Wan – Enjoy the Filth (Review)

WanDirty Black Metal from Sweden, brought to you with raw punk attitude. Halfway between crust and Darkthrone. If you enjoy bands such as Black Witchery and Watchmaker this is for you.

Short, sharp songs are the order of the day, but they are not the blast-fests you might expect. Mid-paced malevolence rules the roost here for the most part. This is almost like a hardcore band discovering some black metal riffs to go alongside their normal fare and then recording it in a distinctly Black Metal way. Not too far removed from Teen Cthulhu in that respect, only with more of a Darkthrone-esque influence here I suppose.

Obnoxious, Satanic underground evil seeps from the speakers as you play this. You can actually feel the grime. This is the perfect album to stick on when you’re in a foul mood and want everyone around you to just fuck off and die. What more can be said?

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Fell Voices – Regnum Saturni (Review)

fell voicesAnother Black Metal tour-de-force from Fell Voices, purveyors of epic-length underground Black Metal.

This album is like a whirlwind; a veritable Black Metal maelstrom of razors and ice. Dark, haunted screams pass by in a blur of pain. The impenetrable walls of sound and fury permit only the most desultory of lifeforms to exist and any hope of release is scoured away by the sandblasting of elemental force.

Dotted around at various points in the proceedings are calmer moments. However, these can hardly be described as pleasant and their main purpose is to build up to the inevitable storm.

Three songs of blackened misery and hate lasting one hour. Not for the weak of heart, this album is calling out to those that would hear. Will you answer the call or will you be found wanting?

Black Altar – Suicidal Salvation (Review)

Black AltarPolish Black Metal band Black Altar start things off nicely with a bit of atmospheric piano, and when they’re ready they kick it up a gear and come out blasting.

This is Black Metal with a healthy amount of keyboards and orchestration, but it is used to create a dark atmosphere and accentuate the Metal, rather than swamping it with unnecessary pomp and overdone theatrics. The orchestral interludes work well also; minimalist and dark. In short, they have the mix right.

Whether mid-paced or faster, they have a good sense of rhythm and an ear for a good melody. The mid-paced parts of Pulse ov the Universe for example, are as good as anything Samael have ever done, with the faster parts being a bit more reminiscent of Marduk, or some such. There is even a guitar solo, that rarest of Black Metal things. Possibly my favourite track on this EP, but there is plenty to like here.

A well recorded and played sound complements the release well, and allows the band to sound tight and professional, without sacrificing the feeling of Black Metal darkness and awe that they foster so well.

I look forward to seeing what else this band are capable of. Based on this EP they know their art and I for one admire it.

Cvinger – Monastery of Fallen (Review)

CvingerSlovenian brutal Black Metal band Cvinger don’t pull any punches with their first EP. With eight tracks in 20 minutes there’s no time to waste.

After a brief acoustic intro we get blasting underground Black Metal in the style of a more furious and rabid Panzer Division Marduk. Breaking up the action there is the odd acoustic passage, some chanting, but mainly we have pure second-wave Black Metal with a firm stranglehold on the exposed neck.

Short songs, high on aggression and filth, fly past in a breakneck manner propelled by hatred and rage. Each song a mini-hymn of evil and a testament to harshness.

Vocals are quite varied – we get the standard Black Metal screams of a couple of varieties, as well as some chanting and dirty-singing and even the odd deeper grunting.

An enjoyable release – hopefully they can build on this for the future and unleash something truly hellish on us next time.

Israthoum – Black Poison and Shared Wounds (Review)

Israthoum

Israthoum play Black Metal and, (since their relocation), come from The Netherlands.

This album has a dark, grim atmosphere powered by the Darkthrone-esque Black Metal and the suitably hateful vocals that are positively dripping with scorn and strength of purpose. This is underground Black Metal played well by people who know the genre inside out.

Speed, aggression and darkness are emphatically delivered by a band who obviously believe in their calling and are passionate about their art. That’s not to say this is purely a blast-a-thon; they do lower the tempo from time to time as the song requires.

Vocals are as you would expect – tortured and blackened; sounds such as no human should be able to make.

Dredging up the darkest of emotions and altered states to deliver a sermon of hatred to an eager flock; Israthoum are Orthodox Black Metal’s dark missionaries come to spread their corrupt gospel. Will you listen?

Xothist – Xothist (Review)

XothistXothis play the kind of Black Metal that separates the true Black Metal affectionados from the wannabes. There is nothing even remotely pretty or commercial here.

Two tracks of wicked Black Metal full of spite and mystery, each song 20:47 in length. The songs are long but not dull, and have several shades of light and dark that Xothist move through like a hidden predator.

This is a very underground, lo-fi recording with fuzzy emotive guitars and drums buried under so much rawness that they are like a pulse; sometimes unnoticeable but always vital.

The vocals are of the really high-pitched, scratchy, almost-static variety that I enjoy so much. Sometimes it can be hard to ascertain where the vocals stop and the guitars start, and vice versa. All of which just adds to the the experience.

This release travels from ambience to blasting and all points in between. If you are a true fan of Black Metal then this should be right up your foggy street.

Andramelech/Serpent Noir – Gateway to the Nightside (Review)

AndramelechA rather tasty split release here from two purveyors of dark Black Metal.

Andramelech offer up two largely, (but not wholly), mid-paced slices of exquisite Black Metal art. Speed is used as and when necessary but otherwise these tracks are more about the feeling conveyed and the atmosphere of blackened hellfire. The melodies, especially in The Voiceless Verb of Vovin, conjure up appropriate images and feelings of otherworldliness and tension. For 9 minutes the listener is made to feel distinctly uneasy – something bad is about to happen but who knows what? The songwriting here is first-rate and Andramelech are definitely a band to watch.

After Andramelech leave us with feelings of discomfort and incantations, Serpent Noir ease us in gently with a light chanting and invocation. Surely nothing bad can come of this? What could they be calling out to anyway, really? Whatever it is the next track, the 11 minute epic Shadow as a Portal channels it perfectly. A sense of forlorn longing and hopelessness slowly settles over this track. Something has been taken away and can never be returned. Despondent; what solution do you have except to succumb? Oblivion beckons and it is hungry.

Serpent Noir offer a complex and interesting take on Black Metal, and all the more pure for it. Exceptional drum work, atmospheric riffing and varied vocals make for a song that has more ideas and interest than a thousand Darkthrone-clones.

Two bands that are well worth a look.

Monte Penumbra – Heirloom of a Sullen Fall (Review)

Monte PenumbraA rich amalgamation of Black Metal and Doom; Monte Penumbra’s début album may be relatively short at only 35 minutes, but it is packed to the hilt with texture and interesting things going on.

Slow, doom-laden Black Metal played with skill and passion; Monte Penumbra know their art and know how to get the most out of their songs. Interesting riffs, atmospheric interludes, tempo changes; this is bleak-yet-Black Metal that hits the spot; sludge hijacked by Black Metal and bent to its will.

The vocals are varied – ranging from chants, screams to powerful almost-singing; a welcome change from the generic.

This is an enjoyable album for those times when you’re in the mood for something a bit more brooding and well-paced, thoughtful and introspective yet still drenched in Black Metal’s distinctive colours.