Monday, 26 March 2012

Ignivomous, Embodied, Inverloch, Starfaust

Two weeks since Denouncement Pyre devastated the Bendigo Hotel with their first live performance in five years; this small venue was to face another night of absolute mayhem.  With dismay Starfaust which contains ex-members of Ignivomous and Roskorp had cancelled, fortunately Black Jesus (a more then worthy replacement) was called in. Unfortunately traffic is not always one ones side, and I completely missed Black Jesus’s set and arrived only in time for Inverloch. 

For those not sure, Inverloch contains two members of Disembowelment who reunited under a full line up  titled D.usk and started playing live shows covering Transcendence into the Peripheral,  only recently taking a new form. A ghostly mist shrouds the stage and the packed crowd are hypnotized as Inverloch emits their aura of death doom which is similar to Disembowelment (believe it or not). Though not having the same spellbinding effect as D.usk is merely due to  many not having digested the upcoming EP Dusk/Subside, but this showcase will have plenty drooling for its release. Being on a stage with some finest death metal Melbourne has to offer, Embodied feel outplace on the bill. Sure they play death metal but are any good… no. Following the Cannibal Corpse textbook, their brutal American styling made the beer garden the bests place for their set.

Having been disappointed with last time I saw Ignivomous a year ago due to muddled sound which felt like rolling down a rocky hill in a trash can, this time things were very different. Armed with two axmen, Ignivomous crushingly kicked off with Death Transmutation. A set scattered with tracks from the upcoming full length Contragenesis, I have say hearing them them for the fist time they were  impressive , even though Nuclear War Now did have the album streaming, I’d  rather wait and enjoy it full force on vinyl. With a minor mosh pit or should I say beer pit due to the ridiculous amount spilled onto the wooden floorboards, Ignivomous pummeled between their first full length and Contragenesis and also included the oldie but goodie Path of Attrition. The crowd did start to thin during the set, though this did not stop them from crushing the remaining skulls in the venue.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Defamer - Decrepit Rituals

Since their 2008 debut Chasm, Queensland death metallers Defamer have picked up the game on Decrepit Rituals. Taking an approach that does not follow any of the current trends of Swedish death metal or Incantation worship.A boiling  pot of the old school death metals savagery, Defamer craft a concoction that is comparable to Cardiac Arrest. 

Like a slimy wrecking ball of unique brutality Decrepit Rituals scrambles your brain with mid paced pummeling in the vein of Suffocation, blood soaked waltzes of Autopsy, Bolt Thrower’s marching rhythm, twisted compositions comparable to Demilich and scattered hints of black metal. The guitars lead the way zigzagging between tempos with a gruesome tone while the drumming follows no patterns, continuously changing  direction like the bowels of a sickening beast. Overall Defamer keep you guessing as to what crooked procession that will take next. The riffs on the other hand don’t always deliver as one would hope considering they are rather high in the mix and are a core component in Decrepit Rituals. Generally the slow paced moments are the most powerful, The End Is His slow heaving outro crushes you slowly like being caught under a steamroller. While occasionally rapid moments tend to become a bit uninspiring. The vocalist’s primary growls are rather powerful and reach sickening points of wetness as Mike Yee of psychedelic death dealer The Dead. Not as intense are his raspy cries, but never the less try to add variety

Taking a unique approach to death metal, Defamer still need to mold their musical clay, no doubt the tools are there to create something of monstrous proportions. Considering Decrepit Rituals an improvement on Chasm, Defamer is a band to keep an eye out  on for the future.       


Friday, 16 March 2012

Revenge – Scum. Collapse. Eradication

After four years and the loss of member Pete Helmkamp, Canada’s most barbaric have finally retuned with the fourth full length Scum. Collapse Eradication.  With such underground “kult” acts as Revenges progression is considered sacrilege, and are reveled for continuously spewing out the hostile foulness they are known for. Whilst   Scum… is very akin to previous full lengths, it leaves little to be sought.

The experience of your skull concaving is a practice Revenge has assisted in multiple releases and Scum… is no different, except  an axis is missing Revenge previously encompassed. The loss of Helmkamp sneers is noticeable. His vitriol is not there to add munitions to the assault of Reads screams and (if I dare say) variety. Nerveless his departure has not affected the song writing. With their take no prisoner policy as a tank slowly bulldozes the deceased and injured near a trench to be buried dead or alive, the Revenge war machines cogs start turning slowly. Opening track Us And Them (High Power) begins with a foreboding intro, through the slow rhythmic pounding of the drums and shrilled screams before letting loose all fire power in putrid anthem of blackened militant grind. Filthy pitch shifters rumble in 35 minutes of pure desolation along with a hammering guitar tone a venomous squawks that can be described as something more vile then the screams of hundreds of babies being dissovled in acid. J.Read's skin smashing is particularly insane, as if wielding dual mini guns relentlessly propelling lead and tearing the opposition into shreds with out mercy, ensuring all bow down to his carnivorous expertise.

Surges of doom take part in the in the blitzkrieg, as mentioned in the intro of Us And Them (High Power) and the slow build up of pitch shifters and violent commands in Banner Degradation (Exile Of Death). Regrettably they are minimal, but when they occur they are no less filthy then their putrid grind counterparts. Ranked third after Victory… and Infiltration…, Scum… offers nothing new to Revenges harsh barrier of grinding noise but will no doubt satisfy the most militant fanatics. 


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Cathedral, Paradise Lost, Turisas

Some things should never be mixed together like the fruity mixture of folk and metal. Unfortunately opening act Turisas supposedly excels in such a queer combination. Draped in leather fur sacks and caked in red face paint Turisas comes across all a bit to gimmicky, thankfully their “jolly” set only lasts half hour. But with Paradise Lost on next my expectations were not high either, specially considering pre Gothic material is something rare for them live. And unfortunately tonight that material was neglected. Nerveless if you like their later more gothic styling you definitely would be absorbed as they were tight and the man behind the sound did an excellent job at keeping things together. With The Sisters of Mercy also playing tonight this reviewer was bit skeptical if he had made the right choice in not attending, thankfully though by the time Cathedral hit the stage and erupt into the classic Vampire Sun all disappointment is forgotten. A sturdy set list heavily based around  the early nineties period, Cathedral smash through the classic stoner hits of Midnight Mountain, Cosmic Funeral, Ride and the majestic Carnival Bizarre. The crowd is also treated with the crushing performance of Ebony Tears. With  a encore Lee Dorrian singles out all the witches in the crowd before stomping into the groove of Hopkins (The Witchfinder General).  Being their farewell tour these doom lords defiantly left  a legendary impression that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Toxic Holocaust, Kromosom, Nocturnal Graves

Though not being a fan of Toxic Holocaust, I would still tip my hat to Joel Grind for playing thrash before the wave of throw back, which is the least I can say for opening act Desecrator.  Standard bay area worship, these revivalists had me bored by the first song, thankfully their set let up enough time to allow one to enjoy a couple of cigarettes before Nocturnal Graves. Playing a “one off show” this carnivorous legion being my most anticipated band on the bill delivered chaos and brimstone. Devastating the stage with a set that smashed through the Satan’s Cross LP, hammering nails into the crucifix with When The Demons Feast, Nocturnal Maniac and The Pestilence Crucified. Playing with such ferocity it would leave some doubts whether Kromsom would be able match it. And surprisingly these crusty chaps, raw assault of hardcore definitely met the expectations that had been lay down. Locked in Berserker mode lead sing Yeap (ex- Pisschrist) antics including stage diving amongst his razor sharp screams proved to more then entertaining. As already mentioned not being a fan of Toxic Holocaust, I have say these guys were tight and definitely know how to whip a crowd into frenzy, instigating many circle pits and stage dives to one bounces dismay.  Belting out their “hits” Nuke the Cross , Lord of the Wasteland and Wild Dogs  would ensure most thrashes to cream their denim underwear by the end of the night.  

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Proclamation - Nether Tombs of Abaddon

The earth splits in twain; tidal waves of molten lava spill upon civilizations, demons rise from fumes of ash and sulfur only to rape and maim any survivors. A gruesome trail of decapitated heads on pikes and charred corpses nailed to crucifixes is all that’s left of humanity. Nether Tombs of Abandon would be the soundtrack to such apocalyptic event.

Continuing on bestial left hand path, Proclamation fourth full length is their strongest effort yet. The drumming is commanding and thunderous  but not to the point where it is overbearing as on Execration of Cruel Bestiality, and while that 2009 desecration had the guitars extremely low in the mix, this time around on Nether Tombs of Abandon it is much more audible and lends to be more punishing experience.Other than that Proclamation is essentially play the same formula they have been for last ten years: fast tempo that rarely changes, Kerry King esque solos, atmospheric intros and the whole bullet belt goat skull aesthetics. Obviously they take influence from Blasphemy, which is much more prelvent on earlier albums but on Nether Tombs of Abandon and even Execration of Cruel Bestiality Proclamation has broken those chains and taken that design to new violent heights

With such aggression and malevolence Proclamation are easily one of the strongest (if not the strongest) straight up bestial black metal acts around. Though all of the releases from these Spanish devil worshippers are of high caliber Nether Tombs of Abandon has to be their magnum opus so far.


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Perversor - The Shadow of Abomination

Spewing from the blasphemous depths of Chile, Perversor return with their second EP The Shadow of Abomination. If not well versed with this Chilean horde then just by looking at the cover should give an indication of what lurks within, or the simple knowledge they are signed to Hells Headbangers.

Stewing in the same pit of savageness as Demon Metal, Perversor once again assaults your eardrums with their blasphemous hybrid of black, thrash and death. Clocking in at eleven minutes The Shadow of Abomination is like amphetamine as it is purely addictive, making it perfect for a quick fix of audio violence. Scorching and blistering Extremist Satanism literally explodes off in cluster of Napalm, preparing you for what Perversor has installed. The drumming floods the mix like Obsessed by Cruelty and the bass thumps away, both assisting to creating a barrier of hateful bestial noise. Not at all moments are like getting caught in trench under a bombardment of artillery, when tempos slow down the Bathory esque guitar work finesse peeks through, these less bombarding sections are still rather speedy and frantic. While songs are slightly distinguishable this EP is best taken in a single lethal dose due to short running time.

Though as solid The Shadow of Abomination is, it never crosses over from great to masterful. And in general Perversor has always struggled to do so, each of their releases lacking a certain attribute that would place them as kings rather other than warriors. Nerveless if you don’t seek originality and thirst for blasphemous brutality then The Shadow of Abomination should quench the venomous craving.  


Monday, 13 February 2012

Black Jesus - Black Jesus Saves

Void of technicality and pristine production, Black Jesus Saves is a procreation of stripped down straightforward death metal. Sure nothing new is  brought to the table, but Black Jesus is just too much fun to deny.

Churning out eight songs in nineteen minutes, Black Jesus is simple and to point. Mostly following rock n’ roll formulas, they don’t bombard you with thousands of riffs and instead have your head rolling across the floor with a handfull of dirty killer old school ones. Actually everything on Black Jesus Saves screams old school death metal. Vocals comparable to Chris Reifert, production sounding like it was recorded within a few hours inside the drummer’s garage and straightforward song writing. Just as the vocals akin to Autopsy so are some of melodies, which waltz around as a bloodthirsty killer hiding in the shadows. With songs only lasting one to two minutes, grind influences of early Napalm Death anf Repulsion prominent in mix, especially in tightness of the drumming as it doesn’t draw that dripping sloppiness death metal vibe.

Sure there is not much originality to Black Jesus, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay homage flawlessly to the early death metal scene, which more then I can say about half the bands that blatantly do a horrible job of this. So prepare your neck  because its gonna sore by the end of Black Jesus's assault.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Xenomorph – Empyreal Regimes

The first thing to catch anyone’s eyes on 1995 Empyreal Regimes is the killer artwork. With the depiction of H. R. Giger's Xenomorph, comes across a welcome change to all the gore and satanic images in extreme music. Unfortunately the lyric though don’t have any correlation to the Alien films, and disappointingly the music struggles live up to the artwork.

Being at the more brutal and slightly technical side of death metal, Nebraska’s Xenomorph did have a slightly interesting approach. Exploring strange structures and broad range of tempos, the songwriting is very decent for younf band. However there are moments when Xenomorph do bite off more then they chew and become cluttered. But overall the lack of attention grabbing riffs is more damaging. With rarely any memorable guitar moments and all tracks surpassing five minutes Empyreal Regimes becomes a grating process, although potential can be in the found in the chaotic Valley of the Kings or the forceful groove within Plight of the Cimmerian Subspecies. Just like the riffs the vocals also offer nothing crucial to the experience. Similarities can be drawn to Pete Helmkamp sneers, but generally missing that venomous power the Order from Chaos front man possess. Quite the opposite can be said for the drumming. Powerful and thunderous, the stick work is probably the stand out on Empyreal Regimes and the glowing in a dark tunnel when compositions become a directionless.

The production is  typical of early/mid nineties death metal being rough, though strangely some songs are more abrasive then others. In 2011 Dark Descent did a reissue that came with their (underveloped) 1993 Subspecies demo, and is questionable as to why. Not being a stand out or overerly memorable. Potential does linger within Xenomorph, so who know what could have been if they did not disband after this release. Regardless Empyreal Regimes was forgotten in 1995 with reason and will most likely remain that way.


Friday, 27 January 2012

Cauldron Black Ram – The Poisoner

The most ravenous, raping and pillaging pirates from down under are finally back for more sea hardy mayhem. After 2010’s average Slubberdegullion with  awkward and lazy musicianship (sounding like  B sides of Skullduggery), Cauldron Black Ram has marked the right spot on the map with The Poisoner. With an opening title track, crashing like a steel cannonball through a wooden hull, the first thing noticeable is the change in guitar tone, shifting from that crusty buzz to a slight cleaner hum. And as you dwell further into The Poisoner despite the change, the core of Cauldron Black Ram’s unique signature sound still remains twisted, primal and ugly.

It has never been easy task to pinpoint Cauldron Black Ram's approach and I can only loosely describe it as of sludgy, Bolt Thrower influenced, pirate themed  blackened death metal. With my "loose" description you can figure how unconventional they are. Passages of doom lurk within all tracks prime examples being midway through Corpse Chariot, when the song grinds to a halt and creepy dual growls along with dragged out riffs take control, or the slow churning intro of Infernal Interjections. Hypnotizing almost thrash like  rhythms wander within Beast In The Brass and a infectious  sing along chorus in The Poisoner. But if you you’re familiar with band you should know what to expect.  

What makes this release superior to Slubberguillon is the fact that it was created with conviction. There is no awkwardness in the dynamics and everything moves together at the same twisted pace. Though overshadowed by  magnum opus Skullduggery, this EP is definitely cast the sails in the right direction.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Absu, Portal, Ruins

It’s hard to blame anyone for not wanting to arrive at  Conjuration Festival early. With the opening line up of A.M.D.B.L’s uninspiring unconventional grind, Encircling Sea medocre sludge and run of the mill black metal band Ruins, makes the start of  Conjuration fest  passable. With the last two bands being the highlights of the bill, this night begins with Portal. With a stage presence like no other, the Curator dressed like a phantom spat out of a black hole along with his fellow headsmen hypnotize the crowd with their brand of haunting complex death metal. Evoking an abysmal atmosphere through a pristine sound and along with fret board wizardry that would make your eyes bleed,Portal is a mesmerizing experience. Reciting their incantations for the first time in Melbourne, Absu nails their set with deadly precision. The Proscriptor sounding like a pissed off goblin after being cut off from the local pub in Moria introduces tracks amongst there diverse set list spanning over their twenty year career, including Highland Tyrant Attack, Manannan and Swords and Leather. With the chant of “ABSU” from the packed East Brunswick Club the Texas veterans return for an electrifying encore of Never Blow out the Eastern Candle. Though definitely being worth the $40 price tag, the bill could use improving as it was like putting wolves and cats in the same cage.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Void Meditation Cult – Sulfurous Prayers

From the ashes of Sperm of the Antichrist, slivers forth Void Meditation Cult.
Dripping in morbidity, this four track demo delivers ancient bestial black metal in the vein of Beherit with a dose of rotting death. Despite being only one member, Void Meditation Cult is far above any pathetic one man bedroom project.

What really stands out about this demo is the evil aura that is emitted,  feeling like your creeping through a sacrificial lair, where dried blood stains linger on the walls and cruelly curved tools of pain litter the rotting floorboards. Void Meditation Cult projects this grim atmosphere through the harsh guitar tone that trudges along with a claustrophobic creep. Along with the very prominent bass which drags around like a body that has been severed in half. Adding to that already possessed terror Sulfurous Prayers has that devilish charm as if it was recorded in the pits of hell, so expect primal rawness the demo format offers.

The vocals shift between sinister whispering and demonic growling identical to vocalist of Manticore, (which may unravel any mystery behind the only member).  The venomous combination of the two creates moment’s of unbridled tension that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. Easily being one of the finest demos of 2011,  if you looking for something that reeks of evil or sacrificing a goat, Sulfurous Prayers should have the wickedness you seek.