Another throwback of eight years to complete a review of a record that was released thirteen years ago, how’s that for dedication? And to make things even more old school, the Shub-Niggurath tracks are taken from a rehearsal from 1990! I didn’t really write much at the time, but as I picked up the CD from the shelf and started to listen to it I found myself why I was actually losing any time on this recording.
To be honest, let’s say it straight away, this split is fucking useless. It’s just crap made up to use the logos of two great bands. Let’s be clear, I’ve loved Shub-Niggurath since the demo tape, and I think Necroccultus is an excellent band as well despite their relatively young age (sigh, I just realized they formed 19 years ago), but I can’t stand live and rehearsals unless they’re included in a full discography or as bonus tracks, let alone in a split. To make matters worse, three different labels for three different formats, including a vinyl whose significance I don’t really understand. And even the audio is too poor to justify such a pressing, these are things that you can accept for a band that has played very little for which every live show is a jewel to be recovered, but this is not the case, or possibly for a big band, like Slayer, of which you want to collect every single release. But not here, I don’t think we’re there at all. Even the cover was one of the artist’s early works and on tape/CD it is what it is. Leave this release alone.
They handed me this tape promoting it as “death/black” and while I ever married any genre Death/Black Metal generally speaking works for me. Not this time tough. I like raw and primitive, but what I mean when I say that is generally raw and primitive as in Von, not as in “college rehearsal”, eh.
The be completely honest there is nothing entirely out of place here, barring, ahem, the riffs. These songs (I am not sure if this is a promo tape or a tape album) could be summarized as Hellhammer playing Death Metal in a rehearsal room with session member from the local garage punk band. While primitive and graced with really good death vocals (hell yes, good mix of raspy and deep), the Motorhead-like pull isn’t really working out well here, it just doesn’t click. This, coupled with the kind of rehearsal sound that spoils the thickness of the sound instead of giving it an edge of rawness, summarize a scarce 5 points in my book. The concept is good, and the idea of bringing early Hellhammer-like metal into Death Metal ground is cool, but I would rather start chopping off the sloppier riffs and keep just the better ones.
EDIT: I got confirmation that this is actually a “demo” tape.
Now this is finally something really interesting. There’s this dissonant, progressive-schizoid aspect in Stockholm’s Nauseant that is really something we don’t hear every day. We’re not talking about some shredding guitar display or some crossover incursion into Jazz or some other irrelevant genre, but about really atonal Death Metal in the vein of Demilich, Carbonized or the more recent Diskord. I really do like when a band has the courage to attempt a trip into these indistinct lands of intricate melodies, always turning and weaving and morphing into another identity. And I like it even more when the sound remains strongly rooted in dismal Death Metal – for being indistinct and avant-garde doesn’t necessarily mean sewing together a million different genres. Nauseant is ever-changing, ever reshaping, but still maintain identity in its sound and feel, with hyper-guttural vocals as a static basement over which the song is shaped. I cannot tell much about the lyrics since they’re not included here (but hey, it was cool to read my copy is one of 30 hand-numbered Cd-rs!). The packaging is bare and essential, just a warped abstract column of flesh with a logo close to it, the kind of bare necessary I appreciate in a demo tape Cd-r. I cannot recommend this one enough, I would like to hear more bands like this.
I have been considering whether to review this split as a single album or into two separate parts becouse Noisecore Freak and Ask Heroin Sally are basically the same band, both one-man projects lead by this guy from Canada that goes by the name of C. Stepniewski. In the end I gave it the privilege of two separate judgments, since they’re extremely different in approach. The whole record lasts little more than 15 minutes, roughly split in two, so you get a very short, yet intense window at the world of Noisecore Freak. The band is aptly named, as this stuff is both freakish and noisy, even if a bit too mechanical-electronic in sound than what I identify as pure noisecore (i.e. 7MON). These ten scarce minutes are a constantly spastic, uneven, interconnection of blurs of hyperblasting speed and one second stops, crazed drum machine and pissed off screams in the best of Japanese tradition. I generally hate dissonance in grind, but this guy hides it well beyond layers upon layers of barking, grating sounds. I am pretty sure this is the kind of stuff that get hard ons to lovers of the Relapse style of bands. Hectic and vibrating with energy, it is maybe a bit too precise in its chaos for my tastes – I am not much into these modern disharmonies a la Luddite Clone or Discordant Axis even when backed up by powerful grindcore. Short but intense.
When I hear albums like this one, I really find it arduos to connnect. I have difficulties choosing where to start, coordinating my fiongers, trying to come up with the right words, becouse 99% of my brain just wants to sit back and listen, being dragged within the wounds of christ to drink and bathe of his pain. The room where I am typing was cold, but even colder – unnaturally so – is the miasma of Death that now fills it. Absence of life. Decomposing life. Pure necromantic spells that drain warmth and happiness.
Well first off I’d like to say that “Sepulchral Voice” is my favorite Sodom song ever – the choice of using it as a label name is brilliant (well, we’re on the lines of Deathlike Silence but when we talk about songs like those, we cannot criticize) – not much but that’s the most clever thing I can think of as of now. Do you have the idea of how fucking good this is? Seriously speaking, this music is Evil with capital “E”. I’d like to hear what politicians and religious people that found the Devil’s speech in albums by the doors or led zeppelin albums would think of something as dark as this. There is surely a lot of Celtic Frost hovering among the tracks, and a tidbit of earliest Mortuary Drape‘s theatrical evocativeness – but most of all, there is class, the class of a deranged painter covered in sperm, dried blood and drool drawing the lines of his own insanity with the colors of fucking hell. In every field real artists know how to weave a masterpiece with just a few strokes, and this album reflects this concept on music. You don’t have overly complicated guitar riffs. Actually most of them are quite simple yet arranged with such a taste and elegance that everything flows like black blood running smoothly from an altar of sacrifice* – simple fragments of dedication to the cult of evil arranged with meticolous taste. I love the vocals – the last time I heard ones so malignant was in Immolation‘s “Dawn of Possession”, but they’re just the right complement to a balanced macabre ballet of death and putrefaction. Ave to the lord of Flies, Asmodeus rex.
*Curse of the damned / Confronting the evil you dread / Coalesce into one your shadow and soul / Soon you will meet the undead
The cool guy that handed me this Cd told me – word by word – that I was not going to like this shit. Actually I don’t like it very much I admit, but there is a sense of complete despair and misanthropy lingering over these tracks which fascinate me nonetheless. Basically somewhat derivative crude Black Metal to start with, it really gets to another level when the industrial samples and loops turn in. Nocratai is able to assemble a balanced commistion of grim monochrome metal of darkness (I’d prefer to say – grayness) and cyberpunk isolationsim, skillfully drifting among the whole grey spectrum of despair, agony, inhumanity, grotesque. All in all this stuff is not only recorded surprisingly well, but I am quite impressed by how competently this shit has been made. I was expecting some amateurish tracks made up of quick Cubase loops and some of those obscene popeye vocals, but instead I have come to dig it, more and more as the demo turned towards the end – sometimes it reminded me the intricacies of Deathspell Omega or Arkhon Infaustus – yet there are no real resemblaces to these bands. Good work on the cover too, simple work but classy – if the guy is also the one doing the drawings you can color me impressed – very Mignola-esque! Real good for a genre I really marginally follow and often scoff at.
Necros Christos from Berlin. A phenomenon that has exploded like a burst of flames straight from Hell taking everyone by surprise, cabonizing churches and immolation priests praying for salvation. The whole underground is buzzing and murmuring on how fucking great this band is. And, well, I could not but agree with the mainstream this time. Necros Christos is really the best Death Metal band coming out of the underground in the last few years – it incarnates perfectly every parameter that makes Death Metal the sickest and darkest form of Art of all times. I cannot tell exactly HOW they do it but the band is able to recreate a kind of dark, hypnotic, demonic atmosphere which moves something inside me that was slumbering inside me since the early nineties. Influences of Hellhammer (a LOT of Hellhammer), Incantation, Imprecation, Symphony of Grief, early Samael, old Paradise Lost and some old school Finnish doom/death (and damn I can even say Disincarnate) are abundant but perfectly balanced in a strictly personal interpretation Metal of fucking Death which is equally obscure and spiritually powerful. This is a band which is 280 times more Black than your average Norwegian penguin. Everything is stripped to the bone, leaving only no nonsense quality music. The vocals are deep and demonical, reverberating as if they were coming from beyond the grave, the guitars deep and grating, slowly evocative of images of gothic damnation. There is really something infernal going on here, haven’t heard this kind of feeling since Immolation‘s “Dawn of Possession”.
Worship Him records re-released this third Necros Christos demo “Grave Damnation” in Cd format – which is a bit disappointing for me since this is the only one I already had in tape, but whatever, anything from this band seems to be sold out nowadays so it is a great buy for people looking for anything by the band. The packaging is superb and everything again just falls in its place in this grand design of blasphemic necromanic Death Metal . A great Goatlord cover ends the Cd.
I am sure I have already heard something similar in style in the past but really cannot remember when… what matters anyway is that Necros Christos has a full-length album out now, so go for it as well.