Sunday, January 21, 2018 18:03

Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

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

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

NECROBLOOD – COLLAPSE OF THE HUMAN RACE LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Necroblood - Collapse Of The Human RaceIf you pitched Diocletian, Revenge, Antaeus, Archgoat, ZOM and Portal into a super-Satanic blender and pulverised the contents together to create a novel yet strangely familiar monster, then you might just end up with something like Necroblood.

Although there is nothing particularly new here and a lot of the influences shine through clearly, debut full-length ‘Collapse Of The Human Race’ manages to sound fresh, rather than lazily cloned. This is a very difficult album to describe or pigeonhole as it fuses so many subtly different styles of barbaric Black and Death Metal into its vicious, virulent, obnoxious and ominous attack. Suppose I can just describe it as killer?

Three-quarters of an hour of punishing, pummeling poison with a big, bass-friendly production to maximise impact. Devastating, really, and with a cool intro to boot. You won’t go wrong with this monstrosity.

Evilometer: 666/666

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