(We welcome you to the glorious 14th part of our Norwegian comrade Gorger’s highlighting of releases we haven’t previously reviewed. To find more of his discoveries, visit Gorger’s Metal.)
I’ve got a few shorter releases to share with you today. I’m calling it an EP special, but for good measure, I’m tossing in a split and a graphic novel(!) too. I’ve also shortened down my ramblings to leave you sore-eared rather than sore-eyed. Enjoy.
DEATHCULT – DEMO ’12
A few different deathcults are utilizing this moniker. We’re going to Switzerland, to listen to a re-release of a 2012-demo, briefly mentioned on NCS a few years ago.
If you are fortunate enough to be familiar with Cult of the Dragon, the 2007 debut by the Norwegian act that goes by the same name, you can think of Demo ’12 as kind of a dirty death metal equivalent. If that’s a useless reference we can always try a few others who have spread their furore a bit more in the underground, and we use the same two countries. The thrashers in Deathhammer have a more punkish and chaotic style, whilst the black-death mongers of Bölzer lead a more controlled form of vile darkness. Somewhere in between, Deathcult sits, while giving you the finger.
Deathcult exhibited a hellish drive on their first release, which consisted of four songs. A short bonus is now added, pushing the duration to almost exactly 25 minutes. After an intro simply called “Intro”, which is actually a propelling headbanger-friendly song and not just a collection of sounds, it’s time for the title track. When this slams into action I get some vibes of very early Sepultura, although the resemblance ain’t at all dominating. This is death metal of the sepulchral type, and a vital example. The band conveys reckless moods of equal parts misanthropic indifference and hateful disgust. “Deus Bonus Est” isn’t the name of the bonus track, but the title of a nearly 11-minute long raw and occasionally hypnotic nightmare. The bonus track is otherwise both shorter and less interesting than the intro.
In 2014 Deathcult released the EP Pleading for Death… Choking on Life, and the guys are now working on material for their first album. After the EP, guitarist and vocalist O. Ketzer left to focus on Bölzer.
I’m droolingly anticipating the debut, and in the meantime, I enjoy Demo ’12.
Demo ’12 was released by Invictus Productions on March 28th.
NECROSIC – PUTRID DECIMATION
Nearly 30 years after Autopsy started their career, guitarist and veteran Eric Cutler launches Necrosic. With his experience and name, Eric may be a natural focus of attention, but the rest of the crew are also rather experienced musicians. Christian La Rocca, former member of Gravehill, etc., also handles guitar. Like vocalist Sean McGrath, residing in Impaled and Ghoul, he’s been active on the release front approximately since the millenniums-shift. Bass-chick Erika Osterhout has been involved in Lycus, and is now to be found in a few other bands, while drummer C. Koryn has visited VoidCeremony, whilst now hammering for Ghoulgotha, Funebrarum, et al.
“Vomit Transmutation” and “Squirming in Your Guts” open sides A and B, respectively, both being fairly good songs, clocking in at a little over three minutes. They do, however, have a fairly simple touch, and ain’t really that much to write home about. The two longer songs “Spawn of Radiation” and “My Casket Drains”, on the other hand, really exploit the playing time to create stronger moods. Koryn delivers a solid beating with nice variation, while Erika thunders as storms in the background, in addition to the sequence in “Spawn…” where she actually leads the way following a short interlude. The bass also becomes very audible in “My Casket…”
As expected, the guitar carcasses Christian and Eric deliver thrilling riffs, juicy solos, and other hefty string-bending, while Sean sounds like an un-dead, with his grunting, yet articulate vocal form.
Necrosic deliver solid death metal with emphasis on death, as this oozes of restless souls having broken out of their coffins ‘n’ tombs.
Putrid Decimation was released by Nuclear War Now! Productions on April 4th.
THE VISION BLEAK – THE KINDRED OF THE SUNSET
The two German gentlemen Konstanz and Schwadorf, both vampires judging by pictures and their rather decadent gothic horror flair, released their new album titled The Unknown on June 3rd. This EP is a preview and warm-up.
The title song “The Kindred Of The Sunset” and subsequent track “The Wine Of The Cemetery Hound” are excerpts from the band’s sixth album. The first consists of fairly fast-paced and energetic, but also melodic, dark, mysterious, and evocative metal in good The Vision Bleak tradition. I note good melody, spooky interlude, dynamic transitions, and nice drift. The latter ticks in at 6:38, and drags the pace down into a gothic melancholic mud. The song seems to revolve around the graves in the cemetery at night, both in mood and lyricism. The song features some moderate vibes of Type O Negative and My Dying Bride.
The last two (and exclusive) tracks on a barely-20-minute-long EP, available on digisleeve in 1000 copies and vinyl in 500 copies, is a cover of the Tiamat song “The Sleeping Beauty”, as well as the instrumental “Purification Afterglow”. Both are of a melancholic nature. The last is a short track where the guitars sound a little bit baroque, unless I’m picking up two instruments at the same time, in addition to featuring piano and violin. The last six minutes bear witness to a very synthetic fiddle, though. Where’s the reverberations, guys?
With that last piece of nitpicking,I’ll just conclude that with these teasers, it looks promising for the new album. For curious newcomers to the band’s relatively idiosyncratic universe, the compilation Timeline – An Introduction to The Vision Bleak will be released on the same date as the album. Meanwhile, it’s also possible to explore the band on Bandcamp.
An interview with The Vision Bleak was published on NCS early last year, courtesy of Comrade Aleks.
The Kindred Of The Sunset was released by Prophecy Productions on April 22th.
UTTERTOMB – SEMPITERNAL
Chilean Uttertomb, earlier (un)known as Ultratomb, is obviously of the opinion that sepulchral death metal should smell of death, decay, and putrefaction. With two songs of 7 minutes each, they do an autopsy on infected and muddy carcasses in a dusty tomb they’ve gotten access to with a crowbar as the only key.
The band convey morbid moods of bloodthirsty madness in music that would have fitted the scenery of a typical Necrophagia video well, in a scenario where some demented degenerate scum plays with the intestines of a half-dissolved corpse that flies and worms have long since made claim of. A macabre spectacle that takes place in a filthy outhouse on the most shitty desolate and isolated place in Hillbilly Region, Redneck County. Ma lets 35-year-old Junior, fourth generation inbred outcast, keep doing what he wants, for the otherwise useless pariah has to have a hobby, y’all know.
The music is uncomfortable in all the right ways. Nothing about the two songs feel superfluous, monotonous, or repetitive. It’s dirty, perverted, and hypnotic. The guitars swirl and roar, drums whip and bash, and the vocals force forth ominous visions. The Santiago-based band has a demo, a split, and two EPs to show for their efforts, this one included. Hopefully they’ll present an album before long. And hopefully no hillbilly rednecks were too offended.
Sempiternal was released by Pulverised Records on April 29th.
LUCIFERICON – BRIMSTONE ALTAR
Lucifericon, a Dutch band whose members have extensive experience in the business, have for practical reasons been off to a slow start.
On side A we find “Brimstone Altar” and “The Jaws of Time”, two death metal songs with black edges, where fierce vocals and drumming become like second fiddle compared to the never-stagnant swarm of murderous steel strings. The songs last for about 6 and 3.5 minutes each — the first with swirling Autopsy-guitars and delightful solo guitar, and the next with more eeriness.
The creepy and sinister atmosphere is even enhanced as we turn to side B. “Witch of the Cosmic Grave” poses with its one 11:40-long, heavy and zombified song, where the pace varies from occult mid-tempo to panicking drowning in quicksand. The maelstrom of mud and viscous lava grinds slowly, but the fatal destiny is nevertheless inevitable. The moods bear witness thus to an ominous and agonizing demise no matter what the cause of death.
Brimstone Alter was released by Blood Harvest on May 2nd.
MALEFICENCE – REALMS OF MORTIFICATION
Belgian Maleficence are back after a demo last year, this time with two tracks of approximately 5.5 minutes each. It doesn’t take long to establish that the production, as expected, is significantly improved this time (except for low dynamics). The music has otherwise not changed enormously, but there is basically some progressing made here as well.
“Pyre of Penitence” kicks off the EP with fierce, red-hot black/thrash, characterized by aggressive pace and attitude. It’s a tough song with alright variation, which nevertheless is beaten at the finish line by its fraternal twin brother “Of Mortification and Beyond”, which delivers a volcanic eruption that smells burned. Tougher drumming, evocative melodies, insane vocals, and fervent guitars and solo give this the sense of discovering a severed horse head. Maleficence, you are hereby cleared to proceed to the full-length format by Gorger, officer 666 of the music police.
Realms of Mortification was released by Blood Harvest on May 6th.
PUTRISECT / SCORCHED – FINAL STATE OF EXISTENCE
From Baltimore and Delaware, respectively, south of New York, between Philadelphia and Washington, come Putrisect and Scorched, two young and promising death metal bands with a hunger and taste for blood. Both consist of five men; the usual three plus dual guitarists, and both with future full-length albums undone.
Behind a ravishing cover we find five proper songs. Putrisect sound like the name suggests, like putrefaction. The music has, like several bands on the label, an insidious malignant hint of Autopsy. It’s also got, unless I remember wrong, a little Obituary in the screeching guitars. Furthermore, there is also a ceremonial occult touch in style with the cover.
Scorched use almost 50 seconds on ominous plucking and alternative usage of the guitar strings, as if someone were dragging a coin along a wrap wire guitar string, along with merry whistling from the inner corridors of the torture chamber. Creepy. The intro is followed by two tracks with just over eight minutes of gloomy, varied, dynamic, and primitive death metal with the scent of ancient tombs in the vocals, poisonous spiders in cobwebs between the drums, rough riffs and weeping guitars.
Not much of an explanation, perhaps, but a complete sample is attached, and a phonetic taste says more than a thousand words after all. With 20 minutes available, you have enough time to get in the mood before you have to press play or move the pick-up again. Both have this frantic and delirious touch, making me think of devilish spiritualism. If you like both Incantation and Necros Christos, you’ll most likely come to enjoy Final State of Existence as well.
REALM OF THE DAMNED
Ah, after six EPs and a split, you’ve finally made it to this graphic novel. “Graphic novel, wtf?”, you’re thinking. Yes, I can read your mind. Surely, this could have been fitting for Islander’s series of “That’s Metal! But It’s Not Music”, but still, it’s kind of music-related, too.
In October, Season of Mist will release the debut album Tenebris Deos from the most notoriously dangerous band in the world. An authentic misanthropic and blasphemous Norwegian trve black metal sect that eats Mayhem’s most classic lineup for breakfast. Fictitious Sons of Balaur. (Okay, you can stop chuckling now, you bastard.)
The world has gone to the dogs. Political and military governance has been abolished. Fractions of vampires, werewolves and semi-mythological Egyptian creatures, as well as their various followers, have seized the power. Being too bloodthirsty, even for his own kin, the demonic vampire Balaur was assassinated.
The world is still not reduced to a dystopic desert of ruins. A depraved and violent variety of Sodom and Gomorrah, perhaps. Especially in the new headquarter of the vampires, the Vatican. But this sinful serenity won’t last, for the black metal band Sons of Balaur, belonging to an ancient sect by the same name, revives Balaur.
When Balaur is resurrected, it’s the start of a bloody raid where revenge and world domination is atop the agenda. The vampire hunter Van Helsing, who himself became the hunted as the world’s power shifted, suddenly faces deep trouble and grave danger.
Werewolf Press is a new graphic-novel publishing company run by one of Candlelight Records’ two former owners, Steve Beatty. Candlelight Records was recently sold to Spinefarm Records, and is now considered a sub-label. The first Werewolf Press release, the 120-page long graphic novel Realm of the Damned, is a delightful imaginative story, written by Alec Worley, and inked down to the smallest little gory detail by Pye Parr.
It’s an adventurous orgy in violence set in “colorful noir”, with a touch of gallows humor in its ingenious and creative storytelling. The lively drawings emphasizes this with utterly exquisite illustrations that are guaranteed to put a sardonic, satanic smile on the reader’s lips when the barbaric massacre sets forth. Obviously, if you love grotesque cover art, you’re gonna love this for the drawings alone, and I don’t think the story line will disappoint you either!
Visit the homepage for teasing comic snippets.