Friday, September 21, 2018 12:46

Posts Tagged ‘Darker Than Black’

DROWNING THE LIGHT / VAMPYRIC BLOOD – DROWNING IN THE VAMPYRIC SACRAMENT OF THE IMMORTALS LP (Darker Than Black Records / Dark Adversary Productions)

Friday, August 24th, 2018

Drowning The Light Vampyric BloodWhile I’m not exactly fanatical about gothic, romantic, vampyric and / or melodic Black Metal, there are a few exceptional bands producing this kind of music, including these two and Black Funeral.

Drowning In The Vampyric Sacrament Of The Immortals’ is a wonderful split album, featuring over 40 minutes of mid-to-fast-paced melodic, sorrowful, raw-ish but accessible blood-sucking Black Metal.

My copy has a glitch at the end of ‘The Hunt (Sustenance)’ which prevents that track from finishing – a real frustrating experience which I’ve contacted the label in a desperate bid to hopefully resolve. I’m assuming I’ve just been unfortunate and that this problem isn’t applicable across all 300 copies (yes, another low-limitation release, which diminishes the chance of scoring a replacement…).

An insert would have been welcome, too, but the lack of one isn’t as disappointing as the aforementioned broken-record-repeating-itself-ad-nauseam issue. A great album, undoubtedly, and one I’d readily grant full marks to but, from a personal perspective, it’s impossible to look past the fact that my copy isn’t working.

GJENDØD – EVIG SVART HAT LP (Darker Than Black)

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Gjendød - Evig Svart Hat LPEvig Svart Hat’ collates nine of the ten tracks from Gjendød’s first three demos – namely ‘Gjendød’, ‘Havet Tar’ and ‘En Ny Vår For Hat’ – onto one sublime record that is very much the epitome of raw, primordial Norwegian Black Metal.

The Trondheim time travellers have conjured a collection that is dark, creepy and utterly mesmerising, plucked from the heart of the tundra and without doubt one of the best albums I’ve purchased in the past twelve months or so.

The songs are laced with that magical, elusive aura of authenticity that so many bands lack. Like they were there when it mattered. As a specimen of underground Black Metal, this is very much the real deal. Sounds fresh and dependable every time I go back to it … and that takes a lot of doing these days.

Evilometer: 666/666

WHITE MEDAL – LYKE WAKE LP (Darker Than Black Records / Legion Blotan Records & Distribution)

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

White Medal - Lyke Wake LPWhite Medal’s second full-length, ‘Lyke Wake’, is really fantastic from start to finish. George Proctor has been responsible for some of the most compelling underground Black Metal to surface in the UK and this record shows just how irresistible a force this music can be when executed well and given an individual twist.

Slow-to-mid-paced, ugly, gnarly and genuinely unique, ‘Lyke Wake’ is an obscure gem that will ignored by most but deserves to be acknowledged by more. Nothing complicated happening here but the album is a triumph for simplicity and capturing the right mood – something so many others fail to achieve.

Check it out because it’s great.

Evilometer: 666/666

RECLUSE – STILLBIRTH IN BETHLEHEM LP (Darker Than Black Records)

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Recluse - Stillbirth In BethlehemThis is astonishingly great. Nasty, dirty, disorientating music complemented by twisted, possessed vocals that could have been recorded in an abattoir or on the set of a Japanese horror movie (or maybe even both seeing as vomit duties are shared).

I like my Black Metal as corrupt and depraved as possible and ‘Stillbirth In Bethlehem’ ticks every oozing, stinking, crawling box. Rotten to the core, festered to the sore and sick as all unholy fuck, this is the sound of pestilence, death, disease, sickness, torture, anguish, abuse, deviancy, dismemberment and every other common human trait.

Makes the latest Cobalt LP sound like Val Doonican. Not that that would be hard.

Evilometer: 666/666

NORDVREDE – CONFRONTATION LP (Darker Than Black)

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Nordvrede - ConfrontationThe vinyl issue – and only edition currently available – of Nordvrede’s fifth full-length comes cased within a heavy gatefold jacket including a full-size 12×12 booklet with lyrics of hate printed for your perusal plus two bonus tracks. DTB has pulled out all the stops here and this LP certainly looks the part.

On the first few listens, I didn’t think ‘Confrontation’ could hold a candle to the supreme ‘Monument Viktoria’, which in my opinion was the band’s best release to date hitherto. However, upon repeated scrutiny and allowing the music to work its way into my subconscious, I have to admit that this is a stellar slab of Muhammad-bashing, Northern elitist indignation.

And an exceptional Black Metal album by any standards.

Evilometer: 666/666

VÖEDTÆMHTËHACTÅTT / NEKROKRIST SS – I AM THE CHAOS, THE ABYSS AND THE GLOOM LP (Darker Than Black)

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Vöedtæmhtëhactått  Nekrokrist SSOn the very same day as this, Vöedtæmhtëhactått’s collaboration with Nekrokrist SS also surfaced on vinyl. We get pretty much more of the same from the enigmatic Satanic Ukrainian here, although I do slightly prefer the four choice shrill cuts presented on ‘I Am The Chaos, The Abyss And The Gloom’ to those on ‘Without Veils Of Righteousness’.

On the flipside, ever-dependable rabble-rousing Finnish horde Nekrokrist SS – which seemingly specialises in two-way split releases, having previously conspired with Nattfog, Faagrim, and Förgjord (when will the latter two of these appear on vinyl?) – returns with three trademark offerings of majestic underground Black Metal to complete an essential purchase, which is limited to just 333 copies and is receiving less media attention than the death of an insect.

Evilometer: 666/666

VÖEDTÆMHTËHACTÅTT / MAQUAHUITL – WITHOUT VEILS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS LP (Darker Than Black)

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Vöedtæmhtëhactått  MaquahuitlOn ‘Without Veils Of Righteousness’, the unpronounceable pair Vöedtæmhtëhactått and Maquahuitl each offer forth four cuts of raw, primitive and unapologetic underground Black Metal. With an obvious punk-infused edge to the basic crudeness, this record is about as true to the original spirit of Black Metal as you are going to get.

Even though there is nothing at all memorable about this rather repetitive split, it’s total lack of charm is a charm in itself and I’d recommend ‘Without Veils Of Righteousness’ to anybody who wants to hear something simple, abrasive and straight to the point, along the lines of Ildjarn or Bone Awl

Evilometer: 555/666

AZELISASSATH – EVIL MANIFESTATIONS AGAINST MANKIND LP (Darker Than Black Records)

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Azelisassath - Evil Manifestations Against MankindSome albums arrive like a bolt from the fucking blue. Without neither warning, fanfare nor hype; like a bad dream. As do some reviews, I guess. Azelisassath’s second full-length ‘Evil Manifestations Against Mankind’ is one such record – a sudden, unprovoked proclamation of raw, grim and glorious depravity. A welcome kick in the balls.

What I know about this Swedish duo I could write on the back of a postage stamp – and still leave enough space for a few choice recipes. Obscure and flying so far off the radar that they’d put Malaysia Airlines to shame, Azelisassath crank out eight prime cuts of magnificent underground Black Metal in around 35 minutes.

It’s a joyous ride and one you ought to take.

Evilometer: 666/666

HÅLVÄG – HÅLVÄG (Darker Than Black)

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Hålväg - HålvägHålväg’s self-titled debut full-length arrived amid neither fanfare nor hype last summer and I decided that I was going to purchase it as soon as it was released on vinyl. However, nothing has been doing at DTB on that front as of yet so I opted to acquire the rather fantastic ‘Hålväg’ on CD while continuing my patient wait.

(If you look around hard enough, you can pick up CDs for practically nothing in some webstores.)

Anyhow, this is an album that deserves to be better known. Hailing from Vinland (i.e. North America; Seattle to be precise), Hålväg delivers five tracks of stunning, subtly atmospheric Black Metal in around 40 minutes. Normally, when there is any melody involved whatsoever it tends to put me off, but there is nothing normal about ‘Hålväg’ – what we are dealing with here really is magnificent stuff. Check it out.

Evilometer: 666/666

BILSKIRNIR – WOTAN REDIVIVUS LP (Darker Than Black)

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Bilskirnir - Wotan RedivivusMy long-suffering regular reader (hey, Phil!) will no doubt have detected a (welcome?) slowdown in activity in recent weeks and months. This is my first post in twelve days. When time is limited and releases increasingly homogeneous, inspiration to generate thoughts and then put words to said thoughts can be hard to unearth. Thus, I have little to say these days.

This record is okay but it is hardly essential. Average, melodic Black Metal is on the menu. Nothing more. And it is very melodic. Some people find NSBM offensive; it certainly can be when there is so much melody involved…

Nice presentation with poster and inlay (including lyrics), but really ‘Wotan Redivivus’ is about as menacing and / or dangerous as Woods of Desolation or The Cult. Hardly Black Metal at all (‘Blood And Spirit’ sounds like Manic Street Preachers with a sore throat (so does the comatose ‘As This World Ends’)) and therefore a big disappointment.

Evilometer: 222/666

GRAUSAMKEIT – CHRISTENSCHMÄHUNG LP (Darker Than Black / Final Agony Records)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Grausamkeit  - ChristenschmähungOn so many levels, ‘Christenschmähung’ is one of the worst records I’ve ever bought. The music on this album is unbelievably sloppy. Amateurism seeps from every note. The playing is second rate at best; the vocals are terrible (it sounds like the singer is too close to the microphone – if indeed it is a microphone); the production is ropey; the constant hiss confirms that no money went to waste on that fateful day this was recorded 14 years ago.

It all sounds like it was thrown together in a couple of hours using the worst equipment and recording techniques (un)known to man, making for one of the most authentically underground Black Metal records you are likely to hear. In spite of their limitations – in fact, because of them – Grausamkeit come highly recommended.

Certainly not for everyone, ‘Christenschmähung’ (which is Grausamkeit’s only full-length) can be a challenging and frustrating listen as well as an invigorating one. Dreadful and brilliant at the same time, this LP possesses the true spirit of Black Metal the way it was supposed to be.

Evilometer: 666/666

BARAD DÛR – DUNKELHEIT LP (Darker Than Black)

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Barad Dûr - DunkelheitI never got the whole Tolkien thing and never will. I think it’s bullshit. Furthermore, I think music inspired by him is even more bullshit. Before buying this, I hadn’t realised that Barad Dûr is the name of a tower in Lord Of The Rings and that, therefore, this is probably Tolkien-inspired Black Metal. Had I known, I wouldn’t have invested.

As it turns out, ‘Dunkelheit’ is not a Summoning-like pukefest but a reasonably enjoyable – if very short – seven-track album of ambient Black Metal that bears a lot of similarities to this. Decent enough considering…

Evilometer: 444/666

ETERNUM – VEIL OF ANCIENT DARKNESS LP (Dark Adversary Productions / Darker Than Black)

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Eternum - Veil Of Ancient DarknessThis is pretty much the only record I’ve been listening to for the past week or so. There are two reasons for this sad lack of variety in my life of late: I haven’t had much time (or energy) to check out anything else; and ‘Veil Of Ancient Darkness’ just happens to be utterly fantastic.

One word springs to mind when I consider this stunning debut album: majestic. Forty minutes of sublime, mid-paced, atmospheric Black Metal with the two members’ day job in Drowning The Light more than evident. If you fancy hearing some supreme underground blackness with just the right quantities of melody, grimness and emotion (and why wouldn’t you?), then check this one out.

Impossible to go wrong here and there’s simply fuck all else to say. Magnificent.

Evilometer: 666/666

KAEVUM – KOSMOS ERWACHE (Darker Than Black)

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Kaevum - Kosmos ErwacheOn ‘Kosmos Erwache’, we are presented with almost an hour’s worth of demo material from excellent Norwegian horde Kaevum. The first five songs are culled from the ‘Prakt’ demo tape (2008); the next four come from ‘Nordnorsk Hatmusikk’, which originally saw the light of day in 2010; and a previously-unreleased ‘Brilliance Of The Stars’ completes the curse.

As with the band’s debut LP, ‘Natur’, this is superb stuff. Kaevum is one of those entities that it’s just impossible not to like. If you have any kind of an appreciation for organic-sounding, no-frills Black Metal, then this is sure to appeal to your unsophisticated palette.

Overtly raw but also obliquely melodic, the music deviates from shrill to sublime seamlessly, enchanting, entrancing and leaving the listener longing for more. All the boxes are ticked and – without further ado – the bottom line is that you’ll be hard-pressed to find better underground BM anywhere.

To my ears, this is simply fantastic Black Metal cooked using all the right ingredients and possessed by a mournful, forlorn, grim spirit that cannot be faked.

Evilometer: 666/666

ÀRSAIDH – ROOTS (Darker Than Black)

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

For some totally illogical reason – I have no idea why – I harboured very high expectations for this album, even though it comes from a totally unknown entity. Just had a gut feeling it was going to be great… Unfortunately, ‘Roots’ doesn’t manage to give me what I was hoping for.

Àrsaidh is a one-man act from Scotland performing atmospheric Black Metal which pays homage to the mysterious history and heritage of the creator’s native Highlands. Three lengthy songs plus one short instrumental add up to a total running time of 50 minutes.

A. boldly incorporates violin, keys, bagpipes (of course) and acoustic guitars into the mix but, alas, his ambition backfires as the folk influences become way too pronounced for my liking and, to my displeased ears, the songs come across as long rather than epic.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal taste and I find ‘Roots’ to be too melodic and lush. I’m sure lots of people will get off on this but I don’t particularly like pagan metal.

Evilometer: 222/666