Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Corpse Garden - Entheogen

There are not many bands from Costa Rica that I would know. I can only think of Paganus Doctrina and Insepulto right now. But Corpse Garden is also from there and well, I guess this may be my favourite band from this small country with even smaller extreme metal scene. Sadly, I don’t know much about them, no more than I can find on Metal Archives, but I can see that “Entheogen” is a second album from Corpse Garden. Definitely I will have to check also their first CD, but until then it’s “Entheogen” crushing the walls. I actually have tape version of it, unleashed by Godz ov War Productions (limited to 100 copies), but there’s also a CD version released by unknown Satanath Records (need to grab a copy also!).
“Entheogen” is very long, over one hour long album and I have to say that it’s not necessarily an easy listen. And not only due to its length, but also because of the unconventional death metal that Corpse Garden performs. But somehow these sixty minutes go really fast, because the listener is hit by some incredible, exceptional sounding death metal that makes a stunning impression and keeps him interested through the whole album. Corpse Garden style can bring you reminiscences of Death, Gorguts, Pestilence, Nocturnus, Morbid Angel, Mithras and probably many more names… Basically it’s sort of technical, quite progressive sounding band that wants to give their death metal more original and interesting approach, rather than redoing something what was already over explored. And as such, they definitely succeeded. But this is also why “Entheogen” is not so easy to get into. Luckily, aside the whole technical approach of Corpse Garden players and regardless of how complex can this music sometimes sound, it still have many great hooks and absolutely memorable, stunning parts that help you get into it. More so, it is really brutal and aggressive, it is also quite fast, often blasting like crazy (“Suspended over the Abyss”!!!), so you can be sure that it’s very powerful and monstrous, with so much going on in every song, with so many dynamics and variety... It’s just damn well played and highly interesting. I also like the fact that there’s something haunting and eerie about this music and its atmosphere. It’s really dark sounding, not just in the death metal songs, but also with these creepy sounding interludes that Corpse Garden throws here and there. While listening to this album, you can feel like “Entheogen” is a conceptual work, but I don’t dare to guess more, as the cassette has no lyrics or more information about that.
As for technical aspects, I can only say that the whole band’s performance is very well done, from the bass lines and crazy riffs to solid drumming and good powerful vocals. I also like the production of “Entheogen” a lot. It makes the music sound very thick, very powerful and brutal, the bass is so well audible, the riffs are mighty... Yeah, basically everything about “Entheogen” is great, so I am personally impressed.
Standout tracks: “Portal to the Oneiric”, “Suspended over the Abyss”

Final rate: 85/100

Abscession - Grave Offerings

ABSCESSION - Grave Offerings (FINAL GATE CD 2014)
Abscession are basically nothing else, but straight up Swedish sounding death metal band (hailing from Germania though haha!). And yeah, I know that many of you will immediately start yawning from boredom when hearing great number of the same sounding bands, with the same influences, style, etc. Yeah, I can understand that, but on the other hand I am so deeply infected with Swedish death metal style that my tolerance for this music is very big. And I am not really bothered if band X sounds unoriginal and brings nothing new and if band Y sounds exactly the same as band X. It just doesn’t matter, as long as the music is good, then everything is fine. Obviously such bands and such albums will most likely perish unnoticed and will never get a status of “classics” or something “timeless”. But diehard collectors will be always coming back to them, I guess. How’s that related to “Grave Offerings”? Well, as mentioned before, this is not an album, which would bring anything new or extraordinary. It is not an album, which will get a wide recognition. Finally, it surely it not an album, which goes above the average quality of current new wave of old school death metal. As such, it is solid, but actually pretty mediocre. Which doesn’t mean it’s bad or something.
Starting with what I like the most about “Grave Offerings”, it would surely be the catchiness of this album. Damn, it is very memorable and easily listenable. Already since the first spin you will know some of these riffs or melodies and they’ll come back to you fast. The album plays smoothly, it’s so damn easy to listen to that you almost doesn’t realize when it’s over and you wanna play it again. Obviously there are some very strong riffs, some great moments… and well, I surely like those more aggressive ones the most (with songs like “Where Sleeping Gods Dwell”, “Gargoyle” and “Freshly Dug Graves”). Abscession digs the tomb of Swedish death metal and brings sometimes quite worn out, clich├ęd riffs and arrangements, but I like it anyway and listen to this CD with a pleasure. But yeah, it’s double edged sword and for many listeners this will be the case “oh, I heard it way too many times before, too many times in better performance”, etc. I agree. But the whole performance of Abscession on “Grave Offerings” is as solid as it can be from a debuting underground band and I see no reason why fans of (Swedish) death metal should not like this. This album has many hooks, many nice melodic pieces, some great aggressive parts, and it’s simply good.
I need to point out that two songs come quite different from the rest of the material. First, the closing song  “Downfall pt 1” is kind of ten minutes long monster, which you can divide into two parts. First one is pretty standard Swedish death metal but the second goes into very doomy, epic sounding style that may remind you some slower Hypocrisy songs mixed with a bit of Edge of Sanity, with piano and even clean vocals used. I even enjoyed it, but to be honest I was not so much convinced about all these pianos and clean vocals.
Another of the two songs and one, which I prefer more, is “In My Coffin”, which is very doomy, but at the same time it’s so damn heavy and vicious. And in this case I’m not even bothered about the clean vocals that appear in this song haha! No, this is very, very good song. I can compare it to Bloodbath a lot, they used to have quite few similar songs on their early albums!
So, all in all, a decent debut from Abscession. It’s already been almost two years since “Grave Offerings” and it looks like it didn’t get that much recognition, what can prove me right that it’s solid album, but also “one of many”. I enjoyed it, some more fans of Swedish death metal will also do. Everybody else, who is more of a moaning type of listeners, should get something else and not waste their time.
Standout tracks: “Where Sleeping Gods Dwell”, “Gargoyle”, “In My Coffin”, “Freshly Dug Graves”

Final rate: 70/100

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Deisidaemonia - Khthonian Hymns

DEISIDAEMOANIA - Khthonian Hymns (OLD TEMPLE - CD 2016)
Here’s the latest release from Old Temple Records. And this time it’s a debuting band called Deisidaemonia. Hmm, band or should I say project, as it’s basically just one dude, doing everything, including vocals and instruments. I have to say that I was completely unfamiliar with this project, I didn’t even know what kind of music it will be… so when I played this CD for the first time I was just unaware how great it will turn out to be. Now I know that this is one of the best albums that Old Temple has released so far. And it’s a great recommendation for you, people. Believe me, this is some seriously good shit!
Deisidaemonia is from Greece and obviously “Khthonian Hymns” is full of the influences rooted in the classic Hellenic black metal. The dark, evil atmosphere of this music, some of these melodies, riffs and drumming, and more, are all characteristic for this style of black metal. What may differ “Khthonian Hymns” a little is the production, which is a bit cleaner here than on the classic albums from the 90’s, but it surely is not something bad, as the sound quality and generally everything about this album is absolutely top notch. Anyway, take such song like “Hades Awake” and I am sure that it will bring you memories of some Hellenic bands; and not only Rotting Christ, but also Varathron, etc. On the other hand quite often I had a strong feeling like Dissection’s last album “Reinkaos” must have also been a strong influence on Deisidaemonia, for the harmonies, some arrangements and even the atmosphere of this music. So, put these ingredients together and you will have a small vision for Deisidaemonia’s debut album.
But to be fair, it almost doesn’t matter what were the influences for Deisidaemonia, when we hear such a phenomenal music. For example I mentioned the song called “Hades Awake” and man, the melodic side of this song and the way it’s been arranged is absolutely killer. But every song on this album is worth checking, really. And it’s important to note that the whole “Khthonian Hymns” is really diverse. You can get some aggressive, sometimes even fast played, vicious black metal, but later it can turn into an epic and melodic side. Such “Titanic Blood” will hook you with some great clean vocals that emphasize the monumental sound of this song, while the one after that called “Prometheus Disciples” will crush with some blasts, but also surprise with a memorable, sort of “scream with me” type of chorus (“Lucifer!!!… “Prometheus!!!…). Yeah, a lot of great stuff is going on with “Khthonian Hymns” and I am simply impressed. Not a single moment on this album sound boring, not for a second I felt that it’s something not good enough. From start to finish it’s just fantastic black metal. And if you like a bit melodic black metal, with a nice Greek touch, then this is surely an album for you as well. I cannot recommend enough.
Standout tracks: “Hades Awake”, “Titanic Blood”, “

Final rate: 85/100

Poisoned - Beyond the Gates of Fire

POISONED - Beyond the Gates of Fire (FALLEN TEMPLE - CD 2016)
Couple of years ago we’ve been treated with a nice split CD titled “Raw Torments of War”, which presented us two Polish beasts Persecutor and Poisoned. I’ve enjoyed it sincerely, so now I’m glad that one of these bands is back with a full length album. I’m talking about Poisoned. “Beyond the Gates of Fire” is their debut album and well, I’m sure that it will be an enjoyable stuff for all die hard old school metal maniacs, as surely it is something worth of their attention. But first off, let me say that I really like the whole presentation of this CD. The artwork and layout is superb and fits this music so damn well. It’s simple, but the frames, graphics, band photographs and even the lettering - all look great. I like it a lot, because I tend to put a lot of attention for the visual aspects of every release I get as well as for the lyrics. This is something people who only care for mp3’s will never understand I suppose haha. But that’s their problem and something to discuss on another occasion. Here we’re gonna speak about Poisoned and “Beyond the Gates of Fire”.
Musically this album is, as I already wrote above, kind of a feast for old school metal maniacs. Poisoned sounds almost archaic and this album, with the songs it contains and with this sort of production, feels like something that was taken from old archives, recorded maybe 25-30 years ago. And if this is what Poisoned wanted to achieve with their sound and music, then they surely succeeded. The production is the only thing, which I have to really complain about. It should have been a bit more energetic and aggressive, as it’s a bit dry and the guitars sound terribly thin… but that’s rather minor complain, not something disastrous. Besides, this sort of sound just fits this old school death / thrash metal. The music has that vibe, which you can find on albums like “Seven Churches”, “Hell Awaits” or “Darkness Descends”, it also reminds me such “Necrolust” demo (I have to say that the vocals sound quite close to Peter’s) and some more old Polish recordings, like early 90’s demos. And I don’t necessarily mean the strictly stylistic aspects, but sometimes it’s just the feeling and aura of the music or character of these riffs and vocals. All songs are really no bullshit and not even for a second they try to step away from the classic death / thrash formulas. Their poisoned riffs must sound sharp and aggressive, the drumming is rather simple, the solos are sick… It is often fast, but don’t even dare to think that it’s modern blast beat type of fast death metal.
Honestly I feel like “Beyond the Gates of Fire” is very easily listenable and you’ll get into it instantly. It doesn’t require anything else than a cold beer in one hand and skulls banging crazy. I cannot say that this is the most remarkable album in the old school death / thrash field, it lacks a bit in my opinion, to sound truly crushing and powerful. But it is not that bad also. I quite enjoyed it.

Final rate: 70/100