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Archive for June, 2013

ANTEDILUVIAN – λόγος LP (Nuclear War Now!)

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Antediluvian - λόγοςTwo years on from the awesome ‘Through The Cervix Of Hawaah’, Antediluvian unleash their second full-length and it goes by the rather unusual moniker of ‘λόγος’ (AKA ‘Logos’ apparently). Fuck Logos; λόγος is a million times cooler! This new one clocks in at around 35 minutes and is about as impenetrable, inaccessible, messy and awkward as Death / Black(?) Metal gets.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I can’t help comparing Antediluvian to Portal. There’s just something about the wall-of-chaotic-sound approach of both bands that makes them almost interchangeable to my ears. For an ugly, ugly album, ‘λόγος’ really is something else…

The vinyl edition comes in a gatefold cover, with lyrics (not that you’ll be able to follow them!) included as well as the obligatory poster. The music is difficult – very like Portal’s latest effort, ‘Vexovoid’, but well worth persevering with. Not sure if it’s because I just get more accustomed to the chaos as I listen, but I find Side B an easier ride than Side A (although both are outstanding).

While not quite as obligatory as Antediluvian’s debut LP, ‘λόγος’ is nonetheless a resounding triumph for lo-fi, crushing, suffocating, underground Death / Black (?) Metal.

Evilometer: 666/666

AUTOPSY – THE HEADLESS RITUAL (Peaceville Records)

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Inevitably, the mighty Autopsy are starting to show their age. Twenty-four years since they exploded onto the Death Metal scene with the peerless ‘Severed Survival’, Chris Reifert and his cohorts spew out a sixth full-length and in truth – though it pains me to admit it – the magic is well and truly gone.

Autopsy is without doubt one of the greatest Death Metal bands of all time. Originators, innovators, trend-setters – they have inspired generations. But time waits for no man and it must be acknowledged with the arrival of ‘The Headless Ritual’ that they no longer sound fresh, inspired or dangerous.

The bottom line is that – no matter how hard they try – guys in their mid-40s won’t possess the energy, creativity and innocence they had in their early 20s. ‘Macabre Eternal’ defied the odds but this new one doesn’t.

While an Autopsy in decline is still way better than most other current bands in the subgenre (or any other) and there are certainly some enjoyable parts on this album, the reality is that it’s only vaguely interesting. After a couple of listens, I can take it or leave it. And I’m leaning towards the latter.

Evilometer: 333/666

PORTAL – VEXOVOID LP (Profound Lore Records)

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Portal - VexovoidPortal’s fourth full-length is a typically-challenging listen (although, to be fair, it is arguably more a mini-album than a full-length proper). There may be only 35 minutes of material on ‘Vexovoid’ but it’s so convoluted, abstract, inaccessible, complex, incoherent, disharmonic and headache-inducing that at times it seems to last for an eternity.

You will do well to wrap your head around this particular nightmare. How can an album that’s so downright difficult be so ridiculously rewarding? ‘Vexovoid’ reminds me of the heady days of yore when Death Metal was new and exciting and awkward to digest. It’s an absolute monster of an album, like a warped Gorguts on speed – only far better than that lame description suggests…

Insane, maniacal and very, very intelligent Death Metal that stands head and shoulders above most of the music I’ve listened to so far this year, ‘Vexovoid’ truly is a joy to behold. An LP to cherish, but – as I intimated at the outset – do not expect an easy ride. This is ugly and noisy. The vinyl edition is pure class, too. Bring the pain!

Evilometer: 666/666

PERFIDUS – I (Black Gangrene Productions)

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Perfidus - IIf I was in any way professional, conscientious or competent about what I do here, I’d have reviewed this cassette ages ago. I purchased ‘I’ almost twelve months hitherto and then completely forgot about it. My filing system is reasonably organised but I only spotted this one again recently … sitting benignly in a pile far removed from my main library of shit. A quick observation ensues, though I’m not sure if this debut demo is even available any more, doh!

There are three untitled tracks on the tape and the first of them is probably the pick of a well-above-average bunch (mellower and creepier, reminding me of Xasthur, Mons Veneris and Toil’s ‘Obscure Chasms’ for some reason), before we go into more typical Portuguese corrosive territory. Perfidus delivers savage, raw, not-giving-a-fuck-about-trends-or-people Black Metal – suitably dissonant, corrupt, horrible and unpalatable. Yet, there’s a charm and elegance (and, dare I say it, melody) to the buzzing maelstrom of barely-restrained chaos that has me going back time and time again (now that I’ve found it) for another peek / listen.

A cool band here (even if this release is all too fleeting) and one certainly worth keeping an eye / ear out for.

Evilometer: 444/666

CULTES DES GHOULES – HENBANE 2LP (Hells Headbangers)

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Cultes Des Ghoules - HenbandIt is creating quite a stir and my first impressions of this album were that it was quite amazing. Had I written this observation after one or two listens, then I would no doubt have been raving about ‘Henbane’ and it would have received full marks. However, upon repeated listens (and there have been many), much of its magic fades away. It’s still a good full-length but certainly not an exceptional one.

The double vinyl edition is splendid, enclosed in a gatefold jacket with the lyrics included on the inside fold. Speaking of the lyrics – and maybe this is because I’m getting older – they are unbelievably childish. The kind of infantile, puerile Satanism that prompts me to believe that perhaps God is the cooler of the two dumb inventions… (but not quite).

Anyway, Cultes Des Ghoules is an acquired taste; their sound is unique and pretty dramatic. Bordering on cinematic. They perform lengthy offerings of nasty, sinister, evil-as-all-fuck Black Metal that sounds sublime when you are in the mood and corny when you are not.

Henbane’ is almost an hour long and it is certainly worth checking out. But you’ll have forgotten all about it in six months’ time.

Evilometer: 333/666

Postscript: upon calm reflection, this is probably one of the most harsh reviews I’ve written. I should stay away from the laptop when I’m in a bad mood!

SODB – DON SEANTALAMH A CHUID FEIN LP (Into The Void Records)

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Sodb - Don Seantalamh a Chuid FéinDon Seantalamh A Chuid Féin’ is a demo which was originally released on cassette format last year and has just been reincarnated on vinyl by the guys who run Dublin’s only record store worth visiting. For the first time in 20 years, I actually purchased a record across the counter – happened to be in the city for the day and just popped in to save myself a few Euros on postage.

It was a nostalgic experience as the excitement of visiting record shops and taking the merchandise home for immediate consumption is largely a thing of the past in this modern era (not that this is a particularly bad thing, I suppose (cyberspace is handy)).

A fledgling Irish Black Metal band that delivers some truly hypnotic fare on this debut release, Sodb’s songs are haunting, melancholic, sombre yet uplifting in that twisted way. There’s a keen sense of melody in their work and a healthy dose of raw aggression as well. Four lengthy offerings comprise almost 35 minutes in total … and this costs just €12.

Half of the songs included are in the creators’ ancient native tongue and all lyrics are printed (as gaeilge and in English) on a nice inlay. Apart from the spoken part on ‘Tethered’ (which isn’t to my personal taste), I really, really like this record. Check it out.

Evilometer: 666/666

CLANDESTINE BLAZE – HARMONY OF STRUGGLE LP (Northern Heritage)

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Clandestine Blaze - Harmony Of StruggleFuck me – has it really been three years since ‘Falling Monuments’? My life must be accelerating past at a ludicrous pace because I thought that album only came out about a year ago… Fuck it! Clandestine Blaze’s seventh full-length, ‘Harmony Of Struggle’ is again released on Mikko’s own label and – as with everything he has delivered under this handle – it is typically excellent.

Listening along to this album, I am struck by the sheer enormity of what an artist like Mikko Aspa manages to achieve with little or no help from anybody. His work is inspirational, unique, life-affirming and truly marvellous. As well as being immense and fierce, ‘Harmony Of Struggle’ is a very emotional album at times and the sound is often more ‘epic’ (for want of a better word) than what I’ve become accustomed to from Clandestine Blaze.

Very simply, you will not be disappointed if you decide to purchase this record. Composed and executed by an inspired individual who clearly knows what he’s doing – and who puts his experience and wherewithal to maximum use – ‘Harmony Of Struggle’ is a veritable tour de force, an exhibition of Black Metal mastery. A monument. I was going to say there were some truly magical moments to be found along the way but, to be fair, this is a magical journey from start to finish.

High calibre, flawless, grim, raw, astonishing Black Metal that oozes nastiness, filth and class and shits all over its peers (with interesting artwork; lyric sheet included, for those who care). Nothing more to say … this is an easy review to write and I am not one for throwing in superfluous superlatives or rambling prose just for the hell of it. If you want to be impressed, then open a new tab right now and buy this fucker.

Evilometer: 666/666

KADOTUS – VAIENNEET TEMPPELIT LP (Blut & Eisen Productions)

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Kadotus - Vaienneet TemppeliMany of you will construe this as a strange / illogical review seeing as I make it clear from the off that there is nothing spectacularly brilliant about ‘Vaienneet Temppelit’ … and then proceed to recommend it unconditionally. While this is by no means an amazing album, it is nonetheless wholly effective in the manner in which it conjures the dark atmosphere and genuine sense of evil so essential to Black Metal.

Nothing ground-breaking at all taking place here; nothing new; nothing ambitious; and very little variety (apart from subtle pace changes, perhaps). So why should anyone purchase this? Because, on their second full-length, the Finns have produced 40 minutes of great, organic, old-style, buzzing, nasty, Satanic blackness with the right vibe.

Vaienneet Temppelit’ is a good, solid Black Metal record and the vinyl edition – which sure was a long time coming! – is pretty cool as it is housed within a gatefold cover with lyrics printed on the inside as well as an evil band photo (childish but important). Kadotus perform decent but hardly mind-boggling Black Metal – sure that’s why we’re here at the end of the day. A satisfying fix (even if I do profess to have heard it all before).

Evilometer: 555/666

AOSOTH – IV: ARROW IN HEART 2LP (Agonia Records)

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Aosoth - IV Arrow In HeartFirst off, I must note that including a Braille sheet with the vinyl edition of Aosoth’s fourth full-length album was / is a fucking ridiculous idea. Seriously, what in fuck’s name is the point of that? I cannot see (no pun intended) why any band would want to do this. A proper inlay card with lyrics, pictures etc. would make much more sense seeing as the vast majority of Black Metal fans are not blind (I confidently assume).

A really, really dumb decision, that one. Stupid and pretentious in the extreme. Products for blind people are WORTHLESS to able-bodied individuals. What next – a hearing aid with the fifth Aosoth album? Or a discount voucher offering money off a wheelchair? As you can tell, I was more than a little pissed when I pulled that sheet out of the gatefold cover!

Thankfully, the actual album itself is fantastic. Musically (which is what really counts, of course), it’s impossible to go wrong with Aosoth, who rarely put a foot wrong and have banged out yet another addictive brew of harsh blackness and wicked melody. There’s a welcome degree of variety at work across the full duration of ‘IV: Arrow In Heart’, a release which is by and large captivating.

The infuriatingly catchy songs are very cleverly constructed and executed, while the inclusion of a thoroughly-cool, ambient, droning bonus track on Side D (as opposed to nothing at all or, worse still, a damned etching…) scoops back the brownie points lost over that silly sheet of blind man’s paper that 99% of you surely will not want or appreciate. All in all, though, this is great stuff and the sprawling extra track pushes the already-generous running time well past the hour mark. Kudos.

Evilometer: 555/666