Thursday, 16 April 2015

Soulrot - Horrors From Beyond

SOULROT - Horrors From Beyond (UNHOLY PROPHECIES - MC 2014)
You know what? For me Chile and death metal is a perfect match. It’s almost like for example good beef and cabernet… or Sasha Grey and cum in her mouth… It’s something what you cannot imagine to go separate ways. And Chile has definitely one of the best scenes, when speaking of the obscure, brutal and sick death metal, played in the old vein. Brilliant. Soulrot is among newer names from that country, “Horrors From Beyond” is actually their first demo, but the guys behind this band are no newcomers, as all of them have played also in other usually unknown bands (actually none of their names is familiar to me)… But damn, I like Soulrot a lot. What’s worth to mention is that “Horrors From Beyond” was released on cassette by Unholy Prophecies. Maybe demo tapes (or tape albums) are not so rare as they were five / ten years ago, as they surely came back to the scene for good, but still, it’s just not so common for every label and every band to release their music on this format. And I just love to see demos on cassette!
Speaking of “Horrors From Beyond”, I must say that when I played the tape for the first time, in the beginning I wasn’t so impressed. I guess it’s due to quite harsh and raw production of this demo (but could it be any other, to be honest? Traditionally the demos were always sounding harsh!), so it took me couple of minutes to get used to this almost rehearsal quality recording. After a while I got used to it and now I have no problem at all with this production; more so, I think it fits to such music perfectly and gives it an extra rotten, horror atmosphere, which is damn cool.
Chile is known that the band from there are in 99% sounding old school, obscure and savage. So does Soulrot. Their old school death metal is reminding me not one particular band or scene, but it’s more like a deadly mixture of all what’s best in the classic death metal; as there are similarities to bands such as Merciless, Nihilist, Massacra, (very early) Asphyx, Autopsy, (very vintage demo era) Vader, Demigod and more! The music is really vicious, brutal, has killer riffs and generates a killer dark, horror aura (Lovecraft inspired another band haha!). It’s really nice stuff, I seriously like what Soulrot did her. More so, they do sound authentic, I don’t find anything what would disturb me… It’s just killer death metal demo, reminding me some other classic demos. Very recommended!
Final rate: 80/100

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Erebus Enthroned / Blaze of Perdition - Accession of Fire

EREBUS ENTHRONED / BLAZE OF PERDITION - Accession of Fire (PAGAN Records - 10"MLP 2013)
Holy fuckin shit, I am absolutely crushed with the content of this 10”MLP, with two truly killer bands. “Accession of Fire” is a split, which joins the unholy forces of Australian Erebus Enthroned and Polish Blaze of Perdition. I do admit that I bought it just for the Polish band, whose music is constantly impressive, so I basically collect everything they release… At the time of release of “Accession of Fire” I did not know Erebus Enthroned, so it was the first time I had a chance to hear their music, but they turned out to be as great, if not even better, than Blaze of Perdition. So, the result is simply a killer and recommendable 10” vinyl!
Each band delivers only one song, but the whole MLP is 17 minutes long, so don’t worry, it will be enough music to satisfy your hunger for quality black metal. Erebus Enthroned brings their song first and “Deathless Sin” is simply perfect. I don’t really care if people will moan that the Australians copy some Swedish black metal bands and that they’re just following the religious BM trend – whatever that term “religious” means. Opinions are many, I don’t care about any of them. I only know the difference between killer and shit black metal and Erebus Enthroned is definitely the first. Their song has everything; great, vicious and furiously fast riffs, but it also embraces the dark, obscure atmosphere with great, melodic parts and almost epic bits, vide the opening theme of the song (which includes a nice choral chanting to increase the atmosphere). I know it’s nothing new, and surely you can compare Erebus Enthroned to such Marduk, Funeral Mist, Ascension, Valkyrja or Ofermod. But for fuck face, who cares when the song is so fuckin killer? The climax comes when Erebus Enthroned speeds up into a ferocious, Funeral Mist-like section and damn, I just love it. This song is almost nine minutes long, but it surely doesn’t feel like, as so much is going on here.
Meanwhile Blaze of Perdition brings us “Night of the Nights” and damn, if they wanted to get rid of the staple of Watain / Dissection followers with this track, then they surely succeeded. I think it is one of their most aggressive and vicious, if not THE MOST merciless songs so far, so bloody violent and pissed off attitude it has. This is just agressive with no remorse, as it is basically derived of the melody, which you could hear on some other songs of Blaze of Perdition and so it simply focuses on destructive black metal. And it works, of course! The vocals sound just sick and possessed (at that time there were still two vocalists in the band), the riffs are great, tempo is mainly fast, but this lengthy song is balanced between fast and slower pace, so… well, I have nothing more to add. And nothing more to desire. Both bands did exceptional work here, so this split is seriously a recommendable piece!

Final rate: 90/100

Day of Doom - The Gates of Hell

DAY OF DOOM - The Gates of Hell (LAVADOME Productions - CD 2014)
Another CD, which I received from Lavadome Productions… but this time it isn’t band from Czech Republic, but from the US soil!! They’re called Day of Doom, and damn… “The Gates of Hell” is already their third album, but I never heard of them before. Well, it doesn’t matter. I must say that the two previous Lavadome releases I listened to (which were Heaving Earth and Destroying Divinity) crushed me instantly and delivered death metal, whose high quality is undisputable. But with Day of Doom it took me some more time to figure out what’s this music is all about. It’s one of those albums, which is based on rather classic death metal means, but the band surely doesn’t want everything to be so easy and incorporate into their songs some more unusual, sometimes just weird, ideas or riffs… I definitely don’t like everything what I have heard on this CD, but at the same time some stuff here is truly great. So, not an easy album, but more challenging for sure.
As mentioned, the foundation of the music on “The Gates of Hell” is death metal. It’s obscure, rather heavy and brutal death metal, which maybe sometimes can give you some small similarity to such classics as Baphomet, Immolation or even such Blaspherian. Having in mind that the production of the album is very raw, heavy and far from polished, you can imagine that the result is just brutal and ruthless, crushing with no hesitation. And as such I think this album isn’t that bad. There are several really good moments, maybe far from being remarkable and timeless classics quality, but solid and worthy for sure. But the thing is the whole “The Gates of Hell” is very varied and so it’s also very inconsistent, to the point when Day of Doom plays some stuff, which I am not even sure if it sounds good or if it fits the whole death metal skeleton. You know… There are many fast and brutal death metal parts, but with a lot of sudden tempo changes, as well as weird and unsuspected variety of the atmosphere, switching between the aggressive and brutal death metal into some weird stuff (take the title song as an example!)… One minute the band blasts like crazy with extreme stuff and suddenly breaks the tempo and switches into something completely different and almost progressive. Hmm, I am just not sure if that works well. Sure, it puts Day of Doom into the category of more original and untypical death metal bands, but does it have to mean it’s better? I guess it just depends on everyone’s preferences.
I prefer the straight up brutal death metal, I don’t require sophisticated music from it… and surely some stuff, which Day of Doom performs sounds like it is just not necessary. The whole music is quite complex and technical, just listen to the bass arrangements on every song! Also some really nice guitar leads. Anyways, in songs like “The Gates of Hell” I feel like it’s gone step too far in that bad direction. Not always the ideas of Day of Doom are that good, I mentioned one song, but I can also point out such “An Evil Demoncy”… I’m not trying to say it’s worthless crap, but surely also not something what I would really like. But even in more straight forward and brutal songs like “Father’s Lies” I feel like for example the vocal arrangements are dull. Luckily, there’re also enough good and interesting parts / ideas, so the album is listenable haha! Besides, there are such really awesome tunes as “Circle of Eternal Aftermath”, which is basically an instrumental track, but it stands above the rest of the material as it’s doomy, melodic and epic (with quite Eastern music influence maybe in the melody??)… surely it’s a nice pause between the brutal death metal content. Then there’s such “Feasting on the Flesh of the Godly Ones”, which has quite strong Morbid Angel-style riffing here and there and it’s maybe a reason why I like it so much haha!
 Standout tracks: “Circle of Eternal Aftermath”, “Feasting on the Flesh of the Godly Ones”

Final rate: 60/100

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Rotten Music releases review

ROTTEN MUSIC - releases, reviews
Rotten Music is a small label based in London, UK, specializing in brutal forms of death metal and grind core. And I just received several CDs from Chris, the owner of Rotten Music. Let me then introduce you to them all. I am not doing separate reviews for each release, as it would take too much time and besides, I am honestly not a big expert on the music, which some of these bands play, so maybe it’s just better for me to keep the things short and present them in such one, joined article. OK? Let’s go then!
So, I started with the release number one, nicely titled “Gangrenous Mass from Axe & Hook Ejaculation”. Killer title haha! It’s a split release of two Greek death / grind crews, The Anal Treatment XXXperience and Aceptic Goitre. Yes, one of those bands is called The Anal Treatment XXXperience haha! Seriously! Sick bastards haha! I actually expected some ultra fuckin gory and brutal grind core from them, but it turns out it’s more like death / grind… hmm, if there’s any difference haha! The vocals are quite weird, as it’s not the usual deep growl or pig squeal, but more like noisy screaming, ridiculously distorted, almost high pitched. It just drills into your brain (or anus haha), giving an instant headache haha. Anyways, the music is not bad at all… Sure, Anals don’t sound like anything what I usually listen to and to be honest, their music is far from being superb and
memorable, but it’s decent. Some good riffs, the sound is also not so bad…So, I can live with it. And then Aceptic Goitre is more like a neanderthal brutal death / grind sort of band; very simple riffs, very simple song structures, extreme, deep growl, a lot of slamming, fast tempos or mid paced, grinding groove… I used the word “neanderthal”, as this is how such music sounds to me. It’s so damn simple and narrow… you know, for me these songs sound like composed in five minutes, each basically is built on similar riffs and ideas and sounds the same. At the same time the whole sounds simply hilarious sometimes. It’s almost like brainless entertainment, so switch yourself off, grab a cup of piss and listen to it haha! But I like their music more than XXXperience, as it’s just more brutal and heavier. To conclude then: I can’t say I like “Gangrenous Mass from Axe & Hook Ejaculation’”. I can’t also say that I don’t like it. It’s just one of many releases, which you listen to and probably you’ll forget about it in few months, but it’s a decent stuff and some fun for sure. Neither of these two bands deliver something special, they fail to impress me, but I guess that if you like brutal death metal and simply such funny and sick stuff, then you may grab a copy of this split. (55) OK, next up is Polish Vomit Your Brain with a compilation CD that includes their demos “Slaughtered” (2011) and “From Morgue With Love” (2010). I must admit that “Beauty of Morgue” is not bad at all. Yes, it’s brutal death metal, gory and extreme, with meaty, crunchy riffs, soaked in blood and some disgusting body liquids, with deep growls, occasionally turned into piggy squeals. I quite like it, the newer demo, with songs like "Underworld Carnivores", especially sounds nice I think (good production!). It’s really powerful and brutal stuff. Damn, good one, but very short as it’s less that 20 minutes of music! (68) But let’s go further and here’s Aceptic Goitre. Again haha! Here’s their full length album “The Graduation Frenzy” (2014). It doesn’t take much imagination to guess that these are another 30 minutes of brutal, grinding death fuckin extreme gory metal stuff! And my impression is just exactly the same as on the split with Anal XXXperience band… It’s very simple, rough as hell, brutal gory death metal, with a lot of fast, slumming stuff, deep, guttural vocals and standard B class gory horror movies concept. Actually each song is based on a different movie, like “Prom Night” (1980), “Bay of Blood” (1971), “Sleepaway Camp” (1983) or “Pieces” (1982)… And of course also “Graduation Day” from 1981. The whole list of movies is listed in the booklet and connected to each song. Cool idea, if you ask me. My impression on the music is rather positive, I mean it’s not stuff, which I listen to often, but sure… if bands like Disgorge, Cerebral Effusion, Gorgasm or Putridity are your soundtrack when you shave with a razor or eat spaghetti with blood sauce and eye balls, then you’ll like Aceptic Goitre also I think. Personally I quickly get tired with such music, but I do admit that “The Graduation Frenzy” is
quite good, some cool songs are here like “Profondo Rosso”. I definitely like that gory, creepy, brutal atmosphere in their music also. So, slay the prom queen and fuck her cold dead body! (69) And next band is beautifully names Facefuck. Wow, I’ll never get surprised with the names for brutal death metal bands anymore haha. They’re just ridiculous! Just as ridiculous is the music, really. Anyways, Facefuck is from Australia and “Domain of Perverted Pleasures” is their debut CD, played in honour of Mortician and other such bands. Programmed drums, sick vocals, a lot of blasting parts, gory atmosphere and obviously a lot of samples from horror (or porn) movies. Can it get any more repetitive? I don’t know. The music is OK, but at the same time it’s so predictable… How many times we’ve heard it before? And many times in better quality. Luckily, this is just 11 minutes of music, so it’s too short to annoy me totally. Oh, awesome artwork! (55) Demon Vomit is next and it’s another Polish band. I have actually not heard of them before I got this CD titled “Brutal Blasphemy”, but it’s cool to listen to it, as I think it’s one of the best, if not the best release from Rotten Music. And the title of this album says everything about the content: it’s brutal death metal with a strong blasphemous, antichristian lyrical concept (song titles like “Mother of God Broken by Dick”, “Jesus the Shit-Eater Christ” or “Anal Nun” do speak for themselves, even though the lyrics seem to be slightly infantile); so, it’s something quite different from the rest of Rotten Music releases. The music is totally straight forward, relentless death metal, imagine some Deicide, some early Cannibal Corpse and speeded up Incantation for example, brutal, raw, crushing fast and blasphemous to the core. Some awesome songs here, some truly splendid riffs… Maybe the album is slightly too long, so some songs feel quite repetitive, but what the hell… it’s still a nice album and I definitely like it. It’s great that I had a chance to discover this band as before I never even heard their name, so I wonder if they ever even promoted their demos here in Poland? Oh, they also did a video for song titled “Hanging Priest”, check it out! (75) Next up is a split CD with five bands on it… and none of their names tell me anything. No, hold one, they do say one thing: that obviously it’s gonna be the brutal, slumming, grinding death metal extremity again, as all those bands have that weird, unpronounceable names, unreadable logos… and all love gore and other such shit haha! Hold on; here are their monikers: Incineration / Paroxysmal Butchering / Abdicate / Catatonic Rigidity / Goemagot – and the title of the
CD is "Horrendous Forms of Human Ruination". I’m actually too lazy to check some more details on every band, sorry, but to be honest with you, I doubt I will quickly come back to any of these bands. We have here 12 songs in total… starting with Incineration, who have four tracks of brutal death metal. Very predictable, very typical, fast and slamming dose of brutality, with quite raw production and pigsty vocals. Ehhh, nothing what would stick in my mind, just mediocre stuff, which goes in one ear and out the other. Paroxysmal Butchering also brings four tracks… they seem to be even more brutal, at least the production is way better here. And also musically it’s better band, I think, even though stylistically it’s very close. Quite impressive drumming, some nice riffs… Four fast, short slabs of massive, atrocious, vile sounding technical death metal. Abdicate has two songs… This band actually has some albums released for Sevared Records (which is quite respectable label on the field of brutal death metal). And what else can I write? It’s again butchering death metal, with quite old school sound, something alike to early Suffocation albums for example. Damn, I like their music the most from the whole CD; classic take on brutal death metal, but without crossing that edge of silliness, with some great, powerful riffs and nice, raw but powerful production. Yes, this band really shall be remembered and damn, I may even try to find some of their albums, as it’s really cool stuff. Finally we have last two bands, with one song from each of them… but neither Catatonic Rigidity nor Goemagot really impressed me, I am afraid, so I quickly erased them from my memory. “Horrendous Forms of Human Ruination" is another solid release from Rotten Music, I’m sure that fans of brutal death metal will love it. Personally I am very happy to hear about Abdicate. (65) And the final CD from Rotten Music… this is Italian band called Horrendous Rebirth with “Devouring Chaos” album. And damn, it’s surely among my two favourite releases from this label, as I like this band’s old styled, brutal death metal a lot!! It’s old styled, and when I listen to this album I feel the same as when I was shredding some brutal death metal records in the early 90’s, from bands like Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation and some mid / late 90’s bands, like Vile, Deeds of Flesh, Avulsed, Dying Fetus. Definitely Horrendous Rebirth learnt their lesson in extreme death metal, they have the right attitude, good ideas and skills to play this quite technical, but not too complex, old school death metal… They came up with some really nice songs, also the sound quality on “Devouring Chaos” is awesome, so I must admit that I was listening to this album with great pleasure and of all Rotten Music releases, this one was shredding my guts the most and longest. And I don’t even mind some pig squeals that appear here and there. Very good album. (80)

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Sunday, 5 April 2015

Archives of the Dead part XVII: MORPHEUS - In the Arms of…

Archives of the Dead part XVII: MORPHEUS - In the Arms of… (OPINIONATE! - EP 1991)
Line up: Janne Rudberg Björkenfjäll (guitars (rhythm)), Markus Rüdén (drums), Sebastian Ramstedt (guitars (lead)), Johan Bergebäck (bass), David Brink (vocals)
Recorded at Sunlight Studio by Thomas Skogsberg in July 1991.
12", 500 copies pressed on yellow vinyl, and 500 on black vinyl.
MORPHEUS – after the killer EXHUMED demo – returns with their first official release. “In the Arms of…” is not, to be honest, as great as the demo, but it still has some good moments, where the band just crushes my head! But first of all I have to admit something. As I haven’t got (yet) the original copy of “In the Arms of…” I had to use audio copy I’ve found somewhere in the net. And so I was shocked that MORPHEUS music sounded so damn slow and heavy on it! Even David Brink’s voice seemed to be very low, almost like the band used some effect on his vocals to make them sound heavier. And then I realised that it can’t be true. As a vinyl maniac I know that sometimes it may be difficult to guess what RPM speed you should use for the LP; sometimes both speeds sound fine! And here somebody played this LP on his turntable with slower speed, making “In the Arms of…” sound very slow and low. Haha, very nice try! Luckily I managed to get a proper copy soon after and here everything is as it should be; I even got the SUNLIGHT sound back! And finally the opening song - “No Man’s Land” - is 6, not 8 minutes long ha, ha! OK, but I have to say I’m really relieved I’ve noticed this, as now MORPHEUS sounds 666 times better. I really couldn’t listen to that slow version with honest pleasure ha, ha. And so I can give it a second chance. 
The opening song I already mentioned sounds just fantastic. It was the best track on “slowed down EP” anyway, but now it is just perfect. Starts with relatively mid paced riff, but then the tempo fastens, brings the proper death metal’s rotten energy. And then that fantastic melody came in the middle of the song, which I just love. For such melodies I love Swedish death metal. “Among Others” meanwhile attacks with some furious aggression and neck-braking playing, very similar to EXCRUCIATE for instance. I guess Swedish death metal hardly could have been any faster in these early days, really! “The Third Reich 3797 A.C.” is the most epic track here (with some spoken and sang vocal parts). It has a bit thrashing riffage here and there, but generally is little monotonous, as the riffs are simple and there aren’t any catchy parts in there, so I think it’s the most mediocre track on this EP. But the lyric about an Antichrist rising and starting his Third Reich, which destroys the world surely needs an attention he, he. Finally the final song, “Thoughts of Distrust” doesn’t really allow me to take a break as it invades my head with a cacophony of stabbing riffs. This track is similar to “Among Others” as it is equally fast and intense, you can be sure it won’t disappoint the fans of aggressive music. Finally that cannonade of riffs stops suddenly, so it almost seems like the world is also about to stop to exist (this is what MORPHEUS wrote about in their pessimistic lyrics anyway)… 
I have to resume this review recommending MORPHEUS and “In the Arms of…” to every fan of Swedish death metal. This band can be easily putted together with the likes of EXCRUCIATE, EPITAPH or even CARNAGE. Sure, it may not be the most brilliant and catchy of all Swedish bands, but it has much to offer anyway. I won’t hesitate if I ever get a chance to buy an original copy of this 12 inch. Luckily there's also a CD and LP reissue from Temple of Darkness, which I am actually getting now! Awesome stuff!
Final rate: 75/100

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Wound / Obscure Infinity - Souls of Eternal Damnation

WOUND / OBSCURE INFINITY - Souls of Eternal Damnation (FDA Rekotz - split 7"EP)
I buy quite a lot of 7” vinyl singles nowadays, probably more than I ever did before, as I like this format a lot and many newer bands and labels have rediscovered it and sort of brought it back to life in the extreme metal scene, after some time, when it – and vinyl in general – was not so “trendy”. But this is a problem – that the quantity not always comes in hand with quality and I feel like some of these seven inches contained second quality material of particular bands, that the songs they sometimes release on the singles are just not as good as those from the full length albums, so it feels like they just release some outtakes from recording session, just for the sake of having a 7”single in discography. I am not going to give you some examples, as everyone will have his own opinion… but I want to say that this feeling of second quality songs is not what I feel when I listen to this split 7” that I am gonna review now. This is a split between two German death metal bands: Obscure Infinity and Wound. I know both quite well, have their previous recordings in the collection… and you know what? When I listen to this split I feel like both bands delivered actually some of their best, if not THE BEST songs so far! Yes, that good it sounds, in my opinion.
Of course people who feel bored with the whole old school death metal movement will not be convinced and they will always moan and cry that this is not 1991 anymore. But I don’t care. Here are two relatively young bands and both have recorded a killer song each and that’s why I like about it.
I am especially satisfied with “Kingdom of Deceit” by Wound. This band, on their debut album “Inhale the Void”, sounded nice and I liked it, but at the same time I had to admit that it wasn’t as good as some other FDA releases or stuff from other labels. But this song sounds truly great. It obviously has that strong Swedish death metal influence, so some of the riffs are quite melodic, but the whole song is brilliantly aggressive, harsh and just straight forward, as it’s also quite fast and simply powerful as fuck. I think that stylistically Wound maybe changed a little bit, into more abrasive beast, but I like it this way. Just annihilating death metal, with some great riffs and really obscure atmosphere; oh, just listen to the ending part of this track!!! And then Obscure Infinity also delivered a nice song! Oh, it’s so lovely fast and uncompromising, almost like death / black metal, as it really has this obscure and evil feeling. Just as Wound, it also has some more melodic riffs thrown here and there, but generally the whole “Perdition Destiny” is an old school death metal annihilation and when it speeds up you can’t stop it or resist to this fantastic powerful eruption. Yes, definitely both bands delivered two of their best songs ever in my opinion! Killer split 7”EP!

Final rate: 85/100

Avitum - MMXIV

AVITUM - MMXIV (ATAVISM Records - MC 2014)
I already introduced you Atavism Records and their releases several times (with bands like Helegion, Nefastt, Rein, Dumno)… This is quite special label, I think, as it releases black metal bands from one certain region of France, Bourgogne. So, now you know that this region is not only about pinot noirs, but also about black metal haha! Oh, another very characteristic thing about Atavism is that it only releases tapes! Anyways, here’s another cassette, from band called Avitum. This is I think newly formed project, but I think it summarizes the idea behind Atavism perfectly, not only from the musical point of view, but also ideologically, as it’s a lot into the local patriotism and… well, let’s not be afraid to use this word, but also into nationalism (which doesn’t always have to mean something negative). “MMXIV” is the debut cassette, with three songs.
Hmm, I must say that when I listen to Avitum, their music reminds me some Canadian black metal bands from Quebec, who also have this strong bond to the region they’re from, also sing in French and basically perform similar harsh, primeval black metal. I’m talking about bands like Forteresse, Csejthe or Monarque, which I am sure many of you know. And I guess it should be enough to describe the music from “MMXIV”… Harsh, cold, mostly fast paced black metal, with raw obscure production and grim, hateful atmosphere. Avitum is not bad at all, I like this tape, I like the atmosphere the band creates, some riffs here or arrangements are simply awesome, especially “La Race du Grand Remplacement” stayed in my memory. Such music is very traditional, this is how black metal was really sounding back in the early 90’s, on some classic demos or albums, so I am glad that there are still bands, which play such music without the useless modern sound or other crap. So, another really fine release from Atavism. Again it is strictly limited to 100 copies, but I recommend it strongly.

Final rate: 75/100

Friday, 3 April 2015

Avulsed - Revenant Wars

AVULSED - Revenant Wars (UNHOLY PROPHECIES - 7"EP 2013)
Somewhere in Germany exists a small underground label, called Unholy Prophecies. I have most of their releases (I think there’s only one, which I am missing) and I must say that so far I was never disappointed with what they released. This particular 7”EP, which I am listening to now and trying to review is one of the biggest surprises from their release list, as it’s from the band, which I hugely underrate. I admit that Avulsed is one of those bands, which I constantly ignore. Back in the 90’s I may have had one CD of theirs (which was their most popular album I think, “Stabwound Orgasm”), which I actually quite liked, but later I also had one or two releases, including a truly crappy compilation “Reanimations”, which were not so good anymore, so I lost interest and started to ignore Avulsed a lot. For example they released “Ritual Zombi” album in 2013, but I didn’t even bother to check it out… I know that ignoring and such attitude is wrong, but damn… we live in times, when we have so many killer bands, so many killer releases you simply may have not enough time and not enough cash to get everything. So, if some bands disappointed me in the past or I did not like them so much then it’s obvious that I will not be interested.
Anyways, I would probably still not care about Avulsed, if Unholy Prophecies didn’t send me their newest release, which is “Revenant Wars” 7” single. And I am so glad they did, as it turns out that the music on this EP is simply awesome and it would be such a shame, if I never heard it! Yes! I do admit that Avulsed anno 2014 sounds insanely killer and much better than I expected. There are two songs on the EP and the one on side A, “Revenant Wars”, is simply awesome piece of old school death metal. The riffing in it is very strong; it’s great, aggressive stuff, with creepy, horror atmosphere, harsh vocals of Dave Rotten and powerful sound… kind of a mixture between Finnish, Swedish and maybe Dutch classic death metal, if that makes sense… But it sounds so damn good. It’s even slightly melodic here and there (so, this is why I mention also some Swedish influences), but generally the whole song sounds extremely pleasant and I am very positively surprised. Side B contains Nihilist’s cover, which is rather obvious and not so surprising choice, but it’s solid performance, maybe only the production is slightly too modern for such old demo songs like “Sentenced to Death” haha! You know, I’m used to hear this song with harsh, primitive sound! Haha, I’m joking of course, it’s nice cover, so … All in all, Avulsed turned out to be a great surprise for me and this song from side A is a real killer. So, now I have no choice, but to get “Ritual Zombi”, right? And you can bet that I will soon! I’ m very intrigued.

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Destroying Divinity - Hollow Dominion

DESTROYING DIVINITY - Hollow Dominion (LAVADOME Productions - CD 2014)
Here’s another new release from Lavadome Productions and another brutal death metal force from the Czech Republic! This one is called Destroying Divinity and certainly they’re a band, which fits Heaving Earth perfectly. I mean both bands play similar type of death metal, both are Czech and both present similar high quality and impressive, pure musical slaughter on their albums. But I must say that this is the first time when I hear about Destroying Divinity. And it is surprising, as it turns out that “Hollow Dominion” is already their fourth (!) full length album, the previous one was titled “Dark Future” and was released on different label in 2010. The band is rather slow working, as first two CDs were released in 2002 and 2004, then they had a long break of six years and now another four years later Destroying Divinity releases “Hollow Dominion”. But I suppose it’s the matter of quality over quantity. And quality death metal is what you’ll hear on the new album… and personally I will surely try to find all previous albums also, as I am very curious about them, and besides, I like to collect all albums from bands I like.
Anyway, let’s talk about “Hollow Dominion”. I mentioned that Destroying Divinity fits well to such Heaving Earth… surely both bands take a lot of influence from the US death metal scene, and such bands as Hate Eternal, Vital Remains, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Cannibal Corpse. I would also mention some European brutal acts, such as Sinister (definitely!), Severe Torture, some Polish acts like Lost Soul, (early) Decapitated or Trauma… It’s brutal, quite technical, dense and powerful death metal, maybe not overwhelmingly original or sophisticated, but damn, Destroying Divinity do know how to compose quality music. I mean, there are so many truly fantastic riffs, the songs are really well built and arranged. Some slower parts are especially impressive in my opinion, as they have almost slightly melodic and dark feeling, which maybe sounds similar to some early Immolation LPs, but the result is truly great. Obviously “Hollow Dominion” also has quite few neckbreaking, crushing and fast fragments, but I am actually glad that Destroying Divinity often tried to vary their music, flawlessly switching the paces and intensity of the riffs / drumming. There’re many textures I think, many really impressive fragments and great ideas, you simply must listen to the album carefully to pick them up from the annihilating wall of death metal slaughter.
One of the finest demonstrations of brutality is definitely the opening track “The Eternity Guardians”, which is just pure violence, fast and massive, but with an amazing slower piece near the end. It smoothly passes into “Burning Divine Domination”, which probably is my favourite song here, as I like the most when Destroying Divinity plays slower pieces; this one sounds like a killer mixture of Immolation and Morbid Angel and damn, what a bloody fantastic track! Also such “The Suffering Redemption” or “Inner Slavery” really stick in my memory, with some seriously amazing riffs. But really, the whole “Hollow Dominion” is that great mixture of fast and mid paced death metal, very well balanced, dynamic, powerful and deadly effective. Yes, it’s nothing superbly original, just traditional brutal death metal, classic to the core… but do we require anything else from bands like this? No, as long as it’s superbly played, arranged and composed… “Hollow Dominion” delivers all that.
Standout tracks: “Burning Divine Domination”, “Empire of Emptiness”, “The Suffering Redemption”, “Sinful Omens”

Final rate: 80/100

Monday, 30 March 2015

Excruciate / Epitaph - Split LP

EXCRUCIATE / EPITAPH - Split (INFEST Records LP 1991)
This is a special release for me and a real jewel in my vinyl collection; a split 12” vinyl with two among the best, but most underrated Swedish death metal bands from the old days. Or maybe I should rather say they were underrated and forgotten for many years, as ever since Ekeroth released his book, these two and many more Swedish acts got more recognition, also among the newer, younger fans and also all their recordings were re-released both on CD and LP. Anyway, here I have the original LP version of the Excruciate / Epitaph split, released by Infest Records. Firstly this was the only version, there was no CD released, only recently a bootleg appeared, but who cares about these fuckin thieves’ unofficial CD? My old vinyl, after more than 20 years, still looks and sounds killer... and I love it!!!
Both bands present their demos here: Excruciate has their 1991 “Hymns of Mortality” demo and Epitaph their “Disorientation” demo 1991. I guess I don’t need to convince anybody that both are simply classics when speaking of the old Swedish death metal?! Both bands have very similar approach and fit together perfectly… but I think it’s obvious that Excruciate is the one, which is more brutal and aggressive. Their music is filled with heavy, chunky riffs, with many almost grinding fast parts, which will provide a killer dose of powerful energy… And here I think that “Sickness Hate” and “I Pray for Infinity” are the most violent songs, truly a crushing pieces where the stench of putrid corpse is coming from the speakers and the horror aura is increasing. But what’s great about their music is that it also has that melodic touch, which we always expect to hear from the Swedish bands; take “Hymns of Mortality” song for an example. It may be mainly focused on the fast, crushing death metal, but that can be suddenly interrupted by a nice slow piece, with memorable melodic lead. This is kind of stuff very alike to such Demigod, but what a lovely death metal slaughter!!! What’s characteristic for Excruciate was also their sound. Yes, it was close to the Sunlight, but different at the same time. They were recording at Studio Largen and surely the guitar tone is very specific for this band. All in all, a killer band in my opinion and one, which I always liked, ever since I heard “Passage of Life” on cassette (released by Loud Out) back in the 1993 or 94, I don’t remember now.
And then Epitaph… I admit that I like their music even more! Epitaph was slightly more melodic band, with a great emphasis on the atmospheric side of the music. But they still have this killer harsh and aggressive death metal riffing, there are also quite few faster parts and generally their music is / was a massive crusher… I think that if you take the good old Cemetary, from their classic demos and debut full length album and also God Macabre or Goddefied, then you’ll have a clear vision for the Epitaph’s style. Their recordings are a total must for the worshippers of the Sunlight Studio productions, as they have this classic sound, killer guitar tone… and musically it’s just awesome stuff. Take “Disorientation”; this fast motherfucker will please all maniacs of the harsh and aggressive death metal. Bloody excellent, relentless song, with a killer riffage and some great vocals. I heard opinions that Epitaph were merely a mediocre Swedish band; hmm, I definitely do not agree. I like their music a lot.
Standout tracks: “Hymns of Mortality”, “Disorientation”

Final rate: 85/100

Archives of the Dead part XVI: Acheron - Alla Xul

Archives of the Dead part XVI: ACHERON - Alla Xul (GUTTED Records - 7"EP 1992)
Line up: Vincent Crowley (vocals, bass), Tony Blakk (guitars), Mike Browning (drums), Vincent Breeding (guitars)
Recorded in November 1992, at Audio Lab Recording Studio in Tampa, FL, USA.
This was always a very special band… and you can think what you want, agree or not, but Acheron surely belongs to the best and most respectful US death / black metal bands. You may also have some mixed feelings about their ideological matters, about the strong bond with the La Vey’s Church of Satan and satanic imagery, who cares. The most important is that Acheron delivered some seriously crushing albums and Vincent Crowley still is a beast of a musician / vocalist. Acheron has very characteristic style and sound; one which impresses me a lot, so I return to their records quite often. Here I will write couple of sentences about their early 7”EP “Alla Xul”, released on Gutted Records in 1992, which is maybe little known, as it’s just quite rare, but damn, what a nice material it contains.
Only two songs here, but both are classic Acheron jewels. The band was always characterized with their own style, built upon usually heavy and slow (but not always!) and kind of hypnotizing riffing, creating the atmosphere of evil and obscure, especially when the killer voice of Vincent Crowley screams the lyrics, what feels like he’s a commanding preacher or a beast, dictating his blasphemies and prayers straight from hell! This is something what makes Acheron an extraordinary band and their music a ritual. You hear a short fragment and you just know it’s them! It’s a style, which no other band ever had. Both “Alla Xul” and “One With Darkness” are extremely brilliant anthems; both are heavy and obscure, but kind of memorable at the same time. Both have simply awesome riffs, but “One With Darkness” is especially worth being mentioned here, what a fantastic song (also known from “Rites of the Black Mass” classic album!), what a crushing atmosphere, what a brilliant performance! “Alla Xul” on the other hand is slightly faster, but both are surely insanely powerful and majestic pieces of blackened death metal. It’s worth also to say that the production of this EP is simply spotless, so great, clean, but raw and mighty! Damn, I just consider such songs as some of the most crushing pieces in the history of extreme metal music. And damn, Acheron still feels a bit underrated, but it’s a huge mistake if you never heard their mighty opuses. “Alla Xul” is rare, but ultra amazing piece. Close to perfection, if you ask me.
Final rate: 95/100

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Swampcult - An Idol Carved of Flesh

SWAMPCULT - An Idol Carved of Flesh (EASTERN VOICE Productions - CD 2014)
Some weeks ago I was contacted and asked if I would like to review a CD of band called Swampcult, hailing from The Netherlands (but the CD was released on Malaysian label!!!). Well, I hardly ever say “no” to such offers, unless it feels like I won’t be interested in the music or I simply don’t like the band… In this case, I did not know the band before, but I saw that I can expect some doomy black metal with a total Lovecraftian conceptual content. “Sounds promising, so bring it on!” I said and some days later I found the CD in my mailbox. Cool. It’s always nice to know that there are bands, which still promote their music with a collectable, physical copy of their release and not only want you to listen to damn mp3 (which I hardly ever do actually).
But hold on… doom / black metal? Hmm, honestly such description of the music would bring the early Katatonia albums to my mind. On the other hand there are many so called depressive, suicidal doom black metal projects like Shining, Forgotten Tomb… and even such Agalloch is often described as doom black! So, which of these would fit Swampcult and would be a nice comparison to introduce you to the music from “An Idol Carved of Flesh”? None of them haha!! Firstly because I think there’s hardly anything from the black metal genre in their music, at least not from the black metal we usually know. But doom metal… yes, doom metal is the great fundament of Swampcult music. But think of the mournful, dark and sinister doom, with very obscure and eerie sound… and if I was going to make any comparisons then loosely I would bring forth the final opus of Celtic Frost “Monotheist” and obviously also Triptykon. Atmosphere wise there’s a strong resemblance, of this utterly evil, creepy, occult music, dark as the hell itself! There’s also sort of psychedelic trance, which the music will awake in the listener... with the slow, repetitive riffing, quite weird sounding vocals (or incantations, as some would rather call it) of A. and so on.
And it’s fine, really. I can surely say that the aura around “An Idol Carved of Flesh” is quite attractive and surely Swampcult have some potential. But as far as this debut album is concerned, I think it’s still only a solid and good effort, but nothing what I would easily call a masterpiece. It’s not the highest quality yet, but some promising beginnings for sure. Swampcult has some killer riffs, some nice arrangements and ideas, but it’s still not quite as awesome as one would hope. Or maybe it’s just because it’s quite specific music, one which may find as many supporters as people, who won’t like it? I don’t know. Anyway, personally I’ve listened to “An Idol Carved of Flesh” several times and well, I guess the thing, which bothers me the most would be the monotonous aspect of this album and that after some time I simply couldn’t recognize which song is which, etc. Not a major problem, especially if I already mentioned that it’s rather solid and enjoyable music… but damn, this is something just too close to boredom, I wish the drummer would squeeze out some more energy from his hands sometimes haha! So… very specific album, rather unusual music, so who will dare to check it out?
Oh, obviously the concept around the Ancient Ones (“The Pits of Yog Sototh”, “The Unspeakable Beyond”, “Mysteries of the Worm”) always works brilliantly.

Final rate: 65/100

Heaving Earth - Denouncing the Holy Throne

HEAVING EARTH - Denouncing the Holy Throne (LAVADOME - CD 2015)
Do you know which are my favourite Czech death metal bands? No, it’s not Krabathor, although I do like them also. But my favourites are Brutally Deceased and Heaving Earth. And I mention both, as they share some members, so there’s some connection between them and surely a high quality, killer death metal came from both also. I got to know Heaving Earth years ago thanks to their “Vision of the Vultures” demo CDR and later I also managed to find “Diabolic Prophecies” album (released on Polish label Redrum) and split tape with Altars, all really awesome pieces of crushing brutal death metal. Finally after some years of break, Heaving Earth returns with their second full length attack, titled “Denouncing the Holy Throne” and released through Lavadome Productions. And damn, this is another impressive recording from Heaving Earth! And one, which I was really looking forward to hear. 
But even before I heard any sounds from this music, I was already impressed by the artwork for “Denouncing the Holy Throne”. Wow, it’s done by Marco Hasmann, who also did covers for such bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse and Cerebral Effusion, as well as he did the artwork for Heaving Earth’s previous album). But what a fine and detailed picture he made this time, I am really impressed, also with the whole booklet, filled with beautiful black and white photographs of cemeteries and religious (christian) objects. What I like the most is that they – both pictures and the objects – seem to be old, like in ruins, abandoned, forgotten… this speaks for itself perfectly and also match the title of the album. You just can’t expect a happy music and optimistic message from it (ha, such title as “Jesus Died” can’t say more about it!). But a quality music, yes for sure!
Maybe it’s a bit hurting to Heaving Earth, but the main influence on their music is quite easily audible. Also because two members wear this band’s t-shirts haha! I am talking about the masters of US death metal, Immolation! Yes, for me they are the main comparison, which I would make, if wanted to describe you Heaving Earth music. But it’s not a sole influence, obviously, as it’s classic US death metal in general, with Morbid Angel, Monstrosity, Divine Rapture, Vital Remains, Chaos Inception, Nile, Hate Eternal… More so, I can hear some similarities to Mithras, and it’s not because Leon Macey mixed and mastered the album, but because both bands have exactly the same influences and in the end such “Forever Advancing… Legions” and “Denouncing the Holy Throne” are quite alike to each other. Anyways, I guess it is clear what you should expect after “Denouncing the Holy Throne”. It’s just killer, high quality brutal, quite technical, but dark and sinister death metal! The album is filled with blasts, sheer, straight forward fragments, which will nail you to the ground and then there’re also quite many slower, massively heavy pieces, which will make sure you never get up and just crush you into the disgusting and putrid pile of meat, blood and bones. If it’s either a faster track like “The Final Crowning” or a slower bulldozer like “Worms of Rusted Congregation”, it’s always simply awesome! I like these shredding guitars, killer riffs, impressive leads… Really a lot is going on in every song, but luckily the music doesn’t feel like it’s too complex or too technical…
On top of everything I already written, I must also mention the superb production of “Denouncing the Holy Throne”, which is just spotless. I like the guitar sound, the drums… the vocals also… all instruments were perfectly played, so the performance of each Heaving Earth member is very good. So, I can’t imagine that this album will perish in the pile of other death metal releases. It just can’t happen. So, maniacs of the bands I mentioned in this review – don’t waste your time and get Heaving Earth right now!!!
Standout tracks: “Worms of Rusted Congregation”, “The Final Crowning”, “I am Nothing”, “Jesus Died”

Final rate: 70/100

Kurhan - Głód

KURHAN - Głód (ARACHNOPHOBIA - CD 2015)
I must admit that I really like the strategy, which Arachnophobia Records has taken right from the beginning of its activity. This label release only Polish bands and basically each band, each release sounds different to the previous and more so, majority of them has quite unique sound in general. Sure, I didn’t enjoy all releases, but most of them I did… but even if it happened that I didn’t like something (Sigihl), then I am happy to say that Arachnophobia has a great talent for promoting the bands, which have their own personality and quality. That tendency is continued with the release number 13, which is Kurhan and their debut album “Głód” (which means “hunger” in Polish). I did not know their previous releases, so I had no expectations whatsoever, but I must say that I am quite pleased with this album. It isn’t perfect, but surely a solid effort! And again, it’s different to all previous Arachnophobia releases, there’s something unique about Kurhan music but at the same time some elements are similar to some other Arachnophobia bands, mainly the Polish lyrics, which give this quite specific feeling to the music.
From strict musical point of view, this is quite difficult to describe. Surely Kurhan has a strong black metal feeling and the intensity, pace (mostly fast) and aggression are all quite characteristic for this style, but I think there are also some traces of death and even thrash metal as well. I like how violent and intense this music is, filled with many killer riffs and total relentless, straight forward attitude. This is surely the best characteristic of “Głód”; its sheer aggression, also quite complex song structures, but with rather simple riffing and richness of ideas (all played by the classic instrumentation, with no keyboards, acoustics or things like that!), dynamics and still some trace of the old school. I guess one can compare them to such bands as Voidhanger, I feel also a similar attitude and aura to what we could find on Genius Ultor’s “Nic co boskie nie jest mi obce”… Production wise, this album is not so much obscure or dirt, but the sound is perfectly balanced between the harshness and powerful energy and is rather on the cleaner side, making every instrument well audible. It actually is quite specific for Czyściec Studio, smelling with sulphur and coal. But I like how the guitars sound and especially drums – which by the way were very well played by Namtar, also known from Furia and Massemord.
And now, about the negatives, I don’t really know what to think about the vocals. They’re just… weird. Yes, weird. Surely I can’t think of any other extreme metal record, which would have used voice like this. But the problem is that I think the vocals not necessarily fit such an intense and aggressive music and I guess I would just prefer to hear harsher and more powerful, more traditional shrieking vokills. It does take many spins to get used to Mazur’s voice, but even after four days of listening to “Głód” I still can’t say that I am fully used to and convinced by them. Damn, it just looks like Arachnophobia likes to make my life difficult every time they release something new haha! Anyway, those vocals are a reason why I can’t fully enjoy this album. Still a solid effort though, but missing something what would put it into the highest level.
Standout tracks: “Swiatłość wiekuista”, “Ołtarze”, “Katedra”, “Czas”

Final rate: 65/100

Archives of the Dead part XV: Autumn Leaves - Hope Springs Eternal (Demo 1995)

Archives of the Dead part XV: AUTUMN LEAVES - Hope Springs Eternal (Demo 1995)
Line up: Boris Tandrup (bass), Egil H. Madsen (drums), Flemming C. Lund (guitars), Torsten Madsen (vocals), Thomas Andersen (guitars)
I’ve already written some words on this demo when reviewing Autumn Leaves’ excellent debut LP “Embraced by the Absolute”... but damn, I keep listening to “Hope Springs Eternal” and I truly think it’s simply an awesome demo, so maybe it deserves also some more words in this Archives of the Dead thing I occasionally do here; so no one will miss this killer demo… So, here it is!
And the reason why I like “Hope Springs Eternal” so much is probably the fact that this music is heavily infected and similar to the Swedish melodic death metal… and even though I am not a great fan of bands like At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Eucharist, Crypt of Kerberos, etc then I must say that some of the early recordings of these bands are really good, mainly I mean their demos or 7”EPs, up to the debut albums. And Autumn Leaves sounds exactly like these early efforts of the mentioned bands. They also built their songs on quite technical riffs, with many melodic, harmonious parts in between, using many tempo changes and that characteristic harsh vocals. Of course this demo, released in 1995, came out very late, years after the debut recordings of Dark Tranquillity or At the Gates… all those bands I mentioned above already had full length albums released… so, it is very obvious that Autumn Leaves were followers of these bands, but despite that they managed to compose songs, which were just as good, as sometimes even better, than those of those Swedish bands, like for example I like this demo (and the following full length) album more than any recordings from In Flames or Dark Tranquillity. It’s just very well played and fantastically sounding demo, I think that “Hope Springs Eternal” with songs like “On the Verge of Tears” and the title track is just something fantastic. Oh, and also “Weakening Trip”, which starts with a riff, which I am sure already appeared somewhere else, but I can’t put a name of the band now haha! Anyway, what a killer demo it is, what a fine piece of melodic death metal! 
Final rate: 85/100

Friday, 20 March 2015

Anthem - Phosphorus

ANTHEM - Phosphorus (MAD LION - CD 2014)
There was a nice bunch of CDs, which I got from Mad Lion Records... and to be honest, of all bands, which are in this label's current roster two I like the most: Offence, whose “R.A.W.” is just a killer album... and Anthem, another Polish death metal force!!! Yeah, I know... we, Poles, have nothing better to do, so we only play death metal, drink vodka and eat potatoes haha! So what... we just do what we're good at... or some people are, as not all Polish death metal bands are that good. Anthem, whose debut album „Phosphorus” I am playing now, are maybe new to the scene (have anyone heard their demo or EP from 2007 and 2009? I don't think so haha), but their quality is undisputable and you can be sure that their music will blow your head off!
Musically it's just a total hurricane of death metal; it's a sonic destruction, total devastation and massacre! No bullshit, this stuff is just annihilation, as I can't describe such death metal in other way. It's brutal and heavy, mostly just totally fast and powerful, blowing out the speakers with great strength and energy. It's not so much original and unimaginable, but Anthem just does their job well. They have a lot in common with the traditional American death metal ways of annihilation, but a typical Polish character is there also (not to mention some Brazilian influences, from their neckbreaking samba haha). So, if you're into fast, brutal, but not over complex or technical death metal, but one which is just straight forward attack then „Phosphorus” is for you.
I like also that „Phosphorus” has a small old school feeling... so, what else can I add? Those 40 minutes of brutality were a killer time I just spent. As for the technical issues, I like the production of „Phosphorus” a lot, as it's properly heavy and energetic, but selective, with good drums and guitars sound. There are many awesome riffs and arrangements. And I must mention also the vocals. The lyrics are written in Polish, what gives maybe something unique to the whole, but let's be honest...  in majority of fragments you won't be able to recognize what language it is, as the growling of Vivi plus the ferocity of the music will not allow you to haha. Good, as I can't remember any examples of good sounding death metal with the Polish lyrics. So, the vocalist did an exceptional job, when transferring such a difficult language as Polish into the death metal music. Concluding then, as there are already too many compliments; „Phosphorus” is just damn good, killer album. The band is rather unknown so far, but I do wish them all the best as they're good enough to cause a serious bloodshed in the European death circles.
Final rate: 75/100

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Blodfest - Ild vist ulmer

BLODFEST - Ild vist ulmer (ANCIENT DARKNESS - LP 2012)
There’s a bunch of killer releases from Ancient Darkness Productions, which I have seriously enjoyed a lot. But even this label has one or two releases, which I am not so much fond of. One such is Blodfest, with their fifth (!) full length LP “Ild vist ulmer”. Well, it’s actually the first time I hear about them, which may be weird, seeing how many recordings they’ve done. More so, it’s a bit weird to see a band formed in 1992 (and again including musicians, who’re involved in big number of other bands as well), but doing their first official demo in 2005, but that may be some lack of information in the Metal Archives profile. Anyway, past several demos, split releases and albums and I finally have “Ild vist ulmer” on vinyl. Fine, cool to have it, but I am afraid that the music of Blodfest does not impress me as much as I would wish. It’s just as much typical as it is mediocre black metal effort. And I am afraid that my life wouldn’t be much emptier if I never had a chance to hear “Ild vist ulmer”.
To give you an idea, just imagine the most typical harsh, raw, utterly chaotic, fast black metal, with a total violent and uncompromising attitude. This is exactly what is Blodfest sounding like. Absolutely no time to be wasted for melodies or any catchy and memorable tunes, “Ild vist ulmer” concentrates fully on the aggression and black metal cruelty. And it’s fine, but the problem is that Blodfest not only has no specifically high quality in their music, which would make it truly worthy, but also the whole album is just monotonous as hell, as each song sounds almost the same as all before. I miss some truly neckbreaking and killer riffs or exceptional fragments, which would make “Ild vist ulmer” to be more than just average and let’s be honest, also so damn easily forgettable release. I suppose that for many this overwhelming bestiality and chaos, with which Blodfest music emanates, will be their strength and these maniacs won’t be bothered about the poorness or lack of anything special here. I understand that, but I personally require something more. So, this one Ancient Darkness release is a weaker one.
Standout tracks: sorry, can’t decide on any, as none really stack in my head

Final rate: 55/100

Demonic Manifestation - World of Horror

DEMONIC MANIFESTATION - World of Horror (DAN'S CRYPT - CD 2015)
There’s always something special about bands from the so called Latin Americas (or quite often there is haha). Many bands from those regions are characterised with the most obscure and cruel sounds, relentlessness and ferocious aggression, sometimes so much missed among the “professional” US or European acts. Think of the bands from Chile, Brazil or Peru! And Mexico is no different. There are great bands in this country, like Infinitum Obscure (sadly split up recently, what a shame!!), The Chasm, Denial or Omision. And now I have another killer band to recommend you called Demonic Manifestation. Their first album “World of Horror” was only just released by Dan’s Crypt Records and man, what a crusher it is. Although I do realize that some of you will not care, especially when I say that Demonic Manifestation plays old school death metal and more so, is hugely infected by the Swedish sound... Some of you will immediately start moaning that Mexicans should do something different, more personal and characteristic for their country’s fierceness and darkness. But who cares, it simply doesn’t matter when the music is so damn good as the one from “World of Horror”.
So, as already mentioned, this is old school death metal! We have many bands playing this style nowadays, many releases, so the question is what distinguishes Demonic Manifestation that I recommend them so much? What makes them more worthy than the dozens of other bands, which attack us, playing the traditional death metal ritual? Well, nothing, as Demonic Manifestation is just as typical or maybe I should say as traditional and classic as you can only imagine. These Amigos don’t pretend to do something fake and artificial, they don’t come up with some useless boring shit and also don’t even dare to experiment and being “sophisticated” metal. No, “World of Horror” is very much similar to many other bands – it surely has all the well known ingredients of both European (mainly Swedish) and American death metal, so there’s aggression, fast blasting parts, crushing slow hammers and some nice melodic accents. Plus there’s a total Swedish sound and killer harsh vocals. So, as said before, nothing what you wouldn’t know. Despite all that, Demonic Manifestation has a quality better than 90% of similar acts. And this their greatest strength.
And the key lays in good songwriting. These songs are not only powerful and aggressive, so they deliver a killer dose of energy and erupt with unstoppable force, but they’re also insanely catchy and memorable and finally have this awesome feeling and dark, horror aura. Demonic Manifestation came up with typical, but just killer riffs, proper arrangements, etc. Yes, it’s nothing innovative, but they learnt their lesson damn well and the result is simply awesome. I just love such playing and have never enough, if it’s only played with passion and power. “World of Horror” surely has all that. Yes, there are many bands alike, some maybe even better, but loads, which are not even half as good as Demonic Manifestation. Even some old veterans like Convulse can learn how to play killer death metal from those Amigos.
So, you decide whether you want another old school death metal band and another one, which is so deeply infected by the Swedish pestilence. From my side I can guarantee that “World of Horror” is simply fuckin solid and awesome record, this is just 666% complete death metal, with no bullshit, on the same level – and also very close stylistically – to such Revel In Flesh, etc. So, if you’re a fan then I strongly recommend Demonic Manifestation. If you’re a complainer and moaner, then go away.
Standout tracks: “Demonic Possession”, “Crematory”, “The Tomb is Open”, “Funeral Fuck”

Final rate: 70/100

Monday, 16 March 2015

Funebre - Cranial Torment

FUNEBRE - Cranial Torment (XTREEM Music - LP 2012)
As they say, Funebre was among the first extreme metal bands in Suomi. They were formed already in 1988 and surely we can put them among the originators of the scene, along with such Abhorrence and Xysma. Sadly they were one of the most shortlived bands also, splitting up already in 1991, just after the release of their only album “Children of the Scorn”. Before that Funebre managed to release “Cranial Torment” demo in 1989, “Brainspoon” EP (which contained two songs from the mentioned demo) and “Demo 1990”. And both these demo tapes have been compiled on black piece of vinyl and released by Xtreem Music in 2012. Cool, I guess, as I always enjoy listening to all those old death metal demos on vinyl or CD. Sadly though this vinyl is quite a disappointment for me. I don’t talk about music value now, but the way Xtreem handled this release, which is just pathetic. I know that all their vinyls have rather poor presentation, sticking just to the basics (cover, insert with the lyrics, no extras at all) and it’s fine, I don’t expect extra fancy vinyls every time and from everyone… but the layout for “Cranial Torment” LP is just below criticism. It looks like it took the label ten minutes to prepare it, so simple it looks and there’s just nothing what would make this release even more worthy and special. There are no lyrics, no archive photos or scans from the old zines, no liner notes… nothing. So, for the presentation of this vinyl I simply give 2/10. It doesn’t deserve more. What rescues it from being thrown away through the window is the music and its great archival value. Other than that, it would just be bad!
The second demo is obviously the one I like the most. It sounds really damn heavy and brutal, with these ultra massive, often totally slow and crushingly HEAVY riffs, with low, guttural vomit… I mean vocals… but with also some faster parts and total dark cryptic rotten aura. There are even some melodic fragments here and there! All in all, one would say that it’s typical, classic death metal demo from those old days and I mean typically Scandinavian, as there are some Swedish bands, which were not far stylistically from Funebre. They were also close to some of their fellow bands like Demigod, Disgrace and Abhorrence, sometimes they also have that doomy, profound sound alike to the early Paradise Lost… All in all, “Demo 1990” is excellent, all three songs are great, but “Expunging Mortalities” and “Grip of Insanity” are especially worthy, very pleasant, rotten and morbid death metal in the heaviest possible way. Classic Finland, nothing more to say!
Then “Cranial Torment” from 1989 is nothing more, but a decent demo. It’s not as good as “Demo 1990” for sure, as it lacks that heaviness and crushing sound, which the following demo has. More so, the songs are rather mediocre, more primitive I suppose, with not as impressive atmosphere, even rawer production (what’s with the drilling bass??) etc. It’s also faster, almost grinding in many parts, like in “Leprophiliac”… There are still some killer fragments like in “Necropolis Discomposure” and “Brainspoon”, which will drill into your head easily and make a brain mousse! But frankly speaking it’s far from being my favourite demo of all time. I bet though that Funebre surely must have made a huge impact with such sick and brutal sounds back in 1989, as they came up with such heavy sound! Nowadays obviously such demo sounds incredibly outdated and archaic, but who cares…
So, two classic death metal demos, but a bad presentation of the vinyl. You choose if it’s worth having or not.

Final rate: 60/100 (low verdict is mainly because of the poor presentation of this LP)