Saturday, September 23, 2017 21:53

Archive for December, 2013

COSMIC CHURCH – YLISTYS 2LP (Kuunpalvelus)

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Cosmic Church - YlistysIt’s difficult to know where to start in order to best convey the innate magnificence of Cosmic Church’s second full-length. So I’ll begin with the artwork. The unorthodox cover is a visual treat, replete with blinding white, northern snow, in which supplicates a lone, kneeling figure I pressume to be Luxixul Sumering Auter himself, clad in a deep-red cloak. Beautiful imagery at play, which to my mind symbolises a drop of blood in the barren icy wilderness. Or something.

The classy double-vinyl edition comes in a gorgeous gatefold jacket and includes a 16-page 7” booklet with lyrics printed in both Finnish and English. So, clearly, all the stops have been pulled out to give the listener an item he / she can cherish – a quality product that does justice to the music.

Suppose I better mention the music too? Majestic, emotion-laden, cold, mid-paced, raw, forlorn and exquisitely atmospheric Black Metal, anyone? Thought so.

Awesome dark art forms abound on ‘Ylistys’. Even though there are some clean vocals on here that I don’t much like, this album comes highly, highly recommended. Especially on vinyl; the best way to drink up the eye-catching and luscious cover art, which boldly eschews the standard black(s) and succeeds where many others have failed.

Evilometer: 666/666

COFFINS – THE FLESHLAND 2LP (Relapse Records)

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Coffins - The FleshlandCoffins have released some amazing albums but ‘The Fleshland’ is their least-inspired effort to date. Compared to ‘Mortuary In Darkness’ and ‘The Other Side Of Blasphemy’, this is a particularly anaemic offering from my favourite Japs. That said, Coffins is still worthy of respect and their fourth full-length certainly isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Tormentopia’ – the ninth and final track on ‘The Fleshland’ – is probably the cheesiest song this fine band has ever put its name to. However, to be fair, even on the wane, Coffins still pack a pretty potent punch; just a real shame they can’t re-scale the horrific heights of those aforementioned first two records.

Evilometer: 444/666

SET – UPHEAVAL OF UNHOLY DARKNESS LP (Nuclear War Now!)

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Set - Upheaval Of Unholy DarknessI purchase more NWN albums than my accountant or wife would ideally recommend and, I must concede, they do not always hit the spot. Most times, however, I am left with a smile on my face. Set’s debut full-length record, ‘Upheaval Of Unholy Darkness’ is one such occasion. More Death Metal than Black Metal, but definitely containing ingredients from both subgenres, this album serves up some fine underground darkness.

Minimal use of samples adds to the horror-score feel of the record and the inclusion of lyric sheet, sticker and patch with the regular edition (assuming there hasn’t been an error in what I got) should have the crazy hounds in the pack howling their approval.

All in all, this is a solid slab of amply atmospheric yet raw and ravenous UG US black death that should terrify and comfort you in equal measures. Not quite of the ridiculously high standard of an Antediluvian or a Portal but vastly superior to most other masqueraders, to be fair.

Evilometer: 555/666

NIGHTBRINGER – APOCALYPSE SUN 2LP (Blood Music Records)

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Nightbringer - Apocalypse SunOne of the main purposes of any review is to advise / influence your readers / listeners as to whether or not they should consider spending money on a particular product. However, when it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to get their hands on the item in question, is the review thereby rendered redundant? Probably. Thus, what follows is more of an observation than a review.

Nightbringer’s second full-length, the 68-minute masterpiece ‘Apocalypse Sun’, was originally released on CD in 2010 but was given a rather luxurious double-vinyl makeover this year by Blood Music. Unfortunately for everybody except the label, this splendid edition pretty much sold out on pre-orders alone (I was extremely lucky to get my hands on a copy, which I paid for almost THREE months in advance).

Physically, everything about this album is immense. It looks, feels and sounds monumental. But it was ultra-limited and also substantially over-priced. I paid €30 plus postage and the same again for (equally-great) sister release ‘Hierophany Of The Open Grave’, which emerged on 2LP format at the same time.

Awesome record but the nature of this exclusiveness really, really bugs the hell out of me. The Black Metal community is a very small one – why not treat us with more respect? Credit to Blood Music for making the album available in the first place, but there is something about the whole transaction that does not sit comfortably with me.

The rating below is for the music and the product as opposed to the strategy behind it.

Evilometer: 666/666

INQUISITION – OBSCURE VERSES FOR THE MULTIVERSE 2LP (Season Of Mist)

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Inquisition - Obscure Verses For The MultiverseInquisition’s subtle charm is irresistible and wholly addictive. On their sixth full-length, the Colombian duo pretty much do what they have always done, effortlessly easing through ten (including the vinyl bonus track) offerings of croaky Black Metal majesty. There is very little on here that I haven’t heard from Inquisition before, yet ‘Obscure Verses For The Multiverse’ is utterly essential listening.

Although all their albums are great, I personally believe that the last three represent a slight change of direction and sort of stand alone from the rest of the discography. Indeed, ‘Nefarious Dismal Orations’, ‘Ominous Doctrines Of The Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm’ and this new one are so alike that they resemble a trilogy in many respects, three parts of the same movement, all virtually identical in sound and tone.

So, nothing at all new here … yet the music is charming and fun and just fucking fantastic. To an extent, you probably need a sense of humour to enjoy Inquisition fully; the converse of this is that you would need to be one seriously grumpy fucker to have a problem with them. I think they are a true Black Metal institution and I also contend that they are vastly superior – and more consistent – than the band they apparently ape (Immortal).

Two bones of contention, both aimed at the label: all the cash-grab deluxe editions that cost a fortune (cowhide record sleeves or whatever) are a blatant rip-off and, well, is there really any need to mention vomit-inducing cunts like Watain and Darkthrone on the sticker on the cover? Makes me sick looking at those words.

The regular double-vinyl edition is more than adequate, however.

Evilometer: 666/666

ODZ MANOUK / TUKAARIA – SPLIT LP (Final Agony Records)

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Odz Manouk TukaariaHow do you quantify value for money? There are only 31 minutes of music on this split ‘album’, but it must be noted that said 31 minutes deliver some sensational underground Black Metal. Both Odz Manouk and Tukaaria produce incredibly uncompromising, raw, intense, in-your-face-blackness that swirls and cascades and teeters on the brink of (in)audibility and, as such, at times could barely be categorised as music, per fucking se.

The dense layers do reveal themselves – albeit rather reluctantly – upon repeated listening and myriad devious melodies are buried beneath the harsh cavern of immovable dissonance and stubborn lo-fidelity. This is analogue Black Metal at its finest and is as devastating as it is acute. Short it may well be, but ‘Odz Manouk / Tukaaria’ packs a powerful punch that comes all the way from the metaphorical calves.

Evilometer: 666/666

CULT OF FIRE – मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Cult Of Fire - Ascetic Meditation Of Deathमृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान’ or ‘Ascetic Meditation Of Death’ is a truly spectacular slab of transcendental, esoteric, occult, spiritual Black Metal that combines raw aggression and beautiful eastern melodies to devastating effect. This is without doubt one of the best albums of the calendar year and should satisfy those who crave something a little bit different but still demand a Black Metal core (as opposed to avant or progressive crap).

As well as being an essential full-length musically, the record also represents a visual feast. It is beautifully packaged and presented, with a fantastic full-sized booklet attached to the inside of a substantial gatefold cover. Great artwork and a sumptuous aesthetic finish complete an already-stellar product and offer the end user maximum value for money.

In short, this is an outstanding and unique experience that no worshipper of the dark arts should go without.

Evilometer: 666/666

AYTNACHR – HATEFUL BLACK BEING LP (Final Agony Records)

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Aytnachr – Black Hateful BeingHarrowing, intense, tortured, tormented and strained are adjectives I would use to describe Aytnachr’s debut full-length, the aptly-christened ‘Hateful Black Being’. I could pad this observation out with lots of superfluous words to make it sound grand, but what’s the point? In a nutshell, this is supreme, raw, underground Black Metal that’s about as compromising as genocide.

The record comes in a DIY cover with Xeroxed pictures glued onto a plain black sleeve. This adds to its charm. Impossible to go wrong with this anguished slice of headache-inducing hatred and despair. Acquire and admire.

Evilometer: 666/666

MORDAVIA – MORTAL (self-released)

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Mordavia - MortalOut of Melbourne, Australia comes this obscure one-man project fronted by an entity who has rather cheerfully chosen to call himself Morgue. Morgue may (or may not!) be better known for his duties in Mar Mortuum. Due to other engagements in the antipodean underground, it took him a long time to get around to recording and releasing this album, but it is amongst us now and is a commendable effort.

Comprising 44 minutes of sombre, bleak, morbid and reasonably melodic Black Metal, ‘Mortal’ proves that you don’t need the backing of a label – big or small – to conjure good music. Better without, perhaps… If the muse is within you and the requisite passion, vision and enthusiasm are intact, then anything is possible. As DIY efforts go, this album really is pretty damn impressive and it’s one that you won’t regret seeking out.

Seeing as there’s a glut of great Black and Death Metal coming out of Australia these days, it’s hardly a surprise that ‘Mortal’ hits the spot.

Evilometer: 555/666

TOMHET – SAMBLADE SOTKVÆDEN 2MC (Altare Productions)

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Tomhet -Samblade SotkvædenTruth be known, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the cassette format but tapes are a staple diet of the underground and you have to be prepared to deal with them unless you want to miss out on some gems. Tomhet’s spectacular 31-song compilation, ‘Samblade Sotkvæden’ is a case in point. This is a sprawling and high-quality underground Black Metal release that none of us should do without.

The main inspiration behind Tomhet, Kumulonimbus, is the very same man who gives life to the rather brilliant Wulkanaz. The two acts are rather similar in ambition and approach but subtly different (I suppose); both are equally appealing. The only negative thing I can say about ‘Samblade Sotkvæden’ is that it is almost too generous. Seems to go on forever. Not much of a complaint, is it?

There’s some fantastic music to be found on this nicely-packaged double tape and the sound is pretty good for a tape; it just goes to prove once more that the deepest underground has all the best tunes. Great stuff that won’t cost you an arm or a leg, provided you can get your hands on a copy (limitation: 300).

Evilometer: 666/666

VOLAHN / TUKAARIA – SPLIT (Crepúsculo Negro / Rhinocervs)

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Volahn TukaariaThis tape is a total insult and I have returned from semi-retirement to express my disgust. How two labels can come together and still manage to make such a cock of a release is beyond me. However, in the case of Crepúsculo Negro – whose inadequacies I was already all too familiar with due to a previous, almost-interminable delivery delay – it’s hardly a surprise.

The problem is so basic it makes me feel like a complete prick for having purchased the cassette in the first place. I’m listening along to the music and it just ends abruptly midway through the last song, i.e. the tape used isn’t actually long enough to hold all the music. Fucking amateurs. Purchased directly from the label, too, so no disreputable middlemen involved.

When labels display such blatant disregard for quality and integrity and can’t even be bothered to check to make sure that the full album is on the tapes before sending them out, you can but

Evilometer: Fuck Off/666