Perdition Winds – Aura of Suffering (Review)

Perdition WindsThis is the début album from Finnish Black Metallers Perdition Winds.

Perdition Winds play Underground Black Metal with a harsh sound and a strong feeling of desolation and unholiness.

The band’s songs are on the longer side and they use this time to rip through aggressive Black Metal that is steeped in Blackened melodies and malevolent moods.

The vocals are throaty rasps halfway between a scream and a growl. The singer shrieks and roars through the tracks like something possessed and his daemonic voice offers no letup throughout.

The tracks alternate between blasting chaos and groovier sections that harken back to the days of Darkthrone’s best. Mid-90’s Black Metal is still a firm favourite amongst Black Metallers and Perdition Winds will find many willing worshippers here.

Blackly melodic guitars seem to occasionally swim out of the aggressive songs and rise above in showers of grim colour. I particularly enjoy these parts as it really captures the imagination like only Black Metal can sometimes.

Because sometimes, when you’re in a particular mood, only Black Metal will do. Perdition Winds cater to this craving perfectly.

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Piss Vortex – Piss Vortex (Review)

Piss VortexPiss Vortex are a Grindcore band from Denmark. This is their début album.

Piss Vortex play the kind of monstrous, visceral Grind that’s just such a pleasure to listen to. Their brand of mayhem is infused with a healthy wedge of Sludge and the two influences have conspired to create a caustic blend of hatred and venom.

The short, violent tracks on this release are a testament to a band who clearly want to rip out your insides and equally clearly don’t care how they do this.

Blasting, atonal and dissonant Grind is mixed with Sludge’s harsh churn to create tracks that don’t always go the direction you might expect, although every one of them is lethal.

Inventive and interesting riffs are backed up by inhuman drumming and vocals that are aggressive enough to carry a health warning.

Piss Vortex have an impressive amount of ways to kill and maim. Some Grind can fall into the trap of just repeating itself, but Piss Vortex manage to sound fresh, enticing and relatively varied for a band that are essentially harnessing pure anger and rage.

Absolute class. For connoisseurs of violent music.

Tongues – Thelésis Ignis (Review)

TonguesThis is the début EP of Tongues, who are from Denmark and play Black Metal.

This is the kind of evil, otherworldly Black Metal that immediately makes you sit up and take notice. As you listen to Thelésis Ignis there’s an almost tangible feeling of something inhuman watching you just out of sight; something lurking behind the thin veil of reality; something hungry and ancient. It’s as if by playing Thelésis Ignis you are playing a small part in a wider plan to summon whatever it is into this world.

These are the initial feelings evoked by this album; Thelésis Ignis contains power, promise and potential.

Thelésis Ignis may be classed as an EP but at 36 minutes in length it’s as long as some albums.

The music is intense, frightening and shares a lurking malice with the very best of involving and engaging Black Metal. The riffs are inventive and bold without dominating proceedings. Everything works together with everything else to complete the ritual.

Tongues have an underground sound that’s perfect for their style of music, allowing their Black Metal to shine darkly whilst not sounding polished or new in any way.

The evil atmospheres created by the band are all-encompassing while the music is playing and even when it stops it seems to linger, unwilling to let go of life. Some of the added sounds and effects that the band employ subtly in the background of the tracks are eerie and unnerving, like the very best occult Black Metal should be.

On the last song, Bloodline of the Blind, Tongues seem to drop all pretension of being a band in the regular sense. Here they fully embrace their ritualistic side and focus on the act of summoning the indescribable horror from another world.

Thelésis Ignis has elements of Death and Doom Metal in its sound which only goes to enhance the rich, dark palette that the band work from. The vocals in particular have a firm Death Metal basis as they are largely deep growls that seem to come from the bottom of the abyss.

This is a jaw-dropping début from Tongues. All fans of soul-eating Black Metal need to listen to this.

Process of Guilt/Rorcal – Split (Review)

POGRThis is a split between Portugal’s Process of Guilt and Switzerland’s Rorcal.

Rorcal’s contribution to the split is 15 minutes of anguished, Blackened chaos.

On their previous album Vilagvege they had a Blackened element to their sound, with dark atmospheres and Black Metal-laced blasting appearing in places; on this split they appear to have embraced this bitingly harsh side of their sound to a greater deal and these three songs have a much stronger Black Metal influence. Having sampled the whirlwind Rorcal seem to have liked their taste of the darkness.

The Sludge is still here though. Blast beats there may be but they also slow things down to let the listener really feel the despair. At least for a short while.

I like Rorcal a lot and think that no matter whether they play fast or slow they have a talent for sounding both evil and agonised at the same time.

The first half of the split is a triumph then.

Having never encountered Process of Guilt before – what of the second half?

Process of Guilt’s contribution to the split is three tracks of Atmospheric Doom Sludge lasting 17 minutes.

They start with harsh screams that seem to escape from the void of negativity that the band shroud themselves with. They have a good sound that veritably screams for the apocalypse to happen and the hammering guitars combined with the very emotive and atmospheric aura of misery that they perpetuate is a treat to listen to.

Deeper, grimmer vocals share stage with these otherworldly shrieks to create a well rounded vocal package that complements the professional delivery of the band. This is Sludge to fall in love with.

Process of Guilt combine the abrasive, twisting parts of Neurosis, the relentless heaviness of Celeste and the dark, gritty atmospheres of Burning Witch to create 17 minutes of feedback-drenched Hell that any Sludge/Doom fan couldn’t help but fall for.

A 32 minutes split featuring quality bands and songs. What’s stopping you from getting this right now?

Maahlas – Nightmare Years (Review)

MaahlasMaahlas are from Norway and this is their début album. They play Melodic Black Metal with a progressive edge.

Well, this wastes no time in making an immediate impact on the listener with its blasting melodies and sharp vocals. It’s dynamic and bright, with lots of colourful leads and atmospheric flourishes.

This is quite a varied mix within its sub-genre as it contains elements of Atmospheric, Melodic and Progressive Black Metal all rolled into a very well produced album.

Maahlas manage to show very early on that they can play in a very aggressive manner as well is also being able to demonstrate subtlety and nuance. This largely manifests itself through the inclusion of lighter and more sensitive moments that are littered around the album’s blistering Black Metal. This is further enhanced by more Progressive and Atmospheric Black Metal elements.

Nightmare Years boasts a heady combination of the above and results in an album that sounds very accomplished. The musicianship is tight and the riffs are inventive and interesting. There are lots of great additional enhancements and ideas dotted throughout these 11 tracks and it’s an easy album to digest and enjoy without it becoming too staid or formulaic. It’s not an easy line to walk but the band do it naturally and with ease.

Each song is well-written and delicately masters the trade-off between aggressive tendencies and more restrained, considered influences. Clearly the band have a natural talent for this and their passion and personality shines through.

The vocals are very well delivered, with the singer alternating Blackened shrieks with deeper growls and everything in between. It’s a strong performance and crowns the music like a dark jewel. Unexpected clean vocals also appear on the fourth track and add yet another string to their bow.

Nightmare Years is a stunning victory of a début album. I look forward to getting to know this album even better over the coming months and years; it’s already made a big impression on me and I think this one is very firmly a keeper.

Power of Ground – The Butcher (Review)

Power of GroundPower of Ground are from Bangladesh and this is their début EP. They play Technical Brutal Death Metal.

Here we have aggressive Death Metal played with passion and with an ear for a good riff. This is a brutal release with a flavour somewhere between Old-School and a bit newer.

The production values are quite raw, but this is only a début release so that’s okay. It’s not a bad sound though, it just needs filling out a bit in my opinion.

The songs themselves though are nasty slices of visceral Death Metal with a good trade-off between technicality and ugly brutality; similar to a band like Dying Fetus in the sense that they can sometimes juxtapose the two, but they don’t really sound like them overall. I’d say they mix a bit of Dying Fetus with elements of Severe Torture, Defeated Sanity, Infant Annihilator and even a bit of old Hypocrisy in the slower parts.

I like that the band have a lot of ideas and are clearly hungry for this style of music. It sounds fresh and ready to kill. There are a lot of good riffs here and these generally congeal into decent songs.

The vocalist is impressive and talented; screams, growls, pignoise grunts – it’s all here. The vocals are one of the highlights for me, ranging from extreme Death Metal growls to Grindcore-style, unhinged shrieks. Great stuff.

This is a very promising start for Power of Ground. So what do we want next? If they improve on their recording a bit and continue to write interesting and engaging songs like this then their debut album should be a great listen. I can’t wait to hear what they do next.

Annihilated – XIII Steps to Ruination (Review)

AnnihilatedAnnihilated are from the US and play Brutal Death Metal. This is their début album.

Straight from the off we’re treated to Annihilated’s aggressive style of Brutal Death Metal. The double bass roars and the guitars shred as the vocalist seemingly makes a mess of his insides in an attempt to growl harder.

Tight riffs and furious riffing power the band’s main method of assault alternating between blasting or mid-paced sections to allow for variety of attack. Annihilated are not without groove either; Annihilated know how to knock your teeth down your throat and have many ways to do this.

This may be Brutal Death Metal but it’s nice to see a band like Annihilated who know that blasting is not the be all and end all of the style. Annihilated can blast with the best of them, of course, but they mainly use groovier, energetic mid-paced assaults that are done really well and showcase the band’s devastatingly heavy use of effective dynamics.

The drums are particularly fun, with plenty of rolls and fills breaking up the blasting and mayhem.

Leads and solos make appearances and they all sound good. It’s especially nice when played over a solid rhythm section and the band frequently do this to get themselves into a nice groove.

The guitar work is exemplary and their choice of riffs is crushing. The songs also have lots of nice little things to keep the listener engaged, this is certainly not an album that sounds tired or stale in any way. This is fresh, vigorous and full of energy. This is music to bounce around to like a maniac.

I love Death Metal like this. Annihilated take the primal power of the style, rip it apart and then vomit it all back over you. And I love it.

A band to watch.

 

Emeth – Aethyr (Review)

EmethEmeth are from Belgium and play Technical Death Metal. This is their fourth album.

Emeth tread that fine line between brutality and technicality and manage to successfully incorporate both into their savage Death Metal assault.

Ultra-aggression and lightning speed riffage work together to melt faces whilst fretboard wizardry takes the technical side of the band to new heights of carnage.

Emeth can certainly play and play well, and they’re no stranger to brutality, but what sets them apart though is that they don’t purely rely on speed and technicality; they know when to inject a bit of atmosphere and quality instrumentation into the proceedings via some sharply written riffs and colossal guitar work.

The guitar work as a whole is a particular highlight of this record; there is plenty of inventive and interesting riffs and whether they are playing fast or easing off the speed slightly everything is precise, crisp and dynamic.

The singer does a great job and has a focused growl. He picks and chooses his vocal patterns well and knows when to let the music do the talking. This is not an album where the singer is the vocal point; rather the riffs take centre stage and the vocals are an enhancement, (albeit an important one), to the songs.

What an album! A whirlwind tour of destruction and creativity. Emeth have clearly put a lot of hard work into Aethyr and have been rewarded with an extremely strong album.

Into Death Metal? You need to get this.

Interview with Mourning Pyre

Mourning Pyre Logo

The début EP from one-man Ukrainian Atmospheric Blackened Doom project Mourning Pyre made an impression with me. It’s very good – go check it out! I was compelled to find out more…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

Hello there, I’m Scott! I am the sole creator and writer for Mourning Pyre. Another one of those ‘one-man’ projects… I figured there weren’t enough of them, so I decided to make one myself! Mourning Pyre is a wide conglomerate of genres, but I suppose it can best be described as atmospheric doom / melodic blackened death. Say that three times!

Give us a bit of history to Mourning Pyre

Mourning Pyre actually came about earlier this year because I wanted a more versatile name to write under. I have a vast array of genres that I enjoy listening to, and I found that sometimes I had more “death metal” songs or more “black metal” songs… so I just wanted a name where I could put all that under one roof, so to speak, and not have to try to think of a new band name every time I write a song. It is convenient for me, but extremely difficult when it comes to trying to explain my ‘kind’ of music to others. Often, I’ll simply say I write ‘metal’ music.

What are your influences?

My main influence is my life. I fully believe that music is my gift that has helped me get through some really hard times in my life. I don’t want to sit here and say that I’ve had it worse than anybody else, or that my pain is worse than yours, but I can say that without the ability to write music, or at the very least the strong interest in music, that my life would be very different today and I’m not at all sure I could say it’d be better.

My musical upbringing was an eclectic one. My grandparents listened to jazz and classical which was a great addition to the heavy metal influences from my parents. As I grew up, I found death metal and black metal in the mid 90’s when I was on a quest for something new and even more brutal. This is about the time I got onto the Internet and used Napster to really broaden my horizons.

If we pinpoint specific genres… 80’s metal, 80’s synth pop, dark wave, trance, black metal, death metal, straight rock, movie scores, industrial, classical, etc.

As you can see, I like pretty much something from everything except rap and hip-hop and those offsets as I don’t even consider that stuff to be music.

Mourning Pyre BandWhat are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

Well, it’s hard for me to recommend certain types of bands or music… so I decided to just type the latest bands I listened to from my Google Play account:

Woods of Ypres, Nokturnal Mortum, Faith No More, Cannibal Corpse, Galaktik Cancer Squad, Belphegor, Dark Forest, Arx Atrata, Thrawsunblat, Nine Inch Nails, Aborym, Stuck Mojo, Static-X…

Obviously, I’d have to recommend pretty much anything by Woods of Ypres, though I’m particular to Woods V. Galaktik Cancer Squad, Arx Atrata and Dark Forest might be gems for people out there who want some more atmospheric black metal.

What did you want to achieve with your new album?

The main goal was to get a professional sounding release. I was lucky in that the guy I was working with was privy to the type of music I was playing and the kind of atmosphere I wanted to get from it. I was very particular about drums and guitars and meticulously recorded the guitars. There are videos about that on the YouTube page. However, ultimately…

Are you happy with how it turned out?

This is a tough question. I suppose I could start nit-picking… In terms of a pristine release at studio quality that is listenable? I’d say I achieved that and then some… though I think some of the character of atmospheric music was removed. It’s almost like it is a bit too clean and polished. This is not a knock against the guy I recorded it with, but there are things I wish I could have done differently now that I’ve had time to listen to it about 1,000 times. Overall, the E.P. sounds great and I’m fully proud of how it turned out.

What can you tell us about the lyrics?

Mourning Pyre isn’t very adept at lyric writing… though I wish I was. I think vocals, singing, and lyric writing is the final frontier that I need to tackle.

Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process.

Good question! I actually posted a video talking about how I write my songs on my YouTube channel. Basically, I get the idea and inspiration, and then I go to town. In that video, I showed a very old program called Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 from 1999. I actually have forced myself to give that up and now I am writing new music using Reaper 4 directly with Kontakt and soft-synth patches loaded. This allows me to write in dynamics immediately and get a better feel for what the song will sound like. Doing it this way has lent my music a much more cinematic quality.

From there, I’ll either record it in Reaper 4 or in Sonar X3 Studio. I’m a big fan of Cakewalk, actually. I used Pro Tools 10HD for the Mourning Pyre E.P. and I see no particular advantage to using Pro Tools. I mean, if you have $800.00 to blow on over rated software, by all means!

Tell us about the Classical parts/influences.

As it turns out, my Grandparents were on to something when they exposed me to the Classical greats. I’m quite happy they did so. Classical instrumentation helps add the extra layer of dynamics that makes up for my lack of vocals and guitar ability. At this point, I think it’s the last piece to the puzzle of my music – effectively learning how to create the dynamics with strings and orchestral instrumentation… it’s the human quality in metal that gets lost, I think. I should add, also, that the type of instrumentation is more geared towards film score and not so much traditional classical parts… though I wish I had the ability to do that, too!

Some of the songs on this release have a bit of a Post-Metal feel to them on occasion – Holding My Breath (Until I Die), for example, has a guitar part in it that wouldn’t be out of place on a Red Sparowes record. Is the Post-Metal scene an influence at all?

Big fan of Post-Metal! In fact, there used to be a website called Depressive-INC that has since disappeared. It’s a real bummer because there were numerous bands that I had downloaded from there and really enjoyed. I have, unfortunately, lost the MP3 files and, as I said, the website is shut down. Does anybody know of a replacement?

The thing with post black metal that is interesting for me are the use of the tremolo picked chords. I’m fascinated by the types of chords they come up with. I’m more into the melodic aspect of it, obviously. I like the new release from Deafheaven, ‘White Tomb’ from Altar of Plagues, ‘Tenant’ by Ludicra is pretty good as well. The thing also with this type of music is that I need to be in the mood for something that I can just turn on and fly away with. I like it when a melody takes me away.

How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

I’m always trying to grow and expand. 2014 hasn’t seen many new songs… in fact; I can say that 2014 has been my least productive year in terms of writing new music since I started writing music 15 years ago. That’s okay, though. I have a ton of ideas and directions to go. The song I’m currently working on has a very cinematic feel in the beginning. I’m also trying new writing techniques (such as writing riffs or leads ‘on the spot’). I used to write songs very quickly when I would get the idea… now I’m allowing that inspiration to flow, but I don’t force myself to finish the song.

I have always envisioned that 60 minute song… a story of some sort… something that would encompass all of the human emotion. I don’t think I’m quite ready to undertake that task yet, but I feel that someday soon I’ll be mature enough musically to be able to put something like that together.

Thanks a lot for allowing me to do this interview with you. I had to sit down and really ponder some of the questions you asked me. It was a pleasure!

Coraxo – Starlit Flame II (Review)

CoraxoCoraxo are from Finland and play Industrial Death/Black Metal. This is their second EP.

Their first EP was not without its charms and this latest release sees them expand on their earlier efforts.

The sound has improved this time around with the songs sounding fuller and more polished. The band are clearly becoming more comfortable with their style and are even more confident in their approach these days.

The music continues to be a cross of bands like Dimmu Borgir and Neurotech. This means we get a good combination of dance-floor beats and faster, more aggressive sounds as the band uses both methods of attack to get their story across.

The vocals are sharp, high-pitched screeches that lash out at the listener like wires in a storm. These have improved on the previous EP and sound really good.

Keyboards and effects lurk just behind the central music and provide highlights and accompaniment to the Blackened tunes.

This is a band that continues to develop nicely and this EP should see them winning over a slew of new fans.

Have a listen and see what you think.