Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Koldbrann - Moribund

KOLDBRANN - Moribund (NORTHERN SILENCE Productions - LP 2006)
This morning I decided to give a listen to the newest Darkthrone song from their recently announced album "Old Star". And again, I'm absolutely not happy with what they recorded, it looks like it's gonna be another Darkthrone album, which I'm not gonna bother to buy. It's weird, because they used to be my favourite black metal band and I loved all their records, not only the early classics, but also "Plaguewielder" or "Sardonic Wrath" sounded awesome to me. But after them, I just don’t like the direction their music went at all. So, I've been thinking what can I do with this disappointment. Well, I can obviously play records from other bands, which do the Norwegian black metal that Darkthrone (among others) created in greater and far more superior style than "Old Star". My choice for today is "Moribund" by Koldbrann. This isn't new album, because Northern Silence Productions unleashed the vinyl already in 2006, but to this day it belongs to my favourite black metal records from Norway past the year 2000. If you seek for the traditional harsh, cold and grim black metal from Norge, which would still sound interesting and fresh, this is one of those albums you need to grab. 
Definitely both Koldbrann’s leaders - Kvass and Mannevond (who's also in another my favourite band Djevel) - composed a killer black metal record. Their recipe was to stay faithful to the origins of the scene in Norway, so you can blindly say that DarkthroneSatyricon, Dodheimsgard, Kvist, Gorgoroth, as well as some later acts like Taake, 1349 and Urgehal, had to have the influence on Koldbrann. But they had to try to come up with something more than a boring copy of Darkthrone riffs and song structures. And they succeeded, hence the quality of songwriting on "Moribund" is superb. There's a whole lot of killer riffs, even some melodic parts, which complete the album just perfectly and give a desired diversity to it. There's plenty of fast paced, simplistic parts ("Steinet til jorden" for instance), but for me mid or even slow paced fragments are the real juice of this album. This is when Koldbrann sounds the best, especially when the music gets this mesmerizing feel, accompanied by cold and absolutely grim atmosphere. Yeah, I'm immediately caught in that malicious and eerie black metal maelstrom and cannot stay away, so attractive it sounds to me. I dare to say that at times this music can sound memorable, even for such an obscure and aggressive black metal effort. But listen to such "I suveren forakt" as one of many examples. When the riffing turns into that melodic pattern towards the end of the song, it just gives me goose skin. So godly it sounds! And it's just one of many such fragments. I could also mention "Skvadron" here, for having some very different ideas in the song when compared to the rest of the material (including a clean guitar in the middle of song). And "Av sjel stagnert" with quite melancholic feel at some point. 
I do admit that near the end of "Moribund" becomes a little bit too long though. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with songs on side D, it may feel like the album had a stronger impact if was a bit shorter. At some point you start to have a feeling of small repetitiveness, which doesn't really ruin the album and should not have an impact on the atmosphere and general reception of the music, but I suppose it wouldn’t harm if they cut ten minutes of the whole sixty minutes. 
So, is it the True Norwegian Black Metal then? Definitely it is. 
Standout tracks: "I suveren forakt", "Skvadron", "Av sjel stagnert" 
Verdict: 85/100 

Entrapment - The Obscurity Within...

ENTRAPMENT - The Obscurity Within... (SOULSELLER Records LP 2012)
I already did three or four reviews of Entrapment, I even did an interview with Michel Jonker maybe seven long years ago, so you could say that I've always tried to support this band and have always been giving them a good word. Last week I again came back and intensively played Entrapment's debut full length album "The Obscurity Within..." and I thought I had not done review for this album yet. So why not now? It's from 2012, so it's nothing new, but I somehow feel that not many people noticed this album and gave Entrapment an appreciation, which this band deserves. So, late or not, here're some thoughts on "The Obscurity Within..."!! 
Before doing this album, Entrapment has already had a strong beginning behind, with three killer demos recorded between 2010-11. "The Obscurity Within..." takes that experience and brings Entrapment to even higher level, as certainly it's a good step forward for the band. Stylistically not much had changed, this album even contains a couple of old demo songs, not only the new material. But the performance is better, everything clicks here perfectly. This music is very vicious, aggressive, it's primeval death metal filth, but played very, very well. The production is also a bit better, even if it’s harsh as hell, what sometimes gives a bit messy feel. But it also has this live feel, like the band was just setting up their gear in the rehearsal room and started to play their shitty death metal loud and drunk. And that obviously adds more energy to the overall sound. 
As for the style of music, Entrapment has a strong Swedish influence in their death metal, from old bands like Nihilist / Entombed, but also newer acts like Repugnant. There's also, especially in song called "Anxiety", some Autopsy worshipping riffs, which I absolutely love. There could probably be more comparisons you can make, but that's not the matter. The thing is Entrapment came up with fantastic songs on this album, I absolutely love these riffs, the atmosphere of horror and creep, which they awake. There are some brilliant melodies as well, which is what especially like, when death metal is not just about brutality, but it wants to set a dark mood and have some memorable, even harmonious, parts. I just like such harsh, very old school filthy death metal. It can sound a bit sloppy and primitive to some, but who cares. This is the essence of such style. "The Obscurity Within..."  is probably my favourite Entrapment album, to be honest. 32 minutes worth to listen to. And awesome artwork! 
Standout tracks: “Dead and Cold”, “Anxiety”, “Feast of Atonement” 
Verdict: 85/100 

Monday, 29 April 2019

Triumph, Genus - Na kom je nyní tolik z mojí vůle?

TRIUMPH, GENUS - Na kom je nyní tolik z mojí vůle? (UNDER THE SIGN OF GARAZEL - CD 2019)
Triumph, Genus are very enigmatic band for me, as I never had a chance to hear anything from them before I got "Na kom je nyní tolik z mojí vůle?". But this Czech band is active since few years now and released several different recordings already, including "Všehorovnost je porážkou převyšujícíchLP for Iron Bonehead. 2018's "Na kom je nyní tolik z mojí vůle?" is a compilation CD, released by Under the Sign of Garazel, which features three EPs: "V zasněžených vrcholech se odráží můj smysl" (2016), "Hladiny plynoucíchžádný zítřek není do vás mým tokem promítnut" (2017) and "Na kom je nyní tolik z mojí vůle?" (2018). Yeah, I know. They couldn't think of catchier titles ha ha. No chance to remember or understand them. 
But joking aside, this is actually quite worthy and interesting band; one of those black metal acts, which immediately caught my attention with the music that is a bit different from what you usually hear. And that’s cool, because on one hand Triumph, Genus plays quite traditional, second wave black metal, but on the second, vocals do a lot of work here to distinguish them from the majority of bands. They (vocals) are mainly responsible for creating that grim atmosphere here! I don't wanna make comparisons to other Czech bands, especially to Cult of Fire who are now the most popular band I think, but they all have that specific atmosphere in their music. And that atmosphere is strengthened by the vocals, which just sound so different! Czech lyrics, accent, specific arrangements - they all do the job here. At first, you're like "what the hell, this is so weird!", but then you realize that it really works. Vocals in Triumph, Genus sound more like the guy was reading his texts with his deep, harsh voice rather than used the typical black metal vocals. That, combined with the music, sets up a perfect dark, grim and almost ritualistic aura. 
Musically Triumph, Genus is a straight up black metal, very harsh, vicious and uncompromising. It often slays with fast tempos, it's also quite simplistic, but occasionally Triumph, Genus comes up with something extra like a melodic line or a couple of acoustic guitars. I can hear some riffs, which seem to be very influenced by the Norwegian early 90's albums like early Satyricon or even Dimmu Borgir's debut (in “Jest mi slavností zdroj zdařilých obměn na všem živém” I think??). But at the same time, they have enough originality of the Czech black metal scene to achieve a unique and interesting result. And on top of that, production of each of these EPs is very good, so is the performance of the band members. Pity only that the digipak is so minimalistic, athough I have no idea if I would have any use of the lyrics for instance haha! 
Verdict: 70/100