Welcome to part two of (hopefully) four, where I aim to help Islander avoid days with few posts whilst also spreading the disease. Let’s get to it.
MOONREICH – PILLARS OF DETEST
Those who revel in filthy French blasphemy should be no stranger to Moonreich. Those who followed Islander’s tip about the delightful free compilation Sampler MMXV from Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions, might have heard at least one of these detesting pillars.
Whilst I’m no fan of their debut Loi Martiale (2011), their sophomore release
Terribilis Est Locus Iste (2013), however, was a completely different story.
Conveying black quality metal with as much Northern European touch as local flair and as much individuality as traditional sense, the trio had grown considerably since their debut.
A glance at the cover art might raise expectations of chaos, cacophony, and belligerent intensity. That is not the case. Moonreich delivers an eight-course meal with culinary inspiration from a broad range of Europe’s diverse variants and flavors. A well-composed meal with thoughtful order, interesting accessories, and carefully selected wines and imported beers as supplements.
The album was recorded in Hybreed Studio, and Marduk‘s Devo mastered the album at Endarker Studio. It sounds indeed rough and sharp, as black metal should taste, but the sound is simultaneously trimmed as beef and full-bodied as red wine, giving a becoming refined touch to black metal with a flair of finesse.
Pillars of Detest was released by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions on September 18th.
WALLACHIA – CARPATHIA SYMPHONIA
For yours truly, this is a nice revisit. Wallachia‘s demo from 1996 was one of very few demos I bought in the nineties. With the band’s unique style, I’ve never regretted the purchase. All four tracks from the demo found their way to the first full-length album, From Behind the Light (1999), where they constitute about half the album. Two of these have now been given an overhaul. Again.
The EP starts with the new song Mother Tongue of Heresy. The band has always operated from a black metallic foundation, but with a more symphonic and melodic approach. This is still the case, even if the band has evolved considerably over the years. With its extensive use of synth, the song gives me associations that I unfortunately don’t quite manage to put my finger on.
Arges – The River of the Princess is a new version of Arges – Riul Doamnei. The name Wallachia derives from a former principality in Romania, bordering to Transylvania, where
the most notorious prince was Vlad Țepeș (aka Vlad the Impaler or Dracula). The (river) Râul Argeș starts in the Southern Carpathians, also known as The Transylvanian Alps. The song has a certain synthetic character, but the sound is still greatly improved.
Munții Făgăraș are the highest mountains of the Southern Carpathians. In Fullmoon Above Fagaras (originally titled Fullmåne over Fagaras) the first sign of rearrangements is that the acoustic introductory guitar is replaced by piano. There are many changes in details and sound, but the song is still easily recognizable, albeit in a new garb.
I kind of miss the strange vocal effect that made the demo stand out so exceptionally in the crowd, but it is still nice to hear these great songs in new versions.
Whether these three songs make your mouth water or not, this is a release that offers much more for fans of music in the outskirts of entirely black landscapes. When purchasing this in digital format you also obtain the said demo and album, both in newly re-mastered editions, as well as the album Ceremony Of Ascension (2009). For 3.62 U$D (€ 3.33, 2.4 £ or 14.7 Romanian leu) that is a true bargain!
Carpathia Symphonia was released by Debemur Morti Productions on August 21st.
VEILED – OMNISCIENT VEIL
I became rather surprised to learn that Omniscient Veil is actually the first very demo from American Veiled, for this is solid stuff. When learning that the duo have been active under another moniker, that explained the professional level.
The constellation Gnosis of the Witch supposedly felt deprived of artistic freedom and locked up in a pigeonhole. Genre-bound on hands and feet. Having escaped in the dead of night, the two have acquired a new identity. And voilà, the duo is reborn as Veiled, with clean sheets and new opportunities.
I enjoyed my one meeting with Gnosis of the Witch, but I feel that Omniscient Veil
is a natural progression for a band that does not want to repeat themselves, so in my eyes a re-branding was a bit redundant.
The four songs of the demo collectively clocks in at just over half an hour. Musically, both sulphuric acid-dripping volcanic eruptions and dreamy moods are presented. The men still lurk in a black landscape. At its most savage, the beastly vocals foam over seething maelstroms of malevolent guitars that obscure the moon like swarms of bloodthirsty vampire bats. In the next minute it’s the listener who soars high up under the pleasurable light of the full moon to the sound of caressing post-black.
Veiled debuts with a more professional sound than Gnosis of the Witch ended with, and
a slightly different expression, but the mournful feeling of bottomless grief and despair persists. Whatever the name, the American duo’s music definitely falls to my liking!
Omniscient Veil was released by Iron Bonehead Productions on September 25th.
SEPULCHER – MAUSOLEUM TAPESTRY
Those who dwell in the underground might have encountered the sturdy Norwegian youth from Fusa on their daily stroll off the beaten path. Inculter, Reptilian, and Cockroach Agenda made their names spread like wildfire (at least in Norway) even before the former debuted full-length-wise earlier this year.
I caught Sepulcher live as opening act on Inculter‘s release party in June. I knew what I had in store when it came to the headliners, but Sepulcher simply blew me away. Had I known
then that the band swear to a fairly anonymous profile, I’d have taken pictures or made notes. Regardless, the band consists of young men and teenagers from the same circle.
It is easy to think that oldest is wisest, and that experienced musicians have the best precondition to compose classical tunes. I admit to having thought (without reflecting) in such ways myself. But how old were the guys in Metallica, Sepultura, and Slayer (just to name a few examples) when they wrote Kill ‘Em All, Show No Mercy, or Morbid Visions?
(Hetfield & Ulrich were 20, Hanneman & King were 19, and the guys in Sepultura ranged from 16 to 18 years old).
Mausoleum Tapestry is admittedly not quite on the same level, but the ability to write clever songs while avoiding simple verse-chorus structure is nevertheless joyous.
Even Sepulcher have retrieved something from the youthful glow and rawness of thrash, but they have rather chosen to build their fort on a foundation of death metal. They walk paths marked out by Autopsy and kept in condition by Norwegian plow drivers Obliteration, amongst others. Sepulcher add a dash of diabolical home-made charm and a thrashing middle-finger attitude (in the veins of Nekromantheon) to the recipe, while the vocals definitely stand out.
Through three-quarters of an hour and 7 songs, Sepulcher chase the listener as the devil at your heels, breathing down your neck, ready to strike. The pace is at times frenetic, but the expression is reckless regardless of speed. It took me a few spins to get used to both sound and expression. It sounds rough, brutal, a bit crusty, and very deranged. Feedback, hiss, crackling, scratching or whatever noisy quibbles others would’ve polished away are kept in every detail. It all sounds puckishly ruthless and devil-may-care, and I keep wondering whether the whole thing is recorded live in studio, or if that’s just an illusion created by these aspects. The record must be played loud, otherwise it might sound a bit woolly.
Give Mausoleum Tapestry some time, and a wonderful world of obscure sonic rage will soon open its gates and welcome you in. Killer! Speaking of obscure… The album is released in limited edition (150 ex.) on tape of all silly things! The guys do have some way to go to reach the top, but this is a very vital debut from a hungry band that seems to possess lots of eagerness and enthusiasm. Hell yeah!
Mausoleum Tapestry was released by Edged Circle Productions on September 30th.
Hear the two first songs, Delirious and Structural Death: