Thursday, 30 March 2017

Sorrow - Forgotten Sunrise

SORROW - Forgotten Sunrise (R/C Records CD 1991)
Normally you would think that if it's 1992 and you're in death metal band, which just got signed to one of the bigger labels around, then the success iguaranteed. For many bands it surely was, but there are always some exceptions. Take a look at Sorrow, an American death metal, which was signed to R/C Records. This label managed to do great job for bands like Obituary, Sepultura, Deicide, Pestilence or Suffocation. But Sorrow was unlucky one. They released two materials for R/C: "Forgotten Sunrise" EP in 1991 and "Hatred and Disgust" album in 1992. They are solid releases, yes, but that's pretty much all you can say about Sorrow, because the band never managed to get more attention. They were just another mediocre death metal band in the old days, without the quality, which would allow them to join the top league of death metal. I'm almost surprised that they even managed to get signed to R/CThey were just not good enough in my opinion! Sure, it was a solid band, you can enjoy their music, but it's far from the quality of top R/C bands from that time.  
Sorrow with "Forgotten Sunrise" is a decent sounding underground band, which you could place in the same box with US bands like Accidental Suicide, Gutted, Morgue, Cianide, Paralysis. They were all bunch of good and interesting old death metal bands, who did some solid recordings, but which you cannot say that were especially groundbreaking and influential. At the time of 1991-93 their albums have mostly gone unnoticed, and only now they get more attention and appreciation, simply because nowadays everything that's death metal and is from the early 90's is immediately called killer, cult and classic, even if it's not. 
"Forgotten Sunrise" brings four doomy death metal tracks. They sound fine, I definitely like the gloomy, sort of mournful aura of their music, which at the same time sounds really heavy and brutal. You can definitely spot some influence from Death, Obituary, Cianide, Winter, even Delirium. So, they had good influences, they also had some great riffs for sure and everything was not that bad at all, but... But this EP didn't age so well and nowadays it all sounds not only quite boring, but sloppy and just terribly mediocre also. I don’t know, if it's a matter of production or maybe this music just sounds lazy and forgettable, but it completely lacks vitality, power and aggression, which would make you want to bang the head and crush you into putrid pieces. This music should feel like every sound was going to bring utter destruction and be massive heavy. "Forgotten Sunrise", even though is not bad, lacks that aspect and so it doesn't have an impact I would want it to have. Yes, there are some good riffs, quite nice guitar work here and there, but that's all positive I can find here. The vocals are weak, the drumming is boring and all together this EP lacks tension and something more than just decent quality 
As I mentioned above, it seems like the music didn't age that well. For some it may be a positive thing, for others it won't be. It doesn't sound as archaic as bands like Delirium, but just compare it to such "Cause of Death". "Cause of Death" 25 years since its recording still sounds incredibly strong and unbelievably brutal. I know that there are two different budgets, two different qualities. But even bands like Gutted or Accidental Suicide sound fantastic these days, while "Forgotten Sunrise" isn't more than your average death / doom. So, I wouldn't put this EP in the list of "must to have in my collection" releases. You can skip it, save the money for something else, especially if you're more picky. It's better to grab  "Hatred and Disgust"which personally I like a little bit more. 
Standout tracks: "Awaiting the Savior" probably? 
Final rate: 65/100

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Funeral Mist - Devilry

FUNERAL MIST - Devilry (NOEVDIA Lp 2005)
Among all the black metal releases, which I've heard in the very early 00's I think Funeral Mist came up with some of the best and most exceptional recordings. I truly love their "Salvation" LP, which for sure is among the most killer black metal records ever recorded. In 2005 Norma Evangelium Diaboli released also "Devilry" MLP, originally putted out in 1998 by Shadow Records, and this MLP also blew my head off. Obviously we all know that Arioch has also been Marduk vocalist since 2004's "Plague Angel". This is one of the reasons why so many people compare both bands. If I had to do such comparison, then let me say that I think Funeral Mist is better band, such "Salvation" crushes most of Legion-era Marduk records (like "La Grande Dance Macabre" for example) easily. And the fact is that Marduk music got better only when Arioch joined them (and it started to sound a lot like Funeral Mist also, especially on "Rom 5:12"). So, we can compare both bands, it's naturalalso because they both play Swedish black metal.  
"Devilry" MLP contains five killer tracks of malicious and possessed black metal played in very high tempo. Funeral Mist sounds incredibly hateful and evil, they have this sick, satanic aura in the music, which is almost overwhelming and you can sense that this is something serious, not a poser, childish game done for the purpose on having an off-school band. I love the powerful, intense sound of Funeral Mist music, their fast and totally uncompromising, vicious songs. Even slower fragments will crush you into smouldering pile. Arioch sounds like someone possessed and sick, his performance is absolutely amazing and does a lot of work for making the whole sound even better and more original. He's such a good vocalist and he also has a real gift for arranging his vocals in unique and special way. I am sure that if you used this music with just another, talentless vocalist then "Devilry" wouldn't sound even half as good. You'll find here such killer anthems as "Nightside Phantom", "The God Supreme", "Funeral Mist", but all five tracks from "Devilry" are fantastic. And as I said, if you like Marduk, get this MLP, because it sounds even better. Way fuckin better! And the best thing about it is that even though the music sounds so intense and violent, it is somehow memorable and even catchy, so it will easily stick in your head. 
This vinyl released by NOEVDIA contains also the first press LP only bonus song "Hellspell 2", which was recorded in 1998 and which obviously is also exceptional. But more so, you'll find here the entire "Havoc" demo from 1996. After some remastering, this demo sounds incredibly well and even if it can be seen as a bit poorer and rawer version of "Devilry" (it includes early versions of songs "Hellspell" and "Nightside Phantom"), it sounds great and strong anyway. More so, I am almost sure that there will be maniacs, who will prefer this harsh production over the strong and relatively clean sound of "Devilry" or "Salvation". For me, it doesn't matter, the point is that Funeral Mist music sounds always fantastic, doesn't matter if it's a demo or something else. The vinyl released by NOEVDIA has a proper presentation, killer photos, good layout, a poster... Definitely it's a must to have in collection in my opinion. 
Standout tracks:  "Nightside Phantom", "The God Supreme", "Funeral Mist" 
Final rate: 85/100

Friday, 24 March 2017

Vrag - Exile

VRAG - Exile (SCHATTENKULT Produktionen CD 2017)
Last year I had a chance to review Vrag's album titled "Species of One" and I really liked it a lot. It was a killer Darkthrone'ish simplistic black metal, played in great style and conatined some excellent songs. Now I have an opportunity to listen to newest Vrag's release called "Exile" and I'm afraid that my impression is not so good this time and I'm not so enthusiastic towards this album so much. When compared to their previous album, this time Vrag came with rather mediocre quality songs and even though style of their music is fairly similar, they are not able to convince me 100%. 
Would it mean that Vrag went backwards and was not able to receive the quality of "Species of One"? Not really, because "Exile" is actually an older material, recorded already in 2009/10, but unreleased until now. The band recorded vocals and bass in 2014 and finally "Exile" was ready to be spread upon the mankind. And OK, I understand the idea to save this album from oblivion and to release some old stuff, but for me, when compared to "Species of One", "Exile" is disappointing and I just don't like it so much. There are some better songs, sure, because if you like that cold, ugly and sort of primitive and harsh black metal reminiscent of Urgehal, Pest, SzronHorna and millions more, then it will speak to you. Vrag doesn't offer anything exceptional in this style, doesn't sound like a band, which is a must to hear, but rather something what you can listen once you have a chance, but I doubt if this album will stay with you for long and will be a must to have. Even if instrumentally it can be quite catchy sometimes, the general aura of the music is surely obscure, grim and hateful. Among relatively solid tracks like "Cold Air" you'll find little worthy pieces like incredibly punky "Youth Against Christ" or "Death Fetish", where the riffing is almost annoying sometimes. So, don't expect anything impressive, don't even expect quality known from great "Species of One". If you dig this style of black metal, feel free to check it out, but don't blame me if Vrag won't impress you. 
Standout tracks: "Cold Air" 
Final rate: 55/100