Unholy Compilations: Metalrecusants,Kaotoxin Records

Ah long time no see!!

This particular section of the site hasn’t seen action for quite a while now. Well we have something in store that might just save it out of its decrepitude. But be wary my friend, these tracks might as well blow your brains to smithereens, if you don’t take this slow.

Stay. Absorb. Digest. Destruct.

 

1. Metal Recusants

Metal Recusants is a great online portal that you ought to keep a tab on. Great content and great new music. Best described by their on-page statement “PURE METAL JOURNALISM. NO BULLSHIT. SUPPORT THE UNDERGROUND. We don’t RATE releases – we review them. Music is not a statistic..”. Well the best part of it all is that they have released a brand new compilation titled “Chants of Death: Vol.1“. Do check it out they’ve got tracks from  Blood Mortized, De Profoundis, Masachist and a few other top notch bands. What better way to find new bands?

Stream it below:

 

2. Kaotoxin

Starting out in as recent as 2010, the French based label Kaotoxin has risen through the ranks quickly. Just like the bands on their roster, they’ve made it a point to release quality content. Death Metal and Grind have been their preferred choice of weapons for quite some time. Come 2013 and we have a brand new compilation titled In Grindo Veritas. A rather massive one at that, featuring 37 bands and 44 tracks. The compilation’s been sorted out from a thriving French underground Grind scene. So get some safety gear on or get hammered.

 

Advertisements

Essence – Last Night of Solace

Achintya Venkatesh reviews the new album from Essence titled Last Night of Solace, released via Noiseart records.

Druck

Tracklist:
01. Intro 01:15
02. Final Eclipse 06:00
03. Arachnida 04:16
04. For the Fallen 06:19
05. Children of Rwanda 04:54
06. Gemstones 06:22
07. Dark Matter 06:24
08. Last Night of Solace 07:28
09. Opium 04:49
10. Fractured Dimension (Bonus Track) 05:10

As a person whose tastes lean on the old-school side of things, I can safely say that one is often compelled to immediately take a liking to a band that blatantly takes to a sonic throw-back route, even if that path is an already well treaded one that has virtually attained a point of saturation. In light of the same, I should certainly go on to say that Essence is one of those bands that caught my ear by surprise. Delving into a genre whose only new blood seems to be hordes of shameless 80’s thrash worshippers who seem to think wearing patch jackets, high-top shoes and tight jeans earns one all the credibility they need to garner tenability in the eyes of a somewhat confused and overwhelmed modern heavy music enthusiast, Essence certainly stands out as a band that is at the very least attempting to sound different while maintaining the integrity of the pioneers that came to define the sub-genre they play. Yes, despite their logo being extremely reminiscent of Berkley legends Testament’s logo.

The album starts out with an intro that initially invokes a majestic atmosphere but soon descends into some good ol’ thrashing, which then bleeds into the album opener, Final Eclipse, which is a solid track but is pretty routine in terms of song structure. There are moments where the riff-work shines but these are rather short lived, and the lead playing is rather conventional. The vocals are once again typical for thrash metal, and comprise of shouted, raspy chants in the vein of Miland Petrozza of Kreator and Tom Angelripper of Sodom, but lack the venom and ferocity invoked by the two, and are somewhat stagnant in comparison. Arachnida features some notably catchy leads complemented by foreseeable rhythm guitars backing it, but soon plunges into generic thrashing otherwise. For The Fallen is the first track of the album that, in my opinion, truly captures the attention of the listener and features some very dynamic segments, with some enjoyable percussive interplay between the explosive notes and the drums, and some excellent consonance in the guitar playing in the vein of Testament and (later) At The Gates, in effect making it one of the standouts of the album. Children of Rwanda is an enjoyable track with some incredible dual guitar work with the rest of the track unapologetically indulging in speed-driven thrash frenzy and aggressive tremolo picking. Gemstones in contrast to the preceding two tracks is conventional thrash fare and there’s nothing much to be said about it. Darkmaster initially invokes a black-metal velocity but slows down about a minute into the track and takes quite some time to get interesting, but makes for a good listen nevertheless. Last Night is an excellent track in every aspect, albeit a bit lack-lustre initially, it gets highly dynamic during the latter half, and is another standout in the album. Opium is a rather boring follow-up to it in contrast. The bonus track Fractured balances crunchy rhythms and leads in a fairly good manner.

The problem with some of the filler tracks of the album is that they far exceed their freshness due to their stretched song lengths and in a sense overstay their welcome. In addition to that, some songs have common-place segments that could’ve well been omitted, which could’ve added to the freshness and crispness of the album as a whole, making the album  a wholly enjoyable experience as a monolithic unit as opposed to being tedious in a good number of segments. However, this is certainly a step up from Lost In Violence (2011) and is a breath of fresh air among a slew of half-assed Exodus and/or crossover thrash throw-back acts in the so-called ‘NWOTB’. Denmark should be proud to house a band like this in their local scene, and I hope to hear more of them in the future – while I’m not particularly bewitched by this act, they’ve certainly more than caught my attention. An enjoyable listen all in all, but I fear the redundancy of some portions of the album might spoil what might be otherwise considered a more-than-admirable effort.

 

Damnations Hammer – Disciples of the Hex

Jayaprakash Satyamuthy reviews the first full length from Damnations Hammer titled Disciples of the Hex, released via I Hate Records.

432325_458765787514111_1827896263_n

Tracklist:

Defiance & Retribution
Throne of Fire
Disciples of the Hex
Serpent’s Wrath
Impaled on the Horns of Betrayal
Harbinger of Darkness
The Hex ii
Gates to the Necronomicon

With a band insignia that bears more than a passing resemblance to the cover of Morbid Tales, lurching riffs in the best ‘Procreation (Of The Wicked)’/’Dethroned Emperor’ manner and vocals that are reminiscent of Thomas Fischer circa ‘Monotheist’, it’s clear what one of Damnations Hammer’s chief influences is (yes, the name is officially ‘Damnations Hammer’ and that missing apostrophe bothers me a fair bit).

Although described as ‘doom/death’, Damnations Hammer’s sound is really more doom/thrash, capturing the chug of the more brooding, dark aspects of the 80s extreme metal – basically a lot of Celtic Frost, maybe a touch of Venom and some Black Sabbath. The subject matter appears to draw largely on hoary sword and sorcery standbys, and I’m not complaining, as songs like ‘Throne of Fire’ pummel out a barbaric narrative with straightforward, menacing riffs and raw, authoritative vocals that everyone’s favourite Cimmerian savage would probably have listened to with a wild delight. It’s not the most polished music around, and you don’t go looking for polish when you’re invoking this kind of mood. The more doomy riffs provide a great offset to the mid-tempo thrashy lurching, sealing the deal with an ominous, almost crude yet totally effective evocation of the uncanny and sinister and one can see why I Hate picked up this originally self-released debut for a 2013 re-release.

The title track, which now has a music video, is another groovy, memorable slab of purposefully primitive metal, all chug-and-release and doomy bridges, together with a chorus that is laughably simple and irresistibly catchy. The lead guitar presence evokes the mad squall of Fischer’s flailing solos, but with perhaps a shade more control over note choice. An atmospheric spoken-word passage takes us deeper into the crypts before the palm muted guitars pick up the thread again. This feels a lot like Morbid Tales meets Monotheist, and the combination works rather well.

The rest of the tracks follow in pretty much the same direction, with the exception of the weird, Gothic atmospherics of ‘The Hex ii’. How much you enjoy this will depend on how open you are to about 41 minutes of chugging, mid-tempo metal music with a lot of ominous atmosphere but not much melodic relief, instrumental virtuosity or compositional variety to inject contrasts or highlights into the journey. I like the style this band has carved out, and they are frequently very successful in conjuring an eldritch atmosphere, but I do hope their future albums see them expanding a little bit, either stylistically or in their arrangements. In the meantime, at the very least, they’re a welcome contrast to the Black Sabbath Mk. I or OSDM cloning that seems to prevail in the retro metal scene.

Stream the entire album below:

 

Goatess – Goatess

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviews Goatess‘ self titled debut released via Svart Records.

PromoImage

Tracklist

01. Know Your Animal
02. Alpha Omega
03. Ripe
04. Full Moon at Noon
05. Oracle Pt. 1: The Mist
06. Oracle Pt. 2
07. King One
08. Tentacles of Zen

Doom vocalist Chritus Linderson is on a roll. He took a hiatus from music, then returned to the doom fray at the helm of Lord Vicar, the brainchild of Kimi Karki (ex-Reverend Bizarre), releasing at least one album that will be counted among the true masterpieces of the doom genre in the 21st century. Now, he’s launched another band, Goatess, and its first album may well be another addition to that list of instant doom classics.

What sets this album apart from a lot of traditional doom revivalists, apart, that is, from the credentials brought to the table by Chritus? Most of all, the music. Yes, it’s clearly rooted in traditional metal, orthodox doom and a snifter or two of vintage stoner metal, to say nothing of the 70s hard rocking legacy underlying all these styles. But there’s nothing staid or stale about the way this band approaches its idiom. Rather than a whiff of mothballs, these songs evoke the heady, ozone-laced atmosphere that precedes a thrilling thunderstorm.

Consider the opening track, ‘Know Your Animal’. Commencing with a pedal-point riff that’s pure traditional metal, it moves into a power chord driven, fuzz-saturated refrain that cleverly works in references to the original melody. Chritus sings like a more craggy, yet soaring Ozzy, openly referencing the batmuncher’s delivery on ‘Never Say Die’, yet the song and the singer retain more original identity than the Orchids of the world. ‘Alpha Omega’ starts with a riff that is pure traditional doom: slow, melancholy and earth-shaking. Chritus cuts in with bluesy, confrontational vocals over a lurching, staccato riff, and then launches into a plaintive, wailing chorus over a vast, melodic riff. The changes are so organic, so fitting that the song pulls you along effortlessly. Songwriting of this caliber goes beyond questions of influence and style; its sheer excellence cannot help but draw you in.

Then there’s ‘Ripe’, where the bass introduces an instantly memorable, slow, bluesy figure that the guitarist then picks up, adding depth and warmth. We’ve heard this gambit  before, but the riff in question is so good, the delivery so assured, and the subsequent changes so effective that there is no questioning the validity of this old-school-rooted approach or the freshness which inspired music-making like this brings to the mix. I could continue praising each song in a dreary track-by-track commentary, but let me just call attention to the kraut-rinsed jamming on ‘King One’ and the slightly Eastern, very psychedelic touches on ‘Tentacles of Zen’.

It’s hard to believe this band began as a weekend jam thing. There’s not a single throwaway element: all the songs stretch over 7 minutes (with a solitary exception, which is anyway part of a longer song-suite), and that running time isn’t the product of shapeless noodling but of satisfying, long-form structures packed with memorable melodies, riffs and vocals. It isn’t just a Chritus showcase, although the range and variety he displays is dazzling – Niklas is a versatile guitarist with mountains of feel and Findus and Kenta prove to be a dynamic, tasteful rhythm section, always wonderfully idiomatic. Goatess shows the would-be old school doomsters of the world how it’s done: not with slavish imitations of the past but by building on a legacy in an imaginative, individualistic way, neither intimidated by nor disdainful of influences.  In other words, it’s a bloody good doom-metal-hard-rock-stoner-psych album and you really ought to go give it a listen.

Deafheaven – Sunbather

This is probably my first review in quite sometime. Check out Deafheaven‘s new record Sunbather, released via Deathwish Inc.

url

Tracklist:
01 – Dream House
02 – Irresistible
03 – Sunbather
04 – Please Remember
05 – Vertigo
06 – Windows
07 – The Pecan Tree

Black metal is no longer a showcase of uber conservatism. With the advent of the millennium, several bands within the genre have broken down the walls of self-imposed reservation and settled on new terrain. Imbibing and constructing ingenuity in the process. This has resulted in the conception of several brilliant sub-genres. Be it the hyper theological approach of Deathspell Omega, the intellectualism of Blut Aus Nord, the subliminal melody of Agalloch ,the industrial assault of an Anaal Nathrakh record or the proclivity to experimentalism of Krallice. It is finally coming of age. But just like any conservative lot, some people are always up in arms when an inevitable change is ushered in. In that case what difference is it then? Black metal was borne of the recognition to undivided hate towards religion and many similar conformist constructs. If that is the case, then the purists who argue for the supposed dilution of the black metal ethos are none the wiser than the very source of their inspiration. Giving in to a certain set of standards rather than letting music have its way.  Sometimes we metalheads get lost in our own little worlds, far too often, despite the fact that our music is for the most part heavily inspired by the harsh reality of life. A pretentious callousness.

At the center of all said criticism and hipster hate are two comparatively newer bands from the USBM scene (supposedly looked down upon as well). Deafheaven and Liturgy. The  latter boasts of everything “transcendental” and make a complete mockery of themselves. Whatever quality inherent to their music is drowned out by their over the top flamboyance. Deafheaven on the other hand are quite bearers of their output. Enmeshing black metal with screamo and post rock-ish tendencies, they came out with first proper full length “Roads to Judah” after the already good demo.  In effect, they used black metal as a mere template to forward their approach. Come 2013 and they have just about released their third full length titled Sunbather.

Pink artwork and an album title that might as well befit an indie rock album serves best as a statement or much like a retort to all their detractors and purist stereotypes. But the album is much more than a mere statement, it is an amalgam of blissful melody juxtaposed against the limiting framework of the genre they primarily indulge in. While its predecessor had a much more somber vibe, Sunbather delves on the duality of perfection. Conceptually the album deals with man’s obsession with perfection. That bit of mild OCD that is in all of us. A philosophical tour on how perfection is a myth and is something we introspect and wean out later. This bit of philosophy drives the band to explore two major emotions, hope and despair. In turn, this calls for melody that is neither overtly upbeat nor completely harrowing. A sort of ambivalence that needs to be addressed with a certain subtlety. And that is precisely where the band truly shines. The riffs although not entirely reliant on its uniqueness and memorability, instead inculcate deep melodic segments that conjure an atmosphere that does not take any overarching central theme (neither hope nor despair). The memorability here, lies in the artfully contrived atmosphere that surrounds it.  The screamo tinged vocals on the other hand do not serve to take the cake, but serve to further heighten this state of self evaluation brought on by these emotions. There is no prima donna here it is all just interplay, and some of the finest of late.

Yet again, as much as I may shower the album with praise, the level of mentioned intensity is not always maintained throughout. Sunbather is broken down by intros which quite obviously overstay their welcome. Understandably so, they give us breathing space and bridge the lyrical concept, yet again one cannot discount the fact that it gives replayability a shot in the arm. After the first two listens you are likely to skip both Please Remember and Windows. Maybe a person’s patience does play a trick or two here, but everybody enters a post -black metal/whatever record with tons of patience. And that gets stretched beyond reason. To further compound this issue the track Vertigo, seems to prolong the induced disinterest initiated by Please Remember. Although Vertigo develops with time, the initial segment can frankly come off as very flat indeed.

That said, there is nothing short of calculated brilliance on the other three actual tracks with the title track being the best of the lot. On the other hand the latter half of The Pecan Tree has probably the best Deafheaven music made till date. Sunbather as a record, conclusively proves the band’s ability to write quality metal, giving a nod and at the same time ignoring, genre constraints. A few unintended blemishes do not compromise the heartfelt intent here. Another step before they fully realize themselves.  Sunbather thus breaks down barriers of everything conventional set down by the unconventional. Metal as always, still shines through and that is all that really counts.