Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Upcoming Releases To Get Horny About: It Begins...

Anyone hear the new Rottrevore tracks? Were you as disappointed as I was? Fear not, for Denmark's Undergang are here to sate your hunger for primitive, static choked Death Metal. An early favorite for Album of the Year, no doubt.

Some seriously hateful Bestial Black Metal here from one of the best in the business, Spain's Proclamation. The trvest static you will ever listen to.

Sweet, sweet weedely-weedley-screech. Oh how I missed you. I love wank, and I love Spawn of Possession. Sure waited long enough for this, and my expectations are through the roof.

Martin Van Duren is the worst vocalist I have ever heard, but fuck if Asphyx don't have riffs. The riffs are so good, I can ignore Duren's retard grunts.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spearhead- Theomachia(2011)

Spearhead- Theomachia

A blistering whirlwind of Blackened Death Metal hate, Theomachia takes square aim at both originality and your cranium and pulverizes them to dust and chunks. Their patron god Angelcorpse would be highly impressed with this dominating, jack-hammer Death Metal, and so am I. I might have heard this album before, or three times to be exact, but damn it all if Theomachia doesn't beat me to a joyous death every time I listen to it.

A powerful new player in England's suddenly burgeoning Death Metal scene, Spearhead make no bones about their Angelcorpse influence, but over-come their creative short comings through sheer inhuman intensity. Drummer Torturer(what a fitting name) embodies the war machine, hammering your senses like a trench is hammered by artillery fire, again and again and again. His performace behind the skins(no doubt crafted from the flesh of his fallen enemies) is the highlight of this monstrous slab of pure death. Everything else follows suit: the guitar work is fucking fast, the low-end rumbles and the vocals are mad with anger and fury. Theomachia moves like clockwork from start to finish, delivering the goods in classic all-killer-no-filler style. It's hard not to step back and listen in awe to how tight, purposeful and violent Theomachia really is. A better crafted piece of worship you will not find.

Worship, however, is all there is to be found on Theomachia. With the exception of the final track, this album follows the well obliterated path of Angelcorpse most of the way. "Aftermath," the purely instrumental final track, has Spearhead toying with melody and dissonance, but as the title of the track explains, this is only after the war is over and the corpses have been piled so high as to block out the Sun. And what a glorious mountain of corpses it is, even if I have seen more than a few in my day.

Rating: 8.5/10

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Teitanblood- Purging Tongues(2011)

Teitanblood- Purging Tongues

Slithering from the bottomless pits of Hades, Purging Tongues is the sound of corruption itself. Busy, blasphemous and relentless, Teitanblood have adopted a take-no-prisoners approach to songwriting with their newest EP, the bands first new material since their brilliant Seven Chalices LP from 2009. Seven Chalices established these Spaniards as one of front-runners in Occult-themed Black/Death Metal, but it really doesn't compare to Purging Tongues in terms of sheer misanthropy. This EP flat out hates your guts, and makes no concessions.

A single track spanning fifteen minutes, Purging Tongues sees an already chaotic and atmospheric band devolve into pure chaos noise and Satanic incantation. The music flows like sacrificial blood down a slopping altar, moving from unhinged noise and devilish chanting to bursts of Blasphemy-meets-Incantation grinding and back again, never giving the listener one second to even comprehend the machinations at work. None of the individual elements are particularly surprising or new for Teitanblood: Seven Chalices featured all the same insane sounds. It's the density of the composition that makes Purging Tongues that much more inhuman.

This density is also as much a curse as a blessing. Purging Tongues has Teitanblood entering Portal territory here, for better or worse. Following individual song elements becomes very difficult in this blistering haze, and it's pretty much impossible to pick out any individual riffs or sections as highlights. Purging Tongues must be taken as a whole or not at all, and at times the whole affair feels over-wrought and directionless. It doesn't help that the production is so uneven: the bass, drums and vocals are very loud in the mix, and they almost completely drown out the weak guitars that grasp for any hold they can find beneath crushing reverb. And holy hell, talk about reverb. The vocals echo for miles and the bass sounds like clattering bones, which while charming in their own way also destroy any hope for the guitars to have a real impact.

Purging Tongues is a ten-tone slab of pure inaccessibility. Just getting your arms around this clusterfuck is an endeavor worthy of legend, but burrowing into this solid black husk will be the real challenge, one perhaps not worth undertaking. Purging Tongues does not lack for ambition, but the busy and bloated compositions left me somewhat cold in comparison to the much more subdued and thought out Seven Chalices. Tetianblood are perched on the edge of Chaos, and hopefully they avoid the temptation to leap into the abyss.

Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mournful Congregation- The Book of Kings(2011)

Mournful Congregation- The Book of Kings

I would be lying if I said that Funeral Doom was my favorite style of Doom. Sure, I love disEMBOWELMENT(the sounds precursor) and dig Thergothon, Evoken, Ahab, etc. But I am not particularly wild about the super slow, simplistic riffing and over-wrought atmosphere most Funeral Doom bands peddle. How so many bands can stretch three individual riffs over twenty minute songs is a mystery to me. And how unlucky for me that Mournful Congregation happen to be one of those bands.

The Book of Kings is well over an hour long, yet has no more than a dozen riffs sssssttttttrrrrreeeeettttcccchhhheeeeddd over it's incredible run-time. Your average Morbid Angel song has more riffs than this album, which is pretty impressive for both bands when you think about it. But who said it was about quantity? It's all about the quality right?


Much like the number of riffs, the quality here is lacking to say the least. Melodic intros lead into soft and... melodic riffs that crawl at a snails pace against the backdrop of bells and moans. Mournful Congregation have thrown musicianship and songwriting out the window here, and are putting all of their collective eggs into the "atmosphere" basket. The production is thick and inviting, and is by far the best part of The Book of Kings. It also helps that the pointless vocals are mostly lost underneath the strength of the guitars and the fuzz of the bass.

This is a war of attrition: how many minutes can you listen to the same riff, with the same melodic lead over the top of it, and the same bells in the background? I get the point of is all. The music is meant to hypnotize the listener, transfix them, until the fall into the waves of sound. Yet The Book of Kings failed to have anything close to this effect, and with so many superior alternatives abound in a genre not lacking in practitioners, it becomes increasingly hard to justify spending over an hour with this album. Where is the adventure? Where is the song-writing? The Book of Kings fails so miserably because instead of using the genre as a jumping post to greater ideas, it instead falls into Funeral Doom's biggest trap: incredible and relentless boredom.

Hardcore fans of Funeral Doom are sure to enjoy The Book of Kings. It follows every single genre convention to a T, never leaving the well trodden paths laid out by their forefathers in anyway. If that sounds incredibly boring to you, go ahead and just skip this one all together.

Rating: 3/10

Monday, January 16, 2012

War Master- Pyramid of the Necropolis(2011)

War Master- Pyramid of the Necropolis

Straight up worship is pretty tricky. Most of the time, it is incredibly terrible and pointless genre fellatio that only manages to cheapen the genre as a whole. Occasionally however, a channeling occurs: a band hits the right notes, get the right attitude, and instead of merely imitating a band or sound they become an extension of it. Putrevore's Morphed From Deadbreath was Rottrevore's follow-up to Iniquitous. Codex Incubo felt like a lost Demilich release. And War Master's Pyramid of the Necropolis is the newest release from Bolt Thrower.

Hailing from Texas and featuring former members of legendary Grindcore masters Insect Warfare, War Master make no bones about their sound. If not taking the name of a Bolt Thrower album as their moniker doesn't give it away, the bands Last.fm page declares War Master succinctly as "Death Metal. Bolt Thrower worship." Clearly, this band hate surprises, which is odd, considering Pyramid of the Necropolis is such a surprisingly excellent debt. The formula is taken straight from the Bolt Thrower-textbook: brutal, low-end driven mid-paced Death Metal with tons of groove, bursts of relentless Grindcore and a no-nonsense attitude to songwriting. The hypothetical cudgel in musical form, used on your not-so-hypothetical cranium with relentless force. So ya know... Bolt Thrower.

War Master are the perfect worship band because they have the right attitude. There is not one ounce of pretentiousness or any confusion about what they are doing. War Master treat the sound and the property like it is their own, and do justice both to themselves and to Bolt Thrower with this album. Pyramid of the Necropolis is merely an open love-letter to the legends of English Death Metal, one that we all can enjoy and commit mass murder to.

Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Best of 2011 Genre Awards: Black Metal

5.) Amnis Nihili- Christological Escalation

Already topping my best EP's of 2011, Christological Escalation also brings up the back end of my top Black Metal albums of 2011. This album is just a tour-de-force of dissonant, complex Black Metal. A brilliant EP, and a sign of things to come.

4.) The Best Of The Apocalypse- Henosis

Static choked and slithering to an fro like The Serpent Himself, Henosis takes the well trodden formula of mid-tempo, Doom-y Bestial Black Metal in the vein of Archgoat and Beherit and adds even more layers of inaccessible blasphemy to it, until it becomes too dense to see through. Like a thick fog, Henosis clouds your vision and dampens your senses. It engulfs you in it's misty waves of Satanic splendor.

3.) Goatpenis- Depleted Ammunition

If you judged this album based solely on it's aesthetic, you might think this is another straight-forward Blasphemy/Revenge worship band. You would be wrong. Goatpenis have put a lot of effort into making themselves stand-out in a crowded Bestial Black Metal scene through inventive songwriting. Sure, they can Blasphemy-worship as well as the next band, and sometimes do. But it's the little details that make Depleted Ammunition special. Sudden bits of melody, complex guitar interplay, sudden tempo shifts. This album takes the Bestial Black Metal formula and does something different with it, and uncommon occurrence in today's scene.

2.) Nightbringer- Hierophany of the Open Grave

Listening to these guys mature over three albums into a force of Orthodox Black Metal, and in my opinion the best Black Metal band in the US today, has been a wild and bloody ride. From the depths of the Colorado wilderness, Hierophany of the Open Grave comes crawling forth, spreading disease and sorrow in it's wake. Dissonant does not even begin to describe this album, and the guitar acrobatics on display are nothing short of astounding. Essential.

1.) Cloak of Altering- The Night Comes Illuminated With Death

Jarring. Haunting. Unhinged. Beautiful. Just a few words that fail to do justice to this masterpiece. This is the Best Metal Album of 2011, hands down. A fully realized concept in hopeful misanthropy. Metal just doesn't get better than this.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Best of 2011 Genre Awards: Death Metal

5.) Antediluvian- Through The Cervix of Haawh

No band has taken as large a step forward as Antediluvian this year. Out of nowhere, this Canadian band went from over-done and pretentious Incantation worship to full all, Occult Death Metal masters. No doubt, the move to a 4-piece was the major reason for this. Through the Cervix of Haawh is smart, dirty and demonic Death Metal at it's finest.

4.) Disma- Towards The Megalith
Mmmmmm. Finnish and New York Death Metal, extra raw and bloody. Just the way I love it.

3.) Baring Teeth- Atrophy

As dissonant and jarring as any album released this year, Atrophy is also an atmospheric force. Doom-infused, Jazzy Death Metal that proves Technical Death Metal is anything but wank. Honestly, blows the new Ulcerate out of the water.

2.) Sonne Adam- Transformation

Ritualistic bleakness without over-wrought production and static, Transformation is not only a brilliant slice of blasphemous aural destruction, but also proof positive that Death Metal can be recorded in a professional studio and sound professionally recorded while being atmospheric and heavy.

1.) Gigan- Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes

A distorted, twisted vortex of sonic disasters, Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes is the equivalent of standing naked in a hurricane and letting the debris lash and smash into you. Basically, if Discordance Axis were to play Death Metal, they would sound like Gigan. In a year dominated by old school worship, Gigan stand out with their blistering originality.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Best of 2011 Genre Awards: Punk/Crust/Hardcore

5.) Weekend Nachos- Worthless

Nasty and discordant Powerviolence the way it should sound. Weekend Nachos just consistently deliver feedback fueled Crust Punk every time they touch their instruments. Effectively disposes of posers like so many Uzi rounds.

4.) All Pigs Must Die- God is War

Basically the same album as Darker Handcraft. So yeah, I guess I am emotionally disturbed and prone to brutal violence. Nothing else can describe these vomitous waves of pure rage. I am off to mutilate my genitals.

3.) Trap Them- Darker Handcraft

Crusty, nasty, filthy hate sounds. That is all one should expect from Trap Them and Darker Handcraft. I mean really, how many mentally unstable and unhinged people are in this world, making and listening to this kind of hellish bowel rumbles? Are there really a legion of pissed off and slightly psychotic 17-25 year old's just jamming out to this and carving manifestos into frozen sides of beef? And most of all, what does this say about me?

2.) Defeater- Empty Days & Sleepless Nights

Few acts in Metal or Punk set out to tell a story. Defeater are one of those rare acts who seek to ditch the typical tough guy/sensitive guy aesthetic and tell a real story about real people. Doing this through chaotic, enraged and ballsy Melodic Hardcore just makes it that much better. The final four tracks are all acoustic and clean singing, which just makes this album that much more adventurous.

1.) Young And In The Way- V. Eternal Depression

Dripping with melancholy and despair, overflowing with anger and hatred, V. Eternal Depression is one of those records that opens your eyes to the potential of Punk and Metal. I can't think of any band that has endeavored to mix Depressive Black Metal with Crust Punk, but Young and In The Way did just that in the most beautiful and intense way imaginable. It's only flaw? It ends.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Best Of 2011 Special Awards: Best Cover Art

5.) Noisear- Subvert the Dominate Paradigm

Much like the music itself, the cover art of Subvert the Dominate Paradigm is one busy piece of art. There is a lot of strange, violent and messy shit going down here, complete with skulls, mad surgeons and the fucking Illuminati imagery. Unlike the next cover, this one tells you exactly what to expect from this album: a clusterfuck of noise-blood-death.

4.) Weekend Nachos- Worthless

I know album covers that give no indication of the genre of music located on the album is a "hip" thing to do right now, as are understated and simplistic images. But this cover art is just so fucking irreverent, it is impossible not to love it. The idea of some kid wearing an Animal Collective shirt and sporting an ironic mustache buying this album in some shitty local record store because the cover art screamed "Faux-Retro Surf Rock" brings me endless, endless joy.

3.) Morbus Chron- Sleepers In The Rift

I don't know whether to love or hate this album cover. On one hand, it is all kinds of awesome: the pink and red hues are striking, and the unholy Lovecraftian abomination adorning this swirling blood mist vortex is all kinds of wicked. The whole color palette is impressive, and leagues beyond many of the futuristic, Dan Seagrave-esque Death Metal covers than dominate the scene. On the other hand, it only adds to how shitty this album is: all style, all flash, without any substance or unique ideas. Truly, this turd was painted gold and shined like the sun from a distance.

2.) Disma- Towards the Megalith

Does anyone remember the cover art for Path of the Weakening?

Well now we know where all these crazy looking old men were going. They were heading for the Ziggurat of Baal to sacrifice their first born sons in exchange for unholy powers. I cannot be the only person who saw a connection between these two cover arts.

1.) De Magia Veterum- The Divine Anthithesis

Pink is in this year when it comes to crazy hipster internet Metal, and the cover art for The Divine Antithesis fits perfectly with this growing trend. Much like any work of art, this album is a package deal, and the striking cover art depicting an inverted Reckoning perfectly enshrines the point of this album: your God is nothing but a creation of man, who is inherently evil. Or maybe Jesus was just running late and slipped coming down the Golden Escalator, and all us blasphemers are bound for a dip in the fire pits of Hades. Either way, the whole thing will be very pink.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Best of 2011 Special Awards: Top 5 EP's

5.) Adversarial- Prophetic Plain of Abyssal Revelation

The follow up to my favorite Metal album of 2010, Prophetic Plain of Abyssal Revelation is a perfect piece of fan service. Featuring the Thralls demo, some new material(complete with better production) and some killer covers, Prophetic Plain of Abyssal Revelation is a good hold over for more material from these Canadian angel hunters.

4.) Corpsessed- The Chalice & The Dagger

If you mix New York Death Metal and Finnish Death Metal, chances are I will like your band. If you do it with passion, attitude and a smidgen of originality, I will love your band. The Chalice & The Dagger fits the latter description.

3.) Cruciamentum- Engulfed In Desolation

Crafting ridiculously sharp riffs like Vlad the Impaler's black smith, Cruciamentum escape the "Incantation clone" tag and develop a sound as inspired by Bolt Thrower and Benediction as Incantation. Engulfed in Desolation is a bit long winded, but the riffs are too delicious to ignore. Another young English Death Metal band making waves.

2.) Archgoat- Heavenly Vulva(Christ's Last Rites)

I love Archgoat, so any new material was going to be high up on my list. And sure enough, Heavenly Vulva(Christ's Last Rites) delivers the Satan in great supply. The mid-tempo crush of the riffs, the Demon Goat vocals, the cavernous bass distortion. I can literally hear the lambs of God scream out in agony amongst the Hellfire.

1.) Amnis Nihili- Christological Escalation

Equal parts scathing and haunting, Christological Escalation is a pitch perfect mix of technical, dissonant Orthodox Black Metal and atmospheric, dissonant "Blackgaze." Equal parts Aosoth and deafheaven, Amnis Nihili have the kind of caustic occult edge that screams trve grimm kvltness, but also indulge in layered, shoe-gazey compositions to lend bereavement to the frost bitten brutality. These Greek youngsters have developed a fluid synthesis of two sounds hugely popular in Black Metal right now, and done so in a very organic and way. An achievement not to be missed, and certainly the best EP I have heard this year.

The Best of 2011 Special Awards: Top 5 Demos

Here we go with Curse of the Great White Elephant's Best of 2011. We will start at the beginning for all bands: the demos.

5.) Heresiarch- Obsecrating the Global Holocaust

I actually much preferred this demo to the bands EP. The lo-fi production added a lot more dirty, visceral charm the the somewhat cleaner EP. Heresiarch are not a life-changing experience, but probably closer to a life ending one. Mix the brutality of Angelcorpse, Bolt Thrower and Path of the Weakening Deeds of Flesh, and you get the storm of fiery shit that is Heresiarch.

4.) Beyond- Relentless Abomination Vortex

The band asked me to review their demo, and I never got to it, so here is the review: this is some pretty wicked shit. Not particularly original, but the band mix Incantation, Blasphemy and various Finnish and Swedish sounds into a very solid little Old School Death Metal demo. The guitar work is particularly impressive.

3.) Angelcrust- Pet Semetary

This demo is about as Punk Rock as it gets, and the more time I have spent with it, the more I like it. The Black Metal influence is more distinctive and brutal than most, while the Punk elements are incredibly gritty and lo-fi. I look for Angelcrust to be the next big thing in Black/Crust.

2.) Artificial Brain- Artificial Brain Demo

Featuring members of Biolich and Revocation, Artificial Brain have the kind of pedigree that makes you excited. And sure enough, the bands demo is tremendous: brutal, dissonant and complex, it its all the high water marks for Technical Death Metal. The production is also as professional sounding as some major label full lengths. My expectations for this band are huge.

1.) Void Meditation Cult- Sulfurous Prayers

This demo is pure fucking Satan. There is no other way to describe this caustic, swirling mass of Doom-infused Bestial Black Metal. The Demoncy influence is strong here, and as an unabashed Demoncy fanboy, this demo is pretty much built for me. A must have demo, and a sign of things to come from this awesome American Black Metal one-piece.