Thursday, 22 September 2016

Crematory Stench - Crematory Stench

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

Ljosazabojstwa - Staražytnaje licha

LJOSAZABOJSTWA - Staražytnaje licha (HELLTHRASHER Productions CD 2016)
I don’t think there were any bands from Belarus that I would like… until now, when Ljosazabojstwa released their debut demo “Staražytnaje licha” through Hellthrasher Productions. This label has really surprised me recently, I have to say. They started with plenty of straight old school death metal albums, but many of their recent releases are black metal with demos from bands like Gjendød and Ljosazabojstwa or Chaos Moon EP. But this diversity in their roster works for better, I suppose, even though most of these bands in their current roster are new to me and usually I have no idea what should I expect from them. The same was with Ljosazabojstwa obviously, so I am quite happy that this demo turned out to be that good, especially for a band from country like Belarus.
It looks like Ljosazabojstwa has everything to capture the attention of raw sounding, mystical death / black metal maniacs. This is how I would personally describe “Staražytnaje licha”. They have everything to interest you, because each song brings some truly great, memorable parts and the feeling of this music and its aura are simply possessing, cold and ghastly. I cannot even decide whether I prefer when Ljosazabojstwa plays some slower motifs or rather play their music in faster, reckless way. The first one awakes the darkest and most sick, morbid feelings, with almost epic, monumental sound, while the latter gives you a killer dose of aggression and merciless death. But the riffs are great, I also like the vocals, because they’re more like harsh, nasty growl, rather than annoying screams, which would destroy the whole effect.
The influences are wide, I think, and they can start from the second and third Bathory opuses, going through some old Mayhem, Mortuary Drape or Masters Hammer, then taking a sip of Greek and Finnish death / black metal sperm and topping it all with heavy, slowed down, morbid death metal. Mix it all up in one filthy cauldron, add some sulphur and tar, give it a good swirl and here you have – Ljosazabojstwa. I have to say that “Staražytnaje licha” sounds just fuckin intriguing and even with its rawness and sometimes almost primitive nature, this demo will not let you forget about it. I personally have spent quite a huge amount of time listening to it. I have no idea what the future plans of Ljosazabojstwa are, I don’t even know how many people are involved in this band… but damn, I do hope that they will come up with some more such possessing sounds rather sooner than later.
Standout tracks: “Struk u horła Chrysta”

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Temple Below - The Dark Goddess

TEMPLE BELOW - The Dark Goddess (IRON BONEHEAD LP 2016)
I cannot believe what is going on in the extreme metal scene these days. One after another, killer bands are coming up, and there’s no week, when I am not crushed with another new stuff that causes a serious neck damage and drop a jaw with big fuckin bang. And these bands are coming from everywhere; it’s not like in the old days, when there were just few European countries plus USA in the spotlight. Now bands can even come from every country you can imagine. Here’s another name that I was not familiar before, but which recently delivered some unbelievably good death / black metal and immediately became one of my best discoveries of this year. This act is called Temple Below and is sort of Chilean / Greek alliance. We don’t know exactly who’s behind it, but I’ve read in interview for Voices from the Darkside that P. Skullshredder and D. Desecrator, both also in Slaughtbbath, are involved in Temple Below. They did one EP before “The Dark Goddess” – it was called “Dies Irae” and it was released by Blood Harvest. No idea then how did it happen I have no recollection ever seeing this EP or ever hearing anything from it. Shame, but I will try to find a copy of it one day. Now it’s “The Dark Goddess” time only and yes, this new EP is simply fantastic and sensational, in my opinion.
I like how this EP is built, with a short intro, then three truly heavy tracks and finishing with a lengthy outro, which kind of sets the mood perfectly and increases the overwhelming aura of obscurity and horrifying ritual. These intros are something that completes such music perfectly, in my opinion. Some of you may find such “Boszorkanysag; A fekete assozny arnyéka” boring, because it is 06:11 minutes long, but for me it’s good way to finish an album. The atmosphere couldn’t get more dark and morbid than that and these sounds are like a soundtrack to your journey into deep, frightening complete darkness.
As for the proper songs, Temple Below style is comfortably set between death and black metal. It’s one of those bestial sounding, vicious and obscure styles, which can be placed aside to such bands as Embrace of Thorns, Doombringer, Grave Miasma, Cruciamentum, Irkallian Oracle, Katechon and so on. But obviously the influences reach as far back as to the earliest extreme metal records, including early Morbid Angel, Necrovore and so on. The riffage is super fast, heavy and thick, it is brutal and almost chaotic, but the wall of sound that it created is just massive and it shall crush every piece of bone within you. The pace is mostly fast, but the band always knows when it’s a right time for super heavy slower part. And you can be sure that the music will always sound extremely powerful and energetic, with vocals ranging from the vicious, harsh growl to almost sort of chanting. I love the production and basically everything about “The Dark Goddess” is super awesome.
The whole concept for this album also stands out, being based on the figures of Three Goddesses of Evil. The presentation of the vinyl will simply be a feast for your eyes. The triple gatefold unfolds some amazing artwork of the Trinity, and the package includes also a small booklet with the lyrics, poster and inner sleeve. That’s enough to raise interest, but the music stands out also, so I can only recommend “The Dark Goddess”. It’s a killer release of Iron Bonehead (and Blood Harvest who released it on CD).
Standout track: “Ave Trivia Ekati” (which actually is a second song on side A, not first one on side B… at least according to the lyrics)

Final rate: 85/100

Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crépuscule

CHTHE'ILIST - Le Dernier Crépuscule (PROFOUND LORE LP 2016)
You wanna hear one of the most sensational and impressive debuts of not only this year, but probably of this decade? Then open your eyes and check this piece of Canadian filth that will break your tongue, when you will try to pronounce its name - Chthe'ilist (and if that doesn’t do the job, then try with the song title “Vecoiitn'aphnaat'smaala” hahaha). This duo has released their debut album a while ago, “Le Dernier Crépuscule”, and damn, this is a real be(a)stial death metal masterpiece. It has everything that I love about some of these new bands; when they take the essence of the genre, sipping its blood right from the roots, but at the same time are able to bring something new and push the limits a bit further. They’re not inventors, but revolutionists! With albums such as “Le Dernier Crépuscule” I feel like they improve the old skeleton of death metal; for something way darker and more dense sounding than any of the 90’s have ever had. This is why such albums are so worthy to listen to.
Chthe'ilist certainly does great job on “Le Dernier Crépuscule”. Their music is one hand a huge worship of the old Finnish death metal scene, with bands like Disgrace, Funebre, Thergothon, Adramelech and Demilich, but also for bands from other countries like old Therion, Carbonized, Grave, Vital Remains and Morbid Angel. But the way it’s all presented on “Le Dernier Crépuscule” is definitely far from archaic ways and Chthe'ilist is not cut’n’paste type of band. It’s much more atmospheric and kind of progressive as well; technical, but never fuckin boring or mindless. The utterly grim, dark and morbid aura of their music is something that was never to be found in the old days. It’s so fuckin dense and putrid, so eerie that you’re gonna feel frightened. It’s almost like you’re closed in a sepulture and inside there’s this thick, suffocating smoke that covers everything and you start to choke to death. There’s actually a killer lyrics for the first song, which I think fits the aura of this album perfectly:
“As you enter the vaults of ingurgitating obscurity, the blood-chilling, eerie calm that surrounds you makes your body tremble in fear. Through the cryptic gloom, you hear the shadows whisper, their voices echoing in a silent, sinister discordance.”
The whole album is perfectly built and balanced, speaking of the tempos of the songs (oh that heavy, epic opening instrumental piece – what a start!!!), with the intros that only increase the eeriness and morbid aura, with great songs spread all over the album… and the visual side of “Le Dernier Crépuscule”, which fits the sounds just perfectly. Definitely such death metal is not easily memorable or listenable. It requires attention, especially for its technical aspects, many details and all the great work of guitars or drums, not to forget about killer vocal performance, which is definitely one of the best I’ve heard in a while! Even some subtle keyboards that are in songs like “Into the Vaults of Ingurgitating Obscurity” give the music something special. In this particular song, when keyboards appear along some amazing clean vocals I just feel thrills.
Chthe'ilist definitely found a good balance between the technical aspect of death metal, with some bizarre, twisted riffs or sick leads and the ability to keep it listenable and transparent – what is important especially for such thick, massive sounding death metal. But they did it perfectly and if you’re afraid that this album may not sound old school enough, then I request that you give a special attention to songs like “The Voices from Beneath the Well”, which really do fuckin sound like taken from old Therion, Lubricant or Digrace LPs or any other of those technical, but so brutal and beautiful records from the old era. Somehow not many bands dare to play this sick style of death metal these days. Chthe'ilist does.
Let me also say that I mentioned how the great artwork and visual side (including band photographs) fits the music. But I must also mention the lyrics, which are some of the BEST I’ve ever read. They’re incredibly fantastic tales of horror, very influenced by Lovecraft obviously, but the way they’re written is simply awesome, because it’s like reading a short story. Take the lyrics for “Scriptures of the Typhlodians” as an example, for something really amazing!! I strongly advice to read them all, as only this way you will truly be able “to enter the dream world of Eil’udom”! So, summing it all up – if this album doesn’t impress you, then I don’t know what else will. And cut this “why not listen to Voivod, Timeghoul, and Demilich instead?” bullshit, which I’ve read somewhere in another review, as such statement not only tells about your low intelligence, but also about your total ignorance for everything that great bands like Chthe'ilist do these days.
Standout tracks: “Into the Vaults of Ingurgitating Obscurity”, “Tales of the Majora Mythos Part 1”, “Voidspawn”, “The Voices from Beneath the Well”

Final rate: 95/100

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Kalmankantaja - Tyhjyys

KALMANKANTAJA - Tyhjyys (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
This is ninth album from Finnish depressive black metal project Kalmankantaja. Ninth! Add another ten EPs or splits, which they’ve released in last five years and that gives just crazy dose of material. Personally I only know Kalmankantaja from their split CDs with Hermóðr and Oþalan, so with “Tyhjyys” this is basically first time I listen to their music from a full album. And to be honest, I was quite afraid of this album. You know, how can someone keep the quality with such quantity? And more so, usually I get quickly bored with most of the so called depressive doomy black metal bands (Hermóðr being one of the few exceptions).
How is “Tyhjyys” then? Well, I may not be fully impressed with it, but I cannot deny that it’s a solid and enjoyable release. I’ve surprised myself, because usually I can listen to such music for an hour, two maybe, but quickly I feel an urge to play something faster and more ferocious. But in this case I’ve spent a whole day with “Tyhjyys”. I was playing it repeatedly for many hours and I kind of let myself drown in these sounds. Yeah, there’s definitely something about the atmosphere of “Tyhjyys” that makes me want to come back to it. But that’s not only about the atmosphere, as the performance, as well as the gift for mesmerizing, almost hypnotizing melodies is something what makes Kalmankantaja more worthy than 90% of similar bands.
Yeah. And this is probably why I would never describe this album as boring and too monotonous. I can understand people, who only wanna have Marduk type of speed, that they will feel bored and tired with such doomy type of atmospheric black metal. Who cares for them, right? It was close though, because the songs are all about nine minutes long and the tempo through them all is always the same, slow pace, with not so much diversity. But somehow I managed to pick up some great harmonies, arrangements or whatever else here. I like how the guitars work with subtle keyboard background, I really like vocals of Tyrant, who’s fantastic vocalist, I think. And the depressive, melancholic and sorrowful, dark aura can remind you old Katatonia or Summoning, maybe even Burzum. So, monotonous or not, it’s just damn well played atmospheric doomy black metal.
Wolfspell Records should be widely known by now for their great catalogue and passion for atmospheric black metal. It seems like Kalmankantaja may be their most important act along Hermóðr. And I’m pretty sure they will release more such from Grim666. I don’t know how will progression of Kalmankantaja look like and if the previous as well as the future albums be able to offer something more than “Tyhjyys”. But let’s not care about stuff like stagnation and creativity now. Let’s just enjoy this solid album.
Standout track: “Mustat vedet”

Final rate: 75/100

Zakaz - Myrkur og dauði

ZAKAZ - Myrkur og dauði (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2016)
I don’t know what happened that suddenly Icelandic black metal scene got so much attention. It’s almost like a new trend. I do have to admit that some of these bands have a great quality and their success is truly deserved. But some other are simply overrated – I’m not gonna give you names, think for yourself! Anyway, you have to admit that this is very hyped scene at the moment. Why do I write all this? Because here’s another band from Reykjavik, Iceland, called Zakaz. The name is rather Polish sounding haha, but their debut release is called “Myrkur og dauði”, released through Schattenkult Produktionen. This is new band and I doubt if any of the members – who all hide behind weird names I, II, III and IV ha! – were or still are also involved in another projects. It doesn’t matter. What does though is that I really liked this album a lot!
But before you will listen to “Myrkur og dauði” try not to think of all these popular, hyped Icelandic bands like Svartidaudi or Misþyrming, because musically Zakaz has very little in common with them. I was actually quite surprised, when I was listening to “Myrkur og dauði” for the first time, because I didn’t expect to hear direction, in which the music at some point has progressed. As it turned out, the whole 42 minutes hide very varied, uncommon but highly enjoyable black metal. Yeah, it’s black metal and the beginning of the album is basically a straight to the point thing, with raw, quite fast and aggressive playing. But “Gröfin” is far from the common means of this style and at some point also surprise, with clean vocals or slower, doomy part somewhere near the end of this track. All in all, it’s great and well arranged song. Such harsh and vicious, cold sounding black metal is present also in other songs like “Dauði”, but it never sounds dull and primitive and some riffs are quite uncommon for this style of music. But at some point Zakaz takes also a surprising turn into doomy black metal! Slow pace, great harmonious guitar work, very melancholic, sorrowful atmosphere – this is what you will find in many parts of “Myrkur og dauði”.
I guess “Nótt” is the first really surprising song here. It’s an instrumental piece, but very melodic and sort of pleasantly sounding, so it’s something way different to “Gröfin” for example. Also “Endurfæðing” really captures my attention – I have to say that with such songs Zakaz reminds me Ulver from their old, demo days. “Upplifun” is truly a standout song, oh man, it sounds simply fantastic with that majestic, epic, almost bombastic sound, which then abruptly is changed for a vicious, angry fast black metal. Then we have “Hamur”, which sometimes reminds me some 90’s melodic black metal bands from Sweden, so maybe this is why I really fuckin like this song a lot. But basically every song brings something different, Zakaz music is never one dimensional, so even within one track you can expect to hear tempo changes, different variations on black metal  and so on. One thing is certain – the atmosphere is truly cold and melancholic. I suppose that such sounds really capture the essence of Icelandic landscapes, which you can see on the photographs that are in the booklet. Yeah, it all fits perfectly. And for “Myrkur og dauði” is one of the best debuts of this year, speaking of black metal.
Standout tracks: “Hamur”, “Gröfin”, “Upplifun”

Final rate: 85/100

Mitochondrion / Auroch - In Cronian Hour

MITOCHONDRION / AUROCH - In Cronian Hour (HELLTHRASHER / DARK DESCENT split 7"EP 2016)
Supposedly it took four years to get this split EP released. That’s a looongg time. Dark Descent and Hellthrasher are responsible for this vile piece and finally they managed to unleash it. You can still gab a copy! I always pay a lot of attention to the design and presentation of the release and in this case it all looks superb. Really impressive artwork, very good quality and nice small size gatefold cover. But the music was for me rather a challenge, to be honest. I cannot say that I loved songs from both bands. I do feel disappointed, frankly speaking, as I expected more, especially from Mitochondrion, whose song is just average in my opinion.
I may not be their biggest fan, especially as I know “Archaeaeon” only very little and I never had a chance to hear “Parasignosis”. But I do have and know very well their 2013 EP “Antinumerology”, which I simply love. Oh, just check my review. I gave it 95/100! This single is simply amazing and this is why I had to expect similar quality from “Gilded Words Reaped”. But I feel disappointed, because it’s just not as good. It’s different; musically it’s not that super thick, massive heavy and utterly obscure death metal. “Gilded Words Reaped” is rather twisted, weird and very progressive, technical death metal track, where you will hear many almost psychedelic, sick riffs, with many breaks and just weird parts, occasionally spiced with some harmonies. It sounds OK, but it’s just quite hard to get into its essence. There are some cool parts, but generally it’s just too bizarre and messy for me. I don’t like the vocals also. It doesn’t speak to me and unfortunately it lacks the atmosphere, which I liked so much on “Antinumerology”. Call it avant-garde death metal, if you wish, but for me this song is a disappointment.
I remember Auroch from their 2013’s “From Forgotten Worlds” album. I didn’t like it haha! So, I haven’t heard anything from them since then, until they came with “Leaden Words Sown” on this split. And well, I have to say that it’s not bad at all. I surely like this song more than Mitochondrion’s – which is a surprise. It’s also quite technical, dense sounding, heavy death metal slab. But it’s more brutal, more straight forward and simply more powerful. There are some killer riffs, sometimes it reminds me “Formulas Fatal…” record and other similar death metal ejaculations. Definitely Auroch has a lot to offer now, their music has developed greatly and now it is vicious and very interesting, so I wonder how they sound like on their newest album “Mute Books”. Will need to check it out! And on this split it’s Auroch who I like more.

Final rate: 65/100

Friday, 9 September 2016

Revel in Flesh / Wombbath - Dragged into the Obscure

REVEL IN FLESH / WOMBBATH - Dragged into the Obscure (UNHOLY PROPHECIES Records split 7'"EP 2016)
Finally the last split EP of Revel in Flesh is in my hands. It is their eight split EP already (!) and I suppose it would be a good idea to gather all these songs on a compilation CD, to have a nice collection of all these rare songs, especially as not everybody managed to grab these seven inches. I did! But it would be nice also to have all these songs on CD. Anyway, “Dragged into the Obscure” is kind of special split, for me personally, because along Revel in Flesh it brings us an old Swedish beast called Wombbath. I’m huge fan of both “Several Shapes” and “Internal Caustic Torments”, so I was wondering how do they sound like after the reunion. I’m yet to buy the new album “Downfall Rising” and their splits with Departed Souls and Warhound, so “Dragged into the Obscure” is the first new song of Wombbath I had a chance to hear.
So, I had to start with their song called “To Suffer Eternally”. And it doesn’t disappoint, I think. It’s solid, aggressive, powerful and vicious death metal - just as it should be! I think it’s an instant boner for all maniacs of such Swedish DM. And it’s nothing like that “Lavatory” waste of plastic and time haha! There’s groove, some melodies and if there’s anything I can complain, then sometimes this song feels a little messy. Yeah, this song doesn’t sound perfect, but I did enjoy it anyway. I’m sure their other new stuff will be even better.
“Casket Ride” is another fantastic song from Revel in Flesh. As always it’s a nice combination of melodic and aggressive, Swedish sounding death metal. And as usual, it has this dark, slightly melancholic atmosphere. Echoes of Dismember will always be hearable in Revel in Flesh music, but damn, that’s not a shame! I could never find anything, even the smallest, thing, which would bother me about their music. It’s great, aggressive, but unbelievably memorable and catchy death metal tune. You should grab the lyrics and growl along with Ralf, because this is how infectious these sounds are! I absolutely love it. And I really worship this band’s works, they get better and better and I’m also glad that the songs they bring for all these splits are not some bad, unnecessary fillers, but great tracks that deserve everyone’s attention. New album is coming soon, so I cannot wait to hear it… but they should also seriously think about that compilation CD!

Final rate: 90/100

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Drudkh / Hades - Той, хто говорить з імлою (One Who Talks with the Fog) / Pyre Era, Black!

DRUDKH / HADES - Той, хто говорить з імлою (One Who Talks with the Fog) / Pyre Era, Black! (SEASON OF MIST Split LP 2016)
Hades is back! YES, finally! I will not hide the fact that I’m great worshiper of this band’s work, ever since I’ve heard their music for the first time twenty years ago. And I still love albums like “…Again Shall Be” and “The Dawn of the Dying Sun”. I was actually afraid that they will never come back, since it’s been already fourteen years since the previous album called “The Pulse of Decay” was released! I did hear some news about single live shows that Hades played, but then bad news about Janto’s leaving the band came… Uhhh, Hades without Janto??? Impossible. It was long process, before “Pyre Era, Black!” finally came! And I was super excited, just because it’s fuckin Hades – even without Janto (who, by the way, was replaced by a drummer from Kampfar, Ask). One day I saw that “Pyre Era, Black!” is released on vinyl, as a split with Drudkh, so I quickly purchased it. And now, after numerous listens I am able to say that Hades is really back – and more so, they just recorded some of the best material ever since “The Dawn of the Dying Sun”!
If you know Hades discography, then you know that the band was changing through the years. And with “The Pulse of Decay” they took rather progressive, almost experimental path of black metal, very different to the atmosphere of cold, harsh heathen black metal they played in the early years. Now, fourteen years later, it was just impossible to guess, which direction is Hades music gonna go. I am happy to say that “Pyre Era, Black!” is a fantastic summation of all previous Hades recordings. On one hand it comes back to their roots a bit, as it also has that monumental, epic sound, which always characterized this band… it is very atmospheric, but also aggressive. On the other hand, it also has small progressive arrangements.
I am sure that everybody will recognize what band it is from the first listen, even if there’s a different vocalist. Who, by the way, did amazing job. I really have to say that the vocals of Ask are fantastic. I love the arrangements or how diverse are his vocals, with some clean parts and obviously also with some of the characteristic additional vocals of Remi. Yeah, I think that one of the reasons why this new EP sounds so bloody good is because the vocals are that great.
But the music is also killer. There are three new tracks, of which I personally liked “Bound” the most. It’s classic Hades, so epic and dark sounding, it’s almost majestic. When it starts, with the acoustic guitar and then the first riff, I immediately thought of “The Dawn of the Dying Sun” or “Millenium Nocturne”. What makes this song standout also is its catchiness, all these memorable riffs it has. But give a listen to the title track also! It’s so simple, as it’s basically based on one, but so fuckin memorable riff. I bet it will stick in your head for days and you will keep on chanting or singing it like crazy. Obviously the last song “Funeral Storm” is also killer… and each of these songs is a bit different, what makes “Pyre Era, Black!” even more interesting. Well… Definitely I have to say that for me personally this is one of the best releases of this year and I am just unbelievably happy to see Hades back and in such a good form, with such a fantastic new vocalist in the line up. Great work!
But hold on, this is a split LP, so we have also Drudkh on side B. I have to be honest – I never paid attention to this band. I knew the name, but never bothered to check any of their albums. Why? No reason, really. There are just too many bands around, you cannot know everything and I felt too lazy to check ten albums of some Ukrainians. I don’t think I would ever hear their music if they didn’t appear on this split with Hades.
With two, lengthy (almost nine minutes long each) songs, it’s very solid pagan black metal, with a lot of atmosphere and big focus on nature and Ukrainian folklore. Stylistically they remind me Abusiveness a bit. But I was quite surprised to hear such intensity and aggression in many parts of these songs, there are moments when Drudkh really shows a spectacular, vicious black metal – like in the first part of “Золотий кінь (Golden Horse)”. At the same time their music is very diverse, so there’re also many slower, more atmospheric parts, so generally it’s very well played and very well written / arranged stuff. I cannot complain at anything really, I had a good listen and surely they deserve to be on this split. And soon I will hear Drudkh again, on split LP with Grift. But I doubt I will be getting their albums – ten is way too many to buy now.
Standout tracks: “Bound”, “Pyre Era, Black!”

Final rate: 85/100

In Cauda Venenum / Heir / Spectrale split

IN CAUDA VENENUM / HEIR / SPECTRALE split (EMANATIONS - CD 2016)
Emanations, who released this CD, is a sublabel of Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions, who we all know from some excellent releases of bands like Maïeutiste, Paramnesia, Deluge and The Great Old Ones. What characterizes this label is that they specialize in releasing very uncommon, kind of experimental, avant-garde sounds. And it’s not different with Emanations, whose split between In Cauda Venenum, Heir and Spectrale I’ve been listening to for few days now. I honestly have never heard of any of these acts before and I doubt if many people did. I’m sure also that none of them will interest people, who worship only traditional, classic extreme metal sounds – so, if you do and you hate all those post / sludge / experimental metal bands then don’t waste your time, do whatever, but skip this review. For the rest of you, I can recommend quite interesting album, which took me a while before I really got into it. But once I captured its atmosphere, I really enjoyed it.
I guess you need to be in right mood for such atmospheric, contemplating sounds all these bands deliver. Definitely this split CD is not a release, which will bring you an utter aggression and viciousness only. Although there are some crushing, violent parts – Heir is a band, which is “most metal” and they even have some blasting, fast parts in their songs… but majority of this album is a quiet, nostalgic, melancholic music that sets a special mood and requires attention rather than drinking beers and headbanging. If you know what I mean by that.
Take Spectrale, who have three songs here. This is a musical project of Jeff Grimal from The Great Old Ones. What he does here is nothing else, but instrumental, ethereal atmospheric music – not metal at all. All his songs like “Al Ashfar” are acoustic, kind of mixed with ambient… I almost feel like Spectrale had specific role for this split album and it was to glue everything together in one conceptual piece. I cannot say though that these songs are anything special. It’s just acoustic stuff, but nothing what really captured my attention for long time.
In Cauda Venenum has just one, but 15 minutes long song, supposedly based on a Laura Palmer’s Theme from “Twin Peaks”. Well, I don’t know the original, so I cannot compare them. But I can say one thing – for me it’s worth to grab the whole CD just for this one masterpiece song, because it’s so bloody good! I simply love the atmosphere they evoke, the riffing and changes of mood – from harsh, even quite fast (post black???) metal to melancholic stuff, which is simply hypnotizing. They use cello, if I am not wrong, and this instrument makes a lot of greatness. It amazes me how it fits and at the same time fills the sound of In Cauda Venenum. It is just remarkable, mesmerizing and sometimes just beautiful. What a great job In Cauda Venenum then! If their self titled album sounds alike, then I wanna hear it.
Finally Heir, with three songs. Their music is definitely the most aggressive, it contains quite many really furious, blasting parts, smartly mixed with atmospheric bits that you can describe as post metal. And I have to say that I like these quiet, sometimes almost melancholic parts the most – like in “Upon the Masses”, which is really great song. This is when Heir music becomes really influential and mesmerizing. I’ve found some descriptions that say that there’s a black metal influence in Heir music – but I would not exaggerate. There’s simply nothing, what traditionally is called black metal there, so don’t take all those descriptions seriously. Heir is just experimental, post metal kind of band, which has an urge for harsh, sometimes quite fast type of playing and use screaming vocals, nothing else. Anyway, I have enjoyed their music. It’s not bad at all. Not as good as In Cauda Venenum, but very good indeed.
Standout tracks: “Laura Palmer, agonie à Twin Peaks”, “Upon the Masses”

Final rate: 70/100

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Altars interview

ALTARS interview
Since I found out that Altars split up and decided to review their only album "Paramnesia" I remembered that I also have this interview, which was done two years ago. Well, it was never published on this blog, so now it's time to give it to you.

Greetings there! It is just awesome that I have this possibility to ask Altars some questions, because - and believe me this is not ass kissing thing here! - I truly think “Paramnesia” belongs to the best death metal records of the recent years. It is truly killer stuff, so the more I feel happy that I can interview you! So, are you ready for the interrogation? Play some killer tune - I have the new Incantation LP on the player when doing these questions! - and let’s start!
Thanks for having us, the pleasure is ours. 

Good, but I hope you’ll be more talkative with my next questions! So tell me, are you actually surprised with the reactions “Paramnesia” gets? All in all Altars is small, relatively unknown band from some another world, but I only heard killer opinions on this LP! What expectations, what vision did you have when recording this album? What brings the biggest satisfaction for you, now when the dust is slowly going down and you can look at everything from a bigger perspective? You know, I feel like many bands nowadays suffer for too large ego and often have no idea what an underground extreme metal band should stand for. They want to be huge stars, I feel like it’s not the case with Altars. Tell me if I’m wrong though hehe!
It’s certainly been surprising; it’s great to see such a positive response to Paramnesia, we’ve perhaps for the first time really felt that support and interest from people, it’s a great feeling and we really appreciate it. We’ve always been an underground band, and we’re quite happy doing what we’re doing. We do what we do with a certain level of professionalism and we had a very strong vision for this album and what we wanted it to be, and even then I don’t think it’s perfect. We don’t care for trends, fame, ego’s or conformity - we’re just interested in making music, and realising these visions as best as we can.  

As close to perfection as “Paramnesia” sounds, I wonder how was it like to compose such album? How many songs or riffs did you have to throw away in the process of writing it, was it mainly the work of one composer or the group effort? Finally, how did it all develop in the process and where does the influence come from? What approach did you have when starting doing this record?
It was a pretty painstaking process. Some songs were written very quickly (Husk took a short session in the jam room) while others took weeks or months. The sheer number of riffs or ideas that were thrown out in search for what felt ‘right’ is high, I can’t give you a number, but the composition process has always been fairly slow in Altars, although recently I feel it’s increased in pace. 
When writing Paramnesia, songs would normally start with a riff or a number of riffs, from there we would begin putting drums to the music and normally further riffs will naturally flow from there. We wanted that spontaneity that happens in the rehearsal room. 

Do you think that for such music as yours, intuition or spontaneity plays an important role? Or it is just better when the whole process is planned, carefully organized, so you know how many fast or slow parts there will be, etc? I would rather see it as sort of going with the instinct; some would just call it - however dull it would sound - listening to what your soul or heart whisper you?
It is very much a process of intuition and instinct. Writing music can at times be some sort of spiritual process, I try to rely on these feelings that pull my mind and fingers in one direction or another in order to create different sounds, shapes and colours that form our music.

It’s interesting that I honestly was not so impressed by your demo, which was released as a split with Heaving Earth. It just lacked something what would really strike me hard, that powerful and mesmerizing factor, which  “Paramnesia” has. So, I can be only happy that the whole impression is so much better with the album, but do you think it’s just matter of production differences between both releases? How do you see that split and also, you can tell me how did it actually happen you ended up on this cassette?
The split came about from Gab (Nihilisitc Holocaust); he had the idea for the split and orchestrated the whole thing and we were very grateful.
It was recorded by a friend of ours studying sound engineering at university. He had limited access to a studio at the university, so we went in at night and recorded from 10pm to as early as 4am so that we could get the room for as long as possible. We didn’t have the money or the best equipment in the studio, and as we never intended to release the recording (except as a free download), we were happy with it as is.
I quite like the ferociousness of the recording, there are some things that came out well that weren’t captured on the album, and vice versa.

The fact that the music of Altars can be described as kind of old school death metal and thrown to the same box with bands like Ignivomous, Mitochondrion, Portal, Incantation, Disma, etc may be a good selling point today, as these bands get a lot of deserved recognition. Do you feel as a part of this old school death metal movement? From my point of view, yes, all these bands, and Altars as well, play music deeply rooted in the traditions of the genre, but at the same time they’re delivering something new; you know, the aura, the atmosphere of the music is even darker, more hypnotic and powerful; it is almost like a trance sometimes, when you confront these bulldozing riffs. How do you see this evolution of the genre? Hmm, it’s like evolution through coming back to the roots; Ouroboros death metal hehe!
I think you make a good point regarding the cyclical nature of music. I think music always returns to its roots. Our music has these old school elements, but brings a number of more modern overtones to the genre. As we’ve matured as musicians, I feel we’re are less and less concerned with genre’s, definitions, and more interested in making whatever we feel like, because we can.

Paramnesia is a word, which describes disorder of memory, when the reality is mistaken with fantasy. I wonder then if something like this is not a bigger and bigger problem among people; you know, teenagers are so deeply closed in four walls, behind their computers, in virtual worlds and games that soon they have no idea what is going on outside, what is white and what is black. And then some of them go out with a shotgun, thinking this is yet another game they play!
Technology is another tool we can use for good or evil. Balance is the key in life, and by making mistakes young people will be able to learn and grow into adults. The world is changing at a very fast rate, and it’s easy to be afraid of things we’re not yet familiar with, but this doesn’t necessarily make them worse.

I’ve just watched an excellent, unfortunately just one seasonal, TV series titled “Flashforward” Have you seen it? What do you think of an idea, that we can see, get to know a minute of our lives from a distant future? Would it be a blessing or curse for us?
I’m not familiar with the show; I guess this is kind of like the idea of ‘Paramnesia’ or ‘Deja-vu’, except that in your example this is a real thing that happens. I personally think that would be a curse.

I’ve read somewhere that the album is mainly about “life, death and rebirth”. That brings a question how do you imagine an afterlife, if anything like this exists and more so, do you believe in reincarnation? Are such and other concepts of Buddhism familiar and close to you and the concept of Altars?
I’ve studied Buddhism at Univeristy (from an Anthropological perspective); I’ve also attended a Buddhist Wat and undertaken meditation, but I’m not religious or a ‘follower’ of any religion so I don’t believe in an afterlife as such. I simply find the concepts of Buddhism fascinating, and their ethos was an inspiration for this album.

Are there any philosophers, who inspire you also, when writing the lyrics?
Cale: No.

That was very interesting answer! There are many opinions that the world needs cleansing, needs to restart, erase the population and come back stronger and changed. What do you think of this impossible theory? If a total war just happened now, would it create more chaos and violence or it would really have cathartic effect on the remaining population?
This is not relevant to our music, so respectfully as a band we do not feel it’s our place to comment on this.

Actually it all brings me back to memories from some awesome sci-fi movies, about post apocalyptic world, like Mad Max, Water World, Terminator, I am Legend, Matrix… What do you think of such cinema? Which films are your favourites? Have you seen Polish comedy Sexmission, where the world is inhabited only by women, because “men were responsible for all wars and crimes” and in such world two male scientists wake up from hibernation? Haha, can you imagine to be in this world hehe?
Haha, I’ll have to look it up. I enjoy a lot of weird ‘arthouse’ films, but sometimes you just want to watch something simple to relax to, it really depends on the mood, time and place.

Vinyl, demo tapes, fanzines… they are the essence of  metal underground. Are you collector of such stuff? Tell me then what are your recent purchases and also the most precious items in the collection? And how do you perceive the whole download thing? I personally think that downloading can be OK, if is controlled and goes in hand with extensive support for bands and labels (which means also buying the physical copies of the music, merch, etc).
Some of my favourite ‘rarities’ are in-fact CDs, original copies of Demilich’s - Nespithe, and !T.O.O.H.! – Pod Vladou Bice. Both are classic albums obtained through friend’s within the ‘underground’.

I like to collect vinyl, I’m not so crazy on cassettes but like all format’s I think if you really use that format as a canvas to do something special, then they’re great.
I’ve enjoyed a number of fanzine’s over the years, I’ve thought about making one myself a few times but it’s not something I’ve ever become deeply involved in.
People are afraid of downloads because they are new, I think we’re just really beginning to learn how powerful they can be as a new medium.

You’ve been in good hands of two awesome underground labels – Nuclear Winter and Blood Harvest. I am especially a great fan of the latter; have been collecting their vinyl for many years now and that collection grows and grows. Tell me what’s your impression on working with these two labels? Are you a vinyl maniac? Which of Blood Harvest previous releases you have and enjoyed the most so far?
It’s been a pleasure to work alongside both labels, being from the other side of the world we don’t necessarily meet these people or know them in person, most contact is through email.
I was fortunate enough to meet A.V. from Nuclear Winter/ Dead Congregation when I was in Europe. A great band, great label, and he did a superb job with our release. 
Rodrigo/ Blood Harvest has also been fantastic to work with - I mostly have their Australian releases - I’ve always been a big supporter of the Australian underground and Blood Harvest has released some quality Australian albums.

Tell me how such massive, heavy music sounds live? Is it difficult to recapture the powerful energy of the record, the mammoth sound, the feeling? Which songs / parts you like to play the most and give you the biggest energy – those fast, blasting parts like “Descent” or slower, heavy stuff like “Khaz'neh” (at least some parts of this song hehe)?
My favourite songs to play live are Husk and Ouroboros (Paramnesia, part III). Husk is so simple, and powerful. There are parts in Ouroboros that give me a feeling that can’t be replicated in any other setting.
We’ve been told that live, our music doesn’t really come across as Death Metal, it’s more like a Doom or Drone concert: it’s a highly physical experience, the music grabs you and the slower pulsating bass pulls you inside and beneath the wall of noise.

You’ve played only in your continent so far, right? I believe it must be frustrating to live so far away from Europe and US and not be able to tour with so many occasions… On the other hand Australia has created a solid and worthy underground scene with some exceptional, fantastic bands, my favourites being Ignivomous, Altars, D666, Portal, Atomizer, Beyond Mortal Dreams and few more… What’s your view and relationship with the scene?
The scene is quite incestuous as there a fewer people playing this sort of music in Australia, we’ve had the opportunity to play with some of these bands and have seen many of them live over the years. It’s a bit strange as we are still first and foremost fans, and still look up to many of these bands. It’s a bit like being the ‘new kid’ at school.

I must take this opportunity and ask you also about two earlier releases of Altars, one being a demo from 2008… It is quite often that the early demo recordings are far from the musical style (not to mention quality) of full length albums, as the band did not set yet for particular sound/style and was still searching for their identity, they may also seem more immature, so how would you describe this demo to me?
Exactly as you’ve just described it: there were some great ideas, but ultimately it was a very amateur effort, the songs were written when I was very young and still maturing as a songwriter. We had very little money and recorded it in just a weekend, we’ve come a long way and matured a lot since then.

And what about the split with Tzun Tzu? How this one came to be and what can you say about your song “Nepenthe / Sepulchure”? Is this split still available anywhere? Tzun Tzu is another band of Alan Cadman, am I right?
This song was written as a standalone track so it was a little different, it was initially supposed to be a 4-way split 7” but plans changed. When the release was delayed it eventually came out as a split with Tzun Tzu and on CD instead of 7” as originally intended. Alan is now drumming in Tzun Tzu as well, but he wasn’t at the time. That recording was our first time in a studio as a band, again, looking back we hadn’t really matured yet and it was in the years after this release we really began to develop our songwriting skills, and we still are.

What about some other bands, which some of you play like Cyclonus, Monomakh and Sarsekim? I understand that Altars has priority over them all? How often do you rehearse with Altars and I would also like to know if you already focus on writing new songs for some upcoming recordings?
Monomakh and Cycolnus are projects of our vocalist/ bassist Cale Schmidt. The original Monomakh recording also featured Alan on drums. Sarsekim is another band with Alan on drums and our ex-bassist Jon Dewar on guitar.
I’ve recently moved to live in Melbourne, so now both Cale and I are living in Melbourne and Alan is still living in Adelaide. This changes things and our dynamic a little bit, but I’ve been working on new music for our second album. We just debuted a new song live when playing with Undergang (Denmark) and Cauldron Black Ram on their Australian tour.
The focus from here is to finish the music for our next album with the view to get back into the studio as soon as possible.

OK, we shall end here… I believe that all the best is still to come from Altars and if the next album will be better than “Paramnesia” then the world will fall! Just give me some idea for the new songs, which I hope have already been composed and share some upcoming plans of Altars with the readers of Panzerfaust zine! Mega thanks for this interview!!!!!!!!
Thanks so much for taking the time to interview us. The best is certainly yet to come. We’re looking forward to finishing and recording our next album; we’re looking forward to sharing it with you. Cheers.

Altars - Paramnesia

ALTARS - Paramnesia (BLOOD HARVEST LP 2013)
Some years ago I was really impressed with a debut album of Australian death metal commando Altars. In my humble opinion “Paramnesia” was one of the best debuts of this decade and I frequently come back to this LP. But recently I discovered some sad news that the band split up. Damn, it’s shame that most likely we will never get a continuation of “Paramnesia”. But instead of crying, I decided to play this fantastic record once again and also write some words, hoping this review will introduce Altars to some people and they will want to grab a copy of “Paramnesia”. Believe me, this LP is worth it.
First time I heard Altars was on their split tape with Heaving Earth. I didn’t think it was anything exceptional. But the progression this band made from the demo to this album is huge. What “Paramnesia” brings is a eruption of massive, strong death metal maelstrom, which fantastically combines the traditional means of the genre, of great, noticeable influences that Altars takes from the likes of Morbid Angel, Immolation or Incantation, with the modern extreme metal avant-garde. And then the names of bands like Portal, Impetuous Ritual, Mitochondrion, even some black metal acts come to mind. So, there’s something progressive about their style, but at the same time it’s all deeply rooted in genre’s classics – can it be any better then?
Most of these songs are quite lengthy, but they never bore. The riffs here are all incredibly strong, they sound brutal and powerful, but also have a trance like influence on the listener. The drumming is simply excellent and the deep growl of Cale Schmidt fills the sound with something sick and inhuman. The whole music is massive, it feels like a heavy wall of sound that slowly comes closer and closer, little by little crushing every bone in your body. But this is a pleasant torture, because “Paramnesia” is so fuckin good. It’s very thick, dense sounding music, so heavy! But also quite technical, very often there will be some weird arrangements, sudden breaks, a lot of variety within every song… listen to it carefully and you will discover something fantastic there! The songs like “Mare” or “Khaz’Neh” are unbelievably good, “Khaz’Neh” even reminds me Gojira a bit haha! And the ending three-track concept called “Paramnesia” is a the real icing on the cake, especially its third part called “Ouroboros”
The album brings an interesting concept based on life, death and rebirth, what is a result of band members interest in Buddhism. And the word “paramnesia” is an inability to distinguish between real and fantasy memories. The front artwork was conjured by Denis Forkas Kostromitin, who also did an artwork for Behemoth’s “Satanist” LP among others. It is called “The philosopher and the Devil aphyroneus”. And additional artwork was done by the master Alexander L. Brown (Witchrist).All in all, “Paramnesia” is in my opinion among the best albums of recent years; very good, solid effort. Such a shame then it will not be continued.
Standout tracks: “Mare”, “Khaz’Neh”, “Ouroboros”

Final rate: 90/100

Concatenatus - Aeonic Dissonances Beyond Light's Consumption

CONCATENATUS - Aeonic Dissonances Beyond Light's Consumption
This band caught my attention last year and now they come back with their newest release. They’re called Concatenatus and I hope some of you remember my review of their “Meditation Through the Inner Vortex” demo. This time this Chilean band have a brand new EP, called “Aeonic Dissonances Beyond Light's Consumption”. And first, let me say that I just love the whole graphic design of this digipak. It is very simple, but maybe this is why it makes such a good impression on me. Black background, white gothic lettering, killer artwork and band photograph – simple, but so bloody effective and already that CD presentation sets the right mood for the music.
Concatenatus is quite original sounding black metal entity, you will surely not find many bands with similar style. It is characterized with a strong doomy influence – so, you will hear rather slower tempos, very obscure, almost ritualistic aura of the music and something really eerie that feels like comes out of the darkness of these sounds. And these vocals… wow, sometimes they sound almost possessed and sick! And I like how Concatenatus mixes harsh, lunatic screams with chanting and other such stuff. They really enhance that ritualistic, malicious feeing of the music. And believe me, this is really fuckin awesome. The first song called “Aeons” is probably the best one and damn, for me it sounds like Concatenatus were taking influences from such black metal scenes like Italian (Mortuary Drape) or Greek (many acts from there), but managed to spice it up with something individual. This song has incredible dark feeling and the riffs and all arrangements, with killer vocals, etc are just amazing. I love how it progresses, it’s almost like it was taking you on a journey into dark, unknown darkness and at the same time was putting you into trance.
With this song you can definitely tell that “Aeonic Dissonances Beyond Light's Consumption” is a good step forward for Concatenatus, but at the same time it continues what they’ve started on the “Meditation Through the Inner Vortex” demo. You can all check it yourself, as the demo is also on this CD – very good decision, indeed, as this way you’ll get over 30 minutes of fantastic obscure doomy black metal! And I hope you will support them and enjoy their music. I did!
Standout tracks: “Aeons”, “Echoing Cacophony”

Final rate: 80/100

Hicks Kinison / Corrupt Moral Altar split

Hicks Kinison / Corrupt Moral Altar split 7"EP (FAT ASS Records split 2016)
This split 7”EP is another piece of vinyl that was kindly sent to me by Fat Ass Records. Right from the beginning they said that it may not be my kind of music, but they wanna send it anyway. And this is how the split between Hicks Kinison and Corrupt Moral Altar found its way to my turntable. And yes, they were right and neither of these two acts play music, which I would usually listen to. And obviously I never heard of these bands before.
Corrupt Moral Altar, who are from Liverpool, play this sort of hard core / metalcore / grind type of music – or however you wanna call it, I am not gonna argue, because I’m not an expert in such sounds. Both tracks have this typical kind of rhythms, riffs and screaming vocals, which usually characterize such bands. But I was quite surprised to hear some fast, blasting parts in Corrupt Moral Altar music, surely I have to say that they play very violent and aggressive, pissed off stuff. Not my cup of blood at all, but somehow I had no troubles playing their side of 7” several times. And I did play it loud. I can only admit that this is quality stuff and if you like this style then you should check them out.
Hicks Kinison is more grind core’ish type of band, but what I like about them is that they don’t play this nonsense brutality on full speed with pointless riffs, boring and annoying pigsty squeals and vocals. Instead, their music is rather mid paced, with a lot of groove and truly heavy riffs. They also have strong hard core’ish influence, so again it’s not necessarily my type of music, but Hicks Kinison – who I prefer more from two bands that are on this split – have some cool riffs there and I like that groove they have. Play it loud and it surely will force you to bang skull. Oh, I didn’t mention that, but Shane Embury tortures bass in Hicks Kinison!

Final rate: 65/100

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

5 years have passed!

I didn’t even see this, but on 15th of June this blog / webzine / however you call it, passed its five years of existence. Well, I never thought I will carry it for that long, back then I hoped it will be just a short affair before I do another paper version of my fanzine - which I did in May 2014, but I kept on doing webzine as well, as I quite enjoy doing it. And I think it has its readers. Who I wanna thank now, for reading this bullshit that I sometimes write. I wanna thank also labels, bands and whoever else is there, for cooperation. Still most of the stuff that I review is stuff, which I buy, but I am obviously happy for every promotional shit that some people decide to send me. These days of digital promos it matters a lot and is highly prized and appreciated. I see that there’re almost 300.000 pageviews. No idea if it’s a lot or not, for me it’s great. Below you can see some statistics, which posts were most viewed (but they count only direct clicks to the link, not if you scroll down the page and view post after post), I am especially happy that three of the top ten are posts from recent weeks, which means that Panzerfaust got many views also recently. Cheers! I will carry on doing this stuff, until I get bored with it. And please, don’t ask me if there will be another paper version of Panzerfaust. I already had like 70% of issue 7 ready, but all the stuff got too old, I had no time to finish it and now it looks like I don’t care about it.

Dakhma - Passageways to Daena (The Concomitant Blessings of Putrescing Impurity)

DAKHMA - Passageways to Daena (The Concomitant Blessings of Putrescing Impurity) (GODZ OV WAR Productions CD 2016)
Some weeks after reviewing “Astiwihad-Zohr” EP of Helvetia beasts called Dakhma I am torturing my whole useless neighborhood with another piece of morbidity and violence from this band. And this is their debut album titled “Passageways to Daena (The Concomitant Blessings of Putrescing Impurity)”. This CD version, packed in very nice black / red coloured digipak, was unleashed by Godz Ov War Production and yeah… I think that all those who enjoyed the EP of Dakhma will surely like “Passageways…” as well. But in case you’re not so much into chaotic, totally obscure and vicious, rough sounding black / death metal, then don’t even waste your time on reading this review, as Dakhma will not interest you at all.
Normally I would say that I am surprised that something so fuckin raw and chaotic, so insanely vulgar and violent even had a chance to get released on a record label. And that somebody would bother to listen to it! But damn, it looks like such pieces of disgust and abhorrence are getting quite a lot of attention these days, so I am not surprised anymore that such Dakhma was also able to come from their bunker with a full length album.
“Passageways to Daena” is insanely vicious and bestial record. And even if I would wish that the production of it was a bit better and more powerful, I need to admit that Dakhma was able to kick ass with some killer riffs and songs. Every now and then you’ll hear something that will impress you massively. And the fact that everything is shaped into such brutal and chaotic forms only increases that morbid, bestial aura of the music. If you worship this sort of black / death metal, then you can really feel multiple orgasms when hearing “Passageways to Daena”. But it won’t be pleasant feeling, as bands like Dakhma should not be treated as entertainment or fun, this should be a spiritual and also physical, aggressive experience.
From the strictly musical point of view, I mentioned that I am impressed with some of these riffs and shit. I truly think that Dakhma had some killer ideas for this album, especially that it’s not constantly the same sort of guitar ripping or whatever. “Passageways to Daena” sometimes progresses even into sick, doomy, slow parts, other time it’s insanely fast… so, when you listen to it carefully, you will hear something more than just one dimensional bestial black / death metal. Take the truly fantastic “Ascension II (The Light Eternal)” and “The Silent Tower (Gather Ye of Life)” for instance. On the other hand I have to say that there are some weaker songs as well like “Where Shattered Minds Collide (The Immortal March)”, but that is just my opinion. That diversity is even bigger when Dakhma adds some noise / dark ambient passages, like “Chinvat (Ascension III - Agony)”, to create even deeper darkness and more horrifying aura. Let me also say that between all that black / death metal harshness I managed to spot some strong Morbid Angel influences, like in “Consuming the Nasu (of Shredded Impurity)” and that’s something what makes “Passageways to Daena” even more worthy for me personally.
Obviously this album is not without its faults. I mentioned some weaker songs. Another one would be the length of “Passageways to Daena”. In its first, digital, version this album was already fifty minutes long. For this CD is was extended into long seventy minutes, with additional two tracks (one of which is pretty useless Bathory cover). Damn! Believe me, even though I’ve been spinning this shit multiple times, not always I was able to focus on it entirely, sometimes around 30th or 40th minute my mind was wondering away, not really staying in contact with the music. It’s not easy thing to do when you’re dealing with this wall of harsh noise that Dakhma recorded. I would almost wish that Dakhma picked up the best pieces of this album and shrank it into 40 minutes killer beast. It is what it is though. Good album anyway.
Standout tracks: “Barashnûm (Defiled by Dead Flesh)”, “Ascension II (The Light Eternal)”, “Consuming the Nasu (of Shredded Impurity)”, “The Silent Tower (Gather Ye of Life)”

Final rate: 65/100