Monday, 5 December 2016

Suicidal Madness - Illusions funestes

SUICIDAL MADNESS - Illusions funestes (WOLFSPELL - CD 2016)
Before we go further into this review you need to realize that I am not so much into depressive black metal. I do enjoy to listen to the music of some DSBM projects, those, which have something exceptional and intriguing in their sound, but I just don’t play such stuff often. Wolfspell Records did release quite few great bands from this style, like Hermóðr and Kalmankantaja, and now I got an album from Suicidal Madness to review. “Illusions funestes” is their second album and it’s exactly the type of sorrowful and melancholic black metal, which leaves me careless. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that Suicidal Madness is worthless and has completely nothing to offer. No. They do present solid quality music, they do everything is proper, good way and generally you will not say that it’s an album to wipe your ass rather than to listen to. It’s just the fact that I personally couldn’t get into its atmosphere and generally I felt terribly bored by it is the reason why I will not recommend it. I had enough of it after couple of spins and my thoughts were like “so, I’ve listened to it two times, do I want to hear it again? Hmm, no”. Of course I did play it few more times, to give it a justice, but my impression didn’t change.
“Illusions funestes” is an album that may be OK for the fans of depressive black metal, but other listeners will let it in one ear but out the other. Immediately. There are some fragments, which did catch my attention a little bit more, there’re even couple of faster parts, there’s also an acoustic part accompanied by distorted guitar, which sounded really OK… Also “Corps dans un corps” came out better, with some nice sounding parts of violin and piano, what helped the band to set a nice atmosphere. But then you have songs like “Démence”, which with its completely uninspiring and boring riffs I would want to erase from this album right away. Then the title song – soooo boooring opening theme! I’m almost glad that the CD skips on this track, so I don’t have to listen to it in entirety. Or “Mort”, which may also have some interesting ideas (again due to the use of additional instruments such as acoustic guitar), but as a whole is boring and forgettable as hell. And I don’t even wanna start on the instrumental tracks that open and end this album – especially “Outro” sounds like something completely unnecessary.
So… “Illusions funestes” is not interesting enough to capture my attention and truly is a mediocre and unmemorable album. You can skip it.
Standout track: probably none, but let’s say “Corps dans un corps”

Final rate: 60/100

Convulse / Disma - Days of Death

CONVULSE / DISMA - Days of Death (DOOMENTIA Split 7"EP 2013)
This split 7” had to wait a (long) while before I finally played it. It actually took me two years to put it on the turntable haha. Well, better late than never. I really like many Doomentia Records releases and this split titled “Days of Death” surely is another solid and worthy release from the Czech label. I love Disma, who are among my favourite new old school death metal bands. I also like Convulse, but only for what they have done in the 90’s rather for their comeback recordings, which are not so impressive anymore. But with one song from each band, “Days of Death” is a nice release and great combination of different styles of old school death metal.
Convulse starts up with “We Kill Our Kind”, song which also opens their comeback album “Evil Prevails”. I don’t know if there’re any differences between the split EP and album versions, but that doesn’t matter. This song is actually good and solid effort, I quite like the production and atmosphere of this track, as well as the heaviness of it. This is surely the best song Convulse did after the reunion, even if far from something spectacular, but decent for sure.
Disma comes with “Unwept in Oblivion”, which originally was published on very limited edition of “Towards the Megalith” vinyl, on additional 7” record. It’s been remastered and remixed for this split and I have to say that it’s yet another Disma song, which I love. I love that grim, mournful, dark aura of their music, I love its sheer heaviness and massiveness of the sound, I love the earth shaking riffage, which often has a nice harmonious accents that remind me some old Swedish death / doom acts. And I love Daryl Kahan’s vicious vocals. Basically everything about their style is perfect for me and it will not be exaggeration if I say that they’re among the best death metal bands these days. “Unwept in Oblivion” is a fine proof for it and I have to admit that I played this song way many times more than “We Kill Our Kind”.
Great split then, Disma rules, Convulse came with a decent song as well. And everything is packed in beautiful gatefold, with truly spectacular artwork from Ola Larsson. All these deserves a solid 80/100.

Final rate: 80/100

Carbonized - Disharmonization

CARBONIZED - Disharmonization (FOUNDATION 2000 - CD 1993)
I’m not gonna keep this review long. Why? Because I was – and still am – extremely disappointed and unhappy with the way the music of Carbonized went after their debut album. I really like this band’s early stuff. “Au-To-Dafe” and “Recarbonization” demos, “No Canonization” EP and finally “For the Security” LP are great pieces of unique, slightly grinding Swedish death metal. It was very good, a bit experimental and sometimes progressive but brutal stuff, which definitely belonged to some of the most original recordings in the early 90’s. And then Carbonized recorded this… something. “Disharmonization” is extremely different and musically incomparable to anything else they’ve done before. Yes, it basically has nothing in common not only with the previous Carbonized recordings, but with death metal at all. This music sounds sick, almost kind of schizophrenic, due the way how it sounds and switches between many weird riffs, styles and ideas.
I guess you can say that “Disharmonization” is sort of fusion between prog rock, jazz, funk, fuck knows what else with Voivod and a very small touch of death metal or metal in general added to have even weirder effect. Right from the first song you’ll be like “what the hell is that??”. Where are these chunky, heavy, sometimes twisted riffs of Carbonized gone? Where’s brutal growling gone?
The opening instrumental song is as bizarre as it is useless. I don’t like how Carbonized opens this album. And I don’t like what follows. “Vlad Tepes” greets us with really bizarre riffs, which have almost painful effect, because you’ll feel like this sick melodies are drilling your head and give an instant headache. Guitar parts aren’t aggressive at all of course. I mentioned that it all sounds like incomparable fusion of many non-metal genres, with weird, sometimes almost annoying and cacophonous riffs and vocals, which have clean, but really mad tone. I bet you’ll listen to “Vlad Tepes” and wonder what is going on there. I’m glad that the next song “Lord of Damnation” contains few heavier (death??) metal riffs, there’s even nice grinding fast part and harsh growls of Christopher Johnsson. But that song is an exception, as the majority of the album is exactly what a title like “Disharmonization” can describe. Sometimes it all sounds out of tune, other time it sounds if someone drunk was making noise on the guitar… and you know, I don’t care, as it all sounds absolutely shit to me. I really don’t like this album. When I bought it I felt disappointment, but I wanted to give it more listens and see if I can find method in this madness. But I never did. And I still cannot force myself to like “Disharmonization”. Sure, there are some fragments that will remind you the brilliancy of the debut LP or EP, like “The Voice of the Slained Pig” and “Lord of Damnation”… but it doesn’t matter. But the whole album is barely listenable and surely far from what I like to hear. Such hybrids hardly ever work well and to be honest, I prefer pure and simple death metal rather than experimenting with sounds and styles.
Standout tracks: “The Voice of the Slained Pig”, “Lord of Damnation”, “Spanish Fly”

Final rate: 45/100

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Satanic Might - Arrival of the Winterwinds

SATANIC MIGHT - Arrival of the Winterwinds (PUTRID CULT - CD 2016)
Another debut and another really fine black metal release, which to my surprised managed to interest me. Here’s Satanic Might from Olsztyn, Poland with their debut demo “Arrival of the Winterwinds”. It was first released on cassette limited to 88 copies but now Putrid Cult came up with a CD version of it. And yes, it definitely was a good choice, because in terms of raw, cold, “Transilvanian Hunger”-ish black metal Satanic Might sounds not bad at all and personally I did like this stuff.
I won’t be bothering you with in depth review and write 1000 words describing “Arrival of the Winterwinds”. It is completely not necessary. For many of you it should be enough to call it cold, grim black metal, alike to early Darkthrone, Pest, Urgehal, Craft, Armagedda or newer bands like killer Azelisassath. “Arrival of the Winterwinds” will not surprise you with anything exceptional or new, but it’s a solid and actually really killer performance of pure black metal, with everything done in proper and best ways. For example the riffage – it’s simple, almost primitive sometimes… but it does create that special feeling and atmosphere, which you’re looking for in this sort of music. The vocals are great also – I’m so glad they didn’t turn into funny Donald Duck scream, but are proper harsh black metal shrieks that you wanna hear. The production - again, very well done and just perfect for this type of music. I have no idea, where did Satanic Might record this demo, but it sounds exactly as this type of black metal should sound. It’s raw, but powerful and clean enough to hear what are the riffs like and will not irritate with unlistenable noise.
There’re six songs here, including an outro and Satanic Warmaster cover. 27 minutes of music and believe me, if you’re into this traditional, second wave black metal from Scandinavia, then you will like “Arrival of the Winterwinds” a lot. I did, it was a very positive surprise for me… and damn, I wanna hear more from Satanic Might. A vinyl edition of this demo would be also nice to see.
Final rate: 75/100

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Morte - Lento descenso a la putrefacción

MORTE - Lento descenso a la putrefacción (LYCANTHROPIC CHANTS - MC 2016)
There are two things you need to know before we go further. Lycanthopic Chants is a new label that will specialize in cassette releases and it was formed by Steffen Brandes from German death metal band Cryptic Brood. First release from this label was a killer EP from God Disease called “Rebirth of Horror” and now Morte arrived with their debut recording titled “Lento descenso a la putrefacción”. Actually this is a band from Argentina and I have to say that I can’t remember when was the last time I’ve heard anything decent or anything at all from this country. It’s almost weird, if you take a look how active are the bands from Chile, Brazil, Peru and so on… Is Argentina so lazy or they simply have no quality? No idea, anyway Morte is a solid and fine band, I did enjoy their music, so at least one band from their country managed to interest me.
“Lento descenso a la putrefacción” comes with seven tracks of filthy and obscure death metal. The music has quite strong doomy influence, a lot of these riffs have been played in slower, heavy way, creating a fantastic horror atmosphere, which I do like so much. When they play at this doomy pace, the music does remind me Asphyx a bit, although Morte do not use any melodies or stuff like that. But they have ideas for killer riffs, use a lot of reverb to increase that eerie aura and almost sort of ghoulish feeling to the vocals. Faster parts appear occasionally and that’s great, as they not only add more aggression and viciousness to Morte death metal, but also bring more diversity. But mostly it’s slow paced death metal, with strong old school, harsh sound… Oh, one of the characteristics of “Lento descenso a la putrefacción” is that the band used Spanish lyrics, what surely sound more original than the usual English. It kind of reminds me Masacre, but I do like that.
All in all, I can surely recommend “Lento descenso a la putrefacción”, it’s a nice tape and good release from Lycanthropic Chants. Cassette is limited to 100 copies, I’ve also seen a South American version of this cassette EP, released by different label. I don’t know if there will be a CD or vinyl version, but keep an eye on this band.
PS. After few hours I was reminded about such Argentina bands like Encoffined and Infernal Curse. So, we have three solid bands from this country at least haha!

Final rate: 70/100
This is the South American tape version

Uncanny - Liturgy

UNCANNY - Liturgy (Bandcamp release 2016)
I don’t usually do bandcamp reviews. Hmm, I think I never did. But in this case I decided to write few words, because here’s Uncanny, coming back with brand new EP, containing three songs that will crush every fuckin Swedish death metal maniac to pieces. Yeah! I was waiting for another sign of life from Uncanny ever since I had a pleasure to listen to their killer comeback 7”EP called ”The Path of Flesh” (2012), which I loved. My wish came true finally and here they’re back. Sadly it’s a bandcamp “release”, but I am sure this stuff will soon be released in proper vinyl format. I am waiting for it and if no one will be interest in releasing it, then I will do that haha!
There’s been a small change in Uncanny line up, since “The Path of Flesh” was released. It’s only the master of riff Fredrik "North" Norrman and drummer Kennet Englund left on the battlefield, joined by new vocalist, no one else, but Mikael Hanni from fuckin killer band Disrupted. I’m glad that the line up change didn’t make Uncanny any weaker. This band still sounds unbelievably strong and all three songs that are featured on “Liturgy” are great.
Of course you need to know that I’m an addict to Swedish death metal and I’ll never let myself complain and moan on this style of music. But I hope that I am enough objective to distinguish killer band from useless crap. Uncanny came back after many years of hiatus (and I still love their old recordings, especially “Splenium for Nyktophobia” from 1994) and they still have that something exceptional what makes their music so damn killer. Norrman comes up with godly riffs, I love the aggression of his music, as well as melodies and great guitar leads. The music on “Liturgy” sounds harsh and aggressive, but it also has a good atmosphere and feeling. I prefer faster songs like “Liturgy” and “Spiritual Death”, which are killer tunes filled with great riffage and everything we love about this style of music. “The Reaping” is a song I like a bit less, as it’s slower and maybe kind of boring after a while… but I don’t mind. All in all I find this EP as extremely good and I’m happy to hear Uncanny back again.
It’s 2am, I had few shots of vodka, I played this EP several times and really enjoyed it all together. Time to release it now on vinyl and bring more of that goodness later on!

Final rate: 70/100

Abigail / Nocturnal Damnation - Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare... Filthy Desekrators!

ABIGAIL / NOCTURNAL DAMNATION - Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare... Filthy Desekrators! (PUTRID CULT - Split CD 2016)
A short split CD release this time, so I won’t be writing a lengthy review, as there’s not so much to write about, to be honest. This CD is titled “Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare... Filthy Desekrators!” and brings us an unholy Asian alliance of Japanese Abigail and South Korean Nocturnal Damnation. And yes, I did notice the misspell in the word “massacre”, not sure if intentional or not haha!
The music from both bands is some crazy shit that will irritate all your neighbors so much that they will leave their homes immediately. Play it loud then haha! We have two songs from each band… and from Abigail you get exactly the same shit they’ve been playing since many years and which they previously recorded on millions of other releases, which they have in discography. I wonder if there’s anyone, who has at least half of it in collection. Anyway, personally I’m not a big fan of these crazy Japanese fuckers. I respect them for being on the scene for so long and still playing this totally vicious, aggressive and primitive thrashing black metal, but I just cannot listen to such music too often, as it gets annoying and boring after a while. Both songs on “Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare... Filthy Desekrators!” are fast, totally extreme, vulgar and vicious, the screams of Yasayuki sounds like he was tortured and basically these guys do a lot of noise. It sounds OK, with two songs I can enjoy it, but I still won’t call myself an Abigail addict.
Nocturnal Damnation then… are they first Korean band I listen to? Probably?! Their music is heavier, more brutal and more death metal, but I don’t like it as much as Abigail’s part of this split. It all sounds primitive and very raw, the production is not that good and I feel quite annoyed by that fuckin programmed drumming. Generally it isn’t bad, but when I listen to exotic bands like Nocturnal Damnation I always have this feeling that the quality of their music and everything about it is millions years behind US or European scenes and even a mediocre band from here is far better than Nocturnal Damnation will ever be. It’s listenable, but also forgettable.

Final rate: 60/100

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Interment / Pyre - There Is No Redemption at the Gates of Wrath

INTERMENT/ PYRE - There Is No Redemption at the Gates of Wrath (WOLFSBANE Records split 7"EP 2016)
Can there be a better idea than releasing a split with two killer bands, which you’re fan of? Yeah, I love it. This is a 7” vinyl, so we get only one song from each of these two bands, but it’s enough to make me happy and to make the day. Yeah, I played this small piece of wax many times today and I enjoyed it totally. So, two bands are here.
First there’s Interment – cult Swedish death metal act, which had some fantastic demos released in the old days and then returned to the scene in great way, releasing two killer albums and some other impressive splits or other stuff. It’s one of those bands, whose releases I buy blindly, because I know I will not be disappointed. But the same thing I can say about Pyre. They’re Russian, but sound if they had a Swedish origin and been drinking cheap beers in the subway of Stockholm. Their catalogue is not that huge yet, but every release so far impressed me strongly.
I cannot decide, which of these two songs I like more. Each sounds absolutely great and for a fan of traditional Swedish death metal sound, they’re perfect. They have everything – killer riffs, some melodies, great vocals and horror, dark atmosphere. They’re aggressive, but have that characteristic sound I love. And they’re both extremely well written and performed. They will not surprise you with anything new, but I hope they will crush you with their heaviness and razor sharp riffage. Yeah, for me this is a death metal heaven, I don’t need more, I don’t need to recommend it. This split should be a mandatory purchase for all of you. If you don’t care, then you can die in fire.
PS. I just realized that "Drenched in Blood" was also released on split of Interment with Funebrarum. No idea why did they repeat it, but who cares I guess? Killer song anyway.
Final rate: 90/100

Archives of the Dead part XXIII: Agonize – Fall (demo 1991)

Archives of the Dead part XXIII: Agonize – Fall (demo 1991)
Marco Giovanni Bove (bass), Steffen L. Nielsen (drums), Christian L. Nielsen (guitars), Ole Holm (vocals)
Recorded & mixed 16-18 of october, 1991, at Borsing Recording, Denmark
Produced by Jacob Hansen and Agonize
Mixed by Jacob Hansen and Agonize
Denmark was never my favourite place to search for some killer death metal bands. There are few Dannish bands, which I like of course, for instance Autumn Leaves, Detest, early Illdisposed, when speaking of the old scene. Plus three or four new bands. And I’m sure that there are some more, which I still need to check out. Agonize is a band, that I was familiar with, but I only knew their name, but I never had a chance to hear their demo until maybe couple of years ago, when I finally found a digital version of “Fall” (1992).
From the first listen you can hear that Agonize were damn solid band, but for my personal taste their music was not quite as brutal as I would wish. It is actually more like death / thrash, with some reminiscences of acts like Sepultura, Sadus, Invocator, Pestilence and so on. I like the music quite much, it’s technical, aggressive and relatively fast (check “Innovaphobia” for instance), definitely Agonize had many killer ideas for their music, especially in the song titled “The Disclosure”, which is a brilliant closing track. And yeah, it sounded good, but maybe the vocals could have been more brutal and aggressive. I honestly think that they’re the weakest characteristic of “Fall”. Sound could also have been a bit heavier, but on the other hand it fits the thrashing influence of Agonize, so it’s not a major disadvantage. It all works quite well, somehow I enjoy this demo and every time I play it, it brings me a good energy. I can even live with these type of vocals, because Agonize managed to bring some great slashing riffs and the whole demo has this nice aggressive manner that we need when listening to old and new death / thrash metal releases. So, it’s a solid release, it surely didn’t age badly. I’m sure though that with heavier type of vocals it would have been much better.
Standout track: “In Absence of Comfort”

Final rate: 70/100

Fleshcrawl - Bloodsoul

FLESHCRAWL - Bloodsoul (BLACK MARK - CD 1996)
I truly think that Fleshcrawl belongs to the best death metal bands ever. I know that not many will agree, some will say that I am fuckin crazy and call them “second league” kind of band… but why would I care? I love them. First off, show me how many bands are there, which release death metal albums ever since 1992 and never decided to change and “progress” / “get matured” as they often say!! Even in the late 90’s, when so many death metal bands wimped out, Fleshcrawl kept on playing their old school death metal (or simply death metal) they way it should always sound. Great respect for that! Stuff, which Fleshcrawl released in the late 90’s, is my favourite death metal of that era, along the stuff, which bands like Vomitory, Hypocrisy and Dismember did at that time. And that’s a compliment. “Bloodsoul” is from 1996 and surely belongs to the best Fleshcrawl albums. And it’s one of those albums, which you cannot say that are gigantic and groundbreaking, but it’s solid and high quality, killer death metal. For me it’s a timeless slab of filth and listening to it is nothing but pleasure.
If you’re a death metal fan, you will get into “Bloodsoul” immediately. This album is very easily listenable, it is not complicated, it is not too technical or brutal. It is simple, straight forward mid to fast paced death metal with great catchy riffs, memorable arrangements and some melodic parts, which appear here and there to create a more diverse sound. The album was recorded at the famous Abyss Studio with Mr Peter Tagtgren and thus it is soaked in the Swedish death metal sauce. You won’t even have to look into the booklet to guess that, especially since everything sounds so alike to Hypocrisy albums, when speaking of the production value. I won’t take that as a negative thing, even though I preferred harsher and more fat, lower sound, which the band had on “Impurity” – which, by the way, was also recorded in Sweden, but at Unisound Studio, with Dan Swano. As a matter of fact, all future Fleshcrawl albums, except “Structures of Death”, were also recorded in Sweden, in various other studios.
As I already mentioned, the whole “Bloodsoul” is very easy to get into. It’s not tiresome or boring, because it’s just about 35 minutes of music, which is a perfect timing.  And each of the album’s eight songs is an excellent piece of death metal. You will find here many great riffs, I like the vocals of Alex Pretzer a lot (for whom this was the last album with the band; he disappeared from the scene after that one) and I am sure that everyone will have his own favourites here. I love the title song with that heavy opening riff. What a crusher. But this song has everything – great slow and fast parts, memorable chorus… it’s total neckbreaker, in my opinion. Then “The Age of Chaos” with its strong Bolt Thrower-
esque riffage and harmony. “In the Dead of Night” – classic Swedish death metal tune, with great gory lyrics. There’s also a cover song here – and after killer Demigod cover from the “Impurity” it’s another tribute to Finnish death metal scene with Demilich’s “Embalmed Beauty Sleep” from “The Four Instructive Tales ...of Decomposition” demo. This version obviously has no inhuman Antti Boman vocals, but sounds fantastic as well. And I really like the idea Fleshcrawl had to add special cover songs to their albums. Pity they stopped doing death metal covers after Demilich and came up with Judas Priest or Exciter which I didn’t like as much.
So, to be honest, I like almost everything about “Bloodsoul”. It’s an easy album that strikes in the guts and rips the shit out of you and do not waste time for bullshit. And that sounds great. And the only thing, which I don’t like, is the artwork, especially the back inlay photo, with agory image of decapitated camel and goat heads. That looks odd and somehow I just feel like it doesn’t even fit to the whole album. Who cares, I guess.
Standout tracks: “The Age of Chaos”, “Bloodsoul”, “In the Dead of Night”

Final rate: 80/100

Verbum - Processio Flagellates

VERBUM - Processio Flagellates (Penitenziagite Records MC 2016)
This Chilean band is almost completely unknown, I have not seen any publications about them before, but damn, I hope it will change soon. Their music really impressed me strongly and Verbum belongs to the best debuts of this year in my opinion. So, let me introduce you to this mysterious project (whose members are hiding their identities) and recommend you their “Processio Flagellates” EP, which was released on cassette by also Chilean Penitenziagite Records.
As I said above, Verbum members are unknown, but I wanna hail them for creating such an obscure, heavy and truly eerie sounding music. It’s a killer blend of death / doom metal heaviness and darkness with black metal harshness and evilness. And as such, it’s just damn well performed and composed, with great diversity, which range the music from almost sludgy death / doom filth to fast and chaotic sepulchral blackness. Everything has that cruel, rude and almost primitive sound, but the atmosphere this music evokes and the feeling, which accompanies the listening is something what makes “Processio Flagellates” so damn special. From my point of view, the slower music of Verbum is, the better it sounds, thus I am glad that these doomy, bleak parts dominate this EP. But obviously I don’t mind if the music speeds up to tear the flesh with sadistic pleasure. The aura is almost ritualistic and sepulchral like, and obviously you would be able to compare Verbum to some other bands, but that doesn’t matter. For me “Processio Flagellates” is a fantastic debut and I wish to see this EP released also on vinyl and CD and see Verbum getting more attention. They definitely deserve this.
Final rate: 80/100

Nagual - Self Conqueror

NAGUAL - Self Conqueror (PUTRID CULT - MCD 2016)
I didn’t have a chance to hear this project’s debut release titled “Zgliszcza” and to be honest, after reading some mixed reviews I didn’t even plan to check this band. But now, after many listens of their new recording I am very glad that I got a chance to hear it, because it’s one of the best Polish black metal releases of this year and something I really wanna recommend now. Here’s Nagual with new MCD titled “Self Conqueror”, recently unleashed by Putrid Cult. There are three songs on this release and I have to say that the music was a positive surprise for me.
Personally I expected to hear kind of depressive, melancholic black metal. And sure, Nagual music is atmospheric, it does bring many nostalgic as well as melodic fragments and generally it’s quite easily listenable and memorable black metal. But I am glad that at the same time the music has kept the original black metal harshness and that it also contains quite many aggressive and ferocious, fast fragments that really sound great and powerful. All together “Self Conqueror” is a diverse and truly well composed, arranged and performed material. Instrumental parts are top notch (I’m glad to hear real drummer, instead of the machine), the vocals of Nagual (sole member of this project) are very good as well… so, basically I can only speak in super positive words about “Self Conqueror”.
I’ve mentioned that there are three songs here. Each is slightly different, for example the title song is quite fast, but my favourite is the one titled “Labyrinth's Fall”. It sounds fantastic, the main verse part is catchy as hell, it also erupts with powerful, fast parts… yeah, it truly is a killer song. I’m also positively surprised that Nagual didn’t need to use keyboards for his music and all harmonies are coming from guitars. Stylistically, if I had to make some comparisons, then it would range between many bands, from Furia, through Shining and finishing even with Diabolical Masquarade (if you take keyboards and heavy metal elements off them). All in all, we deal with absolutely excellent release and one, which is highly recommended.
Standout track: “Labyrinth's Fall”

Final rate: 85/100

Monday, 21 November 2016

Archives of the Dead part XXII: Dawn – The Darkness Within (demo 1993)

Archives of the Dead part XXII: Dawn – The Darkness Within (demo 1993)
Simmi Schand (drums), Robert "Wenge" Wenglorz (guitars), Martin "Witchskinner" Jäger (vocals / guitar), Arne (bass)
Recorded and mixed at Mainstreet Studio, August '93. Produced by Dawn and Falk Gruber.
Bill Koeb (Artwork)
I am surprised that in times, when almost every old demo and every old band has been already exhumed and re-released on CD or vinyl, no label was yet interested in Dawn. But I mean Dawn from Germany, not the well know Swedish band (who actually had their albums and demos re-released last year on Century Media). I hope it is a matter of time though and that their recordings will also get a proper re-release. I suppose not many of you know or remember Dawn, I cannot remember if this name have ever appeared in old fanzines, in reviews, reports, etc. Personally I also have been recommended to check them a couple of years ago – and I was really surprised by great quality of their demo from 1993 called “The Darkness Within”.
Damn, I did not expect that this demo will be that good – and I really mean GOOD, in my opinion Dawn was just as good as many other old death metal bands from Germany, such as Fleshcrawl, Obscenity, Mangled Torsos or Infected Virulence. It was the same type of brutal death metal, it was the same quality… so, why no label was interested to sign Dawn back in the old days, I have no idea. They never released an album and after “The Darkness Within” Dawn putted out just a couple of EPs (“Trespass Infinity” in 1996 and “Entrance to Malevolence” in 1998), before splitting up in 1999. What a shame. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that some of the band members played also in Blood and Malaphar.
I have listened to “The Darkness Within” many times already and I cannot say anything bad about this demo. It’s absolutely excellent stuff. Yes, it is rather typical death metal grunt, the music is relatively brutal and obscure, violent and sick. For me it’s a real jewel that people, who loved old stuff from early Benediction, Gorefest demos, Morgoth, Mangled Torsos, Sinister and so on and on should love immediately. Right from the first song “Ex Oblivion” the demo explodes with really fast stuff, but obviously it’s not one dimensional playing, so there are also classic patterns played in slower tempos and I like these slower parts the most. Take for example such killer songs like “Morbid Dawnfall” and “Open the Gate” and tell me if that isn’t a real death metal feast. I can almost see in my head Dawn playing these godly songs in a stinky small venue, with handful of maniacs banging their heads and doing an aggressive mosh. Old school to the bone, with harsh, but really awesome production.
Overall “The Darkness Within” contains five sickening brutal songs and each will bring massacre, I can promise you that! Have a bath in excrements and discover this forgotten German band!
Standout track: “Open the Gate”

Final rate: 80/100

Friday, 18 November 2016

Comecon - Converging Conspiracies

COMECON - Converging Conspiracies (CENTURY MEDIA - CD 1993)
I remember the first time I’ve heard about Comecon. I think it was the end of 1992, when I saw an interview with them in Metal Hammer. I noticed their killer, Entombed-like logo and it obviously caught my eye and brought interest in probably yet another great Swedish band. I got their cassette of debut album, but I cannot say that I was really impressed by the music. It was decent, but not quite as good as some other bands from their country. Yeah, that was many years ago. I still have first two Comecon albums, but honestly I haven’t listened to them in many years. But recently I decided to give a listen to “Converging Conspiracies” and damn, this album sounds way better than I remembered and I actually really fuckin enjoyed it. This album has everything that fans of the Swedish death metal should like and even more. Somehow “Converging Conspiracies” is rather forgotten, so I decided to write few words and remind you about Comecon.
Well, maybe one of the reasons why Comecon seems to be underrated is the fact that they never were a typical Swedish death metal band and in some ways they were quite odd. Their music may have had some typical ingredients of the genre (Sunlight Studio production, a lot of Entombed influences and so on). But some of their songs or riffs were just weird and far from typical. They have been changing the style with every album, and sadly their third album “Fable Frolic” went such a crazy and weird way that it turned this band into total garbage. Yeah, if there’s an album, which you should avoid, then avoid “Fable Frolic”. They have also been using a drum machine – which was not so common back in those days. And finally every album featured different vocalist – LG Petrov sang on “Megatrends in Brutality”, Marc Grewe on “Fable Frolic”. “Converging Conspiracies” featured Martin van Drunen. Actually it feel like the change of vocalist fitted also the change of the musical direction. Like Grewe, who sang on “Fable Frolic”. At that time Morgoth also turned into complete fuckin crap with their forgettable album “Feel Sorry for the Fanatic”, so both albums were weird, very un-death metal productions of once death metal bands. Meanwhile “Converging Conspiracies” is quite harsh, vicious and aggressive death metal and for such van Drunen’s voice fits perfectly.
It’s not your most brutal and vicious death metal album. The music is quite groovy, a lot of their riffs do not even sound typical death metal. Sometimes they have that Entombed-like death’n’rollish sound, other time they may remind you Morgoth from not bad at all “Odium” album, so Comecon did not avoid a bit of experimenting with the music. But there are also some more straight forward death metal pieces and even some killer melodies, so the whole album is very varied, but sounds good all the way through. And van Drunen’s vocals add more harsh and aggressive feeling to everything, that’s why I listen to this CD with such a huge pleasure. Songs like “Democrator”, “Community”, “Bleed / Burn” (definitely the best song on the album), “The Whole World” or “Worms” (which surely is the most angry and aggressive track here) sound incredibly good, there are many fantastic riffs, great arrangements and ideas, killer vocals... Comecon will let you look at death metal from different perspective and it’s surely a great advantage of “Converging Conspiracies”. The music may sound like a mixture of Entombed, Pestilence and Morgoth (from “Odium”), but it also sounds original and kind of unique, so that should be enough as for the reason if “Converging Conspiracies” is worth to find. Yes, it is. It’s Comecon’s best album for sure.
Standout tracks: “Democrator”, “Community”, “Bleed / Burn”, “The Whole World”, “Worms”

Final rate: 75/100

Anthem - Goecja / Necronomicon

ANTHEM - Goecja / Necronomicon (Self released demo 2007/EP 2009)
Anthem is one of those great, but little known death metal bands from Poland, which I really wanna recommend. I doubt if many from abroad have heard of them, but damn – their music fuckin slays. “Phosphorus” album from 2014 is such a killer. Now Anthem is about to release their second CD “Praeposterum”, so I’m really looking forward to hear it. In the meantime I would like to introduce you to Anthem’s very early and quite hard to find recordings: “Goecja” demo 2007 and “Necronomicon” EP 2009. I managed to grab copies of both and damn, the music on these releases is simply great. I am quite surprised to hear such a great quality crushing death metal and it’s a shame that none of these demos was better promoted, because they deserved to be! Maybe one day someone will think about re-releasing them on CD, that would be a great idea. Both demos were “pressed” on CDr with simple, printed covers and slimcase, so I would also wish to see these recordings better released. Hope it will bring them an idea to do so!
“Goecja” from 2007 contains four killer tracks of fast and brutal death metal. From the very first second, this music brings an utter destruction and slays with no mercy. Great fast tempo, very dense riffage and killer production. It all sounds like a massive cannonade, heavy attack, which can turn whole city into ruin. And I love it. It’s so powerful, so fuckin intense. It’s not constant blasting, there are some slower or mid paces parts as well, so the music is quite varied. And the riffs, with vocals and whole performance is top notch, with songs like “Ol Sonuf” and “Chirographum” being damn ferocious crushers. Demo wasn’t even recorded in professional studio, but the final effect is better than you would expect and I dare to say that this music should impress every death metal maniac.
Then “Necronomicon” EP, with two tracks. This time the band went to the studio – but honestly, I’ve never heard of Bloodblack Studio before. But the sound has even improved. Anyway, these two songs continue the fierce and destructive death metal style from “Goecja”. Anthem doesn’t waste time for useless crap and both tracks are filled with great dose of death goodness. It’s super fast, intense and brutal. The vocals are vicious and you won’t even notice that the band had all lyrics written in Polish. And quality is superb.
If you like Azarath, you will like Anthem also. If you like Vital Remains, then Anthem will be for you also (although they don’t have that epic side of Vital Remains music). You can even compare it to Deicide, but Deicide is utter shit since many years, so I don’t care for this band. Anthem is better. And both “Goecja” and “Necronomicon” are super awesome releases. Shame (for you haha) that they’re not available anywhere, but I do hope it will change. And now I’m ready for “Praeposterum”. Nie ma boga.

Final rate: 80/100

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Rex Mundi - Ontology

REX MUNDI - Ontology (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2016)
Discussing the quality of albums like “Ontology” by US black metal band Rex Mundi is kind of problematic. I did enjoy this album, yes I did. I’ve been playing it quite many times, I really got into the atmosphere of the music, I found many stunning fragments on there and generally I feel like this is not only one of the best releases from Wolfspell Records, but also an album, which I really want to recommend to all. It’s very solid, it’s well done, good sounding black metal. And that’s it. What’s the problem then? Well, maybe it’s something completely irrelevant, but tell me – how many such well done and worthy albums are being released every month? Oh, dozens I guess? And now think how many of them will really have an impact on the scene, how many of them will be remembered in the future? And how many of them do bring anything constructive to the genre? Well, I guess not so many. And that’s probably the only problem that some people may have with such album like “Ontology”. Because other than that, this is just great black metal CD, well worth to get and to listen to. I cannot say anything bad about it. OK, maybe one thing I have to pick up – the album is a bit too long, in my opinion. It goes endlessly for over 60 minutes and because the songs are rather similar to each other and none of them brings anything completely different from the other, then you will feel that 65 minutes is simply too much. I would prefer to keep albums such as this one up to 40 minutes long and that’s it. You can take two songs off this CD and release them as an EP or something and it would be fine.
Allright, I’m not picky. “Ontology” is what it is and from strictly musical point of view, this is just well done black metal. Rex Mundi presents quite clean sounding, well produced black metal, with a strong atmospheric background, filled with a lot of harmonies, easily listenable fragments, which are sometimes spiced with keyboards, acoustics or different kind of vocals… so, it all sounds just very fuckin well. The music – even if it’s fast (and it gets fast quite often) – is very easy to get into, sounds almost catchy and memorable. I know that such descriptions usually won’t fit primordial black metal sound and some purists may think now “fuck, that must be some crappy pop / black metal”. Hell, no! Rex Mundi has kept a bit of that black metal harshness, as well as aggression and cold, grim feeling. But they come up with great, melodic, atmospheric black metal. It’s nothing dull, nothing cheesy. It’s nothing that would not speak even to black metal purists. The songwriting is not bad at all, I really like many of these riffs and arrangements. It does feel sometimes like the music was circling around one song only, because all songs sound quite alike to each other. But that’s not a major problem and in the end I have to say that I did spent quite a lot of time with Rex Mundi. I’ve never heard of this band before, but their debut album was released on Debemur Morti Productions. I have to get it as well, but until then I can only recommend “Ontology”.
Standout tracks: “Holon”, “Palisade”

Final rate: 75/100

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Instinct - An Auroral Gathering of Skulls

INSTINCT - An Auroral Gathering of Skulls (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2016)
Darkness spew out another black metal filth, this time it’s UK based Instinct. Well, it’s yet another name, which I was not familiar with, until I got this CD, released by Schattenkult Produktionen. Sorry for that, but I just missed this project before. Verst (the sole Instinct member) managed to release quite many different recordings until now. His newest release titled “An Auroral Gathering of Skulls” is a compilation of various material of Instinct and to be honest, it was tough to get into it, not only because it’s difficult to find interest in a band, which you never heard of before, but also because this CD contains over 70 minutes of various quality music. There are some great songs, but also some, which I could easily skip and simply forget about. The sound is also different through the whole CD, but that actually was not a big problem for me personally.
The best part of the whole compilation are surely songs from “Blackmore Isolationist” EP from 2015. These are some seriously obscure and morbid sounding black metal pieces that I did enjoy and which are fine representatives of harsh, primeval black metal sound. What I like about them is that they do incorporate some melodies into the cold, grim riffage, but also come up with atmospheric pieces like “Conceit, Sapience & Execration”, which is a great song. You can find there even some spoken vocals and keyboards to fill the sound – so, the result is definitely an interesting one and it’s not the usual boring and overdone harsh, primitive black metal. The only part of this EP, which I didn’t like so much, was Blitz cover. But you can always skip these two minutes easily with your remote control, right? By the way, what an odd choice for a cover on a black metal release!
Going further through this compilation, first we get a track called “An Auroral Gathering of Skulls - Part I”, which is an exclusive recording for this CD. It’s another interesting song, especially because it’s more like experimental and instrumental music, so it’s not typical black metal. It slowly develops from ambient beginning into black metal. The riffing, just like on the earlier EP, is almost hypnotizing. The production is quite noisy, but somehow it doesn’t disturb, but fits such style of black metal very well.
I have more problems with following track called “Nocturnal Invocation” (taken from “Albion” CD). The fact that it’s 20 minutes of the same, monotonous playing is something of a challenge for listener to get into. There are some great riffs in it, really, I like it, but damn, this song goes endlessly! It’s just way too much and gets boring after a while.
What else is here? Next couple of songs are taken from various split releases (with Myrrdin and White Medal). They’re older recordings, but such “Chamber Dark” belongs to my faovurite songs on this compilation. It’s quite slow paced, with cleaner production, some melodic accents and generally it’s just different to “Nocturnal Invocation”, but it sounds really killer and I like its cold, dark aura a lot.
Later there are three more songs – each in different vein, each from different year (one of them is an old recording from 2005!) – but they complete the whole album in good way. Overall with “An Auroral Gathering of Skulls” you will get 76 minutes of music, so it’s a lot, but I think that Instinct is worth of your time and money, and this CD should be a good recommendation for black metal fanatics.
Standout tracks: “Blackmore Isolationist”, “Conceit, Sapience & Execration”, “Chamber Dark”, “An Auroral Gathering of Skulls”

Final rate: 75/100

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Depraved Literature part IX – Putrefaction issue 5

Depraved Literature part IX – Putrefaction issue 5
Authors: Tomas Nyqvist
Origin: Sweden
Release date: 1991
Interviews: Agressor, At the Gates, Baphomet, Marduk, Bolt Thrower, Carbonized, Dark Tranquillity, Death Courier, Demigod, Dissection, Repugnance, Immortal, Impaler (UK), Infamy (FL), Infested Incarnation, Interment (FIN), Malaphar, Macabre End (God Macabre), Merciless, Misery (SWZ), Sadist, Sadus, Salem, Samael, Sentenced, Shub-Niggurath, Therion, Atomic Aggressor, Unleashed, Traumatic, Torturer, Obscure, Osmose Productions
I haven’t done any old zines articles in long time, so it’s time to bring it back to this website. Here’s Putrefaction zine from Sweden, issue five, from 1991!!!
I know that back in the old days Putrefaction (ran by Tomas Nyqvist, who was also a founder of once famous No Fashion Records) was among the most influential and best fanzines in Sweden. I think I’ve seen just two out of five issues of this zine and to be honest I can say that in my opinion it was rather typical zine of its time. Its biggest advantage was the fact that it was released in the best period of time, so it featured the best bands that were around then. Putrefaction covered many classic bands and helped promoting many fantastic, legendary demos, but I cannot say that the content and text quality was better than in other zines. It was solid, but nothing special. Sometimes it was simply awfully bad, so I cannot agree that Putrefaction was a killer fanzine.
To cut this retrospective article short, here I have issue five from 1991. Well, the content of bands, which Tomas interviewed for it is absolutely amazing and contains a bunch of fuckin killers and classics. Just check the list above. Wow, it’s impressive. Sadly, the quality of all interviews was poor. Usually they were really short (some of which may have had less than ten questions with answers that include maybe five words – so you can imagine how boring and uninteresting are these interviews!). And the questions often were just boring and typical. And sometimes simply stupid, where Tomas asked for completely irrelevant, childish things, trying to be funny, but he was pathetic. I always feel it’s a shame that we get an old fanzine with such an excellent list of bands interviewed and after reading it turns out that it gave you nothing – no new information you were searching for, no joy of reading some old chats…
Take that interview with Morbid Angel as an example. It’s just waste of space. These days something like this would never be published. Interviews like those with Morbid Angel, Misery, Baphomet or Atomic Aggressor would end up in the rubbish. Then we have interview like the one with Merciless, which is full of bullshit, stupid questions (about fuckin, drinking or whatever) and half of it is in Swedish, what makes completely no sense.
Much better impression was to read chats with smaller bands, which never made it through, like Traumatic, Obscure (Spain), Interment (Finland) and Infamy or finding about completely new names like Malaphar. At least there was something interesting to find out about. Also reading about bands you don’t read often, like Salem, Death Courier or Impaler (UK) was OK. Finally it was great to read about very early incarnations of black metal bands such as Immortal and Marduk (this one with their very old logo and band picture – very precious thing to find!).
Best interviews surely are those with Traumatic, Bolt Thrower, At the Gates, Dark Tranquility, Obscure, Macabre End, Unleashed.
As for the layout and everything else – it was also nothing special, nothing what would distinguish Putrefaction zine from all other fanzines around. It’s weird that there were no reviews in it. Soooo…. Yeah, cult name on the fanzine scene, but I cannot say that Putrefaction really deserved this.
Quotations:
“Lyrics on the LP are against all kids of crap like war, violence, coca cola, drugs…” (Therion)
 “I’m the hottest guy in this world!” (Arturo, Shub Niggurath)

“I’m not interested in girls. But in fact I’ve fucked dogs and pigs, goats and children this week” (Vorphalack, Samael)

Lathspell - Torn Cold Void

LATHSPELL - Torn Cold Void (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2016)
I just finished listening to Sarastus debut album and here’s another Finish black metal band from Wolfspell Records roster, with digipak CD released in cooperation with Patologian Laboratorio Productions. Here’s Lathspell with “Torn Cold Void”. Their name is familiar, but I cannot remember if I’ve really heard anything from their biography before (and this is already their fourth full length album, so I have some work to do to catch up with Lathspell discography). Anyways, in Lathspell line up you’ll find Grim666 on bass / vocals, who’s obviously known from many other projects, such as Kalmankantaja. Musically though there’s just absolutely nothing what both bands would have in common.
I have to say that “Torn Cold Void” is one of the best releases from Wolfspell Records so far. I’ve really enjoyed this album a lot and have been spinning this CD more than anything else in the past days. It’s just one of those releases, which maybe won’t be ever called groundbreaking and classic, but the music is so well composed and played and everything sounds so damn awesome that you just wanna listen to it again and again… and again! It definitely is more than just solid release; it’s something that I wanna recommend to all black metal maniacs.
There’re only four tracks on “Torn Cold Void”, but the overall length is close to 40 minutes, so it’s a lot of music. With average 10 minutes per song, Lathspell managed to keep the listener interested and comes with great riffs one after another. Their music is not that typical Finnish harsh and cold, primitive black metal, alike to Horna. And that’s good. It’s relatively fast black metal, with some slower parts thrown here and there to create more diverse and interesting effects. Riffs, which are here, are very sharp and vicious, they have a strong melodic base, sort of in the vein of many Swedish black metal bands, which keep their black metal fast and melodic. It all sounds great, because the music is so bloody aggressive and fierce, but it has a proper obscure atmosphere and the whole album is filled with great dose of energy to rip your souls. In songs like “Beneath the Flaming Earth” I could find only fantastic riffage (like the opening riff, what a killer!!!) – whether the music is fast or slower (like in the further part of this track), it sounds damn great and I cannot stop playing it loud as fuck. It bursts with hatred and viciousness, it rips the flesh apart and it simply delivers a killer dose of black metal slaughter.
The sound quality of “Torn Cold Void” is perfect also, so if I had to make a short summary of this review, I would just say that Lathspell came up with almost flawless black metal album. It has everything you should like about fast black metal and despite having so lengthy songs, it never bores or gets monotonous. “Torn Cold Void” surely belongs to the most surprising releases of Wolfspell Records… and you know, instead of wanking over the new Dark Funeral, who bores to death as always, you should simply get this Lathspell album and give it a listen. It’s way different music when compared to other Grim666 projects, but for me Lathspell crushes them all.
Standout track: “Beneath the Flaming Earth”

Final rate: 80/100 

Sarastus - II - Toinen tuleminen

SARASTUS - II - Toinen tuleminen (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
Sarastus is another Finnish black metal band in the Wolfspell Records roster. And it’s yet another project, whose music I liked and which I have a pleasure to recommend with all honesty. Previously to this CD Sarastus released only “Demo I”, so “II - Toinen tuleminen” is like their first proper release. It’s not bad then for a debut album, I have to admit!
But in the beginning I wasn’t so much convinced. First time I played “II - Toinen tuleminen” I was not impressed at all and felt like Sarastus is one of these dull and totally forgettable black metal bands, which bring nothing interesting to the genre and all they do is making you sleepy and bored. But after few spins I started to like “II - Toinen tuleminen” more. I realized that even though Sarastus music is not something what will bring them popularity (all in all they’re not from hyped country like Iceland haha), it’s solid and good enough to interest every black metal maniac. Their music sounds insanely Finnish. Mainly because the lyrics are written in Finnish – and harsh, aggressive vocals sang in Finnish have a very specific sound, which you can immediately recognize. You don’t even have to check Metal Archives to guess that this is a band from Finland, so unique and different from the usual English or even Norwegian are the Finnish lyrics in black metal bands. But the music also reminds me about Finnish bands, such as Azaghal, so it all fits perfectly.
“II - Toinen tuleminen” really stands out from the mediocrity, because the album contains some great riffs and the overall songwriting is very good. I like the ferocious, vicious feeling of these songs, I like its aggression and fast parts. I also like how that harsh, violent and fast black metal riffs are mixed with melodies, especially because they’re never done in a way, which would make Sarastus music sound weak and too soft. The production is also relatively clean and polished, but it fits the music very well and so everything sounds just as it should be. And even if “II - Toinen tuleminen” is not the best black metal of this year, it’s good enough to have a recommendation. Check it out then.

Final rate: 65/100