Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Volahn - El Tigre del Sur

Almost missed the new material by the band that never disappoints, as it happened last year when their amazing split with Xaxamatza came out. This 14 minute track is monstrous, it has an awesome sound, beautiful ideas and a shitload of epicness and power to deliver. 

When is the next full length coming?

Listen (Bandcamp)

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Bullet Ratings #7 - Greek releases (I)

This is a collection of some of these year's stuff I have heard so far, I have another pack of the same size more or less to post later, or maybe add a couple of new upcoming albums too. As usual, some of them might have a brief talk, some not, with a rating as I personally have it in my head.

  • Acid Death - Primal Energies [7.0]
  • Akantha - Baptism in Psychical Analects [7.5] % very good, lives up to the quality of their debut and landed them a contract
  • Akrotheism - Law of Seven Deaths [3.5] % I don't think their new direction worked, sad to say this is boring
  • Beyond the Existence - Thoughts Through Imagination [3.0]
  • Bus - Never Decide [4.0] % meh
  • Cosmic Plunge - Dealing with the Harvester [6.5] % keeps it up
  • Darchon - Οιωνός [7.5]
  • Dark Messiah - Echoes of War [7.0]
  • Faunus - Sacrifice [4.5] % lot's of space for improvement
  • Feeble - Forbidden Ritual [6.0] % a bit standard but not bad
  • Funeral Storm - Arcane Mysteries [7.0]
  • Insanity Cult - All Shall Return to Chaos [6.5]
  • Katachthon - Συρακούσιος τύραννος [2.0] % what happened? their previous EP was awesome, this new track is unlistenable
  • Moeror - Sag (EP) [7.0]
  • Monk - Residents (EP) [5.5]
  • My Deathbed - Mirrors of Depression I [6.5]
  • Nordor - Caedis [7.0]
  • Progress of Inhumanity - Rotating Misery [7.0] % well done by this act I was unaware of
  • Ptoma - Life [6.5]
  • Rotting Christ - The Heretics [6.0]
  • Schizoparanoic Platoon - Subhuman Extinction [5.0] % if it wasn't for the horrible sound, I would appreciate it
  • Solis in Antris - The Forlorn Warrior [7.0]
  • Sordid Dogs - City Freaks [6.5]
  • Sores - Sores [6.5]
  • Spectral Lore - No Excuses for Fascist Sympathy (Book of Sand Cover) [7.5]
  • Stiletto - Poserkiller (Demo) [8.0] % heard the tracks seperately from Youtube, a pure and awesome demo!
  • Sørgelig - Devoted to Nothingness [6.5]
  • The Elysian Fields - New World Misanthropia [7.0] % good and refreshing effort
  • Their Methlab - The Last Second [7.5]
  • Utkena - The Firmament's Hand [7.0] % quite interesting

Sunday, 24 March 2019


Artist: Sabbat
Genre: Black / Thrash Metal
Origin: Japan
Year: 1991
Label: Evil Records


The debut album by a very old Japanese band, which has been exercising anti-religious lyrics since the mid-eighties, almost at the same time with all the US / German masters. Sabbat has a series of awesome EPs from that period, which sound more like thrash but in imagery and text, they could easily fit the first wave of black metal and what influenced later bands.

During the nineties, the black / thrash elements became more apparent and they have been going until today. They also have a vast, vast discography, with countless mini releases, multiple in number per year.

Envenom is the first full work of Sabbat, released in 1991 by Evil Records, which is Gezol's (the band's vocalist / bassist) label. The guy is a true metal maniac and has been paid tribute by no other than Darkthrone, since their track "I Am The Graves of the 80's" refers to him. 

There is a certain transparency in Sabbat's music and the old school, dirty thrash sound is glorified through the cheesy - devilish tracks in Envenom. The vocals are relatively harsh and speed metal is ongoing.

The version I have is the re-release from Iron Pegasus records in 2016, which I think is also their current label. It comes with an old interview from that time (I think around 1990) which is awesome to read. Later, it was re-released again by Nuclear War. Primitive music played honestly, and this was proven by the steadiness of Sabbat all these years.

It was not the first piece I listened by them and I have mostly spent time around their 80s - 90s stuff, and not the rest, which are a lot. Envenom has a great production (listen to the drums), and a variety of interesting moments in its tracks.

Synths are used in "Bewitch", and "Reminiscent Bell", which give an almost space ambient kind of feeling, different from the 100% old school, filthy of the rest of the record. All songs kick ass. 

The band had a series of good albums in that decade and offered to me some of the best black / thrash I have ever heard. Favorites are "Reek of Cremation", "Eviler", "Devil Worship" and "King of Hell". 

Track listing:
1. Bewitch
2. The Sixth Candle
3. Satan Bless You
4. Evil Nations
5. Devil Worship
6. Reek of Cremation
7. Deathtemptation (Kanashibari Part 2)
8. King of Hell
9. Eviler
10. Carcassvoice
11. Dead March
12. Reminiscent Bells

Listen on Bandcamp

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Deathmanicvs revelation

Artist: Skelethal
Genre: Old School Death Metal
Origin: France
Year: 2014
Label: Iron Bonehead Records


The first serious release after a demo and a split from this French band, which is very much into the non-modern side of death metal.

While I just enjoy it musically, above all are the vocals and the good guitar solos in this release. In 2014, they released another notable EP, named Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity. They are not perfect, as the tracks feature some awesome moments of great riffing, but there are filler moments too.

I believe Skelethal lost their way later, and their debut full length was a disappointment for me, as it had some good tunes but the sound completely ruined it for me. That's why I listen to this and the other EP whenever I come back to them.

From the awesome artwork, to the back picture of the band itself, this LP was worth it and the release is a product of good and proper death metal thinking.

Bought this vinyl from the excellent Floga Records store, which continues today with many unique and underground releases at fair prices. I have it since it was released, so it's been five years now.

There is an overall issue with Skelethal's sound. If they fix that and some minor compositional parts, they will be one of the best of old school death today.

Side A
1. Intro
2. Macabre Oblivion
3. Putrefaction
4. Deathmanicvs Revelation

Side B
5. Curse of the Neverending
6. Death Returns
7. A Violation of Something Sacred (Sacrilege cover)


Listen on Youtube

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Seven harmonies of unknown truths

Artist: Ildjarn
Genre: Black Metal
Origin: Norway
Year: 1992 (2003)
Label: Independent (Eisenwald)


This was another piece I got from the visit to Helsinki recently, among a couple of other things that I might write about later on. 

I own very few records by Ildjarn, since I don't have a large collection anyway due to lack of determinism. The other album being a split with Hate Forest from 2013, I figured out later on that it's Nidhogg tracks not even recorded by him, so this is what I have from actually Ildjarn

Seven Harmonies of Unknown Truths has the second best release title after the monumental Strength and Anger, and it's one of the very first demos by the artist. Of course, I have the reissue by Eisenwald, which was officially licenced by Ildjarn so it's not a bootleg or something. 

The liner notes inform the listener that this was "originally released as a demo tape in 1992 by Ildjarn and sold exclusively at Helvete record store". Metal Archives says there were only 25 tapes too.

The CD's package is one of the most beautiful ones I have ever bought, it has amazing designs by Tern, a great poster drawing by Marthe, it's minimalistic and pitch black as it should. There are extra vocals by Samoth, let's see if you can pick them up.

This version of the demo has the structure of eight tracks and not seven as in the original demo, because the first has been split into two parts. There are also names other than "-" for them, basically being the version that can be found here.
I don't want to talk about its music so much because it is very meaningful, to do a whole article around all of his music, with a playlist of the best and worst tracks. Ildjarn had moments of greatness and mediocrity, but I consider this project a genius like no other in the Norwegian scene. If someone is the embodiment of what the genre is all about, it's him. His attitude towards the music and life is the actual real meaning of a word that is ridiculed by fans and not fans alike today, "true".

The back cover here has a whole text split in seven parts, probably referring to each track, and a story is told alltogether. I don't want to write passages from this to urge you to find this release and buy it, but there is a bone-chilling message that gives life to cliche words like misanthopy and hate for mankind. 

It feels like Ildjarn is talking to you directly, and the words are cutting knives.

There has been many different facets of music in his discography, I believe his first steps do not depict the glory of later material. Most of Seven Harmonies of Unknown Truths is middle-paced and based on repetitive riffs, and that's enough.

Remember that very few artists have managed to create such a powerful atmosphere with a handful of notes only. I'm thanking this German label for putting this together and I hope more black metal was like this. Away from the spotlight for real, not sharing, isolated, cold, noisy, mesmerizing. 

A bigger series of posts might come for Ildjarn. I have parts of his music that I consider unreal, and others that don't deliver. A small part of the black metal community considers this the best black metal artist ever, and while I don't completely agree, I love it how he isn't mentioned in any major listings, articles etc...

Track listing:
1. Harmony I
2. Harmony II
3. Harmony III
4. Harmony IV
5. Harmony V
6. Harmony VI
7. Harmony VII
8. Death Dynamics
9. Harmony I (Remix)
10. Harmony II (Remix)
11. Harmony III (Remix)
12. Harmony IV (Remix)
13. Harmony V (Remix)
14. Harmony VI (Remix)
15. Harmony VII (Remix)
16. Death Dynamics (Remix)

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Promulgation of the fall

Artist: Dead Congregation
Genre: Death Metal
Origin: Greece
Year: 2014
Label: Martyrdoom Productions


I still remember reading a Dead Congregation interview in a Metal Hammer issue, back when their debut was released in 2008. That was also the period I started getting into the harder subgenres of metal.

At some point, there was a reply that went like: death metal is not for everyone, and that's the way it should be.

This statement kind of stayed with me and made its impact to my younger self and how I decided to step forward with the band, as well as the broader style, for the years to come. 

That year was also the year when the best death metal album of the 00's was released, which is Dead Congregation's debut Graves of the Archangels. I remember how it felt like the first time I listened to it, and after a decade now, it's still one of the most sincere and focused records you can get your hands on.

Six year later, "Only Ashes Remain" opens their second album and describes exactly what was left after Graves of the Archangels, for this whole time. The most crushing, menacing and familiar sound is back, with bestial (and magnificent) lyrics, ready to cause sheer terror.

I had bought this in CD when it was released. Recently, after visiting Helsinki for a day, I found it in LP format as well and decided to honor it a second time, as looking at this killer artwork in a larger scale piece is the definition of beauty.

The record was released by the band's label Martyrdoom Productions, but this specific LP is distributed by another excellent label, Norma Evangelium Diaboli.

All the track titles on the sleeve, as well as the album title, have been hand written by Kostas Protopapas, and there are lyrics by Timo Ketola (in "Schisma") and Tim Grieco from Antediluvian (in "Quintessence Maligned"). 

I believe this scene was first forged by Incantation in the nineties and has now been on the rise the recent years. Dead Congregation are one of the best, if not its best contributors.

If you like this, it's safe to say you like death metal, as it is in its core. Along with Cruciamentum, they are my top suggestions in this field.

Promulgation of the Fall has highlight tracks through and through, but my favorites are: "Only Ashes Remain", "Nigredo" (also spawned the brother band with the same name), "Immaculate Poison" and "Serpentskin".

Track listing:
1. Only Ashes Remain
2. Promulgation of the Fall
3. Serpentskin
4. Quintessence Maligned
5. Immaculate Poison
6. Nigredo
7. Schisma
8. From a Wretched Womb


Listen on Bandcamp

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