Thursday, 28 February 2019

Desecresy - The Doom Spectron

DESECRESY - The Doom Spectron (XTREEM MUSIC - CD 2012)
Finnish death metal used to be so bloody good back in the early 90's, it spawned many fantastic bands. And it doesn't matter than most of them were "one great album only" type of band. Sadly, next decade was not so kind for Finnish death metal, but that has finally changed in the late 00's, when another generation of death metal acts walked out of the catacombsLet's just mention Lie In Ruins, Stench of Decay, Decaying, Claws, Hooded Menace, GorephiliaLantern, CorpsessedKrypts and few more I forgot about now. There's also Desecresy, band, which was formed by couple of ex-Slugathor members. This band quickly gathered a solid support from death maniacs, and truly deserved it. Until 2019 they already have five albums recorded and here's one of them: "The Doom Spectron" from 2012. 
This blue album (every Desecresy album has characteristic colour of the artwork) is probably my favourite work from them. All eight tracks show an intriguing combination of death metal brutality, with fast or mid paced stuff and great sections with death / doom influence, dark, gloomy atmosphere and a good dose of melody to achieve even more interesting and capturing result. With good balance between all these aspects of old school death metal, "The Doom Spectron" is an album, which is a feast to death metal fan. I really like how they create that almost haunting, abyssal atmosphere in the music, and that the atmosphere is probably a bit more important than the sheer aggression. Even in faster, more bestial songs like "Forged from Chaos" (which has a strong Incantation influence) there's room for slower, more harmonious and original riffage. There's occasion for blasting and brutal stuff in every song. But such "The Sleep of Titans" presents exactly what best Desecresy has to offer - bone crushing heaviness, bleak aura, eerie, quite memorable harmonies, beastly vocals... "Sons of the Burning God" is another fine example. 
Songwriting on "The Doom Spectron" is awesome in its entirety, also lyrically this is very interesting material. No bad song, but dull parts. For me this is Desecresy’s best album, it definitely is much better than its follower “Chasmic Transcendence” for instance. A definite must to have for death metal maniacs.  
Standout tracks: "The Sleep of Titans", "Sons of the Burning God" 
Verdict: 80/100 

Monday, 25 February 2019

Death Karma - The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I

DEATH KARMA - The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I (NECROSHRINE Records - CD 2015)
Do you know this feeling, when you start to listen to album from completely unknown band and you have no expectations, but all of a sudden, this album turns into pure gold and one of the most impressive things you have heard in years? This is probably what I had in my head after the first spin of Death Karma's "The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I". I could not believe how good this album sounds and how impressive and original is the music of this new Czech band. Obviously this CD did not leave my stereo for many days and it absolutely deserved its domination. Now I cannot recommend this album enough. More so, I am sure that these words won't be enough for recommendation, so you better check the music right now, if you still don't know Death Karma (who are actually a project of Cult of Fire members). 
So, what's the fuzz about? Well, Death Karma impresses with the whole package. First look on the artwork and amazing booklet is enough to bring enormous interest. I love all these paintings, each so perfectly fitting the concept of "The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I", which is about the rituals and funeral rites, based on the traditions of Slovakia, Czech Republic, but also China, India or Mexico! But then there's the music, which fits the conceptual work 100%. Skeleton of the music is strongly based on the mixture of death and black metal, and there's no doubt about it. But some melodic lines, additional instruments (including organs, keyboards, bells, etc), vocals / invocations, but also arrangements and finally the vicious, ritualistic atmosphere are giving a goose skin and impress a lot. From death metal there's aggression and heaviness, while black metal brings its sinister, dark and ritualistic feeling. Death Karma’s ideas are fantastic, like "Madagascar - Famadihana", which starts like some 70's prog rock, to continue in the vein of bands like Master's Hammer or Mortuary Drape. Keyboards especially do great job in this majestic, epic beginning of the song. Surprisingly later on it speeds up quite a lot. I love these blasts in "Madagascar - Famadihana", so this song is not only a very diverse, but it's also my favourite part of "The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I". Generally, every song stands far from the most traditional death or black metal patterns, which is why the whole album sounds so unique. “Mexico – Chichén Itzá” is the most exceptional song, as its ritualistic aura is brought by tribal drumming, mad incantations, some absolutely mesmerizing melodies and riffs... Or check the opening theme for "China - Hanging Coffins". I have goose skin, I do. 
In the end, "The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I" consists six fantastic tracks, which take you into the world of the dead and how it’s been seen in many cultures. From the very beginning till its final second, this album is exceptional and utterly interesting, so I cannot stop admiring Death Karma for being able to bring such a masterpiece. It probably is my favourite album from the Czech / Slovak extreme metal scene ever, so if that's enough for recommendation, get yourself a copy and descent. 
Standout tracks: "Czech Republic - Úmrlčí prkna" 
Verdict: 90/100 

Altars - Altars

I recently got this unknown 7” vinyl. And it's a bit weird to review EP of band, which is already dead. And this was their only recording, so you can assume that there are maybe ten people, who knows them. And four of them actually were in that band. But well, unknown or short-lived, doesn't have to mean uninteresting and lame, right? Altars were from California, USA and they existed for couple of years only. This self-titled 7"EP was released by Sentient Ruin Laboratories / Dawnbreed Records (and I think it's sold out already) and as a testimony, it's actually a fairly worthy piece of wax.  
On the label note you could read "Taking inspiration from Autopsy, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, and combining it with the straightforward, no frills delivery of Napalm Death and other Grindcore". It's fairly right comment, which doesn't even leave much else to describe. I can add that it's a fuckin shame to know that Altars is no more, as they definitely had a good touch for old school death metal filth. In this short material they managed to present big potential for the future. Crushing riffs, doomy parts, nasty lunatic faster pieces, obscure aura, chaotic but massive, powerful sound... There's everything we all like. Songs are terribly short, so it all sounds like a quick, merciless punch in the face. But as I said earlier, it's enough to convince me. Such "Unholy Retribution" is simply awesome, when it begins with slow, doomy riff to evolve into a real grinding beast. All squeezed in 2 minutes. Or "Black Magic", probably the best song here, a bit slower, but so damn vicious and dark. 
Yeah, short timing is the only fault of this self-titled EP. I am big fan of 7-inch vinyl format, but I prefer to know that there's gonna be something more from the band I listen to. In this case I can only say "RIP fuckers, way too early you buried this band". 
Verdict: 70/100 

Friday, 22 February 2019

Gutted - Bleed for Us to Live VINYL

GUTTED - Bleed for Us to Live (REPULSIVE ECHO - LP 2019)
The whole vinyl fashion has one very positive aspect - it allows labels to release more vinyl than ever before, and not only do so with new albums, but also reissue some old ones. Or give a vinyl treatment to albums, which never had seen a black wax before. So, if you're a vinyl collector then there's pretty good chance that you will finally be able to grab a copy of an old classic. There are still quite few albums, which I miss on LP - "Saltrubbed Eyes" (Seance), all Fleshcrawl, "In Dark Purity" (Monstrosity), both Lemming Project, "The Essence" (Torchure), "Drawings of the Dead" (Mangled Torsos), "Indicium De Mortuis" (Immortalis), Afflicted demos, "Nothing but Dead Remains" (EOS), "Calamity" (Betrayer), "Promises Impure" (Demented Ted), "Deceased" (Accidental Suicide), "s/t" (Victims of Internal Decay)... and few more. I'm very glad that finally I can cross off one title from this endless list. And it's all due to Repulsive Echo's killer vinyl edition of "Bleed for Us to Live" by the fuckin Gutted!!!!!!! Yes! What a great news and what a killer vinyl quality from this label. I got exactly what I wanted, honestly. 
Heavy thick record, limited to 500 copies on black wax and 500 on triple colour vinyl, with a nice inlay, small poster... The artwork looks absolutely gorgeous on big format, so bloody and creepy. And the music... Well, I have already written review of "Bleed for Us to Live" twice, so I'm not gonna repeat everything again. But the record sounds fantastic. The sound is crispy, the music is powerful, brutal and certainly the sound of the vinyl will not disappoint the LP format maniax. I'm absolutely satisfied. This is the way I like to listen to old school death metal the most. Obviously Gutted was never a popular band, they were destined to rot in the depths of the underground, which is also why their two albums were so difficult to find. And fuckin expensive. But finally, they're available on CD and now also on vinyl. And I can say that Gutted music still sounds great and it stood the test of time very well. So, if you dig stuff like Baphomet / Banished, Obituary, then you better grab a copy of the LP or CD before it's too late. It's absolutely mandatory release, in my opinion. Good work! 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Nox - Blood, Bones and Ritual Death

NOX - Blood, Bones and Ritual Death (LISTENABLE - CD 2010)
Yesterday I wrote few words about "Ixaxaar" by Nox. And now I want to go back to this band and shortly introduce you another excellent CD from them, which is "Blood, Bones and Ritual Death". Shortly, because this is only an EP, so there's not much material on it, but damn, what a killer content and quality is there!!! 
First off, I like the production of "Blood, Bones and Ritual Death" a lot. It's clean, yet crispy and insanely powerful what adds even more fire to already vicious and aggressive music. There are four songs and each is an instant killer with characteristic intensity and sheer venomous atmosphere, which blows head off. And which you should all be familiar with if you know Centurian and "Ixaxaar". Nox music is fast, savage, but filled with many amazing riffs, great vocals (new vocalist Niels Adams did fantastic job here) and all these sweet details, which create an interesting and high class death metal. In many ways, this EP is like Deicide or Vital Remains, but sometimes even better than anything these two bands have done since the mid 90's. Yeah, these four tracks are like a fuckin slaughter – no remorse, no time wasted for fillers. And with two instrumental tracks and their sick, evil atmosphere "Blood, Bones and Ritual Death" is a perfect EP. For me this is one of the best efforts from Centurian / Nox camp. 
Standout track: "From Hell to Worse" 
Verdict: 85/100 

Monday, 18 February 2019

Nox - Ixaxaar

NOX - Ixaxaar (WICKED WORLD Rec - CD 2007)
In case you don’t know, Nox is Centurian. It's almost the same band, which was formed when some major line up changes occurred in Centurian after "Liber Zar Zax" was unleashed. Both Wim van der Valk and Jerry Brouwer have left, so Rob Oorthuis decided to change the band name and Nox was born! Interestingly, this album was recorded with Seth van de Loo and Patrick Boleij, also two ex Centurian members. But aside with this soap opera, it’s awesome that these changes never had negative impact on the music and Nox's debut album "Ixaxaar" is just as great as all Centurian works. 
Stylistically it's pretty much in the same vein, so if you worship that intense and insanely fast death metal from Centurian, then Nox and "Ixaxaar" are right up your street as well. Maybe not exactly the same, because there is a small difference in few aspects - but the general idea is the same. And the result is neckbreaking, fast as hell, vicious and incredibly intense satanic death metal. Intensity of this music is so huge that there's almost no time to take breath between all these cannonades of drums and violent, aggressive guitars. I suppose many will see such almost one-dimensional type of playing as something negative... Well, if the music is so powerful and relentless as "Ixaxaar" then I see no problem. But I guess that I would love to hear more such crushing fragments like the opening part of "Intoxicated with Death", which is the only real slow fragment of the whole album - and rather quickly it's gone and everything is back to normal with furious blasting. Riffage seems to sound quite more modern, I think, surprisingly I sometimes have a feeling like there were some similarities to death metal era Behemoth (opening riff for "Choronzonic Chaos Gods" for instance). But obviously bands such as Vital Remains, Morbid Angel, Angel Corpse did have a strong impact as well. 
Anyway, the music sounds fantastic, in my opinion. I love its sheer violence and brutality, that energy which bursts from every sound and satanic, vicious atmosphere of it. This music is savage! It's also quite technical, I think, but the intensity, fast tempo and technicality go in hand with good songwriting and some memorable parts, so it's nothing like useless, forgettable tech death metal crap. Basically, there's nothing what has been done wrong. I only don't get the idea for the “Ixaxaar” booklet, where everything is reversed (mirrored lyrics, etc) and the band photo cuts Nox's members heads. What is this concept about?! Never had time to think through about that deeply. 
Standout tracks: "Intoxicated with Death", “Blind Mad God” 
Verdict: 80/100