Friday, April 4, 2014

Heresiarch - Wælwulf

Type: EP

Year: 2014

Country: New Zealand

Label: Iron Bonehead Productions

The Heresiarch juggernaut returns with another EP to sweep everything in its path. "Hammer of Intransigence" failed to impress me despite its compact nature, since I think that it suffered in terms of inspiration. In Wælwulf though, the New Zealanders indemnify us, managing to compose substantive tracks despite the short duration of the release.

The main differentiation in this EP lies on the accessibility to the listener. The pattern of the brutal and monotonous pounding is no longer followed, and instead the mid-tempo parts seem to have the leading role. In that way there is a gradual musical climax while the atmosphere gains some extra points. Regarding the performance of the band members, it is flawless without any downside. This time the song structure is more diverse, mainly because the guitars broaden their range of ideas and avoid creating a monotonous result. The military drums are still an integral part of the band, and when the rhythm slows down, they really sound like hammers of doom. Also the bass provides some awesome volume and is aptly highlighted by the production, resulting in a devastating warlike experience.

In this effort, Heresiarch expand their sound a bit and τthe experiment proves to be successful. After all, the musical aggression doesn't always go hand to hand with high bpm. The 2 EPs have given us a taste of their sound, so I believe that the next step should be a full-length album. After Wælwulf, I can safely say that my expectations suddenly rose very high.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hic Iacet - Hedonist of the Death

Type: Demo

 Year: 2011

Country: Spain

Label: Fiery Path Records



"Hic Iacet" is the Latin translation of "Here Lies". With this intriguing name the band is introduced from Spain, and this is practically all that we know, since the lineup remains unknown. They belong to the black/death metal genre, but in a different way than their compatriots Teitanblood and Proclamation. This demo is their first release, and within 17 minutes they really manage to impress.

The secret of success in this case is the variety in the song structure, which doesn't let the listener lose his interest even for a second. Their arsenal is full of great riffs, from traditional black metal to thrashier ones, which give their own unique touch in each case. Also, the many changes in tempo are perfectly combined and constantly alter the surrounding atmosphere. While it feels claustrophobic and ominous, suddenly blasphemy takes command and the smell of sulphur fouls the air. At some points I caught myself correlating the musical result to that of Temple Nightside, probably because of the similar guitar tone, but this is only one of the many aspects concealed in this work.

Production is as clear as it should be, and the drums while giving a recital performance don't have a prominent role in the mix as it happens in many other releases of the genre. As a result, the guitar and bass lines can be heard really well. Finally, my only objections to the musical result are the vocals, which I would like to be bolder and a bit more aggressive, and the lyrics because they seemed a bit incoherent in my opinion.

Despite its minor flaws, this demo is a great first effort and its quality can't be denied. It is primarily recommended to fans of the genre, but can also appeal to a wider audience, since it has its own distinct identity.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Heresiarch - Hammer of Intransigence

Type: EP

Year: 2011

Country: New Zealand

Label: Dark Descent Records


Heresiarch were founded in 2008 in New Zealand, a country which entered the map of extreme music especially the last few years with bands like Witchrist and Diocletian. This EP does not deviate from the musical direction one would expect, offering 22 minutes of brute black/death violence.

In the one-minute intro, some distant cries can be heard and also a siren of emergency, warning the listener about the sonic attack that is about to follow. The tracks that succed it are very fast, with sharp riffs that pierce the brain and create an atmosphere of lurking danger. The structure is very tight, while the drums sound infallible and set the tempo with military discipline. The only exception is the last track that is characterized by longer mid-tempo parts and an outburst in the middle, proving that Heresiarch can perform as well in less bpm.

The accuracy of the musical performance is impressive and a token of great musical ability, while the vocals complete perfectly the audio havoc. Production is much clearer than anyone could expect, but this was the only way of obtaining a comprehensible output. Regarding the lyrics, they are available only for "Intransigent" and aesthetically complement the image I created for the musical content. I could liken it to a wounded beast, which destroys everything in its path, spreading pain and despair.

Although during the first listen I felt a little confused by the power and the chaotic nature of the release, gradually the scenery began to clear up. "Hammer of Intransigence" is one of the most dynamic releases I have heard lately but despite its proven cruelty, some ideas were uninspired and repetitive. Surely it is a decent effort, but I wanted something more. Nevertheless, I await with interest their next steps in order to see if they will follow the same pathway or try a different musical approach.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Skelethal - Deathmanicvs Revelation

Type: EP

Year: 2014

Country: France

Label: Iron Bonehead Productions


This duo comes from Lille, France, and after a demo, they released this EP in March of 2014. The truth is that beyond Nekrowretch I have no particular contact with the French death metal scene, so I did not know exactly what to expect. This was the reason why Skelethal hit me like a punch out of nowhere .

The one minute intro introduces the listener to the atmosphere of the EP , with its dark and sinister character, while also adds some cult feeling to the whole effort. From the first second of "Macabre Oblivion" an uproar of riffs succeed one another and wipe everything in their path. From fast and thrashier, to slow and excruciating ones that function as bridges that momentarily interrupt the frantic pace. At some points, the guitar tunes really caught me by surprise because of their unexpected turns, while the sick, perverted solos complete the mosaic of this release, providing a more than satisfying result.

The ripped but deep vocals sound exactly as they are supposed to, while the drums have a very natural sound and give an excellent performance, with breaks and furious tempos where each one is required. To be honest, production also highlighted the bass and its volume and gave this EP a very accessible sound, as if I was listening to a live performance. This great approach resulted in making me bang my head even more. 

If you're looking for an equal mixture of Swedish death metal and Autopsy worship you've come to the right place. With bands like Skelethal, I am very happy that the old-school death metal sound has been revived, especially in the last few years. Definitely check this out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sacrocurse - Sulphur Blessing

Type: Demo

Year: 2013

Country: Mexico/Turkey

Label: Iron Bonehead Productions


Sacrocurse is an international band that was formed in 2012. Their first demo was released in 2013 in tape format from the reliable Iron Bonehead Productions and offers pure bestial black/death metal.

The musical content ranges within the already known elements of the genre, while the rabid drums and the guitar frenzy bring to mind the scene of Latin America as an obvious influence. This makes perfect sense as a former member of Morbosidad is involved in the band. Despite the apparent chaotic and very fast playing, the main riffs are memorable and the structure of the tracks is quite well-made. From time to time, Sacrocurse add some slower parts in order to temporarily release the listener from the vise of their primitive black/death metal, while the mid-tempo of "Command Demonic Prayers" offers some well-received variety to the frantic pace of the rest of the demo. Of course the noisy solos could not be missing from such a release, adding an extra dose of chaos. Regarding the production, the guitars seem to have a higher volume compared to the vocals and the other instruments. Also, it proves to be surprisingly clear, but without diminishing the old-school nature of this effort. 

Sacrocurse do not offer anything new , but after all I don't think that anyone who listens to this genre is expecting innovation or any kind of musical variety. If you're looking for 15 minutes of enjoyable blasphemy, then this demo is the right choice for you.