Tuesday, January 23, 2018 03:55

Archive for the ‘Vinyl’ 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

WROK – DE ONHEILSBODE LP (Heidens Hart Records)

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Wrok - De OnheilsbodeApologies for this one but there have been many times of late when I listened to Wrok around the clock. ‘De Onheilsbode’ is the Dutch duo’s debut full-length, their only prior releases being some long-forgotten demos from around 20 years ago.

There’s 50 minutes of primitive, ancient-sounding Satanic Black Metal on here, delivered with enthusiasm, passion and intent embellished greatly by a unique but very authentic sound. Truly excellent, nasty stuff.

As well as sounding superb, the record is also tastefully presented (kudos to a wonderful label), so this is a major winner all around. Another exceptional release from the tarnished lowlands.

Evilometer: 666/666

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM – THRICE WOVEN 2LP (Artemisia Records)

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Wolves In The Throne Room - Thrice WovenScene is obviously the wrong word but Wolves In The Throne Room were a tree-hugging breath of fresh air when they arrived upon it with their ground-breaking debut album, ‘Diadem Of 12 Stars’, way back in 2006. The Weaver brothers came at Black Metal from a decidedly environmentally-conscious perspective and I believe they once dwelled (perhaps still do?) in a self-sustaining farm compound of sorts where they produced their own food and forged an independent existence far removed from the ills of the modern world or something.

Cascadian Black Metal was born and WITTR were the leaders of the nuevo-pagan pack, at one with nature, the lakes, the mountains, the forests and the ancient spirits. As well as their noble, stand-up image, the music was also excellent. It was an exciting departure for the sub-subgenre but, alas, as they (d)evolved and those dreaded female vocals that almost wrecked my head came more and more to the fore, the band’s albums gradually deteriorated and they became almost irrelevant, hitting rock bottom with the fifth full-length whose name escapes me (and I won’t be looking it up because it’s not worth the hassle).

Then ‘Thrice Woven’ dropped this year.

Comprising four lengthy offerings and the fleeting (thankfully, perhaps, as the female singing is back…) ‘Mother Owl, Father Ocean’, these two records are majestic. Everything atmospheric Black Metal can – and should – be. With Steve Von Till of Neurosis on guest vocals ‘The Old Ones Are With Us’ is the obvious centrepiece of the album but, the more I listen to them. the more I enjoy all four of the main tracks.

Comes in a sumptuous gatefold jacket with a beautiful booklet (and lyrics) included, the records spinning at 45rpm for optimal audio playback quality and maximum payback. This will cost you more than most other double LPs due to the limited distribution, but is worth every cent. An astounding exhibit of mystical art that may have been better without the superfluous fourth song, which I am prepared to forgive as I think they may have stuck in it there specifically to piss me off. I refuse to take the bait this time.

Evilometer: 666/666

SVARTSYN – IN DEATH LP (Agonia Records)

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Svartsyn - In Death LPNineteen years since unleashing his debut full-length under the Svartsyn banner, Ornias delivered his ninth album and first in four years amid zero brouhaha, hype or acknowledgement. Criminally under-rated, Svartsyn has been consistently dropping high-quality Black Metal literally for decades now to virtually no acclaim.

The latest humble offering, ‘In Death’, is a mesmerising record, for some reason flying so far below the Black Metal hype radar that it almost disappeared into utter obscurity. A fact which tells us all we need to know about the vast majority of sheepshits listening to Black Metal these days…

The millennial mongs seeking underground delights will crave it like an elixir of life if it surfaces on the latest flavour-of-the-month label, limited to 100 copies and discussed to death on a forum somewhere, like a horde of rabid bitches fantasising about a thigh bone and yearning to outgun one another by getting in there first and posting a picture of the record – or their distro receipt – on Instagram.

Yet, staggeringly, they’ll almost universally ignore a true gem of astonishing quality that showcases integrity and substance over bullshit.

The fact that this record – which was released in June – is still available on the official Svartsyn Facebook page for a mere €12 is difficult to fathom. But why buy an excellent album and listen to it on your own and stay the fuck quiet about how trendy you are when you can – perhaps – get a sub-standard record that’s somehow trendy all of a sudden and gloat about it and take photos to impress your peers?

It’s a sad, sad day for Black Metal when factors other than the quality of records is dictating whether or not people (pricks) buy them.

Evilometer: 666/666

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

AZELISASSATH – TOTAL DESECRATION OF EXISTENCE LP (Nordisk Kultur)

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Azelisassath - Total Desecration Of ExistenceAzelisassath’s third full-length, ‘Total Desecration Of Existence’, is more depressive content-wise than I recall the first two offerings (‘In Total Contempt of All Life’ and ‘Evil Manifestations Against Mankind’) being, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The song titles and lyrics rather overtly deal with suicide, nihilism and self-annihilation, nothingness, death and all manner of uplifting eventualities. So much better than Trolldom; hard to believe it’s the same maniac. In fairness, most of Swartadauþuz’ work is exceptionally good.

The music is raw-ish but with an insidious sense of keyboard-driven melody and plenty of upbeat atmosphere. But still dark as the devil’s hole.

Evilometer: 666/666

WHOREDOM RIFE – WHOREDOM RIFE MLP (Terratur Possessions)

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Whoredom Rife - Whoredom RifeWhoredom Rife is the latest Black Metal buzzband coming out of the legendary Trondheim underground and they have found a fitting home on Terratur. The self-titled debut mini-album comprises four tracks, spanning 22 minutes, and is presented in a gatefold jacket with a big poster included. So, a lot of padding for a glorified EP… Looks fabulous but the presentation is something of an overkill when each side of the record ends so quickly.

Leaving aside the brevity of proceedings, musically ‘Whoredom Rife’ is a decent enough dose of reasonably-aggressive but predominantly-melodic and catchy Black Metal that’s somewhat enjoyable but a long way from the mandatory acquisition I was braced for when I chose to cough up the cash.

You could headbang to this all day long. Hell, you could even dance about the place to it if you are that way inclined, but that’s not really what I’m seeking in my music. I’m really hoping the full-length – which is due to be released literally any minute now, apparently – will be a considerable improvement because this is a run-of-the-mill, underwhelming record (albeit, a fantastic-looking one).

Evilometer: 222/666

NIGHTBRINGER – TERRA DAMNATA 2LP (Season of Mist Underground Activists)

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Nightbringer - Terra DamnataNightbringer – an act I have been championing for years – delivers 52 minutes of mystical, occult-ridden, complex, chaotic Black Metal on fifth full-length, ‘Terra Damnata’, but this time I’m finding the whole experience irritating as all hell – too melodic, too atmospheric, too safe and way too accessible.

The songs positively soar through the speakers, uplifting and delightful like some hybrid of Emperor and Cradle of Filth and I find it bland and boring and downright disappointing.

The big, grand, epic sound has a lot in common with Dimmu Borgir and it’s quite disheartening to witness any band moving more into this horrible direction. A thoroughly professional and accomplished piece of work, no doubt, but my love affair with Nightbringer is well and truly over. What was I thinking?

Fuck, this is really terrible stuff.

Evilometer: 000/666

TROLLDOM – AV GUDABLOD RÖD… LP (Nordisk Kultur)

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Trolldom - Av Gudablod Röd...This one is from the enigmatic Ancient Records stable although, for some reason, it’s credited as an independent release rather than being attributed to either of the cult Ancient Records / Afgrundsvisioner, Mysticism Productions or Nordisk Kultur imprints.

I think there was some sort of rift in the camp so I’m not sure what the status of the label(s) is but that hardly matters as the music is still surfacing (unfortunately, in the case of this one).

(Since changed to Nordisk Kultur on Metal Archives…)

I’ve noted before how these releases are hit and miss and ‘Av Gudablod Röd’ is very much in the latter department: a cock-eyed, eye-off-the-ball, glaring miss – miles off the target, so far wide it’s gone out for a throw-in – comprising two lengthy offerings of wishy-washy, keyboard-driven, mid-paced, sugary, symphonic, raw-ish, medieval-sounding pomposity that doesn’t qualify as Black Metal (surely?).

Swartadauþuz has delivered a lot of great records across his various guises; this isn’t one of them. Don’t panic if you’ve missed out on Trolldom’s debut release. It’s aimed at fairies. Nothing of interest happening here. Ventures way too far down the atmospheric path for my liking. A shocker, really.

Evilometer: 000/666

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

PREDATORY LIGHT – PREDATORY LIGHT LP (Invictus Productions / Psychic Violence Records)

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Predatory Light – Predatory LightI was pretty sure I already reviewed Predatory Light’s split with Vorde but, seeing as I can’t find any trace of such a scribbling, I will have to reluctantly concede that I didn’t. This is about the tenth time that I’ve looked for a previous review only to discover that it doesn’t exist, so either some of them are vanishing or I’m losing my marbles.

Anyhow, I picked up Predatory Light’s debut full-length at the recent Ash Borer / Vanum gig in Dublin a few weeks back and have had it on steady rotation ever since. It’s a really superb slab of catchy, simplistic, repetitive US Black Metal and I’m particularly fond of that thing they do with the lyrics – effectively only a few lines in each song and every line is repeated multiple times before moving on to the next one, with the momentum gathering all the time.

Sightless beast of the mutant dark, sightless beast of the mutant dark, sightless beast of the mutant dark, sightless beast of the mutant dark, sightless beast of the mutant dark…

It’s very effective.

Both label(s) and band have done a magnificent job with this utterly addictive record and it’s one I can but heartily recommend.

Evilometer: 666/666