Annihilation – The Undivided Wholeness of All Things (Review)

AnnihilationAnnihilation are a Portugese progressive death metal band and this is their second album.

Starting off with their debut album of enjoyable Deicide worship Against the Storm, Annihilation returned a few years ago with a different, more complex direction on The Undivided. Continue reading

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Interview with Execration

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In my humble opinion Execration are one of the best extreme metal bands out there at the moment. Firmly placing themselves on my radar with their third album Morbid Dimensions, the band have recently resurfaced on Metal Blade with their latest offering Return to the Void, and I have to say it’s been more than worth the wait.

If you haven’t heard Execration yet, then now’s the chance to check them out. You can stream their shockingly good new album below, while reading what their very personable and eloquent guitarist and vocalist Chris Johansen has to say. Continue reading

Execration – Return to the Void (Review)

ExecrationThis is the fourth album by Execration, a Norwegian death metal band.

I’m a huge fan of Execration’s third album Morbid Dimensions, and it even made the number two slot on my best of 2014 end of year list, so stuffed full of technical/progressive death metal goodness was it. Continue reading

Moss upon the Skull – The Scourge of Ages (Review)

Moss upon the SkullMoss upon the Skull are a death metal band from Belgium and this is their debut EP.

This is atypical progressive death metal. This is the type of band that are great to hear.

Rather than sticking to the standard genre tropes, they have decided to play death metal their own way on their own terms. Continue reading

Annihilation – The Undivided (Review)

AnnihilationAnnihilation are from Portugal and this is their latest EP. They play Death Metal.

Their début album Against the Storm was a very enjoyable slab of Death Metal with plenty of brutality and top vocals to enjoy.

So what does The Undivided give us? More of the same?

Not at all.

In the years between releases it seems Annihilation have been busy refining and updating their sound. It’s still Death Metal, of course, but now they’ve added in more technicality and dissonant riffing that takes them away from the Deicide influence on their début and moves them closer to a more interesting, Progressive Death Metal style in line with bands like Gorguts and Execration.

This time the songs are more involved and intricate. Dark, expansive melodies dominate rather than the fully brutal riffing of the first album. They still do have a brutal aspect to their sound but it’s now clothed in grimier materials and surrounded by lurking menace and sinister complexity.

The songs on this EP are real growers and have genuine depth and longevity. Seeing a band spread their wings like this and embrace their potential is a very rewarding sight and bands such as this should be supported at every possible step in their journey.

I must say I heartily approve of this change of direction. Although I really enjoyed Against the Storm ultimately it was nothing different, just an enjoyable Brutal Death Metal album. The Undivided, however, sees the band reaching for something different, something more individual. The results speak for themselves.

I genuinely can’t wait to hear what they do next.

Well done Annihilation.

Interview with Execration

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Execration’s latest album Morbid Dimensions is an impressive, multi-faceted beast. After I’d picked myself back up off the floor, I scribbled down some hastily-scribed queries onto broken parchment and launched them into the ether. Somehow, somewhere, Cato Syversrud responded…

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

We’re four people from in and around Oslo, Norway playing metal of death. We focus on atmosphere and feeling over technical wankery, and share more in common with the bands of the eighties than most modern death metal bands. Still, we’re no retro-act, and we keep trying to take our music new places.

Execration Live 2Give us a bit of history to Execration

Execration took its first steps in 2004. By 2006, we’d recorded our first EP, Language of the Dead. Immediately after that, Jonas joined on bass completing the band. After Jonas joined, we quickly wrote songs for our first album, Syndicate of Lethargy, which came out in 2008, over a year after it was recorded. In 2010 we did a split with fellow Oslo-area bands Lobotomized, Diskord, and Obliteration, called “Oslo We Rot”. In 2011, we released our celebrated second album, Odes of the Occult, and now we’re on the verge of releasing our latest album, Morbid Dimensions.

What are your influences?

Musically, I think we cover a lot of ground, as the four of us have our own tastes. I mean, we all share lots of bands in common that we all love, but each of us also have influences that the others don’t share. We all prefer things that sound “real”, things that have an edge and some dynamics to it, and that hasn’t been produced to a brickwalled piece of plastic. This means that we do enjoy quite a bit of vintage metal, but there’s also lots of cool new things coming out. Except for the metal stuff, there are of course bands in other genres as well, and I guess our tastes are less unified in this manner. Aside from other bands, we also find our influences in movies, and even to some degree other forms of art. These can inspire certain kinds of moods and atmospheres that we will try to incorporate into our music.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

In the close future we will be sharing stage with Swedish Nifelheim at the Krater festival here in Oslo, so I’ve been playing their “Envoy of Lucifer” a lot recently. It’s really good stuff. Diskord’s newest EP has also gotten heavy rotation on all of our headsets, and I (Chris) have also spent some time with the latest Mastodon album. It’s not as great as they used to be, but it sure beat the previous one. Other than that bands like Bölzer, Twink, Circus 2000, Damian, Thorne, Old Razor, Sarcofago have been spinning a lot lately

What did you want to achieve with your new album?

We wanted the album to stand out in its own right, and to have an identity distinct from our other albums. This was a clear goal right from the beginning when we started writing the album, and to be honest, I think we’ve been pretty successful at this. We didn’t have in mind exactly how we would set this one apart, but we did have some ideas for moods and aspects of our music we felt we hadn’t explored fully on previous releases. As always, we also wanted the album to have a solid atmosphere, and not just be a riff-heavy metal album. On songs like Tribulation Shackles, this aspect has really been allowed to sit front and center, and on other tracks, it’s more subdued, integrated into otherwise intense and hectic songs.

Execration LiveAre you happy with how it turned out?

Quite so. Writing is a creative process, and the process itself has taken us places we couldn’t foresee upfront. It’s always exciting to be able to sit down and review the final product once it’s all over, and this time was no different. We’ve achieved our main goals, which was evolving our sound and evoking a deadly atmosphere.

What can you tell us about the lyrics?

We like to keep the lyrics on the obscure side. I will simply point you to the album title, the cover art and the overall feeling of the album, and let you make up the meaning of the songs for yourself.

Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process.

We always write as a group. Typically, people will show up at rehearsal with a riff or two, or maybe even a series of riffs stringed into a part. We will then work on what we have, and start looking to combine riffs into parts. In the early phases, we will even occasionally switch instruments when someone has an idea for something, and work like that to hash it out. Eventually these parts clump up into songs, and eventually the creativity shifts gears from writing new material to moulding the raw songs into more refined arrangements. This will include rearranging things, working with tempos and shifts, and the little details that separate OK songs from really great songs.

You have a very diverse and accomplished sound – how did you decide what you wanted to sound like in each part of the different songs?

We tend to think in songs more than in individual parts. So the individual parts exist to support the overall dynamics of the song. I don’t think there’s so much consideration of how we want to sound in this part and that part, it’s more how do we create good dynamics throughout the song. This plays into all the aspects of a song/part: tempo, keynote, mood, and so on.

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

Well, that’s for the future to tell. All we know is that the next set of songs won’t sound like missing out-takes from Morbid Dimensions – that’s the drive of Execration, creating something new. On the new album, we made some drastic changes to the guitar sound by using a completely different tuning than the previous album. This may not be a permanent change. We’ll see where life takes us.

What’s next for Execration?

The album is about to come out, so first up is playing a few gigs to support them. Next year we hope to make it to more places further away. We also plan to write new material shortly, but what will come of it is impossible to say at this point. Rest assured, you have not heard the last of Execration.

And nor would we want to.