Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Insulters - Metal Still Means Danger

INSULTERS - Metal Still Means Danger (UNHOLY PROPHECIES - CD 2017)
When I first heard Insulters – from their debut album "We Are the Plague" - I immediately liked their crushing slab of blackened thrash metal - or maybe it was thrashing black metal haha? Later I tried to find some other recordings from this band and finally I have "Metal Still Means Danger", which actually is their second full length, released in 2017 by Unholy Prophecies. Once again, it’s released in a 7"EP size fold out cover (very cool idea, in my opinion) and once again Insulters music is an absolute killer.  
I enjoyed "Metal Still Means Danger” a lot, probably more than their debut, because it sounds a bit more mature, more interesting, but still insanely vicious and aggressive. The production is heavier, more powerful, their riffs are catchy, yet insanely nasty and savage, with mercilessly cutting harsh black / thrash... You can feel that the title of this album is very adequate to what the music represents and to its nasty and violent sound, which is derived of even a single fragment, which would be more melodic or "soft”. Insulters music is very simplistic, almost punkish with their type of riffs. You can even say that it has a rock'n'rollish attitude, deeply rooted in the works of Venom or Motorhead. "Here Falls the Hammer" has also a bit of the Celtic Frost vibe, which is awesome! As such, I think the whole album is much less black metal than their previous album. Only shrieking vocals will still remind you about that genre. Maybe also the obscure, dark atmosphere of "Metal Still Means Danger" is still dark and blackish. Other than that, this is just old school, traditional, bestial metal. And it is very enjoyable, very memorable, ass kicking and just fun to listen to if you get some booze and spend your time banging your skull and drinking these beers or whatever liquors you like. 
Not much else is there to write. If you like this sort of metal, then get Insulters. This band - from Barcelona, with members of Morbid Flesh, Voidkush and Graveyard - will remind you what the essence of old school metal filth is. Awesome stuff. 
Standout tracks: "Icons and Symbols", "Age of Terror", "Here Falls the Hammer" 
Verdict: 75/100 

Friday, 15 March 2019

Winterwolf - Cycle of the Werewolf

WINTERWOLF - Cycle of the Werewolf (XTREEM Music - CD 2009)
At the time when "Cycle of the Werewolf" was unleashed (2009) I considered this CD as one of the fuckin best new death metal albums. Ten years later I still listen to it with big smile on my face and big enthusiasm, because this is exactly kind of death metal, which perfectly fits my musical taste. Winterwolf is a band, which clearly suffers for the Swedish death metal disease, as their "Cycle of the Werewolf" is soaked with influences from that style of death metal. From the characteristic production, including fat, Sunlight-like guitar tone through the vocal delivery and finally with the music, which combines the groove, aggression and a bit of the Swedish melody. It all screams "Clandestine" era Entombed fuckin loud!!! Luckily Winterwolf avoided being a useless copycat, as their music has enough individuality to stand on its own cemetery. And one of the most recognizable things are the fantastic dual of vocals - classic Swedish growl and deep, beastly grunt which sounds like from the depths below. And which has been performed by the one and only Antti Boman (a'ka Abominator), from the legendary Finnish band Demilich 
Anyway, the names of well-known musicians do not have to catch your attention, but the fantastic music will. And "Cycle of the Werewolf" is killer. Awesome songwriting in every song, crushing riffs, a good diversity when speaking of the tempos and riffs variation... And I swear that Antii still has the most creepy and beastly voice! Imagine a giant frog Ythogtha from Lovecraft tales! He's their voice haha! For me everything here sounds great. Some will say that I'm exaggerating things a bit, but I don't care. This is exactly how I love my death metal to sound and Winterwolf ticks all the right boxes for "my perfect death metal". I don’t even care if this or that riff sounds familiar. Nine tracks plus the cover of "Cenotaph", which is a nice icing on the cake... I'm beaten. To death. 
Standout tracks: "Phantoms of Madness", "Lycanthropic Aeons" 
Verdict: 80/100 

Morta Skuld - Surface

Another excellent vinyl release from Repulsive Echo Records. And another death metal classic in the catalogue of this label; an album, which I personally feel is slightly forgotten, definitely it's underrated. Even I haven't heard it in ages, so it’s a good opportunity to refresh itAnd while Morta Skuld is fairly known band, to old schoolers at least, their fourth album "Surface" is often considered as their weakest effort, not as strong as "Dying Remains" and "As Humanity Fades". I can agree with this opinion, I also prefer Morta Skuld demos and earlier albums. But “Surface” is a very good album anyway and it was a great pleasure to listen to it again. 
I suppose the biggest problem maniacs have with this album is that it's less brutal, less traditional old school death metal and instead it's rather groovy, sometimes slightly modern (for the 90's standards of corpse) and quite easily listenable album. It's still fairly aggressive and nasty, you cannot say that Morta Skuld wimped out and started to sound like old, uninspiring farts. They still had plenty of similarities to the likes of Obituary, Benediction, Grave, even Sepultura and such. Their riffage on "Surface" is good, there are some absolutely fantastic moments on the album. Sometimes they experimented a little with some guitar lines, like in "The Anger in Disguise" and that's definitely something what gave an interesting and different result. But most importantly, Morta Skuld didn't forget how does good death metal should sound like. If you take such songs as "The Killing Machines", they are just fuckin killer pieces, crushing with absolutely essential and quality death metal riffs. Tempo wise “Surface” is mainly mid or slow paced, but such "Time Will Never Forget" consists just enough blasting death metal to please every moaner out there. 
So, is there any reason why a death metal maniac should avoid this album? I don’t think so. I like it, I like the fact that there’s such a good vinyl pressing of it available, so I can only recommend you getting it. I believe that soon all copies will be sold and then there will be too late, but this release definitely deserves to be in your collection. 
Verdict: 75/100 

Petrification - Hollow of the Void

What's new in the US death metal scene, you ask? Plenty!!! There are some new, great bands waiting and worth to be checked and many new, fantastic recordings... And here's one new name, which you should remember. Let me present you Petrification from Portland. This band was started in 2014 and debuted with "Summon Horrendous Destruction" demo. Year 2018 brought us their first full length album "Hollow of the Void". I'm happy to have the vinyl version, released by Sentient Ruin Laboratories and Dawnbreed Records. The presentation of the vinyl is top notch - killer artwork by Jason Barnett, very nice layout, huge poster and swampy green coloured vinyl, which fits the colours of the artwork perfectly.  
All that together fits the music as well. Obscure old school death metal, which creates the creepy, horror atmosphere is what you'll find here. Influences come from Autopsy, Master, Grave, Cianide, Obituary, even Repulsion and other bands, which bring brutal, but nasty and horrifying vibes. This isn't death metal with fancy techniques, firework arrangements or anything else what modern death metal bands try to impress their listeners. This is more like caveman death metal, neanderthal stuff, where riffs are simple, drumming basic, but good and with vocals which sound like harsh grunt. But there's beauty in this simplicity. There's heaviness, groove, faster or mid paced punching parts, but also crushing slow stuff, which effectively destroys skulls. Occasionally there's a small trace of melody as well. This way "Hollow of the Void" is just as interesting throughout as it should. I especially like all these fragments, where Petrification brings that filthy and vicious Autopsy feel. Some excellent songs are here like "Summon Horrendous Destruction" - one of those songs, which bring the best ideas, with killer doomy parts, melodic pattern, but also viciousness and aggression. It's fantastic tune! Also “Stagnation of Transmigration" is a real highlight here. I can listen to such songs over and over again and they never sound boring. Top notch underground death metal filth. 
And frankly, the whole album is pretty fuckin solid and enjoyable. Sure, it has few less impressive moments, to be honest, so it's not my favourite death metal record of the year. But it surely is one of those albums, which I will be coming back to frequently and listen to it with pleasure. I can only wish that they made some corrections in the sound, to get more powerful, yet vicious and eerie result and then it would be very, very good. But definitely this is another great US death metal band, which I can recommend with a great pleasure. 
Standout tracks: "Summon Horrendous Destruction", "Stagnation of Transmigration" 
Verdict: 75/100  

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Unaussprechlichen Kulten - Wake Up in the Night of Walpurgis

UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN - Wake Up in the Night of Walpurgis (PROSELYTISM Records CD 2005)
It took me ages to track this album and buy it. As a fan of Unaussprechlichen Kulten music, I always felt that my collection is terribly empty without their debut CD "Wake Up in the Night of Walpurgis", which was released by Proselytism Records back in 2005 in 1000 copies limited edition. But finally I got it. It wasn't cheap, but who cares... I have it, that's what matters and I can finally give it a listen, because I never heard it before. 
And well, technically speaking you could recognize that it's Unaussprechlichen Kulten, due to some characteristic details, which their music always had - dense, brutal death metal with very obscure, eerie aura and with very original vocals from Joseph Curwen, sound of his demonic growl and Spanish accent. Yeah, it's all here as well. "Wake Up in the Night of Walpurgis" sounds much rawer and uncompromising when compared to their future materials, their music here is more savage and vicious than ever before, with very harsh production and brute energy, which flows from this music. Songwriting isn't quite as good as they showed it on some future recordings, songs are more simplistic, primeval, speaking of their structures, basic ideas, which often are only focused on blasts and brutality. But it's a good listen, I think. I just enjoy many of these Chilean death metal bands, with their merciless, savage and evil sounding death metal assault. Kulten belong to the best. If you dig Pentagram, Incantation, Sadistic Intent, Mortem, then you'll love this band as well. 
"Wake Up in the Night of Walpurgis" is not easy to find, at least in Europe, but check this album out. It's worth the money, despite only 27 minutes of music. But I think it's actually good that the album is short (all their albums are short, especially "People of the Monolith"), this way there's no chance you'll get bored. Also, Proselytism did fantastic work when releasing this CD. I love that 7" vinyl gatefold sleeve, layout, etc. It looks super awesome. And did I mention the concept of Unaussprechlichen Kulten music? I always do mention it in my Kulten reviews, so I’m not gonna repeat myself. Just check this shit out! 
Verdict: 70/100