Other Labels

Behemoth - "Pandemonic Incantations" (Solistitium, CD, 1998)
After 1996's surprising "Grom" (that featured some Mayhem and Immortal influences, lyrics in Polish and were each track had a small detail of its own), Behemoth confront us now with their third full-length released through Solistitium (also label of bands like Helheim and Isvind). This album evidences more deathmetal attributes than their previous 2 (looks like the band is trying to follow a more aggressive musical course), however it still sounds like Black metal, in Behemoth's unique style. About the individual improvements within the band, the drummer Inferno surpassed everything and everyone, Nergal himself said in an interview to a portuguese zine that "We're not going to repeat ourselves"..keeping like this, I wonder how great the next release will be! By the way, he is the only original member left (the line-up is now completed by Inferno and Mefisto). Nergal also plays in a polish death metal band called Damnation (with whom Behemoth have split the re-edition of "And The Forests Dream Eternally", their first MCD). As for favourite tracks, "The Thousand Plagues I Witness" and "The Past is Like a Funeral" are the chosen ones..an intense feeling flows out from both of them. Notice that the Polish edition of this album features 1 more track entitled "With Spell of Inferno", that was also present in "Bewitching the Pomerania". Concerning the recordings, they were performed at Selani Studio, the same once used by their compatriots Christ Agony and Vader...and fortunately this time all the instruments are clearly audible. Anyway, one can notice here is that this trio is much more professional, both musical and lyrically. 

Tracklist:
 1 - Diableria (The Great Introduction)
2 - The Thousend Plagues I Witness
3 - Satans Sword (I Have Become)
4 - In Thy Pandemæternym
5 - Driven By The Five-Winged Star
6 - The Past Is Like A Funeral
7 - The Entrance To the Spheres of Mars
8 - Chwala Mordercom Wojciecha

16/20

Damned

Belphegor - "Necrodaemon TerrorSathan" (CD, Last Episode, 2001)
The Austrian Belphegor have delivered us a great black/death album with their latest release. This album is one of the best albums of the genre that I've put my hands in the last months.
The sound in this release is quite powerful, and very clear, and that's what makes this such an interesting album. About the instrumentalization, the guitars play very consistent riffs that sometimes are helped with well executed solos, about the drumming part, this guy is not the best I've seen, but he handles well the job, the bass presence is quite discrete, but who cares? The voice fits really well the lyrics and the music - very scratchy and aggressive. Sometimes their also appears some samples from movies, like in the beginning of "Vomit Upon the Cross", for instance, that are very well placed and helps to breaking the monotony.
Concluding, besides the fact that Blackmetal or Deathmetal are completely overfilled, this guys showed to many that doubted it, that nowadays a very good album can be made by blending the two more important styles of the extreme metal world.

Tracklist:
1 - Necrodaemon Terrorsathan
2 - Vomit Upon The Cross
3 - Diabolical Possession
4 - Lust Perishes In A Thirst For Blood
5 - S.B.S.R.
6 - Sadism Unbound
7 - Tanzwut Totengesänge
8 - Cremation Of Holiness
9 - Necrodaemon Terrorsathan Pt. II - Outro- Analjesus

18/20

Shemahmforash

Black Dawn - "Blood For Satan" (CD, Necropolis, 2001)
Oh no, another band trying to show how evil they are! I've never heard about this band before, but I know that they have roots back to 1992, so I don't understand why they are still trying to pass such an evil image, because by now a band that puts in the back cover of the album "recommended to be listened while self-mutilating" can only be labeled has pathetic.
About the music, this guys don't bring anything new to Blackmetal, the only thing that really pleased me in this release were some samples that they've managed to put in the right spots, but except for that this album doesn't get better than mediocrity.
As for conclusion, I advice this band to, in their following album, concern more about spreading the music instead of spreading the pseudo-evillness.

Tracklist:
1 - Pitbound (The 4th Trial Of Acolyte)
2 - A Hymn To Grand Darkness (The Creed Of Hoath)
3 - Of Blackest Witchcraft
4 - Enemy Of The Day
5 - Graverape Ritual (The Hoath Manifesto)
6 - A Horned Moon Rising
7 - Blood For Satan
8 - To Haunt And To Feed
9 - When The Shadows Become Flesh
10 - Within Ye Woods, Before Ye Throne ( Awakenyng - Ye Dawn Which Calleth Hate )

10/20

Shemahmforash

Blut Aus Nord - "The Work Which Transforms God" (Apease Me,CD, 2003)
At their sixth album, the french Blut Aus Nord delivers us an astonishing work.
Their previous sound can be perceived, but originality is the law in this album. It joins typical raw and fast Blackmetal parts, with some interruptions done by the keyboard, that are really well acomplished, so well acomplished that I shouldn't refer this keyboard parts as interruptions, because they are connected with the songs in a way that really surprised me.
The guitar work is well achieved, playing very simple, but dissonant and kind of melacholic riffs, that really fit well within the painful atmosphere created by the keyboards. About the vocalist, his presence is well noticed and he sings in a very depressive way lyrics that are very well written and focus mainly on mental aspects of man.
As for conclusion, this album is really very good, one of the best I've had the pleasure to listen during this year, so if you follow Blackmetal and are open-minded enough for some inovation, check out this album, I'm sure you'll not be regreted.

Tracklist:
01 - End
02 - The Choir Of The Dead
03 - Axis
04 - The Fall
05 - Metamorphosis
06 - The Supreme Abstract
07 - Our Blessed Frozen Cells
08 - Devilish Essence
09 - The Howling Of God
10 - Inner Mental Cage
11 - Density
12 - Procession Of The Dead Clowns

18/20

Shemahmforash

Funeris Nocturnum - "Pure Satanic Blasphemy" (Woodcut, CD, 2000)
After the magnificent demo-tape "Slay and Burn" here is the debut album of this Finnish band. I must confess that this album was their first release that I had the opportunity to listen, I only listened to their demo a few months later. But anyhow, this is a great debut album. I must say that this is one of the fastest and brutal Blackmetal releases that I've ever put my hand in to.
About the instrumentalization, the drum part is astonishing, I don't know how Draco can handle it, really; the guitars play also a good role in the sound of this band, playing very consistent riffs occasionally very melodic, sometimes the keyboards also appear creating some kind of darkened atmospheres, but fortunately they're not overused, the bass contribution is almost imperceptible, but sometimes it also appears as lead, for example in the beginning of "Slay and Burn". About the vocal work, Torment has a hell of a great voice, joining typical Blackmetal scratchy and malefic screams with guttural voice typical of Deathmetal.
The production is quite good, we are able to clearly listen to all the instruments, and what a shame it would be if we wouldn't!.
Concluding, this band really caught me by surprise, this debut album is one of the recent albums that stayed in my stereo for long time (it still is) and one of the best that reached my hands in the last months.

Tracklist:
1 - Burying the Last Breath of christianity
2 - Damnation of INRI
3 - Withering Life
4 - Slay and Burn
5 - Pure Satanic Blasphemy
6 - Kuolontoive
7 - Seitsemas Portti
8 - Three Steps Closer To The Truth
9 - The August Hammer Of Satan

17,5/20

Shemahmforash

Godless North / Chemin de Haine - "Only Human Ashes are Real"(War Spirit, Split-CD, 2003)
Finally some new songs from the Canadian Godless North in the form of a split-CD along with the French Chemin de Haine.
The split features four songs from Godless North and three from Chemin de Haine.
About the Godless North part, their new songs show a much more mature band, when compared to their full-length "Summon the Age of Supremacy", now they managed to get rid of being labelled "darkthrone clones" with an own and original sound.
Their new sound is achieved with a superb combination of mid-paced parts with devastating high speed moments.
The songs played by Chemin de Haine in this split are quite similar to the ones they usually record alone, for those less familiar with them I can label their sound as a much more aggressive version of Celestia, if you know what I mean.
This split is clearly a good alliance between two bands very well respected within the Underground. Recommended only for the Blackmetal fan.

Tracklist:
1 - Godless North - Intro
2 - Godless North - The Fading Cause Of Light's Crusade
3 - Godless North - Sombre Reflections Of Hate's Embrace
4 - Godless North - Carnage on Holy Soil
5 - Chemin de Haine - Intro / Sempiternelle Existence
6 - Chemin de Haine - Ere Du Démon - Année Premiére
7 - Chemin de Haine - Le Christ Humilié / Outro

17,5/20

Shemahmforash

Inner Helvete/Front Beast - "United Terror Division"  (Ordealis Records, 7’’EP split, 2002)
This split contains two Black Metal bands, the Portuguese horde Inner Helvete and the Germans Front Beast. It is composed of two tracks from Inner Helvete, (one of them is the intro) and one track from Front Beast. This holocaust starts with a very dark atmosphere; it seems as if we are flying on the void and burning in the violent flames of hell at the same time. It is strange, we hear the wind and a melodic guitar riff without distortion… terror arrives, finally, the second track from Inner Helvete, starts. Distorted guitar with riffs that remind me of war as it has some noises on it and I think it fits well. The drums can be better… I think they should program it better. Well, what discounts in some things counts on others such as originality, on this second track “Allegiance to Satan (Total Warfare Version)” and last from Inner Helvete on this split, in the middle of the music, it all stops and we can hear some star wars ambient, like lasers, which personally I think it is innovator. At the beginning Inner Helvete didn’t arouse me much, nut I learned to appreciate their sound, and now I see the infernal feeling they have.
Front Beast crushes his side with one unholy hymn, “Slaughter the Heaven”, which I think is an excellent track, although it is very in the vein of Burzum which is preferable than Cradle of Filth clones… It starts with a thunderstorm, then, an epic riff starts to announce the slaughter of heaven. I must confess this song impressed me the first time I heard it because the vocals are so sick… it seems like this guy is begging for something really desperately. The guitars are epic on the entire track while the bass limits to follow the guitar. The drums are good. Generally I think this music is well done, mainly the construction of the track and specially the sequence of the guitar riffs.
For the end I would like to say that Inner Helvete has a more characteristic sound than Front Beast, anyway, both bands are very good and have the essence from the underground... I think the guttural “distorted” vocals on Inner Helvete aren’t so common on nowadays Black Metal so it distinguishes them from other bands…

Side A: (Inner Helvete)
1 - From the Bottomless Depths
2 - Allegiance to Satan (Total Warfare Version)
 

Side B:
1 - Slaughter the Heaven

 

17/20

Lord Infaustum

Kristallnacht - "Adversary" (Sombre Records, EP, 2002)
After 8 years of existence, this is the last release from the French NS Black Metal band Kristallnacht. It contains two authentic Black Metal hymns directly from the catacombs to our ears, namely “Unblessed Souls” and “Downfall Herald
's Retribution” which is my favourite of this two. “Unblessed Souls” reminds me the tracks of their debut release when they were Funeral or maybe some tracks on “Of Elitism And War” fast and intense Black Metal with killing riffs (no, don’t expect Marduk) and a fast drum, no great works on composition but it’s a good track. The other track is very emotional or maybe not, I can’t describe well what I feel when I listen to “Downfall Heralds Retribution”, it’s a slow track with great sad and melancholic riffs not the fast ones I’m used to listen coming from this band. The voice on this track is wonderful… for me this music is almost perfect.
I like the L.F. screams but on Kristallnacht I’ll always prefer Xaphan vocals on Funeral era. The guitars have always that hopeful and depressing feeling which I like. Even simple I think the drum programming fits very well on the tracks; I think simple things can be better than technical ones. The production is raw, the way you can find on “Of Elitism and War” album, but I think this is one thing that gave to this band the right spirit of underground, literally. Kristallnacht had its end and this was a nice goodbye but L.F. will keep working on the underground with his label Warspirit Records and convicted of its ideals he stands proud, he haven’t changed his mind for end Kristallnacht and even don’t agreeing with him ideology I admire him for keeping the same fight.

Tracklist:
1 - Unblessed Souls
2 - Downfall Herald's Retribution

19/20

Lord Infaustum

Lugubre “Bloodshedding War Hymns” (Hell War Productions, Demo-tape, 2003)
In spite of not being their first release, before listening to this demo I didn’t knew these guys very
well. They’re from the Netherlands and they perform a fast and good Anti-human Black Metal. “Bloodshedding War Hymns” consists of five tracks: the intro, which is very apocalyptic and hypnotic, then, we have a new track “Decreasing Of Human Population” which is composed by simple riffs, melancholic but brutal at the same time, the drums are fast paced, but it doesn’t decrease the feeling from the guitars. The vocals aren’t bad but I think it should be sickest, anyway, it is irrelevant… just an opinion, the vocalist handles it well. This track reminds me of Darkthrone, maybe because with simple riffs these guys are able to create a melancholic yet violent track… the third and the fourth track are covers, “Inferno” from Striid and and “Down there…” from Beherit. The cover from Beherit is very well achieved, the vocals are growled and the drums very good, seeming to me that the typical Beherit chaotic atmosphere was well captured. Finally, the last track is a live one, named “Blitzkrieg”, a very brutal track, well; just the name “Blitzkrieg” says everything. This demo tape doesn’t have a awesome production but you can listen what this guys are playing, and believe me… they’re good but they have potential to be better, because what we can hear here isn’t nothing new, but is, nonetheless, a good release.

Tracklist:
1 - Intro
2 - Decreasing Of Human Population
3 - Inferno (Striid Cover)
4 - Down There... (Beherit cover)
5 - Blitzkrieg (live)

17/20

Shemahmforash

Marduk - "Infernal Eternal" (Blooddawn Productions, CD, 2000)
This is the most brutal and devastating Black metal live recording I've ever listened to, an anti-christian punch that hits you right in the fucking face, a black metal raid. With the purpose of comemorating Marduk's 10 years of blasphemous existence, this was released containing 18 tracks of Sweden's fastest, most aggressive and extreme black metal, fulfilled with Legion's scratched (almost ruined) voice. I thought that the first rumours about "Marduk's double live album" (!) were just a bunch of nonsense, but a quick search on the Internet was enough for me to believe. As I was listening to a sample of "Sulphur Souls", immediately I noticed that this release would be way much better than "Live in Germania", the recording's sound quality was damn good! The album tracklist was very well chosen, combining old songs ("Still Fucking Dead, "Slay The Nazarene", "Those of The Unlight") with recent songs ("Panzer Division Marduk", "Fistfucking God's Planet" and "Baptism By Fire"). After all this, there was still time to "Into The Crypts of Rays", a cover from Celtic Frost. Anyway, something that surprised me here was the inclusion of all the lyrics (I find this very odd, indeed). By the way, notice that all these tracks were taken from Marduk's "World Panzer Battle" tour. 10 years have already passed since the birth of this band and this release came to prove that they're ready for more 10.

Tracklist:

CD1
1 - Panzer Division Marduk
2 - Burn My Coffin
3 - Baptism by Fire
4 - The Sun Turns Black as Night
5 - Of Hell's Fire
6 - 502
7 - Materialized in Stone
8 - Beast of Prey
9 - Those of the Unlight
10 - Sulphur Souls
11 - Dreams of Blood and Iron
12 - Fistfucking gods planet
CD2
1 - On Darkened Wings
2 - Into The Crypts of Rays
3 - Still Fucking Dead
4 - Slay the nazarene
5 - Departure from the Mortals
6 - Legion

 

16/20

Damned

Setherial - "Endtime Divine" (Regain Records, CD, 2003)
"Endtime Divine" is the fifth album from this Norwegian band that plays a very fast Blackmetal in the vein of Marduk or Dark Funeral.
Their previous albums are quite akin with the bands referred above, but with this new album they managed to create a somehow original sound. The slower paced moments are the main reason for this originality, because they now are present in all the songs and have a preponderant role in every music, not like in the past when they were only used a couple of times in an album. With this innovation their sonority became much more stronger and coherent.
Technically this is a typical Blackmetal album in the nordic vein, with the guitars playing very simple, but cold and sharp riffs, the bass work almost unnoticed and only used for rhythm purposes and a scratchy voice screaming words of blasphemy.
All in all this is clearly a step forward in the career of this band.

Tracklist:
1 - Crimson Manifestation
2 - The Underworld
3 - Subterranean
4 - ...of Suicide
5 - Entity of Night
6 - The Night of All Nights
7 - Endtime Divine
8 - Transformation
9 - Storms

17/20

Shemahmforash

Tartaros - "The Grand Psychotic Castle" (Necropolis Records, MCD, 1997)
Have you seen Emperor's "Emperial Live Cerimony" VHS? If you noticed who was playing keyboards, then you already know the mentor of this one-man project... Mr. Charmand Grimloch. He was invited by the almighty Emperor to handle the keyboards during their tour, due to his skillfulness with such instrument. And that skillfulness is once again proved (as If anyone still needed that) in this 5-song MCD, a piece of gloomy and ghostly Black Metal blended with some orchestrations and effects that remind me of horror movies (I admit, it really captured me). The keyboards work is supremely executed, it creates an intense atmosphere and gives the impression of a terryfing presence that wants to crawl out from the stereo speakers and head towards us. About the voices, this MCD is filled with somber choirs, chanting and terrifying screams that give an extra haunting touch to Grimloch's music. The guitar work is discreet, but quite good (in the beginning this instrument may seem almost inexistent and useless, but after a couple of listenings wou'll agree with me). Your blood will freeze to the sound of Tartaros...recommended to be listened at night, alone in the dark...

Tracklist:
1 - Intro
2 - Dark Red Light Upon The Bomos
3 - 3- Images Of The Mystic Sphere
4 - Tones Towards The Empyrean
5 - The Grand Psychotic Castle

16,5/20

Damned

Thunderbolt - "Black Clouds over Dark Majesty" (Ancestral Research, Split CD with Kataxu, 2000)
When I got this release I didn't knew Thunderbolt, so I couldn't throw any expectations towards the band and this (debut) split Cd with the also Slavonic Kataxu. This review will be focused only on Thunderbolt's recording because these Polish guys impressed me in a way I wasn't expecting. After an Intro full of bell chimes, wind samples and female histerical laughings, a feeling of nostalgia carried me back to the old days of Emperor's "In The Nightside Eclipse" as soon as the second track started, mainly due to the fuzzy riffing flowing out perfectly from the distant guitar sound. The general structures of the remaining tracks also remind me of Emperor's early characteristic compositions; when after a sudden stopping a distinct riff is initiated/repeated, inciting the drums to follow it energically throughout a different tempo ("Shadows of The Deepest Night") or even when a catchy melody jumps out from the blurred guitars' duet and overlays the main lead in a slow part (listen to "Moonglare", for example). Regarding the vocal performance, the typical hoarse singing is all there, featuring the necessary range of deepness after being blended with the other instruments. To complete Thunderbolt's creation, I must mention the presence of well-inserted ambient synth and acoustic passages wich help not only to keep up the interest but also to give an extra majestic/epic touch to the music, in the band's attempt to take the listener on a glorious trip to vast unknown landscapes (for instance on "Wilderness of The Eternal Darkness" and "My Dark Imagination"). By the end of the instrumental "Song of Glory" (two smooth and melancholic minutes of keyboard playing supported by the underlying dragged guitar line, sounding like a warrior's farewell), it's more than obvious that Thunderbolt went to drink influences from acts such as Emperor and - far from being clones - were able to shape and deliver them within the right proportions, adding a very personal touch. Recommended..

Tracklist:
1 - Intro (An Invitation)
2 - Shadows of the Deepest Night
3 - My Dark Imagination
4 - Wilderness of the Eternal Darkness
5 - Moonglare
6 - The Song of Glory

17/20

Tormento

Xasthur - "Suicide in dark serenity" (Bestial Onslaught Productions, LP, 2003)
Finally I had the opportunity to listen the new LP from this great one-man-band from U.S.A…. In this record we can find two re-recorded tracks from the “Gate through bloodstained mirror”, two new tracks and an instrumental introduction… this record don’t runaway from the essence of Xasthur and this is good, it shows that Xasthur has strong musical goals.
The introduction I can compare it to Burzum on “Filosofem”, it seems you’re going down to hell drowned in the dark melody of the keys, then, some screams of agony. The second track is “Suicide in dark serenity”, a re-recorded one from the first Xasthur’s release I have to say it is great because the track is a little slower than in the first record, so it becomes more morbid. The third track is a new track and it’s a good one. “With hate freezing my veins” reminds me of Burzum, again. The fourth track is a re-recorded version of “Storms of red revenge” and it’s good as well, although I think the first version of this song is better than this one. Finally this holocaust ends with a new track, an instrumental one where the double drum pedal is almost every time ripping all, that’s a nice instrumental track to end the record.
The drums are well performed, simple but good. The guitars are noisy but we can define their sound and we can hear well the bass. This album, or should I say this band, has a particularity at my point of view… all or almost all the Xasthur tracks got keyboards on the full time of the songs but these keyboards aren’t here to make the song more melodic… definitely, NO! Malefic use the keyboards very well and he can make very, very heavy and dark atmospheres. The voice reminds me Burzum on Filosofem but this one is more screamed than the distorted one on that Burzum release. The production is the same as their last album “Nocturnal Poisoning” so I’ll not say that this album the production isn’t good because the band knows what’s doing and likes it sounding this way.
Don’t expect keys ah la Cradle of Filth or something, this is true Misanthropic Black Metal in all its splendour. This is not a wannabe-Burzum, but I think the band is influenced by
Varg's band and I have to say it is a nice influence. If you like atmospheric dark and agonizing Black Metal look for this release.

Tracklist:
1 - Intro (Instrumental)
2 - Suicide in Dark Serenity
3 - With Hate Freezing in My Veins
4 - Storms of Red Revenge
5 - Middlel Age returns

17,5/20

Lord Infaustum

 

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