STRIBORG (Aus): “Embittered Darkness/Isle De Morts” Cd 2006 Displeased

STRIBORG (Aus):

This Striborg Cd has arrived with a promo sheet that bears a statement from Sin-Nanna (one man behind the band): “No Contact, No Interviews”. I am always puzzled by these misanthropic black metal penguins: if this guy totally hates everything and just wants to drown inward into his own depression, why does he care to put up a record label and record his music for us to hear? It would make more sense to me that if I were so bored by humanity I would record a tape in my basement and listen to it alone. Bah. And there is really some kind of thread I could not follow exactly: this band previous monicker was Kathaaria, which is possibly a distortion of the word Cathar, the religious/philosophical gnostic movement that proclaimed the god in the old testament is truly Satan, and that we have to struggle to separate from the material world and ascend to a higher level of immaterial knowledge, like Christ (to sum it up very roughly). But this guy’s name is taken straight from Sumerian mythology (Sin and Nanna are the same god of the moon from different regions, so it’s just like saying Ares-Mars or Zeus-Jupiter), and the name of his band is taken from a Slavonic god (well one letter is missing but I think taht’s it). The lyrics are about depression, solitude, forests etc etc. you know, same old penguin bolocks, but they are also a praise of love towards mother Earth (but wasn’t this guy against everything the material world represents? Shouldn’t he hate Earth as well?), as if only in the true nature he can find peace. With a one step reasoning I guess that’s a way to say that the forests represent the pagan gods and the true spirit of mankind, and the forest were reduced by the bad christians that wanted to suppress paganism in order to bring forth the word of the false jewish god etc.. Well since the guy is not answering interviews we probably will never know (curious, if the guy only finds peace in the forests what does he do with a recording deck and a guitar?).

So we have to move on the music. The recording is abysmal but that’s a good point I think, Black Metal is surely not about the Morrisounds. Here we have very slow, depressive music, that develops on a layer of buzzing similar to the noise you get when you miss the record when lowering the head of your record player and it scratces the mat. Sin-Nanna always proclaimed he’s in for the worse sound possiible and here I accept and respect his decisions. You can’t really tell what happens in there so the music is mainly rendered by the casual keyboard and distant, droning variations. Despite this is described as depressive Black Metal we’re far from Burzum, brobably hanging somewhere between Death Noise and Ambient music with vocals that sometimes awake from slumber and throw in some words. In the end I admit I catch the totally unhuman, life-draining spiritual starvation moon this music wants to recreate, although I also felt in a similar way listening to the noise emitted by a TV channel that got out of synch while I was writing and didn’t notice until half an hour later… or maybe one of the thousand other suicidal black metal bands I have heard at Buio Omega, really I prefer bands that spill blood on stage, gas masks, spikes etc, not misogynists. The vocals surprisingly don’t suck however, they are malignant enough to meld into the background of buzzing noise and 1-2 step hypnotic beating. One thing I can state as positive about this band is that this is really, REALLY basic. It is really stripped of all embellishments (save some melody that seems to be part of most black metal save Revenge), and totally bare. If I were into this music I’d buy it.

But I am not, sorry. Black Metal for me is not this shit.

Vote: 4.9

ABOMINATOR (Aus): “The Eternal Conflagration” Cd 2006 Displeased

ABOMINATOR (Aus):

Aah! Finally we have some real Black fucking Metal here! Abominator’s stylistical development during the years has been minimal but preceptible, and I think it’s a good thing becouse they were already great from the beginning. However, huge compilments this time becouse the band has really delivered the goods this time.

I will not go in detail on the differences between this effort and their previous works, suffice it to say that I really think this album is Abominator’s finest release so far. The production is as heavy as in “Subversives for Lucifer”, with fantastic, devastating riffs totally Australian in feel, the kind of riffs to headbang at until you snap your neck. Abominator plays extremely violent ad brutal Black Metal they way I wish every Black Metal band could play, they’re not just penguins with instruments. I hear some riminiscence of Angelcorpse (godz) , and I might be swayed by the band pic, but I really feel preceive some faint melody during the chord progressions which sound a bit Immortal as well (“Pure”-“Battles” era, before they had become shit as well), even if not always, they were probably more prominent in “Nuctemeron”. The whole music is a damn fast, pushing forward second after second without gay slamdance breaks. The vocals have never really sounded so good, real evil and ferine, I found them a bit too screechy in the previous three albums. Bestial and cruel, the singer now growls as if he has blood in his mouth, sometimes it has some echo and gets double, and they just add depth to the chaos. And here we have solos too! It sounds a bit weird to hear solos nowadays so they deserve a special note, they are short and convulse, maybe a bit like old Slayer, but they’re here in the chaos and they are real great to hear. The king of this album is definitely the guitarwork however, how incredibly cool are these riffs? I believe this shit is by far among the best we have in Australia these days, becouse it retains all the thrash feel without sounding to retro (hey I got really bored by Destroyer 666‘s metal mosh and you?). Drumming is killer too, pounding with force but not as cold as many “Brutal USDM” styled bands. It is definitely full with brutality to the brim, but still totally metal, the music has great hooks that drag you in. This is one of the top albums I got from Australia so far. Thank you!

I cannot tell much about the packaging but it looks totally pro, as we’r etalking about a relatively big label this time. The cover artwork is by our priased “Thorncross” Moyen, but I insist that color really spoils much of the atmosphere his works create. I really wish this was left in black and white. But yet compared to other horrendous colorings I have seen in the past (Purtenance etc.) this among the best, only the goat skulls are a bit out of place. The lyrics look like evocations of dark, ancient war gods, huge pestilences and cataclysmic desasters. Real Black Metal lyrics. Ah!

Vote: 9.2

STENCH OF DISMEMBERMENT (Ita): “Cannibalistic Urge” MCd 2005 Permeated

STENCH OF DISMEMBERMENT (Ita):

I have been folowing Penis Leech for some time now: they’ve been one of the very few bands who survived the huge melodic “death” metal revival that plagued my country from about 1993 to 1998. And let’s be honest, even Natron have been sucking dicks (musically speaking) ever since the “Hung Drawn and Quartered” album. Penis Leech‘s 2000 demo was already a good proof of American Death Metal, but here we have something yet different, more advanced, distorted. I have no idea when exactly they changed the name to Stench of Dismemberment but it was fun to get this promo from Permeated and recognizing the members. “Cannibalistic Urge” is a mini Cd of just above 15 minutes (could have been a demo tape some years ago), but it’s so claustrophobic and heavy yopu end up thinking it lasted twice that time. Co-produced between the band and Permeated, it is once more graced by “Joel of Pyameia“‘s excuisite, balanced layout work. The cover artwork is totally brilliant, hypnotic, disquieting… Basically the anatomy is not very precise, the spraying of blood that spills from the hands of the carnivorous baby are definitely unrealistic, and the flesh corpses hanging from the meathook have proportions totally not believable. Yet it’s that weird, obscure, twisted . almost infantile appearance that makes it even more creepy. It looks like a mix of cover art from old Italian horror comics or movie posters and some delirium of a elemntary school kid. Blood everywhere here, yes!! No lyrics, I’m disappointed!

So now you know my feelings about the artwork… well, the music scrictly follows its path. The sound is murky and obscure the way I really like, it reminds me of the impression I got from Devourment‘s “Impaled” demo (well maybe a bit better sounding, and with slightly less schizoid drumming); you get some sort of slightly “retro” sound which totally suits the carnage underneath. Riffs are fast, the double bass a real machine gun and with a totally “wooden” snare drum sound a la old Pungent Stench that I really love, it kinda breaks the total density of the songs. Maybe this drummer can use his arms a bit more but I think it’s Ok. Vocals are an unintelligible gargling, a constant grating that you recognize as vocals just by the modulation, obviously totally untillegibile. It is obvious that I like all the things above eh. I especially like the fact that the slow parts are NOT the same old slam-dance mosh, always backed up by a super fast double bass tickling. I think I can conclude saying that this MCd sounds a bit like a combination of various elements from a darker version of Disavowed, Devourment without hyperblasts and Enmity with decent sound and all would be good comparisons I believe. Totally great release, can’t wait for the full length!

Vote: 8.8

ACT OF GODS (Fra): “Maat” Cd 2006 Osmose

ACT OF GODS (Fra):

This is the second of Act of Gods releases, and finally we have an album to talk about this year, goddammit! Act of Gods has been formed by ex-Mutilated members. I always tried to whisper Mutilated‘s name under breath becouse those two demos they released in the 80’s are jewels that I didn’t really like to spread names of to unworthies (ah ah), I see already enough fake old school kids pretending to be “old school” and buying rare shirts on eBay for 180 euros without throwing the right pearls to them. Whatever, those two demos by this band were not just the best Death Metal we had out of France, they have also created quite some blubbering in the tapetrading scene, and deservedly. It was great to hear they’re back anyway, I totally skipped their first album but bet it that I’m going to fix this situation this very week.

Act of Gods is not just Abyssals 2, as much of the Morbid Angel (Altars) / Vader (Necrolust/Morbid Reich era) / Slayer riff worship has been substantially tamed in favour of a more straght in your face Brutal aggression. Track 5 “Black Death Cemetary” has an opening riffs which seems to be straight from “Blessed Are The Sick” but it really ends up there, with some intromission of that kind of old school Death riffing to keep the music warm and fluid, but the general pace is full bodied, if rather modern Brutal Death with a solid crunch. Mind ye, there is really nothing of American here, but as I said with Impureza and Hellspawn, it is a kind of Brutality which is exquisitely European. Complex and with a big dose of class in each and every riff. The vocals as well are not just plain non stop “death vomit” a la Deranged, but trasnpire some personality and variation while remaining guttural (hell yes!). I won’t paragon this band to their countrymantes Necroblaspheme becouse, despite the drumming is as fast if not more, you don’t get the impression of speed, the sound is just too heavy! Ah yes, there is also a multimedia video bonus track which looks real damn great, check it out with your PC.

Going into the lyrics dept., there seem to be some incoherent leap in the themes, as the album title might suggest yet another Egyptian inspired concept (Ma’at was the Egyptian incarnation of order and justice, whose body in the shape of a feather was weighed against a dead petitioner’s heart; if the heart was was deemed not worthy, the lion monster Ammit would devour it and the petitiooner would be condemned to “limbo”), while the song have titles that range from the Latin “Codex Ex Nihilo” (a book created out of nothing?), to the likes of “Inside the Hypersphere” which rings a bit Meshuggah (must be some sort of spherical tesseract, a solid with an extra dimension or something like that). I can’t really tell becouse Osmose has not sent me the booklet with the lyrics.

Also while the cover artwork looks nice, the back of the Cd uses a kind of digital looking font which sounds a bit out of place. While I hope I’m not seeing another Apophis again, an Egyptian theme developed in an interesting way would have made a nice packaging. Oh well, let’s stick to the music becouse that really rules. brutal, dark Death Metal to hear. Great.

Vote: 8.9

REVENANCE (USA/Ny): “Omen of Tragedy” Cd 2005 Permeated

REVENANCE (USA/Ny):

I think today Permeated is Italy’s overally most consistent, high quality label. They’re genuinely mono-thematic in releasing only utterly Brutal American Brutal Death Metal but personally I love it when a label has coherence. You know what to expect from a Permeated release just like with Norma Evangelium Diaboli or Unmatched Brutality. The quality of their products is generally top level, and damn this Revenance Cd looks spendid (whasn’t there another Revenance in Italy btw?), this time Joel Sta (Pyaemia, Disavowed) really surpassed his previous works in experimenting on a different concept. The cover and inner artwork are a delicate framwork of multiple layers of purple, with elegant fonts and a weird, disturbing combination of elements like chidlren, industries etc. Not so sure about the concept becouse the lyrics have nothing to do with it, it is probably just an exercise in style.

While the presentation is of a level that can be compared to the best of Willowtip, It’s A Trap or Hydra Head releases, the sound quality is unluckily not the same level, a bit grubby to hear, but I adapted easily, as all the instrument are definite, at least. Revenenace look like kids in the picture, but the music they play is tight and with quite some meat, maybe the new generations’ access to infinite quantity of music has started to reap its rewards. The music is definitely Brutal Death Metal, totally 21th century, polished, with few blasts and a lot of mosh riffs, in the NY way (a bit far from Entorturement or old Skinless but basically it all started at that time). The vocals have a wide range, while luckily almost all the time a deep grunt. The slam is excellent, lead-heavy, never sounding like a fucking tarantella as it happened with the pioneers of this genre (“Destined for Defilement” anyone?). There is not much experimentation, as the album goes straight from the first to the last of the 30th actual minute of the Cd (15 minutes in the end are just countryside silence with wind and grasshoppers and stuff). While the band manifests his character mostly while crushing some slam riffs, I didn’t find many resemblances to Dying Fetus or The Red Chord as I was anticipated, both those bands have a far more straight violent direct approach, while this Cd tends a bit to fall unto itself.

And the assertion of hearing Hard Core influences in here is a fucking hoax, as whomever said it probably never heard the names Kinife Fight or Youth of Today… what the?

To sum it up this band is heavy and crushing, if a bit derivative, and I generally prefer the all-out utter brutality approach of bands like Enmity, Disgorge or Liturgy. It maybe needs to define his sound as either slam or fast becouse we’re in the middle ground now, and I generally don’t like to feel disoriented. But there’s space for improvement, lot of it.

Vote: 7.7

SADOWS LAND (Pol): “Terminus Ante Quem” Cd 2006 Osmose

SADOWS LAND (Pol):

“Terminus Ante Quem” is aterm used in archaeology, and (opposed to Teminus Post Quem) used to define that a particular object points out that the objects around it are of older datinng, sor something like that. I won’t be too nice with words: I don’t like it. It is too avveniristic. Too polished, technical, experimental. Shadows Fall play a kind of Modern Death metal that seems to be made up of only bridges and connections without having real meat. There is a lot of experimentation here, even if not in flashy ways. The music is still Death Metal all the time but sometimes goes dissonant… this all sound quite techcical indeed but just for its own sake. The vocals are nothing speacial really, they have some punch but are somewhere between a brutal grunt and a shout. I just can’t really follow the songs (let’s skip track 9 which is total instrumetal mix of faint electronics and some guitars). Don’t misunderstand me, this is not trippy stuff a la Agony, Skeleton of God or Cephalic Carnage, not even the sheer psychotic riffing of Neuraxis or Bastard Saints, this is just a patchwork of riffs with some keys now and then, some atypical riffs and stuff, but really no meat around the bone. If it was fluid running in a pipe it would have no pressure.

Can live without them. I give a fair six becouse they’re good musician and at least they play Death Metal with no fucking techno remixes or gothic shit, but I won’t spend money on an average thing like this. Can’t tell how the packaging is becouse I have it in a cardboard sleeve, but for sure it will be superb. Cover artwork is from the great studio “Killustrations!”, an electric chair in a small room with a baby looking inside. Superlatively made with lots of dirt as usual.

Vote: 6

NIKUDOREI (Jap):”Genital Torture” Cd 2000 HG:Fact

NIKUDOREI (Jap):

Ok here we have a rarther challenging Cd to describe. Nikudorei (means “sex slave” in Japanese) is a crazy grindcore/noiscore project featuring the relatively famous guy from Facialmess. What we have here is a sort of crossover between free grind, with hysterical vocals (not entirely natural apparently, they have a thin film that mioght be just a low quality mic but nonetheless sound quite artificial, as if they come out of a walkie-talkie), very fast blastbeats and stuff. What changes here is basically that instead of string instruments our dear Kenny (a.k.a. Facialmess) overlaps a layer of deranged sythn/broken frequnecies sounds, so you get a weird mix of pissed off grind and heavy Death Industrial The songs here are 99 and the whole disc lasts one hour so you have time to fall in symbiosis with this chaos, in the end you find it even makes sense, in a weird way. What’s intersteing is that each track is recorded lower than the previous one so it kind of dies slowly… Some tracks are completely electro, either a high piercing note (track 49 is endless 5 minutes) or a buzz from a driller, but generally I think a grinder can definitely get into this shit. I have read this is a repress from 1997, but I have no real idea. I love the artwork, it just fits the insane concet thread of torture – mutilation – rotten corpses – bondage – sadomasochism, but that’s not a new ground for those into heavy electronics, it just tries to catch all that’s sick. Appreciable I dare. The cover artwork is definitely Mike Diana, the artist who was jailed for indecency (you probably know his worls from the great porn band Whore) you just see half of it since the other half is the last page in the booklet, have a look at the whole artwork here. The inner booklet is beautiful, in sharp contrast with the full color Japanese madness of the front art, it’s black and white pictures of the lements listed above (bondage etc.) with writings ingegnously arrayed all acros the pics. Half of them are Japanese so I can guess half of it are translations. The song titles are explicative, all centered around extreme sex and fetish. Nikudorei is primarily a live band (many recordings are indeed live) but also released some tapes and 7″, including a beautiful split with Anal Massaker (must have), one with D.I.E., a three way 12″ with G.B.N., and a very rare 7″ split with Corrupted which was printed only for their American tour, limited to 100 copies. Plus who know what else. If you feel like start collecting this stuff I have to warn you, some of these items can be a pain to find…

Vote: 8