Monday, May 25, 2015

Septicemia – Sabbath Conventions

Septicemia was a death metal band from Greece. They formed in 1989, put out a demo and an EP, then they split up. I only managed to find their EP Sabbath Conventions.

The production is decent. Nothing sounds muffled and there are a couple occasions where the bass comes in nice and clear. Unfortunately, the music is just plain boring. All of the song structures sound like they were just copied from Slayer and Morbid Angel. Drummer Kostas Savvidis spends most of his time playing mid-paced death/thrash rhythms. The performance is nice, but it offers nothing in the way of variety. Same goes for the blast beats that occasionally pop up. They're unoriginal and have no impact at all. Kostas also handles vocal duties. They consist of your standard black metal rasp. Not much else to say about them.

The bass is played by Thanos Mitropoulos. He spends most of his time following the guitars. There are moments when his performance shows up, but they do nothing to hold my attention. The guitars are played by Sotiris Savvidis. I think he's Kostas's brother. He spends most of the album playing stale death/thrash riffs. He's a great guitarist, but he doesn't play any original riffs. The mid-paced power chords sound dull and the shredding riffs just sound like a yawn-inducing grumble. Altars of Madness, this is not.

The EP's worst sin is that it goes on for way too long. It lasts for half an hour, and all it offers us is a bunch of boring death/thrash. The only good part is the guitar solos. They remind me of Rick Rozz. Other than that, Sabbath Conventions isn't worth your time.
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ulvkros – Demo 1

NSBM has a reputation for being complete dog shit, mainly because most NSBM bands are more focused on pushing their ideology than making good music. However, there are a few bands that manage to break that mold. One such band is Ulvkros. I can't find much information about these guys. All I know is that they come from Belarus and this is their first demo.

This demo has that classic black metal production I know and love. It's cold and gritty but not so lo-fi that it's impossible to make anything out. The music itself is more akin to blackened punk. The drums play a lot of rampaging blast beats, but they also play some mid-paced punkish rhythms. They also play some more traditional mid-paced rhythms that feature rumbling double bass. There are also plenty of fills sprinkled throughout.

The vocals consist of your standard black metal rasp. It's nothing special, but it still sounds nice. It's a lot better than the vocals of most other NSBM bands. The guitars are the strongest aspect of this performance. They play lots of rapid high-paced tremolo riffs that have a slight hint of melody to them. Some of these riffs remind me of bands like Ash Pool. Sometimes they slow down these tremolo riffs to create a morose sound. The mid-paced riffs mostly consist of chugging, but they do play some riffs that are punkish in nature.

This demo features five tracks yet it lasts for only ten minutes, so it's incredibly short. I wish it was longer, but the music is still good, and the high quality of the music means they have their priorities straight.
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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Frozen Souls – The Second Gate of Fsab

Frozen Souls was an obscure blackened death metal band from Germany. They formed in 1992 and released just two demos before splitting up. I only managed to find their second demo The Second Gate of Fsab. Supposedly they were an NS band as some of their promo material featured Nazi imagery. I don't care what ideology these guys hold, their music still sucks.

The production is complete and total ass. Everything is all quiet and muffled. According to the liner notes, they recorded this “during thunder and lightning in a small wooden hut in the blackest heart of the northern Hunsrück”. That would explain all the fizzling shit I hear throughout the album, but it doesn't explain their terrible performance. The drummer spends most of this time playing ultra simple blast beats that have absolutely no impact. He also plays some mid-paced rhythms that sound just as boring as the blast beats. Apparently there's supposed to be a bassist on this demo, but I can't hear the bass at all.

The vocals consist of a deep, muffled growl that sounds like the guy has a mouth full of shit. There are moments when the guy performs a scream, but they too sound atrocious. As for the guitars, they spend most of their time playing a bunch of dull tremolo riffs. They also play some death metal shredding riffs that just sound like an indecipherable rumbling. Sometimes they take the time to play some chugging riffs that are so boring I almost fell asleep while listening to them.

There are two possible reasons as to why this band recorded this demo in a hut during a thunderstorm. Either they wanted to be cool and edgy or they couldn't afford to go to a real studio. I don't care where they recorded this, it doesn't change the fact that the music itself is total shit.
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Friday, May 22, 2015

Patriarch – Prophecy

I am a high-ranking member of the Patriarchy and I love oppressing women. I have oppressed over 9000 women in the past five years and I loved every minute of it. In fact, I have a massive harem of women that I oppress seven times a day. There's nothing women love more than being oppressed. My Patriarchy powers are so great that when I merely lift my hand, all the sexy ladies in a ten mile radius flock to me and shake their asses at me, eager to please my every sexual desire. In case you don't believe any of this, here's my card:
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Failed Virgin – Beheading Reception With Vaginal Blood

Failed Virgin is a slamming brutal death metal band hailing from the Indonesian city of Tangerang. Last year they released their full-length debut Beheading Reception With Vaginal Blood. From the album cover to song titles like “Slaughtered During Intercourse” and “The Lesbian Orgy Decapitation”, the band really goes out of its way to be provocative. I admire that. Aside from the brutal underground, you rarely see such boldness in the western death metal scene nowadays. If a relatively popular western death metal band were to release an album like this, everyone in the metal press would be crying about their soggy knees. Muslim metalheads, on the other hand, don't give a single fuck. I like this band's attitude. I like their music too.

The drums are played by Addo Priawan. He also plays drums for another band called Omnivorous. He hits us with a plethora of blast beat assaults. Sure, the snare has a pinging sound to it and the double bass sounds sort of mechanized, but the performance is still powerful. Since this is a slam band, he mostly play mid-paced rhythms, but they sound surprisingly complex as they feature quite elaborate patterns. The bass is played by Redy Soleh Nugroho. Although he mainly follows the guitars, he still brings a great deal of heaviness to the music.

The vocalist is a guy known as Riyan. His performance consists of that deep yet hoarse growl that is popular among Indonesian brutal death metal bands. It isn't exactly original, but the performance is still great, and that's what really counts. The guitars are played by a guy named Riansyah. He spends most of his time playing those sweet slam riffs I love so much. They're simple yet their sounds and structures are extremely effective. During the blasting sections, he hits you with a bunch of ravenous power chords. He also throws in a few tremolo riffs and pinch harmonics on occasion.

Sure, this isn't the most original album out there, and they do throw in a few audio clips on occasion, but the music is still great. They also know what most western metal bands have forgotten: one of the main goals of metal is to offend people.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lustration – Urges

The 90s were filled with great yet short-lived death metal bands that were never able to make it big. One such band is Lustration. They were a band from Denmark that lasted just two years and released a single full-length known only as Urges in 1996.

The music features a blend of American and Swedish death metal. The drums are played by Joachim Asmussen. He hits us with a lot of d-beats that are simple in structure yet deadly in delivery. They then turn around and hit us with some mid-paced rhythms that sound quite elaborate. The snare is powerful, they throw in plenty of double bass, and they spice things up with a great number of fills. The bass is played by Thomas Andersen and it's pretty heavy. He creeps alongside the guitars and occasionally rears his ugly head to hit us with some extra gruesome riffs, such as on “...from Where Your Soul Used to Be”.

The vocals are performed by Simon Petersen. He later went on to join the black metal band Horned Almighty. His growls are deep yet hoarse. They sound quite ghoulish. The guitars are handled by Niels Jacobsen and Mick Schou Rasmussen. Their shredding riffs are dark and unrelenting and they have a crushing tone to them. Sometimes they play a few tremolo riffs that sound reminiscent of Cannibal Corpse as well as some stomping chugging rhythms. I'll even go so far as to say that these chugging riffs sound like primitive slams. There are even moments when they throw in a few pinch harmonics. They then top things off with some solos that pay homage to Slayer.

At only twenty minutes, this album is pretty short, but it's ridiculously heavy. They blend together different styles and sounds to create a dark and vicious experience. It's a shame they never released anything after this.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sanctus Infernum – Other Gods

I remember covering Sanctus Infernum back in 2013. They were the first band I ever covered as part of my Reverbnation Spotlight column. One year after I wrote about them, they released their third full-length Other Gods, but I didn't find out about this until a year after that. The same thing happened with Exhumation's latest album. I keep a close eye on the underground but there are times when awesome stuff like this slips under my radar.

The drums are fantastic. The snare sound is really strong and the rhythms sound really tight and focused. Sometimes they throw in some double bass to make things more engaging, and there are also moments when they play some swelling beats that feature pounding toms. Great examples of this can be found on the first song. There are moments when they pick up the pace such as on the title track, and there are even moments when the performance becomes quite elaborate such as on “Nyarlathotep”, but they mainly keep things nice and slow.

The vocals on this album are quite unique. The growls are quite deep, but they also have this rasping quality that make them sound like a mixture of death metal and black metal. What really took me by surprise were the clean vocals. They aren't the mournful clean vocals that are usually found in doom/death. These clean vocals sound rather powerful, more in line with modern heavy metal. If you ask me, these vocals fit the music rather well, especially on songs like “Taken Too Far” and “Dream Quest”. It adds a special flavor to what they're delivering.

The guitars are the best part of this album. Of course, the guitarist used to be a member of the legendary heavy metal band Manilla Road, so it's no surprise that the guitars would be awesome. The mid-paced riffs are brilliantly crafted and feature a great helping of groove. Sometimes they play some power chords that are arranged in rather progressive structures. There are also times when they pick up the pace and play some riffs that pay homage to the early days of heavy metal. The solos are where the guitars truly shine. The guy doesn't mindlessly shred like most other bands. Instead, he plucks the strings in a way that creates a rather mind-boggling and psychedelic sound.

This album was amazing. Sanctus Infernum is very different from the doom/death bands I've listened to in the past. Instead of sounding morose and plodding, these guys display a certain radiant energy. They combine vibrant instrumental work with non-metal elements such as violins and keyboards to create an enthralling yet still really heavy experience. I can't believe an awesome band like this has lurked under the radar for so long.

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Touhou Tuesday #170

The new 2hu fighting game also has dancing Sukuna.
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Ithaqua – Dark Designs

Ithaqua was an obscure and short-lived death metal band from Denmark. They only released a single demo called Dark Designs in 1995 before splitting up. The name Ithaqua refers to a creature from the Cthulhu mythos. It controls the ice, the snow, and the cold. Does this band reflect the spirit of this creature? Eh, not really.

Instead of sounding cold and deadly, Ithaqua's music is a pile of boring, mid-paced shit. The drums spend most of their time playing rhythms that are slow and unimaginative. When they do pick up the pace, they just play a bunch of dreadful bass-snare rhythms. The snare sounds cheap, the cymbals sound like the chugging of a toy train, and the double bass consists of the cheapest thumping noise you will ever hear.

The growls are lazy. They just sound like a low-pitched burp. There is no energy behind their performance. I've listened to shitty goregrind bands that had better vocals than this. The guitars are just as dull as the rest of the music. They mostly play a bunch of bland chugs that sound like they're being made by a broken down train. Sometimes they play a bunch of drawn out chords as if they don't know what to play next. They do play some tremolo riffs on occasion, but even they sound lifeless.

In short, Ithaqua is just another boring death metal band. Not much else to say.
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Grimm (Nor) – Nordisk Vinter

Grimm was an extremely short-lived black metal band from Norway. They lasted for just a few months and released only one demo called Nordisk Vinter in 1993 before splitting up. What makes this band stand out from the rest is that some of the members later went on to play in Carpathian Forest. It makes me wonder if this demo will be any good.

Although this demo has only three songs, the first song is an intro that lasts for three and a half minutes. The only purpose of this track is padding. Bad form, guys. The actual black metal isn't much better. They just play a bunch of boring mid-paced shit that occasionally picks up in pace. The drums just play the most basic bass-snare rhythms imaginable. There's no variety or flair to their performance. They just plod along through a murky bog of shit and piss. The snare has no impact and the double bass just sounds like a dull thumping.

The vocals consist of a raspy croak that sounds flat and uninteresting. He doesn't even try to stand out from the crowd. When it comes to the guitars, they just play a bunch of boring mid-paced riffs. As with the drums and the vocals, the guitars feature next to no variety. There are moments when they play some tremolo riffs, but they sound pitifully weak. There are moments when they play some solos, but they're completely aimless. They just sound like random screeches.

In closing, this demo is really short and really boring. Don't waste your time with it.
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