The King Is Blind – The Deficiencies of Man (Review)

The King Is BlindThis is the début EP from UK Death Metallers The King Is Blind.

This 16 minute EP is brimming with solid Death Metal that is brutally melodic and darkly Metallic.

The band come off as a cross between Bolt Thrower and Morbid Angel with a touch of Behemoth and even a bit of Celtic Frost to some of the riffs. As you can imagine, it’s a heady combination.

The vocals are deep and have an air of the occult about them, as if there’s more going on here than just mere vocalisations and maybe, just maybe, something is being summoned. They sound otherworldly, venomous and nasty all at the same time.

The recording is clear and heavy. There are some lovely riffs on this release. When the band hit their stride, be this with blastbeats or mid-paced riffs, they sound colossal and meaty in all the right places.

This is a great collection of songs from a band who may be relatively new but have a lot of collective experience to their members, (Extreme Noise terror, Entwined, The Blood Divine, Cradle of Filth). This means that The King Is Blind have bypassed the early getting-to-know-our-sound stage and emerged fully-blooded into the Death Metal killing pits.

An album from these will be eagerly awaited I’m sure. Ones to watch.

Akrotheism – Behold the Son of Plagues (Review)

AkrotheismThis is the début album by Greek Black Metallers Akrotheism.

For their introductory track Sepsis Ex Nihilo Akrotheism show that they have the standard slithering, creepy guitar tone down to rights, but add to this with all manner of Hellish noises and effects. After this we have hyperblast Black Metal with maniacal vocals that sound straight out of a nightmare.

The singer alternates between ultra-high pitch screeches and deeper Blackened bellowing. The juxtaposition works wonders and the aggression is ramped up to 11.

The music is largely presented at breakneck speeds and is surprisingly atmospheric in places, aided as it is by a healthy dark melodicism and subtler highlights in their arsenal of grim delights.

Taking the most aggressive parts of the razor sharp delivery of the best of the mid-90’s Black Metal elite, Akrotheism combine elements of Emperor, Gehenna and Cradle of Filth to produce Behold the Son of Plagues. Second wave bands such as these have a special place in my heart and Akrotheism have produced an album that works wonders with these base influences.

Black Metal these days seems to mostly consist of the ultra-cold and minimal variety, or highly symphonic, or off exploring pastures new and only use Black Metal as their starting point; bands that combine aggression with atmosphere in a non-symphonic way appear to be quite few and far between, which is another reason that Akrotheism are so damn good.

An exceptional album, especially for a début. Akrotheism play a form of Black Metal that makes me recall past glories with a nostalgic fondness, but that also allows me to look forward to the future with a content heart as I know that the style is in good hands. Top work.

Chthonic – Bú-Tik (Review)

ChthonicMelodic Black/Death Metal from Taiwan; I haven’t heard Chthonic since their excellent Seediq Bale album so I was looking forward to seeing what Bú-Tik had to offer.

Chthonic embody orchestration and fury. Highly melodic and razor sharp, the songs are flourished like swords as only a master can.

Precise, tight riffing and swathes of keys and strings are combined with folk-Asian influences to produce songs that are reminiscent of the symphonic Dimmu Borgir’s and Cradle of Filth’s of the world but with the origins of the harmonies coming from a much different background. Chthonic very much have their own character.

The drums and multi-layered venomous vocals dominate this release, with the orchestration pitched at the right level. The guitars are sheets of serrated steel working underneath everything, and the bass is muted at best.

With good songwriting and an expert understanding of this genre Chthonic have once again produced a well-rounded and thoroughly enjoyable release. There’s an intensity to these tracks and the molten Metal barely lets up until the album fades. With a whole hat-full of ideas and quirks rolled into their sound repeated listens are recommended. The direct assault of the songs works immediately, but after that has gone you’re left with the insidious harmonies stalking you when you least expect it. Symphonic Black Metal earworms indeed.

An impressively realised album that has obviously had a lot of work put into the compositions and structure of the tracks. Check them out and see what you think; just beware the pointy bits – those swords are sharper than they look…