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Archive for December, 2016

GESPENST – FORFALD LP (Duplicate Records)

Monday, December 12th, 2016

gespenst-forfaldForfald’ is one of those that brings nothing new to the Black Metal altar and therefore its merits or lack thereof can be determined or interpreted in accordance with your prevailing mood on any given day … is it a pointless exercise in by-the-numbers BM that has no right to exist or a perfectly-executed homage to the progenitors and nurturers of the subgenre we love so well?

Generally, in these situations I tend to give the artist the benefit of the doubt. At the end of the day, I’m here because I love Black Metal and Gespenst serve up some fine-to-fantastic music on their debut full-length. Four lengthy tracks – two in English, two in Danish (I think) – adding up to some 38 minutes or so, all clothed in a gatefold jacket with lyrics included.

Mid-paced, atmospheric Black Metal that doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means but wheels serve their purpose just fine as they are and don’t really need to be reinvented. The strength of this confident, competent album is that it is quite basic and true to the tried-and-trusted second-or-third-wave Black Metal sound (with some spacey atmospheric ambience and samples dropped in for good measure); the weakness isn’t really monotony or lack of innovation but rather that – for all its triumphs – ‘Forfald’ is perhaps a little too lush and melodic (no shrill shrieks to be found here).

Ultimately, this easily-enjoyed record is hamstrung by an absence of genuine rawness, filth or darkness (eschewed in favour of an almost Cascadian aura) but it is still well worth investigating / acquiring.

Evilometer: 444/666

FORBIDDEN CITADEL OF SPIRITS – COLLECTION I 2LP (Skjold)

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

forbidden-citadel-of-spirits-%e2%80%8e-collection-iDuring ten years of existence, Forbidden Citadel Of Spirits ‎has yet to unleash a full-length. Probably never will. Instead, in true underground fashion, the Tasmanian duo stick to demos, EPs and splits, improvised and very much in the vein of Portuguese dungeon-dwellers like Black Cilice and Mons Veneris.

Collating material from a host of these off-the-radar releases, ‘Collection I’ is as close as we’ve come to an album proper from the band … on vinyl, at least (a couple of prior compilations also surfaced on cassette).

The music on here is so raw, spontaneous and sloppy that it is almost ludicrous. More Black Metal than Black Metal itself, ‘Collection I’ constitutes a truly insane, warped journey through the depths of some realm that exists beneath the actual underground. Or something.

Great stuff, really. And probably sold out, too, as there were only 150 copies pressed.

Evilometer: 666/666

BLACK FUNERAL – ANKOU AND THE DEATH FIRE LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

black-funeral-ankou-and-the-death-fireCeltic mythology / folklore doesn’t interest me much and I don’t generally appreciate (m)any bands that dwell upon it (or even visit it), so I’d have been pretty wary of Black Funeral’s latest full-length offering, ‘Ankou And The Death Fire’, had I been aware of the prevailing theme – something along the lines of opening the gates to the Celtic netherworld – prior to purchase. Indeed, I might even have given it a wide berth altogether.

However, I invested blindly on the strength of my searing admiration for BF’s previous work, not realising either that Drowning The Light mastermind Azgorh was now on board. Anyhow, I’ve lucked out, to an extent, as this doesn’t sound Celticy, pagany, epicy or Primordialy in any way, shape or form.

Rather, what we get is a thoroughly enjoyable 46 minutes of atmospheric, spooky, occult Black Metal with insidious melodies and a haunting aura. It’s also an album that undeniably gets better as it progresses, building to a fantastic climax which leaves the listener yearning for more.

Decent lyrics to read through on the insert along with some liner notes, a gatefold jacket (nice cover art) and a download card so you can also grab some MP3s if that’s your thing. And a poster, too.

Evilometer: 555/666