Friday, 24 May 2019

1349 - Hellfire

1349 - Hellfire (BACK ON BLACK - LP 2006)
Two killer albums "Liberation" and "Beyond the Apocalypse" behind them, but 1349 came up with even stronger record with their third attack titled "Hellfire". This is definitely my favourite 1349 album, a real highlight of their discography. While it keeps all the characteristic aspects of 1349 style intact, "Hellfire" is just better if we speak about the songwriting. And especially the production, which is probably the biggest reason why I like this record more than its predecessors. You could finally hear their riffs with no problems and the chaotic impression is smaller, so songs are more memorable and easier to listen to. Which in case of such ferocious black metal does have an importance, I think. 
As I mentioned, this is very much a natural continuation of the 1349 previous albums. Which means you can still find on "Hellfire" their madness, insane intensity, sheer aggression and viciousness, all almost on the edge of chaos and cacophony, so fast and severe this music mostly is. Frost blasts like crazy with the speed of light, a lot of riffs are already quite characteristic for 1349, with that fast tremolo picking and specific style, which has been started on "Liberation". But thanks to better, a bit cleaner production, songs are not so messy anymore. And you can even pick up some melodic lines here and there like in "Nathicana", which is something very new to this band!  
There are more slower parts, what gives more diversity to the album, but it's also a reason why more fragments are memorable and characteristic for each of these songs. This album isn't so blurry like a cacophonous wall of black metal noise, which is an impression you could sometimes have with their previous album. And generally, I think there are better riffs and more of them. Take such "From the Deeps" - what a killer song it is. It has everything you like 1349 for, but it's far from the monotonous blasting black metal. Of corpse that straight forward, relentless, aggressive black metal still dominates on "Hellfire" - "I Am Abomination" and "Sculptor of Flesh" are the best examples for that. But as I mentioned, the album is more diverse and simply better. And speaking of diversity, I haven't yet mentioned the title track! This near 14 minutes long track is something 1349 haven't done before! I’m not gonna give you spoilers, but keyboards? Yes, they're there! Dark, obscure atmosphere? Yeah, also there! 
So, here's "Hellfire" - an excellent pure black metal annihilation. Interestingly, 1349's next full length "Revelations of the Black Flame" brought us a very experimental, but obscure and sinister music. Something completely different from the previous three albums. But I'm not big fan of this album, I definitely prefer "Hellfire"! 
We are an abomination! 
Standout tracks: "Sculptor of Flesh", "Nathicana", "From The Deeps", "Hellfire" 
Verdict: 85/100 

Centinex - Diabolical Desolation

CENTINEX - Diabolical Desolation (NORTHERN SOUND - LP 2001)
I was afraid that it will have to happen eventually; sooner or later every band must record a disappointing album (only very few never did)Centinex had killer first few years, great album after great album and then “Diabolical Desolation” happened. This album is nothing more, but a very mediocre and rather forgettable record. And when compared to the previous albums, it feels like a disappointment for sure. For me “Diabolical Desolation” is the first weak link in the hellish chain called Centinex. Not their last also, I’m afraid. 
Of course, one may wonder why I think so, if basically all the aspects of “Diabolical Desolation” follow the well-tried patterns from the previous albums. It’s not like Centinex started to play power metal all of a sudden (they’re not Afflicted he, he). You’ll find here the sharp riffing, many fast, blasting parts, as well as lots of the traditional for Swedish death metal melodies. All these things were present in Centinex before and I always loved the band for ability to keep everything fresh, aggressive and totally interesting. Why do I complain now then? The reason is simple – this album doesn’t bring that certain quality I expected. And simply sounds boring. 
Yes, I think that “Diabolical Desolation” is boring. There's a whole bunch of mediocre songs, which are much more melodic than Centinex's older material and lack aggression or energy, which characterized some of the earlier albums. Their focus on melody is much stronger here, they even decided to include couple of clean vocals and fuckin keyboards, which ruin already shaking foundations completely. I find all these keyboards as completely unnecessary and useless, to be honest. They don't make the music sound any darker or more atmospheric. I have the feeling like someone brought them into these songs just for the sake of having them here, without really thinking what is the purpose for them. 
“Diabolical Desolation” is overfilled with too mellow parts, what basically softened their style totally, in many fragments the band start to sound like fuckin At the Gates, Gates of Ishtar or other such Swedish melodic death bands and that’s a disappointing to me. Where did their pure death metal vitality, the sinister feeling and ferocity go? Songs sound very repetitive. Too often you could feel like hearing the same type of riffs over and over again, so after a while you start yawn. Really. Your snooze is occasionally interrupted with songs like "Forthcoming Terror", "Soulcrusher" or “The Bloodline”, where I could finally find something more interesting, even blasting at neckbreaking speed parts. But there are also such poor pieces like “On Violent Soil” or the title track, so.... 
...So, even those "better" songs are nothing exceptional and killer. Just a bunch of good songs, that's it. Which is why the entire album too quickly starts to be monotonous and joyless. It's not a complete failure, I'm sure that some fans of melodic death metal from Sweden may like it. I prefer Centinex's earlier stuff. 
Standout tracks: "Forthcoming Terror", "Soulcrusher", “The Bloodline” 
Verdict: 60/100 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Warfist - Grünberger

WARFIST - Grünberger (GODZ OV WAR Productions - CD 2018)
Finally, I've got Warfist's third album "Grünberger" in my hands. And finally I can listen to some killer old school thrash metal from this Polish band!!! Their previous album "Metal to the Bone" was insane, I absolutely loved it, so don't be surprised to read my enthusiasm about this newest CD. Warfist is worth it! In between these two full lengths Warfist has also unleashed a split CD "Laws of Perversion & Filth" with Excidium, but I'm still looking for a copy of it, so I'm yet to be 100% happy, but now it's "Grünberger" time, so let's rip this stuff! 
And what can I write, other than it's absolutely enjoyable and awesome piece of thrash metal. When compared to the previous efforts, it feels like it's much more a pure and classic sounding thrash metal music, while previously it used to be harsher, darker, even on the edge of so called black / thrash. But "Grünberger" feels like a traditional thrash metal mainly in the German vein, but not only, as some riffs remind me old Sepultura a lot also (that first riff in "Feasting on Dead Bodies"!), which is great! And it's funny, as I'm not usually a big thrash metal, I don't even care for new thrash bands. But I like Warfist a lot and "Grünberger" turns into fuckin black gold. How come?! 
I guess it's all because it's not wimpy stuff, but raw, aggressive and truly vicious (and sodomizing!! Because it's so much like Sodom!!!) thrash metal and the influences are just right here (did I mention Sodom?!). Take these vocals for instance - Mihu uses very harsh, aggressive voice, spits his lyrics with fury and that sounds better than these shitty vocals I can hear on most of thrash metal albums. Riffs are memorable, so every song turns into a nice thrashing piece, the production is surprisingly very clean, so I listen to this album with a great pleasure, banging skull like a crazy fuck. Do I need anything else? Nope. Although I think I liked "Metal to the Bone" a bit more. Nonetheless, Warfist again proved to be a great band and one of the very few new thrash metal acts, which I can listen to with no problems at all. 
Standout tracks: "Slay, Swive and Devour", "Death by the Cleansing Fire",  
Verdict: 75/100 

Gatecreeper - Sweltering Madness

GATECREEPER - Sweltering Madness (CLOSED CASKET Act - 7"EP 2018)
"Sonoran Depravation" is such a killer debut LP that Gatecreeper immediately jumped on my list of favourite new death metal bands. The only problem I have with them is that I'm miles away from completing their discography. I did have a chance to get split with Iron Reagan recently, but Iron Reagan plays completely not my type of music, so I'm hesitating with this release. Luckily, in the meantime I managed to buy "Sweltering Madness" 7"EP released by Closed Casket Activities. 
And what a fantastic set of two songs this 7" is. Of course we can always moan that this is such a short effort and ends way too early. But this is a whole charm of this format. Anyway, I absolutely love both songs from it. Gatecreeper sounds awfully Swedish for an US death metal band, but they play this type of death metal with great passion and killer quality. Riffage in their songs is brilliant, I love the melodic parts, I love the groove and aggression. I also love when they bring some Autopsy influenced riffs to their music also. Generally, both songs from this 7" are perfect for my death metal taste. Seriously. Perfect. Not only because their top quality songwriting, but also because the production is spot on and everything sounds so powerful and vicious. But I think that "Mastery of Power" is better of the two, what a fine song it is! 
So, check Gatecreeper out, if you still haven't heard of this band before. Get their album and this EP. And everything else what came from them. But what a shame they haven't done split with better band than Iron Reagan. Should I buy a 12” just for two songs and one side only? Probably I will have to! 
Verdict: 80/100