Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thorr's Hammer - Dommedagsnatt (1996)

   What's the best possible outcome if a Norwegian teen girl travels to America as an exhchange student? To gain the needed experiences for her studies of course, but Miss Runhild Gammelsæter also joined to death/doom band for creative spare time activities.
   Her arrival was probably like a dream come true for Thorr's Hammer, a band with a concept based on Norse mythology. She made possible to write their Northern pagan referred lyrics in Norwegian. The band had it's own way to approach the unpopular sound of death/doom. Simple but heavily distorted, noisy themes could be heard on their EP that starts quite atmospheric by the song "Norge". Clear singing and soft melodies creating enjoyable contrast with the noisy, ominous sound and brutally deep growling. The darkest clouds of doom interrupting before the listener could have any false hopes for a safe spiritual refuge, and they take full role on the rest part of the EP.  Miss Gammelsæter's growling skills were really stunning and remarkable even compared to the most known male growlmasters. It sounded similar to the vocal style that Miss Dana Duffey performed in Mythic, but way deeper and more brutal. "Dommedagsnatt" became an iconic (and very rare) death/doom metal classic.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Crimson Relic - Purgatory's Reign (1996)

   On the ruins of the short living band Divine Eve, another even shorter living project was found, named as Crimson Relic.
   Divine Eve was kind of modern in it's time and included various influences, but meanwhile the age of death metal ended and as some of these influences were kept in Crimson Relic. "Purgatory's Reign" sounds nostalgic already (And only few years passed!). This impression was increased by strong Celtic Frost references in the sound and some old school Swedish death metal influences. Compared to Divine Eve the doom metal touch reduced to minimal and the grinding ambitions were completely gone. The themes are the perfect mix of the simple effectiveness of old Celtic Frost and the primitive, rude musical toolbars of Swedish death. These two functions together very well, and occasionally some other classical '80s styled thrash/speed metal riffings and short solo parts showing up and leaving no doubts that the album was really made to be some sort of musical relic. A late came relic of course, but "Purgatory's Reign" evoking the birth of extreme metal, when the style or genre determinations were not so evident and not even necessary to use.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Dead World - Thanatos Descends (1996)

   "Thanatos Descends" by Dead World would be the heaviest industrial metal album of all time if... if it would be a full album, and without the experimental music noises.
   Even though in lenght it's a full-lenght record for sure, the five noise tracks were not made by Dead World, and they doesn't really fit to strongly death metal influenced rest of the album. Or it's like a full-lenght split album with mixed up songs. Their purpose was maybe to create contrast, but it didn't work out so good, and sounding like time fillers only.  The listener may stay unsatisfied because of the lower amount of heaviness, especially because Dead World reached it's maximum in sound compared to the previous albums. "Thanatos Descends" is noisier and very harsh. And similar to "The Machine", it seems like to sound very intense is not up to the speed, songs never getting faster than slow/mid speed, but still they are very effective and catchy. This is one of the most evident Godflesh influences, and from the plenty of their followers, Dead World operated with the speed the best way. The role of industrial influences decreased from the songs, but these seemed like to concentrate in the "Thanatos" titled noise tracks. In too high concentration unfortunately. But there are 4 songs at least which are far closer to define industrial death metal, than any previous tryings before, including even Meathook Seed or Soulstorm.

Mortician - House by the Cemetery (1995)

   Similar to Necrophagia, Mortician was also known about it's limitless horror addiction. The goriest films inspired them to transfer their feeling into music.
   But there is a tiny difference: while the bloody scenes don't take too long, in Mortician's music they never end, they completely focused on these parts. Similar to grindcore bands, they liked to add plenty of intros and outros, but these were taken from horror films of course. "House by the Cemetery" was probably the heaviest and noisiest record they ever made, even on the brutal death/grind field it could be sorted to the most brain damaging ones. Of course the catchy effect of it's distorted sound would be hardly possible to reproduce in live, plus they used drum machine all the time and didn't think about the limits of live playing while they used it. The main feeling is extremely brutal and sick, this raw grinding exceeded the level of visual disturbance. The EP includes one of the best Celtic Frost covers too, which is another cause for an enjoyable nostalgia on the side of the continously referred horror classics.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Melissa - In Mourning (1995)

   The middle '90s was the time of weird bands in the extreme scene. There were plenty of interesting ideas how to produce something new, and that was mostly about to mix various musical styles. Some worked, but unfortunately most tryings just didn't work.
   "In Mourning" by Melissa was one of the genuine albums of these weird tryings. It could happen that some albums leaving doubts in the listener about in which style or genre could be the music sorted, but with time things may become clear. Well, not in this case. Melissa formed as a death metal band (What kind of death metal band name is this anyway?), but their various other influences making difficult to figure out the exact subgenre. The different style references are changing song by song. Once they involved progressive influences, after that jazz, later they sound like a death'n'roll band, they turned into doom, and finally heavy metal themes appeared. The common changes and diversity itself could easily lead to define them as a progressive metal band, but except a few occasions their music isn't so complex or technical in general. It's also not so evident that all of this happened because they didn't find any common ground and that resulted a raw, experimenting album, or they played like that for purpose, to create something diverse and colorful. Probably the anwser may lie between these two guesses, but to decide if this interesting mix did succeed in showing something new or not, is the listener's job to do.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Action - Terror (1995)

   The early '90s have brought many new things to the ex-socialist republics of Eastern Europe, and that was also correct about the ways of entertaining. From another perspective and with different words the Western filth have found new markets, that was mostly represented in drug consume, gambling, prostitution and organized crime.
   This topic served as main concept of the former rock 'n' roll band called Sex Action. The name change also meant style change influenced mostly by bands like White Zombie, Body Count and Pantera. The heavier sound of groove metal on the side of exaggeratedly violent lyrics showed a new perspective into the local mainstream metal scene that was used to cheesy heavy metal bands. It was an all-round modern and extraordinary update that was also expressed in stage appearence, and older local bands simply seemed lame with their fluffy hair and leather uniforms on the side of the tattooed bandana wearing guys who looked liked having criminal record too. After the first Action album, that sparked wide attention with it's unusual and scandalous topics, "Terror" was like a great sequel. The album was musically more unified, more groovy and also showed musical development. Of course the obscure picture they've introduced was more like extreme than rational, like negative utopia that could be compared to the tone of the "Sin City" graphic novels. Even though the band wasn't so influental and didn't gain so wide attention as they deserved, their hardcore/groove metal period counted unique in the small local scene.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Death Sea - Imagination World (1995)

   Death Sea was another name in the line of early '90s one album death metal bands. A name that probably never sounded familiar for many people and was forgotten very soon too. But their first and last album may worth for a little bit wider attention because of it's interesting and genuine impression.
   Similar to many bands that time they tried to pick up the new trends in the underground scene, but while others did that after trying themselves in old school style, they directly debuted with progressive influences. They involved the retro '80s relaxing soundtrack-like style like Schismatic did (probably it was a direct influence), but in their case these parts had less role and they didn't count that much on the effectiveness of surprise. Of course the light melodies are still unexpected and sudden, but they played death metal in a progressive, technical way too, so the contrast didn't become so strong and hilarious like in the case of Schismatic. Old school death/thrash influences are frequently returning to ease the chaos, so some kind of balance exists, even if it's a twisted one and may be not so easy to find. The main impression could remind to Cynic and Catacomb. "Imagination World" was a an interesting and surrealistic experiment (or imagination) on the extreme field.

Dead - You'll Never Know Pleasure - Until You've Tasted Pain (1995)

   The roots of the lately very popular pornogrind subgenre are lying in the early '90s in Germany. The style is strongly related to goregrind, except it's seeking the depths of sexual perversity instead of gore. Instead of splatter horror films, porn and everyday's aberrations serving as main inspiration.
   Unlike the ordinary pornogrind that spreaded around in the underground scene 15 years later, it's pioners like Dead had strong death metal, old schol grindcore and even punk influences. For first hearing the influence of Carcass is evident, and the album includes GG Allin covers too (that probably explains many things). Their music wasn't much different from the earliest bands of the genre, except the concept, and that they involved sometimes lighter melodies and occasionally some styles for fun that having not much to do with metal. This often ends up in morbid humor, partly because of the exaggeratated topics (like sado-masochism, BDSM, enjoyong urine and excrement), and partly because the style is not famous about taking things seriously. It's also like an attention-seeking experiment, but more like fun-made, so the outcomes are not so shocking like old grindcore was.

Vomiting Corpses - Coma: The Spheres of Innocence (1995)

   Even though Vomiting Corpses was probably one of the oldest German death metal bands, their first and last full-lenght album came out only when the scene almost faded away already.
   German death metal bands were always interesting as they always tried some alternative ways to show something new, or how they approached the genre a bit differently. This experimenting ambition resulted that most of them sounded somehow weird and genuine compared to the bands of the big scenes. Except that, probably the actual trends had some influence on the band too while they created "Coma: The Spheres of Innocence". On the side of the basic old school style they involved some melodies and technical themes, so the album is like a pile of contrasts. Sometimes it might sound very raw because not all of their unexpected changes were made sophisticated, so it's not an easy album for sure. But the good side is that it's worthy to listen plenty of times, and it will be always able to show something new, some details that might avoided the attention of the listener previously. The fact that there are plenty of details like that to find, is telling about the musical wealthiness and the various influences of the band. An interesting and weird mix of old school and modern styled musickness!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Belphegor - The Last Supper (1995)

   Belphegor debuted as a deviant black/death metal band that reminded more to the style of Impaled Nazarene and old Marduk, than to Norwegian black metal, though lately they became popular and the most influental Austrian metal band because of creating more analogy with the Norwegian style.
  The band's early period was more compromise-less, and the early '90s death metal wave also had some influence on their music. The way how they mixed black and death metal was still different from what war metal bands did, and even though the previously mentioned bands have been only into black metal, the similarity is evident. Belphegor crossed the line that Impaled Nazarene and Marduk didn't by involving some death metal themes and common switchings to deep growling vocal style. The atmosphere also had secondary role, the devastating sound took complete advantage. That's really like a tiny difference, since if it's about intensity these bands have been on the same level. The main view is endlessly sick and insane, the lyrics are covering gorgeous topics as satanism, gore and perversions. "The Last Supper" also could be taken as a further step from the atmospheric/experimental black, a herald of raw black metal, though the band lately have shown opposite tendencies.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Infernal Torment - Man's True Nature (1995)

   If there was a contest which metal band can produce more brutal  material, probably Infernal Torment would win that. There were plenty of exaggerated albums in the early '90s, but "Man's True Nature" had an exact mix of sound, themes and intensiveness that it resulted something more effective.
   It was like another trying how to reach the possible borders all-round. The insane speed and hammering is one thing, but the sound emphasized the inhuman features the most, which came mostly by the animalistic vocals and the sick lyrics based on sexual perversions and senseless brutality. These were doubtlessly influenced by early Cannibal Corpse, but the insane feeling reminds to Infester. Musically it's different from Cannibal Corpse for sure, they tried to get further. "Man's True Nature" is closer to brutal death/goregrind than to ordinary death metal both in style and concept. The difference is that they kept the constant intensiveness and didn't change the song's structure. For the fans of exaggerated brutality this album counts as a golden classic. Not surprisingly the band wasn't able to exceed it's debut and didn't even try to keep this line, so they returned with a way softer and melodic album before they disappeared.

Skepticism - Stormcrowfleet (1995)

   On the side of Thergothon, Skepticism could be found responsible for the birth of funeral doom metal. Unlike Thergothon, Skepticism didn't end up as a short living project. They not only lay down the basics of the genre, but it was also introduced by them for the wider audience.
   If death/doom could be named as the main influental source of this style, plenty of it's features got left behind, such as the noisy sound, the overwhelming heavy themes and in this case the horror based lyrics too. The speed turned so low as it's possible, and the heaviness was represented by the atmosphere. So similar to depressive black metal, the funeral doom they played had the complete rule of atmosphere, but instead of painful sizzling melodies, keyboards are the main down-pulling tools. It's emotionally less effective, sounds more like some depressive meditation about sorrow based on eternity, the circulation of nature and the inevitable event of passing away that comes with it. The keyboard themes mostly reminding to church organs on funeral masses. The guitars are sounding so flat, that they were completely absorbed by the atmosphere. The deep growling vocals had the same destiny, and by the loss of most extreme features, the listener could wonder if is it still metal or more like some ambient-like background music for negative relaxation. However the extented song lenghts, the never ending grief and the miserable speed didn't set the genre to the favorites of the mainstream audience. "Stormcrowfleet" is one of the most important funeral doom classics.

Eternal Solstice - Horrible Within (1995)

   Eternal Solstice is a less known, but old band existing since the beginning of the golden age of death metal, straight from the hellpit of the Dutch scene. They debuted with a rude sounded, mostly Swedish death metal influenced album. For their second coming their music showed some further development.
   Grave, Unleashed and Entombed should be mentioned in first line if it's about their assumed influences. The ant-religious lyrics are like some strongly related references too. The basics stayed the same, but in themes they showed some plus diversity. "Horrible Within" is still an angry album that represents the simple, primitive brutality of the Swedish scene but some involved melodies, the creative composing of themes, and the solo parts with very old school touch telling about progression. That resulted more mature sound and increased the effectiveness of their hammering rampage. These features may shoo off any chance of disappointment for the fans of the unfriendly, cold sound of the Swedish death metal classics.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Etherial Winds - Find the Way... Together (1995)

   The first look may be enough already to expect some depressive-romantic background about the one and only album of Etherial Winds.
   The visual impression is partly correct, depressive issues are in focus, but it's more like about the outcomes of anxious struggles than only tender woes. This is the reflection of piled up negative experiences and the hopeless tryings to get out from the depths. The musical performance is way more aggressive and intense than it used to be at similar albums. Mostly the melancholic atmosphere and the lyrical background are reminding to the main concept, the signs of inner collapse are only occasional. Rageful deep growling and harsh riffings having the leading role, the atmosphere and the concept could have only small influence on that to create the required gloomy negative balance and may sound brighter than how it was planned. The album slipped from the border more into death metal, and this way it also couldn't be sorted to any of the most common directions of death/doom. Still it's a barely known, enjoyable death/doom classic assisted by the usual good quality sound of Dutch metal.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Celestial Season - Solar Lovers (1995)

   Celestial Season formed as a unique formation that tried to mix death/doom with classical music influences. Nowadays it's sound like nothing new, but their second album probably belongs to the best  and earliest similar experiments that was ever made. Still "Solar Lovers" is a barely known and very underrated record.
   The way how they involved violin into doom themes creates a melanholic hamony that couldn't be compared to any similar tryings and it's far more effective than creating some simple atmospheric sound. "Forever Scarlet Passion" was a raw trying, but on the second album they found the perfect way how to compose together these definitely not related styles, and it fits well to their lyrics based on nature, sorrow and lovesickness. The other thing why the album is interesting is that they also involved stoner rock influences. That was a sign of their late style already, so "Solar Lovers" may count as a turning point too that predicted their late style. The album by this combination counts as one on the most genuine events even in the main metal scene and an evergreen masterpiece that couldn't be re-made.

Sinister - Hate (1995)

   As one of the most fixed bastions of Dutch death metal, Sinister kept it's activity since today, and reminds to a scene that have seen better days before. Such as the genre, the band also had it's most remarkable period in the early '90s.
  After two brutal and undoubtedly stunning albums they probably showed their maximum by "Hate". They came with same rough brutality and excellent sound like earlier, but their themes turned a bit more complex. On the side of their usual primitive and aggressive tone, perfect song compositions turned their music more diverse without changing their style or wihout to experiment with different influences. The involving of occasional atmospheric background almost gave new dimensions to the sound, but sadly these were not used so often to open a new chapter in the band's life. However these small changes were enough to give a different impression to "Hate" and to increase it's effectiveness. The third masterpiece of Sinister was still unable to cause any disappointment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Darkthrone - Panzerfaust (1995)

   As one of the most productive and creative Norwegian black metal bands, Darkthrone experimented with plenty of styles. After debuting with a death metal album, they developed the ordinary Norse sound of black metal.
   Their most preferred and most popular period was between "Soulside Journey" and "Goatlord", and "Panzerfaust" was not only on the top of the black metal styled music they have made, but probably their best album too. They have tried all opportunities to go always further, and completely succeeded to develop the most suitable sound and to gather the catchiest themes for the ultimate touch of darkness. The atmosphere took lower part than earlier, but still it's enough effective. The strongest point of "Panzerfaust" is that even though the concept and the musical themes are simple, it's able to leave behind mixed feelings in the listener and to inject a complex impression. Suffering, hatred, rage, bitterness and the indispensable coldness are the main features of this impression that not many bands were able to reach and present like Darkthrone did.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Earthcorpse - Born Bleeding (1995)

   On the long list of forgotten death/doom bands, there is the name of Earthcorpse too. A band that carried so much pain and melancholy in it's catchy melodies that it could have intense effect even on the trained fans of doom.
   "Born Bleeding" would be an excellent doom metal album by it's themes, which are referring to the biggest classics of the genre. First it may sound that the problematic part for them was how to create the most suitable transition from doom to death metal. But as the album goes on, some progression could be sensed, the main tone turns slowly from completely letargic to angrier as the death metal themes having larger role than previously. As a death/doom album it's unpolished for sure, but the band's endeavour was clear and they didn't try to just chose one of the already existing ways of the genre or to copy any of it's bigger names. Earthcorpse tried to develop it's own way. Their music is definitely closer to the emotional, more melancholic direction even though they didn't operate with atmosphere at all, and that's definitely increase the value of their music. This is the old school touch of doom with a bit late arrival, but sounds refreshing amongst the mass of newbie atmospheric bands.