Saturday, 20 February 2021

Hooded Menace / Algoma - Split


Two years after "Darkness Drips Forth" album was released, Hooded Menace brought us another split in their discography, this time with a band called Algoma. With it, they introduced us to new vocalist Harri Kuokkanen, who for some reason replaced Lasse Pyykkö (from then on, Lasse decided to focus on guitars only). Well, musically their new song "Celestial Dissection" is also something new in the musical style of Hooded Menace, in my opinion. They still play a brilliant death / doom metal, but "Celestial Dissection" feels much less depressive and gloomy, less mournful... It sometimes is a bit more melodic (which do remind me old Paradise Lost!), more memorable also, some parts sound slightly more up-tempo. And they are not always that ultra slow, what used to characterize a lot of Hooded Menace music before. It's not that super depressive and gloomy. Generally, "Celestial Dissection" feels more varied, easier to listen to, heavier... Which is something I like to hear. When I was recently listening to all earlier Hooded Menace recordings, with "Darkness Drips Forth" their music kind of became tiring. So, if "Celestial Dissection" is going to be a sign for some changes within their doom death metal style, then I welcome them with pleasure. I like most of the previous recordings a lot, but it's good to hear also some development in this music. And Harri Kuokkanen sounds very good, I like his voice a lot. He's also in bands like Ride for Revenge and Horse Latitudes, if you want to know. Anyway, "Celestial Dissection" turned out to be a great surprise and for me, this is one of the best Hooded Menace songs so far. I'm writing it before hearing anything from "Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed" though.  

As for Algoma, this is my first experience with this band and I've never even heard of them before this split came out. Algoma are from Canada and their discography isn't so big as Hooded Menace's. Anyway, we have here one song, called "Failed Stunt Fatality", and I can admit that I quite like it also. It may not speak to me as much as Hooded Menace music does, but it is cool stuff, anyway. Riffs are straight from your stoner / sludge kind of shit, but they have a nice vibe and are heavy as fuck. That definitely is a good aspect of Algoma music. Sometimes that Sabbath vibe is more audible, sometimes less... but this shit definitely sounds massive and has a cool feeling. Vocals are not necessarily in my preferable style, but they are not bad also. All in all, I enjoyed this song.

Verdict: 70/100

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Morbid Stench - Doom & Putrefaction

MORBID STENCH - Doom & Putrefaction (PUTRID CULT - CD 2019)

It's been few years, since I had a pleasure to play and review Morbid Stench's "The Stench of Doom" tape, so I am glad then that I finally have an opportunity to listen to their debut album "Doom & Putrefaction". Yes, I know that I am terribly late with it, because this album was released in mid 2019, but well, I kind of postponed the purchase for unknown reasons... But it's better late than never. And I am sssooooo glad that I finally got this CD, because this album is excellent. Morbid Stench again delivers a great portion of death / doom metal, which to me sounds very much like one of the strongest offerings in this genre. 

Yeah, but isn't it weird what is going on with death / doom metal nowadays? I mean, there were years that all bands participated in the "who's the fastest and most technical" contest and no one played slow, mournful death metal. But since few years a whole lot of killer doomy death metal bands were born and many fantastic albums were released. Even fuckin Paradise Lost composed a song titled "Beneath Broken Earth", which for me is one of the very best death / doom songs ever unleashed to this world. Being a fan of many of these bands, I am just glad to hear such resurrection of this style. 

That takes us to Morbid Stench, who sounds very, very strong on "Doom & Putrefaction" and for me it is one of the better albums in recent years. Obviously, these guys won't surprise you with something new, but damn, their music is fantastic anyway. They simply tick all these boxes, which you need for a perfect death / doom metal. Great, heavy as fuck, slow, but crushing riffs. Occasional faster or more mid paced parts. A necessary dose of melody, which can combine a bit of the early Paradise Lost with the Swedish scene (Eternal Darkness). Harsh, very savage sounding growls. Powerful sound and dark, very obscure, cryptic atmosphere... All these ingredients are here and in result, you could say that "Doom & Putrefaction" is a perfect example for how death / doom metal album should sound. More so, due to their country of origin Morbid Stench has some sort of exotic spice, at least that's what I hear in the vocals for instance (something similar I always pick from Chilean bands for example). Anyway, I truly like this album, it caught my attention very quickly and fully pleased with the musical content. 

Standout tracks: “The Eucharist”, “Morbid Stench” 

Verdict: 80/100

Friday, 5 February 2021

Amputory - Ode to Gore

AMPUTORY - Ode to Gore (XTREEM Music - CD 2015)

Would you believe if I say that I have this CD more or less since the year of its release (which was 2015), but I have not given it a listen at all? Just few days ago I gave it a first spin. Well, it's all because of the "I buy too much stuff" syndrome, but they also say "better late than never"... And I am happy that I finally played "Ode to Gore", because it is a very solid album. Amputory - who are Finnish band, by the way - plays this very easy to get into, memorable, but still brutal and sick death metal in the old school vein. Their music has absolutely nothing groundbreaking, but it has great riffs, a nice groove and atmosphere and it also has that crushing, powerful factor, which is always needed in death metal music. 

Stylistically this shit is... well, Amputory are from Finland, so they just have to sound Scandinavian. Of corpse they do! But there's more of the Swedish stench to it than Finnish, what doesn't disturb me at all. Amputory sounds like Grave, but also like one of these Rogga Johansson bands, especially Paganizer, speaking of the brutal feel, vocals style, groove and all that stuff. I like that these songs - which mostly are mid paced, crushing, catchy death metal tunes - have also some melodic parts, as they give more flavour to this stench of rotten corpse. More sweetness, I would say haha! But really, there's nothing what would be done wrong. Songs are so easy to get into, you play this album and just like it immediately. It doesn't require much work from your brain cells, you know?! And it's good. It's just fun stuff, perfect if you want to grab couple of beers and just listen to some old school death metal. Great, clean production too... Nice. Where’s more? It's been nearly six years now. If I am lucky I will listen to new album in 2028! 

Standout tracks: “Illusion of Sanity”, “Unclean”, “Cleansing the Blade” 

Verdict: 75/100

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Abjvration - The Unquenchable Pyre

ABJVRATION - The Unquenchable Pyre (ME SACO UN OJO - LP 2016)

I'm not sure if Abjvration is still active, because "The Unquenchable Pyre" was released back in 2015 and to this day it’s the only recording of this band. But I do hope that there will be a continuation one day. In this category of obscure doom / death metal, they surely had something great to offer. They really captured my attention right from the first proper song "The Desiccated Womb", which is an awesome piece of murky death metal, which can impress with the heaviness of the slower riffs, thick, monstrous brutality of faster parts and the overwhelming vicious aura. This song goes for eight minutes, and in my opinion is something more than just an Incantation or Hooded Menace worship. I especially like how this crawling, monstrous riffage can awake a claustrophobic, horrifying feeling, with the beastly growls and exploding faster parts.  

It gets even more dynamic with such "The Famished Zealot", which honestly sounds a bit more melodic with almost memorable parts. But the music still is soaked with black tar and asphyxiating smoke, do not worry. Damn, third song "The Clawed Redeemer" will hit you even harder, with a blasting, incredibly brutal offering alike to Incantation (OK... I had to name this band despite all tries for not comparing Abjvration to any other band) and it sounds absolutely fuckin sweet. At first it almost comes as a surprise to hear something so fast, but somewhere in the middle of the song Abjvration slows down anyway, in order to crush the listener completely. And they do succeed, I play this song loud as fuck and can literally imagine the walls of my living room crackling and ears bleeding. And mind, it all wouldn't be possible if A. Abjvration didn't know how to compose killer riffs and B. if they didn't get that harsh, yet powerful and brutal production (where there’s no bass guitar at all... and you won’t notice a difference). 

All in all, I think that "The Unquenchable Pyre" is a killer release, I am wondering then if there will be a continuation or not?! I hope there will! 

Standout tracks: "The Famished Zealot", "The Clawed Redeemer"

Verdict: 80/100

Abominated - Decomposed


Abominated is new band on the Polish death metal scene, but I can already say that just like such Clairvoyance or Mental Casket, also Abominated is a name, which you need to remember. What you will find on this short - because there are just three songs and ten minutes of music - demo is nothing more, but rotten, horrid death metal played the so called old school way. And as such, Abominated obviously doesn't reinvent the wheel nor they play anything remarkable and eye opening. We've all heard this shit before. But it doesn't mean that there's nothing interesting to be found on "Decomposed". 

Expect very rough, vicious and morbid death metal, which has this vibe of old demo recordings. The production is raw, the music is relentless and absolutely insane, and the influences come mainly from Scandinavia from the likes of Nihilist, Abhorrence, Rippikoulu as well as US bands, even the most obscure and evil ones like Necrovore or Order From Chaos. At the same time Abominated reminds me Throneum a little, when speaking of the harshness of the music and its very aggressive and chaotic nature. Anyway, Abominated did a very good job here. I just like that merciless, vicious sound of the music, its violent, brute character and old school feel. Of course there's still a lot of work ahead of these guys, especially if they want to get something more distinguish. But they're on a good path and "Decomposed" is a solid start. I like this demo, so I am looking forward to hear more from these guys. 

Verdict: 75/100

Monday, 1 February 2021

Iscariota - Cosmic Paradox

ISCARIOTA - Cosmic Paradox (DEFENSE Records CD 2020)

Recently I received an album, which I haven’t heard probably since 1997 or 1998, so yeeeaarrrsss ago. And which I completely forgot about, even if later the band’s name popped up here and there several times. I am writing about 1995's "Cosmic Paradox" by Polish band Iscariota, which has just been exhumed from the abyss of oblivion thanks to Defense Records. I'm not gonna lie that I loved this album in the old days or that it was a highlight of the Polish death / thrash metal scene. It wasn't. But it's always interesting to listen to such albums after all these years and see if they survived the test of time and if they still have anything to offer.  

"Cosmic Paradox" was recorded in 1994 and it offered rather common for its time thrash / death metal, which had equal influence from bands such as Death or Dragon as it had from Metallica. If you take a listen to a song like "Night Sailors" then these influences are just as clear as the summer sky. Over 25 years later this music still works well. Sure, "Cosmic Paradox" does sound very archaic and "old", of course it does, it couldn't sound anything different. But if you ask me if this album will have anything to offer to people, who will find it in 2021, then my answer is "yes". It really is a solid portion of music, Iscariota did compose some enjoyable tunes here, I can sincerely say that some of these riffs sound awesome and even if the recording itself lacks a bit of that powerful aspect of the best death metal of early 90's, there's still enough good music to enjoy. I especially like that aggressive aspect of the music, combined with a bit of melody and technical frenzy. All in all, it is just very fine and pleasant piece of death / thrash. 

OK, I gave some positive words about "Cosmic Paradox", but what’s wrong with this CD? Well, first I need to mention the song called "Lilith", absolute piece of garbage for me, where Iscariota tried to sound like Metallica or like that fuckin band Hunter (which is a band I simply despise). Vocal wise this song is simply a disaster, the guy behind mic cannot sing at all and just failed ("Cudowny głos Lilith, jadowity szept co noc..." and you can hear me puking!). Musically it's also just not interesting semi-fuckin-useless-ballad. By the way, I guess that along with Metallica, one can compare it also to Kat. But it's not even half as good. 

And the other thing I don't like so much is the "Glodgad" demo from 1993, which was added to "Cosmic Paradox" as a bonus. Musically it's in the same vein, sure, maybe just more thrashing and certainly with rawer production. But I somehow don’t like it so much, especially vocals with Polish lyrics sound awful to me.  

All in all, "Cosmic Paradox", with the exception of that one song, is a solid album and it still sounds not bad at all. I quite enjoyed it. You can treat it as an interesting archaeological finding.. By the way, Iscariota is still active nowadays, but that’s all I can say, as I am not interested in the music they play nowadays at all. 

Verdict: 65/100

Friday, 29 January 2021

Gnida - R.A.K.

GNIDA - R.A.K. (DEFENSE Records / MYTHRONE - CD 2020)

What a nice, jolly band is here. They call themselves Gnida, which is a name I often call politicians from the ruling party with, along with other pretty names like kurwy or chuje. With such name, Gnida has to play a nice, melodic and truly pleasant music. Right? Of corpse they don't and I'm taking a piss here. Gnida - use google translator if you want to know what that Polish word means - is a band, which presents us their brutal death / grind metal. Not necessarily music, which I would often play, but in this case I can easily admit that I like what I hear. 

First off... This is third album from Gnida. Their previous CDs were called "S.Y.F." and "A.I.D.S.", so "R.A.K." sounds like a fitting title in this sick concept. There are 16 tracks on "R.A.K.", and with 23 minutes on the clock you can be sure that their music is fast, straight forward and no bullshit. Gnida doesn't waste time, but rips with their grinding death metal right from the first second. Or from 55th second, because obviously there has to be an intro first! Anyway, this music is short, brutal and fast, so it is sweet as fuck and very energetic. Luckily, "R.A.K." is far from being brutal and sick just for the sake of being mindlessly brutal and sick. Gnida actually do have some cool riffs, there's a nice diversity in the music, the production is very good, so it's not just fast and boring... And there's even a bit of groove and shit like that, so it truly sounds fine to my ears. Yes, I enjoyed it. With songs like “Drug Lord” Gnida should try their chance in the next Eurovision song contest. I am sure people would love it. 

Verdict: 70/100