Thursday, 31 December 2015

Incinerator - Death Descends

INCINERATOR - Death Descends (Self released demo 2015)
There have been quite few Incinerators in the past. I should still have the Swedish Incinerator’s demo somewhere on the shelf, but I also have a killer 7”EP from Dutch Incinerator, which was released not so long ago by Wolfsbane Records. Yeah, their “Human Garbage” was absolute crusher. But this one here is Incinerator from Poland, with their debut demo “Death Descends”. It’s nicely released on CD (I like the artwork a lot!), I am not even sure in how many copies, but for the debut it looks cool for sure.
And it sounds also good. It’s solid brutal death metal, with a nice old school touch. I can smell a strong influence of old death metal scene, from the very early outputs of some legends like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, even some old Pungent Stench. Why not? It’s that nastiness and filth in Incinerator music that brings me such comparison and instant attention. Of course the songwriting is still far from perfect, but it’s decent, with some nice, shredding riffs, some blasts and nice mid paced bits. The vocals are fine also. And the production is quite harsh an maybe it could have been better, but again – for a debut demo it is good enough. I actually like the guitar sound a lot, as it reminds me for example the guitar tone on very, very old Deicide. Oh, just listen to “Heart Infarction” and you will know what I mean.
And that’s it. This demo has four vicious tracks and is a nice start for this young band. I am definitely looking forward to hear more from the in the future.
Standout track: “Heart Infarction”

Final rate: 69/100

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Hermóðr / Is - When the Frost Has Stopped the Time

HERMODR / IS - When the Frost Has Stopped the Time (WOLFSPELL Records - split CD 2015)
Oh man, this dude from Hermóðr is really fuckin crazy and busy if he has time, energy and ideas to record and release so many songs every year. 2015 brought us one full length, some EPs and now also a couple of new splits! And I know also that the new album is also ready and coming in few months! This is a productive mind haha! But the best thing is that so far all stuff, which I’ve heard from Hermóðr (I don’t mention Rafn’s other projects, as I know Deadlife only – which is also a very nice music!) was excellent. Wolfspell Records just released Hermóðr split with Is and again I can say that I feel really impressed and love this CD totally. I played it many times last week and surely I will be playing it even more times in the future.
Hermóðr brings two very long songs on this split. “Från en annan tid” and “Dömd” are eleven and twelve minutes long anthems of sorrow, grief, melancholy and nostalgia. These songs are very slow, with an intention to create the feelings I just mentioned as well as dark atmosphere and not necessarily the black metal aggression and harshness. There’s strong melodic base on the music, good cooperation between the guitars and keyboards. And even if the song which lasts for so many minutes may sound slightly monotonous (with multiple repetition of one motif, etc), it still has no sign of boredom. And that’s simply because Hermóðr is doing a great job when speaking of the ability of creating the depressive, melancholic sound. It obviously has also this hypnotizing effect, it drags attention immediately and kind of puts charm on you. It’s easily listenable, atmospheric depressive, melodic black metal – that’s what you should know about Hermóðr. And also that this is very good project and I am sure that you will enjoy it also. I am waiting to hear more from Rafn.
And now Is. This is another one man project, from Russia - what is quite unexpected location. Nøkken stands behind it and it looks like he’s also very productive dude, if within one year he managed to put out so many songs and releases (but sadly most of them are digital). “When the Frost Has Stopped the Time” is actually one of his earlier 2015 digital releases, now unleashed on physical, CD format, which is great, as I don’t care for all these “invisible albums or EPs” haha! Three songs are here and one thing is certain – Is fits Hermóðr like glove to a hand. The music of both bands is very close when speaking of the aura, feelings, etc., with an exception that Is is (haha!) much harsher, noisier and definitely more aggressive. It also has some faster fragments, in song called “When the Frost Has Brought the Silence”, which is great sounding fast and raw black metal with atmospheric background, ambient, keyboards interludes and other such shit. It’s far from being as one dimensional and monotonous as their Swedish companion. This first song is great, but my personal favourite is the second piece called “Through Dusk and Dawn”. It’s actually very similar to Hermóðr’s style, but the song is much shorter. Anyway, it’s slow, atmospheric, dark, raw black metal, with some excellent riffs, very good vocals, fine arrangements and song structure. And the production is also just as it should be. Very good band, indeed.
So, all I can now say is that both Hermóðr and Is did great job on this split CD. It’s released in 500 copies, so do not waste time, just grab a copy now and enjoy some well done atmospheric black metal.

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Grift / Saiva - Skarprättaren / Sjiedvárre

GRIFT / SAIVA - Skarprättaren / Sjiedvárre (NORDVIS Produktion - split 10" 2015)
A blind buy that turns into a real jewel – can there be anything better? I bought this split 10”LP without knowing much about both bands, but when I played it for the first time I really was intrigued and pleasantly surprised. Both bands really did killer job on their part and both songs are amazing in my opinion! What bands am I talking about? They’re both Swedish and are Grift and Saiva. Both had only EPs released prior to this split (Grift with “Fyra elegier” and Saiva with “Finnmarkens folk”, released on Nordvis Produktion) and I definitely have to grab copies of them also, as I am very, very eager to hear more of such excellent stuff.
Both Swedish bands play black metal that reminds me some Norwegian bands from the 90’s like Kampfar, Satyricon, Taake, Ulver, even Burzum and Isengard, etc, so quite folky, melodic, epic, but harsh black metal that creates great cold atmosphere and is so damn catchy that you play these songs over and over again. Of course we can add also some newer bands as comparison – Skogen, Stilla, Dråpsnatt, Domgård, Hermóðr and more. Doesn’t matter. The point is that both bands have impressed me so much that they’re like the best discovery in black metal that I’ve made in many months.
So, first we have “Skarprättaren” by Grift. This song begins fantastically, with accordion that plays a nice, sorrowful, mesmerizing melody which will become the main theme of the whole song. The structure of this track is quite easy and maybe even obvious, but despite that, it is still very, very nice song. Accordion theme rapidly transforms into harsh, melodic black metal with great, screaming vocals and mid paced, slow, up to fast tempos, so it’s fantastic, very diverse and powerful, memorable piece. And Grift immediately captures my attention and doesn’t let go even for a second. Once “Skarprättaren” is over, I play it again. And again.
And I thought that Saiva can’t be any better… but they are! Fuck, their “Sjiedvárre” is 10 minutes long masterpiece and maybe it’s pointless to say that one song is better than the other, if both are so extremely killer, but Saiva came up with a perfect epic, folky black metal. They have everything in “Sjiedvárre” that I love in this sort of black metal. There are awesome clean and harsh vocals, great melodies, icy cold, powerful aura, aggression and riffs that sound like Ulver on their black metal records. What a fantastic stuff, wowweee! I want more!!!!
So, can someone please takes this 10” vinyl from me away please, so I can start listening to something else, not just these two bands over and over again? Damn, I love this release, it is maybe even the best split of 2015 in my opinion. So, I have to now find more stuff from both bands, this is a must for me.

Final rate: 95/100

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Excruciate - Passage of Life

EXCRUCIATE - Passage of Life (THE CRYPT - LP 2009)
It’s not a secret that Swedish death metal is my favourite thing. And Excruciate belongs to my favourite bands from there, yes! I had their “Passage of Life” tape (released on Loud Out Records) for many years in the 90’s, but I truly was happy, when I discovered that a vinyl is released by a new label. It was in 2009, this LP was very limited (200 black and 100 red copies), so I grabbed a copy quickly. It actually was the first release of The Crypt, now so well known and respected for their killer releases, but in my opinion already the CRYPT 01 release looked and sounded damn awesome. I got everything I wanted with it, but obviously the music was what brought the biggest joy, since it’s such a damn awesome death metal.
Sweden has been lucky to have so many amazing bands (in the past but also in the present). But when listing the best bands, people usually mention only bands, which have been signed by major labels or have been around for more than just few years of early 90’s. I can understand it, but to be honest most of the Swedish bands that I personally like the most are those, who could be called “smaller and lesser known”. And Excruciate is among them. I love this band a lot, their music meant a lot to me back in the old days and “Passage of Life” still gives me goose skin. Of course they started with two great demos “Mutilation of the Past” and “Hymns of Mortality” (which also appeared on the split LP with Epitaph). But it’s “Passage of Life”, which shows Excruciate at their best. What I enjoy the most about this album is that on one hand it is pretty typical and classic Swedish death metal thing; with that trademark Sunlight Studio sound that you cannot mistake with anything else, more so the band had obviously used a lot of the typical Swedish melodic riffs and leads, the vocals and atmosphere of the music are also very Swedish like. But when compared to some other bands, Excruciate on “Passage of Life” seems to be faster, more aggressive and vicious. And this is why I like it so much. Let’s pass on the production value, which maybe could have been better (I like it anyways, haha!), but as a whole this is a complete, near perfect Swedish death metal album in my opinion.
The songwriting is just fantastic. There’s no song, which I would not like or which would seem to be a filler. Each track brings just extremely great riffs and harmonies, some awesome ideas and arrangements that also distinguish them from many other acts. And Lars Levin’s vocals also sound so harsh and nasty... But first and foremost, “Passage of Life” is powerful and energetic album. Play it loud and you’ll feel its fierce power. Of course it’s not as brutal and extreme as the US or some European death metal bands, but it’s even better when the atmosphere and aggression have been mixed in such an interesting and enjoyable way. And Excruciate sounds awesome when they play slow and when they fast. It’s almost difficult to pick up favourite songs, when the whole album is so even from start to finish. But surely the opening track “Confused Mind” is the one that stands out, for its great dose of more harmonic themes, but also some more brutal and blasting parts. “Inhumation Postnatal” is very alike, as again you’ll hear many fantastic melodies there, almost epic bits, but also ravaging death metal. All in all, they both are great, very diverse, heavy songs. I can also mention “Anatomical Self-Fertilization”, which is mainly fast as hell, but somewhere in the middle it allowed a slow, quite mournful sounding piece to enter. There are sons like “Suffocate”, which are a bit more twisted, with many tempo changes, great, varied guitar work, what almost reminds me such Utumno or Afflicted (but less weird that the latter haha!). But these are just examples, as every song is filled with great riffs, ideas, fantastic arrangements, so we can speak of each track in details. Great, great Swedish death metal, this is what you get with this album!
It’s really shame that “Passage of Life” is the only Excruciate full length and that the band split up so soon (well, just like many other killer acts like Utumno, God Macabre, Epitaph, Goddefied, Gorement, etc). I understand that the death metal popularity at that time went down a lot and black metal started to be number one thing, but who cares about that? A lot of other bands survived and kept on releasing killer stuff. Of course I don’t think that smaller death metal attention was the reason for splitting up of the band, but damn it, I wish so much that “Passage of Life” was continued. Sadly, it wasn’t. Anyway, this is in my opinion a great band, killer album, so if you’re into the Swedish death metal do yourself a favour and spend some good money on it!
Standout tracks: “Confused Mind”, “Suffocate”, “Inhumation Postnatal”
Final rate: 90/100

Binah - A Triad of Plagues

BINAH - A Triad of Plagues (Me Saco un Ojo Records - 7"EP 2014)
Would you believe that I have “Hallucinating in Resurrecture” vinyl since two or three years and still have not played it more than three times maybe? I criminally underrated Binah, a mistake I am going to fix sooner or later (all because of the overcrowded old school death metal movement and too big number of such releases that appear these days!). And I started recently with Binah’s 7”EP “A Triad of Plagues”. I played it more than just once and I have to say that this is some seriously crushing stuff. Yes, finally I admit that Binah is a band that deserves your support.
“A Triad of Plagues” consists three songs and I can say that even if it’s not the most original or innovative stuff, this is killer music anyway. Binah obviously have a strong Swedish death metal influence, like the production is quite in the vein of Scandinavian death metal, as well as some riffs... but I would not end up calling this band just a plain copycat of Svensk Dods Metall, as it’s more like just old school, traditional death metal in general, with influence from some British, American or Dutch bands as well. All together, this is just very solid and worthy material. The first song “Rupture of Silence” strikes with no remorse, massacring with fuckin sweet, deadly riffage, great vocals and just a nice, dark aura. It’s quite fast (but no blasts!) and vicious! Next up is “Hemipteran Maraud” and it is very short outburst of aggression, but personally I’ve never liked such sort songs so much, as they usually have not so much to say… I mean they end up just too soon, this one though sounds more like continuation of “Rupture of Silence”, speaking of the tempos and riffage. Side B’s “Torpid Blight of the Spirit” is a pure delight and pleasure for old school death metal maniacs. This song is really good again, much slower and not so uncompromising as those from side A, with quite mouldy sound and eerie aura. Very nice, indeed, even if it lacks the aggression from side A’s songs!
So, this EP is maybe nothing outstanding and it’s not the best death metal I’ve heard in recent years, but I can say that Binah belongs to those bands that you should not hesitate to check. They’re solid and good enough for sure. And I finally have to give some more spins of “Hallucinating in Resurrecture” vinyl.

Final rate: 75/100

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Destroyer666 - Violence Is the Prince of This World

DESTROYER666 - Violence Is the Prince of This World (MODERN INVASION Music - CD 2001)
We can discuss here, why (or if) is the Australian scene so special and why the majority of bands from there sound so fuckin raw and bestial. But I honestly don’t care for the reasons, it would just be a waste of time. But I do have to admit that if you call yourself an extreme metal maniac then you just have to love some acts from there, especially Destroyer 666!!!! This is such an awesome band, surely my favourite act that ever came from fuckin Australia. They unleashed several killer records, some awesome EPs… And it all started with this phenomenal MCD “Violence Is the Prince of This World” that Modern Invasion Music released in 1995. It definitely belongs to my favourite D666 releases. It’s quite shortly stuff (although my CD has some bonus tracks), but it’s so powerful and vicious like only very few other bands have managed to be.
If I was going to describe this music with one word, then I would just call it barbaric. But other suitable words that would tell you what is this music like are savage, morbid, ruthless, fierce, harsh, violent and so sweet and powerful that every song is a devastator. The CD starts with bits like “An Endless Stream of Bombers” or “...True Sons of Satan” which remind me even some Absu records, for the unique blend of black, death and thrash and really fantastic harsh vocals. Later we have such “Death Metal Winds (Howl Again)” which is just fast old school motherfucker. And finally we have two best songs, “Song for a Devil's Son“ and amazing “The Eternal Glory of War”. The latter is definitely my favourite, for its fantastic riffs, vocals and awesome chorus part that makes you scream with the music every time you hear it. Yeah, so this is why “Violence Is the Prince of This World” is such a crushing stuff and from start to finish it is just a pure pleasure to listen to it. D666 is a band which always had that great passion for old school, raw sounding metal and skills to come up with excellent riffs that would combine death, black and thrash metal in their classic forms into something unique and unbelievably vicious. And KK Warslut is such a great frontman. Everything is played on full speed, but obviously there are also some slower pieces that sound heavy as hell… and finally, the whole music is memorable and infectious. “Violence Is the Prince of This World” is a winner, in my opinion!
The bonus tracks on my 2001 CD version are mostly the same songs from EP, repeated in different versions, so it’s rather an uninteresting addition, although a song called "Destroyer" does bring attention, as it’s kind of “exclusive” track here. All in all, this CD is totally recommended.
Standout tracks: “The Eternal Glory of War”, “Song for a Devil's Son“

Final rate: 90/100

Evoked - Return of the Dead

EVOKED - Return of the Dead (Go Fuck Yourself Productions MC 2015)
This cassette was a complete blind buy, but I thought that the sample of one song sounded good enough to get interested in Evoked. And damn, I am so happy that “Return of the Dead” is in my hands and I can listen to some crushing old school death metal. Yes, again, but why the hell not? If it’s good, then it’s worthy, no matter how many times we’ve heard it before. This tape was released by Go Fuck Yourself Productions (nice name!), there are two versions, on white and black cover, both limited to 150 copies each. So, not so many. But as I mentioned, Evoked is really awesome and I am more than happy to have a copy.
This demo is just four songs, which this German duo (consisting of Bonesaw and Artilleratör), has recorded in January 2014. But each track is a real crusher and I like it totally. This old school death metal reminds me such acts like Repugnant or Verminous, but you can easily put here also very early Tiamat, Nihilist, Autopsy, Possessed, Morgoth, early Death or the thrashing demo era of Pestilence. Whatever… It all sounds like it’s been recorded more than twenty years ago, somewhere in the fuckin bunker (although I like the production a lot, even if it’s far from being perfect). The riffs are like relentless slaughter, cutting sharp and aggressive, the aura is just evil and obscure. I love the crude howling vocals, they sound truly fuckin awesome and the music is pretty simple, but surely not primitive. Evoked likes to use the classic song structure formulas, which would sometimes include a nice, memorable chorus – sort of like bands like Verminous and Repugnant do as well – and it always works great. The title track or “Last Moan” are maybe the best songs, but I think that the entire demo just kills. And I have nothing against to hear more such awesome sounds from Evoked as soon as possible. I’m on the hunt for their 4-way split 7”vinyl now!
Standout tracks: “Return of the Dead”

Final rate: 85/100

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Nahum - And the Chaos Has Begun

NAHUM - And the Chaos Has Begun (Self financed CD 2015)
Sadly it’s not often when I get some music from Czech Republic, but usually when I do then it turns out it’s some great music. Here’s one band that I didn’t know before, but whose music really impressed me. They’re called Nahum. Their debut CD was titled “The Gates Are Open” and released in 2013, but here’s a new material called “And the Chaos Has Begun”. And well, I must say that I am very pleased with what I’ve heard on this CD. First of all, the whole album is packed in nice digipak and the music got very good production, which fits here perfectly. Secondly Nahum composed some great songs and their blend of death and thrash metal is truly exiting and worthy.
“And the Chaos Has Begun” has a small Swedish flavour that many of you will surely like. What stands out on this album are not only some truly great riffs, but also the energy and intensity of the music. Even if Nahum has tendency to play some melodic riffs or leads and quite often they also slow down, the music is still aggressive and heavy. And when they do speed up, then it’s just absolutely crushing, fantastic stuff. Especially towards the end the album gets more harmonious and slow, so this is why I enjoy mostly the opening songs like excellent “Raging Chaos” (check the video for this one!) or “Vomit the Darkness” and “Creator of Emptiness”, which both have that great, aggressive thrashing feeling that reminds me one old band from Portugal called Sacred Sin (at least in few parts it does). I am actually also glad that the album is like 30 minutes long only. It’s like a perfect length for such music, in my opinion, as it doesn’t gets boring or repetitive so much.
So… I have nothing more to add, really. Nahum released very good album, “and the Chaos Has Begun” surely deserve your interest, especially if you’re into bands like Arch Enemy, Pestilence, Death, Kreator (latest albums), Sacred Sin and so on. Nice!
Standout tracks: “Raging Chaos”, “Vomit the Darkness”

Final rate: 70/100

Disgrace - 1990

DISGRACE - 1990 (SVART Records LP 2014)
Another fantastic demo compilation is here, this time from Svart Records!! And it’s titled “1990”, which means that all stuff was originally recorded and unleashed back in 1990!!! Awesome! What band is it? It’s fuckin Disgrace, once a killer brutal death metal band from Finland. I like and hate this band. I like them because their death metal stuff is excellent. And I hate them for ending the death metal style so soon, only after the debut album, and fucking everything up with some punk rock shit that they started to play later on.
“1990” is nice LP that contains “Inside the Labyrinth of Depression” demo, “Debts of God” EP and “Beyond the Immortalized Existence” demo! Ain’t that a fantastic set of old school death metal? Hell yeah! It comes on 12” LP with an awful front artwork (haha). It’s awful, but also quite important, as this is what the band wanted to have on the cover for “Debts of God” EP originally. Well, I prefer what the label used in the final version haha! But surely these few existing copies of the 7”EP with the intended cover are rare as fuck. Now this 12”LP has this artwork again. The vinyl contains an insert sheet with the scans of demo booklets and EPs, few flyers, so it looks nice. But the music is even nicer. Or should I say nastier, as this is some seriously ugly and brutal death metal?
Disgrace were one of the best Finnish bands around and all three releases were in similar style. Which was abominable and morbid, fuckin harsh death metal with grindish influence, all in all very much in the vein of Carcass and some other Finnish acts like Abhorrence, Xysma and Funebre. Oh, you know that shit, right? You do, unless you’re a nerd, who recently found out that Kataklysm and Amon Amarth are the best and most brutal bands in the fuckin world. But damn, Disgrace is so awesome! “Inside the Labyrinth of Depression” is probably my favourite recording that they did, this demo is just amazing. I love the sound they had achieved and the songs like “The Chasm” or “Unity’s Interlude Dyes Blind Tomorrow” (blasting shit!) are total crushing fuckers. They have everything; there are some slow bits, quite many grinding blasting parts, sick vomits (Disgrace had three guys doing the vocals!) that will remind you Carcass of corpse… and damn, it all sounded just amazing and vile as hell. I like the riffs and the dynamics of this demo, with the variety of tempos, etc. For me this is among my top five favourite recordings from Finland EVER, yes!
Even if all three 1990 recordings from Disgrace are brilliant, this demo has a special place in my ranking and I cherish it the most. I have to say that the production is maybe one of the reasons why I like this demo the most. It really sounds fuckin sick and heavy! When compared to “Debts of Gods” EP, it is definitely heavier, while the EP sounds noisier. But it’s still damn good EP, don’t get me wrong. There are four fantastic songs, very much in the same vein as those from “Inside the Labirynth…” demo and this time I especially like “Deprive My Innermost Soul”, maybe because it’s slower and so massive sounding track!? Also “Incinerate” slays, fuckin Carcass worship!!!
Of corpse “Beyond the Immortalized Existence” demo is also really good, I am impressed that the debut demo had already such a good sound and the songwriting was not bad at all as well. “Deprive My Innermost” is the best song here while “Ingrained Reign” is the one I like least, as it’s almost as crazy as some of the stuff that Lubricant used to play.
Wowweeee, I have nothing more to add. This is a fuckin awesome demo / EP compilation, from one of the best death metal bands from Finland ever and this vinyl plays absolutely fantastic. All these recordings sound great, of course they have harsh, raw production, but damn it! This is the only way such music should sound on demos. I have to recommend this LP to all of you.
Standout tracks: “The Chasm”, “Deprive My Innermost Soul”, “Incinerate”

Final rate: 90/100

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Cryptic Realms - Eve of Fatality

CRYPTIC REALMS - Eve of Fatality (WEED HUNTER - MC 2015)
I am very happy to be able to work with some nice underground labels, who deliver some great music for review. And Weed Hunter is among my favourite, small but so damn nice label. They’ve released some great tapes and this is their newest one, from another unknown band, called Cryptic Realms. It’s an international act, with dudes from countries like USA, Romania, Mexico and Greece (Kostas plays also in Abyssus, whose debut album “Into the Abyss” was recently released on Memento Mori… and it’s surely a CD I am looking forward to hear soon!). They gathered and composed four songs, which compile “Eve of Fatality” demo. And yes, it is death metal. Yes, it is old school. And yes, it sounds damn awesome.
Stylistically this quite close to the US death metal, but not that brutal stuff like Cannibal or Suffocation, but I was rather thinking of early Death, Obituary, Massacre… Soooooo, Florida death fuckin metal! Hey, Massacre even had a song called “Cryptic Realms” on their classic debut album, right? So, it does say everything about their influences. I would also add some European bands, like Pestilence, Grave and Bolt Thrower and you know everything. It’s nasty, sick and brutal stuff, with some truly excellent riffs, great vocals and also quite nice, rough but good production. It’s awesome that the music is as vicious as it is also catchy; it’s not technical and complex death metal, the songs are short, riffs are few, but all has been played in the proper and good way, which I enjoy a lot. Song like "Necrophagous" stands out, but basically all four are damn good and keep the quality on the desired level.
Very nice debut then and I can only hope to hear some more stuff from Cryptic Realms as soon as possible. This cassette is limited to just 166 copies.
Standout tracks: "Necrophagous", “Total Demise”

Final rate: 75/100 

Graveyard / Redimoni - The Procession of the Gravedemons - The Ultimate Profanation

GRAVEYARD / REDIMONI - The Procession of the Gravedemons - The Ultimate Profanation WITCHES BREW Split 7"EP 2014)
This is the last of the three Graveyard split 7”vinyl releases that I bought lately. This one was released by Witches Brew in 2014 and together with Graveyard you’ll find here a Spanish thrash metal band called Redimoni.
And I will start with them, as I want to clear things out asap – in my opinion they are the weakest band I’ve heard on any split vinyl with Graveyard so far. Their music – which is old styled thrash – does not convince me at all, is boring and unimpressive and completely forgettable. While the first song “Annihilate Without Mercy” is still decent, then the second one “Mesmerized by Fire” is just crap, with some of the worst vocals (and arrangements) I could think of. So, for me personally this side of the split is unremarkable and does not stand well aside the other band, also because they do not fit stylistically.
I’ve never written anything bad about Graveyard music and I won’t do this also this time, even if what they offer on this split is just an old song from “Into the Mausoleum” demo, re-recorded. It’s a shame it’s nothing new really, but on the other hand this time this song got a killer proper production and without changing it much, it finally sounds just as it should always had to. This is old school death metal, with killer riffs, dark atmosphere and some very nice ideas and arrangements, especially with the use of (sort of) church organs, which have been mixed louder when compared to the old version of this song. Yeah, definitely the second part of “Into the Mausoleum” song sounds truly amazing and I love the obscure, horror aura of it.
This EP was something I had to get for collection, just because Graveyard is such a great band, but it’s a shame that Redimoni was not able to catch my attention. Hopefully this is the last time something so weak has joined Graveyard on the split release.

Final rate: 70 / 100 (only for Graveyard though; Redimoni would get 50/100 at the most)

Graveyard / Nominon - Graveyard vs. Nominon split 7"EP

Carrying on with Graveyard split 7”EP, here’s one they did with Nominon! It’s a second Nominon / Graveyard split actually. The first one they did was released in 2012 through Cyclone Empire and it was sort of Candlemass tribute release, as both bands recorded Candlemass covers for it. And they sounded amazing. Three years later both bands meet again, this time under Doomentia Records banner and again pay tribute to a classic band, this time to Motorhead. Wow, nice idea and I hope both bands will continue it with more such great tributes. With this split I was a bit worried, as I’ve never been a Motorhead fan, I like some songs, but never have been hugely into the band. I am lucky though that in case of this split both bands didn’t disappoint and did great covers.
Let’s start with Graveyard and “Deaf Forever”! OK, I this song I know well, so maybe this is why for me it’s a nice, easily listenable cover tune, with great, catchy riff and simple structure. Again the band played their song in more death metal manner, the vocals are harsher, the sound is also quite raw, with a guitar tone taken straight from the classic Swedish death metal… and it sounds nice. Ha, who would think that Motorhead song can be performed like that? Of course it’s very alike to “Orgasmatron”, my favourite Motorhead song, and we all remember killer covers of Sepultura and Satyricon, but “Deaf Forever” is also excellent and quite unique in my opinion.
Meanwhile the way Nominon played their cover of “The Hammer” is even more characteristic. On one hand, the band has kept the classic rock’n’roll feeling of Motorhead intact, the song is filled with the rock energy and even the sound is quite like the old stuff. But it also has that metal feeling and harshness added, with quite black / thrashy vocals (sort of like in Aura Noir) and more vicious, fast playing, so the band also managed to make something interesting and their own from the old Motorhead classic.
Well, I am not sure this time, which of these two covers I like more, they both sound damn good, but also different… it’s just crazy stuff and even a non Motorhead dude – like myself – can enjoy it deeply.

Final rate: 85/100

Graveyard / Crucifyre - Split 7"EP

Some time ago I bought three (!!) split seven inch vinyls, which all feature Spanish Graveyard! Damn, nice activity from this band, almost comparable to Revel In Flesh, who also appeared on quite many split EPs lately. And well, I hope I don’t need to remind you that Graveyard belongs to my favourite bands from the old school death metal genre. They simply kill and so all these releases were must have thing for me. And now I will try to review them all…
…and I am gonna start with the most interesting split from these three... and this a Graveyard / Crucifyre split, released in 2015 through War Anthem Records in 500 copies. Well, this is awesome split where each band is presenting a cover tune. Graveyard actually surprised me by choosing Darkthrone’s “In the Shadow of the Horns”! Ha, you would probably never expect a black metal classic from them, right? But damn, what a nice, killer cover it is. I obviously love old Darkthrone and Graveyard did everything perfectly with their version, played it very well, kept the dark, obscure feeling of it, even if the production is quite clean. And I suppose they did this song in their own way, especially with the lower and not that shrieky vocals. It just sounds great in my opinion.
And Crucifyre came up with Morbid Angel’s “Funerals”!!! First, I am not such a big Crucifyre fan, to be honest, I think their music is OK, but nothing more than that. Secondly, what a great choice for Morbid Angel cover!! You would expect a more well known track, right? Surely not one, which I think has never appeared on any demos or albums, but the only recorded version of it I know of is the one released on a bootleg vinyl split with Slaughter Lord. What makes it a damn rare, but still fantastic tune! So, I can only congratulate Crucifyre for such a great choice and reminding us this rare, forgotten track. And damn, their performance here is just so killer! It starts with David Vincent’s presentation of the title from the original live recording and then all the hell breaks loose and the furious, old school morbid death metal begins. With the KILLER production and all these awesome, vicious riffs and fantastic sinister vocals Crucifyre actually reminds me bands like Degial or Invidious… but take that as a compliment, as they’re all brilliant. And well, “Funerals” is surely the best stuff I’ve heard from Crucifyre, it’s also a winner for me on this seven inch.
Great stuff.

Final rate: 90/100

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Ulver - Trolsk Sortmetall

ULVER - Trolsk Sortmetall (CENTURY MEDIA - LP Boxset 2014)
Oh man, this was such a sought after release! I love early Ulver albums, for sure they’re some of the best Norwegian black metal ever released, but I only had one vinyl so far and really wanted the other stuff on LP also. Sure, there’s that old boxset with picture discs, but not only it’s too pricy but I also don’t like PDs so much. “Trolsk Sortmetall” is much, much better. The content is just perfect. The presentation is all what I would want to see in such special boxsets, with killer book containing a lot of great stuff, then there are four vinyls with all Ulver stuff that I like, plus there’s even one cassette! Oh man, it’s enough to give it 100/100. Perfect release, if you ask me.
The musical journey through these Norwegian classics begins with “Vargnatt” (“Wolfnight”) demo, recorded in November 1993 with the line up: Garm (vocals), Carl Michael Czral (drums), A. Reza (guitars), Grellmund (guitars), Havard Jørgensen (acoustic guitars) and Mysticum's Mean Malmberg on session bass. For most of them this was the first and also last recording they did with the band. Anyways, it is significant that Ulver right with “Vargnatt” came up with music, which was simply different to the stuff offered by other Norwegian black metal bands. Just think of the raw, but somehow clean production (but with heavily distorted guitar tone), so unlike to the primitive sounding, noisy black metal demos of that old era. More so, Ulver brought also more atmospheric music and mixed clean, acoustic songs with distorted black metal. And they used not only the harsh screams, but also some clean vocals – which on “Vargnatt” didn’t sound so well to be honest and I actually think that this demo would be better without those annoying and badly sang clean vocal parts. Anyway, there are some moments of pure genius on “Vargnatt” and Ulver really showed their incredible ability to compose atmospheric, but dark, harsh and eerie music. “Ulverytternes kamp” is obviously the best song here; I just love the opening theme for it and yes, I can see how this works as the soundtrack when you take a walk in the frozen, wintery forests. “Tragediens trone” has also some absolutely fantastic bits and again a fantastic, acoustic beginning. And “Trollskogen” is entirely played on the acoustic guitar and yes, this song is just beautiful. So, “Vargnatt” was very different when compared to the whole Norwegian black metal and stuff from bands like Darkthrone, Mayhem, Emperor or Immortal, but the atmospheric black metal would soon bring more awesome bands with recordings from Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, Arcturus, Gehenna, Isengard and so on… Ulver is definitely the best of them all…
...and that’s thanks to “Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr i 5 Capitler” (“A Fairy Tale in 5 Chapters”) album. "Bergtatt" was recorded in Endless Lydstudio,  in November / December 1994, with much different line up, as only Garm and Havard were remaining from the “Vargnatt” session and with Skoll (bass), AiwarikiaR (drums) and Aismal (guitars) joined. Additionally Sverd from Arcturus recorded piano parts for the album. And what can I say? For me this is the best thing Ulver ever recorded and easily one of my favourite black metal albums of all time. It’s a wonderful record, the music is perfectly balanced between the atmospheric, folky, epic, monumental stuff and harsh, raw and furious, aggressive black metal. The arrangements here are just stunning, there are so many wonderful pieces, so memorable and sorrowful, melancholic, but angry… I love the riffs, arrangements, the use of acoustic guitars, flutes, etc., all blended into melodic but raw black metal… And finally the vocals are excellent. There’s a lot of clean sung vocal parts, songs like “Capitel I: I Troldskog faren vild” are only based on them and you know, they – along with the melodic riffage – create that sorrowful atmosphere here. Of course Ulver do not focus just on that and with “Capitel II: Soelen gaaer bag Aase need” it bursts out with more aggressive and darker playing, but that only proves how diverse and well arranged this album is. Later on there’s a bit of everything, for example such “Capitel IV: Een Stemme locker” is entirely an acoustic song with clean vocals… And it is so good that I think it’s just impossible to pick up the favourite song, as basically each is just fantastic, worthy and interesting. It’s a complete, perfect record, if you ask me. And the acoustic fragment on the end of the album is only announcing what was yet to come with “Kveldssanger”, Ulver’s bravest record for sure. It cannot be also forgotten that each song tells a different chapter of one tale, based on the Norwegian folklore and that is another significant detail on Ulver. “Bergtatt” is the first part of the trilogy.
…and it continues with “Kveldssanger” ("Evening songs"). Yes, I already said it’s Ulver’s bravest record… and also one, which I like the least. Why? Well, it’s not black metal album, but 100% acoustic, folky music. Which is nothing bad, don’t get me wrong, as I like such music and Ulver previously did some amazing acoustic pieces on “Bergtatt”. But maybe I just miss that combination of black metal harshness and aggression with acoustic, folklore music? All in all “Kveldssanger” has some absolutely stunning and beautiful pieces, there are some songs like “Østenfor Sol og vestenfor Maane” or “Ulvsblakk”, which are simply amazing. But I think that the entire album is very easy to listen to, very mesmerizing, with a lot of melody, clean vocals (Garm did awesome job here) and fantastic playing of acoustic guitar (Havard), sometimes combined with cello (from Alf Gaaskjønli ) and flute (AiwarikiaR). It’s worth mentioning that this LP includes also a bonus song “Synen” originally released on "Souvenirs from Hell" compilation. Great addition!
And finally the last album, the final chapter called “Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne til Ulven i Manden” (“The Madrigal of (the) Night - Eight Hymnes to the Wolf in Man”)! Well, for years I considered it to be my favourite Ulver album, nowadays I prefer “Bergtatt” more, but “Nattens…” is still damn awesome. Two things surprised me, when this album was released in 1997. Firstly, it was the fact that it came through Century Media, which I don’t think is a proper label for black metal bands. And secondly, it was the music, which on this album turned into something totally obscure, harsh, primitive and morbid black metal. You know, “Bergtatt” had that black metal meets folky music style, but “Nattens…” is basically lacking any acoustic / folklore elements, focusing 99% on the black metal. And I think it was surprising to hear Ulver music going this way… but let’s be honest, Ulver was changing with every album (their next album “Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” was a real shock!). “Nattens…” is close to early Dodheimsgard, Darkthrone, with its lo-fi, noisy recording and relentless, aggressive, abrasive music. There are some slight traces of melody, but they really get lost in the whole messy and harsh style of this album. But damn, I really like it a lot. There are some really amazing songs like “I”, “VI”, “II” and to be honest, I put this album in the same category of brilliant and totally crushing black metal records as “Under the Funeral Moon”, “Antichrist”, “Pure Holocaust” and “Kronet til Konge”. More so, I just like the fact that Ulver decided to record something so nasty, aggressive and damn obscure in the times, when black metal got more melodic, everyone started using keyboards and simply started to sound more accessible for the masses. Big labels started to sign black metal bands. Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child and all those symphonic bands were getting popular as fuck… and here we go, Ulver also got signed by big label, but released their most relentless and furious, most violent album. Killer stuff! Additionally we can listen to four songs from “Nattes…” in the rehearsal versions, which are included on the cassette. Sadly there are no vocals, but hey, you can always do some karaoke haha!
All in all, “Trolsk Sortmetall” is just an amazing release and splendid boxset. The whole packaging, including great book with lots of old photos, lyrics, translations, liner notes isa complete perfection. The quality is simply superb… so, what else can I add? It was just worth buying! Sadly it was sold out fast and now you can only buy it from the vultures, who ask or double or triple prices, as they bought these boxsets not for themselves, to enjoy the music, but just to sell it later, but this is what “fans” do now. Fuck them though, I am sure they will die in agony and demons will feast on their greedy souls. “Trolsk Sortmetall” is excellent representation of what Ulver once was and well, for me this is the only period of this band’s existence, which I like and listen to. Anything after “Nattens…” doesn’t interest me, so for me this is perfect.

Final rate: 100/100

Morpehus Descends - From Blackened Crypts

MORPHEUS DESCENDS - From Blackened Crypts (DARK DESCENT 7"EP 2015)
It’s kind of bizarre phenomenon, to see all those old, long time dead, bands suddenly exhumed and resuscitated. They grab the last breath and last chance to exist in the death metal underground, with either great or totally bad and useless style. I speak now about death metal as it looks like this zombie disease has infected mainly this genre. And well, I could mention many examples, but here I am gonna write about Morpheus Descends. To be honest, I had no idea they came back. Sure, I knew the reissues of their old recordings, I even bought some of them on vinyl, maybe I also saw posters that they played few gigs in the USA. But I had no idea they recorded anything new. And then I saw this 7”EP in Iron Bonehead shop and bought it immediately, surprised that I didn’t know it’s coming. It’s even more surprising that it came from Dark Descent and The Crypt, so two among my favourite record labels out there. So lucky I was then to see a copy. And well, now after several spins, I can admit that for sure Morpheus Descends return belongs to those worthy and very good ones, indeed!
Maybe one of the reasons why this music sounds so great and authentic is that some of the Morpheus Descends guys have never really disappeared and were around the scene all the time. If it wasn’t with Morpheus Descends then it was with other bands like Mausoleum. On the other hand for Craig Campbell it is a comeback to death metal after more than two decades, as the last time he was seen around was when he growled on the old Morpheus demo (“Accelerated Decrepitude” in 1991!). But to my surprise, his voice still sounds damn vicious and nasty, no doubt he’s a great growler and one of the best surprises on the whole EP.
This 7”EP is just two newly recorded songs, but damn, I like them a lot, they sound as solid and authentic as the old stuff, maybe even better! Basically what we have here is old school death metal, very much like the old Morpheus Descends stuff. Plus it makes you think of such Incantation, Funerus, Abysme, old Finnish death scene and so on. Obviously, the production has been updated, so it’s very heavy and massive sounding stuff, but the songs are so damn good that they should please all die hard maniacs of such intense death metal. “The King's Curse” is my favourite here, as the slow, brutal sound of this piece is just fuckin sweet and damn, it just creates such a great sepulchral and severe aura, with great riffs and vocals all the way through. “Oozing from the Urn” is also killer though, it’s a bit faster song, so it sounds like erupting volcano or avalanche that comes down fast to destroy everything on its way. There’s no escape, so let it crush you and bury now! I can only speak in positive words about the performance, with great vocals, riffs, very nice production that fits this style of death metal perfectly.
Definitely “From Blackened Crypts” is a killer comeback, but I hope it won’t end up like with Goddefied or Uncanny, who also released fantastic 7”EPs and then went silent again. I want to hear more from Morpheus Descends, the sooner the better. Yeah, these dinosaurs do have death metal in blood! Don't know the limits, but do get a copy now!

Final rate: 85/100

Monday, 30 November 2015

Pyre - Human Hecatomb

PYRE - Human Hecatomb (Reforestation Records - MC 2014)
Russian metal – Russian death metal especially – until recently was not existing for me. My opinion was that there’re not good bands at all, just a pile of garbage. Luckily things change and quite few really good names appeared there like The Prophet, Chamber of Torture, Trigger or Grond. But my favourite stuff comes from band called Pyre. Damn, this band is awesome. I already collected couple of vinyl releases of them: killer “Ravenous Decease” MLP and split with Entrapment – they were both excellent. And then Pyre released their debut album “Human Hecatomb” through Mexican Chaos Records. And yes, it is again a brilliant release, I love it, it’s my favourite recording from Pyre so far, but for fuck sake! How come there’s no vinyl version available anywhere in Europe?!! How come I have to buy fucking cassette to listen to it, while I really wanna LP? It’s another reason why I am always so sceptical about some of these more exotic record labels, which even if release good stuff then have shit distribution. Anyway, I hope that one day a vinyl will end up in my collection. And until then I have to play the cassette version released through Reforestation Records in 200 copies limitation.
And believe me, it is a pure pleasure to listen to this album. In my opinion Pyre is among the best bands, which play that old school death metal with strong Swedish influence. You know, we have Undead Creep in Italy, Brutally Deceased in Czech, The Dead Goats in Poland, Graveyard in Spain and Revel in Flesh (and dozens more haha) in Germany… and Russia has Pyre. These are the best bands from this style in my opinion (not counting the Swedish hordes now though!). You can expect all the classic ingredients on “Human Hecatomb”; there’s nice melody, aggression, dark atmosphere and most of all, there’re simply killer, fantastic riffage. You know, as I mentioned many times before, I don’t care about the music being original or if someone calls it a trend and that there are many similar bands at that time. Why would I give a crap? The music is either good or bad, nothing else should matter. I don’t care if it was heard before and if Dismember recorded “Like an Ever Flowing Stream” in 1991. And I hate opinions like “oh, I have original, why would I care about a copy?”. Oghhhh, fuck off. This is 2015 and it’s awesome to listen to so brilliantly done death metal album in the old school way. It’s like fresh blood and besides, how many times can we listen to “LAEFS” or “Left Hand Path”, right?
To me “Human Hecatomb” is filled with great songs and killer stuff. Basically through the entire album the band avoided fillers and mediocrity. There are many memorable, catchy parts and fantastic songs like “Far Beyond the Unknown”, “Last Nail in Your Coffin” and “Disturbia”, there’s aggressive and quite fast death metal like “Merciless Disease“, “Under the Death Reign” (but even that song contains such an amazing melodic part, with just fantastic harmonious leads… I love it). Most importantly, the whole music was played with passion, enthusiasm and energy that blows out 99% of similar albums ever recorded.
If you ever have a chance to buy a vinyl, buy two – one for me haha! Amazing album, killer band, I love it! I only hope that my interview with them will be completed soon also!!!
Standout tracks: “Far Beyond the Unknown”, “Disturbia”, “Last Nail in Your Coffin”, “Merciless Disease”, “Under the Death Reign”

Final rate: 85/100

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

No Salvation - Defiling Verses

NO SALVATION - Defiling Verses (Self financed CD 2015)
No Salvation are Polish death metal act, which did not really make a big impression on me when their 2011 “Among the Mistakes of God” demo was released. I considered it as too mediocre and forgettable, nothing else. But here’s their debut full length album called “Defiling Verses” and I must admit that this is very nice slab of brutal death metal. And surely the band made quite a nice progress from their demo, not only with the compositions and the performance, but also the production, which is very nice.
No Salvation is strongly influenced by the brutal US death metal and the likes of Deicide, Vital Remains, Diabolic, Brutality and Morbid Angel. It’s been played mainly in fast tempos, but not in the boring, one dimensional way, so also some slower or mid paced fragments are here and there. Especially “Niosący światło” brings attention, which is the final song and one, which differs a lot from the rest, not only with slower, more melodic, catchy and epic riffing, but also with the Polish lyrics. But this is the only such piece and the rest of the album is more oriented on brutal, straight forward death metal. And it’s all good. I mean, No Salvation is not delivering anything new and innovative to the table, the riffs and arrangements are pretty standard, so are the vocals and everything… but “Defiling Verses” is solid enough to be enjoyed. There’s not much to write even, just think of death metal in the vein of the bands I mentioned above and that’s it. I also must mention really nice front artwork for this album… and that’s it. This CD is self released, there’s also a cassette version available, so if you’re into this stuff do not hesitate to check No Salvation out.
Nothing else to add. This is quite short recording, so is my review short, but it's nice to see it's all going in good direction.

Final rate: 70/100

Grimirg - MMXV-I

GRIMIRG - MMXV-I (Patologian Laboratorio Productions CD 2015)
Grimirg is another release from Patologian Laboratorio Productions and a project of Grim666, who’s also in Seal of Beleth. And just like Seal of Beleth, Grimirg also presents us doom metal stuff, but one, which is way more depressive and sorrowful when compared to the other project. Yeah, “MMXV-I” is an album that will take you through the most painful and mournful sonicscapes, embraced in the so called funeral doom style. Four tracks are here. Four very long and very sluggish songs based on rather typical slowed down but heavy, downtuned riff, low, growled vocals combined with a strong keyboard background that brings more atmosphere and kind of hypnotizing feeling to the music. Oh, and there are also quite few female vocals to unveil the beautiful part of sorrowful doom metal. Don’t think it’s anything like the old Theatre of Tragedy though, but for sure those gothic doom metal albums from the end of the 90’s can come to your mind here and there, only played in much less joyful way. And it’s weird that despite all those keyboards or different vocals, the music still feels quite minimalist. I suppose it’s all because it is also quite one dimensional, it’s the same slow tempo through the whole 40 minutes of the CD, it’s the same kind of riff and playing all the time… And I must admit that although it isn’t bad, the whole “MMXV-I” bored me terribly. It just feels like I’ve been listening to the same song or the same motif all the time and it’s been repeating and repeating until I decided to stop this and just switched the music off. Of course I can see that this monotony is about to help to increase the whole aura of sorrow and sadness, but I just don’t find it easy to stay focused through the whole album. But if the Autumn weather makes you more depressed and isolated then it should fit perfectly as a musical background.
Just like “Seal of Beleth”, “MMXV-I” CD is also limited to 200 copies, but I definitely enjoyed the other one much more. This one I am afraid can end up buried in time and dust for long… unless I will find myself in proper mood for such atmosphere.

Final rate: 60/100

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Seal of Beleth - Seal of Beleth

SEAL OF BELETH - Seal of Beleth (Patologian Laboratorio Productions - CD 2015)
I got this CD from Wolfspell Records, but it was actually released on Patologian Laboratorio Productions in just 200 copies, so there are not many copies available. But I must say that this is really good album and if you ever have a chance to grab a copy, then do it with no hesitation. Especially if you’re a fan of slow, doomy metal stuff, as this is what Seal of Beleth has to offer. Damn. I started to listen to their self titled album with some scepticism, since I’ve never of this Finnish band before and the artwork is just shite haha! But never judge the book by its cover, as they say. In this case it’s the only thing which I don’t like, everything else is simply fantastic and it’s just damn great and well performed doom metal.
And it’s stuff, which has a great shadow of the final Celtic Frost record over it; as well as Triptykon of course, especially in the song called “Statue of Failure”!!! Seal of Beleth creates kind of similar dark and obscure, sick aura with these absolutely fantastic hypnotizing, heavy riffs. They’re crawling like some monstrous, horrid creatures from the darkest shadows, strangulating and crushing with no merciful feelings at all. And it’s awesome that even if the music of Seal of Beleth is slow it never awakes a boredom or monotonous feeling. The band managed to compose four lengthy songs (with each being ten or more minutes long), but they don’t tend to sound like never-ending torture that you wish could end soon. They are actually full of variety, Seal of Beleth did wise job and even if the music is based on traditional doom metal skeleton, then there are also some leans towards darker, obscure and more eerie sound, maybe some more easily listenable and quiet parts (opening theme for “Statue of Failure”) and even a bit of black / doom stuff, especially towards the end of the album in “Amon Unbound”, where the pace fastens up nicely. So, a lot is going on, also the vocals are well performed as together with harsh shriek or growling you can hear some great clean singing. Oh, just listen to “Nightmares”, a song with nice (almost post metal) groove and tension that grows and grows until the final seconds. But even more I like “Statue of Failure”; it has a quiet, calm beginning and turns into the heaviest riffs on the whole album, a lot like Celtic Frost’s “Monotheist”. But generally all four songs bring interesting music, with great arrangements and ideas, I think the whole album is very even and from start till finish I enjoyed it fully. Very recommended, although you must remember that there are not so many copies available.
Standout track: “Statue of Failure”

Final rate: 75/100

Deadlife - From Tears to Ashes

DEADLIFE - From Tears to Ashes (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
You may remember Rafn from his excellent project Hermóðr. When reviewing “What Once Was Beautiful” I mentioned that he has also some more projects and Deadlife is actually one of them. And just like it was with Hermóðr, Deadlife was also formed recently, in 2011, and also has quite vast discography already, with three full length albums, some EPs, etc. Damn, I suppose that all Rafn is doing is sleep, shit, eat and play music, no time for anything else like work or other wasting of time haha. No wonder then that he refuses answering interviews, he has no time for it if he must record five or more albums every year for all the projects he has haha. But seriously now, Wolfspell Records just released a compilation CD titled “From Tears to Ashes” with all three albums of Deadlife plus an EP and some bonus songs! It’s a lot of material, it takes two CDs and overall you’ll find here 2,5 hours of music! Wow!
And I must say it’s a real challenge to go through all this music, especially at one go. I mean, it’s a lot, too much really and it feels even more if you think it’s all doomy, slow depressive black metal played in the harsh, minimalist and crude way. Because this is again what Rafn offers, but compared to Hermóðr, Deadlife is not even half as melodic and easily listenable. It’s not so atmospheric, but totally depressive, mournful and as mentioned, it’s played in very raw and minimalist black metal way. The albums are titled “Slutskedet” (2013), “Värdelös” (2013) and “No Help Is Coming” (2014). The EP is called “Worthless Existence” (2014). There’s not so much difference between all these recordings, to be honest. They all have simple, harsh black metal songs as well as some calmer, more quiet pieces like “The Chronicles of Pain” and “För evigt förtvivlad” on “Slutskedet” or “Mentalt kaos & lidande” (which is a dark ambient piece) and “Pieces of the Past” (which is all acoustic guitar song) on “Värdelös”.
For Deadlife Rafn composed rather long songs, they’re all over five, some even over ten minutes song and usually within one song he doesn’t combine much and the song structures are pretty simple (so is the music, really), with not so much variation. That obviously creates a strong feeling of monotony, but it’s also about the specific atmosphere, which all depressive, mournful and doomy black metal bands share. On the other hand such “Life Is Just Too Long”, which is 14 minutes long (so maybe it’s a bit ironic title haha) starts to annoy me after a while and the riffs and wailing melodies are enough to skip this song for good. “No Help Is Coming” album is definitely the best one here, you can hear that it’s better played and recorded, with nice sound quality and a bit more focus on good songwriting, vocals, nice riffs and melancholic melodies what all together bring a very interesting and enjoyable album. Songs like “Alone” and “Stabbed to Sleep” are the ones to listen to. This album is also the longest and it obviously doesn’t avoid a bit of monotony, but it’s nothing what would really disturb in enjoying it.
2,5 hours is maybe too much time to spend over such sorrowing and minimalist music. To be honest, I’ve tried to listen to the entire double CD set in go, but never managed as it’s just too long and after a while I just needed some different, maybe more aggressive and powerful, more energetic stuff. But in smaller doses Deadlife is not bad at all. I don’t like it as much as Hermóðr’s excellent album, but it is surely a solid and worthy to collect music also.

Final rate: 70/100