Friday, February 22, 2019

Golgotha - New Life (2005)

   Golgotha was founded in 1992 by Vincente Paya, the guitarist of Unbounded Terror. Even though they are a doom metal band, the influence of their founding member left a notable sign on their music, cause they played always more intense than most doom bands.
   At the vocal style they didn't follow completely the classical trends of the genre, cause they involved shouting vocals too. On "New Life" they went further and therefore this became their most outstanding album. Their music became more unified, there was no sign of the experiments and other weird ideas they had previously. The themes turned heavier too, maybe to keep up with the growling that sounds uncommonly brutal for doom metal. If the rough, deep growls might sound familar, it's not an unexplainable déjá vu, because Dave Rotten (Avulsed) was invited to do the vocals for the album. By this step they've made a contrast with the strong melancholic atmosphere created by keyboards. And it's quite interesting to listen as Mr. Rotten growls about lovesickness and emotional breakdowns by his silky voice. Even though the result is unusual, this combination worked well and seemed effective. "New Life" is a brilliant album in it's own way and showed a new and very heavy perspective for depressive melancholy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Art of Blasphemy - Use Your Idols!!! (2005)

   As black metal became the most popular extreme metal genre and outgrew itself, plenty of new bands showed up to play this style how it shouldn't be played. Or from a different perspective: newer bands showed other alternatives by forming the style to their own taste, and added a new point of view. It's always the listener's thing to decide.
   The provoking and exaggerated imagery of The Art of Blasphemy didn't illustrate the compromiselessness of their music, because the influence of Cradle of Filth is easier to find there than any musical references to the classics of the genre. They often completed their atmospheric sound with some symphonic background, but the simplicity of their themes and the same evil-wretched gremlin voice also showed similarities to Cradle of Filth. In truth mostly the sound, the concept and the vocal style could be found responsible for the genre selection. The middle speed groovy themes they preferred could fit into plenty of other styles except to black metal. The occasional hammering parts can compense some, but the album still remains quite melodic and audience-friendly. Without the atmosphere and by different vocals it could be even party-compatible too. Though "Use Your Idols!!!" wasn't a bad album, and sounds decent as a debut, it didn't include the dark and inhuman impression that could be expected by their main concept.

Belëf - Infection Purification (2005)

   Belëf by their one and only full-lenght album followed a newer direction of black metal, that skipped the strong mysterious atmosphere that was one of the essential features of the genre.
   This style was the most effectively introduced by Marduk, and the members of Belëf would be in big trouble if they had to keep in secret their Marduk addiction. The exaggerated aggression that could be heard on "Infection Purification" is quite effective and the clear sound of the album increased it's level of extremity. Instead of the atmosphere they focused on chaotic themes, and therefore the main impression is not far from blackened death metal. Not to mention that their combination of aggressiveness and chaos resulted total insanity. By the lyrics they followed the same line. There are no fantasies of lurking evil or slowly embracing darkness, but mass destruction and some horror references. So even though the record is high quality allround, it's still not easy to go into or to enjoy in full-lenght without getting permanent brain damage. It might be not the most ideal decision to listen to for those who prefer the sound of  Norwegian black metal. "Infection Purification" is more recommended for the fans of the intensiveness of black/death and for those who never can get enough from Marduk. 

Atarxie - Slow Transcending Agony (2005)

   Even though funeral doom and death/doom metal didn't become potencial audience favorites, both styles made a large step compared to the '90s. The poor rehearsal sound of funeral doom classics passed as the numbers of similar bands increased such as the quality of their music.
   Ataraxie was a perfect example to illustrate the progress. Their debut "Slow Transcending Agony" was such an all-round high quality record, that wasn't common to find previously. Slow, repetitive melodies gave the basic down-pulling atmosphere of their songs that are sounding like chapters of pure endless agony. The clear and excellent sound quality seemed more effective on this field than noise created atmosphere. It's a great mix of death and doom metal, as it's introducing perfectly the hopelessness of long term suffer, that seems like will never end. The heaviness came by the noisy themes and the butally deep growling that ends up often in agonizing screams. The song lengths and their monotonely bouncing slowness reached the level of funeral doom, but sometimes turns to intense hammering. The contrast they've created by these rare but repeating speed changes left the dominating role to dark melancholy, so there is definitely enough time for the listener to face it's inner suffer before some refreshing aggression arrives. It's a strongly recommended album for the fans of depressing heaviness. 

Interlock - Crisis/./Reinvention (2005)

   The one and only full-lenght album of Interlock sounds like a band's attempt to jump right into the middle of the elite of the '00s mainstream metal scene. They did that by following a recipe from the imaginary book of "How to become fancy now". The problem could be that it's mostly too late when similar recipes are able to manifest, cause the main musical scene takes another direction meanwhile.
   Interlock was different from anything that could be heard in the British scene. They didn't involve any local traditional influences, but to copy the actual American trends is also a very common alternative way there (mostly at less known bands). They mixed industrial with metal, but in a genuine way. The prints of the classical '80s and '90s industrial appearing only occasionally, they preferred to operate with the new, modern direction of the genre that is opened to a wider range of electronic music. It might be hard to distinguish the metal styles they involved. The strong nu metal influences are evident, but to express heavier depths, more aggressive features could be heard, like melodic death, but they were not afraid from blast beasts either. The vocals are showing the same diversity by male and female vocals the same time, clear singing and growling by both. "Crisis/./Reinvention" is like a bag of collection of everything that could have worked that time to spark wide interest. That's why the approach of the songs was various too, once melodic, than rageful, once emotional like a ballad, than dark and cold. Despite that they did their best to show the widest possible diversity and they did it in high quality, things have been changed in the music scene, and the imaginay recipe too with it. But Interlock's music still remained as an interesting alternative of industrial metal. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Aura Hiemis - Terra Umbrarum - Ruin & Misery (2005)

   The new, modern sound of doom metal was represented and introduced from an individual aspect by Aura Hiemis, a one man project from Chile.
    What makes it sound modern compared to ordinary doom? The diversity of course. The old heavy metal centric themes reduced and heavier influences took their place. Aura Hiemis preferred to use the contrast of melancholic melodies and death/doom referring heaviness, to operate with clear singing and deep growls the same time. However the melancholy stayed dominant and the sympathy for death/doom just minimally expanded to the themes. The depressive, mystical impression that just flows from "Terra Umbrarum" somehow seems to keep referring back to romance and lovesickness, so the main view isn't so desperately dark either to call for a priest urgently to administer the last rites. The unexpected intros cutten from "Lord of the Rings" also keeping the romantic touch. In the case of one man bands there is the danger that the outcomes will be too monotonous and unifacial, but Mr. Felipe V. really did his best. He played on guitars, bass, keyboards and did the clear singing and growling vocals too. The only weak point could be the programmed beats, that simply cannot offer even nearly the similar intensiveness that real drums could. The double bass doesn't sound more effective than tapping fingers on table. "Terra Umbrarum" is a double album, and the second part (Misery) is like another (and weaker) alternative of the first one (Ruin). By this extented lenght and diversity, the album coud be a potencial long term favorite for doom metal fans.

En las Espesas Nieblas - De memorias y destinos (2005)

   The influence of bands like Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Moonspell, Tiamat, ect. was very common to find in the main scene of the '00s. Especially at bands who played doom and death/doom related music. Even if some of them preferred to switch styles, their gloomy gothic or dark touch left a recognizable mark in the music of newer bands.
   The situation was not different in the case of En las Espesas Nieblas either. Like every worthwhile doom metal album, their one and only full-lenght release starts with rain too, and noises of flute adding some spiritual impression to the starting gloom. Their music definitely belongs to the modern sound of doom (with archaic recording quality and rehearsal sound), but they also involved plenty of classic influences. The depressive melodies and clear singing are longer lasting of course, but the heavier themes assisted by growling vocal creating some balance by their temporary and effective show up. The various catchy themes and occasional speed ups (only to middle speed) could be a source of excitement for those who don't find the genre totally boring. The extented song lenghts giving enough time and possibility to enjoy the dark and gloomy anguish. The songs were well composed and could be suitable as background music for long term depressive agony.

Amputated Genitals - Human Meat Gluttony (2005)

  The competition to play so exaggerated music as it's possible ended in the early '90s already. But there are bands from time to time who prefer to pick that line again and trying to exceed others.
   Amputated Genitals was one of them, and even by the name selection they didn't try to hide their intentions. Their extremely sick brutal death metal mainly refers to old Cannibal Corpse by both the musical features and the extremely violent and disgusting lyrical topics. By the themes they tried to create a similarly intense ground and the drumming style shows plenty of similarities too, not the mention the guttural deep growling that couldn't even nearly serve as an example of decent articulation. In the lyrics they focused on the less tolerable topics: serial killing, and the most violent and sadistic ways of murders led by endlessly twisted sexual lust. The simple narrating style may made them even more outrageous, and these references probably refreshed bad memories in Germany where the early Cannibal Corpse albums were banned (even if by this vocal style the lyrics are not understandable at all). So this record wasn't really welcomed there either. However there is an endless line of brutal death bands, and even the number of gore addicts isn't low, but Amputated Genitals successfully managed to mark out from them by their raw and massive brutality.

Necroccultus - Encircling the Mysterious Necrorevelation (2005)

   Necroccultus started to play something in the early '00s that couldn't be heard since a while: old school death metal. Mostly those older bands stayed at this style who didn't want to follow the new waves of the main scene, or those who didn't have the chance for an album release in the '90s. So the occasional appearence of some newbies was kind of refreshing.
   The band's full-lenght debut "Encircling the Mysterious Necrorevelation" is all-round old school, sounds even similar how '90s death metal releases sounded. The lyrics also referring back to the most common topics of the classics of the genre. First of all the influence of Swedish death could be sensed in their music. The same simple and heavy themes they played with some returning melodies, that turning the basic aggressively primitive approach catchier. These are the most recognizable features of Northern death metal, and their show up may cause nostalgic feelings. The album is quite intense during it's full-lenght, as it's expectable from a band that follows old fashioned tendencies. And also includes some enjoyable sick surprises for the fans of old school Swedish death.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Rigor Sardonicous - Apocalypsis Damnare (2005)

    "Apocalypsis Damnare" was the first full-lenght album of Rigor Sardonicous, re-released in 2005 as their third one. They sound like a mainly Thergothon influenced funeral doom band that prefers death/doom themes, but Rigor Sardonicous exists since the late '80s, when even the term "funeral doom" didn't exist yet. So probably old school death metal bands were their first influences.
  In this case something had to change suddenly when bands like Thergothon and Skepticism showed up. The same endlessly extented and slow themes could be heard on "Apocalypsis Damnare", but in a noisier, heavier version and in better quality. Even though they still didn't go further with the sound quality than the level of a rehearsal record, still more could be heard out from their music than from the classics of the genre. The noise creates a monotonous down pulling atmosphere and a very deep, probably artificially distorted vocal growls about the less bright side of life... in fact mostly about it's end. To compense their short staffed lineup, they used programmed beats, but like in most cases when people doing that who have low percusion experience, the result often sounds like if the carpet would be pulled out under someone who falls right back onto a pile of dish. That might be hard to imagine in this style, but at the occasional death/doom speed ups it could be sensed. Except these small aesthetical issues the album could be entertaining for the fans of heavily demoralizing sound.