Friday, March 25, 2022

Deathspell Omega - The Long Defeat (2022)

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


Release date: March 23rd, 2022

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

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Woodland witchcraft - Interview with Boarhammer

  • 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

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Blood Incantation - Timewave Zero EP (2022)

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

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

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


Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Ultra Silvam - The Sanctity of Death (2022)

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

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