Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Heresiarch - Wælwulf

HERESIARCH - Wælwulf (IRON BONEHEAD - 7"EP 2015)
Damn, this is a great release! And it comes from a band, which I did not know much about, although I was familiar with their name and whereabouts. I have seen their “Hammer of Intransigence” EP many times in the distros, but never bothered to check it out or buy. Hmmm, something I need to change soon, as here’s Heresiarch’s recent recording, a 7” vinyl titled “Wælwulf” and I feel truly blown away by this music! Oh yeah, those New Zealand dudes know how to crush the bones and torment and the music they prepared for “Wælwulf” is among the best stuff I have heard recently. There are three truly devastating tracks of severe, harsh death / black metal played in the most obscure and gloomy ways, with killer morbid atmosphere and very impressive, MASSIVE aura.
I suppose that there are quite few similar bands around these days, which take the influence from the old cults such as Incantation and Blasphemy, but use them to create even more heavy and vicious music. Heresiarch in my opinion stands aside to such acts as Paroxsihzem, Father Befouled, Embrace of Thorns, Ignivomous, Cthonic Aura, Grave Miasma, Bestial Raids or Abyssal. Heresiarch definitely created similar kind of obscure, sepulchral atmosphere and vibe in their music, mainly based upon totally slow, fuckin heavy and crushing doomy riffs. This slow pace dominates here, basically each song is concentrating on it, especially “Abrecan”, which is so damn impressive track… but my favourite is “Endeþrǽst” as it has not only those utter slow, gigantic, immense bits, but the beginning is a furious, fast onslaught of darkness and malevolence, no less heavy than the doomy parts. Damn, what a good stuff. I just love these barbaric riffs, the fact that they are so heavy, aggressive, but also kind of mesmerizing with almost hypnotizing influence on the listener. More so, I can sense some discrete harmonic guitar parts here and there, what only makes these songs more valuable and great to listen to. The production is also fantastic, the vocals are as they should be, so I am fully impressed.
Summing it all up, I can admit that I did underestimate Heresiarch and did not expect to hear such a killer piece of blackened death / doom. But now I am possessed. I think this band came up with excellent effort, which in my opinion place them among the best bands of this style immediately. Hmm, but maybe “Hammer of Intransigence” already did that before, I don’t know, but surely will find out once I get the previous EP also. Now I can only recommend “Wælwulf”, as one of the best 7”EPs of the recent years. Fuckin delicious!
Standout track: “Endeþrǽst”

Final rate: 85/100

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Triumvil Foul - An Oath of Blood and Fire

TRIUMVIL FOUL - An Oath of Blood and Fire (THIRD EYE TEMPLE - 7"EP 2015)
And yet another newly formed putrid death metal project, which I think is worth of your interest. Triumvir Foul hails from USA and the line up consists of couple of musicians, who together are also involved in bands like Ash Borer, Urzeit and some other… Personally I don’t know any of them, but it’s cool that these two guys play together in so many projects, as it means they have many ideas, are creative and I only wonder if any of these other projects are as good as Triumvir Foul is. Because this is simply awesome piece of morbid and obscure death metal. The demo is titled “An Oath of Blood and Fire” and first it was released on tape (100 copies), but lately Third Eye Temple / Godz Ov War have unleashed a 7” vinyl version of it, which is just damn awesome (300 copies only!) and surely a total must to have for all maniacs of this music.
Well, there are four tracks here, one is an Autopsy cover. Style wise we can speak about a killer mixture of the Swedish style with some of the filthiest and most horrid US old school bands, such as Autopsy (of course!) and very early Death. As for that Swedish influence, I truly hear the inspiration from such Carnage, Dismember demos, Nihilist, Grotesque, as well as the newer bands like Repugnant, Verminous and Degial. Not only the sound, guitar tone especially, can you remind you that, but also some melodic accents in few riffs or leads, which sound truly fantastic and which can only be influenced by the good old Swedish death metal! Yeah, “An Oath of Blood and Fire” has songs, which combine the harshness and aggression of old school death metal, embraced in the raw production and obscure, evil atmosphere with the harmonies that makes these songs more memorable and interesting. Basically each song has at least one or two riffs, which will stay in your mind due to its melodic character… but obviously this is not At the Gates, so the music is still as harsh and savage as death metal can and should be, with a good variation of tempos (vide “The Vacuum of Knots”). And maybe the production could have been slightly less messy, but it surely fits bands like Triumvil Foul perfectly, so no complain here…
Summing it all up, what I also like about “An Oath of Blood and Fire” is that it sounds really like an old, early 90’s demo, with this authentic feeling and the right sound, killer songwriting and proper attitude. So, I can only praise and support bands like Triumvil Foul, hoping to hear some more such awesome tunes in the near future.
Standout track: “Abhorrent Depths”

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Interview with Departed Souls

INTERVIEW WITH Rai, DEPARTED SOULS

I know I wasn’t posting many interview lately, but that’s not because I haven’t done any. I actually did quite few, but I want to keep most of them for the new, coming issue of the printed fanzine, and maybe later, once the paper is released, to post them also here on the website. But maybe I will do some exceptions for couple of bands, as I want to give them a bigger and faster exposure and support. And one such band is Departed Souls, of my good friend Rai, who is the growler over there. This band literally blew my head off and crushed the bones with the debut MCD “Barbaric Tortures”. Damn, what a killer piece of OSDM! So, I made this interview quickly, Rai also answered it quickly, with killer lengthy answers… and now I am posting it all, so Departed Souls gets a nice promotion and first interview ever. So, here it is! Enjoy and support those old fucks!

Cheers Raimond! I guess we can call ourselves friends, but let’s be honest – I am not making this interview because of that, but because I truly love your band and think it just deserves support and recommendation. So, I hope you won’t mind if I ask some more or less stupid questions! Shall we start?
He Marcin, yes, it could be called friends indeed. And we appreciate it a lot, you promoting our band. Even with the fact that we are just a bunch of old guys that have some with it.

You recently turned 24 y.old (hahahah!!!), so you know your metal pretty well already haha. Do you remember which bands were the ones, which opened the metal book for you? When was it? What were your favourite bands in the beginning, what were the first t-shirts you were proudly wearing, gigs you attended? Finally, at what point did you open your eyes also for more extreme sounds, for death and thrash metal, as I suppose the beginnings were the same as for most of us, with softer heavy metal or doom classics?
Thanks, yes I turned 24 for the 18th time now haha. And I think, I know a bit of the scene that I’m involved in. While others, may have another opinion of course. About me, I am a stubborn old school fanatic. As far as the memories bring me back, my dad was an old rocker. He listened to Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Sabbath and so on. So, these were the tunes that I grew up with. My dad was a truck driver and he always came home with some new LP’s and cassettes back in the days. So at one point, I think I was about
8 or 9 I got a little extra excited and waited for dad to arrive home. And was wondering, what he had brought along. It was somewhere around my 10th year, my dad took me to a gig of Uriah Heep. And I know, that’s not the most brutal band ever. But still, I was overwhelmed with the atmosphere around it. And of course all the people there, enjoying, having fun and being friendly. To me, that was the breaking point, I decided to be a “metal head” haha! My first real LP, that my dad brought home for me, aas the split LP called “Death Metal”. It had the bands Helloween, Running Wild, Dark Avenger and Hellhammer on it on the Noise label. (Yeap, I know which one you mean… not much death metal on it though haha! – M.) It was hardly death metal. But for a kid that turned 11 this were some real, nasty tunes compared to the Sabbath and Heep riffings. From that LP, Helloween became one of my main bands, that I was highly interested in. So, my dad brought home their EP and the “Walls of Jericho” LP. Great stuff for a youngster.
From there, I started listening a radio program called Vara’svuurwerk. This was on every Tuesday evening. It had an amazing host, and brought us excellent new tunes of bands we never heard. They played a song called “The Exorcist” by Possessed. And I was totally blown away. The fury, the anger, the aggression. All came in one. So to say, this album I immediately wanted. And I got it for my 12th birthday. I will never forget it. Simply, because of the nasty, annoying fringing intro on it. There is a great story behind that of course haha. Interested in hearing? Or, don’t want to be bored with this interview hehe. (Ok, when we were young kids, we were tough and rough and mean of course. We were into cool things as metal music and we dared to watch the biggest, scariest horror movies that were available… this included also the Exorcist. This movie, really, it scared the living shit out of me. We were probably 10 or something. And watched it with some friends. And damn, I didn’t dare to sleep for weeks. Let’s not talk about going outside in the dark after soccer practice haha. And all because of that terrible annoying tune, which constantly came back in that movie. Finally after a few months we dares to do our things again. And we had forgotten the movie and all involved. So, then it was my 12th birthday. My dad had this LP, because I had it on my wishlist. And I was happy as hell of course… I ran upstairs, took it out, laid it on the player. And got smashed in the face, with a horrible green smelling puke hammer, by hearing that never expected annoying tune again… I immediately was back in the frightened mode and turned it of. And listened it a few weeks later again, skipping the intro of course every time I played that album haha. I get tons of goosebumbshaha.)
From there, more extreme bands entered my domain. Bands as Sodom, Destruction, Tormentor (Kreator). Mostly the German scene, I got to find out. Due to the fact, that my dad brought it home from his trips there.

At what point did you discover the existence of underground death metal and the whole movement with fanzines, demo cassettes, tape trading etc? Coming from Netherlands, you must have watched the creation of the phenomenal scene in this country in the early 90’s, which for me is second only to the one in Sweden here in Europe. What can you say about the old Dutch death and thrash metal scene? Which bands – except the big names – were the most active and most interesting according to you? Which did you see playing live, in some small obscure venues? Which are your truly favourite Dutch bands of all time? I guess the choice is just damn too difficult, as there are like 20-30 truly awesome bands, but I know you have a special appreciation for Burial and Polluted Inheritance. Explain yourself haha!
From when I moved to highschool, we came involved in the tape-trading thing. With some friends of mine, we had contacts in Sweden, USA, Germany and where not. And also in our own country, which, as you mentioned, had a huge scene of extreme bands. From the tapes we got , we learned about bands as Merciless (Swe) and Mantas. And what else were on these tapes back then. That brought us a new, huge metal scene. In the Netherlands, we had so many great bands in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The Dutch bands I first saw perform live were MystoDysto later (Mandator) and Asgard. I know you don’t like the Mandator thing, but for us as teenagers they showed some highly inspired heavy, speed, thrash metal with a fanatic fancrew already back then. Other Dutch bands that really got my interest in the early days were Thanatos, Sepulchral Death, L.W.S., Usurper(NL) and mostly these kind of thrashy bands. Later Pestilence, Asphyx, Lethargy (Dead Head), Polluted Inheritance and many more, we saw perform live. And we bought their demo’s or what ever they had. Some of these bands had the more death metal vibe in them. Pestilence which had a few awesome thrash demos, for example turned from their awesome thrash style, into what I call a “Psychopathic” death metal act. This had to do, of course with the sick, insane vocals by van Drunen. Don’t know what made him decide to sing like this, but he probably was trying to eat, or cannibalize all he got in sight. Amazing!!
We already had Theo Loomans (RIP) and his way of singing on the Asphyx demo’s, which were absolutely sick. And van Drunen on “ Consuming Impulse” made it a few steps more psycho idiot. So, this was another turning point in the extreme Dutch scene I guess. More bands turned more extreme and faster. From every part in Holland, we had so many good bands. Sinister, Sempiternal Deathreign, Korsakov, God Dethroned, Altar, Adetar, Nocturn, Incursion Dementa, Beyond Belief. Just name them. They all came up with their own, new kind of death metal. Some of them, turned into death / doom. Others created the black / death metal thing. It was a real pleasure, growing up back in these days. Especially if you were into the extreme metal scene. Our parents thought different I guess?? Haha. My dad loved it. And never told me not to.
My all-time favorite Dutch bands, in no random order:
Polluted Inheritance: Some old school death metal, with a small technical (not the freakery style) input. And a drummer, IMO, which was, and maybe still is the best drummer we have ever had in the Netherlands. I don’t know if Friso is still active. But damn… he was good.
Burial: A great old school death metal band, which combined influences of the USA Florida scene, to one amazing mix. Their demo and album brings back the memories of the old Death, Massacre and so on. “Pure” death metal I call it.
Mandator: Of course, this has to do with nostalgic feelings. We simply grew up with these guys from our area. We visited their gigs from age 12? When they were called MystoDysto. I just simply love the simple speed, thrash metal they played.
Pestilence: Up to their “Testimony” album. This band was just so awesome, to see live back then. Aggression, and psycho van Drunen hehe, and great music. “Out of the Body” was my first pit, if I remember well. Their albums “Consuming Impulse” and “Malleus Maleficarum” were killing and still kill.

There are also some Dutch bands I never liked like The Gathering, Bluuurgh or Phlebotomized. What do you think of them?
The Gathering were also a band that introduced another kind of death metal. Their early music I do like. Later they turned into something that I didn’t like at all. Bluuurrrgh, hmmm some of the music is quite good. But it never really got me. Phlebotomized also turned into something that I can’t listen. I do like their demos and EP’s. But their debut album, totally blew me away! And not in a positive way so to say. Haha. I didn’t buy anything from them after that, so I can’t judge on what they are now.

What demo cassettes were your favourites back in the old days? Also which fanzines? I remember you saying you were also getting quite a lot of promotional vinyl back in the old days, so where did you write your reviews? The best Dutch and European demo of all time is…?
One of my favorite demos back then? Hmmm, let me think. It might be one from the Swedish band Merciless. “Realm of the Dark” was a fantastic death-thrash demo, which I constantly had on the replay mode. The songs, the vocals, the total atmosphere. This was something that got me stuck on it. Don’t know, this was and will probably be one of those things that never let’s loose.
Me and a friend, had an underground zine back then. The same A4 type you still create (I can’t remember what name it was.. a shame. I have to contact Olav for all 4 editions) and which I always will love to read. And hope they keep on existing. Also I wrote a while for the Dutch zine Aardschok. We got a lot of demos, EP’s, CD’s and LP’s from bands and some labels as DSP, Prophecy. Which unfortunately I’ve sold all. I know. But I guess a whole bunch of people do stupid things.. isn’t it??
The best Dutch demo: Then I have to choose between, God Dethroned’s “Christhunt” and Burial’s “Frigid Cold”. That’s a hard one. Best European demo: This is absolutely Merciless’ “Realm of the Dark”. As I mentioned.

Some of you Departed guys were playing in a band called Sekhmet back then, who did a demo in 1991. How was it like?. Nick Brockman also performed in Salacious God and Lugubre. What about these two?
The band Sekhmet was formed by Alwin if I’m right. And Erik and some other friends joined it. The band played death metal from start of, later they added more influences. They also started to play covers if I’m correct. And from there I didn’t follow them anymore and we lost a bit of contact with each other. Everybody got his own jobs, and other interests. Not to forget families. Alwin joined a band called The Wounded. Some kind of Gothic-Pop-Rock act, which released some albums also. And were/are quite popular. The band still exists and has a release coming up. But don’t ask me when. The Sekhmet demo they recorded was a rehearsal demo. And had some awesome death metal songs on it. Probably, we are going to use “some” pieces from that music. Since Erik, wrote a lot of the material and it never had a descent release. Nick Brockman is our black metal guy in the band. He played in several bands. And was also, the only one from the four of us, who was constantly active, in the extreme metal scene, indeed with Salacious God and Lugubre. With Salacious they released a shitload of music already, which probably is also something you like. For me, as a stubborn, narrow minded old school death / thrash metal dude it’s a bit too much… But he did much more. Played in some obscure videoclips, movies. We can call him the metaloholic haha.

So, recently some old men from Schoonebeek decided to form an old school death metal band. Why? What made you do this? Did you want to feel younger, felt a mid life crisis and wanted to see if you still have guts and energy to move from the wheelchair or was it nothing more, but an undying passion for these rotten sounds? Who came with an idea to bring Departed Souls to life and how did the line up shape? How long did you all know each other? Are you living closely?
A few years back, I had the idea and some riffs in mind, which I would love to see created as real music. Unfortunately due to a broken wrist, (I can’t play guitar normally. I used to play bass.) I couldn’t get it recorded. So that frustrated the hell out of me for a few years… Since I’m a metal collector, I go to some of the fairs we have over here. And this is where Alwin and I met, after something like 19 years? We talked a bit and found out about our addictions of collecting as much as possible music. Especially metal music. So, we both went home and arranged that we would get in touch through the social media. And from there, the memories came back from the old days. Alwin and I were about 13 years old. We had our own death metal band called Necropsy, which had another friend of us in it, Bart. We created our own songs. And recorded them with an old portable cassette-player. I still have these tapes somewhere. We were highly influenced by bands as Venom, Possessed and Death. So, I told Alwin about the ideas that I had and he told me what he had in mind. Alwin wanted to start a doom metal band in the vein of old Candlemass, My Dying Bride. And I was of course motivated, to start an old school death metal band again. So, I asked, if he was interested to join and “re-live” the younger years again? And just see where it all would end. Alwin directly answered with yes, let’s see what we can arrange on our old days haha. As Alwin and Nick were still friends, from their youth years. He recommended to ask Nick in. And within a blink of an eye Nick agreed and was very interested to join something completely different from what he did for a lifetime already. Erik was also as mentioned an old friend of us. And without a band. So, Alwin send him a message. And it turned out that Erik was also waiting for such an opportunity to loose his riffing frustrations haha. So, the band Departed Souls was formed within a few weeks with only old friends from the high school era. Nick and I live about 500 meters from each other. Erik and Alwin decided to live in the “Big cities” Zwolle and TerApel.

I guess since day one you opted for the old school death metal sound and there was no consideration to play anything else, right? When listening to “Barbaric Tortures” it is obvious that your style has a strong Swedish DM influence, but also a lot from Dutch, British bands plus obviously an old Death and Autopsy putridity to make it all even more impressive. Was it difficult to adopt to this style, to come up with some decent riffs and songs, or it went surprisingly smoothly and natural? Who’s the main songwriter in the band?
It all started with us wanting to do something really old school. We all dislike the terrible “36 strings” technical freakery they also call death metal lately. (yes I know, people will hate me for this. I don’t care!! Death metal is still meant for passion and not for fashion). So we said, this has to be as we liked back then from the tape trading era. Raw, dirty, nasty and unpolished. We got together and decided to downtune to A. And of course use the almighty Boss HM-2 distortions again. So we showed respect to a lot of the older scenes at once. The songs are mainly written by the two guitar guys, but we all have our ideas and we just tell them, so the guys try to translate them into riffs and rhythms. And to surprise, Nick and Erik had already a lot of ideas for some riffs laying around. And they turned out to be perfect, to fit the raw ideas we had in mind. So the songs came out easily and I had to write some lyrics for them.

Ancient Darkness Productions did the CD and Unholy Prophecies a tape version – so, two our friendly labels. What did you feel, when you got both releases in your hands and played them first time? I mean, at certain age it turns out that the dreams can become true, even if you would never imagine them to happen, especially when getting older and older! I suppose you must be damn proud of this shit! I would!

The moment we had this MCD and cassette in hands felt indeed like something magnificent. Yes, we never expected this. Never had an idea to get a label, never had this in mind. Only wanted to play some music we liked. Do some gigs and mostly have fun with it. And yes, we are very happy with Ancient Darkness Productions and Unholy Prophecies. What else can we be? These guys gave us the opportunity to do something we never dreamt of..

As you know, I loved “Barbaric Tortures”. It turned out into a real death metal beast, with killer powerful sound, great song, memorable riffs, cool, harsh vocals... I just did not expect it to be as awesome! Are you personally happy with the final result and the feedback the band is getting?
Yes, we are happy with it. Also, if you know the fact this was the first real album recordings Nick did in his own, new Fire and Brimstone studios. We recorded all there: drums, guitars, bass and of course the vocals. So, it was all a complete new exciting process for Nick. And we think he did an amazing job on our recordings. We also found out, while we started to record the guitars, the guys had a tuning issue with one guitar. And it turned out they both had rehearsed in G all the time. And not in A as we wanted from the start haha. So we decided let’s stay in G. It makes it extra heavy I guess.
We get some real, nice feedback and compliments about the sound of the MCD. And about the old school feeling that we added into the songs. Of course we have some things, we would probably do different now, maybe? But it will always have that sick, unpolished and nasty sound we created.

You first released sort of rehearsal demo, with one song on it only. To be honest, I wasn’t much impressed by this one, even though “Witch Trials” is a killer song (awesome version on the new CD), but the sound quality of this recording was just too poor. What was the aim of this demo? No one should be impressed with just one, badly recorded song! Anyways, you got already some feedback from the scene!
We just wanted to hear some thoughts. Pure about the idea, what we were up to. OSNRDM, and see how the reactions were. In some, strange way a whole lot of people liked it. Not for the sound of it, but the old school vibe that was on it. The CD-r demo was printed in 25 pieces. And were gone in no time. We never expected this. So, we thought, let’s see, if we make another 50! I drew another cover for those 50 and they were also gone, within less then 2 weeks. The countries where we had to send them, was a complete shock, in a positive way. They were shipped to Singapore, USA, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and I can go on. It was a complete awesome never expected experience. This also was made possible through the social media, chain reaction thing. We know that. But still people bought it. And send us back great feedback. We were very thankful for that. And knew we stepped into the right direction, with what we had in mind.

I know you as a crazy CD/LP/MC collector, who doesn’t know the limits and want to own everything what’s out there haha! This is for us a real sickness and I guess even an addiction, but we don’t want it to end. One day I told my wife that my collection is worth a decent new car and she cried haha! I bet your collection is worth even more than mine! So, have you ever considered selling it all, buying a fancy new Lexus and just listen to the radio or mp3 haha?
Hahaha, I think, and you know that yourself, you have an amazing collection as well, with things that are on my want / wishlist for ages haha. And I probably will never own these. Yes, I did some kind of a calculation one day. And yes, I gently told my lady and I will keep her reaction private, I guess?? Hahaha But, what is a so called collection worth? To me, a fortune. To others? Not a shitty penny. Each has his own gems. Each has his own special items. A favorite band and so on. So, there will always be some kind of discussion about things, being worth what exactly. Neverending, just like our search and chase for another nice old metal release.
No. I won’t sell it all. I might sell some things, which I never play anymore and which is just holding space.
Radio?? I hate that media these days, the Dutch radio is filled with total utta crap. Music which is made behind a computer and with no real instruments at all. Just shitty loops on and on. You know what they call themselves? “Serious radio” and they try push all these shitty, none saying artists that we unfortunately also have in our country down our throats. You would turn sick again. None of these stations pays any attention or shows some support to the huge metal scene we still have in the Netherlands. That’s unbelievable. I mean, we have acts as Hail of Bullets, Asphyx, God Dethroned and whatever, which get so much support from German media. And of course the fantastic metal scene there. They even play live gigs on German national television. And so on. Why not in the Netherlands? We simply don’t exist for them. So, no good words……..
Mp3’s is a thing, that I only use, when there is no other way of getting music. Sometimes a CD, LP is so rare That I’m happy, that I have a mp3 version on a CD-r or something. But there is not much CD-rs that I own with music on it. Back in the days. I downloaded also a lot of these newer albums. And I am not an hypocrite that will tell, oh, I never did that. But mostly, when I liked it I bought it. Or just deleted it. Because I simply didn’t like it. And that’s a lot.

We all had to sell some stuff at one point, when the financial crisis or other needs came. I know you had to get rid of some killer vinyl collections, which is just a shit thing to do… But at the same time you still own some real jewels. So tell us, which are 10 of your favourite pieces you have. And why do you need 2131 different versions of “The Winterlong”, “Beyond the Unknown” or “Like an Ever Flowing Stream” haha?
OK, I try to explain, why I so like to get so many different pressings of one release. Hehe. Yes, back in 2006 I sold a lot of good stuff. And that still hurts as, if my left ball is turned inside out, and slamdunk’d into my right ball. I don’t know where it came from, but I think it had to do with a Death “Leprosy” CD, that I found on a fair. And I thought, I didn’t have that. Turned out, when I got home. I already had a CD of it. And now I got this Combat press and the Under one Flag extra. I thought it was pretty cool, to own these two of them. And after that, every time I saw a Leprosy CD I had to check which pressing it was. If I didn’t had it yet I took it with me. I just wanted to do this kind of collecting thing, with the “Leprosy” album. Since that was first of my most favorite albums, ever! Well as known, now I have five bands, which I try to find, as much as possible pressings from every release they did. (Incubus, God Macabre, Dismember, Death and Malevolent Creation). Its an addiction haha.
My most favorite pieces I own?
- God Macabre “The Winterlong” CD – MBR
- Epitaph “Seeming Salvation” CD – Thrash
- Macabre End “Consumed by Darkness” demo
- Merciless “The Awakening” CD – DSP
- Burial “Relinquished Souls” CD – WVR
- Polluted Inheritance “Ecocide” CD – WVR
- Hazael “Thor” CD – Loud out
- Dismember “LAEFS” – ALL
- Incubus “Serpent Temptation LP” – Brutal Records
- Death – Probably all.


I know which are your favourite death metal albums… but maybe it would be cool to say, which death metal albums / bands you think are the most overrated and don’t really deserve the attention they received? I for example think that recently the band Gruesome is one such overrated thing. Sure, they’re good, but are they better than many other new old school death metal bands? I don’t think so. But they have some known musicians, a good label, a bit of luck and good support, what made their debut album a quick sold out piece and a sudden sought after release. Good for them, but I can name quite few bands, which I just like way more than Gruesome! And from the old days, well… to be honest, I always considered such Cryptopsy and Kataklysm to be highly overrated bands.
Well, I don’t know how to say it polite and nicely, but there are indeed some bands that earned contracts with labels, which made me turn my head almost 360 degrees. I think, the real good bands, will get their share anyhow. Bands that I think that are overhyped? Pffff let’s see, if I can come up with some examples.
Back in the days:
Cynic. Damn what a terrible disappointing release that was. They were promoted as the next big thing in death metal. It turned out to be a freaky, fancy crap CD and the label kept pushing them far to long.
Cryptopsy I might add as well. After their first 2 or 3 albums they created something I thought why is this still selling.
Now:
Vampire, what a total hipster shit (sorry, for who likes it) with their stolen mystery act show “oooh lets not tell who we are”) like that band Ghost did. So, idiotic. And they deserved a contract with something I will never understand, while other amazing bands as Smothered and Entrapment, didn’t get any attention from Century Media. Luckily Smothered and Entrapment got a nice label in Soulseller. So, their music found his way to us. And we can feast on their great tunes.

I know also how crazy ass you are for the Swedish death metal sound. What is in this style that you love so much? Obviously everyone has his own opinion, just as each have his own arsehole, but I agree that this country is very special and created a killer scene, with many awesome bands and truly special albums. God Macabre, Dismember, Grave, Desultory, Gorement, Goddefied, Uncanny, Unanimated, Nirvana2002, Hypocrisy, Centinex, Tiamat, Lobotomy, Vomitory, Séance… we can name so many amazing bands!
The thing with the Swedish scene is, they created a sound, that hit me damn hard. There is something within the sound and the vocal style that gives me the shivers. These bands, created an evil atmosphere, added some dark symphonies. The total darkness around the scene, the neverending band potential and unbelievable great, friendly guys behind that scene. The ongoing scream, for more buzz saw sounding riffs. In every style you could think of. Thrash, death, black and doom metal. Just made me search for more of these bands. It was also some kind of addiction I guess, to find a new band again. The scene was close by, so that made it extra interesting also I think.

Finally, there’s that Polish death metal scene, which you also have a great interest in. I sometimes think that you overrate it a bit haha, but sure, we have some nice bands here, both old and new. So, what is that you like in the Polish death metal so much?
The Polish scene, to me, always had something special. The bands from there, are filled with so much hatred, pure aggression and an untamable fury. That it almost scares you with the thought, what, if I ever have to go to Poland? What will they do? Haha They play fast as hell. And still the music wont give in, on quality. That’s my opinion… Older bands as Hate, Armagedon, Oppressor, Ghost, Vader are great examples of that furious style. Of course there are more that I like, but then, we can fill two zines with bands haha. New bands as Dira Mortis, Horror of Naatu are a great examples that they will carry on with this excellent style of furious death metal. Also, Poland came up with some other amazing new OSDM bands as Offence, Embrional and my fave in this genre, The Dead Goats. It’s hardly to believe they also come from Poland.

OK, let’s be back to the Departed Souls. Are there any plans for live performances? I remember you were saying that you consider it to happen. But will your wives let you go and play? I heard that MrsWolters is afraid you’ll get a heart attack from the stage fright haha! Besides, you don’t have hair anymore, are too fat and too old, so it may be too exhausting for you to play longer than for ten minutes haha!
Well, yes we have some plans about that. But as you know and mentioned, we are already old farts, that don’t have any stamina left.  Haha so this might be a huge issue haha. We just wait and see, If there is some clubs, shows, fests interested to have us on their list. In the meantime, we just try to write some new tunes. Which we hope, the people are accepting as they did with our MCD “Barbaric Tortures”. If not? Well, we still will keep playing the shit we like, and we will make the best out of it. On our old days.

Also, some new songs are being composed. Tell us more about them! Which direction they go? Will you add some rap singing, keyboards and make corpsepaints with baseball hats? What are the next, confirmed, release plans for the band? Is the vinyl version of “Barbaric Tortures” going to be something special for you?
We are indeed working on new tunes and they will keep the same old school, simple, hooky riffings. No strange instruments or sounds will be added. So expect nothing else then the OSNRDM we already play now. We have some things on plan, some new songs will be recorded soon. Some splits will be on plan… And the vinyl will be released later this year, which will have some bonus material on it. So, that’s for all of us, something special yes, if you can call it that.

Does the band moniker hold a certain meaning for you or it’s just a cool name, nothing else? What is the lyrical topic? Do you think that death metal needs to be only about certain themes such as death, occult, horror, gore, mystery, anti-religion, Satan, or it can basically be anything you wish, including politics or even christianity?
The name “Departed Souls”, I had written down, many years ago already. It’s a piece of lyrics from an old At The Gates song “Souls of the Evil Departed” that came from their “Gardens of Grief” demo. thought it sounded cool. And it shows a bit respect to the old Swedish scene, which we love so much, again. We are mainly using the medieval period, for our lyrical interest. And then especially, the way of torturing the so called witches, sorcerers and others, who were accused of black magic and being satanic involved. Of course all innocent, but you had to blame someone else, for all your evil mind twists. “To stay in control of the masses”
Lyrical themes within the metal scene, to me, are not that important. I think, each band decides what they want to sing about. Or what has their interest. Mostly, what they growl, grunt or scream is hardly understandable.

In the end, what is death metal for you? Cheers for this interview, my friend! You can return to your mill.

Death metal to me, Is like a way of living. There is not a day, that I don’t listen to it. Or wear a shirt or sweater of a band, that I don’t search the internet for a new band, CD, LP or cassette. Or whatever it takes. Like I said. Death metal is a passion. Not a fashion. And I think I’ve lived it for a long tome now.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Archives of the Dead part XVIII: ADETAR – Death Deified (Demo 1992)

Archives of the Dead part XVIII: ADETAR – Death Deified (Demo 1992)
Line up: Mark Portier (bass), Marco Kleinnibbelink (drums), Oscar Carré (guitars), Martin Visser(guitars), Arno Ket (vocals)
This band is hardly ever mentioned – if ever at all – when speaking of the influential and good Dutch death metal bands… and well, maybe it’s because their achievement is not so big and impressive (with only two demos released). Anyways, bands like Korsakov or Swazafix also had just demos released, but were having quite big impact on the Dutch scene I think, while Adetar seems to have always been very little known, also nowadays… I also haven’t heard of them until very recently, so the truth is that they were simply one of many death metal bands of the golden era and one of those, which simply weren’t lucky enough to take it somewhere further and so they drowned in the sea of death metal bands. But when looking at the line up, it turns out that Adetar had some people, who were also involved in other, more popular Dutch bands: Marco Kleinnibbelink was involved in Deadhead (two full length albums in 1991/93), Oscar Carre in God Dethroned (on “Christhunt” LP) and some other, less known acts. Adetar were one of the underground death metal bands from Enschede (place, where such Pestilence was also located). They were formed back in 1990 and “Death Deified” is their second demo from 1992 (the first one, “The World is Damned” was released in 1991).
Style wise Adetar could have been considered as death / thrash metal band, quite technical I suppose and I could compare them to such bands as Mercyless, Deadhead, Thanatos, Massacra, Gomorhha, Pestilence, Polluted Inheritance, even Revenant and Atheist. And damn, they were really cool, even if not ever riff, idea or arrangement I like from “Death Deified”. But most of that stuff is killer. I like the first song “Crucify The Priest” the most, despite its pretty useless and surely too long, fuckin annoying intro. But later Adetar brings some great riffs of aggressive death / thrash with couple of awesome slower bits, which reminds me even some old Death. There’s this one riff in this song, which I don’t like though and it’s the one, which starts at 3:42 and which is sort of psychedelic / sick / twisted… never been so much into such stuff, really. Other than that, this is awesome song. Also the fourth track, “Apathetic Indecision” has some exceptionally good pieces and is nice heavy death metal and I recommend you it. Not very fast, rather mid paced / slow and maybe this is why I also miss some more ferocity and savagery in bands like Adetar, but what the hell… it would be boring if every band sounded like Sinister or Morbid Angel.
All in all, “Death Deified” is really nice demo. There were quite many similar bands back then, sure, and as such Adetar didn’t offer anything exceptional or groundbreaking, but it’s a good listen and even today this demo sounds impressive. I suppose it’s only a matter of time, when their both demos will also be re-released on CD by one or another label, just like many other little known bands and their old demo tapes had. I have nothing against, even if some will say it’s completely unnecessary. For me this is another old Dutch death metal band worth of interest and I feel quite amazed how big and strong was the scene in this country in the old days and that it offered way more than just their big names.

Final rate: 70/100
Scans of the tape and booklet were taken from the excellent Demo Archives www.demoarchives.com

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Delirium Tremens - Thrashing Warthogs

DELIRIUM TREMENS - Thrashing Warthogs (MERCILESS Productions - CD 2004)
And yet again I am experiencing a “return to the past” sort of, which means coming back to albums, which I have not heard in many years. So, lately I started to play “Thrashing Warthogs” album from German thrashers Delirium Tremens and it’s an album, which I knew ever since I got a copy of it back in 2004… I did enjoy it a lot back then, I remember even making interview with this band for one of the numbers of my fanzine, but later on I completely forgot about their existence. And only recently, when going through some my old boxes I found this CD and played “Thrashing Warthogs” again. And definitely I can say that ten years later I still enjoy the music of Delirium Tremens. This is just killer thrash metal!
Skipping all the “lack of originality” or other bullshit, for me personally “Thrashing Warthogs” holds quite few strong points. First is obviously the killer music, played in furious, aggressive old school thrash metal. Secondly it’s the fact that this band sounds like a classic Teutonic thrash, rather than the US thrash – and I was always more a fan of the European (read: German) bands rather than those big US stars (with only two or three exceptions). Thirdly, this album came few years before this funny thrash revival happened, mainly in the USA. I did not like 99% of those “I wanna sound like Exodus” bands that kids formed in mid / late 00’s and who suddenly got signed also by some bigger labels (funny that hardly any of these bands still exists nowadays haha – that says a lot about how weak was this trend). And Delirium Tremens was surely not a fashionable affair. They came up with “Thrashing Warthogs” in 2004, for a respected underground label Merciless Records and it was never meant to do anything more than cause some neck aches (after the headbanging it definitely force you to perform) and hangovers (as beer is a great accompany to this music) among dedicated maniacs.
Some people may call this album “infantile” and “trivial”, I can understand such opinions. The image is so typical (???), with leather, denim jackets, millions of patches, etc. The artwork is just bad (see yourself) and the German helmet surely makes some controversy. And the music, along the classic thrash influences, from bands such as Destruction, Darkness, Cruel Force and Vendetta, has that weird LA metal touch to it, what sounds just odd. And the “Paradise City” cover will make you laugh. But damn, this album is exactly about it – having beers, fun and banging the head while listening to some aggressive tunes. If this is a pastiche or something more serious – I simply don’t care, as it’s just fun to listen to. “Thrashing Warthogs” is filled with clichés, even the lyrics are banal to the bone (“Feel the heat in my blood, raped by priest, I’m Satan's slut Evil dicks will stretch my cunt, Satan’s coming up for hunt… Worship Satan, rock’n’roll. Kill the humans and fuck them all…” haha!), but that’s what it is. Even the release sheet says it clearly: tune up the volume, take a beer, fuck a bitch haha! I don’t need to say more than that. But it’s really cool album, with plenty of good songs, nice riffs, decent vocalist and good production value.
“Thrashing Warthogs” is actually a second album from Delirium Tremens. The first one (“Violent Mosh Ground”) was released in 1999, but I never had a chance to hear it. After the release of “Thrashing Warthogs” the band did an EP two years later and then went silent, until “Read My Fist” came out in 2014. And surely I must find this new album also, as Delirium Tremens is among the best newer German thrash bands, along such Hellish Crossfire and Nocturnal. If you like those bands, you’ll also love “Thrashing Warthogs”, even though it has more of a thrash meets rock ‘n’ roll feeling.
Standout tracks: “Worship Satan”, “Follow Us If You Want to Die”

Final rate: 70/100

Mûspellzheimr - Hyldest til trolddommens flamme

MUSPELLZHEIMR - Hyldest til trolddommens flamme (Ancient Darkness Productions CD 2015)
This is one of the newer releases from the mighty Ancient Darkness Productions and I think I can sincerely say that it’s also one of my personal favourites from this label. I am even more impressed as Mûspellzheimr are totally new band and “Hyldest til trolddommens flamme” is their debut album… but damn, what a good stuff it is! It’s almost a shame that Mûspellzheimr doesn’t unveil their line up, as I wonder who could stand behind such a killer black metal project; maybe one day I will find that out. Now I play “Hyldest til trolddommens flamme” again and again and enjoy one of the best black metal albums I’ve heard in a long time. Seriously!
What I love about “Hyldest til trolddommens flamme” is that how traditionally this album sounds. I mean, yes, I do like also some new hybrids within the black metal style, but there’s nothing better than the classic, cult Scandinavian bands and their early demos / albums. And for me Mûspellzheimr sounds exactly like these old cults, both from the Norwegian and Swedish lands. Let me then bring some names to give you a quick idea about their music: personally I find similarities to the old recordings from such bands as Taake, Sorhin, Enslaved, Helheim, Kvist, Emperor, Obtained Enslavement, Ulver, Dawn, Mork Gryning, Darkthrone… Oh, such a killer list of bands. And Mûspellzheimr certainly has some influences from each of them, except the fact that they don’t use any keyboards, only some acoustics appear here and there. Doesn’t matter. I think the most important is that “Hyldest til trolddommens flamme” brings 40 minutes of fantastic black metal; it’s an album, which ticks all the boxes “what makes a black metal album worthy”.
First thing, which catches my attention is the guitar work. The riffs are always very dense and fast, aggressive and savage, always played in very raw way, but they hold a nice melodic touch, have many harmonies, what give quite monumental feeling to the whole music. And as such it reminds me a combination of Taake with the orchestral riffage of old Emperor and harshness / atmosphere of Kvist. Damn, I truly love it. Take that first song, titled “II” (“I” is an acoustic intro) and how it begins, how’s this song built and how it progresses… I need to add Enslaved here, as Mûspellzheimr have similar way of arranging their songs, as Enslaved had in their old days. More so, the riffs in this song are truly great… First two minutes are epic, melodic and truly fantastic, then the track erupts with killer, fast fragment and then again we have some slower, monumental bits – totally classic Norwegian black metal, one which I love totally.
Basically every song on this album is incredibly strong. Mûspellzheimr keeps that great quality all the time, carefully crafts the cold, dark, but also hateful and sort of melancholic ambiance. I also like the way each song progresses, the structures and general way of arranging each of these tracks. Very nice and far from the primitive, typical and uninteresting. Mûspellzheimr has no problem in smooth switching from the furiously, ear piercing, hateful part to more atmospheric passage, so there’s a lot of dynamics and diversity… I mentioned “II”, which is my favourite song here, but take a listen to also to such “III” (again a great mixture of harsh, fast black metal with quite many acoustics and more atmospheric parts) or “VI”. Some of the songs are instrumentals, mainly acoustics (but one is sort of keyboard / chanting, what sounds truly eerie), what obviously only enhance the atmosphere of the music… Damn, really great album. 
All songs are called by numbers, in Roman letters. All lyrics have been written in one of the Scandinavian languages; not sure if it’s Danish or maybe Swedish or whatever, but I always liked those Nordic languages in black metal, as they create even more interesting feeling in the music. The whole artwork is based on dark, wintery photographs of woods… so, it cannot be more traditional than this. I am even more surprised that no one have putted his name on this excellent record. I will surely try to investigate this band and try to find out more about Mûspellzheimr. I will also want to get a copy of the LP version. But now I recommend this piece of black metal to all maniacs of the classic Scandinavian sound; I am sure you’ll love it!
Standout tracks: “II”, “III”, “VI”

Final rate: 90/100

Concatenatus - Meditation Through the Inner Vortex

CONCATENATUS - Meditation Through the Inner Vortex (self released demo 2015)
This band comes from Chile and I got to know them, as the line up consists Alfredo, a’ka Sulphur, who I know from his work with another band, called Siaskel. Concatenatus is his newly formed project, which he made with another guy, Balrog, and here is the first demo, which these two men have recorded, titled “Meditation Through the Inner Vortex”. Limited to 200 copies, it is released on CDR, but with nice, printed booklet… and I don’t really require more from a demo recording. It looks good, more so, it also sounds good, so I must say that Concatenatus turned out to be a nice debut.
Two songs plus an intro, with 16 minutes of music, may not be enough to please everyone, as I bet that some of you will want to hear more, after listening to these sounds, but I guess it’s better this way and leave you hungry for more than overdo with too much music at once. “Meditation Through the Inner Vortex” is really fine and solid piece of harsh, obscure and very doomy take on black metal. Concatenatus performs their music in slow tempos, the riffage is also rather simple, while the vocals make an impression of being truly possessed and agonizing, what fits the whole music and its aura perfectly. Because the whole music sounds just sick and insane! It may have a small depressive, suicidal feeling, surely the whole has a negative emotion and almost a ritualistic aura, especially near the end of the second song “Echoing Cacophony”, where those awesome clean vocals sound and make great, eerie atmosphere. Musically “Meditation Through the Inner Vortex” is not much complex, but it’s surely not primitive (the info sheet mentions such bands as Beatrik and Urfaust as the influences… I am not gonna argue here haha), etc, but the band makes up that simplicity for the great arrangements and capability of creating that aura I already mentioned, so in the end it’s a very good listen and I definitely enjoyed this demo a lot. So, I am surely among those people, who will say that they would like to hear more than just two songs. Hopefully then Concatenatus will hit us with another material sooner than later. But this one is already recommended.
Standout track: “Echoing Cacophony”

Final rate: 80/100

Concatenation - Empty State of Humanity

CONCATENATION - Empty State of Humanity (Self released CD 2015)
Damn, I don’t know why, but I can’t memorize the name of this band haha! Concatenation they’re called and hail from Płock, Poland – and the line up consists members of some other bands from Płock, which I know also (and I mean such names as Parh, Mort Douce and The Thorn). “Empty State of Humanity” is a second demo of Concatenation (although the band calls it EP… hmm, whatever) and since I had no chance to hear the first material (“Grinding My Soul” from 2013), I also had no idea what should I expect. And to be honest, I can’t say I like this music much… I can admit it is solid and decent effort, but it’s just not my cup of beer at all. So, I had listened to it several times, with no great excitement though, but more with the “reviewer obligation” point.
I’m just not a fan of such style of riffing, rhythms, arrangements, vocals’ sound… Some may call it thrash / death and I won’t argue with it, but it’s not my kind of thrash / death. It sounds too modern for me, some may even add the “core” adjective to it… And I just can’t say I feel interest in such bands. I have never been a fan of The Haunted, Carnal Forge, even The Crown. And Concatenation is quite close to them, I guess. And to be fair to the band, I can say that they surely have a decency to perform some nice riffs, surely are good technically and more so, the demo has a proper production. I even like one or two pieces here, some riffs and ideas... but again, I’m just far from becoming a fan. I suppose “Rise and Fall” is the song I like the most, but all four are rather in similar vein and quality. So… a name to remember to those, who like those big bands I mentioned before… Maniacs of more obscure or brutal stuff can skip this demo easily.
Standout track: “Rise and Fall”

Final rate: 65/100

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Archives of the Dead part XVII: ACRIMONY – A Sombre Thought (Demo 1992)

Archives of the Dead part XVII: ACRIMONY – A Sombre Thought (Demo 1992)
Line up: Darren Ivey (drums), Stuart O'Hara (guitars), Lee Davies (guitars), Dorian Walters (vocals), David Jones (bass)
Recorded at Sonic Studios, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, West Wales, April 18-19, 1992
Ha, it’s quite confusing, as here’s a 1992 release from band called Acrimony… and this Acrimony is from Wales and they’re new band for me, I never heard of them until recently. Meanwhile I used to know Polish Acrimony, who did an album titled “In Unknown Direction”, also released in 1992 and which used exactly the same front artwork as the Welsh Acrimony. Haha, so fuckin confusing and coincidence! I wonder how did it all happen and who was the first to use the name and this painting? Anyways, I remember I bought the cassette of Polish Acrimony twenty years ago and I did not like their thrash metal at all, so let me say that this UK Acrimony was just ways better. “A Sombre Thought” was their debut demo from 1992 and it’s really damn cool doomy death metal. Those guys pretty much followed the well known recipes for doom / death metal, which would originate from the Scandinavian scene (Finnish and Swedish), but surely had also some similarities to some British bands and finally also some traces of Obituary, but in more melodic / less brutal way. Anyway, there are three really damn good tracks here. At first I thought that the vocals are lame and not brutal enough… And maybe there are some weak vocals in the first song, but the main vocal sound is great, dark and sinister, almost on the verge of death metal growl and black metal shriek. Somehow these vocals remind me a bit of early Johan Edlund mixed with John Tardy haha! I like the music a lot, as it’s quite aggressive and rough, despite the fact that it still holds that sorrowful and melancholic feeling of doom metal. But Acrimony was not a band, which would make utterly slow and sad music, it wasn’t My Dying Bride like doom death, but rather something dark and vicious. It’s nice aggressive stuff, long songs, but with good tension and arrangements… And also the production was damn good, better than you would expect from a demo recording. So, generally I must say that Acrimony surprised me a lot and I really liked this demo. Sadly, later they changed their style completely and turned into a stoner kind of band, supposedly similar to such Kyuss or whatever… not my style of music at all. They even managed to record two albums for Peaceville. Who cares… I like this demo only. Really nice discovery, 23 years after the recording of this cassette.
Standout track: “Mourn the Dead”

Final rate: 80/100