Friday, 31 July 2015

Disloyal - Godless

Oh yeah! This is another time, when I got fully convinced that the Polish death metal belongs to the best in the whole fuckin world, especially when talking about more brutal, technical and fast death metal! In the past few days I blown away by some new records, such as Sphere – “Mindless Mass” and Incarnal – “Hexenhammer” and they were simply fantastic. I enjoyed them a lot and surely recommend them to all death metal maniacs. There’s also still quite fresh Embrional record, which is just excellent and new Ogotay CD is also coming soon, which I am sure will also be a blast! But in the meantime here’s another fantastic, crushing record: “Godless” by Disloyal! Yeah, another really good piece of death metal, another really recommended album, another Polish band to add to your “need to check out” list. Personally I’m a little frustrated by the fact that “Godless” is already a fourth album from Disloyal and I’ve never heard any of their previous releases. There’s just too much shit around, too many bands, too many albums to keep yourself updated on everything, so once a while I discover a band, which have already two or three releases and I got introduced to them only with the last one. Which would not be a problem, if the band was shit… I would not give a shit. But Disloyal is bloody good, so it’s a fuckin thorn in my ass not to have any of their previous albums. Something I need to fix one day... In the meantime, let’s play “Godless” again!
What a killer album it is. I’ve really enjoyed it a lot and in my opinion it definitely is one of the strongest death metal releases from Poland of the recent years. It just sounds so bloody good, very mature, almost perfect that I can’t say enough good things about it. Definitely one of the most striking things about “Godless” is the diversity of this album. Definitely this is not your mediocre one dimensional death metal stuff, which would focus on the brutality only. Sure, “Godless” has a strong powerful and aggressive, technical death metal background and there’re quite few songs, which shall break your neck with the massive wall of crushing riffs and dense, technical drumming. Some parts are also quite technical, there are some broken rhythms, sudden tempo changes, but I am glad that the band didn’t exceed with all that technical aspect and their music is still pretty easily listenable, especially when compared to some other modern death metal albums. And it’s also nice straight forward music. More so, there are quite few memorable fragments, with the so called groove or whatever you call it, so… Yeah, definitely Disloyal is a mature band; they’re very precise in their musical mass killing and as a result, “Godless” is a fantastic album. I am very pleased to have a chance to listen to it and definitely recommend it a lot.
I suppose that “Self-carving Titan” is the most surprising song on the album. Not only it is the least brutal and most memorable, but also it just sounds a LOT like Gojira. It’s almost on the verge of plagiarism haha, if you take not only the main riff, but also the way vocals have been performed. I really like Gojira music a lot, so I’ve noticed this resemblance straight away. And well, maybe it sounds like a cover (haha), but I do admit that this song really caught my attention and I liked it immediately. It just has that great, sort of mechanical feeling, which is so different to the rest of the album, but is so catchy at the same time that it’s impossible to resist it. And I don’t even try to. Great song, despite the strong resemblance! But you know, one can compare Disloyal also to other bands – but you should always treat those comparisons as a compliment, because in the end “Godless” is simply high quality death metal. So, such “New Enemy Rising” begins with Vader style riff, to turn into total Morbid Angel “Domination” era playing. I like that slow fragment especially, it’s just damn crushing and powerful! One can also probably mention such Hate Eternal, Mithras or Immolation… so, the whole bunch of the best death metal bands one can imagine! Listen to also such “Mechanism of Deceit” and “On the Ashes of the World” with some truly killer riffs and a lot of twisted, brutal arrangements. The latter also has some clean vocals, which sound just fuckin brilliant, in my opinion, and add something unique to the whole song! One should also note some sick, twisted guitar solos a’la Trey Azagthoth, but also some more melodic accents like the one in “Give Place unto Wrath” – what sounds great in between the crushing blasts! This song is actually one of the best proves for how intense, but also diverse is Disloyal’s music. So much is going on here that someone would share these ideas between three other bands, easily! It shows also that the band can be able to achieve a lot also in their future recordings, so I can only wish them to get a good support and recognition and that “Godless” won’t disappear in the sea of other death metal releases. Recommended.
Standout tracks: “New Enemy Rising”, “Self-carving Titan”, “On the Ashes of the World”

Final rate: 75/100

Khaoz - I, Creator of Damnation

KHAOZ- I, Creator of Damnation (GODEATER - CD 2015)
I remember that I had the previous album from Khaoz, titled “Salvation Through Bloodshed” (released on Polish Mad Lion) and damn, I did not like it so much haha! I even checked this morning my review, which I wrote two years ago, to see what was that I didn’t like about Khaoz music… well, I gave the album 4/10 and just complained on quite few things. Meanwhile, here’s the newest album from the band, titled “I, Creator of Damnation” (this time released on Godeater), and I can say that the band developed in good direction, but one major factor, which caused my total dislike of the debut is still here, so I am afraid that the album number also won’t belong to my favourites.
I don’t want to sound too harsh on these guys… especially as some things have improved and this time I give them 6/10. Well, surely there are some really good songs, like in “Ravishing KhaoZ” which almost reminds me such Morgoth, “..and Forever Madness” or “Creator of Damnation”. I do must admit that the performance of each musician of Khaoz – guitarists, drummer, bassist – is very good, they surely are good technically and know how to play their instruments. The band not only reminds me Morgoth, but also mixed death with thrash metal, not really in the old school way, but more modern fashion... and that’s maybe not something what I tend to listen and enjoy often, but musically it isn’t terrible. It’s rather solid and decent.
The production is also quite good, I can’t say anything bad about it. So, what is really wrong with Khaoz? Well, thing which I HATE about their music – and which unfortunately hasn’t changed since the previous album – are the vocals. Damn, they are fuckin bad! The band decided to use one of those dual vocal performances; two vocalists, of which one has a nice, low growl. But the majority of the album has been sang with that totally fuckin annoying shrieky, harsh scream, which I just cannot stand. Damn it, I really must say that the vocals basically destroy the whole album, the whole effort of the band is vanished as all impression I take from listening to it is something like “oh man, shut up!”. Sorry to say so, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t like it and it’s maybe one of the very rare occasions, when I can say things like that… It’s annoying, especially as musically that death / thrash is really not bad and the band improved a lot, got better musically from the debut album. But damn, I don’t care really. I’ve listened to “I, Creator of Damnation” several times and have enough of this band for good. Wasted chance. Please, get rid of that vocalist now.
Standout track: “Ravishing KhaoZ”, “Creator of Damnation”

Final rate: 60/100

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Krypts - Krypts

KRYPTS - Krypts (DETEST Records - 7"EP 2011)
I don’t know how is that possible, but I think that I really liked ALL stuff, which Detest Records released in the short life of this label. They discovered some truly awesome, young bands, which were playing old style death metal and damn… they never got it wrong. I loved the whole attitude of this label also and focus on releasing 12” and 7” vinyls only, no CDs! Today they’re all great collectable items and I have quite few of them ha! And Krypts self titled 7”EP is among my real favourites. Damn, what a perfect death metal this is! And it’s weird, but I actually love this single more than the full length album, which those Fins have released couple of years later. I mean, “Unending Degradation” is solid and very good, but musically both songs from this EP are like perfect for me and I would listen to them all the fuckin day long, if it wasn’t for the fact that my vinyl player has no auto-repeat. So, it makes quite difficult for lazy boy like I am to get up every time the song is finished and play it all over again. Ha, anyway I love 7” format and love “Krypts” EP.
Two songs are here, one on each side. Music of Krypts can be described as some utter dark and gloomy death metal, which combines Finnish and Swedish styles, but is played in slow tempo only, with that strong melodic accent on the lead guitar… what gives an awesome doomy death in the most perfect vein. You can probably hear even some old Paradise Lost or Decomposed in this music, but generally think also of such Eternal Darkness from Sweden and you will know what is Krypts like on this EP. And they nailed this music perfectly. Both tracks are equally fantastic, both create this obscure, gloomy, horror atmosphere... Songs are quite lengthy, closed in 6 minutes and pretty much focused on that heavy, massive playing. In “Putrified into Nothingness” the vocals appear so late that you would think it’s almost an instrumental track, but it slowly sets up the mood, brings some killer riffs and harmonies and crushes you before going even more brutal, heavier and slightly faster, when the vocals appear. And even though it is nothing what you have not heard before, Krypts does everything just right and I surely have nothing to moan, even the murky, raw production fits here perfectly. Definitely a great release, absolutely worthy to collect, so if you find a copy, do not hesitate. It was limited to 700 copies, by the way.

Final rate: 85/100

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Infection - Acrotomophile Mutilator

INFECTION - Acrotomophile Mutilator (Self financed - 12"LP 2015)
And now something interesting. I just received a vinyl from Peruvian band Infection, who self released their second album “Acrotomophile Mutilator”. And damn, just show me how many bands out there are able to release 12” full length vinyl by themselves? I don’t think there are many. It surely is very unusual to see this. But I think it is cool that Infection has decided to finance it all by themselves, as it means they believe in their music. Also, getting a 12” vinyl for review is something what previously happened to me maybe three or four times, so a big thank you need to go to Antonio Palacios, who contacted me for this review. No idea how limited this LP is, but it’s just awesome to have a copy of it.
So, let’s check “Acrotomophile Mutilator”. The artwork for this album gives quite obvious idea what the music will be like. A dude with a chainsaw, torturing three naked chikas? Ha, that can only mean one thing: brutal death metal! And so is Infection. I am happy though that it’s more like an old school brutal death band, like for example in the vein of Cannibal Corpse, rather than that ultra / unbearable brutality of acts like Devourment, which I am not a fan of at all. “Acrotomophile Mutilator” is quite a good listen. Yes, there are many fragments, where I can hear strong influence from Cannibal Corpse, also of bands like Dying Fetus for example, but Infection music is quite diverse and you can be surprised to hear for example some more melodic riffs or leads here and there. At least I was, as it doesn’t happen often in brutal death metal bands to have some clear melodic parts. But I guess it’s all because Infection doesn’t force themselves to only sound as the most brutal band out there. Or let’s put it this way: there are some songs like “Feasting with Faeces” (sick 40 seconds!), which are more focused on the brutal and insane side of this music. But a lot of this music is a nice blend of brutality and viciousness with slower, sometimes quite technical, sometimes even a bit melodic playing, so the band is very flexible, when speaking of their influences and the way they want to play. And this diversity is definitely something what makes “Acrotomophile Mutilator” such a strong album, in my opinion.
Let’s take such track like “When Children Murder” – what a fantastic opener it is! There’s a lot of that technical and aggressive Suffocation meets Malevolent Creation style death metal, but at the same time you’ll hear melodic leads, some slower parts. So much is going on in this one song and the riffs are just superb. It could have easily been a song from any classic records of the bands I mentioned, as well as such Aeon and you would not feel it lacks anything, speaking of quality. “Tetrodotoxin” may feel as one of these more vicious and extreme tracks, filled with blasts and technicality alike to Cannibal Corpse recent records. The band continues with that intensity  with “First-Degree Murder” and other tracks on side A, but such “First-Degree Murder” and “Psychopath” did allow a small dose of harmony to appear here and there, between the maelstrom of blasts and technical, what makes the music more dynamic and more interesting.
Side B basically keeps that high quality level intact through the major part, with maybe couple of less effective song - “Feasting with Faeces” for example is pretty weak in my opinion. But such “Devouring the Living” is really awesome, even though it’s an instrumental song, but hey! What a great riffage, rhythm… it can blast, but then there’s this sudden change of direction somewhere in the mid part, into almost kind of thrash. That is something what I did not expect to hear. And “Regurgitating Human Parts” is also a real standout track here, brutal and very, very nice. Production wise there’s also not much I can moan about; it’s very decent sound, not perfect, but good enough.
Oh, damn, one more thing; if you want to see the most fuckin disgusting video ever – which I have no idea why wasn’t banned on YouTube yet ahaha – then go to Infection profile and watch “Feasting with Faeces”. The title says it all. Enjoy. But don’t watch it while having a breakfast haha. You were warned! Another interesting fact is that all lyrics are in Spanish (even though the titles are English, which is quite weird). Not so usual thing to hear.
Standout tracks: “When Children Murder”, “First-Degree Murder”, “Regurgitating Human Parts”
Final rate: 70/100

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Friday, 24 July 2015

Morbid Panzer - Demo MMXV

MORBID PANZER - Demo MMXV (Weed Hunter Records MC 2015)
And now a release from nicely called German label Weed Hunter Records of also nicely called German band (ha!) Morbid Panzer! I don’t really know much about the band (except that they’re from Berlin and this demo is their first recording), I also don’t know much about the label – but surely will do some research later – but this release is really cool. First off, it’s a cassette, released in 200 copies limitation. Secondly, this is very obscure, morbid and possessed thrash metal in the most vulgar and primitive way you can imagine, so no bullshit here, but a total sonic attack that can cause a hearing damage.
As mentioned, it’s just raw and vulgar stuff and not the fancy “I wanna be like “Holt lead guitar virtuoso and sing like Souza” Exodus rip off”. Fuck it! No, it’s just some truly simplistic and violent piece of thrash. Ha, it’s almost hilarious in some places, when I listen to the vocals for example, which here and there have crossed the line of good taste haha, with some high pitched screams or whatever else this dude is doing there haha (listen to “The Birth”!)! Don’t know, maybe he was drunk or what? haha!
Generally Morbid Panzer kind of reminds me the Polish band called Bloodthirst, in songs like “Strikes of Doom” especially, which I guess I can compare to some older Bloodthirst stuff. But at the same time Panzer has this nice, melodic touch in their music, which is all about the Swedish obscure metal of death in the vein of such Nifelheim! Actually there are quite few melodic themes here, which give a nice, more special feeling to the whole demo. Already “Strikes of Doom” begins with that kind of “horror” melody, which I like a lot. But then “Sodomizer of Death” has even more killer harmonic riffage – and it’s for sure my favourite fragment of the whole demo, so much in the vein of bands like Bloodstone (CULT!) and Nifelheim. But the best song is probably “Black Rider of Madness”. It has just killer riffs, like those in the opening fragment. It’s quite slower song when compared to the rest of the demo, more easily listenable I guess, but still fuckin raw. Obviously the entire demo has that totally harsh, garage like production, the music may feel like it’s slightly primitive, but some of these riffs are fuckin delicious and Panzer did some great work here.
Good demo then and a nice addition to the cassette collection. Weed Hunter Records has unleashed that piece in 200 copies, so be fuckin quick and do not hesitate to grab a copy!
Standout tracks: “Black Rider of Madness”, “Strikes of Doom”, “Sodomizer of Death”

Final rate: 69/100

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Bodybag - Predominance of Insanity

BODYBAG - Predominance of Insanity (UNHOLY PROPHECIES - CD 2015)
So far I knew only band called Body Bag, which is (or was, as they split up ages ago) from USA and did three demos, including “Severed Existence” demo in 1992. There were also some other Body Bags, but this time I will write about a newly created project of some Spaniards, who are / or were / active also in some other bands. Of all these bands I only know Machetazo, so it’s nothing really important. What matters is that their band Bodybag has just recorded a debut EP “Predominance of Insanity” and this is just fuckin sweet stuff. LP was released by Living Dead Society and CD is on Unholy Prophecies, there’s also a tape edition available, so get whichever version you want asap, as this is just killer stuff!
Bodybag may be considered as another project, which wants to jump of the old school death metal trend, but that would be quite an unfair towards these guys. Firstly, because they’re not some damn kids and secondly because their music is not necessarily the same stuff, which other 99% of new old school death acts have to offer. Bodybag went for slightly different influences and spat forth a nasty and filthy grinding death slab, which I can compare with all honesty to such legends as Terrorizer, early Carcass, Repulsion, Autopsy and Napalm Death. There are two things I like about “Predominance of Insanity” the most. I’ve not heard a band playing like this in quite a time and it’s just such a killer, sick, intense stuff! And this EP really sounds like stuff, which was exhumed from the old grave and the feeling is exactly the same like when playing “World Downfall”!! Except the fact that production wise “Predominance of Insanity” is clearly a product of XXI Century. The sound is obviously quite rough and brutal, but also so damn powerful and energetic that when you play this CD you can see the walls cracking. But you must play it loud, you know?
Generally we have here eight tracks, closed in 22 minutes. It is rather typical for such bands, to have shorter, but totally straight forward songs. And you know, the tempo is mainly fast, occasionally mid paced, so you can imagine how bloody intense and brutal this music is. I love it!!! Bodybag have some killer riffs, the vocals are awesome, good arrangements, even if the music is not complex or technical, but old school simple... but how brilliantly it works, man! It’s like someone dropped eight bombs, one after another and watched them exploding and turning everything into ruin. Sweet! “Introduction / Into the Bodybag” is the best killer here, but to be honest, all songs are of the same quality and bring destruction in the same, effective way. “Digging My Abyss” is another recommendable piece here. And you have also such “Ecstasy of Flesh” and tell me, if you’re fan of these old crews I mentioned above that this song doesn’t make you cry in happiness! It’s blasting and grinding like crazy fuck!
So, these was some exciting time spent with the Spanish Bodybag and damn, I could only wish to hear more such killer tunes from them in the future. I don’t listen to grind often, but when I do, then it’s that kind of sound, which Bodybag offers. Which is old school stuff, not the fuckin pigs and ultra extremity beyond recognition. Definitely, it’s one of the best debuts of this year so far.
Standout tracks: “Introduction / Into the Bodybag”, “Digging My Abyss”

Final rate: 80/100

Wolfshead - Caput Lupinum

WOLFSHEAD - Caput Lupinum (GODEATER - CD 2015)
Although I enjoyed pretty much everything what Godeater has released so far (at least those CDs, which I have heard haha!), for this one I was more than sceptical. First off, the artwork is just… bllaaaarrghhh haha! It reminds me some shitty melodic black metal bands, who sing about witches ha! Secondly, it all just looks so damn cheesy. I had no idea what Wolfshead really can be like, as I never heard of this band before, but I was just very sceptical. And yeah, it turns out I was quite right and I can’t say that I feel really impressed with their music.
I don’t really listen to such stuff often. Wolfshead performs traditional heavy / doom metal, highly influenced by the likes of Grand Magus or Candlemass, also a bit of The Gates of Slumber, Wolf, Twisted Tower Dire, even early Maiden… I like such music, even if I don’t play these bands every day. And you know, Wolfshead is fine, it’s solid heavy metal band, with some cool songs, some great riffs – like I love that opening theme for “A Shadow in the Rain (London 1888)”, which is all fuckin Candlemass slow doom heavy piece, which is just brilliant! Sadly later this song turns into some semi-ballad stuff, which I just don’t like at all. So, there are some cool moments, but also some, which are just nothing special. Also, the vocalist could have done better here and there (hey, he reminds me Ville Laihiala from Sentenced a lot in some parts, like in the mentioned “A Shadow in the Rain (London 1888)”!). Generally I think that “Caput Lupinum” is fairly listenable, but quality wise it’s still just miles away from the bands I mentioned above. It’s a decent recording and always something different from all those death or black stuff that I usually get and listen to, but it just could have been better. And you know, if I wanna play some heavy / doom, then Candlemass and Grand Magus will always be my number one choices.

Final rate: 55/100 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Notorius - Rage and Fail

NOTORIUS - Rage and Fail (GODEATER - CD 2015)
It looks like I’ve been through quite a lot of raw black metal releases lately, more than in a long time I think. The quality of bands from this genre is always disputable and you just cannot be sure, if it will be a total worthless piece and waste of time or something genius. Lately I had some killer stuff, like Szron for example, but also some crap, which is not even worthy of mentioning. But here’s another cool black metal stuff, from a German band called Notorius. I already knew them from the second demo “The Prophets of False”, which was quite decent material, so I pretty much knew what to expect from this band. But I think that “Rage and Fail”, which is the newest EP, is way, way better. As I see it, basically everything about the music of Notorius has been improved; all the technical aspects, as well as the songwriting… yeah, definitely it’s another killer German black metal band, which I must recommend!
Production wise “Rise and Fail” is just spotless, I think. Great guitar tone and generally very powerful production, but still on the rawer side, what fits the music perfectly. When comparing “Rise and Fail” to “The Prophets of False”, the demo sounds like a garage rehearsal, really, nothing as good as this EP! Music wise also… I mean the demo was cool, but rather typical simplistic raw black metal. “Rise and Fail” has much more original and developed style of black metal, somehow reminding me Nachtmahr, as well as one of my favourite, if not THE FAVOURITE, German band Helrunar, from their earlier works (but minus all the acoustics, etc), spiced maybe with a very small dose of another of killer acts, Secrets of the Moon. And please, take that as a compliment, as I am a great fan of those acts and I think Notorius is great also. I think that all those bands have very similar aura in their music, which is obviously very dark and grim, and also they have these riffs that are combining the aggression with sort of hypnotizing melody, so it’s quite diverse and not as one dimensional, not focused just on the harsh black metal. Notorius may still be slightly more primeval than Helrunar, like in the song “Act III (Manifest - Der Tod ist Unser)”, but then such “Act I (A Lion is Born)”, “Act II (Katharsis)” and “Act V (White Theme)” are quite close. Especially the first track is something what sticks in the memory for long, with its possessing melodies, it’s just a perfect tune! It’s also the most diverse song here, I think, as it opens with sort of almost post black metal theme, which quickly speeds up with awesome furious riffs, but still having that slightly melancholic melody in the background. Very nice, indeed.
Basically I think that Notorius came up with really great material; the riffs are great, so are the arrangements and the song structures, which – as I mentioned before – are more original than your typical, mediocre black metal primitive stuff. This is great development! I like all songs here and to be honest, even though it’s just a 20 plus minutes EP, I played it a lot today. And I only wish it was a longer material, as I would love to hear more from Notorius.
Standout tracks: “Act I (A Lion is Born)”, “Act V (White Theme)”

Final rate: 85/100

Monday, 20 July 2015

Stench of Decay - Visions Beyond Death

STENCH OF DECAY - Visions Beyond Death (DETEST Records - 7"EP 2011)
I was just spinning this killer 7”EP from the Finnish combo Stench of Decay (“Visions Beyond Death” was released in May 2011, by the now defunct, but unforgettable Detest Records). And I started to wonder what the hell is going on with those guys?? Are they still active? Or they’re not, as they haven’t released anything new since this single came out?! All other bands which started at the same time, including the whole old Detest roster, managed to release full length albums; Krypts, Necrowretch, Ataraxy, Miasmal, Morbus Chron, Swallowed, Entrapment… They all are a step of two forward, while Stench of Decay is still in the same place they were, when Detest was unleashing this EP and soon closed down. Ha, I even checked Stench of Decay’s Facebook page and I know they play some gigs and in 2013 they wrote they’re working on the album… Damn, that must be a damn slow and hard going process (ha, the same I must say about another Finnish band, Cryptborn!). So, in the meantime, before Stench of Decay hits us finally with the record, let’s play “Visions Beyond Death” and remind how awesome this band was / and hopefully still is!
So, “Visions Beyond Death” is 7”EP single. Two tracks, one on each side and you can expect a total classic death metal sound and attitude. Stench of Decay are an awesome band, really, and even if their music is nothing really spectacular or original, it kicks ass anyway and personally I just love it. Why would I be bothered whether this is the most sophisticated band in the world or not, if I get such crushing and utterly massive, head splitting riffs like those in the title song for instance? Damn, this is just pure death metal feast, in the old, classic style, very much similar to the Finnish classic records like “Children of the Scorn” and “Slumber of Sullen Eyes”, not to forgetting about “Vulgar Necrolatry” demo. It’s the same atmosphere of the music and similar combination of slow paced, heavy riff and small dose of melody. And this old recipe always works great, if the riffs are killer, the production is as it should be and the general attitude of the band is “no joke and no trendy”, but serious and honest. And this is exactly what I find on “Visions Beyond Death”. Already Stench of Decay’s demo “Where Death and Decay Reign” was super awesome, but this 7”EP is even better. It’s already a classic single, so are many other Detest Records releases, so if you ever find a copy somewhere, do not hesitate to buy it, even if it may be quite expensive. It’s worth it!

Final rate: 85/100

Jarnvidr - Närwarelse

JARNVIDR - Närwarelse (FALLEN TEMPLE - CD 2015)
Haha, do you know what was my first reaction when I got this CD? It was “do you seriously want me to review another Jarnvidr album, after I smashed the previous one “Landzplågor” and simply did not like anything about this project at all”? Did you seriously think I want to go back to this lousy band and listen to another utter crap like the one before? Looks like you do and you want to waste my time again, so here we go! Jarnvidr released new CD, again on Fallen Temple, called “Närwarelse” and I started to play it yesterday evening, with no real hope to hear anything interesting. I was actually prepared to give it one or two quick listens and then write a quick, negative review and then move forward to something more interesting. Ha, the more surprised I was when “Närwarelse” started to catch my attention. As it turned out, this time Jarnvidr managed to put out a decent record! Fuck, am I seriously writing this? Yeah, I did not expect that to happen, but really “Närwarelse” is quite decent and solid black metal effort and I actually enjoy it. Did not expect this ever to happen.
Speaking of “Landzplågor”, there was nothing what would really catch my attention on this album. It was boring and unskilled primitive black metal, with no good riffs, no good atmosphere or anything decent and I don’t think I will go back to it soon. At first glance, “Närwarelse” is not much different, because Jarnvidr is still very much the same. It didn’t evolve into something more sophisticated or fancy, it still holds to the classic Norwegian influences of utterly raw, cold and grim black metal, with the simple, not to say primitive playing, dressed in obscure, harsh production and that “Fuck off” attitude. You know it so damn well… There were hundreds of bands, which played this style, and basically Jarnvidr is rather typical and their music is quite predictable. But somehow I feel like something has clicked here better than on the previous album and this time I do like some of the tracks. There are several really good riffs, good arrangements and generally the performance seems to have improved when comparing both albums. A lot of that music is quite one dimensional, with similar patterns on the guitars, drums and vocals, especially when Jarnvidr speeds up, but I like the slower bits the most, like the opening instrumental piece “Dit dö människor från Hel” or “Gudaoffer” – all in the good old black metal primitive vein. Nothing spectacular, but just decent and listenable slab. “En jordfästning i all sin ensamhet” is another worthy track here and so is “Djäfvulens försåt och list”… So, unlike the previous album, this time Jarnvidr did leave a better impression, so I can say it wasn’t a wasted time to listen to their album. Miracles do happen.
Standout tracks: “Gudaoffer”, “En jordfästning i all sin ensamhet”, “Djäfvulens försåt och list”

Final rate: 69/100

Moloch Letalis - Zgliszcza

Being honest – and I always am – so far Moloch Letalis was not a band, which I would be much interested to listen to. They’ve never manage to impressed me and all the stuff which this band previously released – and which I’ve heard – was just mediocre. So, I didn’t even had a need to grab a copy of “Zgliszcza”, which is their newest album… but since a copy of it was sent to me for review, then I had no other choice, but to give it some spins. And damn, I am so glad that I got it, cause this is the first time I can say that Moloch Letalis fuckin slays! Yes, “Zgliszcza” sounds really damn cool, it’s fuckin vicious, powerful, sick and harsh thrashing black metal, although I guess one can spot here not just black and thrash metal influences, but also some death or whatever. In the end, it all sounds damn good in my opinion.
I really like the production for this album. The music sounds raw and brutal, has that stench if sulphur coming from the speakers or the odour of airless basements, but it’s relatively selective at the same time… So, the bass is audible, which is good, I also really like the drums sound and guitars tone here. Yeah, definitely I can sense a nice improvement from what I’ve heard previously from Moloch Letalis. And music wise it’s also far better I think. I mean the band still performs similar sort of black / thrash as earlier on, but the songs are just better, so are the vocals. Take “Necronomicon”, which I suppose is my favourite song here – it begins (quite surprisingly) with a calm, quite melancholic theme, then turns into this memorable mid paced riff, which is so damn powerful, especially with the chorus part, when you just need to scream “Necronomicon” with the band! Very nice, memorable song, which in the end speeds up quite much, but sticks in your head the most from the entire CD. The riffing, the arrangements and song structures are obviously quite simple through the whole album, but this is primeval, bestial metal, so it can’t be different. But often it’s surprisingly memorable, what I did not expect, but it works only for better. I kind of like those slower songs the most, they have great feeling and atmosphere and often just killer riffing, so along with “Necronomicon” I can also mention “Na szubienicy zawisł” and “Skrzydła śmierci” among my favourites. Both are so damn good in every aspect, from the ass kicking riffs through the vocals and finishing on the overall atmosphere.
But hold on. I said I like the slower tracks more, but damn, “Piekielnik” is so fuckin brilliant! It’s fast, aggressive, really vulgar, bestial and obscure, with excellent riffage and that aura, which I think is close to bands like Witchmaster and even Aura Noir. Awesome song, really, and it’s almost pity it is so damn short. And taking it further, the more Scotch I drink tonight, the more I fuckin love this album and play it louder and louder, happy that my wife and kids are away for a weekend to her mom’s. Damn, this is just sweet, so fuckin aggressive and cruel. It’s a real crusher, destroying all on its way with these fierce riffs, relentless attitude and such great songs like those I mentioned already, but also “Dziedzictwo” (the final anthem here). And if it will sound too primitive for some of you, who would fuckin care?
On top of everything, the music is killer, yes, but I also love the vocals. Ha, no wonder, the guy stands behind the name Panzerfaust, so I must like his vocals haha! But seriously now… there are two guys doing the vocals and they did awesome job here. Their performance is spotless, the sound is harsh and possessed, but also quite diverse, what surprised me, because in some slower moments they used some different sounds of vocals, sometimes they sound slightly cleaner (like in the last song), what gave great results.
As for some other stuff, related to “Zgliszcza”, I don’t know why everyone thinks “Mag Sex” is Kat cover, as it obviously is NOT! It’s just another song with the same title and that’s it. Of course this Moloch Letalis song is not even half as good as Kat’s, but that’s not shame for this band, as let’s be serious – “Oddech Wymarłych Światów” is one of the best albums of all time and all songs there are just masterpieces, so it’s almost impossible to equal them. But it’s still damn great and totally vulgar piece, especially lyrics wise! Damn, I must say that it’s one of the most offensive and obscene lyrics I’ve read of late. I actually think that Kat must have been a good influence for Moloch Letalis, when writing the lyrics, as they have similar satanic attitude and are all written in Polish, what gives them even more blasphemous touch… and they’re excellent! Oh yeah! Good work! Finally, the artwork for this album is just AWESOME! I love it. It’s different that the usual black or thrash or death metal covers, but it’s dark and terrifying, so it’s great. Definitely it’s one of the best works from Bartek Kurzok, in my opinion. Perfect cover for killer album. Nothing more to add, a must to have for fans of obscure metal!!!!
Standout tracks: “Necronomicon”, “Dziedzictwo”, “Na szubienicy zawisł”, “Skrzydła śmierci”

Final rate: 85/100

Zmora - Wieczna ciemność i wieczne zimno

ZMORA - Wieczna ciemność i wieczne zimno (HAMMERBOLT Productions - CD 2015)
I’m really glad to admit that in my opinion the Polish black metal scene has risen to one of the best and most diverse, even in the whole fuckin (under)world. And the quality of bands here is better and better. This is why my expectations towards every new band and new release are also big... what is a double edged sword I guess, as it’s just impossible to like every single recording and not every band will be able to impress. When speaking of Zmora, band from Poznan, this is the first time I have a chance to listen to their music. I had no chance to hear the demo or “Popioły tego świata”, which was the debut album… and I also don’t know anything about this project, even the band members are unknown. But I’ve received “Wieczna ciemność i wieczne zimno” and started playing it almost instantly, hoping to hear some of the best Polish black metal. And well… after some spins I must say that my feelings towards Zmora are just mixed. I don’t know... it just doesn’t click as it should and while there are some things on the album, which I like, at the same time some other I don’t. So, definitely this is far from being perfect and surely not an album that I’m really pleased with.
What’s the problem then? Well, from the purely musical side, I guess “Wieczna ciemność i wieczne zimno” is not that bad. It’s slow, melancholic, very raw and minimalistic black metal, which some people will compare to Burzum, some other to certain French black metal projects... Doesn’t matter. Zmora have some really good riffs here, some good sounding songs and generally they were able to create that cold, grim and hateful atmosphere quite well. But it’s a long album, so I do admit also that after a while I get pretty bored with this quite one dimensional playing. Of course this music has to have that sort of hypnotizing feeling, but it needs also something what would impress me, surely more than what Zmora has to offer. On the better side, even though the style is quite minimalistic and harsh as fuck, Zmora has some truly possessing melodies, some good keyboard backgrounds, some very memorable, melancholic tunes…
But now about what I don’t like in “Wieczna ciemność i wieczne zimno”… The monotony is one thing – and I can even live with it... but damn, the vocals are just weak. I have no idea who stands behind this project and who’s responsible for the vocals, but this dude have no guts to do it properly. He shrieks like some drunkard or fuckin frog, sometimes without even an idea how to make a proper arrangements. And for me, these vocals just ruin the whole music, you know? I wouldn’t maybe make such a big fuzz about it, if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s just a real shame and a disappointment. Especially as mentioned before, majority of the music here is not bad and it mostly sounds solid. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but generally there’s quite a lot of good and interesting music to be heard, especially when Zmora goes that more melancholic and sorrowful path. Ah, take a listen to the opening theme for “Szum martwych drzew”, “Dzikie jęki, zimne cienie” or “Żałobna liturgia nocy”, which have some real nice fragments. More so, production wise “Wieczna ciemność i wieczne zimno” is very decent, so I can only imagine how much better this album would be if the vocals were different. I am sure that personally I would like it way more. As it is, I cannot consider it to be any better than just a mediocre. And also easily forgettable, I am afraid.
Standout tracks: “Dzikie jęki, zimne cienie”, “Żałobna liturgia nocy”

Final rate: 55/100

Friday, 17 July 2015

Bolt Thrower - Realm of Chaos (Slaves to Darkness)

BOLT THROWER - Realm of Chaos (Slaves to Darkness)(EARACHE - LP 1989)
These are some bands, some albums, which I believe do not need an introduction. Bolt Thrower is one such bands certainly, as not only they’re one of the oldest and longest running European death acts, but also one, which is one of the best ever. Personally I think you know shit about death metal, if you don’t recognize this logo or that characteristic, brutal style of this British commando. And of course it’s a must to have their albums, especially that unlike some other British bands, like Carcass or Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower never really did a shamefully bad and worthless album! Sure, I can’t say that their entire discography is perfect, but all records are at least solid and great. And some are causing fuckin earthquakes!!! Going back to their early days, I must say that the first record “In Battle There Is No Law!” is probably one that I like least, as it sounds too crusty, punky or whatever, but not enough brutal in my opinion, although it’s still a good album and I understand that the style of music on this LP is a natural consequence of the influences the band had in the 80’s. And what the scene was like back then, as death metal was barely existing yet. But the second record, “Realm of Chaos (Slaves to Darkness)” is one, which I already really fuckin love. This album is for me one of the first European death metal masterpieces, released way back in 1989, and to this day – and it’s been 26 years since its recording – it sounds great and crushes like crazy.
I don’t really wanna describe the whole history of the British death metal and grind core and what were the influences for all these bands like Napalm Death, Carcass and Bolt Thrower in their beginnings. But surely the scene in UK was quite specific and the roster and history of Earache Records actually shows that perfectly, as this label paid as much attention to the 80’s metal scene as to the punk / crust / hardcore bands. Death metal around 1987/88 was still pretty much in its infancy and mainly focused around the US bands (Death had two records released by 1988 and although I do remember about some other classic bands, including obviously Possessed, for me Death is the first pure death metal band, which released an album). But in this review I would rather skip that part about the historical background of the British death metal scene and just focus on one particular album. And that album is in my opinion quite a big improvement when compared to the crusty debut LP. The songwriting is better, the riffs are better, I just love the harsh vocals of Karl Willets here and finally the production, although still quite rough, is just awesome, surely less chaotic, when compared to the first album.
Take the first song… “Eternal War” has signs of that characteristic Bolt Thrower-ish riffing and style, which was developed on the future albums of the band and which is so damn flesh ripping groovy, extremely memorable and brilliantly headbanger’s friendly, but also aggressive. I just love it, really. Yeah, the opening riff is bloody good, but I also like that this song speeds up nicely and turns into one ferocious beast. Sadly, it’s quite short, so it’s not like those future epic Bolt Thrower anthems, but it still is the best song here and an instant winner for me. “World Eater” is in very similar vein and also brings the main riff played in that characteristic, classic Bolt Thrower style and damn, every time I hear it I just must bang my skull. This is a powerful shit!
What makes “Realm of Chaos” a stand out among these old British records is how slow it is in many parts. Such “All That Remains” goes just against the tide when compared to the other successful, classic British combos (Carcass and Napalm Death), which were freaking fast and grinding like crazy. Meanwhile this song opens with slow, almost doomy riff, which sounds really damn heavy and later transforms into killer mid paced riffage. Oh yeah, get yourself ready for a real bloodshed. Finally I also just love “Lost Souls Domain” and how this song begins, with almost thundering bits and heavy, slow riffage. It also starts to grind brutally after some time and this is what I call a massive, bone crushing old school death metal! And I must admit that these slower / mid paced pieces are my favourite moments of the album, they’re really fantastic and I almost feel like the album looses a bit, when Bolt Thrower fastens up. And they do that here and there, so “Realm of Chaos” has the strong grind core and crust influence still present. Just give a listen to “Through the Eye of Terror” and “Dark Millennium”. These crusty influences may have probably never been really lost in the sound of Bolt Thrower, but I guess their later albums cover it with more brutal and groovy death metal. Here they’re still quite well audible. I must also say that when Bolt Thrower plays some fast tunes, it is almost obvious what country they’re from and what age is the music, as it sounds so bloody typical for that old British Earache roster. Especially as the music has that filthiness and rawness in the sound, which is so damn different to some more polished US death metal records of that era of late 80’s / early 90’s. Finally it needs also to be said that “Realm of Chaos”  is far from being a technical album. The playing is rather simple, with not much complexity in the riffs department and so also the drumming is pretty standard. The songs structures are also rather easy, what probably makes the songs even more memorable.
A lot of people pays much attention to the whole presentation of “Realm of Chaos”. Surely the vinyl looks way more special than the other stuff from those days, being released on nice gatefold, with huge artwork and with that booklet. And yes, the graphics are from the Warhammer games / comics / whatever… which I am not a big fan of, although surely all the artwork included to this album looks nice, especially the fold out front cover. These graphics fit perfectly to the entire lyrical side of the album, which is all about wars and apocalyptic themes. It all gave Bolt Thrower a special character and distinguished them from other death metal bands for good. Their music should be played in every war machine, when going to the battle. I don’t know why the modern armies didn’t realize it yet haha! So… nothing more needs to be said here. Classic LP it is!
Standout tracks: “World Eater”, “Eternal War”, “Lost Souls Domain”

Final rate: 80/100

Monstraat - The One Eternal

MONSTRAAT - The One Eternal (FALLEN TEMPLE - CD 2015)
So, Monstraat is back with their newest recording! Awesome! I really enjoyed their previous release, which was a debut full length “Monstraat”, so my expectations towards this new EP were quite high. And luckily the band met them with no problems. “The One Eternal” is great kick in the face and black metal contamination that will make your ears bleed and I am sure that all fanatics of the primeval, raw sound shall worship this EP also. I can just promise that it sounds damn good and solid, all four tracks here are fine examples of how black metal sounded like back in the early / mid 90’s and what is its pure essence, not infected by some external and unnecessary influences.
I suppose if I mention one certain Norwegian band as a comparison, when describing the style of Monstraat, then it should be enough for you to recognize how is “The One Eternal” sounding like. And I am talking here about Darkthrone and their early classic offerings! Monstraat style has a lot of similarities to such LPs as “Panzerfaust”, “Total Death”, “Ravishing Grimness” and “Plaguewielder”. And damn, I love it. You know… Darkthrone is fuckin no more for me, since three or four records, this band has dumped themselves into rubbish and sorry to say, but I stopped buying their albums after “The Cult Is Alive”. But who cares, if there’re still some other bands, which do what Darkthrone was doing previously and do so in such a great style. I mean, I can mention many bands, such as Craft, Urgehal, Pest (Swe), Armagedda… And of course also Monstraat! And it’s enough for me. “The One Eternal” is as good as any records of those other bands, so this is why I recommend it so much and think it’s a necessary addition to the black metal collections.
Among these four tracks, I like the first two the most, maybe because I just love this slower, cold and fuckin ghastly black metal, with quite catchy and memorable riffage and freezing, inhuman aura. And both of these tracks offer such riffs here and there. But Monstraat often breaks the speed and fastens up… And later in such “Voidlike Sky” it’s just all about being that simple, raw and fuckin fast grim black metal crusher. I know you can moan that it’s so primitive and that it’s basically one or two repetitive riffs through the whole song, but this is what it’s about I suppose, about creating this hateful, cold atmosphere. And such riffage and simple song structure works here the best. More so, I need to mention that the production is great. It seems harsh and primitive, but it’s also powerful and all instruments are well audible. It’s just bloody good sounding raw black metal.
So, this is all I have to say about Monstraat and “The One Eternal”. Four songs EP, damn good stuff… Limited to 300 copies, it should go quick.
Standout track: “Unchained”

Final rate: 75/100

Indignity - Decrepitude

INDIGNITY - Decrepitude (Demo 2015)
Indignity is a new Polish death metal band, formed recently in 2014 and now debuting with the first demo “Decrepitude”. Boring, I know, but there’s just not much I can even say about Indignity, so short is their history. But I can point out the fact that they play really damn cool brutal death metal. And this demo is truly a good start for them. Only three songs are here, but each is impressive and each caught my attention with some excellent riffs, arrangements and generally with solid death metal. Indignity is somewhere on the verge between the old styled and more modern kind of brutal death metal, in the vein of the likes of Suffocation, Aeon and Malevolent Creation. They have the proper skills to perform this music, they had enough ideas for every song here, so there are some awesome riffs, good vocals… It’s quite technical, but still easy to listen to, there’s also some sort of groove in these songs… So, damn, I really enjoyed them. I also like the diversity of this music, as Indignity has some blasting parts here and there, but “Skull Trepanation” will surely impress with some slower bits and this damn melodic guitar lead. So, definitely a name to check in the future, “Decrepitude” is a solid start for them and it can only get better and better from now on.
Standout track: “Skull Trepanation”

Final rate: 70/100

Friday, 10 July 2015

Torturerama - Close Encounters of the Morbid Kind

TORTURERAMA - Close Encounters of the Morbid Kind (GODEATER - CD 2015)
Among all these new bands, which shred with the old school death metal, Torturerama belongs to my favourites. I know that they are very little known, but I was lucky to buy both their previous releases (“Left as Remains” from 2010 and “It Begins at Birth” from 2014 – both quite limited) and damn, I did enjoy them a lot! It was obviously only a matter of time, when the band will attack again and deliver another slab of obscenity and repulsion... and here it finally arrived! This is Torturerama’s debut full length album “Close Encounters of the Morbid Kind”, released by Godeater! And it doesn’t disappoint me. It sounds exactly as I hoped and all together, there are ten killer death metal pieces (with only one older song from the previous releases; remaining nine are all brand new!). More so, the artwork has been done by the famous Juanjo Castellano and I just love it, especially that quite unusual purple colouring (maybe similar to Bodyfarm artwork)… Damn, what a great package.
Torturerama is one of those new bands, which perform their death metal with a strong Swedish style influence. And just as Graveyard, Demonical, Entrails, Departed Souls, Revel In Flesh or Puteraeon, they do not try to reinvent the wheel, but simply blast with the classic style. And do so just brilliantly. They have the right atmosphere in the music, which obviously is dark and horror. They also have the ability to compose killer tunes, with great, memorable riffs, with lots of catchy parts and aggression also and finally the whole album has been given a perfect sound quality. That production is quite typical for this sort of bands (just as the music itself, really), but it fits so perfectly and more so, it is so damn powerful, that when you play this CD loud, you can seriously see the walls cracking! And it’s just impossible not to bang your skull, while listening to “Close Encounters of the Morbid Kind”. This music is so energetic and so infectious, it’s like an insect or parasite that wants to drink your blood. Obviously, yet again we don’t deal here with a band, which would bring anything new to the genre. Bands like Torturerama – or all those, which I have mentioned above – are basically playing the music, which Grave, Dismember, Entombed, Desultory, Fleshcrawl or God Macabre have done already more than twenty years ago. But at the same time I can’t deny that they’ve updated it slightly. For example the production is usually a bit more up to the current standards, but still similar (with the characteristic guitar tone for instance). And also most of these bands have some blasting parts, which were not so common among the old crews in the old days. They never were that fast… So, it’s an old shit, but with something new attached to it.
I’ve been spinning “Close Encounters of the Morbid Kind” a lot in the past few days. Really, this music is hard to resist, so even if someone will accuse Torturerama for unoriginality, I just don’t care. I love this album. Good thing about it is that basically every song here is great, with no fillers and boring parts. I could probably mention the entire tracklist and each song will be great and each will have some parts that simply slay. But to mention just few, “Don't Incinerate the Dead” is the first real standout track, with deadly, hooky chorus part, a lot of D-beat and groove, but also with some killer blasts here and there and finally with just brilliant, melodic guitar solo. “Revel in Disgust” has simply killer riffage and melodies, but real blasters are “Flesh Ripping Sounds” and “Down with the Crowbar”. Both are going through the well known Dismember, Centinex and Fleshcrawl styles, but are just awesome, starting with the memorable harmonies and finishing with pure, aggressive death metal D-beat. And what about “Reduced to Fecal Splatter”? Another fine, ripping tune here! And so what that the song structures or whatever are easily predictable, so what that there are few similar bands? This is quality band and awesome recording, which just gave me a lot of pleasure. I simply love this style of music and hardly ever feel bored with this sort of bands. Torturerama is fuckin brilliant and I sincerely recommend them to all Swedish death metal freaks. Even if this Swedish death metal is played by band from Belgium.
Standout tracks: “Flesh Ripping Sounds”, “Don't Incinerate the Dead”, “Down with the Crowbar”, “Reduced to Fecal Splatter”

Final rate: 80/100

Deus Otiosus - Sis Mortuus Mondo

DEUS OTIOSUS - Sis Mortuus Mondo (GODEATER - CD 2015)
I’ve never been much into the music of Deus Otiosus and to be honest, so far this band has not been able to impress me as much as some other old styled death metal bands have. Not that I consider this Danish band as weak and worthless – would never go that far – but I just didn’t like the stuff, which I’ve heard so far. I have somewhere their early albums (“Murderer” and “Godless”) and they’re fine and solid, but that’s all I can say about them. Musically they were just not as powerful and head crushing as so many other albums, which were released in recent years. So, while I enjoyed a lot of death metal and come back to some bands and albums frequently, with Deus Otiosus it’s the opposite – I gave them some listens and since then their albums gather dust. I don’t even plan on buying their newest full length (“Rise”) and I would probably also not bother myself with “Sis Mortuus Mondo”, if I didn’t receive it from Godeater Records for a review. So, whether I wanted it or not, I played this CD several times today… And sorry, but I won’t change my opinion on this band. I still don’t like their style.
This new CD “Sis Mortuus Mondo” is an EP and it contains a couple of newly recorded songs plus the entire “Murderer” album as a bonus (since the first press CD has been sold out already). So, I guess I should focus on these new tracks mainly, as they’re the newest recordings of Deus Otiosus… And well, if I hoped to hear something better than previously then I am disappointed, as I think these two new songs are again barely mediocre. The thing is, Deus Otiosus mixes their death metal with some thrash, but is not able to really bring killer riffage and powerful energy, which would catch my attention and blow my face off! I really feel almost bored with their music and not only I can’t sense any improvement, but I even like “Murderer” album more than those two new tracks. Seriously, I can pick up two – three old songs from the debut and they’re just far better than these new tracks.
And I can’t even explain exactly what is my main problem with this band. I mean, for sure their music lacks more aggression, it has only very few truly powerful parts, plus I wish the atmosphere was more obscure and darker… Maybe if the music was slightly faster, then it would be more striking. Mainly Deus Otious plays mid paced or slow songs and when listening to the longer materials I always feel also the lack of diversity. On “Murderer” it seems like (except two - three exceptions) there’s the same, simple umpa-umpa rhythm, the same style of riffs, which I am not so fond of and mediocre sounding vocals. It doesn’t sound terrible, but it’s just far from being killer. From the two new songs, surprisingly I like the slower one more, probably because “Seperatio Leprosorum” sounds just heavier and has some better riffs. But both are not spectacular anyway. “Murderer” album has some strong moments, like the first song “I Have Seen Him Slay”, so it’s not completely derived of goodness. My real favourite from the whole album is definitely “No Life” as it just seems to be the most aggressive and energetic tune, which almost makes me bang my skull... and that’s good haha! It’s faster, really cool and I would just hope to hear more songs in this vein. And more so, there’s this short fragment with keyboards that just screams Morbid Angel haha! I also like “Ash World”, as it’s nice, heavy shit. It’s also the slowest song here, but just so damn memorable.
So, these three are definitely my favourites tracks… And as for the rest... Well, they come in one ear and out the other. I just know that Deus Otious will never be among my favourite bands. And more so, it’s just not good if their two new songs are not matching even the mediocre quality of the debut album. Forgettable it is then.
Standout track: “No Life”, “Ash World”

Final rate: 60/100

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Evoke - Dreaming the Reality

EVOKE - Dreaming the Reality (SYSTEM SHOCK - CD 1998)
Not really a well known band, I am afraid, even though Evoke was formed in 1993 and since their formation they managed to put out several demos, as well as two full length albums. I suppose Evoke goes into the category of “one of many death metal bands from the 90’s, which never managed to distinguish themselves from the rest” and that’s probably why they never got much attention. And I guess I could agree, but I definitely do not agree that their music was just mediocre or low quality. It’s not another uninteresting and unworthy band, surely not one, which you can easily skip. Here I have their debut album “Dreaming the Reality”, which System Shock released in 1998, and in my opinion this is a very solid and nice death metal recording. Surely an album, which I enjoy to listen to and which I can easily recommend to all, who simply like old school death metal and love all those classic 90’s albums.
I need to point out first that I don’t really care if someone will accuse Evoke for being just average death metal band, with nothing new or special to offer. Not once I said that I don’t care for originality, as long as the music is solid and kicks ass. And surely “Dreaming the Reality” does that pretty easily. Personally I like their combination of different styles of death metal, melted into one deadly pot, with the obvious influences from the British, Scandinavian, as well as the American death metal styles. All together it gives a nice, diverse slab of crushing music, which I am sure the fans of the old stuff will like. So, don’t be confused with the fact that it is little known band. “Dreaming the Reality” is actually pretty fine release!
OK, it’s not a perfect album and it contains some better and also maybe a couple of worse tracks. But there are 13 songs in total, so it is normal that some of them I will like more, while others less, but the majority of them is really damn fine! And no, it’s not the superb “Altars of Madness” highest quality, but damn, if you love bands like Fleshcrawl, Cancer or Demigod – which means great, classic, but from the second row bands - then Evoke will please you. For example “Through Blood Stained Eyes” sounds in my opinion a lot like Bolt Thrower, with great chunky, brutal riffs and dark, obscure vibe, but the melodic guitar lead in the end reminds me some Swedish acts. “Among Mere Mortals” shall remind you Benediction and Cancer, with that heavy, aggressive riffage, while “Bloody Rites” is one of the fastest tracks here, strongly combining the Scandinavian and British death metal styles. And the same can be said about “No Repent” and “Manipulate Then Ridicule”! But one of my favourite songs is “Equanimity Lost”, as it has some slow bits with (again) a strong Swedish style. Good thing about Evoke music is that they just came up with many killer riffs, their arrangements and song structures sound very good. The band did very good lesson and I can honestly say that this album doesn’t lack much. Maybe some of these songs are slightly too short, what may give an impression that the band had no ideas to really develop them more… but that’s not really something what would even bother and disturb.
So, “Dreaming the Reality” is really cool album and I am quite surprised that it is so little known. OK, it was released in the year, when death metal was received a very small attention and was just overshadowed by black metal stuff. But come on, you must listen to it. And who knows, maybe in times, when simply everything what was recorded in the 90’s and is called death metal gets reissued and recognized, will give Evoke also a second chance? I do hope so.
Standout tracks: “Through Blood Stained Eyes”, “Equanimity Lost”, “Bloody Rites”, “Among Mere Mortals”

Final rate: 75/100