27 Jan 2012

Hellsing - The Sun Will Never Rise [EP] (2011, Self-released)

Melodic death metal, often labeled as an "entry-level" metal genre featuring several easily accessible bands like Arch Enemy, In Flames and Amon Amarth, has fallen far from grace during the years. In retrospect melodic death metal was self-explanatory. It was death metal with more melody and focus not as brutal as the original death metal bands. Melodic death metal has since, however, devolved into a super melodic mutant of metalcore influences with barely any death metal left, in no small part due to the prominent Gothenburg scene of Sweden.

It's nice to hear that there are still a few melodic death metal bands out there that actually have a few death metal elements left. Though not predominantly death metal influenced, the Mexican band Hellsing features some damn sweet vocals from growler-in-chief Renan that reaks old school. At certain points one may even discern a small amount of doomy elements not entirely unlike newer Amorphis and early Orphaned Land, adding a some flavour to an otherwise relatively uninteresting mix. Though their good sense of pace, which to me is essential to metal music, is prominent the songs are ultimately one-dimensional with little variety, especially on the drum-front. After a few listens I detected the familiar sound of a certain cymbal... I had caught the scent of EZdrummer.

I'm being a little harsh on Hellsing's first EP "The Sun Will Never Rise" because melodic death metal is a genre that is hard to play well. It's a genre saturated by a myriad of mediocre or downright shitty bands, but at the same time is refined to perfection by others. The Mexican trio executes their chosen style well and they got it right with some of the songs. Other than the afforementioned vocals the soloing is also of a genuinely good quality. Production-wise "The Sun Will Never Rise" is spotless.

All these things come together and form a respectable 7/10 guitars. Fans of Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames should not be disappointed and hopefully Hellsing have a bright future ahead of them. What I really miss is more attention to detail.

1. The Rival
2. The Sun Will Never Rise
3. The Dark Side of the Moon
4. Razor
5. The Final Hour

HELLSING official site
HELLSING facebook page

19 Jan 2012

Escarnium - Rex Verminorum [EP] (2011, Hellthrasher Productions)

You could probably say that there was two major influential groups in early death metal: The Florida-scene and the Swedish scene. Though the bands from both places played death metal there were some differences in sound and such. The Swedish scene's trademark chainsaw-guitar sound is a trait that has since been used by bands all over the world.

The Brazilian deathdealers in Escarnium mix the brutallity of Brazilian death metal that we all know (or SHOULD know!) and this fuzzed up guitar sound of Sweden. Filled with great riffs, headpounding drums and a total rotting old school feel despite the somewhat modern production Rex Verminorum is a short display of absolute death metal power.
If you are ready to embark on a journey through disease-ridden lands covered in death and suffering, Escarnium will help you get there with these 30 minutes of blastbeats, tremolo riffs and magnificently executed growls.

Now, this isn't going to be all appraisal. As much as I'd like it, no album or EP is perfect. But with Rex Verminorum I can't really put my finger on anything other than lack of ingenuity. While the album is definitely a fun and enjoyable listen, it's not really anything new. It's not been done overly much, so it's still within acceptable bounds.Laden with well-executed blastbeats and a dry sound Escarnium are a beacon of light in a sea of mediocrity. There's the occasional unleashing of a vicious guitar solo, and though the Brazilian quartet rarely push the speed limits their brand of death metal that is usually mid-tempoed sometimes unleash short blasts of lightning fury.

Escarnium have a way with flow. Despite some of the songs being from another release, the "Covered in Decadence" demo from 2009, all the songs fit together like pieces of a morbid puzzle. The hellish vibes of the Rex Verminorum EP should disappoint no fan of solid Swedish or Brazilian death metal. 8/10 guitars.

1. Dark Clouds Above Hell's Fire
2. Self Proclaimed Messiah
3. Rex Verminorum
4. Covered in Decadence
5. Enfeeblement and Iconoclasm
6. His Final March
7. Slaves of an Ending Fate

ESCARNIUM official site
Hellthrasher Productions official site

15 Jan 2012

Interview with El Bukkakë of Abörted Hitler Cöck (2012)

Having just released a new album entitled "Erections at an Animal Autopsy", the British pornogrind band ABÖRTED HITLER CÖCK is now two releases into their musical career. Master ejaculator porno luchador El Bukkakë had this to say:

First of all I would like you to introduce yourself.
According to a few different sites, Spirit of Metal and Metal Archives in particular, AxHxCx has two members, El Bukkakë and El Fucko - Is this true?

El Bukkakë
That's correct. Those were the names that we adopted upon the formation of AxHxCx, a Porno-Gore Luchador never reveals their true identity. The band started as a duo, myself, El Bukkake on guitars and vocals, and El Fucko on vocals and drums. He has some other commitments touring with a band whose name I cannot disclose, so I recorded the last CD as a solo project. The line-up is likely to return to being a two piece before recording the next album, although I foresee the release of several more EPs or splits soon in the current one-man incarnation.

If El Fucko is sometimes out touring, how much of an influence does he have on songwriting in the band?

El Bukkakë
We wrote the majority of the material from Erections at an Animal Autopsy together over a series of jam sessions, a couple of years back. Recording it and getting it out there was long overdue and we just fell into an unannounced hiatus, but I began feeling that itch again around six months ago and just had to scratch it.

The itch to what? The itch to just play music?

El Bukkakë
Yeah just to make the kind of grinding porno gore metal I'd like to hear, and get it out there for people to be able to listen to it.

So I assume El Bukkake is your alter ego or artist name or whatever. Is this simply for... "aesthetic" reasons? Or is it because being in a band that by nature is designed to offend people could cause some problems socially and the like?

El Bukkakë
I've always enjoyed bands who constructed their own mythologies...I find the supposed back-story alone of a band like GWAR to be far more entertaining than the entire discography of a lot of bands. I'd rather tell a story and make people laugh at something fucked up than sell a bunch of generic records. The anonymity is all part of the lore, and the character.

Are you thereby saying that it has nothing to do with social stigma, such as jobs and whatnot?

El Bukkakë
That's an added bonus. To be able to dissociate from everyday life and become a character does give more freedom to offend.

For the people who don't know the band, can you please explain the sound and lyrical themes of Abörted Hitler Cöck?

El Bukkakë
The sound is a sludgy, distorted, low-tuned guitar and an electric drum kit, just being thrashed the fuck out. Listening to Pig Destroyer's 'Explosions in Ward 6' had a lot of impact on that, I had no idea something without a bass could be that heavy...Musically, AxHxCx plays a blend of grindcore and traditional heavy metal riffs. I've always been interested in 'blurcore' guitar technique, I think that' going to be a direction the band moves in. But the songs are pretty much just whatever comes out of the instruments at the time, there's no predetermined genre...The lyrics and song titles are just exercises in infantile 'offensiveness'. You've got to remember the buzz from reading a Cannibal Corpse track list for the first time, or looking through the liner notes on a Carcass records. The grotesque, violent, freak-show shock aesthetic that borders on parody, AxHxCx aims to take that to the next level.

How did you come up with a name so blasphemous?

El Bukkakë
The name really is meaningless, but days of contemplation were spent trying to find the most amusingly horrendous combination of random words. Hitler and abortion, two traditionally "taboo" subjects often deemed off-limits for art or humour, and then the cock for rhythm. I like the sound of the hard 'k' at the end.

Is it something that adds to the offensiveness of the band, or is it some rather interesting marketing strategy?

El Bukkakë
There are a lot of mediocre garage bands with generic "shocking" names out there...But why be bad when you can be the worst? That's probably about as far as a market strategy goes. It's a niche product, not everyone is going to enjoy it.

What fueled you to create this carnal monstrosity and what makes you write those kinds of lyrics? Is it just to offend people or is it something... deeper?

El Bukkakë
It's holding a mirror up to the world, and reducing it to something unquestionably tasteless and obscene. And then laughing at it. Something so relentlessly abhorrent that it comes out at the other side, deconstructing the concept of offensiveness. It's pitiful when people have an imaginary line they won't cross, but are more than happy to take pleasure in everything up until that line, which is often tied up in their own worthless issues. If one instance of personal tragedy, disease, sexual malfunction, death or deformity is deemed funny, then they all should be.

It seems obvious to ask... Do you actually hate babies?

El Bukkakë
Babies are terrible. I've never seen or heard of one doing anything of any value, they're just missed opportunities to abort. The same goes for all children, they have no redeeming qualities. Even child slavery produces inferior goods. Children are such a boner-killer.

You just released a brand new album entitled "Erections at an Animal Autopsy" through Torn Flesh Records. Around 15 minutes of gory, groovy pornogrind. How long time did it take you to write and record all the songs?

El Bukkakë
The song-writing was normally a case of getting the guitars and drum parts down first, and then coming up with a song title and lyrics. Way too much work goes into the lyrics considering that the vocals are almost entirely unintelligible. The production of this album was really sporadic, it's taken 3 years to get it recorded. I don't think there'll be that much of a wait for the next releases.

Erections at an Animal Autopsy isn't AxHxCx's first release ever - In 2008 you released the 8 minute EP "the Foetal Grinder". Are there any differences, musically or otherwise, from then to now?

El Bukkakë
The Foetal Grinder EP was a lot more 'raw' sounding...Cheap equipment...bad drum samples...At the time that was very much the vision for it. Reaction to it was positive, but in hindsight I think a lot of the composition was lost in the production. I wouldn't rule out re-recording some of those songs at a later date, even though I've got feedback from people who say they prefer the old sound. The new album has higher production values, more clarity, it's more aggressive. It's the direction future recordings will move in.

I know you've just released the new album, but what does AxHxCx have in store for the future?

El Bukkakë
Expect tits, gore and grindcore. It wont be long until another couple of releases are vomitted up. There's something in the works right now. 2012 will be one hell of a year for Abörted Hitler Cöck.

Do you have any projects going on other than Abörted Hitler Cöck that you would like to tell us about?

El Bukkakë
Nothing outside of the band, but I think there'll be some interesting side projects coming up. Some non-musical output. But that's all I can say so far.

What inspires you musically? As in, what kind of music do you like and what are your favourite bands?

El Bukkakë
Where do I start? I listen to a lot of stuff but there are a couple of movements that really draw me in. I liked the early British grindcore, Napalm Death, Carcass...I still listen to both of those bands fairly regularly. 80's and early 90's thrash has always been pretty close to my heart too, Anthrax's 'Among the Living' CD was one of the first things I learned to play guitar to. The 90's and early 2000's American grindcore movement really appeals to me. I couldn't name a favourite band but there are a lot of bands that I really like, some are more obvious influences while some don't really effect the sounds that I make...I like Lord Gore, Repulsion, Autopsy...Cattle Decapitation, Nasum, Strapping Young Lad...Melvins, early Mastodon, Coffins...Pantera for the guitars and drums at least...I think Abörted Hitler Cöck is the result of meshing some of those sounds together. The lyrics were a result of trying to capture the essence of bands like The Mentors and Anal Cunt, and GG Allin. I wasn't aware of the contemporary pornogrind/goregrind scenes at the time, I didn't know about bands like Gut and Rompeprop until the Foetal Grinder demo CD had already been recorded. It's interesting to suddenly see the popularity of modern porno/goregrind.

But did the discovery of bands like Rompeprop, Gut or maybe Cock and Ball Torture affect the sound on Erections at an Animal Autopsy? I think most will agree that the sound is a bit more polished nowadays and that songs like Abort 'Em All sound like they're influenced by, say, Cock and Ball Torture.

El Bukkakë
Yeah I was impressed by the quality and heaviness of that kind of recording, hearing a lot of the contemporary grind releases was a wakeup call.

A final question: What does AxHxCx mean to you on a personal level and has it changed your life in any way?

El Bukkakë
I don't think the part of me that lives for infantile repulsiveness will ever die. As long as there's a demand for it, I'll be making more music...No wait, actually it'll be funnier when there's no demand at all. AxHxCx will intentionally be around long after there's a willing audience for it. But the fans have been great, and that's why I wanted to give something back by offering Erections at an Animal Autopsy as a free download.

Alright, that concludes the interview. It's been very interesting - Thanks for participating!

Abörted Hitler Cöck official site
AxHxCx merch
Download the new AxHxCx album "Erections at an Animal Autopsy" for free here

13 Jan 2012

Pantheon of Blood - Consociatio Solis et Lunae [EP] (2011, Glorious North Productions)

There are so many subgenres of black metal, some close to the roots of the genre and others so mutated they are barely recognizable. Bands like Dimmu Borgir with their transition from symphonic black metal to what is essentially symphonic extreme metal further makes it difficult to categorize bands of that type.
Pantheon of Blood, however, is easy to place - They play straight-to-the-point no bullshit black metal with small hints of depressive black like Burzum and early Satyricon.

Created only 3 years ago Pantheon of Blood haven't released much yet. Other than a self-titled demo from 2010 Consociatio Solis et Lunae is the first effort from the Finnish band. Not only does the EP leave the listener wanting more, it also creates great expectations for more material. Pantheon of Blood really have something to live up to with this debut EP.

The great guitar work comes together with the fantastically grim vocals and well-varied drums in a close to 8 minute blast of genuinely good black metal. The cryptical sound that Pantheon of Blood has picked up so early in their musical carreer creates the perfect amount of gloom for the 2-song EP. All the transitions are smooth and the melodic riffs don't in any way take away focus from the raw outlook, especially because the sublime details only add to the feelings invoked by Consociatio Solis et Lunae.
All in all I guess you could say that Pantheon of Blood is a strong contender in the veritable horde of black metal bands out there. They stand out along other newer acts like Ash Borer by making more intricate black metal with more layers than what is customary for most bands of the genre. 8/10 guitars.

1. Overflowing Manifestation
2. The Crimson Empress of Night

PANTHEON OF BLOOD official site
Glorious North Productions official site

7 Jan 2012

Deviator - Way of Warriors: Hymn to Immortals [Compilation] (2011, Glorious North Productions)

Most depressive or ambient black metal bands have very little going on structure-wise. Simplistic guitars and repetitive drumming is abundant in the genre aswell as lengthy tracks, mostly with few layers of instrumentation. Ukranian black metalist Lord Hastner of "DEVIATOR" is among these traditionalists, though to say this band is a deviation would be an overstatement.

I've been rather harsh on this summary of Deviator's rather short carreer, and it's always very difficult to grade a compilation like this, especially when it's from an unknown band like this Ukranian project. One thing is certain though: Way of Warriors gives a fair and satisfactory look into the pretty extensive and gloomy back catalogue of Lord Hastner's band. It's always enjoyable to hear how a band evolves and how musicians go from playing one style to another.

Deviator started out playing ambient black metal with a twist of depressive black and ended up playing a more death-like style of black metal. Seeing the transcendence between genres and styles is fun, and in all the periods of Deviator it seems there are both good and less enjoyable tracks. One thing I found out while listening to Way of Warriors is this: Deviator, like so much metal, must be enjoyed loud. You'll get the best sound and be able to hear the best details if you turn up those speakers.

Production-wise the material's great. It gives a great sense of atmosphere and emotion while still maintaining the raw sound of black metal. But regarding the recordings themselves I am completely baffled by what sounds like off rhythms. In a few select tracks it sounds like the guitar is playing a LOT slower than the drums, as if the guitars were recorded without a click-, ghost- or drumtrack. This botches up the rhythm and flow of the entire song and I find it really difficult to enjoy a track like this.
Overall Way of Warriors - Hymn to Immortals is a fair overview of Deviator's discography, portraying both the good and the bad elements. It's (almost) always nice to see and hear a band evolve and take in new elements and styles. 6/10 guitars.

1. Old Melancholy
2. Forgotten Hope
3. The Last Day of Mankind
4. Mighty Black Inner Flame
5. Mesmerized by Blood
6. Raw Symphony of Sorrow
7. Undying Darkness
8. To Forgotten Path - Triumph of the Will
9. Thy Blood in my Veins
10. Black Sorrow
11. Funeral Future Bells
12. Primordial Darkness pt. 1
13. Primordial Darkness pt. 2
14. Way of Warriors - Hymn to Immortals

DEVIATOR official site
Glorious North Productions official site