Ensnared (Sweden) – Inimicus Generis Humani — Invictus Productions / Dark Descent

New wave of old school death metal still has something to say.

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Firstly, albeit being Swedish, these cats play true American old school Death Metal in the vein of Morbid Angel and Autopsy. Of course, something of Entombed or Dismember appear here and there but is not the norm.

Second: they make good use of what they have in hand without being a cheap imitation of the bands of yore. They own something original… something that I’ve being saying, it’s very rare nowadays.

That being said, Inimicus Generis Humani is not the utmost essential album, and, despite being a unique band, that doesn’t mean they are creative. That sounds like an oxymoron and maybe they have only themselves to blame.

That’s not to say that the album is terrible, on the contrary, this is just indicated for those who like this type of approach in death metal. How come? They sound all the same except for the third track, that is very earworm called The Throne Of Transformation.

Between 5 tracks of “real music” there are three interludes that honestly doesn’t add anything to the opvs. Last track, the long Black Hole Accolytes, however has the two worlds (the incidental music and the real deal death metal). The track clocks in at 9 minutes.

All in all is a good album but working on the safe side of death metal, with good sound and production, satisfactory delivery, but only serves the most purist fans of old school death metal. Without showing blatant difference between tracks, it fulfils its proposal to bring true death metal to the fore.

Inimicus Generis Humani by Ensnared is going to be available TOMORROW on Invictus Productions / Dark Descent. 

Rating: 7/10


Roderick Totentanz

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Serpent Noir – Death Clan OD – W.T.C.Productions

Serpentine Sensations.

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Formed in 2016 and with their first release in 2010, Serpentine Noir reach their third full-length called Death Clan OD with less than 40 minutes of pure Greek culto!

The band counts with the vocalist Kostas K. from Embrace of Thorns and although that adds lots of fuel to the fire, Serpent Noir is a different demon.

Tackling with the more melodic side of black metal (not symphonic or atmospheric, mind you) with a bit of death metal technique applied to the general formula, this is an intriguing album that is unfathomable  while spinning it for the first time, mainly because they sound Greek (like the names of the past from Hellas) yet original at the same time and that kind of stuff really gets into the listener, at least on the first hearings.

For example, the track Hexcraft creates a myriad of atmospheres that unfurl in front of the audience where the initial riff is very melancholic (yet dirt!) just to go to a syncopate drumming that varies from fast to mid-tempo, and then a strong beating and a blasphemic solo throws one back and the end of the song has a sort of upbeat sound (still dramatic!) being the typical case of the song that starts in one way and ends on another.

On the other hand, a song like Astaroth The Jaws Of Gha’Agsheblah is more insistent on its affirmation of pure evilness, even though having different phrases the great majority of times the tune escapes the mid-tempo (which is present of course) and appeals to a really fast approach.

The last track called GOEH RA REAH Garm Unchained shows a simpler and definitive grasp of their sound summarizing the whole album. Simpler because of some repetitive riffs but with subtle changes of tempo.

There is a fine equilibrium between styles, subtle passages, heavy but melodic approach, which delivers a consistent work that is great both in form and fury.

Death Clan OD by Serpent Noir is out TODAY on W.T.C.Productions.

Rating: 8/10


Roderick Totentanz

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Kawir – Adrasteia LP/CD/TAPE – Iron Bonehead

The Hellenic Gods’ return.

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One of the most epic (if not the most) bands from Greece, Kawir, is back with what may be their boldest album to date: Αδράστεια (Adrasteia).

Comprising of only 6 tracks, one has left wondering how much a black metal band can achieve with their sound in terms of originality. Let me say it: a lot!

The opener Tydeus and its outstanding epic(ness) – even if this word doesn’t exist – leaves no doubt about the grandiose of the album in which there’s not much technicality but a lot of folkloric elements in a good mix to keep it going on and on.

Atalanti, the second track for example, appeals to folk instrumentation to show that the Greek gods are alive. Everything (mainly the drums) are produced with diligence.

The most aggressive track of the album, the third one, called Danaides is the track the shows more elements, a good deal of serpentine solos, different phrases, even if the song per se doesn’t sound too oblique.

One of my absolute faves for sure is Limniades that really throws one back in time. But don’t let the intro wrong you: this is pure black metal heathenism in musical form.

Colchis is totally acoustic as in a song done by Orpheus himself. Beautiful female chants in a metal-free expression of art.

Medea packs the album with a large than life sound and being back to black metal it throws the grimness of the darkest vocals and the impureness of the harsh riffage.

Now that’s an album that is not too complex to understand but it has a good deal of different musical ambiences to permit a time travel. 2020 started well for metal.

Adrasteia is out now on LP/CD/TAPE on Iron Bonehead.

Rating 8/10


Roderick Totentanz

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Cynic and Death drummer Sein Reinert is Dead

The technical drummer was found unresponsive in San Bernardino, California.

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Declared dead on arrival by the crew at a hospital in San Bernardino, Sein Reinert, one of the best death metal drummers ever, left this world on last Friday, 24, but only between 25 and then January 26 the news has been spreading.

Reinert was only 48 years old.

His surreal curriculum includes being one the founders of Cynic along with Paul Masvidal who shared an homage on internet. Along with Sean Malone, the trio recorded the now classic Focus, a complex and jazzy death metal album released in 1993.

Later on, Sean Reinert along with Masvidal joined Chuck Schuldiner’s Death on their seminal technical album Human.

After that the duo returned to their original band, and over again along with Malone they released the original Traced in The Air in 2008. Reinert was the producer of the album as well.

In 2014 the trio recorded the album Kindly bent to Free Us. A year later, on September 10th 2015, the same Sean Reinert declared that the band had finished its activities. Later, on that day Paul Masvidal said the band would continue (with Sean Malone) causing confusion.

Next day, Sean Reinert said the band was a 50/50 partnership with Masvidal, and eventually Sean Reinert came to an agreement with Masvidal, leaving the latter make use of the name Cynic.

Masvidal left an homage to his friend on Facebook:

I am shocked and saddened by the loss of one of my oldest friends. We were karmic brothers, connected by something beyond both of us. So many memories have been flooding my heart and mind. From the moment I first met Sean in junior high school, I knew we had a connection. His gifts were beyond measure, and I’m grateful that we were able to make music together. In the end, all that remains is love, and that’s what I have for Sean. There will never be another one like him. Peace to his family and all of his fans around the world. Listen to Sean play his drums and hear his heart sing.


Roderick Totentanz
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Blot & Bod – Ormekongens Argelist LP/CD (Iron Bonehead)

Primitive Black Metal Fury

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Blot & Blod returns with their sophomore album of pure brutality inside the Korpsånd circle of DKBM.

Brutality and minimalism take control here with their Darkthronish approach of pure black metal dementia. Nothing is so conventional here, except that they take the raw black metal to the next level: although being simplistic, the songs are earworms and the production is not terrible. In another words, it’s not a bedroom project.

Some call their sound punk/black metal, which I do beg to differ. This is pure black metal, but it’s just different for what is has being made in countries like Sweden and Finland. Ormekongens argelist brings the Nordic cult to a level that is not pseudo-epic as some of their Black Metal peers across the globe. That’s what makes this album a very cool experience.

Containing ten tracks mixing desperate bellows, crazy drumming and very concise guitar attack, the trueness of the kind of black metal that Bod & Blod has chosen homes in on delivering evilness in truest level!

This is the kind of opus that black metal maniacs were waiting: forthright massacre, no-frills brutality and absolutely no melodic stuff.

Ormekongens Argelist is out now on LP/CD on Iron Bonehead.

Rating 9/10


Roderick Totentanz

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Witchbones – The Seas of Draugen LP/CD (Iron Bonehead)

The evil sea spirit from Portland.

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Formed in 2018, Witchbones started releasing its records throughout 2019, The Seas of Draugen being the 2nd album, amidst EP’s and demos.

The one-man-band is formed by Vardlokker and the sound is pure brutal and bestial black, black death or blackened death metal if you will.

Although being very short (26 minutes) to be called an album, this opus is worth listening for the high doses of brutality it contains.

Nun Collector starts as a dark ambient intro just to burst forth into an ultra-brutal and ignorant music with unintelligible mega guttural vocals sunken into the final mix. Everything here is low pitched, but one can easily understand the riffs that seem to be recorded in a cavern.

But the great highlight is Ghost Ship with its macabre intro from hell, and after one minute a deluge of low-pitched devil’s music, real deal. The sound of ride cymbal makes me wonder if it’s not a programmed drum but I can’t fathom. The song ends as it had begun, with the same macabre keyboard.

The short The Ritual Continues (We Haunt Ourselves), have a insistent iteration concluding in a crazy drumming (that even more contributes to the doubt of a programed drum). But while some purists may see a terrible mistake in it, I just think it is fun as hell.

The Seas of Draugen brings the true war and satanic tradition of American blackened death metal and if you’re a fan of this style you should listen to it.

The Seas of Draugen is out NOW on LP/CD on Iron Bonehead.

Rating 8/10


Roderick Totentanz

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Shadow’s Mortuary – Kuoleman Portit (Purity Through Fire)

Suomi Finland Svart Metall! Arrrggh!

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This sophomore Shadow’s Mortuary album brings to the fore the great tradition of Suomi Black Metal, and I’m not going to put on an obvious list of super perfect Finnish bands… if you don’t know your Suomi black metal, go fetch some!

But I digress…

A 30-minute 8-track album, Kuoleman Portit is the pure essence of metal in that country: raw, hard, intransigent music of hell!

Opener Sielun Tuhkaa presents the modus operandi of this spectacular infernal opus: perfect Scandinavian riffs following the old school raw tradition of the north, but not with blast beats. This is more hardcore-like although I can’t see that it is some “blackened punk” in any way. This is the real deal black metal example of music. Although very raw in approach, this is not a terribly noisy and nonsense opus as the production is good. The riffs are the great highlight of this album for sure.

Riipus is a little more dramatic, using hissing guitar sound, very simple but efficient approach. For me this is the best song of the album, and even though the vocalist Void uses his native Finnish language, it seems that one can understand the harsh message. Of course, I know nothing about the lingo, but that’s the impression. Great song, really.

Ruoska is another great song and it can be said that it is the mix of Sielun Tuhkaa and Riipus… the dramatic riffage is still there, but this song is a bit faster than the latter. Abyssal sensations are transmitted by the pure hateful atmosphere of the band.

Kuoleman Portit (the title-track) starts with a mid-tempo drumming to over again go to the same modus operandi as before, only that this time around the vocals are different and the guitars are not, well, melodic… The riffs are looser and not so impressive but that’s the deal.

The other tracks are cool but the aforementioned are aces for sure.

All in all, this album is an ode to the true Suomi Black Metal musical tradition in pure infernal metal assault and it’s essential to all maniacs and die-hards of pure orthodox black metal. If you don’t like this album go back to your fashionable bands…

Kuoleman Portit is out now on Purity Through Fire.

Rating 9/10