Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bhleg/Solarmegin/Nordvis Produktion/2018 CD Review


  Bhelg  are  a  band  from  Sweden  that  plays  a  folk  influenced  form  of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  album  "Solarmegin"  which  will  be  released  in  2018  by  Nordvis  Produktion.

  Nature  sounds  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  acoustic  guitars  a  few  seconds  alter  which  also  adds  elements  of  folk  music  onto the  recording  while  other  folk  instruments  are  also  used  at times  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats  can  be  heard  which  also  gives  the  songs  a  more  raw  feeling.

  Vocals  are  mostly  grim  black  metal  screams  while  the  songs  also  bring  in a   great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  some  clean  vocals  being  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  as  well  as  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  When  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a   very  melodic  fashion  while  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  along  with  some  of  the  tracks  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  as  the  album  progresses  whispered  vocals,  spoken  word  parts  as  well  as  some  shamanistic  chanting  can  also  be heard  briefly,  there  is  also  a  brief  ambient  track  before  returning  back  to  a  heavier  direction.

  Bhelg  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  raw  and  melodic  while  also  mixing  in a  great amount  of  folk  music  elements,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  yet  heavy  at  the  same  time  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  Swedish  and  cover  nature,  existence  and  cosmos  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Bhelg  are  a  very  great  sounding folk  influenced  black  metal group  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Sunnanljus"  "Kraftsang  Till  Sunna"  "Skuggspell"  and  "Sollens  Ankomst".  8  out  of  10. 

    

First Martyr Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
The band First Martyr has started its activity anew in 2016. There are four members in the band now: vocals by Morana, guitar by Iscarioth and bass by Columbian musician Hastur. The founder of the band - drummer Cerberus. In this line up the band recorded the album "End of Fucking Faith". In 2017 Hastur was replaced by Storm. Besides there is the member, who doesn't play music but coordinates our live shows, works on our corpse paint, designs our covers and interprets our communication - Orin.

2.Recently you have released an album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
I've never tried to recreate the wheel because no matter what sound you invent it will be similar to someone, after all. But I don't like either too dirty or too polished sound. As luck would have it that while recording of the album we decided to make it closer to the sound of late 90' black metal, without digital arrangement. I think we succeed.


3.The band has been around since 2004 but waited until 2017 to release an album, can you tell us a little bit more about the earlier years?
The band was formed in 2005 by my brother and me, after the end of my collaboration with another pagan-black band "Perun". One of my last live shows with this band was the show with U.D.O. after which our paths separated. Perun was so to say one-man band, who pursued his own ambitions. On the contrary, I wanted to play true black metal, without betraying this style year after year. Though, if being sincere, Perun and my participation in it gave a boost both to me and my band, and to black metal music in the south of Russia in general.
So in 2005 I've made a band which was first called Martyr. After the first live show we decided to change name to First Martyr, as there are pretty much bands around the world who bear the same name. I regret a little about this decision even nowadays. What you call a boat, so it will float! It seems like our name lives it's own life and decides who to get rid of on its own. The best proving is the fact that from 2005 to 2017 all of the band members quit under the pressure of factual constraint. I've lost the contact with almost all of them completely.
Quite a lot of members changed in the band till 2008. The first demo was supposed to be released in 2006. It was ready but a conflict with the vocalist of our band didn't allow us to finish the release. We had to search for a replacement and change all lyrics. In the end vocals were re-recorded in 2008, but the album didn't come out because the guitarist left the band, bass player got sick. We didn't manage to find a replacement for them and the band almost ceased to exist.
Search for other musicians gave no result and in 2011 the name got me. I've almost lost my sight. A year after, and after several operations I have decided to start anew. Wrote six tracks, found new members, restarted concert activity and got prepared to record the album. Another fail, once again I found myself all alone and almost ready album passed into oblivion.
Only in the beginning of 2016 I have finally found the people I've been searching for, who shared my views. With them we recorded the album "End of Fucking Faith" pretty fast.

4.A lot of your lyrics deal with Satanism, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the black arts?
I don't want to speak about such corny things as my hatred to Christianity and about their hypocrisy, double standards and endless flow of lies. I don't give a shit about the fact of their existence. It just makes me smile and feel sorry for all those silly people.
When I was younger, about 10 years before, black metal, and rock music in general was a way of self-expression. We were a part of the crowd but no one disturbed us. Now the time has changed. Now the church sidles up to what she isn't supposed to. Now you see it everywhere. In schools, army, literally everywhere! And with the support of government they fucking succeed. Is there anything to discuss if such subculture like bikers is almost completely consists of believers, who cross their motorbikes. If church doesn't like something it becomes a public domain and turns restricted pretty fast. It just kills people's freedom of individuality and their self-expression. That's why in Russia black metal is beyond the law. It's in deep underground now. Maybe that's the dark beauty, mystery and secret of it, which attracts people's attention. This is why I love this dark music. And despise what happens on the surface (among the government heads, I mean). That's why we tell about hypocrisy, sins (admit, that most of the sins are really pleasing) in our lyrics.
It's an endless topic to discuss, actually.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'First Martyr'?
As I've already said the band was first called Martyr. But as there several bands with exactly the same name we have decided to add the word First. I think that everyone knows whom this name appeals. By the name and the logo one can easily define the musical style and topics touched.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
I think that our last two concerts which took place in August and November 2017, in Moscow and here in Rostov were pretty good. We try to give an anti religious show with all the attributes necessary. To look natural we use pig heads and human bones sewn to band costumes, a lot of satanic attributes. We hang pig heads so that fans could tear, hit, ride and punch them. It's fun when during mosh fans tear pig heads and try to eat them raw! laughing. On the very last concert Morana, in a nun costume, was carried out tied to the huge cross by a couple of vikings in armor and then started the show. I think that the show was very realistic. We try to bring some new elements show by show, if possible.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Now we are preparing to a tour around Greece. Now we are working on the new material and maybe after the tour we will start recording the new album.

8.On the album the band did a cover of Mayhem's "Freezing Moon', what was the decision behind doing your own version of this song?
This song of Mayhem is very famous and popular. Many bands made cover on it and almost all of them did it in their own unique way, that's why we have made our mind to make a cover that would suit the concept of our album. We are planning to add a cover on songs from De Mysteries Dom Sathanas in every album. But it's just a plan for now.

9.The band is also signed to 'Abrasax Distro Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
The label "Abrasax Distro Records" makes release in South of America, where black metal is really popular now. Label "Anthrazit Records" works with us in European countries. I'm really glad that we managed to find labels which are really interested in this musical style, because working with not that well known band is pretty difficult. We like that both labels work for idea, so to say.

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
After the digital release of our album we have received a lot of good reviews from such countries as Canada, Tunis, Greece, Spain, Columbia, Peru, Norway. Many people from different countries searched through our official pages and got interested in our music. We have expected more negative reaction, but the most negative review was an attempt of some jerk to compare us with Gorgoroth. After visiting our live show he took his words back. Many people compare us with the old Mayhem, but I don't think it's bad.

11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I don't see any future for my band here in Russia, and I have no plans about this country too. Now our first priority task is to give live shows around Europe. And maybe to take part in some European black metal gigs.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I have never thought of any band as a land mark for our own music, while writing the material. It just happened. In my humble opinion the album has some traits similar to Inquisition, Dark Funeral, Mayhem, Tsjuder and Darkened Nocturne Slaughtercult. But we played it in our own way. Concerning what I listen to now... laughing I'm conservative, new bands neither surprise nor glad me. I like it when you can listen to the album a whole again and again, not only one or two songs. One of the releases that has interested me recently was he last album of Immolation. Indeed, if I want something for my own pleasure I come back to death and doom of early 90s.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
I hope that European black metal fans will accept our new album. Wish everyone luck in our dark arts. Ave from Russia!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Spite Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?

Spite is the solo artistic endeavor of myself, Salpsan, spawned in pure unholy devotion to the upholding of real black metal.

2.In the beginning of 2018 you have a new album coming out, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

On "Antimoshiach", one will certainly find more complex song structures and varied styles than I've been able to present with my limited prior releases. I took my time with these songs to make them all feel very complete, but also flow well together as an album. "Antimoshiach" deals centrally with the notion of an Antimessiah revealing themself in our world, and naturally there is some conceptual continuity between most of the songs. There are even lyrical references to themes and characters in Spite's older songs, as this project is intended to be a cohesive canon of blasphemous mythology. I'll leave it up to the listener to find all the connecting threads. Additionally, one will hear a much stronger produced album, as it was recorded and mixed by the extremely talented and meticulous Jamie Elton of Amulet (UK) in a proper studio in London.

3.The solo project has been around since 2010 and while you have released a split, a single and an ep, you have waited until 2018 to release the first full length, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?

Spite originated with a totally different musical intention back then, but when I wrote and recorded "Desecration Rites" with the help of Horns & Hooves' Malebolge, in a very impromptu fashion, I knew that was the direction I had to head towards. I had some riffs that would end up on "Antimoshiach" written back in 2010, including the entirety of what would become "Vision of the Merkabah". I slowly but carefully worked to create the eight songs on this debut for a few years, and intentionally wrote "Countless Blasphemy" (from the "Evil Spells, Vol. I" compilation) and the "Trapped in the Pentagram" single in the meantime to be standalone tracks to offer a taste of the sound I was honing for the album. Scheduling the recording for May 2016 in London took time, but the music for the album had been completed some months before then. For the previous tracks, I only played through them one or two times in Malebolge's rehearsal chambers before recording them properly, but for "Antimoshiach" I had a lot more time to rehearse. After the recording and mixing was complete (all in a very strenuous eight days), it took some time to get mastering and artwork done and coordinate with Invictus Productions' release schedule, but patience is necessary for these things. It allowed me time to work on future material, for which I already have many new songs written, as well as record the Horns & Hooves "Morbid Lust" EP last winter.

4.You refer to your music as 'raw desecration black metal, can you tell us a little bit more about this term?

That term holds little significance, but it arose out of the seminal track "Desecration Rites" and aptly serves the purpose of summarizing my intent for the band. The attitude, hatred, and devotion to black metal expressed by Spite are all raw and from a genuine place. Desecration is an act of spite and I derive satisfaction from writing vile and blasphemous lyrics. In the words of the legendary forefathers, "Fuck Christ".

5.Your lyrics a lot of satanic, occult and blasphemous themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the dark arts?

Indeed, Spite thematically delves into all of the aforementioned. However, I do not have any intention of presenting Spite as a ritualistic cult or anything of that nature, like many modern bands offer as a gimmick to sell albums or concert tickets. Offering true and untainted black metal is my most pressing concern. That being said, my lyrical themes are extremely paramount to the canon of Spite as an artistic project. To this end, I have adapted much from the passages of Judaic and Christian mythos, including apocalyptic themes, the death and shaming of Christ, demonology and the occult, and even the recounting of Old Testament prophetic tales from a satanic perspective, a yarn I've been slowly weaving since "Desecration Rites" and will continue to elaborate on in the future. It is with a truly misanthropic and deviant hand that I write these songs, but the music is the only dark art in which I partake. How the music may affect its listeners is out of my control, however...

6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Spite'?

I created this project in spite of those who misrepresent black metal to be some ritualistic and of egotistic charade to hide a lack of musical capability or historical understanding of the genre. It was created as solo project in spite of the lack of committment, passion, and understanding of black metal I saw in musicians around me at the time, and still see today. Furthermore, it was forged in spite of the world's overarching fear of a divine presence, cloying trends towards mainstream and recycled aesthetics, and people's unwillingness to take the helm for themselves and light their own path. Fuck the world.

7.On the albums you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians in this project or do you prefer the solo route a lot more?

I am always open to collaboration and continue to meet many talented and dedicated musicians in the shadowy corners of the world, hiding from the sickening shine of the mainstream that is slowly creeping into what we know as the underground. Many peers have expressed interest in participating in this hellish undertaking in a live setting, and I am considering the ways in which that could be feasible. In terms of artistic creation for Spite, however, I would like this project to flow entirely from my mind in order to maintain musical and thematic continuity.

8..The new album is going to be released on 'Invictus Productions', how would you compare working with them to the other labels that you have worked with so far?

I am eternally indebted to Darragh of Invictus Productions for offering to produce and release this album after only hearing the few songs I had released previously. He allowed me to create the monumental work with years of effort behind it into something as close to the vision I had for it years ago. I am also grateful for all the other labels who have brought Spite to where it is now, including Stygian Black Hand for releasing the original demo, Electric Assault Records for collaborating with SBH on the "Evil Spells, Vol. I" compilation and also helping with the recording sessions of all three releases prior to this album, and Iron Bonehead Productions for releasing "Trapped in the Pentagram" and delivering Spite to a much larger audience.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?

I cannot say, but hopefully the worldwide black metal community will learn once more to recognize genuine black metal ethos and reject imposters.

10.What is going on with your other musical project 'Horns & Hooves' these days?

More filth has been prepared and will be shat out in the near future - that is all I can say.

11.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?

Hell.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

There are many intentional nods - some subtle and others blatantly up front if you're paying attention - to artists who have influenced Spite within all of its songs. In terms of the specific style of black metal I am aiming for, I can directly point to the old guard of Norwegian black metal - Immortal, Satyricon, Dodheimsgard, Emperor, Darkthrone, Mayhem, and the like - all of whose earliest releases had a tremendous impact on me. Outside of this scene, bands like Craft, Behexen, Old, Mortuary Drape, Katharsis, and Negative Plane also had a great influence on Spite's sound. All that being said, Slayer is still the greatest source of inspiration for me, and in my opinion "Hell Awaits" is the finest black metal album ever written. There are countless homages to Slayer in the works of Spite. Nowadays, new, genuine black metal is getting harder to come by, though I do listen to a plethora of different bands, new and old, from many genres and eras. Newer bands such as Occvlta, Obliteration, Antichrist, and Occult Burial are certainly worth noting as well.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

As the tides rise and fall, and fleeting trends dilute the sanctity of black metal as we once knew it, be certain that Spite will still stand tall, monolithic, immovable through time eternal. Spit on the priest, shit on the feast - the resurrection will not come.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Thaw/Grains/Agonia Records/2017 CD Review


  Thaw  are  a  band  from  Poland  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and plays  a  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge,  improv.  experimental,  ambient  and  noise  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Grains"  which  was  released  by  Agonia  Records.

  A  very  heavy  sound  starts  off  the  album  along  with  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  and   dark  sounding  melodies  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  high  pitched  black  metal s creams  along  with the  slower  riffing  bringing  in  elements  of  sludge  and  doom  metal and  the  solos  and  leads  are  done  in  a  very  distorted  fashion.

  Most  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  while  the  music  also  gets  very  experimental  and  avant  garde  at  times  along  with  some  robotic  vocals  also  being  used  briefly  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  can  be  heard  which  also  gives  the  songs  a  more  raw  feeling,  whispered  vocals  and  melodic  chants  can  also  be  heard  briefly  as  well  a s all  of  the musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  all  of  the  tracks  sound  very  different  from  each  other.

  Thaw  creates  another  recording  that  remains  true  to  the  mixture  of  black  metal,  sludge,  improv,  experimental,  ambient  and  noise  from  previous  releases,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while t he  lyrics  cover  occult  and  dark  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Thaw  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  black  metal,  sludge,  improv,  experimental,  ambient  and  noise,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Cabalist"  and  "Wielki  Piec". 8  out  of  10.      

Grave Spirit/The Beast Unburdened By Flesh/Iron Bonehead Productions/2018 7 Inch Review


  Grave  Spirit  are  a  band  from  an  unknown  location  that  plays  a  very  raw  and  old  school  form  of  black  metal  with some  death  metal  touches  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  ep  "The  Beast  Unburdened  By  Flesh"  which  will  be  released  by  Iron  Bonehead  Productions  on  February  9th, 2018.

  A  very  fast  and  raw  sound  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats  while  the  vocals  are  mostly  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  along  with  the  riffs  also  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  dark  sounding  melodies  while  death  metal  growls  can  also  be  heard  at  times.

  Most  of  the  music  is  very  heavily  rooted  in  the  90's  second  wave  tradition  while  also  capturing  the  aggression  of  war  metal  at  times  and  when  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  dark,  raw  and  melodic  fashion,  at  times  some  of  the  riffs  go  in  a  slower  section  along  with the  music  always  remaining  very  heavy  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Grave  Spirit  plays  a  style  of  black  metal  that  is  very  fast  and  raw  in  the  90's  second  tradition,  the  production  sounds  very  dark  and  raw  while  the  lyrics  covers  tales  of  the  mythical,  both  dead  and  undead.

  In  my  opinion  Grave  Spirit  are  a  very  great  sounding  fast  and  raw  black  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "The  Beast  Unburdened  By  Flesh".  8/5  out  of  10.    

Friday, December 8, 2017

Kuoleman Galleria/Pimeys Saapuu Pohjoiseen/Inverse Records/2017 CD Review


  Kuoleman  Galleria  are  a  band  from  Finland  that  plays  black'n'roll  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Pimeys  Saapuu  Pohjoiseen"  which  was  released  by  Inverse  Records.

  Nature  sounds  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  folk  instruments  a  few seconds  later  before  going  into  a  heavier  direction  along  with  the  vocals  being  mostly  high  pitched  black  metal  screams  while  the  music  adds  in  a  great  amount  of  black'n'roll  elements  as  well  a s some  back  up  shouts.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  while  the  riffs  also  use  a  great  amount  of  melody  along  with  some  spoken  word  parts  also  being  used  briefly  and  when  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion,  as  the  album  progresses  a  brief  use  of  clean  vocals  can  also  be  heard,  a  couple  of  tracks  also  adds  in  a  small  amount  of  death  metal  growls,  stringed  instruments,  acoustic  guitars  and  clean  playing.

   Kuoleman  Galleria  plays  a  style  of  black'n'roll that  is  very  catchy  as  well  as  keeping  most  of  the  music  in  a  mid  tempo  direction,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  Finnish  and  cover  sarcasm and  dark  humor  themes.

  In  my  opinion   Kuoleman  Galleria  are  a  very  great  sounding  black'n'roll  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Pimeys  saapuu  pohjoiseen"  "Materian  omistama"  "Vahtikoira"  and  "Mieleen  haudattu".  8  out  of  10.

    

Mortis Mutilati/The Stench Of Death/2018 Full Length Review


  France's  solo  project  Mortis  Mutilati  have  returned  with  a  new  recording  which  continues  the  funeral  style  of  black  metal  from  previous  releases  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  self  released album  "The  Stench  Of  Death"  which  will  be  released  in  2018.

  Acoustic  guitar  playing  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  atmospheric  elements   while  operatic  female  vocals  are  also  used  briefly  and  after  the  intro  the  music  goes  into  more  of  a  heavier  and  melodic  musical  direction  while  also  introducing  high  pitched  depressive  black  metal  screams  onto  the  recording.

  When  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  are  done  in  a  very  melodic  fashion  while  the  faster  sections  of  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  blast  beats  and  tremolo  picking  which  also  gives  the  songs  a  more  raw  feeling  along  with  some  keyboards  also  being  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording.

  Some  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  while  some  of  the  slower  riffing  also  brings  in  elements  of  doom  metal  along  with  some  growls  also  being  utilized  at  times  and  melodic  chants  can  also be  heard  briefly  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  Mortis  Mutilati  creates  another  recording t hat  remains  true  to  the  funeral  style  of  black  metal  that  was  established  on  previous  releases,  the  production  sound s very  dark  and  heavy  while  the  lyrics  are  written  in  a  mixture  of  English  and  French  and  cover  death,  eroticism  and  taphophilia  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Mortis  Mutilati  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  funeral  or  depressive  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Echoes  From  The  Coffin"  Onguent  Mortuarie"  and  "L-odeur  du  mort".  8  out  of  10.