Monday, May 29, 2017 07:33

Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

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

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

DEATH WORSHIP – EXTERMINATION MASS MLP (Nuclear War Now!)

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Death Worship - Extermination MassFeaturing seasoned, craggy, battle-hardened commanders from Revenge, Blasphemy and Conqueror, Death Worship unsurprisingly sounds a lot like Revenge, Conqueror and (to a lesser extent) Blasphemy. ‘Extermination Mass’ salvages from the trenches 20(-ish) minutes of precise, militaristic war Black / Death (with some cool effects) that does exactly as anticipated.

Poster and insert with lyrics included but not much bang for one’s buck in terms of the quantity of music (quality quotient very high, however). All in all, it’s a great record but very short.

Evilometer: 666/666

TOMB MOLD – PRIMORDIAL MALIGNITY LP (Blood Harvest)

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Tomb Mold - Primordial MalignityCanadian duo Tomb Mold have crafted a seriously crushing and impressive debut full-length in ‘Primordial Malignity’. While the album is undeniably grisly, grim and grotesque, it possesses an organic, almost-catchy dimension as well as overt aggression, rendering it somewhat enigmatic and anomalous by Death Metal standards.

The songs are superbly written and executed (pummeling, precise, potent) and they are afforded a magical production that allows everything to shine through (drums, vocals, guitars all prominent and pleasing). So this is strangulating rather than murky.

To an extent, it’s really just exeptional Canadian Death Metal with a distinctly Finnish vibe (yet jangly and chuggy – for want of better words (or real words, even) like compatriots Gorguts and Cryptopsy), managing to sound fresh and clean and pristine.

Sharp, glistening blades bring little or nothing new to the sacrificial table but they sure are effective for gutting people with.

Evilometer: 666/666

THE OMINOUS CIRCLE – APPALLING ASCENSION 2LP (Osmose Productions)

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

The Ominous Circle - Appalling AscensionAnother new band concealing their identities by covering their faces in Mgla-style masks (as if anybody actually cares who they are but, hey, the novelty has yet to wear off and it is still cool as fuck, to be fair), The Ominous Circle hail from Portugal and play dark, eerie, evil-as-fuck Death Metal along the lines of Altarage, Dead Congregation, Grave Upheaval, Irkallian Oracle and their increasing ilk (but slightly more melodic, with some solos and shit).

Debut album ‘Appalling Ascension’ is utterly excellent, with bundles of variety, dynamism and – most importantly – darkness. This is a really savage and moody slab of Death – two tracks on each side, 52 minutes’ running time – that should appeal to fans of the new breed of Death dealers as well as the old brigade like Immolation and Incantation.

Comes in a gatefold sleeve with printed inserts featuring lyrics and looks as nasty as it sounds. I’m amazed there’s not a bigger fuss being made about this band but I guess that all comes down to being on the right trendy label or something. Anyway, ‘Appalling Ascension’ is superb, although the last line in ‘Poison Fumes’ – “For I have tasted HIS worm” – would have done Finbarr Saunders himself proud.

Evilometer: 666/666

THRONEUM – MORBID DEATH TALES LP (Hells Headbangers Records)

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Throneum - Morbid Death TalesMorbid Death Tales’ is the seventh full-length from primitive Polish Death Metal duo Throneum and, even though it only emerged late in 2016, it has already been succeeded by an eighth. There are eleven fairly simple and straightforward raw, recorded-in-a-garage songs on the record and the running time is less than 33 minutes, so it’s a pretty easy one to digest.

Not least because compatriot Mark Of The Devil of Cultes Des Ghoules fame lends his voice to the last two hymns, which gives the LP a whole extra dimension … filthy Death Metal with a little sprinkling of Black Metal gold dust at the end. Not a gimmick, no, this is great stuff.

Evilometer: 666/666

TEITANBLOOD – ACCURSED SKIN MLP (Norma Evangelium Diaboli / The Ajna Offensive)

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

Teitanblood - Accursed Skin MLPAccursed Skin’ is a 26-minute-long, 45rpm MLP featuring one new song – the title track – paired with ‘Sanctified Dysecdysis’, which served as foil to previously-vinyl-only-track, ‘Purging Tongues’, on the 2012 ‘Woven Black Arteries’ CD EP (and was never before available on vinyl). Confused? Me too.

Even though the cost of entry is the same as it would have been for a full-length and this release could be viewed by cynical minds as something of a cash grab, I sincerely do not believe this to be the case. All Teitanblood material is worth having and it was a customer-friendly move from both label and band to make this dual offering available on black wax.

A superb record to get your ears around while awaiting the third album from these superb Spanish chaos invokers.

Evilometer: 666/666

UŠKUMGALLU – ROTTEN LIMBS IN DREAMS OF BLOOD LP (Vrasubatlat)

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Uškumgallu - Rotten Limbs In Dreams Of BloodUškumgallu’s debut full-length, ‘Rotten Limbs In Dreams Of Blood’, is a twisted, depraved slab of sinister, primitive Black / Death Metal for which all the usual negative-positive superlatives apply. From start to finish, it’s an unsettling, unnerving experience but one you will want to live through over and over again. Shedding your skin.

Nightmarish, psychotic and claustrophobic but with just enough subtle nuances, interludes and noise to keep things bearable, this album is a real breath of fresh air and a true lesson to others in how to deliver music that’s genuinely obscure and crushing yet nourishing. It will shatter your soul and replenish your spirit.

Just awesome. In fact, this is probably one of the best records in my collection.

Evilometer: 666/666

ORATION MMXVII – HÚRRA, REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND (February 16-18, 2017)

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Rebirth Of Nefast - Oration MMXVIIEighteen bands took to the stage at Húrra in Reykjavík over the course of three dark nights in February, 2017 and my journey to the most-northerly capital in the world was one that I will never forget. It’s difficult to know where to begin with a review of such a momentous event so I’ll start in the middle, just to be awkward…

Night Two: Friday presented me with the welcome opportunity to witness both Slidhr and Sinmara for the third time inside a lucky six-month period. Slidhr were the fourth band of the night and they delivered an incredible set, one that is so tight, concise and honed at this juncture that it beggars belief.

Mastermind Joseph Deegan utilises the services of Sinmara duo Bjarni Einarsson and Garðar S. Jónsson in the live setting as well as ex-Sinmara bassist Wann (aka Stephen Lockhart of Rebirth of Nefast, Studio Emissary and, of course Oration). Watching the quartet go through their paces on stage, it’s mad to think they don’t live in the same town and practice together every day.

Joe and Stephen are also members of Haud Mundus, who were the third band on stage tonight. I think this was their first and only gig and it was a belter. Rookies Nexion opened the second day’s festivities and they can be proud of their performance. Abominor took to the stage third and they were excellent; looking forward to a full-length from them. Sinmara did what Sinmara invariably does – an immense display of harsh black savagery.

The headline act on Day Two was The Ruins of Beverast – one of my all-time favourites. It was a real privilege to witness Alexander Von Meilenwald in such an intimate setting, although I’m not sure how well the complex and majestic music of TROB lends itself to the live environment. For it to fully work, I guess you’d need five Alexes on stage. It was still pretty damn great, though.

Friday’s Band Of The Night: Slidhr

Night One: After parting with a week’s wages in return for a small meal, I sauntered into the womb of Húrra in downtown Reykjavík on the Thursday evening not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the venue was essentially a large bar with a slightly-elevated stage, which of course meant that the bands would be very close as they played.

The young guys of Draugsól had the daunting task of opening proceedings and they did well, delivering a short, solid set. Mannveira upped the ante and Naðra pushed things up a notch further, knocking out a painfully heavy show. ZHRINE looked a bit stupid because they weren’t wearing corpse paint (instead opting for the nerd look) but they duly cantered through a powerful and inventive Death Metal set.

Misþyrming were quite simply sensational. Considering that it was more or less the same crew that had played just two hours earlier with Naðra, the energy they brought to the stage was frightening and it was no surprise when the first mosh pit of the weekend broke out. Spitting out their tunes with uncanny precision and ridiculous ease, D.G. and co were arguably the band of the weekend.

Mgla were headliners. It had been a long, long day and for a while their presence just passed me by. Then, without warning, I was back in the land of the living and utterly thrilled to be in Iceland to take in the hooded Poles in all their glory at such close quarters. They really got the crowd going and it was an amazing experience.

Thursday’s Band Of The Night: Misþyrming

Night Three: Refreshed by steeping my balls in the Blue Lagoon for a couple of hours, I returned to the venue for the third and last time.  It really was a case of saving the best wine ‘til last as five of the six bands on Saturday night were staggeringly good. I’m not sure what pigeonhole we can fit NYIÞ into but their Black Mass routine at the start of the night was stunning. The audience was entranced and remained respectfully silent throughout as they put on a performance that was out of this world.

Almyrkvi is the brilliant Garðar S. Jónsson’s one-man band. He handled vocal duties live and true to form the show was superb. Rebirth of Nefast had only played live once before – at the inaugural Oration – and his debut full-length is imminent. Cloaked in robes, RoN looked great and sounded even better. A special word of mention has to go to creative force Stephen Lockhart, the man who not alone pulled all the moving parts together to make this festival happen but also the mind behind Rebirth of Nefast. He has assembled a terrific live band … all the songs sounded great, as did his vocals. After seeing this show, ‘Tabernaculum’ is my most-anticipated release at the moment.

Unbelievably, there were still three more bands to go…

Aosoth surprised me. Not sure why I expected them to suck but they were quite brilliant. Outre seemed great (insanely crushing) for a while … until the singing parts kicked in and fucked everything up.

Having cruelly missed out on seeing Svartidauði in Glasgow when they were pulled from Caledonian Darkness II at the eleventh hour, I couldn’t wait to see them churn out a headlining set in their home town. At close to midnight on the Saturday night, they took to the stage and duly laid the place to waste. I was tired and had been subjected to more great Black Metal over three days than anyone deserves, and my concentration wasn’t what it should have been, but still Svartidauði made me so, so happy.

Their musicianship is like nothing else I’ve ever seen and it was with a heavy heart that I watched the second—or-third-or-fourth-hardest-working man in Icelandic Black Metal, Þórir Garðarsson, vacate the stage for the last time. What an end to an incredible weekend!

Saturday’s Band Of The Night: Rebirth of Nefast

(Thanks to Woda i Pustka for the Rebirth of Nefast photo.)

YSENGRIN / SARTEGOS – RESVRREZIONESPIRITVAL LP (I, Voidhanger Records)

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Ysengrin Sartegos - ResvrrezionespiritvalSincerely hope I spelt that correctly. Ysengrin is now halfway through a quadrilogy of split releases, which to date have proven to be a very enjoyable distraction from everyday worries about death and decay and blood irons and all the shit that becomes a reality as you age and move ominously closer to the ground.

The delightfully-racist-sounding “Nigrum Nigrius Nigro’ paired the French three-piece with Chilean counterparts Black Grail and was really excellent. I thought I reviewed it but can’t locate any such thing so I either imagined it or my blog is as corrupt as your typical aid worker. Spanish one-piece Sartegos provides the counterpoint on ‘Resvrrezionespiritval’ and, again, it’s a terrific release.

I’ve no idea what the theme or concept behind this series of unions is but the enthusiasm, passion, sincerity and authenticity of both acts shines through here and the record is immensely enjoyable despite its low-key and understated status.

Evilometer: 666/666

VOID MEDITATION CULT – UTTER THE TONGUE OF THE DEAD LP (Hells Headbangers Records)

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Void Meditation Cult - Utter The Tongue Of The DeadFulfilling the abundant promise hinted at by ‘Sulfurous Prayers Of Blight And Darkness’, Void Meditation Cult’s debut full-length is a predictably excellent exercise in pitch black, devilish, death worship … crude and vulgar yet hypnotic and about as forgettable as a bout of good old-fashioned child sacrifice.

Mostly mid-paced, ‘Utter The Tongue Of The Dead’ buzzes along with immense intent and conviction. In many ways, it’s the epitome of what underground Black / Death Metal is all about. I could peddle all the usual double-negative adjectives and superlatives in a futile endeavour to try to highlight how much fun the record is, but instead I’ll suggest that you check this out for yourself on Bandcamp before, inevitably, placing an order for a physical copy.

Housed in a gatefold jacket with all lyrics printed inside. And plenty of copies have been pressed, so no need to stress yourself over the first-world problem that increasingly perturbs us all.

Evilometer: 666/666

KRYPTS – REMNANTS OF EXPANSION LP (Dark Descent Records)

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Krypts - Remnants Of ExpansionIt may be only 34 minutes long (five tracks) but Krypts’ second full-length sure packs one hell of a sledgehammer punch to the temple. ‘Remnants Of Expansion’ is one of the most punishing and addictive Death Metal albums of recent years and is worthy of multiple repeat listens.

For crushing, mid-paced Death Metal imbued with a subtle hint of crude melody, this cannot be topped.

Eleven-minute cenotaph ‘Arrow of Entropy’ sets the tone and Krypts’ mesmerising magic just keeps reeling you in all the way through to the aptly-named epitaph, ‘Transfixed’. A monumental release in every way and one that was born for the vinyl format.

Evilometer: 666/666

CALEDONIAN DARKNESS PART II (The Classic Grand, Glasgow – October 21/22, 2016)

Monday, October 24th, 2016

pseudogodSo the greatest show on earth was brought to Scotland over the weekend and what an entertaining couple of days it turned out to be! Having Svartidauði and Dead Congregation pulled from the bill at the eleventh hour (almost literally) made for a dramatic but most unsatisfactory denouement (more about that later) but failed to take the gloss off a truly phenomenal experience.

I arrived in Glasgow on Friday seven hours before check-in time at my hotel so got some breakfast and then shit it back out again in a matter of seconds. What a stroke of luck when we were allowed to check in four hours before the allotted time… Alas, the good fortune would not last…

First up on the Friday evening were the hooded men of London, Qrixkuor, who delivered a stunning performance. Great stage presence and incredible tunes. I found myself wondering was the microphone switched on, so low were the vocals, but this mattered little to me either way.

Barshasketh took to the stage next and, even though I’m not a massive fan of their last album, they gave it everything and produced a commendable display. The bass player looked really pleased to be there.

It was my second time to see Slidhr inside six weeks or so and this was one of the bands I was most looking forward to. Backed by his friends from Sinmara, Jo outdid himself with an intense and commanding set – powerful vocals, masterful execution of songs that come into their own in the live environment, and even an unexpected ‘Thank you’ at the end. Immense stuff from a rare talent.

Sinmara themselves weren’t half bad either! These guys look astounding on stage and they had the audience in the palms of their hands with a hypnotic 45-minute set.

Pseudogod was the surprise of the weekend. A band I was completely unfamiliar with prior to the gig, they tore The Classic Grand a new arsehole.

I thought Urfaust were rubbish and left before Vemod came on stage because I was exhausted and my back was sore.

The following day promised to be the best of my life – five extraordinary bands playing back-to back! I couldn’t wait. Decided to give Ifrinn and Devouring Star a miss to conserve energy for the five-band salvo of a lifetime but things were running behind time again so I arrived in time for Devouring Star, who were good.

Then on to the real magic…

Darvaza was nothing short of phenomenal. Stalking the crowd like a man possessed, Wraath is the most demented frontman I’ve witnessed. I was half expecting him to either pull out a gun and open fire, kick somebody in the face or just stab himself on stage. Completely unhinged, he muttered repeatedly to himself off-mic and genuinely disturbed me. I decided not to go backstage and ask for an autograph.

Irkallian Oracle presented both a visual and aural feast and left me feeling like one of the most privileged individuals on the planet just to be there.

Playing in total darkness bar four candles, Sortilegia were also nothing short of magnificent. Three amazing acts in a row and two more to come. Or so I thought…

Svartidauði is the best live band I’ve seen so I couldn’t wait for them. I was standing at the front of the stage, filled with joy and anticipation, when the announcement came that both they and Dead Congregation had been pulled from the festival. Nifelheim would still play. Fuck Nifelheim. Svartidauði should have appeared as they were next in line.

Both bands who were axed from the show were present at the venue and ready to perform. Sturla Viðar from Svartidauði informed me downstairs inside the front door that he had been in Glasgow since Wednesday and was told in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t play. I said I was disgusted and he countered that he was far more annoyed than I was. This is understandable.

It’s such a pity this happened at the end of such a sensational celebration of occult Black and Death Metal. Seems poor ticket sales left the promoter out of pocket and the venue owner opted to pull the plug either because he wasn’t fully paid or because of some pig blood smeared on a white wall backstage or a combination of both of these things.

The exact reasons given since have been rather confusing (and the link between the backstage incident and lack of ticket sales / funds for all unclear – did the latter prompt the former?) but I think it’s safe to say that all of the bands would have played had the festival sold out. I’m amazed that less than 500 people are interested in attending a show with such a wonderful line-up. Say what you want about competition from other festivals and the lack of disposable income people have these days but, for me, this was a line-up that will be hard to top.

Makes me worry about the future of such events. Will we ever see anything like this again? A lot of people lost a lot of money. It’s a shame there isn’t more appreciation for this wonderful music and these wonderful bands and great people.

A sad end to a monumental two-day ritual.

QRIXKUOR – THREE DEVILS DANCE MLP (Invictus Productions)

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

qrixkuor-three-devils-danceI’ve decided in the week running up to Caledonian Darkness II to generally only listen to bands who are playing at the festival. As I really appreciate some 13 of the 15 hordes taking part, this leaves me with a lot of scope!

Yesterday, I reached for Qrixkuor’s rather astounding MLP, ‘Three Devils Dance’, first, electing to start at the beginning as they are opening proceedings at 4pm on the Friday evening.

I ended up spinning the record six or seven times before the cock rolled over and have already had it on rotation twice this morning. Not leaving me much time to shoot through the other records that constitute my cunning week-long plan but, fuck, this is terrific blackened Death Metal, dark and dangerous and murky but with hidden depths as well and more deft touches than a Barcelona match.

An easy one to file away because it’s the only vinyl I own from a band beginning with the letter ‘Q’ and, at 38 minutes, the three-track offering is longer than many full-lengths. Wonderful stuff. Roll on Friday and an early start in the Scottish capital! Looking forward to seeing these hooded demons again.

Evilometer: 666/666

AUM – OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

aum-om-ah-hum-vajra-guru-padma-siddhi-humI’d never heard tell of AUM until a few weeks ago but checked out a few songs on the IBP Bandcamp page as soon as the record appeared in their webstore as real live inventory and quickly deduced that ‘Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum’ was a mandatory purchase.

Kind of like a mutated offspring of Necros Christos and Altarage, this exceptional album delivers 41 minutes of stellar, atmospheric Death Metal, performed with militaristic precision and imbued with an ominous, dark spirit that’s embellished greatly by the seamless gear changes and mood transitions, including some fleeting exotic ambient moments.

All in all, this is utterly superb and the presentation is as professional and appealing as we’ve come to expect from IBP.

Evilometer: 666/666