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