Friday, November 24, 2017 07:08

Archive for May, 2017

NECROBLOOD – COLLAPSE OF THE HUMAN RACE LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Necroblood - Collapse Of The Human RaceIf you pitched Diocletian, Revenge, Antaeus, Archgoat, ZOM and Portal into a super-Satanic blender and pulverised the contents together to create a novel yet strangely familiar monster, then you might just end up with something like Necroblood.

Although there is nothing particularly new here and a lot of the influences shine through clearly, debut full-length ‘Collapse Of The Human Race’ manages to sound fresh, rather than lazily cloned. This is a very difficult album to describe or pigeonhole as it fuses so many subtly different styles of barbaric Black and Death Metal into its vicious, virulent, obnoxious and ominous attack. Suppose I can just describe it as killer?

Three-quarters of an hour of punishing, pummeling poison with a big, bass-friendly production to maximise impact. Devastating, really, and with a cool intro to boot. You won’t go wrong with this monstrosity.

Evilometer: 666/666

HARVEST GULGALTHA – ALTARS OF DEVOTION LP (Nuclear War Now!)

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Harvest Gulgaltha - Altars Of DevotionListening to ‘Altars Of Devotion’, it sounds almost like Harvest Gulgaltha are in my living room hammering out the tracks and tearing paint from the wall, warping the fireplace, trembling the windowpanes, shaking the timber joists, wooden frames, bricks and plaster of this Hell I call home.

That’s how powerful, immediate and devastating this record is; how fitting a panacea to my pained and meaningless daily existence. Mid-paced, gloomy, ultra-heavy Black / Death (mostly Death) as is all the rage now, ripping through the speakers with genuine menace and for all intents and purposes sounding like a fitting sequel to the amazing ‘Nihl’, although not quite as catchy.

Split vocals are great and a lyric sheet is included so I can stick on the spectacles my decrepit head now requires and read along. I’ve no real need for the patch or sticker or marbled vinyl, though.

Evilometer: 666/666

AZELISASSATH – TOTAL DESECRATION OF EXISTENCE LP (Nordisk Kultur)

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Azelisassath - Total Desecration Of ExistenceAzelisassath’s third full-length, ‘Total Desecration Of Existence’, is more depressive content-wise than I recall the first two offerings (‘In Total Contempt of All Life’ and ‘Evil Manifestations Against Mankind’) being, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The song titles and lyrics rather overtly deal with suicide, nihilism and self-annihilation, nothingness, death and all manner of uplifting eventualities. So much better than Trolldom; hard to believe it’s the same maniac. In fairness, most of Swartadauþuz’ work is exceptionally good.

The music is raw-ish but with an insidious sense of keyboard-driven melody and plenty of upbeat atmosphere. But still dark as the devil’s hole.

Evilometer: 666/666

WHOREDOM RIFE – WHOREDOM RIFE MLP (Terratur Possessions)

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Whoredom Rife - Whoredom RifeWhoredom Rife is the latest Black Metal buzzband coming out of the legendary Trondheim underground and they have found a fitting home on Terratur. The self-titled debut mini-album comprises four tracks, spanning 22 minutes, and is presented in a gatefold jacket with a big poster included. So, a lot of padding for a glorified EP… Looks fabulous but the presentation is something of an overkill when each side of the record ends so quickly.

Leaving aside the brevity of proceedings, musically ‘Whoredom Rife’ is a decent enough dose of reasonably-aggressive but predominantly-melodic and catchy Black Metal that’s somewhat enjoyable but a long way from the mandatory acquisition I was braced for when I chose to cough up the cash.

You could headbang to this all day long. Hell, you could even dance about the place to it if you are that way inclined, but that’s not really what I’m seeking in my music. I’m really hoping the full-length – which is due to be released literally any minute now, apparently – will be a considerable improvement because this is a run-of-the-mill, underwhelming record (albeit, a fantastic-looking one).

Evilometer: 222/666

NIGHTBRINGER – TERRA DAMNATA 2LP (Season of Mist Underground Activists)

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Nightbringer - Terra DamnataNightbringer – an act I have been championing for years – delivers 52 minutes of mystical, occult-ridden, complex, chaotic Black Metal on fifth full-length, ‘Terra Damnata’, but this time I’m finding the whole experience irritating as all hell – too melodic, too atmospheric, too safe and way too accessible.

The songs positively soar through the speakers, uplifting and delightful like some hybrid of Emperor and Cradle of Filth and I find it bland and boring and downright disappointing.

The big, grand, epic sound has a lot in common with Dimmu Borgir and it’s quite disheartening to witness any band moving more into this horrible direction. A thoroughly professional and accomplished piece of work, no doubt, but my love affair with Nightbringer is well and truly over. What was I thinking?

Fuck, this is really terrible stuff.

Evilometer: 000/666

TROLLDOM – AV GUDABLOD RÖD… LP (Nordisk Kultur)

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Trolldom - Av Gudablod Röd...This one is from the enigmatic Ancient Records stable although, for some reason, it’s credited as an independent release rather than being attributed to either of the cult Ancient Records / Afgrundsvisioner, Mysticism Productions or Nordisk Kultur imprints.

I think there was some sort of rift in the camp so I’m not sure what the status of the label(s) is but that hardly matters as the music is still surfacing (unfortunately, in the case of this one).

(Since changed to Nordisk Kultur on Metal Archives…)

I’ve noted before how these releases are hit and miss and ‘Av Gudablod Röd’ is very much in the latter department: a cock-eyed, eye-off-the-ball, glaring miss – miles off the target, so far wide it’s gone out for a throw-in – comprising two lengthy offerings of wishy-washy, keyboard-driven, mid-paced, sugary, symphonic, raw-ish, medieval-sounding pomposity that doesn’t qualify as Black Metal (surely?).

Swartadauþuz has delivered a lot of great records across his various guises; this isn’t one of them. Don’t panic if you’ve missed out on Trolldom’s debut release. It’s aimed at fairies. Nothing of interest happening here. Ventures way too far down the atmospheric path for my liking. A shocker, really.

Evilometer: 000/666

BESTIAL RAIDS – MASTER SATAN’S WITCHERY LP (Nuclear War Now!)

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Bestial Raids - Master Satan's WitcheryRaucous, pummeling and heavier than a hippo’s balls, Bestial Raids are all about unsophisticated, puerile, subtle-as-a-sledgehammer, bestial, warmongering Black / Death in the vein of fellow purveyors of ancient evil such as Black Witchery, Archgoat, Revenge and their ilk.

Although confined by the obvious restrictions of delivering darkness within such narrow parameters, the Poles do manage to stake their own claim to entering Satan’s unhallowed dominion on relentless, unforgiving and barbaric third full-length, ‘Master Satan’s Witchery’.

Fierce and fearsome, nasty and vile devil-worshiping art with a poster and lyric sheet.

Evilometer: 555/666

PREDATORY LIGHT – PREDATORY LIGHT LP (Invictus Productions / Psychic Violence Records)

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Predatory Light – Predatory LightI was pretty sure I already reviewed Predatory Light’s split with Vorde but, seeing as I can’t find any trace of such a scribbling, I will have to reluctantly concede that I didn’t. This is about the tenth time that I’ve looked for a previous review only to discover that it doesn’t exist, so either some of them are vanishing or I’m losing my marbles.

Anyhow, I picked up Predatory Light’s debut full-length at the recent Ash Borer / Vanum gig in Dublin a few weeks back and have had it on steady rotation ever since. It’s a really superb slab of catchy, simplistic, repetitive US Black Metal and I’m particularly fond of that thing they do with the lyrics – effectively only a few lines in each song and every line is repeated multiple times before moving on to the next one, with the momentum gathering all the time.

Sightless beast of the mutant dark, sightless beast of the mutant dark, sightless beast of the mutant dark, sightless beast of the mutant dark, sightless beast of the mutant dark…

It’s very effective.

Both label(s) and band have done a magnificent job with this utterly addictive record and it’s one I can but heartily recommend.

Evilometer: 666/666

ORDER OF DARKNESS – VREJ LP (Altare Productions)

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Order Of Darkness - VrejRaw Black Metal has never been in ruder health and, with ‘Vrej’, the dying-earth-scouring Altare Productions has come up with another diseased gem. Order of Darkness is conceived into reality by one individual, who likes to be called Harbinger of the Void, and who hails (apparently) from the United States.

On his debut full-length, Mr of the Void delivers six cavernous, lo-fi, barely-there offerings at the altar of the dark father, celebrating death, decay, depravity and such. Like a lot of the raw stuff, this is a limited pressing, which strangely adds to the allure, somehow.

Evilometer: 666/666

RHINOCERVS – RH-07 MLP (Final Agony Records)

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Rhinocervs - RH-07This is the third of the much-coveted and hyped Rhinocervs tapes to get the vinyl treatment and I am pretty sure there are more to come. Unleashed at the start of the year, it is limited to a mere 333 units.

Are there 333 suckers out there who want to part with more than the price of most full-length albums for 24 minutes of lethargic, sleep-inducing, spacey, psychedelic Black Metal that’s neither one thing nor another nor another? No doubt. Alas, I am one such fool.

The seventh track is enjoyable but, generally speaking, ‘RH-07’ is a truly boring, painfully lacklustre, somewhat contrived, predominantly-instrumental record that sounds like wallpaper falling off a tree.

Evilometer: 111/666

LIBER NULL – I, THE SERPENT LP (Osmose Productions)

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Liber Null - I, The SerpentEven though it is, to all intents and purposes, shamelessly derivative and at times comes across like a poor man’s Funeral Mist / Marduk, I have to confess to really enjoying Liber Null’s debut full-length, ‘I, The Serpent’.

Granted, there’s nothing ground-breaking, eclectic or particularly mesmerising going on over the course of the six fairly standard black hymns presented (and a distinct sense of having heard it all before, often done much better) – but, nevertheless, this record is not without charm. When you’re not listening to great Black Metal, why not settle for some good Black Metal every now and again?

Cutting straight to the chase, ‘I, The Serpent’ is a rather good if hardly mandatory effort, well worth investigating if you just can’t get enough solid-as Satan’s-hooves Black Metal in your worthless life.

Evilometer: 444/666

WULKANAZ – PARALYS LP (Helter Skelter)

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Wulkanaz - ParalysWulkanaz is one of those artists I can’t get enough of, so ‘Paralys’ was inevitably going to find a place in the devil’s collection.  The third full length is a fairly natural and organic progression from its rather excellent predecessors, ‘HaglaNaudizEisaz’ and ‘Paúrpura Fræovíbôkôs’ – another 31 minutes of magical mayhem from one of the Black Metal underground’s most unique and beguiling voices.

The music on this record is manic and demented. I can (very clearly) picture people in straitjackets jumping around merrily in an asylum listening to it, wondering if they are truly mad or if perhaps it’s the ones who put them there who are insane.

Evilometer: 666/666

REBIRTH OF NEFAST – TABERNACULUM 2LP (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Rebirth Of Nefast - TabernaculumRebirth Of Nefast’s sprawling debut full-length, ‘Tabernaculum’, is an intricate, complex, ambitious and utterly stunning work of art painstakingly woven into a pitch black tapestry by an individual who toiled and toiled and toiled until he could toil no more. Wann / Stephen Lockhart invested every fibre of his being into ensuring that the album was perfect and his notoriously-pernickety approach has paid rich, rich dividends.

Cinematic in scope, the six songs (61 minutes) presented are multi-textured, multi-layered orations, loaded with hidden depths, details and nuances, utterly breath-taking in conception, execution and delivery. The attention to detail on every note of ‘Tabernaculum’ is staggering and it is simply astonishing to think that this remarkable record is predominantly the bitter fruit of just one man’s labour.

What mind can dream it up, then make it happen?

The vinyl edition is sumptuous and this is an album that all Black Metal devotees should investigate closely. Absolutely masterful in every conceivable way.

Evilometer: 666/666