IMPRECATION (USA): “Sigil Of Baphomet” Ep 7″ 1993 Drowned

Imprecation sigil Of Baphomet

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.

The Ep dissected

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

BLASPHERIAN (USA-Tx): “Allegiance to the Will of Damnation” Ep 12″ 2007 Die Todesrune

BlaspherianOh my, I am really getting tired of listening to only good bands these days (ah ah)? Seriously speaking, Blaspherian is another of those bands you really do now want to miss from the freshly renewed scene of real Metal of Death: a band that walks the fine line between doomish Death Metal a la Autopsy and Winter and Brutal Satanic Death a la Imprecation, Incantation, Vital Remains, Hibernus Mortis etc. Deep, infernal vocals creep out of a wall of sound made of sludgy riffs and nastily twisted, low tuned distortions – these songs are glorious hymn of blasphemy, obscure and foul, no frills or guitar wanking, just blasphemy. As usual, we’re reminded that you don’t need overly complex guitarwork to make the Death Metal alchemy work – most of these songs are relatively straightforward, but at the same time full of grim dark force. You got all the powerful crunch without the shitty slam wiggerish shit if you know what I mean. This is definitely how Death Metal is meant to sound like. Maybe it is just lacking a little bit of that eerie, disturbing feel of early Incantation to be really perfect (you know, that hidden, malicious vibration), but we’re definitely splitting the hair. If we talk about American bands, this is definitely one of the best I heave heard lately, as the real Death Metal movement seems to be mostly an European thing recently. Blasphemous, deep Death Metal for lovers of dark sounds and guttural brutality.

This album has been released by Die Todesrune, an otherwise pretty inactive label for what concerns true Death Metal, apart from Crucifier from what I remember. They also have a split 7″ out right now on Hell’s Headbangers, sharing vinyl with the excellent band Evil Incarnate. Next to be released is another 7″ by the name of “Unholiness Unleashed” and a second full length by the name of “Infernal Warriors of Death”. No need to say this is the stuff for which is worth spending your money.