Sigihl – Trauermärsche (And a Tango Upon the World’s Grave) (Review)

SigihlThis is the début album from Polish Black/Doom/Sludge Metal band Sigihl.

Sigihl play their Black Metal with added elements of Sludge, Doom and Drone.

This is special, in a disgustingly infectious way. There’s no guitar, but there is a saxophone. Sigihl make Black Metal art by their own rules. It’s intriguing, depraved and utterly compelling.

Calling it Black Metal though is a bit misleading, as although Black Metal is an integral component of their writing, equally important is the Doom/Sludge influence.

The bass-heavy distortion is combined with a saxophone sound that seems dredged up from the most sinister and worrying parts of a Silent Hill game. It’s unusual and instantly appealing. Sigihl have really worked out how to get the most from emotive filthiness.

The wailing vocals are buried by the bass and provide an unhinged counterpoint to the plaintive saxophone melodies.

The repetitive dirge/Drone-like nature of the music is infectious and draws you in, eager to experience the joyful misery that this cavalcade of woe is pedalling.

Sigihl have created a listening experience that’s almost tangible enough to touch.

A very individual release, destined to be tragically overlooked by many Metal fans. Don’t let this be the case with you.

Bloodscribe – Prologue to the Apocalypse (Review)

BloodscribeBloodscribe are from the US and this is their début album. They play Death Metal.

This is Brutal Death Metal that’s short, nasty, violent and infectious. At its core it has a purity of intent that’s a joy to hear.

The songs are a hearty mix of blast, chug and groove that’s guaranteed to get the blood pumping and the body slamming.

There are plenty of tasty riffs here as well as some squeals, breakdowns, and chug-fests. The band remind me of the older, Suffocation/Broken Hope style of Death Metal and they play it well.

At only 25 minutes in length the band get in, make a gloriously noisy mess and then exit again swiftly.

Bloodscribe have a hideously warm production that reeks of decaying organic matter whilst retaining a powerful presence.

The vocals are guttural delights; sickeningly deep without descending into ridiculous pignoise territory.

A very enjoyable way to spend almost half an hour. Gotta love groovy, heavy Death Metal.

Lord Dying – Poisoned Altars (Review)

Lord DyingThis is the second album from US Sludge Metallers Lord Dying.

This is all about worshipping the riff and following the path of everything heavy.

Oh, and the album cover is just perfect.

Lord Dying shout and bellow their way through these 8 tracks with belligerence and a confidence born of too much alcohol and a natural ability. They know they’re better then most so why shouldn’t they show what they’re capable of?

If you’re a fan of Crowbar, High On Fire, Red Fang, Mastodon, The Obsessed, Orange Goblin, etc. then you’ll no doubt find a lot to enjoy here.

Essentially mixing High On Fire and Crowbar, Lord Dying provide a lot of meat throughout this 37 minute album. It’s not purely a riff-fest either as the band do concentrate on songs more than just stitching different guitar parts together.

The singer has a throaty snarl that has character and recalls a younger, angrier Crowbar singer. He also has a knack for catchy rhythms and vocal patterns that mark the brain like jagged grooves.

The attitude exuded from these tracks is as palpable as the riffs themselves. This is a visceral band that you feel you can almost touch, although I can’t help but imagine them being quite toxic if you did.

Very, very nice. Feel the poison flow through your veins and revel in it.

Caelestia – Beneath Abyss (Review)

CaelestiaCaelestia are from Greece and this is their second album. They play Melodic Metal.

Well this is interesting. Superficially another Gothic/Operatic European Metal band, there’s actually more to Caelestia than that.

They combine elements of that sound with Melodic Death Metal and Progressive Metal to create an altogether more interesting beast than what you, (or me), might have been expecting.

The album is a mixture of these aforementioned styles, meaning that Beneath Abyss is not a listen that gets stale. This is a bigger than normal compliment actually, considering how easy it is for Gothic Metal bands to be quite generic. But of course, this is where the other influences come in.

Another very positive thing about the band is the main female vocals; the singer has a strong voice that definitely has her own personality stamped onto it and manages to avoid simply aping some of the bigger female vocalists out there. She has a versatile and powerful voice that oozes professionalism and quality.

Her voice is joined by choral backing vocals and harsher male shouting, as well as a guest spot from the singer of Soilwork.

These are enjoyable songs and the combination of the European Metal styles into one package gives Caelestia an identity of their own that differentiates them from the majority of their peers who play similar styles of music. It also lends the songs more depth than they’d otherwise have if the bite of the Melodic Death Metal or the musicality of the Progressive Metal were removed.

A very good listen. Check them out and see if you agree.

Dethfox – Natural Media Teleforce (Review)

DethfoxDethfox are a Canadian band that play Punk.

This is gritty, Old-School Punk that wastes no time and feels no compunction about being resolutely anachronistic.

The songs may exist be out of their natural temporal location, but they’re curiously infectious nonetheless. There’s an honesty about them as they do what they do in a simple-yet-catchy manner.

The formula of songs like this has essentially remained unchanged for decades, but if it works then who cares? I’m not the biggest Punk fan in the world but this EP is short and sweet enough to leave me with a happy smile on my face.

Each of these songs has a decent hook and the snarled, garbled vocals may be totally illegible but they do exactly what they’re meant to do.

Music with attitude.

Decline of the I – Rebellion (Review)

Decline of the IThis is the second album by Post-Black Metal band Decline of the I.

Rebellion is an interesting and sometimes eclectic mix of the rabid and the beautiful.

A lot of time and energy must have gone into this album in order to give it so much depth and texture. Every song has a lot going on and the compositions reflect the restrained chaos that’s encapsulated here.

Brutal Blackened mayhem is artfully weaved into the overall structure of a wider musical framework that encompasses a multifaceted palette. Fragile and expansive Post-Metal guitar melodies flail against pure Blackened spite in a battle for supremacy. It’s impressive how the various feelings and emotions play off each other yet always manage to retain a cohesiveness despite the warring elements.

Vocal contributions come from three members and as such the vocals are as varied and eclectic as the music itself. Horror-fuelled screams and atypical verbalisations give the impression of a warped insanity lurking deep at the heart of the music. The music itself does nothing to dispel this of course, being a product of demented genius in its own right.

Much like Decline of the I themselves; Post-Black Metal is a very interesting and rich subgenre and Rebellion ticks all of the boxes for why this is so. It manages to pull off everything from atmosphere to barbaric savagery, sometimes simultaneously.

A very impressive album and a big achievement.

With albums like this to start the year with 2015 is looking very bright indeed.

Aethyr – Corpus (Review)

AethyrThis is the second album from Russian Doom band Aethyr.

This is dark and evil music with a Blackened aura to it that accompanies the Doom core like a shroud of malignancy.

The band utilise emotive riffs that play on the negative feelings of the listener and tease them out, bare and vulnerable for all to see. They then take these exposed emotions and weave them into guitar parts that embody them.

In this respect there’s a Post-Metal quality to the guitars as they’re often transcendent and expressive whilst being dragged down into the gloom of Doom.

Mournful hatred and despondent anger seem to simmer just below the surface. If the music is the main receptacle for the miserable aspect of their sound then the vocals are the vehicle for the anger and rage.

The singer alternates between Blackened screams and dark growls. Both are performed well and neither sound entirely human.

Faster sections are included too and the band have a grasp of elegant dynamics. Corpus is a well-paced album with lots of well-written tracks that easily hold attention.

Overall this is an involving and complete listen. Aethyr remind me of a cross between Red Harvest, Zatokrev and some form of primordial Doom Metal.

Aethyr have clear direction in their sound and use the 50 minutes of music here to showcase their abilities with great effect.

Corpus is an impressive album by a talented band. Give them a listen.

Code – Mut (Review)

CodeCode are from the UK and this is their fourth album.

It seems that Code have undergone somewhat of a transformation since 2013’s Augur Nox; gone is the Avant-Garde Black Metal, instead being replaced with Progressive Post-Rock.

Their new incarnation is akin to a cross between Red Sparowes, Anathema, Autumnblaze, Green Carnation and Radiohead to my ears. It’s a change in style that seems to suit the band as it sounds like a natural fit.

The music is stripped back but expressive and emotive nonetheless. The relatively short songs contain a lot of content in a short space of time; one would almost expect music of this nature to be double the length but most of the tracks here are about  3-4 minutes in duration.

The vocals are similar in style to their past versions, albeit less extravagant and with greater fragility. His voice has an internal power to it though that again reminds of the singers of Anathema and Autumnblaze.

The songs seem to tell a story and pull the listener into their world. The soundscapes Code create are involving and forbidding; they’ve managed to create a sense of carnival-esque awe and wonder for the listener to explore through Post-Rock textures and Progressive Rock workouts.

I applaud the band for their willingness to update their sound, and although I will miss their past style they’ve amply proven to me with Mut that they continue to create rich and engaging music.

A triumph.

Sarpanitum – Blessed Be My Brothers… (Review)

SarpanitumSarpanitum are a UK Death Metal band and this is their second album.

Sarpanitum take a three-pronged approach to their Death Metal that combines traditional Death Metal, melodic atmospheres and a touch of Black Metal’s heart of darkness.

The band’s melodic edge is a sharp one and it’s incorporated directly into their heaviness rather than seeming like an addition to it as is frequently the case with other bands that combine brutality and melodics.

Added keyboard sounds subtly enhance this already keen melodic sensibility they have and I really like the sense of atmospheric brutality that they create. There’s a Middle Eastern feel to a lot of the melodies that adds an exotic touch to the songs, as well as no small amount of epic grandeur.

The vocals are as dark as night; thick, deep, malevolent growls that are so low as to be akin to rumbling thunder.

Blessed Be My Brothers… has a thick, dense sound that’s uncompromising and combined with the band’s complicated riffing is impenetrable to the casual listener. This is Death Metal for real Death Metal fans who want something a bit more interesting than the standard generic fare.

Fans of Nile, Mithras, Lelahell, Gorguts, Morbid Angel, Sidious and Dying Out Flame should love this.

Highly recommended.

Natanas – смертность (Review)

NatanasThis is the fourth album from Natanas, a one-man Black Metal band from the US.

Another month, another Natanas album…

Okay so I exaggerate, but the man is Hellishly productive. And it’s good stuff too. He may have manufactured some form of Black Metal assembly line but his Quality Control department are clearly paying attention to the goods that are produced.

Having said that of course, this is clearly not for everyone, which is something I’ve mentioned before about the last two Natanas releases All Is Permitted and Treachery; the casual listener, the casual Black Metal listener, even, will probably find this a tad challenging.

If you like your Black Metal dark, challenging, atypical and in the vein of bands like Xasthur, Portal, Mitochondrion, Enbilulugugal, Ævangelist, etc. then Natanas is worth checking out.

Also, I’m sure his screeching vocals have gotten higher, raspier and wetter this time. It sounds like he’s rupturing himself every time he opens his mouth. This is not a complaint of course, rather the opposite. He takes time out from trying to turn himself inside out though, as other vocals are included from spoken word to deeper screams that almost remind of Neurosis/Crowbar in style.

смертность has a good amount of variety within its self-imposed framework, with the album retaining the tribal, hypnotic, pseudo-Industrial feel that Treachery did so well. As such this is a very holistic album; listening to a song in isolation is all well and good, but for the full effect it’s best to put on the entire album and just get lost in the murk.

Every time I listen to Natanas by the time I get to the second or third song I’m totally absorbed in the dark, unfriendly, bleak, rotten, urban sprawl that seems to be described. The low-key, lo-fi, production actually adds to the feeling of the album rather than detracting from it.

Natanas has always been a band that goes against the odds for me. If I had just flicked through one of these albums I’d probably think, “No, I don’t think so”, but against all expectations and prejudices смертность, and the previous albums…well, they just work. The various disparate elements and the raw, uncompromisingly lo-fi sound gel into something that just does it; it hits that hidden spot that you didn’t even know you had.

As such, I’m a big supporter of Natanas and heartily recommend that you give смертность a try. It may not do it for you, but who knows, maybe it really, really will…