Sunday, 28 July 2019

Deus Mortem - Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead

DEUS MORTEM - Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead (MALIGNANT VOICES - LP 2017)
Deus Mortem is definitely one of the leading Polish black metal bands, in my opinion, and this EP "Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead" is a fantastic continuation of "Emanations of the Black Light", but even better! 
There are only three songs here, but each is a fuckin killer. It starts with "The Higher Sun", which is a short, but very fast, vicious and aggressive black metal piece that immediately sets the hateful and truly malicious aura in the music. When I hear it, I immediately have Thunderbolt in my mind, which is obviously not a coincidental comparison. Deus Mortem is for me a great descendant of Thunderbolt!!! But the best on this EP comes with "Penetrating the Veils of Negativity". This song is near ten minutes long and is very diverse piece, full of great riffs, ideas and atmosphere. First off, it contains some more atmospheric, yet very harsh and obscure black metal parts, all in the traditional second wave style. But along slower parts, there's also a lot of the aggressive and savage, fierce black metal attack. It all just sounds excellent, I dare to say it’s one of the best black metal songs from the Polish scene ever composed. 
Finally "Olam haBeriahcomes and it is again slower piece. I think it's the most memorable song from this EP, there's great dark aura in it, even some keyboards were used in the background, a fine melodic guitar lines... It's absolutely great track, very opposite to the ferocity of opening song, but it sounds awesome. It confirms that Deus Mortem feels comfortable in this harsh, aggressive black metal, but is not limited to just one type of playing. Which is also why "Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead" is such a good EP, I like it even more than Deus Mortem's debut album. Killer. 
Standout track: "Penetrating the Veils of Negativity" 
Verdict: 85/100 

Centinex - Redeeming Filth

CENTINEX - Redeeming Filth (AGONIA Records - LP 2014)
When Centinex announced their return after few years when the band was buried in the rotten grave, I was sceptical. Why call it quits and then bring the dead corpse back? Especially that they had new band Demonical, which was doing so, so well and even exceeded my expectations, also when compared to Centinex. But "Redeeming Filth" came out in 2014, fine! But I am afraid that I still cannot say that this album convinced me that the reunion was necessary (yes, I know that band can do whatever they want, it's their band - but (!) I have right for my opinion). It doesn't matter how much I try, I just can't shake off the feeling that this album is soooo mediocre that it's just redundant. 
Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong about the technical side of this record. The production of "Redeeming Filth" is excellent, these guys are very good musicians, know well what death metal is about and their skills are great. They came out here with several killer riffs, I like the vocals of Alexander Högbom a lot, so technically I can listen to this album with no problems. But it doesn't help to get rid of this feeling that "Redeeming Filth" is just mediocre album and my life wouldn't be emptier if it has never been recorded. 
There're two problems here. First - "Redeeming Filth" doesn't sound like Centinex from their earlier albums. Forget about anything they have recorded between 1992's "Subconscious Lobotomy" and 2005's "World Declension". Forget about the melodic, dark and vicious death metal, which was their domain before. Instead "Redeeming Filth" is a simplistic, groovy death metal in the US style of bands such as Obituary, Six Feet Under, Massacre or Bone Gnawer. Not my favourite style of death metal, to be honest. Which is maybe why I feel so quickly bored when I listen to this album. I feel like I've been listening to the same recycled riffs over and over again, the same vocal lines, with the same tempo and rhythm. Simplistic and so typical song structures based on verse / chorus / verse / chorus and foreseeble arrangements do not help. Of course there are couple of songs, which standout on the album. And as I mentioned, generally this album is OK, it's solid, it's listenable death metal piece... But so quickly forgettable that I think it's just unnecessary to bother your head with it. In that case, I'm glad there's only 32 minutes of music, otherwise it would only be even more monotonous. I can live with 32 minutes and give it a spin once every five years maybe. 
Standout tracks: "Unrestrained", "Moist Purple Skin"  
Verdict: 65/100 

Ignominia - Ars Moriendi

IGNOMINIA - Ard Moriendi (FALLEN TEMPLE - CD 2019)
Chile this time. And some of you may remember how much I like death metal scene from there. Many great bands there, many killer albums, all brutal and with that obscure, devilish South American aura, which is a huge bonus. I never had a chance to hear about Ignominia before, but already the fact of their origin is enough to raise my interest. And what we have here is a join release of two Ignominia recordings: "Ars Moriendi" album and "Falsa divinidad" EP. Cool, I would think, but after few spins of this CD I have to say that I feel disappointed. Not that Ignominia is worthless or something, but certainly they did not meet my expectations. 
One thing I can admit as a positive aspect of their music is that old feeling of it, like from the early death metal South American recordings, if you still remember some of these legendary bands. At the same time I think there's similarity to newer acts such as Thornafire, especially speaking of that dark, evil death metal atmosphere. But the problem with "Ars Moriendi" is that it's just damn boring. I'm not even so sure where the biggest problem lies. Is it the flat production, which lacks the powerful death metal aspect so much? Maybe. Limited ideas and arrangements sometimes? These songs really do sound alike eachother a lot. And I definitely can say that I don't remember when was the last time I heard such weak guitar leads. They're really awful. Also vocals could have been more bestial, more vicious and savage. 
Anyway, the first part of the CD is the better one. The first song for example, "Invocación al abismo oculto", is a highlight here for me. It's quite fast, aggressiveit kind of evolves from an acoustic guitar clean tone intro, through first part, which is pretty slow paced and then it brings fire, with much faster and more brutal force. I like it that way. Following few tracks also have some great riffs, some interesting fragments... but they would all work better if everything just sounded more powerful and crushing. And with "Falsa divinidad" EP I'm already quite bored, because I feel like they keep repeating the same ideas all over again, songs are so similar that I'm lost there. It would be enough for me to have just “Ars Moriendi” on this CD, to be fair. Don't get me wrong, Ignominia are a solid band, this CD is OK, some of you may like it, but it just failed to really impress me. 
Verdict: 65/100 

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Crippling Madness - Ponad zwłokami

CRIPPLING MADNESS - Ponad zwłokami (PUTRID CULT - CD 2019)
I'm not a fan of Polish thrash metal and honestly, I care nothing for most of the bands from that genre of metal music. Occasionally though something interesting comes out of it... like this album from Crippling Madness "Ponad zwłokami", which actually managed to interest me a bit. I didn't expect that, since their previous CD "Bestialski rzeźnik" was only a predictable, boring and forgettable chunk of thrash metal. But this album is much better, I think. 
Of course Crippling Madness doesn't reinvent the wheel, nor they have the best thrashing riffs of the decade. Their music is solid and enjoyable, but mediocre at best. Somehow though it didn't hurt me to play this album several times during this morning and bang my skull to some excellent riffs. Yeah, Crippling Madness are thrashing like crazy in rather European thrash metal style of Sodom or Kreator (what an obvious comparison, I know), with simplistic means, harsh, aggressive attitude and nice, kicking sound, which I also like. Their thrash metal is not a pussy thrash metal, with wimpy vocals and boring guitar masturbation. Which is probably why I liked "Ponad zwłokami" at least a bit. I don't even mind Polish lyrics so much, although I do would prefer English texts. Generally, Crippling Madness does everything to get you a nice background music for your beer bath and corpse desecration. If you like to spend your time with that entertainment, then get this CD and play it loud, so your neighbours will not hear your puke or victim's screams. 
Verdict: 70/100 

Mgła - Presence / Power and Will

MGŁA - Presence / Power and Will (NORTHERN HERITARE - LP 2013)
All of a sudden Mgła became one of the most popular black metal bands nowadays. This is mainly due to such albums as “Groza” and “Exercises in Futility”. But here I would like to write few words about their two earliest recordings, which luckily were re-released in shape of 12" LP compilation back in 2013. It was great to have this vinyl released, as earlier I did not have a chance to get these two recordings in their original pressings. 
Going in chronological order, first we have material titled "Power and Will", recorded way back in 2003. It originally appeared on "Crushing the Holy Trinity" split, which along Mgła consisted a fantastic line up with Clandestine Blaze, Deathspell Omega, Musta Surma, Stabat Mater and Exordium. They are the earliest Mgła recordings, and I think that these four tracks can push away "newer" black metal fans with its primitive, ugly and very harsh sound and negativity. There's already a bit of melody in these songs, but generally their style is closer to the black metal second wave origins, to that classic, simplistic Darkthrone'ish raw style. And well, even if this recording isn't as good as some of the later Mgła offerings, it's still a damn worthy piece of black metal. Sure, the production could have been a bit better - but it's not terrible either. And these songs do bring some absolutely excellent riffs, like the opening part of "Power and Will II and IV", I absolutely love this cold, hateful atmosphere of this music. Songs' structures are simple, there's nothing really surprising or very impressive about them, but it's a solid stuff and a good beginning for Mgła 
2006 brought us the second part of this LP, "Presence" EP. It's a natural continuation of "Power and Will", so "Presence" is also a harsh, traditional black metal, but the production is a bit better, cleaner and songs have already a strong melodic feel. The atmosphere on this EP is absolutely fantastic, it's cold, ghastly, sinister and the music fantastically combines the classic black metal harshness with quite memorable melodic guitar lines. M's vocals improved a lot, his ideas on these three songs are better, more interesting, so "Presence" beats "Power and Will" in every aspect. There's aggression, obscurity here, but also a bit of melancholy and sorrow in the melodic lines. All in all, absolutely great recording, actually one of my favourites from this band together with their two 7 inches from the same period of time. 
“For man shall sin and not repent!” 
Standout tracks: "Presence I", “Presence II”, “Power and Will IV” 
Verdict: 75/100