Monday, 29 September 2014

Stench: Venture (2014) Album Review

The so-called metal underground, or at least the half dozen web based magazines and several message boards that comprise its online avatar, is currently nothing if not receptive to a repeat of the forays into experimentation death metal undertook in the '90s. New textures are being woven into familiar sounds and structures with often rapt reception. The retro craze is evolving into a renewed lust for fresh approaches. Tellingly the upcoming prog death record by Horrendous is more hotly anticipated than any of the retro-wave releases by Dark Descent this year, while listeners and press have been all but carrying Tribulation on their shoulders after the admittedly very good Formulas of Death last year. Into this return Stench with their sophomore, on which they have worked for four years.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Lest Ye Be Judged MMXIV.002: Ordinance, Sangus & Infernal Awakening

Another three black metal bands line their promos up in front of the Heavy Metal Saloon firing squad.

Ordinance: Relinquishment (2014) Album Review

Ordinance is a band from Finland associated with Baptism and Alghazanth, plying a sound far darker and more evocative of the country's deep forests and lonely lakes. Those lakes you could go missing near. Despite sprawling across two discs the album clocks a pretty neat 60 minutes moving from mournful leads and windswept trudging sections to driving quests through trilling raw tremolo and pounding rhythms. I do enjoy the scattered, bone-hollow sound of the bass that provides such a sepulchral voice counter to the elegant if thin guitars playing. The drums are also well done, nothing fancy and usually just keeping time, but during the well-handled slow sections and the tight blasts the former drummer of Slugathor, Impudicus, more than does his job. 'Yielding Servitude', a highlight, even manages to hit some emotional highs with the excellent choice of melodies playing off against meaner sounding riffs and a few punky beats. In fact the riffs of 'Perigrination Unto the Inevitable' are almost hymnal, in fact they are very beautiful and the vocals here are magnificent too.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Den Saakaldte: Kapittel II: Faen i Helvete (2014) Album Review

This is a surprisingly low-profile band given its line-up includes current and former members of 1349 as well as Jormundgand of Dødheimsgard infamy, plus having previously numbered Hellhammer and Niklas Kvarforth among them. Hell of a line-up, and I'm sure expectations might run even higher with some, seeing the pitch-perfect logo, cover art and photo shoots as well as Ved Buens Ende-inspired name of this Norwegian black metal band. I was only previously, dimly aware of Den Saakaldte from their participation on a split with Horna this year which I was mostly interested in given Horna's recent return with Spellgoth to a sound more like something I would be interested in. Then their name cropped up on a split with Varathron... never got around to grabbing either of those yet though, and yet here is a promo of Den Saakaldte's second album.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Abusiveness: Bramy Nawii (2014) Album Review

Like others I was fairly sure Blaze of Perdition would be history after last year's accident, following the excellent split with Devathorn which pretty much represented the best either band had been yet. As it turns out Blaze of Perdition are working on a new album; though had they disappeared the renewed activity of long-running Polish blasphemers Abusiveness, who share members, would have made a highly appropriate albeit more wrathful go-to for the deprived and depraved.

Otargos: Apex Terror (2013) Album Review

Along with the unexpected, sumptuous skies of its cover art, Apex Terror is a wholly different animal to the previous works of these violent French black metal evildoers. This record is a lot more simple in construction, offering a bunch of crawling tempos with big pounding drums and lonesome feedback, broken by frequent neck-breaking drumming more death metal than anything they've previously done. Hinted at are scant electronic and industrial experiments, but these are used shyly with nothing like the share of the action such sounds got on a killer release like Aborym's With No Human Intervention. The neat remix of 'Fleshless Deathless' is in sort of the right ball park, but goes full on into techno /dub stuff whereas I'd reckon a mix throughout the record could sound good.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Abigor: Leytmotif Luzifer (2014) Album Review

Full disclosure, I don't have any other Abigor albums, demos, EPs or what have you. For whatever reason I (shamefully it would seem) never made the effort to get anything more than a passing familiarity with them. Part of the reason could be that there is never any hype around them, probably due largely to their very respectable attitude toward the shambolic circlejerk that comprises "metal press", toward which Abigor's approach apparently ranges from dismissive to openly antagonistic. I'm vaguely aware that they have attempted various experiments and transformations that have been met with mixed acclaim, but beyond that this is a purely objective review of their beautifully presented and musically stunning 10th full-length.

Three Solid Ways to Avoid Scammers Like Blake Judd

I really enjoyed the article on noisey.vice.com where Neill Jameson of Krieg spilled all on his experiences with Blake Judd. Not just because it might help in some small way to stop people enabling the pathetic frontman of Nachtmystium. Not just because it was a terrific tale, brilliantly told, that in a perfect world would be fashioned into a high-octane biopic movie about the black metal underworld and drug addiction. A little bit of my appreciation for it was based on the fact that it this is all just further proof that heavy metal isn't all one big happy loving family holding hands. Man is by his nature nasty, brutish and short, and you're all trying to screw each other just as much as the lobotomized mainstreamers you're so scared of. There's no brotherhood, and no unity.

Which all helps me enjoy Nachtmystium's sole decent song, the wonderful 'Assassins' (which just copies second wave riffs and adds gang choruses then a cool psych build, check it out), all the more.

There is some good news though, which is if you stay alert and watch your neighbours you can avoid being scammed out of the cash you slaved for the man to earn by people like Blake Judd. Here's some tips (after the jump break):

My Own Ghost: Love Kills (2014) Album Review

My Own Ghost are a gothic pop and rock band out of Luxembourg, recently formed last year and presenting here a professional sounding debut album. Although the promo information I was sent compared them to the likes of the execrable Evanescence, the sound and imagery here is more of white sterilized corridors and rain-lashed cities than crypts and corsets. The sound here isn't a million miles away from a bastard lovechild of Placebo and Blondie, and if that sounds good to you then it is, if not, run far away.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Prophesied Blood Moons: Best 15 Songs of the Year so Far

Recent apocalypses have included Grigori Rasputin's tip for the 23rd of August last year, when fire didn't eat all life on the planet and Jesus conspicuously didn't return to Earth to comfort people in distress (although his efforts would have been characteristically pointless if a fire had killed everyone and only then did his sainted arse arrive). Coming up we've got the tetrad of blood moons that promise to herald the end times, having apparently begun with the lunar eclipse in April.

So with the world ending as it always is, here is a very much delayed list of some of the best songs out yet this year. Fifteen killer metal tracks. As usual there are many albums that are just good or consistent throughout from which I haven't chosen a track.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Ordoxe: Beyond Mankind (2014) Album Review

Formed in 1989, Ordoxe only fired up a debut release in 2006, and seem to have diligently and modestly toiled since then. My first thought was Desaster meets Arckanum, given the thrashing riffs driving the band's vehicle of wrath, and slightly more esoteric or mysterious chords that boosted it away from a more faithful adaptation of traditional black thrash attacks. But the band brought enough inspiration to fill Ordoxe's own albums and probably a couple of side projects to, stuffing in more playing styles and genre derivations than the mind will likely process on first listen.