Saturday, 31 December 2011

Kali Yuga-One year closer

The death of every year brings a flood of lists from every fucking side you turn your head to. As usual, these last days have been an apotheosis of the same, tiresome, over-hyped kinds of (real or not so real) underground metal.
The power of the internet grows stronger and with the vast majority of sites or blogs or whatever that are english speaking (thus globally more influential) being american, there is a kind of a new order established in the world of extreme metal. An order that blurs and dilutes ones perspective, according to the tastes of the average american scribe. An order that dictates that every second sludge or post whatever band is noteworthy or that the average black metal band coming from the states or from cascadia (what the fuck?) is the best thing that happened to the scene since Bathory. Fuck it. What follows is an attempt to re-view the most appealing releases of a year where more important things than music came to my life, still black and death metal is the second best thing for me cause evil has no boundaries. Krallice, Wolves in the Throne Room, Falls of something I don't remember, Liturgy and suchlike will not be mentioned. Disma will not be mentioned. Some bands you'll never find in the usual sources will be mentioned and maybe glorified.
There's no specific order in the list that follows. When you see music as an artform and a source of emotion it is unthinkable to see it as a contest at the same time.
Here's to the death of the world...

Negative Plane - Stained Glass Revelations
Nobody can make black metal sound so personal as Negative Plane. This is the darkest sermon one can hope for.

Aosoth - III
'...The songs smell of incense and sulphur, the sick guitar tone dominates the atmosphere and MkM is one of the few persons on the face of the earth that can walk in those fields without being accused of trespassing. Passion, class and personality...'

Manilla Road - Playground of the Damned  
The best heavy metal band of all times keeps its teeth sharp with one more great work. Vastly epic and boldly lo-fi because when you are talented you have guts. The new kids shall know that they have the best of the best to compete with.

Burzum - Fallen
I've never been particularly fond of Burzum's black metal, although I enjoyed the older classics. This one came as a surprise after the disapointing and boring Belus. Fallen is a different case. 'It is raw, with that cyclic riffing that creates clever melodies that capture you like a web and drag you to the (fairy)tales the guy has to say. You know it is no true nor realistic, it is even naive but you are lured.'

The Wounded Kings - In the Chapel of the Black Hand 
The Wounded Kings have to be the best doom metal band of our days. Doom metal as we knew it. No sludge, no stoner, no desert, no bullshit. Emotional, heavy, dark and occult they have been carving an uphill path since their first record. Quietly, without the usual fanfare. The omens show that their best is yet to come.

Circle of Ouroborus - Armon keitaalla 
The triple cassette box that came after Eleven Fingers passed under the radar of the hipster sites and magazines that glorified its predecessor in their hysterical quest to find the new Joy Division. Thankfully. Armon keitaalla shits on Eleven Fingers' head from a hill high. It sees CoO return to form and deliver one of their best works to date.

Whore - Whore Tape 
In only 13 minutes Whore deliver some of the heaviest and filthiest death metal from the swamp, where you would never dare come close to. They're from sweden but they don't sound like they're from sweden. They don't sound like they are from this world. These are three tracks from the bowels of fucking hell.

Sonne Adam - Transformation / Necros Christos - Doom of the Occult
For some reason those two records have settled in my conscience as sister releases.
There are of course obvious similarities to the slow and grinding death metal the bands perform but there is also a distinct display of personality by both which is something you would expect from Necros Christos, but for a young band like Sonne Adam it is admirable at least.

Cult of Erinyes - A Place to Call My Unknown
Terribly underrated and overlooked by the vast majority of press and fans, yet awesome black metal  by this new belgian band. I see the blueprint of Ondskapt's unsurpassable debut in many moments of A Place to Call My Unknown, but whatever their inspiration is, it is filtered in a way that delivers one the greatest surprises of the year. A great first effort. In fact, such a great record that makes me overlook the fact that their alter ego is a former metalcore band.

Nightbringer - Hierophany of the Open Grave
They continue creating their own legend by refining their craft with each release. More varied than ever, the atmosphere here is suffocating. Hierophany... is here to make sure that Nightbringer are one of the great bands of our times. Mandatory.

Vanhelgd - Church of Death 
Once more in this fucking list, death metal from sweden that isn't the typical death metal of the land. Slowly crawling, infecting like poison a great band that owes as much to bands like Asphyx as to some of their fellow swedes this is some of the most essential devastating metal of death.

Verge - Sex and Violence
Fuck. No one makes black metal like the finns do. Verge is one of the most fucked up bands coming from finland and after last year excellent split with Blood Red Fog, Sex and Violence comes to complete the fucking devastation. Their second full album is a vast improvement from the Hatemagic debut. Raw, filthy and ungly the way it is supposed to be. Those with eyes to see, have seen. The rest...stay in your comfortable ignorance.

Charnel Winds - Der Teufelsbund 
An obvious choice to make after Verge. I've been awestruck when I first heard the demo version of the record a couple of years back. This year the album came to justify my ranting after my exposure to the sickness that is Der Teufelsbund. As I said back then...

Execration - Odes of the Occult 
In a year that had some of the best forward thinking death metal of all times released, Execration were the ones that had the greatest impact for me. Surely bands like Mitochondrion and Ulcerate delivered excellent records but to my liking they were topped by Execration's second album. This is a record that is asphyxiating in it's heaviness and totally crushing in its darkness.

Hell - Human Remains
In times where traditional and occult heavy metal is reborn, one would expect that the best record of the kind would come from one of the hopeful and talented bands of the new breed, like In Solitude or Portrait. Yet, all these ambitious youngsters will have to wait in line because for the time being they have to watch the backs of a group of hardened but forgotten veterans that never enjoyed any real recognition. Hell made their full length debut almost thirty years after their inception and completely erased all competition. Hadn't I heard the 1982 self titled demo that includes almost all the songs of Human Remains, I would be reluctant to believe that these tracks were actually penned three decades ago. And honestly, if these songs sound as amazing as they do today, it's no strange that almost no one managed to understand their true quality back in the early 80's.

Antediluvian - Through the Cervix of Hawaah
After a series of demos and EPs that carved their name in the upper echelons of the underground, the storming debut comes to seal their position and force everybody to turn their eyes to their dark art. Heavy, bestial, ancient, muddy, cavernous and at the same time open minded and incredibly forward thinking. A spear in god's fuckin ribs.

Malepeste - Malepeste Demo 
The  best french sounding french black metal I have heard in a long time comes from a band I had never heard of, until I listened to their demo. This is a quite apocalyptic experience as Malepeste deliver mystical black metal that is as dissonant as it need to be and as traditional as I would like it to be. Great occult metal that managed to beat  Thantifaxath's great EP, at the last minute. (So much for art not being a contest).

Void Meditation Cult - Sulfurous Prayers 
Ultra heavy and dark black/death metal that, to those of us that lived the glory days of 1989 to 1992 with bands like Samael, Mortuary Drape and Necromantia at their blackest best, brings tears in the eyes. Sulfurus Prayers indeed.

Brulvahnatu - Menstrual Extraction Ceremony 
Another criminally overlooked release coming from a prolific artist that has recorded 10 full length demos and three albums in four years. Fucked up and heavy, in many ways unorthodox death/black metal that will engulf you from the first moment of exposure at it. Not a surprise that the man behind Brulvahnatu is also a member of Antediluvian, Begrime Exemious and A.M.S.G. Highly recommended.

Deceased - Surreal Overdose
We are living in times were parody bands are ridiculing what we once knew as thrash metal. And then Deceased are coming to take them all by storm and teach them a lesson the hard way.  For a band that is active since 1985 to come up with an aggressive attack like this, is a big deal.