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 

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Christ Agony - Trilogy

CHRIST AGONY - Trilogy (PAGAN Records CD 1998)
They just couldn’t make two as disastrous albums as "Darkside", luckily then Christ Agony’s next album, which is 1998's "Trilogy", is definitely a better effort. It's still far from their best records and is rather a mediocre piece from their discography, but I like it much more than the awful "Darkside" for sure. 
Thing, which for me is important, is that Cezar didn't go so deeply into the experimental territories with "Trilogy" as he did on the previous album. Most of the content of "Trilogy" is more traditional and characteristic for Christ Agony, even if a bit refreshed by some additional elements like industrial sounds or other such stuff. But no weeping and pitiful vocals, no more of that sorrowful and boring acoustic shit, which took half of the previous CD to the grave. "Trilogy" is darker, more sinister, more aggressive and more black metal, which is obviously very good. Songwriting is solid, I think. These songs may not be as impressive as "Moonlight" or "Deamoonseth" stuff, but are listenable and do not bring shame to Christ Agony discography.  
What I like about "Trilogy" is that riffs and the general atmosphere of most of this album is very characteristic for Christ Agony, but their formula for black metal has been refreshed very effectively. Drum machine, industrial sounds, some different vocal styles vary this album strongly, but songs are so good that even "Dying Star" do not disturb at all. Definitely diversity is the strongest aspect of "Trilogy", together with that fresh take on Christ Agony style. Every song is different, there are powerful, vicious and aggressive songs like "Hellspawn" and "Hail Darkness!", more epic pieces like "Eternal Desires", the mentioned "Dying Star", which is very industrial piece. And there's "Downfall" with its ritualistic, kind of tribal chanting and drumming. Absolutely good piece and much better effort than the previous album.  
The production is also very good, I like how it all clicks together. But the whole material is sadly quite short, it's little under 25 minutes, but maybe it's something positive, because there are no fillers or boring songs at all. 
"Trilogy" as a bonus contains an old "Epitaph of Christ" demo, which is a nice addition, I think, even if stylistically and musically it has rather little to do with the late 90's Christ Agony. It's so raw, vicious and almost primitive that it's a bit weird to listen to this demo after "Trilogy". It's also, to be completely honest, quite boring demo, I can't say that it belongs to my favourite Polish black metal demos from that era. But as a bonus and piece of band’s history it is relevant for sure. 
Standout tracks: "Hellspawn", "Eternal Desires", "Hail Darkness!" 
Verdict: 70/100

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Christ Agony - Darkside

The recent reissue of Christ Agony's fourth album "Darkside" was a good opportunity to remind myself this album, which I have not really listened to in a decade or even longer. Why I haven't played it for so many years? It's just never been my favourite Christ Agony album. I actually hated it. I do have a copy - not the reissue, but original 1997 Hammerheart Records version - but I kept it only to have a complete collection of Christ Agony albums, not because I really loved the album. My copy gathered dust only, but yesterday I finally decided to play it again. 
So, coming back to "Darkside" after quite many years was an intriguing and interesting effort. I had no idea if I will like it more nowadays? Will this more experimental effort from Cezar will finally convince me? And the answer is... No! I still cannot say much good about "Darkside". Maybe someone should blame the three previous albums for simply raising the bar much too high - especially "Moonlight" is an absolutely masterpiece - but this album is an extreme disappointment and I’m not really into its experimental side at all. Everything went wrong here, in my opinion, and the songwriting is not even half as good as on the previous albums. It is different album, with very different approach, but even those fragments, which are in the vein of old Christ Agony do not match the quality of previous classics. There are few good parts on "Darkside", too few, which sound pretty cool riffs. And I can say that there’s only one decent song, "The Triangle", which is also an opening track. Everything after it is a failure. 
One good song in more classic Christ Agony style is not the end of the world, but I just don’t like what Cezar did on “Darkside”He decided to incorporate so many experimental ideas to "Darkside" that often the result of his performance is ridiculous. Take for instance clean vocals - most of them sound rubbish, they're really not good. I could barely stand how such "Heredity" and this weeping, sorrowful singing and atmosphere give me teeth ache. And "Dark Beauty" is even worse, WTF is this, some sort of poetic ballad? It reminds me some cheesy Polish rock bands from early 90's. Same shit level. There are also "Dark Poem" and "Dark Goddess", so it is way too fuckin much for me. And those techno bits? Seriously?! They sound like a joke and completely misplaced. Never would I expect such a bad idea from this band, never would I accept them, they sound just hilarious. I could accept the drum machine on the album, but techno is absolutely a nail to the coffin of "Darkside". 
I understand that Cezar wanted to experiment a little, maybe do a bit more personal album, which is why "Darkside" sounds so different to the previous albums. But I just don't like it. Few good fragments and a whole bunch of boredom, this is what "Darkside" is. Definitely the weakest of all Christ Agony albums. I put it back to the shelf for next ten years, let it be dusted and forgotten. I’m not even bothered about the new reissue of this album, why would I care? 
Standout track: "The Triangle 
Verdict: 40/100