Thursday, March 23, 2017 06:08

Archive for the ‘Vinyl’ Category

BLACK CILICE – BANISHED FROM TIME LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Black Cilice - Banished From TimeEvery new Black Cilice record represents a truly seismic event in my living room and ‘Banished From Time’ is no different to its predecessors in this regard. Even though the previous three full-lengths were mandatory purchases and pretty much perfect in execution and tone, the Portuguese cellar-dweller does – rather remarkably – appear to be getting better with each passing emission.

It’s like he’s honing his craft, mastering the technique of hammering home his unique strain of depraved raw Black Metal pestilence and depravity in the most concise, potent and engaging manner possible. On ‘Banished From Time’, I hear an artist at the absolute peak of his creative power. While the music remains incredibly bleak, strained, nasty and deathly, the delivery is somehow more measured, more calculated, just better composed, constructed and (dare I say?) premeditated.

It still sounds essentially like a spontaneous outburst of violence and madness; and it remains patently of the underground, but the walls of the dank dungeon have been insulated a little better – perhaps with the bones of a thousand fools – and the unsettling chaos seeps through in a clearer and more accurate manner than ever before. A harrowing, repetitive, hypnotic mantra of death and surrender to the darkness, this album will take your pointless breath away.

Right now, Black Cilice is utterly lethal, more addictive than heroin, and catchier than the most contagious contagion.

Evilometer: 666/666

DEATHSPELL OMEGA – THE SYNARCHY OF MOLTEN BONES LP (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Deathspell Omega - The Synarchy Of Molten BonesI’m not sure exactly what criteria Deathspell Omega deploy to determine which of their releases qualify as full-lengths and which are mini albums (nor indeed is it any of my business) but the first thing I noticed about their sixth album proper, ‘The Synarchy Of Molten Bones’, is that it is by far and away their shortest LP, passing by considerably quicker than even the magnificent 2005 offering, ‘Kénôse’, which was apparently an EP.

This one was first mooted as a new MLP but somewhere along the way, ‘The Synarchy Of Molten Bones’ became a 29-minute, four-track full-length. Considering that the epic ‘Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice’ is almost 78 minutes long, this latest effort is disappointingly short, even if obviously quality rules over quantity. Why can’t we have both, though?

As ever with these theologian trailblazers, the quality is of course beyond dispute but the record – which plays at 45rpm – is over way too soon. Especially considering that it had been a full six years since its predecessor, ‘Paracletus’. Maybe the well of inspiration has dried up somewhat and they didn’t want to include any filler or flog a dead horse, who knows? As things are, we get a short but sweet reminder of the brilliance of Deathspell Omega.

Evilometer: 555/666

FATHERLAND – FATHERLAND LP (No Sign Of Life Records)

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Fatherland - FatherlandTo an extent, I think that Fatherland might be better served by channeling a larger percentage of their red-hot hate and intolerance into some form of creativity – or better song-writing – to make their material stand out a little better from the crowd.

Because, with the monotonous assault found on their debut full-length and fairly insipid shouty vocals, there’s certainly nothing unique or memorable going on here. The record could easily fall into the patently unremarkable category … you know, the one you have heard a thousand times before, often done better?

Having said that, ‘Fatherland’ is nevertheless a competent and energetic slab of vitriolic punky NSBM, complete with glorious, melodic interludes. All in all, it is more good than boring, although the Finns aren’t quite in the league of a Nordvrede or Order Of The Death’s Head just yet.

Far from perfect but still worth your time.

Evilometer: 444/666

OSTOTS – EZER EZAREN ARAZTASUNA LP (Altare Productions / Skjold)

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Ostots - Ezer Ezaren AraztasunaEzer Ezaren Araztasuna’ – another Ostots album title that I will never utter. I used Google Translate to find out what it means but I’ll never be able to pronounce it, remember it or spell it. Copy-and-paste serves me well in these instances. Anyhow, the third full-length from IA under this banner is utterly superb in every conceivable way, proving to me that Ostots just keeps on getting better.

The music and vocals (especially) and the general vibe seems like at least a slight departure from his previous work, although I’m not sure in exactly what way (and am too lazy to contemplate the subtle nuances further; besides it hardly matters).

This album is a really solid, confident, definitive statement – epic and glorious in an almost Slavonic sense but nevertheless suitably evil and raw and undeniably underground. A clear step-up from the first two full-lengths, which were in themselves pretty sensational.

It’s partly because of the quality of artists like Ostots that there appears to be an explosion in the popularity of underground Black Metal at the moment. There are probably other reasons too. I don’t know if this is still available but there is sure to be a repress and it’s certainly a record that is worthy of its place in any collection. Get it when you can.

Evilometer: 666/666

TURIA – DOR LP (Altare Productions)

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Turia - Dor LPThe accompanying brouhaha was conspicuous by its absence when Turia unleashed their debut full-length last year but that doesn’t really mean anything. One of the truly mystifying anomalies of the Black Metal underground is how some virgin albums receive inexplicable amounts of hype while other equally-worthy, fledgling releases seem by comparison to slip beneath the radar and disappear almost into oblivion.

As it happens, this Dutch three-piece deliver some truly absorbing minimalist, repetitive, ambient Black Metal in the vein of a Fell Voices, Ash Borer or Vanum and ‘Dor’ is a top-notch release, with four lengthy tracks that flow into one another seamlessly (38 minutes in all) and fly by due to their innate catchiness and undeniably high quality.

Evilometer: 666/666

CARVED CROSS – CARVED CROSS LP (Overuse)

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Carved Cross - Carved Cross LPSharing a member with Forbidden Citadel of Spirits, Carved Cross is another raw Black Metal entity from the never-to-be-visited-by me Australian outpost of Tasmania – a perfect breeding ground it would seem for obscure despondency and rampant decay.

Although not quite as rough and ragged as FCOS, Carved Cross’ music – which hereon comprises two unnamed dirges, one considerably longer than the other – remains nevertheless fuzzy and primitive and flagrantly under-produced.

Eschewing any notable deployment of speed or aggression, their second full-length is a fine example of harsh, ambient, forlorn Black Metal weighed down by despair, dejection, solitude and emptiness. What more could one want in these utterly pointless, soul-destroying times?

Evilometer: 666/666

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST – TAKITUM TOOTEM! EP (Ván Records)

Monday, March 6th, 2017

The Ruins Of Beverast - Takitum Tootem!At shy of 21 minutes, ‘Takitum Tootem!’ lasts about as long as a good shit but it’s still a very nice release. It’s ultra-accessible (I can imagine my uncles who are all sixty-something farmers with big red cheeks dancing along to it at a wedding) and it’s certainly another worrying departure from TROB’s blackened roots – especially with the new full-length imminent – but by fuck it’s splendid.

The cover of ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ is neither here nor there but better to have it on the flipside, rather than an etching or something, after splashing out the price of an album for an EP. I’d like to have got more bang for my buck and also to have been offered more than nine minutes of original material but this one still gets a big thumbs up (even if it’s clearly not Black Metal).

Evilometer: 666/666

ANTAEUS – CONDEMNATION LP (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

Antaeus - CondemnationA full decade on from ‘Blood Libels’, I had subconsciously given up on ever hearing another Antaeus full-length. Thus, it was a nice surprise to learn last year that a fourth album was imminent from one of France’s truly great Black Metal exports. And ‘Condemnation’ does not disappoint.

The aggression and violence and intensity of the attack may become somewhat monotonous at times but this is blasphemous, hateful Black Metal with fuck-all frills so a mostly-one-dimensional, pummeling blitzkrieg is only to be expected. The stale production works perfectly and the record proves that Antaeus are masters of their black craft.

Spellbinding, punishing stuff from two decorated veterans of the dark arts (aided by a rather excellent Portuguese session drummer of Lvcifyre, Enthroned and Nightbringer infamy, whose militaristic precision embellishes the attack magnificently), the album contains an occasional moment of restraint, offering scant mercy in the face of a skull-imploding barrage of buzzing Satanism.

Deliberately understated and un-grandiose, ‘Condemnation’ came across as somewhat subdued and uninspired upon initial listens, but I persevered with it and, fuck me sideways, was I richly rewarded or was I richly rewarded…

Simply immense.

Evilometer: 666/666

ORDER OF THE DEATH’S HEAD – POGROM RITUAL LP (Breath Of Pestilence / IG Farben)

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Order Of The Death's Head - Pogrom RitualOrder Of The Death’s Head launched their second unilateral attack to universal acclaim amongst all ethnicities in 2014 AB. As well as offering an innate understanding of the ills of the modern world and carefully-considered suggestions as to how to eradicate said problems, ‘Pogrom Ritual’ – which emerged on vinyl earlier this month, limited to just 88 copies – also happens to contain some sensational Black Metal, in the vein of Clandestine Blaze (sound-wise, at least).

Credit where credit is jew.

Evilometer: 666/666

SPIRE – ENTROPY LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Spire - EntropySpire’s debut album features six intriguing offerings of doomy, ambient Black Metal ranging in length from three to 14 minutes. Mostly slow-to-mid paced, it took a little time to work its charm on me. Eventually, however, I deduced that ‘Entropy’ is a terrific record that’s melodic yet genuinely foreboding and manages to collate its different influences into a very commendable (w)hole.

Give it a listen or three on Bandcamp and see what you think. Some nice guitar tones in there and the vinyl edition looks fantastic.

Evilometer: 666/666

BLOOD TYRANT – ARISTOCRACY OF TWILIGHT LP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Blood Tyrant - Aristocracy Of TwilightI’m not sure how twilight can qualify as being aristocratic but anyhow Blood Tyrant’s debut full-length is worthy of close investigation. Delivered are 30 minutes of venomous, raw razorblade Black Metal, blistering and ravenous enough to leave you breathless but still imbued with a delightful authentic charm that is no doubt indebted in part to the accompanying artwork and packaging plus the beguiling intro and outro as well as the main body of mesmerising music itself.

Twilight Of Aristocracy’ is a really good record and there’s no need to say any more.

Evilometer: 666/666

WHITE DEATH – WHITE DEATH LP (Werewolf Records)

Monday, February 13th, 2017

White Death - White DeathFor the most part, this is extremely nasty stuff. Vritrahn’s vocals are particularly venomous and the album is blistering and skin-shredding, apart from the occasional soaring, melodious moment and an unnecessary (but fun) outbreak of Heavy Metal towards the end of ‘White Death’s Power’.

Generally speaking (and what other way is there to converse?), ‘White Death’ is excellent and my only (admittedly puerile) regret is that there are no lyrics included as the song titles are interesting and I’d like to see what these patently Satanic Finns are raging about.

I suspect it’s probably your run-of-the-mill anti-christian, anti-human, anti-all-things diatribe – a fist in the throat of the priests and a boot to the face of the believers. For which there’s a lot to be said. Nothing original here really but one could contend that this is how Black Metal was always supposed to be. Ugly and coarse and full of hate. With devilish, mischievous melodies at play to magnify the mockery.

Let the churches burn and the flock inside roast like lambs on a spit, the dumb fucks.

Evilometer: 666/666

MIZMOR – YODH 2LP (Gilead Media)

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Mizmor - YodhWeighing in a minute and a half beyond the hour mark, Mizmor’s sprawling second full-length, ‘Yodh’, is a crushing, monstrous slab of bitter desolation and despondency. For all its raw potency, the album is also imbued with a poignant and harrowing peculiarity

Sadness and loneliness accompany the rage to create a desperate, forlorn journey. It’s complex and convoluted and ambitious, fucking together some Doom and Ambience and Drone along with the requisite one-man Black Metal magnificence to deliver something indeed very special.

From the spectacular artwork adorning the thick gatefold jacket to the unique and memorable music contained on the two substantial records, here’s a release not to be ignored (lyrics and download code also included).

מזמור will quite simply take your breath away. Same way as a punctured lung or a boot to the gonads does. Or death, even.

Evilometer: 666/666

JASSA – LIGHTS IN THE HOWLING WILDERNESS LP (Fallen Empire Records / Amor Fati Productions)

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Jassa - Lights In The Howling WildernessIf, like me, you bemoan the tragic, premature demise of Hate Forest then you could do worse than checking out Jassa’s second full-length album, ‘Lights In The Howling Wilderness’. I’m not sure how politically correct or offensive it is to compare Russians and Ukrainians these heady days but I’ve just done it and there’s no turning back now.

This is a superb, ritualistic, otherworldly record with a majestic aura, exotic instrumentation and ominous drums that betimes sound like human bones hitting off coffin lids. Sometimes it gets a bit muddled and seems to be losing direction and focus and threatening to come apart at the seams … in true Black Metal spirit.

Evilometer: 666/666

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