Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Chaos Moon - Amissum

CHAOS MOON - Amissum (HELLTHRASHER Productions CD 2016)
I do apologize for my ignorance, but I really have never heard about Chaos Moon. I can see that this American band has already released three albums and several EPs and demos, but I just never have heard their name before. Better late than never, they say, and that’s truth. Chaos Moon new release, EP called “Amissum”, was recently putted out by Hellthrasher Records. I have to say that however skeptical I was, I do admit that this music turned out to be damn fantastic and I’ve been playing this CD quite many times during the past days. “Amissum” contains four songs plus two additional new tracks, all together bringing you 43 minutes of music – which basically is like a full length album, not EP, but who cares for such details, right? Most important thing is that it’s really damn good stuff.
When the title track started, with a ferocious, harsh and quite fast sounding black metal I thought that this is what Chaos Moon will be like – just raw, plain, speedy black metal. But the deeper you delve into “Amissum”, the more surprising it turns out to be, with rather experimental, atmospheric take on black metal. And as much as I would want to avoid calling it “post black metal” (because I can see how hated this term is and how wrongfully it often is seen as something completely not related to such extreme genres as black metal), I just cannot find any better description for these sounds, other than actually “post black metal”! So, I’m sorry if right from the start you will have a problem with this term and you basically hate everything what’s called this way, even without hearing a single song. But I do think that “Amissum”, with its atmosphere, distortion, the way the songs have been built, the riffage and that kind of spatial sound, it fits the “post” metal term perfectly.
So, the beginning of “Amissum”, with the fast tempo and harshness of first motif are very misleading, because the majority of this album is played in slow, almost doomy tempo, with long-duration melody / riff that has very hypnotizing and mesmerizing influence on the listener. Often the song structure can be fully based on one such motif, which will just repeat through five minutes, accompanied by harsh and vicious scream of Eric Baker (who I think did his vocals as a guest). Definitely the song “Amissum” is the most diverse and therefore also the best, I think, the riffing in it is just damn good. This is rather aggressive tune, but I also like a lot that drone and sinister aura of slower songs with strong ambient influence (“Resurrection I-III”). Definitely most of the album is in contemplating mood, rather than something what will bring ferociousness and aggression (one more exception is “Illusions of Dusk and Dawn”, the final song, which definitely is also the fastest and most vicious track from the whole album). Set it up in proper conditions, put the headphones on and let these sounds devour you. It works damn well on me.
So, a very good album from Chaos Moon and something that I really need to recommend to all people, who enjoy this sort of black metal. And for me the only disappointment is very austere look of the digipak, which is basically one panel and just nothing inside, except the lyrics for one song.
Standout tracks: “Amissum”, “Resurrection II”, “Illusions of Dusk and Dawn”

Final rate: 80/100

359 - The Path of Ayin

359 - The Path of Ayin (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2016)
I’m really glad that to have a chance to check most of recent Schattenkult Produktionen releases, because this way I managed to find some really good bands that I never heard about before. 359 is yet another cool discovery from this label’s roster. This project hails from Finland and is led by Sunken, who is (or maybe was?) also involved in couple of other unknown bands. As 359 he did one demo in 2008 and now he presents us “The Path of Ayin” EP, with three tracks of traditional, cold sounding harsh black metal.
And this short description should say everything about 359’s sound and style. Because you should not anticipate anything new or extraordinary from this obscure project, rather that classic take on Scandinavian second wave of black metal. “The Path of Ayin” is comparable to Darkthrone, Urgehal, Gorgoroth, Beastcraft, Koldbrann, Pest (Sweden), Craft, Horna, Sargeist and so on and on… You know what sort of black metal I mean. Whether 359 is worth of your attention or not, I’ll leave this for you to decide. “The Path of Ayin” is nothing special, it’s not something what will interest many… but if you worship that style of music, then I am sure you will like 359 a lot. I do think it’s typical, but solid and good enough effort, I like the harshness and hateful, cold aura of the music from “The Path of Ayin”. And I especially liked the track called “Radiate Your Hopelessness”, with its ferocious, fast playing, great riffs and killer vocals. It’s definitely the best song here. But the other two are not bad at all also.
And that’s it, I don’t have anything more to write about it. Three songs and twenty minutes of pure black metal, grab it if you like such kind of stuff.
Standout track: “Radiate Your Hopelessness”

Final rate: 65/100

Friday, 14 October 2016

Horrendous - Ecdysis

This second Horrendous album was released in 2014 and I must say that I was anticipating it with great hunger. This band’s demo “Sweet Blasphemies” as well as their first record “The Chills” were killer and I wanted to hear from Horrendous more and more such goodies. So I purchased the vinyl of “Ecdysis” as soon as it came out. And it came on lovely clear vinyl with blue splatter ha! Once I got it, I played it several times and well, I have to say I felt disappointed. I did not like this album after few spins! What the fuck, I asked myself?! What have they done?! I couldn’t believe what was I hearing, really, because my expectations were so different.
I just did not expect that Horrendous will go into more progressive direction, at least not so soon. Their early efforts were a nice combination of classic US and European old school death metal styles and I liked them a lot. For album number two Horrendous have kept some elements of their style from the debut and obviously it’s still a death metal record. But it all sounds more twisted, the influences are widely broadened and it’s not necessarily a pure death metal album anymore. But hey – does it always have to mean something wrong? Not necessarily. “Ecdysis” does sound a bit weird sometimes, it’s more progressive and definitely way more melodic and harmonious. It has some softer, less vicious parts and whole album is quite strongly focused on technicality, with great musicianship and it even has a strong heavy / thrash metal influence. All in all, this album didn’t click with me instantly.
But after being thrown away by “Ecdysis” in the beginning, I gave this album a second chance much later (at the time, when the band announced the coming of their third album “Anareta”). And I don’t know what really happened, but something has changed in my perception of “Ecdysis”. I still think that “The Chills” was better album, I still don’t like some of the ideas Horrendous had used for their second record, but at the same time I can hear many moments of pure genius and brilliance, and I just cannot resist to these sounds now. There’s just something about this music that makes it sound irresistible. And I started to enjoy it a lot!
The time, when I re-discovered this album was in the middle of the night and it was like a hit in a face. I noticed the progressive elements of Horrendous music straight away, but there was so much more about “Ecdysis” than just technicality and melodies that I discovered... And maybe it was because of these different conditions to play the music or something else, but it really impressed me this time.
I can still pick up some parts of “Ecdysis”, which I don’t like so much, like for example “When the Walls Fell” or “Pavor Nocturnus” – these songs are rather mediocre, in my opinion. But some other songs are fuckin amazing and make this record sound incredibly strong! I guess if someone said that he wants to hear death metal going not only the clichéd ways, but to be more revolutionary or untypical, then he must have thought of such albums as “Ecdysis”. And I wonder if this is how Pestilence should have sounded like after “Testimony of the Ancients” album, instead of what we can find on that terrible “Sphere”?
Let’s take the first song “The Stranger”. Wow, I think it’s fantastic! I like the way it’s been built, with that slow, long opening theme, which introduces us to one of the greatest melodies (and solos) from the whole album. Few of these riffs are not necessarily what you can usually hear from death metal bands, at least some of them, but as a whole, together with harsh, screaming vocals and even a blasting drumming, it gives a very good result. And that chorus and the ending melody are just bloody awesome, damn! One of the tracks is called “Titan” and it is just... titanic haha! What a fantastic finish for the whole album, again, with some really excellent melodies, riffs and very good sounding vocals, especially in the very last fragment of this song, which I like the most from the whole album! It sounds simply beautiful!
I suppose that if I was going to describe the whole album in detail, then I would need to comment on every song here, as each has something what distinguishes it from the rest. Personally, together with those two mentioned just now, I also like “Weeping Relic” and especially “Resonator”, which seems to be among the more aggressive tunes (which doesn’t mean they’re without any progressive solos, etc). With “Heaven’s Deceit” Horrendous starts to remind me early At the Gates albums as well as the very early Dark Tranquillity, which were melodic, but twisted and yet aggressive at the same time. Actually I think that “Ecdysis” owns a lot to those early melodic death metal albums from Sweden. Whatever… It’s bloody good album and I am happy that I didn’t throw it away after the first rather disappointing impression.
Standout tracks: “The Stranger”, “Resonator”, “Titan”

Final rate: 80/100

Tribulation - The Formulas of Death

TRIBULATION - The Formulas of Death (INVICTUS / AJNA LP 2013)
Tribulation was a band that made enormous impression on me, when they unleashed killer “The Horror” LP as well as “Putrid Rebirth” EP. Oh yeah, that was something amazing and was enough to describe this band as one of the best newcomers of this new century. Sadly, it took them four years to come up with another album, but I guess if every band needs time to complete their most spectacular release, then I have no problems with it. Because I do consider “The Formulas of Death” to be Tribulation’s finest piece of music so far. And it’s even better than the stunning debut. Yeeaahhh!
But I have to say that it’s not an easy record. Just by looking at the artwork you would have some mixed feelings and expect nothing and everything. It all is very much in the style of 70’s rock or early (doom) metal albums. I mean the lettering that was used here, graphics for the amazing front artwork, labels on the vinyl, even the band’s photograph inside of the gatefold reminds me old Black Sabbath photos. Plus there’s fantastic booklet, with more artwork in the horror style, with this creepy, but fascinating mysterious, ghastly images. So, what music can come with it? Surely Tribulation doesn’t repeat themselves and took a far road into more progressive and original style of… hmm, I guess you can say that they decided to mix black, death metal with a bit of doom and progressive rock, all spiced with 70’s music flavours. Hmm, I don’t know if that will be a proper description, which would give a justice to “The Formulas of Death”, but if not, then you just must play this record by yourself and let it devour you, let it take you into its dark, eerie world. Because listening to “The Formulas of Death” is like taking a journey into netherworld or the unknown. A long trip, as the album is more than twice as long as its predecessor, with 75 minutes of music on two vinyl records.
One thing is certain – if you expect a rough, aggressive old school death metal alike to “The Horror”, then “The Formulas of Death” will disappoint you strongly. You should rather start playing it with an open mind and heart also, but I dare to say that once you get into its essence and dark aura, you will love it deeply. At least I did. It’s incredibly varied and progressive album, I mentioned that you’ll find here some elements of death metal, but even more of black metal in my opinion, similar to such albums like “Reinkaos” or even “Lawless Darkness”. Side A is enough to cause ejaculation, when it begins with fantastic instrumental piece “Vagina Dentata”, which is first step into the more progressive and melodic side of the album. And then it takes us into two sensational songs “Wanderer in the Outer Darkness” and “Spectres” (which are among those tracks that I feel like sound a lot like Dissection, with more aggressive and evil aura, some faster parts, etc). Killer riffs there, very good arrangements and ideas, brilliant performances and that warm sound that is powerful and kind of unique too. I love how it all is sounding together, completes each other, despite the whole variety.
The further you go though, the more varied this album becomes. At first listen I was quite surprised to hear for example so many cleaner guitar tones or calm, more atmospheric, sometimes kind of 70’s rock parts, which now I think sound splendid along the harsh, aggressive vocals of Johannes Andersson (who this time sounds a lot like Eric from Watain) and with the atmosphere the music embodies. The band has expanded their influences much above everyone’s expectations, but it worked damn fantastic on songs like “Suspiria de Profundis” or “Rånda”. On the other hand I kind of feel like with “Spell” the ideas went away and this is one of the very few weak parts of the whole album, with just a bunch of uninteresting and forgettable riffs. Anyway, this album is in my opinion like a drug. It addicts, it will not leave you careless and it will not let forget.
Standout tracks: “Wanderer in the Outer Darkness”, “Spectres”, “Rånda”, “Spell”

Final rate: 95/100

Deadlife - Porphyria

DEADLIFE - Porphyria (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
If you thought that extensive recording schedule of Hermóðr should be enough to keep Rafn busy, then you’re wrong. After “From Tears to Ashes” compilation, which had included three full albums plus an EP, Rafn comes with another bunch of releases with his another project called Deadlife. I think that only in 2016 he released three or four new EPs and another album titled “Porphyria” – and this album I had a pleasure to listen to greatly through the past few days.
In case you wondered what are the differences between Hermóðr and Deadlife, then let me say that there are some, even if both bands perform the melancholic and doomy black metal. But Hermóðr seems to be a bit more melodic and epic, with extensive use of keyboards and so on, to create really dark and atmospheric sound. Meanwhile Deadlife music is harsher and even if it also use a lot of melody and slow tempos, it sounds more depressive and sorrowful, when speaking of the feeling of the music. Yeah, depression, suicide, hopelessness, solitude, misery – these words seem to be the most suitable to describe Deadlife and the concept (while Hermóðr seems to speak a lot about nature).
Well, I have to admit that at first “Porphyria” didn’t impress so much and I felt like it’s a bit boring material. I couldn’t get into it properly and just didn’t like it as much as I like some other Rafn’s works. Luckily the more I was listening to Deadlife, the more I started to enjoy it. What worked so well was the great gift that Rafn has to build fantastic atmosphere and how to come up with some truly infectious and mesmerizing harmonies. Right from the first song “Blue Lifeless Skin” you will catch some really fantastic melodies and generally I think that they help you get into this album and memorize it. Obviously such music has its faults – it is rather one dimensional and monotonous, because the tempo is basically the same, constantly through every next song it doesn’t change and it’s rather unavoidable that the songs will get blurry and start to sound very alike. And more so, “Porphyria” contains one hour of music, which is a lot – and I honestly would prefer to cut maybe twenty minutes off, to get better impression for the whole album. But for what it is, it’s still rather good album, with a lot of stunning moments and harmonies, which just grasp your attention fully. I also really like how the atmosphere and melody correspondents with rather harsh production and croaky sound of Rafn vocals. Not all songs are great; such “The Day I Died” belongs to my favourites, “All Hope Is Lost” is also a real standout track… on the other hand such “Deprived”, with its more up tempo black metal in the vein of early Burzum is rather forgettable. But most of this material is really good, so I can understand why Rafn decided to include so much material on this album. But I would prefer really to cut off 2-3 songs and leave them for another EP. But that’s my opinion. All in all “Porphyria” is a damn good album and yes, I am yet again impressed with the work of this Swede.
Standout tracks: “All Hope Is Lost”, “The Day I Died”, “When All Becomes Quiet”

Final rate: 70/100

Monday, 10 October 2016

Siaskel - Haruwen Airen

SIASKEL - Haruwen Airen (promo 2016)
Back to Chile, again! And I’m really happy about it. This country spawned some really fantastic bands through recent years and definitely this scene became my favourite from the whole South American hell. This time I’m enjoying some sounds from band, which I am familiar with ever since I got their 2014 release “Jatenentolpen Thejin”. Now time came for the new Siaskel album “Haruwen Airen” and I have to say that it’s better than its predecessor. And it’s surely very nice to see this band going in a good direction, simply getting better and improving. Siaskel music is still a ferocious mixture of black and death metal, with the blackened elements dominating all over the album. It’s very vicious and harsh sounding music, which will give you a nice dose of aggression. At the same time can you will not witness anything revolutionary, it’s also not the best album of this year, but I think it’s good and solid enough to please many fans of this extreme music.
I suppose the biggest strength of “Haruwen Airen” is its sheer vicious, aggressive manner. This album is fast and it surely will break some necks when you’ll play it loud. At the same time I like how that aggression and violence correspondence with melody, with vocals that are somewhere between death growl and blackish scream. So, this is why Siaskel music sounds a bit more interesting that your usual black metal. Some of these songs are truly great, I think that “Hain” caught my interest the most, with almost thrashing, violent riffage played with black metalish feeling. But the whole listen went very smoothly and I just cannot write anything bad about Siaskel. As said above – it’s very solid and worthy band and their music has everything that fans of dark, extreme black / death metal should like.
While listening to Siaskel you should definitely check the lyrical concept they have, which deal with some ancient Chilean tribes like Selk’nam.
Standout track: “Hain”

Final rate: 70/100

Funerus - Festering Earth

FUNERUS - Festering Earth (DARK DESCENT - LP2016)
Definitely this vinyl pressing of “Festering Earth” was something I really wanted to happen. I never managed to get the CD version of this album, which is a fuckin shame. In the meantime I collected the second Funerus album “Reduced to Sludge” as well as their 7”EP single “Black Death”. And damn, both of them belong to some of the best death metal that I’ve heard this decade. I’m very happy then that finally also “Festering Earth” is released on vinyl (through Dark Descent) and I can fill my collection of Funeral with the last missing piece.
And it’s obviously a great thing to have a chance to hear “Festering Earth” finally. At first I was quite surprised, because when I started to listen to the first song I told myself that I didn’t expect that Funerus will sound so heavy and slow. Only a couple of minutes later it turned out that even though this is a single LP, it should have been played on 45 RPM, not 33,5 RPM haha! And they didn’t even write that on the record haha, so I didn’t expect this. But once I changed the speed, the music started to sound more like what I expected.
And that is a brutal, chunky US styled death metal, which may not be the most impressive thing you’ll ever hear, but it does sound very solid and worthy. I like that heaviness and sheer viciousness that comes with it. Songs are rather short and simple, when speaking for their structures and technical aspects, but it works great, because Funerus makes up for it with aggression and straight forwardness of their sound. I like how Funerus swaps the pace between every song and do not limit themselves to the same monotonous slow parts – and definitely they’re not just a simple Incantation clone. Their riffs and songs on “Festering Earth” may not be quite as killer as on “Reduced to Sludge”, which is definitely a better album, but it’s damn good work anyway. It’s one of those albums, which just give a lot of pleasure to death metal fans. It’s not difficult to get into, it’s very aggressive and memorable old school stuff, so I’m sure you’ll like it.
At first I wanted to write also that the whole album is very even and all songs are equally great. And yes, they are, but one song stands out above the rest in my opinion and that is the title track – which sounds simply the best. I love slow, doomy parts of this song and it even has a touch of melody to make the sound even more brilliant. Damn, I just love this song. And the whole album I think should be a killer recommendation for the fans of Gutted, Morpheus Descends, Banished, Obituary, and such European gods like Bolt Thrower, Grave and Asphyx.
So, summing it all up – it’s great that finally “Festering Earth” is available also on vinyl. The sound is great, the packaging is simple, but it has everything you will need, so you should just grab a copy and enjoy it. There are two colour versions – transparent purple and orange; choose whichever you want, although I think that it doesn’t matter what colour the vinyl is. The music is great, that’s the important thing.
Standout track: “Festering Earth”

Final rate: 75/100

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Ancient Obscurity - Luonnon loputon laulu

ANCIENT OBSCURITY - Luonnon loputon laulu (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
Wolfspell Records once again made some research in the Finnish woods and once again found there an obscure project that they wanted to release on CD. This is how Ancient Obscurity found its way to my home and I can now listen to their EP “Luonnon loputon laulu”. No, sorry… it’s his EP, as Ancient Obscurity is basically just one kid, Valtteri, who’s running this project alone, although for this EP he was handed a help from Eetu Nykänen (they’re both also in a band called Visuri). Well, kid or not, I have to say he has a good sense for black metal and surely managed to compose some really good songs for this CD.
It all starts with “Avaus” and I have to say that I really like this short acoustic piece. And then we have five songs of “forest black metal”, as I sometimes like to call it. It honestly takes some time to get used to the sound of “Luonnon loputon laulu”, because the guitar tone is weird, to say it at least. It has weird distortion, quite unusual and bassy. No idea, where’s the trick, but it surely gave Ancient Obscurity something original. Stylistically on one hand it all has a strong Finnish vibe – in the vein of some early Horna, Azaghal or Goatmoon (whose song has been covered here, by the way). On the other hand it has a slight Eastern European touch, speaking of the harsh production and aura of the music. Well, who cares. The music is rather solid and enjoyable. As I said before, Valtteri has a good sense for black metal, I really like some of the arrangements and ideas he had for these songs, like in the title track, which surely is the best from the whole CD. These kind of howled vocals along melancholic bass guitar lines sounds damn great, in my opinion. You’ll hear a similar pattern also in “Tähdet ya kuu” and again it sounds incredibly good. Great atmosphere! On other songs, like “Lehdon levosa” the music is rawer, more aggressive, sometimes faster, with almost punkish simplicity, dirt and kind of messy character… but it also sounds not bad at all and in the end I have to say that this EP gave me a very good experience and I like it.
This CD is limited to 250 copies, get a copy then, I do recommend Ancient Obscurity, because it is a solid effort and “Luonnon loputon laulu” deserves attention.
Standout tracks: “Tähdet ya kuu”, “Luonnon loputon laulu”

Final rate: 65/100

Paymon - Beyond Darkness I Fall

PAYMON - Beyond Darkness I Fall (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen - CD 2015)
This next release from Schattenkult Produktionen is a perfect offer for all those, who worship raw as fuck, cold, grim sounding black metal. This is Paymon with their second full length “Beyond Darkness I Fall”. It’s yet another band, which I have not heard about before, even though they have also several other releases in discography, including debut album “Regno occulto” as well as three demos, some of which were released already back in the mid 90’s. This is actually one man project, led by Lord Skarn and comes from Italy – I suppose you should have enough information about Paymon by now.
As for the music on “Beyond Darkness I Fall”, as I already wrote above, this is harsh, obscure, almost primitive sounding black metal. I do have to say that it’s nothing special, in my opinion. It’s just very standard, typical stuff, with simple, neanderthal riffage, arrangements, song structure and very dry, croaky vocals (which can irritate sometimes, to be honest). Quality is rather OK, to give this album at least some positive feedback. If all what you like to listen to are bands, which sound like “Aske”, “Transilvanian Hunger” or “Arma Christi”, then you will surely like Paymon also. For me it’s listenable and luckily Paymon doesn’t exaggerate with too simplistic and primitive playing. Lord Skarn came up with some good riffs, I especially like the ending of the whole album with songs like “I Am the Wind” and “Lucifer”. Plus there’s a nice ambient track “Abisso” and the whole album is finished with very good Thornium cover “Slottet i skuggornas mörker”, which in my opinion is the best song on “Beyond Darkness I Fall”. But that’s all I can say about Paymon and this CD – an album, which is rather easily forgettable and far from being something that is totally necessary to have in collection.
Check out this really cool layout for this CD, I have to say that I love its red colouring and how it correspondents with the photographs of bones, etc. Sadly, it will take quite an effort to read the lyrics.
Standout track: “I Am the Wind”

Final rate: 60/100

Psychomorphis - Amorphous Chaos

PSYCHOMORPHIS - Amorphous Chaos (ANCIENT DARKNESS Productions - MC 2016)
This cassette came from Ancient Darkness Productions – a label, which I respect a lot, with a great number of killer releases behind them. And while I had never heard about Psychomorphis before, one look at the line up gave me an idea that it could be something special (band members are also involved in such acts like Ligfærd, Offerkult, Ogdru Jahad, Sadomator, Necroholocaust). I also felt really intrigued with the artwork of the demo, band’s logo and everything else, but… but not by the music, which turned out to be simply bad.
Well, I guess this will be my first real negative review for Ancient Darkness release then. Yes, “Amorphous Chaos” is for me a pure waste of time and money. This demo contains nine short songs, closed in barely ten minutes of utter, relentless chaos and violence of beastly death / black metal. And the problem is this is not even half as good as it should have been.
The problem with “Amorphous Chaos” is that it’s barely listenable. The sound quality is not poor. It’s fuckin BAD. There’s no production you can say, but just badly recorded primitive wall of noise, where you won’t even be able to check what the riffs are like, not to mention the drumming, which is almost unheard. I’m sorry, I have good tolerance for many extreme bands, I love bestial death / black metal – but I’m also quite picky in this genre and not all bands really deserve my approbation, because too often a bad production is about to cover bad musicianship and complete lack of good riffage and ideas. I’m not saying that this is the case with Psychomorphis, but what’s the point playing a cassette that is unlistenable and so badly recorded that it gives you nothing?
I guess there’s possibly nothing on this demo what will make me go back to it again.
Standout tracks: seriously none!

Final rate: 30/100

Monday, 3 October 2016

God Disease interview

GOD DISEASE interview

This band is a killer combo from Finland (damn, another after Galvanizer, band from Suomi I show here!!). You have to check my two reviews, which I've written for this website and support GOD DISEASE. Soon they should do an album for F.D.A., and I am already certain that it will be a shredder!

Greetings. I’m so glad to have a chance to speak to you and ask some questions. Hope you’re OK there in fuckin Finlandia??!!! Hahah!
Hello Marcin! This is Ilkka speaking! I´m the vocalist. All good in the land of thousand lakes. Thanks for the opportunity to tell you some Tales From… Hah! Seriously though things are quite well. Just yesterday we played the best show in our history so far with Sepulchral Curse and Cryptic Brood in Helsinki! Set included one completely new song. People seemed to like it. Maybe it´s going to be on the album.  All I need is winter now and things would be perfect.

I wanna really start from the end… because I wrote in my review that I wanna see God Disease signed to good death metal label. And it happened! You just signed a contract with F.D.A. Rekotz! Great, I like this label a lot and they were among those, which I hoped will be interested in God Disease. Tell me, how did it then happened that you ended up on this label?
The traditional way. We were searching a label and I sent some “Rebirth Of Horror” CDs to labels around the world. We had talked about that FDA would be THE label we want to be on. We thought that maybe they won´t take us, since they don´t have much of Finnish bands on their roster. But then one summer evening at my cabin (I was in Sauna and drinking craft beer...) I got a message from Rico that he is interested of us and sometime later we signed to FDA. Still, signing to a label guarantees nothing. We still need to deliver a great album and a solid live performance.

F.D.A. Rekotz is known for their great roster of old school death metal, they released many young bands that play this great music. Do you have some favourites among them? I personally love such Skeletal Remains, Chapel of Disease, Slaughterday, Obscure Infinity and Derogatory. And many more!
Chapel Of Disease and Skeletal Remains are my favourites. Slaughterday is damn great too and Lifeless, Endseeker, Considered Dead, Master, Nerlich and Revolting. All these are on my player.  

So, what plans do you have now, when the contract is signed? Obviously I am hoping to see an album out rather sooner than later, so the question is what and when haha! And vinyl release will be essential!
Album is  under work right now, but it´s going to be some time until it sees daylight. We have two shows remaining this year, both in Finland. Other in Pori with black metal acts Author and Kalmankantaja at least and other in Helsinki with Denominate and our label mates Refusal. After these we will put our heads down and concentrate on the album. We want to make it the best we can, since you get to do your debut album just once. I would love to see some God Disease vinyls too and maybe...

Your last recording is the fantastic EP “Rebirth of Horror”. You know my opinion on this excellent music, I truly loved it. Tell me though how was the feedback from other maniacs? This EP was self released, so I wonder how many copies did you manage to spread around?
We have sold about a 100 copies of 200 as a CD and almost other 100 as a tape. It seems that people have liked it. So far I have not heard much negative of it. It feels weird, since when we recorded it I was thinking that this is not good enough, we can´t release this, but my band mates calmed me down and here we are. After the release, I started to like it too and I like performing all the songs live. I set the standards high for us and especially myself on this EP since it was first release with the new guitarists and I wanted it to be the best so far. And it is.

I also saw a cassette version, released by Lycanthropic Chants. I am really astonished to see cassettes available and labels that only do tapes. How do you feel about it? Are we so nostalgic that even this smallest and most breakable format is in our interest haha? Obviously some may call it another fashion thing, but who cares. I always liked to see a proper cassette demo or cassette EP, it has the right underground, traditional feeling.
The most inconvenient format, haha. I think Lycanthropic Chants is going to do vinyl also, but they just started so give them time. Personally I do buy tapes, but only those releases that come only in that format. I got like 7 tapes on my collection so far. I have no way to listen to them at the moment though… haha. I agree with you on the underground feeling. Tape trading is something I never did, I was too young, but how people talk about it, I can understand why there´s tape releases this day too. It´s crazy but the “Rebirth Of Horror” tape release grew our reputation more than any other release so far, so thanks to Steffen Brandes from Lycanthropic Chants and Cryptic Brood for that! And it´s almost sold out! Our first EP came out as a tape also. 100 copies was sold in few months and repressing was sold fast too. I guess that for some, tape is still king. Tape is somewhat obscure format these days, but I came across some label that was releasing music on a diskette! Probably like half a song on one diskette… Waiting for minidisc to return… hahaha.

Diskette haha! Speaking of the latest EP, I love that you can write such different songs like “Catacombs” on one hand and then “Deeper Into Flames”, which is a beast!!! How much is such diversity important to you, when writing new material? Obviously such aspects as having memorable riffs, some good melodies and more importantly a proper dark, gloomy atmosphere are something that all your tracks need to have?!
I think it´s good to have some diversity on your songs so it won´t get boring to listen on album or live, and yes, it would not be a God Disease song if it would not have dark and gloomy atmosphere. I haven´t written any music since “Abyss Cathedral” EP and I don´t even have to. Other guys are so productive and much better composers than I am. I concentrate on the lyrics. God Disease songs take their form in rehearsals. Someone brings more or less ready song structure and we play it out many times and the song forms through trial and error. We tend to do things as a band so it takes time to make one God Disease song. Speaking of “Deeper Into Flames”, it really shares opinions. Some think it´s really good and evil track and some say that it´s made just to make a long song and it gets boring. Well. It was not made just to make a long song. I don´t see why we would do that.

So, which of these classic doom / death metal bands mean the most to you? And which do you think influence your style the most? I suppose it could equally be the good old Paradise Lost as well as the Swedish scene (Eternal Darkness for example) and so on. But doom death metal is in quite great health these days and also many new bands kill with their sound, like Hooded Menace, Encoffination or Uncoffined. Any favourites among them?
I started with bands like My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun and old Katatonia. Paradise Lost soon followed and Hooded Menace has been in my life since their first full-length. I also like a lot of the early Anathema stuff and of course because I´m Finnish, Amorphis’ death metal era records play a huge part in my life. I used to listen to the “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” over and over again and “Black Winter Day” had the biggest impact on me back in the day. Encoffination is something I found just few months ago and they are unbelievably dark! Got to love them. Then there´s Solothus of these newer Finnish bands. Their new album is absolutely fantastic.

Oh yeah, I still need to find new Solothus, cheers for reminding me about that haha! I seriously think that Paradise Lost’s “Beneath Broken Earth” belongs to the best, if not the best, doom death metal tracks that were written recently. I am shocked they managed to compose something so heavy and dark! What do you think of this song?
When I first heard it, I was almost shitting my pants. Paradise Lost finally sounded like they were supposed to sound! I think this song and the whole album is pure gold! It´s great to see that those guys finally realized that death metal is what they were meant to do. I had my hopes high, when Vallenfyre released their first album and when Nick Holmes joined Bloodbath, that some of these death metal influences would flow back to Paradise Lost too and now we have it!

Going back to your beginning, I saw on Metal Archives that God Disease split up in 2013 and then reformed. Supposedly you even did one demo before the split up. Tell me more on that demo, on the circumstances, which led to band’s end of existence and then a quick rebirth. Was the line up still the same in both periods?
That demo…  people sometimes ask if we could send them the tracks or something. The truth is that I deleted them from existence long ago. It was a horrific display of guys who did not know shit and were too eager forming a band that was not even a band back then. Sample drums and the worst plastic guitar sound you can imagine. Our beginning was the hardest possible. At first we did not find players at all. Then we did not find players who wanted to play death metal. This was back in 2010 when death metal was not a fashionable choice and everyone wanted to play some viking shit. We actually had one “viking” song with the very first line up. Never recorded anything with that line up. At this point we “broke up” since we had started another band with different guys and different name and then God Disease died for a moment. Then we changed the other bands name to God Disease… hahaha. The demo was made with this “other” band and released under God Disease name, unfortunately. Only one who´s left from the day one with me is our bassist Henry. We actually had “band practices” with just the two of us. There´s been three drummers and about 11 guitar players in the band´s history… Some left themselves, some needed to be booted. Things started to work out once Mika, our current drummer joined the band. Soon after that Matias Autio joined and with him we did the first proper releases “Abyss Cathedral” and “Doom Howler” EPs. He then went on to join Barathrum and we first tried to live with that but soon discovered it impossible and when Matias left we were without a guitar player for like six months. We still played one show with replacement guitarist. Matias rejoined to play few gigs with us and we started talking about new material but eventually things fell apart again. This time I told Henry that this is it. The band is over. No more. Week after that we had our first practice with our current guitar players Ville and Jesse. It´s funny when you think of it. You try your hardest to find some proper people and you fail to find them. You quit searching and they find you. With this line up we did “Rebirth Of Horror”, yes, the title represents the rebirth of God Disease and with this line up we shall keep going until the grave calls. May this be a lesson to anyone who dreams of forming a band. It requires a lot of hard work and determination to reach even a level where you can have a practice with full line up. Prepare to lose some “friends.”

It doesn’t need a smart person to understand the meaning of your band’s name. it surely is a good moniker and one, which tells a lot about your views on religion. And we talk about all religion I suppose, not just Catholic, especially as the real threat comes from Islam these days. I wonder though how much room do you have for anti-religious lyrics, especially if it feels like a lot of them is about fuckin horror haha?!
All religions should be destroyed. Finland is actually not a catholic country or very religious country. Most of the people are Lutheran. Yet still our leaders are hardcore Jesus freaks and christianity has showed it´s ugly face more and more, since the refugees started to flood in. I won´t write any anti-Islam lyrics since people would purposefully get offended and take them as racism and neo-nazism these days. I don´t need that shit in my life or that stamp on my forehead and since Bolt Thrower and Hail Of Bullets are taking all the war themes, what can I do than horror themed lyrics then? hahahah.  We have just one song with religion theme, at least where religion would be the main subject. “Crush The Believer”. I have used some christian darkness in my lyrics and identified God as an enemy in some, though. I have some unused “fuck religion” lyrics but yes, horror has been more inspiring lately. Speaking of horror. Penny Dreadful, the TV show, really speaks to me… I don´t like much of horror movies like Evil Dead or any other zombie themed movie or TV show, I know that now that I said it I lost some Death Metal Maniac points hahaha. I like my horror more on a spiritual level. Demons and ghosts, mental illness and mysticism.

Yes, you just lost your chance to get famous on old school death metal scene, they will let zombies to eat you now haha! “Rebirth of Horror” was killer, but I also really liked the compilation of “Doom Howler / Abyss Cathedral” EPs. This CD was released by South from Here Records from France. With songs like “Abyss Cathedral”, “Doom Howler”, “Sepulchral Swamp” it’s a fantastic material, I am quite sad though that it didn’t maybe catch enough attention. You didn’t carry on working with this label, I didn’t even see them releasing anything after “Doom Howler…”.
I am still talking with Vincent from South From Here every now and then. We were supposed to do a split sometime ago but suitable band was not found. I hope he´s still going to release something because he did such a good work with us. What comes to the attention… I don´t know. I sent it to many places and South From Here sent it to many places to be reviewed and listened, but it was widely overlooked. I don´t know why, but I don´t care. We have our sights to what´s coming. The compilation is still available from South From Here store. Go there if you don´t have it.

All your EPs were first released as digital files. Well, my tolerance for such “releases” is quite low, but it doesn’t matter. Do you think that a new band can exist these days without strong promotional help from such websites like bandcamp, youtube or facebook?
New bands can exist without internet, but then you have to have done something so fucking kvlt shit that it spreads like a plague without internet… I have never bought digital files myself and never will. I don´t have spotify and never will. It´s important to me that we have a physical version available. Facebook surely is an important tool of the trade nowadays. I would have to do huge adjustments on my own promotional work for God Disease if I would not have it. Youtube… Well… Most of the God Disease material there is not uploaded by us. But it´s helpful of course. Bandcamp is quite artist friendly. I think it´s a good platform for new bands to showcase their talent.

Or complete lack of it haha! How was your time at Helsinki Death Fest? Damn, it must have been a cool event! How do you like such gathering of underground bands and how was this particular small fest?
It was actually arranged by me and my friends. It was very nice day. We got some rare acts like Corpse Molester Cult and Oksennus. Then there was fucking Instant and Galvanizer, the future of Finnish death metal scene. The most special thing was that Atretic Intestine played their last show ever there! Our idea was to bring some bands together that don´t play live that much and have a day full of death. Everything went well and we are planning another event for 2017. For some atmosphere pictures, check out Helsinki Death Fest FB page! There will also be some video of the whole fest sometime soon.

OK, let’s finish here. Time for some beers! But promise me that I won’t have to wait long for new music from God Disease haha!

I promise that we´ll make it worth the wait! hahaha. Thanks for this interview! By the way, I noticed you were involved in the third coming of Compilation Of Death! Nice one! Cheers and kippis! (Yes, I was involved a bit In COD#3. Hope that my laziness will not prevail and I will catch up with material for the issue #4 also! Hails!)

Friday, 30 September 2016

Gjendød - Gjendød

GJENDOD - Gjendød (HELLTHRASHER Productions CD 2016)
I suppose that even if the days of greatest glory are long gone for Norwegian black metal scene, it’s still really special to see a band, especially new band, from there. This country has something in the air or water, I don’t know what that is, that it helps people compose some of the best black metal stuff. And I’m happy that the years when their scene became self-parody are also gone and that again we are excited to see some fantastic new names (sadly, hardly any of the old bands are still able to interest me with their newer albums, but that’s not a problem we’ll discuss here). Trondheim is one of these places, where the biggest attention goes to at the moment. And it’s truly deserved, seeing so many killer bands from this area and also seeing what Terratur Possessions does. And now Gjendød is another debuting act from this city, with their first demo recently released on CD by Hellthrasher Productions. Well, let’s check if Gjendød is as much worthy as some other bands from there.
I’m not gonna make any comparisons to other bands from Trondheim though. But I wanna say that what I like about Gjendød is that it sounds so traditional for Norwegian black metal. Definitely they managed to capture the right feeling of cold, grim and harsh sounding Norwegian black metal and we can say that this demo takes all the right ingredients from the classic recipes, without trying to sound sophisticated or avant-garde. For some it will be an advantage, for others it won’t. For me it definitely is. And I’m really happy that Norwegian black metal in its raw, classic vein still sounds so exciting and killer. With bands like Mare, OTOH, Celestial Bloodshed, Darvaza, Askeregn and now also with Gjendød we’re getting something refreshed. This is exactly how I feel about Gjendød demo. It’s harsh, quite fast and aggressive, vicious black metal malicious sound where every riff cuts your skin deep and the haunting atmosphere freezes blood. You’ll hear influences from the old bands such as Mayhem, Tsjuder, but also some newer acts – it doesn’t matter. The thing is that it has great atmosphere, the riffs are great and everything about the music is just great. And if you like when your harsh black metal sounds fast, then you’ll get it from Gjendød right from the first song. Actually the first three tracks are almost like a constant fast blast, very intense indeed. Surprisingly my personal favourite song is the last one, “Likdans”, with riffs, especially in the beginning of the song, that sound a lot like old Thorns.
I also need to say that the artwork for Gjendød demo is something that really puts them aside to almost everything that similar bands do. Instead of skulls, candles and ritualistic symbols, they (Gjendød) decided for this colorful “thing”, which I have no idea what it is. I don’t like this artwork, to be honest, but who cares… it looks weird and different.
Standout track: “Likdans”

Final rate: 70/100

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Marduk - Those of the Unlight

MARDUK - Those of the Unlight (OSMOSE - LP 1993)
I think it’s easy to say that Marduk history can be divided into three periods. And among these three, the earliest Marduk chapter – with their first three albums and demo - is one, which I like the least. Not that they’re bad or something, but I just prefer such “Heaven Shall Burn” or “Plague Angel” and “Serpent Sermon” over “Opus Nocturne”. And “Dark Endless” especially is for me rather mediocre record and I don’t even listen to it so often. Obviously Marduk style of black metal on these early albums was different than on the later stuff. It was kind of more primitive and harsher and it had sort of morbid death metal influence as well. Sure, it’s evil, grim and obscure as fuck, with some crazy vocals and ominous aura, but I just don’t necessarily like some of the riffs or arrangement style they had back then. Luckily, if the debut record is rather boring, then the second opus “Those of the Unlight” is surely a nice improvement and it’s a memorable album with some classic Marduk songs.
I think that basically everything about “Those of the Unlight” is better, when compared to the debut. The album is stronger, so even if the general style is similar, I find this second album as more worthy. More so, nowadays it doesn’t sound as outdated as “Dark Endless” does, it surely grew old better. Why? First off, the songs are better! There are some killer tunes, many of which were constantly performed live during the past years like “Wolves”, “Burn My Coffin” or “On Darkened Wings”, so they’re well known songs, with some truly great riffs. But my favourite song is probably the title track, as it has some truly awesome, eerie melodies, some killer riffs and it’s also insanely fast. More so, it is really well arranged, I mean that slow, melodic fragment near the end of this song is among my favourite riffs on the album, it sounds just damn fantastic. Also “Darkness Breeds Immortality” is fast as hell, but damn… that title song is truly excellent. They both may remind you some of the very early Dissection tunes, but in a raw and more uncompromising vein. “Wolves” obviously is a classic dark anthem as well, it’s almost catchy, because the main riff in it is simply infectious and the howling of Joakim Göthberg is fantastic. And even if it’s rather slower track, it creates great, evil aura.
What I like also about “Those of the Unlight” is the atmospheric side of the album, with “Echoes from the Past”, which is an acoustic / keyboard long intro with a doomy ending. This song sounds just great and is surely different to the whole vicious and raw album. More so, “Stone Stands Its Silent Vigil” continues with that more melodic and atmospheric playing, in mid tempo, but with more ravaging sound towards the end. I need to also mention killer arrangements, I especially like the crushing bass parts and simply possessed vocals (performed by Joakim Göthberg, a’ka Gravf, later known from some more melodic and surely not black metal, bands like Dimension Zero).
Standout tracks: "Those of the Unlight", "Burn My Coffin", "On Darkened Wings", "Echoes from the Past"

Final rate: 70/100

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Azelisassath - Evil Manifestations Against Mankind

AZELISASSATH - Evil Manifestations Against Mankind (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen - CD 2014)
This album is another great surprise and fine discovery from Schattenkult Produktionen roster. I never had a chance to hear anything from Azelisassath before, but their second album is surely something that requires attention and support from all die hard black metallers. This band is led by Svartedöden, a’ka Azelisassath, who’s also in Bekëth Nexëhmü, which is also a killer black metal project from the cold Swedish vastlands. But I honestly didn’t know about these connections, when I started to play “Evil Manifestations Against Mankind” and only later I found some important info about Azelisassath on Metal Archives. Well, it doesn’t matter.
This is just fine Darkthrone’ish / Judas Iscariot-like sort of black metal. “” ticks all the right boxes for such style of music and it seems like everything has been done in the proper way. I’m not even bothered with these terribly dry, monotonous vocals, and after a while I got used to them. What matters the most is the perfect way, in which Azelisassath crafts the cold, grim and hateful atmosphere, especially when the sings turn more aggressive and malignant direction. It’s also a bit depressive and nostalgic with few riffs, so generally it’s a perfect combination of fast, blasting, harsh black metal with slower, more nostalgic, sometimes almost melodic stuff. I truly like the whole performance of Azelisassath sole member, the guitar work is not primitive and there’s a lot of killer riffs, the drumming may be very basic, but it simply fits this style of black metal greatly, so you should not expect more from it. And the production is harsh, but warm, organic, with really damn nice guitar tone. So, even if “Evil Manifestations Against Mankind” is not an album, which would bring anything special, and it’s not a flawless album neither… but there’s something possessing about it and I am sure that it’s one of those albums, which will be used as killer soundtrack for the upcoming winter.

Final rate: 70/100

Mussorgski - Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae

MUSSORGSKI - Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae (GODZ OV WAR - CD 2016)
This album turned out to be surprisingly good, I have to say. Especially because the music, which Mussorgski doesn’t belong to my favourites. But from time to time I really do like to play something different and then I happen to play also some industrialized black metal. And this is more or less exactly what Mussorgski performs on their third album “Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae”. The fact that it’s their third album is also a surprise for me, because I’ve never heard their previous efforts. I knew the band name since forever, it was popping up here and there already in the 90’s, but I never bothered to check Mussorgski music. But as they say, it’s better late than never and honestly, “Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae” intrigued me enough to pick up the previous releases as well. I will do that one day for sure. In the meantime I wanted to play “Creatio…” once again… and again.
This album is almost like a journey through something uncanny, bizarre and sick. It gives a lot of different emotions, but from the strict musical point of view it’s very varied, original sounding and unusual combination of harsh black metal with a lot of epic, monumental sounds, strongly underlined with almost symphonic keyboards, occasionally spiced up with industrial dirt and dark ambient emotions. You should not be surprised if one minute you’ll hear an aggressive, almost harsh black metal and next there will be calm, ambiental piece. And luckily, with eight songs and 50 minutes of music, Khorzon – who’s behind Mussorgski as its sole member – had enough ideas to keep it all interesting. I’m sure that when you’ll listen to “Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae” your impression will be varied as well. Some of you will love it, some other will hate, as it’s not an easy album and surely also not an offer for black metal purists, who will despise its unhuman, cold, mechanical sound. Luckily for me Mussorgski didn’t overdo with the experimental part of their music and even though songs like “God Is in the Neurons” are among my less favourite, I rather have no problem with them.
All that it’s due to good balance between the experimental, industrial and ambient side of “Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae” and its sheer black metal side. I would probably easily pass the instrumental tracks like “Stellar Core”, but I can also understand their importance for the whole album’s structure. I have to say that many times during listening of “Creatio…” I felt very pleased when for example song like “Sabbathum in Perpetuum” blew out the speakers with some blasts and atmosphere that almost reminded me some mid-era Limbonic Art stuff. And right after that “Key to the Universe” has almost Thorns – like feeling, of that cold and grim, industrial sound. Two songs and two different aspects of the extreme music. And this is for me the greatest thing about this album. Also because Mussorgski managed to compose just brilliant stuff, very well thought through, composed and performed. That compliment includes the vocals also – which are mainly performed by Ravn (ex-Taran, Warfist and few more), but sporadically enriched by female vocals, choruses and kind of mechanical sounding declamations. Yes, definitely “Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae” is a great album, I have no doubt about it.
By the way, it’s really cool that with the release of “Creatio Cosmicam Bestiae” by Godz ov War the circle has been closed, because back in 1992 the second demo “The Bath in the X-Rays” was released by Kassandra Distro, which was run by the same Greg, who’s behind Godz ov War.
Standout tracks: “Sabbathum in Perpetuum”, “Gaaya – The Planet of the Dead”, “Paradisum”

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Crematory Stench - Crematory Stench

CREMATORY STENCH - Crematory Stench (FDA Rekotz - 7"EP 2016)
You think of California and immediately have in mind what? Crappy-wood? “Baywatch”? No, you think of some killer death metal bands – not only the old ones like Sadistic Intent, but also young crews like Skeletal Remains and Rude. Many of them have Latinos in line up and it’s not different with Crematory Stench, which is new, but so fuckin killer band from this sunny region of US. They just released their debut 7”EP through FDA Rekotz and I have to say that I am fully impressed with this stuff. Sure, it is yet again nothing new and you can compare Crematory Stench not only to the classic bands like Pestilence from their first two LPs, early Death, Nihilist or Asphyx, but also to their mates from Skeletal Remains or Gruesome, because they all play very similar type of old school death metal. But these similarities don’t really matter, when such great music comes from the speakers. You have no time to think about bullshit like that, because you just bang your skull and get furious while playing this godly single. And that’s what I like! My neck hurts, but I don’t care!!
Yes, I do fuckin like it a lot, especially because Crematory Stench sounds very enthusiastic and authentic, they really have killer riffs, great vocalist, who sounds like bastard child of Schuldiner and van Drunen from their early days and the production of this is just excellent. I like how it all sounds, because it’s raw, almost like an old demo, it’s not polished, which is definitely good. I made some comparisons to old and new death metal bands above, but I need to say that Crematory Stench music has also a strong thrashing vibe, which again is nothing new for Californian bands (Merciless Death, etc). Each of these four songs is a real slaughter and I really enjoy this stuff a lot. I’ve been playing this EP for the long time today and really feel enthusiastic towards Crematory Stench music. It’s one of those bands, whose music kicks your ass immediately, it’s very easily listenable and you just want more and more. Yeah. I cannot wait to hear more from this band now.
Final rate: 85/100