Monday, 17 July 2017

Hell's Coronation - Antichristian Devotion

HELL'S CORONATION - Antichristian Devotion (GODZ OV WAR Productions MC 2017)
Damn, I didn't think that I would like this release so much. This is only a debut release from Polish Hell's Coronation, a demo titled "Antichristian Devotion", released the good old fashioned cassette way by Godz ov War Productions. And what you can hear here is a very archaic, obscure and doomy black metal, performed the raw and ancient way. Don't expect it to sound nice and too polished. No, it sounds like recorded in fuckin bunker, in the middle of nowhere and in absolute darkness this tape should be played. Hell's Coronation music evokes evil and grim, cold aura immediately and has that old school black metal feel, which so many current black metal releases sadly lack. Yes, such music could have been recorded 20-25 years ago and if it was, then it would be praised. 
I have to say that I like that it's mainly slow paced, almost kind of doomy black metal, like on Samael debut, Rotting Christ or some other cults. Hell's Coronation plays simplistic riffs, but they really are memorable and this is maybe why the music is easier to listen to than you would expect. But I like these riffs, the song structures, all these things like bells, keyboards, ravens, which Hell's Coronation puts into their songs... and which may be a cliché, but which really sound cool and help to create that dark, almost evil atmosphere. It's great also that the band does include some more melodic parts here and there, it only makes the music sound more interesting, especially when combined with the whole obscure aura and great, croaky vocals of Zepar. You'll find just three tracks (plus an intro) on "Antichristian Devotion", but believe me, this is great stuff and I have played this cassette many times in recent days. "Throne of Eternal Perdition" is probably my favourite song, I love its malicious sound. I strongly recommend it then, I know that "Antichristian Devotion" will be also released on CD soon, so if you won't get one of these 100 tapes then another format will be available. Get it! 
Standout track: "Throne of Eternal Perdition" Final rate: 80/100 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Gods Forsaken - In a Pitch Black Grave

GODS FORSAKEN - In a Pitch Black Grave (SOULSELLER - CD 2017)
Let me say first what band I'm going to introduce to you. It's Gods Forsaken. No, it's not the old Finnish death / doom band God Forsaken (who did a pretty solid album "Dismal Gleams of Desolation", but that was in 1992!). Gods Forsaken are Swedish and it's pretty new project, formed by Anders Biazzi (Just Before Dawn, Blood Mortized). He's been joined by Brynjar Helgetun on drums (Just Before Dawn, Megascavenger and more Rogga's band, etc) and Jonny Pettersson (WombbathAshcloud, Henry Kane). So, all familiar faces are here and guys, who really keep the death metal scene in Sweden alive. This year Gods Forsaken came up with their first recording, which is "In a Pitch Black Grave" album for Soulseller Records... and yeah. People who love Swedish death metal should open their eyes and wallets immediately and get this CD or LP right now. People, who never cared for this sort of sound can skip the rest of review, because Gods Forsaken won't be for them. 
Thing with albums like "In a Pitch Black Grave" is that no way we can say that such record can surprise us with anything. Everything about this music is pretty foreseeable and has been done many times before. We are all familiar with characteristic sound of the Swedish death metal, with that lovely buzzy, but heavy and sharp guitar tone. Death growls are also specific to the Svensk Dods Metall. And obviously the music is a typical mixture of aggression, heaviness and obscurity with atmosphere and melody. It's often fast as hell, but it can also sound quite doomy and mournful. We all know this very well. So, you can obviously ask yourself, if you need "In a Pitch Black Grave", if you already have 123213 similar albums in your collection, right? Well, in case of Gods Forsaken I have to say that you better get it, because this album is just damn awesome and I think it would be a mistake if you missed it. I know that we cannot say that it's anything new or extraordinary. And some people will say that they are fed up and bored with so many similar releases... Who cares. I am not. I love this style of death metal, I love this sound, these melodies and mutilating riffs. I can recognize a lousy and unworthy album from one, which actually hits my musical G-spot like crazy banger and give me thrilling experience. And I believe that "In a Pitch Black Grave" is such an album. It's great quality death metal, filled with fantastic songs and great band performance... and this is why I think that all fans of this sort of shit need to grab a copy of it. 
"In a Pitch Black Grave" obviously comes with whole range of different types of playing. You'll find here fast and neckbreaking tracks like "Born of Blasphemy" or slow and almost melancholic pieces like "Ashes of the Dead" or "Souls Torn Apart". For me personally "In a Pitch Black Grave" sounds fantastic from start to finish. The variety is one positive aspect, another is how memorable and almost catchy this album is. I feel like every song was crushing me with its sheer energy and power, and each was an invitation for maniacal skull-banging. A lot of these riffs sound great and I have to say that those blasting parts are my favourites. But I am always also really looking forward to hear melodic and monumental parts in Swedish death metal, so this album gives me everything. The quality is awesome all the way through, I feel like this album is very easily listenable and just damn fuckin good. So, while Blood Mortized split up, it's good that Anders quickly came out with another superb project. I have nothing else to desire, but I just need to grab this album on vinyl also, it's essential for me. So, very recommended and strong release! 
Standout tracks: "In a Pitch Black Grave", "Born of Blasphemy", "Ashes of the Dead", "An Odyssey of Broken Bones" 
Final rate: 80/100 

Gruesome - Fragments of Psyche

GRUESOME - Fragments of Psyche (RELAPSE 7"EP 2017)
have rather mixed feelings for an idea of doing a tribute kind of band, where you basically want to copy the achievements of another band and even make your own versions of their classic records. "Hey, let's do our "Leprosy", then maybe "Spiritual Healings"!!!!". And now the new EP has been announced as "Human" style release. Hmm, not sure if there's any point in doing that. do listen to bands that are hugely influenced by band X or Y daily - but many of them try to make something own, instead of being a simple copycat. So, it all is questionable and we can discuss it over a beer or ten and opinions will be many. But the truth is that what counts the most is the music. And if I had any doubts for Gruesome, then their music crushed them. This band fuckin kills. Yes, they do play like Death on their best records. But they're really damn good at it, the quality of their music is superb. 
"Fragments of Psyche" is the newest Gruesome release. It's a 7"EP, with just two songs: the title piece on side A and cover of... guess who... on side B. "Fragments of Psyche" is killer. Yes, it sounds a lot like "Human", with its almost progressive style of riffs and truly exceptional leads. Plus the insanely precise and complex drumming (with Sean Reinert as a guest drummer for this song!). The performance is simply 10/10 from every band member. And I love how such music correspondents with a vicious and beastly vocals of Matt Harvey. I am quite surprised to like these riffs and everything so much, also because I'm not a big fan of "Human". But Gruesome did killer job, I have to say, and it all sounds spotless. Side B, as I mentioned, contains a cover. "Choke On It" is very well performed, no doubt. We can read in the liner notes that Gruesome tried to "Human'ize" this song a bit, make it sound like it was from "Human" rather than from "Leprosy". An interesting idea for sure. All in all, I have to admit that I've listened to this EP many times with great pleasure and "Fragments of Psyche" is one of Gruesome best songs for sure.  
This is probably the first time I also decided to use the download card from the vinyl. Why? Because the digital version, just like CD, contains a bunch of bonus tracks, with the demo versions of some earlier Gruesome songs. Check them out, cause if you liked the more savage stuff from the previous albums, then you will love it for sure. Funny thing is that usually when we hear "demo versions" then we really think of raw and demo quality recordings. These "demo versions" sound as good as the album versions. But I do like it.  
Final rate: 80/100 

Autopsy - Severed Survival

AUTOPSY - Severed Survival (PEACEVILLE LP 1989)
No, I don't have first press of "Severed Survival" vinyl. I don't even have the old picture disc of it. But I have the 2009 pressing (Peaceville) and that's all what matters for me – to have any copy of the killer Autopsy debut LP at all, because I could not imagine someone's vinyl collection without this fuckin classic record in it! It's a godly album, so fuckin influential for numerous bands. I doubt the scene would ever be the same if "Severed Survival" was never recorded! Think of the Swedish bands and how much influence Autopsy had on them! So, how can I ever be objective towards such a classic album then? Can I even dare to review it? Naahhh, but I can write few words of adoration and show my support for it! 
Funny thing is that I can't actually say that "Severed Survival" is in my list of top five of the best death metal records of all time. I probably wouldn't put it there, because there are some other albums, which I love more. But I worship this record anyway and it's close behind. I like how disgusting and truly ugly this music is, how terribly loathing it may sound to the average people. But this is the charm of it. The music has sort of punkish simplicity, everything is almost primitive, so different to the usually more technical and more brutal and faster US death metal style. But these neanderthal riffs have such a great impact on the listener that you actually do want to grab an axe and... well, chop some limbs off and fill the bowls with bowels. The vocals are like vomits, Chris Reifert is puking out some gory lyrics and he sounds sick as fuck, but such vocals fit everything perfectly. The guitars are raw, bass is very well audible (played by Steve Di-fuckin-Giorgio from Sadus!) and I like it how it sounds on the album... The production is muddy and obscure, but it works fantastically well for this music. And the best thing is that despite all its filth and gore, with all the blood and putrid smell that soaks from the speakers, it's unbelievable how often "Severed Survival" sounds catchy and memorable. Some of these riffs are fantastic and belong to the best you'll ever hear on death metal album. They sometimes don't sound typically death metal, sometimes they can be a bit doomy, other time quite crusty... but they've been played the brutal death metal way! And they do crush. 
It's one of those albums, where you just can't pick up one songwhich would definitely be number one (OK, for many it may be "Ridden With Disease"… I personally don’t know!).  Let's rip the guts out with the killer riffs from "Charred Remains", "Ridden With Disease", "Disembowel", "Impending Dread", "Embalmed", "Severed Survival", "Pagan Saviour" and so on... Such a great tracklist. I know though, which track is the weakest - I think it's "Stillborn", but it's very good anyway. This music is fantastic. And so is everything around it – horrid artwork, although I have to say that I prefer the "censored" artwork version with the surgeon. It's so cool. And the lyrics, all filled with tales of gore, horror and insanity... For example I love the idea for the title track's lyrics, which tell about being stack on an island with no food, so you slowly cut your limbs and eat them slowly, hoping for several survival. Finally you cut your throat as there's no survive for you! 
Standout tracks: "Charred Remains", "Ridden With Disease", "Disembowel", "Impending Dread", "Embalmed" 
Final rate: 90/100