Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Dun - Nature Morte

DUN - Nature Morte (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
I don’t know how was that possible that I’ve missed this Polish label before, as usually I am quite well informed about what’s going on in the Polish hell. Anyways, I found about the existence of Wolfspell Records quite recently and later I also got a package with several releases from this label. And the first randomly selected album to listen to was Dun with “Nature Morte”. This project, just as all other bands from Wolfspell roster, is completely unknown to me; and it turns out it’s a one man project from France, formed by an individual named Orde. “Nature Morte” is his first recording, by the way.
And as for a debut, this is quite solid and enjoyable release, I think. Stylistically Dun embraces the more atmospheric and melodic take on black metal, basing the music on quite melancholic, but also harmonious, mainly slow riffing that evokes the properly sorrowful and gloomy aura. I don’t usually listen to such music often, to be honest, as I prefer harsher and more obscure, violent black metal, but Dun is fine anyway. Not perfect though, as I feel like the vocals could have been better and also they’re slightly too high in the mix. More so, while I can live with the programmed drums and generally the song structures and majority of the riffs is good, then some of these parts are tiny bit too melodic or soft for my taste. I mean, take for example the song called “Aube Noire” – the riffing in it went just too far from the fundaments of the genre, into softened rock / metal. The vocals can still be rough and shriek in it, but the music is too weak. Orde tried to bring some different influences and I can understand it, but damn it, this song is boring, mellow and the guitar leads simply irritate me. Then “Mistral Gagnant” is just bad. I discovered that it’s actually a cover, of a popular French pop singer Renaud. And I even checked the original version – it’s some utter shit and well, this cover also sounds damn bad, in my opinion. The vocals in it are not so good again and generally the whole song is not interesting at all.
I need to point out though that all the songs from “Nature Morte”, which I don’t like, are at the end of the album. That means that for me personally, this album is just too long. It’s 53 minutes of music in total, so I would easily erase the last two tracks I mentioned above. The rest is pretty damn cool. The opening title song is filled with nice harmonies and is simply much better than “Aube Noire”. The aura is very melancholic and sorrowful, almost doomy, but I like how it is combined with more vigorous tempo. This, like all other songs, is quite lengthy and maybe sometimes Orde had not enough ideas to keep the songs equally interesting through the whole time, so it’s close to become just boring, but it worked well on this opening track. It did also in “La Halte”, especially when the song fastens up and becomes more aggressive. My favourite song on “Nature Morte” is actually “La Furie du Fou” , mainly for its faster parts. I really like how Dun creates the more sinister aura in it and the way the riffs are arranged and song is structured. But it’s almost pity they didn’t keep it fast through the whole song as soon it slows down to the usual mid paced / slow harmonious and mournful black metal.
So, this is Dun and “Nature Morte”. This album isn’t bad. It’s really solid, but just too long for my taste, so I would just keep the first four tracks and erase the remaining last two. If you’re into melancholic, harsh black metal, with long songs and cruel production, then try this up. The CD is limited to 500 hand numbered copies, in case you wanna ask,.
Standout track: “La Furie du Fou”

Final rate: 60/100

Monday, 28 September 2015

Inexorable End - Voices of a Frozen Heart

INEXORABLE END - Voices of a Frozen Heart (EQUINOS DISCOS)
I like the current Spanish scene, I must say. There are quite few bands, many of which belong to my favourites, when speaking of the current underground (extreme) metal. But most of them is death metal and I am not sure if I really like any black metal bands from there? Well, can’t remember of any now. Anyways, I got this small promo CD from Equinox Discos with a demo from band called Inexorable End from Zaragoza and yes, this is some well sounding black metal stuff. This demo was first titled “Voces de un corazón helado” and it was a version with Spanish lyrics. But I have an English version, called “Voices of a Frozen Heart”, which is released on cassette (the Spanish one is on the other hand released as a split 12” LP with band called Black Coma). Only three songs, but it’s enough to find some great potential in this group and definitely I can say that this is worthy underground release.
Inexorable End is no bullshit, they don’t waste time and right from the start they hit us with some obscure, fierce and cold black metal. And you know… Voices of a Frozen Heart” is nothing new or spectacular, but just solid stuff. Inexorable End plays black metal in its purer and more traditional forms and their music is mainly focused on fast, quite one dimensional playing. “Voices of a Frozen Heart” is as such in its majority, what even reminds me some old Swedish black metal albums like early Dark Funeral or Setherial. Luckily Inexorable End do also bring some different, slower bits like for example in the title track. This song is nothing, but speedy, violent black metal for the long time, until the tempo slows down a lot into quite melancholic stuff, with some sort of mournful melodies, what actually works great and this slow fragment is even my favourite moment of the whole demo. But generally all three songs, even if far from being utterly exceptional, sound good and solid in my opinion. And that’s all I can write about it. It’s nothing what you can call “brilliant”, but just a fine piece of black metal obscurity.
Final rate: 65/100

Encoffined - Encoffined

I bought another tape from Till You Fukkin Bleed and it was a complete blind buy, to be honest, but I told myself “why not trying a band from Argentina?”. And you know, I realize there were quite few bands in this country, but I don’t own any in my collection and can’t even name one, which I would like. Even Vibrion. So, a blind buy or not, let’s give Encoffined a try, shall we, so I can finally memorize at least one good band from Argentina!
The band was only formed last year and this is their first release, but I can say it’s pretty solid death metal, played in the old school vein. They’re not bad. The music is surely influenced by the European classics for sure, such as Benediction, Grave with some hints to US masters like Autopsy and so on. Nothing what would cause my ears bleed, but a nice, solid stuff for sure. I mean, Encoffined have a cool, harsh sound, nice riffs and the songs are fun to listen to. They’re not super brutal or fast, sometimes they’re even slightly melodic and groovy, “The Re-Animator” being surely the best song here with some great riffs and nice, classic song structure, not to mention really cool horror lyrics. “Carrier of Doom” also sounds great; it’s aggressive, filthy and just nasty death metal. I only wish the vocals were more deeper, growling in the classic way, instead of that shriek, which is here. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, but I just prefer the death growls.

Final rate: 65/100

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Moonreich - Pillars of Detest

MOONREICH - Pillars of Detest (LADLO - CD 2015)
This is another CD from the bunch of new releases by the French label Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions. And damn, it’s also another one, which I am very positively surprised. It’s yet again a French band, with quite odd name Moonreich and I think I even heard of them before, but did not ever bother to check any of their previous releases. Which I will surely fix asap, as this new album from Moonreich, called “Pillars of Detest” is simply great. I suppose I like it even more than Deluge, even if they’re pretty equally interesting. But “Pillars of Detest” has that something what makes music to standout and impress fully, for being unique and unordinary.
I was giving “Pillars of Detest” many listens through the past few days. And that’s not because it is a demanding and difficult album, but just because it’s such a satisfying and addictive music. I like that Moonreich is more deeply rooted in the black metal than some other LADLO bands, but at the same time brings that original and unique touch to it. The music is full of dynamics, comfortably combining the furious and harsh black metal assault with a strong, gloomy atmospheric pieces and something else, what probably could be described as a “post metal” factor, although I am not quite sure whether the band would really appreciate such description. The transition between all these styles and moods is always very smooth and even if the fast, raw sounding black metal seems to dominate, it does leave just enough room to incorporate something different, what would take Moonreich music to another level and make it more diverse.
I am actually quite happy to say that it’s not so easy to bring one, obvious comparison to some other black metal bands, at least my mind is completely blank at the moment. Well, maybe I can spot some similarities to the masters of avantgarde, Deathspell Omega, also such Svartidauði comes to my mind here and there (like in “Believe & Behead”), while the fragments, when Moonreich really speeds up and breaks the neck with relentless aggression can even be compared to the Swedish black metal bands (“Freikorps”). But damn, at the same time you’ll find here songs like “Pillar of Detest - World Shroud”, where the riffing from its mid till end part is almost like sort of groovy metal, comparable to Gojira, which is for sure as surprising as unexpected, but works damn well with the harsh blackish screams and obscure, malevolent aura. And then there’s also “Sheïtan”, which stylistically is exactly what one would describe as post fuckin metal song, with its instrumental playing, you know? The final track of the album, “Death Winged Majesty”, is also a perfect mixture of this sort of playing with the harshness and aggression of black metal. But this song conjures the dark and sick atmosphere in great way, the riffing is awesome and with nine minutes on the clock, this surely is my favourite part of the whole album, right after “Believe & Behead”, which is a total blast.
Generally I think that Moonreich is a band, which may have some problems with getting the deserved attention, as “Pillars of Detest” can be too progressive in places for the more orthodox black metal woshippers and at the same time it can be too harsh and sick for those, who like all that post black metal thing. Anyway, I cannot bother less. Personally, I find this album as really damn good and cannot make any complains on it, other than a rather crappy front artwork. Good stuff!
Standout tracks: “Believe & Behead”, “Sheïtan”, “Death Winged Majesty”

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Deluge - Æther

DELUGE - Æther (Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions - CD 2015)
Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions is this great, but relatively small French label, that released several (mainly French) acts, which circle around the more progressive, experimental black metal sounds. It’s always an anxiety and surprise what will we find on their releases. And you can always expect something uncommon and original. Which is a great trademark of Les Acteurs de l'Ombre, even if for me it can be a total miss (Pensées Nocturnes' "Nom d'une Pipe!") or a great listening experience (The Great Old Ones, Paramnesia). Recently they unleashed some new albums and I am proud to have a chance checking them all and writing some sentences on each of them. And I start with Deluge. It’s relatively new project, which was formed only in 2013, but already had a demo and now a debut full length album titled “Æther” is released. First, I was quite sceptic when seeing the artwork, which surely is not typical for (black) metal bands, but since I cannot read the French lyrics I will put the conceptual side of “Æther” aside and focus just on the music.
And I do admit that Deluge music is damn awesome. They’re not a typical black metal band. Well, I am not sure if they’re black metal at all, even if there are many influences from this style of music. As a whole, “Æther” is far from what we usually call “traditional black metal”. For sure though the so called post metal / post black metal and even post hard core are the foundation of this music, if only by the “post” term we mean the way of creating the mood and generally when we deal with these unique song structures that are so characteristic for this style of music. What I really like in it is how the guitars are setting up the feeling, as they often have this kind of hypnotizing mood that puts you into some sort of trance. And for me this music can even be instrumental for a long time, with vocals being something additional, as long as the atmosphere is there. And well, it definitely is in Deluge! The riffs, especially when played in slower pace, have this thunderous, heavy punching strength, with some clean guitar tones here and there to set a calmer atmosphere... which is always a classic “calm before the storm” thing, as soon Deluge erupts with another distorted and massacring riffage. I am actually surprised that Deluge has so many damn fast, blasting parts, as it’s not something so common for this genre, I suppose. And believe me, “Æther” is releasing the fury and anger and is more uncompromising than most of similar albums. This is also where that black metal side of the album prevails.
It’s a long album, close to one hour of music, but it never feels too much, since Deluge does everything to bring as much variation as possible, even if they don’t really go anywhere further than a mixture of the mentioned fast black metal and post metal / hardcore riffage with some clean guitar tones here and there. But they do it well enough. You can hear that already in “Avalanche”, which is the first song here, kicking off with some seriously massacring piece, which actually do have the strength and speed of avalanche, destroying everything on its way with no mercy. But later in this song they find time to calm down, to bring a quiet, sorrowful theme… and that ends again abruptly with another riff played with neckbreaking speed. That sounds great. And I am not even bothered with these vocals, which are more like a hard core scream than black metal shriek, since they just fit the music very well.
In “Appât” I like the blasts again, but also that sick melody in it and sort of epic touch added to some of the fragments. Then we have “Mélas | Khōlé” and “Naufrage” and they are again simply awesome songs, especially the latter, as it’s so damn heavy, so damn memorable also, just crushing you into the ground. I almost regret that the band speeds up in this song again, as it becomes kind of their own cliché and maybe this song should go a bit different direction. Anyway, it’s still damn awesome, I like it a lot for being heavy, but also for the melancholic, tranquil finish. And later “Klarträumer” brings attention, as it’s a long instrumental piece, so it reminds me Pelican or this sort of bands, with some blackish riffs breaking the calmness somewhere in the mid section. This song as well as “Hypoxie“ perfectly resumes the whole album.
And well, I can say that Deluge did fantastic job with “Æther”. I mean, this album doesn’t lack anything, it is superbly performed, the songwriting is great, song structures are interesting and more so, the production is simply powerful, so every riff and other instruments are heavy and neck breaking. Great, recommendable debut, so do not hesitate to grab a copy.
Standout tracks: “Klarträumer”, “Hypoxie“,“Naufrage”

Final rate: 80/100

Paganizer / Grand Supreme Blood Court - Imperial Anthems vol XV

Oh, here’s another part of the Imperial Anthems series of split 7”EPs that Cyclone Empire releases from time to time (part XV already!)! And it’s one, which I simply had to have, as there are two bands I am very interested in: Paganizer and Grand Supreme Blood Court. As for the first one, I’ve been familiar with them for years, ever since they putted out excellent “Murder Death Kill” album. Today my collection of Paganizer – and other Rogga’s projects – is hilariously huge. And as for GSBC; well, I do admit I missed their debut album. And I don’t know why! I mean, this band has everything what I like. There are guys from Asphyx in the line up and Asphyx is among my favourite death metal bands of all time. The line up has Eric Daniels, Bob Bagchus and Martin van Drunen! But I did not grab a copy of “Bow Down Before the Blood Court”. Well, one day I definitely will! Both bands present unreleased songs, so this EP is a nice gift for the maniacs I think!
Let’s start with Paganizer, whose latest recording “Cadaver Casket (On a Gurney to Hell)” was fuckin sweet! I must say that Paganizer became much more melodic than in the past, when they were either fuckin heavy and massive death metal in the vein of Grave or had a romance with grinding death metal, which to be honest was not so good haha as it turned into a bunch of mediocre death metal songs that Rogga was producing like crazy, with no much detail to the quality haha. Anyway, since a while Paganizer is back in good form, in my opinion and this new, unreleased song is a proof. But yes, it is more melodic than I would expect, almost leaning towards the fuckin Amon Amarth; band, which I don’t like at all haha. But it also reminds me Evocation and some of the last Dismember records, so in the end “The Aeon Machinery” is great. It’s melodic, groovy, aggressive, it’s classic Swedish death metal. Nothing more to say. Paganizer is awesome.
And meanwhile, GSBC presents one remaining song from the “Bow Down Before the Blood Court” session. And it’s easy to say it’s probably a leftover, but since I don’t know the album, then I cannot say if this song is better or worse from those on the LP. I am hit by traditional Dutch death metal and it’s obvious who stands behind the band, as the vocals and guitar parts are so damn characteristic! And “Welcome to the Sawmill” is a killer song, no doubt. I like it even more than Paganizer’s as it’s so damn heavy, so fuckin juicy, brutal and crushing! It’s filled with anger and fury, and van Drunen just sounds like a pissed motherfucker again. Yeah, definitely I need to grab a copy of their album also, even if there’s that great Asphyx shadow all over it. Oh, some bad news also came lately, as Daniels and Bagchus have left GSBC to focus on Soulburn, and it may actually be the end of this band.
Anyway, this is a very good split EP and I surely could say that along with Interment / Tormented split, this is my favourite part of the Imperial Anthems so far.

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Endezzma - Erotik Nekrosis

ENDEZZMA - Erotik Nekrosis (AGONIA Records - LP 2012)
I must admit that this album was an obligatory purchase for me as soon as Agonia Records released it on vinyl. And that’s because of two reasons: I enjoyed Endezzma’s debut EP quite much, but more so, there’s Trondr Nefas from Urgehal, Beastcraft, etc in the line up. And well, I really dig his music a lot. Sadly “Erotik Nekrosis” turned out to be one of his last recordings, before he died in 2012, so it quickly became quite special album. And yeah, I definitely like the music a lot. This is quite typical Norwegian black metal record, it has that Norwegian feeling, which is so characteristic and unique for this country, but this is probably why I love it so much, as in my opinion there’s nothing better than the classic Norwegian black metal if done with high quality.
And “Erotik Nekrosis” for me is a killer album, which delivers such a fantastic listening experience that I am quite surprised that it passed rather unnoticed by the scene. At least I hardly ever hear people mentioning it. And the greatest thing about “Erotik Nekrosis” is the diversity of this album and I really mean it. There’s a lot going on in every song, Endezzma can bring many different type of riffs, styles or moods, but all played in the harsh, black metal way of corpse! So, it’s nothing like monothematic, primitive music, but very well composed record, with many aggressive parts, but also many catchy and memorable, melodic pieces. Obviously you’ll be able to pick up several fragments here, which are deeply rooted in the classic Norwegian harsh black metal and bands like Darkthrone and obviously also Urgehal, but I guess they’re rather closer to such “Ravishing Grimness” than “Transilvanian Hunger”. But at the same time there are some pieces, which personally I can compare to such Taake and some other, which I think can be influenced by some more recent Satyricon albums. And you know, Endezzma do not reinvent the wheel, but somehow the effect they achieved on “Erotik Nekrosis” is simply awesome.
The songwriting here is more than decent, I think, with many truly splendid riffs and very good arrangements. I was at first quite surprised to hear some additional instruments like keyboards appearing in few places, as I surely did not expect them, but damn, they do give a nice touch to the whole music, especially when those melodic bits are combined with cold atmosphere and harsh, raspy vocals of Morten. I must say I do like how Endezzma make this smooth transitions between different paces and moods, and how they incorporate these atmospheric pieces into the whole album, like in “Enigma of the Sullen” or “Against Them All”, which have some Hammond like organs and the latter has even a slight cosmic keyboards in some parts, which again is quite surprising. I’m glad also to have song like “Hollow” here, as its melancholic, slow playing completes the album in great way and makes it even more varied, actually reminding me Trondr Nefas’ other band, Angst Skvadron a bit.
And then in case you prefer more straight forward and aggressive black metal, you can enjoy such tracks like “Junkyard Oblivion” (for which a video was recorded, by the way) or “Swansong for a Giant”, but I would mention “Soulcleansing” especially, as it’s a killer track, with some piano that accompany the harsh riffage and thus it reminds me some old Obtained Enslavement, fantastic stuff, really. So, I cannot really anything bad about this album. “Erotik Nekrosis” is surely among my favourite Norwegian albums of the recent years and damn… I am really curious what will they bring next, now when Nefas is gone and new line up has been presented. Recommended.
Standout tracks: “Enigma of the Sullen”, “Junkyard Oblivion”, “Hollow”, “Soulcleansing”

Final rate: 80/100

Bubonic Christians - The Puppets of Satan

BUBONIC CHRISTIANS - The Puppets of Satan (Self release CD 2015)
I am familiar with this obscure French project called Bubonic Christians ever since I got their demo tape couple of years ago. Later I sadly missed the split tape with Eternal Majesty, but it’s great that Stephane remembered about me and sent his newest recording, which is “The Puppets of Satan” CD. This CD brings four tracks plus an outro, but it’s not a new material, sadly, as all of these songs (except one, the title track) have already been included also on the mentioned “Promo MMXIV” and the split tape. Well, I am not sure why release them so often, other than maybe this is the first time they finally made it to the CD (all previous releases were on cassettes), but I do hope that next time Bubonic Christians will deliver entirely new material.
Anyway, “The Puppets of Satan” doesn’t surprise me at all and basically this EP delivers exactly what I hoped and that is utterly harsh, raw sounding, obscure black metal. French black metal scene is known for their worship for the most mutilating and destructive harsh sounds – I am not even going to mention names now, as they should be known to you. And Bubonic Christians fits perfectly this scene, I guess. They hold the same or similar aesthetics and values when speaking of cryptic black metal. And so, you have here tracks like “Morbid” – where the title describes the atmosphere just perfectly and surely this is my favourite piece here (it’s also the fastest song on the CD) or “Let Me Piss On your Grave Stone”, which personally reminds me some mid era Darkthrone records. Both tracks have obviously been a part of “Promo MMXIV”. Two other pieces are new to me and “The Land Of Ropes” is pretty much similar to the “Let Me Piss…”, very good Darkthrone’ish black metal and the only thing, which I don’t like about it is that it ends very abruptly, like it was not finished. The last track is in similar vein and so is the outro, as it’s basically an instrumental piece and something like a foundation for a future song. More so, the vocals performed by Maxime Taccardi are some sick and totally possessed screams, shrieks, yells or whatever you call them. The production is raw, but surprisingly clean at the same time… and well, maybe Bubonic Christians doesn’t perform anything superb and it’s not the best black metal release of the year, but surely a solid and good stuff. I’m definitely looking forward to see what’s coming next from those French maniacs.

Final rate: 70/100 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Lux Occulta - Forever Alone. Immortal

LUX OCCULTA - Forever Alone. Immortal (PAGAN Records - CD 1996)
It must have been a long time since I’ve listened to Lux Occulta for the last time, surely more than ten or even more years ago, so it feels great to give “Forever Alone. Immortal” a listen again. More so, because this is such a great album. I actually was wondering if it survived the test of time or will it sound rather outdated and dull… why? Well, music style of Lux Occulta is not only difficult to describe, but also not so common these days. I am glad then that “Forever Alone. Immortal” is still able to really catch my interest and bring some excellent songs. By the way, I also can’t believe it’s been twenty years since this album was recorded! Damn! Time flies away fast. I still remember when I’ve heard of Lux Occulta for the first time and was getting their tapes from Pagan Records. And also this band was appearing in EVERY Polish fanzine, including my very first zine (I think they were the first band I ever interview!), where I actually included two interviews with the band. So, we were all very familiar with everything Lux Occulta was doing back in the old days.
I never really understood why Lux Occulta is being described as symphonic black metal band, but I suppose the categorization is not something what we should bother. Especially as at the same time someone could label them as black / doom or doom / death or whatever. That black metal thing is mainly noticeable in the vocals, if Jaro.slav uses the typical, maybe sometimes quite sorrowful, harsh screams. And also in the monumental and dark atmosphere, which along with some riffs, especially in the faster fragments remind me classic Greek black metal scene strongly. Tempo wise the music is mainly slow, doomy, but Lux Occulta music was very diverse and contained a lot of different emotions and ideas. It wasn’t just slow and melancholic, but often it also was fast and aggressive, all depends what songs we talk about. Basically each track is different and that’s great thing about “Forever Alone. Immortal”. More so, each song is quite long, some are well over ten minutes long (“Homodeus (Throne of Fire)”). Buteven though the whole album with six tracks is 56 minutes long, it’s not boring at all, there’s enough going on to capture interest and keep you focused on the music and all those fantastic arrangements, ideas, the band had etc. Take such “The Kingdom Is Mine (I Saw the Beginning)” and check how much is going on in this one song! I also like how Lux Occulta was using the keyboards, which were an active instrument and took an important role in many symphonic arrangements and song structures. They’re equal to the guitars, I would say, and are not just responsible for the backgrounds, but also accompany with melodies, some interludes etc. Additionally you’ll hear flute or violin, with some really beautiful melodies. But the music is not really complex or sophisticated. And as mentioned before, there are slow, doomy and melancholic songs like “Bitter Taste of Victory” or “Sweetest Stench of the Dead (The Battlefield)”, but also some tracks, which have some faster and more aggressive parts, like “The Third Eye (Illuminatio)” and “Homodeus (Throne of Fire)”. And they’re all fuckin great.
Finally “Forever Alone. Immortal” has very decent production, which I think correspondents well with the music style of Lux Occulta. And all in all, this is one of the best Polish metal albums from the second part of 90’s. I really like it and damn, I think this music sounds quite unique and original nowadays. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a vinyl edition one day also.
Standout tracks: “The Third Eye (Illuminatio)”, “Homodeus (Throne of Fire)”, “Bitter Taste of Victory”

Final rate: 80/100

Obscenity - Suffocated Truth

OBSCENITY - Suffocated Truth (VIC Records - CD 2015)
Another old album, another re-release and another one from the excellent VIC Records. This time they chose an album, which I was actually trying to find for some time, but damn, the prices were just ridiculous and to be honest, I don’t think the musical content was worth so much, so I never bought it. So, it’s good to see this reissue from VIC, to be honest. I had paid more normal price for it and finally have it in a collection, not bothering if it’s the first press or if it isn’t. Especially as it’s not among my favourite death metal releases, even when speaking of the German bands only. I don’t know… but I never thought of Obscenity more as an average kind of death metal band. Definitely I loved such Fleshcrawl, Torchure, Mangled Torsos or early Morgoth way more than them. It doesn’t mean I don’t like Obscenity. Surely they were cool band. I liked the demos a lot, but on the other hand I am familiar only with a couple of their full lengths; never bothered to check them all. “Suffocated Truth” was one of those, which I knew, even though I was not listening to it for many years. So, it’s cool to have this reissue. One thing I must say, that when compared to some other reissues from VIC, this one looks very poor. I expected to see a nice booklet, with some photos, lyrics, liner notes... Well, no booklet here really, just basic four pages with nothing interesting inside. Damn, that’s a disappointment. I like to see reissues done with more extensive presentation, to be worth having along with the first press. Well, I am not sure if it worked here. I guess the only reason for you to have this reissue is that you don’t need to pay 100 euros for it.
If I can be honest, for me “Suffocated Truth” is rather average death metal album from the 90’s. It’s good, but far from the brilliance of my favourite old records. Hmm, I suppose thing, which I think affects the whole “Suffocated Truth” the most and makes it less impressive as it probably could have been, is the production of this album. It’s just weak, not heavy and powerful enough. It should have been more chunky and brutal, not so fuckin thin, especially on the guitars. But the songwriting could have also been slightly more impressive. Sure, there are some great pieces, like for example I truly like the leads in “Forgotten Past”, which makes me think of old Obituary and Death, but at the same time there are some parts, which are simply dull and the riffs are too generic. Obscenity didn’t come up with anything, what would really makes this album standout from the whole bunch of death metal releases. Sure, it is solid and decent, but nothing more than that. Luckily, the music has that obscure and brutal feeling, comparable to the early works of their countrymen that I mentioned above, so in the end it is a good listen. Tracks like “Ruthless Greed”, “Forgotten Past” or “Life Beyond” are not bad at all, they bring some really great riffs, especially “Ruthless Greed” is my favourite, with that slower riffage, keyboard in the background and generally very dark, heavy aura. But is it enough to put this album among my favourite European death metal releases from these old days? Well, rather not. “Suffocated Truth” has no match even to some other German albums, not to mention some Dutch, British or Swedish classics.
But even if it’s not mandatory, I still recommend you it. Why? Because in the end Obscenity is an important band for the German death metal scene, one of the oldest from there and it’s just a must to know them. And “Suffocated Truth” may not be the most crushing of all albums, but it surely deserves attention. Grab then a copy of VIC re-issue, if you cannot afford the first press (which I think is not worth all the money).
Standout tracks: “Ruthless Greed”, “Forgotten Past”, “Life Beyond”

Final rate: 70/100

Friday, 11 September 2015

Let them Hang - Blood Illuminated Grave

LET THEM HANG - Blood Illuminated Grave (TILL YOU FUKKIN BLEED - MC 2015)
New Swedish band is lurking from the grave now, spawned in some horrid, obscene rituals and later killed, so the filthy undead can rise up during the necromantic rites. This thing was called Let Them Hang and the aim is simple: to spread the obscure, unbearable noise among the weak people and hang them all of course haha! OK, enough bullshit. This is Let Them Hang from Gothenburg; a new three piece band, which already recorded several short demos, but so far only one has made it to the physical format, which is a shame. This demo is called “Blood Illuminated Grave” and tape version was released through Till You Fukkin Bleed. And yes, I bought it, I had to ha!
And what else can those fuckers play than death metal in their native scene style? Ha, it is so obvious that I shouldn’t even write this. But yeah, Let Them Hang do not play stupid games with us, but just do what the Swedes can do the best: and that means giving us some filthy, obscure anthems of death. No originality, no experimentations, no unnecessary influences. Just to the point, crusty and punky D-beat death metal, which we can compare to the likes of Entombed, Usurpress or Bombs of Hades. Do expect some nice, groovy riffs, played in mid tempos, but also with quite few doomy pieces, like those in “Gothenburg Is Burning”, with that horror, horrifying feeling – great! “The Hanged” is definitely my favourite track on the demo though, as the riffs there are just excellent, again quite doomy, but so bloody good. On the other hand I like “Goat Star” least, it is just a stinking punk / crust, more than death metal. A great shadow of Entombed’s “Wolverine Blues” or “Serpent Saints” floats over the whole demo, but Let Them Hang did good job on “Blood Illuminated Grave”, in my opinion. It’s a good, solid recording, even if the production could have been better. But damn, this is a demo, not a full length. The songwriting is nice and you know, even if it’s nothing new, then I think that Let Them Hang sounds a little bit different than the most common, more aggressive and melodic Dismember-like Swedish bands. So, give them a chance, check their bandcamp for all four recordings, buy also this cassette. And hang them all.
Standout tracks: “The Hanged”, “Omega Rising”

Final rate: 70/100

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Cult of Fire - Čtvrtá symfonie ohně

CULT OF FIRE - Čtvrtá symfonie ohně (IRON BONEHEAD - 7"EP 2014)
This band came out of nowhere few years ago with two great records. And I think they got a lot of deserved recognition. I do hope that it’s all mainly for the music, not the whole imagery, which Cult of Fire has… and which surely is quite theatrical and ritualistic. Personally I don’t really know what should I think of all those concepts taken from India, it feels odd seeing all that in a band from Czech Republic... but well, at least the music is killer. I’ve got the albums on vinyl, but here’s the newest Cult of Fire release, “Čtvrtá symfonie ohně”, and obviously this 7”EP is also in my collection, I could not skip it. And damn, I love it totally. What an impressive music… and luckily the concepts are based on some Czech topics this time, not India haha!
The most surprising thing about “Čtvrtá symfonie ohně” (“The Fourth Symphony of Fire”) is that there are only two, long instrumental songs. But having no vocals surely didn’t do any harm to these compositions, as musically they’re simply superb and I must honestly say that this is my favourite recording from Cult of Fire so far. The whole EP is dedicated to the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, two songs are titled after the Czech and Slovakian rivers and guess what, “Vltava”, with its main melodic theme, is even based on Smetana’s composition from 1874. Of course Cult of Fire didn’t start to play orchestral black metal, but the more interesting it is to hear something like this translated into black metal language. And the result is simply amazing.
Well, maybe the band didn’t use the keyboards or symphonic orchestra, but surely both songs have that feeling and atmosphere of symphonic music, so this is why you just don’t feel like there’re any vocals needed. And from the more modern music styles, it reminds me post rock bands, with that flow and so many emotions that are reflected in the long, instrumental passages. And damn, “Čtvrtá symfonie ohně” is very mesmerizing and have a trance like, hypnotizing feeling, even if dressed in quite harsh sound and mainly played in fast tempo. The atmosphere is incredibly dark, but somehow “Vltava” manage to be also beautiful. I played this song numerous of times, just couldn’t stop… and when I thought there can’t be anything better, then “Váh” on side B comes. And I am simply astonished, as this track seems to be even more melodic, more emotional and sorrowful. Melancholic opening theme with flowing waters sets the mood and later it’s a great mixture of harsh black / post metal and epicness. Damn, damn great composition and well… I was just playing this 7”EP countless of times for the past few days and I really love it. “Čtvrtá symfonie ohně” is the best stuff from Cult of Fire, also one, which is very surprising, speaking of the musical content, not sure if it’s more like an experiment or what. But who cares. Perfect release, in my opinion.

Final rate: 90/100

Oniricous - Ritos diabólicos

ONIRICOUS - Ritos diabólicos (EQUINOX - LP 2015)
This is another release from Equinox, which I’ve received and it’s a real feast for my ears and something special as I got to know another killer Spanish death metal crew. They call this monster Oniricous and “Ritos diabólicos” is only a debut recording from them. But debut or not, it sounds really damn solid and I must say that this is another great band from Spain, after Morbid Flesh, Graveyard, Ataraxy, Necroven or Onirophagus (to name just few; there are more!). There’s a great scene in this country and surely Oniricous is a band worthy of your support. “Ritos diabólicos” was released on CD by Razorback, but lately Equinox unleashed a vinyl version, which looks great. I like that white colouring, as it’s so different to the usual colours of the death metal artworks / layouts. But the music is most important and here it doesn’t leave any doubts as for the quality this band’s music.
It’s great death metal. Period. It’s not overly brutal, it’s not super technical, it’s also not fast or utterly obscure, or whatever. No, it’s just solid, traditional death metal, played in the classic vein, which I would compare maybe to bands like Krabathor, Death (old of corpse!), Master, Massacre, Grave, etc. And “Atrapado en un mundo onírico” is even close to some old melodic death acts from Sweden like At the Gates! These melodic accents appear also in some other tracks, with quite many guitar leads, which appear in almost every song (which is not so common anymore, I suppose), but the main focus on “Ritos diabólicos” has been putted on chunky, memorable, quite groovy death metal riffs and vicious, almost demonic vocals. Maybe I call them demonic, because the lyrics are all Spanish and so this language and accent give slightly different, a lot more vicious, feeling to the growling and so the vocals sound not so typical and common like in any other death metal band. More so, I must say that I like that heavy, dark production of “Ritos diabólicos”, which reminds me such classic LPs like “Consuming Impulse”. But that’s not surprise, really, if you find out that the album was recorded at Moontower Studios (Graveyard, Morbid Flesh, etc) and Dan Swano did the mastering.
Anyway, I am glad to find out that Oniricous is more original band than the majority of the new old school death metal acts. They have more individual style and sound and the whole album is very complete for that matter. It is obvious these guys know which way they want to go and it all works great here. There are plenty of killer songs and even if it’s death metal with no fireworks (if you know what I mean), I still enjoyed it a lot, with such pieces as “El Amuleto”, “Astrofobos”, “Atrapado en un mundo onírico” or “El terror supremo”. I also damn love the ending part of “El fuego verde”, which probably is the best theme here, with those keyboards and church bells it instantly takes an eerie, horror aura to the maximum. Generally all the songs have very similar, high quality and I suppose you would have to be really picky and tedious to find anything wrong on “Ritos diabólicos”. I couldn’t, it’s damn great record, so I am just happy to have a copy in my collection! Hails Equinox for sending me one!
Standout tracks: “El Amuleto”, “Astrofobos”, “Atrapado en un mundo onírico”, “El terror supremo”

Final rate: 75/100

Saattoväki - Carnal Liturgies

I missed the first cassette of Saattoväki, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from those Finns, but once I saw “Carnal Liturgies” being available, I bought a copy.  Maybe it was that blasphemous artwork that made me buy it without even knowing any music from the band haha? Yeah, cool art there in the front. And “Carnal Liturgies” is actually a third Saattoväki demo, with four new tracks. So, let’s rot!
I have some difficulties actually to really describe the music of Saattoväki, so maybe it would be just the easiest to call them death metal and skip all the comparisons. But on the other hand Saattoväki has that melodic and groovy edge, which makes me think of such records as Carcass’ “Heartwork”, but also about bands like “Erase” era Gorefest, Crown of Thorns (The Crown) or “Soulless” era Grave. So, maybe not my favourite releases from those bands, but still some decent stuff. And my feeling towards Saattoväki music is exactly like that - not the best death metal I’ve ever heard, not particularly my favourite style, but still a solid and worthy recording. The biggest problem I have with “Carnal Liturgies” are probably those few dull moments, which appear here and there. Of course Saattoväki also knows how to fuel their music and there are even some blasts, as well as some effective slower pieces, but I don’t know... In few fragments their music is just mediocre. But maybe I have that feeling as the production is not quite as powerful as I would wish? Or maybe it’s just the cassette having that muffled sound? I don’t know. All in all, this demo is not making the impression bigger than I would expect. It’s solid, good and decent, but nothing more. Songs like “Supreme Blasphemy” or “Omnipotent Devourer” are OK, have some heavier riffs and more straight forward attitude. Anyway, I am still happy that this demo is in my collection, Saattoväki ir promising band and shows the ability to crush with some killer death metal, but hasn’t done that exactly on “Carnal Liturgies” yet. We’ll see what will they come up with later on!
Standout track: “Supreme Blasphemy”, “Omnipotent Devourer”

Final rate: 65/100

Friday, 4 September 2015

Arallu - Geniewar

ARALLU - Geniewar (RAVEN Music - CD 2015)
It’s not often when I get some music from more distant lands like Mid East or Western Asia. And you know, Israel is also one such totally exotic place for me and I can hardly mention more than three or four bands from there, which I know and even less, which I would really like. Anyway, I got the CD from band called Arallu… and wait a minute! Back in the early 00’s I already had one CD of this band called “Satanic War in Jerusalem” and it was even reviewed in one of the old issues of my fanzine. I hardly remember anything from this album, to be honest, I haven’t heard it in years and I coudn’t even find it anymore (I tried!), so no idea where it disappeared… but I remember it being very harsh, very aggressive and mad… and that the vocals were not so good. Anyways, that was 13 or 14 years ago. Now Arallu is promoting their newest album “Geniewar” and damn, I must say that this one is damn awesome.
And you know, it’s been 13 years since the release of “Satanic War…”, in the meantime Arallu released two more albums, so it’s obvious that the band got better, they developed, became better musicians, more experienced in songwriting, not to mention that nowadays it’s easier to get a proper and more satisfying sound quality. And you can hear that on “Geniewar”, because the album is filled with great songs and also the band performance, including the vocals, is fantastic. “Geniewar” isn’t perfect, as there are some things on this album, which I would change like maybe a couple of songs, which are not quite as good as the rest and also I need to say that I think that some of the vocals arrangements were not necessary, especially those damn annoying high pitched screams. I never liked them, in any band, so this is why I feel that also about Arallu.
But other than that “Geniewar” is damn awesome. I like how this band combines the aggression, ferocity and sharpness of thrash metal with obscurity of old school black metal, even rooted in the 80’s classic bands / albums. And that is blended together with a strong Middle Eastern oriental melody (including the use of some native instruments like percussions or flutes, which I have no idea how are called), which has a strong impact on many riffs that appear on this album. Obviously it gives an original feeling to Arallu music and damn, it does sound awesome, like in the short opening track “Evil Finest”! Of course it’s not that Arallu plays those oriental melodies all the time, no. They rather appear additionally to some songs and you know… the comparisons to the early Melechesh just must appear, right? “From the Desert to the Ice”, “Coronation” or “Bloodshed Around” sound a lot like that band’s old albums, but it’s not an accusation or something, as it’s still very original sounding music. And more so, they sound simply killer. I like that they have some crushing, aggressive riffs, sometimes even blasts like in “Coronation”, but there was still enough room left for a bit different influences. I’ve listened to those songs with great interest and surely can say that Arallu proved to be a good surprise and much better than I would expect. And surely they’re a band with individual style now.
And if I mentioned that there are some songs I like slightly less then I guess I would mention “Giv'at Ha'tachmoshet”. Maybe it’s because this song differs a lot from the tracks I mentioned above? Anyway, it would do no harm if this song was not included on the album, really.
I must also say that Arallu recorded here “Powerslave” and well, as much as I can’t see it fitting the album, it’s been well played and interestingly, Arallu added their own style to this cover, including the mid part with the drumming and a lot of their characteristic rhythms into the riffs what gave a fantastic result! Great ideas are here and it’s cool that they performed this cover with an aim to make it sound like they added their own style to it and didn’t just redo it as it is in the original version.
Oh, I also need to add that the lyrics say a lot about the military conflicts, which Israel is involved in with the Arabs. Well, definitely you can feel it in the music, as there’s this Mid Eastern mood, there are also the intros in songs like “Metal Troops 666” and “Giv'at Ha'tachmoshet”, which are saying everything. Finally on the end of the album you’ll find the Etsel anthem called “Hayalim Almonim”, which is a soldier’s song. Well, I don’t care about politics, etc, but I can understand the whole purpose. And what else can I add... “Geniewar” turned out to be surprisingly great album and damn, I definitely recommend it. It’s great listen, in my opinion!
Standout tracks: “Evil Finest”, “From the Desert to the Ice”, “Metal Troops 666”, “Coronation”

Final rate: 70/100

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Profanatism - My Kingdom Come

PROFANATISM - My Kingdom Come (Promo 2015)
Not so long ago I was listening to Profanatism’s debut demo “Painful Incarnations” and I really enjoyed it. There were three great songs on this CD and surely they were something more than just your average black metal. So, I definitely hoped that the band will carry on with that quality also on the upcoming recordings. “My Kingdom Come” is their newest release, bringing seven new anthems of quite atmospheric, dark black metal. I am happy to discover that the Polish duo evolves in the right direction and their music is more and more interesting, blending harsh, raw black metal with a lot of melody and atmosphere, which has almost hypnotizing feeling. That gives their music almost epic mood, especially as it is mainly played in slower tempos and if faster, more aggressive black metal appears then it’s coming less frequently than I expected. And it’s great. Nothing groundbreaking, of course, but just solid and worthy stuff, well played, well recorded and even the drums machine doesn’t disturb. Songs like “Dark Essence” or “I Cold” are super cool, I like the riffs a lot and how Profanatism builds the dark, cold, gloomy mood in their music, especially as that melodic background makes this music sound quite easily listenable, what is not something common when speaking of harsh black metal.
I must also say that I like those demonic vocals, they’re slightly different to the usual black metal shriek. Polish lyrics in one of the songs, even if hardly understandable, give them also special feeling, so… Yeah, Profanatism did great job again and I am sure that with such a strong material there will be no problem with getting a nice blood pact with one of the UG labels.
Standout tracks: “Dark Essence”, “I Cold”

Final rate: 75/100

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Mausoleum / Haemophagus - Slime / Intense Mortification

MAUSOLEUM / HAEMOPHAGUS - Slime / Intense Mortification (Equinox Discos - 7"EP 2015)
I’ve just received a nice split 7” vinyl, released on Equinox Discos and Eyes of the Dead Productions, with two bands that I am more familiar with the names only rather than with the music. I hope it will change soon. So, we have here Mausoleum from the US and Haemophagus from Italy.
And I started massacring the body and getting deaf with the Italian band, as I know them a little bit more. I mean, I have one release of them, a split 7“EP with Repuked, which was really damn awesome (find my review elsewhere!). And yeah, they still do the same, brutal stuff as on the older split, which is a killer and damn fast, powerful and energetic death / grind. The recipes for Haemophagus music are easy: songs are short and arrangements, riffs, etc are all simple as fuck, but they sound killer anyway, as they erupt with such a great dose of energy and blast like crazy, hitting and grinding you with no mercy. Damn, I love it. Haemophagus is not innovative or whatever, but they have some killer riffs. And sometimes they also manage to surprise, like in “Kidnapped and Brutalized” where that slow piece comes in the mid part of the song with quite mournful lead. But later they again blast and blast in “Teleport to Madness”, so back to normal haha. Awesome! Yeah, I definitely need to check more stuff from those Italian grinders. And I even know where to find their vinyls haha!
And then we have Mausoleum. This is a band formed by ex-Morpheus Descends bassist and some other experienced musicians, who played in bands like Incantation and some small demo death metal bands. Mausoleum actually did two albums already, but I never had a chance to hear them, even though I did have some opportunities to buy them. But never did. Will this one song make me get these CDs asap? Well, I don’t know, because Mausoleum recorded here Impetigo cover only, so it’s not something what would be representative for their own material. Anyway, the cover sounds good. It’s slow, heavy and brutal death metal piece, with raw, thick production and real nasty feeling. Sadly I don’t know the original, as Impetigo is one of those bands, which I’ve always been ignoring, for one reason or another. But damn, this cover played by Mausoleum is damn nice.
And all in all, I recommend this split 7”EP to all collecting death metal freaks. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and damn, so I am damn happy to have a copy!

Final rate: 75/100

Arkaik Excruciation - Among the Vortex of Chaos

ARKAIK EXCRUCIATION - Among the Vortex of Chaos (Tertius Oculus Perceptio - CD 2015)
Some time ago I was brutally hit and massacred by some killer death grinding tunes recorded by Bodybag, great new Spanish band that I recommend to all fans of the old school stuff like Terrorizer or Autopsy. Later I was contacted by M.S., who plays guitar in Bodybag and he sent over to me a CD of another band he plays in, called Arkaik Excruciation. This band released their debut demo “Among the Vortex of Chaos” in 2014; it was released on tape first, but the CD was later ejaculated by Tertius Oculus Perceptio in 2015. So, it’s definitely really cool to have a chance to hear this stuff and discover another name from the bottomless abyss of extreme metal underground.
Mentioning Bodybag and their influences will be very misleading for you though, as basically there’s almost nothing common between them and Arkaik Excruciation. Don’t be also suggested by the death / thrash tag, which they have on Metal Archives. As far as I can hear, “Among the Vortex of Chaos” is chaotic, raw, utterly vulgar and disgusting death / black metal outburst. This music is far from being nice and polite. “Among the Vortex of Chaos” is just aggressive and obscure, the riffs and production are noisy, the vocals are rough and sick… I guess clearly there are some influences from such masters of depravity as Blasphemy and Black Witchery. It’s evil sounding, it’s sick, primitive and chaotic, it’s bestial and harsh as fuck. It’s also mainly fast, but I like how they play those slower bits like in the title song for example, which surely is the best one from the whole demo. Also “Razors” is just excellent, with some bone crushing riffs and great atmosphere. But I’m very pleased with the whole “Among the Vortex of Chaos”, even if I like Bodybag music more, Arkaik Excruciation is also damn cool and surely the maniacs of the raw sounding morbid death / black metal will enjoy it.
And let me tell you in the end that I’ve listened to couple of tracks from the upcoming release titled “Cursed Blood of Doom” and they’re even better! It shall be out through Duplicate Records on vinyl, so keep your eyes open!
Standout track: “Among the Vortex of Chaos”, “Razors”

Final rate: 70/100