ASCENDED (Fin): “The Art Of Necromancy” demo Cd-r 2008 s/p

Ascended - The Art Of Necromancy

There was a time, in the first part of the nineties, when I was totally obsessed with Finnish Death + Black Metal. Of course Sweden had THE scene, but bands like Purtenance, Archgoat, Demilich, Xysma or Depravity (and I can go on forever) had that special, unearthly feel that just took the most extreme genres and made each one of them even colder and darker. Finland just meant “sickness” in its most undiluted form, blacker Black Metal and darker Death Metal. Time went on and basically every one of these bands either disbanded or turned into some shitty rockn’roll a la Lubricant. Time to forget about Finland for a while… but like the Swedish scene has been resurrected, so seem the Finnish one has its good share of new talent to exhume, and this Ascended is really among the best ones I heard in a long, long time. Like for other old demos on the blogzine, Ascended actually recorded more stuff after this demo, but having been mostly an inactive couch potato for more than 5 years it was a great surprise for me to hear we have still great death/doom being concocted among the cold swamps of Fennoscandia. This excellent demo Cd-r was handnumbered to 100 copies but mine has no number so I guess is part of a second batch. The packaging is bare as it should be with classical lineart on the cover and very simple inlay (lyrics, general infos and so on).

The thing I love more about this demo is the sound of the drums. They reverberates like a gong, filling the whole soundwave with a distant, omnipresent, evocative vibe. Every beat seems to raise the atmosphere to the next level of dismal oblivion. The band is VERY different, but I can find some common feel with, early Eucharist or Necros Christos on the slower, more abstract, detached  moments.  Ascended is however not an entirely Death Metal band and there are no melodies of sort in their sound. I think they can arguably be defined as Death Metal with some good Doom/Death influences, but I don’t think they can be rated as a strictly Death/Doom band either. They are grinding slow at times, and almost obsessive in dragging riffs forever in an hypnotic way, but I will not use any other term but good, solid Death Metal. The vocals are deep and monumental, just like the music. This demo is a cathedral of sound, with an obscure halo hovering over it.

Thanks Finland for still being present.

ABHORROT (Aut): “Death In Blasphemy” demo Cd-r 2008 s/p

Abhorrot - Death In BlasphemyI just wanted to skip on the countless useless promos and dug up the ones I enjoyed the most. Abhorrot is a band that just did it right (according to my own vision of this stuff that is) on this demo. Basically EVERYTHING is right here, and I will start with the amazing sounding name (I bet they were Finnish ah ah!), killer logo, great sketched artwork. I am one of the ones that got this on CDr which is cool, even though this is definitely tape stuff (I read some of these demos came out on tape too), I admit I would really like every single Death Metal demo came out this way, no frills shitty art, dripping logo and rough paper, nothing else. There is no real booklet but the other side of the cover keeps it old school: typewriter fonts, impossibly dark picture, and a scattering of song titles like “DIE IN PAIN”. Now I’d like to give a Nobel prize to any band that comes out with a title like this, I am serious. And then you have “Eternal Decay” and “Death in Blasphemy” which are equally ultimate Death Metal titles as well. And let’s not forget the Nihlist cover.

Being recorded in some place called “The Cellar” you cannot really expect Morrisound, can you? Here it is: pure cellar sound, and I believe they’re talking about a REAL cellar, not some studio with a cool name. The sound is as fuzzy and degenerated as you can imagine, and the rehearsal sound is just a perfect fit for the incredibly basic riffing we have here, it’s like some extremely early Death Metal recording from 1990 with guttural growls and a slightly drone metallic sound. Of course I do not  think a band should end his path here since a little bit of structure is mandatory even in Death Metal but what I liked is that I was n0t able to hear anything so refreshingly primal for many years. The band subsequently released some more stuff so the sound here is probably not even fairly indicative of their latest efforts but it is a nice demo to hear in a time where 13-years old freaks are able to blast 10000 bps hyper-technical riffs. Nice addition for a complete DM collection: guttural vocals, primitive riffing, sloppy (in a cool way) drumming and so on, just as it was.

ANIMA DAMNATA (Pol): “Promo 2007” demo Cd-r 2007 s/p

Holy fuck, this Cd hit me as a great surprise. I had this name Anima Damnata floating in my head several times during the last few years but I never really cared to check the band out. I am not a huge fan of Poland when it comes to Black Metal: they all have either those lyrics about trolls or about the glorious new wave of thrash metal. And the sound is usually so thin, and the vocals like hysterical mothers-in-law. Nah, not for me. Me stupid once more, I shall inject me with AIDS one of these days for my usual narrow mindedness.

Anima Damnata is a superb band indeed, a band that plays a fine brand of heavily distorted, dark and brutal kind of Satanic Death/Black Metal. Their sound is a balanced mix of 1990’s Floridian Death Metal and bestial Black Metal a la Belphegor, a mix which is definitely worth checking out. There is a really solid song writing here, with a use of double bass and guitar solos which is really unheard of today – just to shoot a few names which are completely out of place but might get an idea I would say Horror of Horrors, Betrayer, Disincarnate, Centurian, Ingurgitating Oblivion, Manifest (as said take these comparisons with a pinch of salt). They have the fine elements of old school Death Metal but also the good feral arrogance of more recent bestial War/Black Metal, this stuff really not just relentlessly brutal, it is catchy in a way I was not really used to anymore, these guys PLAY their instruments instead of challenging for the most complex and skillful performance. It is probably one of the best bands I have heard this decade.

One thing I am really not good at criticizing (since I am no musician I guess) is the recording of an album. Well, even in my ignorance I liked the recording of this promo – it is absolutely clear but doesn’t stink of laundry detergent like modern “Abyss Studios” shit, it has that analogic, warm sound of albums like Deicide‘s debut. I am definitely in love with this shit, I will absolutely catch up with all their past releases. KILLER.

This band can0t be from Poland. Tell me they’re from some fucking Brazilian ghetto!

I know I shouldn’t but here is an Mp4 for your listening. I’ll delete it in a few weeks or upon request of the band: anima-damnata-4

MORTORIUM (Ita): “Whore of the Liar” demo Cd-r 2008 s/p

MortoriumI 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!