It may have taken thirteen years to follow-up their sole release, but with a cast that includes Misery Index, Cattle Decapitation and Scour alumni, the trials of time can be forgiven with Cast The Stone, and new EP release Empyrean Atrophy (Agonia) shows that this band has a lot more worth than simply being a side dabbling for them. Continue reading
I’ll preface this review by informing listeners that there’s nothing wrong with their ears or how their brain processes sound and information; upon first impression, you’re not going to catch-all of the riffs and bits that Origin will throw your way on Unparalleled Universe (Nuclear Blast/Agonia). And that’s totally fine. Origin clearly wanted it to be this way. That or they’ve tapped into the musical sensibilities of a far more advanced alien race. Continue reading
London-based Progressive Black Metal group code wanted to revisit some older material on their Lost Signal (Agonia) EP to see if they could cast it in a new light. This EP is six songs in total, comprising of three from the album Mut (Agonia) and three from their first three records. The band produced and mixed the EP themselves to show rich power melody and dynamics. Continue reading
Swedish post metal outfit The Moth Gatherer have just released their second album, The Earth is the Sky (Agonia) Apparently the band was started to help deal with the loss of loved ones, which is believable given the dark, melancholic nature of the music on offer.
From the opening notes of the excellent ‘Pale Explosions’, here is six tracks of dark, slowly unfolding depression via the medium of crushing riffs. As with any good post-metal record, there’s plenty of light and shade; the vocals swing between sombre melodies and almost Jamey Jasta-like screams, while the riffs juxtapose between clean quiet moments and wall of sound heaviness. It’s long, winding and largely instrumental, with the focus being on the unnerving nature of the music rather than a verse-chorus-verse-solo song structure.
‘Attacus Atlas’ is nine minutes of atmospheric and claustrophobic guitar work. ‘Dylatlov’s Pass’ is a largely ambient interlude that acts as a long respite before the droning noise of ‘The Black Antlers’, while album closer ‘In Awe Before the Rapture’ slowly builds via clean riffs and spoken word passages towards a slow but hypnotic finally.
Post metal is a hard style of music to get right, and despite having some really good moments and starting strong, The Earth is the Sky starts to fade away by the end of the record. It lacks the variety and quality song writing to keep you entertained right to the very end. However, when they’re good, The Moth Gatherer are very good and well worth your time if you’re into this kind of music.
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The amalgamation of black and death metal (often referred to as blackened death) has been successfully utilized by many bands; Dissection and Behemoth perhaps the most distinguished. It’s an unholy union that blends the macabre frostiness of black metal with the tempo and technicality of death metal. Temple of Baal hail from Paris and evoke just that with their latest release, Mysterium (Agonia). Despite being active since 1998 they have only released five full length albums and a handful of splits, one of which being alongside the phenomenal black metal band Sargeist. Momentum really got going in 2003 with the release of Servants of the Beast (Oaken Shield) and from then on the band has become more and more prolific, releasing albums every couple of years.
Their chosen theme of spirituality and religiosity is immediately apparent through the track titles alone, with songs like ‘Lord of Knowledge and Death’, ‘Hosanna’ & ‘Holy Art Thou’ being somewhat of a clue. But fear not, this is no Christian metal atrocity as the band clearly state, “Mysterium can be seen as a collection of meditations and prayers over the mysteries of Faith, directed towards the gods of the left hand path”. This prominent theme is further enforced by ritualistic sections interspersed throughout the record, epitomized in ‘Dictum Ignis’ which is an ideal accompaniment to any satanic ritual.
Aggressive and forceful, ‘Lord of Knowledge and Death’ makes no apologies for its brutal onslaught, a devastating riff interrupts the atmospheric introduction and it’s full on chaos from here on out. The riffs are piercing and well layered for a full, thick sound. Temple of Baal are all about variation, not wanting to stagnate they inject their music with different styles and sounds. ‘Magna Gloria Tua’ begins with a disorientating swirl of noise before unleashing some pummelling death metal, whilst ‘All In Your Name’ employs riffs more akin to the black metal sound. ‘Holy Art Thou’ is bursting with malice; the lyrics “Holy Art Thou!” are growled with utter venom. Exceptional fretwork shines through on the album, and is without a doubt the most memorable component, crushing yet technical and melodic, each riff serves a purpose whilst adding vigour and captivating variation.
Mysterium is a spiritual journey down the left hand path of darkness and iniquity, a remarkable journey that is without doubt unforgettable. Bow down and worship at the Temple of Baal.
Some bands around have names that describe what they are before you have even started listening to the album. Bleak and cold, Hypothermia’s depressive and atmospheric rock music embodies the slow freeze of the condition itself. The album contains a simple mix of introverted, despondent guitar lines that seem to exist outside of conventional timing as they drag their way from beginning to end, driven solely by a mid-paced drum beat.
At 8 and a half minutes long, opener ‘Invokation’ set the tone of the album, introducing the droning chords that runs through virtually the entire record. Each track adds a little extra to the sound, with ‘Svartkonst’ and ‘Regnvals’ introducing vocal and violin lines that murmur beneath the chord lines. The biggest change however comes in with closing track ‘Vy,’ the slightly uplifting harmonies sound positively joyful compared with the previous tracks and prove relief from the monotonously depressive sound.
Svartkonst (Agonia) captures the feel of early Forgotten Tomb’s acoustic tracks, however Hypothermia has crafted sound that relies far more on the subtle layering of parts than most bands. Distorted riffs, string sections and vocal flourishes hide beneath the tide of jangled guitar chords, slowly adding colour to the droning tone that purveys throughout.
With no main focal point, this album could easily be passed up as background music or dismissed as sounding empty and without focus, but this would be a mistake. For those listeners willing to give the album a chance there is a lot of to gain from the sound. Svarkonst will take you on a 35-minute journey though some of the bleakest emotional paths, with only those who can make it through to the end of the album provided with the faintest glimmer of relief.
It’s all been quiet on the front lines recently when it comes to Polish extreme metal band, Infernal War. Forming in 1997, the band took 3 years to produce their first demo, following it on with a small stream of releases leading up to their debut album, 2005’s Terrorfront. For a band that has survived that many years, their releases have always been sporadic with only 2 full-length albums and 2 EPs under their belt since they released their original demo in 2000, but with the quick successive release of their second full length Redesekration (both Agonia) in 2007, it seemed that the band were finally about to start making their mark on the scene.
After Redesekration however the quintet seemed to return to their old pattern of smaller releases, putting out just a handful of tracks across a number of different records, including a split with fellow Polish black metal band Kriegsmaschine. Finally, 2015 sees the return of the band with their third full-length album, Axiom (Agonia).
Where Axiom differs from the previous albums is not a change in sound, but a redefining of the old style into something tight and succinct. Blasting its way though 43 minutes of chaotic drums and staccato riffing, their music takes on a frantic urgent feel, racing through the song as vocalist Herr Warcrimer barks their hateful mantra. While Axiom has its moments, ‘Into Dead Soil’ pausing in the middle for flying guitar solo or the dropping back to half time for sections of ‘Nihil Prayer’, it fails to carve out any kind of lasting impression.
Axiom may have taken on a new level of togetherness in terms of sound but in between the blasting it’s hard to find anything particularly interesting or unique about this band.