Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Surachai/To No Avail/Handshake Inc/2011 Full Length Review

  Surachai  are  a  1  man  band  from  Chicago,  Illinois  that  plays  a  mixture  of  post  black  metal,  progressive  and noise  and this  is  a  review  of  his  2011  album  "To  No  Avail"  which  was  released  by  Handshake  Inc.

  The  album  starts  out  with  some  ambient noise  sounds  and  distorted  power  electronics  and  a  couple  of  minutes  later  fast  post  black  metal  guitar  riffs  and  screams  are  added  into  the  music  along  with  some  crust  elements  and  you  can  also  hear  a  decent  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies,  guitar  leads, and  blast  beats  being  thrown  into  the  music.

  As  the  album  progresses  it  starts  mixing  slower  and  atmospheric  parts  in  with  the  faster  material  that  is  present  on  this  recording  as  well  as  bringing  back  in  elements  of  noise  and  the  music  starts  going  into  a  more  experimental  direction  while  also  going  back  to  a  heavier  direction  at  times  as  well  as  utilizing  a  mixture  of  both  fast  and  slow  parts  and  this  project  has  a  very  original  sound  to  it  and  I  can  see  it  appealing  to  a  lot  of  post  black  metal  fans  and  the  album  closes  with  a  dark  sounding  violins  being  mixed  in  with  some  avant  garde  sounds.

  Song  lyrics  cover  dark  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  dark  and  raw  sound  with  both  of  the  songs  being  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  Surachai  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  post  black  metal,  progressive,  noise  and  ambient  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  project.  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Official website

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vesterian/Anthems For the Coming War Age/Glorious North Productions/2013 CD Review

  Vesterian  are  a  band  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  with  a  musical  style  I  would  describe  as  being  a  very  dark  and  heavy  form  of  satanic/occult  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "Anthems  For  The Coming  War  Age"  which  was  released  by  Glorious  North  Productions.

  The  album  starts  out  with  some  dark  and  ritualistic  sound  effects along  with  some  some  synths as  well  as  the  sounds  of  nature  and  war  and  than  the  music  goes  into  a  very  fast  black  metal  assault  along  with  some  blast  beats  and  high  pitched  screams  and  the  music  utilizes  a  very  dark  sounding  atmosphere  as  well  as  adding  in  melody  to  the  chaos  this  music  produces  and  after  awhile  the  music  slows  down  and  adds  in  some  guitar  solos  which  enhance  the  darkness  of  the  album.

  As  the  album  progresses  it  gets  more  dark  and  evil  in  sound  as  well  as  mixing  in  some  brutal  elements  as  well  as  adding  in  spoken  word  parts  with  the  screams  and  a  lot  of  true  and  old  school  black  metal  elements  start  to  kick  in  a  lot  more  and  the  music  for  the  most  part  sticks  to  a  fast  and  chaotic  direction  while  the  slow  parts  are  still  used  on  a  regular  basis  and  they  also  bring  in  a  ritualistic  feeling  to  the  recording  and  the  guitar  solos  also  start  displaying  a  lot  more  talent  and  skill.

  Once  we  get  halfway  through  the  album  the  bass  guitars  start  sounder  stronger  and  they  add  to  the  chaos  and  demonic  speed  of  the  music  while  also  adding  to  the  darkness  of  the  more  slow  and  atmospheric  elements  of  the  music  and  towards  the  end  there  is  also  a  few  seconds  of  melodic  clean  singing  vocals  being  mixed  in  with  some  grim  sounding  screams.

  This  album  shows  a  lot  of  strength  and  power  as  well  as  diversity  when  the  band  goes  into  fast  mode  the  music  is  some  of  the  most  chaotic  black  metal  ever  produced  while  the  slower  and  more  melodic  aspects  of  the  music  bring  in  a  dark  atmosphere  that  sets  this  band  a  part  from  other  bands  of  this  genre  and  when  synths  are  utilized  they  bring  back  memories  of  the  more  atmospheric  sounding  90's  black  metal  bands  and  with  all  of  these  elements  combined  it  makes  this  recording  one  of  the  best  black  metal  albums  released  this  year.

  Song  lyrics  cover  Satanism,  Occultism  and  Sumerian  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  dark  sound  where  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording  as  well  as  some  of  the  songs  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Vesterian  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  dark,  heavy,  fast  and  melodic  satanic/occult  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Under  the  Blood  Red  Moon"  "Ancient  Bloodthirst"  "Unknown  Spell's  From  Nibiru's  Watchtower"  and  "Dark  Oceans  Roar  During  the  Cosmic  Upheavel".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Grauzeit/440 - The Remix Suite/2013 EP Review

  This  is  another  review  of  a  recording  from  Grauzeit  which  continues  their  mixture  of  melancholic  post  rock  and  depressive  black  metal  as  well  as  mixing  in  elements  of  electronic  music  with  the  remix  ep  being  self  released  in  2013  and  called  "440 -  The  Remix  Suite".

  the  ep  starts  out  with  some  drum  beats  and  electronic  music  elements  before  adding  in  black  metal  screams  and  the  music  starts  going  for  more  of  a  darker  direction  and  you  can  also  hear  industrial  elements  being  thrown  into  the  music.

  By  the  time  the  music  gets  into  the  second  song  clean  guitars  and  post  rock  elements  start  mixing  in  with  black  metal  and  electronic  music  as  well  as  adding  in  some  dark  sounding  whispers  as  well  as  some  electric  guitars  and  a  lot  of  the  electronic  elements  that  are  added  in  border  more  on  dub  step  and  it  adds  in  a  different  element  that  black  metal  bands  rarely  touch  on  and  the  synths  which  are  added  in  on  the  last  song  bring  an  even  darker  touch  to  the  music.

  Song  lyrics  are  written  in  German  and  cover  dark,  depressive  and  melancholic  themes,  while  the  production has  a  very  dark  and  heavy  sound  with  all  of  the  songs  being  remixes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Gruzeit  and  if  you  are  looking  for  a  recording  that  mixes  electronic  music  with  black  metal  and  post  rock,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "440:2"  and  "440:4".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Grauzeit/Dieses Gefuhl jeden Tag/2012 EP Review

  Grauzeit  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  a  depressive  form  of  post  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of their  self  released  2012  ep  "Dieses  Gefuhl  jeden  Tag".

   The  ep  starts  off  with  some  melancholic  sounding  acoustic  guitars  that  utilize  both  finger  picking  and  full  chords  and  background  voices  and  after  awhile  post  rock  elements  are  added  into  the  music  and  after  a  minute  into  the  first  official  song  on  the  ep  drums,  black  metal  guitar  riffs  and  depressive  screams  are  added  into  the  music.

  As  the  ep  progresses  post  rock  elements  start  mixing  in  with  depressive  black  metal  and  it  takes  the  music  into  a  more  melancholic  direction  as  well  as  mixing  clean  and  heavy  parts  together  as  well  as  adding  more  melody  into  the  guitar  riffing  and  when  the  ep  goes  into  the  fourth  song  melodic  clean  singing  vocals  are  added  into  the  music.

  As  the ep  progresses  the  music  starts  focusing  more  on  acoustic  guitars  and  post  rock  elements  and  not  really  utilizing  much  of  their  black  metal  sound  and  while  the  post  rock  parts  are  done  with  a  lot  skill  I  still  prefer  the  more  black  metal  side  of  their  musical  style  and  the music  starts  getting  a  lot  more  powerful  when  the  black  metal  parts  make  a  return  to  the  recording.

  Song  lyrics  are  written  in  German  and  cover  dark,  depressive,  melancholic  and  philosophical  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  dark,  raw  and  heavy  sound  with  the  music  guitars  being  mixed  down  low  in  the  mix  as  well  as  some  of  the  songs  being long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  Grauzeit  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  depressive  black  metal  and  melancholic  rock  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  these  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Mein  Leben  Endet..."  and  "Dieses Gefuhl jeden Tag".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.  


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ancst/Hiveburner/Skull Witch/Mustard Moustache/2013 Split Cassette Review

  This  is  a  review  of  a  split  cassette  between  Germany's  Ancst  and  Hiveburner  which  was  released  as  a  joint  effort  between  Skull  Witch  and  Mustard  Moustache  and  we  are  going  to  start  off  the  review  with  Ancst  a  band  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  raw  form  of  black  metal  mixed  with  crust  and  noise.

  Their  side  of  the  split  begins  with  some  atmospheric  sounding  drones  and  dark  guitar  riffs  before  going  into  a  very  fast  black  metal  assault  along  with  some  blast  beats  from  the  drums  and  then  the  music  starts  slowing  down  a  bit  and  grim  screams  make  their  presence  known  as  well  as  a  mixture  of  both  fast  and  slow  parts.

  By  the  time  we  get  to  the  second  song  hardcore  and  crust  elements  are  added  in  along  with  some  strong  melodic  black  metal  elements  and  the  band  continues  the  tradition  of  their  trademark  mixture  of  crust  and  grind  and  this  is  also  some  of  their  strongest  sounding  material.

  Song  lyrics  cover  anti  religion  and  anti  fascist  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  raw,  heavy  and  dark  sound  with  the  bass  guitars  being  mixed  down  low  in  the  mix  and  the  sound  focuses  more  on  guitars,  drums  and  vocals.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Ancst  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  crust  influenced  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  their  side  of  the  split.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Patterns  And  Dreamers".

  Next  up  is  Hiveburner  a  band  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  drone  and  sludge.

  Their  side  of  the  split  starts  off  with  some  drone  and  noise  sounds  and  after  awhile  guitar  distortion  along  with  some  heavy  doom  metal  guitar  riffs  and  drums  start  to  kick  in  while  also  having  some  harsh  noise  elements  in  the  background  which  also  lead  to  some  aggressive  vocals  that  have  a  hardcore  feeling  to  them  as  well  as  adding  black  metal  influences  into  the  screams  and  towards  the  end  the  music  speeds  up a  bit  along  with  some  blast  beats  and  crust  infuenced  growls  which  enhance  the  epic  elements  of  their  side  of  the  recording.  

  Song  lyrics  cover  dark  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  dark  and  heavy  sound  with  their  only  song  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length.  

  In  my  opinion  Hiveburner  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge,  drone  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  their  side  of  the  split.  RECOMMENDED.

  In  conclusion  I  feel  this  is  a  very  great  sounding  split  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  black  metal,  crust  and  sludge,  you  should  check  out  this  cassette.  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Legions Of War/Forced To The Ground/Inferno Records/2013 CD Review

  Legions  Of  War  are  a  band  from  Sweden  that  plays  a  mixture  of  black,  war  and  thrash  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "Forced  to  The  Ground"  which  was  released  by  Inferno  Records.

  The  album  starts  off  with  an  intro  that  has  the  sounds  of  war  stomping  along  with  some  synths  as  well  as  some  heavy  and  melodic  guitar  riffing  and  drums  before  going  into  a  fast  melodic  black  metal  assault  along  with  high  pitched  screams  and  a  few  seconds  later  guitar  solos  are  added  into  the  music  in  certain  parts  as  well  as  being  diverse  along  with  a  mixture  of  slow  and  fast  parts   and  then  the  thrash  influences  start  to  kick  in  and  really  start  to  take  over  on  the  next  song.

  When  the  music  is  in  black/thrash  mode  it  really  starts  to  kick  in  gear  and  it  never  goes  away  from  the  black  metal  and  the  mixture  of  black  and  thrash  metal  are  a  very  great  strong  point  on  the recording  and  the  music  starts  also  incorporating  classic  metal  elements,  and  as  the  album  progresses  it  starts  also  going  into  a  melodic  black  metal  direction  to  create  a  true  and  diverse  metal  record.

  Once  we  get  into  the  fourth  song  classical  guitars  are  added  in  as  an  intro  before  going  into  a  melodic  and  old  school  metal  direction  as  well  as  adding  in  powerful  sounding  bass  guitars  and  once  the  black  metal  parts  kick  in  the  music  starts  reminding  me  of  what  Dissection  would  of  sounded  like  if  they  where  more  thrash  influenced.

  The  album  really  starts  getting  more  diverse  as  time  goes  on  by  one  minute  the  music  will  be  an  all  out  thrash  assault  and  then  it  stops  with  some  depressing  sounding  keyboards,  acoustic  guitars  and  melodic  guitar  leads  before  making  a  return  to  being  heavy  again  and  I  can  hear  some  King  Diamond  and  Mercyful  Fate  influences  being  used  in  the  guitar  riffing  and  the  screams  also  bring  back  memories  of  Bewitched  and  there  is  also  a  brief  use  of  psychedelic  sounding  keyboards.

  One  of  the  main  strengths  this  band  has  is  that  every  song  sounds  different  from  each  other  and  it  only  sticks  to  true  elements  which  is  actually  a  great  thing  and  I  can  see  this  album  making  this  band  very  well  known  in  the  metal  genre.

  Song  lyrics  cover  war  and  violence  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  professional.  and  heavy  sound  where  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording.

  In  my  opinion  Legions  Of  War  are  a  very  great  sounding mixture  of  war,  melodic  black  metal  and  thrash  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Forced  To  The  Ground"  "At  the  Eastern  Shores"  and  "In  The  Warfield  Storms".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Adventum Diaboli/Rise Of The Pagans/2013 Full Length Review

  Adventum  Diaboli  are  a  band  from  Greece  that  has  been featured  before  in  this  zine  with  a  musical  style  that  mixes  old  school  occult  black  metal  with  depressive  black  metal  along  with  a  touch  of  paganism  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2013  album  "Rise  Of  the  Pagans".

  Dark  sounding  synths  mark  the  beginning  of  the  album  and  a  minute  later tribal  sounding  drums  start  coming  into  the  music  and  a  minute  later  melodic  black  metal  guitar  riffs  and  grim  screams  make  their  way  into  the  music  and  mix  in  with  the  drums  and  synths,  then  the  music  goes  for  more  of  a  depressive  and  old  school  black  metal  direction.

    As  the  album  progresses  death  metal  growls  are  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  music  and  the  album  starts  incorporating  more  atmospheric  elements  as  well  as  some  spoken  word  parts  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  after  awhile  the  music  starts  going  for  more  of  an  early  90's  black  metal  direction  that  sticks  more  to  a  mid  paced  direction  while  also  having  a  very  dark  and  raw  sound  to  it  and  the  drums  at  times  while  speed  up  to  add  more  of  a  primal  feeling  to  the  recording.  

  Once  we  get  more  into  the  album  acoustic  guitars  that  utilize  a  great  amount  of  finger  picking  as  well  as  being  used  on  a  couple  of  songs  are  added  into  the  recording  and  enhance  the  darkness  this  album  possesses  and  then  goes  into  some  hateful  black  metal  sounds  as  well  as  mixing  in  guitar  leads  and  they  album  starts  adding  in  a  ritualistic  quality  and  towards  the  end  synths  make  a  return  to  one  song  and  bring  back  in  the  depressive  and  atmospheric  elements  as  well  as  bringing  in  shamanistic  elements  to  the  last  song.

  Once  of  the  main  strengths  this  album  has  is  that  every  song  stands  out  and  they  all  have  a  different  sound  while  remaining  true  to  old  school  black  metal  and  this  album  displays  this  band  has  a  great  knowledge  of  old  school  black  metal.

  Song  lyrics  cover  Paganism,  Greek  Mythology  and  Occultism  as  well  as  having  one  song  being  written  in  Greek,  while  the  production  has  a  very  dark,  raw  and  old  school  sound  to  it  with  the  bass  guitars  being  mixed  down  low  in  the  mix  as  well  as  some  of  the  songs  being  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Adventum  Diaboli  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  depressive  and  old  school  black  metal,  you should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Transylvanian  Wind"  Medieval  Pagan  Rites"  and  "Eis  Arews  Dokska".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

L'Hiver en Deuil/Ter Aarde/Consouling Agency/2013 CD Review

  L'Hiver en Deuil  are  a  band  from  Belgium  that  plays  melancholic  form  of  black  metal  and this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "Ter  Aarde"  which  was  released  by  Consouling  Agency.

  The  album  starts  off  with  some  dark  sounding  distortion  that  comes  out  of  the  guitar  playing  and  once  the  music  goes  into  the  prelude  drums  are  added  in  and  then  the  music  shape  shifts  into  clean  guitars  and  bass  before  heading  into  a  slower  black  metal  sound  and  adding  in  spoken  word  parts  which  also  start  mixing  in  black  metal  screams  and  death  metal  growls.

  As  the  album  moves  on  acoustic  guitars  are  mixed  in  with  the  heavier  parts, , and  as  the  album  moves  on  post  rock  elements  are  added  in  and  they  enhance  the  atmospheric  black  metal  elements  this  recording  possesses  and  poetic  elements  are  added  to  the  spoken  word  parts  and  the  music  also  starts  getting  more  melodic  after  awhile  as  well  as  mixing  in  whispers.

  One  of  the  main  strengths  on  this  album  are  the  depressive  black  metal  elements  that  are  mixed  in  with  the  deeper  vocals  and  the  screams  also  start  adding  more  of  a  melancholic  feeling  and  while  they  say  there  are  post  hardcore  elements  on  this  recording,  I  cant  hear  them  and  to  me  that  is  a  great  thing  and  another  great  highlight  are  the  fast  riffs  and  blast  beats  that  are  utilized  later  on  during  the  recording  which  gives  the  music  more  life.

  Song  lyrics  are  written  in  a  mixture  of  English,  Dutch  and  French  and  cover  dark  and  melancholic  themes,  as  for  the  production  it  has  a  very  heavy  and  dark  sound  where  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording  as  well  as  some  of  the  songs  being very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  L'Hiver en Deuil  are  a  very  great  sounding  melancholic  black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Gesel"  and  "Gekluisterd".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Esotis Interview

1.Can you give us an introduction to the musical project?
I guess and hope that listening to my first album could say enough about this project.

2.How would you describe the musical sound that is present on your recordings?
Waves of distorted guitars layered with synth. Atmospheric and “spatial”.

3.Your lyrics cover cosmos and space themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interests in these topics?
I don’t really have lyrics : there are only screams. I use my voice as an instrument, another layer of sound to express feelings… Watching a sky full of stars on a clear night has always been an intense and personal experiment for me. In fact, I can’t really express myself with words about cosmos and space... That’s why I’m trying to do it through music. It is a mix of a deep loneliness feeling but, at the same time, being very confident.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Esotis'?
ESOTIS means Eternal Silence Of These Infinite Spaces. It comes from the famous words of Blaise Pascal : “The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me ”… But with one difference : it doesn’t frighten me, it makes me confident.

5.Currently this project is all solo, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to work by yourself?
Who knows what could happen… but right now, I prefer to keep it solo.

6.The album came out on Katabaz Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Katabaz Records is a great netlabel made by (and for) a bunch of friends. You should check other artists on it : a lot of different styles but always with mood, atmosphere and feelings (http://katabazrecords.bandcamp.com)

7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of atmospheric black metal?
Well, worldwide is a big word… But I’m pretty surprise : in one week I got some pretty nice compliments and some people shows me good support on facebook and youtube. I’m happy with it right now but it is just a start : ESOTIS is born very recently so I still have a lot to do.

8.Are you involved with any other musical projects besides 'Esotis'?
Yes but I prefer to keep all of them separate so if you’re ok I wont speak about them.

9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
I’ll still continue my way in this style with waves of guitars and deep synth… but I’ll try to add, here and there, some little new sounds.

10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Well, the mix of guitars and synth is inspired by bands like Lustre or Basarabian Hills. However, to be honest, even if I like their music I’m not listening a lot to these bands. In a different style I prefer Summoning which is definitely one of my favorite band when it comes to mix guitars with synth. A part of that, I’m listening to a lot of different music : dark ambient, dungeon synth and movie soundtracks are, at the moment, among my favorites.

11.Does occultism play any role in your music?
No, sorry. I don’t believe in god, occultism, spirits, etc…  I’m only “Trve” to one thing : myself. And it is not easy every days…

12.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Art in general : movies, books… I like to draw. I’ve done the artwork of my album myself. I like to travel as well.

13.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for your interview and review. Keep on supporting ESOTIS on bandcamp, facebook, youtube or whatever : it is so nice to see people liking a project which is important to me !

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ak'chamel The Giver Of Illness/Thrower Of Sickness/Halloween Quest Records/2013 Cassette Review

  Ak'chamel  The  Giver  Of  Illness  are  a  band  from  Texas  that  on  this  recording  plays  a  mixture  of  lo-fi  black  metal  mixed  with  psychedelia  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  cassette  "Thrower  Of  Sickness"  which  was  released  by  Halloween  Quest  Records.

  The  cassette  begins  with  some  raw,  lo-fi  black  metal  guitar  riffing  and  then  starts  adding  in  grim  screams  and  starts  getting  more  upbeat  as  time  goes  on  by  as  well  as  speeding  up  and  adding  in  blast  beats  along  with  a  dark atmosphere,  when  it  goes  into  the  next  song  it  goes  more  avant  garde,  experimental  and  psychedelic  as  well  as  adding  in  demonic  voices  and  am  radio  voices.

  Later  on  the  album  returns  back  to  being  raw  black  metal  while  also  keeping  around  the  avant  garde  and  experimental  elements  which  in  return  creates  a  very  original  sound  while  adding  in  more  touches  of  psychedelia  and  as  time  goes  on  by  Gregorian  chants  are  added  onto  th e  cassette.

  "Once  we  get  to  the  last  song  the  mid  60's  and  early  70's  occult  rock  sound  starts  to  dominate  and  brings  in  organs  and  it  takes  the  cassette  into  a  more  evil  direction  while  also  having  in  elements  of  harsh  noise  and  as  the song  progresses  demonic  chanting  is  adding  in  calling  upon  the  dark  forces  of  Chtulu  as  well  as  bringing  back  some  black  metal  elements  and  the  cassette  closes  in  a  more  psychedelic  direction  as  well  as  mixing  in  radio  sounds  and  choirs.

  Song  lyrics  cover  Lovecraft  and Occult  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  dark,  lo-fi,  raw  and  primitive  sound  along  with  a  couple  of  the  songs  being  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  a  very  great  sounding  recording  from  Ak'chamel  The  Giver  Of  Illness  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  lo-fi  black  metal  mixed  in  with  experimental  and  psychedelic,  you  should  give  this cassette  a  chance.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Devourer of  Stars"  and  "The  Old  Ones".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.



Thy Worshiper/Czarna Dzika Czerien/Propaganda Chaosu/2013 CD Review

  Thy  Worshiper  are  a  band  from  Poland  that  plays  a  very  raw  form  of  pagan/black  metal  with  medieval  folk  elements  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "Czarna  Dzika  Czerien"  which  was  released  by  Propaganda  Chaosu.

  The  album  starts  off  with  nature  sounds  and  then  the  dark  synths  and  esoteric  female  vocals  start  to  kick  in,  once  acoustic  guitars  and  drums  are  added  in  the  music  takes  on  more  of  a  folk  edge  as  well  as  mixing  in  bass  and  guitar  leads  which  also  leads  to  some  black  metal  screams  that  have  a  deep  tone  to  them  and  it  leads  to  a  heavier  direction.

  Once  we  get  more  into  the  album  tribal  beats  are  added  in  and  the  music  starts  going  for  a  more  pagan  direction  and  has  a  ritualistic  feeling  that  invokes  the European  Pagan  Gods  while  also  remaining  heavy  at  the same  time  and  the  music  starts  adding  in  more  melody  and  a  guitar  sound  that  is  very  original  and  not  in  the  standard  black  metal  direction,  and  the  album  utilizes  this  direction  throughout  the  9  songs  that  are  present  on  this  recording.

  One  of  the  main  strengths  this  album  has  is  its  shamanistic  feeling  and  when  we  get  more  into  it  folk  instruments  are  added  in  to  enhance  the  medieval  feeling  this  recording  possesses,  and  the  music  starts  getting  stronger  with  each  song  and  the  black  metal  parts  start  to  kick  in  a  lot  as  well  as  bringing  in  some  fast  parts  while  the  music  sticks  mostly  to  a  medieval sound  but  updated  for  2013  in  a  more  underground  and  cult  way  and  it  is  a  very  original  approach  to  black  metal  and  the  album  closes  with  a  blast  beat.

  Song  lyrics  are  written  in  Polish  and  cover  Paganism  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  strong,  powerful  and  dark  sound  where  you  can  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  this  recording.

  In  my  opinion  Thy  Worshiper  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  pagan/black  metal  and  medieval  folk  music  and   if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres  and  looking  for  something  original,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Piach"  "Deszcz"  "Wiatr"  and  "Ogien".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Emanation/One Soul, One Body, One Spirit/Black Mass Records/2013 CD Review

  This  is  a  review  of  another  recording  from  Emanation  which  continues  his  spiritual  approach  to  atmospheric,  experimental  black  metal  with  the  Cassette  being  called  "One  Soul,  One Body,  On  Spirit"  which  was  released  by  Black  Mass  Records.

  The  cassette  starts  off  which  avant  garde  soundscapes  as  well  as  grim  vocals  in  the  background  before  adding  in  synths  and  as  time  goes  on  by  you  can  hear  experimental  noise  elements  start  to  kick  in  and  as the music  starts  to  progress  drones  and  spoken  word  samples  become  a  part  of  the  music,  black  metal  guitar  riffs  and  depressive  screams  finally  make  their  way  on  the  album  after  10  minutes  and  mix  in  with  all  the experimental,  drone  and  noise  sounds  that  are  present  on this  recording.

  After  the  first  song  which  is  over  40  minutes  as  well  as  being  more  of  an  experimental  song,  lo-fi  elements  start  making  a  powerful  presence  on  this  recording  and  you  can  hear  some  dark  and  creepy  guitars  in  the  background  which  have  a  drone/doom  metal  feeling  to  them  and  as  the  album  progresses  it  starts  heading  into  a  more  atmospheric  black  metal  direction  and  also  mixes  in  with  all  of  the  drone  and  experimental  elements  to  create  a  sound  that  is  very  original.

  When  the  album  moves  on  it  adds  in  more  up  beat  and  mid  paced  elements  as  well  as  adding  a  suicidal  touch  to  the  screams  and  the  album  never  forgets  about  its  experimental  roots  which  also  take  over   a  good  part  of  the  album  in  a  serious  way  while  never  staying  too  far away  from  the  black  metal  foundation  which  also  dominates  the  last  song  and  this  is  the  perfect  album  to  listen  to  during  seances  or  raising  the  dead

  Song  themes  cover  Spirtism,  Science  and  Occultism,  while  the  production  has  a  very  dark  and  lo-fi  sound  with  all  of  the  songs  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Emanation  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  experimental,  atmospheric  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Metempsychosis"  and  "Immanent".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.  



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Valknacht/Le Sacrifice d' Ymir/PRC Music/2014 CD Review

  Valknacht  are  a  band  from  Quebec,  Canada  that plays  a  pagan  form  of  black  metal  with  elements  of  folk  music  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Le  Sacrifice  d'  Ymir"  which  will  be  released  by PRC  Music.

  The  album  starts  off  with  an  intro  which  utilizes  viking  chanting  to  bring  a  feeling  of  the  dark  waves  as  well  as  nature  sounds  and  once  the  synths  are  added in  the  album  starts  going  for  more  of  an  epic  and  atmospheric  direction.

  Once  the  album  starts  getting  into  the  real  songs  you  can  hear  traces  of  Graveland  and  Polish  black  metal  being  added  into  the  atmosphere  and  then  the  heavy  guitars  and  screams  start  to  kick  in  as  well  as  a  classical  music  feeling  which  adds  to  the  epic  qualities  of  the  recording  along  with  some  death  metal  influenced  growls once  guitar  leads  are  added  in  as  well  as  blast  beats,  then  the  album  takes  a  more  melodic  direction  while  also  remaining  heavy  at  the  same  time  which  enhances  the  folk  elements.

  Melodic  pagan  chanting  is  also  used  on  a  regular  basis  during  the  recording  and  once  acoustic  guitars  are  added  in  the  music  starts  taking  on   a  folk/black  metal  direction  along  with  the  medieval  sounding  flutes  and  as  we  get  more  into  the  album  the  melodies  start  adding  in  a  lot  more  emotion  and  sorrow  bringing  in  some  Norwegian  pagan  metal  influences  and  mixing  it  with  the  more  modern  folk  metal  sound.

  As  we  head  more  into  the  songs  they  start  getting  more  epic  as  time  goes  on  by  and  the  mixture  of  melodic  black  metal,  death  and  folk  metal  really  does  give  the  album  a  sound  of  its  own and  the  songs  really  do  the Pagan  Gods  justice  and  halfway  through  the  album  there  is  a  brief  use  of  female  vocals  that  really  enhance  the  aggressive  qualities  of  the  music.

  Halfway  through  the  album  traditional  metal  elements  start  mixing  in  and  adding  another  shade  of  color  to  the  recording  as  well  as  the  blast  beats  taking  on  an  even  more  brutal  approach  while  also  retaining  the  atmospheric  elements,  as  the  album  opens  with  an  epic  sound  it  also  ends  in  the  same  direction.

  Song  lyrics  are  written  in  French  and  cover  Paganism  and  Mythology,  while  the  production  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  professional  sound  with  the  bass  guitars  being  mixed  down  low  in  the  mix  as  well  as  most  of  the  songs  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  In  my  opinion  Valknacht  are  a  very  great  sounding  epic  pagan/black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Bataille  de  Maldon"  "Le Sacrifice d' Ymir"  and  "Que  Le  Sang  Constelle  Mes  Mains".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Suffering In Solitude/A Place Apart/Domestic Genocide/2013 CD Review

  Suffering  In  Solitude  are  a  band  from  California  that  plays  a  very  depressive  form  of  post  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  album  "A  Place  Apart"  which  was  released  by  Domestic  Genocide.

  Once  the  album  starts  acoustic  guitars  come  in  and  bring  a  post  rock  feeling  to  the  album     and  a  minute  later  melodic  guitar  leads  start  becoming  a  part  of  the  mix,  once  the  album  goes  into  the  second  song  heavy  guitar  riffs  that  also  use  melody  and  drums  start  to  take  over which  then  takes  the  music  into  a  faster  black  metal  direction  as  well  as  mixing  in  slower  parts  to  make  the  album  more  diverse  and  you  can  also  hear  clean  parts  and  bass  guitars  being  added  in  as  well  as  post  metal  style  guitar  leads.

  As  the  album  moves  on  the  music  starts  getting  more  experimental  as  well  as  mixing  in  depressive  black  metal  screams  along  with  some  more  progressive  elements,  another  strong  element  the  music  has  is  when  it  goes  back  to  acoustic  guitars  and  then  returns  back  to  a  faster  direction  along  with  some  blast  beats  as  well  as  mixing  in  slower  modern  black  metal  riffing,  and  when  the  blast  beats  come  out  they  really  make  the  album  stand  out.

  By  the  time  the  album  hits  the  fourth  song  you  can  hear  a  small  amount  of  military  style  drums  being  mixed  in  with  the  slower  parts  as  well  as  an  atmospheric  background  which  really  brings  out  the  sorrow  and  depression  of  the  recording  and  it  also  evokes  a  psychedelic  feeling  which  you  can  hear  in  the  synths  which  are  utilized  on  some  of  the  songs,  and  the  album  has  a  mixture  of  instrumentals  and  regular  songs   with  the  whole  recording being  slightly  under  30  minutes.

  Once  we  get  the  last  song  song  acoustic  guitars  bring  a  very  powerful  beginning  before  adding  in  depressive  post  rock  synths  along  with  some  grim  screams  as  well  as  some  melodic  clean  singing  to  bring  a  perfect  ending  to  the  album.

  Song  lyrics  cover  dark  and  depressive  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  heavy  and  dark  sound  along  with  the  bass  guitars  being  mixed  down  low  in  the  mix  and  adding  more  power  to  the  guitars  and  vocals.

  In  my  opinion  Suffering  In  Solitude  are  a  very  great  sounding  depressive,  post  black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Exit  (Time  Lost)"  and  "Placed  Apart".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.



Hangatyr/Elemente/2014 CD Review

  Hangatyr  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  a  pagan  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  album  "Elemente".

  When  the  album  starts  tribal  style  drums  and  epic  synths  bring  in  a  feeling  that  reminds  me  of  fantasy  soundtracks,  then  the  album  goes  into  heavy  pagan/black  metal  guitars  that  bring  a  lot  of  melody  to  the  music  along  with  a  mixture  of  slow  parts  and  blast  beats  while  the  vocals  are  in  the  pagan/black  metal  mode  and  use  both  deep  and  high  pitches  while  the  blast  beats  are  more  in  a  semi  mode  and  you  can  hear  a  lot  of  emotion  and  homage  to  the  Norse  ancestors  with  the  music.

  Once  acoustic  guitars  become  a  part  of  the  album  they  bring  in  a  good  amount  of  prog  and  medieval  elements  to  evoke  memories  of  the  dark  pagan  ages  and  as  the  album  moves  on  you  can  hear  traces  of  traditional  and  power  metal  being  added  to  the  instruments  which  is  something  you  can  really  hear  in  the  solos  that  are  utilized  on  the  recording,  while  the  vocals  remain  in  a  different  direction  and  do  not  utilize  any  of  that  influence  but  they  do  add  in  some  death  metal  elements  and  the  music  really  starts  out  with  all  of  the  different  metal  elements  which  also  leads  up  to  a  sound  they  can  call  their  own.

  When  the  album  adds  in  slow  parts  it  brings  out  a  lot  of  darkness  and  sorrow  when  it  is  brought  in  certain  parts  and  the  album  once  a  few  songs  are  added  in  you  can  hear  traces  of  early  melodic  Swedish  pagan/black  metal  from  the  90's  being  a  huge  influence  on  the  guitar  playing,  another  great  highlight  the  album  has  is  when  acoustic  guitars  are  in  the  background of  the  heavier  guitar  riffing  and  it  evokes  a  folk  music  feeling.

  Song  lyrics  are  written  in  German  and  cover  Norse  Paganism  themes,  while  the  production  has  a  very  strong,  powerful,  heavy  and  epic  sound  while  the  bass  guitars  are  mixed  down  low  in  the   mix.

  In  my  opinion  Hangatyr  are  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  pagan/black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Die Sprache  der  Zwolf"  "Zersetzung"  and  "Sie  vergesson  nicht".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Shabti Interview

 I formed Shabti with Greg (formerly of Gift of Tongues and Shabti, currently in Feral, ZUD (US), and Stones Tools) in Portland, ME in 2008.  Prior to playing in Shabti, I played in guitar and performed vocals in Kurixis from 2002-2006.  The original goal of Shabti was to create aggressive, visceral, uncompromising music.  Over the years we have released two eps (Self Titled and "Labors of the Dead") and we just released our first full length, "Paracusia".  We have also played live throughout New England and fairly consistently in the Southern Maine region.  Since the band's inception several drummers and bass players have lent their talents to the project.  Though other band members have occasionally submitted riffs I am the primary songwriter. "Paracusia" features Denis (also in Eastern Spell) on bass and Ray (also in Falls of Rauros) on drums.

2.How would you describe your musical sound? 
Most metal fans who have given me positive feedback typically describe Shabti as a natural sounding blend of death metal and black metal.  I think that this is a natural culmination of my influences as a guitar player and the types of music that I enjoy listening to.  When I originally started Shabti I wanted to go for more of a grind/black metal sound: fairly minimalistic and to the point.  As you can hear in our songs, however, our music is fairly technical, though this is not intentional.  I write riffs that I personally find interesting and rewarding to play and they just naturally evolve in that direction.  I have heard people go so far as to compare us to Necrophagist though I do not quite agree.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

Religion, death, disappointment in humanity and the struggle to find something worthwhile in a universe with no apparent meaning are reoccurring topics.  Some lyrics are quite personal whereas others are just observations about society, the human race, and the world in which we live.  I am heavily influenced by "The Golden Bough" by James Frazer, HP Lovecraft, and books about ancient/classical/medieval civilizations. 

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Shabti? 

Shabti (or Ushabti) are funerary figurines that the ancient Egyptians placed in tombs to serve the dead in the afterlife.  I am inspired by the mythology of many different cultures, though we are not explicitly an "Egyptian" themed band. 

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance? 
We have not played many high profile shows but there are several that I have especially enjoyed.  Worcester, MA has a dedicated metal scene and I have always enjoyed playing down there.  Some of our best performances have been in small bars or obscure basements.  I would describe our stage performance as intense and straightforward without any gimmicks or catering to the audience.  My focus is on executing our songs to the best of my ability with precision and authenticity.  This is what I appreciate as an audience member.  Playing metal live for me is all about a sense of power and catharsis. 

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future
We currently do not have a live drummer.  Once we find someone suitable, I plan on playing in New England on a regular basis again.  I would like to plan a short US tour at some point.  In any event, I will continue to record and release music as Shabti.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest? 
I have never bothered to actively seek out record labels in the past with Shabti but with the release of "Paracusia" my interest in these kinds of collaborations has been reignited. At this stage we do not have any plans to work with a label but I am open to any offers that we might receive.  I think that a band in this day and age really has to work independently, promote themselves, finance their own work, and generate their own following. It seems to me that when a label is interested in signing us they are more likely to approach us after we have sufficiently proven ourselves.

8.What is going on with the other musical projects these days that the other band members are involved with?

Ray also plays drums (and occasionally other instruments) in Falls of Rauros, which is an atmospheric/folk/black metal band from the Portland area. Last I knew they were putting the finishing touches on a new cd and they also have some older material that they are putting out in the near future.  They do not play live very frequently but they have been pretty prolific songwriters over the years.

Denis plays bass in a doom metal band by the name of Eastern Spell.  They play out fairly often in the area and they are going to be releasing a split with Sylvia (another local band with former members of Ocean).
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Shabti is always going to be my outlet for extreme metal, though the exact sound is subject to where ever my interests reside at the moment.  I think that there are plenty of things to discover in the world of distorted guitars, drums and bass, simply by driving myself to write interesting riffs and dynamic songs.  Though I have interests in other genres, I have no desire to incorporate them into Shabti in a direct way.  If I ever decide that I want to write something more straightforward with clean vocals, or electronic music, for instance, I will just start another project.  I have various riffs and ideas floating around.  One of the songs that I wrote more recently is very dissonant and jagged, with busy death metal riffs and sinister doomy parts.  Shabti is basically my homage to what I consider the best of extreme metal in its various forms.

10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Bands that have had a significant direct influence on me over the years are Emperor, Dissection, Morbid Angel Carcass, Kreator, Mayhem, Anaal Nathrakh, Napalm Death, Enslaved, Gorguts, Bethlehem, Neurosis, Angelcorpse and Death.  Bands that I enjoy that do not fit into the metal genre include The Cure, Unto Ashes, Skinny Puppy, Dead Can Dance, Nick Drake, The Dead Boys, Christian Death (just the Rozz Williams era), etc. 

11.outside of music what are some of your interests? 
I enjoy reading.  Some books that I have recently read which are a pretty good representation of my interests are "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins, "Thermopylae" by Ernle Bradford, and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".  Over the past couple of years I have rediscovered old school pen and paper rpgs and "ameritrash" board games  (such as Arkham Horror, etc).
12.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

Thank you for the interview.