Posts Tagged ‘Svart Records’


Weathered Statues is not the kind of band that the Killchain normally deals with, but I was so enthralled by the pulsing, post punk vibrancy of their ‘Borderlands’ record I just had to talk about it. Out on Svart Records at the end of April, ‘Borderlands’ is early New Order and Killing Joke for the 21st century.

‘Corpse Candle’ opens the album with a driving post punk riff, and the cool croon of vocalist Jennie Mather instantly adds a smouldering groove to it. The throbbing industrial hooks of ‘Betrayal’ dig into your skin, and leave a trail of darkness behind their more obvious hooky nature. It at once reminded me of what Ladytron would sound like with Jaz Coleman lurking in the background. ‘Heather’ is dirging, glacial pop for the modern downtrodden generation, while the pulsing ‘Hypnagogia’ is eeriely uplifting. There’s darkness here too, in the grinding ‘Sabbat’, the haunting ‘The Widow Sunday’ and the bleak, chugging closer ‘Holy Masquerade’.

‘Borderlands’ is a record I found almost by accident, and is normally totally off genre for me. But Weathered Statues have captured something absolutely magic here. Jennie Mather’s stunning voice ties these glorious melodies and dark undercurrents together in an album that will resonate with me for a long time. ‘Borderlands’ is not metal, but the darkness here is very real and haunting.


Featuring members of Swallow the Sun and Amorphis, Hallatar may be a new band but their pedigree is impressive. ‘No Stars Upon the Bridge’ is a record based on a collection of lyrics and poems by guitarist Juha Raivio’s sadly departed partner Aleah Starbridge, and was composed with a mixture of reverence and despair. Svart Records wil release is on 13th of October, and it is a wonderful monument to Aleah’s memory.

Opener ‘Mirrors’ is monolithic in its weeping majesty, with tinkling melodies soaring above titanic riffs and guttural roars meeting soulful croons in a devastating collision. This kind of dichotomy between aching beauty and massive heaviness continues in the monstrous ‘Melt’, the ghostly ‘My Mistake’ (featuring ethereal vocals from Heike Langhans of Draconian) or the poetic acoustics of ‘Severed Eyes’. It is difficult to pull out one specific track here to recommend when this feels like a complete piece, an elegy of sorts.

‘No Stars Upon the Bridge’ is deeply affecting; haunting and powerful in its execution and is a more than fitting epitaph for Aleah, whose talent must have been incredible to inspire such a meaningful record. As her own voice draws us to a close on ‘Dreams Burn Down’, it feels like the perfect end to a record that is so emotional, so dense, so real. In a world where bands and artists strive to achieve something with an emotional connection to the listener, ‘No Stars Upon the Bridge’ is almost too much at points. A gloriously evocative memorial to the departed, but never to be forgotten.

Japan’s Coven are a classy piece of heavy metal that’ll hook you straight in with their new release ‘The Advent’, a set up four track EP in preparation for their upcoming full length debut next year. This duo takes obvious influence from the likes of Maiden and Mercyful Fate, and it creates something just a bit special. Heavy metal is fucking great sometimes.

Opener ‘Brave Warriors’ provides instant gratification to that heavy metal itch we all need scratched now and then, with beautiful guitar harmonies and infectious melodies immediately planting seeds in your mind. The production has given this a wonderful, ‘Killers’ style feel about it, and that NWOBHM feel continues through ‘The Advent’. ‘Karma’ is a little King Diamond-esque with some soaring theatrics, and a soulful solo making the invisible oranges almost mandatory. Closing with a great 80s style metal power ballad in ‘Scream for Tomorrow’, Coven find more and more ways to make you fall in love with them.

‘The Advent’ is a mere appetiser for what is to come, but I really don’t want to have to wait very long for more. This is a fucking killer EP, with songs that bring you back to that heady early 80s period when heavy metal was coming into its own. I can’t wait for the full length!

Gravetemple is a who’s who of extreme music creators, from experimentalist Oren Ambarchi, to black metal avant god Attila Csihar and drone icon Stephen O’Malley, and their ‘Impassable Fears’ bridges esoteric and spiritual worlds through unadulterated heaviness of sound. Svart Records will unleash this celebration of volume and density in June.

As ‘A Szarka’ begins to emanate from the speaker, a menace buils within fuzzy feedback and a ritual thudding. Polyrhythms rumble from underneath scowling feedback, while croaking vocals draw you into a hazy, mystic void between realms. Full of uncomfortable sounds, moments that sound like beasts of darkness and fear scratching on the walls of our world, ‘Impassable Fears’ is not only music, but an experience. Csihar describes it as a contemporary Shamanism, and with the ritualistic and mesmerising ‘World Out of Date’, you are sucked into a world that is not quite your own.

Haunting instrumental ‘Karma’s Claws’ provides a breather from the intensity, as does the creepy electronica of ‘Domino’ before the terrifying monolith of the title track drags you back into madness. By the time ‘Eternal Endless Void’ hums you to a disturbing sleep, you’ll be exhausted, drained and thoroughly ready for another go. These creative gods have brought us yet more wisdom us mortals cannot yet fatom. Gravetemple are mysteriously and inexplicable essential.

Hymn: Perish CD

Norwegian doom up and comers Hymn have been sharing the stage with some of the finest metal bands to tour the world recently, including Windhand, Enslaved and Eagle Twin. Now if that doesn’t give credence to their potential I don’t know what does. ‘Perish’ marks their debut full length record, and contains some of the heaviest stuff you might hear all year.

The ominous hum of ‘Ritual’ swells into the monstrous ‘Rise’, where hypnotic groove crashes into cathartic roars. A thick, fuzzy guitar tone smothers each track in a sludgey doom, but this is no one dimensional nihilistic trawl. There are wondrous shades of dark and light, from little quieter moments to cavernous echoes of purest, primal metal. The propulsive rumble of ‘Serpent’ is excellent, as is the punishing ‘Hollow’.

The grinding ‘Spectre’ leads us into the creepy, epic closer ‘Perish’, where the tectonic shifts are calmed and you can breathe freely once again. At times claustrophobic, ‘Perish’ is a record that also explores vast wildernesses of barren, bleak reality. Whether crawling along or flailing madly, Hymn create absorbing and mesmerising riffs to sink within. Awesome stuff.


Legendary Finnish death metallers Convulse, whose debut ‘World Without God’ is one of my favourite death metal records, have returned with a new record called ‘Cycle of Revenge’. It’s their second after their long split, with 2013’s ‘Evil Prevails’ preceeding it. But what lies in store is not what you might expect.

If you were a fan of 1991 Convulse, you may be in for something a little different here. ‘Cycle of Revenge’ loses none of its bowel rattling menace, nor its cavernous vocals, but it feels a lot more like almost a progressive death metal record, like Opeth, than Death or Massacre. The opening title track is an expansive piece of metal, with melodic riffs and a definitive sense of space. There’s a bit of early Atheist in there now, and it is actually a bit jarring to think this is the same band that unleashed ‘World Without God’. The rumbling menace of ‘Ever Flowing Stream” or the sweeping ‘War’ hit the spot particularly well.

But that isn’t to say that this is a bad album. Far from it in fact, it is just such a stylistic change from the Convulse I know and love. ‘Pangaea’ is this atmospheric beauty, with some truly progressive moments and some excellent fretwork. The main thing holding this to the death metal side is the guttural bellow of vocalist Rami Jämsä, but other than that, this is a gloriously adventurous progressive metal album that slips into the more brutal side every so often. There’s an almost tribal feel to the drumming that brings to mind the glory days of Sepultura, and there’s some excellent soloing work here, particularly the soaring end of ‘Nature of Humankind’.

If you’re expecting vintage 90s Finnish death, then you’re gonna be disappointed. But give this record a chance, because Convulse will show you just how good their music is, and whether its brutal or not, everyone should be able to appreciate the quality of material here.

Norwegian lords of expansive doom, High Priest of Saturn, return with their newest slab of galaxial riffs and ritual incantations to the gods above. ‘Son of Earth and Sky’ combines everything you could ever need in an occult doom journey.

‘Aeolian Dunes’ rumbles upward with glacial organ and hypnotic vocals. At ten and a half minutes, it’s the longest track here but you don’t feel it. It’s a slow paced soar towards a dusty finish, where earth shaking riffs bleed away into clean spacey ambience. It’s thoroughly relaxing, and really adds to that almost post metal vibe that sneaks within their riffs. High Priest of Saturn are ascending upon a much proggier and more psychedelic path now.

It’s fitting I suppose that their album title is very much representative of what High Priest of Saturn are becoming. They’re blending the heavy, earthy doom riffs with a much more airy and expansive psychedelic edge. ‘Ages Move the Earth’ is a perfect example; a bluesy groove lumbers underneath while smoky organ starts to drift through the haze. High Priest of Saturn are like a less morbid Electric Wizard, Merethe Heggeset’s ghostly vocals complimenting the infinite travels perfectly. This truly is a soundtrack to a journey across the desolate planet in their album art.

Conjuring up the spirit of hazy 70s prog rock bands, and layering it with lashings of Hammond organ and a hefty groove underneath, ‘Son of Earth and Sky’ is a record that you can slowly sink into. Each track speaks to the soul via beautiful ethereality. I love this, and so will you