Friday, July 31, 2009

Abhorrent [Nor] - Occultus Brujeria (1990)

What we have here is a nice pocket sized demo, released by a Norwegian band, so you know it's good. They later became Thyabhorrent, but I don't know if they released anymore material.
Anyway, this is their only demo. It's pretty epic, and I know I throw that word around a lot, but I mean it this time. It's got a nice buzz to it, and the production actually does wonders.
It's got chants, operatic singing, piano, what sounds like a synth and it just chugs along, in a good way. My only complaints are that the vocals are barely heard at some points.
If you like Timeghoul, you'll probably like this.



Saturday, July 25, 2009

Negative Plane - Et In Saecula Saeculorum (2006)

Let us take a look at metal categorization, or "sub-genres" today. We've got death metal, black metal, thrash metal, doom metal, heavy metal, power metal, plastic metal, mental metal etc. These sub-genres also branch out, giving us things like technical death metal, symphonic black metal and postneowhalecore. In my opinion, too many bands try to play a certain musical style, instead of just bringing their ideas to life, thus shoe-horning themselves into a bland, faceless oblivion. Sure, there's nothing wrong with a band trying to play "DEATH FUCKING METAL" if they bring the riffs and get with the bludgeoning, but how many "innovative" or "fresh takes" on death metal do we see nowadays? Tributing the bands of old seems to have remained the only worthwhile solution for many artists, but few manage to recapture that ancient feeling, instead focusing more on aesthetical mimesis.

Enter Negative Plane. An American band signed on to the oh-so-entertaining Ajna Offensive which, after a couple of demos, released their first LP, "Et In Saecula Saeculorum" in 2006. These guys seem to like the '80s, that period in time "when music was good!" (Shamaatae), for they do a great job of capturing the spirit in which extreme metal was born. Just like Bathory or Mercyful Fate, they want to honor Satan, and rock out with their cocks out in the process. Instead of being a Venom copycat band, they take influences from a broad spectrum of Satan's musical penis. Let me use the first song as an example:

Religious chanting opens up this beast's tomb, followed by some chimes. You'd think you're in for a long ambient intro, when all of a sudden POW! The music explodes in your face, leaving your corpse on the church's floor, awaiting necromantical ressurection into the army of the Evil One. These guys sure want to tribute their childhood gods, Nameless Void (the vocalist) letting out a few Tom G. Warrior-esque "ughs" and "auuughs". After the introductory brutal riff tornado (a clear hail to Necrovore), the pace slows a bit down (but it's not doom-ish yet, it's more of a steady metal beat) to make way for a tributary Possessed section. A bit of reverb-heavy lead guitar section follows, the pace slows down even more (the riff weaving here reminds me of trad doom), and then the song ends with the same to-riff-nado it started with.

The album abounds in oldschool-ness, and there are more than a few Possessed worship moments. It's somewhat bugs me to hear people say that Negative Plane play "black metal", for it is much more than that. If they're talking about the proto-extreme metal of the early-to-mid '80s, then I guess they may be closer to the truth, though not spot-on. Their diversity is so awesome, it defies classification - and I'm also talking about instrumental diversity. There are two things that will stand out on a first listen: the church organ and the cowbell. The organ is mostly used solo (so as not to disturb the riffs) for intros, but it also gets a song of it's own. Track #6, "Trance of the Undead", is a creepy church organ solo. And the cowbell is, well, scattered throughout the songs. Keep your ears peeled. Seriously, more and more metal bands should use cowbells. They are awesome and METAL AS FUCK.

I guess that these two instruments represent the album's atmosphere the best: creepy, evil, old-school and METAL AS FUCK. Of course, one should not overlook the brilliance of the other instruments. There are like 246 riffs per second, ranging from thick proto-death worship, to Hellhammer-esque rockin', to malefic tremolo picking, and culminating with some cool traditional doom flourishes and lead work. And guess what, there's barely any filler!
The bass is, surprsisingly, very present. Check out the Mayhem (well, Varg, I guess, since I'm talking about the song "Life Eternal" present on DMDS) tribute in the beginning of "A Church in Ruin" or the cool rambling in the doomy "Unhallowed Ground".
Indeed, take note, but also watch out for the fantastic drumming. This guy is versatile as hell and uses lots of old-school techniques, to boot. There's plenty of cool cymbal work, tom fills and double bass to keep your interest, but I like the fact that the guy can hold back. He thrashes when appropriate, he rocks when it's rockin' and he dooms it up splendidly. Due to the highly varied and technically proficient nature of the album, I think it's as close as I ever got to "technical" black metal.
So, we've established that these guys play like they somehow got their hands on the Pick of Destiny (and...uhm, the Drum Sticks of Destiny?). What about the vocals? Well, they fit the music at hand perfectly. They're somewhat of a snarl, but have a reverb effect on them, which makes it sound like the vocalist is an Arch-Daemon with seven mouths, here to sing us the Song that Ends the Earth.
To top it all off, we've got the production - cavernous, grainy, but professional (each instrument is perfectly audible, and they do not overpower each other). The overall feeling is one of being isolated inside an old gothic cathedral's dungeon, your perception confined by the granite slabs that surround you, maliciously assisting to a rite of Necromansy, all with nihilistic nonchalance, providing a mirror for society's skewered views on the aesthetically acceptable and development of the Individual Self.

Given it's diversity, agression and atmosphere, I'm sure Negative Plane will be regarded as a classic by the metal community in a few years. They're one of the rare bands that pays homage to the Altar of the Metal Gods, yet manage to pull off their own sound, something of which I'd like to see more in this day and age. Oh, and anyone that says that USBM sucks after listening to this album deserves a beatdown with a sock full of batteries. (Note: this reveiw's word count is 999. Pretty blasphemic, huh?)



Sunday, July 19, 2009

Various Artists - The Shining (OST) 1980

Genre - OST, Soundtrack, Modern Classical
Review - This may be a hit or a miss. You have to be open minded before you even start to download this. Pretty much the greatest soundtrack I have heard(Which itself arent many). Just like the movie, the score is a masterpiece of all horror themed music we have heard. Fuck Razorback(Lame Comparison, I know, But STILL :P)! Featuring some of the greatest modern classical masterminds like Béla Bartók, Krzysztof Penderecki, the whole album is an experience which should not be undertaken by the ones weak at heart cos this might precipitate your Anginas and Myocardial Infarctions.

Get This Here

Pest (Fin) - Hail The Black Metal Wolves Of Belial (2003)

Genre - Black Metal
Review - Pretty much one of the filthiest black metal from the country known to produce some of the greatest music known to humanity. Production wise its quite okay unlike the amateurish effort of many early bands. This belongs to middle era of black metal. This is the compilation of band's entire work. So if you like your black metal full of filth, raw and dirty sound with hints of doom metal(remember Goatlord??) look no further!

Get This Here!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Faustcoven - Rising From Below The Earth (2008)

Genre - Death/Doom with Black and Traditional Doom influences
Review - By the time I had discovered this band, they were already pretty famous among renowned metal listeners. I was introduced to this band in the latter part of the last year by one of the most trusted metalhead from my country. His recs hardly fail and I just grabbed this chance with both hands. Downloaded it, Listened to it, Liked it and completely forgt about it.

One fine morning I decided to buy this from the legendary record Barbarian Wrath (Yes the same label that is synonymous with the word kvlt and they do sign some of the greatest BM acts). Remeber Countess' Heilig Vuur, Hail's the Inheritence of Evilness, Megiddo's Devil and the Whore and the czech awesomeness Amon Goeth?? They are some of the greatest BM bands making music today and Faustcoven joined the league of those Extraordinary Motherfuckers a few years back. Their debut The Halo of Burning Wings was widely acclaimed as a landmark album by critics. On this album they have picked right from where they had left but just became more mature and if you didnt notice it in their debut already, they also got a session drummer(Yes The drumming does sound a lil mechanical on the debut). They also manage to shed a lot of down tuned low muffling guitar sound and decided to opt for thick, heavy tones instead. Arguably the primary genre here is death/doom. Obviously you still have a lot of Black metal influences just like their fellow partners in crime Hail. But what makes it an even more interesting album is its influences from Heavy metal and Traditional doom legends. Thats precisely the reason why I like this better than Hail and the band's debut. There is one mind blowing cover of Angel Witch's song from their 1981 demo Give It Some Tickle. Now who would cover a song as obscure as that (Look, Its not even on AW's more famous albums "Angel Witch " and "Screamin' and Bleedin' "). These guys must have heard a shitloads of obscure heavy/NWOBHM back in the day.

Underlying those layered ultra-slow-heavy-as-fuck guitar riffs lies solos reminiscent of heavy metal. The album begins with an epic 11 minute long magnum opus self titled track and everything else from there is like a journey. Its as if you are experiencing some some evil rites being performed in satan's abode. The echo laden deep and throaty growls are sinister enough to give you nightmarish sleeps.

All in all, a gem of an album which will be considered a cult classic in 10 years from now on. Certainly the second best of 2008. Basically any band with influences ranging from Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Black Sabbath, Angel Witch, Mercyful Fate, Winter cant really fail, or can IT??

Get This Here

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fungus Liver - The Real Core of the Inevitable Shit (2009)

I'm not really sure how to describe these Finnish rockers. They're drunken hard rock howling isn't really normally my kind of thing but I saw this album on Mininova and downloaded it because of the title. When I booted up iTunes and got this shit cranking I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of this release. It turns out that these guys uploaded their album to Mininova and the Pirate Bay themselves and completely forwent any traditional form of album release, kudos to them for that.

As for what the band actually sounds like, I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to describe them. I don't really listen to a lot of similar stuff, but they do remind me a bit of Turbonegro if that's helpful at all. The singer is also in Feastem who play a pretty good if unspectacular brand of grind. I hope Fungus Liver proves to be more than just a Feastem side project, because I definitely see a lot of potential here.