Posts Tagged ‘Cumbria’

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Those of you who have followed the blog from the start knows I had a bit of a thing for Cumbrian black metal back then. It’s still there, but I must admit, I don’t break out the Skiddaw, Nefarious Dusk or Helvellyn demos as much as I used to. Well, enter Whinlatter, bringing yet more north western bleakness with their debut EP ‘Duddon Valley’. Inspired by the local landscapes, and the poetry of Cumbrian Norman Nicholson, it is out now through Wulfhere Productions.

Opener ‘River Duddon’ employs everything brilliant about Cumbrian black metal; a uniquely lonely atmosphere thriving beneath biting riffs and a range of bleak melodies. The vocals howls beneath blizzards of guitar, as the Darkthrone worshipping, two part ‘Duddon Estuary’ thrums with malevolent power. The first part, ‘(At Winter)’ adopts a more sinister mid paced approach, while part two ‘(Sea to the West)’ rasps through virulent blasting and icy guitar. By the time the black majesty of ‘Cumbria Be My Grave’ comes to a buzzsaw, gloomy end, I’ve rediscovered my love for a local style.

As a resident of this fair county, I have a great appreciation for what Whinlatter do here. Capturing the savage majesty of these fells and the people they inspire is not always easy. I’d take this over soulless landscape shots any day. This is the real Cumbria, industrial greyness overlooked by unforgiving mountains. They won’t show you that in the tour guides.

The beautiful stark red of this cassette cover is instantly striking, and Atra Mors do the same with their music. A part of the blackened hordes of Cumbria, in Northern England, ‘Cloaked in Shadow’ marks their debut full length, and the cassette I have got from Carvetii Productions is simply awesome. I cannot say it enough times, this is a tape label that never fails to impress.

Opener ‘Fog of Ruin’ pulses with a dark energy, writhing in tremelo riffing and harsh screams. ‘Cloaked in Shadow’ is just that; layered with a shadowy atmosphere that enhances the gloomy chords within. The haunting ‘Spirits of the Darkwood’ and the menacing ‘Undead Lust’ conjure the spirits of Mayhem and Xasthur, while the shrieking ‘Vomit Black Blood’ is enough to run shivers though your body. Black metal feels alive and kicking when in the hands of this band. There’s hints of Satanic Warmaster lurking in here too, particularly in the ghostly ‘Snow Falls Upon a Wretched Tomb’, with the moody synths lurking in the background.

I sit listening to this album while rain beats against my window. This feels like a record enshrouded by miserable, cold rain that incessantly grasps you in its cold embrace. Personified by the bleak cold hatred of ‘Amidst Rotting Wood I Reach My End’, Atra Mors weave savage black magic throughout ‘Cloaked in Shadow’, drawing much inspiration from raw black metal legends but becoming something more. Something visceral, thrilling and inherently black.

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Old school death metallers Repulsive Vision hail from my local spot, Cumbria, and ‘Look Past the Gore and See the Art’ is their debut full length. The album title feels like a statement of intent; imploring you to embrace the music before the aesthetics; remarkably important yet overlooked sentiments these days. They’ve been gigging hard around the UK for years, so it is at last we get to hear how they’ve honed their output.

After the obligatory, sample laden intro (Introplosion), first song proper ‘Repulsive Vision’ hits you with fearsome Floridian death metal straight away. It’s delightfully old school in its grinding riffs and that thrashy sensibility. ‘Premature Burial’ is equally intense, with vocalist Dan McEwen’s Blythe-esque rasp particularly on point. ‘Look Past the Gore…’ has energy in abundance, bringing frantic brutality to the fore in every song. There’s dashes of Obituary, of first record Death, of classic Massacre, and it’s all good stuff, especially in the virulently infectious ‘Corpse Decay’.

There’s not a lot here over the three and a half minute mark, which tells you something about the way Repulsive Vision operate. It’s old school as fuck; there’s nothing flashy and technical, nor overly progressive or winding. What you’re experiencing is straight for the jugular simplicity that is missing in a lot of modern death metal. It also pulses with LIFE, an organic breathing beast of flaming riffs like the flailing ‘Fragmentary’. It isn’t soulless, but imbued with a reality, an alive-ness.

If this is what we can expect from Repulsive Vision for years to come, then sign me up. A freshly rotting corpse of vintage death metal, strung up for all to worship. Awesome stuff.

A Ceremony in Darkness cover art

The second release from Glaramara, Cumbria’s newest black metal band, is their EP ‘A Ceremony in Darkness’. Like their last one, this is more harsh and traditional black metal, wreathed in the blackness of Darkthrone and Mayhem,

‘Gathering of the Legions of Hades’ opens with a ghostly keyboard and a building percussion; setting the scene of a gloomy forest clearing, with snow falling around darkened figures. Torrents of black magic writhe in the mists of ‘Psychopathic Afterlife’, and snarling vocal bile coats the frozen assault of ‘Transylvanian Moon’, a track that could be a lost Darkthrone classic.

The blackened punk vibe that is shot through the veins of the rapid fire ‘Destroying the Realm of Light’ is fucking excellent, and it’s a shame almost that it’s over so soon. But the gloriously creepy acoustics and ambient hum of ‘A Weak and Frozen Sunrise’ leads into the nightmarish thrashing chaos of ‘Eden of Despair’, and finally the icy title track, which revels in its second wave worship.

‘A Ceremony in Darkness’ is the better of the two releases from Glaramara, as it shows a bit more of what they can do. ‘Blackest Apostasy’ is great but it stops just as its getting started. ‘A Ceremony in Darkness’ builds upon that quality, adding the gloomy melodies and some nice interlude touches to create something more rounded, and more impressive! Download both immediately!

Blackest Apostasy cover art

The first of two Glaramara releases I’ve had the fortune of getting my hands on is their three track demo ‘Blackest Apostasy’. A new member of the vibrant Cumbrian black metal scene, Glaramara’s sound conjures the dark spirits of Carparthian Forest and Mayhem.

Back to basics black metal is the order of the day, and the opening title track is ferociously cold and savage. Scathing riffage scythes through your veins, while the raw, guttural shriek of Matt H is enough to turn your blood to ice. Like all good black metal, there are eerie melodies hidden within the blasting and howling rage, like the gloomy ‘Lunar Madness’ and its killer solo.

Finishing with the unholy incantation of ‘Wings of Obsidian’, Glaramara show great potential here for the future. Another triumph for the ferocious Cumbrian winter, driving the blackened hordes from their icy felltops and bringing the nightmarish howl of the frozen wind with them. Jet black and nasty, but with melancholic melody creeping in, Glaramara are going to be worth watching out for.

YES! FUCKING YES! This is what I’m talking about. Thy Demise are a Cumbrian death metal band that riff like the reanimated corpse of every death metal band that never made it. Their new three track debut is out now on their Bandcamp for name your price, and it’s frankly amazing that music this good can be free!

Opener ‘Head on a Spike’ has this bulldozing Bolt Thrower riff that just annihilates everything it comes across. This unstoppable force is broken only by a wailing solo, and the guttural growls enhance the sheer brutality. ‘Own’ is more of the same, dense rumble that causes buildings to shake and the earth to rupture. In the past few days since the untimely death of Martin Kearns of Bolt Thrower, I’ve been listening to them a lot. Thy Demise are cut from the same cloth. Their brand of death metal is all about the density, the heaviness, the crushing brutality of it all. There is little care for breakneck speed, breakdowns or melodic savagery. ‘Prepare for Despair’ quite simply is here to destroy with a slow but crushing inevitability.

Closing with the exquisite thunder of ‘Eviscerated Female Form’, Thy Demise build on the excellent demo from last year and have crafted three death metal songs that are almost exemplary in their heaviness. This is how death metal should be, and its a fitting tribute to the nation’s greats. Maybe the cannons haven’t faded after all…

Carlisle, Cumbria’s death groove battering machine Triverse Massacre have released ‘With Bared Teeth and Truths’, a new four track release that is chock full of riffs, aural violence and scintillating songs. This is the follow up to 2010’s ‘In the Jaws of Deceit’ debut, and continues this band’s evolution into a slick, instrument of destruction.

Opening with ‘Wolves at the Gate’, a juddering assault of groove and savagery. The crushing breakdown elements mesh well with the blasting and the mixture between low growls and raw screams shows fine versatility. They even throw in a cool melodic solo as well, which is definitely a pleasant surprise. So far, so brutal. ‘Exhale Betrayal’ is more surgical, reminscient of latter period Hypocrisy. There is less of a groove in it, and much more of a waspish intensity.

‘Bullets Kill Beasts’ comes out of the starting blocks with a much more subdued intro before some, almost classic metal riffs build under howling shrieks. There’s some excellent, galloping riffing here, again coupled with some blasting and some great melodies. Closing with the menacing ‘Torn from the Throne’, with its thick groove and uneasy atmospherics, Triverse Massacre show the kind of promise that is going to be worth watching in the next few years. Crushing, savage and thoroughly enjoyable.