Thursday, May 25, 2017 20:07

Archive for June, 2015

IL’ITHIL – IA’WINDE LP (Psychic Violence Records)

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Il'Ithil - Ia'WindeMust admit I’m not fully sure what exactly this band is called as it’s difficult to make out what’s a capital ‘I’ and what’s a lower case ‘l’ but I’m guessing it’s big I + small l + apostrophe + big I + t + h + small i + small l … il’ithil with capital ‘i’s (capitalise) or something, who knows and who cares? Suppose it’s neither here nor there seeing I can’t fucking pronounce most band names anyway (and rarely speak them).

So, Il’Ithil is the solo project of Blake from Wolvserpent and ‘Ia’Winde’ offers two tracks of hazy, shrill, mysterious, sort-of-ambient, sort-of-cascadian / cascading Black Metal that will for sure appeal to fans of Fell Voices and Ash Borer. A tad short at 27 minutes but a fine record nevertheless.

Evilometer: 555/666

NORMAN SHORES – LE TOMBEAU DE BRUME (Ossuaire Records)

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Norman Shores - Le Tombeau De BrumeThe incredibly-prolific Fog from Normandy, France has (at least) three one-man Black Metal bands going on simultaneously at present – Weltering In Blood, Ulfberht and Norman Shores – and incredibly all three have unleashed new full-lengths this year, all on Ossuaire Records, which I think is also his own label.

Le Tombeau De Brume’ is Norman Shores’ second album and it delivers 57 minutes of superb Black Metal, harsh yet reasonably melodic, soaring, with just the right balance between catchiness and in-your-faceness. Considering how prolific this guy is, it is really quite amazing how accomplished an offering he has produced.

Only costs €9 direct from the label. Check it out – you will hardly be disappointed.

Evilometer: 555/666

CLANDESTINE BLAZE – NEW GOLGOTHA RISING LP (Northern Heritage)

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Clandestine Blaze - New Golgotha RisingClandestine Blaze has unleashed another belter with eighth full-length, ‘New Golgotha Rising’ – 39 more minutes of superb Finnish dark art courtesy of Black Metal legend Mikko Aspa. He probably won’t thank me for using that term but Mikko is a pure fucking legend and his work under the CB banner is arguably his best.

The seven odes to annihilation on this record are of the very highest calibre, reaffirming Clandestine Blaze’s status as one of the most consistently-brilliant one-man BM acts in the universe. It’s hard to imagine anyone with even a passing interest in Black Metal not appreciating this album for what it is – a straightforward blast of eradication laced with hatred and indifference.

The white vinyl sucks but everything else about this is monstrous.

Evilometer: 666/666

KÊRES – BATTLE SECRETS LP (Kuunpalvelus)

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Kêres - Battle SecretsAt last, a Kêres release that is widely available. I have no idea why some Black Metal hordes deliberately make their material as difficult to get as they possibly can (only 100 copies were pressed of debut full-length ‘Eternal Wake’) but logic (if any remains) would dictate that such a band also doesn’t want to have its material reviewed, so I won’t bother.

INFERNAL WAR / KRIEGSMASCHINE – TRANSFIGURATIONS LP (Malignant Voices)

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Infernal War  KriegsmaschineFinally, a vinyl edition surfaces of this rather wonderful, all-Polish split release from five years ago. The album may be only 28 minutes long (with a pretty equal contribution from each band) but ‘Transfigurations’ packs a real punch – just enough to keep you coming back for more.

Kriegsmaschine can do no wrong and their two tracks on Side B are of the very highest calibre. While the three Infernal War tunes aren’t as aggressive as I was expecting, they are nonetheless thoroughly enjoyable.

To cut to the chase, this is a very good record, presented in a lovely gatefold jacket, featuring lyrics and some cool artwork. Worthy of investment.

Evilometer: 555/666

EMBRACE OF THORNS – DARKNESS IMPENETRABLE LP (Nuclear War Now!)

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Embrace of Thorns - Darkness ImpenetrableYou have to take Embrace Of Thorns with a pinch – nay, a bucket – of salt. In the band photos on the back of ‘Darkness Impenetrable’, the Greeks look almost like a parody of themselves. And don’t even get me started on the five members’ pseudonyms (I wonder has Nuctemeron Bestial Ravisher of the Divine Harmony filed his tax returns yet; what sports does Archfiend DevilPig partake of?).

Then we have the song titles – ‘Erect Bloodstained Totems’ has to be one of the most unfortunate in the history of Black Metal. Clearly, what we have here is dumb musick aimed at idiots. Only a total braindead fool could enjoy this, right? Well, I love Embrace of Thorns and I love ‘Darkness Impenetrable’.

The vinyl comes in a black-and-white gatefold cover, with fun lyrics and naff band photos included. Most importantly, the music slays. Ripping, refreshing, fun Black Metal. Devil horns!

Evilometer: 666/666

NOCTERNITY – HARPS OF THE ANCIENT TEMPLES 2LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

Nocternity - Harps Of The Ancient TemplesThird full-length, ‘Harps Of The Ancient Temples’, sure represents a glorious return for Nocternity. One-hundred-and-eighty-million years in the making, the follow-up to ‘Onyx’ delivers almost 48 minutes of supreme, predominantly-mid-to-slow-paced, atmospheric Black Metal of the highest calibre.

Generally speaking, these eight offerings constitute a dramatic change of direction for the Greek (/German) outfit (Lunar Aurora influence detectable…) but, personally, I believe ‘Harps Of The Ancient Temples’ is probably the band’s best work to date.

The vinyl edition comes in a gatefold sleeve, with two printed inserts featuring lyrics, two anti-static inserts as well, a poster and damned if even the etching on Side D doesn’t exceed expectations. In summation, both the music and the presentation here are outstanding in every way, making this a genuine no-brainer.

Evilometer: 666/666

ASKEREGN – MONUMENTER LP (Terratur Possessions)

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Askeregn - MonumenterSide A on Askeregn’s debut full-length, ‘Monumenter’, is very much of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it variety, with three songs combined barely making it past the ten-minute mark. It’s short for sure but it is nonetheless thoroughly immense Black Metal with a nice punky edge at times; of the aforementioned openers, the third track ‘Dømt Til Liv’ is particularly enjoyable.

The three significantly-more-substantial outbursts on the flipside take the total running time beyond half an hour and, all in all, though undoubtedly brief, this is an excellent piece of work from a previously-unknown-to-me horde. A definite triumph for quality over quantity, even if ‘Monumenter’ is ultimately shorter than some MLPs.

Having said all of the above, perhaps I am overly-fixated by the duration of records. After all, this is only slightly shorter than the recently-reviewed maiden ZOM assault, ‘Flesh Assimilation’, and I had no complaints there. Furthermore, there’s a real possibility that a generous helping of this style of oftentimes jagged, crusty BM could constitute overkill.

Conclusion: wonderfully catchy stuff, with some great ambient vibes on ‘Ild Til En Sol (Phosphorus)’ and the eight-minute-plus parting shot, ‘Himmelen Brenner (Under Solen)’. This record has an infectious spirit throughout – and you can experience it twice in an hour!

Evilometer: 666/666

RIDE FOR REVENGE – ENTER THE GAUNTLET 2LP (Bestial Burst / Northern Heritage)

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Ride For Revenge - Enter The GauntletIt’s easy to review a Ride For Revenge LP so I will keep it short and sweet. ‘Enter The Gauntlet’ is another exhilarating contribution to add to a growingly-monstrous canon. At 73 minutes, it’s also by far and away the band’s longest full-length to date and the magnificent, demented 24-minute ‘The Fog Is Green And Pungent’ – which takes up all of Side B – has to be heard to be believed.

Everything RFR does is mandatory and this is more of the same trademark brilliance that I’ve come to know and love. No Watain- or Burzum-like departures up their own anuses to be found here. The double-vinyl edition comes in a gatefold home with lyrics included. Awesome stuff.

Evilometer: 666/666

URFAUST – APPARITIONS MLP (Ván Records)

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Urfaust - ApparitionsMusically, Urfaust’s connection to Black Metal is probably only tenuous at best. Their sound is for the most part far removed from your typical BM fare and this has never been more apparent than on ‘Apparitions’, which could be more accurately described as DDAWCC (demented dark ambient with crazed chants).

Normally, when bands associated with Black Metal head off on a tangent and peddle something entirely different – experimental, avant-, post-, or whatever the fuck – I’m not impressed. However, I love Urfaust. These guys have a distinct, wholly evil sound and one that clearly doesn’t suck.

Their strain of ritualistic, hazy, absinthe-fuelled madness is utterly fantastic. A breath of fresh air. Furthermore, this so-called MLP is a full-length in all but name as it provides 44 minutes of music.

Record looks superb; class cover; deadly insert; plus eye-catching two-sided poster. Truly great stuff, all things considered, and worthy of full marks.

Evilometer: 666/666

ZOM – FLESH ASSIMILATION LP (Invictus Productions)

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

ZOM - Flesh AssimilationThe first thing that jumps out at me regarding the vinyl incarnation of ‘Flesh Assimilation’ is the thought and creativity that went into the triple-fold cover; the second is the unnervingly dank, sterile and soulless sound (compared to the CD edition), which somehow renders these Irish death-mongers ever murkier and more depraved than hitherto.

Unless watching the band live on Friday night has completely fucked up my ears, the difference between the analogue and digital versions of ZOM’s frightening debut full-length is night and day. This record is dirty and ugly; disgusting and rotten to the core; angry and born of the most grime-encrusted, piss-stained, disease-ridden sewers.

Which is fully understandable as it was conceived and executed in the greatest fucking cesspit on the planet.

Evilometer: 666/666

PHOBOCOSM – DEPRIVED LP (Dark Descent Records)

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Phobocosm - DeprivedEerie and ominous instrumental opener ‘Sleep Deprivation’ sets the tone for yet another dark and disturbing helping of suffocating, asymmetrical Death Metal conceived in Canada. Without bringing anything particularly unique or original to the table, Phobocosm manage to impress and are one of those bands that just click, in that they are somehow much more than the sum of their individual parts.

Deprived’ all comes together into a refreshing and harrowing cocktail of dark death that makes me think of Gorguts meets Pestilence at a Deathspell Omega (!) gig, for obvious want of a better explanation… (sleep deprivation, indeed)

The record is presented in a fantastic gatefold jacket, with lyrics included. A good ‘un, all in all.

Evilometer: 555/666

 

NORDVREDE – CONFRONTATION LP (Darker Than Black)

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Nordvrede - ConfrontationThe vinyl issue – and only edition currently available – of Nordvrede’s fifth full-length comes cased within a heavy gatefold jacket including a full-size 12×12 booklet with lyrics of hate printed for your perusal plus two bonus tracks. DTB has pulled out all the stops here and this LP certainly looks the part.

On the first few listens, I didn’t think ‘Confrontation’ could hold a candle to the supreme ‘Monument Viktoria’, which in my opinion was the band’s best release to date hitherto. However, upon repeated scrutiny and allowing the music to work its way into my subconscious, I have to admit that this is a stellar slab of Muhammad-bashing, Northern elitist indignation.

And an exceptional Black Metal album by any standards.

Evilometer: 666/666