Sunday, July 31, 2022

Lamashtu - Plaque des Enfers Review

Not a lot of information is known about this project, yet their debut album Plaque des Enfers already seems to have been noticed and getting a fair amount of exposure, self-released but soon in physical format too. There is a strong sense of genre traditionalism in this record, yet Lamashtu often pushes the music into even more frenetic ends than usual, without abusing high speeds and being constantly barbaric. With just three tracks and 28 minutes, one would say that it is a rather short full length but it's still worth its time and contains only passable material, while being a record that is not monotonous at all. The vocals in Plaque des Enfers are harsh, often in shrieks but also grunting somewhere between the styles of Attila and Dagon, while the production is semi-dusty but clear enough for the ongoing chaos. Using a deep echo in the drums, the atmosphere becomes more dominant especially in building up moments or part introductions, like in the opening track "Amuleth I". It starts fast and heavy, then through a middle paced riffing bridge and a ritualistic dark ambient short part, it arrives to a very intense ending right when you would think that's all with this piece. Similar roller coaster moments unravel in the record's two other tracks, which are 10 minutes each. Lamashtu combines scourging guitar lines with occult ambiance and a personal touch to their music, and they don't stretch different ideas that come and go in the songs. "Amuleth III" has a clean introduction that would also remind of some neofolk / pagan ambient band, but when the record goes into black metal, it does so full boar. Plaque des Enfers is indeed not that long, but a solid first introduction to Lamasthu, and it makes me eager for the future. [3.5/5 - Great]

Origin: Poland
Label: Self-released
Release date: July 27th, 2022
Listen: Bandcamp

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Panzerfaust - The Suns of Perdition - Chapter III: The Astral Drain Review

The third instalment in Panzerfaust's The Suns of Perdition series is (I think) the last part of what seems to be a conceptual trilogy that marks the return of the band and a much more serious and dominating musical presence in the underground. Chapter III: The Astrail Drain is the continuation of Render Unto Eden from 2020, a record that I found fascinating. Two years later, it seems like nothing has changed content except some compositional decisions the band has taken regarding the structure of their tracks. While listening to The Astral Drain, I am really missing the more intense moments that existed in the previous records and were even more violent in the first album of the trilogy. Most of the material in this new record is almost constantly middle paced, constantly waiting, with a few more distinct riffs appearing here and there, but never really taking off to levels of heaviness that it could reach. The opening track "Death Drive Projections" is basically an ultra long introduction to something, while the third track "B22: The Hive and the Hole" seems to just be afraid to open its wings, sounds too similar to parts of Render Unto Eden and makes such wholesome, fantastic vocals go to waste, because it would be an earthquake if they actually played heavy. There are a couple of short drone-ish / noise interludes that amount to nothing in the album's flow and the only time things get real in "The Far Bank at the River Styx", the main riff sounds too much like Mgła's "With Hearts Toward None VII". The last two tracks in The Astral Drain are almost skippable, making this album a serious miss for me. On the positive side, Panzerfaust somehow maintain a certain atmosphere and the drumming is decent. [2.5/5 - Average]

Origin: Canada
Label: Eisenwald
Release date: July 22nd, 2022
Listen: Bandcamp

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Astrofaes - Heritage Review

Most people should know Drudkh by now but there's several notable side projects their members have been involved in, one of them being the now defunct Astrofaes, who put together several full length albums and a few mini releases throughout a decade and a bit more before disbanding. And while Drudkh were formed in 2002, Thurios was pretty active releasing albums in Ukrainian and English version with Astrofaes and still an abundance of musical ideas he had not yet put on records that would come along later on in the 00's. Many of these Astrofaes releases have similar characteristics, all driven by his fairly characteristic guitar playing, which is bursting with one amazing riff after the other in literally every track on Heritage, yet there are no distinct growls in the vocals as in Drudkh, so one would say that this is even closer to the black metal formula of the times. The album exerts an atmosphere of nostalgic epicness, with mostly fast paced repetitive patterns that let the guitar melodies emerge and practically act as they want, beautiful lyrics of nature / folklore and a semi-dirty production that doesn't bother a bit, in fact it constitutes to this well-thought black metal work. "Awakening" and "Through Time of Memory" walk on more middle paced rhythms and is the one strongly reminding of the direction followed later with Drudkh, and the rest of Heritage just has steady, fairly potent tracks with great guitar work by Thurios, one of the composers that seem to have endless inspiration and integrity all these years. Highlights include "Forgotten Name" and "Ancestors' Shadows". [3.5/5 - Great] 

Origin: Ukraine
Label: Nykta Records
Release date: November 28th, 2002
Listen: Youtube

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Triumvir Foul - Onslaught to Seraphim Review

I was not so drawn to this band’s earlier material, even though I have enormous respect for their band members, as it is essentially a side project of the same people behind Ash Borer (and also involved in Dagger Lust, Uškumgallu, Serum Dreg). Nevertheless, Triumvir Foul’s brand of death metal could be filed as one of the filthiest possible, especially when it comes to the music and less on how openly gross they have to be in order to fit the category. It is fortunate to realize that their latest release Onslaught to Seraphim finds them at their pinnacle and is one of the best death metal albums I have heard this year so far, as it is truly crushing in every aspect. They have finally found the right spot when it comes to their sound (production proved aching in previous works), actually helping the ideas to come out without coming across as less chaotic or more tender. The record takes no brakes and there is no deviation from this certain style, yet tempos change speed frequently and it does not repeat itself so much that it all sounds the same. Onslaught to Seraphim is what death metal should be: extremely brutal, with gargantuan riffing and frenetic short term solos here and there, cavernous growls and an overall injection of aggressiveness and brutality that comes from compositional mastery and not extraordinary technical playing. “Domini Befallen” is a masterpiece track of the genre, “Serpents' Gnash for War” has the fastest and slowest playing of the album, “Slither of Corruption”, the self-titled track and “Infected Virtue” are simply bulldozers. I can finally fully get behind Triumvir Foul and recommend this record to all fans of this style, a definite highlight! [4/5 - Excellent]

Origin: United States
Label: Vrasubatlat
Release date: July 29th, 2022
Listen: Bandcamp