Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Playlist - 12/23/09

Thanks to Zach and Rocko for being regular listeners! Can't wait to hear the Painful Urination material when it is finished! If you're also a regular listener, and feel left out, call in and request some music or something! All the tracks in this playlist, and all my other playlists, with a few exceptions, I have imported on the station computer so just shout em out! If you want something you don't see or have something you think I should give some air-time, let me know before my show and I'll track it down and play it like a tiger on a deer.

01. Battleaxe - Burn This Town - Dirty Rocker
02. Bestial Warlust - Blood And Valour - Legion Of Wrath
03. Benighted In Sodom - In Hora Maledictus Pt 1 - Discarded Halos
04. Faith Or Fear - Punishment Area - The Shadow Knows
05. Faith Or Fear - Instruments Of Death - Done In Vein
06. Morgion - Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth - The Mourner's Oak
07. Overkill - Taking Over - Wrecking Crew
08. Primitive Graven Image - Traversing The Awesome Night - As I Wander
09. Thra'el - The Baneful Spirit - Light Of Ereth
10. Speedwolf - Bark At The Poon - Speedwolf
11. Sodom - Agent Orange - Ausgebombt
12. Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak - Angel From The Coast
13. Valkija - Avengers Of Steel - Hold On
14. Valkija - Avengers Of Steel - Hatchet Blade
15. Tortured Dog - Born To Metalize - Witch Hunter
16. Moder - Fields Of Devastation - No One Shall Live
17. Absu - Tara - Manannan
18. Aeternus - Beyond The Wandering Moon - Vind
19. Deathevokation - Blood Demo - Embers Of A Dying World
20. Necrophagia - Legacy Of Horror Gore And Sickness - World Funeral
21. Neftaraka - Raw Ist Law - The Knoll
22. Nocturnes Mist - Southern Storms - Land Of Fire
23. Obituary - Slowly We Rot - Words Of Evil
24. Ripping Corpse - Dreaming With The Dead - Seduction Of The Innocent
25. Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader - Death And Flory
26. Sacred Death - Deadly Playground - Social D
27. Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey - A Chosen Few *
28. Burzum - Filosofem - Jesus Tod **
29. Immolith - Hymns To The Countess - Slaughter The Legions
30. Highgate - Black Frost Fallout - The Wolf
31. Hell Rot - Vomit Altar - Goat Chapel
32. Decaying Citadel - Ruin Of The Wooded Realm - Dread SavioUr Arise
33. Neglektum - Beyond The Frozen Mist - Beyond The Frozen Mist

2009 Releases #'s: 5, 8, 9, 10, 21, 22, 29, 30, 31, 32,
Tape / Vinyl Rips #'s: 1, 4, 9, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 26, 30, 31,

* Request - Zach
** Request - Rocko - Painful Urination

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Playlist - 12/16/09

01. Mercyful Fate - Don't Break The Oath - A Dangerous Meeting
02. Omen - Battle Cry - The Axeman
03. Iron Savior - Unification - Coming Home
04. Midnight Priest - Rainha Da Magia Negra - Juzio Final
05. Midnight Priest - Demo 2009 - Rainha Da Magia Negra
06. Manilla Road - Mystification - Children Of The Night
07. Metal Inquisitor - Doomsday For The Heretic - Thane Of Cowder
08. Faith Or Fear - Punishment Area - The Shadow Knows*
09. Faith Or Fear - Instruments Of Death - Done In Vein*
10. Coroner - Punishment For Decadence - Masked Jackal
11. Flotsam And Jetsam - Doomsday For The Deceiver - Metalshock
12. Overkill - Taking Over - Powersurge
13. Sodom - Agent Orange - Tired And Red
14. Choronzon - Magog Agog - Crimson Awakening
15. Von - Satanic Blood - Watain
16. Hell Rot - Vomit Altar - Marginal
17. Azaghal - V/A Insights Of The Profane - Inhimillisyyden Tuollapuolen
18. Thra'el - The Baneful Spirit - Writhing Sigils
19. Thra'el - The Baneful Spirit - Light Of Ereth
20. Koltum - The Story Of Death - Torments In Grave
21. Beyond Mind - The Wrath Of The Dead Tongue - Children Of Ashes
22. Lotus Circle - Lotus Circle / Bosque Split - In The Hall Of Those Forsaken
23. Tales Of Dark - Fragile Monuments - Towering Grief Behemoth
24. Candlemass - Death Magic Doom - The Bleeding Baroness
25. Sahg - Sahg I - Godless Faith
26. Sahg - Sahg II - Echoes Ring Forever
27. Decaying Citadel - Ruin Of The Wooded Realm - Unholy Salvation
28. Electric Wizard - Come My Fanatics - Wizard In Black

2009 Releases: 4, 5, 9, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 27,
Tape / Vinyl Releases: 5, 8, 16, 18, 19, 20,
Background: Descantation - 2004 Demo

* Check out this classic thrash band down at the Cherrywood Rock Club on January 23rd!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Playlist - 12/02/09

Next week, Be sure to tune in as Jersey thrashers Faith or Fear will join me in studio to talk about their newest album, Instruments of Death, their debut Punishment Area and whatever other crap I can pull forth to ask them. Chris, Tim and Bob will all be here, all original members of the band who will surely be able to give some enjoyable stories as well. It should be informative, educational and, most importantly, more metal than a bulldozer's... dozer...

So, I have placed tonight's playlist up before the show because my computer of five years has finally decided to hang itself by its own power cord. Ultimately, this means that there will not be much new material for a while until I get a new computer. I will be writing of course, but those reviews won't be posted. Maybe my computer will perk up and everything will be fine but I have a feeling the old dog has gone out back forever.

01. Manowar - Defender EP - Gloves Of Metal
02. Metal Inquisitor - Doomsday For The Heretic - Thane Of Cowder
03. Hammerfall - Legacy of Kings - Legacy Of Kings
04. Valkija - Avengers Of Steel - Son Of Thunder
05. Midnight Priest - Rainha Da Magia Negra - Juizo Final
06. Helstar - Nosferatu - To Sleep, Per Chance To Scream
07. Dio - Holy Diver - Stand Up And Shout
08. Grand Magus - Iron Will - Fear Is The Key
09. Heaven And Hell - The Devil You Know - Fear
10. Iron Hearse - Iron Hearse - Wrong Remains
11. Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today - Dunwich
12. Morcrof - Apeiron: Trinitas Primitiae Opus - The Last Shadows Of Lost Darkest Paradise
13. Fall Of Empyrean - A Darkness Remembered - The Fading Light
14. Funerary Pit - Winds Of Hell - Fathomless Depths
15. Hatred - Fist Of Death - Pail Of Violence
16. Morbid Saint - Spectrum Of Death - Scars
17. Deathchain - Deadmeat Disciples - Carrier Of Pestilence
18. Cruciamentum - Convocations Of Crawling Chaos - Rotten Flesh Crucifix
19. War Master - Chapel Of The Apocalypse - Chapel Of The Apocalypse
20. Mental Aberration - Victim Of Its Own Sort - Escape From Within
21. Mental Aberration - Victim Of Its Own Sort - Bleeding Soil
22. Iniquity - V/A Brutal Youth '94 - Prophecy Of The Dying Watcher (Live)
23. Watain - Sworn To The Dark - Underneath The Cenotaph
24. 1349 - Hellfire - Scultpor Of Flesh
25. Immolith - Hymns To The Countess - Slaughter The Legions
26. Primitive Graven Image - Traversing The Awesome Night - As I Wander
27. Neftaraka - Raw Ist Law - The Knoll
28. Thra'el - The Baneful Spirit - Light Of Ereth
29. Tod - Hate Campaign, Hymn To The Death - Blood Filled Eyes
30. Velnias - Sovereign Nocturnal - Risen Of The Moor

Vinyl / Tape: 1, 14, 15, 18, 27, 28, 29
2009 Releases: 5, 9, 18, 19, 25, 27, 28

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Spetalsk - Perverted Commandment

Quite boring, Spetalsk's Perverted Commandment mini-album is more prone to repetition than a stuttering politician, more boring (and less interesting) than watching Kentucky bluegrass try to play the banjo and more shallow than both. Now, I'm not saying that politicians are deep or that your front lawn is a fountain of intellectual stimulation but I am saying something about Spetalsk. Ultimately, though the songs are well played and I'm scared of Endymion because he looks like he will materialize in the dark recesses of my closet and come crashing through the door covered in all my old t-shirts and skewer me with his drumsticks, I can't say that Spetalsk have really done anything requiring any form of effort when it comes to the music they've stitched together out of a few too few riffs to jerry-rig Perverted Commandment's barely there style - a word I use loosely. The four songs which 'Commandment is composed of can be rearranged into a myriad of combinations and never sound like anything was changed.

Instead of writing a gimmicky review, which I originally though of doing, and writing four of the exact same paragraphs and changing only the song they were referring to, I've decided to actually try and pull some simple characteristics out of the music. Aside from looking like the Undertaker but slightly better groomed, Endymion really likes his ride cymbal - he uses it to a great degree to add variance to his drumming. When I first heard it, I thought, "Hey! That was neat..." but then, he did it in the other songs as well, using it in the same places structurally for the same reasons and, in a bizarre irony, even choking on the same note in opening track "Your Soul I Will Torture For All Eternity... By Playing The Same Songs Over And Over"* and the title track, "Perverted Commandment." Poor guy... looks like he is going to have to go work out a bit more with gym partner vocalist R. Karlsson who has the perfect uninspired vocals for Spetalsk's uninspired black metal... eeehhhh, I wouldn't call it a black metal attack really... more like a lack metal attack.

Zetterberg, the band's romance novel cover guy (and not a strange form of German cheese like I originally thought) with the hair made from the scalpings of ten thousand angels is a competent guitar player technically speaking but I get the feeling that he couldn't write an interesting rhythm if his shiny golden locks were being threatened with buckets of engine sludge. I'll get you Penzoil! He usually sticks to the typical staccato, flurry of 8th notes in all sorts of configurations with total disregard for rhythm and total lack of melodic sensibility. Not one time in any of the songs does anything he does interest me. Ironically, the guitar solos on the album, which do occasionally make me consider lifting my head from whatever magazine I'm reading (in this case, Gallery of the Grotesque circa 2006 - look for a review of this sweeeet zine in the upcoming weeks) but Chedderberg doesn't even play the leads! Some guy named Petter Nilson had the audacity to make segments of Perverted Commandment barely worth listening to.

I don't know why but the whole "black metal mixed with no rhythmic variation and monotonous pounding drums played by the unjolly green giant - genre" is waning for me. After three spins of this disc, I'm inclined to listen to Camel or Return To Forever just to escape the "We're tough because our music sucks" compensation thing. I should probably stop before Endymion and R. Karlsson climb up Rupunzel's hair - mainly for exercise really - into my room and force me to listen to the same riffs again. Perverted Commandment is kind of similar to that guy who cuts his lawn every day at the same time.

*The first track is actually called this. I swear...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Playlist 11/25/09

01. Motorhead - No Sleep Til Hammersmith - Overkill
02. Judas Priest - Hell Bent For Leather - The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) 03. Helstar - Nosferatu - To Sleep, Per Chance To Scream
04. Helstar - Nosferatu - Aieliaria And Everonn
05. Attacker - Battle At Helms Deep - Slayer's Blade
06. Saxon - Power And The Glory - Power And The Glory
07. Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader - Death And Glory
08. Valkija - Avengers Of Steel - Son Of Thunder
09. Znowhite - Act Of God - War Machine
10. Hallows Eve - Death And Insanity - Nefarious
11. Sacred Death - Deadly Playground - Social D
12. Overkill - Horrorscope - Coma
13. Warbringer - Waking Into Nightmares - Severed Reality
14. Pentacle - Under The Black Cross - Into The Fiery Jaws
15. Annunaki - Throne Of The Annunaki - Perpetual Suffering
16. Primitive Graven Image - Traversing The Awesome Night - As I Wander
17. Vreid - Milorg - Alarm *
18. Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger - En As I Dype Skogen
19. Taake - Hordalands Doedskvad - V
20. Neftaraka - Raw Ist Law - Cold Blut In A Dark Serenade
21. Neftaraka - Raw Ist Law - The Knoll
22. Descantation - Demo 2004 - While The Frozen Air Awaits Morning
23. Mystifier - Wicca - Tormentum Aeternu
24. Mystifier - Goetia - An Elizabethan Devil Worshipper's Prayer Book
25. Master's Hammer - The Jilemnice Occultist - A Dark Forest Spreads All Around
26. Morcrof - Apeiron: Trinitas Primitiae Opus - The Semen Of The Dead God
27. Morgion - Solinari - Canticle
28. Nivathe - Nivathe - Decay
29. Source Of Deep Shadows - Source Of Doom And Perpetual Night - Powolne Zatracenie
30. Nyctophobia - Arid - Exhaustion

Tape / Vinyl #'s: 6, 11, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 28
2009 Releases #'s: 13, 17, 20, 21, 30
Tonight's Background Music: The Doom - Echoes To Chaos

*At this time I had a particularly interesting encounter:

__________ (10:24:43 PM): 2morro is gunna be soo wierd kuz imma be introducing you like a friend
__________ (10:24:44 PM): lmao
__________ (10:24:45 PM): ajajajaja
wp887fm (10:25:05 PM): ?
wp887fm (10:25:08 PM): wha?
__________ (10:25:17 PM): my family is gunna be like yeah aight thats your girl
wp887fm (10:25:18 PM): i think you have the wrong person
__________ (10:25:18 PM): lmao
wp887fm (10:25:35 PM): ummm..
wp887fm (10:25:42 PM): who do you think is on air at the moment?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Primitive Graven Image - Traversing The Awesome Night

Primitive Graven Image have done absolutely nothing but copy every black metal band in the world. They have ripped off countless riffs, written generic songs, and not done a single damn thing new. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they actually copied and pasted part of early 90's black metal together and just renamed the songs. So while every song is pretty generic black metal in most literary meaning of the word, Primitive Graven Image have also been able to capitalize on one minor - but major - thing: that black metal doesn't have to be new and different to be completely awesome. Traversing The Awesome Night is generic but every song is absolutely unique and different from the other songs on the disc with two exceptions, opening track "Bringer Of Dark and Light" and "Design," which both have similar syncopation styles. Regardless, Primitive Graven Image is a worthy contender for anyone looking for blistering black metal.

Though I liked the legato production on their first demo, Hellish Figurines more than the crisp and staccato production on their debut release, the production helps tracks like "Design" and "As I Wander" sound new and more intense than the demo's more cavernous and atmospheric style. In a sense, the production on Traversing The Awesome Night is more metallic. The treble is way up there in the stratosphere, the bass is way down there in the dirt, and in between, well, a lot of pressure. This isn't always good, in particular the drums are way overbearing at points. A prime example being a minute and a half through opening track "Bringer Of Dark and Light." I originally though my disc was skipping. The cymbals during this segment sound more like television static than anything close to percussion. The kick drum sounds great though. It's audible without sounding like a two year old banging on a typewriter. The guitars are harsh with tons of sustain on them, and clear when the drums aren't being dynamited. They suit the music well though lack any kind of atmospheric texture which ultimately has to be made up in the songwriting - something Primitive Graven Image have manages to do.

There are some awesome highlights on Traversing The Awesome Night worthy of the attention of any black metal fan. Moments that even the most elite, cassette demo worshiping prick would find highly enjoyable. I know, because I am. The first time my attention really gets caught after the excellent riffs of "Bringer of Dark And Light" is during second track "None Shall Stand." The song's overlapping melodies and marching feel provide a perfect setting for dual vocalists Dokkalfur and Ljosalfur to spread their hatred. "Fear and Fire" is another highlight for me. Pure blackened violence is apparent in this track's opening salvo. Though the track takes many twists and turns, it never loses itself in its own journey. It breaks apart and solidifies again like molten lava turning into rock hard stone. "As I Wander" is a slower track, meandering through distant horizons and dimensions than other songs in a painfully slow drawl that builds and builds. Each cycle of the main riff gains momentum, by way of subtlety. It takes a full two minutes for any kind of speed to be incorporated but in this span of time, "As I Wander" has already done its job - snapping your attention to the sweeping harmonies in the opening minutes but they only get sweeter - in a bloody murderous maniacal kind of way - and denser and more captivating.

"As I Wander" is a phenomenal track and stands in excellent juxtaposition to other songs on the album due to it's tempo, melodic strengths and simple structure. Other tracks on the album are also quite good. Traversing The Awesome Night is well paced, with another mid/fast paced track after "As I Wander," called "Earth's Wrath." Though few of the songs after "As I Wander" are as immediately enticing as the earlier tracks, "Battleride" starts out with a haunting riff, "Victorious" returns to the slower tempo found in "As I Wander" and also contains strong melodies and creepy harmonies and accompaniment before blasting into quicker territories. "Victorious" reminds me of a less meandering Opeth circa Orchid or Morningrise though Primitive Graven Image refuse to be as adventurous structurally. Traversing The Awesome Night is sure to be enjoyable to fans of black metal, though I do see some minor problems which Primitive Graven Image may run into.

Primitive Graven Image have styled their band around the traditional version of black metal, much like bands such as Watain, Keep of Kalessin and even Melechesh minus the Sumerian themes but have not proven themselves to have nearly as much instrumental virtuosity. Why does this matter? Because the audience which will give Primitive Graven Image a chance to become a household name in black metal will be those listening to the aforementioned bands. I'm not saying that others won't enjoy them and spread their name, but the easiest way for Primitive Graven Image to get somewhere would be to wow certain audiences and sadly, they don't seem up to par if you compare them knot for knot as I expect many people will be. It's sad too, because they have something to offer which Watain and certainly Keep of Kalessin don't have on the shelf - more than one kick ass memorable song per album.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mandatory - Where They Bleed

Germany has never been one of those elite death metal brothels where you could pick any whore and expect a good time. No, Germany is more like a small strip in some unknown Nigerian city where no matter which lady you go with, you can expect to get some sort of lethal disease. Unlike New York, Florida and Sweden circa 1992, Germany has never been a death metal hot bed, but Mandatory surely take the Swedish death metal style and run with it, crafting three songs worthy of a place in the higher rankings of Swedish death metal bands. Though only an EP, "Where They Bleed" is sure to crush many listeners with it's brutal heaviness and rhythmic prowess (see "Crypta Crawler's" pounding old school Swedish breakdowns for proof) and snare the minds of the unsuspecting with the infectious riffs and deadly melodies.

Opening With an eerie introductory track, "Where They Bleed" wastes no time setting a mood for the evil that follows. The intro conjures images of haunted halls, stretching on endless lit only by the light of the lunar gods and the candelabras burning along the cold stone walls. If you feel yourself becoming anxious or uneasy, that's a good thing and Mandatory desire you to run screaming in the cold night air. Just when you begin to feel safe, when you see the light at the end of the hall, and you reach for it, ready to step into the crisp morning air, get in your car and leave the haunted maze of tunnels and labyrinthine rooms, you are hit with a wall of evil spells and rituals ending any notion of escaping.

"Where They Bleed" is one of the hardest hitting death metal songs I've heard. It shows how death metal can be written to be catchy, deadly, intense and daresay I, enjoyable for even mainstream human failures. The riffs and instrumental sections are beautiful, such as the lead halfway through the song, and crafted with sincerity in every note. Mandatory are playing like they are at the forefront of all that is death metal. Sascha Besalt and Steffen Rottle have the ability to write killer songs and riffs and play awesome leads and memorable hooks. Drummer Stinne handles vocal duties in top form, taking basically everything that made Entombed and Grave great and following in their stead to awesome ends. He demolishes the drum kit at the same time. Adrian Kostrzewski lays down a walloping low end - so important in the Swedish sound - and does it perfectly. He's not breaking the bass speed records or sweeping sixty-fourth notes on his four thousand string bass, but he does exactly what these songs require and pumps out massive heaviness.

Briefly, "Where They Bleed" is the standout. Though the other two songs must be mentioned as well. "Crypta Crawler" has a mean-spirited streak and powerful rhythms, a characteristic mimicked in "Obscure Mortification." All tracks are easily recognizable, unique and evoke feelings of rotting, festering ancient corpses stalking down the last humans on earth and using their bodies to perform archaic rituals. "Obscure Mortification" has a specific Kataklysm rhythmic style. The disc also comes with a cover of Razor's Cross Me Fool" played intoxicated with blistering noise - just the way it should be. Awesome choice of a cover. This is a worthy demo / EP to nab if you can get it for a few bucks but its worth at least as much as you paid for any of your Dismember albums. Especially for the title track which drains the blood from just about every other death metal song that's been released in the past fifteen years.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Playlist 11/18/09

01. Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader - Matador
02. Fates Warning - Awaken The Guardian - The Sorceress
03. Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time - Caught Somewhere In Time
04. Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak - Angel From The Coast
05. Shadow Keep - A Chaos Theory - Beware The Signs
06. Valkija - Avengers Of Steel - Son Of Thunder
07. Helstar - Nosferatu - Harkers Tale (Mass Of Death)
08. Havok - Burn - Identity Theft
09. Tortured Dog - Born To Metalize Split - Witch Hunter
10. Midnight - Complete And Total Fucking Midnight - Funeral Bell
11. Midnight - Complete And Total Fucking Midnight - All Hail Hell
12. Sodom - Obsessed By Cruelty - Obssessed By Cruelty
13. Warbringer - Waking Into Nightmares - Severed Reality
14. Warbringer - Waking Into Nightmares - Scorched Earth
15. Devastation - Idolatry - Freewill
16. Unleashed - Hammer Batallion - Your Children Will Burn
17. Witchery - Restless And Dead - Midnight At The Graveyard
18. Crucifixion - Desert Of Shattered Hopes - Desert Of Shattered Hopes
19. Mass Infection - Promo 2005 - Decay
20. Absu - Tara - Pillars Of Mercy
21. 1349 - Hellfire - Sculptor Of Flesh
22. Mystifier - Wicca - Tormentum Aeternu
23. Black Flame - Torment And Glory - Burn With Me
24 Taake - Hordalands Doedskvad - Part V
25. Primordial - To The Nameless Dead - Empire Falls
26. Primitive Graven Image - Traversing The Awesome Night - Design
27. Primitive Graven Image - Traversing The Awesome Night - As I Wander
28. Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger - Transilvanian Hunger
29. Neftaraka - Raw Ist Law - The Knoll
30. Imynvokad - Tongues Of Death - By Blood Does The Beast Arise
31. Highgate - Black Frost Fallout - The Wolf
32. Decaying Citadel - Ruin Of The Wooded Realm - Dread Savior Arise
33. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath - The Wizard
34. Witchcraft - Witchcraft - Wooden Cross (I Can't Wake The Dead)
35. Tales Of Dark - Fragile Monuments - Towering Grief Behemoth

Cassette /Vinyl Rips #'s: 9, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31,
2009 Releases #'s: 8, 13, 14, 29, 31, 32,

Background Music:
09-10 O'Clock: Neftaraka - Advocator Obscurum Infernalis
10-11 O'Clock: Highate - Black Frost Fallout
11-12 O'Clock: Skepticism - The Falls

Monday, November 16, 2009

Playlist 11/16/09

Tonight will be a reiterating of my tape / demo material I've brought you over the past several weeks. Hope you enjoy.

01. Midnight Priest - Demo 2009 - Rainha Da Magia Negra
02. Valkija - Avengers Of Steel - Hatchet Blade
03. Hades - Born To Metalize Split - Gloomy Sunday
04. Battleaxe - Burn This Town - Dirty Rocker
05. Apocrypha - The Forgotten Scroll - Fall Of The Crest
06. Nuclear Assault - Survive - Fight To Be Free
07. Speedwolf - Bark At The Poon - Speedwolf
08. Funerary Pit - Winds Of Hell - Fathomless Depths
09. Moder - Fields Of Devastation - Kruez Der Ilusion
10. Polterkrist - The Death Cell - God Creation Failure
11. Sapremia - Existence Of Torture - Spawn Of Desolation
12. Deathevokation - Blood Demo - Embers Of A Dying World
13. Apolion - Hungry Of Souls - Winds
14. Hell Rot - Vomit Altar - Goat Chapel
15. Decaying Citadel - Ruin Of The Wooded Realm - And That Is Eternity
16. Imynvokad - Tongues Of Death - By Blood Does The Beast Arise
17. Fornication - Stab - Les Handicapes Du Ler Rang
18. Wendess - Wendess EP - Par Le Vent
19. Auspicium - Dawnland - Mountains Of Pamola
20. Tod - Hate Campaign / Hymn To The Death - Intro / Hate Campaign
21. Sarke - Vorunah - 13 Candles
22. Ancientblood - The Profane Hymns Of The Sovereign Darkness - Profane Devotion
23. Genocide Winter - Monastica Holocaust - Consumed By Darkness
24. Nocturnes Mist - Southern Storms - Land Of Fire
25. Oblique Visions - Seas Of Serenity - Sweet Tranquility
26. Grand Magus - Monument - Ulvaskull
27. Dictator - Dysangelist - Sanctus

Cassette / Vinyl Rips #'s: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.... basically all of them!
2009 Releases #'s: 1, 7, 15, 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 27
Background music: Coroner - Arc-Lite

Tonight The Winds Will Stir....

Tonight I will be on air at my normal time, standing in for The Steelbath. 9pm - 12am, as usual. I will be playing my normal fare of rotten, stinking, festering hellish metal.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Neftaraka - Raw Ist Law

Neftaraka's "Raw Ist Law" is... well, raw. I'm guessing that being raw is a... law... in this Akitsa styled noise worshiping black metal band. What I found energizing about "Raw Ist Law" were the subtle nuances and textures in the black and the melody contained in the metal. Six tracks, three and a half noisy explorations and two and a half unpolished raw black metal songs to set your mind wandering and stop you dead in your tracks, lost in Neftaraka's dark corridors. Neftaraka's been around for a long time, over ten years now, and if their back catalog contains songs as strong as these, I'll be taking some long adventures across the internet to find their other releases. The grimy unpolished surface of Neftaraka's art is perfectly suited for the cassette format. I've seen this release available as a CDr but think the sterility of the disc medium would hinder my enjoyment of listening to this on the true kvlt medium that is the cassette... tapes always seemed to capture the noise better than their technologically advanced superiors. So, in the transfer, Thorn Laceration Records got it right - yes, they've done CD releases so I'm not shooting blanks here.

Opening introduction "Massive Ritual of the Black Wood" lets the noise flow in due manner. Vocalist Xxxull begins his spiritual vomiting with lengthy hidden spewings of rusty throated torment. The intro sets the stage for "Forgotten," traditional raw black metal track numero-uno. Somewhat repetitive though short enough as to not be a major listening hindrance, Xxxull, also on guitar, and Unknown-H on drums pound through two lengthy riffs. The sheer number of times played should etch this song onto the back of your cranium easily. Black metal song numero... two..., "The Knoll" is the most accessible song on the EP. It has a certain mystical melodic quality, created by the foundation of bassist Sil-blyss over which Xxxull plays some endearing, melodic movements. Slightly triumphant, slightly tragic and slightly hopeful, "The Knoll" is telling a tale for sure, and I wish I knew what that tale was about. It would make a great story.

During "Cold Blut In A Dark Serenade," the release's most longest expression, the EP takes a twist. Though the first three minutes are strong, mid-paced black metal in the vein of late 90's Taake or early Gorgoroth, the song's second half is nothing but bellowing darkness and winds of haunted noise. The song is almost perfectly representative of the demo - first half black metal, second half blackened noise. Indeed, the last two song contain mostly noise. "Salve Thy Forest" has some melodic undertones but the focus is on the tortured static. Final track "Advocator Obscurum Infernalis" is nothing but an expanse of feedback and static. This track, not included on earlier versions, is a nice addition to the EP though perhaps placing it earlier in the playing order and ending with "Forgotten" or "The Knoll" would have created more balance to the disc. "Cold Blut In A Dark Serenade" does end with more crushing blackened metal and the track is very well balanced. So many times I hear black metal tracks with two or three minutes of gurgling hellish sound just end abruptly, spoiling a great moment to take advantage of the tension that builds up in such breaks.

I would like to take the time to stress the balance of the album's styles. Though perhaps the running order could have been changed on this release to present a better EP (though I understand that in keeping with the original release order Thorn Laceration Records was upholding a value in the original product) the black metal never overtakes the demonic background and the darkness and painful moans in the distant expanse never creep over the black. They are both in place, allowing the other to do their frightening deeds. A strong EP though one more song with the depth of "The Knoll" may have made it something more than it turned out to be.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Valkija - Avengers Of Steel

I've had only one near death car accident in the past before hearing Valkija's Avengers of Steel; a bizarre inner desire to destroy myself and all around me while listening to dystopian attitude of Coroner's Mental Vortex. I was genuinely affected by the trio's twisted mind-altering masterpiece. Valkija hit me in a different way... and I still have the bruise to prove it. One of my .99 cent finds at the local record store, I wasn't expecting much from any of the twenty discs I exhumed from sure destruction in a garbage compactor so when I put Valkija's only full length album into my car stereo I was expecting to spend fifty minutes of dross. Instead, I had to think quickly. When the opening seconds of "The Lost" kicked in my jaw dropped directly to my thigh, weighing down my pedal-foot. I wound up having to drive with my left foot controlling the brakes and the gas. My mandible remained distended for the rest of the day including the drive home from school and another full listen to what has now become, in my opinion, one of the greatest metal finds in my memory.

Valkija play the overlooked style of power metal - better known as the good kind. Ballsy melodies and riffs and extremely well written and varied songs. Avengers of Steel has it all - Epic metal voyages, traditionally structured anthems and power ballads if you can even call them that. Valkija are ultimately in the same boat for me as Shadow Keep, a band which has quickly risen into the upper echelons of power metal hierarchy ever since playing with them over in Tilburg, Netherlands. Much like Shadow Keep's debut Corruption Within, Valkija's Avengers of Steel contains strong tints of progressive forerunners like Fates Warning and Queensryche. Both acts share a penchant for using thrashy riffs as the base for the verses and catchy - yet I repeat bad ass - traditional metal choruses and bridges. Both bands share the ability to write hooks. Both bands also have a lone female member though while Shadow Keep's vixen, Nicki Robson, busies herself crushing listeners with her rhythm guitarist abilities Valkija's Zoraija (Anna Amato) is keen to enchant and melt with her witch - spells.

I can not stress enough how awesome Zoraija's vocals are on Avengers... This isn't your operatic bullshit flower metal like Nightwish. No, Zoraija's got more balls - metaphorically speaking - than 99% of all male metal vocalists. Make that 99.9% if you're talking about all genres. Yeah, she's got more cahones than just about any black metal, death metal, thrash and doom metal vocalist. She's got more attitude than a poked and prodded rabid raccoon with the ass-kicking ability of Chuck Norris. She's equal parts Joan Jett, Doro Pesch, Nicole Lee and, even though my Disney-expert-better-half disagrees with me, Grandmother Willow from Disney's Pocahontas. Fear not though, Zoraija hits high notes in "Son of Thunder" which would rip through all the bark and hardwood of a tree that wide with ease. But Zoraija isn't the sole member of the band. What astounded me was the role of bassist Nikoll Hamm. Not only does he supply bottom end but takes a major role in the general architecture of the songs on the album acting an adhesive between riffs, melodies and the rhythm and lead sections. Guitarist John Turturro's playing is fantastic in every sense - rhythms, leads, solos... across the entire span of the album he proves himself to be capable of just about everything in regards to his instrument. Sebastian Hamm's drumming is also superior. Overall, the four members have crafted a dynamic between them with the ability to simply pound out masterful metal songs.

So the rest? Well, prepare to headbang and raise your fists into the heavens with nine songs all worthy of mention in some form though for me, the real winners are the barrage of Avenger of Steel's middle tracks, "Hold On" firing the opening volley with a ballsy take on a traditional song structure, alternating between clean and distorted guitars and erupting into a chorus catchier than cancer. Title track "Steel Avenger" is blistering thrash / speed metal. With awesome leads from John Turturro and some of the album's heaviest riffs. Think Primal Fear mixed with Doro screaming in agony on top. "Hatchet Blade" both breaks up the album with a clean, melodic intro before hammering away at the gates of hell. One of the best mid-tempo crushers I've ever heard, "Blade" also has some awesome lead guitars in the style of Fates Warning's "Traveler In Time" which immediately renders me speechless. "Return Of The King" is another pathogen-like epidemic of metal memorability like "Hold On" though in a much more progressive structure. Epic, aggressive and dynamic, I listened to this song four times in a row before I got my fill... for the moment. Next time I played the disc, I replayed it another three times when I got to it. The crowning moment for most will be "Son of Thunder" a Manowar styled metal free-for-all and you know it immediately as Zoraija lets loose a banshee scream less than half a second into the song.

My main question in regards to this band is why aren't they at the top of everyone's list of great modern traditional metal bands? I can only answer that their lack of output may have done them a great disservice as far as staying fresh in the minds of the metal fan base however another release as excellent as "Avengers of Steel" will surely capture the ears of a wide variety of metal fans. Another problem may be their location. Italian bands seem to find it difficult to break out of their country. The only ones which have really become household names worldwide are Rhapsody (of Fire), Luca Turilli and Labyrinth though, in my opinion, none have released an album as encompassing as Valkija. Sadly, Valkija will continue to be overlooked and will pass by everyone without notice at the expense of both the band and the listener. It's a shame that we may never get another release from them. If so, I will gladly place Avengers of Steel in the rankings as one of the best old school metal albums I've ever heard.

Contaminated Tones Magazine Out Now

Out now. Email to order. Wholesale available.

38 Pro-printed pages of underground metal! $2 plus shipping.

- Sapremia
- Nyctophobia
- War Master
- Wendess
- Midnight Priest

- Apolion Discography Review
- Benighted In Sodom - In Hora Maledictus Review
- Blackspell (Intertorial)
- Some Past reviews

Demo Reviews:
- War Master - Chapel of the Apocalypse
- Funerary Pit - Winds of Hell EP
- Cuntopsy - Indonesian Brutality Promo
- Koltum - The Story Of Death
- Interment / Paganfire - The Oath Of Termination Split
- Borox - Indonesian Brutality Promo
- Cum Sock - Cum Sock Promo
- Fadihat - Indonesian Brutality Promo
- Decaying Citadel - Where The Ancient Bones Are Laid To Rest
- Wendess - Wendess EP
- Omega - The Beginning of the End
- Fornication - Stab
- Hymengaard - Unsilent Storms In The South Abyss
- Desolate One - Desolate One
- Burial Ritual - Tower of Silence
- The Doom - The Doom
- Spewtilator - Thrash N Splash

Auspicium - Dawnland

Of all the material I have reviewed thus far, Auspicium's Dawnland has been the most perplexing and puzzling, the most slippery and soapy to describe -- all attempts at description ricocheting like tiny bullets off massive stainless steel breastplates. I've listened to this cassette 17 times without an inkling of how to describe its peculiar tone until this morning, watching the news broadcasts on hurricane Bill. Then it descended unto me with the weight of stone tablets falling from some fucking place in the sky: The perfect way to describe Auspicium's esoteric take on atmospheric black metal... and then I lost my pen. The pen I write each and every review with before entering it into my temperamental laptop had simply disappeared. I eventually found it in the backseat of my car under an empty Chinese food container, smashed between the side of the front seat and a gaggle of feather-like plastic shrink wrap from my most recent trip to the record store. Nerves once again settled, calmness returned, I realized that in fact, my whole experience prior to actually reviewing Dawnland was appropriately planned for me.

Auspicium's music is as wavelike as deadly hurricane waves or my angry frustration at trying to lift my ass awkwardly out of the back seat of my car without sticking my hand in some disgusting, moldy fast food remnant. The ebbing tides, intense one moment and sedative the next, fit Auspicium's sea focused black metal themes like a glove. One listen to Dawnland could give astute listeners that nauseating, seasick feeling. The rolling of Auspicium's waves is completely unique, working for Auspicium's mastermind, P.A. Hasson, like a convict for the man: really fucking hard. Though subtle on most of Dawnland's tracks, opener "Shoreline Rose" gives true life to the aforementioned lunar fluctuations. Ghostly, the song's complex array of depth and textures mimic the experience of drowning. Heavily effected vocals do little to create any warmth, instead sucking all the heat from the depths of the murky track, sounding like a mournful eulogy spoken to a drowning victim from the dying's point of hearing. A heavily emotional opening track, complete and forceful through its atmosphere and courageous in its structure, drums and true percussion, showing signs of life only near the very end of this song. Everywhere else phantom rhythms perfect for nights of copious alcohol consumption or drug intake.

"Cold River" marches distinctively into the epic seawall that is "Mountains of Pamola." Sullen and seasoned, broken and beaten, the abused embankment crumbles under constant frothy rolls of salty water. And as each jagged block breaks from its ancient place and falls into the sea, it travels through the abyss only for its future resting place to call to its next tenant from fathoms below. Though the song doesn't flow nearly as well as "Shoreline Rose," "Mountains of Pamola" is the most metal song available with hearty servings of distorted blasting and evil and depressing melody. Another strong song indeed, though perhaps there could have been a better placement as the Current 93 inspired "God Forgot My Name" closes Dawnland rather weakly and, more importantly, noticeably since the track is all acoustic and follows the albums most tornadic track.

Some may argue that its placement and lack of intensity is perfect, fitting into the wavelike pattern; another trough to follow another crest. To them I say, "Cork that expensive bottle of wine and grab the cheapest shit beer you can find." Sometimes its all right to simply let one go for the sake of fucking shit up. For the sake of metal. Rogue waves aren't mythology anymore either. No matter how you view the waves though, rogue or not, Dawnland is an incredible achievement. It's been known to pull swimmers in and never let go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Playlist 11/11/09 - Death Metal Night

A night of DEAAATTHHHHH!!!

01. Valkija - Avengers Of Steel - Hatchet Blade
02. Valkija - Avengers Of Steel - Hold On
03. Morbid Angel - Altars Of Madness - Maze Of Torment
04. Suffocation - Effigy of the Forgotten - Infecting The Crypts
05. Mandatory - Where They Bleed - ...Where They Bleed
06. Obituary - Slowly We Rot - Words Of Evil
07. Crucifixation - Desert Of Shattered Hopes - Desert Of Shattered Hopes
08. Deathevokation - Blood Demo - Embers Of A Dying World
09. Mass Infection - Promo 2005 - Decay
10. Bolt Thrower - In Battle There Is No Law - Forgotten Existence
11. Bestial Warlust - Blood And Valour - Legion Of Wrath
12. Napalm Death - Breed To Breathe - Greed Killing
13. Mortal Decay - Forensic - Insect To Flesh
14. Fleshvomit - Indonesian Brutality Promo - Murder Of Mutilation
15. Iniquity - Grime - The Bullet's Breath
16. Mortuary - Blackened Images - Asphyxiation
17. Death - Human - Secret Face
18. Halopent - The Ancient Of Days - Post Mortal Suffering
19. Paganizer - Murder Death Kill - Mourning Life
20. War Master - Chapel Of The Apocalypse - Chapel Of The Apocalypse
21. Sapremia - With Winter Comes Despair - Open Grave
22. Hail Of Bullets - Warsaw Rising EP - Nachthexen (Live)
23. Gorefest - Rise To Ruin - Babylon's Whores
24. Decapitated - Winds Of Creation - Winds Of Creation
25. Akercocke - Choronzon - Scapegoat
26. Moder - Fields Of Devastation - No One Shall Live
27. Primitive Graven Image - Traversing The Awesome Night - Fear And Fire
28. Velvet Cacoon - Genevieve - Laudanum
29. Imynvokad - Tongues Of Death - By Blood Does The Beast Arise*
30. Highgate - Black Frost Fallout - Burial Light
31. Apolion - On The Altar / Angel Of The Black Abyss Split 7" - On The Altar
32. Decaying Citadel - Ruin Of The Wooded Realm - And That Is Eternity
33. Mystifier - Wicca - The Witch Voisin Recites Our Gloat / Osculum Obscenum

Cassette Vinyl Rips #'s: 8, 10, 26, 29, 30, 31, 33
2009 Releases #'s: 14, 18, 20, 22, 30, 32
Background Music: Earth - Seven Angels

* Keep a lookout for their next release out on Pale Horse Records. It will be a 7", beauty. Knowing the quality of all the PHR releases, you can trust me when I say this will not be a cheap, skimpy 7" that you will only use as a coaster. PHR will also be releasing Thra'el's album within the next few days for those interested in legitimate black metal.

Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey

Electric Wizard have always been a hazy band for me - and maybe they want it to be that way. I enjoy them and have no real idea why! Their fuzzy doom has a way of seeping into my lungs and sticking to my red blood cells thus entering every crevice of my flesh like a bizarre form of radiation. The only clear defining characteristic of the Electric Wizard sound that I have been able to collect is a garage-full-of-pot-smoke jam style and though that may appeal to some, I've never been a smoker or a real fan of "jamming." I don't like jam bands - not that Electric Wizard are a jam band - or their "free-for-all" idea of "whatevaaaa man just plaaaaayyyy."

This drugged out jamming style is apparent from the moment the album lights up. "A Chosen Few" opens the album with some background sound room voices gearing up before kicking into Electric Wizard's 70's inspired doom. The whole album contains this general laid back sentiment caked over with negativity and disdain and yet the tone of the album still remains deeply ritualistic and darkly occult. It is in my opinion the mysteries Oborn and his fellow sect of doom priests have unveiled on this album have had some thick black velvet cloaks draped over them. The album has an imbued sense of intense soul, moving with to the ebbing and flowing riffs. There remains a deeply personal meaning to every moment for each of the members involved.

Electric Wizard have never been afraid to get dirty in their career and a natural approach to "Let Us Prey" is felt with the untouched feedback, crisp burning smell of bass speakers at their brink of explosion and the dynamic drums. Vocally Oborn is all over the basement like a snarling angry dog barking, gnawing, groaning in frustration and generally chasing the slow sweeping melodies in songs like "Master Of Alchemy" and "The Outsider" like a giant steak tied to tail of a cat stapled to the pants of the mailman tied up being dragged behind a bus.

My only gripe with this album would be what I feel to be a stagnation in ideas. Though the songs all sound different, some different textures included in the heavier tracks would have displayed a bit more depth and broken up what could be described as a muddying effect. All the songs have the same styled solos, same styled riffs, same slow-mid tempos, same phasing guitar effects... how about a fast song? How about a sound with some clear up-front vocals? I know Electric Wizard have their own sound and style and they do it well - many moments of "Let Us Prey" are incredibly complex in the instrumental layering - but some variation somewhere would be awesome. They are capable of doing this. They did it on Dopethrone and they also did it on Witchcult Today, their newest album but somewhere in between, they lost a bit of the spark it seems.

*WPSC tag on the front cover from the radio station I work at. This disc was found in their used bin. I had a pristine copy a while which I traded a while back.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gallhammer - Ill Innocence

An older review...

I am at such a loss for words after listening to this CD. No need to overstate the obvious but moments such as the ones this album captures are worth writing about. You can say that the blackened, encrusted beast that is Ill Innocence has been done before and you wouldn't be completely wrong. But this album harvests something that I have failed to hear in many albums of similar style - passion for depression. Depression has never been this fun... ever.

The music of Gallhammer could accurately be called an ode to Hellhammer and Darkthrone. It is reminiscent of Burzum at times and sweeps into Earth styled drone-scapes while maintaining a filthy tone and atmosphere in an entirely feminine way. "Delirium Daydream" could never be done by another band as well as Gallhammer. Each track is sarcastically emotional in that girlish manner that is so misunderstood. While Angela Gossow continually tries (and fails) to be a "strong" woman, these three girls don't try to be anything other than natural and come off sounding stoic. In return, Gallhammer come off sounding as if they were meant to write these songs instead of being perceivably gimmick driven such as the last two or three Arch Enemy albums - odd analogy I know. The point is there is no joke here - everything about this band is gimmick free.

The fact that the musicianship is perfectly primitive yet competently played works well. Vivian Slaughter's simple plodding bass and earthy tone are perfectly suited to the droning nature of many of the tracks. Risa Reaper's drums have this "gravestone quality" to them - protruding from the ground / earth / base of the music to be examined as they ring out. Mika Penetrator's guitar tone is wholesome and full. It fits perfectly with the other instruments and retains heaviness without contradicting the feminine nature of the music. The vocals are one of the most intriguing aspects of Gallhammer's sound. With each member adding vocals to the mix, the messages seem to be completely universal for the three. Vivian does most of the vocals however she never once pulls an "I'm the leader" or implies anything of the sort. No one has a leader personality. The "whole" exists as a leader.

Why has "Blind My Eyes'" intro riff never been written before? Best riff on the album. Not because its the only riff either. It wipes the metal table clean of crumby riffs that so many bands are using these days. The album contains a lot of sludgy, droning, black metal but "Song of Fall" wins the blackened drone award. The vocals at 5:44 are spectacular. "Speed of Blood" is the punk - fueled song with moments of intensity. "SLOG" contains the albums main compositional blunder - breaking into an untimely section at 6:53. One thing that Ill Innocence doesn't capture enough is the use of feedback in the band's live shows. Dawn of... captures this important aspect of the Gallhammer sound. The lack of "May Our Father Die" is also somewhat disappointing. A Re-recorded version of this blackened song is displeasing.

Overall, there is a great sense of promise that the band shows. Let hope that Peaceville will bring these three to the US.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Playlist 11/04/09

What a rough day, a massive 6 pager for Anthropology due, to my tyrannicaly hypocritical teacher - she actually refuses to let us leave the two and a half hour class to go to bathroom... well... she'll let us go but won't let us rejoin the class again... I am positive there is a rule against this. Luckily I get to play metal all night long, and I have a great list of tracks! Master's Hammer making an appearance along with some old-school Katatonia. No death metal tonight, felt more in a mood for the epic and while Deathevokation or Asphyx would surely have fit in to my playlist, I felt a night of traditional, black and doom was in order. Don't like it? Kill yourself!

Gallhammer - Ill Innocence, Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey, Primitive Graven Image - Traversing The Awesome Night and Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader reviews coming up within the week. Keep a lookout!

01. Battleaxe - Burn This Town - Dirty Rocker
02. Diamond Head - To Heaven From Hell - To Heaven From Hell
03. Manowar - Battle Hymns - Fast Taker
04. Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader - I Got The Right
05. Midnight Priest - Demo 2009 - Rainha Da Magia Negra
06. Steel Prophet - Messiah - Dawn Of Man
07. Shadow Keep - Corruption Within - Corruption Within
08. Fates Warning - The Spectre Within - Traveller In Time
09. Manilla Road - Crystal Logic - Crystal Logic
10. Master's Hammer - The Jilemnice Occultist - A Dark Forest Spreads All Around
11. Absu - Tara - Stone Of Destiny
12. Absu - In The Eyes of Ioldanach - Manannan
13. Fornication - Stab - Les Handicapes Du L Er Rang
14. Bound By Entrails - The Oath To Forbear And The Burden Of Inheritance - Tides Of Redemption
15. Bound By Entrails - The Oath To Forbear And The Burden Of Inheritance - Seafarer's Journey
16. Opeth - Morningrise - Black Rose Immortal
17. Folkstorm - De Stemmen Van Het Woud - Zonsondergang
18. Katatonia - Discouraged Ones - Last Resort
19. Highgate - Black Frost Fallout - Burial Light
20. Gallhammer - Ill Innocence - Speed Of Blood
21. Hell Rot - Vomit Altar - Marginal
22. Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey - A Chosen Few
23. Decaying Citadel - Ruin Of The Wooded Realm - The Final Days Of All

Tape / Vinyl Rips #'s: 5, 13, 19, 21,
2009 Releases #'s: 5, 14, 15, 17, 19, 23

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halopent - The Ancient Of Days / In The Darkness Of Chaos

So you just listened to Necrophagia's "early days" compilation and you're itching for more ungodly death metal of the highest order. Right? You could search endlessly for another platter of severed hands and removed organs or you could check out Halopent's "The Ancient Of Days / In The Darkness Of Chaos" double barrel release of ugly festering refuse. The release is a constant example of what puts the "death" in death metal. Two demos, sixteen tracks and a whole lot of blood soaked goodness awaits you. It's the kind of release which finds a corner somewhere in your mind and dwells there for a while slowly growing into an addiction. Upon first listen you might not find anything worthy - though if you let "Septic Torture" pass you by you should reconsider what you consider your listening ability - and upon second listen you might find a song or two enjoyable, once the addiction grows and you're listening to the compilation for the hundredth time, you'll be gnawing on your own bones during every track, the madness compelling you to drench everything in gore immediately.

I prefer the first "side" of the release, "The Ancient Of Days" for its... well... ancient feel. "Septic Torture", "Morbid Feast," and "Post-Mortal Suffering" are the top three best songs on the entire release. All contain the wailing decrees of a guitar in pain. I'd hate to be an instrument in the Jackson family. Randal Jackson handles rhythm guitar, bass and drum duties while Ryan Jackson delivers the final blow with the guitar solos. An interesting combination if I've ever seen one but one that works rather well for these two Texans. "The Ancient Of Days'" early death metal style (see Necrophagia, Death, Possessed) gives insight into the incorporation and importance of thrash in formative death metal. This is thrashy and trashy low-fi yet crushing metal of death madness for fans of mid-80's proto-death metal and the deadlier thrash of the late 80's.

Second "side" of this compilation is "In The Darkness Of Chaos," though equally disgusting, I don't find as many high caliber songs on this side. Opening track, "Cannibals Born Of Satanic Ritual" is an acceptable death metal dirge, marching along to occult rhythms. "In Demonic Possession" contains an irritating start stop rhythm, resembling machinery made to make pots and pans. "The Inevitable Death" and "Infernal Eternity" both are slower, bass driven songs though in reality, the bass on the second set of tracks on the compilation basically takes the role of guitar - dishing out basically all the rhythms and taking a major upfront role. Though "World Of Ashes" is actually relatively awesome compared to the other songs on this side of the release, it still falls short of the tracks on "The Ancient Of Days" side. Ultimately, this is a worthy release, something quirky and unique with four or five strong songs I feel comfortable proclaiming loyalty to. Though as a whole, only the first nine songs - The Ancient Of Days tracks - are what's worth paying for, the extra seven songs aren't total garbage as evidenced by "World Of Ashes."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Playlist - 10/28/09

Another night of metal action. Get your denim jackets out fiends!

01. Loudness - Lightnight Strikes - Street Life Dream
02. Judas Priest - Defenders Of The Faith - The Sentinel
03. Primal Fear - Nuclear Fire - Angel In Black
04. Cirith Ungol - Frost And Fire - Frost And Fire
05. Hades - Resisting Success - The Cross
06. Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader - I Got The Right
07. Overkill - Taking Over - Powersurge
08. The Beast - Born To Metalize Split - Randall Flagg
09. Speedwolf - Bark At The Poon - Speedwolf
10. Polterkrist - The Death Cell - God Creation Failure
11. Burial Ritual - Tower Of Silence - Atop The Funeral Pyre
12. Abazagorath - Ancient Entities Arise Split - Beyond The Veils Of Obscurity
13. Abazagorath - Ancient Entities Arise Split - In The Heart Of A Dying Star
14. Bound By Entrails - The Oath To Forbear And The Burden Of Inheritance - Tides Of Redemption
15. Genocide Winter - Monastica Holocaust - Consumed By Darkness
16. Neglektum - Beyond The Frozen Mist - Beyond The Frozen Mist
17. Negura Bunget - Maiastru Sfetnic - Al Locului
18. Choronzon - Magog Agog - Crimson Awakening
19. Pentacle - Under The Black Cross - (Storming Through) A Hail Of Steel
20. Deathevokation - Chalice Of Ages - The Monument *
21. Mandatory - Exiled In Pain - Where They Bleed
22. Funerary Pit - Winds Of Hell EP - Fathomless Depths
23. Highgate - Black Frost Fallout - Burial Light
24. Morgion - Solinari - All The Glory...
25. Clock - On The Threshold - Unresponsive
26. Decaying Citadel - Ruin Of The Wooded Realm - Unholy Salvation
27. Earth - Earth 2 - Seven Angels

Vinyl / Cassette #'s: 1, 4, 8, 10, 15, 22, 23, 25,
2009 Releases #'s: 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 23, 26,
Background Music: Nivathe - Nivathe

* This is one of my favorite death metal songs of all time. Purely evil, maniacal and demonic. The contrast between the melodies and rhythms are unbearably exemplary of what made Swedish death metal the auditory representation of chaos in the early 90's. Chalice of Ages is an immediate classic and well worth whatever it costs to buy it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bound By Entrails - The Oath To Forbear And The Burden Of Inheritance

This is all wrong. Bound By Entrails neither comes off as an ultra-complex Emperor infused blast parade, or looks the part of the Scandinavian gods but they sure capture that essence of blackened hellfire in their sound. "The Oath To Forbear And The Burden Of Inheritance" is quite the output; never ceasing, always pounding, and continually stimulating. The album art? An artistic representation of Alaskan mountains and a serene calm lake illuminated by a glowing full moon. Now, I'm not saying that mountains and a lake can't be "never ceasing" or "pounding" and they can certainly be intellectually stimulating... but I was expecting a more atmospheric styled band with some psychedelic flourishes in the style of Wolves in the Throne Room; an artsy black metal attack (Seriously, take a look at that logo), not a variation on Emperor's "In The Nightside Eclipse."

So, I'm staring at "TOTFATBOI" with this preconceived expectation and I turn over the Digi-pak and see the tracks including a cover of "Inno A Satana." Ok... odd cover choice for a modern artsy black metal band. I toss the CD into the stereo and "Voices Of The Past" proves me right. It is some modern collegiate black project made by members of the local university's jazz ensemble. I'm listening to a band influenced by Auspicium's musical textures! This is going to be easy! Wait... that was an intro? Bound By Entrails are fucking me? "Voices Of The Past" is that playful musical joke; you think we are going to be this so we will give you that and then crush your predictions with the real opening track*.

That track? "The Furious Host," a blistering rampage through demonic incantations and haunted dinner parties. Fast, angry - furious even - and technically keen, there is little to dispute about this track as far as epitomizing the black metal audsthetic** and nurturing any metal heads love for cheetah-like staccato meddling. Without blowing their load, Bound By Entrails have dispatched my falsely wrought notions, drawn me into their icy hellish world, and left me expecting a track to triumph what I consider to be a great opening salvo.

They deliver with my favorite song on the release, "Seafarer's Journey," a Primordial structured epic about pirates and Vikings and fishermen and the angry balding Joe Pesci look-a-like two blocks away who leaves his twelve foot fiberglass dingy out in his driveway. It's a song about anyone who sails, who dares the waves and shines a waving banner in their watery visages as the crests crash against the decking of the only thing protecting them from the fathoms of death waiting all around. A song about the memories the oceans and seas call prisoner (remember that Auspicium reference?). Clean vocals shed their disguise in the track, harsh vocals mimic the chaotic blowing of wind and swirling guitar melodies both swoon and scare. For me, "Seafarer's Journey" is an account of the ocean told through music, a pure musical painting, unbiased and honest. Symphonics play a role in the track as well adding texture but never hijacking the vessel. The talents of the whole band are shown - the virtuosity of guitarists Jeremy and Brett and the ability of drummer Tyler. Though the bass is mixed down, and not particularly fascinating, Billy Harbour's keyboard playing shines like stolen gold. The song conjures many moods as well - not an easy feat for even talented bands. Bound By Entrails has accomplished this elusive goal.

The album falters slightly here for me though. Though maybe a reaction of my own mind, thinking "they can't do better than that... really, they cant..." I do find myself drifting away from the music, focus easily distracted. "This Too Shall Pass" is a continuation of the end of "Voices of the Past" minus the Sahgish vocals. "Under The Midnight Sun" lacks the memorability and gripping factors, basically existing as a filler track. Though "Tides of Redemption" strangles me for a moment with a great opening riff and some awesome melodies, it's counterpart is generally uninspired. Bland, forgettable and dragging on for what seems like an eternity. Then, Bound By Entrails nails the Emperor cover. What I found is that the TOTFATBOI ends with "Tides of Perdition," ultimately leaving us with two intro/intermission pieces and five lengthy real songs. The Emperor cover and an additional live track of "Across The Dead Night Sky" acting as non-labeled bonus tracks. The live track is monstrous, an awesome recording. The production is powerful and clear - probably my second favorite track or third behind "Tides of Redemption."

This is an enjoyable album. Fans of Emperor or symphonic black metal will eagerly find diamonds among the rough on this unknown release. Don't let the cover judge this book for you; the contents are deadly, maybe more deadly with the unassuming album art. In a way, the disc is a lot like Tartaros' "The Red Jewel." Though not nearly as symphonic, Bound By Entrails' "The Oath To Forbear And The Burden Of Inheritance" falls into the same awkward artwork / strong music category as the previously mentioned black metal land mine.

* Introduction, "Voices of the Past" has a particularly psychedelic undertone. Sahg comes to mind... their first album, mostly due to the airy vocals. It has that ambient feel/vibe though also; obscure horns and aboriginal instruments succinctly summon "The Furious Host."

**Yeah, I made that one up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Folkstorm - De Stemmen Van Het Woud

Folkstorm's debut album, an idealic wooden carving, will cater to the black metal fans dreaming of those days spent idling away the hours underneath the their favorite pine listening to Empyrium's ...A Wintersunset while sipping down sweet tea and reading William Wordsworth until the bright sun parted and the lunar glow swept over their secret residence. Fans of Drudkh's first two defining albums will also find a whole lot of space to play as their world disappears behind misty fields and foggy copses. The immediate enjoyment of opener "November's" pastoral melody and minimalist approach sets the tone for the rest of "De Stemmen Van Het Woud," - vast landscapes of fluidly moving melody and contemplation inducing contentment. Main man Sigurd has molded an appropriate design of relaxation by combining atmospheric black metal in the vein of Alcest or even China's Zuriaake with the sounds and smells of the Germanic countryside including birds, wind, and the distant chiming of church bells from an ancient steeple. One is easily transported to a small unknown town in the European countryside.

Folkstorm have managed to create a strong, possibly redundant, though professional album. What impressed me most though was the incredible progression the band has taken in just a short time. Let's hop aboard the demo dirigible and look at how much the band has accomplished in the span of a fly's lifetime. In just one year, Folkstorm have "wowed" me, made me want to disassemble my stereo system and given me the feeling of discovering a new black metal gem of infinite bright/darkness. I'll be brief as possible about it. I can talk all day about this crap...

When I first came upon the minimalist approach of Folkstorm's first demo, "From The Pale Woodlands," I was awed by the easily memorable melodies, scope and expansiveness of each song's atmosphere. The simple heartfelt approach to black metal. The Burzum inspired atmosphere and the Darkthrone trance worked wonders. Songs like "Winter Came" and the soon to be classic - in my mind at least - "Frozen For Eternity" set my mind into a downward spiral of basic nonexistence; I zoned out for twelve minutes straight standing in place staring at my floor without ever realizing that I had forgotten to leave for work. Folkstorm hooked me. I was expecting great things from their portion of the "Spells Of Foresight Predict Our Paradise" split, like a fish expecting to find another worm as I was pulled from the comfortable wetness of my pond.

I found a giant fillet knife instead. Generally, I was disappointed with their songs on the split for not being characteristic of what I loved about their demo. Gone were the farmland melodies, the mysterious reverb soaked vocals, the epic black metal atmosphere and the freshly produced cow milk that came with my copy of the demo*. Instead, primitive raw black metal greeted me with disgusting sweaty palms. Though maybe not accurate, I got a distinct stench of a more melodic Von instead - short songs, simple structures, numbing drums. Yeah, it's a simpleton view but its the best I could think of... Shut Up! So, to be precise, it wasn't bad but it wasn't Folkstorm.

"De Stemmen.." then is a return to the form I found captivating on the first demo. They've returned to the form and pressed it into a concentrated juice of uplifting atmospheric black metal. I do have some small aspersory remarks though. This is a very safe album, a comment that I feel many would agree with. Folkstorm are not reaping new souls on this release, hell they might not even be swinging the scythe at all. This may or may not matter. Those less concerned about experimentation and progression won't care at all that Folkstorm aren't building new molds. In the case at hand, I'm not bothered by it either. I also would have enjoyed a slightly beefier guitar tone, as Sigurd's six string is rather clean in tone but I guess there's no livestock on his farm. Then again, the slightly destitute guitar tone may help relay the "pastoral" qualities of the album. Though the album lacks any aggressiveness, there are different moods displayed across the album preventing stagnation. The acoustic playing by Sigurd is awesome and well deserving of praise. Haatzaaier (ridiculous name... four "A"s??!) does not play drums on this album. Instead Sigurd relied on a drum machine. I would have loved to hear Haatzaaier on the album though. A more natural, varied approach to the percussion would have given the album maybe a touch more depth. The drum machine is programmed comfortably, though maybe lazily. It plods along with simple drum beats, allowing the melodies and fertile views to play the part of King. This is a nice, relaxing listen. Perfect for those rainy spring days sitting on the porch watching the rain soak through your backyard garden.

*The demo did not actually come with a glass of milk. Don't buy the demo expecting a big tall glass of milk. If you do, you didn't hear it from me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

October Additions

I am posting a list of what I have received this month. If you see something you want reviewed, let me know and I will move it to the front of my queue. Feel free to comment on anything listed!

Sonata Arctica - Silence
Caustic Soul - An Absence Of Warmth
Steel Prophet - Messiah
Born / Dead - The Final Collapse
Ballistic - Ballistic
Lefay - The Seventh Seal
Tartaros - The Red Jewel
Tad Morose - Undead
Parsons Green - Live From Caspar
V/A - Noname Worldwide
Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey
Pat Methany Group - The Way Up Promo
Cober - Eulogy
Jucifer - War Bird
Sea Of Green - Chemical Vacation
Headhunter DC - And The Sky Turns To Black
Candy Store Gangsters - Killed On Christmas
Helstar - Nosferatu
Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader
Warbringer - Waking Into Nightmares
Malicious Intent - Potential Sins
Morgue - Bonecrunch
Mental Aberration - Victim Of Its Own Sort
Militia Christi - Non Timor Domini, Non Timor Malus
Morcrof - Apeiron: Trinitas Primitiae Opus
Carnal Forge - Who's Gonna Burn
Valkija - Avengers Of Steel
Catastrophic - The Cleansing
Manowar - Louder Than Hell
Incriminated - The Promise Of Worse To Come
Putrifactor - Symptoms Of Societal Rot
Inisghts Of The Profane - Insights Of The Profane
Agarthi - At The Burning Horizon
Spetalsk - Perverted Commandment
Texutres - Drawing Circles
Hyponic - The Noise Of Time
Genetic Wisdom - Humanity On Parole
Weltbrand - Radiance Of A Thousand Suns
Polterchrist - Engulfed By The Swarm
Tales Of Dark - "Fragile
Sanctifier - "Awaked by Impurity Rites"
Forbidden Citadel Of Spirits / Kazaviel split 7"
Cruciamentum - "Convocation of Crawling Chaos" MC
Valium - "Scars From Different Times" MC
Verderben - "Anti/Mensch" MC
Hatred - "Fist Of Death" MC

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drugs Of Faith - Drugs Of Faith

I'm addicted to Drugs... of Faith. They're like reruns of Cops - every song has an aura of self-abuse, domestic violence, uncontrolled aggression and multiple personality disorders. The lyrics read like a news ticker of Jeffery Dahmer's demented thoughts and once in a while there is some spark of a street smart police officer's advice, off handedly muttered while chasing down some inner demons in a Chevy pickup with expired plates and a loose-cannon in the driver seat chewing tobacco hell bent on getting home to give his mobile home wife a kiss before being hauled off to the slammer for indecent exposure at a cousin's thirteenth birthday party. Way to go guys... you made the shortest most intense audio-representation of trailer park car chases and like Cops, I'm lovin' every boozed second of the distorted reality we see on shows dedicated to the underbelly of American society.

The production on Drugs Of Faith's eponymous debut is very similar to the 2008 demo. Notable differences are difficult to pinpoint. Most notable for me is the mixing and tone of Taryn's bass guitar. The bass on the recently released demo was more prominent, though only slightly, and more gritty and harsh. That harshness is still prevalent and audible on this recording though she takes, what I feel, is a less influential role; jumping in the backseat of that speeding Chevy. Taryn still shines though in, among other tracks, opener "Never Fail," churning out spaghetti-like strands of dirt and dissonance almost halfway through the song.
The dissonance and noise crusting up the edges of Drugs of Faith's sound on their latter demo is marked here on their earlier work. Though not as purposefully included as on their latter work, Richard's disregard for "polishing" this turd-like offering has created enough crevices for the festering and moldy growth of sincerity to promptly find a home among the eight kernels and create the truthful and honest stench that so many albums lack. Richard's guitar playing on the album is excellent, never pretentious, always emotive and natural.

If I had to narrow down my thoughts to a single, long winded paragraph, Drugs of Faith would receive honors in a multitude of categories. "Drugs of Faith" is serious, overtly angry and cynical emotional nihilism perpetrated through cryptic and tricky yet witty and uniquely misanthropically multi-angled lyrics splattered with a rusted iron mallet over a background of bloody muddy oil / water noise puddles. Imagine Anti-Cimex and Nasty Boys with an Isis styled fluidity and you're half-way there. The other half is the totally original delivery of these filthy crust bastards.

Confessor - Unraveled

An older review from about 2006...

I'm a person who takes my music pretty seriously. If I hear good things about a band, I'm going to check the band out. I was hearing a lot of praise for Unraveled calling it a tech-doom masterpiece and a brilliant work of heavy metal and whatnot. After listening to this album, I have an obligation to myself to decide if I enjoyed the album or not and as hard as I tried to judge without being influenced by others, it was hard to disagree with the rumors I had heard. This album is completely awesome. There are so many subtleties that push this album to greatness. Fantastic vocals, brilliant guitar work, and a bass and drum rhythm section that leaves no beat unbeaten.

I can't quite decide what Scott Jeffrey's vocals sound like. They are really hard to compare to anything. Layne Staley does work yet only at times. Other times, the vocals sound more like Tim Aymar from Chuck Schuldiner's side project Control Denied if he was singing one or two octave's lower. Sometimes the vocals waver between the two. Sometimes they waver between wavering between the two and not wavering at, forming a vocal black hole of categorization. Apparently he is going to be singing on the new Watchtower album also and his vocals with Ron Jarzombek's crafty guitar philosophy is an almost unimaginably perfect combination. Back to Confessor. The vocals are great, full, they are full of a melancholic intensity and emotion that rips into your very being. Range wise, this album spans all frequencies of the sound spectrum. At times, high pitched wails are the order of the day and other times low wins out instead. Overall, it is a perfect blend of both the low, the high, and the strangest clean vocal style I have heard in a long time.

Musically, this album takes the prize in a vast array of areas. Yes, there is the signature Confessor time signature manipulation. Yes, there is the estranged guitar melodies. Yes the drummer destroys the fabric of any drumming handbook. Yes the bassist pummels through every riff like twelve elephants fighting over a 3 inch watering hole. Shawn McCoy and Brian Shoaf's playing creates melodies that we never even knew existed. Completely ridiculous riffage is at work on this album and these two twist each riff until they fold over and over infinite times into themselves. Like trying to follow the winding path of a piece of spaghetti through your pasta with your eyes, each riff becomes another, flows into each other riff seamlessly. My mind is boggled by the fact they remember all the riffs. Steve Shelton is one hell of a drummer. My god. He has to be one of the most talented yet overlooked drummers on the face of this earth. Every fill is completely different. The sporadic double bass placement is top notch and never off. Tight. Ridiculous. If drums could talk to their drummers his drums would say something like, "Hey, Steve... what are you doing man??" Then he would hit the drum that talked to him. And it would sound perfect because he has that ability were he can hit things that weren't even on his drum set and still make it sound perfect. All told, listening to the drumming in songs like Hibernation proves how ridiculously talented he is. Now, Cary Rowells, must be doing some bass work to rival that of twenty bassists playing at once. And, he is. Somehow he follows the drums and the guitars, switching off between following one and the other. Altogether, these are five guys who when they come together to create, they do more than create. They create and destroy all musical barriers at the same time. Bravo Confessor Bravo.

Song wise. Each song is ridiculous and awesome. It would be impossible to talk about each one. Basically, Hibernation is one of my favorites. Until Tomorrow and Blueprint Soul are also killer tracks. Listen to the whole album, each song is incredibly monstrous in sound and attitude. Together, these songs show a band who are completely in tune with what they want to create and want to sound like. Perfectly placed breaks, solos, leads and harmonies abundant, this album will tear, and carve out a place distinctly its own in your mind. Like a virus slowly eating away until it has conquered all of you. Confessor have created a masterpiece. Hopefully, they will create another and real soon.