Sunday, January 20, 2019 16:02

Posts Tagged ‘Profound Lore Records’

PORTAL – ION LP (Profound Lore)

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

Portal - IONAs well as elevating them above their peers, the thick primordial rumble evident on previous Portal releases was a key component of what made them so mesmerising. Granted, there was always suspicion as to what the murk was hiding – were Portal actually any use or did they just have a unique sound?

To me, it mattered not. The inherent atmosphere and horror of a record is what counts. The vibe. I’m not at all concerned with how technically proficient the music is. Portal’s glorious racket sounded amazing. To an extent, the songs were indistinguishable from one another, but I would have been happy if they just stuck to the same winning formula ad nauseum.

Thar’s what I assumed they’d do. I was surprised, therefore, when I heard that the impenetrable murk was lifted on ‘ION’, which has been granted a much clearer production, allowing rare access to the intricacies of what is going on. And any contention that Portal is a mere gimmick has been well and truly shattered as we can now bear witness to a an extraordinary Death Metal masterpiece in all its glory. Although not as indecipherable, indigestible and difficult to fathom as those that preceded it, Portal’s fifth full-length is every bit as insane.

No longer sounding like they record their reverberations at the bottom of an erupting volcano, Portal are now the aural equivalent of a clean, precise, meticulously-sterilised, glistening, sharp medical tool slicing through your face (as opposed to being hit repeatedly by a sack of hammers).

The emperor’s clothes are gone and turns out he’s got a huge cock.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, April 24th, 2017

Ash Borer - The Irrepassable GateI was fortunate enough to see Ash Borer play live in a small barroom in Dublin last night, with just a modest smattering of die-hards in attendance. They put on a truly mesmerising display that reminded me of the power and panache of recent performances I’ve witnessed from Svartidauði and Misþyrming. That good.

It’s both sad and cool at the same time that so few people appreciate such incredible talent but, for my money, Ash Borer are close to untouchable. They deliver in the live arena and they also deliver on record. Third full-length, ‘The Irrepassable Gate’, is easily as good as anything they’ve recorded previously and this 53-minute epic comes into its own in the double-vinyl format, with tasty gatefold sleeve and a download card thrown in for good measure.

Shame really that the flow is interrupted between ‘Lustration I’ and ‘Grey Marrow’ but I always seem to find something to moan about. In a world where you can trust nobody, you can at least depend on Ash Borer to release quality material.

Evilometer: 666/666

GEVURAH – HALLELUJAH! 2LP (Profound Lore Records)

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Gevurah - Hallelujah!If for nothing else, Gevurah deserve kudos for not sticking a dumb etching on Side D. Instead, we get a 20-minute, ambient bonus track, which brings the total running time of ‘Hallelujah!’ on black wax to an alarmingly generous 85 minutes.

Thus, there’s so much here to get one’s head and ears around that I’ve somewhat ironically found Gevurah’s debut full-length to be much more challenging than the vast majority of albums in my collection. Which takes a bit of doing…

This release demands a lot of time. After perhaps 15 listens, I feel like I’ve still barely skimmed the surface. It’s orthodox Black Metal, with studied and carefully-crafted lyrics – in both French and English – fixated on God and Satan and all that nonsense.

You also get a poster and gorgeous 16-page booklet so you can read (along? – that’s what I still like to do, even after all these years) over and over again what this Canadian duo wish to elucidate about the whole religious thing. I’d prefer not to think about it at all myself seeing as everything mentioned in the bible is about as real as tax-free income.

Evilometer: 666/666


Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Ritual Chamber - Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)There’s an hour’s worth of chilling one-man Death Metal on Ritual Chamber’s superb debut full-length, ‘Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)’. To a large degree, this is Incantation worship but it also sounds fresh and vibrant and downright pretty fucking incredible.

To think that one man conceived and executed this monolith boggles my mind and, even when it veers into relatively disjointed terrain, I can still but nod my aging head in approval. The stunning double-vinyl edition includes a gatefold jacket and lyrics. Absolutely worthy of support.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, February 1st, 2016

Pissgrave - Suicide EuphoriaI’ve just listened to this record five times in one sitting (well, ten sittings…) and it’s a gloriously-punishing experience. The band name, song titles and artwork all suggest Death Metal of the gore-obsessed variety and that’s certainly the general tone of Pissgrave’s debut full-length, ‘Suicide Euphoria’.

Raw, corrosive, bludgeoning and uncompromising, it’s an engaging if somewhat difficult-to-digest album – clearly committed to tape / wax by unswerving devotees to their macabre art – which embraces you like sweet, cold, erotic death itself and strives to take you along for the ride, supplanting you into the narrative by ripping the skin from your face then smearing your ears in innards and ramming a jackhammer up your weeping, ravaged anus.

Yeah this sure is fine.

As well as being heavier than the glistening bones and spilled dung of a million hapless, expired humans, the mangled mayhem of ‘Suicide Euphoria’ also manages to sound unique in its pursuit of all-out savagery and dismemberment. Quite a feat.

In the same way that pain is fun, this is a monstrous record. Real shame no lyrics are included, though, cos it would be nice to read along and see just how depraved the whole affair is.

Evilometer: 666/666


Sunday, March 8th, 2015

A.M.S.G. - The Forbidden TransformationThe Forbidden Transformation’ contains 29 minutes of music on two sides of a 12” record; the title track on Side A plus ‘Luciferion Lycanthropic Lust’ and ‘The Gleaming Tower’ on the flip side. It still costs the price of a full-length but a CD edition of the recording is included to soften the blow. A nice touch.

There’s no sign of the blasted saxophone that blighted ‘Anti-Cosmic Tyranny’, mercifully, and for that reason I find this release more enjoyable. A minor triumph for quality over quantity, if you like. A.M.S.G. really can craft some genuinely evil and detached vibes and this record should appeal to both the converted and potential new devotees alike.

A great way to kill half an hour.

Evilometer: 555/666


Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Impetuous Ritual - Unholy Congregation Of Hypocritical AmbivalenceI yearn to hear it even better. To get my ears beneath and beyond the impenetrable, dismal doom and gloom, to bypass the dull production and actually hear everything that’s going on. But ‘Unholy Congregation Of Hypocritical Ambivalence’ won’t afford me such a luxury. Evidently, it was recorded in a bunker by Antipodean cavemen.

Perhaps if I change the settings on my amplifier; switch off the Direct Sound or something… Maybe if I lower the bass a little, tweak the treble. I’ve tried earphones but still the sound remains leaden and frustratingly beyond me. I’m going to invest in one of those headphone amps and I’m also going to have my ears syringed. Worth a try, eh?

On their second full-length, Impetuous Ritual – who tellingly share members with Portal and Grave Upheaval – have delivered one of those albums that’s strangely yet deliriously inaccessible such is its cavernous, underground (literally, physically…) nature. In a way, it’s like the itch that just won’t scratch. In the end, you grow to love that itch just the way it is. Because you are genuinely disturbed. And it comforts you.

The murk is the sound.

Evilometer: 666/666

PORTAL – VEXOVOID LP (Profound Lore Records)

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Portal - VexovoidPortal’s fourth full-length is a typically-challenging listen (although, to be fair, it is arguably more a mini-album than a full-length proper). There may be only 35 minutes of material on ‘Vexovoid’ but it’s so convoluted, abstract, inaccessible, complex, incoherent, disharmonic and headache-inducing that at times it seems to last for an eternity.

You will do well to wrap your head around this particular nightmare. How can an album that’s so downright difficult be so ridiculously rewarding? ‘Vexovoid’ reminds me of the heady days of yore when Death Metal was new and exciting and awkward to digest. It’s an absolute monster of an album, like a warped Gorguts on speed – only far better than that lame description suggests…

Insane, maniacal and very, very intelligent Death Metal that stands head and shoulders above most of the music I’ve listened to so far this year, ‘Vexovoid’ truly is a joy to behold. An LP to cherish, but – as I intimated at the outset – do not expect an easy ride. This is ugly and noisy. The vinyl edition is pure class, too. Bring the pain!

Evilometer: 666/666


Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Even if it hardly represents a dramatic departure, I really do not like the direction Altar Of Plagues’ music has taken on their third full-length, ‘Teethed Glory And Injury’. Here is a band I’ve been championing for a long time – see my review of ‘Mammal’ – but one whose Black Metal quotient has always been dubious / debatable, to say the least.

On this album, my compatriots have remorselessly severed any tenuous link they may have previously had with Black Metal – for the sake of maturity, I imagine – and delivered something altogether different. Something that I can’t even be bothered to explain or describe because I couldn’t give a damn about the sort of pretentiousness found on ‘Teethed Glory And Injury’; Altar Of Plagues is now irrelevant to me and to this website

Evilometer: 000/666

COBALT – GIN 2LP (Profound Lore Records)

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Since it first arrived three years ago, “Gin” has been one of my favourite Black Metal albums of all time. Quite simply, I can’t get enough of it. The wait for a vinyl edition has been much longer than I’d have liked but at least the label has compensated for the delay by delivering the goods on all fronts – two heavy records, strong gatefold sleeve, lyric sheet included – so I feel like all my Christmases have come at once.

In many respects, Cobalt are without equal. They meld together some pretty harsh and dissonant ‘war’ BM with healthy doses of melodic sensitivity, producing a result that comes across like a blackened version of Neurosis or even Machine Head. But don’t let that put you off!!! As I write this, I’m digging some nice tribal drumming midway through the incredible ‘Two-Thumbed Fist’, the epic track that takes up most of Side C.

But, all the songs on this album are superb, in fairness. I think it’s fairly limited (too lazy to check) and I also know only too painfully that this is a pricey beast to acquire once you take shipping into consideration – especially to Europe. I got my copy from The End Records and it wasn’t too bad … EUR33 … and definitely worth every red cent.

I can’t recommend this work of art highly enough.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, November 14th, 2011

I have never been disappointed by a Leviathan album. Without exception, Wrest’s output under this moniker has been consistently brilliant. And the new album ‘True Traitor, True Whore’ more than lives up to my lofty expectations. Not that I actually had any expectations because – like most of you – I didn’t even realise this full-length was in the pipeline.

The silence from Wrest regarding his main solo project was almost deafening since the release of ‘Massive Conspiracy Against All Life’, which landed three years ago and was hyped / billed as Leviathan’s last-ever album. Since then, the mainman has been caught up in some rather unsavoury news stories, which we should assume to have no substance whatsoever seeing as there were no criminal charges and Wrest – thankfully – is still at large.

But the whole experience has obviously had a very profound effect on him as his creative juices started to flow again and with oh so much vehemence and invective! Doesn’t take a genius to work out that this collection of tunes is aimed at the female who made those accusations – the album title says it all really, not to mention song titles like ‘Her Circle Is The Noose’, ‘Every Orifice Yawning Her Price’ and the monumental ‘Harlot Rises’.

Thankfully, the raging muse so evident in the lyrical / conceptual content doesn’t manifest itself in the actual music, which remains focused and incredibly catchy by Black Metal standards. Of course, there’s always been a certain amount of aggression in Wrest’s work anyway (fuck me, it is Black Metal after all), but what I mean to say is that these songs are no more raw and visceral than any of his previous offerings. Instead, what we have is prime Leviathan. Superb, otherworldly Black Metal with a keen psychedelic, psychotic edge.

The production is immaculate and the play-off between the cavernous, harsher components and the hypnotic, more ambient textures is a joy to behear. All in all, this is an exceptionally good volume of work that easily measures up to everything else in this towering Black Metal leviathan’s astonishing back catalogue. ‘True Traitor, True Whore’ is worthy of a place in every collection.

Evilometer: 666/666

BLOOD REVOLT – INDOCTRINE (Profound Lore Records)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I bought this album because of the involvement of one Alan Averill from Primordial on vocal duties. Considering how terrible the last couple of Primordial LPs have been, I really should have known better. In a nutshell, this release is a total waste of space and I seriously regret parting with a percentage of my wage just to say I own it.

There’s a lot to be said for listening to a few tracks from an album online – even one song, perhaps – before committing yourself, because it would save unnecessary anguish and frustration in the long run. As a traditionalist, I prefer to just take a leap of faith on some purchases – a bad error in judgement when it comes to Blood Revolt. If I’d heard even twenty seconds of this rubbish in advance, I’d have passed.

The signs were so misleading, though. Renowned singer from an Irish (ex-)Black Metal band; two members of Revenge; released on Profound Lore Records – Jesus, I thought this was a safe bet. Alas, the disparate parts don’t blend together at all and, to my ears, ‘Indoctrine’ is a complete, God-awful, irritating mess. Totally unlistenable. It’s probably as bad an album as I’ve heard in the past twelve months. Vocals that fluctuate between Dead Kennedys and Queensryche  do not work with this style of progressive Death Metal music, so the end result made for one of the most unenjoyable 40-or-so minutes of my life.

What gets me is this: why release a recording that’s not a ‘proper’ album? When members of different bands get together seemingly for the craic, why not just make the music available to interested parties for free? It’s an insult to people to throw together a release like this and then charge money for it. I’m not wasting my breath any more on it.

Evilometer: 000/666

COBALT – EATER OF BIRDS (Profound Lore Records)

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

All I knew about Cobalt before clapping ears on ‘Eater Of Birds’ way back in 2007 was that the Colorado duo’s debut album was entitled ‘War Metal’. So I braced myself for a Marduk-type barrage of blistering blackness. This duly arrived on opener ‘When Serpents Return’, but I quickly discovered that there’s much more to the experimental and deeply inspired Cobalt beast than meets the eye…

For a start, the chaos is a lot more adventurous than I would have imagined. If war Black Metal is akin to being bludgeoned to death by panzers on a battlefield, ‘Eater Of Birds’ is kinda like being gradually fucked up in some laboratory experiment. By a surgeon/doctor so skilled he could rid the world of cancer and AIDS but prefers to mess with minds and mush people up.

There’s still a more-than-adequate amount of overt aggression on here. Imagine Enslaved if they had gradually become more frenzied rather than wandering down the dubious prog path. Some of the music reminds me of a cross between proper (i.e. early) Enslaved and Darkthrone or Carpathian Forest rather than the artier names being bandied about in some circles (Swans, Neurosis etc.), but it is when Cobalt decide to do their own, beautiful thing that they really make you sit up and take notice.

I won’t spoil the fun by pointing out which exact sections you should watch out for (try all of it!) but, believe me, there are many unexpected movements and detours along this 70-minute bipolar ride that will cause the hairs to stand on the nape of your nodding-in-approval neck. It’s unpredictable yet spontaneous; innovative yet familiar. Throw in a guest appearance from none other than Jarboe and the sumptuous digipack artwork and you just know you’re onto a winner all the way.

Astonishingly, Cobalt followed this album up two years later with the equally-excellent ‘Gin’. You don’t need to be a major in mathematics to deduce that we’re due a fourth full-length from these loons in 2011.

Evilometer: 555/666


Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Regretfully, Thralldom announced that the splendidly-titled ‘A Shaman Steering the Vessel of Vastness‘ was to be their final release – but what a devastating note upon which to flee the scene! As a parting shot, these USBM weirdos delivered their career highlight in the shape of a stupefying seven-track rollercoaster ride of exhilarating black magic/art. Thus it can be said that the brains behind the two-man project – Killusion and Jaldagar – have committed musical hari-kari.

My vinyl version of ‘Black Sun Resistance‘ was in a perilously frayed condition when this one landed in my paws in March 2006, so you can probably imagine the enthusiasm with which I greeted the advent of this latest fix from one of the most obscure and unappreciated bands operating within the shadowy netherworld of underground metal. So, is it any good? Did Jesus squeal when the first nail went through his wrist? Of course.

With each listen, the final instalment in Thralldom’s legacy reveals itself a little more, working its way into your mindscape, battering your senses and redefining all conceptions of what Black Metal can – and should – be. Profound Lore Records packaged the CD in a novel and practical slimline digipak encasement, complete with tasteful artwork, liner notes and even lyrics. The latter are abstract and wordy, epitomising Thralldom’s multidimensional existence.

This is not standard BM fare, though the influence of early Darkthrone can be strongly detected. Thralldom inject industrialised, artificial additives into their serum, with samples, droning sounds and all manner of unidentified noise sources called to arms. The result is gloomy, oppressive, and harsh. Thralldom were never afraid to push the boundaries anyway and this release contains a typically experimental lilt. For example, sixth track ‘Narrow Road‘ is an acoustic guitar based ode to the ongoing decline of American civilisation. I think.

I would strongly advise curious parties to snap this up by hook or by crook. I believe the vinyl version could still be available. If not, make your voice heard and demand a reissue!

Thralldom’s untimely and cruel demise with this release is poignant. Real heroes never return from battle. They are the ones who selflessly place themselves in the frontline, risking life and limb, and invariably get mown down in a hail of bullets or cut to ribbons by a landmine. They never come home to a fanfare or a hero’s welcome. Instead, they remain forever uncelebrated and unknown. If the wars against Christianity and humanity are one day won, the insincere will gather to lap up undeserved adulation for a victory that they did not contribute to, while Thralldom lie in an unmarked grave.

Let’s mark it here: Thralldom, RIP

Evilometer: 444/666