For the first time in their discography so far, Sacred Son make a significant stylistic change of heart when deciding for an album cover ar...

For the first time in their discography so far, Sacred Son make a significant stylistic change of heart when deciding for an album cover art, a topic that was on its own a topic of discussion up to now. We were used to seeing rather earthly, social media-like personal pictures so far, which not only didn't remind of a black metal band at all, they wouldn't fit (unlike the music) any category of the "extreme" scene or anything even remote to that. At the same time, that was the most eye-catching point of the band for me, as the music itself was, at the times when it wasn't just clear reproduction of already known atmospheric / black metal, just uninspiring.

To be fair, the cover of The Foul Deth of Engelond is now amazing. The story behind this conceptual album is also really intriguing, covering the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, an important event in the history of England, and with a clear social predilection that is still relevant today, and more and more vocal within extreme metal. In that sense, I am totally for the turn Sacred Son have taken with their latest album. However, the band's material is still carrying the same problematic ends I have found in their previous works, and while having a handful of potent moments, it is in general a rather mediocre effort.

All tracks (apart from an one minute introduction) are long in duration and have multiple segments stapled together. There is a sense of flow which isn't perfect, but not completely out of balance either, as there are dots connecting the different parts together. Sacred Son's formula is easy to follow, and one can listen to it in the album's first two tracks, which are basically identical: middle paced build up moments, intense fast tempos with pale keyboards in the back, and back to slow or too slow sections that sometimes overstay their welcome.

For example, the ending of the self-titled track is clearly too long and without any kind of change, filling up a couple of extra minutes for no apparent reason. At the same time, the earlier, faster part is decent, and the same goes for "La Blakheth", which has a really dull introduction but a bit more intriguing guitar activity towards the middle (yet, something you have definitely heard before), before going back to slow-tempos of too many repetitions. The vocals are generally weak, and these two tracks specifically, have a kind of whispering / breathing into the microphone technique that I thought was horrible.

The Foul Deth of Engelond continues with an equally turbulent track that is unsure in itself what atmosphere to evoke (a general problem of the album, it's clear and without a substantial atmosphere at any point despite the attempts). By "Vengeance I & II", the album's last track, Sacred Son have completely given up, that track is basically nine minutes of waiting for a main part that never comes. Apart from the rhythmic introduction with male / female clean vocals, which makes you want to listen to late Wolves in the Throne Room or Wardruna, this track is by far the weakest here.

From the record, I enjoyed the more violent moments. However, they are scrambled together with a lot of slow-paced monotony, too many smaller elements that don't add up (piano, samples, unfortunately don't work) and a clear weakness of understanding of how to take a certain approach. The Foul Deth of Engelond remains as another boring Sacred Son album that I'm not going to listen to again, yet I was satisfied that I saw such a nice design and tracks with interesting lyrics for once. That they know well.

DAMAGE: 2.5/5 [Average]

It has happened that I have turned off a Primitive Man record, especially their early material, just because of how empty and long the comp...

It has happened that I have turned off a Primitive Man record, especially their early material, just because of how empty and long the compositions were. At the same time, when they aim more accurately, their absolutely crushing side becomes more prevalent. 

While I enjoyed their last couple of albums, I still think a major issue of this band is the length and the monotony of their work, which is always too much for too little. Funnily enough, this EP is longer than their last full length Immersion, and it includes a Smashing Pumpkins cover of the song "Quiet", but you will not recognize it.

Insurmountable that the equally scourging production of their recent works, and the same musical approach, so not much have changed: the second track "Boiled" is a solid noise / dark ambient piece, "Cage Intimacy" is borderline boring but a certain fan pleaser, the opener "This Life" is the actually legit and enjoyable piece and "Quiet" surpasses the notion of a cover, it's vastly different, it didn't fully fit to my ears and just makes you want to listen to the actual Smashing Pumpkins

Therefore, this EP is a hit and miss for me, I'm taking away the first track and probably nothing more. But still, just for the average amount of heaviness they manage, it's a pass.

Label: Closed Casket Activities
Country: USA
Release date: May 13th, 2022
Website: Facebook

DAMAGE: 3/5 [Good]

Nechochwen definitely take their time creating new material and their discography might be short but very efficient, as they have had a rat...

Nechochwen definitely take their time creating new material and their discography might be short but very efficient, as they have had a rather splendid series of full length albums since their debut, Algonkian Mythos in 2008, especially their latest work, 2015’s Heart of Akamon. I was also impressed by their side on the split with Panopticon in 2020, which made me re-run the band’s earlier records while waiting for their next chapter. Kanawha Black now arrives seven years after its predecessor, and not only doesn’t disappoint, but has some of the most well-worked Nechochwen have put together in the project’s lifetime.

Once started as a pure neofolk / acoustic band, such elements still resonate very strongly in Nechochwen’s music. The record has plenty of melodic, almost purely acoustic chunks with enjoyable clean vocals, which are sometimes used exclusively (for example, in “The Murky Deep” and “I Can Die But Once”) but also as parts of longer compositions. The production glorifies the band’s earthy sound and emphasizes the variety of melodies Nechochwen employ, in a record that is by no means down lifting but rather epic and of great conceptual concept. Apart from the slightly more surprising short piece “A Cure for the Winter Plagues”, which has the pattern and deep growls of a funeral doom metal track, most tempos in Kanawha Black are middle / fast paced and its flow is impeccable. 

When the tracks get more direct and closer to clear black metal, there is always a set of dominating, blistering guitars that completely lay on folk / atmospheric black directions, yet don’t imagine the use of extra instruments to achieve an atmosphere. Shrieked vocals are awesome and the song structures are especially appealing, as it is demonstrated in “Visions, Dreams and Signs” or the opening, self-titled. The last part of Kanawha Black features another set of two amazing pieces, “Generations of War” and “Across the Divide”, which include all the fine tools of the band’s arsenal combined together in a quite successful way. I would personally prefer more screaming than singing especially in the distorted guitar parts, yet that is only personal, it doesn't really take any merit from the final work away.

It has been proven before that Nechochwen a really powerful band and their newest work is surely compelling at all levels. Not the average folk black project, full of interesting ideas and intense compositions with great riffs and some soloing only when needed, and not as a means of making an impression of skill. Kanawha Black is, as their previous works, strongly connected to nature and would make great company for a short hike out in the woods. 


Label: Bindrune Recordings
Country: Canada
Release date: May 13th, 2022
Website: Facebook

DAMAGE: 4/5 [Excellent]

Four years and some turbulence since Trident Wolf Eclipse , the most commercially successful black metal band of our time returns with a new...

Four years and some turbulence since Trident Wolf Eclipse, the most commercially successful black metal band of our time returns with a new installment to their discography, transparently called The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain just as a characterization of their lifestyle and music career up to this day. Once again recorded at Necromorbus Studio at their hometown, Watain's body of work has always been catered from start to finish by its own people and similar-minded disciples, and at the end of the day, even if you can have any studio you want on the planet, why change a winning team...

For starters, I prefer this artwork to the previous album. While The Wild Hunt had to me the best visuals Watain have ever done, there are times that I have not understood their choices in that district. A rework of their mid 00's logo, infused with an Impetigo / Merciless kind of chaotic font filling, in vivid red color above a chock-full design makes a good case of presenting the record along with the way the title is written on it. At the same time, I'm not sure how I feel about the title itself, and this extends to some track titles in the record. For a band that is quite capable of writing great lyrics, I imagine they spent too much time touring with Profanatica before coming up with "Black Cunt", and also, what is a funeral winter? Strictly speaking, that means nothing.

Sound wise, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain has a crystal clear production and a bombastic sound that won't let down fans of the band. The record is full of the quintessential, melodic structures Watain are known for, and shows a more distinct experimentation with different tempos within compositions, while at times being totally chaotic in high speed moments. I found Trident Wolf Eclipse to be a more direct album, as The Agony... shows a stronger propensity towards clearer melodies without missing thunderous turns of pumped energy that as a fan, you should be really eager to see live. For example, "Leper's Grace" is one of the most straightforward and heaviest tracks I have heard from Watain the last few years, it doesn't hold back for a second, and the same goes for the blasting opener "Ecstasies In Night Infinite" which serves as a great introduction to the album.

One of the singles put out prior to the full release, is a track that I feel can be the next big hit of the band and played around as frequently as a piece like "Malfeitor" or "Reaping Death". Built as the clearest example of what this band is, "The Howling" is what you should suggest to someone new to Watain if you want to show them the most typical sample of what they are about, and it's a pretty enjoyable banger as a whole, even though I don't like the very first two seconds, where that tiny opening riff should have been skipped completely. In some of its longer pieces, The Agony... showcases Watain's competency with creating impassioned guitar lines when they're not too busy playing fast and destructive, and "Before the Cataclysm" depicts exactly that.

Two guest appearances are featured in the record's 8th track "We Remain" (another title at the same level like "They Rode On"), specifically In Solitude's bassist Gottfrid Åhman and the frontman of The Devil's Blood, Farida Lemouchi. Watain have been in very good relations with both these bands and have paid their respect to The Devil's Blood in the past, which makes this collaboration totally reasonable, and it's the time when the band leaves the space open for these amazing female vocals to define this epic slow paced track, which has much stronger and better substance than the previous time when they tried clean vocals in The Wild Hunt. It is not a track I will be listening to that much, but I can tell its evocative nature and finally doesn't feel forced, and it fits well with the rest of the album.

With that being said, there is no point for the short piano piece "Nor sun nor man nor god" to be here, as it's overly simplistic and even includes some guitar playing. Why not make this the introduction of the next track for example? These choices of metal bands always baffle me. Weak moments also lie in the tracks "Serimosa" and the aforementioned "Black Cunt", with the latter being the most boring piece in the album, especially for this compositional pattern of abrupt starting and stopping of the guitars that is frequently used in it, which made it skippable for me. Luckily, it is just one track, and while "Serimosa" seemingly has nice melodies, I would have liked less repetition there too, and its timidness made it a bit unimpressive to me.

The Agony... concludes its piece well, with two really well written black metal pieces, "Funeral Winter" (... ok) and "Serpentrion". The glorious days of the past, when a whole Watain album was a hellish masterpiece, are gone. Nevertheless, it's pretty clear that the flame is still burning for this band and they have not strayed that much from their path, they are extremely skilled and capable of creating their own sound in black metal despite being so honorary towards their influences, and they have not been afraid to experiment. This album represents a fine next step to what they have been doing, and it has several really acute and potent moments, as well as some clear missteps for me. However, even the more fragile moments of the band are still very high in my preferences list, so...

"A cross has been carved in the place where we go to die
There they await, to draw every secret from you
And the blood of thy heart"


Label: Nuclear Blast
Country: Sweden
Release date: April 29th, 2022
Website: Instagram

DAMAGE: 4/5 [Excellent]

This Finnish band's acute sting is no wonder when taking into account its members, who are also active in projects like Lie In Ruins , P...

This Finnish band's acute sting is no wonder when taking into account its members, who are also active in projects like Lie In Ruins, Profetus, Tyranny and Concrete Winds, some of the most high quality extreme metal out of that country, considering everything (you heard me). Nevertheless, I never gave Corpsessed a proper listen except for 2018's Impetus of Death, which I had found more than entertaining, and now their fourth full length and first release in three years, Succumb to Rot, which is as bludgeoning as the title suggests.

While disregarding excess in technicality, the record thrives on potent, heavy riffing with numerous middle and slower paced moments, cavernous vocals and harsh but clear production that has admittedly taken a step or two forward compared to their previous material. There is a leveled amount of old school death metal groove in Succumb to Rot, as well as excellent drumming with an even more excellent sound, definitely one of the highlights for me that made the tracks even more pleasing throughout the listen. Corpsessed have a good sense of riff sequencing and are not afraid to switch tempos when needed, achieving a result that stands out for its amounts of the purest element of the genre, brutality.

It's not that Succumb to Rot is completely void of filler moments. Especially in the longer tracks of the record (such as "Profane Phlegm", "Sublime Indignation" or "Spiritual Malevolence"), I heard some moments that served as little too long bridges between actually solid parts in the composition, especially when the band decides to go almost towards doom / death territories. This little point can remain under the radar though and won't really annoy the ear of a listener who gives themselves up to the album, an otherwise wholesome experience. These tracks are also enjoyable, but I do think Corpsessed are flawless in their shortest pieces, especially "Relentless Entropy". I could also live without this two minute introduction, but it does somehow set a mood. Imagine though, the record starting with the massive second track!

Corpsessed explode just before the record ends with the longest piece in the record, "Pneuma Akathartos", meaning unclean spirit in Greek and slightly grammatically incorrect (the correct phrase would be pneuma akatharto). Here, one can hear actually efficient doom-ish passages in between completely crushing death metal that brought Desolate Shrine in mind, while Corpsessed are more of an Incantation / Disma kind of hellspawn. Succumb to Rot does not come lightly, it doesn't contain any tricks to sound as punishing as it does and it resembles the image of a giant boulder running over the house. All in all, it hits what death metal can and should hit.
  
Label: Dark Descent Records
Country: Finland
Release date: April 22nd, 2022
Website: Instagram

DAMAGE: 3.5/5 [Great]

Band: Suppression Country: Chile Album: The Sorrow of Soul Through Flesh Label: Unspeakable Axe Records Website: Facebook What needs t...

Band: Suppression
Country: Chile
Album: The Sorrow of Soul Through Flesh
Label: Unspeakable Axe Records
Website: Facebook


What needs to be stressed when looking at this new Chilean band, with only a couple of demos and an EP under their belts so far, is that it consists of members who also play in the - also relatively new - death / thrash band Ripper. And over there, they have shown to have an excellent grip on creating fast and pumped, old school rooted, menacing metal with no elements of modernity, as with 2016's Experiment of Existence being to me, one of the best album of its kind for that decade. The same gifted individuals now take a turn towards purer death metal and the underground should be happy.

For people listening to this music more than just to find out what they like and pass their time, it's an ordeal to end up finding a band with substance, mainly because of the rate records are released and how different approaches sometimes miss core points. Once one tries to play it old school, one sounds worse than what we have already heard. Once one tries to go on cleaner and more modern playing, one puts oneself in danger of lacking meaning in the music for the sake of ultra complex technique. In the end, I am frustrated to listen to 90% of death metal bands with fancy album covers out there. Oh, what is this, another Swedish chainsaw sound record about death? Just what we needed.

Considering these side notes, Suppression is a breath of fresh air in a post-apocalyptic, barren and uninhabitable wasteland. This band understands the essence of the riff. The flow and structure of their tracks is perfect, every instrument is audible and has a purpose in the composition, and they dare to experiment more than once in this album. Production-wise, the same muddy sound of the Ripper albums is ongoing, but it shouldn't be anything other than that. There's a ton of bulldozing guitar melodies all over the place, wonderfully placed together in seamless changes of tempos and it's above all, naturally heavy. 

Of the two instrumentals, there is one short acoustic piece and a more elaborated piece "Unwinded Harmonies", in the same spirit like the rest of the record, only more abstract and experimental that reminds a bit of early technical death metal's unconventional side, but only in parts of it. I liked all the solos I heard in The Sorrow of Soul Through Flesh, which also features vocals very close to the style of Obituary, and it's the only minor drawback I could find. While there's nothing wrong with how the vocalist sounds, sometimes it gets to close to this way of singing (for example in the second track "Overfeeding Gaps"), which is already a bit particular.

Apart from that, the record is full of amazing death metal tracks. The opening "Lifelessness", as well as "Lost Eyes" and "Monochromatic Chambers" are highlights, for their glorious guitar and bass moments, with the latter having a vibrant presence in the album, as it should always be. The take home message here is the same as in the other band of these Chileans, that you can still play old school without boring the listener to death, and it can be worthy listening to even further away from the ears of the fanatics of traditional metal that don't go for anything else. As much as I like Ripper, I like Suppression now.


Release date: April 25th, 2022

Tracklist:
1. Lifelessness
2. Overfeeding Gaps 
3. Monochromatic Chambers
4. Unperpetual Misery
5. Unwinding Harmonies
6. Lost Eyes
7. Misunderstanding Reality
8. Self-Eaten Alive
9. Arrowheads
10. Extortion Behaviors

Band: E-L-R Country: Switzerland Album: Vexier Label: Prophecy Productions Website: Facebook The second full length by Swiss doom / ps...

Band: E-L-R
Country: Switzerland
Album: Vexier
Label: Prophecy Productions
Website: Facebook


The second full length by Swiss doom / psychedelic rock / blackgaze / atmospheric-post metal band E-L-R sees the light of day three years after their promising debut Mænad, and proves that it is sometimes rather senseless to force a genre label to something, after this description surpasses two words. It is still a case of an artist that has, to me, quite clear musical leanings, yet I can't stick just one genre tag on them, and I was reminded of this through their latest installment, a brand new full length named Vexier

E-L-R is a concoction of a few but assertive elements: powerful middle-paced post-metal riffing (similar to which, you have heard from the giants of the genre), a few slow ritualistic passages, even fewer intense, black metal-ish moments and dominant atmosphere in reverb. They sure take their time with Vexier, as tracks repeat and repeat themselves and you catch yourself nodding without realizing it. This is a double edged sword though: the music works perfectly almost as a secondary presence, but might lose a more impatient listener, who doesn't focus on anything else at the time of listening, along the way. At the same time, Vexier has the complete skillset to absolutely captivate and let everything drawn in to its world, once the conditions are right.

For me, the record has enough variety to stay interesting even when they're pushing the boundaries of repetitiveness at times. Consider how quickly rhythms change in "Three Winds", which dances between a black metal introduction, post-rock clean guitars and atmospheric doom metal with impressive vocals (a point that I will come back to later). At the same time, the droning, funereal tracks "Fleurs of Decay" and "Seeds", barely change tone throughout their duration, bringing in mind the compositional approach of Indian to me, even though the music is of course not the same. "Fleurs of Decay" is great, as is the massive closer piece "Forêt". Its introduction, as if taken from a Wolves in The Throne Room record, builds up for almost six minutes before unraveling long one note melodies and a melancholic ending which goes hand in hand with how Vexier opens during the first seconds of "Opiate the Sun".

That track is also very characteristic of what E-L-R are doing, and the horsepower and weight of these riffs, really make them worthy of the name. In its 12 minutes of length, "Opiate the Sun" is a delight to listen to, exactly because of how heavy the melodies are, the organic production and even more, the ethereal female vocals. By far my favorite aspect of Vexier, which hardly has any lyrics (thank you), is the usage of chanting distant female vocals as layers of specific parts of the compositions, instead of having a leading role, and it works marvelously. I felt the message of the band being successfully conveyed through the tracks, and all the little additions like rain or flowing water samples just put even more force for the ink on the stamp to stay. 

I am all up for the nature oriented adaptation of the band and agree with most of their choices, musical and aesthetical. E-L-R left a good mark with their debut but didn't hook me back then, I think with Vexier I am seriously revisiting the band will be paying more close attention to their creations. As a person who can be easily alienated by uninspired post-metal, I think E-L-R let their ideas grow and construct their own realm in this genre, as a multi-faceted band with more to give than what you would perceive with just one quick listen. And to think I almost missed this!


Release date: March 11th, 2022

Tracklist:
1. Opiate the Sun
2. Three Winds
3. Seeds
4. Fleurs of Decay
5. Forêt

Listen:

  Band: Deathspell Omega Country: France Album: The Long Defeat Label: Norma Evangelium Diaboli Website: Bandcamp   Yes. Release date...

 Band: Deathspell Omega
Country: France
Album: The Long Defeat
Label: Norma Evangelium Diaboli
Website: Bandcamp
 


Yes.



Release date: March 23rd, 2022

Tracklist:
1. Enantiodromia
2. Eadem, sed aliter
3. The Long Defeat
4. Sie sing gerichtet!
5. Our Life Is Your Death
 
Listen:

Hello there, all the best from Arson Cafe. Feel free to give a short introduction of Boarhammer and the motives behind the band. The Vessel:...

  • Hello there, all the best from Arson Cafe. Feel free to give a short introduction of Boarhammer and the motives behind the band.

The Vessel:
Hi there, thank you very much for your interest in our music. BOARHAMMER was started by Wodwoz and me in the late summer of 2020. The two of us have known each other for several years; we each were involved in different projects in former times and liked to hang out and have a couple of drinks together. After not having been involved in any bands for quite some time and often having discussed our musical as well as philosophical backgrounds and preferences, often during nightly walks in the local woods, we decided that we needed to join our creative forces and found a band. We briefly played with the idea to try to find other like-minded spirits who might want to become a part of what was about to become the BOARHAMMER, but we soon had to realize that our common ideas and agenda would make it difficult for any third parties to become a part of the Boar Cult without having to make any kind of compromise. Consequently, we went all in as a duo and started to conjure up the musical and mythological concept of the BOARHAMMER.

  • I discern a strong old school influence in your music, back from the days of the first wave of black metal.What are your musical influences?

The Vessel:
Your impression is correct. When I first got in touch with black metal in the early 1990s, the story more or less went the same way as that of many other people who later became involved in this kind of music. I was flabbergasted and deeply impressed with the music as well as the attitude and actions of several of the genre’s pioneers from Norway. But it did not take long for me to develop an interest in the bands and people that had influenced those crazy Norwegians. As a result it was inevitable for me to stumble across bands like Hellhammer, Venom, Celtic Frost, Bathory, but also the weirder stuff from Eastern Europe like Master’s Hammer or Root. The amalgamation of these influences, together with parallel experiences in the world of punk rock and death metal, made me develop a strong affection for music with a much stronger focus on spirit and attitude than on technical ability of the musicians. I just love the combination of primitive but gripping music with obscure, occult, philosophical or downright weird lyrical concepts.

  • One of the themes you're revolving around seems to be the "strangeness of liquids and herbs". Could you elaborate on the interest in this topic?

The Vessel:
For my part, I do have an interest in the obscurer branches of witchcraft and the occult. I enjoy dealing with these topics on a theoretical level, but I also like to delve into certain aspects of praxis. I am curious about the effects of certain plants and herbs, and I also do not reject the idea of either expanding or shutting off one’s mind via the help of strong liquids, sometimes in combination with other substances. However, when  other aspects of the craft are concerned, I am of the opinion that magickal praxis is a very individual thing, hence I would prefer to leave it at that. 

  • Congratulations on your first demo "I: Cutting Wood for Magickal Purposes". Was it a completely DIY process, including the physical copies?

The Vessel:
Yes. So far, we have done everything ourselves, beginning with the recording process and ending with the visual design and the promo work. The DIY approach to our art is pretty important to us, since we prefer to be in control of all aspects of what we create. However, we do not completely reject the idea of working together with labels or other people, but it is important to us that potential candidates for collaborations share crucial aspects of our philosophy and also value the freedom of the artist.

  • Having the notation "I" in it, one would suspect there will be a continuation of the demo. Is it a series of releases with the same concept or story, and are you working on new material now?

The Vessel:
We have decided to label the demo tape as our first release to point out that more is to be expected. Our demo is not a concept album; however, there are certain aspects of folk magick, witchcraft, regional woodlore, etc. which we are interested in and which we consider to be vital parts of the BOARHAMMER cosmos. We are currently working on new material, but we do not yet have any concrete plans concerning when new songs will be ready and how we are going to release them. We will continue to follow our DIY approach to our music, although this does not mean that we would not be grateful for any kind of support from independent record labels and the like.

  • Quite an interesting band name as well. How did that come around?

The Vessel:
The name BOARHAMMER combines two important aspects of our artistic approach to music: On the one hand, there is reference to the term “hammer” being a rather common part of compound noun band names in extreme metal music. Considering our more or less old school approach to black metal, an approving nod towards the genre’s legends like Hellhammer seems rather appropriate. On the other hand, the boar can serve as a symbol for our mythological and spiritual references to the woods and everything that is strange and wonderful about them. 

  • Who did the cover art of the demo, or is it partially a photograph?

The Vessel:
The cover art was conceived by Wodwoz and partly consists of a photograph that we took in the woods around the area we live in, to which Wodwoz has added a suitable amount of skulls as a fitting backdrop to offer ideas on how to possibly interpret the demo’s title. Band photos were taken by N., who is a very nice person and has accompanied the development of the BOARHAMMER concept visually and spiritually right from the start. She also has designed the band’s logo.

  • I might be wrong, but there are hints of neatly used, vile humor in your debut demo. What is your attitude towards this music?

The Vessel:
We do take our music very seriously, but to us, that does not mean that humor does not have a place in it. We definitely do not make fun of the black metal genre, since it is important to us and has serious meaning in our lives as musicians working together, but also as individuals. However, humor, specifically grim humor, irony, and cynicism, can be a powerful weapon against the things that threaten you in any way or make you feel afraid.

  • Several of your tracks have interesting turns and samples (e.g "Tantra Wolves", "Ritual Tusks", "Spirits on Black Wings"). What is the process of composing and recording for Boarhammer?

The Vessel:
We are a rehearsal room band for sure. We try to meet at least once a week to work on our music. The usual process is that Wodwoz brings some riffs and some ideas concerning how to arrange these. Then, we start jamming, and I add my ideas for drum patterns and structure to the mix. We play and discuss things a lot, and once the basic frame of a song has been worked out, we record the drums and then add all the other instruments. Most of the time, the lyrics and singing comes last in the process, because even if I often have a lyrical concept in mind as soon as we start working on a song, I like to have a more precise idea of where a song is going before I work out the lyrics to make them fit the needs of the song’s structure.

  • What are bands that you would like to collaborate with in the future?

The Vessel:
This question is difficult to answer, since there are so many great bands and projects out there. Within the black metal genre, we definitely love what bands like Kringa, Hagzissa, Ungfell, or Pakkt are doing. We also enjoy weird bands like Negative Plane, Spectres & Teeth, Spirit Possession, White Nights or Rope Sect. There is also some Death metal we cherish, like Black Curse. It would be a great honor to work with any of these bands in the future, although this is not something we have actively pursued so far. In general, we appreciate bands that follow their own paths and develop concepts that go beyond being “merely” about music.

  • Thanks for your time. The ending is yours!

The Vessel:
Thank you very much again for giving us this opportunity to talk about our artistic vision! It is highly appreciated.  Expect to hear some more from the BOARHAMMER camp in the future, and never stop being curious about discovering interesting bands and music off the well-tread paths. There is a lot to be found among the brambles, nooks, and hollows which lie beyond the road. 

-----

Find Boarhammer on Bandcamp

Band: Blood Incantation Country: USA Album: Timewave Zero EP Label: Century Media Records Website: Facebook When Blood Incantation ann...

Band: Blood Incantation
Country: USA
Album: Timewave Zero EP
Label: Century Media Records
Website: Facebook


When Blood Incantation announced that their upcoming release would be a fully ambient EP, part of me was disappointed and the only reason was that I wanted to hear more of their death metal. At the same time, I would not at all consider this a new or unusual turn towards new soundscapes for the band, as such synthesizer experimentation has always been part of their identity's core, since their first days. It is rather clear, once you understand the artistic motives behind this project, how such musical endeavors come together and why they are a different side of the same coin. As much as you shouldn't have been surprised when Darkthrone released a punk record in the mid 00's, you shouldn't be alarmed by Timewave Zero either.

This EP, might be the longest EP I have ever seen in my life. It's longer than both previous Blood Incantation full length albums, but I imagine it was a decision based more on what part this should be in their discography, rather than a length of music one. The group departs (for now) from their frenetic and magnificent death metal palette and embraces space ambient full bore with Timewave Zero, which doesn't have an ounce of growling or distorted guitars, hardly any guitars for that matter, except some gentle acoustics, which I will not reveal where. Structurally, the work is split into two parts, "Io" and "Ea", which in turn consist of four movements each at a total of 40 minutes of introspective, astral ambient which will only be appreciated if all around it is laid back, and still.

Dreamy, repetitive and tranquil, Timewave Zero's flow is impeccable while still having distinct changes from one movement to the next. It is designed for consumption as a whole and that's why Blood Incantation have already done a few shows playing exclusively this, which could now be appropriated in theaters with seats rather than open space alleys for moshing and headbanging. I wouldn't expect any of these tracks to sneak in a death metal setlist by the band, which makes me think that now is the period of Timewave Zero, and it will not be repeated in the future after the band returns with some glorious extreme metal. I strongly believe that this EP would be an otherworldly, once in a lifetime experience to watch live.

I am holding myself from describing the music more. Fans of ambient music would cherish this. I hear interspersed elements of 70's rock synthesizer exploration (moments of "Ea" brought King Crimson in mind), more distinctly Tangerine Dream, less distinctly Atrium Carceri, Aural Holograms and Klaus Schultze, and it's even more stagnant than the instrumental parts of Hidden History of the Human Race, which makes its cause even more committed to appear as a stand alone ambient piece, the glorification of Blood Incantation's leanings in this territory. It might also be a first opportunity for many death metal fans to actually listen to dark ambient, which makes a lot of reviews I have seen of this online, interesting to say the least!

Timewave Zero is a justified next step for Blood Incantation, and a top-notch release of its kind. Undeniably expressive, it shows the band's unique compositional skill and might cause, despite the calmness of its nature, quite some turbulence in the extreme metal scene. Death metal has moved out of the cave, and it might involve musicians with sincere vision and new, groundbreaking ideas. While the rest of the genre (me included) thrives on enjoying mindless horror movies from the 80's and their modern continuations, Timewave Zero, not musically but as an underlying statement, is The VVitch. To counter argue someone, I'm really glad with what this scene is becoming today.

Release date: February 25th, 2022

Tracklist:
Io: First Movement
Io: Second Movement
Io: Third Movement
Io: Fourth Movement

Ea: First Movement
Ea: Second Movement
Ea: Third Movement
Ea: Fourth Movement

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Band: Ultra Silvam Country: Sweden Album: The Sanctity of Death Label: Regain Records Website: Facebook The way I found out about this ...

Band: Ultra Silvam
Country: Sweden
Album: The Sanctity of Death
Label: Regain Records
Website: Facebook


The way I found out about this new band, since I had completely missed their debut album The Spearwound Salvation when it was released in 2019, was through an interview with Misþyrming frontman D.G., where he highly praised them. At the same time, they are touring together now and also at that time, which was when I realised that I should be checking more closely all the bands the Icelandic giants tour with, as they are probably aligned with my tastes perfectly. The same way, I discovered the exceptional Ardens Fvror by Vortex of End, another gem of 2019.

When listening to The Spearwound Salvation, one can conclude a thing or two. First of all, fresh blood is definitely needed in the scene, as the energy and thirst of these youngsters is undeniable. Secondly, once you dismantle the genre and especially the frenetic Swedish style, you can reconstruct it with your vision and create something unique from the same, pure elements. Ultra Silvam were highly successful with a well-weighted debut that stands tall and proud on straightforwardness and ruthless black metal pragmatism, achieving a sound I will call unique, within its non-interest in experimentation. As the band got busy touring, we finally have their second instalment The Sanctity of Death, which is cleaner on the one hand, but even clearer and more direct on the other. Which basically means, win on both fronts.

One immediately notices the cover aesthetics, the album title and the fonts, reminiscent of infamous anti-religious bands from the country that we all know and love. The equally profane track titles show Ultra Silvam's intentions, at the same time very quickly separating them from basic bands that use ugly words just to sound insulting. The stench comes across the headphones when listening to this, in a way that a lot of their compatriots would wish to accomplish. The Sanctity of Death balances the furious metal madness with discrete elements of heavier focus on melodicism here and there, hints of groove in some spots, wonderful vocals and the most characteristic element of the band: these endless, thunderous, scourging guitar lines. 

It's only reasonable to draw comparisons with like-minded bands in black metal, but it's only because they fit well with each other conceptually. Above all, I enjoy Ultra Silvam's own sound and explosive tracks like "Incarnation Reverse" or "Dies Irae", with the latter also featuring some epic cleaner vocals in its ominous choruses. Commanding guitars also lead the blistering self-titled track that is a clear highlight for me, in an album full of enjoyable moments and unfiltered passion for the music. The Sanctity of Death (direct anti-placement for the so called sanctity of life, a very common topic of discussion within religions) also features a rather complicated track in the band's native language, with the longest name of "Förintelsens andeväsen del II: Den deicidala transsubstantiationens mysterium", which shows a slight turn towards more purely English material, as The Spearwound Salvation was almost half and half between Swedish and English.

Another success. It's often frustrating to go through a lot of bands that don't even try and don't deserve our times, it happens to me more often that I would like to admit, that I turn of an album after one and a half song. Ultra Silvam come around with a record you can enjoy full, packed with melody and heaviness, interesting turns and once again, no shenanigans. The Sanctity of Death deliver's the band's characteristic approach and shows several signs of evolution, while still remaining very close to the core of their material as it was defined in their debut, and has been pre-defined by other Swedish black metal bands of the same mindset. With Ultra Silvam, we have another child to add to this family.

Release date: February 25th, 2022

Tracklist:
1. Dies Irae 
2. Sodom vises himlafärd
3. The Sanctity of Death 
4. Tintinnabuli Diaboli
5. Förintelsens andeväsen del II: Den deicidala transsubstantiationens mysterium 
6. Black Soil Fornication 
7. Incarnation Reverse
8. Of Molded Bread and Rotten Wine

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Right from their first demo Nadir in 2020, Kato showed signs of a unique presence in the underground scene. The signs become reality with ...


Right from their first demo Nadir in 2020, Kato showed signs of a unique presence in the underground scene. The signs become reality with the project's debut EP Conflagration this year, a majestic, multifaceted work of complex black / death metal that includes turns in a lot of different directions, well balanced heaviness and striking songwriting. A short Arson Cafe question and answer session with the mastermind behind it, simply named George, sheds some more light into this growing project.



  • Welcome to Arson Cafe, go ahead and share a short introduction of Kato.
Thank you for the interest. Kato is my music project that started in 2020. From that start, a demo and now an EP have been released with hopefully more to come. I’m not interested in adhering to standard genre classifications, so the way I like to describe the music is layed and caustic metal. 

  • "Kato Kosmos" means the underworld in Greek. What led you to pick such a name?
Contrary to what most people would think this has nothing to do with the biblical underworld. As a whole, the intention of this project was to explore the true human reality. From my experiences in the US, a facade has been built to distract and offer some semblance of meaning to our existence. That truth that lies beneath is where I draw inspiration for this project.

The use of the Greek language stems from the influence Greek culture had in the formation of the civilization which has permeated at least through much of the Western world.

  • Already from the first demo, Kato's production is quite professional. Do you self-produce your material?
Thank you for the compliment. For the most part, yes, I do handle the producing and production work myself. One big exception for this most recent release was handing over the mastering work to Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studio. Truthfully, Greg also offered some feedback as I was finishing up the mixing so his influence is also notable to how this release sounds. 

  • "Conflagration" can be considered the first main release of the band. First of all, what does the artwork represent?
The artwork depicts the eradication of the walls that have been built in our deceptive consciousness. I think it’s also important to note that the title and artwork were the very first seeds of this release. From their creation it influenced and was used as a guiding light throughout the whole creation of the EP. 

  • The EP has several interesting twists and turns, what is the concept behind it?
The full flow of the EP is indeed that process of clearing the mind; removing the walls of the conscious. You burn within to reveal your essence : the absence of everything.  

  • I could listen to slight elements of more dissonant black metal, but also tremolo picking similar to the modern Norwegian scene. What are some of Kato's musical influences?
Yes, what you were hearing were all very much influences in my writing. Beyond that, my goal wasn’t to have this project limited to one singular sound or genre. I’ll pull influences from all sorts of art and artists. In the musical realm it can go from Abigor to Aluk Todolo; from King Crimson to King Diamond. As long as it fits the theme and doesn’t feel forced, it’s fair game in my book. 


  • Great melodic passages, especially in "Within". What is the creative process for your project, and how do you decide what fits to be put together?
Having that overarching theme and concept while building the music really helps me in figuring out how the music should flow. For this project, I wasn’t interested in adhering to a standard verse-chorus structure to the songs and I tried to make them more through-composed in nature. 

In the end, it’s hard to really put into words why certain decisions are made while creating a song. It ultimately has to feel right and support the larger goal at hand. 

  • The lyrics bring a bit of Ulcerate in mind, showcasing fair amounts of desperation and hopelessness. Where do you draw inspiration for writing them?
I think that’s a fair assessment on the overarching emotion in the lyrical themes. Philosophy work around Existential Nihilism for sure was a big influence around this concept. Peter Zapffe’s The Last Messiah is an important work along with even René Descartes and his exploration of human consciousness. 

  • To whom is the last line of the third track, going "Your Essence", referring to?
That’s to everyone. The stark nightmare nirvana is our essence. It’s fleeting and hard to fully grasp, but it’s a reality we’ll eventually discover. 

  • Is Conflagration a result of constant work since the 2020 demo? Are you also working on the next material of the project?
More or less, yes, it was a constant process from the demo. The forming of the concept and artwork took some time after the demo to coalesce, but from there the writing process was pretty steady. 

The idea for the next release is just about there. I'm planning out the artwork and the beginnings of a song are emerging, but it’s too early to say what it will look like in the end. 

  • What would be the take-home message the listener should take after a few listening sessions of the EP?
Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I mean on one hand, I would hope that the overall concept of the EP I discussed would translate to the listener, and that’s where I think the lyrics are an integral part of the experience. However, as with any art it’s really open to interpretation, and far be it from me to stand in the way of someone finding a different meaning in the work. At the end of the day, if someone willingly sits down to listen to the project and explores what’s within, then that’s all I can really ask for. 

  • Thanks for your time and efforts, I'm leaving the closing remarks to you.
Thank you very much for the interest and the great questions.
 
Listen to Conflagration:

Band: Venom Prison Country: United Kingdom Album: Erebos Label: Century Media Records Website: Instagram Another act that made its pres...

Band: Venom Prison
Country: United Kingdom
Album: Erebos
Label: Century Media Records
Website: Instagram


Another act that made its presence known quickly after its formation, Venom Prison's debut Animus in 2016 contained its fine amount of hardcore induced death metal and it was quite expressive when it comes to the contents and the messages it conveyed, an expression that started from the album's splendid and afflictive cover art. I'm really glad to see that they stick to the same kind of aesthetics in their albums, as it is evident from the equally dense design of their fourth full length album to date, Erebos.

From day one, the band didn't fall in a specific genre well, yet the different elements in their music come from styles that are already well connected. I would definitely put them into the category of modern death metal, but one who goes into a Venom Prison album expecting just that would be, quite possibly, repeatedly surprised. Personally, as much as I find some aspects of the band interesting, more often that I would have hoped for, I found myself having difficulties appreciating the musical directions because of a feeling of idleness it gave me, as it is in a sense, a jack of all trades example of a band. The music scene praises them for their genre-defying work, yet I am not clearly seeing that: you have heard of some deathcore, Carcass, groove metal, and then you have already mapped almost all of Venom Prison's content.

At the same time, it's quite clear that they try to push their own boundaries with every release, without that meaning that the situation changes that much. There's more attempts of experimentation, or to put it more accurately, not real musical experimentation but an addition of song types that you wouldn't think they fit here, which is the case in Erebos for example with "Pain of Oizys". Much like "Immortal" in Der Weg Einer Freiheit's latest opus Noktvrn, "Pain of Oizys" sticks out like a fly in milk and features a pop rock song with a few moments of angst, screams above clean guitars and eerie keys, but also with lyrics much closer to the heart and of personal struggle rather than a social one. In my opinion, apart from an interesting (almost post-rock, if you listen to it as a stand alone melody, it would easily fit in a God Is An Astronaut or If These Trees Could Talk session) solo towards the end, there's no smooth transition in this song and it crumbles because of its own ambition, a quite clear weak point in Erebos. At the same time, it will be one that might be the favorite for many out there, so probably it's a great piece!

Thankfully, this mellow / indie trickery is contained in just one track and the listener gets immediately repaid for his patience with an ultra bombastic piece "Golden Apples of the Hesperides", bringing back the loathe of modern society and its rotten foundations. Erebos deals a lot with oppression and inequality but its more particular target against misogyny, which was central in previous works, is also present here, for example in "Gorgon Sisters", which has some of the nicest and most visceral breakdows of the record, much like in "Judges of the Underworld", also spewing a seriously heavy part towards its end. Forceful grooves are employed in "Nemesis", along with some short clean guitar lines that make Venom Prison different from the whole lot, and there's plenty of riveting riffing and soloing throughout Erebos to make its case solid.

At the same time, we shouldn't exaggerate by how much innovation the band has. Take a track like "Comfort of Complicity", which is a clear reproduction of Lamb of God riffs and fast paced As Blood Runs Black patterns, and that's all. If it wasn't for Larissa Stupar's unique vocals, you wouldn't tell the difference, it's just too close. I hear almost Swedish melodic black / death metal in "Technologies of Death" and slight The Black Dahlia Murder influences might be hidden here and there, especially in the vocals.. "Veil of Night" is a solid track, yet "Castigated in Steel and Concrete" is not nearly as heavy as the title suggests. These comments don't stand as pure complaints for Erebos, however I see Venom Prison in accordance to their magnitude at the moment and while the band is fully deserving of someone times, and that goes also further than the music, I don't see myself lifting them higher than at the level of an above average band.

If you're into implausibly heavy death metal, Erebos will feel like a Christmas cookie to you. If you're into socially angry, groovy deathcore with some death metal influences, and a couple of twists towards lesser aggressive sounds, Venom Prison is for you. The band has a singer with a great vocal variety, striking lyrics, a mind for new ideas which might not work for this author sometimes, yet the intentions are pure. Since I listened to the new Acranius album at the same day as Erebos, the comparison with more ear punishing clamors might not have helped them, but Venom Prison are surely a more multifaceted band. I'm slightly offput by the possible misspelling of the album title too. Anyway, in the end, just listen to some Dyscarnate when you're in this mood.

Release date: February 4th, 2022

Tracklist:
1. Born from Chaos
2. Judges of the Underworld
3. Nemesis
4. Comfort of Complicity
5. Pain of Oizys
6. Golden Apples of the Hesperides
7. Castigated in Steel and Concrete
8. Gorgon Sisters
9. Veil of Night
10. Technologies of Death

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Band: Darvaza Country: Italy / Norway Album: Ascending Into Perdition Label: Terratur Possessions Website: Facebook This release has be...

Band: Darvaza
Country: Italy / Norway
Album: Ascending Into Perdition
Label: Terratur Possessions
Website: Facebook


This release has been highly anticipated. I have waited and hanged on for a full length release from this project for half a decade now, especially after getting more and more into their first three EPs. And the fact that they made such a mark with them from the very beginning shows what kind of band we are talking about, one that had laid the groundwork for a debut way after it was established in the scene, creating this feeling of desire to the fans, including me. Every time I went back to The Silver Chalice or The Downward Descent, I would think "but really, where is the full length from these guys?" and keep waiting. 

And by guys, I don't really mean your common black metal musicians. For people unaware of Darvaza, this band is a duo consisting of these two individuals: vocalist Wraath, who has been an active member of Celestial Bloodshed during their time of prime, as well as singing for One Tail, One Head and has also played - among others - in Mare, Fides Inversa and Behexen. The instruments are handled from Omega, one of the most infamous drummers of the last twenty years, who started playing in Handful of Hate back in the late 90's, and since has been drumming for Acherontas, Frostmoon Eclipse, also Fides Inversa, he was involved in Macabre Omen's debut The Ancient Returns in 2005, he has played in Moloch for several years and in Chaos Invocation / Blut Aus Nord for a couple of albums, not to mention that he was part of the supergroup Martröð (a project that will have you shiver when you see its line up, even though the resulting EP may not have lived up to its expectations).

And now, that the Italian and Norwegian counterparts of Darvaza have been explained, there's no question the two members have been rather busy but still maintained activity with this project, which could explain the absence of more material until now, yet I don't think they would rather feel the need to rush things for any external reason. Nevertheless, I have always yearned for an actual full release under this name and it has finally taken form in this 43 minute opus, named Ascending Into Perdition. And thankfully, it continues the habits of the previous smaller releases very closely: worn out black / gray art, simplistic design, and admirable music. Much like before, Darvaza goes hard with dry and as organic as possible sound, like an unfiltered spirit straight from the cask in the cellar.

Ascending Into Perdition has something I am always after in black metal, and it makes everything shine brighter right off the bat: sincerity. Listening to the album, you probably won't find unbelievably heavy, technical or new parts, the guitar lines are plain direct and quite melodic, as it is mostly focused on a lot of middle-paced playing, and when it gets faster it is not out of heaviness but to reinforce the black curtain the band lays with their material. In this way, they don't need to be too loud, every riff is wonderful, the drumming is excellent and the bass also has its moments, the raspy vocals undergo a lot of variety and the compositions as a whole are well thought and well executed. Darvaza don't want to impress anyone because they don't need this kind of validation, and Ascending Into Perdition is an ultimate, pure example of this forbearance for pretentiousness.

Such intentions are manifested in the whole of the record, as for instance in "The Spear and the Tumult". Opening with a fast paced but moderate and repetitive section, the atmosphere sets as Darvaza plays on with simple in design but highly efficient guitar lines and excellent vocal work, which makes the 8 minutes of duration of this track feel like nothing. Equally prominent is "Mouth of the Dragon" for the same reasons, as more and more guitar textures unfold and the album fully sets in, consisting only of this kind of indirectly dominant content. The lyrics are mostly understandable and, heavily into the occult, darkness and satanism, are just a pleasure to listen to coming from an honest source like Darvaza. Interesting lines are featured in "This Hungry Triumphant Darkness", where the band picks up an otherwise played war metal line before entering a more rock-ish part in the middle of the song, which combines some of the heavier moments of the album and some of the mildest, at the same time.

The ending part of Ascending Into Perdition is the real highlight of the release. "The Second Woe" starts off with slow drums and introduces its assertive semi-DSBM guitar melodies as well as harsh vocals immediately, with a chilling turn towards the middle and closure of the track. In an album full of high quality pieces, that track stood out for me for all the reasons I like Darvaza and their composing stance. An equally amazing orchestral introduction opens the final tune "Silence In Heaven", which is the longest number in Ascending Into Perdition and a bliss to listen to from start to finish, as it features all the band's elements at full force. In many ways, this record is more forceful than many extreme metal releases out there that rely purely on playing in the most frenzied manner possible, as if the listener will get spooked by the noise. Here is a truly powerful release.

After 2018, any time was a good time for a Darvaza full length album. With Ascending Into Perdition, they leave me satisfied with some of their most complete material to date and finally a discrete point where you can refer to when listening to them, it only took four years as it seems but I will be listening to the record repeatedly for a long time now, just because of how easy it makes it for you. There is no unnecessary complication in this release, while it still doesn't compromise for a second and it's not here to bullshit you with useless adornments. Straight to the point, Darvaza confirm their quality and ensure that our waiting was not for nothing.

Release date: February 4th, 2022

Tracklist:
1. Mother of Harlots 
2. The Spear and the Tumult
3. Mouth of the Dragon
4. This Hungry Triumphant Darkness
5. The Second Woe
6. Silence in Heaven

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Band: Owls Woods Graves Country: Poland Album: Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician Label: Malignant Voices Website:   Facebook Punk an...

Band: Owls Woods Graves
Country: Poland
Album: Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician
Label: Malignant Voices
Website: Facebook


Punk and black metal are often fused together, often from underground bands with battered production and short duration releases in their ballpark. From my perception, the two genres part ways on a first level the cleaner the sound gets, but black metal has always had punk elements even if its most basic forms, while the same doesn't hold vice versa. Owls Woods Graves' debut Citizenship of the Abyss, released in 2019, was a tango between these two genres with rather distinct changes from one another throughout the album, co-existing but not mixing into one solution, and it was a banger. They were not afraid to to employ some tremolo picking, nice clean vocals, typical punk lines, and all in all, biting and energetic tracks with nice transitions.

Another notable point to mention is the choice of aesthetics, which uses fantastically drawn black and white designs (courtesy of Robert A. von Ritter), with typical Old English inspired fonts on white worn out frames for the album title and band name. Now, again I sense this is like a combination of the old school, DIY black metal / punk approach for text on a cover, combined with a well-made and catered design instead, e.g. of an out of sorts photo collage. It was like that for their debut, and it's the same with Owls Woods Graves' second installment, Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician. These two covers alone can make me buy the albums in physical format just for their grimy beauty and it was certainly a good sign when I saw the news of a new Owls Woods Graves release, a band that is unlikely to show signs of divergence because they don't really have to compromise their sound for anyone.

Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician has a distinct difference compared to its predecessor, even though it's not such a surprising turnaround. M., frontman of compatriots Mgła, is now handling the bass and some vocals in Owls Woods Graves, along with already existing members E.V.T. and The Fall, and once again the record has been recorded / mixed / mastered with the help of Mgła, as they are all related to and around of a common suspect label like Malignant Voices. Once listening to it, one can definitely identify M.'s touches to the vocal work of Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician, which has now taken a slight turn towards black metal more than the punkish debut. Nevertheless, both elements are present and vibrant in this album.

Immediate nodding begins after a few distressed second introduction of the first track "The Entity", which hits hard and already shows the band playing slightly heavier than in Citizenship of the Abyss. Atmosphere and riffs are filthy, the sound is pleasant and it's an excellent opener to set the engine working for the band, which had me childishly celebrating about what I'm about to listen just from the first seconds of Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician. The album proves to have a marvelous flow between its tracks, which contain several nice twists and turns around the main genre structures that we would expect, and that's what makes it more interesting for me than the average black punk album I come across today. Much like in the movies, it's often anticlimactic to be able to predict a whole record by not even listening to it.

Distinct punk patterns emerge in pieces like "Bats in the Belfry", "Return of Satan", and "Antichristian Hooligan", which also feature chanting chorus singing that has been prominent in the genre since its beginnings. From these tracks, I thought "Antichristian Hooligan" to be the least compelling for me, but "Return of Satan" is pretty heavy and not limited solely to punk in its content. Owls Woods Graves now have song numbers in the mother tongue as well, with "Idzie Diabeł" (=here comes the devil) seeing the band playing more in middle-slow paced tempos and the final "Zobaczysz" (=you will see) giving a a dismal closure to the record.

Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician is not limited there. One of the most exciting moments in the album is the short but fierce "Rabies", a track straight from a war metal course book, which is also accurately placed third and makes an excellent case after the first two songs. And then, the black metal flavors are a bit scattered throughout the whole work, yet at "Obscure Monastery" and "At the Crossroads", melodic guitar lines would strongly remind of other current black metal bands of the Polish scene. Vocals and bass sound amazing in Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician, yet I would have preferred slightly more engaging drumming in the less cogent moments of the record, but that's not that much of a big issue in the end.

Owls Woods Graves pick up a genre combination that can be tormented with stagnation from its very definition, and manages to make an album that is a hell of a listen, and maybe even better than their previous work. I think I prefer some aspects of the debut more, like the textual work, but I'm glad they continue with the same cover art philosophy, and compose tracks that are not purely punk, not purely black metal, but something in between with a distinct touch of the musicians involved and the surprise egg that was "Rabies" for me. I could listen to a whole Owls Woods Graves release with tracks like that. All in all, listen to Secret Spies of the Patrician today.

Release date: January 25th, 2022

Tracklist:
1. The Entity
2. Return of Satan
3. Rabies
4. Obscure Monastery
5. Idzie Diabeł
6. Bats in the Belfry
7. Antichristian Hooligan
8. At the Crossroads
9. Zobaczysz

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