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.

Karne – Faith in Flesh (Review)

KarneKarne are a Black Metal band from France. This is their début album.

Karne play the kind of Black Metal that’s fast and aggressive. Blackened riffs and dark melodies tear out whilst scythe-like vocals scream from the dead of night. The singer has a voice like ragged silk and her performance is worthy of dark praises.

The songs rage along effortlessly, propelled by melodic bile and vociferous emanations. It’s the kind of Black Metal that’s easy to like.

The melodies and riffs seem to coast along as the band channel all of their collective hatred and grim determination into these dark musical expositions.

This is Black Metal for fans of Marduk, Immortal, Gorgoroth, Naglfar, Dark Funeral and the like. It’s well-written and very enjoyable. Faith in Flesh is mainly a high-speed affair, but they also know how to lock into a good groove when they need to.

Karne also manage to foster the true Melodic Black Metal atmosphere and mood that the best of these kinds of bands manage. There is just the right combination in their sound of polish and evil, cult malevolence. For me, it works just right.

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.

Hyperborean – Mythos of the Great Pestilence (Review)

HyperboreanHyperborean are from Sweden and play Black Metal. This is their second album.

We have 9 tracks here, one of which is a cover of (Don’t Fear) the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult.

Hyperborean play Melodic Black Metal with bite and flourish. This accomplished band are comfortable playing both at speed and at a more mid-paced rate. Expressive leads and emotive riffs accompany some inhuman drumming to produce the kind of songs that bands like Naglfar and Satyricon would be proud of.

The vocals scream their rage into an empty abyss, occasionally venting into a deeper grunt to emphasise their disdain for all things full of life and hope.

The music is sharp and some of the riffs are surprising; they have a good sense of dynamics and a good ear for melody. They also incorporate more solos and leads than a lot of bands of this ilk and this sits on top of their hardened core making the songs seem to zip by in a colourful blur. And with a 54 minute album this is no mean feat.

This is really enjoyable Black Metal and I like that the band haven’t gone the safe route and simply regurgitated generic riffs that have bean heard a thousand times before; some of the mid-paced riffs especially hit the spot nicely and really get the limbs gyrating along with the tunes.

Quality band, quality album.

The video below is for the title track, and one of my favourites from the album. Give it a try.

Rauhnåcht – Urzeitgeist (Review)

RauhnachtThis is Austrian Black Metal played with style and fervour.

Harking back to the glory days of the cream of the second wave of Black Metal, Rauhnåcht evoke the same feelings of mystical grandeur that bands like Emperor and Gehenna were so good at playing back in the 90’s.

The cold Black guitars are accentuated with keyboards that are obvious enough to help steer the songs but subtle enough to not be overwhelming. They provide an intoxicating accompaniment to the other instruments.

The songs charge, stalk, slash or prowl through their playing time, depending on the kind of mood the band are going for. Rauhnåcht seem perfectly willing and capable to excel at either fast or slow sections, usually both and everything in-between during the space of a song. Due to this the shortest song is 5:56, (Urzeitgeist), and the longest is 10:08, (Rauhnachtskind).

Vocals hiss like corrosive steam escaping from a vent, reminding me of the vocalist of Naglfar in their delivery. Subdued cleans also make an appearance at select moments and these are not over-used.

I really enjoyed this album. Along with the recent release from Akrotheism this has made me very happy that there are bands out there still doing this style of non-symphonic atmospheric Black Metal and doing it really, really well.

Treat yourself to this.