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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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→
As I already mentioned it in the previous Pagan Megalithreview, before recording the second album in 2010, the band decided to sleep the sleep of death for an unlimited period of time. In 2016 they awakened from their silent slumber and their long awaited album “Viharjárás” (Stormburst) was finally released. In February 2017 Neverheard Distro released it on tape as well. What better way to listen to this opus than on tape?
Recorded in the same successful formula than “Ólomharangok” (Leadenbells), (AE and Tuhlv), this sophomore album sees Pagan Megalith taking their music a step further on the evolution scale. Gone is the Gorgoroth vibe which dominated the previous album, instead their compositions are imbued with a more personal and sorrowful feeling.
The speed has maybe decreased a bit, replacing the previous groovy attitude with more elaborate compositions full of hate and disgust but overall, the whole dominant feeling is one of nihilism and hate. Again, don’t expect an album full of ballads and odes to love. No, no, no. There’s plenty of blast bea(s)ts on this album, but the drumming has shifted towards a certain nostalgia instead of a simple aggressive style. Continue reading Pagan Megalith – Viharjárás – Neverheard Distro 2016 AB→
Pagan Megalith is a not a new band, but if we think that in 13 years of activity (with 6 years of hiatus) they have released only 2 albums, we might consider them a young band. But what makes this group really special are the skills and the musicianship of its members. On one hand we have Ga’eheln, (best known for his involvement in multiple Hungarian bands, like Svoid etc) on guitars and vocals, and on the other there’s AE on drums. The union of these 2 fine musicians has resulted in “Ólomharangok“, their debut album, which was spawned between 2008-2009 and released on tape 1 year later. The same year, just before recording their second full length, the band decided to put an end to its short existence and withdrew into the dark which it came from.
What we deal here with is pure Gorgoroth worship but done in the best way possible. Not only this album is not a mere copycat or a tribute band, but Pagan Megalith has put its own soul into this music, adding some really interesting passages like acoustic intros or slow, atmospheric parts. But don’t get me wrong, there are no lullabies on this album so expect plenty of double bass drums, insane blast beats and great cold, icy guitar riffs (just listen to the track “Sziklavér“) and you’ll feel like having taken a ride back to 1993.
The energy which emanates from these tracks is contagious and you just want to headbang like a maniac while the music is infecting your ears. It’s a very addictive listen and I strongly recommend it to those who are still very nostalgic about those great times when black metal was really evil, simple and to the point.
The production is flawless allowing the songs to flow in a very organic way, from start to finish. Pagan Megalith have created with “Ólomharangok” a magnificent tribute album to the golden, romantic period of black metal but they have given it a personal and quite modern touch.
The drums are excellent, imposing the rhythm all along the album, shifting from a black’n roll, groovy sound to raw black metal. Ga’eheln‘s voice is perfect for this album, his raw, scrappy vocals perfectly connecting the dots.
Overall this album is a must for every nostalgic of the great 1990’s times and a very good quintessence of the first 3 Gorgoroth albums, but with a personal feeling.
The lyrics are in Hungarian but that’s not a problem since this melodic language can be quite interesting when it comes to black metal.
The digital limited edition which can be found here features a Behemoth cover from the band’s “And the Forests Dream Eternally” EP. This groovy, Bathory inspired track is the perfect way to conclude an album which pays so much respect to the glorious dark past.
AaaaaRrrrrrggggghhhh!!! Pure Evil and Hate!!!!!
Pagan Megalith – “Ólomharangok” track list:
1. Őszi áradatba pusztul
2. Révület jövel
3. Torzult Nap
6. Az idő vasfoga
8. A gyilokjáróból
9. Nincs út közöttünk
10. Alkonyatba tűnök
11. Pure Evil and Hate (Behemoth cover – Bonus track available only on the deluxe digital version).
בַּת שֶׁ֫בַע, the biblical character that drove King David nuts when he saw her bathing has reincarnated into a sinister entity which has seduced many listeners with its cursed music. Hailing from Belgium, Bathsheba is in a way the new kid on the metal scene, despite the years of service of its members who play (or have played) in several well known bands like Gorath, Serpentcult or Death Penalty.
Two years ago the band released their first EP, “The Sleepless Gods“, a 2 song material which came out on Svart Records, the home of non conventional metal music. I found it interesting, but for some unknown reason it didn’t knock me off my feet, so after several spins I left the vinyl on its shelf. But several weeks ago I had the chance to come across a couple of tracks from Bathsheba‘s new album, “Servus“, and, just like the biblical David, I was instantly infatuated with the music and wanted to listen more to it, so I bought the album. The rest, as they say, is history.
The time has come for Sincarnate to release their sophomore album, In Nomine Homini, on their old trusty companion Hatework . After a small pause (4 years since their last release, the EP Nothing Left to Give) and some line up changes (a continuous come-and-go of several drummers), the band has finally found a stable formula and what better way to celebrate it than releasing a new album. The album will come out next week, on April the 1st, when the band will play a special release show in Fabrica opening for the Czech band Root. And no, this is not an April fool’s day, the album is real and so is Sincarnate‘s determination.
A collection of 9 songs, with a total length of almost an hour, this album is definitely a big step ahead compared to Sincarnate‘s previous works. The first thing that struck me after I listened to this album was the abundancy of Latin and catholic choruses, which, if used correctly, can indeed create a religious atmosphere. Even if Sincarnate are not the first ones to use this combination, I must admit that it fits their music well and sometimes it even hooks you. The best example is the first track, Attende Domine, which after the spoken intro in another dead language (Aramaic, I assume), unleashes a whole arsenal of catchy riffs, choruses and blast beats which made me think the guys wanted to strip Batushka off their recently acquired glory.
Fortunately that was just an impression and after some middle eastern wailings, Agra Bat Mahlat slowly creeps in on you. This second song is immense, with a strange atmosphere and a feeling of hopelessness. Blast beats mix with slow, doomy parts, while the 2 guitars spew forth their riffs in a tragic dance. This track has all what it takes to become a live classic, just give it time and you’ll see.
After such a furious song, Curriculum Mortiis erupts with a wall of blast beats while the choirboys chant about “beati misericordes” and “beati pauperes”. Each song on this album is a continuation of the one before it, making this album a perfect circle and Curriculum Mortiis makes no difference. Fast, aggressive parts alternate with slow, aggressive parts, so basically the terror does not stop, everything is a continuous whirlwind of chaos and hate. Towards who or whom, well, you’ll need to buy the album and read the lyrics to find that out.
She of the Left Hand begins with a woman giving birth to something horrible, which will haunt/stalk you all through the rest of the album. Again, we have the same recipe, fast/mid tempo/double bass drumming, mixed with some wicked riffs and nasty growls. Rather a slow song, She of the Left Hand is the perfect legacy of Sincarnate‘s doom origins and shows exactly the way this band evolved into the horrible monster it is today.
In Nomine Homini, the title track, slowly crawls out of its (c)old grave while the vocals cry in the name of the father. This track is also the first one where I could finally hear the crunchy bass guitar, which was almost absent until then. The short middle eastern guitar influences are very well chosen, contributing to this aura of mysterium the song has. In Nomine Homini is a great track and it perfectly captures in only 6 mins the whole essence of the album.
The song ends with a short monologue of a man who threatens some dude that he’ll burn him at the stake, making the transition to the 6th track, the Dostoevsky inspired song The Grand Inquisitor. This track opens in a slow and heavy way, with double bass drum and crunchy guitar riffs. Marius‘s guttural vocals are at their best on this song, fitting like a glove with the rest of the instruments. One of the slowest songs of the album, The Grand Inquisitor allows the listener to catch his breath until things get nasty again towards the end, which symbolize the ignition of the pyre and the torment of the poor victim who dies a slow and agonizing death under the eyes of the sadistic man of the church.
Lamentatio Christi is a sad song, despite its high speed tempo. The song describes the inner turmoil Christ is going through before being put on the cross, a sacrifice he’s not sure is really worth taking:
“Into the depths of my heart, I know I need no reason,
To die for them, as you would like…”
The sorrow he’s feeling in his mortal heart is emphasized by the 2 guitars which combine their sad riffs into one single lament.
As the end of the album is drawing near, Dies Illa begins with a mid paced section then moves quite rapidly into another storm of blast beats and insane riffs. This Latin theme of the “Day of Wrath” describes the judgement day when the last trumpet sounds before the throne of god, dividing the gathered souls between redemption and eternal damnation. The tragic momentum is again emphasized by a short doom intermezzo which then quickly transforms into some insane blasts accompanied by the cold, surgical riffing.
The last chapter of this spiritual voyage through the history of man, L̄iwyᾱṯᾱn is probably my favorite track of this album. The song slowly opens with a melancholic female voice who then fades away and turns into what we love best: aggression. For the last time on this album we’ll hear the chorus chanting in the background for the glory of the great dragon of the deep. The discrete keyboards provide a mystical effect to this horrifying atmosphere, closing the song in the circle I was talking about above.
Overall this album is one hell of a solid work, with a monstrous execution and an impressive result: 9 songs full of hate, melancholy, emotion and aggression. I was saying earlier about the line up changes which took place in Sincarnate over the years. In 2016 they co-opted the young but extremely talented drummer Andrei Jumuga and this album turned out the way it did also because of him. His insane style of drumming is one of the best things that ever happened to this band. Now they can finally play as fast or as technical as they want because they can afford it. And that should be truly rewarding.
After spinning this album multiple times, I really think the only thing which needs to be sort of improved are the vocals, as they sometimes sound a little too flat and monotonous. These death metal growls have been one of Sincarnate‘s trademark, but after this album I really think they need to be changed a bit. The lyrics are amazing, some of the best I’ve ever read lately but it’s a real shame they are incomprehensible for the most part, thus considerably decreasing the impact/message of the songs. Maybe the band can search slowly but surely for another vocal range, one which will help improve the whole concept and which will provide the lyrics their full, deserved credit.
I cannot end this rather long review without mentioning the superb album cover, drawn by Flaviu Moldovan (Flaviu Moldovan Drawing). The guy did a really good job, pointing out certain elements which can be discovered only by reading the lyrics of this album. I am looking forward to the release of In Nomine Homini and I am really glad that this band has finally found its path and has delivered such a solid and interesting album. Yes, this is not an easy listening and you’ll need time (and patience) to spin this album over and over again, but I can assure you it will be worth every second.
But does that really come as a surprise? Not at all, it’s just a confirmation of their talent.
In Nomine Homini Track List:
1. Attende Domine
2. Agrat Bat Mahlat
3. Curriculum Mortis
4. She-of-the-Left-Hand (Sophia Pistis)
5. In Nomine Homini
6. The Grand Inquisitor
7. Lamentatio Christi
8. Dies Illa
Sincarnate Line Up:
Marius – Vocals
Giani – Guitars
Cristi – Guitars
Andrei Z.- Bass
Andrei J.- Drums