Sunday, May 27, 2018 01:18

Archive for May, 2018

CULTUS PROFANO – SACRAMENTUM OBSCURUS LP (Debemur Morti Productions)

Monday, May 21st, 2018

Cultus Profano - Sacramentum ObscurusBefore the masses began jockeying injudiciously for acceptance and acclaim on social media and the realities of our existences became distorted beyond recognition, distilled into an endless succession of pics and updates and arrogant, self-serving, attention-seeking posts on Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever the latest cyberfad is, true Black Metal seemed to emanate from subterranean realms, appearing to be more dangerous, mysterious and beguiling.

The shroud of mystique has been well and truly removed but at least bands still come along every now and then who somehow sound like they have been transported via time machine from that erstwhile era when we naively believed (or wanted to) that Black Metal musicians were demonic entities, possessed by some dark force (rather than just normal people like me and you who eat and shit and snore and bore their partners to death with talk of money and holidays and house fittings and shopping).

One such outfit is Cultus Profano, a Los Angeles duo, who have tapped into the mighty olden days on their rather evil and bewitched debut full-length, ‘Sacramentum Obscurus’. This is a great slab of nasty Black Metal, befitting this age of abhorrent people and their ignorant, stupid, ego-driven ways. Bring them to the sanctuary and slit their throats and let the naves run red.

Evilometer: 666/666

JASSA – INCARNATION OF THE HIGHER GNOSIS LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Monday, May 21st, 2018

Jassa - Incarnation Of The Higher GnosisDue to my ever-diminishing vocabulary and inadequate intellect, I have no idea whatsoever what an incarnation of the higher gnosis is – or could purport to be – but verbose, bordering-on-nonsensical album and song titles have always been a key part of the Black Metal and Death Metal experience for me.

Though its meaning eludes me, ‘Incarnation Of The Higher Gnosis’ is nevertheless a fitting title for Jassa’s rather wonderful third full-length, which is in essence a superb offering of mysterious Heathen Black / Death Metal (overlap between the two subgenres very evident) emanating from the top left corner of the Motherland, not far removed from Finland (geographically, not sound-wise).

Hate Forest is a reliable reference point but Jassa have their own distinct sound and the lack of hype around this entity in our sickening, race-to-the-bottom era of feverish online clambering, needy posturing and instagratification is frankly baffling.

Evilometer: 666/666

SUMMON – PARAZV IL ZILITTV LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Summon - Parazv Il Zilittv LPSummon’s debut album, ‘Parazv Il Zilittv’, is a pitch-black, disturbing ode to death and demise, a swirling, deranged cacophony of prime Black / Death Metal that is as captivating and uplifting as it is bleak and harrowing.

The Portuguese trio duly deliver 41 minutes of oftentimes slow-to-mid-paced ultra death worship that sounds like it was recorded in an asylum, prison, torture chamber, crematorium or perhaps the train station at the end of the world.

The bleak messages are powerfully conveyed over the course of nine brilliantly-composed and –executed ritualistic homilies (two without words) and it’s all as professionally and perfectly presented as we have come to expect from a meticulous, trailblazing label. Incredibly, this sublime slice of subterranean suffering can be yours for just €15.

Evilometer: 666/666

TAAKE – KONG VINTER 2LP (Dark Essence Records / Svartekunst Produksjoner)

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Taake - Kong VinterHoest has been creating great old-style Norwegian Black Metal under the Taake banner for more than two decades and last year saw the genesis of seventh full-length, ‘Kong Vinter’. The vinyl edition of the album is wonderful, with two sturdy records housed in a gatefold jacket.

The artwork is really nice and I particularly like the photo on the inside of the cover, which conjures a tremendous sense of solitude and detachment. As does the main image on the front, to be fair. The music is enjoyable, too, I daresay. Soaring, chugging epic ‘Maanebrent’ is probably the highlight but all eight tracks (including one vinyl-only bonus) are top notch.

The imagery is all about coldness, solitude and isolation. A loner. While musically it would be fair to say that Taake isn’t quite ploughing a lone furrow, there are fewer and fewer bands with this genuine, olden Black Metal vibe still intact – and the fact that there are no real surprises is almost a (welcome) surprise in itself these days.

Did I mention the poster? Hail Taake!

Evilometer: 666/666

SHAARIMOTH – TEMPLE OF THE ADVERSARIAL FIRE LP (World Terror Committee)

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Shaarimoth - Temple Of The Adversarial FireA full dozen years on from their debut, Shaarimoth released sophomore full-length, ‘Temple Of The Adversarial Fire’, in 2017. The vinyl edition subsequently became available to the discerning masses earlier this year and it’s a magnificently-produced effort, housed in a gorgeous gatefold jacket with a 12×12 booklet tidily stapled in, featuring printed lyrics and a generous smattering of suitably occult depictions.

None of this would matter a damn if the 48 minutes of music didn’t hit the spot. Well, as it happens, the brand of atypical (I can’t bring myself to use the term ritualistic) Death Metal contained on this record is intriguing, thought-provoking and for the most part enjoyable so, all in all, this is a decent product.

Closing track, ‘Point Of Egress’, really sucks, however, so I must deduct a bare minimum of 222 devil points.

Evilometer: 444/666

ALMYRKVI – UMBRA LP (Ván Records)

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Almyrkvi - UmbraUmbra’ showcases the incredible talents of two of the most exceptional musicians in Black Metal right now – band mastermind Garðar S. Jónsson and his regular partner in crime Bjarni Einarsson, both also of Sinmara and Slidhr infamy.

The debut full-length is even more ambitious, experimental and downright awesome than the teaser that landed to whet out appetites in the guise of the superb ‘Pupil Of The Searing Maelstrom’ mini album a couple of years back.

Unashamed Blut Aus Nord worship remains very much to the fore but Almyrkvi has become a worthy and relevant unearthly Black Metal entity in its own right, here delivering six catchy, atmospheric, cosmic rituals that sound equally amazing blasting through the speakers or insulated in headphones

Superb sounds, great compositions, excellent execution and an organic production combine to make Almyrkvi’s first album a complete no-brainer.

Evilometer: 666/666

HERESIARCH – DEATH ORDINANCE LP (Dark Descent Records)

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Heresiarch - Death OrdinanceDo we really need another Diocletian? Another Witchrist? More chaotic, barbaric brutality from New Zealand? Is there room for such an excess of war-mongering mayhem in our wretched, lemming-like lives? Of fucking course there is.

Listening along to Heresiarch’s debut full-length, ‘Death Ordinance’, whilst reading the well-crafted, graphic lyrics, one is transported to the trenches to inhale the glorious stench of cordite, napalm, blood, smoke, entrails, sweat, tears, fear, shit and death.

Unfettered, violence erupts through the speakers into your ears and death is everywhere.

Evilometer: 666/666

NATTFOG – MUSTAN AURINGON RIITTI LP (Hammer Of Hate)

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

Nattfog - Mustan Auringon RiittiAlthough Nattfog’s debut full-length is more than six years old, it’s only in the past six months that ‘Mustan Auringon Riitti’ emerged on black wax. Finally, I managed to hunt down a copy.

Forty-three minutes long and comprising four actual songs / odes / elegies – two in English and two in Finnish (I’m hazarding an uneducated guess) – dovetailing majestically with three valiant, mournful instrumentals, this delightful album is a masterclass in mid-paced, emotional, ancient, heathen Black Metal; spiritual, patriotic and proud.

Deeply proud of the old times, the old ways, the old ones. Strange how these wistful, sentimental lamentations can be so uplifting. Superb.

Evilometer: 666/666

DEMONOMANTIC – GRAIL OF DEFORMED EVILNESS LP (Final Agony Records)

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Demonomantic – Grail Of Deformed EvilnessI find it almost remarkable that Swartadauþuz – he of Bekëth Nexëhmü, Mystik and Azelisassath – can not alone switch his focus from melodic, enchanting Black Metal to a much more barbaric form of Death Metal but do it with such distinction.

Grail Of Deformed Evilness’ is a wonderful offering of demented, violent Black / Death that will bring a smile to the face of any masochist who manages to get his or her (or its) hands on it.

A delightful curveball from a prolific artist.

Evilometer: 666/666