(Here’s Part 5 of our Norwegian friend Gorger’s entertaining multi-part feature on bands we seem to have overlooked at NCS. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here; Part 3 is here; Part 4 is here. And be sure to check out Gorger’s Metal.)
Intro shmintro. Now, with those formalities out of the way, lets get to it.
KHORS – THE FLAME OF ETERNITY’S DECLINE (Re-Release)
Ukrainian Khors celebrate the ten-year anniversary of their début, and mark this occasion by releasing the album in remastered edition with new cover art. My two previous meetings with the band, their fourth and fifth albums Return to Abandoned (2010) and Wisdom of Centuries (2012), left me with a decent impression, but not much more. I haven’t forgotten the albums though. At least that’s a good sign.
Something seems to have been lost along the way, for my impressions of The Flame Of Eternity’s Decline are a good deal better. The music here eagerly grabs me and drags me along from the very beginning.
A couple of items that this has, which the newer ones lack, are partly blacker and spookier moods and a mightier expression. Another important aspect is the monotone characteristics on the two other albums. This one is far more virile and dynamic in design.
The music is a distant relative of black metal that also contains a massive melodic touch, synth-created orchestral flair, and a monumental character. The raw and pagan approach that the début drones out appeals far more than the moderately atmospheric and natural-romantic aspects of the other two. Good melodies, punch, and drift also help. Well, that’s just my opinion anyway.
The melodic and symphonic pagan/black/death metal with which the band started its career actually possesses strong melodies, with juicy riffs revealing influences from both black and death metal. With stout posture, bold spirit, and fierce atmosphere, the music bulldozes its way fearlessly through the primeval forest.
YouTube is not a good source for comparing sound quality, but if the videos with music from the début have approximately similar sound to the original release, this is greatly improved. All instruments have apparently gained new life, and now thunder in thick and rich euphony.
The Flame Of Eternity’s Decline is a flame that went straight to the heart.
The band released the album Night Falls Onto The Fronts Of Ours via Candlelight in April. That one’s been covered by your favourite metal site.
The Flame of Eternity’s Decline was released by Svarga Music on November 6th.
MAÏEUTISTE – MAÏEUTISTE
French Maïeutiste débuted with a monstrous and extensive album almost two months before I got around to it. I had delayed writing about it for the longest time, partially because the self-titled album proved to be a lot to digest in several ways. The album’s 11 songs not only last for an overwhelming 75 minutes, but they also consist of numerous different expressions.
Excessive duration and almost schizophrenic diversity are indeed my only objections. With scissors, needle, and thread, the début could have emerged as a somewhat more compact manifest, for there are passages that could have been trimmed slightly.
Fortunately, even this excess fat helps to create atmosphere and natural progression in a jumble of seemingly loose ends.
Bleak black landscapes establish the starting point for our turbulent journey. We are introduced to this record via an atmospheric course before the storm breaks loose in the form of whipping and ripping black metal that gradually abates and allows for quieter moods and two-part-harmony vocals with a melancholic Viking touch. Ever-changing riffs and melodies, and rhythmic alternations, give the music a slightly progressive leaning.
Purgatorie calms the music down completely with chanting vocals in a ceremonial spectacle, before acoustic guitars take over and eventually lead us over into pouring, pitch-black terrains, until Absolution fades into forest acoustics with jazz elements, before we’re torn out of dormancy with hyperactive black atonality. Finally, it dumps the listener in a jazz cellar.
More frantic black metal, with or without melodic guideline. Beautiful weeping guitars accompany huge parts of Lifeless Visions. More striking, scenic, gorgeous, and infernal metal follows, but after briefly mentioning some orchestral overtones, I think I’ll just put an end to this monograph run-through. You get the picture. Although, Maïeutiste is surely impossible to understand fully without having listened to it.
All music and lyrics were composed by Keithan (guitar and vocals) over a period of five years. Maybe not so strange after all, then, that they’ve ended up with five quarters of music. Keithan also dwells in the newcomer Barús, as well as Caïnan Dawn, who released a tremendous album named Thavmial last year. Along on this roller-coaster are yet two more guitarists and a vocalist, besides a drummer and a bass player, of course. The whole thing is very professional, tight, and well-played.
The album was recorded at different locations in order to give the great diversity and the various fractions their unique and distinctive character. A seemingly successful method, for it does sound very good.
Maïeutiste consists of so much mesmerizing metal in different black, urban, and natural landscapes that I quickly forgive both the long duration and the schizophrenic divergence. The album’s got a profusion of detail, and with about 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 20 seconds you can be absolutely sure that new subtleties and nuances will emerge from each spin. The album brings a taste for more. I would like to take another round, and yet another. That’s definitely a good sign.
Maïeutiste was released by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions on September 18th.
THE CRAWLING – IN LIGHT OF DARK DAYS (EP)
Irish The Crawling simply call their musical direction “slow death”, something that feels very adequate. If we were to push the trio into a conforming pigeonhole it would be most natural to resort to death/doom. The trio, formed last year, serve three tracks from 4.5 to 8.5 minutes, and end up with a total of just over 19.
After some initial calm and discouraged seconds the band show teeth. The atmosphere is not only mournful, the band also clearly show displeasure and aggressive aversion.
While grief-stricken guitar tones and a deep bass mourn the obliteration of others and their own tribulation, hard, resounding riffs, fierce drums and infernal vocals swear revenge. The songs don’t invent the wheel anew, but that doesn’t matter as long as one creates such good main melody lines, supported with secondary melodies, tempo changes, variety, and everything that the available ingredients can offer. The three songs are very good.
Each instrument can basically be highlighted, much thanks to the delightful production. The guitar work is elaborate, and the strings reverberate. The bass is a little bit in the background, but it’s there, and the sound would have been poorer without it. It doesn’t rest even when everything else quiets down, and thus shines most clearly in the calmest moments. The drums are competently performed with good variation. The pace may be meek and sorrowful, but we’re also served striking blast beats.
The vocalist is a find on his own, with just the right deepness in the growls to sparkle with furious hatred and disgust, not to mention those black screams, full of heartbreaking suffering.
If the Irishmen are able to repeat this feat on a full-length album, I’ll treat them to the highest grade. Fans of British misery, and perhaps especially the compatriots in Mourning Beloveth, should take heed.
In addition to the stream below, you might wanna watch the lyric video for End Of The Rope.
In Light of Dark Days was released by GrindScene Records on October 23rd.
DODSFERD – WASTES OF LIFE
Fans of black metal can’t possibly have avoided coming into contact with Greek Wrath and his Dodsferd. During nearly fifteen years, the band have managed to release eight previous albums and a descent stack of splits, etc. Of these, I’ve heard four of the first five albums. I don’t think I’m blowing it out of proportion if I claim that his black metal has a fairly strong element of “love or hate”, and that this band thus easily might divide genre fans into two warring segments.
Personally I hear the quality in the coldness on the early albums, but excessive repetitions and vocals reminiscent of a pig dying in agony have put a damper on my impression. So, despite cold moods and icy-sharp guitars presented in trve necro manners, no, I’ve never been the band’s biggest fan. It’s been six years since Suicide and the Rest of Your Kind Will Follow, and three albums have been released in the meantime. The time was ripe to give them yet another chance, and I’m very glad I did.
Among the albums I’ve heard, this is unarguably the most depressive, and I don’t hesitate to classify Wastes of Life as DSBM. Here we find sore lamentation, dismal, gloomy melodies, and biting disgust, seasoned with unpleasant samples. Those who have seen Metallica‘s first music video One a few dozen times surely will recognize the S.O.S. sequence in The Dead Have No Speech For… It may be mentioned that Suicide…, as the title suggested, also had a stronger focus on pain than stout hatred.
Band boss Wrath has either realized that it’s been a few decades since Darkthrone scratched their listeners’ eardrums to blood with supercooled meat hooks, or the band have eventually gotten a proper budget to record in a more professional way over the years, for the sound of the albums I’ve heard has more or less gradually improved — though there will always be differing opinions on such an aspect. If it’s any consolation, Dodsferd still have a charming(?) home-made touch to them. I think the sound fits the music excellently. At the same time, I can actually understand those who would argue precisely the same concerning for instance Fucking Your Creation.
Three of the album’s five songs extend well over ten minutes, and altogether Wastes of Life lasts for fifty minutes. The vocals are sharp and anguished. The rhythm guitar can be insistent, but the pace varies and the music often glides into long, self-pitying sequences of atmospheric depression, where even orchestral strings help to reinforce the plaintive mood.
For all I care, whiny depressive rock can go to Hell. I have, however, always had a morbid fascination for unadulterated pain and suffering, as well as thoroughbred aversion. It is therefore with immense sadistic pleasure I can honestly say that Dodsferd have taken several steps in the right direction during the six years we “have not been on speaking terms”.
A “short” six-minute opening track sets the mood with quiet and mournful harp and cello (I guess) and hysterical, sore female crying, before jazzy rhythms and electric/acoustic finger picking leads into coal-black spheres. The four longer songs have similarities, but the structure leads the listener through a continuous natural progression through delightful instrumentation and thoughtful variety. I am more fond of Wastes of Life with every spin, and I’m beginning to regret that I haven’t checked out the three previous discs. This has been one hell of a “negative” surprise!
Do you like black metal of the really discouraged and disdainful kind? Do you prefer your black metal cleverly arranged? Then you should definitely check the tracks below. When you sit down and hear the album in its entirety, again and again, they will grow into a fateful beast that devours both mood, vitality, and determination to go on. You have been warned.
I just called Dodsferd clever, and I stand by that. This actually comes as a pleasant surprise to myself.
Wastes of Life was released by Moribund Records on November 20th.