The following reviews have not been published in any paper issue of "BURNING ABYSS 'zine". All of them are written by Maciej Kaczorowski, "Lucid", Pawel ("PP") and Tomasz Hanuszkiewicz. Those by "TH" one can also find in his "EXTREME DENSE ART newsletter".
ABHORRENCE "EVOKING THE ABOMINATION" (CD '01/LISTENABLE REC.)
"New total death metal whirlwind tornado!" - these are the label's words. And it's a rare case when a label is objective and is right. The Brazilians kill through whole 29 minutes, you cannot take a breath, just permanent speed (the drummer is very fast!) and brutality so characteristic of South America's death metal. Die-hard fans of KRISIUN surely got this CD and the others are... just mother's boys. You must have it in your "Brazilian collection" together with NEPHASTH, REBAELLIUN or MENTAL HORROR!
AEON "DARK ORDER" (DEMO '01/DEATHVOMIT REC./NECROPOLIS REC.)
You would never say this band comes from Sweden, because it's American to the bone. Perfect performance, brutality and dynamics - as if from Florida. Nowadays everybody gripes about DEICIDE, so AEON is a wonderful alternative. These youngsters (well, not exactly, because they've been gaining their experience as DEFACED CREATION) immediately have joined the metal top, because they play excellent brutal death metal - fucking intensive, fast and at the same time heavy sounding. Additionally, enriched with short, piercing guitar solo parts inspired by 'Trey the Great', although that psychedelic solo in 6th track is the unique one! AAARRRGGGHHH! I can smell the satanic feast! Do you want to join us? Just 20 minutes, but it's enough to kill all of you...
AGATHOCLES "MINCE CORE HISTORY 1989-1993" (CD '01/SELFMADEGOD REC./MCN REC.)
I've never been a diehard fan of AGATHOCLES, their music has never made any big impression on me, but I respect them for being so influential to grind/core scene. The album, I've received from Karol of SMG REC., is nothing more as collection of all the Belgians' releases from 1989-1993 period. It's great bargain for their fans, 'cause it's nothing special to me. As 41 songs (!) taken from 12 releases (!) are here, so it's impossible to describe the music exactly, there's no point in taking the album apart and describing each EP or split separatly. This record, thanx to its specific construction, is very varied, 'cause we've got here diverse sounds, vocals (roars, screams) and tempos... from various periods of their career. There are some cool tracks here for sure, but I like the stuff from 7"EP "DISTRUST AND ABUSE" the most! In general, it's perfect album for diehard fans of AGATHOCLES (but they've already got it, I guess) or people who want to acquaint with AGATHOCLES' activity (nota bene, in the rich CD-booklet you can find their whole impressive biography listed).
AGMEN "DAMNATION" (DEMO '99/RADIATION NOISE PROD.)
Absolutely I'm not charmed by this stuff. I even don't know what the musicians wanted to gain here. I think these Czechs are trying to follow the new wave of black metal - on one hand one can hear influences of KEEP OF KALESSIN and SATYRICON here, on the other hand the whole stuff is very coarse and "harsh". It isn't crap for sure, there are some cool motives, but it doesn't throw me on my knees. Maybe it's the matter of lack of originality (they crib off too much), maybe the sound isn't good enough to such a music?... I have no idea. You won't waste too much if you don't hear that.
AHRET DEV (PL) "HELLISH" (CD '02/DYWIZJA KOT)
I've always dreamt about getting this stuff in CD-format! And finally thanks to DYWIZJA KOT this dream came true. When this label will release the mighty VIOLENT DIRGE's discography (!)... I can rest in peace he,he. AHRET DEV was even a menace to VADER itself, as according to many people "HELLISH" stuff beat everything that VADER has ever recorded. AHRET DEV was as good as a lot of top-bands, as regards either technical skills, ideas, brutality or expression on a stage. Maybe only the sound of "HELLISH" left some things to be desired (as most releases from SELANI Studio, by the way!). If in the beginning AHRET DEV drew inspiration from DEICIDE very much (they used to perform live "Once Upon The Cross" song in such a way that you wouldn't be able to differ their version from the original one!), "HELLISH" was more original - more intense, fresh, technically advanced. HATE for example could only dream about such skills back then. It's a pity the band split up - today they would be as popular as VADER and BEHEMOTH, for sure!... R.I.P.!
AISLING "AISLING" (CD '02)
This attraction to northern, cold atmospheres which many bands are trying to pass on at all costs in their music sometimes makes me wonder. Italian AISLING isn't exception to the rule, either. The band features 6 members (and 3 guests) and, with no remorse, I could label them a "symphonic black metal" horde, of course, the one playing in Scandinavian vein. The album hasn't enchanted me, these 7 tracks (which last about 45 minutes) are nothing special, though there are some various instruments like for example cello or flute, varied vocals (the black metal ones leave a lot to be desired), tempo changes, classical interludes, charming passages, monumental speed (though the guitar riffs simplicity cannot always be embellished with keyboards) and slow-downs, which task is to put you in the mood of the glory of the ancient... In my opinion this kind of music is dying of natural causes, as it was in the case of death metal of the 90's and black metal at the end of the century with all its "symphonic" bands. But let's wait and see if this time the best and the most persistent ones survive...
ALGOL "GORGONUS AURA" (CD '00/THE THELFTH PLANET REC.)
I see that TWELFTH PLANET likes to release soft black metal stuff. However, I must say they have a really good taste. Maybe symphonic and progressive black metal isn't my favorite style, but I can differ shit from good material. Well, ALGOL near German LUNAR AURORA and Finnish FLAUROS is the next excellent band in this area. Yes, ALGOL's music is melodic, but not infantile, there is a lot of keyboards, but they are arranged very well, too. This music is full of surprises and interesting ideas. Really, "GORGONUS AURA" appeals to me a lot. Check it out.
The Twelfth Planet, P.O. Box 22, 65012 Cepagatti (PE), Italy, www.twepla.com
AMON "AMON" (DEMO '00)
I was very surprised when I found out that in Konskie, situated only 30 km from my hometown, there a death metal group is playing. And, fancy that, they do it not so badly. On the debut demo of AMON one can deal with simple, mid and fast paced death metal and brutal growls. It's interesting that the demo was recorded at the community center (what's a rarity currently and besides it sounds pretty good - another proof that if you know your job you can record pretty good metal music without having a lot of money). These guys aren't original at all, that's a fact, but they have idea how to play American death metal. They still need lots of rehearsals and good ideas, but first steps are already done. I keep my fingers crossed for them.
c/o Lukasz Dziubinski, Armii Krajowej 12/49, 26-200 Konskie, Poland
AMORBITAL "INVIDIA" (CD '98/SHOCK WAVE REC.)
Relatively short, acoustic intro and then a half-an-hour metal ride. Unfortunately it's nothing more as an average European level. In Poland we've got lots of such bands who will never have got even a tape released, let alone CD. But so is this shitty life - somebody's lucky, somebody's not. Sounds of AMORBITAL aren't pushily cribbed riffs of major metal bands, but somewhere here I found echoes of early MORGOTH or a little bit of VADER. As for brutal death metal band there are many melodic guitar parts here, so that's why this stuff will be more accessible for people of sensitive auricles. It's hard to write something more, since it's so nondescript?
ANASARCA "MORIBUND" (CD '01/MIGHTY MUSIC)
"MORBUND" is more mature album than "GODMACHINE", faster, with a little bit better production. But beside this the band hasn't improved. They still are playing uncompromising death metal and one can hear that the guys really like it. ANASARCA's music isn't much into American school brutal death metal, their compositions are more melodic, simpler, the guys are closer to VADER than DYING FETUS, for example... It's powerful, very reliable album, but it doesn't posses such a power as NILE, REBAELLIUN or DECAPITATED have...
ANIMA DAMNATA "SUICIDAL ALLEGIANCE UPON THE SACRIFICIAL ALTAR OF SUBLIME EVIL AND ETERNAL SIN" (CD '01)
This material is going to be released through PAGAN REC. as split-CD with THRONEUM, but for the moment it's an advance CD and in that form it arrived to "the office". Music featured on this CD it's devilish, blasphemous, brutal, fast death metal, additionally covered with very dirty, underground sound. I would like it to have more dynamic production, but the band likes the final effort, so be it. I think the group is more brutal than DEICIDE that musically is close to ANIMA DAMNATA, here there's a little bit more "New York death metal", too. To like this "condemned soul" you have to like crazy tempos and chaotic riffs for sure. And if somebody likes BEHERIT, he'll receive "The Gate of Nanna" as a present. In a word, it's fuckin' great stuff - I pay homage to these guys! It's another band Poland can be proud of!
ANTAEUS "CUT YOUR FLESH AND WORSHIP SATAN"
(CD '00/BAPHOMET REC./NECROPOLIS REC.)
Without doubt ANTAEUS is one of the best black metal bands. I wonder what the other French "true evil" black metal bands think about them? Maybe they hate ANTAEUS, because "CUT YOUR..." is professionally recorded - but that's still fucking black metal, professionally released on CD-format by a professional label and it sounds darker, more hateful and misanthropic than all the recorded in garage shit-stuffs. The same situation is in Poland - all NS shitheads want to kick Nergal, but the reason is the same as mentioned above. Nevermind, "CUT YOUR..." drives like a running war machine from deepest Hell. Cold, aggressive, the most aggressive I've ever heard and murderous - that's French assault. There are pure uncompromising black metal tracks plaited with short industrial/evil ambient interludes. It augments even more the infernal and eerie mood. No fucking mercy! ANTAEUS could be a synonym for hatred, death and massacre. That's the best black metal release for 2000!!!
ANTARES "WHIP OF LIFE" (CD-DEMO '00)
You should follow ANTARES' example. I've received a package including a neat biography without beating about the bush and a pro-done CD (not a CD-R which for example "professional boss" of DEMONIC REC. sells you!) - I like it. I appreciate the band's effort and expenses they had to bear to promote themselves in such a form. First tacts and I can notice spatial and clear sound (coming from a little bit forgotten TUBA Studio) and... the poor vocalist. Well, that's Polish reality that good vocalists are almost nonexistent here. But everybody knows that in Poland we don't have so comfortable conditions, as in Sweden for instance, where every kid is musically well educated, has got a good equipment for his grandma's pension and can speak English fluently... ANTARES' music is a nice metal - melodic, "light'" heavy metal + hard rock (in the band's opinion "weird" - so be it...). I've listened to it without problems. But if there were another vocalist and more power and finesse in it, their shares would jump. The band isn't bad for sure, but I truly believe that in the future they will play much better.
ANTISILENCE "SUFFER HITS" (CD '00/HAMMER MUZIK)
It's very interesting band! One can label them, the same as they contry- and labelmates from RADICAL NOISE, as H/C band, although ANTISILENCE plays in more various way. Every song is different, mature, spontaneous. ANTISILENCE has brought unbelievable freshness into hard core, showed us that young people can also master their instruments and determine new directions of H/C progression. It's just a pity that only a few of you can listen to their music. So, look for this CD with excellent booklet at:
ANUBIS "GOD INTRAVENOUS" (DEMO '00)
"GOD INTRAVENOUS" has got a few vices, but the biggest is that the band, instead of playing as good as in the first minute and at the end of "Livid Past", prefers rather melodic riffs and as a result it is not powerful, symphonic black metal, but something in vein of black/doom. Word "symphonic" seems to be a little bit exaggerated here, but in fact the keyboardplayer has got inclinations to create pompous, but rather thrifty sounds. Another disadvantage is few vocal parts, especially as Marcin has got very cool voice - typical for black metal, a little bit hoarse, but full of venom! Together with dynamic and aggressive black metal and the above mentioned keyboards it's a piece of good music (in spite of using a drum machine which turned out to be useful in that kind of music and, fancy that, it doesn't antagonize at all!). Unfortunately, since the beginning of a second half of the material ANUBIS started to save the vocalist forcing him to pay more attention on his own instrument. Besides, there are too many lousy, trivial riffs and in general there's not a lot of good music here and the above mentioned last tracks of "GOD INTRAVENOUS" started to bore. No vocals, no power, no Satan he,he. I hope the guys share my opinion and start to play like real men :-) at last, although I haven't heard about them for 3 year, so I don't even now whether they still exist... If not, it's a pity, because if they improved a lot they could be a Polish answer for LIMBONIC ART.
ASGAARD "AD SIDERA, AD INFINITUM" (CD '00/MYSTIC PROD.)
I was sceptical about this material; I felt it would be nothing special. I was right - ASGAARD made a correct stuff as far as sound and arrangements are concerned, but it didn't bring anything new into metal music. Their inspirations are: whole "ambitious" Norway, i.e. DIMMU BORGIR, EMPEROR, LIMBONIC ART, in aggressive parts one can hear old LUX OCCULTA, and slow moments where violin plays remind me MY DYING BRIDE. The exemplars are good, but where is the soul, where original ideas? Even Przemek Olbryt's various vocals haven't saved the album, he howls, groans, throws almost all emotions. The material seems to be irresolute: as for black there's too little venom, as for doom it's too hard. We received something in between, something that doesn't convince.
ASGAARD "EX ORIENTE LUX" (CD '01/MMP)
Well, finally the band stopped to bore and brought more aggression into their music. They showed their claws, dark side of their souls has revealed and as a result I received an album, which is much better than its predecessor - a year and half it was enough to improve. The inspirations left the same: LIMBONIC ART, MY DYING BRIDE (lots of similar riffs!) etc. Vocals became more professional, more interesting and despite presence of only one guitarist the album is more interesting comparing to "AD SIDERA, AD INFINITUM". I'm disappointed a little bit with the sound the band reached at famous HENDRIX Studio, they should spend more time on mixes and mastering, but they didn't receive enough money from the label I guess. I recommend this material to people who are into symphonic black/doom metal and as for ASGAARD they should try their luck at the West - 3 albums released in Poland it's enough, this is time for something more!
ATROPHIA RED SUN (PL) "PROMO 2001" & "DEMO 2002"
The ones who know ATROPHIA RED SUN from their, let's say, "romantic" releases will be very surprised! Actually this five-some from Cracow (Poland) executes EXCELLENT, progressive death (?) metal one cannot hear too often. Unfortunately, there's no boom in the market for that kind of music, but I hope EMPIRE REC. (that will release their new album "TWISTED LOGIC" soon) promotes the guys adequately and is interested in other bands of that kind (maybe e.g. TENEBRIS?!). Together with changing the style ATROPHIA RED SUN changed its line-up and it's very audible - guitars work totally different now, bass is unbelievable (with good reason Grzesiek Feliks joined SCEPTIC!), Pawel (drums) improved his skills very much (but it doesn't matter, because he has stopped playing in the band!). Forget about doom metal influences, although the material is still a little bit melodic and there are keyboards - Piotrek doesn't make a continuous background, his synthesiser appears from time to time uttering sick, schizoid sounds. It's not exactly what you know from NOCTURNUS albums, but it's a similar direction. Vocals are amazing, as usual! Adrian is an incredibly gifted musician and, what's most important, he's still improving himself offering a whole scale of styles (growling, aggressive screeching, whispers, clear singing). To recap, people into progressive, technical and heavy sounds won't be disappointed for sure. Diehard fans of above mentioned NOCTURNUS, late PESTILENCE or MISANTHROPE will accept ATROPHIA RED SUN's music for sure, it's getting more intelligent, unforeseen and professional year in, year out! My congratulations, guys, that you decided to play nowadays such ambitious music and that you make it with such great passion. I think also that the sound you achieved on "DEMO 2002" fits your music perfectly and I advise you to record there in future.
AURORA BOREALIS "NORTHERN LIGHTS" (CD '00/NIGHTSKY PROD.)
That's already the second album of this American band. Wow, "NORTHERN LIGHTS" do really massacre! Here, we have to do with quite melodic death metal (something between AT THE GATES and VADER), played with very high tempo. Really, there are only a few slow parts! Even when drums don't attack like a machine gun, it doesn't mean that it makes musical structure slower. AURORA BOREALIS - that's fast, possessed death metal ride on the highest level. Maybe not too original, but killing for sure!
AUTUMN TEARS "PROMOTIONAL SAMPLER COMPILATION" (CD '01/DARK SYMPHONIES)
Releasing this sampler being a section through the entire AUTUMN TERAS catalogue is a very good idea. But telling the truth if I didn't knew that I would think it's their new full length. It means they haven't improved much. Nevertheless, let's go the point. Well… it isn't metal! Through the most of time there are just female vocals and synths. It's very interesting music, but orthodox fans would never put this into their disc players. This music sounds like some soundtrack inspired from Enya and Dead Can Dance. I pay tribute to their musical courage, innovation and consistency. It's just for the sensitive and the not-hungry for guitar riffs... because there are no riffs!
BEHEADED "RECOUNTS OF DISEMBODIMENT" (CD '02/MIGHTY MUSIC)
BEHEADED is a pretty known band in the underground brutal scene. One of their attitude is place of origin - island of Malta, which isn't famous for metal. But BEHEADED is going to change it thanks to "RECOUNTS OF DISEMBODIMENT" album, which consists of precise, intense brutal death metal, additionally highly technically advanced. Originality: 0, power: 9/10. SUFFOCATION and VADER, with whom BEHEADED is in love with, would be proud listening to these guys. Having such great examples and playing for over 10 years it's impossible to record bad album, therefore this time BEHEADED haven't screwed anything up. Those who know only "RESURGENCE OF OBLIVION" MCD can expect more thought-over, more mature material.
BELPHEGOR "NECRODAEMON TERRORSATHAN" (CD '00/LAST EPISODE)
With BELPHEGOR there's the same situation as with EMINENZ: I received their album in the same time, from the same record-label and it's my first contact with the band ever. In addition, BELPHEGOR plays mixture of black and death metal too, but it uses more means characteristic of "deadly music". The Austrians are more brutal and uncompromising, use much less melodies and the keyboards are limited to minimum. Comparing next to typical death metal bands, BELPHEGOR doesn't get into technically advanced way of playing, doesn't have pretty heavy and intense sound - it plays rather simple, fast and, what's most important, effectively music. They still are far from the level of GOD DETHRONED or EXMORTEM for example, but they are on a right way. We should here about them yet.
BESAGA "W MROKU… UKRYCI" (DEMO '01)
I'm not fond of such black metal. It's very melodic with lots of doom parts and some incapable keyboards. Only the vocalist screams the right way and makes this stuff more powerful. Drumming is uneven, but it's much better than a drum-machine or triggering. Don't get me wrong, BESAGA isn't a hopeless band at all, I just don't like this kind of music. Besides, it's their debut and they have a lot to learn. But they will get their way out...
Artur Swieca, ul. J.P. II 33/3, 26-230 Radoszyce, Poland
BESTIA "DEMO 2001"
It consists of an intro and 4 songs recorded tolerably, but it's just a demo anyway. I wonder if they could improve the drums sound? BESTIA makes me think of a well known and unfortunately dead MESSIAH and its early albums "Extreme Cold Weather" and "Hymn To Abramelin", but I'm not sure if these Estonians' music will make an impression in 2003. In my opinion their music is too simple and primitive, but I like their innovative attitude to play and arrange the songs, though all these sounds were already played and heard before. Sometimes the guitars try to harmonize something, but melodies of that kind are mediocre. This music is too superficial to me, but it's 21st century and one must keep up with the times, otherwise nobody will see smouldering bonfires in a hazy and dark forest...
BLOOD STAINED DUSK "DIRGE OF DEATH'S SILENCE" (CD '01/BAPHOMET REC./NECROPOLIS REC.)
Killjoy consistently promotes American Black metal and I must admit that he has a hunch to good bands. BLOOD STAINED DUSK are not exactly original, that's true, but they've mastered good enough playing in Norwegian, primitive way. Music included on "DIRGE OF DEATH'S SILENCE" is simple, mid-paced, dark and thanks to vocals - misanthropic. The keyboards are softly in the background, so the material doesn't seem too "gentle", while some riffs make one think of even thrash/black metal of the 80's! Fans into early EMPEROR or SATYRICON should like these Americans...
BLOODAXE "BLOODTHRONE" (CD '01/WHITE LEGENDS)
I was listening to the CD as through the fog. The sound is harsh and primitive, the stuff is hard and cutting - it was intended, I guess. I must admit there is "something" in this black metal "chaos" to be curbed, something irritating and deluding. Weakly audible drums get on my nerves and the knocking "ride" doesn't improve the reception quality, either, especially in these BLOODAXE's music moments which remind a storm. Also the outro in vein of Burzum wasn't a good idea - its simplicity doesn't make the track dark and evil. The guitar interludes between the songs are more interesting. The album contains almost 30 minutes of music out of which I would choose about 5 that could be described as a good stuff. To recapitulate, the songs are based on simple riffs which, hidden under the coat of many tracks, are to create atmosphere a'la Emperor, but in my opinion it was made incompletely. I hope the group (as a matter of fact one composer) will back more diversity of his music which doesn't smite with the charm of the ancient times presented by means of contemporary intellect...
BLOODTHORN "UNDER THE REIGN OF TERROR" (CD '01/RED STREAM)
This BLOODTHORN's record is the best in their career for sure, besides it's one of the best RED STREAM releases to date. This time BLOODTHORN backs brutality and death elements/influences, it isn't any ultra fast, aggressive and primitive black metal. On "UNDER THE REIGN OF TERROR" one can meet hoarse vocals, a lot of solos and a very good sound that express excellent the atmosphere of the battle. Well, BLOODTHORN perfectly knows how to kill with old school black metal and how to... terrorize the Christians! I highly recommend this album to you, especially as you can find their own version of you know whose "Deathcrush".
BLOODY PSYCHO "ROBIMY COS DOBRZE ALBO IDZIEMY NA
URLOP" (CD-R DEMO '00)
At the beginning I didn't like it. But after a few listenings I affirmed that it was a pretty cool grind/core. Because I love TERRORIZER and like early NAPALM DEATH, so I liked this group, too. Briefly and straight - that's the way these fast songs are. Shouted-out vocals are mixed with growled gibberish - sickness, just for the strongest. This band deserves respect. Besides, they are very cool and funny.
BORN OF FIRE "CHOSEN BY THE GODS" (7" EP '01/PRIMITIVE ART)
One can say it's a kind of star-band, because in the line-up there are such famous persons as e.g. Frederick of UNLEASHED and Richard of DISMEMBER! Music of BORN OF FIRE is seemingly clear-cut. At the first moment it sounds like melodic Swedish death metal, but after a few thorough listenings one can notice here big influences from thrash or classic European death metal. The content of "CHOSEN BY THE GODS" makes me think of DISMEMBER which would introduce more melodies and aggression to its music and would be temporarily into thrash very much he,he. I like it, but I'm not sure if the guys still exist, because I haven't heard about them for a long time!
Distribution: 7 INCH distro
BRAINBLEED "AGE OF MURDER PT. I - INTERNATIONAL MASSACRE
PARTY" (MC '00)
A brutal band from Slovakia it's nothing new for Polish readers. Demands from such bands are growing all the time, especially when one can hear such brilliants as e.g. PATHOLOGY STENCH, NOMENMORTIS or DEMENTOR. That's why RAINBLEED was subjected to careful criticism. Despite I think it's not a bad group. They play a little bit chaotic old school death/grind (NAPALM DEATH), with frequent slow-downs and sudden accelerations, while every song is preceded by psychopathic intro. This material lacks massacre sound, that's a fact, but foundations of next release are laid. At the moment it's nothing but 2nd/3rd league.
BRAQUEMARD "PROMOCHAOS 2000"
This tape has got very adequate title to its contents! It's 2-song PROMO - that's a fact and CHAOS is here, too or I would rather say - DENSE MUSIC is here, as you know from the mighty IMMOLATION for example! Yeah, IMMOLATION is the closest equivalent of BRAQUEMARD, especially in slow, gloomy, technical parts. The rest consists of fast drum parts supported by melodic riffs, more melodic than these of the above mentioned Americans. I bet that in every review on this tape there following sentences will appear: "big improvement comparing to the previous demo entitled "UNFORGETTABLE IN PARADISE", "American school super brutal death metal", "good sound from HERTZ Studio", "this demo is too short!", "people! Why aren't you interested in releasing this stuff?!" etc. and "BURNING ABYSS" also won't be any exception here!
c/o Roman Mirowski, ul. Jagiellonska 22/35, 97-500 Radomsko, Poland
BRAVE (ex-ARISE FROM THORNS) "SEARCHING FOR THE SUN" (CD '02/DARK SYMPHONIES)
Great band, perfect music! People who remember ARISE FROM THORNS know what to expect from the Americans. The beautiful female vocals remind me very much the way of Anita Lipnicka's (ex-VARIUS MANX) singing, but BRAVE's music is different - not so pop, harder, more progressive, but still it isn't metal. In spite of the latter, I like their music very much, it bewitched me. But it's a pity that Polish fans cannot see the band on concerts with Polish major atmospheric bands. I think BRAVE would win the competition! We deal with the best release from DARK SYMPHONIES to date and I hope the label won't lower their level, but telling the truth it will be hard to be better than BRAVE with their progressive, atmospheric rock!
CALLENISH CIRCLE "GRACEFUL… YET FORBIDDING" (CD '99/'01/DSFA REC./EDGERUNNER REC.)
This material is very old, it has been laid on the shelf for almost eternity, so big "sorry" goes to you Patrick and your company. Probably all of you are listening to their latest full-length entitled "FLESH - POWER - DOMINION" now, but "GRACEFUL..." is worth of reminding, especially as it was released in MC-format by Polish ETERNAL BLACKNESS Prod. (and "BURNING ABYSS" distributes it, too. So buy it now!). CALLENISH CIRCLE plays very catchy, melodic death metal, being a conglomerate of early THE GATHERING and Swedish death metal from Gothenburg. Such music is easy to absorb, all the more the sound is dynamic and clear (Henri of GOD DETHRONED was one of the producers!). The whole stuff has got its venom, though orthodox metalheads will call CALLENISH CIRCLE gays for sure... But those who like melody and dynamics in metal couldn't find a better band. And this perfectly released album is addressed just to them.
CASKETGARDEN "...OF GRIEF" (MC '00)
Well, at last I've heard good, underground band from Hungary. It's called CASKETGARDEN and as the moniker itself shows, it's inspired by AT THE GATES, although telling the truth there is more musical connections to ARCH ENEMY, for the sake of the biggest bows to death metal. melodic and brutal, hard and aggressive - these combinations fit CASKETGARDEN's music the best. Despite lack of originality it's good to listen to, even better than lots of Swedish "stars". I think this material deserves to be released in CD-format, but not with this hardly dynamic sound. But that shortcoming is compensated by catchy compositions and a good musicianship. Price: 7$.
CASUS BELLI "KALOS KAI AGATHOS" (CD '00/HELLVIS REC./METAL MIND PROD.)
It started with a pompous declamation, then a wave of as pompous, fleshy and bound by lots of keyboards in the vein of post (or whatever called) black metal has hit. The whole stuff reminds me LUX OCCULTA very much, especially from "DIONYSOS" period, but I must admit "KALOS..." is much more interesting and not so boring. Hard, aggressive, guitars in front, various drum parts which kick ass when speeded up, lots of keyboards... I don't listen to such a music too often, but I confess "KALOS..." is one of the best releases of that kind I've heard recently. Forget AGATHODAIMON or other "ANCIENT's" - they really aren't worth of mentioning in CASUS BELLI's presence... (Have I exaggerated? May be, but leader of ANCIENT is a poser - just a gay and AGATHODAIMON are "sad", so I prefer CASUS BELLI now)
CATHETER "PREAMBLE TO OBLIVION" (CD '02/SELFMADEGOD)
The album starts with a steamroller-like "Intro" deep-rooted in BLACK SABBATH's (!) style. Then there's just a maximum driving - total grind/core. "Carry On" could be put on some TERRORIZER's album without any problems, a few other songs on some NAPALM DEATH's CD's, so you can see by yourselves that the guys have got the best inspirations! And the spirit of old school of hard core raises somewhere over this whole stuff. The material was decently recorded on analog tape (!), enriched with cover songs (e.g. from NAPALM DEATH and REPULSION), live tracks and songs from 7" EP released through HEADFUCKER REC. The band and the album are worth recommendation.
COMMA "ELUSIVE DREAMS" (CD '01/HAMMER MUZIK)
COMMA is a second band from Turkey beside PENTAGRAM which made a very good impression on me. Perfectly released "ELUSIVE DREAMS" album delighted me. The music is very well performed, it's dressed in heavy metal guitars and keyboards which make the songs fresh and the vocal is as good as DICKINSON's voice. As for technical skills all the musicians play very well and their instruments sound selectively. Their music is deeply rooted in metal, but not only. COMMA draws inspiration from what's the best, but one can hear here lots of their own interesting ideas, too. The guys created original compositions and developed them with, so to speak, Turkish spirit. The album consists of 9 songs which last 50 minutes, so there's a lot to listen to. I recommend this CD to all fans of new, progressive heavy metal!
CORPSESIDE "FIRST INCARNATION" (DEMO '01)
From the whole stuff I like "Gniew" track the most - with good vocal and guitar, also the song drama is good. The rest is very average, unbrutal death metal with a substantial dose of melody and some thrash elements. The band is trying to arrange the songs on their own, sometimes the musicians show how good they are at playing their instruments - that doesn't do the whole good. The highlight is the vocalist, Mateusz, who's trying to pay attention to him with his timbre and style - he's been lucky. But the whole stuff isn't coherent and doesn't convince me. So I'm waiting for their new demo, because that one showed we deal with an intelligent band that lacks only good ideas and more mature arrangements.
CORPUS CHRISTII "SAECULUM DOMINI" (CD '00/SO DIE MUSIC)
CORPUS CHRISTII is a two-person horde hailing from Lisbon, Portugal. They execute extreme raw, fast black metal in the vein of Norwegian black metallers (but not the ones from DIMMU BORGIR he,he). The material hasn't impressed me, but maybe because I listened to it in the daytime. Besides, I don't like a drum-machine, I prefer even uneven but real drummer. For maniacs of fast, simple black metal with distorted vocals it will be a great feast.
CORPUS MORTALE "SUCCUMB TO THE SUPERIOR" (MCD '01)
It's probably self-financed MCD, so the guys deserved respect, because they did their job professionally. CORPUS MORTALE plays melodic death metal, but not in vein of Scandinavian bands. As a matter of fact the songs are absorbing and make no embarrassments, but they don't get into as virulently as death metal should do. I'd like to stress that it's good and promising band, with good skills and verve. But now I can feel some kind of weariness in their music, because of lots of unoriginal riffs I've heard before (VADER, CANNIBAL CORPSE, PESTILENCE and many others - in other words, forerunners of good death metal from the 90's). It's rather a good way, but is it enough to provoke a storm in death metal scene?
CORVUS CORAX "THE ATAVISTIC TRIAD" (CD '00/DARK SYMPHONIES)
Without a doubt it's the worst release from DARK SYMPHONIES so far! It's the most into black metal, but the drum machine and poor riffs lowered the album level so, that even correct vocals and some originality aren't able to change something in my opinion. I don't know what else can I write you about this CD. If you like atmospheric black/doom metal, give CORVUS CORAX a chance. I quit...
CRIPPLE BASTARDS "ALMOST HUMAN" (CD '01/OBSCENE PROD.)
I don't understand why this Italian band is so respected in the Underground (the same as AGATHOCLES). To me they play on very average level, so I don't know why, but they are very popular in Czech Rep. The result is "ALMOST HUMAN" CD for example, being a complete collection of studio works 1997-1999. First 31 (!) tracks were recorded by CRIPPLE BASTARDS for all kinds of splits, samplers etc. The rest 19 (!) were recorded live in Utrecht (Holland) at "A.C.U." Club on 2/27/2000. The album, as I mentioned above, is very average. Very fast, chaotic, only for die-hard fans into grind/core and the like (hard core, crust...). To tell the truth, I like only front cover here.
CRONIC DISORDER "TORTURE TEST" (CD '01/MIGHTY MUSIC)
Americans are undisputed masters of thrash, death and hard core. While CRONIC DISORDER are masters of mixing the first two above-mentioned kinds of metal. As for thrash we meet here sharp riffs, intensity and hoarse, aggressive vocal, as for death metal - heaviness and pretty big dose of brutality. To me it sounds like very raw version of early MACHINE HEAD, to other editors "TORTURE TEST" is for example "a very brutal album", "the best blend of death and thrash since DEMOLITION HAMMER"... Everything's clear?!
CRUCIFIED WHORE "OPEN THE COSMIC GATES" (DEMO '01)
This promo consists of only 3 songs which last over 23 minutes. After reading their short bio I thought it would be a band which move my unopened inner self. CRUCIFIED WHORE's music maybe doesn't dazzle by its originality, but without a doubt it's executed on a good level. All the sounds seem well-known, but deep sensations I felt when I was listening to LIMBONIC ART for the first time came back. Great mood of CRUCIFIED WHORE's songs helps to relax the ears and mind. The vocal is good and varied, arrangements are fluent, so one cannot be bored of melody which is used in a proper proportion in every song. As for promo, the sound can be satisfactory. If I had to compare them to other bands, I would mention LIMBONIC ART once again, but only because of the similar atmosphere. I would also add ARCTURUS to the list, especially in its slower parts with a clear vocal. I can hear influence of EMPEROR, too, but the whole material includes a lot of CRUCIFIED WHORE's own ideas, which can surprise many of you. It's worth waiting for their debut CD.
DAEMONLORD "THE SIGN (KEY OF THE UNDERWORLD - REGAINED), PART 1: TOWERS OF GRIEFDOOM") (CD '02/MEDUSA PROD.)
One, but not everyone, can like this fast and dynamic death/black metal in vein of nordic hymns, not devoid of mid-tempos. The production and the recording aren't bad, but too much exposed double-bass annoys me. I must also admit that there's a drum-machine used, so the album doesn't lack an artificiality and a plastic sound. "THE SIGN" express its emotions directly through introducing a mysterious atmosphere into intros and interludes between the songs. This mood maybe fulfils its task, but guitar lines themselves remind rather folk-metal than dark and mysterious overtones and, in my opinion, for this reason the material lost its feeling. The melodies are too primitive and simple, but good atmosphere is kept by the vocal that does its job well. I can also say that the band (or rather its creator, Kepa) comes from Spain, but doesn't make me think of this country, but of old-fashioned, northern metal that, in case of DAEMONLORD, lacks something fresh...
DAMNABLE (PL) "COMMUNICATION OF SOUNDS" (2CD '02/DYWIZJA KOT)
DYWIZJA KOT prepared something special for death/grind maniacs. Well, "COMMUNICATION OF SOUNDS" is a collection of all DAMNABLE studio works from 1994-2000 period! One can find here: "OBSESSION PAIN" demo from 1994 (!), sensational "INPERDITION" stuff ('96), "FUTURISTIC TRIAL OF MANKIND", tracks from split EP with MIXOMATOSIS, "PROMO 2000" and some live songs (also coming from big "Jarocin '94" festival!). So the album is a typical collection album, but this helps you to see how the band has been improving during the years. Personally, I like the most two first studio releases from DAMNABLE. Later the group lost its "catchiness" and couldn't massacre me anymore. In general it's a very interesting release - highly recommended!
DAWNBRINGER "CATHARSIS INSTINCT" (CD '00/ICARUS REC.)
DAWNBRINGER isn't known to Polish fans for sure and it's a pity, because the guys play very cool music. This American group is another example that trend towards Swedish melodic death metal has finally arrived the States. But I must admit that such bands as KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, SOULLESS or above mentioned DAWNBRINGER play very decently and America can be proud of them. To tell the truth, I listen to DAWNBRINGER with bigger pleasure than most bands from Sweden or Finland, because their music is more fresh and original. There are many influences of heavy metal or even stoner rock, keyboards and acoustic guitars appear, too, but the whole stuff (including vocals) is more raw than "made in Sweden" albums. I recommend "CATHARSIS INSTINCT" to people bored with melodic pulp from Scandinavia where only a few bands are able to pay attention to themselves.
DEATHLOCK "DEMO '99"
DEATHLOCK isn't a bad band. But "Help Me" with guest appearance of Andrew Bomba is the best track in the whole stuff and thanks to his vocals to a great extent . I remember that Andy sang also on FAUST's "Mirror" and it was their best song, too! The tracks on which we can hear only Lysy's voice are less interesting, seem pretty commonplace, but there are some good riffs, too. In general, we deal with mid-paced death metal with rare slow-downs and blast-beats. Their musicianship is alright, so is the sound, but they didn't make any impression on me.
Marcin Szymborski, Moniuszki 16/38, 18-400 Lomza, Poland
DECAYED "BOOK OF DARKNESS" (CD '99/DRAKKAR PROD.)
Aaaaaarrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!! It's fuckin' killer! Gays die in torment, priests' livers stop to work and girls sit on cactuses... The godly DECAYED has released so many splits, demo tapes, 7'' EP's and CD's that it's hard to remember them all! Anyway, "BOOK..." is another slaughter of the innocent, more cruel than this made by Herod to little Jews... DECAYED is the purest black metal assault you can imagine. I feel stupid when writing that I don't mean here that homosexual, melodic and sweet trend straight from Nuclear Blast, which was called black metal to children and good girls' delight - the truth is quite different!!! DECAYED has begotten the bastard to stand in one raw with HELLHAMMER, ANCIENT RITES, early SAMAEL and BATHORY. Darkness trickles itself since first to last minute. This music is vulgar and perfectly black, in the way Black Metal of the purest old European school should be. Gay-like Norway - listen and die!!! CULT!!!
OF FLESH "PATH OF THE WEAKENING" (CD '00/EREBOS PROD./UNIQUE LEADER)
I don't think DEEDS OF FLESH took us by surprise with something new on its 3rd album. All the time they play fast, technically advanced "US brutal death metal" addressed to fans of SUFFOCATION etc. I became disappointed with the sound - the drums sound too little powerful, the same as guitars, although in Poland it's still hard to record a brutal band correctly... Nevertheless, my applause for their consistency, not coming down a peg or two and divesting themselves of CANNIBAL CORPSE's influences. And yet something is lacking here. Probably the freshness which recently such bands as NILE, NECROPHAGIST, DIABOLIC or AEON have brought...
DEFILED "UGLINESS REVEALED" (CD '01/BAPHOMET REC./NECROPOLIS REC.)
The material was recorded 3 years ago and it was released a year and half ago, so it isn't anything new for sure. But thanks to its production reached at famous MORRISOUND Studio and weird, disharmonic riffs it sounds fresh. You wouldn't guess DEFILED comes from… Japan, if the photo and the biography note weren't there! As this music, in spite of its characteristic eccentricity, is very American. Fans of technical "US death metal" should like it, but I cannot refuse to acknowledge this album's sickness. Recommended.
DEFORMED (PL) "EVERYTHING IS A FUN TORTURE" (DEMO '02)
15 minutes is enough to familiarize oneself with DEFORMED's music. Although the material was recorded at home, using computer, it sounds pretty good (maybe only guitar should sound heavier). And even drum machine doesn't disturb! DEFORMED managed to run away from MORTICIAN-like style, their music is more spaced, sick and weird, the same are Wojtek's vocals, he does everything not to bore the listeners. Watching DEFORMED and other bands I dare say that Polish death/grind scene is going better! It's good that my country is still into grind. Polish fans should know the group, in spite of the fact it's young, because the guys tour very often. I don't know what to say more. I think we should follow DEFORMED's career, because they are up to a lot.
DEMENTOR "ENSLAVE THE WEAK" (CD '01/OSMOSE PROD.)
Demise, total massacre, blasphemy and holocaust. Do you need more epithets to understand what I'm talking about? These Slovakians haven't delighted me with their debut CD what caused I didn't want to hear their second album, but they knocked to my door with their 3rd full-length that gave brutal, technical and satanic death metal. I do can hear here Florida, but it doesn't matter. DEMENTOR are messengers of Lucipher himself by hook or by crook. No more "god save" - the weak race will perish by death metal madness blows!!! All wimps beware!
DEMIMONDE "MUTANT STAR" (CD '00/EPIDEMIE REC.)
On one hand journalists like very much albums like this for its originality and freshness, on the other hand they swear at them because of impossibility of describe or compare to other bands' records what would make easier to the readers a preliminary familiarity with an album contents. That's why I just have to recommend to you DEMIMONDE's album without many hints. I can only write it's an avant-garde music based on doom metal. And to this doom metal they added almost everything (black, death, samples, loops or even techno - as in "Absolute Word"!), creating very interesting work. The final impression is unfortunately spoiled by "flat" and no powerful sound reached at Hostivar Studio. Nevertheless, it's without a doubt an uncommon album, there aren't many records like this, so reach for "MUTANT STAR", of course, only if you are open-minded...
DEPRESSION / HAEMORRHAGE "SPLIT CD" (CD '02/CUDGEL AGENCY)
Since the beginning DEPRESSION's recording is characterised by excellent production, it's tough and heavy, and first of all precise and selective (German precision!). The music is heavy and dirty mid-paced death metal with low and successful vokill. Good but simple song arrangements don't bore, but I miss here guitar solos which would add more harmony and energy to the songs for sure. Very good band, recommended!
HAEMORRHAGE presents different type of recording (because it was released during a live show), their music also differs in principle from DEPRESSION. I can safely say that it's high-level gore played with precision of old underground stagers. If you sometimes are in contact with underground live recordings, you'll know what to expect. Not everyone can afford perfection, but in case of this recording these small shortcomings and rasps added peculiar charm to the music. Everybody into grind/gore sounds should be satisfied.
DESCEREBRATION "PROMO 2000"
Thanx to KRISIUN and REBAELLIUN eyes of the world turned towards Brazil, so it's no wonder that local bands are trying to become famous taking an opportunity. DESCEREBRATION presents fairly raw and of course brutal death metal. It offers no revelations or isn't any discovery of the season, but their music makes a good impression. These crazy Brazilians haven't reached the REBAELLIUN's standard yet and their stuff is more chaotic and dirty - for me in plus!!! The guys are keen on massacring your organs (not only of hearing), so pay attention to them!
DIACHRONIA "XX'S DECLINE" (CD '01/GWN REC.)
Another very good stuff - well produced, with lots of keyboards, nice melodies and drum machine. I suggest to exchange this machine for a living creature and they can crowd under the wings of Nuclear Blast. Well, in Poland 70% of metal bands play exactly in that way. And despite of the fact DIACHRONIA plays very ambitious music (they've got good guitarist), I'm terribly tired of that whole melodic and keyboard trend and it's really hard for me to marvel at such materials, even when they stand out.
DIM MAK "INTERCEPTING FIST" (CD '02/MIGHTY MUSIC)
It's one of the most extreme albums I have ever heard! It's fuckin' intense, aggressive, brutal and technically advanced. Comparing to their debut entitled "ENTER THE DRAGON", the band divested themselves of hard core inclinations, what did them good, in my opinion. Total massacre is this DIM MAK - I cannot imagine these sickos on a stage! Most of DIM MAK members are musicians of RIPPING CORPSE (R.I.P.), the band where Erik Rutan played. "INTERCEPTING FIST" was produced and engineered by Erik himself and the final effort is even more interesting than HATE ETERNAL's "CONQUERINGTHE THRONE". A little bit psychedelic, extreme, technical death/thrash metal executed by DIM MAK will crush you, I promise! And one more thing, so far it's the most original release on MIGHTY MUSIC, keep goin' guys!
DISARRAY "A LESSON IN RESPECT" (CD '99/ECLIPSE REC.)
This release title itself tells us that we deal with hard core band. But after starting my CD-player it was obvious we have here both thrash metal and h/c. Point goes to the band, because I don't like a present version of the latter kind. DISARRAY's music is heavy as fuck - a kind of crushing steamroller sounding like a mixture of CROWBAR and PANTERA, with whom the have something in common - they've put one song on "PANTERA TRIBUTE", sometimes also vocals are similar to these of Anzelmo. Slow or mid paced steamroller all the time - will you be able to stand it? At the end we've received LYNYRD SKYNYRD's "Free Bird".
DISGORGE "SHE LAY GUTTED" (MCD '00/EREBOS/UNIQUE
I guess everybody knows "SHE LAY GUTTED" was recorded by the Americans, not the authors of "FORENSICK" coming from Mexico. Despite the same moniker, music of the both bands differs so much, that you won't have got it wrong for sure. DISGORGE are performers of thick, heavy death/grind enriched with a very low growl. If you like old DAMNABLE, you can take a liking to "SHE LAY GUTTED".
DISHARMONIC (GR) "UNHOLY REMAINS" (DEMO '02)
DISHARMONIC comes from Greece and was founded in 2001. The line-up consists of John (vocals, bass), Anestis (guitar) and Theofilos (drums) and the guys claim to play brutal death core, but is that true? Shit, I don't like to criticize at all, but I have to do it! This band should be ashamed of themselves! The demo contains 4 "fantastic" tracks which feature pathetic music. I must admit it's my first contact with a Greek band and if in this country people play music like this I don't even want to go there for summer holidays. The material lasts only 12 minutes and it's pretty good cabaret. While listening to the demo I was just in stitches all the time. I prefer listening to Stachursky (Polish disco star) - on his albums beats seem to be brutal and keyboards are hard core-like. The vocals have nothing to do with death metal, they come as if from a recitation course for people with a larynx tumour. I would really like to say at least one good word about their music, but I cannot lie to you that this music is worth of anything. If I am to familiarize you with their songs I have to say it's a mixture of punk with really coarse riffs and pathetic drums work and this recitation-death-like vocal in addition - it's such a mix that you've never dreamt about. I can recommend this stuff only to people who like laughing at somebody else's inefficiency. OK., I'm going to finish this review, because I'm not a sadist. I hope not to meet such inventions any more.
PPP.S. After reading this review the band sent me the following e-mail: "fuck off motherfucker guy shityour are the biggest jerk off the world suck my cocks and my balls john from disharmonic" he,he. No comments!
DRACO HYPNALIS / ROMANTIC LOVE "NOBLENESS OF THE
STORM-GATHERER" / "HOPELESS ANXIETY" (SPLIT MC '00)
It's hard to say anything good about DRACO HYPNALIS. First of all, there is a hopeless vocalist. This man sings like Donald Duck and it isn't an exaggeration. The second, there is a drum-machine, which makes me sick. The entire material sounds like it was recorded on a PC, not in a normal studio - there is a complete lack of fire, guitars are very flat and without depth. However the music is not so bad, D.H. oscillates around melodic death/black with some quite technical fireworks. But the vocals and production make it very hard to stand. ROMANTIC LOVE plays death metal, but it's a metal mishmash! Their music connects brutal and massive death metal with elements of doom or even gothic metal. Imagine CANNIBAL CORPSE betrothed with DEPRESY, sometimes even female vocals appear. However all this elements are perfectly connected together. I'm really impressed.
DREAM "MISTLY LANDSCAPES OF LUNAR NIGHTS" (DEMO '00)
I like this third in a row demo from DREAM. No doubt about it it's better material than "ACT II - MY HEART..."! "Why?" you ask. Well, guitars work is much more interesting and mature (one can hear better musicianship, too), they are dynamic, have got theirs characteristic drive forward and first of all they sound better (as the whole stuff). Vocals have also changed for the better (even though they lost their aggressiveness), because Marcin of ODIUM did them! Musically the band has become a little bit more brutal (but riffs and keyboards are very melodic), has divested itself of black metal influences to a large extent (but the guys can still show their claws) in favour of dynamic doom and melodic death metal. Of course, dark parts are still present, but hardly ever, so don't worry - you won't have nightmares. The music has become mature, over-thought, adroitly executed, there are excellent moments, it really doesn't lack anything. I have also impression that DREAM A.D. 2000 is more catchy band then a few years ago. I'm only curious if there are lovers of their music. I think there are some. As Swedish death metal is on the top, so its more mystic, atmospheric and raw version shouldn't deter too many of you. Unfortunately, I haven't heard about DREAM for a long time, so I'm afraid they split up. What a pity!...
DREAMS OF DAMNATION "LET THE VIOLENCE BEGIN" (CD '00/NECROPOLIS REC.)
Maybe it isn't any super-group as advertising slogans say, but Jim Durkin's (the guitarist of legendary DARK ANGEL) name has riveted my attention for a longer time. The material this threesome recorded features sincere thrash/death in the vein of the 80's. As I was growing up listening to such a music it was obvious I will like "LET THE VIOLENCE BEGIN" too. Of course you won't find any technical fireworks here, any crystal production (e.g. drums sound as raw as the ones on VIO-LENCE's "OPPRESSING THE MASSES"), any soft vocals (as Charlie Silva is a real enraged animal!) nor any fast tempos, but you'll find such a huge energy, evil and everything what's the best he,he, that you like these guys. You like violence or not, "LET THE VIOLENCE BEGIN" will violate you!!! But with the sound...
EBONY TEARS "EVIL AS HELL" (CD '01/BLACK SUN)
The band reminds me FEAR FACTORY a little bit, but more because of the drums sound (double-bass) and keyboards which appear sometimes in the background. The dynamics is similar to that one from AT THE GATES' "Slaughter of the Soul" album. Beside those associations there's nothing I can accuse the Swedes of, even that with their melodious music they aren't so clear-cut and typical to their scene. EBONY TEARS created coherent songs which hit straight in your face with their aggression. Good production and selectivity of the instruments allow to taste the whole quintessence of EBONY TEARS' music they want to pass on "EVIL AS HELL". I recommend this band to fans of aggression with the aftertaste of melody.
EMINENZ "THE BLACKEST DIMENSION" (CD '00/LAST EPISODE)
"THE BLACKEST DIMENSION" is the only EMINENZ album I've ever heard and I must admit that the guys make a good impression. Luckily, it isn't another typical, black metal band, because the Germans mixed in equal proportions black with my beloved death metal! In addition they prefer catchy riffing and have got a pretty good vocalist, so the stuff is nice to listen to. You won't find here any crazy-fast tempos, it's mainly mid-paced music with an average quality sound and, unfortunately, keyboards. Somewhere beyond this one can feel old school black/thrash metal spirit and I'm very pleased with it. I think people bored with Norwegian black metal will like this version of "black music". But don't expect any revelations here.
ENFEEBLEMENT "VIRUS" (DEMO '98/ACCUSABILIS REC.)
It isn't a professionally released tape, but the music defends itself. ENFEEBLEMENT come from Czarna Bialostocka and they proved that not only in Bialystok people can play (vide DEAD INFECTION, SQUASH BOWELS, INCARNATED, NEUROPATHIA, POSEYDON). "VIRUS" is an old stuff, as I know they've released something new, but since Andy sent me this tape I'm obligated to review it. The guys execute death/core, but not in its most brutal and fastest way. Nevertheless one can hear that in the future they will go further towards extremity. There's a lot of death metal here (some riffs and drum beats), but grind/core massacre appears, too. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but I guess the guys like NAPALM DEATH, especially this since "UTOPIA BANISHED" era and the whole American top of brutal death and grind metal. But these are only echoes. Don't expect here a brutal music in the vein of DEAD INFECTION, but I assure you that ENFEEBLEMENT aren't any wimps and can crush your faces.
ENTER MY SILENCE "REMOTECONTROLLED SCYTHE" (CD '01/MIGHTY MUSIC)
I'm not exaggerating when saying that "REMOTECONTROLLED SCYTHE" is just typical Scandinavian album, featuring typical Scandinavian melodic death metal. Probably the band will be indignant with me that I wrote such laconic and "unserious" words about their effort, but I'm unable to muster up something more about their music. As a matter of fact I do perceive some small nuances that differ ENTER MY SILENCE from "prototype" - it means IN FLAMES - like e.g. more melodic, atmospheric riffs (not so aggressive) and Finnish sound, but I'm afraid it's too little to call them original. Nevertheless, I do like what ENTER MY SILENCE does, likewise I like both the band's moniker and the album title. Oh, I would forget, the vocalist's voice isn't bad too, in spite of not going beyond canons of aggressiveness.
EPOCH OF UNLIGHT "CAUGHT IN THE UNLIGHT" (CD '01/THE END REC.)
I don't feel this music and I'm afraid that guys of EPOCH OF UNLIGHT don't feel it, too. Especially in the first tracks, while later their songs become more expressive and already remind solid, metal songs. In the States melodic death metal with thrash and black metal elements is becoming more popular, but affirming objectively EPOCH OF UNLIGHT isn't as good as for example DAWNBRINGER or SOULLESS. And this awful front cover! As for an American group they are medium-skilled, so they are trying to make up for their imperfection in spontaneity, but personally I find MALEVOLENT CREATION or HATE ETERNAL more furious and aggressive. In general, this band isn't worth of your attention and don't bother on it.
ERYDAN "EX NIHILO NIHIL FIT" (DEMO '00)
Nice surprise again. I had expected doom metal boredom, but I've received cool, total, slow death metal (although the band insists on description "death/doom"). Dirty, good sound (RADIOAKTYWNI Studio) and peculiar atmosphere reminds me more NECROPHAGIA (!) than WINTER for instance, but does it really matter? Important is that in Poland not many bands play like that, so don't hesitate to ask about price for these 10 minutes of... heavy death metal. The successful debut.
c/o Tomasz Bergier, Dobryszycka 1, 97-545 Gomunice, Poland
ESQARIAL "DISCOVERIES" (ADV. TAPE '01)
Their debut CD was released by PAGAN RECORDS, however ESQARIAL wasn't as commercial as the label wished and they are without deal now again. ESQARIAL's debut was an excellent and brutal death metal with a lot of technical fireworks - believe me, the guitarist is a phenomenal one! The band has just recorded a new album and this tape is a two-piece promo. Well, ESQARIAL turned out to be more progressive, but their music is still death metal. There are more melodies and a lot of DREAM THEATER's influences, but it still kicks asses! I hope they have more luck this time and will find some competent label soon (they are managed by Massive Management, so I'm confident of their record deal now - Maciek).
c/o Przemek Przybylski, Legnicka 9B/4, 58-100 Polkowice, Poland, email@example.com, www.empire.sotiko.pl
EVOKE "THE FURY WRITTEN" (CD '00/SYSTEM SHOCK)
Hardly ever one can hear about death metal bands hailing from the Great Britain. Unfortunately, glory days of the bands from the Isles have passed irretrievably, I guess. EVOKE allows to cherish a hope that something livens up in the English death metal scene, but with such albums as "THE FURY WRITTEN" the guys won't make it big. Of course the stuff is mature, correctly executed, but their ideas are average, saying nothing of vitality, spontaneity the group forget about. I think that there are other bands which really deserved to be released on SYSTEM SHOCK e.g. BRAQUEMARD, NOMAD or NOMENMORTIS, but we have no influence on that matter. EVOKE's album is played mostly in mid-tempos, what makes it sometimes boring. Besides, I don't hear any distinct similarities here (although old Swedish death metal school is audible), but don't think EVOKE is original, that is out of the question!
FAR'N'HIGH "ATTRACTION OF FIRE" (CD '99/BRENNUS MUSIC)
Due to some down-to-earth reasons a review on this release haven't appeared in "BURNING ABYSS 'zine #5", so now I'm going to make up for the backlog. I admit that it's the best release of BRENNUS MUSIC I've ever heard, with no doubt it's also one of the most interesting albums coming from France. If you like pigeonholing, let's label them as a "progressive heavy metal/hard rock band", developing it is technically advanced music deep-rooted in New British Wave Of Heavy Metal and American hard rock. It's something like QUEENSRYCHE (in its best period), but of course the American Gods are much more better! On "ATTRACTION OF FIRE" you can also find traces of DREAM THEATER, but it's obvious, because actually every self-respecting musician is delighted with creators of "AWAKE"... FAR'N'HIGH has got good instrumentalists (but not virtuosos yet), from whom I like the sweet vocalist the most. Only the drummer got into my bad, because he let his snare drum not to sound professionally (against his playing). The album is very varied, full of keyboard passages and interesting arrangements. My favorites are "There Comes The Day" and "Spanish Kiss" with their commercial choruses. Highly recommended!
FLESHLESS "ABHORRENCE OF CADAVERIC" (CD '00/OBSCENE PROD.)
A duration time of "ABHORRENCE" is 35 minutes which are artificially overstated by adding the split with DISFIGURED, so we don't have a huge amount of their new stuff, but it's enough to be at home in their latest offer. It's their second album on which drum machine is an additional "musician" and I could kick themselves for that, having great splits or "GRINDING" demo in my mind - I wish it sounded as NECROPHAGIST or VOMIT REMNANTS at least. The material sounds very artificial and little professional, but now the band has got a recognizable sound at least. Their strongest point are Vladimir's vokills, although Michal and Ludek's riffs are characteristically melodic and clear and they don't stink of America so much as in case of 99% bands playing brutal death metal. Once this band showed great promise, but now I don't know what I should think about them, because I can see they are going' down...
FLESHTIZED "HERE AMONG THORNS" (CD '01/MIGHTY MUSIC)
It's one of the best brutal death metal records I have heard in a long time! It's so fuckin' INTENSE and brutal! Also clear and heavy production is the advantage, to say nothing about MORBID ANGEL's "Rapture" cover-song. The above-mentioned band appeared here not without reason, because it's FLESHTIZED's main influence. I would even say that "HERE AMONG THORNS" is more fresh and just more interesting album than MORBID ANGEL's latest CD's (in any case the same I can say about DECAPITATED's "NIHILITY" in the context of VADER)! Fuckin' brilliant - buy it now!
FLUMEN "CHWILA ZYCIA" (CD '01)
There aren't too many bands as NUMEN - which play archaic, soft thrash/heavy metal of Polish school. When I've heard it for the first time I thought it was very coarse stuff, but the more I listened to NUMEN's music the more advantages I noticed, e.g. good musicianship or great solos. We can't ignore the fact the band released this CD by themselves, too! Personally I hear a lot of well known sounds - in "Myself" there are echoes of LAFAYN, besides I can feel here late PROLETARYAT's spirit, also AHIMSA, ALASTOR or HORRORSCOPE's influences, however Krzysiek with his vocal manner makes me think of Maciek Taff (GEISHA GONER - R.I.P., ex-NEOLITHIC)! FLUMEN is a very gifted band I recommend especially to fans of Polish school of thrash & heavy.
FORGOTTEN SILENCE "KABAACH" (CD '00/REDBLACK PROD.)
The CD-booklet itself gives us a foretaste of what's recorded - I mean here the full professionalism "dressed" in oriental motifs. But it isn't any NILE clone, for sure! Even because the Americans execute brutal death metal, however the Czechs from FORGOTTEN SILENCE prefer mixing of such kinds as e.g. progressive rock, jazz, doom metal, death metal, psychedelic. It's very weird stuff, probably the most weird of all their records, but it isn't the worst for sure. Personally, I prefer their debut entitled "THOTS", but "KABAACH" I listen with much bigger pleasure than their second full-length - "SENYAAN". FORGOTTEN SILENCE's music is still unforeseen and unique, whereas vocally an average Krusty's growling and an unpredictable Hanka's voice dominate. It's worth having this album!
FRONTSIDE "NASZE JEST KRÓLESTWO, POTĘGA I CHWAŁA NA WIEKI" (CD '01/MMP)
FRONTSIDE's name is on everybody's lips recently, mainly thanks to their new album "...I ODPUŚĆ NAM NASZE WINY..." (released through MYSTIC PROD.) and successful tour over Poland together with BEHEMOTH, DARKANE and CRIONICS. But their previous album features such powerful and energetic music, that it's worth of reminding. FRONTSIDE is a group with the message (that's why they use intelligent lyrics shouted in Polish language) and this is supported by unbelievable music: thrash-like riffs taken from furious SLAYER, brutal, perfect sound, also brutal vokills I associate with hard core scene and ubiquitous death metal and H/C influences. The album presses into the chair and destroys everything within a radius of a few kilometres! And I've heard the new CD is even better! Hard to believe. FRONTSIDE IS A MUST!
GEISHA GONER (PL) "CATCHING BROADNESS" (CD '02/DYWIZJA KOT)
It's great to review the record I listened to when I was growing up, but it isn't very easy job. Memories and sounds have come back... The material is 12 years old, but still kicks ass (except bonus tracks which don't appeal to me at all). This is a trick! Techno-thrash - that was labelled that kind of metal; it was popular at the turn of the 80's and the 90's, especially in Germany (a.o. DEATHROW, MEKONG DELTA). And suddenly GEISHA GONER from some Poland appeared and showed on its debut album that (technical) thrash metal can be excellent played and well recorded not only in the U.S.A. or Germany. And how they showed that! Well, imagine TESTAMENT-like riffs played in much more weird way, with jazz-like drumming (it's unbelievable how many tempo changes and wrist-breaking beats Pawel Gawrychowski played - he's a master!), with unique and psychedelic Maciek Taff's vocals. This music is impossible to be described and played by others! They couldn't even play the ballads ("The Last Letter" & "D.I.O.W. To S.Y.S.") the "normal" way, instead, they had to make them so complicated that one cannot dance to them he,he. I'm just curious who will be the audience: people who would like to recall old times or youngsters to see how the bands played in Poland over one decade ago? Never mind, big thanks to you, Rylkolak, for reviving these records! And you? Go immediately to order this CD!
GOD IN RUINS "AGONY OF THE FALLEN GODS" (DEMO '01)
Probably they will never be good successors of CRADLE OF FILTH or DIMMU BORGIR, but one can hear their lurking potential. On "AGONY OF THE FALLEN GODS" debut demo the band executes very melodic (especially in lead guitar parts in which one can hear influences of classical music) mixture of Swedish "death" with black metal. It's audible, of course, but I would like them to play more brutal and aggressive sounds (I've heard that their next demo "GOD IS NOT" was more brutal indeed). Guys, I suggest you listening to DISSECTION :-)...
GODLESS TRUTH "SELFREALIZATION" (CD '01/SHINDY)
The CD contains brutal death metal with lots of interesting and even melodic parts, especially of guitar solos. The riffs are very divergent and incoherent, I guess it was made intentionally, but I don't know if it's always effective. One can have the impression that GODLESS TRUTH's musicians are trying to define or express the direction their music follows in an ambiguous way. The album sound is alright, selective and plain, the musical skills are alright, too. Their music oscillates between grind and death metal. The guitars are unforeseeable and heavy, the vocals are varied, good drumming (the drums sound sometimes distracts, but gives other dimension, too), in general it's heavy and brutal stuff - even choosy maniacs can like it. But in my opinion the discrepancy and number of guitar riffs included on "SELFREALIZATION" is too big; not well-thought-out and developed idea of one riff turns into another which is also incomplete. In other words, we deal here with not enough good song arrangements, but the tracks have some strength within. I just don't know, if this strength is enough to make one step forward...
GORTAL "SPAWN OF HATRED" (DEMO '00)
It's good that in the Polish capital there are other death metal hordes than HATE. GORTAL is just one of them. It's very young band and one can hear that. It's average stuff, as for both performance and ideas. GORTAL hasn't presented anything worth of your attention here - really average death metal in mid tempos, sometimes melodic, sometimes faster and more brutal parts appear; in general, it's for fans of DEICIDE etc. I have a hunch that in a few years they will be able to create a rousing material. Guys, please, make my hunches come true (to receive this stuff just send a blank tape + postage).
HELL-BORN "HELLBLAST" (CD '01/PAGAN REC.)
The more I listen to this album the more I like it. After several listenings I started headbanging although I'm not longhaired he, he. If you know the contents of their debut album entitled "HELL-BORN", you'll love "HELLBLAST" - blasphemous music of the 80's, played in mid-tempo, with a real passion. There aren't any exaggerated speeds, exaggerated aggression or brutality, as it's executed with a feeling and in moderation. But don't be afraid - hell is still present here, in every sound. Musical associations with VENOM, CHRIST AGONY and Greek BM scene are very welcome...
HERJALF "KIEDY TOPNIEJA SNIEGI…" (DEMO '01)
Long, long time ago, yet in #5, I wrote about ALDARON. They recorded a promising demo and... have been silent ever since. HERJALF is a different group, but there play some of the above mentioned band members. First of all Julia gifted with unusual (as for metal scene) soprano. From ALDARON there's also Robert (bass) and Artur who roars behind the microphone. Musically HERJALF prefers doom metal too, although it's more subdued and smacked of... medieval atmosphere(!). And I guess the lyrics are more into viking topics. I'm not convinced it was the best idea, but so be it... Unfortunately, HERJALF has got the same problems as most of young Polish bands - trivial ideas, banal riffs, simple arrangements and small skills (except Julia, of course!) - you must nod in agreement with me that it doesn't make a good impression. To stand up for them I can only say that I've heard a lot of worse bands. Well, they are never going to be NIGHTWISH, but (if they go on playing) they have a chance to shine at Polish doom metal scene, which has been in a very bad condition recently. Amen.
c/o Robert Gredzielski, Boh. Wrzesnia 19/3, 58-560 Jelenia Gora, Poland
HIMINBJORG "THIRD" (MCD '01/RED STREAM)
HIMINBJORG isn't any popular band, despite a few albums recorded. This French band bewitched me with its enigmatic mood, there's some secret in their sounds. HIMINBJORG's music is rather slow, melodic black metal, but with very good sound, I would rather say that it sounds too good as for that kind of metal (a sound engineer was Stephan of LOUDBLAST). Yes, sterility isn't good solution to black metal. Maybe it turns out to be useful in case of DIMMU BORGIR, but that band hasn't been playing BM in its primitive and "true" form for a long time. Completing this review, the above mentioned melody of HIMINBJORG is closer to doom metal style (listen to "The Fading Whispers") than symphonic black metal. Second, the lyrics refer to pagan matters, so one can label them as a black/pagan group. Finishing, I affirm that HIMINBJORG is an interesting, original BM band that yet doesn't shock by its music, but they can afford a lot, I guess.
HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL "GONORREIA VISCERAL" (CD '00/SO DIE MUSIC)
What's that? Taking photos dripped with serum and blood into consideration, it was supposed to be gore grind metal. Unfortunately, the only thing that makes an impression here, on "GONORREIA VISCERAL", are just these photos. H.C.' s music is boring, devoid of expression, strength and metal power. The Portugueses should listen to our DAMNABLE or REINFECTION, before they start to compose new stuff. Slaughtering grind/death should massacre and here the only poor subsitute for massacre are fragments taken from TV serials about cannibals, rapists and other smurf-degenerates. You can forget it with a clear conscience!
IMPALED "CHOICE CUTS" (CD '01/DEATHVOMIT REC./NECROPOLIS REC.)
I like IMPALED, because they've reminded me that some time ago there was such a fuckin' great band hailing from England called CARCASS. The Americans are in love with such CARCASS' albums as "Symphonies of Sickness" and "Necroticism" - one can notice it everywhere, not only in cover version of "Carneous Cacoffiny", but even in every riff and Sean's high vocals. "CHOICE CUTS" features just a few brand new tracks, 2 cover songs, killing demo versions of the songs featured on "THE DEAD SHALL DEAD REMAIN" album and other rare tracks. The contents aren't original at all but kick ass...
IMPENDING DOOM "APOCALYPSE III - THE MANIFESTED PURGATORIUM" (CD '01/CUDGEL AGENCY)
It's a surprise that pretty young guys from Germany can play old school thrash/black metal so whole-heartedly! Already on their second full-length entitled "SIGNUM OF HATE" the band showed its strong point and received a lot of positive reviews. The same situation should repeat itself in case of "APOCALYPSE III" album that is a natural continuation of its predecessor. The guys are more mature now, better skilled, the sound is better too and maybe their music became a little bit softer, but die-hard fans of very old DESTRUCTION should accept it, in spite of more melodic music. But the orthodox will be put on the spot, because there are no extreme sounds like in case of Polish old school brutallers i.e. ANIMA DAMNATA, THRONEUM or WITCHMASTER, but there are some references to melodic death and heavy metal... I like this stuff in spite I prefer fast, brutal metal. I advise you to get to know IMPENDING DOOM's music! And on stage they must be great.
IN AETERNUM "THE PESTILENT PLAGUE" (CD '00/NECROPOLIS REC.)
In fast, aggressive and dynamic way - almost whole the time except marchy "Wolves Blood". Maybe it isn't "true DM" how the label says, but typical, Swedish black/death you've heard hundred times. If somebody likes DISSECTION, he will be into IN AETERNUM, too. This album lacks nothing, but originality...
INGROWING "SUICIDE BINARY REFLECTIONS" (CD '01/OBSCENE PROD.)
The guys from INGROWING execute their pure grind core from the beginning to the end - with no compromises! The drums go forward like an enraged wild boar, the vocalist grunts like a boar, too, and the guitarists move their fingers on the necks adroitly. In this whole mess the band kept some common sense and precision - their music is neither too sick nor too raw. But for sure "SUICIDE BINARY REFLECTIONS" album is more mature and over-thought than their music coming from "DEFORMED" (split MC with CONTRASTIC from 1997) or "PERVERTED LOOK AT THE WORLD" (split CD with DEFLORACE), and it sounds better, of course. I would like to see the band playing live - I've heard they kick ass...
INIQUITY "GRIME" (CD '01/MIGHTY MUSIC)
I've liked Danish metal scene since ever, such names as KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, ARTILLERY, ILLDISPOSED and KONKHRA speak for themselves. Each of the above-mentioned bands has recorded at least one album which is considered as metal masterpiece. To this team I would add INIQUITY which recorded in 1999 the excellent "FIVE ACROSS THE EYES" CD. "GRIME" isn't worse, maybe it's even better record, but it doesn't make such an impression as its predecessor did. Probably because the band hasn't brought anything special into its style, hasn't improved it, but just focused on its perfect continuation. I adore records like this, which can massacre with the sound, intensity, deep growl and excellent musicianship. "GRIME" is "delicious" album with "delicious" Danish death metal!
JUDAS ISCARIOT "DETHRONED, CONQUERED AND FORGOTTEN" (MCD '00/RED STREAM)
This band releases record by record. Between releasing of their last album and this MCD just a few months have passed. This time Akhenaten quit fascinations of Eastern European black metal and spat out almost a perfect copy of DARKTHRONE's "TRANSYLVANIAN HUNGER". Really, maniacs of the Norwegians should be bewitched. No matter what you say, it's true black metal. Maybe it lacks originality, but so it be - in the age of little books to colour for children, commonly called metal magazines, it always could be worse...
KAAMOS "CURSE OF AEONS" (DEMO '01)
Aaaaaarrrggghhhhhhh!! What a material! I've been knowing KAAMOS from their earlier demo that I liked very much. I don't see any progression of this band between both of these, but this fact has no meaning, because KAAMOS presents a really high level. "CURSE..." is typical, old Scandinavian death metal. It will be easier for me to say that "CURSE..." takes place between UNLEASHED's "WHERE NO LIFE DWELLS" and DAKTHRONE's "SOULSIDE JOURNEY". It's played with kick energy, fucking heaviness and a really dark mood. Get it, because these Swedes seem to be a promise among all new & modern death metal bands. (The demo is released in a professional way).
Kaamos, Box 605, 13626 Haninge, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
KADATH "CHASING THE DEVIL" (CD '02/CUDGEL AGENCY)
Beside albums of MASTIC SCUM, IMPENDING DOOM, DAMNBALE and DAMNATION, "CHASING THE DEVIL" is the best CUDGEL AGENCY release so far. It's not so grindy as earlier KADATH's records, but it's the best and most mature stuff in their history for sure. While listening to "CHASING THE DEVIL" I have mainly DERANGED's debut and sounds from DYING FETUS in mind. Of course, KADATH isn't as fast and intensively furious as the first band on its "RATED-X" album, it doesn't have crushing sound and isn't so skilled as the latter, too. But the guys kick ass and thank them for this. As for the lyrics they are controversial, because they are devoted to the juvenile mass murderer - Andrej Romanowitsch Chikatilo from Ukraina! The CD includes also a multimedia live video recorded at Berlin! You know what - the more I listen to the album the more I like it. It can happen to you too, because it's a really solid record.
KAVIAR KAVALIER "STUDIO Y" (CD '02/OBSCENE PROD.)
"STUDIO Y" is a very weird album. And, what's worse, it's almost impossible to describe, to label KAVIAR KAVALIER's music. This band may remind RAMMSTEIN to some people, not only because the lyrics are written in German. There's industrial inside, and metal riffs are too, but not in such form as the German band plays. RAMMSTEIN is more metal, colder, harder, and more professional. KAVIAR KAVALIER's music consists of more (sick) melodies, strange vocal lines, more electronics, and crazy atmosphere. So, this stuff is addressed only to the mentally handicapped. As a bonus the label added demo '94 entitled "DREAMS OF CAVIAR". Back then it was something shocking and innovating for sure and I regret I didn't receive it in that time. Nowadays we live in XXI century and there are many better sickos than KAVIAR KAVALIER...
KISS OF DEATH "STRONGER THAN BEFORE" (CD '00)
KISS OF DEATH comes from Italy. I see this country starts to give birth to more and more thrash metal bands - that's good. Yes, K.O.D. performs ass-kicking power thrash, too. I'm not into such modern stuff - even hard core elements appears here, but I manage to get the quality of this material. Italians play music which they really like and feel and that's very audible.
KOLABORANCI (PL) "TO MY URODZENI W LATACH 60-TYCH" (2CD '02/DYWIZJA KOT)
Really, DYWIZJA KOT's shots go home when they release old bands re-editions. The next one that I'd like to recommend is, similarly to MOSKWA, the two disc album of the legendary KOLABORANCI with an extra clip. The experts of the punk brand don't have to be acquainted with the line-up. Those who have never heard of them before should find it interesting that if they are keen on the early DEZERTER they will love KOLABORANCI for sure. In their music you can feel the influence of their older punk colleagues achievements. Which, at the same time doesn't make them any worse, just the other way round. You needn't write a lot of such music - 100% blast with a message. Besides, there is a track on the CD which I think is awesome both regarding the lyrics and the play especially at that remote and mostly forgotten time. It is "Zlota Polska Jesien". The bands which played differently and didn't lie were negated by the censorship and other herds of pigs (without offence to the pigs) for the opinions contradictory to the generally approved rules. This is the best, everybody's equal. The guys had the brain wave and perfect timing. The lyrics suit the characteristic guitar chops, especially the bass and the measure typical of its kind. What I also like about their music are the "suspense moments" which get you confused about what theme is going to follow (you can find themes here as well!). The general impression: outstanding, must-have album!
KOROVAKILL "WATERHELLS" (CD '01/RED STREAM)
After listening to this album I'm sure of only one thing - that its content is impossible to label. I'm also sure it isn't any black metal (although in e.g. "The Shadowhordes" one can feel sometimes a hellfire), despite I know preferences of RED STREAM bosses. "WATERHELLS" consists of avant-garde dark metal - it's probably the best description. The stuff is dark (atmosphere), heavy (guitars), psychedelic (vocals, keyboards), interesting (ideas, arrangements), more progressive than prior two albums under KOROVA moniker. In a word it's fuckin' interesting album, original, powerful, well sounding (clear, but a little bit dirty). I recommend this stuff to open-minded maniacs of "black" music! And Czech ROOT fans should acquaint with the record, too.
LIESAREOUT "LIESAREOUT" (DEMO CD-R ' 99)
Neat made CD-R it really is, but don't expect good music from Italy. I don't receive so much shit from any other country (but goddamn there are promising bands - vide NATRON, SADIST, UNDERTAKERS, NECRODEATH....)! I didn't expect anything good from LIESAREOUT too and it was good idea, because I wasn't disappointed at least. "LIESAREOUT" is so much boring demo, so insipid that I even feel sorry for them. I don't even have idea what they wanted to achieve playing such a music. It is not thrash, not heavy, not rock at least. The vocalist is without any gift, they only know how to work their instruments, but it doesn't matter, because they don't make use of it. The most funniest thing is that the band think they play death metal. I feel really sorry for them...
LONG WINTER'S STARE "THE TEARS OF ODIN'S FALLEN" (CD '00/DARK SYMPHONIES)
I always mention that I'm not good at atmospheric metal. But there's some power, magic in DARK SYMPHONIES' bands, which caught my attention for a longer time. LONG WINTER'S STARE is the best example. I took a fancy to the band because of rich arrangements and dark mood; I also admit that rare (but still present) death metal elements are their another advantage. Their music is impossible to describe, but "dark doom" term seems to be a right one. The band has improved a lot, especially comparing to debut album entitled "COLD TALE ETERNAL", but female vocals in "Blood of my Fathers" are still pretty amateurish and ruined that beautiful song. If your ears would like to take a rest from brutal music, L.W.S. seems to be a perfect choice.
LOST IN TWILIGHT "PLANETEER" (MCD '01/SOUND RIOT)
First of all, I miss on "PLANETEER" the powerful and monumental drums sound. The depth which would add even more climate to this atmospheric and calm music. It's a good stuff with perfectly adapted vocals which can enchant the listener. But I'm not sure if using matt vocals is the best solution. Selective instruments and meticulous consequence make me take delight in atmosphere and reflection. Fans of melancholic metal with keyboards should be satisfied with LOST IN TWILIGHT's music. Highly recommended!
LOVE HISTORY "ANASAZI" (CD '00/THE END REC.)
LOVE HISTORY always wanted to play interesting, varied doom metal. Their inclination to that kind of metal they confirmed also on "ANASAZI" album which has got only one disadvantage - vocals! They are amateurish, uninteresting and irritating. But let's leave this touchy subject and focus our attention on advantages. Well, LOVE HISTORY has mixed in a neat way influences of various styles and ideas - we can meet here progressive rock, folk elements ("Korbel") as well as flamenco ("Sown"!). From the musical and arranging point of view it's very interesting and rich stuff, so maniacs of such Czech bands as ROOT or S.S.G.E. will be satisfied. To become more attractive LOVE HISTORY used such instruments as for example acoustic guitars or flute! And I don't recommend to you a very poor video clip to "Lost" song.
LYKATHEA AFLAME "ELVENEFRIS" (CD '00/OBSCENE PROD.)
It's perfect album! Together with SQUASH BOWELS' "Tnyribal" it's the best release in OBSCENE catalogue, because it's the most interesting and original! One can hear LYKATHEA AFLAME (ex-APPALING SPAWN) is open-minded band - try to imagine the guys who plays the guitars in FEAR FACTORY vein, whereas very fast drummer and vocalist, endowed with very powerful growl, massacre you mercilessly. Besides, the band enriched its music with some oriental elements. The final effort is excellent! I have only one reservation about too flat, plastic drum sound. This CD is a must!
MALEDICTION "THE WAY ON CROSS" (DEMO '00)
The whole impression is spoiled by the terrible sound! I understand it was recorded at home, but I've heard lots of much better home recorded stuff. I suppose that even if they entered HERTZ Studio they wouldn't record an interesting material. Because brutal death metal requires good skills and some conception and the band lacks the latter. Thoughtless carnage doesn't make an impression on anybody - that's the way it is, maniacs are very demanding nowadays. I know guys you'd like to play like IMMOLATION or VADER in the beginning of the 90s (I conclude this from the demo contents), but it's still the long way (on cross ;-))...
MALEDICTIVE PIGS "BLOODSHED" (CD '01/CUDGEL AGENCY)
As for their third full-length the guys don't delight with anything. Yes, MALEDICTIVE PIGS is another German act that dabbles in brutal death metal without big result. Only die-hard maniacs into Dutch (INIQUITY, ILLDISPOSED, old KONKHRA) and US death metal can like this album. To me it's terribly mediocre and derivative. I'm surprised that CUDGEL AGENCY invest they money in that kind of records. So what it's correctly executed? Nowadays it's firmly too little. General impression is spoiled by very poor booklet, but it's the problem of most CUDGEL AGENCY's releases, so it's high time, guys, you let professional graphic artists earn. I recommend to you e.g. Jacek Wisniewski or Tomek Danilowicz.
MASTIC SCUM (A) "SCAR" (CD '02/CUDGEL AGENCY)
I love NAPALM DEATH, I like… MASTIC SCUM. Definition of death/core included on "SCAR" is just a combination of traditional core with modern sound and ideas, rough sounds and vocals (of course in manner of "Barney"), intelligent rhythm section, "human lyrics", balanced tempos, uncomplicated arrangements, groovy mood, interesting ideas. To me it's a pretty good recipe for success and I suspect the guys of MASTIC SCUM share my opinion. And what about you? Don't you have "SCAR" in your collection?! It's a pity, because it's a very good album, much more mature comparing to "FAKE" (split CD w/ FLESHLESS).
MAZE OF TORMENT "DEATH STRIKES" (CD '00/NECROPOLIS REC.)
If you know and like SERPENT OBSCENE, you'll like MAZE OF TORMENT too. The shared thing for both bands is not only the vocalist, Erik Sahlström, but first and foremost the love of old, European thrash/death metal school. I was trying to note some differences between "DEATH STRIKES" and "SERPENT OBSCENE"... These are for sure: a sound the band reached at cult SUNLIGHT Studio, more aggressive way of Erik's singing, more influences of Swedish death metal (or maybe it's just an impression caused by the well known sound?). But I wouldn't favour neither SERPENT OBSCENE nor MAZE OF TORMENT, because both bands kill!... Long live new-old Swedish thrash/death!!!
MERCYLESS "SURE TO BE PURE" (CD '00/SYSTEM SHOCK)
MERCYLESS has changed a lot comparing to what they were playing 10 years ago on e.g. "COLOURED FUNERAL" album. These who found their activity nicely will be disappointed now, but young "nu-metalheads" being very into SOULFLY etc. can like it (although this album isn't so brutal). Yes, MERCYLESS nowadays plays modern music, thrash referring to hard core and they added some weird keyboards, too... I don't understand this music, but youngsters should set themselves against this undoubtedly interesting and mature album. I don't comprehend what happened with all these old bands (SADIST, MERCYLESS, SAMAEL...)!
MERIDIAN "THE SEVENTH SUN" (CD '02/SEASON OF MIST)
MERIDIAN's music has been labelled as "symphonic black metal", but don't imagine monumental introductions with screetching or singing vocals, because there aren't too many of them. The stuff from "THE SEVENTH SUN" it's venomous, fast, technical and fresh black metal. Maybe there's that "tumult" of sounds you know from Emperor, but MERIDIAN doesn't put its ambitions here for sure, but goes one step forward. The album will surely absorb many listeners with its twisted and staggering tempo, it will also surprise and charm you with the song structures. The album will support "the initiated", too. Highly recommended!
MISTRUST "INCURABLE MISTRUST" (CD '02/MS REC.)
Poland can also pride itself on thrash metal, MISTRUST is the best example! The first main advantage is an excellent sound. Another one are interesting compositions which many first-class bands would envy them. The drummer, Rafal Skalinski, made a very big impression on me, he knows exactly how to use his limbs. Also guitarists Tomek Panczak (solo guitar and vocal) and Patryk Krajnik are worth mentioning, they did a great job (e.g. in "Incurable Mistrust", "Dealer Is Not a Friend" or "To Start From The Beginning"), on bass they are supported by Patryk's brother, Pawel. As for vocals the band looks presentable, too. "Pajak's" vocal just right fits the music, harmonizes with it perfectly. He's good at both fast and calm parts ("Regret"), where he proves that he can sing very well! There's no weak track on the album, everything is well thought over and adroitly played. If I were to compare the band to, it would be MEGADETH from "RUST IN PEACE" and "COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION" albums. And if Cliff Burton lived, METALLICA would play nowadays like MISTRUST (these are pompous words, but I know what I'm saying)! I'm waiting for their another attack!
MOON OF SOUL "HANG-ALKONY-MENEDEK" (MC)
It's a strange music - I don't know what's goin' on here. But if you like a psychedelic metal, e.g. with h/c elements, so I invite you to acquaint with MOON OF SOUL. It's impossible to compare it to anything else, some of you would also say it's impossible to listen to it, but I don't think so. If I had to choose between e.g. Hungarian "death metallers" of ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST and MOON OF SOUL, with no doubt I would choose the latter one. By the way, I like the way the drummer plays.
I'm sorry, but it's one of the worst releases I've heard recently. Well, not everyone is born as a good musician; the same is with journalist J... I admit that MOONGARDEN will have to work a lot to gain a good level. The band tries to play an interesting doom metal, but with such a vocalist they have no chances to attract people at all. Both Damian and Wioletta sing very out of tune and the band's ideas are too poor to compensate the vocals, although such "Oko Tiamat" lets us to build hopes for the future. A proverbial "nail in their coffin" is a cover version of EURYTHMICS - "Sweet Dreams". It's one of the worst covers I've ever heard (by the way this great song could be perfectly transformed into metal track). Well, this time MOONGARDEN failed, so I'm waiting for their another, more mature release with better vocals.
c/o Marek Haimburger, Czarnieckiego 67b/27, 14-100 Ostroda, Poland
MORTIS DEI "WRATH ERUPTION" (PROMO 2001)
With every record MORTIS DEI goes away from thrash influences and gets about towards death metal. I guess it's caused by permanent line-up changes and every new musician prefers heavy sounds. From the line-up which recorded "LANDSCAPES" MC only vocalist Lukasz and bassist Grzesiek have left! MORTIS DEI was never catchy band, the guys could never perform ass-kicking stuff. It was always coarse, unconvincing music and it seemed forced or maybe it's just lack of good ideas? The same situation is with "WRATH ERUPTION", but I know that the stuff has its fans. Lukasz's vocals (especially when he sings Polish) make me think of Skaya's (of QUO VADIS) voice and the music is Polish, too - it reminds me GHOST, a little bit VADER and ARMAGEDON, but in a lighter and worse version, of course. Sometimes intriguing, psychedelic, screeching solos appear, as e.g. in the title track, the band likes tempo changes, too. "WRATH ERUPTION" won't disappoint MORTIS DEI fans for sure, but the band is still far from Polish top bands.
Lukasz Kobusinski: +48-52-3711640
MOSKWA (PL) "MOSKWA" (2CD '02/DYWIZJA KOT)
MOSKWA is what I regard the essence of punk music. Kicking out the jams, right to the point and go ahead ("Tylu Was" or "Nie Starczy Sil"). Old tracks, which were once listened to on a blaster from some bootlegs or vinyl, have now got revived and improved with some live numbers. Sensational for the old punk folks. You can't miss the hellacious evergreens "Nigdy" or "Powietrza" with the specific vocal of the frontman Pawel "GUMA" Gumola and a characteristic back up. Anyway, good to know that there is someone on the Polish market who thought of revival of some old bands. This time DYWIZJA KOT - for me it grows up to the dignity of super baddest label. Keep it that way!
MYRKSKOG (N) "SUPERIOR MASSACRE" (CD '02/CANDLELIGHT/PHD)
I haven't heard their debut album entitled "DEATH MACHINE", but considering their brand new record it had to be a very good CD. A lot of people claim that it was their best record ever! Norway was never a potentate at Death Metal field, but maybe thanks to MYRKSKOG this situation will change? As a matter of fact MYRKSKOG doesn't execute only brutal death metal in MORBID ANGEL vein, because EMPEROR left its stamp on the band, too. But you must admit that such a mixture must be excellent - it's hard to find better inspirations, isn't it? As regards both ideas and musicianship. "SUPERIOR MASSACRE" is a pure perfection, death machine, just… superior massacre!
NATAS / DRAGONAUTA "SPLIT CD" (CD '00/ICARUS REC.)
NATAS (that is more experienced) and DRAGONAUTA are two Argentinean stoner rock bands. Both of them sing in their native language and both are in love with BLACK SABBATH and KYUSS. They play with unbelievable feeling, atmosphere and passion. Even their image is based on the fashion of the 70s. Distorted guitars, medium tempos, Hammond organs (only as for NATAS), a note of psychedelic - you receive a huge kick in your ass! These guys aren't kids, but mature people who know what they want to play and they execute the music with a real commitment. Up to date I thought that Argentina's domain are soccer and soap operas. But ICARUS REC. releases have verified my view.
NEGLIGENT COLLATERAL COLLAPSE "REPROCESS SEGMENT DATABASE EXTENDER" (CD '02/OBSCENE PROD.)
Good sound of "REPROCESS SEGMENT DATABASE EXTENDER" (finally a Czech band has recorded drums as it should be recorded) made me spend time on N.C.C. and therefore I didn't think like: "Oh, God, when this CD ends?". Since the beginning we deal with pig-like Paul's growling, heavy Robocop's guitars and varied, simple Ierich's percussion tempos. Of course, the guys aren't virtuosos, but they shouldn't be ashamed of their skills. Frankly, I expected more brutal grinding of OBSCENE PROD. and N.C.C., but it's good that the label has got in its catalogue one "languid", grind band which is more into heaviness and atmosphere included in their songs than into speed. If the guys played much faster, it would be more into Polish death/grind masters i.e. DEAD INFECTION (R.I.P.) and INCARNATED... Summing up, its solid, pretty modern album.
NIGHTLY GALE "...AND JESUS WEPT" (CD '01/PAGAN REC.)
I really didn't like any previous NIGHTLY GALE's materials. There were shitty, boring doom for weeping kids who are not loved by their parents. But I was shocked and marveled while listening to "...AND JESUS WEPT" - nice stupid title, by the way. This CD is released by PAGAN RECORDS. A few years ago, this label has released MOON's "SATAN'S WEEP", so NIGHTLY GALE's "...AND JESUS WEPT" is a very good equilibrium, isn't it? That's a joke - don't care he,he... N.G. turned out to be one of the most professional and the most original doom metal band. This time, there is really a suicide mood. The close band to Poles is Finnish UNHOLY, but there are more different elements and influences. There are fantastic arrangements, varied and very good vocals, computers loops, samples etc. If you can image UNHOLY recorded and produced like MAYHEM's "GRAND DECLARATION OF WAR" it could be more or less a proper picture. However it's hard to describe such daredevil sounds. Anyway, "...AND JESUS WEPT" is one of the best doom metal releases in Poland ever - I'm sure!
NIGHTLY GALE, c/o Slawomir Pyrzyk, ul. M. Archaniola 6/1, 41-800 Zabrze, Poland, email@example.com www.paganrecords.com.pl
NIHILUM "CIMCUM !?" (DEMO '00)
I don't catch music like this at all! The ideas are amateurish, the style isn't specific... It is possible to make interesting conglomerates, but NIHILUM hasn't acquired that skill. Death metal is the base of their music, I guess and they mixed it with thrash and doom metal, but the whole doesn't hang together (the same as bass parts). This music doesn't have an ounce of brutality or aggression, to say nothing of any power. The only advantage I've notice here is a decent musicianship.
c/o Piotr, Estkowskiego 16/4, 64-100 Leszno, Poland
NOCTUARY "WHEN FIRES BREED BLOOD" (CD '00/LOST DISCIPLE REC.)
NOCTUARY doesn't execute typical metal. Their music is deeply rooted in black metal, but that what happens in e.g. second part of "...And Hate Embraced This Night" sounds like epic heavy metal! Not infrequently you will also find here references to old school thrash or death metal, not to mention the beautiful, melodic guitar solos. I didn't like this CD for the first time, but now I listen to it with a real pleasure.
NOKTURNAL MORTUM "LUNAR POETRY" (CD '01/THE END REC.)
Without a doubt NOKTURNAL POETRY is the best Black Metal horde on the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The group is very popular in Poland, too. What is the strength of NOKTURNAL MORTUM then? I think it's melody which still doesn't make the music a commercial shit. The melody created mainly by characteristic keyboards sound referring to the folklore and creating a pagan atmosphere. The guitars utter catchy riffs too and many solos (as for Black Metal), but nevertheless it's still raw, simple music. It's very good that THE END RECORDS has finally issued the Ukrainians' debut record in a CD-format. Until recently it was available only in a cassette format issued by Polish MORBID NOIZZ PROD.! There's nothing to dwell on - this Eastern European Black Metal band is a must!
NOMENMORTIS "PROMO 2001" (MC '01)
After 2 years since a recording-session of their debut album entitled "HOW I LEARN TO BLEED...", NOMENMORTIS entered a studio once again to record their second full-length. "PROMO 2001" is just 4 of 10 tracks recorded during the session; you can find them on MCD "MISANTHRONE" released last year on Swedish DOWNFALL REC. Since the debut album NOMENMORTIS hasn't improved too much, it's still brutal death metal in American-Slovakian vein with powerful, low Martin's growl and melodic, catchy solos. I have just the impression that the band made its tracks faster or rather more brutal (but solos are still characteristically melodic), now the songs are more intensive and uniform, besides Martin doesn't screech so often as before. And the sound is different, it's more dirty and heavy, first of all the guitars sound better. In spite of few changes, I regard the material as successful; I like it more then e.g. CONTEMPT's records well known to Polish maniax. In the booklet I've noticed lots of line-up changes: a bassist Erik has joined the band, Sano was replaced by Peter (guitar) and a prodigal son Mato has come back. But I hope NOMENMORTIS' line-up will be constant at last - then they can start to attack an audience.
NON OPUS DEI "ILIAEST" (DEMO '00)
To begin with, my congratulations on the nice, pro-printed, black and white booklet. NON OPUS DEI deserves another congratulations on its original black (?) metal. I suppose that it wasn't only me who had problems with describing this music. For sure it's Diabolic Metal - the band entitled its full-length album like this (available through Spanish WAR IS IMMINENT). And I must admit that hardly ever can one meet with such a felicitous description. But these tracks are dark for sure and aren't a typical, pure black metal, especially if you associate it with Norwegian scene and bands like DARKTHRONE or CARPATHIAN FOREST. I'd rather say that NON OPUS DEI is more into CHRIST AGONY's music. And for example in "Rejecting the Illusions" there's a lot of... baroque sounds! Yes, this music is unorthodox, varied and undoubtedly it caused difficulties for many reviewers. So check if it does the same to you.
NOUMENA (FIN) "PRIDE / FALL" (CD '02/CATHARSIS REC.)
Loudspeakers "bleed" much with melody while playing "PRIDE / FALL"! If somebody likes melodic death metal of Swedish vein I strongly recommend this band. Although NOUMENA comes from Finland, it doesn't mean they are worse than their well-know Swedish pals. The album's been released through young Australian CATHARSIS RECORDS and contains 10 really good songs. The opening track entitled "Herald of Fall" is a perfect musical showcase of the group. Besides typical growling, sometimes female vocals appear which fit the music perfectly and bring unbelievable atmosphere. For a change, after continual hard guitar riffing characteristic acoustic instruments appear. In general, mood changes in NOUMENA's music don't make the album boring and encourage to play it once again. An interesting thing here is a videoclip.
NOVEMBERS DOOM "THE KNOWING" (CD '00/DARK SYMPHONIES)
Mark Gromen from "METAL MANIACS" was right writing: "NOVEMBERS DOOM sounds like a collaboration between the British Big 3 (PARADISE LOST, MY DYING BRIDE, and ANATHEMA)". Of course, he meant the beginnings of the above mentioned bands as we all know that neither PARADISE LOST nor ANATHEMA play metal anymore. It's a pity, because e.g. "GOTHIC" is an excellent album... Everything would be obvious, if not the fact that NOVEMBERS DOOM plays for 10 years and comes from... USA, the country that isn't famous for melodic metal, except the bands gathered around DARK SYMPHONIES. NOVEMBERS DOOM surprises with its slow, dark, I'd say classical (also because of instruments) doom metal. Without a doubt it's beautiful music created by mature musicians. And, what's the most important, it isn't boring. Would you believe that?!
OBLITERATE "THE FEELINGS" (CD '00/EREBOS PROD.)
Englishmen have NAPALM DEATH, we used to have ROTTING HEAD, but Slovakians for example have OBLITERATE. Have I spoken clearly? You are right - OBLITERATE it's nothing more as Slovakian equivalent of NAPALM DEATH from its late era (since "UTOPIA BANISHED")! If somebody doesn't like such albums as "FEAR, EMPTINESS, DESPAIR" or "INSIDE THE TORN APART", he should not even reach for "THE FEELINGS". Unfortunately, this album is no match for any record of Barney & Co., although it lacks nothing from technical or sound point of view. I would even say OBLITERATE plays... more accessible and less psychedelic music, but a clone will always remain just a clone and nothing will stand in my British favorites.
OCTINOMOS "FUCKHOLE ARMAGEDDON" (CD '01/BAPHOMET REC./NECROPOLIS REC.)
OCTINOMOS is one-man project of Frederik of PUISSANCE! Of course, it's pure black metal, very fast, raw and primitive. You can distinguish the band from MARDUK or DARK FUNERAL thanks to the above mentioned severity, fuckin' apocalyptic nature and less darkness. Yeah, while listening to the album you'll understand that Armageddon is very near and Frederik is really pissed off with this world. Total destruction!
ODES OF ECSTASY "DECEITFUL MELODY" (CD '00/THE END REC.)
It isn't as good band as SEPTIC FLESH for sure, or even as good as ON THORNS I LAY or THE ELYSIAN FIELDS whose latest albums Polish fans could buy together with one of "THRASH'EM ALL mag." issue. There's no doubt that there is a big difference audible, but it doesn't mean ODES OF ECSTASY is a bad band. I would rather say it's an average group, but with a flash of genius. "DECEITFUL MELODY" features a little bit archaic music, kind of dynamic doom where elements of symphony music and female soprano vocals appear. While listening to the album an association with TIAMAT's "The Astral Sleep" or many doom/gothic bands (I can't remember their names now) come to my mind. And frankly, I would see this band in more progressive and technically advanced compositions. The ones on "DECEITFUL MELODY" album are rather simple and no modern. I'm curious about ODES OF ECSTASY's face A.D. 2003. Greeks are gifted nation that surprised us many times as for music, didn't they?...
ORTANK "PROMO 2000"
I like this promo very much. Great, intensive brutal death, which, if were "made in USA", would gave the band a deal. In ORTANK's line-up we have two "acquaintances" - Mirek of "ATMOSPHERIC mag." on vocals and Borowa (ex-DEVILYN) on guitar. I like here everything, even this acoustic interlude in "Not Even A Carcass"; although there are people who think it wasn't best idea or the sound isn't good enough. I don't have to add that everything would be perfect if not a scandalous duration time - 5 minutes?!
PANDEMIA "SPREADING THE MESSAGE" (CD '99/LOST DISCIPLE REC.)
Before I listened to this album, I had met with lots of positive opinions of PANDEMIA, especially of their killing live shows. But "SPREADING THE MESSAGE" disappointed me, especially with its artificial sound and poor vocals. But it isn't a bad album, on the contrary. I like fast tempos, sharp guitars, pure death metal like that... The band was often compared to KRISIUN, I can't hear that, but I feel KRABATHOR, VADER and DEATH influences. All that's left for me to do is checking them alive and waiting for their brand new CD. However you might try to fill LOST DISCIPLE's pockets and buy this album...
PANZERCHRIST "SOUL COLLECTOR" (CD '00/MIGHTY MUSIC)
I've remembered up to this day how a friend of mine gave me the second album of PANZERCHRIST, "OUTPOST FORT EUROPA", to listen to - I was crushed with that powerful death metal "made in Denmark" (not for the first time, by the way). So imagine my happiness when after a few months I've received their latest CD from MIGHTY MUSIC. I immediately put the album into my CD-player and I was a little bit disappointed, because I was missing something in "SOUL COLLECTOR". Maybe just good ideas? I don't know... But take it easy, after a few listenings I've understood that PANZERCHRIST's present face it's still death metal of the highest class, this time more brutal and faster. And if I tell you that Bo Summer of ILLDISPOSED (who doesn't make the most of his abilities here) did vokills here, how will your reaction be? He uses only "two" timbres - tearing growl and blackish screeching (now I can see fans of DEICIDE pleased). The rest of the band aren't kids too and they know exactly how to use their instruments. I think you should acquaint with this CD taking great reviews this stuff received in metal press into consideration.
PARRICIDE "ILLTREAT" (CD '01/SURGICAL DIATHESIS REC./EMPIRE REC.)
Without a doubt it's the best PARRICIDE's release to date, but I must admit the guys have made many records! "ILLTREAT" beat each PARRICIDE's material very much in every respect: sound (the credit for this goes to HERTZ Studio), ideas as well as performance (sometimes it's good to replace a rhythm section). The group hasn't become more original because of that, but their present sounds are more convincing and you can listen to them with a real pleasure. PARRICIDE A.D. 2001 is another Polish export which proves that brutal death metal in vein of CANNIBAL CORPSE and DYING FETUS one can perfectly play not only in the USA. Yes, PARRICIDE is a perfect killing machine (the same as TRAUMA or BEHEMOTH) and their only disadvantage is country of origin. If they were born in Florida, they would sign to even METAL BLADE and not like DIES IRAE because VADER's members play there. "ILLTREAT" is a very strong stuff, very equal (but I think newer tracks are more complicated and "weird") and very brutal, it lacks originality only. But take it easy, you won't mix the band up with creators of "TOMB OF THE MUTILATED", despite well executed "Hammer Smashed Face" version. "ILLTREAT" possesses other sound, vocal, drums work is different, too...
STENCH "ACCTION MUTANTE" (CD '00/ROCK EXTREMUM & SHINDY PROD.)
Well, well, the foursome of PATHOLOGY STENCH have created a pretty good album. "Circus Of Humanity", which follows the intro, has got such a power that... Imagine SIX FEET UNDER playing much faster music with more complex drums parts and without Chris Burns, of course. I mean here that these Slovakians are executing the same catchy death metal, but at the same time more brutal and intense. "ACCTION MUTANTE" was recorded at EXPONENT Studio, so expect nothing but clear, dynamic and good production. This CD has got just one disadvantage - the vocalist's broken English.
PHANTASMA "JAHVE" (CD '99/ROCK EXTREMUM REC./IMMORTAL SOULS PROD.)
Journalists don't like stuffs like that. No one knows what's goin' on here, it's hard to compare this kind of stuff as it's a mixture of death, doom and black metal joined in a complicated way. I'm pleased PHANTASMA plays its own music, but I suppose the listeners may be lost in the richness of "JAHVE", where after doom metal interlude you are attacked by fast black metal to end with progressive parts. The vocals are various (growling prevails), but not enough professional, while musicianship is good at least, what let us cherish a hope that PHANTASMA will sometimes release some technical, hard-to-listen-to albums. Personally I prefer their MC "JAZZ FOR JESUS", but "JAHVE" also doesn't lack anything but catchiness...
PHANTASMAGORIA "FURIOSIS" (DEMO '00)
PHANTASMAGORIA isn't a typical thrash metal band, because one can hear influences of IRON MAIDEN here, too. This tape contains 6 songs, including very well executed cover song from the above mentioned - "Aces High" (maybe that's why I've compared them to IRONS). But vocals aren't good, the musician didn't manage to sing higher parts. The best self-composed track is "Scarlet Person" with catchy chorus, although I have reservations about vocals, too. Since I pick on I would like to say that the guys lack self-assurance as for playing (especially in "Ask Yourself"), they play unevenly or maybe it was made intentionally? But it doesn't disqualify the band...
POEMA ARCANVS "ICONOCLAST" (CD '02/AFTERMATH MUSIC)
"Progressive dark arcane metal" - this is how POEMA ARCANVS from Chile describe their music and, to tell the truth, they are right. The band consists of 5 members who, in my opinion, clearly laid their goal which they are realizing consistently. The music on "ICONOCLAST" is good and relaxing (before falling asleep), it also perfectly introduces into an everyday life trance. Deep, clear vocal (sometimes growl), softly pulsating keyboards, magic gutars and drums which complete the whole stuff and move deftly, giving the music a subtle rhythmics - it's "ICONOCLAST" contents. The production is also very good... Really, I could speak highly of the CD, this band has enchanted me. It's a missing sound in the harmony of all I'm listening to. So I highly recommend it to those who desire to discover and travel over the range of music...
PRELUDIUM "INFERNAL FORCE" (PROMO '02)
I won't even mention PRELUDIUM's debut promo entitled "DEATH INTO THE BLACK PARADISE", because it was, to put it mildly, pathetic! So let's go straight to the second record - "INFERNAL FORCE". As for HERTZ Studio, the production isn't good! The guys lacked money, I guess, or didn't have a conception of how they should sound. And I wouldn't expect Wieslawscy brothers to not have shit for the sound... What about music? It's very average, lacks ideas and isn't distinguished by anything. The tracks are very archaic, contain black/death metal played completely unimaginatively. Only friends of PRELUDIUM can get excited about it. And only "Apocalyptic Descendant" song holds promise, so that's why I'm not writing the band off, only waiting for their next stuff. Maybe new guitarist Konrad will bring something valuable?...
"SLAUGHTERING THOUGHTS" (CD '00/CUDGEL AGENCY)
PROFANITY executes without complexes like the best brutal hordes from the States e.g. SUFFOCATION, CANNIBAL CORPSE or DYING FETUS (without those h/c influences) and it is a wonder that in the beginning of their career they played death/black with gothic elements! "SLAUGHTERING THOUGHTS" is their 2nd album on which the group presents very technical, brutal, "US death metal" with no compromise. I don't think these totally complex and fast drum tempos and psychedelic riffs give you a breath - that's for sure!
PROFANITY = German small top.
PSYCHONEUROSIS "LIFE FOR MONEY" (7" EP '00/CZERWONY DIABEŁEK/PSYCHO REC.)
First of all, I'd like to apologise the guys that they had to wait for this review for so long. The break in activity and first and foremost lack of vinyl record player (not to mention my inborn laziness) caused that this words were created in second half of 2003...
Well, PSYCHONEUROSIS takes no prisoners. 10 minutes of such grind/core and I have enough he,he. "LIFE FOR MONEY" is nothing "but" sick Sonia's vocals, Marcin's old school riffs, Jasiek's fast drumming and totally underground sound which fits the stuff almost perfectly. In general, it's a very energetic music which makes you aggressive - you'll break shop windows or fight with some football supporters he,he. The whole EP ends with a cover song from AGATHOCLES (of course!) entitled "A For Arrogance".
The band & Psycho Rec.: firstname.lastname@example.org
QUEIRON "HERITAGE OF WAR" (PROMO TAPE 2000)
Unfortunately, "PROMO 2000" is only one song. Anyway, I'm impressed like hell by it! QUEIRON comes from Brazil and plays brutal Brazilian Death Metal, of course. I mean here American school played in a rawer, dirtier and more blasphemous way. QUEIRON is not as fast as REBAELLIUN or KRISIUN, however it's audible like hell that in veins of musicians runs infernal sulphur. Hail them! I hope these Brazilians will release a full-length album soon. I wait for this masterpiece impatiently.
QUO VADIS (PL) "QUO VADIS" (CD '02/DYWIZJA KOT)
What can I write here if my peers know QUO VADIS for sure and a new generation... probably won't get it. After all, what you should listen QUO VADIS for if you can play "SHOW NO MERCY" of SLAYER?! But it's not like that! "QUO VADIS" album has got power, one can hear here the will of success, youth, joy of playing, serious attitude (see lyrics). QUO VADIS was a Polish cult band in the late 80's! Later their career went in wrong direction, they recorded worse and worse albums, weren't as popular as in the beginning... But they left very cool demo tapes and two pretty good full-lengths - first of them you can buy now, especially as it's enriched with first demo '88 entitled "QUO VADIS" and video-clip to "Rzeznik" ("Butcher") track! Listen to this record - if you are brutal thrashers you will be in seventh... hell!
RADICAL NOISE "PLAN-B" (CD '00/HAMMER MUZIK)
Turkish band RADICAL NOISE is a representative of the commonest hard core, the trend which is recently very "littered". No rap, no thrash or death metal nor heaviness of nu-metal bands here - just pure H/C. It's great to listen to, even if you aren't any H/C fan. A few Turkish written lyrics, good production and nice booklet have brought more colour to this CD. This band is true and convincing!
RAFFERTY RULES "NAME YOUR GOD" (CD '01/ROUTBURST)
RAFFERTY RULES comes from Greece and offers to us an extremely energetic hard core mixed with thrash metal. As for hard core the guys remind me Turkish RADICAL NOISE, except that RAFFERTY RULES don't smuggle folklore elements in their music. The band defends itself on its own offering interesting musical solutions and arrangements. One can meet here sounds in vein of FEAR FACTORY ("The B.U.S.H."), old SEPULTURA ("Dysfanctional Soul"), now and then PRO-PAIN ("Fear The S."). I can hear also an American modern nu-metal here which suits me perfectly. I hope it won't deter the orthodox, they won't be disappointed for sure. Mixtures like that make the music fresh, but not original, because there are already hybrids of that kind... The guitarist drew my biggest attention, because of his arrangements and the work of his instrument (I adore these Zakk Wylde-like screeches!), it's just a pity that there hardly are solos ("Name Your God"). What can I say about vocals? They are good. Screams appear in proper moments, there are interesting melodies and short "rapping" thanks to 2 vocalists. RAFFERTY RULES isn't boring at all, but it doesn't mean I can name them my gods. Unless I see them in concert :), where the energy following from their music will be surely much better noticeable than the one from the album.
Buy it for only 9$ + postage from 7INCH DISTRO
RAIN FELL WITHIN "REFUGE" (CD '02/DARK SYMPHONIES)
Another classy album. The sounds just flow, and this Dawn's nightingale-like voice... It's beautiful music, but only for the dreamers, the sensitive who like soft, gothic/doom metal. I am not one of them, but I can appreciate what RAIN FELL WITHIN makes. On "REFUGE" one can find a lot of singing, gothic, Celtic elements, keyboards, non-schematic drums beats, sometimes one can meet powerful, heavy guitar riffs, too. The whole album makes a really good impression. RAIN FELL WITHIN - remember this name!
RAUNCHY "VELVET NOISE" (CD '02/DRUG(S)/MIGHTY MUSIC)
Such debut is enviable! It's modern, nu-metal (?) debut which kills with the sound and contents. To tell the truth also this time MIGHTY MUSIC hasn't released anything original, because RAUNCHY cribs FEAR FACTORY as hell, but the CD is very powerful. And the bosses of NUCLEAR BLAST liked it so much that released it on their label! RAUNCHY plays very varied music (even referring to psychedelic rock), very weird, so even some die-hard fans of above-mentioned F.F. can have problems with absorbing the content of "VELVET NOISE". But open-minded listeners will like the band without any problems. Highly recommended album! Especially if FEAR FACTORY is dead...
ROTTEN SOUND "STILL PSYCHO" (MCD '00/NECROPOLIS REC.)
Very good stuff: 16 minutes of brutal massacre, straight in your face, without needless details. It's perfect for Sunday morning he,he. The Finns play such a good death/grind core that pants fall down by themselves. ROTTEN SOUND is inspired by the best metal bands, e.g. AT THE GATES ("Perfection"), MALEVOLENT CREATION ("Ignorance"), DISMEMBER ("Lack Of Awareness"), besides in every sound one can feel the spirit of immortal TERRORIZER and CARCASS! By the way, the band paid tribute to the latter and perfectly played a classic "Reek Of Putrefaction"! Forget their old releases, i.e. "UNDER PRESSURE" and "DRAIN", "STILL PSYCHO" - that's it! And it's got very modern and dynamic sound (TICO-TICO Studio?). As a bonus you receive concert in avi format. Nothing special, but one can take a look...
RUNEMAGICK "REQUIEM OF THE APOCALYPSE" (CD '02/AFTERMATH MUSIC)
The album isn't surprising and the music isn't revealing neither, but it's very accessible. RUNEMAGICK isn't soaked with brutality, their sounds are both slow- and mid-paced. Low vocal, guitars "talk" all the time, but I have the impression that they "talk" the same, but only from different directions and even keyboards appearing in the background don't surprise, though they are blend well into. I don't know if that music enchant and move anybody. It hasn't stimulated me at all, I even felt weariness after listening to it. I think I've already heard it before, I even didn't strain to guess another sounds. Maybe that's the way RUNEMAGICK's music should look like? It would be better to shorten the tracks of one or two minutes and move that magic, unforessen path of the music, wouldn't it? To sum up "REQUIEM OF THE APOCALYPSE" album I can add that it's worth of listening to and the band itself is worth of drawing your attention, but, in my opinion, the group plays too schematically and that's the biggest disadvantage of the stuff. Their attitude to composing the music is interesting, but at the same time they are afraid to be incomprehensible, I guess.
SACRED SIN "TRANSLUCID DREAM MIRROR" (CD '01/DEMOLITION REC.)
It's hard to define such a music. It's neither death, because there is a lack of aggression and darkness, nor black, because there is too many death/thrash-like riffs, nor doom metal. The music of this Portuguese band is very melodic and there is a lot of keyboards, but it's also quite energetic and dynamic. So what does S.S. play? I don't know. One thing is sure - they do it quite well. Here is a bit of LUX OCCULTA, a bit of early MOONSPELL, a few interesting "striking" riffs, a few kitschy interludes in vein of DIMMU BORGIR. "TRANSLUCID..." is not stuff for gore/terror maniacs, but this music is worth of listening.
SACRIFICIAL "AUTOHATE" (CD '02/MIGHTY MUSIC)
"AUTOHATE" it's a kind of very fine mixture of melodic, aggressive death metal a'la AT THE GATES on "SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL" album and powerful, riffing thrash metal known from the American legend - TESTAMENT. The final effort of these Danes is the living aggression heightened by possessed, screeching John Hansen's vocals (something for fans into SADUS). I like "AUTOHATE" very much (also because of the production) and I recommend you to pay your attention on SACRIFICIAL - this band kicks ass as fuck!
SCARVE "LUMINIFEROUS" (CD '02/LISTENABLE)
While starting to listen to the CD associations with Soilwork appear, but SCARVE are more venomous and raw and after a few seconds they become an explosive mixture which borrow some of its components from such bands as e.g. Fear Factory. But it'snot the problem, every band can be compared to the other. "LUMINIFEROUS" album has got its own path, maybe the guys haven't invented it, but they are trying to embellish and modernize it with their own interpretation for sure. But surely? As a matter of fact one can find everything here, from thrash and death metal to nu-metal, indriustral etc. Sometimes such "everything" makes "nothing". And I only wonder if one has to use every known trick to surprise the listeners, no matter if it's old or over-the-top trick. Personally I don't like this music too much, it's not enough clear-cut, this sound combination is too intelectual. It starts to remind well-packaged sweets when the taste doesn't correspond to the box. Guys, there's a lot of such "revelations" in MTV, VIVA etc.! What this "new" in aggression and (death/thrash) music for?! It's good that I don't have to give grade, because I would have a problem. Well, I'd like to encourage you to travel together with "LUMINIFEROUS" and to compare my opinion with yours.
SEIRIM "KILL.WAR.CHAOS" (CD '02/CUDGEL AGENCY)
This review won't differ too much from the one written on "BLOODSHED" of MALEDICTIVE PIGS, because SEIRIM is also a mediocre, German band and the CD-booklet is shoddy, too... But SEIRIM is trying to play its (?) death metal in more intense way, pretty fast to not let the listeners fall asleep. Have they been lucky? I don't think so. All the time I miss here crushing compositions and ideas, a professional sound, but as for death metal Germany cannot boast of anything since a couple of years. Because if viewing objectively are OBSCENITY, FLESHCRAWL, HARMONY DIES, PROFANITY or KADATH any outstanding bands? No, they aren't. Maybe only ANASARCA and NECROPHAGIST are able to compete with "US Death Metal Army". Unfortunately, the glory days of MORGOTH and old ATROCITY have gone...
SELFHATE "AT THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED FEAR" (CD '01/SELFMADEGOD REC./MCN REC.)
This material was recorded over 5 years ago (!) and was released "only" 2 years ago. But I don't mind that, because it's fuckin' great stuff! While listening to "AT THE BEGINNING..." there's no mercy - just heavy guitars, extreme grind core vocals (it means growling alternating with screams), distorted bass (as e.g. on NAPALM DEATH's "HARMONY CORRUPTION"), raw sounding drums which can play very fast, but also can slow -down and play passages. For me it's brilliant, especially as I love TERRORIZER to whom SELFHATE is stylistically similar. As a matter of fact there are more elements of crust etc. and the lyrics are in Polish, but it makes the band more original. I highly recommend this band to you as it's the best SMG Rec. release and I'm very proud of it, because the band comes from my region!
SERPENT OBSCENE "SERPENT OBSCENE" (CD '00/NECROPOLIS REC.)
It's another band paying tribute to old metal and they are making it in very natural way. If you like hard, brutal, thrash metal of old German school (DESTRUCTION, SODOM, old KREATOR) and the American one (POSSESSED), very softly dyed Swedish death metal (old ENTOMBED or DISMEMBER), in that case SERPENT OBSCENE will press you into your armchairs, especially while listening to such killers like opening "Devastation" or - known from the demo - "Violent Torture"! Add also great, raw sound reached at Berno Studio! It isn't ship-shape album for mother's boys, so decision if to buy it or not is yours.
SERPENTIA "...AND THE ANGELS DESCENDED THE EARTH" (PROMO CD-R/'00)
"...AND THE ANGELS DESCENDED THE EARTH" - the title itself explains a lot. After a quite good intro (nota bene, one motive is cribbed of PREISNER) I expected something much more better. It started in a "trend way", with some black metal with lots of keyboards, although sound, especially "dry" and too selective guitars (as they were recorded on PC), has spoiled this doubtful pleasure of listening. Very quickly "...AND THE ANGELS..." turned into unidentified creation of kitschy metal. Here there's a lot of acoustic parts, doleful melodies, keyboards, female singings etc. and those few heavy metal riffs aren't able to extract not a bit of optimism from me.
c/o Michal Huk, ul. Golebia 4/2, 31-007 Krakow, Poland
SOLAR DAWN "EQUINOCTIUM" (CD '02/MIGHTY MUSIC)
Polish readers know "EQUINOCTIUM" very well, because this album was added to one of "THRASH'EM ALL mag." issues, but MIGHTY MUSIC sent it and I'm under an obligation to write some words about it. As for SOLAR DAWN, I can say the same as about their label mates, ENTER MY SILENCE - interesting, but typical Scandinavian death metal. To tell the truth, the band doesn't bring anything new into that kind of metal, but at least the guys are able to execute it excellently, they have (every now and then) interesting ideas. Besides, they have bigger claws comparing to the above-mentioned guys from Finland since you find here brutal, thrash metal riffs, too. I like this powerful, maximally improved at Abyss Studio album, though it's obvious that next time I'll put AT THE GATES or SOILWORK into my CD player.
SOULLESS (USA) "AGONY'S LAMENT" (CD '02/WORLDCHAOS PROD.)
In one of the reviews I mentioned that in Poland itself there were a few bands using this name (!), so I don't know if changing this unoriginal moniker wouldn't be a better solution. But let's leave this problem to the Americans... SOULLESS belongs to the bands which very skilfully mix two kinds of metal, i.e. melodic Swedish death metal and thrash. Really, I cannot refuse to acknowledge their perfect musicianship, pretty good guitar solos, decent ideas and good sound, too. As a matter of fact, "AGONY'S LAMENT" isn't as brilliant as "SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL" of AT THE GATES, but the album isn't boring at all and may absorb some listeners. I don't know what SOULLESS lack. Maybe they lack something what would distinguish them from many other similar bands? But I know the band deserves a solid promotion and a wide audience for sure. Pay attention to them!
STARGAZER / INVOCATION "HARBRINGER" / "H.A.S.T.U.R."
(SPLIT CD '00/DIES IRAE PROD.)
Gods!!! Gods!!! Gods!!! No fucking comment. Ok... I have to say something more. STARGAZER and INVOCATION perform Old Mighty School Death Metal on the highest and amazing level! STARGAZER is more original than INVOCATION is, but it doesn't matter. Both materials are phenomenal. If you need any description, I throw you only 2 names, there are (early) MORBID ANGEL and ORDER FROM CHAOS - do you need more to go mad? You must get this CD - I really don't care whether you buy it, steal it or something else....GODZZZZ!!!
SUFFOCATE "LUSTFORHEAVEN" (CD '00/EREBOS PROD.)
From their discography I like "UNBORN SUFFER" demo the most, which some time ago was very well known in Polish underground. Later they recorded MC "EXIT 64" - it featured weaker, more into hard core stuff. And now we've got CD entitled "LUSTFORHEAVEN". The album is addressed to "EXIT 64" followers, not the demo fans. SUFFOCATE A.D. 2000 it's a modern, death/hard core band, well skilled, well sounding, but is the mixture a good idea? I don't think so. In my opinion, one shouldn't mix such extreme kinds of metal. But if you like SICK OF IT ALL and other, more brutal bands - don't hesitate to reach for "LUSTFORHEAVEN".
SYMBOLIC IMMORTALITY (PL) "DECISION IS POWER" (CD '02/DYWIZJA KOT)
SYMBOLIC IMMORTALITY is a very underestimated band, in any case there was no promotion, too... It's one of many cases when the music wasn't able to defend itself. Even the woman who uttered some powerful sounds didn't help in achieving the success. Such a growling should be every deather's dream! Musically SYMBOLIC IMMORTALITY offers pretty "catchy", mid-paced death metal, with melodic, fabulous solos. Maybe GOREFEST will be a good comparison? I don't know. In any case even after those 7 years which went by since the recording session, this stuff still sounds interesting. Recommended!
TAETRE "DIVINE MISANTHROPIC MADNESS" (CD '02/MIGHTY MUSIC)
I don't remember TAETRE's debut "THE ART" well, but as far as I remember it wasn't so thrash oriented as their brand new album is. There's some old school feeling in "DIVINE MISANTHROPIC MADNESS" and it makes me pleasure as I was growing up listening to thrash and death metal of the late 80s. Fans into such (melodic) death/thrash Swedish bands as MERCILESS, SERPENT OBSCENE, SWORDMASTER and the like won't be disappointed for sure while communing with TAETRE. Good riffing, uncomplicated drums work, aggressive vocals and permanent drive forward - these are determinants of TAETRE's style. Other highlight here is presence of Andy La Rocque behind the knobs. Very good album, really!
TEARS OF DECAY "SAPROPHYT" (CD '02/CUDGEL AGENCY)
TEARS OF DECAY has prepared to us a brutal and fast debut. The band owes the latter factor to their drummer - the band's strongest point, although the drums sound isn't good (except drum-bass). The vocalist is lousy (especially in growling parts), the guitarist have bad sound, so it's hard to say something concretely, but I can hear they are trying to put many thick riffs into their songs. And the bassist doesn't stand out, too. Traditionally, as for German brutal death metal act, the guys aren't exactly original and don't have good ideas. They have good exemplars (a.o. SUFFOCATION, DYING FETUS), but "SAPROPHYT" compares unfavourably with even the worst album of the above mentioned. But I think that having such a solid technique they are able to create album that will pay our attention for a longer time. But, unfortunately, I can't say this about "SAPROPHYT".
TENEBROSUS "S/T" (CD-R '01/TENEBROSUS PRODUCTION)
This stuff is the past, because Metal Mind Productions has already released the band's debut CD entitled "THE FALL OF WORTHLESS MORALS". But let's spend some time on the promo. This horde prefers uncompromising black metal in vein of both Norwegian and Slavonic bands. I can hear the guys listened to SACRILEGIUM in the past for sure. TENEBROSUS' songs are pretty compact , fast drumming make them brutal, while schematic, trite and melodic guitar riffs rather won't send shivers down your spine. Sooner Michal's vocals will do this. I don't like bass guitar lines, too - these parts have weakened the stuff as for the sinister message. But he doesn't play in the band anymore, so maybe his successor did well on the album. I think TENEBROSUS can consider their debut stuff to be successful, but if I were you I would reach for the new CD. Supposedly it's very fast and crushing like MARDUK's albums themselves! Anyone interested can buy it at www.metalopolis.pl
THALARION "TUNES OF DESPONDENCY" (CD '02/MIGHTY MUSIC)
"TUNES OF DESPONDENCY" doesn't surprise - it's just natural continuation of "FOUR ELEMENTS MYSTERIUM" album. The band still plays already perfectly mastered doom/death metal where one can meet a lot of accelerations and brutal vocal parts, what makes this music not so nauseating and sentimental. Of course, as for doom metal band there are keyboards in the background and female vocals, too. You can like the latter made by Nela (I hear she's made progress) the same as varied Juraj's vocals who screeches, whispers and first and foremost powerfully growls. "TUNES OF DESPONDENCY" is a more dynamic album, with larger number of fast and violent parts comparing to the previous record. And even fans into melodic death metal, who aren't very fond of doom/gothic bands, can like it. I'm glad in Slovakia there are such gifted groups.
THORNSPAWN "EMPRESS FROM THE REALMS OF BLASPHEMY" (MCD '01/BAPHOMET REC./NECROPOLIS REC.)
Either I'm into Black metal recently or I do like BAPHOMET REC. releases, despite theirs simplicity and lack of originality! Of course, THORNSPAWN is an American horde in the vein of Norwegian old school. Comparing to their label-mates BLOOD STAINED DUSK, THORNSPAWN is faster, rawer (for example there are no keyboards here) and sounds more interesting (not so Norwegian). I have the impression that the guys of THORNSPAWN are also more into the 80s, but don't be afraid - there's no retro shit here. I find it astonishing that EP "EMPRESS FROM THE REALMS OF BLASPHEMY" doesn't differ from the debut album entitled "BLOOD OF THE HOLY, TAINT THY STEEL" at all! Either they used the same studio or composed the tracks in the same time. Or maybe these are first symptoms of stagnation? I wish I were wrong.
THRONEUM "OLD DEATH'S LAIR" (CD '02/WEIRD TRUTH PROD.)
I love this band! For consistency, no compromises, honesty (sometimes too big) and total devotion to the cause. The debut demo "BEYOND THE NUMBERS AND CREATURES" hasn't heralded such changes in their music at all. I expected they would go more into US death metal and what a surprise - old fashioned Death/Black Metal! The demo 2001 "THE UNDERGROUND STORMS ETERNALLY" shocked me totally when I've heard sounds into DARK THRONE and ASPHYX (!) and "OLD DEATH'S LAIR" album only confirmed myself in the conviction that the group knows what they want and won't give up. Dirt, chaos, simplicity, sloppy sound, extremity - that all comes out of my loudspeakers now. To tell the truth, I like the above mentioned demo more (also because of better sound), but I can't refuse to acknowledge the album's blasphemy. Tom's vocals have changed (now they're more original and sick, almost as in POSSESSED!), we have solos here and Alex (drums) plays faster. I don't have to recommend this album, because maniacs of old school have been licking their lips for a few minutes for sure while thinking of buying this CD!
THY DISEASE "DEVILISH ACT OF CREATION" (CD '01/MMP)
You can already buy their second full-length entitled "COLD SKIN OBSESSION", but I'm going to introduce you contents of their debut CD, as I've received only that record. At the beginning I had an impression that it's a very average stuff, but in fact there aren't many bands like THY DISEASE which play death metal with keyboards in the background. It isn't so melodic and nice as death metal from Gothenburg, neither symphonic black metal in vein of DIMMU BORGIR nor American intelligent brutal DM know from CANNIBAL CORPSE records. THY DISEASE's music is something between, it's kind of mixture of various styles (also thrash metal), but they are closest to last DIMMU BORGIR's album mixed with death metal. The sound isn't bad (as far as I know JARO HOME Studio is becoming more popular day by day), also the booklet is alright. You don't have to be concerned about musicianship, too, if you know other well-skilled bands from Cracow as SCEPTIC, ATROPHIA RED SUN or CRIONICS. By the way, THY DISEASE has a lot in common with the above mentioned since Michal Senajko sang on SCEPTIC's "PATHETIC BEING" album and Marek Kowalski plays the bass in CRIONICS. There's no point in writing about strongly re-arranged version of MADONNNA's "Frozen", because many others did it, especially as you should treat the song more as a curiosity than a work of art. In my opinion the stuff could be shorter, because 47 minutes it's too boring.
THY DISEASE (PL) "COLD SKIN OBSESSION" (CD '02/MMP)
For a good start I'd like to affirm that the band has been consistently improving its style. As you can remember from "DEVILISH ACT OF CREATION", the group executes a pretty good death/black metal. "COLD SKIN OBSESSION" is surely better and more interesting than their previous CD, the band has started to play more brutal and intense music. Could the young boys have become the men he,he? There are a lot of good riffs, the drummer is very efficient, besides the keyboards are "cosmic" and the vocals are solid, not boring - I like it. Of course, it isn't any revelation nor striking CD, but the guys have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. THY DISEASE's recipe for success is a very adroit combination of death metal brutality with dark atmosphere and black metal melodies. In their music I've detected many influences, for example in "War Is Mine" and "Ultimate Reign" one can hear echoes of MORBID ANGEL, while "Qualbuhu la jadruqqu" could be LAIBACH's song without a problem! So you can see how wide are the band's interests. And thanks to placing DEATH's cover-song "Without Judgement", their own interpretation of the main theme from "The Last of The Mohicans" and "Nihilistic Tranquillity" with Arabian lyrics (another congratulations to Adrian of ATROPHIA RED SUN for the great vocals) the album gained in variety and attraction a lot. Their debut was pretty good, "COLD SKIN OBESSESION" is very interesting, so I'm "afraid" they third full-length will be VERY GOOD.
TITAN MOUNTAIN "ABOVE FANGS OF MAJESTIC STONETITANS" (MC '99/NAWIA PROD.)
This music is chaotic, a little bit weird and sometimes it doesn't stick. I suppose these were Nazgrim's intentions and I can't refuse to acknowledge his arrangement courage. Even some fans of black metal can have problems with understanding this music and they have right to this. Let's also add strange vocals and solos and "specialists" like me are put on the spot. But the more open-minded who don't discriminate neither against lots of keyboard parts nor avant-garde elements in black metal will be pleased with the stuff. TITAN MOUNTAIN is an interesting phenomenon - it's great that there are people who try something new, but this music lacks professionalism (also as for production) and cohesion.
TRAUMA "SUFFOCATED IN SLUMBER" (CD '00/PAGAN REC.)
The album has been waiting for this review for almost 2 years! It's a real record as for "Burning Abyss", but I hope it was the last event of that kind. Fortunately, "SUFFOCATED IN SLUMBER" features such a modern and still fresh material, that time changed nothing here and I listen to the stuff with the same pleasure as I did a several months ago. First impression was the bigger severity comparing to "DAIMONION", predecessor of the album discussed, but after a few listenings, after getting into the album contents, a structure of "SUFFOCATED..." I came to a conclusion that it's perfectly arranged, rich album, very interesting, brutal but melodic, catchy and original one. But I don't understand why they used in "A Deep Scar" the typical of NAPALM DEATH vocals. Maybe I'm picking on details... One cannot compare TRAUMA to other American or Swedish death metal hordes - as Mister's way of playing guitar is so characteristic and his ideas are conglomeration of different influences and fascinations. Nevertheless this album won't be a milestone in death metal, but it will be a perfect release in your collection. I do recommend this precise killing machine from Poland!
TRIVIAL THORN "RAVENOUSNESS" (DEMO '00)
I hadn't expected that the band so fast would go away from monumental black metal, showed on MC "BEYOND NOTHING". Total line-up change (only the rhythm section left) have changed TRIVIAL THORN's face incredibly. There are no traces of black metal any more, but we have here a lot of non-brutal death metal and.. hard rock (very audible even if in solos)! You should understand they've achieved very intriguing mixture which isn't comparable to anything. You aren't able to foresee any phrase here, because in the middle of a track you can be surprised with e.g. funky bass after which there hard playing follows. And it's the biggest success of the band, in my opinion. I like it and you should give them a chance, too.
c/o Membaris, Mitry 4, 81-601 Gdynia, Poland
UNNAMED "PROMO 2000"
Songs from this promo one can find on UNNAMED's latest CD entitled "ID" out on Polish APOCALYPSE PROD. These 4 tracks are enough to form an opinion on the album. Briefly speaking it's a brisk, simple doom metal ("Saving Myself" or "Dancing With Desire"), with no needless boredom, inspired by late PARADISE LOST and ANATHEMA and also last TIAMAT's releases, what you can hear to a fault in "Choice". The quality of my tape doesn't let me to judge the sound enough, but I suspect it's a good production, clear for sure. Vocals aren't of the high class, but I'm glad Robert just tries to sing, not to roar, so be aware - don't expect any growls here. Summing up, it's a soft music, perfect for rainy days, so don't forget autumn is coming!
Promotion: "EMTE 'zine", email@example.com
What I adore this band! Every time I play one of their stuffs (beginning from the demo and ending on "SKELETAL SEASON") I run amok and my hairs start to roll by themselves. Unfortunately, "NECRONEMESIS" is their weakest record ever. I don't know if these guys have started searching for new musical ways or simply this record didn't work out fine for them. First, production - the album was supposedly recorded at very good studio, but so what if it lacks depth, aggression, dirt and metal kick so characteristic for their previous materials. Musically "NECRONEMESIS" is still old school, but some strange elements appear here, they aren't necessary and good harmonized. Guitars fart instead of crushing and the vocalist who used to scream almost like Tom G. Warrior now gurgles hopelessly like the court singer of GOREFEST. King Diamond sang in one song but so what? It completely changes nothing.
V/A "IN THE SIGN OF THE HORNS: A TRIBUTE TO VENOM" (CD '00/DWELL REC.)
Everybody knows VENOM or should know at least what isn't so sure knowing fans of CRADLE OF BORGIR but fuck them. This time in the undertaking reviewed such bands as NOKTURNE, BLOODSTORM, DIABOLIC, ANAL BLAST, NOCTUARY, ACHERON, MORK GRYNNING, RITUAL CARNAGE, EVIL INCARNATE and some others took part. To sum up: 55 minutes of VENOM's music played by younger death and black metal bands, released to pay tribute to the Metal Gods and to fill DWELL REC. owners' pockets.
V/A "KING DIAMOND TRIBUTE" (CD '00/NECROPOLIS REC.)
Another "tribute" from DWELL REC. Couldn't they release some normal CD's? I'm sick of those "tributes". Well... let's get to the point. All the bands rose to the occasion. Very good songs from knights of DARK FUNERAL, DAMNATION did very well, too... and what? Nothing! I hope no-one buy it. For hard core fans of KING these songs will be just usual profanation and to the rest of you I recommend the original or a packet of beers.
V/A "OVERLOAD 2: TRIBUTE TO METALLICA" (CD '01/DWELL REC.)
Brazilian version of "Phantom Lord" by MYSTIFIER begins the album - it's impetuous and in the old vein. KRABATHOR made an effort to play "The Four Horsemen" - no revelations, just simple thrash/death metal. Later SOLARISIS appears, it's an one-man project (of Dutchman - Gijs Van Ouwerkerk). Supposedly he performed "Nothing Else Matters", but we've received melodic, Swedish death metal - I don't like it at all. I don't know NEW EDEN, but I like their version of "Ride The Lightning" so, that I'd like to become acquainted with the band's works. I could say the same about LAST CHAPTER, but their "Escape" lacks venom. I don't know SOULLESS too, but they executed "Motorbreath" well, but these screeching vocals botched the track. NOCTUARY played "Lepper Messiah" with a fury, besides it's one of my METALLICA's faves. FROM THE DEPTHS set about "For Whom The Bell Tolls" - I tolerate this version. I was surprised with DIABOLIC, because they chose "The God That Failed" and sang it with clean vocals! Alright. ABOMINANT couldn't choose better - "Battery". But where's that heaviness, that energy we all know from original version? BLASPHEMY DIVINE showed themselves to us in a positive way, they've added to "Welcome Home/Sanitarium" a little bit of hellish atmosphere. The album is crowned by "The Call Of Ktulu" of COFFIN TEXTS, you can meet them on DWELL REC.'s samplers very often. They haven't failed as usual.
V/A "REQUIEMS OF REVULSION: A TRIBUTE TO CARCASS" (CD '01/DEATHVOMIT REC./NECROPOLIS REC.)
Correctly executed cover songs. What else can I write about albums of that kind? The songs recorded by REGURGITATE, ROTTEN SOUND or IMPALED are first class in its own right, but some bands weren't able to play CARCASS' music enough well (but enough to be featured on this album), I mean here e.g. HAEMORRHAGE, CATTLE DECAPITATION. In general one will find here 18 tracks, 17 bands and 63 minutes of pure slaughter. Will you manage?
V/A "SCREAM FORTH BLASPHEMY: A TRIBUTE TO MORBID ANGEL" (CD '00/DWELL REC.)
Dutch MANGLED started very impressive with "Visions From The Darkside", they used simple means, but the effort was effective; this track is their very good showcase. Another ones are Dutchmen too, this time from CENTURIAN. They executed "Blasphemy Of The Holy Ghost", but made no impression on me. But ANGELCORPSE's "Demon Seed" did - these guys massacre everything and these killing speed and piercing guitar! Brazilian HEADHUNTER D.C. presented a pretty good, dark version of "Blessed Are The Sick/Desolate Ways". "Rapture" & DIABOLIC - see: ANGELCORPSE. WITHERED EARTH set about a great "Day of Suffering", but didn't pay my attention at all. MYSTIFIER wasn't impressive too, but they attitude to "Chapel Of Ghouls" was serious and full of respect. DRACONIS played "Evil Spells" in the really black metal vein and I must admit that it has its own style, one can like it indeed. BLACK WITCHERY's "Unholy Blasphemies" stole by like a hurricane. INFAMY faced fuckin' heavy "Fall From Grace", but their way to MORBID ANGEL is very long. We have Poles here, too. They're called DAMNATION and played "Bleed For the Devil". Objectively saying they didn't bring shame on our country, on the contrary. COFFIN TEXTS haven't failed again with "Thy Kingdom Come". THE CHASM executed "Abominations", but I prefer their own works. "Ancient Ones" was recorded by famous in the Polish Underground band named AURORA BOREALIS. They rose to the occasion. EXMORTIS closes the album. Of course, there's no better final song than "God Of Emptiness". Conclusion: "SCREAM FORTH BLASPHEMY" is one of better to listen to "TRIBUTE TO…" albums.
VAMPIRIA "AMONG MORTALS" (CD '00/ICARUS REC.)
I never was into melodic doom/black metal enriched with keyboards, but Argentinean VAMPIRIA has created such interesting stuff that I listen to it with a real pleasure. In Poland this kind of music was played by e.g. ASGAARD who prefers more ambitious sounds now. VAMPIRIA is more classic, but these dynamic compositions can carry listeners away, in live version too, I guess. Male vocals on "AMONG MORTALS" are varied, but sung in black metal vein, the keys are sweet and the sound is clear - it lacks South American dirt known to you from many brutal records, so that's why VAMPIRIA doesn't sound exotic, but like another band from Europe. In general, it's a good debut, so the band should follow the success and record more interesting and intelligent album. In 2000 they got stuck somewhere between modest symphony, interesting doom and aggressive black metal...
VILE "DEPOPULATE" (CD '02/LISTENABLE REC.)
These guys don't bullshit, but play such "US death metal" that paints fall down! It's fuckin' intensive stuff, perfect musicianship, great, heavy sound - does fan of "American brutality" need anything else? I don't think so. VILE it's a real future of death metal, maybe the guys aren't so original and shocking as NILE was a few years ago, but e.g. DIABOLIC left behind. I recommend this album to either fans of CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL or fans of DERANGED.
VLE "BOOK OF ILLUSIONS: CHAPTER I" (CD-R '01)
VLE is an American, one-man project. In addition it's very mystic and mysterious... VLE isn't trying to impress with its technical skills or show off sophisticated arrangements. This music is damn simple and slow, sometimes it's unpredictable, too. Doom, slow parts are sounds known from first albums of the English Trinity, i.e. MY DYING BRIDE, ANATHEMA and PARADISE LOST, add also melodic, gothic riffs and keyboards. Vocals, the same as synthesizers, are very in the background - don't know if it was made intentionally or by accident. But they are full of charm and in every song they are different: beautiful in "Freedom to Fly", typically dark metal in "Behold the Night / Beyond Sunsets" and rough black metal in "Timeless". In general, they are simple compositions, illusory, I'd say - dreamy, forcing to dream, evoking a sweet sleepiness. The riffs seem to be infantile, but they bewitch with their simplicity - they move us to the land of illusions, away from the reality, they are not of this world. "BOOK OF ILLUSIONS" contains beautiful sounds, but they would be more beautiful if they were better recorded and the vocals were perfectly improved. But I can't refuse to acknowledge VLE's abilities, for sure.
WINDS OF GARDEN "DUSZE MARTWYCH DRZEW" (MC '99/NAWIA PROD.)
WINDS OF GARDEN is an another project of the man responsible for a.o. L.O.N., SARKEL or HELLVETO! I don't read magazines on black and pagan metal scene only, so the reviews I met on L.O.N.'s works were written by experts on different kinds of metal, so they hardly ever were positive. I have no fuckin' idea about "symphonic art metal" (it's NAWIA PROD.'s description) too, but a layman like me can accept WINDS OF GARDEN. But watch out, this music requires a proper moment and mood - it's specific and you'd better not listen to it while peeling potatoes. On the other hand you don't have to turn off the lights immediately and in total darkness drink red wine. L.O.N. creates his music only using synthesizers, which are also a drum machine. Of course, the whole stuff is enriched with dark vocals, but they aren't typical aggressive and misanthropic screams. The material, in spite of using only one instrument, doesn't bore (although sometimes it's incoherent), which is a great compliment. Maniacs of ambient pagan metal (?) will like it.
WITHOUT FACE "DEEP INSIDE" (CD '01/DARK SYMPHONIES)
I'm glad that DARK SYMPHONIES have decided to release something coming from outside of the States and that Hungarian WITHOUT FACE was honoured! "DEEP INSIDE" is a regulation doom metal album, it lacks just more professional production. Besides, there's nothing to pick on, neither on technical skills nor various Andras and Juliette's vocals (Andras reminds me Jan of the mighty DEPRESSIVE AGE!), nor rich ideas nor progressive inclinations. Something extra is video to "I And I" song. As I mentioned above it's model doom metal album - highly recommended! Additional recommendation is fact that the band has signed to the sub-label of Earache!
WURDULAK "SEVERED EYES OF POSSESSION" (CD '02/SEASON OF MIST)
There's no doubt that in WURDULAK's line-up one can find old and experienced stagers, e.g. Killoy (Necrophagia, Ravenous), Maniac (Mayhem), Iscariah (Immortal, Pain), Jehmod (Bloodthorn), so their music isn't devoid of a note of archaism neither. I would place "SEVERED EYES OF POSSESSION" album somewhere between death and black metal and I myself don't know, which of these kinds prevail at the songs. From the musical point of view this stuff is varied, sometimes it's moody or tastefully arranged. The band serves brutality in a very well-thought-out way, but it's rather mid-paced (some blast-beats appear, too). It's based on good riffs which are trying to arouse a fear of something what should suddenly appear, but, unfortunately, it didn't. And it's, in my opinion, a small disadvantage of that music (or maybe it's not big musical pathos taken from horror movies?). But on the other hand maybe I expect too much, because the production is really very accesible. The sound is alright (guitars - they are more into black metal) and the album absorbs with its variety and originality, though the character and the way of playing instruments by the musicians is noticeable.
ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST "BOHOC A POKOLBOL" (MC '00)
They were, are and probably will be weak. They play boring, insipid death metal. If it's the only Hungarian death metal band, as the biography says, so I feel sorry for that country. Here, in Poland, such materials are recorded by kids after one year of learning how to play their instruments. But I must admit that "BOHOC A POKOLBOL" is better comparing to "RESZEG JEZUS". The new material is more brutal, not so thrashy, but does it matter? Oh, I would forget - the front cover is more pathetic as their music...
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