Monday, February 18, 2019 03:03

Posts Tagged ‘The Ajna Offensive’

SIGRBLOT – BLODSBAND (BLOOD RELIGION MANIFEST) 2LP (The Ajna Offensive / Invictus Productions)

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Sigrblot - BlodsbandSigrblot’s sole full-length, ‘Blodsband (Blood Religion Manifest)’, is one of my all-time favourite releases. These two records are excellent from start to finish and somehow the fact that the band just disappeared into the obscurity from which it was borne adds to the appeal.

Alas, this gem is long-since sold out and with no reissue in sight probably ever. It’s also banned by the great guardians of the moral compass, which possibly makes you a criminal for reading this. What a fucking world we live in.

Evilometer: 666/666

ALTAR OF PERVERSION – INTRA NAOS 3LP (The Ajna Offensive / Norma Evangelium Diaboli)

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Altar Of Perversion - Intra NaosThe average running time of the six tracks on Altar Of Perversion’s second full-length – and first in 17 years – is a whopping 19 minutes. At approximately 114 minutes long, ‘Intra Naos’ is Black Metal’s equivalent of the Grand National – mid-to-fast-paced and grueling, not for the meek.

Essentially three albums in one, it’s a demanding but immersive and deeply rewarding affair – the kind of treat that seems to be unique to this dark corner of the underground. Due to its length and my sadly limited spare time (get the cellos out), I’m finding it really difficult to unlock an opportunity to listen to this in one sitting or to garner sufficient insight to get my head around the album as a whole and thereby deliver any kind of in-depth, informed analysis. Not that I ever do that.

Suffice to say that – although a challenge to accommodate due to its enormous length and equally generous girth – ‘Intra Naos’ is a monstrously great triple record set and a thing of mysterious beauty that’ll I’ll be going back to for as long as I’m here.

Evilometer: 666/666

TEITANBLOOD – ACCURSED SKIN MLP (Norma Evangelium Diaboli / The Ajna Offensive)

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

Teitanblood - Accursed Skin MLPAccursed Skin’ is a 26-minute-long, 45rpm MLP featuring one new song – the title track – paired with ‘Sanctified Dysecdysis’, which served as foil to previously-vinyl-only-track, ‘Purging Tongues’, on the 2012 ‘Woven Black Arteries’ CD EP (and was never before available on vinyl). Confused? Me too.

Even though the cost of entry is the same as it would have been for a full-length and this release could be viewed by cynical minds as something of a cash grab, I sincerely do not believe this to be the case. All Teitanblood material is worth having and it was a customer-friendly move from both label and band to make this dual offering available on black wax.

A superb record to get your ears around while awaiting the third album from these superb Spanish chaos invokers.

Evilometer: 666/666


Monday, November 10th, 2014

Mortuus - Grape Of The VineAbandon all hope ye who enter here. Not that Black Metal fanatics have much hope to begin with. If you do, however, ‘Grape Of The Vine’ will crush it. This is a bleak, despondent, harrowing journey into the psyche of death and existence; a monologue of despair; an ode to emptiness.

So monotonous and dreary the delivery of the seven sermons hereon that I genuinely feel like ending it all as I listen along. Which, of course, is a great thing because life is pointless and futile, right? Damn, Sweden must be even more depressing than Ireland…

Slow- to mid-paced and deliberately – like life itself – lacking any kind of notable variation on the omnipresent drone (save perhaps the uttered lines at the start of ‘Disobedience’), Mortuus’s second full-length is a resounding success in everything it aims to achieve. The soundtrack to a shattered existence, it could perhaps be interpreted as Shining without the theatrics.

The record itself is almost 50-minutes long and a splendid 7” booklet with abject lyrics presented to the mundane masses seals a truly despairing deal.

Evilometer: 666/666


Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Tlilitic Tlapoyauak’Simply put, this is one of the most awesome new releases in my collection. It has taken me a long, long time to get my head around this work and, if truth be told, I haven’t fully digested ‘Tlilitic Tlapoyauak’  yet. It’s a monumental and incredibly ambitious undertaking by any standards – let alone for underground Black Metal – but represents a resounding success for all involved.

A total of 16 bands, each affiliated to the notorious Crepúsculo Negro label, present one exclusive track apiece to this triple album, which runs for nigh on two hours. I’ve already covered many of these acts in previous reviews, while a lot of them are new to me. Apart from the atrocious Axeman offering that closes proceedings, I enjoyed them all (even The Haunting Presence, whose album sucks). EDIT: actually it doesn’t suck … it doesn’t even exist – I was mixing them up with the ghastly Funereal Presence. Shame on me!

Conceptually, the whole thing flows together magnificently and, in many respects, it resembles one band with many faces, such is the uniformity of ideology and expression. (One recording studio was used.) Each track is unique and, even if they’re not all outstanding, they come together to form a wonderful whole. My own personal favourites include Kampilan (‘Battle of Mactan’), Kallathon (‘Universe Of Constant Ages And In The Mist Of Eternity’) and Arizmenda (‘Rites Of Deconsecration’).

All the stops have been pulled out for this edition – three marble vinyls, a 20-page colour booklet with lyrics and band images, silver inner sleeves … all adorned within a devilish big box. Not cheap to purchase; nor should it be… ‘Tlilitic Tlapoyauak’ is the epitome of underground Black Metal and is challenging ‘Crushing The Holy Trinity’ hard as the most incredible various-artists Black Metal vinyl release ever.

Evilometer: 666/666


Sunday, March 30th, 2014

fUNEREAL pRESENCE - tHE aRCHER tAKES aIMEver prepared a smoothie with banana in it? If so, I’m sure you will have noticed that no matter how little banana you include, the finished product will invariably taste of one thing only: fucking banana. It’s like that Jesus bollocks with his loaves and fishes; except this is a real phenomenon, not an old wives’ tale concocted to impede humans from living their lives to the full.

The Archer Takes Aim’ is like one of those ill-fated smoothie disasters that personified my mid-30s, except there is the repugnant taste of shit in my mouth rather than anything fruity (not that shit cannot be fruity…). Take one part drunken Urfaust, one part Negative Plane, one part Annihilator, one part Scorpions, one part The Smiths and one part steaming pile of dung; stick it in a blender and mix it all up. Pour.

Unsurprisingly, the steaming pile of dung has drowned out the rest of the constituent parts. Bananas really, when you think about it. Not that it would have mattered much as those other ingredients, bar Urfaust, are almost equally as offensive

The archer takes aim with a drooping cock and ends up shooting himself in the foot. This is dreadful, dreadful stuff. Music for metal-forum nerds and homosexual men in denial.

Evilometer: 000/666

DOLORVOTRE – DOLORVOTRE LP (The Ajna Offensive / Crepúsculo Negro)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012



Saturday, February 18th, 2012

I don’t think it’s possible to go any deeper into the underground than this. ‘Urkaos’ is the definitive work of Swedish duo Karl Hieronymus Emil Lundin and Karl Axel Mikael Mårtensson, who wield a multitude of instruments – including harpsichord, accordion, bells, boneflute, cellos and cithers (as well as all the usual suspects) – to conjure some of the eeriest, most ethereal Black Metal you’ll ever encounter.

A sprawling work of incredible depth, vision and discipline, the album has been unleashed in glorious double vinyl format boasting all the original artwork, a cool DIY booklet (black and white, stapled together) and a CD copy of the music, all done with the assistance of The Ajna Offensive but retaining the feel of an independent release. It’s a beautiful product to have and to hold; and also to listen to.

Truthfully, though, the listening experience can be demanding at times as the production is murky and lo-fi, with about as much polish as you’d find on a tramp’s vomit-encrusted slipper. It can be difficult to get your ears beyond the dull sound but, if you persevere, you will discover a band that has all the charm and originality of Urfaust, approaching Black Metal from some leftfield terrain and producing something both interesting and challenging.

I’ve had this album for two months now and still haven’t managed to get my head around it. Did I mention that it lasts for almost 80 minutes? Reverorum Ib Malacht seem to be obsessed by Latin scripts, religious content and such like (mostly delivering their sermons by means of Gregorian chant). But I certainly wouldn’t compare this in any way to Deathspell Omega or any other orthodox BM band I’m familiar with.

Even if it isn’t always brilliant, ‘Urkaos’ is just different on so many levels that it stands out from the pack. Approaching dark ambient at times, the darkness prevails throughout and the Swedes never come close to exiting the nether realms of the deepest, deepest underground. Thus, I’d categorise this as one of the least-commercial records you are ever likely to hear, rendering it a compulsive – if pricey – acquisition.

Evilometer: 666/666


Thursday, March 24th, 2011

It’s amazing – five years after the event – how many commentators are claiming to have been blown away by Negative Plane’s 2006 debut, ‘Et In Saecula Saeculorum’. I don’t remember there being much of a fanfare around it at the time and I’d love to see the sales figures. It was an undoubtedly spectacular release – one of the finest Black Metal debuts of all time – but was it really that popular? I doubt it. Seems to me there are a lot of people jumping on the NP bandwagon.

The Americans are being championed as the saviours of BM and rarely have I witnessed such a torrential outburst of gushing praise as that which has greeted the arrival of their second full-length, ‘Stained Glass Revelations’. If the superlatives and hyperbole are to be believed, this is a more-than-mandatory release; one that reshapes and redefines what Black Metal is and what Black Metal can be. Considering that I loved ‘EISS’ and unable to avoid the hysteria that accompanied this latest release, it was difficult not to be predisposed towards giving a glowing appraisal.

Put it this way: I really, really wanted ‘Stained Glass Revelations’ to deliver everything being promised. On the first few spins, I thought it was a pretty good / great CD but then, the more I listened, doubts started to emerge. Is it really that good? We are served a generous helping (over an hour’s worth) of modern, technical Black Metal. If you can imagine a BM version of Pestilence or Atheist, you won’t be too far away from what we have here. Blackened technical DM, maybe. It’s good but, let’s be honest, it’s not great.

For me, this is a classic case of the world wanting a saviour too much. You know when the villagers see a sign in the barley that the Messiah is on his way and they gather on the footbridge to welcome him and then an ordinary bloke comes walking around the corner? And he’s heralded as a hero? But he was just in the right place at the right time…

The production on this is absolutely perfect and, for the most part, the music is good. But it’s not as brilliant as I expected and I can’t get too excited by an album that at times sounds like a cross between Sadus, Muse and The Beach Boys. Is it even Black Metal? I’m not so sure. In fact, I don’t think it is. Sorry, but ‘SGR’ doesn’t live up to the hype.

While I laud the leftfield leanings and applaud the fact that Negative Plane are bold enough to bring something fresh to a stale table, ‘Stained Glass Revelations’ isn’t as invigorating as it is ground-breaking. In fact, it’s a regression from its predecessor, straying so far from the template at times that it becomes very, very questionable. Certainly not an album for people who only like Black Metal. Pity.

Evilometer: 333/666