ABOMINANT
"Ungodly" CD 2000
(Deathgasm Records)
ABOMINANT plays an ultra melodic kind of Death Metal, which has been motivated by Gothenburg Death Metal bands particularly. The quintet - Mike Barnes (vocals), Buck Wiedeman (guitar), Timmie Ball (guitar), Mike May (bass) and Craig Netto (drums) - does everything professionally and with high accuracy there. They even managed to get a fantastic sound production for "Ungodly". It's not a bad album at all, though I missed the feeling of originality there. I won't say it's a totally unworthy album as there are lots of great parts there (especially when the band operates with acoustic guitars, fast drum patterns and rather high-pitched vocals), but for a definite recognition they should build up their own and original style first. Songs like "Pinnacle of Hate" and "Beyond Spectral Plains" show a big potential anyway and if they will continue to write more songs in that way then they will definitely reach their so-called original style. The album also features an amazing dose of old-school Thrash Metal riffs plus an extremely well done cover of SACRIFICE's "Re-Animation" song. If you wish to hear an American band playing Swedish Death Metal then go ahead and get this 49 minutes long album right now! Fans of melodic Death/Black materials will be at least 80% content with "Ungodly".
ABYSS ANGEL
"Everlasting Breath Of Freedom / Непрерывный Вдох Свободы" MC '99
ABYSS ANGEL - Everlasting Breath Of Freedom
(Metal Scrap Production/CDM Records)
The second album of this progressive Death Metal quartet features 2 songs in almost 50 minutes. And what's more, these two songs are the same musically, but lyrically the first one is written in English and the second one is in Russian. Of course these long tracks are divided to separate pieces, which combine a beautiful motion picture altogether. Thoughtful keyboard passages, great use of special effects, soft drumming, deep death growls, powerful guitar riffs and conceptual lyrics are what the trademarks of ABYSS ANGEL. Yet I should point out the majestic, symphonic, atmospheric-like moods in their pieces. It's just fantastic, believe me. To get a clearer picture you should think about a combination between classic music and technical Death Metal (bands such as NOCTURNUS or ATHEIST). If you can imagine this result, then you'll know what to expect from ABYSS ANGEL. Flawless stuff!
ACID DEATH
"Random's Manifest" CD 2000
(Black Lotus Records)
ACID DEATH - Random's Manifest
Finally I have the pleasure to present you the new masterpiece by the most charismatic Greek Death Metal band, called ACID DEATH. The band has passed through several line-up changes since their formation. On this release ACID DEATH consists of Savvas-Jake B. (vocals/bass), Dennis C. (lead/rhythm guitars), Costas T. (drums) and Nick A. (lead/rhythm guitars). "Random's Manifest" features 12 futuristic Death Metal songs surrounded by one of the most fascinating sound qualities ever. Music-wise this album combines a rather wide variety of progressive elements. It abounds with storming brutality, symphonic atmosphere and brilliant melodies. Just listen to the third song "Psycho Love", the last song "W.A.R. (Wrong and Right)" or the 3-part killer title track "Random's Manifest" and you'll know what I am talking about. It is full of great ideas and musicians' masterful virtuosity that should be priced by every progressive Death Metal maniacs. And what's more, they used an extreme cover photo for this album that represents a people being tormented to death! Awesome sight, believe me. Go ahead and order this gem of art!
AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED / CONVERGE
"The Poacher Diaries" CD '99
(Relapse Records)
AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED / CONVERGE - The Poacher Diaries
The mad trio of AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED delivers us 9 industrialized Deathcore songs. These tracks were accomplished in a quite modern and extreme way so to say. Moreover their kind of over-distorted vocal parts make the whole stuff really awesome. I can pick up the following killer tracks from their repertory: "Mantis", "Glass Tornado" and "Bed of Flies". Nevertheless I don't see too much potential in their songs as they just properly use the well-known arsenal of Hardcore & Death Metal styles. Then comes CONVERGE with 6 ultra crazy industrial Hardcore tunes. Their line-up features Jacob Bannon on vocals, Kurt Ballou on guitar & vocals, Aaron Dalbec on guitar & vocals, Nate Newton on bass guitar & vocals and John DiGiorgio on drums. The band presents some really fast and technical compositions, which have been enriched by a weird dose of breaks, broken riffs, gruesome vocal parts and cacophonous atmosphere. In a word it's a kind of super original stuff. So you better check out what this 5 brains have created there. This split CD lasts over 35 minutes and comes with a nice-looking booklet full of great artworks!
ANCIENT
"Proxima Centauri" CD 2001
(Metal Blade Records)
ANCIENT - Proxima Centauri
Hell yeah! ANCIENT is back and stronger than ever. With "Proxima Centauri" Aphazel and co. definitely managed to develop further the technical line of the previous "The Halls of Eternity" album. So to say it is the next obvious step for ANCIENT to the limitless dimensions of complexity and techniques. The line-up on this album is Aphazel (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Grom (drums & percussion), Deadly Kristin (vocals), Jesus Christ! (guitars, keyboards) and Dhilorz (bass). After a short effect-based intro the band presents the series of their most powerful songs to date like "Proxima Centauri" (my favourite one), "The Witch", "Satan's Children", "Beyond the Realms of Insanity", "On Blackest Wings", "Eyes of the Dead", and "Incarnating the Malignant Deity" to name a few. In total there are 12 songs full of horror-like elements, thrash motivated riffs (great to notice them there), incredible soloing work, pompous yet terrifying keyboard passages and quite precise instrument handling. The wide variety of male and female vocals is also adding a big potential to the overall atmosphere. Well, if concerning the atmosphere, I should point out a close similarity to KING DIAMOND's masterworks. Of course, ANCIENT builds (interprets) those similarities into their own Black Metal style. Crushing album, no doubt! And to be honest "Proxima Centauri" is the best ANCIENT album in my opinion. I simply love it! It's so mature and impressive at the same time! By the way, Perre made the cover from Belgium, the same guy who did "The Halls of Eternity". So it's also something to look for.
ANTAIOS / STIGMATIC CHORUS
"God; The Fake Artist / Waters Of Styx" CD 2000
(More Hate Production)
Norwegian ANTAIOS begins this split CD with four satanic Black Metal tracks. They stick to the well-known 2nd generation formula that is about the most fast & brutal interpretation of Black Metal. It's rather killer and furious so to say. However, musically not so original as it bears the marks of EMPEROR's early masterworks. If you need just another Black item to fill in your collection then check it! Band contact: ANTAIOS, P.O. Box 31, 2836 Biri, Norway. Well, the second part of this split CD contains 5 songs + intro/outro of Russian Black Metal newcomers STIGMATIC CHORUS. This 6-man band does nothing special in their repertory. The usual keyboardish DIMMU BORGIR- and C.O.F.-motivated Black Metal stuff is what awaiting you there. Of course, it was professionally produced and sounds excellent, but it's not enough today. Hey! Where is the originality? Nevertheless, as a positive thing I can mention the ultra harsh screams and a few tuneful guitar parts that are even impressed me. All in all, both bands display an average material. So now it's your turn to judge whether it is interesting for you to check this split CD out.
APOCRYPHAL
APOCRYPHAL - The Mask
"The Mask" MC 2000
(The Flaming Arts)
The Belarus innovators of atmospheric Death Metal have finally returned. Their new masterwork contains 7 songs of precisely executed metal art. These tracks are so interestingly composed that I am sure they will go to please any metal fans taste, especially whose hearts are beating for melodic & keyboard-filled music. On "The Mask" the line-up is: Egor Rul (guitar/vocals), Andrey Shevelenko (guitar), Vitaly Atamanchuk (bass), Kristina Kurash (keyboards) and Sergey Brovko (drums). Preferred tracks are "The Ar-ma-ged-d'don Day" and "The Forest". After the songs of "The Mask" there are three more tracks included from the band's "Bacchanalia" demo '97. It was a good idea to include them as well as these songs reflect the band's early days, when they were into a more crude type of atmospheric Death Metal. Worthy stuff!
ARCHAEAN HARMONY
"Nihility Mundane Soul" CD 2000
(Solemn Music)
ARCHAEAN HARMONY - Nihility Mundane Soul
Actually this is nothing else than the re-release of the band's promo '99 on CD. Nevertheless, I think it was a good idea to release it in such way, as the four enclosed tracks are really noteworthy there. Let's see the details. Stylistically ARCHAEAN HARMONY still pursues the way they initiated on their "Resentment of an Evanesce Aeon" demo '98. This way is in the progressive interpretation of dark, eastern-based melodies and ultra sophisticated guitar harmonies within the boundaries of the Black Metal style. In 30 minutes of "Nihility Mundane Soul" they even go further and display a brilliant approach of complexity and technique. The recordings have been accomplished in form of a trio, i.e. Darkmortem (vocals & sampling), Lord Trebor (lead, rhythm, acoustic guitars, bass, orchestration & drum-programming) and Adrameleck (guitars). Meanwhile, Adriel (rhythm, acoustic guitars & drums) has replaced the latter one. OK, let's back to the music itself. "Nihility Mundane Soul" represents us 4 diverse but very melodic Black Metal songs supported by a crystal-clear sound production. Moreover these tunes turned out in a rather thoughtful way. I mean none of them have usual song-structures or presumable changes. They simply know how to put the gist of uniqueness into their songs. And it goes mainly to everything they operate with, be it a chain of guitar riffs or some keyboard passages. In a word, you can expect just unexpected things from these guys. The only thing that doesn't changed too much is the vocal style. It remained in the direction of high-pitched shrieks and aggressive screams. If you yearn for a technical yet progressive Black Metal stuff then you're on the right place. Give it a trial and be convinced of their supreme originality!
ARISE FROM THORNS
"Before An Audience Of Stars" CD 2001
(Dark Symphonies)
ARISE FROM THORNS plays acoustic progressive rock that is really not my cup of tea. This five-man band created 14 special songs that aren't touch the borders of metal music at all. I would better quote some lines from the band's info sheet for the ones who might be interested in such kind of stuff. Here we go: "... Absolutely brilliant, highly melodic acoustic progressive music fronted by heavenly, powerful female vocals. Musically comparable to OCTOBER PROJECT, FAITH AND DISEASE, LACUNA COIL, SOLSTICE, etc. Rhythmic percussive instrumentals and vocal excursions that develop with symphonic keyboards and multi-tracked vocal melodies during the choruses...". Oh, and yes, in March 2000 ARISE FROM THORNS changed their name to BRAVE!
ASHEN LIGHT
"Песнь Велеса" CD 2001
(More Hate Production)
On ASHEN LIGHT's album we have a deal with folk-influenced Black Metal. Moreover their lyrics are also heathen-motivated and were written (performed) in Russian language. The band composes from Alex (acoustic, lead, rhythm guitars & keyboards), Gmur (acoustic & rhythm guitars), Vsegard (vocals & bass), Niyan (keyboards) and Smurd (drums). There are some really great tunes among their 9-song repertory, though their music reminded me NOKTURNAL MORTUM in general, but with a less potential & originality, of course. My advice for them: try to build something more unique and please forget the damn drum-machine it spoils the otherwise interesting feeling of the material. The ones whose are into melodic folk Black Metal can check this stuff out.
AURORA BOREALIS
"Northern Lights" CD 2000
AURORA BOREALIS - Northern Lights
(Nightsky Productions)
Here we have the second full-length AURORA BOREALIS album that contains 8 brilliant tracks in the vein of ultra powerful Death/Black Metal. Their line-up shrivelled up to two members, namely Ron Vento (guitar/bass/vocals) and Derek Roddy (drums). Musically it follows the fast-drumming-combined-by-melodies way of "Praise the Archaic Light's Embrace" album, but content wise "Northern Lights" is more matured and varied. Songs as "Enter the Halls" and "Images in the Nightsky" are quite insane ones due to the intensity and killer speed they mix alongside, while "Draco" represents the melodic side of AURORA BOREALIS. It's full of great solos and thrash-influenced song-structure. There's also a song called "Dream God" that reminded me IRON MAIDEN here and there with its galloping guitar riffings. "Distant" ends the album perfectly, which is a ritual-like drum-based instrumental tune. To all this you should imagine an excellent sound and good packaging!
AUTUMN TEARS
"Promotional Sampler Compilation" CD 2001
(Dark Symphonies)
This promo CD contains tracks from the entire AUTUMN TEARS catalogue. Stylistically AUTUMN TEARS combines the elements of dark, medieval, ambient yet neo-classical music in their 14-song repertory. It's symphonic, orchestral and dramatic at the same time. The essential part of their music is based on different types of vocals. Sometimes it seems to me that in this kind of music the wide range of enchanting vocal parts and the foreboding poetry plays the main role and just then comes the atmospheric-like keyboard-based background that fills up them. I would say their music bears a meditative character. It is an open-minded music for open-minded people! I should say that it was a pleasure to dive, especially, into the medieval-like parts and to listen to the somber mood of these compositions. Flawless stuff!
AVERSE SEFIRA
"Battle's Clarion" CD 2001
(Lost Disciple Records)
The fiendish horde from Texas strikes back again! It's their second full-length album yet and at the same time their strongest release to date. On "Battle's Clarion" you can hail the following creatures of the underworld: Wrath (bass/vocals), Sanguine (guitars/vocals) and a very skilled drummer known only as the Carcass. I should say the band progressed a lot from the "Homecoming's March" debut album, both sound- and song-structure-wise. And this potential progression is due to their new drummer mainly who's actually their "first" one. He contributes with an unbelievable dose of relentless, fast and dynamic drum parts there. The 9 Black/Death tunes storm like a hurricane over the 35 minutes long material. As usual, Wrath brings his violent screeches plus the deep-roaring bass lines, while Sanguine takes care about the rasping screams and blasting mix of fiery guitar riffs. Such killer songs as the opening title track "Battle's Clarion", the blistering "Argument Obscura" or the raging "...Ablaze" will simply blow up your intestines! To increase your interest I will add here that some awesome effect-based intros and outros have supported their songs plus Jon Zig made the cover artwork. In a word, we have a deal with a supreme US Black Metal stuff! And as the info sheet quotes: "The world shall feel the wrath of the Sephiroth!".
BENÜMB
"Withering Strands Of Hope" CD 2000
BENÜMB - Withering Strands Of Hope
(Relapse Records)
Are you prepared for a shocking sonic massacre? If so, then BENÜMB is ready to initiate you into the most extreme, aggressive and ferocious spheres of the so-called California-type Hardcore/Grind. They are five, namely Pete Pontikoff (vocals), Dave Hogarth (guitar), Rob Koperski (guitar, backup vocals), Tim Regan (bass) and John Gotelli (drums). Their 32-song repertory lasts about 25 minutes and represents a rather chaotic mix of hardcore, metal, grind and sludge elements. I would define their music as a cross between early D.R.I. and BRUTAL TRUTH materials, though the BENÜMB guys walk a more brutal path that was enriched by an incredible dose of originality and (in)sanity, especially it goes to the lyrical interpretation of the band's venomous commentary. This album will definitely make your ears bleed. And as their info-sheet says "Withering Strands of Hope" is the soundtrack to an impeding revolution and musical mutiny at its anarchistic apex.
BLACK SUN RECORDS
"Catalog" CD 2000
(Black Sun Records)
This compilation sampler gives a good insight into the bands of both Black Sun Records & GNW. The CD contains 15 bands in circa 68 minutes. LENGSEL begins it with their ultra melodic Death/Thrash song "Revival" that reminded me the classic DISSECTION-like riffing in general. Although LENGSEL is open to experiments too, especially in the fields of vocal & keyboard parts. EXTOL follows them with a groovy Deathcore song "The Prodigal Son". It captures a bunch of technical riffs, good soloing and some hideous vocalizing. Then comes DIABOLIQUE's "Catholic" song with a depressive kind of Doom Metal atmosphere. The next is EBONY TEARS' "Inferno". A pure Death/Thrash song executed in the best traditions of SLAYER and AT THE GATES. It follows SINS OF OMISSION's "Reap the Storm" in the usual Gothenburg-style, i.e. melodic Death Metal with a big dose of Thrash-influences. And then comes the over-brutalized version of SEPULTURA's "Beneath the Remains" classic covered by DEFLESHED. Killer track! It continues IMPIOUS with another masterfully composed Death Metal tune called "Dying I Live". Going further we have SACRILEGE's "Summon the Masses" song. It's just another melodic piece from the inexhaustible Death Metal arsenal. The Death Metal attack still continues and THE CROWN's "Angels Die" shows us how merciless it should be. Well, let's see the GNW bands now. ANAEMIA starts with a kind of thrash-influenced Heavy Metal song "Enter the Illusion". Then comes Yngwie Malmsteen's "Big Foot" song in the interpretation of Chris Amott. Needless to say how innovative is it. The following performer is EVERGREY. Their "Nosferatu" song is from a brand of soft Heavy Metal tunes, though I found some cool keyboard parts in it, which are rather reminiscent of KING DIAMOND's "The Eye" era. "Dirge" is the next tune from the Thrashcore maniacs DOG FACED GODS. This is an in your face track full of powerful, energetic and yet brutal parts. The forthcoming band is BLAKK TOTEM, which is a band that Pete Blakk (ex-KING DIAMOND guitarist) uses to carve his very own legends. Their "Blooddrained" song displays a catchy Heavy Metal tune executed with a surgical precision. Nevertheless I found the vocal parts too MEGADETH-like there. The CD ends with DESTINY's "Balance of Terror". It has a great soloing included plus an OVERKILL-type of vocalizing there. Anyone interesting to get this sampler should contact the label directly!
BRODEQUIN
"Festival Of Death" CD 2001
(Unmatched Brutality Records)
I guess you know what to expect from this killer US band after their ultra brutal "Instruments of Torture" album. Well, I should say that they even surpassed its brutality on "Festival of Death". The trio consists of Jamie Bailey (bass/vocals), Mike Bailey (guitar/percussion) and Chad Walls (drums). The 11 featured songs deliver us a pounding mix of brutal Death Metal at its maximum level. Right from the beginning I've got a mild shock due to the skills of the drummer. Hell, I've never heard such a bulldozer-like drumming until now. It's really amazing how fast can this guy play. He's the volley-firing master of grind beats, ha-ha... To his unstoppable grinding assaults you can imagine a super technical but still brutal kind of riffing plus an extremely deep and rumble growling-style. It is what we call devastating Death Metal! Regarding the lyrical content I can say it deals mainly with historical events of the Middle Ages, e.g. inquisition, medieval tortures, etc. The sound production is less quality as on their "Instruments of Torture" album but still a crushing one. Fans of over-brutalized Death Metal should have this 31 minutes long masterpiece on their shelves. Preferred tracks: "Torches of Nero", "Blood of the Martyr" and "Gilles De Rais".
CEPHALIC CARNAGE
"Exploiting Dysfunction" CD 2000
(Relapse Records)
CEPHALIC CARNAGE - Exploiting Dysfunction
The forward-thinking Death/Grind-squad called CEPHALIC CARNAGE features Lenzig on vocals, Zac and Steve on guitars, Jawsh on bass/vocals and last but not least John on drums. These unique creatures of the darkness have unleashed upon us one of the most infernal yet weird albums to date. I can't find the right words to explain how killer this band is. Their so-called futuristic Grindcore approach just amazed me to be honest. Mostly because they like to manipulate with elements of jazz, progressive and brutal Death Metal in their music. This allowed them to make an incredibly varied and fresh album. Moreover, they've injected these elements so properly that I am going to think it's just little fragments of the band's unlimited abilities, which will show up in a more coherent way on their future recordings. Hyper-fast drum attacks (especially great to notice the professional sounding of the cymbals), deep and scream-like twin-vocalizing, earth-shaking sub-bass plunges and ultra technical proficiency of the guitarists are the marks of these cephalic grinders. The band works on a full-speed-ahead level so I am sure they will get the deserved recognition quite soon. Until then get this conquering piece of Brutal Death/Grind art and wait their forthcoming assault!
CHAIN REACTION
"Chain Reaction" MC 2000
(Metal Force Records)
Well, this should be a die-hard Heavy Metal band from Ukraine as I remember. Indeed! CHAIN REACTION is about to mix the old great Heavy Metal sound with their own and up-to-date ideas. Just imagine the HELLOWEEN-like atmosphere added mainly with Russian lyrics, fantastic guitar soloing and soft drumming. That would be the exact formula of CHAIN REACTION. Here you can enjoy 9 songs overloaded with tons of remarkable melodies and catchy guitar riffs. The vocalist does a great work all the way. The only thing I couldn't understand why sounds this stuff so bad. A Heavy Metal band should sound loud & clear! Hope they'll be able to correct this thing in the future, because they're a promising band and that's for sure!
COALESCE
COALESCE - 0:12 Revolution In Just Listening
"0:12 Revolution In Just Listening" CD '99
(Relapse Records)
On this album you can get acquainted with an outstanding mix of groovy hardcore riffs and in-your-face vocal parts. The core of COALESCE is James Dewees (drums, electronics), Sean Ingram (vocals), Nathan Ellis (bass) and Jes Steineger (guitars), though Larry from WORMWOOD helped them out with a bunch of great backup vocals too. The band takes a big emphasis on ferocity and aggression. They involved lots of modern electronics and extravagant effects there to lay stress on their unique hardcore approach. Sure this approach features the well-known motives and elements of the old good Hardcore style, but has been developed and interpreted in a new way. I would say in a more brutal and revolutionary way. Well, there are 9 brain-crushing tunes packed in circa 24 minutes. So you can expect a short but effective brain-damaging procedure! A must for Hardcore fans!
CONTAMINATED 3.0
"Sampler" 2CD 2000
(Relapse Records)
CONTAMINATED 3.0
Relapse Records' 10th anniversary sampler has arrived. It features 2 CDs and over 154 minutes of excellent extreme music. Anyone in the metal scene should know that this label works with extraordinary and brutal bands exclusively. Disc One represents the label's actual bands. So there are songs from such acts as NILE, ORIGIN, DYING FETUS (Previously unreleased version of "Pissing in the Mainstream" track. Killer one!), CEPHALIC CARNAGE, INCANTATION, EXHUMED (w/ 2 songs), NASUM (w/ 2 songs), NEUROSIS (unreleased track), THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN (w/ 2 songs), TODAY IS THE DAY (w/ one unreleased track out of 2), COALESCE, DECEASED, AMORPHIS (unreleased track), SOILENT GREEN, BURNT BY THE SUN (unreleased track), LUDDITE CLONE, PIG DESTROYER (unreleased track), BENÜMB (w/ 2 songs), AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED (w/ 2 previously unreleased songs), REGURGITATE, VILE (w/ a quite blasting unreleased demo track), MORTICIAN, BONGZILLA and BRUTAL TRUTH. Then we have Disc Two with the excerpts from Relapse's past releases and bands. It contains songs of BRUTAL TRUTH, INCANTATION, NILE, MORGION, AMORPHIS (2 songs), MINDROT, NEUROSIS, UNSANE, NEBULA, MORTICIAN, BLOOD DUSTER, HUMAN REMAINS, DISRUPT, PHOBIA, FLESH PARADE, ANAL CUNT, GENERAL SURGERY, SUFFOCATION, EXIT-13 and DISEMBOWELMENT. I am sure that with this double CD sampler anyone can get an exhaustive insight to Relapse's past and present activities. The chosen ones can conclude even the future from Disc One. Check out!
CONTRABANDA
"100% Hate" CD '99
(Moon Records)
This 4-piece Hardcore act trying to become the Ukrainian FEAR FACTORY or SEPULTURA, but their music is too weak to pretend to the beforehand mentioned though. Well, you'll get nine songs in the vein of nowadays-popular modern Hardcore style. Unfortunately, there's really nothing to listen to there. The sound is good, but when the last song comes to an end I don't have much desire to hear it again. Let's the modern Hardcore fans price it.
CORVUS CORAX
"The Atavistic Triad" CD 2000
(Dark Symphonies)
This band has successfully developed and maintained its own monumental sound rightly in its debut album. "The Atavistic Triad" composes of 5 extra long tracks, which should be called "original" in the deepest sense of the word. Slow, atmospheric yet symphonic-based Black Metal is what waiting for you in these finely worked out tracks. Their music in general can be comprehensible as a motion picture; the themes are united into one another creating a limitless unity of melodies and majestic overtones. Can you hear them? The Ravens of the battlefield... Scream!!! Order this circa 45 minutes long extraordinary album!
CRYPTHOWL
"Tragedies Beheld By The Cemetery" MC 2000
(Oupiric Productions)
CRYPTHOWL - Tragedies Beheld By The Cemetery
The time has come for another CRYPTHOWL stuff. So the vampire story continues... This new release shows a significant step in the band's career. Oupire (mastermind, vocals, bass, keyboards & drum programming) decided to add a guitar player (his name is Mertvetz) to the line-up. This choice was definitely a good one. Now CRYPTHOWL's music is more metal and yet brutal compared to the promo '97, where no distorted guitars were used. But on the other side, with the addition of guitars their music became quite similar to CRADLE OF FILTH in general. My prophecy proved true (see Issue #2). However, I prefer this kind of CRYPTHOWL over the old one and see a big potential in the new songs. So the progression is evident. And what's more, the tape features an incredible coverversion of DEATH's "Evil Dead" song. Did you ever experience a DEATH song with keyboards? Check it and you'll be pleased for sure. Other remarkable tracks are "Betrothed to a Witch", "Hanged amidst the Graves" and "Axe, Gore and Thy Awful Charms". The seductive female vocals were divided amongst Eugenia and Irena. There are 8 songs into atmospheric horror metal in total. All in all, if you like CRADLE OF FILTH then you'll surely content with "Tragedies..." too. The MC cover contains some really bloody pictures and horror-like stories.
C.S.S.O. / HAIMORITH
"Split" MC '97
(DAC Productions)
I am sure most of you are familiar with the Japan Grindcore squad C.S.S.O. and their ultra crazy materials. "Excerations '93 - '97 for beginners" includes 18 tracks from different periods of the band's history. You will get a bunch of rare stuff. I mean unreleased tracks, extra re-mixes, live songs and yet a cover of the famous RIGHTEOUS PIGS. If you are a fan of fast, chaotic and perverse grindcore stuff, that's it! Moreover, it has an awesome atmosphere with good sound quality. The other side features Ukrainian HAIMORITH and their Noisecore opus called "Gaudeamus". The members are Dunja (vocals, guitar) & Iris (drums). There are 8 songs into this style. But to be honest the guitar sound isn't impressed me a lot. It reminded me more the Norwegian-type of chainsaw guitar sound. I can say the same for the vocal parts, which are the usual high-pitched screams. Nevertheless, it is a decent material, but a bit under-produced unfortunately. Finally, I have to add that they covered a song of BLOOD as well, namely "Dogmatize". Enough said! Check it out!
CUMDEO
CUMDEO - The Threads Of Imagination
"The Threads Of Imagination" MC '99
(R.I.P. Productions)
This Russian six-piece plays enchanting Doom Metal in the finest sense of the word. It was great to find out that there remained some bands cultivating this forgotten style these days. CUMDEO is one of them. And what's more, they're really capable to create memorable tunes all the way. They managed to get a surprisingly good sound for their 8-song repertory. If you search for an album full of emotions, melodious guitar links and depressive vocals in the TIAMAT way, then it's surely for you. Don't miss this excellent album. It was released on both CD & MC as well!
DEEDS OF FLESH
"Path Of The Weakening" CD 2000
(Erebos Productions)
Brutal, more brutal and yet more brutal. It should be the secret key for DEEDS OF FLESH's unbroken carrier. Their music has been always in progress, but never left the borders of Brutal Death Metal. Sure the ones who follow the band's discography will definitely find some significant changes since their "Gradually Melted" stuff. But I can assure you those ones are all in a positive way. So it's more than evident that with "Path of the Weakening" you'll get another ultra brutal, technical and kick in the ass Death Metal album. The quartet - Erik Lindmark (guitar & vocals), Jacoby Kingston (bass & vocals), Jim Tkacz (guitar) and Joey Heaslet (drums) - plays even faster & more sophisticated as on the previous "Inbreeding the Anthropophagi" album. Nine hyper-fast grinding Death Metal tracks awaiting you in circa 32 minutes. This is a flawless album with outstanding musicianship! Preferred tracks: "Indigenous to the Appalling (Mutinous Human)" and "Sense of the Diabolic".
DEFLECTED SENSE
"Commentaries At The Edge Of Abyss" CD '99
(Moon Records)
This CD contains 8 tracks of the Kharkiv-based Deathcore act, DEFLECTED SENSE. Musically this trio, - Sergey Ustavshikov (vocals, drum parts), Oleg Dvorecheny (bass) and Denis Zubarev (guitar), - is about the experimental & progressive interpretation of Death Metal. They mix a lot of modern and industrial elements in their 38 minutes long repertory. The production is really strong and polished. Riff-structure-wise it blends a groovy and here and there sophisticated formulation of brutal and extreme music. I should also point out the musical influences herein. They were definitely influenced by FEAR FACTORY, MACHINE HEAD and latest ATROCITY materials. So if you're searching for a great stuff in this way then it's for you.
DEMENTOR
"Enslave The Weak" CD 2001
(Osmose Productions)
DEMENTOR - Enslave the Weak
Finally out the 4th album of Slovakian Death Metal masters, DEMENTOR. In its rows you can greet the following persons: René Blahušiak (guitar/vocals), Roman Calpas (guitar), Miro "Kerut" Kucej (bass) & Milos "Holloshman" Hornak (drums). "Enslave the Weak" combines 9 anti-christian tracks in the most brutal and uncompromising way of Death Metal. Dealing with fast double bass attacks, complex guitar riffs, clear bass lines and fantastically structured tunes they present us a mature and an incredibly killer masterpiece. Of course, it has those characteristic riffs they dealt on their previous albums "The Art of Blasphemy" and "Kill the Thought on Christ" with. Anyway, this album provides more tricks and technical solutions. Just listen to the ultra fast title track and the great over-brutalized "Opposites Beyond Eternity" song. Sometimes they even slow down for a while, for example in songs like "Feeding the Fire" and "Inverted Darkness". I should also take a note about the precisely worked out solos, which, on the one hand, come in a rather melodious way and, on the other hand, in a very crazy interpretation. As for René's vocal parts I can surely say he managed to put them to a really brutal level on "Enslave the Weak". The only thing I dislike a bit here goes to the overall mix, especially to the bad balance between the double basses and cymbals. Nevertheless, I can wholeheartedly recommend you this piece of blasphemous art. Check it! It's worth of every Death Metal fans interest! By the way, actually it was out in vinyl format as well.
DEMIMONDE
"Mutant Star" CD 2000
(Epidemie Records)
DEMIMONDE belongs to the always-experimenting type of bands. On "Mutant Star" the following members took place: Tanyya (vocals), Jaacob (vocals, guitar), Ankhabuth (lead guitar, programming), Afagddu (bass, programming), D'aven (keyboards) and Bizzaro (drums). This well-skilled musicianship doesn't feared to involve as much as possible extravagant elements into their basic Death/Black/Doom stuff. Those weird ingredients are ranging from progressive, industrial, electronic and computerized things to avantgarde, jazz and yet fusion-like patterns. The core of their 5-song album (over 43 minutes) follows the well-beaten path of the debut "The Warrior's Poets" material. And with this new super-innovative piece of art they even surpassed it. So to say it's another important step ahead in the band's career. Such great songs as the fast grind-motivated "The Orphan and the Demimondaine" or the well-guessed "Black Ring Theatre" just made this fact more evident to me. The CD has an interactive part as well, which includes the full version of "The Warrior's Poets" album plus lots of other cool things as video clips, photo gallery, lyrics & infos regarding both albums, etc. In a word this CD is something outstanding that you should check out right off!
DENIAL OF GOD
DENIAL OF GOD - The Ghouls Of DOG
"The Ghouls Of DOG" MC 2000
(Oupiric Productions)
Hailing from Denmark DENIAL OF GOD stands for the evilest form of raw Black Metal in their 8-song repertory. There are 4 old songs (from 1996) and 4 new ones (from 2000) featured there. Nowadays the band gathers 4 evil souls in its rows, namely Azter (ghoul's gore), Isaz (black bewitchment), Ustumallagam (eerie invocations) & R. Salskov (drums). The band mixes a minimal amount of riffs per songs to get a proper sound for their bestial attack. Also great to notice that this band instead of using all the usual modern things tries to stick to the old-school path of Black Metal. They really know how to make it right, believe me. There are two well-played cover songs enclosed as well, the famous MAYHEM track "Funeral Fog" and DEATH SS' "Terror". Further comments are needless. Destroying Black Metal stuff for black hearts only!
DER GERWELT / NARGATHROND
"Split" CD 2000
(More Hate Production)
DER GERWELT opens the CD with 5 unholy Black Metal pieces. Chainsaw-like guitar sound, dark keyboard melodies, acoustic guitar passages and painful yet tormenting screams are the characteristic lines of their music. I won't say it's an unordinary Black stuff, though there's a definite old-school black spirit invoked there. Due to it their music is enjoyable and presents a war-like attitude as it was used to be in the old good times. Besides Ixxaander Duke (screams, guitars) and Aarbreck (acoustic & rhythm guitars) there were two guest musicians involved there as well, namely Mr. Shirl on bass & drums programming from TALES OF DARKNORD and Baal on keyboards & piano. Evil, outrageous Black Metal material in the best traditions! Band contact through More Hate Production. It follows NARGATHROND with its ambient-like 10-song symphony, called "Carnal Lust and Wolfen Hunger". Lazar of ROSSOMAHAAR responsible for all the music & instruments used there, while Herr Stalhammar (VAE SOLIS Webmagazine) brings the lyrical content to them. Synthetic keyboard-dominant music is what awaits you there. Masterfully arranged, classically influenced, professionally executed and still reminiscent of some Black Metal atmosphere here and there. Maybe it appears because of the wide range of vocals that tend from clear vocals to black screeches. Fans of funeral-like, doom-oriented ambient music should take a probe with NARGATHROND!
DISGORGE
"She Lay Gutted" CD 2000
(Erebos Productions)
"She Lay Gutted" features 9 sick tracks from California's most brutal Death/Grind horde DISGORGE. No doubt that the quartet - Matti Way (vocals), Diego Sanchez (guitar), Ben Marlin (bass) and Ricky Myers (drums) - don't waste the time throughout their 25 minutes long repertory as they just storm with an inhuman speed all the way. Devastating drumming, technical yet energetic riffing and deep as hell guttural-growling are the marks of this album. If you like unrestrained gore grind attacks then this brutal piece of art will definitely please your taste. In grind we trust! Preferred tracks: "Sodomize the Bleeding" and "Womb Full of Scabs".
DJ VASJA
"69 Papuga Remixiv" MC '97
(DAC Productions)
At once, I should point out that this stuff is definitely not my cup of tea. Monotonous noise spiced with distorted sounds and ambient-like parts are the marks of this one-man project. There are 4 tracks that feature re-mixes of LULL, DXT and Bill Laswell. I can't really say more about this material. Let the noise/ambient fans price it! By the way, this release is dedicated to all true karate film freaks!
DYING FETUS
"Destroy The Opposition" CD 2000
DYING FETUS - Destroy The Opposition
(Relapse Records)
The masters of raging brutality strike back with an ultimate blend of Death Metal, Hardcore and Grind in their 4th album to date. The quartet - John Gallagher (guitar/vocals), Jason Netherton (bass/vocals), Sparky Voyles (guitar) and Kevin Talley (drums) - displays an unbelievably high technical virtuosity and proficiency during their 8-song repertory. You can bump there into amazingly executed complex drum attacks, ultra sophisticated & broken-type guitar riffs, roaring bass lines and quite low-grunt-type of vocal parts. They just bring you the most creative, energetic, intense and innovative patterns ever. Thus placing their kind of extreme music to an unbeaten level. These guys can get the shit out from your intestines in a couple of seconds, ha-ha... "Destroy the Opposition" will definitely make you a fan of this uncompromising Death Metal band and with time you'll crave for more and more releases from them. Death Metal highlight of 2000!
DYSANCHELY
"Songs Of Sorrow" MC 2000
(Oupiric Productions)
This MC contains DYSANCHELY's promo '99 (5 songs) along with 3 songs from their debut album "Tears". Really varied stuff to be honest. Just imagine a strong Doom Metal basis mixed up with lots of innovative Death/Black things and you'll get the musical formula of DYSANCHELY. It's full of great melodies, vocal-harmonies (from blackish shrieks to enchanting female voices), catchy guitar riffs and precise drum-work. Their musicianship looks as follows: Lojzo Horak (vocals), Nela Horvathova (vocals), Alena Pichlerova (vocals), Dodo Zachar (guitar), Milos Kosak (guitar), Brano Glinda (bass) and Milan Lux (drums). Yeah, it's a huge band. Nevertheless, the music counts and it's well done. In my opinion the best songs are "Songs of Sorrow", "Trembling" and the cover of KISS' "God of Thunder". By the way, the latter one comes in a rather good way and shows the band's seriousness towards such things. To all this add a fantastic sound and note that the tape comes with a pro-done color cover, lyrics, photo, etc.
EMBOLISM
"...And We All Hate Ourselves" CD 2000
(Erebos Productions)
I can definitely tell here that music-wise EMBOLISM has been strongly influenced by early CARCASS & NAPALM DEATH albums. They accomplished 15 songs by the well-known formula of the above bands there. They offer us 36 minutes non-stop grindcore assault, but unfortunately without anything remarkable. I've heard this kind of approach a couple of times, for example GENERAL SURGERY does it better at that time. Nevertheless, I can advise this CD to anyone who's into old CARCASS albums circa 1988-1991 era. The album comes with a fantastic sound quality and a well-guessed painting of Salvador Dalí.
ERYTROSY
ERYTROSY - Delight
"Delight" CD 2000
(Metal Age Productions)
Slovakian ERYTROSY plays superb kind of brutal Death Metal in CANNIBAL CORPSE's classical "The Bleeding" vein. The four sickened members - Stano (vocals/guitar), Marek (bass), Jozef (drums) and Peter (guitar) - composed eight blasting Death Metal tunes, which are undoubtedly able to rip every inch of you. I would say it's intense and energetic at the same time. Most of the songs have quite powerful riffs laid upon the grinding drum parts. To all these you can imagine a merciless vocalizing that reminded me a bit Sylvain's style (ex-KATAKLYSM). In a word, it's a warmly recommended stuff for all the brutal Death Metal freaks. Preferred tracks: "Broken Orgasm", "Suffocate".
EVIL INCARNATE
"Blackest Hymns Of God's Disgrace" CD 2000
(Deathgasm Records)
The new blasphemous anthem of EVIL INCARNATE has been revealed at last. The band's line-up shrank to a trio. So now you can hail the following evil souls there: Mike Eisenhauer (bass & vocals), Rob Rigney (guitar) and Andy Vehnekamp (drums). Their album contains 10 christcrushing Death Metal songs and a melodious acoustic-guitar-motivated intro. I should say this time their compositions got a more brutal, groovy and destroying character as on their "Blood of the Saints" CD plus there's a great improvement regarding the overall sound production too. "Blackest Hymns of God's Disgrace" sounds really killer and fat so to say. The trio mainly deals with mid-paced and catchy riffs (see "Satanic Victory" or "Legions of Christian Pigs" for example), but sometimes they switch over to fast storming grind parts, like in "Strike the Earth with Bloodshed". The album lasts about 31 minutes and delivers you a pure devastating Death Metal assault with the vilest atmosphere ever! Praise the Satanic Death Metal Victory or be cursed forever!
EXHUMED
"Slaughtercult" CD 2000
(Relapse Records)
EXHUMED - Slaughtercult
There are 3 bloodthirsty maniacs in the maggot colony called EXHUMED. They are Matt Harvey (goresaw and deathroat), Col Jones (corpseblaster) and Mike Beams (electric exorcist and ribcage rupture). Their new work "Slaughtercult" contains 13 songs into the sickest gore Death Metal ever. These guys will inflict you by their unstoppable grinding assault, devastating guitar riffs and blood-curdling lyrical conception. The blood is something special for them, I would say it's the main elixir of EXHUMED, which dominates everywhere, be it the cover, the lyrics or the image. Music- and sound-wise I hear a Swedish influence on "Slaughtercult". Maybe it's due to the blood-poisoned hands of Mieszko Talarczyk from NASUM. I can compare their music to the early DISMEMBER and ENTOMBED albums, though a big CARCASS influence is also appropriate here. Nevertheless, EXHUMED created a remarkable Death/Grind stuff that features lots of cool ass-kicking moments. Get this sanguinary CD or be infested by worms forever!
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