Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Heiden - Obsidian

HEIDEN - Obsidian (NAGA Productions CD 2009)
This band went a long journey in their musical evolution. They started as an uninteresting and forgettable pagan metal act, then went towards more progressive and avant-garde direction and finally changed into a rock / pop band, which you can hear on their last two records. "Obsidian" is a peak of Heiden creativity, I think, and their best album, leaving the previous efforts way behind and never to be bettered neither by the still pretty damn good follower "Dolores" nor the mentioned pop / rock / Katatonia influenced records like "A kdybys už nebyla, vymyslím si tě" (which I even have on vinyl ha!). While the previous black / pagan metal albums like "Era 2 ... ve vírech poznání..." or "Tinne" bored me pretty fast, "Obsidian" sounds incredibly well from start to finish and is a fine achievement of this band, in my opinion.
Stylistically it's pretty progressive but intriguing black metal, something what nowadays we would call "post black metal" due to the harmonies, dissonant riffage and some long instrumental guitar parts, which give you a mesmerizing and truly exciting feeling (all a bit alike to Agalloch). There are still quite few aggressive and vicious fragments, but the main focus on "Obsidian" was putted on great atmospheric parts, with sort of nostalgic and sorrowful feel, with slow or mid paced tempos and great harmonies and riffs, including some clean guitar parts, to achieve more expressive and diverse result. In "Buried 100 Years Ago" Heiden went even further and came up with a depressive song that is entirely played on acoustic and has whispered, rather than harsh, vocals. It fits to end the whole album for sure and the result is simply very good. But it's not my favourite part of "Obsidian" and there are better tracks around this album to bring your attention.
First off, I have to say that I really like the riffing and arrangements’ style on "Obsidian" and maybe this is why the whole tracklist is so damn good and even. There's lots of great stuff going on and far from the simple, basic type of song structure. Believe me that Heiden managed to come up with great quality songwriting, rich with fantastic ideas and performed in good way. They mostly concentrate on good melodic parts, take for example this song called "Thujone", with its harmonic parts and dark, sorrowful aura. What a nice song and what a good listen. This music is actually very easy to get into, it's not very obscure or malicious sounding black metal. And with that melodic stuff and almost doomy tempos it's just a nice, interesting and intriguing album. Personally though, I like those more dynamic tracks like "Post Lux Tenebras" or "Catharsis" the most.
One more intriguing thing about "Obsidian" is its artwork and booklet. The front shows a hand black as tar, holding a heart... quite dark and disturbing photograph. Meanwhile the pages inside the booklet are white, with even more interesting photographs. Lyrics are all in Czech, but there are their English translations provided, so this way you'll be able to understand everything. All in all, "Obsidian" is a very good and interesting album. I have to say that I couldn't free myself from it when I started to play it few days ago. I had this album in my collection since ages, but I do admit that I haven't listened to it in long time. But recently I wanted to check all these early Heiden albums and this one really stands out and is so damn good that I decided to write few words about “Obsidian”.
Standout tracks: "Catharsis", "At a Funeral", "Thujone", "Post Lux Tenebras", "Monomania" (uppsss, I just mentioned 5 out of 8 songs...)
Final rate: 85/100

Monday, 25 June 2018

Abhorrent Funeral - Ugly Tales

I got this CD together with Incinerator / Profanity Angel split... and I can only guess that there may be a connection between Abhorrent Funeral and one of these split CD bands. If I had to choose, then I think this would be a connection with Profanity Angel, because their bestial, primitive black / death metal has a bit in common with Abhorrent Funeral's putrid death metal from "Ugly Tales". This album is equally savage, simplistic, very harsh and... hmm, ugly? Anyway, do not expect to hear any fancy technical arrangements, complicated song structures, memorable melodies or constant blasts from this band. Do not expect anything what would be popular. But think of the old Necrophagia, Repulsion, Hellhammer, or even Blasphemy (if the record was played on 33RPM instead of 45RPM haha)! And add that punkish vibe, dirtiness and harshness to everything.
Riffs are square simple, almost Neanderthal, the drumming is limited to what is necessary… vocals are simply bestial and the production is utterly raw. What else can I write? It can seem like all songs are based on similar patterns and there's absolutely nothing what would make "Ugly Tales" interesting. But to my surprise, it works completely the other way and somehow this morbid music can really be fun to listen to! I like this brutal feel of Abhorrent Funeral music, especially combined with the gore-rror influence, which can be spotted not only in the lyrics (which are really fuckin awesome, love them!!!), but also in all these intros, from movies like "Dawn of the Dead" and "Night of the Living Dead". And when mentioning the horror influence (from many awesome classics movies – just check these song titles!), I can say that "Ugly Tales" is like watching not even B, but C-class gore movie. Everybody knows how primitive they are, how bad the acting is and all the FX. But we like them anyway! Abhorrent Funeral is exactly the same. Utterly simplistic, primitive, filthy and poor, yet cool to listen to. Sure, the music is totally repetitive, every song seems the same, except maybe "They're Coming to Get You" and "Braindead", which are the most standing out tracks here... but despite all its primitiveness, simplicity, poorness, ugliness and repetitiveness, these ugly tales are fun. And that's it. Oh, love this slimy green colouring of the booklet also!
Standout tracks: "Hell of the Living Dead", "They're Coming to Get You"
Verdict: 70/100

Aragon - Call of the Beast

ARAGON - Call of the Beast (PUTRID CULT - CD 2018)
Aragon is Polish black metal band, which already spit out several blasphemies such as splits, EPs and other recordings – all since 2012. I haven't heard any of them. I didn't care. And I still don't. But because I got Aragon's latest piece of filth, which is titled "Call of the Beast" (released by Putrid Cult) I had to sacrifice some time and listen to it. And now I also have to write this short review. Was this all time wasted for me? Well, honestly I feel like it was. Aragon didn't make a positive impression on me and I remained completely careless for their music for the whole time I was playing "Call of the Beast". It's not utter crap, but in the field of the most violent, harsh and obscure black metal Aragon is below mediocrity, so this album will quickly be forgotten.
Definitely, if you're fan of the vulgar and most primitive form of black metal, then you may give Aragon a try. But do not expect anything special from it. There are some pretty cool riffs, especially when Aragon slows the pace down to more heavy and crushing type of black metal. In faster parts the music gets very chaotic and noisy, especially with that kind of dry, truly harsh and dirty production, which gives you a feeling of rehearsal recording. Well, primitive or not, I expect the music to offer me something more than just bunch of noisy songs. I need the atmosphere to freeze my blood, I want riffs to cut my throat and crush every bone. Aragon doesn't do much with their music to me. I sometimes get annoyed with their mediocrity of the music, boring, even unlistenable songs, weak vocals and even with the useless intros, which were taken from the old Polish documentary movies about murders committed in Poland some years ago.
Soooo, no more. I have too much killer music to waste my time on it any longer. If you're into the likes of Archgoat, then maybe you will enjoy it.
Standout tracks: none
Verdict: 45/100