Sunday, June 24, 2018 03:40

Posts Tagged ‘Fallen Empire Records’

JASSA – INCARNATION OF THE HIGHER GNOSIS LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Monday, May 21st, 2018

Jassa - Incarnation Of The Higher GnosisDue to my ever-diminishing vocabulary and inadequate intellect, I have no idea whatsoever what an incarnation of the higher gnosis is – or could purport to be – but verbose, bordering-on-nonsensical album and song titles have always been a key part of the Black Metal and Death Metal experience for me.

Though its meaning eludes me, ‘Incarnation Of The Higher Gnosis’ is nevertheless a fitting title for Jassa’s rather wonderful third full-length, which is in essence a superb offering of mysterious Heathen Black / Death Metal (overlap between the two subgenres very evident) emanating from the top left corner of the Motherland, not far removed from Finland (geographically, not sound-wise).

Hate Forest is a reliable reference point but Jassa have their own distinct sound and the lack of hype around this entity in our sickening, race-to-the-bottom era of feverish online clambering, needy posturing and instagratification is frankly baffling.

Evilometer: 666/666

TCHORNOBOG – TCHORNOBOG 2LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Tchornobog - TchornobogTchornobog’s self-titled debut full-length is an extraordinary work of art that really comes to life in the glorious double-vinyl format. Having said that, I am sure this would sound great on CD, tape, MP3 or erupting from a volcano either as it is genuinely exceptional.

Comprising four epic offerings of stunning Black / Death Metal that refuses to be pigeon-holed, ‘Tchornobog’ is all the more astonishing a feat when one considers that the Ukrainian-born visionary behind this one-man operation, Markov Soroka, was still only in his 20th year when the album was recorded at Studio Emissary, Reykjavik, in 2015 (quite reminiscent of the equally-awesome, ‘Tabernaculum’, actually).

There’s so much to appreciate here that I don’t know where to start. The album is ambitious and eclectic; there’s saxophone, trumpet, grand piano and cello included; terrific artwork and a gatefold jacket; fascinating lyrics; a tremendous sound and production; wonderful compositions and execution; immense musicianship, including some magnificent drumming courtesy of Svartidauði’s very own human octopus Magnús.

Cutting to the chase, this splendid, jaw-dropping 65-minute album really is a wondrous accomplishment.

Evilometer: 666/666

BLATTARIA – BLATTARIA LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Blattaria - BlattariaBlattaria is the scientific name for cockroach and a routine perusal of the lyrics included on the insert of this delightful LP quickly reveals the appropriate nature of both band name and album title.

The corrupt(ed) vision of one enlightened (disillusioned would definitely be the wrong word!) and therefore suitably despondent individual from Oklahoma City, USA, Blattaria’s bleak and delirious debut full-length spews out six depraved decompositions of filthy, noisy, chaotic, dissonant, jarring Black Metal of the highest / lowest calibre.

Of course, the real cockroach here is the human – the most despicable, self-centred, deluded, poisonous, pathetic creature that has ever slithered around this planet, espousing its own importance, championing itself. As a species or race or whatever the fuck it is, humankind is a blight on all things, an unhinged and deranged abomination constantly craving attention.

There’s no getting away from this. The sooner we realise it the better. Sicknesses of the mind and spirit can be neither cured nor eased by a forlorn search for happiness but rather by an acceptance of how worthless and pitiful we truly are, deserving of and destined for nothing but demise. The first step is to embrace the cockroach; then, try somehow to stomach the creature that’s much lower, an evolutionary error: yourself.

Die with me, indeed…

Evilometer: 666/666

CHAMBRE FROIDE – ROUGES CHAPELLES LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Chambre Froide - Rouges ChapellesAmid the clamour for the latest and rarest releases from Skjold and Final Agony and GoatowaRex and Ancient Records and New Era and Kuunpalvelus allied to a trickle of new underground boutique labels who seem hellbent on making it as damn difficult as possible for people to actually buy their records – Temple Of Wounds, take a fucking bow, with the Willie-Wonka-golden-ticket Lampir record! – it’s refreshing to see that Fallen Empire has continued to not alone release Black Metal of the highest calibre but also to keep the records readily available, within reason. Rage manifests itself in longer sentences.

There was no brouhaha around Chambre Froide’s ‘Rouges Chapelles’ when it appeared humbly and unhyped on vinyl last year. But there should have been. You can still snag this amazing release, too, surprisingly, rather than annoying the fuck out of yourself chasing something of higher limitation and – in all likelihood – lower quality.

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

LVTHN – ERADICATION OF NESCIENCE LP (Fallen Empire Records / Amor Fati Productions)

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

LVTHN - Eradication Of NescienceHere’s one of those unashamedly retrogressive Black Metal records that just delivers exactly what a Black Metal record should deliver. Malevolent music and fiendish utterances complemented by a visual feast of captivating artwork scattered throughout the delightful booklet and sumptuous gatefold jacket.

A treat for the eyes, ears and empty pit that languishes where a soul might be if there was any such thing.

The presentation is of massive significance when it comes to vinyl editions and all the stops have been pulled out for LVTHN’s full-length debut, ‘Eradication Of Nescience’, which looks every bit as terrific as it sounds.

Ultimately, of course, aesthetics aside, it’s all about the unsettling nature of the music pressed onto the black wax, and this is a department in which the Belgian trinity excel, spewing forth a cold slab of blazing, sinister, dissonant yet clearly audible bleakness, the addictive serpentine atmosphere embellished by bouncing bass lines and ancient, clandestine textures.

Welcome to the party.

Evilometer: 666/666

SKÁPHE – SKÁPHE² (Fallen Empire Records)

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Skáphe - Skáphe²Been listening to both Skáphe full-lengths on vinyl (released simultaneously…) around the clock these past few days and I’m having quite the trip. While ‘Skáphe’ is immense in its own right, ‘Skáphe²’ beat it hands down and is one of the most extraordinary ambient Black Metal records I’ve encountered since this (quite similar, too).

There’s some sort of scratch or glitch on my copy during ‘IV’ and a shitload of static too (and the record is rough; feels like it was cut from the pressing plant using an axe), but I guess that’s just rotten luck on my behalf. Personal annoyances aside – and they are considerable – suffice to say, this one should probably be on everybody’s list.

Evilometer: 666/666

SERPENTS LAIR – CIRCUMAMBULATING THE STILLBORN LP (Fallen Empire Records / Duplicate Records)

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Serpents Lair - Circumambulating the StillbornSerpents Lair from Denmark have overlooked the mere formality of sticking an apostrophe into their band name but, regarding vastly more important matters, they sure as shit know how to deliver moody and brooding Black Metal of the very highest calibre.

Marrying oodles of atmosphere and no little leadenness, ‘Circumambulating The Stillborn’ is an engaging debut album from a worthy new addition to the ever-burgeoning BM family, not far removed from Dødsengel in the hypothetical lineage stakes and perhaps boasting Icelandic kin, too.

I can’t read the accompanying lyrics properly due to a cunted combination of small, golden print and long-sightedness that becomes more pronounced with middle age but, hey, these first-world problems are what make life interesting. Along with wonderful Black Metal, death and disease.

Evilometer: 666/666

LLUVIA – ETERNIDAD SOLEMNE LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Lluvia - Eternidad SolemneSince heartily digesting the excellent debut full-length, ‘Premonicion De Guerra’, I’ve come to learn that Lluvia is Spanish for rain. This is indeed apt as the follow-up album is essentially a morose, melancholic soundtrack featuring a gushing flood of grey rain and some stellar Black Metal too.

Eternidad Solemne’ is very melodic [chilling melodies], very atmospheric [sombre atmospheres], very dark [dark dark] and very good [fucking great]. All in all, this is a superb bleak, depressing record featuring 44 minutes of harrowing anguish and delightful subdued instrumentation.

You can’t go wrong with this. Actually, you can, because it’s sold out.

Evilometer: 666/666

MISÞYRMING – SÖNGVAR ELDS OG ÓREIÐU LP (Fallen Empire Records / Terratur Possessions)

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Misþyrming - Söngvar Elds Og ÓreiðuMisþyrming is from Iceland so comparisons with Svartidauði and Sinmara are as inevitable as they are exhausting. Somewhere along the way, people seem to forget that it doesn’t matter how ‘Söngvar Elds Og Óreiðu’ measures up against either ‘Flesh Cathedral’ or ‘Aphotic Womb’ or ‘Biophilia’ because this is a fucking different band.

The blinkered fixation of Black Metal fans with the geographical origins of an artist is surely unique to this genre and I have to admit I’m largely guilty of it myself (in that I’d be much more likely to check out a horde from, say, Portugal, than, let’s say for argument’s sake, Egypt) … but it can be taken to extreme lengths.

Why immediately compare Misþyrming to their compatriots instead of just listening to the music and judging it on its own merits? (Not that everybody does, of course. And not that there is anything necessarily wrong with doing so, either; it is just too obvious; Black Metal from Iceland needs / deserves to be compared with all Black Metal – from everywhere.)

For what it’s worth, ‘Söngvar Elds Og Óreiðu’ is a stunning debut full-length – 43 minutes of confident, powerful, raw and sinister abuse – by any standards, which compares favourably to just about any other Black Metal band from anywhere. Which probably goes to explain why the first press of 500 copies of the record have practically sold out already. To my ears, it sounds like a slightly more ambitious and experimental Mgla.

There’ll be a second run of these this summer, I’d willingly wager. Magnificent.

Evilometer: 666/666

DEATH FORTRESS – AMONG THE RANKS OF THE UNCONQUERABLE LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Death Fortress - Among The Ranks Of The UnconquerableI find it impossible to listen to Death Fortress’s debut full-length without thinking of Hate Forest. ‘Among The Ranks Of The Unconquerable’ is unashamed Ukrainian BM worship from start to finish, the only truly discernible difference being that the New Jersey horde supplement the trademark HF death growl with occasional more conventional Black Metal shrieks.

I don’t have any problem with a band sounding very similar to another. As long as it’s good, who cares? And, for the most part, ‘Among The Ranks Of The Unconquerable’ is truly impressive. The downside for me is that – after an invigorating start and middle – the record seems to peter out towards the end, losing my interest during the course of the final two tracks, ‘Pride Of The Enslaver’ and ‘Ancestor’s Call’, for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Possibly, I just dont like those songs or perhaps it’s a pacing issue. Either way, all momentum and energy are lost as the final strains seep impotently through the speakers.

Evilometer: 333/666

SKÁPHE – SKÁPHE (Fallen Empire Records)

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Skáphe - SkápheSkáphe’s eponymous debut full-length comprises four great compositions of ambient but raw and scorching Black Metal, clocking in at 35 minutes, spread across two sides of a pro cassette. While this is no doubt a fantastic collection of underground Black Metal, the tape format simply doesn’t do it justice.

When a vinyl edition appears, that will really be worth purchasing. I have no enthusiasm for talking about tapes any more.

Evilometer: 555/666

VORDE – VORDE LP (Fallen Empire Records / Psychic Violence)

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Vorde - VordeVorde is an interesting new proposition from Brooklyn, emitting a fairly unique-sounding strain of cosmic Black Metal that is hard to pin down. At a push, I would perhaps describe the debut album, ‘Vorde’, as a convergence of classic-era Mayhem and the more modern-sounding Negative Plane.

It’s very difficult (for me, at least) to depict or portray this album with any degree of accuracy and equally difficult to reach a definite verdict on it. I’ve listened to it tons of times and have yet to decide whether it’s great, good or average. At least I’m getting value for money. But I have to reach some sort of verdict and move along…

Ultimately, I really dig some parts and I’m not so keen on other passages – but, all in all, this is well above average and worthy of support. Solid Black Metal record; not-so solid review.

Evilometer: 444/666

XOTHIST – SIMULACRUM LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Xothist - SimulacrumXothist’s debut full-length is extremely chaotic, inaccessible and unorthodox. If it’s structure you seek in your music, then best to give ‘Simulacrum’ a wide berth. A barely-there but nigh-on-perfect production just about grants the listener access to a frenzied cauldron of swirling virulence; a real treat unfolds, somehow.

Like the stunning ‘Xothist’, this is another exceptionally off-the-wall but commendable dose of dissonant underground Black Metal with some welcome noise / drone / ambient accoutrements. A challenging but rewarding experience, all told.

Evilometer: 555/666

TUKAARIA – RAW TO THE RAPINE LP (Fallen Empire Records)

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Tukaaria - Raw To The RapineThis label’s been busy recently sneaking out some superb underground Black Metal of a distinctly analogue nature; it’s impossible not to be impressed by the exceedingly high quality of their releases. The LPs from Xothist and Lluvia are both fantastic (see my reviews below…) and Tukaaria’s debut full-length ‘Raw To The Rapine’ (initially released on tape in 2011) is equally impressive.

You may remember I loved the split record with Odz Manouk, so I knew going in that this LP had the potential to be a stunning affair. And (musically, at least) it doesn’t disappoint. However, it is perhaps a let-down in terms of length (or lack thereof) … 27 minutes really is very, very short for an album.

Some of you may therefore be more interested in tracking down the considerably-longer CD version released by Profound Lore, which also includes the tracks from the splits with Odz Manouk and Volahn.

However, if – like me – you are a vinyl fiend, then you will no doubt crave this edition. Even though it’s frustratingly short, ‘Raw To The Rapine’ is nonetheless an undisputed triumph for quality over quantity. Twenty-seven minutes of near-perfect, fizzing, buzzing, corrosive, obscure and mystical raw Black Metal with spades of attitude and integrity is still miles better than most purchases you could make. A few more songs and this would be utterly essential.

Evilometer: 555/666