Tuesday, January 23, 2018 04:09

Archive for December, 2017

WROK – DE ONHEILSBODE LP (Heidens Hart Records)

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Wrok - De OnheilsbodeApologies for this one but there have been many times of late when I listened to Wrok around the clock. ‘De Onheilsbode’ is the Dutch duo’s debut full-length, their only prior releases being some long-forgotten demos from around 20 years ago.

There’s 50 minutes of primitive, ancient-sounding Satanic Black Metal on here, delivered with enthusiasm, passion and intent embellished greatly by a unique but very authentic sound. Truly excellent, nasty stuff.

As well as sounding superb, the record is also tastefully presented (kudos to a wonderful label), so this is a major winner all around. Another exceptional release from the tarnished lowlands.

Evilometer: 666/666

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM – THRICE WOVEN 2LP (Artemisia Records)

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Wolves In The Throne Room - Thrice WovenScene is obviously the wrong word but Wolves In The Throne Room were a tree-hugging breath of fresh air when they arrived upon it with their ground-breaking debut album, ‘Diadem Of 12 Stars’, way back in 2006. The Weaver brothers came at Black Metal from a decidedly environmentally-conscious perspective and I believe they once dwelled (perhaps still do?) in a self-sustaining farm compound of sorts where they produced their own food and forged an independent existence far removed from the ills of the modern world or something.

Cascadian Black Metal was born and WITTR were the leaders of the nuevo-pagan pack, at one with nature, the lakes, the mountains, the forests and the ancient spirits. As well as their noble, stand-up image, the music was also excellent. It was an exciting departure for the sub-subgenre but, alas, as they (d)evolved and those dreaded female vocals that almost wrecked my head came more and more to the fore, the band’s albums gradually deteriorated and they became almost irrelevant, hitting rock bottom with the fifth full-length whose name escapes me (and I won’t be looking it up because it’s not worth the hassle).

Then ‘Thrice Woven’ dropped this year.

Comprising four lengthy offerings and the fleeting (thankfully, perhaps, as the female singing is back…) ‘Mother Owl, Father Ocean’, these two records are majestic. Everything atmospheric Black Metal can – and should – be. With Steve Von Till of Neurosis on guest vocals ‘The Old Ones Are With Us’ is the obvious centrepiece of the album but, the more I listen to them. the more I enjoy all four of the main tracks.

Comes in a sumptuous gatefold jacket with a beautiful booklet (and lyrics) included, the records spinning at 45rpm for optimal audio playback quality and maximum payback. This will cost you more than most other double LPs due to the limited distribution, but is worth every cent. An astounding exhibit of mystical art that may have been better without the superfluous fourth song, which I am prepared to forgive as I think they may have stuck in it there specifically to piss me off. I refuse to take the bait this time.

Evilometer: 666/666

SVARTSYN – IN DEATH LP (Agonia Records)

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Svartsyn - In Death LPNineteen years since unleashing his debut full-length under the Svartsyn banner, Ornias delivered his ninth album and first in four years amid zero brouhaha, hype or acknowledgement. Criminally under-rated, Svartsyn has been consistently dropping high-quality Black Metal literally for decades now to virtually no acclaim.

The latest humble offering, ‘In Death’, is a mesmerising record, for some reason flying so far below the Black Metal hype radar that it almost disappeared into utter obscurity. A fact which tells us all we need to know about the vast majority of sheepshits listening to Black Metal these days…

The millennial mongs seeking underground delights will crave it like an elixir of life if it surfaces on the latest flavour-of-the-month label, limited to 100 copies and discussed to death on a forum somewhere, like a horde of rabid bitches fantasising about a thigh bone and yearning to outgun one another by getting in there first and posting a picture of the record – or their distro receipt – on Instagram.

Yet, staggeringly, they’ll almost universally ignore a true gem of astonishing quality that showcases integrity and substance over bullshit.

The fact that this record – which was released in June – is still available on the official Svartsyn Facebook page for a mere €12 is difficult to fathom. But why buy an excellent album and listen to it on your own and stay the fuck quiet about how trendy you are when you can – perhaps – get a sub-standard record that’s somehow trendy all of a sudden and gloat about it and take photos to impress your peers?

It’s a sad, sad day for Black Metal when factors other than the quality of records is dictating whether or not people (pricks) buy them.

Evilometer: 666/666

ANATOMIA – CRANIAL OBSESSION 2LP (Nuclear War Now!)

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

Anatomia - Cranial ObsessionOn their stupendously stellar third full-length opus, ‘Cranial Obsession’, Anatomia display a sense of unnerving energy and ravenous hunger that belies their advancing years. This Japanese three-piece have been around the decayed Doom / Death block a few times but they are really hitting their stride now, eclipsing their hitherto status as rather superb Autopsy clones to morph and grow into something much better than I ever dared imagine.

Stamping their own unique identity all over these eight choice cuts – with a running time of almost 70 minutes – Anatomia have delivered their magnum opus; a veritable Death Metal masterpiece that is sure to garner them a swell of attention globally (within obvious reason). Of course, they’ll always reside in the underground, where they can look smugly at their peers, knowing that they have surpassed most of them.

This is a sensational album, seamlessly merging dark doom, dank death and unsettling ambience to conjure something that deserves to be heard and cherished by everybody with even a passing interest in the arts we hold so dearly. The band tags their music as ‘dismal slow death metal’ on the accompanying lyric sheet / poster and that’s a pretty apt description of the magic found herein.

The second record comprises two epic offerings: the 15-minute-plus slow-motion massacre, ‘Abysmal Decay’ (on its own, longer than some MLPs), on Side C countered by excruciating eleven-minute epitaph, ‘Recurrence’, as the most fitting denouement to the delirious torture.

Forget about those increasingly-limited-to-all-fuck releases that you need to jump through refresh-page-for-all-eternity hoops to acquire and just snaffle a copy of this instead. Housed within gatefold coffinsleeve, the vinyl edition is awesome. If you don’t like it, all is not lost: use the two sharp discs to slowly sever your skinny tasteless neck and decapitate yourself. You will not be missed.

Evilometer: 666/666

TETRAGRAMMACIDE – PRIMAL INCINERATORS OF MORAL MATRIX LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

Tetragrammacide - Primal Incinerators Of Moral MatrixThe vinyl edition of Tetragrammacide’s debut full-length is a thing of true pummeling beauty. Buttressed by a strong gatefold jacket including bountiful booklet and the obligatory poster, ‘Primal Incinerators Of Moral Matrix’ is certainly a record that merits a place in any self-disrespecting collection. It looks supreme and sounds even better.

As solid a hybrid of crushing, chaotic Black / Death Metal (complete with batshit lyrics and delightfully odd interludes) as you could wish to witness, this album is subtly more accessible than ‘Typhonian Wormholes: Indecipherable Anti-Structural Formulæ’; twice as long; and thrice as nice. Crushing.

Evilometer: 666/666