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Archive for March, 2014

FUNEREAL PRESENCE – THE ARCHER TAKES AIM (The Ajna Offensive)

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

fUNEREAL pRESENCE - tHE aRCHER tAKES aIMEver prepared a smoothie with banana in it? If so, I’m sure you will have noticed that no matter how little banana you include, the finished product will invariably taste of one thing only: fucking banana. It’s like that Jesus bollocks with his loaves and fishes; except this is a real phenomenon, not an old wives’ tale concocted to impede humans from living their lives to the full.

The Archer Takes Aim’ is like one of those ill-fated smoothie disasters that personified my mid-30s, except there is the repugnant taste of shit in my mouth rather than anything fruity (not that shit cannot be fruity…). Take one part drunken Urfaust, one part Negative Plane, one part Annihilator, one part Scorpions, one part The Smiths and one part steaming pile of dung; stick it in a blender and mix it all up. Pour.

Unsurprisingly, the steaming pile of dung has drowned out the rest of the constituent parts. Bananas really, when you think about it. Not that it would have mattered much as those other ingredients, bar Urfaust, are almost equally as offensive

The archer takes aim with a drooping cock and ends up shooting himself in the foot. This is dreadful, dreadful stuff. Music for metal-forum nerds and homosexual men in denial.

Evilometer: 000/666

ORDO TEMPLI AETERNAE LUCIS / BLESSED IN SIN – TU FUI EGO ERIS LP (Obscure Abhorrence Productions)

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Tu Fui Ego ErisUnfortunately, I was predisposed to not really like ‘Tu Fui Ego Eris’ very much before even giving it a spin. The reason? The front cover on the record is upside down. Well, it is on my copy anyway… I’m not sure whether this has happened by accident or design. Either way, it is pretty fucking dumb. There is a reason why things are done in a particular way. It makes sense for the front cover on a record to be right side up surely. Otherwise, the whole presentation is arseways … and irritating to boot.

Blessed in Sin and Ordo Templi Aeternae Lucis are two French Black Metal bands with an apparent overlap in membership and convictions. On this split, they provide between them four songs plus an intro, an outro and a medley of (two) Mortuary Drape covers. All in all, it’s reasonably enjoyable if sickeningly-melodic fare with a definite Slavonic bent.

Musically, the very, very melodic ‘Tu Fui Ego Eris’ should appeal to anybody who enjoys Eastern European Black Metal or Pagan Metal. While the actual album itself won’t live long in my memory, I can’t get past the stupid upside down cover. Compared to that fuck-up, the 48 minutes of fairly average and at times offensively-twee music pales into insignificance.

Evilometer: 111/666

WHITE MEDAL – GUTHMERS HAHL LP (Aphelion Productions / Legion Blotan Records)

Friday, March 14th, 2014

White Medal - Guthmers HahlAlthough ‘Guthmers Hahl’ is by no means the most amazing record you’re ever going to hear, it is certainly a unique experience – and that is very hard to find these days. White Medal forges its own distinct sound, offering forth on this debut full-length six intriguing examples of Yorkshire heathen Black Metal that – if nothing else – should represent a whole new listening experience to most of you.

I want to stress that I don’t think this album is necessarily brilliant per se (and I am not even sure to what extent it can even be classified as Black Metal) but I would grant ‘Guthmers Hahl’ extra kudos for its maverick sense of individuality and for having an identity all of its own.

If traditional BM was all about forests and swamps and mist and fog and moons and suchlike, this reeks more of silage and muck and cows holes. Agricultural Black Metal? Maybe. Maybe not. Who gives a fuck, really?

A lone voice that ultimately deserves to be heard and acknowledged.

Evilometer: 555/666

ENDSTILLE – KAPITULATION 2013 LP (Season Of Mist)

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Endstille - Kapitulation 2013I more or less overlooked Endstille for the first decade or so of their existence, subconsciously dismissing them as a Marduk clone. For right or for wrong, I assumed that the Germans  were essentially a poor man’s Marduk and I never  liked Marduk all that much when they were all about panzers and blitzkriegs. To be honest, I only started to appreciate the Swedes after Mortuus had joined their ranks and they released ‘Rom 5:12’ in 2007.

Eventually I turned an ear to Endstille and investigated ‘Infektion 1813’ a couple of years ago. Thought it was a decent album so I was always going to check out the follow-up. And ‘Kapitulation 2013’ is another fine record. Granted, it isn’t in any way innovative or ground-breaking (doh!) but Endstille’s eighth full-length is still a really, really solid example of uncompromising Black Metal.

All the lyrics (great English, guys!) are included on the insert and the label has done a professional job with presentation etc. All in all, this is a very good LP, although admittedly not necessarily a great one. Having said that, I am doing this because I fucking love Black Metal and I can’t get enough music like this. Hard to legitimately find fault with this.

Evilometer: 555/666

BESTIA ARCANA – TO ANABAINON EK TES ABYSSU 2LP (Osmose Productions)

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Bestia Arcana - To Anabainon Ek Tes AbyssuBestia Arcana features current and ex members of Nightbringer and it is by no means a sweeping generalisation to suggest that if you enjoy one band then you will more than likely also appreciate the other. It’s hard to know where exactly one project ends and the other begins and I have to confess that if ‘To Anabainon Ek Tes Abyssu’ was presented to me as a Nightbringer album it wouldn’t have raised my eyebrows. Not that much does, these days.

Bestia Arcana’s only full-length to date, ‘To Anabainon…’ was originally released on CD by the dependable Daemon Worship Productions in 2011 and has now been given the loving 180g double-vinyl treatment by Osmose. I have a minor objection concerning the practicality of releasing a 39-minute album in 2LP format when the five songs would easily have fitted onto one record.

As I’ve asked countless times before, who needs a redundant Side D with a dumb etching on it or a second record with just one song? Having said that (again, I know…), there is undoubtedly something more fulfilling about owning a double LP than a single one and, if it works for Antediluvian with ‘Through The Cervix Of Hawaah’ (36 minutes), then why not here?

Musically, Bestia Arcana offers forth a hypnotic but harsh helping of amazing dissonant, corrosive Black Metal which at times resembles nothing short of a fucking aural maelstrom. The lyrics have been printed on the inside of the sumptuous (smudgy fingerprint-enticing) gatefold jacket but it is nigh on impossible to follow them…  ‘The Pit Of Sheh-ohl’ provides a little respite from the ferocity but, for the most part, this is an unforgiving and exceptionally difficult listen.

Which is most welcome.

Evilometer: 555/666

AZRAEL RISING – ANTI-GRAVITY LP (Primitive Reaction)

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Azrael Rising - Anti-GravityFor the most part, ‘Anti-Gravity’ – the debut full-length from Finnish duo Azrael Rising – is a very enjoyable listen. However, this is also at times distinctly run-of-the-mill, by-the-numbers fare. While there are some subtle variations in the nine songs presented, by and large the record as a whole is somewhat more bland than I was expecting. Especially the first side.

That the colour theme, fonts and layout of the record are markedly different than what you might associate with your traditional Black Metal album suggests that Azrael Rising have aspirations towards being more than they actually are. But, alas, these goals are never quite achieved and I suspect that the band possibly bottled it a little in that they didn’t quite have the courage to back up all of their convictions. (Not that I would encourage anyone to be overly experimental…)

A lot of thought has gone into the lyrics (which are included on the insert) and I must admit they brought a smile to my face on more than one occasion. These boys can be crude. But poetic with it. The vocals are raspy and thrashy – almost like Kreator or Sadus – and the LP truly comes into its own on the second song on Side B – the exceptional ‘God In His Blue Temple’, which is both the longest and boldest offering. And – tellingly – also the most restrained.

I would have loved a whole album of similar songs because Azrael Rising are at their best when delivering non-conventional, slow-to-mid-paced madness. But, for whatever reason, there is too much mundane and uninspiring stuff slotted into the opening half of the album. Too many of those early songs sound like filler.

All in all, this is still a solid effort with some nice touches – vaguely reminiscent of Bloodline – but far from outstanding, to be fair.

Evilometer: 444/666

TUKAARIA – RAW TO THE RAPINE LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Tukaaria - Raw To The RapineThis label’s been busy recently sneaking out some superb underground Black Metal of a distinctly analogue nature; it’s impossible not to be impressed by the exceedingly high quality of their releases. The LPs from Xothist and Lluvia are both fantastic (see my reviews below…) and Tukaaria’s debut full-length ‘Raw To The Rapine’ (initially released on tape in 2011) is equally impressive.

You may remember I loved the split record with Odz Manouk, so I knew going in that this LP had the potential to be a stunning affair. And (musically, at least) it doesn’t disappoint. However, it is perhaps a let-down in terms of length (or lack thereof) … 27 minutes really is very, very short for an album.

Some of you may therefore be more interested in tracking down the considerably-longer CD version released by Profound Lore, which also includes the tracks from the splits with Odz Manouk and Volahn.

However, if – like me – you are a vinyl fiend, then you will no doubt crave this edition. Even though it’s frustratingly short, ‘Raw To The Rapine’ is nonetheless an undisputed triumph for quality over quantity. Twenty-seven minutes of near-perfect, fizzing, buzzing, corrosive, obscure and mystical raw Black Metal with spades of attitude and integrity is still miles better than most purchases you could make. A few more songs and this would be utterly essential.

Evilometer: 555/666

VINDORN – HRANA LP (Eternity Records / Sol Records)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Vindorn - HranaThis record contains the four songs from Vindorn’s ‘Hrana’ MCD on Side A plus four bonus tracks from sole member  N.’s side project Wandering on the flipside. First thing I should point out is that the Wandering offerings are every bit as shite as the band name suggests. The third of these – ‘Eclipse I’ – is particularly terrible, with some clean vocals that border on the obscene (as all clean vocals do). ‘Eclipse II’ isn’t much better.

On one hand, I possibly shouldn’t be too severe as these are bonus tracks. On the other, they aren’t bonuses in the truest sense of the term as the running time without them is a mere 21 minutes and the record costs the full price of a standard full-length… Hmmm.

While I am going to totally write off Side B (utter rubbish), I must admit that ‘Hrana’ itself is reasonably good, without ever being brilliant. Although it is painfully uninspiring and largely uneventful for the most part, there are some nice touches on Side A – even if it is ultra conservative, unbearably safe, lacking in pace or dynamic and oftentimes offensively melodic. It could put you into a coma but probably won’t.

To be honest, the main body of work here doesn’t really move me in any way. Either positively or negatively. It just is. So I suppose it’s a non-event (on the opposite side of a decidedly shit event). Nice cover, though.

Evilometer: 222/666

FŌR ‎– BLAKAZ ASKǬ HERTÔ MLP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Fōr - Blakaz Askǭ HertôBlakaz Askǭ Hertô’ – the debut mini-album from mysterious Swedes Fōr – has been languishing in my collection for a few months without being granted a proper listen (until now). Containing four subterranean slabs of Black / Death plus an Intro (the title track), this record measures about 29 minutes and constitutes a gloriously decadent journey.

It’s all very much in the vein of the acclaimed new wave of rumbling, guttural, lo-fi black death doom as excellently espoused by the likes of Antediluvian, Portal, Adversarial and perhaps Grave Upheaval; thoroughly refreshing and unconventional fare that operates on a level that dumb-ass motherfuckers like Behemoth wouldn’t recognise if it walked right up and kicked them in the face.

Mainstream Death Metal really is an abomination and anyone with even the slightest interest in the underground – where the real action is happening – should investigate releases like ‘Blakaz Askǭ Hertô’ at the first opportunity and do so with complete confidence.

Evilometer: 555/666