Wednesday, November 22, 2017 03:24

Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear War Now’


Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Harvest Gulgaltha - Altars Of DevotionListening to ‘Altars Of Devotion’, it sounds almost like Harvest Gulgaltha are in my living room hammering out the tracks and tearing paint from the wall, warping the fireplace, trembling the windowpanes, shaking the timber joists, wooden frames, bricks and plaster of this Hell I call home.

That’s how powerful, immediate and devastating this record is; how fitting a panacea to my pained and meaningless daily existence. Mid-paced, gloomy, ultra-heavy Black / Death (mostly Death) as is all the rage now, ripping through the speakers with genuine menace and for all intents and purposes sounding like a fitting sequel to the amazing ‘Nihl’, although not quite as catchy.

Split vocals are great and a lyric sheet is included so I can stick on the spectacles my decrepit head now requires and read along. I’ve no real need for the patch or sticker or marbled vinyl, though.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, May 15th, 2017

Bestial Raids - Master Satan's WitcheryRaucous, pummeling and heavier than a hippo’s balls, Bestial Raids are all about unsophisticated, puerile, subtle-as-a-sledgehammer, bestial, warmongering Black / Death in the vein of fellow purveyors of ancient evil such as Black Witchery, Archgoat, Revenge and their ilk.

Although confined by the obvious restrictions of delivering darkness within such narrow parameters, the Poles do manage to stake their own claim to entering Satan’s unhallowed dominion on relentless, unforgiving and barbaric third full-length, ‘Master Satan’s Witchery’.

Fierce and fearsome, nasty and vile devil-worshiping art with a poster and lyric sheet.

Evilometer: 555/666


Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Death Worship - Extermination MassFeaturing seasoned, craggy, battle-hardened commanders from Revenge, Blasphemy and Conqueror, Death Worship unsurprisingly sounds a lot like Revenge, Conqueror and (to a lesser extent) Blasphemy. ‘Extermination Mass’ salvages from the trenches 20(-ish) minutes of precise, militaristic war Black / Death (with some cool effects) that does exactly as anticipated.

Poster and insert with lyrics included but not much bang for one’s buck in terms of the quantity of music (quality quotient very high, however). All in all, it’s a great record but very short.

Evilometer: 666/666


Saturday, August 20th, 2016

Howls of Ebb - Cursus Impasse The Pendlomic VowsSometimes the easiest reviews to write are also the most difficult ones. ‘Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows’ is a staggering album but it is so complex, ambitious and out there that I would struggle to come up with a description or analysis that would do it justice. So I’m not even going to try (all that much).

As a general rule, I abhor anything that’s even remotely technical or progressive, yet Howls Of Ebb undoubtedly fall into both of those categories. The seven tracks (42 minutes) on offer on their second full-length are anything but straightforward, coming across as a more challenging, supple and sinuous Portal; more angular, more disjointed but at the same time still more accessible due to the disinfected production, complete lack of murkiness and the (impressive, for a change) technical prowess of the musicians (something I usually run a mile from).

A wankfest admittedly but it’s all rather astonishing and there is so much going on that each repeat listen brings a whole new experience. The inclusion of a sumptuous booklet and poster seal the deal on an all-round winner that succeeds partly because it dares to be different – a dangerous road populated by the corpses of so many who have tried in vain to get the balance right but fallen on their own swords while I sneered contemptuously.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, April 25th, 2016

Irkallian Oracle - ApollyonGrave Ekstasis’ was a stunning debut and Irkallian Oracle’s follow-up, ‘Apollyon’, is utterly monumental. This time, we get 57 minutes of monolithic Black / Death(-Doom) that would serve as the ideal soundtrack to an all-consuming earthquake or slow-motion tsunami. It’s the sound of a natural disaster. Lovely.

The understated, cavernous production – which mostly lets the (hypnotic, persistent) drums and vocals dominate while everything else is consigned into a gloriously murky quagmire – gives rise to a somewhat different beast than that presented on the predecessor – the result is devastating.

Apart from the nonsensical etching on Side D (I hate those), this album is immense. Listening experiences do not get more intense, more unnerving or more exhilarating. Who’d have thought that music that makes you feel like both your eardrums are perforated could be so rewarding?

Evilometer: 666/666

BLACK FEAST- LARENUF JUBILEUM LP (Iron Bonehead Productions / Nuclear War Now!)

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Black Feast - Larenuf JubileumMy knowledge of Black Feast is non-existent. ‘Larenuf Jubileum’ collates demo, split, advance tape and promo material from this little-known (to me, at least) entity onto one record, which boasts the production values of a kick to the sac. I decided to take a chance on this on a hunch (due largely to the labels involved) and I got more or less what I was expecting.

For the most part, it sounds like an improvised live rehearsal; rabid, unstructured and uncouth. Therein lies the charm! ‘Larenuf Jubileum’ delivers authentic, unforced and unpretentious underground bestial black death madness where the disdainful, indifferent, outsider attitude is more important than the quality of the music and / or recording.

Once you transcend the clutter and clang, it is – either by accident or design – a rather great analogue seduction.

Evilometer: 555/666


Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Mefitic - Woes of Mortal DevotionMefitic from Italy play a swirling, murky, lo-fi hybrid of Black and Death Metal. Their debut album, ‘Woes Of Mortal Devotion’, should appeal to anyone who enjoys similarly-inclined bands like Abyssal, Grave Miasma, Temple Nightside, Portal, Antediluvian, Mitochondrion, Shroud Of The Heretic etc.

The Italians do it well and the vinyl edition of their maiden full-length looks (despite having miniature lyrics printed in dark brown on a black background and therefore rendered unreadable…) and sounds great. Clearly, you need to buy this record. Adding anything else would be pointless.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, August 10th, 2015

Gnosis - The Third-Eye GateGnosis hail from Florida, not Hellas; but listening to their debut full-length, ‘The Third-Eye Gate’, it would easy to make an erroneous assumption as to their geographical origins. This album sounds as Greek as an economic flatline and – even though I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Hellenic Black Metal (whole thing just passed me by…) – I must admit this is rather splendid.

A most enjoyable, rather simplistic, foot-tapping record (just fucking try not to be moved by ‘Cult Of The Great Serpent’) housed in a gatefold jacket, with lyrics included and a poster that’s surprisingly pleasant to look at (I must be losing my marbles).

What more could we desire in these heartachingly-underwhelming, dispirited and soulless times, played out by a pitiful, vacuous, ignorant legion of self-deluded liars, cowards and moral cheats? If nothing else, ‘The Third-Eye Gate’ offers some respite from the swarming scum that is humanity.

Evilometer: 666/666


Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Embrace of Thorns - Darkness ImpenetrableYou have to take Embrace Of Thorns with a pinch – nay, a bucket – of salt. In the band photos on the back of ‘Darkness Impenetrable’, the Greeks look almost like a parody of themselves. And don’t even get me started on the five members’ pseudonyms (I wonder has Nuctemeron Bestial Ravisher of the Divine Harmony filed his tax returns yet; what sports does Archfiend DevilPig partake of?).

Then we have the song titles – ‘Erect Bloodstained Totems’ has to be one of the most unfortunate in the history of Black Metal. Clearly, what we have here is dumb musick aimed at idiots. Only a total braindead fool could enjoy this, right? Well, I love Embrace of Thorns and I love ‘Darkness Impenetrable’.

The vinyl comes in a black-and-white gatefold cover, with fun lyrics and naff band photos included. Most importantly, the music slays. Ripping, refreshing, fun Black Metal. Devil horns!

Evilometer: 666/666


Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Ill Omen - Remnant Spheres Of Spiritual EquilibriumThis four-track EP (37 minutes – longer than some albums!), originally issued on cassette in early 2013, was given the vinyl treatment by NWN last December and, true to form, the label pulled out all the stops by opting for olive green / radioactive snot coloured wax with a little sticker and patch included for good measure.

Personally I’d prefer black wax and no extras for a few dollars / euro less but that’s probably just me being a miserable bastard…

Anyhow, although not quite as essential as either of IV’s full-lengths under this moniker – the monumental ‘Divinity Through Un-creation’ and ‘Enthroning The Bonds Of Abhorrence’ – ‘Remnant Spheres Of Spiritual Equilibrium’ is still rather brilliant – especially the haunting, majestic and sickeningly-catchy opener ‘The Summon… (Ominous Chants of Archaic Tongue)’.

Without further ado (I’m sure you have some porn or something to look at – same as the rest of us…), I decree that Ill Omen is an extraordinary entity and that this is a suitably enjoyable record.

Evilometer: 666/666


Saturday, April 4th, 2015

Doombringer - The Grand SabbathThe Grand Sabbath’ has a lot going for it: for starters, Doombringer’s debut full-length boasts an interestingly-varied vocal approach (which works especially well on ‘Children To Moloch’ at the start of Side B, for example, but is evident throughout); the seven tracks are expertly executed by veterans of the verdant Polish underground, with a running time of 43 minutes; and the vinyl edition looks and sounds fantastic (heavy duty cover; booklet included with lyrics).

The record also defies any simple, throwaway categorisation as it stirs a number of styles into its complex potion. Eight parts Death; one part Black; some other (mostly) dark shit as well… It’s got an excellent production and is ghoulish, heavy and relentless as all fuck for the most part – but is let down at times by some unnecessary and annoying solos / melodies.

Even though it is an impressive work, overall I find that ‘The Grand Sabbath’ suffers a little from what one might call a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none syndrome. It’s certainly impressive but it also has an identity crisis and is neither one thing nor another in the end. Or perhaps that’s just me trying to come up with a reason why I like the album but don’t love it?

Evilometer: 444/666


Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Darvulia SektarismAnd now for something completely different… This collaboration ventures far beyond the confines of Black Metal into territory that is ambient, experimental and – dare I say it? – ritualistic. Each band offers one lengthy track to produce a split record that’s certainly interesting, though hardly essential.

It’s a decided departure for Darvulia, who sound completely different on their 17-minute contribution, ‘Mort Foetale’, than I’ve ever heard them before – somewhere between Defuntos, Silencer, Abruptum, Impavida, Do Make Say Think and The Twilight Zone. Enjoyable, impromptu stuff and the doom-ier Sektarism (‘Punition Divine’; 21 minutes) is okay, too.

It’s refreshing to hear something unusual for a change. And it’s unusual to encounter something unusual that isn’t shit. So, over all, I’d recommend this split.

Evilometer: 444/666


Monday, September 8th, 2014

Ill Omen - Enthroning The Bonds Of AbhorrenceEnthroning The Bonds Of Abhorrence’ is a crushing experience. Haunting, ethereal Black Metal imbued with the desperate pathos and hopeless despair of funeral doom, Ill Omen’s second full-length constitutes a bleak and harrowing journey. Destination: darkness, death, dejection. If the void had a sound, this would be it.

The follow-up to the exceptional debut, ‘Divinity Through Un-creation’, was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it has not disappointed. A full hour of dementia with no track listing, no respite and no remorse…

The real beauty is that, despite repeated listening binges over the past fortnight or so, I know I haven’t fully absorbed the true scope of this album yet; for certain, there is so much more here to explore and enjoy. To cut to the chase, this is probably as good as it gets.

Evilometer: 666/666


Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Nuclearhammer -Serpentine Hermetic LuciferCanadian clusterfuckers Nuclearhammer share a member with Adversarial and their logo was drawn by the guitarist / vocalist from Antediluvian, with whom they once collaborated on a three-way split. This information should give you a very clear indication as to what to expect from their second full-length ‘Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer’, a chaotic 45-minute offering which appears some five years after their ‘Obliteration Ritual’ debut (which I haven’t heard).

Think pneumatic drills rather than guitars; grating metal rather than vocals; sledgehammers smashing off galvanised steel more so than drums; more mace than bass. A man of my age shouldn’t derive any satisfaction whatsoever from such an unmerciful racket. But this is truly fantastic life-affirming stuff. Bestial, necro Black Death at its finest.

A sublime gatefold jacket with lyric sheet and poster seals the deal. But cursed fuck on that dumb etching on Side D.

Evilometer: 666/666


Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Irkallian Oracle - Grave EkstasisAn apocalyptic raid erupting within walking distance of the intersection on the metal motorway where Death Metal and Black Metal converge, ‘Grave Ekstasis’ is a harsh and unforgiving dose of extremity. Fierce and vitriolic, it never lets up over the course of its 44-minute duration (five songs) and is certainly one of the most interesting debut albums I’ve encountered in a long time.

Originally recorded in 2012 but remastered for this latest incarnation, the vinyl edition comes with some fantastic artwork, a poster and a lovely booklet with lyrics. Great lyrics, by the way. Don’t take my word for it, though: check this monster out on Bandcamp or something and make your own mind up.

Evilometer: 555/666