Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Eviscerate Carnage - The Art Of Pathology

Abyssus Records 2012
1.Deathwork 2.Medical Murder 3.The Art Of Pathology
4.Anaerobic Decomposition Of Organic Matter 5.Pneumatically Battered
Citing influences such as Aborted, Exhumed, Carcass and Impaled it is instantly clear that that these influences are very heavy influences. Right from the opening pummelling riffs there’s a massive ‘Aborted’ sound to the relative newcomers debut e.p. ‘Deathwork’ boasts an absolutely monstrous sound from the outset, a torrent of savage death metal riffs supported by blasting and brutal drums, snarled and screamed vocals are backed by ultra-guttural vocals, this dual delivery sounding very similar to the bands influences. Even the production pays homage to the fore mentioned masters of horror/gore extreme metal, being just the right side of clean to allow every instrument to be heard. The guitar riffs have that brutal, but groovy element to them which is never going to fail to please. There’s no let-up in the onslaught as ‘Medical Murder’ piles drives in another display of precisely played brutal extreme gore metal. Again, the groovy riffs are backed up by some absolutely brutal blast beats, utterly ferocious in delivery and technically precise. ‘The Art of Pathology’ begins with the obligatory medical tuition sampled intro before all hell breaks loose once again, another mix of foot to the fall blasting extreme death metal. Tempos are mixed slightly more here, the band slowing the track down somewhat, allowing the groove of the riffs to really come to the fore and taking on a very catchy approach. Sounds great when the band move from these slower sections straight into all out blast, and then back again, great stuff.
Next up, and obviously a Carcass inspired tune is ‘Anaerobic Decomposition of Organic Matter’ which is more of the same, an absolute monolith of a song, a really eerie atmosphere being created in amongst all the gory and groovy brutality, yet another lesson in how to execute precisely played extreme metal. Finishing up is the shortest track, (which all clock in at around the three minute mark) ‘Pneumatically Battered’ which does what the titles suggests, and fucking batters you into a bloody pulp, the pace of the song absolutely blinding, with the heavy ‘Aborted’ influence well on display here. The fact that these guys have all played/play in other underground acts such as Oblivionized, Merciless Terror, Insidious etc. really shines through in the tightness of their song writing and delivery.  All five tracks are punishing affairs, delivered with such ferocity and tightness that there’s no real faulting this debut e.p. Yes, the bands influences show through very heavily, and the band do sound a lot like these influences but, it’s refreshing to hear a band from the UK playing such a style, and playing it very well! The band fully admit to “creating music in the vein of many bands that have influenced them for many years”,  so If you like Aborted, Exhumed, Carcass, Impaled etc. you know what you’re going to get and you’re really going to love this. Brutal, catchy, very well played and tight as fuck, E.C have produced an absolutely first rate debut e.p. – The full length album is already written, which promises (based on this performance) to be a devastating release. Highly recommended.
8.5 Out of 10

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Winterfylleth - The Threnody Of Truimph

Candlelight Records 2012
1.A Thousand Winters 2.The Swart Raven 3.Æfterield-Fréon 4.A Memorial
4.The Glorious Plain 6.A Soul Unbound 7.Void Of Light
8.The Fate Of Souls After Death 9.Home Is Behind 10.The Threnody Of Truimph
Opening Track ‘A Thousand Winters’ blasts straight into all out melody lead scathing and melodic black metal, the bands intentions clear from the word go. There is a real ‘gravelly’ tone to the production, in black metal terms the guitars are extremely heavy with the bass guitar especially prominent and adding real depth to the sound. Vocally it’s as you have come to expect, screamed, malice pouring from every word, drenched in echo  and reverb which really re-creates black metal from the first wave, when bands sounded like they were singing and playing in a cave. The way in which Winterfylleth vary and move from one tempo to another is quite unique sounding and definitely sets them aside from a lot of bands. It’s their trademark, their signature sound almost. Uniquely Winterfylleth! As ‘The Swart Raven’ opens up it is again unmistakably Winterfylleth at their very best, mixing tempos perfectly and creating a really mournful and hateful atmosphere. The heavy dose of melody really sets the band aside from many of their contemporaries. Again, the way tempos and time changes are used is a very simple formula, but one that is being maximised to the full to create some absolutely stirring songs. As the song breaks into an acoustic guitar section, there’s a folk influence on display but the cleanly sung, chant like vocals add an extra element, almost pagan/Viking black metal. The song then returns to the classic black metal sound the band are so great at creating, ending the track in a haze of melodically lead black metal guitar riffs which reek of bleak emotions and dark atmospheres. 'Æfterield-Fréon' acts as a melodic interlude; soft acoustic guitars accompany what sound like fiddles/violins and work well, a break in the black metal assault. It’s only a short break however, ‘A Memorial’ blasting forth in yet another torrent of melody driven hateful black metal, sounding extremely catchy and as mentioned before, undeniably Winterfylleth. The band found ‘their’ sound a long time ago and is sticking to the formula which works brilliantly, no need for change when something is this good! As this track begins to draw to a close there is a real sense of urgency, desperation etched into every screamed word, it’s fucking fantastic stuff.
‘The Glorious Pain’ follows on in similar fashion, bass heavy and distorted guitars leading the charge into battle, again sounding utterly devastating with sorrow and hate etched into every sorry word. What works particularly well here is the use of chant like vocals over the faster black metal sections and even when the pace is slowed and the clean chanting re-introduced, the catchiness is never lost. Some say that black metal shouldn’t be ‘catchy’; I say listen to these guys then re-think your statement! What works so well for Winterfylleth is their simplicity, as seen in ‘A Soul Unbond’, a simple song structure played using relatively simple, but unbelievably atmospheric guitar riffs all backed by drums that do nothing more than keep the rhythm and tempo, but that is all that is needed here, why over complicate matters when the atmosphere and emotion of the music more than compensates for speed or technicality. The mournful nature of the music lends itself perfectly to the vocal delivery, again sounding full of hate, desperation, spite and absolute anger – many of the elements key to great black metal. The tempo begins to raise slightly as the songs ends, but it never flies off into furious blast beats which is only right. Doing that would spoil the atmosphere completely. If a return to the faster black metal is what you crave then ‘Void Of Light’ should satisfy you completely, the pace upped to the more familiar tempo seen in earlier tracks. And as with everything before it, the mixing of tempos effective in delivering another top notch black metal song, melody once again at the fore but as ever, delivered with aggression to make the perfect partnership – melodically aggressive. ‘The Fate Of Souls After Death’ is more of the same, another fast and aggressive black metal song which drips atmosphere from every note, the tempos tending to be utilised for longer periods, especially the faster sections giving this song a much more aggressive feel than has been witnessed previously. The slower, melodically driven sections are still used, and used as effectively as always. The track consisting of three sections, fast beginning, slower middle section and returning to the faster pace to end. Simple, but yet again devastatingly effective. ‘Home Is Behind’ is another acoustic guitar interlude, a break from the devastation of the black metal. There’s an ancient sound to the acoustic guitars, extremely classical in delivery and with a very ‘Olde England’ feel which fade out slowly before title track ‘The Threnody Of Triumph’ opens up in another barrage of extremely compelling black metal. Saving the best for last and utilising everything witnessed in the previous tracks, it’s an absolute stormer of a track. There’s a real sense of urgency on display now, the bands seemingly wanting to spread their message even deeper into the listener and you can’t help but feel that the band are so proud to be ending this album on such a high note, a punishing and suffocating atmosphere really stirring now, almost building up to something really really big and thunderous. However, the track fades out into oblivion and an acoustic guitar takes over, taking you somewhat by surprise, but not in a bad way. Winterfylleth are definitely getting better with age and this, their third album is by far their greatest piece of work to date. Having crafted a sound that is ‘Winterfylleth’ and ultimately unique, especially to these fare shores, these guys are riding high and at the top of their game with this album. If you’re a UKBM fan and you don’t have it in your collection, then may I suggest you get it as soon as possible because you really are missing out on something very special indeed. Very highly recommended
9 out of 10

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Primitive Graven Image - Psychedelic Episodes

Envenomation Music 2012
1.Eye Of Existence 2.Ten Thousand Armageddons
3.Mock The Lifeline 4.Slave To The Mannequin 5.Attack The Attacker
6.Breathe 7.The Maniacal Laughter Of A Dying Man
8.The Killer, The Philosopher And TheHoly Man
9.Of Death AndDeathlessness (Introduction)
Primitive Graven Images third full length had been hyped up well before its release date, teasing those waiting to hear it with the band proclaiming that new influences and ideas had been incorporated into the bands brand of elite black metal. As ‘Eye Of Existence’ blasts open it’s very apparent that some of these new ideas have been incorporated from the outset. The bands familiar black metal sound still there, only with a heavy dose of melody added in, very catchy and very effective indeed. Tempos have been varied, with the more melodic edge used to great effect when the band slow proceedings down. The keyboards add an extra dimension, being almost hypnotic in composition. Don’t worry though, the band still remaining as scathing and as lethal as on previous albums. As ‘Ten Thousand Armageddon’s’ begins, the blast beats have returned in a ferocious start to this second track. One point to note here is the guitar production, a lot heavier than a lot of black metal, the bass guitar really punches through and you can actually here it under the guitars. The track then breaks completely from the black metal norm, a spacey progressive interludes takes over, almost sounding 70’s prog rock. Strangely enough though, it works and works really well, especially when the screamed black metal vocals are re-introduced. The track then returns to the more familiar black metal sound seen earlier. Different, but in a really good way. When ‘Mock The Lifeline’ bursts into life, the band starts to sound a lot like Marduk, the slower heavier option preferred here. Devastatingly powerful, especially when the band jumps from the slow and mournful up to the hyper blasting sections in an instant. The mix of time changes and tempos works extremely well and stops the song from becoming one dimensional and being the longest on the entire cd (7:47) that’s probably going to be a good thing. Minds can wander on long songs, but not here, there’s so much to keep the listener engaged. As the track draws to a close, the spacey and proggy keyboards are re-introduced, used as an outro. It doesn’t sound out of place either, because the prog element is starting to become the norm here. 
‘Slave To The Mannequin’ is the albums most straight ahead black metal song so far, the ‘other influences and ideas’ dropped for a more familiar black metal approach. Blasting and scathing, it’s never going to fail but please. Having said that, the introduction of a folky element is absolute genius, the riff used is so catchy that its extremely hard to put into words. It raises goosebumps every time, so catchy. Having spoken to the band I know they were in two minds about using the folk inspired riff, feeling it might just be too folk influenced. It would have been a massive mistake to not include that riff, it makes the track something really special. It is one of the best riffs I have heard in a long time and makes for an absolutely killer song. Well done for being brave and sticking with it because it works so well. ‘Attack The Attacker’ is another ‘foot to the floor’ black metal assault, the re-introduction of some slower but extremely melodic guitar work ensures that this is another ‘stand out’ track. As the song begins to end another new idea is incorporated seemlessly, cleanly sung vocals which sound particularly effective alongside the melodic framework which this track is twisted around. Great stuff. ‘Breathe’ sees the band side stepping from the slow melodic and mournful, to the all out blast again, effortless in delivery and vocally it is ultra-scathing, pure spite and hate being spat out with absolute malice; as black metal should be really. Again we see another spacey and melodic ending to this track, fitting given what we have witnessed previously. ‘The Maniacal Laughter Of A Dying Man’ remains mid-paced and is another example of UKBM at its very best, there’s a real definitive song structure on display, verse chorus easy to follow and again being delivered in the more familiar black metal approach, tight and fast tremolo picked guitars being backed up by some slower, but powerful drum work. No proggy influences here, this track is solely about the black metal!
‘The Killer, The Philosopher And The Holy Man’ is probably the most ‘different' track on the cd, many of the bands new and different influences being incorporated. Cleanly sung vocals again utilised well alongside the scathing screamed black metal style of vocals. Tempos mixed and matched from the melodically slow through to the all-out blasting. A spoken passage is introduced with almost space like / industrial vocal effects used. Very different, but fitting in perfectly amongst everything else the track has to offer. The song never forgetting that it is back metal at heart. Ending proceedings is ‘Of Death And Deathlessness (Introduction)’, a keyboard lead atmospheric track, again, a very ‘spacey’ feel to it, bordering on the epic.  It’s probably very fitting that the entire album is titled ‘Psychedelic Episodes’ as many of the tracks offered up have a certain psychedelic feel and sound. This is a pure black metal album, and one of the highest order and all the talk of new ideas and influences was well founded, there are a lot of new ideas on show. Not enough to change the bands sound however, it is still very much PGI and those familiar with the band will not be disappointed at all. Very brave for a black metal band to add the kind of influences the band has, but they have done it and done it very well, the black metal core never spoilt by those ‘other ideas’. They have been incorporated and used extremely effectively and is testament to the bands song writing ability. This is their third full length and by far their best. Don’t be frightened by the words ‘Prog’ or ‘Spacey’ of ‘Clean singing’ because believe me, this album is packed full of absolutely amazing black metal songs, some with new ideas yes, but ideas that enhance the songs and only add to the appeal of the album. UKBM of the highest order and very highly recommended.
9 out of 10

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Rex Shachath - Sepulchral Torment

Hostile Media 2012
1.Intro 2.Sepulchral Torment 3.Follow The Bastard Prophet
4.Blind From Birth 5.Seven Serpents 6.Statues Of Death
Thirty seconds of creepy intro before ‘Sepulchral Torment’ blasts open, gnarly old school riffing powering forth and utterly pummelling. Reminiscent of the early days indeed, when death metal really was death metal. Morbid, horrible, disgusting music played with absolute conviction and for the love of the music…this is definitely not one for the trendy ‘core’ scenesters. Fans of an older age will definitely reminisce at this, the music sounding very much in a similar vein to many of the European bands that helped forge that early death metal sound. ‘Follow The Bastard Prophet’ follows on in similar fashion, dirty and ugly death metal but with a real catchiness and an actual ‘song structure’. It’s possible to hear the verses and choruses because this style of old school death metal never suffocates under a barrage of blast beats and over technical riffing. It's back to the roots and it’s a fucking joy to listen to! And similarly ‘Blind From Birth’ is yet another homage to the forefathers of European death metal, very early Necrophobic springs to mind here, the guitars a torrent of melodic tremolo picked death metal mastery. The production is very to the point, very natural and organic sounding. For all the dirtiness of the music on offer, each instrument is balanced well in the mix and produced very similarly to bands such as Cemetary, Séance and Necrophobic. So if any reference points were needed, or you’re trying to guess what the band sound similar to, dust off the said bands early material and you’ll not be far off the mark.
‘Seven Serpents’ sees the pace being upped slightly, blast beats and faster guitar work used, but mixed with the slower, dirty and melodic sections which adds variety to the track. Closing this debut e.p. is ‘Statues Of Death’, another track which incorporates all of the bands influences and tempos, as ever a very heavy old school Swedish influence on display. A slower, heavier and doomier pace being opted for here with creepy, reverb heavy guitar solos being incorporated for added old school effect, slightly ‘Rick Rozz’ in their delivery. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve heard a band playing this style of death metal and this is a strange turn of phrase (for morbid, creepy old school death metal), but it’s a real breath of fresh (read putrid) air. As mentioned earlier, fans of death metal that were ‘there’ when the underground scene was being formed will lap this up, it certainly brings a smile to the face as all those memories come flooding back. Any fans (whatever age) of that style of music from that era will love this; it oozes appeal. Dirty, nasty sounding death metal, played brilliantly with a killer production that again, leads your memories to the early 90’s hay-day. Rex Shachath have produced an absolutely outstanding e.p. that offers up five tracks of everything that old school death metal should be, i.e. nasty, no holds barred, to the point and with a production that goes straight for the throat – all of which these tracks are/have. This comes highly recommended. Gore not core!
8.5 Out of 10

Monday, 1 October 2012

Fires Of Tartarus - Fires Of Tartarus

Self Released 2012
1.Adsum 2.Yawning Void Of Chaos 3.Vindictive Miscreation
4.Fragments 5.Macrocosm
As ‘Adsum’ slowly fades into life there’s an instant ‘Slowly We Rot’ feel to the short atmospheric intro but then as the songs blasts into full life all such comparisons disappear. Heavy as fuck death metal yes, but not the brand death metal forefathers Obituary play. On offer is a heavy, Swedish inspired death metal barrage. A lot of the guitar work having an extremely melodic and catchy sound. The vocals match the riffing perfectly, screamed and scathing vocals being preferred, which are backed up every now and again by guttural and growled vocal work. All in all a great combination which works well. ‘Yawning Void Of Chaos’ opens up as furiously as its predecessor, the Swedish influence once again heavily on show, ‘The Crown’ springing to mind in the opening few riffs. As the song gathers pace, so blast beats are introduced, used sparingly but a welcome addition to the band’s sound. The tracks then drops right off (pace wise) into melodic, but heavy death metal guitar work. All old school inspired, but with a production that gives it a very modern edge. The song then enters into extremely well played and catchy riffing and with the introduction of a guitar solo, the old school element never far away from the bands sounds and song structures.
As ‘Vindictive Miscreation’ begins, the band has stripped things to a bare minimum, a far simpler approach undertaken. Slightly different to the previous songs, but not sounding particularly out of place. As the songs builds, the re-introduction of blast beats and the Swedish inspired death metal returns the song to more familiar territory. The band definitely sounding more devastating with this influence on show. The pace begins to slow right down and this is where another of the bands influences shows through again, the song sat firmly in the old school but never sounding dated or uninspired. ‘Fragments’ picks the pace up once again, a track to really rip your face off. It’s a song that does what it is meant to, be a heavy death metal song, written to pummel your senses, which is gladly succeeds in doing, the faster blasting sections towards the end of the track particularly effective.  Ending this debut e.p. is ‘Macrocosm’ which leads on where the previous track left off, another pummelling, straight to the point death metal assault. Once again, a heavy Swedish death metal inspired framework used to craft quite a brutal closing track. The guitars sounding really heavy in this closer and yet again blast beats introduced to end the track on. F.O.T appear to tick all the boxes from an extreme metal point of view and have produced a real belter of a debut e.p. The production on the guitars is great, a real organic heaviness to them. One niggling point is the kick drum sound, way too ‘clicky’ for music that is old school in essence, albeit with a modern twist. A more natural sound would have been more appealing – but it’s only a small gripe. Overall there are no complaints at all; it’s well written, catchy, heavy and monstrous at times, what more do you need from death metal? Definitely worth checking out.
7.5 Out of 10