28 Dec 2012

2012 - The Top 10

Another year's over, another one about to begin. As any other year it has had its ups and downs in regards to music, but with bands such as Orange Goblin setting a pretty high standard early on, it certainly has been an interesting one, and I gotta say it was harder picking my favourites this year than in 2011. Some think top 10s are utterly pointless, but nonetheless there are thousands out there right now, and there are more to come. I talked to my brother and asked him if he had any favourite albums this year, and he said to me that for the most part you will only learn years later which albums were actually the best to come out, and true, I don't listen regularly to every album of my top 10 from last year. Time will tell which of these albums will be sticking around in my playlist, but here are my bets!

Top 10 metal releases

10. Ash Borer - Cold of Ages
Had I discovered Ash Borer before I made my top 10 last year their debut album would've been on it. Fortunately for me the American band released another modern black metal masterpiece this year, and while it's not completely up to par to their self-titled album "Cold of Ages" still serves as a monolith of quality in the roiling seas of black metal. Ash Borer's first album opened up a whole new world of atmospheric black metal to me and completely revised what I look for in bands of the genre, and with Cold of Ages they've put forth another incredible effort of gritty and cold black metal that will stay on my stereo for years to come.

9. Abominable Putridity - The Anomalies of Artificial Origin
The Russian band Abominable Putridity, at the time fronted by Vladimir, took the slam-world by storm in 2007 when they released their debut entitled "In the End of Human Existence". They had destilled the chaotic elements of slamming brutal death metal into a body-dissolving sollution of technicality, effective slams and monumental production. Now, 5 years later and with a new lead singer, Matti Way of Disgorge and Pathology fame. Abominable Putridity got bashed alot for the highly unvaried vocals of Vladimir on their previous album, and while Matti Way's seasoned vocal abilities aren't the most diverse around he get's the job done on The Anomalies of Artificial Origin, which also presents new flair for slam riffs, incredibly enthusiastic drum-work aswell as more focus on technical guitars. Abominable Putridity's newest album is in essence an evolutionary step forward in the wake of In the End of Human Existence and feels pretty much like a band learning from its' mistakes and using their experience to make a better album.

8. Nile - At the Gates of Sethu
At the Gates of Sethu has really split the waters in terms of popularity. It would seem that you either hate or love the new album. One of the things I think Nile have been steadily working towards is relying on Dallas' vocals rather than Karl's, and this is truly evident on At the Gates of Sethu - I think that both Dallas and Karl are terrific death metal vocalists, and I've always enjoyed the band's use of two (and sometimes three) vocalists, so for me it was a minus to learn that Karl barely does any vocals on this album. They've also moved further away from their brutal death metal roots while still maintaining their focus on technical pieces, so At the Gates of Sethu isn't really as heavy as I had hoped it would be. And yet I like the album. Nile still maintain a rather high rate of variation and diversity, so a song like The Fiends Who Come to Steal the Magick of the Deceased doesn't sound exactly the same as The Gods Who Light Up the Sky at the Gates of Sethu.

7. Bombs of Hades - The Serpent's Redemption
I've been following the career of Bombs of Hades since their first album, Chambers of Abominations, was released in 2010. Their numerous EPs and splits have provided me with much enjoyment, and their latest offering, The Serpent's Redemption, is the climax of their career. To me Bombs of Hades has always been a beacon of highly memorable swedish death metal, with songs like Disrespect Their Bones, Into the Eternal Pit of Fire and Confessor being some of their best tracks, and The Serpent's Redemption likewise features a myriad of catchy death metal songs in the vain of early Entombed, Grave and Dismember while still being unique in no small part due to lead singer's Jonas Stålhammar easily recognizable voice. With tracks such as Skull Collector, Incubus Descending, Darkness My Soul and Crawl Away and Bleed Forever their newest album beams with zealous drumming, roaring vocals and guitars straight from the bowels of hell.

6. Katatonia - Dead End Kings
To say that Katatonia's carreer has been turbulent in regards to genres would be an understatement. Where they started out playing death/doom metal they've pretty much only kept one element: Melancholia. And Katatonia are the kings of just that. Though their music bears little to no resemblance to their early works nowadays they've mastered their niche of melancholic, gothic-ish depressive rock. Dead End Kings may well be their least heavy record yet, but they haven't gone soft entirely. Their newest album still features heavy elements, most effectively of which is the starting song "The Parting". Dead End Kings is packed with these switches from sombre and simplistic parts to heavy indie-like guitar dominated parts that Katatonia have been known for for so long. Though only a select few songs like The Parting, the Racing Heart and Buildings really stand out to me I feel with Dead End Kings like I did with Triptykon's monumentally heavy debut - It just works so well that you lose yourself in the music.

5. Testament - Dark Roots of Earth
I suspect Dark Roots of Earth will be part of many top 10s of 2012, and there's a good reason for that: It's fucking phenomenal. 2012 has seen the return of several well-known thrash acts, such as Testament, Overkill, Kreator, Tankard, Destruction and Lich King, and while not all these efforts have been equally worthwhile Testament's offering is certainly among the best, as this list is testimony to. Testament have more or less become heavier and heavier with every release, and The Dark Roots of Earth combines the fast tempos of their early thrash albums and the heavy groove of their groove metal albums. Hell, they even found room for a blast beat or two in there! The Dark Roots of Earth features numerous highly memorable tracks of thrashy goodness that also work incredibly well in a live setting, as proven by their performance at this year's Wacken Open Air. I didn't care much for the cover songs of the extended edition, though.

4. Marduk - Serpent Sermon
Marduk is one of those bands that have released a steady flow of good to great albums. In my book, Marduk have never released an outright boring or shitty album, and with Serpent Sermon they certainly aren't about to change that. Serpent Sermon consists of 10 blistering fast black metal anthems, including the widely popular Souls for Belial. Morgan's guitar works in perfect unison with the drumming of Lars and the vocals of Mortuus and reminds me a lot of the Iron Dawn EP from last year. Marduk was also one of the first black metal bands I got into when a friend of mine played Panzer Division Marduk for me, and listening to Serpent Sermon's satanically evil tunes really takes me back to when I was just starting to get more into metal. Marduk have everything under control, even if the pace is chaotically fast.

3. Overkill - The Electric Age
Wow, talk about a modern classic. Overkill have released so many albums over the course of their carreer, and only a few of them are as great as The Electric Age, and none are as powerful. 2010's Ironbound brought Overkill back from a short streak of unworthwhile albums with force and speed unheard of, and The Electric Age builds unto this sound and takes it into even further extremes. The shortest song on The Electric Age is 3 minutes and 43 seconds, which is still a lot for thrash metal, and the average song length on the album is around 5 minutes. That. Is insane. The Electric Age is everything you could ever hope for. It's faster, it's harder, it's louder.

2. Orange Goblin - A Eulogy for the Damned
Orange Goblin has been described as Britain's best underground band. I first learned of Orange Goblin with their previous album "Healing Through Fire", released 5 years ago. Since then I've become a huge fan and have been fervently listening to all their albums, and in the early days of 2012 we finally got a new album. A Eulogy for the Damned took me some time to get properly into, probably because it is a lot less bluesy and stonerishly psychedelic than Healing Through Fire was, but after a couple of listens the heavy metal grooves finally got the best of me. I often find that the albums that take the longest to get into are the ones that end up being your favourites, and indeed that was exactly what happened with Orange Goblin's newest opus. It's a fantastic mix of groove, epic riffs, dredging heaviness, a talented producer, unique drumming and great sense of pace and structure. You can tell Orange Goblin are heavyweights when it comes to this sort of heavy/stoner/doom metal, and A Eulogy for the Damned essentially feels like all the right elements of Black Sabbath, Motörhead and Metallica combined to one great motherfucker of an album.

1. Undergang - Til Døden Os Skiller
It's gritty, it's dark, it's filthy, it's Denmark's Undergang. Undergang is Denmark's chief export in heavy as fuck death metal with a twist of doom, not entirely unlike Autopsy, Coffins, Anatomia, Hooded Menace and Asphyx. The Danish trio have shown their colours on one previous album, entitled Indhentet af Døden, and on a few demos and splits here and there. Undergang is probably one of the most consistent bands to emerge in more recent years, and Til Døden Os Skiller follows up perfectly what they started on Indhented af Døden in 2010. Undergang's chosen style may not be the most technical or diverse of the sorts, and it may not have jazzy interludes, epic intros, melodic riffs or grandiose and whining guitar solos. Who the fuck needs all that shit anyway? Fuck melody!
For a long time I thought everything sounded stupid in Danish, as opposed to English or Norwegian, but Undergang shows that even the Danish language has a massive capacity for creating a festering atmosphere, especially when gargled forth by the rotten voice of such people as David Torturdød. Songs like Opløste Ådsler, Når Børnene Dør and Ormeorgie aren't meant to be translated into English because they just sound so much more gruesome in Danish, but for the unlucky of you out there, it means "Dissolved Carcasses", "When the Children Die" and "Worm Orgy". Til Døden Os Skiller is simply the ultimate in suppurated, rotten death metal of the heaviest kind.

Honorable mentions

This year for the first time I really wanted to listen to as many new albums as humanly possible, and yet there are still so many albums that I have yet to listen to. But of the scores of albums I HAVE listened to, there are some that were so damn close to the top 10 but just didn't make it. These are the albums I had the hardest time leaving out.

Putrid Pile - Blood Fetish
I love Putrid Pile. I love Collection of Butchery, Pleasure in Suffering and House of Dementia. I enjoyed Blood Fetish a lot, but it just feels more melodic than Lacanne's previous material and not as heavy. The sort of slap-stick humour in song titles like Necroneat-o, Pottymouth, Bowel Batter and Deepfried Evil also isn't welcome with me as it gives the album a really unserious feel that I don't want from my pile of putridity!

Kraanium - Post Mortal Coital Fixation
Another of 2012's great slam albums, this one delivered by Norway's own Kraanium. With two magnificent albums in the luggage I had no doubt this would also be a fine album. It just didn't have that "wow" effect I was hoping it would have.

Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
It was very hard to exclude Vanitas from my top 10. Anaal Nathrakh have done it again: Delivered a brilliant torrent of black metal and grindcore fused together in an amazing amalgamation of blast beats, riffs and vocals from the deepest pits of hell.

Hooded Menace - Effigies of Evil
I fucking love Hooded Menace. Never Cross the Dead and especially Fulfill the Curse are classics to me, but Effigies of Evil, while still being a horrifically awesome death/doom album, was a bit too melodic and fast (by Hooded Menace standards) to me.

Pig Destroyer - Book Burner
Pig Destroyer have always been tantamount to great grind in my book, and on Book Burner they deliver an incredibly memorable collection of awesome death/grind songs with power enough to fuel two major nations for three years.

Moonless - Calling All Demons
A relatively new Danish stoner metal band, their first album Calling All Demons took me by storm. Whiskey-soaked vocals, memorable guitar riffs and overall pretty great songwriting. Unfortunately the album feels VERY short, boasting only 6 songs to a total of 39 minutes.

Solbrud - Solbrud
Another Danish band, who's debut album struck me as something better than most current Danish metal. A sort of alternate take on traditional atmospheric black metal that's played with a lot more feeling than most other bands in the Danish metal scene.

Melvins - Freak Puke
Melvins put out new material at a rather quick pace compared to other bands. You'd think this would mean the material is of lower quality, but that simply isn't the case with Freak Puke. Boasting many a memorable hook I was surprised at how good the album actually was.

Anatomia - Decaying in Obscurity
This Japanese band was one of my biggest discoveries of 2012. Dark and filthy death/doom metal in the vein of Coffins and Asphyx fills your ears as you descend into the blackest pits of horror with Anatomia's newest album, "Decaying in Obscurity".

Non-Metal Top 5

Okay, I don't listen to THAT much music other than metal, but it happens that I stumble upon a release by a non-metal band that I like immensly.

5. Crippled Black Phoenix - No Sadness or Farewell
Crippled Black Phoenix may very well be the epitome of my musical year in 2012. Their performance is a constant torrent of ever varying styles, genres and tendencies, and I've only just gotten to know them. No Sadness or Farewell presents itself with 6 songs that could best be described as atmospheric and haunting progressive/post-rock. I've fallen in love with almost every aspect of this release. The country-like "Long Live Independence" provides the listener with an interesting contrast to the otherwise spacey and dark reverberations of the rest of the album, and my favourite track "Jonestown Martin" is a lot heavier than the rest of the album and also features a tiny bit of psychedelia. These two tracks in themselves prove how far apart Crippled Black Phoenix set their tracks without ever rendering the listener confused or wondering if it is indeed the same band.

4. Gonjasufi - MU.ZZ.LE
Gonjasufi is probably one of the hardest musicians to categorize. Ever the experimenting artist, MU.ZZ.LE is his latest work which features a rather special mix of several genres, including, but not limited to, trip-hop, psychedelic rock, lo-fi and various abstract electronic elements. It's like the band-bio says: "A voice materialized from the windswept void of the California desert, at once haunting and oddly welcoming". Gonjasufi's latest album features 10 tracks of eerie and almost congenial music that will almost certainly haunt your mind. I found that after listening to it, all of the sudden hours later I would inadvertently hum parts of a song from MU.ZZ.LE without even knowing what I was doing. It's not that MU.ZZ.LE is particularly easy to remember, but it's very disposition just makes it stick to the far reaches of your soul and then comes forth every so often.

3. Dead Can Dance - Anastasis
Anastasis is Dead Can Dance's first studio album in 16 years. I've had The Serpent's Egg and Spleen and Ideal lying around for some time now, and I've been very fascinated by their use of medieval ambience, ethereal world-music and their tendencies toward gothic rock. On their latest album they've moved toward some more North African currents and as such Anastasis feels like they've taken their previous album Spiritchaser and added to that concept in a fabulous and highly effective manner. Anastasis feels like the result of many years of refining a product and may very well be their hitherto best album. They've still got that ethereal, ambient temperament that I fell for on their earlier efforts, but they've added so much more to make it an ever-interesting journey through their neatly crafted soundscapes.

2. Astra - The Black Chord
This band is another of my major discoveries of 2012. Spaced-out progressive rock in the vein of NAAM and Pink Floyd with a twist is their game, and they do it immensely well on their second album "The Black Chord". Their grip on galactic atmospheres is astonishing and songs like Quake Meat and their general use of Deep Purple-esque organs and keyboards are truly breathtaking. Why Astra aren't more well-known than they are is beyond me - True, they didn't exactly reinvent the wheel, but they take elements that we know so well from other classic acts and put them together in a concoction of quirky and strangely familiar music. When I first listened to The Black Chord I felt like I had known the album my entire life.

1. Baby Woodrose - Third Eye Surgery
I've known Baby Woodrose for a long time, but I never really got into them. That's until I saw the cover of Third Eye Surgery with the powerful blue and orange-red colours. I'm very much into psychedelic rock so when the noisy, lo-fi production brimming with the echoes of zitars and psylocybin-powered vocals toned in it was love at first listen. The wall of noisy guitars that form the background create a stark contrast to the very marked sounds of the zitar that are spread throughout the entire album. From the monolithic single "Dandelion", the uplifting "Waiting for the War", to my personal favourite "Love Like a Flower" and the trippy "Honalee" Third Eye Surgery is one of the most memorable psychedelic albums I've ever listened to.


Rush - Clockwork Angels
Some people will probably give me shit about filing Rush under non-metal, and indeed Clockwork Angels is rather heavy. It's a great and catchy album with everyone in great shape for progressive madness, and it really just is hugely enjoyable. However a lot of the songs feel a bit tedious and boring to me and that's why it didn't make the top 5.

Woven Hand - The Laughing Stalk
Being a fan of previous Woven Hand and 16 Horsepower albums I was expecting some mysterious amalgamation of alt-country, folk and various ethnic influences. What I got was some sub-standard (for Woven Hand, that is) alternative-ish rock music with a lot less of the usual David Eugene Edwards-feeling. It's still a good enough album, just not what I had expected.

13 Dec 2012

Okketaehm - Stones [Demo] (2012, Contaminated Tones Productions)

I was on my way out the door one early winter morning in freezing Denmark. I got in the car to go to work on the hitherto coldest and snowiest morning this year, and like so many times before I was going over my CDs to find a couple to bring on the trip. I was going to go with some Entombed and Darkthrone, feeling like listening to some old school stuff, but then I found Okketaehm's promo "Stones" from Contaminated Tones Productions and thought I might aswell give a listen on the way to work. Though the total play-time of Stones is a mere 18 minutes of grey, wintry, space-like ambience and raw black metal the demo never left the car's CD player even though the trip is almost 40 minutes each way.

It was early, the climate was frosty and the road to work was long. Having only ingested some toast and a cup of luke-warm coffee I wasn't much in the mood for anything as I began my journey through the soundscapes of Okketaehm. The music that met me through the speakers was well befitting of the desolate roads. Stones consists of various parts of icy black metal, dark ambience and something that borderlines white noise mixed into one long track of 18 minutes, and all these parts in conjunction with masterful production lead my mind to things like the vast emptiness of space, void-like depression and mist-veiled frostscapes. Characteristics I normally attribue to bands like Darkspace, Ash Borer and Paysage d'Hiver. I admit I at this point wasn't much focused on my driving.

Let's not kid ourselves, ofcourse Okketaehm isn't perfect or innovating, but it sure as hell did make my drive to- and from work a lot more enjoyable. Okketaehm provides incredibly accurate atmospheres, and while you at times wonder wether the music is still on or someone is just vacuumcleaning in a nearby room it simply adds to the enormous impact the half-melodic black metal pieces of Stones presents. 8/10 guitars.

1. Stones

Contaminated Tones Productions official site

6 Dec 2012

Black Chalice - Submission [Demo] (2012, Contaminated Tones Productions)

Black Chalice. The name reeks of dying, depression and burdening, imposing matters. Black Chalice is the name belonging to an American one-man black/death/doom metal band, a band that I have been acquainted with for some time now.

With Submission Black Chalice are trying out a new approach with the album intro "Deluge", which features something very atypical for the band. Normally it's straight on and forward with chaotic, gritty guitars groaning under the stress of the player's hand, but Deluge is all about flowing acoustic guitars, thusly building an atmosphere not nearly as raw as on the prior demo material of Black Chalice. While the sound of Black Chalice hasn't changed much Hasson's approach to songwriting has changed a lot since the beginning back in 2011. On Submission he favours more melodic riffs and dredging speeds rather than the fast, unvaried drum-powered tremolo-riffs on the early demos. A change that I for one am happy to hear as it provides the music with a whole new level of detail to peak the listener's interest.

In context with the acoustic intro the last song on the demo, Submission, also starts out with simple acoustic playing that puts you into a false sense of comfort until it slowly fades into the raw guitar-dominated soundscape that I've come to link with Black Chalice. A thing that especially struck me on Submission is the accustomed use of layers that wasn't present on the earlier material. This is evident in all the tracks but in my eyes works best on the track Regret where weeping guitars provide a nice contrast to the groaning and coarse string-play of Patrick Hasson. Another thing that makes Submission stand out compared to Hasson's earlier releases is that the drums and rhythm section in general have been severely downplayed; Where monotonous drumming dominated the early demos, drowning out most of the other parts of the music, on this demo it's much easier to hear the details in Black Chalice's music.

The music of Black Chalice could always be best described as "discordant" and "rough around the edges", and while the previous releases also seemed rather unrefined the same things go for Submission. But Hasson has found a more suiting focus for the band which makes the album a much more interesting and welcome experience than Years of Flame and Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour. Though all the releases are very organic in their sound and composition Submission is by far the least mechanical-sounding, and even though Hasson's chosen style of black- and death-infused doom metal mostly focusses on depressive themes and desolate soundscapes he has still found room for epic compositions and gloriously melodic parts. 7/10 guitars.

1. Deluge
2. Regret
3. Cornea
4. Submission

Contaminated Tones Productions

3 Dec 2012

Interview with Michael Stützer of Artillery (2012)

I've had the opportunity to interview Michael Stützer, guitarist of Danish thrash metal veterans Artillery. Below you will find the English version of the interview. Beneath that you will find the original Danish interview. Pictures are all courtesy of Marika Hyldmar, whom you can find at her official Facebook!

Artillery has, since their creation in the 80's, been a huge influence on the many bands aswel as the general evolution of thrash metal in Denmark and Northern Europe. Having churned out 6 albums since the classic "Fear of Tomorrow" in 1985 they've stuck around for as long as many of the well-known Teutonic thrash acts like Destruction and Kreator. The brothers Michael and Morten Stützer form the solid core of Artillery and as such are the only members to have been on every Artillery release.

Artillery has had a lot of singers by now, especially on the early demos, but as steadt lead-singers you've only had Flemming Rönsdorf (Fear of Tomorrow, Terror Squad, By Inheritance & B.A.C.K.) and Søren Adamsen (When Death Comes & My Blood). I think most will agree that when the band switched from Rönsdorf's very old school vocals to Adamsen's Bruce Dickinson-esque vocals it brought with it a small change in style with the band. Was this change a natural part of changing lead singers, and was it a conscious change?

When we started Artillery again (after By Inheritance with "B.A.C.K." in 1999, ED.) we met at my place to play in the practiceroom just for the fun of it. Already after two rehearsals we could feel that we wanted to seriously focus on it again. All agreed that we needed to find a singer who wanted it onehundred percent.
Former lead singer Søren Adamsen
I contacted Torben Askholm who at the time had just left Anubis Gate (Danish power metal band, ED.) just to start somewhere. He couldn't do it but suggested Søren.
After two rehearsals it went so well with Søren that we decided he was in.
We've written all the songs the same way as the time when Flemming was in and we haven't changed anything, at least not conciously.
Of course in the eyes of many Søren is more of a power metal singer, but we've always felt that he did a great job and we've had many great experiences with him. Søren was actually the only singer we tried out!

Then how did you find your new lead singer, Michael Bastholm Dahl?

We already knew back in February that Søren would maybe stop the 22nd of September and that he wouldn't play two gigs in Denmark in the start of September.
So this time we had time to find our new singer.
We played in Agger (Danish town known as "Heavy Agger", ED.) with Mercyful Diamond (Danish King Diamond/Mercyful Fate cover band) where Michael was singing. Already there we were convinced at he could fill the role both musically and personally. I contacted him and asked if he could be stand in for Søren at the two jobs he didn't want to play and he said yes immediately.
After we played those two jobs in Svendborg and Nykøbing we were convinced he was the right guy. And he didn't think twice when we asked him to join us!
And with the response we've had on him and the new vocals and by the way also our new drummer Josua it looks like we'll be incredibly well equipped now with two new people who are onehundred percent ready to tour, record etc.!

You have had a rather large change in drummers... Is Josua a more permanent solution?


You mentioned a new record... Is there a new album on the horizon?

Yes we've started on new tracks and the plan is that we'll be going to the Medley Studio in February 2013 with Søren Andersen as producer again. The plan is to have it ready in April 2013.

Sounds exciting! Can we expect a sound as aggressive as on My Blood and When Death Comes?

Yes, that's one of the reasons we're using Medley and Søren again. It worked extremely well on both When Death Comes and My Blood.
Søren Adamsen with guest-vocalist Søren Crawack of Impalers

Do you think Michael's vocals will influence how the new album is going to turn out?

The vocals are ofcourse always incredibly important so yes it will, but we will still make the riffs as we usually do, so style-wise it'll still be thrash the rules. We have great confidence in Michael's vocals and look much forward to presenting some new tracks ASAP.


Artillery har efterhånden haft en god del sangere, specielt på demoerne, men som faste foresangere har I kun haft Flemming Rönsdorf og Søren Adamsen. Jeg tror de fleste vil være enige i, at da bandet skiftede fra Rönsdorfs meget old school vokal til Adamsens Bruce Dickinson-inspirerede vokal medbragte det et lille skift i stil hos bandet. Var det skift en naturlig del af det at skifte forsanger, og var det et bevidst valg?

Da vi startede Artillery op igen, mødtes vi hos mig for at spille i øveren bare for hyggens skyld. Allerede efter 2 øvegange kunne vi mærke at vi ville satse seriøst igen. Alle var enige om at så måtte vi finde en ny sanger der ville det her 100%.
Jeg kontaktede så Torben Askholm der dengang lige havde forladt Anibus Gate for ligesom at starte et sted. Han kunne så ikke men foreslog så Søren.
Efter 2 øvere kørte det så fedt med Søren at vi besluttede at han var med.
Vi har skrevet alle numrene på samme måde som den gang Flemming var med og ikke ændret på noget, i hvertfald ikke bevidst.
Selvfølgelig er Søren i manges øjne mere en Power metal sanger men vi har altid syntes at han gjorde det godt og har haft mange gode oplevelser med ham! Så Søren var faktisk den eneste sanger vi nåede at prøve!

Hvordan fandt I så frem til jeres nye forsanger, Michael Bastholm Dahl?

Vi vidste allerede i Feb. at Søren måske ville stoppe 22 Sept og ikke ville spille 2 jobs i DK i starten af September.
så denne gang havde vi tid til at finde vores nye sanger.
Guitarist Michael Stützer
Vi spillede så i Agger med Mercyful Diamond hvor Michael var sanger. Allerede der var vi overbevist om at han kunne gøre det både musikalsk og på det personlige plan. Jeg kontaktede ham så og spurgte om han kunne være stand in for Søren i de 2 jobs han ikke ville spille og han sagde ja med det samme.
Efter vi spillede de 2 jobs i henholdsvis Svendborg og Nykøbing var vi ikke i tvivl om han var den rigtige mand. Og han var slet ikke i tvivl da vi spurgte ham om ville joine os!
Og med den respons vi har fået på ham og den nye vokal og i øvrigt også på vores nye trommerbasker Josua ser det ud til at vi står utroligt godt rustet nu, med 2 nye der er 100% klar til at turnere ,ny plade etc!

Ja I har jo også haft en ret hæftig udskiftning af trommeslagere... Er Josua måske en mere permanent løsning?

Helt sikkert!

Nu nævnte du selv en ny plade og sådan... Er der et nyt album i horisonten?

Ja vi er startet på nye nr. og planen er at vi går i Medley studiet i Feb 2013 med Søren Andersen som producer igen. Planen er den skal udkomme i April 2013.

Lyder spændende! Kan vi så forvente en lyd der er lige så aggressiv som på My Blood og When Death Comes?

Guitarist Morten Stützer
Ja det er en af grundene til at vi bruger Medley og Søren igen. Det funkede ekstremt godt både på WDC og MB.

Tror du Michaels vokal vil have en indflydelse på hvordan det nye album udformer sig?

Vokalen er selvfølgelig altid utrolig vigtig så ja det vil den, men vi vil stadig lave riffne som vi plejer så stilmæsigt vil det stadig være thrashen der styrer. Vi har stor tiltro til Michaels vokal og glæder os utroligt meget til at præsentere nogle nye nr asap

Find Artillery at their official Facebook here
Find more of Marika Hyldmar's concert photos here

1 Dec 2012

Black Chalice - Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour [Demo] (2011, Self-released)

So here we are again. This is the second time I'm reviewing Black Chalice, the first time being the second demo "Years of Flame". This demo, "Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour", is Black Chalice's first demo and was unleashed upon mankind in 2011. Black Chalice is but one of many projects by Patrick Hasson, who is also behind the atmospheric black metal act Auspicium, which I have also reviewed in the past.

In my previous review of Black Chalice I noted how the music, though often being labeled as death/doom metal, bore significant hints of black and funeral doom metal, especially in the long, drawn out sequences with little variation. Though the same can generally be said about Black Chalice at this earlier point I detect a much more distinct nod towards death metal than I did on their later material, even if the two demos share one track, Infallibility of Semen.

Though Hasson has been musically active years before the creation of Black Chalice and this demo it does have that certain tinge of uncertainty. You get the feeling that you're not quite sure what the idea of the band is, what kind of music Hasson wants to create. This creates room for a few surprises here and there, but in the end most of the demo consists of guitar tracks distorted beyond belief and unvaried drumtracks. The speed of the drums and tremolo-picked guitars gives the music a lot of momentum, but it sort of lacks the intensity that I would normally associate with such speeds, and often I see this momentum wasted on sudden stops that annoy me immensely.

My last encounter with Black Chalice yielded a score of 6/10. This time though we're ending up with a 5/10 score. This is simply because the music doesn't sound very cultivated, and when you've listened to newer material by Black Chalice you know that this is merely a prototype for the music yet to come. It's easy to see how the band moved from this gritty, heavily distorted sound to its newer, more ripened state, and I got to say that I much prefer the newer material to this.

1. King of No World
2. Infallibility of Semen
3. A New Earth and No Heaven

BLACK CHALICE official facebook

26 Nov 2012

Diseased Oblivion - Portals of Past and Present [Compilation] (2012, Contaminated Tones Productions)

From the dismal darkness of some obscure, long forgotten chasm in the depths of the earth came Diseased Oblivion in 2009. With them the duo brought ominous duo brought several incantations of enigmatic, arcane droning metal in the forms of black- and funeral doom metal. The sixth incarnation of Diseased Oblivion's music is found on the 4-track demo from 2012 entitled "Portals of Past and Present", which features songs from the very initiation of Diseased Oblivion in 2009 to some of their newer material from 2011.

The four tracks on Portals of Past and Present feature everything you could expect from a band of this type: Winter-like funeral soundscapes, eerie black abysses and abstruse ambience from the vastness of space. By pairing highly distorted guitars with profoundly cryptic noises the band achieve the bizarre atmospheres that their songtitles such as "Ghosts of Nuclear Winter" and "Blackhole Funeral III" paved the way for in the mind of listeners, and  throughout the retrospective experience of Portals of Past and Present does indeed see an interesting evolution in the band's sound.
As we progress back in time through the increasingly eerie, murky waters that are the sounds of Diseased Oblivion, the imposing blackened doom tracks grow ever more filthy, tenebrous and oddly threatening from the newest track "Unquenchable Hurt" through Blackhole Funeral III and Ghosts of Nuclear Winter and ultimately coming to a grinding, funeral-like halt with the death/doom-ish Reclusa Eternus, which is also the oldest song on the demo.

I recon that Diseased Oblivion are succesful in creating effectively mind-invading black-laden doom metal. The demo gives a fulfilling look into the still short career of the american duo and their compelling but very traditional take on the genre, but through competent songwriting (if their is such a thing in funeral doom metal) they manage to keep their music, all 3 years of it, convincingly decent to make it worth listening to. 7/10 guitars.

1. Unquenchable Hurt
2. Blackhole Funeral III
3. Ghosts of Nuclear Winter
4. Reclusa Eternus

DISEASED OBLIVION official facebook

21 Nov 2012

Prajna - Lost in the Void [EP] (2011, Self-released)

With a name like "Prajna" I really had no idea what to expect. This Colombian band is in essence an effort with tendencies toward a lot of different styles, most notably of which are 80's heavy metal paired with power and speed metal in the vein of Helloween, Fates Warning and at times even some early Anthrax. Let me just say that I was rather sceptical at first. The logo and coverart didn't look particularly inviting and it looks like it was sort of made in a hurry, making me think that maybe the music would be of equally bad quality.

In general it goes for the entire demo EP that the music, though presented with gusto on the band's behalf, is somewhat lacking in quality. I can see what Prajna are trying to accomplish with their music, but ultimately I found that Lost in the Void wasn't exactly up to par with other bands in the genre. I suppose that the fact that this is Prajna's first release should turn down expectations, and I could definitely see how Prajna could improve upon their chosen style in upcoming material to make it a worthy contender in the world of metal.

The most attractive things about Prajna are their simple but enjoyableriffs aswell as good choruses like the one in Electrocuted, but mostly every experience on the EP is numbed by the tame production and lack of aggression. And I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this because "power metal isn't about aggression!" and "you don't have to be evil to be metal!" but yes, it kinda is and you kinda do. Without that certain edge to underline the music all hopes of attaining some sort of climactic power in the music are useless and in the same manner I could've wished for a bit more daring or raw elements. Many will probably write it off as the ramblings of an old fashioned death metal fanatic, but I actually like quite a lot of power metal bands, but even bands like Rhapsody or Kamelot have a certain edge that carries their musical quality.

Prajna have a very destinct and recognizable style to their music, which really gives the EP the saturation it needs to stand out from others of its kind. If Prajna could somehow sharpen their music it would, to me atleast, have a more lasting appeal than it currently does. 6/10 guitars.

1. Electrocuted
2. Fire and Iron
3. Lost in the Void
4. Storm of War

PRAJNA official facebook
PRAJNA official bandcamp (with free download of Lost in the Void)

18 Nov 2012

Sewercide - Severe Trauma [Demo] (2012, Self-released)

Let me first introduce the band: Sewercide is a 4-piece thrash band from Melbourne, Australia. Their genesis was in 2011 and by now in 2012 they've already seen two releases, the demo Severe Trauma and a split with Randomorder called States of Decay. While the two releases combined boast only 3 tracks of a total of 10:30 minutes the 7 minutes of early death-infused thrash metal that make up the Severe Trauma demo from March are like a hail of machinegun fire on the eardrums in the best way possible.

Sewercide have obviously been listening to Max Cavalera-era Sepultura. I detect huge amounts of Schizophrenia through Chaos A.D. worship on this demo that infuses the fast, aggressive thrash metal with the heavy, distorted musical psychosis that is death metal. The 4-piece utilize a very dynamic sound to fuel the bonfire that is their chosen style. Just like Sepultura.

And this brings me on to my main point: Why listen to a Sepultura clone, when you could just listen to the actual Sepultura? Even if they're a very enthusiastic copy with huge amounts of talent, is there any point in listening to Sewercide rather than putting on Beneath the Remains? Let me answer that question in a very short manner: Yes. The Australian conspirators may sound a lot like Sepultura, but even so their music is hugely enjoyable and played with such force and ferocity that it WILL be an enjoying experience.

Now with all these positive remarks I end my review with some small downsides. Unlike timeless classics like Slayer's Chemical Warfare, Sepultura's Territory, Kreator's Pleasure to Kill or Slaughter's Incinerator - Tracks that would all fit the style of Sewercide - this band's music sort-of lacks something to really get me hooked, like a memorable riff, catchy chorus or hellish drumroll. I also haven't adressed my dislike for overly short demos. I can easily understand why a newly created band wants it's music unleashed upon the innocent crowd as soon as possible, but I would've like this demo was a bit lengthier. On the other hand, it is easily within the first couple of years of a band's creation that most bands release their most vigorous, brutal and uncompromising material and I can see why it would definitely be benefitial to have a slew of highly destructive tracks out there.
In closing Severe Trauma is a very short, but mighty effective demo. Sewercide have convinced me in relative short time that their potential is undeniable, and if they continue releasing material at a rapid pace I will be a more than happy reviewer. 8/10 guitars.

1. Pyrocataclysm
2. Seismic Annihilation

SEWERCIDE official facebook
Also check out their online store!
If you don't believe me (and even if you do) their tracks are freely available on Bandcamp and Last.FM!

15 Nov 2012

Updated download section

I just updated the download section. Unfortunately it isn't updated with new links, but rather the removal of old links that no longer work. It really is rather depressing to see the list dwindle in such a manner, but what can you do.

Thanks for reading,
Jakob Goul

13 Nov 2012

Nyarlathotep - The End is Always Near [EP] (2008, Self-released)

Like drugs doom metal require a certain setting and mindset to be most effectful in terms of musical enjoyment. Doom metal and all its subgenres to me are some of the most atmosphere-creating subgenres of metal and so the things that the music brings to life in my mind are very important when I listen to it. I found that the American black/doom metal band Nyarlathotep, while their name isn't exactly the most original, brought to life visions of dusty, desolate and dystopic wastes thick with the scent of impending doom and coming apocalypse.

Black/doom metal and funeral doom metal isn't well known for huge attention to detail or variation, so it may seem a bit nit-pickey to say that I found "The End is Always Near" to be a bit uneventful and unoriginal. A pitfall that many bands in this genre fail to avoid is the tendency to more or less sleepwalk through songs, and my first impression with Nyarlathotep was that they were such a band, but upon further listening I found their music to actually be pretty fascinating and enthralling. Never judge a book by its cover, I suppose.

I had prepared myself to write that Nyarlathotep's music didn't have a very good atmosphere compared to how much the genres relies on just that, but the gritty, fuzz-driven cacophony that make up the bulk of their EP has a certain claustrophobic effect rather befitting of the lovecraftian name. The droning instrumentation and void-like vocals really come together and form the very sound of the apocalypse.

I was originally content on giving Nyarlathotep's EP a 6/10 guitars, but I have actually grown to enjoy the sublime slices of dementia that make up The End is Always Near to such an extent that I have decided to give the EP 7/10 guitars.

1. Rivers of Blood
2. The End is Always Near
3. Through the Gates of the Silver Key
4. Waiting for the Sun (The Doors Cover)

NYARLATHOTEP official myspace

Take my word for it or listen for yourself. You can download the EP free of charge on the band's bandcamp profile right HERE

8 Nov 2012

Tormentstorm - Up from the Grave [Demo] (2012, Self-released)

Metal has come a long way since the beginning. Though having most of its' direct roots in the late 60's it wasn't until the early 80's that the various branches of extreme metal began to take shape, and countless modern day bands seek back to these extreme metal roots of Hellhammer, Venom and others like them in an attempt to copy or just take inspiration from them. Tormentstorm from Oklahoma, USA, is a one man effort aimed at taking part in the enormous 80's revival of more recent years with his hitherto only demo "Up from the Grave".

Whether Up from the Grave is a reference to the blatant 80's revivalism or because the music on the demo sounds like it's being played by a rotting corpse I don't know, but one thing is for certain. Tormentstorm is a prime example of why most one man bands shouldn't be ONE man bands. Up from the Grave simply lacks varied input, and when every song just sounds the same to the extent that this demo does it becomes incredibly tedious to listen to. At times I wondered if Malice, the ruling power behind Tormentstorm, was just improvising or if it was in fact organized. There are times when the music sounds a bit out of rhythm and on Screams of Torment I was wondering if the bass was even in tune.

With the aesthetics of a chaotic 80's metal band I feel that the 5 songs on Up from the Grave would be better suited with a production that doesn't reek of bedroom, and even better if it was played more energetically and at a higher tempo than the doldrum speeds that Malice put forth on the demo. It simply lacks the epic riffs, revolutionizing ideas and brilliant atmosphere of the bands that he takes inspiration from.

I normally don't mind low sound quality in music, as long as it's not paired with untight playing and boring songwriting. However Tormentstorm truely is a storm of aural torment, and I find it very hard to enjoy or even listen to. I hope Malice's future works are more thoroughly worked through. 2/10 guitars. At least the drums seem real enough.

1. Up from the Grave
2. Slaughtered for Pleasure
3. Merciless Torture
4. Infernal Sorceress
5. Screams of Torment
6. Out for Blood

TORMENTSTORM official reverbnation

4 Nov 2012

Defilementory - Infatuation with Deformity [Demo] (2011, Self-released)

Defilementory is a band that I knew a bit in advance. I had seen them a couple of years ago when they and another Danish death metal band called Castrensis opened for the one-man slam act Putrid Pile in Copenhagen. That particular performance was a night to remember - All the bands fit so well together and were so talented and put on a great performance. It wasn't until I listened to Infatuation with Deformity that I realized that Defilementory has a very precise way of conveying the delicate details of their music, though it seems weird to talk about delicate anything in terms of brutal death metal. It just so happens that Defilementory has a lot of technical elements and a bass section to die for, which is something I can really appreciate. Sure, great guitarists are always cool, but everyone has great guitarists these days. Good bassists are severely underappreciated, and the bassist of Defilementory, who also happens to be their lead singer, does an incredible job creating bass lines that are imperative to the recognizable sound of Defilementory.

I give the bass of Defilementory a lot of credit (and rightfully so), but even if you were to remove it and put in some "regular" basslines the music on Infatuation with Deformity has a lot of merrit in itself. Lots of brutal death metal acts are incredibly one-tracked and even monotonous, but this Danish band mix things up constantly while still maintaining their brutal death metal flavour. The malign clarity and gritty brutality of the two tracks that make up this demo is something that makes Defilementory seem like a band very serious about their music, and the demo showcases their vigorous enthusiasm in creating and playing some of Denmark's heaviest music.

If there is one thing that really stands out as a bit regrettable on the demo it's that fact that it's so short. Two tracks really isn't enough to stay entertained for very long, and even though the two tracks are pretty long for death metal it doesn't go a very long way. I read somewhere that there was supposed to be a third track, but that it was lost somehow, and this is really a terrible shame. I would've loved to hear that third track, but hopefully that song will be featured on their upcoming album.

To sum up Defilementory's second release "Infatuation with Deformity" from 2011 really would be nothing other than "great and pretty unique brutal death metal with a noticable flavour of technical aspects". Their bass-driven style makes for a lot of enjoyable listening minutes on my part, but in the end two tracks of this great music isn't enough to keep me satisfied and will mostly serve as a little something to listen to between other albums. Their upcoming album will hopefully feature everything that makes Defilementory's demo great, and then some. 8/10 guitars.

1. Infatuation with Deformity
2. Vengeance

DEFILEMENTORY official facebook

Listen for yourself below!

29 Oct 2012

Fabricant - 2010 Demo [Demo] (2010, Self-released)

You know when you just get a certain feeling from a band or a particular album? That's what happened when I put on Fabricant for the first time. I was at once rushed by visions of dystopic industrial landscapes, Gigeresque biomechanics, Lovecraftian themes and suggested topics of borderlining mental illness. Fabricant seems like a band sick of the typical death metal that relies so heavily on brutality, offensive lyrics and disgusting imagery. The very name "Fabricant" fits their concept of almost mystical, atmospheric technical death metal.

Let's get down to basics. Fabricant's demo CD from 2010 consists of 4 songs, the first of which "Prelude to Aberration" serves as a rather well fitting mood-setting intro. Right from the demented voices of the intro and the toning in of Legacy of Thine Delirium the listener is sent on a journey through industrial soundscapes that reminded me of early Morbid Angel, Nocturnus, early Decrepit Birth and Timeghoul, Gorguts and Demilich in their general disposition, but ultimately Fabricant has been succesful in creating their own unique sound. The roughly 14 minutes of the demo provide diverse experiences as heavy as cyclopean and ancient pistons of forgotten industrial complexes with a fitting dose of dementia.

According to the band's biography Fabricant actually started out as a small project to learn recording technique, and from what I'm hearing right now the involved parties are very able in producing the perfect sound required to complete the atmosphere that dominates the American band's demo. Everything from the eerie, exentric piano part in Staring at the Imprisoned and the weird, outré guitar pieces in Legacy of Thine Delirium and Sojourn just reeks of cosmic annihilation without relying on pinball machine sounds or in-your-face high speed tabbing.

In reference to my previous comparison between Fabricant and the Swedish death metal band Timeghoul I think Fabricant's demo is the kind of material that you will see re-issued on a large label in 15-20 years time. The absolutely otherworldly composition and songwriting of this demo means I'll have to give a 9/10. Truly memorable and astonishing.

1. Prelude to Aberration
2. Legacy of Thine Delirium
3. Sojourn
4. Staring at the Imprisoned

FABRICANT official facebook

Listen for yourself