Sep 21, 2015

NunSlaughter 'Devils Congeries Vol.I' review

Devils Congeries Vol. I
Hells Headbangers

By now everybody and his dog should know what NunSlaughter stands for – death metal, cooked in Satan's very own kitchen, using the right ingredients from the glorious '80s. Timeless, not outdated ingredients, mind you. Apparently this 58-song double CD here is first in a Herculean task of offering all vinyl EPs ever released by the band (tons upon tons of those exist, don't you know?) on shiny little silver discs.

Vol. I  is jam-packed with poisoned tunes from various splits and EPs of all sorts – studio, live and rehearsal and you would be hard pressed finding a dirtier, uglier or more Jesus-bashing package elsewhere. You dig the sound of Repulsion, Master or Slaughter? Of course you do! NunSlaughter combine all that and more in their tunes, and filter those influences through a pile of unwashed priest's robes covered in filth, spunk and virgin's blood. And there's no end in sight. Bon appetite! 8 / 10

Oct 10, 2014

ORDER FROM CHAOS set release date for long-awaited NUCLEAR WAR NOW! discography boxset

Nuclear War Now! Productions sets November 25th as the international release date for Order From Chaos' long-awaited Frozen in Steel vinyl-discography boxset. It is a nearly axiomatic principle that the most truly important artists tend to be overlooked or at least do not obtain the full extent of their deserved accolades during the time they produce their greatest work. Even in the context of underground metal, this principle is too often proven accurate. Such is the case with Order From Chaos. During the short span of the band’s existence, Order From Chaos garnered emphatic support from a relatively small faction of the underground, but went largely unnoticed by the scene at large. As time passed, however, the scene began to catch up with Order From Chaos and their albums attained their well-deserved canonical stature.

Shortly after the three Kansas City, MO teenagers – Pete Helmkamp, Chuck Keller, and Mike Miller – united to form Order From Chaos in 1987, they clarified their mission: they would channel all their creative energy into the band, perfect the presentation of their message, and terminate the project after three albums in order to preserve the integrity of their statement. The band members adhered to this directive, and after recording three albums (augmenting their discography along the way with various demo and EP releases), they disbanded in 1995 following the completion of their magnum opus, An Ending in Fire.

To bring the music of Order From Chaos into proper focus, the band (the members of which have all remained continually active in the underground metal scene since their days in Order From Chaos) worked together with Nuclear War Now! Productions to produce this definitive discography collection. Frozen in Steel contains all of the material Order From Chaos released during its existence. Included here are all the demos and early EPs revealing the band’s obsession with the likes of Venom, Sodom, Slaughter Lord, and Voivod among others. Listening to the demos, one hears the raw materials out of which Order From Chaos would later construct its definitive monumental statement of intent, the debut album Stillbirth Machine. While clearly maintaining the integrity of their approach on previous releases, the debut album extends beyond the confines of any particularized genre or subgenre; instead, it reflects a style that is wholly and completely that of Order From Chaos.

With their second album, Dawn BringerOrder From Chaos’ ability to refine their sound became remarkably apparent. As with any genuine musician, author, or artist, Order From Chaos was not content with remaining static, and Dawn Bringer shows the band expanding the borders of its sonic and thematic universe. Its inclusion in this boxset marks the first time the album has ever been committed to vinyl. Finally, if their first two albums and their impeccable collection of shorter EP releases did not secure Order From Chaos’ legacy, their final album, An Ending in Fire, is irrefutable proof of the band’s genius. It is, in fact, nothing short of a masterpiece.

In addition to these releases, Frozen in Steel contains several rare and/or previously unreleased rehearsal and live recordings to provide the listener with the full spectrum of Order From Chaos’ dynamics. For the diehard edition, the band culled from its massive collection of rehearsal and live recordings those with the highest fidelity and selected them for inclusion. Accompanying the musical content is a 124-page hardbound book featuring a complete bio written by the band members, numerous previously unseen photos from their personal collections, a thorough discography, reprinted pages from the Order From Chaos zines the band produced, and a complete presentation of the lyrics. Cover and tracklisting are as follows: 
Tracklisting for Order From Chaos' 12LP Frozen in Steel boxset

LP 1: Demos
A1. Of Death and Dying
A2. Quietus
A3. The Scourge
A4. Victimized
B1. Apocalyptic Visions    
B2. Golgotha (Second Death)
B3. The Scourge

LP 2: Demos
A1. Webs of Perdition 
A2. Quietus       
A3. Crimes Against the State
A4. Of Death and Dying      
A5. Blood and Thunder   
B1. Nucleosynthesis  
B2. Megalomania    
B3. Nuctemeron (Conqueror of Fear II)  
B4. Tenebrae / Draconis (Conqueror of Fear III)  
LP 3: Live in Studio
A1. Stillbirth Machine  
A2. Plateau of Invincibility
B1. As the Body Falls Away 
B2. Forsake Me This Mortal Coil
B3. The Angry Red Planet (Fugue for Cydonia)
B4. Labyrinthine Whispers
B5. An Ending in Fire
LP 4: Stillbirth Machine  
A1. The Edge of Forever   
A2. Power Elite  
A3. Iconoclasm Conquest
A4. Forsake Me This Mortal Coil
B1. Stillbirth Machine   
B2. Blood and Thunder  
B3. As the Body Falls Away
LP 5: MLPs   
A1. Plateau of Invincibility  
A2. Nuctemeron 
A3. Dead of the Night
B1. The Edge of Forever
B2. Webs of Perdition  
B3. Imperium       
B4. De Stella Nova      
LP 6: Dawn Bringer
A1. Labyrinthine Whispers
A2. Ophiuchus Rex (He Who Plays with the Serpents)  
A3. War And Pain 
B1. Tenebrae / The Sign Draconis
B2. Raise The Banner       
B3. Webs of Perdition   
LP 7: Live, 1993 and 1994   
A1. Blood and Thunder
A2. Ophiuchus Rex 
A3. Power Elite 
A4. Iconoclasm 
B1. Plateau of Invincibility 
B2. Ophiuchus Rex (He Who Plays with the Serpents)
B3. Nuctemeron (Sodom cover) 
B4. An Ending in Fire 
LP 8: An Ending in Fire
A1. Dawn Bringer Invictus 
A2. Tenebrae 
A3. The Sign Draconis   
A4. Plateau of Invincibility    
A5. The Angry Red Planet       
B1. There Lies Your Lord, Father of Victories  
B2. Nucleosynthesis  
B3. De Stella Nova (Instrumental) 
B4. An Ending in Fire
LP 9: Rehearsal, Dec 25, 1988   
A1. Of Death and Dying      
A2. Webs of Perdition      
A3. Crimes Against the State
A4. Golgotha (Second Death) 
B1. Quietus       
B2. Apocalyptic Visions 
B3. Victimized       
B4. Blood and Thunder   
LP 10: Live and Rehearsal   
A1. Victimized
A2. The Scourge
A3. The Edge of Forever
A4. Webs of Perdition
B1. Crimes Against the State
B2. Power Elite
B3. Iconoclasm Conquest
B4. Blood and Thunder
B5. Stillbirth Machine
LP 11: Rehearsal, February 1991
A1. Nucleosynthesis
A2. Webs of Perdition
A3. The Edge of Forever
A4. Crimes Against the State
A5. Power Elite 
A6. Iconoclasm Conquest
B1. As the Body Falls Away
B2. Blood and Thunder 
B3. Forsake Me This Mortal Coil
B4. Megalomania 
B5. Stillbirth Machine
LP 12: Live, January 2, 2010  
A. The Edge of Forever / Forsake Me This Mortal Coil / Of Death and Dying / Labyrinthine Whispers / Webs of Perdition 
B. Dawn Bringer Invictus / Tenebrae / The Sign Draconis / Plateau of Invincibility /  An Ending in Fire 


Dec 11, 2013

Abigor 'Supreme And Immortal Is The Art Of The Devil' review

Supreme And Immortal Is The Art Of The Devil EP
Avantgarde Music

Press releases can be little funny bastards, more often than not. Case in point: Avantgarde's Abigor one. No matter what words you would want to use, it's crystal clear those 2 songs are remnants of a failed project from 1997, and all possible 2013 tweaking, re-mixing and newly recorded vocal lines couldn't help turning those from turd to gold. 

Right, Silenius is back on the vocal duties. Big deal - those vocals largely fall flat, much in the same vein when Bethlehem tried something similar. The music pretty much epitomizes what was wrong with the more “advanced” and “experimental” (quasi-/ex-) black metal bands in the second part of the '90s: No soul, heart or real dark passion is present. Stiff, in a word. Layered with synths overpowering the thin sounding guitars. Anemic, pseudo-industrial drumming. You know the drill. 

At any rate, Abigor (Who, in 20 years, I've never heard anyone, fellow metalhead or musician, citing as a fave band) is here again with a newly released 7” nobody asked for and a new album to follow. “Abigor is, and still makes, the history of european black metal” (sic). At least there's no mention what kind of history it is.  3.5 / 10

Dec 10, 2013

Funest 'Demo 2013' review

Demo 2013
Unholy Domain Records / Eternal Tombs Records

Let me assure you there's no shortage of bands and labels firing digital promos my way, and often I'm in shudders when the time comes for the weekly ritual of downloading files and unzipping folders. In shudders, because some of those promos are total duds I don't have much / any use of – and for some reason big percentage of those come either from bands with strange monikers, or from Italy, or both. 

Well, Funest fall in the latter category, but for once it was worth the trouble. Solidly played and produced, crunchy, no ifs and buts, fast-paced death metal, which, as the press sheet confirms, owes much to the glory days of Swedish bands such as Nihilist, Grave and Dismember / Carnage for its sheer straightforwardness and catchiness. Right, this is a stroll into a familiar territory for most of us, but a pleasant one for sure, with ripping guitars, Estby-esque drumming and low, barking vocals, so I'm all for it. Spain's own Memento Mori had already signed the band for a full-length to be released sometime in 2014, meanwhile this demo is available in limited quantities and different formats from the labels above (and the band themselves, I presume) and if you are getting a hard-on when the words “death”, “metal” and “Sweden” are used together in a sentence, I'd say this is a safe buy. 7.5 / 10

Shitfucker 'Suck Cocks In Hell' review

Suck Cocks In Hell
Hells Headbangers

Hells Headbangers is one of the pillars of the scene and I'm digging the hell of most of their releases, but Shitfucker stand out as a sore thumb. A sinister mutant offspring of Venom and GG Allin this is not, if that was the intention. What it is, however, is an anti-elaborated mixture of simplistic primitive metal, raw and sloppy punk rhythms and something that supposedly should be passing for infernal rock'n'roll, yet there's very little substance to the tunes that might give you the urge playing the album more than couple of times.

There's no accounting in taste, true, yet when 7 non-lengthy songs (plus an intro and outro) sound like boring 2-hour listening experience, one knows the said album doesn't cut the mustard. Those three guys make Gehennah sound like technical wizards, I'll give them that - but nothing else. Hopefully Shitfucker is having autistic good time playing this stuff, or else all is in vain. Bands like Abigail and Barbatos are light years ahead of Shitfucker if you're craving similar sound and style. Also, for bands having “Shit” in their name, I'd personally stick to Shitlickers, thanks. 4 / 10

Possession 'His Best Deceit' review

His Best Deceit
Invictus Productions

The Belgian scene has never been considered a cult one, sure, yet the last ten years or so could be considered a particular low point in its development, with only Monads being the band worth talking about. Particularly I was quite thrilled reading the following news brought by the nuclear November rain: “The Association For Primitive Metal Art”, led by its honorable mentors Sodom, Destruction and Bathory (versions up until '85, naturlich) gladly welcomes to its ranks the new Belgian craftsmen Possession, wishing them tons of upcoming success”. 

Note the “upcoming” bit though, because as of now there's still much to be desired from the band, no matter how high nostalgia factor might be crammed into those 4 songs for the undying, beer-drinking old schooler: Purposefully mean production, music that's 50/50 thrash and black, cover version of Sepultura's “Necromancer” - all is well, just not exceptionally praiseworthy. That said, it would be interesting witnessing what the future holds for Possession, probably soon I could add their name as another band from the land of the thousands monastic brews to my faves list. 'His Best Deceit' oozes with lovely Neanderthal-like charm and is a decent first effort, yet more individual sound won't do any harm to this band. 7 / 10

Incantation 'Mortal Throne Of Nazarene' review

Mortal Throne Of Nazarene
Hells Headbangers

Each and every intie I've read with Jon McEntee is characterized by couple of things, namely his undying and unquestionable passion for producing and consuming death fuckin' metal and his devotion to the main band he's playing with, Incantation. Incantation, the beast he had started in 1989 alongside another visionary, Paul Ledney, following both of them abandoning Revenant for the good reason of not being thrilled by the perspective of that band's change to more acceptable, thrashier and technical style. Soon after Ledney splits with Incantation, only to form Profanatica, but that's another chapter for the history books.

Incantation have never been destiny's darlings, and the zillions line-up changes might have done them some disfavour over the years, yet the stubbornness, the hard work and (most importantly) the high quality songs and albums they've released paid off in the long run. It might have taken a while, 15 years or so, for the metallic underground to catch on and cover itself in hectolitres of goats blood but there's no denying Incantation's unholy and putrid atmosphere is an integral part in the music created by all those bands who are buzzing these days in the underground circles, be it Necros Christos, Teitanblood or Grave Miasma etc. etc..

So, 'Mortal Throne Of Nazarene' – 19 years after its original release date this album is still as inhumanly aggressive and brutal as ever, a near-perfect mixture of freaking speed and soul-crushing slower passages. Add to this those gurgling vocals courtesy of good ole Craig Pillard, the merciless drumming, well audible bass lines and the typical ultra-heavyweight riffage the band is known for and you're facing 8 death gems that have easily stood the test of time. This is also the first ever vinyl outing for 'Mortal Throne...' and there's no excuse not purchasing this, even if that translates to “no presents for Christmas” to your family and relatives. 9 / 10

Aug 1, 2013

Acid Death 'Misled' review

(Free download)

To hell with the cynicism – I’m really glad to report Acid Death is back. Not only that, but the band seems to be doing pretty well these days, having released an album, entitled ‘Eidolon’,  for the Austrian NoiseHead Records in 2012, and now offering ‘Misled’ for free download via their website. Long it might continue!

“Why should I care about the return of Acid Death?” I hear you murmuring. Because they’re such a good band, that’s why. A rare breed of a band too, one of the numerous few which are truly meant to be creating and playing progressive death metal, no matter what the flavor of the month dictates – and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing since the band’s inception in the late 80s. Respect!

Downloading and giving a thorough listen to ‘Misled’ might very well be the perfect starting point if one is tempted to check out if Acid Death’s music could be relevant to his/her tastes. While far too many bands have made fools of themselves re-recording songs from their past catalog the same certainly doesn’t apply to those five tunes the Greek wizards have dug out from the vaults, and breathed new life into. Technical to an uncompromising degree, true – but also retaining real thrash / death aggression, with plenty of catchy riffs and solos, tempo changes, prominent bass lines and the raging thrash vocals of Savvas.

I can’t believe how impressive this stuff actually is, especially as four out of the five songs being re-worked stuff from the band’s 1995 split LP with Avulsed, and “Balance Of Power” originally penned even earlier than that. Welcome back, Acid Death! [8,5 / 10]

Altars / Heaving Earth 'Split Tape' review

‘Split Tape’
(Nihilistic Holocaust)

Yes, this is a tape only release, fuckin deal with it. All formats have their pros and cons, and there’s just something about cassettes that makes them commendably underground. What really matters is the music, right? And, musically both bands are here to burn their mark on the listener’s mind.

Out of the two, Altars are certainly the harder nut to be cracked, consumed and digested. In fact, there’s this ghastly, uneasy feel creeping out from these two dismal songs that the more sensitive listener might be tempted to skip listening to them altogether, in order to keep one’s sanity intact. Good luck. The horrific atmosphere, the seamless combination of tempos, the subterranean vocals – Altars is a band that you better keep an eye on. Praise the horror. [8,5 / 10]

Heaving Earth is seriously awesome as well, just in a totally different way than Altars. Complex, stellar guitar riffs and quirky solos, monstrous vocals, punishing rhythms - I’d say bands such as Immolation and Morbid Angel are some of the obvious influences here. And that’s meant as a compliment to Heaving Earth, in case you’ve been wondering. If a band could replicate the unearthly vibe of those two bands I say more power to them! [8 / 10]

Jul 10, 2013

Sarcasm 'Crematory' review

(On Parole Productions)

'Crematory', the much loved and talked about in the underground circles, album by Sarcasm has been reissued once again, this time featuring 5 demo bonus tracks to justify the 'Anthology' tag used by the label. Kudos to On Parole for keeping this obscure little gem in print - na zdravje!

Ooooh, never heard of Sarcasm? That's fine, they are hardly a household name nowadays, but pretty much used to be just that for the metalheads in former Yugoslavia in the tail end of the '80s. 'Crematory' was originally released on tape in 1989 and I can boldly say the adolescent charm of these 8 tunes holds up well to this very day. Not a bad achievement for a bunch of high school guys from some small Slovenian town, one has to give them that.

It's been said that metal is predominantly young man's game and 'Crematory' is proof positive of the statement - the energy level is off the scale, and what the tunes might be (veeery slightly) lacking off in the technical department is more than compensated by the pure conviction and enthusiasm of the band. Musically, this is a rather odd sounding animal - Sarcasm's thrash is anything but straightforward speed assault, and there's enough variation to keep you pay close attention to the tunes. C'mon, side by side to the thrash 'n bash of songs like "The KrΓΌger Story" and "Thrash Tonight" we have the rather cheesy quasi-Accept / quasi-hair metal oddball that is "Love At First Sight" and the closing pair of "Fate" and "Runaway" that somehow bear similarities to Jello Biafra and Dead Kennedys - beat that!

Dated sounding? Yes, in a good way. Groundbreaking? Hardly, yet a fun record and not solely due to nostalgic reasons. [7,75 / 10]