Monday, April 30, 2018

Sabbat - The Dwelling (1996)

   If Venom had an almost twenty minutes long song about the rampage of dark forces that used to exhibit their high musical capacity, why not to try to do something similar? Or even better, why not an album-lenght song?
   "The Dwelling" is probably the most remarkable masterpiece of Sabbat, another proof about their limitless productiveness. In truth the album easily could be divided to 8-9 songs, but the way how they operated with the transitions, the returning leading melodies and the balance of harmony and disharmony; is able to hold the attention of the listener enough to give up similar plans soon. "The Dweling" maybe includes the catchiest themes that Sabbat ever  wrote. The mix of heavy, thrash and black metal now creates a whole that fits together very well as a soundtrack for the birth of evil. Keyboards and acoustic parts turning the main view more colorful. The album sounds to get a bit tired close to the end, and after such musical diversity it wouldn't be a wonder. But it seems like Sabbat always have a plus card to impress and to show what musical maximalism means. Even though the main inspiration of "The Dwelling" is clear, it's a very enjoyable and genuine extreme metal masterpiece.

Abigail - Intercourse & Lust (1996)

   The basics of the very tiny Japanese extreme metal scene were laid down mostly by Sabbat, and later plenty of smaller short living projects appeared. Abigail as one of the few permanent ones, chose to follow the basics and to extend them to a so exaggerated level as it's possible.
   With the same incredible productiveness they tried all possibilities of black/thrash metal. From the simple, punk-influenced thrashing, through the old school spirited mid-speed aggressiveness to the endlessly sick black/death-like brutality all aspects of the style could be found on "Intercourse & Lust". The often annoying yowling vocals that are usual in Japanese music are completely missing (fortunately), wretched/evil cawing having exclusive role. On the side of the hostile dark forces and violence, sexuality and sexual sadism is a common topic of the band, and just like most similar bands, lately they also focused more on that topic. Even Satan worths nothing without sensual pleasures. Abigail was mostly free from the influence of the Northern black metal scene, and it was one first bands after Sarcófago and Blasphemy that showed a different perspective in black influenced metal.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Apophis - Down in the Valley (1996)

   Three years passed until the second Apophis album came out. During this time their music changed a bit and went through on some progression.
   The concept remained the same, the Egyptian mythology stayed as the main inspirational source of the band, and the lack of relation between the music and the concept too. But while on "Gateway to the Underworld" it seemed like that the band didn't find the common ground yet and their music balanced between raw themes, melodies and complexity, on the second album they found the most suitable style for themselves. The complex, almost technical-like themes were gone, and the rawness of their music reduced. Melodies became common which may refer to the classics of heavy metal, but the rough backbround and intense performance just don't let any nostalgia to happen. In general this style reminds to ordinary German metal as it wears the characteristics of different genres and styles which are usual at German bands. These are the vocal style, the way how they operated with melodies and composed the song structures. "Down in the Valley" still could have the impression of a  "balancing" album, but the band just fixed the main features of their music and their tools of expression.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Erytrosy - Incompleted Minds (1996)

   There is a long line of bands which doesn't have any specific goal with their music, only started to play something similar like their favorites played. After some styles are out of date, these bands sporadically appearing.
   For those who felt disappointed after how Cannibal Corpse changed musically or only missing their early period, Erytrosy could sound very nostalgic. Deep wild boar-like growling, raw, intense themes, and overwhelming sick feeling referring to the most popular band of the genre. In lyrics they were influenced by the early concept of Carcass, but they didn't merge into the depths of pathology so much to force the listener to get a medical textbook. Musically they were not able to reach the same intensiveness and borderless sickness like their idols did, but by "Incompleted Minds" they had made a high quality album that may be able to ease the thirst of the most obsessed fans of old school musickness. And of course to temporarily summon the spirit of the most notorious death metal legends.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ascaris - Grapes of Wrath (1996)

   Ascaris had a noisy and interesting debut by "Uncured Sickness". It was interesting because it sounded like a constant struggle between a rude, less audience friendly sound and melodic ambitions. This struggle finally unfolded on their "Grapes of Wrath" EP.
   Their music developed a lot meanwhile, the raw themes, that were not always so effective as they used to be, have gone. Catchy melodies took their place and gave a very strong character to the EP by their classical heavy metal references. It's also an interesting example how to play death metal in a melodic way without turning it to melodic death metal. The old school features are there and assisted by the deep growling vocals they creating contrast with the melodic themes. They main feeling is similar like at some stoner/doom metal bands somehow, when the heaviness of the music gets mixed with catchier themes than it would be usual. The simple, middle speed drumming style just strenghtening the same impression. Ascaris definitely created a genuine masterpiece by "Grapes of Wrath", that deserved wider attention.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Adramelech - Psychostasia (1996)

   Even though old school death metal was out of date already, a few bands were still able to create interesting records afterwards.
   Adramelech's first full-lenght album was another great example to introduce the main features of Finnish death metal. Plenty of melodies were added into the cathcy riffings that are constant during the lenght of the album. The basic middle speed and thrash drumming style often gets grind-like doses that turns the album very intense. The vocals are more like suffocating-wishpering than growling, so the music having the main focus. The concept is maybe the most genuine thing about Adramelech. As the band's name expects already, their lyrics are based on mythologies. Unlike most bands with similar ambitions, not only a specific mythology inspired them, but all ancient topics. There are lyrics to find from the Scandinavian mythology to Egyptian, from antic Greek mythology to Aztecs. "Psychostasia" isn't an ordinary death metal album for sure, but still fits into the line old school classics.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Spiritual Beggars - Another Way to Shine (1996)

   The name of Mike Amott have to sound familiar to everyone who ever was into metal music, except maybe for those who spent the past few decades in some isolated cave. He played in Carnage, Carcass and currently in Arch Enemy. After he was quit from Carcass, he started something completely new and unexpected, and founded Spiritual Beggars.
   The band's second album was an excellent proof to show that desert isn't even requiered to play desert rock, because "Another Way to Shine" had such high quality that was usual only by the best American stoner rock bands. Spiritual Beggars is probably not Mr. Amott's most popular project, but he reached the highest limits musically in this band and by this album. It wasn't just a trying to jump into an actually upcoming new genre or style, it was another way to play stoner rock by keeping the same concept. The '70s influences were not shranked only to the basics of doom metal and psychedelic rock, it's a far wider ground from which Spiritual Beggars started to build up their music. They catched the feeling very well, and successfully embedded it into the '90s. Warning, the album is also strongly party compatible!

Grotesque - In the Embrace of Evil (1996)

   Grotesque was a short living band in the late '80s. "In the Embrace of Evil" collects their demo records including the "Incantation" EP, which had the same cover too.
   It's an essential old school dose that leads the listener back to the early times of the underground scene. Grotesque's music was strongly thrash influenced, it doesn't fit to the line of the late black/death bands, but it's a bit different than the typical thrash/death hammerings. The vocal style is definitely black metal styled and maybe the sound fits too into this orientation, because these are mostly demo records. The influence of old Bathory could be assumed, but they didn't try to follow that way. The style of the that time currently spreading extreme ambitions sniffed up the band. Similar to '80s thrash bands, the speed also had and important role in their music, and there are plenty of '80s references to find.  Of course the exact differences were not so fixed that time or didn't existed, and that shows up in their music too. That made "In the Embrace of Evil" an exciting mix of thrash, black and death metal.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Witchburner - Witchburner (1996)

   Thrash metal was everything but common after the early '90s, but even though the genre was almost forgotten, fortunately it didn't completely disappear. It was forced back into the depths of underground, but occasionally it returns by old school oriented and compromiseless bands, like in the case of Witchburner.
   The band's debut album was barely longer than an EP, but includes catchy thrash anthems during it's full-lenght. The album don't simply reminds to the golden age of the genre, but even the sound and style shows no difference and it's able to turn back a decade in time for the listener. Witchburner's music might be suitable for some German thrash nostalgia by the assumed influences of Sodom, Kreator, Necronomicon and Venom, but it's more than that. They've mastered the style of the old school iconic bands, catched the feeling well, and filling the hole in metal music that was left behind after the arrival of newer trends and genres. Plus it's always refreshing to listen to some essential intensiveness and authentic aggressiveness after the endless line of innovating-wannabe newbies.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Dying Angel - Mirror of Truth (1996)

   Dying Angel's one and only album was an interesting mix of genres and gave a new taste to the death/doom style.
   Even though they were officially sorted to death metal bands, their music had so strong doom influences, that couldn't be ignored. That didn't come only by the typical doom themes, the extented song lenght, and the slow/mid speed, but they also involved very classical-sounding catchy melodies and keyboards, which are referring to the '80s heavy metal influenced style of doom. The vocal style is quite black metal-like, but often clear singing vocals appearing too. It's definitely not one of the ordinary ways of death/doom how Dying Angel composed it's music. "Mirror of Truth" is like an album on the borderline of styles in different ways. That not only meant as the border of musical styles, but musical eras too. The mix of modern sound and the usual experimental ambitions of those times with classical '80s references. Fresh and modern, but old school too at the same time, it's like a mirror for both sides. Unfortunately this this very unique album is barely known and badly underrated.

Bethlehem - Dictius Te Necare (1996)

   Bethlehem is mostly known as an experimental group with common line-up and style changes. And also known by "Dictius Te Necare", a cult album they created that gave a new aspect to black metal.
   To mark this album as depressive black metal may fit if it's about the main impression and lyrics about death, suicide and insanity, but by style features doesn't. "Dictius Te Necare" had some doom touch, but lacks doom metal themes too. The music is based on very basic themes and simple melodies that are not common in this genre, and what even more interesting is: it completely lacks the atmospheric sizzling sound. The clear rawness of the sound showed another way how is it possible to shock the audience emotionally - without atmosphere. The endlessly insane screaming vocals having main role in increasing the effectiveness of the album. It's probably the most exaggerated vocal style that was ever made in black metal. All-in-one the simplicity of the music and the concept doesn't made "Dictius Te Necare" the most common choice in the case of chilling time background noise, the album may have very heavy and dramatic influence. A really genuine black metal classic!