Posts Tagged ‘Hungary’

Witcher - A gyertyák csonkig égnek

The second full length album from Hungarian atmospheric black metallers Witcher, ‘A gyertyák csonkig égnek’ is out now through Filosofem Records, and it is chock full of glorious melody, soaring gloom and necrotic black metal rawness. An intoxicating idea, no?

The opening title track build with some delicate keyboards, swelling synth and weeping guitar, and while this feels very light and spacious, there is a dark, necro heart beating underneath. The croaky rasp of the vocals adds a certain edge to proceedings, just as the sense of scale adds a layer of majesty. It is the longest track here but never outstays its welcome. Following with the gloomy, piano led ‘Feloldozás’, there is a definitive Eastern European melancholy about this work.

It brings to mind a more delicate Drudkh; perhaps you wouldn’t go as far as calling them symphonic black metal but the keyboard instrumentations are just as key as the more traditional black metal tropes, and this collaboration is possibly best illustrated in the superb ‘Az én csendemben’, where the blasting misery of the intro opens up into this vast, bleak soundscape. Vocally the rasping growl works well, keeping the music grounded.

‘A gyertyák csonkig égnek’ is a gorgeous album, created with a palette of the palest whites, the bleakest greys and the deathly blacks. Grandiose, miserable and ambitious, even finishing with their take on some Tchaikovsky, Witcher’s work is a welcome break from bands who think ‘atmosphere’ is just blastbeats behind a synth. Mesmerising stuff!

Degragore - From Sin to Redemption

Hungarian brutal death metal sounds like a fine way to spend a wet Wednesday afternoon, and the devastation wrought by Degragore on their latest release, ‘From Sin to Redemption’ is crushing even by those standards. It is out now through Satanath Records.

You know what you’re getting when you see the cover. Guttural growls, a dense chugging low end not unlike early Devourment, and full of horrifying samples to really get the violence and sickness of the music across. Each big slow riff bleeds with the influence of Bolt Thrower and Immolation, packed with an uncomfortable level of swaying misery, while there is plenty of grinding speed (”) when required. A personal highlight for me, ‘Redemption (Believe in Yourself)’, is chunky fucking death and carnage and is just what the doctor ordered. There are a couple of quieter interludey moments, but generally it is just balls to the wall brutal death riffs and incomprehensible growls.

‘From Sin to Redemption’ is a record to put on when you want your brain pummelled into mush and nothing else. Expertly one dimensional, the brutality on display is fearsome and Degragore should be applauded for their dedication. Not every record needs to be overly complex and inventive. Sometimes you just need this, and Degragore do it superbly.

Abstract Ritual cover art

Hungarian groove metallers Omega Diatribe’s new EP features death metal drumming legend Kevin Talley on percussive battery, and that’ll suggest to you that at very least the drumming on this record will be stellar. The description of ‘extreme groove metal’ and the artwork suggests a Meshuggah influence here.

I was right. Omega Ritual owe a lot to the Swedish riff manglers, and while never quite reaching the same heights, Omega Ritual groove their way through six riff heavy destroyers. Opener ‘Subsequent Phase’ is relentless in its almost mechanical pounding, and while the EP’s artowrk suggests a more spiritual experience, the music feels more mechanised and artificial. They have that same kind of cold, soulless sound that prime Fear Factory evoke. That kind of imperious riff that exists in a bubble, far from outside influences.

‘Extrinsic’ has the omnipresence about it, with a bulldozing riff leading into a more straightforward thrash song that rumbles with polyrhythmic fury. Each riff drops out with stomach churning force, which is also true about the knee buckling groove in ‘Hydrozoan Periods’. While a lot of bands have aped Meshuggah’s tone and riffing style, few bands have managed to replicate it so well. Omega Diatribe may follow a lot of those traits, but they also inject enough of their own personality into each track to stand out. Take the calming tranquillity of ‘The Quantum’, or the fact that they close out the EP with a remix. It’s little touches like this that keep them from being copycats.

‘Abstract Ritual’ is great for two main reasons. One, it gives you something to tide you over til the new Meshuggah record comes out. Two, its a fucking brutally heavy record in its own right and with this vast groove fodder on show, you’d be a fool to miss out. Bang your fucking head.