Possession Ritual – Incense of Opened Gates (2011)

possession ritual - the incense of opened gates

Article by Anton Rudrick.

German ritual black ‘n’ roll band Possession Ritual released a full-length going by the name of Incense of Opened Gates, with striking artwork by Ars Leprosa in the year 2011 through Nihilward Productions. A note is made that the music itself was written and recorded in 2006. Being one of those limited editions which are rather hard to come by and probably also partially hidden away from the unworthy prying eyes of mundane minds, the author has only been able to listen to two pieces from the album. Hence, all commentaries and reflections upon the band’s work can be traced to perceptions of these exclusively. It will be useful to meditate upon a holistic impression of the band as an entity, and to take each of those to tracks to task separately, to finally arrive at a judgement of the musical work as manifested result of a series of evocations.

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Goatcraft – Yersinia Pestis (2016)

goatcraft - yersinia pestis

Article by Lance Viggiano.

Arpeggiated minor chord melancholy culled from or composed during belligerent improvisational tirades given body by a sluggish left hand approximating power chords to provide the work a lattice to the traditions of metal. Yersinia Pestis abstains from its predecessor’s thematic coherence – an accident of writing what were essentially cover songs of a famous painter – to make marked but mishandled improvements in its individual presentations through tuneful reprisals of established Goatcraft trademarks. The dependence upon staccato and arpeggio retain the artist’s characteristic stiffness in execution which blemishes through its brutishness.

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Initial Impressions of Serpent Ascending – Ananku

serpent ascending - ananku cover

Article by Anton Rudrick.

Following a tradition of Finnish death metal, Serpent Ascending first proved its allegiance to the old stream of thought on The Enigma Unsettled. The project stood out as possessing that rare gift that grants vision past forms and into the value therein encased as dormant power, codified, awaiting a worthy hero who can pull the Sword from the Stone. While using techniques and musical structures that are well-known, interesting counterpoint and chant-like melodies can be seen in that first album, inserting them in between more conservative power metal riffs that were eerie enough to belong to occult death metal but also displayed a penchant for memorable phrases. Five years have elapsed since then, and several Desecresy albums have seen the definition and reaffirmation of that band into a distinctly esoteric style. Many were keenly expectant upon the future of Serpent Ascending.

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Intolitarian: Of Gas Masks & Gimp Suits

intolitarian antichrist kramer

Article by Lance Viggiano

Intolitarian is the work of a singular person who polemically positions himself as an artistic paragon standing on the opposite end of a polarity between retro-rehash, imported heaps of plastic and bad Xeroxes. Amidst such a landscape and armed with powerful rhetorical golden guns, he is able to churn out effort after effort which communicates nothing and everyone knows it. Like war metal, which similarly has nothing to say, criticism is parried through a simple maneuver: those who call this spade a spade simply cannot handle how extreme it is for it is certain that this work stands on the precipice of a new aesthetic era that will make death and black metal look like nursery rhymes. This defensive posture is of course a variation of the oft repeated, “You don’t understand” that is used by insular communities and critics to accomplish little more than convince the user of their own superiority where every induced eye-roll reduces to signals of ones own status as a martyr for good taste.

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Abigail – The Final Damnation (2016)

Abigail - The Final Damnation - cover

Article by Johan P.

The Final Damnation could be Abigail’s most worthwhile release since their sleazy blackened speed metal debut Intercourse and Lust twenty years ago. After tons of insipid punk/speed metal releases, more vicious black metal elements have once again made their way into Abigail’s repertoire.

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Wintersun Finally Finishes Time II

jari wintersun

Article by Ludvig Boysen.

Wintersun has finally finished the second half of their 2012 album Time I. Jari Mäenpää, the composer and founder of the band, announced the record was finally finished and will be released “sooner or later.” Mäenpää crowdfunded an entire new home studio and sauna to complete the record. Wintersun released their self-titled debut album in 2004 which became a hit among lower testosterone fans of power and Gothenburg metal due to Wintersun’s use of death metal and black metal technique. In 2012, after years of delay, Wintersun released half of their second album, called Time I which was the first half of the upcoming Time II.

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Experiencing Chasmic Transcendence

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Article by David Rosales. This review is written on behalf of Akherra Phasmatanás, who so graciously bequeathed his own copy of the album so that its value as a promo investment by the band would not go to waste. He lost his harddrive and the review shortly before completion. Too busy later on and out of metal-reviewing circles, he asked David to review it on his behalf and to officially mention this copy came from him so that the band know he didn’t just drop the ball on them.

It is customary to start off a review of a Finnish death metal band by stating that they are Finnish. This generally carries a tacit implication that the band in question adheres to the particular sound developed more than two decades ago in albums like AmorphisThe Karelian Isthmus and DemigodSlumber of Sullen Eyes. Such a useful hint, carrying so much information for those familiar with regional old school death metal distinctions, only takes one so far and while satisfactory to the casual customer, does little for the serious listener looking forward to knowing what sets Desecresy apart and what they bringing to the table.

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The Difficulties of Folk Metal: Part II

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Article by Johan P.

This text is a continuation of the previously published article, The Difficulties of Folk Metal. As stated in Part I, the threefold aim of this multi-part article is, in rough terms, to: 1. Give a short introduction to the subject, 2. Point out some of the difficulties connected with integrating folk music into metal and finally, 3. Provide alternative methods of integration. Part II will be dedicated to the second part of this quest.

Naturally, there are limits regarding the scope of my endeavor – the most obvious demarcation being that the article primarily focuses on Swedish folk music. In my view, the critique of folk metal is an ongoing project, and this article should not be seen as an exhaustive treatment of the subject at hand.

So, if someone else out there finds the subject interesting, you are more than welcome to make contributions. It could be in the form of additional material (metal or folk related) and complementary ideas to enhance the project. For example, the depth and applicability of the arguments presented below would surely benefit if the scope could be expanded to include other forms of traditional music.

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