Sunday, September 30, 2012

Funebre - Cranial Torment

Man, I really love these compilations. Reissuing underrated albums for more exposure one thing, amassing extremely overlooked demos and EPs into single packages for gruesome, carnal delivery another. Xtreem Music has now gathered all the pre-1991 material of the Finnish cults Funebre in one case, and now, listeners can enjoy the ''Cranial Torment'', ''Demo II'' demos and the ''Brainspoon'' EP the same way they enjoyed the bands vile splash of vile that was ''Children Of The Scorn'', and what's more is that you can feel the rawness and sheer decomposed splendor of these ghastly tunes the way they were taken out of the oven, fresh but rotten, oldie but goodie.

As I said, the authentic production quality helps reinforce the notably primal disorder the album espouses, and you've got vitriolic churning of traditional decayed Finnish death metal in its most macabre and aggravated form, sticking to the path that Convulse or Purtenance took, with a heavy blend of charnel Swedish chainsaw insanity, the same way Nihilist did it in the late 80's. The amalgamation is, of course, nothing new if you've already witnessed the band's excellent full-length, but I've always considered contemplating certain band's primordial exhalations in order to compare it to their somewhat more polished released. In death metal, old school death metal, I have a strict little rule; the more crude and primitive the band gets, the closer it gets to perfection through dissonance and putrefaction. Funebre are easily one of the dominating Finnish death metal acts roaming around 1993-1988, and this temple of embryonic pain is the evidence, clearly.

Thanks to Funebre's slightly original tendencies, we can feel skull-crushing buzz-saw pressure at the same time as somnolent death/doom drudgery. Tracks vary, because the mix does not equalize them all into one single production quality, so songs from differing releases stand out with marginal qualities, and out of them all, my favorite would probably the ''Demo II'' material, which, obviously manifests the darkest and roughest peak of the band's adoration for esoteric and ephemeral horror, sending a barrage of chills down your spine as the ripping chainsaw fluctuates into a grisly slither of flesh and bones. Funebre are one of the best bands to come of the Finnish death metal scene, as already evidenced on their debut, but for furthermore proof of their crude agility, get this compilation and feed yourself all its disemboweled contents. 

Expunging Mortalities
Grip Of Insanity

 Rating: 84%

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Putrevore - Macabre Kingdom

Four years ago, the Swedish/Spanish death metal collaboration imploded their gory malevolence with the discharge of their sole release and debut album, ''Morphed From Deadbreath'' a much mighty suffusion of Incantation and cadaverous Swedish death metal, and despite its distinct prowess and immense effect upon deeply-intrigued listeners, the album did not draw half as much attention as some of the much more dominant retro death metal releases of the same time, such Dead Congregation's glorious disembowelment of evil, ''Graves Of The Archangels'', which no doubt led the upcoming pack of horrendous Incantation worshipers which would shortly envenom the world. Putrevore, on their debut, displayed a relatively fresh formula, a gory soup of rotten Swedish heft and imposing blood, and now, four years after the release of that swampy bulk of an death metal album, we're fed with the real deal, as Rogga Johannson and Dave Rotten, who are now proven veterans of the genre's differing varieties, present their AA material here, and we are enlightened with the fact that the debut was merely the starter meal, and the main dish has just arrived.

Admittedly, my first reaction to this was not at all positive. I didn't leave me flabbergast with its prowess and durability, and it was not what I had endeavored to hear after such a non-apprehensive process of excitement, but everything on the album seemed like tasteless hulk made up of brutal death metal and the subtle, depriving and compellingly evil aesthetics of ''Onward To Golgotha'', but it was the second, or perhaps the third listen which crammed hope into my ears, for the very moment that I realized and comprehended the album's brilliant succession and manifestation was the moment I learned to love it, and it was the moment I was sure the record would be the epitome of many, many retro death metal releases that would come afterwards, or that were already unleashed.

Macabre Kingdom lives up for its name, and that's just the least I can say about it. It's content is made obvious by the savvy album cover that enriches its course. Just think about it; the music on ''Macabre Kingdom'' perfectly fits the ghoulish fiend stalking its subtle minions whilst seated upon a fiendish, emaciated throne of gore, glazing at the undead which kneel before it. A truly gruesome and ghastly image of vividness, and moreover, the monolith that is ''Macabre Kingdom'' is still, so much more. There's a thick, almost charismatic enigma buried beneath the cylopean grooves and the elephantine grooves never cease to slam the listener with the embryonic excellence, stretched upon a base of carnal Floridian brutality, immense Bolt Thrower potency in heft and chomps, and a befouling, rotten contemplation of Incantation-esque everything, from tremolos, to bombastic bombards to swaggering ramparts. I still can't imagine how Rogga took his time to pen these compositions while dealing with a dozen more projects, and yet still elude boredom and add excessive competence and efficiency into the mix, making this the best effort he has ever worked on.

A hybrid on brutality and moist danger and thickness is one thing, evil another. In ''Macabre Kingdom'', you get all of that in one single compiled suitcase. In addition to its tremendous and substantial reservoir of riffs, and its unbridled hostility, the album can effortlessly display its love for cthtonic horror, as on ''The Mysteries Of The Worm Part 2'', which feels as if you're further dragged into a pitch-black void after the barbarous Part 1, and get swallowed by the band's darker tendencies, an emission of gore-laden shadow and cosmic miasma spiraling onto you as you descend further and further down a barren black hole. While the sporadic keyboard is trait specifically belonging to that track, there is a murkier blast of sound waves which evoke evil and raise the hairs on your back that support the album the whole time; the vocals. It's almost as if Dave Rotten reaches the subtlest tone he possesses and then spurts it out in a pernicious gurgle, and believe me, if the instrumental section of the album didn't hold them from exploding, the rafters would have shook, and the cavernous murmurs would have tinged in the core of your ears for hours. Dave Rotten's incredible delivery sounds rather like the product of a brutal rape by a demon, adding impious murkiness into Craig Pillard's already copious voice. Seriously, Dave Rotten sounds like Satan whispering through a hundred-and-fifty meter tunnel. And you're on the other side of it.

Flawless with its combination of brutality and wicked Incantation-esque creativity, ''Macabre Kingdom'' does not merely ''appease''. The underlying creativity and musicianship under its subtext of churning monstrosity is its prime tool and one that can outshine almost the entire race of retro death metal acts, and even a number of the genre's first-comers. This megalith is built upon total and immense doom and evil, and this single 35-minute rupture we received is only a mere flick of the giant's finger. Rogga and Dave's absolute climax is reached with this record and although I don't think this will cease to blow my ears for a very long time, I am still eagerly gathering my courage to face the extremities of a third primal obelisk. With ''Macabre Kingdom'' you will experience brutality, experience pain, experience primordial prowess, experience engulfing evil, with ''Macabre Kingdom'', you will experience immensity.

The Morbid Mass Of Swarming Entities
The Tentacles Through Time
The Mysteries Of The Worm Part 2
Beyond Human Comprehension 

Rating: 92%

Lacerated Metal Weekly Playlist II

Because of my old school kick lately, I haven't been able to listen to a lot of new material, but there's a stockpile of 'em, getting messier and massing as I type, so it won't be long before I come with another wave of fresh recruits.

The Mysteries Of The Worm (Part 2), by Putrevore, off the Macabre Kingdom album
2012, Death metal, Xtreem Music, International
Sounds like: Old Suffocation plus Incantation, Rottrevore

Unholy Executioner, by Gravehill, off the When All Roads Lead To Hell Album
2012, Blackened death/thrash, Dark Descent Records, USA
Sounds like: A punkish Gospel Of The Horns, Slayer, Venom, Destroyer 666, Discharge

Epitome, by Insepulto, off the Morbid Spawn Of Resurrection album
2012, Death metal, Psycho Records, Costa Rica
Sounds like: Morbid Angel, Massacre, Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Cancer

Trials, by Mitochondrion, off the Parasignosis album
2011, Chaotic blackened/death metal, Profound Lore Records, Canada
Sounds like: Antediluvian, Deiphago, Blasphemy, Conqueror, Portal

Ominous Putrefied Ground, by Ataraxy, off the Revelations Of The Ethereal album
2012, Death metal, Memento Mori Records, Spain
Sounds like: Asphyx mixed with Entombed/Dismember and Pestilence, Demigod, Convulse

Well, that's pretty much all the newer stuff going on in my MP3 over the last week or two.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blackened Wisdom - The Angels Are Crying

Obscurities brought back to life with the help of modern extreme metal labels is definitely a notion that I like. Hell's Headbangers are revitalizing and excavating numerous archaic artifacts from the deep, cavernous bowels of obscurity, and one good thing about these restored obscurities is that they're actually old school, extremities smothering ears from the early 90's, and Blackened Wisdom is most certainly a lost, shadowed relic to relished. The band traces its existence back to 1992, where, blackened death metal was not quite as popular as the quickly ripening Floridan or Swedish death metal scene, but these bringers of clangor bare great resemblance to ruinous blasphemers like Blasphemy, Angelcorpse, Impiety and similar acts (although they started about roughly the same time), stirred it up with  a pinch of that frenetic Swedish aggression and tone and produced a very brief three-track EP named ''The Angels Are Crying'', which was never released until now.

Blackened Wisdom's style hardly impressed me at first, but after giving it more than a few spins (which shouldn't take much time anyway), I started enjoying the band tumultuous aesthetics and raw power, and eventually, I came to conclusion that the EP is a pretty solid one. And it is. The greatest part for me was ripping, ferocious guitar tone, which can be basically classified as a sharper Swedeath tone, a corpulent and raw production to suit the primal display of sulfuric strength, and the these eerie rasps and snarls colliding amid the bashing anger of the instruments, and albeit this sounds pretty simple, it actually has a rocking rhythm section and bombastic array of riffs dabbled in raw turmoil, ultimately manifesting a carnal diversity with great intensity. Some riffs have a momentous swaggers that fall plummet upon the listener with a shower of well-sharpened meteors, and some are simply demented war metal charges, circulating hastily around the EP's hellish maw.

Despite its clamorous intensity, ''The Angels Are Crying'' is punishing, swerving, and serves as a prime example of the early aesthetics of black/death, in the vein of Bestial Warlust, Blasphemy and Conqueror. Sure, there's gonna be quite a bit of people who will dispute over the quality of this raw carnage, people who will dislike and even disdain the pernicious ferocity of this brief EP, but hell, it's obvious that the band wasn't aiming for something exceedingly high, so why not just give it a listen, bob your head vigorously and appreciate the energy? For me, the fact that the EP was too short made me kill a few points, and even though I enjoyed the EP the way a fun little EP should be enjoyed, it simply is not enough, even with a lengthier anatomy, to become an essential record.

I, Eternal
After Me Come The Flames

Rating: 78%

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hellbringer - Dominion Of Darkness

One of the few countries who can conjure such massive hordes of quality bands that can compete with Sweden or the States is undeniably Australia, and their vitriolic compendium enlarges every single day it seems, and the latest of the profane abominations to manifest vile material is Hellbringer. Now, this three-piece is not actually the newest act to hail from Australia (though they are quite young), but their debut album ''Dominion Of Darkness'' is good enough to cause hellish barks and immense quakes in the black/thrash kingdom, and after Antichrist's brilliant ''Forbidden World'', this is probably the finest speed/black/thrash hybrid the last three-four years have to offer, meaning that I know have such a burning, profound flame of passion in me that I don't think I'll get jaded about these aesthetics for a long time.

Hellbringer are probably nothing new who has the slightest idea about the primal speed/thrash churnings today, but fuck you, everything has already been copied and repeated countless times and so far you haven't scoffed at any of those plagued trends, so why get agitated by this one? Of course, there are few more reasons why to like ''Dominion Of Darkness'' besides its penchant for deliberately exhaling brilliantly manifested incursions of voluptuous, darkened anger. Remember the Antichrist comparison I made above? Well, I must confide that the resemblance is not entirely accurate, but aesthetically you'll still be able to find a good deal of things similar to ''Forbidden World''. ''Dominion Of Darkness'  inclination is towards the thrash oriented side of things, like Abigail or Barbatos with a wild Australian trace of bestiality, but unlike some of its contemporaries, Hellbringer loves embellishing the speedy, hellish incandescence with a sulfuric dose of crazed Teutonic energy, bringing vivid images of of a devil-possessed early Kreator or Sodom to mind every time you hear vicious riffing.

Hellbringer's diabolic competence shows of every flash of the album. Hellbringer are not building for a culminating finale, they're not delivering splendidly shrewd black/thrash, not are they massing their purgatorial conflagrations to erupt into one tumultuous rupture, they're simply effortlessly channeling throughout the territories of metal that they know best and frankly excel at, and they don't flounder for a second, they don't run out of fuel for the fire - they pierce through whatever hindrances stand in their way as if clawing through a stockpile of disabling blots around the ear, delivering contemptuous, vitriolic and visceral bliss. There isn't even much variation throughout the tracks, but somehow, the furnace never lacks for fire, and with the rancorous screams of the vocalist added to the dark aura, ''Dominion Of Darkness' reverb-ridden atmosphere becomes an unholy ear candy for all those who love their ferocious Aussie black/thrash. There is absolutely no possible way a thrasher or fan of bestial blackened metal can reject this. It's not my favorite metal album of the year, however, it is certainly the best of its field I have come across so far.

Dominion Of Darkness
Deceiver's Chamber
The Rites Of Evil

Rating: 88%

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Eugenic Death - Crimes Against Humanity

Honestly, I have had only one major disappointment for 2012; few or no quality thrash. As thrash is probably my favorite metal genre (and the reason I initiated this blog at the start) I kind of had high expectations for 2012, since 2011 delivered of volley of excellent solid releases, Insinnerator, Antichrist, Warbringer and Vektor being just a few of the copious list. It is great adverse that I was acquainted with few or no thrash acts that actually stood out, and many of those bands have aesthetics almost directly concerning other genre, such as a couple of tremendous black/thrash releases I've come across so far. And yet, I'm still content to see fresher peers emerging out of the woodwork to join the garrulous quarrel of riffs and frenzy, a brisk wave of bands keeping entirely true to their olden bloodline; bands like Eugenic Death. This North Carolina quartet play bare bones, no-bullshit thrash that's catchy, effort-riddled, strict and yet still fun, and most important of all, it's angry, so rest assured; you won't be suffering boredom from crazed motor-charged  punk drunkards on this one.

The fact that Eugenic Death are redolent of death metal half as much as they reek of old school thrash, is a good thing. The band congeals the two elements to form a sordid death/thrash hybrid, something that's not only pretty strict and tempered but also, in a way, different, and these so-called death/thrash aesthetics remind me of some of my favorite death/thrash acts of the 90's and late 80's, such as old Necrodeath, Ripping Corpse, Massacra, Cancer, and some obvious brutal thrash outfits like Dark Angel, Morbid Saint and Demolition Hammer, and even a few minor tweaks concerning the rippling eloquence and raw ferocity of the Bay Area thrash bands - a well selected and robust combo. You'll hear you typical, carnal thrash chugs and progressions, briskly hurrying alongside a precise drum beat, and there's even a subtext of vile melodies swinging by to invigorate the momentum. Much of the riffs have a somewhat ''street'' sound to them, which probably comes from the dirtiness of that meaty overtone, but striking excreta doesn't just rush hastily into truculent combat, as if vaporizing into some frenetic rupture, but keeps true to a certain formula, to a certain stance, when you find yourself between a volley of vigorous thrash attacks, you can't help but have a hell of a time, right?

The vocals also embrace that dirty street feel of the album. They're harsh, raging just like the guitars, and somewhat bulbous in the delivery. Hovering over the sordid dynamics going on under, they serve their purpose well, and that's all that can be said about them. I sure am glad I was acquainted with Eugenic Death and ''Crimes Against Humanity'', because these madmen simply charge and punch you right in the face with a big ''Fuck you'', and then they just leave you there to rot. I'm not the keenest supporter of this thrash revival, because with so many unnecessary acts emerging, it's more and more agitating, yet I'm glad there are a few non-drunkards around like Eugenic Death who can deliver that mortal breath of fresh air just in the right time, and you know, this isn't extremely original either, but it's not another blast of cheesy histrionics, and believe me, I'm thankful for that.

Plagued By Ignorance
The Devil Waits
Crimes Against Humanity

Rating: 84%

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lacerated Metal Weekly Playlist I

Right, since I can't constantly invigorate this blog with reviews (which is pure drudgery, believe me), I decided that I could at least freshen the blog by informing my readers with what boils up in my MP3 every week. Firstly, the list is purely post-2000 metal - so don't nagging me about how I don't listen to enough old school stuff. I listen to tons of old school metal, and as a matter of fact during holidays I tend to give my classics and newly dug archaic obscurities more spins than any of the new material, but on normal occasions, with the pressure of bands and PRs/labels demanding reviews, it's pretty hard to listen to my old school stuff, stuff that I don't review (expect for Nightmare Reality Webzine, that is). So, yeah, the first rule is that this list is solely made up of post-2000 stuff. The second, is that although I'm dubbing this as a ''Weekly Playlist'', I may not be able to update it weekly, or sometimes I may even feel more zealous than usual and I'll post another playlist before the seven-day mark. Finally, the number of songs each list consists of is not a definite number, but if I had to give you a rough idea, it would about 6-8 tracks apiece. And now, without further due, the first of Lacerated Metal's weekly playlists:

I - The Devil Awaits, by Eugenic Death, off the Crimes Against Humanity album
2012, Death/thrash, Heaven And Hell Records, USA
Sounds like: Ripping Corpse, Demolition Hammer, Morbid Saint, Sadus, Possessed

II - Terra Akeldama, by Auroch, off the From Forgotten Worlds album
2012, Death metal with black metal influences, Hellthrasher Productions, Canada
Sounds like: Pierced From Within era Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Brutality (USA)

III - Victims Of The Blade, by Antichrist, off the Forbidden World album
2011, Speed/thrash with a black metal undertone, High Roller Records, Sweden
Sounds like: Abigail, Barbatos, Venom, early Kreator, early Slayer, Midnight

IV - Crumbling Insanity, by Hooded Menace, of the Effigies Of Evil album
2012, Epic melodic death/doom, Repulse Records, Finland
Sounds like: An epic Asphyx, Runemagick, Solothus

V - Crotalus Horridus Horridus, by Serpentine Path, of the Serpentine Path album
2012, Death/doom, Repulse Records, USA
Sounds like: Asphyx, Winter, Autopsy, dISEMBOWELMENT, Coffins, Cianide

VI - Summoning Aural Hell, by Black Fucking Cancer, of the Summoning Aural Hell demo
2011, Black/thrash, self-released, USA
Sounds like: Desaster, Destroyer 666, Aura Noir, Usurper, Nifelheim

VII - Deathhammer, by Asphyx, off the Deathhammer album
2012, Death/doom, Century Media Records, The Netherlands
Sounds like (do you really need to know?): Asphyx circa 1990-1992, Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Cianide

And with that, I shall conclude the first of Lacerated Metal's playlists. Feel free to talk shit about my musical taste, by old school fervor, and the lack of variation in the list. Good day.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Asphyx - Deathhammer

Asphyx being pretty much my favorite band out of The Netherlands (closely followed by Pestilence), I was very, and I do mean very excited for a new album from the Dutch crushers. Asphyx are probably amongst the few groups who principally kept true to their traditional veins, and although some of their material fail to reach the same peak as their archaic masterpieces ''The Rack'' or ''The Last One On Earth'', they still somehow managed to keep the bloodline pure, and in 2012, they closely follow the steps of their lauded sophomore and gouge out another demolishing, percussive death/doom bombast. Quite literally, Asphyx's music is one of the heftiest around, in any genre, even though the heaviness usually comes from the overt plainness and the heavyweight thumps of the drums, reinforcing the delivery. On ''Deathhammer'', Asphyx scarcely expands its boundaries, often plodding on heavily around the same path that was already manufactured by their primal footings, but if you're a die-hard fan, or even appeased with heavy and bludgeoning thrashy death metal, than this is one hammer you should get yourself slammed with, now.

The first thing I realized is that the songs are structured and organized rather oddly; the Dutch maniacs don't rivet a whole bunch of three to four minute songs to proclaim the gathering an album, they have songs with architecture deviating substantially from each other, each song being either very brief of long, and the elements jammed into each of these tracks render the listener perplexed to these angular, structural staccatos. This is, of course, only the album's architectural format, but it's swerving penchant serves as a crucial element to send harrowing waves of stress and pain towards the listener. What I'm talking abut is simply a tendency concerning the band's upright and queer changes in pace and song lengths, and albeit that may sound like the least important implement affecting the album, believe me, it's one thing that has a heavy effect on the album. With the first two track ''Into The Timewaste'' and the almost ludicrously short title track, you think you got away, finding yourself in a frivolous assault of angered and speedy brutality, and not Asphyx's doomier tendencies, but as the momentum swipes into the crestfallen plods of ''Minefield'', you slowly feel a dismal miasma washing over you - an unhinged slab of moist doom dabbling your skin in monotonous gore and somber depravity.

Yes, ''Minefield'' is that moody a track, and as the album wallows and blushes into another jagged twist whilst switching from ''Of The Days When Blades Turned Blunt'' to the second contemptuous and crushing mid-paced doom composition, ''Der Landser'', you'll definitely be feeling weirder than usual. So basically, this staccato of a prose makes up the anatomical basics of Asphyx's formula on this album, and whether people are content with or not, I must admit that I found it to be efficient, though not entirely original. Perhaps the album still isn't exceedingly complex and I did feel the lack of entropy, but Asphyx plays a damn well game in both styles, both the speedier and bulky incursions and the drudgy trudges; and therefore I cannot seem to dislike any kind of trait the album possesses, except its lack of originality, and even most of the negative vibes of that deterrent are marred with the sublime joy you can attain through pure old school fervor. And so the album continues to crush, until it reaches the cataphracts of an appendix, ''As The Magma Mammoth Kisses'', finalizing the brutal simplicity of doom and death. I was honestly quite trepidatious when I was first listening to the album, apprehended that it would be too plain and boring, but it was not, as I explain above, and thus, this is one death/doom record I can easily recommend. Melancholic heft.

Der Landser
Of The Days When The Blades Turned Blunt
Reign Of The Brute

Rating: 86%

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Monomakh - MMXII

It's queer that there's not much accessible information about the rollicking down-tuned cadaver smotherers Monomakh, and it's even queerer that I found them out totally by coincidence and their evil-fraught debut EP ''MMXII'' exploded before my eyes. The Australians are very fond of Incantation, that's quite blatant, and that makes the primary essence of their EP as well, but Monomakh's impious cauldron definitely has bits and pieces of derivative elements spread sparsely, embellishing the main material, and rivets to separate forces together to form one ultimate gloomy combo, putrid and twisted. The scene in Australia is currently forging far more vile and ferocious music than this, but Monomakh's inclinations are really not bent towards being a forceful tide of fierce and feverish ferocity, but rather a forceful tide of monotonous and downright heinous burden, clashing, trudging and wallowing like a bulky cyclopean temple on stunted legs. Aussie's tendencies have always favored the carnal slashes of black/thrash and war metal, but with the shadowy evil we can attain with Monomakh and recent Aussie giants Ignivomous, there's gonna be some altering in the scene.

''MMXII'' is barbaric, percussive and crushing, but first and foremost, it's oppressive. Imagine two monstrously thick blankets encompassing your face, marring your your thoughts and insulating your oxygen - that's what it's like to experience this triumphant bombast of barbarous impiety. For anyone acquainted with recent act Father Befouled, Drawn And Quartered or Ignivomous, or hell, even Incantation for that matter, this shouldn't be too hard to deal with. After all, the music you hear is nowhere near original, so I'm not going to turn on my cheesy histrionics to praise these guys. Principally, the music you deal with here is pretty much a bulkier version of ''Onward To Golgotha'', which is something that I will never get tired of listening, but for innovation freaks, this is not a really intriguing sojourn. Bland would be the wrong word, but when you're delivering angular tremolo bombards and smoldering assaults of pure blackened ash and sulfurous magma, I can't really announce you the most inventive act out there, but I can proclaim you as another hardened bringer of death for a certainty.

Other than the shrouding brilliance it pursues, ''MMXII'' is short, ranging at just about twenty minutes, so the whole epic death metal idea is really missing too. The vocals are subtle, cthtonic utters, sometimes savaged by their own will, and there also seems to be some solid drumming on the EP, even a few brief moments where the whole EP emphasizes on a single dull (but efficient in a way) drum fill. And so, after twnety minutes of suffocating anguish, you come to the end of yet another Incantation worshiper - what are your thoughts? For me, it was a fun venture, as always, yet I still sought some punctual variation and oddity throughout, and painfully, there was none that I could appease myself with. So folks, get this for a brief and primal excursion, and be warned that it serves as nothing else. If you want Incantation other than the band itself, you can opt from the countless retro bands with full-lengths today, but I do have great hope in Monomakh, hope that they will eventually spread out their wings large and brilliant, offering some of the best evil death metal out there. Get going.


Rating: 82,5%

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stench Of Decay - Stench Of Decay [Compilation]

As as I love the current trends in death metal; massing hordes of bands which channel through the most ominous of overtones, seeking the deepest and most tempestuous faces of evil, sometimes you just want to snap out of that Incantation invocation and dabble your head in something fun, blasting and retro - basically something a little more frivolous than the evil inspections of darkness, something like Stench Of Decay. The group has a a fairly substantial history and discography behind them, and now, thanks to Ektro Records, all of their material, their two premier demos and their latest EP ''Visions Of Death'' is crammed into one single punching assault. Being from Finland, Stench Of Decay have inserted copious gobs of their traditional Finnish death metal elements into a sporadic mixture entwining them with some gnarly Swedeath joints for additional crutch, and that's where the band leaves us: fifty-one minutes of relentless, tempered and volatile old school death metal, fun and exuberant, and still deviating from the majority of retros.

Stench Of Death's formula is aplomb and creative, and it sounds pretty much like when Abhorrence (Fin) and Demigod got together with Dismember/Entombed for a brutal clash in the park, with Bolt Thrower and Asphyx joining in fight from afar. The band's well-thought formula is frankly the only thing you'll hear throughout this compilation, but they've made the raw source credible through morbid operations and gouging and incision instruments, ultimately penning crafty songs with numerous variations each, therefore repetition or boredom is hardly the case here. Stench Of Decay snow their elephantine grooves, their thickly populated Asphyx chugs and their pestilential ruptures if intense, almost convoluted riff collisions, which is impossible not to be captivated. Tempered with rage, and the brutal excursions can be menacing. With only slight production differences in between the tracks work just fine, hammering and plummeting a shower of engrossing primal emissions after and after, continuously and relentlessly,and the only reposes the listener can have are the extremely brief intervals between the songs, and thus, amid boisterous, repulsive incursions like ''Alive And Rotting'' or ''Stench Of Decay'', more steady death/doom leaks such as the carnally forged mid-paced gulper ''Souls Of Possession'', or scrofulous offerings of the numbing elegy ''Creation Of Carnal Lust'', you'll be surely having a hell of time.

Abrasive and punishing, my favorite element on the album was the guitar tone and marvels it produced throughout fifty-one minutes. It's atmospheric and sometimes massive, sometimes crunchy, almost metallic, and while the band was leeching blood of the listener's ears with brief, melody-laden death/doom trudges I always felt some immense nostalgia, particularly because the melodies where highly reminiscent of the archaic melodies that the Finndeath masters made, especially early Sentenced and Convulse. Evoking nostalgia isn't the only thing these Finns excel in, as to boast the brutal bashes of the guitars they've added guttural and deep vocals injections which particularly reek of Demigod with the chubby tone. Despite retaining a sound much more technically driven and complex than many other retros, Stench Of Decay are still ultra-fun to listen to. Seriously, if you even have the slightest love for casual blasts out raw architecture and primitive impacts, sharp drums, or anything entertaining, catchy and crushing about old school death metal to say in the least, you will definitely like this, love it even, if you're obsessed with the crude recordings of Convulse, Demigod, Abhorrence, early Sentenced, Purtenance, etc. The stench awaits.

Souls Of Possession
Alive And Rotting
Where Madness And Decay Began
Creation Of Carnal Lust

Rating: 86,5%

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gospel Of The Horns - Ceremonial Conjuration

You can never go wrong with Gospel Of The Horns. If your ignorance still render you unaware of their presence, let me fill you in briefly. Gospel hail from Australia, where the black/thrash genre has reached its climax in efficiency and development, and frankly along with Destroyer 666, these vandals are the ones who brought black/thrash to a new level of ferocity and velocity, and thus, Gospel Of The Horns is an old act, one that has released numerous demos and EPs throughout the 90's, finally releasing their debut album ''A Call To Arms'' in 2002 and their sophomore in 2007. This EP is lengthwise a large fragment of an album, nearly twenty minutes, and if we go by a traditional sense, the band should be releasing another album this year, since there's a time space of five years in between each record, though judging by the fact that they've only completed half of the material required to muster an album, in profound agitation and melancholy, I must admit that I fear a full-length is more remote than you might think. This, of course, is my theory.

Nonetheless, I can still be quite content with eighteen minutes of heavily blasted, grinding vicious black/thrash, something that I'm an absolute sucker for. Mongrel's Cross,Warfare, Ketzer and Aura Noir already delivered their fair share of solid ruptures of frenetic black/thrash, carnal and bestial, and Gospel Of The Horns do not fail to deliver, either. You get plenty of variation throughout those eighteen minutes, more than you may expect if truth be told. You have ruinous, torrential outbursts of traumatizing bestial black/thrash, hammering its way through with a sordid obelisk of a guitar tone, a classy rhythm department offering some grooving chord attacks, typical blackened speed/thrash excursions, and even some more numbing mid-paced stuff reeking of oppression like on ''Awakening'', and in addition, the band has an excellent cover of Goatlord's magnificent ''The Fog'' which is basically a black metal-induced version  of Asphyx. The music is simple, though requiring plenty of stamina to churn out those wicked grooves and impetuous tremolos, but as always, the Horns manage bisect their way through the rotten and sore flesh covering your ear holes.

The tone really boasts that juicy, punchy strength that riffs possess. and especially on the cover of ''The Fog'', you can absolutely feel the tremulous contractions of the entwining chords, shaking and stomping, pretty much like an Asphyx record, only eviler. The listener gets a lot of pleasure from the vocals, too. Seriously, if you consider the riffs as over or predictable, then you may as well dub the vocals as vague, bleak plumes of dark smoke, which is pretty much what they are, harsh, eerie and raucous rasps - pretty much an even more venomous kind of your traditional black/thrash rasps. ''Ceremonial Conjuration'' is great, to say the least, built robustly, and it exposes its bombastic, frivolous assaults of grim black/thrash, with no improvement whatsoever in the originality department, which totally fine by me. It would be wrong to say that Gospel Of The Horns are making a come back because they never split up, but after a semi-hiatus of five years, let's just hope that they continue to rain prodigious thunder on us, without procrastinating the incursion.

Ceremonial Conjuration
Sorcery And Blood
Conquering Self

Rating: 85%

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Primal Fear - Unbreakable

Since the beginning of their career, Primal Fear has always had the elements to make a great power metal band. From having a major player in the German heavy metal scene on bass (Mat Sinner), to making heavy use of harmonized guitars with glorious double bass sections underneath, Primal Fearwas on the right track. In fact, they even have a man who can clone Rob Halford on vocals; after all, if you can’t sound like Bruce Dickinson, why not go for Halford? But somehow their music didn’t quite captivate me all that much. There are great songs here or there, but in general, the albums were too long to sustain such an intense style of songwriting. This may have changed before “Unbreakable” (I’m a bit behind on my Primal Fear history), but it can be said that “Unbreakable” is the first album I've heard of the band’s that is really a classic.

“Unbreakable” starts off like any other Primal Fear album: fast, epic, and with guitars that soar like the eagle that dawns the cover. Luckily, however, the band does add some variety. There are plenty of moments that focus on a more straightforward heavy metal sound, not unlike what bands like HammerFall and Gamma Ray have done in recent years. Raging songs like “Bad Guys Wear Black” and “Blaze of Glory” hearken back to the huge riffs that Judas Priest unleashed on “Painkiller”. The classic Primal Fear sound returns with “And There Was Silence”, which is the absolute highlight of this record. The chorus is a majestic display of Ralf Scheepers’ vocal skills, and the guitar gives a similar magical atmosphere. One of the stranger tracks on “Unbreakable” is the extremely accessible “Metal Nation”. It is not often that a band this heavy would write such a happy track. It almost feels like it should be on a Freedom Call or Power Quest album. That’s not to say it’s bad; in fact, it is one of the more appealing songs, but if you think the term "flower metal" has any meaning, you probably won’t like it. In addition to this poppy track, there are two lighter songs on “Unbreakable”. “Where Angels Die” infuses slow, fantastic melodies with crunchy guitars in the background, while “Born Again” is the only true ballad on the album and once again is an opportunity for Ralf Scheepers to wow everyone with his singing.

Like in the past, Primal Fear has delivered an album of solid heavy metal. This time, however, they have combined crunchier guitars and a better vocal performance with much more inspired songwriting to deliver one of the best albums of the year. If this is any indication of what’s to come, Primal Fearwill be joining Helloween and Gamma Ray as one of the best German power metal bands!

"And There Was Silence"
"Where Angels Die"
"Blaze of Glory"

Rating: 85%

Originally written for Skull Fracturing Metal Zine.

Antediluvian/Temple Nightside - Cogitating Vacuous

Antediluvian, though a relatively newly formed apparition are proving to be even more squamous and prolific than I would have imagined. Just a couple of months ago, they unleashed a introspective torrent of cavernous evil upon mankind alongside with fellow countrymen Adversarial, whom, also undeniably made Canada proud with their ultra-sophisticated brand of abysmal aberration and hellish brute force, and yet that ebbing, infinite tide of impiety does not seem to cease. Antediluvian's work on this two sided split is fairly short, but despite its brevity, I can't help but think the band's efforts nearly inordinate, as less than a year after the release of the darkened pillar of dissonance, ''Through The Cervix Of Hawaah'' they relinquish their ideas and already they have half the material to forge an album - one that I will most gladly embrace and worship.

On the other side of the split, we have an act that's even rawer than its split-mate, the Australian Temple Nightside. I can imagine that a number of people who heard about the blackened incandescence of ''Through The Cervix Of Hawaah'' are not quite well acquainted with Temple, which most probably because Profound Lore Records knew to grab the brighter bulbs in the batch (Mitochondrion, Antediluvian), but there's also a little gab caused by the band's overall discography. Temple released an excellent EP the previous year, though it was mostly shadowed by either more the more superior releases on its kind that exploded in the same time, or by the lack of advertisement, both of gaps which are about to be closed with this split. These primal black metal cavemen deliver crude and incessant torture, and while the total length of their sole track on this split is just a pinch longer than Antediluvian's material, it still manages to get the drool in your mouth dripping for another release.

Antediluvian are incredible as always, and flawless evil is an art that they've practiced and endeavored to achieve so many times that it literally comes spawning out from their veins in ghastly, diminishing rupture. The stance maintained on both the lauded full-length and the latter split with Adversarial was generally a trudging, indulgent one, mainly sticking to the monolithic aesthetics of doom to underpin the channeling, churning evil that was going on above, but on ''Cogitating Vacuous'', the Canadians embrace a less harrowing type of aggravating clawing torture, and produce relatively more dynamic excursions of festering, soupy tremolo density, the node wherein Incantation and other unholy specters join and collide, smothering. While it goes a mid-paced tempo for the most part of the song, the spiraling monster morphs into a profane doom-tinged chomp n' stomp during the finalizing minute, an absolutely tremendous simple riffs made atmospheric with a melancholic and utterly profane, nostalgic melody, still tinging in my ears. Temple Nightside are perhaps not so profound about exploring evil as Antediluvian, but their fiery, abrasive mutilation is an intriguing experience, too. The Australian duo firstly choose a primal and raw production for their music to go through, and they load up their artillery with necrotic, disseminating chords, switching from doom to war metal to Incantation mid-pace quicker than you can say ''Cogitating Vacuous''. The vocals are laden with obscurity and abrasive hate both, and the guttural deliveries exceed especially during the faster moments of shadowy brilliance.

The verdict here is obvious. The two abominations of blackened death metal once again fabricate material that ensure their grasp on evil, and while the main reason I got this split was because it featured an exclusive track from Antediluvian, Canada's finest in my opinion, (and I still think their part of the split was better) I can't deny that Australians killer black/death scene is growing more ominous and efficient with Temple. What else can I say about this split? It' everything I want in one, small package. The whole profusion is abstract, otherworldly, chthonic, surreal, and everything religion worked upon is now a mere gathering of rubble, picking up dust as a new, profane ritual starts blossoming as we speak. Go forth, the dark winds are uttering you name.

Communion With The Void
Somnambulent Of The Void

Rating: 88%

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chaos Inception - The Abrogation

I'm certainly not a fan of the brutal/technical death metal bands the scene is so prolific in, I've never been, and I've disdained the majority of such bands, except Suffocation's first two albums. The aesthetics of brutal/technical death metal bands sound nothing more than meager, frivolous assaults of  speedy contempt, flaunting off their musical proficiency by delivering ultimately exuberant barrages of meaningless noise and chords. Even though I highly dislike bands in this vein, particularly the mid-90's USDM scene, Chaos Inception create such a formula of malevolently bestirred early 90's USDM with  certain modern traits that I can'T help but enjoy its heinous, ruinous force. In every way possible, the band's moniker and the album title live up for their name, creating a chaotic oblivion of fiery, destructive power, making it nearly impossible to say no to its massive winds of devastation, and in addition, I was content that the band lyrical focus wasn't any thing gore-oriented.

Each song is as laconic as it can get, keeping the maelstrom of bullets quick, but extremely decisive, never crossing the four-minute boundary. The first track I heard, the title track seemed almost too fast for me. A burden of smothering, smearing tremolos danced around me feverishly, engulfing my flesh as if to consume it by eroding it with a numbing cluster of monstrous drum beats battering down  my bones, and a swirling whirlwind of tremolo laced sweep leads shredded me to mere scraps of flesh and bone - destructive annihilation. With everything crammed into a brief thirty-one minute length, the intensity seems like short trip, but exceedingly explosive all the same. Torrential  spirals of radiant tremolos and incising, mathematically-forged note patterns already form an intense grooving chaos, and as if that wasn't enough, the bullet storm exceeds with inhuman drum arrangements. Moreover, the tracks are linked together with links, and so the the energy jumps from one wagon to another without even giving the listener a second to breathe, colliding into each other, producing static, abrogating extermination.

The level of frenzied violence is probably the only thing the album has to offer, and frankly, it's the only thing I  came for. The vocals, are somewhat dominant over a less overt dark side of the spectrum, which can be interesting to channel alongside the riffs. Queerly, their delivery doesn't quite fit your classic USDM bill. They're low, almost down tuned, if I may be so bold, and over the matrix of frenetic artillery incursions, it's pretty hard to hear them, and sometimes, like on ''Black Blood Vortex'' they take on a sinister, snarly hue, wrenching out ultimately guttural and gnarl-inflected shrieks. As for the formula, I believe there's ''Altars Of Madness'' in the base of everything, but the bands continuation after that is not entirely predictable; there's some classic USDM worshiping, and some modern inclinations that bring the muscular dependency to power of course, but dissonant sound waves are also heard often as not, which makes me thing there's some sort of  thin cloth of Incantation underneath. ''The Abrogation'', is, obviously not entirely original an album, but its flurries, its violent tumult erupting abruptly - they all lead to the verdict that Chaos Inception planned something utterly disastrous and efficient, and while, as I said, this kind of death metal isn't really my cup of tea, I still enjoyed this quite a bit, even more than its influences, I must admit.

The Abrogation
Pazuzu Eternal
Phalanx (Tip Of The Spear)

Rating: 85%

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mortalicum - The Endtime Prophecy

Now, I'm exceedingly content with the bands Sweden is mustering today. There's a wide range of death metal barbarians whom precede to pen songs with the aesthetics of their primal countrymen and forefathers, a score of traditional heavy metal acts, who, actually don't even sound like throwbacks even though rehash the monumental, mournful tendencies of Mercyful Fate and Maiden, dozens of metal variants who all excel in their own territory, and finally, great number of heavy/doom bands, who, I think was born of the lower, more  down tuned and despairing branch of the already common heavy metal treeline, leading to a prodigious array of bands that amalgamate the semi-drowning tendencies of the Mercyful Fate worship with hunky, monolithic guitars, and drowsy, trudging dynamics. Mortalicum  are one these so called congealments, fusing heavy and doom together, and adding kicky rock n' roll spice to get things pumping.

Mortalicum are chiefly a hard-rocking heavy metal aspect, but their style is always reminiscent of some less ponderous doom, especially when the bands decides to travel by the light of mid-paced riffs. The hard rock element is really quite an interesting element to throw in because, there always seems to be grooving slam and unavoidable catchiness in the music, and with these bluesy overtones gulping up more than half of the album's brazen inclinations, much of the music is invigorated with a bright, gleaming flame, and thus, deep, suffocating doom sequences scarcely stomp. One other thing that boasts the eloquent propensity and efficiency of the record is the hefty tone. Well, it's not exactly as corpulent or dabbling as a funeral doom tone, but the band has worked out a sublime, bulky heft with semi-bluesy undertones and a strong 70's Black Sabbath vibe underpinning its monotony, so the tone works both as an indulgent implement and a somewhat ponderous narrator.

The riffs aside, there are obviously other things on this album that makes it as good as it is; the vocals being the most momentous. Henrik Högl's vocals are immense, even more megalithic than the guitar stream going under it, and he travels proficiently in high and low notes both, and especially in ''Ballad Of  Sorrowful Man'' he exceeds and raises the point of poignancy to a new, escalated level, aplomb and secure with talent and experience. ''The Endtime Prophecy'' has its flaws of course, one being the subtle repetitiveness of the riffs. Yes, even though they have a brisk and catchy efficiency, if you behold their anatomy they really have few traits worth praising, and even fewer that stand out. This, comes from the singular focus on the heft of the tone and the delivery of the highlighted vocals, and therefore the album becomes devoid of variation and proper punishment (though I doubt that was their purpose) through its potent, visceral guitar barrages. Ultimately, though, Mortalicum did a very solid job here, and fans of heavy metal, traditional doom or bluesy metal in general should give this a try for sure.

When Hell Freezes Over
Dark Night
Ballad Of A Sorrowful Man

Rating: 81%

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Heavy Cross - Street Wolf

Because I had no acquaintance with the band, at first, I mistook the Finnish one-man-army for a punk-driven blackened heavy metal act, much like the latter excellence that Midnight is producing currently. Satanic Tyrant Werwolf's freshly blossomed project turned out to be a traditional NWOBHM band, one that that I can consider as just another mere fragment of the countless worshipers engulfing the scene today. Heavy Cross were lucky, however, as somehow they were found by the amazing Hell's Headbangers Records, a home that will no doubt affect their inclinations positively. That being said, Heavy Cross's style is pretty simple, just as you might expect, fabricating plain, gallop and chord driven progressions and meshing it with strong bluesy overtones, with the traditional flavor of Raven, Tygers Of Pan Tang, and old Maiden making up the very roots of the EP's zealously oriented formula.

I can closely relate Heavy Cross to another very latter and young band, Convent Guilt, though I've enjoyed the Aussie act's efforts more than this Finnish one, admittedly. The man behind the cross, Satanic Tyrant, is supposedly a veteran of the genre, one that at least has close familiarity with the genre's aesthetics, and he does project much of his fervor and well-hardened musicianship into the two songs that the EP has to offer, and thus, for eight minutes I can easily enjoy and bang my head to the light-weighted catchiness of the songs, but if the guy means to enlarge his congeal his material and form a larger whole,(which he probably does) than he'll need to do some improvements, some tweaks and he needs to fill in that open gash of emptiness with a few doses of divergence. The vocals on ''Street Wolf''' also remind me of Convent Guilt, preferring stay inside the firmly set boundaries instead of letting out uproarious emissions of high-pitched tone, which is something that I'm content with, but again, this renders the EP somewhat quelled, being devoid of the frenetic, evocative aura that it lacks badly.

The riffs are quite enjoyable nonetheless, mild, but hooking chug n' chords with sporadic tinges of melody inserted here and there. Much like many of the gimmicks today, Satanic Tyrant keep (or try to keep) the listener busy on strictly instrumental sections by narrating the riffs with simplistic melodies, without endeavoring much. There is a somber, melancholic, almost ballad-like sequence on the title track, which, I believe, was done to lengthen the track, and unnecessary deterrent, and I should also add that I enjoyed ''Red Light Woman'' more than the title track, mostly because its main riff is seriously catchy. Heavy Cross's efforts will not impress anyone, that's a surety, and albeit I'm not so zealous about forty minutes of this, I still can't deny that I've had a fun time giving this eight minute EP a listen. Frivolous stuff.

Red Light Woman

Rating: 75%

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gouge - Doomed To Death

Before I further criticize the band's tendencies, I must admit that for such a cheesy cover art, Gouge managed to gouge out a surprisingly heavily balanced and strictness-inflected session of regurgitating, gore-obsessed old school death/grind. These Norwegians are completely new to the scene (although the duo are also currently focusing on a relatively more seasoned black/thrash act named Condor) yet they were quite potent whilst conflating the sheer unbridled aggression of Terrorizer with early Death, some Repulsion and even speckles of the culminating brutal thrash excursions of the late 80's-early 90's, and their burden of skills is raised to an even higher state and augmented as they sign to Hell's Headbangers Records. I am no hardcore grindcore fan, as I've only accepted the furious attacks of the bands aforementioned along with perhaps a few more, yet I can't help but get caught up in the frivolous, adventurous but strictly gore-riddled inflammatory conflagrations that these wild Norwegians can produce, and throughout it's eleven minute brevity I enjoyed myself more often than I had expected.

Gouge boasts a terrific metallic, sordid and chubby guitar tone that's engulfing; and the tone is frankly the main meat underpinning the engrossing barrage of riffs. Most bands who explore the same territory as Gouge are, as I stated above, generally repetitive and dessicated to me, going on and on with blatant ramparts of continuous chord barrages, and Gouge does not, of course, completely deviate from this rule, but the ruinous incursions are now eked out with queerly refreshing melody patterns, and the bulbous tone obviously helps too. The deviation is also crucial in between the songs. Gouge creates songs with relatively awkward structures, preferring to blast out immense chord and tremolo sequences which divide among themselves, and the vocals are somewhat subtle and alien to the devouring mix of the album. They appear rarely, and instead of barking out their guts out, they use deep, almost spine-chilling growls to blend with the frenetic ruptures, a job well done.

The purpose is clear; complete and utter destruction. Gouge have long sought this ideology and they are doing their best to produce formulas that are varied, but still parallel to the idea. The gore-riddled theme is a passive attribute, the way I see it, a festering disease of necrotic flavor, a carnal and abominating diseas that works well with all the riffs, and besides that, and the to-the-point grindcore exhalations, Gouge bloody the listener with further obstructive brute attacks, shattering by inserting bludgeoning mid-paced thrash chugs and stomps, sometimes even laced with the doom-laden specters of Autopsy's most primal forms. The title tracks is my favorite and probably the best example of fruitful combinations of death, thrash and grind. With it's scrofulous gatherings amalgamated, Gouge captures the main essence of their to-be-improved formula, and although the EP wasn't a flawless one, it's certainly a much more repugnant and punishing delivery than the majority of the nostalgic death/grind acts roaming the scenes today. 

Doomed To Death
Ritual Of Gore

Rating: 82%

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ketzer - Endzeit Metropolis

Germany's Ketzer carved a deep hole into the old school metal underground with their 2007 debut, ''Satan's Boundaries Unchained'', a frenetic, percussive blackened thrash assault that no doubt gouged its way through countless of generic gimmicks rehashing the genre, and I was more than content to see that after four years the band finally bestirred a violent mesh of black and thrash, though there was one hindrance that surprised me. Bewildered and dazzled my the immense tiding I received, I could apprehend the thought of the band delivering something relatively different sound. The band indeed makes some changes in their bestial sound that was redolent of Destroyer 666, Desaster, Impaled Nazarene, Nocturnal Graves, Usurper, Aura Noir and the like, though they make these certain changes without inaugurating a whole new formula, but still, I should inform you that the band's tendencies have now evacuated the wholly demented aura that they had embraced and clasped on the previous record, omitting a certain measure of the primal, destructive aesthetics and churning the remainders of the corpulent bestiality with a healthy boast of semi-melodic black metal, in the very vein of Dissection, Sacramentum, Watain.

I myself had problems facing the more sophisticated material the band gouged out because I certainly did not see it coming, but giving the album more than a few spins helps a lot. Admittedly I would have preferred the wild, frantic and blast beta-oriented sound of Ketzer, because that was certainly what they excelled in, but then again, I'm still not sure if they could spurt out evil black/speed/thrashing mayhem on par with the previous release, and thus, I've come to enjoy their newly forged sound almost as much as their previous, primal material, therefore leading me the unavoidable question; can this band top what they've done before if they continue to pursue relentless perfection with their newly acquainted style? We will have time to ponder the question as the band is still fresh out of the oven, with heaps of unmolested attention waiting to be embroidered and released but for now, I think it's best that I get to the main point. Attaining a more melodic and sophisticated sound may put off a some of the band's early audience, but no way are Ketzer loosing the efficiency that they had. ''Endzeit Metropolis'' is just as lively and somewhat diverse, and in addition they mix it with the residue of the detracted sound of the debut, forming a vicious, flesh-ripping assault with voluptuous, almost lamenting inclinations. With a richer and more mature-sounding bar set for the band, Ketzer envelops the listener in atmospheric and catchy percussion in a less truculent matter, delivering a mighty fine brand of black/thrash.

''Endzeit Metropolis'' is also entertaining because it doesn't deliberately lean towards repetition and certain songs like ''He Who Stands Before The Row'' offers majestic quadrants of ebbing, desolate black metal tides and attains a much more creative and drowning sound than you can imagine. The near-two-minute distorted complex of ''Farewell'' is also amazing, albeit not so lengthy, a chthonic emission that is both astute and brazen, and ephemeral paean of mourning and isolation. However deep the lamenting gash is, the album somehow does nor fail to inject a subtle vigor into the music, and tracks which are energetically driven from the start are overflowing with melodious dynamics. Tracks like ''Collector Of Worlds'' or ''The Fever's Tide'' are some of the most aggressive and alluring black/thrash incursions you'll met with, songs that have well mastered the band's newly blossoming art together with the earlier aesthetics. All in all, ''Endezeit Metropolis'' is another win for Ketzer, and these German's are well on they're way to black/thrashing brilliance.

Collector Of Worlds
The Fever's Tide
A Requiem For Beauty 

Rating: 87%