SMR – The Confines of Madness


Kehpa Lehtinen – It is ok to be sad and dark
A regrettably titled EP by a Finnish composer who dabbles in the usual mixture of pop, film music and classical. Much of this short record adheres to the methodology of such a style but there are a few moments of genuine darkness and melancholy due to the disturbing melodies that seem to exist across all forms of Finnish music. Standard piano tropes incorporate small amounts of dissonance while a theremin will usually play the leading voice. The theremin is a difficult instrument to master as it reacts to the slightest movement, meaning that no melody can ever be replicated the exact same way and each individual will always have their particularities as physiques and motor skills vary greatly from person to person. The innate “slightly out of tune” character of the theremin has been toned down here through studio trickery but when used well in conjunction with the more exotic intervals, manages to convey powerful moods. These songs aren’t fully developed and mainly state a few themes without any narrative but show glimpses of potential that such a combination can make. If Kehpa Lehtinen was to forego the easier elements of his music and follow though on the ideas presented here, there could be something very special.

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Perdition Temple – Sacraments of Descension

Gene Palubicki from Angelcorpse notoriety returns with a new album that continues within the tradition of Black metal informed Floridian Death metal. Perdition Temple bring a level of technical acumen that has been denigrated by fans and practitioners of this style in recent years without falling into the pitfalls of Modern metal.

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SMR – Business As Usual


Ulcerate – “Stare Into Death And Be Still”
Riffless Death metal outfit Ulcerate have toned their typically dissonant approach in search of something more akin to Post-Rock as seen by many of the modern “black” metal bands. The shapes of the melodies remain virtually identical to their previous works with just the choice of notes changing to reflect this sudden change. Inquisition like tremolo effects form the “tails” of most of the melodies. While such effects have been used in metal to deliver great results (Iron Maiden – “22 Acacia Avenue”), here they just give the illusion that there is more than what is truly happening. In reality this is a compilation of random ideas shoved together that maintain a certain atmosphere without any actual composition.

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Oath of Cruelty – Summary Execution at Dawn (Dark Descent, 2019)

Guest Article by Belisario

Now that last year is already far behind, I would like to get back to a record featured on very few year-end lists and which, in this writer’s opinion, deserves to be highlighted. Summary Execution at Dawn is the debut album by Houston-based band Oath of Cruelty. Probably due to the fact of it being released in the last month of 2019, it didn’t get all the attention it is worthy of. Emerged from the fertile Texan underground scene and featuring members already seasoned in a broad number of bands, this battle-hardened act launched its first full-length after almost ten years of activity during which the band hasn’t manifestly been idle. The result is a compact and powerful album, which contrary to most modern death/thrash bands is not limited to a constant and simple aggression, choosing instead to develop different approaches and resources in songs that are incredibly varied and brief enough to eschew needless repetitions and excesses.

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Svoid – To Never Return

Svoid are a Hungarian duo hailing from Budapest whose ten year existence has seen the band shift slowly from Black metal towards integrating more and more Rock influences until fully crossing over. While such an evolution is commonplace and the source for various dismal trends, Svoid on the other hand make their intentions clear that they are heavily informed from both genres since their inception and thus provide a combination that is honest and that unlike their peers seeks to integrate the Black metal elements into the heart of the composition rather using them for purely aesthetic reasons.

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