Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Barus - Fanges


Here is Barus from France with their new recording titled “Fanges”. I had to do quick research about this band, because I didn’t remember if I have ever heard of them before. But their name must have popped up some time ago, because their previous album “Drowned” was released on Memento Mori – and I check most of the stuff, which this Spanish label releases. I don’t have that CD in my collection though – which, after listening to “Fanges” will change soon, I am sure. Yeah, we have here another killer recording coming from the progressive death metal scene from France – almost as good as that Epitaphe’s “II”, which I was impressed so much with recently. Barus is also damn good, I really have to admit that. 

Progressive death metal may often be a real challenge for the listener, but I have to say that the listening session of “Fanges” went very smoothly. I had no problems at all with adapting to Barus musical style, their way of compositions and playing. It's never obvious if you have nearly twenty minutes long songs, you know? But Barus did capture my attention immediately and I was eager to listen to “Fanges” more and more, to discover everything this music has to offer. 

What Barus plays is sort of a combination of post rock / post metal with death metal, I think. Take the title song and you will realize that for the first (nearly) ten minutes of this monolith you listen to instrumental music, which slowly builds the tension, having all those textures typical for post metal and as well as riff style. And finally at its tenth minute a sweet, heavy and crushing riff appears together with some brilliant sounding growls, releasing a proper dose of brutality and overwhelming energy. Often the music has a hypnotizing feel, but this song is so varied that you should predict everything and nothing. There’s nothing obvious. And I think that Barus sounds simply excellent and the way they come up with song structure, all the ideas they have and arrangements are just damn unique. And damn fascinating, too. For even more extreme measures "Châssis de Chair" comes up, a song, which I think is more progressive and psychedelic, again so full of contrasts and dynamics... And it sounds more brutal and rawer too. 

As always when I write about Aesthetic Death Productions and stuff this label puts out, this is not an album for everyone. But I would be surprised if it didn’t get the attention it deserves, because Barus is a worthy band. And “Fanges” is should not be too sophisticated or difficult to even those more die hard death metal fans. And not just death metal fans, as Barus music has the potential to reach much wider number of listeners. But there are just 300 copies of this album, I would be hurry then, as it may be too late soon to get a copy. 

Verdict: 75/100  

Denial - Immense Carnage Vortex

DENIAL - Immense Carnage Vortex (BLOOD HARVEST - 7"EP 2007)

I often underline my love for Chilean death metal, but frankly speaking, Mexico is also one of the hot scenes on the death metal map, in my opinion. I will not play the “let’s list 126 killer bands” game now, but I would like to remind you one particular act, which is slightly forgotten, but which is bloody awesome, in my opinion. Denial is their name! I am not even sure if they still exist, because it’s been ages since the debut album was released and only few years less since the last EP. But recently I was reminding myself killer debut seven inch titled “Immense Carnage Vortex” and wow; this is bloody awesome recording. Hugely influenced by the classic stuff from the 90’s, you will hear equal measures of the European (mostly Swedish) and American styles in it. There's aggression and savagery in this music, there’s fast stuff, as well as some slower, crushing death metal, even a bit of melody. The sound is sweet and raw, and it gives you even bigger old school feel. Riffs are great, who cares that they’re not innovative or whatever... There’s great feeling in them, the atmosphere is dark and brutal... Denial really nailed it and came up with death metal I like to hear the most. Even the artwork and layout for this seven-inch vinyl are what I like to see on such releases, just keep it all simple and old school! Yeah, if “Immense Carnage Vortex” could have been released in 1992, everyone nowadays would call it a classic. I absolutely love this shit, with such “Remains” it has everything I want to hear. 

Verdict: 85/100  

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Amaltheia - Amaltheia

AMALTHEIA - Amaltheia (GODZ OV WAR - CD 2022)

I am again impressed with a completely new band, whose debut album was recently released by the Godz ov War. This is Amaltheia with their debut self-titled CD and I have to say that it is a great piece of black metal. I have been spinning it a lot recently and it doesn't feel like I have enough of it. This album really is a fuckin winner for me!  

I haven't got much information about Amaltheia, to be honest, only that this is a band from UK. But these guys are completely anonymous to me, there's not even a band pic available... So, I won't be writing anything about the band itself. As for the album though, there's about 33 minutes of insanely good black metal on "Amaltheia". Stylistically, this is not your old, traditional black metal though. I would rather say that Amaltheia plays a sort of "modern" style of black metal, especially with all that dissonant riffage and general ambience of the music. I think that there's a lot of influence coming from the likes of Deathspell Omega and Kriegsmaschine in it, although Amaltheia's music is not as difficult to memorize nor it is as complex. But the vibe, some riffs and the profound, profane aura are quite alike. What works better for me, speaking of Amaltheia, is that their music has a more straight forward, uncompromising style and that despite some more progressive parts, it is just easier to get into. And above all, that it sounds powerful and is full of rage. I love that density of blasts, the viciousness that this music brings, but at the same time how well written it all seems, with a nice transformation from that fast-paced black metal to mid-paced stuff.  

Blasts do dominate over these 33 minutes of music, which gives a nice kick and a lot of energy, but I am not sure if I would put Amaltheia next to such Funeral Mist. But do we even “Amaltheia” need all these comparisons? All I want you to know is that there’s great music on this album, I love the riffs, vocals and that dark, eerie atmosphere surrounding it all. The production and musicianship are fantastic too (forget about unlistenable black metal primitiveness)… This album impressed me entirely. I have no idea then what else I can write other than it is a must to have. Favourite song? It may be “Dawn”, but they’re all equally good, to be honest and there’s no weak stuff on the album.  

Verdict: 85/100  

Epitaphe - II


A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Epitaphe from France for the first time, when they released their debut album “I”. It was one of those albums which definitely made a huge impression on me... but you know what? Some time ago I received “II” and I can easily say that this new material is better than the debut in every aspect. What a great album this French band just released, it’s beyond me. Really. It surpassed all my expectations, if I even had any. And honestly, this is the best thing which came out from Aesthetic Death so far - believe my words. 

The beginning of the album is surprisingly quiet, almost in the sort of Opeth – like progressive way, but these three minutes of “Sycomore“ is not what you should expect from the rest of the album. Soon “Celestial” breaks the silence and rips with some killer blasting death metal. Well, speaking about the diversity and dynamics of music, it couldn’t be better, especially that every song on “II” is very diversified and full of rhythm or style swifts. The mentioned “Celestial” has it all – blasting wall of crushing death metal ferocity, epic, slower parts with clean vocals, more technical, progressive riffs with excellent complex drumming and such riffage... but it is all combined together so well that these changes are smooth and you do not feel distracted. You won’t feel like “What the hell is going on here?”, if you know what I mean. And that is a great aspect of “II”. Generally, I think that Epitaphe made a huge step forward, speaking of the songwriting and how interesting their compositions can be, while staying close to that more progressive and complex death metal. There's so much going on in every song, there are so many ideas and “textures” in them that while listening to this CD you stay focused on these sounds, treating them as a sort of voyage and discovering something new every time you put this CD on. I could describe each song, giving you an insight on what is exactly there, but I don’t think it is necessary. It is always better to listen to them yourself, words cannot give everything especially with my narrow English.  

And you know, Epitaphe came up with three songs, each being near twenty minutes long... That can already be a challenge - not only for the musicians, but also for listeners. Musicians will have to try hard to keep the listener interested in such long and exhausting songs. Listener will need to focus on the music and keep attention to what is going on, otherwise it makes no sense to listen to an album like “II”. Epitaphe definitely succeeded here and that’s a reason why I think that “II” is an absolutely brilliant album. Obviously, I can only speak on my behalf... but I think I have played “II” nearly twenty or even more times in the past weeks (more than anything else at that time) and I don't have enough. I am almost obsessed with this music, so possessing and impossible to stop it is. Which is almost weird, because I am mostly into more archaic forms of death metal and very few “progressive” bands could capture my attention so much. But Epitaphe music is a gold, I believe. “II” will be a strong candidate for the top of 2022 best albums, for sure!  

Verdict: 90/100  

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Wan - Antichristian Douchebags

Wan - Antichristian Douchebags (FALLEN TEMPLE - CD 2022)

“Antichristian Douchebags” - what a title for an album haha! Not something you would expect from a black metal band, right? But on the other hand, there are some bands like Carpathian Forest, which love such vulgar and primitive, provocative also, titles and Wan actually fits this category of bands pretty damn well. What is this category of bands? Well, to call it as easily as possible, they are necro / obscure / filthy and simplistic black metal with raw, lo-fi production. As such, Wan obviously doesn’t reinvent the wheel nor they have anything what would put them above many similar bands. Their music is as obvious and tedious as one can imagine... But at the same time, it kicks ass hard and I find a lot of sadistic pleasure in giving this album a loud and repetitive listen. 

How come? Well, everything in there’s been done properly, nothing more to say. Songs on “Antichristian Douchebags”, despite their primitive and savage nature, have a lot to offer, from fast, vicious black metal to almost punkish, primitive stuff. Influences from Venom and Bathory through Darkthrone and Carpathian Forest are all over these songs and it just feels so damn nice to hear such music, especially since nowadays black metal sounds a lot different and not many bands really do that 80’s / early 90’s influenced pure black metal anymore. Even that garage harsh, primitive production doesn’t disturb, because it is selective and doesn’t give you a headache from the noise instruments create. Wan has some really killer riffs and vocals of Tsjud are also something noteworthy. 

So, “Antichristian Douchebags” is one of those albums, which I did not expect to impress me. But I was wrong, Wan did record a great material and I am sure I will be coming back to it often. And more so, this is Wan’s fourth album, I have no idea about the previous recordings though, if they were as good as this shit. One day I may wanna check them out though. 

Verdict: 75/100  

Monday, 9 May 2022

Reputdeath - Dissecting Goryfication

REPUTDEATH - Dissecting Goryfication (Demo 2022)

Wow, this is a very good demo from a Malaysian death metal band Reputdeath. I thought first that it is a newly formed project, meanwhile I found on Metal Archives that they already had several demos recorded since 2012. “Dissecting Goryfication” is their newest effort, and as I mentioned, it is great. Nothing new, nothing unremarkable, but just awesome old school death metal shit. Stylistically Reputdeath combines Swedish death metal (take the production of this demo as well as numerous riffs or harmonies spread through all songs) with the Finnish style (oh, these guttural beastly vocals, which sound like a giant hideous creature somewhere in deep below) and the almighty Autopsy – which is always a nice combination of influences. Especially if you like your death metal to sound dark, but also insanely sick and disgusting. 

Yeah, so this is Reputdeath. Songwriting is just more than solid, I love that sort of riffs, especially those doomy parts and harmonies sound so bloody well. The music is infectious, it is memorable, it is also eerie and vicious... It all sticks in the head quickly and just cannot leave it. From my point of view, these songs have everything what I love about such death metal style, really. The production is very good too, which is a nice surprise for me, because many Asian bands have problems with getting a proper production for their demos. Reputdeath demo sounds just as it should. So... I could go on and on and write super positive words about “Dissecting Goryfication”. But I don’t think there’s any point. I think this is a fantastic demo and I want to have it on physical format (because now I have listened to it for several times from YouTube). Excellent. 

Verdict: 85/100  

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Sarmat - RS-28

SARMAT - RS-28 (Self financed CD 2021)

Pretty damn surprising album arrived from Sarmat – who are a band, which I had absolutely no idea about before I got this CD, although I do remember Puki Mahlu and Mortis Dei, which were previous bands to some of Sarmat members. Anyway, “RS-28” is Sarmat’s debut album and it was already released a year ago. I am quite happy then that I was given a chance to listen to it, because it is very solid and worthy piece of death / black metal, played that quite Polish way if I can call it like that – and yes, if I was going to compare Sarmat to another band, then among others I would use the examples of Behemoth or Hate as comparisons, but the biggest similarity is Lost Soul, I think, with the exception that Sarmat music is faster and more uncompromising and much less complex. 

And that ferocity and full-speed intensity of Sarmat music is what I like the most, I think. Obviously, they do remember to bring some diversity into their songs, like in the excellent “You Don't Live in My War” for example, so there’s enough dynamics to keep the music interesting and not boring. But damn, all that blasting death / black metal sounds great. I love how much energy and aggression it brings, which for me are the essence of that style of music. Especially that the whole album is about 33 minutes long only, so there’s no chance a listener would start to feel bored and fed up with the intensity of the music. I certainly didn’t have such thoughts. More so, I think that Sarmat balanced everything very well, especially that occasionally you will be treated even with some more melodic and almost bombastic parts (“Evilution”, “Blackout (Scenario for Tomorrow) Part II”). What else can I add... The production is selective, it’s also quite sterile and sort of “modern”, lacking even a tiny bit of harshness or dirt – which for some listeners will not be a problem, while the others would prefer it differently. I may not be the greatest fan of such production style, but at the same I have to say it fits Sarmat’s musical style a lot. All in all, this is extreme death / black metal, there’s no room for compromises. And damn, I like “RS-28” a lot. I am looking forward to hear more from Sarmat. 

Standout tracks: “Coldgrinder”, “You Don't Live in My War”, “Blackout (Scenario for Tomorrow) Part II” 

Verdict: 80/100  

Persecutory - Summoning the Lawless Legions

PERSECUTORY - Summoning the Lawless Legions (GODZ OV WAR - CD 2022)

Persecutory hails from Turkey and “Summoning the Lawless Legions” is a second album from them. Honestly, I feel disappointed that I had not heard the previous CD “Towards the Ultimate Extinction”. Why? Because I think that this new effort sounds fantastic and I always like to have entire discographies of bands, which caught my attention as much as Persecutory did. Well, I am sure that I will catch up with their discography and get the debut asap. In the meantime, let’s play “Summoning the Lawless Legions”.  

In a brief introduction, I would say that Persecutory plays an insanely vicious and bestial death / black metal. Their music has no compromises, it is fast as hell, violent, it is morbid and ferocious. Persecutory found a great balance between the styles I mentioned above – having the intensity and evil aura of black metal with heaviness and crushing wall of sound of death metal. But you need to know that their music is also far from obvious and one-dimensional. They have seven to eight minutes long songs, so it obliged them to bring more interesting compositions, think about song structures, more varied ideas and stuff like that. You cannot blast for eternity, right? And here is where Persecutory succeeded the most. There are many ideas within every song, a lot of diversity, with tempo variations or riffage style... Damn, they even found enough space for some memorable harmonious leads and stuff like that. And all within the purity of the genre (no keyboards, no experiments, nothing like that). Any bands I would make a comparison to? Well, you can find a bit of Tsjuder for instance, while the vocals do remind me Necrosodom a lot (with a few cleaner sounding parts here and there - and they sound fantastic!).  

I find a lot of pleasure in listening to this album, I have to say. Especially when Persecutory blasts like a damn crazy maniac, they sound excellent and there’s absolutely nothing that I would not like about “Summoning the Lawless Legions”. If you check tracks like “Thou Abyssic Fire In Rebellion”, there’s a huge dose of powerful energy in it, so much fury and intensity... It’s just hard to resist. 

Standout tracks: “Thou Abyssic Fire In Rebellion” 

Verdict: 85/100