Monday, December 31, 2012

Chapel Of Disease - Summoning Black Gods [2012]

As much as I was impressed by the vital, fleshy energy that the Germans Chapel Of Disease conjured with their cryptic demo that came out earlier this year, make no mistake, these vile retros are not putting anything new on the table, even though it undeniably sounds refreshing for die-hards and connoisseurs alike. That being said, the debut by the Teutonic quartet took me by surprise as they unleashed their debut via the overly frenetic oldfactory producers FDA Recotz, and to be fair, despite the limitation of imagination generated from the band's lack of variety in accumulating influences, ''Summoning Black Gods'' does not suspend the hungry listener in iron manacles of banality and delivers quite a heaving, archaic punch with a nice stretch of classic old school death metal influences a la Pestilence, Autopsy, Death, and, as we didn't have enough Swedish death metal to deal with, a splurging context of primal chainsaw ruptures.

The intake of Swedeath is fortunately in less copious amounts than you might expect, and churned up with a classy, foreboding edge, it really turns the album into a panoply of memorable compositions and semi-thrashy textures, all sewed to each other by a raw, highly nostalgic raw overtone. At times,  the band channels the harsher formulas that marginally deviate from the tremolo-laced riffing by having simpler vitality, reeking of 1988, yet what I especially love about the band is that they effortlessly eke out sepulchral hymns and they can perfectly exhibit their love for pestilential antiquities whilst carving out subtexts of these grave-ish moods, perhaps most vivid on ''Evocation of the Father'', a melodious collision of trudging grooves that has an almost Gothic appeal to it. Even though it seems the band is staking their entire momentum by replacing nearly a half of their performance with mid-paced grooving, the subtle balance in between thrash and death is measured adequately and the band is nearly always on-time in lashing just after gloomy transitions and erupt into headbang-friendly death/thrash tumult before you even realize what's going on.

Thankfully, ''Summoning Black Gods'' is infected, though not overarching in a way that could completely asphyxiate the listener. Here, cavern walls don't gradually enclose around you and decompression doesn't overwhelm; instead, as you may understand, these Germans are just staunch freaks that pursue their nostalgic masters Pestilence, Asphyx, Autopsy, Death, Morbid Angel, Vital Remains and the like, and the album is really based on letting out frivolous, encrypted and manic burden that stayed hinged inside the cranial contents of the Germans for far too long. To me, they seem like an unlikely crossover of their archaic countrymen Immortalis and their label mates Skeletal Remains, which have chosen a thicker, if not more technical approach to deviate from the same vein. While not imaginative by any means, this is probably one of the better altars built to worship the aforementioned masters over the last five years; even the vocals have condensed on the Van Drunnen timbre, and this also marks, or helps establish, a new scene for spawn new abominations to spawn and rock their way out the graveyard. A crashing rhythmic fair with a frightening edge. Definitely a nice treat.

Exili's Heritage
The Nameless City
Summoning Black Gods

Rating: 83%

Friday, December 21, 2012

Children Of Technology - Mayhemic Speed Anarchy [2012]

Italian speed freaks Children Of Technology have already buried themselves into the consciousnesses of voluptuous crossover enthusiasts with their 2010 debut which was highly, highly redolent of punk, thrash, grime, denim, and though relatively new to scene, they deserve some applause for the considerate punk, hardcore and thrash choices, exclusively injecting old school energy into their overt amalgamations. It's own simple sphere of influence, ''It's Time To Face The Doomsday'' was a vigorous assault of near-clamorous motorcycle frenzy and explosive outings of punk and hardcore fundamentals, and now they've decided to once again cope with their mass provider of motorcycles, Hell's Headbangers, a two-track EP being their latest penning. Despite the excitement fervent listeners will have over this, there's no need to exaggerate the fact that the motorized punks are going for standard procedure here; chaos, annihilation, and of course, motorbikes aplenty.

I say aplenty, but in truth, there's not much material here, nor would you expect anyone to cram layers and layers of buttering crossover/punk/thrash into a spurious little CD of six minutes. Children Of Technology are, as I stated, applying basic, robotized pressure on their fans with gushing frivolous and downtrodden punk dives and pumping hardcore beats, keeping the fuel burning throughout the almost ludicrous six minutes of run time. The Italians, however dominant over their moshing minions, are not really letting the eclectic listener get anything else than distorted nostalgia: they've got a rumbling bass line line sometimes crashes into the spotlight right before its fellow proponents arrive and take control of the whole stage with unhinged aggression, the drums have take much less space in the mix than the guitars, occasionally going for some perky cymbal abuse after exhausting sessions of one-dimensional blast beats, and the guitars are caked with dirt, the same way it was on the debut, conjuring crunchy and eager crossover pursuits that fit the drum rhythms perfectly in their own simpleminded sense.

You've got to accept that no matter how long these Italians are going to stay in the music business they're always going to be tied to the same aesthetic with crude leather belts, and even though their love for everything old school and everything vigorous and punk makes goosebumps perk on my skin, they're not going to be able deliver anything truly special for fans who like things nuanced now and then. Perhaps my favorite performance was the vocals, reeking of ''Sheepdog'' Mclaren of early Razor, Cro-Mags and perhaps even DRI, lashing out contemptuously shrill high-pitched shrieks to boast their crazed, anarchic cause. Anyone in desperate need of straightforward-as-fuck, broiling old school crossover should throw himself/herself right at this, but then again the debut would serve the same purpose with better overall efficiency, and that's what renders ''Mayhemic Speed Anarchy'' so simple - the only thing that won't be expunged from the listener's memory fifteen minutes after discourse is the cover art, barely memorable itself.

Computer World
Mayhemic Speed Anarchy

Rating: 72%

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Desolate Shrine - Sanctum Of Human Darkness [2012]

Desolate Shrine is one of those bands who will appeal to fans of both hammering necrotic Swedish death metal revivalists and far more atmospherically driven occult death metal acts, but, beneath the flesh, it's once again all bones and joints; nothing out of the expected. Desolate Shrine's debut ''Tenebrous Towers'' was an album that I was quite appeased with, and for one it certainly lived up for its name; a crushing monument of Cylopean pillars collapsing upon the listener in an utterly climatic, immense cavernous mess, anchored by the suppressing heft of gigantic, skull-buttering Swedish chainsaws rippling in a rampaging orgy - it was certainly a big fucking record. Intent on smothering more cranial content, the Finns arrive with a sophomore, ''Sanctum Of Human Darkness'' that not only fancies the same crushing outing of the previous effort but also presents the listener with a panoply of spectral galore.

What I absolutely love about this is the pace. ''Sanctum...'' lumbers in a mid paced Bolt Thrower groove, particularly akin to ''Realm Of Chaos'', but, also keep in mind that despite sounding a lot like a concoction of Entombed/Dismember and Muknal, Innumerable Forms, Witchrist and Antediluvian, the band fabricates a formula that doesn't necessarily classify as both. The frothing, uproarious curvatures and blast of the Swedish tone is unlike anything I've heard before, even the harshest of Swedish chainsaw serial killers can't conjure up a tone that delivers such burdened sonic intensity. The band rarely eschews monotony from the pressurizing bombast, and when all the songs are no shorter than six minutes you naturally want more drudgery to take place then straight up aggression, but on some occasions (''Chalice Of Flesh & Bone'', ''Funeral Chamber''), gloomy subtleties transcend into furious impulses and the band immediately surfaces from their subterranean indulgence and take onto rougher, headbang-friendly discourses, though one should be informed that even in energy-abundant tracks, there's a heavy trace of the trio's impregnable doom influence.

Overall, even though I previously stated that Swedeath fans might enjoy this, death metal occultists are still more likely to feel the album's compressing enigma as pleasure. Just like some of the dominant Incantation worships or blackened death metal acts, ''Sanctum...'' displays more efficiency in submersing the listener in dense intricacy than raging in a frivolous surge, and especially after you've been through fifty-five minutes of hammering caused from a drumming giant pummeling your skull, you end up more oppressed than revitalized.  Thus, Desolate Shrine exceeds their previous effort, and more importantly, sticks to the old school formula. There's plenty of mournful caveman out there, but while this may not broaden your horizons by any means, it's still a better mining site than many of its peers and Dark Descent Records certainly made a hell of descent with this one. Don't you dare forget to bring provisions; this journey will take you deep. And I do mean deep. 

Demon Heart
Pillars Of Salvation
Funeral Chamber

Rating: 86%

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Enshadowed - Magic Chaos Psychedelia [2013]

My first encounter with Enshadowed (which was hardly an encounter at all) suggested they built they entire combustive formula on an accumulation of classical 90's black metal, bearing both Norse and Swedish finesse. However, months later, when I actually got to listen to their prized third entry ''Magic Chaos Psychedelia'', and when I saw their name under the Pulverized Records roster; that's when the ambiguity was unveiled. I've never listened to the the band's previous efforts, which were released some 9-10 years ago, but judging from the vociferous chaos they can conjure here, I have no doubt the Greeks have some potential. Like some of their thriving countrymen, Acherontas, Ravencult, or Thy Blackened Shade, the Greeks can easily exploit tremendous raw energy, but then again, Enshadowed has a lesser intake of pure old school black metal convulsions - that is a part of their deal here, but their priorities are homages to more woven, complex acts of modern ferocity.

It's really a mixture of thrash, death and black dispersed disproportionately along the band's hybridized form of chaos, chaos being principally the thing that they excel at. As soon as the album commences, Enshadowed whirls in an all-out razor tornado, a series of deathly, weltering semi-atmospheric impulses spewing from the cadaverous arteries of the album anchoring the foray, and the band rapidly releases carnage after carnage, with no remorse. Incredibly, the energy is more akin to a much modernized version of bestial black metal acts such as Blasphemy, Conqueror, Adversarial or black/thrash legends Destroyer 666 and Gospel Of The Horns rather than the aforementioned comparison of Norwegian and Swedish prowess. As much as there's  a lot of foreboding chaos and torrential, abysmal destruction, there's a fine layer of atonal motifs as well; usually mid paced thrash progressions coupled with enigmatic chord dispersion, followed by the typical meal of the day - lengthy portions of tremolo mayhem.

The maniacal intensity and workforce of the dynamics is immensely compelling especially when razor-sharp depictions of thrash and near proto brutal death metal aesthetics are put to place, and the listener is awash with blackened gore less than halfway through the album, and surprisingly, repeated riff splurging comes with some vague benefits; the band, in truth, offers a little more than just razing, uncircumcised black/death, something which, based on some reviews I've read about the previous albums, was the only thing the Greeks had in store before. I doubt that they picked up incredible pace in order to solely bestow intricacies on their distorted anger, but I'd say they certainly have an enlarged spectrum of ideas as far as the whole modern black/death cliche goes. Firstly, Serpent's vocals are torturous even though somewhat polished like the guitars, and secondly, during the sudden outburst of riffs, the band always enriches their woven hatred with profound drudgery, and plenty of the motion depends on the navigating force of the guitars, not the drums.

In all, I can hardly say I found this to be bad. Yes, ''Magic Chaos Psychedelia'' is just a textbook example of modernized black metal in its way of collapsing megalithic burden and balusters in single ruptures, probably the closest thing you've got to modern Behemoth or Impiety, but the channeling vividness and competence shines bright-red as Enshowed do their thing. It wouldn't have killed if stronger subtleties were added, but as solid as this is, it will certainly do without them.

The Dual Hypostasis Of Nihil
Black Holes, Death Planets

Rating: 80%

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hic Iacet - Prophecy Of Doom [2012]

Glancing at the cover, one might easily be persuaded by Hic Iacet's 2 track EP ''Prophecy Of Doom''. A grotesquely engraved image of two ritual necromancers merging as their freakish tentacles coil and reveal a nebulous vortex, all the while an inverted illuminati with a masochist serpent encircling it, stares at the owner of this brief recall to blasphemy, power flushing out. Hic Iacet's 2011 demo ''Hedonist Of The Death'' was a highly potent excursion which successfully put raw black metal and murkier black/death tendencies into practice withing one wholesome package. I was naturally delighted by the demo, perhaps another offspring of the overly prolific occult black metal genre but still high in quality, and the Spaniards's retinue expands as they sign to Hell's Headbangers to harvest and later on, expose more hellish, churning material, yet the EP is not all terrific news for keen followers, because ''Prophecy Of Doom'' introduces aspects that fervent listeners may not like after the prior release.

As on ''Hedonist Of The Death'' the Spaniards heavily incline towards the process of gloom, whether it be scrutinizing the element or spicing it up with different ingredients, yet here, there's a relatively different sustain on completely ferocious, raw aggression. The band's propensity for being able to effortlessly induce loom and cavernous ambiances with the singular use of distortion guitars cranked up sky-high and additional elements of resonance is still the highlight of the EP but the riffs have a more lurching, serpentine taste to them rather than straightforward, gnawing hostility and by simply blotting out the main crispness of the guitars with the vocalist's cavernous growling timbre, Hic Iacet can keep the listener semi-indulged at all times, even if there's hardly any subtext of immense evil. The guitars plod along with pure early 90's death metal ferocity, pretty much what you'd hear from early Death, Incantation, Autopsy or Winter and old Fleshcrawl, venturing into a near-doom metal spectrum, which, admittedly, while still implying strong somnolence onto the listener, still kills much of the primal energy to be found on the demo.

The compositions aren't really funereal, after some point they're simply abridged for obvious risks of boredom, and albeit an eleven minute EP may not cause a listener to doze off, the expenditure of the EP may cause some unwanted banality, one that, amid hundreds of other cavern-dwellers, the occasional death metal revival fan would not want to put up with. The band may truly be up to something promising here: If they scatter the two puzzles they've made and join the pieces to form one queer amalgamation, they can actually turn on the metal community more than you'd care to imagine; drowsy, black-ish death/doom patterns rumbling along the cavernous echoes of the vocalist's great reverb while ruptures of shattering raw strength sway back and forth, a mire of miasma. That said, there will still be a few who will dig this for its massive nature and crude display of death and black metal or its mutual resemblance to Hic Iacet's countrymen and acknowledged blasphemers Teitanblood and Proclamation. Definitely worth a spin or three.

Elevation of Sun
Prophecy of Doom

Rating: 76,5%

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Vomitor - The Escalation [2013]

Australia, from the first time it started spawning devilish, preposterous minions who sought and still seek to acclaim Satan's throne of fire and blasphemy, has been a supercharged oldfactory of ominous productivity, and to this day, no other metal scene can outmatch them when it comes to exposing the crude, hostile contents of their lascivious intents. One of the known demon-kings of the last decade is Vomitor, and partnering with Hell's Headbangers, they've got barbaric profanity aplenty for ravenous listeners. Of course, although I was certainly excited when I received a promo of the Australian augurs's newest record, ''the Escalation'', but I also need to imply that the same rules that go for all the other clone bands from the scene are directed towards the legends themselves, and banal simplicity and repetitive foray won't get you very far, even if you're Batman.

Now, I'm not directly associating Vomitor with these negative features that the majority of their countrymen possess (and possess substantially, at that), but let me just start of by saying that the pundits of savagery disappointed me somewhat on their third full-length. I always enjoy a measurable dose of primal outings, semi-subterranean atmosphere anchoring the ambiance to a tumultuous, opaque extent, and the uncircumcised pretense of caveman blackened death/thrash, only, these elements are the only elements are the principally the only aesthetics Vomitor has, which can just suck the excitement out of some audiences after some time. Vomitor boasts of absolute fucking carnage and tense, unbridled craze, and despite the obvious flaws, still deliver the goods the way an old schooler would want; jammed into just thirty minutes, ''The Escalation'' has nice, gritty tone that reeks of yet more carnality, and the cycle of oblivion keeps circulating as the drums plod along with blast beats, grime is spewed forth, blackened speed/thrash ruptures shoot out like psychopathic devils, and the with another bestial inauguration, the cycle renews itself, chaos everywhere.

Vomitor's guitar work is fairly intriguing as far the typical black/thrash psyche goes; it's basically a fluctuating from hellish black/thrash outbursts and straightforward death metal tremolos craving listener's eardrums, and Vomitor also likes mesh that up with occasional whammy wails, which somehow remind me of Gammacide, only as intent about blaspheming as eradicating. As I stated, even with Death Dealer's vocals joining the malicious cacophony for that sinister, blackened edge you're all too familiar with, the progressions and patterns are very direct, without any underpinnings boosting the infrastructure during incursions, yet, thanks to the thinny impulse of the guitars and the band's drunken panoply of deliberate riffing, the music isn't half as banal as that of their counterparts. Conclusion? ''The Escalation'' is a damnably solid album. All the praise that it didn't receive in this review was caused by the compulsions of a disappointed fan, so, if you really know you're going to have a hell of a ride with this, (and I'm sure you will) then get it. This is music for those who enjoy their metal short and to-the-point, archaic as it was over twenty years ago. Hail Satan.

The Escalation
Metal Or Die
Salem Witches Grave

Rating: 80%

Lacerated Metal Playlist IV

As you've probably noticed, I've removed the ''weekly'' tag off Lacerated Metal Weekly Playlist. Anyway, here's the crap I've been hooked on last week.

On And On, by Anthem, off the Burning Oath album
2012, Heavy/power metal, Japan
Sounds like: Hammerfall, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Primal Fear

Syrpas Ulfar, by Arckanum, off the ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ album
2009, Black metal, Sweden
Sounds like: Arckanum, Immortal, Marduk, Carpathian Forest, Ragnarok

No Quarter At The Somme, by I Shalt Become, off the Poison album
2010, Neoclassical black metal, USA
Sounds like: Xasthur, Moloch, Darkthrone (circa 1992-1996), Emperor, [Classical + USBM]

Epitome III, by Blut Aus Nord, off the 777 Sect(s) album
2011, Industrial/experimental black metal/ambient, France
Sounds like: Leviathan, Deathspell Omega, Nightbringer, Dodecahedron, Godflesh

Perpetual Oyster, by Yawning Man, off the Rock Formations album
2005, Space/desert rock (no-metal, let's hear the insults comin'), USA
Sounds like: Space-y desert rock

My Ascension Into The Celestial Spheres, by Spectral Lore, off the Sentinel album
2012, Black metal/ambient, Greece
Sounds like: Immortal, Mayhem, Enslaved, Deathspell Omega

When Humanity Is Cancer, by Anaal Nathrakh, off the The Codex Necro album
2001, Black metal/grindcore, UK
Sounds like: Mind-fucking stuff, Fukpig, Grind n' black

Saturday, December 8, 2012

White Medal/Slaegt - Split [2012]

In recent months, I had the opportunity to be familiarized with Denmark's very own one-man northern howl, Slaegt, whom delivered a personal mini-favorite of mine with their demo. The demo was a concise emblem of the rustling beauty and grandeur of the frigid northern winds in all its atmospheric triumvirate, and depicting the gelid ambiance and spectral gloom of winter in a near-perfect convocation with raw black metal splendor, thus, I was left hungry and desirous by my brief stay in the northern asylum that Asrok conjured, and I was also promised a split offering more primal pulchritude. Now, the prophecy has been fulfilled. Teaming up with yet another fresh face from the somewhat emergent pack black metal devotees, White Medal, winter itself is evocatively released.

Unfortunately, the brevity of the split forms a blockade that prevents me from adorning the two tracks with utter praise and accolades from the start. However, ignoring that, the split is quite enlightening. Slaegt somehow refined their sound by tidying up the hazy, dissonant splashes of messiness into a more precise whole, and there's admittedly more vivacity encompassing their style. Woven complexities are, for the most part, put aside and are replaced more vivid progressions and there's a great, pacy consistency to the riffs that I can't deny, in spite of their simplicity. Though, while certain structural differences appear to be prominent, the entire formula hasn't really deviated from Asrok's previous motifs: there's a piercing surge of consistent, straightforward black metal excursions, and imagery emboldened upon the listener's consciousness maintains a somnolent balance between the horrendous glacial appeal of mountainous entanglement and a surrealistic approach that which provokes a frosty glory in the listener's fiery heart.

I won't be able to judge White Medal's styling as I judged Slaegt as I had no previous acquaintance with the group, though peering into the anatomy of the music, George Proctor's aesthetic considerations are pretty similar to their countrymen in releasing storming, uproarious maelstroms of winter cold, but there's a sense of multiple possibilities here. For one, White Medal has a lot more surprises crammed into their seven minutes than Slaegt has in roughly the same measure. There's quite a bit of raw black metal coiling going on as subtext of the more massive, explosive rancor of the vocals and the much messier ooze of the production, so the instruments all work as entirely different components; the vocals are completely nasty and haunting in their crazed howling succession, the riffs flip from formation to formation during the incursion, and the drums are absolutely thunderous in anchoring the deep onset of discordance. The two have their differences as well as their stylistic similarities; both are going to to tow different masses of audience onto their chilling anger, so if you're an old school black metal enthusiast, you're more than welcome into this chilling abyss. Choose you path; shall it be a languorous blade of icy affection, or a frenzied assault from the deepest, coldest, most cavernous corners of the Moria mines?

Lysets Dod
Them That Fear t'Wolf 

Rating: 81%  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dire Omen - Severing Soul From Flesh [2012]

Canada's repugnant, esoteric atmospheric blackened death metal worship has reached such prodigious heights in quantity that acts gradually diversifying their range of atonal OSDM bowel deconstruction and are conveying somewhat simpler ideas instead of directly corresponding to their ritualistic countrymen Antediluvian and Mitochondrion. One of my most recent excavations in this rotten pile of archaic disturbance is Dire Omen, which, compared to the aforementioned behemoths, have slightly nuanced taste in displaying their corpulent hybrid of black and death metal. I'm assuming your protesting to this nebulous tenor; ''What, another Canadian death metal band?'', and I will be replying with the inevitable answer; ''Yes'', however, don't get your hopes down yet, because in all their simplicity, Dire Omen is not at all bad news.

Honestly, the EP is brief, to-the-point, and as you probably noticed, nothing new for the occasional OSDM freak, yet it does have some strong features that are instant hindrances that negate me from degrading the band's performance. Firstly, ''Severing Soul From Flesh'' lives up for its name in every way. The band's continual reservoir of bulky death metal chugs and chops have a nice earthen grasp to them that's reminiscent of early Pestilence and early Death, rather than more massive incursions because of the great, ghastly, fleshy tone the guitar acquires, and there's quite a bit of muscular dependency here; certainly more riffs are strewn on husky complexes than Antediluvian, or, say, Impetuous Ritual. The rippling clasp of the tone has a radiant effect on the overall patterns, and what's more is that the void-like atmospheric haziness that they've supposedly borrowed from their countrymen adorn the gruesome, lacerating ferocity of the guitars, driving the listener into a delicious, aurally enhanced death metal foray.

In such tracks as ''Decaying Moral Scripture'' or the title track, the band perfectly encrypts semi-atmospheric arpeggio sequences atop vivacious tremolo ruptures that reek of Deicide circa 1990-1992. You'll also get, throughout the brief experience, lugubrious, uncircumcised tremolo patterns which actually have sstrong overtone of nightmarish imagery printed on them. To top it all, ''Deserving Of Ash'' culminates the band's prior compositions by jutting into the airy visceral rampage with immensely atmospheric black metal convulsions, and even if for a split second, you get that eerie splash of epic beauty. My only complaint was that the EP sounded like the band hadn't firmly established a stable formula yet. There's definitely a sense of imperfection in the basis of the formula when you hear odd couplings of death and black, thus, the experience was crudely frightening, even if not as horrific as Antediluvian, the combined reiterated output is something to be feared - I'll definitely be looking forward to further bloodied ceremonies by this trio.

Dire Omen
Severing Soul From Flesh
Deserving Of Ash

Rating: 80%

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ævangelist - De Masticatione Mortuorum In Tumulis [2012]

It has now become inevitable for any fervent old school death/black metal listener to encounter at least half a dozen acts that have enough blasphemous energy enough to fuck you up and toss you from side to side as if being churned inside a bartender's cup, along with the gruesome contents of the drink; viscera and subterranean effigies of obscurity. Ævangelist, however, although obviously up to an extent, fits the category of archaic Incantation worships, does not quite rock the listener as its counterparts do. Teaming up with the obscure I, Voidhanger Records they round up some of the most dissonant and abysmal content that one can imagine of; a shrewd yet completely hostile entity rearing in the depths of your subconscious and gushing out in carnal, experimental death metal oblivion; a terrifying experience that will need to dwell in your nightmares for utmost apprehension.

The debut by this mortuary ascension is wholly consuming. Matron Thorn, the delusional brains behind the entire darkened orchestra leads his pack to a tremendous, utterly compelling atmospheric triumph. As a man who has played in such acts as Leviathan and Benighted In Sodom, his transitions of experimental, immensely aural conflagrations seem almost as a natural tendency after years of experience from acts prior to this. The guitars follow well-structured textures through grating, submerged deliverance and they sprout from each other like minions spawning from their primordial cocoons and tearing, smothering each other into sensational, discomfiting oblivion, while the experimental quadrant of the album lies in one very simple but continuous surge of engrossing synthesizers, probably the band's biggest and most crucial implement in forming up the ambiance. The drums stampede amid the reverb-bathed carnage around them, and their crushing prominence add a certain muscular pattern to this nightmarish assembly.

Over the Internet, I've seen numerous comparisons, relating ''De Masticatione...'', or better yet Ævangelist, to Portal, an association I can only find inaccurate due to certain facts. Portal had  gritty and overly cantankerous textures that boasted of nothing but downright miserable noise, whereas Ævangelist definitely has a more accessible output. Additionally, part of Ævangelist's refined sound comes from their excessive usage of proto-brutal death metal aesthetics fitting over an outing of Incantation-like miasma and ambiance as I have noted above, and Portal always sounds ear-scratching; the guitars here are built for smoldering; not nettling. The only exception here is the nine-minute experimental monolith ''Hierophant Disposal Facility'', which, by lurching upon blotted ears, unites Ævangelist's own experimental speculation with nefarious industrial elements; an instrumental affair that brings the band's discordant evil to perfection.

Thus, settling upon my subconscious like some spectral ghoul from the weirdest corner of the netherworld, Ævangelist has convinced me beyond belief. Obviously, my love for ''De Masticatione Mortuorum In Tumulis'' is not strengthened by the somewhat mainstream catchiness it possesses, but by the psychotic trance it bestows on me whilst these convulsions are processed. I shall herald this as one of my favorites in not just similar atmospheric/experimental death metal groups moving about but also as one of the greatest metal releases the year has to offer us. If you too are a sucker for such immensities, then let the spectral bombast circulate through your nervous system and witness the meaning of dreary terror as it provokes innumerable nightmares. Good night.

Hierophant Disposal Facility

Blood & Darkness
Death Illumination

Rating: 92,5%

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sathanas/The Spawn Of Satan - Spawn Of Satan/Sathanas

Ouch. Christianity just got pounded. And it's all thanks to the newest duo the devilish heavy metal capital Hell's Headbangers offers Satan as sacrifice. Up to a certain extent these two impious US blackened death/thrash fugitives offer a fairly exciting, competent and even fierce release, and I'm also considering the amount of experience behind each band, since both have their beginnings dated back to the late 80's and also considering Sathanas has a total of eight albums at the ready to unleash upon mankind like some hungry mega-pack of hellhounds, but to be sure, we've tasted the same razing death/thrash frivolity a good number of times, whether it be from modern tyrants Crucified Mortals, Destroyer 666, Vomitor, Hellbringer, Mongrel's Cross or olden pundits such as Possessed, Venom, Slayer early Death and so on. So I now welcome you to yet another of of the Devil's unbridled minions.

It seems though each band only had the counterparts sufficient to compose one song, which is, in a way, better for my cause, because I won't bored to submission by continual hellish extirpation. The irony is that the entire veteran prowess that Sathanas has comes from their single-minded dedication to their own work, while their split-mate consists of members from more major acts, including the infamous Nunslaughter and Derketa even. Nonetheless, let's not divide the two because of their personal differences, after all, both don't seem far too apart from Nunslaughter's aesthetics, and both, as given on this split can hardly be considered mavens of their own distinct uniqueness. TSOS prefers a more meaty crust on their addition to the split, ''Ritual Murder'', deliberately channeling typical early 90's/late 80's death/thrash worship with chunky guitars bashing all the way through the ritualistic, devil-worshiping colostomy. I'll admit, it's hard to break the good old habit of subterranean tremolo patterns laced with a bit of blackened ambiance, but come on, this is something we've heard one too many times - even other side of the split, Sathanas does a better job at keeping the listener constantly awake.

Sathanas basically pushes the whole blackened death/thrash niche a little further, but still hardly enough for it to deviate from the previous effort. It's more of a concoction of classic German and Australian savagery, flesh-stripping and blasting and there's a nice little twist of Norwegian black metal, at least a pinch of what the Scandinavian grande had in store back in the early 90's, early Darkthrone and perhaps early Mayhem; the atmospheric glory of things unfortunately expunged from the simplistic textures. I can safely say, this isn't novelty of any kind. Structural preference is unequivocal, memorability almost non-existent and the energy is only enough to inject a dose of headbanging pleasure that should last no more than fifteen minutes. Nonetheless, this is still a decent collection piece for vinyl freaks, die-hards or goat worshiping thrashers, so they might as well attain this, at their own expense.

Unholy Eternal

Rating: 69%

Wintersun - Time I

After 8 long years, Wintersun has finally returned with part one of their new material, “Time”. I don’t want to dwell on the fact that has been a while since the last album, but I definitely want to talk about the decision to release this as two separate records. Whether or not Jari Mäenpää or Nuclear Blast made the decision, it was the correct one. Simply put, this album is an epic, bombastic affair of keyboards and symphonic atmospheres that is almost too much to handle. 80 minutes of this style of music would be physically draining on the listener, and I say that because even 40 minutes can be quite difficult to fully absorb what is going on. There may be only three full songs on “Time I”, but they are more than enough material to satisfy the listener.

The instrumental opener, “When Time Fades Away”, introduces some new oriental influences toWintersun’s brand of folky melodic death metal. By the time this song is over, you start to understand the transition in sound from the debut to this record. On “Time I” Wintersun uses more clean vocals, keyboards, and melodies. That isn’t to say that every song here is a rehash of “Death and the Healing” from the debut, but there is certainly less speed and intensity on this record. The band definitely embraced the “melodic” part of melodic death metal. “Sons of Winter and Stars” is the first epic and is actually the track that is most similar to the debut album. There are blastbeats and riffs aplenty, and the intensity is kept up throughout the song; however, you will notice the increased use of choirs and clean vocals. The other two lengthy songs are employ similar methods, but are not quite as fast. In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of this album is the huge range of dynamics. There are perfect transitions from huge, heavy death metal moments into quieter acoustic and keyboard driven sections with Jari's clean vocals over top.

My only real complaint on this record is the lack of guitar solos. They do show up (there is some serious shredding going on in the title track), but are generally less frequent and shorter than on the first record. Considering how talented both of these guitarists are, it’s too bad. The musicianship is great, but they don't show off like they did on “Wintersun”. The only major improvement instrument-wise is the great clean vocals by Jari. His singing sounds more confident and powerful than ever before. A second caution with this record is how over-the-top it is. There are numerous layers of instruments, and the band changes tempos and moods quite often. Don’t dismiss this as lacking substance; it definitely takes more than a few listens to enjoy the album, and I’m not even sure it’s fair to review it so quickly after it was released. Don’t overthink this record, just put it in and listen to it often. If you put the time in to appreciate this masterpiece, you will definitely get more out of it than your average album.

Sons Of Winter And Stars

Rating: 90%

Written by Scott Dorfman

Originally written for Skull Fracturing Metal Zine.

Asilo - Geografias/Wardance [Single]

Chugging out queer processions somewhere amid doom, drone, sludge and crust, I did not see Argentina's Asilo coming at me at all. Seriously, the moment I was contacted by the band and was not disappointed with what I heard from this two track single was the moment when hope and expectancy rose to a considerable level once again, and believe me, finding unknown modern gems underneath a bedrock of geniality is something worth being ecstatic about. Motions aside though, let's get on with the real deal here. Asilo, with whatever dwindled, grotesque murk they could muster present us with a third release, after two singles, and obviously the first release I've heard by them. This Argentinian quartet put the pedal to the drone to present with a lugubrious, almost nightmarish upheaval of dissonant bliss, something that fans of Hell, a rather recent blackened drone abomination will rather like.

The single has two songs, a total of nine minutes if you want to measure how long the lumbering inquisition will last. There's a weird twist though, the band has omitted the usage of electric guitars, and in the stead of the gushing voracity of the guitars, you have two bobbing, discomfiting bass lines, channeled and adorned with numerous effects and pedals to ravish the glory of the horrible atmosphere. They've distorted the basses in such a way that their excursions sound almost like clean, reverb-ridden electric guitar trudges, only a deal heavier by nature. Except the brevity, I really couldn't find anything wrong with the release. The opener ''Geografias'' introduces an introspective channel of hazy sludge and stoner/doom, while surpassing typical boundaries with a witty compulsion of monotonous drudgery, the terrific bass line always constant, and discordant, completely ear-gashing flutters of raw production pushing in and out of the aura; the second half of the song encloses the first chapter almost abruptly and indulges the listener in a completely new array of space-y sludge lumbers.

Wardance embraces the crust-like tendencies of the band to a far more diverse extent. The bass lines crawl along a punky passage while primordial ooze spews from their wretched rumbles, and the band completely switches to all-out-attack mode - screams radiating amid screams. The cathartic damage that the two tracks deal are so compulsive that the listener doesn't even mind the turbulence and aural disturbance, making the fluctuation seem completely viscous. And besides the terrific sludge/drone patrols that stalk you constantly throughout nine minutes, Manuel Platino arranges the analog devices and mechanical portions of the music expertly; not to mention his hellish, transient vocal deliveries. Asilo deserves praise for sure. Through the resonant, cave-riddled abyss they drive the listener through, despite the shortness of the experience, torture and pleasure at the same time is granted, guaranteed. In all, one daunting release may not suffice for such contemptuous, ravenous entities as I, but Asilo has built the essentials of a certain miserable grasp that helps it branch away from its fellow counterparts of drone and crust, and I'm overly excited about what torturous hymns they can churn out on their major craving, a planned full-length for 2013; an unavoidable opportunity for them to not only enrich their engrossed, barren content, but also to work out for an even more experimental expenditure on their disheveled aesthetics.


Rating: 82%