Tag Archives: Black Metal

Asathor – Vegvísir

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It is said that a good wine needs time to develop its real flavor and I’d say that today’s review is about a band that has followed that same principal, because they’ve been around for almost a decade and a half without releasing any recorded music. This Saturday, however, it is finally time for Asathor to unleash their debut record Vegvísir on the hungry masses! I was fortunate enough to get an early listen and I’d like to share my thoughts on it!

But first, a quick and brief introduction: the band has been around and active in the concert scene since the mid-2000s, playing regular shows until they underwent several line-up changes before finding their current five-man setup and recording this album. They play a viking-themed mixture between black and death metal and, while not reinventing the wheel in any shape or form, churn out captivating tunes.

A black metal aficionado will immediately feel at home while the rhythm guitar spits out riffs filled with pure despair and the lead guitar sometimes wanders into fairly unconventional territories, that always end up being extremely memorable and catchy. I would even go as far and say that the leads are what set the local pagans apart from many of their peers, since they are so different to what you’d expect, yet blend in perfectly at the same time. I also have to give special credit for the bass guitar, which adds an extra sonic layer with its nice and chunky sound.

It would be very remiss of me not to mention the drums, since they soldier on steadily throughout the entire listening experience and almost never relent from bombarding you with double bass attacks. However, they also provide a lot of variety between the blast beats and groove-laden parts in the form of occasional tasty fills. They also interlock perfectly with the other instruments and perform their duty of musical wayfinder at all times.

Arguably, my personal star of the show is the vocalist though. Not only is his performance very versatile and overall spot-on in terms of techniques used, but he also manages to almost always clearly enunciate the lyrics, making it fairly easy to follow along the stories about viking lore after the second or third listen. On top of that, he also brings a certain viciousness and perseverance to the table that constantly shines through.

Despite all my praise, there is one minor gripe I have with Vegvísir: it’s too short! The seven tracks, of which two are an intro and an interlude, clock in just under thirty minutes. On the other hand, this might also be an asset, since the five actual tracks are very solid and have an almost infinite replay value. Last but not least, I should also mention the overall mixing of the record, which is very organic sounding and is very comparable to the guys’ live sound.

To sum things up I would say that, even though they took their sweet time, Asathor have managed to come up with a very respectable first entry into their discography and I hope that Vegvísir will see a successor in the not too distant future. If you want to be part of the release show, you should set sail for the Mix N’ Kawa in Belval this Saturday, November 2nd. In the meantime, you can listen to the song below or head to the band’s Facebook page. Skål!

Inzest – Collateral Damage

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Inzest - Collateral Damage

Due to its small size, the amount of practice spaces for (metal) bands is fairly limited in Luxembourg; which is why many bands have come together and share the same location. The, arguably, best known one is the Bricherhaff, which houses the bands Sublind, Kraton and Dreadnought. At one point in time, members from the different bands filled in for their friends in a different band, which is why the place has been affectionately called Inzesthaff ever since. And it is exactly here where today’s band was founded and how it got its name: Inzest! Their debut record Collateral Damage is about to be released this weekend, February 9th, and I had the opportunity to listen to it in advance. Here are my thoughts!

The quartet plays straight-forward black metal, and I’m pretty sure that their main objective is to annihilate the neck muscles of their listeners, because there is so much groove infused into the barrage of blast beats, that it’s hard to keep your head still. One of the main characteristics of black metal, to me, is a certain type of monotony in the songs that creates a feeling of desperate trance, which is achieved through the repetition of riffs ad nauseam. While I’m not a fan of that in most other genres, I can’t imagine this kind of music without it. With that being said, Inzest to that formula throughout the nine songs, and managed to drive me into the deepest despair more than once…and I mean that as a compliment.

While Collateral Damage leaves a good first impression, it isn’t until the subsequent listening sessions that the record reveals its true beauty in the form of small details such as an almost hidden riff that is only barely audible on the right ear, or a sneaky fill on the drums. At this point, I really have to massively praise the production quality of the album, which elevates these forty minutes to a whole new level and has a genuine DIY feel to it, while sounding massive exactly where it matters. It is one of those rare occasions where the producer feels like the fifth member of the band, who understands what the musicians are looking for and emulates it perfectly.

The entire instrumentation creates a perfect backdrop for the vocals, which radiate pure evil and will leave your soul frostbitten. They switch effortlessly between the typical black metal screams à la Abbath and the most hate-filled growls.

All in all, Collateral Damage is an impressive debut record and I am very glad that Inzest took their sweet time in releasing it after an impressive four years of existence under their belt already. Be sure to head over to their Facebook page if you want to know more about the release gig that is happening at Café Remelenger Stuff this Saturday. And in the meantime, check out the title track below!

Solbrud – Jærtegn

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I’ve recently had another one of those instances where I got an album of a band that comes from a country that I do not associate with the direction they play at all…and yet they’ve managed to convince me that genres are not necessarily tied to a certain place. The Danish black metal band Solbrud plays their music exactly how I like it, but more about that a bit later, and their second full-lenght Jærtegn is a really solid piece of art.

Funny thing is that I received the album in late July, when it was above thirty degrees Celsius, and I had a hard time getting into it because my mood influences the things I listen to a lot. “Luckily” however, the weather decided to be bad for about two weeks straight and the foundation for an ideal black metal listening session was laid. But enough weather forecast and rambling, let’s dive in!

When I mentioned earlier that the quartet plays a style of black metal that I love, I meant that the music is very monotonous, in a good way, and manages to build such a tight atmosphere that it’s so easy to get lost in the music. Each of the four songs is above ten minutes long, or just under, and the different riffs often repeat themselves for about a quarter of the song, with tiny variations, but somehow it never gets boring at all.

The majority of the forty-seven minutes is a non-stop assault of blast beats, double bass fire and fast-paced riffs, but every now and then the band switches to mid-tempo and that’s where shit gets real…goosebumps-inducing moments guaranteed. The best display of that is definitely the longest song, Klippemennesket, which builds up tension with a very simple progression of clean guitar notes before exploding into full pure goodness…only to return to the intro mid-song and then switch into the next power-laden part. Hands down my favorite on the album.

The vocals really remind me of Immortal‘s Abbath, but then again I must admit that I don’t know all that many BM bands…either way, the performance blends in perfectly with the instrumental background and completes the atmospheric ensemble in every desirable way. Lyrically, I have no precise idea what it’s about, because sadly my Danish is limited, but what I gathered from reading through the lyrics real quick is that it’s nature-based and about darkness…but please do take that with a big grain of salt.

All in all, Solbrud have recorded an album that has pushed just the right buttons for me and, for me personally, this is probably the black metal release of the year. While there might be connoisseurs screaming up right now mentioning dozens of other records, let me just say: listen to Jærtegn on September 15th when it’s released, it’s well worth your while. For more information, head over to the band’s Facebook page and be sure to listen to the live performance of the opening track of the record!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5-XAXLyUHs]

Teitanblood – Death

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Greetings, El Gore readers! Last time I wrote for these guys I reviewed Eyehategod’s In the Name of Suffering. Well, perhaps it’s the aficionado of awful in me, but now I bring you yet another taste of a truly dark, evil, raw pool of vermin and filth. Namely, the latest piece of work from what I consider to be one of the best, if not the best contribution that Spain has to offer when it comes to extreme music: Teitanblood. And the album? Death.

I’m most likely showing my colours by reviewing and promoting a band that’s so near home, but I honestly think that this band touches and creates in a very unique manner the most morbid and down tuned Black/Death Metal primitivism with brush-strokes of Doom that I’ve had the chance of running into in the past years.

The first time I heard of them was with their previous album, Seven Chalices. Just when I listened to the beginning, with Whore Mass and how it prepared the ground for Domains of Darkness and Ancient Evil, I knew I’d be coming back to this dense, raw, sinister, eerie, chaotic cloud of filthy, distorted, infectiously catchy riffs somewhat regularly. Hence, I discovered Death.

One could say that after looking at Teitanblood’s works, the most prominent influences on display are those derived from the bands that established the foundations for Death and Black Metal, whilst still developing their own character in this border between the two genres. There are some parts whose influences are incredibly evident, but then, if you try to strictly compare Teitanblood with that influence, or compare those influences among themselves, you can make out Teitanblood’s own sound and structures. Regardless of that, I think that the filthy aura of sheer aggression and cruel darkness that this album irradiates, with its guitars, drums and the most evil vocals I’ve heard, is unquestionable.

And the evolution that these guys have had over the years is also worth mentioning: each release is a more evolved version of the previous one in all aspects, while still keeping the essence that makes Teitanblood its own band. Exuding an old ancient evil feeling that comes across in everything they’ve done.

“It’s the point where Death Metal and Black Metal are not differenced” – Nsk (Guitars, Bass & Vocals.)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYQwdn5E73s]

This review was written by our freelancer Victor!

Kraton – World Eater

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September is going to be an interesting month for the Luxembourgish metal scene since there will finally be two new long-awaited releases. The first one being Kraton‘s second demo World Eater! After their first demo Ker, which was released in late 2011, the band has focussed on playing shows and writing new material. Let me just say upfront: the wait was worth the while!

For those that don’t know what the quintet does, allow me to quote the band “our music is a blend of Death, Doom and Black Metal and everything else that fits our idea of creating a dark, gritty and organic sound”. In many cases when a band writes something like that, and you listen to their stuff…it sounds nothing like the description. Such is not the case with Kraton, since their music does indeed cover the above-mentioned elements in a very refreshing manner.

The one thing that I had a hard time believing, but which is indeed true, is that the five songs have been recorded in a DIY live setup with all instruments being played simultaneously and the vocals recorded on top at a later point. My disbelief is easily explained: it sounds mindbogglingly amazing. Every single instrument can easily be distinguished in the mayhem that is World Eater, and sounds better than some professionally produced studio recording that I’ve come across. A special, albeit slightly sexist, mention to their female drummer who puts many of her male compatriots to shame with her precise play.

Obviously I can’t finish this review without losing a few words about the, in my opinion, driving force behind Kraton: Boerdi, the voice of Luxembourg. My partner in crime, Luc, praised his vocal work before and I can’t do anything else but add another layer of applause on top of it. The guy’s timbre is impossible to mistake and his vocal range is nothing short of incredible, which he proves gloriously during these twenty-three minutes. On top of that, you should have no problems figuring out the lyrics after, at the latest, the second listen-through since his perfectly articulated growls and screams are a blessing to the death metal community.

To sum things up, I’d claim that this record is not to be missed by death/black/doom metal fans or metal fans in general. Pay the band a visit on their Facebook page and get your first impressions from the song below. If you want to hear (and get your hands on) the new demo, you should go to Café All In in Luxembourg-City this Friday, where the band is hosting a listening/release party. See you there!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJLqLaDgblA]

Trash Monday LXXIV

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Listen to this great song and watch the most epic metal video ever shot! Suicidal Black Metal takes on a completely new meaning.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIEb3t0jm_U]

Omega/Ravencult – Straight Down In Hell/Deifier Of Necromancy

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I finally got to check out the latest Omega offering after having the 7inch lay around for a couple of weeks.
Omega are this awesome Blackened Thrash band from Greece and this is their 2nd official (not counting the demos which were not available to us mere mortals) release. As mentioned above it is a 7inch split single, the other band being Ravencult, also hailing from Greece.

This split is limited to 500 with 100 released as splatter, an inlay has the lyric for each original song (each band plays an original song and a cover).

The Omega song was written in 2007, I would dare say that it also was recorded back then as the vocal style is very different to what can be heard on the LP. Great song akin to an early Bathory sound (mainly due to the traditional Black Metal vocals), songs like Die in Fire or Sacrifice come to mind.

The cover is a Zemial song, fits nicely on this split. Nothing to write home about to be honest.

Ravencult are a band that (at least on this split) sound similar to Omega and early Bathory. The vocals are very generic Black Metal shrieks and screams. I would have probably enjoyed Ravencult better with a different vocalist. Honestly, I bought this split because of Omega and see Ravencult as a bonus. Their Hellhammer cover does not offer anything new either.

All in all a nice addition to my collection. If you are new to Omega check their album out first, then get this split to complete the discography.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeu570W8dT8]
The release is limited and to be obtained through a mailorder or ebay, if still available.

Balegard – Tbst

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This week I’m going to review a very fresh demo by a still rather unknown band from Finland. On September 4th Balegard released their second demo called Tbst completely for free via social networks and I decided to check them out. Let me begin by giving you a general idea about the genre: it’s black metal. They themselves call it “Tavastian Black Metal”, since lyrically it deals with the history of Finland…fair enough. I should say at this point that I’m not a huge fan of overly specific names for different sub-genres, but since it has no influence on the music itself I don’t really mind. Now, let’s begin, shall we?

Since I knew about the band prior to this release, I was pleasantly surprised by the improved sound quality in comparison to their first split-demo Routakuu. Both demos are, as far as I know, entirely self-produced and self-mixed with little to no budget so it’s quite nice to see that the band has refined their skills in that department over time…something that makes this release quite enjoyable for a “clean sound” fetishist like myself.

The riffs are well-recorded and quite catchy in most parts, something that is quite important to me in black metal since usually they are repeated quite often throughout a song. In the final part of the last song, Kalmanvesi, there’s actually a pretty cool solo that you should definitely keep your ears open for.

The drums are overall well done except one minor gripe: the bass drum is almost inaudible on two out of the three songs. A fact that one can excuse since it’s a demo and probably recorded with a single mic or two at best…but it’s something I would love to see fixed on future releases. I also noticed the drum being off-rhythm in some longer passages, something I don’t mind much since the beats themselves are interesting enough for me to ignore such minor mistakes.

Last but not least, the vocal department. This duty is shared between the two guitarists; with one doing the regular screams and the other one doing the more high-pitched ones. Both variants are sung with a sense of desperation and passion, so perfectly fitting to the theme. Speaking of which: the lyrics are entirely in Finish and mainly about the life and history in Tavastia, so heads up to those that are into that part of world history.

That pretty much sums it up on my behalf. I say you should give this demo a chance if you are even vaguely into black metal or if you want to discover a new genre through a young band with quite a lot of potential…plus it’s for free. Be sure to check out Balegard‘s Facebook page where you can find a download link to their demo and more information about the band itself. Below you can find my favorite song Hardaler. Read you next time!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Dnax07mp4]

Nargaroth – Jahreszeiten

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You don’t have to be my number one stalker (you know who you are) to know that, at least nowadays, I mainly listen to metalcore and things that go into that general direction. However, I pride myself in the fact that I listen to a lot of different genres and that I can usually at least draw one aspect out of each one of them that keeps me interested. I actually plan on writing some more “special” reviews in the future, but I don’t want to promise anything. Today, however, I want to write an unusual review about an album that some people regard as one of the more unusual ones out of that genre.

Before I get into that I’d like to preface it with a warning of sort: only about 75% of the following paragraphs will be about the actual music, the rest is sort of a personal reason as to why I love this record as much as I do. If you haven’t deduced it by the title or the fancy picture yet: I’m going to be talking about Nargaroth‘s Jahreszeiten which was released in September 2009.

Those of you that are either fluent in German or have a vague knowledge of it will know that the title of the album stands for “seasons”. The songs are named after the four seasons in chronological order: Frühling, Sommer, Herbst and Winter. The general concept being that each song is supposed to evoke certain feelings associated with these periods.

The first track fascinates me a lot since it’s full of antagonisms in form of a spoken word in German by Ash, the artist formerly known as Kanwulf and the only member of Nargaroth. To delve into it too much wouldn’t do it justice so I advise you to check it out for yourself, I for one can identify with more than one sentence from it. After Prolog, the album starts off for real with a very atypical riff that I remember captured my attention right off the bat when I first listened to it. Many people mockingly refer to it as a fun fair melody since it’s a really cheery melody…which is exactly what it’s supposed to be since it describes the joyful feeling that people generally get as spring begins to drive away the cold weather. The song then transgresses into a slightly more dramatic tone before ending with the same happy tune. If by this point you have not turned off the song you have either nothing else to do or you have grasped the concept of the whole thing. I hope it’s the latter since if you keep that in mind throughout your listening session you will get a lot more out of the experience.

Instead of taking apart every single song I prefer to leave it up to you to make up your own mind. However I want to say a few things about the general production and lyrical content: the production is, for a black metal record, very clean which is one of the things that amaze me most. Because even though it’s probably as far from the much acclaimed Black Metal ist Krieg as it can get in terms of “grittiness” it still manages to be aggressive and raw in the parts where it is supposed to be, mainly so on Winter. In terms of lyrics it’s full of metaphors, as is usually the case on Nargaroth songs, which are related to the artists personal past and which, I must admit, I don’t understand most of the time.

This concludes the main review and if you don’t feel like reading a bit about my own reasons for liking this record you may stop here. But be sure to check out the song below and head to the official website where you can buy the CDs and get recent news. If however you want to continue, there’s more below the video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvfQqJeNF08]

In the same year as Jahreszeiten was released I had to be hospitalized in December due to a medical emergency, so to speak. It was only a brief stay of two nights and since I generally don’t like hospitals as well as the visits there, I decided that I didn’t want any visitors. On the first night I slept peacefully and rather early since I was to go into surgery the day after. I opted for local anesthesia as it was only going to be an incision of about four centimeters and the whole thing went by without any greater complications…well, apart from the fact that I caught a cold in the operating room. On top of the fact that I don’t like hospitals very much I’m also not a fan of painkillers so most of the time whenever my IV drip was empty I didn’t contact the nurse, nor did I ask for any pills or whatever. The cold however didn’t care much about me being a bit special in that area so I was coughing and sneezing like no tomorrow; pain ensued. Yet, instead of pussying out I simply did the one reasonable thing: I listened to music. And I’ll let you take a wild guess which album I listened to from 1AM to 4AM in a dark hospital room in a mild state of delirium of pain coupled with a slight high from the remaining effects of the anesthesia and IV drip. And this is the story behind that album. Maybe I’ll do something along these lines in the future, if inspiration strikes.