Thursday, September 14, 2017
PIG'S BLOOD - Self Titled
Godz ov War Productions
Well with a name like PIG'S BLOOD you should know what to expect and if not well then just go away. So hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (where else?) this fearsome four piece give us a debut full length of pure old school death metal that is American as baseball, apple pie and a twelve inch spiked gauntlet armband. No fake Swedish sound here. PIG'S BLOOD are a product of that fertile Midwest American death metal heritage of old. I just wanna shake their fuckin hands for doing this.
This release is definitely touching on the brutal side of the genre but with plenty of downtuned riffage, deathly doom blastings and added maniacal vocals intertwined with gutteral beast croaks then this is more akin to sickness of Midwest death metal. It's also a fast album clocking in at just over thirty six minutes of utter filth. I say that with total respect especially when you've got people like this creating it all: HorriblePerson on bass and vocals, Infernal Scumbag and Overlord Of The Under Dwellers on guitars plus Drug Pervert Death Hammer on drums. Yeah this is a winner in my book.
PAGANIZER - Land of Weeping Souls
Transcending Obscurity Records
A little history for ya, years ago when this band's Scandinavian Warmachine full length came out I saw some music scribe mistakenly lump them in with all of those newer acts as part of what the media called the New Wave of Old School Swedish Death Metal Revival. That was in 2009 and PAGANIZER had been around for a decade already. I'm sure they felt honored by the press acknowledgement. Actually I doubt it. That's the problem with trends, revivals and flavor of the month picks by the media. They overlook acts that have been around for a while who've doing the same damm thing as well as being damm good at it.
So as PAGANIZER is close to celebrating a twenty year mark next year here is their tenth full length. Don't even ask me how many short form releases they have out, there are plenty plus compilation albums to boot. Mainman Rogga Johansson (guitars/vocals) has kept this band going since 1998. Ya gotta respect that as well as his work in so many other band projects. Land of Weeping Souls is the band's first new full length since 2013's World Lobotomy and also features newer band members Kjetil Lynghaug on guitar and Martin Klasen on bass. Longtime drummer Matthias Fiebig fills out the line-up
This new one is being billed as "their fiercest and tightest yet". I'm guessing the hype comes from the reaction to last years On the Outskirts of Hades four song EP which also came out on Transcending Obscurity Records. Be that as it may when you open up your album with a song that's a Pinhead quote, "Your Suffering Will Be Legendary", then yeah fierce is obvious. On a whole Land of Weeping Souls is a not a total throwback to the past but is more like an older band pulling up their boot straps and acknowledging the new with a verocity that is unmatched. While the first half of this release was decent then "The Insanity Never Stops" rips forth and all doubts are forgotten.
I could go on song through song but no. Rogga Johansson reminds me of VADER's Peter Wiwczarek, a veteran death metaller who gets better with age. On here his riffs and vocals almost sound like he's out to make a statement. The soloing by Kjetil Lynghaug adds a better dimension to the sound, it's old school with short sharp shocks of pain. This release reminds me of one by GRAVE a few years back. Basically another older Swedish death metal act (but my alltime favorite) who after a few lackluster releases put out one that just peeled facial skin off from the naysayers. The same thing works here.
ALL SORROWS BEHELD– Self Titled
A one man black metal act from the states? Wow that's a stretch? Ah yeah I'm being phacicious but the whole one man black metal act thing has become a trend to the point where the music actually sounds great as opposed to years ago. Technology has been the savior to these lonesome devils. Case in point this eponymous debut full length release from a guy named Cinis sounds far better than some actual full lineup black metal bands I've checked out.
The tagline description for this is atmospheric black metal but for me this is far more extreme. Musically this sounds like the artist is being torn inside out. This is the sound of a soul truly being tortured to the limits of human suffering. The songs, eight in all, are not very long drawn out dirges. Most run around five minutes which is about as much of a musical pain tolerance your average listener can take without boredom setting in. A lot of this is mid tempo tremolo picked riffs with mechanical drum pounding action. What brings on the pain is when Cinis lets loose with his agonizing vocals.
This release does touch all the bases as far as being standard usbm atmospheric black metal. The harsh distorted guitar sound, especially on doom influenced cuts enhances things further. BUT, I mentioned before it's technology these days that keeps things at an even keel. This release opens with intensity, keeps pushing the limits but starts to flatten out near the end. I thought the long instrumental was a drawback and the final cut irrellevent. Be that as it may ALL SORROWS BEHELD's debut is still something I'd return to any late night when I need my sorrows peeled away in order to expose the delicate layers of pain
DREAM TROLL- The Knight of Rebellion
As I look at the He-Man cartoon inspired album cover I was surprised this release didn't start out with their vocalist shouting "By the Power of Greyskull". Albeit cheesy I wouldn't consider it out of place. Also since this band is English I'd guess they wouldn't notice any sense of humor by it. Be that as it may here is a five piece from Leeds who believe in keeping heavy metal from the 80's alive with their debut full length. Get in line then since there's already an army of genre devotees out there already in the front lines.
DREAM TROLL's take on heavy metal is part nwobhm, part power metal and part prog. The structure of all of their songs harvest all three elements in a way that's enjoyable. You won't find any extreme riffs but there's plenty of guitar melody to go around as well as intricate soloing. Vocals are clean and at times soar out in that power metal fashion. The rthym section holds things together. The lyrics fall into that fantasy catagory, epic battles, etc. This is like DREAM THEATER lite. It's really not my bag but still it's a high end release for fans.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
It's the return of reviewing band videos. Most blogs/websites like to say "Exclusive Premiere" of some band's video as if they're the only ones who get it sent to them. Bullshit! Usually I just re-post em on my Facebook page to let friends watch em and laugh. But I figured hey why not give em a chance here at SCUMFEAST METAL 666. So shall we begin?
CRYPT ROT - Pit Of Morbidity video
First off here's a video by Ohio's CRYPT ROT, a band who came out with their debut full length Embryonic Devils this year on Southern Lord. I did a review of that one if ya wanna check that out. Warning it's not pretty.
What we have here is a video of a song from that release. Roll it!
Ya know I could be fair to this if it was some sort of school project or a mockery video for friends to watch as they kick back and party down. But no this is actually supposedly serious which is all the more worse. Frankly this just made me laugh especially at their use of corpse paint. NEXT!!!
SUNKEN - Sunken video
From Denmark we get a video titled "Sunken" by the band named SUNKEN. Thankfully they named their full length Departure. Musically this is basically atmospheric black metal, thirteen minutes worth. The full length came out this year on Triton's Orbit if you're interested. So lets not waste any more time.
I started getting Tourettes once the industrial style blastbeats kicked in and the forest footage flew by faster than a cheetah late for supper. I probably need to hear their whole album. Yeah the music is good but flooding all of that imagery to your visual senses is overkill. Nuff Said.
EPI-DEMIC - Ruthless Ambition Video
EPI-DEMIC are a cool hardcore three piece from Canada who lean more on the metallish side of the genre giving their sound a mid to late 80's old school feel. If you wanna know more than here's my review of their full length Malformed Conscience.
Here we have a video from a song off of that release which came out on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. So lets take a look at a band I've already given a cool review to.
OK guys yeah I love the music but hey filming a video in what looks like an apartment ain't cutting it for me. Sure there's a couple of animation add ons at the beginning and ending but hey it would've been better if you filmed it at a real venue with actual audience members thrashing to and throw. That would've been cool to watch.
ROTTEN SOUND - Trashmonger Video
Finland's ROTTEN SOUND really don't need an introduction but hey sometimes ya have to. Since the mid-90's they've been one of the best grindcore bands in the world. I don't believe I'm speaking hyperbole either. I was lucky enough to see em once about a decade ago, wow time fuckin flys. This song here is from their 2016 full length Abuse to Suffer which came out Season of Mist. The label just put this video out now so go figure.
It's grindcore and it's a live performance shot. They go together and I think anything otherwise would not do the band justice. Now if you like this then you really need to check out their Murderlive DVD which is a compilation of live show footage and extras from 2002 and 2003.
And finally, I was going to do a review of a video by this certain artist who hipsters defend but die hard fans of black metal don't. I won't be writing a single word about this artist simply because it's controversy which keeps this artist's name alive and this artist is thriving on victimhood. This artist would not have a career in metal if not for creating a self made controversy in order to get their name out there and have people talking. I still take shots at hipsters but if I talk about this artist then I'm simply feeding them. So I say Fuck that artist. Now if you wanna see a real woman in black metal then here's a classic.
Friday, September 8, 2017
EORONT - Another Realm
Hey I love my atmospheric black metal just as much as any other self righteous, over-bearing elitist but I do draw the line at overly long intros to releases. The opening song on here, "The Rain" takes three and half minutes of ambient keyboards to the hilt before the first crash of a cymbal or a guitar string strummed. So if that's the only thing I can say bad about this release then hey that's just a peeve.
Another Realm is the second full length by this Russian band. From what I gather EORONT use to be a solo project by multi-instrumentalist Foltath Eternum. Then in 2014 he added permanent band mates on bass, drums and keyboards while he concentrated on guitar, vocals and writing sinister sounding black metal which is cool as all hell late at night. I tried to listen to this early in the day at first and it just didn't click. EORONT first started out in 2012 and like I mentioned earlier as a solo project by Foltath Eternum. I never heard the debut release or the EP, both from 2013. But I will say this is good.
EORONT, like so many other cool bands of the blackened Eastern Europe to Russia acts, toss in so much non trendy non black metal influences in that you wouldn't know it anymore because it sounds so fluid and natural. The use of keyboards on here sounds just as important as the tremolo picked riffs and bass that you can actually hear and acknowledge as important. The first two cuts were not that impressive but when "Genesis" hit then the whole pattern of listening changed. Now this is prog injected into black metal that actually sounds right.
Another Realm is seven cuts all together and all long but hey it's atmospheric black metal. I'll say half the time it's exciting as if I've just snorted my coffee grinds and I do like Folgers Morning Brew. Other times I wished I had a cigarette lit (Please Note I don't smoke in my new place) so I could burn myself when the progressive passages take me on a dream state. Be that as it may I will say that EORONT have introduced a better job at inducing prog (keyboards and song structure as major players) into the black metal cannon than any other band before. So many times it's been used as a prop but not on here. I mean on the closer "The Order of Light" there's a hint of over indulgence but that's what it's all about. I just want to listen to this every other night because I grew up in the 70s and I love black metal. Nuff Said.
DODSENGEL - Interequinox
Debemur Morti Productions
On the blog here it says (well it use to say it) that 99.9% of music listeners hate extreme metal. I'll go a bit further in saying that 99.9% of black metal fans don't even know who DODSENGEL are. I mean you won't see them on magazine covers. They don't write columns for hipster websites. They won't be playing their 2012 two hour plus opus Imperator live in order to sell some merch. You can't tell them how much you love em on Facebook because they have no Facebook page. Hell if you belong to some black metal group on Facebook or elsewhere and asked one hundred people if they owned all of their previous releases you would get one hundred yes's but ninety percent of em would be lying.
What I'm trying to convey (and it's not elitism) is that DODSENGEL are one of the best bands to come out of Norway's black metal scene in the past decade but not many people seem to acknowledge that. They do what black metal acts are suppose to do, put out good music and that's about it. Although I did have a hard time with their last one. Two hour long dinks, come on. Well be that as it may here is this duo's fourth full length which still sticks with what this band has always done. DODSENGEL takes the Norwegian black metal template and evolves within it. So many other acts try adding outside influences into their blackened sound to the point of trendiness. DODSENGEL just keep you guessing whether it's their twisted vocals, the unsettling melodies which either creep you out or blow you away which just keeps you transfixed. Another great release by them.
Monday, September 4, 2017
FLESHPRESS - Hulluuden muuri
First I saw the name then the country of origin and finally the genre tag of doom. Yeah I know this band or better yet I knew of them years ago. Here's a band that mixed plenty of blackened insanity into what I thought was the borrowed cannon of the Amphetamime Reptile records plus enough nerve to call em the Finnish version of UPSIDEDOWN CROSS. All of that came from listening to their Pillars LP and that's from 2007. That thing was sludge, doom, psych and plenty of vodka.
Actually I thought that was it for them I mean sure they've been around for years starting in 2000. But who or should I say what label would put up with this racket. Obviously no one since this is self released and they've been quiet for a few years now. So what we have here is more insanity with the band taking a full plunge into distorto doom/sludge/noise rock with fuckin keyboards. Yes "whatafuck" is a perfect analogy. Even more insane is that now the vocals are being sung in Finnish.
Hulluuden muuri is the kind of release which will be spun by late night college radio djs. Afterwhich they'll follow it up with some Icelandic synth folk pop because they think they're hip. After that you can slit your wrists. Yes this seven song release is for the modern Manson family devotees. Psych damaged maniacal sludgey doom without hope or penance. Who knew the Hammond B-3 organ could be used as a weapon. Right now Keith Emerson is spinning in his grave.
Supposedly this is a push towards intensity that the band has yet to put forth live but will. OK so while listening to this I would keep the sharp objects locked up. Yeah right, that's bullshit, you'll have pen and paper ready for the note you'll write prior to going on a killing spree which won't be for religious or social reasons. It's the music, it's the music.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
SERPENTSHRINE - Besetting the Altar
Well I've written about black metal acts from all over the world so why not one from a nearby vacation spot. At this point in time the idea of judging a band, especially one of this genre, from where they come from is long over. Also from my experience some of the more interesting black metal acts are now coming from non traditional places. As I've mentioned many times I live in North Carolina and over the past decade my northern neighbors have bestowed on us many a good band who hang within the darkness. Here's the latest one.
SERPENTSHRINE are a three piece black metal act who hail from Virginia Beach, Virginia. What makes this their debut full length interesting is a split formula. First off it's what they're not which is good. They're not more generic blackened thrash or blackened prog rock. Secondly their sound on here has an old school BM quality going for it. Basically this is a band who know how to introduce intricate and beautiful sounding guitar segues inbetween harsh melodies. Along with their blackened influences they add in some classic metal power chord barrages and death metal passages. What obviously stands out the most is the searing guitar soloing. The vocals sound like a young Shagrath which I think sounds cool as fuck.
I'm not going to say Besetting the Altar is a perfect release. There are times when you feel/hear demo quality imperfections which a bigger budget production would cover. Out of the nine cuts on here a few mix in too much outsider genre influences that doesn't make it unique at all. In fact if they had a female keyboard player in a low cut outfit then I'd say hello to 2008 again. But they don't so I hope this band continues on the course which they're headed. This debut shows promise especially while I listen to it while a thunderstorm is raging outside.
PERSECUTORY - Towards the Ultimate Extinction
Godz Ov War Productions
Well since this band is from Turkey I'll say they came up with a relevent band name. Now as far as them being tagged as a blackened thrash act well I disagree. This is the full length debut by PERSECUTORY a fearsome four piece act from Istanbul who's sound is more straight up black metal, which in the early days was thrashy. The band also wastes no time in proving so by literally blasting forth from the start of this album. Why waste time when your purpose is to destroy?
Musically the band relies on relentless riffs, sledgehammer drumming, cavernous vocal shouts and gutteral groans with an occaisional Attila Csihar style creepy spoken word drop. The overal sound is basically murky and raw. Whether that's on purpose or cost effective is not known. The band doesn't stray much from the relentless riff structure, maybe teasing a bit by the midway point when they actually slow down for a short crawl. Actually this reminds me more of black metal from South America then say Eastern Europe.
Which brings up another point, I figured they'd at least toss in some eastern flavor or local folk instrumentation. But no PERSECUTORY just stoke the furnace red hot and shove your head inside. Seven cuts lasting just short of forty two minutes. The suffering is on your part.
EXPULSION - Nightmare Future
Here we have a REPULSION/EXHUMED supergroup. Yeah it's death grind, very good but hey how would it not be especially with the likes of Matt Olivo, Matt Harvey and Danny Walker involved and having Menno Verbaten from LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH is the icing on the filth cake. Yeah this is a seven song EP which lasts around fourteen minutes. Need I say more?
Yeah I think I should. Basically EXPULSION is four extreme music vets getting together for some old school death grind fun. I'm not going to waste time dissecting a bunch of two minute songs. I will say it's because of the experience in musicianship that the songs on here are concise and complete. They don't go brutal for brutal's sake which is why this is a great release.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
METALSUCKS IS PUSHING A HOAX
op/ed by Mr. Wolf
If you are into Extreme Metal then by now you've heard about the website MetalSucks publishing a letter from some anti-fascist group that calls on the record label and distro HELLS HEADBANGERS to stop distributing merch by labels they deem to promote nazi propaganda. Here's the full text of the article:
An Open Letter to Hells Headbangers Records to Stop Releasing and Distributing Metal by White Supremacists
AUGUST 24TH, 2017
MetalSucks was recently contacted by a group of metal musicians identifying itself as The Anti-NSBM Working Group to ask if we’d publish an open letter they’d drafted addressed to metal label and distro Hells Headbangers (sic). The goal: to call on Hells Headbangers to “cease releasing and distributing Nazi propaganda.”
Recent events in Charlottesville and elsewhere are a striking reminder of the danger and threat the extreme right poses. Metal and other underground music genres are major venues for neo-Nazis and fascists to propagandize and recruit. This is unacceptable to us, and so we are taking action to remove them from our community.
It’s important that we make a distinction here: the owners and staff of Hells Headbangers are not, as far as we know, white supremacists or far-right extremists. The vast majority of the labels they distribute and the bands whose records they release aren’t either, and we’re not condemning any of those. We’re simply calling on Hells Headbangers to stop participating in the spread of hate through tacit endorsement and participation, and to eliminate the extremist labels and bands from their roster.
Here is the open letter in full:
Over the last decade and a half you’ve risen to become one of the strongest underground metal labels. You’ve released many of the best recent records in the genre from bands new and old, and your brand has come to be synonymous with true, uncompromising cult metal. For this we salute you.
In recent years, though, you’ve also become one of the most prominent distributors of NSBM and similar right-wing extremist music in the USA. We understand that your label is conceived of as apolitical and that you’re in it for the metal and not the ideologies expressed; however, you’re playing a leading role in normalizing neo-Nazi ideals in our genre and in providing a venue for this kind of bigoted propaganda.
We are living in times in which the extreme right is resurgent around the world and in which neo-Nazis have no qualms about targeting and murdering immigrants, LGBT people, racial minorities, and leftists. Fascists are using metal for propaganda and recruiting ends, and your distro and label are enabling them. This is no time for apolitical fence sitting, and we request that you take a stand towards a better state of things for metal.
With respect and appreciation for the bulk of your releases, we ask you to clean up your act and promptly do the following:
1. Cease your distribution of NS and far-right labels such as (but not limited to) Darker than Black, Pagan War, Werewolf Records, and Elegy Records
2. Purge your distro of NS/far-right releases and your label of NS/far-right bands, including Intolitarian and releases by SSP/Deathangle Absolution
3. Publicly commit to a policy, going forward, of avoiding relationships with NS/far-right bands, artists, and labels.
Should you fail to do so, we call for a boycott of your label by metal journalists, distros, venues and fans, and will apply whatever other pressure we find appropriate. Your label is known for its high aesthetic standards; please consider whether you also want it to be known for promoting neo-Nazi trash.
Entirely independent of the above letter and The Anti-NSBM Working Group, MetalSucks would also like to request that Hells Headbangers add a fucking apostrophe to its label name where it fucking belongs, fer chrissakes. OK? Thanks.
OK so when I first saw this I thought hey fuck this Anti-NSBM Working Group as well as MetalSucks for allowing any group to demand censorship. I figured that was that but recently Decibel Magazine's website Deciblog published an op/ed by EXHUMED's Matt Harvey which was all about not being able to censor NSBM. It was a good piece by the way. Which brought me back to looking at the Metalsucks article. That's when my bullshit detector went off and I was pissed at myself for not seeing it at first. After doing some simple research it's obvious that MetalSucks is involved in a hoax and here's why.
Like plenty of others once I read the article I looked up who this Anti-NSBM Working Group was. I found nothing on the net about them except for some Bandcamp page with some anti-fascist punks trying to hock their three music comps. I didn't notice anything metal about that. Now you would think a group with the guts to call on a record label to cease selling a product or else face a boycott would have an official website or at least a Facebook page. But this Anti-NSBM Working Group has neither which makes you wonder are they even legit. Furthermore if I can question their legitimacy and come away with thinking they're bogus then why didn't the people at MetalSucks do the same? The website clearly says they were "recently contacted by a group of metal musicians identifying itself as The Anti-NSBM Working Group to ask if we’d publish an open letter they’d drafted." OK so where's their website? You got an email address so what is it? Or is MetalSucks just stupid enough to fall for a hoax?
I doubt MetalSucks fell for a bogus letter in fact I believe it's obvious that they are behind it. But the question needs to be asked why would they? MetalSucks is a mainstream metal site which in the past has posted articles that are just provocative enough to drag in readership from outside their base. So creating a hoax to get some clicks on their site makes sense especially when the people behind MetalSucks are attention seekers. Then there's the target in this hoax, Hells Headbangers. Why pick them out of many many other labels/distros that also distribute merch by NSBM bands? Last year MetalSucks even promoted the label's signature music fest. So what's happened in one year? When you read the whole piece it's hard to distinguish what was MetalSucks writing and the open letter. For example "It’s important that we make a distinction here: the owners and staff of Hells Headbangers are not, as far as we know, white supremacists or far-right extremists." That sentence is attributed to MetalSucks. It's not in the letter and furthermore what's with the "as far as we know" assertion? That tosses in a veil of suspicion.
MetalSucks is openly clear that their political and social views are firmly planted on the left side of the aisle. That's fine they can do that. If they wanna believe that everyone who is on the other side of the aisle is evil that's fine too. They have their opinion and that's fine but it doesn't make it a fact. If this hoax was used in order to open a dialog or debate about NSBM then there's a problem because that debate has been already done. The outcome was simple, if you don't like NSBM then don't listen to it, don't buy it and don't dictate to black metal fans. Period, end of story.
Just for the record I support Hells Headbangers. I buy their releases. I review their releases. If you think that's bias then fuck off idiot. I support plenty of record labels and I review releases from plenty of labels. I don't review everything or support every label that sends something in. I choose what I want to buy or review. It's called freedom of choice. I don't lie awake at night thinking of ways to force labels to stop selling merch by bands I don't like. So with that said we can all come up with questions as to why MetalSucks produced this hoax. But the bottom line is clear, this was a hoax.
Monday, August 28, 2017
DEVIL ELECTRIC - Self Titled
Around ten years ago I started seeing female fronted doom/seventies hard rock style bands as a trend with good and bad points. Obviously the good were bands that had all around great talent. The bad ones were show boats with average sounds but hey "we've got a woman singer dude". Ah yeah whatever but thankfully over the years it's been the good which has become the standard and it's about damm time. Hell these days you really don't even wanna use the phrase "female fronted", not because some pc pussy said so, but because it's just unnecessary when you deal with talent.
This debut full length by Australia's DEVIL ELECTRIC is pure talent with plenty of nods to the past with vocals that don't outshine the music. The sound has that catchy head banging SABBATH groove, along with a few borrowed Iomni riffs here and there. Singer Pierina O'Brien has a gutsy bluesy vocal style that fits absolutely well with the sound. Kinda like a more metallic version of the garage punk band THE DTs.
Ya know I've been listening to this release off and on for two weeks now and it just has that surperb quality to it which connects with me. I do have a huge palet when it comes to music and this act hits all buttons. Great release, one of the year's best.
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST - Exuvia
As far as German black metal goes I've always been a traditionalist. I like my MOONBLOOD, ENDSTILLE, NARGAROTH and KATHARSIS. Just to name a few that is and yes all classic hate filled bands. Although in more recent years I've allowed certain German black metal acts that hang off the template by their fingernails. I'm talking about bands like SECRETS OF THE MOON and THE RUINS OF BEVERAST. I first got into this act because it's the solo project of Alexander von Meilenwald who was once in another cool German black metal band NAGELFAR. Obviously this project is a far cry from his previous work.
This is THE RUINS OF BEVERAST's fifth full length. I own three prievious ones and must say 2006's Rain upon the Impure and 2009's Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite are pretty damm good. I never owned the first one and thought 2013's Blood Vaults was a bit boring. So here we have the latest and my thoughts on Exuvia are mixed. On the plus side I like how this sticks with the blackened doom esthetics of past releases albeit still keeping the blacks very black. That's what Von Meilenwald does so well.
So what's not to like? Well there's too much, no there's way too much repetition. I like all six cuts on here but their lengths are based on the continuous repeated riffs that crawl along like a snail. The opening title track is over fifteen minutes long. The first time I listened to it at the ten minute mark I left the room to make coffee. I came back and it was still playing and I hadn't missed a beat. Then there's "The Pythia´s Pale Wolves" which is an incredible song, my favorite on here, with those airy ethereal female wails backed with a sonically charged rhythm. Then the thing ends with a blackened maelstrom. Sure that's great but by the twelve minute mark you kinda wander and the ending is a let down.
The bottom line is that too much of a good thing gets boring. Also I'm not into the whole tribal thing Von Meilenwald is pushing with the chants and spoken word portions. Also I'd swear that "Towards Malakia" is a reworking of something KATATONIA did years ago but hey you can blacken anything these days. Still this is better than Blood Vaults.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
UNHOLY BAPTISM - On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss
To quote Charles Caleb Colton, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". But in this band's case, sincerity in what they do is putting it lightly. UNHOLY BAPTISM are a two piece black metal act from Flagstaff, Arizona although according to them it's the "frigid northern woodlands of Arizona". Yeah well be that as it may this duo's debut full length is perfection in homage to Norwegian black metal from the early nineties. Imagine the best aspects of that metal scene all incorporated into one horrific and doomish entity.
Over the years there's been plenty of US bands who have been influenced by Norwegian black metal. Some even copy the whole schtick in order to be taken seriously. UNHOLY BAPTISM are of a different mindset. The band, made up of Mantus (guitar, bass, drums & vocals) and Moloch (lead guitar & drums) started out in 2008. In 2010 they put out a five song self titled EP. Because of their real life constraints (aka: jobs) they put a hold onto this project for a few years before taking on the creation which is this full length.
So as I alluded to before, the eleven tracks on here are not by a band trying to copy the old sound and fury. Instead it's all in homage to their respect for that era of music. According to the band's website this is probably a one off thing as they are now writing material for their next release. I'm guessing that'll be different. Musically well I could play this for someone and say it's an old forgotten side project recording from 1992 by members of EMPEROR, DARKTHRONE and SATYRICON with Maniac on vocals. I doubt they'd believe it but then again?
BARBARIAN - Barbarian 7"er
Hells Headbangers Records
Well fuck me running but I am late for BARBARIAN's wake of ruining people's lives via their brand of filthy speed metal. This 7"er is to coincide the band's tour of the United States starting now in August. So once again fuck me running because BARBARIAN have been kicking ass and taking names for a good seven years now and putting out one split EP and three full lengths. Their last one, Cult of the Empty Grave, was also on Hells Headbangers.
Musically what you have here is an Italian three piece, one of whom is also in the very cool CHILDREN OF TECHNOLOGY who I had written about in 2010. This band's method of audio obuse upon listeners is speed metal via totally filthy and at times blackened something or other. Either way it's two songs that are insane enough speed metal to rattle your windows and piss off your neighbors even though your windows are closed. Now I've gotta look up their tour schedule. Oh well I did and they're just stopping short of coming to my town. Fuck Me Runnin!!!!
Monday, August 7, 2017
MANDRAGORA MALEVOLA - Awakening the Impvre
I am astounded, seriously I am, of the amount of unsigned bands whose creative talent in the extreme matters equals or surpasses many bands that labels shove at us to consume. Case in point here we have a two piece act from Portuguese whose debut full length delves into everything blackened death has to offer and adds various touches of harmony both in song structure as well as instrumentation.
This two piece act consists of Slade Von Kaos, formerly of the band TRIBA, who performs the vocals and Ignifervm, who I believe is still in two other Portuguise bands CARMA and EVERTO SIGNUM, and is responsible for all the instrumentation. Which aside from the obvious metal related instruments also includes acoustic guitar and keyboards. Prior to this they put out a demo in 2015 titled Black Flame ov Illumination which was probably a testing of the waters so to speak to see how successful if anything more would occur. Obviously it did.
Awakening the Impvre falls into the category of a blackened death opus as well as story telling concept album inspired by the biblical Cain, the first man to kill. The eleven cuts on here span a variety of tempos and fluxes with the usual electrical fuse buzz of blackened tremolo guitar riffs, blast-beat runs and Von Kaos' vocals which range from harsh shrieks to guttural barks of malevolence. The key to this whole release is it's flow which is not on repeat between songs. Instead of neck breaking changes in structure this duo keeps the pace smooth throughout. Good songwriting can have your face ripping off at one moment while next sopping up the blood with a keyboard interlude.
Like I mentioned in my opening paragraph, there are plenty of metal record labels who profess to be progressive minded or forward thinking (a term I really despise) with their releases. And yet they pour out unlistenable pap. Here we have a band whose release not only captures the extreme elements of the blackened death genre but adds to it in ways that make it beautiful as well as wanting it as a destination for repeated listens which I've been doing all weekend. Late Sunday was the coolest.
Some releases really take no time to talk about. You know their names and what to expect, so do I. Here's a bunch of short reviews on those easy to handle releases.
IMMOLATION - Atonement
I must admit that IMMOLATION are my favorite NYDM act, have been since their debut. They've done well with combining the ferocity with the technical sides of death metal. In a word, they are consistent even at this point with this their tenth full length. BUT with all of that comes the expectations of each new release. Personally I think they peaked with 2011's Majesty and Decay and they have been coasting ever since. So this one's just a decent coaster.
WOLFBRIGADE - Run With The Hunted
After listening to this I wanna play some POISON IDEA (aka: real hardcore). By the way the promo tagline on this is " d-beat, hardcore, crust-punk fury". Yeah whatever, basically I remember this Swedish band as WOLFPACK in the late nineties and later in the 2000s they changed it to WOLFBRIGADE. I remember some indie rock losers were really into em back then and since they had a member(s) from ANTI-CIMEX in the band that gave em street cred. Actually this ain't a bad release especially since they're totally borrowing riffs (I'll be nice and won't say steal) from POISON IDEA.
NIDINGR - The High Heat Licks Against Heaven
This is Teloch's other band which he was in previously prior to joining MAYHEM. I think the only reason Indie Records (a label I've always liked and have quite a few releases by) will move any copies of this is because of the MAYHEM connection. Be that as it may this sucks, it blows and it's not black metal. Musically it's more in the vein of a wanna be blackened latter day VOIVOD with an emo style vocalist and Teloch uses leftover riffs from Esoteric Warfare which was not that good of a release.
HARK - Machinations
Season of Mist
This shit reminds me of the FOO FIGHTERS or QUEENS OF THE STONEAGE style shit mixed with BARONESS and MASTODON. Basically we're talking about indie metal from years ago, which indie rock losers went apeshit over and got major airplay on college radio, mixed up with the crap from a few years ago.