Posts Tagged ‘Netherlands’

Dimæon - Void

I first came across Dutch progressive death metallers Dimaeon on their 2010 EP ‘Exit Reality’, which I enjoyed a lot but haven’t really kept up with them since. I saw a press release for their second full length, ‘Void’ coming out in November this year, and thought I would give them another go. I am not sorry I did…

‘Void’ is a magnificent artistic accomplishment. Eight songs spanning over an hour of complex, labyrinthine song structures begins with the slow burn build of ‘Het Lijk Van Ons Bestaan’ (The Corpse of Our Existence) with its glorious guitarwork and some almost jazz like songwriting. This is a theme that plays out numerous time throughout this record, and ‘Transcendence’ even features a guest spot by Shining’s Jorgen Munkeby on saxophone. Dimaeon also do some fantastic work mixing in some ambient portions with the more deathly moments, and there’s even a little early Devin Townsend about parts of ‘The Insurgent’. You can feel the influence of Ihsahn’s solo work and latter Emperor here as well.

‘Void’ is a record with life, with passion and talent oozing from every song. An intoxicating blend of heaviosity and melody, with just the right amount of ambient interludes and jazzy freakouts. Thrash yourself to the metallic roar of ‘Dissolve’ or soar on the wings of ‘Dystopian Monument’, Dimaeon have created something to enthrall and entrance. Superb stuff.

To put it out there that you are influenced by the likes of Mayhem, Joy Division, Pink Floyd and Morbid Angel is to invite a curious glance or two. But Morvigor are approaching their black/death metal a little differently obviously, and that should be applauded. Their new record, ‘Tyrant’ isn’t your average extreme metal record. Come with me on a journey through time and space…

First track proper ‘No Repentance’ kicks us off after a gloomy intro with building clean guitar then a crusty black metal riff kicks in hard. It is instantly catchy, and loses nothing of its necro charm in the process. Massive melody aches to burst through the blackened exterior, while ‘The Martyr’s Ascension’ builds to this crescendo where dashes of post metal appear too. Morvigor seem to be capturing extremity in its modern form, where the old fashioned ‘rawness’ of black metal competes with more progressive influences to create something invigorating.

Pushing through the doors opened by the likes of Enslaved, Morvigor take the traditions of black metal, beef it up with the power of death metal but then take it into uncharted territory, where the melody and the space is as important as the heaviness or the savagery. The delicate strums of ‘Interlude’ lead us to the magnificent, galaxial movements of ‘Blood of the Pelican’, which ascends beyond our comprehension through glacial melody, galloping black metal grandiosity and soaring atmospheric black metal space.

This record is huge. Vast swathes of black space are combed in search of that elusive quality that Morvigor possess in spades. By the time the Primordial worship of the title track comes to its piano laden end, you’ll have witnessed some of the finest music put to tape in the past year. ‘Tyrant’ is wondrous.

The outpouring of raw black metal that appears on this debut full length from Blood Tyrant is disturbing considering the amount of chilled out stoned stereotypes you can imagine when thinking of our Dutch friends. But Blood Tyrant have nothing calm about them, prefering instead to summon ancient evil and impart frenzied darkness upon us all.

After the swelling, almost regal horn intro to ‘Dawn of a New Supremacy/Aristocracy of Twlight’, the savagery of the black metal that follows is immediate and jarring. Blood Tyrant plough that deep, Bathorian furrow that reeks of lo-fi, primal black metal. The depressive, melancholic hum of ‘The False Heresy’ is a highlight for me, where a thick ambience envelops frantic, clattering drums and riffage. ‘Aristocracy of Twilight’ is bleak, unforgiving and as black as night.

Atmospheric, eerie and possessed of an ancient spirit, Blood Tyrant have crafted a record that is the bastard spawn of the second wave of black metal, but kept hidden within mossy crevices and left to fester. A barbaric, icy cold assault that bombards your senses and preys upon the blood in your veins, summed up perfectly in the ugly chaos of ‘Clandestine Bloodmists’. ‘Aristocracy of Twilight’ will embrace you in frozen, bony limbs and lead you towards a lonely death. If you let it…


Dutch death and roll squadron Entrapment dropped their third full length ‘Through Realms Unseen’ upon the world in November last year, and thanks to Pulverised Records we were treated to a slick combination of devastating groove and sickening death metal.

Opener ‘Omission’ sounds like Bolt Thrower churning out some blues in the practice room. An infectious groove powered by serious low end, and a vocal performance that conjures Martin Van Druren or Karl Willetts to a tee. ‘Through Realms Unseen’ is a lesson in how the simplest song structures can easily become the most effective. Nothing here is wildly technical, or even overly original. But what is here is heaviness, brutality and the kind of ear worming grooves and melodies that’ll keep bringing me back.

The powerful ‘Discordant Response’ is full on death metal strength, while a withering Swedeath guitar tone rips you apart in the savage ‘Ruination’. Entrapment’s wielding of classic British death metal riffs and an ugly, Scandinavian venom leaves you breathless at points. For a world that has been left bereft by the loss of Bolt Thrower, Entrapment attempt to fill that void. ‘Through Realms Unseen’ doesn’t quite match up, but few can and this is a record that flexes its mighty riff muscles more than once. I love it!

Swampcult are from the Netherlands, and have crafted an album of utter death and decay based on one of HP Lovecraft’s most intense and influential novellas, ‘The Festival’. The album is entitled the same as the story, and follows the dark tale of the beginnings of the Cthulhu Mythos. Come with us on a journey into the unknown, the unfathomable, and seek the dreadful truth…

Each song is a separate chapter of the story, unfolding the dread tale slowly and gradually building the suspense. Blending death, doom and black metal into an eerie soundtrack, the tracks are accentuated by tolling bells, strange squelching noises (the end of ‘Chapter III’ is particualrly disturbing) and other effects and samples that enhance this otherworldly feeling. A chugging, doomy album that is reminscient of early Florida death metal, sprinkled liberally with Paradise Lost-esque gloom.

Swampcult have created a record that is not necessarily here to bludgeon you into submission with earth shaking ferocity; rather they are here to unsettle you, to remove your sense of comfort and leave you open, bare to the uncoiling madness that creeps from the likes of ‘Procession’ and the leviathan ‘The Rite’. ‘The Festival’, like the story that inspires it, is a mysterious and ghastly tale where madness is real, and the nightmare is given form by the music. Many bands have used Lovecraft as an inspiration for their music, but rarely has a band come this close to capturing the oblique horrors that he hinted at. Superb.

The Shiva Hypothesis - Promo 2015

Dutch death metallers The Shiva Hypothesis dropped their demo recording last year, and have kindly sent me a copy for review. They market themselves as for fans of Behemoth, Gorgoroth, Death and Immortal; bands that I rate very highly so I’ve got a bit of anticipation for this.

Opener ‘Caduceus’ brings a very potent Behemoth vibe, with brutal death metal clashing with harsh black metal atmosphere. Big chunky riffs hit with a waspish intensity, while vocalist MvS gives a throat shredding performance. There’s some prime, almost imperial black metal sections that really slay as well, and you get a feel for the blackened majesty underneath. The eerie vocals that open ‘Praedormitium’ lead into the most interesting, sidewinding track on this demo; a piece that is almost as much about causing uncomfortableness as it is about riffs.

Closing epic ‘Maze of Delusion’ has more than a bit of ‘Ruun’-era Enslaved about it, with progressive sections blending seemlessly into the ferocious and hypnotic black/death. The Shiva Hypothesis have written some impressive material here, with songs that are rich in depth of musicianship and never get boring. Fearsome vocals mingle with interesting riff patterns, and that intangible something that makes me want to listen again. Superb

Lucifericon - Brimstone Altar

Blood Harvest Records brings us the new EP from Dutch destroyers Lucifericon, the first music since 2012’s ‘The Occult Waters’. These death metallers have dropped two tracks, totalling over 20 minutes of esoteric brutality, available now on 12″ vinyl.

The unrepentant, scorching ‘Brimstone Altar/The Jaws of Time’ erupts from the speakers as you star tthis record up. The thrashing darkness gives way to more measured, almost Sabbathian doom, interrupted by blasting death metal. The production is raw but clear, allowing the primal savagery to shine through, but the riffs are not lost in the mix. This is an epic piece, a shapeshifter that combines bowel scraping heaviosity with a fiery rage. The second and longest track, ‘Witch of the Cosmic Grave’, opens with eerie ambience, building to the inevitable death/doom riffageddon. A more measured pace is emplyed to start, before the tempo picks up a dash. The wailing solo fits straight in with the grimey, menacing monolith of a closer.

Lucifericon has dropped a beauty here. ‘Brimstone Altar’ is a mature, well written piece that expertly combines a gloomy atmosphere with a dose of doom and scathing black/death metal. ‘Witch of the Cosmic Grave’ is worth the money alone, so find it and spin it and love it!

Pyriphlegethon - Night of Consecration

It seems apt on this night of Samhain, All Hallows Eve and the like, to be listening to the kind of black metal that truly sends a shiver down your spine. Originally released back in March, Iron Bonehead are releasing ‘Night of Consecration’ on vinyl at the start of December, and you’d better grab a copy because, like the river that bears the band’s name, this is boiling and bloodstained.

After a misleadingly soft piano intro, the suffocating death rattle of ‘Black Depths Beyond the Gate’ utters forth from the fetid underworld in a dense, dark maelstorm of evil. But as dark as it is, there are dashes of light atmospherics, like a more necro Wolves in the Throne Room but shorter, more abrupt. There’s definitely an element of that showing through in ‘An Ancient Spell’ too, and while the influence of rawer bands is also prevalent, this direction is unexpected and definitely interesting.

‘The Earth Blackened by Infernal Curse’ is a harsher black metal assault, while the powerful ‘Red Robe Order’ is a dissonant piece of Blut Aus Nord-esque fury. ‘Night of Consecration’ is not what you expect when you first spy the album cover. You’re waiting on this brutal necro blackened thrash, but a much more sophiscated beast comes oozing from your speakers. Twisting black metal into dark and impenetrable shapes, all while an atmospheric rage builds within.

Pyriphlegethon are a difficult beast to pin down, and ‘Night of Consecration’ mixes a very necro feel with a mournful, atmospheric form of black metal. There are plenty of harsh, raging sections but a lot of introspective parts too. Melody is not a dirty word to these guys, and while it’ll never be chart stuff, or even mainstream metal, this is an excellently crafted album that rewards repeated listens with nuance and grace.

Another one…. Another great metal musician has left this mortal coil and gone to join Dimebag, Dio, Hanneman et al in the big concert venue in the sky. Selim Lemouchi, guitarist for The Devil’s Blood (who are great) and Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies (who I’ve not heard but am now going to look into) was reported to have died today. The news broke on Twitter through Ghost B.C. and Alan Averill’s pages, and was later confirmed. Don’t know how it happened as of yet, but personally I’d like to pass on condolences to his family and friends. He was a dynamite guitar player, and The Devil’s Blood were a unique, trailblazing band in the occult doom/rock movement. ‘The Heavens Cry Out (for the Devil’s Blood)’ was my favourite track of theirs, an insidiously catchy song that rocked hard through its shadowy occult haze. Lemouchi has left a fine legacy in his wake