Oct 04

Interview with Rude

Rude 2014

Old school death metal is alive and kickin’, and bands like Rude are showing how death metal is to be done properly – fast, raw and aggressive. With their new album, the band displays the whole range of 80s death metal influences that have gone into their melting pot. Here’s an interview that was dug up, and the band tells us more, from the songwriting process of Soul Recall to their simple, yet effective band name. (Interview conducted in May 2014)

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Oct 26

Album Review: Cult of Fire – Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně

Cult of Fire - Ctvrta Symfonie Ohne

Cult of Fire [Czech Republic]
Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně
2014
EP
Iron Bonehead Productions
Black Metal

Cult of Fire‘s last album मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान left many fans of black metal extremely captivated, with the band fusing Vedic elements into their songwriting and their lyrical inspirations. It is with even higher expectations that the band this year releases a brand new EP, Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně, leaving the Vedic and Indian inspirations behind and going back once more to their Czech roots.

With the band paying tribute to two rivers, of which the two tracks on Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně are named after, it is hardly surprising that right from the start of Vltava there is a strong folkish and almost viking vibe. The entire vibe and somewhat heroic atmosphere, with the riffs and the epic percussions quickly brings bands like Bathory to mind, but as soon as the song begins proper with the first guitar lines of Infernal Vlad, the influences from other acts such as Nokturnal Mortum become even clearer. The entire atmospheric style that the band indulges in on Vltava and Váh can get rather reminiscent of acts like Woods of Desolation as well.

The band’s songwriting skills are also pushed on this record, showing a vastly different side of the band. For instance, Váh stirs up a nice, melancholic emotion in the listener, and is one thing that is remarkably different from what Cult of Fire has shown thus far with Triumvirát and मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान. Furthermore, Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně is a completely instrumental record, and it almost feels as though the intention of the band is for the listener to focus completely on the atmosphere conjured by the music and not be distracted by anything else, even if it meant being devoid of vocals.

The entire production of Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně is extremely polished, further bringing out that whole epic feel of the record, and making it an extremely immersive record to listen to. One quickly finds himself lost in the entire soundscape of Cult of Fire‘s brilliance on their fourth studio release.

While it was revealed that Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně was initially intended to be a follow up to Cult of Fire‘s debut full length Triumvirát, musically speaking this seemed more like a logical follow up to what they had already shown fans with मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान. Whatever it is though, Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně is one hell of a beautiful record.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Cult of Fire on the internet:
Official website
Facebook
Iron Bonehead Productions

Oct 25

Album Review: Skelethal – Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity

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Skelethal [France]
Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity
2014
EP
Iron Bonehead Productions
Death Metal

Earlier this year, French death metal maniacs Skelethal surprised me with their excellent EP release Deathmanicvs Revelation, leaving me craving for even more of the abrasiveness and darkness that was on that record. A short half year later, the band followed up with that release with yet another EP, Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity. With the artwork keeping to the same theme that the band has set up with Deathmanicvs Revelation, one would also instinctively expect the band to maintain that style that was so captivating as well.

Skelethal certainly did not disappoint. Kicking off with that similar vibe as they did on Deathmanicvs Revelation with a piano-driven ambient track Subterranean Sigh, the band sends chills down the listener’s back with that haunting atmosphere that is set up on the track. The real fun begins as soon as Sabbatical Demonic Invocation kicks things into high gear, and instead of the bestial black metal that one would expect with a track title as such, the band instead presents some nice old school death metal with Swedish and Finnish touches. The abrasive tones of Gui Haunting along with his playing style quickly bring to mind Swedish pioneers such as Entombed and Dismember, especially the chugging riffs on the title track. That slight punkish style that Jon Whiplash displays behind his kit also invokes comparisons to Autopsy or the more d-beat driven style of Bastard Priest or Bombs of Hades.

Yet at the same time, the band ensures that the listener is constantly shrouded in this oppressive darkness while listening to Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity. The doomish vibe that the band incorporates into their music can get rather reminiscent of Finnish classics of Convulse and Demigod as well. This especially so with the rather generous usage of synths and keys to create that atmosphere, like towards the end of Sabbatical Demonic Invocation.

The French may be known more for their weird black metal styles, but bands such as Skelethal and Mercyless bear the flag for old school death metal out of the region. Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity is an fine example of old school death metal perfection.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Skelethal on the internet:
BandCamp
Iron Bonehead Productions

Oct 23

Album Review: Dying Out Flame – Shiva Rudrastakam

Dying Out Flame - Shiva Rudrastakam

Dying Out Flame [Nepal]
Shiva Rudrastakam
2014
Full Length
Xtreem Music
Death Metal

Mention the genre of Vedic metal, and immediately Singapore’s Rudra comes to mind, having created a sound that is uniquely theirs since 1992. Yet few bands have managed to really emulate a style close enough, with the closest comparison so far being Purvaja and they still lean closer to the black metal end of the spectrum. This year sees Nepalese band Dying Out Flame burst out into the scene with Shiva Rudrastakam, and with the band’s sound being described as being rather similar to Rudra, it got me extremely excited.

Opening track Praise of the Omnipresent One is a rather psychedelic experience, with the opening moments sounding more like what Cynic or Atheist would come up with, hinting towards the technicality and complexity in their playing. But soon enough the band brings in their Vedic influences, with the accompanying traditional instruments and the haunting female vocals chanting “Hara Hara Shankara Shiva Shiva Shankara”, lines familiar to fans of Rudra.

Enough of the Indian influences in the music, what about the actual death metal itself? Rather than completely emulating the blueprints as set by RudraDying Out Flame ensures that their death metal is as brutal as possible, and the riffs of Bikalpa and Saujanya immediately reek of the crushing brutality of bands such as Nile and Behemoth, strengthened by that slightly blackened elements that are aplenty throughout the album. Vocalist Aabeg’s gruff growls even help to bring in some Deicide comparisons, making the experience all the more intense. Prachanda’s drumming is relentless as well, and one is constantly under the battery of his merciless punishment on the skins.

Of course, the thing that everyone is curious about is whether Dying Out Flame manages to fuse the Vedic elements nicely into their death metal. Similar to Rudra, they have managed to incorporate Eastern scales into their riffs, and along with the traditional instruments and chants that intertwine with the death metal, one often finds himself almost drifting off into a trance as the album progresses before the next hard-hitting riff pulls one back to reality. Songs like Eternal Mother of Great Time even bring in some nice, epic moments for the listener.

The name of the band, Dying Out Flame might signify the end of an era, but the quality of the music that is written on Shiva Rudrastakam instead points towards the beginning of a new era of Vedic metal. Fans of Rudra who prefer something more brutal and more chaotic will certainly embrace Dying Out Flame‘s debut.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Dying Out Flame on the internet:
Facebook
Xtreem Music

Oct 22

Album Review: Dire Omen – Wresting the Revelation of Futility

Dire Omen - Wresting the Revelation of Futility

Dire Omen [Canada]
Wresting the Revelation of Futility
2014
Full Length
Dark Descent Records
Black/Death Metal

It has been quite a long while since the last bestial black/death metal release that I really enjoyed, and it is quite fitting that the first one to once again hook me back into this filthy abyss is a Canadian band and their Dark Descent Records debut. Since 2008, Dire Omen has been honing their craft, and almost 6 years on, the band finally releases their first ever full length album, Wresting the Revelation of Futility.

The first thing that caught my attention on Wresting the Revelation of Futility were the drums of Kevin on Here and Hereafter (Overture), reminding me of the entire reason behind my initial love with the genre: the primitive yet relentless and aggressive style that bands like Dire Omen tend to portray. And along with the chaotic riffs of Rolando, one quickly starts to draw comparisons with bands such as AntediluvianMitochondrion or Heresiarch. The playing style of Rolando, alternating between crushing chugs and trem-picking add to the delight of fans of Grave Miasma or Incantation, leaving one constantly at the edge. On moments where the band decides to take things down a notch in terms of speed and heaviness, they replace it with haunting atmospherics, most obvious on songs like Hemotically Possessed.

The production of Wresting the Revelation of Futility is raw and filthy as fuck, and that resulting cavernous sound of the record reminds one of those atmospheric releases of bands like Pseudogod or even Grave Miasma, with the playing style of Dire Omen. Furthermore, the nice thing is that the bass of Connor is mixed rather high on the record, and his booming bass certainly adds to the already ominous ambient, leaving one feel even more at unease.

Dire Omen‘s Wresting the Revelation of Futility is everything that a record from a genre as such should be – filthy, brutal and unapologetically bestial.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Dire Omen on the internet:
Facebook
BandCamp
Dark Descent Records

Oct 19

Album Review: Black Trip – Goin’ Under

Black Trip - Goin Under

Black Trip [Sweden]
Goin’ Under
2013
Full Length
Steamhammer
Heavy Metal

The breaking out of The Dagger this year with their debut album left me absolutely hooked onto the proto-heavy metal that seems to be the trend of late. A friend then recommended Black Trip to me, remarking how similar they are to The Dagger, and possibly even better. After a long indulgence in The Dagger, I finally decided to take my first listen to Goin’ Under, and boy was I in for a nice ride.

From the first riffs of Voodoo Queen, the similarities between Black Trip and The Dagger are immediately obvious, as the musical style of both bands are a throwback to the era between the 60s and the 80s, ranging from the hard rock of bands like Deep Purple and Rainbow to the early heavy metal of Iron Maiden and the likes. There are even some resemblances to other recent bands such as Ghost as well with that slight psychedelic charm that the band presents throughout the album.

The one thing that particularly stood out for me was Joseph Tholl’s vocals, who for me bore rather striking similarities to the works of Paul Di’Anno and his time with Maiden, especially in the way he belts out the lyrics, like on Radar (and his “yeah, yeah yeah”s). This resulted in the heavy comparisons with the heavy metal legends, and there are moments where Black Trip sounds like what having Paul Di’Anno on a Deep Purple record would sound like. No Tomorrow, with the riffs of Peter and Sebastian easily brings one back to the debut full length of Maiden.

Looking at the lineup of the band, it is hardly surprising how addictive Black Trip was, comprising two members of yet another of my personal favourite heavy metallers, Enforcer. While genre-wise Enforcer and Black Trip may share the same tag, these two bands have managed to stay remarkably different, each presenting a different era of the heavy metal history.

Once again, the Swedes prove their musical prowess. If one were like me, a newly minted fan of The Dagger, and looking for something slightly heavier, look no further than Black Trip and their debut Goin’ Under for a nice fix of early heavy metal.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Black Trip on the internet:
Official website
Facebook
Steamhammer

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