Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Cnoc An Tursa - The Giants Of Auld

Candlelight Records 2013
1.The Piper O' Dundee 2.The Lion of Scotland 3.Bannockburn
4.Hail Land of My Fathers 5.Ettrick Forest in November 6.The Spellbound Knight
7.In Shadowland 8.Winter - A Dirge 9.Culloden Moor 10.Blar Na H-Eaglaise Brice
Epic and atmospheric best describes ‘The Piper O Dundee’, the short introduction song, used to set the tone for ‘The Lion Of Scotland’ which roars open majestically, harsh and melodic all in one folk inspired black metal assault. The folk influence is never far from the band’s sound in this opening track, be it through the use of the guitars or keyboards. Either way, the end result is absolutely stunning and amazingly catchy. The harsh screamed black metal style of vocal used is as you would expect, only delivered without absolute venom and an utter belief in what is being spewed forth. ‘Bannockburn’ allows the themes and atmospheres to follow on perfectly with the pace really being picked up to give an absolute sense of urgency, a need to deliver their message so the listener is in no doubts as to what’s being said. Again, unbelievably catchy and even when the song is at full pace, the melancholic atmospheres are never lost. The keyboards are incorporated into ‘Hail Land Of My Fathers’ so well, adding even more gloomy and eerie atmosphere which works very well when the pace is dropped slightly, although the sense of urgency heard in the previous track is never lost here. The guitar riffs used are relatively simple, but when mixed with all of the other elements work well, there’s really no need to over complicate the song at the risk of losing atmosphere.
‘Ettrick Forest In November’ follows on in very similar fashion, the pace once again slowed throughout much of the song. The band does flirt with faster paces sporadically, which adds variety and certainly doesn’t sound out of place in amongst the slower passages. The opening short passage to ‘The Spellbound Knight’ wouldn’t sound out of place on The Lord Of The Rings; that’s what sprang to mind before the song burst open in a haze of harsh, yet melodic black metal and folk inspired indulgence. The band are definitely indulging themselves here, immersing themselves in their music to compose an absolutely epic song, the folk inspiration at the heart of the composition. Acoustic guitars and whistles break the song up nicely, acting as a short melodic interlude before re-introducing the harsher black metal elements. Think Winterfylleth and Wodensthrone, add a dash of Mithotyn and Celtachor and that’s where you would probably find Cnoc An Tursa sat! ‘In Shadowland’ is another massively epic and majestic song, once again packed full of atmosphere and played with a real tightness, and it is this tightness that gives each and every song a real brightness and standing out as been absolute quality.
The same could be said for ‘Winter A Dirge’ which is another epic monster. There seems to be a real pride in the bands playing, obviously proud Scotsmen which translates through into their music. Not that their nationality over powers the music in anyway, the music remains black metal at its core with different traditional elements combined and utilised to make a final end product that is something truly special. This point is once again proved in ‘Culloden Moor’ which is so unbelievably catchy and monstrously epic, the mix of faster black metal and slower, more folk inspired passages working to maximum effect. Closing the album is ‘Blar Na H-Eglaise Brice’ which is a sorrow filled and heart felt piece of music, the traditional Celtic whistle backed up simply by haunting keyboards, the perfect way to end a near perfect album. Cnoc An Tursa have produced an absolutely stunning debut full length album that is without doubt a genre leader. It’s not very often that a band can write and record such a stunning piece of work on any album, never-mind a debut, but these four Scotsmen have done just that. The mix of black metal and folk/cletic inspired traditional music works so well, the balance is just right that neither one overpowers the other and you just can’t fail to be impressed. ‘The Giants Of Auld’ is an absolute masterpiece and if you haven’t heard it yet then you really should as it is something very special indeed and comes as highly rated as possible, it’s another ‘must own’ from another outstanding UK band!
9.5 Out Of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Abhorrent Decimation - Infected Celestial Utopia

Cold Birth Records 2013
1.Monolith Of Destruction 2.A Putrid Vision 3.End Of Days
4.Towards The Gateway 5.Infected Celestial Utopia
There’s a definite statement of intent as ‘Monolith Of Destruction’ smashes out of the speakers, a raging snarling death metal monster ready to take your fucking head off. This is Abhorrent Decimations debut e.p, but you wouldn’t guess it from this opening track. Having said that, the band features some seasoned veterans from the UK underground so you would expect the standard to be high, which it is! Jumping from rabid death metal sections into massive, heavy breakdowns seamlessly, this opening track has a lot to offer and as mentioned, definitely lets you know what the band are all about. ‘A Putrid Vision’ follows on in similar fashion, only here machine gun blast beats are used to really up the pace which in turn adds a new dimension to the band’s sound. From a vocal perspective, it’s as you would expect – extremely well executed guttural death metal vocals that really bellow and spew hatred and anger. These are backed up by higher screamed vocals, which are actually used quite a lot and give the vocal delivery that extra dimension and really make them stand out. Although blast beats are introduced, they are used sparingly, the song remaining mid-paced for much of its duration.
‘End Of Days’ is another crushing slab of brutal death metal. Unusually, it’s not so much the music that makes this track brutal, rather the vocals, again been at the forefront of the song, delivering a tirade of aggression and being quite high up in the mix, probably gives them that extra punch. ‘Towards The Gateway’ however is a much angrier affair, the pace upped to full throttle without the use of the blast beats initially. The mix of the faster death metal and another powerful vocal performance really makes this song stand out. Blast beats are introduced sporadically, and when used, really add a potent and dangerous edge to the band’s sound, mainly due to the tightness of their execution – utterly devastating and definitely the stand out track of the e.p! Closing this debut offering is the title track, ‘Infected Celestial Utopia’ which begins life in an absolutely crazed fashion, the riffing and drumming working together brilliantly whilst sounding ‘almost’ out of control, but in a great, technical, almost progressive way. The band are also at their catchiest on this closing track, the chants of “Infected Celestial Utopia” really begin to get stuck inside the listeners head, especially as the track draws to a close and the pummelling double kick drums are introduced to accompany the catchy chorus lines and guide the track to its conclusion. Abhorrent Decimation have produced an absolute Death Metal monster with their debut release and their pedigree as talented musicians really shows in the standard of their playing which results in five fantastic tracks. Brutal, tight and with an massive production, ‘Infected Celestial Utopia’ is an extremely impressive debut release that really has to be on your “to get” list if you haven’t snagged a copy already – comes very highly recommended.
8.5 out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Hex Morbidity - Evangelical

Self Released (Demo) 2013
1.Oblivious To All 2.Make The Suffer 3.Silence Or Slaughter
Debut demo from Swansea’s Hex Morbidity is self-described as “a sinister combination of old school black and death metal, with proto-extreme thrash influences spilling into the mix” which is an extremely accurate description. As soon as opening track ‘Oblivious To All’ spews forth horribly, it is monstrously old school from the outset, the mix of old school death metal and thrash metal riffing suiting the dirty production perfectly. It’s simple, straightforward no frills bestial black death metal which is catchy whilst remaining the right side of horrible. Vocally its gruffly growled death metal vocals with the occasional high pitched screams used as backing, which actually really stand out and add to the gloomy atmosphere. Great opening track! ‘Make Them Suffer’ continues on in a similar vein, slightly more up tempo and with even more catchiness oozing from the speakers. Again, it’s the simplicity to the music which enhances its appeal. It’s not trying to be anything but old school, nasty and ultimately a homage to an era long past. Citing an influence as Autopsy, it’s definitely clear to hear here, this music comes spewing forth straight from the graveyard, worshipping at an unholy blackened altar.
Closing the demo is ‘Silence Or Slaughter’ which offers up more of what we’ve heard previously, which is as you would expect anyway! No massive surprises here other than a heavier and more doom infused beginning to the song which soon breaks into an up tempo old school thrash section, almost (dare I say it) old metallica-esque in sound, only a lot dirtier and much more nasty and evil sounding. It’s actually very refreshing to hear such a young band playing this style of music, which is a big fuck off to trends, scenes and not giving a fuck about genres and what is current. Morbid, old school blackened death metal that sounds like its rotten corpse was buried in the early nineties and has just been freshly exhumed to spread its rotting flesh and rotten stench, this three track demo is an excellent first effort, slightly rough around the edges, but that’s part of its charm. It comes well recommended and let’s just hope the follow up sounds just as horrible!
7.5 Out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here