Sangue “Sangue” (2017)

sangue-ep-cover[Nuclear War Now! Productions]
[Release: 15 April 2017]

The retro revival continues with this EP by Italian debutantes Sangue. “Sangue” means blood, and it goes to figure that that’s what the band is out for, playing blackened death metal in early 90’s style.

The production is kind of wobbly and it makes me remember how a worn cassette tape would sound when you try to record over it for the 17th time. The guitars are really gritty and the riffing style makes them the most black metal of all the elements, while the drums sound lifted straight off one of Bathory‘s first three albums. The bass could be replaced by an extra push of the lower frequencies on the equalizer for the guitars, that’s how much of an identity that has. But at the same time, that is also pretty fitting.

sangue-photoThe vocals are the most unique part of the record. They fill out the sonic stage in a spectral fashion. It might be a make or break type of uniqueness, but I find the style kind of interesting.

Now, the songs are too short and this EP is more of a sampler, running only for 5:37 with two tracks. Sangue would do well to follow up with a proper album within short to keep momentum, but the old-school lo-fi style presented here does not get me particularly excited about that prospect.

  • TBOJ score: 1.5/5
  • DR score: 8

New Song From Dream Evil

I know I have not been writing much these last few weeks, but I just have to stop by and share these wonderful news. Dream Evil have announced their new album called “SIX,” due May 26th. The first track on the album is eponymous and they have posted a video of it, which I suggest you check out here below. Great news!

Slagmaur “Thill Smitts Terror” (2017)

[Osmose Productions]
[Release: 31 March 2017]

First off: this album has a lot of low end. A lot! Now, continue reading.

Thill Smitts Terror is the third album by this Norwegian unique sounding metal group. At least I have never experienced music sounding like this before. The production of this album is a continuation of a journey that really started with their last album album, Von Rov Shelter in 2009. A journey to completely envelop the listener in deep bass, sprinkled with buzzing guitars and evil croaking, mostly in mid-tempo.

I tried to fiddle with the sound of the album but I couldn’t get the pounding bass to normal levels with the equalizer I have on hand. It’s really deep seated and permeates every little piece on the record. Except for the symphonic intro and outro that is. The first time around I thought something broke in my headphones when the audio changed so drastically from the first track to the first song proper.

They are a strange group of people, Slagmaur. They play with masks and use wicked stage-names and their real identities are supposedly still unknown. The platform of their music is black metal, but they have turned it into something completely their own. Anyone into the esoteric and avant-garde will probably find something interesting on Thill Smitts Terror. I am on the fence about this one. On the one hand I am interested to hear what the album would sound like with a normal mix and master. But on the other hand, the band has made its choice to present their music in this way, and maybe it would get lost without this over the top conflagration of sonic vibrations.

When the steady beat of the drums sometimes is broken up by devilish chanting you get some chance to breathe, but otherwise this is probably the most oppressive listening experience I have ever made myself repeat on several occasions. Such is the game of the reviewer. I could have put this aside after the first rotation, but I made myself push on, and while not cheaply, Thill Smitts Terror has more than a little something to give. It is not the greatest record I have ever heard, but it is interesting. Good job on Osmose Productions for picking up Slagmaur anyway. I hope that more people get to hear them!

  • TBOJ score: 3.0/5
  • DR score: 5

Persefone “Aathma” (2017)

a1981137196_10

[ViciSolum Productions]
[released February 24, 2017]

It’s tough when you have so very high expectations of, well anything, and then finally arrive to meet whatever it is you have looked forward to. In pure self-defense I tried to not think too much about Aathma since after its announcement, but the closer the release date crept, the more my spine was becoming titillated by sheer anticipation.

Persefone is one of very few metal groups out of the small nation Andorra, situated in-betwixt France and Spain. They are a serious force, writing complex and ultimately very rewarding music. For years since their inception they were building up to the massive Spiritual Migration album, which landed in 2013 and, after some hesitation on my side, completely blew up the year end list. I was on the verge of writing them off as a metalcore type deal, and not a very interesting one, but since I was reviewing the album (Spiritual Migration was my first contact with the band) I felt I had to play it one more time, and that changed everything.

What Persefone became, and still remain with Aathma, is something so beautifully layered and immensely gratifying that I find myself longing to hear it every now and then. Aathma is up there. The 2017 effort from the band is using all the same ingredients as its predecessor and puts them together in just the right way. The grooving drums, technical stop-go guitars and ever-changing vocals are arranged with remarkable precision and never become too complex. It’s a hard thing to write this kind of music so fluid and grandiose, but Persefone manage, and the band, together with producer Jens Bogren have created a top-notch product.

I have listened to Aathma pretty much every day since it was released and by now I feel almost as familiar with it as Spiritual. For good and for bad. I know for a fact that I really like this album and that it’s amazing, but it’s also harder to describe why without getting too abstract at this point. The short version would be that Aathma is massive, hard-hitting, beautiful, epic, progressive and positioned right at the top of the Best Of 2017.

  • TBOJ score: 5/5
  • DR score: 7

Eterknight Crowdfunding

Since I shared the news of the Wintersun campaign the other day, I thought I might as well link to this one as well.

eterknight_logo

Eterknight are an up-and-coming symphonic folk/melodic death metal outfit from Mexico. The Wintersun influences in their music is very apparent, especially on their second release,  Winter’s Calling (that name alone…), but they also had the good taste to include a cover of Ensiferum‘s “Hero In A Dream” on their Ragnarök EP.

Both these releases have been independently recorded and released, and I think the band sounds very good. To take the next step, they are now asking for donations to be able to purchase their own studio equipment. Much like Wintersun, but their end goal is 100(!) times lower. Perks for pledging money includes digital access to the coming album and merch in several forms.

You be the judge. Are Wintersun a hundred times better than Eterknight? Link to the campaign on IndieGoGo here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/eterknight-crowdfunding-music-mexico

First Impressions: Persefone “Aathma” 

This was my most anticipated record of February 2017. I have played it a few times, but I am not ready to score it yet. It is far from an easy or direct album, but it is a grower and it sounds like a natural follow up to Spiritual Migration. I will be back with a proper review within short, but in the meantime I want you to listen to the album for yourselves. 

Wintersun Crowdfunding

Wintersun have kicked up a storm on their Facebook page these last few weeks, leading up to the start of their crowdfunding campaign today. Many have been very negative about the whole thing, thinking the band asks for too much. Personally, I like the music way to much to waste my energy on flaming the band. They are entitled to ask for whatever they want, and considering that the campaign has already reached 80 % of its goal during the first day, I’d say people are willing to pay.

Check out the campaign on this link, or just watch the embedded video below.

F.K.Ü. “4: Rise Of The Mosh Mongers” (2013) [Deserted Island Records – Part 7]

rise_mosh

[Napalm Records]
[Release date: April 26th, 2013]

Again an album that I reviewed when it came out. I liked it then, but it has grown considerably more since then. This might just be my favorite thrash metal record. It has everything that makes this high school drop-out punk mofo genre so much fun to listen to, made tongue-in-cheek, beer in hand(s) and parents out of town (hehe, made me think of this video).

F.K.Ü. take their style from Exodus and S.O.D., so don’t expect any metal epics around these parts. No, instead we are served hit song after hit song on this buffet of fast riffing (guitar: Pete Stooaahl a.k.a. Peter Lans, bass: Pat Splat a.k.a. Patrik Sporrong), faster drumming (Dr. Ted Killer Miller a.k.a. Teddy Möller) and amazing half screamed/clean vocals by the character called Larry Lethal, a.k.a. Lawrence Mackrory.

There are 17 tracks on this album. The first is a really good intro (even though I dislike intro tracks in general) and spread out in between the songs of standard length are four tracks in “The Überslasher” series measuring between nine and 35 seconds. They all work up to the same climax: “You die!” These four slashers were something I didn’t really get when receiving the album for reviewing back in 2013, but now I really like the pause they create on the whole thing.

Put this on, turn it up, and prepare to sing along to some of the catchiest choruses and thrash metal anthems ever made.

Four fingers!

  • TBOJ score: 5/5
  • DR score: 6

Sons Ov Omega “Reign” (2017)

​[Black Lion Records]
[released February 18, 2017]

The short pieces of this album that I listened to prior to its release were pretty cool, and Black Lion Records have a very consumer friendly pricing on their Bandcamp offerings, so I pre-ordered Reign a few days before it became public. When properly fitted to my head, Reign started playing in my headphones and I was initially quite surprised of what I heard. I thought this would be black metal, with the occasional clean vocals.

Reign is the debut album from the “Swedish Apocalyptic Occult Metal legions” Sons Ov Omega. Their imagery is that of black metal, with painted faces and hooded figures, but the music is moving pretty close to melodic death metal waters. There still is a black atmosphere to the creation, but the band have a sound that is very unique and quite compelling. I especially like the variation in the vocals. Anthropos and Tiamat Invictuz (also on guitar) are together presenting every imaginable style of singing, including growls, screams, cleans and choir-like vocals. Backed up by the groovy drumming of Arktos, the band is then completed by second guitarist Mors. No bassist seems to be credited on the album, and the bass is also very bland (here I go again), so the band should probably go look for someone that could lift their sound with a proper handling of that instrument.

Reign is not lacking in riffing though. The aforementioned guitarist duo are playing very varied styles with colorful riffing and progressive melodies, and then some tremolo shredding and acoustic style plucking. The guitars and their place in the production are hitting the sweet spot where they are clearly audible yet still rough. They are neither excessively surgical, nor muddy or amateurish, but fall somwhere along where some charm is present but the execution is still professional.

Lyrically, the band seem interested in great destroyers, with song titles naming Pandora, Kali, nuclear holocausts and Cthulhu, and further occult/quasi-religious references to the Aztec deity Qutzacoatl and the Hammer of Witches. 

The first track is the one simply called “Pandora.” It’s the longest, and the most alluring with prominent clean vocals and a chorus that sticks in your head. It’s mostly mid-paced and that works very well to build up a great ambience on that track. Next up is “Fields Of Ember,” which is one of the thrashiest songs on the album, and like this it continues. With great variation and lots of different styles blended together in a surprisingly coherent amalgam. As I’ve said, the band take notes from several different genres, including black, death, thrash and progressive metal, but the biggest replay value lies in the catchy-but-never-cheesy choruses that are so prominent in every song.

  • TBOJ score: 4.0/5
  • DR score: 6

Cnoc An Tursa – (2017) The Forty Five

​[Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings]
[released February 17, 2017]

I’d love to keep this band to myself, but they deserve to be recognized more. Picked up by Candlelight Records for their debut, here comes the follow up on the Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings label.

Cnoc An Tursa are described as heavy Scottish metal, and that means folk/pagan black metal. Their music is filled with melody but is still heavy. The aforementioned debut is so good that I have plans to include it in an upcoming Deserted Island Records post, so it was with great anticipation that I finally received The Forty Five this fateful month of February 2017.

TFF opens up with an instrumental intro and then delves into the best track of the album, “The Yellow Locks Of Charlie,” which runs for 8+ minutes and incorporates everything that makes metal my music of choice. It has blastbeats and growl, it has slow and melodic parts, it sees CAT use clean vocals in choirs, and they use classical and native instruments to create that nice sort of contrast to the overdriven guitars and modern production.

Most of these components are used in all the rest of the songs. I would not call any of the tracks filler, but none reach the level of awesomeness that this first song does. The debut was a very homogeneous album, but The Forty Five feels more dynamic, in the sense that it shifts pace and intensity to a greater extent. The band is true to the direction they plotted with the first album, but although they have taken their time to release a second record, it’s missing that little something extra. Maybe I say this because I love The Giants Of Auld so much. The Forty Five is a really good album anyway, and I look forward to listen to it again from time to time, and hopefully see it on par with The Giants in the long run.

  • TBOJ score: 4.0/5
  • DR score: 8