Black Funeral – Scourge of Lamashtu (Iron Bonehead)

Unrelenting black metal dementia.

Black Funeral is a band that is staple of purest and truest USBM (United States Black Metal) and their perseverance in keeping the flame of raw black metal alive is something of note. I mean, what hinders them to be the best BM band from US? Absolutely nothing!

Scourge of Lamashtu is here to prove exactly that: their adamant faith in what people have distorted during the years: finest mix of Rawest BM and some kind of Dark ambient. It’s interesting enough that being a veteran band, they mastered this MO and is not because the term RAW is used here that the band make a shitty sound! No: they are masters in what they’ve proposed so far. Have no doubt of that.

The interludes of abysmal sounds with effects intertwined with purest form of Black metal assault like in the track The Vampyric Rabisu at the Thresh is moving. I mean seriously. To hear the grate musical fracas of the demo tape style of the band still thriving nowadays is not to return back in time. It’s to be jailed in the times of old, like the modernity hasn’t come at all.

The repetitive riff in Seven Udug-Hul along with vocal mix may sound confusing but it’s a pleasure to hear such a rotten black metal sound. Of course, if one hears with attention, the riffs are kinda melodic, and you should be asking yourself: raw or melodic? I’d say both, like in an absconded melody inside the noise. This is not Dimmu Borgir or Carach Angren, forget it!

One of my favorite tracks is Gidim Hul (Bloodthirst of the Demonic Dead) which is also the longest of the album. The atmosphere is harsh and that’s the motive I love this track. So much disgrace and suffering going on! Beautiful. Interesting note: the longer the tracks the shorter they sound. Just saying.

The simplest keyboard announces the end called Pazuzu King of the Lilu-Demons which is a terroristic yet a great track of purest black metal assault.

This album is for the defenders of the faith. Experience made Black Funeral to become a cult beyond the black metal pundits. If you don’t like them you are out of the circle. Period.

Scourge of Lamashtu is going to be out tomorrow via Iron Bonehead on CD and LP formats.

Rating: 8.5/10


Roderick Totentanz

Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares (Blood Harvest)

When USBM goes full Scandinavian mode.

Valdrin is a band from Cincinnati, Ohio, thus a USBM (United States Black Metal) that doesn’t resemble anything an American band. This is their third offer that rips all through European standards.

Plus, although not the most original album per se, this is a newborn classic of Black Metal that even being underground gives a run for the money to Swedish bands like Dark Funeral, Lord Belial and Naglfar, practicing what people call “melodic black metal” which methinks is a deceptive label.

A classic like Exsanguination Tunnels has all the serpentine tracts of an ultra-veteran band without being an imitation and without being progressive and that adds points to the Valdrin sound.

The finest adjustments in the sound of the tune Red Burning Candles of Hatred, has a perfect mix of rhythm guitar reverbs and drum fills from hell while repeating with intelligence the theme of the song without being an oversimplification of ANY black metal outfit out there.

The bona fide “melodic black metal” appears on the excellent track Basilisk of Light that showcases a REAL BAND without being irritatingly poser. No. These are great musician showing their art in a strangely professional manner.

The journey of Down the Oubliette of Maelstrom packs this first-rate album with epic parts like an album recap clocking in at 8:35min. The remarkable vocals are also a distinguishing ingredient in Effigy of Nightmares.

Valdrin is a band that was born in a wrong place. Not that I don’t dig USBM but they sound like they don’t belong to the North America.

Effigy of Nightmares are out now on CD/LP/TAPE on Blood Harvest.

Rating: 8/10


Roderick Totentanz

Canis Dirus – Independence to the Beast – Bindrune Recordings

The other side of the obvious.

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Every time we are challenged to make something out of the black metal that SAYS they put something new, but at the end it is just more of the same. I’ve been told that this band was a mix of DSBM and Atmospheric Black Metal, but life isn’t that simple, you see?

Canis Dirus is a duo formed back in 2000’s in Minnesota, just northwest of Minneapolis and released their first effort in 2009 titled A Somber Wind from a Distant Shore. Granted, it’s something very Burzum-like, European shrieks and all the jive.

A sophomore (and different album) was released not long after.

But you see, eleven years passed since their inception and this time around they bring us their third and definitive release called Independence to the Beast and it’s very tempting to label them as the aforementioned styles at a first spin. Things here are not as it sounds.

Canis Dirus brings to the fore a sophisticated form of black metal which one can call progressive but not so fancy as Norwegians of Borknagar or Enslaved which are great bands but there (are) nothing to do with the ensemble cited here. Things go to a labyrinthine form (thus making it unique) of Burzum and Drudkh. It’s strange because it’s not ambient or atmospheric, or something lazy. It’s something in between that got them some work to create.

The quality of the sound attests to this “new” form of traditional black metal in American lands: the first track is a bona fide black metal attack with difficult to understand lyrics but the second called Father is an ode to the strange, meaning that the sound goes full Swedish mode resounding bands like Skogen or even Stilla. But I insist: it’s not an imitation, it’s just a reference model to give a non-musical dimension to a sound.

By the way it’s hard to fathom the influences of these cats: while the repetitive approach of a 15-minute song called Unyielding may push their sound to something people used to call hypnotic, in this very same tune, things go to utterly aggressive to quiet and oneiric vibes.

But I digress: I can only assure that this is the next chapter in their sound that will make people pay attention to them. Time will tell if this is a natural-born classic. But if it is not, sure the next one will be.

Independence to the Beast is out this Friday, March 6th on Bindrune Recordings in LP, CD and Digital formats.

Rating: 10/10


Roderick Totentanz

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HAVOHEJ – Table of Uncreation (Hells Headbangers)

Paul Ledney is possessed!

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Havohej is the second attack of Paul Ledney in less than one month (the other being the excellent Profanatica album).

Havohej has being doing some really experimental albums with no guitars or basses… Only electronic drums with dark ambient textures in the background, and his voice spewing blasphemies against christ.

I daresay that for me is always sick as fuck and one of the projects that always inspired me.

This time it has something different, and something very simple: it seems that the sound was made by the very same way but it was mastered.

But the sickness is still there: the dementia of God Of All Constellation or the last track Fatir are the greatest examples of this exquisite and marvelous way of doing black metal.

The tribal heaviness of The Black King is second to none as it is the terrible Seven Jinn.. Arrrrghhhh

The first time I’ve heard the latter I was totally devastated by a torrent of vomits and suffering against the bastard Nazarene. I mean, can one get more PRIMITIVE THAN THAT?

Impossible Force was composed by Satan himself… This is extremely destructive.

Table Of Uncreation is another masterpiece of Mr. Ledney and his unhinged creative mind of purest evil and it totally has my vote.

If all the black metal bands were like this, no poser people and impostors would be infiltrated.

Fuck JEHOVAH, all hail HAVOHEJ!

Table of Uncreation is going to be out on CD, LP, TAPE via Hells Headbangers on November 15th. Kill the pirates!

Rating: 9/10


(Roderick Totentanz)

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Byyrth – Cold Autumn Shadows (Iron Bonehead)

Cold Autumn California: The strangest raw black metal of the year.

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Byyrth (another band that is on the bill of Never Surrender II festival that will take place this very weekend –click here for more info) is from California. They make a strange mix of raw black metal and somewhat inverted punk.

If one listens to the first track of the album, Infernal Abomination, it’s if Ramones went from Norway. It’s funny, in a horrible way. Calm down, this is NOT metal punk. It’s still black as fuck and extremely good. It’s just… well different. The screamed vocals are there.

Cold Autumn Shades is the exact opposite. A sad and dramatic song, (never melodic, that’d be an anathema to these guys), with coldish riffs, mid-tempo all the way, bad guitar sound, they are better than the majority of the “depressive” bands around. That’s a good deal isn’t it?

Parasitic Twin has a really strident guitar sound (where the hell did these guys buy their instruments?). A wall of noise renders any attempt to recognize what is being sung useless.

Okay this is not by chance: here is the punk/surf rock again… Of course, of course, in a very black metal manner… At this point is clear that these cats are not very normal black metal fans. The song resounds a black metal crazy ball, something never heard… Well, I dug it. The name of the tune could not be more unappropriated: Sanguitorium.

Now the part I really believe was made in a true but at the same time, lazy way. The final songs of the disc: Archaic Triumvirate and In the Hall of Sacrilege would not be so repetitive have the band worked a little hard in the composition. Some will say that is the truest way to make black metal, I would’nt disagree. But if one analyses the whole, these two songs really takes some points away from the effort.

Cold Autumn Shadows is not the best nor the worst release of the year, neither essential. But it’s the strangest and for sure the most curious one.

Cold Autumn Shadows will be out next Friday (October 18th) in 12″ MLP/MCD via Iron Bonehead.

Rating: 7/10


(Roderick Totentanz)

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ELEGIAC – Pagan Storm – De Tenebrarum Principio

A storm of black laden riffs.. but is it really necessary?

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Elegiac is a product of a modern world. As the music goes unbridled in these days of internet, bands start their own discographies and they produce as long as they want. Some call them prolific.

The fact is that with less time to appreciate whole albums back to back, Elegiac goes against the grain and Pagan Storm (honestly, the only album I’ve ever heard from Zane Young, the only member of Elegiac) can be considerate a good album or a really pain in the ass, depending on one’s mood.

Sure, production-wise, it’s perfect, really, the sound is like a Graveland mixed with Iuvenes, really good mastering, long songs, repetitive riffs and all the brouhaha.

The only different song of the album is the title track that is like a blackened thrash metal statement, but the rest of the album is mid-tempo laden music, monotonous and obscure.

The problem is, in the haste to create a biography/discography and the name for itself, the band forgets they are not Burzum or any other band I cited here. It’s always cool to listen to new bands, but in the case of Elegiac, the band has released countless stuff since 2014! (And YES, I’ve got the word a new album is coming in January!). Who is the fan who’s asking desperately for so many Elegiac releases?

The album clocks in at one hour and I imagine that I should have at least one entire day to stay inside my home listening to the entire Elegiac catalog, non-stop mode.

It’s not that bad, really, but thank you, I have some work to do…

Pagan Storm is out now on De Tenebrarum Principio and can be found as a Limited Digipak on ATFM’s site (the parent label of De Tenebrarum Principio) or in digital sound on Bandcamp


 

(Daniel “Roderick Totentanz” Death)

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Order of the Nameless Ones unveils the date of album. Art and tracking list here!

Iron Bonehead sets the date for the killer release.

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After one demo under their belts, American destroyers Order of the Nameless Ones is doomed to unleashed their debut album called Utter to Me the Word of Wrath under the sing of Iron Bonehead on December 7th (save the date), so expect quality here!

Containing 8 tracks of blackened death metal, and one them (Runes of Cosmic Blasphemy) can be listened to on Soundcloud. Click on this link and feel the pure evil of the upcoming album.

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Tracklisting for Order of the Nameless OnesUtter to Me the Word of Wrath:

1. Aura of Malignancy

2. Runes of Cosmic Blasphemy

3. Look into the Abyss of Dread

4. The Stone that Begs for Blood

5. Depraved Covenant

6. Praise Your Sinister Form

7. Swarming Death Unleashed

8. Utter to Me the Word of Wrath


(Daniel “Roderick Totentanz” Death)

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KOMMANDANT – Blood Eel – ATMF

When hell breaks loose.

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Kommandant is a band that takes no prisoners: their attack is rabid and intransigent. But this time around the American band is working on a new level. A better one.

The first albums, although seem a musical progression of the band, showed a brutal form of war metal championed by bands like Blasphemy and the likes. Now they upgraded their production to a more understandable production: don’t get me wrong, there are more noxious than ever, but instead of sound like of an Ampütator of sorts, they reached a Marduk level.

Of course, nothing here is aping the Swedish band because Kommandant has enough fuel to create their own brand of Black Metal and man, they destroy!

Absolutum is a large intro, while the menace continues on the second track Blood Eel, where nothing happens at first minutes, just to explode in a brutal Black Metal with blasts all over one’s face!

What is the most important thing about this album? The riffs, of course. They get you in the title track and also in the third one called The Struggle: the extended repetition of them makes it easy to understand and to learn the riffs by heart with a few spins, which make this one the best song of the album. It isn’t just simple black metal, the intricacies are there, the difference are in the iterations.

The same happens with the fourth track called Ice Giant that unfortunately is not so cool as The Struggle, but the long phrases are there: clocking in at almost 10 minutes, it’s impossible to not learn the hopes of this song in particular.

Cimmerian Thrust takes a more dramatic turn, of course maintaining the cohesive factor of the album, but with some spoken words in between. The beginning and the final part of the songs preserves the killer riffage.

Aeon Generator with its metaphysic feelings, it’s just like a black hole of madness and extermination: without any doubt, the heavier tune of the album. The blatant and fierce drum attack causes confusion and are indicated only for die-hards of the style. Perfection in destruction.

Finally, the 8-minute long Moon… The Last Man packs the album with a torrent of violent music, the riffs with the drums being the stars over again here.

Maybe it’s difficult to fathom music by just reading about it, and in this particular case I couldn’t agree more. Blood Eel is an album that deserves to be truly listened and it will make the joy of those who can’t get enough of brutal music in their lives.

Bloody Eel is available NOW via ATMF on a 300-unit A5 edition and on 4-panel digipak!


(Daniel “Roderick Totentanz” Death)

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Black Funeral – Ankou and the Death Fire CD/LP – Iron Bonehead / Dark Adversary

Staying true to traditional Black Metal.

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Old is cool and every fucking body knows that. But Black Funeral never betrayed the essence of pure black metal, a thing that is rare in the era of PC shoegaze pseudo-depressive fad. No melodies, no cool production, only the traditional sound from the deep abyss of lo-fi destruction.

With all technology available is impossible to imagine a band that can record something that remembers the old days, but somewhat Black Funeral, the original USBM band managed to do that.

The opener Shadows of Obour is an ode to the atonal rifferama, sunken guitars, no audible bass (if there’s any) and yet it’s an extremely interesting track that develops with gusto for Darkthrone-like style, never-changing tempo and repetitive phrases a là A Blaze in the Northern Sky. A chef d’oeuvre lemme say.

The title track is more like an earworm, but don’t get me wrong, this is as primitive as one can get. The work is a pure destructive invocation from netherworld, with compassed drums, with a puny yet audible ride cymbals.

Another highlight is The Morrigan (Battle Crow) that starts as mid-tempo black metal and explodes itself into a brutal form of primeval black metal.

Black Funeral is alive and kicking, which is rare nowadays, but heck that’s the real deal: amongst one thousand bands claiming they play “black metal” is good to separate the wheat from the chaff. Black Funeral is a premiere band for premiere die-hards, any doubt about that?

Ankou and the Death Fire will be available in LP and CD with different covers on September 9th  on Iron Bonehead / Dark Adversary 


(Daniel “Roderick” Death)

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PROFANATICA – The Curling Flame of Blasphemy (CD, LP, TAPE) – Hells Headbangers

The perfection comes in forms of iteration.

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Profanatica is no strange name for the old cultists and die-hard metallers. They have been around for quite a time although they haven’t achieved the “glorious path” of mainstream propaganda preferring to stay put in the truest underground.

Their 2016 album is the legacy of all the things the band has been working through. Mid-tempo songs, low-pitched vocals, blasphemous invocations, minimal editing, simplest form of songwriting, and yet The Curling Flame of Blasphemy is essential for those who thing they are “evil”.

Ordained in Bile and March to Golgotha are finest samples of low-file production allied with veteran musicianship, to create a simple but extreme efficient form of offensive music.

The track Black Hymna evokes everything primitive, it must be a true inspiration for headbangers of today.

Host Over Cup is a bunch of blasphemous screams in the background like curses from the eternal abyss of destruction.

While Rotten Scriptures continues its binge towards the chasm of desolation, Yahweh Rejected is terminated without edition to give place to Bleed Heavenly Kingdom so my question is: how much primitive one can get?

This album has 10 tracks that are practically identical which I appreciate because if one song pulls my attention, automatically the others do.

 Honestly if you don’t enjoy Profanatica, you can stick to your post-rock joke. Leave the Satanic stuff to real ones.


(Daniel “Roderick” Death)

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