Tuesday, October 16, 2018 00:03

Archive for January, 2018

SINMARA – WITHIN THE WEAVES OF INFINITY MLP (Terratur Possessions)

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Sinmara - Within The Weaves Of InfinityAs we wait patiently and expectedly for Sinmara to unleash the follow up to their amazing 2014 opening shot, ‘Aphotic Womb’, the Icelandic quintet at least offered some welcome sustenance in the form of this three-song EP, which was released last summer and demonstrated once more the uncanny quality that permeates everything this band puts its ridiculously talented hands to.

If the immense, landmark full-length was a feast of swirling black dissonance and chaos, then ‘Within The Weaves Of Infinity’ is a mere snack to tide one over, clocking in at less than 20 minutes, yet rousing, powerful, anthemic. Less intense, dizzying and challenging than hitherto, the subtly-more-accessible, restrained and catchy Sinmara demonstrates a slightly different visage, a tweak, but coming from the same black hearts of a driven coterie of shadow-clad musicians who can simply do no wrong.

Excellent stuff again, with a great presentation (worthy of an album proper) and some interesting lyrics to try to get one’s head around … just a shame there’s not more of it.

Evilometer: 666/666

VASSAFOR – MALEDICTION LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Vassafor - MaledictionThis is one heavy record. Literally. It’s listed as 180g but feels more like 280 in my bony hands. Chunky as all fuck. Maybe it’s the oppressive, all-consuming chaos painstakingly pressed into the grooves of the deep black wax that weighs it down.

Either way, Vassafor’s aptly-titled second full-length, ‘Malediction’, is another monster from this stellar band, undoubtedly one of the finest dwelling in the decayed Black / Death underground. Considering that the New Zealand duo have been releasing high-quality music for more than two decades and have a sizeable canon of incredible material to their credit, it’s difficult to fathom that there are just two albums proper…

And even though there are only three new songs contained on here (‘Servitude’ and ‘Black Winds Victoryant’ are re-recorded versions of cuts that were included on the amazing ‘Elegy of the Archeonaut’ 2LP), ‘Malediction’ is nevertheless an outstanding exhibit of murky, cavernous, rumbling black doom that kicks off with the sensationally-disturbing 16-minute-plus ‘Devourer Of A Thousand Worlds’ and never lets up.

Everything about this album is magnificent, apart from the fact that I dropped my copy onto the platter (Although from no great height, it plummeted forcefully downwards, like an angry hippo’s stool) and etched a multitude of unwanted clicks into Side A. Too much weight for my feeble limbs.

Heavy gatefold jacket, inner sleeve and poster further bolster the gross weight, so you might want to visit the gym a few times before picking this substantial unit up.

Evilometer: 666/666

FUNERAL ALTAR – FUNERAL ALTAR LP (Skjold)

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Funeral Altar - Funeral AltarFuneral Altar’s self-titled first full-length album is great but, due to Skjold’s unpopular policy of limiting its releases to around half the number of hairs in an average eyebrow, chances are many people who want it won’t be able to get it. Which is a shame. I’m not sure what can be gained from setting limitations so far below anticipated demand – it certainly doesn’t benefit the consumer.

Having said that, I’m also unsure as to how much of said demand is false, i.e. generated by forces other than the quality of the music. If limitation was never disclosed, how many would still crave this music? Is there an artificial demand caused by the knowledge that the record is more valuable financially from the perspective of a prospective speculator? Are investors distorting the market?

Who the fuck knows anymore! Just how big is the worldwide audience for quality raw Black Metal? I have no idea. If 300 copies of this were pressed rather than 150, could the label lose money? I doubt it but who knows. Five-hundred might be a risk, especially if the hypefog dissipated. Fucking economics.

At the end of the day, labels can do what they want. But Skjold’s releases are hot as hell now so hopefully there’ll be some represses and an increase in pressing numbers soon. Although that would strip them of their mystique and indefinable appeal, to an extent, so don’t hold your breath.

Evilometer: 666/666

TRONO ALÉM MORTE – O OLHAR ATENTO DA ESCURIDÃO LP (Signal Rex)

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Trono Além Morte - O Olhar Atento Da EscuridãoFeaturing six lengthy exhibits – direct from the seeping cave – of lo-fi, raw, barely-there, evil-as-all-fuck Black Metal, Trono Além Morte’s debut full-length clocks in at nigh on 45 minutes and is a prime example of stellar, straight-up, no nonsense underground Black Metal that eschews production values and accessibility from start to finish.

Filthy and grimy, dank and dripping of decrepitude, ‘O Olhar Atento Da Escuridão’ is aimed at those outcasts and dark souls who want their music with no polish, no sophistication and no fucking frills.

With underground Black Metal currently dying a slow and painful death at the hands of a bizarre new attention-seeking, bandwagon-hopping,  forum-loving, Instagram-endorsing fanbase due in a large part to the behaviour of certain labels who are deliberately making the music as difficult to access as they possibly can, mistakenly believing that a product which is painfully limited and therefore potentially more valuable on a monetary level is also somehow rendered better and worthier of adulation (and it seems to work to a certain extent), it’s refreshing to hear some genuinely carefree Portuguese Black Metal that reeks of the good old days of Discipline and Bubonic Productions, that clearly says Fuck You, and that you can actually get your hands on.

This is an excellent record. Nothing more. Refreshingly gimmick free in a world of sneakiness, speculating and cynicism and an endless race to the bottom where idiots are basing their choice of what music to buy on its potential resale value. Why not just buy records that are good?

Evilometer: 666/666

NORTT – ENDELIGT LP (Avantgarde Music)

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Nortt - Endeligt LPA full decade after ‘Galgenfrist’, Nortt returns with his fourth full-length and ‘Endeligt’ is as dark and unsettling a dose of black funeral doom as we could have longed for. It’s sombre and melancholy and plodding, rather easy-listening stuff with not much aggression on display but the deep sense of pathos and foreboding evident across the 40-odd minutes renders this a deeply unsettling and crushing experience.

I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed what Nortt does and I think this is a great, great record, even if there are a lot more crackles on my copy than I’d like there to be.

Evilometer: 666/666

FROZEN GRAVES – FROZEN GRAVES LP (Kuunpalvelus)

Monday, January 1st, 2018

Frozen Graves - Frozen Graves LPFeaturing Luxixul Sumering Auter of Cosmic Church, Aura Saturnal and Asymmetry on drums and keyboards as well as Nécropole vocalist Déchéance, Frozen Graves is a unique, international Black Metal combo that has fashioned a very impressive self-titled debut full-length.

Due to the oftentimes overbearing keys, this record is a bit lusher and more extravagant than I’d ideally prefer. Strangulated vocals are great and there’s definitely an otherworldly eeriness at play here. But it’s very melodic and easy on the ear, which is certainly not what I was expecting.

Evilometer: 444/666