Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Sear Bliss - The Haunting

SEAR BLISS - The Haunting (II MOONS - CD 1998)
Two years have passed since the release of the utter amazing debut album “Phantoms” and the second CD of Sear Bliss has been unleashed by II Moons, titled “The Haunting”. I mentioned in my review of “Phantoms” how much I appreciated the debut, how well it’s been composed, how great is the unique style of the Hungarian band. So, obviously my expectations for the second album were huge… Of course today I know this CD since many years already, so I have a strong opinion regarding it for a long time now… and I’m afraid it’s not quite as positive as my view of the previous record. I don’t want to moan too much and I also don’t want to change my overall opinion about Sear Bliss – because they will always be an exceptional band for me, but probably “The Haunting” belongs to my least favourite records from them, sorry to say that! It’s almost a disappointment when compared to such an excellent “Phantoms”, which was near perfection in almost every aspect. “The Haunting” is obviously sort of continuation of the debut, but I simply don’t feel like this material is as strong and as well composed as I would hope.
So, what went wrong here? I said that “The Haunting” is a continuation of “Phantoms”, because it surely is. Sear Bliss maintain their style’s trademark aspects such as a combination of rough black metal with a lot of atmospheric parts and the great usage of brass section, which fills a lot of the album together with the keyboards. But maybe what went wrong here is that the album became slightly too soft and over melodic in its major parts, in my opinion. On one hand Sear Bliss still has quite few black metal parts, but they’re all played in slow tempos, with rather simple riffing and too often accompanied by the keyboards, which may underline the atmosphere, but at the same time remove the harshness and aggression. “Phantoms” for me was perfectly balanced when speaking of the combination of atmospheric music and rough (black) metal. On “The Haunting” that scale went dangerously too much in favour for the melody, softened sounds and atmosphere. The riffs may still sound quite heavy and maybe not so typically black metal anymore – and surely there are some strong guitar parts here and there - but mostly they’re just strangled by the ever present keyboards. Keyboards dominate here, they even overshadowed the brass section, which is rather unfortunate, taking for consideration how great work it has done on the debut. OK, not all keyboards here sound bad, sometimes it’s fine, but my tolerance has been tested here quite few times I am afraid.
But I guess the main problem here is that it simply is not as good material as the previous or some future records. There are obviously some nice moments, some good songs – but none of them is as good as such “Aeons of Desolation” or “1100 Years Ago” from the debut. And when listening to the whole “The Haunting” I just feel slightly bored, as it becomes too monotonous after a while, when each song is played in similarly slow tempos, with similar keyboard parts and similar sort of riffs. I can again remind you how perfectly balanced and varied “Phantoms” was. “The Haunting” is just not good; there are some fragments that I like… but the whole album is simply mediocre.
Ha, I bet now that my whole review sounds rather negative… But I don’t want to make you think bad about Sear Bliss. It’s still a great band and “The Hanting” is… hmm, let’s just say that I do enjoy this record occasionally haha, but when compared to some other materials of the Hungarians, it’s simply not their best. It is unharmful, easy to listen to music, which you can play as a background to some meaningless works. But that’s it… it is just something what comes in at one ear and out at the other. Sounds rough? Hehe! But maybe if it wasn’t all so slow and so damn over melodic, then it would be better?! Who knows. The excitement, which I have when I listen to “Phantoms” or “The Grand Destiny” is just not present here. There’s not even one song, which I would fully love. So… I give this album 60/100, although I know that some people rank it higher than I do.
Standout tracks: “Left In Dark”

Final rate: 60/100

Bloodbath - Resurrection Through Carnage

BLOODBATH - Resurrection Through Carnage (CENTURY MEDIA - CD 2002)
Frankly speaking, the whole idea for the so called super projects, read: temporary bands, formed by so well known musicians and usually directed by major record labels, is something what I mostly despise. It’s where the artificial music business and cash talks, not the real needs, interests, passions and desires – at least in many cases it is like that. And maybe with Bloodbath it was the same in the beginnings, who knows… I am not the one to judge it. But the reality is that this once side project turned into a real band, with real albums, real music, real gigs, not something temporary and onetime thing. And more so, unlike many side projects, Bloodbath proved to have certain high quality in most of the recordings they did and so, it’s not an unworthy shit. They started with killer “Breeding Death” EP and then this crushing death metal masterpiece came out – “Resurrection Through Carnage”, a classic old styled Swedish death metal beast! Moaning and bitching aside, this is just bloody good album, sounding like some of the early 90’s masterpieces. It is almost surprising that something like this came from the people involved in Katatonia. Sure, they’re experienced musicians, who not only played soft melancholic rock in their lives… but it’s so different from what they usually play… and at the same time this music sounds natural, like they really did have death metal floating in their veins. Good!
The whole secret behind “Resurrection Through Carnage” is simple as it can only be; they composed a bunch of great songs, came up with killer riffs, some catchy, straight to the point rhythms, proper feeling, had simple, but awesome ideas and good vocalist … More so, they kind of blended the classic Swedish death metal style (similar to some Grave, Unleashed, early Hypocrisy and Entombed) with some ingredients from the old US legends such as Autopsy or very early Death…There’s no special philosophy or fuckin mathematics, just pure, straight forward, no bullshit death metal and it just clicked perfectly with such songs like “Like Fire”, “Ways to the Grave”, “So You Die”, “Mass Strangulation”. Each song is damn memorable and force the headbanging and it’s also good to scream some of the lyrics (by the way, Mikael Akerfeldt did a better job here than I would expect! He really has this old vibe in his growling!). The music is also soaked with the properly created gory, bloody horror atmosphere… So, there’s nothing missing here, just great, high quality old school death metal. It’s nothing original, nothing sophisticated (let’s leave that to Opeth hehe), but it delivers everything what we all enjoy in the traditional death metal sounds. And more so, it turned out 666times better than majority of few albums from bands I mentioned above, like Unleashed for example, who’re the dullest of all. So, super group or super bullshit, no matter what the real intentions behind “Resurrection Through Carnage” were, I still think it is an awesome death metal record and to this day it’s also Bloodbath’s best piece in my opinion.
Standout tracks: “Like Fire”, “Ways to the Grave”, “So You Die”, “Mass Strangulation”

Final rate: 80/100

Archives of the Dead part XIV: Accidental Suicide – Flesh Parade (Demo 1990)

Archives of the Dead part XIV: ACCIDENTAL SUICIDE – Flesh Parade (Demo 1990)
Line up: Steve Fera (bass), Chris Kinjerski (drums), Travis Staedter (guitars), Bill Mears (guitars), Ed Jackson (vocals)
You may agree with me or not – I don’t care anyway haha – but I think there are several death metal bands from the old days, which really should have gotten more attention. I do realize obviously that most of them released their debut albums simply too late and this is the reason why they didn’t get as popular as the pioneering bands – because there were pioneers and the followers and it is a huge difference. But it surely doesn’t mean that the music of those followers was not worthy or killer. In the US scene I could mention such awesome bands like Gutted, Morgue, Demented Ted, Resurrection, Viogression, Experiment Fear, even Morta Skuld and Baphomet… and I don’t even want to start with the European scene or with the bands which only did demos and never had any albums recorded. They all were awesome, but just didn’t get so much reputation. There’s one more band from the old US scene, which I will write here about – Accidental Suicide! They were great, really. There’s only one album released – “Deceased” from 1992 (Deaf Records) and couple of demo tapes, of which I especially like “Flesh Parade” from 1990. This is only a three tracker, but what a nice doomy death metal, what a cool demo!!
All three songs are also known from the album, as they were all re-recorded on “Deceased”, but it doesn’t matter. This demo is great anyway. Sound wise it is much harsher, but don’t be afraid; this raw production has great charm and feeling of the old death metal days. It sounds rough, but can you expect something else from the old demo tape?? And music wise, this is as traditional and classic as it can only be. Accidental Suicide had quite a lot of doomy moments, “The Life I Hate” is closely influenced even by such Paradise Lost, but what a godly stuff it is. I can understand that maybe more demanding listeners were not so impressed, as they heard similar stuff before several times, so they were calling Accidental Suicide a second rate band, but not me… I simply enjoy good death metal and this is what these three songs are. “Flesh Parade” is my favourite track here, as it is fantastic mid paced track, with just killer riffs and vocals. Absolutely perfect death tune! And also “The Life I Hate” is great, for its doomy, but heavy as fuck sound. Yes, it’s nothing innovative, nothing groundbreaking, but very solid brutal doom / death metal. Think of Paradise Lost, Morgoth, Obituary, Morta Skuld and Baphomet. A fine demo, but “Deceased” LP is even better! Anyway, please remember about Accidental Suicide; if you’re old death metal worshipper, then I am sure that you’ll like this band a lot.

Final rate: 70/100

Monday, 23 February 2015

Nailgun Massacre - Boned, Boxed and Buried

NAILGUN MASSACRE - Boned, Boxed and Buried (XTREEM Music - CD 2015)
This is the second album from the Dutch maniacs of horror and gore, Nailgun Massacre. This one was released through Xtreem Music and that’s probably the only drastic change when comparing “Boned, Boxed and Buried” to “Backyard Butchery”. Other than that, I think that this new album can be seen as a natural continuation of the debut, so Nailgun Massacre again tells us the stories of the most gruesome and terrifying horror and grotesque, again so deeply influenced by the hilarious B-class cinema from the 70’s and 80’s, with some of the most primitive and bad acted gore / horror movies one could think of. My thoughts on that sort of movies was already described in the review of “Backyard Butchery”, so I won’t be repeating myself… It’s cool though that there are bands like Nailgun Massacre, which find so much influence in these films and create some disgusting music based on it. It’s also cool that “Boned, Boxed and Buried”, just like the previous album, has a booklet, with the artwork so much based on the posters and images of the old horror movies and comic books. For me this visual side, these graphics, are the best thing in those movies, so it’s just great to see them used also in the music. Especially when they fit the atmosphere of this death metal so damn well...
And let me say one thing here… I started to listen to “Boned, Boxed and Buried” one morning and I was having breakfast with my wife… and you know what she said? She said: “Damn, this music sounds so fuckin sick… I think this is one of the most disgusting stuff I’ve ever heard you listening to”. Hahaha! I don’t know if that’s a compliment for Nailgun Massacre or not? Haha! Let them decide! But it is truth that this new album sounds so fuckin sick! And that is one more quite noticeable change when comparing both albums… The debut I think was slightly more easy to listen to, it was quite groovy and had many melodic parts, what was very cool I think, especially when combined with the creepy Autopsy like aura. And “Boned, Boxed and Buried” is probably even more deepened in the Autopsy slime and shit, so the riffs are less groovy and much less melodic, but more into the gory and disgusting mid paced death metal like Autopsy, Obituary, Bone Gnawer… plus there’s a beautiful influence from the good old Death and “Scream Bloody Gore” / “Leprosy” era, especially  in the title song, which contains one of the very few melodic parts on “Boned, Boxed and Buried” – and when I heard it I was like “wow, “Zombie Ritual” haha.
And musically this album is very cool, I think. There’re many killer riffs, great arrangements… just awesome catchy, but filthy and disgusting death metal. But the real challenge here are the vocals. Yes, Nailgun Massacre went really crazy, when doing the vocals and performed some of the sickest and most repulsive, horrible vomits I heard in my life haha. Sometimes they’re almost annoying haha! Imagine Christ Reifert’s characteristic sordid vomit mixed up with something what sounds like the most pissed off and bad replica of Martin van Drunen haha! Some of these vocals sound really cool, but sometimes as I said they’re a bit annoying, maybe not always performed well… but the effect is as the band probably wanted: “hilarious and siiiiccckkkk”!! Atmosphere wise it’s all about creepy, terrifying horror, so it’s a good match with such vomit behind the mic.
But I must say that when taking all the little details of “Boned, Boxed and Buried”, with the advantages and disadvantages, then I must say that it was not an easy album to get into. At first I really thought that it’s just not as good as the debut and I felt let down. But I played this CD for few days and it really seemed that I like it more and more. I think that Nailgun Massacre is doing a fantastic job, I got used to even to those horrid vocals! So, I can say that I am very pleased with the music of these Dutch gore-freaks. Yeah, I love some of these riffs, especially when the band slows down and plays some more doomy stuff, sometimes turning it into some killer melodic theme, like the absolutely fantastic opening theme for “Meat Locker”… this is pure madness and horror show! But what a great beginning of the song, a lot like some classic Asphyx for example. An old school death metal maniac like me just must love it. And I do. So, it’s not that “Boned, Boxed and Buried” is completely derived of melodic and memorable riffs; there’s just less of them than on the debut.
The great thing is that I like “Boned, Boxed and Buried” more with each next listening, I catch some really killer songs like “Casket Full of Fun”, which is just fantastic! In the beginning I was quite pushed away by the vocals especially, now maybe I am getting more used to them, even if in such “Mad Road Killer” or the end bit of “Casket Full of Fun” they kind of crossed the line of good taste haha! Fuck it… I recommend this band and both their albums anyway, this is just great, great stuff. But remember, avoid listening to it when having a breakfast with your wife... unless you eat some human flesh, you cannibal freaks!
Standout tracks: “Meat Locker”, “Boned, Boxed and Buried”, “Casket Full of Fun”

Final rate: 80/100

Nailgun Massacre - Backyard Butchery

NAILGUN MASSACRE - Backyard Butchery (SLOWRUNNER Records CD 2011)
Do you like all those cheap, rubbish old horror movies, with hilariously bad acting, ridiculous screenplay and even worse special effects and filming? Yes, creepy / crappy B class horrors are "love it or hate it" thing... I hate them haha! I just can't watch them, sorry, but they're just too funny and maybe I am also too much used to the big budget modern productions? Sure, some old movies I like a lot (“TChM”!), some I just watch for fun, when drinking alcohol, but most are simply BAD! I just can't treat them seriously haha. Once there was a movie called "Nail Gun Massacre" (1985)... and I watched the trailer for it... and it probably can win an award for one of the worst horror movies ever haha! Why do I mention this? Well, here is a band called Nailgun Massacre from Holland! And yes, you don't need to be an Einstein to guess that they're hugely influenced by those B class horrors. The name of the band... the lyrics... and awesome artwork are all soaked in it. And maybe I am not a big fan of the gory cinema, but I like some aspects of it… like I always loved the posters of those movies, with killer artwork, great logos... this visual side was always brilliant and this is why I love the artwork of "Backyard Butchery", because it is composed of these old movie posters. Of course I also love the atmosphere of some of these old movies, when it’s dark and eerie... The music and lyrics of Nailgun Massacre are maybe more like disgusting and sometimes even grotesque, but it also suits me fine.
I must say that I expected to hear some truly brutal and extreme gory death metal with deep guttural vocals, or something in this vein. It would just make sense, when seeing this whole artwork and concept. But my expectations were far from the truth. Yes, “Backyard Butchery” is gory, filthy and creepy… but more so, this music is quite groovy, mid paced death metal with many melodic accents – what surprised me, to say at least. Interestingly, I can’t really put some wise and meaningful comparisons, as it seems like Nailgun Massacre really did their lesson and performed some more unusual stuff. Atmosphere wise, mainly because of these sick, harsh and disgusting vomiting vocals it reminds me Chris Reifert and his two bands Autopsy and Abscess, musically though it is a bit different. Some riffs may be similar, with that horror feeling and dark, maybe a bit doomy in places sound (Autopsy, Master, Morgoth, etc), with an obvious old school way of playing and sounding, but some others are surprisingly catchy and memorable, not to mention the presence of so many melodic accents. It is maybe odd combination, but I am very positively surprised with the final result on “Backyard Butchery”. It’s just damn cool CD. It is a great listen; simple and catches the attention right away. This album is a collection of fantastic songs, with a lot of variety and when I said that Nailgun Massacre sounds quite surprising then give a listen to “Jugannatha!” and you will know what I meant, while such “Zombie Swamp” is just a pure Autopsy worship and surely my favourite song on the whole album.
Finally, I must say that I just love how this music perfectly covers the lyrical content of “Backyard Butchery”, with songs about freak shows, monsters, zombies, cannibal morticians or necrophilia. The last time I had such feeling, when hearing horror based death metal was probably when enjoying both The Grotesquery records. For me this album stands out above the mediocrity, which floods the scene. I simply enjoyed Nailgun Massacre music a lot and had some good fun. Very recommended, indeed. And now I am in a mood for some horror movies, so maybe tonight I will watch Australian “Wolf Creek”!
Standout tracks: “Cadaverous Lay”, “Nailed to the Wall”, “Jugannatha!”, “Spanish Spider”, “Zombie Swamp”
Final rate: 75/100

Friday, 20 February 2015

Krabathor - Unorthodox / Mortal Memories

KRABATHOR - Unorthodox / Mortal Memories (MAD LION CD 2014 / MONSTER NATION LP 2012 / NASPHYR MLP 2013)
And here’s the second of the two Krabathor CDs, which Mad Lion has re-released. This time “Unorthodox” comes with a great bonus material taken from the “Mortal Memories” EP, what makes it a very good compilation. And luckily, both – “Unorthodox” and “Mortal Memories’ were also released on vinyl! The first one as separate 12” LP by Monster Nation, while the EP was released on killer gatefold 10” vinyl by Nasphyr Records. And guess what... I have all those versions haha! And I can tell you that they sound great. That brutal death metal on the LP sounds fantastic, I think. But again, I am also happy that I have “Orthodox” on CD, as I only had it on tape before, so it was about time to get it in good quality (that old tape sounds shit today haha!), especially as Mad Lion did a good job with this re-release.
I think the more happy I am also because “Orthodox” is my favourite Krabathor album. “Lies” was great also, yes, but it had couple of fillers, while this one is almost perfect. Krabathor was still balancing their music between fast, brutal death metal and slower, kind of groovy playing, which sometimes has even some melodic parts here and there… but the advantage is on the most preferred side – which is brutal fuckin death metal, played in truly vicious and savage way! Yes, this album makes a great impression… And that feeling is bigger with this production, as I think that “Orthodox” has killer sound; it’s aggressive, powerful, slightly raw and bassy, but it’s really heavy production. Every riff cuts like a sharp razor and all together the music creates a massive wall, which – when played loud – turns into really powerful beast. Great!
What I like about Krabathor music is that it does sound brutal and nasty, but it’s still quite memorable and catchy. Such song as “Liquid” is a prime example – fantastic track, with some splendid riffs and it just stays in your head for good. And try to listen to it, without actually banging your skull – impossible! There are several really strong songs here and maybe Krabathor didn’t play the most original or super technical / whatever death metal, but they built their music upon just great, solid riffs and arrangements. We don’t need fireworks, just killer death metal and that’s what “Unorthodox” exactly is. “Liquid” is great, but also such tracks like “To Red Ones” (groovy death metal, better than Six Feet Under ever was!), “Orthodox” or “Parasites”.
Finally there’s also “Mortal Memories”, which contains some old demo songs, re-recorded in 1996. And damn, you can hear the stylistic difference! All in all, these songs were composed in 1988 (!!!!), like “Apocrypha” or “Breath of Death”, so they must have different riffing. They have very thrashing style, sometimes I feel like I was listening to a more brutal version of Sodom haha (also in song called “Total Destruction”, which is another old demo song, in this new version first released as a bonus track on one of the earlier versions of “Unorthodox”)! But the result is again really nice, I like that fuckin “Apocrypha” a lot.
By the way, is it only my imagination or really “Bestial War” begins like good old Sarcofago? Hahaha!
Standout tracks: “Liquid”, “Orthodox”, “Apocrypha”, “To Red Ones”

Final rate: 80/100

Krabathor - Lies

KRABATHOR - Lies (MAD LION CD 2014 / MONSTER NATION LP 2014)
I am listening to an old Krabathor album titled “Lies” and I am just thinking that it seems like this band, with their awesome albums, is quite forgotten / or at least underrated nowadays. Hardly anyone mentions them when listing the best 90’s death metal bands… Is it because they just weren’t one? But for sure Krabathor was – along Vader – the best band from the old communistic block. I wonder why then they never achieved more attention? Vader did! Well, maybe it’s because albums like “Lies” came out in quite unfortunate times for death metal bands… The glorious old days were gone, the underground was tired with this sort of playing and focused on the eruption of black metal or on the softened doom / gothic crap – to which (funny idea!) many previously death metal bands also got attracted to, with hope that this way they won’t rot forgotten. Not many old death crews really survived this time unharmed. Anyway, the underground of mid to late 90’s was still filled with killer death metal bands, the only problem is that their albums were getting much smaller attention! I’m not gonna even mention their names, too many! But I feel like Krabathor was amongst them. So, in case you never heard or never cared about Krabathor, here’s an opportunity to bring this name to your attention as some of their old classics were just re-released. And “Lies” is one of those albums. It has a new digipack version, issued by Mad Lion, but also a nice vinyl edition, released through Monster Nation. How nice! And I got both of these reissues! I am really damn happy to have Krabathor on vinyl, but also to have the CD version of “Lies” finally, as previously I only listened to Krabathor from tapes.
And after all those years, “Lies” still sounds cool. This is some really great, brutal death metal with that old school feeling, which you may remember from the early recordings of Deicide, Hate, Vital Remains, Sinister, etc. Their songs are aggressive as fuck, often relentlessly fast, but at the same time Krabathor does not avoid being melodic, with some almost thrash metal guitar solos and simply being catchy and memorable. Honestly speaking, the album today sounds quite uneven for me. There are some killer songs, but also some, which are maybe too mediocre... I like the brutal side of Krabathor the most, while not all of those slower and more melodic tracks are something I particularly enjoy; sometimes I feel like they don’t have that powerful sound. Anyway, it doesn’t change the fact that as overall “Lies” is damn good album.
They kick off with a killer track titled “The Truth About Lies”, which reminds me “Liquid” from the next album – similar aggression, merciless riffing, fast drumming… what a nice song it is, truly devastating piece! And I really like the production of the album! Then we have “Unnecessarity”, which is again a very good song, even though it has one of those slow and melodic mid-parts, with completely not death metal style guitar solos. But it is, like so many other tracks here, a very good song anyway. And later take a listen to “Short Report From the Ritual Carnage”, “Imperator (Strikes Again)” (which has such an old school thrash / death feeling that I can’t resist… But no surprise, as this song is originally from the old Krabathor demo)… But I mentioned that the album has its ups and downs, and the latter for me are slower songs like “Tears, Hope and Hate” and “Pain of Bleeding Hearts” – they are simply not Krabathor’s best, but only decent tunes, lacking a bit of that aggression and power. Luckily, when these two songs end, then the one afterwards, “Rebirth of Blasphemy”, is nice, heavy and aggressive motherfucker… also slow, but so much heavier! And finally “Stonedream”, which is probably the best combination of fast death metal and epic, melodic stuff here; really nice one!
Both Mad Lion’s CD version and LP contain “The Rise of Brutality” EP 1995 as a bonus. Would love to have the original EP in the collection... Anyway, it’s nice to have it on these reissues. It may not be something particularly impressive, as all songs from it are also featured on “Lies”… but it’s good addition, especially that actually I like these versions more than those from the album haha. They just sound more savage and raw, which I like a lot. And that’s it. It’s great to have “Lies” on LP and CD finally; I really recommend you this and also other Krabathor’s albums; support this Czech force!
Standout tracks: “The Truth About Lies”, “Unnecessarity”, “Short Report From the Ritual Carnage”, “Imperator (Strikes Again)”, “Stonedream”

Final rate: 70/100

Monday, 16 February 2015

Autumn Leaves - Embraced by the Absolute

AUTUMN LEAVES - Embraced by the Absolute (ANCIENT DARKNESS - LP 2013)
Best Danish death metal album ever? “Embraced by the Absolute”! Best demo? Most likely the awesome “Hope Springs Eternal”! Yes, both are from the little underrated and forgotten band called Autumn Leaves and damn… what a good stuff this band recorded back in the old days! Surely their sound was very, very close to the Swedish melodic death metal scene, with bands like At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames or Finnish Sentenced… but we can only compare them to the early recordings of those bands, when they were not that commercial crap they turned into after the demos or debut albums. “Embraced by the Absolute” is not so easy to find, but I am happy that Ancient Darkness released it on vinyl! And did killer job here, unleashing a double LP set housed in the gatefold cover (with the band’s demo “Hope Springs Eternal” on side C and etching on side D) and adding a nice booklet with the detailed history of the band, written by band members plus a lot of old photographs, scans of gig posters, reviews, old interviews… and limited number of vinyls even had a cassette with the demo. Fuck, what a killer set! Absolutely recommended to all collectors!
I started to listen to this vinyl with LP number two, which contains the demo material. “Hope Springs Eternal” is such an excellent demo! For me it’s actually better than all EPs and demos, which the Swedish well known bands I mentioned above have released. Yes, I am serious. It just sounds better, in my opinion. Not only the production of “Hope Springs Eternal” is simply very good, but also the songs are perfectly balanced between the aggressive and melodic, harmonious death metal. All demo songs later appeared also on the album, so I won’t be writing much more about the demo, only that it is simply killer and such a great listen and these versions are just better! So good that it’s now on vinyl! There’s also one bonus song, which is “Forever the Destiny” in way harsher version, previously released on a compilation. Not as good as the actual demo, but good addition anyway to complete the release.
And now LP one with the killer “Embraced by the Absolute”. I dare to say that this underrated album should be considered as a classic melodic death metal of the same weight as such “The Red in the Sky is Ours”, “Lunar Strain”, “Skydancer” or “A Velvet Creation”. For me it is actually better than such “Skydancer”, but why it never has been considered as similarly important classic LP is simple - “Embraced by the Absolute” was released in 1997, so slightly too late, I am afraid. At that time the bands I mentioned, except maybe Eucharist, were so much ahead, getting more and more popularity and also becoming more accessible and commercial. When compared to such “The Jester Race”, “Embraced by the Absolute” sounds just so harsher and more aggressive I think. Which is probably another reason why Autumn Leaves did not get the deserved recognition. I must be honest here though and admit one thing – I actually prefer “Hope Springs Eternal” demo over this album haha! Why? Well, firstly, I like the production of the demo more! And secondly, I have sometimes difficulties to stay focused when I listen to long melodic death metal albums. I just must be in a mood for them, otherwise they become boring for me and this is why maybe I prefer shorter recordings, where that dose of technical and melodic riffs with many tempo changes, breaks, etc is smaller haha! Besides, “Hope Springs Eternal” just sounds so damn fantastic! Just compare the best song “On the Verge of Tears” from both recordings! I really prefer the one from the demo… But saying that, I surely don’t mean that “Embraced by the Absolute” is a bad album. No way, it’s still a very strong release and surely one of my favourite melodic death metal albums.
All in all “Embraced by the Absolute” brings ten songs with almost fifty minutes of music. Four of these songs have been taken from the demo and then re-arranged and re-recorded, while six were brand new. The demo songs are great, especially that memorable and catchy “On the Verge of Tears” and “Forever the Destiny”, but also “Weakening Trip” with some very obvious Paradise Lost references. As for the newer tracks, I like “Blood” for example for being Autumn Leaves’ one of the most aggressive song, with hardly any signs of that melancholic, melodic playing, which you’ll encounter later on the album. It actually reminds me such bands like Grave! Yes, what a bloodshed! It’s definitely something what you would not expect from a melodic death metal band, because it just sounds too brutal for them! But this is also the reason why I like Autumn Leaves so much! Also such “Serpent” is similarly heavy and brutal song; one, which should crush most of In Flames albums into dust! Raw, aggressive death metal with killer, memorable riffs and small harmonious touch. And there are more such fragments on the album (“The Surface Anger” for example) – similarly technical, aggressive and melodic to the early At the Gates, but no so weird and easier to listen to. And some other worthy and standing out tracks would be “Universal Flood” and also “On the Verge of Tears”.
Summing it all then, “Embraced by the Absolute” is a very good album! I really like the whole packaging, this is how I like to see old albums and demos released on vinyl. And the music, despite being so underrated and kind of forgotten I think, is just really damn good as well; even to someone who’s usually not so much into more melodic death metal bands. So, I recommend Autumn Leaves totally. And what else can I add? Only that it’s maybe also a good opportunity to release “As Night Conquers Day” on LP as well? Hahaha!
Standout tracks: “On the Verge of Tears”, “Forever the Destiny”, "Blood", "Serpent", “Weakening Trip”

Final rate: 85/100

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Slaves of Evil - Madness of Silence

SLAVES OF EVIL - Madness of Silence (Self financed CD 2014)
And another new killer band from Poland… and you know what? They play death metal! What a surprise hahaha! But seriously now, Slaves of Evil is their name and yes, they are newcomers, but with no demo recordings they decided to open their discography already with a full length… which is always a risky decision, as often the bands rush too much and then release some crap, thinking they’ll become quickly another underground stars. Today it’s all so easy; you can get a good sound at home and for small money press a limited edition of professional CDs on your own. Hmm, and maybe I am old fashioned, but I still like the old way of doing things: first the demos, then maybe a single and finally a full length album. But of course there are always some good exceptions… and I think that Slaves of Evil is just one of them. Yes, with no demos and promo recordings they went straight to the full length material, but this is some seriously crushing piece of brutal death metal, which – with that production quality and musical level – would simply sound awkward on demo tape haha! So, I am not gonna moan at all and simply listen and recommend you “Madness of Silence”.
So, let’s play this relentless death metal slaughter! Slaves of Evil is a band, which can easily be described as rather typical brutal death metal machine, inspired mainly by the American bands such as Immolation, Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Malevolent Creation and such European acts like Sinister, Severe Torture, Vader… and add Krisiun to that list haha! “Madness of Silence” is nothing overwhelming or spectacular, it’s not an album, which will take Slaves of Evil to the altar with the best bands of the genre… No, they’re just followers, but followers, who know what they’re doing and know how to slay the listener with some guts ripping riffs, crushing drumming and great, furious vocals. The majority of this material speeds like crazy, there’s blast on blast, Slaves of Evil use slower part only as a short break and rest before another cannonade of blasting death metal erupts from the speakers. With such fast and technical material, it’s easy to end up being simply boring and unimpressive, but luckily “Madness of Silence” is enough filled with great ideas and arrangements to keep me interested for the whole time. There’s only one condition – it must be played loud, to really feel the strength and massive power of this music. And loud I play it all day now. It’s great also that all songs are equally solid and good, there’s not a single moment on this album, which would bore me and sound like a filler. And when the album is so even, it’s also difficult to pick up the favourite songs, but maybe such “Death Countenance”, “The War with God”, “Hell Dwellers”, “The Army of the Damned”, “Insignificant Truth” are the best. Surprisingly, some of them even have some catchy and memorable, but always brutal riffs! Oh, let me also mention that the performance of every band member is great. OK, maybe the bass is practically unhearable, but the guitars are great, I like the solos a lot… and the drummer is probably another octopus with six hands hahaha! Awesome stuff.
So, very good album, indeed. And let me just remind you that the band released it for their own money, but the quality of this CD is just superb. Very nice booklet, great creepy artwork, also the production is spotless… Self financed it is, but as good as from record label. Recommended for maniacs of brutal death metal!
Standout tracks: “Death Countenance”, “The War with God”, “Hell Dwellers”, “The Army of the Damned”
Final rate: 70/100

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Wroth - Dispersion

WROTH - Dispersion (ANCIENT DARKNESS - 7"EP 2014)
This 7”EP brings a debut recording of Canadian band called Wroth. I don’t now really much about them, but I am guessing that it was formed by Jay Roth, also guitarist of bands like  Rites of Thy Degringolade and Ritual Necromancy. Here, he’s been joined by the members of some other, but unknown to me, bands like Dira Omen and Death Toll Rising. All together they recorded two songs and released them on this single titled “Dispersion”, recently released by Ancient Darkness. And you know… it’s always cool to find out about new bands and the pleasure is even bigger, when it turns out that they play some awesome music. And that is exactly the case with Wroth, whose black / death metal turned out to be damn good!
If I had to find some comparisons, then I think I would bring the name of Ares Kingdom to the table, maybe also Destroyer666, but Wroth is more melodic and less raw and vulgar than the latter of these two. But Ares Kingdom is the first band I thought about, when started to listen to “Dispersion”. Wroth also combines death and black metal in similar way, creating quite lengthy songs, with impressively built structures and arrangements, with a good balance between harsh, sometimes fast, aggressive music and slower, more melodic playing, like in the first song “Of Ash and Smoke”, which is almost epic, I think! Generally Wroth music is very easily listenable, it doesn’t take much time to catch its feeling and also catch some great, memorable parts. I must also say that not only I like some particular riffs, arrangements and the overall atmosphere of Wroth music, but also the vocals and the production of “Dispersion” is simply very good. So, Wroth knows how to play some vicious, aggressive death / black metal (listen to the opening riffs of “Insular Existence”, killer!) and both songs are just an impressive beginning of a new band. So, I am waiting for the future recordings… and if there was anything I could with for, then I hope that Wroth next songs will have even more of those powerful, aggressive and violent parts and don’t turn into too melodic side, because this is when the band sounds simply the best!

Final rate: 73/100

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Black Horizonz - Koma

BLACK HORIZONZ - Koma (GODEATER - CD 2015)
New band on the horizon! This one is not a newcomer though, as I am listening to their third album already… but I’ve never heard the two previous ones or even the band moniker was unknown, so for me it’s something new. This is German band Black Horizonz with the album “Koma”, released by Godeater Records. I must say then that this band managed to interest me with their music a lot and well… it turned to be a very solid and worthy album! I’ve enjoyed it quite a lot, even if it’s not the most spectacular and neck breaking material… but damn good it is for sure.
I suppose that musically Black Horizonz presents stuff, which surely is not to be considered as a common and typical black metal stuff. It’s one of those bands, who use the fundaments of the genre and then create something more original and individual. Maybe if I had to make some comparisons, then I would mention one of my favourite black metal bands, also from Germany, Secrets of the Moon, but on the other side of the coin there would be more classic bands, even such Darkthrone… but it is only quite loose similarity and all in all Black Horizonz is doing their own stuff. So, who cares about comparisons, let’s just enjoy some really awesome music! Ha, who knows, if it isn’t the best CD of all, which I’ve heard from Godeater!? Yes, what a killer music…. And what a great atmosphere on the album!
I guess that to describe this album to you is quite difficult thing for me to do. It’s just not so easy. How can I explain something so varied, with so many layers and different sorts of playing and emotions, but still rooted in black metal genre? It’s just impossible. Sure, they also have some traditional songs, like “Kvltpropaganda”, which is even close to some of the Darkthrone’s pre-heavy punk metal albums. And that song is just fuckin killer, I love it totally, especially its cold aura and that it’s so damn infective (you’ll scream “Diabolic – Rite – kvltpropaganda… Intensive to the core” for sure haha)!!! Also similar type of song is “Sin Command” and again, it has great feeling, killer riffing, also sometimes close to such Carpathian Forest… Black Horizons sometimes also erupts with truly unstoppable and harsh attack of fast black metal, such as “Ultimate Parasite”… Some other songs are more unconventional though or maybe I should rather say that they combine some harsh, traditional elements (with great Nocturno Culto-like vokills) with slightly different, but not necessarily experimental stuff. Don’t worry; it isn’t shit pile like Ved Buens Ende haha! But check such “Fragment: Blacklight” or “Ultimate Parasite” for that matter. And also “koma Circle”, which is such a sick tune, dark and harsh, but it even has some melodic parts and a nice guitar solo somewhere near the end. And do I hear some Shining influences in “Closing the Triangle”? So, a lot of contrast on this album, sometimes even within one song. But this is why I think “Koma” is not a standard black metal album. Black Horizons managed to combine the traditional raw black metal with some different ideas (they even call it eccentric black metal haha... why not? Haha) and the result is awesome. I like it a lot, so a high recommendation from me… Check this out.
Standout tracks: “Kultpropaganda”, “Sin Syndrome”, “Ultimate Parasite”

Final rate: 77/100

Monday, 9 February 2015

Peine - Peine forte et dure

PEINE - Peine forte et dure (ANCIENT DARKNESS - MC 2014)
I must honestly admit that this tape waited three or four months before I decided to play it. I almost forgot that I even have it haha! But damn, what a shitty mistake it would be to forget about “Peine forte et dure”! Peine is a solo project of guy called A.Thunbo, who – as far as I can see on Metal Archives – has also couple of other projects: Oath of Woe and Pugnator, in both of which he plays all the instruments and does the vocals. So, we deal here with quite productive mind. Anyway, Peine seems to be the youngest of all of these projects, “Peine forte et dure” is its debut release, unleashed by Ancient Darkness Productions on tape, limited to 100 copies. And my advice to Liam from this label is: mate, do also vinyl and CD version of “Peine forte et dure”, as this is just fantastic release, which blew me fuckin away to the moon! I did not expect something like this, the more happy I am that Peine turned out to be such a great surprise.
I just did not expect to experience such an obscure, spiritual, dark, grim and also majestic and epic doomy death metal! Wow, Peine created simply an impressive aura; it’s like a creepy musical soundtrack to a gathering, which takes place in some old catacombs. It sounds almost terrifying, but that’s the whole point here! The riffing is abyssal, very dense and heavy, in faster parts it sounds like a crushing wall of sound, while in the slow it is just utterly massive and a great destruction. I like the reverb, which you can spot in the sound, as it only add more obscurity and that sepulchral feeling to the music… And finally Peine has some awesome ideas. Yes, the music may remind you some of the newer obscure death metal great bands, and if I mention such Necros Christis as the main influence (I guess) or Grave Miasma, Weapon, Doombringer then you know what you should expect from Peine… but at the same time the music on “Peine forte et dure” is different. Yes, the basis is similar, with that eerie, sinister death / black / doom, with gloomy sound and great mix of slow (“Colloquium Inferus”) and fast playing (“Strappado/Pope to Pedlar” - KILLER), but Peine adds some keyboards, choral vocals and stuff like that, which only adds the obscure aura and mysticism to the music. Peine avoids banality and the result is fantastic. There are three songs, but what a killer listening! I seriously like “Peine forte et dure” a lot. So, Liam, do a vinyl now! Haha, by the way, there is a split EP with Cerecloth announced. So pretty cool news, I guess!
Standout track: “Strappado/Pope to Pedlar”
Final rate: 85/100

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Vein - Perdition’s Cold Embrace

THE VEIN - Perdition’s Cold Embrace (ANCIENT DARKNESS - CD 2014)
The Vein is another band from Denmark, which I had a pleasure to listen to, thanks to the mighty Ancient Darkness Productions. I must say that this is awesome that this label released some very good bands (not all, but most of them is really great, in my opinion!) and almost each sounds different. So, recently I listened to Wolfslair’s harsh black metal and Deiquisitor’s amazing massive, brutal death metal… and now The Vein, who’re killer doom metal act! Maybe I should know them already, as they’ve released one CD before, “Scouring the Wreckage of Time” and have some active Danish musicians in the line up (from bands like Altar of Oblivion, Church Bizarre, Victimizer or ex-Undergang)… But no, never heard of them, but now I have “Perdition's Cold Embrace” and it is a very pleasant surprise and damn good EP!
Song, which for me stands out the most from “Perdition's Cold Embrace” is the excellent cover version of “Alter the Sepulture”. Yes, I know it’s just a cover, but The Vein really arranged and performed this song perfectly, in my opinion. Not only they extended it to over seven minutes, but stylistically it’s maybe closer to the “Rebellion” EP version of this song, with the keyboards, great dark feeling and with excellent sound quality, etc… all in all, a very good performance on this legendary and so brilliant anthem! I just love that dark atmosphere and killer, memorable riffs in it!
But cover is a cover, even when perfectly executed, it’s never gonna be your own composition. On “Perdition’s Cold Embrace” The Vein offers two tracks (plus a short instrumental song for the end of the EP)… And this is excellent, quite varied doomy stuff, where they successfully are mixing the grim and cold doom with the death metal influence, but generally it is very much focused on the dark, sorrowful atmosphere. The Vein music is quite heavy, mostly slow paced, for sure it is also very melodic, but not in that infantile or sugary way. The always present keyboards are just very good here, as they underline the atmospheric side of this music, just as it’s most preferred. They don’t stand above the guitars. And song like “Rise from the Abyss and Rejoice” is simply excellent. Yes, it’s melodic, it’s slow and melancholic, but never boring… the vocals are harsh, but there’re even some clean vocals, which fit great and make the whole song even more memorable. It’s seven minutes long track, perfectly balanced between the heaviness and harmonious, atmospheric side. And “Controlling to Enslave” is even heavier, more epic… I don’t know many bands in this style of music, so to compare The Vein to other bands is difficult, but maybe “Controlling…” is close to such bands like Novembers Doom, from their early albums? It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that this EP is just damn nice stuff and I enjoyed it fully. I may be listening to such music very sporadically, but some such bands I like a lot… and The Vein is one of them!
Standout track: “After the Sepulture”, “Rise from the Abyss and Rejoice”

Final rate: 78/100

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Disorder - Pure Hatred

DISORDER - Pure Hatred (Self financed CD 2014)
This is an awesome surprise, which arrived to me from an unknown Polish band! They’re called Disorder… and well, supposedly they’ve been formed already in 2000 and even recorded one album in 2006 (titled “Confess”), but I think the number of people, who heard it is even smaller than a number of people, who really liked the new Morgoth or Massacre songs haha! So, very, very small haha! Anyway, in 2014 Disorder recorded their second album, called “Pure Hatred” and self released it on CD. Hmm, I must say they did a nice job when releasing this album... nice artwork and layout, good printing quality… more so, they even did a promotional video, which is also quite professional! So, I think Disorder invested some money into their band, to promote it properly. Finally! - we can say as it seems like all the previous years were wasted. And I say “finally” also because this new album is just damn good, in my opinion!
Yeah. “Pure Hatred” kicks ass, it’s very solid and brutal album, and Disorder is surely another awesome name on the Polish death metal scene. It’s truly powerful, brutal, fast as hell death metal, very much in the US vein… There are only positives: really great, crushing sound quality, which let every riff erupt with volcanic strength, blowing the speakers out.... The sound is very good, but still slightly raw and stinking with the tomb! Which is good haha! And Disorder’s death metal is just mighty, very heavy, massive, damn fast… Majority of these songs is speeding like crazy, stylistically close to such gods like Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Nile, Immolation, etc. They’re also quite technical, but not crossing the useless guitar-masturbation line, which is again good for me… and more so, Disorder just know how to compose some awesome, memorable riffs, create a dark, brutal atmosphere… And Kat’s vocals are also great.
So, as you can see, I only speak in positive tone about “Pure Hatred”. It’s always fantastic to hear an unknown band, which impress you so much! Like Disorder did! They just don’t sound like newcomers, but experienced band, which knows what they want and how to achieve these aims. With such bombs like „Murder’s Instinct”, „Disorder” or „Wacht Am Rhein” it’s just a win, but also a slower track like “Humiliation” is damn good. So… recommended and worth our support!
Standout tracks: „Murder’s Instinct”, „Disorder”, „Wacht Am Rhein”, “Humiliation”

Final rate: 75/100
Video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKaaY3zspVA

Entrapment / Massive Assault - Split EP

ENTRAPMENT / MASSIVE ASSAULT Split (WOLFSBANE - 7"EP 2014)
Another fantastic single from Wolfsbane and one which I was waiting for patiently! This one is a split between two killer Dutch bands: Massive Assault and Entrapment. Especially the latter is the reason for me to have this 7”EP, as I really enjoyed all Entrapment recordings so far and just could not miss this new one also. But I know Massive Assault as well, they’re also a very good band, so… it is just always nice to find such classic 7” split release with two killer bands. Limited to 500 copies, with 100 copies on blue vinyl (which I have – great!), it’s one of those singles, which are essential for the maniacs of old school, raw death metal.
And the feast begins with Massive Assault, who really blew me away on this EP! Yes, they offer two songs (two, but they melted into one J) and damn, what a pleasant stuff it is. It begins with “Prelude to Agony”, which is kind of classic Sweden meets old Morgoth, etc. melodic theme, very good for the opening of every killer death metal tune… and then when “Staring Back” it only gets better, more aggressive, with great feeling, killer dark atmosphere... What a nice stuff! I seriously love it and I am ashamed actually that I slightly underestimated this band haha! But the more happy I am that they proved me wrong and delivered such a fantastic tune, even better that side B’s Entrapment! Really, I know that there are many bands now, which play death metal the old way, many also have the Svensk Dödsmetall influence and it’s great, but I think not many have the same quality as Massive Assault on this EP! Fantastic!
Side B belongs to Entrapment. This is great band, I have almost all their releases (only missing their first two demos, but they’ve been re-released on compilation CD, which I have, so… no feeling of missing something!). It’s interesting that Entrapment first started as a band, which was taking a lot of influence from bands like Nihilist, Carnage, Dismember, etc, but on their recent recordings like the last album “Lamentations of the Flesh” they’ve moved away from it a little, into something more original, but still deeply rooted in the old school death metal. It’s now just harsher, more obscure, maybe also the playing is simpler, more straight forward… kind of if they combined some 80’s legends of extreme metal with the Swedish style of death metal haha! And I think that it even has some raw black metal influence - listen to the vocals or some of the riffs… Hmm, my objective opinion anyway! And as such the closest comparisons would probably be Pentacle… and even Asphyx, from their “Embrace of Death” LP! All in all, I still enjoy Entrapment music a lot, this is awesome band! I am sad to see that they’re quite underrated, but fuck the morons, who can’t recognize killer bands from shit. Here are two (sadly quite short) songs, of which I especially like “Predatory Conduct”, but “Wrath of Dawn” is also brilliant, especially that opening riff!! So… there’s nothing more to add. A very good release from the Dutch Wolfsbane Records, very recommended!
Final rate: 89/100

Kalopsia - Sanguine Epitaph

KALOPSIA - Sanguine Epitaph (GODEATER - CD 2014)
So, that American beast called Kalopsia strikes with their new recording, which is “Sanguine Epitaph”, also unleashed by Godeater Records. This time it’s shorter material, it’s an EP actually, containing four tracks plus Lividity cover. All together – eighteen minutes of death metal brutality. And again, just when I was reviewing “Amongst the Ruins”, I must congratulate a very good artwork (this time by Maggot Meister…). And again I must also say some flattering words about the music. Yes, Kalopsia did good job once more and delivered music, which surely will cause a lot of sonic torment and ear bleeding!
I will be rather quick on this review, as there’s not much to write about, really. And that’s not because Kalopsia’s music is poor; no! It’s just because it’s only an EP, which is also a natural continuation of the “Amongst the Ruins”, so I would most likely have to repeat my words from my previous Kalopsia review, which I did. But let me say that I feel like Kalopsia is even more brutal on this EP and maybe they have quite old school vibe here, similar to some extremely powerful death metal records from the 90’s. Even the sound on “Sanguine Epitaph” is kind of rawer, not quite as clinically polished… It’s more like some old Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse records, you know?! And musically Kalopsia still deliver those ultra heavy, often fast and massive death metal riffs, quite technical but not too technical, which is good haha… Riffs, which are really damn awesome, accompanied by low growl and screaming vocals… Very enjoyable recording, I surely have listened to it with pleasure… and what else can I add? It’s death metal in the US vein. You either like it or hate it.

Final rate: 70/100

Monday, 2 February 2015

Wolfslair - Odin

WOLFSLAIR - Odin (ANCIENT DARKNESS - CD 2005)
I’m not going here to dispute why Denmark – country which geographically is so closely located to Norway or Sweden – has never managed to create a similarly giant, great and respected black metal scene. No, I am not going to guess why and neither I am gonna say which Danish bands were able to match the quality of Swedish and Norwegian legends… because there were not so many, really. It is just rare to hear a great quality black metal from there. Ancient Darkness Productions came with help and introduced me to one such band, which immediately became my favourite black metal act from Denmark. They’re called Wolfslair! It’s not a new band, also because the roots of it has been seeded in the early 90’s… but then a decade long break happened, until 2005 when an album titled “Odin” was recorded. And damn, this is some seriously crushing violent and damn merciless black metal ferocity here! You gotta love it!
Wolfslair is far from winning the “most original, sophisticated and outstanding band” prize. No, they’re playing pretty common black metal, based on harsh production with music filled with utterly fast, uncompromising playing, which sometimes becomes as chaotic as some bestial black / war / however you call it bands. And as such I think that Wolfslair reminds me some Finnish black metal acts; without giving you any names, as maybe it is just unnecessary? I also think that they surely managed to create a truly possessed, dark and abrasive, cold and violent atmosphere on their album. Yes, a majority of “Odin” is concentrating on the ferocious, brutal riffing… but on entirely, as despite having the focus on the most extreme and chaotic means (listen to “Praise the Lord” for instance, which will really fierce and extreme!), Wolfslair also find some space for slower stuff, even using some brief keyboards or acoustics here and there or even more laconic melodies. Take the opening track “Horder” as an example. What a fine song! But there’s very little space for such parts and as overall “Odin” is bestial, pure sonic onslaught with harsh vocals, furious riffs and raw production… but not primitive! I also really like such “Tapre Krigere”, which reminds me some early Gorgoroth and is a real killer… Also “In the Light of the Fullmoon”, which is the only such slow track here, is worth being mentioned. Generally though the entire “Odin” is just a solid and good album, I really enjoyed it.
And you know… at first I maybe wasn’t so much impressed, but after some listens I liked it more and more and I definitely think that Wolfslair is more than just a mediocre black metal band. I recommend you “Odin” then… Remember that there’re two versions: one, which I have, is the digipack CD, but there’s also a nice bloody LP version, which contains also some old 90’s demos!
Standout tracks: “Horder”, “In the Light of the Fullmoon”, “Tapre Krigere”

Final rate: 70/100

Friday, 30 January 2015

Parh - Nihil

PARH - Nihil (Demo 2014)
Time for a new filth from the Polish underground! This band is called Parh and I have no idea if “Nihil” is their debut or not or when they were formed… I suppose it doesn’t even matter, the point is that this demo is really fuckin cool. And more so, I am so glad to say that it is unlike to anything else what you can expect and usually get from Polish metal bands! So, don’t expect the high tech Behemoth like death metal or other stuff. Parh is just from completely different planet, but still extreme in its own way. And by the way, this band from Plock has a drummer who is also a vocalist in Mort Douce, killer band! Ha!
Now trust me... I know that the front cover of this demo doesn’t look promising or attractive, but it is very misleading impression. It’s really cool demo! Filthy, obscure, disgusting and fuckin doomy metal! Musically it is quite sludgy, slow stuff, with some really old styled riffs and a lot of heaviness and maybe also a small trace of melody, but vocal wise this demo for me is a total Chris Reifert worship! And this is why I immediately had Abscess in my mind, when I listened to Parh for the first time! Yes, Abscess and obviously also Autopsy come to my mind and it is a compliment! And I bet you all know that sick, disturbing vomit of Reifert! Rafał, who screams in Parh, is actually really good at it also! All together, with the raw sound and heavy, bass molesting music it creates a killer, but disgusting, obscure atmosphere and damn… if you like Abscess, Necrophagia, Repulsion, Anatomia etc then this demo is for you! I like it and I am so glad that “Nihil” came from a Polish band, that makes it even more special! Really cool debut!
Standout tracks: “Kings of Filth”

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Escarnium - Genocide Ritual

ESCARNIUM - Genocide Ritual (MISANTHROPIC Records - 7"EP 2014)
I hope you all know and remember Escarnium, a killer Brazilian death squad, which delivered a truly awesome album titled “Excruciating Existence” couple of years ago and before that also some very nice demos, collected under “Rex Vormitorum” title. Yes, for me this is one of the strongest and most interesting, worthy South American bands at the moment, so I kept my eyes open for some new recordings of them… and finally a new EP came under the title “Genocide Ritual”, released on 7” vinyl by the unknown Misanthropic Records. And let me tell you that this is another insane recording from Escarnium. This band is just awesome and I can’t already wait for their upcoming full length album.
As for “Genocide Ritual”, there’s only one thing, which I don’t like about it… and that’s very short duration of this EP. Only two songs and about six minutes of music! OK, I know this is a single and they’re always short, but nowadays some bands come up with 7”EPs with ten or more minutes of music, so six is maybe slightly not enough for me hehe! It just finishes too quick, each side goes by with the lightning speed… and I want more of this crushing, dark, brutal death metal! Anyway, Escarnium, just like such killer bands as Demonic Rage or Coldblood, deliver fantastic dose of South American death metal highly influenced by two major US heroes: Immolation and Incantation! Of course, there are some more influential bands, but these two are the major ones. And when I mention these two, then you’ll immediately know what to expect from this music. And it is a real crazy, fast, massively heavy and violent death metal, perfectly executed and with awesome production, not to mention the dark, gloomy atmosphere. Escarnium waste no time, take no prisoners, but delivers their artillery with no hesitation and fire with no mercy. I just love both songs here, especially “Radioactive Doom”… it’s a stunning release, so I am sure that all maniacs of this style will love it also. Well, if you liked “Excruciating Existence” then “Genocide Ritual” will not disappoint you. I’m waiting for more and a longer recording!

Final rate: 83/100

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Sigihl - Trauermarsche

SIGIHL - Trauermarsche (ARACHNOPHOBIA - CD 2014)
If you’ve read some of my previous reviews then you may remember my quite enthusiastic feedback for Arachnophobia Records’ releases such as the albums from Odraza, Genius Ultor and Abusiveness. Yes, these are superb stuff. But more recently I was forced to give rather mediocre review to Eerie’s debut CD… which wasn’t bad, but also nothing truly spectacular or as good as the previous Arachnophobia releases. And now it got even worse! Damn, I feel like this new CD, from another newcomer called Sigihl, is just totally disappointing and nothing what I really would like to listen to. Let’s call it simply - “Trauermarsche” is not my flask of vodka! More so, I can’t remember when was the last time, when I got such a big headache, when listening to music… I tried to get into the atmosphere of this album, feel its essence… but no, I just failed. And I am not even sure if we can call it “music” or maybe rather noisy “anti-music”. But who cares. And maybe there is some sick control over this madness, but I can’t see it and all I can say is that “Trauermarsche” was more like a torture rather than an entertainment.
The idea for music, which Sigihl has, is really crazy. This is some sick and unlistenable fusion of slow, doomy sounds with all that drone / sludge and other shit, which people usually use, when hearing some experimental music… All is built on distortion, heavy, ear-drilling bass and no guitar, as far as I am concerned. On top of that, there’s saxophone, which creates even more schizophrenic mood and has almost a leading role in the music, delivering some sort of… melody? Is that how we should call it? And it’s accompanied by a lot of noise and other effects and absolutely hilarious screaming vocals, which sounds almost inhuman. The final result is something rather far from what I call black metal (and this genre appears quite often, when people describe Sigihl). It’s music without even the slightest sign of harmony or anything pleasant; it’s disharmony, cacophony, noise and distortion – and all will drill your head and deliver pain and pain and pain again. I hardly find myself interested in such masochism. And maybe Sigihl has an original idea, maybe they see it going somewhere, to the target they have set and for them it all makes sense, has its beginning and end… but not for me. I can hardly stand it and truly I could not find even one small part of “Trauermarsche”, which I would like with no hesitation, really!
This is almost unlistenable. More so, this album is so fuckin boooorrring! Take the first two tracks… both are almost identical to me, for being built on similar patterns and “riffs” (or how would you call it hehe!), both have the same slow and boring tempo, the same hysterical vocals… And inside of these songs, absolutely nothing happens; it’s the same shit going on all the time, without any effort putted to interest me (me, the listener, not reviewer!), to make something spectacular and memorable. It just sounds like Sigihl had an idea for one song, but made two instead. Or four, because let’s be honest – the remaining two tracks are also very alike. Maybe some will say that this music will put in you in some sort of trance, it will hypnotize you… For me it is boring and barely listenable. I know it gets rather positive reviews... But even if I am the only one who doesn't like it... I don't care.
Standout tracks: none

Final rate: 50/100