Friday, 28 August 2015

Nidsang - Streams of Darkness

NIDSANG - Streams of Darkness (DRAKKAR - 7"EP 2008)
This 7” single was a blind buy, to be honest, I’ve not heard of Nidsang before, but it was dead cheap and released on Drakkar Records, so I told myself “why not?!”. “Streams of Darkness” was released already few years ago, in 2008, right after the band released the debut full length “The Mark of Death” – which I also need to get asap. And well, I must say this is some excellent Swedish black metal. I actually did not expect to hear anything that good, so the bigger is surprise and satisfaction to have this EP.
To be honest with you, I would rather skip all those comparisons to Watain or Marduk, which I am sure that appear in every review of Nidsang. I also hate calling such music “religious black metal”, because it doesn’t have any meaning for me. So, scratch that and let’s just say that Nidsang plays dark, aggressive and ferocious black metal and both songs from this EP make a great impression on me. It’s nothing innovative, nothing groundbreaking, but very solid and surely powerful stuff. I like the atmosphere of Nidsang music, I like the production, riffs and vocals, so basically everything about this EP is great. The music is fast, really relentless and obscure, it rages and spreads the darkness and hatred… And having that straight forward and uncompromising attitude, they still have time to include also some slower bits, guitar leads, not so much melody maybe, but it’s still quite diverse and well composed stuff, with great arrangements and sort of more demanding structures, as a lot is going on in each of these two songs. Which both are really damn great, in my opinion and now I know that I need to grab copies of both full length albums of Nidsang also. Which I shall do ASAP, no matter the costs. Great band, even if quite unknown.

Final rate: 75/100

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Ligfaerd - Promo MMXIV

I almost forgot to have this cassette. But damn, I must say that I am really glad to have it, as it’s limited just to 30 copies and was never available for sale, only given away to some people. This tape contains three songs of Ligfaerd from the pre-production demo recordings for their upcoming new album “Dagen for Os - Natten for Eder”, so it’s quite unique and fresh material. And damn, I did like it a lot.
This cassette brings just three songs (“Pa et Leje af Gloder”, “Opslugt at Djævelens Malstrom” and “Pa den Yderste dag”) and all I can say is that Ligfaerd is seriously killer black metal band, playing in the traditional Scandinavian style, reminding me mostly the good, old Darkthrone from the “Panzerfaust” / “Transilvanian Hunger” era. These songs have all elements, which were making Darkthrone sound so bloody dark, evil and obscure, and you know, Ligfaerd is just doing things really damn well. They have quite few fast parts, but also those killer slower bits, which originate not only in Darkthrone, but more so, in the classic Celtic Frost / Hellhammer. I almost feel like Ligfaerd music was more and more influenced by these three classic bands. Surely it sounds quite different to what we heard on the Pustulation split and I am glad about it, as I like this music from “Promo MMXIV” way more. And I am sure that “Dagen for Os - Natten for Eder” will be a killer album. Can’t wait to hear it!

Final rate: 80/100

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Live Burial - Live Burial

Wow! What’s going on? Tell me! This is another killer old school, traditional to the bone, death metal band and yet another one, which hails from the fuckin UK??!! No, it can’t be real! This country had shit scene for so many years, but now I can count so many awesome bands there that it’s just unreal. Well, but it’s better to have problem with too many quality bands than too few. And for me Live Burial is another real killer debut, which proves that you don’t need to play some utter technical or original, so called sophisticated stuff to actually crush and cause destruction. Live Burial’s archetypical take on this music is what I like the most. This is for me the sound, which I worship. It’s raw, murky, the music creates dark and gloomy aura... it’s rotten, it’s filthy, it’s often doomy, other time it’s faster and almost like some classic death / thrash… and yeah, the riffs are excellent and memorable, the vocals are sick and harsh (kind of mix between John Tardy, Martin van Drunen and early Marc Grewe)… So, all what I like is here!!! I could compare this music to such cult heroes as Asphyx, Morgoth, Death, Obituary, old Pestilence, Pentacle, Cancer and so on. And these are really fantastic songs. I am really not bothered if this band is so unoriginal and repetitive. It’s the feeling, passion and enthusiasm what matters. Each track is great, personally I like those slower, more doomy pieces like “Live Burial”, but Live Burial music is more diverse, so there are fast, slow or mid paced, groovy parts, and more so, there’re quite many Asphyx-like sorrowful, monumental melodies, which are just infectious. The music evokes dark, eerie atmosphere and is really great to listen to, so if you only worship the bands I mentioned above, but Asphyx especially, then this is just a must have for you. Great band, in my opinion, awesome demo… Yeah, I am waiting for more stuff from Live Burial now!
Standout tracks: “Live Burial”, “Begging for Cremation”

Final rate: 80/100

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Depraved Literature part VIII – Voices From the Darkside issue I

Depraved Literature part VIII – Voices From the Darkside issue I
Authors: Frank Stöver
Origin: Germany
Release date: 1993
Interviews: Immolation, Therion, Disgrace, Balvaz, Comecon, Acheron, Severance, My Dying Bride, Grave, Acrostichon, Psychosis, White Zombie, Edge of Sanity, Vital Remains, Napalm Death, Gorefest, Hypocrisy, Morbid Angel, Seance, Fleshcrawl, Monstrosity, Pan Thy Monium
I believe this is one of the best and most known fanzines in the history of death / black metal! Great German work, that lasted for nine issues and nowadays still exists, but only as an online webzine. But they still deliver some great interviews and huge number of reviews, so I have no problem with it. I’ve read two issues of Voices before, but never had a chance to read the very first one… until now! I took some time to read this old rag, but I must admit that this first issue is far from being perfect, as some interviews here are just shit. The problem with them mainly lays in the questions the editors ask. Basically each interview is based on simple questions, but that’s fine. It’s worse, when the bands are asked simply fuckin silly questions, which are not only not interesting, but just stupid. Come on, asking about your fave food, why Barney dyes his hair, what do you do during your holidays or if you have any pets is beyond my criticism and simple interest. Of course it was common among many old fanzines to cross this line of silliness, but I just can’t understand why were they asking such ridiculous questions! What is the result are such interviews like the one with Hypocrisy which is just SHIT. To be honest, issue one of Voices in majority contained just total mediocre and uninteresting chats. And another truly bad example is the interview with Vital Remains, where Jeff Gruslin is asked such STUPID questions that I am not surprised he did not bother to give any decent answers. “Would you like to eat some German food” or “Have you ever dreamt being Uncle Scrooge” – seriously haha? Ugghhh, so Voices is a classic fanzine, yes, the future issues are awesome, but damn… this first issue is poor as fuck, when speaking of the real informative content. OK, to be fair, it does include some more decent chats also, like with Fleshcrawl, Grave, Acheron (definitely the BEST chat here!), Monstrosity or Napalm Death (read also the hilarious interview with My Dying Bride – I’ve never read anything so damn funny from those guys; they all went crazy in this short interview haha! Forget about being serious, sad doom metal musician here!)… Yeah, the biggest positive thing about zines like Voices is that they were done in the best possible time, when the scene was small and the bands were still small as well, so it features so many cult names that it makes my jaw drop to the floor. Plus the review section covers so many classic demos, EPs and albums! The quality of writing was still rather poor here, although I did like the reviews. More so, the layout is too simple and boring, but that’s something normal for those old days. Oh, and more thing – White Zombie among all those death metal bands? What were they doing there haha?!!
Obviously Voices from the Darkside has got a whole book published last year, which contained all the numbers of this zine and you surely can see a development of the writing quality of Frank Stover and his crew and that’s good. If I was honest though, this first issue is far from my favourites.
Q: Do you use to have pets? A: Yeah, I have two rats – both called cats. (Frank, Gorefest)
Q: Would you like to watch Prince concert with me? A: No, coz he’s a fag! (Masse, Hypocrisy)
Q: Do you have friends in Sweden? A: No, they are all dead! (Masse, Hypocrisy)

“We can’t wait to fuck your mom, when we come to Germany” (all My Dying Bride members)

Disrupted - Morbid Death

DISRUPTED - Morbid Death (MEMENTO MORI - CD 2015)
Do you have enough of all those new old fashioned death metal band? No? Great, because here’s another one, which I would love to recommend you and which was crushing the bones and skull of mine since few days, when I was spinning “Morbid Death” countless of times. This is Swedish Disrupted with their debut album! Damn, what a nice release from Memento Mori, in my opinion. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and must say it’s one of the best debuts of the year. And before you start moaning and complaining that bands like Disrupted don’t bring anything new, are boring, because all they do is re-playing the music of old bands and that even today there are many bands, which play similar stuff… I don’t care. I don’t care!!!! Aaarggghh! Why would I, if I like this music so fuckin a lot?? For me all these things like originality or whatever are not important and what counts is the powerful energy that comes from music, killer riffs / songs, etc. And all that I can find on “Morbid Death”! So, fuck moaners, stop crying and go and eat your own crap. I am playing here Disrupted and I love it.
I suppose that the picture of BOSS HM-2 pedal on the booklet says a lot about the influences and music, which Disrupted brings. Yes, they’re Swedish and they play their traditional music, which is death metal! Yes, they sound close to bands like Dismember, Demonical, Abba, Facebreaker, Grave, Entrails, Bloodbath, Roxette and so on. Hahahaha! Fuckin kidding! But they do have the guts to play this style properly, they did come up with some killer and memorable riffs, the songs are just fantastic and basically Disrupted sticks to the winning formula, not bothering about some experiments or whatever, but just do it all in the classic way. This kind of death metal is all about horror, dark and obscure atmosphere, about crushing riffs, some melodies and pure aggression. The production is also excellent, songs like “Rotten”, “Funeral Creep”, “Psalm for the Slaughtered” or “Christian Death” are just memorable and killer and well... I have nothing more to say about Disrupted. This album doesn’t require long reviews, which would write about each song in details, etc. It’s short death metal attack in the classic Swedish vein and that should be enough. I absolutely recommend it.
Standout tracks: “Rotten”, “Funeral Creep”, “Psalm for the Slaughtered”, “Christian Death”
Final rate: 85/100

Ahret Dev - Hellish

AHRET DEV - Hellish (DYWIZJA KOT - CD 2001)
This is another, after Symbolic Immortality, CD release from Dywizja Kot. And this time we have Ahret Dev, who were Polish death metal band active between 1994-98, so quite shortly. During this time they’ve put out “Hellish” album in 1997, as well as couple of demos. And all those recordings have been included on Dywizja Kot CD. It gives a huge dose of death metal, as totally there’s 70 minutes of music and the full length album is just about 30 minutes long, so the rest are demo tracks. Not bad amount for one take, but definitely a good lesson in another quite forgotten and underrated Polish death metal.
And in case you never heard of them before and don’t know their story, you can read quite a lot about it in the booklet from Dywizja Kot CD. It’s filled with band photos, lyrics, liner notes – which, not accidentally - were titled “Unfulfilled ambitions”. Good stuff then and everything you need to know about Ahret Dev.
As I mentioned, there’s over 70 minutes of music and that’s a lot to go through on one go, maybe even too much, as after like 40 minutes you start to lose concentration on what’s playing, which song it is, etc, they start to sound the same. So, what I usually do is one time I play only “Hellish” album repeatedly and another time I only play the demos; this is better in my opinion. Anyways, it doesn’t change the fact that Ahret Dev was damn awesome death metal band. Their style is quite easy to describe, as the influences are more than obvious; personally I feel like they’ve been very close to the 90’s death metal era Hate, like “Lord is Avenger” album for example (music was close, but also the vocals style was similar to Adam’s). Add to it also Deicide, Vader, Damnation, Vital Remains or whoever else you want from this sort of blasphemous death metal genre, it doesn’t matter. But what matters is that “Hellish” was just damn good album, I really enjoy listening to it also today, almost 20 years since it was recorded. It’s just solid, neck breaking stuff, filled with vicious, sick riffs. It’s short, but concrete death metal, no bullshit, no faggot fancy guitar masturbation or whatever, but just straight forward, classic dark death metal. It’s rather fast, brutal, relentless, demonic, but still quite easy to listen to. I am sure that every death metal freak will easily catch his favourite riffs, songs, some killer arrangements, because the album is full of them. “Izis Ode”, “The Damned”, “Archnemezis”, “Seventh Gate” are bunch of mu favourites, but all songs are very even and there are no fillers in such short album.
Then we have the demo material. “Demo 1995” is actually almost as long as the “Hellish” album haha, but it’s interesting that none of the songs from it have actually been re-recorded for the first full length. That surely makes “Demo 1995” worth to have, even if musically it’s not quite as great as “Hellish”. It’s just decent and solid demo recording, nothing groundbreaking or utterly memorable, but a good listen and nice collectable piece of death metal. I remember that back in those old days, after the release of this demo, Ahret Dev was often called “Polish Deicide”, in almost every review or interview… and well, I guess I can agree with it, as there’re many similarities between both bands (and Hate haha), so surely Ahret Dev must have been taking many influences from the Hoffmann / Benton team. Like for example “Homicide” song, which has these very alike sick, brutal, fast parts and Benton – like vocals. But obviously they had much harsher and not so powerful production when compared to Deicide. And you know, I don’t really care for originality; much more I need to hear some great death metal and this demo is not bad. “Homicide” or “Hydra” are awesome songs, maybe if the sound was better, then they would make even bigger impression, who knows, but what the hell... This demo doesn’t sound so bad, speaking of the recording quality, so I am not bothered. Great addition to the album!
Finally the CD contains rehearsal bonus recordings from 1994. There are four tracks that later were also recorded on “Demo 1995” and one unreleased (“War”). The production is even harsher than on the demo, but it’s again not terrible and again it’s just good listen and good addition. I don’t know what else can I write. I mean Ahret Dev were just very solid death metal band from the mid 90’s and maybe their music wasn’t exceptional, but it was good enough to enjoy it. So, I am happy to have this CD from Dywizja Kot and surely recommend it to all collectors, although it may not be so easy to grab a copy of it, to be honest (although I did find two more deadly cheap copies quite recently, which I bought for my friends!!). But you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if these recordings got re-released again. We shall see. Check it out anyway.

Final rate: 75/100

Dissenter - Promo 1999

DISSENTER - Promo 1999
Hey, I just made another discovery in my old box, where I keep a lot of promo CDs and other stuff, which I was getting through all the years of zine making. I found there and exhumed the old Dissenter promo from 1999! Damn, I completely forgot to have this one and honestly, I can’t even remember when and who I got it from. Who cares, it doesn’t matter. It’s just cool to have something like that. I was afraid if it still gonna play, as it’s a CDR, but despite being 16 years old, it still plays great, so awesome news. The promo is actually something what the band has released before the debut album “Bloodlust and Blasphemy”.
And let me remind you that there was first a band called Bloodlust, which had some really killer releases and then they changed the name over to Dissenter. After two demo tapes, “Bloodlust and Blasphemy” album was self-released in 2000. That’s the story. And in 1999 this promo was released to search for the label. I actually have no idea if the versions of these songs are exactly the same as from the album – probably they are – but I am quite surprised that Dissenter ended up releasing “Bloodlust and Blasphemy” by themselves. This is great, brutal death metal and it just sounds good enough to be featured on the roster of any respected death metal label. Why they haven’t succeeded, I don’t know.

The music is sick, violent, aggressive and ferocious, it’s really fast, with many blasting parts, quite technical, but still within that old school American style. I suppose you would be OK to compare it to such bands as Morbid Angel, Vital Remains, Deicide, Angelcorpse, Krisiun, Luciferion, Hate, Lost Soul and so on. Nothing specifically groundbreaking, but very solid and worthy for sure. I guess the production is something what begs for little bit more density and power, especially the guitars are not crushing and heavy enough. The music may also feel like slightly messy, almost chaotic in places, but what the hell… this is underground death metal, not another Relapse fancy, modern crap. Dissenter were always among the best Polish death metal bands and that was a great start for them. Nowadays I still enjoy the debut album and this Promo 1999 is also a good listen and surely a nice discovery in my collection.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Mindful Of Pripyat - …And Deeper, I Drown In Doom…

MINDFUL OF PRIPYAT - …And Deeper, I Drown In Doom… (BIZARRE LEPROUS - CD 2015)
If I can be honest with you, I got into this band only for one reason and that is the fact it features Giulia, a’ka Doomed Warrior on guitar. I love her work from another band, Into Darkness, which she formed some years ago. Into Darkness quickly became one of my favourite new, old styled death metal bands, because they sound a lot like my perfect, complete death metal band. I mean the music is always obscure, dark, sick and it’s so damn heavy and doomy that every time I listen to some music of Into Darkness, I can literally see the walls crackling. So, if Giulia is participating in new band, I am into it! And this band is called Mindful Of Pripyat. I know, quite an unusual name, but it’s taken from the Ukrainian city called Pripyat, which is an abandoned city close to Chernobyl. This is a ghost city (about 50000 people lived there before the disaster), I’ve never been there, but the pictures of it – of all those deserted schools, buildings, the Ferris wheel, etc – look just damn scary. You know, this is your “Silent Hill” town in real haha! So, quite cool choice for the band name, right?
Now, as for the music, Mindful Of Pripyat presents us their debut EP “…And Deeper, I Drown In Doom…”. And the title, especially if we know Into Darkness, can be misleading with that “doom” word in it haha. As no trace of doom can be found here! It’s actually the fuckin opposite, and the music blasts like damn crazy in the good old fashioned grind core / death metal style! Ha, what a surprise. And so, what we get are 16 tracks closed in slightly over 20 minutes! Ha, classic grind, with short, totally in your face, straight forward, fast and brutal songs. It’s nothing particularly surprising nor original, but damn awesome and cool for sure. I do enjoy this album a lot, I mean it just erupts with nuclear energy and power, it’s really damn strong and powerful. I like the sound, the riffs, vocals… and I am sure that if you’re into classic stuff like Terrorizer, Lock Up, Rotten Sound, Nasum, maybe even Napalm Death, then you’ll also dig this band a lot. Mindful Of Pripyat doesn’t complex anything; their formula for the music is rather simple and they never really try to step in with something different, what would be a problem if it created a longer, one dimensional album. Luckily, this is just 20 minutes of music, so you don’t really bother. Maybe it also cause that feeling of songs coming one ear in, another ear out and you don’t really recognize many standout tracks or even fragments, but I suppose that the unstoppable energy and brutality of this music makes up for it. I enjoyed “…And Deeper, I Drown In Doom…” a lot, so all I can do now is to recommend this CD to you all. It was released on Bizarre Leprous Productions, limited to 500 copies. So, put your gas masks on and blast it!
Standout tracks: don’t know yet

Final rate: 75/100

Symbolic Immortality - Decision is Power

Back in the early 2000’s a short lived Polish label Dywizja Kot has decided to release some old Polish bands / recordings. They released tapes and CDs of bands like Quo Vadis, Sparagmos, Geisha Goner, Ahret Dev, Damnable and also Symbolic Immortality. Nowadays, re-releasing the old demos / albums is something what we see every day, but back then it wasn’t so often when a label was putting demos or other stuff from such small bands on CDs. I didn’t like all bands, which DK has released (Geisha Goner for example – never understood why this band is so praised), but some stuff was really damn good, like Ahret Dev and Damnable. Symbolic Immortality is also cool, although I must admit that generally their music was nothing more than an average death metal. And maybe the fact that the band featured a female vocalist was the only reason why they got some attention? Who knows. I guess Miriam was the first (???) female death metal growler here in Poland, although I may be wrong. I don’t remember now, but for sure this fact brought some more attention to the band. Not much more, as the music was not something spectacular, but a little bit more for sure. Anyways, even Miriam didn’t help them much, as soon after the release of “Decision is Power” the band split up for good haha.
The music of Symbolic Immortality was groovy, aggressive mid to slow paced death metal, which I must say I have troubles to compare to some other acts. Sure, maybe one can find some small traces of bands like Grave, also Gorefest, Acrostichon, maybe even Obituary comes to my mind... at least in some parts, as quite often Symbolic Immortality turns over into slightly more groove thrash metal direction. Anyways, there are some quite cool songs here, some good moments… but there are two things, which I don’t like. First one is that tendency to include some completely odd and out of place guitar melodies, leads or riffs, which basically destroy the whole brutal death metal feeling of the music. You can hear it in such songs as “Determination is Power” or “Life for Money”. Also such “Deep Supressed” – the band tends to sounds like more thrash groove metal, getting even close to bands like Machine Head in those songs, which I am not necessarily a big fan of. It just sounds weak in my opinion, also I don’t like the riffs, it’s not aggressive enough and in this song I mentioned last the vocals are just bad.
And yes, now the second thing… Vocals. Miriam is actually doing great, her vocals are really damn good and she even reminds me the vocalist of band like Hazael, so not bad at all. But what I don’t like is when they use those different, cleaner type of screams here, more thrash metal like I guess. I just dislike such kind of vocals and wish they were simply not here. Again “Life for Money” is the worse example for that. Or “Deep Supressed” – really damn bad vocals, I hate them haha!
But there are fragments of “Decision is Power”, where I like the music a lot. And that irregularity to deliver killer death metal constantly is the weakest fault of the album. I just feel like the band tried to come up with slightly more original death metal, but it just didn’t work so well. There are still some good tracks, such as “V - Don't Kill”, “Revenge”, “Sick of the Mind” and so on… I wish there were more. Also, the CD contains Symbolic Immortality demo from 1994,. The sound quality is not as good as on the album there, it’s much rawer, the vocals are also way more harsher, but it is a cool addition I think and I like this recording even more than the album. It just sounds more sick and brutal, more death metal in the vein of early Gorefest for instance. Again such “V - Don't Kill” sounds awesome also in the demo version, so yeah… it’s very nice, even I feel like the music didn’t grow old too well.
Dywizja Kot did quite good job with the stuff they released. The booklet is filled with some archival photographs, more so, there are the lyrics and liner notes written by Miriam, so we can find out more about the band and its history (there’re both Polish and English translations). So, nice presentation. Music is just good enough to listen to, but I doubt I will be coming back to this album more often than once every decade. Actually last time I listened to this CD, before last week, was ten years ago, when I got it, so… this says a lot. But if you collect everything what is an old death metal, then find Symbolic Immortality also.
Standout tracks: “V - Don't Kill”, “Revenge”, “Sick of the Mind”

Final rate: 60/100

Uncanny - The Path of Flesh

UNCANNY - The Path of Flesh (ME SACO UN OJO - 7"EP 2012)
Nowadays we experience so many reunions of old death metal bands that they became almost as common as an early morning coffee, it seems. You know, every second or third rate band from the early 90’s is now called cult and comes back with hopes to get the attention again and maybe re-live the old days. It’s a bit stupid, but what can you do… you cannot fight something what is out of your control. Let them all reunite, but how many of those comeback is really worthy and deliver great albums, that is just a matter of taste. And time will also say how many of them were real honest. Personally, I can mention some really stunning returns from the grave but also some complete failures. Who cares…
Here’s one such band, which also came back from the dead, Uncanny from Sweden! Those, who’re not familiar with them, let me say that this band did a couple of really good demos and a split with Ancient Rites back in the early 90’s and finally ended its life after the release of killer album “Splenium for Nyktophobia” in 1994. In the past years I had a pleasure to grab a copy of killer vinyl boxset “MCMXCI – MCMXCIV”, which contained all old Uncanny recordings, but the band also recorded something new! I guess with this reunion there’s one thing, which is in favour of Uncanny – almost all band members of the band never lost touch with the scene, never stopped playing death metal. Kennet Englund, Johan Jansson – they were always here. So were the Norrman brothers. So, it’s nothing like those reunions with people, who basically lost interest in death metal for twenty years, didn’t give a fuck about this music and their old band, but only a sudden interest from the fans and media made them think that maybe they can come back and do something more, even if the real passion and enthusiasm, not to mention death metal in your veins, is not there at all?!! Cannot compare Uncanny musicians to that weak crap. Uncanny came back and that’s great. And they reanimated the old dead corpse with two new tracks, released under the title “The Path of Flesh” on a 7”EP. Two great labels took care of this release - Dark Descent Records and Me Saco un Ojo Records, and damn, I just can wish that all reunions were as good as Uncanny. This is simply fantastic music.
There are just two tracks of classic Swedish death metal in the vein of Dissection, Unanimated, Gorement, Dismember, Interment, Edge of Sanity, Centinex and so on. Both tracks are superb, they basically pick up where Uncanny stopped with “Splenium for Nyktophobia”, so you’ll hear those awesome melodies mixed over with aggressive, quite fast riffage, dark atmosphere and just insanely memorable, yet vicious music. Also the production is just classic; the fat, low Swedish guitar tone, specific vocals… These two songs basically have everything what the maniacs of Swedish death metal love. And I don’t ask for more, really. I mean, why would someone request some experiments or fuck-only-knows-what from bands like Uncanny, if they simply must deliver the classic death metal formula, but played with guts ripping manner and spill the blood with every riff? No need. And this is why such “The Path of Flesh” EP works so damn good, in my opinion. I totally enjoyed it, played this 7” vinyl a lot and surely will do so also in the future. Definitely “The Path of Flesh” matches the quality of “Splenium for Nyktophobia” in my opinion!
And there’s just one thing, which bothers me. And it’s exactly the same problem, which I had with truly killer EP from Goddefied (“Remnants of the Art”). Both bands came back, recorded two killer songs, released 7”EPs. Great… and now they’re both silent since three or four years. Come on, make some more stuff, I want a full length albums from both of you! Do them now, don’t disappoint me!

Final rate: 80/100

Monday, 10 August 2015

Morta Skuld - Through the Eyes of Death

MORTA SKULD - Through the Eyes of Death (RELAPSE - CD 2013)
I don’t wanna go into some melodrama shit, but Morta Skuld is the band I am the most unlucky with. For a long time I only had their albums on cassettes, which someone recorded for me years ago, but all I really wanted were the original vinyls or at least some CDs. And I just never managed to get them. I tried bidding several times on Ebay or somewhere else and there was always someone, who offered more... and I still wait for my chance. Hope that one day I will finally collect all their stuff. Meanwhile I have a start with “Through the Eyes of Death”, which is a killer CD compilation (released on Relapse) that features both Morta Skuld demos: “Gory Departure” and “Prolong to Agony”, both originally released in 1990. I never had a chance to hear them, but I am very pleased to finally have a chance. This CD was released quite recently, so there was no problem to get a copy.
One thing, which strikes the most, after the first quick check of the music, is how well those demos were recorded. Damn, such “Gory Departure” may even have a better sound than the debut LP “Dying Remains”. And that’s not something I expected, but damn, nice surprise for sure! I guess the music is also not something what you could hear often from American death metal bands. Style wise Morta Skuld demos is nothing like Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Deicide or Cannibal Corpse. Maybe there’s a similarity to such Obituary, Death, Viogression or Massacre, but their style is also very European, with bands like Grave, Gorefest (demos), Cancer and so on. There are some melodic riffs here and there, what makes Morta Skuld sound like more European act sometimes, but at the same time some of these melodies can lead you also into the Death comparison (the beginning of “Gory Departure”). Mainly though the music is based on mid paced, chunky, heavy riffage.
Both demos sound very alike, so having them together on one CD makes you feel like you were actually listening to a full length album. The production quality is very similar between both and musically Morta Skuld also didn’t change much between these few months, which separate both demo recordings. If “Prolong to Agony” brought any changes, then I suppose it would be slightly more technical and also heavier playing here and there, especially drumming and the vocals are more kind of demonic and vicious I suppose. For example “Of Evil” comes even close to such Acheron. Generally it’s just fuckin damn awesome stuff, but I guess the debut demo is the one I like slightly more and that’s despite it having “Preacher of Lies”, which I don’t think is such a good song. It’s just slightly different to the other tracks, maybe more like thrash / death, I don’t know, but it’s just nothing special, although it does have a lot of variety. But damn, “Sacrificial Rite” and “Gory Departure” are just excellent songs, I do like them a lot and are definitely the best pieces on the entire CD, in  my opinion.
“Through the Eyes of Death” brings also two bonus tracks. First one is titled “Eternal Suffering” and originally it was supposed to be published on an old Earache compilation, if I’m not mistaken, but never did, so it remained unreleased until now. And it’s really great, more doomy death metal song, very much in the vein of “Prolong to Agony” demo. And the second bonus is Metal Church cover, recorded in 2008! Obviously the sound quality on it is better and the music of Metal Church is also far from the rough, chunky death metal, which Morta Skuld played on their old demos, but damn, I love this cover a lot. The band did its death metal version, so you can imagine how it sounds like. For me, it’s just really damn cool cover tune!
OK then. I have nothing else to say about “Through the Eyes of Death”, other than it’s just damn awesome compilation CD and I love both Morta Skuld demos. I wish this stuff was also released on vinyl, and hopefully it will! But now, I am not the hunt for the original vinyls of Morta Skuld, again, although I saw some prices, which simply made me laugh already haha! Assholes and fuckin vermin are everywhere.
Standout tracks: “Sacrificial Rite”, “Gory Departure”, "Feast from Within"

Final rate: 90/100

Divine Rapture - Promo 2001

I don’t really remember how it all began, but around 2001 I was contacted by one of the Hrubovcak brothers – or maybe I got in touch with them, I just don’t remember… and I received a truly awesome promotional CDR with their band’s newest recording. The band was called Divine Rapture and I seriously was blown away by their music. I did interview with them for my fanzine, soon later I also bought the band’s full length “The Burning Passion” and damn, for me these were some of the best US death metal sounds, which I’ve heard back in the early 00’s. Sadly, the band didn’t really get much recognition I think, Hrubovcak brothers now play in some other bands like Azure Emote, Monstrosity, Hate Eternal, etc. But I do hope they’ll return with Divine Rapture in the future also, because it was just a killer combo. Quite recently I played that old “Promo 2001”, which I received years ago and damn... this music still sounds so fuckin awesome, so I have to make this review, to recommend you such a fuckin excellent, but maybe forgotten band!
I was actually afraid that the CDr won’t be playable after all these years, but luckily it still plays great. And music is also great. Maybe the production could have been better, but it’s not tragic either, so what the hell... Let’s enjoy these three fantastic songs! Stylistically Divine Rapture sounds hugely like Morbid Angel – and I mean it 666%; they had the similar vibe, similar riffage, atmosphere in their music, similar patterns… Simply, there are many resemblances. One may accuse Divine Rapture for plagiarism or whatever, but come on, don’t say that! I am sure that Morbid Angel would love to compose such killer tracks like these three beautiful anthems. They are all fast, they crush with some absolutely fantastic riffs, I love the blasting parts, but also the sudden tempo changes, slower bits are insanely good. The music is powerful as fuck, some of these riffs are like WWWWOOOOWWW, this is so awesome, so memorable, not just brutal and fast, but also with so many harmonies and stuff like that! The music is obviously quite technical, the drumming is perfect, guitar leads are just sick… damn, and the vocalist is so good that maybe he should step in for the weak David Vincent in the past few years. So, great riffs, fantastic arrangements... simply everything about these three tracks is near perfection, so I am very surprised that such strong material and band wasn’t recognized more. Personally I love it!
As a bonus we have two covers here. First, there’s Death’s “Pull the Plug”, surely one of the best death metal songs of all time. But I don’t like Divine Rapture’s version so much. The sound quality of it is pretty poor, the guitars and drums sound so damn artificial, like they were computer made that it’s basically with no sign of that aggression and dark atmosphere of the original. More so, the band added some keyboard here and there what sucks a lot and does not fit at all. Much better is the second of the two covers, which is – what a surprise – Morbid Angel’s “World of Shit”. It’s fantastic song and I am glad to say that Divine Rapture played with really damn well, very close to the original and the production in this cover is also great; powerful, heavy… well done here!
Standout tracks: “Affliction”, “My Demon, Your Dove”

Final rate: 90/100

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Under the Church - Under the Church

Under the Church demo from 2013 was for me personally one of the most awesome and shredding death metal demo tapes I’ve heard in a long time. And I say this not because the band features couple of ex-Nirvana 2002 members (Lars Henriksson and Erik Qvick), although it is very significant, but because I just loved the music. This demo, with its three superb songs and harsh production, just sounded like something what was actually recorded back in 1991 and then was just lost in time, until someone exhumed it in the old, rotten crypt, obviously under the fuckin church. Oh, I am very glad to own that cassette (signed by Erik, ha – cheers, mate!), but at the same time I was really looking forward to hear some more stuff from the band. And that finally came with the release of their self titled mini album. It came out on CD (on Pulverized) and then Blood Harvest released it on 10” vinyl (on three colours: white, black and red!). And trust me, you have no other choice, but to grab a copy for yourself, as it is just a brilliant piece of old school death metal filth!
“Under the Church” contains seven tracks, including all three songs from the demo (which were re-recorded obviously). In total we get 21 minutes of the classic Svensk Döds Metall; one which I am sure that fans of the legendary bands like Entombed, Dismember, Carnage, Nirvana 2002, as well as newer stuff like Death Breath and Repugnant, will build the altar and worship! I do! I suppose that mentioning those bands may be enough to imagine what Under the Church music is like; the band has that classic sound, with great buzzsaw, low guitars and Boss HM-2 pedal, they do shred with some killer, aggressive, sometimes slightly crusty riffs and D-beat and they do also incorporate some more melodic riffs here and there. And yes, the vocals Mik Annetts do sound a lot of an early LG Petrov haha! And you know what? I don’t care at all if the music sounds like cover band or however you want to accuse Under the Church. If you want to be so stupid and accuse them for copying the old death metal bands, why would I give a shit? For me, what counts the most, is how fantastic Under the Church music is, how great it sounds, that it really shreds to pieces and has a gruesome, horror aura all the way through. The band composed some killer songs and in my opinion they’re the best reincarnation of the old style, after Death Breath and Repugnant, which I’ve mentioned above. Don’t agree with me, if you want, I am not bothered. Such tracks as “Haunted by Demons” (yes, that main melodic theme is fuckin haunting!), “Macabre Cadaver”, “Back to the Grave” are just a bloody feast… But all songs vomit with that cemetery filth and slime, which I love, so… it’s just fuckin awesome stuff. Very, very recommended and an instant classic in my opinion.
Oh, and check out that killer logo and artwork!
Standout tracks: “Haunted by Demons”, “Macabre Cadaver”, “Back to the Grave”
Final rate: 90/100