Sunday, October 22, 2017 08:13

Posts Tagged ‘Bubonic Productions’

DEFUNTOS – VIDAS VAZIAS… ALMAS PERDIDAS LP (Bubonic Productions)

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Vidas Vazias… Almas Perdidas…’ is the sixth full-length from Portuguese siblings Defuntos, who have been enchanting me with their odes to death and bereavement since 2006. I’ve bought every Defuntos release to date and they are almost invariably brilliant, with just the occasional wobble. This latest album is presented in vinyl format by Bubonic, limited to 200 units, each of which is dedicated to the owner (take that, you speculating Discogs-using leeches!).

It’s nice having my name written on the fold-over, decidedly-underground paper cover. This adds something extra to the relationship between owner and record. As ever, the artwork is creepy and disturbing, complementing the music perfectly. All the lyrics are included (but this is of little benefit to me as I don’t know any Portuguese – I even had to Google-translate the album title: ‘Empty Lives… Lost Souls…’). Still, cool to have them.

Music-wise, this is not Defuntos’ best album. Though proceedings start encouragingly with a haunting intro and majestic, mournful opening track proper, I found it gradually became laboured and monotonous compared to their previous full-lengths. By comparison, ‘Vidas Vazias… Almas Perdidas…’ seems to plod along and there’s little or no variation. Does this expose a limitation in what Defuntos are trying to do? Then again, I suspect the overwhelming dullness is deliberate and that the band has set out to create their most morbid and depressing work to date. If so, they have succeeded. This is very dreary, very depressing, very downbeat.

All in all, this is another triumph for Defuntos’ unique strain of drum-and-bass, doom-infused Black Metal, even if it falls somewhat short of the quality to be found on this, this or this.

Evilometer:444/666

SENTIMEN BELTZA – ZULO BELTZ ETA SAKON HONETAN (Bubonic Productions / Thor’s Hammer Productions)

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Zulo Beltz Eta Sakon Honetan’ is Sentimen Beltza’s third full-length in as many years (and fourth in total). They’ve also released four splits and an EP, the splits being so underground that I haven’t managed to get my hands on any of them. Regular readers will however know that I’ve bought all the albums and, well, I probably should be growing bored of the epic, depressive Black Metal offerings of this one-man Basque entity by now. But I’m not.

Like the excellent ‘Olabezarko Basoen Bakardadea’ and ‘Bizitza Osoan Zehar Sortu Den Etsipenaren Ondorioak’, this is another superb collection of soaring, emotional BM anthems, six in total clocking in at 55 minutes. It’s raw and dissonant, yet melodic and well-produced. Everything a good album should be, really. Having set the bar ridiculously high on previous outings, Oindurth SaVinitta has left himself in a position where clearly the only way is down.

Thankfully, though, the almost inevitable descent hasn’t started yet and Sentimen Beltza scales spectacular heights once more on this latest voyage. Worthy.

Evilometer: 666/666

DEFUNTOS – A NEGRA VASTIDAO DAS NOSSAS ALMAS LP (Bubonic Productions)

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Along with ‘Sangue Morto’, ‘A Negra Vastidão Das Nossas Almas’ has also been reissued by Bubonic in the vinyl format, which is ideally suited to the analogue sound conjured by Defuntos. I remember being slightly disappointed by this album when it originally appeared as it wasn’t quite on a par with the aforementioned debut. But it’s still better than most other releases doing the rounds and is certainly worthy of investigation.

Again, we have a nice limited release with a single-sheet folding sleeve / cover with lyrics etc. printed (in Portuguese, of course) on the inside of the fold. The music itself is truly of the underground – lo-fi, creepy black doom ‘metal’ that’s bass- and drum-heavy, complemented by eerie, sinister otherworldly chants and supplications.

Defuntos is a strange and wonderful band and this collection is as highly recommended as almost everything else they have put their name to thus far in their unheralded recording career(s). Dungeon music, cellar music, a demented journey. Blah whatever … just get it.

Evilometer: 555/666

DEFUNTOS – SANGUE MORTO LP (Bubonic Productions)

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The Portuguese brotherhood of Defuntos first crossed my ears with the release of this very album on CD five years ago and they have since remained one of my all-time favourite bands. When I heard that Bubonic / Discipline was unleashing the first two albums – this and ‘A Negra Vastidão Das Nossas Almas’ in limited vinyl format I simply had to get in on the action…

For those of you who don’t already know, Defuntos play a unique breed of Black Metal that contains a strong dollop of doom contained within a fetid recipe of bass, drums and vocals. No lead guitars to be found on here and it’s all the gloomier for it. Despite the strangeness of their approach, these guys are anything but a gimmick or novelty act. They are truly superb and, for me, ‘Sangue Morto’ remains their crowning achievement. To date.

A thoroughly fantastic debut album, this is sorrowful, morose, eerie, spectral, depressing black doom that will make your blood freeze. The artwork etc. adds to the sense of despair and use of the native tongue has never been more effective. If you buy this, you will get a personalised copy complete with you name engraved on the sleeve and, trust me, you will not regret parting with your cash.

Lo-fi, rarely-produced and – frankly – shitty-sounding at times, this is surreal underground art and not to be missed.

Evilometer: 666/666

SENTIMEN BELTZA – BIZITZA OSOAN ZEHAR SORTU DEN ETSIPENAREN ONDORIOAK (Bubonic / Gorpubelatze)

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

If a better album has been released this year, then I’ve yet to hear it. As well as being quite a mouthful, ‘Bizitza Osoan Zehar Sortu Den Etsipenaren Ondorioak’ – the third full-length from Basque black metal purveyor Sentimen Beltza – is also an extraordinary workout of utterly supreme underground magnificence, further marking Oindurth SaVinitta out as a special talent that should be nurtured and cherished.

I find it astonishing (but typical) that a ‘band’ like Burzum can sell albums by the bucketload, while Sentimen Beltza remains in obscurity, hardly known or heard of. Take if from me, there is no comparison between this exceptional BM release and a lacklustre piece of shit like ‘Fallen’.

As mentioned in a previous review of SB, the Basque entity specialises in hugely emotional, plaintiff, spiritual, epic Black Metal that remains raw and forlorn throughout despite containing an addictive melodic undercurrent. For me, ‘BOZSDEO’ is a work of absolute genius that could be used as a blueprint on how to make the perfect album. It hits the nail on the head in every respect, with just the precise amount of melody, aggression, repetitiveness and melancholy to appeal to the fallen warrior in all of us.

Appreciators of bands like Drowning The Light should gobble this up but, let’s be realistic here: nobody gives a shit about great music. Quality doesn’t matter to the masses, so Sentimen Beltza will remain on the very fringes of the Black Metal underground forever. But if you want to go against the grain and hear some unbelievably good grim and atmospheric blackness, you should investigate SB further before he slips off the radar into some black hole or something.

Evilometer: 666/666

SVARTRIT – I (Bubonic Productions)

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Swedish entity Svartrit is something of an anomaly, even by Black Metal standards, having released their first three full-lengths of anti-cosmic fare pretty much at the same time, in 2010. Bubonic has just issued the cassette version of the debut – “I” – and, being the curious so-and-so that I am, I just had to get my hands on it. It’s a pro MC with nice presentation and it set me back just €4, which is a good start by any standards.

The album is a haunting, at-times-chilling affair but falls somewhat short of delivering everything it promises. It’s good without being great; enjoyable and intriguing but neither mesmerising nor addictive. Mind you, not too many releases are, so perhaps I’m being a little harsh… This is one of those inoffensive, pleasant BM albums you could listen to all day long without becoming bored. It’s reasonably raw and ragged but also melodic in parts, similar perhaps in spirit and tone to Arckanum or Nastrond – without ever sounding exactly like either.

The guitars are shrill and thin, the drums sound like a chicken’s head being banged against the lid of a coffin, the vocals well-executed if understated standard rasps, with a little variation (most notably on “Jätten”, the brief eighth track). All in all, this is reasonably infectious stuff that’s more than worthy of investigation. It’s certainly one that keeps the underground flames burning brightly, even if it falls slightly short of being a classic.

Evilometer: 444/666

VESANO – GRITOS DO TEMPO (Dunkelheit Productions / Bubonic Productions)

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Is that a treasure I see before me? For nary the first time, I find myself richly rewarded for delving deep into the underground, granted suitable recompense for the investment of time and money such endeavours demand. A gamble, some might say, but not I, nay. For the evidence before me, in my hands and more importantly in mine ears, doth confirm that no gambles, no risks were taken. When treats like “Gritos Do Tempo” are at stake – can be accumulated for a mere pittance – where is the potential loss? Ah humbug the fuck with it all, suffice to say this album rocks like a bastard.

Vesano is a Brazilian entity that specialises in an addictive strain of raw, lo-fi, simplistic Black Metal, mainly of the repetitive, mid-paced variety. The music is so uncomplicated, so basic and so unadventurous that it would be easy to miss the point entirely, to overlook how creative this band is, how organic, how they hone the most straightforward notes and chords into a majestic Black Metal soup, one that tastes vile, so loaded it is with pathos and sombre salty decrepitude, stirred by hands of melancholy, enhanced by accompaniments of disgust. Not to mention lashings of longing.

The compositional skills at play are nothing short of startling, culminating in a profound listening experience that’s impossible to ignore. The seven songs spread out over 49 minutes, escorting you to a dark and lonely yet blissful place. Similar in tone and texture to the latest offering from Grimlair, “Gritos Do Tempo” is nonetheless wholly unique in the magic it weaves – even with a nod to Lynyrd Skynyrd (!) – and is one of the most essential Black Metal albums you’re going to hear this year. But act quickly: this collaboration between these two exceptional labels is limited to a mere 500 copies and will henceforth in all likelihood disappear forever.

Evilometer: 666/666

SENTIMEN BELTZA – OLABEZARKO BASOEN BAKARDADEA (Bubonic Productions / Thor’s Hammer Productions)

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

As an Irish Republican at heart, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Basque region. So, naturally, when a Black Metal band from this almost mythical part of Spain appeared on my radar, I had to check them out. Needless to say, there is a strong nationalistic vibe coursing through ‘Olabezarko Basoen Bakardadea’, which serves up six songs replete with pride, honour and idealism.

At least that’s how the music sounds… There’s no lyric sheet or anything – and I can’t translate the four non-English song titles (I can just about translate the English ones!) – but this is only a minor inconvenience (if even that) as the themes and content are all too apparent simply from listening to the music itself.

From the opening strains of ‘Miseriaren Semeak (Itxaropenik Gabe Part II)’ all the way through to ‘Nire Heriotzaren Gaua’, this album soars, carried effortlessly on a wave of pure passion and nostalgia. It’s by no means the most complicated or technical BM you’re ever likely to hear (thankfully); thus, the feeling throughout is authentic and sincere.

This realism drips from every note. There’s a punk-y element to be found on ‘My Beautyfull Misery’, whereas the ensuing title track is a forlorn, reflective slice of depressive black. From here, we are taken on a truly bleak journey, guided by sorrowful lamentations that hint at classic BM from the early ’90s. Requiem For My Life’ in particular takes me way back to the magical, billowing, altars-ablaze days of yore.

Sentimen Beltza possess an uncanny, innate ability to shift seamlessly between traditional BM, depressive BM, pagan BM and just about everything in between. They’re not going to be doing any record signings in your local HMV any time soon, but these guys are master craftsmen in their own insulated little niche and I would strongly recommend you to check them out.

Evilometer: 444/666