Posts Tagged ‘Memento Mori’

Pyre - Chained to Ossuaries

Review by Geary of War

Pyre, a Russian death metal trio, have released their second album ‘Chained to Ossuaries’ through Memento Mori Records, however it does feel as though I should say unleashed rather than released. Preferring to hone a more ‘traditional and raw sound’, Pyre comes at you with the oldest of schools of death metal, often evoking memories of Entombed and that classic death to death ‘n’ roll sound.

Following the short instrumental opener of ‘Exordium’ we are then treated to the real meat and potatoes of the album. Rasping vocals, thumping drums and guitars wielded with only one thing in mind, menace. Tracks like ‘Across the Shores of Emerald Fractals’ and ‘Ornaments of Bones’ show a band evolving as much as they can within the confines of death metal, the latter opening up with 40 seconds of quiet brooding yet beautiful instrumental you would almost be forgiven for forgetting what you were listening to. Then the classic death metal arrives back in with a squeal of the guitar and drums battered in a way which makes me think of ‘Beneath the Remains’.  Add to that an ear for groove and a hook and you will be left in no doubt why these lads have something to offer.

Title track ‘Chained to Ossuaries’ goes all out to bring to the listeners all the feelings you would expect to experience if bound in a room full of bodies and bones. A brooding opening, death metal assault for panic, an almost classic heavy metal solo for the rising sense of control. Then we are back to a brooding hopelessness.  It is a track which tells a story and that is always worth the time. I would pick this to play to someone who was new to the band. We continue in a similar vein all the way to the album’s end with ‘Death’s Dawn Call’ which brought a wry smile as it kicked into gear with a cheeky pic slide.

Very much in keeping with the tone, Pyre ensures we leave the spin(and it is still a spin even if it is digital!), treated to aggression, pacing, hooks and solos. Add to that the determination to bring the heart of death metal alive, to give a horror movie a soundtrack. Pyre is not going to be tearing down any preconceptions of what death metal is, old school or new but what they are doing in ensuring it doesn’t become stale. The St. Petersburg scene has a gem on their hands.

Morbid Messiah - Demoniac Paroxysm

Finally! After being wowed by their debut EP, ‘In the Name of True Death Metal’ (reviewed here) back in 2016, Memento Mori are gracing us with the debut full length from these Mexicans masters of death. ‘Demoniac Paroxysm’ is out later this month and is a fitting follow up.

The guitar tone remains as brutal as ever, piling rabid old school riffing on top of corpses left by the roaring vocals. The thrashing ‘Charred Devastation’ is intense, while the grinding chug of ‘Devoured by Darkness’ is an unpolished gem. Morbid Messiah are still lacking all those frills and now they’ve upped the song writing levels to new heights. ‘Demoniac Paroxysm’ lacks subtlety and grace, but that makes it very special. There is no regard for a trend, merely the execution of true death fucking metal. It goes for the jugular constantly and consistently; a flailing and rabid animal.

Memento Mori seem to have a Midas touch when it comes to great, honest death metal bands and they have another here. Morbid Messiah have fulfilled the promise of their EP, and with tracks like ‘Howling from the Grave’ and the savage ‘Fetid Bloodbath’ to wield, it looks like they’ll be slaying for a long time yet. Awesome.

Rotheads - Sewer Fiends

Romanian death metallers Rotheads have emerged from the dense, ugly underground to bring us their debut full length, ‘Sewer Fiends’. In a stunning turn of events, this is yet another high quality record released by Memento Mori Records, which is frankly becoming THE label for underground death metal to be heard and appreciated. ‘Sewer Fiends’ is out now.

As you could guess from the artwork, this is a record dragged from the depths of sludgey, slimy death metal filth. The opening title track has the kind of guitar tone that feels like it has been steeping in fetid waste for years, and the creeping melodies that lurk beneath are disturbing. This is chaotic, disgusting metal of death; the kind that you’d find dredging a swamp. ‘From the Glowing Goo Rise’ has that kind of crawling chaos vibe about it, a monstrous rumble echoes throughout while cavernous roars belch vile incantations. There’s a reek of ancient Finnish death, like Demigod or even a hint of the likes of Grave in there too.

It all comes to a writhing, miasmic head in the megalithic ‘The Mad Oracle of Seweropolis’, a near eleven minute opus of swampy, Autopsy worshipping death metal of the highest order, punctured only briefly in places by islands of eerie melody. ‘Sewer Fiends’ is a magnificent accomplishment, where Rotheads have immediately dropped a potentially future classic with their first full length. Murky, mouldy and morbid, this is truly special.


Ectoplasma cover 1000 x 1000.jpg

Greek death metallers Ectoplasma have found a home at Memento Mori to release their second full length record and, fittingly for Memento Mori, this is a properly old school death metal record, reeking of the most ancient birthplaces of the genre. ‘Cavern of Foul Unbeings’ is out on the 22nd January.

What fetid corruption writhes across the frets of the guitars conjuring the death metal within this record. It is harsh, ugly; thick with menace and accompanied by monstrous roars. Dragging early Death, Autopsy and the likes from their graves, sending invigorating shocks into the genre with a really heavy low end barrelling through. Guttural roars pair with a matted wall of death metal riffing, like a morbid vine patch entwining your fate. You cannot escape, and with the likes of the groaning ‘Seized in Cimmerian Darkness’ or the unearthly crush of ‘Mortified and Despised’, you probably wouldn’t want to.

The only minor complaint you might have is, at 52 minutes, it is a little long for an album of this style. I can manage it fine, some may not. Ectoplasma are excellent, and ‘Cavern of Foul Unbeings’ is a record that dredges those dank swamps for the primest of old school death metal. Brutal.

This is the debut record of Italian death metallers Ekpyrosis, and ‘Asphyxiating Devotion’ is a resolutely old school death metal album, channelling the glorious blasphemy of the likes of Incantation or Immolation. It is due out tomorrow through Memento Mori so you know its pedigree is going to be good.

Opening behemoth ‘Profound Death’ speaks volumes for their craft. A rumbling, savage monster of a track, it drips with classic death metal influences. Not just the feel of death but the inevitable, creeping decay that comes to that which dies. Chained to that morbidity is a deep aversion to religion, as the titles ‘God Grotesque’ and ‘Morticians of God’ may give away. It is a mix that has always worked well in death metal, and the Deicide-esque, waspish ‘Depths of Tribulation’ is testament to that fact.

The crawling ‘Obsessive Christendom’ is a evil favourite of mine here, flailing and scrambling across broken corpses. To be honest though, you’d be pushed to find a bad song on a record that shows a remarkable maturity for a debut. I’m saying that a lot recently, but Ekpyrosis have nailed a classic death metal sound without sounding too derivative. ‘Asphyxiating Devotion’ is brutal brilliance.

Chilean lords of darkness and death Infamovs have exploded onto the international scene with ‘Under the Seals of Death’, their debut full length that is gracing us early next year through the fantastic and always reliable Memento Mori label. ‘Under the Seals of Death’ is a half hour exercise in what death metal, South American style, is all about.

Opener ‘Into the Death’  is typical of the whirlwind howl that prvades this record from the start. A howling, deathly wind tunnel of a song where dense riffing curls around morbid growls to satiate even the most hungry for death. There’s traces of early Floridian death metal, particularly Deicide in the guttural rage of ‘Impure Plagiarisms’, but the innate ferocity and uncompromising brutality is pure South America. The battering carnage of ” is a personal highlight; it grabs straight to the jugular and aims for the kill.

The irresistable drive of Infamovs to steamroll all those who stand in the way is achieved purely through their chunky, deathly riffage that both enraptures and invigorates with each listen. ‘Gods of Pestilence’ thunders along like a lost Vader track, with devastating simplicity as the rumbling influences of Bolt Thrower sneak into ‘Interlude’.  And yet, you may never hear this album because of where it is made etc. But ‘Under the Seals of Death’ is looking to be the first essential record of 2017. Crushing, deathly glory!

Deprive - Temple of the Lost Wisdom

One man Spanish death metal band Deprive have dropped their new album ‘Temple of the Lost Wisdom’ on the much respected Memento Mori, a label that keeps releasing high quality music month after month. Deprive aim for that melancholic 90s death metal sound, along the lines of Paradise Lost and Amorphis, while not skimping on the heaviness. Good stuff should await…

There’s a very obvious Morbid Angel feel about the opening rage of ‘Other Earth’, with a rumbling sway to the brutality. Mournful riffs swoop in, bringing to mind eldritch graveyards, lost in mist and time, and each element comes together as one crushing whole. It reaffirms my love of death metal in four minutes, taking a path less travelled. No afraid to weave in beautiful solos and guttural growls,  Deprive’s music is dark, heavy but instantly accessible due to the stellar melodies. The morbid atmospheres have this timeless ache about them, weeping across moments of sheer, conquering brutality. The title track exemplifies this approach.

‘Gospel of the Black Sun’ is a particular highlight, with a great mix of gloomy melody and battering death metal ferocity. But all the tracks here have that same high quality collaboration between the light and the dark, the melancholy and the brutality. ‘Temple of the Lost Wisdom’ feels like a lost classic, given a contemporary production and belched into the modern era. Vintage stuff that will go down as one of my favourite 2016 releases.

Memento Mori are building a reputation for having some of the best death metal releases on their roster, it looks like Portland, Oregon’s Torture Rack is going to add their ‘Barbaric Persecution’ to that list. An album that follows the recent trend for vile, filth ridden death metal that summons the ancient spirits of Autopsy and early Cannibal Corpse.

The intro dredges up those crawling, evil riffs from chasms of evil and death, and that dread lurks at the edge of your consciousness as you are subjected to a relentless, battering assault. ‘Talent for Torture’ is a thrashy, short sharp burst of unbridled fury, while the excellently titled ‘Apocalyptic Wrath of the Undead’ is a churning, punishing collection of Autopsy riffs and an almost Obituary-like stomp. That Obituary stomp comes into play most effectively in the brutally catchy ‘Sentenced to Gang Rape’.

‘Barbaric Persecution’ is just that; barbaric. A cacophony of sludgy brutality that show no respect for life nor limb. The musical equivalent of being strapped to a table and ritually dissected with rusty implements. Torture Rack have got some great riffing, and the heavy debt they pay to Autopsy and Coffins is worth every single bloodsoaked riff. This kind of ‘Old School Death Metal’ works for me, and even though it never wins any originality awards, it always has me banging my head and begging for more. I love this record

‘Perpetual Blackness’ is the debut offering from Germany’s crushing death/doom merchants The Fog. A crawling, morbid slab of Teutonic terror, ‘Perpetual Blackness harkens back to the nasty trudge of Hellhammer, Winter  and early Morgoth, and it is out now through Memento Mori Records.

‘Inaneness’ opens with a brutal, relentless drag through the darker reaches of the riff. Primal murk obscures an obvious black metal influence, while each riff cascades down upon you like the inevitable fall of planets. ‘Crawling Doom’ is, ironically, anything but. It’s a violent mix of crushing Swedish death metal and an Autopsy like sludge. ‘Entropy Pillars’ drags us back into more familiar territory, with a raw rumble of doom.

The whole of ‘Perpetual Blackness’ is shrouded in a density, a groaning decay like that affecting the trees on the cover art. ‘Creeping Lunacy’ has a positively sickening guitar tone, and has a hypnotic chainsaw riff that runs through the middle of it, leaving a gaping wound of ragged growls. ‘Gloom Shoals’ is almost painfully heavy in parts, while the title track is ancient death metal art.

Closing with the monolithic destruction of ‘Grievous Scourge’, The Fog have got this primal death/doom sound nailed. ‘Perpetual Blackness’ is a record for those who enjoy a nihilistic crush in their life. As dark as the eternal void, and heavier than Hell itself.


Abyssus - Logo

Greek death metallers Abyssus have dropped their debut record ‘Into the Abyss’ and it is a fine slab of Floridian death metal worship. I spoke with vocalist Kostas Analytis about death metal, history and economic crises.

Tell us a little bit about how Abyssus got started?

The band formed back in 2011 by me as an one-man band with guests and session musicians. After the release of “MONARCH TO THE KINGDOM OF THE DEAD” debut E.P., Panos “s.k.” Gkourmpaliotis (guitars) joined the band. It was about time for the group to have a solid and full-time line-up. Through many members arrivals and departures the band played some live shows and recorded few split releases (“NO LIFE IN THE COFFIN” with legendary NOCTURNAL VOMIT in 2013, “FROM THE ABYSS RAISED THE MORBID” with veterans MORBIDER in 2014 and “OBSCURE” with SLAKTGRAV in 2014). The songs included in the split with MORBIDER were remixed and re-mastered to be released as a tape – E.P. called “SUMMON THE DEAD”. At last Kostas Ragiadakos (bass) joined the band and all together entered the studio for releasing “INTO THE ABYSS”.

How do you see Abyssus as part of the Greek scene? It’s always seemed like more of an esoteric set up, what with Septicflesh and Rotting Christ, yet your death metal seems relatively straight forward?

Actually, the underground scene here in Greece is on fire, in all the genres of metal! Too many releases, too many great albums! Well, bands like SEPTIC FLESH and ROTTING CHRIST has opened the doors for Greek metal as they became succesful and popular and we should thank them for that, all the bands here in Greece. I don’t really like the Septicflesh style and as for Rotting Christ, they’re a band from which I really adore some old albums!

So where do Abyssus’s main influences come? I hear a lot of Obituary in your sound.

I will say that maybe its my voice that reminds more Van Drunen, Tardy and the singer of Viogression, the more sludging death metal vocals. Of course Obituary is a great influence but also Death, Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Autopsy, all those legendary bands that born and serve the genre with respect and passion!

Abyssus - Photo

Has there been a renaissance in death metal recently? There’s a huge amount of quality bands coming out of the woodwork with great records

I see the stream of great releases coming out one after another and I honestly like it as the classic death metal sound was about extinct. I feel sorry but I don’t really enjoy the brutal death metal things, slam, guttural vocals… I respect them but its not death metal to my ears, not as death metal must be played!

Does the band have a concept behind the artwork or lyrics?

For the artwork it is said and agreed in the band that it must always been in the death metal way, painted inspired and dedicated to the gold death metal age 1988-1995! We use to cooperate with some great artists such as Cesar Valladares who is responsible for many new releases in death metal, Costin Chioreanu who works with bands such as Grave, At the Gates and many more and of course Aggeliki Koliaki who is always there for us offering her great art!

For the lyrics now, as all the lyrics is my work, is not a main concept but I won’t write something for zombies and the undead. Such themes inspire me with other bands I am in, such as Cryptic Realms. In Abyssus I write for war, as a watcher of the pain and terror it causes, for social oppression, for the end of the world but also for historical events or personalities. so in this album “Enthrone the Insane” was inspired by the Roman emperor Nero (37-68 A.C.) “Across the Fields of Death” was inspired by the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava (Crimean War) between France and Great Britain against Russia (October 25th, 1854) “Visions of Eternal Pain” was inspired by the paranoid bombing of Piraeus from the allies (January 11th, 1944).

Is history an important influence then? I mean Greece has obviously one of the worlds most ancient cultures, is that part and parcel of what Abyssus is about?

Although I really love reading Greek history, I have to admit that I wouldn’t like to be based on such concept except from special occasions. Its very easy to be judged for ethnicism and such things and believe me we are far out of such things.

Abyssus - Into the Abyss

You raise a good point; does being a Greek metal band mean people have certain perceptions you have to break? I mean sometimes you find if one band from any particular country sounds a particularly way, all are expected to be similar

Yes I understand your question, like the Gothenburg scene with all those melodic “death metal” bands. Well, I don’t believe such thing occurs here in Greece. Of course for black metal Rotting Christ was more than just an influence but is the only example. In the Greek death metal scene that is not happening, there are too many bands with different sounds, listen to our friends Necrorgasm, Alter Self, Blessed by Perversion, The Psalm… totally different groups in every sector, production, attitude etc.

That’s good, sounds like the scene is very healthy. Have the economic problems in Greece recently made it hard for bands? Do less people come to live shows, buy records etc?

The economic crisis is binding our life in every single moment of our daily race and day by day the things became worse. Unemployment, capital controls…total decline. That scenery has affected the scene also, difficult to record a new release, difficult to organize or go to live shows etc. But we are still trying to do our best and maybe due to those problems the scene will become more strong and united.

Do a lot of bigger metal bands come to Greece often? Is there the opportunities for support slots, tours etc?

Well the cost for a band when its on European tour to come to Greece then go for example to Switzerland, its much bigger due to the position of Greece in the world map. and for Greek bands to go abroad, that’s why Suicidal Angels moved to Germany permanently. Well, there is always opportunities but most of all its P.R., I hope we soon have the chance as ABYSSUS to open for a big band. with my other band Soulskinner last Wednesday, we were the opening act for GRAVE/MALEVOLENT CREATION, Panos, the guitarist in the past has opened for MAYHEM with an old band which was involved in.

What’s the next stage of Abyssus? How has the feedback been on Into the Abyss? Are there more records or EPs in the pipeline?

Well, the basic is to have as much income we can from INTO THE ABYSS for getting as fast as we can in the studio for the next album! The feedback is great, from fans and from zines and our label is very pleased for the release. Very soon, the album will be released on tape and a split-tape with SLAUGHTERDAY (gr) will be released too, before 2016. With the new year, a compilation called “ONCE ENTOMBED” will be released and will contain everything we have ever recorded until ‘INTO THE ABYSS”, released and unreleased. Also a split tape with BLESSED BY PERVESION and around March a four way split surprise on 7”!

So are tapes the new fashion or is there good reason to use them?

I really love them! I was raised up with tape trading and I don’t really appreciate the download things… of course YouTube and Bandcamp help us to get in touch with new bands but these must be just a tool. I buy albums as much as I can in any form and special underground things. I don’t know if it is fashion but we do it with full love and respect to this form and for the newcomers to learn.

Is there anything else you want to add for people who maybe don’t know you or for your supporters?

I just have to invite people a trip in death metal with “Into the Abyss”, give the album the opportunity and I am sure they won’t regret it. For the supporters that we will do everything to play live shows into Greece and if it could be possible to travel abroad! We are already composing new stuff and there will be no one left unhappy!