Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sincaldu - DEMONstration

Self Released 2013
1.Death Is The Sea 2.Echoes From A Past Life 3. Pale (The Infernal Struggle)
Obscure and relatively unheard of black metal band Sincaldu release their debut demo, the aptly named ‘DEMONstration’ and from the very first note of opening track ‘Death Is The Sea’ I was instantly hooked by their brand of hypnotic, raw and atmospheric bleak black metal. Simple but effective guitars and drums are backed up devastatingly by some absolutely hate-filled and scathing vocal work, a real sense of lonely desperation etched into every word. Musically, the majority of the song is slow and mournful. However, the pace is upped into mid-paced territory, both speeds suiting the fast tremolo picked riffs well. As the song draws to a close and the drums drop off, it allows the harsh guitars and vocals to end the track viciously and mournfully, sounding a lot like the earlier albums from Burzum. ‘Echoes From A Past Life’ is a harsh interlude acting as a bridge between the two main tracks. Guitars buzzing and feeding back in a hail of almost white noise nastiness. ‘Pale (The Infernal Struggle)' smashes in at an absolutely blistering pace, blast beat laden drums bursting forth, accompanying the guitars harshness and speed brilliantly. Reading through some of the bands info, they say future releases will have a ‘professional drum sound’, but to be perfectly honest, the sound they have opted for works brilliantly alongside the lo-fi production of the guitars. Devastating black metal like this can become a mush of buzz-saw guitars and biscuit tin drums, but Sincaldu get it just right here, the production sitting in just the right place to match and complement this style of black metal. This offering is only a demo, and only features 3 tracks that clock in at 13 minutes, but what a fucking 13 minutes it is! Its lo-fi to hell, but offers up an absolutely massive sound that really punishes the listener with its shear brutality, harshness and morose atmospheres. Mentioned earlier, but comparison wise, a good starting point would be Burzum with hints of earlier Ragnarok (Nor). For a debut this is mightily impressive. Raw harsh and atmospheric black metal that reeks of hellish desperation, it will be very interesting to hear what the bands next release sounds like because if it is anything like this demo, it will definitely be on my shopping list! Comes highly recommended.
8 out of 10
Listen: Here

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Karhu - Survival Of The Fittest

Self Released 2012
1.Lambent 2.Reality 2.0 3.B-Vera 4.KERpaser 5.Survival Of The Richest
6.Ignorance 7.The Dream 8.D-44 9.Isa 10.Darker Days
11.Feeder 12.Open 13.Vinette
'Progressive groove metal' anyone? That’s how the band describe themselves and it may have been a brave decision to send in their CD for review to an Extreme Metal review site, but let’s see what we have! Opener ‘Lambent’ is a short and extremely melodic intro track, which doesn’t give anything away at all, no clues as what the album will contain musically as this track is stripped right back, acoustic guitars and cleanly sung, whispered vocals are all that it contains. Nothing to really write home about, it is what it is – simple and atmospheric. ‘Reality 2.0’ bursts open in stark comparison, heavy guitars and growled vocals introduced immediately. It’s easy to hear the progressive elements to the band’s sound, simple rhythm sections are broken up by quite technical passages that are accompanied by cleanly sung vocals. No sooner has this song got going then it has ended. It’s quite strange actually, almost feels like the track shouldn’t finish that soon. Next up is ‘B-Vera’ which follows on in a similar vein, with more variety being added vocally. Mixing vocal styles well between the guttural death metal style, to the cleanly sung and the whispered softer style.  There is no lack of technical ability, more a lack of originality with a song that never really engages fully with the listener, mainly due to the lack of variety of paces and tempos. It’s all a bit ‘samey’ and safe, no real excitement. ‘KERpaser’ sees the band in full out melodic mode. Citing their influences it’s easy to hear why on this track, definitely more rock infused with a progressive and melodic edge. Not a song for hardened extreme metal fans that enjoy furious blast beat laden death metal; you definitely need to have an open mind listening to this album. ‘Survival of the Richest’ returns to the heavier guitars and guttural death metal vocal style and the pace is upped slightly for the first few opening bars of the song. Sadly, even when the band to try to adopt the heavier death metal style it sounds far from that, the groove and melodic edge to the bands song writing style is definitely the over-bearing influence and where the band obviously sit more comfortably.  There is no real energy to the tracks, again due to playing it safe tempo wise, remaining firmly in the slow, technical territory.
‘Ignorance’ goes against what has just be written about the temps and the energy of the tracks, as there is a definite up shift in pace, the track actually opening at quite a sharp, fast pace. Yes, the tempo does then return to the more familiar slower timing, but this is a relatively short track and the band does then return to the faster tempo to end things on. Better! ‘The Dream’ is another Dream Theatre inspired song, with great technical ability on show and some more influences do start to creep in gradually, with almost thrash influenced riffs introduced to add something extra. However, this is all about the progressive and melodic sound and a chance for the band to show off as musicians, which they certainly do, and do well, but it’s not extreme metal by a long shot. Opeth are probably quite apt comparison, mixed with a heavy dose of Dream Theatre once more.  The further into the album you listen, it becomes apparent that this album shares very little with death metal, or extreme metal in general, but that said, the band never claimed to be ‘extreme’. When the guttural and cleanly sung vocal styles are mixed, it actually sounds very good, the stark comparisons complementing each other. Following on ‘Isa’ begins in a very dark and menacing tone, but this doesn’t last long at all, the song then drops off into extremely melodic passages that utilise the clean singing and soft acoustic guitars to full effect. As before, it’s all about the technical ability of the band, a chance to shine, and why not if you can play well! In complete comparison, ‘Darker Days’ blasts open furiously in a haze of frenzied blast beats, as extreme as the bad have sounded so far. They only flirt with that style very briefly before returning to the slower, groovier style, albeit with guttural death metal vocals as an accompaniment. Again, when the cleaner vocal style is used, it all becomes slightly ‘AOR’ in sound. Whilst listening to it Whitesnake actually sprang to mind!!! The band might not thank me for that, but that’s what it almost sounded like to these blast beat loving ears! 'Feeder’ is another dizzying foray into the bands ability as musicians, with time signatures being chopped and changed with apparent ease and with a tightness that is second to none. For me, the sporadic use of the clean vocals spoils what was becoming one of the more ‘accessible’ tracks from a metal point of view. That style of singing dilutes the track somewhat, losing its edge. ‘Open’ lifts the tempo slightly to start the track, but as is heard with previous tracks it doesn’t last long, the progressive and slower melodic side to the song taking over once again and when the vocal styles are mixed again, it starts to take on a slightly predictable feel. You can second guess where the cleanly sung vocals will be placed and where the guttural death metal style will be used.  Closing the album is 'Vinette' which is as melodic as the band has sounded. Progressive, yes, melodic yes, metal? Definitely not. Rock at best, it’s a power ballad really that is trying desperately to end the album on an epic note. It’s just not working for me! As mentioned at the beginning of the review, it’s probably a brave decision to send such an album to an extreme metal review site, because extreme metal it isn’t. Definitely one for the musicians out there, its thinking man’s music that shows off the bands technical ability excellently and they all handle their instruments very well. Yes, if you’re a fan of Opeth and Dream Theatre, you will undoubtedly lap this up and wank whilst listening to this and following the songs to the tab book, however I’m going to return to my cave to drool and smash my head against a wall whilst listening to some grind!
7 out of 10 (for the technical proficiency of the band members)
Band Page: Here

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Solemn Curse - Gateways To Eternity

Mordgrimm 2012
1.The Suffering 2.The Grand Design 3.Visible Light
4.Fourth Dimension 5.Chaos Of The Normal 6.Voices
Debut offering form Birmingham’s ‘The Solemn Curse’ opens up with ‘The Suffering’ which is used as an ‘intro’ to set a very dark, foreboding atmosphere. Slow and mournful, this opening track is used to really set a morbid scene, sampled spoken passages are laced over extremely dark riffing that are death/black metal in nature, almost Dissection-esque in their delivery. It’s a very good way to set the tone for the remainder of the album, although the awkward pause between this and second track ‘The Grand Design’ detracts a little from the atmosphere created. The songs should have really flowed seamlessly into each other, giving this second track a grand introduction rather than stumbling open awkwardly from a two second silence. Musically the band blends several genres into one melting pot of blackened death metal. It’s a good pot to be mixed up in though, the song opening up with some great guitar riffs that really drip with a really dark sense of grief, being delivered perfectly. There’s a definite European sound to the music on offer, bands such as Necrophobic, Dissection and Lord Belial spring to mind, albeit a slightly more death metal version of the said bands. As the track matures, industrial samples are used sparingly to break the track up. They don’t last very long and actually detract from the music, not really fitting in too well and almost sounding a more of a nuisance than adding anything positive to the track. ‘Visible Light’ blasts forth furiously from the outset, a much more death metal affair with more influences on show, maybe not purposely, but there’s a definite hint of early Morbid Angel here, especially in the way the vocals are delivered. I’m sure the band won’t mind such comparisons! There is a greater sense of urgency to this track, the faster sections really going for the throat. The band does vary tempos well, returning to the slower, more morbid tempos and atmospheres heard earlier.
Following on is ‘Fourth Dimension’ which carries on the theme very well heard in the previous track. Once again tempos are varied well, moving seamlessly from the faster sections through to the darker, more brooding slower paces. The riffs used are particularly catchy here and begin to border on the epic. The track then cuts out completely, with a second or two or pure silence before the blackened guitar harmonies comes smashing back in brilliantly and sounding absolutely monstrous. This is by far the best track so far, really standing out both musically and in the emotional vocal delivery. The track ends with some sampled white noise that really slices through your head allowing ‘Chaos Of The Normal’ to blast open unmercifully and once again there is some really atmospheric blackened death metal on offer, the guitar harmonies once again standing out and played extremely well with that Swedish Death/Black metal delivery and sound to them. The death metal edge to the band’s sound has been dropped back slightly allowing the more black metal riffs to really punch out and providing the track with a very epic and catchy sound. Closing this 24 minute e.p. is ‘Voices’ which isn’t really a song as such, more an outro as its only 1:41 in length, with no vocals and only one main riff that is layered by some simple, but effective melodies and solos. This is an extremely solid debut release which shows a lot of potential indeed. The performance is solid, offering up some extremely catchy, dark and brooding black/death metal with a lot of influences on show, but what great influences they are to have, especially when you can pull it off, as The Solemn Curse have done. Dark and atmospheric blackened death metal that really packs a punch, this comes well recommended.
7.5 Out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

The Deathisodes - Inside The Universe Of Horror

UKEM Records 2013
1.Dead Arising (Quantum Mix) 2.For Chaos Is Master 3.Black Virus
4.Whitechapel Mystery 5.Hellbound 6.Installation 4 7.Spectral Wasteland
8.Silenced To Decay 9.Project Omega 10.Nexus Of Fear 11.Age Of Atrophy
12.When Death Walks Behind
Review by Pagan Tordengrav (Pagan Hel Reviews)
In June 2012, The Deathisodes released their first album 'Destructive Patterns of Creation'. Now only a year down the line, the project already have a second album out, featuring over 20+ guest musicians hand picked from the UK Extreme metal underground, "Inside the Universe of Horror" was released on the 21st June 2013. With new influences and inspired by the future, gaming, history and a number of others, this album takes the project onto a whole new level. 'Dead Arising' is highly infectious and the opening is intriguing, building superbly into a monumental structure of melodic ambience and powerfully energetic riffs with the added raw scathing vocals they savagely attack the aural making the whole track  intense and anthemic. The keyboard tones add a real depth to the array of immense sound and this is a superb track on which to open with, it really sets the pace for the remainder of the album. ‘For Chaos Is Master’ is powerfully intense, laced with heavy rhythmic surges of punchy riffs and swirling keyboards. Growling fiercely it simply explodes into a simple savagery that will eat you from the inside out. The intensity is abrasive, from just the guitars alone! The drumming is immense and together it is just one powerhouse of compelling and energetic sound. ‘Black Virus’ is moody and angry, this screeches its way into the aural cavities and gives the listener some caustic bites to chew on. Feverishly frenzied, its rhythms hit you like a tidal wave of deep melodic and hypnotic venom. I love the keyboards and the harmonies that blend flawlessly into one gigantic and provocative track. ‘Whitechapel Mystery’ features superb twisting rhythms that come bounding at you. It is truly hypnotic and breath taking, stroking the senses with fire and is ferociously strong. It is solid in precision, vocally huge and will literally encompass the listener from the hungry melodic passages to the mesmerising riffs – this literally challenges all the senses.
‘Hellbound’ features powerful drumming and a peppering of keys as it engages with a ferocity of melodic wash that is very up tempo. It harbours a moody undertone that simply consumes you.  The thick rhythms are highly satisfying and rewarding and the guitar riffs are something else! This is abrasive and will literally rip the flesh from the bone. ‘Installation 4’ has swirling ambient keys which give that dark foreboding and ominous presence as the guitar and drums blend seamlessly into a symphonic structure of potent rhythms. This is highly intense and seductive. It is superbly energetic and embellished with deep brooding sophistication. ‘Spectral Wasteland’ is intimidating and striking at the same time, the drumming is a fast array of solid bullets that fire in quick succession and the vocals are damningly brutal.  The quirky little keyboard rhythms, be it brief, just gives you a reminder that they are there, whilst the power of the guitar is caustic. This is a very emotive track that houses a lot of intensity and won’t take much for the listener to be overwhelmed in its creative impacting beauty. ‘Silenced To Decay’ is a really invigorating listen, this track is awash with a deep thumping rhythm that immediately gets into the blood and hypnotically transforms you to obey what it literally compels you to do. The hooked riffs and powerful drumming with strong bass sucks you into its magnitude of blended sounds, whilst the growling vocals sit perfectly over the monumental riffs; an absolutely amazing track. ‘Project Omega’ is dark slow to begin and the ambient tones bubble under the surface until you can feel it simply bursting to break free of its restraints as it builds. The drumming quickens your heart beat and on cue it will bring you out in a sweat. Caustic growling delivers with an extreme roar of energy and will have you drooling. This track builds so high it is hard to imagine it ever coming down from its cloud of perfection. ‘Nexus of Fear’ begins with the ominous and ambient brooding of deep waves with a strong and forceful drum beat that pounds solidly to a crescendo of a harmonious and haunting voice. Intense and exciting it builds steadily creating real intrigue as to what is going to happen next and... Cleverly ripped from your ears just as it is about to explode – what a teasing track! Next up,
‘Age of Atrophy’ and if this was a nuclear blast you would be dead! This is just so powerful. Vocally spiteful with demonic gnarly growls and devilish riffs that have no thought for sentiment will literally slay you with damning ferocity and total annihilation. So satisfying it hurts because you don’t want it to end! This track could spark a riot in no uncertain terms. ‘When Death Walks Behind’ incorporates softer strings that start in an intriguing but melancholic array, twisting, swirling rhythms build and then dissipate with a shrill screech. It houses a beautifully intense hypnotic feel that immediately sparks the imagination with a dark melodic swathe and is absolutely superb giving the listener something good to bask in. To Sum up, it does not get any better than this! – Superb from start to finish. Not only does it seduce you it also mesmerises and compels with ferocity and yet still caresses with a highly intense and predatory feel. This album deserves your full on enthusiasm and aggressive energy in return for the amazing array of musicianship portrayed in every riff and rhythm. Highly intense in unbridled skill and passion it just oozes perfection from every pore. I am in awe of every one of these talented musicians and urge everyone to listen and buy this album with extreme urgency. The desire to listen over and over again is compelling
10 out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here