Aezh Morvarc’h – Mare Humorum (Review)

Aezh Morvarc'hAezh Morvarc’h are a Black Metal band from France and this is their latest EP.

This is sharp and frosty Black Metal that carries a melodic edge with its raw delivery.

Dark screams and ghostly clean-chants populate the musical landscape and recall Mayhem at their esoteric best.

The songs have their atmospheric moments but for the most part it’s a grim assault that the band undertake. Melodic riffing softens the effect though and the inclusion of so many heroic-sounding cleans further distils the rawness factor. This is all a plus point as it gives the band their own character compared to countless other bands playing underground Black Metal.

The speed of the songs is enticing, but it’s the mystical melodies that really do the trick here.

Aezh Morvarc’h have taken their Classic Metal heritage seriously too, and Mare Humorum has more than its fair share of real Metal riffs mixed into the Black Metal. This is a welcome aspect of their style and combined with the clean vocals really gives the band an epic/heroic streak to their sound.

I enjoyed this. For a band that is ostensibly an underground Black Metal group, this release offers the listener something a little different.

A recommended listen.

Kafirun – Glorification of Holy Death (Review)

KafirunKafirun are from Canada and play Black Metal. This is their latest EP.

After their enjoyable début release Death Worship, Kafirun return with more True Black Metal to assault the masses with.

Kafirun play their Black Metal extremely well. It’s authentic, pitch-black and full of malevolent feeling.

The songs are like hymns to darkness and the relatively varied and emotive vocal delivery leads the sermon in ritualistic worship.

There’s a touch of Mayhem and Deathspell Omega to their Black Metal assault, both in the vocals and music.

The band have a really good sound – it’s raw enough to have the Black Metal aesthetic without it detracting from the overall performance as it’s also thick and balanced enough to be an enjoyable listen.

It’s only a short EP at 21 minutes in length, but each track showcases the band’s songwriting skill and passion for Black Metal.

Kafirun have shown us once again that they’re ones to watch. Keep it up!

Ctulu – Sarkomand (Review)

CtuluCtulu are a Black Metal band from Germany and this is their third album.

Ctulu play their Black Metal at speed and with much venom. Their sound is akin to the mid-90’s Swedish Black Metal style which is one that’s always been close to my heart. Think bands like Naglfar, Dissection, Dark Funeral, Marduk, etc.

Sarkomand is not just a derivative though, it has its own personality swimming though the Blackened riffs. A highlight of this release for me is said riffs; Ctulu are strong writers when it comes to the dark melodies of the guitars.

Note; this is not Melodic Black Metal, but rather Black Metal that has a lot of melody in it. It’s a subtle distinction to the uninformed but an important one. There’s nothing jolly or happy here; this is grim, dark Black Metal with melodies that will cut you to ribbons if you’re not careful.

The vocals are raspy croaks befitting the style, although they also throw a few Mayhem-esque semi-clean/chants into the mix on occasion as well as some actual mournful singing – it all definitely adds to the listening experience.

Cold Black Metal is always a good listen and Ctulu play it well. Their chilled delivery is served at the right temperature and this collection of tracks tastes just right to me.

If you enjoy the second-wave sound then Ctulu are a band you should check out. They may be playing the style but they stand tall in their own right and Sarkomand exists on its own merits, of which there are many.

Recommended for fans for frostbitten grimness everywhere. Quality stuff.

Singularity – Singularity (Review)

SingularityThis is the debut album from US Black Metal band Singularity.

Technical Black Metal is not the most common of sub-genres, especially Symphonic Technical Black Metal, which is what this essentially is.

The synths are heavy and thick and give the band a colourful sheen under which to ply their trade. Said trade consists of sharp, crazy guitar work, widdly bass and precision-point drums. It’s as if a band like Dimmu Borgir had overdosed on Technical Death Metal and angular riffs in the style of some of Mayhem’s work. It also puts me in mind of the first Ephel Duath album.

The songs are still here though. This is an enjoyable riff-fest with inhuman drumming and layers of atmosphere and jagged darkness.

The technicality and Blackened atmospheres combine in a way that most bands never attempt and the resulting mix of styles works primarily because they never sacrifice the songs for the riffs. The playing is very impressive but the Black Metal framework always reins them in before they become overbearing or surplus to the needs of the song.

That being said, there is certainly a lot of flash playing on this album, but as I say – it works.

The tracks are quite varied as the guitars never stop and are always interesting and entertaining. The singer gives his all to the screams; they’re high pitched and very pointed. The cleans that appear are professionally delivered also; another string to Singularity’s impressive bow.

The production is top quality and everything sounds crisp and clear. You can really hear every note.

Singularity is extremely impressive in many ways. I always like a band that puts a different spin on things and the rampant technicality on this album really gives them a flavour all of their own. The fact that they mix this with a Symphonic base and have managed to produce an enjoyable set of songs without everything sounding messy or forced speaks volumes about their talent.

Take a chance on this and listen to it now.

Inexorable – Morte Sola (Review)

InexorableThis is the latest EP from German Technical Death Metal band Inexorable.

It starts with Doom. First track, Praeludium Mortis, is 2:39 of slow, agonising crawling through broken glass and razor shards. It sets the scene perfectly for Inexorable’s brand of impenetrable Black Metal-tinged assault.

This is no normal Death Metal. This is for fans of Gorguts, Portal, Mayhem, Axis of Perdition, etc. – bands that are interested in pushing the boundaries of traditional genre restrictions and will do so in their own way. If Mayhem went Death Metal, Inexorable might be what they sounded like.

The riffs congeal together to produce dark, murky feelings and the guitar lines almost seem alive with malignant presence.

Vocals are kind of an ethereal growl that reside half in our reality and half in some other, twisted dimension; or sometimes a plaintive semi-clean sung from the depths of a churning abyss. Either way they are not the standard for this kind of music, with the semi-cleans in particular coming across strongly.

The songs, and the EP in general, is a holistic experience; a nightmare reality to visit but hopefully to escape from at the end. Sometimes bands which attempt music like this can come across as unfocused or messy, but I’m pleased to say this is not the case with Inexorable.

Throughout all of the evil, grim sounds and communing with other realities is a firm foundation in, (atypical), Death Metal. This serves them well and keeps them grounded whereas they might otherwise carried away by the dark and lost to us forever.

This is not music for the weak hearted. If you can stomach it, however, there are some evil delights to be had here.

Very highly recommended.

Kafirun – Death Worship (Review)

KafirunKafirun are from Canada and play Black Metal. This is their début demo.

This is True Black Metal. It’s aggressive and grim and takes its cues from the likes of Mayhem.

With riffs sharp enough to do yourself an injury on, the darkly melodic guitars churn and rage their way through the playing time of the songs as the drums pound or blast appropriately.

The vocals have a a touch of Mayhem about them as well and the singer seems quite at home whether he’s performing semi-clean chanting or high pitched screams.

For a demo release there’s nothing wrong with the production at all. It’s got a good Black Metal tone that allows the guitars to sound as if they’re sliding over each other and everything else to sound like it’s filling in the spaces.

There’s only three songs here but they’re good ones and the band ably show what they can do.

If you’re not sated on Mayhem-influenced Black Metal then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy what Kafirun do. Check them out.

Skiddaw – Skiddaw (Review)

SkiddawSkiddaw are from the UK and play Black Metal.

Skiddaw offer us 4 tracks across 13 minutes of Black Metal.

The first track Skiddaw Forest is a short opener that’s Blackly melodic and suitably raw and frostbitten. It does its job amiably and whets the appetite for the show to begin proper. Nice use of bass, also.

Skiddaw Towers follows this with a scream. Skiddaw have a classic Black Metal sound that’s somewhere between Darkthrone and Mayhem and this song does both of these spiritual parents proud. The track rumbles along with menace and a solid double bass foundation.

The third track is named Gates of Beleth and is faster then the previous tracks with a winding riff leading the way before descending into murkier climes. There’s a sense of urgency and escape, as if being pursued by something unnameable and indescribable. Enjoyably raw, with the vocals in particular sounding especially savage on this song.

Finally we have Even Titans Fall which is even faster, more melodic and has a touch of Satyricon about it. It’s a good closer and leaves you wanting more.

Skiddaw have an energetic and enticing sound that’s bleak, windswept and icy; just how Black Metal should be.

Check them out.

Humut Tabal – The Dark Emperor ov the Shadow Realm (Review)

Humut TabalThis is the second album by US Black Metal band Humut Tabal.

Humut Tabal play frigid Black Metal with dark melodies lashing out from every angle. The riffs are catchy and purposeful and the songs are driven by a sense of urgency and grandeur.

Speed is very important on The Dark Emperor ov the Shadow Realm and the band give it their all when they need to. They’re not adverse to slower/mid-paced sections too though and there is enough mixture between the two to keep things interesting.

The band base their sound on the likes of Mayhem, Satyricon, Naglfar and Emperor. Using this base they then build on it with their own personality as well as injecting some Classical/Experimental influences into their compositions. They’re confident enough in their own abilities to pull it off with panache.

Vocally the high pitched shrieking is classic Black Metal and sounds just right for the music.

The complete package is rounded off with a strong recording that serves the band well.

On the whole the band have created an enjoyable and powerful set of songs.