Thursday, 15 November 2018

Aeternus - Dark Sorcery

AETERNUS - Dark Sorcery (HAMMERHEART - CD 1997)
If I was going to name Norwegian bands, with the most distinguished, original sound and style, then I would definitely mention Aeternus among them. They were (and still are, actually) completely different to all other bands from Norge and despite being formed in the golden era of Norwegian black metal, they never had much in common with the likes of GorgorothDarkthrone, Emperor or Immortal. Which did not prevent them from being an important part of the scene! And that makes me think why the hell it feels like they are so underrated and almost forgotten nowadays? 
Anyway, Aeternus music was always very original and interestingAnd it was such from their very first recording - which is amazing, I think! You could listen to a small part of their music and you'll immediately know that this is Aeternus playing, because there have never been another band, which would sound alike. I have to admit that I enjoy all Aeternus albums, but my favourites are those early recordings, especially "Dark Sorcery" EP, which is so fuckin awesome piece of music. Maybe one of the reasons why I enjoy it a bit more is the fact that it's a shorter recording (27 minutes of music on the Hammerheart digipack edition, which I own), so it is easier to get into. Aeternus music can sometimes feel a bit monotonous, as they often put songs through similar kind of slow-paced tempo, with that harsh, yet incredibly heavy riffage and monstrous, deep growl of Ares. So, it works the best on shorter recordings. And as such, "Dark Sorcery" is close to perfection, with no weak parts at all. 
Aeternus style of music is something between black metal - with that dark, very epic and monumental sound, slightly alike to bands such as Hades maybe, yet very different at the same time - and death metal, with that massive sound, overwhelming crushing heaviness and very deep growl of Ares, who sounds like he was summoning gods in the battlefield frenzy, not just "singing" some words. Riffs are quite special here, and I have to say that I love how Aeternus combines their heavy nature with a bit of majestic melody and sometimes even folky tunes. If you listen to these songs carefully then you will immediately recognize great potential and fantastic atmosphere, which this music brings. Yes, monumental, epic, war-like and truly destructive. It may feel slightly one dimensional in the beginning, but it's still very exciting and inspiring stuff, especially if you listen to such fantastic, thunderous tracks like "Raven and Blood" or "Victory". Their music has all these little details, like melodic bits, acoustic guitar parts, howling vocals, which gives even more impressive resultAbsolutely essential part of the Norwegian metal scene, in my opinion. So, if you don’t know them, then check Aeternus out now. 
Standout tracks: "Raven and Blood", "Victory" 
Verdict: 85/100

Isolated - Descent on the Cross

ISOLATED - Descent on the Cross (Self released demo CDR 2001)
This album would actually be pretty damn good, if only the production was better. But damn, the sound is crap! Thin guitars, everything’s so damn artificial, with quite weak sounding vocals and not even a small hint of powerful punch, which would knock you out... Like death metal should! But the songs are solid and with better, more meaty and crushing production they would work very well. 
Isolated were Polish death metal band, but to be honest I don't remember much about their history. I would have to dig out some old fanzines. I think they were mainly active in the early 00's, when they recorded "Descent on the Cross" (2001) and "Demonss Conclave" EP (2005). But they both were little noticed, I'm afraid. I only had a chance to hear the 2001’s material. And as I already mentioned, "Descent on the Cross" songs are not bad, if you like Vader or Decapitated. Or Deicide and Cannibal Corpse, then this shit is for you. Some absolutely great riffs, many good ideas and arrangements... This is brutal stuff, but well balanced between faster and slower parts, so from that point of view I don't really have anything bad to say. But the production and a lot of vocals killed the effect. Such a thin guitar sound and drums. And the vocals also sometimes are ruined. 
Anyway, I had not listened to this band in ages. So, I’m surprised that my old promo CDR is still playable and I could check Isolated again after all those years. It must be quite rare recording nowadays. It's not something I could really recommend, but if you dig very underground and obscure death metal releases, then you may like to check this shit out. 
Verdict: 55/100 

Aura Noir - Black Thrash Attack

AURA NOIR - Black Thrash Attack (MALICIOUS Records LP 1996)
Black fuckin Thrash Attack!!! This title is such adequate to the musical content of this record. And is best description for what you'll find there. It says everything - about the influences of Aura Noir members, which are deeply rooted in the 80's legendary records, like thrash classics from Sodom, Slayer and Destruction, and in 80's primeval black metal from Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer and all other beauties from the ice age. It says everything also about the ferocious, aggressive attitude of the music, its vulgar sound and really dark, obscure atmosphere. Yeah, this is Aura Noir. 
First time I have seen this band's name was probably in interview for Thrash'em All Magazine (I may be wrong though) in mid 90’s. Soon later I bought "Black Thrash Attack" cassette from Mystic Production and loved it from the first listen. It sounded so fuckin great! For me Aura Noir proved that you can still play black metal in that more archaic, ancient way, but sound fresh and really powerful at the same time. And adding the sodomizing thrash feel was also clever and absolutely fantastic idea. Of course, many accused Aura Noir for stealing old riffs and other such bullshit, I remember reading a lot of such stupid comments back then. But that was absolutely useless and untrue opinion. Who cares? What mattered was that "Black Thrash Attack" contains a whole bunch of killer songs and not even a second of dull stuff. Written half-half between Apollyon and Aggressor, each having his own style, this is a killer album, where every riff is razor sharp and cuts deep into the flesh. It forces to bang head, like classic metal records always do and you know it’s impossible to resist. The result is even more interesting, because Aggressor writes more like old Venom songs, while Apollyon songs sound like Sodom or Hellhammer. That gives a quite varied effect, also because each of them sings in his own songs. But yeah... From “Conqueror” through “The Pest” and up to “Fighting for Hell”, it’s insane record. 20 years later I still love to play it and I can only recommend it to those, who have never had a chance to listen to it. 
Standout tracks: “Conqueror”, “Caged Wrath”, “The Pest”, “Fighting for Hell” 
Verdict: 90/100 

Create a Kill - Summoned to Rise

CREATE A KILL - Summoned to Rise (REPULSIVE ECHO - CD 2018)
Create a Kill is new Floridian metal band, which I think should interest you. And that’s not only because of the line up, which features some well knows musicians, but also with the pretty damn good music! In Create a Kill members of Gruesome (Gus Rios and Daniel Gonzalez) teamed up with Alex Marquez, who you all should remember from playing drums for such classic bands as Solstice, Malevolent Creation, Resurrection or Demolition Hammer. I suppose that they should rise interest of many metal maniacsThe same was with me! And I have to say that once I started to listen to "Summoned to Rise", the CD didn't leave my stereo for few days. It's very good album and a solid, worthy release from Repulsive Echoes. So, I can immediately recommend you getting a copy, Create a Kill is a must to have. 
I obviously expected to hear some Florida classic death metal, but to my surprise Create a Kill is much more thrash metal act than death metal. And with thrash metal I always have the problem that most of it bores me and it has to be really fuckin good to impress me. And "Summoned to Rise" definitely is good as hell. It just sounds exactly I like thrash to sound. No weak stuff, but aggressive and nasty shit! "Summoned to Rise" is a vicious, savage beast, which strikes with no mercy from the very first riff and do not waste a second of these 37 minutes. It's heavy, very aggressive, it's also quite fast - I just love all these blasting parts of "Summoned to Rise", where Create a Kill shows their passion for death metal as well. In the end, this album sounds like a killer combination of Exodus, Slayer, Demolition Hammer, Destruction, Kreator, Solstice and Malevolent Creation (and few more bands) and is about to kill you! Great songwriting, many fantastic riffs, super awesome blasts, perfect performance and production... This is thrash metal I like to listen to. And more so, I'm very impressed with Alex Marquez's vocals! Yes, he does not play drums here! He's the singer for Create a Kill and surely he is just as good "screamer" as drummer. What a surprise! 
To conclude then... This is seriously solid thrash metal album. Such songs as "Reap the Whirlwind", "Show of Force", "Praise the Beast" or "Cold Blooded", to name just few, are simply crushing and it’s been a great fun to listen to it. Yeah, this shit was created to kill!  
Standout tracks:  "Reap the Whirlwind", "Show of Force", "Praise the Beast", "Cold Blooded" 
Verdict: 75/100 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Grave Miasma - Exalted Emanation

GRAVE MIASMA - Exalted Emanation (SEPULCHRAL VOICE - LP 2009)
Grave Miasma quickly became one of my favourite death / black metal bands and in my private ranking they hold a very high place. But it cannot be different if they keep unleashing such a fury as "Odori Sepulcrorum" or "Exalted Emanation". The latter was released back in 2009 and it's a fantastic debut effort from Grave Miasma. Although it has 35 minutes on the clock, it's considered an EP, but that is not something I would care. What matters is that this is absolutely intriguing and mesmerizing piece of black / death metal and music, which really stands out from the overcrowded scene with something special and unique. 
Obviously, there are many other bands, which create similar type of extreme music. There's Necros Christos, Teitanblood, Grave Upheaval, Irkallian Oracle, QrixkuorSheol, Embrace of Thorns and more. Each of them is great and unique In its own way. And each is characterised with this very dense, thick as a cemetery fog, almost claustrophobic wall of sound, which immensely crushes with its massive heaviness. This style of music is something what can be quite hard to get into, if you're not into such style and it can also feel quite one dimensional and unreadable, due to its density and close to cacophony, chaotic, often reverberating sound. But this is why you must treat it carefully, listen to it with attention, let these sounds swallow you. You need to immerse into this blackened abyss to find method in this madness. This is exactly how Grave Miasma's music sound like also. 
It’s thick, cacophonous, insanely heavy and vicious death / black metal, with utterly obscure, sepulchral atmosphere and fantastic ghoulish vocals, which add a lot to increase this bestial, evil aura. Everything is very well balanced, between faster parts and some slower tracks like that killer piece titled "Pillars". Here and there you may even be able to pick up a small trace of harmonious riff, but for me personally the most distinctive aspect of Grave Miasma music is how it can put you into some sort of trance. It's almost like a mantra, what can actually go in hand with the occult concept Grave Miasma presents. And damn, this is one of the darkest and most eerie, ghastly sounding music ever. Devouring, passionate, mesmerizing sounds... In my opinion this EP is close to perfection and I dare to say that Grave Miasma already reached a cult status. 
Standout tracks: “Pillars”, “Arisen Through the Grave Miasma” 
Verdict: 90/100