Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mur/Athabasca/2015 Full Length Review

  Mur  are  a  solo  project  from  Minnesota  that  plays  a  mixture  of  atmospheric  black  metal,  doom  and  drone  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  self  released  2015  album  "Athabasca".

  Dark  sounding  drones  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  elements  of   ambient  and experimental  music  and  you  can  also  hear  water  sound s in  the  backgrounds  at  times  and  after  a  few  minutes  a  very  dark  and  sinister  sounding  bass  guitar  starts  to  kick  in  along  with  a  great  amount  of  reverb  and  all  3  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  A  small  amount  of  clean  playing  can  be  heard  in  some  parts  of  the  songs  and  they  also  have  a  cascadian  feeling  when  they  are  utilized  while  the  bass  guitars  bring  in  elements  of  doom  and  sludge  metal  and  when  rhythm  guitars  are  finally  added  onto  the  recording  they  take  the  songs  into  more  of  a  heavier  musical  direction.

  At  times  the  clean  parts  bring  in  elements  of  American  and  folk  music  and  once  the  music  speeds  up  the  guitars  use  fast  tremolo  picking  that  also  gives  the  music  more  of  a  raw  and  atmospheric  black  metal  feeling  as  well  as  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  whispers  and  once  high  pitched  screams  are  added  onto  the  recording  the  music  really  starts  displaying  more  of  a  modern  American  style  of  black  metal  while  the  music  never  forgets  its  ambient,  doom  and  drone  influences  and  there  are  also  some  growls  being  brought  in  for  a  brief  period  of  times  and  the  last  track  also  brings  in  acoustic  guitars.

  Mur  creates  a  musical  style  that  takes  the  atmospheric  and  cascadian  styles  of  black  metal  and  mixes  it  with  doom,  drone,  ambient,  and  folk  to  create  a  very  original  sounding  album,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  are  a  concept  album  based  on  the  ecological  relationship  between  the  Northern  gray  wolf  and  the  American  bison.

  In  my  opinion  Mur  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  atmospheric  black  metal,  doom  and  drone  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  solo  project.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Dragged  Across  The  Forest  God's  Teeth".  8  out  of  10.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Malphas/Occult Propaganda/BMTC Records/2015 EP Review

  Malphas  are  a  band  from  Switzerland  that  plays  a  very  raw  form  of  occult  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  ep  "Occult  Propaganda"  which  was  released  by  BMTC  Records.

  Ritualistic  sounds  and  demonic  chanting  starts  off  the  ep  bringing  in  an  evil  atmosphere   and  after  a  couple  of  minutes  the  music  gores  into  a  very  fast,  raw  and  melodic  black  metal  direction  as  well  as  introducing  high  pitched  screams  and  blast  beats  to  the  recording  and  the  music  also  brings  in  a  very  heavy  musical  style.

  Throughout  the  3  songs  you  can  hear  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  wit h a  lot  of  the  riffs  bringing  in  a  90's  Swedish  influenced  black  metal  sound  at  times  and  you  can  also  hear  a  small  amount  of  clean  playing  in  one  of  the  tracks  and  the  solos  and  leads  also  stick  to  a  very  melodic  musical  direction.\  along  with  most  of  the  tracks  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  there  is  also  a  brief  use  of  growls  and  you  can  also  hear  a  small  amount  of  clean  playing  on  the  last  track.

  Malphas  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  raw  and  melodic  and  brings  in  a  90's  Swedish  feeling  quite  a  bit  while  also  being  a  bit  different  than  that  style,  the  production  sounds  very  raw  yet  heavy  and  powerful  at  the  same  time   while  the  lyrics  cover  left  hand  path  and  occultism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Malphas  are  a  very  great  sounding  raw  and  melodic  occult  black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Occult  Propaganda".  8  out  of  10.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Aion Interview


1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Well, it might be important to start with the fact that AION is not a band, but rather a solo project. Asknt and Ishk consider themselves not as band members, but as collaborators. The aim was to render as closely and truly the experience that lies at the origin of Verses of Perdition. I had a very clear idea in mind of how the whole thing had to sound like, yet I lack technical abilities in drumming and singing, so I was grateful for the help Asknt and Ishk offered me, which permitted to complete my compositions and to attain those visions.
But to answer your question: AION was created in order to give sonic shape to mental and physical limit experiences. Alteration and annihilation of the Self, madness, perdition, death. Visions from the realms that open beyond the limits of ordinary experiencing and perception.
At the present stage, AION confines itself to Verses of Perdition. The entity was summoned for this album, not the other way around, if you see what I mean.

Verses of Perdition expresses a journey to the spiritual desert – desert that is that eternal space of silence, the realm of your own dying, illimitable and infinite. The place you reach once you fell, once all dimensions burst at the core of your being. A place where you face the horror of existence, where consciousness becomes incandescent, your mind turn to fire, your blood turns to glass. The place where you gaze deep into the abyss of your own death. A moment when you accept your own decay, your inevitable failure, as well as the fact that there is no such thing as salvation. The only enlightenment resides in the acceptance of fall – the luminous pathway between Time and Eternity.
I. void, greyness, infinite halls of absence
II. crossing the edge: disquiet, downfall, madness
III. rage, utter terror, burst
IV. entering the desert; complete loss / death
V. abandon, calm, ecstasy, enlightenment

2.In May you have your first album coming out, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

The musical sound identifies itself completely with the concept mentioned above. The five tracks represent the five phases of that journey to the desert. Each track renders the atmosphere of one of the successive stages, allowing the vision to manifest sonorously.

3.The lyrics seem to have a concept of sorts, can you tell us a little bit more about the songwriting that is presented on the recording?

Indeed, there again, the lyrics embrace the concept.
Music, lyrics and artwork are three indivisible aspects of one and the same vision.

Concerning the songwriting process: the guitars have been composed first, then the drums in collaboration between Asknt and me, to what I added the bass lines. The lyrics were written, the vocals placed and pre-recorded by myself, but for the final result Ishk lent his voice.
I see the album really as an entity of its own: a vision that guided me, something the composition and writing had to try “to live up to” and to stay entirely true to. The work wasn’t finished because I’d have decided so or because there would have been a deadline - it was finished when it revealed itself to me as completed. Completed, that is certainly not perfect, but simply sufficient/acceptable, in the way that it was the best I was able to do with my personal, limited, skills. I guess this striving for accomplishment according to the demands of the primal vision was the reason why the whole process – from the first idea to the final manifestation – took such a long time.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Aion'?

The name comes from ancient Greek and is part of a triad of notions associated to the concept of Time : aion, chronos, kairos. Through the centuries, there have been many variations in the meaning attributed to that term, shifting in the different cultures that adopted it, as well as in the writings of different persons taking it up (for example C. G. Jung).
Relating to AION, I have my own personal conception of the word, according to the way it revealed itself to me, in its whole extent - sense, sound, graphic shape. This conception, however, is more or less in continuity with the historical meanings.
In the triad mentioned above, aion means “destiny, age, eternity”, whereas chronos stands for the linear time, a point moving continuously on a line from past to future, and kairos for the “right/opportune moment”. Aion is thus another time than the linear one; it is a time as well as no-time. This contradiction is meaningful and corresponds to the idea behind AION. On one hand, it is about a process: downfall, decay, death - but on the other hand it is about a realm where time, and thus also death, is abolished. It’s about the end and the unending, about death and the impossibility of death. The “desert” I refer to is a place which consists of the substance of your own dying, a dying that became eternal – suspended, utterly unbearable. Agony becomes infinite, and its time becomes space, illimitable. The illumination one experiences there is also twofold: transcending as well as disenchanting. It’s a negative, “uncomfortable”, cold illumination, not a dancing, fiery one.
Beyond these considerations about meaning/interpretation of the term, the name AION signifies also on other levels, that is its sound and graphical shape. These are other and meaningful aspects, contributing to the density of the name. There is a certain visual force in it, and something dark in its sound, something monumental.

5.Has the band done any live shows or has this been strictly a studio project so far?

There were and will be no live shows. For the simple reason that I already mentioned above: it is a personal project rather than a band.

6.The new album is coming out on Goathorned Records, can you tell us a little bit more about the deal you have signed with the label?

Verses of Perdition will indeed be released on Goathorned Records, on1st of May 2015, limited to 300 copies.

7.On a worldwide level, how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?

The album hasn’t been released yet, so for the moment it’s difficult to answer that question.

8.Are any of the band members also involved with any other musical projects these days?

The three of us are involved in Necrosemen, a black/death metal project founded in 2012 by Ishk. It started as a one-man-band and evolved, since the end of 2013, to a five-actors entity. We recently finished to record our second EP that is currently being mixed and mastered at d/s/k/n/t. Composing for further material is going on and we have a couple of gigs planned, for example in July with Negative Plane, Malthusian and Antiversum in Zürich.
Asknt works also on his solo project DSKNT.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

For the moment, I can’t tell. It took a long time to finish Verses of Perdition and no new material has been composed so far. As I already pointed out, AION is not a band, but an entity summoned in order to enounce Verses of Perdition. As a consequence, there is no reason whatsoever to compose another album only for the sake of composing another album (the way a band would function). The question of the future is completely open.
I cannot deny that there is already a vague conceptual idea floating in my mind. Let me put it like this: if there will be a second release, its base is already outlined. But to produce an album, that isn’t a reason enough. I believe that, to some extent, one has to let things coming to oneself and not the other way around. They have to impose themselves, until there is certainty that this must be expressed - otherwise one may as well keep silent. As I said: no use to do an album only for the sake of doing an album. There is already far more than enough black metal around these days.
In any case, if there should ever be another release under the banner of AION, musically speaking, there won’t be any radical changes of “style”. The whole thing would evolve in the same climes, in a similar direction – of course with its singularities depending on the concept it’d express. If it would be something completely different, it would simply be under another name.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Well, I guess that, in some way or another, everything in black metal (and even in other musical genres) that I was really into, that I listened to intensively in the past, had some kind of influence on my music. All those tunes engraved so deeply in our beings that they became a part of the blood flowing in our veins.
Yet, while composing - especially while composing the guitars -, I consciously avoided to listen to any music, in order not to alter the musical expression of the vision I wanted to render.

What I listen to nowadays? I listen to anything coming my way that captures my ear, regardless of the musical genre. I’m interested in everything that is intense and authentic – be it electronic music, noise, rock, classical music, hip hop, jazz, heavy metal, …., or any kind of experimental stuff.
Yet, of course, I always come back to some black metal “classics”, rooted deepest, having had the strongest impact, having been the highest revelations in the past. That may be old Scandinavian stuff (old Mayhem, Dissection, old Dødheimsgard,  …) as well as the “N.E.D.-generation” (Deathspell Omega, Katharsis, Funeral Mist, …), and many others. There’s only very few recent black metal I listen to. Without wanting to fall into some (rather narrow-minded) rhetoric of “only the old is trve”: the things you came first in contact with when starting to listen to black metal remain the strongest. There’s some purity of fire, some degree of transcendence in them that remains unreached.

11.How would you describe your views on Occultism?

Occultism… first of all, what is occultism? People, over time, and especially nowadays in the black metal “scene”, have put absolutely anything in that word. It has been blown up to such an extent that it became hollow. In this sense, the word has got to mean absolutely nothing to me.

Of course, in the past, just as about every young maniac starting to listen to black metal, questioning the existence and what lies beyond, eager to transgress all boarders, I have been quite interested in all those things around occultism, satanism, anticosmic satanism, luciferianism, kabbalah, Crowley, the countless orders, “churches”, etc. etc. I believe that this is a necessary stage for everyone on the quest of his own path; to explore the different perspectives that exist (once the “drape” of religion removed). Nevertheless, I always looked at it with a certain distance - a lot of interest, but a distance. I’ve never been able to identify with any of those teachings to follow, those symbols to adopt, those rituals to perform, those names to enounce, etc. It was much more about opening up new perspectives, getting ideas and impulses, but never something to adhere to. In occult teachings, you find the same problem as in religion: one person may have experienced illumination, enounced the truth he/she sees, and, enchanted by the quiet radiance of that person, all the others try to “learn” from him, try to copy his vision, try to walk in his footsteps. Yet there can be no adoption of truth and enlightenment such as one would adopt a way of behaving, dressing or a certain imagery. The whole thing turns into rigid, hollow codes, it becomes a theatre, something artificial, and at the same time – what is much worse – it necessarily degrades, falsifies, vulgarizes, looses soon every glimpse of truth, the initial purity it may once have been made of.
Considered from this point of view, I think occultism is, just as religion, a step to be left behind.

I do not say that there is no truth in those ideas and symbols, but simply that the use that is generally (and massively) been made of is without any foundation/justification. I’m very skeptical regarding all that importation and consumption of symbols and notions belonging to distant cultures, and I’ve myself become very prudent on that point. A symbol or a spiritual concept that emerged in a certain culture cannot just be extracted from it and used as one pleases. It is rooted in a special context, that one is absolutely incapable to comprehend if one isn’t a part of that culture, if one hasn’t been born and grown up on that soil. Regarding black metal of the last decade, I guess it is needless to point out which culture in particular is affected by that phenomenon.
Of course, there again, there may be exceptions. I don’t think it to be impossible that through some process of collective subconscious or some relatedness in all experiences of enlightenment made by human beings (regardless the culture, the era/century, the spiritual/religious background), symbols and concepts may “wander”, partial identification may be imaginable - but I think in 98% of today's black-metal-use of it is very doubtful, not to say illegitimate.

I believe that, for the one who truly seeks his own path, there comes the moment when he hears the call of his own, personal destiny, where his path opens up before him – the path that will lead him astray from all he ever had imagined/thought/heard, into some illuminated night where he will be annihilated and where he will see beyond all illusions. At that point, all the pre-fabricated notions, borrowed concepts and symbols, as one finds countless in “occultism”, become so devoid of meaning, compared to the truth that has been revealed to oneself, following one’s very own path. From that moment on, any spiritual, religious, occult “teachings” one may encounter are necessarily apprehended in a very distant way – they may at best be interesting to dialogue with, to say: “oh, interesting, I made a similar experience”, “I agree with this, but not with that other point”, or “I’ve experienced that too, but this person expresses it in a such a pure way I wouldn’t have been able to”. I guess that’s about my approach to occultism - and religion - nowadays.

Unfortunately, today's (black metal) “occultism”, having become a trend phenomenon, seems to be mainly about boasting around on Facebook with symbols, quotations, photos, etc. I firmly believe that enlightenment in any way rather makes you become silent.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for the interview and for the interest in AION.
– M.V.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Agonie/Nemesis/2015 EP Review

  Agonie  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  a  very  fast  and  raw  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2015  ep  "Nemesis".

  Raw  tremolo  picking  riffs  start  off  the  ep   before  going  into  a  faster  black  metal  direction  adding in  programmed  blast  beats  and  grim  yet  high  pitched  screams  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  th e music  is  also  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  early  to  mid  90's.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  very  melodic  sounding  and  also  bring  in  a  classic  metal  feeling  at  times  while  also  still  having  a  blackened  atmosphere  and  on  the  second  tracks  some  of  the  riffs  have  a  slight  Swedish  black  metal  feeling  to  them  but  done  with  more  of  a  raw  approach  along  with  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  parts  and  they  close  the  ep  with  a  cover  of  Zerfall's  "Kriech  Zu  Kreuze".

  Agonie  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  fast  and  raw  and  also  goes  for  a  more  traditional  second  wave  sound,  the production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  a  mixture  of  English  and  German  and  cover  dark  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Agonie  are  a  very  great  sounding  raw  black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Nemesis".  8  out  of  10.

Curse Upon A Prayer/Rotten Tongues/Inverse Records/2015 Full Length Review

  Curse  Upon  A  Prayer  are  band  from  Finland  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  an  apocalyptic  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "Rotten  Tongues"  which  will  be  released  in  June  by  Inverse  Records.

  Dark  sounding  synths  and  battle  film  samples  start  off  the  album  before  going  into  a  more  heavy  and  atmospheric direction  as  well  as  adding  in  melody  and  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  faster  sections  of  the  music  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats.

  Throughout  the  recording  there  is  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  when  solos  and  leads  are  added  into  the  music  they  are  very  melodic  and  some  of  the  tracks  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  whispers  and  as  the  album  progresses  a  small  amount  of  clean  playing  can  be  heard  in  some  of  the  tracks  along  with  a  brief  use  of  death  metal  growls.

  Curse  Upon  A  Prayer  creates  another  album  that  is  very  raw,  melodic  and  also  brings  in  a  great  amount  of   synths,  the  production  sounds  very  powerful  while  the  lyrics  cover  darkness  and  occult  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding album  from  Curse  Upon  A  Prayer  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  melodic  black  meta,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Death  Sentence"  "Devil  in  The  Churchyard"  "Rotten  Tongues"  and  "White  Ghost".  8  out  of  10.


Profundae Libidines/El Viage Defintivo/Emanations/2015 Cassette Review

  Profundae  Libidines  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  a  very  spiritual  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "El  Viage  Defintivo"  which  was  released  by  Emanations.

  A  very  dark  and  distorted  sound  starts  off  the  album  going  for  more  of  a  black  metal  direction  that  is  more  closer  to  the  depressive  side  of  the  genre  while  the  solos  and  leads  have  a  very  melodic  post  metal  vibe  to  them  and  the  music  also  brings  in  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  at  times  and  a  couple  of  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length.

  When  vocals  are  added  into  the  music  they  are  very  grim  sounding,  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  while  the  faster  sections  have  a  very  raw  feeling  to  them  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  spoken  word  parts  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  some  of  the  tracks  and  some  songs  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  choirs  and  violins.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  on  the  recording  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  some  of  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  clean  playing  and  melodic  vocals  that  almost  have  a  goth/death  rock  feeling  to  them  at  times  and  the  music  at  times  also  brings  in  elements  of  post  black  metal  and  towards  the  end  of  the  album  one  of  the  songs  also  brings  in  a  small  amount  of  death  metal  growls.

  Profunde  Libidines  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  diverse  and  original  sounding  and  mixes  many  different  forms  of  the  genre  together  to  create  something  new,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  French  and  cover  religion,  spirituality  and  history.

  In  my  opinion  Profunde  Libidines  are  a  very  great  sounding  original  and  diverse  black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Hi  no  Kami"  "Tenjiku"  "Mur  de  Brume"  and  "Muerte  sin  fin".  8  out  of  10.

Offical website


Lifestream/Post Ecstatic Experience/Emanations/2015 Cassette Review

  Lifestream  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  an  ethereal  and  mesmeric  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "Post  Ecstatic  Experience"  which  was  released  by  Emanations.

  A  very  dark  and  atmospheric  sounding  drone  starts  off  the  album  along  with  a  mixture  of  clean  playing  and  heavy  riffs  and  a  few  seconds  alter  the  music  goes  into  more  of  a  fast  and  raw  black  metal  direction  that  utilizes  blast  beats  and  whispered  vocals  and  you  can  also  hear  a  small  amount  of  growls  in  some  parts  of  the  songs.

  Grim  black  metal  screams  can  be  heard  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  and  the  music  also  mixes  the  atmospheric  and  heavy  parts  together  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  some  Norwegian  influences  being  utilized  at  times  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  some  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  there  is  also  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  parts  

  Lifestream  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  modern,  raw,  melodic,  atmospheric  and  epic  sounding  as  well  as  demonstrating  a  great  amount  of  talent  and  skill,  the  production  sounds  very  powerful  without  taking  away  from  the  raw  nature  of  the  music  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark,  metaphysical  and  occult  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Lifestream  are  a  very  great  sounding  ethereal  and  mesmeric  black  metal  band  an d if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Lifeless  Solace"  "An  Unfathomable  Dereliction"  and  "Parasite  Glory".  8  out  of  10.


In Cauda Venenum/Self Titled/Emanations/2015 Cassette Review

  In  Cauda  Venenum  are  a  duo  from  France  that  plays  post  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  titled  2015  cassette  which  was  released  by  Emanations.

  Avant  garde  sounds  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  ambient  sounds  and  people  voices  before  going  into  a  heavier  musical  direction  which  they  also  mix  in  with  atmospheric  elements  and  melodic  post  metal  guitar  solos  and  leads  and  the  music  gets  very  fast  at  times  and  brings  in  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats.

  Powerful  sounding  bass  lines  can  be  heard  throughout  the  recording  along  with  a  great  amount  of  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  there  are  only  2  songs  on  the  album  and  they  are  both  20  minutes  in  length  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  cascadian  vibe  at  times  and  the  second  track  brings  in  a  small  amount  of  clean  playing  and  spoken  word  parts.

   In  Cauda  Venenum  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  raw,  melodic,  epic  and  atmospheric  sounding  and  also  brings  in  a  great  touch  of  both  the  post  and  cascadian  variations  of  the  genre  while  also  being  a  bit  more  aggressive  than  bands  that  tend  to  fall  into  that  category,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  cover  alpha  and  omega  themes.

  In  my  opinion  In  Cauda  Venenum  are  a  very  great  sounding  post  black  metal  band  an d if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Alpha".  8  out  of  10.



Aezh Morvarc'h/Mare Humorum/Emanations/2015 Cassette Review

  Aezh  Morvar'ch  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  a  melodic  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  cassette  "Mare  Humorum"  which  was  released  by  Emanations.

  Avant  garde  sounds  start  off  the  cassette  along  with  some  spoken  word  parts  a  few  seconds  later  which  leads  up  to  a  more  raw  and  melodic  black  metal  direction  that  also  uses  grim  screams  and  blast  beats  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  clean  singing  vocals  and  chants  can  be  heard  

  Synths  can  be  heard  in  some  parts  of  the  songs  and  they  give  the  music  more  of  an  epic  feeling  and  the  vocals  also  get  very  deep  at  times  while  some  of  the  melodic  vocals  have  a  pagan  feeling  to  them  and  some  of  the  tracks  are  long  and  epic  in  length  and  the  solos  and  leads  the  band  uses  are  very  melodic  sounding  and  the  last  track  is  all  instrumental  and  has  an  ambient  feeling.

  Aezh  Morvar'ch  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  melodic,  raw,  atmospheric  and  epic  sounding,  the  production  sound s very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  French  and  cover  the  legend  of  Morvar'ch.

  Aezh  Morvar'ch  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  raw,  melodic,  epic  and  atmospheric  sounding  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  cassette.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "BESTL  -  Mor  Toullgofet"  and  "GWAD  -  Talm  Karn  An  Dour".  8  out  of  10.

Les Acteurs de l'ombre Productions Bandcamp


Ululate/Back To Cannibal World/Xtreem Music/2015 CD Review

  Ululate  are  a  1  man  band  from  China  that  originally  started  out  playing  more  of  a  raw  from  of  black  metal  but  have  evolved  into  more  of  an  old  school  death  metal  band  with  this  recording  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  2015  album  "Back  To  Cannibal  World"  which  was  released  by  Xtreem  Music.

  A  very  dark,  melodic  and  heavy  Swedish  style  death  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  tortured  black  metal  screams  in  the  background  that  evolve  into  growls  once  the  music  starts  to  speed  up  and  add  in  blast  beats  and  guitar  leads  and  the music  is  also  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  early  90's  and  also  brings  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  While  the  music  is  mostly  death  metal  some  of  the  screams  retain  a  touch  of  black  metal  and  spoken  word  samples  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  music  has  no  influences  that  go  pass  the  90's  era  and  there  are  also  a  couple  of  tracks  that  are  long  and  epic  in  length  and  some  of  the  tracks  also  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  avant  garde  elements.

  Ululate  avoids  the  raw  black  metal  sound  of  previous  recordings  to  create  a  death  metal  style  that  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  early  90's,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  horror  and  gore  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  a  very  great  sounding  album  from  Ulualate  and  while  some  of  the  more  elite  and  close  minded  black  metal  fans  of  their  past  recordings  while  probably  hate  this  recording,  I  can  see  this  album  gaining  plenty  fans  of  old  school  death  metal.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Red  Wine"  "Enchantment"  and  "Song  Dan  Ping".  8  out  of  10.  

Xtreem Music Bandcamp (full streaming)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Heathen Foray/Into Battle/Massacre Records/2015 Full Length Review

  Heathen  Foray  are  a  band  from  Austria  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  melodic  style  of  viking  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "Into  Battle"  which  was  released  by  Massacre  Records.

  Melodic  guitar  leads  which  also  dominate  throughout  the  recording  start  off  the  album  along  wit h all  of  the  other  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  vocals  range  from  black  metal  screams,  death  metal  growls  and  clean  singing  viking/pagan  vocals  and  you  can  also  hear  elements  of  power  metal  in  the  bands  musical  style.

  Acoustic  guitars  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  they  also  bring  in  elements  of  folk  music  and  some  of  the  tracks  also  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats  and  throughout  the  recording  there  is  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  there  are  also  a  couple  of  tracks  that  are  long  and  epic  in  length  and  towards  the  end  a  couple  of  the  tracks  brings  in  a  small  amount  of  keyboards  which  also  gives  the  music  more  of  an  epic  feeling  on  the  instrumental  and  the  close  the  album  with  a  hidden  acoustic  song.

  Heathen  Foray  creates  another  epic  and  melodic  viking  metal  album  that  also  keeps  the  black  and  death  metal  elements  of  previous  recordings,  the  production  sounds very  professional  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  a  mixture  of  English  and  German  and  cover  cover  Norse/German  Mythology,  Paganism,  Fantasy  and  battles.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Heathen  Foray  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Fight"  "Tir  na  nOg"   and  "Fruendschaft".  8  out  of  10.  



Nomans Land/Last Crusade/Massacre Records/2015 Full Length Review

  Nomans  Land  are  a  band  from  Russia  that  plays  a  very  epic  form  of  pagan/viking  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "Last  Crusade"  which  was  released  by  Massacre  Records.

  A  very  heavy,  melodic  and  epic  sound  starts  off  the  album  and  a  few  seconds  later  grim  black  metal  screams  are  added  into  the  music  along  with  some  clean  singing  viking  vocals  and  chants  and  the  solos  also  bring  in  a  lot  of  melody  and  also  add  in  a  touch  of  traditional  metal  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Most  of  the  songs  stick  to  either  a  slow  or  mid  paced  musical  direction  and  they  manage  to  bring  in  a  folk  metal  atmosphere  while  sticking  to  the  standard  heavy  metal  style  of  musical  instruments  and  as  the  album  progresses  some  of  the  tracks  start  bringing  in  back  up  pagan  shouts  and  the  whole  album  sticks  to  a  heavy  musical  direction.

  Nomans  Land  plays  a  musical  style  that  is  mostly  rooted  in  the  pagan  and  viking  metal  direction  but  also  bring s in  black  metal  vocals  to  make  their  music  stand  out,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  Morse  Mythology,  Heathenism,  Vikings  and  Battles.

  In  my  opinion  Nomans  Land  are  a  very  great  sounding  pagan/viking  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Sons  Of  The  Nord"  "Dragons"  and  "Warrior's  Path".  8  out  of  10.


Cold Cell/Lowlife/Avantgarde Music/2015 CD Review

  Cold  Cell  are  a  band  from  Switzerland  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  very  dark  and  modern  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "Lowlife"  which   was  released  by  Avantgarde  Music.

  Dark  sounding  drones  and  avant  garde  sounds  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  synths  and  tortured  voices  and  after  the  intro  the  music  starts  heading  into  more  of  a  modern  black  metal  direction  and  the  music  also  brings  in  spoken  word  parts  at  times  and  the  vocals  that  are  utilized  are  very  high  pitched  and  depressive  sounding  screams.

  When  the  music  speeds  up  and  incorporates  blast  beats  the  music  starts  evoking  more  of  a  raw  black  metal  feeling  along  with  the  vocals  being  very  grim  at  times  and  the  songs  also  use  melodies  in  the  riffs  and  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  A  great  portion  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  as  the  album  progresses  clean  playing  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  the  vocals  also  bring  in  a  modern  Norwegian  black  metal  feeling  at  times  and  some  of  the  tracks  also  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  melodic  chants  and  singing  and  one  of  the  later  tracks  bring  back  the  synths  and  avant  garde  sounds  that  where  present  on  the  intro  while th e  main  focus  remains  more  on  a  heavy  style  of  black  metal.

  Cold  Cell  creates  another  recording  that  is  very  dark  and  continues  to  expand  on  the  modern  style  of  black  metal  that  they  have  established  on  the  previous  recording  and  also  get  a  little  bit  more  experimental  this  time  around,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  the  modern  world,  human  devolution,  death  of  spirituality  and  loss  of  consciousness.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Cold  Cell  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  modern  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Lifestyle  Lunacy"  "Needle's  Asylum"  and  "Proliferation".  8  out  of  10.    


Sartegos/As Fontes do Negrume/ Caverna Abismal Records/2015 Cassette Re-Issue Review

  Sartegos  are  a  band  from  Spain  that  plays  a  satanic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2013  ep  "As  Fontes  do  Negrume"  which  was  re-issued  on  cassette  in  2015  by  Caverna Abismal Records.

  Medieval  torture  sounds  along  with  an  evil  and  epic  atmosphere  start  off  the  ep  and  after  th e intro  the  music  starts  going  for  more  of  a  dark,  raw  and  heavy  black/death  metla  direction  that  also  incorporates  some  morbid  sounding  melodies  and  they  also  add  in  demonic  growls  and  grim  black  metal  screams.

  Most  of  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  early  90's  and  you  can  also  hear  a  small  amount  of  blast  beats  at  times  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  when  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  very  dark  and  melodic  and  at  time s the  music  has  almost  a  bestial  black/death  metal  feeling  while  never  quite  getting  as  brutal  as  that  style  and  some  of  the  fast  riffs  also  add  more  of  a  raw  atmosphere  to  the  songs  while  some  of  the  slower  riffs  bring  in  elements  of  old  school  doom/death  metal  and  they  close  the  ep  with  a  ritualistic  soundign  synth  outro..

  Sartegos  goes  back  to  the  early  90's  era  of  black  and  death  metal  and  mixes  the  darkest  parts  of  both  genres  from  that  era  together  to  create  some  evil  and  raw  sounding  music,  the  production  sound s very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  Spanish  and  cover  Satanism  and  Occultism  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Sartegos  are  a  very  great  sounding  satanic  mixture  of  black  and  death  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Lostregos  Sob  As  Tumbas"  and  "Coroado  Seja  (Trono  Aureo)".  8  out  of  10.

Sercati/In The Shadow Of Sidewalks/WormHoleDeath Records/2015 EP Review

  Sercati  are  a  band  from  Belgium  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  very  melodic  and  atmospheric  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  ep  "In  The  Shadow  Of  Sidewalks"  which  was  released  by  WormHoleDeath  Records.

  Dark  sounding  keyboards  start  off  the  ep  along  with  some  spoken  word  parts  a  few  seconds  later  and  on  the  second  track  the  music  starts  adding  in  more  symphonic  elements  along  with  some  powerful  sounding  bass  lines  in  the  background  before  adding  in  acoustic  guitars  and  grim  black  metal  screams.

  Elements  of  ambient  can  be  heard  quite  a  bit  throughout  the  recording  along  with  some  militant  drum  beats  and  when  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  more  of  a  melodic  musical  style  and  on  the  third  track  the  guitars  start  to  bring  in  more  of  a  heavier  style  that  is  closer  to  melodic  black  metal  while  the  music  also  remains  atmospheric  and  the  songs  also  stick  to  mostly  either  a  slow  or  mid  paced  musical  direction.

  Sercati  remains  true  to  the  melodic  and  atmospheric  style  they  have  established  and  previous  recordings  and  they  still  have  a  grim  feeling  and  the  keyboards  are  still  a  very  huge  part  of  their  sound,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  continue  the  concept  of  the  archangel  known  as  'The  Nightstalker'.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Sercati  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Anesthetist"  and  "Natural  City".  8  out  of  10.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Skygge Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
SM :  I am always writing music in some form so I have been writing a great deal of new songs and still working on creating new stuff. As of today Skygge is back to being a one man band. There are different reasons for this,but that is all i can say for now at least.

2.In January you had released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

SM :  Music wise it is pretty much a wall of sound with more focus on the details. And more focused on the dark and hard hitting feel of the musical vibrations. I wanted to do something different and new(for myself), and it worked for me and the direction of the band. Now i am more focused on sharpening the tools that i already have within skygge. From "knokkelkraft" it has evolved a big deal. From experience,musicianship and my own views on things. That off course shapes the outcome,music and lyric wise. So it is a step in the right direction for me and not stagnating on what has been.

3.This is the first album to be released in 3 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
SM : I did not want to rush the album so i used alot of time and energy to find the inspiration and writing when the moment struck me. Since i do everything myself i like to take my time and try out different things and not settle for something that`s half finished or just dosen`t "sit right".

4. Your lyrics cover a good amount of Occult and Left hand path topics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the black arts?
SM : It is not easy to put into words. For me it`s something very deep,powerful and personal. It`s all about self explored and gained experience. But the dark/unknown aspects of life have always inspired me more and driven me further. I do have a varied interest in the occult and even though there are alot of similarities in skygge with the left hand path i really don`t use those terms much myself. A quote from earlier when knokkelkraft was released explains it pretty good. "Standing out as a true individual and making the choices thereafter are vital things for skygge. Not being a slave to society,others opinions,beliefs and so forth. But holding on to your true self. The eternal inner flame. Power to wield it and becoming a God."

5.While a lot of people associate Norway with black metal I have felt that a lot of newer releases from that country are more geared towards the mainstream and the Satan and Occult is done mostly for shock value, but when i listen to your music it is very dark and raw and more in depth with the Left hand Path, do you feel you stand apart from the majority of the bands in your home country?

SM : The way i see it is that being true to one self and creating something honest goes hand in hand with music. I am not interested in selling anything for a "trend" or just because someone thinks it`s cool. I think it all has been watered down and lost most of it`s true essence. The raw,individualistic and untamed aspect of it. I have my personal favorites from the nineties and so forth. But i do not compare or associate skygge with other bands so it is my own journey through the dark tunnels. Nowadays It has almost become a catch phrase and instant seller to use the term "TNBM" or "Norwegian black metal".

6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Skygge'?

SM : Skygge is my own interpretation for for night-side,darkness or the dark side of things. And all the imagery and myth/folklore that follows the darkness or the unknown fro my point of view. Coming from within and from my own mind most of the time. But it is also the path of change and evolving into something more.

7.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you chose to remain a duo?
SM :  As the band as of today only consists of skyggemester there will be no more members for the time being.

8.The new album was released on Immortal Frost Productions, how did you get in contact with this label and also how would you compare working with to them to your old label Naturmacht Productions.

SM : It went pretty smooth. Skygge were offered a good deal from Immortal Frost and i spoke to the label manager and the deal was made from there. I think both labels have their good and bad qualities. But i leave it to that. My experience has been good in both cases and i respect the people behind the labels.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to the newer music by fans of black metal?

SM : The feedback is and has been very good and is constantly expanding so i am very thankful for all who support skygge in every way. It is still beyond my "expectations". To me it`s quite strange,because i make music for myself that i like and therefore never think about what others may think about it.

10.Are any of the band members involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
SM : I have have another project called NordKraft.

11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
SM : Honestly i do not know where the next crooked path takes me. But I see skygge as ever growing and expanding to where ever my inspiration and creativity takes me. I will always strive and fight to go further and deeper.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
SM : I listen to alot of different music. So it is hard to pin point specific bands that have influenced me more. It all depends. For me it is more about the feel of the song, the unique type of sound it has, or it could be something like a specific riff or drum fill. I am more enthusiastic about the "soul of the song".

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you very much for taking time to do this interview and hail the nocturnal empire.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus/The Child Must Die/Infernal Kimmando/2015 CD Review

  Nihilistinen  Barbaarisuus  are  a  band  from  Pennsylvania  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  cold,  ambient  and  atmospheric  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2015  album  "The  Child  Must  Die"  which  was  released  by  Infernal  Kommando.

   A  very  dark,  raw  and  atmospheric  black  metal  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  ambient  synths  and  the  drums  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  and  after  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  are  added  onto  the  recording  the  songs  start  bringing  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  A  good  portion  of  the  tracks  are  long  and  epic  in  length  and  you  can  also  hear  some  deep  growls  in  the  background  at  times  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  some  of  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  small  amount  of  clean  playing  and  the  synths  also  give  the  tracks  more  of  an  epic  atmosphere  and  when  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  very  dark  and  melodic  and  the  album  closes  with  an  acoustic  instrumental.

  Nihilistinen  Barbaarisus  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  on  this  recording  that  goes  for  more  of  a  mid  90's  style  atmospheric  and  epic  black  metal  sound  while  also  bringing  in  touches  of  ambient,  the  production  sound s very  powerful  while  the  lyrics  are  based  on  the  Kalevala  which  is  also  a  very  important  book  of  Finnish  paganism.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Nihilistinen  Barbaarisus  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  atmospheric  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Child  Must  Die"  and  "Admidst  the  Waves".  8  out  of  10.

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