Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Dead Goats - Children of the Fungus

THE DEAD GOATS - Children of the Fungus (INSTANT CLASSIC - MLP 2013)
Damn, it’s been a long wait for this vinyl, almost too long! Instant Classic has started taking preorders for it in July I think and didn’t release it until the mid October. They had some technical problems and couldn’t accept the test pressings, which they got from the pressing company, so it caused a huge delay… but finally the waiting is over and my vinyl has arrived last week. About The Dead Goats I already wrote few words in my review of their debut album “Path of the Goat” and here I can only just shortly remind you that this is Polish band, which features ex or current members of Incarnated, Neuropathia and Abused Majesty. “Children of the Fungus” is a MLP, which contains five new songs plus Napalm Death cover and is available on the limited to 350 copies black vinyl (which additionally contains also a CD version plus download code, if someone wanted to listen to it in more digital way).
So, let’s play this LP, listen to the music and admire the awesome artwork (mushrooms… mushrooms… hallucinations!). The Dead Goats has a classic Swedish death metal tone in their guitar sound and that can already say a lot about their influences and musical style. This kind of production is really awesome, I love it and it obviously will remind you Carnage or Entombed straight away, but musically it may not necessarily be that very classic Swedish death metal… Sure, there are many riffs, which will remind you it – just listen to the opening theme for the title song, which sounds like taken straight from “Indecent & Obscene”. Also “Fistful of Guts” starts very traditionally and that slower riff in the beginning of it reminds me “Clandestine”. But most of the time The Dead Goats plays their death metal in really crazy, relatively fast way, what gives their music more relentless and chaotic sound. There’s almost a punk or grindcore roughness and wilderness to it, but obviously played with the Sunlight Studio sound. More so, “Children of the Fungus” is rather bereft of melodic parts, except “Fistful of Guts” and title song, which I already mentioned before and which contain a classic Swedish death metal melodic riffs, which sound really damn awesome for me (that ending part in the title song is to die for!). And this is why these two songs are the most memorable and best of all. But you’ll be surprised how fast and energetic the music on this MLP is. It may also be nothing new, as Dismember had several such songs, like “Skinfather” for example, where the tempo was faster than usual. The Dead Goats sounds really archaic, sometimes also more chaotic and rougher. I may not consider “Children of the Fungus” to be the most guts ripping death metal record of the year, such “On the Unhallowed Ground” is maybe not as good as those songs I mentioned before, but generally I am very pleased with every song on this MLP, including that awesome Napalm Death cover. The Dead Goats has just proved to be one of the most precious discoveries of mine on the Polish underground this year (along with Ragehammer I think).
Standout tracks: “Children of the Fungus”, “Fistful of Guts”
Final rate: 75/100

Krypts - Unending Degradation

KRYPTS - Unending Degradation (ME SACO UN OJO / DETEST - LP 2013)
I don’t know any of the Krypts’ previous releases – which were “Open the Crypt” demo form 2009 and “Krypts” EP from 2011 – but I was really looking forward to hear “Unending Degradation”, because I’ve heard a lot of positive comments on the previous recordings and everyone was saying that Krypts is definitely one of the best Finnish death metal bands around at the moment. So once “Unending Degradation” has been released on vinyl I got myself a copy of that and well - first thing, which I must say about it is that the artwork on the vinyl turned out to be way too dark. You just cannot see that many details you’d wish, almost anything at all, which is a shame of corpse, as Timo Ketola used to do some truly awesome art for metal bands and here – on this Baksiński influenced creepy defile landscape – he again did splendid job, but so what, if the dark print on the LP cover (much darker than on CD) makes it impossible to see the details and is too blurry?
OK, cover is one thing, but what about the music? Well, definitely I can see why Krypts has gained so much recognition from the maniacs, as their music is of very good quality and it fits the current “trends” perfectly, so if I say that these Finns play their death metal in old school and pretty doomy way then it should be no surprise to anyone. Yeah, that shocking value is something what I miss about some of such albums sometimes – it’s not the same great surprise anymore compared to the one, when you’ve listened to “Epitome of Darkness” or “The Horror” for the first time. From the musical point of view “Unending Degradation” has everything what every maniac should like though. Obviously this album reeks of the classic Finnish death metal scene from the early 90’s with some British, Dutch and even a bit of Swedish favour being added to this putrid effort. This album truly is damn heavy and massive sounding, with the slow playing being dominant in major part of it… but the sound is so deep and dense, so brutal that even when Krypts speeds up it still feels like you’re listening to something utterly colossal and wallcrushing, you just don’t feel this energy which would usually come together with faster death metal riffing and drumming. Here it feels like Krypts was closed in some fuckin chamber or catacomb, so the claustrophobic sense is close and there’s almost no life and energy within this music, so obscure and lifeless it seems. And that for some will be a great advantage of “Unending Degradation”, while some others will see it in different way… Well, personally I am somewhere in between.
I can admit that Krypts has some good moments on “Unending Degradation” and in general this album is really well composed and performed, but somehow it lacks something. I don’t know whether I have been spoiled too much by some other similar bands, but there are some around, which are just better than Krypts and this means that “Unending Degradation” is more of a mediocre effort and definitely it’s not as brilliant as some other albums, which I have had a chance to hear this or last year. Sometimes it tends be too slightly too monotonous for me and when it gets too repetitive and tiresome then it also feels to drag on too much and therefore it just isn’t 100% convincing and absorbing. I must give Krypts the justice though – there are several awesome riffs, like for instance I really like the instrumental opening track “Introeon: Perpetual Beyond”, with its nice Swedish feel to it, because of more melodic riffs… or “Open the Crypt”, “Blessed Entwinement”, so generally the album is solid and OK, but just maybe too monotonous. I think that each of these songs, which are on “Unending Degradation”, if released on two song singles, would sound really well and I would probably have not many things to complain about. But if you listen to for instance side A, you feel like first couple of songs are OK, but at the end of “Dormancy of the Ancients” I start to yawn. This song just feels too long… and the same happens on side B, really. I usually start listening to it with some interest, but it fades away after a while. So yeah, I have mixed feelings towards “Unending Degradation”… find yourself what this album is like, some of you will love it, while some others may have similar impression to mine.
Standout tracks: “Open the Crypt”, “Blessed Entwinement”
Final rate: 69/100

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Loits - Ei Kahetse Midagi

LOITS - Ei Kahetse Midagi (SEVEN GATES OF HELL - CD 2003)
Damn, this has been so long since the last time I have listened to this excellent album that I had to wipe the dust from it first, but then I have actually been playing this CD for the whole day yesterday and today and will carry on tomorrow as well. Hell yeah, I almost forgot how awesome Loits is. First time I have actually heard of them and “Ei Kahetse Midagi” was when I got the cassette with this album from somewhere. And I couldn’t believe that somewhere in Estonia plays band of such high quality and with such musical style. It was somewhere in 2002 or 2001 and back then I didn’t know much about the Baltic scene of Lithuania, Estonia or Latvia (except Poccolus only), so it was huge, huge surprise for me to hear band such as Loits. I remember that I interviewed Lembetu sometime later and from then on every Loits release, which I could find, was quickly purchased and I really liked them all. Yeah, definitely this band is very special and certainly they’re the best Eastern European band for me (and by East European I mean countries East to the Polish border – I always hate when people call Poland an Eastern European country as geographically we’re in the fuckin middle of Europe; we used to be called like that because of the politics in the communism era, but that’s fucking history now and past… look at the map and see that we’re in the centre of Europe FFS!).
Loits is special – not only for music they play, but also for the whole concept which they’re dealing with – telling about the patriotism, national pride and the history of their country during the World War II with almost kind of soldiers’ memoirs, feelings, etc. Some people may accuse them for being even Nazis, seeing the band wearing the uniforms, which look so much like the uniforms of the German soldiers, but please – read the lyrics, check some more details about the band and more so, learn about the history of Estonia during the WWII and you will know why it is all like this (certainly not because they’re fuckin Nazis!). To tell the story short – Estonians were fighting for their independence against the Russia who occupied them, so they thought that taking the side of the Germans would help them fight Stalin… German troops were kind of liberators and definitely not such a great threat like in many other European countries and soon the country became part of Reichskommissariat Ostland. So, this is why the Estonian troops had the symbols and uniforms alike the German ones (these were the Estonian Legions which were for example joined to the famous Waffen SS Verfügungstruppe units).
OK, history aside (but remember that it is very important aspect of Loits’ music!)… Musically Loits gives a lot of credit to the Norwegian black metal scene, I think. If I didn’t know what band and album I listen to, then I would certainly think it is a lost gem from Norway or maybe new recording from one well known band from this country. Honestly, I really think that there are many influences from such bands as Gehenna (some of their albums at least, plus the vocals sound quite similar), Vreid / Windir, Tulus, Enslaved and even from Dimmu Borgir (from their “Stormblast” era) or Ulver’s “Bergtatt”. The riffing has many similarities to each of these bands and more so, the atmosphere of the Loits music is similarly cold and dark. From the other hand I can sincerely say that Loits – even if was influenced by all these bands – managed also to create something original and unique. And don’t get fooled by the bizarre term “flak ‘n’ roll” – whatever that would mean; in many ways this is classic, Norwegian-like, maybe little bit folky in some riffs, black metal record. Loits creates awesome atmosphere, I like how they diverse the music, so there are some more aggressive and harsh parts, but with many more melodic themes here and there, where Loits uses some keyboards or folky, quite catchy riffs, so in the end there’s always something great going on and the music is monumental, epic and cold atmospheric black metal… And I love it. The production of “Ei Kahetse Midagi” is also just superb; very clean, but with that harshness, which is necessary in this kind of music. Then I really like the vocals of Lembetu, who sings all the lyrics in Estonian and that always brings an extra feeling to the music… just like when Norwegian bands sing in Norwegian, Polish bands sing in Polish – the use of different language in black metal than the usual English gives something unique and characteristic and even if you can’t understand it, it just sounds damn awesome and apart the band from many similar acts.
Every time I listen to “Ei Kahetse Midagi” I am just really impressed by it. The riffing is just excellent, Loits managed to compose some truly awesome songs and the performance from every band member is just excellent. If I can be honest I just don’t see any faults on this particular album. It is just flawless and with 36 minutes on the clock it provides an excellent listening experience, which – even if I’ve listened to the album so many times already – never gets monotonous. I mentioned some Norwegian bands, which I find similar to Loits, but honestly I think that these Estonians are just better than say Vreid or most of Gehenna albums… “Ei Kahetse Midagi” is for me a superb classic and I really, really recommend it to you all… I feel like this band and especially this album are somehow forgotten and underestimated, so it’s time to give it what it deserves. Get it now!
Standout tracks: “Tulisilma Sünd”, “Valge Nägu”
Final rate: 90/100

Monday, 28 October 2013

Grave Miasma - Odori Sepulcrorum

GRAVE MIASMA - Odori Sepulcrorum (Sepulchral Voice Records - CD 2013)
Grave Miasma… This band has been getting a lot of attention since their formation – or should I say since they’ve changed the name from Goat Molestor into Grave Miasma and released its debut onslaught titled “Exalted Emanation”. I must admit that I had just a brief listen to this EP, as well as to their next release titled “Realm of Evoked Doom”, which I fuckin regret now, but sadly I have never had a chance to get them. Well, life sucks, but you cannot have everything. Luckily once I saw “Odori Sepulcrorum” in a distro I bought myself a copy of it immediately – not a vinyl, sadly, but this digipack CD looks so great that I can have no regrets. Sure, vinyl would be perfect here, but it was quite expensive… And besides, this CD version of “Odori Sepulcrorum” looks and sounds perfectly also. I think that many people will love the graphical side of the album a lot and well, I can only agree. Not only it has this sort of religious, but heretical, profanatical aura, but it just fits the music and its atmosphere perfectly! Great colouring and everything… So, before you start listening to the album you just stare at this digipack and you just know it will be something special… and damn, it truly is.
When I listen to “Odori Sepulcrorum” I feel like I deal with one of the most majestic and monumental death metal records I have ever heard so far. And I really mean that… This album is just soaked with the dark, eerie, occult atmosphere, which has been carefully crafted on “Odori Sepulcrorum” and the entire music almost sounds like if we were listening to a band playing in catacombs, where they truly created freezing and obscure mood. You can almost smell the musty, rotten odour of the tombs... Truly in such albums as “Odori Sepulcrorum” the atmosphere, ability to create it and to keep it perfectly balanced is the most vital and crucial aspect of the entire music, in my opinion, and Grave Miasma did manage to capture that essence perfectly. Sometimes the riffs will almost have a secondary meaning, when you will let that atmosphere catch your throat and devour you… then sometimes you will realize that you don’t even listen to the riffs, but just admire that feeling of the music. You can hear the ghastly howling of Y, which fits the entire music perfectly and everything is right there where it is supposed to be… and with the final effect being not only majestic and obscure, but sometimes almost terrifying, I can say that “Odori Sepulcrorum” is close to perfection.
I mentioned that sometimes I almost don’t listen to the riffs, so ensnared I am by the atmosphere of the music, and I also wrote that I think this is one of the most monumental and epic death metal records, which I have heard. So, to explain myself… Obviously having listened to “Odori Sepulcrorum” over thirty times for the past two weeks I also started to pay more attention to the riffs and they sometimes may not be anything extraordinary or revolutionary and in many ways Grave Miasma walks the same morbid, necropath as bands such as Mitochondrion, Doombringer or Necros Christos do… which is nothing wrong of corpse, especially that once you get to know this album you also realize how many truly awesome and memorable riffs are there and finally how many truly splendid and breathtaking ideas have been incorporated into the songs and their involving structures. This is no bullshit death metal with the necro, almost black metal, occult atmosphere and in this league of bands – some of which I have just mentioned – I can see “Odori Sepulcrorum” being one of the greatest achievements ever. You may think that Acheron, when they’ve been doing their classic albums, was truly special – and certainly such “Lex Talionis” or “Those Who Have Risen” are fantastic, cult records. But now with such albums as “Odori Sepulcrorum” it feels like bands like Grave Miasma have taken this influence of Acheron and some other bands into new dimension, creating new sound and style within classic death metal… and that can only be worshiped by the real fans of this music. And it is also the proof that you can still create something new and unique within the old catacombs of death metal. When I hear such tracks as “Ascension Eye” – which is so fuckin excellent,  “έσχατος” with its truly unique riffing and “Seven Coils” with these oriental music influences, I am left speechless. What an awesome job has been done here! And these are just three songs, probably my favourites, but “Odori Sepulcrorum” has seven anthems and each is truly devastating. Maybe when I mentioned the album being monumental and epic, some of you thought it is probably something slower and kind of bombastic… so, let me say that I have such feeling towards “Odori Sepulcrorum”, because this is not just typical death metal record, which is all about sheer brutality, speed and bone crushing. “Odori Sepulcrorum” is often pretty fast, speaking of the tempo, but even in these moments the riffs are kind of specific and the obscure atmosphere together with these riffs and horrifying ghoulish incantations brings me this feeling to epicness.
I usually don’t do things like “Best album of the year” summations, unless I am asked by someone or there’s sort of contest somewhere… But if I was about to make one for 2013 then I am sure that “Odori Sepulcrorum” would be there in my top ten. This spectacular album has really caught my attention and I can only recommend it to you all, although I am quite sure that most of you already know Grave Miasma well and probably also have a copy of the album in collection. Excellent record, indeed.
Standout tracks: “Ascension Eye”, “έσχατος”, “Seven Coils”
Final rate: 95/100

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Eternal Rot - Promo Tape 2013

ETERNAL ROT - Promo tape 2013 (Self financed)
Some things over the time go in a full circle and once they die to be reborn after a while. In heavy metal music it is really noticeable… We have thrash and heavy metal revivals and we can also see that a classic, traditional death metal has its second life… it seems like it was 1990 once again, when looking at the number of great bands, which perform the classic style of death metal, with the traditional demos, EPs, albums, also with the artwork, which they have and even with such festivals as Killtown Deathfest, which deal with this music exclusively. Yeah, classic death metal has truly been reborn lately. It is cool that so far the quantity goes in hand with quality… sure, not everything is really awesome and worthy, but still the number of killer bands and fantastic recordings is pretty high, maybe even higher than it was back in the old days. And it is awesome, I think! You know, there were times, when death metal was almost dead (and there were just very few bigger bands, which were noticeable in the media, etc), later this music became sort of speed contest for who’s the fastest and more technical… but then one day such bands as Repugnant, Kaamos, Dead Congregation, Nominon and some more – I am not going to go into details, as this is a review, not a book or article – have started to exhume the old sound and the old feeling and that was it! Doomy death metal has also been brought back to life thanks to such bands as Anatomia, Coffins, Disma, Encoffination, Father Befouled, Ignivomous, Hooded Menace, Antediluvian, Grave Miasma and many more… And now I have a pleasure to introduce you to another such bands – they’re called Eternal Rot and this Polish duo has debuted with the two songs compiled on “Promo tape 2013”. And damn, this cassette is something what I really have enjoyed and listened a lot!
Music of Eternal Rot is deeply influenced by such bands Anatomia and some other, which I have mentioned above… and of corpse it also lurks into the old cemetery, where the corpses of Winter, Disembowelment, Autopsy, Hellhammer, Decomposed, Sempiternal Deathreign and more cults have been buried. Eternal Rot doesn’t reinvent the wheel, they play the most traditional and classic form of utterly slow and heavy, massively brutal death metal with ghastly, deep vocals, sorrowful, slow riffs and dark, mournful atmosphere… but it works so damn well here. I love the demo, I think that these two guys have done just brilliant job and captured the ancient feeling perfectly. I like these riffs, I like this mood of the music of Eternal Rot, finally I also love the mouldy, dirty, raw production of it… and wow, I am very impressed and happy that I managed to get this cassette. And later I will most likely get also the 7” vinyl version of it, which is planned to be released later in 2013. This demo is just excellent debut and I didn’t expect it to be so damn good… but it is, so I can only be happy about it. I cannot wait then to hear some more music from this project! Yeah, short review, but there are just two songs on this demo… enough for me for an appetiser, now give me your second course! Or maybe the second curse! Smell the decay!
Final rate: 90/100