Monday, 30 November 2015

Pyre - Human Hecatomb

PYRE - Human Hecatomb (Reforestation Records - MC 2014)
Russian metal – Russian death metal especially – until recently was not existing for me. My opinion was that there’re not good bands at all, just a pile of garbage. Luckily things change and quite few really good names appeared there like The Prophet, Chamber of Torture, Trigger or Grond. But my favourite stuff comes from band called Pyre. Damn, this band is awesome. I already collected couple of vinyl releases of them: killer “Ravenous Decease” MLP and split with Entrapment – they were both excellent. And then Pyre released their debut album “Human Hecatomb” through Mexican Chaos Records. And yes, it is again a brilliant release, I love it, it’s my favourite recording from Pyre so far, but for fuck sake! How come there’s no vinyl version available anywhere in Europe?!! How come I have to buy fucking cassette to listen to it, while I really wanna LP? It’s another reason why I am always so sceptical about some of these more exotic record labels, which even if release good stuff then have shit distribution. Anyway, I hope that one day a vinyl will end up in my collection. And until then I have to play the cassette version released through Reforestation Records in 200 copies limitation.
And believe me, it is a pure pleasure to listen to this album. In my opinion Pyre is among the best bands, which play that old school death metal with strong Swedish influence. You know, we have Undead Creep in Italy, Brutally Deceased in Czech, The Dead Goats in Poland, Graveyard in Spain and Revel in Flesh (and dozens more haha) in Germany… and Russia has Pyre. These are the best bands from this style in my opinion (not counting the Swedish hordes now though!). You can expect all the classic ingredients on “Human Hecatomb”; there’s nice melody, aggression, dark atmosphere and most of all, there’re simply killer, fantastic riffage. You know, as I mentioned many times before, I don’t care about the music being original or if someone calls it a trend and that there are many similar bands at that time. Why would I give a crap? The music is either good or bad, nothing else should matter. I don’t care if it was heard before and if Dismember recorded “Like an Ever Flowing Stream” in 1991. And I hate opinions like “oh, I have original, why would I care about a copy?”. Oghhhh, fuck off. This is 2015 and it’s awesome to listen to so brilliantly done death metal album in the old school way. It’s like fresh blood and besides, how many times can we listen to “LAEFS” or “Left Hand Path”, right?
To me “Human Hecatomb” is filled with great songs and killer stuff. Basically through the entire album the band avoided fillers and mediocrity. There are many memorable, catchy parts and fantastic songs like “Far Beyond the Unknown”, “Last Nail in Your Coffin” and “Disturbia”, there’s aggressive and quite fast death metal like “Merciless Disease“, “Under the Death Reign” (but even that song contains such an amazing melodic part, with just fantastic harmonious leads… I love it). Most importantly, the whole music was played with passion, enthusiasm and energy that blows out 99% of similar albums ever recorded.
If you ever have a chance to buy a vinyl, buy two – one for me haha! Amazing album, killer band, I love it! I only hope that my interview with them will be completed soon also!!!
Standout tracks: “Far Beyond the Unknown”, “Disturbia”, “Last Nail in Your Coffin”, “Merciless Disease”, “Under the Death Reign”

Final rate: 85/100

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

No Salvation - Defiling Verses

NO SALVATION - Defiling Verses (Self financed CD 2015)
No Salvation are Polish death metal act, which did not really make a big impression on me when their 2011 “Among the Mistakes of God” demo was released. I considered it as too mediocre and forgettable, nothing else. But here’s their debut full length album called “Defiling Verses” and I must admit that this is very nice slab of brutal death metal. And surely the band made quite a nice progress from their demo, not only with the compositions and the performance, but also the production, which is very nice.
No Salvation is strongly influenced by the brutal US death metal and the likes of Deicide, Vital Remains, Diabolic, Brutality and Morbid Angel. It’s been played mainly in fast tempos, but not in the boring, one dimensional way, so also some slower or mid paced fragments are here and there. Especially “Niosący światło” brings attention, which is the final song and one, which differs a lot from the rest, not only with slower, more melodic, catchy and epic riffing, but also with the Polish lyrics. But this is the only such piece and the rest of the album is more oriented on brutal, straight forward death metal. And it’s all good. I mean, No Salvation is not delivering anything new and innovative to the table, the riffs and arrangements are pretty standard, so are the vocals and everything… but “Defiling Verses” is solid enough to be enjoyed. There’s not much to write even, just think of death metal in the vein of the bands I mentioned above and that’s it. I also must mention really nice front artwork for this album… and that’s it. This CD is self released, there’s also a cassette version available, so if you’re into this stuff do not hesitate to check No Salvation out.
Nothing else to add. This is quite short recording, so is my review short, but it's nice to see it's all going in good direction.

Final rate: 70/100

Grimirg - MMXV-I

GRIMIRG - MMXV-I (Patologian Laboratorio Productions CD 2015)
Grimirg is another release from Patologian Laboratorio Productions and a project of Grim666, who’s also in Seal of Beleth. And just like Seal of Beleth, Grimirg also presents us doom metal stuff, but one, which is way more depressive and sorrowful when compared to the other project. Yeah, “MMXV-I” is an album that will take you through the most painful and mournful sonicscapes, embraced in the so called funeral doom style. Four tracks are here. Four very long and very sluggish songs based on rather typical slowed down but heavy, downtuned riff, low, growled vocals combined with a strong keyboard background that brings more atmosphere and kind of hypnotizing feeling to the music. Oh, and there are also quite few female vocals to unveil the beautiful part of sorrowful doom metal. Don’t think it’s anything like the old Theatre of Tragedy though, but for sure those gothic doom metal albums from the end of the 90’s can come to your mind here and there, only played in much less joyful way. And it’s weird that despite all those keyboards or different vocals, the music still feels quite minimalist. I suppose it’s all because it is also quite one dimensional, it’s the same slow tempo through the whole 40 minutes of the CD, it’s the same kind of riff and playing all the time… And I must admit that although it isn’t bad, the whole “MMXV-I” bored me terribly. It just feels like I’ve been listening to the same song or the same motif all the time and it’s been repeating and repeating until I decided to stop this and just switched the music off. Of course I can see that this monotony is about to help to increase the whole aura of sorrow and sadness, but I just don’t find it easy to stay focused through the whole album. But if the Autumn weather makes you more depressed and isolated then it should fit perfectly as a musical background.
Just like “Seal of Beleth”, “MMXV-I” CD is also limited to 200 copies, but I definitely enjoyed the other one much more. This one I am afraid can end up buried in time and dust for long… unless I will find myself in proper mood for such atmosphere.

Final rate: 60/100

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Seal of Beleth - Seal of Beleth

SEAL OF BELETH - Seal of Beleth (Patologian Laboratorio Productions - CD 2015)
I got this CD from Wolfspell Records, but it was actually released on Patologian Laboratorio Productions in just 200 copies, so there are not many copies available. But I must say that this is really good album and if you ever have a chance to grab a copy, then do it with no hesitation. Especially if you’re a fan of slow, doomy metal stuff, as this is what Seal of Beleth has to offer. Damn. I started to listen to their self titled album with some scepticism, since I’ve never of this Finnish band before and the artwork is just shite haha! But never judge the book by its cover, as they say. In this case it’s the only thing which I don’t like, everything else is simply fantastic and it’s just damn great and well performed doom metal.
And it’s stuff, which has a great shadow of the final Celtic Frost record over it; as well as Triptykon of course, especially in the song called “Statue of Failure”!!! Seal of Beleth creates kind of similar dark and obscure, sick aura with these absolutely fantastic hypnotizing, heavy riffs. They’re crawling like some monstrous, horrid creatures from the darkest shadows, strangulating and crushing with no merciful feelings at all. And it’s awesome that even if the music of Seal of Beleth is slow it never awakes a boredom or monotonous feeling. The band managed to compose four lengthy songs (with each being ten or more minutes long), but they don’t tend to sound like never-ending torture that you wish could end soon. They are actually full of variety, Seal of Beleth did wise job and even if the music is based on traditional doom metal skeleton, then there are also some leans towards darker, obscure and more eerie sound, maybe some more easily listenable and quiet parts (opening theme for “Statue of Failure”) and even a bit of black / doom stuff, especially towards the end of the album in “Amon Unbound”, where the pace fastens up nicely. So, a lot is going on, also the vocals are well performed as together with harsh shriek or growling you can hear some great clean singing. Oh, just listen to “Nightmares”, a song with nice (almost post metal) groove and tension that grows and grows until the final seconds. But even more I like “Statue of Failure”; it has a quiet, calm beginning and turns into the heaviest riffs on the whole album, a lot like Celtic Frost’s “Monotheist”. But generally all four songs bring interesting music, with great arrangements and ideas, I think the whole album is very even and from start till finish I enjoyed it fully. Very recommended, although you must remember that there are not so many copies available.
Standout track: “Statue of Failure”

Final rate: 75/100

Deadlife - From Tears to Ashes

DEADLIFE - From Tears to Ashes (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
You may remember Rafn from his excellent project Hermóðr. When reviewing “What Once Was Beautiful” I mentioned that he has also some more projects and Deadlife is actually one of them. And just like it was with Hermóðr, Deadlife was also formed recently, in 2011, and also has quite vast discography already, with three full length albums, some EPs, etc. Damn, I suppose that all Rafn is doing is sleep, shit, eat and play music, no time for anything else like work or other wasting of time haha. No wonder then that he refuses answering interviews, he has no time for it if he must record five or more albums every year for all the projects he has haha. But seriously now, Wolfspell Records just released a compilation CD titled “From Tears to Ashes” with all three albums of Deadlife plus an EP and some bonus songs! It’s a lot of material, it takes two CDs and overall you’ll find here 2,5 hours of music! Wow!
And I must say it’s a real challenge to go through all this music, especially at one go. I mean, it’s a lot, too much really and it feels even more if you think it’s all doomy, slow depressive black metal played in the harsh, minimalist and crude way. Because this is again what Rafn offers, but compared to Hermóðr, Deadlife is not even half as melodic and easily listenable. It’s not so atmospheric, but totally depressive, mournful and as mentioned, it’s played in very raw and minimalist black metal way. The albums are titled “Slutskedet” (2013), “Värdelös” (2013) and “No Help Is Coming” (2014). The EP is called “Worthless Existence” (2014). There’s not so much difference between all these recordings, to be honest. They all have simple, harsh black metal songs as well as some calmer, more quiet pieces like “The Chronicles of Pain” and “För evigt förtvivlad” on “Slutskedet” or “Mentalt kaos & lidande” (which is a dark ambient piece) and “Pieces of the Past” (which is all acoustic guitar song) on “Värdelös”.
For Deadlife Rafn composed rather long songs, they’re all over five, some even over ten minutes song and usually within one song he doesn’t combine much and the song structures are pretty simple (so is the music, really), with not so much variation. That obviously creates a strong feeling of monotony, but it’s also about the specific atmosphere, which all depressive, mournful and doomy black metal bands share. On the other hand such “Life Is Just Too Long”, which is 14 minutes long (so maybe it’s a bit ironic title haha) starts to annoy me after a while and the riffs and wailing melodies are enough to skip this song for good. “No Help Is Coming” album is definitely the best one here, you can hear that it’s better played and recorded, with nice sound quality and a bit more focus on good songwriting, vocals, nice riffs and melancholic melodies what all together bring a very interesting and enjoyable album. Songs like “Alone” and “Stabbed to Sleep” are the ones to listen to. This album is also the longest and it obviously doesn’t avoid a bit of monotony, but it’s nothing what would really disturb in enjoying it.
2,5 hours is maybe too much time to spend over such sorrowing and minimalist music. To be honest, I’ve tried to listen to the entire double CD set in go, but never managed as it’s just too long and after a while I just needed some different, maybe more aggressive and powerful, more energetic stuff. But in smaller doses Deadlife is not bad at all. I don’t like it as much as Hermóðr’s excellent album, but it is surely a solid and worthy to collect music also.

Final rate: 70/100

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Interment / Anatomia - split 7"EP

Damn it, it was close and I would miss such a nice split 7”EP, with two great bands that I like to collect music from. I forgot that such split was even released, but one day I saw a copy in a distro and asked for the price, but the guy said “sorry, I have it sold already”. Fuck! But luckily he came back to me the same day and said the he actually found one more copy and if I still want it! What a stupid question, “of course I do” I said haha! And here it is – a Japanese and Swedish alliance between Anatomia and Interment! Aren’t they killer bands? They surely are in my opinion. By the way, this split is released in a green cover / vinyl version, limited to 250 copies – which I have  - and a red version, limited also to 250 copies.
So, I immediately played it. Interment brings “In the Veils of Death” and it’s a typical, not innovative Swedish death metal tune. It won’t surprise you with anything spectacular, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. No, it’s damn nice song, with classic riffage, great hooks, nice harsh production, etc. Maybe the song on the split with Tormented was better, but this one is very cool as well and it’s always nice to listen to such great, legendary bands. I am now waiting for their second LP to come out and until then such songs like “In the Veils of Death” are enough to make me happy and bang the fuckin skull until the neck breaks.
And Anatomia… this band is so sweet, I love their heavy, gloomy sound, with ultra fuckin massive riffs, great dark, sick atmosphere and just everything about it is awesome. I’ve been collecting quite few split 7”EPs they were part of, but “Pandemonium” is one of the best songs yet. It’s great, maybe because it’s slow, up to mid, paced tempo, so it’s more aggressive also. More so, the overall harshness and crudeness that this song presents even rise that disturbing, eerie and menacing feeling. These are some intense and brutal seven minutes and one can still hear a lot of Autopsy influence, for example in the vocals, but Anatomia is not just that anymore and I must just say that this band is getting better and better, so after the “Decaying in Obscurity” from 2012 maybe it’s about time to come up with the new full length record?

Final rate: 80/100

Friday, 13 November 2015

Hermóðr - What Once Was Beautiful

Hermóðr - What Once Was Beautiful (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
This fuckin sucks! How can I start listening to project like Hermóðr (not band, as it is a work of one man only, Rafn) from their third album “What Once Was Beautiful”? I mean, I like to know what were the earlier recordings like also, to see how the music and style was evolving through all these years, compare the albums, etc. And Hermóðr, even if formed not so long ago (2012) has already quite a big number of recordings, so there’s a lot of stuff to go through. And really I need also the previous recordings, because Hermóðr is simply awesome and I find “What Once Was Beautiful” as truly special and impressive album, definitely one of the best from Wolfspell Records so far! Of course usually we can be suspicious about the quality, if someone is recording two or three different releases each year and also has some other projects active – Rafn has five or six active projects plus some more, which I think are dead now. But if all his stuff is as good as “What Once Was Beautiful” then it is a must to grab more and his creativity is something to admire.
Hermóðr music is rather easy to describe – it’s depressive, very melancholic, sorrowful black metal. The album is quite monotonous, with just slow, doomy tempos, melodic, mournful riffs, some clean guitar tones here and there, with nice, gloomy atmosphere and killer, harsh vocals. There’s almost 75 minutes of music on this album, which is A LOT, especially if we deal with such depressive music. One can find it a bit boring or too much one dimensional, but I guess it’s a matter of mood you’re in. If you’re in proper mood, then the music, with all these awesome patterns, will devour you completely. Besides, quite a lot of the stuff, which Hermóðr plays here is damn melodic, catchy and memorable, so that helps with listening the album. It’s almost unbelievable that an album, where I can’t point out any best songs, because most of it sounds so much similar, is still so damn impressive and involving.
There are some strong Burzum inclinations and other such bands, which offer melancholic and depressive black metal stuff. Personally I love the harmonies, I like the aura of the music and it’s just awesome listen. The production is also very good here; it may keep the harsh edge, but is quite clean and good at the same time. And so… I don’t really need to write more. This is just a superb, but lengthy album.

Final rate: 80/100

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Odraza - Kir

Do you remember “Esperalem tkane”, a truly killer debut album from Polish duo Odraza? And do you remember me, giving them well deserved 90/100? Yes, it surely has been an impressive start for this project. And this is why this next release from Odraza was something I was eagerly waiting for. And finally it is here! It’s called “Kir” and it’s a special recording, also in a sense that it may surprise those, who would expect to get “Esperalem tkane” part two. Be surprised, be disappointed – whatever you want, but this EP is nothing like the full length album.
And the first main difference is that “Kir” contains just one, single 20 minutes long instrumental song. Yes, there are no vocals at all and basically no black metal elements as well. The whole is a live recording, of quite special event, from Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory – The Museum of the City of Cracow, commemorating the damages of World War II. So, the concept is also much different compared to the stunning debut LP! There’s no stench of old alcohol, vomit or cigarettes smoke around, no filthiness, no black metal ferocity – even if there are few blasting parts present. “Kir”, when speaking of the atmosphere, is mesmerizing, very atmospheric, and you can be sure that the music will have a trance like influence on the listener. It is something for a careful listen, to contemplate, far from traditional metal music forms (black metal especially), so this EP is not something what has to crush your heads and bring aggression. But that’s fine, I love the aura of the music, with its almost post rock / metal feeling. I have no idea how much of this performance was a result of improvisation or if the whole music was carefully planned, arranged and rehearsed before, but it all sounds very good and I am again impressed with the music of Odraza. The best thing about it is that you don’t feel lack of vocals here; the music speak for itself and despite rather slow beginning it quickly catches attention and do not let go until the very last second. And once this EP is over I play it again... and again. Be sure also that the sound quality is damn good as well; it can be a live recording, but it’s been very well mixed and mastered in No Solace Studio by M, so the quality is everywhere.
One more important thing needs to be said. There’s also a video that portrays “Kir” in its entirety and it is deeply connected to the whole reason why this recording was done at all. It is an old footage from German nazi concentration camp in Płaszów, filmed by AK soldier back in the old days. The visual side perfectly fits the whole project and it is just great that you can also listen to the music along with this video.
The CD is limited to 500 copies, with 100, which had an extra slipcase (sold out by now). Be quick, get your copy before it’s too late and simply enjoy an awesome music.
Final rate: 85/100

Darkeater - Иней чёрного рассвета

DARKEATER - Иней чёрного рассвета (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
Damn, for years I could not find anything on the Russian metal scene, what would be really worth of my interest. But this year I discovered five or six really awesome death metal bands from there, as well as maybe one or two black metal acts. And here’s another one! One, which is in Wolfspell Records roster and you know that I was recently playing and reviewing quite few releases from this label. “Иней чёрного рассвета”, what means “Black Dawn’s Rime”, is what I’m playing now and yes, I must say that I like it a lot. It is actually a debut album from this Russian duo and sadly my knowledge about Darkeater is limited to what I can read on Metal Archives. But I will want to know more, defintiely! I guess the best thing about “Иней чёрного рассвета” is that this album sort of walks against the current tides on the black metal scene. I mean now everyone pretends to be fuckin satanic and occult, presenting specific image of almost ritualistic kind, with candles, skulls, hooded figures, symbols… and it surely looks attractive, but is nothing, but another trend on the scene. In that case Darkeater seems like a band from the previous century, with just two figures standing in the woods and this really nice dark photographs of the nature in the booklet. I really like the simple artwork, but more so, the logo of Darkeater is killer. Great job.
And from the first listen I enjoyed “Иней чёрного рассвета”, even if one can say that it is rather typical depressive black metal, with a strong dark ambient influence. The majority of the music has been played in slow tempo, with music that is soaked in that melancholic, sorrowful atmosphere. The guitars have that characteristic buzzy sound and are limited to hypnotizing, mesmerizing riffing, so do not expect to hear any blasts or aggressive parts. Keyboards add even darker and atmospheric feeling, and are present basically all the time, filling the music in good way… The whole music will remind you Burzum, Vinterriket, Lustre, Krohm and that sort of bands. Yes, “Иней чёрного рассвета” is nothing innovative, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but very solid and I do like this album a lot, mainly for the atmosphere it awakens. The songs are great (even if they may seem to be quite one dimensional), performance and production are good too... Even the dark ambient pieces, which are on “Иней чёрного рассвета” sound great to me! I suppose that many people can dislike such music (dark ambient), calling it boring crap, but I must admit that sometimes I like to play something like this and surely enjoy calm, atmospheric keyboard music, like Burzum, Vinterriket, Mortiis and some other projects. Darkeater’s “Tomhet” (haha) is called “Rhubarb”, which is an Aphex Twin cover, by the way.
So, very enjoyable album from completely unknown band, recommended to the fans of harsh, atmospheric black metal in the old vein.

Final rate: 80/100

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Marduk - Opus Nocturne

MARDUK - Opus Nocturne (REGAIN - LP 2008)
Personally I always divide Marduk history on three periods: the first one are albums number one – three, then there’s Legion era and finally we have the great and successful period with Arioch on vocals. Each of these times offered us, the fans, some fantastic albums, although I do must admit that maybe the early days of the band are those, which I like the least. For example I am not a big fan of “Dark Endless” album. But on the other hand I think that “Opus Nocturne” is one of Marduk’s finest records ever. Maybe I’m just being sentimental a little, as this is also the first album I heard from this band, I think I heard it around 1995. But even if so, it doesn’t change the fact that the music on “Opus Nocturne” is damn fantastic. Basically everything on this record is perfect, starting with the great artwork (I guess I only don’t like those drawings of each band member haha), the production and finishing with the music. Great, great stuff.
Style wise “Opus Nocturne” is a natural consequence of the two previous Marduk albums. Many of the riffs, arrangements, paces, vocal sound are similar or in the same vein, but I think that the band evolved and simply got better since “Those of the Unlight”. And one of the best things about “Opus…” is that it contains many more atmospheric parts, which give the music deeper feeling and more diversity. It’s not just a cannonade of unstoppable drumming and slaughtering riffs. It has some slower songs, sometimes the music gets a bit more melodic or even epic, using even some keyboards! And it doesn’t disturb to sound harsh, evil and dark, as always! I must especially mention here the title track, as it’s short, but simply excellent, with a great main melodic theme and some spoken vocal parts in the end. It sounds truly melancholic in my opinion, far from the raging and vicious black metal, which Marduk is usually known for. Then we have memorable and catchy “Materialized in Stone”, which even if is much slower that the usual stuff, belongs to Marduk’s best known tracks, a must for the liveset on many, many gigs the band played in their career. And this song stands out from the rest of “Opus Nocturne” for sure, interestingly reminding me some old Dissection. It’s also cool to hear rehearsal version of this song, as surprisingly it contains some clean vocal parts – and they’re probably the only clean vocals I can remember to hear from Marduk. I must also mention “Deme Quaden Thyrane”, even if I regret that they didn’t decide to carry on with the slow pace this song begins with. It starts great, but then it all is abruptly interrupted with another blasting piece. “Sulphur Souls” on the other hand is a great mixture of malicious and violent riffing with some slow, majestic pieces with keyboards increasing the dark aura. And it works great in this song.
Of course Marduk also delivers a lot of relentless, vicious and fierce, truly fast and aggressive tracks, like “Autumnal Reaper”, “From Subterranean Throne Profound”, “The Sun Has Failed“ but I like especially the mighty “Untrodden Paths (Wolves Part II)”, which sums up what early Marduk was about perfectly. A lot of neck breaking speed, but also some slower, kind of death / black metal bits and arrangements, so characteristic for the band in their early albums. And the most important thing is that all these songs complete a great album and work great together. I really like the atmosphere of this music, the production is also good, the performance from each member (B.War!) is top notch… so yeah, there’s just nothing wrong here.
And for this review I was actually spinning the Regain / Blooddawn Records vinyl reissue from 2008. It had a different artwork from Kris Verwimp – similar in style, but not quite as good as the original one. And the LP contains three songs recorded during a rehearsal, what is a nice addition. It is a good reissue, anyway.
Standout tracks: “Materialized in Stone”, “Untrodden Paths (Wolves Part II)”, “Opus Nocturne”, “The Sun Has Failed”

Final rate: 90/100

Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Exile

And here’s the last of four new releases from Les Acteurs de l'ombre Productions! Regarde Les Hommes Tomber is also the only band from the four, which I knew before. And of course I had also high hopes for their second album “Exile”. Firstly, because all other three new LADLO releases were superb, but also because I really liked their debut album. And you know what? After hearing Deluge, Maïeutiste and Moonreich I was certain that “Exile” is also going to be a killer release. And sure it is!
In case you’re not familiar with Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, their music is often described as sludge / post black metal. Well, I can already hear some people moaning about the new trends of pseudo-intellectual geeks that flooded the scene with their stupid haircuts, glasses, hoods and all that shit, which normally would never be even closely related to the black metal scene. But well, times change and it turns out that black metal not necessarily needs to mean corpsepaints and Satan worship, at least according to some bands. Well, opinions are many, but why would I care? I personally just worry only if the music is good or not. And to put it into some categories has no meaning. But if you HAVE TO ASK, then I must say that for me personally this black metal tag, when speaking of “Exile” is rather doubtful. Well, I just don’t hear much of that music here. Of course, there are some traces, mainly when Regarde Les Hommes Tomber speeds up and blasts like crazy. Together with the screaming vocals, it can give you a more blackish feeling. But the majority of the album is rather typical, I would say, post metal, with touch of doom sludge and hardcore. “Exile” has the typical song structures and other characteristics for this genre. I mean the long instrumental passages, with guitars that are creating this specific feeling and so infectious, almost hypnotizing aura… this is music, which I often feel like doesn’t even need vocals or that they’re second important or maybe that they’re used as another instrument, while the guitars and the way they paint the picture is enough to fully involve the listener and take him into this musical journey.
If I can be honest, “Exile” is not a total extraordinary album or one, which will make you super excited. It’s also not the most original of all post metal stuff you’ll hear. But despite that, I do like it a lot. It is a great listen, this music is intense, but quite memorable and easily listenable, I caught its ambience right away and let the music fully capture my attention, and devour me. The songwriting is great, I like the riffs, arrangements are superb, it’s very diverse stuff, the vocals are also damn good, so is the production, which is simply top notch. So, even if I said that “Exile” is not the most amazing album of the year, it is just so damn good and solid that it would be a lie if I said that I am careless about it. Damn, I was spinning it for more than a week exclusively! Basically every song on “Exile” is great, there are no fillers, not even a second of boredom, especially with such killers as “A Sheep Among the Wolves” or “ Take Us”. And most of all, “The Incandescent March”, which is a closing anthem, the longest (11 minutes long) piece of all, which sums up the album perfectly.
Standout tracks: “A Sheep Among the Wolves”, “ Take Us”, “The Incandescent March”

Final rate: 80/100

Horrendous - Sweet Blasphemies

HORRENDOUS - Sweet Blasphemies (DARK DESCENT - LP 2015)
For me personally, it was absolutely necessary to see this reissue of Horrendous demo happen. I loved their debut album “The Chills” (but not so much the second one “Ecdysis” hahaha), so I really wanted to hear “Sweet Blasphemies”. But the tapes were all sold out for good. And then this vinyl (and CD!) finally came out… and wow, what a great release it is! I love the artwork and more so, I love the music. But the artwork is really something what makes this release special. I mean, just look at that Mark Riddick’s drawing and etching on the side B of the vinyl. Isn’t it something absolutely beautiful? Damn yes! Musically “Sweet Blasphemies” also doesn’t disappoint, I am sure that all of you, who liked “The Chills” will like it as well. I was actually surprised that none of these songs ended up on the album. It surely is something unusual, but it also makes the demo more special, with all songs being exclusive to this one release only. And this vinyl has also a bonus song!
Anyways, this demo is really exciting. Everything, from powerful, surprisingly clean, yet aggressive production to the music, which would combine Swedish death metal with Death, Pestilence, Obituary, etc with a bit of relentless thrash! This is really great flesh ripping stuff, probably one of the best demos that were released in many years, when speaking of death metal. It’s just surprising how well it all sounds already on a first demo from people, who’re all debutants and unknown to the scene. Their music is well composed, with good technique (listen to these guitar solos), there are great riffs, a lot of diversity, good song structures, just impressive stuff. Horrendous had already this tendency to include some more progressive sounding parts along aggressive death metal, but somehow this works great here. “The Mystic” is the best song for sure, with such a fantastic riffage, fast pace, aggression and just killer, kind of Swedish feeling. And that great melodic guitar lead somewhere near the end, just before Damian Herring screams “Merlin weeps” – awesome! Right after that I am crushed by “Reanimated” and basically these two songs are pure perfection, in my opinion.
To be fair though, I must also say that this demo isn’t perfect. Song “Putrid Rebirth” is a weak link, in my opinion. Especially the way it ends is weird, as it feels like it is unfinished and the band simply had no ideas how to make this song longer and more interesting. Besides, the riffs in this song are also pretty mediocre. Anyway, it doesn’t disturb and as a whole, I think “Sweet Blasphemies” is a kick ass release. I love this vinyl, so I just need to recommend it. contact the band or Dark Descent Records and grab a copy before it’s too late again.
Standout tracks: “The Mystic”, “Reanimated”

Final rate: 90/100

Archives of the Dead part XIX: Acid Death – Apathy Murders Hope

Archives of the Dead part XIX: ACID DEATH – Apathy Murders Hope (EP 1993)
Line up: Savvas – Jake (bass, vocals), Dennis (guitars), Kostas (drums), Themis (guitars)
They put out so many real nice re-releases these days, so I am surprised that no one has decided to exhume the old recordings of Acid Death! This is a Greek band, and I must honestly say that until recently I knew them only by name, never heard the music. But that has changed when I started to listen to “Apathy Murders Hope” EP, originally released in 1993. And well, I must say that I did not expect it to be that bloody good. Wow, this is probably the best death metal band from Greece I’ve heard, with all respect to the killer stuff from Dead Congregation and Embrace of Thorns… but they’re newer bands, while this is something old, covered in dirt and ash, hugely forgotten. Imagine the classic take on the thrashing death metal, kind of a mixture of Massacra, Protector, Kreator, Merciless, Messiah, Sepultura… you know, this kind of bands. Acid Death name should have been mentioned right next to them, if they were only lucky enough and got an album released few years earlier (their debut CD “Pieces of Mankind” was out in 1997). But what can you do… “Apathy Murders Hope” from 1993 is simply awesome, with two killer, vicious and aggressive songs that will please every old school metal maniac. I like the title song especially, for its fast, crazy, insane riffing. It’s just awesome piece, I like everything about it; the riffs, changes of tempos, great harsh vocals… Damn, it is perfect stuff for me and it didn’t get old, the production is still damn good and the music is timeless, even if some will accuse it for being archaic. Both songs are crushing and go so quick that you end up playing the whole EP all over again. I don’t know any other Acid Death releases, I have no idea whether they were still so bloody good on their albums or some other EPs and demos, but if they were, then this is a must to have and I hope someone will compile all these recordings in one release. I also found out that Acid Death has reformed and recorded a new album. Well, I will definitely give it a try, why not. At the moment though I am all about “Apathy Murders Hope”, great EP exhumed from the fuckin pits of hell.

Final rate: 80/100

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Profanal / Into Darkness - Split 7"EP

Here’s another awesome 7”split vinyl, which was released this year, with two bands that I am a big fan of. Damn, I just had to grab a copy and I did so as soon as I found one in a distro. Here are two killer Italian death metal bands: Profanal and Into Darkness. I love the music of Into Darkness especially, as they proved to be totally extraordinary band, in my opinion, but Profanal is also damn awesome. It’s funny by the way that both these Italian bands have one thing in common, what makes them more unique – they both have female growling vocalists! And if you have doubts if girls can lead old school death metal bands, then just listen to them. I am always impressed by their harsh, vicious vocals.
Hmm, I don’t know if these are the best songs from these bands, probably not and we’ve heard some better tunes from Profanal and Into Darkness before. But damn, they still fuckin rip the flesh and torment the souls!!! And from the two, I think I like “Close the Coffin” a bit more, maybe just because it’s right to the point, kick ass death metal piece influenced by the Swedish death metal traditions. And you know, however many times we hear bands playing this shit, I do enjoy many of them, for the feeling and that combination of aggression, heavy doomy bits and melody. It always works, or usually it does, and in this case it sounds just nice. Don’t except anything fancy or super original, just classic recipes, maybe played here for the thousandth time, but who cares, if it shreds like that? Hell yes, I enjoy the song, nice sound and great vocals! Nothing else to be added here! And “3C 273” is also damn good, even if I was surprised a bit by this song, as it’s faster and so much more vicious and harsh than some other songs from Into Darkness, who often were like doomy death metal. “3C 273” is straight forward, cruel sounding, raw death metal, which knows no mercy and melody. You can easily compare them to some very early death metal bands like Asphyx from their demos era and so on… Again, don’t expect fancy modern, technical death metal, which would end up on major labels’ release. This is pure underground slab of filth!!!
And I do like it a lot.
Final rate: 75/100