AGE OF AGONY/WITCHCRAFT
"Split" CD 2016
(Neverheard Distro)
It was a brilliant idea to release this special kind of split CD for the 20th anniversary show of WITCHCRAFT. Two really well-known Hungarian underground bands covering 2 songs from each other. AGE OF AGONY's part of the split consists of 2 tracks, both taken from WITCHCRAFT's latest full-length called "Hegyek felettem" (2012), they are "Fekete és hideg" and the title track, respectively. The five-piece Death Metal brigade tried their best to re-arrange these tracks without the loss of the prior atmospheres and they definitely did it in a triumphant way! The slight modifications display either with the speeded up tempos or the change of the guitar solos. Their sound also became pretty similar and cold to the original one, thus I've really enjoyed to listen to their cover versions. WITCHCRAFT's part of the split features "On the Way of Hate" song from AGE OF AGONY's 2nd long play "Follow the Way of Hate" (2008) and the song named "Brothers" taken from their 3rd album "Machinery of Hatred" (2011). Let's dive into some details. First of all, we have a totally new intro and outro composed for "On the Way of Hate", then we have that super crazy solo right after the intro, which rips the ears off. The blasting tempos have been also raised a bit. Still the wildest and most interesting part goes to the evil vocals of Angmar, he screams out of his throat as an unleashed lunatic. Beast mode is on! "Brothers" continues in the same manner, though perhaps due to the more melodic approach of the riffs, the Black Metal fellas of WITCHCRAFT decided to turn the tempo a little down here. Not in a crucial way, just to have those harmonies come out of the humbucking pickup as clean as possible. They also changed all the double bass drumming to polka beats there plus WLR successfully enriched it with a great solo. In their interpretation both AGE OF AGONY songs became clearer sound-wise and fairly modified too. Nice split and a worthy material to invest into!
AKHENATEN
"Golden Serpent God" CD 2018
(Satanath Records/Cimmerian Shade/Murdher Records)
On the third full-length record of AKHENATEN we can further perceive and trace the mythical narratives about ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Houseman brothers (one can also know them from HELLEBORUS), namely Jerred C. (all lyrics, all music) and S. Wyatt (all vocals), unearth a few really captivating topics, for example, they touch sorcery and underworld, deities and pharaohs, their habits and related traditions. They extract some earlier unavailable lore with an ecstatic precision. The musical side and arrangements connect so perfectly to the written stories that real magic happens through the entire album. The eleven chapters of the "Golden Serpent God" will lead you on a fascinating journey, into the era of the magnificent. Their songs are well-structured, kind of rather complex ones, which speak about a profound knowledge in the sphere of music composing. The core of their music is based on the canons of Death Metal, but with unavoidable influences and elements of the middle eastern folk music. If I had to compare them to others, I would definitely pick two names: NILE and MELECHESH. In my opinion it is kind of confluence between them, though AKHENATEN is not as brutal as NILE, mainly due to all those ultra-melodic, symphonic keyboard parts and cosmic-like samples used in a wide range there. Still I want to recommend this fantastic band from the US to all the extreme Death Metal fans worldwide!
AMBIVALENCE
"Hyena's Breath" CD 2017
(PRC Music)
This Lviv-based Death Metal group started its career in 2001 and was kept alive through all these years by Maryna, the only member left from the very beginnings. Kind of coincidence or not, but their first album "The Splinters" (2004) was the only release back then to feature a keyboard player and to contain a technical and here and there progressive-like music. After that release the band turned pretty much into more brutal spheres of the genre and released 2 albums in that key, those were "Pornomechanoid" (2006) and "Silicone Magic" (2010). Now with their newest, fourth in the row, album they kind of returned to their roots, at least for some moments, and they also added a keyboard player to the guest list for the second time, so to say. The recording line-up on "Hyena's Breath" is as follows: Maryna Shcherbakova (guitar), Armen Oganesyan (bass), Dmytro Pliska (vocals), Max Lobzin (guitar), Andriy Franzen (keyboards) and Erland Sivolapov (drums). The seven songs of the actual CD feature a rather diverse musical approach. On one hand, we have complexity, progressiveness and ethereal melodies almost in every song, while preserving the heaviness of the sound itself. On the other hand, the side of brutality has been presented in quite big amounts too, especially due to Erland's solid, accurate and storming drumming. Dmytro's growls and screams are also notably good, but I would definitely exclude the pig squeals. One more fact that confirms their return to the roots is the re-recorded version of the title track out of their debut album, it was named here as "The Splinters MMXVI". The circa 27-minute long material was mixed & mastered by Igor Lystopad, known from FLESHGORE. The result became impressive and totally massive! I would sincerely recommend this CD to all those experimental souls out there in the Death Metal community! Check it out as soon as you can! There's one more thing left at the end that I definitely want to stress on, and it is regarding the remarkable cover artwork and overall design, which was executed by none other than Maryna herself. Brilliant work!!! My favorite tracks are: "Thursday Massacre" and "War Is Close".
AMENTIA
"Scourge" CD 2017
(Satanath Records/Amputated Vein Records)
Initially this band from Belarus was meant to stay a studio project. It was created in 2003 by bass player Alex Goron, but 3 years later it starts its live activity and since 2007 with various line-ups AMENTIA releases 3 full-lengths by the help of different underground labels. "Scourge" is their third and freshest long play in the row. Besides Alex the following members were involved in creating the seven songs of the "Scourge": Artyom Serdyuk – guitars (known mostly from DEATHBRINGER, THY DISEASE and DISLOYAL, just to name a few), Dmitry Zubov – esophagus (SUFFERER, ex-POSTHUMOUS BLASPHEMER, ex-WASTED) and Valery Zubenko – screams. At first their music sounds like some fairly melodious Death Metal compound, but the more you dig deep into the details the more you get acquainted with elements coming from such genres as avant-garde, progressive, fusion and even industrial. The mechanized way of playing the riffs as staccato as possible with as many breaks and tempo changes as possible gives the whole material a surrealistic approach. Still the song-structuring is way modern, trendy and Deathcore-like. Have nothing against all of these, but some of the songs simply come in a practice-like manner. Yeah, they are technical and maximally complex, but less interesting to listen to. I would rather prefer "real" songs instead of ultra sophisticated diarrhea. Nevertheless, hats off before the level of musicians. It's incredible indeed. Let's mention for example "Anorexia" or "Sentence Executioner", those songs are pretty straightforward and killer as for me. The drums were precisely programmed too, but the actual sounds of the samples, especially the sound of the cymbals need to be more naturalistic in my opinion or let's say behaving at least like they were hit by a human being. I would mostly recommend checking this stuff out for all the Deathcore freaks out there and maybe to fans of DECAPITATED and PSYCROPTIC as well.
AORNOS
"The Great Scorn" CD 2018
(Symbol Of Domination/Ira Aeterna/The True Plague/Black Metal Records)
This chiselled Black Metal entity from Miskolc (Hungary) was formed by Algras in 2014. He plays all the instruments and do the vocals on "The Great Scorn". He was the only member of AORNOS until the fall of 2017 and now with a complete line-up the band is ready to play and conquer live as well. This is Algras' third full-length effort, which consists of nine chapters and stands for the dark projection of existence. The musical mixture he presents there was strongly influenced by cult Black Metal hordes of Norway, such names pop up into my mind first as EMPEROR, SATYRICON, DIMMU BORGIR or ARCTURUS. The atmosphere is mostly cold, almost apocalyptic and empyrean during the entire material. The guitar passages were thought out and executed pretty well, the screeching guitar sound is given too, one would say everything is granted for a perfect record, albeit the uniqueness and the originality of ideas are somehow not presented there. Anyways it's a good release and something to listen to if you are a diehard maniac of the Norwegian Black Metal style. By the way, the graphic design of the booklet turned out to be flawless!
BASTARDÖS
"Bastardös" CD 2017
(GrimmDistribution/Morbid Skull Records)
In the year of 2009 in the land of Buenos Aires (Argentina) a trio called BASTARDÖS was born. It releases two demos before recording the same-titled debut album in 2015. It was so well-received by the underground community that 2 years later it was re-released by GrimmDistribution in co-alliance with Morbid Skull Records. The 10 songs these 3 bastards perform are about the old-school vibe of Thrash Metal, which was reigning triumphantly at the end of the so-called golden 80s. Their main musical influence is coming from Brazil, yes I am talking about SEPULTURA. They learned and feel SEPULTURA's early albums so well that some of their songs could easily get a place on one of the untimely records by the mighty Brazilians too. Despite this tiny fact, the Argentinian thrashers do everything properly and sound awesome, the way it has to be. Pure Thrash Metal is what you'll get there, but I would definitely advise them to try injecting something of their own on their next release. Until then, all the fans of Thrash Metal are encouraged to enjoy their debut record and don't forget to bang your heads on!
BESTIALORD
"Law Of The Burning" CD 2018
(Symbol Of Domination/Cimmerian Shade)
BESTIALORD was formed by Mark Anderson (guitars/vocals) and Chris Johnson (drums) in October 2016 and a year later joined by Rob Harris on bass. The band identifies their music as Occult Horror Metal. Well, this description fits perfectly their 9-song repertoire, but let me clear up that a mixture of Death & Doom Metal will await you there with classic Heavy Metal touches. In fact, one can get a clear picture about the musical part of BESTIALORD by imaginarily blending together the following giants of metal: MORBID ANGEL, NOCTURNUS, ACHERON, CELTIC FROST, MERCYFUL FATE, CATHEDRAL and BLACK SABBATH. Especially the first 2 bands did a big impact on them. The lyrical content was enshrouded by a Lovecraftian atmosphere, so you can surely expect the rise of the ancient ones and the completeness of the omnipotent darkness there. Now as you know, where the occult and the horror dwells, feel free to enter the menacing realm of BESTIALORD and perceive thy doom that suddenly came by. It's a perfect music for the midnight hour! Can't wait to hear the continuation!!!
BLACKSNAKE
"Blood Of The Snake" CD 2017
(Defense Records)
The Polish die-hard rockers of BLACKSNAKE have finally returned with their 3rd long play. Needless to say it became masterful. Their fresh effort embraces 11 songs of quality Hard Rock music. The band lists as their main influences such grand bands as DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN, URIAH HEEP or BLACK SABBATH and one can easily find out all those musical impacts there plus a few heavier bands' effect also perceptible in their tunes. For example, the track called "Things Have Changed" shows a definite admiration to the musical heritages of MOTÖRHEAD and CELTIC FROST. With this record the band digs even deeper into the majestic spheres of the 70s. Especially it was great to notice the use and accompanying character of the keyboards in most of the compositions. They do really add that magic touch we always used to hear on the records of the classic Hard Rock bands in the past. The band co-worked with a huge number of guests, so the embellishment is guaranteed, but the core remained the following: Kamil Rusiecki (vocals), Maciej Wieckowski (guitars, bass & backing vocals) and Sebastian Wisniewski (drums). The arrangements throughout the entire repertory and the overall sound production are top notch as well. I was also really fond of a couple of riffs in songs of "Circles of Hell" and "World of War" as they reminded me quite a lot MERCYFUL FATE. The album's highlight moment absolutely goes to the hit called "RNR All Day". It surprised me a lot with its female/male pair of vocals, but maximally positively. Great job! All's left to say, write to the band or to their label and order this rocking gem before it's too late! The CD was served in a digipak with a big poster including the fairy cover art, all the lyrics and photos of the band members and partly the guests too.
BLOODRAINBOW
"Upheaval" CD 2017
(Neverheard Distro)
Ultra technical and all the way melodic Death Metal is what this Hungarian quintet propagates. These guys from Budapest put the level of their performance so high that my breath stops with every new listen. They are appallingly good at what they do. "Upheaval" is their 3rd full-length material and I dare to say it is their best to date. It is a real monster album with amazing sound production and fiendishly skilled musicianship. I also have to emphasize that it is by far not the usual Death Metal hybrid with pile of melodies you used to get from the Scandinavian bands for example. It has musically a more profound or let's say wider perspective and not just because the guest musicians brought some really bright moments with the addition of trumpet, flute and saxophone parts there, but due to the penchant use of the neoclassical approach, which is almost everywhere. Oh, and let me mention the wonderful supplementation of the flamenco ingredients as well, which you can witness during their fabulous instrumental intro track "Born of God". Here and there one can easily draw parallels to Power Metal bands too and without a doubt that would be maximally correct towards the music of "Upheaval" indeed. The lyrics they wrote for are about different historical events from the past, though the cover art was specifically developed for the track titled as "Conquistadors". It became as huge as the music of "Upheaval" is! Enough said, order it right away!!!
CARNAL NECROSIS
"Origins Of Malevolence" MCD 2017
(Immortal Souls Productions)
This release marks the return of the great Slovakian underground label Immortal Souls Productions. It took 15 years for Juro to rebirth his label, but I am definitely happy about such news! Let's see what the 6 songs of CARNAL NECROSIS are about to display musically. I have to say that at first glance the whole music of the California-based quartet reminded me way too strong the SUFFOCATION kind of riffing and structuring Death Metal. Hereby you can enjoy dozens of ultra precise and razor-sharp riffs, executed on a magnificent level and supported by steady drum parts, harsh growls and twisted bass lines. Most of the songs, especially the first 3 tracks, were equipped with a total old-school Death Metal vibe reminiscent of the 90s Florida movement. Then we have "Infernal Species" & "Demented Torment" where the band tries to inject and mix a few different or let's say modern elements and thus the SUFFOCATION influence just fades away there. I know that it is pretty hard to emerge nowadays with something really unique and original, but still I would maximally encourage the band members to find their own way of composing and performing Death Metal. Until then fans of SUFFOCATION and CANNIBAL CORPSE can have a test and order this circa 28 minutes long old-fashioned Death Metal brutality!
CAVUS
"The New Era" CD 2018
(Satanath Records/Final Gate Records)
The second full-length chapter of the vicious Finnish daredevils has finally arrived. Ten songs of super raw, noisy and ruthless Black Metal are waiting for your consumption there. "The New Era" is definitely not about the fancy and polished sound productions that the so-called new generation of metal kids would dream for, but on the contrary, it is as chaotic and crude as possible. These corpse-painted gents from Finland aren't here to spread you some fake love stories, they are here to bring you death, hell, hate and agony! The unstoppably crushing drum attacks, the extremely insane screams, the rasping sound of the guitars are all about the creation of the most post-apocalyptic mess ever. As a comparison or to get a closer look what musically awaits you there I would name their goat-worshipping neighbors from HORNA and IMPALED NAZARENE here. On this record CAVUS was built from the evil forces of B.P (vocals), J.K (guitars), A.R.G (bass) & T.T.T (drums). To cut it short, this is Black Metal the way it was always supposed to be, so better get your blackened hands on this masterpiece before it's too late!
CHAOS BEFORE GEA
"Chronos" CD 2018
(The Braves Records)
"Chronos" is the freshest and third material by the Málaga-induced progressive quintet that completes an epic trilogy formed with their previous two albums, i.e. "Erebo" (2013) & "Khâron" (2015). The eight pieces of "Chronos" are all about the modern and hyper technical ways of metal. The musical palette is extremely varied there, be it regarding the manner of the vocals, drumming, bass or guitar parts, also too many influences to mention, nevertheless let me introduce you those ones, which the info sheet suggests for, they are MACHINE HEAD, MASTODON, GOJIRA, SYMPHONY X and LAMB OF GOD. The 38 minutes long album sounds awesomely dynamic and well-balanced. I really accept and appreciate the musicians' efforts accomplished on "Chronos", huge job for sure, but to be honest, not really my cup of tea what they represent most of the time music-wise. However, the Death Metal initiated parts with deep growls are worth to listen to, at least I liked them. I would primarily recommend the music of CHAOS BEFORE GEA to the fans of Deathcore and Groove Metal. Try before buy!
CONCEIVED BY HATE
"Death & Beyond" CD 2016
(Satanath Records/Morbid Skull Records/Deathgasm Records)
The second album by the San Salvador-located Death/Thrash formation delivers us, especially for fans of old school, some really pleasant moments. The 9 tracks of "Death & Beyond" are combining the appropriate guide back to the glorious times of Thrash & Death Metal, the genres that ruled the earth in their essential form during the 80s and 90s. This is the first band from El Salvador that I have the pleasure to listen to and review and I have to admit I really like what they do and how they do. Pure underground music is this, which has been done with total dedication & respect to the aforementioned times and bands of the past decades. The entire material on "Death & Beyond" and even their instruments sound the way it was supposed to sound exceptionally back in the 80s and the first half of the 90s, so no polished modern plastic sounding is there. Such song titles as "This is underground", "Worship the old ways" or "Summoning the graves" plus the devilish cover artwork are proving you once again that this band's dedication is focused on the musical, lyrical and visual heritages of the past not the present or future. I've really enjoyed listening to the old-fashioned but really up to date musical approach of CONCEIVED BY HATE and looking forward to experience their third full-length installment in the very near future. Diehard underground freaks should definitely invest into this piece of CD! I will repeat, it's worth every penny, so don't fool around, better order it right now!!!
CORTEX IMPULSE
"Once In A Lifetime" MCD 2017
(GrimmDistribution)
Are you fond of progressive music? Well, I hope so, because this Moscow-located quartet premiers its debut material, which consists of 6 catchy songs in circa 26 minutes. The band was formed in 2015 and on this debut EP their line-up is: Viacheslav Akinshin (vocals), Pavel Kuzmin (guitars), Roman Vinogradov (bass) & Vladislav Manshin (drums). There are 5 songs of their own plus a cover version on KING CRIMSON's "Heartbeat" song. The latter one comes in an adequate interpretation with far heavier/punchier guitar sound, groovier drum parts and it turned out to be more metal for sure, but the ethereal atmosphere of the original version wasn't captured there. The info sheet says their kind of melodic progressive material will definitely please the fans of FATES WARNING, REDEMPTION or RUSH and that definition is true as the technical aspects of these Russians are pretty close to the beforehand mentioned ones. They are complex and sophisticated when the song needs it, but also soft and profound to dissolve the ambience. The vocal parts are rather usual and sang in the mid region, nothing special if you ask me, there's no super high-pitched voice used there, though the vocalist's attitude is decent and precise. Preferred tracks are: "Broken" and "The Last Dance".
DATURA
"Spreading The Absorption" CD 2014
(Coyote Records)
Starting with the release of "Standing Wave" in 2010 the unmerciful trio of aural brutality broadens their recording and sounding possibilities. Therefore "Spreading the Absorption" is easily their best-sounding album yet. It is full of relentless energy and dynamism. The 10 short cuts were kind of clinically precisely served and manifested in the most crushing and brutal way of the US Death Metal ever. The executors of down-tuned frequencies and ripping percussive assaults were as follows: Demid (bass/vox), Antioh (guitars) & Edias (drums). They've collected another deadly portion of extremely brutal, technical and tough as granite songs, which lasts 29 minutes in total. The razor-sharp riffs will cut through your bones with their preciosity, while the bombarding drum parts will smash up what's left. Sometimes those drum-patterns looked and sounded like as if they were kind of endurance exercises, something only the skilled can commit. The vocalizing manner remained as deep as possible, so the low frequencies are guaranteed and spread over each tune with a glory. DATURA is without a doubt one of the best Ukrainian Brutal Death Metal products. The brilliant cover art was arranged by no other than Seeming Watcher. It displays a futuristic war-like scene filled with lots of vicious creatures around a warship that is located in the middle of the drawing. The CD itself comes with a killer pit-art depiction that was supplied by a superbly designed 6-panel digipak booklet. It's a must for every brutal underground freak on the globe! Get it immediately or absorb into nothingness!!! By the way, I really recommend catching up this band live, as they perform likewise a sonic tornado with an unrestrained power!!!
DATURA
"The Amplitudes Of Pacificacion" CD 2018
(Coyote Records)
DATURA's new album is here and it is freaking awesome! A few months ago there was a short dispute between the members regarding the future of the band and in the end a decision of having two fully functional line-ups was made. So we have 2 active units under the same logo. Pretty weird, but also cool thing, right? On this record the line-up of DATURA is: Dimas (vocals/drums), Bob (guitars) & Aleksandr (bass). This musicianship is located in the Donetsk region, while the other active formation or let's say half successfully infects the masses from the capital of Ukraine, i.e. Kyiv. "The Amplitudes of Pacificacion" includes eight bulldozing Death Metal compositions with less than half an hour of playing time, which I assume maximally satisfying and to the point. Compared to their previous release that was "Spreading the Absorption" in 2014, this one sounds rather raw, kind of back to the roots if you ask me. But don't worry at all, we have all the ordinary DATURA elements presented and abused hereby. The tempo-changes are a little bit different, less insane one would say, but I really dig the way they turned out. Bob's brutally catchy riffs and killer grooves should be also emphasized here. He did a great job and Aleksandr gives a solid background to all of them. Earlier Dimas was playing the bass in DATURA, but from now on he plays the drums and I have to say he is totally capable of that instrument too. His vocals remained sick and generally come in a deep bear growling manner, but here and there he tried out some excellent experiments towards them, which are surely innovative and new to me. At the end I can easily conclude that the Donbass brutal syndicate struck down massively, so let's wait for the continuation from the other half, hopefully next year!!!
DEMONIC OBEDIENCE
"Fatalistic Uprisal Of Abhorrent Creation" CD 2018
(Satanath Records/Sevared Records)
The evil seed of DEMONIC OBEDIENCE earlier resided in Greece and if we look at its current international line-up it is not surprising at all that Edinburgh (Scotland) was selected for the band's new headquarter. The third full-length album consists of eight blackened Death Metal cuts that were invoked by the unholy forces of Kruxator (vocals), George Ntavelas (guitars) & Mark Stormwhipper (bass). Their songs are pretty variegated and different if we look in details at the atmospheres of each one. On the one hand, we have a few compositions filled with technical almost progressive Death Metal solutions, while on the other hand there are lots of simple Black Metal riffing as well. When the trio turns into plain song-structures then we mostly have something reminiscent to how the early INCANTATION, GRAVE and ASPHYX records sounded about. I would also have to mention here the influence of the first two albums by legendary DEATH as well. In general, we have a deal with an old-school Death Metal attitude there, which comes with a thick and well-balanced sound production, great solos and competently programmed drum parts. It's a decent material, which most of the Death/Black fans would listen to with pleasure, even though there was nothing special or new created there!
DEMORED
"Sickening Dreams" CD 2018
(Neckbreaker Records)
This German deathbrigade hails from Braunschweig and is about to finally present you their debut full-length "Sickening Dreams" consisting of 12 finely polished chapters. Prior to this they had two EPs released. The way they blend & dose their kind of Death Metal is in total respect with the pioneers of the given genre. During the circa 41 minutes long album you will listen to old-school-infected Death Metal music exclusively! After the first listen 3 genre-defining bands popped up in my mind, they are GRAVE, MORBID ANGEL and CARCASS. Of course DEMORED has its own ideas and potential too, which are mostly lie in the creepy guitar melodies and sick vocal parts, but the aforesaid bands' albums did a big impact on their music and that is for sure. The obscurity that radiates through most of their songs is just awesome. I like it a lot! This kind of vibe is eternal and pretty typical for the mighty INCANTATION, but the guys of DEMORED feel it properly as well and they also don't try to overdo it, which fact simply makes their overall material sound the right way! There are also calm moments in their repertory, a cool and flawless thing to feature them in my opinion, those are mostly dealing with acoustic guitars and located in the three instrumental tracks. This is the kind of Death Metal album you will definitely return to listen to again! Dedicated music from dedicated people!!! Preferred tracks are: "Bodyswap", "Drenched in Dysphoria", "Sickening Dreams" and "Cease to Exist".
DIRTY GRAVE
"Evil Desire" CD 2017
(GrimmDistribution/Todestrieb Records)
I will begin this review with a cite from the booklet: "We're not here to innovate, we're here to celebrate the Doom". Hence do not expect other. What you'll exactly get? Well, it's traditional Doom Metal, which has been performed by fanatic passion and total dedication. The bands of admiration are PENTAGRAM, SAINT VITUS and, of course, BLACK SABBATH. But musically, in my opinion, the first 2 did a bigger impact on their 8-song set. The 41 minutes long album that is, by the way, the first full-length album of these Brazilian doomsters perfectly fits into the DNA of the aforementioned triumvirate. The technical skills of the musicians are so incredible and remarkable, I can't really explain it to you in words, it is something you have to listen first to believe. Hats off to them! In the middle of the stuff, there was an unexpected song, which in fact is a cover song on Willie Dixon's "Evil (Is Going On)" and let me say it was a perfect choice. I also have to point out the flawless soloing work of Victor Berg, which is superb in all possible ways! He literally plays down the stars from the sky. In a word, I am eagerly looking forward to any of their future releases!!!
ECLIPSE
"Divine" CD 2016
(More Hate Productions)
I've got this CD as a present from Igor Ignatczyk, a Belarusian friend of mine! You won't believe, but this Ukrainian band has a story started more than 20 years ago. Formed in 1995, they have released a cult demo in 1997, called "Celebration of My Death", afterwards they were silent for 10 years or so, but since 2009 they've begun to release albums frequently again. Their first full-length came in 2009 and was titled as "Grind, Suffer, Dreams". It was followed by "Triumph of the Pain" in 2011. And now their third album arrived as well. "Divine" consists of 10 professionally recorded and executed Death Metal songs, which mostly blend a brutal character due to the ultra deep growling manner of the vocalist. The recording line-up on "Divine" was the following: Vladimir Deyev (vocals), Vitaly Nevedrov (guitars, bass) & Aleksandr Tonkoshkur (drums). The trio precisely doses the breath of death into the ears of the listener. Musically they forge some kind of combination between the styles of CANNIBAL CORPSE and MORBID ANGEL. I would really wish them to include more originality and variety. Still it's a decent record done by skilled musicians! The album was recorded, mixed & mastered at Beasts Studio, so the quality of the almost 42 minutes long material is astonishing. Fans of the aforementioned bands should check out and give a try to ECLIPSE!!!
ENDOCRANIAL
"In Presence Of Total Absence" CD 2017
(Amputated Vein Records)
Sophisticated death-bringers of ENDOCRANIAL emerged from the ever-expanding capital of Ukraine around 2011. Their first material was an EP called "Sociopathy" (2012), which was quickly followed by their debut full-length "Impact of Change" (2013). Afterwards the band faced some line-up issues, but fortunately the remaining pair Andrey Malikov (guitar) and Hennadiy Korolov (vocals) solved them perfectly by adding first the drummer extraordinary Alexey Tsypchenko, whose skillful drumming you could hear beforehand on such well-known Ukrainian Brutal Death Metal bands' materials as BREDOR, DATURA and STALINO. A bit later the final puzzle was also found in the person of Zlatoyar, who is simply a genius bass player, if you ask me. So four years after their debut long-play the quartet returns with a devastating new album that will definitely widen the borders of Brutal Death Metal and will enter its arsenal in a glorious way. The sound production on "In Presence of Total Absence" is also heads above any of their earlier efforts. It is ultra massive, dynamically destroying and just remarkably precise. Each of their songs was structured and composed in an extremely over thought way, while the arrangements sound rather tasty and even futuristic sometime. Don't get me wrong, ENDOCRANIAL still propagates the beloved Brutal Death Metal alloy, but on the actual 8-song and circa 28 minutes long material they stepped further and decided to variegate their repertory with as many complex solutions as possible. Needless to say, they completed their mission quite successfully! It's a truly masterful job! Furthermore, to have some specialty there as well they invited guests as Christian Kühn of DEFEATED SANITY (appears in "Novus Ordo Seclorum") and Anthony Voight of GORGASM (appears in "Bishopfall"). I enjoyed listening to every inch of this enormous compact disc! And what's great about it that you can listen to it all day long, and it won't make you bored! Moreover, with every additional listening you are going to find out some new details or previously unnoticed arrangements. I am anxiously looking forward to any new material they are going to release in the future!!! I can easily say it is the best Ukrainian Death Metal album of the 2017 year so far!!!
ENOQUIAN
"Llamas De Gloria Primera" CD 2017
(Satanath Records/Morbid Skull Records)
This chaotic sounding Black Metal cohort originates from Argentina. The band itself was formed back in 2015 and this is their only release to date. Their sound production is very raw and totally unpolished. It sounds like a pure rehearsal recording that has to do with their honest and conscious dedication to the past times, where it was done exactly this way. Don't be scared, their debut CD was mixed & mastered properly, just the approach they used during the recording process of their 8 tracks was defined by pure old-school underground spirit. If I listen to the vocal parts, I can conclude they are definitely about those blood-spitting Black Metal screams we used to call "true". Regarding the overall music of ENOQUIAN I would say differently as even if the core structures are Black Metal-ish, we can find a lot of elements coming from the Death & Thrash Metal styles, especially if we look more closely at the guitar playing. The lyrics respectively to the album title were written in Spanish. I am poor at that language, but the occult symbols and sigils in their booklet suggest me they are about anti-religious and misanthropic themes. Those who hate modern sounding records are deeply encouraged to get their hands on this wickedly underground Black Metal item. The CD comes with vinyl-style design on the topside and also includes a killer pit-art on the bottom side, while the booklet is set to 12 pages. You can listen to the entire album at: satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat182-enoquian-llamas-de-gloria-primera-2017. Enjoy the crude sounds from the deepest depths of the underground!!!
EPHEMERALITY
"Ephemerality" MCD 2017
(Infected Blood Records)
The story behind the arrival of this EP to me is pretty weird, one would say. I've got it from a good friend of mine by the nickname of Elf, who is working in Beijing and who decided to get a tattoo there. The tattooing artist he picked out was no other than Tiina, vocalist of EPHEMERALITY. After an in-depth chat about Death Metal and all possible ways of it, she gave 2 discs to him, one of them is in my possession now. Let's see what's hidden in the music of this Chinese Death Metal quintet. First of all, it is their debut and only material so far, which contains of 5 ultra-melodic pieces mostly reminiscent to the musical path of ARCH ENEMY. Their twenty-six and half minutes are maximally captivating, filled by tasty guitar riffs & harmonies, lots of speedy yet epic solos, professionally executed female grunts that can make the majority of the male growlers just jealous about. The drum & bass parts are arranged with care and were laid down in a good balance with the rest of the instruments. The listener is about to receive a fine portion of highly polished Death Metal, which is definitely not so rare these days, but still I warmly recommend to check this band for fans of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal genre. Let's hope they will return with a full-length album soon, but until then listen to their debut EP at their bandcamp profile!
EVIL NERFAL
"Bellum Est Pater Omnium" CD 2018
(GrimmDistribution/Morbid Skull Records)
The second release by this Colombian Black Metal squad brings us 10 more reasons to hate humanity. Their kind of occult, experimental, evil music or as they call it "Satan Elite Black Metal" has elements coming from the European and South American Black Metal leagues, Death Metal movement of the 90s and classical music. As their kind of honorable recognition towards the great geniuses of the history, they've picked 2 pieces from Beethoven, one for the overture and the other one for the finale. So you'll find eight compositions of their own among those two classical ones, which are mainly about praising the dark forces and destroying all that is holy. Essentially anti-christian and anti-religious the tendency of their lyrics, but I am assured most of you knew it from the start, right? Some of their songs have been over-structured a bit and weren't played as precise as possible, and also due to the crystal clear sound production one can hear a few flaws there, but we talk about Black Metal, a style which is ideological in its prior form. The music they unleash upon the unprepared commonalty is mainly fast and relentless, but it has moments which are full of epic vocal parts and fine guitar harmonies. A must for all the darkened souls of experimental and occult types of Black Metal!
EXACT DIVISION
"Be Fair If You Can" CD 2017
(Nocturnus Records)
The following Ukrainian quartet hails from Kyiv and this is their debut full-length CD. Interesting fact that prior to EXACT DIVISION all its members played in EXILE, which was established in 1992, then broke up in 1994 and reunited in 2011, but around 2012 a decision to change the band's name was successfully carried out. A year later the freshly transformed band releases independently its first material, an EP consisting of four songs, titled as "Dirt Jumper". Their next step was obvious, so welcome "Be Fair If You Can", an album featuring eleven songs accomplished in the true orthodox spirit of the Heavy Metal genre. Which means that you will experience a fair portion of twin-guitar melodies, epic solos, chunky bass lines and plain, but truly precise drum parts. Production-wise it has a top sound quality, even if the guitars' sound I would wish heavier most of the time. On the other hand, if I take a look onto the vocal parts then I have to conclude they tend more to the Thrash Metal style, which is cool for sure. Maybe "Crusade" is the only song that has lots of clean singing included. To sum it up, if you were and/or still in love with Heavy Metal bands of the 80s, then this album will definitely bring you a good mood!
EXCOMMUNICATED
"Death Devout" CD 2018
(Satanath Records/Metallic Media)
Lately some kind of strange trend emerged in the metal community to record albums featuring full of covers. Now this happened to the blackened Death Metal quintet heading from Louisiana too. Seven years after their debut album "Skeleton Key" (2011) they've decided to show their total dedication to the old-school Death Metal heroes in a form of cover versions. There are 14 songs listed on the back (though there are 16 in total), from which 11 are supreme Death Metal classics of all time that have been executed in the golden era of Death Metal by 10 influential hordes, namely MORGOTH, GRAVE, CANNIBAL CORPSE, CEMETARY, PUNGENT STENCH, NAPALM DEATH, OBITUARY, DEICIDE, BOLT THROWER and MORBID ANGEL. Plus, you'll find there 3 additional non-cover, kind of fill-in, pieces and 2 hidden covers. The latter two are definitely not about the vibe of Death Metal, those are "Radio Hit" by ANAL CUNT and "Archangel" by SAMHAIN. Well, the overall selection in the arsenal of the so-called timeless Death Metal classics turned out to be superb, but to be honest, I love those bands, which try to cover the original versions by adding their own identities and stylistic attributes there and thus making those classics sound unique and exceptional in a fresh way. Unfortunately, I can say this only about 2 or maybe 3 songs in general. Sad, but the majority of their versions is so boring and pointless to me. What I liked: "…And Here I Die… Satisfied" from GRAVE, "Edible Autopsy" from CANNIBAL CORPSE and "Nightmare Lake" from CEMETARY. That's it! Oh, and please don't use such ugly, sampled drums in the future, because those synthetically sounding drums are completely killing the whole picture!
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