Thoughts on Obliveon’s Nemesis

May 3, 2015 –

nemesis

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 guitar really catches my ears. 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 can’t find my favorite part when it comes to Obliveon: interesting bass line that is composed in a way in which it is obviously competing for center stage with the two guitars, 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 “low quality song writing and production”. 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 another audio-enjoyment for technical death metal fans, not just stick to what they were good at.

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. So far, after listening to this album for about ten minutes, I found myself being fond of more delicate guitar riff than the first one and its labyrinth of music.

Obscura and Osho

obscura

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

Celebrating Jeff Hanneman

May 2, 2015 –

jeff_hanneman_slayer

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.

Death Is Upon Us death metal compilation planned

April 28, 2015 –

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

Profile: Death Curse Productions (Germany)

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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

Blaspherian reaches milestone in recording new album

April 27, 2015 –

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.”

“Don’t let death metal become death by metal”

April 24, 2015 –

tri-met_operation_lifesaver_-_dont_let_death_metal_become_death_by_metal

Oregon transportation authority Tri-Met is running a series of ads on billboards and posters warning people against the problems of distracted pedestrians, especially those lost deeply in their MP3 players. The campaign includes the above amusing reference to death metal, “Don’t let death metal become death by metal,” although both sound pretty cool to us.

This is not Tri-Met’s first mention of death metal in its public campaigns. It also shows up in writings about riders. If anything, this suggests the Tri-Met people are at least aware enough of death metal to deserve more of it in their lives.

Lady on my bus wearing cute pollyanna dress, white rights, black penny loafers and blasting what sounds like death metal.

If you feel a need to spread some of the death metal awareness, consider contacting Tri-Met by sending a copy of Deicide Legion to this address:

Tri-Met
Attn: DEATH METAL
701 SW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 238-7433

Century Media re-issues Gorguts Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate

April 20, 2015 –

gorguts_-_obscura_and_from_wisdom_to_hate_reissues

Century Media Records has recently re-issued the death metal classics Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate by Canadian band Gorguts. The 2015 editions of these records were created in close cooperation with guitarist and songwriter Luc Lemay, who describes the history and context of these releases in accompanying liner notes. The re-issues are dedicated to the memory of former members Steeve Hurdle (R.I.P. 2012) and Steve MacDonald (R.I.P. 2002).

GORGUTS Obscura (Re-Issue 2015)

  • Gatefold black 2LP
  • Gatefold mint 2LP – limited to 200 copies (only available via CMDistro.com / Europe only – sold out in the US)
  • Gatefold lilac 2LP – limited to 200 copies (only available via CMDistro.com / US webshop only)
  • Gatefold transparent blue 2LP – limited to 100 copies (exclusive to GORGUTS’ current label Season Of Mist)
  • Standard Jewelcase CD (offered at mid-price)

GORGUTS From Wisdom To Hate (Re-Issue 2015)

  • Black LP+CD
  • Silver LP+CD – limited to 200 copies (only available via CMDistro.com / European & US webshop)
  • Transparent red LP+CD – limited to 200 copies (only available via CMDistro.com / US webshop only)
  • Clear vinyl LP+CD – limited to 100 copies (exclusive to GORGUTS’ current label Season Of Mist)

To order:

Molested Blod Draum and Stormvold reissues inbound

April 18, 2015 –

molested_blod_draum_and_stormvold_reissues

The classic releases from pre-Borknagar death metal band Molested will see re-issue on Dark Symphonies Records in their original form. The 2009 re-issues on Galgenstrang Produktionen and Ars Magna Recordings provoked criticism for their modern, compressed and loud sound that some felt reduced the clarity of the original.

Known for being a boutique label that re-issues classic metal releases on vinyl with collector-friendly exclusive packaging, Dark Symphonies Records and its imprint The Crypt have decided to issue the Molested re-releases as jewelcase CDs. These include bonus tracks on Stormvold and will be faithful to the original recordings. Dark Symphonies Records released the following statement:

DARK SYMPHONIES / THE CRYPT is honored to work with Borknagar mastermind Øystein G. Brun to reissue official stand alone CDs of the brutal, classic debut album “Blod Draum” and the classic EP “Stormvold” from the legendary Norse death metal act MOLESTED.

We are proud to announce that we are working directly with Øystein to obtain a wealth of material. “Blod Draum” will include the original film negative of the cover artwork for best visual presentation, unpublished band photos, lyrics and new liner notes. The CD will include the original 1995 studio recording, which was carefully mastered from the original DAT source as well a revised version of the album, which will be remixed by Øystein from the original multi-track studio tapes. This CD is designed after the original 1995 CD release, taking elements from the original layout with attention to detail, even down to the logo and typeface for a touch of nostalgia.

“Stormvold” will include the band’s “Stalk the Dead” and “Unborn Woods in Doom’ demos. Including the original cover artwork, unpublished band photos, lyrics, new liner notes and the original 1997 DAT tape for the Stormvold audio source and original analog tapes for the DEMO audio sources.

“Stormvold” will be presented as a metallic gold printed insert and will be designed after the original 1997 Effigy Productions release, taking elements from the original layout with attention to detail, even down to the logo and typeface for a touch of nostalgia.

No date has yet been announced for these re-issues.

Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni – Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni (2012)

vexilla_regis_prodeunt_inferni_-_vexilla_regis_prodeunt_inferni

To make meaningful commentary on a band like Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni, or any other band walking the old death metal tightrope for that matter, one has to hear them in context with the specific niche in time that their sound occupies. Execute a bit of nifty time-travel in the mind and place the band concerned in the august company that it aspires to keep. Observe if it compares favourably with at least the spirit of the originals in terms of aspects like general coherency in songwriting, perpetual will to forward motion, and, above all else, that ineffable, visceral reaction that only the very best are capable of evoking. Originality in this cloistered paradigm is a disingenuous word; what the avid listener hopes for is a transmission of the same vitality that informed the heyday of this music.

Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni posits no claim to innovation but that is no crime in itself. Incantation, the bread n’ butter of modern death metal, is frequently referenced in the use of flowing tremolo lines plucked from the chromatic scale. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the use of atonality in death metal – it indeed comprises much of the bedrock of the genre – it also becomes something of a cop-out in the hands of lazy bands that lack the creativity required to compose tastefully and in accordance with tradition. Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni aren’t an especially lazy band and are perfectly capable of constructing riffs according to harmonic conventions as heard in the more black metal-inspired sections of this album.

Where Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni falls hard is in arrangement. Songs rarely build up to any kind of crescendo, even compromising whatever momentum may have been built up initially. While any topography consists of peaks and troughs, there appears to be no aesthetic meaning to Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni‘s contours. Riffs rise and fall like waves on the ocean but without any of nature’s geometry, and what results is an album that touts itself as Satanic death metal but feels curiously void of life’s irrepressible energy.