Monday, April 30, 2012

Acephalix-Deathless Master

I'm really no expert on bands which like to fuse the punkish, raw attitude of crust with crushing death metal stylings, but if there's a good band in sight, I'l take it. I heard some praising the new Acephalic record, and some appraising it, so at first I really didn't know what to do. Some crusty d-beat OSDM sounded tasty, so ı decided to take the album. I don't what happened but somehow, the magic feeling that I thought would happen did not occur, and I suddenly found myself amid a chaotic storm of pulverizing hammers flying at me at full speed, from all directions. This may sound very attractive at first, but over time the album introduces irritating features of its own that causes the listener gradually put down the album in an orgy of confusion and disinterest, and I felt like during my listen. Now, allow me to give some more detail:

The first crusty barrage of tremolo madness ''Bastard Self'' was a lethal dose of the d-beat driven death metal sound that the album displays on many sections, and since it was my first listen, I found it to be quite fresh, dynamic and very heavy, with shrewd usage of the double-bass drums and a little longevity. As the other songs passed and swaggered before me, I slowly lost my interest. I don't why this happened, but I was probably not satisfied with the overall purity and crustiness of the death metal riffs, just as much as I wasn't content with the amount of OSDM riffage used. Don't get me wrong, there are come really juicy and face-bending tremolo bursts with downright crushing mid-pace stompers, but even so, I found the guitar tone to be much too rich and full as if it's a stuffed turkey ready to explode, and the riffs in general are extremely futile when it comes to being spicy and high quality. They're simple, robotic stomps for the most part, and I believe it's the ridiculously heavy tone and numbing effect of the riffs that drives fans crazy, and all  I can say is that it's definitely no way to earn more respect. Not only that, but the riffs are also so simple, and derivative that...well many won't even notice that since the hefty tone wraps the riffs up like a fuzzy rug, but they're just boring, plain and systematic incursions with no feeling, and you may think that the Autopsy-esque doom riffs and Bolt Thrower grooves may garnish the quality, but they just make it worse.

The vocals might have been another agitating feature for some, and I am one those. The vocal style of ''Dan'' is just indecipherable, and I can't seem to see what difference they have when compared to the vocals used in a random brutal death metal band. And I detest brutal death metal growls. When compared to other examples, ''Deathless Master'' is still far from the worst and it still has some energy inside it, and the only reason disliked this album is that Acephalix were not able to expose that energy using the right way, and as a result, we got this. True, energy and diversity is not the only thing that puts some flaws on the album, there are exasperating elements found in quite an abundance and those could only be fully replenished in time, and no doubt when the band decides to work harder on the complexity of the riffs. Most of ''Deathless Masters'' hooks missed my vital organs, and the album failed to pull me into the same monstrously entertaining vortex as it pulled several others, but let's be patient and let us pray for all hope is not lost for Acephalix.

Raw Life
The Hunger

Rating: 68,5%

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Begrime Exemious-Visions Of The Scourge

Canadian black/death combo Begrime Exemious exploded with the release of their most recent effort, ''Visions Of The Scourge''. Unlike many bands who tend to sink lower in quality with each release, Begrime gradually advance towards even more filthier music, and they certainly don't succumb to the pathetic modern metal trends easily. At first, I remember finding this record quite mediocre, but it's a fact that it takes a couple of listens to grab a sufficient amount of the listeners interest, and a couple more listens to pull the listener towards its eternally numbing, chaotic vortex. Just one glance at the black ad white cover art can be a very vivid image of what the album has to offer, a venomous serpentine creature lurking in a crypt laden with skulls, painfully slithering around flames. This album is downright evil and filthy, and its venomous flames will consume a listener slowly, but painfully, giving him/her little chance to run or fight back.

On ''Visions Of The Scourge'' you'll find a nice amount of influences engaging each other abhorrently without hesitation. The album's incredibly raw and unpolished, and despite the massive black metal influence looming over the music, the riffs manage to sound very sharp and groovy, with the additional raw production quality deviating the music, forcing them to dive headfirst into walls with no control. I also found the album to be thrashier than usual, but most of the thrashiness comes from the groovy chainsaw Swedeath guitar tone, another ghastly detail to add to the music. There's almost no use of melody, but with so much chaos and distortion lingering about, there's scarcely any need for melody as even the smallest dose might ruin the album and its amazing raw quality. The vocals are your typical ear-grinding rasps, the ones occasionally used in war metal bands, and they blend into the chaotic music very well. I also see little or no technical proficiency here, but just as the usage of melody, its completely unnecessary because the riffs can sound catchy and crunchy enough with no additional aid from any other aspect in the music(as if there are any).

I can also hear some other influences that aren't as prominent as the other such as an early Autopsy sound, with a few doomy passages added here and there to grab the attention of old school doom metallers as well a turbulent punk attitude caught in the mix, providing some good headbanging moments for the listener. ''Chasm To Obscurity'' is such a track, carrying both doom influences and an outrageous deathpunk attitude, making it a very diverse and creative track. Longer tracks that tend to stretch as long as six or seven minutes consist of instrumental moments during their second half, and that's when the band needs to create a abundance of catchy, venomous riffs that can flow with ease on their own, with no help from the vocals, and fortunately the brutal groove mustered in these tracks pull the listener to themselves, showing that they won't yield to boredom that easily. Every track is damn near stellar and every track is just as volatile as the previous. ''Visions Of The Scourge'' compels any sort of melodic/technical/polished sound away, and brings the listener one huge step closer to the atmosphere and the raw black/death sound of the late 80's and early 90's. It's one disgusting discharge of abominable blasphemy, heavy, utterly pulverizing and in-your-face. Get it now if you're into deathpunk, war metal, old school Swedish death metal or black/thrash, as this monster has them all.

Chasm To Obscurity
Perverted Decadence Churning
Sacrament Of Virgin Flesh

Rating: 88,5%

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bestial Holocaust-Into The Goat Vulva

Bestial Holocaust have been around for over ten years now, and their third offering ''Into The Goat Vulva'' is a prime example of their primal, bestial black metal madness with very strong thrash over tones. Copious amounts of black/thrash legions have came and passed, and unlike the constant feeling of boredom that retro-thrashers tend to give, these hordes of black/thrash hybrids actually escalate towards improvement with every release, each one slightly more bestial than the previous. There may some exceptions, drone bands that shamelessly copy the likes of Desaster, Destroyer 666, Aura Noir and Gospel of The Horns, but aside from those, the current black/thrash scene keeps fueling the bestial thrashing energy like nothing I've seen before, and Bestial Holocaust is one fine example of these bands. They've inherited the ghastly black/thrash savagery of the aformentioned bands into their music almost perfectly, and what's more, is that they've added the chaotic feeling that was originated by. war metal masters like Bestial Warlust and Blasphemy.

Every track is equally ear-piercing and equally blasphemous as Bestial Holocaust offers non stop black/thrashing energy for the whole of the record, making it one lethal release. I can't really separate one track from another very easily, but I do know that ''Into The Goat Vulva'' is exceedingly fertile when it comes to creating riffs, bearing a bountiful arsenal of chaotic riffs. Most of the riffs are diverse, deranged pieces of flurried chord and tremolo picking sequences and they never seem to cease, as if it's an unending maelstrom of vicious tribesman, throwing spears and stones and then engaging in ghastly melee combat. ''Virgin Lust'' and ''Demonios Devoradores'' are straightforward, hard-hitting demons, displaying styles that are widely used in the album and ''Premonciones'' explored lower notes while descending during tremolo incursions, yet sadly, most of the aspects of all the songs on the album are very similar, making it a bit of a tiresome listen if one is not completely devoted to all things black/thrash. But nonetheless, the album drives the listener through a dark, demonic labyrinth where haunting demons and crypt fiends chase him/her without giving a second to breath, and every riff offered is crushing and barbaric as fuck, even though there's little or no gleaming brilliance to bestow that sort of sharp and precise sound upon the music.

''Into The Goat Vulva'' doesn't support the existence of much contrast, but it teems with filth and blasphemy, making it a very pleasing listen to those enjoy the bestial side of blackened thrash metal. There's really not really a very distinct sound on this album, but everything it offers is top notch no matter how repetitive, so ı can't give this a bad rating. All the band member did what they had to do, no more, but really, if you're an old school purist you'll see no wrong when hugging the album with blind eyes, because all the rotten aspects are in place and for old schoolers, this is damn near golden, and a good example of one of the better bands from current stream of turbulent black/thrash.

Eterna Posesion
Virgin Lust
Tiara De Aperencias

Rating: 84%

HeXeN-Being And Nothingness

HeXeN is one of those bands who probably will evolve, and have evolved into a more progressive/technical band. After all, their melodic debut album was just pure creativity and genius thrashing combined, and well, this record definitely opens the gate to a new sound for HeXeN. The modern thrash masterpiece ''A State Of Insurgency'' was fast, vicious and ridiculously catchy, and thus, it was flourished with technical proficiency and melodic riffage, making it a very inventive thrash record compared to the hordes of bullshit that had just started rising during that time. I awaited the arrival of ''Being And Nothingness'' wide eyed, and now that I have it, I can safely say it definitely was an unexpected experience for me. Just as many other people were, I expected something in the vein of its predecessor, but ''Being And Nothingness'' was an even more polished effort, escalating towards more progressive territory than HeXeN had ever done.

I'm not going to surprised if most of the people who gave the album a listen won't be completely satisfied with what they heard, because ''Being And Nothingness'' exhales most of the fresh thrashing energy that pumped listeners up on the previous record, and replaces that with a a turbulent assault of melody, and perplexing technical twists, endlessly hopping on the plain thrash metal band wagon. I don't know whether that's a convenient thing to do or not, but I'm sure many purists will be forced to abandon the record in reckless hate against melody, and all things technical. Of course there are other elements on the album which makes it a peculiar effort, such as the common usage of distorted arpeggios and acoustic interludes, as well as diverse melodies constantly entering the mood laden thrash incursions, slowly, ambiguously mangling and twisting the straightforward thrash sound into something much different.

One very interesting thing about the album is that it tends to wrap itself in a thin cloak of black metal every once in a while. ''Grave New World'' burst open with vigorous melodies, and it introduced some black metal-esque arpeggios and some chaotic chord sequences, and even though I noticed this right after it showed itself, but I didn't really think that the whole album would have similar attributes, so I just simply pushed it aside and focused on the music. Shame on me. The vague black metal influence started showing even more explicitly on the track ''Private Hell'', where HeXeN combined technical and catchy riffs with obvious, chaotic chord pickings, and the result was quite queer indeed. Nonetheless, one should also be informed that there are aspects here besides the guitars, and these add quite a bit of spunk to the music. Carlos Cruz is no less a beast then he was on ''A State Of Insurgency'', and the vocal style of Andre Hartoonian has differed as well, and now it's obvious that he has also been affected by black metal as he tends go more guttural and raspier than before.

I honestly don't agree with purists who think that the catchiness isn't here as it was on the previous album, because there're definitely heaps of catchy riffs on this album, even though they may have been slightly mutated by the technical elements that surround the music. The crushing thrash energy is still there, maybe a little obscured but still existent, this time garnished even further with peculiar influences. However, it's true that the album may tend to get a little too melodic at times, which may cause it to loose its effectiveness. I was quite fond with my results, but I hope HeXeN don't turn even more technical and proggy on the next record, because many won't be pleased with such a thing. HeXeN needs to attain a sound that feels like the crossover of the sophomore and the debut, so that they will please both guitar nerds and thrash purists.

Private Hell
Defcon Rising
 The Nescient
Indefinite Archetype 

Rating: 85%

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Sewercide-Severe Trauma DEMO

Just when I was talking about the new thrash scene, more bands spawn from hideous sewers, and bring forth highly praised influences, from the most devastating acts of thrash metal. Australia, who never ceases to deliver mighty fine black and death metal, offer me Sewercide this time, a fairly new band, perfecting the disastrous formula of Demolition Hammer and alike. Sewercide's influences are blatantly obvious and there's nothing new brought to the table, but just the sheer level of energy and crushing riffs are enough to persuade to review this two-track demo.

Sewercide basically sound like a slightly lighter version of ''Epidemic Of Violence'' circa Demolition Hammer. All their aspects and influences sum up to a gigantic death/thrash attack, a relentless butcher, fueled by an unending fire, ignited by the relentless assault of the storming, grooving drums. To be completely honest, Sewercide can't be really dubbed as death/thrash, because there's really no death metal influence existent here, just plain, stomping thrash. Although I'm never displeased with standard thrash aesthetics, I can't deny that Sewercide has borrowed a little too much from D-Hammer, and unless you're totally new to the band or other typical aggressive thrash outfits, I can't really say that this demo will provide much contrast for you, and instead you'll only have the momentary joy of re-listening to the thrash bands that dominated the metal underground during the early 90's and late 80's. There's little diversity and technical prowess, but other than that, I doubt that any thrasher won't like this slab of old school thrash atrocity.

Since there are just two tracks on this demo, don't completely rely on my verdict, because on the next release Sewercide may come stronger, and more inundating. ''Pyrocataclysm'' is one that totally decimates as it could have easily been an extra track on D-Hammer's tormenting debut masterpiece. Everything is firmly placed on this demo, yet it's certainly not an upheaval of creativity. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those nerds who only listen to music that constantly strays from the path, but I just want Sewercide to take that huge infleunce, twist and turn it into their own thing without turning the formula into utter garbage, and then display it with all they've got, and hopefully on the next release, something like will occur.


Rating: 83,5%

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Nuklear Infektion-Weapons Of Massive Genocide

Over the last decade, there has been an abnormal amount of retro-thrash groups emerging and releasing albums or EP’s right away, and then gradually end up being garbage due their huge lack of originality. Countless countries gave birth to an irrelevant amount of these retro-thrash bands, yet Portugal, for some reason has not brought forth any acts that were really worth listening. Not only that, but Portugal also lacks a strong metal scene in general, and I think Nuklear Infektion can really create a certain buzz in the Portuguese underground. Their demo, which was previously released, was fairly interesting an could be dubbed an another aspect of retro-thrash, but I certainly didn't expect this EP. It didn't necessarily blow me away, but the vicious, vivacious thrash madness here was something that drove me insane right away, and it also came with a strong arsenal of riffs, made from cold, hard steel.

Don't let the misspelled band name drown you in ridicule, because judging a the book by its cover is only the first mistake you'll do, and the consequences won't be pretty. This short, concise EP marches towards the listener with crushing, technical and headbang friendly riffs directly after the first signal of impact, without any delay. As I said, the riffs on this album come in a healthy abundance an all of them are equally tasty and sharp. The band can display good musicianship with some of their more technically proficient riffs and at the same time, they can scourge the whole battlefield with filthy, old school thrash, played in the vein of Vio-lence, Morbid Saint, Kreator and alike, and the best part about the EP is that the band also bestirs these technical, catchy riffs with the completely devastating death/thrash chompers, forming a unique wave of riffs that can sink their hooks into the listeners' flesh with no deviation, thus pulling them towards a chaotic orgy of headbanging insanity. ''We're On Command'' and ''Progress' Holocaust'' feature some creative, fun and catchy riffs played in arabic patterns, while ''The Dark Passenger'' is a furious track of pure death/thrashing mayhem, all keeping the listener hooked the whole way through with fresh riffs and arabic solos popping out of nowhere, spraying the music withe energy.

I love the ways the vocals burst through all of the chaotic riffing and scream with anger, though I can't help but notice that they can't be heard too well, simply because they sound as if they're being held back. They sound muffled, nonetheless still very vigorous. The vocal problem is nothing that can't be solved within the next release, and with even more pummeling riffs that were promised by the band, the malignancy and prominence of Nuklear Infektion will rise dramatically within the Portuguese underground metal scene. I can see almost no difference between this EP and ''Eternal Nightmare'', or any other straightforward, thrashing album. This EP's lethal and it shows that this band can evolve into something ferocious, and while it doesn't offer anything very innovative, it easily crushes all that modern thrash metal bullshit.

The Dark Passenger
We're On Command
Progress' Holocaust

Rating: 85,5%

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Ringing Bell-Hospital Corners

Unfortuantely, the consistent flow of disgusting death/doomers ceased its effectiveness and perhaps this is because the bands fail to enter the radar of more mainstream audiances. Macabra, Undergand and Funebararum are some of the more prominent names in this disgusting band of glooming brigands, so tell me, what will we make of Ringing Bell? Their acute deliverance of ghastly death/doom falls far beyond perfect, and even short of good, and with such short an EP, I can't really come to a very decisive verdict about the bands overall performance. This is, after all, some decent death/doom, yet for some reason Ringing Bell haven't quite persuaded me to ultimately enjoy their concise effort, even though I have great adoration for the filthy death/doomers of the early 90's.

This EP has all the makings of a common a death/doom record, but there seems to be something missing in all this, mish mash of doomy chord sequences and glooming riffs. The tempo is set perfectly, having a balance between mid-paced stompers and crushing death/doom chompers, but I can't say the same thing about the quality of the riffs which are fit into these tempos. The Ep certainly doesen't boast variation and the riffs don't support one another, and although the music flows viscously, the riffs all follow similar patterns and there is nothing to spice things up, nothing to persuade the listener to hear the same thing again and again. I'm saying, that there's no highlight, no flamboyance or major attraction to pull the listener to it, instead a steady barrage of doom laden death metal riffs, overflowing with filth, corrupted with a fuzzy tone. I have to give the bands some credit for that. The most basic traits of old school death/doom are all here; the fuzzy, murky tone, the undeniable heft and crushing power of the riffs, the vocals, blending in nicely with the stomping heavy riffs in an utterly grotesque way, and there's also a fun amount of Sabbath worshipping riffs as ssen on ''I Am Blessed With The Throt Of French Kings, Encrusted With Golden Bee'', which by the way has a rediculously laughable title.

So, what I'm trying to say here is that this EP is actually quite good, or could be good once it's flourished and decorated with some nice highlights, more intricate riffing and complex song structures-all things that can be done with ease, but concentration. The EP's biggest gap is that it lacks the brooding, sinister and monstrously overwhelming atmosphere of great death/doom records (Anhedonist can be one of the most recent examples), and without good ambiance or atmophere, a death/doom album is almost dead in my eye, yet good thing that many traits of good death/doom has, only spread in a number that is simply not sufficient. I believe that Ringing Bell could move a huge step forward on their next release if they are cunning enough, but for now ''Hospital Corner'' remains as one of the less effective death/doom efforts of the last 5-6 years.

With Positive Actuator To Project And To Retract

Rating: 72%

Pseudogod-Deathwomb Catechesis

Pseudogod haven't really been around for a substantial amount of time, but during their eight year lifespan, you would expect them to bring forth atleast one full-lenght album, yet surprisingly, ''Deathwomb Catechesis'' stands out as their debut album and naturally I would expect it to be filled with intricate songwriting and complex song structures, but again, these abhorrent Russions defy the traditions and form an album that isn't by any means complex. On this album I found the elusive war metal sound to be highly dominant, and it's indeed a bonus for the band since war metallers have been terribly enshrouded by black/death acts (yeah, there's a difference) constantly emerging from nowhere and then slowly turning onto more mainstream audiances. Pseudogod ahev proved to be one of the more primal-sounding acts that worship old school gods such as Blasphemy, Conqueror, Proclamation, early Beherit and alike, but there some interesting twists and turns that will guide you towards certain nuances.

The riff burst open vigorously on every track, from a subterranean cave of monstrous blasphemy, spraying abhorrent hate and immense destruction to every single place it visits. The traditional sense of raw bestial black metal is here, though I couldn't help but notic that the form of the music is not the rawest, and rather excessible really. There is always a raw production quality and a sinister atmosphere brooding in silence above the music, but the death metal influence stands heavier than the black metal influence, resulting in a disastrous conflict between the two genres, where death metal generally has the upper hand. There is not a single track that failed to impress me with its filthy hooks clutching and distorting my flesh, even though most tracks have small variation and diversity, but the intense assault of primitive, bestial black/death blows it all away with ease. There seems to be a cleaner production in the mix, rendering the album more comprehensible than other bestial acts. I love how the guitars abhorrently collide and mingle, spawning chaos from their mangled veins, thundering with great heft. The album attains a great, fast and energetic black/thrash sound at times, constatly laying siege with rapid tremolo and chord picking with an even cleaner sound circling them, as seen on ''Malignant Spears'', or peraps ''Azazel'', and some sequences on ''Saturnalia (The Night of the Return)'' poke my brain in search of nostalgia, coming from the blackened death/doom passages and haunted atmopshere of the song, never failing effectiveness.

All the tracks strike like war maces, battering and clobbering the listeners head over and over with an unending incursion of pulluted death metal. The vocals, a perfect, sloppy example of the war metal style, fit the music very well also. Their echoing, cavernous voice, filles the atmosphere with every single breath, yet every single breath fades and eroses into the music like dust, dissolving into a turbulent gust of wind. ''Deathwomb Catechesis'' shows that the Russians have still much to deliver, but for now, Pseudogod deserve the right to nap on their throne. Again, I was expecting a slightly more sophisticated and mind-tangling release, but after you hear the blackened death flurry with a healthy amount of thrash on top, you'll have little doubt about the bands seriousness. A shattering release of blasphemous detestation.

Antichrist Victory
Encarnacion Del Mal
Malignant Spears

Rating: 87%

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Eternal Helcraxe-Against All Odds

Normally black metal wouldn't be such a treat for me, but there are so many albums and bands revealing themselves that it's almost impossible not get caught in one's web and whip up a review for it. 2012 has already offered a wide range of black metal albums to those who enjoy the chaotic genre, and even between some of these releases there's come differentiation and contrast, if not all of them. Irish black metal outfit Eternal Helcraxe are one of the bands who adopt folk elements into their music as well as pagan elements and the resultant is a more melodic, epic and moody black metal album that is simply orchestrated very well. With pianos and synthesizer constantly emerging and diving henceforth into the album during its more epic momenents, ''Against All Odds'' makes a peculiar listen, nonetheless still enjoyable.

Traditional black metal elements are obviously very dominant over the music here, but I can't help but notice that the music is more polished and excessible than some other releases, and in addition to that the album attains a crisp clean tone for the most part, rendering it sharp and fresh. Sure, there are very chaotic and intense moments where the two guitars merge and collide, but the vague yet surprisingly common appearence of pianos and synthsizers polish the album and turn it into a gleeming specimen, filled with melody and comprehensible diversity. The fact that the album teems with refreshing moments and productivity is a huge bonus, because many bands these days fail terribly on that subject. The main feeling present on this album is a mix between glory and misery. The epic moments rise when the chaotic guitar riffage appear and when the vocals shreik, when the drummer puts the pedal to the metal, but as the moment of courage and glory slowly fades, the riffs monotonously escalate and gradually take softer forms, such as beautiful acoustic medleys and sorrow-laden passages. Don't get your hopes down just because the album has plenty of melodic moments, though. Tracks like ''Shadow Of The Wolf'' and ''As The Snow Gathers'' have plenty of speed and aggression to them, attaining full speed tremolo bursts and drum battering with ease.

The one flaw that really ticked me off was the clean singing. They aren't used frequently, and I'm truely glad about that, because they were terrible, despite their vague obscurity. The album has its moments where the artificial (or should I say synthesizers) instruments take over what is left of a song and finish it off with a beautiful classical music sequence. Eternal Helcraxe have set their bar high with this release, and I'm pleased with what I heard. The musicianship is there, the atmopshere innevitable, the folk/pagan elements bring diversity to the music, the extra instrumentation gives melody and feeling, and thus if it weren't for these additional elements flourishing the album, ''Against All Odds'' would not have been what it is now.

One Stands Still Here
Echoes Through Our Blood
AS The Snow Gathers

Rating: 83,5%

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ominous Crucifix-The Spell Of Damnation

Over the millions of old school DM worshippers, Mexico's Ominous Crucifix must be one of the most generic, straightforward ones. I've seen numerous bands garnishing their riffs with elaborate redundancy and addin striking features to empahasize the dynamicism, but really, this band wasn't really quite the spice I was looking for. ''The Spell Of Damnation'' can characterised with its solid riff structures, similar patterns, powerful backbone to enable the riffs strong and lasting and its terrible lack of linking different attributes together to improve originality or too add a bombastic touch to the album. The riffs are all hard-hitting, the atmopshere prevails for the most part and you can definetely get an old school Bolt Thrower/Benediction vibe, but that's really all that it offers.

There's a fair enough atmosphere prevalent on the album that obscures the music, the the encirclement of the this ambiguity is weak, as the riffs are perfectly comprehensible. The riffs are probably related to Bolt Thrower circa ''War Master'' especially, and they channel between mid-paced tremolo grooves and hefty yet fairly compelling death/thrash stomps. The reason this album didn't catch my interest (and probably many others' as well) is because there NO energy. No matter how good the riffs are, there is never something fresh to restore the energy and the patterns are so straightforward that the album travels like a long, numbing train ride, offering very little variation or contrast. Luckily the riffs we're talking about here are mostly decent ones, but then another poor quality of the album approaches and kills off almost all my enthusiasm. The vocals here, are even more shadowed then the riffs and ther style would fit more doomy death metal bands better than this one. They have no contast or energy to them just like the music itself, yet on top of such comprehensible, even simple death metal riffage, the vocals don't complement the music. ''Secular Omens Of Doom'' and ''Defiling The Altars of An Absent God'' offer some quality riffs with slightly faster tempos, but unfortunately that's the only refreshment Ominous Crucifix can provide on this album.

All the tracks in general follow similar patterns and structures but atleast the simplicity can provide some attention. There's really nothing technical, challenging or incomprehensible here, just a lack of good songwriting and perhaps some solid tracks and a nicely flowing array of powerful whirlwinds. I don't think any song here really outshines one another, but some are possibly more elaborately composed than the others. In conclusion, the rigid architecture of ''The Spell Of Damnation'' provides with some spunk and an irrelevent amount of excessebility that render it as one of the more common examples of OSDM.

Defiling The Altars Of An Absent God
Secular Omens Of Doom
Primitive Sin

Rating: 76%

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Pharaoh-Bury The Light

New power metal scarcely interests me, and thus I approached Pharaoh's ''Bury The Light'' with a slight bit of trepidation. Now, these guys have been around for more than ten years now, and since I had never encountered them before, I must admit that the only reason I got this album in the start because it was highly praised for everything it contained and I thought that some variation would never kill. And right now, I completely content with decision because Pharaoh's fourth album kicks heaps of asses while it swaggers elegantly with its raging, dizzying brand of power metal that can even have a tough fight with the originators. This not exactly the old school sound that purists may be looking for, but once all the aspects are put into consideration, none of that really matters. This is just a damn solid piece of power metal.

The riffs are obviously the main highlights of the album, they're very sharp and decisive and their delivery is very technical yet deadly. The greatest thing about ''Bury The Light'' is that Pharaoh can incorprate thrash influences into the stroming power metal riffs, and thus garnish them with passionate solos. The music can be frenzied and flurry and the energy prevails no matter what, because with so many spikes striking the listener, it's impossible not to deliberately focus on the mere strenght of the music. The technical prowess and musicianship here is amazing, the guitarists can display confusing and volatile guitar tricks with either the frenzied solos or proggressive riffage and colliding melodies manipulate the sound. The melody section on the album is also stellar and the melodies I'm talking about are real tunes, written and played perfectly, not any artificial sound created by the computer or any distruptive guitar pedal tone. Riffs on this album are surprisingly thrashy, which renders the album fresher than it is sufficient, and the compelling force of the thrashy rythms and hefty melodies hits hard every single time. So sharp that the force spawning from the riffs are enough to clean all your ear wax within just one decisive blow of the acuminated blade that they create.

Admittedly, I didn't enjoy the vocals at first. They put me off because of their style and because of muffled tone that enshrouds them, though soon enough, I got used to them and as the album proggressed, the vocals became an absolute imperative for me. Even now, as I listen to the frantic melodies of ''Cry'' the vocals sound distinguished in their own way, but they only some up as a positive factor. It's true that the vocals are strong yet the vocalist doesen't tend to scream his lungs out very often and on verse and bridges he tends to sing quite normally, with a perticularly erosed voice, that is until the album reached one its many climaxes with energetic melodies bursting from every side and the vocals soaring with and over-the-top tone, capable of even shattering windows. I love how acoustic medleys dive in randomly into the album and alternate the atmopshere in almost an instant. Acoustic guitar medleys show prominence especially on ''The Year Of The Blizzard'', sice half of the song is altered by these acoustic guitar arpeggios and the soft, mellow tone of the vocalist, telling stories.

On ''Bury The Light'' moods and feelings vary as much as riffs and melodies. Epic and heroic moments boil the listeners blood while soft, even miserable moments dominated by acoustic guitar passages chill the listener. With an album drawing influences, or atleast being a remiscent of melodic thrash legends such as Paradox or Artillery, I found absoluetely no reason not to love this album. The land on ''Bury The Light'' is extremely fertile in terms of riffs, the music is like a turbulent yet harmonious tempest, constatly assaulting the listener with intense melodies. If you're a resident power metal nerd, or if you are into the more technical/proggressive side of frantic thrash metal then get this, because its likely to be the best power metal abum of the year--little doubt about that.

Castles In The Sky
Graveyard Of Empires

Rating: 89%

Follow Pharaoh from their Facebook page:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Never To Arise-Hacked To Perfection

The catastrophic wave of extreme metal duos continue to savage the ears of listeners violently, and this time we have an interesting death metal specimen at our hands. If any good Florida worshipping band has emerged in the year 2012, then that's Never To Arise, coming strong with their riff-o-rama ''Hacked To Perfection''. This album is a pure riff-fest of elaborately garnished riffs accompannied with delicate song writing and technical proficiency, which can all easily rage like violent storms over a mosh pit. Brutality is not the only thing that catches my interest here, as these riff buthers have also flourished thier music with queer chords and sounds, and thus even when the albums base structure is tightly associated with brutal death metal, an old school sound seems unavoidable.

I hope you ignored the cheesy cover art and gory peculiarity of the song titles, because asfter you get this you will forget everything. ''Hacked To Perfection'' exposes the concrete wall covering the music, therefore unleashing a furious blizzard of monstrous, ill-tempered riff upon the listener which will no doubt be unaware of the upcoming incursion. Many may think that these riffs are nothing but violent, fast stompers, but in between and under the turbulent assault, there's intricate songwriting and technical prowess, all used in an adaquate manner. Each riff that this album offers is pure delicious ear candy and thre isn't a single song that doesen't twist and collide with the skull or the ear and the riff tend to take even more grotesque forms with the queer chords and sounds that they alternately get garnished with. With these peculiar twists, the album attains some originality, and when the bestowed on the perpetually assulting, frantic tremolo wrenches, the sound that you would want ask from such a band is attained. Each solo and riff is acquired almost flawlessly and upon the raging whirlwinds of riffs flow classy yet chaotic solos, driven towards madness with the insane wrenches of the infamous tremolo bar, infinetely manipulating and comsuming the music. One little flaw that may put off some people is that the drums are programmed, but despite that, the programming is done well, and many won't even notice it's there.

As I satated before, the album primarily draws lnfluences from USDM and Floridian DM stylings. Lots of brutal DM also going on here, similar to early Deicide, Malevolant Creation and some of the descending tremolo pickings may even resemble early Morbid Angel in some way. With lots of variations and twists appearing randomly, songs get a boast in energy and contrast, so that the listener always pursues the music. The most perplexing example to this is the nine minute riff arsenal epilogue of the album, ''Misogynistic Acts of Barbaric Sadism''. Nine whole minutes of death/thrash mayhem, with all the common aspects you've already heard on the album before and even more. The tracks incredibly breaks free of the chains that bind it to boredom, banality, and as if avoiding these cliches weren't enough, it fill the listener's ears with numbing clusters of razor-sharp chainsaw riffs, driving through flesh like butter and cheese. This album earns a strong ''Awesome'' from me even though I'm not the biggest fan of USDM stylings, and who knows what manner of hellbeast it will swarm over the metalheads that adore the American death metal sound.

Misogynistic Acts of Barbaric Sadism
Hyperbaric Torture Chamber
Sloppy Surgery
Mutilation Supreme

Rating: 86,5%

Be sure to be hacked to perfection from their Facebook page:

Trial-The Primordial Temple

It seems that the sudden burst of Swedish death metal bands has also evoked a cool Swedish heavy metal scene consisting from bands such as Portrait, In Solitude, Ghost and the most recent member; Trial. This new wave of heavy metal bands that hail from Sweden bring a different spice to the typical sound of heavy metal, thus creating a different brand. While still having the same dynamic feel of catchy bands, Trial and the aformentioned bands add more melody and feel to their music, rendering the atmopshere moody and rather saddening, sometimes even leaning towards doomier tendencies.

It's a great thing that Trial emphasizes on the atmopshere and moods of the music rather than just directly focusing on the catchiness of the riffs. The riffs tend to get more complex than typical heavy metal bands, though still pretty comprehensible. Every instrument has its moment of catching the highlight on the album, so that no instrument is shunned or left behind. There is a wide range of moods and feelings on the album that really alternate within each track, though some tracks may even fuse multiple feelings and sounds together in order to create ultimately epic moments. Every track is stellar in its own way, and each attain a different style, a different taste. ''Flaming Fate'' and ''The Sorceress' Command'' are truely vigorous tracks that are filled with passion and energy while the title track favours more somber moments, leaning towards that doom influence I was talking about a little more than the other tracks and ''Opener Of The Way'' has a darker edge to it, nonetheless still very dynamic and authentic the whole way through.

The most striking feature of ''The Primordial Temple'' is, for me atleast, the vocals. The vocal delivery is outstanding. Some people state that they aren't powerful of energetic enough-well they can go to hell. Not only can the vocalist scream his lungs out like a shreiking banshee, but he can also compliment every riff very well, channeling through different styles as the riffs vary, and how the vocals blend into the instrumentation is amazing. People probably complain about the vocal delivery due to the irregular usage of the soaring banshee screams. Well, I think its a better idea to reveal the goodies at seldom, so that the listener keeps running for it with voracious desire to overgorge, instead of offering spot-on highlights on every section of the album, which will gradually start to bore the listener. The leads are just as killer and crucial as the vocals, since there's a crazy lead trapped in the bones of every song, waiting to be exposed. It's just insane. There's a fresh solo under every rock that the album encounters on its way and the album spots many, many rocks. The fast, power-chord driven are flourished with huge harmonies soaring on top of them, and eventually the melody and sound attained by all the music becomes so intense that an epic feel becomes innevitable.

The album is pure old school heavy metal with all the features that heavy metal had in the 80's, and even more. Moods vary, riffs get your headbanging face on, vocals soar on top of everything and leads rip with harmony all the way trough. I just hope that such a promising band like Trial won't die unnoticed, because it that does happen, I would be very unhappy. Now that a new wave of Swedish bands have started their assault, the ears of metalheads will be tinging even more, particularly fans of traditional heavy metal. ''The Primordial Temple'' may have its peculiarities compared to the most typical kind, but that certainly doesen't mean that the music is worse.

Opener Of The Way
The Sorceress' Command
Flaming Fate

Rating: 91%

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Warsenal are a very little down speed/thrash outfit hailing from Canada. This just sets the starting line for these young speed/thrashers, although I have a feeling their status will increase quickly within just a few years. This demo contains three songs, and the songs bring a small variety of fun elements to the table and Warsenal puts up a really decent effort from head to toe. The music is ridicolously catchy, and certain attributes such as classic speed/thrash, early Kreator or ''Kill 'em All'' era Metallica spawn viciously from every single riff.

Okay, obviously in such a concise piece of music, you would naturally have pretty simple influences and base structures, and that's how this demo plays. Sure, this is stuff that would have been praised more for its originality and catchiness in the early 80's, but good thrash is in such a bad condition that sometimes listening to a thrash like this makes me feel like I'm listening to my mandatory early thrash records. The riffs are damn simple, but they'll get you headbanging within moments. Occasional group shouts add some spice and freshness to the music, giving vigorous accents to emphasize the already catchy chorusses. The huge ''Kill 'em All'' influenced riffs are absoluetely vicious and crunchy even though the music in general isn't what you would call ''brutal''. The energy is there and its supported by the Millie Petrozza-esque vocals and concise drumming. The demo is an excellent textbook example of catchy, vivacious 80's speed/thrash nothing more, nothing less.

This extremely short demo offers little but offers it in the best way possible. Nothing technical here as the riffs are all perfectly comphrehensible yet the simplicity only boasts the quality of the demo. There are certain influences besides the ones that I have listed although they're vaguely unnoticeable. In conclusion, Warsenal have tapped on my memory and now I have a sudden urge to listen to my old school speed/thrash classics, early Razor in particular since they're fellow countrymen. If these guys release an album soon, be damn sure to get it if you're into recent acts like Withctrap, Midnight or Deathhammer, because it could even compete with those.

Hit n' Run

Rating: 83%

Follow the arsenal from Facebook:!/pages/Warsenal/196923933740666

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chapel Of Disease-Death Evoked DEMO

Demos are always cool, to me they're barers of message, showing that the demo will soon transform into a full-lenght or an EP and Chapel Of Disease's demo is no exception. Now, these guys come from Germany and you can bet that I was waiting for something intense. Since the current death metal scene is overwhelmed by Swedeath and Incatation worshippers I expected COD to formulate a similar sound, yet to my surprise, these guys actually attained the traditional sound of their thrash forefathers Kreator, Sodom and alike. With a lot of thrashing madness and energetic OSDM grooving, this demo makes a fine listen.

With just four tracks and very little variety and exploration in styles, the demo doesen't leave much to be said about except that its crushing, catchy and effective throughout. Tribulation, who choked me in perplexement  with their 2009 album ''The Horror'', could have a fair enough resemblance to this EP, considering both draw heavy influences from primal German thrash metal upon their savage death metal roots. The guitars are clean and razor-sharp, and they only enable the deliverance of the riffs more deadly. ''Sommuning The Black Gods'' is straight up German thrash metal worship, with cruchy chord sequences, and exceedingly fast incursions of pure raw aggression. You might think that such raw power and vivaciousness may terribly destroy any atmopshere, but to the opposition, ''The Loved Dead'' focuses on the doomier sound of death metal, pulluting the atmopshere with both doomy passages and tinging, somber melodies. Especially at certain moments the album attains an Asphyx sound, sounding like almost an exact replica of the band, with mid-paced grooving riffs with just slightly less heft and the immense barks of the Van Drunnen-gimmicking vocals.

Short it may be, but ''Death Evoked'' has a wide range of riffs that all flow like an everflowing stream. The message I got on this one didn't exactly deliver anything I've never heard, but gave me something fresh to listen to every once in a while since the scenes today are dominated with pure Swedeath/Autopsy worshippers. (not that I'm complaining) COD will probably release and album by the end of the year, so this time I'll know what to expect-warning COD, you better come up with something good or else.

Summoning Black Gods
The Loved Dead

Rating: 85%

Monday, April 16, 2012

Legionary-Arcane Divisions

I've been following the tri-state death/thrashers Legoinary for some time, and I was browsing their Facebook page in anticipation ever since the decleration of the release of their debut full-lenght, ''Arcane Divisions''. Believe it or not, Legionary's style actually differs from generic retro-thrashers and idiotic death metal bands who drown me into boredom. Well, the music doesen't carry immense peculiarity but it's still a fresh sound compared to all the other groups popping out of the woodwork. In the most basic terms, Legionary adopt thrashing energy into their brand of authentic death metal, not quite old school but still crunchy nonetheless.

Influences don't come in a wide variety but I can hear some Malevolant Creation, Deicide, lots of Florida DM worshipping, some brutal Cannibal Corpse grooving and a compelling, refreshing thrash energy with some technical proficiency on top of it. All the tracks sustain a groovy and sturdy rythm from the support of the thumping drums, constantly battering the snare and double-bass pedalling even in very simple riffage. The drums don't have much ambiance, so most of its vivacious energy is extinguished with the guitars savagely barking around, but they still give a fair enough groove and spunk to the riffs. The riffs are all very thrashy and genuinely simple, yet catchy and have queer tendencies to adopt straightforward brutal death metal riffage and stir it with the thrashing mayhem, though thankfully the brutal death metal attributes have been added in just the perfect measure, so the album doesen't turn into absolutely unmemorable crap. Guitars and drums cooperate quite often to lay of massive, headbang friendly incursions of pure speed and aggression. ''Absolute Supremacy'' or ''Questions Left Unanswered'' are good examples to these kinds of vigorous bursts of death/thrashing madness while ''Deceiver'' defies the widespread formula with its thick tremolo picking and chaotic chord sequences, and ''Frozen Assassin'' is an even more peculiar specimen, filled with moody the riffs and solos played in the arabic, exotic sense-something that I would kill to hear from any band.

While in the general the album sticks to the brual techy death/thrash formula, there are times where I can feel atmsophere roaming over the music, aided with black metal chord sequences. Along with that, there is a good number of riffs showing technical prowess. The vocals, bare vivid resemblance any brutal death metal band with more rasps perhaps. Overall, ''Arcane Divisions'' is cunning with its speed and eager energy to pursue and crush. True, this may have little difference from the hordes of retro-thrash outfits rising from the grave, but nonetheless a good album. I would really appreaciate the adoptation of more old school sounds on the next album, but thena again who am I to decide the bands future!

Arcane Divisions
Genetic Legacy

Rating: 84%

Follow the Legion from Facebook:!/Legionaryband

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cruciamentum-Engulfed In Desolation EP

Lately, there's been a constantly infecting assault of 90's death metal, and one band band to emerge from the the rotting sewers of old school stench is Cruciamentum, one of the most grotesque. Crawling from bottomless pits of old school DM, Cruciamentum hail from the UK, a country which once gave birth to immense death metal monstrosities Bolt Thrower and Benediction. Cruciamentum strike with absolute energy and the constant companion of OSDM rot, following the energy like a shadow. This is not the prelude of something that was not witnessed before, but it's one thing to be definetely be excited about, because amongst tens and thousands of new 90's worshipping bands that flow like rivers of decay, Cruciamentum stand out with their elaborate song architecture, cryptic dynamicism and unending current of turbulent death metal that no doubt evokes ghastly nostalgia in the mind of an OSDM fanboy.

The music, when explored with deep precaution, will display all of its colours that come vast variety and contrast to the opposition of simplistic OSDM brutes who emphasize on a single direction in the perplexing inventory of the yet to be perfected art of OSDM. Cruciamentum no doubt borrow more than a few influences from their archaic forefathers. In fact, the band has actually taken aspects from slightly differing bands, thus they have churned all these different styles all togerther to produce a rancid OSDM ep. There is definetely some Bolt Thrower and Benediction worshipping here, and I'm quite content to see that the band has followed a similar path to their fellow countrymen and forefathers, in contrast to bands who show no influences of their national sound and simply worship the already pervasive styles which have been repeatedly done before. Besides the British masters, there is an indulgent sound of Swedeath, taken to add groove and purvey the dark, somber atmosphere. The tremolo pickings are granted a rich and fat tone, which evokes an Incantation sound. Simultaneously streaming guitars sometimes change paths and harmonize in order to attain the same bludgeoningly evil Incantation sound. I have enjoyed how the band's tendency of mixing all these grotesque stylings all together and churning them with  some additional features, but the EP offers even more.

The atmosphere, is a crucial factor in envoking the rancid OSDM nostalgia and frankly the riffage on ''Engulfed In Desolation'' have all blended well with the un-polished production quality to create a blood-curdling atmosphere, aided with heaps of ambiance, spawning from the blustering assault of the riffs. The drums also have a settled sound, dense but still very audiable and of course fitting the music well. The eight-minute diabolical finale, ''Unsanctified Temples'' is one song not to be messed with, While all the other tracks blast out vigorously and spray epidemic with turbulent incursions, this track is alden with disease. Indeed it is yet another exhibition of a common trait in OSDM-doom. Whith eight minutes packed with doom laden passages and sickeningly eerie dirges, ''Unsactified Temples'' is a riff medley, producing riffs which have been borrowed from typical suspects like Autopsy, Fleshcrawl or Incantation. Overwhelming atmoshere of enormous density and giving little space for a listener to breathe is what this song's all about.

Even though I have enjoyed the riffs on a healthy amount of OSDM bands, I feel Cruciamentum made a major difference alongside Horrendous, Morbus Chron, Miasmal or Ignivomous. How these guys put all the great attributes of 90's death metal amazed me, and an Ep is just the start. Every tracks has the rotting stench old school in its veins, and the atmosphere guarantees you that everything is perfectly unpolished and macabre. My final request from Cruciamentum would be to make a full-lenght, and quick because just four tracks at a mere twenty-five minutes will certainly not suffice. When it comes to OSDM, I'm like a vampire with voracious thirst, and if these Brits don't come up with a debut album soon, my thirst will be redeemed with their blood. Hurry up, time is short.

Fallen In Disease
Thrones Turned To Rust
Unsanctified Temples

Rating: 90,5%

Fill your nostrills with more old school stench:!/pages/Cruciamentum/285239791946

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Demon Lung-Pareidolia EP

2012 did not offer a huge variety of doom metal, and thus you could say that I was excited before I gave this a listen. Admittedly, I haven't listened to any doom this year other then Anguish's magnificent album, which is could easily fit in the best doom metal albums of the year list. Now Anguish showed pure old school tendencies and elements carved deeply into their music while Demon Lung come with a different style. Indeed I was exppecting straight, glooming doom metal but ''Pareidolia'' introduced some aspects leaning on a more crushing, thrashy side, particularly more modern as well. And with the female vocals to top it off, I was in for an interesting experience, though not necessarily one that would sink its hooks into my flesh too deep.

The guitar riffs are vociferous and very loud, at times loud enough to enshadow the drums and the vocals. I must say that I don't quite enjoy this tone to its fullest because with even strokes dividing the riffs as they monotonously swagger, the tone drowns and pullutes the rest of the riffs. I enjoy the more clean, less distorted tone applied to my doom metal and the tone here is quite the opposite, just chunky and murky, something that annoyes me more than you would think. And the riffs aren't that doomy either, simply because they mostly channel in and out between mid-paced chompers. The music is just too crushing to be called doom metal and the atmopshere is rendered almost destroyed. Palm mutes are common aspects on this album, and to be honest, they don't compliment the music any better, chunky mid-paced riffage is better done with faster drumming and in addtion to that the usage of pinch harmonics irritates me everytime it's used. Perhaps I would have approved some of the music if it had some deviation, but even the originality department is futile, and I would have awarded the EP a few points ven if it sounded bad while experimenting. The execution of the vocal delivery is the only thing that deserves good approval. The vocalist attains an Ozzy Osbourne sound and her vocals are strong, despite the fact that they are shadowed by the irritative assault of the riffs. Her voice soars with strict accent and tone and all the delivery is robust.

Well, the EP overall has a number of flaws and the most crucial is attaining the old school doom metal tone, absolutely vital in order to create a good doom album. The album just loses accuracy when focusing too much on the guitar tone, so the rest of the instrumentation drowns easily. Fortunately, the vocal delivery is a fair enough highlight and something which is needs to be the spot-on feature of the album. Aspects are rather drudging and interminable and the riffs need much more spunk than they already have. And yes these gaps are not to be redeemed so efficiently, but overall ''Pareidolia'' is far from the worst.

Death Mask

Rating: 74%

Blood Mortized-The Key To A Black Heart

Just like many bands these days, Blood Mortized follow the favoured trends of Swedeath though I think it would be safe to say that their style slightly differs from any typical Swedeath sound. Because the band includes ex-members of Amon Amarth or Crypt Of Kerberos, slightly varied styles blazon at times on top of the straightforward Swedeath influence. Different this may be, but it's not always such a great trait to attain. The band sometimes experiments with unnecessary sounds,displaying experimantal and melodic styles, which frankly are a bit unusual and don't compliment the music in an excellent way. Though overall the music hits hard and even tends to become rather blackish at times.

Firstly let me point out that Blood Mortized don't play some of the most aggressive Swedeath around, and their style leans towards more experimental sounds usually. There is a number of good, hard-hitting riffage, which are solidly constructed but the band likes to try experimental guitar tones and randomly decorate the riffs with them, which can create a different experience for the listener. One thing that I certainly approved is the atmopshere. It lingers for the whole of the album, even though at times its density isn't as inundating as other moments. The atmopshere follows the riffs everywhere, whether it be weak of prevalent, its always there, and I think the experimentation really helps the atmosphere build up to its best. Clearly Blood Mortized are more influenced by the more moody and depressing tendencies of the sub-genre, thus they have forfeited most of the raw and vicious attitude that is much common is Swedish death metal. These stylings hace no doubt created something less derivative than the currently followed trends, but the question is, does this change always bring up notably healthy results? The question deviates in different people as all have different opinions, but in my humble opinion, for the most part experimentation enables the album fresh.

Despite the relative change in sound, the alnum can definetely conjure some hulking riffs, particularly thrashy and even showing glimpses of technical prowess. ''To Murder A God'' and ''Unleashing The Hounds'' are build principally on this furmula, with little flourishment and more concentration on the solidity of the riffs, to give out vicious waves of crushing Swedeath monstrosity. Towards the album's conclusion, the riffs attain more black metal influence and epic tendencies than they've ever had. ''Shadow Of The Quater Sun'' is a good mash up of moody black metal and straight up death metal attributes, which were seen quite frequently on the previous tracks. While the songs are at striking speed, one cannot avoid the the feeling of depression and the overwhelming atmopshere ranging over the riffs. The musicianship is there, the technical prowess and the experimentation done to stray from the usual path. ''The Key To A Black Heart'' is not for everyone, because of its peculiar oddity and urgent tendency to commonly deviate from sounds that are more extensive.

Doomsday Architect
Dead & Rotten
To Murder A God

Rating: 85%

Friday, April 13, 2012

Impious Baptism - Path Of The Inverted Trinity EP

There are many one man death and black metal projects out there, yet the one done by J, must be one the more promiment ones. Surely, Impious Baptism is a relatively unknown band, but it satisfies my voracious thirst for the one thing that I have not getten enough of ever since the release of ''Unholy Exaltations Of Fullmoon Perversity'', war metal. Now I'm not I die-hard fan, but I certainly like the way the raw death metal guitars grind an scratch on the atmospheric surface of black metal blasphemy. This wave created by infamous bands like Conqueror, Blasphemy and Bestial Warlust continue, with  even more strenght. Some of the more dominant bands like Archgoat and Proclamation have released excellent efforts whose hooks will sink into your flesh like butter, and yet one of those bands is Impious Baptism, steady to assult you with its black/death monstrosity.

The EP follows all the blasphemous trends that were created by aforentioned masters with little derivation and change in sound, but still managing to sound as distorted and ungly as possible. J, who has played in numerous Australian bands like Destroyer 666, Nocturnal Graves or Hobbs' Angel Of Death who have all somehow been involved in his dark brand of black/death, playes all the instruments on the album and I have to admit that that's no easy task. Sure, the album strays just a little from the traditional sound of cadaveric satanism, but the riffs are well-constructed and there is no bullshit, just straight up, full speed riffage played most intensely and chaotically. All the riffs channei in between furious tremolo descendage and distorted chords, and drums batter non stop. The is a good concentration on the catchiness on the material too. I mean, black metal can't really get too groovy, but the riffs are all headbang friendly and even slightly memorable between that filthy rubble of debris which provides all the atmosphere. There are cool moments where the drums and guitars cooperate and produce stomping mid-pace chompers, as seen on the title track. There is also a healthy amount of thrash influence to be found here, one trait that streches the sector of originality since many bestial black metal acts prefer to use thrashy monsters at seldom, and that's something I can't quite understand.

With even just three songs and a total of eleven minutes, the album can serve some punishing justice, in the rightful vein of their genre-defining forefathers. The vocals are just as demonic as the riffs, guttural snarls that evaporate and erose as soon as their delivery is finished, in order to emphasize the ominious atmosphere. ''Path Of The Inverted Trinity'' carves through your flesh and grinds you up into uneven pieces and then gladly bashes your remainders bloody. This is the bestial assault that I had been waiting for sometime, and I'm glad that the delivery was still fresh when it came. This EP will constantly lay unholy seiges upon you, therefore if you like Blasphemy, Bestial Warlust or alike, there's no reason not to feel the satanic might of this one.

Doctrine Of The Antichrist
Path Of The Inverted Trinity

Rating: 77%

Profanatica-Sickened By Holy Host EP

I must admit that I'm definetely no huge black metal fan, and before I listened to this EP, which by the way is nothing like an EP lenghtwise, I approached with trepidation. However, In the end, I was more satisfied then I would have ever expected. Profanatica delivered some of the craziest, most aggressive black metal I had ever heard and got my headbanging face on as soon as the music commenced. Profanatica caught my attention with the ridiculously designed riff patterns and musical structures that sound nothing like an arranged composition, and in fact it wouldn't be wrong to say that the structures are mangled and deranged.

Of course the structures weren't the only things that caught my attention. The veins of the riffs are overflowing with pure raw aggression and energy and sound nothing like epic, or even atmospheric. Within just seconds after the riffs started, I found myself furiously headbanging to an abominably filthy kind of music, mangled and distorted beyond belief. The primal savagery is supported by the brutal assault, layed by the drums in the back. The drums really provide a lot of support to the riffs, constantly stomping and battering the snare, as if trying to kill a wild boar with blunt war maces. The riffs are all your typical fast paced tremolo pickings and they are quite numbing. Sometimes the music gets so intense that I feel that a turbulent tumor is growing in my ears, cranking up the volume to unbarable heights. The music was constantly assulting me, not giving me a single second to blink my eye or take a breath, as the songs follow eachother directly and there are no ambients or instrumental medleys in between. The title track and ''Jenovah Fading'' are straight up caveman crushers, displaying their barbaric aggression the whole way and ''Holy Trinity Done'' simply starts like its predecessors but ends at a turtle's pace, showing that the album may have really queer attributes and structures. The vocals are scary good, barking and brutalizing the vocalists guts every moment. They don't appear to often, but when they do, the level of chaos increases rapidly.

All of that pretty much covers ''Sickened By Host''. While the originality was poor and repetition was quite frequent, the riffs were savage and velocious enough to earn eighty points, all on their own. This is one album not to be messed with. No epic, folk black metal can be found here, only ultimately brutal and bestial black metal of the most primal kind. I was sickened by a host alright, but I have serious doubts about whether that host was holy or not, because in this album, only blasphemy prevails. Andit prevails stronger than anything else-I guarentee you that.

Sickened By Holy Host
Jenovah Fading
God Blessed Them

Rating: 81%

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Escarnium-Excruciating Existence

You know that feeling, when your heart beats like a double-bass drum assault when you find an album that's different from the currently followed modern trends? Well, that feeling has struck me several times, especially during the last month and the most recent heart beater is Brazil's Escarnium. Most of the recent death metal emerges from well-known countries like Sweden or the US but Brazil was a bit unexpected. Nonetheless, thinking of the savagely murderous scene of Brazillian death/thrash came to my mind, and for an instant I felt like I could hug the album with closed eyes, without any hesitation at all. Escarnium did not necessarily fail to amuse me with their crazed, frantic album, but I was just expecting something more off the wall, rather than the similar Incantation worshipping done once again.

Incantation and perhaps some Deicide. That's the shortest way to discribe what's going on in this album. On one hand I was quite displeased with what I heard at the beginning, because I had expected a less derivative and sound from Brazil, but on the other hand I couldn't help notice how elaborately the band had worked on the riffs, managing to sound like Incantation and alike, bordering to Incantation territory quite frequently. Incantation-esque tremolos come like a rain of arrows on this album, with the same dark atmosphere providing tinges of glooming misery at the same time. While the sector of originality may be extremely futile, I have to give credit to the band for assaulting the listener almost constantly with velocious and brutal riffage. The drums batter and slam almost non-stop and the tremolo riffs shape and descend within their own dim space, so that that the music flows with no negation until the very end. ''Self Proclaimed Messiah'' is one utterly pulverising mid stomper, having its nimble moments as common as its moments of doomy, sludgy crawls. The vocals blend in to the tremolo chugs in a super easy way, and thus still managing to be audiable and excruciating. The bass lines are perfectly audiable as well and they support the heft of the riffage in every single moment.

The album may seldom take shapes and turn into horrifying, ghastly monstrosities-another common trait found in Incantation's music. The riffs are all blunt and smothered evoking the effect of evil rather than dynamicism and the percussion is great, may be not very variant but still absolutely crushing the whole way. All this covers pretty much all of the general traits of the album. The aspects could have used some more contrast but once again I must state tham I'm forever humble to the eternally numbing effect of the smothered riffage, no matter how infinite they may seem. The only one thing I could suggest to these Brazillian death metallers is that the album could have used some of their predecessors primal savagery and energy, and once that is attained and put in place the upcoming album will sound even better than this, not that this is a bad album, but it just had some flaws.

Covered In Decadence
Excruciating Existence

Rating: 88,5%

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mass Burial-Of Carrion And Pestilence

Much like their fellow countrymen Graveyard, Mass Burial play some of the most widespread styles currently present; Swedeath. The direction leans and focuses on pure old school Swedeath, played in a very similar vein to masterpieces like ''Like And Everflowing Stream'' or ''Left Hand Path'', but trimmed and cropped so that the simplicity of the riffs is may be displayed with ease. Old school and brutal this may be, but if you are not in a voracious binge fro Swedeath, the simplicity and plain sound may put you off easily. Fortunately, I have always been a die-hard fan of the scene and have bared too much of this style to give up on it now, especially when we're talking about such a good example of the ancient stylings. Pulversing and velocious is the perfect description for ''Of Carrion and Pestilence'' yet the band can't give the same archaic, rotting sound that may Swedeath metallers perfect add chunks of into their music.

The riffs are definetely there, crushing an oppressive as ever and never failing to enable a good head bang. The fact that the album delves into even more primal stylings actually caught my interest, since the riffs are quite thrashy and of course ultimately distorted and mangled with fuzzy guitar tone, like a crazed electric chainsaw, ripping and shredding a man's guts and belly like a spastic maniac. The riffs are indulged in the guitar tone, and they thrust themselves into the listeners ears every single time, creating a battering impact, both sharp and bluntly archaic. Now these kinds of riffs have obviously been played over and over again, and they are absolutely nothing groundbraking, in fact it wouldn't be wrong to say that they are a bit too simplistic, but efficient blows always strike me hard, and leave some severe scars. With the structures adn repetetive patterns also pervasive, the feeling that the band tries to do something to uniquely decorate or boast the quality of the album comes and goes often but unfortunately their desperate attempt to experiment through more complex sounds or styles fail for the most part, putting the war of originality to conclusion rather shortly.

One thing that offers some change and ingenuity is the relatively frequent usage of solos, and I'm only saying they're frequnetly used because many bands these days almost never go down their frets and play some cool leads, especially black or death metal bands. Anyway, the solos as you would understand are nothing worth some serious attention, they're not virtuosic shreds or anything, but are simple brooding, haunted melodies obviously used to emphasize the shrunk amount of atmosphere on the album. Even so, the leads are barely sufficient, and are almost of no use. The primal savagery of the album is there, along with a tinging old school feel, but the atmopshere fails to go above basic standards every time, and that sucks for sure. Though it was obvious that the band failed in  ambience from the start, due to the clean atmopshere and rather vigorous incursions that assaulted the listener quite commonly. The vocals provide some quality, with their echoing and tremolous tone and guttural barks. I'm just glad that most of the music carries vivid resemblance to the music of their forefathers.

Even though ''Of Carrion and Pestilence'' is was a enjoyable listen, even I have my boundaries, boundaries which indicate that too much derivation can never reach collosal heights. Crushing and delivering the music like a chainsaw, this album is just pure primitive brutality and nothing more. I had a number of gaps, in which the most important one is the lack of brooding atmosphere, but it could still last a while. I am ascertain that noone one will gape in bewilderment when they listen to this album, but the one who worship the sound that it attains, will have a headbanging feast.

Rotten Rise Again
Intense Genital Punishment

Rating: 84%

Monday, April 9, 2012

Black Breath-Sentenced To Life

I honestly can't understand the connection between the pathetically crafted album art and the album title, but as long as the music is good, I couldn't care less. Black Breath are nothing like like what you've heard before this year. Well, technically they are, but when bits and fragmants of differentiating sounds get sewn together in an orgy of malevolant intesity. ''Sentenced To Life'' subsumes such a vast abundance of musical styles that at first, it wouldn't be a shock if one wouldn't be able to classify this. Fortunately, I was warned before I listened to the album, so the riffs and complication of variation didn't come as a complete surprise. If we are to classy them then the best way would be to call them death/thrash/crossover/punk, which just isn't easy to spell out.

The riffs come in a superb abundance, from clusters of death/thrash insanity, to straightforward death metal tremolos that grind you up, to crushing crossover riffs, all presented to the listener with an intense punk attitude in the background. I just love how the riffs teem and overflow with dense energy, ready to be exposed with a sudden impact of brutality. The music just never bores you, with such variety and little nuances. The songs are all kept at a short length and thus have been abridgened in order to maintain the same level of dynamics through the whole album. And I have to say, the lack of lenght has indeed increased the rate of effectiveness and freshness since the album stops at thirty-two minutes. Some tracks may slightly stray from the pervasive path of pure, crushing and plain assault of riffage. ''Endless Corpse'' is a different tune, dealing more doom than say punk or even death, with its stomping mid-pave moments, brooding melodies and only handful amount of energy. Most tracks go with a steady thrash influence lingering at the back for the most part, and the crushing energy of thrash metal only empasizes the raw power of the album. Luckily death, thrash, punk  and crossover are the only styles prevalent on this album, or else we would had a real hard time trying to comprehend things, getting hit with a different weapon everytime we would turn to understand what had struck us previously.

The vocals are the key to the maintaining the energy here. I can't quite relate the vocalist to any of the singers I know, but he sounds like a frantic death/thrasher with a lot of punk attitude and furious barking most of the time, like the riffs. ''Sentenced To Life'' would not have been the same relentlessly crushing and crazed monster if it weren't for the vocals, guiding the riffs furiously.I come to cunclusion that Black Breath have indeed created something that's different even though, the originality can only boast the quality until so much. Massive Assault, probably followed a similar path to Black Breath, only leaning more on the death side and thus pushing the thrash influence aside. Either way, Black Breath's sophomore is for fans of frantic, frenzied death/thrash that also rots of punk and hardcore to provide that amazing attitude and energy. And the album is probably another good example of the ''Music doesen't have to depend on the artwork'' formula.

Home Of The Grave
Mother Abyss

Rating: 89%

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hyborian Steel-Blood, Steel And Glory

After dealing with waves of pervasive death and thrash metal bands, I thought I'd try something different. No doubt, Hyborian Steel provided me with such a thing. Hyborian combine the heroicism of power metal with the ridicolous jumpiness of heavy metal in order to form ''Epic Power Metal'', something which you don't see quite often. Indeed at first, ''Blood, Steel and Glory'' had an amazingly epic feel, roaming over the warfaric lyrics and atmosphere to add additional spunk. Repeatedly slitening to this record enables the listener to finally comprehend the atmopshere, and finally come to cunclusion that Hyborian Steel's style is also quite pervasive, but it's just so fun to toy with that one can simply not care.

The music reflects the lyrics quite excellently, providing both a heroic and barbaric sound for the listener to acquire. The vocals, which may seem irritative and annoying at first actually make up the key bases of the album, adding a tremendous backbone to the album, and thus not only allowing the riffs to sound epic, but also giving omnipotency to the music to increase effectiveness during accents. Most of the songs deal around more epic and comprehensible structures, covering the music with thick epicness and decorating the riffs with harmonically inclining lead sections. So many guitars gather around in the solos that the music turns into ''happy metal'' all of a sudden, the climax of epicness. Of course, nobody said that the music would be all cakes and lollipop. ''Acqilonian Battlecry'' leans slightly towards the more barbaric side of power metal, with its striking riffs, herpic breakdowns and thanks to the atmosphere which acts like a battle scene. But the real track that attains the barbaric sound is ''the Mountain Of Crom'', a vicious track it is, especially during its first half, the song purely concentrates on all things savage and warfaric about power metal. After some time, the spikes of savagery do melt down slightly, but I could only care. The band have also put a versatike cover of Cirith Ungol's ''War Eternal'', that just follows a very similar path as the band.

The vocals are annoying even though they are supportive, and that's all I can point out. The delivery of the music on ''Blood, Steel and Glory'' is magnificent, especially during the first few songs. If you are hunting for something different than the widespread sound of death, thrash and black, then I can't seem to understand why you wouldn't want this album. Safely combines power with heavy, supports the structure and accent at all times, provides an epic atmosphere and inserts in so much melody that sometimes I cease to comprehend the mash up of notes. A new wave of heavy metal bands are coming your way, and with bands such as Midnight and Hyborian Steel leading the front row, there's no stopping this contemptous wave of invading heavy metal monsters.

Aquilonian Battlecry
The Mountain of Crom
The Black Hand Of Set
(The Cirith Ungol cover is great too but not an original)

Rating: 83,5%