Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

What is it about Australia and black metal? It seems so strange that a place that seems the polar opposite of the traditional, northern icy home of the genre has become such a hotbed. But then, Australian black metal tends to be more aggressive and fiery so perhaps conditions in the dangerous and suffocating heat of the outback are perfect. Nocturnes Mist have been around for almost 20 years, yet ‘Diabolical Baptism’ marks only their third full length. It’s out on September 15th through Seance Records.

A raw, deeply traditional ode to the majesty of Satan himself, and inspired by the soundtrack to The Omen, ‘Diabolical Baptism’ is brutal in its simplicity. Opener ‘Hammers of Hatred’ is an unstoppable force of Marduk inspired bludgeoning, that invokes occult hails to the Dark Lord. Nocturnes Mist plough a pure, second wave worshipping furrow on this record, and while it may seem like just another black metal album, ‘Diabolical Baptism’ draws you in deeper with their orthodoxy and their execution. ‘Barbs of Sadism’ is a fire breather, while the more midpaced ‘Pale Face Cold Heart’ ramps up the atmosphere and even adds dashes of keyboard.

Like the esoteric Witches Sabbath drawings that grace the cover of ‘Diabolical Baptism’, this record is an embodiment of arcane ritual and Satanic fervour. Savage, relentless and dripping with menace, Nocturnes Mist are traditionalist but still stunningly relevant.

https://www.facebook.com/nocturnesmistAU/

http://www.seancerecords.com/

https://seancerecords.bandcamp.com/

Scars of Sodom - Retribution of the Wicked

Australia is somewhat of a hotspot for some truly fiery and fearsome extreme metal, and blackened death metallers Scars of Sodom are no different. Their 2014 record, ‘Retribution for the Wicked’, has been released by my good friend Luke at the always excellent Carvetii Productions on cassette, and it hopefully allows a whole new group of people to experience this carnage.

Scars of Sodom are consistently visceral and savage, and opener ‘A Pale Horse’ looms from the darkness before arseholes are torn asunder by barbed riffing and killer blasting. Drawing influences from the likes of Dissection, Sodom and Bathory, tracks like ‘Bound by Death’s Chains’ or the howling ‘Demon Nemesis’ are possessed with rich veins of riffing magic but never come across as more one dimensional averageness. In fact, the brutal ‘Eyes of the Dead’ is a rumbling monster of a track that could take on some of the best more traditional death metal bands.

‘Retribution of the Wicked’ is a revelation, sounding even more nasty on cassette. Scars of Sodom are one of these gems from the underground that you need to keep an eye on, because if they can follow this up with something even half as good, it’ll be a cracker.

https://www.facebook.com/SCARS-OF-SODOM-212028342160392/

http://carvetiiproductions.bigcartel.com/product/cp006-scars-of-sodom-retribution-of-the-wicked-cassette

Contaminated - Final Man

The twisted, Lovecraftian nightmare that graces the cover of the debut record by sickening Australian death metallers Contaminated pretty much sums up the music to be found within. Contaminated have been a force on the Australian underground for a few years now, with some brutal demo tapes appearing but Blood Harvest have brought us the culmination of those early efforts, ‘Final Man’, out in June.
Opening with a wall of death metal fury that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Suffocation album, ‘Squalid Survival’ sets the stage nicely for the carnage to come. The guitar tone is dense, the riffs hard, sludgy and non technical and the vocals are the belchings of the void. ‘No Time to Rot’ channels the ancient, dying spirits of 90s Finland, and ‘Boneless Mass’ slays with ragged weaponry. Contaminated play to all the strengths of old school death metal, and avoid the pitfalls of repetitiveness. ‘Co-opted into Worthless Sludge’ is one of the nastiest, heaviest things I’ve heard all year.
It isn’t difficult to find bands that play this kind of death metal these days, but it is difficult to sort through the sludge to find the good ones. Contaminated are dynamic, vibrant in their execution and downright ugly in their tone. ‘Final Man’ is an energetic, riff filled monster that chews most bands up in its wake, standing high atop the mangled corpse to reign supreme.

The delightfully dissonant ‘Pest’ was a highlight of 2015 in black metal, and Norse’s new full length has been a release I’ve been looking forward to for a while. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ is due out at the end of May, and looks to continue the burgeoning reputation of these Australians in the bleak world of black metal.

Opener ‘Supreme Vertical Ascent’ throbs with otherworldly menace, with bursts of double bass meshing into atonal riffs and snarling vocals. Imagine the hurricane of sound that you get from Portal, but strip it down to a less distorted form, losing none of the fear instilled within. ‘Drowned by Hope’ flails wildly, and the crawling menace of ‘Telum Vitae’ is my personal highlight. You would be pushed to find another band on the planet that is taking black metal to such unique, twisted and dark places. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ is some revolutionary stuff.

The storm of ‘Exitus’ tears through the labyrinthine darkness that Norse find themselves mired within. They are ugly, dissonant and thoroughly brutal, when atonal death metal riffs impose themselves throughout ‘Synapses Spun as Silk’. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ looks to be one of this year’s most interesting and most challenging records. Norse have written something inhuman, suffocating and rabd here, and it is simply stunning.

https://norsemetal.bandcamp.com/album/the-divine-light-of-a-new-sun-dissonant-black-metal

https://www.facebook.com/norse.official/

http://tometal.com

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The debut EP of Consummation is something of great note, as these Australian destroyers have crafted a uniquely twisting and serpentine form of black/death that sucks in all light like the gaping jaws of infinity. Thanks to Invictus Productions, we all now have the chance to experience pure, unadulterated madness in musical form.

Opener ‘The Weightless Grip of Fire’ is fearsome in its scope; blending ferocious black metal and an off-kilter sense of rhythm that enhances that otherworldly feeling. You feel uneasy, uncomfortable and cowed with fear as howling madness sweeps through your bones. They don’t quite reach the same levels of nausea created by fellow Aussies Portal, but there’s a definitive ‘wrongness’ about some of the melody lines here. With two ten minute plus songs, Consummation somehow manage to go past too quickly to comprehend, and invite more and more listens to unlock this dark magic.

‘Blighted Ovum’ is more of the same, labyrinthine extremity that we started with. Savage howls, a dense production that really helps the heft of this record come through, and an alien atmosphere that builds the tension to breaking point. ‘Ritual Severance’ is grandiose, malignant and bubbling with cancerous hatred. Consummation are an outfit that have struck upon something new and intensely evil.

https://www.facebook.com/Consummation-467538346610266/

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/ritual-severance

Ghostly Australian black metallers Somnium Nox have summoned their debut full length ‘Terra Inanis’ for Transcending Obscurity India, a sub label of my good friend Kunal’s main label. An invigorating half hour of dense black metal, that pulses with gloomy life and eternal darkness. It’ll be out in May, and its something you should earmark instantly.

Opening with the calming melancholy of ‘Soliloquy of Lament’, the band build their sound with layering acoustics and the ominous humming of didgeridoos before powerful riffs crash in amongst them and whispered shrieks slip from the darkness. Taking clues from the likes of Chiral and Panopticon, clean guitar lines weave melodies within the harsher moments, sending subliminal chills through your body.

Each dynamic shift adds new moments of maturity. When the clean acoustics appear, the return to jarring black metal is almost more unexpected. Glimmering clean guitar gives way to menacing shrieking and hollow, lost voices in the vibrant blackness of ‘Transcendental Dysphoria’. ‘Terra Inanis’ is an album hewn from ancient parts of this earth, hidden below lost parts of the Outback. Grim, lonely but thoroughly ALIVE in its desolation, Somnium Nox have found a wellspring of primal emotions from where to bring this, this art to life.

https://www.facebook.com/SomniumNox/

https://somniumnox.bandcamp.com/album/terra-inanis-atmospheric-black-metal

http://tometal.com/

Australian death/doom lords Illimitable Dolor have risen from the reamaining members of  legendary icons The Slow Death, paying tribute to their deceased former vocalist Gregg WIlliamson with this self titled record, full of heart wrenching death/doom songs. It is due to be released in March by Transcending Obscurity, and raises a miserable glass to the memory of their lost friend.

Opener ‘Rail of Moon, a Stone’ is monolithic, painful and haunting. Vast riffs crush melancholic melodies, while a powerful roar intones ragged emotion. Illimitable Dolor show the strength brought by very real grief and pain, and how it can lead to music of fragile beauty. It seems strange to call these kind of massive, weatherbeaten monsters of songs fragile, but the feeling of loss is palpable. ‘Comet Shines or Dies’ leads with weeping guitars and ghostly keys that brings to mind early My Dying Bride, or Mournful Congregation.

The dark majesty of ‘Salt of Brazen Seas’ is enhanced by potent organ melodies at the start, and the mourning growls mix well. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve heard organ used this well since Asva’s ‘What You Don’t Know is Frontier’. That’s one of my favourite funeral doom/drone records ever so that’s a huge compliment. ‘Illimitable Dolor’ is frontrunner now as my favourite doom record this year; a heady mix of the heaviest of riffs and the most fragile of emotions coming together to form a majestic whole. Just listen to the sobbing ‘Abandoned Cuts of River’ and try not to be totally absorbed. I dare you.

https://illimitabledolor.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/IllimitableDolor/

http://tometal.com/

https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords/