Sorcier des Glaces – Snowland MMXII

snowland mmxii

Artistically bankrupt metal bands typically rerecord their early material after milking the revenue streams dry through reissues, remasters, anniversary tours, and boxed sets. While the original recordings typically aren’t pristine productions, all charm is lost in the sample-replaced, quantized, digitally-reamped, and phase-butchered retreads shat out by an obsessive tinkerer’s digital audio workstation. All enthusiasm in the performances is butchered by years of alcohol abuse and aging journeyman musicians collecting just another paycheck, e.g. Sodom’s The Final Sign of Evil, Manowar’s Battle Hymns MMXI, and Bolt Thrower’s “World Eater ‘94”. Snowland MMXII is one of the few exceptions to this rule of rehash.

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Nokturnal Mortum & Graveland – The Spirit Never Dies (2016)

graveland & nokturnal mortum

Article by David Rosales.

Splits are usually revealing for reasons the bands do not intend. By allowing their music to be placed alongside that of another band in a way that listening to them one after the other is not only encouraged but, in metal culture, almost mandatory, they make comparisons and judgements based on performance differences inevitable. The aim might be to publish a few tracks more efficiently and getting the music to more people since people who know one of the two bands will listen to the other band out of curiosity. The more zealous metal fans, however, are bound to make harsher judgements of anything that is placed too close to the band they follow.

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Sanctuaire – Le Sang sur l’Acier (2016)

Sanctuaire Le Sang sur l’Acier

Sanctuaire hearken back to an imagined Canadian Viking past in the hope of explaining their national hockey skills. Le Sang sur l’Acier presents three black metal songs written in a style similar to their compatriots Sorcier des Glaces but genericized for mass appeal.

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Depressor – Filth / Grace (2014)

Depressor Filth Grace

Article by Lance Viggiano.

In its best moments punk music transcends volk-rage by serving as a cracked mirror reflecting the forlorn realities that industrialization and intangible goal of perpetual progress wrought as this civilization awaited technological rapture to deliver its destiny among the stars. The reflection was always unclear because of its nature as folk music, marred by smudges and dust that lead it to misdiagnose the cause of its own woes. Depressor spiritually and musically channel this ethos while stepping into the well-worn boots of Godflesh resulting in a body of work resides between industrial, doom/death and punk music. The artists understand that heaviness is not merely a novelty or a token, but a vessel.

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Schattenvald – Der Winterkönig (2016)

schattenvald der winterkonig

Article by David Rosales.

As a wave of revivalists of the old metal ways of the late 80s and early 90s assail us with full optimism, we are face with the dilemma of creation of the new through the emulation of that which is no more. From this sincere intent are born projects like Schattenvald who attempt to extend the lessons of the adventurers of more than two decades ago. However, the bar that was raised by those heroes is set higher than even such well-intentioned moderns band can reach.

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Profanatica – The Curling Flame of Blasphemy (2016)

profanatica the curling flame of blasphemy

Article by Lance Viggiano.

Profanatica return with a tuneful reinterpretation of their sophomore album, Disgusting Blasphemies Against God, refined by the sensibilities of the successful Sickened by Holy Host / The Grand Master Sessions EP compilation. The band presents a newfound confidence in ambient noise by using amplifier feedback as its own instrument in a more integral fashion than previous releases. The Curling Flame of Blasphemy opts for a slow burn approach where literal variations in tempo are suggestive rather than experienced. The result is ceremonious yet there is no culmination of the ritual, no climax; the whole procession ends on a dour note which does not feel conclusive regardless of its efficacy.

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Demonic Slaughter – Dark Paths to Catharsis (2015)

demonic slaughter

Article by David Rosales.

Dark Paths to Catharsis an album clearly intended to be atmospheric black metal, perhaps even a little too intentionally. Its method is of the so-called ‘melodic’ type, describing long, simple melodies played with tremolo picking, a backing power chord guitar, supporting bass, and mid-paced double-bass drums. The vocals are not entirely screeches though, being more a sort of angry dad-rock that is only mildly raspy in style. There are two major problems with the orientation and the structure-building method in Dark Paths to Catharsis: first of all, it is style-oriented; second, it replaces order with feeling.

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