Monday, 30 September 2013

Archives of the Dead part X: Beyond Dawn - Heaven's Dark Reflection (demo 1991)

Archives of the Dead part X: Beyond Dawn - Heaven's Dark Reflection (demo 1991)
Line up: Einar Sjursø (drums, vocals (backing)), Petter Haavik (guitars, vocals (backing)), Tore Gjedrem (vocals, bass), Sindre Goksøyr (guitars, vocals (backing))
Recorded at Studio S, Strommen, during November 22nd -24th and December 6th. Engineered & mixed by Skule Robertsen and Beyond Dawn.
I have never really been interested in Beyond Dawn, just like I never have been into any of these weird fusions of avant-garde, jazz, doom, psychedelic, gothic and rock whatever type of crap. Sorry, this music is nothing for my taste. But like many other bands, Beyond Dawn also started as more metal oriented band and I guess their first recordings, mainly the demos, will be a nice offer for the metal heads; especially those, who enjoy their metal to be more unique, but still quite rough and dark sounding. Norway’s Beyond Dawn with their second demo “Heaven's Dark Reflection” is an excellent offer then.
The band was started in 1990 in Oslo and the same year they’ve released “Tales from an Extinguished World”. “Heaven's Dark Reflection” came out year later and I don’t know what the debut demo was like, but sincerely I must admit that the second tape presents a band, which already had quite unique and original style and certainly their way of playing death metal differed a lot from the typical sound of this music. If anyone thought that some Swedish bands like Afflicted and Crypt of Kerberos played weird and untypical death metal then he should listen to “Heaven's Dark Reflection”. Wow, bizarre riffs and song structures, a lot of quite technical parts, great variety of vocal styles (from growls, screams to weird singing)… Certainly even nowadays this music is very challenging, but I quite like it, for its rough sound and unique style. There were few death doom metal, which presented very weird music, let’s just mention Thergothon, Crypt of Kerberos, Pan Thy Monium and Phlebotomized. Definitely Beyond Dawn in their early career fitted them (even if soon they flew away towards more electronic type of music…). Just listen to “The Sound of Wings” – damn, there’s even a fast, almost black metal part in this song, especially with that shrieking type of vocals…  Certainly this is my favourite song from this demo, mainly for its more uncompromising and vicious sound. But such “The Mourner” also has some pretty intense and heavy riffs, although it is way more varied than “The Sound of Wings” and has also a portion of more bizarre playing, including violin in one fragment…
Anyway, these two are my favourite songs of the demo and to be honest I do enjoy “Heaven's Dark Reflection” in its entirety (maybe except some vocal parts in “Baphomet’s Refuge”). It is a shame then that Beyond Dawn didn’t settle with this style and sound for longer, but so soon changed into something less death and metal oriented… but this demo from 1991 is certainly worth of your interest. And I’ll finish this review with a very wise piece of the lyrics from the song called “God”: “…Walk your own path, find your own way, be your own god…”.
Final rate: 75/100

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Unaussprechlichen Kulten / Godless - Azathoth - Azazel/Azoth / Ontomorsophia

UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN / GODLESS - Azathoth - Azazel/Azoth / Ontomorsophia (IRON BONEHEAD - Split 7"EP 2013)
It feels like every new release by Unaussprechlichen Kulten is some sort of a great event for me and it’s not different with their newest effort – which is a split 7”EP with Godless. Iron Bonehead Productions has again taken care of releasing this single, just as they did it with the previous release “Lucifer Poseidon Cthulhu”, but I don’t know whether it is going to be a longer cooperation between the label and the band, or did they sign the pact of blood just for these two seven inches. Anyway, as I already mentioned the music of Unaussprechlichen Kulten became very important to me and I’m waiting impatiently for each next outburst of evil and horrid, which this Chilean horde is unleashing… And these feelings were any different with this split with Godless.
And about Godless I would like to write first, as I wasn’t that familiar with this band before. OK, I’ve read a couple of interviews with them earlier in fanzines and I guess I have also read some reviews, but somehow I still didn’t have a chance to hear either “Ecce Homo: Post Lux Tenebras, Pulsio XIII Ultima Ratio” CD or “Irreligiosus Nemine Discrepante” EP (which both are easily available here and there, so I must purchase a copy of each of these two releases). On this new split 7”EP Godless (which is also from Chile, by the way) joins Unaussprechlichen Kulten and I must say that both bands fits together perfectly; both from the musical and lyrical sides. “Mors: The Verb, The Antinomy” is such an intense, powerful and massive song that it will crack the walls in your house instantly and turn into ruin everything what seemed to be stable and solid. Man, I just love how Godless sounds on this EP. Just like Unaussprechlichen Kulten they take a huge influence from such Incantation – just to name one, the most obvious, band – but the riffing and execution is perfect for my taste. I love the variety of their song – as there are both very slow and fast parts – and also the production and vocals; everything, EVERYTHING, has been done perfectly. Hats off for yet another killer band from Chile! And today I’ll put my order for “Ecce Homo: Post Lux Tenebras, Pulsio XIII Ultima Ratio” CD; I just need more of such godless stuff.
Unaussprechlichen Kulten… do I need to add anything else to what I have already written in my three other reviews of this band? I guess no… This is just superb and utterly killer band, I love their music, I love how they use the Cthulhu mythos into one, great concept, I love the band’s image… and damn, this is 100% pure metal destruction and Unaussprechlichen Kulten is already one of my top favourites of the current death metal. “Lucifer-Poseidon-Cthulhu (Creatura Aquae part 3)” leaves me barely alive, after these bulldozing, monstrous riffs ripped my guts out and blew my head off. Great production, fantastic riffs, killer atmosphere of the music… Damn, if you’re into the ancient Morbid Angel, Immolation, Incantation, Sadistic Intent, etc then this band is a fuckin MUST HAVE for you. No forgiveness. No mercy. Total annihilation.
Final rate: 95/100

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Ebola / Inferis - Split EP

Damn, I’ve done it again… About three years ago I sold my almost entire 7”EP’s collection (over 150 EPs, with many rare titles released in the early 90’s), as I was moving to a new apartment and city, my wife was pregnant and we needed some extra money… I decided to sell all my 7 inches, as in new apartment I somehow couldn’t find any room for them (which was funny, as the place is bigger than the one we lived before hehe!) and then I also told myself: “from now on I won’t be buying any EPs; it is just a waste of money for 10 minutes of music, especially as so often these singles are so damn expensive”. Three years later my collection of 7”EPs grows again, there are already about 40 titles collected, mainly released in the past three / four years, so it seems I just couldn’t keep a promise to myself, which is sad hehe. But what can I do if they keep releasing so many awesome seven inches, with so many cool bands? I just couldn’t resist. And so, I’ve done it again… I’ve purchased yet another 7”EP. This one wasn’t even planned to be picked up, but I decided to do that by the pure curiosity. It is a split EP of Inferis from Chile and Ebola from Poland. I know both bands pretty well, but I won’t call myself their biggest fan. They’re just two solid death metal war machines, which I support. It felt like a good idea to check what these two bands would have to offer on a split release and damn, I don’t regret getting this small piece of wax as the music simply shreds.
Ebola is the biggest surprise for me. So far this band never managed to fully convince me with their music. I remember that years ago I got their “Suffering and Pain” demo for review and it was just very harsh, badly produced, not too impressive stuff. Then there was a cool split CD with Bloodthirst and finally “Infernal Revelation” CD… that album was really killer, but somehow it disappeared in the flood of other stuff, which I have been listening to. I don’t think I’ve listened to it more than just a couple of times and last time it was probably about five years ago… this is maybe why I also skipped “Hell's Death Metal” album from 2011. Anyway, on this split EP Ebola offers a track titled “Waiting for Death” and I must admit it is really cool and I am glad that it reminded me how great Ebola is. I really mean it; I remember Ebola for being totally uncompromising, violent and merciless death metal band and maybe “Waiting for Death” isn’t as fast as “ZG Slaughter” or other songs, which I barely remember now, but it is good anyway. Mid paced, heavy and very old school – this is how Ebola sounds. And if you’re into bands such as Master then you should pay attention! These Poles give us also a second song, which is a superb cover version of Unleashed’s best classic “Before the Creation of Time” – and after listening of it I have no more questions. So powerful, so energetic, so well executed… I have just been torn apart and slaughtered... I know now that I need to exhume “Infernal Revelation” (maybe I can get the LP version??) and also purchase “Hell's Death Metal” immediately.
Now the Chileans from Inferis… I only just finished listening to their new album “Obscure Rituals of Death and Destruction” and I still cannot find all my limbs after being mercilessly massacred by their ruthless death metal. “Cosmic Conjuration” doesn’t differ from the album, in that aspect… even if it begins with quite calm and peaceful theme, soon the violent and ultra fast, chaotic death metal erupts and you know there won’t be mercy and time for afternoon tea. The production may be very crude and the music chaotic, but it is also very powerful and energetic, so I cannot say anything bad about Inferis. Together with Ebola they created a killer split 7”EP and I must recommend it to you all. It’s limited to 250 copies, so be quick… or be dead.
And this week I bought three another 7”EPs… Fuck.
Final rate: 78/100

Dormant Ordeal - It Rains, It Pours

DORMANT ORDEAL - It Rains, It Pours (Self financed CD 2013)
Greg from Godz of War has sent me this CD of Polish Dormant Ordeal and I must say that until recently this band was completely unknown to me. I started seeing quite many reviews of their debut album “It Rains, It Pours” and now I also have a copy of this CD… Well, first of all I must say that seeing the artwork for this album and also knowing its title I expected some sort of doom metal, maybe in the vein of Novembers Doom and Ghost Brigade or if not that, then maybe some melodic death a’la Dark Tranquility… You know, this sort of artwork plus the title immediately gave me such impression, but I was wrong. Surprisingly the music is more or less, but modern technical death metal… brutal, massive, groovy, but there is nothing doomy, nothing melodic about it. So, first point goes to Dormant Ordeal for the surprise. Some more points these Poles get for the musical value of their music, as definitely I can say that – even if this sort of death metal doesn’t belong to my favourites – it is very well composed and performed and certainly the band gets my respect for putting out such solid and very professional piece of music. Even the way Dormant Ordeal has released “It Rains, It Pours” deserves attention – for self financed CD it looks great and the graphical layout is professional and awesome.
But let’s take a listen and see what the music is like… Well, I already wrote that Dormant Ordeal performs modern, technical death metal… imagine then such bands as Gojira, Hate, Behemoth plus a lot of American extreme metal and I don’t only mean Morbid Angel and Hate Eternal (even the vocals remind me those of Eric Rutain… this is what you can hear on “It Rains, It Pours”. And yeah, I already mentioned that such music not necessarily belongs to my favourites, although I do listen to it occasionally. And definitely I can admit that Dormant Ordeal has impressed me. Their music is very intense, very powerful, often it is fast as hell and crushes like bulldozer with some utterly brutal riffs… Luckily the band avoids what I usually hate about such bands – there’s no monotony in their music; “It Rains, It Pours” really has many different layers – technical stuff, slower parts, some harmonious riffs, so you cannot say that the band plays the same stuff through the entire record. And that’s great, you know… even those killer guitar leads give their music another dimension. If I add the fact that “It Rains, It Pours” got really fantastic production – and I just cannot believe that Dormant Ordeal has recorded it in their rehearsal place!!!!! – then it feels like I haven’t got anything to moan about here. Definitely “It Rains, It Pours” is an album, which deserves your attention, as long as you give a damn about more modern kind of death sounds. If you’re into the bands, which I mentioned in this review, then get this CD now. I feel like such albums are a good break from the flood of old school death metal, so definitely I enjoyed it.
Final rate: 70/100

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Degial - Death and Darkness Buries All....

DEGIAL - Death and Darkness Buries All.... (BLOOD HARVEST - 7"EP 2010)
Degial!!!!!! This is a killer horde from Uppsala and man, if you’re not aware of them yet then just MUST GET their LP “Death’s Striking Wings” now or you’ll die in agony and your body will rot unburied, left to be eaten by crows, vultures and dogs. Ever since I had been tormented by Degial’s full length album I promised myself to get their previous recordings also. Maybe “Awakening from Darkness” demo from 2006 will be impossible to find, but at least I finally managed to put my hands on “Death and Darkness Buries All....” 7”EP from 2010. Three tracks, but so much energy and power are coming from the speakers that my head will explode soon… but who cares, this is just what happens when you listen to killer death metal.
When listening to Degial I have three bands in my mind: the ancient days of Possessed, Morbid Angel and Repugnant. Those Swedes do sound a lot like the three bands I mentioned combined together and more so, they are also close image wise to Repugnant, which is also a great thing, as I love that kind of vision and sort of evil aura around the band members on these photos. Anyway, with “Death and Darkness Buries All....” you can forget about melodies or some nice, catchy tunes… this is utterly obscure, morbid and filthy death metal; very archaic, also very fast, chaotic and relentless (here another name pops in: Merciless and their “The Awakening” LP!!!!!). No bullshit, just straight forward, merciless attack. And I don’t know if it’s due to their Uppsala origin or do Degial really also have something in common with the black metal of (early) Watain? Anyway, three lethal anthems, with “Death in Heaven” being probably my favourite, 12 minutes of killer death metal… This is what this EP offers and damn, I love it. Degial is awesome band, no doubt!
Final rate: 85/100