Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.3)

2017 is now officially behind us. And it was a terrible and deadly year for people of the arts and especially musicians. Let’s hope 2018 won’t be such an asshole. Have a great new year everyone!

But enough with the idle chatter, let’s push ahead for the 3rd part of Tragon’s “Noteworthy Report – All of the albums that I felt deserved your attention this year but was so slow to publish that you’re now going to listen in 2018”. Shall we?

 

Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly

The Unlawful Assembly” is an album that came thundering straight from the underground. The trio from Liverpool put out an impressive debut album. Fierce melodic black metal enhanced with folk moments that really give it a special character. Don’t let that one unheard.

 

Blaze of Perdition – Conscious Darkness

This one doesn’t really need introductions. 4th studio album by the Finnish outfit, less pompous and noticeably slower than their “Near Death Revelations”, it actually felt like a sequel to Behemoth’s “The Satanist”. Blaze of Perdition have meticulously crafted their sound over the years, so any surprises are guaranteed to be pleasant ones.

 

Grima – Tales of the Enchanted Woods

Atmospheric Black metal that you can hardly believe is Russian. Multifaceted compositions, vocal variety and weird folk instruments are some of the bonus points, but even without them the album can satisfy any USBM fan without really trying. What are you waiting for? Buy it!

 

Raventale – Planetarium

Everyone knows that an EoY list without any Ukrainian Black Metal album is not a real list. Raventale is a one-man band that has managed to release 8 albums in 11 years. That is a feat not many bands can achieve. With “Planetarium” they offer almost 40 minutes of mesmerizing, melodic, atmospheric Black Metal that includes some of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard all year. Listen for yourselves!

 

Aosoth – V: The Inside Scriptures

Aosoth is one of those bands that never disappoint. Their brand of black metal is part dissonant (they are part of the French scene, so what else?) and part occult, somewhat experimental and most importantly HONEST. When in doubt, put your money on them.

 

Bestia Arcana – Holókauston

Up to this point you had your fair share of melodic and atmospheric BM. But what about those who like it disturbing? Say no more, I have you covered! This album is a chaotic holocaust packed in listenable format. If the world’s destruction has a soundtrack this is probably it.

 

Pestlegion – Dominus Profundum

Remember what I told you about Germanic Black Metal? This is exactly what I meant. B. von Doom’s vocals feel so wrong to me that I have to put real effort into listening to them. However, Pestlegion have created so brilliant music in their debut album, it would be just unfair to leave them outside my Noteworthy Reports only on such grounds. If you are a fan of pure, Whiskey Fueled Old School Black Metal, you can’t miss this.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Incantation – Profane Nexus

If you don’t know this band, you probably lived the past 30 years in a cave or under a rock. The legendary deathsters are back and they are determined to cause some serious ear bleeding. The album is filled with bleak desperation, and the more you hope it ends soon, the deeper you sink in this musical quicksand. If you haven’t been exposed to their music before, this extremely formidable album will make sure you’ll love them from now on.

 

Nadir – The Sixth Extinction

If you believe that Doom metal can’t be groovy, you probably haven’t heard of Nadir. Their music is constantly on the verge of trotting down the Melodic Death path, but never quite leaving the Doom ballpark. Their (thankfully few) death-core parts didn’t manage to put me off and so I was rewarded with some really memorable leads and riffs and had a generally very enjoyable time listening to them.

 

Thus ends the third part of my list. I’m going to get some off with my lovely family now. You go ahead and listen to those records and let me know which ones you found particularly good, or which ones you completely missed and you have to thank ATF for bringing them up. The 4th and final part of the list is coming in the following days. I’ll see you then and there.

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Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.2)

I hope you had enough time to check the first part of my “Noteworthy Report – all the great releases of 2017 I didn’t have the time to write about”. Are you ready for the second part? Well, ready or not, here comes…

 

Grafvitnir – Keys to the Mysteries Beyond

One of the reasons I post my NWR lists this late as the year ends, is that some really good albums get released at the last days of December. (Another reason is that I have a hard time to keep up with my own schedule but that’s a completely different story). Most publications have done their lists by that time and albums just fall through the cracks. It would be a shame for such a beautiful release to have that fate! Malicious melodic Black Metal at its best form.

 

Saqra’s Cult – Forgotten Rites

That’s a really interesting mix of primitive, old-school, mid-tempo Black metal with a touch of shamanistic occultism. The band from Belgium did an impressive debut, without much fanfare. Keep an eye on them.

 

Kafirun – Eschaton

Occult Black Metal is a subgenre that slowly but steadily won its own place in my heart. Every now and then I stumble on an album that really manages to create the otherworldly atmosphere and awe that its name suggests. Isn’t that a success? Don’t miss this deeply unsettling album.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Finisterre

Germany always did great in Gothic and Thrash, but their Black metal always felt “wrong” to me, with very few exceptions. Der Weg Einer Freiheit is one of those. Even before the first track ended I knew I was in for a treat with this album. Must have!

 

Yellow Eyes – Immersion Trench Reverie

What an extraordinary USBM album! The band moves with such ease from their doomy parts to explosive blasts that I regularly had to check that I’m still listening to the same album. Raw and somewhat depressive but with bright progressive moments, this here is a little gem. Don’t skip it.

 

Hands of Thieves – Feasting on Dark Intentions

The debut of this Polish band passed somewhat unnoticed when it came out this July, and that’s really a shame. In 4 tracks of 30 minutes running time, constantly switching from Black to Death to Doom, Hands of Thieves deliver a seminar on how to properly melt faces the old school way. Excellent!

 

The Father Of Serpents – Age Of Damnation

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of prog metal. Most of the time I find that band after band put their musical prowess and expertise at a show-off competition, leaving their compositions lifeless. But here, WHOA! What an album. The tracks are hypnotic and they actually lead somewhere. There are some mixing mistakes here and there but they are hardly noticeable, plus the band is from Serbia: when we were perfecting our craft these guys were at war, so cut them some slack. Fans of early Paradise Lost, Opeth, Orphaned Land and Saturnus wouldn’t want to miss this album!

 

Insanity Cult / Isolert

A beautiful sample of misanthropic Black Metal from the two Greek bands that share time in this split release. The vocals on the Insanity Cult put me a bit off, but their music is awesome in any case. I liked Isolert a bit more, especially the mesmerizing closing minutes of “I Hide My Soul Inside The Trees”. Give it a spin, you have nothing to lose.

 

Darkflight – The Hereafter

This is a band that exists almost two decades, and although from the neighboring Bulgaria, I’ve never heard of them. Hopefully this 4th full length album will set them on the right foot to reach their long deserved audience. Melodic, blackened Doom Metal is what they trade, and they do it quite good. There are some obvious flaws here and there but the beauty of their compositions is far too great to bother…

 

Sicarius – Serenade Of Slitting Throats

More than decent black metal that at points reminded me of second-era Immortal. Although this US band’s debut isn’t groundbreaking, it really sounds savage, solid and promising. Keep a close eye on them.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

That was the second part. I’m gonna dive in my notes now to get the 3rd part ready. You go ahead and listen to those releases. Did you find any of them intriguing? Let me know in the comments…

Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.1)

In recent years it is becoming the norm for blogs and magazines to give an ‘EoY’ (end-of-year) list with ‘the 10 best albums’ of the year (or in some cases 12, or even 80 if that makes sense). I was hesitating to follow this practice, especially since I don’t use a grading system for my reviews, so what I decided instead is to give you a list of what I kept in my ‘noteworthy’ list throughout the entire year. This would be a smaller list if I wasn’t neck-deep-busy over the last months, but such things happen, and so I will have to cover what was left behind during my long absence.

Notice that there is no noticeable distinction between ‘underground’ and ‘established’ acts. Still I give somewhat of a break to lesser known acts because having to compete to get a name out there is already hard enough.

Due to the sheer number of releases included in this “Noteworthy Report – all that is left of 2017 that I didn’t have the time to talk about” I will break it into many parts. Enjoy the first of them…

 

Battle Dagorath – II – Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness

Last year, their “I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos” was among my favorite albums for 2016. This year they returned to finish what they started with this second part of the opus. This one is more direct and energetic. Astral Black metal in the vein of Limbonic Art.

 

Cult Of The Horns – Chapter I. Domination

Gut wrenching blackened Death metal from France. If you are a fan of early-to-mid era Belphegor you are SO going to enjoy this album. I know I did!

 

Darkenhöld – Memoria Sylvarum

This is an album I thoroughly enjoyed this year. Inspired by the Norwegian Atmospheric Black Metal of the 90’s, it feels like a journey in the past. Time and time again you will feel the nostalgic effect of its riffs as they unearth forgotten hints of Ulver or Old Man’s Child, only to fade under a Burzum-esque change of pace, yet nothing feels forced. There is definitely something in the French waters!

 

DEVLSY – Private Suite

Lithuania is a country with hardly any well established metal bands. However they don’t give up and every now and then a good release will surface to remind us of their efforts. This avant-garde post black metal album is a “now” moment. Support it.

 

Метель – Цивилизация

Metel is a Russian black metal band clearly inspired by the Swedish school (reminded me of Negator’s “Panzer Metal”). Formed in 2003, they just released their debut album this Christmas, and it’s really really good.

 

Grailknight – Galahad’s Quest

Admit it. If you hadn’t seen the title, you too would believe that these are lost recordings of Summoning that didn’t make it to their “Lost Tales” EP. This one man project from Serbia is doing a really good job at imitating their Epic Dungeon Synth Metal. The production is quite underwhelming but I decided to cut them some slack anyways.

 

Deviser – Howling Flames

The Greek veterans return after a long absence with this tasty EP. Pompous melodic black metal that encloses everything we loved from the Greek scene of the 90’s and then some. Can’t wait for the full length!

 

DSKNT – PhSPHR Entropy

Switzerland is –at least in my mind– a country where metal bands are either atmospheric or experimenting with electronic elements, so this album was a huge surprise for me. Apparently the French Black Metal scene is getting to big to be contained and now contaminates bordering nations. Oh, goody!

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Necrot – Blood Offerings

I am a very difficult listener when it comes to old school Death Metal. It usually bores me to, well, death. So when an album manages to keep me entertained for its entire duration it makes it to my list. Simple as that. The Californians really did it this time. Fans of early Death, invest with both hands!

 

Fen – Winter

The gentlemen from the United Kingdom return to their roots with this 5th album. Musically, “Winter” is really close to “The Malediction Fields” (which happens to be my favorite album), yet the compositions are more mature. A solid release.

 

That was the first batch. If you enjoyed it, stay tuned as there are more to come in the following days. Which release did you particularly like?

Interview with Battle Dagorath

If you frequent my blog you will know by now that I only review releases that I can highly recommend to other people. And since music is rarely detached from the musician, I usually try to get some deeper knowledge by talking to the band responsible for it. Last year when I reviewed Battle Dagorath‘s album “I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos” I decided to wait for the second part of this opus to do the interview. And now the time has come, since “II – Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness” releases in about a week.

So BSB, tell me a little more about the band, a short bio if you like.

Battle Dagorath was born in the year 2002. Since the beginning the vision was to invoke the haunted pathways and create distant ominous landscapes. Cold Bleak Atmospheres and Intense Glorification of Darkness are combined to open the gates of the Night Sky. Harnessing the forces of Mystique Revelation we journey through fields beyond these horizons, exploring realms of the deeper dimensions. Through time we have gradually evolved as an outlier within this so-called “Atmospheric” black metal genre. When we started the sound derived from the early forms of Black metal but also with other outside influences, and we remain this way.

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It’s been almost a year since you released “I- Dark Dragons of the Cosmos”. How has the feedback been so far?

There’s always a mixed reaction to our albums so it’s nothing new. In general every time we release an album it flies under the radar and gets discounted by many. We’ve never really been accepted or hailed by the mass and I don’t think that will ever change. Nowadays “Atmospheric” black metal has become labeled as another cliché and we get accused of this, but I don’t see it as such, whatever trends that come and go, has nothing to do with us. We find our own path and we evolve in our own way. By nature, Black Metal is atmospheric, so beyond a reference point for dummies, this term is redundant. For me the fight ends when we finish the songs. I don’t waste much time looking for positive or negative attention. It really means nothing. Everyone experiences their own truths, so I don’t go too far beyond into others thoughts. If somehow the music can connect with others in a natural way, then that’s good.

Give me some insights about your lyrical themes and your artwork.

Battle Dagorath is music from a dreamlike dimension. It is a solemn ceremony to the inner cycles of the soul. The end result is a purging rite that ruminates into the deep shrouds of disintegration. Metamorphosis consumes your being. Our explorations manifest from the unconscious, we travel along these gateways. The places that would inspire this are more cold remote distant places that lurk in the inner realms, untouched places. This creation is about these things that lie beyond the pale. This is the basis for our inspiration. To look through the boundaries of this dimension and into other dimensions.

This is only the first part of an opus. When is the second part, “II- Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness” coming?

Frozen Light” is to be released in the Autumn time of 2017 by Avantgarde Music (p.s. according to their bandcamp it releases September 15th).

Can we expect something vastly different in “II”, or is it an extension of the path you followed with “I”?

All the releases are extensions of each other; each one evolves like a link in the chain. “Frozen Light” is the natural next step in this path. There is an emphasis of hypnotic majesty in the arrangements.  We expanded on the mystical embodiment and spectral grandeur of our message.

In retrospect, would you change anything in the albums?

No not really. When you look back there can be things that you could pick at but I don’t dwell too much on the past works. Once the music is completed I’m done and on to the next work. With creating, I enjoy seeing both the limits of the past and the evolution into the future. I think every artist can see it in this way, otherwise there would be no point.

You have released “I” in both CD and vinyl format. “II” will be released only in CD. What is the reason for that? Are we going to see it in vinyl at a later time?

With “Dark Dragons” we wanted a vinyl. But it doesn’t have to be this way for everything. The format of any release is something secondary. These things have their charms but it’s merely materialism and it won’t endure. Only music endures. I don’t know if “Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness” will be released on vinyl, Avantgarde Music has said that they will release it on vinyl eventually, but we shall have to wait and see.

You live in the USA while Vinterriket is located in Switzerland (if I am not wrong). How do you manage to work? What is your creative routine?

We never rehearse, only create. I construct the structures here in my home, then I’ll mail rough drafts to Vinterriket and we start to develop the songs in this manner, going back and forth experimenting with the ideas.

lineup

What are your future plans for Battle Dagorath?

At a time the frustrations I felt with the limitations of this band had me thinking that I wouldn’t go any further. But lately I’m rethinking things, I want to take things slow and simply continue being creative. I’m planning a few splits with some good artists who I am in contact with.

I know you also run a label. Give me some details. Are you accepting demos from bands or do you scout yourself?

I’ve had a label, Mercenary Musik, for many years now. It was always run idealistically, as a vehicle to push great underground art, Mercenary Musik will always stand for art as it should be, free from conformity! But in many ways it’s too unrealistic for my health and survival. In the last years the label has become far more inactive. After 20 years involved in this, I’d say that I’m definitely winding it down now. It still exists but not like before.

There is a shift in the music business. Bands are now releasing music easier than ever. On the other hand, people don’t seem interested to pay for music anymore. Being both in a band and a label, where do you stand on this?

From a business perspective, this is the worst time you could have chosen to make music. The Internet created a deep vacuum and what remains is merely a shell from the past. The mystery of discovering music that existed in the old days has been replaced by instant gratification, now you can conveniently find 20 bands all sounding the same within a few clicks, without pay a dime .As an artist there isn’t money to be made from this. What I’ve learned is that you have to try and not let these limits derail your dreams to create. Humanity in conjunction with technology is a plague that is reaching for the end game. Don’t have any expectations. There are no solutions to anything.

Are you involved in any other bands or projects? What are your personal future plans?

I’m also involved in a black-thrash project called Hellschwadron, we released an album last year entitled “Storming Obliteration”. Currently I’m writing the lyrics for another album.

Any albums that you’ve listened to recently and would like to share with the readers of this interview?

About the scene nowadays, without wanting to sound overly negative, I don’t feel part of it. I can probably name more bands that I don’t like than those that I do. And I’m really only interested to listen to artists that I relate with. Some great ones that I can mention are Lorn, Earth and Pillars, Near, Lluvia, Brouillard, Forn Valdyrheim, Dissonant Winds, Tempestarii, Volahn, Prosternatur, Cryfemal, to name a few. Also the new Sadistic Intent split, which I helped with some engineering, this one is magic!

What do you know about the Greek metal scene? Any favorite bands?

My favorites are Spectral Lore, Darchon, Nocternity, Lord Impaler, Order of the Ebon Hand, Typhoeus, Prometheus, Stutthof, Legion of Doom, Dark Messiah.

Closing thoughts ? Anything else to add?

Thanks for this interview!

Interview with God Syndrome

Every time I write a review, I try to get in touch with the band and get some more information around the album and the musicians responsible for it. And it is always a pleasure when this actually happens. I spoke to Pavel of God Syndrome about their album “Controverse”, the band’s future plans and the Russian realities. Read along for his interesting insights.

Give me a short introduction to God Syndrome. What does your name stand for?

God Syndrome is an expression depicting a parasitic type of a mindset, an boundless lust for power over the others, it’s some kind of a diagnosis, which signs appear in some people. The people who play with this world, who rule the processes and destinies of other people and believe that this is their mission. Or the people who aspire to do so.

What is the feedback on the album so far?

The album had been released in 2016 but, as You can see, we’re still working on its promotion. Of course we do not have huge opportunities for it, but during the past time we had received a lot of reviews from all around the world. Generally the album was favourably accepted by the listeners and critics. I think, that after this release we became more popular in Russia, but it’s actually not a hardest task. The social networking helped our album to spread all around the russian segment of internet, so the russian underground was able to fully appreciate our work. The European metal scene is different, and now we would like to receive more opinions from that part of the world.

The artwork on Controverse is really impressive, and I don’t just mean the cover. The entire booklet is really well done. Can you give some info on the artist(s) responsible for it and the creation process?

Yeah, we liked the artwork too. The artist’s name is Vladimir Chebakov, but in the world of dark art he is widely known as W. Smerdulak. He had been living in Russia, but moved to Czech Republic. Our guitar player Sergey had been working with him long before the birth of God Syndrome band. W. Smerdulak also known as the author of the artworks of many bands not only from Russia but from all over the world. We made up an idea of the artwork and W. Smerdulak brought it to life. The work upon the art and layout design lasted for a long time, but the result was worth it.

What are the lyrics about?

We have a lot of topics that we touch in our lyrics, since I’m not the only one writing lyrics in the band. Our bass player Dmitry and guitar player Sergey take an active part in writing lyrics. Each of us has his own views, own style of writing so, respectively, the songs are different in their meaning and style. In common the band’s lyrics concept is based on our attitude to class division of people, to the centuries-old hierarchy of “crowd-elite” society. “Controverse” is the name for such general mood. This name was formed through conjunction of two words – “controversy” and “verse”. Doing so we wanted to say, that for us this album and these lyrics are some kind of a struggle expressed in verses. For example, the song “Clan” tells the listeners about closed social cell with different laws and relations to other people. “Tormans” is a story about the fictional planet from the novel of Ivan Efremov, whose books really impressed me and affected my own views and mindset. “Purge” is a requiem to an existing reality, an epilogue of self-destruction when the world celebrates the forthcoming of an end, falling into artificial ecstasy and dancing its epileptic dance. Dmitry’s lyrics depict the ones who stand against the injustice and disparity, shown in the images of monstrous inhuman beings and deities.

What are your main influences?

We started out playing a “Swedish” melodic death, like Arch Enemy and In Flames, with the vocals even closer to scream rather than growling. But soon we all came up to a conclusion that we want to play more aggressive and heavy stuff, so our first EP had been recorded with that conclusion in mind. We love different kinds of death metal and rely mostly on three death metal “schools” that are important for us – Swedish, American and Polish death metal. So in our music we combine American drive and groove, Swedish melodism and Polish aggressiveness and anger.

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Can you give me a walk-through of your music creation process?

All the music is written by Sergey Aksenov. He prepares the demo tracks and then we listen to them together, share opinions and change something. After that we start to play these new tracks during the rehearsals. It helps us to determine the details in drum parts and to get an understanding of how the track sounds live. After that we write the lyrics (sometimes the already written lyrics fit well though). When the song is complete, we begin the recording process, but sometimes changes can occur even in the studio. The final result is usually unknown, we can just approximately imagine it during the creation process.

What are your immediate future plans? Do you have a new release coming or focusing on live shows?

Right now we are working upon new songs. We have some tracks already, but we’ll think about recording the next album after we’ll write a minimum of 7-8 new songs for it. We do not think about concerts right now, maybe we’ll play a live show in our hometown this autumn, but we have to prepare to it well. We want to make every subsequent show to be more interesting and exciting for listeners than previous one.

What are your goals for God Syndrome? Where do you see the band in 5-10 years from now?

It’s a difficult question. Though it’s hard to make any predictions (who knows what would happen in this world?), I would like to see God Syndrome performing on bigger stages of metal festivals around the world. Time will show what would come from all of this.

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Lately I am noticing more and more high quality extreme metal albums coming from Russia. What exactly is going on up there?

The things are really bad here, bro. I know that it’s not easy anywhere, and there are good metal musicians and talented people here in Russia, but not everyone can establish himself in metal music. Those who found forces and dedication to make their ideas come true and bring this to life – they become heard by metal music lovers. But it’s hard, cause there is no united metal scene in Russia, and mostly there is no metal culture in many regions. Metal music came to us from the west, it is usually perceived as alien by most people. In boondocks (and Russia is really huge and rich on such places) some people bully the metalheads only for their  appearance. But in big cities there are local scenes, local festivals. And of course in each region there are bands that deserve attention.

What is it like being in the extreme scene in today’s Russia? I understand that there is some Christian “resistance” of sorts, backed by the government?

We feel fine, although the f*cking regime doesn’t allow us to perform sacrifices and ritual murders, hehe. Joking aside, the notorious russian laws prohibiting extremism are quite adequate to modern society. Those incidents with metal bands in Russia are mostly particular cases, it was some kind of a wave that couldn’t be seen today. And it was the policy of particular people, the government cannot support such acts, it’s illegal, but in Russia the government and the church had grown together and many people are just lobbying their own private interests. Someone had won some publicity through cancelation of Behemoth’s concerts, the others were glad to defame the reputation of the gig organizers, as their rival in showbiz. It’s difficult to understand if those religious activists had emerged on their own or with someone’s help. As you see, religion has a bad influence on governing process. And the officials, like police chief or a governor, can also be a Christian, and for them it would be easier to follow the flow of the situation created by someone else rather than puzzle out who’s right and who’s wrong and seek the justice.

I understand. Now, leaving these things behind us, are there any other notable bands from your local area you would recommend me?

In Samara, our hometown, we are the only active death metal band. There’s also a great band called IRV, they really do their best for self-development, they are skilled artists and they write very interesting and ingenious music. The other bands either are of very low level or do not perform actively. Maybe there are some super-bands from Samara, but I haven’t heard about them…

What do you know of the Greek metal scene? Do you have any favorite bands?

I think that I know almost nothing about Greek metal scene. Maybe there are some bands among the ones that I’ve listened to and I liked them, and these bands are from Greece, although I don’t know about it. Speaking of bigger bands, I was excited by the latest Rotting Christ album “Rituals”. I also keep an eye on Septic Flesh. A good friend of ours (and a huge Septic Flesh fan), who lives in Moscow, is acquainted with Seth. He sent our albums to Seth and he told him some warm words about our music. We also had met them after their show in Samara in 2015, and Seth recalled our band during the conversation with our bass player Dmitry, it was very cool and encouraging. And the other day I’ve seen Psycon wearing our t-shirt on Instagram photo. So maybe we are closer to Greek metal scene than we think 🙂

Yeah, Seth is a great guy, and he really pays attention to other bands… So, I think I am covered, I have no more questions. Is there anything else you want to add before I let you go?

Thank You for Your interest to our band and to Russian metal scene in general.  I wish You all the best, my friends, and let’s hope that we would come to Greece someday and meet all the death metal lovers of this wonderful country!

Thank you for your time.

Follow God Syndrome on https://www.facebook.com/godsyndrome/

God Syndrome – Controverse (2016)

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Time and time again I have declared my dislike to groovy metal-core. And here I am reviewing an album that stands with one foot in it. No, it’s not dry season. Rather the opposite. It’s just the simple fact that this is a killer album despite its grooviness (or –for people that aren’t me– thanks to exactly that).

God Syndrome come from Samara, Russia. Have I told you lately how the Russian extreme metal scene is becoming a really great one? This is another example of this fact. With one foot knee-deep in American tech-death-core and the other in Swedish melo-death, they present an annihilating mix similar to Hypocrisy on steroids.

The album starts with a tech-y catch-all track, one to lure the average generalist metalhead, but shortly after that it gets a character of its own (and gains the review slot). The songs flow beautifully and you won’t even notice its almost hourly duration. This in my book counts as great songwriting.

The guitars are expertly performed, especially for a lead-packed album such as this one. These melodic leads are pretty trippy to the point of melancholy, bringing late Septic Flesh and Hypocrisy to mind on many occasions. The vocals are perfect and fit the music in both its brutal and melodic phases. The drums are intense and really well composed. Always on target –no matter the experimentation– they manage to give the right atmosphere to every riff. The bass here takes on a more supportive role. Clean and powerful, it glues all the pieces together.

Sound-wise, the production is perfect. The instruments are well separated and mixed properly. Special care has been given to preserve enough “air” to let the dynamics do their part.

Overall, this is an album worth your time and money. I never really expected to say something like that for an album with a –core synthetic in it but honestly, anything less would be a mean lie. It has enough power to satisfy every extreme death metal fan, and enough groove to satisfy pretty much every other metalhead. Fans of Hypocrisy around “The Final Chapter” era will surely love it (this is the third time I dropped their name so I really mean it)! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

For more info follow them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/godsyndrome

Noteworthy Report: April 2017

Welcome my friends to another VERY late Noteworthy Report of Against The Fragmentaire. ATF is a project I run on my free time, which is becoming more of a rarity nowadays, but I try to keep active no matter the circumstances. Want to know why?

In today’s overcrowded metal scene, more than 100 albums are getting released every month. Granted, some of them aren’t all too great, but how can anyone tell? Nobody has time to listen to every single one of them. That’s what the Noteworthy Report is all about. Every month –or so- I gather my notes and talk about the best releases that usually pass under the radars of big publications.

Enough with the chit chat, on with my list for April!

Prometheus – Consumed In Flames

I’ve known Prometheus through some demo tracks and I’ve known them to be a Hellenic black metal band. So I was a little surprised when their debut landed. Here they have a clearly more blackened Death orientation. The album is packed with great riffs, inventive and intense drumming and occult atmospheres. An absolute must have!

 

Atrexial – Souverain

We stay in the blackened death metal ballpark, this time coming from Spain. Bombastic songs clearly inspired from the Swedish scene, with Marduk-esque riffs but on a different track. Some of the songs may sound unfitting, but since this is their debut I find it natural to explore a few paths and wander off from time to time. Don’t let this fact turn you down and enjoy this fresh release in any case.

 

Corpus Diavolis – Atra Lumen

Melodic Black Metal from France, bold enough to step outside the dissonant prog/black playground that has been set up there. Their music is brilliant, their drumming has a spark of genius, but their most striking aspect are the theatric vocals. A true masterpiece.

 

Ulvegr – Titahion: Kaos Manifest

Sometimes I just have to stand in awe before the talent of certain musicians. The guys responsible for this release just spit excellent album after excellent album on an unmatched pace (and under many names: Elderblood, KZOHH, GreyAblaze and more). In this 4th full length they touch on the Egyptian mysticism (bringing to mind the Greek band Acherontas at points) and they intertwine songs with prayer-like intros, the way Acheron did in “Rites of the Black Mass”. One of the best releases I heard lately…

 

Cult Of Erinyes – Tiberivs

Occult progressive black metal from the masters of the kind. The duo from Belgium returns with an album that won’t let down any of their followers. Hit play, breathe its intoxicating fumes and travel somewhere dark, to a place you can call “your unknown”…

 

So that was it. I still haven’t posted my “through the cracks” NWR, but I sure will. But first I have a review in the writing, so stay tuned because this won’t take too long to finish. As always, if you have any suggestions leave a message or send me a mail…