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Archive for March, 2015

NIGHTBRINGER – EGO DOMINUS TUUS 2LP (Daemon Worship Productions)

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Nightbringer - Ego Dominus TuusWow!: seventy-two minutes of prime esoteric Black Metal spread across two slabs of black wax encased in a spectacular, heavy-duty gatefold jacket which also houses a huge booklet / tome with occult lyrics and beautiful artwork included to complete a stunning package / product.

It was an almost unbearably lengthy wait for Nightbringer’s fourth full-length to materialise on vinyl and, alas, this double-LP is also fairly expensive to purchase. But the downsides begin and end there…

Whomsoeverthefuck said that the best things in life are free deserves a firm, unrestrained knee to the bollocks – with ample follow-through. You have to pay for good stuff and I don’t require a degree in economics to reach this conclusion.

All you need to know about the sprawling and expansive ‘Ego Dominus Tuus’ is that it is utterly amazing; an exhibition of fierce, grandiose, labyrinthine, symphonic, perfectly-produced-yet-still-raw-and-aggressive Black Metal reminiscent in many ways of Emperor at their absolute peak or like a BM cousin of Nile. It’s also a very difficult record to fully digest.

But I will leave the hyperbole and needless thesis-writing to others. A handful of adjectives is more than enough! I prefer listening to Nightbringer than writing about them. Although I have written about them quite a few times, it would appear. What are you waiting for?

Evilometer: 666/666

NIGHTBRINGER – EMANATION LP (Daemon Worship Productions)

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Nightbringer - EmanationInitially conceived on humble CD five years ago, ‘Emanation’ collates six rare / demo tracks from the earliest incarnation of Nightbringer onto one potentially-lethal disc of black wax. While the music on this record is not as essential as any of the band’s full-length’s proper – or, indeed, the two most-recent splits – it’s still really good stuff and is well worth investigating (and not just for completists, either).

Although lacking flow and focus for obvious reasons, and decidedly rawer than the sophisticated beast that has just unleashed the sensational ‘Ego Dominus Tuus’, ‘Emanation’ is an interesting historical document that also stands alone as a genuinely worthy release from one of the most relevant Black Metal bands of our time.

I for one am pleased that this compilation has seen the light of day on vinyl.

Evilometer: 555/666


Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Death Karma - The History Of Death & Burial Rituals Part II love the original concept behind Death Karma’s debut full-length, which looks at various occult burial rituals historically practised by different civilisations around the world during times that were almost as insane as the ones we now dwell in.

It’s a unique and refreshing form of macabre reflection, even by Black Metal standards, and ‘The History Of Death & Burial Rituals Part I’ certainly deserves top marks for being innovative in the creativity stakes.

From the ‘Hanging Coffins’ which once protruded from cliffs and walls in China to India’s ‘Towers Of Silence’, Madagascar’s dance with the dead (‘Famadihana’) and Mexico’s chilling town where the deceased were bathed in blood (‘Chichén Itzá’), this is truly morbid and fascinating stuff.

On the other two tracks on offer, the Slovakian duo deal with matters closer to home – ‘Journey Of The Soul’ acknowledging an ancient burial custom in their native land and ‘Úmrlcí Prkna’ referring to an area in next-door Czech Republic (where the band members now reside) whereby expired fuckers were kept on hold until the harsh winters had passed so that they could be buried in the spring time.

All in all, the theme of the album is a great idea and quite rare in that this is a dark release that is genuinely interesting and referring to real events rather than Satan and Lucifer and chaos and that sort of stuff. Sonically (hell, I might as well mention the actual music…), ‘The History Of Death & Burial Rituals Part I’ is also excellent – what else would you expect from two members of the band that produced one of the best LPs of 2013?!

The record itself is contained within a spectacular gatefold jacket, with beautiful artwork and a lovely booklet stapled to the inside, including lyrics and artwork. Brilliant stuff all the way and a truly stunning follow up to the promising ‘A Life Not Worth Living’ MLP.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, March 16th, 2015

Maléfices - HurlemortThis one is only for the insatiable completists and blind Maléfices fanatics out there, of which I am evidently not one, even though I love all three of the infamous demos. While I do enjoy this record on its merits, it isn’t as impressive as this or this or this. Ultimately, I am underwhelmed.

The ‘Hurlemort’ MLP / EP is essentially a live recording of a rehearsal that was captured in one day last year as part of preparations for a live gig. While Serpenoire is the lone driving force behind Maléfices, he obviously used a full band here …  and that is more or less the sole selling point.

The assumption I made when artist and label deemed that this recording was worthy of a vinyl release was that something magical must have happened during the rehearsal that day; an amazing alchemy that gave rise to an extraordinary 24 minutes of music. This isn’t necessarily the case, however.

Hurlemort’ – though impressive – is also rather ordinary in the heel of the hunt, like a decent but hardly essential recording of a live concert that nobody attended. Honestly, for €20 plus shipping, it is not worthy of the price of admission (having said that, it will probably be worth €1,000,000 in ten years and perhaps that’s the real attraction of these releases…).

All of Maléfices’ previous offerings are superior; to my untrained ear, this one is a bit of a cash grab. Good, but my money was better.

Evilometer: 333/666


Friday, March 13th, 2015

Truppensturm Thorybos - Approaching ConflictThere’s eleven tracks of decent Black / Death Metal on ‘Approaching Conflict’, with a strong war vibe and theme – particularly from Truppensturm, which is hardly a surprise as that’s their specialist area of expertise. I suppose this style of music is similar to Archgoat in some respects, although both these bands are more lo-fi, with a duller delivery.

I don’t think there’s anything especially remarkable about this split but it is nevertheless enjoyable and certainly worth checking out if you appreciate underground blackened death, with an emphasis more on the death quotient. Comes in a gatefold jacket with a poster and printed inner sleeve including select lyrics.

Evilometer: 444/666


Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Satanic Warmaster - FimbulwinterAlthough it’s natural I suppose for artists to evolve, when Black Metal bands do so they invariably move in the wrong direction. One step forward; five back. The reason why I loved Satanic Warmaster in the first place was, well, doh, because I loved Satanic Warmaster. The music, the sound, the attitude.

When they change that sound to something closer to Old Man’s Child and adopt a way more accessible approach no doubt aimed at garnering increased mass appeal, all the magic is lost during the sell-out process.

Although by no means terrible, ‘Fimbulwinter’ is massively disappointing. Too clean, too melodic, too crisp and fucking mature, it bears very little resemblance to the stellar releases that SW has conjured in the past. Sounds more like a side project paying homage to early ‘90s Scandinavian BM. What happened to the raw, grim, nasty, puerile Satanic Warmaster that brought a smile to my face and reinforced my passion for the underground?

Ah, why skirt around the issue any longer?: this is shit, really, to be fair.

Evilometer: 111/666

RHINOCERVS – RH-11 LP (Final Agony Records)

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Rhinocervs - RH-11While ‘RH-13’ didn’t quite grab me by the balls the way I’d hoped it would, I still went back into the abyss to grab a copy of this one on vinyl. I much prefer ‘RH-11’, as it happens, and not just because it presents a more-acceptable (lengthwise) 35 minutes (six tracks) of blazing, underground Black Metal.

Overall, I am thoroughly enjoying the music on this record, which features just the right balance of rawness, finesse, strangeness, twisted melody and a unique identity. A very solid LP, all told, with a more-than-adequate sound, to boot. Blah blah blah…

Evilometer: 555/666


Sunday, March 8th, 2015

A.M.S.G. - The Forbidden TransformationThe Forbidden Transformation’ contains 29 minutes of music on two sides of a 12” record; the title track on Side A plus ‘Luciferion Lycanthropic Lust’ and ‘The Gleaming Tower’ on the flip side. It still costs the price of a full-length but a CD edition of the recording is included to soften the blow. A nice touch.

There’s no sign of the blasted saxophone that blighted ‘Anti-Cosmic Tyranny’, mercifully, and for that reason I find this release more enjoyable. A minor triumph for quality over quantity, if you like. A.M.S.G. really can craft some genuinely evil and detached vibes and this record should appeal to both the converted and potential new devotees alike.

A great way to kill half an hour.

Evilometer: 555/666

BLACK CILICE – MYSTERIES LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Black Cilice - MysteriesWhile still as lo-fi, ghoulish and ghastly as ever, Black Cilice’s third full-length isn’t quite as ferocious and vociferous as the previous two albums. For want of a better word, it is more spectral. ‘Mysteries’ is still grim and raw Black Metal of the deepest underground, treading the same astral plains as its predecessors, but less chaotic in its execution.

The subtle shift in delivery is most welcome because – irrespective of how great ‘A Corpse, A Temple’ and ‘Summoning The Night’ (and, to a lesser extent, ‘Old Curses’) are – Black Cilice was nevertheless in danger of becoming perceived as a one-trick pony, re-recording essentially the same album over and over again (but what an album!).

Once more, we get six tracks (38 minutes), and I believe it might be a(nother) vinyl-only release (for the time being, at least). The artwork is pretty much identical to the first-two records, except the fucker on the cover has moved a little bit, so it would appear that this guy never leaves his dungeon.

Although there was absolutely nothing wrong with the first two LPs, the slightly-tweaked, more restrained and stylised incarnation of Black Cilice evident here is thoroughly enjoyable and serves to underline the Portuguese one-man act’s relevance in a scene that can stagnate, frustrate and disappoint all too often.

Evilometer: 666/666

MARDUK – FRONTSCHWEIN LP (Century Media Records)

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Marduk - FrontschweinTwenty-five years in, Marduk unleash their 13th full-length and the fifth of the Mortuus-on-vocals era – easily the most accomplished period in the Swedes’ blistering recording history. Returning here to the killing fields of WWII, they’re a real force to be reckoned with now and a rare example of a Black Metal band signed to a major label who don’t also happen to be shit.

Frontschwein’ translates loosely as ‘front swine’ and is a colloquial term the Germans coined for the hapless, cannon-fodder soldiers / pigs in the frontline of battle, where they are unceremoniously killed, maimed, butchered, splattered, smashed, exploded, obliterated, pulverised, hammered and fucked to pieces. That’s what this record will do to your speakers.

Hardly the underground’s best-kept secret, in fairness, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Suffice to say, Marduk live up to their big-guns status and everything about this record is as one would expect from such seasoned campaigners (apart from the fact that the bonus track is not included on the vinyl edition). A marked improvement on this anyway.

Evilometer: 666/666


Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Darvulia SektarismAnd now for something completely different… This collaboration ventures far beyond the confines of Black Metal into territory that is ambient, experimental and – dare I say it? – ritualistic. Each band offers one lengthy track to produce a split record that’s certainly interesting, though hardly essential.

It’s a decided departure for Darvulia, who sound completely different on their 17-minute contribution, ‘Mort Foetale’, than I’ve ever heard them before – somewhere between Defuntos, Silencer, Abruptum, Impavida, Do Make Say Think and The Twilight Zone. Enjoyable, impromptu stuff and the doom-ier Sektarism (‘Punition Divine’; 21 minutes) is okay, too.

It’s refreshing to hear something unusual for a change. And it’s unusual to encounter something unusual that isn’t shit. So, over all, I’d recommend this split.

Evilometer: 444/666

CAVERNE – DES TRÉFONDS DU HAUT BOIS LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Caverne - Des Tréfonds du Haut BoisI was keen to hear / own a copy of ‘Des Tréfonds Du Haut Bois’ when it was initially released – but not anxious enough to purchase a cassette. I assumed I’d missed out on a potential gem due to my growing dislike of tapes (too many bad experiences with them sound-wise…), so imagine my joy when I heard that IBP was reissuing both of Caverne’s demos on vinyl!

There are 35 minutes of wonderful underground, medieval Black Metal to be found on here, all the work of one gifted individual who operates under the moniker of Amertume, for the sake of his art at least.

Nothing about this record is mere demo quality; to the contrary, ‘Des Tréfonds Du Haut Bois’ can stand toe to toe with most full-lengths proper – shitting all over many better-established names – and is a spirited example of how the greatest releases often come from pretty much nowhere. Insert included with lyrics (in French).

Evilometer: 555/666

FURIA – NOCEL 2LP (Pagan Records)

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Furia - NocelFuria’s fourth full-length is a belter; an hour of powerful, left-field Black Metal spread across two slabs of black wax, housed in a gatefold jacket and with artwork that belies a progressive bent. Thankfully, the considerable experimental element of ‘Nocel’ detracts nothing from the album.

All in all, despite wandering oftentimes from the ancient path, this is a fantastic piece of work which suggests that there is after all – perhaps – a place for Black Metal that isn’t predominantly raw and grim and primitive. The exception that proves the rule.

Off the top of my head, ‘Dödsvisioner’ by Bergraven was probably the last album of this ilk that I liked so much. I also bought ‘Grudzien Za Grudniem’ and ‘Marzannie, Krolowej Polski’ from Furia’s back catalogue to further investigate this previously-unknown-to-me Polish act – I didn’t enjoy those LPs as much as this one, even though they are pretty decent.

Conclusion: ‘Nocel’ is Furia’s magnum opus, an unusual yet disturbing album that demonstrates just how terrible and over-rated Enslaved, Nachtmystium and countless other mainstream-hogging whores are.

Evilometer: 666/666