Friday, 28 January 2011

Fall and fall and fall

...because when the idiot starts falling, there's nothing to stop him. Except maybe the sense of self preservation. Or maybe the sense of shame. But if the following abomination had any sense of shame it would vanish from the face of earth a decade ago. Instead they just continue their way to becoming the next gay icon...Maybe this is better than being the mediocrity they always were.

The winner of the eurovision song contest misuses the bow on the strings of the violin. It would be far more useful to the charming boys next to him. In the way y'all can imagine.


Thursday, 27 January 2011

Thursday, 13 January 2011

MMX - The grave (Stasis II)

Urfaust - Der freiwillige Bettler 

That Urfaust are one of a kind is not news. Their last album is everything I came to love and much more.
A monument of layers of hypnotic guitars, monotonous pounding drums and discrete keyboards that run under the surface and enhance the ritualistic vibe of the music. Out and away of any competition, this is some of the most original and personal black metal you can find around.

Nightbringer - Apocalypse Sun 

In many ways Nightbringer remind me of Urfaust although they are anything but alike.They both create trance like ritualistic black metal, they both exclude any traces of melody from their music, they both rely on repetition to create the hypnotic feeling they present. The record has grown immensely these seven months I have been listening to it. Death and the Black Work, the debut that preceded Apocalypse Sun was a beast. This one is the same beast, hungrier and more horrible. I cannot but repeat a comment I read at some greek blog...'Uncontrolled. Blatant.No outbreak. No emotional charge. No digestible passages. Black, almost not metal. Guitars built to slaughter'. Die.

Electric Wizard - Black Masses 

There is a specific moment, just before you fall asleep, that your thoughts blur and become uncontrollable eventually turning into dreams, possibly nightmares. It is that moment, that through thick layers of smoke and fog, Black Masses may appear to lead you to dangerous dreams...luring but unsettling, morbid but lustful. I never succumbed to Electric Wizard's music more than I have with Black Masses. When you awake you shall have Satan's seed planted in your mind and soul.

Valborg - Crown of Sorrow 

Bands that have adopted the mindset of such greats as Celtic Frost and have the talent to create unique and individual art deserve the highest praises. At first glance, Valborg are a death metal band. Use your patience to unveil the rest of the layers of Crown of Sorrow and you shall be rewarded. People are incredibly stupid thus the record passed almost unnoticed. Diamonds to the pigs.

Before closing Ι shall notice the great records that came out by bands like Diocletian, Witchrist , Blasphemophagher and above all my favorite's Vassafor promo. All in all it seems that 2010 has been the year that this specific style of 'bestial' death/black metal have matured for good. There's no reason to refer to such bands as 'that band that plays like Blasphemy' no more.
On the other hand, Ondskapt have offered a major dissapointment with their latest LP,  that was more of a parody of themselves than a proper album. RIP.


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Consolamentum and Falling Monuments

People's interest in worthless trivia never ceases to amaze me. There have been various black metal bands in the last few years that have chosen to work under a veil of anonymity, a decision I always found interesting and intriguing as I think it is fitting to the occult, esoteric and mysterious nature of this particular kind of music. Unfortunately the underground is flooded by imbeciles that behave like the retards they really are, spreading gossip and trying to spoil such paraphernalia that are not necessarily music related but for genres that demand a certain theatricality like black metal does, they are like salt and pepper.

So, now that we know that Ascension consists of members of the one and the other band, hoping that the parasites, having done their job, are gone, we may proceed to the beast that is Consolamentum. 

The band had released the Fire and Faith EP almost two months before the full length, as a harbinger of horrible things to come. Had Consolamentum been at the level of the EP, we would be talking about a monumental work that would make Paracletus feel its stinking breath. The album is great...actually it stands hands and shoulders above 99% of modern black metal with an ease that I find admirable. Unfortunately it does not achieve to create a double headed beast together with Paracletus. Nevertheless it stands right under the DsO's masterpiece throne, completing the trinity of 2010's most essential black metal records (From the Devil's Tomb being the third one).

To appreciate Consolamentum you need to leave aside some of the most common preconceptions concerning black metal. For some reason I never understood, many people believe that every black metal record that comes out owes to reinvent the wheel. This is a claim some people make exclusively when talking about black metal. I have yet to read someone criticizing a doom/thrash/death/heavy/whatever metal record for not bringing anything new on its field. On the one hand this is understandable as black metal has been the only sub genre of metal that has offered works of great innovation almost systematically for the last 15 years. On the other hand this does not mean that black metal HAS to be other than quality and adventurous music with religious and spiritual connections.

On the general map of black metal Ascension would be placed in the orthodox area and they view their art in the holistic manner that is almost the rule for such bands. Thus, the music, lyrics and visual part of the record are totally connected and must be viewed as one. Even the date of the record's release is a part of the whole concept. As is expected the band chooses to leave the 'frostbitten' ridiculous side of black metal for the kiddies that are now discovering the joy of masturbation. Even if we didn't know anything about the band, it would be apparent that this is a mature band and Consolamentum is the distillation of years of experience and devotion.

The album is carefully crafted and structured in a way that suits the vinyl version with Fire and Faith, in a different recording than this of the EP, being the epicenter of the album. The most important criticism I could make on the record is that it drags towards the end. Had it been one song less I think it would be quite close at fulfilling my high expectations completely. Make no mistake though...this is a mighty release. One of the most stupid, false and irrelevant cliches concerning black metal is the one that assumes that it should be freezing, icy and other such bullshit...bullshit...Consolamentum is burning fire, the boiling lava that threatens to melt everything that stands on its way. This is how modern black metal shall be...religious, apocalyptic, bold, melodic and luring in order to attract the unaware ones, poisonous and deadly in order to forever enslave them. Amen...

On the now infamous Deathspell Omega interview for the Ajna Offensive, the band has been asked about their decision to release a split with Clandestine Blaze and work with Mikko A's record label (let alone, recruit the man as their vocalist I should add) 'seeing as their doctrines are, seemingly, different' than Dso's. The answer was that Dso have noticed that they are really close with him, although his usual rhetoric would point otherwise. Also I quote 'He is one among very few who can take the most atrocious things very naturally, and he is one among very few who truly shares a fascination and appreciation for things of an utterly sadistic nature that I will not unveil here'.
Examining Mikko A's work with most of his projects, especially the noise and porn related ones, the above quote seems almost like an understatement.

His black metal vehicle has come to its sixth full length. Falling Monument features all the usual traits Clandestine Blaze showed in the past, enriching their sound with some simple tricks that are proven quite effective at adding a twisted charm to the rawness on offer here. Like on the Stabat Mater record that came one and a half year before, Mikko A shows an improved sense of control, one that helps at adding texture to his otherwise monolithic approach. For me this is the best Clandestine Blaze work to date. It features the best tracks he has written in quite a while, in fact some of them have the powers to come to be underground classics. As expected there is zero compromise here. The pounding drums are the base of the record, the guitar work is some of his best, his vocals are on top form. If you need just one record from the recent crop of black metal of the northern ilk, this is the one.
Once more...this is not the reinvention of the wheel. It is more an attack to destroy it and any other of 'mankind's achievements'...Ha


Monday, 3 January 2011

MMX - The grave (Stasis I)

Deathspell Omega - Paracletus
I don't know if some years from now reality will prove my thoughts about this record wrong. I don't care if this happens. All I know is that the cases that I felt awestruck during and right after the first listening of a record are more than rare. In the past this has happened only two more times. The most recent until now was Monotheist. The first time I actually felt my spine froze was while listening to De Mysteriis... and this had happened although I was already familiar with the material it featured...and now Paracletus.
I also happen to know that the power of such an intense experience is going to accompany me for the rest of my life.
The miserables among you can stay in your pathetic misery until you fucking die.

Triptykon - Eparistera Daimones/Shatter
The works of the Warrior have a unique way of establishing a connection with me and my soul. With his new work this connection was  more intense than ever. This is the heaviest music you can find around. With the passing of time Warrior's lyrics have become very personal being in fact an act of catharsis. But for catharsis to come you have to awaken your demons in order to fight them. This record does exactly that. It is unsettling to the point where repeated listening carves deep wounds. Daimones together with Paracletus are the best records of the last year and not only. These are works of spiritual lytrosis but to feel them like such, you have to get out of your usual state of numbness. 

Weapon - From the Devil's Tomb 
Drakonian Paradigm was the first blow, to announce the arrival of a deadly weapon to the flock that is unaware of its fate. From the Devil's Tomb is the official declaration of war. With their second record Weapon unleash their full potential, fulfilling the promise that was their two EPs. The record is a new promise from the band...a promise of things monumental in the near future.

Ascension - Consolamentum 
Ascension's debut together with Paracletus and From the Devil's Tomb are the unholy trinity of last year's black metal. My vinyl is about to melt in just a week's period but the record will not leave my record player anytime soon. Ascension come as the pretenders to the throne of modern black metal and the signs are with them. Consolamentum is burning fire, a record crafted by hardened veterans that can show to the pimpled chat room kiddies that while they play with their Burzums and Immortals, there is serious black metal being made. This is a poisoned spear on the ribs of your enemies...just use it.

Blood Revolt - Indoctrine 
Music designed to make the listener feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Modern art should be like this. An unbelievably great record which is a rare case by such short lived projects...but in the presence of pure genius, miracles can happen.

Annthennath - States of Liberating Departure 
Brilliant black metal by prominent members of the french scene. This record is so good that the fact it went unnoticed should consist a crime. Listen or die.

StarGazer - A Great Work of Ages 
The record that brought Stargazer to the forefront of extreme metal is in fact the gospel of today's forward thinking death metal. No more words are needed.

Twilight - Monument to Time End
On paper, a black metal (basically) work with heavy doses of pure sludge and psychedelia is enough to turn me off. Upon listening to Monument... such concerns are rendered useless. Twilight's big cauldron mixes whatever this colective wishes, and the result is magical...Indulge.

Dødsengel - Mirium Occultum/Alongside Choronzon
I have praised this band many times and still I feel it isn't enough. I cannot remember another black metal band being so prolific (with four releases in a year) and at the same time keeping the quality of their art on such a high level. The full length is a monument of occult black metal, a jewel that you want to keep just for yourself. Alongside Choronzon is the best of their EPs that came last year, emphasizing the ritual aspect of their music, a trait that is almost forgotten yet so vital for black metal. Praised be.