Saturday, July 22, 2017 04:44

Archive for November, 2012

PENDULUM – LES FRAGMENTS DU CHAOS (Hass Weg Productions)

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

I’ve had this CD for quite a while now and had no intention of reviewing it but I’ve changed my mind because I’m listening to ‘Les Fragments Du Chaos’ right now … again … for the umpteenth time … and I think some form of acknowledge is due, even if only by way of a short review.

I realise that most of you won’t have heard of Pendulum and I accept that it is a truly crap name for a Black Metal band, but this is actually a really good full-length, a release that is destined to slip under the radar largely unnoticed but which is worthy of consideration at the very least.

By and large, we are served eight helpings of mid- to fast-paced blackness with plenty of melody, mid-song pace variations and a slight depressive bent. Clearly, this is not the best Black Metal album of all time, nor the most innovative but, as I’ve said countless times before, innovation is over-rated. What’s wrong with sticking to a formula that works?

Evilometer: 444/666

MONS VENERIS – O SEU TRONO NOS NOSSOS OSSOS (You Are Nothing)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

In some ways, it’s a real pity that Mons Veneris is so essentially underground. The identity of the band member(s) is unclear and releases – which are at least plentiful – are low-key, scattered, short, limited, random and generally difficult to acquire. There has only been one actual full-length and as far as I know it was only released on cassette. I don’t have it.

I do, however, possess an increasing number of splits, cassettes and EPs from the Portuguese act (these appear to be the preferred medium of communication) and I have been mightily impressed by both the style and sheer quality of twisted Black Metal found on most of these. The one we’re concerned with here, ‘O Seu Trono Nos Nossos Ossos’, is a one-sided, three-track cassette and one of the songs is just an intro, so we only get two tunes proper.

Eighteen minutes in total isn’t a whole pile to get your teeth into but this tape is inexpensive and should appeal to anyone attracted to the nascent Lusitanian underground or to bands like classic Xasthur and / or The True Werwolf and/ or the majority of Mons Veneris’ associated compatriots. Depraved, chaotic, mournful grimness is the name of the game; truly majestic and enchanting despite its brevity.

Evilometer: 666/666

HELL MILITIA – JACOB’S LADDER LP (Season Of Mist)

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

This is another solid full-length from the French horde and I believe the vinyl format does it great justice. An already-enjoyable album is complemented by lovely artwork and packaging, with a different cover to the CD edition and a nice inner sleeve including the lyrics. It’s a cool record to look at anyway and I suppose that’s half the battle, eh?

As for the actual music, Hell Militia has incorporated some movie (I think…) samples etc. into their sound this time around and the whole thing seems somewhat more experimental than I remember the superb ‘Canonisation Of The Foul Spirit’ and equally-worthy ‘Last Station On The Road To Death’ being. By and large, the experimentation pays off – I especially enjoy the gargled vocals on ‘Death Worship’ (which resurface on other parts of the LP).

Hell Militia are more melodic than their sinister handle might suggest and the production on this album is really clear and crisp, resulting in a Black Metal record that’s certainly more polished than raw. In some regards, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ is more David Lynch soundtrack than bullet belts and arm spikes but – even though I normally prefer my BM to stay close to the original template – I still like it. (And, fear not, there’s still a lot of Black Metal on here as well as a bit more of the kitchen sink than I am accustomed to with this band.)

Evilometer: 555/666

SENTIMEN BELTZA – ZULO BELTZ ETA SAKON HONETAN (Bubonic Productions / Thor’s Hammer Productions)

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Zulo Beltz Eta Sakon Honetan’ is Sentimen Beltza’s third full-length in as many years (and fourth in total). They’ve also released four splits and an EP, the splits being so underground that I haven’t managed to get my hands on any of them. Regular readers will however know that I’ve bought all the albums and, well, I probably should be growing bored of the epic, depressive Black Metal offerings of this one-man Basque entity by now. But I’m not.

Like the excellent ‘Olabezarko Basoen Bakardadea’ and ‘Bizitza Osoan Zehar Sortu Den Etsipenaren Ondorioak’, this is another superb collection of soaring, emotional BM anthems, six in total clocking in at 55 minutes. It’s raw and dissonant, yet melodic and well-produced. Everything a good album should be, really. Having set the bar ridiculously high on previous outings, Oindurth SaVinitta has left himself in a position where clearly the only way is down.

Thankfully, though, the almost inevitable descent hasn’t started yet and Sentimen Beltza scales spectacular heights once more on this latest voyage. Worthy.

Evilometer: 666/666

VOMITCHAPEL – THE HOUSE OF THE LORD DESPOILED (Osmose Productions)

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Vomitchapel is Ghoat, the same person responsible for acts such as Hills of Sefiroth, Father Befouled and the rather magnificent Encoffination, to name just three. If you haven’t yet encountered the latter, check them out immediately, especially their debut full-length, ‘Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh’, and the recently-released ‘Elegant Funerals For The Unknown Dead’ MLP – some of the most inspirational Death Metal you’re going to hear…

How and ever, returning to the matter at hand, Vomitchapel spews out bestial, blasphemous lo-fi fare that’s a 50/50 bastard hybrid of Death Metal and Black Metal. Guttural, depraved and perverse in equal measures, ‘The House Of The Lord Despoiled’ is ugly, perverse and irreverent, tipping its festered cap at legendary virgin-ruining acts such as Archgoat, Black Witchery, Havohej and Profanatica.

The album is brilliantly executed and I’m sure it achieves everything it sets out to achieve. But it’s also ridiculously short at 27 minutes and, no matter how good the music might be (and I find it quite uninspired, to be honest), this is a massive let-down. For that reason alone, I’m not going to recommend Vomitchapel’s debut. A nice tribute, but nothing more.

Evilometer: 333/666

SACRILEGIOUS IMPALEMENT – II – EXALTED SPECTRES LP (Hammer Of Hate)

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

I’ve postponed writing this review on a number of occasions due to a mixture of uncertainty, laziness and downright indecision. It’s a bitch when you’re not sure what you think of an album! Is ‘II – Exalted Spectres’ just another run-of-the-mill Black Metal LP or is it a solid example of how Black Metal can – and should – be performed? Not sure – it seems to be falling between two stools.

On one hand, I’m thinking there’s nothing special going on here. Then again, I wonder what the fuck was I expecting? At the end of the day, I love Black Metal and Sacrilegious Impalement perform it with gusto. And the reason why this site exists is to promote the style of music I enjoy. So I’m giving SI the benefit of the doubt. There is a lot of shit masquerading as Black Metal and these Finns do not deserve to be placed anywhere near that category.

This is by no means a great release bit it is nonetheless a very good one and the long-awaited vinyl version is definitely worth having (nice record; lovely cover; full 12″ x 12″ lyric sheet included). If you enjoy aggressive yet polished Black Metal, then you can’t go wrong here. ‘II – Exalted Spectres’ is a fine full-length but don’t be expecting an exceptional one.

Evilometer: 444/666

ACERBITAS – URKAOSETS SVARTA VREDESDOM MLP (Afgrundsvisioner / Ancient Records)

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

For a MLP, this is very generously endowed, clocking in at around 37 minutes (an intro, an outro and four songs proper). Recorded in 2009, ‘Urkaosets Svarta Vredesdom’ wasn’t released on CD until 2011 and didn’t see the light of day on vinyl until June of this year (due to “issues with previous labels”).

It’s been a long wait for those who knew the album was imminent (nobody, probably) but it has arguably been worth every minute because Acerbitas proves itself to be something really special on this debut release, written a whopping seven years ago.

Urkaosets Svarta Vredesdom’ comprises mid-paced, swirling, haunting Black Metal, a gradual maelstrom that slowly and deliberately wraps its tendrils around you, sucking you in, crushing the life from you and leaving you in a state of bliss (i.e. dead). Sir N. (also of Grav, Svartrit and Dödfödd, to name just a few) is the lone operator behind this project and he proves himself to be a very talented ghoul, with a real ear for conjuring just the right atmosphere of darkness and decay.

This is a very easy review to write. Great music that has been done justice by its vinyl incarnation, of the underground yet undeniably accessible, ‘Urkaosets Svarta Vredesdom’ is probably a record that all Black Metal fans should investigate. Shame the bonus track from the CD wasn’t included on the record, though.

Evilometer: 555/666

BEHEXEN – NIGHTSIDE EMANATIONS LP (Debemur Morti Productions)

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Arriving with neither hype nor fanfare, Behexen’s fourth full-length is one of those albums that could easily slip under the radar. It would be a shame if that were to happen, however, as ‘Nightside Emanations’ is as solid and competent a Black Metal record as you’re likely to hear in these days of banal and humdrum inoffensiveness. Behexen are masters of their craft and – even though this isn’t their best album – it’ still a hell of a lot better than most of their so-called peers.

The real clincher is the sheer quality of the vinyl edition, which (as is always the case with DMP) looks, feels and sounds magnificent. A 16-page booklet is attached to the gatefold cover and the whole unit is truly a thing of absolute beauty. (I bought the CD edition too and it also looks pretty stellar.) Aesthetically, this is one of those records that you will be proud to own. The artwork and presentation are of the most supreme calibre possible and they elevate the album to heights that it might otherwise have failed to reach.

Not that the music is bad, mind you. Far from it, in fact. There are 50 minutes of superior Finnish Black Metal on here, all of which has been cleverly conceived and delightfully executed. Mostly mid-paced and creepy as hell itself, ‘Nightside Emanations’ is a surefire winner from start to finish. I would particularly recommend this to anybody who appreciates Gorgoroth or Watain.  Masters paying homage to their master, this is one of the safest purchases you’ll make this winter.

Evilometer: 555/666

MEPHORASH – CHALICE OF THAGIRION (Grom Records)

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

This is one of those easy-to-review albums that isn’t necessarily doing anything new but is nevertheless a fantastic listen as it delivers eleven stellar tracks of prime Scandinavian Black Metal with no obvious weakness. The production is grand, allowing the music to power through the speakers with force and intent and I would have no hesitation in recommending this Swedish band.

For the most part, ‘Chalice of Thagirion’ is unrelenting in the manner of a Watain or a Behexen but there is also some nice variety to be found on the album, which breaks up the monotony enough to encourage me to opt for repeated listens. There’s nearly an hour’s music on here and it rarely gets boring, showcasing harsh musicianship and grim vocals of the highest order.

Mephorash might be relatively unknown at present but, on the evidence of the entertaining tour de force that is ‘Chalice of Thagirion’, I believe this could change quickly. This is a solid offering of fierce blasting blackness with plenty of atmosphere and subtle diversions included to keep a smile on your face as you bang your head in total darkness. Like I said, nothing new … but old is better.

Evilometer: 555/666

ARYAN ART / CRIPTA OCULTA – Нашите Древни Символи / Os Nossos Símbolos Anciãos (Master Of All Evil)

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

The natural marriage between these two bands wasn’t wholly unexpected considering that Cripta Oculta’s last full-length, ‘Rios Que Correram… Rios Que Secaram’ was released in its (original) cassette format on the label fronted by Aryan Art mastermind Alexander.  That was a bloody fine release – and so is ‘Нашите Древни Символи / Os Nossos Símbolos Anciãos’.

The drawback is that there’s only one eleven-minute offering from each band but it must be pointed out that this is reflected in the price as these cassette releases are generally cheap as fuck. I only paid four or five quid for this one. And it’s a pro tape with lyrics included – not that those are worth a shit to me or to anyone else for that matter…

Aryan Art’s contribution starts off all shamanic like Blood of the Black Owl before developing into a raging piece of proud, traditional Black Metal that soars and screeches its way into the ear canal; Cripta Oculta delivers a (possibly more restrained) Lusitanian ode to honour that is on a par with the material on the aforementioned album of two years ago. All things considered, this is a great example of nationalistic BM from the ancient lands of Bulgaria and Portugal.

Evilometer: 555/666

BEKËTH NEXËHMÜ – DE DUNKLA HERRARNA LP (Ancient Records)

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

This rather amazing record was released over a year ago, but somehow it slipped right under my radar. I’ve luckily managed to get my hands on a copy this week and I’ve been listening to ‘De Dunkla Herrarna’ around the clock since the bountiful parcel arrived. To say that Bekëth Nexëhmü’s debut full-length is stunning would be an exercise in understatement..

De Dunkla Herrarna’ is actually classified as a Demo LP (???) but to be honest it is vastly superior to pretty much everything else I’ve been listening to lately. The album was recorded in just five days in February 2010 and comprises over 47 minutes of majestic, chilly, atmospheric Black Metal. There’s a lot of melody at work and blastbeats are totally eschewed in favour of slow- to mid-paced observations backboned by drums that genuinely sound like they were recorded in an ice cave.

The record itself keeps the DIY aesthetic of the underground alive as there’s no actual jacket, just a front and back 12” x 12” card and there’s a lyric sheet included but that’s gobbledegook to me. This record is mysterious, authentic, ancient yet ageless cold, cold, cold BM magic from the darkest shores of Sweden. If you don’t somehow get your hands on one of the 250 copies pressed, your life will be forever incomplete.

Evilometer: 666/666