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Archive for December, 2014

PRECARIA – PRECARIA EX HUMANITAS (Desavenencia)

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Precaria - Precaria Ex HumanitasHere is the true sound of the underground. My, how the original spirit of Black Metal has been diluted and corrupted down through the decades! Mercifully, albums like ‘Precaria Ex Humanitas’ appear every now and then to keep the flame burning.

While laughable entities like Abigor, Burzum, Watain and Goatmoon (have you heard their latest abomination?) gain in popularity as they posture and pose and claim to be somehow playing Black Metal, Precaria is almost predestined to remain forever entrapped in the deepest Mexican underground. Yet, ironically, their music embodies the essence of everything Black Metal is supposed to be: eerie, raw, shrill, otherworldly, buzzing, lo-fi, enchanting.

Superbly conceived and executed, ‘Precaria Ex Humanitas’ contains six lengthy tracks of sublime, spiritual old-school blackness that stretch out across 52 rewarding minutes. This is the rare antidote to mainstream, horrendous pretenders and I just hope some label has the courage and / or means to one day grant it a vinyl release. Stunning.

Evilometer: 666/666

VASSAFOR – ELEGY OF THE ARCHEONAUT 2LP (Dark Descent Records)

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Vassafor - Elegy of the ArcheonautTo be fair, ‘Elegy of The Archeonaut’ is a double album in every sense as it goes on forever and ever. I’m not sure what the exact running time is but it must be close to an-hour-and-a-half. This anthology collates most of Vassafor’s pre-‘Obsidian Codex’ material from the 1997-2007 era and it all makes for very interesting listening.

The downsides are obvious: as it wasn’t recorded as a whole, there is little in the way of coherency or consistency going on here and the flow of the records is further let down by the fact that the long songs are mostly frontloaded onto Sides A, B and C leading to a lack of balance. (By the way, Vassafor are at their best when delivering longer tracks.)

However, on the whole, ‘Elegy of The Archeonaut’ offers a priceless insight into the background of this great New Zealand band, spitting out a heady mix of Black, Death and Doom. Oppressive and crushing yet totally uplifting. Comes in a gatefold jacket with insert (included selected lyrics) and poster (yippee). Really great stuff.

Evilometer: 666/666

KULT OFENZIVY – NAUKY RŮZNIC LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Kult Ofenzivy - Nauky různicThis is Kult Ofenzivy’s third full-length and none of said albums reach the 30-minute mark. In fact, like its predecessor from five years ago (‘Radikální Ateismus – Tvůrcům Nadčlověka’), ‘Nauky Různic’ contains just 25 minutes of action, which really is a tad short in anybody’s book.

What the album lacks in longevity, it makes up for in quality. There’s some fantastic underground Czech (apparently) Black Metal to be found on this one. The vocals are so like Attila Csihar it’s uncanny (so much so that it is nigh on impossible to imagine that you are actually listening to somebody else…); the music cold and to-the-point.

A short album and a short review on the shortest day of the year…

Evilometer: 555/666

ANKOU AWAITS – OBEROUR AR MARO (self-released)

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Ankou Awaits - Oberour Ar MaroAgainst all odds, the indefatigable Thomas Eversole is back with his fourth full-length in as many years. It’s hard not to admire the determination and drive of this guy. Ankou Awaits is a pariah in the extreme metal world … and always will be. The jolting, demented, unconventional nature of the music will see to that.

And at this stage I can’t imagine any radical departures from the core modus operandi or sound. ‘Oberour Ar Maro’ is once more all over the fucking place, jarring and grating and pummelling, then little piano parts interrupt the madness and transport you to the set of Resident Evil. Where the punishment starts anew.

Truly, this album is as strange and bizarre and off the beaten path as they come. It’s got a cool concept theme running through the songs if you care to read the accompanying lyrics. All in all, this CD is so fucked-up and belligerent that it can’t be ignored. (Well it can and it will be but that is an injustice.)

Evilometer: 555/666

CANTUS BESTIAE – CANTUS BESTIAE 2LP (GoatowaRex / Projekt’Ill Productions)

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Cantus Bestiae - Cantus BestiaeCantus Bestiae is a cult horde from France and ‘Cantus Bestiae’ boldly collates pretty much all their previously-recorded material from splits and demos on Disc One as well as the tracks from a once-prospective but ultimately-unreleased split with Deathspell Omega on Disc Two.

These records represent a true labour of love for the labels concerned (four of them, in actual fact) and also for the band themselves, I am sure, and I can only but admire their dedication. But the music really is terrible. I enjoy raw Black Metal but this just sounds stupid.

A fucking headache-inducing riot with the production values of a dark-alleyway rape recorded on the assailant’s Nokia. You can listen to all 18 tracks on the Projekt’Ill Productions Bandcamp page. Check it out if you dare: you might appreciate it more than I do.

I almost feel bad for not liking this because I too want to be cult.

Evilometer: 222/666

SACRIFICIA MORTUORUM / ORTHANC – SACRIFICIA MORTUORUM / ORTHANC 2LP (Hass Weg Productions)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Sacrificia Mortuorum OrthancThis is essentially a double album rather than a split LP. Each band more or less offers a full-length’s worth of material: four songs comprising a generous 40 minutes from the excellent Sacrificia Mortuorum and five songs lasting 28 minutes from the not-so-excellent Orthanc.

Certainly good value for money if you happen to enjoy both hordes, with the two records contained in a luxurious gatefold jacket and strong evidence of a great investment of effort and professionalism from the label.

As ever, Sacrificia Mortuorum delivers big time. While the material arguably isn’t quite as strong as their four albums proper (When is ‘Railler L’Hymen Des Siècles’ getting a vinyl incarnation?), it is nonetheless superb highly-emotional French Black Metal art.

But the less said about Peste Noire-worshipping compatriots Orthanc and their silly little jigs and dumb Iron Maiden cover the better. The median of 666 and 000 is 333, therefore…

Evilometer: 333/666

RHINOCERVS – RH-13 LP (Final Agony Records)

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Rhinocervs - RH-13There’s some impressive raucous and fierce Black Metal contained on ‘RH-13’ but I’m not sure it quite lives up to the hype that’s been generated (albeit within the tiniest of habitats, to be fair) by the obscure, underground, deliberately-hard-to-acquire series of Rhinocervs releases.

While I’m obviously pleased that this recording has been reissued on vinyl (and remastered to boot), it has to be said that the mere 25 minutes of music included does not justify the requisite substantial outlay of cold, hard cash that was needed to gain admission to the party from Europe. Of course, I knew this before purchasing and was still prepared to proceed, which suggests that either I am in a bad mood today and over-protesting or generally have more money than sense.

Bear in mind that only individuals who worship underground Black Metal and all things cult are ever likely to become exposed to Rhinocervs cassettes / records and, therefore, the ‘RH-’ series will as a consequence receive a very high percentage of fawning appraisals (from a small pool of people).

Pretty much everyone who hears this is going to hail it as supreme but the reality is that – apart from the fourth track – ‘RH-13’ (which, looks amazing, by the way) is somewhat underwhelming and certainly disappointing considering that the masterminds behind Odz Manouk and Tukaaria have collaborated to conceive and nurture it.

Having said all of that, if I didn’t have it, I’d buy it again, so perhaps certain things in life are just mandatory by their very nature…

Evilometer: 333/666

RATTENFÄNGER – EPISTOLAE OBSCURORUM VIRORUM LP (Ván Records)

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Rattenfänger - Epistolae Obscurorum VirorumRattenfänger is a Ukrainian band featuring assorted members of local Black Metal hordes Drudkh, Blood Of Kingu, Atrofaes, Hate Forest etc. performing Death Metal.

Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum’ sounds exactly as you would expect a Ukrainian band featuring members of local Black Metal hordes Drudkh, Blood Of Kingu, Atrofaes, Hate Forest etc. performing Death Metal to sound.

This is surely the best Death Metal album ever to come out of Ukraine and the vinyl version courtesy of Ván looks every bit as stellar as it sounds. Further words are unnecessary

Evilometer: 666/666

DROWNED – IDOLA SPECUS LP (Sepulchral Voice Records)

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Drowned - Idola SpecusDrowned is such a cool band. One of them used to be in the mighty Necros Christos and another one plays live with mightier The Ruins Of Beverast. Good company to be keeping (or not keeping, as the case may be, I suppose).

Debut full-length ‘Idola Specus’ arrived this summer – a full 21 years after Drowned’s first demo was recorded – and the vinyl edition was unleashed in October, 2014.

On it, we are treated to some magnificent, masterful, hypnotic, mazy, occult Death Metal, with strange, dark lyrics and a truly underground feel, despite the LP boasting a solid-as-fuck production. With not one but two inserts, this is a rousing, rumbling record that both looks and sounds fantastic.

Short-ish at 37 minutes but there you go.

Evilometer: 555/666

ETERNUM – THE DEVOURING DESCENT 2LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Eternum - The Devouring DescentEven though ‘The Devouring Descent’ is probably my least favoured of Eternum’s three full-lengths to date, it is still a great album, which really comes into its own in the double-vinyl, gatefold-jacket edition bestowed upon us by the ever-dependable Iron Bonehead.

As I’ve intimated in previous reviews of ‘Veil Of Ancient Darkness’ and ‘Summoning The Wolven Spirit’, Eternum is one of the rare Black Metal acts that can venture into lush, majestic terrain without becoming a complete farce. There are lots of expansive, acoustic, atmospheric passages on this epic, hour-long album – certainly more so than on either of its predecessors – but Eternum still manages to sound somehow raw, authentic and relevant.

Evilometer: 666/666

SARKRISTA – THE ACHERONIAN WORSHIP LP (Purity Through Fire)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Sarkrista - The Acheronian WorshipSarkrista’s debut album first emerged on CD early in 2013 but ‘The Acheronian Worship’ only received its vinyl makeover a few months ago. With seven blasts of impressive, raw-ish yet melodic, mostly mid-paced, icy cold Black Metal on offer (plus an intro), there’s no denying that Sarkrista are a class act capable of delivering stunning BM of the frozen variety.

I don’t think the artwork quite does justice to how good this full-length is (nor does it capture the chilling feel of the record) and I believe the whole experience would have been enhanced by the inclusion of an insert and lyrics (again, to complete the package and improve the listener-artist interaction) … but these are just minor quibbles and overall this is a great buy, widely available at a very fair price.

Evilometer: 555/666

NECROHOLOCAUST – HOLOCAUSTIC GOAT METAL LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Necroholocaust - Holocaustic Goat MetalNecroholocaust have been knocking (priests) around for over a decade but have only recently got down to recording their debut full-length and I’m pleased to report that it is a true stonker. Albums like ‘Holocaustic Goat Metal’ bring a smile to my face; I can assure you that there’s not much in this world capable of achieving such a result.

These Canadians (who have baptised themselves Grimlord of Atomic Nuclear Hate, Black Plague of War and Disease, Bloodlust Abominator of Ritual War Incantations and Goat Plague Messiah) celebrate religious intolerance of the most proactive variety. The fifth track on the album, ‘Defile The House Of God’ encapsulates everything that’s so enjoyable about this kind of music (more Deicide than anything black; ergo a Death Metal album), with happy tidings of a Catholic congregation burning in the pews while priests and nuns are disembowelled on the altar. Proper order.

It’s one of those records where you derive a perverse and justifiable sense of satisfaction from reading along (the lyrics are included inside the tasty gatefold jacket) and I couldn’t help but notice that the drums sounds like a bastard priest having his stupid, vacant skull rightfully hopped off a coffin lid over and over and over again.

Evilometer: 666/666

GRAIL – THE MORNING OF DISILLUSIONMENT LP (Sol Records)

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Grail - The Morning Of DisillusionmentOriginally released on CD three years ago, ‘The Morning Of Disillusionment’ is a demo (whatever that means any more) from German trio Grail, who share members with interesting young upstarts Shores of Ladon. The vinyl edition presents the 40-odd minutes within a classy package, which is widely available for a mere pittance (around €13).

Although far from exceptional, this is nonetheless a very good Black Metal record (including some cool samples), which I’ve given four or five spins already but may not revisit too often in the future.

Side A comprises ‘The Morning of Disillusionment (Part One)’, ‘The Morning of Disillusionment (Part Two)’ and ‘The Morning of Disillusionment (Part Three)’ (I pay myself by the word…), featuring lyrics taken from an Aleister Crowley poem or suchlike. These lyrics are included and I have read them: the word love is mentioned a lot so I deduce that The Great Beast must have been a bit of a sap.

Evilometer: 555/666

OFERMOD – THAUMIEL LP (I Hate Records)

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Ofermod - ThaulmielWhat a sickener! The hideous clean vocals kick in on ‘Calling of Setnacht: Twofold Triunity’ and continue unabated on the absolutely horrendous ‘Undead Moon’, which sounds like an embarrassing audition for the Eurovision Song Contest. Is this Black Metal or Euro Pop?

The remainder of the record is rendered irrelevant. Thanks but no thanks.

Evilometer: 000/666

 

INTHYFLESH – DO SANGUE QUE VERTE VENENO EP (Altare Productions)

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Inthyflesh - Do Sangue Que Verte VenenoIf a band (or label) – no matter how great and cult they are – has only got 18 minutes’ worth of material to work with, then they should hold onto it and wait until they have enough music to make up a full album or a split or something.

Records with music on just one side, retailing for practically the same price as a full-length, are an insult to the consumer and make the underground prohibitively expensive to enter.

Since when was the Black Metal underground an exclusive club for wealthy fanatics? While quality is obviously of paramount importance, there should be no compromise on value for money. Needless to say, I won’t be buying this.

Evilometer: 000/666