder how the hell is it possible that Sear Bliss and “Phantom” are still so little known and that hard to find? Absolute recommendation. 
Standout tracks: “Aeons of Desolation”, “1100 Years Ago”

Final rate: 90/100

Monday, 10 November 2014

Klabautamann - Der Ort

First time I had a chance to hear “Der Ort” was when Heavy Horses Records sent over to me a promotional copy of this CD around 2005. I did enjoy the music of Klabautamann quite a bit, I even decided to interview this band, for being slightly different than majority of black metal stuff around and of course also because I simply enjoyed their music. Years have passed… and recently I was listening to Klabautamann’s debut album “Our Journey Through the Woods” quite a lot and really liked it. So, now I decided to give “Der Ort” some listens as well and I can say that it’s good album also, but maybe not quite as good as I remembered hehe!
Saying that I don’t mean it is completely not good or uninteresting album anymore. No, I just feel like I prefer the songs and style from “Our Journey Through the Woods” slightly more. I won’t deny that Klabautamann has made a nice progress between both records. Their music evolved and progressed and yes, “Der Ort” kept some ingredients from the debut intact, but at the same time this album got rid off some aggressive and more pure black metal side of the music and switched them for things, which I may not always be so fond of. Style wise “Der Ort” still has that huge dose of atmospheric, sometimes folky black metal, where the band builds their music upon harsh, distorted riffs, often accompanied by acoustic guitars, all in order to create that great, epic, sometimes also melancholic feeling. Interestingly, if I compared the previous album to such bands like Helhiem, Agalloch, Enslaved, Helrunar, etc, then “Der Ort” may be more original style wise, but with small Agalloch / Wolves In the Throne Room traces still noticeable in few parts (not as strong though as before). And that black metal aspect is good. I like that Klabautamann so easily is able to combine the harshness and aggression with melancholy, melody and also arranges the songs with some additional instruments, etc. There’s a great richness of ideas on the album; you’ll find here some fast black metal mixed with a lot of acoustic guitar parts, next to piano interlude in song titled “Der Ort”. Then the next track “Forlorn Sin” has an acoustic opening with some clean vocals, which truly creates a nice, melancholic atmosphere, reminding me such bands like Agalloch, Forlorn and Borknagar. But there are also quite few songs, which have a stronger accent putted on the harsh, often quite fast riffing – let me only mention “Winternacht” and especially “Waldschrat”. They also create a dark, gloomy atmosphere, also have some melodic parts and several acoustic passages thrown within their structures, but generally seem to be more aggressive and straight forward than the rest of the material. And I must say that I really like this combination of fast, raw riffing and acoustics!
A real surprise and something that hasn’t been done in Klabautamann before comes with “October”. Imagine a doomy, melancholic song with not even a smallest touch of aggression, but with an overwhelming sorrowful atmosphere and all female vocals. It is very unexpected finish of the album. I must also mention “Red Urn”, which is all acoustic, with some clean and whispered vocal parts… again fitting well to the overall atmosphere of “Der Ort”.
Most of these sounds rather different when compared to “Our Journey Through the Woods”, I think. On one side I feel like the music of Klabautamann became more accessible, which means it’s easier to listen to, maybe slightly softer (despite having quite few fast black metal accents). But on the other side, it’s also richer, more carefully arranged and not as simple as the debut. All in all no one can deny that Klabautamann has progressed quite much. Whether their music went in a good direction, I will leave it to you to decide. I have listened both early CDs quite many times in past days and I think I like the debut more. “Der Ort” is also good, but maybe there are just too many fragments, which I didn’t like so much… On the other hand I am now really intrigued how the next two records of Klabautamann sound like, so I will definitely try to find “Merkur” and “The Old Chamber” soon. Very interesting band, all in all. 
Standout tracks: “Der Ort”, “Forlorn Sin”

Final rate: 70/100

Ares Kingdom - Veneration

ARES KINGDOM - Veneration (Nuclear War Now! - LP 2013)
It’s been a while since Ares Kingdom released their last album “Incendiary”. But finally the fans could be relived seeing a new recording with their logo coming out in 2013, titled “Veneration”. But could they? All in all, this is not another full length album in normal meaning of this word, but nothing more but just a cover album. Yeah… I know. It can be a disappointment, really, since there’s no new material of Ares Kingdom in it at all, but just a collection of some covers. And personally I am not a big fan of cover albums… I mean, I like the idea of playing / recording covers, I like to hear a cover as an additional song on the album, but somehow a whole LP filled with just cover songs is not something what I would be happy to hear. It’s just because most of such albums – like these Six Feet Under records called “Graveyard Classics” – were shit. OK, there are some exceptions, for example I quite enjoyed Vader’s “Future of the Past”, but it’s maybe due to a great choice of songs, which Vader played. I also enjoyed such CD like Throneum / Revelation of Doom, but it contains both new songs from each and as well as the covers, so it is a bit different. “Veneration” was a doubtful idea for me, also because when I saw the bands, which Ares Kingdom covered, it turned out that there’s hardly anything what I would know. I didn’t even plan to buy that album at first, but I somehow did get the vinyl, but only because it wasn’t that expensive and I just wanted to get another release of Ares Kingdom in my collection.
And you know what? I am actually very happy that I got “Veneration” in my hands. It turns out that even though Ares Kingdom recorded some totally unknown bands’ covers, the result is fantastic! Yeah! I’m seriously relieved and happy that this album turned out to be so awesome. And who would think that an extreme metal band, which makes a cover album without playing songs of such obvious bands like Celtic Frost, Sodom, Venom, Kreator or Death can still be a winner? Ares Kingdom definitely is! Their choices were completely unpredictable, but despite not being familiar with most of the stuff they recorded I liked it anyway. And it is probably because Ares Kingdom recorded these tunes in their own style, like they were their own songs, adding there that viciousness, aggression, feeling and dark atmosphere, which we all know from the normal Ares Kingdom songs! They’ve been spiced with real ferocious and relentless feeling, so the end result is simply… delicious hehe!
Most of the songs, which have been covered here come from the ancient times of mid 80’s! From these old days bands like Slaughter Lord, Sacrilege, Dokken and Mefisto (Sweden!) were chosen. Damn, you must admit that they’re not so popular choice, especially Mefisto or heavy / rock band Dokken! And from the 90’s there are R.U.Dead? and Nepenthe, plus on top of all there’s a song from Vulpecula. So, I think I only knew two songs from the whole set before hehe! But if you ask me how can Ares Kingdom play something like Dokken in their own, harsh and extreme way, then let me tell you that already in my review of the previous albums like “Return to Dust” I was pointing out that unusual mixture of rough death / thrash metal with some traces of classic heavy metal. So, these old, not always death metal, songs sound naturally similar to the usual Ares Kingdom style! Like that Dokken… you would never guess these songs (“Without Warning / Tooth and Nail”) can be coming originally from so different stylistically band. Ha, I actually listened to all songs, which are covered on “Veneration” in the original versions on you tube to compare them and I can only repeat that great job had been done here. Such Mefisto, who has a strong Hellhammer / Celtic Frost influence on their ancient “Megalomania” demo from 1986… So, why playing a hundredth version of “Circle of the Tyrants” if you can play “Act Dead”, which has similar style and feeling? And then why choosing something from more known bands like Hellbastard or Onslaught, if you can replace it with something completely unknown and unpopular like Sacrilege from “Within the Prophecy” album from 1987? At least it can introduce this band to some listeners. It did to me! Early 90’s death metal? Well, they could have done Poison, but instead did R.U.Dead?, who were also damn great band.
I like that Ares Kingdom chose a song from Nepenthe. Although I am not familiar with their demos (this band was active in early / mid 90’s and released three demos), but it’s a nice comeback to a past for Alex Blume, who played in Nepenthe back in the old days. And of course Chuck Keller had his Vulpecula, whose song “Celestial” has also been covered here on “Veneration”. It’s a nice tribute to their old bands I guess. This way “Veneration” show the roots and influences of Ares Kingdom. All songs have been played in absolutely fantastic way, my favourites here are definitely “Die By Power”, “When Your Heart Turns Black” and “Oblivion”. So, I recommend “Veneration” definitely, don’t get scared away by the fact that it’s a cover album. It is worth having and being played for sure. I like it a lot. 
Standout tracks: “Die By Power”, “When Your Heart Turns Black”, “Oblivion”.

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 6 November 2014

ColdBlood interview

Here is a great death metal from Brasilia, which crushed my bones with some excellent music on their “Chronology of Satanic Events” album. I got instantly impressed and enjoyed that CD fully. So, I did not think twice but asked MKult about interview. Which is here… and well, maybe I am not so fully happy with some short answers, but at least I can once more recommend ColdBlood! Great band, I tell ya... So, don’t hesitate to support them.
Well, well...Yet another killer Brazilian band! The scene in your country is so damn strong, with so many great bands, but I must say that many of them seem to be criminally underrated. It feels like people mainly know about shitty Sepultura and Krisiun, but the other, more underground bands are often forgotten and don’t get enough support. What is your view on that?
MKult - I believe that through much work, if you are always releasing records and touring, and above all have a good material to present, surely you will have more chances, more exposure in media. Obviously, with Sepultura and Krisiun it was more than that. Sepultura was a world first at the time and Krisiun rescued and placed the extreme metal on another level, wordly talking. But here in Brazil we have other Brazilian bands that are less known, but have more than one work at the highest level leaving not any band out. Perhaps the fact that our cultural reality is less valued than others, impede the bands pursue a more stable career.

Which Brazilian bands from today’s scene you think are the best? Which would you really recommend to me? Also, what about the fanzines? I, for example, like such Escarnium, Impetuous Rage and Poisonous a lot! I can see that most of the Brazilian / South American bands are extreme, violent, very obscure, hailing the old styles… How would you explain that? Is it because of the life conditions there in South America?
MKult - I believe that yes, because I live in that reality with Coldblood. In Latin America it is more difficult to maintain a metal band and maybe this is reflected in the sound that has a most odious and a brutal approach.

I was very, very surprised seeing that ColdBlood is so old band, while I only got to know you thanks to the recent album “Chronology of Satanic Events”… so, I hope you won’t mind if we talk in this interview also about the past! So, you are a band of the Brazilian second generation, while the first one holds the
bands from the 80’s, from the Cogumelo roster. Tell me how was the scene in Brazil back in the early 90’s, when compared to the 80’s? It feels like in 90’s only just few bands like Krisiun and Rebaelliun managed to get the status of the older crews like Sarcofago, Sepultura and Volcano. I bet that without the internet and such stuff, it was damn hard for Brazilian bands to get the decent promotion in Europe and US! And what about the equipment, was it hard for you to get some good gear back then?
MKult - No doubt things were harder for ColdBlood in the early 90’s. I think what has hurt us the most were the two breaks we had, one in 1993-1999 and another from 2001 to 2004. It was only after 2005 that when we started working with the band without stopping. Obviously the current resources enabled us to have a wider spread, making us the most known band around the world.

The band was formed in early 90’s and even did one demo back in 1992. And then you went quiet for many years, doing a second demo in 2000. What happened during these years? Did Coldblood just split up or there was another reason for taking this break? How would you describe the band from “Terror Stench” demo times? Did you manage to get any recognition with this old demo?
MKult - The uncertainty of a promising future with the band, internal problems, family recovery, drugs... All this led to give pauses from the past. We were very young, at the age around 17 and did not have the focus needed to keep the band alive at that time, a shame. But it is our history and it is important that we are active today and focusing 100% on the band and nothing will stop us, except death. I believe that our new album is one evolved cousin of our first demo. Since both have a morbid and gloomy work.

I have noticed that at some point Coldblood was reformed, but without you in the line up and then the second demo “…and It Comes the Winter” was released. Any thoughts about it?
MKult - Despite being one of the founding members of ColdBlood, I could not be present in this release due to another commitment I had at the time with a band called Nocturnal Worshipper (Black Metal) and also my relationship with the other founding members of ColdBlood was not very good, so I thought I better be on my way and wish them luck. I do not hold grudges for that time. Part of the story.

Finally you came back to ColdBlood for the recording of the third demo “Reincarnating a New Black God”. How did it all happen? Did you already have some influence on the songs from this demo?
MKult - We met to talk about the return of the original formation in early 2005, which was an important event for us, because we had not played together since 1993. We left all the problems of the past aside and raise the glass for return of the band. All songs were made exclusively for this demo, so we all had participation in the compositions, arrangements and ideas with letters.

Alan Silva and Vitor Estevez, who were long time members of Coldblood are no longer playing with you, would you mind explaining the reasons for it? I mean, after so many years of companionship there must have been a strong bond between you, but maybe also got tired of each other.
MKult - Yes, we lived great moments with the original lineup, but we all know that you do not fully live from a band, you need to have other means of earning money and support your family. We are in Brazil and here things are more difficult to live from music, which is almost impossible. Today we are good friends and so they help me with something when we need to. The ColdBlood is a great legion.

Finally a debut album “ Under the Blade I Die” was released. Was this album a collection of demo songs or completely new material? What can you say about it, I mean did you manage to get some recognition with it and feedback from the underground worldwide? How happy are you today with this effort, with the songs and this
recording? Are you also happy with the work of Onslaught Records?
MKult - Exactly, for the "Under The Blade I Die" we re-recorded four songs of the third demo and a second demo, the other five songs were written exclusively for the album. With this album we entered the world circuit and obtained a good response. The album was released in Mexico and Brazil, we did a tour through the dissemination of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia and won over fans around the world. I think we did a good campaign. As for Onslaught Records… Much I do not know how they released the material, but we did our part.

Meanwhile “The Other Gods” EP was self released. Why did you come up with the idea to add the demos into this EP? And more so, is this CD still available, as it would be bloody awesome to have it in a collection!
MKult - At the time of this release we were completing 20 years of band, had a new front man and needed to release something new. So we wrote five songs and put the first three demos as a bonus to celebrate this anniversary. That was the idea. I still have some copies, but is already in order.

OK., let’s talk about the new album! The music on “Chronology of Satanic Events” holds a strong influence of bands like Morbid Angel, Monstrosity, Immolation, Deicide, Vader… I wonder if you personally would also point these bands as your main inspiration and if so, then which albums of theirs would be your most important? I mean such Morbid Angel has been changing during the years, up to what we have heard on their last, rather disappointing semi-death metal / semi-industrial album, so I wonder also what was your reaction to this material?
MKult - Obviously we were inspired by bands like Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, Deicide, Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Dissection, Watain, ColdWorld... These are bands that we take seriously and inspire us every moment such is the greatness of their works. About the new Morbid Angel album I can say that is not my favorite but I like some ideas.

As I mentioned, “Chronology of Satanic Events” is the first stuff of ColdBlood, which I got to know, so maybe you can tell me if and how was the band’s sound and style developing through all these years? I may not be talking about “Terror Stench”, as it was recorded in different era, but the releases from the 00’s, especially “Under the Blade I Die” EP. How do you view “Chronology…” songs when compared to the earlier stuff? Usually bands say it is faster, more technical, better written… hehe, so I guess you will say the same he!?
MKult -  In "Under The Blade I Die" have a more direct and offensive album, wrought in the old school American death metal. In "Satanic Chronology Of Events" we have a more enigmatic epic, more morbid and chaotic approach, but the album keeps our roots in the old school.

The title of new album “Chronology of Satanic Events” sounds quite enigmatic, so maybe we can talk about it and the lyrics a little bit. I mean what events are you writing about? Would these lyrics be a real manifestation of your thoughts and beliefs or rather just more fantasy stories, good for death metal, but nothing serious?
MKult - These events are not related to anything as natural disasters, wars and etc. All lyrics deal with personal events of satanic proportions. There is much subjective things in the lyrics because I'm speaking from my own existence,

experiences before receiving the true Gnosis of Lucifer and all rehabilitation a life without spiritual maturity to this transition. There is also a thing that is grounded in my satanic esoteric study when he was most in the beginning.

Is it kind of a conceptual album, actually? And the order of the songs – does it have any importance?
MKult - No, this album both musically and lyrically is a new mould adopted for the Coldblood, just that. Each track follows an order only maintaining a good sense of music.

It is a question what Satan stands for, to you? Would you call yourself a satanist? And then again, there are as many views of satanism as there are the Satanists. Some will preach the La Vey stuff, some will follow something totally different… What would you say?
MKult - Satan is the bane for most (Hylics), but is also the one who guides orphans born of fire. I'm a Satanist, and I consider myself fortunate, as I was chosen and honour this most dedicated and passionate as possible. In the last few years I have studied and accumulated all the knowledge that is in my power on black and traditions that exalt death and destruction as well as everything that is derived from metaphysical evil .Also there ritualistic practice of which is a topic that I have explored in a very respectful and careful manner since this is a very individual nature.

Brazil just like Poland, is strongly catholic country, so I wonder is it difficult to be in opposition to this religion in there? I mean here in my country priests and fanatical believers, including most of politicians, get involved in every matter of daily life, they want to have an influence on politics, schools, events, just everything… And that sometimes leads also to some sporadic but pitiful collaboration with local authorities to cancel metal shows, which they always call black metal, satanic masses hehe! It is funny, but also pisses off totally. How is it in Brazil?
MKult - There is a legion of such worms here but if any cross our path will suffer the consequences.

In your opinion, is death metal something more than just a brutal music with deep, guttural vocals? I mean, does it have to bring also a specific lyrical content, being dark, about death, often antichristian or even satanic? Same goes for the presentation of the band – OK., it doesn’t has to be as strict as with black metal bands, but surely it cannot look like some pussy or hardcore wimps, right? Looking at Coldblood, I guess you’re pretty much following the traditions!
MKult - Thank you. We will always be a traditional death metal band and never follow a market trend for fame or money. We are Metal as an ideology of life and that's why we're all that time in road. We are proud of our history and we will remain active until our bodies hold.

Brazil is holding a world up just now… but I see there’s a lot of controversy in your country, many Brazilians feel like both the World Cup and the Olympics shouldn’t take place
in the country and the huge amount of money spent on these events should rather go on the social stuff, like schools, hospitals, help of the poor… How do you see this, especially as the citizen of Rio? You know, tourists come and go, they will leave some money, but all that is very short lived, soon you’ll be left with dept and problems what to do with all these modern stadiums, most likely, like it is in South Africa now…
MKult - To tell the truth I do not care much about football. I live in another reality and not usually accompany these events. They really spent much money on this and left health and education once again abandoned.

As a Satanist, do you actually care about all these social topics and problems with your country, with the misery, poverty, politics, corruption, or you’re just careless and stay away from all this shit?
MKult - I prefer to stay away from all this shit!

I guess that one of the places in the world, which I would really want to see is the great Amazonia. This place still holds many places in the jungle, where civilised man didn’t walk, and it has also a beautiful, but dangerous nature. But Amazonia suffers, because of what the men do, industrial influence is bad… I wonder if these ecological topics are often a matter of discussion in your country?
MKult - This subject is very controversial here but corruption does not allow move things forward. Justice is very slow and deforestation is increasing. I was flying by these days and I could see all the Amazon zone.

OK., back to music, shall we? You’ve been also a member of several other bands, Mysteriis being the most important I suppose. Can you tell me something more about all these projects like Mysteriis, Nocturnal Worshipper, Psychoneurosis, Darkaro, Castifas, Metano, Syren, Unearthly? Seems like music is a very important aspect of your life, even though you’re already in your 40’s! Would you say that it is the MOST important thing for you, the essence of life? If so, what being a metalhead mean to you, especially as a person, who started listening and playing this music over 20 years ago!
MKult - I have no doubt that I was born for this. My life in the last 22 years is fully geared for this. I went through several bands, was among the main Black metal bands from my town (Mysteriis, Unearthly, Nocturnal Worshipper and Castifas), and has worked with other not less important as Syren, Methane, Darkaro. Also passed by bands like Sodomizer and Hellkommander and currently working with the staff of Diabolic Force, but my main band is Coldblood and always will. As I said before, when you have the metal as well ideology of life you can go further and still while my health permits me to do it.

What would be the next plans for Coldblood? I mean “Chronology of Satanic Events” is a damn strong album, so it surely deserves a good promotion, support and attention of the maniacs. But there’s a strong competition nowadays, many great bands, many great albums… What is your aim, which you want to achieve with this CD?
MKult - Launched the "Satanic Chronology Of Events" in September 2013 and since that we have conducted two tours in Latin America, dozens of interviews in the four corners of the world, we have taken enough out of our material, we won more fans around the world, I believe we are doing a good campaign for this album.

I can see now that Coldblood is only a two piece, with you and Diego Mercadante in the line up. What happened to the rest of the members? Will you stay as a duo or plan to find some replacement forces? I know you’re planning a small tour with Funerus in
Brazil for the next month!
MKult - Our goal is to have a stable line up but until that happens we prefer to hire other musicians to accompany us on tour. The thing has worked so well this time, but we intend to
stabilize the team. The tour with Funerus and Nervo Chaos has been spectacular, we are learning a lot and gaining new fans. We are living our best moment.

Death metal for all these almost 30 years of existence spawned many killer bands, which recorded a lot of killer albums, demos, EPs. I just love to discover some old unknown bands, whose demos are little known and all of a sudden turn out to be pure wonderful pieces. I’m sure you also like to make such awesome discoveries. So, today I would like to recommend you the demo from great British band called Broken Fear who did a killer demo and even better MCD back in the mid 90’s! Please, check them out and tell me your opinion!
MKult – I could listen to this song "Nuclear Factories Function" and referred me to old school. This is the kind of death metal that I enjoy and certainly this is a band to hear more often. Thanks for the tip.

And I guess that would be all! Sorry, if I troubled you with too many questions hehe, but man is a curious being he! Anything you want to say to finish this interview? Take care, man!

MKult - I would like to thank all those who follow our work and you for this interview in this conceptualized zine, it was a pleasure.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Klabautamann - Our Journey Through the Woods

KLABAUTAMANN - Our Journey Through the Woods (Self released CD 2003)
What a tongue breaker is the name of this band! Klabautamann! Hehe, seriously, come on! I’ve read on Metal Archives an explanation of this name, which is (quote): “Klabautamann is a way of writing Klabautermann, a goblin that predicts shipwrecks”. Hey, simple Morbid Fuck is not enough? Hehe, of course I am joking now, don’t listen to me. Hehe, but hey, listen to some really fuckin awesome music, from a band, which probably is known to only few people around. Sad that Klabautamann never got any bigger, as I am sure that their music has quality, which could and should provide them more attention. But what can I expect if their albums were released by small labels? “Our Journey Through the Woods” has been self released by the band first and later in 2008 re-released by Vendlus Records. I think I have the first version, as there’s no label name anywhere to be found in the booklet or CD disc. Whatever… A nice album, with really cool artwork, which I think was done by the same artist, whose works were used by Mortiis. This artwork can give you an idea that “Our Journey Through the Woods” will not be a raw and primitive, satanic black metal, but something more atmospheric. And yes, it is exactly that – atmospheric, slightly folky, epic black metal. Awesome stuff.
First we have a melancholic intro, which is more like a calm before the storm, as soon “Der Nöck” erupts with nice and fast black metal riffing, similar to… hmm, and here I could probably mention few bands, but two, which I have a strongest resemblance to would be German masters Helrunar and Helhiem from Norway. Add to it some Agalloch, Enslaved and here we go… You may have a nice idea what is Klabautamann like. Awesome music, as I already wrote! “Der Nöck” has so many killer parts; it begins with fast piece, but then becomes slower, more atmospheric, but still quite aggressive and angry! The riffing is not that typical, but if you know the bands I mentioned above then you’ll recognize that style! They even used an acoustic guitar as a background to one riff and these German lyrics fit so perfectly here (just like in Helrunar, so maybe this is why I have this resemblance)… all in all, that song is a real smasher. And that’s not everything what Klabautamann has prepared, the entire album is filled with greatness. If you like a real Agalloch-like tune then I recommend you “Rabenmorgen”; built upon some acoustic passages, with some slightly folky atmospheres… Yes, very good indeed. I really enjoy bands, which are able to combine the harshness of black metal with acoustics and atmospheric stuff and Klabautamann is in my opinion just as good as mentioned Agalloch.
Klabautamann managed to create a properly dark, sorrowful, melancholic atmosphere, which probably fits perfectly to their fantasy lyrics (and I write probably, as no lyrics are to be found in the booklet, so I can only guess by the song titles!). Songs like “Rabenmorgen” and “Seaghost” are awesome examples for that. They’re later followed by acoustic instrumental “Elfentanz”. But in case you feel bored with such quieter moments, then Klabautamann attacks with songs like “Tower of Sorcery” – fast, harsh, aggressive black metal, but one which still holds that atmospheric, sometimes slightly melodic side, so it does fit to the whole album and doesn’t sound like something thrown within by accident. Some riffs are maybe not so usual for black metal style (listen to “Trolldance”), but there’s no one single bad moment on the album. If you have any doubts, then give a listen to the final anthem called “Autumn’s Death” – an epic over eight minutes long masterpiece, filled with awesome harmonies, acoustics, atmosphere, but also with real raging parts. Yes, incredible piece.
So, if you call yourself a fan of atmospheric black metal, especially of the bands I mentioned in this review, then I strongly recommend you finding “Our Journey Through the Woods”. I am not sure if it’s rare or not, Klabautamann is not a well known band, so there’s a strong hope to find it here and there cheap, I guess, so if you happen to see a copy – do not hesitate to buy it. Very good band, indeed!
Standout tracks: “Der Nöck”, “Rabenmorgen”, “Seaghost”, “Autumn’s Death”

Final rate: 80/100

Einherjer - Dragons of the North

EINHERJER - Dragons of the North (NAPALM Records - CD 1996)
I would rather be honest and admit right away that the so called Viking metal is simply not my favourite thing. Sure, there are maybe two or three bands, which I will always admire – and they’re Bathory obviously (but with albums number four to six!! I’m not so much into last Quorthon’s works), then Enslaved (from all their LPs!), Helheim (all!), also Windir… and that’s it. I can of course mention also quite few bands like Thyrfing, Manegarm, Moonsorrow, Falkenbach, Finntroll, which are good, I may even have and like some albums of theirs, but not so many and not so obsessively. And also Einherjer in amongst them. I suppose that the main problem with many bands from this style is that their music tends to be too soft, too “happy” hehe, with these humpa – humpa rhythms that want to take you to a dance around a fire rather than force maniacal headbanging and go berserk! I hate all that “take a horn of ale and sing along” shit! I prefer if the music is aggressive, but monumental and epic. It can be melodic, but must have dark, majestic atmosphere. Unfortunately many of the bands I mentioned go different way, like Finntroll for example, who released several albums, which I just can’t listen to at all. Einherjer is also one of those bands, which have better but also some worse albums. And they also suffer for the “too melodic / too catchy” syndrome. And they had it ever since the debut album “Dragons of the North”, which I am going to try to review now.
But with this album it’s rather weird thing that despite being what it is, “Dragons of the North” is still able to catch my attention. I don’t know… there’s something intriguing in this material, what makes me like it even if it’s almost against my usual musical preferences. Or maybe it’s just a fact that Einherjer wrote simply good songs for their debut. One thing is certain – since these beginnings, this band sounded pretty original, with their unique way of playing riffs, which also forced a specific rhythms and drumming, incorporating melodies, keyboards, etc into the songs and finally the vocals of Rune Bjelland are also not so common. So, despite sounding like a music played by some drunken, merry Viking people, “Dragons of the North” is still not bad at all.
So, I grab that damn cup of ale (sorry, no horns in my home, what a poser I am!), get drunk and sing along with Einherjer their happy hymns. Why do I even like this album? I mean, it sounds so infantile, so simple… But it has some good, memorable songs, filled with catchy, folky melodies / riffs, some acoustic parts, keyboards, but they’re epic and monumental enough. Really, each song from the album has these infectious parts what makes them utterly memorable and next time you play “Dragons of the North” you realize that you start to sing with the band hehe! I am not saying that I like all songs or that the album is flawless, because it is not! But such songs like “Dragons of the North” (with nice Bathory feeling), “Dreamstorm” are just good. I also like “Conquerer”, because it is a nice combination of slightly more angry riff and melody. These songs are lengthy, but Einherjer managed to create structures, with some cool arrangements, nice instrumental parts, a lot of diversity (love that acoustic break in “Storm of the Elder”), also vocals are often different (with Rune’s harsher vocals and Audud’s clean singing), so it is a good listen. Sure, this album will disappoint listeners, who prefer only harsh and aggressive stuff. But if you’re looking for well composed, melodic, yet epic Viking metal, then I think this debut from Einherjer is one of the best choices. 
Standout tracks: “Dragons of the North”, “Conquerer”

Final rate: 70/100

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Convent - Abandon Your Lord

CONVENT - Abandon Your Lord (OLD TEMPLE - CD 2009)
Polish death metal is a dangerous weapon. You won’t even blink an eye before you find your head chopped off, guts ripped off and all limbs cut off. You’ll bleed and bleed out dry before the album is finished. Yeah, we have many killer bands here… So, in case you don’t know them all, let me introduce you one more destructive force, called Convent! With my review of “Blessed Amongst the Flock” demo I already mentioned why I think this band is so underrated and unknown, but this is a pity, as their music has just as much to offer as the albums of Trauma, Vader, Armagedon, Calm Hatchery and so on and on. They were simply unlucky and more so, are quiet for too many years hiding somewhere in the shadows. Anyway, “Abandon Your Lord” album was recorded back in 2006! It took the band three years to find a label, which wanted to release it (Old Temple in 2009, released it in limited quantity of 1000 copies). And here are some my thoughts on it…
I described in previous review of Convent how much I liked “Blessed Amongst the Flock” demo. It was short, but so fuckin impressive, so violent and intense. “Abandon Your Lord” is pretty much the same. The music is again truly extreme, aggressive, brutal death metal, played often in fast and utterly uncompromising, merciless ways. Convent is quite technical, the riffs sound quite modern – or classic US / Polish death metal – but at the same time the band has this old school feeling, dark, blasphemous and obscure atmosphere, which immediately reminds me such bands like Damnation (Polish of corpse!), Azarath and Dissenter. There’s similar precision in execution and torture, similar aggression and attitude towards this music. And it simply sounds impressive. Damn, “Abandon Your Lord” is old school in some matters, but has no limits, so there’re some technical fireworks here and there, quite many tempo changes, sick, lunatic guitar leads, some more unconventional arrangements… All these things work only for the best results. Certainly Convent did awesome job on “Abandon Your Lord”. Let me also mention really good, powerful and heavy production of this album! Such death metal must have a strong, powerful sound and “Abandon Your Lord” certainly has.
When you’ll listen to “Abandon Your Lord” and survive all nine songs, which Convent prepared, then you can get yourself ready also for sort of bonus song, for something titled “Tribute”, which will surprise many of you. What it is? Nothing more, nor less, but Slayer’s “Seasons in the Abyss” played with help and arrangement of philharmonic orchestra! Wow, that is something unusual. I can’t say that I am a big fan of such arranged tracks; probably I’m not, but it surely has been a nice surprise and something I would never expect to hear from such brutal and extreme, underground death metal band. A nice addition to the whole album, surely. 
Standout tracks: “Abandon Your Lord”, “Lapsed”, “Oppositive to the Nature”, “Captive of the Force of Satan”

Final rate: 80/100 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Convent - Blessed Amongst the Flock

CONVENT - Blessed Amongst the Flock (Self financed demo 2002)
It’s incomprehensible that when people mention the best Polish death metal bands, then Convent – one of the longest running acts here – is hardly ever remembered and mentioned. Well, I suppose it doesn’t take much to guess why… all in all, the reason is rather obvious: only one full length album released in 2009 by a small Polish label, plus few demos are not enough to bring the attention and recognition not only in your home country, but also abroad. So, Convent is known and remembered only to the diehard underground death metal maniacs. Time to change it and recommend some recordings of this awesome Polish death squadron! I have four releases of them, here I want to write few words about “Blessed Amongst the Flock”!
“Blessed Amongst the Flock” is a three tracker, demo, which the band released in 2002, for promotional purpose only. I was lucky to get one copy and just played it several times today. Yeah, but I played it several times not just because it is less than ten minutes of music, but also because I really like this demo a lot! It is a real shredder and ultimate, brutal death metal attack; violent, morbid, extreme and brutal, bone crushing, guts ripping death metal! And interesting thing about this demo is that all these songs later were also recorded for “Abandon Your Lord” album (2006), but maybe I like them more in these demo versions?! Hehe! Well, these three songs composed into one short material work like a quick execution and sound almost like a classic 7” single!
“Blessed Amongst the Flock” has a strong, very powerful, very rough, but excellent sound, which fits such death metal perfectly. Every riff is slashing like a razor, is heavy and brilliantly massive, the drums are also good and the vocals perfect… In the end these sounds will make your ears bleed, that strong is the intensity and violence of this music, which Convent plays on each of these three songs. This death metal is totally uncompromising, with great, fast tempos, mighty, crushing riffs, some technical fireworks, but without going into lame shit. Soooo nice, just like Damnation, Azarath or Dissenter! I am quite surprised Convent never achieved a bigger recognition with such awesome music… and damn, I must say that this demo would sound extremely great on a 7”EP!

Final rate: 80/100

Friday, 24 October 2014

Offence - R.A.W.

Oh weeeeee… another excellent surprise from the last weeks is this debut album of Polish band called Offence. So far they got a small recognition with one song that was featured on the split 7” vinyl and cassette with Throneum. And yes, this one track titled “Revenge Is Significant” was great indeed, I also liked the rough and obscure sound, which Offence had there. But that was only one song, so we couldn’t guess how will Offence really handle on a longer recording. Finally two years later we could hear what they are the capable of, as “R.A.W.” album was released by Mad Lion! It contains 10 songs (including new version of “Revenge Is Significant”). And yeah, I am really positively surprised about Offence and their music. I truly enjoyed this album a lot and surely consider it to be one of the better Polish debuts of the past year.
There’s one significant change, which you could spot when comparing the album to a song from 7”EP and that is the sound on both recordings. I liked how “Revenge Is Significant” sounded on the EP, for it had truly great harsh, morbid, sick sound, quite well fitting to the obscurity and horrid style of both Offence and Throneum. Meanwhile “R.A.W.” sounds so different, surprisingly the guitar tone for example is very close to the classic Swedish tone, like in the good old days of Entombed and Dismember. Ha, that’s something I would never expect to hear. Anyway, the result is truly awesome, because “R.A.W.” sounds great, has awesome feeling, lots of aggression and lethal power, so I can’t complain at all. This is really good production.
Musically Offence performs rather simple, generic, total old school death metal worship, based on simple riffs, mid paced or slow tempos, harsh vocals of Hellscreamaross… and that simplicity of Offence music works brilliant here. Sure, Offence doesn’t play anything original, more so their music seems to be as explored like the old mines, but they have such a great feeling, aggression, so many dynamics and simple, pure energy… that for me it is impossible to resist these sounds. It has almost punk feeling in some places, it’s quite groovy in some other, all in all it is just cool, merciless death metal carnage in the old, classic vein. I feel like Offence music is sometimes almost relaxing hehe, surely with songs like “Alcoholic Solution” the band may seem to be more unserious than the majority of grim, super serious, occult or whatever bands, so it is also a nice change (one song is even based on the life of Mark "Chopper" Read). So, grab some beers or whisky or whatever liquids you like, play this CD damn loud and just enjoy some awesome death metal tunes. 
Standout tracks: “Offence”, “Revenge is Significant”, “Toxic Bitch”, “The Shot”

Final rate: 75/100

Cinis - Vile Angel

CINIS - Vile Angel (Self released demo 2005)
Ha, just found another forgotten but awesome demo in my archives! How can it be possible to forget that I have something? It’s simple - too much stuff is lying around hehe, so sometimes I get something, listen to it few times and then put away to the box, completely forgetting about its existence hehe. Not easy to keep a track, if you have so much stuff. And that must have been a case with the demo of Polish death metal commando Cinis whose “Vile Angel” arrived to me some years ago and since then got covered with dust and slime. Really cool that I managed to find it again! With three songs on it, it’s a real death metal feast and blast.
For the demo recording, I must say that “Vile Angel” has really good production! It sounds better than many full length albums, really (demo was recorded and produced by Pierścień from Incarnated!). Heavy, thick guitar sound, good drumming, sick vocals – it has all the components, which make a death metal so sick and brutal. Plus it has also really good songs. Cinis doesn’t make it in over technical way, they rather focused on simpler, but massive riffs, which would sound brutal, but also sort of memorable. It doesn’t mean that the music is simplistic, but it’s not a technical show off, so I am very happy about it. It blasts like crazy, with many fast parts, but also has few slower fragments, which are about to crush you into the floor and break neck with no mercy. The vocals are quite specific, not so guttural like in similar bands, but maybe more hmm… how can I describe them? More atmospheric, darker? All in all, the music has some similarities to such Lost Soul, Vader and that should be enough for recommendation. Ever since “Vile Angel” Cinis recorded two full length albums and I am very eager to hear them, what I hope will happen sooner than later.

Final rate: 70/100

Obtained Enslavement - The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell

OBTAINED ENSLAVEMENT - The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell (NAPALM Records - CD 2000)
I don’t know if it’s only my imagination, but when people discuss black metal bands from Norway then they often forget about Obtained Enslavement. I also forget this band repeatedly. It surely is not because I think they were unworthy being mentioned! No, I really like all three albums of this band, but maybe it’s just because Obtained Enslavement was never considered a leading force on the Norwegian black metal scene and then it makes us forget about their uniqueness and brilliance? Well, for sure they are a band, which every maniac of this music should know and have their albums in the collection. They’re probably one of the first bands, which can be called symphonic black metal, but their music – despite having a strong keyboard / orchestral background – was simply way more harsh and uncompromising when compared to other symphonic bands like Odium, Tartaros or Morgul for instance. “Soulblight” and “Witchcraft” are surely killer albums. But there’s also one more, which I think people often don’t mention, maybe because it’s not quite as good as the two I just mentioned and it differs musically a little bit… I am talking about “The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell”. The approach on this album is slightly different I think, for more easily listenable music, filled with melodic or even catchy, memorable parts, less chaotic, rough and less fast and finally with the good, professional production. So, gone is the real dark and obscure atmosphere of earlier albums… but don’t be afraid, “The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell” is still a very good effort.
If I can mentioned some other bands, which are close to “The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell” then I would say that this album is so diverse than every song or particular fragment can remind you something else. For example the way this album begins, with the first riff in the song “Scrolls of the Shadowland” is for me a true déjà vu, with Enslaved’s “I lenker til Ragnarok” from “Blodhemn”. Very similar riff, really… but then this song goes in completely different territory, so it is just a coincidence. And this motif is fast and really powerful, luckily it is not the only such fast and uncompromising part on the whole album, as there are more! They remind me bands like Odium for example and surely sound really damn good! In other moments the music reminds me Diabolical Masquerade, Enslaved, Dimmu Borgir, Tartaros, Kvist, to give just few names. Combine all these bands and you’ll receive what “The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell” is like. That first song “Scrolls of the Shadowland” is surely among the best, with great opening theme, which is furious and aggressive, but it also has a nice, epic chorus with killer clean vocals and with melody that will stick in you for good. But Obtained Enslavement shows good composing skills through the whole album. It doesn’t matter if someone will call it a more commercial and listener-friendly take on black metal (how can black metal be commercial at all???), just because it is often more melodic or because the sound is cleaner. All in all, it still has such tracks like “Stepping Over Angels”, filled with anger and ferocity. Or “Ride the Whore”!
But I like this album not only for its aggressive side, but for as it is in its entirety: for its diversity, also for the atmospheric and melodic parts, which simply sound very good here. Take the title track for that matter. It definitely is the slowest and most melodic of all, but it still sounds damn good and has that melancholic feeling, which fits great the whole album. So, I honestly recommend you this material. I don’t think it has been re-issed or if it’s still available, but nowadays everything gets re-released, so I am sure that also Obtained Enslavement will get their chance and all their album will appear again on both CD and LP. If they do, get all their stuff, “The Shepherd…” album as well, as it is just damn awesome. 
Standout tracks: “Scrolls of the Shadowland”, “The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell”, “Stepping Over Angels”, “Ride the Whore”

Final rate: 80/100

Hades - Dawn of the Dying Sun

HADES - Dawn of the Dying Sun (FULL MOON Productions - LP 1997)
“…Gathered are they… the wolves from the North”
I’m listening to “Dawn of the Dying Sun” and I have two things to say in the beginning. First is that this album is simply a killer follower to “…Again Shall Be”, which was Hades’ classic debut LP. I still think that “…Again…” belongs to the most important Norwegian black metal albums from the early 90’s. Secondly, I am frustrated, because I have the original vinyl version of “Dawn of the Dying Sun” released by Full Moon Productions and this LP simply sucks, speaking of the pressing quality! Not only the whole stuff looks poor (no insert, no lyrics, etc), but the vinyl sounds simply bad. There are some disturbing noises in three songs, which almost ruin the whole album! Not only the vinyl itself sounds quite mediocre, speaking of the sound quality, but it also has that static noise! Can it be worse? Shame, as I said. Of corpse there was also a second press LP, released by Witching Hour, as a double LP with some bonus tracks, but I never bought it, when it was available, so now I am left with this shitty LP from Full Moon Prods. Damn, I know “Dawn of the Dying Sun” also from CD and it sounded way better than on this old vinyl. So, lesson to learn: get Witching Hour LP version asap and then waste this Full Moon version.
Great shame that there are all these problems with LP, more so because “Dawn of the Dying Sun” is such an awesome album and it surely equals “…Again Shall Be”. Musically it is a rightful continuation of the debut LP, so again Hades hits us with their blend of rough and obscure black metal spiced with the epic and monumental playing and almost majestic atmosphere, with their Viking themed music. In many ways “Dawn of the Dying Sun” feels even more bombastic, more monumental to the debut, and that is probably because firstly it is completely devoid of any faster parts and secondly these riffs here are simply crushing and barbaric. Plus the production, which is so unlike to ANY OTHER ALBUM (!!!) you’ve ever heard before and after. Yes! “Dawn of the Dying Sun” has truly outstanding but also unique, very dirty sound quality and it may take you a while to get use to it, but once you do then it will only unveil some truly excellent songs. And to describe the album with one sentence, I would call it incredibly harsh and raw, monumental Viking / black metal. Epic masterpiece. It is obscure, slow, but aggressive… it has great majestic feeling and more so, it also is quite melodic in some parts. Two tracks are my real favourites: “Awakening of Kings” and “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes”. The first one is a real killer, maybe even Hades’ best song ever, with truly outstanding riffing, which is accompanied by nice acoustic background (I simply love how this song begins!) and awesome harsh, sick vocals of Janto… This song sounds just spectacular, has such an amazing atmosphere and is nothing more, but a greatest hymn to the North! And “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes” is the first song I heard from this album on a compilation CD back in 1997 and it is definitely the most aggressive, most powerful track here, these riffs in it are so damn heavy, so massive, but still very memorable.
I mentioned two songs, but to be honest I think that the whole album is just flawless and Hades once more recorded simply perfect album. I can mention some more killers: “Pagan Prayer”, “Alone Walkyng”, the title song… “Apocalyptic Prophecies (The Sign of Hades)” (with some really great parts of keyboards!)… There’s a strong influence of Bathory through the whole album, but the style of Hades has been taken way further, into more obscure and heavy territories. It’s like a combination of Bathory, Enslaved, Aeternus, Immortal first album, but different anyway. And we could discuss long why is this album so underrated… I feel like it is almost forgotten! If anyone mentions Hades, then it’s because of their demo and “…Again Shall Be”, not because of “Dawn of the Dying Sun”. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is truly superb release and one of my favourite Norwegian black metal albums of all time. 
Standout tracks: “Awakening of Kings”, “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes”, “Pagan Prayer”, “Alone Walkyng”, “Apocalyptic Prophecies (The Sign of Hades)”

Final rate: 90/100