Wizard Rifle – Here In The Deadlights

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Wizard Rifle are back with the new album Here In The Deadlights with the promise to continue the demand of tearing down the conventional ways of music.

The album begins in an atmospheric way reminding post-metal soundscapes, but it ends to burst with a powerful and cacophonic rock with some sludge metal nuances. We also can find some punk influences, like in the track ‘Buzzsaw Babes’, but always with the sludge pinch in the song’s height.

The bass guitar has an important, robust and distorted presence helping the tracks to have a full and fat global sound, sometimes even accompanying the guitars. There are also two vocalists performing at the same time, but they don’t deviate a lot between each other – it’s like two in one. Once again, the punk guidance is very present in the vocal’s department.

In ‘Paul The Sky Tyrant’ we can attend to more traditional doom moments which go from the vocals themselves to the sluggish guitar riffs that are so characteristic of the genre. Still regarding this song, we even have time to witness a final passage delivered by twin guitars. In spite of the initial phase comprised by a weird and disturbing rock, the album evolves to a truly doom personality sometimes headed by a lead guitar without losing sight about the distorted and heavy background. Still, we will be pleased with a jazz oriented passage in the beginning of the track ‘Psychodynamo’ in which improvisation really seems to rule.

In the end, and after some listening, I believe it’s hard to label Wizard Riffle and in fact it’s always quite square when a band encloses itself in one single genre or style. Let’s say that Wizard Riffle are influenced by doom, sludge and rock, but always with an experimental vision and very unique of opened minds to the unknown that are commanded by the impulse of create the maximum discomfort towards the conventional.

7/10

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Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater

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Job For A Cowboy have a new album, titled Sun Eater, which is released by Metal Blade Records, and despite the several changes in the lineup – having just the vocalist Jonny Davy as the original member , the band has been cohesive since 2011. Also, in spite of their evolution from deathcore to a more compact, yet somehow technical, death metal, we still can find some old vestiges in this new record.

It may seem mannered, but it won’t be if listened – I mean, we can hear some vocals similar to what Dani Filth used to do in the Damnation And A Day era in Job For A Cowboy’s opening track, ‘Eating the Visions of God’. Another interesting detail can be found in ‘Sun Of Nihility’ as we have a rhythmic guitar which joins the soloist one and suddenly it will be back to its rhythmical role again.

The bass lines are constantly present and the bass will even superimpose the distorted power delivered by the two guitars. The fat, yet perceptible, sound full of rhythmical details is a delight to every bass lover. Sometimes, it is utterly the main instrument performing as the protagonist, like in ‘The Stone Cross’, when the grunted stanzas are delivered by Davy on vocals.

The guitar riffs aren’t always just full-bodied ones comprised by the characteristic death metal power-chords, but we can find complex and melodic structures which accompanies the vocalist in his diversified approach. On other hand, the drums also present some good moments of technical efficacy in which the regular pace can be transformed in a crazy reverie that completely changes the supposed simplicity of the moment, like in ‘A Global Shift’. Generally, the strong double pedals appear with preponderancy in some instants giving fastness to the tracks.

Job For A Cowboy introduced some youngsters to extreme music ten years ago in the USA and even in Europe, but these guys aren’t 15 or 16 anymore, so give them a chance and listen to this new Sun Eater if you like death metal with deathcore roots.

 

7.0/10

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Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band – Black Flower Power

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Known for his work with Kyuss in the 1990s and more recently with Vista Chino, Brant Bjork, likewise his bandmate John Garcia, will release the solo album Black Power Flower under the flag of Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band, via Napalm Records.

Without wanting to compare artists and albums, Brant Bjork also wished to create more personal music with this new album, but on the contrary of John Garcia, Bjork goes more stoner and more traditional within the genre than Garcia went on his solo endeavor. ‘Controllers Destroyer’ opens the record in a conventional way with fat riffs accompanied by reminiscences of the doom sound, but ‘Stokely Up Now’ gets a rockier orientation giving the song a wider soundscape not being so muddy and somehow claustrophobic as usual. However, both directions aren’t always kept away from each other since the track ‘Budha Time (Everything Fine)’ is a fusion between stoner rock and rock’n’roll: if the strong guitar is doing its role in a supportive manner, a cleaner one is constantly breathing solos.

The album also has room for experimentation outside the stoner regular sonority as we have twin-guitars in ‘Ain’t No Runnin’’ and some guitar effects like wah-wah in ‘That’s A Fact Jack’ alternating with heavy riffs and a strong drumming work offering more vigor to the chorus. And finally, a shy desert psychedelic passage is delivered in the last song ‘Where You From Man’ because of the repetitive and somehow hypnotic canvas personalized by the well-paced drums and the several effects played in the guitars.

It seems that after a controversial period between the attempt to re-ignite Kyuss and the lawsuit by Josh Homme (QOTSA), the ex-members of that iconic band are at last enjoying the fruits of their work and reaching the success they deserve for the long time career they’ve built with sweat. Now, let’s wait for another Vista Chino album…

 

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7.5/10

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Noctem – Exilium

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Paving their path supported in their own effort since 2001, the Spanish blackened death metallers Noctem have released this year the third full-length Exilium, via Prosthetic Records/Art Gates Records.

This band is clearly an enthusiastic one regarding the grandeur of darkness and providing a touch of celestial taste to the songs in Exilium, the operatic choruses appear in tracks like ‘Apsu Dethroned’ or ‘Eidolon’ dancing above the black metal distorted guitar riffs that sometimes are alternated with solos or cleaner moments that exalts their death metal vein.

Noctem aren’t a band deprived of melody regarding the organic instruments – on the contrary however, the first melodic soundscapes are truly felt in the fourth track ‘Namtar’s Crown’ in which, from its beginning to the end, the guitar riffs go up and down harmoniously somehow recalling Dissection. And in a moment of diversity, the guitar picking technique is used in ‘Halo of Repugnance’ something that’s not so usual in this genre, but I admit it was put there in a perspicacious way.

‘The Adamantine Doors’ is without doubt the pinnacle of Exilium in which Noctem’s symphonic side emerges with great splendor through the orchestrations lined by wind instruments with some reminiscences of Dimmu Borgir in their less raw phase. In spite of these characteristics, the double pedals of the drums are brilliantly heard. The using of those symphonic tools is so evident that the record even ends with an elegant orchestral version of the song.

As a final observation I would point the overusing of the shredding technique as a downside, but all the other features are able to overcome that – like the acoustic song ‘Egregor’. Beleth, alongside Exo, is one of the two remaining founding members and his voice is still potent and quite raw in some passages employing to the album his huge experience.

Noctem band photo 2014

 

7/10

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Black Magick Spells And Rituals- Helmuth of Belphegor

Belphegor - Conjouring The Dead

 

Forming in 1992, Belphegor have been seen as an icon, as one of the most fearless projects within the black and death metal scene. After the grandiose Pestapokalypse VI in 2006, and the well-received Blood Magick Necromance, in 2011, the band returns once again at the top of their game with Conjuring The Dead (Nuclear Blast) Are you able to say Belphegor is at their best? Every band always says their latest album is the best they’ve ever done. In the following interview with co-evil overlord Helmuth, he goes to great length to discuss the shifting tastes and style of the band, how important experimentation is to him in writing, shred guitar, Classical music influences, utilizing guest stars on the album, and other topics of interest.  

 

It seems death metal is more present than black metal nowadays. Is this the path Belphegor will continue to take?

Belphegor has always been a Death Metal band. Those familiar with our discography should be able to see that it is not a new path for us.Yes. This album is more Death Metal focused than the past few releases

This was not due to a trend. It was inspired by my actual dance with death and our need to raise the bar and experiment further with each album. The process to create this lasted ages. A lot of sweat, blood, and energy flow into Conjuring The Dead. I never worked so hard on another release. I always had in the back of my mind,and feared after my life threatening health issues, it could be the last Belphegor album. So I didn’t want to fukk around, I wanted do things absolutely right.

The press sometimes describes us as a Black Metal band, maybe because of our brutal stage rituals. I never understood the misconception as the Death elements clearly lead. If you turn the volume all the way up, it’s as if the band is in the same room with you. I guess people that want to hear extreme Musick will dig it and understand the Death Metal approach. Don’t want to end up as an epic or melodic band. It just was time to return to our roots and celebrate and glorify Death musick.

 

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Belphegor’s lyrics are mostly embodied by obscene and sacrilegious themes against Christianity, but the single ‘Gasmak Terror’ leads into a nuclear holocaust. Is there any particular reason to write something like that in 2014?

No wonder why when we can see the world being destroyed right before our eyes more than ever. The blasting ‘Gasmask Terror’ doesn’t reflect all of the content or entire concept of the full album. I just wanted to do some war-related and downfall of humanity themed verses once again.

14 years ago, we did the first track entitled S.B.S.R with war-related lyrics on Necrodaemon Terrorsathan ( 2000 ).

We wanted to go for a fast, typical Belphegor track, that’s why we decided for ‘Gasmask Terror’ as first single. It has everything we stand for. The 2nd single will be the monstrous ‘Conjuring The Dead’, a double bass assault. Totally different than ‘Gasmask Terror’.

I dare say Belphegor’s riffs are the nearest to the powerful classical music, like that which was written by giants like Tchaikovsky – for instance. I recall the track ‘Chants for the Devil 1533’ from 2006 or ‘Rex Tremendae Majestatis’ off of the new album. When listening to songs like these I hear an entire orchestra in my mind.

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Great man. Thank you for your appreciation, an honor.

For ‘Rex Tremendae Majestatis’ we added a lot classical tones in the guitar department. The title is taken from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s last composition, ‘Requiem’. He wrote it on his deathbed. He knew he would die soon. It shows how good artists can get when they feel threatened, or know their time is up! The song has influences by this composition when it comes to the intensity of the atmosphere. I have to be careful with such statements, I don’t want to be, as often as it happens, misinterpreted. I’m not a composer like Mozart, he was a genius. But this exalted, majestic track is exactly what I felt as I started creating ‘Rex Tremendae Majestatis’ and when I listen to ‘Requiem’.

We approached the music more maturely than ever before. All was very serious this time because of my health issues. You also hear a lot of tri-tones, dis-harmonic tones that were forbidden in middle ages by the church- they really feared those tones. Back then, these sounds were called the “Diabolus In Musica”.

The most known song, in my opinion, that is based on the tri-tones is the riff ( 3 tones/ including the octave) of the song by the name of its band, ‘Black Sabbath’.

 

 

‘The Eyes’ is an instrumental song with a very melodic guitar riff delivered by shredding. What’s the message you want to give by including such song in the album? What are The Eyes?

‘The Eyes’ is an intermezzo,classical guitar picking and a lead guitar.It calms everything down after the first five brutal sound collages. After ‘The Eyes’, starts the most complex and technical song on this LP, ‘Legions Of Destruction’. Brutal!!

 

 

Besides that track and the epic finale in ‘Gasmask Terror’, do you feel Conjuring The Dead is Belpeghor’s most extreme and less melodic album so far?

Yes, exactly. That was the master plan as I started this new project back in December 2011.

 

For the first time, you’ve decided to invite two heavyweight musicians: Deicide’s Glen Benton and Mayhem’s Attila Csihar. Do you feel those additions help the album to be more popular than you imagined?

 

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I had this vision for a long time, wasn’t a marketing thing. It was just to please my ego, hahahrrr. Truly, it’s really cool to me. I respect what their work brought to the extreme Metal community.

I wanted to have those two guys, not just any dudes from some other bands. My plan was either them or fukk the plan. Thing is, Glen is my favorite Death Metal vocalist and Attila my favorite Avant-garde/Black Metal singer. I think I first asked Attila about it in 2007, as we recorded ‘Bondage Goat Zombie’. With Deicide we did two big tours, one in the US one we conquered and devastated Europe. And Glen liked the idea, which was awesome. There was always this schedule problem, they were on tour, or we were on tour, it was difficult, but finally it worked out. Both bands in the beginning were very important and inspiring to Belphegor.

This is an honor to me to have these two guys putting their magick on the track. The listeners can decide what impression it makes upon the entire album.

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Origin – Omnipresent

 origin album cover

 

Around since 1997, the north-American band Origin began their career with a demo back in 1998, but since 2000, when they released the debut Origin, they have granted us only with full-lengths every three years. With an acclaimed discography, Omnipresent is Origin’s sixth album that’s being released through the almighty Nuclear Blast Records (Agonia Records in Europe). The album also marks the recording debut of vocalist Jason Keyser (ex-Skinless).

During the first moments of this new record with the song ‘All Things Dead’, the listener may have the feeling that’s listening to a thunderous blending between death and black metal so characteristic in Behemoth’s sound, but as the album grows up all doubts are vanished and it’s clear we are before a technical death metal record.

With the ‘Manifest Desolate’ track it’s delivered a catchy syncopation passage and because of Paul Ryan’s steady and balanced wrist playing the guitar the song evolves into a war marching soundscape – something that’s not predicted and which gives the song a progressive shape.

Besides the full-bodied songs, Omnipresent also features some instrumental tracks that last a little more than sixty seconds giving us pure technical and melodic moments using the guitar’s acute notes so usual in this kind of metal genre. However, this album doesn’t live only by technique spasms, because the ‘Source Of Icon O’ song changes the palette of sounds and a grindcore universe is injected into the record.

Talking about the musician’s performance, John Longstreth deserves some credit here because he’s a team player – he knows when some crazy drumming skills are needed and when he have to play simpler in the background so the other instruments have their own spotlight. Probably helped by the production department, the drumming pedals are prominently heard when the music asks for it complementing what I mentioned earlier. Mike Flores’ bass guitar is also a piece that has its own deserved appearance in the ‘Unattainable Zero’ track where it accompanies the guitar in cool shredding.

 

And when we think that’s nothing left to show, the last track ‘The Indiscriminate’ closes the album in a mad way with heavy explosions alternating between speeding and breaking like a racing car all the way forward and down to the end of Omnipresent.

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7.5/10

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Aurvandil – Thrones

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Founded back in 2006, Aurvandil have released only demos, splits and an EP between 2007-2010. The first steps into the full-lengths were done with Yearning, in 2011, and now I declare Aurvandil are a serious confirmation within the atmospheric black metal sub-genre because of the brand new Thrones (Eisenwald). Including four magical hymns of Iron and Ice to cleanse the Earth of false designs, Thrones is able to take our body and soul into the gelid northern landscapes in order to reach the hyperborean purity.

The using of melodic and slow acoustic guitars in the album kick off with ‘For Whom Burnest Thou’ is like a ritualistic moment which is preparing us for this immaculate journey that will transcend us onto glacial rivers and misty mountains. These two environments I just described are personified by heavy and long hypnotic guitar riffs that are beautifully transfigured as cold breezes running in our veins. However, that’s not the only work done with guitars as we have some melodic lead passages that can be seen as black/post metal performances, like in ‘The Harvest Of Betrayal’ or ‘Ingen Lindring’.

Summon The Storms’ may be seen as the epic peak with its almost twenty minutes running time where all Aurvandil characteristics and aesthetics are blended. It’s genial and certainly created through hard work.

The frozen and harsh vocals are heard all along the album; sometimes a little far, but I interpreted this feature as being in an ample landscape. The lyrics include what best defines this kind of music: ancient values and the eagerness to fight a rotting modern world.

I dare to say I haven’t heard such good straight atmospheric black metal album since the day I bought Walknut’s Graveforests And Their Shadows. Thrones is marvelous, iconic, intriguing and devoted to the cause. It’s a must-have for the past-seeking devotees and for those who have embraced the majestic atmospheric black metal movement.

9.0/10

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