Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Kampf Records

KAMPF RECORDS - overview on their releases
To be a cassette only label nowadays must truly be something as risky as it is exceptional and noticeable. Well, Kampf Records, a Polish label, took that risk. I was familiar with them already since their beginnings, when they’ve released such materials as the old Xantotol demos, the split between Bloodthirst and Bestial Raids and some other really good stuff (Mord, etc). Later I completely lost the trace of what was going on in this label, until recently really, when I’ve found out about some of their newest releases. I didn’t bother to check them out though, for many reasons, which are not important now. Anyway, one day I bought a CD from the guy from Kampf and he was kind enough to send me the promotional package of his label. On one CD I’ve got the wave files of fifteen releases, which Kampf has released through the last years. There are some, which I already know (like Buxen, Mordhell and Aifur split or Manth demo). But there’s also a bunch, which I didn’t know and really looked forward to listen to, once I got that chance. So, here are my impressions (in blood!) from this long listening devastation… I’m not gonna bother with writing 16 separate reviews, instead I’m gonna collect everything in this one, long and detailed article, so this way there’s a chance you will not miss anything from Kampf and get the full picture of what is this label dealing with!
The order is purely accidental…
And I started with Manth. This is Italian one man project, led by Bard Manth and “A Conjuration Compelling Obedience” is his debut demo (actually this is the only demo, which has been released under this moniker so far). And that was already back in 2006! I don’t know whether this project is still active or not, but “A Conjuration Compelling Obedience” remains as the only release of Manth. If you’re into the most obscure, chaotic, rotten and incredibly raw and primitive sounds, then I guess you may like it. Definitely there’s a strong resemblance in the style and sound of Manth to Profanatica, as well as the obvious Blasphemy, Archgoat, even Abruptum and other such bands, so you can expect some really evil and cacophonic sounds in here. Possessed vocals, disharmonic, chaotic riffs and the dominating primitiveness in the music… well, to be honest I didn’t find it as interesting as I would expect, as the noise, which Manth produced is sometimes difficult to stand or understand, like in the first song, when it seems like the guitars play some simple riffs and on top of them there are completely unsuitable keyboard parts (what makes a lot of noise and creates just pure chaos, especially when the vocals are added also). No, really I cannot stand it. The whole demo offers just 13 minutes of noise, so it’s not so much and I’m glad of that, as I don’t really wanna waste my time on it for more than it’s necessary. I can agree though that “Invoke Eternal Death into Dark Pentagram” does invoke an eerie and disturbing atmosphere.
Balmog is a Spanish band and here is their tape titled “Pestilent Rats for Your Moribund Children”. Well, I didn’t have any expectations for it, but I must admit that this demo really provided some great, well performed and composed black metal tunes. Right from the first track, which is the title one, Balmog really shows their great potential and slaughters with pure and harsh black metal, which is more or less, but inspired by the Norwegian bands. Think of Gorgoroth, Immortal, Isvind, even Taake and Helheim and you may get the picture of Balmog’s music. It is fairly rough and relentless, but definitely not primitive and monotonous, as the Spaniards change the tempo frequently, from either fast to more monumental one, and they also do not focus just on the aggression, but add quite a lot of melodic parts, what makes the music more atmospheric. And trust me, they’re doing really well, I personally liked the demo quite a lot. The first song, “Pestilent Rats for Your Moribund Children”, is probably the best one, with some really killer riffs and vocals. It’s just pure 90’s Norwegian black metal worship. But rest of the songs – like “Lifeless” and “Humanbone Temple”, which sounds creepy close to the old Taake - aren’t bad neither, each is really cool, so I must admit that Balmog was a great surprise for me and definitely I can recommend you this band a lot. For sure “Pestilent Rats for Your Moribund Children” belongs to the best releases from Kampf Records. Oh, the band has just released their debut album, “Testimony of the Abominable”.
Next is a three way split tape between Buxen, Aifur and Mordhell. Starting with Buxen I must say that this is one of those bands, which turned out to be a positive surprise, despite that it’s just basically a very typical and unoriginal Darkthrone-ish black metal. They’re taking the elements from “Transilvanian Hunger” up to the “Total Death” albums, but Buxen also reminds me some of the very old Behemoth recordings, which is very cool, in my opinion (listen to “The Seal of the Black Death”). Anyway, I must say that Buxen didn’t become the best black metal band around and honestly, they’re very typical and almost mediocre, but solid enough to give them some listens. It definitely is stuff, which I would strongly recommend to those, who like the early black metal and want it to be unpolished, untrendy and definitely also fuckin rough and relentless. Even the fact that some riffs sounds like a rip off – take the opening theme of “The Chalice of the Black Death”, which is like a rip off from Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon” – it still doesn’t bother me, as Buxen plays everything quite well and composed solid tracks. “The Chalice of the Black Death”, which I just mentioned, may sound like Mayhem’s cover at times, but it is a nine minutes long song and really has a lot of cool parts. Buxen is definitely better and more worthy to listen to than Aifur, whose primitive and raw black metal leaves me careless rather than it is able to create any kind of emotions. I don’t mean it’s terribly bad, because I’ve heard much worse stuff in the past, but Aifur has no ability to really shred. Luckily their music fits perfectly to both Buxen and Mordhell and so it doesn’t disturb that much, especially if you’re into bands like Judas Iscariot for instance. The production of their songs is OK, there may be some really cool riffs and fragments also, so I can say that such tracks as “Nuclear Bliss” and “Asphyxiation” can definitely be recommended to the maniacs of the pure black metal, especially if you like when it is mainly fast. Final word on this split belongs to the Polish Mordhell. I know this band well, I’ve got their demos and two full length albums in my collection and here, on this split, they putted the “Suicide Blood” EP, which I’m also familiar with. There are six tracks on it and I must admit that it definitely is the best band from the three, which you’ll find on this tape. I mean each has some strong points, even Aifur, once you start to listen to them and get used to their sound, is able to make good impression on you, but Mordhell sounds just better. Sure, their black metal is yet again different to two other bands’, it is rather mid paced, with very specific rhythms, which will remind you both Darkthrone and Carpathian Forest… but it just really cool. Mordhell creates great, eerie and sinister atmosphere and simply shreds with some fuckin cool, sometimes almost catchy morbid black tunes. Yeah, I really like their music, even if “Suicide Blood” is not my favourite of all of Mordhell’s recordings.
"United Metal Massacre" is a four way split tape, which offers only horrid masters of old school! It begins with Japanese motherfuckin maniacs from Abigail… Well, honestly I’ve never been a huge fan of either Sabbat or Abigail, I just don’t like their primitive offerings and these two songs confirm my opinion. Yeah, this is very primitive, Venom-esque metal, with harsh, screaming vocals and rotten energy. Not really convincing for me; it’s OK, but not arse ripping. Radiation is in my opinion much better, this is really cool Slovakian (YEAH!!) band, which torments my brain with relentless and furious thrash metal. I like their riffs a lot, they slay! Also the vocalist sounds really great and the production is just brilliant. Fuck, I had no idea that there’s such a cool band in our neighbourhood country, good to know. I’ll keep my eye on them! And I need their demo, now! OK, side B starts with another Slovakian old schoolers, Oldblood! And another great surprise, another fist in the face! “Metal Fuck” sounds like a Slovakian anthem for old metallers and I think bands like Desaster would love to have such a killer track on their album. Oldblood has also great, organic production, which I liked a lot and I think I would need to get their recent split with Hate Them All, released by Old Temple, as this band caught my attention, really! Bang your head! Finally the last band is Peruvian R.I.P. with two songs also. Both tracks were taken from their “Escape a la Muerte” EP and trust me, if you’re into this kind of playing, listen to those South American bastards! This is more traditional thrash metal, but very furious and uncompromising, fast as a shark, as they would say 20 years ago. Definitely if you’re into the old bands from this region, like Attomica, then R.I.P. will catch your attention. So, to resume: this is really great split MC. I didn’t like Abigail so much, but rest of the bands are well recommended and the Slovakian pack turned out to be equally as surprising as killer. Really nice layout in the booklet too.
Thorns of Hate are just pure Malaysian hell! Well, as much as most of the Asian bands turn out to be rather crap, speaking of their musical values, here’s one band, which may cause some serious damage in your places of living. Thorns of Hate already has an EP released by Blood Harvest Records, but here’s their debut demo 2010, which Kampf Records re-released on tape. To be honestly I think this is – together with Impiety and Surrender Of Divinity – the best band from this region of the world. First of all, finally there’s a band, which got a decent production on their demo. OK, it may still be raw and obscure as hell, but it’s equally powerful and devastating. Musically Thorns of Hate performs one of the most barbaric black / death metal, so think of Bestial Warlust, Blasphemy, Sarcofago, Bestial Raids, Revenge and you’ll in the right hell. I really like what those Malaysian bastards are doing, they have great and destructive riffs, vomiting, powerful vocals and first of all, they managed to make all the instruments hearable, what not always is a priority for this kind of bands. But Thorns of Hate is really great, they’re often fast as hell, but the title track has also a brilliant doomy fragment in the end, which would put Encoffination in envy! Anyway, I strongly recommend you getting this tape, it’s been limited to 200 copies only, which is just too small number for such an excellent metal devastation, so be quick!
Flagrvm is so called one-man band and I guess it won’t be a surprise if I say that R.Nooser, who composed and performed “Through Torment of Belief” plays a traditional, raw black metal. But raw and primitive not always must be equal with useless and boring. No! In case of Flagrvm I can say that we’ve got four really cool black metal anthems, which are just filled with hatred, misanthropic feelings and depression. Despite some mess in the sound and few more chaotic parts – mostly when the tempo speeds up – I was able to pick up some excellent ideas that R.Nooser transformed into the sounds. There are some great riffs, really impressive, diverse vocals, etc and as overall my impression on the demo is very positive (despite the negative message, which this music and this project represents). When listening to it I start to think of such albums as the debut CDs from Secrets of the Moon, Ofermod, Svartsyn for instance and I can truly say that Flagrvm is not much worse than those bands at their early careers, “Through Torment of Belief” just sounds rawer and like a proper demo. But it is good (evil?). The tape is again very limited with only 100 copies available, but hopefully they’ll get wiser and re-press it with some extra copies.
Morbus has already two tapes released here. This is the first one. Well, with such album title as “Diabolikalrites & Nekrosexlust” it is obvious that Morbus sings about the Polish national tragedy, which was the aeroplane crush in Smolensk and the lost of our beloved president. Fuck, tfu… Of course they’re not singing about it! But the 10th of April will be now a day of joy, as this is when I listen to this demo and I can say that this is quite cool band. Morbus performs ultimately raw, disgusting and maniacally fast (in many parts, but not always) black metal and if you’re into the most obscure and morbid type of black metal bands, then they may interest you. If not, you can always purchase this tape just for the front cover - this nun is damn sexy! Somehow I’ve never seen a penguin like that, here in Poland, only the old cunts hehe. But back to the business... Morbus is not the most brilliant band I’ve heard in my life, to be honest, but they’re OK, if you’re into primitive aggression and necrophilia. The vocals are vomited in the most disgusting ways; the riffs are simple as the toy from chocolate egg and the sound damn raw. Yeah, definitely this is not a thing for the fans of Ancient or Dimmu Borgir. “Total Annihilation of Christianity” is my favourite track, very much in the style of good old Darkthrone, which is great! 100 copies only available!
And here is another Morbus release, the newest effort called “Satanik Terrorist”. Well, I must say that I like this demo more. It is obviously still the same sort of raw and primitive black metal, influenced by early Darkthrone, Carpathian Forest, Gorgoroth, Judas Iscariot… Definitely this is music for the most diehard and dedicated black metal fanatics, not to those, who only like it polished, well performed and composed and original – as none of it can be found here. Instead you may get hit by furious, throat cutting riffs, obscure atmosphere and ghoulish vocals. I like such tracks as “Sadistikal”, but let’s be honest – such music comes in one ear, but quickly disappears in the other, being forgotten very quickly. I do respect Mayhem (the guy behind Morbus) for what he’s doing, but his band at the moment is barely mediocre; definitely far from some of the best underground black metal bands, which I’ve listened to. But that doesn’t mean “Satanik Terrorist” is shit, it is just very forgettable, only for the diehards!
Next up is Polish Kingdom with their newest tape EP titled “Temple of Death”. Although I was familiar with this moniker for many years – the band has already a demo and a full length album in their discography – I don’t remember that I ever had a chance to listen to their music. Which is fuckin’ shame, as this EP is really great. Three tracks of pure satanic extreme death metal in the vein of the likes of Angel Corpse, Throneum and other such obscure and totally evil death metal bands is definitely something, what intrigued and nailed me to the ground. I like the production of this EP, which may be quite raw and aggressive, but that dirtiness do not make it unlistenable. Kingdom plays some very fast tunes, but do not stick to them entirely, leaving some space for some mid paced, moshable riffing and even more doomy bits like in “Black Plague”. There is really everything what the maniacs would enjoy about such obscure, morbid, raw old school death metal, so I just must recommend you this tape. Especially that as a bonus it comes with a killer Kat cover, “Śpisz jak kamień”, one of their best songs ever, originally from my favourite heavy metal LP of all times, “Oddech wymarłych światów”. Wow, Kingdom really played this cult track their own way, brutalized it totally, blasting like crazy, with the harsh, vomiting vocals, but somehow manage to remain its dark atmosphere. Really fuckin cool. I have nothing more to add, “Temple of Death” is just awesome and I must get Kingdom’s previous releases immediately!
Since I mentioned Throneum, it’s time to introduce you two split cassettes, which those Polish desecrators have released for Kampf. The first one is already quite old now – and it is a split with Swedish Suicidal Winds! I actually used to have it on 7”EP, released by Iron Bonehead, I didn’t even have a clue that there’s also a tape version. I love Throneum’s part of “Necroblasphemies”! Well, I can say it is classic Throneum – fuckin furious, ugly, evil, obscure and mostly damn fast, with those killer vokills of Tom! Arrghhhh! It is just unmistakable, really! Both tracks belong to the best from this band’s catalogue and if I can moan on anything, then it’s only the fact that they end so quickly! As for Suicidal Winds, I am not a great fan of this band. Sure, their music is also devilish, raw and old school, but maybe sometimes just too boring for my taste. They don’t have this spark, which Throneum has and which puts everything ablaze every time I listen to those Poles. Anyway, Suicidal Winds also presents two tracks and I guess they’re not as bad as some other stuff from them, which I have heard. They surely have quite a lot of classic black and thrash metal influence, I mean bands like Hellhammer, Bathory and even Venom, so this is really archaic stuff and with such tracks as “Earth's Last Breath” and “Void of Suicide” (killer ending part!) they do hammer it down well. But I like Throneum’s cruel ferocity more!
The second split is between Throneum and Offence. Offence is totally new band, “No Salvation” is their first appearance, with just one song, “Revenge is Significant”, so it is rather hard to review a band, basing my opinion on one track. Their sound is quite brutal and definitely is close to Azarath and to what Throneum does on their recent full length LPs. I like the feeling of their music, it is aggressive, raw and obscure, powerful as hell and definitely not so primitive and boring. They do fit to the Polish scene, where such bands as Soul Snatcher, Hetzer, Throneum and Stillborn rule. I want more from them! And as for Throneum, they did a song called “Cult From Ekron”, which appears also on their latest full length LP “Death Throne Entities”. And this is all I want to write about it. You just must already have this LP in your collection, so you’re also familiar (I hope) with this track and if you don’t really know what Throneum is like, then what’s the point in describing it more deeply? It definitely won’t help you, if you already didn’t bother to get any of 1898273 releases (hehe), which Throneum unleashed. Fuckin cult for me, great band, great song… and really killer split! Definitely it is one of the best Kampf releases. Damn, I wish it was just slightly longer!
Finally the two final releases from Kampf for today – the first one is “True Spirit of Old...” from the American bestial death / black metal project called Nocturnal Blood. Well, the description for this music is simple and so is the list of bands, which I could compare Nocturnal Blood to – starting with the originators like Beherit and Archgoat and finishing off with some of the younger bands, like Black Witchery (I mean younger that Beherit, as they’re around since 1999!), Sadomator, Proclamation… you know it. But the thing with “True Spirit of Old...” is that I find this demo as somehow way better than most of the similar recordings from the recent years. Sure, there’s no damn shadow of originality or whatever, but somehow those primitive sounds nail me to the ground and ride over me like a bulldozer. “True Spirit of Old...” has killer production – perfectly fitting this sort of obscure and bestial death / black metal, the riffs may be simple as hell, but have a truly devastating strength (like in “Temple of Masturbation”), not only when they play fast, but also in slower bits like “Nocturnal Black Blood” and “Masochistic Doom” (Hellhammer worship!!!!!!!!!) and finally I also like the vocals of Ghastly Apparition – who by the way is the only member of Nocturnal Blood (and who also plays in The Haunting Presence!). Man, he really managed to capture the essence of this music and created an evil, dark and eerie atmosphere better than most of such bands of nowadays. Hails for that! I must then recommend you getting “True Spirit of Old...”, as this is one of the best cassettes, which Kampf has released. And I’ll try to get some other stuff from this band!
And to stay in similar kind of music, for the end I have Necroholocaust, a Canadian horde, which describes their musical holocaust as goat metal. Whatever, for me it’s just pretty much the same stuff as from Nocturnal Blood and other bands, which I have mentioned above. OK, that goat metal tag may give you an idea that Necroholocaust can be infected more by Impaled Nazarene, who until eternity will remain as the biggest goat fuckers known to mankind… well, definitely the early stuff from those Finns have influenced Necroholocaust. Anyway, I don’t like their music so much. First of all, Necroholocaust used a drum machine, what sounds quite bad! Actually, I don’t like the whole production of their music – like the guitars, which are very buzzy, instead of having a heavy sound. Besides, the vocals sound sometimes hilarious, like fuckin barking dogs! The tempos are mainly very fast, up to the limits of listenable music, creating a lot of chaos and also aggression, but the band is not really able to create a devastating atmosphere and do anything, what would really make their music interesting. Unlike Nocturnal Blood, who are 666 times better I think. Anyway, the stuff, which is here, is titled “At War Under the Sign of the Goat” and originally it was released back in 2006. This cassette version includes some bonus tracks, which are the covers of Von, Beherit, Doom and Blasphemy… Ha, they couldn’t even pick up something more original? Eh, who cares? Necroholocaust really didn’t impress me, so I doubt I’ll ever get interested in this band anymore.

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