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Apocalyptic Rites #5
January 2012, 58/A4 pages, Xeroxed, Polish, interviews: Slav, R’Lyeh ‘zine, Moloch Letalis, Mordhell, Kreon, North, Godz ov War
I’ve just finished reading this ‘zine and can resume it saying: I didn’t like it. I’m not gonna say it was a complete waste of time, but surely after reading #5 I see AR as totally average and boring ‘zine, with too many minuses comparing to the pluses. First of all, among only seven interviews there’s no band, which I would really, really like and looked forward to reading about. OK, Mordhell are pretty good, but the interview is boring. On the other hand I’m not a fan of Moloch Letalis, but that interview is actually quite OK. But I completely don’t understand why someone would want to interview Slav, which I think is one of the WORST (!!!!!!) black metal bands from Poland I have ever heard. I’m not gonna interfere in someone’s musical taste, but personally I see this project as 100% useless and actually it seems like 99% of the metal underground shares my opinion, as I’ve never read a positive review of Slav music. That interview with him is long and the guy has completely nothing interesting to say, nothing I would be impressed with, other than seeing a complete megalomaniac, who sometimes cannot answer the question properly. And that football hooliganism/fanaticism… I hate that shit. I hope then this was the last time I had to hear anything about this project. But let’s move forward. Then we’ve got yet another interview with Adrian from R’Lyeh/Empheris. Don’t get me wrong, I really like him, his band and ‘zine, really, but how many times can I read interviews with him? Come on, it becomes boring. A bit more initiative! Besides, more and more I must admit that I don’t understand this guy and his stubbornness on the pointless crusade against internet and everything connected to it (saying all webzines are shit, band websites are shit, FB profiles are shit… you get the point)… So boooriinnggg! Every time I read his (Adrian’s) complains about webzines he keeps saying that they’re run by kids, who have no idea about metal, ble, ble. Obviously Adrian doesn’t know much about what’s going on in the web world and I respect that he wants to keep the old values of underground alive, but if you have no idea about certain topics that much then you maybe shouldn’t be taking everything what’s in the net under the “shit” banner, without even checking it? Example? Well, read the interviews from Voices from the Darkside, Mortem, Violence and many other… even from my blog. There are many great webzines, more than shitty paper ‘zines. If you don’t wanna read them, fine by me, but don’t forbid others to do that. Many of these webzines are better and more informative than many paper ‘zines. Times have changed; I completely see no point in forcing yourself to be a caveman. It is totally artificial (and I don’t wanna be a false prophet but you know the saying: “adopt or die”? hehe). I can understand that you wanna keep also Empheris away from internet, but again if other bands wanna do this, then it is their choice. And why would that mean the end of the underground? It is just another tool used to spread the music and message. So, I feel bored reading 3-4 the same interviews with Adrian within such a short time, so one more time it will appear in next ‘zine I get and I will have to read the same interview with him and the same boring, anti-internet answers I promise I will burn that ‘zine. Adrian, you better make some more killer music with your awesome band or think about the next issue of R’Lyeh, as the 10th was FANTASTIC! OK, let’s go further… chat with Kreon – sorry, I don’t care about this band, so I skipped it. North – I also don’t care about them, but have read the interview and it was OK. The best interview from the whole ‘zine is with Greg from Godz ov War – I’ve found out quite few interesting facts there, many good stories, so yeah, it was enjoyable, but I felt it was also very outdated. But taking all these things together it is just NOT ENOUGH to impress, if you have 5 issues behind your belt. This is why I see AR as an example for Polish ‘zine mediocrity. There’re no interesting articles here, too few interviews, more so they’re with the same bands and names as in 99% of other Polish ‘zines and no attempt to interview some bands from abroad… Many minuses. Too many. Even the reviews have mostly the same, typical releases, which I’ve read about in 99% of other Polish ‘zines. After few I stopped reading them, because I didn’t find it necessary to continue, as I would not learn anything from it. And what is that Dark Medieval Times review doing there? Some kid just discovered this album and wrote this shitty review? Uh, what else… Did I mention a simple, dull and schematic layout of this issue? Sorry man, but you really must try better to impress. You made 5 issues, but this one could easily be a debut, forgettable one. Do some more work, more interviews, better bands and be more creative. This issue I would rate only for 5,5/10. Ha, let me just add that I have also issue 4 somewhere, and that one was much better in my opinion that #5
Rafał „Robin” Masłowski, P.O. Box 55, 05-119 Legionowo 5, Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bastardator (Can) Identify the Dead (CD ‘09 / Morbid Moon)
As far as the content is concerned, the band name and album cover were so obvious to me that I could bet all my money Identify the Dead contained old school thrash metal. But after the initial notes I immediately had to check out the line-up as to whether or not it was Paul Speckmann’s new project, hehe. Yeah, the same vocal manner plus primitive, old-fashioned music reminded me of Master’s eponymous album. The music did not turn out to be typical Bay Area or Teutonic thrash as I initially presumed. It was more like Venom, Master, and Motorhead on thrash metal (Misfits anyone?), in other words, dirty and primitive thrash with a strong punk-ish vibe.
Bastardator is no more, and no one will cry after them, but you can have a really good time when listening and headbanging to this good Canadian shit. I personally did (with a little help from a few bottles of beer, of corpse).
Black Altar (Pol) / Varathron (Gre) / Thornspawn (USA) Emissaries of the Darkened Call-Three Nails in the Coffin of Humanity (CD ‘12 / Odium Rex)
Three way, international split of established (and kvlt) black metal acts heralding our end as top link in the food chain kicks off with Polish executioners Black Altar. With an unmistakable vocal razor gargle and riffs that reek of Mayhem’s early ‘90s rehearsal space, they’re off and razing, and at a surprising velocity, with the track “Nighthunter.” Traditional, Norwegian-inspired black metal is the order, slowing only to let a creeping morbidity worm into your skin before peeling it back. While not terribly dynamic, as the opening act, Black Altar certainly sets a tone of misanthropy. Greece’s Varathron, responsible for one of early Greek black metal’s masterpieces with His Majesty at the Swamp, is in top form and delivers the sweeping, epic mid-section to our demise. Both “Arawn’s Reign” and “Black Swamp” maintain a humid atmosphere, evocative of the very best from this region (Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh, Necromantia, et. al.), from which springs surprising tempo shifts and Arabesque melodies, the latter track adding tribal rhythms and stirring riffs/harmonies. And as splits are a ripe occasion for letting loose with a cover, Varathron include an unorthodox choice in Black Sabbath’s “Ancient Warrior” (from The Eternal Idol) but easily make it their own. Demonstrating an impressive control over their song craft, Varathron’s section is a highlight of the split. Lest you think the mood has lifted too much, Texas’s Thornspawn conclude with a fire flash leaving no flesh unscorched. Managing to sound nastier and more primitive than before, these underground legends offer no reprieve, punishing with an oppressive production that feels like awakening beneath a pile of cadavers and, oxygen starved, frantically clawing for even one, stale breath. The enunciation, on tracks like “Baphobanner (Flag of Horror),” is clear and harsh, so you can wither at every drip of venom from Blackthorn’s curled and corpse-painted lips. Can’t say they offer anything new musically but damn are they potent. One for all you masochists. (Note: All tracks are exclusive to this release.)
Bloodthirst (Pol) Żądza krwi (digiMCD ‘11 / Pagan Records)
Singing (sic!) the lyrics in Polish made Bloodthirst an even more old school sounding combo, and brought memories of the initial, glory years of Polish metal with the likes of Kat, Turbo, Egzekuthor, Merciless Death, etc. As you might remember, their previous release, Sanctity Denied, did not impress yours truly at all, but this one here, due to the abovementioned Polish vocals (quality of the texts aside), poured some hope into my metal heart. Although I have some serious doubts if they stick with the idea and am afraid that their next album will be in English again. They are not quarter as good as Nifelheim, for example, I neither expect them to record a milestone of Polish metal, but the ghouls into raw, old school blackened thrash are more than welcome to purchase this (unfortunately predictable yet solid) material.
Catacomb (Fra) The Years of Morbidology (2CD ‘10 / Armée De La Mort)
I don’t know what your opinion on this is, but personally I like the idea of gathering demos, EPs or whatever of some old bands and putting them all on CD or LP. There were quite many such compilations released lately and I actually purchased a few of them because these old bands still shred and it’s cool to have their recordings compiled together, especially if you also get some extras, like fat booklets with photos, bios, etc. And I can only imagine that those of you who have these old demos recorded somewhere on tapes will also welcome such releases enthusiastically. I do recommend you getting the compilations of such bands as Exmortis, Goreaphobia, Morbidus, Gorement and Crematory especially. But meanwhile here is another such release which introduces the French band Catacomb. Well, to be honest, I did hear of this name earlier but never had a chance to listen to the music actually, which may not be a surprise as this band was never at the death metal front in the early ‘90s. Besides, personally, I have never been a fan of French bands. I didn’t like Loudblast or Agressor, and only liked Massacra and Mercyless (and nowadays I’m a big fan of Gojira, but that’s completely different music!), so that may be one of the reasons why I didn’t bother to check Catacomb before. Well, better late than never, as they say. The Years of Morbidology presents an entire discography of this French band: three demos from 1991-1993 and two EPs, one from 1993 and another from 2001. Plus there are several rehearsal and live recordings, mainly from the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, and a totally fat booklet with lots of extras, which is just great to see. All together there are almost three hours of death metal. But after listening to this music, I can say that Catacomb were nothing more than a very mediocre band, and I haven’t really lost much not knowing their music earlier. The thing is there’s absolutely nothing in their death metal that really excites me and makes it better than dozens of other bands which I worship from that time. Such demos as In the Maze of Kadath (1993) and The Lurker at the Threshold (1992) were quite doomy, as the tempos were relatively slow and sometimes the whole playing was quite melodious, and there were some more complex structures, which wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t take all the aggression from their music and make it so damn mediocre and dull. There’re no balls in Catacomb’s death metal, no passion or enthusiasm, just boring and uninspiring playing, monotonous as hell, and I can tell you I can list a lot of better bands and demos from that time which would deserve your attention – and that includes many Polish acts. Morbid Attraction demo (1991) is much rawer and more primitive, the sound here is pretty bad, but to be honest I like this demo more than the two I mentioned earlier. Finally, disc one is closed with We Shall Inherit MCD (2001) and again I can say that I don’t like it. It’s just boring and too softened in style, which I’m not so fond of. The band was not able to impress me with their progressive playing (sometimes on the edge of melodic black metal), Atheist/Cynic-esque riffs, soft, shitty keyboards and didn’t create a dark and gloomy atmosphere, which I would like to find in cases when the aggression is missing. This MCD is just a piece of boring crap, really. So, this only proved my opinion that Catacomb was never a band deserved my attention and I’m actually happy that I didn’t need to buy this CD to find out about that. Let me just add that the second disc, with rehearsal and live recordings, is also completely useless. So, I’m not going to bother listening to it again. I’m also not going to recommend The Years of Morbidology to you, as I don’t find Catacomb worthy of it. They were just a very average band and I’m not surprised that they never achieved the cult status of Massacra or Mercyless.
Complete Mess (Pol) Degradacja (demo ‘10)
I can say about this demo nothing more than it is just pure Napalm Death worship, especially in the guitar department because the double vocals (screams and low grunts) sound different when compared to Barney’s voice. Although recorded in a semi-professional studio, the demo got a decent and, what is of great importance to me, natural sound. I simply cannot stand all those modern demo ‘productions’ with plastic drums.
I do not know what piece of advice I should give to the band in order to make their music more original (if it is still possible to do anything new within the grindcore genre). Probably it is an impossible task or the only solution is a play on sound. Nevertheless, today’s underground needs something more creative yet still energetic. The first step has been done.
Deathroner (Can) Death to All (CD ‘10 / Morbid Moon)
The guys label their music as evil speed metal (by the way, should not every kind of Metal be evil?!). But to put it in less enigmatic words, this music is old school thrash/death metal with, as far as the genre goes, quite brutal vocals and fast tempos throughout almost the entire album, as if someone was chasing the band. Or maybe the guys listened to Reign in Blood a lot before the recording session, hehe? After more than 34 minutes this full speed (ahead) metal might become tiring; thankfully, the album ends at that time.
The Deathroners take no prisoners, carry death to all and will take you on a journey in time, so better watch out. Also, Canadian masters such as Infernal Majesty, Razor, Exciter, Sacrifice and Slaughter can be proud of their much younger colleagues as Death to All did not bring shame on their country and its metal heritage.
Same with their label mates, Bastardator, Deathroner are just good Canadian shit, hehe.
P.S. This album, but with an altered cover, was reissued by the notorious Nuclear War Now! Whether they deserve it or not is a separate issue.
Deep Vein (Fra) / Hypokras (Fra) Ancestral Death Metal Terror (split CD ‘10 / Armée De La Mort)
The tradition of releasing split recordings is undying and that’s definitely a great thing, as I have always liked such materials. Here’s another such CD, nicely titled Ancestral Death Metal Terror and that title made me hungry for classic, brutal death metal straight away. And, yes, I’ve found here two really cool death metal bands, which I can honestly recommend to every diehard maniac of the genre. First up is Deep Vein, a French act, which I had a chance to hear years ago on one of Nihilistic Holocaust’s releases, although I don’t really remember whether the band was any good then. Here, these French bastards offer five tracks of US styled brutal death metal, and after listening to them I can say they do know their craft well. I could compare them to some of the best US bands and it wouldn’t be any shame, as Deep Vein really fuckin’ kills with some crushing and devastating riffs, not necessarily played fast but rather mid and massive paced. And probably the only fault in their material is that some of those riffs and ideas are too familiar to me, like I already have heard before in other bands. Anyway, I still liked this band a lot, and if you’re into such bands as Baphomet/Banished, Immolation, Morbid Angel and even early Cannibal Corpse, then definitely you should check these French frogs right now. Sadly, they have split up though! When the first fragments of Hypokras’ side resounded, I thought they would be blasting and furious old styled death metal, so fast and uncompromising was the beginning of their first track. But the further we go into their labyrinth of death metal madness, the more melodic and tempered the music becomes. At some point they started to remind me of mid era God Dethroned (similar aggression and uncompromising riffing, plus a bit of melody here and there) and also one of the most disliked (by me) bands around the globe, Kataklysm, who I will always say have the worst vocalist I have ever heard (fuckin’ faggot). Luckily, Hypokras avoids being dull like Kataklysm, and while they keep their music melodic, they also do not forget it’s supposed to sound like death metal. And so they do shred with some cool riffs and overall good song writing which convinced me they’re way better than that overrated Canadian band. Yeah, piss on Kataklysm, Hypokras is better, and so the whole Ancestral Death Metal Terror turned out to be a good and worthy listening experience. These are a couple of bands which you need to keep in mind and support, even if Deep Vein has deceased. Cool!
Diabolikal Holokaust (Mex) Diabolikal Holokaust (CD ‘13 / Infinito Envenenado)
Had my hopes up for this one, after all, metallic diction such as “diabolikal” and “holokaust” (note the letter “k” replacing the letter “c”) emblazoned on the cover with the usual accoutrements of horns, upended crosses, etc. And then there was the label touting the band as blackened thrash conjuring comparisons in my mind to Germany’s Ruins, Brazil’s Power from Hell, Norway’s Aura Noir and countless other groups whose style is a direct mainlining of early Sodom. Now, listen. Did you hear that: my hopes as the whistling cartoon character on a rapid descent into some desert valley and then the impact and then the puff of dust? While there are a couple moments of In the Sign of Evil/Obsessed by Cruelty abandon (see “My Evil Semen” and “Metal Kaos”), most of this eponymous debut sounds like the leftovers of many a “bestial” act on the Nuclear War Now! roster. Guitars muddy together, like a child’s water color painting, and make no lingering impression, drums are buried and impersonal, and the hell-vomit vox of S.W. sound as if he is possessed by the spirit of some hermetic, pimple-faced adolescent thereby inspiring hilarity rather than horror: “Sucking cock,” “Sodomize,” “Satan,” insert typical profane blather, blah, blah. I realize this latter criticism could be leveled at any of the above mentioned bands. However, the big difference is those acts seem to actually care about crafting memorable tunes. Perhaps DH would be taken a bit more seriously if it appeared they took their songs more seriously. Right now it’s just more racket raised in His name, and by this point I can only imagine His pointy, red talons planted firmly in each crimson ear as He tries to stifle the limitless flow of krap.
Doomed (Ger) The Ancient Path (reissue digiCD ‘13 / Deathcult)
Whose idea was it to grant the band such an unoriginal moniker that literally discourages one from buying their albums? But one positive thing can be said about the name “Doomed” – it does fit the music because The Ancient Path presents monolithic, dark doom metal with deep growling that gives a brutal touch to the stuff. Call it doom/death, if you want. And it brings memories of early Paradise Lost and Anathema to me.
The songs are quite long (the shortest one clocks in at almost 6 minutes and the longest one is over 10), overwhelmingly heavy, to an extent depressive, and contain that necessary dose of melancholy. But, hey, this does not deliver your typical autumnal nostalgia, rather a no-solar feeling of anxiety and hopelessness. Furthermore, the opener, “Sun Eater,” (in the vein of Bolt Thrower at their slowest) was a very prophetic song: using only their music, these artists (or, better say, artist, as Pierre Laube is the sole brain of Doomed) really devoured the sun and excreted a moonless night.
While searching for The Ancient Path, do not miss their brand new opus, Our Ruin Silhouettes, which is more, hmm, progressive (?) but moving. Their second, In My Own Abyss, is very good, too.
Excidium (Pol) Decimation (demo ‘10)
Excidium is a frequent guest on the pages of Burning Abyss ‘zine. In issue #666 I wrote a few words about their debut demo, and in issue #7 we reviewed both their split releases. Decimation is a result of the band’s third visit to a recording studio. Maybe it is not the spontaneous and crazy blackened thrash metal tornado that was the debut material; it seems the band simply solidified and got more mature.
Excidium does not remind me of one particular band, but their music is mainly inspired by the German thrash metal scene of the 1980s and is similar to what the South American old school bands currently play too.
As befits a commando playing old fashioned metal and wearing only patches, pins, bullet belts and stuff, they only use Internet contact addresses, hehe.
Forgotten Path #4
November 2012, 124/A4 pages, printed, English, interviews: Pseudogod, Celestia, Beastcraft, Lunar Aurora, Balmog, Cult of Erinyes, Phlegein, Warthane, Wodensthrone, A Winter Lost, Soleil Tryste ‘zine, Adamus Exul, Dunkelheit Produktionen, Skon, Lord Beezanborgh, Amžius
As you can see just above, the fourth issue of Forgotten Path magazine offers the whole pleiad of black metal bands. The editors have mastered their job to perfection and prepared all the interviews very, very thoroughly. They know their onions thus no detail was missed. And if in a few cases someone failed, it was certainly not the interviewer.
One may not like some of the interrogated bands’ music nor agree with the spokesmen’s viewpoints, but everything has been written with class, taste and by means of very good English. As far as the latter, I have the courage to say that Lithuanian magazines I am aware of, i.e. Ad Arma!, Ledo Takas, and just Forgotten Path, use Shakespeare’s language better than Poland’s best export goods such as Ritual Murder, 666 in the Northern Sky, Complete Necro among others.
Apart from the abovementioned talks you will also receive a few live reports, an article “New wave of Polish black metal“ as well as press and audio reviews.
This (maybe even too) perfect and neat magazine costs €6 and it will not be money thrown down the drain, considering that there are as many as 124 A4 pages!
Forgotten Path magazine, P.D. 2712, Vytenio 2/40, LT-03001, Vilnius, Lithuania, www.forgotten-path.lt, email@example.com
P.S. In Poland you can obtain this, as well as some of the previous issues, via the reliable Old Temple.
Generichrist (USA) Mindumpster (MCD ‘10 / AreaDeath)
It’s taking all my willpower not to make an obvious (and cheap) pun on the Generichrist name while reviewing the Mindumpster EP (their fourth release and my first exposure to the band). Excepting the closing track, “Sonic Casket,” which exhibits enough surprising variation across its seven sprawling minutes to hold my attention; this is ultimately a forgettable release. The riffs, the drum patterns, fuck…the songs become indistinguishable one from the other. And the vocals sound overly strained, like squatting an obstructed bowel. The entire production has a muddied, muted quality that annoys rather than allures. Perhaps future releases will cue off the portents of that final track. But, for now, I have found much more interesting the death/thrash stylings of Norway’s Deathhammer and Nekromantheon. Come on, Florida!
Inquisitor (Lit) The Quantum Theory of Id (digiCD ‘10 / Forgotten Path)
The album cover, its title, as well as the intro “Infimum” announced cosmic and progressive stuff. And I was not wrong. The Quantum Theory of Id contains avant-garde black metal that reminds me of the best Norwegian acts and progressive death metal bands like Cynic and late Death, too. Classical music influences are also audible thanks to the piano-imitating keyboard parts (the album sounds almost like Chopin meets Emperor, hehe).
If you are an open-minded freak, or want to impress either your girlfriend or fellow black metallers, get this interesting and mature album. However I am not sure if the band’s organic sound fits this kind of music, which should be dehumanized, even anti-human, I daresay.
Korium (Sk) The Pendulum of Sorrow (tape ‘09 / Suicide Taste / Hexencave)
Korium is a Slovakian one man band (another one, after Skon which I got to know recently!). Koronas, who stands behind this project, already released several recordings over the past 10 years, but I’ve never heard about him before. And to be honest, when listening to The Pendulum of Sorrow, I feel like I didn’t lose anything. With music like this, it is easy for it to get damn boring and I’m afraid that both tracks, which The Pendulum of Sorrow contains, are exactly like that. If you imagine the sort of very melancholic, almost doomy black metal, which is so slow and sorrowful that you really start to think about cutting your veins, then this is what Korium plays. But you know, I don’t necessarily feel that this type of doomy black metal is dull. It’s rather a matter of the very average quality of the material from The Pendulum of Sorrow and everything else that surrounds it. For example, I totally don’t like the production on this album. That buzzyyyyyy guitar tone is just annoying. I guess Korium recorded this album at home, but, really, they should do something with it! On the other hand the drums sound pretty OK. Anyway, both songs are like 20 minutes long, both concentrate on creating this misanthropic, sorrowful mood and thus the tempo of the music is just slow and slow, with some typical melodic patterns you may know from bands like Xasthur. There are a few quite cool parts in these two tracks, I like their melodic background and those howling vocals, but despite that I just don’t really feel like I want to listen to The Pendulum of Sorrow anymore. To me there are plenty of better albums and demos around to listen to, and so I’m not gonna waste time on Korium. There’s just something very annoying about The Pendulum of Sorrow and, to be honest, I don’t care about it. I can recommend it if you’re a maniacal Xasthur fan, otherwise there’s no point in getting this tape (which, by the way, was limited to 300 copies only!).
March 2012, 116/A4 pages (!!!), printed, Polish, interviews: Wehrmacht, Morbid Angel, Bulldozer, Asphyx, Inquisition, Incantation, Negura Bunget, Nuclear Death (USA), Vader, Plutonium, Widmo, Deadthorn, Cryfemal, Moloch Letalis, Prophecy of Doom, Psycho, Exumer, Cut Throat, Conquest Icon, Uhl, Opera IX, Tank, Blackhorned Saga, Bloodthirst, Dragon, Unseen Terror, Morbosidad, Absence of the Sacred, Neolith, Test Fobii Kreon, Haemorrhage, Afterlife Prod./ Deadhead ’zine
Time goes fast and here is already the 10th issue of the mighty R’Lyeh ‘zine! Not so long ago it was rather mediocre Xeroxed rag, now it is one of the best printed fanzines I have ever read! This jubilee issue is thick like a book and delivers only the best materials possible. OK, I may be exaggerating now – there are some less interesting bits, but as overall R’Lyeh #10 is just great. Obviously this ‘zine focuses mainly on the underground bands and problems, but some more mainstream bands has also ended here – Morbid Angel (anybody have heard about them??), Incantation, Exumer, plus already well-known acts like Opera IX, Negura Bunget, Bulldozer, Tank… Most of these interviews are really good; I really enjoyed such chats as with Widmo, Dead Thorn, Cut Throat, Plutonium, etc. I may be slightly disappointed with the Nuclear Death interview – mainly because the translation is very bad here, but also because there are too many questions about other bands, in which the old drummer of Nuclear Death have played, I would definitely make it differently and first of all I would send the questions to Lori Bravo. Anyway, as you can see R’Lyeh team do not focus on just one metal subgenre and there is some thrash, some heavy, some death and black metal, but first of all it must be something what would speak to the old maniac. Along with these interviews you’ll find here quite few articles, which deal with various topics, some of which are completely uninteresting for me (“Metal zza krat”) and some, which are fun to read (“Pomyłki underground’u”). Sometimes I completely do not agree with the things people say – like in “Polska dla Polaków!,” which is about the Polish fanzines, which are English written. I do not agree with 90% of what has been written in it and also think that such discussions are just pointless. As with everything, if you don’t like it, then fuck off and do something different. Obviously such discussions are sometimes necessary to do, but arguments, which some people bring, are just hilarious. Anyway, if I was to resume R’Lyeh #10, then I would say: “get a week off, as it will steal a lot of your spare time!” This is really huge portion of reading, many reviews, many interviews… oh man, they did killer work! Unfortunately this is again just for the Polish readers, but maybe such great fanzines will force you to learn Polish! Remember the most valuable things in this country: piwo, wódka, dupy, kiełbasa and polski metal! Fuck yeah!
Adrian, P.O. Box 20, 02-919 Warszawa 76, Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scent of Death (Spa) of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate (CD ‘12 / Pathologically Explicit Recordings)
Hola, chicos. It is not a secret I have known Scent of Death for a long time, as they sent me their Entangled in Hate demo back in 2002. Even then the band proved they knew how to play brutal and mature death metal. And their new album, of Matryrs’s Agony and Hate, is no exception here. They surely are not couch potatoes, because the hard work they have put in is easily noticeable on this album. It offers very intensive songs, with dense, technical riffing and intelligent solos, which appear quite frequently, backed up by Rolando’s blast-beats and some powerful slower parts. All this executed and presented in a very professional way. Their source of inspiration is also very clear to me, and its name is Immolation. But I bet they listen to Nile a lot, too.
Scent of Death ain’t original at all, but I dig their stuff. They also seem like very cool guys, so you can give them some support. But if I were them, I would keep searching for their own identity.
Jorge Fernández Taboada, C/Luis Seoane Nº 2 - 2ºC, 32004 Ourense, Spain, email@example.com
Skon (Sk) At the End of a Journey (CD ‘10 / Hexencave)
Here is one of the very few Slovakian bands which I actually know, at least if we speak of their black metal scene (otherwise, though, I can definitely recommend you their great blackened thrash acts – Radiation and Oldblood). Skon belongs to the so called one-man “bands” and the man behind it – Carpath – handles all the instruments and vocals (except for a guest appearance by an individual called Peter Knietel in one of the songs). Usually all those homemade projects are lousy and worth a crap, but Skon actually managed to put out a decent and solid album, which I have listened to with damn pleasure. I do sometimes like to listen to such atmospheric black metal songs, which At the End of a Journey offers, and I can assure you that if you’re into old Katatonia, Agalloch, Woods of Ypres and such, then Skon will delight you. The music mainly develops a sort of melancholic and sorrowful feeling and thus it may not really speak to those black metal fans that prefer their music to be more hateful and relentless. But who cares… Personally, I like what Carpath did on At the End of a Journey. The melodic riffs are often excellent, like the main theme of “Forever Lost,” the whole album is played at a slow, doomy and mournful tempo, but there’s absolutely no sign of boredom here, as the music is really well composed and performed (and recorded, as the production of At the End of a Journey is really great) and Skon feels very comfortable in creating the atmosphere, which such type of black metal demands (hmm, sometimes I feel like there was more doom metal influence in parts than black metal, but the effect is good anyway). With three songs, plus a Katatonia cover, At the End of a Journey could be a great addition to your collection. I sincerely recommend you getting it.
Túrin Turambar (Pol) Corona Regni Satanae (CD ‘10 / Ataman)
There is something distinctly French about this Polish black metal act in terms of its chaotic, eccentric approach to the genre. Collectives such as Diamatregon (circa The Satanic Devotion), Peste Noire, DSO, and Blut aus Nord (circa Mort) all popped in my head while spinning T.T.’s debut full length (following a couple demo releases in the ‘90s). However, T.T. sounds like none of the aforementioned bands. This is as fucked up of a release as I have heard in a while, though that’s not necessarily a positive. It’s all well and good to posit yourself as “experimental,” but sometimes it’s all right, perhaps even necessary, to straddle the shoulders of giants. Voivod-esque bass lines (circa Nothingface) collide with manic vocals that move from harsh whispers to full throated croaks to collide with contorting riffs which shift like serpent skin (often refusing to materialize into appreciable hooks) which collide with sometimes blasting/sometimes oddly syncopated drum patterns. Despite some truly hypnotic moments at the conclusion of “Black Dog” and (the almost catchy) “Prokreacja Niebytu,” the album is mostly too weird and random for public consumption. Maybe that’s the intention. They’re a difficult band to peg in terms of actual mental malaise or piss-taking mockery. Lines like “Fish at the poops/they have/I also have to/with fish at the poop” (from “Fish Thief”) and “Mister dead and white/eats my nights/but only when/I sweat with vinegar/…/Bukakke” (from “Vinegar Nights”) and guest collaborators such as “The True” Barbarian Warrior and “The True” Pigeons had me all befuddled. Approach with caution: you don’t want to stare too long into Corona Regni Satanae lest it begin to stare back at you.
Turpista (Pol) Turpistyczny Amok (CD ‘12 / Under the Sign of Garazel)
Well, this band came out of nowhere and still I have absolutely no idea who’s behind this project or whatsoever and to be honest with you, I don’t like all those attempts to stay anonymous, because what’s the point? The only thing I can be sure of is that Turpista is Polish and that this band plays really decent and interesting black metal, which really stuck with me for few days. There are only three, but lengthy songs on Turpistyczny Amok (one is 14 minutes long and the other two about 8 minutes long) and I can guarantee you that they’re all really good. I like the atmosphere of this music, which is just fuckin’ dark and sinister, gloomy as hell and well created. Turpista did everything that should have been done in the mystic black metal genre and if you’re into such bands as early Holy Death, early Christ Agony, as well as the cults of Mortuary Drape (sort of…), Varathron, even early Samael, then Turpista is for you and this dense atmosphere of obscure catacombs will thrill you and freeze the blood in veins. The production is not bad at all; the playing is not too primitive, but just proper for the genre. And I like the vocals a lot, they’re very ghoulish with that reverb effect on them, which is cool and I also like that they scream Polish lyrics (“Nienawidzę boga…”!!!!!!!). And so everything on Turpistyczny Amok ticks the right boxes. There may be a bit of chaos in few fragments, but that’s the whole charm of such recordings and I can guarantee that Turpista is not just a common Norge-ripping band, so I cannot think of any reasons why you should be checking this album out. Be quick though, as it’s limited to 666 copies only.
Vae Victis (Ger) Black Fucking Thrash Metal & My Place in Hell (CD ‘ 08 / Galgenstrang & CD ‘ 11 / self-release)
What an annoying promo CD: all the songs are faded out, except for the two title tracks! Yes, Jerries, I have nothing better to do than rip your tracks and make them available to the world by means of mediafire, wetransfer and other file sharing services. By the way, do you like receiving a whole ‘zine or just a sheet of it?...
Maybe my irritation was caused by the fact that I really liked what I heard on this promo material: a very good, Teutonic blend of black and thrash with fast, catchy riffs. Especially, the debut album is a little bit more appealing and better sounding. They are talented bastard sons of Desaster and I like their songs better than, for instance, Polish Bloodthirst who play in the same league. And I am not writing this because I am that kind of guy who keeps saying that “the grass is always greener on the other side.”
Various Artists Tu Futuro… (CD ‘10 / Proselytism)
And another compilation… This one though seemed something more than just an accidental gathering of bands from all over the world, and I guess there was some sort of concept for the compilation. Anyway, I can truly say there are some great bands here, not much crap, so, in the end, this is a worthy collection of underground metal. Already, the first two bands have crushed my skull with some cool sounds. Finally, I had a chance to listen to Mike Browning’s new incarnation, called After Death, and this seems to be great band, with lots of Nocturnus influences but also something more. Greece’s Almighty Sathanas offers a bestial and obscure death / black metal and I just worship their dense and morbid playing. They turned out to be one of the best bands from the compilation. Two Chilean bands come afterwards – Apostasy and AtomicidE. The first one is classic Bay Area influenced thrash metal, and if you dig Nuclear Assault or Exodus, then check them out, not really original, but good. Atomicide is a serious threat to peace on earth as their uncompromising black / death / thrash metal extremity will make cry all the weak. The production is just awful, but that’s what you usually get if you delve into the Blasphemy cults. Black Serpent is the first band which annoyed me rather than entertained. They’re Australian, but style wise I completely didn’t follow their music and I think it sucks. Vocals are horrible; riffs are just uninspiring and wouldn’t put ablaze even the smallest church. Shit, this band is completely forgettable. Since Proselytism is a Chilean label, obviously most of the bands are from this metal worshipping country, and so next are Communion, Demonic Rage and Diabolical Messiah. Everyone should know these names by now; they’re great underground acts and, trust me, they do know their metal craft. Communion plays awesome blackened thrash metal and is almost as good as Desaster; I love their track from this compilation. Demonic Rage is known to me mainly from their split with Father Befouled and one or two demos. They’re a killer death metal band, and if you’re into old Incantation – and of course you are – then listen to these motherfuckers; they’re probably the best band from this compilation. And the same can be said about Diabolical Messiah: morbid death metal at its finest! Ekron Cult from Chile / Paraguay is another cool band, which plays sort of raw and obscure thrash metal with strong archaic death metal influence (think of old Master and Possessed for instance) and that should be enough for recommendation! US based Funeral Nation is an old band, formed back in 1989, but I never heard of them before. They play classic, to the bone thrash metal and are really good, with vocals like Tom Warrior in the old days. Back to South America for Sepulchral Throne and Slaughtbbath – two black metal hordes, the first one is really good, the second slightly less, but despite that I have yet another reason to think that the scene in that region of the world is just fuckin’ killer. Thrash Forward is exactly what the name says, but I was surprised to hear this band here as, just like Funeral Nation, it’s an old band that was formed in 1985 and split up in 1992! Nevermind, they used to play decent thrash. And next is… Totten Korps! I don’t think there’s any need to recommend their dark death metal to anyone, as they’re pretty well known... at least they should be. But if you’re into old Immolation, for instance, then those Chileans have something for you. Colombia’s Typhon is yet another band that was exhumed out of the old catacombs of the mid 90’s. The band released an album in 1995 and then split up, and they played a sort of thrash / black metal with awful vocals, so I skipped them immediately because next is Unaussprechlichen Kulten!!!!! This is a fuckin’ killer death metal band from Chile and I do recommend you getting their Blood Harvest vinyl. The last band is Unholy Archangel, another well-known underground act, hailing from Greece. I’ve never been a huge fan of their music, which is chaotic and bestial black metal, so I’d rather listen to some other bands from this compilation.
Uff, I really didn’t want to do a type of band-by-band review, but somehow I did that anyway, and that’s all because there are so many fantastic bands here on Tu Futuro… that I would have mentioned them all anyway. This is a great compilation, and even though I don’t really like such releases as much, this one is more than interesting and worthy of having in a collection.
Various Artists (Hun) The Last Ride of Dead Kings (CD-R ‘10 / Neverheard)
The impetus behind this compilation is to shed light on 17 demo-era Hungarian bands (circa 1991-1995) in 80 minutes. It’s a cool idea for a comp.; one that allows a glimpse into an obscure yet burgeoning scene. Most of these bands never ascended beyond the demo stage, and those that did managed only to record a single full length before exiting. Expectedly, most acts traffic in the early ‘90s “sounds du jour,” namely thrash and death metal. Also, given the nature of the respective releases, and no obvious attempt to “clean” up the sound, there’s plenty of tinny hiss and muffle as sound sometimes shifts from speaker to speaker. That being said, there is also a surprising amount of clarity to these recordings and a well arranged variety of dynamic music in spite of genre conventions. Both Unfit Ass. and Extreme Deformity (reviewed elsewhere this issue) make an appearance, though why the latter’s offering was culled from their horrendous “live” tape as opposed to their demo is perplexing; I guess it’s more of a “rarity” but still. The remaining groups were uncharted territory for this listener. I enjoyed thrash acts like the ridiculously named yet riff-tastic Metallus Maximus and Ass (seriously? “What do you guys sound like?” “Dude, we sound like Ass.”), even with the unconvincing vox, though Barbed Wire ruled the roost. Death metal acts like Parasite Crowd, with their Naplam Death-inspired Earache Records few years too late sound, the sloppy yet catchy Lord Worm-isms of Intense Agonizing, and the interesting Agressor suitably impressed. Most surprising were the almost NWOBHM sounding Nervous Playground and the melodic, totally captivating for its six minute duration instrumental track by No Future. The Steve DiGiorgio-style headfuck of Slow Fermenting was also a welcome addition. However, the harvest holds some chaff. Death metal acts The Ascension and Infected are by turns generic and boring, while Sunrow brims with ideas that fail to coalesce. These are minor quibbles though. Seeing as how most (all?) of these releases are (probably) long gone, there is definite value in this sonic time capsule. By all means, crack it and explore.
Various Artists (Pol) Thrashing Damnation (CD ‘12 / Defense)
Outside of Kat, I am not all that fluent in Polish thrash. I am much more familiar with the country’s technical death metal and incredible black metal. Imagine my surprise at receiving this compilation of 10 contemporary Polish thrash acts spread across 22 pulverizing tracks. Bands range from the more established (Psychopath and Terrordome) to the more obscure (the hilariously named Metaliator and Traktor), from the truly impressive (Fortress and Intoxicated) to the merely ok (Swiniopas and Soul Collector—the latter’s vocals, ouch). The collection also includes cuts from Thermit and War-saw. One could be forgiven for thinking that, at 76 minutes, and considering the genre, this comp might start to feel like listening to the same band. However, the bands selected offer a variety of takes on the genre, and their juxtaposition with each other assures enough idiosyncratic stamps to maintain attention. Each track runs (roughly) an expected 3-4 minutes as well, so the time flies by. Fortress channel the very best in Bay Area thrash (think Exodus and Death Angel), Swiniopas execute in the spirit (if not in the sound) of such acts as Wehrmacht and S.O.D./M.O.D.; much like their U.S. counterparts in Municipal Waste, Terrordome straddle the social and the silly a la many a classic crossover band (D.R.I. and Nuclear Assault), Psychopath offer a more brutal take (lead vocalist Lukasz spits venom a la classic Sepultura and check out the nod to Kreator’s “Fatal Energy” in their track “Kings Shall Be Kings” for further proof), while Thermit inject a bit of ‘80s sleaze akin to contemporaries 3 Inches of Blood. I’m not one of those po-faced types lamenting this so called “thrash resurgence.” I love this shit, and this compilation is awesome. It’s great to hear so many promising young bands coming out of Poland. If, while listening to this, you don’t smile, and bang your head, and strum a guitar chord/conclude a drum fill in mid-air, you’re reading the wrong goddamn ‘zine.
Various Artists (USA) Do or Die Records Sampler (CD-R ‘13 / Do or Die)
Do or Die Records are a young, Chicago based metal label with a total of three releases to their name (as of this writing), a track from each appearing on this very brief sampler. And while this may have some of you asking, “Why bother?” given the sorry state of the music biz today (I suppose you could ask the same question of the printed ‘zine), Do or Die has collected an impressive coterie of talent culled from the vast, rich scene of their surrounds (all bands are based in Chicago)…and they’re fucking called Do or Die Records, ok? Up first is Relentless, a doom metal group who most definitely balance the metal half of the equation. “United by Darkness,” from their debut full length Souls of Charon, is riff based and full of vibrant chords and a spirited pace that effortlessly had my head banging. Vocalist Carlee Jackson is ok during the verses but really shines during the chorus: “Off to hell we go” echoing well after the song ends. One man black metal act Nocturne is up next with the track “Pain of Purity” from the Ave Noctem debut. Sole creator Dan Klein plays drums for Relentless as well so no surprise a bit o’ doom finds its way into the song’s opening. A great riff rises round the 1:30 mark and multi-instrumentalist Klein delivers an impressive performance at every turn: melodically inclined, spiteful, and sad. The triumvirate is anchored by blackened thrashers DeathCult, whose The Test of Time album is authored by another multi-instrumentalist (and lead guitarist for Relentless) Tim Pearson. “Inner Beast” is the fastest, rawest track on offer though Pearson has an innate sense of effective songcraft, knowing when to shift tempo and how to stick a line in a listener’s head. This three song salvo bodes well for the label’s future despite an obvious bit of nepotism at work within their releases thus far. I understand playing it safe until established, however some brave branching into the beyond might prove beneficial in assuring they continue to do and never die.
War Command (Can) Warlords Supremacy (CD ‘10 / Morbid Moon)
Taking the band’s music, name and its members’ nicknames into consideration, one can smoothly call them a war metal horde (or simply death/black, choose yourself, hehe).
The short intro was taken from the film Gladiator and a promising death/black metal assault starts immediately after.
The production is good, but the song writing lacks a little bit in terms of maturity and the melodies are infantile in places. It comes as no surprise to me as War Command are newcomers, aren’t they? Sometimes I have the impression that their music is the result of having not enough skills to play more advanced songs, whereas bands like, for example, Conqueror possess such skills but have chosen to play quite simple stuff. Anyway, the album fits my taste, also due to its diversity, because there are brutal, melodic, old school as well as more complex parts, so no place for monotony here for sure.
Although they are not as raw, chaotic and brilliantly evil as Canada’s well-known Ross Bay bands, I like War Command too. If only they kept continuing with the band and made their tunes more barbaric, they could have become an important act on the metal map.
Warmarch (Sk) Pactum Cum Diabolus (CD ‘09 / Hexencave)
Here’s another release from Hexencave, and another Slovakian black metal horde called Warmarch. I must admit that I’m quite impressed by this sole full length which Warmarch has released. Pactum Cum Diabolus is really a fine piece of pure, raw and traditional black metal, one which is deeply influenced by the Norwegian scene and such acts as Kvist, early Urgehal and Gorgoroth. Most of the songs have been played at a fast pace (although there are also some slower songs as well), so the music is very relentless and uncompromising, invoking a dark, evil and gruesome atmosphere; however, there’s never really a feeling of primitiveness, as the whole has been decently played and recorded. I must admit that, production wise, as well as with such tracks as “Satanic Sadist,” Pactum Cum Diabolus reminds me of Antichrist. Really, there’re many similarities between the two, and it looks like Warmarch must have put Antichrist as the finest inspiration for the sound which they wanted to achieve on Pactum Cum Diabolus. And that’s fine, as for me, Antichrist is not only Gorgoroth’s most complete and greatest achievement but also one of the finest pieces in Norwegian black metal history. Ha, even when you hear Kaltemtal’s vocals you’ll think of Pest’s vokills from early Gorgoroth. So, I must admit that Pactum Cum Diabolus is just a really good album. It had actually been released already back in 2009, and nowadays Warmarch is no longer among us, as the band split up in 2010, but who cares… It’s good that I had a chance to listen to it. By the way, this CD was limited to 500 copies only and as far as I know there are only very few left at Hexencave. Probably by the time you read this, Pactum Cum Diabolus may be quite difficult to get. Try though, if you’re a black metal maniac.
Ysengrin (Fra) Archivum MMV-MMX (tape ‘10 / self-released)
Another release from Ysengrin, this one way more obscure and raw than the To Endonaton album... It sounds more like a doomy black / death metal release from the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, if you have in my mind what bands like Alastis or Samael were doing back then… Dark, morbid, obscure, utterly evil! Add primitive if you will, but I must admit that I may like Archivum MMV-MMX more than any other Ysengrin releases, which I have listened to so far. Definitely I like it more than the Tragedies album, for the atmosphere, which is on Archivum MMV-MMX. Those keyboard / ambient songs may be a bit unnecessary, but surely they maintain the atmosphere dark and eerie. For the end Ysengrin offers a nice cover of Darkthrone and that’s it. I can really say that Archivum MMV-MMX is not bad at all.
Ysengrin (Fra) Tragedies - Liber Hermetis (CD ‘11 / De Profundis Éditions)
Tragedies - Liber Hermetis is the second album of Ysengrin and I actually started to listen to it already after I have listened to their third output, called To Endotaton. Knowing what the music on the last album was like and now when listening to Tragedies - Liber Hermetis I can definitely say that the music of Ysengrin has developed quite a lot and in the good way, as I liked the third album way more than Tragedies - Liber Hermetis. I don’t mean that Tragedies is weak, but because it’s a long, 55 minutes long, album then I must say that at times I feel terribly bored by it. But definitely those of you, who like doom / death metal, especially played by some Finnish bands (it also reminds me some other bands, maybe Italian (??)), which I cannot put the name on at the time (my memory is blank) and if you like, when it has a small touch of black metal feeling to it, then definitely Tragedies - Liber Hermetis may be your thing. The music has a strong kind of sorrowful atmosphere, but also one, which is quite grim and at times almost ritualistic. While some particular fragments has caught my attention, the whole album begs for something more. For me it’s just another release, which I have listened to three or four times and then went into another band, quickly forgetting what I was listening to before.
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