Friday, 30 December 2016

Furia - Płoń!

FURIA - Płoń! (PAGAN Records CD 2009)
Recently I gave a listen to Furia’s newest EP “Guido”, which Pagan Records released this year (2016). And I did not like it. The band has changed their style drastically, for me personally it all sounds just too weird, too soft and also totally boring for me, so I am not a fan of this new release at all. My most favourite releases from Furia are those early ones, starting with “I krzyk” demo through absolutely amazing “Martwa polska jesień” album and “Grudzień za grudniem”, their second full length. These are absolutely fantastic recordings and I truly like them a lot. Somewhere between them is another EP titled “Płoń!” (released on CD format in 2009) and it’s another truly awesome and exceptional release. There are three songs here and each is truly splendid, this is a style of Furia’s music, which I like the most – and which is very characteristic and original sounding black metal that you will not be able to find in any other band. It’s a stunning mixture of melancholy, eerie, dark aura, aggression, grimness and… and something what only Furia managed to capture in their sound and which is very hard to describe. This something lays in the Polish origin of the band – or maybe I should say in their Silesian origin, because Furia always underlines (also in their lyrics) their connection to Silesia region, with its poorness, grey colours, old buildings, coal mines, language, culture, etc. The lyrics are always something, what gives a special touch to their music, so if you take all these things together, then you will know why the music of Furia is so unique and exceptional. It’s no different with “Płoń!”. Three songs, which are here are perfectly reflecting the nature of this band.
Musically I have no doubt this can actually even be the best thing, which Furia has ever released. Each of these three songs is incredibly strong, I absolutely love the riffs, arrangements, all ideas, which Furia had for them. One of the most characteristic things about their style is how they can smoothly go from fast and aggressive black metal to quite, calm – even (shoegaze) post black metal kind of sounding - stuff and how they build the tension and atmosphere. It’s never typical sounding black metal and even if occasionally it can remind you such Taake or newer Enslaved, then it’s just a small comparison, because this is Furia. They do have their own idea for the music and are good enough to bring it in great style, composing stunning, memorable and intriguing songs. Even the production is something characteristic for this band. Maybe some of you will have troubles getting into it, some may not like clean vocals for example… I don’t care, I never had such problems and for me personally “Płoń!” sounds perfect. All three songs are excellent, I can listen to this EP many times and it will never bore me. Truly fantastic release and I hope that it will finally be released on vinyl as well.
Standout track: ALL

Final rate: 95/100

Bloodbath - Unblessing the Purity

BLOODBATH - Unblessing the Purity (PEACEVILLE - CD 2007)
If you still think of Bloodbath as a lousy side project of some Opeth and Katatonia members, then I think there’s something wrong with your head. This band has proved to be serious and through the years they managed to release some fantastic albums. And it’s music what matters, not who’s in the band and what is their priority. Personally I like “Nightmares Made Flesh” the most, it’s such a crushing slab of old school death metal filth. What distinguished this album from the other Bloodbath releases is that it featured Peter Tägtgren on vocals. Of course I also like “Resurrection Through Carnage” a lot, which on the other hand had Mikael Akerfeldt behind the mic. It’s also damn nasty and tasty album. With Tägtgren on vocals Bloodbath did only one album and right after he left, Akerfeldt returned to the band and “Unblessing the Purity” was recorded in 2007. And damn… I like his vocals a lot. It’s almost like the less he used growls in Opeth, the better he sounded in Bloodbath haha! His performance on this EP, as well as on the following “The Wacken Carnage” is really great, in my opinion, I like the sound of his growls and that the vocals are quite understandable, even if brutal and nasty.
I cannot say anything bad about the production of “Unblessing the Purity”. This EP sounds fantastic, it’s very powerful and crushing, but relatively clean … and every instrument is so damn strong. You will feel how this energy blows the speakers and forces you to skull-banging when “Blasting the Virginborn” blasts off with fantastic fast opening part. It truly is a neckbreaking song, but it may surprise you with slightly more progressive sounding mid-part, especially that fantastic guitar lead there.
If you know the previous albums, then you will surely notice that songs from this EP are slightly different. Still deeply placed in the old school death metal roots, but their structures, some ideas and arrangements are not necessarily taken from the plain and simple, straight forward death metal skeleton. “Weak Aside” will be another example for that… but I have to say that I do enjoy this diversity and more original touch to Bloodbath music. Especially when the music is so damn powerful and fast. When I listen to it, I feel like it’s Grave, but faster and with more diversity Grave would ever have. There are four songs here and each is just great, the quality is the same all the way through. Definitely it’s one of the best Bloodbath releases.
Standout track: “Blasting the Virginborn”

Final rate: 80/100

Nile - In Their Darkened Shrines

NILE - In Their Darkened Shrines (RELAPSE LP 2002)
I wasn’t first thinking about writing review of yet another Nile album, but that changed when I started listening to “In Their Darkened Shrines”, which is a third full length from this American death metal band. Two things came to me mind, after first few spins of this vinyl. First thing was that Nile is in my opinion the strongest and most important US death metal band ever since Morbid Angel has done their A-D albums. And my second thought was that “In Their Darkened Shrines” definitely belongs to my favourite Nile albums and it is as good – who knows, maybe in some aspects it’s even better – as “Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka”, which used to be my number one. So, I started writing few words on it.
It’s such a spectacular and damn well composed album that it’s hard to imagine it can get any better than this! It’s fantastic that the brutal and technical aspect of death metal, which became Nile’s trademark, on “In Their Darkened Shrines” became even denser and more ferocious and that they managed to increase the quality level again. Fast parts sounded even faster. It all sounds sooo brutal, but better written than before, with amazing dual work of Karl Sanders and (then new in the band) Dallas Toler-Wade. And the characteristic Nile’ish monumental, epic parts with orchestral passages are some of the best, which this band has ever recorded. There’s also more of them than ever before. It seems like Nile decided for “In Their Darkened Shrines” to be their most immense and epic album, with songs like “Unas, Slayer of the Gods”, “Sarcophagus”, “I Whisper in the Ear of the Dead” or the truly spectacular quadrilogy of the title track. These songs alone make me think of the whole album as the best Nile effort, even better than almost perfect debut album.
Really, every song here is a beast. I love these fast and technical tracks, with amazing precise playing (fantastic drumming of Tony Laureano and killer guitar duel of Karl and Dallas) and such a powerful sound. They fuckin crush with no mercy and really blow the speakers out. I suppose “The Blessed Dead” is the best from them all, it’s such a great song. But also such “Kheftiu Asar Butchiu” leaves no listener careless. But as said, the main strength of this album lies in these epic songs. “Sarcophagus” is simply a masterpiece of epic, orchestral death metal. “Unas, Slayer of the Gods” is probably the best song Nile has ever written. This 12 minutes long beast has everything fans of this band love – there are thick, brutal parts, slow pieces, orchestral arranges and heavy stuff. And it’s been arranged and performed in the most spectacular and impressive way I’ve ever heard. And the title track, which is split on four parts, brings exactly the same feeling.
Yeah, I can speak only in super positive words about “In Their Darkened Shrines”. This is one of the best death metal albums ever written and I dare to say that Nile will never manage to surpass its excellence. Although I do hope I am wrong haha!
Standout tracks: “The Blessed Dead”, “Unas, Slayer of the Gods”, “Sarcophagus”, “I Whisper in the Ear of the Dead”

Final rate: 95/100

Friday, 16 December 2016

Empheris / Grotesk - Apocalyptic Radiation

EMPHERIS / GROTESK - Apocalyptic Radiation (Self released CD 2009)
I have in my CD collection already quite few releases of Polish band called Empheris and I have to say that I really like their music. Lately I managed to grab yet another title from their vast discography. This CD is actually quite rare, as it’s been limited to 100 copies only, so I didn’t even think twice and when I saw it’s for sale I putted an offer immediately. It’s a split CD with Grotesk titled “Apocalyptic Radiation”. And damn, it’s another really awesome stuff from Empheris and also a great discovery of Grotesk, who also turned out to be a solid band.
Empheris brings here two songs “The Taste of Defeat” and “Necronautic Raids”. If you’ve heard any other Empheris releases, like “Regain Heaven” or the splits with Warfist and Embrional, then you should know what can you expect from their music. It’s thrashing black metal – catchy and memorable as hell, vicious and aggressive, blasphemous and damn evil! I love their sharp riffs and great fierce vocals of Ad. I like how they sound and how they combine classic metal patterns from heavy and thrash metal into more black metal style. It’s  a bit like Nocturnal Breed, if you wanna a comparison. Anyway, these two tracks are great, especially “Necronautic Raids” and if you liked any other Empheris releases, then this part of the split will be a feast for you as well.
As for Grotesk (who were from Norway)… They do fit musically to Empheris perfectly, because their style of old school metal is very alike, although this time I would maybe compare them to Aura Noir, if that matters at all. They also use a lot of classic metal parts, have a strong old school feeling, but maybe the black metal influence is smaller. The vocals are more classic sounding, sometimes they sound like Aggressor or Apollyon, other time they’re like a bastard child of Cronos and Lemmy. All in all, another really damn awesome tracks and I liked their part of “Apocalyptic Radiation” as well. Such music is so easily to listen to, it’s so catchy and aggressive and it surely will force you to bang your skull! And drink beers! That’s exactly how the metal band should sound like. Great stuff indeed, so I’m very happy that I managed to grab a copy of this very limited CD!

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Tehace - Zymatic Disease of Human Believes

TEHACE - Zymatic Disease of Human Believes (Self released CDr 2001)
Tehace is not a band, whose name would be widely known in the wordlwide death metal underground. Although the band have been around for 16 years now and have several recordings unleashed, they have not yet managed to capture enough attention of people. Which is weird, because I think they came up with some good music and surely deserve a bit more support. So, maybe this short review will introduce you to Tehace and after reading it, you’ll grab their material. Personally I have two releases from this band and first of these two is called “Zymatic Disease of Human Believes”. I am not sure if my copy is legitimate, as I have this EP on a CDR with xeroxed booklet, but I cannot even remember where did I get it from and if I’ve ever seen any different copies of it, so… who knows. “Zymatic Disease of Human Believes” was also released as a split tape with Silent Confusion (by Apocalypse Productions, in 2001), by the way.
This EP brings us four songs, each separated with additional instrumental tracks / intros. The fifth proper song is legendary “Rapture”, originally written and performed by Morbid Angel. And this band is surely one of the main influences of Tehace, which you can spot here. I can also compare them to Divine Rapture, but especially to Scottish band called Mithras, as both bands have been using many intros, had quite similar vocals and their sound had also been quite alike. Definitely Tehace played some weird stuff here, their death metal is not necessarily so easy to get into, as it sometimes has quite complex riffs and structures… It’s almost progressive sometimes, but still brutal and usually fast as hell. And it’s not bad at all. I cannot say that “Zymatic Disease of Human Believes” sounds like my most preferred death metal, but I do like to listen to such stuff occasionally as well. You can probably hear that the band was still trying to get their style right, come up with something original. And maybe sometimes their songs were a bit messy, but definitely you can say that it sounds not bad at all. I do like it, so try them, give this band a listen and discover yet another solid band from the Polish death metal hell.
Standout track: “Who am I?”

Final rate: 70/100

Grin - A Scanner Darkly

GRIN - A Scanner Darkly (Self released demo CD 2016)
Damn, I’ve received this CD few months ago, but I completely forgot about it, so it was lying somewhere, waiting for a listen, but instead, it only got covered with dust. So, I do apologize the band for this delay. Grin is not a band, which I would know about before “A Scanner Darkly” arrived in the mail. The band was formed in 1996 already, released some demos back then, but later they split up and reformed in 2014. I have no idea what was Grin music like on the old recordings, but for “A Scanner Darkly” I will use the description from Metal Archives, which says “technical thrash / groove metal”, for lack of any better descriptions. I would also use progressive and a touch of death metal, as some death parts are here also and the music do has sometimes more progressive, sick sound to have even more diverse and untypical sound. Honestly, I don’t listen to such music often, so I dare not to make any comparisons of Grin to other bands, because I don’t know! Strapping Young Lad maybe??? Who knows? Meshuggah? Of course “Grin” was a title of Coroner LP, so maybe that can be another clue (but I never listened to Coroner, I never cared for this band, so… I don’t know!). Who cares. What counts is that “A Scanner Darkly” contains four tracks, but the music is not bad at all. There’s quite characteristic and specific riffage, the whole demo definitely has a lot of groove and I can only wish that the vocals were a bit better, as I don’t like their sound so much. They could have been more aggressive. Other than that, Grin came up with some good songs, interesting ideas and arrangements and it surely doesn’t hurt to give “A Scanner Darkly” a listen once a while. The music is easily listenable and quite memorable as well, it’s well played and recorded, so I did spend a good time when listening to it.

Final rate: 65/100

Profanatism - Hereticon

“Hereticon” is a debut full album from Profanatism. I have to be honest, the previous recordings of this Polish black metal project were fine, I did enjoy them and if I cannot say that they were something exceptional I will say they were solid and interesting at least. Recently I’ve got this debut album and I have to say that this may be my least favourite recording from Profanatism and I did not like it so much. I actually had a hard time to get into its atmosphere and find anything what would really impress me and make me interested. It’s one of those albums, which you play, you try to like it, but at the same time you’re thinking that it’s mediocre, it’s also dull sometimes and you honestly want to change the music for something better. You simply know that this one will not work and the chemistry is not there.
The biggest problem with “Hereticon”, which I had, was that not only it sounds dull, but I was totally careless about the music. It’s not a typical straight forward black metal, it’s also not traditionally sounding black metal. The riffing here is quite weird, full of strange (dis)harmonies, I guess you can say that instead of playing proper riffs that would bring aggression and cold aura, Profanatism comes with something completely opposite and it’s hard to figure out what is their idea for the music. Weird harmonies, sick sounding parts… I have no idea how can I describe this stuff. The atmosphere is quite ritualistic, sure, it’s dark and grim, but from the strictly musical point of view “Hereticon” doesn’t do anything for me. I get irritated with all these dissonant riffs and lack of inconsistence… and on top of all, there are these insanely croaked and screamed vocals, whose arrangements are simply not so good. I can understand it was not easy to get them right if the music is so discordant and so difficult to listen to… but that just assures me that this time round Profanation ideas were not quite that good. I am not saying that “Hereticon” is utter bad or something, I am sure it will get some good reviews as well (it probably already did). But I have to be honest and say that I don’t like this album and I rather forced myself to pay it a reasonable number of times, instead of doing it with pleasure… and well, I know that this CD will just end up on the shelf, get covered with dust, as I doubt I will be back to it so soon.
No standout tracks here, although “Dance With the Serpents” caught my attention a bit, as it reminded me some parts of Emperor from “Prometheus” LP.

Final rate: 55/100

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Rotten Casket - Emerged from Beyond

Some weeks ago I was happy to get Rotten Casket’s demo tape “Consumed by Filth” (which was a nice gift from a good friend, cheers Mr. Rai-mondo haha). Damn, I did like this demo a lot and immediately putted this Dutch band on a list of some of the best old school Swedish sounding (but not of Swedish origin haha) bands these days. But it was pissing me off that I couldn’t find “Simply Rotten Death”, which is another demo Rotten Casket did in 2015. Underground Movement then came with help and released a compilation CD with both demos on it! Damn killer job! “Emerged from Beyond” is limited to 300 copies, but I managed to buy one, so I am happy yet again and very pleased to own a copy. Now I can play both Rotten Casket demos and enjoy this killer band even more.
From these two releases, I definitely like “Consumed by Filth” more. It’s such a fantastic demo, with a bunch of great songs and some truly incredible riffs and melodies that all fans of Swedish death metal in the vein of Dismember, Desultory, Goddefied and new bands like Entrails and Revel in Flesh will love deeply. I cannot say absolutely anything bad about this effort, although I am sure that moaners will say that it’s nothing original and they see no point in playing this type of music yet again. Fuck them. I love this sound, I love this demo and such songs like “In Search of the Perfect Skin”, “Unknown Graves”, “Emerged From Beyond” and “Culpable Homicide” are real anthems of OSSDM. Absolutely fantastic stuff.
“Simply Rotten Death” demo is also a nice effort, maybe a bit less effective as the other one, but just good and solid effort yet again. It may be lacking those truly memorable and insanely good songs with riffs that give you goose skin, but on the other hand it’s harsher and more aggressive death metal. Songs like “Falling Skies” and “Leeches of the Cross” (this one is a nice death doom masterpiece) do standout on this demo and deliver a lot of goodness. And it all ends with Gorefest’s classic demo tune “Tangled in Gore”, which has been nicely covered. I love such covers, of old death metal demo songs or old albums that not many people may know. This one is sweet. Very sweet.
Rotten Casket surely belongs to my top bands from this style of music. They definitely deserve your attention and I can now only hope that they’ll deliver more such goodness in upcoming months.

Final rate: 80/100

Cancerfaust - Killing Spree

CANCERFAUST - Killing Spree (Self released demo CD 2016)
Strong debut release came from Polish band called Cancerfaust. Their demo “Killing Spree” is tearing my guts out since few days and I am really enjoying this sonic torture. There are five tracks on this demo and it’s very solid effort, very well done brutal death metal. Their music is not super technical or fast, what works better for my taste, as I hate death metal that is too complex and hardly memorable. It makes me tired and bored. Cancerfaust is usually mid paced, rather simpler and straight forward, vicious band that has quite an old school feel, which is definitely something nice (or utterly unbearable for not death metallers haha). It’s brutal, groovy, it’s crushing. When I was thinking if I can compare them to anyone else, one of my first thoughts was Deranged. And then I saw that Deranged actually had a song called “Killing Spree” – so maybe that’s a clue haha! But you know, if you take also old Cannibal Corpse, or bands like Vile, Severe Torture, Insision, Blood Red Throne – they will all fit one or another, because it’s quite typical sounding death metal. But Cancerfaust did good job here, I like these songs, I cannot say anything bad about the performance of the band and the sound quality is also good enough… so, “Killing Spree” is a nice surprise and interesting debut. I am definitely looking forward to hear more from Cancerfaust and let’s hope they will only get better and better.

Final rate: 70/100

Coffinshade / Optophobic - Hymns of Sorrow and Fear

COFFINSHADE / OPTOPHOBIC - Hymns of Sorrow and Fear (PUTRID CULT - Split CD 2016)
Sorry, but I just didn’t manage to spend much time with this split CD. I’ve tried to do my best. I’ve tried few times to give it a good listen, but the dullness and shit quality of the music beat me completely. So, sorry, but this will be short and rather negative review, that will surely not encourage you to buy this CD. So, we have here two bands: Coffinshade (which is sort of US / Polish project) and Optophobic (Sweden). I didn’t know any of them and well, I doubt if I will want to be back to check their other recordings. Not in this life.
Coffinshade is definitely the worse band of the two. I am not big fan of depressive black metal, but if I play anything from this style then it has to be something truly interesting and capturing, with great atmosphere, etc. Coffinshade is just… bad, really. What a boring music, with complete lack of anything enjoyable and solid… Shitty riffs, complete inability to create proper atmosphere and more so, there are totally irritating and badly performed vocals – which surely are the worst part of music of this project. The cover of Nocturnal Depression is one of the worse songs I’ve ever heard, I wonder if original is also so fuckin shit. Sorry, but Coffinshade has just nothing to offer me, their music is forgettable, it’s annoying and did I already use the word “boring”? Yes, I did, but I will repeat it – because this music is boring, primitive and just bad. Waste of time.
Optophobic was supposed to be an atmospheric black metal project of guy, who calls himself God Eater. Supposedly, because for me it’s not really an atmospheric BM, but just primitive, rough and again really badly composed, performed and recorded stuff that does not deserve anyone’s attention. First thing, which caught my ears was programmed drumming that annoys the shit out of me. Then we hear some badly performed vocals. And again music, which sometimes sounds almost silly, so irritating and bad it is. Not a single riff is here, which I would like, not a single fragment, which would make me think that it’s something actually worthy. It’s barely listenable and quickly forgettable. I still cannot imagine people liking such low quality stuff and I am surprised that there are labels interested in releasing it (it definitely is the worse Putrid Cult release so far!). And I am surprised that whoever stands behind projects like this are not ashamed giving it to the world. No wonder then that they’re hiding behind silly pseudonyms. This home recording shouldn’t leave your bedroom, mate!
Optophobic may have been a tad better than Coffinshade, but all together they putted a damn crap release, no recommendation at all. The worst CD I’ve heard this year.

Final rate: 20/100

Monday, 5 December 2016

Suicidal Madness - Illusions funestes

SUICIDAL MADNESS - Illusions funestes (WOLFSPELL - CD 2016)
Before we go further into this review you need to realize that I am not so much into depressive black metal. I do enjoy to listen to the music of some DSBM projects, those, which have something exceptional and intriguing in their sound, but I just don’t play such stuff often. Wolfspell Records did release quite few great bands from this style, like Hermóðr and Kalmankantaja, and now I got an album from Suicidal Madness to review. “Illusions funestes” is their second album and it’s exactly the type of sorrowful and melancholic black metal, which leaves me careless. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that Suicidal Madness is worthless and has completely nothing to offer. No. They do present solid quality music, they do everything is proper, good way and generally you will not say that it’s an album to wipe your ass rather than to listen to. It’s just the fact that I personally couldn’t get into its atmosphere and generally I felt terribly bored by it is the reason why I will not recommend it. I had enough of it after couple of spins and my thoughts were like “so, I’ve listened to it two times, do I want to hear it again? Hmm, no”. Of course I did play it few more times, to give it a justice, but my impression didn’t change.
“Illusions funestes” is an album that may be OK for the fans of depressive black metal, but other listeners will let it in one ear but out the other. Immediately. There are some fragments, which did catch my attention a little bit more, there’re even couple of faster parts, there’s also an acoustic part accompanied by distorted guitar, which sounded really OK… Also “Corps dans un corps” came out better, with some nice sounding parts of violin and piano, what helped the band to set a nice atmosphere. But then you have songs like “Démence”, which with its completely uninspiring and boring riffs I would want to erase from this album right away. Then the title song – soooo boooring opening theme! I’m almost glad that the CD skips on this track, so I don’t have to listen to it in entirety. Or “Mort”, which may also have some interesting ideas (again due to the use of additional instruments such as acoustic guitar), but as a whole is boring and forgettable as hell. And I don’t even wanna start on the instrumental tracks that open and end this album – especially “Outro” sounds like something completely unnecessary.
So… “Illusions funestes” is not interesting enough to capture my attention and truly is a mediocre and unmemorable album. You can skip it.
Standout track: probably none, but let’s say “Corps dans un corps”

Final rate: 60/100

Convulse / Disma - Days of Death

CONVULSE / DISMA - Days of Death (DOOMENTIA Split 7"EP 2013)
This split 7” had to wait a (long) while before I finally played it. It actually took me two years to put it on the turntable haha. Well, better late than never. I really like many Doomentia Records releases and this split titled “Days of Death” surely is another solid and worthy release from the Czech label. I love Disma, who are among my favourite new old school death metal bands. I also like Convulse, but only for what they have done in the 90’s rather for their comeback recordings, which are not so impressive anymore. But with one song from each band, “Days of Death” is a nice release and great combination of different styles of old school death metal.
Convulse starts up with “We Kill Our Kind”, song which also opens their comeback album “Evil Prevails”. I don’t know if there’re any differences between the split EP and album versions, but that doesn’t matter. This song is actually good and solid effort, I quite like the production and atmosphere of this track, as well as the heaviness of it. This is surely the best song Convulse did after the reunion, even if far from something spectacular, but decent for sure.
Disma comes with “Unwept in Oblivion”, which originally was published on very limited edition of “Towards the Megalith” vinyl, on additional 7” record. It’s been remastered and remixed for this split and I have to say that it’s yet another Disma song, which I love. I love that grim, mournful, dark aura of their music, I love its sheer heaviness and massiveness of the sound, I love the earth shaking riffage, which often has a nice harmonious accents that remind me some old Swedish death / doom acts. And I love Daryl Kahan’s vicious vocals. Basically everything about their style is perfect for me and it will not be exaggeration if I say that they’re among the best death metal bands these days. “Unwept in Oblivion” is a fine proof for it and I have to admit that I played this song way many times more than “We Kill Our Kind”.
Great split then, Disma rules, Convulse came with a decent song as well. And everything is packed in beautiful gatefold, with truly spectacular artwork from Ola Larsson. All these deserves a solid 80/100.

Final rate: 80/100

Carbonized - Disharmonization

CARBONIZED - Disharmonization (FOUNDATION 2000 - CD 1993)
I’m not gonna keep this review long. Why? Because I was – and still am – extremely disappointed and unhappy with the way the music of Carbonized went after their debut album. I really like this band’s early stuff. “Au-To-Dafe” and “Recarbonization” demos, “No Canonization” EP and finally “For the Security” LP are great pieces of unique, slightly grinding Swedish death metal. It was very good, a bit experimental and sometimes progressive but brutal stuff, which definitely belonged to some of the most original recordings in the early 90’s. And then Carbonized recorded this… something. “Disharmonization” is extremely different and musically incomparable to anything else they’ve done before. Yes, it basically has nothing in common not only with the previous Carbonized recordings, but with death metal at all. This music sounds sick, almost kind of schizophrenic, due the way how it sounds and switches between many weird riffs, styles and ideas.
I guess you can say that “Disharmonization” is sort of fusion between prog rock, jazz, funk, fuck knows what else with Voivod and a very small touch of death metal or metal in general added to have even weirder effect. Right from the first song you’ll be like “what the hell is that??”. Where are these chunky, heavy, sometimes twisted riffs of Carbonized gone? Where’s brutal growling gone?
The opening instrumental song is as bizarre as it is useless. I don’t like how Carbonized opens this album. And I don’t like what follows. “Vlad Tepes” greets us with really bizarre riffs, which have almost painful effect, because you’ll feel like this sick melodies are drilling your head and give an instant headache. Guitar parts aren’t aggressive at all of course. I mentioned that it all sounds like incomparable fusion of many non-metal genres, with weird, sometimes almost annoying and cacophonous riffs and vocals, which have clean, but really mad tone. I bet you’ll listen to “Vlad Tepes” and wonder what is going on there. I’m glad that the next song “Lord of Damnation” contains few heavier (death??) metal riffs, there’s even nice grinding fast part and harsh growls of Christopher Johnsson. But that song is an exception, as the majority of the album is exactly what a title like “Disharmonization” can describe. Sometimes it all sounds out of tune, other time it sounds if someone drunk was making noise on the guitar… and you know, I don’t care, as it all sounds absolutely shit to me. I really don’t like this album. When I bought it I felt disappointment, but I wanted to give it more listens and see if I can find method in this madness. But I never did. And I still cannot force myself to like “Disharmonization”. Sure, there are some fragments that will remind you the brilliancy of the debut LP or EP, like “The Voice of the Slained Pig” and “Lord of Damnation”… but it doesn’t matter. But the whole album is barely listenable and surely far from what I like to hear. Such hybrids hardly ever work well and to be honest, I prefer pure and simple death metal rather than experimenting with sounds and styles.
Standout tracks: “The Voice of the Slained Pig”, “Lord of Damnation”, “Spanish Fly”

Final rate: 45/100

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Satanic Might - Arrival of the Winterwinds

SATANIC MIGHT - Arrival of the Winterwinds (PUTRID CULT - CD 2016)
Another debut and another really fine black metal release, which to my surprised managed to interest me. Here’s Satanic Might from Olsztyn, Poland with their debut demo “Arrival of the Winterwinds”. It was first released on cassette limited to 88 copies but now Putrid Cult came up with a CD version of it. And yes, it definitely was a good choice, because in terms of raw, cold, “Transilvanian Hunger”-ish black metal Satanic Might sounds not bad at all and personally I did like this stuff.
I won’t be bothering you with in depth review and write 1000 words describing “Arrival of the Winterwinds”. It is completely not necessary. For many of you it should be enough to call it cold, grim black metal, alike to early Darkthrone, Pest, Urgehal, Craft, Armagedda or newer bands like killer Azelisassath. “Arrival of the Winterwinds” will not surprise you with anything exceptional or new, but it’s a solid and actually really killer performance of pure black metal, with everything done in proper and best ways. For example the riffage – it’s simple, almost primitive sometimes… but it does create that special feeling and atmosphere, which you’re looking for in this sort of music. The vocals are great also – I’m so glad they didn’t turn into funny Donald Duck scream, but are proper harsh black metal shrieks that you wanna hear. The production - again, very well done and just perfect for this type of music. I have no idea, where did Satanic Might record this demo, but it sounds exactly as this type of black metal should sound. It’s raw, but powerful and clean enough to hear what are the riffs like and will not irritate with unlistenable noise.
There’re six songs here, including an outro and Satanic Warmaster cover. 27 minutes of music and believe me, if you’re into this traditional, second wave black metal from Scandinavia, then you will like “Arrival of the Winterwinds” a lot. I did, it was a very positive surprise for me… and damn, I wanna hear more from Satanic Might. A vinyl edition of this demo would be also nice to see.
Final rate: 75/100

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Morte - Lento descenso a la putrefacción

MORTE - Lento descenso a la putrefacción (LYCANTHROPIC CHANTS - MC 2016)
There are two things you need to know before we go further. Lycanthopic Chants is a new label that will specialize in cassette releases and it was formed by Steffen Brandes from German death metal band Cryptic Brood. First release from this label was a killer EP from God Disease called “Rebirth of Horror” and now Morte arrived with their debut recording titled “Lento descenso a la putrefacción”. Actually this is a band from Argentina and I have to say that I can’t remember when was the last time I’ve heard anything decent or anything at all from this country. It’s almost weird, if you take a look how active are the bands from Chile, Brazil, Peru and so on… Is Argentina so lazy or they simply have no quality? No idea, anyway Morte is a solid and fine band, I did enjoy their music, so at least one band from their country managed to interest me.
“Lento descenso a la putrefacción” comes with seven tracks of filthy and obscure death metal. The music has quite strong doomy influence, a lot of these riffs have been played in slower, heavy way, creating a fantastic horror atmosphere, which I do like so much. When they play at this doomy pace, the music does remind me Asphyx a bit, although Morte do not use any melodies or stuff like that. But they have ideas for killer riffs, use a lot of reverb to increase that eerie aura and almost sort of ghoulish feeling to the vocals. Faster parts appear occasionally and that’s great, as they not only add more aggression and viciousness to Morte death metal, but also bring more diversity. But mostly it’s slow paced death metal, with strong old school, harsh sound… Oh, one of the characteristics of “Lento descenso a la putrefacción” is that the band used Spanish lyrics, what surely sound more original than the usual English. It kind of reminds me Masacre, but I do like that.
All in all, I can surely recommend “Lento descenso a la putrefacción”, it’s a nice tape and good release from Lycanthropic Chants. Cassette is limited to 100 copies, I’ve also seen a South American version of this cassette EP, released by different label. I don’t know if there will be a CD or vinyl version, but keep an eye on this band.
PS. After few hours I was reminded about such Argentina bands like Encoffined and Infernal Curse. So, we have three solid bands from this country at least haha!

Final rate: 70/100
This is the South American tape version

Uncanny - Liturgy

UNCANNY - Liturgy (Bandcamp release 2016)
I don’t usually do bandcamp reviews. Hmm, I think I never did. But in this case I decided to write few words, because here’s Uncanny, coming back with brand new EP, containing three songs that will crush every fuckin Swedish death metal maniac to pieces. Yeah! I was waiting for another sign of life from Uncanny ever since I had a pleasure to listen to their killer comeback 7”EP called ”The Path of Flesh” (2012), which I loved. My wish came true finally and here they’re back. Sadly it’s a bandcamp “release”, but I am sure this stuff will soon be released in proper vinyl format. I am waiting for it and if no one will be interest in releasing it, then I will do that haha!
There’s been a small change in Uncanny line up, since “The Path of Flesh” was released. It’s only the master of riff Fredrik "North" Norrman and drummer Kennet Englund left on the battlefield, joined by new vocalist, no one else, but Mikael Hanni from fuckin killer band Disrupted. I’m glad that the line up change didn’t make Uncanny any weaker. This band still sounds unbelievably strong and all three songs that are featured on “Liturgy” are great.
Of course you need to know that I’m an addict to Swedish death metal and I’ll never let myself complain and moan on this style of music. But I hope that I am enough objective to distinguish killer band from useless crap. Uncanny came back after many years of hiatus (and I still love their old recordings, especially “Splenium for Nyktophobia” from 1994) and they still have that something exceptional what makes their music so damn killer. Norrman comes up with godly riffs, I love the aggression of his music, as well as melodies and great guitar leads. The music on “Liturgy” sounds harsh and aggressive, but it also has a good atmosphere and feeling. I prefer faster songs like “Liturgy” and “Spiritual Death”, which are killer tunes filled with great riffage and everything we love about this style of music. “The Reaping” is a song I like a bit less, as it’s slower and maybe kind of boring after a while… but I don’t mind. All in all I find this EP as extremely good and I’m happy to hear Uncanny back again.
It’s 2am, I had few shots of vodka, I played this EP several times and really enjoyed it all together. Time to release it now on vinyl and bring more of that goodness later on!

Final rate: 70/100

Abigail / Nocturnal Damnation - Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare... Filthy Desekrators!

ABIGAIL / NOCTURNAL DAMNATION - Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare... Filthy Desekrators! (PUTRID CULT - Split CD 2016)
A short split CD release this time, so I won’t be writing a lengthy review, as there’s not so much to write about, to be honest. This CD is titled “Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare... Filthy Desekrators!” and brings us an unholy Asian alliance of Japanese Abigail and South Korean Nocturnal Damnation. And yes, I did notice the misspell in the word “massacre”, not sure if intentional or not haha!
The music from both bands is some crazy shit that will irritate all your neighbors so much that they will leave their homes immediately. Play it loud then haha! We have two songs from each band… and from Abigail you get exactly the same shit they’ve been playing since many years and which they previously recorded on millions of other releases, which they have in discography. I wonder if there’s anyone, who has at least half of it in collection. Anyway, personally I’m not a big fan of these crazy Japanese fuckers. I respect them for being on the scene for so long and still playing this totally vicious, aggressive and primitive thrashing black metal, but I just cannot listen to such music too often, as it gets annoying and boring after a while. Both songs on “Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare... Filthy Desekrators!” are fast, totally extreme, vulgar and vicious, the screams of Yasayuki sounds like he was tortured and basically these guys do a lot of noise. It sounds OK, with two songs I can enjoy it, but I still won’t call myself an Abigail addict.
Nocturnal Damnation then… are they first Korean band I listen to? Probably?! Their music is heavier, more brutal and more death metal, but I don’t like it as much as Abigail’s part of this split. It all sounds primitive and very raw, the production is not that good and I feel quite annoyed by that fuckin programmed drumming. Generally it isn’t bad, but when I listen to exotic bands like Nocturnal Damnation I always have this feeling that the quality of their music and everything about it is millions years behind US or European scenes and even a mediocre band from here is far better than Nocturnal Damnation will ever be. It’s listenable, but also forgettable.

Final rate: 60/100

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Interment / Pyre - There Is No Redemption at the Gates of Wrath

INTERMENT/ PYRE - There Is No Redemption at the Gates of Wrath (WOLFSBANE Records split 7"EP 2016)
Can there be a better idea than releasing a split with two killer bands, which you’re fan of? Yeah, I love it. This is a 7” vinyl, so we get only one song from each of these two bands, but it’s enough to make me happy and to make the day. Yeah, I played this small piece of wax many times today and I enjoyed it totally. So, two bands are here.
First there’s Interment – cult Swedish death metal act, which had some fantastic demos released in the old days and then returned to the scene in great way, releasing two killer albums and some other impressive splits or other stuff. It’s one of those bands, whose releases I buy blindly, because I know I will not be disappointed. But the same thing I can say about Pyre. They’re Russian, but sound if they had a Swedish origin and been drinking cheap beers in the subway of Stockholm. Their catalogue is not that huge yet, but every release so far impressed me strongly.
I cannot decide, which of these two songs I like more. Each sounds absolutely great and for a fan of traditional Swedish death metal sound, they’re perfect. They have everything – killer riffs, some melodies, great vocals and horror, dark atmosphere. They’re aggressive, but have that characteristic sound I love. And they’re both extremely well written and performed. They will not surprise you with anything new, but I hope they will crush you with their heaviness and razor sharp riffage. Yeah, for me this is a death metal heaven, I don’t need more, I don’t need to recommend it. This split should be a mandatory purchase for all of you. If you don’t care, then you can die in fire.
PS. I just realized that "Drenched in Blood" was also released on split of Interment with Funebrarum. No idea why did they repeat it, but who cares I guess? Killer song anyway.
Final rate: 90/100

Archives of the Dead part XXIII: Agonize – Fall (demo 1991)

Archives of the Dead part XXIII: Agonize – Fall (demo 1991)
Marco Giovanni Bove (bass), Steffen L. Nielsen (drums), Christian L. Nielsen (guitars), Ole Holm (vocals)
Recorded & mixed 16-18 of october, 1991, at Borsing Recording, Denmark
Produced by Jacob Hansen and Agonize
Mixed by Jacob Hansen and Agonize
Denmark was never my favourite place to search for some killer death metal bands. There are few Dannish bands, which I like of course, for instance Autumn Leaves, Detest, early Illdisposed, when speaking of the old scene. Plus three or four new bands. And I’m sure that there are some more, which I still need to check out. Agonize is a band, that I was familiar with, but I only knew their name, but I never had a chance to hear their demo until maybe couple of years ago, when I finally found a digital version of “Fall” (1992).
From the first listen you can hear that Agonize were damn solid band, but for my personal taste their music was not quite as brutal as I would wish. It is actually more like death / thrash, with some reminiscences of acts like Sepultura, Sadus, Invocator, Pestilence and so on. I like the music quite much, it’s technical, aggressive and relatively fast (check “Innovaphobia” for instance), definitely Agonize had many killer ideas for their music, especially in the song titled “The Disclosure”, which is a brilliant closing track. And yeah, it sounded good, but maybe the vocals could have been more brutal and aggressive. I honestly think that they’re the weakest characteristic of “Fall”. Sound could also have been a bit heavier, but on the other hand it fits the thrashing influence of Agonize, so it’s not a major disadvantage. It all works quite well, somehow I enjoy this demo and every time I play it, it brings me a good energy. I can even live with these type of vocals, because Agonize managed to bring some great slashing riffs and the whole demo has this nice aggressive manner that we need when listening to old and new death / thrash metal releases. So, it’s a solid release, it surely didn’t age badly. I’m sure though that with heavier type of vocals it would have been much better.
Standout track: “In Absence of Comfort”

Final rate: 70/100

Fleshcrawl - Bloodsoul

FLESHCRAWL - Bloodsoul (BLACK MARK - CD 1996)
I truly think that Fleshcrawl belongs to the best death metal bands ever. I know that not many will agree, some will say that I am fuckin crazy and call them “second league” kind of band… but why would I care? I love them. First off, show me how many bands are there, which release death metal albums ever since 1992 and never decided to change and “progress” / “get matured” as they often say!! Even in the late 90’s, when so many death metal bands wimped out, Fleshcrawl kept on playing their old school death metal (or simply death metal) they way it should always sound. Great respect for that! Stuff, which Fleshcrawl released in the late 90’s, is my favourite death metal of that era, along the stuff, which bands like Vomitory, Hypocrisy and Dismember did at that time. And that’s a compliment. “Bloodsoul” is from 1996 and surely belongs to the best Fleshcrawl albums. And it’s one of those albums, which you cannot say that are gigantic and groundbreaking, but it’s solid and high quality, killer death metal. For me it’s a timeless slab of filth and listening to it is nothing but pleasure.
If you’re a death metal fan, you will get into “Bloodsoul” immediately. This album is very easily listenable, it is not complicated, it is not too technical or brutal. It is simple, straight forward mid to fast paced death metal with great catchy riffs, memorable arrangements and some melodic parts, which appear here and there to create a more diverse sound. The album was recorded at the famous Abyss Studio with Mr Peter Tagtgren and thus it is soaked in the Swedish death metal sauce. You won’t even have to look into the booklet to guess that, especially since everything sounds so alike to Hypocrisy albums, when speaking of the production value. I won’t take that as a negative thing, even though I preferred harsher and more fat, lower sound, which the band had on “Impurity” – which, by the way, was also recorded in Sweden, but at Unisound Studio, with Dan Swano. As a matter of fact, all future Fleshcrawl albums, except “Structures of Death”, were also recorded in Sweden, in various other studios.
As I already mentioned, the whole “Bloodsoul” is very easy to get into. It’s not tiresome or boring, because it’s just about 35 minutes of music, which is a perfect timing.  And each of the album’s eight songs is an excellent piece of death metal. You will find here many great riffs, I like the vocals of Alex Pretzer a lot (for whom this was the last album with the band; he disappeared from the scene after that one) and I am sure that everyone will have his own favourites here. I love the title song with that heavy opening riff. What a crusher. But this song has everything – great slow and fast parts, memorable chorus… it’s total neckbreaker, in my opinion. Then “The Age of Chaos” with its strong Bolt Thrower-
esque riffage and harmony. “In the Dead of Night” – classic Swedish death metal tune, with great gory lyrics. There’s also a cover song here – and after killer Demigod cover from the “Impurity” it’s another tribute to Finnish death metal scene with Demilich’s “Embalmed Beauty Sleep” from “The Four Instructive Tales ...of Decomposition” demo. This version obviously has no inhuman Antti Boman vocals, but sounds fantastic as well. And I really like the idea Fleshcrawl had to add special cover songs to their albums. Pity they stopped doing death metal covers after Demilich and came up with Judas Priest or Exciter which I didn’t like as much.
So, to be honest, I like almost everything about “Bloodsoul”. It’s an easy album that strikes in the guts and rips the shit out of you and do not waste time for bullshit. And that sounds great. And the only thing, which I don’t like, is the artwork, especially the back inlay photo, with agory image of decapitated camel and goat heads. That looks odd and somehow I just feel like it doesn’t even fit to the whole album. Who cares, I guess.
Standout tracks: “The Age of Chaos”, “Bloodsoul”, “In the Dead of Night”

Final rate: 80/100

Verbum - Processio Flagellates

VERBUM - Processio Flagellates (Penitenziagite Records MC 2016)
This Chilean band is almost completely unknown, I have not seen any publications about them before, but damn, I hope it will change soon. Their music really impressed me strongly and Verbum belongs to the best debuts of this year in my opinion. So, let me introduce you to this mysterious project (whose members are hiding their identities) and recommend you their “Processio Flagellates” EP, which was released on cassette by also Chilean Penitenziagite Records.
As I said above, Verbum members are unknown, but I wanna hail them for creating such an obscure, heavy and truly eerie sounding music. It’s a killer blend of death / doom metal heaviness and darkness with black metal harshness and evilness. And as such, it’s just damn well performed and composed, with great diversity, which range the music from almost sludgy death / doom filth to fast and chaotic sepulchral blackness. Everything has that cruel, rude and almost primitive sound, but the atmosphere this music evokes and the feeling, which accompanies the listening is something what makes “Processio Flagellates” so damn special. From my point of view, the slower music of Verbum is, the better it sounds, thus I am glad that these doomy, bleak parts dominate this EP. But obviously I don’t mind if the music speeds up to tear the flesh with sadistic pleasure. The aura is almost ritualistic and sepulchral like, and obviously you would be able to compare Verbum to some other bands, but that doesn’t matter. For me “Processio Flagellates” is a fantastic debut and I wish to see this EP released also on vinyl and CD and see Verbum getting more attention. They definitely deserve this.
Final rate: 80/100

Nagual - Self Conqueror

NAGUAL - Self Conqueror (PUTRID CULT - MCD 2016)
I didn’t have a chance to hear this project’s debut release titled “Zgliszcza” and to be honest, after reading some mixed reviews I didn’t even plan to check this band. But now, after many listens of their new recording I am very glad that I got a chance to hear it, because it’s one of the best Polish black metal releases of this year and something I really wanna recommend now. Here’s Nagual with new MCD titled “Self Conqueror”, recently unleashed by Putrid Cult. There are three songs on this release and I have to say that the music was a positive surprise for me.
Personally I expected to hear kind of depressive, melancholic black metal. And sure, Nagual music is atmospheric, it does bring many nostalgic as well as melodic fragments and generally it’s quite easily listenable and memorable black metal. But I am glad that at the same time the music has kept the original black metal harshness and that it also contains quite many aggressive and ferocious, fast fragments that really sound great and powerful. All together “Self Conqueror” is a diverse and truly well composed, arranged and performed material. Instrumental parts are top notch (I’m glad to hear real drummer, instead of the machine), the vocals of Nagual (sole member of this project) are very good as well… so, basically I can only speak in super positive words about “Self Conqueror”.
I’ve mentioned that there are three songs here. Each is slightly different, for example the title song is quite fast, but my favourite is the one titled “Labyrinth's Fall”. It sounds fantastic, the main verse part is catchy as hell, it also erupts with powerful, fast parts… yeah, it truly is a killer song. I’m also positively surprised that Nagual didn’t need to use keyboards for his music and all harmonies are coming from guitars. Stylistically, if I had to make some comparisons, then it would range between many bands, from Furia, through Shining and finishing even with Diabolical Masquarade (if you take keyboards and heavy metal elements off them). All in all, we deal with absolutely excellent release and one, which is highly recommended.
Standout track: “Labyrinth's Fall”

Final rate: 85/100

Monday, 21 November 2016

Archives of the Dead part XXII: Dawn – The Darkness Within (demo 1993)

Archives of the Dead part XXII: Dawn – The Darkness Within (demo 1993)
Simmi Schand (drums), Robert "Wenge" Wenglorz (guitars), Martin "Witchskinner" Jäger (vocals / guitar), Arne (bass)
Recorded and mixed at Mainstreet Studio, August '93. Produced by Dawn and Falk Gruber.
Bill Koeb (Artwork)
I am surprised that in times, when almost every old demo and every old band has been already exhumed and re-released on CD or vinyl, no label was yet interested in Dawn. But I mean Dawn from Germany, not the well know Swedish band (who actually had their albums and demos re-released last year on Century Media). I hope it is a matter of time though and that their recordings will also get a proper re-release. I suppose not many of you know or remember Dawn, I cannot remember if this name have ever appeared in old fanzines, in reviews, reports, etc. Personally I also have been recommended to check them a couple of years ago – and I was really surprised by great quality of their demo from 1993 called “The Darkness Within”.
Damn, I did not expect that this demo will be that good – and I really mean GOOD, in my opinion Dawn was just as good as many other old death metal bands from Germany, such as Fleshcrawl, Obscenity, Mangled Torsos or Infected Virulence. It was the same type of brutal death metal, it was the same quality… so, why no label was interested to sign Dawn back in the old days, I have no idea. They never released an album and after “The Darkness Within” Dawn putted out just a couple of EPs (“Trespass Infinity” in 1996 and “Entrance to Malevolence” in 1998), before splitting up in 1999. What a shame. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that some of the band members played also in Blood and Malaphar.
I have listened to “The Darkness Within” many times already and I cannot say anything bad about this demo. It’s absolutely excellent stuff. Yes, it is rather typical death metal grunt, the music is relatively brutal and obscure, violent and sick. For me it’s a real jewel that people, who loved old stuff from early Benediction, Gorefest demos, Morgoth, Mangled Torsos, Sinister and so on and on should love immediately. Right from the first song “Ex Oblivion” the demo explodes with really fast stuff, but obviously it’s not one dimensional playing, so there are also classic patterns played in slower tempos and I like these slower parts the most. Take for example such killer songs like “Morbid Dawnfall” and “Open the Gate” and tell me if that isn’t a real death metal feast. I can almost see in my head Dawn playing these godly songs in a stinky small venue, with handful of maniacs banging their heads and doing an aggressive mosh. Old school to the bone, with harsh, but really awesome production.
Overall “The Darkness Within” contains five sickening brutal songs and each will bring massacre, I can promise you that! Have a bath in excrements and discover this forgotten German band!
Standout track: “Open the Gate”

Final rate: 80/100