Sunday, April 22, 2018 02:26

Posts Tagged ‘Lower Silesian Stronghold’

XAOS OBLIVION – RITUALS FROM THE COLD GRAVE LP (Lower Silesian Stronghold / Heidenwut Productions)

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Xaos Oblivion - Rituals From The Cold GraveIn the true spirit of obscure underground Black Metal, Xaos Oblivion has operated for a decade under the cover of night, undetected, obfuscated.

Unheralded and unhyped, this Polish entity unleashed five relatively-unknown full-lengths to date and I believe ‘Rituals From The Cold Grave’ was the first to feature more than one member.

I’ve appreciated this album since it was released a few years back, so I was pleased to see it emerge on vinyl. Great ancient, mystical Black Metal that reminds me quite a lot of classic Mayhem.

The record includes an insert with most of the lyrics.  My copy also boasts a deep scratch at the start of Side A, but such is the risk inherent in purchasing this format.

The eponymous Xaos Oblivion (AKA Kamil) is also the vocalist in Aryman, another exceptional Polish horde worth investigating.

Evilometer: 666/666

DARK FURY – SALIGIA (Lower Silesian Stronghold)

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Within the space of 33 minutes, Dark Fury make their feelings on all things Catholic well and truly known. These seven songs stand proud as an all-out attack on organised religion, tearing into priests and Christian ethics like nails ripping through the flesh of ‘the chosen one’. Lyrically, the Poles rant with venom about the greed, hypocrisy, perversity and corruption of the church as they see it. All very entertaining stuff and hard to argue with the general sentiments expressed. Somehow it seems all the more potent coming from the same country that gave the world Pope John Paul II…

Musically, it’s pretty sandard Slavonic Black Metal, leaning towards the early 90s, executed at mid-to-high pace, but with some slower passages, such as on the excellent third track ‘Luxuria’, which also contains the sounds of weeping, defiled victims of the church’s wicked ways. While there’s nothing particularly original about either the sound or the themes to be found on here, ‘Salagia’ is nonetheless a really enjoyable listen, enhanced greatly by the aforementioned cries of the repressed or the mock laughter evident towards the end of the ensuing song, ‘Invidia’. These little touches – sound effects or samples – break up the monotony just enough to elevate the album above the norm.

The CD’s gambit – ‘Superbia’ – sets the tone brilliantly for a well-composed ride, with thundering drums, shrill guitars and some nice varied vocals. While a lot of anti-Christian artists tend to go over the top with the explicit nature of their message, I found Dark Fury’s approach to be more thoughtful but no less restrained, emphasising the greed of the priests (who come back again and again looking for more of our money) and the stupidity of the masses (who believe that giving money to the church can buy them a ticket into heaven). As it says on the inlay: “While listening to this album, mock the hypocrisy of all christians, both the priests and the faithful.” Enough said.

Evilometer: 444/666

THOTH – ZAMGLENIE (Lower Silesian Stronghold)

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

We all know (and love?) Graveland, but Thoth – a depressive Black Metal triumvirate including one Rob Darken amongst its ranks – remains relatively unknown. The debut full-length ‘From The Abyss Of Dungeons Of Darkness’ was superb and this follow-up is equally captivating. Personally, I fell out of love with Darken’s main vehicle as he pursued increasingly more epic, bombastic terrain; but I am a sucker for Graveland’s earlier work, all of which I own on vinyl and treasure deeply.

Zamglenie’ contains the same kind of innocence. It’s carefree, naïve, infectious black art imbued with a passion and honesty that’s hard to come by these days. Granted, it’s repetitive and I daresay it’s pretty simplistic, too … but damn if these songs aren’t as effective as a Nemanja Vidić tackle on the edge of the box. No frills, no nonsense, no standing on ceremony; just 35 minutes of unapologetic darkly-atmospheric Black Metal that resides somewhere between classic Infernum, Leviathan and ‘The Eerie Cold’-era Shining.

The vocals on this release are extraordinary: pained, rasped howls and shrieks, laced with agony and spewed forth from a world wracked with pain. There’s little or no variation – just a barrage of pained gasps that resonate with authenticity. Varying shades of black, if you like. Isn’t this how BM ‘singing’ was meant to be before a sickening proliferation of clean vocals and choirs hijacked the subgenre, threatening to ruin it? Unsettling and discomforting, the bombardment of rasps on ‘Zanglenie’ comes as a right breath of dank air. And it’s most welcome.

If you’re looking for something palatable, accessible and easily digested, I suggest you take your search elsewhere. Thoth’s Black Metal is not for the faint of heart. These guys – who double up in bands like Selbstmord, Ohtar, Dark Fury, and (of course) Veles and Lord Wind – play the game by their own rules, making no concessions and adhering strictly to an ummistakably traditional black template. As suggested earlier, the album does tend to cover the same ground throughout its duration but monotony is never a danger when the music – and, more importantly, the mood – is this impressive.

Evilometer: 555/666