Friday, 27 July 2018

Hyrgal - Serpentine

HYRGAL - Serpentine (Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions CD 2018)
Hyrgal are French black metal project, which was started back in 2007, yet managed to release only split CD with Kairn in 2008 before taking a long break. Finally in 2016 Hyrgal was brought back to life and the result is their debut album "Serpentine" released by Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions (but previously it was released also in another CD version by Naturmacht Productions and cassette by Solar Asceticists Productions). Well, most of the LADLO releases is spectacular and "Serpentine" also leaves a very good impression. No surprise. 
Basically, I was into Hyrgal's music right from the very first seconds, when that eerie intro "L'Appel" finished and a song called "Mouroir" began. It definitely is my favourite part of the album, a very intense and aggressive, fast and vicious black metal song, which at the same time has a splendid dose of melody in the riffage and an interesting shift in the middle of the song, when the black metal cacophony is interrupted by an ambient, very dark and ghastly fragment. Great stuff. And boy, I am so glad that "Till" continues to bring us that utterly fast and neckbreaking black metal style, especially when it's not something alike to Marduk or other such hyper fast bands. Because the music of Hyrgal, despite being so aggressive and fast, has this melancholic and atmospheric feel, which is very interesting. And besides, this album never stubbornly sticks to just one rhythm or type of playing, which is why every song has something different and the whole album is quite diverse including the expected post black metal influence here and there). There's a lot of good songwriting, in my opinion, enough shredding riffs and good atmospheric parts to keep me interested. And the album is just around 35 minutes long, which is another very good aspect of “Serpentine”, for me at least, because I am tired with all these too long and forgettable albums. “Serpentine” may not be the most memorable and instantly hooky black metal album, it may also be too hipster for the “orthodox black metallers” and too savage and vicious for those, who like black metal to sound... not like black metal. Who cares for them both. 
I sincerely enjoyed "Serpentine", I think that this album definitely deserves an attention. More than just solid and very interesting thought-out. Another fine French black metal band! 
Standout tracks: "Mouroir", “Etrusca disciplina 
Verdict: 80/100 

Kalmankantaja / Iku Turso - Ikuinen Tuli

Finally, this split CD arrived. And I have to say that it easily fulfilled all my expectations and both bands delivered fantastic material. We're talking here about some of the most promising black metal acts from the current scene in Suomi!!! Both bands already proved they’re good, but if there’s someone who still have doubts, I hope that “Ikuinen Tuli” will dispel them all. 
First and foremost, we have here Kalmankantaja. An excellent project, which released a whole bunch of albums, splits and EPs – more than you could imagine. I haven’t had a chance to hear half of the stuff they recorded so far, but those releases, which I know – such as “Routamaa” and “Tyhjyys” albums – are splendid. Knowing the quality of their previous recordings, I was pretty certain that Kalmankantaja will not disappoint. And they did not! They provide killer black metal, played in that characteristic harsh, truly vicious and mostly very fast paced style, which is pretty common for many Finnish black metal bands. Unlike some stuff, which Kalmankantaja recorded previously, such as some parts of “Routamaa” (which was often slower, a bit mesmerizing), this time all their songs are mainly focused on that aggressive, savage and very bestial fast paced black metal. Their riffs are not totally derived of the melody, but I feel like this time melody plays a secondary role in Kalmankantaja music, giving a priority to anger and aggression. But when you hear a bit more melodic part, you simply know that Kalmankantaja has a good touch for it, because all melodic accents are great. And it works very well, I like how they create that malicious, cold aura in the music, I like these screaming vocals, which spit out all those insanely weird Finnish lyrics. Even the fact that these three songs are so ridiculously long (up to 8-9 minutes) doesn’t destroy the effect, especially if we deal with such godly anthems as “Valonkantajan nousu”. Or listen to neck-breaking “Tuonelan enkel”; hats off for this black metal masterpiece! Absolutely recommended band, in my opinion. 
Next we have Iku-Turso. This band blew my head off with “The Great Tower”, an album they released few months ago. I am so glad then that they do not waste time and I can listen to another killer material from them. Well, stylistically their music fits Kalmankantaja very well, although I have to say that Iku-Turso's black metal sounds much more like classic Norwegian stuff, in my opinion. It especially reminds me the earliest and most impressive works from Emperor (up to “In the Nightside Eclipse”), but also such bands as Enslaved (“Hordanes Land”) or Obtained Enslavement (“Soulblight”), Morgul’s “Lost in Shadows Grey” and so on. Again, there’re some insanely fast parts, but the music is more balanced, more epic and for example such “An Organism in an Azoic Era” is that majestic, raw black metal piece, which you could put next to “Emperor” MLP. I really like such obscure, aggressive, yet atmospheric black metal, with good sense of melody, great riffs, proper fills of keyboards... and these very screaming, harsh vocals, which remind me how young Ihsahn used to sound when he was young... Actually, everything here clicks perfectly; raw production, great songwriting, performance... So, if you’re fan of early Norwegian atmospheric black metal, you better give Iku-Turso a listen. This is fantastic band, which is worth all recommendations! 
Standout tracks:Tuonelan enkel”, “The Inanimate Essence of the Colossus” 
Verdict: 85/100 

Cancerfaust - Watching You Die

CANCERFAUST - Watching You Die (Self financed MC 2018)
It's been a while since I reviewed Cancerfaust's debut recording "Killing Spree", but finally their second plague has been unleashed under the title "Watching You Die". It's a cassette release only, but I am sure that sooner or later this material will be also released in form of CD, because it's worth it. 
What we get here is basically a continuation of "Killing Spree" demo, which is old styled brutal death metal, influenced by the likes of Deranged, Blood Red Throne, Grave, Avulsed, Vomitory and so forth. You may think that it's the same old shit, too uninteresting and boring to bother, but I think you're wrong, because "Watching You Die" is really damn cool. I like this groove and brutality of Cancerfaust music, I like that nasty, vicious feel of these songs and the fact that they can easily manage to combine aggression and heaviness with a tiny bit of melody and catchiness in some parts, which give more interesting and diverse result. There are just four songs here, but each is done well and each will smash your face with no mercy. My fave tracks? Probably "Cleaning", which nicely grows from that slow paced, kind of majestic sounding opening theme to real fuckin demolition hammer. And the most hooky “Necrofukker”. But every song has some cool riffs, ideas, like for instance all these melodic guitar leads in "Like Rats". I am sure then that if you like death metal, you will like "Watching You Die". It's nothing extraordinary, but very solid and cool slab of death metal, in my opinion. 
I guess the only thing, which I could moan a bit about is the production to have a bit more powerful and heavy feel, a bit more bass maybe. But I don't know, maybe it's cassette fault, because for me all tapes sound shit when compared to CD or vinyl, so who knows... But I can’t compare until another format will be released. 
Standout track: Necrofukker 
Verdict: 70/100 

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Acrimonious - Perdition Gospel

ACRIMONIOUS - Perdition Gospel (SALVATION DISTRO - 10"MLP 2007)
This EP is fuckin insane, an absolutely killer piece of black metal filth. I worship Acrimonious for their "Sunyata" and "Eleven Dragons" albums, both are excellent records, which I recommend totally. But I never had a chance to hear their previous works, until recently when I managed to buy "Perdition Gospel" EP from 2007. Released by Salvation Distro on 10" vinyl, it is just fantastic black metal, I’m very glad then that I had a chance to add this EP to my collection! 
We get four songs on "Perdition Gospel", all played in the raw, aggressive and fast black metal vein. But this is Greek black metal band, which doesn't sound Greek at all, let's be honest. Their sound and style influences are both deeply rooted in North of Europe... which I don't mind, because this music is killer. Raw, simplistic, yet ultimately aggressive and vicious black metal, in the vein of Urgehal, Funeral Mist, Pest and so on and forth. There’s absolutely nothing revolutionary or spectacular about it. But Acrimonious is far from sounding lame and uninspiring. These four songs really provide excellent riffs, with powerful production and great, malicious aura around the whole music. Slow paced songs like "On Serpent Wings" sound fantastic, fast tracks like "Goatrapture" are absolutely neck-breaking (what a great drummer!!!!), so I have nothing else to wish for. This is killer black metal EP and absolutely must to have for all maniacs of this genre. Fantastic band. 
Standout track: "Gospel of Perdition" 
Verdict: 85/100