Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Fleshcrawl / Skinned Alive - Tales of Flesh and Skin

FLESHCRAWL / SKINNED ALIVE - Tales of Flesh and Skin (BRUTAL ART Records / FDA Rekotz CD 2016)
Well… for me personally this split was something I really was looking forward to grab. Why? Because it brings Fleshcrawl back to our chambers of torture! It’s been way too many years since they released their last album “Structures of Death” – it was already back in 2007!!! They never split up, just got very quiet. Luckily with “Tales of Flesh and Skin” Fleshcrawl is (hopefully) back for good. Great news, for me personally, because I consider them to be my favourite German death metal band of all time, I have all their CDs, so it just felt weird to see this current old school death metal movement going without such important and exceptional band like Fleshcrawl. “Tales of Flesh and Skin” is a split release, with Skinned Alive, which I have not heard before. It’s interesting that this split was first released on digipak by Brutal Art Records, in only 300 copies. I grabbed a copy quickly, because all Brutal Art releases get sold out rather fast. It turned out that later that also an unlimited jewel case version was released, but by F.D.A. Rekotz, so the hurry was maybe not so needed… but at least I have sort of rare CD version now in my collection!
Fleshcrawl comes with four new tracks. And well, they sound exactly as I would expect. This band had quite strong Swedish sound on their last albums and it’s still here. It still smells like Swedish crypt, but damn, it sounds so bloody nice. I know that these days we have many bands that play similar stuff (also in Germania!). And probably there are some that are just as good as Fleshcrawl. But for me Fleshcrawl is special band, so I am only super excited about all these new songs, especially if they’re so damn good as “Return of the Flesh” or “Kingdom of Skulls”, which sound like a classic Swedish death metal anthems. It’s very solid, very aggressive and powerful death metal played in one of my favourite styles, so I must like it a lot. Good performance and songwriting, nice production… definitely I cannot complain on anything here. Nice comeback from this band.
It’s the first time I hear Skinned Alive music and I’m glad that they’re really damn awesome. Stylistically this German project – run by just one dude, Ferli Thielmann from Miseo and Milking the Goatmachine – is very close to what Fleshcrawl presents, so it was a nice choice to have both bands on a split release. I like how Skinned Alive combines aggressive and heavy tunes with some melodic leads – something what is obviously a trademark for Swedish death metal style, but not everyone is able to make it right. Thielmann (who recently completed Skinned Alive line up into full band) surely did great job. I like his songs (my favourite is surely “Lingchi” – what a killer piece of death metal!!!), I also like the sound quality, I absolutely worship this sort of riffs and harmonies… Definitely this is just superb stuff and even if it doesn’t bring anything new to this genre, it still kicks ass strongly and should be an exciting feast for the fans of this style of death metal. I am impressed!
Standout tracks: “Return of the Flesh”, “Kingdom of Skulls”, “Lingchi”, “Lifeless Flesh Released”

Final rate: 85/100

Friday, 27 May 2016

Pyre interview

PYRE Interview with Dym Nox!!!!!!!! YEAH!

Greetings Dym Nox! You now what? I did many interviews already, more than 150 for sure and never had a chance to interrogate a Russian band! Pyre is simply the very first Russian band, which impressed me so much, so I wanted to ask you some questions haha!
Greets Panzerfaust! For the first time? Well, I hope it's not unfortunately for you and you're pleasantly impressed, haha. (Well, I am by the fact that it took you a year to finish the answers haha – P666!). But In fact this is the first interview from Poland, although we had not so many interviews from around the world, mainly it was from Russia and somewhere near here, so I'm happy to be interrogated by you.

Ha, it couldn’t be more awkward moment for this interview – a Polish zine to feature a Russian band hehe. There’s quite negative relationship between both nations now… I wonder how do you feel about all this? I rather don’t give a crap about politics, but it could be interesting to know opinion from someone from the Mother Russia about all these international controversies. Some people even  see it as a seed of possible great war; nothing what could likely happen in my opinion, but people like to see everything in dark and pessimistic ways.
You know, I think that people just make (and love it) all these stressful relations between Russia and the rest of the world by their own will, enhancing and exaggerating on the background of the political game. As if we are all here lunatic savages who want to capture the whole world. People like to make mountains out of molehills, especially when it's Russia and it smacks useless war, which is interesting only for politicians and morons & assholes and those who earn huge money on this shit. But not for us! We don't give a fuck about all that political shit happening around Russia and in the world now anyways. I don't care who you are, Pole or German or whoever, it should in no way interfere with doing what we most prefer to do and shouldn't adversely affect on our relationship in the metal underground. If someone cares - they can fuck off.

I always like to ask some non musical questions, and here I can’t resist but ask about Saint Petersburg, where you live. All in all, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and surely one of the most historical in Russia. What can you tell me about this city? Does it still live with the old days of Tsars, revolution, Romanovs, etc? Are you much into the history? Do you like to know the historical backgrounds of the place you’re from?
For sure, we're surrounded by history in every corner of St. Petersburg. It was the capital of Tsarist Russia since Peter the Great built it on the marshes where no life was dwelling:) So the city is rather young comparing to Moscow or other central Russia. But the magnificence and abundance of it is determined by European-style streets, buildings and cathedrals. Peter the Great and his successors made good contacts with Europe and invited Dutch, German, Italian and French talents to make St.Petersburg a piece of art and to learn our own architects. So the city is a good sample of high Russian culture which was interrupted by revolution and Soviet period which we call "Sovok". It was a strongest curve in politics and people's minds, for their aim was to destroy the past!! I don't want to say that everything had gone bad, but the city's appearance much changed. Nowadays it is an enormous megalopolis with more than 6 millions of people from different parts of Russia, foreigners, immigrants and a total mixture of genres. It's developed social and cultural life attracts ambitious persons and it cannot be overlooked the even every Pyre member moved here from lesser known regions of our country. Our places of birth differ but Pyre was found and raised completely in Saint-Petersburg. Nonetheless the traditional St. Petersburg is closer to us. We feel ourselves better in old, central districts of the city, where the history is still alive.

Before we speak of Pyre, I need to ask about Russian metal. You know, I will be honest… Pyre is the first Russian band, which I really liked. I also like Pseudogod, but not as much as Pyre. (Ed-Since I sent the interview, I got to know some other cool Russian bands, like Darkeater, Grond, The Prophet, Chamber of
Torture and Trigger). All the rest I know is either worthless or just too mediocre to be remembered. So tell us, how come such a big country could not get a great extreme metal scene? Are there any bands that you would recommend me now? But please, avoid all that pseudo pagan / folk shit, because I hate it! Fuck Arkona. How come we hardly hear about good Russian death metal? What problems bands in your country mainly have to deal with?
And what about the fundaments of Russian metal scene? Do Russian metalheads respect their history with the foundators of the metal sound in the country, bands like Korozzia Metalla or Death Vomit? Do they have cult status like Kat in Poland or Root and Master’s Hammer in Czech Republic? What were the beginnings of Russian metal scene?
Russian metal and especially death metal scene is very poor. We cannot even talk about "Russian school" or "Russian sounding" of any metal genre. You know, in the Soviet Union all rock music was illegal and considered to be harmful by authorities. When USSR began to crash in mid 80-s, more freedom was given to musicians and some metal bands began to appear. But in the mid 80’s Russians knew only few heavy metal bands - Aria - Russian copy of Iron Maiden and some others: Kruiz, Cherniy Kofe and other conformist stuff. Heavy was a fashion and even pop singers used leather, spikes and rocky beats 
There were some thrash and death metal bands but they had no money or labels to make good recordings and promotions. They all were in a deepest underground. Korrozia Metalla were the first to make something like a community to help young bands with records and promotions. It was called "Koorporatsia tyazhelogo roka" (cooperation of heavy rock) and head their own magazine and metal compilation "Zhelezniy marsh" (Iron march). So with their help some good projects were heard. Like Grave Side of Tula. On the other hand bands like Aspid - a real brilliant of Russian metal scene - wasn't heard due to a very limited release. Bands Master and Hellraiser after two or three albums of a good thrash metal rolled into a piece of shit. But we had great underground stuff like Death Vomit, Kholostoi Vystrel and Mafia. However, Russia's new "democratic " government did not encourage the metal. Tushino massacre at the concert of Metallica and Pantera in 1993, where thousands of people were beaten and arrested - the clearest example of this. The population also didn't recognise metal music and metalheads had to fight on streets for their right to exist So on, in the mid 90’s many bands changed their sounding into melodic / gothic/ industrial / groove and death metal slowly became either melodic or techno / brutal. I’m not much into folk and pagan howls and as for me, nothing interesting happened on the metal battlefield till late 00's when traditional sounding and composing music was revived. Everyone was sick of triggered drums, plastic guitars and gay singing so we all owe the appearance of brilliant groups at this time not only in metal but in doom / crust / d-beat/ grind as well. I talk about Chamber of Torture, Internal Damage, Grave Disgrace, Ulvdalir and Wombripper not only because I shared the scene with 'em but for the reason they make good music too. As for the problems - the song remains the same: not so much promotion and money for the bands to make good releases. Many of them do not take into account that a good recording worth the money and vainly trying to do something at home on their PC's. Many of them underestimate live performance and still remain online chimeras. And as for death metal - it's UNDER GROUND as it has always been.

So, let’s speak about Pyre now! The band was formed in 2011, but I wonder how long do you know each other, I mean are you all school friends or maybe you come from the same neighbourhood or the band happen to be a gathering of people, who were interested in playing extreme metal and got together by auditions, recommendations from others, etc? I suppose it is quite stable line up, as no changes occurred so far! 
No, we are neither school friends nor got together by auditions, recommendations from others, etc. This was not quite so. We are all came to St-Pete from the different regions of Russia, in general from the south. And met through mutual friends from neighbouring metal bands from local underground scene. But at the time of creation of Pyre, Fred has already played with us a while in Ulvdalir. So there was no problem with searching of the second guitar player when we all leaved Ulvdalir. He is a very good guitarist and friend, so he immediately appeared in a band. And then we found Kannib Maledik. He was a guitarist in a local thrash metal band, but also he could play drums a bit. So we got guitarist who became a drummer in Pyre and also bassist / vocalist, who never played bass before, haha. And it worked out! 

I am so damn impressed by the first Pyre album “Human Hecatomb”… it is just great recording. I can sincerely put it aside to such bands as Graveyard, Maim, Tormented, Brutally Deceased, Morbid Flesh or Nominon… Tell me, how satisfied do you feel about the album and the songs? Musicians usually don’t listen to their own music often, but if I was you then I would personally be so happy and proud of such album that it would be listened just as often as my favourite bands haha!
Thanks for the words. You know, I got to tell you that “Human Hecatomb” when it was fully done, it was playing in every place where we were hanging out - at home, rehearsals, with friend. So I mean we're really fully satisfied with the result. Also it's great getting good reviews from different holes of this world.

Your music is obviously strongly influenced by the Swedish death metal and the Dismember, Entombed or Carnage cult records, but I
suppose there’s more to it and I would just generally say it’s death metal with the 90’s European death metal aura and influence. You’re all in your early 30’s already, but I don’t think you’ve been there at the time of early 90’s, so the more I am intrigued what caught your attention the most in those old albums and the old scene.
Yeah, we were not into Death Metal in early 90's. In 1990 me and my brother Roman have just tasted the first schooldays and it was fucked up from the beginning, haha. In early 90’s we listened to some punk and thrash metal. Death Metal found us a bit later. I guess for the first time it was in 1995. So 3 years later we had a large cassette collection with death metal records, including a lot pirated, Polish and of course DIY editions. That time we were giving more preference to the American scene, largely Florida's one, but also we loved Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Pestilence, Morgoth, Asphyx, Entombed, Dismember as well, Carnage, etc so you know what I mean. Guess it's not the worst time for that.

The music has a strong melodic accent, but at the same time it’s rough, aggressive and is filled with the obscure, morbid aura. At the same time it’s catchy and memorable! Are these the main characteristics, which you always aim for when composing, or they simply come up naturally? I mean, are there any sort of riffs, which you think you’ll never use because for example they sound too technical? Also, did you ever had to throw some ideas or riffs to the bin, because you felt they sound too much like something you heard from other band? Are you very demanding and critical of the new riff and material?
Almost all the riffs have been brought by Roman. His compositions have always been quite melodic. I mean quite catchy melodies and solos. Maybe that's why it is so. But all came up naturally. I usually do some syncopation and arrangements as well as the whole band is involved in that process at rehearsals, causing a material to sound like a song. Sometimes that bunch of riffs is already almost ready-made song. And eventually we achieve the desired sound and atmosphere and it begins to sound like Pyre. We will never be a technical death metal band. We have never tried to make excessive technicality in riffs or in music at all. The main aim is an obscure and morbid atmosphere, rough sound with heaviness and aggression. Actually we don't care if something is similar to a stuff of the band which we grew up on. You know, bicycle was invented long ago. It's a style, but not plagiarism.

My first encounter with Pyre was “Ravenous Decease” MLP released by Blood Harvest. And I was already very impressed. I like this label a lot, for their underground attitude and good taste in extreme music, they surely are one of the pioneering labels, when speaking of the old school death metal movement. So, I suppose it must have been sort of great prestige and privilege for you to debut in such awesome label? What’s your impression on the work these Swedes are doing and their releases, which are mainly vinyl?
You're right, Blood Harvest is one of the pioneering in that regard and such a suitable label when you need a dose of some excellent underground old school death or black metal stuff. All the bands are great and killer there. And to say that we were just pleased debuting there - to say nothing. It is really honour and pride for us. And impressions are only good. Release was done with amazing quality of production.

On the other hand, I am quite sceptical when seeing you now in Chaos Records. Nothing against this label, really, they also have some cool releases, but their distribution here in Europe is relatively poor and surely not as good and prestige as Blood Harvest’s. So, why this choice? I am obviously waiting for the vinyl version of “Human Hecatomb”, so it is coming soon I hope?
So yet during recording of “Human Hecatomb” we've got an offer from Chaos Records with good conditions. Despite the fact that we were not aware of this label so much, we decided to agree. Also he has a few really good bands released. Moreover I got a good recommendation from Nicklas of Turbocharged about this label. But at the same time I also got negative one. It's about slow work, but we were not so much disturbed with this at that time, until we're faced with that closely. With CDs all is okay. But vinyl! We are waiting for our plates a whole year and still didn’t get it. That's fucked up. And the promotion was not good enough. We got a lot of messages from everywhere that people find it difficult to get our records. So we decided to look for a new label for next album  and going to be issued remotely separating Europe from America. I mean two different labels for these areas. 

Are you personally a vinyl collector? What’s your opinion on the resurgence of this format as well as cassettes?
I can hardly be called a great collector of vinyl, but there are some sweets in my collection. As vinyl so cassettes. And yeah, I think it's very cool to see them back on the shelf. 

By the way, I’ve read that there was a demo before “Ravenous Decease”, but I can’t find any info on that recording, so tell me something more about it, OK? I only know the title "Ignescent from Within".
I remember we were surprised when we saw the title "Ignescent from Within" on metal archives. Actually it was the first home demo. And it seems that we mentioned once about it somewhere in the local social network. This demo hasn't been released and never will be.

Coming back to “Human Hecatomb”… Death I think is the main lyrical theme on the album, with such songs as “We Came to Spill Your Blood”, “Merciless Disease”… Tell me something more about them, please!
What can I say more about death? Death is death! Everyone can receive from our lyrics what they want. We dont carry or hide something sacral or deeply mysterious in them. Or we do - it's up to you. 

There’s also song titled “Possessed”… and I wonder if you believe in the demonic possessions? Personally, I rather have sceptical views on that. What about you? Is it possible to happen? I think this, as well as exorcisms, are rather good material for movies and books, and music also!
"We want to believe!", as agent Mulder would say, haha! Yeah, you're right, this theme is very interesting to use in lyrics, movies and so on, and probably to learn more about that.

There’s also one more release, which I have on vinyl and it is your split with Entrapment, another really cool old styled death metal band. How did this one occur? Were
you in contact with Michel before the idea for the split came up, did you know his music? I understand that both your songs will be exclusive for this release only?
I just found Entrapment bandcamp. There were only two first demos. It kicked my ass and I found Michel on facebook and wrote him. We decided to do split EP. All the tracks are exclusive. It was recently released on CD in Russia. 

Some old bands like Asphyx, Autopsy, Desultory, Morgoth, Massacre, Betrayer, At the Gates, Carcass and so many more came back from the dead with better or worse results… Some other experienced musicians have side projects playing old school death metal like Vallenfyre or Bloodbath. The latter one made a whole contest and circus titled  who’ll be our next singer”, what was simply childish. Anyway, it only proves that even the big ones were reminded about the classic death metal. Are there more positive or negative aspects for all that?
Yeah, it all happens now and it's difficult for me to judge them, 'coz these guys are fathers. But yeah some of them like Morgoth, Bloodbath and so on looks funny these days trying to earn money by reviving the genre. I don't know is it good or bad. But some of them are doing it right like Autopsy for example. We cannot possibly understand them due to the fact that our perceptions are not as kids have. In the adolescence we perceive all more sensitive and accept trustingly. But as for me now I still prefer to listen to the old classic records, as well as new bands in old style, and its fortunately a lot of good ones nowadays what cannot be said about all these reunions. 

Ha, I wonder what is your opinion on old bands / albums, which were more technical, more progressive and demanding, like Disharmonic Orchestra, Polish Violent Dirge, as well as Atheist, Carbonized, Pan Thy Monium, Phlebotomized, Afflicted… Were you ever fan of such more twisted death metal styles? Do you like albums, which require many listens, before you can really put your opinion on them?
If we talk for example about Solstice as a technical death metal band so I really like it. Also I really like Carbonized, yeah. And early Deicide or Angelcorpse. And many more. But in general the whole  technical death metal is not my cup of tea. I mean that fucked up bands like Beneath The Massacre and so on. with neverendless shredding, you know. It's soulless, boring and stupid, total shit for me. But I do like some near death metal like bands with atmospheric and black metal influences, as you said, which require many listens, before you can really put your opinion on them. But if not talk about death metal, I also like some another different kind of music, more complicated and sophisticated. It depends on the mood. 

You’ve received some positive feedback also from people like Gylve Nagel. Does it have any importance to you and the band, to find that such legendary persona liked your music so much?
I don't actually think that he love it as much as he listened to it everyday, haha, but we were totally surprised seeing Fenriz putting Pyre in his chart in the high position. So it was a good news we knew from our friends first!

I guess this interview would be incomplete if I didn’t ask about bands like Likferd, Teitanfyre, Drama or Ulvdalir. Tell us some more details of these bands i.e. what music can we expect from them, which are their latest releases, 
I am actually glad that now it completed at last, haha. Well, step by step. Likferd is black metal studio project from three members of Ulvdalir, Khashm, Pyre. Everyone at times plays all instruments and performs vocal parts. There's only 4-song demo recorded so far, but new material has already been composed and waiting for the studio work. Teitanfyre is a black metal band from Pskov, Russia, which I joined about 4-5 years ago and which needs no introduction I guess since their performance at Nidrosian Black Mass in Brussels. Currently we're releasing new EP on CD and vinyl and then we're gonna start to make a new stuff for the full-length album. And there will be a few shows in Germany next month hopefuly. Ulvdalir is fairly well-known black metal band I played drums with. Also Roman was involved in the line-up as a bassist. So together we recorded about four records in period from 2006 'till 2012 and then left the band. The same period Fred played guitars but only live. And Drama is also well-known (early black metal, late black/death metal) band in Russia. This is our band with Roman from 2001. Now it split up. In all these bands I play drums.  

In Pyre you hold the bass and vocals, in some other bands you’re a drummer. Is it difficult for to you switch from one instrument to the other? Which is your favourite?
Personally I am a drummer for about 20 years. And only in the moment when Pyre was founded by Roman, I decided to try to play bass guitar. I played guitar a little bit before, so it seemed to me it had to be easy, but when I took all vocals it became more difficult than I expected. But eventually I managed it. Now it's much easier for me. 

Tell me also, what the hell True Ingrian Black Metal Death is! What’s its purpose and bands around it? Is it only for the elite?
TIME is the circle based on the ancient Ingria soil. And yeah, it could be said that it's kinda self-titled elite narrow circle based in that land. It consists of the bands which play black/death metal, dedicated and loyal to what they do as musically so ideologically, separating themselves from the rest crappy bands on the scene in there. That's pretty much about it. 

I’ve noticed that Pyre managed to perform some interesting gigs, with well recognised and popular death metal bands, so tell me which were your favourite and strongest performances so far? Did the guys from bands like Entombed or Demonical enjoy hectolitres of Russian vodka haha?! Hope you had some good afterparties with them haha!
Yeah, we had a lot of good shows, gigs and festivals last year. Actually it's not easy to underline some particular performances, all was awesome. I think the most killer ones were at Graveland Deathfest (The Netherlands) and Old Grave Fest (Romania). It was really good impressions and experiences for us as well. We met a lot of good guys and headless maniacs and in general many of guys from the other bands we had a pleasure to play with are as simply a nice guys so a good drinking companions, haha. Looking forward to arrange a next round of alco-storm with some badasses we're gonna share the stage with in near future!

Slaughter - Into the Darkness

Thrashing Madness Productions takes another step on their journey into the depths of Polish metal underground, exhuming another old band from the grave... and bringing us Slaughter this time! I have to say that I've never been so much into their „Into the Darkness” demo, but it’s not because the music was shit. I don’t know what it was like really, because my copy on dubbed cassette was just very, very bad and it was basically unlistenable. I'm assuming that with the reissue of „Into the Darkness” demo on CD it means that you'll never hear this demo in better quality...If you're very sensitive on bad produced, noisy recordings, then I will not try to convince you to grab a copy of this CD. But if you like all those relics from the ancient extreme metal scene and you're not bothered if something sounds as bad as a rehearsal recording, then I am sure that Slaughter will be for you.
Yes, the sound quality can be the biggest problem for many listeners. But it isn't as terrible as you would fear. You can easily hear some killer riffs, there are definitely some really awesome and almost memorable tunes like "Bestial Death Metal" or "Czas apokalipsy", which surely will crush your head with some fantastic parts. With such killer songs it just doesn't matter if the sound quality is bad or the technical aspects of the whole demo, including band members' skills as musicians, were rather low. This demo has a feeling, which is fantastic. And that aggression of thrash / death is also great. These days such demos like „Into the Darkness” sound incredibly archaic, but again - who cares??? The only thing, which I don't like about it are some of the joke songs, which many Polish bands added to their demos like „Pankraction Mania” and „Gargamels Scream”. For me this is just a waste of time (luckily they're very short).
Oh, I suppose I should quickly write also few words about the history of Slaughter. It is well presented in nice, extended booklet for this CD. But let me just remind you that Slaughter was formed back in 1987 in Koszalin (North of Poland). „Into the Darkness” was the only recording they ever did, sadly. At some point the band recruited Piotr Kuziola aka Berial from Betrayer as vocalist / bassist and he probably made Slaughter sound so damn nasty and aggressive. But once he left to concentrate on Betrayer, Slaughter was basically dead. Anyway, after this CD edition we can hear the voice from the old crypt and „Into the Darkness” is here again; demo, which you could put aside to old Vader, Betrayer, Thanatos, Armagedon, Ghost, Merciless Death or Manslaughter demo recordings.
Standout tracks: “Czas apokalipsy”, “Assassin”, “Bestial Death Metal”

Final rate: 80/100

Friday, 20 May 2016

Gorrch - Nera Estasi

GORRCH - Nera Estasi (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2016)
Never judge the book by its cover, they say. You also should remember this, when you’ll see this fuckin bad artwork for this CD. Even the band name doesn’t sound that good. All these doubts will be quickly erased when you’ll hear some of the best black metal that was ever composed and recorded in Italia. Hmm, OK, I know that this country is not fuckin Norway or Sweden, and they never had too many bands to be proud of. But some I can surely mention here! Along Mortuary Drape you will have to check Spite Extreme Wings (with killer “Vltra”), Janvs (“Fvlgvres”) or Ars Macabra (“III”). And Gorrch is also real precious stuff, in my opinion.
“Nera Estasi”, which is Gorrch’s debut album, doesn’t leave my CD player since almost a week now. I’m really impressed and will use this opportunity to recommend it to you all now, because Gorrch deserves attention! Stylistically their music sounds to me like a perfect combination of old and new. I can hear many traditional black metal riffs and ways of arrangements / ideas. But along them the whole music has more modern sounding song structures, production and the atmosphere is similar to many newer black metal bands. More so, Gorrch has a slightly progressive touch here and there. And in the end it’s the diversity of “Nera Estasi” what I can say is the greatest strength of this album. Within each song you can hear many different ways of playing and emotions. The music can go from blasting black metal through atmospheric stuff up to something very harmonious and with trance like feeling. I like how it all smoothly changes, but doesn’t sound too odd or out of place. Everything here sounds solid and the song structures, ideas for arrangements, compositions, all the riffs are damn superb. Take the final song for example. For me it’s an instant boner, really. It’s fantastic instrumental song, which has so many great riffs and passages that the impression is simply enormous. And it starts relatively quietly, but gets more aggressive and faster before the song is finished. Or you can listen to “Atra Bile”, which is probably the most melodic and slowest song from the whole album (but even here there are some fast parts, of corpse!!), reminding me Gehenna a bit, maybe because the vocalist sound a lot like Sanrabb haha! But the result is again just fantastic. And when later “Crudo primordio” blasts off with some killer riffs and great mixture of bit more clean sounding vocals and harsh scream, the result if simply perfect – yet again! A lot of the riffs in this song are very traditional and you would be able to compare them to classic Scandinavian black metal, but again… I feel like Gorrch is way more than just that.
Due to this diversity, the music is sometimes quite difficult to be described or categorized, I couldn’t compare it to one or two other bands. But I suppose this should not even matter or be a problem. The quality is there, the whole “Nera Estasi” is simply excellent and well… If you never heard of Gorrch before, check this band out asap.
Standout tracks: “Crudo primordio”, “Nera Estasi”

Final rate: 90/100

Thursday, 12 May 2016

A.H.P. - Against Human Plague

A.H.P. - Against Human Plague (VIA NOCTURNA - CD 2016)
Some of you may be familiar with Gulnar, also from the band called Illness. This Polish / but based in Norway / project delivered some really good albums through the past years (I especially recommend his last work, an EP titled “Trumna”). But recently Gulnar did also an album for his another project called AHP what stands for “Against Human Plague” and this is how his debut album is also called. To be honest, I don’t know why this album was not released as Illness, as stylistically Illness and AHP are pretty close… but who cares. It doesn’t matter at all. I can tell you one thing for sure; that “Against Human Plague” is fantastic and very impressive album.
Illness was known for its unconventional take on harsh black metal with something they called audio necroterror. AHP is pretty much similar, as it also combines traditional means of Scandinavian black metal in the vein of Mayhem and Darkthrone with dirty, mechanical wall of noise, creating a disturbing and hateful sound, which in some way may remind you such Mysticum, Blacklodge or even some very early bits from Anaal Nathrakh and Aborym. But on the other hand it offers a bit more. For example the first song on “Against Human Plague”, which is also a title track, begins with a riff that could have easily been taken from “Under a Funeral Moon” (both album and the song!), with its total simplicity and aggression, dark and hateful aura. This is also as ferocious and fast as it can only get. And such are many songs on this album. It’s straight to the point and no bullshit harsh, industrialized black metal. But among my favourite songs is “Drowned”, which is much slower, more melancholic and kind of how Burzum sounded on such “Filosofem”, at least in the beginning, as with time it gets more aggressive.
What intrigues here is how this album is structured. You have all those harsh, noisy black metal anthems, but every second track is a disturbing, dark ambient / industrial piece. “Down Here”, “Decay” or “Dungeon of Rotting Corpses” are kind of bridges between all songs, but they also work as something what is about to complete that whole deranged and schizophrenic aura of this music. The feeling of listening to something mechanical and inhuman is even bigger then. These ambient pieces I just mentioned are all instrumental, except one called “Crawling Shadows”. This one is just an insane ambient with some harsh, furious screams of Gulnar over it. And it sounds awesome.
Completed with couple of cover tunes (of War and Beherit), you will obtain a diverse and intriguing, very well composed album that I think some will hate, but many will truly like. I’m definitely into “Against Human Plague”, very recommended album for sure.
Standout tracks: “Against Human Plague”, “Crawling Shadows”, “Drowned”
Final rate: 80/100

Fra Waurhts - For Celestial Glory

FRA WAURHTS - For Celestial Glory (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2016)
It seems like I have time only for uninspiring and uninteresting black metal today. This is third black metal release that I am listening to and reviewing since very early morning and third, which is not able to impress me with anything. So, I have enough of it haha! Anyway, Schattenkult Produktionen seems to have some absolutely fantastic CD releases. For example Shadows Ground album, which is my favourite for sure, but also Gorrch and Vrag were damn awesome. But they also sent me CD of Adversus, which I didn’t like so much… and now I can say the same about Fra Waurhts. It may be better than Adversus, but I cannot describe the quality of the music from “For Celestial Glory” with other words than mediocre and hardly capturing.
It just feels like I was listening to a bunch of repetitive and constantly mediocre riffs and forgettable songs. And the more time I was spending with Fra Waurhts, the more I had this urge feeling that I wanna stop this boring experience and play something else. I cannot deny that Fra Waurhts music is very aggressive, very rough and obscure sounding, that it surely may be ideal for fans of bands like Revenge, but also of some old Greek and German black metal bands. But that quality I look for is not there; and if it is, then it’s barely scratched. It’s listenable, it has some decent moments, but it’s also very one dimensional, very archaic and very primitive. Sometimes being primitive and old sounding is not a problem if it comes along with killer songs. Other time it is, if it comes with nothing but plain boredom. For me, this is exactly the case of “For Celestial Glory”. And I cannot really imagine that Fra Waurhts will grab a lot of attention (which they probably don’t even want to get) and positive feedbacks, because this album simply doesn’t deserve that. As I mentioned, it is better than Adversus, but being the second worst band in the current roster of your label won’t bring you any pride also.

Final rate: 50/100

Wolf Omega - Nazywają Go Demonem Gór

WOLF OMEGA - Nazywają Go Demonem Gór (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
Somehow from the beginning I had this feeling like “Nazywają Go Demonem Gór” won’t be an album that I will like.  And that’s not just because the artwork looks so bad, but everything else around Wolf Omega was not so promising. This relatively new two men project consists of people, who’re also in Lęk and “Nazywają Go Demonem Gór” is their debut album for Wolf Omega. I gave this CD few listens, but honestly I quickly got bored with it. It isn’t terrible, it’s just so damn mediocre that I lost any will to spend more time on it than it is necessary to write a fairly informative review.
I suppose that what worked the best for Wolf Omega was how they managed to recreate this totally archaic, early 90’s Polish black metal sound. Definitely this album sounds like acts like Graveland, Infernum and so on, mixed a bit with the Greek scene sound. Think then of the very simplistic rhythms and riffs, rather not so much variety between all songs, because it sounds like all songs have been done in the same vein and idea. The song strictures are also very uncomplicated, what only underlines the whole primitive feeling of the music… well, yeah. This is one of the most archaic sounding albums I have heard in a while. And it isn’t that good. “Nazywają Go Demonem Gór” makes only mediocre impression on me, I quickly start feeling bored with it and I cannot find anything what would really impress me. I feel almost irritated with that drumming and style of guitar riffs, which you can often hear, with that “umpa-umpa” crappy style that I hate. And even if “Nazywają Go Demonem Gór” is far from being a total waste of time, it’s barely an OK album. I’m sure it will gain some good opinions from people, who worship such ancient sounding black metal. Not me though. Surely it's one of the weakest albums from Wolfspell Records.

Final rate: 50/100

Vrag - Species of One

VRAG - Species of One (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2015)
God damn, I don’t know why I thought that this band is from Romania or Hungary, while it actually hails from Australia! My mistake! And another one I made was when thinking about Vrag as some lousy newcomer, who won’t be interesting or worthy of anyone’s attention. Ha, not only they’re not some greenhorns (formed in 1999!), but also the last thing you can say about their music is that it’s useless crap. No! “Species of One” turned out to be fantastic, worthy black metal album that I enjoyed a lot and will surely be coming back to as often as I only could.
Yes, it’s a nice surprise and great quality harsh black metal album. What I like about it is that you cannot put a single name of another band for comparison. Obviously there’s a strong influence from the mighty Darkthrone and such records as “Ravishing Grimness” up to “Sardonic Wrath” era. Later you can pick some (Swedish) Pest, Urgehal or even Carpathian Forest for some more comparisons, but Vrag had quite individual, personal sound, what makes “Species of One” even more worthy. And I just love their take on harsh black metal. It sounds aggressive and vicious. It has dark and cold, eerie atmosphere. But some of these riffs sound almost catchy and damn infectious, and the vocals are fantastic. I guess the reason why I enjoy the whole music so much is that these vocals along many of the riffs sound a lot like Dodheimsgard’s “Kronet til Konge”, which since many, many years stays as one of my old time favourite black metal albums. And I think that this is the album that I can compare “Species of One” the most to. Listen to such “Ahasver” or “Vagrant in the Astral Plane” and you will know what I mean.
I guess I didn’t also expect Vrag music to sound so damn memorable, so easily listenable, for this kind of music. Maybe it’s due to the good production value? Personally I don’t see this catchiness as something negative, because Vrag never steps away from the canons of traditional black metal. They don’t wanna flirt with keyboards or harmonious / avantgarde stuff and keep the genre clean. Even if there’s one fragment, when they used female vocals, it doesn’t break the malicious, spiteful feeling of the aura of their black metal. Hmm, speaking about such an unknown band in just superlatives is always a cool thing, so I hope that some of you will end up buying this CD and discover some of the best Australian black metal (for me personally, it sounds better than rather boring Drowning the Light). Hails!
Standout tracks: “Ahasver”, “Vagrant in the Astral Plane”, “Species of One”, “Inverse Horizon”

Final rate: 80/100

Stillborn - Testimonio de Bautismo

STILLBORN - Testimonio de Bautismo (GODZ OV WAR - CD 2016)
Time seems to move so quickly. It feels like yesterday when Stillborn was a newcoming band, with debut album “Satanas el Grande” released on Pagan Records. But it’s now twelve years later and album number four (five if you include “Esta rebelión es eternal”) arrives to my quarters. Yeah, this was fast. Anyway, I have to admit that I’ve never been huge Stillborn music fan. It’s OK, I like it, but I’ve never been 666% enthusiastic about it and don’t really come back to their albums often. I have similar feelings for Bloodthirst, by the way. Things may change for better though, because here’s „Testimonio de Bautismo” and damn, I have to say that never before I felt so violently massacred by Stillborn music. This is really great album and surely my favourite in their whole discography!
Technically speaking, Stillborn didn’t change much since their earlier days, as they carry on playing their violent blend of black and thrash metal, with some of the most fierce and vicious attitudes you can imagine. But they just never sounded so bestial and aggressive as on „Testimonio de Bautismo”, in my opinion. Maybe the production is the reason why this album sounds so much better than any of its predecessors or maybe it’s just because the songs are better? Well, they definitely are better, with truly killer riffs everywhere, some fantastic arrangements (listen to “Obłęd” and how fantastically it begins). And the vocals, which sound like performed by possessed, maniacal person. And I don’t know if I’m going crazy, but quite often this album sounds almost catchy to me, even though it should never give any pleasant feelings. There are no sweet harmonies, no charming melodies. It hardly ever slows down, so technically this album should be a violent, punching attack that will leave just fire and death behind. But even if it is like that, it sounds memorable to me anyway haha. Give a listen to such “Upiór” or “Modlitwa poganina” for example, which are the slowest songs on this CD. Or give a listen to the insanely malicious “Obłęd”. All songs will force a maniacal headbanging and will explode into your ears with merciless aggression. Even the final song, which is an instrumental piece, sounds like a perfect summary of the whole „Testimonio de Bautismo” – what a blast!!! And if you dig bands like Impiety, some Australian troops of death and even the Canadian war demons, then Stillborn should be for you also.
Finally let me also say that I think that it worked extremely great to use Polish lyrics for this album. Not only I enjoy the blasphemous texts with that “fuck off” attitude, but the vocals performed by Killer have gained a bit more pissed off character and it fits the whole music perfectly.
I have to say that here in Poland we have great gift for bands alike to Stillborn. Give a listen to Bestiality, Witchmaster, Hell United, Kingdom and Persecutor – to name just few. They all share similar attitude towards metal and play it in the most violent and ferocious ways. It looks like „Testimonio de Bautismo” reached my top three of favourite Polish albums from all the bands that I just mentioned. And that’s something I didn’t really expect, but the more pleased I am when I give it a listen and enjoy this fuckin sweet, blasting metal of death.
Standout tracks: “Obłęd”, “Upiór”

Final rate: 90/100

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Deiquisitor - Deiquisitor

DEIQUISITOR - Deiquisitor (ANCIENT DARKNESS Productions CD 2016)
This is one of those albums that I’ve been really looking forward to hear. Ever since I heard Deiquisitor’s fantastic “Hexagon Vortex” EP for the first time and felt how strongly is their massive sound crushing every bone in my body, I knew that this is a band that I need to keep my eyes open at as they’re able to come up with something exceptional. Finally the beast was unleashed in the start of 2016 and some weeks later it arrived to my quarters with one mission: to fuckin destroy again! And yes, it does that easily.
Man, what a great band Deiquisitor is. I am fully aware that they probably will never become popular or trendy act, but I can assure you that their music should please many death metal maniacs. It’s obvious also that they don’t perform death metal that you have not heard before. More so, it seems like this sort of obscure and ghoulish death metal sound has been adopted by quite few better or worse acts these days. But none of that makes “Deiquisitor” a less intriguing and captivating album. It’s actually the opposite!
I just love that massive, utterly heavy and sepulchral, obscure sound of Deiquisitor. This is death metal that could easily crush every bone in your flesh and shred it into a pile of filthy carcass. It’s just insanely heavy, totally beastly and vicious. And brutal! At the same time the atmosphere is very dark, dismal and malicious. It can obviously remind you Immolation and Incantation strongly, and such comparison would do no harm to Deiquisitor. But you know, I feel like Deiquisitor is much more than that. Their music is for example much more fast and ravaging, they rather avoid the harmonious part of Immolation (although it does appear rarely like in “Black Matter Vortex”) and hardly ever step into the doomy part of Incantation. And that intensity, which Deiquisitor managed to find is something I like the most. When combined with some killer riffs, totally eerie atmosphere that surrounds every sound here and with superb heavy production, the result can only be fantastic. Some may moan about the similarity between all songs, and I guess that I can even agree that the band may have not had enough ideas to cover all twelve songs they offer here, so at times it gets a bit repetitive. But for me that’s a minor fault and with the sheer intensity and brutality “Deiquisitor” feels super awesome. This album contains all songs from the previous CD plus a bunch of new stuff. With a bit over 30 minutes of music, it’s enough for me to feel fully satisfied.
In the end, let me say one more thing. Deiquisitor members are also strongly involved in Danish black metal scene, with acts like Sadomator, Luciation, Blodfest, Wolfslair, Ogdru Jahad and so on. And it’s OK, I like some of them. But I have to say that none of these black metal bands (at least what I’ve heard so far) sounds even half as killer as Deiquisitor. This band crushed everything else they’ve been ever involved haha!
Standout tracks: “Black Matter Vortex”, “Celestial Rituals”, “Through Ethereal Deeps”

Final rate: 80/100

Adversus - Principium Ascensionis

ADVERSUS - Principium Ascensionis (SCHATTENKULT CD 2015)
Another release from Schattenkult is Adversus, Belgian black metal band with their debut recording “Principium Ascensionis”. I honestly won’t be able to say much about Adversus and both gentlemen, who’re hiding behind names Frater G. and Frater E. Metal Archives says something about two or three other bands that they’re involved in, but I haven’t heard about any of them. Never heard of Adversus before also, so let’s just skip the introducing part, as you won’t be able to learn much from me.
Anyway, I’ve been trying to focus as much as I can on “Principium Ascensionis” and I did my best to get into this music… but I just couldn’t. As much as I worship traditional sounding harsh black metal (my recent review of Shadows Ground from the same label says a lot, I guess), in this case I just don’t feel convinced and to be honest, this is one of those albums that I feel totally careless about. I can understand that both members of Adversus tried to come up with some of the most chaotic, hateful and exceptionally “unfriendly” or unlistenable black metal, but it just doesn’t work for me. There’s almost nothing on this CD that I would really like; two or three riffs surely is not enough for me. Sometimes it just sounds like poor try to play instruments, but the primitive results are rather pitiful.
I know, I know… black metal has to be ugly and disgusting (oh, does it really???). I don’t care about such orthodox opinion, especially as black metal can have many faces. It can be atmospheric, it can be harsh. It can even sound mesmerizing. But on top of all, it’s either shit or exceptional. In this case, sorry to say so, but it’s pitiful and bad. These couple of moments, when I liked it a bit more are not enough and the whole “Principium Ascensionis” is as forgettable as it can only be. I doubt that people need more bands like Adversus, I don’t... so I'm not going to spend more time on listening to this album than I already did.

Final rate: 30/100

Petrychor - Apocalyptic Witchcraft / Makrokosmos

PETRYCHOR - Apocalyptic Witchcraft / Makrokosmos (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
Atmospheric black metal is doing great these days. We have labels like Vordvis, Eisenwald, Wolfspell and more that find some new and interesting projects from that sort of music. It just became impossible to be able to get everything that would seem interesting, so many fine releases are out there nowadays. But we can only try. And in this review I wanna recommend you a completely unknown project from USA that may interest you also, if you’re fan of atmospheric black metal. This project is called Petrychor and to be honest, first time I’ve heard of it was when I got the CD called “Apocalyptic Witchcraft / Makrokosmos”. I still don’t know much about its history, I don’t know nothing about the guy, who stands behind this project. Digipak is rather poor with information, although it does unveil a bit of details about the concept for these two recordings (concept, which is strongly bond with nature, earth and cosmos). And yes, two recordings, because this release is like a compilation with two separate releases of Petrychor (“Apocalyptic Witchcraft” from 2015 and “Makrokosmos” from 2014).
“Apocalyptic Witchcraft” is just one, but 25 minutes long song. And I have to say I love it and when compared to “Makrokosmos”, I can definitely say that on this EP everything sounds just better. The music is so well performed and composed, very intelligent and captivating, with a great diversity and combination of folky, acoustic stuff with atmospheric black metal. This song can go into two completely opposite directions – from melancholic, sorrowful stuff, with beautiful acoustic passages to fast, harsh black metal, progressive at times and always very atmospheric and dark. It’s balanced properly, never becoming boring or over length, which is always a risk, if you decide to compose a 25 minutes long song. Petrychor did very well here, each part of this song brings another great motif and the whole piece is quite easily listenable. I also like how it’s been arranged, how Petrychor composer uses keyboards, guitar melodies, acoustic and everything else. Sometimes it has even that post (black) metal feeling, which is cool also, reminding me for example Panopticon’s recent album.
Will I surprise you if I say that I like the quiet and less aggressive moments the most? Especially, when towards the end the music becomes hypnotizing with the post metal feeling and then it’s followed with beautiful acoustic piece. Damn, it sounds mesmerizing. The production is also quite nice, it’s clean and good for this sort of music. I have no idea if there’re programmed drums, but they do sound very well as well. So, you can see that I’m very positive towards “Apocalyptic Witchcraft” and this song surely deserves attention.
And as for “Makrokosmos”, well I have to say that this album – with four songs – is not quite as good as the recent EP. Still good but I enjoyed the newer EP more. First what I can say about ”Makrokosmos” is that the production is much harsher and it could have been a bit better. Secondly, the musical style is different and I like the style from “Apocalyptic Witchcraft” more. Don’t get me wrong. There are also some stunning and captivating fragments, here and there you can really feel tell that this dude behind Petrychor is very talented. Listen to “Ceaseless White” and how for example he incorporates violin into fast and raw sounding black metal! That’s not just exceptional, but it sounds fantastic. Weird, yes, but damn good also. ”Planets Born of Human Ashes” is another worth mentioning piece here, very long song, filled with dissonant and post metallish playing. With songs like this you can tell that “Apocalyptic Witchcraft” was much more black metal focused, while “Makrokosmos” is different, more post metal / ambient stuff (“Cosmic Irrelevance Does Not Suggest Terrestrial Insignificance”). Generally the second part of this CD is more difficult to get into, but personally once I managed to do so, I just liked it as well.
So, what else can I say? Nothing more is needed, I guess. Petrychor is very interesting, in my opinion. “Apocalyptic Witchcraft” is fantastic atmospheric black metal, “Makrokosmos” is great post (black) metal / ambient stuff. I am quite surprised with this CD, as it’s not necessarily the usual Wolfspell Records type of release, but I am not gonna moan that this label decided to release something different, if it’s that bloody good. Recommended again, digipack is limited to 500 copies only.
Standout tracks: “Apocalyptic Witchcraft”, ”Planets Born of Human Ashes”

Final rate: 70/100