Sunday, October 20, 2019

Christ Inversion - Christ Inversion (2008)

   Christ Inversion was one of Phil Anselmo's numerous underground projects, that are not so known for ordinary Pantera and Down fans, and also not compatible with their taste. It was also one of the first black metal tryings in the US.
   This compilation is basically the release of their first demo from '94. The band was short living, so it counts as a worthy memorial of their experiments. Similar to Demonic Christ, even though they tried to fit to the main concept of black metal, the death metal influences are so strong, that the whole thing didn't work out as they've probably intended. The themes stucked somewhere in half way between black and death metal, and at the end the second sounds dominating. They've added dramatic intros to complete the satanic concept that's theatrically American, and the atmosphere they tried to create with effects that may fit into a horror film. This, and some song structures strongly reminding (not surprisingly)  to Necrophagia. The aggressive shouting vocal would also fit better into another story, and even if the noisy rehearsal quality is quite evident, it still represents higher sound quality than the classic blackened sizzling sound, cause the instruments could be clearly heard, and not leading to the needed atmosphere. Christ Inversion counts as black/death also as a pathfinding experiment, since it's different from anything similar in this style. But because the genre doesn't support such diversity as death metal, to approach it in the same way can't result anything that could fit between it's tight borders.

Embrace of Thorns - ...for I See Death in Their Eyes (2007)

   Embrace of Thorns belongs to those bands who could be found responsible in first line for the notoriety of Greek black metal.
   Their music is also death metal influenced that's represented in the noisy sound, in the vocal style, that's somewhere between black and death with a very strong echo effect, and in the complete lack of atmosphere. Maybe the noise and the echoing together can be explained as a sort of atmosphere, but these only gave similar impression that's usual at putrid sounding death metal bands. Like if the album was recorded in some deep underground dungeon. The guitar themes kept their strong blackened influence, almost non-stop intensely hammering drumms gave a raw perspective to the main view, and short, noisy solos completing the endlessly deviant circle of putrefaction. Their music is strongly related to the Blasphemy influenced black/death metal, but a more unified, obscure sound is in their focus instead of the complete chaotic insanity. The band is not in a hurry though they usually play very fast, middle speed slow downs are common to find, and the tempo switches are sudden. Still, the album is far from spontaneity, all parts are well composed in Embrace of Thorns' dark, deeply sick vision.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Emptiness - Oblivion (2007)

     In what is easily the best musical representation of blackened death metal to date, Emptiness delivers extreme, pounding, at times even groovy, darkness and doom with their 2007 release of Oblivion. This entire album pulls you in from the jump, with rich guitar rhythm and riffs and full bodied double bass drumming. The songs all sound full and balanced, with precisely placed drum and bass woven between guitars and vocals. At no point in time does this album not consume your entire conscious, leaving you begging for more. If Hell had a lobby, Oblivion would play over the loud speakers.
     Oblivion is like a hyper, yet well produced I may add, chaotic can of evil (or worms, whatever) of both black and death metal incorporated vocals that twist and turn their way in and out of thrashing, compulsive guitar riffs. "Crushing Ignorance" and "Feeding Force" are the ultimate representations of the level of intensity that the entire album holds as a whole. This album set a really high bar for me for this band as it was the first I was introduced to, and I can say, no other album, by Emptiness or another, measures to the intensity you feel when you're listening to Oblivion. It is truly it's own entity. The dark undertone of the majority of the vocals is insanely contrasted by the faster moving guitar and bass parts. This is the kind of album that you can't sit still to while listening. A+.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Ravencult - Temples of Torment (2007)

   Ravencult's full-lenght debut starts with some (probably) Orthodox mass detail and ends the same way. This introduction somehow fits to the blasphemous rampage that follows, and gives a frame to the album that suspects a higher level of defilement of the sacred.
   And to defile they do with the same aggressive and dirty sound as it's usual from Greek black metal. But the intense and effective start doesn't reflect completely the spirit of the album, cause the band also preferred old school themes with middle speed. These switching with the insane hammerings when there's some need for rageful insanity. Catchy, but typically blackened melodies are repeating frequently to plant a deeply ominous feeling in the listener, that's partly emotion related, partly foretelling the inevitable grim end that may come. But because of the noisy sound and the band's quite aggressive tone there's barely any atmosphere to form, only the repetitive ominous melodies creating some. The main feeling may remind to old Bathory, and to the early period of Darkthrone. "Temples of Torment" might be a very enjoyable album for the fans of old school styled black metal, offered by the same intense swing that could be expected from the bands of the Mediterraneum.

Astarte - Demonized (2007)

   Astarte was formed when black metal was in a changing period, and during their existence their music went it's own way of change too. Genres in first round after everything possible was made inside the borders of their specific features, starting to become more melodic, audience friendlier, and later involving different influences and/or turning progressive.
   The same has happened with Astarte too. On their last album there are still style features to find that may remind to their debut, like occasionally the intense blackened themes are returning, the vocal style is the same, and they've still wrote Greek mythology influenced lyrics, but it's a different story now. Their music became far more melodic, lost it's dark, depressing old school atmosphere, the themes are strongly melodic death influenced, and partly mixed with classic heavy metal features too. The harmony wasn't lost, but represented differently (in the way of literal meaning). By the melodic death influences and the clear sound the focus has switched from down breaking passive suffering to a more aggressive direction, that is also more generic the same time. Still a remarkable emotional effect remained in their music, since it's the concomitant of the combination of these styles, but it's less effective. "Demonized" is still a great album according to it's style, and fits into the musical voyage of the band, but it may leave behind a feeling that something's missing. Such in the case of the band's split-up because of Miss Tristessa's unfortunate pass (R.I.P.).

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Infest - Anger Will Remain (2007)

   Infest just imploded into the nearly metal-less area of the Balkans with their aggressive thrashing in the early '00s. Their full-lenght debut left no doubts about that even if this style was forced back into the depths of underground, it's still alive.
    "Anger Will Remain" was a raw, but still strong debut that may leave behind some nostalgic feeling in the listener by it's short catchy themes that are frequently interrupting the intense hammering. The fast thrashing have complete leading role on the album, like if it was an angry unstoppable war machine that represents the band's hatred of religion, and goes through everything and everyone. War is also a returning lyrical topic by detailing it's reasons: mass manipulation of the currently leading power, especially by religious causes and the assistance of the Church in highlights. The local audience can probably easily relate to that, since similar problems were quite actual in that region not so long ago. This intense utopistic daydream of a war that gives the final strike for the Church and it's obsessed followers reminds to the more Satanic concept of Deasater and to early Venom's less serious imaginations. The approach of Infest is more reality inspired.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

TYMAH - Loquitor Cum Alqo Sathanas (2007)

   When "Transylvanian Dreams" came out, it could have been clear that by TYMAH something extraordinary showed up in the very tiny Hungarian underground scene. Their second full-lenght album just confirmed that expection.
   But since the band did their best to isolate themselves from the local scene and it's audience, this act also didn't spark so much attention as it deserved. Their music showed remarkable progress all-round compared to the first album. Their themes kept their similarities to Mayhem, and mostly the intense drumms are reminding to Hellhammer's style. The sound became clear that makes easier to focus on the details of their fast and rageful play. The vocals are far more insane than before, inhuman screams completing the obscure atmosphere that only could be compared to what Bethlehem did on "Dictius Te Necare". The lyrical concept was uprgaded too. From the classic black metal topics that are seeking the dark forces in the hidden and mysterious regions of the mortal environment, they stepped forward into infinity. That switches between the incomprehensible world of the individual mind and it's dreams, and the cosmic level of evil that voyages during it's slumber in the unreachable distances of space. Of course the main features stayed the same, so by it's excellence "Loquitor Cum Alqo Sathanas" cannot disappoint the fans of old school styled black metal.