Review: Battle Dagorath – I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos

battle-dagorath-iddotf

The intercontinental black metal duo returns with their fourth album, which is actually the first part of an Opus, with the second part to be released before the end of the year.

The album starts with an ambient intro, and what follows is a 13 minute long icy, monotonous storm, quite typical for the genre mind you. If the whole album went that way, it would be unbearable, yet it doesn’t. The first hint of change comes in the form of a melodic solo near the middle of that first song, things pick interest from then on and you are promised that what follows will be an awesome cosmic ride on a black dragon. And oh boy, do they deliver!

If you endure until the “Return to Gates of Dawn” you realize this album is potentially one of the best releases of the year. It has this ‘barrier to entry’ that might put off the uninitiated, but the following 40 minutes just kept sending chills to my spine non-stop. The 3 remaining songs are majestic, and as new elements are being slowly revealed with every passing track things are kept interesting despite the long song durations.

The synths are a work of Vinterriket (yes, THE ambient legend) and I didn’t really expect anything less than cold and otherworldly stuff. Everything else is the brain-child of BSB (aka Black Sorcerer Battle). The guitars are sharp, cold, oozing despair, yet the melodic parts are enthralling. The fierce vocals sound oddly spacey and epic at the same time and raised my hair on many occasions. The drums are nothing short of special, but they serve their purpose well given the genre. Lyrically the album revolves around the cyclical nature of the cosmos.

The sound is generally good. The mix lets you listen to all instruments and you can easily follow the riffs through the distortion even on the most chaotic passages. This album went from zero to hero in just the first spin and I seriously can’t wait for the second part of this Opus.

Highly recommended for fans of Wolves In The Throne Room, Limbonic Art, first-era Emperor and (of course) Vinterriket.

For more info check out the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/BattleDagorath/

https://avantgardemusic.bandcamp.com/album/i-dark-dragons-of-the-cosmos

http://avantgardemusic.bigcartel.com/product/battle-dagorath-i-dark-dragons-of-the-cosmos-2lp

Review: Deathkin – Kohti Kotiani Kaaosta (2016)

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The album begins just as another Marduk clone (from Finland as the vocals suggest), but Deathkin are really smart about it. After they capture your attention, it takes them less than 5 minutes to turn things upside down. Slowing the pace after the first bombastic charge, they give time to the rest of the tracks to unfold properly, and this gives space to the guitars to present a repertoire that extends from the roots of traditional Finnish black metal all the way to more modern stuff (I even heard a bit of Eternal Tears of Sorrow and Windir in there somewhere). I really liked the vocals, and Deathkin aren’t afraid to experiment with them. From the typical for the genre growls, to majestic chants, to nightmarish Latin spoken parts, this album has you covered.

With a running time a bit over the 45 minute mark, they kept things under control. The album didn’t bore me at all, on the contrary I didn’t really notice its duration and went to check why it stopped playing. The music flows naturally as there are no fillers here, only well thought compositions and an eased progression with new elements slowly being introduced as the album goes on.

The sound is clean and powerful, especially for a self-produced / self-released album. The guitars are sharp but not oversaturated, the bass is audible, the vocals are front and center with good articulation. They really did a good job mixing this.

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Deathkin are unsigned by choice and they sure deserve all your support. Melodic Finnish black metal at its finest! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

If you want to find out more about them, or buy their music, follow these links:

https://www.facebook.com/deathkinband/

https://deathkin.bandcamp.com/album/kohti-kotiani-kaaosta

http://deathkinblackmetal.bigcartel.com/product/deathkin-kohti-kotiani-kaaosta-cd-2016

SMT/ATF Final Episode: Rest of the World

Greetings friends and welcome back to yet another episode of Against the Fragmentaire, a series that started with only purpose to showcase a few ‘weird’ Greek bands and then transformed into a gift-bearing Santa’s-sleight-ride around the globe.

Every good thing has an end as they say (except sausages, they have two), and I regret to announce that this is the end of the road. We traveled far and traveled wide, and we heard an awful lot of great bands from the majority of the known-world countries. There is just another bunch of bands I would really like to share with you all and so there is no need really to break this into 5 tiny-super-mini-semi-episodes.

Enough talk already; let’s see what we got here!

 

 

I will begin with the Brazilian killer-death-metal-machine-on-steroids Krisiun, a band that appeared out of the blue and shocked us with their brutal tunes.

 

In a completely different vein, I present you Nahual from Peru, a black metal band that while doesn’t add anything new to the genre, they offer some nice old fucking school tunes. Great feeling as the craving for beer rises…

 

Next on this short list are the Israeli Orphaned Land. They have quite a blend of atmospheric death metal and Middle East tradition, and they actually do it better than, say, Melechesh.

 

Back to Europe so we can close some holes we left open. Algor is a black metal band from Slovakia. Nothing new, nothing you haven’t heard before, but they are really good at what they do. Recommended!

 

Next are Eluveitie, a folk metal band from Switzerland. Their album ‘Spirit’ was a revelation for me. They combine Swedish death metal (early In Flames) with the finest of Pagan traditions. Enjoy!

 

And we are closing this epic series that lasted for over half a year (you didn’t expect that now did you? I sure didn’t) with another band from Switzerland, Samael. They started on the typical tracks you would expect but soon evolved into something new, something few people liked, that is until Rammstein made a name and people got used to it…

 

End of the journey. And now what? I have the intension of doing another two-three episodes at some point in the near future, just to revisit some scenes that are too big and important to leave at that and the original plan just couldn’t see that coming. Until then have fun, listen to lots of black metal, and in case you find some extraordinary band with extraordinary tunes, feel free to share it with the rest of us.

Tragon

SMT/ATF Episode 26: The Crucifixion

Today in Greece orthodox Christians celebrate the “Pascha”, the resurrection of the rainbow-tailed unicorn, followed by consumption of more-than-you-can-chew meat and even more-than-you-can-swallow alcohol. Or was it Jesus’? I always mix fairy tales so I don’t really mind.

You are probably already thinking “what the hell is he trying to say with this introduction”? Well, I know you would if the episode’s banner hadn’t given it away. Anyways, to make a long story short, welcome friends to a special episode of Against The Fragmentaire, a series of blog posts with a single purpose: to make Andrew James Liles believe that black metal is an actual music genre. Not that anyone would believe such a lie but it is a cause worth trying. In today’s episode I am picking six of my favorite songs about the crucifixion…

 

When it comes to the terms cross, cruci-, Jesus and God, all fingers point to Deicide, the American brutal death metal band that for over two decades keeps inventing new ways to insult God. My pick for this special episode is “Once Upon The Cross”. Of course, if I stopped here this would be a wasted opportunity for ‘the cause’, so I am also going to pick one of my favorite songs from them as a bonus. “Bastard Of Christ”.

 

Nocternity is a Greek atmospheric black metal band whose works I always admired. The super-saturated production leaves much to the imagination but if you can follow their music through it you will certainly be rewarded for it. My pick is “Crucify Him”, one of my favorites from them is “The Red Dawn”.

 

Next on the list are the Polish death metal heroes Vader. I love their bombastic drumming. My pick is “The Crucified Ones” and I will also cite “Cold Demons” as one of my favorites.

 

Norway has SO FUCKING MANY super high quality black metal bands and one that I totally enjoy is Gehenna. If you happen to be a fan of Emperor, you NEED to check their first 3 albums. My pick is “Crucified One” and one of my favorites is “Malice”.

 

Rotting Christ. Do I need to say more for one of the oldest black metal bands in Europe? My pick is “Hills Of The Crucifixion” from the Greek legends’ first demo, but one of my favorite songs of them is “Where Mortals Have No Pride” from their second album, that features the ‘best worst production ever made’…

 

Last for today are Arch Enemy, an impressive band with an even more impressive singer. My pick is “Carry The Cross”, and the bonus showcase song is “Ravenous”.

 

It is done.

SMT/ATF Episode 25: Countries of the Rising Sun

Welcome back to another late episode of Against The Fragmentaire, the series you love to rarely read when there is nothing better around the interwebs. Let me tell you something: the world is such a small place to be, ok? There is a finite number of good bands from each country and I am afraid we covered them all. Well, mostly.

In today’s episode “of the rising sun” we will cover not one but TWO countries that are located (you guessed it) somewhere near the place where the sun rises every morning. Yup, the far, far, further away east. Innovation? Bah, just an improvement over those tiny “semi-episodes” I think.

Our journey begins with Japan, a country that lives and breathes for innovations, neon lights, all kinds of gadgets and all kinds of weirdo movies and anime.

 

The first band for today is Arkha Sva, knee-deep into depressive black metal, with just a pinch of Japanese weirdness. Their sound is somewhat (!) primitive but hey, who cares really?

 

 Sigh is one of the oldest Japanese bands. Their avant-garde black metal feels almost like a strange circus (those into Asian cinema saw what I did there!), with ups and downs and unexpected turns. Highly recommended for a surreal evening…

 

Moving southwards we meet THAILAND, a mysterious land where every large space that isn’t filled with elephants is probably occupied by ancient temples. They do have some of the greatest things to see while you can, so book your flights peoples!

 

The very first band I got to listen from the Thai scene is Surrender of Divinity, an old school raw black metal act that kicks serious ass.

 

It only takes one mail or demo trade with one Thai band to get your P.O.Box flooded with demos and split tape cassettes of the rest of the Thai scene. Thus I learned of Zygoatsis, a warhorde of blasphemous wrathful black metal, the extreme raw kind mind you…

 

Every self-respecting series that refers to the rising sun has something to say about China, but believe it or not, those billions of peoples there has nothing too good to mention here! So that was it. Move along now please…

 

SMT/ATF Episode 24: Czech Republic

Welcome fellow scouts to yet another episode of Against the Fragmentaire. In episode 24 we visit planet Czech Republic where our heroes fight with intergalactic barbarians, summon their inner demons, gut the dragon and eat the girl! Sounds like fun huh? Well, sit around and enjoy the next hour drinking irresponsibly some fine beer…

 

Today’s episode begins with the first Czech band I ever got to know, the brutal deathsters Krabathor. Doomy, moody and extremely un-orthodox to those who like the US death metal school.

 

Master’s Hammer is a pretty un-orthodox black metal band. They are quite melodic, thought the vocals will ring somewhat strange. They sure worth checking out in my very humble opinion…

 

You may already think that all Czech bands are weird just because of the previous pattern. Well, in fact they are. One of the very few typical black metal bands this land has to offer is Maniac Butcher. Raw barbaric pounding and hellish screams is what they play, though they are quite un-orthodox while at it…

 

I know, I know. If you read “un-orthodox” one more time you will slit your wrists and cry Satan a river. Ok. Silva Nigra is your typical “orthodox” awesome modern black metal. Happy now?

 

Can we go back into weird un-orthodox bands now please? Cool! When it comes to theatrical metal, Root is my band of choice. You can call them black metal if you like, though their latest efforts stray a bit from that path –musically at least-, but the fact is no matter how you call them, they are mysteriously good…

 

I will close this un-orthodox episode with a band of the so called Industrial Black metal genre. “So called” because I think it should be better called “techno black metal” but “OH WELL”… If you ask me what is my favorite band of this genre I will say none. I don’t really like this kind of mix and can only identify 3 bands: Dodheimsgard off their “666 International” era and forth, The Kovenant off their “Animatronic” era and forth, and Gorgonea Prima. Not my thing but you don’t lose something just for checking them out, do you?

 

Another week went by, another episode ended and my nose began to bleed. That is so not typical of me. Well, have a very un-orthodox weekend all!

SMT/ATF Episode 23: Spain

Welcome once more to a new episode of Against The Fragmentaire, a series that take you around the world and dictate you what bands you should like in the era of mediocre sound-alike metalcore bands.

This week we are going to visit Spain, the westernmost place of the then known world, up until some lucky bastard stumbled upon America…

 

I will start with the very first Spanish band I’ve listened to, Argar. Their horror-black metal is quite classical, resembling Satyricon deep down in the roots, but their vocals still strike a special chord in me…

 

One of my all time favorites is Asgaroth, a band that started in the semi-silly Gothic/Black end, but later transformed to a great Avant-garde act. Too bad they stopped making music. For those of you who aren’t really in to metal (really? What are you doing in here then?) I have a special treat: probably the best cover ever done to King Crimson

 

 Elffor is probably a bad choice for this episode, since their style is so close to Summoning which the vocal minority of this forum didn’t like at all. However, as a huge Summoning fan I have to provide something to those of similar taste, right?

 

There are myriad ways to learn of a band. I was on my DeviantArt account when one of my contacts there informed me that she posed for Evadne’s debut album cover. Their melodic Death/Doom isn’t going to dethrone Saturnus from anyone’s heart, but it is a good alternative…

 

Zinumm is a one man band that plays a mix of old Burzum and new Burzum. For those of you who liked ‘Hlidskjalf’ and ‘Hvis Lyset Tar Oss’ equally, this mix provides a great balance. For those of you who aren’t really into Burzum, well this band provides a new opportunity to like them. Like them! Now!

 

The last band for today is Numen, a folk avant-garde black metal act that isn’t afraid to use the local dialect even if their lyrics aren’t going to be appreciated by the rest of the world. They do it too well for anyone to care…

 

Well, another week ended, and another post ender too black metal for Andrew to like, but hey, that’s life. Have a great weekend away from colds and flues, or you will suffer like me!