Saturday, 13 October 2018

Witch Head Nebula - Krzyk z próżni

WITCH HEAD NEBULA - Krzyk z próżni (UNDER THE SIGN OF GARAZEL - CD 2018)
I'm sorry for such a short and laconic review... but my will to write anything about Witch Head Nebula is close to zero. I got debut album of this Polish black metal band together with the newest Cultes des Ghoules album, so you should guess that my whole attention went for "Sinister, or Treading the Darker Paths". Truly deserved. "Krzyk z próżni" had to wait for its turn, but when I started to listen to it, I had to dose this music in parts, because it annoyed me from the very beginning. It's boring and utterly forgettable harsh black metal, which to me has nothing to offer. Couple of great riffs, even a bit more melodic parts are not enough, when the whole material lacks so much. Every song sounds the same, is completely derived of anything what would really impress me, except the same one dimensional, dull black metal chaotic riffage with some truly weak vocals and bleak, but tiring atmosphere. These are some wasted 45 minutes in my life, which I will never get back, I'm afraid. And I still wonder why some labels find time and money to release such albums. Maybe their tolerance for harsh, simplistic black metal is bigger than mine... I require a bit more than just raw production and couple of solid riffs. 
Verdict: 40/100

Nekron - Worshipers

NEKRON - Worshipers (PUTRID CULT - CD 2018)
I have to say that I have quite a problem with this project. Generally, you could say that Nekron is a pretty cool Burzum - worship and as such this project is fun to listen to. Sure, why not. There are four pretty solid songs on "Worshipers" EP and I bet it will gain some attention. But personally, the more I was listening to "Worshipers", the less I liked it. I do understand the general intention of its author, to capture that characteristic rough, mesmerizing atmosphere of old Burzum. It's a great source of influence for many projects. But damn, it feels like he limits everything to one or two ideas and every song sounds the same here. The same type of riffs, keyboard addition, the same slow tempo... But if lack originality is not a problem for me, then a complete lack of creativity definitely is. Even if I like some part of this music, I quickly gor bored with it at the same time. It's all just too fuckin poor, so after one or two spins I absolutely had no will to spend more time with it. 
Another thing is production of "Worshipers". I do like when black metal sounds rough and obscure. But "Worshipers" has this terrible sort of homemade sound, which I hate. For instance, guitars sound like they were computer-generated sounds rather than a normal instrument. So annoying! It all completely lacks that necro, dark and evil aura of early black metal from Norway. I wonder then how much better would these songs sound if the production was more "proper". I can sense that the effect would actually be pretty awesome, despite such one dimensional type of music. 
I do remember that the previous material from Nekron got quite positive review from me. Technically it didn't differ much from "Worshipers". And this EP is not terrible either. But I have enough and I doubt I will feel a need to come back to it often. There's too much awesome music around to waste time for it. 
Verdict: 55/100

Monday, 8 October 2018

Resurgency - No Worlds... nor Gods Beyond

RESURGENCY - No Worlds... nor Gods Beyond (F.D.A. Records - LP 2017)
It's been a while since the debut album of Resurgency came out. "False Enlightenment" was released in 2012, so it took Resurgency five years to unleash their second full length "No Worlds... nor Gods Beyond". In the meantime they changed the label - Hellthrasher for F.D.A. Records. There was also a line up change... But musically not much has changed at all and if you remember their brutal, mostly fast paced, insanely vicious death metal from "False Enlightenment", then you could expect its continuation. 
Which is absolutely fine for me, I enjoyed their debut and I also enjoy this second attack, even though cannot say that Resurgency music is anything exceptional in the field of death metal. Nope, it's not, but if you want to hear some solid, well arranged and played death metal in the vein of Sinister, Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation, Deicide, Monstrosity and Vader, then this album is for you! As such, it doesn't surprise or offer things, which you wouldn't already know from this style of playing, but I can guarantee the band did good work here and this material is solid and brutal as hell. I absolutely love these intense, utterly vicious and aggressive riffs, which not only have a nice old school vibe, but also bring an evil, dark atmosphere, which I always like to hear in death metal. A lot of the music is quite memorable, despite its violent and aggressive nature, so just like in Vader, you can be sure than these riffs will stick in your head for a long time. And the faster the music is, the more powerful and effective it sounds, especially with that top-notch production and brilliant drumming. 
So, pure straight forward, intense death metal is here. And it sounds damn solid and enjoyable in my opinion. If you're a fan of any of the bands I mentioned above, make sure you get "No Worlds... nor Gods Beyond". 
Standout tracks: "Thresholds of Infinite Pain", "Progenitors of Suffering", "Through the Gate Inside Not" 
Verdict: 75/100 

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Midvinter - At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon

MIDVINTER - At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon (BLACK DIAMOND - CD 1997)
I wonder how many of you will remember Swedish band called Midvinter. Formed around mid 90's, they recorded one album only, "At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon" in 1997, got a tiny bit of attention, but nothing more happened to them, really. Midvinter were just another mediocre Scandinavian black metal band, which tried to jump on the trend for melodic, a bit symphonic black metal. And just like many similar bands, they soon disappeared from the scene. Few remember them nowadays. I do. And I still listen to them sometimes. Surprisingly, the album defends itself pretty well nowadays. 
Nowadays, when I listen to "At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon" I can admit that there was some potential behind Midvinter. They definitely knew how to play their instruments; this album is filled with quite a solid dose of great music and Midvinter had enough ideas to win my support. I'm almost surprised how good it feels to listen to this album nowadays, how memorable, but well played and composed it is. In the field of melodic black metal there aren’t many bad things you could accuse Midvinter for. Their songs are a good mixture of melodic riffs, aggressive and fast parts, symphonic, epic black metal and the balance between all these styles is very good. There's a lot of dynamics in this music, a lot is going on and with one memorable riff after another, with one hooky part after another, it becomes an easily listenable and enjoyable album from the beginning. Imagine a good mixture of Swedish melodic black metal in the vein of Dissection, Sacramentum, Vinterland, Throne of Ahaz, Mork Gryning or Gates of Ishtar (“Dödfödd”) with Norwegian symphonic black metal from bands like Old Man's Child, early Dimmu Borgir and Odium (“Moonbound”)... This is pretty much how I would describe "At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon". And it's not bad at all.  
If there was anything what I would really say against this album, then it's a bit too long. 63 minutes is just too much for me and with most of the songs extended to crazy 9 minutes, the music becomes a bit dull and repetitive. Apart from some very distinctive fragments, like for instance those, when Midvinter uses clean vocals, everything is based upon similar patterns and type of riffs. Which is OK, but with 63 minutes on the clock I do have problems how can I distinguish one song from another. There are few parts or ideas, which I don't like so much, especially when Midvinter music becomes a tiny bit too sugary sweet melodic for me or with the way they used keyboards. But the general idea to combine melodic riff as a base, played with fast drums and aggressive, vicious vocals is, as typical for Swedish black metal scene, always nice to listen to. It's good that there's always aggression, viciousness and dark, cold atmosphere in the music, only sometimes interrupted by an epic fragment. 
So, I listen to "At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon" and surprisingly enjoy it more than I expected to. It may be mediocre album, when compared to some of the best Swedish black metal efforts of the late 90's, but it's just nice to listen to. 
Standout tracks: "Dödfödd”, “Moonbound 
Verdict: 70/100 

Odhinn - From a Splendourus Battle

ODHINN - From a Splendourus Battle (NAPALM Records - CD 1998)
I remember that the reason why I wanted to buy Odhinn's debut EP "From a Splendourus Battle" was because it featured some members of another Swedish band In Battle. Which was a band I quite liked, so I hoped Odhinn will be equally interesting. But they weren't, at least not on this EP. There are four tracks here, with twenty minutes of music and all I can say is that it's hardly listenable and very quickly forgettable piece of harsh black metal. If I call it mediocre, that would be a pretty kind compliment for this EP. 
It is said that Odhinn plays viking metal, but if you expect medieval melodies, acoustics, epic themes and sing-along warrior like chants from them, then forget it. "From a Splendourus Battle" is much more about fast and nasty black metal. And as such, it wouldn't be a bad idea if these songs were good, their execution was solid and the production was good enough to catch your attention. But no, the music sounds messy and chaotic, almost like the guys couldn't handle the ideas they came up with. Especially the drummer is sometimes losing rhythm and idea what should he play. The vocals are also just boring, harsh screams, maybe quite alike to Enslaved's Grutle, but without even a smallest piece of his talent and creativity. And the production? It's flat, raw and makes everything sound even more horrible. The drums sound crap, the guitars are thin and hardly audible from the wall of noise it all delivers... Definitely the whole music and the production sound amateurish, primitive and to be honest, there's almost no single minute of worthy and solid music. If there are some better "fragments", then you don't care for them, because the whole EP sounds rubbish. I don't even know why I still have it in my collection. Probably because no one would buy this CD from me anyway. I never had a chance to hear Odhinn's album "The North Brigade", but I will believe if you say that it's equally bad as this EP is. 
PS. And the mistake in the word “splendorous” in the title? Come on, can it be even more amateurish? 
Verdict: 30/100