Monday, 31 December 2018

Mangler - Dimensions of Terror

MANGLER - Dimensions of Terror (RAW SKULL Rekordz CD 2018)
Mangler are Canadian band, formed in 2016 and this is their first album titled "Dimensions of Terror". As it happens every time when I get new, unknown band to check, I had no idea what should I expect. Except that I prepared myself to hear another old school death metal, which is what all other Raw Skull Rekordz bands are playing. What a surprise then to hear much more a thrash metal band than Dismember wannabes. But why the hell not? 
But the thing is, I'm not big into thrash metal, so most of this sort of bands fail to impress me. Some do, like Create a Kill (who're also on Raw Skull Rekordz, but also on Repulsive Echo). I like Mangler as well, they sound pretty solid, there are great riffs all the way through their album, Mangler music is very nasty and aggressive, which is always good and have all these memorable choruses, which you will scream when shaving your hairy chest. But maybe I miss a bit more ferocity, sometimes a bit more speed would be nice to hear, I guess? This music sounds slightly one dimensional after a while. But these are rather minor aspects, they do not ruin the effect. I like how Mangler sometimes incorporates a bit of melody and even some death metal and black / thrash influences. There are great songs here like "Heavy Metal Wolves", which personally reminds me Destroyer666 a bit. The title song is a good example for a more vicious and faster piece, which gives a good energy to the listener. And such "Satanic Pride" is a bit alike to Desaster, so think of some old classics like Possessed, Kreator, but also Merciless, D666 and Desaster, if you would like to know what Mangler music is like. My favourite song is the one, which seems to be a bonus on the CD - "Shit for Brains". It sounds savage, aggressive and you will bang your head like crazy when it plays. 
So, we have here a good, solid album, which for fans of the thrashing madness should be a mandatory title to listen to. Grab a copy. 
Standout tracks: "Heavy Metal Wolves", "Shit for Brains", "Dimensions of Terror", "Satanic Pride" 
Verdict: 70/100 

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Huoripukki - Voima & Barbaria

HUORIPUKKI - Voima & Barbaria (FALLEN TEMPLE - CD 2018)
I honestly have never heard about Huoripukki before, I have no knowledge about this band's history, previous recordings, etc. But I received their "Voima & Barbaria" CD, so this is my first encounter with this bestial kommando. As far as I managed to find out, this CD compiles two EPs: "Voima on oikeutta" from 2017 and "Barbaria.nyt" from 2016. The booklet doesn't say that, but the tracklist fits the songs from these two releases and then you also have the title "Voima & Barbaria", right? 
And what can I say... This Finnish band plays a very raw, primitive and morbid death / black metal, it's almost somewhere on the edge to some of these bestial acts like Archgoat, etc. I personally have some problem with this kind of bands, as you really have to be good and be able to deliver something special and crushing to impress me. Huoripukki doesn't do that, I'm afraid. Their music is OK, it’s solid and listenable effort, but to be honest, I cannot find there anything what would catch my attention and make me want to come back to this album immediately. It’s pretty forgettable, with a bunch of chaotic, very harsh and obscure riffs, vicious vocals and sick, brutal atmosphere. I quite like their doom / death metal feel, which appears when the music is slower, but that's pretty much all. There’s nothing about "Voima & Barbaria" what would scream “a must to have” and “what a brilliant record!”. If you fancy obscure bands, check them out. If you demand a bit more, then just skip it. 
Verdict: 60/100

Revel in Flesh - Live from the Crypts of Horror

REVEL IN FLESH - Live from the Crypts of Horror (RAW SKULL Rekordz CD 2017)
I've been fan of Revel in Flesh ever since they debuted with their first album "Deathevokation" in 2012. I even added their name to the Metal Archives base and I've been collecting every album or split 7", which they have released since their day one. All together four albums and nine splits! Finally, I also got a brilliant chance to add their first live recording, which is "Live from the Crypts of Horror" unleashed by Raw Skull Rekordz back in 2017. This is a strictly limited to 300 copies CD with a 2017 gig in Siegen, Germany, for which Revel in Flesh played a 45 minutes long old school death metal set, based on their already huge and brilliant catalogue (although I think they missed any songs from the second album). 
So, you can easily guess that for me, as a Revel in Flesh fan, this live CD is just a nice gift and a fantastic addition to the collection. Yes, it certainly is. Even though the sound is rather harsh and has more underground feel when compared to the "studio fixed" professional live recordings, it's a great dose of old school death metal to listen to. And that raw production value gives this album more authenticity and energy, which is so important for such releases. The band plays all their songs smoothly and I can see in my mind the ferocity that was happening there in Siegen.  Their set is balanced between more aggressive, faster tracks ("In the Name of the Flesh") and all these nice, more epic and very melodic pieces like "Torture Throne", which I always like the most. They even added the famous "Doctor Doctor" cover for the end of their set, but just as I don't like their studio version of this excellent song, I also don't think the live version is that good. But who cares? The set list is pretty solidwith 50% of the songs taken from their latest full length "Emissary of All Plagues", which is obviously completely understandable. So, yeah... good stuff and a very nice addition to my Revel in Flesh collection. It’s my first CD with their logo, which I actually have, as everything else they released I own on vinyl. Ask Raw Skull if they still have some copies available. 
Verdict: 70/100

Gravestone - Sickening

GRAVESTONE - Sickening (RAW SKULL Rekordz CD 2018)
In 2017 Gravestone's debut EP "Rotten Kill" appeared from the cemetery fog - excellent, top quality old school death metal from Sweden. In 2018 Gravestone brought us "Sickening", a similarly fantastic debut album. And what can I write... If you happened to read my review of "Rotten Kill", then you know that I absolutely loved it and now I can only repeat all words, which I used then. "Sickening" is a top quality Swedish death metal effort, filled with killer Entombed - esque riffs, Dismember - esque harmonies and generally it's one of those albums, which hit me like crazy to become a favourite right away. 
I do admit that this album sounds alike to dozens of other records. It probably doesn’t have anything what would really distinguish Gravestone from a bunch of other Swedish or not Swedish, but Swedish sounding death metal bands. For some it may be a major reason why not to give a damn about Gravestone. For me it doesn't matter. There's quality, which you will not hear in most of similar bands! Gravestone has RIFFS and killer MELODIES! They also have GROOVE! When I listen to such "By the Knife", I almost get goose skin, so good it sounds. It's definitely my favourite song here. Generally, Gravestone uses a simple recipe for their music. Short, yet memorable and insanely catchy songs, with rather simplistic structure, they are almost foreseeable, but effective. But do you except anything else from Swedish death metal band? If you want it to be kept as traditional as possible, Gravestone is here to serve you the right thing. 
Sure, some songs are better, some a bit more average. And there's one track, which I would happily skip at all ("Behead the Bastard"). But with only half an hour of duration, this album has no chance to bore me. And its energy and powerful sound will definitely cause a serious hearing damage, if I keep playing this CD loud. And loud it must be played! 
Standout tracks: "Rotten Kill", "By the Knife", "Fucking Your Corpse in Hell", "In the Valley of Coffins" 
Verdict: 75/100

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Haunted Cenotaph - Nightmares from Beyond

HAUNTED CENOTAPH - Nightmares from Beyond (FALLEN TEMPLE CD 2018)
A very enjoyable and solid debut recording was spawned by this new Polish death legion called Haunted Cenotaph. They were formed in 2017 and it took them one year to get these first four songs ready, which later have been released under the title "Nightmares from Beyond" by Fallen Temple. Yeah, I definitely enjoyed this stuff, it's one of those bands which I cannot say that are revolutionary or amazing beyond all expectations, but their music is just as solid and worthy as it should. So, sit down, grab a beer and listen to some cool doom / death metal! 
Yeah, this is what you'll get from Haunted Cenotaph. An obscure, filthy and stinking like an old grave doomy stuff, which has only one aim and that's to torture your flesh and bury you alive under a tone of cemetery sand. Haunted Cenotaph's music is simplistic, very coarse and harsh and to be honest, I don't think that there's anything what would give you jaw drop effect. But I like its atmosphere, viciousness and morbid feel, as well as its heaviness and generally I always enjoy such rough sounding doomy death metal bands. Maybe it's a bit one dimensional and I do admit that it sometimes begs for a more aggressive, faster kick. But the impression is very positive anyway, these guys composed some good songs for sureMore so, the production is not bad at all, performance from Haunted Cenotaph members is also very good. And they have some excellent riffs, some of which can resemble not only the ancient way of death metal like Hellhammer, but also Asphyx, Pentacle, even Autopsy and early Samael! But it doesn’t sound archaic at all. Simplistic and harsh – yes, but not archaic and boring. 
I need to write a separate comment for the CD's artwork and band's logo, which are both fantastic. I love this style and it's always nice to see them done this way. Such art always catches my attention and it’s good if it comes together with great music. It does here. 
Standout track: ”Sabbatical Vengeance” 
Verdict: 70/100

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Ferosity - Revelation of Insanity

FEROSITY - Revelation of Insanity (Self financed CD 2018)
"Revelation of Insanity" is Ferosity's fourth album already and I have to say that this band belongs to my favourite Polish death metal legions. I watch their "career" ever since the first album "Overthrown Divinity" (2006) was unleashed and they never disappointed, never failed to deliver great quality brutal death metal. "Revelation of Insanity" is no different, it's also killer dose of savagery and I can assure that fans of this music should enjoy this CD as well. 
So, we have here nine songs, all closed in 33 minutes of music, which is a perfect duration, in my opinion. It's enough to break some necks, but not too long, so it's not gonna bore you. First thing, which I have personally noticed is the powerful, top notch production of "Revelation of Insanity". It's really damn good and fits this sort of death metal perfectly, underlining its aggression, heaviness and mighty style. This way every riff sounds like a massive punch! Technically the album is also spot on. Very good performance from all band members... and these riffs! Yes, Ferosity really plays some fantastic riffs here, very much in the vein of US death metal legends such as Malevolent Creation, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and so on. There's fantastic feeling, groove and ferociousness in them, they're brutal, but kind of memorable as well, so there's no problem at all to get into the music. And if there's anything I don't like so much, then I would say that I've never been fan of such screaming vocals in death metal - or duels between savage, deep growl and scream. Also, some short parts with clean vocals are not that good. I can live with all of them, no problem, but I just don't like them as much. 
Anyway, Ferosity released a very good album and I have to recommend "Revelation of Insanity" immediately. It's shame that such a good album didn't manage to get a label support, so it's a self-financed release, but on the other hand, Ferosity never had much luck with solid label's work, it seems, so maybe in the end it's not such a loss. 
Verdict: 75/100

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Ambevilence - Ambevilence

AMBEVILENCE - Ambevilence (SEPULCHRAL VOICE Records 10"MLP 2015)
This enigmatic project hails from Germany, but that's pretty much all facts I can say about Ambevilence, as there's absolutely zero information who's hidden behind this band or whatsoever. This 10" EP is their first, but also last, recording - some time ago Ambevilence changed their name for Omegavortex. And well, what I say... I think this is one of the most interesting recent German death metal recordings. These two songs really bring something fresh and different to the traditional death metal sound, with slightly more progressive style and broadened influences, which even bring some black metal elements into the music. 
The whole EP has this sort of cosmic, yet sinister atmosphere, which is expanded by ghastly intros / outros that are all over these two songs. And yes, there are only two tracks here, but each of them is very lengthy, so you could imagine that Ambevilence will do everything to use this time effectively and bring a lot of variety into their music. They certainly do. Such "Metamorphic Evil", after the mentioned intro, welcomes us with crushing and really brilliant slow-paced riff, which I absolutely love, but which soon gives way to the ferocious, fast paced part. This is when the music becomes a bit chaotic, dissonant and cacophonous, but it loses its heaviness for the aggression. My favourite is the slower stuff, so I am very glad that another more progressive and more mid / slow paced part appears towards the end of the song, with really interesting and memorable riff. This is also when the atmosphere becomes darker and more eerie. "Metamorphic Evil" quickly proves that the song structure and arrangements are never so obvious for Ambevilence, which is definitely a positive aspect of their music. "Sigil of the Perverse" is better of the two songs though, it generally repeats a lot of ideas from the side A track, but with nearly nine minutes on the clock, it doesn’t allow the listener to feel tired. 
It’s almost a shame that this EP ends so quickly, because Ambevilence music sounds as intriguing as exciting. But well, luckily we have something like bandcamp, where you could find one more song from the same recording session. It's called “Malevolent Chaos” and one could only wish it was also featured on the vinyl, such vicious this beast is!!! I'm really curious then what Omegavortex is like, I believe their first recording is available already, so maybe I will have a chance to give it a listen. 
Verdict: 75/100