Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sanhedrin - And On Into Eternal Nether...Of Forgotten And Stricken Souls

Self Released 2011

1.And On Into The Eternal Nether 2.Of Forgotten And Stricken Souls
3.Leviathan Restrained

‘And on Into The Eternal Nether’ is an intro, but at nearly three minutes long almost acts as the opening track. Streaming water and rivers are accompanied by melodic acoustic and electric guitars, the guitar solo being played sounds very heavy rock / metal due to it being very melodic. Dark, spoken passages are also used minimally and add to the dark atmosphere being created. This opening track leads straight into ‘Of Forgotten And Stricken Souls’, a very melodic Black/Death metal offering, riffing remains heavy and melodic with a definite ‘Swedish’ Black/Death metal influence on show, fast tremolo picked riffs providing a lot of harsh melody and creating a real intensity which gives the track it’s Black Metal edge. Keyboards are introduced into some of the slower sections which then develop into a really sombre feel, spoken vocals again introduced and adding to the dark atmosphere. Melody is at forefront of the bands song structures and is used heavily throughout, being mixed frequently with some heavier, slower death metal style riffing, a great contrast and used effectively throughout. An absolute beast of a track, clocking in at over ten minutes, it’s a great example of what the band have to offer, showing off their many influences. The music ranges from slow mournful death metal all the way through to harsh, scathing yet melodic black metal. A real amalgamation of styles which when mixed, works well. For such a long track it remains interesting throughout, especially when the pace is upped and the harsh melody introduced, very catchy yet brutal. A style captured brilliantly by the likes of Dimension Zero which isn’t far off what Sanhedrin are producing.
‘Leviathan Restrained’ closes the demo and as with the intro, isn’t really a track proper, more of an outro, being a piano instrumental. Nothing really new and slightly unoriginal but probably a fitting end to a demo filled with such atmosphere. Musically, there are no complaints, the only ‘actual track’ featured is excellent and a great example of what the band are capable of. The intro and outro seem somewhat pointless and unnecessary; more songs would have been the preferred option. Featuring one track of well played atmospheric death/black metal which is worth a spin, but you’re probably better off listening to their album (review to follow) as there just isn’t enough on offer here.
7 out of 10

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Hexen - Demo1 & Demo2

Demo 1
Self Released 2011

1.The Atrocity At Newchurch 2.The Great God Pan 3.The Moor

 The UK is currently seeing some first class BM bands springing up left right and centre and another newer band with great potential are Hexen. Sat firmly in the raw and uncompromising bracket, ‘The Atrocity At Newchurch’ is a hateful opener based around simplistic riffing and song structures which are all backed up by a sense of melody, albeit a savage ice cold melody. ‘The Great God Pan’ continues this theme, except this time round the vocals are absolutely tortured, bordering on the insane. The sense of melody is retained through buzz saw like guitars. Beginning the track at a slow pace the song then opens up in a barrage of hateful and spiteful lo-fi BM, the drums absolutely blasting. To end the track, the pace is once again slowed, melodic riffing re-introduced alongside spoken vocals. These spoken vocals sound out of place, hateful and scathing spoken passages would have been more fitting, variety not really a word associated to this bleak BM in general.
‘The Moor’ closes this demo and is by far the longest track on the release, clocking in at just less than ten minutes. As with the previous track, the slow crawling pace starts things off, whispered vocals accompanying the song, barely audible, but this time round presented with a bit more malice and hate and working well. The slow and tortured riffs are repeated endlessly, guitars sounding a lot heavier than has previously been seen, mainly due to the composition of the riffs. It’s a rather disappointing end to a demo which showed so much promise in the first track. The Lo-Fi, ice cold and raw sound almost disappearing in favour of doomier BM feel. There’s a definite lack of identity and cohesion between the three tracks on offer. Not that they are bad by any means, they just don’t gel particularly well together. Still worth checking out though

6.5 Out of 10

Self Released 2011

1.Instructions In Medieval Cruelty 2.Funereal (Instrumental)

 Second demo in only two months and ‘Illustrations In Medieval Cruelty’ is already sounding so much better than ‘Demo1’ and it’s only 20 seconds into the song. Hateful, raw, lo-fi and vicious BM blasts straight in, the song absolutely racing along at a furious pace. Vocals are absolutely tortured, drenched in reverb and echo as is so familiar to the genre. The sense of melody has been retained, souding great due to the production which is more fitting with this style of BM being ice cold and raw. Again the pace is varied throughout the track, returning to a slower pace so heavily used in their first demo. The difference this time round though is that when the pace is slowed, the BM edge isn’t lost, the sound remaining firmly BM. A vast improvement! ‘Funereal’ is a seven minute instrumental, melodic guitars introducing the track and the bands suffocating and repetitive sound again on show, illustrating that the band have not lost their ability to repeat riffs endlessly and still keep the song interesting. However, as with their previous demo, there seems to be another lack of clear direction, no cohesion between the two tracks. A third track similar to the opener would have gelled the demo, made it a clear BM release rather than 2 tracks which, to be fair, could have been produced by two separate bands. Again, not bad tracks at all, ‘Illustrations In Medieval Cruelty’ is nothing short of amazing, it’s just a real shame the theme wasn’t continued. Showing real promise, just more cohesion and a greater identity needed. Well worth a listen nonetheless
7 out of 10

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Rotted - Ad Nauseam

Candlelight Records 2011

1.Anarchogram Sun 2.Rex Oblivione 3.Surrounded By Skulls 4.Non Serviam
5.Just Add Nauseam 6.Entering The Arena Of The Unwell
7.The House Of Bedlam 8.Apathy In The U.K 9.Motoerbastards
10.The Hammer Of Witches 11.Put Me Out Of Your Misery

A dirty and heavy as fuck bass accompanies the drums as ‘Anarchogram Sun’ opens up, filthy D-Beat nastiness from the outset. A slow to mid-paced affair, this opener crawls along, twisting and grinding slowly with vocals full of spite and scathing. ‘Rex Oblivione’ is a storming song, a fury of punk tinged extreme metal, blast beats keeping the pace fast and furious. The Rotted sound extraordinarily like Finnish Blacked Punks Impaled Nazarene (who have been listed as an influence), the simplistic punk element combined with extreme metal to great effect. ‘Surrounded By Skulls’ takes it lead from the previous track, again a mix of the punk D-Beat and extreme metal which makes for an extremely catchy song, shout along backing vocals adding to the punk ethos. ‘Non Serviam’ threatens to be another slow, but catchy anthem. That is until blast beats and furious double kick drums are added, giving this track a more ‘extreme metal’ feel, losing the punkier edge seen on the previous tracks. It’s at this point that the band start sounding less ‘Impaled Nazarene’ and begin to take on their own identity, ‘Just Add Nauseam’ being a fine example of this, being unbelievably brutal, full on grinding madness, blast beats pummelling the listener into submission. Sing/Shout along choruses re-introduced into the sound, creating some very catchy and extreme death metal.
 ‘Entering The Arena Of The Unwell’ continues this theme brilliantly, the pace kept to a maximum. Even the punk D-Beat riffs are played at full throttle and when mixed with the more metal type riffs makes for another catchy, and brutal song, an all round lesson on how extreme metal should be played. ‘The House Of Bedlam’ is another bass heavy offering, extreme metal in essence but the punk element (as ever) never far from the sound. Track lengths are just right, averaging about 3 minutes 30 seconds, some shorter, some slightly longer but all flying past in a whirlwind. ‘Apathy In The UK’ strips the sound down, simplistic riffing with punk and metal meeting head on in a very short, sharp lesson in how to craft an extreme metal song, no fuss, no thrills - all balls!. ‘Motorbastards’ takes the bands sound to extremes, mixing the very simple and the very extreme, blast beats and frenzied riffing absolutely tearing from the speakers before dropping back to the D-Beat and punk simplicity. The two styles are mixed perfectly, really complementing each other. ‘The Hammer Of Witches’ introduces a new element to the bands sonic destruction, sitting nicely alongside the bands now trademark sound are keyboards, placed in the background and at a level where they don’t overpower the song. The keyboards add to the sense of intensity and are a welcome addition, adding some variety.
‘Put Me Out Of Your Misery’ closes this cd, stripping the sound to an absolute minimum, the bass really punching through and adding to the overall heaviness of the guitars. Gone is the punk, gone is the D-Beat, this is all about the heavy as fuck, intense as fuck death/extreme metal, grinding along at a snail’s pace and a great way to close the cd. Creating a real intense atmosphere, this will come across great in a live setting. The whole album shows a confidence and maturity from a band who are now seasoned veterans of the UK extreme metal scene, willing to ‘break the mould’ and not pander to passing trends but instead create their own sound, their own identity with an intensity rarely seen from bands within these shores. Punked up extreme metal intensity that is flawlessly executed and well deserving of your attention.
8 out of 10

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Neuroma - Extremophile

Self Released 2011

1.Gash In The Attic 2.Cyclopath 3.(O)beast 4.Chicken Poodle Soup
5.Semi Skimmed Milf 6.Killed To Bits 7.Quadraspaz
8.Centipaedophile 9.Columbine Harvester

After a short sampled intro we are greeted by blasting technical and precisely played death metal which opens up in a sonic fury, the production absolutely pounding your ear drums. ‘Gash In The Attic’ has everything you need from a brutal death metal track, namely blasting drums, heavy and frenzied guitars and deep guttural vocals spewing obscenities. All the boxes are ticked. There’s a heavy U.S influence on show, a lot of slow ‘chugging’ riffs interspersed with frenzied technical riffing. Gravity blasts are introduced to add even more extremity and adding to the storm being stirred up. ‘Cyclopath’ shows the bands more technical edge off through the guitars, the fret boards being given a good work out. The band tends to jump between styles, brutal yet simple slower type riffs followed by a whirlwind of technically exquisite riffs. Working from one to the other then back again, the song flows nicely with the pace being fast, rarely slowing down to take breath.

‘(O)Beast' follows a similar pattern, jumping back and forth between styles but again flowing extremely well. The more technical riffs are very catchy on this track, especially when the pace is slowed down. ‘Chicken Poodle Soup’ begins as a more mid-paced affair, bouncing along at a reasonable pace and being fairly simplistic in its delivery compared to the previous tracks. Not a bad thing as Neuroma manages to inject some groove into their slower riffs which retains your attention and makes for an enjoyable slab of death metal. ‘Semi Skimmed Milf’ see’s the bands differing styles mixed to the extreme, jumping sharply from one to the other. Simple passages mixed with short, sharp bursts of technicality which work surprisingly well, never sounding ‘too different’ that they end up sounding wrong. Rather a mix of styles used to great effect which keep the song interesting, no fear of mid cd boredom creeping in here, there’s too much going on to keep the listener entertained. ‘Killed To Bits’ is extremely catchy, especially when the chorus bursts in, the vocals spewing out “Killed To Bits” repetitively before a barrage of blast beats is unleashed over some ‘stop-start’ technical riffing. The track takes on an ‘all over the place’ feel not seen on the previous tracks. Simple but effective and catchy riffing re-introduced to keep the song ‘together’, not allowing the technical edge to take over the song and lose it’s structure. ‘Quadraspaz’ is another extremely catchy affair, the U.S. Death metal influence on full show here and at the forefront of the track, pinch harmonics a plenty. The band definitely at their best here with simple, heavy death metal riffing which makes for an excellent listen. Obviously fans of ‘Brass Eye’, the intro for 'Centipaedophile' sampled from the ‘paedophile’ edition and It’s more of the same, the now trademark mix of mid-paced slower riffs together with the faster technical style again being used to maximum effect.
‘Columbine Harvester’ is the last track and it’s a great finish to a great cd. Blasting drums and frenzied guitars up the pace and see’s the band at their fastest and catchiest, pinch harmonic riffing takes leading the track, the band really ‘going’ for it, ending things on a high before slowing the song right down and fading the track out. The finish to this track reminiscent of a more technical ‘Incantation’ maybe mixed with some ‘Monstrosity’ with a hint of ‘Cannibal Corpse’, the obvious U.S influence again on show. For such serious sounding music, the song titles baffle me. Adding humour into extreme metal isn’t always a good idea, very few bands actually manage to pull it off (Gorerotted and Birdflesh manage to) and Neuroma haven’t. The music is first class well played technical death metal, no hint of humour to their sound. The song titles just don’t fit with what the band are producing. It’s almost like the all that effort put in producing such a great album is almost spoiled by the stupid song titles because as mentioned, if they are trying to inject some humour into their sound, they haven’t done. They have produced some extremely serious sounding extreme metal. That aside, the music should do the talking, and it does. Another great example of a UK band at the top of their game and producing a first class death metal album. Well recommended.
8 out of 10

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Tyrant - Tyrant

Self Released 2011

1.Two Smokin' Barrels 2.Victim 3.Business As Usual

Describing themselves at Thrash/ Technical metal, Leeds based Tyrant are certainly Thrash in essence. ‘Two Smokin’ Barrels’ is a quite generic affair, seemingly attempting to mix their thrash element with a slight metal-core sound and some death metal to keep the brutality but unfortunately the end result is extremely underwhelming. The clean sung vocals aren’t the best, sounding very amateurish, sometimes out of tune and not particularly well structured. The obligatory death grunts have been added as backing vocals and sound like an afterthought to keep the song on the right side of extreme. Maybe if the main vocals were all in the guttural death metal style then this review might have ended up very different, but then again that would have lost the band their thrash sound. ‘Victim’ sounds absolutely appalling, the vocals ruining what could be a great song as the music behind them is quite good, being thrash at heart with a touch of death metal to add brutality. Not sure who mixed this, but the volume on the vocals has been increased to the point where they take over the whole track, the music taking a back seat to some awful vocals. It’s easy to see what the vocalist is trying to achieve, be a thrash metal singer, but at the moment it’s just not working for him.
‘Business As Usual’ follows a similar path, again the production absolutely awful, the music may as well not be there, it’s dropped so far out of the mix. Very disappointing because the music is quite good, showing some promise albeit somewhat sloppy in places. There’s more attempts to inject some death metal into the sound by using death grunts and screams, but again sounding like they have been added as an afterthought. Musically Tyrant are attempting to recreate thrash metal from the early days, the likes of Acid Reign and Re-Animator present in their sound. Granted this release is only a demo, but in an age where you really have sell your band to get any sort of recognition, these three tracks aren’t doing Tyrant any favours. A mix of thrash and death metal with metal-core style clean sung vocals isn’t a good mix, too many influences and ideas which just don’t gel. Tyrant need to decide 'who and what they are' as judging by this effort they lack identity. They also need to find a new studio with a half decent producer as the mix and production seen here is piss poor. Sadly lacking originality, there is so much better out there.
4 out of 10

Monday, 10 October 2011

Agonised Deformity - Demo 2011

Self Released 2011

1.Abattoir 2.Anatomical Catalogues Of Disfigurement 3.Mutilated

From the outset blast beats pummel your ears into submission, bass heavy guitars spewing out dirty and rotten death metal. Opener ‘Abattoir’ doesn’t let you draw breath, the drums and guitars an absolute frenzy of old school inspired death metal. Dual vocals belching out tortured screams and growls. There’s a definite U.S death metal influence on show, especially when the song slows and the guitars crawl along, heavy as fuck. There’s a sense of chaos to the music, albeit a very controlled chaos which adds to the overall appeal and old school feel. ‘Anatomical Catalogues Of Disfigurement’ starts with guitars slow as hell and heavy as hell before another barrage of blast beats and frenzied guitars is unleashed, again punching you full force and definitely making you sit up and pay attention. Vocally there seems to be a strange effect on the guttural vocals, sometimes sounding slightly industrial which definitely doesn’t suit the ultra-brutal death metal AD are offering up. A more organic vocal style would have really given the track that bit extra and made it more appealing. Not that it’s a bad track, far from it, the band showing of a multitude of influences and tempos throughout which makes for an extremely varied and enjoyable listen.
‘Mutilated’ closes the demo with more of the same passionately performed brutal death metal. The bass really at the forefront of the sound and really punching through which is a pleasure to hear as all too often the bass can be lost in the mix, especially when music is played this fast! If AD can continue to write material at this level then their debut cd will be something to look forward to. There are obviously some improvements to be made and some tightening up to be had, but that’s just the norm when preparing for a debut release. I can imagine this material coming across extremely well in a live scenario and the band are probably an exciting proposition live. Brutal death metal, old school in essence and with a very dirty sound, these guys are definitely one to watch out for in the future judging by the material on show….bring on a full length!
7 out of 10

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Severed Heaven - Incessant Darkness

Self Released 2010

1.The Fading Light 2.Soul Desecration II 3.Alone I Perish 4.Autumn
5.Desolation 6.The Edge Of Despair 7.Seal The Cavity 8.Fallen Flesh
9.Traumatic Period 10.Earth Decayed

The world of extreme metal has now become used to female ‘fronted’ bands, but an all-female extreme metal band is somewhat of a rarity, only a handful springing to mind. ‘The Fading Light’ opens this cd up, a guitar lead instrumental that acts as ‘an intro’ with ‘Soul Desecration II’ being the first full track. It’s a good opener, mixing early ‘At The Gates’ inspired riffs with doomier passages which all works well when the two styles are mixed. The guitars are heavy as hell in the slower sections, a real ‘buzz’ to their sound. Unfortunately the song begins to lack pace and energy and starts to ‘drag’ along; the melody on show is its saving grace however, with some really catchy guitar work. The end to the track is very doom inspired, having an overwhelming ‘English doom’ feel to it. ‘Alone I Perish’ see’s the band upping the pace and injecting some much needed energy, again the melodic Swedish sounding riffs at the forefront of the song which gives the track an almost epic feel. Continuing the theme seen in the opening track, the slower passages add a different dimension to the sound, remaining largely melodic, yet mournful and sombre. ‘Autumn’ sounds somewhat disjointed; the cohesion of riffs seen on the previous tracks not present here and the song seems to lose its sense of purpose.
 Thankfully ‘Desolation’ rescues things, the band again injecting more pace over the melodic and catchy riffing. Predictably the band then lose the speed and return to the familiar slower pace, a well-used formula which is beginning to sound over-used and the safe option. ‘The Edge Of Despair’ opens as many of the tracks have done, fast start then slow things down. It’s a real shame that SH chose to use the same song structures for many of their tracks because when the band do up the pace and unleash the frantic and melodic guitars, it works really well, very Swedish Black / Death metal in its nature. Laurens ‘screamed’ vocals sounding particularly manic and deranged over these faster sections with the mix of low and high vocals just right. ‘Seal The Cavity’ is amazingly catchy, once again the ‘At The Gates’ (The Red in The Sky Is Ours era) influence on show, the slower passages working very well and really showing off the bands melodic edge perfectly. ‘Fallen Flesh’ uses the now familiar ‘slow fast slow’ structure, although some variation is added by using a melodic acoustic guitar intro which fits in nicely. There’s a real sense of sorrow and solitude when the band slow things down here, very mournful and tragic and reminiscent of a lot of the doom that was coming out of Yorkshire in the early to mid-nineties, very fitting as the band hail from Leeds. All that doom and bad weather is showing its inspiration here!
‘Traumatic Period’ is probably the slowest and most filth ridden track on the disc, crawling along disgustingly, doom at its core but never really showing the band at their best. ‘Earth Decayed’ ends this cd, staring off promisingly enough with more of the catchy and melodic Swedish sounding riffs but then sadly falling into the mediocre normality and predictibility seen so much in many of the other tracks. Hoping that the band would end this cd in a furious orgy of frenzied and melodic riffing was asking too much, the band preferring to slow proceedings down once again and let the song die a death, petering out into nothing really – shame. There are some real signs of promise here, especially when the band up the pace, but more than often the predictable song structures become, well, all too predictable and lack variation. Not that this is a bad cd by any means, it just needs SH to up their game as there is a lot better than this out there that will hold your attention more that this does.
6 out of 10

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Primitive Graven Image - Celebrating Impending Chaos

Envenomation Records 2010

1.Into The Godless Chambers 2.The March Of The Cattle
3.Kings Of Infinite Space 4.Towards Infinite Planes 5. War 'til Death
6.March Onward/Celebrating Impending Chaos
7.Wandering Through The Wood 8.A Gruesome Relic Of Death And Decay

Ice cold screams and harsh frozen riffing opens up ‘Into The Godless Chambers’ all with an over-riding sense of melody. The slower beginning to this track almost acts as an intro before a barrage of blast beats and fast tremolo picked guitars set a blistering pace, the sense of melody retained in amongst all the speed. Swathes of melodic lead guitars make for a haunting atmosphere and sit comfortably amongst the harsh black metal. Vocals remain typically Black Metal, scathing and screamed, drenched in echo and this only adds to the atmosphere being created. ‘The March Of The Cattle’ starts where the opening track left off, blasting in at a furious pace. The tempo to this track is unrelenting, the drums absolutely blasting along to the guitars, brutally outstanding! Lead guitars again used to great effect, melodic and very catchy. A slight industrial section ends the track on a high, bringing new ammunition to the bands sonic arsenal.
There is a sense of groove to ‘Kings Of Infinite Space’, the pace being slowed down slightly to allow the song to open up and show off the bands more melodic side.The lead guitars taking over the song and adding a really mournful edge to the track. However, blast beats and scathing riffs are re-introduced to return the track to the familiar Black Metal sound. Tempos continue to be varied throughout ‘Towards Infinite Planes’, the mix of slow to mid-paced and all out blast working well. An air of chaos then ensues, a sense of the band being ‘right on the limit’, the faster sections as brutal as you will hear from a UK band at the moment. ‘War ‘Til Death’ starts with the bands now trademark melody, sounding a lot like Sweden’s Naglfar which is also a reasonable comparison for all of the previous tracks. The band also begin to show off their technical abilities here, time signatures chopping and changing back and forth before releasing the bands slower, doomier moments. The chorus of “War Til Death” being screamed relentlessly over this slower section and making for an excellent finish to the song. There is alot of variety, but it all makes perfect sense and produces a captivating atmosphere. ‘March Onward / Celebrating Impending Chaos’ sees the band at their most melodic. Acoustic guitars and spoken passages introduced alongside samples and simple minimalistic drumming. The track is 6:66 long, an evil coincidence perhaps? Probably planned, but it gets the thumbs up (read horns high) here!
‘Wandering Through The Wood’ as with several of the previous tracks, mixes tempos from slow and melodic to ice cold blasts of brutality. The faster tempos are absolutely punishing and make the band sound even ‘more Black Metal’ because when the slower riffs are introduced you can hear a slight death metal influence, mainly due the heaviness of the guitars. Closing this cd is ‘A Gruesome Relic Of Death And Decay’ and what a fitting finale this is, seeing the band at their most brutal. The pace is utterly relentless, the drums a highlight here as well as the vocals which are fuelled by hate and malice and delivered with absolute conviction. The whole cd shows a band dedicated to their instruments, delivering some absolutely first rate and outstanding Black Metal, as good as you are likely to hear from anyone in the Black Metal genre currently. A real gem in the UK scene with a cd that can’t be faulted, PGM really should be on your playlist and you should own a copy of this cd. Absolutely recommended
9 out of 10

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Ninkharsag Interview

Introduce the band and their roles….
The band consists of Kyle on vocals and guitar, Paul on guitar, Jay on Drums, and Steve on Bass. Paul and Kyle handle the basic song structures then we all bring things to the table to complete the song. We find this is a good way to keep working on new material but it is in no way an autocracy...everyone in the band has ideas to offer and we will work at a song until we are all satisfied with it.

Lyrically, what are the bands inspirations and what topics do you deal with?
The themes of the lyrics are ancient and alternative histories, occult philosophy, science, and literature. The name ‘Ninkharsag’ is an alternate spelling of 'Ninkhursag', who is the Sumerian mother goddess. She was the consort of Enki and she bore him a daughter, who Enki then impregnated. Incest reigned for a time, then after several incestuous relationships with his daughters and their daughters, Enki's seed was buried in the ground and the first plants grew. There is an alternative version of this story which states that The Anunnaki, as the Sumerian deities are known, were actually alien being who mixed their DNA with that of apes on Earth to breed man into slaves. This is the version that we are most interested in. This is also one of theories concerning the 2012 scenario which makes it even more important. There is too much interesting information in the world for us to pigeon hole ourselves into singing about something as stagnant as Satan!

There’s a definite old school vibe to your sound, mayhem being a comparison. Where do you guys draw influence from and is that a fair comparison?
That is a fair comparison as we are all fans of Mayhem and bands from the early 90's. None of us really listen to any modern black metal and we believe the golden age of this music was in the 90's. That is not to say that we don't want to put a modern touch to our songs, but if we can achieve something similar to the classic black metal sound, then we will. We purposefully used a grimy old valve guitar head to record with on the demo to give it that extra menacing sound. We don't want to record in the best studio with pro-tools and the like. We purposefully want the rawer edge like the early Bathory albums.

How do you describe your sound?
We would describe it as a’re-awakening' of the old black metal sound. We don't want to wallow in the past but we do believe that black metal has gotten stagnant the last 10 years...bloated and pompous if you will. We are trying to achieve a stripped down, no nonsense attitude where the music will do the talking but without compromising on song writing. That said, we are interested in keeping the music fresh and interesting. We don't believe in dragging out songs for 10 minutes so we try and keep the song going until we feel it has had its course then move onto the next.
Christophe Szpajdel designed the logo, which is a great logo…was he your first choice and why chose him?
Christophe was our first choice; we felt it natural to use his talent as he has created some of the most well produced art within black metal and has a great catalogue of work. We have been lucky enough to be featured in his book ‘The Lord of Logos’.

What has reaction been like to the demo?
We have had a generally good response to the demo but I think it is time we stepped up our game somewhat. We are waiting for more feedback from some online zines so only time will tell what people from around the world think. We all feel like we could have done a better job with the demo so we are determined to make the next release as good as can be.

What future releases do you have planned?
We are putting the final touches to the last of the songs for our debut album which we hope to record this winter. The two songs off the demo will be on it as well as about 8 others. We also have a track on the new UKEM 'Disciples of Extremity vol.2' compilation which is a great honour for us.

You guys appear to be active giggers.  What can we expect from you live and are you choosy about when and where you play or is everywhere fair game?
We have played 6 gigs so far, with others planned for this year. We've been lucky enough to support Bal-Sagoth, Old Corpse Road and Primitive Graven Image to name a few. We also have gigs supporting Ingested in Leeds in November and a Black Metal Christmas (?!) special in December in Liverpool. When we play live, we keep it simple. No stage dress and no gimmicks. We feel that the music should speak for itself without having to rely on such things. That is not to say we are aloof from other bands that choose to do this as it is an integral part of the black metal movement and can appreciate the heritage, but it is not for us. We are willing to play most places but we need to cover basic petrol costs and the like; if so, we are there.

What merch do you guys currently have for sale and where can we get it?
At the moment we have a t-shirt, the demo CD and stickers which we give away at gigs. You can buy them from us at shows or you can order from  http://www.bigcartel.com/ninkharsag

What are your thoughts on the current underground BM scene and do you feel a part of it?
It is a great scene, full of enthusiasm and good people. All the bands in it are bringing something unique to the table which is rare in a metal scene where most bands are content to follow whatever nonsense is doing the rounds at the time. We have only been together since April yet we feel we have been welcomed with open arms which is brilliant for us. It means we can get on with what we want to do without having to struggle to get gigs or get our name out there.

Thanks once again for speaking with us. Any last words you wish to share with our readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read our words and come and watch us play. You won't find us sacrificing virgins on St. Swithin's Day but you will find quality metal to make you wake up with a sore neck the next morning.