Wednesday, 22 March 2017

F.O.A.D. - Birth of Extinction

F.O.A.D. - Birth of Extinction (DEFENSE Records / MYTHRONE CD 2016)
don't really follow what's going on in the thrash metal scene and to be honest I don't care about old bands' new albums or even worse, about new bands and their useless releases. I just think that most of the thrash sound boring these days and this style of metal is not able to offer me what I want to hear. So, I don't buy thrash bands, I listen to it very randomly and mostly just some old records. This is why I would not bother to check bands like F.O.A.D. and normally I would not give a listen to their CD if I didn't get it for review. Would I miss anything or have this feeling of my life being emptier without it? I doubt. Because "Birth of Extinction" is just generic and rather uninspiring thrash, which hardly is able to impress me. It does have some good moments, especially the first part of "Birth of Extinction" is not bad at all, but I cannot feel much passionate about such playing. I gave quite many listens to this album, I wanted to get into it fully... but I failed, it goes in one ear and out the other, quickly and painlessly.  
But let's start from the beginning. The band is located in Västerås, Sweden. This country spawned many fantastic death or black metal bands, but thrash? Fuck, not so many I guess. I love Hypnosia, they were bloody amazing band. Anything else? Nothing I remember. "Birth of Extinction" is F.O.A.D.'s debut album – and it compiles seven tracks plus their entire 2014 demo "Demo-Nical".  
Definitely the main part of "Birth of Extinction" is more interesting and also diverse, because here and there F.O.A.D. steps away from the characteristic thrash patterns to deliver something different. And that's good, so there are some not bad songs for sure, like "Avoid the Smell of Semen", which is nicely fast and aggressive tune. "Legion of the Dead" is also noteworthy, I like its chorus, with great clean vocals parts in it and again a lot of nice, vicious riffs. My fave though is the slowest and most obscure and dark sounding song here, "Doomed Rebirth of Christ". Its atmosphere is almost sick and eerie as hell, I like it a lot, especially that the riffs are more doomy slow than thrash fast. This track is surely a highlight and a nice surprise on the album and it's quite cool that it appears in two versions, as it was also a part of "Demo-Nical" demo, which is included to the album as a bonus. On the other hand I cannot say that I liked songs like the crusty "Deathcamp VIII", with weak vocals and forgettable music or really mediocre "Holiday in Armenia".  
So, "Birth of Extinction" is not one of those albums, which would keep you fascinated for the whole duration. There are better and worse songs, some I can easily skip, when I play the CD. Some of you will like the fact that "Birth of Extinction" contains "Demo-Nical" demo 2014 as a bonus, I am not really bothered about it, especially because out of three songs from the demo one is really weak and the other two have been re-recorded for "Birth of Extinction". So I assume that "Demo-Nical" has been featured to get longer album than to bring you more killer material. I don't care though... I gave it all enough listens and I'm afraid I won't be coming back to this album that often. 
Standout tracks: "Doomed Rebirth of Christ" 
Final rate: 60/100 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bullcreek - Osschaert

BULLCREEK - Osschaert (RAW SKULL Rekordz - CD 2017)
Bullcreek – surely it’s an odd name for the death metal band. But this is how this newly formed Dutch beast was called. It’s interesting that it features some members of old Dutch bands Burial and Mordancy, but even if it didn’t then it would not matter, because the music is able to defend itself. Yes, I like this album! I do admit that I expected it to be great, because it was released by Raw Skull Rekordz and so far I loved everything this label released, but I think it exceeded my expectations. “Osschaert” is 45 minutes of stunning epic death metal with strong doom metal influence, which should interest everybody – those who like old school death metal but do not avoid it when it’s bit more melodic and less nastier. And those who like their metal to sound epic, quite catchy, melodic and heavy at the same time.
I have to say that first time I started to listen to “Osschaert” I just sat down and let these sounds devour me. This album impressed me immediately. A lot of these slow paced, doomy or epic death metal bands turn into boring nightmare. Let’s take that shitty Amon Amarth for example. Bullcreek is much, much better. The opening song “Woods of Wiezel” reminded me this Swedish band a little, but luckily it’s nowhere close to boredom and repetitiveness of Amon Amarth’s music. Another bands that quickly came to my mind were Just Before Dawn and Hypocrisy. And finally all those doomy fragments, especially in the closing track called “The Monastery” reminded me bands like Novembers Doom, although in less emotional and sorrowful way. Bullcreek music is atmospheric and it does bring such emotions as melancholy and sadness, but there’s also aggression and fierceness to it. All in all, I think that the whole “Osschaert” is great, diverse album that is far from being monotonous and boring.
It’s very easily listenable, instantly catchy and memorable music. It’s almost pleasant, even though it’s death metal, with growls, heavy sound and some blasting parts. But the melodies, atmosphere of the music and powerful sound do not make the listening difficult. I have to say that the music is very well written, whether we speak of more aggressive, yet harmonious songs like “Woods of Wiesel” and “The Serpent’s Egg” or massive sounding, crushing beasts like “Dorset Ooser” – it’s all so damn nice! The song called “The Monastery” will surprise you even more, especially when you’ll hear some female vocals. But it’s a positive surprise and I like “Osschaert” from start to finish. For me personally it’s always a nice change from all this obscure and vicious stuff that I mostly listen to. It’s good sometimes to listen to something more harmonious and catchy, just like Bullcreek.
Standout tracks: “Dorset Ooser”, “The Serpent’s Egg”

Final rate: 75/100

Imperium Infernalis - Imago Dei

IMPERIUM INFERNALIS - Imago Dei (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2017)
Schattenkult Produktionen is one of those small record labels, which introduces little known bands to the underground and I have to say that quite many of their releases turn into pure black gold. This Greek legion called Imperium Infernalis is one such great discovery and their second full length “Imago Dei” definitely belongs to the best releases from Schattenkult so far. I have to say that I’ve been spinning this CD many, many times during past week and the music impressed me a lot. Such a great surprise, especially if you don’t have any expectations from a band, which you’ve never heard about before. But believe me or not, “Imago Dei” can be one of the strongest black metal releases of the beginning of 2017. Well, for me it already is.
This is actually second Imperium Infernalis album, but I have no idea what “Choking on the Stench of Mankind” from 2013 was like (definitely though I’m putting this debut CD on my wantlist now). The band is from Greece, but personally I cannot find anything they would have in common with traditional, classic Greek black metal sound. Or if there’s anything, then it’s in small doses, so do not expect Imperium Infernalis to sound even close to Rotting Christ, Necromantia or Varathron. Actually, instead of sounding old, “Imago Dei” sounds interestingly modern, when speaking of their black metal style. There’re quite a lot of progressive sounding parts, sometimes it all has almost sort of dissonant style of riffage, other time it’s getting this hypnotizing feeling, when speaking of long instrumental passages… and it’s all perfectly combined with harsh and aggressive sounding black metal that can be influenced by Mayhem, Deathspell Omega, Keep of Kalessin (from “Angst” album), even Dodheimsgard’s “Satanic Art” (but without sounding weird) or a lot of these newer black metal bands like Acrimonious and more. They make smooth transitions between these different styles, with a lot of interesting arrangements, ideas, great tempo variations…
Definitely “Imago Dei” sounds like a smart, very well thought through album, which was not rushed during composing. Every detail had to be polished and in the right place. And damn, they did excellent job. There’s so much going on here, every song bursts with great energy and ferociousness and has great dynamics. All tracks have something new and fresh to offer, sometimes the band even had guts to put a smashing dose of blasting and utterly vicious black metal next to something what can be described as calm, almost post black metal sounding parts. I’m sorry if I’m using this post BM tag, but I do so for lack of better description. But believe me, “Imago Dei” is still a pure black metal album, only it seeks for something fresh and exciting rather than overused and boring. Even those longer songs like “The Horror of Recursive Realities” and “The Obsidian Kosmos” have no trace of dullness and no need for repetition, each being a great journey into something eerie and unknown.
It’s very good technically, with great performance from every band member and more so, I am very impressed with Charon’s vocals, he did great job on every song, coming up with as diverse performance as the music itself. And finally the production of “Imago Dei” is strong and powerful, so there’s basically nothing what I would personally want to be different. From start to finish this Imperium Infernalis album sounds truly impressive and I dare to say that there won’t be many better black metal records this year. Absolute recommendation.
Standout tracks: “The Obsidian Kosmos”, “Embrace the Savior”,

Final rate: 85/100

Infatuation of Death - Code of Impiety

INFATUATION OF DEATH - Code of Impiety (DEFENSE Records / MYTHRONE Promotions CD 2016)
If feels weird to review newly released album of the band, which already split up few years ago. But just before they called it quits, Infatuation of Death managed to record “Code of Impiety”. It would remain unreleased if it wasn’t for the helpful hands of Defense Records and Mythrone Promotion, who decided to save the album from oblivion. Definitely good idea, because it’s solid and worthy music and it would be shame to let it perish.
It’s been ages since I’ve heard Infatuation of Death last time. I got to know them in the times of their first demo “Heretic Hellspawn Holocaust”, which I got for review in 2003. The same demo was later released on split CD with Putridity called “Ten Acts of Death Metal Terror”… I haven’t listened to it in many years, I don’t even remember anymore how did Infatuation of Death sound like back then. But I remember I gave it positive reviews and that the band was very active in the Polish underground and appeared in quite many fanzines… but then disappeared. They were about to come back with “Code of Impiety”, but shit happened again and for some reason Infatuation of Death split up. Did they split up for good or maybe the fact that their long delayed album is finally released will bring an idea to exhume this corpse from the grave? I don’t know the answers, but I know that I do like “Code of Impiety”, even if not necessarily it’s my most favourite style of death metal.
But it sounds not bad at all and Infatuation of Death offers a good quality slab of vicious death metal. Their music feels like combines both old and new – there can be traces of traditional US death metal in the vein of old Morbid Angel, Immolation, Angel Corpse, but sometimes I can also spot a bit of modern styles alike a bit to mid-era Behemoth for example (although I know that it became such a stupid cliché to compare Polish bands to Behemoth) and the production is far from old school. Actually the production is something what I don’t like so much, because I wish it was a bit more harsh and dirtier, more obscure. It feels a tad too clean, in my opinion. But it’s a minor complain, nothing relevant.
Generally Infatuation of Death had very solid songwriting and many good ideas for the music. I like the technical aspect of their songs, with many great riffs, some very nice arrangements and some really nice details they had in the music. It all sounds professional and solid enough to bring no shame, so the more happy we can be that this album was finally released. When the title song opens the album and its fierce, opening riff blasts off, I am into this music right away and stay focused to the very end. The music – with all its aggression and violent nature – is somehow quite memorable, maybe due to such parts like the melodic guitar leads in the mentioned title song… or maybe it’s just because the band knew what sort of riffs they should play to get into our heads easily. Anyway such “Left to the World”, “The Essence (Lead Us into Temptation)”, “Infatuation with Death” (I LOVE those opening riffs in it!!! What a killer!) or the very Deicide-ish “Icons of Impurity” are my favourite songs. As I said before, the music sounds good, not the most brilliant and spectacular death metal you’ll hear this year, but very solid effort from this Polish band.
And for all those, who missed Infatuation of Death demos, there’s a multimedia section on the CD with both of their old recordings, including the scans of booklets and everything else (hey, I’m on the thanks list for the second demo, cool!). I’ll be very happy to listen to “Bestial Devilized Hell” myself, because I’ve never heard this demo before. And for sure I will also want to hear “Heretic Hellspawn Holocaust” again after all these years.
Standout tracks: “Left to the World”, “The Essence (Lead Us into Temptation)”, “Infatuation of Death”

Final rate: 70/100

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Ataraxy - The Festival / The Tomb

ATARAXY - The Festival / The Tomb (ME SACO UN OJO - 7"EP 2016)
I really like what’s going on in Spanish death metal scene nowadays, where some bands really prove to be worthy and are better than anything what this country has spawned in the 90’s. My two favourites are Graveyard and Ataraxy. Both have proven strongly that there’re no better bands in their country. But I was getting little bit worried that we hear nothing from Ataraxy since the release of their fantastic debut LP “Revelations of the Ethereal”. I do hope they’re working on new record and that it will be released soon. Meanwhile though we get this 7”EP “The Festival / The Tomb”. It contains two songs that were recorded during the “Revelations…” session, but were not featured on the actual album. I know what you may think now… Two leftovers, so it means they were not good enough to be on the full length. Well, I have to say that it doesn’t feel like it at all. When I listen to both songs I feel exactly the same thrill which I do during the listening of “Revelations of the Ethereal”. Both “The Festival” and “The Tomb” are great quality death metal songs, which should be also on the album. And I think the only reason why they’re not there is that the album would be just too long. Anyway, it’s great that Me Saco Un Ojo released this seven inch, it’s killer addition to my Ataraxy collection and occasion to listen to two new songs from this killer band.
I believe that Ataraxy music was becoming more and more original and worthy, getting more quality with each new recording. Of course I still like their very “Sweden meats Autopsy” sounding demo “Rotten Shit”, but what the band did on “Revelations of the Ethereal” is so much better. And these two “outtakes” from the session sound incredibly good. I love that dark, eerie atmosphere of the music, I truly like the production. And the riffage, with great combination of slow and faster parts is insanely good. For me this is perfect death metal, my most preferred style within this genre. And Ataraxy knows how to play it, compose and arrange it to make it sound better than 99% of other death metal bands around. I especially love “The Festival”, with its great slow parts, creepy melodies, keyboards that give it more obscure feeling and sudden outbursts of faster death metal that are going to break necks of every headbanger. Honestly though “The Tomb” is also amazing, it’s tad heavier, more brutal and vicious – especially the opening theme here gives me a goose bumps every time I hear it.
So, outtakes or not, these two songs are killer and it’s such a good feeling to listen to Ataraxy again. They’re one of my favourite bands for sure, so I hope they’ll finally come up with another album. Meanwhile, I strongly recommend this EP. Get it before it’s too late.

Final rate: 90/100

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Gravebomb - Rot In Putrid Filth

GRAVEBOMB - Rot In Putrid Filth (RAW SKULL Rekordz - CD 2017)
Raw Skull Rekordz is still a young label, but I think they already have some killer releases behind them and even more are announced for 2017. Watch out for them, I believe there are going to be some splendid CDs coming. Most of the bands, which Raw Skull releases are young and yet very little known, some with their debut recordings only. Just as Gravebomb from Sweden, who just released their first CD “Rot In Putrid Filth”. Maybe their name is a bit ridiculous, but the music sounds fantastic and if you dig old school Swedish death metal then you will like it a lot. Obviously you shouldn’t expect that “Rot In Putrid Filth” will be a groundbreaking or genre defining album, it’s actually very typical for this sort of music and it doesn’t surprise the listener with anything what you have not heard before. But the strength of bands like Gravebomb lies in fantastic songwriting, ability of coming up with plenty of killer riffs, amazing melodies and that basically everything has been done in perfect, top notch way. You know, it’s not enough to plug in the Boss HM-2 pedal and play some chunky, heavy riffs along memorable melodies. To be good, you need more than that and I believe that Gravebomb has that something.
As a fan of Swedish death metal I can say that “Rot In Putrid Filth” ticks all the right boxes, there’s everything I love about such style of music and more so, Gravebomb does not sound tired or unnatural, they have this passion and youngsters’ enthusiasm, what only gives better and better results. Their music is powerful, filled with rotten, dark energy, it blasts like crazy and at the same time, along all this aggression, comes catchiness. This album is almost easy to listen to and I personally was into it seconds after the music began. And what an opener “Parasite Spawn” is. This is what I call perfect Swedish death metal song – it begins with blasting stuff, later it can be melodic and doomy, but it all fits together perfectly and the listening is very pleasant. But that’s only the beginning, the whole “Rot In Putrid Filth” contains eleven songs, so there’s plenty more to come. I’ve been playing this album so many times and enjoyed every bit of it. Gravebomb may be just one of many such bands these days and to some of you they won’t be worth attention, since you already have Revel in Flesh, Entrails, Puteraeon and more… but I believe that real fans of this style will check them out also and more so, they will love this music. Because it’s damn awesome. I’m into it and I can only congratulate such a good debut album.
Standout tracks: “Parasite Spawn”, “Animal Hunger”, “Morbid Machine”, “Prime Directive”

Final rate: 80/100

Friday, 10 February 2017

Sepulchral Curse - At the Onset of Extinction

SEPULCHRAL CURSE - At the Onset of Extinction (LYCANTHROPIC CHANTS - MC 2017)
I’ve been playing both previous Lycanthropic Chants releases lately and I have to say that I really like the stuff, which this small label has unleashed so far (and which were Morte and God Disease tapes). Sepulchral Curse cassette titled “At the Onset of Extinction” is next release from Lycanthropic Chants and another one, which I truly enjoyed. I have to admit that this EP impressed me, because not only its quality is higher than your average newcoming death metal band would usually bring, but also ‘cos the music is different to the typical Demigod or Demilich copycats, even if certainly some parts of the traditional Finnish as well as Swedish sound can be spotted here. I don’t want to say that Sepulchral Curse sounds unique nor that it is something extraordinary and spectacular. It’s solid stuff, which just sounds a bit different to most of these one dimensional sounding bands around.
Their style is deeply seeded in the traditional death metal, but the way they incorporate melodies or screamed vocals take their music sometimes even into the black metal territory. It’s a pleasant mixture of death and melodic black metal with some hints of doom then. It includes many impressive riffs and arrangements, most noticeable in the opening song “Envisioned in Scars” (best song for me). I personally like, when Sepulchral Curse speeds up, all these fragments with blasting drums and truly uncompromising riffage are crushing! But on the other hand the slowest song from all, which is the final gigantic anthem “Disrupting Lights of Extinction” also stands out with great harmonies and sheer doom heaviness. So yeah, diversity is definitely a positive aspect of “At the Onset of Extinction” and all these four songs are very interesting and enjoyable.
I suppose the only thing, which I don’t really like about “At the Onset of Extinction” are the mentioned screamed vocals. I never like this sort of vocals, when mixed into heavy death metal growls, it doesn’t work for me and rather annoys me than makes positive impression. But I can live with it. Sepulchral Curse brought us a good release and we should keep our eyes open for their next recordings.
Standout track: “Envisioned in Scars”

Final rate: 70/100

Suffocation / Fleshcrawl - Festering Thoughts from a Grave

SUFFOCATION / FLESHCRAWL - Festering Thoughts from a Grave (RAW SKULL Rekordz CD 2016)
Demo compilation of Fleshcrawl is definitely something what death metal maniacs should welcome with open arms. This is such a killer band, I think they never recorded a bad album and ever since they debuted with “Lost in a Grave” EP in 1991 they’ve been delivering only fantastic stuff. This compilation is quite special, because it’s includes also stuff, which was recorded in pre-Fleshcrawl band, when they were called Suffocation. So, we have “Mummified Thoughts” demo from 1990 and “Festering Flesh” from 1991. I never had a chance to hear either of these two demos before, so it’s a great pleasure to have them on CD in good quality and to be able to finally listen to them.
Starting the feast with “Mummified Thoughts” then, I was really surprised to find out that Suffocation in their early days were more thrash metal band than death metal. Do not expect to hear anything even close stylistically, not me mention the quality, to Fleshcrawl’s debut album, because this demo is completely different. It’s savage, vicious and quite aggressive thrash metal, I guess they had equally European as well as American influences, with the vocals far from the guttural growl of death metal bands… I have to say that I quite like their raw production on this demo and the songs, even if are far from being very impressive – because it’s quite primitive and archaic sounding stuff – are decent. Sometimes I get annoyed with some of the vocal lines, but who cares, right? It’s 1990 demo! I think that such demos give a lot of fun to listener, when he hears them these days. You know, this demo was recorded by some kids 26 years ago, but this recording survived all this time and was rescued from oblivion, which is very cool thing I must say.
Second Suffocation demo “Festering Flesh” demo shows a good improvement, basically everything on this demo sounds different and better. Not only Alex Pretzer changed his vocals for the low, deep growl, but the music of Suffocation became heavier, more brutal and the weak thrash metal is replaced with very harsh and raw sounding death metal. It’s not bad at all and the demo sounds quite solid, although the sound could have been a bit better. And I don’t necessarily mean the production value per se, but rather the fact that sometimes, like in “Phrenetic Tendencies” or even more in “Infected Subconscious” the sound is waving, so it feels like they’ve taken the music from an old and pretty used copy of cassette. It does disturb a bit and surely this aspect could have been improved, but I am far from feeling disappointed. It just feels great to hear “Festering Flesh”, solid demo and good announcement of what was yet to come from these guys.
The final part of “Festering Thoughts from a Grave” is the classic “Lost In a Grave” EP, released already under the name Fleshcrawl. Again you will notice much improvement in this band’s music, I like this EP a lot, especially the title song sounds killer, so definitely this is my favourite part of this compilation. I don’t know if there’s much point in describing this EP, because I believe that old maniacs know it well, but let me just say that Fleshcrawl sounds fuckin savage on “Lost In a Grave” and it’s just great piece of death metal. It’s one of those classic releases, which you want to come back to as often as possible. It’s the real beginning of this fantastic German band, who through all these years became one of my favourite band of all time. So, even if the demos are not necessarily the best thing I ever listened to, it’s great to have “Festering Thoughts from a Grave” in my collection, as it is an important part of the history of Fleshcrawl.

Final rate: 75/100

Wombbath / Departed Souls - Embrace the Cold...

WOMBBATH / DEPARTED SOULS - Embrace the Cold... (RAW SKULL Rekordz CD 2016)
I love splits. And I can only be happy that this idea of joining two or more bands on one CD/LP/MC/whatever didn’t die and more and more such stuff is released. I’ve enjoyed many splits that came out in 2016 and here’s yet another one, which brought my attention. Two great bands, both with some new crushing songs – can there be anything better?
First comes Wombbath. Yes, this is the same band, which had a good album “Internal Caustic Torments” released in 1993 and then catastrophic miniCD “Lavatory” in 1994. They reformed in 2014 and since then their catalogue has been increased with second full length album and few splits, one of which is “Embracing the Cold...”. There are two songs from Wombbath here and on both Wombbath offers old school death metal. What else could it be, right?! The band is Swedish and obviously they sound Swedish, but with that harsher, more aggressive and vicious style. The first of their songs is pretty typical, but solid, while the second “Punisher of Broken Oaths” is truly killer, in my opinion. I love how fast and aggressive, how nasty it is, I love the riffs and everything about it, so this song is a winner for me. The production could have been a bit better, for example the song they have on split with Revel in Flesh sounds better… but it’s not a major complain from me, I like it. Good, worthy comeback.
Departed Souls debuted with fantastic “Barbaric Tortures” in 2015 and I come back to this release (which I have on CD and 10”MLP) often, because I just love it. Here we have three songs, but one of them is a live recording, so I’m not gonna discuss this one. In other two the band sounds very old school and they also take a lot of influence from the Swedish scene, but not only, as I personally prefer to simply call them an European sounding death metal band in general, without having a tag of copycat of one band only. Departed Souls have killer riffs, very good vocalist, their music shred with no mercy and damn, I just like it a lot! “Fear... Pin Head” – which is sort of new version of a song from “Barbaric Tortures” - is better of the two songs, it’s dark, ferocious, it’s fast and just brilliant. But “Cold Deep Waters” is also fantastic and believe me, if you dig this sort of death metal then you will like this band a lot. For me Departed Souls is one of the best bands from this sort of playing in Europe at the moment, I would love to see them releasing a full length album, sadly it’s postponed due to their drummer’s serious illness. I wish him all the best and hope it all will end up good and they’ll attack us with the killer music again soon.
Killer, recommended split.
Standout tracks: “Fear…”, “Cold Deep Waters”, “Punisher of Broken Oaths”

Final rate: 85/100

Cryptic Realms - Enraptured by Horror

CRYPTIC REALMS - Enraptured by Horror (DEATH IN PIECES - CD 2016)
After two great recordings – which were “Eve of Fatality” demo and a fantastic split with Astigarraga Thrower – the time finally came for a debut album from international death metal monsters Cryptic Realms. I liked these previous releases a lot, so I was definitely looking forward to hear “Enraptured by Horror” as well. It came out through Death in Pieces Records and I was playing it many times in past couple of days. I can already say that my general impression is that it’s good album, I do not feel disappointed with it… but I feel also that it could have been slightly better in some aspects. No, not some… There’s only one thing, which I really think the band should have improved and it’s the production. I don’t like it so much, to be honest, I think that “Enraptured by Horror” sounds too artificial, especially the drums sound weak, but also guitar tone is not what I usually like. I think that these songs would sound way better if the production was more powerful, more organic, natural and everything sounded also more brutal, more vicious. The effect would be much more impressive then… I also think that the drumming in faster parts is a bit sloppy, but…
But “Enraptured by Horror” is what it is… and I don’t want to say that it’s a bad album, because it definitely is not. You can get used to this sound after a while and more importantly, the songwriting is great and Cryptic Realms came up again with bunch of killer tracks, what definitely saves everything from disaster. Yes, I like these songs a lot, they’re killer. I like this sort of simplistic death metal, which Cryptic Realms play. It’s so deeply rooted in the traditional, old school style that it could have easily been composed 25 years ago. They have a strong influence from Death, Obituary, Massacre… and from newer bands also, because I think that “Enraptured by Horror” sounds a lot like Gruesome or Kam Lee’s bands Bone Gnawer and The Grotesquery. Even the vocals of Uriel sound a lot like Kam’s characteristic harsh growl. Which is cool, of course. Cryptic Realms came up with many great riffs, their music has this creepy, dark atmosphere, which I like, but it all sounds heavy and insanely memorable at the same time. Songs like “Sinister Force Descends”, “In Mortal Distress”, “Begging to Be Dead” or the title song are just great and they do not sound boring or tired, they do not sound monotonous or unauthentic. It’s very solid and worth of recommendation, so even if at the first listen you won’t feel it, maybe due to the production, I bet that after a while this album will speak to you more and more.
Standout tracks: “Sinister Force Descends”, “In Mortal Distress”, “Begging to Be Dead”

Final rate: 70/100

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Witchrist / Antediluvian - split EP

WITCHRIST / ANTEDILUVIAN Split 7"EP (Martyrdoom Productions EP 2015)
This split 7” blew my head off and was a delight for my ears, because I learned from it that Witchrist is a band, which I really need to find out more about. So far I was familiar with this New Zealand legion only by their name, I knew that they have some connections with other killer acts like Diocletian and Heresiarch, but I was never given an opportunity to hear their music. Until this morning when I started to listen to this new purchase, which is a split 7” with Witchrist / Antediluvian. Damn, Witchrist sounds fantastic. On one hand it seems like their music may be very similar to bands like Grave Miasma, Irkallian Oracle, Teitanblood, Adversarial or Diocletian. All these bands have a lot in common, when speaking of this truly dense, brutal, insanely obscure and sepulchral death / black metal. But even if it may seem like they all walk around similar patterns, each of these bands has something unique to offer… So does Witchrist. I personally just can’t resist to their music, to this bulldozing sound and utterly dark, bleak, sometimes almost ritualistic aura. I’m like “WOW! It sounds so fuckin amazing”, and believe me, Witchrist does such a good job with “The Burning Reprieve” that the same day I ordered a copy of “The Grand Tormentor” vinyl and I am sure that it is only a beginning. I will need more from this awesome band.
Antediluvian is a band, which on the other hand I am very well familiar with. I have some vinyl from them in my collection (but I still miss some shit, like “λόγος”, so I am yet to complete my Antediluvian set). “Shifting Transcendental: Autonomous Gate to the Other Side” obviously fits to Witchrist side perfectly when speaking of the musical styles of both bands, but the music of Antediluvian is even more brutal and obscure, it’s faster and truly chaotic. It may not be my favourite song from them, but I have yet not heard anything bad from this Canadian band also, they do not disappoint and fuck, when I play this shit and listen to it on headphones, in total darkness, I almost feel like closed in a coffin, so claustrophobic is their sound.
Very recommendable split seven inch then. Two great bands, very nice presentation of this release… it’s a must to have in my opinion.

Final rate: 80/100

Friday, 3 February 2017

Crawl - Worship Death

CRAWL - Worship Death (Inhuman Assault Productions MC 2016)
Hope you’re not tired with all this old school death metal flood and you will happily want to find out about yet another band that plays this best music of all. Here’s Swedish Crawl with their second cassette titled “Worship Death”. It was also released as 7”EP (out on Bloodsoaked Records), but I managed to grab it on tape (limited to 50 copies only), but that’s fine, at least for now, because I will definitely want a vinyl also. I have to say that I have a lot of sympathy for bands like Crawl. Their music may not be the most original or standout in the crowd of similar death metal bands… It is nothing exceptional, but I like it a lot anyway and this is just pure pleasure to listen to such stuff.
Three songs are on “Worship Death” and stylistically it’s filthy, nasty old school death metal with that necessary, but typical Swedish production (which cannot be mistaken with anything else! And I love it) and a strong punkish vibe, what reminds me of bands like Bombs of Hades or The Dead Goats. Crawl has really a lot of potential, they came up with great songs, I like their riffs and killer feeling, which this music has. Slower parts are especially great, they’re heavy and vicious, but honestly I think that the whole music of this band is just damn good Occasionally they come up with some melodies and “Drenched” is definitely my favourite song here, just because it has the best melodic piece from the whole EP… Arrrgghhhh… I cannot be objective when I listen to this sort of music, I am never too critical towards such bands, a lot of them are instant winners for me… and yes, Crawl is great also. I want to hear more from them, I need to find their previous cassette also and I do hope they’ll come up with an album shortly also. Recommended for the maniacs of this shitty rotten music!!!! Hahah!

Final rate: 80/100