Category Archives: Reviews

Sun of the Sleepless – To the Elements album review – August 2017 AB

“Hunter of silence
Awakened…
Wary thine eye
In the dark”.

sun of the sleepless

Who would have thought that in 2017 Ulf Theodor Schwadorf will bring Sun of the Sleepless back from the dark slumber in which it fell in 2004 and will return with their first full length in 18 years of bizarre existence? I was more than hyped when I saw that on the 21 st of July the band has released via Lupus LoungeTo The Elements“, a collection of 7 songs which bear the trade mark of their talented creator.

What we have here is a black metal album dedicated to nature and the creatures that inhabit it. With 2 exceptions, The Burden and the interlude Forest Crown, the rest of the songs are long, atmospheric and harsh. The overall atmosphere reminds me a lot of the lost, forgotten sad spirit of the nineties, when bands like Ulver (early period), Forgotten Woods, Burzum, Emperor and Darkthrone created their masterpieces which are so influential even to this day.

This album starts with a cover of a Lorenna McKennitt song, The Burden, which, after 3 minutes quickly gives in to Motions, revealing the true nature of the beast.
To the Elements is a superbly crafted album, highly atmospheric and very gloomy. If you are expecting influences from the other bands Schwadorf plays in, well, they are there, but do not interfere with the general concept of the album at all.

The third track, The Owl, (the only one which has a video so far) starts with its acoustic slow intro and soft spoken voices, erupting minutes later into a frenzy of riffs and blast beats. As the name implies, the song is dedicated to this mystical and often cursed bird, one of the best predators which ever lived in the animal kingdom.
Schwadorf‘s voice fits perfectly the atmosphere, his grave, harsh tone providing the songs a much deserved weight. He’s backed up by some majestic choirs, while all the blast beats and the icy riffs tear through the acoustic veil like a sharp blade.

sun of the sleepless to the elements

The 4th track, Where in my Childhood Lived a Witch is amazing and if I didn’t like the whole album as much as I do, I would have considered it my favorite song. Perhaps the longest track of the album, with over 8 minutes, this song is the scariest for sure. It starts off in a mid paced rhythm, with great double bass drumming and shredding riffs. In the background some keyboards add a frightening echo to the story. After you think you got used to the song, it suddenly changes rhythm and goes into a cavalcade of riffs and blast beats which last till the end. A powerful song, which is a gem even when it’s played live. This continuous balance between the atmospheric and the violent parts of the songs is what makes To the Elements such an outstanding album.

To calm down the pace a bit after such an intense tempo, Forest Crown is used as a small comforting interlude, with its acoustic guitars and warm vocals. You can actually imagine the vast forest, softly speaking to you when the wind blows through its trees. A beautiful song, smartly inserted at the right time between the longer songs.

The next two tracks, In the Realm of the Bark and Phoenix Rise are the perfect choice to end this beautiful album. The melancholic choirs on Phoenix Rising are beautiful and whenever I play that song I have the impression I am flying over the vast forest.

Overall, what Schwadorf did with To the Elements was basically to create a collection of hymns in which the nature, the old legends and the mystical animals play the main role. A piece of modern art which celebrates both the past and the present and teaches us to cherish and preserve what we still have, until it’s too late.

To the Elements is definitely one of the best and most beautiful albums of this year, a jewel of black metal crafted in the depth of the woods.
This album also proves that you don’t have to be overtly satanic to release a good black metal album in 2017. All you need is the “soul” and the inspiration, the rest will come by default. To match with the music, the band came up with a brilliant album cover which links this new album with the glorious past of the 1990’s.

The version I reviewed here is the limited black LP (350 copies), which comes on a heavy 180g vinyl, with a special vinyl mastering. The gatefold is simple but efficient, leaving the music to speak for itself.Grab your own copy before it’s too late, this album is a must have for all those who appreciated the spirit of the 1990’s and the “romantic” side of black metal.

Also, if you want to witness how Sun of the Sleepless sounds live, you can watch the full concert the band played at the Prophecy Fest earlier this year. This second ever performance is really impressive and there were many songs from To the Elements which were played that night,together with some old tracks from the past.
Total score: 10 owls out of 10

Sun of the Sleepless line up:

Schwadorf – all instruments

To the Elements track list:

1. The Burden
2. Motions
3. The Owl
4. Where in My Childhood Lived a Witch
5. Forest Crown
6. The Realm of the Bark
7. Phoenix Rise

Band contact and merchandise:

https://www.facebook.com/sunofthesleepless
http://en.prophecy.de/artists/sun-of-the-sleepless/
https://sun-of-the-sleepless.bandcamp.com/

Osculum Infame – “Axis of Blood” review June 2017 AB

France has always been a serious provider of good quality extreme metal bands and during the years more and more bands formed to spread the gospel of the lord. Osculum Infame makes no exception, since this band is one of the veterans of the French black metal scene, its roots going back to 1993, the golden age of black metal, just before things started to fall apart.

Osculum Infame logo

In 24 years of activity under the banner of darkness, Osculum Infame have managed to release only 2 full length albums (along several EP’s and compilations), the famous Dor-nu-Fauglith released in 1997 (which became one of the milestones of the French black metal albums, both hated and revered at the same time), and Axis of Blood, the first album celebrating their return after the sleep of death between 2002-2008.

With an almost completely different line-up, (Deviant von Blakk remaining the only original member since the band’s beginnings), Osculum Infame has released the Axis of Blood on the French label Battlesk’rs in 2015. Since this album is going to be re-released at the end of this month, on the 30th of June (the original first press CD limited to 500 copies is almost sold out), I decided to honor this great release by writing some words about it.

Continue reading Osculum Infame – “Axis of Blood” review June 2017 AB

el Camino – Cursed Congregation album review – Night Tripper Records June 2017 AB

el-Camino-logo

When I heard that this year el Camino will release their third full length after a four years absence I was very hyped because I really love this Swedish group and their cursed doom they’re playing. I liked a lot The Satanik Magick debut LP ( Hail the Horns is a real anthem), Smaland was a nice interlude EP with a very interesting Venom cover (this Swedish version of In League With Satan sounds even better than the original) and Gold of the Great Deceiver was very enjoyable.

So you can imagine my surprise when I read in the press release I received that el Camino plays some sort of malicious black metal with a Dissection-esque touch and “it’s most reminiscent of the Greek black metal scene”. I immediately asked myself what the fuck is happening here, have they changed their style and jumped onto the black metal bandwagon, or the guy who wrote the description smoked something toxic and was talking about another band and its new album?

Since I was devoured by excitement and curiosity, I anxiously pressed the “play” button and I was instantly relieved: el Camino did not change their style at all, instead they added that extra something (maturity and experience, let’s call it) that will turn Cursed Congregation into their best work so far.

Continue reading el Camino – Cursed Congregation album review – Night Tripper Records June 2017 AB

Sektarism – La Mort de L’Infidèle album review June 2017 AB

Sektarism Logo

Many years ago, a Swedish band issued a bold statement that their music was the “audial essence of pure evil”. This might have been correct 25 years ago, but now, in 2017, this statement is no longer true. One of the few bands which this sentence can apply to 100% is Sektarism and their sick music.

The perfect way to sustain this idea is “La Mort de L’Infidèle“, an album which was released by Zanjeer Zani on the 19th of May. While this is only their second full length in almost 10 years of existence, Sektarism have well established themselves as the perfect instrument of faith and devotion which spreads the love and adoration for god. This band (and the music it creates) is only a tool with which the 4 members propagate their beliefs and creeds, by writing and composing religious hymns to glorify the almighty.

Sektarism La Mort De L’Infidèle

What can be said of an album that has only 3 songs but lasts for more than an hour? One thing would definitely be that it’s not boring, even if its length can be discouraging. The first track, “Ô Seigneur” is more like a prayer, a litany sung to underline the faith with which the band serves their God and a perfect way to immerse you in the twisted atmosphere of the album. Then comes, with its menacing title, “Brûle L’Hérétique“, a 20 minute track during which, if you close your eyes and let your imagination flow, you can picture a town’s square, a crowd gathered to receive the daily dose of entertaining and a stake which the heretic is tied to. “Par tes langues innombrables, ronge la chair de l’athée” ( By your countless tongues, gnaw the atheist’s flesh). You can already feel the smell of burning human flesh, don’t you?
The last track, “Conscience, Révolte, Perte du Moi” is also the longest one and contains in 30 minutes the whole quintessence of Sektarism’s ideology. A “shamanik” drum starts slowly and keeps the same obsessive pace for almost the whole duration of the song, accompanied by an organized “cacophony” of sounds and possessed screams. A truly inspiring track, “Conscience” is the perfect way to end such a psychedelic and religious album.

La Mort de L’Infidèle” is not a musical album per se, it’s a collection of 3 hymns dedicated to the glory of the Almighty. If you are looking for catchy riffs and addictive rhythms, well, you better look somewhere else cause this release, like any other Sektarism releases, is not for the faint of heart. The atmosphere is crushing, like each guitar chord weighs at least a ton. The sound is abrasive and BerZerK‘s harsh voice and desperate screams create a hysteric atmosphere, like some sect of religious fanatics are performing a sinister ceremony in an underground cave. To understand what I’m trying to describe here you must attend a Sektarism ceremony or at least watch a live video on YouTube. The effect is guaranteed, I can assure you.

Returning to the last album, well, this ain’t an easy listening. To really enjoy this album you must be in the mood, otherwise you will not understand a thing. It’s definitely not the commercial record you put on while reading a book, but once the sounds and the lyrics enter your system, you’ll be corrupted for good. The rhythm is slow as a giant anaconda slithering on the ground in search of food. Here the food is made of new souls which Sektarism looks to corrupt. First of all, the rhythm section is amazing, Kristik A.K.‘s bass is one of the heaviest I have ever heard and goes hand in hand with the obsessive drums of Shamaanik B. The guitar parts played by Messiatanik Armrek are as dissonant as possible, contributing to this psychedelic and demented atmosphere which make of “La Mort de L’Infidèle” such a powerful album. Add to all of that the vocals of Eklezias’tik BerZerK and you have the complete picture of that religious ceremony I was talking about.
All along the album, the ritualistic drums will pound their obsessive rhythm into your ears and head, driving you crazy with a mystical ecstasy. I am not joking, if you listen to this album properly, with the right atmosphere, you will most likely have the impression that you’ll start bleeding from your freshly acquired stigmata wounds.

Do you remember that famous line from Manowar‘s “Kings of Metal“: “Other bands play, Manowar kills”?. The same thing applies in this case: while (many) other bands play nowadays with this occult satanic devil worshiping thing, Sektarism is dead serious about what they sing and they really practice what they preach. There is no commercial gimmick here, only true devotion and true believers. The music on “La Mort de L’Infidèle” is like a soundtrack for penitence, an audio companion of a ceremony performed by mad zealots.

Les Apôtres de L’Ignominie

Unfortunately for those who do not speak French, they will most likely not understand the message spread out in the lyrics, but I cannot imagine Sektarism sing in any other language than French. Everything flows so well in this beautiful language and every word, every intonation will immediately loose their meaning and sense if sung in English. The mysticism of the words combined with the mysticism of the language form a powerful religious bond which, together with the instruments, make “La Mort de L’Infidèle” such a powerful and frightening album.

I totally recommend buying this majestic piece of art, since “La Mort de L’Infidèle” will soon become one of the milestones of religious music in extreme metal. Released in several formats, from the standard DLP to a Die Hard version limited to only 66 copies and from a deluxe cross shaped digipak (limited to 499 copies) to a gold tape, Sektarism‘s sophomore full length is a living testament and proof that when religion is mixed with music in a proper way, the final result can only be blasphemy.

I also want to mention the artwork of “La Mort de L’Infidèle“, which is brilliant and I really think that Mystik Dementia (drawings) and Eklezias’tik Berzerk (conception and page layout) have definitely outdone themselves. If you want to see (and listen) why I praised this album so much, just do yourselves a favor and buy it, you will not be disappointed.

En Son Nom. Ad Vitam Aeternam.

Sektarism – “La Mort de L’Infidèle” tracklist:

1. Ô Seigneur
2. Brûle l’Hérétique
3. Conscience, Révolte, Perte du Moi

Sektarism line up:

Eklezias’tik BerZerK – vocals
Kristik A.K. – bass
Shamaanik B. – drums
Messiatanik Armrek – guitars

Contact:
http://www.necrocosm.org
http://www.facebook.com/necrocosm.productions
https://necrocosm.bandcamp.com/
http://www.sektarism.org
http://www.facebook.com/sektarism

Other links of interest:
OBSCURANTIST (Grandeur du Nihilisme): http://www.obscurantist.org
MALHKEBRE (Religious Black music): http://www.malhkebre.org / http://www.facebook.com/malhkebre
MALEKHAMOVES (Death Metal): http://www.facebook.com/malekhamoves
THE APOSTLES OF IGNOMINY: http://www.theapostlesofignominy.org

MÖRBIT (Morbid) – “METALION: 50 years of fucking off life Vinyl review – June 2017 AB

Recorded live in 2011, just before the release party for the Year of the Goat box set, what is now known as Metalion 50 Years of Fucking Off Life has been immortalized on vinyl by the Italian label FOAD Records in May 2017.

The name of the band which played these tracks is MÖRBIT and consists of several well known musicians from the Swedish extreme scene. They have decided to put up this band in order to play some Morbid tracks at the above mentioned release party and, the night before the show they recorded their rehearsal as a funeral party for Metalion‘s Slayer Mag and as a tribute to Per Yngve Ohlin, aka Dead, which was Morbid‘s singer for a little while, before moving to Norway to join Mayhem.

This tribute band consists of Peter Stjarvind (drums), Erik Wallin (guitar), David Blomqvist (guitar), Tyrant (bass) and Erik Danielsson (vocals). The fact that these super musicians have united to play some classic Morbid tracks is pretty awesome, but to record this rehearsal at the infamous Watain‘s Wolf Lair is beyond words.

MÖRBIT (MORBID) – “METALION: 50 YEARS OF FUCKING OFF LIFE VINYL

The vinyl, which was released in several formats (red splatter, clear red and black), came out on the 26th of May and has become a really important document in the history of extreme metal. Not only because of the awesome line-up – musicians who play(ed) in bands like Entombed, Damnation, Merciless, Nifelheim, Dismember and Watain – but also because of the tracks featured on this record, which basically contain the whole classic December Moon demo, released in 1987. Continue reading MÖRBIT (Morbid) – “METALION: 50 years of fucking off life Vinyl review – June 2017 AB

Cobra Fest day 1: Alice Null, Breathelast si Daniel Payne – 02.06.17 AB

Aseara in Fabrica s-a intamplat ceva ce nu as fi crezut ca ma va face sa traiesc una din cele mai misto seri din ultimul timp. A fost vorba mai exact prima seara din Cobra Fest, organizat de baietii de la The Guest. Partea super misto a acestui fest e ca show-urile au loc in 3 locatii diferite, scena acustica de pe terasa, scena din B52 si scena din Fabrica. Astfel, publicul se plimba dintr-o parte in alta cu lejeritate, sunt baruri peste tot, e si merch si per total aseara chiar a fost o atmosfera ca afara. Concertele au inceput, cu mici exceptii, la orele stabilite, contribuind astfel la fluiditatea atmosferei, daca pot spune asa.

Seara a inceput cu micuta trupa Alice Null pe scena acustica, concertul lor debutand la 7 jumate fix. Spun “micuta” pentru ca aceasta trupa e un duo, deci descrierea chiar merge in cazul asta. Timpul alocat lor a fost de jumatate de ora, prilej suficient pentru ei de a-si prezenta piesele atmosferice in fata unui public nou, probabil nefamiliarizat cu muzica trupei bucurestene.

Alice-Null-live-Fabrica

Cand ai in fata o trupa de care nu stii nimic, nu prea ai idee la ce sa te astepti, asa ca reactia destul de “molcoma” de la inceput a fost pe deplin justificata.
Piese ca You, Beating sau In my Dreams au creat o atmosfera destul de “trista” si deprimanta, in deplina concordanta cu soarele care apunea peste oras. Cu un sunet excelent facut de baietii de la Green Sound Team, Alice Null au mai facut aseara un mic pas catre iesirea din anonimat, concertul lor fiind destul de reusit.

O mica obiectie am de facut la adresa unei parti a publicului, care, la fel ca si la precedentul show al trupei din Club Control, a vorbit si a ras foarte tare in timpul recitalului. Astfel de reactii mi se par complet deplasate si lipsite de bun simt, in conditiile in care trupa de pe scena (oricare ar fi ea) se chinuie sa transmita un mesaj.
Continue reading Cobra Fest day 1: Alice Null, Breathelast si Daniel Payne – 02.06.17 AB

Jesus Died in Bucharest – Alice Null and Spiritual Front concert review – Bucharest 20.05.17 AB

Last Saturday, Club Control in Bucharest hosted a very interesting Spiritual Front show. The Italian trio played 2 dates in this part of Europe, one on Friday in Sofia, Bulgaria and the other the next day in Bucharest. For the Romanian date, the promoter ( Final Step Productions ) selected the young band Alice Null to open the hostilities.

The concert was supposed to start at 20.00 sharp, but it was delayed a bit because of the soundcheck both bands had to perform. For Alice Null this was the most important concert so far so before the show the tension was sky high. Once on stage the Bucharest based duo immediately felt at ease and immersed themselves and the audience into an atmosphere worthy of a Twin Peaks episode.

alice-null- live in control

Since the band had a limited time to play, they went through the 7 songs from the set list with very little talking, thus creating a depressive feeling. Alice Null‘s ethereal voice and the Alex Void‘s guitar parts, both enhanced by some space-like effects, filled the cozy Control hall with an impeding sense of melancholy. Continue reading Jesus Died in Bucharest – Alice Null and Spiritual Front concert review – Bucharest 20.05.17 AB