Weapon – Naga: Daemonum Praeteritum (Review)

WeaponOh this is wonderfully dirty underground Black Metal! Gritty and raw. The kind of sound that can garrotte the unwary listener at 100 yards.

This is a collection of three demos, (Within the Flesh of the Satanist, Violated Hejab and Para Bhakti…Salvation), all remastered by Lars Broddesson of Marduk. The sound is brutal and distorted; filthy and fuzzy. This is the sound of a band expressing themselves with whatever means at their disposal – straight for the jugular.

For the main the vocals are guttural shouts – almost what you’d expect from old-school Death Metal rather than Black Metal, but it suits the style well. There is also some variety in places; from almost-spoken harshness to slightly higher-pitched-but-still-quite-deep; enough to keep the listener interested.

The music is slithering, sharp and surprisingly rhythmic in the drum department on occasion. The riffs are simple and classic for the most part, but they are not afraid to experiment as the needs of the song dictate, with plenty of interest and ideas to be had throughout. The emphasis here is on expressing feelings of darkness and hate and vomiting them forth into the recording, a tone which is captured well.

The sound may be primitive but that shouldn’t put you off – here we have some perfect examples of aggressive underground Black Metal that any true fan of the genre can’t help but appreciate.

Overall I would rate this release very highly indeed. It’s non-generic, interesting and has plenty of feeling and passion. What more could you want?

Arfsynd – Hesychia (Review)

ArfsyndHailing from Sweden; Arfsynd play underground Black Metal with plenty of both melody and bite. The overall feeling conjured by this album is one of an evil majesty.

Epic, soaring melodies juxtapose against solid Black Metal drums while a distinctly non-standard Black Metal voice shouts over the top of it. The slight clash of styles, (simplicity of the drums, brutal hoarseness of the vocals, epic melodies and riffs), works better than it might otherwise sound, coming together to create songs of real character that are instantly memorable and enjoyable.

As touched on; the vocals are not the normal Black Metal shrieking that you may expect; rather they are hoarse, ugly, shouted things – someone has been dredged up from the bowels of Hades to provide these vocals and they are making sure that their mark is felt. Extra vocal styles are used to accompany the main ones throughout this release, adding another layer and further interest to the music.

With this album though it’s always the intricate, impressive use of melody that I return to. The guitars and bass are used expertly to provide such a wealth of feeling and depth that the music sounds alive and vital.

This is no run-of-the-mill colder-than-thou generic Black Metal. This is real, living, vibrant and essential. Highly enjoyable.

Pantheon of Blood – Tetrasomia (Review)

Pantheon of BloodScything, razor-sharp Black Metal from Finland. This is their third release and shows much promise for the future.

There are good melodies aplenty on this release, with a sound that is at once on the raw side but not really enough to qualify as “necro” or to obscure the music that is on display here. The vocals are suitably high and screeching, (in a good way), so there are no problems in this department. The instruments are all played competently and the band have a good grasp of the basics of songwriting, which can only develop further in the future.

I enjoyed this release – it is relatively short, but then it is an EP, and should be viewed as a taster for a (hopefully) upcoming full-length. I look forward to hearing what they come up with.

Give them a listen and see what you think.

Wormlust – The Feral Wisdom (Review)

WormlustThis is eerie, progressive Black Metal. Imagine a more aggressive Blut Aus Nord in some ways; Blut Aus Nord crossed with Mayhem perhaps. A good starting point. In fact I’d like to coin the phrase Ambient Aggressive to describe them. They have plenty of ethereal, ambient-esque feelings and melodies in them, whilst having an underlying aggressive core. First song Sex Augu, Tolf Stjornur is a classic example of this – blasting drums, frenetic bass, with insanity-inducing almost-ambient guitar work/noise on top.

The album cover initially can make you wonder what kind of music is contained within, but when you’re listening it makes sense – spooky, trippy, insane, out-of-the-ordinary. This is a brand of Black Metal that is much more unique and interesting than most. They also do mellow very well. There is not an abundance of it; but in between bouts of discordance and mayhem there are quieter moments, (A Altari Meistarans in particular), and the atmosphere here is suitably unhinged as you may expect, only without the chaos.

The melodies used throughout this album are all high-quality and are designed to slowly send the listener insane, or at the very least to wrench up the tension levels. It’s this combination of brilliance and craziness that, for me, marks this as an exceptional release. That and the fact that the band make it sound so effortless. An album such as this could easily sound like a patchwork of conflicting styles in lesser hands. In the hands of artisans however, we have a soundscape birthed from insanity and directed by demented geniuses who know how to control the chaos for their own ends.

Wormlust are like the wind; capable of going from a gentle breeze to howling terror in the space of a second. As such they are liable to scare the casual listener away. Those who persevere however will be richly rewarded.

Colosus – Blestem (Review)

ColosusWell this is a surprise. For some reason I wasn’t expecting to like this release that much. Not really sure why – something just put me off it for some reason. I’m happy I’m wrong though as what we have here is some excellent atmospheric Black Metal from the UK. Just the right combination of feeling, grimness and sound quality to ensure that the album sounds suitably murky but clear enough to make everything out.

We start off with a suitably (un-)pleasant intro, followed by the almost-thirteen minute “Mormant” which is a well-executed chunk of depressive Black Metal. Here Colosus shows the ability to produce a very atmospheric track that draws you in and slowly absorbs you until, before you know it, it is almost over and you are left wanting more. Thankfully the next track supplies.

The vocals scream and wail, almost in the background; almost used as another instrument. Not a million miles away from a band like Vinterriket; such a comparison is a good place to start actually, although it only a starting point as Colosus are certainly no clone.

Interspersed within the pieces of Black Metal are more ambient interludes. Thankfully these are not mere filler though and add to the atmosphere of the album and provide another facet of the journey to get lost in.

Overall a very strong album, and one that I will be enjoying absorbing myself in for some time to come.

Night Heir – A Maze of Evenings (Review)

Night HeirAtmospheric metal from the US. There is plenty of variety and individuality on display here, with varying styles from Black Metal to Doom, and everything in between. The band are not afraid to experiment, so you’ll find plenty to hold the interest on this album if you like your metal with a touch of the Avant Garde/experimental.

I also notice what seems to be an In The Woods… influence, so if you imagine a band like In The Woods… with extra Black Metal, Doom, Folk, etc. parts thrown in you’ll be on the right lines.

This will not be to everyone’s tastes of course, but if you are in the right mood then stick this album on and relax, zone out and just get swallowed up in the atmosphere and the journey.

If you’re looking from something a bit different then give them a listen – you won’t regret it!

Stellar Descent/Aylwin – Farallon (Review)

FarallonThis is a split between Stellar Descent an Aylwin, and long, epic, Cascadian-style Black Metal is the order of the day here.

The songs by both bands are well constructed examples of this particular sub-genre and are positively brimming with atmosphere and feelings that evoke the harsh reality of a beautiful yet potentially deadly landscape.

I think this style of music has a lot to offer, especially when done well and with obvious passion such as is displayed here.  Both bands also benefit from strong recordings and sound, whilst still within a recognisably Black Metal style.

Highly recommended this; for anyone who likes their Black Metal bleak and unforgiving, yet naturalistic and wild.

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