Monday, September 30, 2013

Youtube Sessions (V)

Wolfchant - Determined Damnation
2009, NoiseArt Productions

Folkish metal, with harsh vocals and fast, happy melodies. I can't say I loathe them and I do like listening to specific songs now and then. However, this has little effect on me. The music relies on the singer and the guitarist on the most part, leaving the few synths in the background.

Ad Hominem - A New Race for A New World
2003, Undercover Records

Powerful and hateful black metal by this French Genocide worshipper. The only thing I had heard by them was "Dictator - A Monument of Glory" and this album is slightly weaker, but still raw and rich in music. Sounds like the microphone would explode on some screaming moments of Wodhanaz.

Infernal Revulsion - Devastate Under Hallucination
2007, Goregiastic Records
Piece of shit. They should be called Infernal Trigger Use.

Ouroboros - Glorification of A Myth
2011, Self-released

This is mathematically remarkable. A wonderful piece of modern death metal and virtuosic musicianship. Highly recommended.

Thy Art Is Murder - The Adversary
2010, Skull And Bones Records
Lots of good moments for hardcore dancing. It actually is a great album in the deathcore area, for I enjoy most of the songs and a couple of standouts are Laceration Penetration, Engineering The Antichrist, Flesh Oracle and The False Prophet.

System of A Down - Toxicity
2001, American Recordings

I like Needles, Chop Suey!, Science and Toxicity. I truly hate the rest of the album. Including Aerials, I can't stand listening to that particular song everyone's lost their mind over. SOAD's success is huge anyway, but still it's not for everyone. A band does not choose it's fanbase.

Motorhead - Ace of Spades
1980, Bronze Records

Who has a negative opinion about this band?

Morbid Angel - Gateways to Annihilation
2000, Earache Records

A hell of an album. I have some problems with the plastic sound of the drums and the production in general, but that's all. The band was doomed to release lesser records after an ultra massive debut like "Altars of Madness", but they still released good albums, this being one of them. Forget Illud.

Entombed - Wolverine Blues
1993, Earache Records

This is exactly what the title says. A turn into death'n'roll with immense success, that only clouded the minds of the death metal purists of "Left Hand Path". I love them both. Ridiculously catchy riffs everywhere.

Samael - Ceremony of Opposites
1994, Century Media Records
It can be described as the middle ground between the early primitive black metal era and the later more electronic/space metal path that Samael followed. The injection of various sample sounds had already begun with this album and I don't have a problem with that, to be sincere. Another band with a successful genre change.

I Shalt Become - Wanderings (1998)

1998, Self-released

This is the first full length by the american act I Shalt Become and it  stands alone as their only full album from their early period, in the late nineties. It was originally released as a demo tape in 1998, and it has been re-released and re-issued with bonus Burzum/Judas Iscariot covers, as well as unreleased tracks, in 2003 and 2006. There are relations to Burzum when it comes to this release, especially Varg's "Filosofem" (maybe because of the similarity in Burzum covers and this), but to me it's more of a Xasthur-like album, because it reminds a lot of Malefic's sick music, or the other way around.

The album contains eleven tracks and lasts 38 minutes, with an average of 3-4 minutes per song. There is a murky atmosphere throughout the whole album and it dwindles around snail-paced rhythms and simple musicianship. Hopefully, Holliman avoids long compositions, but still the album is somehow repetitive as a whole. The production is sharp and spiteful, leaving an odorless path behind it as it walks, sharing similarities with the sound Xasthur later adopted. Several songs revolve around one or two notes and the drumming is fairly conventional, dilute and in several moments, it just goes unnoticed. It seems like the emphasis has been given on the guitar work, which is still nothing over the top, excluding a pair of cool lines.

Credits need to be given for the vocals, which are predictable but legit, with some obscure screams/howls like in "The Funeral Rain" and "Insects", expressing the ongoing misery and pain on their own. The only moment when the album dares to increase speed is in the song "Labyrinthe", which is faster than the rest, but equally poor in content, focusing on a couple of melodies.

"Wanderings" is rather uninspired, like a failed attempt to copy it's glorious forefathers of the second wave, even though it has a whole kvlt aura around it fifteen years later. I did enjoy it's dim vibe and darkness, coming from a desolate, mourning individual, but with a closer look, it is wounded by imperfections and barely reaches mediocrity. You might find one riff you'll like here, or another that you have heard before, an interesting intro/outro maybe, but the main body is weak.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Fragments
3. The Funeral Rain
4. Winter Lights
5. Paintings in a Gallery
6. Labyrinthine
7. Thorns
8. Insects
9. Her Demons
10. A Once Great Man
11. Outro

DAMAGE: 5.0/10

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ulver - Nattens Madrigal - aatte hymne til ulven i manden (1997)

Spring 1997, Century Media Records

As it seemed that Ulver were moving to a softer and slower style, first with the superb folk black metal album "Bergtatt" and then with the fully acoustic folk "Kveldssanger", I doubt anyone saw this coming back then. The band decided to return to it's original roots (which might not even be that) and release a primitive, raw black metal record equal to Darkthrone in severity. For that reason, it is a pity if this classic album doesn't come up in conversations about the elite Scandinavian extreme metal scene in the 90s, it considered a top album by many. I can't see if it's the album of the decade but it sure is one of the most acebric outcomes from up there in the north.

Before listening to the album, one should be prepared to listen to something with a harsh, dirty production. Expect a lot of fading sounds, hisses, reverbs etc..., while the compositions lack any tricks, stay as traditional and immidiate as possible. Garm has disproved the rumours that Ulver recorded it outdoors in a forest, but still it sounds as if they did not have the money and they did not care to clean any part of the sound, trying to create the madrigal of the night. Today, we thank them for putting this together, an album that can be used as a lighthouse when it comes to describing Norwegian black metal of the second wave. Even though it is close to the albums of it's brother bands, you don't feel as if you have listened to this before, because of the agitating originality that needs time and trained ears to discover. As far as I'm concerned, there are a couple of incredible parts that worth a place among the best black metal of their decade.

It turned out that Garm has a powerful voice that can raise up both heaven and hell, from his deep clean chants to something as scourging as this. This album doesn't contain any clean vocals, only screeches and shrieked wolf howls, totally primeval in their very nature. His agressive screams have grown more bitter than in "Bergtatt" or he just used them is a more bitter way here and it is an essential characteristic of the whole album. Haavard and Aismal were in charge of the guitars and I sincerely didn't expect anything less than an amazing job. Each song contains more than two or three riffs and all of them are amazing, floating between the hated side of Darkthrone and the almost epic side of early Gorgoroth, with a personal Ulver touch. Of course, the majority is built on sharp and fast-paced tremolo melodies. The drumming is based on blast beats and it's mostly covered by the guitars and the bass is almost non-existent, except a small audible piece in the last song Wolf And the Night. In that song, there is an one note sound that reminds of a piano but probably isn't, as well as some notable riffs out of the whole album. Other standout tracks are Wolf and Man, Wolf and Passion.

I think "Nattens Madrigal" is stripped to it's fundamental parts and it's composed in a simple, anti-mainstream way. The production makes it hard to grasp on and still it is highly accepted for it's overall quality. The third and final album of their black metal trilogy before going into digital music, was a worm filled fruit, an awful anthem for the wicked forest people, meant to be worshipped by the fans and hated by the outsiders. One would think that moving to a bigger label as Century Media would turn them into something lighter, but no. The wolves inside man are restless and hungry.

Track listing:
1. Hymn I - Wolf and Fear
2. Hymn II - Wolf and the Devil
3. Hymn III - Wolf and Hatred
4. Hymn IV - Wolf and Man
5. Hymn V - Wolf and the Moon
6. Hymn VI - Wolf and Passion
7. Hymn VII - Wolf and Destiny
8. Hymn VIII - Wolf and the Night

DAMAGE: 9.0/10

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ulver - Kveldssanger (1996)

1996, Head Not Found

After an engrossing debut, Ulver did not hesitate to experiment even deeper into their soft side, releasing an fully acoustic folk album, based on the acoustic guitars, the vocals, cellos and the flutes. They did not hesitate to experiment from the second album, which is acclaimed by many to be the first dark folk / neofolk record. The language is in Norwegian again and the title means Evening Songs, a convenient description of the musical content, because it is a relaxing, laid back album for the silent hours of the day.

The tracks here are relatively short, most of them lasting between one and three minutes, except the last, Ulvsblakk, which is longer. Seldom are lyrics used and the album is mostly instrumental, except for a couple of lines in some songs and an a capella song, Sielens Sang. Like most artists hate their masterpieces, Ulver were not fully satisfied with this album after all, despite it's grandeur. The vibe of acoustic classical is all over this album, which deliberately eschews from any metal elements to present an arboreal synthesis, very different from anything else that the fans of the extreme metal scene were used to back then. Feeling close to nature and being part of it is a main characteristic here.

The drummer of the band, AiwarikiaR, did not have much to do here, since there is hardly any drumming, but he did participate with the sounds of a flute, and there is no bass used at all, naturally. Garm's sumptuous voice is getting the album a one step higher alone, with incredible baritone chants in the songs, whether there are lyrics or not. It's easier to understand the beauty of the guitar lines and their variations than it was in Bergtatt, even though there too, Haavard had worked on some amazing ideas.

My favourite tracks are Naturmystikk, Høyfjeldsbilde, Kveldssang and Ulvsblakk. Imagine a quiet, silent night among the woods, lightless, away from the modern world. From their first three albums, "Kveldssanger" is the most interesting, yet the least attractive to me, since I prefer heavier stuff in general. Great atmosphere with a great musicianship and enough inspiration from nature, were the sculptors of this one and only record, that many bands imitate these days with modern equipment, but fail to overcome. For it's shape, it was doomed to get a fair amount of haters and people that would not appreciate it, but is innovative and alluring.

Track listing:
1. Østenfor Sol og Vestenfor Maane
2. Ord
3. Høyfjeldsbilde
4. Nattleite
5. Kveldssang
6. Naturmystikk
7. A capella (Sielens Sang)
8. Hiertets Vee
9. Kledt i Nattens Farger
10. Halling

DAMAGE: 7.5/10

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ulver - Bergtatt - Et eeventyr i 5 capitler (1995)

February 1995, Head Not Found

Ulver's debut album is a part of their first era trilogy, before changing into more experimental / electronic music. From the first demo "Vargnatt", the band showed it's exceptional style of combining harsh black metal with melodic/folk elements. This full length arrived to lift them off the ground and transfer them into the pantheon of the Norwegian scene, with one of the most original and captivating albums until then. It was released several years before the atmospheric black metal scene started taking it's first steps with Agalloch and there was really nothing like this back in 1995.

The album is written in ancient Danish with some Norwegian phrases and it's concept is about girls that were lured by evil spirits and demons into the mountains, so that they would live forever in their halls and castles. This folkloric subject gives boosts the excitement and the interest of the record, welcoming the listener to it's own way of storytelling, which is ample for anyone to understand, whether they speak Danish/Norwegian or not. "Bergtatt" is split into five tracks which last a total of 34 minutes, with a moderate track duration around 4-8 minutes each.

The band's sound in this album is softer than your average black metal band, lots of acoustic parts, pipes and clean vocals are used. Garm's voice is amazing and could not go any better over these tracks, demonstrating his talent to sing / scream like he did. The production of the clean parts is warm and touching, capturing the feeling of being deep in the forest of a mountain perfectly, including the sample in "Capitel III" where you can hear the sound of a person running and going over pieces of wood.

The compositions are not as agressive as their compatriots at the time and the sound focuses on the essence of blistering euphoria rather than pure hatred, a piece of work that could work as a bridge between the two sides. Every song is a highlight, since the album is not repetitive and the constant switching of acoustic and distortion parts entrench a potent result. Still, in several moments this change, from harsh raw black metal, to an acoustic folk part, is done a bit disorderly, like a new song is kicking in. This lack of constistency does not decrease the quality of the album by any means though, and it's definitely listenable.

While the first song is purely sung in cleans, the second is a vicarious sample of the whole album, with a wise dose of acoustic guitars, distorted guitars with shrieked vocals, melodic lines and an audible, sweet bass sound. The chanting at the end of the song is amazing, and continues to the beginning of the third track, which contains one of the heaviest moments of the album after a melancholic intro. There, you can find pure black metal sound, riff and vocal driven.

Then, Capitel IV and V are my favourite. IV has no distortion at all but it's still dark and intense. The splendor of Garm's voice is shown with the low, deep singing he does and the female psalmodies in the end give a very special feeling to the track. V starts with a fast-paced tempo and a true Norwegian scream (yes, this a true Norwegian one) and wanders around the by now familiar Ulver formula of combining the calm with the storm. It ends beautifully, with an organic acoustic guitar tune.

There has always been a debate in me, whether this or "Nattens Madrigal" is my favourite off their early era and I haven't decided yet, because I enjoy them for different reasons. This album is an engrossing offer by a really talented band, and despite it's minor, tiny flaws, it is considered a classic by the scene and by me.

Track listing:
1. Capitel I: I Troldskog Faren Vild
2. Capitel II: Soelen Gaaer Bag Aase Need
3. Capitel III: Graablick Blev Hun Vaer
4. Capitel IV: Een Stemme Locker
5. Capitel V: Bergtatt - Ind I Fjeldkamrene

DAMAGE: 9.25/10

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Serpent Path - I, The Creator [EP] (2013)

Autumn 2013, Razorbleed Productions

Serpent Path are the fresh meat of the Greek underground scene, a newborn vile creation from the island of Crete. The band hails from Rethimnon and they've been going on as Arsonist Templa for some time before switching to the current name. This is their first release, excluding a demo entitled "Proclamation Of Humanitiy's Decline" that they had recorded under the name Arsonist Templa.

The EP contains four tracks of legit black metal and lasts no less than 22 minutes in total, paying homage to the legends of the genre and showing great potential, being a debut like this. A notable characteristic here is the cover artwork, which owes it's amazing beauty to VisionBlack Designs, who has created both the art of the EP and the logo of the band. If  you expect boisterous noise from this record, you will be startled by the excellent production it has. The tracks have been subjected to professional mixing and mastering, maintaining a cloudless sound that can be considered clean for any metal subgenre. Releasing a dirtless album from the start can only leave a good impression to the listener, since it seems like the band is not fooling around, not eager to quickly release sloppy demos, concentrating on the music itself above all.

The album opens with a seven minute song "When the Wolves Are Silent, Only the Fullmoon Howls", which is the longest in length. With a very short wind sample as an intro, it mostly is Norwegian-driven and has an epic feeling similar to that of Taake or Gorgoroth, filled with interesting ideas and combining fast and slow melodies. The second, self-titled track goes with a middle paced tempo and designates a very powerful chorus, built around a basic riff and slow blast-beating drums. The rhythm of "Religion of Flesh" is the most memorable off the whole EP and the closing song "Manifestation of the Serpent" is relatively fast and agile, compared to the other three. The singer, Horfistt, has done a great job on the vocal part, touching grim and harsh tones with his crumbling voice, reminding of Sakis (Rotting Christ) at some moments. The guitars and the accompanying bass are working great together, whereas the repetitive drums give a steady beat, even though they lack a bit of excitement.

I confidently encourage anyone out there to check this promising act, since their vestal effort deserves attention and feedback. They wisely chose not to follow the easy way of horrible recordings, and exploited their inspiration to the fullest right away. There is talent and still lot's of space for them to improve, so be aware of their following albums in the future.

Track listing:
1. When the Wolves Are Silent, Only the Fullmoon Howls   
2. I, the Creator
3. Religion of Flesh
4. Manifestation of the Serpent

DAMAGE: 7.5/10

Friday, September 20, 2013

Into Deathlike Silence Productions

Deathlike Silence Productions is the opening and very important chapter in the history of black metal. It was the first independent label dealing with that weird genre back then, held by one hell of a personality, Euronymous. Either you liked the guy's views or not (I don't, really), he sure helped the genre grow to a certain point in the underground and the immense attention it got later was not his fault. The name of the label was taken from Sodom's Obsessed By Cruelty, if anyone's wondering, and it was formerly named Posercorpse for a short period of time. It all ended precipitously when Eyronymous was murdered and a lot of plans were left in cold waters, but after so many years, I think the incident just adds to it's legacy. Euronymous runned a small store "Helvete" where he would sell Sodom, Kreator, Venom records and merch, along with the label's copies. The attitude of the label was interesting, with anti-Lavey/anti-moshing patches, to anti-Scott Burns pictures on the original back covers of albums. Nine albums were officially released via Deathlike Silence:

Merciless - The Awakening [Sweden]
Burzum - Burzum [Norway]
Mayhem - Deathcrush (Ep) [Norway]
Abruptum - Obscuritatem... [Sweden]
Burzum - Aske (Ep) [Norway]
Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas [Norway]
Sigh - Scorn Defeat [Japan]
Enslaved - Vikingligr Veldi [Norway]
Abruptum - In Umbra... [Sweden]

Darkthrone threatened Peaceville Records to release their albums with Deathlike Silence, when they changed from death metal to black metal. Mysticum were also signed in Deathlike Silence and would release "Where the Raven Flies" but the label was closed after the death of Euronymous before they managed to do it, leaving them label-less. Monumentum's "In Absentia Christi" was also planned to be released, and Euronymous was thinking to sign Hadez from Peru, Masacre from Colombia and Rotting Christ from Greece. Yay. A Norwegian random music label took over DSP's distribution after it went down, named Voice of Wonder Records.

Euronymous in the DSP headquarters.
1990: Merciless - The Awakening
Release number one, sounds as if Sepultura's "Morbid Visions" was remade with more death metal elements in it. Fast, raw, bestial deathrash for all the fans of the underground extreme metal, injecting influences from bands like Possessed, Death, Slayer, Kreator etc... Despite it's short length (less than half an hour), it has some wonderful dynamics and it it considered a classic.

1992: Burzum - Burzum
Varg's debut was made out of a simple formula. The music is easy to play but it has the needed blackness, in which the so called necrosound was adjusted. This used to be my favourite Burzum release even though it might not be the best, but songs like War, Black Spell of Destruction, A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit, Ea Lord Of The Depths are some of his best. This album is different from his later more primitive efforts, ironically enough.

1993: Mayhem - Deathcrush (Ep)
Originally released in 1987 via Posercorpse, there was a re-release and reprint of this ultra classic record in 1993 through DSP. 25 years later, it seems like a record of evil kids playing around, overusing the word "fuck" and going no deeper than a superficial black/thrash approach to their music. Yet, the songs are nailed to the all-star notice board.

1993: Abruptum - Obscuritatem Advoco Amplectere Me
 A lot has been said about this band. It is obscure even for the standards of the genre, it has it's own way of torturing musical instruments into something that eventually drives you insane. To some (Euronymous included), it is the manifestation of evil, the ultimate black/noise punishment, to others it's just random, silly jamming. No music here, you might as well turn violent listening to this.

1993: Burzum - Aske (Ep)
Three tracks and a burned church cover, matches given with every copy of the first print, title meaning Ashes in english... How closer can one get to what was happening back then? Musically, it isn't far from the first album. which means raw vocals and torn out production.

1994: Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
This might be THE fundamental album here. In terms of ideology and popularity, it always comes up among the very best black metal albums ever and it has some classic riffs by Euronymous (Freezing Moon, From the Dark Past, Pagan Fears, De Mysteriis...). A bit overestimated, if you ask me, but still amazing. I am a mortal, but am I human?

1993: Sigh - Scorn Defeat
I was surprised when I saw that Sigh's debut album was released under this label. The avant-garde metallers from Japan offer a piece of black heaviness along with some smartly played keyboard lines. Diverse, original, colossal. The influences from thrash, doom and older heavy metal are obvious here and there, which explains why their music is not pure black metal, but it is still into that scene.

1994: Enslaved - Vikingligr Veldi
This is my favourite release by DSP. A strong viking feeling and talented musicianship, amazing sound, great synths and lengthy compositions. Even though they stayed away from the activity and the corpse paint, it is one of my favourite albums of the second wave as well, for it's brilliance delivery. It captures an epic feeling and has many interesting ideas, proving that extreme metal was not strictly for satanic purposes.

1994: Abruptum - In Umbra...

Full title goes as: In Umbra Malitiae Ambulabo, In Aeternum In Triumpho Tenebrarum. This time, it is a long 60 minute song (if it can be called a song) full of weird noises and awful, painful screams. I don't believe that the vocalist It was tortured during the recordings as many people say. Even though his voice does sound like someone that is extremely hurt, they probably just stuck him inside a closet away from the microphone.

From the back cover of "De Mysteriis..."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lustre - Wonder (2013)

Lustre "Wonder"
Autumn 2013, Nordvis Produktion

Lustre's fourth full length "Wonder" arrives with nothing new again, continuing with recycled ideas in terms of composition and atmosphere. The new album is very close to its predecessors and there are hardly any changes in the feeling, the structure, the lyrics, the length, everything... Of course, with previous records like these, one would not expect a different pattern since that's what Nachzeit is able to write (not that difficult anyway) and he is not going after daring experiments with his music. I saw the artistic and warm cover of the album and I was positive that I would like it, but I have to say that this was the least interesting album of his to date.

It is proper as a companion to daydreaming, stargazing, walking around, but it it isn't memorable. Instead, it is the same textures, repeated many times. If you have already listened to Lustre, it is like you have heard this album as well. In the previous albums, I always found something new, a previously missing element that he added, like extra samples, or varied synths, even though the main line was identical. With "Wonder", I just feel it's CD2 of "They Awoke to the Scent of Spring", something like rehearsals or unreleased b-sides.

The album consists of four tracks, among them two instrumentals (again). The songs vary from eight to nine minutes, they are slow, droning, isolated. These words will come to mind if someone listens to this for the first time and the first contact with the band, but if anyone has comes across the earlier releases, a view might alter. I can't find a standout track, as they are mediocre even for Lustre's calibre, from the synth melodies to the indistinguishable guitar riffs. Maybe I'm growing bored of this stuff, or it's just that Nachtzeit is releasing the same album again and again until he grows bored of his stuff. The lyrics are very few again, and to "Moonlit Meadow" there is an ounce of poetry.

If this project continues like this, it's possible that everyone will just abandon it, since by now the listeners know what they'll listen exactly. Missing the element of suprise or innovation, the already monotonous music will become more and more frustrating, especially when it's the same on every new album. My advice to the band is, add something in there, anything.

Track listing:
1. Moonlit Meadow
2. Green Worlds
3. A Summer Night
4. Petrichor

DAMAGE: 4.25/10

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Carpe Noctem - In Terra Profugus (2013)

Carpe Noctem "In Terra Profugus"
Autumn 2013, Code666 Records

Over the last few years, more and more bands from Iceland that I've been listening to are incredible and even though their metal scene is not big in numbers, it is huge in quality. Carpe Noctem were formed in Reykjavik back in 2005 and eight years later, their debut full length album "In Terra Profugus" is unleashed via Code666 / Aural Music. I have to say that I discovered them with this release, even though they have released a demo and and EP in the past years, and the least I can say, it was a pleasant encounter.

The typical blast-beating, fast-paced riffing and shrieking rumpus of a lot other mediocre black metal bands is amiss here. instead there is a dim, bleak atmosphere that awakes real darkness and claustrophobia. The school of Deathspell Omega has bred a lot of monstrosities, and "In Terra Profugus" will directly grab you and sink you into a thick and colourless soundscape, with no escape until the album is finished. They blend pummeling black metal with dull and gloomy doom/death, as well as ambient-esque clean melodies in a way that the music is droning, stressed and mesmerizing. The flow of the album is perfect and each song is precisely connected to the previous one, giving the impression of one 52 minute long composition, split in five chapters.

Opener "III. Odium Somniferum" starts of with a murky introduction and a doomish, painful part, that explodes into choral dementia in the third minute. Perfectly sculpted, excessive structure, with hellish guttural vocals and compelling riffs, it closes with a heartending melody, along with whispers, that continue to the beginning of "II. Ars Moriendi". It is a discordant track right at the level of the first one, and by now the band's sound is fully established. "I. Vitriol" sets off with a meditating intro, which transforms into the familiar blackness for the middle part of the song, before ending with an equally tormenting delivery. The fourth track "II. Metamorphoses Maleficarum" contains dripping rhythms and sharp, agressive noise, as well as calmer parts with clean guitars and whispering deep vocals whereas "III. Hostis Humani Generis", the longest piece on the album, moves into slow and fast parts, acclaiming the ordeal of the impending end.

Carpe Noctem's music wrings the listener off any energy, submitting them into a total devotion and attention to it's misery. Their propensity to switch between chaotic vehemence to funereal pace, combined with the remarkable musicianship create a nominee for this year's top releases. It is built from the excellent work on the skilled vocals, the tingling guitars, the double bass and the hammering drum lines, reminding a lot of their countrymen Svartidaudi. As much as I enjoyed their "Flesh Cathedral", this one stands besides it as a little brother, a sequel. It is also a conceptual record, revolving around matters of life, the self, death and the hard path towards wisdom, captured into the music as well as the lyrics and the outstanding artwork of Antti Salminen.

Very close to the core of the genre itself, "In Terra Profugus" places itself among the masterpieces of it's period. It's menacing aesthetic and notable content replenish the need of the fans for quality in new releases, it ensures that the band will be under observation, for we shall see their march forward, after this promising debut.

Track listing:
1. III. Odium Somniferum   
2. II. Ars Moriendi   
4. II. Metamorphoses Maleficarum
5. III. Hostis Humani Generis

DAMAGE: 8.5/10

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Abigor - Fractal Possession (2007)

Abigor "Fractal Possession"
Spring 2007, End All Life Productions

This album was released under the eager pressure of a strict fanbase, after a wait of six years, which means that the hardcore fans of Abigor would want to love it, but they would burn it to the ground if it had any flaws, because in the case of Abigor, flaws are not accepted. So, as everyone was anxious to witness the comeback of a high quality band with a straightforward sound and a manly use of keys, that had it's own dominance during the nineties and holds respect to this day, they punch everyone in the face with an experimental new approach. They played with fire and one can't say they won, because of the usual kultster whining, but this actually an ingenious album.

The guys probably noticed that technology can be used in favor of music and they added the element of the computer a lot to this album. Every melody is curt and accurate, carefully placed to compose a fresh new sound of sableness, when at first, every guiding lines in the composition process are erased. The songs do not follow the structure or the pattern of their early albums, and for sure the don't sound the same at all. The chaotic synth black metal characteristic of theirs is no more, and machine sounds have been added in the interludes, as well as the general production of the album, which makes every instrument sound crystal clear. A work like this resembles how fusing industrial/electronic parts to your music when you have a pure metal past actually works out and Morbid Angel should have taken a lesson before committing a crime in 2011. "Fractal Possession" feels like a bunch of ideas glued together into one nonlinear, yet consistent result that will be a little uncomfortable for purists to listen, if they do at all, because all of these unidentified noises that come and go. That's what makes a great band and if I was fond of Abigor for their early amazing era, I now salute them for having the ability and the guts to release this.

Apart from the typical black metal vocals, there are various spoken word/announcing deep cleans here and there, as well as backing screams and they are performed by a new person named AR. His services are diverse and not completely succesful, as I do dig the screams / growls but not all clean ones fit the rest of the mechanized madness. TT has returned to the drum post and his effort here is remarkable, with all kinds of fill in and blast beat lines, the sound of his hit is legit, while a bit louder at some parts. I particularly don't like the few moments that contain just the drums with a sample or vocals along, but it's not that important. The guitar parts are quite different from what you might remember, since the riffs remind more of a new age peri-apocalyptic situation, as if the cyborgs have finally conquered and destroyed planet Earth. They're not particularly catchy, but they are were written and accompanied with various robotic samples. The bass lines are enjoyable to the extent that I could understand, because they are way in the background, like an infrasound silently building an atonal groove. I really enjoyed all the electronic elements (samples, sounds etc...) despite the fact that I had my suspicions before listening to it, bands usually fuck up in this territory.

It is an album targeted to more adventurous listeners and the signs of modernity are all over it. There is a high possibility that the old-school fans will loathe every last bit of it, but there are a lot of avant-garde fans that are into innovative music, especially when it comes with an attitude. I can't label this as a masterpiece because of it's minor imperfections, but it is one of the most interesting pieces of modern black metal I have heard so far. The option to get frustrated and annoyed by this nonsense or to get excited and amazed are two black and white nearby squares, so I think this is a love-it-or-hate-it record. You have been warned.

Track listing:
1. Warning
2. Project: Shadow
3. Cold Void Choir
4. Lair of Infinite Desperation
5. 3D Blasphemy
6. The Fire Syndrome
7. Injection Satan
8. Liberty Rises a Diagonal Flame
9. Vapourized Tears
10. Heaven Unveiled

DAMAGE: 7.75/10

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Havohej - Kembatinan Premaster (2009)

Havohej "Kembatinan Premaster"
Summer 2009, Hells Headbangers Records

Havohej (Jehovah backwards... Isn't that satanic enough or what) claimed the USBM scene of the early 90s when they released a milestone album "Dethrone the Son of God" in 1993, which is considered one of the most significant records of black metal, it helped the creation of the genre and influenced a lot of bands around. Their blood brothers Profanatica were missing a full length release until 2007, despite being around since 1990, and after they got back on track with their first ever album "Profanatitas De Domonatia", it worked for the second son as well. Havohej released their second full length 16 years after their debut titled "Kembatinan Premaster", and the fans were expecting it with anxiety and desire.

The band is Paul Ledney's project, who is a member of Profanatica, and was a co-founder and drummer of Incantation as well, so he knows his stuff and is pretty experienced. In the early 90s, he became famous for his photos as a nun or naked, as well as the sacrilegious lyrics against God and Christianity in general. After all these years, with such and accepted and promising full length album, the bar was too high already and with two EPs "Tungkat Blood Wand" and "Hornbook Seytan", he gave the world an idea of what was to come. I didn't want to believe it, but something did go horribly wrong. I ignored the signs of disappointment that described these two EPs and aimed straight for this full length when it was released, to get the whole picture.

Paul has changed his prow to a different direction, which is peculiar at a first listen. There are several noise and dark ambient elements in the music that almost describe half the album, the titles of the tracks have changed into industrial-esque ones (i.e. Melancholike) and the whole sound is different. The interesting riffs of the first records, that defined the album's power, are gone. There is no guitar structure at all, instead there is a continuous noisy background glitch that keeps screeching in every song with the same sound. I assume this was done on purpose and was meant to be something primitive and innovative, which to a certain extent is, but in the end, it's just an exhausting buzz inside your head. All these machine noises are down-tuned and distorted to an amount where the clear drum sound is there alone. I can see how he attempted to create a really dark album with minimal and crooked sounds, in a way that it's not exactly black metal anymore, but something else, as noisy and evil, but it didn't work out. The structure of the album is random and the songs jump from part to part without any consistency, meaning that the dark ambient/noise elements with the drumming/vocals/guitar hush (whatever that is anyway) have not been mixed well.

"Kembatinan Premaster" has 8 tracks and lasts 34 minutes and there are tracks that climb up to 7 or 10 minutes in length. That's unusual for this band, which would not surpass 3 minutes of each song in the past, but that has also changed in the name of experimentation. There are some fast songs that remind the early era like Pious Breath, Hatefull Unto God and the opening track, but I feel like the guitar is missing and I can't withstand to listen to them for more than one time. Hopefully, Ledney's vocals have remained unharmed and their sinister sound does add something, the little it can add when the rest of the instruments are not in its favor. There is regular drumming, with fast and middle and slow paced moments, even though he has reduced the variety into the basic drum pattern, probably on purpose again but does sound repetitive and boring. Even the ambient tracks, like the ending of Pious Breath (which is exactly the same as the intro in Melancholike... What was that, a copy-paste sample in Ableton?), the intro of Hatefull to God or the outro, have nothing special at all to offer to the listener. They are pretty much nothing. If you have noticed the wrong spellings of half of the words in the song titles, i did notice it myself and i clearly don't get the reason behind them, they just look hilarious to me.

I'm not comparing the two albums since they are different in many ways. This is not a failure because it is not as good as "Dethrone the Son of God", it is a failure because it fails in production and in composition and that's why I believe it will really appeal to a few people after all. Paul Ledney has a deranged mind and he used it to create a weird album with immense darkness, but he just released a deranged album with little music in it. I can't recommend this to anyone, even though I think 1 out of 20 people will like it for some reason, and if I should really recommend a track for a taste, that would be the 7 minute Bloud Of The Word. It is the only track that has noise samples worth listening to and it is bearable for its length.

Track listing:
1. Kembatinan Premaster
2. Pious Breath
3. Bloud and Souls
4. Melancholike
5. Bloud of the Word
6. Sundowning (Destroie Men and Beasts with Lookes)
7. Hatefull unto God
8. Homerica Medicatio

DAMAGE: 2.5/10

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Havohej - Dethrone the Son of God (1993)

Havohej "Dethrone the Son of God"
Spring 1993, Candlelight Records

Are you familiar with that type of black or blackened death metal, where being disgustingly blasphemic is a key aspect to the band's attitude? This dirty and unimpressive side of the genre with daring lyrics about anything holy or religious, most of the time just a facete that covers the inability of the bands to play some actual music. Well, Havohej might be one of the most important acts of that area that contributed hell of a lot to its creation.

The band is Paul Ledney's project, who was also involved in Profanatica, if that gives you an idea. Von were around at the time, as well as Blasphemy, but Havohej was something like an unintentional prodigy among them, especially after the release of this album, which is considered and ubercult release by the black metal community. I don't think Paul realized that he put out something that would have such an impact in the underground, at first glance, it seems generic (sloppy front cover, short songs, USBM, hey...). The album has 15 songs and its length is a little below half an hour, which is not that much, especially for this many songs. Albums like this gave the green light to all kinds of hateful youngsters to exploit their puberty by cursing the religion of their annoying parents, it did set the bar low for a shitload of worthless bands to crawl out of their holes release noise, despite the fact that this particularly, is not that easy to reproduce if you listen to it closely. The album is split into two pieces, "Christ Dethroned" which contains the first 5 tracks, and "Burning Paradise" which goes through the rest until the end. The tracks of the first side are Profanatica unreleased/rehearsal tracks, which doesn't matter that much because the two bands had a very similar sound at the time.

These guys are really angry with christianity and you can feel that from the graphic lyrics of the self-titled spoken song, as well as the rest of the tracks and that epic moment when he screams "I vomit on God's child" loudly and clearly, in Weeping In Heaven. The album is famous for it's subject, which is plain and simple, nothing less and nothing more. There is no depth, sophistication or enigmatic concept behind the songs, it was meant to be dirty and it sure is. Of course, the raw production and sound helps a lot to that. There are a lot of catchy riffs in almost every song and they have been mutated with an injection of death metal to sound straight forward and unforgiving. With a bit different vocals and general arrangement, this could be an underground death metal album, but that's just an assumption. Paul Ledney's drumming has a lot of fills between the fast black metal parts and the blastbeats and you can hear some uncommon lines here and there, even though it is high in volume and did blow the rest of the instruments out a couple of times. Some doomier elements can be recognized in songs like "I Arose" too. The vocals are trembling screams, relentless, high pitched yells with a clear sound in terms of how distinguishable the lyrics are, you can actually catch up with the poetic words everywhere.

Only a few tracks reach 2-3 minutes in length. The album's longest track "Once Removed Savior" is one of my favourite in the album since it has all the characteristic of the album, from fast, spitting black metal, to a doomy passage and then a middle paced part. Combined, they describe the whole album. I can't get into the tracks that last less than a minute, as they do sound the same and i would prefer all of them to be full songs or one full song. Other standout tracks are Weeping In Heaven, Heavenly Father, Spilling Holy Blood (which has some killer guitar melodies) and of course, Dethrone the Son of God. I'm questioning the skills of Paul Ledney and the session guitarist John Gelso, because it's not a priority, but they did compose a tight album. I don't see is as a masterpiece as everybody else thinks, it has its imperfections, like the short tracks that are not unique or interesting, as well as the poor production in terms of mixing, not the sound itself. However, there are some notable moments that influenced the scene very much, Havohej have earned the respect of the fans on some level. The guys dressings and lyrics were almost ridiculous, but he made it. Candlelight Records was a success at the time and looking at it today, 20 years later, it looks like a dusty gem of the underground.

Track listing:
1. Spilling Holy Blood
2. Final Hour of Christ
3. Weeping in Heaven
4. I Arose, Part 1
5. I Arose, Part 2
6. Heavenly Fathes
7. Once Removed Savior
8. Raping of Angels, Part 1
9. Raping of Angels, Part 2
10. The King of the Jews
11. Behold the Prince of Peace
12. Holy Blood Holy Grail
13. Fucking of Sacred Assholes
14. Nazarene Decomposing
15. Dethrone the Son of God

DAMAGE: 7.0/10

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Lustre - They Awoke to the Scent of Spring (2012)

Lustre "The Awoke to the Scent of Spring"
Autumn 2012, De Tenebrarum Principio


This Swedish outfit is a project of Nachtzeit (ex-member of Hypothermia) and it specializes in slow-paced, woeful music, embodied with a natural aura and influenced from the elements themselves. "They Awoke to the Scent of Spring" is the third full length by the band and as I suspected, the music again is tenuous, lacking any extraordinary instruments or tools, and most of all relaxing.

The only characteristic that reminds of anything that has to do with metal here is the vocals. The voice of Nachtzeit sounds like a desperate echo in a vast forest, moves between screaming and whispering and definitely adds to the atmosphere, instead of displaying a kind of difference in any way. Compared to their older records, the vocals have not changed in various ways. Apart from the sound, which is identical, their spot in the album is as it was, distinctively recounting the very few lyrics and mainly standing back from the guitars and the synths to chisel the album's familiar sound. The album is split in four parts and only the first two have lyrics, leaving the last two completely instrumental. The length of the album is also close to what Lustre usually produce, counting 40 minutes of solitude.

One needs to be on a certain state of mind to follow the album without getting frustrated or falling asleep, since it is monotonous and minimalistic in a way that nothing resounding happens while it's playing. The slow tempo and the sparse variations might work for some to sink into the dreary musical journey that Lustre is, while at the same time, might as well disappoint and bother others, who prefer more activity and energy in their music.

Part 1 and Part 2 can be described as the solite hypnotic black metal that Nachtzeit composes and they are similar to their earlier albums, especially in "A Glimpse of Glory". Consisting of distant vocals and very few drums, synths and pianos, they do create an atmosphere of nostalgia and awe to the magnificence of nature, but still they do not surpass what the band has already released. There are fewer samples and a bit more key usage in this side of the album. Part 3 and Part 4 are quite different, as in Part 3 one can hear the sad melodies of a non-distorted and non-fuzzy guitar, along with the synth in the background. The whole track has a repetitive guitar and synth line, with simple drumming added towards the end of the song. Part 4 is the most organic song of the album and has sounds of rain and laid back ambiance for almost eight minutes.

I did not hear anything new from the band when I checked this album, they are at a certain level without degrading, but not improving either. The eerie music of Lustre needs to be dealt with at night, only then will it be admired more, even though this one is not as enticing as other pieces of his.

Track listing:
01. Part 1
02. Part 2
03. Part 3
04. Part 4

DAMAGE: 6.5/10

Youtube Sessions (IV)

Megadeth - Rust In Peace
1990, Capitol Records

To end the Metallica/Megadeth comparisons forever, I think this album is better than anything both Megadeth and Metallica have ever released. The band's best tracks are in here, back when Mustaine focused on the music and not on becoming the next president.

Kreator - Coma of Souls
1990, Noise Records

This is Kreator at its best. Maybe one of their best albums and one of the best thrash metal albums in general. It is a band that has stayed great all these years, but this album was astonishing when it was released, and it still is to this day. The german-accent of English sounds pretty rad as well. Coma of Souls is a thrash masterpiece that has proved itself with time and it is a must for anyone into the scene. Go buy it.

Agalloch - The Mantle
2002, The End Records

A band with a great discography in their eighteen year carreer that has strongly influenced many bands that later followed the same style, and The Mantle is them at their peak. A milestone for atmospheric/dark metal (if that describes what they play) full of ethereal passages with dreary vocals, melancholic acoustic guitars, solid riffs.

In Flames - Sounds of a Playground Fading
2011, Century Media Records

I was never a fan of this band, I only appreciate their early days for their contribution the the good side of melodic death metal (even though they are responsible for a big part of the shitty one too). Still, I think this as a Century Media-driven, soft, mainstream record with nothing special in it. His voice is clear and sadly, I can understand the lyrics, it's a nightmare.

Amon Amarth - Surtur Rising
2011, Metal Blade Records

In their recent albums, Amon Amarth have added a lot of heavy metal elements in their music. This album is good nonetheless, I really like Johan's vocals and the powerful riffs and solos. Destroyer of the Universe has a really strong chorus that perfectly describes the band's best music, and no, I don't think covering Aerials was a bad idea. I hate the original song anyway.

Lamb of God - Ashes of the Wake
2004, Epic Records

I came across this album when I was young, back when I started looking into anything that has to with metal. That's why it's my favourite album by them, judging from the fact that I only like specific songs of their discography. Groove on.

Disturbed - The Lost Children
2011, Reprise Records

The same problem that I had with In Flames above, annoying modern metal equal to garbage. Nothing to listen to here.

Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies
2006, Roadrunner Records

I admire this band, on some extent, when they first started playing, they had the enthusiasm, the talent, the originality. This one is a poor album though, and what came later made the situation worse. I won't be listening to it again. It is generally a band I have problems with,  but sometimes like listening to for a few minutes or something. This album is the least attractive to me.

Tenacious D - Tenacious D
2001, Epic Records

I love Jack Black. I love the music of Tenacious D, despite being ridiculous at many moments. Listen to Karate, Fuck Her Gently, Wonderboy, Tribute, Explosivo and you'll get my point. It's true that they owe their popularity to their success (!?) in various movies, but still some of their songs are really entertaining and it reminded me of the randomness of Bloodhound Gang.

Black Sabbath - Paranoid
1970, Warner Bros. Records

No comments.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Lustre - A Glimpse of Glory (2010)

Lustre "A Glimpse of Glory"
Autumn 2010, De Tenebrarum Principio

Nachtzeit is not fooling around, instead he is focused on his project and keeps the releases coming every now and then. Lustre's second full length album "A Glimpse of Glory" was released a year after the first and an EP was out in the meantime, so the ground was still soft from the earlier releases. The record lies heavily on the atmosphere and the slow-paced tempo, but has undergone some alterations compared to "Night Spirit" and "Welcome Winter" EP.

The music is seperated to three pieces instead of two, without changing the overall length, which still clocks at 40 minutes. The ambiance of the tracks is not limited to some warm keyboard melodies, it has grown more spherical and contains all kinds of wild nature samples, like wind blowing, waves, wolf howls, ravens, birds... There is a second synth line that accompanies the guitars for a background basis, and on top of it are the various keys and the vocals, which sound distorted and afflictive. The music has grown into something deep and organic as well as atmospheric.

The first song "This Mighty Sight" (and by the way, i do prefer song titles instead of Part 1, Part 2 etc...) starts of with the sound of the wind, and shortly after there is a thrilling synth line which basically describes the first 10 minutes of the song. Towards the ending, there is a part that will be familiar to any fans of their first stuff, since it has these droning guitars with the scarce drumming and the soft keyboards, certainly provokes emotions. It is also the longest composition of the album, lasting 16 minutes. The second song "Lunar Light" has a 3 minute quiet intro and then kicks in with the same eerie ambiance as in the first song and closes with the sound of an outcrying wolf pack. The title of the album resembles a positive meaning and that is instrumentated in the last song "Amongst the Trees" which is a track of calmness and ebullience, consisting of synths and singing birds. I'm left with a feeling of euphoria as the album ends. The whole record contains only 4 lines of lyrics in the first song, the rest is fully instrumental.

I was expecting not to like this that much it really has a great touch on ambient black metal in a gentle way, that it completely erases the aggression of black metal itself. One has to be in the mood to appreciate this kind of music and if you do, i think this will come in handy during the late night hours.

Track listing:
1. This Mighty Sight
2. Lunar Light
3. Amongst the Trees

DAMAGE: 7.25/10

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Lustre - Welcome Winter (2009) [EP]

Lustre "Welcome Winter"
Late winter 2009, De Tenebrarum Principio

"Welcome Winter" was the first material i ever listened by Lustre, right before their debut full length "Night Spirit". The EP and the album were both released in 2009 with a difference of 7 months, and not much had changed in their music after all. This release seems like a shorter, about half the size, record which keeps the same aesthetic as "Night Spirit" and could easily be contained in it.

The structure of the album is familiar, since there are two tracks named Part 1 and part 2, exactly like in the full length. The only difference this time, is that the total length climbs not higher than 20 minutes, granting the two compositions with 10 minutes each, making the EP significantly shorter and less boring. The music itself is keyboard driven and builds a quiescent atmosphere with the buzzy guitars and the synth melodies, with incomprehensible screaming vocals that sound like strong wind during a freezing night. As the title states, the record is a manifestation of winter, the coldest and most inhospital season of the year.

The first part of the release is one of my favourite Lustre songs, just because i always sink into the introduction melody, which is to me, one of the best Nachtzeit has composed. With slightly more ambient parts and a couple of added changes throughout the song, he has created music exactly as his earlier full album, but just a little richer. The fact that both tracks are shorter avoids the tremendous monotony that was present before, and makes, just a little more pleasant. The role of the drums has been neglected, they are low in volume, more like background beats, similar to the ones of the heart, with seldom any tempo changes.

The second part is of the same weight as the first, with a very nice part during the last two minutes. As thought tangling as the music is, it has a tiny share of hope, driven out from nostalgia and melancholy. If it could depict winter, the listener would be in a warm, wooden house in a forest, nice a stone fireplace, protected from the wrath of nature, instead of being out exposed to it. This EP is the sibling of the first full length "Night Spirit", at the same pace and feeling, challenging the elements with its patience to unfold.

Track listing:
1. Part 1
2. Part 2

DAMAGE: 7.25/10

Door to Door Promotion: JJ Flames & The Genesis of Evil

Three paths that lead to three doors. Three doors that open into one room.

It is here that JJ Flames and the Genesis of Evil converged. Three different journeys, but their underlying truths were alike. A passion for music, words and creativity bound them together, and it was from this unity that Shadow Flag was born.

SHADOW FLAG is the story of The Voyager. It combines elements of poetry and dark music so that this tale can be told.
The Voyager traverses his own hells with a sole purpose - to seek out a life without disguise. A life for the self. A life beneath the layers. A life that all must discover.

JJ Flames & The Genesis of Evil is a black metal/spoken word poetry project. They just released their album "Shadow Flag" and it is more or less a dark audio book with background dark ambient music. It is something authentic and it was an interesting listen, as the tracks deliver the stories in an amazing way.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Lustre - Night Spirit (2009)

Lustre "Night Spirit"
Spring 2009, De Tenebrarum Principio


Some years ago, when i was strongly into the DSBM scene with a purpose to find all the decent bands out there, i stumbled upon Lustre, a band that was complimented by the majority of the fans around the genre, and by the time, this was the only full length they had released. It is a project by the Swede Nachtzeit, who has also be involved in Hypothermia, a respectively more famous act.

"Night Spirit" contains two repetitive and monotonous 20 minute tracks, named Part 1 and Part 2. As Lustre focuses heavily on the atmosphere of the album, the tracks are composed with hardly any variations, aiming to wring the listener into the nothingness. Each song consists of regular, slow drumming, a simple riff or two, which goes on for the whole length, a mourning keyboard and some hissing vocals that appear and disappear inside the tracks. A couple of minutes are enough for each song to give you the idea of what's going to be playing for the next 20 minutes so it will probably mean something to the people that admire such a style, like myself. I don't really care about the repetitiveness here, it produces a droning calmness with ounces of despairs via the vocals and it's not difficult to approach, due to the neatness and simplicity of the instrumentation.

The first song starts of with a guitar line that has a hollow sound, creating an awesome background standard. In the frontline of the song lies the keyboard melody, which is funereal, yet hopeful, and pretty much stands out by itself. The screaming whispers of Nachtzeit come along to demonstrate Lustre's music at its full potential, and that lasts about 14 minutes, when a synth-only part comes in and keeps going until the end. The second song has a more "living" riff, which is more distinguishable in a way. These new 20 minutes follow the same pattern as the first part of the album, but i have to say i enjoyed this one a little bit more, because it gripped me more. Despite it's plain and simple playing style, "Night Spirit" has a significant level of uniqueness, which derives from the vocals and the keys in the songs. Monotony is not even a negative factor.

Even though it has the level of sorrow and depression i want in these albums, it didn't fully captivate me and i feel that if i was to listen to the album alone, without anything else to do or think, i would, at some point, get sleepy. Maybe that was what the band was going for anyway and for a first attempt, it is a promising album.

Track listing:
1. Part 1
2. Part 2

DAMAGE: 7.0/10

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Vorum - Poisoned Void (2013)

Early winter 2013, Woodcut Records

Finnish Vorum released their debut full length "Poisoned Void" early this year and that adds yet another band to the modern old school death metal scene, as if the past is coming back to haunt us all. Formerly known as Haudankaivaja, these guys got together in 2005 with a mission to pay their respects to the roots of the genre. This album is like a finger pointer to the early death metal bands and they are not forgotten or forgiven, and since it's the first full work by the band (along with a poor demo and split w. Vasaeleth), it should be given priority.

No need to mention the awesomeness of the artwork this album has, which is very similar to my favourite pieces in black metal like the covers of Ravencult's Morbid Blood, Watain's Lawless Darkness (and everything), Behexen's Night Emanations and goes on... A perfect cover for the occasion for sure. 8 tracks reach 35 minutes in total length, with average 3-4 minutes songs expect the last self-titled one with lasts 7. The band has managed to create an album that depicts an amalgamation of different death metal styles of the 90s, moving from the American, to the Swedish, to the Finnish scene over and over again. With a sound that's heavy, thick and obscure, gnashing vocals and a shitstorm of riffs and solos, not only do they play something enjoyable to listen to, the very combination of influences results into a somehow unique synthesis.

Most of the tracks are quick-paced and vehement, with some Autopsian doomy riff exceptions, hopefully very few, no more is needed anyway. Every instrument is pleasingly audible and something i admired was the setting of the solos, which are given a clear sound and don't bury or get buried by the rest of the fuss, therefore not losing an ounce of their quality due to the production (check the track Evil Seed to see what i'm talking about, it's one of the best in the album too). The vocals are something between growling and screaming/Sorcery-like shouting, which is expected of them and acceptable as well. There are not any variations of them during the album, but still they are not out of place or weak by any means. It is a crossing between the growls of van Druned and Tardy, if names are needed.

The drumming moves into regular drumming and blastbeats, it is a bit high in volume in the mixing, but not high like it would destroy everything, more likely to improve it, being a great companion and giving a heart beating pace. Each song has a bunch of different riffs to grow around, making it very interesting to listen to, as they are using the not at all worn out recipe that Entombed introduced to the game. Their music is dirty enough to be given an Angelcorpse / Incantation feeling, since it has a raw blackened sound with hammering compositions from the beginning to the end. The songs are not overfilled with ideas and their moderate length helps them to be easy to digest and eventually headbang to, so as a whole, it is a comfortable album.

Track listing:
1. Impetuous Fires
2. Death's Stains
3. Rabid Blood
4. Thriving Darkness
5. Evil Seed
6. In Obscurity Revealed
7. Dance of Heresy
8. Poisoned Void

DAMAGE: 7.5/10