Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Infernal Sea / Old Corpse Road - Insidious Art and Serpentine Rites

Three Swords Records 2014
Side A: The Infernal Sea - Tannis Root
Side B: Old Corpse Road - The Sockburn Worm
Two of the UK’s most promising black metal acts, The Infernal Sea and Old Corpse Road, have been brought together on this split 7” release, two dramatically different takes on the genre but both promising a very high standard if previous releases were anything to go by.
The Infernal Sea kick things off with ‘Tannis Root’ which begins in a mournful  fashion, building a morose atmosphere before blasting in with a barrage of hate-filled and scathing black metal, melodic in essence but played under a torrent of blast beats and faster, scornful guitar work. The song never really lets up in both pace and attitude and when the band does play at the higher paces they begin to sound a lot like Dissection and Enthroned in equal measure. Production wise, it’s quite raw, but this suits the style of music perfectly. As the song fades to its conclusion, the morose atmospheres that introduced the song return, feedback buzzing in amongst the haunting and swirling vocals and the eerie baby cries, great stuff (8 out of 10).
Side B takes no time at all in introducing itself, OCR blasting in with their uniquely atmospheric brand of black metal. This new song, 'The Sockburn Worm' follows on perfectly from the bands previous album, which was praised so highly here at UKEM. Fans of the band will know that they have so much going on in every song they write, and the same can be said here. Vocals vary from high pitched screams, to death metal growls, to chants to spoken words, they have it all and it has to be said, each variation works well with the music. Add in the keyboards and the acoustic guitar passages, and not to mention the dramatic black metal, then you can’t fail to be impressed. The song really gathers pace and momentum as it draws to a close, the haunting chants sitting really well alongside the faster black metal and blast beat section as the song concludes. Yet again, OCR prove their worth as leaders in the UK Black/Pagan metal underground (8.5 out of 10).
Overall, this is a great release from two fantastic UKBM bands, definitely one for fans of both bands and collectors only however. If you’re unfamiliar with both bands, then this wouldn’t really be the release for you to become acquainted with them both, you’d really need to listen to previous albums and e.p's with more songs on to truly get to grips with their music. One song from each band just doesn’t seem enough; such is their appeal. That said, it’s still a fantastic, limited edition release that comes highly recommended.
8 Out of 10

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Arrogant Destruktor - Hate Legions Ride

Self Released 2014
1.Frozen In Time 2.Hate Legions 3.Parasitic Roots Of Earth
Second demo from Birmingham based black metallers Arrogant Destruktor is definitely a no bullshit affair! Opening track “Frozen In Time” doesn’t hold back at all, the bands brand of spiteful and hate-filled old school black metal rages from start to finish. It’s so refreshing to hear a band that strip their songs back, almost going back to basics and writing songs that are catchy, memorable and that are actually songs, not just a bunch of riffs cobbled together with demonic vocals screamed at every opportunity to mask the shitness of the song writing. The band doesn’t opt for the ‘speed rather than song’ approach either, preferring to mix tempos, generally sitting comfortably in the mid-paced territory. ‘Hate Legions’ follows on in similar fashion, starting at a groove laden, yet harsh mid-paced speed. Again, simple song structures and arrangements really make the song stand out and actually provide it with its strength rather than detracting from the overall appeal. What really defines the band’s sound is the thumping rhythm of the guitars and the drums, pounding along extremely powerfully and it’s what really sets the band’s sound apart from many other black metal bands.
Closing this unique three track demo is “Parasitic Roots Of Earth” which begins in a torrent of blast beat laden black metal harshness before dropping back to the slower to mid-paced more powerful approach. Here the band sound a lot like Ugra-Karma era Impaled Nazarene, especially the guitar riffs which definitely have a really catchy sound and are again arranged simply, but very effectively! The Abrupt change in paces work extremely well in this last track, when the band do up the pace then another influence begins to show through, namely early Satyricon (Nemesis Divina), a fantastic way to end what is a fantastic demo. There might only be three tracks on offer, but they clock in at around the 17 minute mark, so you’re definitely getting your monies worth if you decide to purchase this….which you should, if not for just the music, then for the packaging also (Hand-made clam shell cardboard box individually numbered and including a jacket patch). As mentioned earlier, there is simplicity to the band’s sound which is actually their strength and gives each song its catchiness and appeal. Old school influenced black metal, played from the (blackened) heart with no fuss or complication, ‘Hate Legions Ride’ is something truly unique in the UK black metal underground and this demo stands the band in good stead to hopefully move onto bigger and better things, should they decide that’s what they want - comes very highly recommended.
8.5 Out of 10
Band Page: Here