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ABOMINANT (USA) "TRIUMPH OF THE KILL" (CD '06/DEATHGASM)
It's my first contact with ABOMINANT, although the guys are veterans already. But it isn't any outstanding band, it just executes a pretty solid piece of death metal. The vocals remind me VADER, DEICIDE and Barney of NAPALM DEATH ("Harmony Corruption" era), the music is similar a little bit too, but it's played in a much more raw and old-schooled way (what is characteristic of Deathgasm Records, isn't it?). No fireworks, but no total primitive crap either. Besides, when I saw the band's funny photo I thought I would deal with another MACABRE-like sick bastards, but ABOMINANT seems serious in what they do.
Anyway, expect total, old-schooled death metal, not too brutal, not too fast, not too melodic and, what's very important, without bullshit. So the choice is yours.
AMORPHOUS (PL) "RETURN FROM THE DEAD" (DEMO '05)
I'm just listening to these promo tracks taken from a 40 minute-long material (album?) that AMORPHOUS gave to maniacs into true death metal. Death metal in its pure, powerful, brutal and old-school form - the way it should be. Semi-professional sound the band got accomplished at Vitt Studio even fits these tunes, a more sterile production could even worsen the reception, I suppose. So if you are into motoric playing in the vein of Sinister or Napalm Death, AMORPHOUS can serve you a nice surprise.
APOCALYPTIC RITES #2
(May 2010, 38/A4 pages, Xeroxed, Polish, interviews: WARFIST, CEREBRUM, THRONEUM, EXHALATION, VOMEPOTRO, THANATHRON, INFERNAL DEATH, BLOODTHIRST, HERETIQUE, PSYCHO REC., NAMMOTH, STURMGEWEHR666)
I expected a bigger improvement compared to the debut, but this issue is not that bad at all. It reminds me of my issue #2 which had a lot of pros and cons, too, hehe. First of all it’s mediocre, it’s too short and the layout is simple. In the late 1980s and 1990s it was very difficult to do a ‘zine in Poland (no access to a computer or a Xerox machine), but 99% of them looked 666 times better and more interesting than most of the current Polish ‘zines (look at DEATH METAL, METALLIC BUTCHER/MAYHEMIC SLAUGHTER or DIABOLIC NOISE to name just a few)! Sorry, but I can see no effort here at all! As far the content goes, WARFIST, STURMGEWEHR666 (Daro poses as a macho so the interview becomes too pretentious) and INFERNAL DEATH (I remember them playing in my hometown almost 20 years ago!) are the most interesting interviews. On the other hand, a VOMEPOTRO interview is a complete failure, with hackneyed and boring questions and answers. APOCALYPTIC RITES is an average quality ‘zine that in several years could become as good as R’LYEH ‘zine, but Robin must do better interviews/reviews, and improve the quality of both the Xerox/photos (the 1st issue was better!) and the layout (cut ‘n’ paste would fit this ‘zine much better, I think). Good luck, dude.
Rafa³ „Robin” Mas³owski, P.O. Box 55, 05-119 Legionowo 5, Poland, email@example.com
APOCALYPTIC VISIONS (USA) "DOOMSDAY DEVICE" (CD '06)
Welcome another band following the way of Morbid Angel, Behemoth, Hate Eternal and the likes. It means APOCALYPTIC VISIONS plays very intense and blasphemous death metal. Although their music isn't so precise and well-produced as e.g. Behemoth's "Demigod", it's more fresh then Morbid Angel's last efforts - it's more wild, demonic and blackish (a little bit in the vein of Brazilian bands) and I'm sure that some of you will prefer APOCALYPTIC VISIONS' vision of metal more. "DOOMSDAY DEVICE" appeals to me very much and I think they can be a real threat to the above mentioned bands in the future. Buy it now, if you are into possessed riffing and drumming and blackened vocals, aren't you?
The crushing debut! So now I'm waiting for their second full-length to confirm they're a classy band.
ARS MACABRA (I) HATE INDUCED TRANCE (CD ’07 / SINISTER SOUNDS)
They do dislike the “slow-down” in their music, oh, how much they do! Phew! The Ars Macabra musicians probably run to the shop to buy bread rolls. After this witty introduction some of you will think that we won’t put HATE INDUCED TRANCE next to My Dying Bride. No, we won’t. We won’t put it on the shelf with our favourite CDs either, at least not me. There are a few reasons for this. Extreme black metal as served up by these Italians is imitative and deadly dull. You can definitely feel Marduk here, some Mayhem, but suddenly a riff leaps out of it, like from the Pan Kleks soundtrack, and instead of doing mean faces to the speakers, we smile with pity. I don’t like the way Hortern sings; he tries to draw an inspiration from the ex-Marduk vocalist, Legion. Unfortunately, he isn’t as charismatic, so he’s only a clumsy copy. Actually, he screams most of his parts so feebly that, in the company of the continuous blasts, it's more like an elk in rut. The drummer is the highlight of this recording. At such an extreme pace he feels like a fish out of water. The rest of the band cannot match his level, so he’s wasting his effort and litres of sweat. Mostly I regret that the band didn’t follow the path of tracks such as "Infausta Spirale Manifesta" or "Nomen Exterminus.” They are great songs with totally different vocals and phrases thrown out energetically - it moves me! Add in the black metal guitars, extreme blasting and everything is OK! It is a wonder that it’s played by the same band. It means they can and are able to, so why is the rest of the album so nondescript? If the rest of the songs were like the two aforementioned ones, I would put the album on the shelf with my favourite CDs, but in this case it only goes to a box. (4/10)
AZARATH (PL) "DIABOLIC IMPIOUS EVIL" (CD '06/PAGAN)
I won't talk rubbish! "DIABOLIC IMPIOUS EVIL" is just fucking great and intense stuff that features music in the vein of Sadistic Intent, Evil Incarnate, Drawn And Quartered, Mortem and the likes, but their death metal is more technical, faster and more infernal. It's something you might know from e.g. Behemoth, Immolation or Hate Eternal albums, but in more dirty, vulgar, simple and satanic way. The old school spirit rises over it as well. I like AZARATH, because the band's members are very well-skilled, but it's not the most important factor of their music. Brutal atmosphere and feeling are of great importance here, although a mature listener will hear some details... In general, "D.I.E." is a continuation of "Infernal Blasting" album, but with a better sound (more and more I become convinced that it's worth recording the tracks at Hendrix Studio to get accomplished good and naturally sounding initial material to be mixed and mastered later at e.g. Hertz Studio in order to make a final effort very professional and dynamic, vide Vesania or Elysium last albums). I had another afterthought that even if every tenth drummer created such cool riffs as Inferno does, there would be lots of amazing metal records! My congratulations and respect!
BALATONIZER (I) "OCCLUSED IN OTTUSITY" (CD '04/THIS DARK REIGN/DEVILDOLL)
What a fuckin' intensive music (?)! It's OK that this grind-storm lasts 25 minutes only, because a bigger dose would be impossible to stand for human ears! Imagine that in this music there are almost no slow-downs, just high-speed programmed drums, as brutal as pig grunts vokills and sick, brutal, heavy guitars. MORTICIAN, being one of BALATONIZER's influence, are weaklings comparing to these Italians. Here, a curiosity may be the keyboard parts (!) and video clip for "Muscular Prevarication" song. Although I'm not a diehard of grind/death metal, BALATONIZER's music attracted my attention, so I can recommend it to you with a clear conscience.
BANISHER (PL) "SORROW OF DEATH" (DEMO '05)
BANISHER is another Polish intensive death band that draws inspiration from "US Death Metal". Of course, DEATH is their biggest influence, especially in lead guitar parts and bass guitar work (Steve DiGiorgio must be a guru for BANISHER's bass player). The bass sound is very featured and the rhythm section work is very specific in general which distinguishes them from many other bands. In more brutal parts you can hear influences from other Florida based bands, for example DEICIDE. The monotonous vocals are disadvantage of the stuff, but anyway the guys have got a very big potential as they are very skilled and young musicians. They only need to improve the ideas and arrangements.
BERSATOTT (D) PREPARE FOR WAR (MC ’07 / ANCIENT SPIRIT TERROR)
It’s a demo from a German black metal band released in 2007. The music featured on the tape doesn’t stand out from the other bands of this kind. The screaming vocalist, plus the simple guitar riffs, results in raw and easy on the ear stuff. Everything on PREPARE FOR WAR has been played in accordance with the black metal trend. It means it has to have some lively moments, and be ugly, diabolical and deadly serious; after all it’s music for real tough guys. But it doesn’t mean the stuff is bad, nothing of the sort; it’s very listenable, only it all has been done before. And, by the end of the tape, the vocals become somewhat annoying.
BESTIAR (PL) "LETHAL VENOM" (CDR '05/OLD TEMPLE)
The material starts with even cool, slow, heavy, classic, old-school death metal in the vein of Bolt Thrower and the likes. But already in the beginning of the second track a first unpleasant surprise appears - where the hell are crushing growlings?! Instead you receive a mediocre vocal fitting more to some black metal horde! Later is even worse, I mean doleful, sleepy and average death metal. Even some speeding-ups don't help, because these tunes just don't have balls. Boredom, in other words. Or maybe I was expecting too much after reading some positive reviews and seeing the ads in the press?...
But consoling thing is that at live shows they make a better, more interesting and hellish impression (I saw them recently at "Maagal fest" in Warsaw) and their 2 new tracks (taken from their brand new album entitled "Inferno Invert" out on Mad Lion Rec.) are just better. They have more power and blasphemy, the vocals are better as well, although you should still expect nothing but old-schooled death metal. It isn't any modern, technical, complex metal of death "made in USA". I won't bullshit you any longer - just check by yourselves if BESTIAR's music suits you.
BEYOND THE DESERT (POL)) PROMETHEUS (DEMO ’07)
It should be forbidden to record a Death Metal demo with such an amateurish and dull sound! If you play old school Black/Thrash, then OK, your sound should be raw as fuck, but in the case of BEYOND THE DESERT, it shouldn’t, even if you play this kind of old-fashioned Death, guys. Secondly, I’ve already heard all these riffs, for example “Agony” strongly resembles SOUL DEVOURER’s “Afterlife,” whilst the guitars in “No Mercy” are similar to one of the NOMAD tracks. There are many guitar riffs in the vein of VADER and NOMAD, if you ask me. The band often brings the bass guitar to the forefront and that’s what I like in Death Metal. Hmm, BEYOND THE DESERT is a promising band, but I’m waiting for more mature stuff. And you can manage, guys!
Distribution: Brewery Distro, Arek Pytlik, Pomnikowa 26/27, 47-400 Racibórz, Poland, brewerydistro.coxhost.eu; Band: www.btd.metal.pl
BLACK BLEEDING (B) "THE AWAKENING" (MC '05/NIHILISTIC HOLOCAUST)
BLACK BLEEDING is a very cool band that executes devilish death metal (I only don't know why Astus of the mighty "Panzerfaust 'zine" couldn't find diabolic atmosphere here?) in a very decent way. It sounds like late Behemoth or some Brazilian or old Dutch brutal death metal hordes, but with more ancient feeling. Metallers can find on "THE AWAKENING" everything: blast beats, intensity, sick melodies, some dark slow-downs or powerful growls. I can see no weak points here, really!
So remember them as BLACK BLEEDING is the best Belgian band I've ever heard along with Aborted and Ancient Rites! By the way, Gab, how did you find all those great bands?!
BLASTMASTERS (USA) "BLASTMASTERS" (DEMO '04)
I was very happy when I received the package from Aantar including "BLASTMASTERS" demo. I expected an ass-kicking stuff and the guys haven't failed me! But it was obvious as the band features members of Diabolic and Pessimist! They created the perfect mix of "US Death Metal" (in the vein of Hate Eternal, Diabolic a.o.) with aggressive and furious metal "made in Brasil" (Krisiun, Abhorrence). This music is very brutal, violent and fast yet technical. Also the vocals are fuckin' good, 'cause they're evil and aggressive, they remind me David Vincent himself on "Altars Of Madness" album!
It's a pity the demo contains 3 tracks only, but you can always buy their "TWISTED METAL" full-length CD. I hope it's as good as the demo.
It's very underrated band, so support them now for it's one of the best brutal bands nowadays! They really are the blastmasters!
BORNHOLM (HUN) "
ON THE WAY OF THE HUNTING MOON" (CD '05/MELANCHOLIA)
Hungary never was the power of metal and such bands as Tormentor and Sear Bliss are not enough to talk about "The wonder of Hungarian scene". BORNHOLM won't change it either though it's a good band. But there are millions of good bands all over the world...
The horde is looked up to Scandinavia as for both the image and the music. So that's why you'll find here inspirations from Satyricon, Immortal and Bathory (in epic parts e.g. "Acheron") to Dissection and Necrophobic, but BORNHOLM plays more blackened music comparing to the two latter bands which are known from their strong death metal base. In general, the stuff is very steady and clean, there's not enough dirt and madness so typical of true black metal. Besides, the guys prefer melodies very much and often use acoustic guitar parts as well that not everybody can like, but thanks to it their songs are more easy to absorb, more catchy and memorable...
To me it's an okay album, nothing else. And the choice is yours.
BOTTOM "DEKLARACJA MORDERCÓW" (DEMO 2005)
Well, well, well, what we've got here? For sure we deal with experienced musicians as BOTTOM is more than 10 years old. During their entire career a lot of things happened, somebody left, somebody joined, never mind... "DEKLARACJA MORDERCOW" is their third release, after "Strachness" (1997) and "Hatefull Music Terrorism" (2003). The stuff was recorded at ZED STUDIO (Horrorscope, Thy Disease, Totem a.o.) by Tomek Zalewski whose name becomes more and more known with every production. But let's go to the point. The guys presented 7 tracks of total playtime 15 minutes where they presented solid hard core, although there are elements of other heavy genres, too. Somewhere at the end of "Kamien" ("Stone") song I can hear Neurosis influences and in "Deklaracja" I can feel Frontside's mood. In general, these thrashy and sometimes even punk riffs are catchy... The highlights are rhythms in the vein of "jump the fuck up". There are also typical slogans threw in by the vocalist ("We are for you ", "This is my way, my scene ") that fulfil its function at gigs for sure. Fast tempos are no good solution in my opinion and I feel uncomfortable while listening to the drums, especially a snare drum. In general, the material sound fits the hard core genre, the same as the lyrics, what doesn't mean it's bad, on the contrary - it's good. So we deal with a "committed" band - besides, call it as you want. Personally, I recommend BOTTOM to every hard core maniac into the 90's. And if you like such Polish bands as 1125, Schizma, Toxic Bonkers etc. - push BOTTOM!
BRAQUEMARD (PL) "TABOO" (DEMO '03)
It's a pity the guys stopped the band's activity after recording "TABOO". It's a pity that stuff hasn't been released in MCD-format by some nice, underground label specialised in brutal death metal. It's a pity the band didn't enter HERTZ Studio again (they recorded "PROMOCHAOS" in 2000 there), but Golden Rock and Kokszoman Studios. As a matter of fact they got accomplished natural, selective and heavy sound there, but the material lacks dynamics, power and professionalism. It's a pity they'll probably never record another stuff, 'cause "TABOO" is very pleasant material, the songs are catchy and not such chaotic as the ones from demo '00. There's brutality, complexity and aggression (when Wojtas starts to scream) in it. Although sometimes the guitars and the drums play unevenly, it's a solid piece of "US death metal" worth possessing.
CALL TO THE INFERNAL HORDES #4
(June 2008, 80/A4 pages, Xeroxed, English, interviews: THORNSPAWN, WOLFTHROAT, SURRENDER OF DIVINITY, ARS MACABRA, VULCANO, SPETALSK, GRIMA MORSTUA, ZYGOATSIS, HOD, DEATH LIVING, EVIL DAMN, CORPUS CHRISTII, NAZARENE DECOMPOSING, NOMINON, DEATHCHAIN, FORNOST, HEADHUNTER D.C., SODOMIZER, LUCIFERIAN, FUNERAL MOON, WARBRINGER, BURIAL HORDES, RESURRECTION, MYSTIFIER, INFERNAL CONJURATION, NERVOCHAOS, IMPETUOUS RAGE, UNSPOKEN, AGARES, ufff!!!)
C.T.T.I.H. #4 contains almost 30 interviews, can you believe this?! Since this issue has got as many as 80 A4 pages written in a small font, it shouldn't be a big surprise. Without bullshit, it's one of the most impressive ‘zines I've seen and read recently, starting with an amazing professional layout (what a pity it's only Xeroxed!), continuing through well-conducted interviews and finishing with very solid, though not too long or boring, reviews. The editors' knowledge of English is also impressive, so you'll have a really enjoyable read for sure. Maybe the interviews aren't the deepest I've ever read, but they are still far from being the standard chats. Band line up is OK as far as my taste in music goes; all the hordes display dark music (darkness seems to be a common ingredient for all of them), be it death or black metal, and that counts. On the other hand, the ‘zine is saturated with antichristian attitude and this is the editors' (and mine) common ingredient, ha! I'm really looking forward to holding the next issue in my hands as soon as possible, and I hope Gilbert & Co. don't disappoint me.
CALL TO THE INFERNAL HORDES #5
(February 2009, 82/A4 pages, Xeroxed, English, interviews: NIFELHEIM, SUICIDAL WINDS, FACEBREAKER, FORCE OF DARKNESS, EVILIZED, BESTIAL HOLOCAUST, HORNA, AZAGHAL, RIP, RIDDLE OF MEANDER, ENSHADOWED, MERCILESS DEATH, HELLISH CROSSFIRE, DEIPHAGO, UNHOLY FORCE, DEATH INVOKER, GRAVE DESECRATOR, THY RITES, INVOCATION WAR, WITCHAVEN, BALMOG, EXCITER, BAHIMIRON, SYPHILITIC VAGINAS, FLAGELLUM DEI, NECROLISIS, AMNION, HIJO DE LA AURORA)
Issue #5 of C.T.T.I.H. is of similar quality to issue #4. I mean the style (layout) and general mood remain almost the same. Unfortunately, there are too many Black Metal bands featured, in my opinion. It seems Mr. Miranda just “forgot” about Death Metal totally, FACEBREAKER being the only exception! I know he’s a die-hard into Black and Old School Metal (Black/Death/Thrash), but I wouldn’t mind a few really brutal bands to make this issue even more interesting. Anyway, most of the interviews are very absorbing and it is difficult for me to point out the best conversations, but I can recommend to you some of them: HELLISH CROSSFIRE, BALMOG, BESTIAL HOLOCAUST to name just a few. To cut a long story short, it’s still one of the best, high-quality and solid ‘zines around, a pleasure to watch and read for many evenings, so move your ass and get your own copy as soon as possible.
Gilbert "U.Xerxes.H" Miranda, Apdo. Postal 2711 - 3000, Heredia - Costa Rica (Central America), firstname.lastname@example.org, www.calltotheinfernalhordes.com
CAPITOLLIUM (UA) "SYMPHONY OF POSSESSION" (CD '04/OUPIRIC)
CAPITOLLIUM is an Ukrainian one-man band which performs symphonic black metal, so the keyboards and the melodies play the main role here. There are good, grim, no scratching "I wannabe Cradle Of Filth" vocals, but in my opinion the guitars are not "evil" enough as for black metal, of course. If you like symphonic metal with references to the classical music (baroque, gothic etc.), you'll like it as well. And if you don't mind programmed drums and lots of melodies, try this.
CARNAL RAPTURE (I) "PROMO 2004"
Italy isn't rich in many pretty good bands, unlike Poland, for example. Fortunately, CARNAL RAPTURE joined the group of Italian good bands, although a word "joined" sounds strange as the band is very old and played already in 1992! I don't know what they played on "DEMO '93", but on "PROMO 1994" CARNAL RAPTURE executed technical death metal in the vein of Cynic, Atheist and Death. Also on "PROMO 2004" they play that way, the music didn't change radically, although 10 years have passed, but I have the impression the band is more into jazz now! Their songwriting became more progressive, surprising and bizarre and also more slow and less aggressive. The stuff seems more original now, too. So if you still are into the bands mentioned above, you'll also like CARNAL RAPTURE.
CARPE NOCTEM (PL) "DREAMS OF MIND OBSCURE" (DEMO '03)
This demo is very old (the songs were composed in 2001-2002!), as a matter of fact the band recorded "ANTYBOG" ("Antigod") promo in 2004, but didn't send it to me, so I'm going to write a few words on "DREAMS OF MIND OBSCURE" only. The material features atmospheric black/death with keyboards that was popular here in Poland a few years ago (vide Lux Occulta, Neolith, Diachronia, old Abused Majesty etc.). If there were no Michal's vocals and some MiNTaj's blast-beats, the stuff would seem very melodic and soft, although the orthodox will never reach CARPE NOCTEM's recordings for sure. Nobody plays like that nowadays and, frankly speaking, I'm not surprised the band didn't succeed, playing a little bit archaic music that way. Especially as there's nothing special in it, except a few parts. As far as I know CARPE NOCTEM split-up, so my words don't matter anymore...
CATACUMBA (BRA) BIRKAT HA-MINIM - A BENÇÃO DOS HEREGES (DEMO ’05)
2005’s BIRKAT HA-MINIM - A BENÇÃO DOS HEREGES demo, from Brazilian band CATACUMBA, is a perfect example of how a musical debut should be. Their stuff is extremely brutal and sharp; however it’s also intelligent and well-thought-out. The CATACUMBA musicians don’t follow the path of least resistance and serve up a really powerful dose of destructive music, which proves once again that South America is the leader in the number of bands playing metal perfectly. The BIRKAT HA-MINIM - A BENÇÃO DOS HEREGES demo is destined for those who aren’t afraid of unscrupulous heavy stuff and who had doubts whether something creative and destructive could still be recorded in the death/black metal genre.
CEASE OF BREEDING (GR) "PROMO 2006"
CEASE OF BREEDING is an another follower of US brutal death metal in the vein of early Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse. So you can forget about originality, but you'll receive a quality stuff. The guitar sound is crushing, the metallic bass is very exposed, too, but the snare drum sounds awfully comparing to the other instruments. Anyway, this short two-track promo is a nice piece of meat and proves that the Greeks are good at both black and brutal death metal (Sickening Horror, Disembowel, Obsecration etc).
CELEBRATUM (N) "INSTINCTS" (CD '05/METAL AGE PROD.)
CELEBRATUM hails from Norway, so you can easy guess the horde plays black metal. But in this case their attitude is more Swedish, what means their music is closer to such bands as for example Dark Funeral and Setherial than to DarkThrone. Everything seems alright here, but the album didn't endear me, maybe except the Romul's good vocals. This guy doesn't utter typical black metal screams, but interesting, bestial voices. Also the imperfect sound (theoretically, it's cold and harsh as it should be, but it's too "dry") impinges on my not enthusiastic reception of the album. I can recommend it to the die-hard maniacs only and I would talk the rest into reaching e.g. Italian Nefarium.
CHAOSPHERE (PL) "REIGN IN CHAOS" (DEMO '05)
What a surprise! I would never expect such a killer stuff from a young, underground band! The key to "success" are good and catchy Kamil's riffs here (no wonder he's become a member of HATE recently!) and fuckin' great, a little bit hysterical BurnArt's vocals. For my purpose I would describe their music as a brutal thrash metal of old school, because e.g. the riff opening "Pray For Death" sounds exactly like HORRORSCOPE or ANNIHILATOR. SLAYER and German thrash metal's inclinations are audible, too. Though CHAOSPHERE's music sounds very clear and dynamic (Warsaw DBX Studio says hello again), it's still brutal and aggressive.
Since I've heard the demo, I support the guys and I admit that I'm very curious how the other 6 tracks recorded for "REIGN IN CHAOS" sound like.
CONVENT (PL) "BLESSED AMONGST THE FLOCK" (DEMO '03)
IMMOLATION and MORBID ANGEL - these are a common denominator for CONVENT. It's a little bit strange, because the guys have been playing for more than 15 years (!) and should have already worked out their own identity. For the time being, they only have their own sound (and that's already something), because the music isn't revealing at all. But the performance, blasphemy and the passion included in these sounds are 100 % satisfying. Though not too many people in Poland write and speak about CONVENT, it's no doubt one of Polish best bands and together with such acts as for example AZARATH, ANIMA DAMNATA, STILLBORN and NOMAD makes our underground very, very strong! If only you like brutal, complex, even chaotic death metal of high quality, this stuff is for you!
Promotion and distribution: Inhuman Distribution
CROATAN (USA) "THE DRUNKEN MASTERS" (CD '04/PEACE OR DIE)
It's very audible on "THE DRUNKEN MASTERS" album that the band comes from punk environment. Their music is very simple, but with many tempo changes and their sound is very underground. In my opinion the best description of it is amateurish noise-punk with female vocals mixed with some slow-downs and heavy riffs in the vein of early Black Sabbath. In general, the CD doesn't deal with METAL, but you can listen to it while you'll be drunk. Anyway, it's not worthy of your attention.
CROPMENT (CH) "SPIRAL OF VIOLENCE" (CD '04/FASTBEAST ENT.)
CROPMENT is a standard example of excess of form. It's a very nice released CD (the booklet made by Tomasz "GRAAL" Danilowicz!), but its content leaves a lot to be desired! Mediocre ideas (highly influenced by VADER and CANNIBAL CORPSE), not a perfect sound - boredom. I think it was a gentle false start, the band should become more mature, compose better songs and record them with a killer sound to kick ass!
CRUENTUS (PL) "AUDITION OF YOUR MODERN NITEMARE" (DEMO '06)
I don't know that kind of music inside out at all, thus I'm not knowledgeable about such electronic tunes. But the band asked me for a review, so I'm going to write a few words. Some of you would label that music as post black or avant-garde metal (especially in the vein of new Mortiis or The Kovenant, but the beginning of "Strukturized Human Produkt" is almost nu-metal for instance!). There's a lot of electronics, atmospheric and cosmic playing here, a great deal of aggression as well - I think it's an interesting offer to the open-minded listeners. To me, it all sounds as some techno metal (!), so I really doubt if an average "Burning Abyss" reader will consume the content of "AUDITION OF YOUR MODERN NITEMARE". But I even like it, so it seems I am not an average freak he,he.
CRYPTIC (PL) "DEMO 2004"
A well-recorded demo that's half the battle. And so it is in the case of CRYPTIC. The guys just entered Diamond Studio (Atrophia Red Sun and Retribution a.o.) and the final effort is more than good. The second half the battle is an excellent music, but CRYPTIC plays decent death/thrash only, which is a combination of Vader (vocals) with Slayer (some riffs). It reminds me death/thrash that was popular in Poland in the early 90's (Carnage Records' bands), though the production level has improved much since then. "DEMO 2004" is a nice stuff, but I'm expecting more from their new material.
DAATH (USA) "FUTILITY" (CD '03)
DAATH's music is pretty bizarre and progressive. One can put it within the wide confines of progressive death metal, but for sure everyone will find something different here. For example I can hear many influences here, starting from CYNIC and ATHEIST, through late TIAMAT, TOOL and SYSTEM OF A DOWN to finish with. So you can see yourselves that the diversity is pretty huge here. But the best way is to check what these Americans present by yourselves. Of course, don't expect easy sounds, but an interesting, brutal, aggressive and also alternative rock-like music.
Well, I don't foresee a commercial success for them, that's sure, but the band should receive positive reviews in the world wide press. However I don't know what the audience response will be, because DAATH plays a demanding music and is a hard nut to crack.
DARZAMAT (PL) "TRANSKARPATIA" (CD '05/MMP)
The previous DARZAMAT album entitled "Semidevilish" augured already well and brought hope on solid and stable form of the group back to the fans. The odds were that the band already found its right way. And indeed, "TRANSKARPATIA" confirmed the DARZAMAT class and even pushed the band forward. Both materials are stylistically similar, we still deal with aggressive black/death metal with gothic influences and Nera's female vocals (but male vocals are present here as well). Again I dislike the drums sound - it's too artificial and synthetic. By the way, in general the album production is overrated. I know that Los Angered Recording Studios and Andy La Rocque received wide recognition, but I think that in Poland the band could get accomplished a good sound as well, or even better (e.g. in such places as Hertz, Hendrix or Zed which is situated not so far from their houses, by the way). Well, but it was only digression. As I mentioned before, the music is hard and aggressive. DARZAMAT makes me think of Dimmu Borgir a little bit, but quite hard guitars play the main role here, not the sweet keyboards. And these sick and dark Nera's vocals, by far better than on "Semidevilish"!
To recap, "TRANSKARPATIA" is an interesting album, catchy (but it's still Metal for sure!), presenting a good, European level. I only hope that it isn't the band's opus magnum yet.
(Summer/Autumn 2008, 96/A4 pages, Xeroxed, English, interviews: IMPETIGO, RABBATH AMMON, BLACKFIRE, HEADHUNTER D.C., INSIDE, “METAL SAVAGE,” TRANSGRESSOR, NOCTURNAL VOMIT, LEVIFER)
It’s my first encounter with DEADHEAD. This famous Malaysian fanzine has come again, this time in the form of “The Fourth Revelation,” to present a 17-page-long IMPETIGO interview with 72 questions (if I counted right) and an 18-page-long INSIDE interview with 77 questions (the longest one I’ve ever read, unbelievable!). The latter is not as good as the talk with Mark Sawickis, but it encourages me to check out INSIDE’s music, anyway. It is also interesting to read chats with a guy called Metal Savage (take a look at his huge vinyl collection!) and underground yet well-known acts such as NOCTURNAL VOMIT and HEADHUNTER D.C. to name a few. Wan’s knowledge of Metal is quite impressive; frankly, his entire ‘zine is impressive (granted, there are some shortcomings, but nobody’s perfect), so write to the editor as soon as possible.
Wan Syamsul, 10, Lorong Lang Tompok, Taman Sri Bintang, Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
DEATH HEAVEN (I) "TECHNO DECOMPOSITION WORLD" (DEMO '04)
It's a debut demo from this Italian act that lasts as many as 55 minutes! I think it's a bit too long as for a demo stuff, but fortunately the content isn't boring. The guys execute death metal marked by high technical abilities and progressive elements as well as a certain dose of brutality (especially in vocal lines). So that's why on "TECHNO DECOMPOSITION WORLD" one can hear some Death, Esqarial and also Sinister influences. The band is bursting with ideas, but I wouldn't describe it as an amazing demo. One way or another it's a very decent release. And I'm sure they've already prepared some new more killer tracks for you.
DECIMATED (PL) "DEATH & ROLL" (DEMO '05)
The title of this release is pretty perverse and can be misleading a bit as you won't hear death 'n' roll here. Instead you will hear a lot of brutal death metal in the US way, I mean influenced by both Morbid Angel and Suffocation. Good technical skills as well as clear and dynamic sound (maybe even a bit too clear?) - these are the advantages of the stuff, these are the things one can like here. On the other hand the ideas (especially the twisted moments) don't press into the ground yet, although e.g. the final song entitled "The Original Sin" is very promising comparing to the other tracks - it's slow, heavy, with a mood and cool guitar solos.
So I suppose that the next stuff can already cut your head off. Just change the logo and don't entitle your demo with a stupid name, guys, he,he.
DEFORMED (PL) "PROJECT TORTURE 005" (CD '05 / DEFORMEATHING/SKULL FUCKED)
Oh, if I was knowledgeable about grind in 50% as I know death metal and in 25 % as my old mate Wojtek, DEFORMED vocalist, knows how to masturbate, I would write you much better what DEFORMED's music is all about. So I write you only that "PROJECT TORTURE 005" is the material full of sick ideas, typical, mediocre death/grind guitars, vocals of different timbre (grind growls and the bassist's pig squeals dominate here) and many tempo changes played by the well programmed drum machine. The band didn't want Yamaha RY9 to imitate a live drummer (thank Satan), they want to sound more artificially what made the stuff even more sick. "PROJECT TORTURE 005" was really recorded by people with deformed minds, though maybe it would be better to record even more extreme and disgusting stuff? The CD didn't impressed me much, but it's a catchy recording. What?! Catchy, sick grind?! Yes, there is something like that and Polish DEFORMED plays that! To encourage you to buy the CD I tell you that it features multimedia section, too!
DELICTUM INITIALE (PL) "THE CURSE OF THIS WORLD" (DEMO '05)
Most of the reviewers have praised this material, although to me it's just another, typical, Polish, clumsy death metal. When I started my underground activity over a decade ago, there were many bands like that (a.o. Calvaria, Cortege, Esgaroth), but also today I come across bands to play death metal that way (Moulded Flesh, Silent Confusion, Dragula, Nemrod to name a few)! Well, maybe sound quality and executive level have improved comparing to the middle 90's, but it changes not much in that case. Some guitar parts are quite cool here (and some riffs are pretty melodic just touching upon the Gothenburg scene), the bass is well audible, but growling for instance is already very ordinary.
Next stuff will be much better for sure, but I haven't been awaiting it very much.
DELIRIUM X TREMENS (I) "CYBERHUMAN" (MCD '03)
This Italian band surprised me very positively with their powerful and modern death/thrash metal. Frankly speaking, it's a very old MCD, so I'm sure their new CD will just kill!
The stuff is very heavy (riffs, the guitar-work is very good, by the way) and dynamic (drums which play very punctually, Thomas must be impressed by Richard Christy, I suppose), the sound is clear and natural, not too industrial as the record title may suggest. I was afraid they would sound like Fear Factory or something, but they are into their country-mates RESURRECTURIS, DEATH and even more brutal American stuff. They're well-skilled musicians, but do not expect technical fireworks and very complex music. Everything is on the right position here. Maybe only Alberto's vocals should be more varied. I also don't like when they slow down as they start to bore. These are the only disadvantages, the rest is more than good, so keep an eye on them!
DEVILRY (FIN) "MUSLIM GENOCIDE" (EP '06/BREATH OF PESTILENCE)
DEVILRY executes old-school death metal and the guys know very well what it is really about. Their music is very raw and blasphemous and is addresses only to the real maniax. The stuff starts with intro and slow riff, then inhuman blackened vocals, fast drum beats and christ killing guitar follow - just pure aggression! If you know their music from a split EP with the mighty Throneum, "MUSLIM GENOCIDE" won't disappoint you for sure.
For the orthodox only!
DEVILYN (PL) "THE PAST AGAINST THE FUTURE" (CD '03/MMP)
Unfortunately, "THE PAST AGAINST THE FUTURE" is "only" a sampler. As for the contents, I'm sure that everyone interested already knows that this CD contains demo from 1994 entitled "THE RULE", "PROMO 2000" with Inferno (BEHEMOTH) on drums, cover-song from CARCASS recorded during "ARTEFACT" album session and video clip to "Reborn in Pain" song! As a matter of fact this record is just for connoisseurs, because I don't recommend the novice to get acquainting with DEVILYN starting with this album. I admit that the demo contains rather raw and unprofessionally released death metal. But you can hear that Novy had powerful growling and can play the (very prominent) bass well already back then, also you'll hear MORBID ANGEL influences which have been accompanying the band up to this day. The debut CD "ANGER" recorded 2 years later is much, much better than the demo, so there's no point in writing more about the latter. "PROMO 2000" is a demonstration of dense play on instruments, it's very brutal stuff which lost a lot because of bad production. One can easily notice how the band has improved their compositions, technical skills and speed during 6 years. "Heartwork" is a tribute to the mighty CARCASS when they still played powerful, perfect death metal. Of course, DEVILYN's version isn't as good as original one, but the track has its own feeling and is a fine curiosity, a nice retreat from the slaughter of the guys from Poland. The video clip to "Reborn In Pain" also should be considered in terms of curiosities rather than work of art, but it's better than most of Mr. Adam Kuc's (SELANI Studio) clips.
DIABOLOS (USA) "THE THREE MOTHERS" (MCD '06 / BAPHOMET/RED STREAM)
DIABOLOS presented pretty brutal and raw black metal here played in the Scandinavian and US way with some old-school influences that fits BAPHOMET RECORDS' grim profile perfectly. So if you don't mind the genre and Undead Torment's growled vocals (they would be perfect in some old-schooled death metal band), check these guys out. The MCD contains only 3 tracks, but there's a bonus amateurish live video taken from the "To Appease The Beast" fest as well. The more I listen to "THE THREE MOTHERS", the more I like it, I tell you
THE DOWNWARD CANDIDATE (DK) "DISTORT & CONFUSE" (DEMO '05)
From THE DOWNWARD CANDIDATE I expected aggressive thrash/melodic death metal, but I received popular metal core combined with nu metal, a kind of angry version of such bands as None, Machine Head or Raunchy. The sound (Berno Studio) or musicianship are OK, but in my opinion this music is very mainstream and doesn't suit to the underground 'zine profile. And frankly speaking it's not my cup of tea, as I prefer more thrashy way of metal (Frontside, Demiricous). Anyway, if you like modern metal core/nu metal, check it as THE DOWNWARD CANDIDATE knows what it's all about.
DRAGULA (PL) "TRUE PAIN" (DEMO '04)
After the very mediocre "DEMO 2001", hailing from Czestochowa (Poland) DRAGULA treated us to their next stuff entitled "TRUE PAIN". They didn't impressed me again, although I must admit that they progressed a bit. The songs and the guitar riffs are more interesting and brutal, the sound and the vocal improved, too... For sure, it isn't hyper-fast and ultra-technical playing in the vein of "NY brutal death metal", but one can notice on "TRUE PAIN" the domination of European school of death metal with its heaviness, groove and feeling. The guys surely are influenced by Swedish and Polish death metal bands of the early 90's. It's a nice stuff, but nothing more...
DROTTNAR (N) "ANAMORPHOSIS" (MCD '03/MOMENTUM SCANDINAVIA)
Christian "Black" Metal band from Norway with nazi image! I guess, it's a kind of provocation, but it's too much for me he,he. The music is OK as it's an intelligent and original black metal with the influences from both Darkthrone and Emperor. I like varied drumming and riffing here pretty much, but their message is unacceptable! So if you don't mind the ideology, give them a chance, as "ANAMORPHOSIS" is a pretty good piece of mid-paced and well thought-over "black" metal.
DUSK (PAK) "JAHILIA" (CD '03/EPIDEMIE)
If DREAM THEATER were much less skilled and were into atmospheric metal, they would play and sound like DUSK. I think it's enough recommendation for the maniacs into avant-garde doom. DUSK's music isn't very dark and dull, so e.g. fans of WINTER or Finnish depressive doom metal can be a little bit disappointed. This music is very fabulous, interesting, surprising, oriental as the band comes from Pakistan and for example such a track as "Decadent Little Girl" is almost pure stoner hard rock though! The highlight of the album is the amazing guitar-work, the rest is OK, too, of course, and e.g. the Babar's vocals are deep and brutal enough, so don't expect cheap gothic melodies for the pussies.
For sure it's a very interesting band playing a very good atmospheric music worth your money.
ECLYPSE (PL) "APPLAUSE: IHVH ELOHIM MET" (CD '04/REDRUM 666)
After listening the first bars from this CD the situation will be clear for you and you will realize immediately who's the ECLYPSE's master. The answer won't be original and can be only one: MORBID ANGEL. In consequence their music will also remind you BEHEMOTH, besides I guess they like IMMOLATION, too. That would be it as for originality, the whole rest is faultless, because the performance and the sound level of "APPLAUSE: IHVH ELOHIM MET" is of the European standard. This dynamic and full sound ECLYPSE got accomplished nowhere else but at Hertz Studio, so all should be clear about it. Although I know a few people who don't really like that characteristic, synthetic sound...
The material isn't boring, as it only lasts 35 minutes and I think it's enough dose of death metal murder. And a cover song from SAMAEL entitled "After The Sepulture" gives some colour to the whole and maybe will make young listeners realize that many years ago the Swiss played really great music, not this present crap.
EFFECT MURDER (PL) "IMANUSI" / BLOODPAINT (PL) "BLINDEAD" (SPLIT CD '05/METAL JEERS)
"IMANUSI" contains a pretty decent dose of brutal playing. At any rate, everyone who knows EFFECT MURDER knows also what one can expect from the band. As the group is laid-back and plays with a feeling, but their attitude is serious. I don't know what do you think of "IMANUSI", but I personally have an impression that their new stuff contains much more grind/core elements comparing to "Portrait Of Fanatic" from 2004, which was rather more into death metal. As far as I remember they played technical stuff, pretty complex, something in the vein of old Yattering, but on "IMANUSI" a modern metal crashed into simplicity of old school grind/core represented by e.g. the mighty Terrorizer's "World Downfall". Even Konrad's vocals remind me of much regretted Oscar Garcia! So the guys got accomplished a nice mixture, I'm just curious about their brand new stuff entitled "Dehumanize" whether the band went even more into old schooled playing. And I'm also curious about their new vocalist, Stania, as his predecessor coped with the matter very well!
After "IMANUSI", BLOODPAINT attacks with their "BLINDEAD" stuff. They're another promising youngsters from the city of Bialystok. But it's just a pity they're influenced by Vader so much. Of course, some plays and Sabasios' vocal differ BLOODPAINT from the Peter's band, and "BLINDEAD" is more brutal stuff then any of Vader's albums, but, unfortunately, the whole stuff is very similar. So I'm waiting for new, more own and creative stuff, as the guys are already skilled.
ELYSIUM (PL) "FEEDBACK" (CD '03/MMP)
"FEEDBACK" is a real masterpiece! I'm listening to the album all the time and I'm lost in admiration for the perfect production (congratulations to TOWER Studio and Arek Malczewski!), arrangements and technical skills. As a matter of fact the album could be entitled "SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL PART II" without any problem, but as AT THE GATES is already dead, so ELYSIUM perfectly filled the gap. And I'm pleased the band comes from... Poland! In the info I received from the label there was written that the guys were influenced by e.g. NEVERMORE, too! I don't know the Americans' music well enough, but this comparison seems felicitous to me. But let's get down to brass tacks. The first track "World Hello Day" just tears to shreds! It's aggressive, melodic, these almost thrash riffs kill and the vocalist strains his voice like Tomas Lindberg himself! Interesting as it is, a little bit different elements have already appeared in the middle of the above mentioned song or in the beginning of " Aeolian Choreography". It probably shows that the guys use their brains and won't "torture" us with typical melodic death metal all the time. It's a good direction to introduce some other solutions to the music (I suggest to use psychedelic keyboards a'la ATROPHIA RED SUN or progressive DREAM THEATER-like way of playing). Because now the most important task of ELYSIUM should be to create such sounds which will differ the group from the music of ARCH ENEMY, SOILWORK or the above mentioned AT THE GATES. It won't be a problem for sure, so now my only fear is that ELYSIUM won't beat "FEEDBACK" level!
EMETH (B) "RETICULATED" (CD '06/BRUTAL BANDS)
With every year EMETH's position seems to grow and they deserved it, as the Belgians play very solid, brutal and technical death metal. Of course, they are following the best American bands, so that's why every instrument is working well here, but for example I have an impression that the vocalist suffers and strains a lot while singing (probably it's a result of his hard core-like manner and his voice timbre). Nevertheless, the whole stuff sounds very good, it's powerful, intense and modern (the sound is much better than on their previous release "INSIDIOUS" from 2004, but these vocals...). There are many blast beats here, although the album doesn't lack slow-downs either, additionally we've got here some sick ideas - good job, in a word. Just right to the lovers of 21st Century brutal death metal.
EMPEROR (N) "SCATTERED ASHES …A DECADE OF EMPERIAL WRATH" (2CD '03/CANDLELIGHT/PHD)
Unfortunately, it's not a brand new studio record from the mighty EMPEROR, but a kind of "the best of..." album, so this review will be short, since EVERYBODY knows the Norwegians' songs. "Black disc" is a typical collection of EMPEROR's best tracks, a cross-section of their whole discography. "Silver disc" contains cover-songs, remixes etc. It's nice to listen to, but isn't it better to spend your money on some other band's record that you for example don't know yet instead? The choice is yours.
EMPHERIS (PL) / HELLISH (PL) "THE REST ARE REMAINS" (SPLIT MC '06/METALRULEZ)
I suppose a chemistry is what worked in EMPHERIS, as the band recorded almost a cult release! Totally old-schooled, played in the Scandinavian and Greek vein, very simple, but catchy as well. "Flamethorns" struck with its severity and shortcomings, but here everything fits perfectly. Of course, there are mistakes, but weren't there mistakes in the mighty 80's as well? In general, it's pretty cool playing in the maximally old black metal vein that is crowned by DarkThrone cover!
HELLISH is a project (or maybe a band?) featuring EMPHERIS, BESATT and THRONEUM members (!), where, besides old schooled black metal, emphasis was put on thrash metal, too. And the guys got accomplished not bad mixture. Maybe HELLISH isn't any sensation at the underground scene, but, first of all, they have a fuckin' cool name he,he and, secondly, they play pretty good metal. I must admit that I prefer EMPHERIS here, but HELLISH can surprise you in the future. For the moment, maniacs into old Destruction, Kreator and Sodom, i.e. German Thrash Metal Unholy Trinity, can listen to "THE REST ARE REMAINS". It will recall your old, good memories for sure...
ENCRIMSON'D (USA) "AGRARIAN MENACE" (CD '04)
Melodic pagan black metal band from USA is still a rarity! And frankly speaking, people from Europe are better at playing this kind of music. And ENCRIMSON'D have still a lot to learn from such bands as e.g. Profundis or Abusiveness. Their pagan black metal is very melodic and every track is interrupted by acoustic guitar parts which makes this record very predictable. The stuff is diverse vocally, but I can't stand the sound, especially the drums sound terribly, they often die away. So I'm waiting for the new much better stuff.
ENTER CHAOS (PL) "AURA SENSE" (CD '04/MMP)
Contrary to the common opinion, ENTER CHAOS doesn't play typical, Swedish, melodic death metal. Of course, there's a lot of melodic riffs, dynamics, some aggression too, but "AURA SENSE" contains much more ambitious music, more complex and modern, also a little bit more brutal. The guys aren't an another mindless clone of SOILWORK, AT THE GATES or DARK TRANQUILLITY for sure. The band has got its own identity, distinctive sound, so everything seems OK. I don't write about very good brutal female vocals of Marta Meger (ex-IMMEMORIAL, KAYZEN) intentionally, because a lot of editors did it before. I'm sure many of you heard ENTER CHAOS debut CD entitled "DREAMWORKER" and I can say to you that "AURA SENSE" sounds similar although it was recorded at Studio X, not at famous HERTZ! I think one can boldly say the new CD is a follower of the music known from the debut material, but it's easy to hear that ENTER CHAOS plays more slowly and weird now. And I like it!
ENTROPIA (PL) "CLOSER" (CD-R '06/METAL JEERS)
It's a very successful debut! But how could it be unsuccessful, as the band plays fuckin' great metal in the best vein of Morbid Angel (many influences of "Covenant", as well as earlier albums; I bet they (used to) play "Rapture" in the beginning of every rehearsal), Angelcorpse or Summon?! Of course, the guys aren't as well skilled and sounding as the above mentioned groups, but the atmosphere of fast death/black metal has been captured perfectly here, although there's "not enough Satan in the lyrics" :-). I was impressed by their ease and naturalness in spitting out these brutal sounds as well as by the vocalist's class, so it's really hard to believe that "CLOSER" was composed by young, debuting musicians. It's only a pity the sound is too raw and there are no solos. With much powerful production they would create a huge stir.
You must have this demo in your collection!
ETERNAL PAIN (D) "IN PAIN WE TRUST - RELICTS FOR REVENGE" (CD '03)
This album is more than two years old and it consists of even older material. But it doesn't matter, because ETERNAL PAIN's music sounds like the 80's. The first tracks from this cross-sectional stuff are named "Chapter I - Relicts" and feature a mix of thrash metal of old German school (KREATOR) with harsh yet melodic Swedish death metal (early DARK TRANQUILLITY and AT THE GATES). It's perfect while drinking beer and partying!
"Chapter II - Revenge" is even more thrashy and besides the influence of the best German bands one can hear SLAYER inclinations as well. In general, expect not too fast but reliable stuff. So buy this CD and bang your heads! Maybe it's not the best old-fashioned album I've heard recently, but worth having anyway.
EXTINCT GODS (PL) "DIES NEFASTI" (CD-R '06/SCREAM IN FLAMES)
There has been a lot of well-debuting bands in Poland this year and EXTINCT GODS is just one of them. The group plays music that is a resultant of Death-like technical playing and Scandinavian melodic death metal with a little bit dose of good, moshing thrash. That genre is pretty popular in Poland recently (Redemptor, Requiem a.o.), but any of the above mentioned bands is enough original to catch the audience's attention. On "DIES NEFASTI" album the musicians showed how well-skilled they are, there are many melodic and catchy solos, also the sound is powerful and rich (Hertz Studio, of course), but it's not enough, I think. In my opinion, the band needs own identity to be distinguished and to become memorable, but with lack of originality EXTINCT GODS can achieve success as well, because they've got a huge potential!
EXTINCTION AGENDA (USA) / OPPRESSION (S) "Split tape" (split MC '05/NIHILISTIC HOLOCAUST)
EXTINCTION AGENDA is only a two-some (featuring December Wolves members, by the way), but it's enough to unleash hell as fuck! Old-school brutal thrash (or death/thrash, label it as you want) is what they play. The tracks are taken from their "Extinction Agenda" demo '05 that includes great riffing, vocals in the vein of Destruction, Sadus or Incubus and music which isn't another clone of Slayer, Testament or Metallica fortunately. The guys are influenced by the first above mentioned bands and that mixture sounds just perfect.
OPPRESSION is another fuckin' cool band on the split. They also play thrash, maybe a bit less brutal way, but more into speed metal. Niklas' vocal manner reminds me of Dark Angel, so does their music, but one can hear influences of Nuclear Assault, EvilDead and the likes as well. Die-hards should also download their "State Of War" demo '06 (already with new vocalist) as it fuckin' rules, too!
Well, Gab, gim'me more such great bands!
EXULCERATE (USA) "SAMPLES OF SICKNESS" (DEMO '03)
This self-released demo contains two brutal and furiously executed tracks. It's death metal which just crushes with its directness and rage. I'd say it's the way death/grind should be played - no needless and boring slow-downs, no "quasi-technical" demonstrations, no "stop and go" nor "listen how well-skilled we are". :-) The band treats us to a really perfect feeling for its music and how its message should be. To all who are into brutal metal, EXULCERATE will be like a beer on sweltering day. Recommended!
FARBEN LEHRE (PL) "BEZ POKORY / MY MASZYNY" (2CD '03)
The FARBEN LEHRE album consisting of the first two hit discs "BEZ POKORY" and "MY MASZYNY" is the next "punk classics" re-edition initiated by the DYWIZJA KOT label. I heard the deb stuff "BEZ POKORY" in the early 90's and, to be honest, I got fascinated both with the lyrics and the music to such an extent that it was my No 1 of punk for half a year. The tracks like "Emigranci' or "Helikoptery" are just smashing. A very sharp, defiant Wojtek Wojda's vocal in the foreground makes unity with the aggressive sound of guitar and in most of the numbers the drums are just the background of not hackneyed sounds. In my opinion this disc is the best of FARBEN LEHRE achievements and shame on everyone who do not know it yet. The second disc "MY MASZYNY" keeps up with the characteristic tone of the band though it is not what I expected having "BEZ POKORY" in mind. As for me, there are probably too many guitar solos. On the other hand, the great advantage is the variety of tracks gathered on the disc. You can find some covers which will fall you on your knees with the lyrics like "Nierealne Ogniska" or "Moja Wiara" - the tracks far from pogo-like but rather for soothing your soul and calming down. But you will also find some expressive and dynamic bombs like "Handel" or "Akcja Segregacja" - I will always associate this one with Jarocin and the "small scene" incidents. I recommend it to you all without hesitation.
FILII NIGRANTIUM INFERNALIUM (P) "FELLATRIX DISCORDIA PANTOKRATOR" (CD '05/PROCON MEDIA)
FILII NIGRANTIUM INFERNALIUM is a hard nut to crack! But who said that an editor's life was easy, he,he?
Well, they mixed everything here, i.e. death, thrash, atmospheric, heavy and black metal! At first glance it can seem indigestible, but the final effort is OK. The songs are melodic and memorable, yet twisted and weird, the arrangements are original, we have many cool solos here and the vocals are pretty possessed and screaming (they are in the vein of Macabre's vocalist a bit). The musicians know very well how to handle their instruments and how to utter bizarre but original sounds from them I give up, as it's very difficult to describe or compare their music!
You only should remember one thing - FILII NIGRANTIUM INFERNALIUM is a very good band indeed!
THE FIRSTBORN (P) "THE UNCLENCHING OF FISTS" (CD '05/PROCON MEDIA)
I really like and appreciate THE FIRSTBORN's music as it's very varied, rich and interesting. The base is death metal and the guys sometimes remind me early Morbid Angel and Nocturnus! On the other hand, there are some progressive, oriental, thrash, doom and atmospheric parts as well. It means you can find everything here, even melodic power heavy metal-like vocals (very good and diverse, by the way). But the final effort is also very original because of the lyrics dealing with Buddhism! In general, it's very audible they are good and gifted musicians with heads full of cool ideas.
Well, you deal with one of the best bands hailing from Portugal (but, frankly speaking, it isn't difficult to be the one)! And you should really get it!
FORGOTTEN CHAPEL #6(66) / R'LYEH #6 - SPLIT
(Winter/Spring 2008, 72/A4 pages, Xeroxed, Polish, F. CH. interviews: TERROR FROM HELL, LIE IN RUINS, EMBRIONAL, NEBULAR MYSTIC, EMPHERIS; R. interviews: NECROSCOPE 'zine, MORD'A'STIGMATA, FORGOTTEN CHAPEL 'zine, MODER, AMAROK, LEICHENGOTT, DEVASTATOR, WISHMASTER)
Apparently this issue of FORGOTTEN CHAPEL was written in a hurry because there are lots of spelling mistakes, especially in the band/label/release names. Some interviews start at the end of a page, and there are many other small shortcomings like this! The simple layout evoked in me quite a substantial feeling of insufficiency as well. But Matt's nice sense of humour, his funny news and comments make up for the layout. The big advantage of FORGOTTEN CHAPEL is well-done interviews with lots of in-depth questions and answers (EMBRIONAL, TERROR FROM HELL REC., EMPHERIS to name a few). There are lots of reviews of strictly underground releases you haven't heard about before (and you'll probably never hear of again), unless you’re a die-hard reader of NECROSCOPE ‘zine, hehe. But Matt is a keen tape-trader and exotic band-seeker, so his reviews of the groups from Armenia, Georgia and Vietnam shouldn't surprise, should they? This is only a full-size, 36 pager, and frankly one could fit much more content in it because the font-size used by Matt in some interviews and articles is too big (TFH REC., NEBULAR MYSTIC, a report from Turkey's scene and the ABHORER story). Was it made on purpose to cover the same number of pages as R'LYEH? To make a long story short, FORGOTTEN CHAPEL #6(66) features very good content-related texts; it’s pity that it was made in too big a hurry. On the other hand, Adrian didn't fail and prepared a very good issue, as he always does. A neat yet very simple layout, very good interviews and reviews, reliable live and scene reports, these are invariable characteristics of every issue of R'LYEH ‘zine. Adrian really knows how to absorb the readers and not bore them to death. So buy his fuckin' ‘zine now!
F. CH., Mateusz Wieteska, Ceg³owska 27/2, 01-809 Warszawa, Poland, email@example.com
R., Adrian Pe³ka, P.O. Box 20, 02-919 Warszawa 76, Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org
FORGOTTEN SOULS (PL) "MAETH" (DEMO '05)
It's another band from Cracow that executes atmospheric music (what you can easily conclude from the schematic name for example). I'm not sure if you still remember the fact there were many atmospheric bands in Cracow more or less one decade ago (e.g. early Atrophia Red Sun, Cemetery Of Scream, Cold Passion), but later black and death metal were in fashion... FORGOTTEN SOULS doesn't follow modern trends and refers to those old times, although their music is more modern comparing to the 90's. There are many cosmic keyboards, tempo changes, rich arrangements, interesting guitar parts and vocal experiments (from Olaf who confirmed his class recently on Sacrum's "Darkstricken" album, nota bene, he isn't FORGOTTEN SOULS member any more). It isn't any boring stuff, but nothing innovative either (e.g. there were many such avant-garde bands in Norway back then). Also this plastic sound pisses me off, but what can I do?...
Fans into gothic, doom and sympho black metal can reach for "MAETH", the rest of metalheads can forget the band, because they won't understand this music for sure...
FORMLESS TERROR (MKD) PROMO 2007
First off, we are dazzled by the sound, very powerful from the first notes!!! Alexander The Great’s descendants offer us death metal under the sign of Cannibal Corpse. The drummer’s murderous work, the crushing guitar riffs and the vocal utterings from the deepest abyss... everything is excellent, but too monotonous. The promo consists of only 3 songs and that saves the day, otherwise it would be tiring.
THE FROST (CRO) "DAMNED AND FORGOTTEN" (CD '06/KERZAKRAUM)
It's a compilation CD containing the both demos from this Croatian one-man band. Of course, expect nothing but typical black metal played in the Norwegian way. It's a bit misanthropic and melancholic stuff (especially the tracks from "In Conspiracy With Nature" demo '05), but not so much as FORGOTTEN TOMB or FUNERAL MOURNING to name a few. Nothing spectacular, but not a crap either, so die-hard maniacs can give it a try.
FROSTHARDR (N) "MAKTESLOS" (MCD '04/MOMENTUM SCANDINAVIA)
I received FROSTHARDR in one promo-package from MOMENTUM SCANDINAVIA together with DROTTNAR. And both bands have a lot in common. First of all, they play fuckin' great and intelligent black metal. On the other hand, these two Norwegian bands are Christians!
FROSTHARDR's music is a bit more interesting comparing to their label-mates. Sometimes it isn't even black metal! For example the track entitled "Death - My relief" is very doom-ish, slow and atmospheric, with growled vocals - something for fans of My Dying Bride and Winter! So I'm sure you won't be disappointed with this music.
Well, I would give them maximum note for the performance and ideas, but minimum note for their religious belief!
FUNERAL MOURNING (AUS) "DROWN IN SOLITUDE" (CD '06/GOATOWAREX)
FUNERAL MOURNING is Desolate's (of PESTILENTIAL SHADOWS) one-man project. But the guy doesn't execute any war metal here, but typical funeral doom mixed with black metal (vocals). Very slow tempos and very dark and misanthropic atmosphere are what you can find here. The music seems monotonous, but it must be played that way. Of course, it isn't any novum in the scene, there were and are many bands like that (e.g. the mighty Finnish UNHOLY), but it's a pretty good stuff anyway. So if you are considering committing suicide, after listening to "DROWN IN SOLITUDE" you'll do it for sure. I think it's the best recommendation.
FUNERUS (USA) "FESTERING EARTH" (CD '03/IBEX MOON)
These Americans have treated us to a pretty nice journey in time. Because one cannot describe "FESTERING EARTH" differently, as every sound here is almost taken alive from GRAVE's "INTO THE GRAVE" or BOLT THROWER's albums! But I must tell you it's a cool stuff, though it's obvious I like the original more. Unfortunately, one cannot forge neither the Sunlight Studio sound nor Jorgen's vocal. But you can expect really steamrolling, dark and classical death metal. If FUNERUS' goal is to pay tribute to European death metal of the early 90's, the guys do their job very well. But if they think about more serious career, they must focus much more on their own ideas.
FURIA (POL) P£OÑ (MCD ’09 / PAGAN)
As you may know, FURIA is another band comprised of MASSEMORD members and comprehensive Black Metal is what they deliver. This intelligent, varied and avant-garde music is closer to SATYRICON and EMPEROR (but with no keyboards) than DARKTHRONE, if you ask me. And when compared to MASSEMORD, this stuff isn’t so fast and furious, but it is just as unpredictable. Noteworthy material that can be considered a foretaste of FURIA’s forthcoming second full-length album entitled GRUDZIEÑ ZA GRUDNIEM (see the review below).
FURIA (POL) GRUDZIEÑ ZA GRUDNIEM (CD ’09 / PAGAN)
What have we got here? The ascetic front cover foreshadows the nihilistic to the bone music. I can’t describe this rich music, really, but what I know is that only technical skills could be FURIA’s limitation, for surely it is not their imaginations. As far as the music is concerned, the band illustrates the fire and the cold of seasons by means of their music, that’s it. Granted, it was no easy task, but they managed somehow. Furthermore, it’s very audible that they take it very seriously. The label has compared them to DEATHSPELL OMEGA, TAAKE, SHINING and DRUDKH, and there’s a seed of truth in it, but FURIA go even further...
GHASTLY (AUS) "A MORBID DEMO" (DEMO '04)
This time we move to Australia where another band playing old school black metal exists. GHASTLY performs very old-fashioned music in the vein of Venom and Bathory, some heavy metal-like riffs appear, too. Although it isn't any outstanding material, you can listen to it from time to time. This music is very raw and straight, they sound like people who've just started to play the music, but I suppose they're honest in what they do and don't follow the retro-trend. Maybe I'm wrong, so it's better if you check the guys out by yourselves.
MaciekP.S. This stuff was released by Asphyxiate Rec & GoatowaRex as a split CD w/ Finnish FLAME in 2005.
GOREGAST (D) "VIVA EL ANIMAL" (CD '05)
As a matter of fact the band has just released another album, but I don't care as "VIVA EL ANIMAL" isn't an old release at all he,he. It isn't brilliant material for sure, but one can find here a lot of heavy, catchy, groovy death/grind "noise". One can also come upon blast-beats or typical, mixed grind-like vocals, so fans into extreme metal will find some interesting fragments as well.
Generally, I have the impression that GOREGAST keeps its distance (vide image or cover art), but they play pretty well, so I would give them 6 of 10 points.
GRAVEWURM (USA) / SUICIDAL WINDS (S) "FROM CONFLICT TO CONQUEST" (split CD '06/TIME BEFORE TIME)
I received that split in one promo package together with SLUGATHOR and I must admit that the Finns' stuff appealed to me more. But looking objectively GRAVEWURM and SUICIDAL WINDS play totally different music and one shouldn't compare these 3 bands. The material featured on the split is much more simple and raw than "Circle Of Death" album, so surely there are some orthodox maniacs who will like "FROM CONFLICT TO CONQUEST" more. GRAVEWURM executes primitive, underground-to-the-bone death metal with slow-downs, black metal vocals and influences (early SAMAEL?), that, comparing to their only previous release I've got - "CARNIVOROUS MONARCHY" from 2003, is less thrashy and aggressive and contains more total doom parts. Pretty good stuff anyway.
SUICIDAL WINDS is a band that, like a GRAVEWURM, recorded a huge number of splits, tapes etc. Unfortunately, "FROM CONFLICT TO CONUQER" is my first contact with the Swedes and the band itself made a very good impression on me. But it's obvious as they play old-fashioned aggressive thrash/black! Well, maybe it's not as great band as HYPNOSIA, but if you admire their native BESTIAL MOCKERY, old SODOM and first and foremost Australian war metal in the way of GOSPEL OF THE HORNS, you're home. Hard, fast-paced music, sleazy vocal, no compromise and for desserts you'll receive an interesting classic, OZ cover "Turn The Cross Upside Down"!
It's worth having!
THE HAG (PL) "DEPREDATIONS" (DEMO '04)
THE HAG is an every reviewer's ass abscess, as this Music is impossible to describe or to compare. The guys decided to create very difficult Music, extremely ambitious, being a result of their huge and diverse sound fascinations. That's why you can hear avantgarde, progressive, psychedelic, industrial, doom, black, rock music here - almost everything. I don't normally listen to such releases, but it's a really great pleasure to commune with "DEPREDATIONS" and to discover something new every time. Except well thought-over, complex compositions (evidently created under the influence of varied drugs) and fuckin' great sounding/working bass guitar, good varied vocals (that remind me Houk from "Transmission Into Your Heart" era) and the sound caught my attention. The latter is indeed semi-professional, but fits the Music almost perfectly. So I wish there were more such ambitious abscesses to reach as big audience as possible.
HECATOMBIC (F) DELIGHTS OF THE DESPICABLE (CD 04/MELANCHOLIA)
Its the best Melancholia Records release to date what doesnt mean its something overwhelming, but its just OK. We deal with good brutal death metal here, with sharp and heavy guitars, often theyre melodic, sometime even acoustic parts appear. Dynamic fast paced drumming drives this French killing machine very well and low growlings make the stuff more brutal. The sound is suitable, especially as for the guitars.
A really solid piece of death metal for fans into Cannibal Corpse and the likes.
HELLGOAT "MOONLIGHT RITUAL" (USA) / LEGIONS OF ASTAROTH (USA) "THE MOON BLEEDS RED UPON THE EARTH" (split CD '05/VILE ART)
First of all, I received a fucked up promo copy, because there is nothing but static. I'll try to write a few words though.
HELLGOAT is similar to LAMENT CONFIGURATION reviewed somewhere below. The same primitive, raw and sordid black metal in the Norwegian way. But it shouldn't surprise as in the line-up there are the same members. The stuff is not worth to pay attention, anyway.
The same situation is with LEGIONS OF ASTAROTH. But I like the misanthropic vocals here. And the bass-drum sounds awful! But in my opinion it's the best band from VILE ART.
Label contact: email@example.com
HELLSPAWN (PL) "DEMO 2005"
HELLSPAWN is another follower of the mighty Behemoth and Hate Eternal! The guys are young, but well-skilled and very, very promising. Of course, it'll be very hard (almost impossible) for them to record such great albums as for example "Demigod" or "I, Monarch", but who knows As for a demo, the sound is OK, although double-bass are pushed forward too much. The stuff is short as it lasts 15 minutes only, but it's enough dose of such brutal and fuckin' intense death metal.
Keep improving, guys!
HELLVETO (POL) KRY (CD ’09 / PAGAN)
It’s simply a masterpiece. On this album everything is brought to perfection and on the button, A to Z. The final result is that one listens to the KRY CD with great pleasure, and each of the six featured songs remains in memory for a long time. I haven’t heard such good and extremely monumental music for a long time. Hellveto deserves recognition, first and foremost for the huge talent and skill that combined to create a work of art. I cordially invite you to listen to this album.
HERITAGE (PL) "DETERMINATIVE" (DEMO '06)
I've supposedly heard somewhere all the sounds that appeared on "DETERMINATIVE", but if I was to mention some of their influences, I would have some problems. Although, frankly speaking, I associate their tunes mostly with Sinister. It's that kind of pure, classic, mid-paced death metal with powerful guitar-riffing. But the semi-professional sound and the screeching vocals that appear on the demo from time to time are what sets a devilish atmosphere here and differs HERITAGE from the Dutchs. Generally, it's no revelation, but the stuff suits me as I was brought up in death metal of the 80's and 90's. So it's recommended to revive old memories.
HERMH (PL) "EDEN'S FIRE" (digiCD '06/PAGAN)
Everything was said of "EDEN'S FIRE", so my review won't bring anything new. Nevertheless I received the CD and I'm under an obligation to write a few words about it. And there's a lot to write about, beacuse the album is very rich. But in turn...
If you heard their previous MCD release "BEFORE THE EDEN - AWAITING THE FIRE", the content of "EDEN'S FIRE" won't surprise you. It's still the same symphonic black/death metal - hellishly intense, intelligent, dynamic and brutal (as for black metal). The group found their niche where they feel well and probably they won't be looking for another identity, as it was in the beginnings when every of their release varied a lot from the previous one. Now the band seems conscious, self-confident, knows what they want and how to realize it. It's also of importance that Bart invited good, skilful, familiar with a scene and with a recording studio musicians of Abused Majesty, Via Mistica and Asgaard to co-operation. Thanks to them he could create the album that couldn't be created by e.g. the "ANGELDEMON" line-up... Well, I've just mentioned their previous full-length album released in 1997 and the ones who stopped at it will be surprised very much. That record hasn't got their actual power, brutality and the sound. Of course, "ANGELDEMON" featured a few solid, aggressive songs ("Wolfish Flower" a.o.), but comparing to "EDEN'S FIRE" it sounds like a demo, not like a second full-length (I didn't take "ECHO" into consideration as it's a demo tapes compilation). So the new, much harder face of HERMH will suit Polish orthodox metalheads better, I'm sure.
As you can easily guess, I like "EDEN'S FIRE", although I have some problems with the compact sound. But it's good the guys entered HERTZ Studio, not some less professional place where they would get accomplished nothing but chaos. I like also the gloomy keyboard play and the bloody videoclip that you can get on digipack edition only! I would only scold Socaris for being too much fascinated in Ihsahn and Samoth's guitar riffs. Hope he will be cured of it on their next release.
To black/death metalheads, who don't mind keyboards, this album is a must!
HERMH (POL) AFTER THE FIRE - ASHES (MCD ’08 / WITCHING HOUR/ PAGAN)
This one is a collector’s item addressed to the die-hard HERMH fans only. It contains two new songs, a re-recorded version of their most catchy tune “Wolfish Flowers,” a VENOM cover, an electro remix (by RED EMPREZ) and a few live songs (that originally appeared on the EDEN’S FIRE CD). The production is extremely professional, same with the live tracks, although their best effort is yet to come. But if you have a few free bucks, check out one of the most expressive Sympho-Black Metal bands in Poland; they have quite a theatrical playing style. Also note that AFTER THE FIRE – ASHES is available as both a separate release and a double digipak alongside the THE SPIRITUAL NATION BORN DVD.
HESPERUS DIMENSION (PL) "MENTAL ELECTRICITY" (DEMO '05)
The older readers and underground maniacs should already remember Nahald whose past is very shameful. But if you forget about it and listen to what he created on "MENTAL ELECTRICITY", he seems to be a pretty mature composer now. HESPERUS DIMENSION is a post black metal band from Poland that mastered that Norwegian style perfectly (no need to mention all the names, huh?), characterized by great, ominous vocals, programmed drums, aggressive riffs and keyboards used the way to create a cosmic, sick atmosphere. Although I don't normally listen to such sounds (but I have some albums from Arcturus, The Kovenant and the likes in my collection, of course), I must admit that "MENTAL ELECTRICITY" riveted my attention.
HESPERUS DIMENSION, CRUENTUS, XANTHE something happens in the field of avant-garde music in Poland!
HORRORSCOPE (PL) "LIVE COLLISION" (CD-R '03/DEATH CORE LEGION)
As you can conclude from the record's title it contains live recorded stuff only. Hardly ever can one hear so well released underground gigs, especially in our country, but e.g. TRAUMA's "CRASH TEST" proved that here in Poland we have good sound engineers, too. Most of the tracks on "LIVE COLLISION" come from their debut CD entitled "PICTURES OF PAIN" (CRASH MUSIC/EMPIRE REC.), there's also "Wrong Side Of The Road" (an average video clip was released to this track) and 2 cover songs. If "Night Crawler" from JUDAS PRIEST is impossible to be played better then in original version, especially to be sung, as "King Of The Kill" from ANNIHILATOR the band executed pretty well. Of great importance is HORRORSCOPE fascination with Canadians' compositions, which can be heard in every sound of their music. And it's the only disadvantage - lack of own identity. I hope the band goes away from Waters' guitar riffs and starts to offer something on their own. While listening to "LIVE COLLISION" pay attention to a very good musicianship and Piotr's drum works - you should know this guy from... brutal death metal NOMAD's releases! Well, for the time being listen to the concert version of HORRORSCOPE's thrash metal, awaiting their brand new album to be released this year on underground SCREAM IN FLAMES!
HORRORSCOPE (PL) "EVOKING DEMONS" (CD '06/MMP)
HORRORSCOPE hit again! "EVOKING DEMONS" is only a continuation of "THE CRUSHING DESIGN" album indeed and although the band hasn't improved too much, it's still one of the best Polish releases of the year. And as for thrash metal it's undoubtedly a number one. The band plays its thrash in the same way as they did before, but the guys improved their sound a bit (what seemed almost impossible), it's also audible that HORRORSCOPE plays more firmly and harder with every release. It's still a powerful and motoric stuff, I would even say it's kinda "Painkiller" of Thrash Metal he,he. There's no point in saying about their influences (e.g. one can hear in solos their heavy metal roots) or perfect musicianship, as it's obvious and every reviewer says it (check my reviews on "THE CRUSHING DESIGN" and "LIVE COLLISION" for example). Maybe "EVOKING DEMONS" isn't the most original release in the world, but one can hear it's a genuine band and it's HORRORSCOPE. More than recommended!
HRIMTHURS (AUS) "WAR OF THE AGES" (pro-DCD-R '04)
It's an interesting release. Very, very long (two discs, more than 110 minutes of music!), composed and recorded by one guy only. Disc 1 features mainly Scandinavian black metal with some monumental and doomy parts and with heavy sounding (as for the genre) guitars (!). For sure, it's isn't a typical one-man-band misanthropical black metal. This music is more rich and even contains some Renaissance-like tunes (especially on disc 2). But let's label it atmospheric black, OK? So if you are into that kind of metal, listen to "WAR OF THE AGES" now.
HYPERION (UKR) "THROUGH CENTURIES" (CD '05/DEATHGASM)
Hardly ever one can hear Ukrainian death metal, especially released on American label! HYPERION was lucky and got a deal offer from the underground but resilient Deathgasm Records. What did captivate the Americans? I have no idea, 'cause there are many technical and brutal bands in the States and most of them sound much better then HYPERION. But there's something what distinguishes the Ukrainians from the other groups. It's a sizeable presence of synthesizer, although on "THROUGH CENTURIES" it sounds as it comes from some gothic-black metal album, not a brutal one. Unfortunately, the guys weren't able to create such a cool atmosphere as Nocturnus, Corvus or Atrophia Red Sun did on their records. Another factor which distinguishes HYPERION is a pretty big dose of melodies as for such a brutal music. There are even fragments in the vein of Swedish "death" metal or brutal black, but in general death metal is the thing which dominates here, additionally with such a cool old-schooled feeling in it (something in the vein of Immolation)! Well, HYPERION has got some originality for sure and in my opinion it's better to reach for "THROUGH CENTURIES" than for a thousandth clone of Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel.
ILLNATH (DK) "CAST INTO FIELDS OF EVIL PLEASURE" (CD '03/WORLDCHAOS PROD.)
I'm sick of these all CRADLE OF FILTH and DIMMU BORGIR clones! Most of musicians either clone music mindlessly or use the vocal manner characteristic of Dani. In this way it's impossible to avoid some comparisons and reproaches. In ILLNATH defence I have only the fact the band recorded a pretty solid stuff dressed in a very good sound (it's a Danish band, so you shouldn't wonder why) and graphics. As the guys are well-skilled, the stuff is also nice to listen to. More creativity, guys, and you'll be a premier league melodic, black metal band!
IN SPITE OF (PL) "FISTS OF FURY" (CD '03/BLACK BOTTLE REC.)
"FISTS OF FURY" is a second material from IN SPITE OF. The band is more known on the hard core/punk scene than on the metal one. It features members of well-known SCHIZMA and SOLITARY. The CD includes high-level "NY hard core". The last tour of SCHIZMA over Japan left its stamp on the album contents definitely, the front cover-art shows it clearly: Japanese letters, dragons and Bruce Lee to whom the album is dedicated. The music itself also doesn't differ from "slant-eyed" areas. The stuff is open by a few-seconds intro, some "karate fighters"' screams etc. and then we are banged by the fist of musical fury. I don't know if there's point in writing about each track, because they are arranged in a solid and interesting way which doesn't bore and I admit that driving a car while listening to this music is really hard core-like. I guarantee that all who are into H/C and will acquaint themselves with I.S.O.'s music won't be disappointed. The only thing which spoils the general impression is a cover version of well-known in the 80's "Kung-Fu Fighting" song which poorly finalize the album. I realize that this song was placed to emphasize the atmosphere, but it didn't... But in general "FISTS OF FURY" is a pretty good album.
Distribution: DYWIZJA KOT
INFANTICIDE (CZ) "TIME HAS SPOKEN" (DEMO '03)
After listening to "TIME HAS SPOKEN" I came to the only one conclusion that INFANTICIDE consists of the open-minded musicians. One can hear it in the way each instrument plays and in the compositions themselves that, in spite of being made on basis of death metal, are way far from what's considered as "metal of death". But labelling them as a progressive death metal band is a bit over the top, too, because their music differs very much from the complexity of Atheist or Cynic. I think the Czechs are near to late Death, although it's not the same level and a big simplification, too, as INFANTICIDE's songs are different. They are less technical, but more raw, a lot happens here, too. I would even venture that the band created a kind of original music and I've mentioned Death only as one of their many inspirations. You can become convinced that INFANTICIDE is an uncommon band upon the songs placed on "TIME HAS SPOKEN". "Like A Burning Stones" from 1995 is an aggressive and hard track, "Trilogy" taken from their 1998 debut album is long, epic and not too metal-like one, while brand new "Hail To All" or the title track are modern arranged. An interesting group.
INHUMATE (F) "LIFE" (CD '04/GRIND YOUR SOUL)
4 years have already passed since their previous full-length release, but remember it's a 100% D.I.Y. band. But they always give you a professional product. INHUMATE is a highly respected and popular group in the underground nowadays, so most of you have already heard about the French, I suppose.
Well, another release and we receive another portion of decent death/grind in the vein of Napalm Death etc. Sometimes even hard core elements appear (the beginning of "Sickness Is The Law" for example) and "For Lust" starts with punk rhythms, but it's in trace amounts only and makes the entire stuff more varied. The sound is clear, dynamic, just professional and if you are familiar with "GROWTH" album, you know what you can expect from its follow-up - nothing but brutal death/grind core MADNESS!
INSEMINATOR (PL) "DEATHTHRASH COMA - ROTTEN INSEMINATION" (MC '06 / METAL RULEZ/STRIGOI)
INSEMINATOR appeared from nowhere and smashed me up at once! It's one the best Polish old-schooled bands together with THRONEUM and WITCHMASTER! Well, well, I would never expect such a cool and catchy thrash/black/death metal from such a young band! And when you hear their version of Kreator's "Tormentor", your pants will fall down. Excellent! The sound fits that music perfectly, but I prefer the one from "Death Thrash" demo (side A) than from "Into Rotten Coma We Drift" MCD (side B). The latter is too good to such an old-school music he,he.
To me this band is the revelation of last months while METAL RULEZ, which has got such great bands as INSEMINATOR, MORD'A'STIGMATA or SOULLESS PROFANATION, can compete with other great Polish labels as Agonia, Pagan or Time Before Time! Of course, as for music quality, not a distribution range...
INTERIOR (PL) "PROMO ONLY" (DEMO '05)
INTERIOR is a representative of so-called Polish Second Wave of Old School Metal. As a matter of fact the band is very promising, but it isn't yet the same level as Witchmaster, Hell-Born or even Bloodthirst present. The band performs aggressive, brutal and motorous thrash metal, but they still have to work a lot to bring listeners to their knees. Especially the drums sound needs to be improved! I also don't understand why the band uses grinding, gurgling vocals that don't fit here, this short material is enough brutal and doesn't need such a kind of vocals!
If you are able to imagine an old-fashioned, simple and raw version of Horrorscope and you think you can like it, reach for "PROMO ONLY".
IRON HAMMER #2
(November 2008, 60/A5 pages, Xeroxed, English, interviews: RADEMASSAKER, BLIZZARD, ALCOHOLIC RITES, SHACKLES, HELL TORMENT, HELLKOMMANDER, DEATHHAMMER, CAST IRON, CHAINSAW/ PROSELYTISM)
It's very good stuff done the old cut 'n' paste way! 60 pages full of text in a small font-size, so you'll have a read for a few Metal evenings, believe me. I read this issue with genuine pleasure, for Jeff writes freely and in an interesting manner. Mr. Greza's reviews are the highlight here - they are all informative, not too long or boring, and the two featured live reports are OK. As far as interviews are concerned, their quality depends on the interviewees, so some talks are interesting and some fail. As a matter of fact, the editor tries to ask good, untypical questions, but I wouldn't say that his interviews are very in-depth. Anyway, I can recommend to you some good chats with RADEMASSAKER, CAST IRON and CHAINSAW/ PROSELYTISM. Well, to make a long story short, there are many great, mostly old school Black/Thrash/Death bands interviewed and reviewed here; plenty of them are totally unknown to me and that's what I really like! Also, take into consideration that it's a fanzine made by a fan for fans, so that's why Jeff writes only about the stuff he likes/buys and, as a result, 99.9% of his reviews are very, very positive, unfortunately.
IRON HAMMER ‘zine/ Bloodmonk Rite Productions, Marius “Jeff” Greza, Kirchbergstr. 41, 72178 Waldachtal, Germany, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISOLATED (PL) "DEMONSS CONCLAVE" (MCD '05)
Since I remember ISOLATED was influenced by Vader and Cannibal Corpse. Also this time, when you listen to e.g. the opening riff in "Armageddon Fire" song you will hear Vader-like guitars. Fortunately, the rest isn't such a clone. Of course, do not expect any original stuff but a good, blasphemous and brutal death metal with dull growling and with too much computer in the drums production, but, frankly speaking, I'm accustomed to it.
Well, fans of "US death metal" should really like it. And I am still waiting for their "opus magnum", anyway "DEMONSS CONCLAVE" is their best release so far.
KINETIC (GR) "SOUL | EMOTION | FLESH" (DEMO '03)
KINETIC is an OK band, they play mature "US thrash metal" (OVERKILL, Polish HORRORSCOPE) mixed with more progressive motives in the vein of late DEATH. They do it well, but a mediocre vocals and an artificial drumming (it sounds like a drum-machine) are things I don't like here. The rest is alright and I suppose it's just a good foretaste of their future album entitled "THE CHAINS THAT BIND US" (unfortunately, I haven't listened to it) out on SLEASZY RIDER REC. at the end of 2004. So if you like a good riffing and hard and aggressive thrash/death metal, KINETIC is just for you.
KLOAK (DK) "A TRUE BOHEMIAN REVOLUTIONARY" (CD '03/DRUG[S]/MIGHTY MUSIC)
First of all, I would like to apologize both the label and the band they've been waiting for this review for so long. But I think it was better to write it after two years than to be a rip-off.
From a musical point of view, KLOAK is a really good band, on condition that you're open-minded, as they play ambitious and original kind of nu-metal with a big dose of psychedelic. They remind me late SEPULTURA, but, as I mentioned, there's much more to it - the Danish style. Although I prefer SEPULTURA from their first four albums, I like KLOAK's music, too. I must admit that you should be in a sufficient mood while listening to these sounds though. Also the prefect conditions to listen to it are: a dark room and a high volume of your hi-fi. Everything is worth of your attention here, starting with the performance, through the sound and the complex arrangements to finish with. I once heard that KLOAK would fit to RELAPSE RECORDS' profile and I think somebody was right, as "A TRUE BOHEMIAN REVOLUTIONARY" is a really bizarre and crazy album. But very good indeed.
LAMENT CONFIGURATION (USA) "DEMONIC INCANTATIONS" (CD '05/VILE ART)
What a primitive, raw and grim black metal! What a very modest, underground and sordid sound! What buzzing guitars and clumsy solos! Well, DarkThrone does it much, much better so don't waste your money for "Demonic Incantations". If it's the kult, what's DarkThone then?!
Label e-mail: email@example.com
LANDSCAPE OF SOULS (PL) "STRANGE DREAM" (DEMO '04)
That genre was popular 10-15 years ago when everything was started by The Gathering and Paradise Lost. A lot of their followers appeared in Poland very soon to play monumental doom/death/gothic. Some of the bands were Cemetery Of Scream, Eternal Deformity, Sirrah, Mordor, Sacriversum or Wintershadows to name a few. And in Europe there were Crematory, Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy, Thalarion, early Amorphis and many others. I still don't know why, but the genre was very popular with both maniax and record labels, although it was common knowledge that none of those groups was to record something as good as "Always..." or "Gothic". I admit that I didn't have an affinity with all those young bands, well, maybe except Sirrah, S.S.G.E. or Atrophia Red Sun that were trying to bring something fresh and new in...
LANDSCAPE OF SOULS is an unoriginal and warmed over band too, but nowadays such a doom/death with keyboards and good growling is still a rarity and it can be a good chance to the old metalheads to recall the old days (unfortunately). I hope only that we don't deal with some new retro-trend...
LOITS (EST) "EI KAHETSE MIDAGI" (DIGI-CD '03/SEVEN GATES OF HELL)
It's a well-produced recording, selective and clear. I could simply label their music as black metal, but because of vocal and simple riffs which are melodic and don't create complex and technical switchbacks. Guitar sound is tough, but incompletely spilled and characteristic of black metal. LOITS uses also keyboards to focus on song introductions and to emphasize guitar melodies which don't dazzle by their technical sensuality. In general, one can listen to the music from "EI KAHETSE MIDAGI" without being disgusted - it's very easy to absorb. But I wouldn't describe it as "album of the year", because the band isn't original, but, as I've mentioned above, the production of the CD is very good. This stuff will absorb every maniac for sure, but for how long? I advise you to chck it out by yourselves.
LORD (F) "HELL'S FUCKING METAL" (CD '04/WEIRD TRUTH)
LORD hails from France and presents great fuckin' thrashing black metal in the vein of early Venom, Kreator, Sodom, Destruction (vocals) and stuff like that. Well, this is exactly what I expected from WEIRD TRUTH as the label is into old school metal and released many good albums (for example Throneum's "Old Death's Lair"!). LORD's music is straight and in the big spirit of both metal of the 80's and Norwegian black. So buy it now as it's a pretty cool piece of METAL!
LOSS (USA) "LIFE WITHOUT HOPE
DEATH WITHOUT REASON" (CD '05/DEATHGASM)
LOSS is under the big influence of European slow & dark doom metal. So if you'd die for early My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost or such Finnish doomsters as e.g. Unholy or Thergothon, you'll cut yourself for LOSS as well. The vocals are good, because they're low and brutal and their music is very slow and atmospheric, but not as depressive and misanthropic as from the Finnish bands for example. The CD contains of 3 main tracks (their demo from 2004) and 2 live tracks that are a bit faster than the main songs, one of them is KATATONIA (godz!) cover "Brave" sung by Lord Imperial of Krieg! Anyway, it's a pretty cool piece of dark doom.
LUNATIC GODS (SK) "MYTHUS" (CD '04/HROM)
The Czechs have got ROOT and FORGOTTEN SILENCE and the Slovaks have got LUNATIC GODS. What do these bands have in common except the old history of Czechoslovakia? It's very simple - OFFBEAT MUSIC! Since every album of LUNATIC GODS is nothing but boiler where all the elements of death metal, doom, thrash or progressive music have been put. For many of you it will be a very stodgy and weird stuff, but for some more hardy people LUNATIC GODS' music will be an amazing source of positive, sensual sensations. "MYTHUS" is a correct produced album (famous Exponent Studio) that contains well-played, richly arranged music with lots of ideas (99% of them were born in the leader's, Hirax, mind) and strange, not enough professional vocals (one is raw growl, the second one is clear yet steady and the third one is Greta's guest female singing). In order to record his ideas at the studio, Hirax needed 6 musicians more and 7 guests (it's wonder that they didn't kill each other during the recording session he,he), so one can imagine how complex and confused "MYTHUS" is. Nothing is missing here, as there's a melody, mood, finesse, there's aggression and brutality as well. So it is enough if you will be a little bit open-minded!
MAGGOTH (POL) BACKSTABBERS’ AGGRESSION (DEMO ’07)
MAGGOTH isn’t a well-known outfit in the Polish underground, but they have potential, I tell you. The band plays very cool, old-fashioned Thrash/Death Metal with audible inspirations drawn from SADUS and MASTER; the latter’s “The Truth” is covered on this demo. The semi-professional sound fits the whole. There are good riffs and leads as well, but the Hard Core type of vocals destroys the stuff! And the occasional jumping rhythms turn out to be the proverbial nail in the coffin. So, Wojtek, take over all the vocal duties, please. Sing like in PERSECUTOR and your next stuff will haunt.
Wojciech Piekarniak, Moniuszki 147/149 m. 37, 95-200 Pabianice, Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.myspace.com/maggothrash
MALEFICENTIA (F) UNDER THE BANNER OF SUFFERING (digiCD 03/MELANCHOLIA)
I was bored all the time while listening to this release. Because how many bands playing in the vein of late Dimmu Borgir, Cradle Of Filth and the likes one can listen to? This is very melodic stuff with pseudo-symphonic keyboards (but they dont play the main role as are a bit behind other instruments), but its still too melodic as for black metal. Well, frankly, it isnt even black metal at all as Black Metal is Venom, Bathory and DarkThrone! Weve got both brutal and screeching vocals here which are enough good (but also boring), so better forget about this review and this CD!
MANDATORY (D) "...WHERE THEY BLEED" (MCD '06/ASPHYXIATE)
The more I listen to the stuff the more I like it. But my first impression was: "What the hell?! They did a step back!". Yes, after "CURSE OF THE UNDEAD" which featured old-school death metal in the European and American way, the band recorded totally Swedish material in the vein of Grave, early Edge Of Sanity and the likes (even "Intro" is a bit similar to the beginning of Tiamat's "In A Dream"). But after many hearings I realized the stuff still kicks ass although is more slow and less brutal. The vocals aren't in the vein of Martin Van Drunen so much as it was on "CURSE ", but I like them though. There are some fuckin' great, catchy and melodic riffs, as well as the heavy sound that fits the music perfectly, so the MCD will please you for sure.
Well, MANDATORY together with SLUGATHOR, HORRID and INCARNATED to name a few represent a strong league of the bands to follow Swedish death metal! But any of the above mentioned bands comes from Sweden, by the way, he!
MANDATORY (D) "CURSE OF THE UNDEAD" (MCD '05)
Yeah! "CURSE OF THE UNDEAD" contains PURE OLD SCHOOL DEATH METAL in its best way. Fans of ASPHYX, BOLT THROWER, old MORGOTH and old PESTILENCE will be more than happy, as "CURSE OF THE UNDEAD" is real death metal feast for real maniax! Of course, you'll hear here nothing but heavy and killing guitar riffs, crushing vokills in the vein of the mighty Martin Van Drunen and great slow-downs. During listening you'll be headbanging all the time, I'm sure. And do not forget to listen to it very fucking loud! Enough said. Highly recommended stuff you cannot ignore unless you are a pussy!
P.S. The guys have just released another MCD entitled "...WHERE THEY BLEED"! "CURSE OF THE UNDEAD" killed me, so "...WHERE..." will murder me twice, I suppose. Visit their website and buy their releases or the curse of the undead will get you!
MANSION OF SOUL DRAIN, THE (S) "NEON GOD" (CD '04)
THE MANSION OF SOUL DRAIN is typical band promoted by RISESTAR - good but not above the average. There's nothing in this music which makes you say: "wow!". Besides, you've heard these sounds many times before. The stuff is in the vein of old Trail Of Tears, Cemetery Of Scream and things like that. They aren't the most slowest band in the world as they prefer mid-tempos, thank "God". The guys use two standard male vocals, i.e. one not too deep growling and the second one which is clean (in the vein of Peter Steel), they use one gentle female voice, as well.
In a word, it's a very typical European doom/gothic. For the die-hards only.
MARAS (MKD) / XERION (SPA) NA BÚSQUEDA DO PRIMIXENIO / THROUGH THE LANDS OF ANCIENT MAKEDON (split CD-R ‘07 / TERROR BLAST)
Here’s something that may interest you – a band from Macedonia, probably the first one that I personally will ever get to know. They share this split CD with Spain’s XERION who may be more familiar to some of you as they already have a bunch of releases in their discography. MARAS opens the album and hmm… I should have known that Macedonian band wouldn’t be that good and I shouldn’t have expected anything extraordinary from them. It’s not terribly bad; it’s just very standard, slightly melodic black metal, one which actually reminds me of some Polish bands from the 90’s, like ABUSIVENESS’ demo Dwie Twarze Mroku. The riffing is kind of melodic, mostly fast, but not very aggressive or furious; rather it brings this heathen feeling of primitive black metal, which sometimes turns into this happy Viking melody, like in the fourth song. The vocals are pretty monotonous and sound like they’ve been executed without any idea and the production is slightly amateurish… Hmm, there’s not much good I can say about MARAS unfortunately. On the other hand their music is listenable; it’s not as painfully bad as some other bands I’ve had to listen to for this issue of Burning Abyss. They can do by virtue of being the first Macedonian band I’ve ever gotten to know. And what about XERION…Well, you can hear this band is much more experienced and have better ideas for their music, although the beginning of their part fuckin’ scared me away with some folkish playing – flutes, bagpipes, (very bad sounding) female vocals… I hate this intro; luckily, when XERION starts to play, it turns into a really cool pagan black metal band. First of all, the production of their part of this split is far better than MARAS’. The guitars sound really powerful, have great dynamics, some good riffs, are insanely fast and that’s what I like about them. “Na Búsqueda Do Primixenio” hits with blasts, is very fast and unstoppable, totally aggressive, while “Nada Que Me Consume” is very slow and mournful, with sorrowful, melancholic melodies, and sounds completely different from the first song. And the third track is again slightly different, which is good, I think, as it brings a lot of diversity to XERION’s music. So, in the end, this split CD brings me some problems… On one hand you can get a decent Spanish band called XERION, which I think may interest some of you, and then there’s the Macedonian MARAS, who are just mediocre… Well, you decide whether you like it or not. Myself, I would give XERION 7 / 10 points, and MARAS would only get 3,5 / 10…
Maras: www.myspace.com/marashorde; Xerion: www.otronodexerion.com
MASS INSANITY (POL) SILENT LANGUAGE (CD-R ’07 / BREWERY DISTRO)
I have recently received 3 releases from BREWERY DISTRO and I’m sorry to say that MASS INSANITY is the worst of them. Mediocre Brutal Death Metal here, nothing impressive at all (same thing with their label mates - BEYOND THE DESERT). This CD-R contains the band’s 2 demos: 2007’s LANGUAGE OF THE DEAD and 2004’s IN DEADLY SILENCE so don’t expect any new stuff. Of course, the newer songs are better, but they are still far from the top. Arek, why won’t you invest your money in some better bands?! There are plenty of groups which deserve an official release.
MASSEMORD (POL) NOTES OF ANTIHATE PROFOUND (MCD ’10 / PAGAN)
Only two tracks, only 11 minutes, quality stuff, though. The opener “Cognition Of Fear” is a fast, catchy, modern Black Metal song, whereas “Masskilling Masshealing” has more of an old-school vibe (if we can say “old-school” at all in the context of such a modern sounding band, hehe). The group’s skills are every good; I also like their songwriting which, of course, has little in common with most of the Norwegian or Polish primitive bands that record in their rehearsal rooms nor with the dark and melodic Greek Black scene, but MASSEMORD manage to keep a good proportion between traditional Scandinavian Black Metal and its more sophisticated sub-genres. The end result is in between MARDUK and the most complex Orthodox Black Metal groups. But it’s only my impression.
MAY RESULT (SRB/YU) "SVETOGRDJE (THE BLASPHEMY)" (CD '04/ROCK EXPRESS)
Serbian MAY RESULT has been existing in the underground for more than 10 years, so the guys already learned how to play black metal. In their case it's the Norwegian school represented by e.g. old GEHENNA, AETERNUS or HADES. Even the sound makes me think of Grieghallen Studio recordings. So you can easily guess that it's black metal with some pretty brutal riffs (that's why a lot of people consider them a black/death band) and peculiar, monumental atmosphere, melodies and keyboards. The songs are long, a little bit epic (e.g. opening "Navia"), rather slow- and mid-paced, but sometimes the guys can speed up and hit ("Mesec je sad sa nama", "Svetogrdje"). As you can see, the titles and the lyrics are Serbian what boosts the album's exotism.
It's not bad CD, but 72 minutes it's too big dose to me and not enough original as well. Although it exemplifies a pretty good alternative for such popular nowadays hyper-fast black metal a'la Marduk.
MELTING FLESH (COL) "GOOD ADDICTION BUTCHERY" (CD '04/DAN'S CRYPT)
The band's name, the album title and the front-cover explain us immediately what the Columbians are up to. Yes, you are right, the guys play brutal death metal in the vein of CANNIBAL CORPSE and SUFFOCATION. And they manage, I'm telling you, and do it better than their label-mates - SACRIFICIO. Everything is correct here, I mean tempo changes, blasts, powerful, guttural vocals, even the sound is not bad. Also though MELTING FLESH play American style very much, they do it in the way you can realize they don't come from the States. You can feel here that spark only the bands from South America have. I don't know what it is all about. Maybe it's the matter of the sound or performance? To sum up: this is a good CD, but only for adults and maniacs into musical butchery.
MEMEBRIS (PL) "COLD BREATH FROM GRAVE" (DEMO '03)
It's an another band that envied catchy, commercial North European black metal bands fame and money. Unfortunately, the performance, ideas and sound are far from professionalism of e.g. Dimmu Borgir, but maybe one day they'll record a pretty good album. But for the time being they have recorded a very average demo featuring few interesting ideas, the rest is a pretty fast black, a little bit developed, brutal and melodic at the same time. In some moments the guys even remind me the bands from Gothenburg.
It isn't any crap demo, so I wouldn't write the band off, but for sure they still have to work very hard and collect some money to record another material in a really good studio and spend a lot of hours there.
MESS AGE (PL) "REJECTED BURDEN" (CD '05/MMP)
I have mixed feelings as for MESS AGE. And the same situation is with many other metalheads who met the band's music, I guess. I've known the guys since their first demo tapes and since I remember they've been always playing typical Polish gross thrash/death metal. I think the reason of that were bad, unconvincing ideas and lousy vocals...
"REJECTED BURDEN" is already their third full-length CD and I must admit that this time I liked their music. But it wasn't so from the first time and I had to listen to the album several times (what usually doesn't occur to me) until I digested it! Both the performance level and the sound (Radio Gdansk Studio) are more than good and there's no point in talking about it. The ideas and the arrangements improved definitely, too, one can hear that the band's been maturing and improving their modern thrash/death, where influences coming from late Sepultura are mixed with Machine Head, Scandinavian melodic death and sometimes even with nu metal! But I still cannot get to like Rafal's vocals - I mean here his matt growl which seems very forced. In spite of what I've written above it's worth giving them a chance and listen to "REJECTED BURDEN". For sure it's their best album to date, but I would like to hear even better improvement on their next album.
METHOD (PL) "STALKER" (DEMO '04)
If somebody of you isn't into modern thrash metal, it will be better if you read another reviews, as METHOD is a perfect representative of the above mentioned style. If we're talking about modern thrash, it's clear that one must draw inspirations from US bands. But METHOD prefers less aggressive way of thrashing, it's mid- and slow-paced, supported by very hard and solid rhythm section work and great soloing. And everything is played without useless flexing and fireworks here. Also Cola (of Al Sirat) recorded pretty good vocals, although Maciek Taff (of Neolithic, Rootwater, ex-Geisha Goner) would do a better job, I suppose. Some riffs on "STALKER" are really good, the rest isn't crushing, unfortunately. I would highly commend the natural sound as well, it fits the music very well. As far as I remember Mariusz Kmiolek of Empire Rec. was interested in the band, but the recording deal wasn't finalized and a METHOD's full-length didn't saw a daylight. It's a pity as it's (was?) a good band indeed...
METHODUST (USA) "THE NUMBING VICTORY" (DEMO-CD '05)
The music is a little bit tiring, but all in all it's not bad. Frankly speaking, METHODUST put together many styles such as for example death, black, doom, but one can name it old-school metal, in general. "THE NUMBING VICTORY" is a dirty, raw record, but it's got its own feeling. The guitars are pretty melodic as for that kind of metal, with many slow-downs, the drum-beats are varied and the shouted vocals are as obscure as they should be. Some people will name them a cult band, for the others it will be just a crap. As I sad before, the music tired me a little bit (although it lasts 19 minutes only), but maybe some of you will perceive a hellish fire in it...
It's a promising stuff, but METHODUST should play more extreme music or totally down-tuned, gloomy metal (in the vein of Winter, for example), in my opinion.
MIDWINTER (D) "ASTRAL MIRRORS" (CD '03)
MIDWINTER plays commercial, melodic and atmospheric black metal. Nice, catchy, but not enough ass-kicking, with some heavy metal riffs (listen to "Dreamscape Revelations") and epic choruses ("Golden Age")! The sound is good, so are the vocals and the musicians' skills, but well-handled instruments are not enough - one has also to come to a listener's attention and it's not so easy. It's very audible that MIDWINTER is a versatile band and it appeals to me. But it's still an unknown to me whether they are enough strong and good to gain a worldwide success or not.
MINDFIST (MKD) MINDFIST (DEMO ’06 / CHAOSPHERE)
The civil war on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia has taught its citizens how to effectively inspire devastation, ruin and ash not only in reality but also in metal music. Macedonian Mindfist’s demo is the proof of that. The band is a cool summary of today’s Australian speed/thrash metal hordes. Everyone who likes stuff by Gospel of the Horns and Destroyer 666 will be delighted with Mindfist’s demo. All tracks are played in accordance with the trend set by the aforementioned bands, so we can immediately hear some similarities. For example there is the quite aptly combined slow and fast playing with the specific hoarse vocals. This music will also be a nice retreat for the maniacs into brutal stuff and a curiosity for the lovers of old speed/thrash metal.
MORBIDIOUS PATHOLOGY #3
(April 2008, 64/A4 pages, Xeroxed, Polish, interviews: THE MONOLITH DEATHCULT, ARES KINGDOM, RUDRA, CIANIDE, FERMENTO, EMBRIONAL)
Hmm, everybody praises this ‘zine for its exhaustive and very looong interviews, extraordinary questions and reviews as long as essays! To me it’s too eloquent, pseudo-intellectual gibberish, I-don’t-know-what-the-fuck-else and not much follows from it. There are plenty of letters, but few of the nitty-gritty details, if you know what I mean, and almost nothing about the music, only history and philosophy, hehe. If I liked to read about these topics, I would reach for a suitable book, not for a death metal fanzine! Besides, Arek adds his comments in every sentence which makes the interviews very incoherent. He deprives me of reading pleasure, hehe. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that Arek is an intelligent guy and puts a lot of effort into this issue, but this way of writing is not my cup of beer (although I like the idea of using Topor’s short stories and Monthy Pyton’s skits very much!). His formula doesn’t appeal to me at all, but most of you will be delighted with the content of MORBIDIOUS PATHOLOGY #3 for sure, so buy it now. After all, it’s one of the most original ‘zines in this sad country! What’s more, you can find an article entitled “Wandering Death” briefly illustrating the appearance of plagues such as smallpox, syphilis, tuberculosis in Europe. One more conclusion, with MORBIDIOUS PATHOLOGY, DEMENTED OMEN OF MASOCHISM…, it seems that the mighty GOREAPHOBIA has influenced many ‘zine editors over here in Poland! What will be next: Sabbatic Communion ‘zine or Organ Donor ‘zine? he,he.
Arek Jendzicki, ul. Sokola 4/50, 44-117 Gliwice, Poland, email@example.com
MORBIUS (USA) "SOJOURNS THROUGH THE SEPTIAC" (CD '05 / STORMS OF STEEL/NON COMPOS MENTIS)
As for the music it's an archaic but varied death metal, for example something in the vein of DECEASED, but more brutal. As for the vocals, the inspirations from British bands like CRADLE OF FILTH and BAL-SAGOTH (!) are more than audible and it's rather an exception in death metal. On the whole, this music is harsh and unconvincing, but taking in consideration that the stuff was recorded at the end of the 90' (!), we can expect much more from MORBIUS A.D. 2006.
It's a must-have, but only for the die-hard maniacs into old-fashioned death metal.
MORBUS MORTIFER (PL) "INFERNAL HATRED" (DEMO '05)
"INFERNAL HATRED" lasts only 11 minutes, but these are 11 minutes of total massacre. Intense, brutal death metal with slightly touches of black metal and with very good growling - this is what you will receive! By the way, the band found a very adequate demo title for its contents, as you really can experience inferno and hatred here. So only one conclusion can be drawn: having such blasphemous hordes as just MORBUS MORTIFER, HELLSPAWN, DECEPTION, AZARATH, ENTROPIA or SOULLESS PROFANATION to name a few, I'm confident of future of Polish death metal that, to tell the truth, have always been very good and on a high level.
MORD'A'STIGMATA (PL) "DIAGONAL DIVIDING HUMANITY" (CD-R '06/METAL RULEZ)
If Morbid Angel played death metal in more avantgarde, blackened and progressive way, they would sound exactly like MORD'A'STIGMATA! Isn't it enough recommendation? Of course, the Poles aren't such well-skilled musicians and so on, but their music is more fresh and interesting than e.g. last albums from Trey Azagthoth's band. Also the vocals and solos are executed in a different way, so we cannot say we deal with the Americans' clone, although the riffing (especially in slow parts) is similar. So if you are an open-minded freak into Morbid Angel-like death metal, Behemoth's "Zos Kia Kultus" and avantgarde metal with synthesiser at the same time, you should definitely check "DIAGONAL DIVIDING HUMANITY" out!
MaciekP.S. One of the advantages of the stuff is that you can hear for example their bizarre version of The Prodigy's "Firestarter"!
MORIOR ERGO SUM (SPA) "INHERITORS OF AVERNUS" (CD '04/DAN'S CRYPT)
I can see that Dan, in spite of releasing death metal, is also in for releasing sympho black. But pressing a MORIOR ERGO SUM's CD wasn't the right idea, I guess. Naturally, there are lots of interesting ideas and varieties, showing the Spanish are quite versatile musicians and composers (but one can hear they are not experienced yet). Nevertheless "INHERITORS OF AVERNUS" is a common record of its kind, bound to meet no response, because it simply doesn't deserve it. Of course, I won't forbid the fans of dark music looking for new sensations and bands to buy this record, but if I were them I would buy something else, for example Polish LUNA AD NOCTUM or DARZAMAT.
MOULDED FLESH (PL) "USE AND ABUSE" (DEMO '05)
MOULDED FLESH has been playing for a couple of years, but with such a music I don't foresee a brilliant career for them. Anyway, musical career isn't their goal I suppose, because one can hear that having fun and drinking is the most important to the guys (and they're right! he,he). If "INDULGENCE" demo 2001 featured an average, so-so sounding classic death metal, on "USE AND ABUSE" the band presented death/thrash still played in a raw and clumsy way, but with a better sound. What was my surprise, when I read the band went a few hundred kilometres to record the stuff at SELANI Studio! I bet they would find as good studio in their area, but I must admit that they got accomplished a more solid and natural sound comparing to SELANI releases from the mid 90's...
Someone labelled their music "party death metal" and I think it's an accurate description. So if you want to be in a good mood - check "USE AND ABUSE". Except this I cannot see any highlights, sorry.
MaciekP.S. American DEUS MORTUUS PROD has just released the band's brand new CD entitled "IN THE HANDS OF EVIL", but from some trucks from their website I conclude that you shouldn't expect any revelation nor drastic changes.
MUTILATION (PL) "POSSESSED BY REALITY" (CD '03/EMPIRE REC.)
It's fuckin' great to recall old good English death metal! But why it's been recalled by... Polish band?! A green listener could think that "POSSESSED BY REALITY" was recorded by members of BENEDICTION and BOLT THROWER! Let's hope nobody treats MUTILATION as a side-project of the above mentioned, but as serious band with serious aspirations. "It isn't original band at all!" you'll say, but it's a small "detail" he,he. MUTILATION takes no prisoners, the group just consistently press on. To joy of many of you there are no ultra-fast drum beats or a thousand guitar riffs in one track. It's just solid and simple death metal. Brutal sound (although very clear) and powerful Slawek's vocal (that is influenced by Dave Ingram and Karl Willetts very much) brought brutality into the music. The stuff lasts only 30 minutes, but it's pithy and has no right to bore you. I've liked it without any problems, but I have to state that such a play won't work out in the long run, if the band still plays blindly focused on the old English school of death metal.
"NAJSWIETSZY NAPLETEK CHRYSTUSA 'zine #4"
There are guys of Brazilian SEXTRASH on a front cover, inside there are only Polish bands of the 80's, so can it be a bad 'zine?! "NNCh 'zine" is the only paper of that kind in this sick country, the paper where one can find memories of old, good, Polish, METAL bands! In the issue one can find interviews with: Smirnoff, Open Fire, Gilotyna, Lastwar, Aggressor, Convent, Piotr "Kreator" Siedlecki, Putrified Mushrooms, Hellias, "Suck My Dick 'zine" and Yancarz (a.o. Agressive Violence, Egzekuthor). Some of them are better, some are worse, but every old maniac should find something interesting. I found, so I do recommend the zine to you, although theres one disadvantage: the issue hasnt got many pages, so you can read it at one sitting in the loo. But its good, because you want more!
Wojtek Lis, ul. Dekutowskiego 16/39, 39-400 Tarnobrzeg, firstname.lastname@example.org
NECROCCULTUS (MEX) ENCIRCLING THE MYSTERIOUS NECROREVELATION (MC ‘06 / TERROR FROM HELL)
On this tape the Mexican band presents a loaded dose of brutal and intelligent death metal. Each track carries a huge amount of excellently played music. The devilish dark aura of the powerful and very well executed songs, which literally blows one away, endears it to me. The members of Necroccultus prove to be numbered among the premier league of dark yet very listenable death metal. Really, every fan of brutal stuff should reach for the ENCIRCLING THE MYSTERIOUS NECROREVELATION tape, which features eight amazing and pounding songs.
NECROHOLOCAUST (CAN) AT WAR UNDER SIGN OF THE GOAT (MC ’07 / KAMPF)
I can write with full responsibility about Necroholocaust that they deserve to be named as the worthy successors of their native scavengers in Blasphemy. Necroholocaust can be numbered among the kind of groups which become your fave upon first listen. This is the case with the At War Under Sign Of The Goat tape. This stuff is the essence of the Ross Bay Cult. Everything that is needed to knock you down and delight you as well is present. The musicians of Necroholocaust have no mercy and don’t expect it from others, either. Each song from the tape blows one away. In addition, on this tape, Necroholocaust recorded some cover songs from bands such as Doom, Beherit, Von and Blasphemy, which sound better than the originals. Summing up, it’s a musical hell on earth, which absorbs anyone who stands on its path. Highly recommended.
NECROMORPH (D) "INPUTCOLLAPSE" (MCD '04/HELLVILLE)
It's a nice stuff! Very simple, death metal in the old vein - something between Swedish (Grave), British (Bolt Thrower) and German (old Morgoth) school. Brutal, fast parts or grinding riffs and vocals appear here pretty often as well, so one can talk about diversity, although I must admit that the stuff sounds pretty coherently. So fans into crude and heavy death metal are more than welcome. Those 22 minutes should be just right for them.
NEFARIUM (I) "PRAESIDIUM" (CD '05/DOWNFALL)
Aarrgghh! I didn't expect such a cool music from Italian NEFARIUM! The guys perform fuckin' fast black metal in the best vein of Setherial, Dark Funeral and the like. The band presents good, not too much screeching vokills, brutal, sometimes melodic riffing and powerful drumming (very loud, dynamic and triggered double bass), blast beats last for 99,9 % of playtime! As you can guess, from NEFARIUM you can expect nothing but extreme, fast, high-level black metal feast for the real and extreme headbangers only. So support them as they really deserve it the same as they deserve a better promotion. Remember this name - NEFARIUM!
NeWBReeD (PL) "LOST" (CD-R '03/DIMENSION "69" PROD.)
I would like to apologize to the band for not writing a review on their debut demo they sent me long time ago, but in a meantime they recorded two full-length stuffs and the demo isn't representative of their actual work at all. But to tell the truth "SOLITARY" was a piece of shit, so it's good that I haven't written the review and now I can quietly get busy myself with the very interesting "LOST" material. Teh first thing which stands out is a modest but careful CD-booklet and a right attitude to promotion (pro-printed flyers etc.). The music is a completely different matter. The description of their sounds as "total progressive death metal" can be embarrassing, because what's total here? Maybe NeWBReeD suggests that their tracks are totally weird (in a positive meaning). Also some accelerations and growls are not enough to label their music as death metal, there's more doom metal, rock and jazz (!) in it. Never mind, "LOST" is a very intriguing material. First and foremost it's damn progressive - I have the impression that the guys started their musical education with KING CRIMSON, not METALLICA, which seems absurd nowadays! Tom's vocals are also a very brave approach to the subject - they are very varied and absolutely no one can ignore them. He's a very gifted boy and in a few years he can be one of top Polish metal singers. His brother Stanislaw, who plays the drums, has improved very much, too. He's into jazz-like way of playing and his drum solo in the title track is surprising (it isn't stunning, but that kind of improvisations occurs hardly ever and even if it does it happens only in concerts). No doubt about it, together with the bass player they make a very original rhythm section on our metal scene. Well, there's no doubt that NeWBReeD proposed a very original and mature, although difficult to understand stuff. It won't be a commercial success, but I think the guys would like to gain recognition of their ambitious work, not money. Price: 4$ only!
NIGHTLY GALE (PL) "ILLUSION OF EVIL" (CD '05)
After reading this review, you won't learn anything new what wasn't written in other reviews, but it's worth drawing your attention to "ILLUSION OF EVIL" once again. First, NIGHTLY GALE is probably the only band in Poland to play funeral doom metal - a style reserved so far only for depressed Fins and Englishmen. Second, the guys execute it very well, in an intelligent way, they aren't afraid of experiments with vocals or other genres (such as e.g. black metal or progressive music), they use untypical of metal instruments etc. I suppose I won't have to encourage fans into Finnish Unholy to buy this album, but maniacs of My Dying Bride should know that NIGHTLY GALE is much more sick, avant-garde, dark and not less depressive. And if you heard their previous full-length, "...AND JESUS WEPT", you already know what you can expect from these sickos, although I'm going to warn you loyally that "ILLUSION OF EVIL" is even more progressive and mature, additionally the sound is better.
NIHILISTIKRYPT (EST) "REQUIRED SACRIFICES" (DEMO-CD '05)
I have mixed feeling towards the Estonians of NIHILISTIKRYPT. On one hand they would like to play brutal death metal a'la Cannibal Corpse, I guess, on the other hand they have inclinations to more aggressive and melodic style in the vein of Death and even to progressive-technical death metal. A friend of mine Gab of "Nihilistic Holocaust" compared the band's music to early Atrocity and Disharmonic Orchestra and he was fuckin' right!
The musicians, especially the guitarists exert themselves to create original ideas, but the final effort is neither crushing nor ass-kicking, it's rather intriguing. Their attitude towards promotion and issuing their record is worth of your attention (pro-printed inlay, CD-R with a silk print, the professional photo and flyer etc.), but it's not enough. The most important is the music, but NIHILISTIKRYPT's music seems irresolute and divergent. I have the impression that the musicians had conflicting emotions and ideas as for their common music. It's audible they are well-skilled, they also know how to promote their metal, they only need to create more consolidated, powerful and less twisted stuff. I hope they do it with their new drummer Zombie...
NOMINON (S) OMEN (CD ’09 / DEATHGASM)
OMEN is sure to be a great addition to every Nominon-collection. For my personal taste, this band has great underground attitude but lacks in terms of songwriting. Each song has the same tempo. For the length of a MCD this may be perfect, but for a full length it’s not what I prefer. But to make a long story short, Nominon-fans should definitely own this MCD which has great production and some killer songs, like my favourite “Invocations.”
NON OPUS DEI (PL) "THE QUINTESSENCE" (CD '06/PAGAN)
NON OPUS DEI almost since the beginning of its career has been playing avant-garde black metal, very fuckin' dark and intelligent. I don't know what's listeners feedback for such a demanding music, but e.g. reviewers lavish praise on it. "THE QUINTESSENCE" is a follow-up to "VI: THE SATANACHISTS CREDO", although one can hear some differences in sound (new album sounds less dynamic, besides is more raw and compact) and in vocals (on the previous full-length Klimorh experimented more). The CD starts in the vein of old Moonspell to turn later into Scandinavian sounds to be distinguished yet by originality. There's many complexity and drama in this music or untypical guitars. So you shouldn't complain about boredom, although there are many trance fragments as well. There's not too many very fast parts full of fury, but you will hear a lot of marching, atmospheric songs, where you can find some specific aggression, though.
Generally, the full-length is addressed to the thinking black metal fans. Anyway, there's no point in writing this review - just watch their two video clips which you can download from both the band and the label website and you will have more or less idea about NON OPUS DEI's music.
NONE (PL) "BLACKSTAR" (CD '03/MMP)
To tell the truth, I kept their new album at a distance. To me they were never innovating and I was always avoiding a contact with their music. NONE was a Polish clone of Max Cavalera's music from late SEPULTURA period and SOULFLY. I changed (but only a little bit) my opinion after listening to the album. "BLACKSTAR" is their already third full-length (the previous ones were "PROCREATION" and the debut "NO ONE") and NONE is still following the path they initiated at the beginning. The difference is that except Max's echoes one can hear Rob Flynn's of MACHINE HEAD influences, too. This combination works out fine which you can hear already in the first, title song - it's similar to the music featured on "BURNING RED" album of the above mentioned MACHINE HEAD. In any case, there are more songs like this on "BLACKSTAR". Sometimes unforgettable ALICE IN CHAINS comes to my mind, especially thanks to choruses in "Get Into My Mind" or "Hard On My Way". In general, the songs are kept in one mood, they are lively, heavy and melodic. Sometimes electronics appears ("M.A.S."), but it brings a specific character and taste in the music. The most interesting track on the album is "Burning Land" opened by a cello. It makes me immediately think of APOCALYPTICA. Generally, "BLACKSTAR" is a very good album, also thanks to the good sound achieved at studio "Q" in Pila, Poland. As I've mentioned above, I changed my opinion about NONE, because the guys visited a clinic where they were "detoxinated from Max", so finally they've started to move in other musical areas, adding a lot of their own elements. I hope another NONE's album will show their true face already without such additives as Mr. Cavalera and Mr. Flynn. Also I would like to add that a new member joined the band which affected their musical direction for sure.
NORTH (PL) "NA POLACH BITEW (IN THE BATTLEFIELDS)" (CD '06/PAGAN)
You should already know that NORTH is an old horde of merit. You should also know that they play fast pagan black metal. So you can easily conclude that "NA POLACH BITEW" is a decent album. Not innovative, not surprising, just featuring solid pagan playing with Polish lyrics. The band got accomplished a raw sound (that's the reason why one can easily hear that the drums were made by means of computer (triggering etc.); by the way, I'm very curious how their drummer copes live), but the group doesn't avoid e.g. vibrating guitar solos (!) what makes the stuff more attractive and not so monotonous. All in all, it's similar to what NORTH presented on the previous album entitled "KORONA (THE CROWN)".
"NA POLACH BITEW" can be a titbit, but only for fans into uncomplicated black metal.
NOWELA minizine #10
(August 2009, 26/A4 pages, Xeroxed, Polish, interviews: REPOSSESSION, DEEP VEIN, Henryk “Hans” Smietana, PSYCHO LETTER)
Here it comes: the 10th issue of NOWELA minizine. As always it contains very good, exhaustive, in-depth interviews and reviews and minimalism in the layout department. The latter seems to be the biggest (and only) disadvantage of NOWELA. I know that “only white paper and black text” is the way Minstrel wants to publish his work, but underground art really should be supported by some graphics, logos, photos, frames, etc. We’re living in the 21st century now, and computer technology provides almost unlimited possibilities, you know. Even if it was a typical cut ’n’ paste layout, the final effort would look much, much better. Anyway, it’s the issue you must have, especially because of the great interview with Henryk “Hans” Smietana and a very cool Szczecin’s scene report by Milosz of WISHMASTER / HELLGATE ‘zine.
Artur Kolodziejczyk, ul. Piastowska 8/62, 97-500 Radomsko, Poland, email@example.com
NYCTICORAX (LV) "UMBRA MORTIS" (CD '04)
Poorly. As "UMBRA MORTIS" contains veeery mediocre black metal with lots of trivial arrangements. Even vocals sang in their native language don't give exotism to the stuff, but expose its weakness. I've heard some of their new tracks recently, they seem a bit better, but it's still, still not enough.
Well, I'm not keen on Latvian scene, but e.g. Neglected Fields and Skyforger seem to be geniuses and gods comparing to NYCTICORAX. So that's why you should avoid the latter band, instead you can reach for such albums as e.g. "Splenetic" or "Thunderfoge"!
OBLITERATE (SK) "TANGLED WAYS" (CD '03/EXTREMIST)
OBLITERATE is nothing more but a NAPALM DEATH clone. Because the Englishmen have been playing different music during their entire career, I tell you that OBLITERATE's music is closest to "Utopia Banished" era (i.e. a bridge between old grind core style and new modern death/grind). Of course, I prefer the original, but if NAPALM DEATH is too mainstream for you, OBLITERATE will be their perfect underground substitute. I like a live sound here, it isn't as artificial as most of nowadays releases. But the last track entitled "Skin" is an industrialised remix of TESTIMONY cover and it sounds a little bit like mighty MEATHOOK SEED!
That's all that I'm able to write about the Slovakian band. If you don't mind the lack of originality, you can buy it.
OBSCURE (PL) "ANTICHRISTIAN CRUSADE" (DEMO '03)
That way of playing is still a rarity in Poland, as OBSCURE plays melodic death/black metal in the Scandinavian vein, of course. For sure, don't expect as genius as Grotesque, Dissection or Necrophobic, but it's this area, more or less. The compositions are varied, the vocals are alright (for they're "evil" he,he), the sound is underground but cool, although the more demanding listeners won't be pleased with the automatic drums (fortunately, on "ANTICHRISTIAN CRUSADE" they aren't too gross). The whole stuff lasts 10 minutes only what makes me in need of more, but I cannot say that e.g. about Spiral Madness' material reviewed somewhere below. I haven't heard about OBSCURE for a long time, so I'm afraid that we won't live to their next stuff.
ORAKLE (F) "UNI AUX CIMES" (CD '05 / MELANCHOLIA/TWILIGHT VERTRIEB)
ORAKLE hails from France and performs interesting kind of black (?) metal labelled nowadays as post black. You can meet here many furious, brutal and aggressive parts as well as slow-downs and symphonic or even modern and progressive parts. The latter ones I like the most, but, of course, if I had to choose I would reach for late Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus, or not looking for too far - Anorexia Nervosa more often and willingly. But if you are an open-minded freak into that form of black metal and you also don't mind clean vocals, you'll like ORAKLE, too, as it's a very promising and gifted band.
Also an interesting thing is that ORAKLE is only a threesome, but their music seems to be complex and richly arranged. My compliments!
PANDEMIA (CZ) "RIVEN" (CD '05 / RAWFORCE/METAL AGE)
Some years ago PANDEMIA was a popular band, especially thanks to solid music and a pretty good promotion made by the band and LOST DISCIPLE REC. But I have the impression that their latest release didn't meet with enough huge response, the promotion was a bit neglected and the album was a little bit underestimated. What a pity as "RIVEN" is their best and most mature effort to date and I personally consider PANDEMIA to be the best death metal act in Czech Republic! The group prefers very good, fast and thus intelligent playing in the vein of Vader, Morbid Angel or Hate Eternal, enriched with a quite large number of pretty dark slow-downs. Only the average vocal and not rich enough sound stick out from the album high level. Besides, I can't notice any weak points! Oh, their music isn't catchy, it rather needs many listenings to appreciate its all virtues which you can learn by yourselves buying the CD e.g. from PAGAN REC.
PANZERCHRIST (DK) "ROOM SERVICE" (CD '03/MIGHTY MUSIC)
What can I write about music which, in my opinion, doesn't need any recommendation nor advertising? It's just a world high-level death metal! I was totaly disappointed after listening to some latest albums of my favourite bands, which are from the so called top shelf of every matal maniac (no need to mention their names, everybody knows what's popular now). Some old respected bands have returned after a long break and what of it, since they didn't change nor discover anything new and creative. They are still the same and I think only a pursue of making profits and the actual trends forced them to come back?! But while listening to PANZERCHRIST I recalled old good times - that powerful sound, well thought over song arrangements, "clashing" guitars, harmonies, powerful drumming and vocal! All of you know Illdisposed, right? It's the same Bo Summer's vocal! Listening to "ROOM SERVICE" I have the impression that I got back to the 90's, fetched everything that was the best back then, converted it in a modern thought and progress and plied my acquisitive and insatiable ears with aggression and power till the loss of consciousness. And all the more, because such bands and albums give me strength after disappointment, weariness and disgust of a nowadays scene and permanent selling out of souls for success and fame. But in the name of what? Highly recommended! It's the highlight CD!
PANZERFAUST (PL) "GRAND NUCLEAR DESOLATION" (DEMO '04)
If the band's moniker is PANZERFAUST, the demo is entitled "GRAND NUCLEAR DESOLATION", in the line-up there are SHEMHAMFORASH's members and the band comes from Wroclaw (the home town of such blasphemers as Anima Damnata and Lost Soul), the guys cannot be pussies! And it is in reality - that PANZERFAUST (there are many bands of the same name) is a real hell and Armageddon on the Earth mixed with hatred towards humans and with the glorification of Osama bin Laden! Additionally the horde uses a drum-machine what makes the music more cold, misanthropic and industrialised. The vocals vomit the political incorrect lyrics, the drum-machine plays fast beats with abandon and the guitars utter only destruction and the smell of sulphur. The music is very simple and inspired by Norwegian scene (that's why we receive cover of Mayhem's "Funeral Fog"), but it achieved its goal - after 26 minutes of listening to the stuff I was almost dead and my ears were completely destroyed. Recommended!
PATHOGEN (AUS) "BLOODLINE" (CD '05/PRIME CUTS MUSIC)
The band's moniker could suggest we will deal with a grind band. But you're mistaken, because PATHOGEN plays... melodic death in the best Scandinavian vein! On one hand, the ones who know PRIME CUTS MUSIC's profile (the label supports Australian scene only, especially the bands playing melodic and aggressive death/thrash) shouldn't be surprised. On the other hand, I must admit that the Australians cope with that kind of metal and in some moments they are more European and professional than many bands from here. I cannot refuse to acknowledge their skills and the good, clean and dynamic production as well. But I only bother if somebody needs another thousandth band playing melodic death/thrash?
PEST (S) "BLASPHEMY IS MY THRONE" (CD '03/BLOODSTONE ENTERTAINMENT)
As you might know Black Metal is not my cup of tea. But I like PEST's music anyway. It's typical Scandinavian Black Metal in its purest form, grim and harsh, played in the best tradition of DarkThrone and Burzum, but more mid- and slow-paced, though you can hear some faster beats, too. The sound and the vocals are OK, so you should like it. Besides, they play some pretty good riffs here, for example the one opening "Circle Of Damnation's Five". It's a little bit black/thrashy riff, but I think they should follow this direction. Frankly speaking, "BLASPHEMY IS MY THRONE" is a very old stuff and I don't know how much they've moved on, but I suppose they're still kicking some Christian asses with their Black Metal. Of course, PEST is a common band, but good indeed. So check them out and Worship Him!
PESTILENTIAL SHADOWS (AUS) "CURSED" (CD '06/GOATOWAREX)
PESTILENTIAL SHADOWS hails from Australia and executes Scandinavian black metal. It means just fast, aggressive and a bit misanthropic material. The drum-machine is the albums disadvantage, beside it the production meets the requirements of fuckin raw metal. Its rather a simple music, but its dark enough to draw your attention. Frankly speaking, FUNERAL MOURNING is the band that made a bigger impression on me, but their music is a different cup of tea...
PHAETON (PL) "OMNIPRESENCE OF XAOS" (DEMO '04)
I noticed that in spite of very good musicianship and advanced technique the material didn't arouse enthusiasm among reviewers. But also Pestilence got a beating because of very progressive "Spheres" album, there are also many Death fans who adore "Leprosy" over "Human" and I understand them. Yes, complex and difficult to understand materials must take incomprehension into account. But the most important thing is that music must tickle musicians themselves, mustn't it? And so it is in case of PHAETON...
If you are into progressive death metal a'la late Death, Misanthrope, Sadist or Polish Tenebris and Praespe, you will like "OMNIPRESENCE OF XAOS" as well. Despite what the title might suggest, this music isn't chaotic. But it is technical, with very interesting guitar solos, pretty good drumming and a great deal of atmospheric sounds (there's no such aggression you can meet on Sceptic albums for example). Well, maybe only growls stand the rest out as they are very mediocre, but nobody's perfect.
Well, if I didn't deter you with the names above, write to the band to get this demo.
c/o Saymoon, ul. Wyspianskiego 8A, 76-150 Darlowo, Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOSPHOROS (PL) "MENTAL TECHNOLOGY OF SCIENTIFIC SELF-ILLUMINATION" (DEMO '06)
This stuff includes "S-S-C THEORY ov THEOMORPHY" demo '05 plus 2 new tracks. Well, and it is as good as hell, I tell you! It's high-quality black/death metal, very well arranged and executed, it can even seem a bit complex and bizarre, but to me it's pretty accessible and catchy stuff. There were only few bands like that in Poland, Behemoth played black/death metal that way on their "Pandemonic Incantations" album some years ago, nowadays there exist also a few bands of the genre. Although abroad one can meet more bands like that...
"MENTAL TECHNOLOGY..." contains everything what a decent black/death metal demo should contain, i.e.: good, black-ish vocals (+ some more clean singings and choirs!), fast, mid and slow tempos, powerful guitar riffs and complex solos, avant-garde interludes, intelligent lyrics and a dose of originality. So remember and support that name - PHOSPHOROS! And get this demo necessarily, because these are 30 minutes of a really ambitious, mature and good music. More than recommended!
c/o Jerzy Stachow, ul. Kosciuszki 5, 48-385 Otmuchow, Poland, email@example.com
PORPHYRIA (PL) "MAYHEMIC BLAST" (split CD w/ SOULLESS '04/REDRUM 666)
It isn't an extraordinary stuff, rather a common death/grind slaughter. One can hear here the average sound, very fast but unimaginative drums (that sound very artificial), typical grind growls and... that's all. Oh, I would forget about "Stalement" - cover of NAPALM DEATH, the band that seems to be a kind of determinant of what PORPHYRIA likes and plays, especially in the fastest and most brutal fragments.
Well, with this debut they didn't cause any sensation, but there's still hope for them. Their music just needs to be more mature, sophisticated, the sound and the compositions should be improved, too. Anyway, I will keep an eye on them.
"POSSESSED TORMENTOR 'zine #1"
I would wish everybody to issue such a debut 'zine! Inside one can find: some cool chats (e.g. with the guys behind Necroscope 'zine, Goat Tyrant/Complete Necro 'zine, Tomek - a cdr/dvd trader, Forefather, Orcustus and more), lots of short but concrete reviews (also on bootlegged live shows, porn movies as well as on classic metal releases!) - mostly old-schooled stuff, argh! A lot of space is devoted to Black Metal releases here what doesn't satisfy me, but there's many space about Death Metal, too. Nearby every review there's a band logo, what reminds me of the mighty "Holocaust mag", but come on, everybody has got some exemplars. Recommended (if you can read English)!
c/o Pawe³ Wojtowicz, Mozarta 16, 80-166 Gdansk, Poland, Knokkelmann1@yahoo.com.au
POST-MORTEM (F) "MANKIND AUTOPSY" (MCD '01)
I received the material with some delay, additionally it lay on my shelf a lot, so don't be surprised by a release date of this MCD. Fortunately, you missed nothing as POST-MORTEM plays average quality death metal (like many other bands from France; it's enough to mention such names as e.g. APOPLEXY or DISGUST). Of course, "MAKIND AUTOPSY" contains reliable death metal in European-American way, well-sounding, sometimes even catchy, so you can stamp your foot, but nothing more.
PRAESEPE (PL) "NGC 2632 V M44" (DEMO '06)
"NGC 2632 V M44" is the stuff on which Wolonciej brothers of NEWBREED left their huge stamp. Stanley recorded it at his "213" home studio, played all the keyboard parts, bass (in one track) and 2 solos and his brother, Tomasz, recorded all the vocals here. Fortunately, it didn't have very big influence on PRAESEPE's musical face and, instead of sounds a'la OPETH (that NEWBREED prefers), you'll get much harder music. As PRAESEPE draws inspirations from such technical, progressive death metal bands with "cosmic atmosphere" as CYNIC, ATHEIST or late PESTILENCE. By the way, you'll find a pretty well executed cover of the Dutchmen here, brilliant classic "Land Of Tears" (as far as I remember also SCEPTIC used to play it live). So it should be clear for you that "NGC 2632 V M44" contains a lot of interesting ideas, tempo changes, various guitar parts (aggressive, heavy and calm, progressive as well), weird solos or some jazz parts. Luckily, it isn't just the conglomeration of accidental ideas and, in spite of its complexity, it's very pleasant stuff, probably the group created something accessible, although, frankly speaking, a not sophisticated metal fan will come up against some difficulties with "NGC 2632 V M44"...
But to me it's a very interesting band that I strongly recommend to the open-minded maniacs.
PRAYER BOOK #3
(2007, 40/A4 pages, printed, English, interviews: WYTCHCRAFT, NOCTURNAL VOMIT, FUNERUS, VARATHRON, XIBALBA, RIGOR SARDONICUS, DRILLER KILLER, WEAPON, ABYSMAL GRIEF, DECEASED, MINOTAURI, KRATORNAS, SCURVY, PAGAN RITES)
Here’s a cool Italian fanzine, which I’d actually heard about before as I read its first issue a few years ago. This is already the third attack of PRAYER BOOK and it was unleashed in 2007. Because some materials were done even years before that, the whole ‘zine is quite outdated, but that didn’t disturb me that much; I still enjoyed reading it. PRAYER BOOK belongs to the group of fanzines which are 100% dedicated to old school metal traditions – black metal mostly, but also death, thrash and quite a lot of classic doom metal. The guys behind the ‘zine keep alive the old underground values and of course point this out in every interview or review (CDR hatred – demo MC worship!!!). Even the layout of PRAYER BOOK looks like the classic metal press; though it’s nicely printed on glossy paper, the layout still looks like a cut ‘n’ paste mag. In this aspect, PRAYER BOOK reminds me of DESECRATION OF VIRGIN and especially TALES OF MACABRE, two great zines which I think have influenced the Italian duo quite a lot. PRAYER BOOK delivers a good portion of reading. The interviews aren’t the best ones ever, and the questions are rather simple, but that’s fine. I don’t like the reviews, as they’re very short and are more like information about the release than actual critiques, but even with that, PRAYER BOOK is a decent read. I wonder whether there will be another issue coming, something after 2007???
Francesca Bruzzon, Via Donghi 19/13, 16132 Genova, Italy
PROFUNDIS (PL) "NOKTURN" (DEMO '05)
What a fuckin' great stuff! I would never suppose that some Polish debut band playing pagan black/death impresses me so much! If you like fast, intensive, still varied black metal with pretty melodic guitars (but for example in the beginning of the title track they are almost death-like) and you don't mind Polish vocals, I promise that you'll like PROFUNDIS without any problems. This music reminds me an old, good CHRIST AGONY a bit and other bands like that, but don't worry - there's a lot of freshness (in spite of the fact the tracks were composed in 1997-2000!) and specific character in "NOKTURN". It isn't any clone of Cezar's band nor DISSECTION nor ABUSSIVENESS to which they are often compared to.
PYRE (USA) TOTALITARIAN (MC ’07 / ANCIENT SPIRIT TERROR)
Viewing the pictures of the Pyre members, one could have the impression that they are fellows who, with grimaces and tacky make-up on their faces, will encourage teenagers to commit church arsons, devastate cemeteries or eat cats raw after sucking their blood out. After listening to the TOTALITARIAN tape, my assumption proved to be largely true. First off, the low quality is very audible and that’s a big downside to this material. I can hardly understand why even old and experienced bands, which have the opportunity to record professionally, are releasing such poor-sounding stuff. Pyre’s music itself is trite black metal with an “I hate the world and love to do pure devilish evil by defecating on a presbytery’s doormat” attitude. Everything is raw here, starting with the drums, through the guitars, and finishing with the vocals. In any case, the latter are probably the most complex thing on this recording. Later on the vocalist screams terribly, depriving Pyre of credibility and making a fool of himself. Summing up, I do not recommend.
QUINTA ESSENTIA (USA) "NEUTRALITY FOR DEFINED CHAOS" (CD '06/DEATHGASM)
QUINTA ESSENTIA is a totally unknown band to me, but the guys made a very good impression. They combined death with black metal in an unique and intelligent way as their music is both dark and technical. There aren't too many bands to play like that except a few hailing from USA (Aurora Borealis to name one at least). Well, imagine mid Death mixed with Scandinavian black metal (e.g. Emperor or Dark Funeral in fast parts) - it has to be strange, hasn't it? Add also lots of cool, interesting and varied guitar solos and you're home. I suppose that even fans of old school metal may like it, 'cause there's a bit old feeling, but this music needs time, many hearings, needs to mature in you. It's not a simple stuff, but the future belongs to the bands like QUINTA ESSENTIA.
RABBATH AMMON (JOR) "RABBATH AMMON" (DEMO '05)
I've reviewed too many bands using a drum-machine today and I'm just tired of listening to it. Why nobody wants to play the drums?! Only guitars and guitars Hey, people, being a front man isn't an easy job at all! RABBATH AMMON hails from Jordan and it's the most interesting thing related to the band, because e.g. their music is pretty mediocre. It's a mixture of black metal with melodic elements coming from both death and thrash metal, but the final effort is too melodic and not enough evil, as for my musical taste. Even Rotting Christ cover song ("The Sign Of Evil Existence" which is the opening track of "Thy Mighty Contract" album) doesn't save the release. But I must say that these two bands have something in common. Of course, RABBATH AMMON will never record such great albums being a perfect mix of darkness and melody as the Greeks did in the past, but maybe they will surprise me one day
REDEMPTOR (PL) "NONE POINTLESS BALANCE" (DEMO '05)
If somebody plays technical death metal, association with DEATH and its influences are more than unavoidable. Yes, Chuck Schuldiner begot thousands of bastards and REDEMPTOR is just one of them. The band belongs to the group of Chuck's youngest children, more brutal (because of the vocals and blast-beats) and less aggressive. One can even say that not only DEATH is their roots but the entire "US Death Metal".
There's a lot of melodies here, often having nothing to do with metal, but sometimes the guys aren't afraid to bash, too. Also bass clangs appear (you bet!). I like e.g. soloing here, but this harsh voice doesn't fit the music for sure, so REDEMPTOR should think of some vocal diversity.
Besides, I'm curious if the guys will be able to repeat all these sounds live. Especially I mean the drummer, because it's very audible that the drums were made with the big help of a computer, but at HERTZ Studio it's a standard (frankly speaking, at 90% of nowadays recording studios). Also the guitar sound is suspicious, because it wheezes. I don't know whether it was made on purpose or their amplifier was just screwed up.
Nevertheless, REDEMPTOR is a strong point of Polish underground.
RESURRECTURIS (I) "THE CUCKOO CLOCKS OF HELL" (CD '04/MONDONGO CANIBALE))
I was very glad that Carlo Strappa, in spite of lack of spectacular success, has still been going by the boat called RESURRECTURIS for more than 10 years. More careful "BURNING ABYSS" readers should already know the band very well, but the less careful ones should notice the Italians play very well balanced mixture of death and modern brutal thrash metal. "THE CUCKOO CLOCKS OF HELL" is full of inspirations and influences, almost every riff reminds other band's riffs, for example CARCASS and SEPULTURA to name a few. Nevertheless, it's a pleasure to listen to the album, especially as it sounds pretty good (though e.g. the drums sound too dynamic and clean) and is very varied, also as for the vocals. It isn't very complex, hard to receipt music, for sure it's more easy to absorb than their previous CD entitled "Nocturnal". Another advantage of "The Cuckoo..." is the presence of a live, efficient drummer, so the general impression is very positive. Recommended!
REVELATION OF DOOM (PL) "UNHOLY GOATFUCK" (CD '06/TIME BEFORE TIME)
It's funny because I was just looking for an e-mail to REVELATION OF DOOM in order to trade the stuff, when the package from Kaos (ex-Hate) arrived! And what was inside?...
Well, well, well, the odds are that Poland is becoming slowly the power of old school death/black metal! We've already got Witchmaster, Throneum, Hell-Born, Stillborn, Azarath, Bestial Raids, Blasphemy Rites, thrashy Bloodthirst and now REVELATION OF DOOM arrived and they got the top straight away! The stuff diversity turned out to be the key to success - we've got everything here: fuckin' great blast-beats, thrashy beats, powerful slow-downs and the music in the vein of Hellhammer/Celtic Frost. Well musicianship is of great importance and Longinus' (Shrapnel, ex-Dispulse) vocals fit the whole, too, but they should be more varied and I already know he's able to do it. But their sound is too modern, the band doesn't sound like in the 80's. But maybe that was the point?
In any case "UNHOLY GOATFUCK" is a must!
(September 2009, 60/A4 pages, printed, Polish, interviews: DARKTHRONE, TURBO, NUN SLAUGHTER, LIVIDITY, DEIPHAGO, PERSECUTOR, DISGOD, AGE OF AGONY, GORTAL, IMAGO MORTIS, HAILSTORM, DEMONIC HALOCAUST, BLIND BEYOND, SINFUL SOULS, SONNEILLON, Wojtek Chamryk, NOVEMBER, HESPERUS DIMENTION / BLACK ASTRIAL MAG.)
What have we got here? Well, first up is IMAGO MORTIS – a disappointing interview (like most of the interviews by Hans) with unsophisticated, mainstream magazine type questions. For sure the staff shouldn’t begin the issue with this chat. Next is DARKTHRONE – also disappointing, mainly because of the shitty answers by Nocturno Culto. And GRZEGORZ KUPCZYK/TURBO is another disappointing interview - a kind of plague or what the hell?! It’s almost unbelievable how people with such huge experience talk about their careers, achievements and histories in one or two sentences! Also DEIPHAGO and LIVIDITY are weak chats. So I really am missing in-depth, exhaustive interviews here. Then a NOVEMBER interview finally appears which I read with real pleasure. The band shows all those “stars” how to answer, the same with NUNSLAUGHTER and DISGOD. So one can come to a right conclusion that the issue contains both good and mediocre conversations, but don’t worry; there are also cool gig reports by Alco-Danek of ALCOHOLIC BUTCHER ‘zine (RIP?). Apart from that, there are comments, articles, quotes, drawings, naked chicks (hehe), so everything a good ‘zine should contain, right? It’s worth mentioning that many metal freaks helped Adrian with this issue like the aforementioned Hans, Mateusz Wabik (ex-DEATH SEA), JCL (PANTOKRATOR ‘zine) and W. Chamryk, so it’s not a surprise he released this issue a few months after his previous issue was published. But I think he should focus more on the quality of interviews. This is the only advice I’ve got, guys. Because the rest (including the jaw-dropping layout by Krakus. Hello mate!) is just flawless!
SACRIFICIO (PUERTO RICO) "FIN DE LA FÉ" (CD '04/DAN'S CRYPT)
I cannot understand SACRIFICIO. It's because sometimes one can hear they can afford a lot, play very interesting, then in a minute they execute a very amateurish shameful trash. In general, the band plays brutal death metal a'la SUFFOCATION, but with a bigger dose of melody. I think it's enough to say and should do for most of you. But to the not-initiated I can say the guys play brutal death metal with lots of heavy slow-downs, very low growl and sepulchral atmosphere. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, the execution and arrangement level varies like a psyche of the Polish national volleyball team, that is very often and very much. For sure, SACRIFICIO have still a lot of work ahead, but they aren't fighting a losing battle.
SACRIVERSUM (PL) "MOZARTIA" (CD '03/MMP)
Let's not deceive ourselves, their last full-length "BECKETTIA" wasn't a successful album and it was right to meet with no response. Especially as "SOTERIA" was much acclaimed. That's why the release of "MOZARTIA" didn't arouse my positive emotions. To my surprise SACRIVERSUM's new CD seemed to be almost spot-on... The band has started to write good songs again and Remo's vocals are more brutal with every record - every good brutal death metal band would like to have singer like him! As a matter of fact the orthodox won't give a shit for the album, because of keyboards, female vocals, nice melodies and guitar solos, but the ones who tolerate melodic doom and death metal will be satisfied. Unfortunately, SACRIVERSUM was always unlucky for good female vocalists. I could accept Alexandra, but I don't like Kate's voice at all - she just irritates me. I think it's high time the band thought of someone with better timbre, skills and style. By the way, recently there was a lot of changes in SACRIVERSUM - new guitarist, drummer and keyboard player appeared! The fresh blood evidently influenced their music positively. It is also worth mentioning that Remo & co. still play dynamic doom/death, not some boring, sentimental music in vein of early ANATHEMA. So don't lose heart, because it's really energetic and catchy metal. Of course, "MOZARTIA" is another concept-album, associations and influences of classics are more then welcome. Well, since brilliant SIRRAH doesn't exist anymore, ATROPHIA RED SUN have started to play progressive death metal, so only SACRIVERSUM left. But I won't change my mind that "SOTERIA" is their best album so far!
SAD (GRE) ENLIGHTENED BY DARKNESS (CD ‘09 / OLD TEMPLE)
What I’m going to write in the foreword will be a kind of advertisement for Old Temple Records. Practically every time I reach for one of the bands on their roster, it turns out to be spot-on, no matter what kind of music the band plays. It’s not important whether a band plays black or death metal if they play cool and ambitious music every time. To a large degree it just shows that the Old Temple staff has perfect intuition and knowledge of the fans’ demands. That’s the case with Greece’s black metal horde, Sad. As far as the music, ENLIGHTENED BY DARKNESS will appeal to fans of Norway’s Burzum. This follows from the fact that there’s a lot of melodic, misanthropic, sad (hence the band’s name, I guess) playing on the album. Every song is soaked in darkness and longing, which not everybody will like. The guitara and the vocals sound a bit controversial, too, but everything is within the limits of good taste. On the other hand, the Greek bands have already shown on their albums that they’re one of the world’s finest because they have an idea and are capable of putting it into practice. The album is cool and worth a careful listen and I give it my full recommendation.
Band: firstname.lastname@example.org; Label: www.oldtemple.com
SAMMOHAN (FIN) "SAINT OF BLASPHEMY" (DEMO '05)
SAMMOHAN executes raw, old-schooled heavy metal. I like that genre and its such representatives as e.g. American Twisted Tower Dire or Canadian early Exciter. But SAMMOHAN plays in a much more primitive way with some black and thrash influences. They still have to learn a lot, especially the singer whose voice is horrible. The sound is very harsh and the metallic bass is strongly exposed what reminds me of Irons.
Well, it's not a bad stuff, but they should improve a lot yet, in my opinion.
SARATAN (PL) "INFECTED WITH LIFE" (DEMO '06)
"INFECTED WITH LIFE" is an another surprise from Polish debut band. This time it's pure thrash metal and you'll like these guys for sure. Their music is very motoric and hard and the vocals are harsh in the vein of Paul Arakari of Exumer on their "Rising From The Sea" album, so maybe not everyone of you will accept it. The big advantage of the stuff is very cool sound the band got accomplished at ZED Studio (Horrorscope, Totem, Thy Disease a.o.), especially the drums sound very powerful. The disadvantage is, in my opinion, the lack of diversity between each track, but remember it's a debut stuff. Fans of Slayer, Testament, Overkill, Annihilator, Horrorscope and some other European thrash metal should really check the band out!
SATHANAS (USA) "FLESH FOR THE DEVIL" (MCD '07/PAGAN)
SATHANAS is a band that has been playing its traditional death/black metal the same way for many, many years. Of course, one can hear some differences comparing with such their old albums as for example "Armies Of Charon". The drumming isn't so much sluggish like before and there are more growled vocals for instance. But SATHANAS music is still simple and very steady, I mean not so chaotic as e.g. Norwegian black or American complex brutal death metal. It's more into Acheron or Crucifier tunes, if you know what I mean, and I do like it. Especially some cool choruses ("Invocation") and riffs ("Reign Of The Antichrist") which are pretty catchy. For dessert there is a cover song from Canadian SLAUGHTER - do you need something more?!
For old school die-hards only! So buy it and bang your head for SAT(H)AN(AS)!
SECTIONED (UK) ELME PROMO (DEMO 2007)
On this promo, British Sectioned presents stuff that is very reminiscent of the early works of bands like Death and Possessed. In spite of it, the music of Sectioned is perfectly polished and executed. They’ve mixed old-school style with bizarre, for this kind of music, atmospheric interludes which not everybody may take a liking to. But with each listen it becomes noticeable that this somewhat eclectic combination makes up a melodically consistent whole. In general, the music on ELME PROMO is interesting and addressed to all lovers of, and experts on, good death metal from the early 1990s.
SEASICK (D) "BESTIE MENSCH" (CD '98 self-release/reissue '03 PWP)
I expected crap, but I received pretty nice, fast enough and brutal hard core/thrash metal of old school with some punk elements etc. Some riffs remind me Holy Moses or old Sepultura, but the whole is much more raw because of a very simple music, the harsh sound and the very common, a little bit "barking" vocals.
You get "DEMO '95" as a bonus - it's a little bit more melodic, some parts sound like the mighty AUTOPSY, but it must be a coincidence...
For sure it isn't any outstanding old schooled stuff, but it's alright.
SERPENT SOUL (D) "BEYOND HUMANITY" (DEMO '04)
It isn't any outstanding stuff, so it'll get lost in the crowd of many other releases. But it's not bad, catchy European death/thrash with a pretty big amount of melodies. Remember, it isn't any modern metal core, rather something in the vein of early Desultory, Sentenced, late Carcass and stuff like that! And sometimes one can hear even influences from Iron Maiden itself (some parts in "Revenge")! The sound is clear but raw, so you'll realize that you deal with an underground band. The vocals are brutal yet "legible" (they are into Barney's of Napalm Death a bit) and the melodies aren't as sweet as from many Gothenburg bands, thank "God".
Although "BEYOND HUMANITY" didn't impress me at all, they can surprise us in the future, I hope.
SERPENTIA (PL) "DARK FIELDS OF PAIN" (CD '03/MMP)
Well, well, I do pay homage to the metal scene from Cracow (Poland) - with such bands as SCEPTIC, CRIONICS, ATROPHIA RED SUN, THY DISEASE, ANAL STENCH and SERPENTIA! Warsaw, although a much bigger city, cannot boast about so many appreciated bands! Where does the wonder of Cracow reside in? I don't know...But I know that SERPENTIA have recorded a pretty good debut. The band has improved very much comparing to the poor "...AND THE ANGELS DESCENDED THE EARTH" demo, but sound, arrangements and skills have been improved the most. I think the line-up changes were of great importance - a new vocalist and a drummer (who played in COLD PASSION some time ago). The latter one showed his very good side. In his parts there aren't very complex passages, super-fast double-bass or any complicated technical playing, but I cannot refuse to acknowledge its intelligence. The guitars have started to work appropriately at last. But the guitarist uses 7 strings, not 6 he,he. I've noticed that SERPENTIA went away from black metal into melodic death. Is it good? - you must judge it by yourselves. In my opinion it's very good, because the final effort is much more impressive than the above mentioned demo. "DARK FIELDS OF PAIN" is also a mixture of different dark styles, but this time it's more mature. I've mentioned melodic death metal - that's right, it dominates here, but it isn't such catchy, simply heavy metal-like music we got used to by top Swedish bands nowadays. It's more cold and depressive, also samples create a specific atmosphere. In general, it's very difficult to label this band, but their debut album is really decent. I even affirm that it's much better than debut full-length from their city mates THY DISEASE! Oh, I would forget, even my girlfriend liked this stuff, so it must be exceptionally accessible :-).
SEVEN DARK EYES (I) "LOST DREAMS" (DEMO '04)
I read many reviews on SEVEN DARK EYES and there was one and only name in each review - Lacuna Coil. Probably because both bands play doom/gothic, come from Italy and have got a female singer. But SEVEN DARK EYES isn't a typical clone, in my opinion. Their music is more dynamic, faster, more simple and less progressive. It's more approachable, but for this reason it's less interesting and intriguing, I guess. There are more typical guitar melodies even touching on heavy metal and of Chiara's vocal I can only write that it's correct and doesn't stand out a standard gothic way of singing. "LOST DREAMS" is a short, pithy material that can satisfy fans into gothic metal. But that kind of music isn't my cup of tea.
SHADOWSPHERE (P) "DARKLANDS" (CD '04)
Everybody should find something interesting here, because the SHADOWSPHERE's base is a melodic death metal with the influence of thrash (late KREATOR) and heavy metal (IRON MAIDEN). It's OK, many riffs seem good enough, but the total impression isn't extraordinary, because the CD sounds just like a good demo. Besides you've heard these sounds a thousand times before on other albums, so they guys just cannot surprise you. On the other hand, there are many more interesting underground bands, e.g. Polish ELYSIUM. But if you are a diehard of Gothenburg style, you can check these guys out.
SIGMA DRACONIS (I) "DE RERVM NATVRA" (CD '03)
It's an another mediocre black metal band, this time it comes from the sunny Italy. The horde plays typical Scandinavian black metal with a pretty huge dose of melody. One can hear many slight keyboard parts in the background, in a few moments acoustic guitar appears, too. Besides, there are some intros. I miss the ominous guitars and a fury here, the ones from "Death to the Weak" are not enough. But "DE RERVM NATVRA" is a good forecast for the future.
For the die-hards only!
SILENT CONFUSION (PL) "THE GODS AND THE LEADERS" (ADV. CD '05)
SILENT CONFUSION plays a typical, Polish brutal death metal, which means to me nothing else but a mixture of VADER-like style with brutal playing "made in USA". So one can hear both fast blast-beats and heavy slow-downs, there are both cutting riffs and the wall of sound, additionally we have got here a correct but a monotonous Olaf's growling and not bad, clear sound. But I prefer old bands such as e.g. GHOST and AHRET DEV, so you can realize that SILENT CONFUSION's music didn't endear me. It's correct, but nothing special. But who knows, maybe some label will be interested in releasing "THE GODS AND THE LEADERS"?
SKEPTICISM (FIN) "FARMAKON" (CD '03/RED STREAM)
It's nothing new that SKEPTICISM dabbles in funeral doom and they are masters of that genre. Frankly, I've never been into such tunes, but recently I've received some interesting materials to review (Nightly Gale, Funeral Mourning for instance). SKEPTICISM music is fuckin' slow, dark and melancholic with use of keyboards. And it really sounds like funeral music. The vocals appear not too often what makes the music even more trance and hypnotic. So you can easily guess that "FARMAKON" is perfect for cold, winter nights. By the way, the CD was recorded in 2001, released in 2003, but I received it in 2007, he,he! Anyway, you shouldn't miss such a good album.
SLUGATHOR (FIN) "CIRCLE OF DEATH" (CD '06/TIME BEFORE TIME)
Aarrgghh, hell, yeah and fuck! No other words come to my mind when I'm listening to the mighty SLUGATHOR. When you hear the first bars of "CIRCLE OF DEATH" it becomes clear to you immediately how huge influence on the band has had the entire Swedish and Finnish scene of the turn of 80's and 90's with Grave, Unleashed, Nihilist/Entombed, Demigod, Funebre, indicating first three groups. Yezz, zero originality, but what a power and feeling! These guys were just born to play that kind of metal. And it is a wonder that on debut full-length "UNLEASHING THE SLUGATHRON" they played faster, more brutal death metal infected by the American scene, while their new CD features pure Scandinavian old-school! These heavy, catchy riffs with that characteristic "drive", melodies and hellish vokills could be created only THERE. So lovers of technical fireworks and instrument-twisters can fuck off now, 'cause SLUGATHOR is boorish and hideous, plays a relatively simple music, but punches straight in your face (kind of "Vulgar Display Of Power" of death metal he,he). Recommended is an understatement. Buy it or die!
SODOMY TORTURE (F) "ECARTELAGE" (DEMO '06)
"ECARTELAGE" is a debut demo from this young band. So you shouldn't expect any gorgeous stuff as there are many shortcomings (e.g. mediocre ideas, drum-machine, unprofessional sound), but some die-hards can give a listen to this French death/grind with low-grunted vocals and with movie intros for a few times. It's not a crap, some riffs are even catchy, but it's not enough definitely. So I'm waiting for much mature stuff, guys. Oh, and find some drummer!
SOULLESS PROFANATION (PL) "SUMMONING HERESY" (MC '06/METAL RULEZ)
Everybody should already know that SOULLESS PROFANATION plays music in the vein of the mighty Immolation. It's good as we need bands to fight against the Christian plague, to fight with the sounds like that! Yes, in Poland there are also bands that are able to play technical and at the same time blasphemous brutal death metal, with lots of tempo changes, complex song structures and sick solos. To the less advanced listeners the stuff will be difficult to understand, but it's their problem. To me it's just pure destruction. And even Sepultura's "Necromancer" Daro & Co. executed in their own twisted way. A must-have!
SOULLESS (PL) "PERIS PSYCHES" (DEMO '04)
This stuff has been released in so many forms (a promo, a tape, 3 splits!) that the ones who follow deep underground had to come across undoubtedly Polish SOULLESS' music. And this is, in fact, very good stuff. In any case, how could it be a bad stuff as the band draws inspiration from such great bands as Morbid Angel, Incantation, Immolation, Vader or Deicide?! That's why that music is heavy, brutal, blasphemous (also thanks to the vocals that remind me a bit Polish, much regretted Armagedon!) and has got a nice, old-schooled feeling combined with the typical American technical way of playing. Interesting thing is that 3 of 4 tracks come from demos 2002 and 2001 (but they are re-arranged and re-recorded) and only the title track is new. Because the stuff was recorded with a drummer, the difference in reception is pretty huge! So it will be a cool piece of meat to death metal maniacs and I highly recommend to listen to "PERI PSYCHES" to all the latecomers. I'd also like to inform you that the band's new stuff entitled "Summoning Heresy" has been unleashed some time ago!
SOULS ENTWINED (GB) "DISEASED MIND" (DEMO '04)
SOULS ENTWINED is an one man band hailing from the United Kingdom. Roy Jacob is the man behind it and he decided to play atmospheric doom metal in the melodic way using guitars, keyboards and a drum machine. The music is both very moody and relaxing, don't expect misanthropic and suicidal sounds, although it isn't funny stuff either (as it's a bit melancholic). One can meet here both heavy and acoustic yet simple guitars and a lot of spoken vocals. Some ideas are really good, but in general the demo isn't outstanding. Frankly speaking, as far as doom metal is concerned I prefer more depressive music, but I'm sure some of you would like SOULS ENTWINED anyway.
SOURREAL (PL) "PINSLEEPE" (DEMO '04)
SOURREAL is an another interesting band hailing from Cracow (Poland). And, unfortunately, I had problems with labelling one band's music again. SOURREAL's base is melodic death metal, additional elements are modern thrash, post-black and even progressive music. The entire stuff sounds fresh and dynamic, but Dominik of Diamond Studio exaggerated with the treble once again. On "PINSLEEPE" the band collected a lot of ideas which could hand out to some other demos, but thanks to it the material is very variegated and attractive to the listeners as well. Fans of both aggression and calm, progressive sounds will find here something interesting. If the stuff was professionally recorded at one of the best studios all over the world and if to make people believe SOURREAL is a Swedish band, I suppose that some big label would sign a record deal with them. But surely it isn't any commercial music that would bring a huge profit.
SOURREAL is an interesting and original band in our underground scene that will probably never be appreciated properly.
SPIRAL MADNESS (PL) "THE BERSERK CROWNING" (DEMO '04)
I won't review "DEATH'N'ROLL" demo as it's very old and poor and it would be just a waste of time. So let's focus on "THE BERSERK CROWING" then. First bars and too much triggered drum-bass hit my ears. I know that it was recorded at home studio, I know that they had to use a computer, but don't exaggerate, guys! The rest is acceptable, but the sound is too clear and polished, in my opinion. I miss the nice guitar-dirt that one can meet on releases from Sunlight Studio, for example. I've mentioned that name with good reason as SPIRAL MADNESS plays kind of death metal with pretty huge dose of melody, something in the vein of such Swedish bands of the early 90's as Desultory and Cemetary. Unfortunately, there's a big difference in the performance and the ideas level, that's why I would never reach "THE BERSERK CROWING" if I hadn't to, having as a choice e.g. a cult cassette compilation of Desultory's demos entitled "Forever Gone". Add also gross vocals and it's no use talking. Well, maybe SPIRAL MADNESS' members are skilled enough to create a solid death metal material, but for the moment they haven't succeeded. So I advise you guys to focus on composing a few good songs than recording over 52 minutes (!) of a very average stuff.
STRANDHOGG (PL) "ART OF SATANIC AND ANTICHRISTIAN BLOOD" (DEMO '04)
STRANDHOGG made a very good impression on me for very simple reason - the band doesn't bullshit, just executes traditional, fast, Scandinavian black metal in its best way! The guys know very well how to play black metal and how it should sound. Although there surely are some grumbles who claim that "ART OF SATANIC AND ANTICHRISTIAN BLOOD" got accomplished too clear sound. And maybe they're a little bit right, but it's not the biggest problem. The problem is that the band recorded two own songs only, although they are very concrete and blasphemous (but unoriginal at all) and their quality recompense us for a very short playtime (around 12 minutes). Very well executed Carpathian Forest's cover "Martyr/Sacrificulum" finishes the stuff and maybe that will be some hint for you what you can expect from STRANDHOGG, but lack of slow-downs and the brass section distinguishes the horde from CF (don't confuse with Celtic Frost he,he), what makes the demo more into fast black metal "made in Sweden". I like it and if you haven't bought "ART OF SATANIC AND ANTICHRISTIAN BLOOD" yet, send 5 EUR/$ to the band's address you can find at their website immediately, all the more it's got a neat, modest, pro-printed inlay.
STROMMOUSSHELD (PL) "HALFDECADENCE" (digiMCD '04/MMP)
I've just finished reviewing a very good avantgarde-psychedelic THE HAG, when as good STROMMOUSSHELD appeared in my CD player. The difference is that these guys play ambient dark/black metal, I need not mention it is both good and not an easy music to listen, need I? There's a lot of electronics and ambient motives here, but heavy guitars or black vocals appear as well (e.g. in the beginning of "Larva And Butterfly") to remind us the album has still something in common with metal (because in some moments I had serious doubts). The whole stuff sounds a little bit as Samael's ambient brother, but check by yourself whether "HALDECADENCE" contents appeal to you.
TARAN (PL) "STORMING THE HOUSE OF GOD" (CD '05/OLD LEGEND)
So much praise fell on these sons of Satan that it must have gone to their heads. But the compliments are well-deserved, as the stuff they recorded is really outstanding. Although this kind of music was played a thousand times before, there's a kind of magic in these sounds which doesn't let you eject that disc from your CD player. To my joy, there's nothing to pick on here, because both the performance and the sound are faultless. The latter got accomplished at Warsaw DBX Studio, which did well and proved a perfect place to record black metal! Though from Poland, TARAN plays Scandinavian black metal in its purest form and such kind of music is still receiving wide recognition from Polish (and not only) metalheads. Every black metal maniac will find here everything they need: fast blast-beats, monumental march tempos, sinister possessed vocals, hellish riffs and melodic bass lines, too. That's why they didn't have to wait for record-deal offers too long; as you can see they've chosen OLD LEGEND, but whether it's a good choice we'll see in the future...
TENEBROSUS (PL) "THE FALL OF WORTHLESS MORALS" (CD '03/MMP)
The label was right - this album contains fast and brutal black metal in vein of Swedish gods i.e. DARK FUNERAL and MARDUK who earned another bastards which will be spreading evil over Polish land. The sinister atmosphere of "THE FALL OF WORTHLESS MORALS" is additionally emphasised by perfect sound (as for black metal) achieved at SELANI Studio. Forget their "Demo 2001", this CD is a true carnage - a real hell on earth! "No compromises" seems to be TENEBROSUS' second name. No more Slavonic riffs nor trivial melodies, the guys just destroy everything they meet on their way leaving only ashes and smoke behind. It isn't original music at all, but it fulfils its function perfectly. After listening to this extremely reliable and correctly released album I had no illusions that Christianity would decline any moment...
TENEBROSUS (PL) "LOST AND FORGOTTEN" (CD '04/MMP)
I suppose that most of Polish readers know TENEBROSUS very well and know what they can expect from these bastards of Satan. To the not initiated I tell that the horde performs very fast black metal in the vein of Marduk, Setherial etc. The drum tempos are staggering, but the guitars create such a typical, melodic sound wall. Of course, the entire stuff destroys everything it comes across. Although the previous album - "THE FALL OF WORTHLESS MORALS" - was recorded only one year before "LOST AND FORGOTTEN", the progression is audible. Especially the sound and the explosive power improved, also the drummer play evenly now, but surely thanks to the computer. If you don't mind lack of originality, I invite you to listen to "LOST AND FORGOTTEN" album.
THANATHRON (PL) / EMPHERIS (PL) "THE RITUALS OF POSSESSION IN BLASPHEMY" (SPLIT CD '06/KERZAKRAUM)
Both bands hail from Poland and they both play black metal that is characterised by roughness and simplicity. And the both bands are just OK. Frankly speaking, I've never heard of THANATHRON before, but I see I will have to fix it and draw my attention to them in the future as they can record some good material. THANATHRON tracks are taken from their "Hiarra" demo '05 and EMPHERIS songs are taken mainly from their "Flamethorns" demo '06, so do not expect any new sounds.
THANATHRON's music is a very primitive, not too fast black metal (reminding me old, Polish pagan/black hordes, there's even a pretty good Infernum cover!), not perfectly played, but who cares? There's an old-schooled feeling here as well and that's the point.
As you might know, EMPHERIS plays retro stuff influenced by different black metal scenes, but it isn't yet as good stuff as subsequent recordings you can meet at e.g. "THE REST ARE REMAINS" split MC. Besides the tracks were recorded during different sessions, so the sound is uneven. On the whole, it isn't a bad release, but I would recommend EMPHERIS/HELLISH split tape to you.
THE THORN (ex-THORN) (PL) "PROMO 2005"
As far as I remember, THE THORN has been always playing clumsy thrash/death. But they improved on "PROMO 2005". There are more interesting guitar parts here which rivet one's attention, some good ideas and various arrangements, vocals are alright too, they're a bit intriguing (they are in the vein of Geisha Goner, although Krzysiek isn't as good singer as Maciek Taff). Many people detected melodies characteristic of Gothenburg bands here, although their music had always "Polish character" to me he,he.
To recap, THE THORN consists of good musicians, but I have an impression that their idea of music is a bit old-fashioned (maybe it's also a fault of the unprofessional sound?) and doesn't convince me, although I admit that they made progress and I'm pleased with it. But better check their explosive power by yourselves.
THRONEUM (PL) / REVELATION OF DOOM (PL) "TOTAL REGRESSION!" (split CD '07/PAGAN)
Wow, what a delicious release! I'm keen on cover songs (of course, usually they are worse than original versions, but I like listening to other bands' interpretations and visions), that's why "TOTAL REGRESSION!" suits me. Both bands presented only two premiere tracks, the rest is 11 covers! What I like here very much is that the groups chose unpopular songs. You know, I'm just tired of listening to a thousandth version of "Circle Of The Tyrants", "Dethroned Emperor" or "Black Magic", not to mention "Angel Of Death". But here on the split you can listen to such cool tunes as for example Unleashed's "Execute Them All" (of course, Tom hasn't got such a great voice as Johnny Hedlund, but their version is very THRONEUM-like what means nothing but Total Necro Ancient Death Metal!), Morgoth's "Darkness" (which is an instrumental track, by the way!) or Polish cult legend Pandemonium's "Unholy Existence" (with guest vocals of Pandemonium's leader Paul himself!) to name a few. Do you need something else? I don't think so, so go and buy this fuckin' cool split now (and don't forget about a few beers as well)!
THRONEUM (PL) "DECADE OF NECROSTUPRUMICAL MADNESS" (CD '06/DEATHGASM)
Fuck, this band recorded and released so many materials and the press wrote so many reviews on them that it's almost impossible to add any comment more! "DECADE OF NECROSTUPRUMICAL MADNESS" is a compilation released to honour the band's tenth anniversary, but, in my opinion, it isn't any kind of "The Best Of" album, but just a collection of most of the group's EP's plus some rare and unreleased tracks. In general, it's a pretty cool CD for THRONEUM's fans, although they already have the Poles' entire discography, I suppose (what isn't an easy and a cheap thing). But it should be even more interesting to the ones who don't know the band yet and would like to start their adventure with old-schooled death metal just from THRONEUM. Especially as on the album one can find a lot of fuckin' great Ancient Terror Death Metal varied with many cover songs (Sarcofago, Tankard, Anthrax, Incantation, Autopsy, Necrovore!). Argh! By the way, the bands that open and close the above mentioned list, i.e. Sarcofago and Necrovore, are good determinants of THRONEUM's music. So you can easily guess the guys take no prisoners.
For metal maniacs only!
TRAUMATIC VOYAGE (D) COGITO ERGO SUM (CD ‘05 / MERCILESS)
Do you know what the worst thing about being a fanzine editor and reviewer is? It’s that sometimes you need to sacrifice an hour or more of your precious time on albums / bands that you don’t really want to listen to. Instead of playing some great music you love, you need to spend this time listening to some crap that you normally would not touch. In the case of TRAUMATIC VOYAGE’s COGITO ERGO SUM I had to spend 77 minutes listening to this shit and wondering why the hell someone decided to record something like this?? Or why the hell did MERCILESS Records decide to re-release this - originally released in 1995 - album? Have they been so fuckin’ desperate or what??? I have no idea, but I can tell you one thing - COGITO ERGO SUM is a contender for the most worthless, shitiest album I’ve heard EVER. It’s really been 77 minutes I’ve lost after listening to it and I’m not going to repeat this mistake ever again. The album already scared away with the awfully coloured booklet, but the music is beyond my imagination. The first song is just fuckin’ German disco, and for that single track the band deserves to be slain. The remaining songs sound like enormously chaotic and unreadable black metal, where the guitars are one big buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, and I mostly have absolutely no idea what riffs they are playing. There’s a totally stupid drum machine, pointlessly screaming vocals (occasionally accompanied by some falstetto clean vocals, howls, etc) and some keyboards or whatever. Sometimes it reminds of the fast parts from ABIGOR, but it’s not even close to the atmosphere and quality of that Austrian band. Trust me, there’s absolutely nothing on this album that deserves being released, and the experience of listening to it is… traumatic he,he! So, I don’t recommend it to anyone…
TRAUMATIC VOYAGE (D) KHIAOSCURO (CD ‘05 / MERCILESS)
I’m afraid the traumatic experience that I had with TRAUMATIC VOYAGE’s COGITO ERGO SUM wasn’t the only one and is about to be repeated! Man, someone has had a really tricky plan to torture me with two albums from this worthless project! Hmm, I can only be grateful that I don’t have to listen to all six albums this one-man band has recorded. That would be a real cacophonic torment. By the way, I’m really curious what sickness this guy has in his mind to able to create six albums of such useless noise and how there are labels interested in releasing it? Anyway, KHIAOSCURO is the latest CD, unleashed in 2005. And again we are dealing with rather chaotic and unreadable, badly produced and performed, raw but atmospheric (cosmic???) black metal that isn’t worth a penny. OK, to be honest, this album is slightly more interesting, definitely better recorded and has some more interesting ideas than COGITO ERGO SUM, but as a whole it’s again very long (76 minutes this time) and a real challenge to actually focus on the music. There’s hardly anything good I can say about KHIAOSCURO. The aura on it is very claustrophobic, almost hysterical; everything seems to be uncontrolled and I think the vocals especially make me totally hate the album. Luckily TRAUMATIC VOYAGE doesn’t repeat the disco songs that were on the COGITO ERGO SUM album, but even without them the album is pretty much uninteresting. Personally I’m into completely different music, and even if there are some avant-garde black metal acts I like, KHIAOSCURO hasn’t got their quality or talent to interest me. So trust me, don’t waste your money and time on it, just forget the name and choose something else to listen to.
THY WORSHIPER (PL) "SIGNUM" (CD '06/EASTSIDE)
"POPIOL (INTROIBO AD ALTARE DEI)" was a very good stuff (by the way, it's going to released in CD-format for the first time!). Back then (it was 1996) there were very few bands playing like that. Of course, pagan or folk motifs were used by many black metal groups, but THY WORSHIPER's music was different, original in its own way, lofty, rich, with many doom influences. Almost 10 years passed and the band has surfaced again, this time with demo '05 entitled "SIGNUM" that one year later was released as an official CD by EASTSIDE REC. Well, one can hear similar inspirations, there still are many acoustic and pagan parts, female vocals (no more by Anna Chwalek), keyboards and darkness, in general. The differences are: sound (the needless drum-machine to mar everything here, a primitive drumming would be even better), violin parts that replaced flute, the larger extent of aggression, more interesting guitar work, besides I have the impression that the whole stuff is more complicated and complex comparing to "POPIOL". I think that this music can remind to some of you late Czech ROOT, but don't worry, THY WORSHIPER kept its identity.
In general, expect a good, interesting and uncommon material where dark sounds and richness of ideas found a common denominator.
TROLLHEIMEN (HUN) "AZ ELMULAS UTJAN... (ON THE WAY OF PASSING...)" (DEMO '05)
These Hungarians play very archaic, melodic death/doom metal, but they are several years late, when such bands as The Gathering or Crematory debuted. As you can easily guess, listeners more into melancholic and romantic metal can reach for "AZ ELMULAS UTJAN...", but what for, as there are many more interesting stuffs, better played and produced, containing better songs?
TWILIGHT OF CHRIST (PL) "HYMN TO ETERNITY" (DEMO '03)
It's an another mediocre Polish band playing black metal. Their sound is very underground and artificial, I suppose they recorded it at some home studio. It's the same level as e.g. Memembris, so the guys won't impress you for sure. It's a very common music, very melodic (as for black metal, of course), because the lead guitar plays the main role here. The vocals are satisfying, but general impression is so-so.
You can forget them, especially 'cause I've heard they split-up.
UNCREATION’S DAWN (FIN) DEATH’S TYRANNY (CD ’06 / NORTHERN HERITAGE)
I admit that this one is an old fucker, but I still remember a very positive review of their second demo in the first issue of the brilliant AD ARMA! mag, so this band does deserve your attention. First of all, I’m not sure if you are aware, but UNCREATION’S DAWN is no more. Now the band is named after one of their releases, UNCELESTIAL. But the legacy they left is obligatory for every Black Metal maniac. Even if you’re tired of that DARKTHRONE-ish primitivism, the Finns will still send shivers down your spines. They perfectly master the ability to create that grim mood and sound, the majestic riffs (supplemented by the psychedelic guitar parts here and there) and the minimal but effective drum work. Besides, Diabolik has outdone himself, laying down one of the best vocal parts in the history of the genre! It’s been a long time since a Black Metal record moved me so much, thus my advice: get it before it’s too late! By the way, thanks to Northern Heritage for showing me that the Finnish Black Metal scene doesn’t only mean BEHERIT, ARCHGOAT, IMPALED NAZARENE, …AND OCEANS, BLACK CRUCIFIXION, HORNA, BEHEXEN, BARATHRUM, and that there are also other good bands like BAPTISM, CLANDESTINE BLAZE, MUSTA SURMA, RIDE FOR REVENGE and UNCELESTIAL/U.D.
Uncreation’s Dawn: www.cfprod.com/ud/; Uncelestial: www.myspace.com/uncelestial666
UNHOLY MATRIMONY (F) "MISOLOGIE" (CD '03/MELANCHOLIA)
3 of 4 promo CD's I received from Melancholia Records contained nothing but sympho- or post black metal. And UNHOLY MATRIMONY is one of these 3 bands. I know that the guys would like to be another Limbonic Art or Anorexia Nervosa, but with such an unprofessional production it will be very difficult for them to gain your interest. The bass drums shot like a machine gun and are even louder than the snare drum! But the vocals are enough evil and the guitar-work is also interesting, so it isn't a doomed release.
VALINOR (POL) HIDDEN BEAUTY (DEMO ’06)
It’s kind of a mixture between Melodic Death and Heavy Metal with blackened vocals. The whole stuff reminds me of THERION with no orchestration, or WISHMASTER playing some commercial shit, hehe. These are very dynamic, fierce tunes, but I’m not into it at all. Maybe it’s still Metal but definitely too polished, sweet and lively for my taste. Granted, they’re alright fellows and good musicians; they just focus on music I don’t dig (the regular reader of Atmospheric ‘zine will love it, though, hehe). Nevertheless, if they were from Sweden, had some famous musicians in the line-up, and recorded the album at Abyss or Fredman Studio, to secure a deal with Nuclear Blast would be just a formality, hehe.
Ernest Garstka, Rzeszowska 106 a, 39-200 Dêbica, Poland, email@example.com, www.valinor.com.pl
VALINOR (PL) "IT IS NIGHT" (CD '03/APOCALYPSE PROD.)
Maniacs into Polish underground should already know VALINOR as the band has been existing for some years and "IT IS NIGHT" album met with pretty good response, especially 'cause the CD was released through APOCALYPSE PROD. (but the promotion wasn't overwhelming), the band played at Metalmania Festival 2005 and put its tracks on many UG compilations as well. VALINOR is an interesting band playing music on the borderline of black, melodic death, heavy metal and folk and for sure they're the only Polish band playing that way, so my recognition. The album biggest characteristic are varied Jakub's vocals. The guy is trying (sometimes with better, sometimes with worse result, of course) both black screechings and folk singings, sometimes his timbre is similar to Johan Edlund's mystical vocals on TIAMAT's "CLOUDS" (listen to the title track, for example). Musically it sounds as a mix of Ethelyn and Therion styles and if they had a big budget for recording they would produce something in the orchestral vein of Christofer Johnsson's band, I guess. In general, I'm not fond of that kind of music and I admit that I like the band in the most aggressive parts only, e.g. in "Chasing The Moral's Luxury" or "Falseness And Struggle". Anyway, it's a good band indeed and their new album should be even much better as "IT IS NIGHT" is already 5 years old!
VARIOUS ARTISTS GODS OF GOATS – A TRIBUTE TO VENOM (CD ’07 / METALRULEZ)
I’ve heard better tribute albums (also to VENOM like, for example, IN THE SIGN OF THE HORNS or IN THE NAME OF SATAN), but this one is not that bad. Some songs are better, some are worse, of course, but it’s worth emphasizing that 99,9% of the bands execute the VENOM songs in their own and personal way; they don’t want to be just copycats, so my regards to them. CHAOSPHERE’s version of “Leave Me In Hell” kicks ass (by the way, what is happening with you, guys?), but I cannot say the same about their town mates EMPHERIS – “Lady Lust” isn’t the best cover song ever played by Adrian & co.; I’ve heard plenty of worse profanations though, hehe! CREMASTER’s “Acid Queen” cannot be treated seriously, same with the band. On the contrary, Chile’s AQUER set themselves against the immortal classic “Countess Bathory.” Granted, they put their hearts into this song, but it (and any other version I’m aware of) cannot match UNLEASHED’s brilliant interpretation. On the other hand, MORD’A’STIGMATA has enough guts to play “new” VENOM, i.e. “Resurrection,” in their own, bizarre way (I cannot understand why so many maniacs disregard this album - there are many great riffs on it)! STURMGEWEHR666, SPINAL CORD, and CEREBRUM also play OK in my humble opinion. Also, if you want to hear well-known bands such as FROSTMOON ECLIPSE, HEKSERI, MACHETAZO and other UG bands playing VENOM, try and buy this compilation somewhere.
Label: http://circleofpain.pl (ex-MetalruleZ)
P.S. I also came to the conclusion that Mihu of WARFIST is still the best Polish vocalist I know imitating Cronos, hehe.
VARIOUS ARTISTS (LINCOLN LOVE LOG / AUTHORITY FIGHTS MAJORITY / DIONONESISTE) "BBQ OF BRUTALITY" (3-way split CD '04/TORTURE MUSIC)
If AUTHORITY FIGHTS MAJORITY plays grind/core with some groove and hard core elements and you can hear the instruments, LINCOL LOVE LOG is a really underground band with the abominable sound. It's almost grind/noise as you can hardly hear the guitars, very slow grind, though! Italian DIONONESISTE is also a bizarre and dark band, they are really crazy bastards (listen to the vocals for example), but they can handle their instruments better than L.L.L.
Well, I'm glad "BBQ OF BRUTALITY" lasts only 34 minutes, as it's the sick stuff for the sick-minded only!
VARIOUS ARTISTS "EMBALMED MADNESS #1" (split CD-R '05/NIHILISTIC HOLOCAUST)
Another amazing release on NIHILISTIC HOLOCAUST! I'm impressed again
Finnish NERLICH begins the split. I've never heard of these guys before, and it's a pity as they execute great death metal that brings to my mind such killer albums as e.g. "Altars Of Madness" or "Testimony Of The Ancients" with some Cannibal Corpse touch.
DECOHERENCE is brutal death metal band hailing from France. Their technical skills and song-power are out of discussion, so you must check them out! It's a very good and underestimated band, in my opinion.
French GORGASM (now GOROD) closes the split. It's the most technical of those three bands, but their music didn't loose power. It's very in the US death metal vein (but who cares?) with some melodic or twisted parts. It kicks ass and that's the point, you must listen to their impressive full-lengths as well!
Brutal and killer split, recommended!
VARIOUS ARTISTS "SPLIT PROMOTIONAL SAMPLER" (CD '06 / DEATHGASM/HELLS HEADBANGERS)
Damn, it's a pretty good sampler and you'll find here a lot of interesting bands that are under the wings of two very good underground American labels - DEATHGASM and HELLS HEADBANGERS. The ones who are into deep underground and who like old-school metal should already know the labels as well as most of the bands to appear here. Of course, the highlights are such old stagers as e.g. EVIL INCARNATE, DESTRUKTOR, ATOMIZER and NUNSLAUGHTER. But death/black metal MANTICORE, brutal KURU, Ukrainian SEMARGL (they recorded at Polish well known Hertz Studio!), CRUCIFIED MORTALS, THE SPAWN OF SATAN and reviewed somewhere here QUINTA ESSENTIA made a very good impression on me, too... Anyway, there's a lot of bands that play metal straight from hell, no matter if you label it death, death/black or black/thrash. It's just REAL METAL!
The only disadvantage of the CD is difference in volume level between each truck, what can make a reception a bit difficult. Besides, I cannot see any weak points, because the sampler features good and very good bands only! That's why I will always recommend it to you! Oh, just one more conclusion came to my mind: if there weren't MORBID ANGEL, there wouldn't be most of the bands featured on the sampler!
VEDONIST (PL) "AWAKING TO IMMORTALITY" (CD '06/TRINITY RECORDS HONG KONG)
I've been always sympathising with this solid band, 'cause they are good musicians, promoters and cool guys as well. Their demo "The First Scream" received a positive review in "Burning Abyss", so it will be with "AWAKING TO IMMORTALITY" as the band improved pretty much. They spent 200 hours at Warsaw DBX Studio what bore the good and dynamic sound (although they exaggerated with double bass production). Another advantage of the CD are pretty good lead guitar parts, technical and melodic with impressive soloing. And if you know "The First Scream" well, VEDONIST will surprise you not only with the better sound and the guitars, but also with the better drumming and more modern and dynamic arrangements, but it's still within the confines of death/thrash metal, of course. The only thing I don't like here are monotonously brutal Daffy's vocals (of course, the band is of the different opinion and argues with me he,he, but many people share my opinion ). The rest is more than OK, so buy it now!
VESPERS DESCENT (AUS) "VISIONS IN VERSE" (CD '05/PRIME CUTS MUSIC)
This time we deal with the group impressed by Mike Amott's bands i.e. Arch Enemy and late Carcass. And the guys are more European than many other bands from the Old Continent. The production and the performance are professional, so I suppose the band is professional in general, too. Well, with such a pro-done album they don't need to be considered as an underground band anymore and without any problem they could be in e.g. Nuclear Blast's catalogue.
Good guitar-work is the biggest advantage of the stuff, but, frankly speaking, all the instruments are OK. As mentioned above the sound is good as it's clear, dynamic, yet aggressive. I only miss here the awesome ideas distinguishing VESPERS DESCENT from many other bands (especially from Sweden and U.S.A.) and the note of genius that Mike Amott possesses.
VOX INTERIUM (PL) "YEARING" (CD '03/MAESTRO REC.)
Heavy, mat, death metal-like sounding guitars plus a hoarse vocal. Melody, complex drum rhythms, lots of tempo changes, good solos, harmonies, space and brutality. In short, it's a description of VOX INTERIUM's music, but one cannot absorb it since a first listening. One can pick out influences of e.g. Gorefest, by the way, the guys recorded a cover-version of their "Reality When I Die" and included it on this professionally self-released CD. Sometimes I have the impression that the songs aren't fully exploited. When a good idea unfolds and "exactly this" appears, when the music starts to absorb a listener and he starts to identify with - a song stops like a thriller 10 minutes before the end. I don't have liking for so many bizarre things, ornaments and a contrast between spatial, melodious moments and simple, dirty, brutal playing. Although I recommend "YEARING" to all those "doubting Thomases" who think the Polish scene is only Empire Rec. and Metal Mind Prod.
WAR (POL) INSANITY OF FAITH (CD ’07 / UNDER THE SIGN OF GARAZEL)
First of all, we’re dealing here with the Polish WAR, of course, not that Swedish all-star group. Second, if INSANITY OF FAITH is the band’s swansong, the Polish scene has just lost one of the best and most enigmatic Black Metal hordes ever! The album is filled with great, misanthropical Black Metal executed the Norwegian-Polish way. The sound is quite unpolished and raw but fits the music well and gives it a freezing feel. Also, the howling vocals are spine-chilling (does anyone remember IN THE WOODS and their great HEART OF THE AGES debut? And I don’t mean the clean vocals, of course, hehe). But if I can complain, I don’t like the “clicking” sound of the double-bass that much. Also, not often does one hear this kind of riffing on an album: interesting, intriguing, hypnotizing and nonconforming. It’s an uncommon and difficult thing to describe as far as raw Black Metal. I’m wasting my breath; better check it out yourselves and buy this CD fuckin’ right now because you’ll have to pay a lot of bucks for it on eBay in several years, hehe! Mark my words.
Label: www.utsogprod.cba.pl, firstname.lastname@example.org
WHICHHEAVEN (PL) "GATES OF THE UNIVERSE" (DEMO '04)
After pretty boring demos containing feeble tunes, WHICHHEAVEN recorded a gutsy stuff finally, there's no doubt. Although I fully agree with Max of "Kultura Industrialna" that in the beginning the band deters with its infantile logo and a note "featuring Erian and Michal, members of DEVILYN". But it's not the most important thing. The most important is the music that is pretty good. The band presented energetic, melodic death metal you know from Scandinavia, of course (although some heavy metal or even classical riffs appear), combined with technical parts and cosmic keyboards. The entire stuff including lyrics has got just a cosmic atmosphere and additionally is provided with good, strong vocals.
Both the material and the band showed promise, but I haven't heard about them for a long time, their website disappeared too, so I suppose they've focused on Devilyn much more...
XANTHE (PL) "EREM" (DEMO '05)
Cool ideas, sounds and atmosphere appeared on "EREM", but the demo production failed and made it just a mediocre stuff! It's a pity, because thanks to the powerful and professional sound, "EREM" could make more interest around the band, maybe not in the underground scene, but in the mainstream post black metal one and it would be really something... Of course, one can find here a lot of keyboards, melodies, atmosphere, the compositions keep in suspense, the guitars can attack with aggressive riff as well as with some sentimental tunes, the vocals are also cool, they're black-ish, a bit hoarse...
Well, if the production were better...
YATTERING (PL) "GENOCIDE" (CD '03/CANDLELIGHT/PHD)
It's great to see YATTERING again, this time with the new record-deal and with the new album. It's a pity that in the meantime they quarrelled very much with VADER's manager, but it's none of our business, so let's leave this unpleasant case and go to the review... YATTERING surprises, as usual, shatters all boundaries of brutal death metal. But having such an excellent skills and a substantial imagination it comes easy to them, I guess. "GENOCIDE" is a very heavy record, well produced, containing good Swierszcz's vocals (but not so varied as on previous releases), a little bit of electronics... and a lot of jazz elements he,he… thanks to professor Zabek who plays drums as few can. The metalheads who don't know YATTERING yet, can have problems absorbing the schizoid contents of "GENOCIDE", but we, Poles, shouldn't have this kind of problem, as we survived their debut "HUMAN'S PAIN" and second full-length "MURDER'S CONCEPT" he,he. Fans of very technical, brutal death metal must have "GENOCIDE" in their collection, the rest... should have it, too. Although it isn't a better album than the previous ones.
ZARATHUSTRA (D) IN HORA MORTIS (CD ‘06 / AGONIA)
A noble name for a band, a worthy man this philosopher whom Nietzsche often relied upon, therefore it fits black metal. Let’s add in Mersus of Destroyer666 on drums and then go fast forward! Zarathustra dabbles in black metal, though a little bit differently than Destroyer666, not so catchy and sophisticated. It’s high-tech black metal; however the band is still missing a bit of class. I’ve listened to it once, twice, three times and not much stuck in my memory. The songs float one by one; they neither intrigue nor rivet my attention. It's a good black metal album, and that's all there is to it. I don’t like those garish tunes in “Souls Ejaculation” played ad nauseam, though. But the whole album goes quite well and evokes associations with Marcus’ second band, not only due to his person but also the similar sound and Hurricane’s vocal manner. Is this album harder to digest or is it just weaker? On the other hand, why play the same stuff in two bands? I have no idea. (7/10)
Label: www.agoniarecords.com; Band: www.myspace.com/zarathustraband
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