Exhumation – Opus Death (2015)

EXHUMATION - Opus Death - cover

When receiving descriptions of new releases from labels, one can read all sort of outrageous and preposterous claims on par with “the beginning of a new era in metal”, “unprecedented innovation”, “I’m tougher than Vladimir Putin” or “We went to Afghanistan to bring democracy to the people”. It wasn’t all that surprising, then, to read the first introductory line and find that young Indonesian band Exhumation was being hailed as a classic. I rolled my eyes at this and proceeded to get my face punched.

Exhumation plays a violent proto-black metal in the vein of Sarcófago and an aftertaste of Blasphemy. I will stress that they play in the vein of those bands. But they escape the clone-curse and give the listener a familiar but altogether new and original experience. As underground metal styles death and black have moved well past the initial stages of formation and definition, most bands have turned to simple rehashing or attempts at innovation. Unfortunately innovation is often perceived superficially. We should talk about progress and not innovation, which is often confused with novelty. I would not hesitate to call this album true progress. Albeit a conservative, cautious progress in this particular style.

Opus Death, a silly title which made me seriously doubt the album at first, is Exhumation’s second album. Exhumation understand the language and are proficient users of the same, knowing how to formulate their own statements. Not only are they original in what they say, but they also learn from the classics by avoiding their errors and carefully expanding where there is potential to expand. Ideas and the riffs they span let the listener become familiar with them as is required in the black metal tradition, but they do not overstay their visit nor overstep their roles. Transition riffs are adequately unstable and work effectively with drum patterns to create the gasping effect so that the listener can breath before the music goes on, unrelenting.

Both highly chromatic, Slayeresque solos as well the simple, rough and tonal melodies make an appearance in the record without sounding disparate in any way. The balance of taste and style always carefully preserved. Much can be said of the placing of the solos which is always optimal and contributing to the emotional upheaval they cause within the emotional predictability of this kind of music.

Another feature of this album that should not be overlooked or underestimated is the use of piano and guitar interludes right at the middle and at the end of the album, respectively.  It is hard not to draw a parallel with Blessed are the Sick, but I am willing to venture and say that as to their contribution to the album as a whole, they are much more powerful and relevant in Opus Death. Both beautiful in their minimalist rendition of the harmonic skeleton behind the ripping black metal of the band, they contrast the slaughtering slashes of the rest of the album and serve as inverted climaxes.

Trying to praise this as uncompromising is an insult to Exhumation. Rather, the mature and sensible compromises Exhumation incurs in are what account for the steady and sure steps of their music. It might be too soon to call it a classic, but it sure feels like one. Far from naive or wanting in any technical respect, Opus Death shows us that even though traditional and true underground metal may be difficult to carry on whilst being original, it is not impossible, but we need to look beyond juvenile feelings of rebellion to do so. Metal is not young anymore, act accordingly.

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Centinex releases Redeeming Filth

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2015’s Redeeming Filth
, the successor to World Declension (2005), was recorded at Amplified Studios and mixed & mastered at Garageland Studios by Ronnie Björnström (Aeon) during the spring of 2014. Album cover has been created by Twilight 13 Media (At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Darkthrone).

Tracklist:
01. When Bodies Are Deformed
02. Moist Purple Skin
03. Death Glance
04. Stone Of Choice
05. Unrestrained
06. Bloodraze
07. Without Motives
08. Rotting Below
09. Dead, Buried and Forgotten
10. Eye Sockets Empty

Line-up:
Alexander Högbom – vocals
Sverker Widgren – guitars
Martin Schulman – bass
Kennet Englund – drums

The album  is available in: digipack CD, digital format, black vinyl, limitedbrown vinyl and digital formats.
CD/LP/TS/LS:
http://tinyurl.com/CentinexOrder

Digital copies (via Bandcamp):
https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/redeeming-filth

Follow the band:
https://www.facebook.com/Centinexofficial

Agonia Records:
http://agoniarecords.com
https://facebook.com/agoniarecords
https://twitter.com/agoniarecords
https://soundcloud.com/agoniarecords
http://youtube.com/AgoniaRec

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Centinex reveals “Moist Purple Skin” video and announce summer dates

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Centinex has revealed the music video for Moist Purple Skin, from their upcoming album titled Redeeming Filth.

The band will perform a short string of selected dates this summer, including the following festivals:

12.06 2015 ROM – Bucharest – Metalhead Meeting Festival
26.06 2015 GER – Protzen – Protzen Open Air
10.07 2015 CZE – Trutnov – Obscene Extreme Festival
25.09 2015 SWE – Hultsfred – Mörkaste Småland Festival

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Classical String Quartets for the death metal fan, a first look

circa 1800:  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827), German composer, generally considered to be one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition.  (Photo by Henry Guttmann/Getty Images)shostakovich01

The purpose of this series is to present the death metal fan (and by extension, the death metal writer/artist/composer) with a look into great classical string quartets that evoke the same violent and stark atmosphere that is typical of death metal.

The metal fan is encouraged to look beyond superficial parallels or differences so that he realizes how these string quartets by master composers developed into a cornucopia of expressions, patterns and details. I wish this would also be an aspiration or at least an inspiration for the artist (or would-be artist) that has the chance of reading it.

Another good reason to listen to string quartets in general is that they tend to express a more sincere and private facet of the composer while also being a test to his prowess in composition.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Op. 133, Grosse Fuge

Originally written as the last movement of his Op. 130, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, this massive movement was once commented on by Stravinsky saying that it is “an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever.”. Stravinsky was referring to the absolute character of the music and its jarring disparity with temporal conventions.

 

Dmitry Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 10 in A flat, Op. 118

The well-known dark personality of Shostakovich’s compositions comes through in distilled and intensified manner in his string quartets. In here we find a mature Shostakovich channeling visions of a personal hell. We can imagine his will to fight through and see the light at the end of the tunnel despite facing terror and dread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ven7hHpd_KU

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Thoughts on Obliveon’s Nemesis

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The first album by the virtuoso technical death metal Obliveon, From This Day Forward, is a highly recommended release. Intricate and sophisticated guitar riffs along with clear, bright, shining bass grooving lines that are not just the echo of the guitars really catches my attention. The whole album is evocative, setting the epitome for technical bands today.

Which brings me to the following considerations. I turned down the second album, Nemesis a few days ago merely because I couldn’t find what I liked when it came to Obliveon: interesting bass lines that are composed in a way in which it is obviously competing for center stage with the two guitars. All without being too boasting, or too technically-oriented for the sake of showing off.

This is the reason why I love From This Day Forward.

With disappointment and bewilderment, I judged Nemesis as an album of low quality song-writing. But after I went through the whole album again, I realized this conclusion was just naive and ridiculous. We can’t just say Nemesis lost the spirit and the original intention of the band, but more specifically that they worked on a different dimension to explore how the sound of Obliveon could go on.

You can hear more complicated and fantastic guitar riffs which are connected tightly together in the way of unprecedented reach. Of course, undoubtedly, the bass parts in Nemesis are not as catchy and flexible as before, ending up being the echo of the guitars. This apparently unreasonable (I assumed they would carry this character on forever) change even made me check whether the line-up was preserved between the two albums. But by appreciating the more sophisticated guitars that make you catch your breath at every moment, this album succeeds in bringing an intense experience for technical death metal fans..

Unfortunately, their second album does not seem to bring the same feeling of overall fulfillment as From This Day Forward. Maybe I did not explore or experience the album thoroughly, failing to catch what Nemesis is supposed to deliver as a whole.

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Obscura and Osho

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If, like me, the reader has also purchased the latest reissue of Gorguts’ Obscura, he will find that the booklet’s back side is graced by the following quote by Osho:

The journey is long and the path is pathless and one has to be alone. There is no map and no one to guide. But there is no alternative. One cannot escape it, one cannot evade it. One has to go on the journey. The goal seems impossible but the urge to go on is intrinsic. The need is deep in the soul.

Although definitely not typical of a 1990s death metal record, these lines describe the drive that produced this almost accidental album. But aren’t all such savant releases at least partially accidental?

The spiritual and existentialist atmosphere that this quote evokes actually reflects the nature of the album as a whole and are in perfect alignment with its lyrics.

Some metal albums have beautiful lyrics accompanying the music. But the best albums bring sound and word together to shape a living entity that takes lodge in man’s heart.

Latest being drowned
In fictive degradation
Coming depression revolved
Around an Earth
Nostalgia excludes the whole

As spleen takes over me
Resound, the echoes of my threnodies
And then the fact of being
Has no longer meaning
The hymns of light
They’ll sing once I’ll be gone

Reverie appears cause
Existence collapse

Nostalgia
Sadness shall obnuilate

Sadness, feels, the desolated

Desperately lost within
Lament, pain and misery
The more lies burden lives,
The more I am dying
The realm of light
I’ll reach once I’ll…

Latest feeling drowned
In lucid contradiction
Coming relation revolved
Around a heart
Nostalgia excludes the whole

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Celebrating Jeff Hanneman

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Today, May 2, in 2013 founding Slayer guitarist and composer Jeff Hanneman died.

During his brief tour of planet Earth, Hanneman fused the boundaryless songwriting of hardcore punk with the riff-based narrative ideas of heavy metal, producing what became an important template for all metal to follow. Punk, by reducing music to modal strips which fit within a percussive framework instead of accentuating it, and metal, with its phrasal tendencies that required internal dialogue between the riffs, gave rise to a new language with the first four Slayer albums which were mostly composed by Hanneman.

His music also took on a different form because of its perspective on the modern world as exhibited in both sound and lyrics. In his eyes, modern life became not a struggle for technology and politics to dominate the beast within, but a mythological conflict between what humans desire is true and project upon the world and a hidden layer of realistic truth in denial of which humans — and human civilization — self-destruct.

For these innovations, and the spirit that caused them, many of us feel indebted to Hanneman and honored to celebrate his art:

Having someone like you to lay down a realistic but transcendentally imaginative view of the universe really helped. I will never forget, and I am certain I am not alone. You spent your days reprogramming the cosmos with fiendish guitar riffs and that has made all the difference. Even though we never knew each other, in a way, we were best of friends.

This second of May, celebrate Jeff Hanneman not only with his music, but by carrying forth his legacy of clear-sighted realism matched to transcendental mythology, in all that you do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es5nlvCuQPA

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Death Is Upon Us death metal compilation planned

death_is_upon_us_compilation

The German zine Legacy – The Voice From The Dark Side plans to release a death metal compilation entitled Death Is Upon Us featuring cover artwork by infamous death metal artist Mark Riddick.

The first 14 tracks from this compilation feature bands from Dark Descent Records:

Thevetat
Morpheus Descends
Horrendous
Blood Incantation
Spectral Voice
Grave Ritual
Divine Eve
Father Befouled
House of Atreus
Imprecation
Blaspherian
Weregoat
Ritual Necromancy
Ghoulgotha

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Profile: Death Curse Productions (Germany)

death_curse_productions_-_2015_logo

Death Curse Productions represents the new wave of smaller underground labels who are targeting niches within the mainstreamed post-underground instead of trying to drop out from the methods used by normals to exchange music. Despite offering some unconventional formats, Death Curse Productions keeps its offerings accessible to the world at large, as if daring them to look underneath the mantle of normalcy and discover the twisted, weird and alienated…

When did Death Curse Productions (DCP) get started, who started it, and what was your intent?

Death Curse Productions was founded in the year 2013 A.B. by two individuals who felt the urge to uphold the traditions of Black Metal.

The main intent behind the label’s activities was, is and always will be to create strictly limited pieces of music we approve to be worth the attention. DCP’s work concentrates on the production of quality releases in every way, be it musical, spiritual, visual or concerning design in general.

Mainly it’s quality above quantity, as nowadays the so called Black Metal ‘scene’ is all about putting out shitty releases of shitty sideprojects on a daily basis.

What type of music do you cover, and what do you do? Will this expand in the future?

We don’t determine an exact style as long as the music or the band matches our philosophy. In this case the essence of our philosophy is the glorification of death itself.

We canalize the music onto analogue media to preserve them against extinction. For now the focus is on tapes but that shall not set a restriction for what we do in the future.

In other words expansion is something we highly strive for.

Do you think underground metal is still relevant in the days of post-metal, indie-metal, jazz-metal and modern metal?

Today, in a time where those genres reached their peak of popularity, they managed to take the original values from the metal music itself and turn them into something completely depraved. The music was originally intended to be violent, raw, sinister and dangerous, instead people went forth and created something clean, peaceful and enjoyable, only in order to attract a tasteless mass of lambs and accumulate money.

Concerning the underground, especially Black Metal is declared to be dead by a lot of people, yet there’s a black flame still being kept burning by a small amount of certain individuals, who preserve the underground from being swallowed by trends and who put all their passion and devotion into creating music following the old path.

What are your favorite bands in the underground metal genres?

This is not a question we want to answer, as opinion-making is for the weak-minded, whose taste is defined by trends.

Of course there are undeniable classics everyone should be aware of, as well as some so-called newcomers who stand out in a way, they contrast from the common stuff.

If people are interested in what DCP does, where do they go for more information and/or how do they contact you?

Whoever is seriously interested in DCP, should contact us by mail.

For any updates visit the blogspot page or facebook.

Death Curse Productions 2014 releases:

DCP001 – KILL (Swe) “Inverted Funeral” tape

Yet to be released in 2015:

DCP002 – BALMOG (Esp) “Testimony Of The Abominable” tape
DCP003 – BALMOG (Esp) “Svmma Fide” tape
DCP004 – ILLUM ADORA (Ger) “Demo MMXV” tape
DCP005 – ACRIMONIOUS (Gre) “Purulence” tape

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Blaspherian reaches milestone in recording new album

blaspherian_-_band_photo_-_october_2014

Texas cult primitive occult death metal band Blaspherian has recorded five tracks for its upcoming Reborn through the Black Flames of LuciferLP/CD and another single track for a 7″ with another band, the band said Monday. This release will follow the triumphant Upon the Throne…of Eternal Blasphemous Death 7″, the 2014 release of the bands demos and 2011’s Infernal Warriors of Death.

Known for its raw and subterranean sound, Blaspherian won over converts with its 2007 full-length Allegiance to the Will of Damnation but has continued to hone and intensify its songwriting since that time despite having to overcome numerous lineup changes and other impediments. The story continues, as the band added to its statement: “Two more [tracks] and we are ready to record.”

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