Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Peine interview

I have quite few interviews ready for Panzerfaust#7, paper version, but most of them I will keep exclusive for it. But sometimes I want to make exception, to get more promotion and feedback for great, but little known bands. I did so with Departed Souls for example. And now I do with Peine. Fact that both are from Ancient Darkness Productions is just incidental, by the way haha! Anyway, Peine is great. Their cassette contains simply killer, dark and eerie music, which I recommend totally! Get it! And now read this interview!

Hello there, Andreas! Hope you’re good?! I know this is the first interview you do for Peine, so I hope it will go OK for both sides. Anyway, thanks for agreeing to answer some questions.
Hey there Marcin. Thanks, I’m doing OK. Yeah, first interview, so I better make it interesting right... Thanks for taking the time to make it.

No problems. I had to, after the shredding music you released! Well, it is the first interview, but I am not surprised, as Peine is very little known. This band has released only one cassette tape, the awesome “Peine Forte et Dure” in only 100 copies, so not many people have heard it… I did my job, when describing the music of Peine in the review, but how would you present your music in few words to the readers? What can they expect from Peine?
I was quite flattered when I read your review and it’s always nice to see when people make an effort to understand and immerse themselves into ones work. I would like for the demo to be able to reach more people if possible, and maybe do a CD version too. I always have a hard time explaining and describing music to others as it has to do with feelings to me. But I usually describe it as dark, peineful death metal. That’s what I’m striving for: dark, atmospheric, sombre and appropriately gritty with melodies that stick. And they can expect quality over quantity. As with my other projects I will never compromise in order to make a lot of releases and I doubt that Peine will ever make a full length album. I write only when I’m inspired to and if I don’t feel I have good material, well that’s it then.

You’ve decided to make this project as a one-man band. How come? Is it just your preference, to be a captain of your own ship and you simply don’t like to cooperate with other musicians, or the reasons are different? I mean, I can understand that it allows you to do what you want with no compromises, but on the other hand more musicians can mean more ideas, more influences, etc?
That is how I have chosen to work. Creatively I think I work better alone and I like to be in charge of my own ideas. I have a very hard time getting into ‘the zone’ when there are other people around and I often have a pretty good idea of where I want the music to go so I don’t want anyone interfering with that vision. I will not compromise to please someone else and they would have to have a pretty similar mindset to mine or I would be difficult to work with I think. But you’re right about influences, plus it’s a slow process working alone so maybe as a full band it wouldn’t take so long to get things done. But then again maybe not, if you have to discuss everything…

Actually I saw that your two other projects, Oath of Woe and Pugnator, are also a solo thing. It is interesting to see you making music for three bands, but tell me what differences are between all of them? What sort of influences do you look for each of them, so you know that a certain riff or idea will fit Peine better than say Oath of Woe?
Well, lyrically there is a big difference between the bands and the concepts or themes are pretty strictly outlined. Peine deals with medieval and renaissance themes of death (and life), torture and disease. Pugnator deals with war-related themes and Oath of Woe is fed by my personal state of mind, thoughts and feelings. Musically, some days I can just sit down and write riffs specifically for each project depending on my mood but most of the time ideas just pop up when I play or emerge in my mind when I’m doing non-related every day stuff. But I almost never have a problem figuring out which riff goes where, I can hear that immediately as well as detecting if a riff is worth keeping or it goes in the bin. But I have learned that you can’t force a good riff, the initial idea has to come to me but then I can work on it from there. As for influences it comes from everything I enjoy or hate, be it music, books, people, events, myself etc.

Well, “Peine Forte et Dure” does not sound like a solo project. I must say that I like that obscure, sepulchral sound of this demo, as well as the gloomy aura which embraces these sounds… it’s just unique, blood freezing, eerie mixture of death, doom and even black metal. There are comparisons to such Necros Christis, Grave Miasma, Doombringer… but I am not sure if you find their music as influential for you? Anyways, the result is simply killer!
Well, thanks very much. It’s always a big compliment to me when people say it sounds like a band because I always strive to distance myself a little from the “usual / average” one-man-band with shitty, boring drums and two chord arrangements. Of course it’s hard to excel at every instrument therefore I focus on the things I try to do well like mood, atmosphere and melody which I think is the most important thing in a Peine song. You see for me it’s ALL about the good catchy riff / melody and then atmosphere. If you have that you can’t go wrong in my opinion. And maybe just a minimum of musicianship...
Sure, I adore the feeling I get from listening to especially the older stuff from Necros Christos and I think they have been an influence in creating the atmosphere of Peine. Along with Grave Miasma, Embrace of Thorns, Black Witchery, Archgoat and many more. I had long had an urge to make some real heavy death metal and the first riffs date back to 2008, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I put the whole “concept” together.

How was the recording process like? Are you satisfied with the result, with the arrangements and the production you achieved on this demo?
I record everything at home through an analogue mixer to a digital media and then mix it on the computer. I usually lay down a guitar track and / or a click track to help with the drum recording and then put everything else on top of that. I’m more comfortable and relaxed doing it that way and I’ve really only used a recording studio once to make some demo stuff. Sometimes a long time can go by in between recording sessions but this one went fairly smooth. Overall I’m happy with the result. I more or less got the sound and atmosphere I was aiming for but there is always (and should be) room for improvement and I don’t think I will ever be 100 % satisfied with anything I do. It never goes exactly as planned or intended but sometimes that is also a good thing because you may gain new perspectives or ideas.

There’s a song titled “The Pinnacle of Pain (Torture of William Lithgow)” on the demo. Hmm, tell me something about the lyrical content of it. I tried to find William Lithgow in google and it showed some results, but I am not sure to whom is this song referring to or maybe it’s just a fictional character you came up with? Anyways, one of those Lithgows that I found was actually tortured in the Malaga dungeons by inquisition, so that may be a good theme for the death metal band.
Yes, you got it right. William Lithgow was actually a Scottish traveller and writer who was mistaken for a spy and imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition in 1620. He was eventually released and returned mangled and broken in body and spirit to Scotland in 1621. He was presented before the royal family and he gained so much sympathy that they sent him to Bath to recover his strength but he remained maimed for the rest of his life. He was one of the few who actually lived and wrote about his experience and the lyrics for the song are excerpts from his own personal accounts. His descriptions of experiencing the rack and the strappado are very disturbing and it’s quite a wonder he survived. His story suited Peine perfectly as regards to the lyrical themes aforementioned.

I wonder if you like extreme metal songs, which have lyrics based on some historical events, historical characters, etc? Personally, I do. It allows you to find out some interesting facts, so I sometimes do more research… especially the dark medieval ages bring many awesome stories, persons, as these were hard and cruel times. I feel like Peine deals a lot about these old times, even Pestarzt on the cover is referring to it.
I think it’s cool if the lyrics are well written or taken from original texts but it can get a little corny if they are just copied from a history book. Yes, the Pestarzt is definitely a reference to the overall concept of Peine as well as the very subtle noose and scythe haha. My personal favourite is probably Macabre who I enjoy very much. I have read a lot about serial killers because of them haha. I also love Running Wild’s historic lyrics although very coloured by Rolf but that’s fine. In my experience it’s more the folk metal bands who base their lyrics
on historic events and I don’t listen to very much of that besides Cruachan and Skyforger, but of course there are other good exceptions.

“Pope to Pedlar” is based on “Dance of Death” by Hans Holbein. He created some stunning woodcuts, which depict death in many disguises. It’s almost unbelievable that someone so religious was able to create such an dark and eerie art. How inspiring is his work for you?
I wanted to do a song about the dance of death and what it meant to the people of the time but I couldn’t say it any better than Holbein himself so I ended up just rearranging his words a little bit. Death was much more present in everyday life than it is today with a high infant mortality rate, low average life expectancy and multiple incurable diseases to make you an early corpse. I don’t know if his works are particularly inspiring to me, it’s more the perception of death of the time that appeals to me and in that way his art makes good sense. If you were very God fearing the concept of the torments of hell and the consequences of a sinful life are terrible and omnipresent. If you only have this life to prepare for the true life beyond then you better be good or the punishment will be devastating. For all people, no matter high or low. That is what his art represents to me, a reminder that we are all equal in the eyes of Death. In there lies a lot of social criticism and of course it met heavy resistance from the church...That goes for the perception of torture as well which is obviously very different today (for the most part). Scholars argue that in the middle ages often the truth was actually seen as a physical essence of the body that could be obscured by earthly life, sin etc., and that it could be extracted by inflicting pain. By “digging” out the truth so to speak, therefore the modern concept that a person under torture will admit to anything does not apply to the medieval way of thinking. It just means that if a person does not confess you haven’t dug deep enough... Of course that resulted in a lot of confessions and a lot of recanted ones...

Back to the music… I seriously think that “Peine Forte et Dure” should be spread more than just 100 copies, it cannot just stay so damn limited, so tell me, are there plans for CD or vinyl version also? More so, what feedback have you or Ancient Darkness been received on this cassette?
As mentioned earlier I would like to do a CD version or something but there are no exact plans for the time being. Liam tells me that the feedback is good especially from abroad but there are still copies available so go buy one dammit! I have done next to nothing to promote the tape myself so I guess it’s no wonder business is slow.

You mentioned something about the upcoming split EP, so unveil some more secrets about it, please. I actually think your music would be perfectly to Deiquisitor haha!
Yes, I’m doing a split with the Danish band Cerekloth. Pretty cool and the Cerekloth track is killer. It shouldn’t be too long now, the tracks and most of the artwork is done so just the details are left. The Peine track is in the vein of the demo and the lyrics are about the Auto-da-fe which was a public mass punishment and execution held every couple of years by the Inquisition as a form of feast and deterrent for the general public all at once. Very nasty stuff indeed.
Well thanks, I take that as a compliment, Dequisitor is pretty cool.

It is! And what about the bands I mentioned above, Oath of Woe and Pugnator. Any plans for new releases from them? They seem to be silent for a longer while now, so I wonder if you still feel an urge to continue them all? I understand also that Peine has a priority now?
I have been working on an Oath of Woe full length album for quite a while now and it will happen sometime but progress is slow as I only work on it when I’m in the mood for it. Pugnator is on hold indefinitely as I feel I have exhausted my ideas in that direction for now. But I would like to release a CD with the demo and a couple of ‘new’ unreleased tracks I have lying around. My focus is now on getting the Peine split 7” out and then I probably have material for a couple more songs and then I will need a break from that too. I guess my attention span is kinda short haha... Then I have other projects waiting.

For the end I would also ask you about the scene in Denmark, as it seems to be rather little known… and to be honest, I like only few bands from there, like Autumn Leaves. 
Agonize, Exmortem, Iniquity, Caustic, Illdisposed (well, only few early releases from them)… plus newer bands like Deiquisitor, Mûspellzheimr and Peine. How come then that Denmark is so much less appreciated than other Scandinavian underground scenes? Were they all unlucky or what?
I actually don’t follow the Danish scene that much so I’m pretty clueless as to what is happening at the moment. But I know there are / have been a few good bands around, just to name a few besides those you mention, like Exhaust, Denial Of God, Feikn, Nortt, Solhverv, Altar of Oblivion etc and a few newer ones like Dwell, Encyrcle, Savage Machine, Ligfærd, so it’s not all bad. From what I know the “scene” is mostly dominated by the trendy core metal and boring “brutal” death metal. For the kids who are into that, the scene is probably pretty good. To me Denmark has always been pretty underdeveloped with the exception of a few gems. Why I do not know. There are lots of bands but I guess most of them just sound like shit to you and me haha...

OK, thank you Andreas for the answers. If there’s anything else you want to say, do so now. Take care!

Thanks for the patience Marcin and thanks to anyone who supports Peine. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Psalm - I

THE PSALM - I (Hell's Fire Records 7"EP 2015)
I must say that I was equally surprised as saddened when heard the news on Nocturnal Vomit split up. I know this band for more than decade I guess, I actually even did interview with Isaak back in 2005, for the fifth issue of Panzerfaust zine and liked his inspiring attitude towards music and underground scene and values. Maybe their music back then wasn’t something spectacular, but solid for sure. Later the album “Cursed Relics” happened and fuck, you may check my review on this blog, I fuckin loved this album!!!! This was, for me personally, one of the best albums of 2012. It’s a shame that maybe it didn’t grab as much attention as it should, but well, those who have it, I am sure that they worship this music. And then Nocturnal Vomit split up and from their ashes The Psalm arose, with three ex-Nocturnal Vomit members, all except Issak actually. Well, I am not sure what were the reasons, I am sure thought that I will want to send some questions to Kolozis later, so I hope to find out in interview about that. In the meantime here’s The Psalm’s debut EP “I”, released on killer 7”EP vinyl through Hell's Fire Records in 350 copies. I did not hesitate to grab a copy and damn, I am happy I did so.
Killer music, killer band – this is what I can say about The Psalm. “Cursed Relics” album was quite different to the old Nocturnal Vomit stuff; more in the vein of classic death metal, it reminded me Asphyx a lot, especially the vocals. Thomas Vomit also sings in The Psalm, so again his excellent voice may remind you Martin van Drunen a lot. And that’s not something what can bring shame to this band, why would it? Besides, not all vocals are sang in this manner and more so, I just like this kind of harsh vocals a lot. Finally, these vocals are the only thing, which can remind you Asphyx this time, as musically The Psalm is quite different and actually I dare to say that stylistically it’s quite original death metal, with not so obvious comparisons that I could make.
First of all, this music has a very dark, mystical, obscure aura, which is almost ritualistic to some point. And some of these riffs, these harmonies are even close to some black metal stuff. The music is rather slow paced, but do not avoid some great blasts here and there. And generally it is just heavy, aggressive, but also as said before, it’s eerie and malevolent. If you want to compare it to Pentacle, Abyssal, Adversarial, Morbid Angel, Dead Congregation, do so, but I still think that in the end The Psalm has a lot of originality and their own personality to offer, what is not so common these days. The songwriting is just excellent, a lot of great riffs, some melodies, fantastic guitar leads, diverse and interesting stuff from start to finish, great production… “Ascetic” is my favourite of the two songs, it’s just great, with quite a blackish feeling, as it starts with super fast riff, then they’re more like a good old Morbid Angel, to finish with dark, quite hypnotizing aura. Oh, it’s super cool. And of course “A Mass for the Bereaved” also has no weak parts, damn. I cannot even describe how much I am enjoying these two songs! Fantastic debut then and now I can’t wait for some more music from The Psalm!

Final rate: 85/100

In Twilight's Embrace - The Grim Muse

A nice surprise from Arachnophobia Records, I must say. It’s the first time I hear In Twilight’s Embrace, even if the band already had a couple of other albums released (“Buried in Between” in 2006 and “Slaves to Martyrdom” in 2011, both for some shitty small labels I don’t recognize). So, it’s good that they ended up in Arachnophobia, which is small, but hard working label, with good promotion, distribution and morbid passion for their releases. “The Grim Muse” is their latest release and I must admit that I am very pleased with the result, I enjoyed this CD totally and it’s probably one of my favourite albums that Arachnophobia unleashed so far.
I actually treated In Twilight’s Embrace as debutants, because when I started to listen to  “The Grim Muse” I had no idea about the previous releases from them. So, after a couple of tracks my jaw ended up on the floor, dropped with big bang, so impressed I was with the music that erupted from the speakers. I was lucky that all kids were not in home, so I played this CD really loud and it exploded with such furious, powerful energy that I was into the music right away. And I bet you all will be, as this is seriously a quality stuff. And don’t be misled by all that melodic death metal tag  “The Grim Muse” has, as it’s not entirely fair to be in the same category of bands as fuckin Soilwork or whatever other shit you relate melodic death metal to. Of course “The Grim Muse” has a strong melodic base for their songs, it is obvious that At the Gates must have had influenced them hugely, but I would not exaggerate about that, as In Twilight’s Embrace also offers a lot of anger, fury, aggression and blasting parts that blow away 99% of the so called melodic death metal bands in seconds. And that for me personally is the strongest value of this album; that fury and passionate ferocity it has. And of course we should not forget that In Twilight’s Embrace delivers just well composed and perfectly executed stuff. They have great riffs all the way through the album, with many catchy and memorable harmonies, great diversity, which will take you from slightly mournful piece here to ravaging, bestial attack there, all with perfect arrangements and song structures… and finally the production is simply flawless.
OK, what I wrote here may sound all too fuckin flattering and ass kissing, what can I do, if I simply enjoy this music? And I can’t imagine different opinions on this album. There are no weak points, really. Obviously there will be moaners… there always are. But who cares? Let them live their pitiful, crappy lives. “The Grim Muse” is definitely an album that will please fans of At the Gates, Carcass, God Dethroned and Swedish death metal in general (Evocation, etc). I don’t feel like describing every song from the album is necessary here, just be prepared for a huge portion of excellent music and a strong tracklist that do not contain fillers, but surely have such sure hits like “Der Hellseher (I Have a Dream)”, "A Wolf I Remain" or “The Grim Muse”. Actually it’s even difficult to pick up sure favourites, it can be changing with every listen.
So, now, after such a strong release, I am sure that the demand for the previous In Twilight’s Embrace albums will be high. I am already on a hunt, even though I’ve heard that they started as hardcore band.
Standout tracks: “Der Hellseher (I Have a Dream)”, "A Wolf I Remain", “The Fullmoon Strain”, “The Grim Muse”, “Chainclad”

Final rate: 80/100

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Mortuous - Among the Lost

MORTUOUS - Among the Lost (DAWNBREED Records - LP 2015)
Some labels never disappoint. Dawnbreed Records is one of them. They search for some killer death metal filth that hides in the darkest shadows of old graveyards and usually they don’t miss. They also didn’t miss with Mortuous from US, who until now were completely unknown band to me. But they’re not a band of some newcomers, as there’re some ex-Exhumed and Dekapitator plus some other bands members in the line up. First they came with “Mors Immortalis” demo 2010 and then with “Demo 2012”, which is titled “Among the Lost” and released on fantastic piece of vinyl by Dawnbreed.
This demo LP catches attention right away, with fantastic artwork and killer logo, which reminds me the old Rottrevore logo. With such a nice artwork, it just must be good haha. And it is, perfectly fitting my taste and worship for old styled, traditional death metal. With such music I am not so demanding, to be honest. I don’t expect ultra fancy shit or whatever. What I do need is just a bunch of excellent, blood freezing riffs, powerful, classic sound and some great guttural vocals. And all that I can hear on “Among the Lost”. Most of the music is played in slow, creepy tempo that has a strong Swedish death metal vibe, combined with sort of Finnish heaviness and blasts to add even more aggression and extremity to the whole sound. Add to that some Bolt Thrower-ish and Asphyx stench plus a necessary dose of US death metal (Incantation) and here we go, that’s Mortuous. But mainly it’s that Swedish sound, similar to Grave, (old) Unleashed etc, which blows away the speakers. Mortuous has great, heavy riffs, they catch some harmonies here and there also, what makes the music more memorable… I like all songs here, there’re no weak or boring pieces, so it’s almost a shame that this vinyl ends so quickly. But I hope to hear some more from Mortuous in the near future, as certainly this is a band worth of our support!
Get the cassette from Unholy Domain, get one of 500 copies of Dawnbreed vinyl, do so now!
Standout tracks: ALL

Final rate: 90/100

Atavisma / Maur - Buried in the Ethereal

ATAVISMA / MAUR - Buried in the Ethereal (ATAVISM Records MC 2015)
The music on this split cassette was quite a surprise to me, since up to this moment I thought that Atavism Records will deal with black metal bands only, as they did so many times before. But meanwhile here’s a death metal release from them! Nice one! And what’s more, this cassette is a split, which has one non-French band, what breaks the concept this label had (and which aimed to release bands from the Bourgogne region only) even more haha. Anyway, I don’t care where these two bands are from, what music they play, as long as I like it. And damn it, this may be my favourite Atavism release since Nefastt’s “La malignité des asters” and Avitum’s “MMXIV”.
It starts with Atavisma from France, who I already know from the excellent “Where Wolves Once Dwelled” demo. This was great release, with doomy death metal in the vein of Eternal Darkness. New song titled “A Subterranean Life” is great also, I must say. They keep on playing similar stuff, but I feel like this new track is even more doomy, mournful, more obscure and gloomy as fuck! It is really crushing, atmospheric, slowed down and massive heavy death metal. Great deep vocals, slowly crawling riffs, sepulchral aura and even a small trace of melody in one fragment of this long, but excellent song. Yes, definitely Atavisma is a band worth of the support and I hope to hear more of such killer stuff from them soon.
And Maur was quite a surprise for me, especially as I don’t usually have good opinion on bands from countries like Indonesia. But Maur did a nice job on their track titled “Portrait of the Old Souls”. It sounds more melodic when compared to Atavisma, I can even smell a bit of old My Dying Bride in the guitar harmonies they play, but the vocals are more like blackish shriek. One problem with this song is that it sounds a bit sloppy here and there and generally it sometimes lacks a touch more to really impress, especially towards the end tension goes away. You know, it is not easy to keep a long track interesting all the way through, with good ideas, etc., but Maur did good job anyway. And surely it may be the best band from Indonesia that I know haha!

Final rate: 75/100

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Cryptic Brood - Wormhead

To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to the Cryptic Brood’s split they did with Graveyard Ghoul. Somehow I didn’t think it was anything exceptional, just very standard, not to say mediocre stuff. But lately Weedhunter Records has unleashed Cryptic Brood’s new release, which is “Wormhead” EP and damn, this one caught my attention much more and delivered some really crushing stuff. With four songs and around 16 minutes, this is seriously well executed old styled death metal; brutal, harsh, dark and heavy… just as we all love it.
I sincerely need to go back to that Graveyard Ghoul split and give it another listen, as I feel like “Wormhead” brings a great progress in the music of Cryptic Brood. It feels like it’s better written, performed, it’s more interesting, heavier and the riffs are simply killer. And let’s not forget the production! The split songs had cruel sound and “Wormhead” also has very raw, harsh production, but also better to listen to. I really like how this EP sounds, I must say, especially as it just fits such old school way of playing death metal perfectly. Imagine if you combine some influences from Autopsy, old Death, old Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Grave, Asphyx, Incantation into one deadly and fuckin heavy pot. This is sort of what Cryptic Brood does. They have excellent slower bits everywhere, which are simply crushing to the ground and leaving a total massacre, with piles of dismembered flesh behind. And I like those slower pieces the most. But there are also some faster fragments, which are also good. And the title song sounds almost like death / fuckin grinding tune. But my favourite is the opening track “Temple of Pestilence” for sure. Oh, what a fantastic piece of filthy, decomposed death metal, straight from the utter catacombs. And “Gargling Vicious Mass” follows in similar nasty, brutal way. Lovely! And there’s even Suffocation cover, renamed as “Infecting the Brood”, so what else can we expect? More such killer music? Yes, for sure. I have nothing else to add than recommend you “Wormhead”. MC is out through Weed Hunter from Germany and there should also be a CD coming through Xtreem Music.
Standout tracks: “Temple of Pestilence”, “Gargling Vicious Mass”

Final rate: 80/100

Monday, 19 October 2015

Radiation Sickness / Cardiac Arrest - Split EP

Another split 7” vinyl from FatAss Records... and just as it was in case of Gravehill / Necrofilth, we have here two bands, which I know by the name, but never had a chance to hear any albums or demos or whatever. But better late than never, as they say and I must admit that I am very glad to have this split, as it’s just damn nice release.
Of the two bands, I definitely enjoyed Cardiac Arrest’s music more as their filthy, sludgy and doomy death metal is killer! They have one song here, titled “Reduced to Ruin” and I have no idea if their whole repertoire is in the same vein, but if so, then this must be one of the heaviest death bands out there in the US! It’s very much in the vein of Autopsy, but strong, massive, with good songwriting, which may be damn rough and gloomy, but is somehow also memorable, maybe just because the riffing and drumming are all pretty simple. Very good song from Cardiac Arrest, who also presents Mortician’s “Three On a Meathook” cover and that’s so much faster, but still fitting very well to the previous song that I must say I am very pleased with their part of this split EP. It’s surely a band I need to catch up with, they have like four full length albums released, so there’s lot of shit to grab.
As for Radiation Sickness’ side of the split, it’s good as well! Their music is way faster when compared to Cardiac Arrest’s, especially the second track “Legions of the Deranged” is just a blasting, grinding motherfucker, which I like a lot. Both tracks are filled with brutal, uncompromising and violent death metal. It’s sick and disgusting piece of music and you know, to name your band after Repulsion classic track must mean something good, right?!

Final rate: 80/100

Worms - Worms

I am not surprised that Chile has so many earthquakes if they have such a crushing extreme metal scene, filled with great bands all over the place. And here’s another one that I discovered a while ago with a debut cassette from a band called Worms! This tape was released on Till You Fukkin Bleed, but I know there are actually two versions of this demo; one from TYFB for Europe and one is I think released in South America. Anyways, the music is very nice, I must say. It has this old school vibe, which these days we hear from so many bands, but somehow Worms sounds different to your usual Swedish or Autopsy wannabies. They have this South American feeling (that guitar tone!), of old 80’s extreme death albums that you don’t hear so often anymore. And Worms even have Spanish lyrics what gives the music even more vicious and exotic aura. I like it. And the more I like how the music blends some aggressive, nasty death metal pieces with some melodies and very nice slower pieces, what all gives dark, obscure atmosphere in the music of Worms. “Orgia”, which is maybe the best song here, has almost a doomy vibe here and there, smoothly switching into ravaging old school death thrash. One of the characteristics of Worms music is their tendency to put long guitar leads that go along normal riffage even when the vocals are in, what gives truly sick and insane feeling. I may not be the biggest fan of those, but it doesn’t spoil the listen and Worms is surely a nice discovery for me.

Final rate: 70/100

Friday, 16 October 2015

Arrogant Destruktor - Amidst the Blackest Void

ARROGANT DESTRUKTOR - Amidst the Blackest Void (WOLFSPELL - CD 2014)
Now I have a pleasure to write few words on my favourite of all Wolfspell Records releases so far. It’s an album from a British band called Arrogant Destruktor – what a fuckin nice band name haha! But it describes the music, general feeling and aura of the music perfectly. It is arrogant, violent, dirty and crushing. Just as any metal basically should be, right? “Amidst the Blackest Void” is Arrogant Destruktor’s first album (it was preceded by two demos from 2013 and 2014). And I honestly didn’t know what should I expect from it; there’s a flyer from record label that compares them to bands like Satyricon and Emperor… and well, I don’t know, maybe I’m deaf, but I completely disagree and can’t find anything comparable to these two bands, except maybe one or two riffs here and there. The entire album, with its harsh and aggressive aura, is just different and I would rather describe it as black / thrash album, with some slight melodic traces. And as comparisons, I guess I would use such bands as Ares Kingdom, D666, Desaster, Bathory, Celtic Frost and maybe a bit of Darkthrone or Immortal! How’s that?
The whole music of Arrogant Destruktor has that nice old school feeling, which I like a lot. I love how they set up the atmosphere in their music and I must also admit that this album crushed me from the very first listen. As I mentioned Ares Kingdom, I feel like both bands have a lot in common, except maybe the fact that the Brits are more blackish. They do have quite strong Scandinavian BM influence, in songs like “Black War Machine”, which surely belongs to the best songs here. Maybe one of the reasons why I like this song so much is that I just prefer when Arrogant Destruktor plays their music in slower tempos rather than the fast, blasting black metal. They just have more interesting stuff to “tell” when playing slower pieces and the music is clearly better arranged and more exciting. And luckily they do everything to keep the balance between both fast and slower stuff, so the music never gets one dimensional or boring. “Black War Machine” with its slow Darkthrone / old Gorgoroth riffing is just bloody good. I love also such “The Rule of Xerxes” – and I don’t know if it’s just my imagination or do this song really capture a bit of that old Greek black metal essence as well?
It’s cool also that Arrogant Destruktor doesn’t avoid being melodic here and there. They may come up with a melodic guitar lead or riffs, and there’s even flute in one short fragment of “Gold is the Flesh of the Sun God”. This song has great Bathory feeling and is damn epic and surely belongs to my favourite tracks on the album. Listen to also “Frozen in Time”, which is a killer song, filled with fast stuff, but also with that epic pieces and some melodic bits as well, so through its seven minutes it’s like a perfect anthem!
I must say also that this album is basically a collection of three different recordings; two new 2014 songs plus both previous demos, so in one release we get everything what Arrogant Destroyer did. It’s interesting that the material, even if taken from three different sessions, is compact and there’s no big sound or style difference between all of them. The production is very good here, by the way, it’s harsh, but powerful, so it only makes the music stronger! Great release then!
Standout tracks: “Frozen in Time”, “The Rule of Xerxes”, “Gold is the Flesh of the Sun God”

Final rate: 75/100

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Paths - Beauty and Nihility

PATHS - Beauty and Nihility (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
Paths are Canadian project led by Michael Taylor, who in very short time of two years released four demos and two full length albums! Damn, that’s a lot of music. But I don’t know if this creativity comes along with the quality; usually it is a problem… but who cares. Here I have his recent release, which is a second album titled “Beauty and Nihility” and it’s a fine, solid stuff. Maybe not something what would impress me like crazy, but just a decent and listenable album, which brings no shame to its creator.
There’s one main problem I have with “Beauty and Nihility” and it’s the fact that as a whole, this album bores me a little. I am usually not a greatest fan of that depressive, melancholic black metal, majority of that kind of music is just a garbage, played by a desperate, miserable kids, so I rather avoid it. In case of Paths I can say that it’s not bad at all, but after couple of hours spent with it I just felt tired and bored with this music. Taylor tries to diverse his music, incorporating some melodic bits, some keyboards, some faster parts also, so it’s not just doomy and totally sorrowful through the whole 50 minutes, but it’s just a bit too much music for me to stand. And I was playing this album several times to give it a justice and get to know its contents… and well, yes, this is not bad, Paths came up with an album, which surely fans of bands like Xasthur, Krohm or Forgotten Tomb will like a lot, I think. And of course Burzum, even if it’s not even close to the brilliance of such “Filosofem”. But I think that Paths is better than such Xasthur, who are deadly fuckin boring and talentless, in my opinion. Anyway, I like how Paths are creating this sorrowful, melancholic atmosphere and the music is just cold, dark, but do not avoid melody. On one hand songs like “Beauty” can create also sort of hypnotizing feeling, but at the same time it gets very one dimensional and monotonous – sort of sin of many depressive black metal bands. Paths is also suffering for that and it’s also maybe why I feel bored after a while with this music, since almost every song here uses similar tempos, way of playing slow, sorrowful riffs with the simple, sparse drumming (which is very low in the mix, by the way) and harsh vocals. This is maybe why it sounds so great when Paths make any changes, by either using some acoustic guitars, keyboards or simply change the pace. This is also why I welcome songs like “Cloudless Whispers” and “Wake the Dawn“ with open arms, as they have some faster, more aggressive fragments, in the first of these songs the opening theme reminds me such Kampfar for example.
I guess that I would need to repeat what I wrote when reviewing Dun’s “Nature Morte” here. I would enjoy “Beauty and Nihility” more if the album was shorter, up to 35 minutes maybe? Towards the end I start to loose it, everything gets monotonous, although I need to say that I like Paths’ music much more than Dun’s. And one thing is certain – due to the atmosphere and that hypnotizing feeling of the music, it is necessary to listen to albums like “Beauty and Nihility” in proper condition. It is not an album to be played when you clean your room or want to listen to something aggressive. It isn’t an entertaining, if I can say so…
Standout tracks: “Beauty”, “Cloudles Whispers”, “Eyes Behind the Light”

Final rate: 65/100

The Prophet - Dying

THE PROPHET - Dying (Musica Production CD 2015)
Russia? I honestly must say that for years this country didn’t exist for me when speaking of great metal scene having some awesome bands. Luckily, it has changed lately and these days there are actually some great acts there, like for example Pseudogod, Pyre, Chamber of Torture, Trigger or Grond. And here’s another great discovery I did, with The Prophet and their new album called “Dying”. Damn it, what a nice album it is, what a great listen! I truly enjoyed this CD and listened to it a lot in past few days, so I am very happy to hear such awesome stuff. Surprisingly, this isn’t their first CD, as The Prophet also has two other full albums (from 2011 and 2013) and even an EP, so I am not really surprised to hear such a high quality stuff from them, although it is not so common to hear some great metal from Russia! Now I wish to find copies of their previous albums also!
As for “Dying”, musically The Prophet sounds very Swedish and you would probably never guess they’re Russian. But unlike many newer bands, which pay tribute to Dismember or Grave, The Prophet takes the influences from more melodic acts like early In Flames, Sacrilege, At the Gates and more so, I also hear many similarities to melodic, but aggressive stuff like A Canorous Quintet, Decameron and Ablaze My Sorrow – do you remember those bands? And even Dissection! The Prophet is maybe less blackish than them, but have a lot in common for sure. And damn, it sounds awesome, with great diversity, aggression, fast and slower stuff, some melancholic pieces as well – this album has everything! Great songwriting, a lot of catchy, memorable riffs and melodies, awesome fast pieces (which I like the most) and finally the acoustic song (“Amid the Fogs of Nothing”) and song with a piano (“Last Mourning Waltz”) which are simply beautiful. The album is filled with killer songs, instantly catching my attention and breaking neck when forcing maniacal headbanging. I sincerely cannot say anything bad about The Prophet, their music, the sound they got on “Dying” and everything else.
Yes, The Prophet guys are great composers, they came with excellent album and to be honest, it’s been years since I heard anything like this, comparable to A Canorous Quintet, etc. So, I recommend this fantastic album totally, you just need to get a copy, believe my words.
Standout tracks: “On the Path”, “Killers”, “Dying”

Final rate: 80/100

Friday, 9 October 2015

Necrofilth / Gravehill - Split EP

NECROFILTH / GRAVEHILL - Split 7"EP (FATASS Records - EP 2015)
Fatass Records. What a nice name for your label haha! But they don’t sell XXXL size pants, but some extreme fuckin music. I noticed that this label is mainly oriented towards the most extreme stuff, like grindcore and brutal death metal, but I also managed to find something for myself there. And this is a nice split 7”EP, which was released recently. Two bands are here and it’s funny that I know both only by the name, but never actually had a chance to listen to some music. Until now…
So, I start with Necrofilth. Their “Swine Lord” sounds so fuckin obscure and dark, damn! It’s really well played, rhythmic tribute to the grim lords from Celtic Frost / Hellhammer, nothing else! The riffs are just so damn characteristic, so great. They add some more lively D-beat somewhere as well, so it’s cool mixture and I can say that this is really great song, although it took me a while to get used to these pissed off, harsh vocals. But now I can say it all sounds good and it’s my favourite of the two vinyl sides. And the second band is Gravehill. I am surprised that I still haven’t heard their music, as they have albums released for Dark Descent. Their music is even more vulgar and violent, it’s totally fuckin aggressive take on old school thrash / black / death / whatever. Their song “Stench of Hades” is quite fast, quite messy also, but for fuck sake, if you like to hear some old Slayer mixed up with Venom, Sodom and black metal then this may be for you. Maybe not the most impressive, but surely a nice song
Both bands also deliver a cover song; Necrofilth performs “Violent Children” by The Stains and Gravehill took Extreme Noise Terror’s “Fucked Up System / No Threat”. I don’t really like these covers so much, not my style of music at all, so for me they’re just fillers to this EP. But the original songs of both Necrofilth and Gravehill and nice, yes! And the artwork for this EP – excellent!

Final rate: 70/100

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Maïeutiste - Maïeutiste

MAIEUTISTE - Maïeutiste (LADLO Records - CD 2015)
Yet another LADLO releases and well, if I can be honest, this is also my truly favourite offering from this label yet! And it’s just surprising, as not only this album came from a band, which I never heard of before, but nothing – just nothing – was telling me that it’s gonna be so damn good. But it is. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present you Maïeutiste. France again, as you can guess by their unpronounceable name (haha!), and the band was formed in 2006 and even did a demo “Socratic Black Metal” in 2007. But it took them another eight years to complete an album. And damn, it was worth waiting; this album is excellent!
I must say that usually I’m not a big fan of terribly long album. Too often they end up containing half great / half filling material and more so, there can be some boredom coming after 40 or more minutes… you know the problem. And well, “Maïeutiste” is 75 minutes long. But hold on! There’s absolutely not even a single fragment, which I would say is weak or filler. I can only speak in super positive words about the music and despite the album being so long, it just stays interesting all the way through, with a killer song following killer song, great riffs, fantastic arrangements, vocals… Damn, everything about “Maïeutiste” is close to perfection, in my opinion! The only small problem I have with this long album is that not always I can have time to listen to it from start to end or maybe sometimes my focus on the music runs away after some songs – but I would never say that the album gets boring or the songs are any weaker. Not at all and as I already mentioned, this is brilliantly composed music, very well played and to me, “Maïeutiste” is just spectacular. Actually I must say that I have not been listening to anything else since a week, only this album was spinning on my CD player and also on mp3 player on the road to / from work, so I assume it also says a lot how much I appreciate this album.
As for the content of this album, well, probably I would need to describe every song separately, so you can imagine how diverse and full of ideas it is. But I always find something like this boring, so I am not gonna do this.
The influences for the music must have had a wide range, going from more progressive, doomy and melodic acts such as Opeth up to black metal, with some Scandinavian stuff from Mayhem to even such Forlorn and even slightly harsher, but quite epic at the same time bands like Helrunar. These comparisons are quite loose though. They’re not exact comparisons, as it’s impossible to pick up one or two bands, which would have recorded similar type of album. You know, already a blend of melodic doomy metal with harsh black metal is something uncommon, in my opinion. And if such mixture can sound odd to some, I dare to say that it worked tremendously well and Maïeutiste came up with excellent record. And with such a wide range of influences, I guess it can also be an album for everybody. I hope so at least.
Anyway, I should mention some of the best moments of this full length… and let me start with “...in the Mirror...”. This song basically begins with a furious, fast and harsh black metal way. But “...in the Mirror...” evolves; from fast black metal in the beginning, it slows down drastically into a nice doomy passage, filled with some great harmonies, many catchy bits and truly phenomenal clean vocals. When comparing the beginning with the mid / end fragments, it turns out that this song has changed like night into the day! The same I can say about “The Fall”, which is another superb song here, but on the other hand such “Reflect / Disappear” does everything to keep that black metal feeling and viciousness through the whole song, which is great of course! Later “The Eye of Maieutic Art” would be an example for what I mentioned before – some harsh black metal with doomy stuff, filled with great, harmonious guitar work that makes the music more catchy and easily listenable, even if these song is actually nine minutes long! And “Lifeless Visions” and “Death to Free Thinkers” are all doomy, sorrowful, mournful and depressive, but with a strong melodic touch, which I like a lot. Excellent! Towards the end, the album becomes more atmospheric, more melodic and I am not sure if it’s due to the whole concept this record has? No idea, but it works perfectly well.
So, you can see that a lot is going on “Maïeutiste”. Acoustic guitar passages (like in “The Fall” and “Absolution”), long instrumental pieces ( “Introductions...”), some clean vocals in few tracks as well (“Death to Free Thinkers”, “…In the Mirror”)… And there also such track as “Purgatoire”, which is like an ambient song, with a strong ritualistic aura; very dark and eerie, finished with the acoustic guitar play. Such songs make me feel like the whole album was almost like a journey, you know? And I know that it also has a deeper concept, about philosophy, Socrates, etc, but since there are no lyrics, so I am not gonna comment that. Let me just add that the album is divided on three parts: “Eveil”, “Chute” and “Elevation”. More so, I mentioned how long this album is, but the limited box edition and tape are even longer, containing an extra song!
Summing up then. This is incredibly great album, I love it. And mind it or not, but I truly think that “Maïeutiste” is among the best – if not the best – debuts of the year. And the only reason why I am not giving them a perfect score is that I don’t want to put too much pressure on the future recordings of this band. Very, very recommended!
Standout tracks: “...in the Mirror...”, “The Fall”, “Lifeless Visions”, “Death to Free Thinkers”

Final rate: 90/100

Thy Worshiper - Ozimina

So, Thy Worshiper is back for good, after a long break and last year’s comeback album “Czarna dzika czerwień”. Now they’re unleashing a new EP “Ozimina”. Well, I remember them ever since I was in school and Morbid Noizzz released “Popiół (Introibo ad Altare Dei)”, which is a classic album these day. But to be honest, I just did not like “Czarna dzika czerwień” so much. Sorry to say, but this album had nothing to offer me. I dislike folky metal in most of its different incarnations, the more folky and umpa-umpa, the more I don’t like it. I can tolerate some folk elements glued into black metal structures, but when folk rules over metal then it’s usually a lost effort for me. And this is what happened with the last Thy Worshiper album. “Ozimina” continues this style, so I cannot say I’m crazy about the music, but it isn’t bad also.
I’m glad that there are still some elements of old Thy Worshiper, which I remember from “Popiół” album. You know, this band used to have quite characteristic riffs and way of arranging the songs, and let’s not forget about the unique shrieky vocal sound of Marcin Gąsiorowski. Some of these old characteristics are still present in few fragments of “Ozimina”, like in “Brzask”, which actually is a nice mixture of old and new Thy Worshiper (fantastic opening theme!) and turned into very enjoyable song. Also “Wśród cieni i mgieł” is great. This song is obviously taken from “Popiół” album, but this new, rearranged version is completely different, what doesn’t disturb it to be the best song on the whole EP, mainly because it has perfectly balanced metal and folk elements. “Halny” also sounds good, it’s quite disturbing and rough song I think, with weird, dangerous aura like some threat was coming closer and closer to you. Good.
But the new style of Thy Worshiper focus a lot on tribal folk, with almost shamanic aura and with only some small doses of metal music thrown somewhere in between. It’s important to state that the music has the Eastern European feeling, rather than commonly used Scandinavian or Celtic one. The skeleton of every song is completely different that your usual metal stuff, unless we speak of something more progressive. I feel like metal music is more like an addition to the folk and soon in the future it may even completely disappear from Thy Worshiper sound. They use a lot of different instruments, which I am not even gonna list here, there are some sounds of nature (birds, etc), plus the main vocals are performed by Anna – and sorry again, but her vocals are something I have the most troubles with. She has a nice voice, but I just can’t stand her constant wailing. Generally this folky stuff not always works for me, like for example in the title song, which I honestly don’t like at all. On the other hand such “Ożyny” creates very nice, monumental atmosphere. In other tracks it’s half/half I suppose; there can be some really good parts, but also some, which I am not so happy about. They do have some good ideas and surely those of you, who’re into that pagan folk metal stuff will like it.
Generally the whole music is so easily listenable that you can even play it to someone, who doesn’t like metal. Personally I can say that I like “Ozimina” more than the previous album, maybe it’s because it’s a smaller dose of music, so my tolerance is bigger? Except the last song I have no major problems with this EP.
Standout tracks: “Brzask”, “Wśród cieni i mgieł”

Final rate: 65/100

Lęk - Sweven (Through The Mysterious Lands)

LĘK - Sweven (Through The Mysterious Lands) (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
This is a second Wolfspell release I am listening to – and it’s also the only Polish band I think in the roster of this label. They’re called Lęk, which means fear in Polish. Well, I’ve heard some negative opinions on this band, so they surely didn’t give me optimistic feelings before playing “Sweven (Through The Mysterious Lands)”. As it turns, it ain’t as bad and worthless as I was afraid. It’s actually quite decent, quite melodic, but also harsh and aggressive black metal, hugely influenced by the classic Scandinavian black metal, both Swedish and Norwegian.
But if I can be honest, albums like “Sweven (Through The Mysterious Lands)” always give me a headache. It isn’t bad, I’ve listened to it several times and surely I like it more than a lot of the crap that’s around these days. But I just can’t help, but look at bands like Lęk with a dose of scepticism, not only for their weak ideological side or this hilarious “I am evil” imagery. Which of course is a part of black metal, but sometimes I can’t help, but laugh. But mainly it’s also the fact that such bands like Lęk will always stay in the ass of the underground, they won’t come up with an album that’s gonna be remembered in years to come, with something truly special and so they’ll drown in the sea of mediocrity. Who cares... let them do what they want. As for “Sweven (Through The Mysterious Lands)”, I basically wrote what I think about the album – it’s quite decent record, but nothing truly special at the same time.
But to be fair, the band already has some good skills and the songs are quite good. I like how Lęk combines the melody with harshness and aggression, and how they switch from fast to slower tempos, quite a bit in the vein of some Gorgoroth albums. Finally, the production is not bad at all. And to mention some songs, which I especially liked, then I need to say “The Solitary Elect of Darkness”, “My Death” or “In the Wintry Coldest Night”. The problem with the whole album is that sometimes I feel like the ideas were enough to make just few tracks and later they started to repeat themselves and you start to feel like you’ve been listening to the same riffs, arrangements, etc for the whole time. But that’s a sin of the beginners, I suppose, so I’m not gonna judge them harsh for that.
Not bad debut album then, but I would require much, much more from Lęk to really impress me.
Standout tracks: “The Solitary Elect of Darkness”, “My Death”, “In the Wintry Coldest Night”

Final rate: 65/100

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Funerus - The Black Death

FUNERUS - The Black Death (DARK DESCENT - 7"EP 2015)
It’s been a while since Funerus brought devastation and crushed the bodies with their killer LP “Reduced to Sludge”, which was this band’s second full length album. Damn, these four years is a long time, but it passed so fast! But I guess this break was all due to some health problems Jill McEntee had – and which I hope are all gone now. So, Funerus comes back with the brand new recording, which is this fantastic 7” single (putted out through Dark Descent) called “The Black Death”, with three new songs!
And definitely this is a comeback I wanted to hear, even if band like Funerus doesn’t bring anything new to the genre. But they just know how to shred and compose some absolutely killer death metal tunes. And you know, Funerus music is heavy, it’s brutal, dark and obscure, it’s also mainly slower, but has some faster parts as well… and the riffs can be massive and brutal, but you can even hear few melodic bits here also. So, “The Black Death” – just as all previous Funerus releases – is simply a classic take on old school death metal, without any useless experiments or faggoty technical demonstrations. To my ears, it sounds like the best death metal albums from the old days, bringing to one cauldron Autopsy, Asphyx, early Death, Obituary, Bolt Thrower, Cianide, Grave and so on. Everything what’s best in the traditional death metal! And I love how Funerus does everything, with crushing as fuck riffs and that gloomy, mournful atmosphere in the slower parts. Such “The Minding” (which actually is on side B, not on side A; there’s mistake on the cover) should be played on my funeral, as it’s a complete, perfect death metal anthem! I cannot even describe that feeling I have, when I listen to this song other than being just massacred. And to be honest, all three tracks are awesome and so I love this EP. Excellent comeback from Funerus and I hope to hear some more deadly tunes from them soon!

Final rate: 90/100