27 Jun 2013

Durvasag - EP Promo 2012 [Demo] (2012, Self-released)

From the cold wastes of Canada comes Durvasag, a highly productive band of the black/thrash subgenre. Having existed for only 3 years at the time of writing this review they've already released an EP and 3 demos, one of which I have previously graced with my attention. Their leanings toward certain elements of extreme metal means they have a lot in common with the early Teutonic thrash scene, and at times this demo EP reminds me a bit of Kreator or Sodom.

What goes on with Durvasag is they went from sub-par blackened thrash with boring, repetitive riffs, annoying vocals and vocal patterns, sloppy playing, horrendously muddy production and most of all bland songwriting. They haven't changed any members since last time (though lead singer Mark Arruda has since left the band), but what we find on the 2012 EP promo is entirely different quality-wise to their first demo. Durvasag pretty much turned up the dial on everything on this promo. It's faster, it's tighter, it's barbaric. The 2012 incarnation of Durvasag has the forceful aggression and tightness that the previous demo lacked, and the songwriting itself is clearly better as if they went from using the same bland rehashed riffs over and over to actually writing worthwhile material. If only the production had followed suit in this increase of quality we would be left with a great fucking thrash dem.

A gritty production can serve in a band's favour, and I've heard good demos with worse production that Durvasag's EP Promo, but overall it gets tiresome having to listen to cymbals and hihats so much, and it feels like the riffs don't really come into their own with the current state of things.
You can easily tell that the band is still in every way Durvasag. They have the same aggressive vocal patterns, insistent drumming and fast guitar playing that you know them for, but their music has become much more varied. They show their flair for easy to follow choruses which mostly consists of a few shouted words, and it works. As a release on its own, without comparing it to their previous efforts, I'd say it's a solid 7/10.

1. Nuclear Winds
2. Sacrifice

DURVASAG on Bandcamp
DURVASAG on Facebook

The 100 Review Anniversary 20-track compilation is still available for free right over here

21 Jun 2013

100th Review Anniversary

Not long ago I wrote my 100th review here on the blog. It's been in the works for about a month and a half and I've hinted a bit at it on certain forums, but here it finally is. I wanted to commemorate my 100th review with a compilation showcasing some of the songs that made the biggest impression on me, be it because it's seriously rocking or because it's just catchy as hell. The 20 songs I chose are featured on this compilation, complete with front- and backcover and booklet.

All the tracks featured have been approved for the compilation by the band or the label in writing.
Thanks to all who helped realize this free release, and feel free to spread it around as much as you'd like. That's the whole idea after all.

The link can also be found in the Downloads section.

Download it HERE

Probably won't fit on one CD though

The tracklist is as follows:

1. Desiderium - Desolation / Forest of Forgotten Memories 
2. Agga - Neo Sumerian
3. Escarnium - Rex Verminorum
4. Dissolution - Thrash Hammer
5. Encephalopathy - Cut Her Lips Off
6. Endometritis - Ulcus Durum
7. Sphere - Forever Sworn to Blasphemy
8. Stillborn - Overture .966 / Hymn of Destruction
9. Outliar - Another Surrender
10. Inferius Torment - Agnus Dei
11. Deus Otiosus - Pest Grave
12. Legionary - Embracing Trauma
13. Fabricant - Legacy of Thine Delirium
14. Defilementory - Infatuation with Deformity
15. Sewercide - Seismic Annihilation
16. Darkend - Spiritism: The Transmigration Passage
17. Nordland - Thule
18. Malichor - Demonic Power to Infinity
19. Skinfather - Succession
20. Arescet - The Crackling of Embers

15 Jun 2013

Haiduk - Spellbook [Full lenght] (2012, Self-released)

A lot of one-man projects suck. Adding black metal to the mix mostly doesn't help. Haiduk is the project of Canadian metalhead Luka Milojica, and this band has only been active since 2009 releasing a demo entitled "Plagueswept" in 2010. When the time had finally come to release another torrent of epic blackened death metal we had entered the year of 2012, and this incarnation of Haiduk is entitled Spellbook.

Haiduk could well be described merely as extreme metal. The Spellbook album offers a great many variations of the same mix: Black, death and thrash metal. The way Milojica holds a chord on one level while playing a more vivid thrashy melody on top of it on another level gives the music a lot of depth, only encouraged by the adding of hoarse growls straight from the grave. Haiduk is in essence lightning fast with epic riffs coming out the ass, and ultimately there's something kind of honest and pure about the music on Spellbook. It's not trying to be something it's not and as such comes across as a flow of something that comes natural to the mastermind behind it all.

There are very few things this album misses, but one of the areas it is found lacking is in the vocal department. The Bolt Thrower-esque vocals sound awesome whenever they're applied, but the problem is the scarcity. It'd be a shame for the vocals to overshadow the riffing, which is by far the album's strongest point, but throwing in some more vocals once in a while couldn't hurt and would probably also relieve the problem of some of the melodies blending together a bit.

Haiduk's Spellbook is good for what it is. The black metal-infused torrents that make up the riffs, the abyssmal vocals and the machinegun-drums form a straight up gratifying album that is sure to please any fan of blackened death metal with a tad bit of melody. If you're looking for originality or technical prowess you won't find much of either on Spellbook, but what you will find is tight as fuck metal without any acoustic interludes, overly long atmospheric intros, outros and/or intermissions and generally no bullshit. The melodic riffs tend to get a little bland with time, and for the most part the lack of vocals for variation makes some of the tracks a tad bit tedious to listen to, just short of becoming a chore. It's a problem limited to a few tracks, but it feels like the vast momentum Milojica builds up in certain songs remains unresolved for the most part. But all in all it's a phenomenal effort, and the negatives aren't even close to amounting to the positives. 8/10 guitars.

1. Lich
2. Stormcall
3. Black Wind
4. Maelstrom
5. Forcefield
6. Hex
7. Tremor
8. Fire Wield
9. Lightning
10. Vortex

HAIDUK on Facebook
HAIDUK official website

9 Jun 2013

Aum - Of Pestilence... [EP] (2012, Le Crépuscule du Soir Productions)

Black metal from China? It's from Hong Kong, but yes. Aum consists of three members, one of which is also in the death/thrash band Aortic Regurgitation. The band has only existed since 2010 and had their first EP out the end of 2012. 2 years seems like a lot to write 6 songs, but the overall quality of these tracks is by far good enough to justify it.

It's obvious the band has its influence-wise roots in the Scandinavian scene of the 90's, but then again Aum have a certain touch of melody that makes the EP entirely their own. The riffs are like a mix of Immortal and Satyricon, the vocals a mix of Tom Warrior and Abbath, and the fast drumming is just short of reaching critical mass and causing a meltdown. This is tempo-focussed black metal with a thing for thrashy hooks and ruthless riffing, and it works. "Of Pestilence" may not be a titan of modern black metal, but Aum take all the best elements from various bands and put them together for some straight up good black metal.

To pinpoint the main weakness of the EP it is the fact that they build a lot of momentum within each song but don't utilize it properly. The songs fit together, but not sufficiently so to create a good flow between the tracks. Another thing is that some of the tracks have varying quality which makes me think the EP has been recorded during different sessions, or maybe even at different studios or handled by different personel. While this practice is not entirely uncommon it does give the EP a too diverse feel. They're small complaints in the grand scheme of things, but it does subtract from the overall score. 8/10 guitars.

1. Temple
2. Place of the Skull
3. Sheath to All Swords
4. The Forge of Zurvan
5. The Thawing of Pestilence
6. Aum (Acolytes to Eldritch Dimensions)

AUM official Facebook
Le Crépuscule du Soir Productions official site

2 Jun 2013

Eldjudnir - Angrboða [Full length] (2012, Schattenkult Produktionen)

Denmark has had a great recurrence of black metal in the latter years, some good and some bad. Bands like the very prominent Solbrud and the upcoming Arescet are taking a route mostly influenced by the tendencies of atmospheric black metal, and so too are Eldjudnir from their lair in the Capital-area.
Eldjudnir is primarily being the brainchild of Jakob Sture, who draws on the many other Danish musicians from other prominent metal bands such as the folk metal act Huldre and various death metal bands, but ultimately the band is entirely their own.

Eldjudnir draws inspiration from mid-90's black metal with hints toward a more modern with talented musicians and a more polished sound. On Angrboða, the band's album debut, the Danish band presents itself not as a band with innovative and groundbreaking ideas, but rather as a band that knows which elements to use and how to use them. The result is a greatly varied album with immersive songwriting and well-written compositions with the gritty, naturalistic riffs of early Satyricon, the ritualesque chants of Wardruna combined with the blasts and atmosphere of Wolves in the Throne Room.

It's hard to really put a finger on anything negative about Eldjudnir. If anything it's the lack of new thinking, but it is clearly evident on Angrboða that you don't need to think out of the box to create immersive metal. The entire album is only 38 minutes in length, which is highly appropriate for black metal of the atmospheric sort. It's short enough to keep things interesting for the duration of the release and long enough to make it a fulfilling listening experience. 9/10 guitars.

1. Angrboða
2. Jörmundgandr
3. Hel
4. Bundinn
5. Fenris

ELDJUDNIR on Facebook
ELDJUDNIR on Bandcamp
Schattenkult Produktionen's official website