ABYSMALIST - Reflections of Horror, ADVENT SORROW - Kali Yuga Crown, Aegrus - In Manus Satanas, Aegrus - Wolves Howl Revenge, Akhlys - Supplication, AnnapurnA, AnnapurnA / Clavis Secretorvm, Astaroth Incarnate - ASCENDANCE, Caligari Records, Carcinoid - Metastatic Declination, Clavis Secretorvm, Cthonica - Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction, Dodfodd - Stigma, Greve - Nidingsdad utav det Uraldriga, Mavorim - Aasfresser, Memento Mori, Neptrecus - Ars Gallica, Purity Through Fire, Sanctvs - Mors Aeterna, Saturnal, sepulchral productions, Temple ov Perversion, The Kryptik - When The Shadows Rise, The Lone Madman - Let the Night Come, third eye cinema podcast, Vultur - Drowned in Gangrenous Blood, Werewolf
One more for you to immerse yourself in while avoiding all the pro-Trump insanity your age-addled relations will doubtless try to shove down your throats during one of those ostensibly obligatory “family get togethers” tomorrow…
Fuck those assholes. Find a dark corner, lock the damn door and dig in…
Astaroth Incarnate – ASCENDANCE (December 6)
umm…okay, those of you who wish vintage Cradle of Filth sounded a whole fuck of a lot more like Emperor crossed with Therion, raise your hands.
…yeah, I didn’t think so.
Well, apparently that reaction would be major, life changing news to the Canuckleheads making up this symphonic black metal act, who are clearly more of the Dimmu/Emperor school of such than they ever were Cradle’s more Decadent gothicized variant…and this despite a mediocre, somewhat dispirited cover of “her ghost in the fog”.
Seriously, it’s like someone took all the piss and vinegar out of the song along with Dani’s annoying shrieks…despite clearly bearing a far superior songcraft and less annoying keyboards than the two originals herein, it’s barely a pimple on the ass of the original.
Forgettable fluff, unless what you just read gives you a terminal hard on for some inconcievable reason.
Folks who dig Emperor are like that. The rest of us just stand back and scratch our heads in befuddlement at them.
…or so goes the promo writeup, a cheesy misuse of the English language meant to evoke the naivete of South American blackthrash acts, oddly attached to domestic ones, or in this case, a band from Down Under. Look ‘ere, mate…they may speak with a touch of an accent, but they can speak English, y’know…
Anyway, what you get here is that sort of crusty, overly detuned, reverb-swathed blackened “underground” death metal, so primitive and cheesy as to be sort of likeable in its own right (and if you’re in the right mood).
Problem is…even if you can suspend the musical standards enough to accept the gauntlet they’re throwing down, it’s really, REALLY samey from track to track. This sub-Incantation, proto-Autopsy business only goes so far, and when the demo sounds 10 times better than the “studio” album it’s appended to? Houston, I think we have a problem.
Try the far more enjoyable three track demo first, then see if you can stifle a yawn long enough to get through a track or two of the album proper.
Saved by the demo.
Vultur (Greece) – Drowned in Gangrenous Blood (Memento Mori) (October 31)
Greek act working much the same territory as Carcinoid, but with a bit more variation and atmosphere working in their favor…not to mention a few actual riffs (check out the break in “postmortem lividity” and tell me it doesn’t call early Gorguts or Cancer to mind!)
Unfortunately, this one also has a problem…they seem to have an untoward propensity towards ugly fast tracks (it opens on two of the worst, in fact).
When they slow the fuck down and get death metal, like “high on adrenochrome”, the unfortunately entitled “devirginized, butchered and eaten” (really?) and the aforementioned “postmortem lividity”, they prove they can almost hold their own with the forbears of the genre.
Too bad the rest of this is taken up with effective noise.
Get a clue and slow the pace, you’ve got those moments down pat.
ABYSMALIST – Reflections of Horror (Caligari Records) (August 23)
Speaking of which, here we have a Bay Area cum Sacramento based act who attempt to bear the torch laid down by early Death, Obituary, Baphomet, Autopsy and the like, if only to a middling at best degree of success.
They keep things low, slow and simple, which is how death metal’s generally supposed to be (unless you’re Pestilence or Morbid Angel, anyway)…but there’s too much of a modern feel and tone to this.
The overly raw and noisy production, the sloppy feel, the regular use of dissonance, the thin, mids heavy tone, the vaguely blackened vibe…none of this feels right or bears that vintage death metal sound.
Even so, I’d rather have a dozen bands like this than even a handful of straight up blackened death or tech/prog death acts…or even the overly soundalike silo of “brutal death” (how different can you be, when every single band in the subgenre is trying to be one lone band i.e. Suffocation?)
Shrug of the shoulders, not really worth talking about further.
Sanctvs – Mors Aeterna (Sepulchral Productions) (October 15)
Quebecois black metal. Usually I love the stuff, bearing so much of a dark, atmospheric and introspective vibe as it tends to.
That said, what you’ve got here, bar an excellent churchlike intro with organ and chant, is overly speedy and soundalike, sort of like Watain crossed with Inquisition but with really shitty production and far less hooks.
Yeah, sorry. This one just kinda sucks.
The Lone Madman – Let the Night Come (Saturnal) (October 25)
Overly fey clean vocalled take on doom that bears more in common with 70’s “classic” rock than it should.
Yeah, some bands like Witchfinder General can come off more NWOBHM than doom proper at times, and others straddle the borders of witchy 70’s “occult rock” (Witchcraft, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Lucifer, Blood Ceremony, etc.) but this is more akin to House of 13 without the gloomy sinister feel.
Yes, “house of mourning” has a gloomy chant opening, and “haxan” bears unmistakeably heavy stoner doom riffage…but there’s something too light about this, and when not given the punk gang chorus treatment (as in “haxan”), the frontman just seems…really limp wristed, there’s no other way to put it.
Hey, whatever, but it just seems wrong with doom. There was another band we covered several months back with the same problem, I remember leaving ’em on the iPod because it was doom, only to have a “what the fuck is THIS crap?!?” reaction next time I ran across ’em…
Yeah, that’s the bottom line. Needs more heft, riffwise and vocally, before we can really call this “doom”.
Aegrus – In Manus Satanas (Saturnal) (October 11)
Ah, Aegrus. We covered their Thy Numinous Darkness, which was a bat it right out the park moment, about two years back, and it looks like we’ve caught the band in the midst of a label change or something, as we have two of their releases covered in the same roundup…for two different labels!
This is with their prior label Saturnal, and it looks like another rawness of Horna meets the anthemicism of Satanic Warmaster or Azazel affair…gotta love Finnish black metal, there’s nothing else like it in this respect.
And yeah, it’s still a pretty strong album, though to be fair, nothing here bears the instant appeal of “flames of revenge”…oh, you don’t remember that one? Keep reading, we’ll get there…
Not as strong as Thy Numinous Darkness…or the aforementioned, for that matter. But still worth a listen if you dig the band and scene.
Two tracks of half-assed horror film BGM. Whatever.
Dödfödd – Stigma (AnnapurnA / Clavis Secretorvm) (October 11)
Two tracks of rehearsal space noise (and I do mean “noise” as in deliberate), occasionally with the aid of synth, reverb and delay.
Anyone remember Running Wild’s first two albums? Far more likeable and entertaining than the cheesy pirate schtick they stumbled into and stuck with a year or two after, they joined more of a Teutonic speed metal feel with…well, some really cheesy and juvenile “satanic” lyrics that “Rock N'” Rolf spent the rest of his career laughing about and talking down.
My wife’s personal favorite is the simply monikered “Satan”, wherein the entire band comes to a stop, so Rolf can intone, clearly half in the bag and with a shit eating grin on his face, the song title. Her reaction? “What is he, FIVE?!? It’s like a little kid trying to be “bad”!”
So a good 30 years on from that bit of heavy metal hilarity, we have these Swiss weirdos doing…well, much the same thing, but to more sloppy and juvenile black metal.
Only we’re now expected to take them seriously.
(pauses, wiping tears from eyes and trying to compose self from swells of laughter)
…yeah, whatever. Next?
Oh, Cthonic? Yeah, they kinda suck, but Doris Yeh is awful cute.
…wait…you mean this ISN’T the famed Taiwanese act? Some schmucks out of Venezuela trying to do “underground” style blackened death metal, with belch vox and the worst fucking all mids production you’ve ever heard outside Nattens Madrigal?
…were we talking about something?
Yeah, must have been really inconsequential, if so.
Greve – Nidingsdåd utav det Uråldriga (Purity Through Fire) (August 19)
Really poorly produced symphonic-style black metal out of Sweden.
It’s more aggressive and almost (very early) Norsecoreish than you’d think, with hints of early Marduk and Dimmu style keyboards crossing swords with demo-era second wave Norwegian acts and some oddly black metallish belch n’ roar vox thrown in.
A strange beast, definitely bears some interest and may become one to watch with real production and the more fleshed out material of a full length to judge ’em by.
Neptrecus – Ars Gallica (Purity Through Fire) (August 19)
French black metal, though it doesn’t really sound it.
The frontman tends to go into Fleurety range (or more precisely, those stupid ass yodel howls so beloved of black metal poseurs these days), which is distracting and asinine…but the band behind him is more interesting, with elements of symph (i.e. occasional keyboards) rubbing shoulders with more “serious” and sinister riffs.
The production is questionable, but not the worst you’ve run across in the genre…and nothing about this says “French” save the lyric sheet.
Oddly, they even go into more traditional rock and metal areas on later tracks like “fidelitas” and “aux grands hommes”, go figure.
Not slag worthy by a long shot, even bears mild merit at times (like “mesasger de l’oubli”)…just not sure who this’ll appeal to, when all’s said and done.
I’m giving ’em a pass and reprieve of sentence.
Watch this space, next time around should decide things one way or another.
Mavorim – Aasfresser (Purity Through Fire) (August 18)
German one man bedroom black metal act. Album goes by the name “Asspresser”, if you can believe that.
Well, close enough. Making up a name as stupid as “Aasfresser” just invites that…
Some tracks work better than others here. Closer “qualen zerreissen vernichten” and “ein hasserfulter geist” stand out a lot more than the rest, which is listenable enough for diehard black metallers like yours truly, but more akin to filler if not aural wallpaper than anything to get yer panties in a bunch over.
It’s simply not exciting, if you get what we’re trying to say here…it’s got some appeal (“verhallt in dunkelheit” will certainly start to grow on you by the midpoint, for example), but there’s something vital missing.
You know, that certain something that elevates the best black metal from the passable stuff (and let’s just completely forget the legions of purveyors of pure shit the genre is unfortunately home to, shall we?).
Mavorim is strictly down the middle: passable, listenable but a huge shrug of the shoulders.
The Kryptik – When The Shadows Rise (Purity Through Fire) (October 31)
Greve, Astaroth Incarnate, and now The Kryptik…is symphonic black metal attempting some sort of a comeback?
Well, thankfully these guys do lean just a tad closer to evil sounding shit like Abhor than dogshit like Emperor or populist cheese for your girfriend like Dimmu…but it’s still kind of a stretch.
Where bands like Gehenna or Gloomy Grim made good use of keyboards to some very different effect, The Kryptik, while ultimately resulting in something interestingly atmospheric in its own right, tends to overdo it a bit, at points coming off more obtrusive and annoying than it ever is a positive.
It’s a balancing act, where something like “damned” (or the even more irritating “the last breath of sadness”) makes you want to pop the disc out of the player and smash the damn thing, but the subsequent “flames of revenge” is damn near perfect…and they’re even in the same key!
Ultimately, this one is too far over the top symphonically for these ears…but a bit of restraint on the keys and more bombast and dramatic build on the riffing end, you may have something to watch on your hands.
Call it a missed opportunity, and again, watch this space.
Fast, but super catchy and anthemic, the standout here is B side “flames of revenge”, but even with a stodgy, somewhat hesitant to the point of confused riff that never really takes off, the title track is still aggressive and stand up and salute enough in feel to bring, say, a lesser Gorgoroth track to mind.
But that B side…holy shit.
To hell with the album, this is the Aegrus to grab this month.
ADVENT SORROW – Kali Yuga Crown (CD, LP) (Werewolf) (September 27)
Another act from Down Under, these Aussies deliver…well, let’s be honest. A pretty drab, foot dragging take on black metal.