Monday, 31 July 2017

Grond - Howling from the Deep

GROND - Howling from the Deep (RAW SKULL Rekordz- CD 2017)
Russian Grond is not a new band for me. I already had their two releases in my collection: "Cosmic Devonian" and "Worship the Kraken" and with the recent reissue of "Howling from the Deep" through Raw Skull Rekordz I can finally add also Grond's debut album. First pressing of this album was released in 2013 by Assault Records, but there were only 333 copies made, so not so many. It's good then to have this new version in my hands. It came with different artwork, but damn – this new cover looks truly fuckin impressive and I have to say that I love it. Andrey Tkalenko, who plays bass in Grond, is the author of it and well, all I can say is that he's truly talented dude! 
"Howling from the Deep" takes us few years back, but this album still sounds not bad at all and is equally good as such "Cosmic Devonian"Grond plays quite groovy and heavy, mostly mid-paced death metal that can remind you the likes of Obituary, Six Feet Under, Benediction and so on... Their music is quite diverse, with some melodic bits here and there, but few fast parts have also been shredding my ears in couple of songs. But mostly it's mid to slow paced stuffAnd as such this album is pretty easy to get into, the riffs and the whole music are pretty memorable, it's not a band, which would focus on brutality, it's rather aiming for heaviness, groove and atmosphere. They do it well, I like it. Grond comes up with some really cool riffs, for example in "Иннсмут (Innsmouth)" or in the title track. It's really fun to listen to this album, although I have to admit that to say it's the most impressive death metal of the year would be a lie. It's not. I actually think that Grond is pretty mediocre band and their music has some small boredom syndromes. After a while this album becomes slightly monotonous, which is a shame. But it not a major complain and I think it's decent and solid stuff overall. I listened to it several times, I am sure I will be back to this band more than once and I will definitely look for more recordings from them. 
And yes, they have lyrics that speak about the Lovecraftian horrors. Some of them have been written in Russian, which is quite odd – but you won't feel the difference, because the growls won't allow you understand the words anyway. This CD comes also with a bonus unreleased song, as well as demo versions of three album tracks.
Standout tracks: "Иннсмут (Innsmouth)", "Howling from the Deep", "Infected Gods" 
Final rate: 70/100 

Anaboth - Ścierwo o bruk

This is the second time I listen to Anaboth. Previously I had a doubtful pleasure to hear "Pomiędzy światami" - an album, which I disliked in its entirety and every detail. It just sucked totally, I even gave my copy away already, because I didn't think I would ever need it again. Meanwhile Anaboth recorded their second album "Ścierwo o bruk", which I got from Under the Sign of Garazel. Oh boy, I didn't expect that Anaboth nightmare will come back to me so soon... Yet, it did. Among the small stack of Garazel CDs there was Anaboth also, so whether I want it or not, I had to play it. 
And I have to say that "Ścierwo o bruk" sounds better than I imagined. I feared it's going to be another waste of time and ridiculous, unlistenable dose of black metal. Nope, not this time, "Ścierwo o bruk" sounds not bad at all actually! And I like this album! What the fuck is going on?? 
In case you have no idea what Anaboth is, this band plays some sort of raw and ugly black metal. They have quite simplistic style, slow old school tempo and riffs that are anything, but not your usual black metal riffs. This is the most intriguing thing about "Ścierwo o bruk", I think. The whole music is soaked in blackness, sulphur and tar, but at the same time it's as far from the usual black metal as it's possible. There's not even a pinch of ferocity or coldness of the black metal we all know. Instead, Anaboth lurks into some ancient bands and albums, from Venom or even Master's Hammer to even some heavy and thrash stuff, sometimes there's even a bit of Greek black metal style ("Gloria Lucyfer"). But it's quite difficult to describe or compare to another bands to have you a strict picture of Anaboth sound and style, this band seems to walk its own paths. You have to hear it to find out what it's like. 
Unlike the previous album, which I think had absolutely nothing to offer, "Ścierwo o bruksurprises and brings a lot of interesting ideas and songs that are not only displaying harshness, savagery and aggression, but are also impressively diverse. And the songs make some sense, these riffs are really damn good, so are the vicious vocals of Moloch, whose vulgar and oppressive lyrics are awesome! I liked many parts of the album, from the more fast and bestial sound of the title track, through the blasphemous barbarity of "IHS", to the atmospheric style of "Przebudzenie Cthulhu". But it's "Noc groza potworna", which became my favourite piece. I love its disturbing and vicious aura. 
My overall impression of this album is very positive, I have to say, I thought it's going to be another pile of crap, meanwhile I got an interesting and ass-kicking stuff, which I enjoyed to listen to. The tracklist is great, I like the performance and the production... So, I give it 75/100, which is way more than I ever expected to give to AnabothGreat surprise then and recommended release! 
Standout tracks: "Ścierwo o bruk", "IHS", "Noc groza potworna" 
Final rate: 75/100 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Horrendous - Anareta

HORRENDOUS - Anareta (DARK DESCENT Records LP 2015)
Finally I gave this album a goodcareful listen. It's been two years, since "Anaretarelease!! Long time already, I know, but it took me a while before I purchased a copy of the vinyl and even more time to play it. Forgive me this delay, but there were two reasons for it. First was the amount of music that I buy every month and want to listen to. Second was the fact that Horrendous' second album "Ecdysis" was a hard game for me. I didn’t like it so much after first couple of spins, I was definitely disappointed when I've heard how the band progressed, comparing their second album to more traditional "Sweet Blasphemies" demo or the truly old school "The Chills" record. But after a while it turned out that "Ecdysis" is a "grower" kind of album and it gets better and better with every listen. So it opened the door also for "Anareta". And here it finally is, nice piece of black wax straight from the catacombs of Dark Descent Records. 
And yeah, definitely "Anareta" is a natural follower to "Ecdysis", so this time it doesn't surprise as much, as the previous record did. There's everything on "Anareta" what characterized and was so fascinating about "Ecdysis" - progressive death metal, with strong melodic base, a lot of technical, Death-esque or Atheist-esque passages, some quite weird arrangements and sometimes almost heavy metal influences. But the thing is that the way Horrendous plays their music and how they arrange and structure songs, gives them a very original sound. Honestly they're one of the very few newer death metal bands, which you can say that managed to create their own, unique style within the genre. You can recognize them immediately and that's really an exceptional thing, in my opinion. 
I have to say that "Anareta" is damn good album. I truly like many ideas or riffs the band came up with, even if sometimes it's not necessarily stuff, which I normally would like. But damn, the way they play this progressive death metal is amazing! Take for example this extremely good instrumental song "Siderea" and check all these fantastic melodies, leads and all other stuff they play in it! Wow, it doesn't even sound like old school death metal really, but it's really damn good anywayWhen Horrendous comes with these memorable harmonies it can be felt that they have a strong Swedish / Gothenburg influence (early At the Gates for instance), but the music has more unique character. You'll be able to catch these melodic bits in basically every song, but I like the fact that their music, even if is so progressive, can still sound aggressive and damn harsh, sometimes almost brutal. And it's damn powerful! The production is top notch, it definitely is one of the best things about this album. And these harsh, kind of Schuldiner / Mammeli like rough screams of Damian Herring are also one of these aspects, which I like about Horrendous so much. Also the guitar work is exceptional. But does thunderous bass and intense drumming leave anything more to wish? No, they're almost perfectly executed, in my opinion. 
In songs like "The Nihilist", "Ozymandias" or "Stillborn Gods" the band is doing better than ever before and considering their young age, I am simply amazed how fresh and great it all sounds. Definitely Horrendous is one of the most creative bands around these days, especially when compared to bands, which only re-play the old formulas and riffs. I have nothing against these bands, love many of them truly, but it's just great to hear that someone decided to refresh the murky and musty old catacombs of death metal. Especially when we hear such a good effect as "Anareta". I don’t know if this album will speak to every death metal fan or not. Maybe some will not like its progressive and technical inclinations, other may dislike the melodic side of itArgghhhh, there will be always some people, who will moan or say it's another hipster band from trendy label. I am not bothered. As much as I was sceptical before for this development of Horrendous music, it managed to defend itself and with time it proved its great worth. Now it sounds like pure fuckin jewel, difficult to be fully appreciated at first sight, but which with time becomes more and more fascinating. 
Standout tracks: "The Solipsist (Mirrors Gaze)", "The Nihilist", "Ozymandias", "Stillborn Gods"  
Final rate: 85/100