Pagan Megalith – Ólomharangok album review – Neverheard Distro 2010

Pagan Megalith Logo

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.

Pagan Megalith – Ólomharangok album cover

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.

Pagan Megalith band photo

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
4. Ólomharangok
5. Sziklavér
6. Az idő vasfoga
7. Hamvadás
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).

Kind Dude and Drab Majesty live in Budapest – 20.04.2017 AB

I think I have become a stalker. At least that’s how I would call myself after following King Dude in 4 countries in the last 2 years. First Paris/France, then Sofia/Bulgaria, last year Alba Iulia/Romania and now Budapest/Hungary. But it was worth it every time, no matter if he played solo (Paris and Sofia) or with his demon brothers. So when he announced earlier this year that in April he’ll be coming to Budapest, we booked the flights and the accommodation just to be there, to see this band again.

I really enjoyed the Sex album and I was extremely curious to hear the songs in a live version. Another great reason not to miss this show was the opening act, the mysterious and strange American group Drab Majesty, a relatively new band which plays some kind of ’80s infused goth, new wave or even shoe gaze but with a quite modern touch.
That being said, Thursday, April the 20th we found ourselves in front of this great location, Durer Kert, looking for the specific room where the concert was going to take place.
Once inside, we were happy to see a very nice selection of the available merchandise, both for Kind Dude and for Drab Majesty. Lots of LPs, tapes, patches, cd’s, pins and multiple t-shirt models were put on display, inviting you to buy as many as possible ( only if you had the proper cash). After doing the traditional shopping ( the Drab Majesty vinyl is really great) we moved in front of the stage to watch this mysterious band (at least for me).

Continue reading Kind Dude and Drab Majesty live in Budapest – 20.04.2017 AB

Dead Void and Sincarnate live in Bucharest – April 2017 AB

Yesterday, April the 1st was the day Sincarnate celebrated the release of their second album, In Nomine Homini (review here). To mark this special occasion, the band was invited to play in the show organized by Romanian Thrash Metal Club, alongside bands like Dead Void, Root and Cardinal. Everybody knows the good work RTMC is doing when it comes to support the underground, so this event was not different at all.

The line up consisted of 2 new bands, Denmark’s Dead Void and Romania’s Cardinal, one old band which recently celebrated 30 years of activity, Root, and another one, Sincarnate, a name which doesn’t need any introductions to the Romanian metalheads. I was really curious about Dead Void since all I knew about the band was that they play some sort of blackened death metal and one its members is/was a part of the already cult band Grave Miasma. Since no info could be found on these guys on the internet, I decided I had to watch their show and decide for myself whether they rock or not.

When I arrived at the venue, I had the big surprise to see the band had for sale a very recent 3 track self released demo tape which contained very little information about the band. Not that it’s a bad thing. The minimalistic lay out of the tape matched perfectly the music they delivered so I completely understand their lack of details. As they told me after the show, they were a bit curious about the reaction of the audience, since no info was previously available (more or less a deliberate tactic) and not many people got to know their music. Well, I must say that after the 30 minutes of their set passed, I was left wanting for more. Even though half an hour might seem too short of a time, their show was fucking intense and powerful.
Dead Void play some sort of putrid death metal with many slow, doomy parts, mixed with psychedelic guitar solos. They played only 4 tracks (the 3 from the demo plus an extra one) but I can’t wait for the full length to be released, hopefully in the very near future.

Dead Void live in Fabrica

Dead Void is a trio but the music is so violent that you might think there are more members in that band. Kai, the guitarist/ vocalist has a very energetic style of shredding his instrument and plays like he’s possessed. The other two guys, David (bass) and Adam (drums) back him up on the vocals so when you have 3 growls at the same time you can actually tell these guys don’t joke when it comes to their music. They said they plan on coming back so maybe next time they will play an extended show and they’ll have an album released until then. Anyway, Dead Void‘s music was the real epiphany for me last night and I am already a big fan of their work.

Next on the bill were Sincarnate, the other reason I came to see the concert last night. I like their new album very, very much and I was really curious to listen to their new songs live, as on the record they are extremely well played and sound very powerful and scary. A great band can reproduce in the same way live the music they have recorded in the studio and since the new songs are quite difficult, I thought it as a test the band had to take. And they took it very well, in my opinion.

The set list consisted of almost the entire album played in full, except two songs, Lamentatio Christi and Dies Illa maybe because the time was limited and two more bands were scheduled after them. But that did not prevent them to deliver on hell of a concert, where only the music mattered. With the stage presence almost non existent, the band compensated with their most violent show I’ve ever seen. Vicious riffs, superb growls, insane drumming and the need to surpass themselves each time – these are the elements that make Sincarnate stand out from the majority of bands we have in our sad underground. When almost everybody is trying to copy each other and what they hear on YouTube, Sincarnate are dead fucking serious and take the things in their own hands.

Sincarnate live in Fabrica

In Nomine Homini is the darkest and the most violent album made by a romanian band since Zarnindu-sa and I am so happy the band managed to evolve so much into what it is today. Again, without undermining the other musicians’ prowess, the addition of Andrei Jumuga to their ranks has taken the band not one step, but several steps further onto the evolution scale. His skills and the easiness with witch he plays those poor drums cannot be equaled by any of the drummers our scene has to offer at this time.
From where i stood last night I could watch him carefully and I was amazed how easy it was for him to destroy those drum kits. At some point, in the middle of a blast beat, he even dropped a stick but he quickly took another one and nobody could tell something happened, he did not lose a beat.

This new formula is the strongest the band had so far and I urge them to take as much advantage as they can and to use it to its fullest (tours, recordings, maybe a live DVD). I also want to mention the perfect quality of the CD which I bought (collector’s edition digipak), it looks really impressive. If you want to support the band, buy their CD ( 2 versions are available), it’s really worth it from all points of view – cover, booklet, band pictures and music.

Unfortunately, due to some personal reasons I could not stay to watch Root and Cardinal, but I’ m pretty sure I’ll see the young Romanian band pretty soon, considering how often they play in Bucharest. Congrats to RTMC for organizing such an interesting event and for booking such a promising band like Dead Void. Really hope they will visit us again soon.

Play list Dead Void:

1. Repulsive Bliss

2.Isolation’s Hold

3.Shadowed Heights of Ascension

4.Hydra

Play list Sincarnate:

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. L̄iwyᾱṯᾱn

To convince yourselves how powerful Sincarnate is live, I have added a video for She-of-the-Left Hand (Sophia Pistis), video which was uploaded on my YouTube channel ScrollsofDarmoth:

Rezident Ex in concert la Bucuresti (opening act – Alice Null) – Martie 2017 AB

Aseara in Club Quantic a avut loc lansarea oficiala a noului album al trupei Rezident EX, sugestiv intitulat Audio Doping. Aflati in plin turneu national de promovare al albumului, trupa timisoreana a facut un popas si in Bucuresti, in Quantic, acolo unde circa 150 de oameni s-au adunat pentru a se bucura de muzica lor.

Trupa care a deschis concertul a fost Alice Null, un grup tanar din Bucuresti, aflat la doar al 3lea concert din scurta lor cariera. Formata din Alice Null (voce+efecte) si Alex Void (chitara+efecte), trupa bucuresteana canta un dark neo folk aflat in totala opozitie cu heavy metalul pe care il baga baietii din Rezident Ex.
Dar cum extremele se atrag, acest lucru nu a facut decat sa sporeasca ineditul serii, astfel ca prin muzica lor etherica si pe alocuri depresiva, Alice Null au reusit sa transforme sala din Quantic intr-un loc plin de intimitate si introspectie.

Alice Null Band live

Reactia publicului prezent in numar destul de mic, ce-i drept (dar absolut normal daca te gandesti ca trupa e inca o mare necunoscuta publicului authoton), a fost pozitiva si incurajatoare, astfel ca dupa cele 30 de minute alocate initial, Alice Null si-au incheiat recitalul cu un bis cerut de oamenii aflati in fata scenei.

Per ansamblu, desi la prima vedere alaturarea lor cu Rezident Ex poate parea bizara, duo-ul Alice Null si-a facut foare bine treaba si au demonstrat ca de la show la show trupa creste si se incheaga din ce in ce mai bine. Cu o singura caseta demo la activ, Null and Void (aparut anul trecut la Valse Sinistre) trupa a compus si aranjat materialul ce va fi disponibil pe primul album care probabil va aparea anul acesta. Printre piesele cantate aseara au fost Reminiscence, In My Dreams, You, To Be Alive si Everything Stops.

Continue reading Rezident Ex in concert la Bucuresti (opening act – Alice Null) – Martie 2017 AB

Bathsheba – “Servus” album review – Svart Records – March 2017 AB

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.

Bathsheba band photo

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.

Continue reading Bathsheba – “Servus” album review – Svart Records – March 2017 AB

Sincarnate has released a lyric video for Curriculum Mortis

As an avant-premiere of the soon to be released album In Nomine Homini, Sincarnate has published yesterday on YouTube a lyric video for the single Curriculum Mortis. The video was created by Dawning Media TV and can be viewed by accessing the link below:

The album In Nomine Homini will come out in a digipak format next Satruday on the 1st of April. To celebrate this release, the band will play a special show in Fabrica, together with Cardinal (RO), Dead Void (UK) and Root (CZ).

Sincarnate – “In Nomine Homini” album review – March 2017 AB

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.

Sincarnate In Nomine Homini album cover

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
9. L̄iwyᾱṯᾱn

Sincarnate Line Up:

Marius – Vocals
Giani – Guitars
Cristi – Guitars
Andrei Z.- Bass
Andrei J.- Drums

Band Contact:

https://www.facebook.com/sincarnateband/

https://sincarnate.bandcamp.com/