Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Descantation - Descantation

Another older review, this one from back in 2006...

Descantation hail from Ontario Canada, were formed in 2003 by main man Pestilence, and play black metal. This is, from what I know, to be their only widely released album or widely released to the standards of the band since this is only limited to 50 copies. There isn't a whole lot to say about this album but ill try to at least make an effort at giving a decent description. Three tracks clock in at 11 minutes with the longest being the second track, While the Frozen Air Awaits Morning. This is also my personal favorite track due to the incredible atmosphere and sheer evilness of the song.

Production wise, its not bad in that all the instruments can be heard well. Of course, as is the nature of the product, there is the static that accompanies most underground black metal releases. The guitar tone sounds like its being played through a 12 watt amp turned up to 13 on the dial and the speaker is blown yet regardless the guitar actually sounds fitted to the music. The bass is also well played and never out of key. Vocally, there is nothing new done here but the vocals are mixed well and work more as another instrument than vocals. I would consider them one of the best aspects of this particular album aside from the great melodies. The only perturbance (Yeah... I was using words back then that didn't exist just like I do now) that I noticed was the drumming on the first track which lacked anything that could be called interesting. musicianship isnt bad but its not on par of anything such as Leviathan or Xasthur. Though I would say its a notch better than fellow Canadian, Sabazios Diabolus and his outfit, Lust. The musicianship is not that which would win the award in any particular contest but the slower, doomier last two songs show an incredible ability to create interesting melodies.

The first song is titled Firmament and is the fastest track on the album. It starts off as a mid - hi tempo black metal snare and bass drum pound-fest which then leads on into a great mid section and back out into what sounds to be the beginning of the song played again. Simple yet effective. Nothing meticulously structured or outdone. It starts, your listening, and before you know it, its over. Not a bad opener and it showcases all the strong points of this album - the melodies (especially in the center part of the song), the vocals, and the back to basics nature proving how black metal can be simple yet well done. As I mentioned before, the drums could have been worked with a bit more however I don't think they seriously hinder the music in anyway.

Song two is my favorite on the album and differs quite differently from the first song. gone are... the drums aside from accents here and there. If there was a child daycare service in hell and they had a commercial on television, this would be the theme song. haunting melodies complimented nicely by the eerie twang of the trebly guitar and also a simple bass line following the dark melody make this peice akin to playing with Lucifer while listening to his favorite "soft rock." The song continues on. sadly, the only thing holding this song back is a lack of any variation in the tempo or riffage. Though a great song, it falls slightly short of an excellent song. A little more effort could have made this song classic.

Song three is very slow and very wretched. The first minute of "The death of Fenrir" is nothing but bass and it stays this way for a while. Haunting like the interlude on the first track and the whole of the second track, the song crawls on until it comes it's fading end. an interesting choice for a final track but somehow it works well.

In total, this eleven minute album is quite good as far as underground black metal is concerned. it has its moments and is an interesting listen. for those who are looking for grim, fast, and headbangable black metal, this is NOT what your looking for. Those looking to light candles, sing hymns to the black lord and wander through untouched forests at night, i think you may enjoy this impressive debut but I would turn to masters Drudkh, Astrofaes, Empyrium, and Negura Bunget first.

Motherbrain - Live At Tobacco Road NYC 9/21/2012

A quick live video I shot the other night of the awesome Long Island grinders Motherbrain. Definitely go see these guys live if you have the chance. This video does NOT do them the justice they deserve. Most impressive about the whole thing was the overall tone of their sound. One guitarist sounding like a full band of a bassist and two guitarists. Joe, their vocalist, was awesome to talk to and gave one of the most impressive vocal performances I've seen in a long time. I give this band a ton of respect. Look for some reviews in the near future.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Necrosadist - The Alpha Nihil

The Cypriots behind Necrosadist led me to really expect some great stuff from this short EP. Although Menthor on Drums has been in several other bands seeing Dictator's name amongst the participants immediately evokes images of the awesome Dysangelist released under his self-titled project. And though I knew that this was a different force than the classically influenced, black metal tinted funeral doom which evaporated out of hell and into my stereo speakers during ritual playback of that tape, I believed that Necrosadist could be for me what Apolion was last year - a glistening beacon of resiliency amongst the matte black metal current that has pervaded so readily these last several years.

So does Necrosadist's EP, The Alpha Nihil, live up to my expectations? I don't know. Somewhere in the middle maybe but something hints at a subdued greatness here. It's like hearing a lot about a great restaurant only to get there and find that they ran out of the dish you wanted to order... To be frank, this EP is raw, dirty, unpolished and resembles a simmering pile of scat in the corner of the room. When you think about it though, when was the last time that you were walking down the street and didn't stop to confirm your fears when you saw roadkill lying in the street? My largest gripe with the EP is that the first song was longer than I felt it needed to be and contained some rather mediocre riffs while the two songs really displayed two different styles of the filthy stuff Necrosadist create. Opening track "Day of Dissolution" is a much more conventional sounding raw black metal track. There are some really good slow marching sections and near the four-fifths mark a fascinating clean section with blast beats that sounds like something Watain would do if they weren't too busy being generic. Unfortunately, there are other sections which make me seriously consider never listening to the song again. The caboose is the title track and it saves the EP for sure.

The second track on this fifteen-minute EP is a weird mix of bubbling and fizzing textures; frothy atmospheres of curdling blood and melting ligaments. It is far less direct than the opening track and where the first track had moments which could've come from any 'ol black metal band anywhere on the planet, The Alpha Nihil, is a much more interesting setup. It resembles a wandering hermit, confused and downtrodden, exploring his surroundings in a circle, his mind hazy and somewhere within, his consciousness is screaming in anguish. The layering of the guitars is an interesting thing with the most prevalent layer being a lead layer with a lot of whammy-bar experimentation. The first half of the track relies heavily on a layer of phasing and echoing guitars while the second half of the song is more solidly built of riffs. The drumming is set back but crisp enough and the vocals follow the same pattern as they did in the first track on the EP. While the first track is questionable but hinted at some great Ideas, the second track took those opportunities and excelled at them.

To go back to the restaurant metaphor, The Alpha Nihil is like going to a restaurant and finding out what you really wanted to order was no longer available but they brought you out this really phenomenal plate of french fries covered in bacon and chives and cheese, only the plate wasn't a plate... it was a naked woman and you weren't actually eating at a restaurant, you were in a ritual mutilation ceremony.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Midnite Hellion - The Fever

I waited to review this for far longer than I promised so I apologize to Midnite Hellion and Drew for the long period of absent reviewing. That said, I did so because I wanted to wait until the final copy sold out of my distro and, hopefully, their stock. I maintain the belief that it's not proper to review product I am trying to sell for fear that my opinions may influence someone to not buy a release. In the case of Midnite Hellion's debut demo, The Fever, this most likely would be the case. The Fever is not a bad demo, in fact it's a very good demo in some regards but it does have some major flaws, flaws similar to the Horrifier album I reviewed a few months back. The fact that the bands share members, and share styles could be discussed deeper but I'm not going to waste time with the minutia of describing Midnite Hellion as a response to Horrifier. The under currents between the two bands are known to those in the area so whatever that may imply is up to those involved to consider.

Midnite Hellion are an awesome live band. They really hit the nail on the head if that nail was being used to build a stage or show-prop or a doghouse. I was excited to hear the demo, hoping it would capture that energy on tape which, unfortunately it doesn't. At the demo release show they really hit it out of the park - their stage show was exciting and fun to watch, there was headbanging galore and the intoxicated nature of the whole thing was a definite blast into the ever increasingly distant golden age of metal. The main problem though was covered up; Sonny Zackeo is a great live performer but on record, he truly falls short. Falls very short, in fact. He falls flat on his face - and his notes - and is forced to drag himself through a mire of uneasiness and hesitance that is audibly equivalent to watching a good friend get shut down constantly by everyone around him. In the time since this demo was released, the band has changed vocalists and I have not had a chance to get out to see the new vocalist. If they can get that position filled with someone with some serious chops, the band have a good chance of being a local favorite. I don't think that world domination is within their grasp yet though.

To return to discussion of Midnite Hellion as a response to Horrifier, While I felt Horrifier was a confused example of a prodigal possibility, Midnite Hellion is the opposite. Midnite Hellion is a totally focused though mediocre entity at it's heart. The standout performance on the demo falls solely on bassist Bill Dripps with Dan Sclavi and Amadeus Zajac presenting strong - but average - guitar performances. Drew, as a drummer, is not going to do anything that will make you want to struggle through rewinding the tape or picking your head up from the morning crossword puzzle. He's a simple yet effective drummer as were the vast majority of NWOBHM drummers but to stand out, there needs to be more. The standout track on the demo is Cross the Line, but only because it really doesn't fit. It's a fast, thrashy piece that no one seems like they wanted to record. It would have fit better on the Stench album (There's some connections here too) with a song title about dipping children in a toilet full of vomit and excrement or some other ridiculous thing that Amadeus would talk about outside one of the many shows I see him at across NJ and PA.

The strongest song here is the second track, 1903. A bass intro opens the track, displaying some of Bill Dripps' talents. The song crisscrosses between verse and choruses with some gang vocals and solos. It's structured well, stays interesting and has Sonny's best performance as well. In a few places for about three seconds he almost comes across as a student of James Rivera that really didn't take class seriously. The other highlight is the cover of Invaders. Now, most of you don't know this but all my immediate friends do: I loathe that song. It's the biggest pet peeve track of all time for me. The almost lackadaisical and poorly thought out ascending and descending chorus section makes me want to slap my face with large slate slabs covered in vomit and urine. The pain of such an impact would be far less torturous than Bruce Dickinson's whiny vocal explorations. Hearing Sonny attempt those shrill high parts created stiffening fear and curdling blood in all parts of my body upon the thought that I was about to hear my least favorite song get redone by Midnite Hellion, of all possible people. Fortunately, Sonny did something great... he didn't try to hit the glass-shattering high pitched shrieks that Bruce made criminal. The result, a tolerable version of my most hated track! Midnite Hellion do in fact have some things going for them. They are good song writers, and the tracks, with some additional production standards and vocal improvements could in fact be significantly better. The demo's faults aren't really a fault of the band but a fault of what might be a rushed effort to get material recorded and released.

Although the poor production may have been a blessing in disguise, for some reason my tape was panned entirely to the left, with no sound on the right. I tested the other tape I had at the time and it was the same issue... on three tape players, each with two separate tape decks, and a portable walkman. The guitar tone is fairly weak though the separation of instruments is perfect. You can hear the bass clearly, though the bass sounds a bit limp. I don't know how they recorded this so I can't point to anything particularly but the overall feeling I get from the production is that it may have been a four track recording or something in a basement. Ultimately, with a new EP being released in a few weeks and a new singer present, Midnite Hellion may have improved considerably in the time between this demo and the show I saw them play. I plan on being at their EP release show in about a month so, I can only hope that their new EP and singer add the Midnite Hellion the pieces they need to become the awesome band that those guys deserve - they are all awesome people and I wish them the best. I'm definitely going to pick up the EP because with minor adjustments, it could turn out to be an awesome set of songs.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Demolizer Interview 9/17/2012

Of all the bands which I've received tapes from and traded with over the years, there have been few which truly moisten the loins and perk up the soul like the Motorhead and Bathory influenced Speed Metal Slovakians Demolizer. Fortunately, not only is the band skirting, what I feel, could be breakout success with recent surges of interest in bands like Midnight and Speedwolf, but the two main men behind the unruliness that is apparent on their awesome demo Possessed and their raucous Live Demo are genuine blokes. Amidst all the emails about beer and boozing with both Vrana and Demolator, we pulled ourselves together to get something out to the metal fanatics seeking something to crank during the binge drinking, house parties and all that other metal tomfoolery. Thanks again to my friend, Demolator, for taking a minute to answer some questions.

CT: Demolator, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about your awesome band Demolizer! Tell me about how Demolizer came to exist back in 2008.

Demolator: Greetings ! Idea of making this band came simply from my fanatical attitude and love to the 80's extreme metal. I started it as a solo project due to lack of musicians around and also to have 100% control of music and band itself. I have decided to learn and play guitars, vocals and other instruments to handle the whole band. Luckily I've found later in 2009 another fanatic - Vrana from my friends Thrash Metal band RADIATION, who absolutely fit in and he joined. And he really knew how to PLAY guitars hehehe. I am still very grateful of him.

CT: Are there simply no musicians in Slovakia or is old school metal just not popular? It seems that early 80's metal is on an upswing in popularity here in the USA.

Demolator: Thats great to hear, you have really great "retro" bands like Toxic Holocaust, Midnight or Steel Panther, I saw that pussies this year and they did very great show !!! But there is also a lot of US bands, that did not catch that 80s feeling, which if you dont have, that tons of great riffs turns into a waste in a moment... Here in Slovakia (and I believe I can say in whole Central/East Europe) Old school Metal is dead at all... Germany, Finland or Sweden have very great bands in this genre, but the rest of Europe seems to have no interest in it anymore... It would be very nice to have bands only like Black Ghost around these time hahaha

CT: When someone asks you about your influences as they relate to Demolizer, what bands do you mention? What bands have had a large impact on the Demolizer sound?

Demolator: I am a total maniac to "1980-1985" era, which is in my opinion absolutely the best Metal could ever offer. To name the most important bands which inspired us are - VENOM, BATHORY, MOTORHEAD,  BLACK SABBATH, DISCHARGE, GBH, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, MERCYFUL FATE. And sound ? We are trying just to sound like a total darkness !!  (which suceeded only on debut album of BATHORY and BLACK SABBATH...)

CT: Tell me about your awesome demo, Possessed. I think it's a classic sounding Speed Metal / Black Metal demo in the vein of Venom and early Sodom. How did you acheive this sound during the recording? Was your intent to create a demo that sounds like it came straight out of the early-mid 80's?

Demolator: Yes and no hahaha. Our intention was to create a sound like it came straight from hell !!! We were recording it on a tape machine and then vocals and bass has been recorded separately. Of course we were trying to be as close as possible to the 80's sound, but there are things hard to fight with like drums for example. In the 80's there were very different sounding drums with long toms and extremely loud snares etc., it is almost impossible to get this kind of drum kit today. But anyway, it is most important for us to do things by our own, because I like to do music as it comes, naturally, with no digital repairings and plastic shit around.

CT: The track titles say everything about Possessed but my favorite grouping of lyrics on the demo is for opening track, "Masturbation." It's such a twisted song. Across the whole demo though, the lyrics are really awesome. What are some of your favorite lyrics across Possessed? Are there any stories or background to any of the lyrics in your songs?

Demolator: Thank you. There are no favourite lyrics I guess. I just write as I feel it, on the first hit. Masturbation song wasnt meant seriously to be honest, one of those "lets make some fucking Motorhead" but lot of people like it mostly hahaha. Some lyrics are personal, some reflects my anger against this world and life, and some are dedicated to metal way of life.

CT: What things are you angry about that inspires you to voice your hate and frustration with Demolizer?

Demolator: Music and lyrics should speak itself... I can sum it into one sentence - Fuck this world !!!

CT: You also had a really small demo in 2009. What happened with this demo? Will it ever get released as bonus on another future album or will we never hear it? Apparently there are no vocals on it?

Demolator: Yes, it was recorded as rehearsal promo with no cover or info at all and spread only to close friends (shortly after Vrana joined the band). It has extremely great old sound in my opinion, even older than on Possessed demo. I played on Amati drums (very old Czechoslovakian drum producer, you can hear them on old TORR, MASTERS HAMMER, GLADIATOR, etc.) but I dont have them anymore... I haven't think about re-releasing of it yet, but when it will happen I will do some vocals for it definitelly.

CT: Tell me about Demolizer's live performances. What have been some live highlights? What is your favorite story to tell people that ask about your live performances?

Demolator: Well, Demolizer used to have very wild stage performance haha. Sometimes it was like GG Allin on stage !!! I use past time because we've decided to quit doing shows, I lost interest in it, because it's very difficult to find bands that understand it and which play REAL and VIOLENT Metal. Maybe some tour in Germany would be cool but fuck it anyway. Every gig we did was pretty extreme, with lot of booze, drugs and violence hehehe. I remember some Czech Demolizer fans started to throw chairs or tables through the window (it was second floor !!!) and there were a lot of fights during the show, our last gig ended up when the guy in the crowd started to bite me hahaha. This is rock n roll !!!

CT: Speaking of Live performances, you also have released a live demo. Do you feel this tape reflects the energy of Demolizer live?

Demolator: Definitelly not ! It captures only our drunkeness maybe, but I think Demolizer is very energic on stage.

CT: Tell me about the Slovakian metal scene. What are some of the bands that you've played with that deserve some attention? Are bands in the scene willing to help each other or is it a scene of people going it alone, doing everything themselves?

Demolator: Good question. There is no support I believe nor "scene" at all which is very sad. There are some guys from different locations of Slovakia, we are in contact with, but generally people are not helping to keep it. Most of Slovakian bands play shit - a new, modern, technical, with female-vocals, trendy, trendy and plastic music. Nothing for us !!! When speaking about our metal music, I can name RADIATION, HELCARAXE, TEMNOHOR, OLDBLOOD, EVIL, KORIUM, but almost every one does not perform live. RADIATION is playing live only so to speak hahaha.

CT: Other than Demolizer, you have played in some other bands in the past as well. What other bands have you played in and how would you compare those bands to Demolizer in terms of your involvement in writing and composing?

Demolator: Demolizer is very special in every meaning. It is my personal tribute to occult philosophy and heavy metal music ! 80's heavy metal era as I mentioned before is the most beautiful act of darkness ever done in a whole art. And I always try to be as close to this as possible with Demolizer. So every other musical feeling I have I put to different bands and projects. I will name other bands only with some releases or recordings - GOATCRAFT (black/death metal), MORGANTE (ambient, black metal), SVARTHAT (very primitive black metal), NIHILISM (black metal), GATES OF PTULAH (black/death metal with member Mrož from RADIATION) and BROKEN CRUCIFIX (heavy metal, also with Mrož) and from the past - STRYGON (heavy metal), POSTMORTER (thrash metal) and THE BAG OF BONES (70's hard rock)

CT: Other than metal, what else do you enjoy doing with your time? What other hobbies are you involved with?

Demolator: There is no other than Metal hahaha (only crust/punk and acid rock!) . But I am into occult, Satanic philosophy, horror movies/literature and nature or travelling.

CT: What would you list as your favorite horror movies or novels and why?

Demolator: I like retro spooky movies mostly like Häxän, Faust, Nosferatu, or The Exorcist, Lynch films, and Italian classics from Mario Bava or Lucio Fulci. They have incredibly great and obscure dark atmosphere. You dont need litres of blood and super-effects to shit from it. And I read mostly historical/religious books of fact or writers like Lovecraft or Velmistr (one current Czech uknown writer).

CT: You obviously enjoy the bottle. What Slovakian liquors and beers are worth seeking out? I'd love to get my hands on some Slovakian beer!

Demolator: Hahaha well we have a drink called Borovička with about 40 % of alcohol but I cant drink it anymore, I prefer whiskey (Jack Daniels !!!). And beers we have some but mostly crap, Slovakian prefers more Czech beers (Pilsner or Black Hill). My favourite Slovakian beer is called Goat of Velkopopovice, it has great taste and has logo like old Bathory hahaha.

CT: If there was one little known fact about Demolizer, what would it be?

Demolator: We never performed or recorded with clean minds.

CT: What are the future plans for Demolizer? Are you working on new material? Any plans for another demo or release anytime soon?

Demolator: Currently I am living abroad so the band is off, but I should be back for a while during this winter and for sure we will recorded some new stuff. First there will be recorded a 7" single and then a debut LP, I hope we will find someone who would like to release us on vynil.

CT: That's all! Demolator, you've got the last words brother!

Demolator: Thanks for your time and space here, I enjoyed your questions. Support the true spirit of extreme music !!!

Diseased Oblivion Review #4

Thanks from the awesome guys at Aristocrazia webzine for their great review of Diseased Oblivion - Portals of Past and Present. Check out the link here and also be sure to check out their review of Okketaehm - Stones while you're visiting their site.