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…

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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!

 

SMT/ATF Episode 22: Ireland

I had just finished picking up the bands and videos for this next episode of Against The Fragmentaire when I decided to visit SMT and see what’s going around, and guess what: P.D.F. just posted a blog about Ireland, mumbling something about St. Patrick and stuff, and I thought OH MY FUCKING GOD, what a coincidence! And then I remembered that God is dead, but yeah, anyways… Knowing this and also knowing that tomorrow is going to be yet another hard day for me, here is my early present!

 

If there is one thing most Irish bands have in common, that is the folk tradition and the way it is so prominent in their music. Cruachan are so much more a folk band than a metal one that I sometimes feel weird to even like them!

 

Primordial are one of those bands that I liked and followed ever since their first works. Their folk black metal transformed to something greater over the years, showing only awesomeness and maturity with every passing album. Listen to their passionate music and if you ever have the chance to watch them live do so, because Alan Nemtheanga is definitely the best frontman I’ve ever seen!

 

 Geasa is a folk black metal band that moves on a similar path to that of Primordial, but they just don’t have as much quality or epicness. Still, they are a great band to listen to…

 

I didn’t know of Mael Mordha until I saw them live, supporting Primordial, back in 2008. Their epic doom will mostly be appreciated by fans of Manilla Road, but you won’t lose anything checking them out even if you aren’t really into doom…

 

And now it is time for something completely different. Altar of Plagues is one of the very few (two?)  Irish bands that aren’t into folk. Their shoegaze/post-black metal is really fitting as soundtrack to the weirdest Icelandic movies. Enjoy the bleakness!

                                                                                                                                         

Last (but not least, as usual) we have the other Irish band that isn’t knee-deep into folk, Myrkr. Powerful melodic old school black metal. Yummy!

 

Another week went by, as just did another episode of Against the Fragmentaire! So, in the words of P.D. Freeman himself, have a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody!”…