Thursday, March 23, 2017 06:20

Posts Tagged ‘Altare Productions’

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

NAHTRUNAR – EXISTENZ LP (Altare Productions / Arcane Angels)

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Nahtrunar - ExistenzExistenz’ arrived from Portugal in a timely fashion and I removed it from the mailer, sniffed it and then reached for a knife to make the little hole at the centre slightly larger. It’s all part of the ritual. Gave it a spin or ten, knowing exactly what to expect as I’d checked out the tracks already on Bandcamp. It’s all part of the ritual.

Besides, there was enough quality evident on debut full-length, ‘Symbolismus’, to make it abundantly clear that purchasing the follow-up was a safe bet. Here, Nahtrunar delivers another 43 minutes or so of supreme, obscure, dizzying, calm-to-frenzied Black Metal meditations with oodles of somewhat unnerving melody and a graveyard of black soul.

This one is limited to 250 units and is worth hurting down for sure, despite the woefully dodgy bit of singing near the end.

Evilometer: 666/666

NAHTRUNAR – SYMBOLISMUS 2LP (Altare Productions / Arcane Angels)

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Nahtrunar - SymbolismusOne of the many things I like about this release is that the fourth side of the records isn’t blank, nor does it contain an etching aimed at cretins with the mentality of twelve-year-olds. Instead, it houses Nahtrunar’s (three-track) 2014  demo, bringing the total running time to an unreasonably generous 76 minutes or thereabouts.

Of course, this wouldn’t mean much if the quality didn’t match the quantity but, in the case of ‘Symbolismus’, it’s accurate to report that we’re dealing with a unique and exceptional release from a wonderful, wonderful act.

Even though the entire album is superb, I particularly love Side B and could very easily listen to the depressive delight that is ‘Gestaltenwandler’ on a loop for the rest of my life if such an existence was viable.

Existenz’ is more than viable, however.

Evilometer: 666/666

MONS VENERIS / VETALA – THE NINES OF SATANANTICHRIST LP (Altare Productions / Infinite Darkness Productions)

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

mons-veneris-vetala-the-nines-of-satanantichristBlink and you missed it. This split LP emerged without so much as a warning and was sold out quicker than you could shake a meaty, inflamed fist at the sky. And, with two of the dank Portuguese Black Metal underground’s finest exponents enlisted for service, ‘The Nines Of Satanantichrist’ is – unsurprisingly – remarkable.

A truly mesmeric projectile of raw, depraved, chaotic, insane lamentations, perhaps echoing the anguish and emptiness of (m?)any maniacal devotees to darkness who failed to secure a copy. Hopefully more copies will become available somewhere down the left hand path because this is a stellar release that epitomises everything that’s great about the dark art we all love and cherish.

Stunning.

Evilometer: 666/666

BROKEN SPIRIT – VIVID DREAMING LP (Altare Productions)

Friday, October 7th, 2016

broken-spirit-vivid-dreamingNocturnal transmissions from the deepest depths of the underground. Perth, Australia. One being. Possessed. ‘Vivid Dreaming’. Raw Black Metal. Eerie emanations with ambient brushes. Unsettling, glorious, barely decipherable. DIY. Painfully limited to just 119 copies. Unmissable black wax. Seek it out. Fuck off. Die.

Evilometer: 666/666

CANDELABRUM – NECROTELEPATHY LP (Altare Productions)

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

candelabrum-necrotelepathyNecrotelepathy’ is the debut full-length from shadowy Portuguese shaman Candelabrum and it contains two epic rites of raw, occult, otherworldly, cavernous, recorded-in-a-pit-or-cave-or-maybe-in-hell-itself-except-there-is-no-hell Black Metal – ‘Distant Voices In The Darkest Night’ and ‘Prayers For The Damnation Of Man’ placed back to back, two devilish offerings at the altar of decay.

I wish Altare would get the guy who punches the holes in the middle of their records to make them a teeny bit bigger as they keep getting stuck on my platter. Literally. Not that it would necessarily be a bad thing to have to play this record over and over again until the end of time but I do like to have a choice and it’s only a matter of time before I either lose my deck or a precious record or perhaps my mind.

This strictly-limited LP is a real underground effort, pregnant with homemade spirit and aesthetic; adorned with staggering, evil Black Metal that truly cannot be topped because it’s nigh on perfect. Totally essential, even if you do end up having to fork out on a new record player.

Evilometer: 666/666

OSTOTS – HIL ARGI LP (Dead Section Records / Altare Productions)

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Ostots - Hil ArgiHailing from the Basque Country, it’s almost inevitable that Ostots is going to be shit hot. Second full-length ‘Hil Argi’ delivers six cuts of soaring, epic, clean and crisp underground Black Metal with fevered, waspish vocals (plus the obligatory intro and outro).

While the music is majestic, emotive and impassioned, for me it’s those harsh, strangulated, raw shrieks that really serve to elevate this record above mundanity. But for them, this could have been a flaky enough affair because it’s very melodic for the most part.

As it is, ‘Hil Argi’ stands proud as a pretty sublime, near-flawless experience.

Evilometer: 555/666

NEVOA – THE ABSENCE OF VOID (Altare Productions)

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Nevoa - The Absence Of VoidPerhaps this album should have been titled ‘The Absence Of Black Metal’. The third track, ‘Alma’ is utterly shameful – a hideous Gathering-like, female-gushed, lullaby that could just as easily have been culled from Anathema’s ‘The Crestfallen EP’. As any album is only as good as its worst track, this one is a total shocker.

I’m really disappointed that Altare Productions is prepared to associate itself with something so utterly girly. The rest of the album is rendered irrelevant by said abomination. Nevoa is definitely a band to ignore.

I’m sick of everything and everyone today. No absence of void, here; a-void!

Evilometer: 000/666

OWL’S BLOOD – COLD NIGHT OF MEDITATION LP (Altare Productions / Dead Section Records)

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Owl's Blood - Cold Night Of MeditationAs you can deduce from the smudges all over the cover (damn, they show up really clearly in that photograph), I’ve been listening to Owl’s Blood’s debut full-length a lot recently. And I have greasy fingers.

Six blasts of blizzard-y Basque Black Metal – with an average running time of just under seven minutes – howl forth from the Atlantic, threatening to take your breath away.

Seeing as there were two labels involved in bringing this record to fruition, I think it could have benefited from an inner sleeve and some printed lyrics. And, seeing as there are two small children quite literally swinging from my limbs as I type, I’m going to have to cut this review short.

Another cold night of meditation lies ahead; perhaps there’ll be peace tomorrow.

Evilometer: 555/666

WULKANAZ – KAOSNÅJD LP (Altare Productions)

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Wulkanaz - KaosnåjdThe initial twang of disappointment encountered upon learning that ‘Kaosnåjd’ wasn’t in fact a new full-length proper dissipated as soon as I unpacked the record and gave it its first spin. For all intents and purposes, it’s as good as a new album – and as essential as the other great 12” vinyls in Wulkanaz’s dazzling discography.

This release collates material culled largely from two cassette EPs and one 7” recorded in and around the same time as the excellent ‘HaglaNaudizEisaz’ and ‘Paúrpura Fræovíbôkôs’ full-lengths, so we are not talking about odds and ends here. It’s a little inconsistent for obvious reasons but, overall, ‘Kaosnåjd’ represents another stellar release from an artist who should not be ignored.

Personally, I have pretty much lost all interest in the cassette format due to its frustratingly-erratic quality, so this was a great way of gathering some superb material that I’d otherwise have missed. For the time being at least, Wulcanaz can do no wrong.

Evilometer: 666/666

VETALA – THE LORD OF ETERNITY LP (Altare Productions)

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Vetala - The Lord Of EternitySickeningly, there is an increasing number of so-called Black Metal bands who seem to place more emphasis on being the next big thing than being dark and black. Black Metal is not a place for Yngwie Malmsteen wannabe motherfuckers. Thankfully, there are still a select few artists who just don’t give a shit about melodies, production or technicality. Or anything.

As one of the hordes that comprise Portugal’s seething Black Circle movement, Vetala is as coarse and rough and raw and ready-made as they come. Cavernous, dungeon Black Metal that was vomited forth onto tape by a bunch of crazed fuckers who are interested in only one thing: filth. Plague and pestilence and piss abound in a pitiful racket on the unbelievably-inaccessible ‘The Lord Of Eternity’.

This album is an uncompromising, crude shitfest that follows no rules but Vetala’s. It’s a pure, demented, chaotic mess from start to finish, to be honest, and I’m really not sure why I enjoy listening to such insanity. Glorious crap.

Evilometer: 666/666

SATANIZE – BLACK ROTTEN WITCHCRAFT LP (Altare Productions)

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Satanize - Black Rotten WitchcraftSatanize from Portugal is all about unrefined, raw, bestial Black Metal  … very much in the tradition of Nuclear War Now! bands, perhaps. This is their third full-length and it has been released on clear vinyl, limited to 200 units. If you are at all familiar with the group, then you already know exactly what you are going to get here…

By no means a departure from ‘Demonic Conquest In Jerusalem’ or ‘Holy Destruction Ritual’ (perhaps more restrained in the most subtle of manners), ‘Black Rotten Witchcraft’ is essentially more of the same from the Satanic ones – pummelling, pounding, irreverent, chaotic Black Metal in honour of all things dark and evil and nasty and corrupt and all that stuff. Depraved and sordid, this is about as unsophisticated an album as you could possibly hope to hear.

Not brilliant, by any means, but if you want to stick on a record while you thrash the place, then this would be ideal. Great for when you are in a bad mood; perfect for those times when you just want to show two fingers to the world (i.e. every day?). And to yourself. Looks really good, as well, and all the lyrics are included on a printed inlay.

Evilometer: 444/666

TOMHET – SAMBLADE SOTKVÆDEN 2MC (Altare Productions)

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Tomhet -Samblade SotkvædenTruth be known, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the cassette format but tapes are a staple diet of the underground and you have to be prepared to deal with them unless you want to miss out on some gems. Tomhet’s spectacular 31-song compilation, ‘Samblade Sotkvæden’ is a case in point. This is a sprawling and high-quality underground Black Metal release that none of us should do without.

The main inspiration behind Tomhet, Kumulonimbus, is the very same man who gives life to the rather brilliant Wulkanaz. The two acts are rather similar in ambition and approach but subtly different (I suppose); both are equally appealing. The only negative thing I can say about ‘Samblade Sotkvæden’ is that it is almost too generous. Seems to go on forever. Not much of a complaint, is it?

There’s some fantastic music to be found on this nicely-packaged double tape and the sound is pretty good for a tape; it just goes to prove once more that the deepest underground has all the best tunes. Great stuff that won’t cost you an arm or a leg, provided you can get your hands on a copy (limitation: 300).

Evilometer: 666/666

RAVENMOON SANCTUARY – WINTER DESOLATION OF DEATH LP (Altare Productions)

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Ravenmoon Sanctuary - Winter Desolation Of DeathGerman label Darker Than Black took care of the CD version of Ravenmoon Sanctuary’s debut full-length and the vinyl edition as featured here has subsequently been realised by Altare Productions in Portugal (and is limited to a mere 111 units for some bizarre reason). On ‘Winter Desolation Of Death’, the Poles perform eight tracks of melancholic, depressive, atmospheric Black Metal with soaring keys that threaten at times to hijack the entire album.

Needless to say, the prominent keyboards (courtesy of GrimSpirit from Evilfeast) add a hugely superfluous quotient of melody to the mix. This is an essential component of Ravenmoon Sanctuary’s sound, I can only assume, but, while it’s not necessarily terrible, I find the lashings of keys to be utterly unnecessary and wholly invasive. (For example, ‘Eternity In Ice’ reminds me of ‘Hide And Seek’-era Howard Jones!)

This is still a decent album, with lots of good ideas, interesting tempo changes, enjoyable vocals and a decidedly forlorn atmosphere, but I just wish they’d toned down the keys a lot or maybe even omitted them altogether (there’s a reason why I don’t care much for Evilfeast). Pity.

Evilometer: 333/666