Monday, December 10, 2018 14:03

Archive for February, 2018

SEMPITERNAL DUSK / ENCOFFINATION – A MONUMENT TO THE ABYSS OF DEATH LP (End Theory Records ‎/ Parasitic Records)

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Sempiternal Dusk Encoffination - A Monument To The Abyss Of DeathOn ‘A Monument To The Abyss Of Death’ each band spews forth one epic dirge of supreme underground Death Metal, totalling almost half an hour.

With their first stirring since the stunning self-titled debut full-length, Sempiternal Dusk contributes the immense ‘A Salacious Desire For Nothingness’, recorded in 2015/16, while Encoffination’s decrepit, putrefied decomposition, ‘Cemetery Of Earth’, laid down in 2015, represents their first recording since ‘III: Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs’.

Two bands I love (to death) so this split was a funereal no-brainer. Lower the casket and cover it in clay. All things must end.

Evilometer: 666/666

VAAL – GEESTEN VAN DE VERLORENEN LP (New Era Productions)

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Vaal - Geesten Van De VerlorenenHere’s half an hour of premier, primitive, hateful Black Metal from the Netherlands. ‘Geesten Van De Verlorenen’ is a shrill, ancient, contemptuous, raw-yet-atmospheric protestation against the plague of desert religions, conceived and executed by one disgusted, eponymous soul (albeit with a little help from session bass player Morden).

Stellar Black Metal, eschewing technicality (which is over-rated) and lofty production values (ditto) in favour of spirit, panache and the true feel of the olden days. Even an occasional sound wobble does nothing to reduce the whole. It’s all about the mood, the tone, the feeling, the rare alchemy of sounding familiar and fresh at the same time.

Evilometer: 666/666

POSSESSION – EXORKIZEIN LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Possession - ExorkizeinRemarkably, it’s almost a year already since Possession dropped their mighty debut full-length. I never got around to writing nearly as many reviews last year as I’d ideally have liked and ‘Exorkizein’ is one of the many worthy records that slipped through the net while I was on the doss.

Witnessing this band twice in a live environment has given me a good appreciation of what Possession are all about. They’re powerful in that setting and equally great on record. For a debut album, ‘Exorkizein’ is quite remarkable, but we almost take such achievements for granted in the wondrous Black / Death Metal underground.

There’s been a seamless change of vocalist since the ‘1585-1646’ MLP and it’s noticeable that the full-length is only eleven minutes than longer said mini-effort but there’s more than enough here to get your (d)evil-worshipping, horror-loving fangs into. The songs are like little stories of nastiness and depravity; the hammering house of Black Metal horrors.

Evilometer: 666/666

GJENDØD – EVIG SVART HAT LP (Darker Than Black)

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Gjendød - Evig Svart Hat LPEvig Svart Hat’ collates nine of the ten tracks from Gjendød’s first three demos – namely ‘Gjendød’, ‘Havet Tar’ and ‘En Ny Vår For Hat’ – onto one sublime record that is very much the epitome of raw, primordial Norwegian Black Metal.

The Trondheim time travellers have conjured a collection that is dark, creepy and utterly mesmerising, plucked from the heart of the tundra and without doubt one of the best albums I’ve purchased in the past twelve months or so.

The songs are laced with that magical, elusive aura of authenticity that so many bands lack. Like they were there when it mattered. As a specimen of underground Black Metal, this is very much the real deal. Sounds fresh and dependable every time I go back to it … and that takes a lot of doing these days.

Evilometer: 666/666

LIHHAMON – DOCTRINE LP (Nuclear War Now!)

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Lihhamon - DoctrineHailing from the industrial city of Leipzig, uncompromising German three-piece Lihhamon recorded their astonishing debut full-length on their own steam in 2015, without having sourced a label. ‘Doctrine’ features half an hour of bludgeoning, bestial Black / Death Metal in the vein of Conqueror, Revenge, Black Witchery or Diocletian and it’s no major surprise that the vinyl edition of this wonderful album has found its home on NWN!.

Pummeling and relentless violence erupts through the speakers during the course of an emphatic, thunderous, cacophonous demonstration of power. From composition through to execution and presentation, everything about the record is nigh on perfect. In short, this is simply an awesome aural assault.

Evilometer: 666/666

UR / GAUA – URMAHELL (Vertebrae)

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

UrmahellWhere there are members of elite trail-blazing Basque entities Nakkiga and Sentimen Beltza involved, then the chances are high that something very special is in the offing. And, true to form, ‘Urmahell’ – an unholy alliance between Ur and relative newcomer Gaua – delivers 35 minutes of soaring-like-an-eagle underground Black Metal besieged by longing, anguish and heartfelt sentiment.

Ur’s epic, soul-stripping lamentation, ‘Aintziraren islada’, marries traditional, folk-honed, atmospheric Black Metal – in a Drudkh vein perhaps but borne of the verdant hills, valleys, plains, forests and mountains of the western Pyrenees as opposed to the Slavic mythology of the Ukrainian quartet – with strange, shrieking howls, to produce an absorbing slab of rich, varied, beguiling music.

As a counterpoint, Gaua presents ‘Luna’ – more straightforward, more aggressive, more familiar-sounding. Laden with hostility and rage yet, through devilishly melodic passages, still subtly imbued with the keen sense of pathos / pride that Ur espouses. Gaua is what Primordial might sound like if Primordial wasn’t complete and utter shite. There’s an abundance of variety between the two songs and also within each one.

Flowing like powerful, violent rivers through timeless lands, both offerings are uniquely majestic, emotional and forlorn, including some acoustic (Ur) and bluesy (Gaua) parts, but there’s also harshness and bleakness at work forging a dynamic that elevates the music to a level of greatness.

Evilometer: 666/666

INQUISITION – INTO THE INFERNAL REGIONS OF THE ANCIENT CULT 2LP (No Colours Records )

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Inquisition - Into The Infernal Regions Of The Ancient CultIncredibly, it has now been 22 years since this masterpiece of trailblazing Black Metal was recorded. Inquisition introduced a really unique style of BM to the underground, with a cosmic vibe and an almost naïve, innocent sense of evil that truly stands the test of time. Somehow, that old-school evil is the best of all!

Debut ‘Into The Infernal Regions Of The Ancient Cult’ is a sprawling full-length (66 minutes and 6 seconds, aptly, although this version is much longer, with four bonus rituals) that sounds fresh and nasty every time I revisit it. I dusted it down again today as the landscape here is covered in snow and – wow! – it’s still fucking awesome. How I enjoy those toad-like vocals.

It’s been re-released multiple times and remains widely available. Just a majestic slab of occult Black Metal that marks the beginning of one of the subgenre’s most enduring and important acts. Stunning.

Evilometer: 666/666

VENUS STAR – THE KNOT WILL NOT LP (Kuunpalvelus)

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

Venus Star ‎– The Knot Will NotAtvar (AKA Rauta) is a seriously-talented individual. He’s the driving force behind a number of wonderful Black Metal acts, each with their own unique sound. He must possess a truly great mind to consistently deliver on all of these projects over and over again.

Venus Star ‎is one of many where he’s the sole member and ‘The Knot Will Not’ is this entity’s fourth – and best – full-length, released once more on Kuunpalvelus, his own label. Massive kudos to the magnificent, supremely-talented Finn, particularly for the inspirational closer, ‘Ride Forth, Beast Torch, Beyond the Beyond’.

Evilometer: 666/666

THY SEPULCHRAL MOON – INDIGNANT FORCE OF GREAT MALEVOLENCE LP (Signal Rex)

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

Thy Sepulchral Moon - Indignant Force Of Great MalevolenceRegurgitating the foul, fetid filth from their little-known ‘Incantations Inciting Demise’ and ‘Contemptuous Retaliation Storm’ offensives (as well as covers of Von and Beherit plus three demo cuts), ‘Indignant Force Of Great Malevolence’ is a 35-minute stagnant pool of noxious-to-the-core Black / Death (but not as we know it…), complete with hideous, poisonous dual vocals and the most malevolent intent.

The gurgled noise emitted by this unnamed trio from South Korea and Canada is about as raw, odious and downright indignant as one could wish to hear, like TSM are literally vomiting their contempt for the world through the speakers. Their disdain is well placed because this planet really is a steaming cesspit overflowing with human slurry.

Evilometer: 666/666

PORTAL – ION LP (Profound Lore)

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

Portal - IONAs well as elevating them above their peers, the thick primordial rumble evident on previous Portal releases was a key component of what made them so mesmerising. Granted, there was always suspicion as to what the murk was hiding – were Portal actually any use or did they just have a unique sound?

To me, it mattered not. The inherent atmosphere and horror of a record is what counts. The vibe. I’m not at all concerned with how technically proficient the music is. Portal’s glorious racket sounded amazing. To an extent, the songs were indistinguishable from one another, but I would have been happy if they just stuck to the same winning formula ad nauseum.

Thar’s what I assumed they’d do. I was surprised, therefore, when I heard that the impenetrable murk was lifted on ‘ION’, which has been granted a much clearer production, allowing rare access to the intricacies of what is going on. And any contention that Portal is a mere gimmick has been well and truly shattered as we can now bear witness to a an extraordinary Death Metal masterpiece in all its glory. Although not as indecipherable, indigestible and difficult to fathom as those that preceded it, Portal’s fifth full-length is every bit as insane.

No longer sounding like they record their reverberations at the bottom of an erupting volcano, Portal are now the aural equivalent of a clean, precise, meticulously-sterilised, glistening, sharp medical tool slicing through your face (as opposed to being hit repeatedly by a sack of hammers).

The emperor’s clothes are gone and turns out he’s got a huge cock.

Evilometer: 666/666