Category Archives: Reviews

SVOID – Ars Kha review – October 2017 AB

6 years ago, the Hungarian entity called Svoid appeared from the mists of Null for the first time. Its sharp toothed mouth gnawed slowly on the pillars of knowledge and death, releasing from the hungry void 5 darkened hymns.

Ars Kha was unleashed as an independent release hence its limited availability on the market. Those of you who are reading this and wonder where you can buy the physical copy from, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you by telling you this material has been sold out for quite a long time now. The only possible place to buy this black masterpiece is the band’s official Bandcamp page, where you can purchase the digital copy for less than 3 Euros. Hopefully that someday in the near future this debut record will see again the light of night in another form, because it really deserves a true re-release.

Having left the previous projects he was involved in and very determined to walk on his own path, S sought a way to throw his hate and despise in the face of the ugly humanity in the only way he could: through music. This is how Svoid was born and this is how Ars Kha first formed from a formless shape. Handling all the duties besides the drumming, S composed and recorded the 5 tracks in the JuiceKiller Studio in 2011.

Svoid-Ars-Kha-cover scrollsofdarmoth

The album slowly unfolds its black wings and deceitfully drags the listener into a mid tempo rhythm only to suddenly explode into an eruption of frantic riffs and demented blast beats. All the ingredients of a classic black metal album are thrown into this boiling cauldron while S and his extremely talented nameless drummer stir them with their craft.

The icy guitars, the possessed and desolate shrieks, the insane drumming (those double bass pedals are absolutely amazing) and the discrete but omnipresent bass guitar form the band’s black metal exoskeleton and help creating a very dark and gloomy atmosphere. The lyrics are poems dedicated to Death, making the 5 songs on this EP the perfect soundtrack for the passing into unbeing.

A certain melancholy permeates the 5 compositions and it is highlighted by some brilliant guitar parts, as the short but intense solo of Peter Sallai on “A Void of Breathless Fall” or the farewell-like chords at the end of “The Emptiness They Find“.

Of course that several influences can be heard here and there during those 26 minutes – the strongest which comes to mind is Watain – but trust me when I say that after listening several times in a row to those songs you’ll be amazed how much soul and passion the 2 musicians have put into this release. This is definitely not another clone band, but a very true to itself one. To prove that, just check out their later releases and see how they have evolved and how much they have transgressed from the nothingness which they were born in.

Those of you who have already listened closely to Svoid’s music have maybe sensed the essence which binds all their releases together. This essence is much more than black metal, which has been used only as a leitmotif to hide the true spirit of the band and its members. The songs which are on this MCD or EP or whatever you want to call it are so much alike with some tracks the band has composed on their later materials. The essence is still there, only the form has changed.

Ars Kha strongly burns with a fierce black flame and lights up the dark hallways of the dimensionless void which Svoid and its members represent. This debut MCD is a powerful reminder that good music can only come from the heart, with passion, blood and dedication.

ARS KHA tracklist:

1. Supreme Evil Glory
2. Death Underneath
3. A Void of Breathless Fall
4. Ars Kha
5. The Emptiness They Find

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Horde – Hellig Usvart album review – September 2017 AB

Common knowledge implies that by definition, black metal must be anti christian, blasphemic, anti life, anti humanity etc. That’s why, starting from the very beginning with Venom and Bathory, even if not serious at all, the lyrical approach, the visuals and the music were Satanic enough to scare the shit out of the humble church goers. Since then this music has evolved a lot and in today’s black metal we have reached a new level of visual and ideological blasphemy which could have never been imagined 30 years ago. If this is 100% true or just some well orchestrated circus, that is another discussion.

If we are to judge it by the book, you cannot play black metal if you do not believe in Satan. But what about christian “black metal”, can that be true? I have not heard of many such bands, but one which instantly comes to mind is Horde. And I must add that their one and only album released so far, “Hellig Usvart“, can equal in musicianship and visuals many so called true black metal albums released until now.

But what is so special about this Australian band anyway? And why did I choose it for Scrolls of Darmoth‘s Blast From the Past? First and foremost, out of nostalgia. “Hellig Usvart“, “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” and “The Oath of Black Blood” were the first 3 black metal albums I bought on tape in 1994. I have never heard anything similar before and for me these 3 albums changed my life.

Horde – Hellig-Usvart

Under no circumstances was I to know that what I just bought was called black metal, nor was I aware of the events surrounding Mayhem. Romania of the early 90’s was a place completely unaware of what was going on in the West. Since we did not have proper concerts or a music shop, the tape/zine trading was the only way to discover new things. But we also had bootleggers. Lots of them. I kinda miss that period, it was romantic in a way but I would never buy bootlegs again. (The covers were xeroxed and the sound quality was horrible most of the time).

When I first played Mayhem‘s album, I was in my room, with candles burning on the table. The setting was perfect, but I wasn’t prepared for what was to come. I was absolutely stunned. I did not listen to such a mystic music before, nothing I was listening to at the time compared to the evil which spewed out from the tape player. Still in shock after Mayhem, I put on Horde. When “A Church Bell Tolls Amidst the Frozen Nordic Winds” started, my imagination was already running wild. If “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” was cold and morbid, this album was haunting. I really enjoyed every single track, mesmerized by the blast beats, the furious riffs and the black and white xeroxed cover, which I stared at for hours. Needles to say that after I put Beherit in the tape player, my universe was completely torn apart, in a good way. I was doomed for ever!

But what was so special about Horde‘s album that made me remember it and get it out of its coffin? Well, even if over the years I realized what was actually going on with the band (the whole project was basically a christian mockery of the the so called “true black metal” current), I still found the idea “interesting” and the music very much appealing.

You probably know that Horde is a one man project of the ex drummer in Mortification, a christian death metal band who was quite busy in the beginning of the 90’s releasing some interesting albums like Mortification, Scrolls of the Megilloth or Post Momentary Affliction. At some point, after discovering the wave of black metal which erupted from Scandinavia, Jayson Sherlock aka Anonymous (sounds like Euronymous, right?) decided he had to counteract the northern blasphemy with an unblack metal album, suggestively called Hellig Usvart (Holy Unblack).

Released by Nuclear Blast in 1994, the album contains 12 songs and has a duration of almost 40 minutes. Everything on it, from the band name, the cover, to the song titles and the music does not betray the true nature of “holy beast” which is contained within the disc. Songs like “Blasphemous Abomination of the Satanic Pentagram“, “Drink from the Chalice of Blood” and “An Abandoned Grave Bathes Softly in the Falling Moonlight” might successfully have been written by any Norwegian band of the time. Apart these “horrific” song titles, Anonymous has bestowed upon us the magic of the white light in which tracks like “Invert the Inverted Cross” (one of my favorites), “Silence the Blasphemous Chanting” and the funny “Crush the Bloodied Horns of the Goat” shine like (un)black metal gems.

Do not get fooled by the strong christian message on this album, Hellig Usvart is a solid piece of brutal music, played by a very skilled musician and which has all the characteristics of a real black metal album: bad production, furious blast beats, chilling riffs, raucous voice alternating with possessed shrieks. All these, combined with the fact that Horde did not release another album after this one, make Hellig Usvart a milestone in a genre that no one knew (or cared) if it ever existed and place it, at least musically and visually, on the same level with many notorious black metal albums released at the time.

Do I still enjoy Horde after 23 years? Not only that I definitely do it, but I also want other people to )re)discover this lost, atypical jewel of black metal. Because in the end, despite his efforts to fight his eternal arch enemy, Anonymous has created (maybe involuntarily) one of the most interesting albums in this troubled history of black metal which has definitely stood the test of time.

Horde – Hellig Usvart tracklist:

1. A Church Bell Tolls Amidst the Frozen Nordic Winds
2. Blasphemous Abomination of the Satanic Pentagram
3. Behold, the Rising of the Scarlet Moon
4. Thine Hour Hast Come
5. Release and Clothe the Virgin Sacrifice
6. Drink from the Chalice of Blood
7. Silence the Blasphemous Chanting
8. Invert the Inverted Cross
9. An Abandoned Grave Bathes Softly in the Falling Moonlight
10. Crush the Bloodied Horns of the Goat
11. Weak, Feeble, Dying, Antichrist
12. The Day of Total Armageddon Holocaust

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