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giovedì 24 novembre 2022

The Pit Tips

Francesco Scarci

Dreadnought - The Endless
Severoth - When the Night Falls
Katharos XIII - Chthonian Transmissions


Crypta - Echoes of the Soul
Perdition Temple - Merciless Upheaval
Usurper - Cryptobeast

Alain González Artola

Watain - The Agony & Ecstasy Of Watain
Moonlight Sorcery - Piercing Through The Frozen Eternity
Corpsegrinder - Corpsegrinder

Incantvm - Strigae

#FOR FANS OF: Black/Doom
From Italy a quite special project comes under the leadership of the clarinetist Vittorio Sabelli, a former member of the band Dawn of A Dark Age, who has recruited some very talented musicians to help him in his new musical voyage. More than 10 musicians have taken part to record ‘Strigae’, the first effort of this interesting and undeniably original project.

The concept behind the music is also something worthy, as the album is based on witch hunt and summary trials that took place during the past centuries, and that which sadly led to the sentence of hundreds of innocent women. Musically speaking, it is quite hard to define Incantvm’s music, although the term theatrical might be a good definition for that, as the different arrangements and expressive nature of the music itself has a lot in common with a theatrical performance. 'Strigae' is, in any case, strongly tied to the extreme metal scene, as its obvious metal influences come from the black and doom metal genres, but also has a clear progressive nature if you pay attention on how the compositions are structured. The generous length of the three actual songs (as the first and last ones are the intro/outro of the album) gives the necessary room to introduce quite varied influences and changing structures. "Il Cerchio e il Fuoco" opens the album with its ever-changing structure and pace, where we can enjoy Tenebra’s super high-pitched shrieks, which for sure could remind us of the scream of an actual witch. The pace has its ups and downs with a great combination of raspy guitars and plenty of arrangements which enrich the music a lot. There is also a room for calm sections where the progressive and most non-metal influences reign, with the tasteful pianos, clarinets and several other classic instruments which mark an abrupt contrast with the heaviest sections of the song. As aforementioned, this album is like a baroque and theatrical act and the music is the perfect portrayal of this concept. The narrative voice of Nequam serves as the director of the most experimental sections as reinforces the feeling of experiencing an actual performance in its broadest sense. "Lamie" has a clear progressive evolution in its structure as it begins with a doomish pace, and it gains some intensity with the track progression, even though it always has a changeable pace and unexpected changes in the style and intensity, which are a tangible proof of the great work behind this album. The always relevant and tasteful arrangements done by the mastermind Vittorio, shows how he has tried to introduce several non-metal influences in an actual metal album, trying to forge and album free of stylistic restrictions. The narrative voices and introduction of several instruments may not appeal every metal fan but it makes 'Strigae' a compelling work that requires an open mind and several listens.

In conclusion, 'Strigae' is a remarkably interesting and enjoyable album. Its very personal mixture of black and doom metal influences, and the generous use of classic instruments make it a complex, demanding yet a very satisfactory album. From my point of view, this effort should please every music fan who demands both originally and quality. (Alain González Artola)

(I, Voidhanger Records - 2022)
Score: 80


Perdition Temple - Merciless Upheaval

#FOR FANS OF: Brutal Death Metal
Who can hear this and not want to write a bit about it? It has balls-out intensity. Gene from Angelcorpse that led the way for that band. He smokes on here with a somewhat raw production sound but good death/black metal. I've found the whole album to be interesting in terms of the sound and Gene's vocals slay! This is sort of a modern Angelcorpse if there was one. I don't hear any mistakes or forced vocals. Everything seems to be in tandem with everything else. These guys have some balls-out intensity. And the lead guitar is wicked as is, no need to change that as well.

It's weird though that it's four original songs and four cover songs. They were all well played out. The vocals go well with the guitar. These guys seem to progress on each succeeding release. And the sound is wicked, I love this type of production. It has you keyed into every song. Fast and furious yet instances of mild playing, but not much. They are fierce with these songs and impeccable covers. I especially like "Blood On My Hands" from Morbid Angel's 'Covenant' album. It was immaculate! Sounded just like the original. Their own songs too sound really amazing. Sucks that this album is only 33+ minutes.

Like I said about the sound quality, it's great! The production is justifiable. They don't fall short of the game of immaculate musicianship. These guys have stayed around and Gene post Angelcorpse. From my understanding, these guys are in multiple bands. Gene is pretty cool as a person and seems to respect his fans the way his fans respect the band. He returns messages not that they're musicians with much idle time but he reached out which was surprising. This raises my respect for the band. And I do my best to make sure that these underground bands get the press that they so deserve.

I bought this album on CD from Hells Headbangers. But you can find it streaming. What an onslaught! These guys know what the hell their doing and it shows on the outcome of this LP. They really sound great but not overly polished. A release to chalk up another in the Perdition Temple discography. But they need a bigger fan-base. I'm sure death/black or just metal fans can appreciate this. The guitars and vocals are my favorite parts of the album. They just annihilated this time around, yet again! I really hope that they have a long life to this band. They have so much talent and resilience. Check them out! (Death8699)

(Hells Headbangers Records - 2022)
Score: 80


domenica 20 novembre 2022

Salem - Collective Demise

BACK IN TIME: recensione gentilmente concessa da Nihil Zine
#PER CHI AMA: Death/Thrash
Da Israele, ecco a voi i Salem, band dedita ad un death metal con influenze thrash, giustificate, anche se non usuali nella loro regione, dal fatto che i nostri esistono fin dal lontano 1985 ed hanno saputo conquistarsi una meritata fama sia in studio, con una discografia molto prolifica, sia dal vivo, supportando molte bands famose quali Megadeth, Entombed e Disharmonic Orchestra. Un buon death-thrash metal dicevamo, ben arrangiato e suonato, sia nelle parti veloci, dove la batteria è sostenuta e ben evidente, sia nei mid-tempos dove le percussioni fanno da sfondo a delle trame di chitarra abbastanza belle, più per quanto riguarda le parti ritmiche che soliste. Anche la voce fa la sua bella figura: urlata e cattiva, anche se a volte sconfina un po’ nelle tonalità hardcore. Ci sono alcuni sprazzi di canzoni in cui si possono sentire anche cori femminili e percussioni arabe tipo darbuka: per fortuna sono minimi. Meritano supporto i Salem. In tanti anni, hanno portato avanti un buon discorso musicale in condizioni talvolta pesanti, riuscendo comunque sempre ad emergere.

(System Shock - 2002)
Voto: 70


Crypta - Echoes of the Soul

#FOR FANS OF: Death Metal
This is Sonia Anubis's former band now, she's ventured onto Cobra Spell. And what a solid old school death metal sound to this International act featuring Brazilian/Dutch natives. All woman band, these members but out some furious and intense death metal. I've not liked the album initially because of the vocals, but it kind of grew on me. The leads are fantastic too! Not too many points I'd take off due to mediocrity, these women are anything but that! The rhythms are fast and furious. There isn't a song on here that doesn't disappoint. The melodies are good and it's definitely a worthwhile release.

It's actually taken about 5-6 spins to come up with an intelligible content here because there's so many intricate parts to this LP. As I say, I wasn't a fan of the vocals, but it did kind of grow on me. They are unique and I guess I'm so used to standard death metal that I forget that this is a female band so they're going to have their own sound. Sonia kicking ass on lead plus the band writes some creative riffs. I'd have to say that this debut is admirable. I'm hoping that the departure of Sonia will embrace some new talent now on the next LP. They're touring (I believe) and I think that they'll pick up more good ideas to the person who fills Sonia's slot.

Production quality was good, solid and tight. It did the musicians' justice and there really wasn't any parts to this LP that are boring. The energy is all there and the leads were tight as well. I don't think that any of the music was unoriginal. I think it was creatively captivating. And just to know that they're active is positive. The rhythms were solid and the overall songwriting was admirable. However, I don't think that this is higher than a "72" rating. Again, it took a while to get into but as I see they were reaching for their own sound in the death metal arena and did so in achieving that. Much kudos for that!

I purchased this a while ago even though they're on Spotify and Bandcamp. I always say support the band and buy the physical copy but that's up to you. If you want to hear some fresh talent in the arena, Crypta is where it's at! They have so much to offer and have enormous energy! I applaud them for giving their own sound as an International death metal band. Key into the music, not so much of the lyrics as most death metal bands don't sing about very meaningful topics. If you're able to overcome this dilemma, you will most likely be totally into this band. Check 'em out! (Death8699)

(Napalm Records - 2021)
Score: 72


Mysteria Mystica Aeterna - The Temple of Eosphoros

#FOR FANS OF: Black Old School
Formed in 2020, the German Mysteria Mystica Aeterna (what a cool band name), is a duo formed by a couple of quite experienced musicians, Frather Noxathra, who takes the duties for the vocals, strings and keys and Frater Odium Aeternum, who plays the drums. Both have several interesting projects closely tied to the realms of black and death metal, where they demonstrate their unquestionable devotion to extreme metal and talent to explore the different niches of this musical expression. Considering this background, it is not a surprise that only a year after the project’s inception, they released a quite interesting debut entitled 'Into the Kingdom of Shadows'. Both musicians seem to be on a high and only a year later they have forged a new opus that have caught the attention of the always reliable label Iron Bonehead Productions.

'The Temple of Eosphoros' is the name of the beast, and it is an excellent incarnation of how black metal should sound, reaching a perfect equilibrium between rawness, fury and atmosphere. Even though, the album cannot be tagged as atmospheric black metal, the ambience is a very strong and an essential aspect of Mysteria Mystica Aeterna’s musical proposal. The generous use of the keys never overshadows the most metal side of the band’s sound, but it complements and enriches it. Production wise, the work done is excellent, the instruments and vocals can be heard perfectly well, and they are distinguishable, never creating a sound ball where the music can not be appreciated. The guitar sound is really sharp, but clear and this is something I appreciate in this short of bands. The album itself is quite short, which is maybe my only complaint, but on the other hand, this means that it comes to the point with no fillers and forgettable moments. After a short and intriguing dark intro, the album begins with the excellent "The Holy Heaven of Will", where all the core elements of Mysteria Mystica Aeterna appear, rasped vocals accompanied by sharp-edged guitars and sumptuous keys, that create a spellbinding atmosphere. The song gains intensity as it progresses, with some quite fast sections mixed with some mid-tempos, or even slow ones. These ups and downs in the pace are adequately used through the whole album, which makes the songs sound varied and interesting, as it always helps to catch the attention of the listeners. The slowest parts are a highlight because here the atmosphere is particularly hypnotizing. The song "Thou, Whose Mouth is a Flame" combines the same aforementioned elements in a very enjoyable and inspired way. Here again, the keys play a prominent role enhancing the atmospheric side of this composition, as they give a grandiloquent touch to the song. The tempo changes are abrupt and mark a great contrast between the different sections, but they are well-done, and I think, as previously mentioned, this helps to make the songs particularly captivating. The calm and beautiful piano interlude in the second half of the song is probably one of the top moments of the album, it is so effective and beautiful. The song that closes an album is always a key moment as it can leave you with a good or bittersweet taste in your mouth. I can assure you that the band has put some effort to close the album with style, as the long and excellent self-titled track agglutinates all the strong points and characteristics of this opus. The riffing here is top-notch, and it is again excellently combined with the tasteful keys. Once again, the tempo and intensity changes are perfectly executed. This composition has been crafted with dedication and time and the result is just wonderful.

In conclusion, the German duo Mysteria Mystica Aeterna’s sophomore album should be a milestone in their career and the confirmation that this band has a lot to offer. Perfectly balanced black metal with a strong atmosphere, that any fan of the genre should listen to. (Alain González Artola)

sabato 19 novembre 2022

Misanthropic Poetry - Inhaling The Wind Of The Burning Grim Dreams

BACK IN TIME: recensione gentilmente concessa da Nihil Zine
#PER CHI AMA: Black Old School
Alquanto scarna la proposta dei Misanthropic Poetry, band proveniente dalla Russia. Un black metal molto diretto e grezzo che magari sarebbe risultato anche interessante agli amanti più estremi del genere, se non fosse stato per la qualità del suono che è, a dir poco, pessima. La batteria sembra dotata solo di rullante che martella continuamente, le chitarre sono un lievissimo fruscio appena percettibile e su tutto, una voce pallosa che copre ogni cosa, appiattendo ulteriormente il risultato finale che è scarso sotto ogni punto di vista.

(Beverina Productions - 1999)
Voto: 45


Molder - Engrossed In Decay

#FOR FANS OF: Death/Thrash
Not a bad follow-up, just somewhat of an average release. But it's good live Molder that totally packs a punch. Definitely death/thrash a lot of their guitar riffs are pretty well done out. And original! The tempos for the songs vary accordingly. The vocals are pretty unique, they sound a little bit like on Exhumed's 'Death Revenge'. The band might call me out on that but there is a resemblance. The music quality is average and the tone of the guitars are mediocre. I'm sure they'll advance with each succeeding release. They certainly have since their older material. They're touring with good bands at least (Autopsy, Cardiac Arrest and Bones). 
The album is about 45 minutes but is tight the whole way through. I just dislike the quality of the production. But they'll get better. I'm sure of it! They have a unique songwriting capacity and the guitars go well with the music. The thrash elements go with the guitar/vocals and the death metal is a tinge of that quality. They're a unique style band which I foresee getting better as they progress. I'm glad I picked this up and the live sound is superb. They played an outstanding set at Reggie's in Chicago 10/29/22. It made me appreciate their music much more than what's simply on the studio album. I bought the CD!
There are some blast beats that go along with the riffs but not a whole lot. The vocals augment the death metal genre's sound and the riffs are a good blend of death/thrash. It's pretty unique in that respect. I don't know a lot of bands that fit the genres of death/thrash. But it is unique and creative. These guys know how to kick ass! Good musicianship as well! I can't wait to hear more newer stuff from them in the years that follow this. And that they have a long life in them if they stay on this path. Seeing them live I thought "hmm, sounds better than what's on the album release." It sure did!
I encourage metal fans to check out Molder's latest, not their previous. And see how you like it. It's not at all generic. I think the sound quality just could've been a lot better a lot worse! But hey, this is a newer band, so cut them some slack! They're going to get more mature as they progress. They're touring with legitimate bands for a reason! They have enormous potential. And this LP is an example of their maturing. It's available on streaming but show the band some support and buy the CD. You won't be disappointed! This band puts on one helluv a show, check them out if you can! (Death8699)
(Cianeto Discos - 2022)
Score: 74

giovedì 17 novembre 2022

Esicastic - Atman

BACK IN TIME: recensione gentilmente concessa da Nihil Zine
#PER CHI AMA: Techno Death
Tre pezzi per poco più di sedici minuti di quasi-death metal estremamente tecnico, influenzato palesemente dai Cynic, ma con una propensione moderna che in alcuni punti sfiora lo stile dei Meshuggah più acidi. Quanto basta agli Esicastic per fare una gran bella figura e ricordarci come questo genere in Italia goda da sempre di una considerazione forse superiore che in ogni altro paese. Non tutto funziona in modo impeccabile e probabilmente il gruppo avrebbe avuto ancora bisogno di lavorare per raggiungere una personalità più spiccata e una superiore scorrevolezza delle proprie composizioni. Le doti messe in mostra erano però quelle di una band al di sopra della media; doti che se fossero state ben sviluppate avrebbero potuto consegnarci una realtà interessante della scena underground indigena. Purtroppo, a tutto questo non ha fatto eco un numero sufficiente di copie vendute, e band di questo genere sono troppo spesso costrette all’autoproduzione o a una vita ai margini di un mercato governato da ben altre regole. Inutile sottolineare come gli Esicastic si siano poi sciolti, un vero peccato.