Monday, April 24, 2017 22:51

Archive for January, 2014

YELLOW EYES – HAMMER OF NIGHT LP (Dead Section Records)

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Yellow Eyes - Hammer Of NightHammer Of Night’ is a fairly difficult album to get in to. Gotta admit, these six songs are much more inaccessible than I was expecting. The sound is dense and shrill and thin and at times the album seems almost like a meaningless, crude racket. However, if you have the time and patience to persevere with this record (which you should have, if you’ve paid for it!), the rewards could be great.

Harsh odes to isolation and desolation fizz through the speakers and it takes a lot of listens before you can detect – and fully appreciate – the myriad of subtle, delectable melodies flitting about beneath the surface. Singing from roughly the same hymn sheet as fellow American underground dwellers Ash Borer and Fell Voices (comparisons with the over-rated Krallice also abound, zzzzzz…), Yellow Eyes have concocted an intriguing slab of USBM that both challenges and enchants.

A decidedly different strain of Black Metal than what we’re used to; check these New Yorkers out if you want to hear something unique, claustrophobic, dismal and nigh on overwhelming.

Evilometer: 666/666

LEVIATHAN – HOWL MOCKERY AT THE CROSS 2LP (Funeral Industries)

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Leviathan - Howl Mockery At The CrossThe considerable momentum that had been generated by the genesis of Leviathan’s first two albums, ‘The Tenth Sub Level Of Suicide’ and ‘Tentacles Of Whorror’ in 2003 and 2004 respectively (not to mention the legendary split with Xasthur), was lost the following year when a couple of odds-and-ends collections masquerading as full-lengths appeared. ‘Howl Mockery At the Cross’ and ‘A Silhouette in Splinters’ were reasonable efforts by any other standards … but, crucially, were not prime Leviathan.

I don’t know if the infamous dispute with Moribund Records had already started to have an effect on Wrest’s output but the drop in quality and consistency was marked. ‘HMATC’ is a decent enough concoction of tunes in its own right, but is also unshakably disappointing as it represents the beginning of a dark and uncertain period.

Probably still worth checking out (I bought this 2LP even though I already own the original CD edition) but unquestionably not the real deal compared to the two gargantuan full-length propers that preceded it. During the intervening nine years, we’ve only had two more Leviathan albums – ‘Massive Conspiracy Against All Life’ in 2008 and ‘True Traitor, True Whore’ in 2011. There have been some splits and the Lurker Of Chalice album, too, but it’s a real shame the way things have petered out after the bountiful and inspired inception of this great ambient Black Metal act.

Evilometer: 333/666

LEVIATHAN – TENTACLES OF WHORROR 2LP (Funeral Industries)

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Leviathan - Tentacles Of WhorrorLeviathan’s sophomore full-length ‘Tentacles Of Whorror’ is every bit as good as– if not better than – his incredible debut, ‘The Tenth Sub Level Of Suicide’. Originally released in the summer of 2004, this stupendous album now gets a double-vinyl makeover from Funeral Industries, offering those who missed out first time around a great chance to make up for lost time.

The release also provides already-converted souls like myself with another opportunity to grab ‘TOW’ on black wax. The inclusion of a bonus track brings the running time to a hugely-generous 75 minutes, so this is in actual fact a double album in every way. The only record(s) I’ve listened to this past week and a timely reminder of how awesome Leviathan was / is (even if the label didn’t quite pull out all the stops in terms of packaging / presentation (basic gatefold without printed inner sleeves or lyrics)).

Evilometer: 666/666

LEVIATHAN – THE TENTH SUB LEVEL OF SUICIDE 2LP (Funeral Industries)

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Leviathan - The Tenth Sub Level Of SuicideIt’s been a decade since Wrest unleashed his debut full-length under the legendary Leviathan moniker and the sprawling ‘The Tenth Sub Level Of Suicide’ still sounds as epic and awesome today as it did back then. There’s very little I can write about this extraordinary album that hasn’t already been said or written but it is no exaggeration to say that ‘TTSLOS’ stands as one of the most important BM releases ever and that Leviathan hereon single-handedly (literally) redefined what Black Metal was, is and could be.

In terms of delivering harrowing, crude, disturbing, guttural, spectral, dynamic, harsh yet sumptuously melodic Black Metal, Leviathan arguably has no equal. I missed acquiring this landmark release on record first time around so was pleased to learn of Funeral Industries’ spate of Leviathan reissues.

My only grievance about an otherwise magnificent release is that this is essentially a rather basic gatefold double-record with no inlays or lyrics or any such cosmetics. This is a tad disappointing seeing as lyrics were included with the original Moribund CD edition and I believe the label could perhaps have done a little more to make this already extra-special album even more collectable. Still mandatory, though, even without any frills.

Evilometer: 666/666

OREMUS – POPIOŁY LP (Arachnophobia Records)

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Oremus - PopiołyFirst thing I want to do is acknowledge the exceptional work the label has done with presentation on ‘Popioły’. The record looks fantastic and comes in a gatefold cover with a large eight-page booklet included (featuring lyrics in both Polish and English). It’s one of those records that, when you own a copy, you really, really want it to be excellent.

Unfortunately, I think the music is only slightly north of average. Good but not great would be my honest assessment. I must stress that this is by no means bad but the music isn’t on a par with the exceptional presentation. Four lengthy songs provide a total of 35 minutes of enjoyable but far-from-essential Black Metal.

Given that this is a side project of two members of Blaze Of Perdition (who have been going through a nightmare time since that horrific accident in November and have a lot more than music to be worried about these days), it is very unlikely that there will be a follow-up. So, in a nutshell, a historic and beautifully-presented record that’s fine but not fantastic.

Evilometer: 444/666

ACUALLI – PACT OF POSSESSION (Crepúsculo Negro)

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Acualli - Pact Of PossessionAt 15 minutes, ‘Pact Of Possession’ certainly isn’t the longest tape I’ve ever heard. But thankfully, what it lacks in quantity, it more than compensates for in quality. And, at the end of the day, quality is all that really matters. Especially in the underground … and when we are talking about a demo cassette.

There are five excellent Black Metal work-outs on here as well as a nice instrumental offering. Although this is very much of the deepest underground, the songs are well recorded and executed and the sound is more than adequate for a tape / demo. Mostly, proceedings are harsh and raw and typically Crepúsculo Negro fare – but there are some insidious melodies lurking beneath the surface, which add greatly to the whole experience.

So, all things considered, Acualli is actually good.

Evilometer: 555/666

KROWOS – ENTHRONING OUR END (Schattenkult Produktionen)

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Krowos - Enthroning Our EndHaving just booked another batch of eight new underground tapes from Schattenkult Produktionen yesterday, I took some time to listen back over some items from the last consignment procured from this unheralded German label. ‘Enthroning Our End’ from Krowos is an album that I probably should have acknowledged previously but time limitations invariably seem to frustrate me.

Anyway, it’s almost half an hour long and contains some lovely, freezing underground Black Metal art. Raw yet devilishly melodic (reminiscent in a way of Vardan…), ‘Enthroning Our End’ is a superb DIY effort from an impressive horde of Sicilians. If still available, you can pick this up for just €3 and don’t forget to look into Schattenkult’s impressive clutch of brand new releases while you are at it!

Evilometer: 555/666

DEPARTURE CHANDELIER – THE BLACK CREST OF DEATH, THE GOLD WREATH OF WAR (Tour De Garde)

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Departure Chandelier - The Black Crest of Death, the Gold Wreath of WarThe Black Crest Of Death, The Gold Wreath Of War’ is by no means a new release but, as it has only recently worked its way into my own personal collection, I deem it worthy of a quick review. Departure Chandelier is a strangely-named North American entity featuring members of Akitsa and Ash Pool and this is their only recording to date: a 20-minute, two-track demo cassette from mid-2011.

As well as being pleasingly professional and underground, the sound is also suitably eerie and unusual. Mid-paced, unsettling and somewhat off the wall, ‘The Black Crest Of Death, The Gold Wreath Of War’ is not just a very enjoyable experience in its own right but also hopefully a tasty appetiser for more to follow from this project.

Cheap, still widely available and well worth checking out. Also, I really like the Outro.

Evilometer: 444/666

CULT OF FIRE – TRIUMVIRÁT LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Cult Of Fire - TriumvirátShortly before unleashing the truly amazing ‘मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान’, Iron Bonehead also made available Cult Of Fire’s debut album, ‘Triumvirát’ on vinyl. I must admit this one completely passed me by first time around, so I was glad of the opportunity to acquire it at the second time of asking.

There’s more sumptuous, epic Black Metal on offer from the eccentric Czechs but ‘Triumvirát’ isn’t quite as arresting or as monumental as its successor. Having said that, there are very few albums that can stand toe to toe with the rather exceptional ‘मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान’!

This six-song offering is still a highly-enjoyable (if somewhat short) LP that’s slightly occult and perhaps most interesting because it shows us where the Cult Of Fire journey begins. Not brilliant but still very, very good indeed and it comes in a grand gatefold jacket, too.

Evilometer: 555/666