Beldam - Pasung

Sludge doom collective Beldam’s sophomore record, ‘Pasung’, is a statement regarding true nihilistic heaviness. Dropping in late January, Horror Pain Gore Death Productions have put this out and it truly is one of the nastiest things to be released this year. Join me on a dark journey through misery, filth and black abysses.

New vocalist Randall Guidry really elevates this record instantly with the tortured, rasping growls he lays down in opener ‘Vial of Silence’; a choking, roiling swamp of a track where massive riffs rumble with tectonic depth. Abyssal rage coughs from the suffocating ‘Sunken Sorceress’, who coils black magic tendrils about this sludgey menace. Absorbing the grinding doom from early Sabbath and filtering out some of the more abrasive moments from EyeHateGod, Beldam drags this genre into new and terrifying locales. ‘Shed the Coil’ has a brutal, almost Autopsy vibe to it in parts, while the driving groove of ‘Carrion Feast’ is righteous in its nihilistic grind.

‘Pasung’ is a record that I have overlooked in the past six months, but now hearing it for the first time realise that there have been few records that truly capture the feeling of hopelessness found in Beldam’s work. This is raw emotion, coated in thick blood and set to mighty riffs of doom. ‘Pasung’ is a record that should not be lost or ignored, but raised on a filth encrusted pedestal as a monument, and a warning, to those who follow.

https://www.facebook.com/BeldamOfficial/

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/pasung

http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/store/hpgd164.html

A one man, psychedelic progressive death metal project from the US, ISA is certainly an interesting and unique prospect in this overfilled world of extremity. A self released piece, ‘Chimera’ certainly lives up to its many headed, ferocious namesake.

The dreamy ‘[dusk]’ swells into the scatterbrained ‘Stage I: Descent’, which swings between nasty scowling deathroars and lush acoustics. The rest of the album follows this method, swaying wildly from heavy brutality and sweet melodic goodness. Not quite djenty but definitely aware of a good groove riff or two, the crush of ‘Stage VI: Lust’ is excellent. But it’s all the space in between the heaviness that appeals to me here. The dreamy rumblings of ‘Stage V: Reflections’ is beautiful, while the meandering ‘Stage VIII: Ocean’ is a perfect combination of everything we’ve come across already on this record.

At all times ethereal, ‘Chimera’ is an interesting blend of death metal and some truly psyched out melodic moments that give you all kinds of good feelings. Clearly a labour of love, ISA’s work here is a credit to him and his vision, as ‘Chimera’ is a sprawling, ambitious work of modern heaviness.

https://dcurhan.bandcamp.com/album/chimera

https://www.facebook.com/isadanband

altar of perversion - intra naos cover.jpg

This mammoth release of Italian black metallers Altar of Perversion is a collaboration between The Ajna Offensve and Norma Evangelium Diaboli, and is the second full length record after their iconic debut, 2001’s ‘From Dead Temples’. ‘Intra Naos’ is two CDs, 114 minutes of serpentine, scathing black metal vastness, and it is out now!

The opener ‘Adgnosco Veteris Vestigia Flammae’ is a twenty minute leviathan, crossing spaces between battering blasphemy, crawling menace and even soaring melody. Altar of Perversion may be raw in spirit, but their music has plenty of layers to it. The eerie acoustics that open ‘She Weaves Abyssal Riddles and Eorthean Gates’ are creepy and definitely work as part of the more atonal nature of this track. It is a truly impressive feat to create a black metal record that is so long and so faithful to the origins of the genre without becoming mindnumbingly boring. There’s dashes of Blut Aus Nord style tonality, sweeping atmospheric black metal sections and enough blastbeats to destroy any conceptions that this is ‘progressive nonsense’.

Be it through the swelling evil of ‘Cosmic Thule, Inner Temple’ or the labyrinthine twists of ‘Through Flickering Stars, They Seep’. Altar of Perversion have created a masterclass in black metal here. Almost two hours and not a moment is wasted, ‘Intra Naos’ is exactly how black metal should sound; different, raging and absorbing.

https://www.theajnaoffensive.com/

http://www.noevdia.com/

 

Evil Nerfal - Bellum Est Pater Omnium

Columbian black metallers Evil Nerfal’s second record ‘Bellum Est Pater Omnium’ is another Satanath release from early this year, and it is a torrent of raging, Satanic black metal that revels in its raging, magnificent evil. It is available right now, and is for fans of Darkthrone, Behemoth and Marduk.

The grand, classical intro builds the drama for the subtly titled ‘Fuck Off Jesus Christ’, which pours like magma from the speakers in scorching throes. Unlike a lot of South American black metal, Evil Nerfal doesn’t go for the ultra-necro, lo-fi approach. Instead, the likes of ‘In Endless Torment’ and the mesmerising fury of ‘En Las Fauces del Demonio’ paint with a denser, thicker palette. Much more in common with the likes of Behemoth than Beherit, ‘Bellum Est Pater Omnium’ is a mature, multi faceted record of black metal at its most majestic and its most severe. In fact, the track you’d expect to be the most straightforward, necrotic monster ‘Satanic Madness Black Metal Unleashed’ is in fact probably the most flamboyant in character, with wonderful melodies flowing from blackened frets and an enticing atmosphere.

Unholy melodies and unhuman growls dance upon a roiling sea of vicious black metal, miasmic and darkly imperial. Evil Nerfal’s music is a beautiful symphony of fire and fury, and ‘Bellum Est Pater Omnium’ is an arcane conjuring of the grandest of the necro spirits. Totally essential listening.

https://www.facebook.com/EvilNerfal/

https://grimmdistribution.bandcamp.com/album/021gd-evil-nerfal-bellum-est-pater-omnium-2018

Inhibitions - La Danse Macabre

Greek symphonic black metallers Inhibitions dropped their second album at the start of the year through Satanath Records, and ‘La Danse Macabre’ is a grand follow up to their 2016 debut ‘Flames of Desolation’. This is definitely for fans of Dimmu Borgir, but also Dark Funeral and Burzum.

‘The Calling’ links forlorn piano work into a blasting inferno, while the intricately structured ‘Toxic Rain’ builds through acoustic guitar and keyboard into towering tremolo riffing and a snarling, scowling vocal. Inhibitions tend more towards the symphonic elements being a little more subtle throughout, never bludgeoning you with strings etc. There is indeed, ‘No Escape’ from a traditionalist set of roots for Inhibitions, the very pure core of black metal on full display here, merely enhanced by the addition of symphonic elements, rather than being ruled by it. The dark, crawling ‘Religion of Peace’ is my own personal highlight, as the sheer evil oozing from each shambling riff is magical.

Lacking the grandiosity of a Dimmu, or a Cradle, Inhibitions rely instead on the subtle merging of keyboards into their orthodox black metal assault, and it works really well. Each track is enhanced by the odd detour into more esoteric territory, but none are ruled by it alone. That helps ‘La Danse Macabre’ really stand up from the blackened hordes of samey, corpsepainted goons to show another great side to this genre.

http://satanath.com/news/item/inhibitions

https://www.facebook.com/INHIBITIONS-Hellenic-Black-Metal-1218975794812167/

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat185-inhibitions-la-danse-macabre-2018

From the Vastland - Blackhearts

Sometimes material I get for review disappears into my folder and my iTunes and I lose it for years. Then I find it again on shuffle and think wow, what I missed the first time. From the Vastland’s ‘Blackhearts’ EP is one of those, from 2015 through Satanath Records. It is an intense slab of powerful black metal, and worth seeking out all these years later.

‘Astoyhad’ starts with a slow, deliberate riff leaden with dark atmospheres before charging off with poisonous intent. A howling, frostbitten chainsaw through your heart, this Iranian one man effort weaves gloom throughout this piece. Iranian black metal; what strange worlds we live in. As orthodox Scandinavian as it comes, From the Vastland don’t try to be different because of their locale, but pay homage to the vast frozen north with the icy ferocity of the title track and the cold majesty of ‘Abakhtaran’.

I need to scour deeper into this vast catalogue and see what else I can find, because if there are more hidden gems of this quality they deserve the coverage! From the Vastland is blackhearted indeed, and this EP captures them at an icy and relentless highpoint.

https://fromthevastland.bandcamp.com/album/blackhearts

https://www.facebook.com/fromthevastland/

http://www.fromthevastland.com/