Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Verthebral - Abysmal Decay

Think of the awesome power that death metal, full on full force death metal possesses. Who are you thinking of, Deicide, Krisiun, Hate Eternal? Well, get ready to add Paraguayans Verthebral to that list, as their second record ‘Abysmal Decay’ is an exercise in the purest and most violent forms of riff based destruction. It is out now through Transcending Obscurity.

‘Ancient Legion’ is an eruption of chug; powered by a propulsive low end of double kicks there is a satisfying crunch to the guitars, while the vocals are suitably harsh but not indecipherable. This is a common thread throughout ‘Abysmal Decay’; a Morbid Angel-esque guitar tone dropping chunky riff after stabbing solo and each song overflows with a sense of savage melody. The title track is infested with a morbid gloom, while the churning low end of ‘Absence of a God’ brings to mind prime Bolt Thrower. A reference that is greatly appreciated by this site, as is the Obituary-esque thunder of ‘My Dark Existence’.

‘Abysmal Decay’ is a record that gives tribute to all the greats of death metal, but doesn’t feel derivative. Most of all, it plays with a true sense of power as you feel every riff coursing with barely restrained strength. With a guitar tone ready to snap necks and brutality seething from every pore, Verthebral feel like a band straining at the sinews to explode. Hopefully this beast of a record will make that a reality.

Aethyrick - Gnosis

I reviewed the debut of Finnish black metallers Aethyrick, ‘Praxis’, here last year, and found it to be a gloriously atmospheric piece of black metal. Their followup, ‘Gnosis’, looks to build on that strong foundation and skip that ‘difficult second album’ fear. It is out now through The Sinister Flame.

Opening track ‘Will Embodied’ starts strongly enough, with rampant riffing opening up onto a bleak and cold vista. Modern black metal tends to either soar above the blizzards or delve deep into the primordial murk. ‘Gnosis’ chooses the former and is all the better for it. The songwriting is ambitious without pretention, uplifting yet miserable, and the execution is flawless. Fiery riffing sparks across ‘Stellar Flesh’, while the glowing coals of ‘Golden Suffering’ keep us all warm in these cold winter nights. Fearsome and uncompromising, and yet equally fragile and ethereal, tracks like ‘Your Mysteries’ encapsulate an almost iconic Finnish melancholy seeping through every tortured riff and snarling growl.

There’s always been a suggestion that Finnish black metal has a little something extra to its other Scandinavian counterparts. Whatever it is, this intangible, ‘Gnosis’ has it in spades. ‘Gnosis’ may just top its predecessor as Aethyrick’s best work, but this is a band that are slowly becoming an essential part of my musical collection whatever the album. This is evocative, Finnish black metal at its best.

Wormhole - The Weakest Among Us

The sprawling tech death of Wormhole’ latest opus, ‘The Weakest Among Us’ is at times mindbogglingly complex. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing, even in the guitarwanking competition that tech death has somewhat become. Do Wormhole avoid the pitfalls? ‘The Weakest Among Us’ is out now through Lacerated Enemy Records.

The opening title track sates most of those fears straight away, by establishing that Wormhole are capable of layering plenty of atmosphere into their pummelling approach. I mean, you still have brutality for days, but it is all coated in a morbid slime that makes everything seem thicker, murkier. Blastbeats struggle for air, while gurgling vocals and pig squealing choke through guitar riffs that chug relentlessly. The songs begin to merge together in one savage beating, but imagine this more in a Meshuggah ‘Catch 33’ way, rather than a ‘this all sounds the same way’. ‘D-S3’ plays with your expectations of slam, but ‘Wave Quake Generator Plasma Artillery Cannon’ brings you straight back down with a bloody reality-juddering thud.

After a 28 minute blast of inventive, entertaining and dare I say, almost unique sounding slam death, I’m exhausted. But ‘The Weakest Among Us’ is an invigorating listen, and stands tall above the usual ‘slam-chug-pigsqueal-repeat’ boredom that the genre often falls victim too. This slays.

The debut cassette release from métal noir Québécois (I hope I got that right) newcomers Anges de la Mort (ADLM) is here to shroud our world in a particularly French Canadian bleakness. It is out now through Les Productions Hérétiques.

The opening title track is exactly as you’d expect from a more modern black metal band. There’s an innate rawness to the vocal performance and the riffing but the production is great and doesn’t feel tinny or thin. The snarling ‘Mangeurs de Cadavres’ has a delicious thrashy vibe, and the fact that this is mastered by Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust fame probably answers why. It showcases many nice dynamic pace changes too, and leads into the fiery old school black metal of ‘Que Crève le Léviathan’. This is the centrepiece, flowing with that measured blaze that latter Satyricon nailed.

Closing with the cold acoustics of ‘Ode aux Esprits Vivants’, ADLM are a welcome addition to the world’s black metal scene. Whether this varied and interesting line up of songs will stretch to a full length is the next question, but they seem to have the ability to answer in the affirmative. I look forward to it

Nex Carnis - Black Eternity

As a man who claims to try and find the best metal from the farthest reaches of our globe, I could not resist the ideal of a two track EP from a death metal band from Iran. I don’t think I’ve ever come across any bands from Iran on my pilgrimmages around the internet, so I am very intrigued by what Nex Carnis can bring to the table on ‘Black Eternity’. It is out now through Blood Harvest.

The churning oddness of the opening riffs of ‘Last Gleams of a Fallen Conscience’ immediately catch the ear, feeling like a bastard offspring of Portal and Suffocation. Vocals spew from chasms of darkness, while the riffs serpentine back and forth with an absolutely sickening guitar tone. ‘The Fathomless Caverns of Oblivion’ is, if anything, even better; a frantic exercise in technical death riffing and old school death atmosphere. ‘Black Eternity’ is far too short, and the mere concept of a full length of this miasmic, atonal aural carnage has me salivating. I’m now on the hunt for their 2015 debut ‘Obscure Visions of Dark’ if anyone can help me! Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy this on constant repeat.

Sathamel - Horror Vacui

The return of Sathamel is, for me, long awaited. Their self titled EP haunts my CD collection, armed with savagery and blasphemy aplenty. But there’s only so much Satanic hunger that particular disc can sate. ‘Horror Vacui’ is out now, and looks to fulfil that promise that Sathamel inspired a mere five years ago.

Opener ‘Libera Me’ swells with regal ambience before riffs of supremity come chugging from my speakers. You can feel the influence of latter-day Behemoth strongly on this, but it would be lazy to just assume this is a band that are not capable of holding their own in the face of such comparisons. Sure, Nergal’s songwriting skills loom large over the likes of ‘Swit’ or ‘A New Age of Lycanthropy’, but you have the Marduk-esque blasting of ‘Raise Flame from Ash’, or even the regal, Rotting Christ-like ‘There Where is No Time’. Sathamel draw deep from the well of many, but combine that with excellent songwriting skills of their own. It’ll be difficult to find a more memorable composition of darkness this year then ‘Of Spilled Wine and Broken Glass’.

‘Horror Vacui’ may mean fear of empty space, but you’ll barely find a crack in the glistening, blasphemic armour that has been clad upon this band. Sathamel have not reinvented the wheel on ‘Horror Vacui’, but they’ve anointed it with sacred oils and cast it as a sacrifice to the dark lord. And that lord has blessed our pathetic souls with an absolute belter. Make the sign of the inverted cross and give in to the fear of the void.

Telepathy - Burn Embrace

The atmospheric sludge/post metal of Colchester’s Telepathy is something almost of a rarity in today’s music scene. Everyone else is going harder, faster, more brutal, striving for the ultimate in aural destruction. ‘Burn Embrace’ isn’t that kind of album, and becomes immediately more interesting because of it. It is out a the end of March through Svart Records.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of heaviness here. I mean, there’s double kicks in opener ‘Eternal Silence’, but that isn’t the be all and end all of this album. For me, the precendent is taken by vast vistas of riff; spacious melodies drift over huge undertows of low end. The lack of vocals is a blessing, as you can FEEL the emotions in songs like ‘Black Earth’ and ‘Aonoran’, instead of being told what they are. The low end rumble of ‘Pariah’s intro is one of my favourite moments, building this ominous tectonic shift that never really comes in focus until the end, just sits omnipresent behind everything to come. Follow that with the likes of the ghostly melancholy of ‘The Void in Aimless Flight’ and the startling addition of vocals in the grinding crunch of ‘Sorrow Surrenders Its Crown’ and you have something pretty special.

It describes Telepathy as ‘cinematic sludge metal’ on their website, and to be hones that’s pretty accurate. The fact that the music is mostly instrumental really allows you to immerse yourself into their space, the flows of their universe and take it where you want to. Sometimes the best music tells you where to go. Sometimes you can ride the riffs to wherever you  want to. This is a stunning example of the latter. Even the lonely, crooning drone at the end in the title track doesn’t retract from this feeling. Awesome record, just awesome.