Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Decrepid - Mausoleum Of The Forgotten

Self Released 2013
1.Asylumaniac 2.Indulgence In Self Destruction 3.Fear Within
London based old school death metallers returned in 2013 with a new three track demo after the 2011 album ‘Devoted To Death’. Their sound is definitely not for the feint-hearted, being ugly, grim, murky and morbid. Opener ‘Asylumaniac’ is quite a simple affair, thrashy death metal which definitely belongs in the early nineties. Being a demo, the song does have that ‘demo sound’ to it which was so prevalent back when it all began, mainly due to the analogue recordings back in the day. Not too sure if Decrepid are trying to re-create and pay homage to that era or whether they just haven’t spent too much time or money in the studio, it’s hard to tell. ‘Indulgence In Self Destruction’ mixes things up a little more, tempos are varied more often, from the all-out sludge laden doom sections through to the faster, more frantic passages which work well and add variety to the band’s sound. As with the opener, the sound and song structure are very simple. If the band are going for that early nineties old school sound, then the guitars should really pack more punch, as they sound a little weak and at the back of the mix. Again, not sure if this was intentional or not!
‘Fear Within’ closes this short demo and is probably the strongest track of all three, sounding altogether better composed and structured and a lot catchier than the previous two songs. Decrepid seem to have a sharper edge when they up the pace, the slower passages somehow seem to fall a little flat which is a shame. However, the vocal delivery is excellent, especially the main death metal gutturals, really standing out and adding extra grimness to the sound. Assumptions can be a dangerous thing, but from this three track demo I can only assume that the band didn’t spend too much time worrying about the production, which really lets the songs down. Yes, it’s only a demo, and yes the band are old school death metal at heart, but in today's over saturated underground, to gain any real attention a little more effort needs to be indulged on your releases, even if they are only demo tracks. Maybe I’ve missed the point, and the lo-fi production was intended, but for heavy old school death metal, its way off the mark. If you love your death metal that is stuck in the early nineties and sounds like it’s been copied from tape to tape a thousand times, then this will be right up your street. If you prefer your old school death metal with a bit more rotting flesh on its rancid corpse, then you might want to pass on this one. Check it out, but don’t expect to be taken by surprise.
6 Out of 10
Band Page: Here

Friday, 14 February 2014

Cryostorm - Version

Self Released 2013
1.Cryostorm 2.Vitality 3.Solacing 4.I Am Anomaly 5.Vivify
6.This Vivid Night 7.Septentrion 8.Fate & Evolution 9.Taciturn
10.Vorticity Spiral 11.Apocrypha
Cryostorm have been around for quite some time now and have had a couple of successful releases under their musical belts to date, but this, ‘Version’ is their debut full length and after hearing their previous releases expected the standard to be high and from the opening bars of first track ‘Cryostorm’ it was apparent the standard was going to be very high indeed. No fucking around, the band blast straight into their very unique brand of blistering melodic death metal. Unique is a very apt description of their sound, especially their use of guitar solos and lead breaks which they use very often and to great effect. This opening track rages along at quite a pace and is over before you know it, a great introduction to this new offering. ‘Vitality’ is tinged with a slightly more thrash sound with the pace slowed down for the more melodic passages and as ever the melodic guitar solos are there and really stand out as they are actually written as part of the song, rather than added over the top of songs as an afterthought. Blast beats are also introduced which adds real variety and gives the song some real ‘bite’. ‘Solacing’ again sees the pace slowed down with some really big solo sections used which really adds to the ‘melodic’ death metal sound. The solos are again a real highlight, well written and very well executed. Following on is ‘I Am Anomaly’ which is another feast of sharp and snappy riffing mixed with lengthy solos sections and again ferocious blast sections have introduced and work really well in amongst all the melody and really adds variety and makes for a great sound all round. Having compared the band (in a previous review) to Dimension Zero (Sweden) this still stands to a point. Cryostorm add a lot more melody in to their death metal, so haven’t really got the snap of D.Z but are equally as potent. If any further comparisons were needed, then next track ‘Vivify’ is reminiscent of early In Flames, having a more Swedish death metal feel about it. What stands out here is the fact that the guitar solos are written as part of the songs, as almost rhythm tracks, as part of the structure of the song as vocals are snarled over the top of solos which isn’t often heard in general, but works extremely well here. ‘This Vivid Night’ is a nastier beast altogether, slightly faster in pace than the previous songs and when the blast beats are re-introduced they really add a short, sharp and frantic edge to the song. As ever though, melody is never far away through the use of the guitar harmonies and solos. The band does sound particularly good when they up the pace and introduce the faster blast beats sections….more please gents!
‘Septentrion’ follows on in similar fashion, mixing all of the elements the band has to offer, namely melodic death metal that is led by the harmonies and solos with the added brutality of faster blast heavy sections….it’s a great mix that continues to work. The album seems to be gathering momentum as ‘Fate & Evolution’ springs to life, drums introducing the song on their own briefly before opening up with a more frantic and technical feel, the double kicks getting a good hammering from the outset. The song does drop off slightly, back to the more familiar, slower and melodic themes before ending frantically in a storm of blast beats. ‘Taciturn’ is vicious, again the band smashes open in brutal fashion, the drumming especially proving the point that the band know how to be punishing and brutal as well as melodic in the same song. The also show off their technical abilities here, the musicianship is of the highest standard and really shows – standout song so far! ‘Vorticity Spiral’ continues the more brutal theme extremely well, albeit not quite to the storm heard in the previous song but which still offers a snarling, melodic tinged death metal storm. The album has definitely gathered momentum through its latter stages and has now built a really epic feel as it begins to draw to a close. Eleventh and final track ‘Apocrypha’ pulls back from the brutality and harks back to the slow to mid-paced sounds heard earlier in the album. The songs has an almost ‘stripped back’ feel to it, sounding a lot simpler in composition with each instrument playing s more simple patterns, almost as if the band have purposely ‘gone back to basics’ to end the album. That’s by no means a criticism; there’s been so much going on throughout this album that having one track that does stand out as been slightly different makes perfect sense. There’s a very ‘spacey’ feel, almost ‘Cyinic-esque’ in sound which actually fits in with what the band are all about and is probably the ideal way to end things. Anyone who knows Cryostorm knows ‘their sound’ and fans of the band will definitely not be let down by this release as the standard has well and truly been maintained, if not bettered from previous offerings. The musicianship and execution of the album is top quality and it has a lot to offer in terms of extreme metal. It’s melodic, its brutal it’s blistering and it’s frantic and it’s a fantastic release which fans of melodic death metal will absolutely drool over. Comes very highly recommended.
8.5 Out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Nordland - The True Cult Of The Earth

Glorious North Productions 2013
1.The Great Hall of the Sky 2.Dawn Calling of Thunor 3.Eithtelor
4.Heathen Lands 5.I Am the Winds of the Earth 6.A Mound to Lay My Bones Upon 
‘The True Cult Of The Earth’ is the second full length album from one man black metal band Nordland. Having praised the band’s first album, this second offering promised a lot from Vorh and his misanthropic brand of Black Metal. Opening Track ‘The Great Hall Of The Sky’ is an absolute monster of a track, being the longest on the album and clocking in at just over thirteen minutes. It does however have a lot to offer, beginning slowly and mournfully in extremely grim fashion, the ‘moaned’ vocals and very slow, doom laden pace makes for a very sombre opening passage. There is a change of pace, a faster blast beat section being used, but overall the pace of the song is kept to a minimum throughout the majority of its life which in all honesty is where the song sounds at its best. Haunting atmospheres, windswept soundscapes all make for a chilling, haunting and utterly devastating opening track. The fact that the song is over thirteen minutes is insignificant as you get drawn into the utter morbidity on offer, and time becomes irrelevant as the music takes over. ‘Dawn Calling Of Thunor’ is introduced through the use of a bellowing horn before the harsh and scathing black metal riffs take over. There is a slight increase in pace as the song gradually comes to life, but this doesn’t last long, the slower more mournful pace used so successfully in the opening track again implemented here to great effect. These slower paces are so much more effective. However, there are some really catchy guitar lines which utilise a faster pace which really gives the song a truly epic feel. Great Stuff!
‘Eithtelor’ is an extremely hypnotic track, very simple in composition, seemingly stripped back to a minimum in terms of song writing. That’s not a criticism, as the simplicity this song offers is key to its success. Again, short passages of fast blast beat, hate-filled passages are introduced and sound extremely effective here and once again makes for a very effective black metal offering. ‘Heathen Lands’ is the shortest song on the album, but still comes in at well over five minutes long and is another fine example of very catchy and epically atmospheric black metal. There’s almost ‘Immortal feel’ to this track, both musically and vocally which isn’t a bad thing at all as again, its catchy and its epically grim and makes for great sounding black metal. ‘I Am The Winds Of The Earth’ is fantastic, the pace has been upped, there’s a greater sense of urgency to this track which has a more traditional feel to it, i.e. the faster drumming, the faster picked, harsh guitars and the utterly scathing vocal delivery. Vorh has a great ability to write compelling black metal, no matter what the speed, be it the slower of faster, the end result is still first rate, catchy and memorable! ‘A Mound To Lay My Bones’ follows on in similar fashion, differing paces again utilised to great effect albeit with a more punishing and exhaustive approach. The haunting atmospheres heard in the earlier tracks rear their ugly heads again as the song ends its existence in devastating fashion. Brilliant! The simply titled ‘Crows’ ends this monstrous album, all sixty-one minutes of it, and it takes a slightly different approach to anything heard so far, taking on a more chaotic approach in places. To its credit, the song does offer up a mix of everything heard throughout all of the other songs and draws the album to a close in brilliantly epic fashion. The pace is slowed down as the song starts to draw to an end, the tension slowly building into a morose atmosphere before another ferocious barrage of blast beats are unleashed upon the listener which actually take you by surprise. Quite unexpected, but sounding perfect and placed brilliantly. Once again, Vorh has produced another master-class in stunning, atmospheric and truly brilliant black metal and coming from one man makes it all the more impressive. If you enjoyed his debut album, then ‘The True Cult Of The Earth’ is a cd you must hear. There’s no faulting this album at all, that’s how good it really is. Seven epic tracks of harsh, yet atmospheric black metal executed flawlessly and played with utter conviction, its another Nordland album that very highly recommended.
8.5 out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here