Posts Tagged ‘Loud Rage Music’

Ordinul Negru - Lifeless

‘Lifeless’ is the fourth record from Romanian true black metallers Ordinul Negru, and another being rereleased by Loud Rage Music. Originally released in 2008, you can probably already guess what kind of cold, raw Transylvanian nightmares lie beneath, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ordinul Negru are a one trick pony.

Bleak is probably the first word that springs to mind when ‘Wolves of the Ancient Forest’ springs to life. Waves of pure second wave spill from the speakers, followed by howling shrieks and an atmosphere of necrotic, icy death. This feeling of cold dread permeates every song on the record, and really takes you to the kind of eldritch darkness that you’d expect from Eastern European black metal. For some reason, even more so than their Scandinavian cousins, Eastern European countries just really GET black metal in such a primeval way. ‘Lifeless’ is another glorious example of that. I mean, just try and spy even the slightest hint of light in the suffocating ‘The Cold Spirit Arouse from a Forgotten Soul’.

There’s a mysterious black beauty about the soaring gloom of ‘Morbid Prophecy’ and ‘Serpent’s Promise’, the centrepiece 9 minute tracks that straddle the middle of the record. The first is a midpaced dirge; hypnotising in its simplicity but murky in spirit. The latter is a triumphant frosty blast of old school ferocity, with a little more speed about it but losing nothing in atmosphere. Their joint talents encapsulate everything great about ‘Lifeless’.

‘Lifeless’ is a record that leaves you drained, emotionally and mentally. The darkness on display feels really old, really pure. Ordinul Negru have tapped into a long forgotten vein of black gold, hidden amongst snow and forest and mountain. This album will leave you as a husk, albeit a very satisfied one. Awesome.

Ordinul Negru - Nostalgia of the Fullmoon Nights

The remastered version of Ordinul Negru’s 2011 record, ‘Nostalgia of the Fullmoon Nights’, is out now through Loud Rage Music and this allows this raw, atmospheric and miserable slab of prime Romanian black metal to reach a bigger audience than the limited release back then.

As nasty and as raw as you’d expect, the opening track ‘Into the Fullmoon Nights’ is a clattering, raging ball of fury. The primal atmosphere reminds me a lot of early Behemoth and Darkthrone, and the bleakly intense riffing is so oppressive. Is it cliche to say that it sounds like winter in the Carpathians? Because this actually does. A blizzarding assault on the senses, wrought with an Eastern European black magic, invades every riff in the icy ‘Degeneration’, while the haunting ‘Crepuscul si blestem’ serves to remind you that black metal, at its core, is all about darkness.

‘Nostalgia of the Fullmoon Nights’ is a record carved from dark Romanian mountains, where ancient magic invades the stone and the air. Ordinul Negru have captured the feel of prime second wave black metal, and this is as ideal a tribute to that style as you can hope for.

Mercy's Dirge - Live, Raw & Relentless

Mercy’s Dirge are regarded as one of the first, if not THE first Romanian black metal band, starting all the way back in 1991, but ‘Live, Raw and Relentless’ is their debut full length, released a full 18 years later. It is out now through Loud Rage Music.

‘Live, Raw and Relentless’ is a pretty apt name, for Mercy’s Dirge are all three. Despite their lack of activity over the past number of years, they are most certainly live and kicking. The rabid snarl of ‘Foreseeing the Past’, the foreboding savage chug of ‘Devilish Wish’; you are immediately hit with a primal range out of the gate. But there is a lot more going on here, with atonal melodies playing out underneath the raw exteriror. The weird, almost Atheist-like bass work in the superlative ‘The Bewitched’ is really great, while the catchy ‘Groovin’ Terror’ lets you know that some Celtic Frost tapes definitely made it into Romania. ‘Meherat’ sounds like nothing else on this record; feels almost spoken word at the start, before the black metal kicked in harshly.

My only gripe with ‘Live, Raw and Relentless’ is that it is a little long at times. They probably could’ve trimmed a little bit and made the album feel a little tighter. But the music speaks for itself, invigorating and writhing black metal that isn’t scared of trying things a little different at times. Mercy’s Dirge can continue this ‘comeback’ for as long as they want, because this is great.

Tableau Mort - Veil of Stigma. Book I: Mark of Delusion

The debut full length from London’s Tableau Mort plays with the themes of Romanian Orthodox Christianity to create an album about the madness inducing pursuit of knowledge and perfection. ‘Veil of Stigma. Book I: Mark of Delusion’ is an unwieldy title, but the black metal within is anything but. It is out now through Loud Rage Music.

The warm thrust of opener ‘Impending Corruption’ is balanced with a raspy, cold vocal, and it is always good to have a black metal record that isn’t tin pot production. Some of the best black metal records have a thick sound, and Tableau Mort head in that direction. The ghostly choral backdrop and chanting bring those orthodox thematics to the fore. Imagine Marduk covering Deathspell Omega, and you’re kind of on the right path. ‘Fall of Man’ is a powerhouse track, while the gloomy incantations of the savage ‘Carpenter of Sorrow’ is glorious. My favourite track is the fire and brimstone laden ‘Tapestry Sewn’, which also contains just the right amount of wistful melancholy as well.

There is something paradoxically ‘right’ about black metal interpretations of Christian orthodoxy, and Tableau Mort really hammer that home with this record. This is a black metal record of heart, of substance, of ethereality filtered through savagery. A most potent mix, and I certainly will be after ‘Book II’ when we are graced with it.

Rancorum - The Vermin Shrine

Romanian death metallers Rancorum released their debut full length, ‘The Vermin Shrine’, through Loud Rage Music in November 2018, but like many things this year I am so far behind on my music it is scary. This is 37 minutes of primal, brutal death metal ready to crush skulls and melt skin.

Opener ‘Voidification’ absolutely nails that old school rumble from the get go, and immediately sets a high standard for the rest of the album to keep up. The chugging, miasmic power of ‘Bedlam of Saints’ is a joy, while the battering assault of ‘The Shining’ is relentless. Rancorum have got that ‘new old school death metal’ sound down pat, but they make some interesting riff decisions to keep it fresh. There’s lots of massive bends, Immolation style, that really bring the heaviness to the forefront. Check out the dizzying weight of ‘Towards Below’ to see what I mean.

‘The Vermin Shrine’ feels like an album much further down a band’s career than a mere debut. The songwriting is tight and memorable, the riffing is varied and there is a desire to experiment with how heaviness is used. Rancorum definitely strike me as a band to watch on future releases, as I can’t wait to see where they head after this.