Saturday, 29 September 2018

Archives of the Dead part XXX - Apostasy - Accuser of Brethren (Demo 1993)

Archives of the Dead part XXX - Apostasy - Accuser of Brethren (Demo 1993) 
Line up: Bryan Boykin (drums), Chris Savini (guitars), Jody Hughes (bass), Ben Danburger (bass), Justin Aitken (guitars), Tony Blakk (vocals)  
Recorded at Audio Lab Studio, July 1993. 
That's a nice discovery, of American death metal band Apostasy and their only recording, which is "Accuser of Brethren" demo from 1993. Well, my knowledge about Apostasy is limited to what I can find in Metal Encyclopaedia, but I can see that this band involved an old Acheron guitarist, who played on such albums as "Hail Victory" and nowadays is a member of Druid Lord. At least that's something. I suppose Apostasy was rather shortly living band, formed in 1992, with a demo done in 1993... and they may have split up shortly afterwards, but who knows. What's worth to mention is that "Accuser of Brethren" is surprisingly solid and worthy death metal demo. I enjoy it a lot and keep coming back to it quite often. 
Death metal from the Florida, with strong satanic imagery... Hmm, how could they sound like? Well, there's definitely a bit of Vital Remains, Brutality, Baphomet, Morta Skuld, Disincarnate... But that's obvious Apostasy would have to sound alike to some other US bands. What's relevant is that they really had some killer riffs and fantastic songs, which in my opinion do not sound any weaker than songs from some well-known albums. Take such "Sacraments of Retribution" as an example, which probably is my favourite track here. What a brutal, yet very well arranged and performed death metal! Or "Suffer in Silence", which is just smashing opener. You'll find here crushing slower riffs, some more mid-tempo, faster parts, but also a lot of killer, sometimes more melodic leads, so the whole songwriting and performance is top notch. And more so, the production is also not bad at all, it's professional and just as heavy as death metal needs to be. No surprise, this demo was recorded with the dude, who also recorded such legendary bands as Winter, Acheron, NocturnusEulogy, Diabolic. He certainly knew what he's doing. I like that the sound is harsh enough for a demo, but with that more professional, instead of primitive, feel. Every instrument sounds right, the guitar tone is awesome, drums sound also very well... And the vocals are just fantastic. Yeah, "Accuser of Brethren" is definitely an unknown Floridian death metal gem. The only piece of this demo, which I don't like is "Johnny Law Die", but that's 25 seconds out of 15 minutes, so I could live with it. 
Standout track: "Sacraments of Retribution" 
Verdict: 80/100 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Overlord - Overland / ...is Everywhere

OVERLORD - Overland / ...is Everywhere (DEFENSE / MYTHRONE - CD 2018)
Overlord was a Polish death metal band, formed in 1992 and active until 2000. In these few years they released only a couple of demos and one album ("In the World of Time" in 1998), but I think they managed to get a solid feedback from the Polish underground of the mid to late 90's. I remember that interviews with them were in every Polish fanzine possible haha! But Overlord have never been among my favourite bands, so I don't really have many good memories about them. It's nice though to see both their old demos pressed on CD compilation, it's always cool to come back to some stuff, which you haven't listened to in ages. 
So, I sat down, started to play the CD... and quickly got bored haha! Let me be honest, Overlord was nothing but just mediocre Polish death metal band and there was nothing special about their music. At least I do not hear anything suchBut their second and better of the two, demo "Overland" is pretty cool and solid, I do quite like it, even if such technical and a bit melodic, mid paced death metal is not my favourite thing. But they did it well, definitely you could pick some Death or Atheist influences in these songs and technically it's been very well played, with production value that is also not bad at all. Good compositions, interesting ideas and arrangements, so everything works fine on this demo. What I like especially is that all these old demos have that vicious, rough feel, even if the music is not bulldozing death metal, but something more tranquil. But it’s harsh and aggressive anyway. Songs like "Walls" or "Numbers" are the best, there are some great catchy riffs there! Generally, I think this is a solid, worthy demo. 
"...is Everywhere" demo is much less interesting. The production is quite poor and makes the whole demo even less enjoyable. But the songwriting is also pretty bad, nowadays it all sounds just dull, primitive and almost naive. I don’t think there was even one moment on this demo, which I would really enjoy, it’s that annoying and most boring style of death metal I could ever think of. I couldn’t really go through these 35 minutes too much and I doubt I will be back to "...is Everywhere" often. 
So, what is my opinion about Overlord nowadays? I still think that it's just mediocre band from those old days and there wasn't anything special about them. But "Overland" demo is definitely good enough to be checked, so it's a good reason to get this CD, because there won't be a better quality than this. CD comes with a nice booklet with some band photos, lyrics and liner notes from some zine editors, etc. 
Standout tracks: “Walls”, “Numbers” 
Verdict: 60/100 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Deathstorm - The Unfathomable

DEATHSTORM - The Unfathomable (PUTRID CULT - CD 2018)
It's good to see Deathstorm back with their second album. It took them almost five years to release it, but finally it's here through Putrid Cult. And well, being a fan of the previous CD "Nechesh", I obviously had high hopes for "The Unfathomable". And I think that maybe I’m not 100% happy with this album, but I'm also far from being disappointed. This new material pretty much follows what Deathstorm started on "Nechesh" and whether "The Unfathomable" is better album or not, it's a matter of opinion, as both are equally solid and worthy. I think that I enjoyed their debut CD a bit more, as this one sounds a bit tiring sometimes, but it’s damn good stuff anyway. 
Anyway, expect to hear a good dose of blasting, ferocious and brutal death metal shit. Deathstorm is definitely combining some old school elements from bands such as Immolation (slower parts), Krisiun, Deicide, Vital Remains or Morbid Angel, with more modern death metal elements, like Hate Eternal and some, which may even give you a small resemblance to Behemoth. Very good, powerful production and blasting right from the very beginning - these are first things, which I have personally noticed. Hell's unleashed. First few songs come with brute force and take no prisoners, just slaying mercilessly. But to be completely honest, after a while I get bored a little with that sometimes a but one-dimensional high-speed death metal ("Light to Few" is such weaker track for me), everything starts to sound blurry to me and I couldn't even notice if I'm still listening to this song or maybe it's already the next one. Maybe I'm getting a bit old, but it all sounds a bit too long for me now. So, I'm glad that Deathstorm tries sometimes to diversify their music with some slower motifs, more crushing and vicious elements like those from "Death is Sacred", which is just fantastic track, in my opinion, with that brutal and sick aura of obscure death metal. "Gateway", "Mystics of Nothingness", “Ode” and "The Unfathomable" are right next with more impressive and noteworthy elements that I particularly liked. Not just blasts, but many memorable, slower riffs, great drumming and insane, quite varied type of growls, screams, etc. Damn, some parts of "Gateway" are so Morbid Angel-esque that you would think that they’re taken from such album as “Formulas Fatal to the Flesh”. Excellent, massive song, really.  
Generally, I think that the further we get into this album, the better songs, ideas and arrangements we can hear. But it's very intense material from start to finish, it never gets soft or melodic, it never steps away from brutal death metal territory. I did feel a bit tired after a while, but every time my eyes started to close, Deathstorm was waking me up with some massive, crushing part. They can easily stand out with this album from the masses and can be proud with it. Maniacs will love it. Oh, and just check out this fuckin amazing artwork! 
Standout tracks: "Gateway", "Death is Sacred", "Ode" 
Verdict: 70/100 

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Impure Declaration - No Paths, No Guide

IMPURE DECLARATION - No Paths, No Guide (PUTRID CULT - CD 2018)
This CD left nothing, but rubble and ash. Pure devastation, conflagration and murder. I love this music and I have to say that Impure Declaration was a great surprise. I had no expectations to hear anything as good, but it turned out to be a killer release that I spent couple of hours listening to. And the only negative thing, which I could say about "No Paths, No Guide" is that it's a shame that it's such a short recording, I want to hear more from Impure Declaration. But it's a fantastic start for this new Polish death / black metal project and I am sure that they will bring more destruction in the future. 
I have actually no idea who's behind Impure Declaration, but I don't even care. This music is killer. It's a crushing black / death metal with quite strong doomy feel sometimes. Everything sounds very harsh and simplistic, yet powerful and obscure, dark and vicious. It has almost primitive feel, but not in a negative way - because in this case it emphasizes the nature and atmosphere of that style of music and helps to create the proper mood. Riffs are great, I like how it all sounds, with these ghoulish vocals and massive, heavy feel, when slower parts are properly balanced by some faster fragments. And the influence from acts like Beherit, Incantation, Revenge, Black Witchery, Grave Miasma and so on iobvious, but well used.  
Oh, that atmosphere of this music, this evil feel, smell of sulphur and crushing raw sound - it is awesome and impossible to resist. Especially when the music is slower sounds best, so for me "Grotesque Alchemy" is the favourite track here. But the whole EP is great, so I strongly advise you to support this release. And let's hope that Impure Declaration will record some more shit soon! 
Standout track: "Grotesque Alchemy" 
Verdict: 85/100 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Domain - Pandemonium

DOMAIN - Pandemonium (OLD TEMPLE - CD 2018)
The history says that in 1995 when Pandemonium was getting ready to record their second album, they decided to force drummer ┼╗uber to leave the band and replace him with Carol from Imperator. But ┼╗uber has officially registered the name Pandemonium for himself, so they couldn’t use it anymore! The second album was meant to be called "Domain", so now Pandemonium turned into Domain and the album is called "Pandemonium". Morbid Noizz Productions released it, but I never had a chance to grab a CD copy of it, I only had the old cassette. So, I'm quite glad that Old Temple Records has re-released it and I can add it to my CD collection. Also because they did great job with this reissue (some old interviews in the booklet - all in Polish though - plus lyrics, nice golden disc..). 
This is not my favourite Domain album, I like "...from Oblivion" definitely more. But "Pandemonium" is also an excellent piece of music and I still enjoy it after all those years. Very slow paced, almost repetitive in some aspects, yet obscure, vicious black metal (or dark metal as it used to be called) with that evil, eerie atmosphere, which works so damn well. This music may seem a bit simplistic at times, quite one dimensional, but I think that it evokes an interesting hypnotizing feel, which puts listeners in certain mood that is rather rare these days. Still though, everything sounds harsh, obscure, but powerful and mystical. You could compare Domain music to Celtic Frost, Samael (the most obvious comparison, I think), Christ Agony, but I dare to say that Paul and company managed to create their own style also. "Pandemonium" is good album, definitely. There are ten tracks here, which include "Hagia Sophia" from old "Devilri" demo and more atmospheric pieces like "Immemorial Legend". For me the best are songs like “Mirror of Hate” and "Sword into Heart of Lies", but the whole album is damn solid, even if it can sound a bit archaic these days. But personally, I like that harshness and atmosphere of it. Good idea for this reissue then! 
Standout tracks: "Blood of God", "Sword into Heart of Lies", "Hagia Sophia", “Mirror of Hate” 
Verdict: 70/100