• Album Review: Zombiefication – Reaper’s Consecration

    28. Sep. 2012, 2:50

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    Zombiefication
    Reaper’s Consecration
    2011
    EP
    Pulverised Records
    Death Metal


    Mexican death metal band Zombiefication‘s 2010 debut release Midnight Stench introduced listeners to the band’s style of death metal, emulating the style that old school Swedish death metal bands have created. Though nothing particularly memorable nor original on the record, the band’s energy seeping out of the music, and was a nice introduction to their brand of death metal. A year later, the band releases a five-track EP, Reaper’s Consecration, under Pulverised Records.

    Apart from the obvious continuation in the themes that the band has included on Midnight Stench, in terms of the artwork, the music that is on Reaper’s Consecration also follows what was laid down with their debut record. The abrasive guitar tone, the riffing patterns and playing style on the guitar, and the gruff vocals of Mr. Hitch are still reminiscent of old school Swedish death metal legends such as Entombed and Nihilist, complete with the d-beat inspired drumming patterns on the EP. But on Reaper’s Consecration, Zombiefication has upped the intensity in the music, with the ferocious and hostile atmosphere that is present throughout the record. The chaos and destruction is however, often contrasted with the melodic lead playing style of guitarist Mr. Jacko.

    Some of the low points that were present on Midnight Stench were the slower numbers, marring the experience and spoiling the pace and tempo that the band set on the album, often resulting in the band sounding rather direction-less instead. Fortunately, on Reaper’s Consecration, there is no such overly-slow and quiet moments, with the slower moments on the EP being made up for with the intensity and heaviness in the music like the bass-driven segment on Death Riders, and this has made Reaper’s Consecration an overall more powerful and memorable record compared to the previous full length, Midnight Stench, marking a step towards the right musical direction for Zombiefication.

    http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: Enthrallment – People from the Lands of Vit

    28. Sep. 2012, 2:49



    Enthrallment
    People from the Lands of Vit
    2012
    Full Length
    United Guttural Records
    Death Metal


    Bulgaria’s Enthrallment has been dishing out some of the most brutal sounds from the country since their formation in 1998. People from the Lands of Vit is the band’s third full length album, four years in the making and is their debut on United Guttural Records, the brutal death metal/goregrind arm of the famed Deathgasm Records.

    Despite the band’s main style of music being brutal death metal, there is a slightly blackened touch to the music right from the beginning riffs of the album on Chronicle of Sorrow, sounding like a heavier or more brutal version of Polish black/death metal bands such as Azarath. The similarity becomes even clearer with the lead guitar works on the album, such as the sweep-picked guitar solos that are often present on the album, and even vocalist Plamen’s deep guttural style is reminiscent of Azarath‘s ex-vocalist Bruno. Tracks like Fruits of Pain and Blue Sky even contain riffs that could have fit comfortably in a Behemoth record.

    Drummer Ivo provides the backbone of the heaviness and brutality in the music with his relentless drumming and the rapid-fire double-bass pedal-fuelled works. Bassist Rumen is also audible for the most part of the release, and the rumbling growl that he provides helps in creating a heavy and oppressive atmosphere for the listener, increasing the intensity of the music on People from the Lands of Vit. The ominous atmosphere in the album is further emphasised on tracks like the interlude Punishment for Baneful, sounding like the horrors of war and destruction, and the rumbling growls on the track sound like a beast to be awaken at any moment, further increasing the tension in the air.

    Of course, the brutal death metal side of the band are not overlooked, as the listener is assaulted by crushing riff after riff, often dished out in a trem-picked or heavy palm-muted chugging manners. The cliches of the genre are also present such as the generous usage of pinch harmonics, especially on tracks like Chemical Romance, being perhaps the heaviest track on the album. The band also doesn’t neglect technicality in their playing, with the complex riffs that are unleashed by guitarists Vasil and Andrey.

    Throughout the album as well, Enthrallment wastes little time, as the band prefers a more straightforward approach in delivering their music, with tracks typically lasting a short 2-3 minute, and the entire album lasting only slightly more than 30 minutes. The short running time of the album, coupled with the intensity and heaviness of the record ensures that People from the Lands of Vit will create a lasting, hammering impact on the listener.

    http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: Morbidity – Pits of Eternal Torment

    28. Sep. 2012, 2:48



    Morbidity [Bangladesh]
    Pits of Eternal Torment
    2012
    Demo
    Imperium Productions
    Death Metal


    The Bangladesh underground metal scene has certainly excited me a little ever since discovering the excellent Orator, displaying the increasing growth of this genre in a country that is little known for extreme metal. Morbidity is probably the second metal band aside from Orator that I encounter, and this year sees the band unleashing their brand of old school death metal in the form of their debut demo, Pits of Eternal Torment.
    As would be expected of a demo, the production quality of Pits of Eternal Torment are extremely raw, and it sounds as though the band recorded the demo in a live setting. While this would typically be a reason for complaint for most other releases, Morbidity fortunately manages to capture the live raw energy of the band and is an excellent example of their live performances. Of course, the details of some of the instruments can be lost at times, such as the mostly inaudible bass guitar, but this does not stop the band from progressing forwards with full fury and anger. The drums, on the other hand, hammer mercilessly on the listener’s ears and work with Defiler’s abrasive vocals to provide the aggression in the music.
    Music-wise, Morbidity‘s style of death metal sticks to the old-school format, with a tinge of thrash metal that is included at times as well, as can be heard on the intro of the self-titled track, Morbidity. The energy in the music is kept up with the fast pace and heavy riffs that are present throughout the demo. Pits of Eternal Torment even has an old-school Swedish death metal sound in the riffing patterns as well and while I’m not a particularly huge fan of Swedish death metal, Morbidity manages to prevent themselves from sounding cheesy. The ethnic-sounding lead guitars in the middle of the track also helps to keep things interesting. The old-school influence that the band has are further displayed through the included live cover version of Nunslaughter‘s Killed by the Cross, a fitting tribute to the band especially with the raw and energetic performance by Morbidity.
    Extreme metal has been sprouting out from all corners of the globe, and while many tend to end up imitating pioneers of their respective genres, it is precisely bands like Morbidity who dare to innovate and include their unique personal touch to the music that help to prevent things from sounding stale. Pits of Eternal Torment has been an extremely enjoyable listen, and is recommended for those who like raw old-school death metal.

    http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: Necrovation - Necrovation

    20. Jun. 2012, 11:13

    Necrovation
    Necrovation
    2012
    Full Length
    Agonia Records
    Death Metal


    Seeing Necrovation's country of origin got me slightly hesitant, wondering if this was yet another of those pure Nihilist or Entomed-worship/emulation bands. But on Necrovation's debut on Agonia Records, the band ensures a further exploration of the sound that they have presented to fans on their previous releases, promising a record that has a wider range of influences from heavy metal to classical on top of the classic death metal sound.

    So it is certainly surprising that the influences from old school Swedish bands were rather subtle throughout the record, as the band begins their relentless onslaught without any warning or mercy right from the start with Necrovorous Insurrection. The wide range of influences that the band boasts is extremely clear from the start of the album, and this is most obvious in the playing style of guitarists Seb and Fredrick. The lead guitars on the album, for example, are mostly melodic and bring in an old school heavy metal feel, and are unlike the chaotic style that classic death metal bands tend to utilise, though the fundamentals of Necrovation's music are undoubtedly old school death metal. Riffing patterns and styles on songs like Dark Lead Dead even present a slight thrash metal influence in their songwriting, displaying the versatility of the band's playing.

    Throughout the album, there is so much going on at the same time that one finds it hard to really focus on a single aspect of the music. In a single track, the band transits between so many different styles that at times it can get somewhat confusing, and the listener easily loses focus and loses track on the first few listens. However, over numerous listen this begins to play in Necrovation's favour as every listen presents a fresh and unique experience to the listener, with new and different discoveries that can be found with each additional listen. It is also the smart usage of the various transitions that help to build that tension that is present in the air, such as the sudden movement into a more silent moment on Dark Lead Dead, bringing in a sudden chill along with it. The instrumental track, The Transition brings in an entirely different face of the band, with the acoustic guitars and comparatively calmer mood, but while it presents a break from the destruction that has been caused prior to that, there is still that ominous atmosphere that lingers with the symphonic elements that are included as well.

    Overall, Necrovation's self-titled release has been an extremely surprising one, whether it is due to my expectation from a Swedish death metal band, and also an extremely dynamic one. The band has certainly pushed the limits and boundaries of death metal with Necrovation with numerous songs that do not stick to any conventional death metal style, and instead sees the band exploring their own rather innovative style, resulting in a somewhat psychedelic, yet exciting experience.

    Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: Morbidity - Pits of Eternal Torment

    20. Jun. 2012, 11:12

    Morbidity
    Pits of Eternal Torment
    2012
    Demo
    Imperium Productions
    Death Metal


    The Bangladesh underground metal scene has certainly excited me a little ever since discovering the excellent Orator, displaying the increasing growth of this genre in a country that is little known for extreme metal. Morbidity is probably the second metal band aside from Orator that I encounter, and this year sees the band unleashing their brand of old school death metal in the form of their debut demo, Pits of Eternal Torment.

    As would be expected of a demo, the production quality of Pits of Eternal Torment are extremely raw, and it sounds as though the band recorded the demo in a live setting. While this would typically be a reason for complaint for most other releases, Morbidity fortunately manages to capture the live raw energy of the band and is an excellent example of their live performances. Of course, the details of some of the instruments can be lost at times, such as the mostly inaudible bass guitar, but this does not stop the band from progressing forwards with full fury and anger. The drums, on the other hand, hammer mercilessly on the listener's ears and work with Defiler's abrasive vocals to provide the aggression in the music.

    Music-wise, Morbidity's style of death metal sticks to the old-school format, with a tinge of thrash metal that is included at times as well, as can be heard on the intro of the self-titled track, Morbidity. The energy in the music is kept up with the fast pace and heavy riffs that are present throughout the demo. Pits of Eternal Torment even has an old-school Swedish death metal sound in the riffing patterns as well and while I'm not a particularly huge fan of Swedish death metal, Morbidity manages to prevent themselves from sounding cheesy. The ethnic-sounding lead guitars in the middle of the track also helps to keep things interesting. The old-school influence that the band has are further displayed through the included live cover version of Nunslaughter's Killed by the Cross, a fitting tribute to the band especially with the raw and energetic performance by Morbidity.

    Extreme metal has been sprouting out from all corners of the globe, and while many tend to end up imitating pioneers of their respective genres, it is precisely bands like Morbidity who dare to innovate and include their unique personal touch to the music that help to prevent things from sounding stale. Pits of Eternal Torment has been an extremely enjoyable listen, and is recommended for those who like raw old-school death metal.

    Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: Abhorrence - Completely Vulgar

    20. Jun. 2012, 11:11

    Abhorrence
    Completely Vulgar
    2012
    Compilation
    Svart Records
    Death Metal


    Prior to this, the only other Abhorrence that I know of is Brazil's death metal squad, after their split with Impiety. Apart from that, there is the little known band out of the same name from Finland as well, releasing only a single demo and EP in 1990 before splitting up shortly after that. This year Svart Records finally releases the long overdue compilation, containing both the demo and the EP, along with a couple of live and rehearsal tracks.

    The band lists an whole host of old-school Swedish death metal bands as influences, and this is clearly heard throughout, especially through the abrasive guitar tone that is so prominent in the early releases of Swedish death metal bands such as Entombed and Nihilist, topped by the at times intentionally sloppy, d-beat style of drumming as well. But Abhorrence manages to create a rather distinctive sound of their own, rather than simply stick to the tried and tested Swedish death metal formula, and at times influences from American bands such as Suffocation become clear as well, with a more technical style of playing by the band, giving a slightly more diverse sound compared to the newer bands playing old school death metal that stick to a single style or influence. The bass is also surprisingly audible on the EP tracks, and gives a nice low-end groove to the music. There is also the alternation between short, faster-paced tracks and slower and more intense moments, such as on Caught in a Vortex, where the slower segments seem to mark the impending doom of mankind. Furthermore, I also can't help drawing comparisons with the band's Finnish counterparts such as Archgoat, especially with the monstrous vocals, the crushing atmosphere and the haunting introductory tracks, and this is clearer on the demo tracks on the compilation, though less blasphemous and less crushing.

    This being a compilation of songs from different sources, the production quality of the tracks vary. While the production of the EP and demo tracks are rather raw, the individual instruments remain rather clear with none being buried in the mix, retaining the old school feel in the music. The production on the demo tracks are probably my favourite, with the dark and heavy atmosphere that is constantly present. Perhaps the weaker points, sound-wise, on Completely Vulgar are the live tracks that are included, with the guitars often being buried beneath the drums and vocals, resulting in a rather muddy sound. That said though, the energy that is in the air on the live tracks are stunning, and this makes up slightly for what is lacking in the sounds department.

    Despite the band putting their demo and EP on their website for free download, Completely Vulgar provides a more fulfilling experience with the bonus tracks that are included. The live tracks display the band's energy in their performances and their true ability as a band, and these certainly make this compilation worthwhile.

    Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: The House of Capricorn - In the Devil's Days

    20. Jun. 2012, 11:10

    The House of Capricorn
    In the Devil's Days
    2011
    Full Length
    Swamps of One Tree Hill
    Stoner/Doom Metal


    There's something about bands coming from the Oceania region, with outstanding extreme metal bands that come out from places like Australia and New Zealand. Equally dark as their black and death metal counterparts like Witchrist and Diocletian are stoner/doom metallers The House of Capricorn, with their sophomore full length effort, In the Devil's Days. Occult rock/metal has been a rather intriguing genre of late, and the simple, yet ominous album artwork further shrouding the band in an aura of mystery.

    Unlike black and death metal bands that tend to utilise harsh methods to get their blasphemous messages across to their listeners, one thing that my encounters with occult rock bands have been the catchiness in the tunes that the bands craft, and this is evident right from the start with All Hail to the Netherworld. The riffs of Scott are heavily stoner/doom metal influenced, and the emotions in the music are topped off by the strained clean vocals of Marko who infuse the music with that sense of desperation. Ex-Vassafor and Ulcerate drummer Michael also proves his capabilities on the album, and while the music is of the opposite end of the spectrum compared to what he has played, he is able to switch his playing styles on In the Devil's Days, and his work on the album are a mark of his versatility.

    While the album starts off in a rather light-hearted way with All Hail to the Netherworld, that is just a prelude to the darkness that the listener will encounter as the album progresses, as the band alternates between faster and catchy moments and slower and downright foreboding moments. In the Devil's Days is littered with long tracks that last up to 15 minutes, and songs like Les Innocents see the band taking an agonisingly slow pace that almost reminds listeners of pioneering doom bands such as Black Sabbath, instilling a sense of hopelessness and darkness into the listener. And it is also such tracks that make the listening experience of the album such an ironic pleasure, with the band slowly torturing the listener, removing any sense of hope and light bit by bit until there is nothing left but bleak darkness. Not all the long and slow pieces are those of doom though, as tracks like Veils feel more retrospective and reflective instead.

    On the flip side, songs like Coffins and Cloven Hooves are more straightforward hard rock-ish numbers with groovy guitar riffs and bass lines, helping to restore some sense of sanity in the listener after the gruelling Les Innocents, while all the time retaining the aggressive edge in the music, expressed through the gruff vocals of Marko. But not all is simply calm and happy though, as guitarist Scott experiments with his lead lines throughout the album, what with the weird guitar solo on the track giving the song some sense of chaos.

    The ability to put the listener through a roller-coaster ride of emotions as the album progresses displays the superior abilities of the band not only as musicians but also as songwriters, and the variety of different moods and expressions of The House of Capricorn on In the Devil's Days have certainly make the album an interesting, albeit somewhat depressing one to listen to.

    Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: Poisonous - Perdition's Den

    20. Jun. 2012, 11:10

    Poisonous
    Perdition's Den
    2010/2012 (Reissue)
    Full Length
    Blood Harvest/Metalhit.com (Reissue)
    Death Metal


    Originally released in 2010 under Blood Harvest, this year sees Brazilian old school death metal horde Poisonous' debut full length album, Perdition's Den being re-issued under the digital record label, Metalhit.com. With Brazilian metal being pioneered by bands like Sarcofago and Sepultura, one would almost expect Perdition's Den to sound like the thrash-tinged death metal that Brazilian bands have crafted over the years.

    But the heavy and crushing riffs that are present on Perdition's Den reek heavily of Incantation-worship, and this made even more so with the at times intentionally sloppy-sounding drumming of Alex, though he proves his capabilities throughout the album later. The dark and evil atmosphere and the heaviness in the music, made even more intense with the low rumbling growls of the bass of Evil, results in the listener at times feeling oppressed and suffocated. The vocals of Michael further tops the experience up with the monstrous growls, and combined with the riffs that are unleashed, reminding listeners of bands such as Impetuous Ritual, alternating between heavy palm-muted and trem-picked sections.

    The focus on Perdition's Den seems to be on the heaviness in the music rather than speed, as there are rather few extremely fast moments with the album progressing at a mid-pace for the most part of the album, while crushing riff after crushing riff is presented to the listener, with the band not giving much time for the listener to recover from previous onslaughts before presenting the next punishing section. Poisonous also does not shy away from including elements such as keyboards to reinforce the ominous atmosphere already present in the music, as these appear from time to time throughout the album, such as on the tracks Demons and Horror Instinct. The spoken vocals that are layered over the keys also provide a nice touch, further sending chills down one's back.

    As a tribute to the founding fathers of Brazilian extreme metal, the band has also included a cover of Sarcofago's The Black Vomit, giving a nice heavy, crushing death metal makeover to the track. Overall, Perdition's Den is a nice blasphemous, old school death metal album and would certainly appeal to fans of bands such as Incantation.

    Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: Stalwart - Manifest of Refusal

    18. Jun. 2012, 14:39



    Stalwart
    Manifest of Refusal
    2012
    Full Length
    PRC Music
    Death/Thrash Metal


    Despite Stalwart's long history, being formed all the way back in 1999, it isn't until this year's Manifest of Ritual, the band's fourth full length album that I first hear of them. Metal hailing from Russia is a little-heard of thing personally, with the main genres being encountered are those of the black metal genre, and this makes it all the more exciting to hear what Stalwart is capable of.

    On top of the usual speed and aggression that one would expect of a death/thrash metal release, Stalwart tops the listening experience of Manifest of Refusal by including a dark and heavy atmosphere in the music, and this can be heard through the usage of haunting synths not only on the opening track The Karma Circle, but also constantly throughout the album. Vocalist Oleg also blends his vocal styles according to the mood, with the album seeing him going from aggressive growls to soft whispers. Unfortunately though, the awkward pronunciation of English at times lead to an unintentionally funny outcome especially with the seemingly menacing intention of the band, such as on The Rise of the Ninth Wave, though this is but a small flaw in the grand scheme of things.

    Furthermore, the band also includes some technical elements in the music through the groovy riffs that at times resemble such bands as Strapping Young Lad in the tone of the guitars and the odd rhythms that are utilised, and this technical display certainly provides a refreshing sound to the band's music. Guitarists Antuan and Leonid and drummer Tim constantly challenge each other with the complex riffing patterns and odd time signatures that are present in the music, yet each prove their flair, executing their portions with ease and fusing together into one coherent entity, and moments such as on Corrosion remind listeners of Meshuggah as well. The guitar solos are technical and chaotic, and these are often nicely contrasted by the somewhat calming keyboards, and this can be heard on songs like Downgrade Evolution. Bassist Demian is also equally technically proficient, mirroring the riffs of Antuan and Leonid and at times even incorporating his personal touch, though the low mix of the bass requires the listener to really pay attention.

    Manifest of Refusal has been quite a surprise, with the quality music that Stalwart has written. The aggression and anger of the band manages to really seep through the music on more straightforward numbers like Idol of the Time, and the technical playing of the individual members make the music all the more interesting and exciting as well, making Manifest of Refusal one hell of a journey.

    Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/
  • Album Review: Greed & Rapacity - Loki Bound

    18. Jun. 2012, 14:38



    Greed & Rapacity
    Loki Bound
    2012
    EP
    Milam Records
    Black/Death Metal


    Australia is a fertile land for some of the most extreme and experimental black and death metal bands to emerge, and is characterised by bands like Portal and Impetuous Ritual. Boasting just 2 members behind the band, Greed & Rapacity joins the ranks of these bands as well, presenting some of the harshest black metal that has been crafted on their 2010 demo, Ergreifer. 2 years later, the band returns with their single track EP, Loki Bound, a 30-odd minute journey that would test and push the boundaries of one's sanity.

    Despite the odd sense of calm that the EP begins with the sounds of water dripping, one would soon realise that this is merely the calm before the incoming storm, as crushing riffs soon hit the listener hard and unexpectedly, replacing that initial impression with an almost ritualistic atmosphere instead. The shared vocal duties between members Dan and Henry help to reinforce the mood, with the fanatic screams, tortured growls, chants and whispers that lie beneath the guitars, and one almost feels as though he were stuck in an asylum full of lunatics out to hunt one down.

    The band manages to keep the listener engaged throughout the EP, despite it containing only a single track, and this is done through rather clever ways, such as the alternating between full on crushing riffs and those piercing ones that instantly makes the hair on one's back stand. The band makes sure that even the more ambient moments are not any more comfortable for the listener, with haunting vocals that plague the music, and despite the often unwelcoming atmosphere, the listener often still finds himself strangely enchanted. The usage of the six-string bass on the recording of Loki Bounds creates that commanding and oppressive atmosphere in the music. Throughout the track Henry makes full use of the instrument, with the more silent segments on the track being filled with the low, rumbling growls of the bass.

    The album ends with a few minutes of continuous droning, putting a fitting end to this uneasy journey and not letting the listener have even a single moment of peace even as the album ends. There are no fast passages on Loki Bounds, no catchy moments, just pure hopelessness and a slow and endless journey to the abyss of darkness.

    Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/