Thursday, 29 December 2011

Hellthrasher Productions reviews

Here are the reviews of some stuff that Hellthrasher Prod ( have unleashed upon us:
DEMONIC SLAUGTER - Revelations of Death
ESCARNIUM - Rex Verminorum

Sincerely saying, it's always great to see another cool label arising and releasing some interesting materials. Hellthrasher has been familiar to me much earlier though; since they started as a distro I kept buying CDs and LPs from them and always enjoyed the stuff they've been getting and the low prices. I was kind of surprised to see them transforming into a proper label, but I guess it's just a natural transformation - if you're doing well, then you look for another challenges. And releasing your own stuff is one for sure. Hellthrasher Productions started with Decaying CD I think and since then they've unleashed few more albums upon the weak mankind. I've got links for the mp3 promotional materials to review and even though I don't like to review stuff basing my opinion on mp3, I took an occasion anyway, as the albums seemed to be very cool and at the moment I couldn't afford to buy them. So... Let the chaos begin!
First one to check was Demonic Slaughter and their album titled "Revelations of Death". Well, I remember I had a chance to review Demonic Slaughter's demo few years ago, it was titled "Dignity of Terror". I can’t find it anywhere now (oh, that mess in my collection hehe), maybe I gave it away to someone, no idea, but if I remember well it was pretty raw and primitive slab of black metal... and one of very mediocre quality. Since then I lost interest in Demonic Slaughter, but it turned out they've released two albums afterwards and now "Revelations of Death" is already the third full length effort! Not bad at all, ha? Of course not always quantity comes in hand with quality, but I hope that the previous albums are not so bad and maybe one day I’ll have a chance to listen to them. Meanwhile I gave few listens to "Revelations of Death" and definitely I can admit that the music on it is far more mature than the one from a demo and definitely it's good that the band has progressed and now delivers more interesting and solid portion of bestial black metal. After the cool intro "Funeral", a song called "Remains" started... and I was quite shocked, as the style of this song is almost on the verge of old school death metal! I don't know, maybe it's just the production, which is very untypical for black metal, what makes me think that. Anyway, the song's style wasn't what I expected at all. From the other hand I must also say that this is an awfully average track, with rather uninspiring riffing and honestly only the vocals rescue it from a complete disaster - as the vocals are really great, with plenty of variations in the screaming style. So, the start of the album is not the best, but luckily this is the only song from the album that I didn't like, the rest is much better!
First of all, there's “Chant of the Graves”, which also starts quite unremarkably, but from its mid part through to the end it only gets better and better. And then there's "Rites From the Past", probably the best track on the CD. I must say these two tracks have a bigger focus on creating a deep atmosphere and have some fantastic, sometimes almost catchy riffs, but they also bring a strong resemblance to Mayhem, mostly due to the vocals, which have been sang in Attila's style. "Rites From the Past" is, I think, in its entirety deeply influenced by "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"; check out the riffing, but that's not a problem for me, because Demonic Slaughter plays it well and this track has great nihilistic atmosphere and while the previous songs were more or less midpaced, here the tempo is much faster and exactly like the one from that cult album I’ve mentioned earlier. In this song Demonic Slaughter managed to catch the essence and sinister feeling of black metal most, but I must I also really like the song titled "Prayer of Accursed", which is much slower, almost kind of melancholic and again has some excellent riffs and vocal parts. For the second part of the album Demonic Slaughter incorporated more and more intros into the music, so the atmosphere gets only darker and more sinister and that's great, especially with such tracks as "Communion of Dissolution". So, in the end "Revelations of Death" turned out to be quite solid and interesting release. I did enjoy it, but from the other hand I can honestly say that if I had to make a list of my favourite black metal releases of the last two years and focus just on the Polish bands, then I don't think "Revelations of Death" would make it to the top fifteen. There were better albums, this one is sometimes quite uneven, some of its parts are slightly mediocre, but still, this is good and worthy CD. With no hesitation I give it a solid 70 / 100 points.
Now another Hellthrasher release, which is a split CD of two death metal acts: Resurgency and Desolator. I didn't know any of them earlier, but this is why it's so cool to get such releases, as you can get to know bands you’ve never heard of earlier. The album is opened by Resurgency, which is a Greek band. It features members from another good band from there, Necrovorous. I think their part of the split features the "Dark Revival" demo from 2010, which is so far the only recording this band did. Anyway, definitely it's cool, bloody chunk of death metal. While listening to them I have an impression that Resurgency tries to use all the best ingredients of both American and European scenes and glue them together into their own death metal monster. There's a strong similarity to Sinister I think, as well as Blood Red Throne, even Vader, and from the other hand one may notice some influences from the likes of Monstrosity or recent Deicide albums. I can truly say that despite the fact that I've heard similar music many times before, I enjoyed Resurgency anyway. They have solid songs, based on some great riffs and with dense, brutal atmosphere. The production on their demo is also very good, so there's absolutely nothing that I could complain. Meanwhile Desolator (from Sweden) offers even more traditional and old school death metal. The first riff sounds like a big rip off from Slayer's "Hell Awaits" really, even the production is quite close, but that quickly changes and the band takes the path of more chaotic and intense, but also quite archaic sounding death metal direction. Think of Vader's demos, as well as some old Swedish and Finnish bands, like Adramelech, Demigod or early Merciless. The music is obscure, sinister and aggressive, just as that kind of stuff should be. Desolator doesn't really tries to play melodic or catchy stuff, they're also not the most killer band in the world. But there's some charm in their material that I think will find many fans, who won't resist it.
So, to resume, this is cool split CD. But just like with Demonic Slaughter, I can't say these are the best bands around, as the old school death metal scene is in such a good condition now and the competition is huge... But death metal is not a sport. As long as the band plays killer and solid music, I have nothing against. Both Resurgency and Desolator are worth checking definitely... And if I was going to say which of those two I liked more, I must say it's quite tough decision... so, let's call it even. (68 / 100)
And the last release from Hellthrasher, which is a Brazilian death metal commando called Escarnium. “Rex Verminorum” CD brings three songs from their “Rex Verminorum” EP plus four tracks from the "Covered in Decadence" demo. 30 minutes of brutal death metal in total! Well, Brazilian death metal means either Sepultura's early masterpieces or fast and uncompromising bombing in the vein of Krisiun and Rebaelliun. As such Escarnium surely doesn’t sound typically Brazilian; definitely it’s nothing like Krisiun. But instead “Rex Verminorum” brings absolutely killer dose of Incantation influenced old school, dark death metal. If you like the recent albums from that American legend, then keep your eye open here! Escarnium quite often sounds similar, with the only exception that they more frequently speed up and put some brutal blasting parts (“Dark Clouds Above Hell’s Fire”!!!), but still sound very old school, just like Morta Skult or even Disincarnate! At times the music sounds slightly Swedish, when the band slows down (“Self Proclaimed Messiah”, “Rex Verminorum”) and starts to remind me not only Incantation, but also Grave or even early Hypocrisy... Anyway, the whole is excellent, very well played and with great riffs and songs. I absolutely liked all the songs they’ve putted on the CD, the performance is just top notch, the songs and their arrangements are top quality and I’m really surprised that the underground band managed to put out something so killer, with such excellent riffing and fantastic vocals… Just everything in here makes me bang my head and destroy everything around. Pure hatred, destruction and no mercy! So far this is the best release from Hellthrasher, one which I cannot recommend enough. You just must buy it! If you liked some of those newer bands, like Disma, then those Brazilians have a death metal samba just for you! Killer stuff! (90 / 100)

FDS - XII.07

FDS - XII.07 (Death Dealers Association - MCD 2009) 
Let the World Burn crew never stops surprising me. In the past few years they’ve frequently been unleashing great music from all their projects. It's not just MasseMord or Furia anymore, but also Morowe, Cssaba and also FDS (which is a shortcut for "Fin de siecle"). I must say that buying any recordings from those bands is very safe and I can always be sure of the quality, but FDS' "XII.07" MCD turned out to be especially interesting and it surely is one of the best materials those guys have recorded, in my opinion. When I started to listen to it, I was simply astonished by its wonderful, cold atmosphere and liked every detail that completes the MCD. I can honestly say that musically it's a better release than MasseMord's "The Madness Tongue Devouring Juices of Livid Hope” and one, which is very close to Furia's excellent "Grudzień za Grudniem".
I think that FDS is stylistically pretty close to what have been recorded under the name Furia, but it's not exactly the same. "XII.07" is first and foremost quite slow and almost melancholic all the way through... or if you would prefer to call it depressive, it doesn't matter. The fact is that for most part, these three songs that fill up the MCD have been played in slow tempo with many nostalgic, melancholic parts and almost doomy, suicidal atmosphere. There's a shadow of some Norwegian classics, if you like the debut of Ulver, then you might find FDS interesting. And Germania’s Dornenreich. But there's also strong Burzum vibe in some of the riffs, especially in "Bezduch", which for me has some amazing riffing in the vein of "Dunkelheit", one of the greatest black metal hymns ever written. I don't treat those comparisons as an objection, never, because FDS managed to transform them into their own style. Besides, unlike many, many other bands around, FDS has completed fantastic songs, those guys had many brilliant ideas and riffs - the song structures are far from being simple and boring, because there's something impressive and interesting going on all the time, whether by changing the tempo or by the use of acoustics or simply because of the way Cień sings, which is 100% original. All lyrics have been written in Polish, what fits his way of singing perfectly and I can say that I like it a lot, but I wonder whether those, who don’t speak Polish will like this kind of singing? I don't care. "XII.07" is excellent as it is and I cannot recommend it enough, it's simply a must to have. So please get the CD asap and enjoy it! Meanwhile I can't wait to hear the debut album from FDS, which is going to be titled "Nagranie z Muzyką Naiwną".
Superb release!
Final rate: 95 / 100

MasseMord - Let the World Burn

MasseMord - Let the World Burn (Death Solution Productions - CD 2007)
After two great demos, MasseMord became one of my favourite Polish black metal bands and at the time after the release of their second demo "Hatred Towards Mankind and Life Itself" I only waited for them to crown themselves on the black metal throne with two other bands: Kriegsmaschine and Thunderbolt as our country's great unholy trinity. And when "Let the World Burn" was released, it didn't disappoint and managed to convince me 100%. This was and still is one hell of a great album and I can only be proud for the fact they're Polish and I have been able to watch their evolution already through several materials.
Somehow I expected that MasseMord will choose the path of mechanical, experimental black metal playing in the vein of Thorns and Dodheimsgard on their first album. Of course I've just been fooled by the cover of the latter that appeared on the previous demo, but it was also the atmosphere of "Hatred Towards Mankind and Life Itself" that made me think that... Anyway, there surely is quite a deep shadow of the Norwegian black metal over "Let the World Burn". And yes, if I would compare MasseMord to any Norwegian band, it's going to be Dodheimsgard from their amazing "Satanic Art" EP. But MasseMord has only slightly similar style of riffing, without going into lunatic, schizophrenically mad ideas or the industrialised additions. Plus there are some hints of Keep of Kalessin's "Reclaim" MLP to make the music even more furious and ravaging. I guess it would be pretty fair to resume “Let the World Burn” as a conglomeration of classic black metal with modern feeling, which is still pretty unique and impressive.
Definitely one of the things that will hit you first, is the intensity of this music. Almost the entirety of it has been played at amazing, neckbreaking speed and it sounds almost like someone unleashed furious hordes and couldn't stop them now ("Dance of Red Nails" especially). Surprisingly many of the riffs have a strong melodic background and it sounds great in my opinion, when you have an epic feeling and melody, but played in such an angry and fast way. In addition to the bands I’ve mentioned earlier, some parts of “Let the World Burn” remind me also Anaal Nathrakh, with similar feeling and ferocity - listen to "Man's Death In My Eyes" for instance. But MasseMord controls all that madness and menace, managing to incorporate few varied parts and thus avoids the boredom and monotony. Those merciless songs at neckbreaking speed have great arrangements, but when MasseMord slows the tempo down into the midpaced playing, it doesn’t affect the quality of music, which is great and interesting all the time. Listen to "Glimmer of Despair", for instance, which begins with kind of melancholic guitar and slow drumming, almost in the Burzum-esque vein – it sounds great and maybe even too quickly it turns into the relentless chaos of drum's cannonade again... I would probably prefer this song to stay slow and with the overwhelming gloomy atmosphere that the band created at the beginning, but even in the current form I can sincerely admit that "Glimmer Of Despair" (together with "Man's Death In My Eyes") belongs to my favourite song on the album! "Uwierzyć" has rather mediocre beginning and just when I thought it will end up as a less interesting song, the mid part of it brought some great sorrowful acoustics (the atmosphere is completed by the sounds from some pornos!) and the band again proved to have many interesting ideas.
Finally I must also underline my enthusiasm for Namtar's vocals, which are very expressive and don't lack any bit of the necessary aggression. Even with the Polish written lyrics in two songs Namtar showed his great abilities. Also I really like the lyrics, with their very negative message, which can be resumed with the words "Your life is an absurd. I wish you suffering then!". Their content could be controversial and not everyone will take it seriously, but at least they're really well written and definitely belong to the most interesting for me in the whole genre. Well, just read the words like "Slime is merging into stench of you, a larvae has grown to become your heart. The end is so near the end I will make, your future so close future I will destroy...".
Add to all of this a spotless production, very clear, but powerful and one which still fits the canons of traditional black metal – the result is excellent, brutal and filled with the rotten energy. I guess it is enough to admit that “Let the World Burn” is not your average black metal album, but one, which is in the league of its own. Not many will be able to reach it.

Standout tracks: "Glimmer Of Despair", "Man's Death In My Eyes"
Final rate: 95 / 100

MasseMord - Hatred Towards Mankind and Life Itself

MasseMord - Hatred Towards Mankind and Life Itself (Self released demo CDR 2004)
These guys from MasseMord have been really fuckin’ productive. In the past years they’ve released so many different recordings, under various monikers, that it makes me wonder whether they’ll ever shoot out all their bullets or not. Of course not always the quantity comes together with quality, but with the Let the World Burn crew you can be pretty sure that the quality is there. This band – MasseMord – started with "Another Holocaust Rises” demo, which I already presented in my blog earlier, and here’s the second effort "Hatred Towards Mankind and Life Itself" – released in 2004 in slimcase CDR and a copy of it I’ve got. The demo was also re-released on CD by Death Solution Productions in 2006, but I’ve never seen a copy, so I can’t say whether it looks and sounds the same as the original demo pressing or not.
Musically, if I compare "Hatred Towards Mankind and Life Itself" to the previous demo, "Another Holocaust Rises", I sometimes have a feeling of dealing with two relatively different bands. Within one year between both demos, the band has progressed quite a bit, almost (r)evolved their music and got different personality. For the whole time of listening to "Hatred Towards Mankind and Life Itself" I had a feeling MasseMord have taken a lot of influences from the modern Norwegian black metal wave and choose this over the furious and raw black metal from the previous demo. OK, maybe they don’t incorporate industrial sounds or whatever, but the atmosphere is pretty close…
"Terrorcrusade 2003", which is an opening song, may start with the relatively typical fast black metal slaughter, but quickly this song evolves into something else and new to MasseMord's style, where the riffing is more mechanical and original. I must admit that even before I've noticed that there's cover of Dodheimsgard on the demo, I thought how close MasseMord is sometimes to DHG, but also to Thorns - two of my favourites if we speak about the Norwegian black metal (add to that Satyricon and 1349). Anyway, "Terrorcrusade 2003" is an excellent song, I like its cold atmosphere, catchy (really!) riffing and vocals ("I wish you were dead!") and the bass lines, especially that fragment in the middle of the song. Another songs, like "Aeon ov Gehenna" and "God of Latex Fire" of course follow this kind of playing, I mean if you think of those characteristic riffs and vocals, highly influenced by Dodheimsgard's amazing "Satanic Art" MLP, then a lot of material on this demo is exactly like that, only much rawer and probably less weird (without the schizophrenic pianos, etc), and with some more traditional black metal parts here and there. The mentioned "Aeon ov Gehenna" is just amazing song, I like the riffs a lot, there are some keyboards in the background, what adds a special atmosphere and there's even an acoustic mid part. And don't forget that quite a big part of this song is furiously fast. And "God of Latex Fire" is more balanced between fast riffs and more experimental, slow parts. And what about that cover song I mentioned? Well, Dodheimsgard are kings of experimental black metal and their "Satanic Art" MLP belongs to the best releases EVER - at the same time it's one of the most underestimated ones. It's cool that someone chose a track from it to cover, very good idea, which fits the style of "Hatred Towards Mankind and Life Itself" a lot. And MasseMord did this cover in very good way, didn't change it much, just played it well as hell. It’s great to listen to those memorable lines: "Am I not your super hero!? Am I not your golden chain!?" So, the cover is a good finish of one hell of a good demo.
Final rate: 85 / 100

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Obscure Infinity interview

And now great and looong (hehe) interview with German death metal monster called Obscure Infinity. Their "Dawn of Winter" album made a huge imperssion on me and I just couldn't let them go just like that, without few words for all those, who read this blog. So, take a look at it, listen to this band and leave some comments if you dare. Stefan is answering my questions.

First I would like to ask you about the genesis of your band’s moniker… As soon as I saw it, I thought about GRAVE’s classic song “Obscure Infinity” from their first album, “Into the Grave”. And I guess I’m not the only one he, he… Tell me if this band and particular song have actually influenced you to call your band like that? Would it be sort of a tribute to the old Swedish death metal scene? You know, as soon as you see this name, you know that OBSCURE INFINITY must play old school death metal, nothing else! Weren’t you afraid that it would limit you to some degree? Besides, I keep mistaking you with Mexican INFINITUM OBSCURE he, he!
S: Yeah, you´re absolutely right. The name comes from the GRAVE song. I thought this song title would be a really cool band name for us and so we chose it. But it was never meant to be a tribute or something, it´s only a suitable band name for atmospheric Death Metal tunes I guess. GRAVE is one of my favourite Death Metal bands and I totally adore their first three albums. I listen to GRAVE very often so I think this band has a huge influence towards our music. When we started with OBSCURE INFINITY we wanted to do Death Metal the traditional way so it´s no problem that people expect exactly this type of music from us, hehe...and besides Infinitum Obscure is a fantastic band!

There also was an old Swedish band OBSCURE INFINITY that did several demos in the early 90’s, they were really good I think. What’s your knowledge about this old band?
S: When we took the name I already knew that there was a swedish band called OBSCURE INFINITY. But they split up a long time ago and only released demos... so I thought it will be OK to take the name. I know the demos. I like the “Beyond The Gate” demo. On the other demos they mixed too many things together for my taste.

Since you call yourselves “enthusiastic metal maniacs”, and personally I can also say likewise about myself, I’d like to talk about the metal in general, hope it’s OK for you if we talk about things, which not always are connected to OBSCURE INFINITY… So, tell me, are there other metal genres you really like, say black, thrash or heavy metal? What do you think about the times, when it was somehow in bad taste to listen to all metal genres, everyone was only into black metal or only into death metal and didn’t give a damn shit about pure heavy metal or doom or thrash or whatever? Wasn’t it stupid? Nowadays I think metal maniacs are more open for all metal sounds, don’t limit themselves… And also the gigs are more varied; it’s common to have a tour with various types of bands.
S: Death Metal is my passion so I listen to this style of metal the most. But I also listen to Heavy Metal (bands like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH and OZZY at the Randy Rhoads era), Thrash Metal (SODOM, KREATOR or PROTECTOR) and a little bit of Black Metal. And of course a lot of Hard Rock like SCORPIONS, RAINBOW and stuff like this. I started with bands like SCORPIONS, AC/DC or IRON MAIDEN. Then came the Death Metal boom and we were totally blown away by this type of music... so for a time there was nothing besides Death Metal for us... we thought everything else is poser shit, haha... today I laugh about this teenage behaviour, hehe... and I´m really glad that I can listen to so many fantastic bands from several metal styles. But that´s only one side of the story. I recognize that too many people without the real passion infiltrate the metal scene. So these guys and girls are more a sort of all style listeners in a negative way. They turn the point of view from an open minded enthusiastic and interested listener to a randomly behaviour without any devotion into music if you know what I mean. 

From the other hand personally I hardly ever listen to any other types of music, because metal in general can offer so many different styles, with various emotions and sounds that I feel fully satisfied with only metal music in my house and not necessarily look for anything else (maybe except the movie soundtracks). I don’t think any other type of music is so rich in sub-styles and can bring so many variations than metal… Your opinion?
S: I also only listen to Metal and Hard Rock music so I have no idea about sub-styles in other genres. I can only say that only this type of music gives me real satisfaction. But I think other music styles (for example Jazz) have also many sub genres and a wide range of musical expression.

I would like to ask you your opinion about the German scene… Everybody knows the legendary thrash metal bands, there are also some great black metal acts like SECRETS OF THE MOON, HELRUNAR, but the quality of most of death metal bands was surprisingly mediocre in your country. I really love MORGOTH and FLESHCRAWL, as well as two first ATROCITY LPs, also AGORAPHOBIA, PROTECTOR, TORCHURE, IMMORTALIS were good… But for such a big country, with such a big scene and some of the most important record labels, there weren’t that many of important bands (hmm, most of the names I mentioned were in second or third league, not that famous). How do you see the old German death metal scene and compare it to the present one, with bands like NECROS CHRISTOS, MANDATORY, PURGATORY, DEATHRONATION and yours? Is it getting better now?
S: Yes you´re right. Back in the early nineties we had only a few bands with international recognition. Today it´s perhaps even a little bit harder. Old School Death Metal has turned to a sub-genre of the music that today defines the (mainstream) Death Metal style. So the Old School Death Metal scene in Germany is a small but dedicated one. The bands you mentioned create fantastic music and with the most of these guys we are in contact.

When listening to your album, I think that the old Swedish death metal scene must have influenced you a lot, so tell me what do you think about it? Since when are you all fascinated by Svensk Döds Metall? Which are your favourite bands, I’m asking especially about those less known acts, because everyone will always mention DISMEMBER, GRAVE or ENTOMBED, but this scene was so great that there were also many other fantastic bands, some of which only released demos – NIRVANA 2002, GOD MACABRE, UTUMNO, EPITAPH, EXCRUCIATE, AFFLICTED, GOREMENT, ADVERSARY… This scene was a gold mine with a great number of amazing bands!
S: Yes, you´re absolutely right! I truely love - let me say - Scandinavian Death Metal. There are so many excellent bands from this area. Not only Sweden but also Finland as well. (OK, if we go this way, then let’s mention also Norwegian old scene, with early DARKTHRONE, OLD FUNERAL or THOU SHAT SUFFER – ad. Astus) There are also so much less known bands that made brilliant music. NIRVANA 2002, GOD MACABRE, GODDEFIED, WOMBBATH, NECRONY, ETERNAL DARKNESS, CONVULSE, DEMILICH and many more. I think we are heavily influenced by the Scandinavian scene. I am fascinated by this type of music now since 22 years so it´s no wonder that you can find many influences of that scene within our music.

How much do you pay attention to the new breed of old school death metal bands that the Devil has spawned in the past few years? Personally must say I am overwhelmed by many of them and worship this new generation! Any favourites of yours? Strangely I have a feeling that one certain book by Mr. Daniel Ekeroth has caused this hype in one way or another, which is so weird, as it’s probably the first time ever when a book, not another band, influenced some people to check this or another band and caused (or at least was one of the mains sparks) the resurrection of the whole genre.
S: It´s very cool that there is a new scene of killer Old School Death Metal bands from all over the world. It´s still a small scene but with many brilliant outputs. Bands like STENCH OF DECAY, KRYPTS, ASCENDED, CLAWS, HOODED MENACE, BASTARD PRIEST,  ABSCESSION, DEAD CONGREGATION, BRUTALLY DECEASED, BURIAL INVOCATION, MORTUOUS, MORBIDER, ENTRAILS, HERPES, INFERNAL CONJURATION, SULPHUR AEON, BODYFARM, BURNING HATRED, MANDATORY, CHARON, DESERTED FEAR, DEATHRONATION or NERLICH create fantastic music! Not to forget our friends of FUNERAL WHORE and PROFANAL! Yes I think this book helped that many forgotten bands and releases got a second chance. Many young metalheads got into Old School Death Metal again and some of them formed new bands. I think that´s a cool thing as long as you have so much high quality outputs as we have at the moment. 

OK, let’s focus on your band finally. “Into the Depths of Infinity” was OBSCURE INFINITY’s first demo. Would you mind giving me a brief introduction to this demo, with the songs that were there, their sound, front cover, line up, etc? Was it released on tape or CDR and is it still possible to get it anywhere? Finally, since you already have a full length released, what is your impression on the demo nowadays, few years from its recording? Are you quite happy with it or rather realize how much OBSCURE INFINITY has matured since then?
S: The demo was something special for us. We had a couple of songs ready and thought it would be a cool idea to record them. So it was amazing to listen to your own songs the first time. I think for a first sign of life it´s ok. But as a band we needed time to grow together so I think the album shows a huge musical progression and the songs have a higher quality. But “Maniac Destroyer” from the demo is still our last song at live shows. The sound of the demo is even a little bit cleaner as on our album. We released it on a CD-R and you can still order it through us. The cover is a photo of the texture of a piece of wood of a cupboard, alienated on the computer. 

And “Dawn of Winter” is…? How would you describe and recommend the album to the maniacs?
S: “Dawn Of Winter” is pure Death Metal in the old vein. We don´t need to break speed records and we don´t want to be the most brutal band in the world. We just try to create authentic, mystical and obscure music. Our songs live from the contrast between harsh riffs and a special dark atmosphere. Some might say our music is a sort of grumpy tunes but that´s the way we want it to be. There´s no straining after effect but pure devotion for this type of music.

How’s the promotion of “Dawn of Winter” going? I must admit that I haven’t seen many reviews of it or any interviews at all with your band, so I have a feeling of lack of good promotion for the CD from OBSCURE DOMAIN Prods. What are your feelings about it?
S: OBSCURE DOMAIN is a small underground label. Hacker and Sönke are two really devoted Death Metal maniacs. They are really cool guys who are totally relaxed. So from such a small label you can´t expect big promotion and marketing budges. We know that they are really into our music and that´s what matters. But I think there were many reviews of the album and we gave something between 15 and 20 interviews. So that´s ok for a small underground band I guess.

OK, maybe it’s just me who happened not to see any hehe. From the other hand I saw a countless of links for downloading “Dawn of Winter”. Hmm, I must admit that I also first downloaded the CD to check it out, but soon later I’ve found it in a distro and decided to buy it, since I liked the music a lot. I know that the subject of internet and music downloading is endless, but give me a brief opinion about it… Don’t you think that, in case of small bands, downloading can be truly helpful with spreading its name in the underground – of course if you consider internet as a tool for underground promotion, as there are diehard orthodox bands, which prefer to live in the Middle Ages and avoid internet like Devil avoids the holy water (no, it’s not vodka!). Personally I’ve found out about dozens of great new bands through internet, of which I bought many CDs or LPs… So, downloading can be very helpful, especially if there are so many, many bands around. This way your name will be noticed and remembered. Your opinion?
S: When I started to listen to Death Metal I was a young kid. I didn´t have the money to buy a lot of LP´s or CD´s so the tape trading was a really cool thing. The most of my favourite Death Metal albums I first had on a copied cassette, listening to it over and over again. Later I bought it on vinyl or CD. So if you use the internet and mp3 thing as a searching tool to find new cool stuff to buy it´s totally ok I think. But if your “music collection” is only a hard disk of mp3´s there is something going wrong I think.  Personally I want to hold something in my hand, look at the cover and the band pics and read the lyrics, etc. Many bands put so much heartblood into the music and their releases so they deserve a little bit more support then clicking the download button.

I agree totally. OK, musically “Dawn of Winter” is just very traditional sounding death metal, influenced by mostly European bands I think, not only the Swedish scene, but also by some Dutch bands as well as the mighty MORGOTH… But what I like about your music especially – and this is I think what brings you close to the Swedish scene – are the atmospheric parts in your music, with some dark riffing, few acoustic passages and even with various vocal parts. Some death maniacs may say the album is not brutal enough, but I like the fact you concentrate more on the dark atmosphere… Besides, in some parts, with the vocal sound and music (like in “Sacrificial Ritual” for instance) it also reminds me two Polish acts: VADER and DAMNATION, so I’m wondering whether you know those Polish legends?
S: Yes, as I said before it´s really important for us to create atmospheric music. Personally I have no problem with the fact that someone could say we are not brutal enough. There are so many modern, brutal Death Metal acts outthere where he or she can listen to. I do this music in first line for myself. That´s the music I want to create and I´m happy with the result. If someone likes what we do it´s cool! But if you do music for others, looking for trends, starting to think what others could like or not, you create soulless fast food music. Instead of this I see us more as creators of rough, authentic art. And for sure I know the two bands but personally I don´t see much parallels between us and this acts. But that´s the cool thing with music. Everyone has a different point of view and experiences the music in a (sometimes totally) different context then the other.

Another thing which caught my attention is that some of your songs are quite lengthy, six of seven minutes long and the whole CD is about 45 minutes long, which I think is rather a lot. But the song structures, the way you play doesn’t make them boring or whatever… Really good job here!
S: Thanks a lot! I have no certain masterplan to create a song. Songs come into being with an idea and then you try to create a sort of puzzle. One riff comes to another and defines the course and development of the song. So it´s a natural progress. I have no default how long or short a song should be. It comes within the songwriting. For our sort of music it´s totally ok to have longer songs I think. If you only do this brutal stuff it is, in my opinion, much more difficult to do long songs.  

For you, what is the best formula for great death metal song? What does the perfect death metal song need to have, in order to be really great? From the past and present, which songs from the other bands would you find as the most neckbreaking and killer? He, I know there are so many, but some songs are exceptionally amazing and will be remembered eternally, like “Evil Dead”, “God of Emptiness”, “The Rack” or “Left Hand Path” to mention just few, just for the catchy, dark, but aggressive power of RIFFS!!! They should be played on my funeral!
S: In my opinion Death Metal has to create a special feeling and atmosphere. For me these emotions by listening to this type of music is something really special and personal. And for me there is no special formula for a great Death Metal song. There are so many great bands around the world who create this type of music. But at the same place they differ from another and that´s the fantastic thing. You have that type of music that you love and countless bands who interpretate it their own way. You only have to choose which interpretations you like and which not, haha. I can´t define only one favourite Death Metal song and the list of songs I would like to mention would go beyond the scope of this interview I guess, haha.

The production of the album is very raw, but organic and dynamic, very old school! Is this exactly kind of the sound you wanted to achieve? Besides, you had some guests participating in the recording of “Dawn of Winter”, tell me who they were, and what was the recording of vocals for “Everlasting Fires” like, as this song has some choral chanting, which sound damn cool to my ears?!
S: Yes, we wanted the album to sound very rough and dark. We are all very fed up with this plastic sound from today so we decided to have it much rawer. We recorded it with Nils (of the Black Metal band WEIRD FATE) at his Klangkerker Studios. He did some guest vocals, especially the sacral part at the end of “Everlasting fires” is done by him. The choir after the sacral voice passage is done by Jules, Nils and me. Then a friend of us called Kojak joined for doing guest vocals for “Wreak Havoc – A Blackened Mind”. He has a very nice Death Metal voice with a cool deep range of growling. Kojak and Jules played together in band a few years ago so it was no problem to ask him to participate.

The artwork for the CD looks very impressive. The frontcover painting is one of the best I’ve seen recently; I also like the fact that the booklet has so many photos and lyrics, etc. I’m glad you didn’t put a simple b/w booklet, with no extras what so ever… How much important is the layout for your album to you? Who are the artists you used for album?
S: Personally I hate all this modern covers created with Photoshop. Right from the beginning we wanted to have something real drawn for the cover of the album. So we searched for oil paintings and we found this one that suits our music. It is not so obvious and gives room for interpretation. I think it´s a good visual counterpart to the music. It was drawn by the Austrian artist Harald Pichler. It´s a re-drawing. The original painting was drawn by the german artist Carl Hasenpflug and it´s called “Klosterruine im Winter”, translated “The ruin of an abbey in winter”. So the visual implementation is very important for us. When you buy our CD you should have value in your hands with a cool coverartwork and a cool booklet with photos, lyrics etc. And in the end it´s also a cool thing that we are a small underground band who do everything on our own. I created the booklet and so it´s also an egoistic thing: You want a cool product as a whole for yourself so you do everything to make it right. Just think on the “Post Momentary Affliction” release from MORTIFICATION where the band had a cover ready and Nuclear Blast just take a totally different cover because they didn´t like the choice of the band. Fuck this. We have the vantage that we are free in all issues.

Is there already or will be a vinyl version of “Dawn of Winter”?
S: Oh yes! I´m a real vinyl fan so I´m really proud and happy that the album also came out on vinyl. It has been released by RATS ON THE CEMETERY Records. You can order it at:

Few words about the lyrics? They seem to be very dark, obscure and sort of negative…
S: My lyrics deal more with obscure themes like sacrifices, rituals and religious things. I like that dark fantasy stuff, haha. They have to fit to the music. Reflections on daily life, the struggle of being and the sense of it all can´t lead to a positive point of few.

I think OBSCURE INFINITY has a strong friendship with Italian PROFANAL… You’ve dedicated the album to them and also played some gigs together, finally just recently you’ve released a split 7”EP – which I already ordered and now wait for its delivery. Where did the idea for “United In Death” come from and what is the song you’ve recorded for it? To whom would you recommend PROFANAL? I think they’ve got a female bassist, just like fuckin’ BOLT THROWER??!! What were your gigs like then?
S: Haha, a female bass player? Daniele will be very astonished that you think he´s a girll!!! No no, just kidding. Rosy is the female in the band, but she is the singer not the bass player. (Upps, I must have got something wrong here hehe – ad. Astus) Yeah we have a really strong friendship together. Fantastic people. We played several times together and visit each other from time to time. So when we were the first time in Italy to visit them we had the idea to do a split single together. It took some time but when Matt from DARK DESCENT asked us to do a single under his label we asked him to do a split single together with PROFANAL. He agreed and so we recorded our song “Sign of the Nightsky” which is by the way probably our best song up do date. I can recommend PROFANAL to everyone who likes Old School Death Metal and especially the Swedish bands like GRAVE, NIRVANA 2002 and so on.

There are some other cool gigs that you’ve played I would like to ask you about. First is the appearance on the festival with ASPHYX, who are GODZZZZZZ for me!!! What was this gig like and did you have a chance to drink some beers with the Dutch legends? You’ve also played gigs with some great new, but old school death metal bands I like: BURIAL INVOCATION, DEATHRONATION, ENTRAILS, FUNERAL WHORE… Any good memories from those? What were your best performances so far?
S: Yes, the gig with ASPHYX was fantastic. They are really cool guys and Martin Van Drunen even wore a shirt of us on stage. That was a really cool gesture from him. Thanks for that! FUNERAL WHORE are like PROFANAL really close friends of us and we really love their music. Really nice people and we shared the stage now for many times. With BURIAL INVOCATION we didn´t play live. We wanted and the band came to us but sadly without drummer. So they were there at the gigs but they didn´t play. That was really sad for me because I think they create so fantastic music. Perhaps we get a second chance in the future. I can´t say what was our best performance so far. We had many great live experiences and also some bad, haha...but that´s the way it goes. In general we really love to play the songs live and we hope to do some cool live shows in the future!

OK, since “Dawn of Winter” album has been released already some time ago and the material is relatively old for you, I bet you already have some new tracks finished for the future recordings. Tell me then what are they like and if you have some plans for the next releases, some more EPs or the second album?
S: You´re right, we are working on new material. At first we will record our second album in December of this year. Then there is a split single planned to be released in March next year together with DEATHRONATION. And also for the next year we want to record new stuff for a split CD with FUNERAL WHORE.

Uff… Great to hear about those plans, they’re very promising! Can’t wait for the new album and both splits! But I think that would be all my questions. Thanks for answering them and hailz to you for delivering great death metal devastation!
S: Wow that was a long interview, haha...I thank you for your interest in our band! It was a pleasure answering your questions! Hails to all of you deathbangers who like it raw and mystically! Keep the Death Metal fire burning!!!!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Invidious - In Death

Invidious - In Death (Imperium Productions - MLP 2011)
I know what you're going to say now. "Fuck, another Swedish death metal band???!!" Yeap, but if you have got any problems with that, go and buy yourself Lady Gaga triple gatefold vinyl made of the shreds of her dresses and sprayed with menstrual blood of 666 virgins. I live with one rule - there's never enough of good music and so I welcome Invidious with the cup of beer in one hand and skull full of maggots in another. Besides, those lads aren't that new to the scene and some of you may remember them when they played under the name Katalysator, with which they have been raising the flag of old school death metal on two demos: "Zombie Destruction" and "Mass Genocide Ritual". They've switched the name for Invidious for some reason and now finally the debut MLP titled "In Death" has been unleashed upon the mankind and trust me, this is another deadly plague that you have to deal with. If not, they you will probably die in the most horrid pains. There're already many ulcers on your skin! The toxic death is getting near you, so be careful!
Musically and for their image Invidious has clearly been influenced by Repugnant, in my opinion. Of course the great old Swedish death metal scene as well as few American legends (Autopsy, Mantas, Possessed, Incubus, Necrovore... you know the litany) must have been the main source of influence for the whole plague and both Repugnant and Invidious successfully execute all necrophilia rituals, copulating with the old corpses. But when listening to "In Death" I simply have the same feeling and almost kind of deja-vu sense like if I was listening to "Hecatomb" or "Epitome of Darkness", really! There's not only similar, rotten and morbid atmosphere on those recordings, but also the sound - which is pretty raw and primitive, with almost punkish edge - and the riffing and vocals... They're all very similar to what you may know from Repugnant. Is it a big disadvantage of "In Death"? It depends how you look at it. Myself I'm not a guy, who expects every band to be fuck knows how original and inventive. In most of the cases, the old recipes work best. And that's exactly what I think about Invidious.
They more than good in what they do. Their songs are just great, with many memorable, damn catchy, but vicious and aggressive riffs, with only few slightly melodic parts, but mainly it's something focused on straight forward, simple, traditional kind of playing, which combines death metal with a small dose of thrash and even Bathory's "Bathory" type of black metal. Sounds pretty fuckin promising, doesn't it? And trust me, it does sound great, with such tracks as "Dead Salvation Spawn", which is the best one from the MLP (and also one, which fits such Repugnant anthems like “From Beyond the Grave”), but also "Throne of Death" (which has great melodic ending part) Invidious shows that there's great potential in this band and well, I can't wait for hear some stuff from them.
Uff... I've been quite mutilated by those four slabs, so I also recommend you all to check them out. Mind also that Invidious belongs to something called Uppsala Death Metal group, which includes also Graveless and Degial, and some members of Invidious play also in such bands as Ensnared (who are a continuation of Gravehammer, which I already featured with interview in my zine, check it here: and In Solitude, not to mention Gottfrid Åhman, who joined the ranks of reformed Repugnant. Watain is also from Upsala and Erik did the artwork for "In Death". Do they need any more recommendations then?
Final rate: 83 /100

Thursday, 8 December 2011

MasseMord - Another Holocaust Rises

MasseMord - Another Holocaust Rises (Self release - demo 2003)
Man, I can't believe that so much time has passed since the release of "Another Holocaust Rises" in 2003 and from the day, when I got it to review for my old zine called Panzerfaust. I must say that this demo was a great surprise for me and ever since I got it and listened to it for the first time I always enjoyed those sounds and this band. It made a huge impression on me with the great music, but also for another reason, which was the fact that the condition of Polish black metal at that time hasn't really been that good in my opinion (unlike nowadays when it’s better than ever!) and so any interesting releases were received enthusiastically by me. So was also "Another Holocaust Rises". And I must say that also nowadays, so many years later, I can still listen to it with pleasure.
Musically MasseMord was slightly different to what you can hear on the future albums. Of course the music was deeply rooted in the obscure and furious black metal, but "Another Holocaust Rises" hasn't been offering any experimental parts, as some of the future MasseMord albums would. What's more, most of the music on the demo is played in merciless fast and uncompromising tempos, what in the end is like a fist in the face of god, just destroying and desecrating everything what's holy. Together with the relentless speed, the music also brings many mid paced fragments, with some excellent riffs (clearly influenced by some Swedish and Norwegian bands) and great vocal parts from Namtar. What I like about the demo is that basically every song is equally strong and so in the end these are some 40 minutes of great and neckbreaking black metal. Also the sound on it, even though the whole demo has been recorded, mixed and mastered in home studios, is not bad at all, I like the guitars sound, the drum machine also sounds cool – so in the end the atmosphere of the music somehow reminds me Mysticum mixed with say Setherial, if that makes any sense.
So, yeah… I like "Another Holocaust Rises" a lot, I recommend you to listen to such tracks as "Colour of Misanthropy" - this one has a great epic opening part, with some monumental clean vocals and piano, as well as "Another Holocaust Rises", the title track, which from the other hand has really cool, long ending part, which is hard to describe, but is based on calm, kind of melancholic semi-acoustic, fully instrumental part... It's definitely an interesting way to finish a demo, with a more quiet and peaceful fragment in contract with the dominating furious intensity of the rest. Yeah, great demo! Sadly it’s not available anywhere, no one has ever thought about re-releasing it, so getting it may be quite tough, but who said that everything needs to come easily and ready on the plate?
Final rate: 70/100