Argh, this is one of those nightmare cases when I don’t really have an idea on how to store a record. I got this seemingly unknown Cd-r together with a tape cover, so I could either use a deck and copy the songs on a standard tape or store the CD-r as it is in the inextricable forest of CD-r and random formats on my shelf. In any case, I probably lost the envelope and accompanying sheet so I have no clue who sent me, nor any extra details. I can only presume the band is Italian as there is an address of an Italian distro added by hand on the envelope. Who knows. But. It was in the big pile of stuff to review so regardless how it fell there, it deserves at least a note.
This band plays an hybrid of noisecore and black metal, in particolar I’d say the first 3 tracks are definitely more noisy and the latest one more on the traditional side, but nevertheless you can say it’s the same band all the time. The first songs are just a mix of super-distorted cyclical raw noise without any sort of melody, yet if you listen with some attention you can hear there is some structure in the background. I am not much into these screams but I think they complement decently with this raw mass of corroded chords, especially because they tend to disappear in the background. The good thing about the vocals is they sometime turn into bellows of agony, as if someone is being grinded into some machinery. I won’t rate this tape as mandatory, but it’s certainly better than most of the “plastic lame and weak” black metal of today.
Let’s open the weekly “flashback” review with one of my favorite Eps. I have heard often the name of Imprecation of late and every time I hear it this 7″ immediately comes to mind. Well there are several things that make this one of my favorite records, first and foremost the concept, Black Metal. When I speak of Black Metal i don’t speak about granny vocals and buzzing guitars, I speak of Black Metal as a conceptual thing, much like what the call today “the first wave” when being a Black Metal had nothing to do with the sound. Imprecation had its roots profoundly dug into the occult, with added elements of Lovecraftian horror in the best early Morbid Angel way, plus an added touch of gore, which is just something I am obsessed with and always live in an extreme metal band.
“Sigil Of Baphomet” is a Drowned Records release, and we basically all know how Drowned was possibly one of the best labels around before 1993 in terms of both sound and aesthetics. How all this was progressively lost with Repulse and totally canceled in Xtreem is still a matter of speculation, but for sure Drowned is in my top 10 personal best labels of all time, from the earlier compilation tapes (might be reviewing them one day) up to records like Purtenance, Demigod or Rottrevore. Everything in this label reeked of decrepit Death Metal and old books, and even the artwork was always in line with the concept that some labels try to recapture today (hey, I am not blaming anybody here, I am one of those eheh!).
In particular this 7″ had this deep red and black print which was an exact expression of the sound, claustrophobic and eerie at the same time. It came with an insert too, with lyrics, band pics and the so incredibly useful thank list that was our main source of information on the new bands to check out.
I personally find this Ep also has the best tracks that this band ever recorded, way darker and heavier and suffocating than the demo they recorded right before, and the newer tracks they recorded in 1994 found in the later classic Repulse compilation “Theurgia Goetia Summa”. The sound here is absolutely nothing short of frightening, a real trip to an hell of dismembered limbs and rivers of gore regurgitated by an horde of cloven-hooved demons. Try to follow the unrelenting slow crunch of the songs reading the lyrics and you find yourself entangled in a dimension of blood red horror. Incantation Eps or “Onward To Golgotha” days are definitely the first albums you can relate this record to, but there is something that keeps it on a different track. I find Imprecation a little bit more brutal, and straight in your face in their approach compared to early Incantation (which, honestly, remain unparalleled in style). i personally like this garage, muffled sound because it really brings me to a dungeon where corpses are hung to hooks ready for being sacrificed to some dark entity. Not a lot more to say, this is an all time classic in my favorite format that is 7″ vinyl, so I know this would be one of the ones I will keep if I had to choose among the best in my collection.
I knew I was hearing right even beneath the folds of inexperience when I first heard Mortorium. The first demo (review soon, damn! I still need to review the first one and I already got the second ahah, that’s what makes you understand how slow you have become) was not one of face paling blasphemy, but things have improved ten times so far.
They sadly give up to some mellow Black Metal clichès at times (in the second half of “Bleeding Wounds” – I have to skip the track becouse I cannot stand it), but mostly they’re good at composing brutal Black Metal with throat ripping roaring vocals. The singer knows his due, sometimes reminds me of Funeral Mist‘s Arioch (now Marduk I think, not sure) , in which the vocal range is broad, but always evil. You get 12 minutes in all on this demo, but the material is pretty intense, I am quite happy we have bands like this in Italy after all the incredible mass of shit I had to hear in the ’90’s (and sadly today still going strong with all that shit about witches and trolls). Bands like this and Mefitic or The Krushers make me hope for a better future of burned down churches and Satan-centered Black Metal. Mortorium plays straight ahead Black Metal with raw structures, slightly Swedish riffing and a good balance of South American madness..
I am not a fan of war imagery, so I’ll skip comments on the machine gun in the back. But the rest of the demo follows the big principles of “good demo design”: no advanced Photoshop tricks, just a b/w cover with gothic fonts and a picture of Padre Pio (which is the whore in question) with an upside down cross on his forehead, ahah!
Cut the second song at 1.50 and we’d have a killer demo!
I decided to exhume an old review from the previous website (remember you can access all the old reviews by clicking the “old reviews” link in the sidebar) just for the occasion. Like I used to say, Profanatica was one of my favorite Black Metal bands, to receive their new album is a fucking event. The question is: will this reunion work? Or we’ve just been lucky with Archgoat?
In short, I will tell you that this is really one of the top 5 Black Metal albums of the year. Ask someone with a brain what Black Metal is and you’ll get similar answers. It has to be misanthropic, alienating, mesmerizing, insane, demonical, inhuman. All these elements are still present and strong in Profanatica‘s sound, goddamnit! And in a perfect balance as well. This is one of the bands that paved the genre and they still do it brilliantly. You don’t get the evocative ballads of Burzum or the merry sing along riffs of Watain here: just unrefined, raw Black Metal force, a sticky black fluid that absorbs life and happiness flows out of the stereo once you put “Profanatitas…” on the turntable. This is also one of the best releases from Hell’s Headbangers so far too, it was a cool relief to hear that some bands actually withstand the test of time so well.
Just like it should be for real Black Metal, there are no fancy evolutions here: everything is stripped to the absolute minimal – drums are just a constant droning sound in the background, an almost tribal hypnotic beating. The riffs have the crushing, slow force that pressed nails in jesus’s hands and feet. The vocals a lacerating lament, gargling with hateful spite for living things. I cannot think of a better expression of good old fashioned BlackMetal. You can almost figure yourself in the middle of a bestial orgy, surrounded by the smell of sulfur and brimstone, black robed priests with leper gnawing human bones and virgins fucking with goats and dogs. This is definitely a must-fucking-have album.
The artwork is cool but the booklet is a little bare, just folded cardboard. Thinking about it a second time, it fits the release – but I’ll personally go for the vinyl. Get the 12″ version if you find it, its force is doubled on old school vinyl with all the pops and crackling. Again, absolutely a must have.
Profanatica was one of my favourite Black Metal bands when it was becoming a solid enstabilished genre per se, with its aesthetics and stuff, and the fact they came from a district of New York just made the thing for me all the better. I feel really annoyed by Scandinavian Black Metal, however you call it. This band originally formed out of a very early version of Incantation when both Ledney and McEntee left Revenant (if you want to hear the other bands which came before this: Contrivisti and Toten, check out the excellent – as usual – retrospective on Nuclear War Now!) or as Ledney put it, when John left the band and took the name with himself. Whatever the case, it seems their friendship must have been deteriorating afterwards becouse McEntee is on the first line in the thankslist of this “…Tormenting Holy Flesh…” split album. Profanatica is quite atypical for the modern interpretation of the Black Metal band, for several reasons. The riffs of their songs were not just constrant buzzing tremolos a la Immortal & Co. but you can call them riffs old school Death/Black with Doom laden bridges and powerful twists, there is even one small touch of the early Incantation here, when I really like the guitars, the impossibly bad recording and shrieking vocals just don’t annoy me so much, on the contrary, I am pleased by the total garage sound, it really reeks evil like the worse south American recording and the malignity just results heightened. Ledney here handles both drums and vocals (like Nocturnus or Autopsy) and I believe he does a good job at both things. His screams are a blasphemous agony, not your ridicolous typical popeye Scandinavian-style shout, I really picked this out becouse some resemblances to Messiah which I reviewed yesterday might not be totally out of place, when we talk about the slower grinding sections. Track 1 is the only new song here, as both “Final Hour of Christ” and “Weeping in Heaven” previously appeared in other works, and the 8 minute “I Arose” is just a fucking evocative instrumental masterpiece. No really this stuff is so neat I am not afraid to say I like it more than 99% of today’s Black Metal (there are exceptions, but you get my point), this is what I mean for Black Metal, not paper penguins. I don’t care much for the panda corpsepaint but seens it’s a must have for any so called satanic band (bah). Profanatica was really, really direct and sick in their blasphemy. I have seen a video of these guys playing naked and smeared with blood on stage, masturbating on the bible, smashing a virgin mary statue stained with blood on stage, spitting urine at the crowd, they were really, really nasty and disgusting, trying to break all of jesus christ’s rules not just by writing lyrics in their flats but also by acting disgusting and against the laws of nature (a bit like G.G. Allin). I haven’t heard anything since their reunion (except for the collection picLp but that’s all old stuff) so I can’t tell if things changed for the best or stayed so primeval, you should check Hell’s Headbangers website often to stay informed. I have compared both vinyl and Cd versions of this split and I haven’t found any differences. There was a flyer insert withing the Lp cover however where Osmose was sponsoring the “The Raping of Virgin Mary” unreleased album, ah. I don’t know if there was a mistake on the flyer but what was to become the cover of this split was instead placed as the cover for that never released album. Blasphemous and totally crude the way this is meant to be, once again! Fuck polished sound!
I had to think about it several times, and I finally came to the conclusion that I don’t like this debut album by Seraphim Slaughter. Sure, it is rough and crusty. Sure it has equal shares of Abscess-like Punk and Black Metal. But it’s just the black metal part that doesn’t manage to convince me at all. It’s an hybrid nested somewhere between The Germs and any Norwegian Black Metal band from the 90’s (pick one, anyone – they’re too hard to identify ah ah!).
If there was more South American vulgarity maybe… maybe… but like this it’s a bit weak other than filthy. The general idea is nice: a band from the grime of New Jersey experimenting lessons in alchemy with vials of the most ugly kinds of music. The cover art is also superb, totally “old school ’80’s thrash metal demo” style, mixing suicide, dead babies, a girl stabbed to death and AIDS encrusted syringes – it looks so vintage it’s a real pity I cannot make myself enjoy it. But really it’s not a matter of filth, it’s the guitarwork that it’s definitely too easy in a bad way, much like a college band if you know what I mean, I must have listened to all the riffs contained here when I was still a teenager. Just like happened with Watain, the dress is not at the same level as the content. Some thrash, some punk, some easy listening black metal… there is really HUGE space for improvement. As it is, I won’t personally buy it for 20 cents.
This compilation might be seven years old, but filthiness is always actual. Fudgeworthy record is THE label to go to find raw, noisy, ugly forms of music ranging from punk to black metal of the most horrible kinds. This compilation is a collection of recordings that only appeared on vinyl, and the nicest thing is that, since the master tapes were lost or nowhere to be found, Charlie decided to transfer the songs directly from the vinyl! And the result is the farthest you can find from “professional” or “tolerable”, ah ah, every part of the sound is completely fucked up, including constant crackling, abrupt volume changes etc. I didn’t check but i am pretty sure everything is strictly “mono”! There is so much stuff here a precise review would be impossible to do, but consider you get to warm up with the gentleman G.G. Allin with his unfathomable political correctness made punk rock, one riff basic punkish shits Slough (best logo ever, look after their 7″) and Out Cold. Following the noisy hard/core crust from Jesus Chrust, Undinism, Rupture shoulder to shoulder with a tidal wave of total noise-grind annihilations with Minch, The Meat Shits, Captain Three Legs, Anal Cunt, Final Exit (their tracks are really, really incomprehensible ahah, COOL!), the ultra brutal Twisted Truth and and Brazilian legends Rot (one of my personal faves). Some metal stuff is also included, but definitely not pretty either. I am not a lover of this band but Groinchurn surely belong to the more “metallic” side of the compilation despite a bunch of accelerations – but the best goes with Impiety, Pest and Gonkulator… real catechists! You get a bunch of songs per band, and every one of these are crammed in a single track, ah ah, there are not even sing titles!! Personally my favorite here is Black Mass of Absu, something you could definitely slash your wrists at, total noisy doom/ambient shit like you never heard before. Killer.
The layout of this compilation is total shit, but that you could already tell from the logo, made up of turds and flies. Honestly even if I adore this crappy sounding music for maniacs, I would have liked a better booklet, maybe woth something more that just contact addresses. Small record covers and a liner note or two per record would have been the least. Anyway this is not stuff for high-class collectors. This record is ugliness incarnate and so is the packaging, and I go with it finely.