REVIEWS

From Encyclopedia Metallum (2013):

Abysmal Depths - The Pain Shows In Dead Woods

Dark images, bits of hope, and tear-fodder pianos! - 91%

I'll be honest right off the bat -- I have little to no knowledge on the Mexican black metal scene. If it's anything more like what I'm hearing on this album, though, I'll be way more inclined to check out more of it. 
 
A short symphonic intro later, we dive into a world of the "Dead Woods." Presumably ones similar that are shown in the album cover of this CD, I must say it captures the mood of the sound quite well. A roaring marriage of guitar and synth strings make their way across whatever room you're in, and the raw drums pound around to remind you that you're still on the ground. I've always heard of bands trying to make themselves appear "foresty" and "woodsy" and the like, but they never pulled off the atmosphere that I imagined when I had heard that description. These guys definitely pulled it off. The best example to describe it is the "far away" drums. It almost feels like if you were to move a certain branch or tree, then you would hear the drums in full, but instead, you get this muffled, distant sound. It's definitely original in production value. There are very few artists that I can think of to name that have this "foresty" production value, One of them being the obvious Ukrainian woodsy-metal masters Drudkh. 

 
Ever take pottery classes? Neither have I. That's why I'll have to make a reference to Runescape since it's the only reason I have even the slightest idea as to how to make pottery crafts. To make solid bowls made out of clay, you first have to grab the clay, and add a bucket of water to it. This creates a very liquid-like mesh. How does this relate to this album, you ask? Well, the reason I reference a now-defunct video game is because I can think of no better way to describe how these guitars sound other than a liquid-like mesh. The bass and guitar seem to be so muted and far away that they just sound like a single entity, in a supportive way. If the bass exists without the guitar, it will sound non-existent. If the guitar exists without the bass, it will sound non-coherent. To deliberately make a reference to The Rifleman's creed, The bass and guitars will have this to say about each other. "This is my guitar/bass tone. Without me, it is nothing, Without it, I am nothing." 

 
The vocals seem to be your tour guide into this forest of gloom and death. Although the assumed broken-English lyrics of Tortured, the vocalist, are very apparent through the titles alone, (Entered Your Fucking World is a good contender for overly-edgy track name of the year) They are quite haunting. Ever seen the cover for Borgne's "Entraves de l'Âme" album? With the specter that looks like it has a blanket sheet on him in the middle of the woods? That's what I imagine the vocalist to be like in this album story, except wearing a hue of swamp-green. No matter how humorous the visual of this may seem, it's still a pretty haunting concept. A weird-looking green specter following you, while screaming the sights of this apparent suicide forest? Definitely haunting. Around five minutes in of "He's Dead", you can clearly see what I mean. The vocal production itself is quite similar to the drums. Distant, far away, the fingerprints of a reverbaholic all of the place, these are all suitable visuals for the vocals.

 
I know this is a depressive black metal release, but it has some damn good non-depressive riffs as well. ALMOST anger-filled riffs such as the ones on track 6, "Within Forest." I believe one of the better reasons that this is a release going towards more the side of enjoyable is the fact that it's quite versatile. Granted, I wouldn't recommend this album to strict death metal listeners, but I would recommend it to fans of traditional black metal, depressive black metal, and doom metal alike. As mentioned before, track 6 has quite the traditional black metal riffing in it. It works well as a good transition into the somber melancholic tracks that haunt the very imprints of this entire jewel case. 

 
The album ends on a beautiful note; a piano outro to soothe your ears from the noise of depression that has been graced all over this album. Seriously, this track made me stop my typing on this review just to hear it for a second time, it truly is beautiful. The type of beautiful that you'd expect to hear at the end of a really prolonged suffering, and as the last note hits, you can visualize a soul flying far away from this horrible forest, and into the embrace of eternity. Ahem, well, it seems like I'm all out of tissues. Anyway, the above being said, it's definitely one of the strongest tracks on this album, as well as the anger-filled sadness of "He's Dead" and "Screams." Be sure to check out those tracks at the very least if you get a chance to listen or sample this album at all. So far my only complaint on this album is the fact that it can be very repetative, and this is coming from someone who absolutely loves Alrakis, Drudkh, Moloch and the like. However, this really does not ruin the atmosphere, nor does it ruin replay value. That being said, I hope to see you as a tortured spirit in the extremely dark atmosphere of "The Pain Shows In Dead Woods."  -Markov, August 24th, 2013


==================================================================

From DOA Magazine #3 (2012):

APOSTATE
TRAPPED IN A SLEEP
METALLIC MEDIA
8 SKULLS

 
These Ukrainian Doom Metal tyrants have been subjecting the tender ears
of mortal man to excruciating agony since their inception way back in
1993, and now, with the release of the opus that is Trapped in a Sleep,
they have achieved the zenith of their bleak and depressive career. From
the crushing melodies of “Earth Escape Plan” to the plodding majesty of
“Filling the Void” to the majestic, yet subdued symphonies of “Eternal
Return, this one will take you on an emotional roller coaster from which
you may never recover. You need not be a fan of Doom Metal or Symphonic
Metal or even metal to appreciate the complexities and raw emotional
impact of Trapped in a Sleep. (DH)


====================================================================== 

From This Noise Is Ours (2015):

Astarium - Atenvx

 

Tonight I'm revisiting a revisiting a Russian black metal band that's been featured here a few time before. I'm retrospectively reviewing the 2013 album Atenvx that was released on CD by Metallic Media. Also released on tape by both Hell Division Productions and Apocalyptic Art, Atenvx was Astariun's fourth and latest full-length. It's difficult for studio-only projects to gain and keep traction, especially those from peripheral countries like Russia, so it's testament to SiN's persistence that Astarium is still going strong ten years on from it's formation in 2005.

After glancing at the cover art that contains a star-filled sky and a motif that looks like a constellation, you’re propelled deeper into the otherworldly atmosphere of Astarium with opening instrumental Crepuscle. Howl To The Curst is a departure from the stark distance of Crepuscle. It features Astarium’s trademark black metal and SiN’s unique growling vocals. SiN’s lyrics are in English on this release, which makes it more accessible.

The symphonic side to Astarium’s sound comes through more on Avernus Legion. I still find it amazing that one person can create music like this without the backing of a full band, even now. Most of SiN’s music with Astarium is self-recorded and played using synths/electronics, yet doesn’t sound artificial. The textures and layers that make up Spiral Of Purgatory, give the song great momentum. The organ-style melody that flows through the song adds more orchestral atmosphere too. It does remind me of an old arcade-game soundtrack, but that comparison is meant with no disrespect to the music on Atenvx.

On Lycanthropy Seal, which heralds in the second half of the album, Astarium weave images of the cold Russian winter with the sounds of howling wolves. The ambient piano and strings during the intro passage paints a beautiful picture before minimal black metal takes over. The tracks on Atenvx seem to be very focused, with Judicum Dei being the longest at just over five-minutes. Its that focus and good song-writing that gives this album a lot of momentum.

Penultimate song Realm Of Nykta is the last full black hymn on Atenvx and typifies that momentum I was talking about. It’s all rounded out by instrumental track In Stygian Bog, which rumbles to the sound feedback and distant strings. It’s more haunting yet it features some startlingly good jazzy-bass mid-way through. I was not expecting that! It's off kilter and shows a more organic side to Astarium.


====================================================================== 

From Crown Of Viserys (2015):

Astarium – Atenvx



Genre: Black Metal Label: Metallic Media

This is my second review for Metallic Media, and once again it is for a Russian black metal band, this time featuring only one man behind the banner of Astarium.

The album opens with “Crepuscule”, an instrumental that is very simplistic but beautiful in it’s guitar/keyboards/programmed martial drumming and closes with “In Stygian Bog”, a mostly instrumental that brings a slightly industrial feel through it’s drums, samples (it is in a bog, after all) and it’s highly atmospheric keyboard.

Between these two songs lie six tracks of very atmospheric, lo-fi black metal that hearkens to Dimmu Borgir‘s classic debut For All Tid and it’s following album Stormblåst, as well as Emperor‘s earliest works. Most of the songs are generally a slower mid-pace, with that same industrialized touch that, for me, works wonderfully. Nikolai Sikeritskiy, the man behind the band, uses multiple vocal stylings throughout, from a necro growling to a highly echo/reverb coated spoken word. He rarely goes high pitched, or even very fast, giving his vocals room to inhabit their own space within the music. The songs themselves are just on the long side of radio length, averaging four and-a-half minutes in length, which I am very thankful for. Some bands can do long songs, but sometimes an eight minute black metal track just gets fucking boring, a crime that Astarium do not commit at all, in length or sound.

In all, Astarium‘s fourth full length album, Atenvx, is a really good symphonic black metal album that is also wonderfully raw and highly atmospheric. It has elements of martial and industrial black metal, and does not constrain itself to one simple sound. It is a rewarding listen and if my recommendations are worth anything, I recommend this. It’s great listening for cold morning drives.

======================================================================

From Vibrations Of Doom Magazine (2013):
   
ASTARIUM "Wyrm Of Melancholy" (Metallic Media)   SCORE: 84/100

We've added a LOT of new record labels this year to our roster, and what's
interesting about Metallic Media is they're based right here in the U.S., but
most of their releases are from varying parts of the world (like Mexico and
Italy). This band hails from Russia, and is a one man black metal project with
some interesting twists. You will notice right away that the drums are pre-
programmed and the guitars sound electronically enhanced, while there are a ton
of synths permeating each and every track. There's also a LOT of winter snow
storm and howling wind sound effects utilized as well, to remind us we're in
the middle of a freezing Russian winter landscape. Opener 'Unrelieved Solitude'
reminds you at first of ambient black metal, and to be honest, the synthesized
passages are way more diverse and varied than the guitars, which almost seem
TOO simplistic. Still, one other thing about this disc: you're either going to
love or hate the vocals; let's just say that they borrow heavily from the
croaking blackened delivery employed by the band Inquisition. The lyrical
content is delivered at a rather doom metal pace; in fact this band has a TON
of doomy tempo structures. I thought the melancholic and almost beautiful
atmospheres on this track were good, though that "tortured man" near the end
of this track threatened to ruin the mood. Maybe intentional. I REALLY dig the
followup 'Kingdom Of White Madness,' especially with the symphonics. It has a
rather majestic feel akin to Mysteriarch or Vesperian Sorrow, but Astarium has
a sound all it's own. It definitely conjures up the cold, eerie kingdom. This
is one of my favorite cuts. Followup 'Voices From The Night Sky' is a bit long
for an instrumental at 5:15, but the shortwave radio and sonar sounds amidst
the melodic instrumentation remind you of the depths of the Siberian wasteland
where some scientist is searching the skies for sings of Extraterrestrial Life!
The eerie waltz synth notes of 'Farewell' were VERY interesting; let it not be
said that SiN can't create unusual and different atmospheres! This cut will put
you in the mind of being in an ancient haunted castle. Still, you start to
notice the length of these songs; one thing I was concerned with was the lack
of variety for such lengthy songs. Finally we come to my all time favorite cut
on the disc 'Revival Of Cursed Spirit.' The stomping through the forest sounds
and howling wolves gives this a sinister air, but the synths really drive this
point home. Once again, a slow to mid tempo pace, but almost 7 minutes in
length. Still, the atmosphere created here is not to be missed. The 3 minute
instrumental 'Velleity About Aeonian Rain' is interesting, and of course you
probably already figured out there's some stream or brook samples going on.
The rest of the CD (the following three tracks) aren't bad, but definitely
don't have as much going for them as the previously mentioned tracks. Don't get
me wrong, they're still good, but it seems like SiN was running short on ideas,
as 'Grief Of The Fallen' is rather minimal and somewhat straightforward (though
once again, the bell notes give it a funereal atmosphere). 'When Humanity Will
Die' seems to have this avalanche of rocks and snow down the mountain sound
while portraying some beautiful ambient synth pieces. It's a 7 minute cut of
melancholy, followed by the CD ending bonus track, a 5 minute instrumental
featuring cool pianos and the subway noise... All in all, it's a very unique
and different take on ambient black metal with DEFINITE structures in doom
metal. It's been said that his next release will be a more straightforward
black metal affair, but I definitely wouldn't mind to hear stronger songs in
this vein sometime in the future... An artist to keep a keen eye on.


======================================================================

From This Noise Is Ours (2014):
Astarium - Wyrm of Melancholy

I've decided to focus my next three reviews on three bands that have been featured multiple times on these pages. Three bands who play ambient black metal and are located in Eastern Europe. The first of the three is Russian solo-project Astarium. Having already featured Astarium's Ostracism of Anachoret tape as well as the bands three-way split with Gmork and In Tenebriz, it's now the turn of the 2012 full-length Wyrm of Melancholy. Astarium has been releasing music for eight years now and Wyrm of Melancholy is the band's third full length. It was released by Metallic Media.


I always think that musicians who release music as solo-projects must be very skilled, because not only do they write and play all parts of the music they create, but they also record it all and usually master it to some extent. Astarium has always come across as a very genuine band. With the calm opener Unrelieved Solitude, with it’s sensitive guitar riffs, ambience and whispered vocals you can tell that Astarium cares about the listener. The vocals are in English, which isn’t always the case with bands of this ilk that call Eastern Europe home. The song is the perfect minimal introduction to Wyrm of Melancholy.


Astarium experiments with different instrumental sounds during Kingdom of White Madness. The organ, while electronic, still adds some haunting melody that sits below the blackened vocals. It is obvious that this is a solo-project, but the volume and the quality of the music does not suffer at all. 


There are hints of cosmic influences within the too. The blips and sounds that greet you at the of Voices From The Night Sky sound like extraterrestrials trying to communicate with you through your speakers. The clean guitar and keys that create the initial melody are not reminiscent of the black ambient blueprint that the band follows, but they bring this instrumental song to life.

Farewell (Last Winter) is very dramatic, with orchestral layers and impressive lead work. The gargled black metal growls of SiN give the song a sinister edge. Considering the songs on Wyrm of Melancholy are longer in their lengths and mid-paced, they don’t outstay their welcome or get boring. 


SiN’s appreciation of orchestral arrangements can be heard more clearly during Revival of Cursed Spirit. The song’s verses flow well and the gentle piano provides yet another musical layer to Astarium’s arsenal. The running water of Velleity About Aeonian Rain provides the perfect backdrop for this shortened instrumental piece. The mood swings back toward darkness with Grief of The Fallen, with the re-introduction of SiN’s growls.


The penultimate song When Humanity Will Die… is a slow burner. At over seven minutes long, it takes it’s time. The one thing that has struck me about this album is how minimalistic it sounds and how the use of distortion and guitar is not overdone. It’s left to Permafrost to end proceedings with what sounds like a train during the ambient passages of this instrumental song. A lot of care and work was put into this album and while it may not be the kind records that gives you instant gratification, it is still a good listen. It requires your attention throughout and rewards you with some very nice musicianship and overall structure. This might surprise you.

======================================================================

From Lords Of Metal e-zine (2012):

Astarot / Lux Funestus / Du Temps Perdu / Neftarak - Split (Split cd)
Metallic Media
file under black/pagan metal

Marcel H.: Three Mexican bands and a Malaysia none on one and the same split. No idea how bands from two such different countries get to be featured on the same split. Well, actually that doesn’t matter at all, especially not due to the fact that the four fit musically perfectly. Think of Xasthur-like black metal, so, depressive and with ambient passages. The Malaysians from Neftaraka incorporate almost no ambient parts into their music but due to their slow pace and depressive character fit well with the other three Astarot, Lux Funestus, Du Temps Perdu. Shame about this split release is the fact that the volume level differs immensely from band to band. Had this been the same throughout the split the album would have come across as an entity and not something consisting of four parts. People who are into Xasthur and enjoy ambient-like and depressive black should certainly give this split a listen. Rating: 74/100

======================================================================

From The Elitist Metalhead Webzine (2015):

Auðn - Auðn 

When it comes to Scandinavian metal, especially black metal, most people automatically think Norway. Although not technically part of Scandinavia, Iceland is starting to produce some good metal bands. Auðn, an atmospheric black metal band is a new band that I discovered while scanning Bandcamp and my life is much better because of it. They seem to remind me of Vinterbris as they are quite good at producing some great atmosphere without the use of keyboards or effects. Their debut self titled album is a blast of melody, aggression, and atmosphere that makes this band one to watch for because I predict big things for them.

The atmosphere of this album sets in immediately with the album opener "Klerkaveldi." Clean eerie sounding guitars set the mood then lead into some heavy riffs. This band doesn't seem to need to rely solely on blast beats because this is a mid paced song with loads of heaviness but also with plenty of melody that provides an eerie atmosphere. The English translation of this band's name is Desolation and that's the atmosphere they are pulling off. The vocals are a black metal rasp that's not too screechy but also add to the atmosphere they are trying to convey. "Sífreri" uses some blast beats and killer tremolo riffs in the beginning but slow it down in the middle with some softer clean guitars that build to some epic riffs to wind up the song. It's that type of atmosphere that makes you actually feel the cold and grimness of this album. Being from a cold and grim place this bands is a perfect representation of what Icelandic metal should be.

"Feigð" is just over five minutes long but shows the bands entire dynamic in this epic song. Clean guitars that display that cold and eerie atmosphere kick this song off as it builds to some blast beats and tremolo riffs while still having those beautiful melodies that gives this song such and epic feel. The middle of the song blasts faster with some awesome tremolo riffs that just add more to the epic atmosphere of this song. As I listen further to this album it is becoming more apparent that, although this may not be a concept album, this is an album that must be listened to in it's entirety rather than focusing on individual songs. This band seems to put all they have into each song making them more like compositions than songs. "Þjáning Heillar þjóðar" is another of those epic numbers that flow with all the beauty and all the aggression of the previous songs but with something extra that I just can't pin point to really go all out for the "goose bump" effect. Once a band gets me to that point, I'm hooked.

The album closes with the title track and they just go balls out epic on this one. Clocking in at close to nine minutes, this song just grabs you from the very star, holding nothing back. This is epic, this is aggressive, and this is absolutely beautiful. The melodic lead guitar that enters the song about a third of the way in is the icing on the cake. This band is capable of adding so many different elements into each song and that, to me, is a sign of great songwriting. My only complaint about this album is it's length. I feel like an album that is this epic should last a bit longer than thirty-six and a half minutes. If you enjoy epic, melodic black metal than this album is essential. It has all the ingredients of a classic. As I said, I am predicting big things for this talented band.


9.5/10
 

 ====================================================================== 

From ConcreteWeb (2014):


Artist: Black Cult
Album Title: Neo-Satanism
Release Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Label: Metallic Media
Distribution: Grimm Distribution
Review Type: CD


Black Cult were formed at the end of last year when two guys with quite an impressive reputation within the Croatian Extreme Metal scene decided to join forces: multi-instrumentalist Dalibor ‘Insanus’ Franjkic (think: Castrum, Unholy Inquisition, Ashes You Leave, Gorthaur’s Wrath, Hibernum a.m.o.) and lyricist / vocalist Igor ‘Morbid’ (of Unholy Inquisition / Gorthaur’s Wrath / Mysterium-fame). They had same-minded ideas and soon they wrote, recorded and released a first album, Neo-Satanism. In mean time, by the way, the duo is joined by three other well-known musicians from the Croatian (Black) Metal scene, who did play with them before in one or another band: Lesnik (Dark Realm, Kult Perunov, Gorthaur’s Wrath, Voloch, Nekrist etc.), Azaghal (Gorthaur’s Wrath, Unholy Inquisition, Hibernum), and Saathaen (Ashes You Leave, Heathen Mysticism, Castrum).

Neo-Satanism was recorded at the Dungeon Studio at the end of 2013 with Insanus taking care of mix and production (he did produce most stuff from his other bands too). The album lasts for an hour and is a symbiosis of these guys’ former efforts, and more. Opening track Demon-stration immediately demon-strates (got it?) the professional qualities of Insanus and Morbid (both of them for the execution, and the first one for the song writing too). It stands for rather traditional Black Metal, the fierce and fast way, filled with brutal outbursts, melodious riffing and timeless rhythms. Especially the trans-European scene comes to mind, with a focus on the Swedish one (cf. Dark Funeral, Setherial, Marduk and the likes), but Black Cult do not sound like a cheap copy-cat. They create an own universe of neo-Satanic Aural Art, and this of the most nasty and ugly kind, with no room for rest, tranquillity, peace or forgiveness. The take-no-prisoners attitude gets strengthened by the impressive, full sound quality; this grandiose sound gets proven by a fantastic mix (every single instrument has its own place into the whole, there’s room for each single contributor) and a production that spits on clinical detaillism, yet without turning into noisy pulp.

The individual songs aren’t the most waw-effecting compositions I’ve ever experienced, but the execution, persuasion and energy are not easy to equal. I am little afraid that, because of the overload on strong releases lately, this specific album won’t become the most ‘popular’ release in history, but since there is nothing wrong with any detail at all, I still do recommend it to the hard-core fan of the scene. You won’t be disappointed, if you like your meat the bloody way (even still crawling around…).

Oh yes, I can’t end this chapter without mentioning a really great cover version of Burzum’s Jesus Tod. Of course the original can’t be equalled in whatever (the whole pre-jail era of Burzum, with Filosofem on top, just can’t be redone as majestic as etc…), but this effort is exceptionally satisfying. Truly a great thing to end this debut album with, Black Cult!
Ivan Tibos.
77/100


======================================================================

From DOA Magazine #7 (2016):

CHIRAL

ABISSO

BLACK PLAGUE RECORDS/METALLIC MEDIA

8 SKULLS

CHIRAL is a one-man project conceived by Chiral in 2013 for the sole purpose of crafting confusing dissonance, haunting melodies and soul-killing chaotic noise. Exploring topics ranging from solitude to depression to pain and death, Chiral attacks the guitar like a man possessed, screeches like a woman in labor and writes rambling diatribes like a deranged serial killer scribbling a confession on the walls of an insane asylum in his own blood. Metal purists will find themselves confused throughout this whole affair as harsh, screeching riffs are suddenly displaced by long acoustic interludes, but in truth the album works fairly well as a sorrowful journey down the long winding spiral into the abyss. Have a razor blade handy for this one. (DH)
======================================================================

From DOA Magazine #5 (2014):

COLDBLOOD
CHRONOLOGY OF SATANIC EVENTS
METALLIC MEDIA
8 SKULLS


Brazilian Death Metal cult COLDBLOOD have been conjuring forth metallic mayhem since the release of their Terror Stench demo back in 1992, and in the intervening two decades have only released two full-length albums. Under the Blade I Die (2007) and now, Chronology of Satanic Events (2013) both create dark and evil atmospheres through the use of harsh vocals, chaotic musical compositions, disturbing samples and ear-piercing guitar riffs that attack your senses like barrages of machine-gun fire. Lyrics are well-researched with song titles like “Anthropomorphic Idolatry”, “Hell Transcendental” and “Metastasis (Christ)” raging forth with diatribes of anti-Christian doctrine, but it is the forceful nature of the music that will have you grabbing your upside-down cross and hitting the streets in search of pedophile priests and rosary bead-clutching old ladies to slaughter. (DH)

======================================================================

From DOA Magazine #4 (2012):

DISCREATE
CONTINGENT DEVELOPMENT OF INANIMATE MODIFICATIONS
METALLIC MEDIA
7 SKULLS

These are either actual recordings of cancerous pigs being
disemboweled or a collection of some of the most sickening and depraved
“music” ever recorded. Judging from the inlay photos of Miko (vocals,
Mike (guitar) and Em (drums) my vote would have to be for the cancerous
pigs but I could be wrong. Only 3 “songs” are excreted here (“Multiple
Stab Wounds”, “The Pleasure of Eternal Killing” and “Thought Forms
Perverted”) but you will feel as though you have put your brain through
a meat grinder by the end. This is the kind of release that gives Death
Metal a bad name and yet I still find myself nodding my head along to
each sickening beat. Throw in a classic “maximum security prisoner with
too much time on his hands cover drawing” and this explosive vomit of a
release is complete. (DH)

======================================================================

From Global Domination webzine:

Discreate: Contingent development of inanimate modifications

22/03/12  ||  BamaHammer

 

I haven’t heard much stuff from the Philippines, but what I have heard is actually some quality shit. Discreate is no different. They’ve got the whole stereotypical “br00tal” death metal sound down, and they are definitely not afraid to give it a whirl with their own flavors mixed in. The vocals are pretty much incoherent throughout, à la Jasad or many other brutal death metal bands from the eastern Asia, so if you like that sort of thing, this album will probably be something you dig. The vocals are very prominent and sound like Chris Barnes colon croaking. The guitar riffs and drum work are fairly tight and performed at hyperspeed, which I thoroughly enjoy, but things do get just a bit repetitious repetitious after a few spins, which is saying something since this is just a three-song EP clocking in at under 10 minutes. Now, I love brutal death metal, and this is an EP that I like, and I’ve heard a lot worse than this. And the cover is pretty cool.

6/10: Butt-burped vocal lines.

 ======================================================================

From DOA Magazine (2016):

EXTERMINAS

DICHOTOMY

SATANATH RECORDS/METALLIC MEDIA

10 FUCKING SKULLS

A harrowing journey into the darkest reaches of the netherworlds, Dichotomy is the second full-length descent into darkness by Italian Black metal masters EXTERMINAS and this time out they will settle for nothing less than dragging all life behind them into the void. Dark, complex, brooding compositions highlighted by wavering and grim guitar riffs, apocalyptic drum blasts and the unearthly howls of frontman Februus are but a few of the highlights of this stellar release as repeated listenings continue to reveal additional layers of complexity. Tracks like “Unleashing the Cruelty”, “Wandering from the Death’s Shore” and “The Dawn of Deceit” swallow you whole with cascading waves of darkness and chaos and place EXTERMINAS firmly in the upper echelon of the Black Metal elite. Fucking ESSENTIAL! (DH)
======================================================================

From Encyclopedia Metallum (2012):

Exterminas – Seventh Demoniacal Hierarchy

For many young musicians, gates of hell open with black metal hymns uttered once by early Norwegian scene tenors. Trying to act like Euronymous or Fenriz, these little rascals write their first songs reproducing revered patterns found on 1990s cult albums. It’s almost a rite of passage, but only a few of these infernal troubadours manage to give a truly personal touch to a music copied a thousand times. It is therefore with great conviction that the young Italian band Exterminas begins its artistic career with an album drawing its source deep into the second wave of Norwegian black metal.
 
Admit at the outset that Seventh Demoniacal Hierarchy does nothing to disrupt orthodox black metal particularly rigid frameworks. It has however several qualities on which we can argue. First, I noted a very good song writing effort. Listeners are offered solid songs, populated with catchy riffs, especially on War Hymn, best title on the album. It’s also interesting to underline the care taken to change register for each songs. Thus, When All Becomes Nothing is more depressing, Demigod and the title track are fast and rhythmic, and A New Beginning starts slowly and grows with a strong doom influence.

 
As for the general atmosphere, it certainly resembles Darkthrone early efforts, but without this lo-fi sound that could discourage the less passionate. The group opts instead for a quality dry mix, evoking especially 1980s thrash metal.

 
Launching a first album is a band’s major life event. Members of the latter certainly do not want to miss their shot, sometimes resulting in additional song writing caution, thus trivializing music. Exterminas avoids this pitfall and gives us a very good first impression with a traditional black metal record, of course, but made with an undeniable passion. 7/10

(Originally written for Metal Obscur)


======================================================================

From DOA Magazine #7 (2016):

ILLNESS

TRAUMA

BLACK PLAGUE RECORDS/METALLIC MEDIA

9 SKULLS

Following a funeral-like intro highlighted by some impressively dark and foreboding piano work by Carrion, ILLNESS blasts into the title track, “Trauma” and you find yourself in the middle of a warzone. Layer upon layer of screeching, sobbing and gasping for air are soon swallowed whole by bombastic riffwork, sledgehammer drumming and the muffled screams of ILLNESS frontman Gulnar. This is pure fucking nihilism as ILLNESS attacks all your senses with flawlessly produced, complex walls of hellish noise and barbaric ideology all intent on stripping you of every last vestige of humanity in preparation for your journey through eternal night. Not for the uninitiated, ILLNESS is PURE FUCKING CULT! (DH)
======================================================================

From Witching Metal Webzine (2012):

Lucifer D. Larynx And The Satanic Grind Dogs of Death - Absolute Defilement 

Lucifer D. Larynx and the Satanic Grind Dogs of Death (henceforth referred to as LDL because fuck typing that again) is a grindcore band that originally formed some time during the 90’s and has put out a couple of demos, a split with Aussie grindsters The Kill and a self-titled EP. 


“Absolute Defilement” is their debut full length, which finally saw the light of day in April this year.
LDL play old-school grind in the most straightforward sense of the word. The main influences being the obvious suspects; early Napalm Death, early Brutal Truth, early Terrorizer, Repulsion and so on.  Pretty much every track starts off with a sample intro leading into a short and to the point song featuring catchy riffs, blasting drums that tend to worship Sandoval’s work on the first Terrorizer album, incoherent low growled vocals mixed up with some high pitched shrieks… all in all, rather stock standard grindcore fare. 

Basically, if you’re into old-school grind; you’ll dig this album, if you’re not, then it’s not going to change your opinion. There really isn’t much to be said about this type of music. LDL take an old and overdone formula, put their own spin on it and manage to play it well enough to stand above the legions of boring grind bands out there. These guys have done a top job and "Absolute Defilement" is a fine example of everything I like about grind.

4/5

======================================================================

From  Skull Fracturing Metal Zine (2012):

Lucifer D. Larynx And The Satanic Grind Dogs of Death - Absolute Defilement 

I'm gonna be completely honest and say that while I consider myself a grindcore fan, I'm not too keen on the newer acts, other than the really big ones of the scene, but I doubt that there are many out there who are better than Lucifer D. Larynx And The Satanic Grind Dogs of Death (Who from here on out will be referred to as LDL for the sake of me not having to type out that fucking name again). There is absolutely nothing original about the twenty tracks on this record, but when the material is heavy, crude and violent why does it need to be? Chances are if you don't have a sick or twisted kind of sense of humor, you may be deterred from this album as just about every track has a sample to start it off, usually referring to religion or gory kind of stuff (typical grind content). 

With only twenty tracks on an album that clocks in at 29 minutes, it doesn't take a math whiz to realize that a lot of these songs are short and to the point (Like 98% of the grind bands out there), but they're all solid. They all really follow the same patterns with a mix of midpaced riffs akin to the forefathers of grind Terrorizer, some faster and brutal riffage being pushed to the limit by blast beats and of course the obligatory tremolo bursts and whammy bar raping. The vocals shift between incoherent growls that sound like a behemoth deep down in a cave bellowing forth some satanic message and higher pitched shrieks that remind one of a band like Brutal Truth, and they fit the music perfectly. The drumming is nothing surprising to a fan of the grind genre, as it's pretty much just blasts and a lot of Pete Sandoval worshiping. 

What it really comes down to with LDL, is whether or not you enjoy vulgar noise of the grindcore fashion, and if you do, then "Absolute Defilement" is a record that you should probably pick up as soon as possible. This is definitely for fans of bands like Ghoul, Brutal Truth and Repulsion especially and if you don't like catchy, raunchy noise then enjoy listening to watered down shit like the new Terrorizer record.

======================================================================

From Crown Of Viserys (2015):

Lycanthropy – Dead Silence



Genre: Black Metal Label: Metallic Media

From Russia with hate, Lycanthropy lay down some black metal with a good dose of death infusion. Rather orthodox as far as their sound goes, this is one extremely raw album. No synths, just guitars, bass, and programmed drums, to keep it as kvlt as possible.

The EP starts off with an Intro that’s not even a full minute long, and unlike most black metal it’s not just an ambient track, but rather actually a short black metal instrumental with a sample at the start. “Oppressive Catastasis” follows, and it is only 1:24 long. Kvlt, fast, and short, and truly blackened, I wish it was longer. “Dead Silence” is the best track on the EP as far as non-bonus tracks go. It’s longer, more atmospheric, and has a slightly more thrashy feel, but still I think it could have been much longer. The Outro consists of samples and sounds for the first half, then like the intro, drops into a thrashy blackened attack.

The first two bonus tracks after the Outro is Lycanthropy‘s covers of Impaled Nazarene‘s “Vitutuksen Multihuipennus” and Ashen Light‘s “In Compassion to the Outcast”, both of which were released on cassette by Depressive Illusions in 2010 as the Former Glory… EP. Both do the tracks justice, but are ultimately not as cold sounding. The third bonus track is “You’ll Get A Hell”, remixed by Savavovchenko. It’s a real standout track because it’s not black metal, but a nice dark industrial.

======================================================================

From Forbidden Magazine (2012):

Moloch – Stiller Schrei des Winters

Recently I’ve been back into the cold majestic old ways of black metal with revisitation of my Summoning collection, some Lutomysl, Forteresse, Borgne, and now Moloch. Moloch is a solo artist from the Ukraine who has garnered a somewhat legendary status over his decade long existence and for good reason too. With the wailing and grisly emotional outbursts of vocals similar to 90’s era Burzum, inundated with nebulous guitar buzz and the explicit tempo kept by the drum machine songs like “Ein Dusterer Winter Kommt I and II” can’t avoid being compulsive for those who genuinely love the classic black metal sound that was atmospheric and bitterly aggressive.

Stiller Schrei Des Winters is yet another collection/compilation of Moloch material, but for those who haven’t picked up every EP,Demo,Split,etc. of his then this one is a solid must have as both an introduction and/or a way of picking up a few unfamiliar and hard to get/OOP tracks spanning his still active career. Sometimes his stuff is extremely ambient and rooted in pagan atmospherics and instrumental passages like the epic 22-minute saga “Abgrund Meinnes Wesens” on his Illusionen Eines Verloren Lebens, but Stiller Schrei… skips over the ambience (with the exception of two of the last few songs) and digs into the howling distorted uproar of emotions and shearing buzz chord songs instead.

Listening to the ghostly symphonic hints on “Meine Heidnisch-Spirituelle Reise Durch Die Walder Der Gefallenen” play out like a soundtrack to a Robert Wiene film (The Hands of Orlac, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) blending the supernatural, psychological probing, and gothic horror all in one feral mind fuck of a cocktail. There’s also a great acoustic guitar sounding passage and thunderstorm clips that capture that sense of need for isolation and self-introspection that is a Moloch trait seen in his song titles and felt in his songs moods.
Other songs such as “Ljosalfaheimr” have a mixture of Germanic expressionistic black metal that closely resembles a mixture of Todesstoss and Dutch act Urfaust, maybe with hints of Xasthur on “Depressive Visionen Eines Sterbenden Horizonts” or the dreary distorted instrumental “Sterben Unter Der Blasse Der Unvermeidlichkeit”.

Last year WOHRT released the cassette version of Der Schein Des Swarzesten Schnees, long sold out since but still available on CD, that made my best of list and was also the release that fully engaged me in Moloch both sound-wise and content-wise. Anything Moloch is an absolute must, but if you’re not much into the ambient then grab the comps, but if you like the cinematic lunacy of: Xasthur,Todesstoss, 90’s era Burzum, etc. then Moloch is an essential.  (Janet Willis)

======================================================================

From Deaf Sparrow (2014):
 
Moloch – Verwüstung
Metallic Media
4.5 / 5

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Moloch is all business. He has no time for anything but business, and he is a proprietor of the business of black metal. Not business in the capitalist sense, business in the sense of “this is my life”. Seriously, he sent us some things digitally, which we really don’t have time for with all of the hardcopy stuff coming in, so we said, “hey man, sorry, for obvious reasons we need to focus on hardcopy at the moment.” “Really? Okay, give me your address,” his reply. Seriously like five days later there it was, this dark monstrosity as well as some other things, not a single day wasted. See, that’s because Moloch is all about the art, he’s about the life. He’s about wandering in forests of snow, but when you see him and the landscape around, not an ounce of you chuckles, because you know he lives it. It isn’t merely for show, he’s not merely going by “the look” everyone else craps out. There’s nothing banal and redundant here. Hell, if you look at his discography you’ll see he has pretty much over a hundred releases even though he’s only been around for about a decade. We’re talking comps, EPs, splits, full-lengths, this guy doesn’t mess around, clearly. And in his latest full-length, Verwüstung, every ounce of his being has been put into the creation of black metal in complete purity. With a command of both the classic, the dark, and the atmospheric, Moloch deserves the fan base he has for many reasons, one of which is this album.


Verwüstung opens with some of the most sparse dark ambient to ever introduce a black metal release. The listener is brought into an endless void, created perfectly through the bare minimum of sound. Just enough that you know something is there, you’re just not entirely sure what it is, yet. Imagine being within the depths of an ancient cave, feeling that something is close, but until it touches your skin you’re not certain it even exists. That’s what Moloch does here. Verwüstung suddenly kicks it into classic black metal with “Blutmond” after you’ve been treated to an emptying of the soul. Freezing tremolo and lo-fi recording blasts into view, surrounding you in its immediacy. This style is kept throughout, Moloch using the classic sound of black metal, yet not reducing himself to merely the level of art through production, which so-called “true” black metal is known for. No, the coarse textures are there, sure, but he also creates riffs with a highly emotional quality, which is what atmosphere requires for it to function properly.

It gets you to think, it turns an everyday occurrence into something otherworldly. The key here is his command of riffs, because generally his approach is so classic it’s easy to confuse it for nearly any early black metal band, he just tends to do it all better. There are no real surprises in delivery, merely a perfection of the form, though it is worth noting that some of his drumming is impressive, in fact some of the fastest we’ve ever heard at certain points. However, where Moloch really picks it up, beyond his command of the foundations of black metal, is the atmosphere. Oh, seriously, how many bands we’ve heard and heard of who supposedly are masters of atmosphere. Please. Several of the songs on Verwüstung have just a touch of it, via acoustic, or haunting voices floating around the speakers, but then he lays it all out in the second-to-last track, which is the real killer to pull it all together. The title track is absolute emptiness and capturing this much atmosphere in something so desolate requires a true understanding of black metal, all of the sensations it seeks to evoke, and putting that into a single track. And here it is. “Verwüstung” is eleven plus minutes of sparse mastery of ambient. Bleak piano strikes, barren keyboards, and all of that without a single lack of style as you find in practically every keyboard line ever written by any craplord who usually tries. There are plenty of bands out here who could learn something from Moloch, a lot of things. Start here and listen back through everything he’s done. Real art, right here. If you want to even come close to this try to understand it first.

======================================================================

From This Noise Is Ours (2014):

Moloch (Ukr) - Verwustung

In the final review of my little black metal trilogy, I'm revisiting another solo-project that has been featured a few times before. Moloch (Ukr) has been super prolific over the last few years and thanks to the help of a myriad of DIY and independent record labels, has been able to release more than his fair share of music recently. Already in 2014 Moloch has released a split 7" with Japanese black-thrash band Sabbat and now comes the 12th full-length, Verwustung.
I know Moloch as a very measured black-ambient band. By that, I mean that Sergiy doesn’t rush things and lets songs build of their own accord. Opening track Todesstille is an extended instrumental track making use if Moloch’s ear for atmospheric ambience. As with my two previous reviews, Moloch’s creator plays all the instruments and delivers the vocals, without too many outside influence/hindrances (delete where applicable). Blutmond is the first glimpse at Moloch’s blackened blueprint. Sergiy has stated the for the first time, the song lyrics have been written in old English and Latin languages, as opposed to his favoured Russian/German tongue. while you may struggle to decipher the specific language amongst the icy screams, there’s no denying that Moloch new, catchier sound and songwriting shows a clear progression.

There is plenty of metallic bite from the guitar during Spiritueller Selbstmord and the haunting choral singing that site just behind adds a great new texture to Moloch’s music. The production and mastering on Verwustung seems to have vastly changed Moloch’s sound and even though the step up isn’t huge, it still makes you forget that this is but one man. Negativitat sounds mighty yet still manages to hang onto enough live atmosphere. The new and more focused song lengths also go a long way to improving the listening experience on Verwustung. Nur Der Tod Ist Wirklich lasts just over four and half minutes but contains all the momentum needed to keep you hooked.

The pitches of Sergiy’s screams during Die Kalte Der Ewigkeit hark back to some of his previous releases, where he seems to take on various maddening souls, that emit themselves through his vocal chords. It’s harrowing stuff for the uninitiated. Moloch takes things down a more minimalist route with the intro of Du Bist Nichts In Dieser Sterbenden Welt. It’s quiet and lowly to begin with, but don’t let that fool you as it’s the last full black metal song on the album and as a result, it’s a bit of a scorcher.

The closing title-track is also instrumental and once again ensures that there is a nudge of ambience floating through the release. Whats different about this piece is the improvisational piano that fluctuates through it. It has a slight resemblance to the music from Silent Hill:The video game (how many times have I said that about ambient music!). All in all, this is probably the best body of work I’ve heard from Moloch. It shows a new, more focused approach and is something that I’ll definitely be listening to again and again. If you’re already a fan of Moloch or want somewhere to start, this is probably a decent place.

======================================================================

From DOA Magazine #7 (2016):

NETER

IDOLS

SATANATH RECORDS/METALLIC MEDIA

9 SKULLS

Spawned from the Spanish underground back in 2005, NETER released 2 well-received demos and then the punishing aural nightmare Nec Spe Nec Meta in 2009 to critical acclaim from the Death Metal underground scene. Now comes the chaotic, extinction level event that is Idols and all shall fall to dust in the face of this one. Punishing Death Metal with an epic feel is what’s on display here and the riffs have a wall-of-sound BOLT-THROWER-esque feel to them making for a compelling and hypnotic listening experience. Lyrically NETER explores the realms of philosophy, dreams, humanity and death but there is an underlying intelligence to the way these concepts are woven into the tapestry of each composition that sets Idols on a much higher level than most of the Grunt and Grind Death Metal bands currently flooding the scene. Buy this one and worship your own Idols! (DH)
======================================================================

From Crown Of Viserys (2015):

Nosce Teipsum – At the Heart of Hell


Genre: Black Metal Label: Metallic Media

Ukraine’s Nosce Teipsum were a great find for me this morning. At the Heart of Hell is a full length album with bonus tracks consisting of the band’s first demo Riders of Human Death, and it’s all been remastered with new artwork for this release. The sound is raw, with good emphasis on the drums. The guitars are noisey, distorted, and vile, while bass is pretty low in the mix, but nice and deep, occasionally coming more forward in the mix. “Riders of Human Death” is a perfect example of this.

Musically, At the Heart of Hell is somewhat formulaic, Norway-worshipping second-wave of black metal, but it’s still really good. The riffs are strong and melodic, and since the songs are a bit shorter in length than many black metal releases (5:31 is the longest song length, 1:04 being the shortest that’s not an intro track) they are less focused on becoming trancelike, or even challenging to the attention span, and more focused on getting as much out of the song as possible in a shorter time frame.

The songs “Absence of Light” and “Flesh of Disgust” feature samples, and the intro track “Entering Hell’s Gate” is largely electronic, but otherwise Nosce Teipsum are simply guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Altogether atmospheric, emotive, and extremely good, I recommend you find a copy of At the Heart of Hell.

======================================================================

From Crown Of Viserys (2015):

Rexor – Nox Obscura Sortis


Genre: Black Metal  
Label: Metallic Media

Italians Rexor are new to my ears, but their sound is not. This is old school necro black metal, of a very pure strain. Tons of melody, razor sharp leads, and vicious drumming that enters the martial/war metal territory, Rexor are also fans of black ambient, as evidenced by the first three and-a-half minutes of the opening track “Versus Daemonium”. Atmosphere that is damn near palpable, like a thick fog emanating from your speakers, the first minutes are keys and chants. Guitar and drums come in slowly to build it into a fast moving and extremely melodic slice of violent black metal with an amazing vocalist.

The title track follows, and it is at the much more ADD friendly length of four minutes. It is very much like “Versus Daemonium”, minus the ambient, and adding in occasional gang vocals. “In the Forgotten Depth” is the last original track, and it too is shorter, under four minutes. This one reminds me the most of Darkthrone crossed with a bit of Revenge. The final track is a cover of Bathory‘s “Equimanthorn”, a song they take and make their own. They make it heavier, with more real presence in the guitars. To be honest, I like this version of “Equimanthorn” more than the original.

In all, this all-to-short EP from Italy’s Rexor is well written, well crafted, and well recorded, but still old school, low-fi, and evil as fuck. They take an amazing take on melodic black and keep it raw, and cover a legend of the genre with a better version than the original. This is a disc I’ll be listening to a lot in the coming years.

======================================================================

From DOA Magazine #7 (2015):

SATANIC ASSAULT DIVISION

KILL THE CROSS

SATANATH RECORDS/METALLIC MEDIA

9 SKULLS

With their first demo being titled Erase Religion, you get the idea that the Danish cult of SATANIC ASSAULT DIVISION has a mission in mind when they attack the ears of the unwashed masses with their chaotic brand of punishing Black/Thrash Metal mayhem. Following up on the nun-raping brutality of their debut opus, March to Victory, Kill the Cross continues to rage against the Golden Gates of Heaven with such crushing assaults as “Destroying the Temple of God”, “Satanic Purification” and “Religious Cunts” - and you though ISIS was frightening! In the crowded genre of Satanic Black/Thrash Metal SATANIC ASSAULT DIVISION manage to create a sound that is both fresh and original and yet strangely familiar to fans of the old metal gods. Blast this one out of your car stereo next Sunday morning while driving past your local church on the way to score that packet of meth. (DH)

======================================================================

From DOA Magazine #666 (2014):

STURMTIGER
WORLD AT WAR
BLACK PLAGUE RECORDS/METALLIC MEDIA
9 SKULLS

Suffocating War Metal at its finest, STURMTIGER play a low-tuned, barbaric, under-produced brand of Black/Death/War Metal that relies on aggression and hatred rather than fancy studio trickery. A cross between BOLT-THROWER and (early) SARCOFAGO with a little GRAVE and UNLEASHED thrown in, STURMTIGER has crafted a relentless assault filled with mine fields of explosive riff-work, cannon blast drums and gas mask vocal roars sure to make you feel like you have been dropped right in the middle of a WWI battlefield. Grinding, punishing and as caustic as a downpour of sulfuric acid, World at War is the real fucking deal. (DH)

======================================================================

 

No comments:

Post a Comment