Friday, May 24, 2024

Saidan - Visual Kill: The Blossoming of Psychotic Depravity

Raw Black Metal / Punk, United States
Spring 2024, Self-released

After two years, Saidan makes their gruesome return with “Visual Kill: The Blossoming of Psychotic Depravity”.

"Emerging in 2020 Saidan rabidly released a string of demos, splits, and albums that caused a stir in the underground Black Metal scene. With their anthem-like riffage, violent imagery, deranged vocal delivery, and thrash inspired breakdowns. Saidan has risen above many of their contemporaries and has stood out in a bustling USBM scene.

Now in 2024 Saidan has presented us with their most focused and grotesque offering to date. Visual Kill takes you on a journey through a necrophilic hell and follows the morbid life, death, & afterlife of a student as they quickly drift further into unredeemable mental despair. While musically Saidan offers a beautifully violent take on the sound of classic Black Metal with a modern Punk twist; delivering malicious riffs, rapid leads, nonstop fist pumping hooks. and heart pounding drum work, all wrapped in a Raw Black Metal bow.

Inspired by Black Metal and Punk legends of the past; Saidan looks towards the future by staying true to themselves and delivers an album that is unhinged, chaotic, and raw.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Botanist - Paleobotany

 Avantgarde Black Metal / Experimental, United States
Spring 2024, Prophecy Productions

On their twelfth full-length "Paleobotany", BOTANIST take us back more than 70 million years to a time when dinosaurs ruled the planet and early forests began to turn to coal. Before the age of giants ended in flames with the apocalyptic impact of the Chicxulub asteroid, many plants also grew much larger than their descendants that we know today. "Paleobotany" comes with all the trademark characteristics that set BOTANIST apart from all other metal acts on this planet. Lyrically, the band from San Francisco, CA revolves around species of plants – in a clean break from the usual genre stereotypes like Satan, dragons, and booze. 
Their music clearly has its foundation anchored in 'metal', but instead of 6-string guitars the Americans use 110-string hammered dulcimers. To the confused horror of traditionalists, BOTANIST fit these percussion-stringed folk instruments with magnetic pickups and distort them through various perverse means that range from amplifiers via analogue tape to digital manipulation. The resulting sound is as unique as spectacular. BOTANIST's continuing sonic evolution began at an audible Nordic black metal shaped point of entry. The band soon developed a more open, avant-garde style, leading towards a growing complexity. 
On "Paleobotany", the Californians have shed some of the more convoluted progressive elements in favour of more song-oriented arrangements that are still rich in details and surprises, which is enhanced through the album being mixed by renowned Swedish producer Fredrik Nordström (DIMMU BORGIR, OPETH, AT THE GATES) at Studio Fredman. BOTANIST are a unique band. "Paleobotany" expands their dark green sonic range of an avant-garde metal sound into a more accessible and dynamic sonic experience. When quadruped giants walked the earth, plants were already there and they will still be here when mankind has gone back to stardust. BOTANIST win their musical future by travelling millions of years into the past with "Paleobotany"!

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Lidérc - Prof​á​n Myst​é​rium

Black Metal, Hungary
Spring 2024, Sun & Moon Records

Lidérc was formed in 2020 in Veszprém, Hungary by old friends and musicians from bands like Niedergang, Infectus and Lepra. After a successful 2-song promo, the first full-length album of the band is finally ready to unleash. The album consists 6 songs of maniac medieval decadence with poetic Hungarian lyrics and detailed traditional hand drawn layout.

The name Lidérc is coming from the local folklore, where it appears as a malevolent house spirit, and a shapeshifting supernatural power. The music and the lyrics are evoking a rustic medieval-infused world of deranged alchemists, superstitious masses and rural witchcraft practitioners, with a vicious, grotesque and twisted sonic atmosphere. The themes of Lidérc are fast-paced, aggressive and sometimes uplifting, but they also emanate a strong melancholic decadence, which culminates in the symbolist-inspired lyrics as well.

The title of the album ‘Profán Mystérium’ refers to a mystery play, and the tracks can be perceived as stations on the path of damnation, the story of a glorious downfall revolving around the lyrical speaker. It can also be viewed as a kind of profane carnival, in which the participants symbolically destroy the existing moral structures by creating institutionalized confusion and chaos, turning the world upside down, spitting in its face and sell their souls to the Devil.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Exhumation - Master's Personae

 Death Metal, Indonesia
Spring 2024, Pulverised Records

A year of vanquishing darkness is upon the enigmatic Yogyakarta-ferals EXHUMATION as they inaugurate their fourth transcendental full-length “Master’s Personae”!

With a forlorn howl of a meandering beast, the entire record breathes an animosity between atmospheric solace and Death Metal carnage impassioned by a blaze of unending fire; “Master’s Personae” is enshrouded in a sublime traversal of musical perturbance but the megalithic depths which EXHUMATION possess is undoubtedly an immutable stare into the embodiment of supreme sordid verve of Metal of Death.

A celebration for this sonic-debauchery includes a slew of guests featuring members of Possession, Impiety, Obliteration and with recording locations spread out within several countries; “Master’s Personae” was mixed by Bable Sagala at Watchtower Studio and mastered by Jack Control at Enormous Door Mastering (Aura Noir, Darkthrone, Bastard Priest, Frozen Soul, etc). Cover artwork by José Gabriel Alegría Sabogal (Cult Of Fire, Dysangelium, Slægt, Whoredom Rife, etc) with additional artwork by Daniele Valeriani (Candlemass, Dark Funeral, Mayhem, etc).

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Karst - Eclipse Beneath Umbral Divine

Death Metal / Crust, United States
Spring 2024, Self-released

... Returning from the polluted shores of Los Angeles, encrusted death outfit Karst bring you their debut full length release. Nine nefarious tracks of blistering death, hypnotic hellscapes, and unearthly doom that drag you through a cerebral apocalypse of self. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Heresiarch - Edifice

Black / Death Metal, New Zealand
Spring 2024, Iron Bonehead Productions

I am the lightning that illuminates
A scorched path carved by power

I cast into judgement all theory
Severed, the umbilical cord of dependency

I am the tightening noose
That strangles man stretched above the abyss 

Friday, April 12, 2024

Martikor - Acedia

"Acedia" builds upon Martikor’s blend of atmospheric sludge, post-metal, black metal, and experimental textures. Conceptually, it delves into the intricate process of mourning, exploring both the anticipation and reflection associated with grief. Each track is aiming to confront and navigate the shadowy corners of the psyche, and the dark nature of the music serves as a reflection of the transformative power inherent in the exploration of complex human emotions.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Kvadrat - The Horrible Dissonance of Oblivion

Nuclear Winter Records: CD | LP

Monday, April 01, 2024

Verberis - The Apophatic Wilderness

‘Do you not recognise the trials requested of you? Do you not hear the swarms of voracious flies? Do you not smell corruption’s fetid perfume? As moths to candle flame, so compelled and beguiled to be blind to your annihilation in the Devil’s fires.’

With “The Apophatic Wilderness”, Verberis reveals an image of man cast into the house of Abaddon. Three formidable compositions totalling 41 minutes proceed from 2022’s “Adumbration of the Veiled Logos”, recounting an entanglement of hubris, submission, worship, and ruin.

As with the past two releases, “The Apophatic Wilderness” was recorded by the constellation of DA with JSM, NH, and MP. This time, the essence of germanium transistors and magnetic tape imbues the sonic spectrum and provides an aura of vintage viscerality.

While collaborating once more with Ars Alchymiae and Magnus Lindberg, further control was relinquished to achieve a final product reaching beyond the capacities of the band’s core alone. In this respect, mixing was by the hands of Richard Behrens, whereas layout and typography came forth from an open grave.

Take heed in the apophatic wilderness.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Sun of Nothing - Maze

Ο όρος "Λαβύρινθος" χρησιμοποιείται πολλές φορές για να δηλώσει ένα οικοδόμημα με πολύπλοκους διαδρόμους που καθιστούν δύσκολη ή αδύνατη την έξοδο από αυτό, καθώς και κάθε παρόμοια διάταξη δρόμων ή στοών.

1. Liars in Wait
2. After the Fall
3. Ghost
4. Voidhanger
5. Buried Endeavors

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Black metal documentation: 1993

“Well, it’s only Rotting Christ I am in contact with. I don’t give a reeking shit about other bands, I only concentrate on Impaled Nazarene. Like any other label, Osmose has some cool and good bands, but most of them are just crap! Osmose Productions was the first label to realize black metal was the new trend!”

Interview with Mika (Impaled Nazarene), featured on Putrefying Mass from the Netherlands (2nd issue, circulated in 1993).

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Darkspace - Dark Space -II

It's been 10 years since the last Darkspace album and we almost forgot about them. In the meantime, we did get Paysage d'Hiver full length albums from Wintherr though, which is pretty groundbreaking for people aware of the specific project.

I have to say, the case of Darkspace is one of a kind and if you get behind it, you don't dislike anything from them, as the direction and the concept is quite specific and never going to change. Not to mention, these are the only people that are worth of acquiring the label of "cosmic black metal". Many have tried, all have failed except Darkspace.

Things have been quiet, the Swiss brand name returns in the usual enigmatic manner, after an almost experimental album in 2014 that didn't win me over. My opinion that Dark Space III is by far their best has not changed, and it is the same with Dark Space -II.

There's not the usual approach here, Darkspace explores some distant funeral doom in the way Elysian Blaze does, focuses 100% on building the atmosphere, and the idea of a riff is splintered.

Apart from a quite long introduction of almost eight minutes, the one piece in Dark Space -II makes you happy the band is back, but that's it. These 47 minutes of music are enjoyable, maybe with too much meandering but all the haunting presence of Darskpace is quite strong.

It is objectively a great album, but maybe a slight disappointment considering what they are capable of doing. Insta-purchage without a question, and a nice return after a decade, making 2024 a little bit "darker".

Let the vastness of space consume you. [3.5 out of 5 - Great]

Bern, Switzerland | Season of Mist

Track listing:

1. Dark -2.-2

Total runtime | 00:47:12

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Napalm Death - Scum (1987)

It can be argued that the first grindcore or goregrind was created by accident. Much like the first album of Carcass, which was a thunder-in-a-bottle kind of blunder, I almost feel the same about how much all over the place the debut of Napalm Death is. 

Scum is a timeless classic for extreme metal by now, but imagine casually browsing your local record store and stumbling upon this back then. 

I almost felt the same happiness when I found this on LP at a completely neutral store around here, but of course it's not ever near the first presses. My copy (still great) is the 2022 re-release from Earache Records "from original tapes" as they say.

Clocking in at just over half an hour, the album is a whirlwind of aggression, with songs averaging less than a minute in length. Yet within these fleeting moments, Napalm Death manages to distill a potent brew of anger, disillusionment, and social commentary.

The album's lyrics tackle themes of political corruption, environmental destruction, and social injustice with unflinching honesty and unbridled fury.

Beyond its lyrical content, Scum also serves as a rallying cry for the disaffected and marginalized. Its DIY ethos and anti-establishment ethos resonated deeply with the burgeoning punk and metal scenes of the late '80s, inspiring countless bands to embrace a similar spirit of defiance and autonomy.

Its raw aggression, socio-political commentary, and uncompromising ethos have cemented its place as a classic of extreme music, ensuring its enduring legacy in the pantheon of metal history.

Also, it has the shortest track ever recorded, with a Guiness World Record. Well done!

Monday, February 05, 2024

Condemned - Realms of the Ungodly (2011)

I was a lot more into that stuff back in 2010 - 2011, and then Realms of the Ungodly was one of my more frequent listens weekly, which I remember I preferred a lot to their debut too. 
The sound is thick but not super polished and generally, it's quite heavy and dark album compared to average gory / slam brutal death metal. It goes a bit in the direction of early Disgorge thematically, but the music is significantly less effective compared to the other San Diego giants. 
Artwork and titles are fantastic, it wouldn't hurt for it to be a bit faster sometimes, but the necessary brutality and seriousness is maintained throughout. 
Compared to other brutal death metal bands at the time, I would draw some slight references towards maybe Disentomb of the same era. The guitars and vocals are decent enough for me, but the non-existent band is a problem and could add some magnitude to this if it was present. 
Any time bands like that go for a bit more hateful lyrics rather than just pure gore, I am happy. However, Condemned today sound a bit of a letdown to me, thinking what this could have been. 
My younger self would not agree, but I still wouldn't bash and discard the record. There's definitely a lot worse out there. [3 out of 5 - Good]

San Diego, California, US | Unique Leader Records

Track listing:

1. Eirgmos.. Aidios...
2. Ere the Dark Sovereign
3. Baptismal Incineration upon Simonists
4. Catharsis of Human Impurity
5. Embodied in Elms of Eternal Misery
6. Realms of the Ungodly
7. Forged Within Lecherous Offerings
8. The Divine Order of Babylon
9. Manipulated for Servitude
10. Submerged unto Phlegethon

Total runtime | 00:32:54

Friday, February 02, 2024

Lamp of Murmuur - Heir of Ecliptical Romanticism (2020)

One of the problems with the modern scene is how saturated it is across all genres, but the fact that someone points it out again is in itself saturation. Stop making new bands.

Looking at a bleached black and white cover, with stapled titles in thorny fonts and a dude in corpse paint, makes me sigh instantly nowadays. Romanticism? There goes another mellow project that's into gothic rock, post-punk and no energy trying to put me to sleep. Lamp of Murmuur is none of all things. 

Their demos leading to this full length were all amazing. The music here is catchy, memorable and harsh. The Dead Can Dance cover is great. Finally, here is a project that managed to pull of the melodic / raw black metal trick properly, and this result is quite an achievement. 

Pretty epic album, with long tracks full of fantastic material for your ears and your friends. It will also help you not think of their latest release. Recommended. [4 out of 5 - Excellent]

Los Angeles, California, US | Self-released

Track listing:

1. Of Infernal Passion and Aberrations
2. Bathing in Cascades of Caustic Hypnotism
3. Gazing Towards the Hallways of a Peaceless Mind
4. The Scent of Torture, Conquering All
5. Chalice of Oniric Perversions
6. Heir of Ecliptical Romanticism
7. The Stars Caress Me as My Flesh Becomes One With the Eternal Night
8. In The Wake Of Adversity (Dead Can Dance cover)

Total runtime | 00:47:29

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Brodequin - Festival of Death (2001)

Since a new Brodequin album has been announced, which already may be one of the happiest pieces of news of the year, we gladly dive back to their back catalog of excruciatingly brutal early 00’s albums. 

While I think nothing can beat Instruments of Torture for me, as it has the catchiest and filthiest tracks, they kept ripping and banging for all their albums, including the follow-up Festival of Death in 2001. 

When I think of the peak of brutal death metal, I think of an era up to 2005, and bands like Brodequin, Disgorge, MorticianPyaemia and so forth. This is the stuff that is sincerely heavy, without being ridiculous or pretentious, or even abusing slams / grooves / overplayed hardcore with gutturals. 

Ugliness is the word of the day, and Festival of Death is for the ears that have the capability to acquire it. 

Definitely one of the most intense records I have ever listened to, just a thick, big, 700 kg bear mauling your face. Festival of Death straightens the soul. Hopefully the new one is as sick. Listen to their other stuff too. [4.5 out of 5 - Brilliant]

Knoxville, Tennessee, US | Unmatched Brutality Records

Track listing:

1. Mazzatello
2. Judas Cradle
3. Trial by Ordeal
4. Torches of Nero
5. Vivum Excoriari
6. Lake of the Dead
7. Blood of the Martyr
8. Gilles De Rais
9. Flow of Maggots
10. Bronze Bowl
11. Auto De Fa

Total runtime | 00:30:53

Monday, January 29, 2024

Marduk - Nightwing (1998)

Marduk’s first part of the Blood Fire Death trilogy, a three album tribute to Bathory’s monumental album with the same name released in 1988, had the theme of vampirism and “blood” in general.

While already having fairly amazing albums in their catalog, the band added yet another really solid work to the mix, which I get the feeling is a bit overshadowed by other works. Still, it is essential when thinking of the first era of the band, and has all the characteristic thunderous riffing and landmark vocals from Legion, the harsh atmosphere and the overall fast paced, norsecore body of work. 

Marduk always put one or two slower tracks in every album since and these exist in Nightwing too, for the case of this album they are also highlights (unlike in others). The lyrics are great and the concept fits them a lot, maybe even more than the obsession with warlike topics and machinery. 

Nonetheless, “Bloodtide”, “Slay the Nazarene”, the self-titled and “Kaziklu Bey (The Lord Impaler)” are bangers. On the other side, “Dreams of Blood and Iron” and “Deme Quaden Thyrane” are more atmospheric and add the needed flavor. [3.5 out of 5 - Great]

Norrköping, Sweden | Osmose Productions

Track listing:

1. Preludium
2. Bloodtide (XXX)
3. Of Hell's Fire
4. Slay the Nazarene
5. Nightwing
6. Dreams of Blood and Iron
7. Dracole Wayda
8. Kaziklu Bay (The Lord Impaler)
9. Deme Quaden Thyrane
10. Anno Domini 1476

Total runtime | 00:47:30

Friday, January 26, 2024

Pessimist - Slaughtering the Faithful (2002)

I would not say that I like this band’s debut that much but it’s been a while since I listened to it. However, their last album Slaughtering the Faithful from 2002 is a very decent mix of some Morbid Angel / Deicide riffing and vocals, also sharing elements of Diabolic or later mid-era Broken Hope, with strongly anti-religious lyrics and no breaks through the album except a short acoustic introduction. Drums are a bit repetitive and funnily sounding, but if you’re into aggressive, hateful death metal that pulls no punches, Slaughtering the Faithful is definitely for you. The great cover, titles and logo also help nurture the sensitive taste buds of the pure death metal fan, and Pessimist definitely succeed in being a band that you know only if you’re truly into it. I don’t think the tracks themselves are impressive, but in a way everything is consistent, even though some more memorability would work in their favor. Some great solos too (e.g. in “Stripped of Immortality”). Approved. [3.5 out of 5 - Great]

California, United States | Lost Disciple Records
Website | Listen
Track listing:

1. Requiem
2. Baptized in Blasphemy
3. Summoned to Suffer
4. Embodiment of Impurity
5. Slaughtering the Faithful
6. Infernal Abyss
7. Metempsychosis
8. Resurrected Torment
9. Stripped of Immortality

Total runtime | 00: 35:31

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Brutal Truth - Sounds of the Animal Kingdom (1997)

It’s unfortunate to say this since this album has maybe one of my favourite grindcore related openers ever, which is a phrase that I find myself repeating in my head when I generally listen to suboptimal music: still not loud enough, still not fast enough… As much as Brutal Truth is not your typical band of the genre, and Sounds of the Animal Kingdom was definitely another bold creation, it’s a bit all over the place, with damaged production and not nearly as good as the first two masterpieces from the band. The 22-minute mayhem at the end was kinda unnecessary and numerous tracks are skippable, yet there’s a few really amazing riffs and sections around, but you have to find them. I dig the Marvel-like cover, the title and the first three tracks. Then it’s a hit or miss. [2.5 out of 5 - Average]

Release: September 23rd, 1997
Label: Relapse Records

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Abigor - Taphonomia Aeternitatis (2023)

Abigor's latest release, initially distributed solely through physical formats, pays homage to the old school while presenting a remarkably forward-thinking album, arguably their most ambitious work to date. Demonstrating remarkable consistency, the album echoes strong influences from Deathspell Omega, embracing orthodox black metal perspectives with unhinged vocals, intricate songwriting, and theatrical delivery. The inclusion of haunting female clean vocals adds an eerie dimension to the already terrifying straightforward black metal elements. This substantial and intricate release demands repeated listens, revealing itself as a true grower. While some might identify filler moments in certain sections, these nuances contribute to the overall spectacle. Esteemed by hardcore fans, it surpasses their post-Quintessence works, marking a compelling evolution in Abigor's musical trajectory. [3.5 out of 5 - Great]

Release: December 21st, 2023
Label: World Terror Committee

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Hauntologist - Hollow (2024)

Mgła has teased the possibility of two more releases this year, leaving fans eagerly anticipating what they (and KSM) have in store. Meanwhile, Darkside's collaboration with The Fall (Over the Voids...Owls Woods Graves), under the moniker Hauntologist, unveils an album that sits at the crossroads. Half of it resonates with the familiar semi-decent Mgła vibes, showcasing their signature style. The other half ventures into the realm of experimental post-rock and post-metal, offering a unique soundscape that is, well, okay. While uncertain about revisiting this release, especially considering the remarkable capabilities of these musicians, it still manages to strike a chord. Hauntologist's offering is a blend of the expected and the exploratory, creating an album that, although not an instant classic, holds its ground as an intriguing deviation. [3 out of 5 - Good]

Release: January 8th, 2024
Label: No Solace