Cóndor – Sangreal (2016)


Condor again present a wholesale blending of death metal, classical guitar, folk, and progressive rock influences into epic heavy metal songs rather than pretending instrumental masturbation is intelligent like Dream Theater or that alternative rock with power chord chugging and a couple angular or dissonant riffs is metal like Bolzer. On Sangreal attempt to convey the romanticism behind the Arthurian legend, particularly the grail cycle concerning Percival or Galahad restoring fruit and flower to the desolate Waste Land rendered infertile by the sins of the maimed and emasculated Fisher King.

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Ossuary Insane – Possession Of The Flesh (2016)

Article by Lance Viggiano.

A few years ago a mallcore band named Waking the Harbinger posted demo tracks on Metal Archives. The music was assailed by regulars whose corrective actions coerced the young upstarts into adopting a formulaic approach to Malevolent Creation and Cannibal Corpse tier artistry. Ossuary Insane play relentlessly empty upgraded pizza parlor speed metal with all the bells and whistles of intensity innovated by that movement within the metal tradition.

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Demoncy – Faustian Dawn (1993, reissued 2016)

Article by Lance Viggiano.

A minor boost- so as not to be outdone by diminishing financial returns – in fidelity reveals that the tonal direction which Demoncy would use to conjure the singularity known as Joined in Darkness had begun to break through the thin trebly aether early on. Faustian Dawn sees a young mage wielding uncharacteristic competence during its initiatory rites; though not without a share of exuberant amateurism. Drawing from the tomes of Von, Beherit and Profanatica – the track “As Tears of Blood Stain the Altar of Christ” makes an appearance here re-titled – Demoncy finds itself offering a unique vision which recalls primordial humans cloaked by tawdry rags locked away from evolution by a compulsory participation in invocatory rites amidst humid rather than the more characteristically frigid backgrounds.

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Frontschwein Folly

Article by David Rosales

Marduk has never, with the exception of the laudable Opus Nocturne, boasted of a deep mystical aura imbuing their music and has rather been known for the sonic onslaught which is their music. The present work sees a band that appears to have long settled for a style and seem content to reproduce it for the benefit of an expecting audience. That is, a very palpable pop mentality has settled in, even if the music has not completely degenerated in form. The artistic vision nonetheless has affected, as is the rule, the manifested aesthetic of the music, and will predictably continue to corrode its quality as it has been doing for the past twenty years or so.

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Gorgoroth – Instinctus Bestialis (2015)

Article by Anton Rudrick.

One clear sign that a band’s direction is compromised can be seen through unity of style. In this case, we see Gorgoroth lacking a clear voice of their own, in place of which Instinctus Bestialis offers three main ways of constructing sections and a rather pop-oriented way of building whole songs. The first is a bare bones neoclassical melodic method using two guitars, which is an interesting addition to traditionally more modal and harmonically chromatic genres such as death and black metal. Due to the foreign nature of these, the incorporation can be quite delicate and ought to be treated with the utmost care. The second is a collection of standard modern metal tropes ranging from the rhythmic intonations of deathcore with a low-string chug riff, probably inherited from the most prosaic speed metal. Last is the most important of the three in a rather unexpected choice in anthemic heavy metal, which happens to be the customary choice for commercial metal acts which have become barren of inspiration and direction.

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Sodom – Decision Day (2016)

Article by Anton Rudrick.

Now that a thorough overview of Sodom’s career has been completed, and a short analysis from that overview has provided us with new insights, we can be more confident in our evaluation of their new album, Decision Day, in a way that allows us to tentatively explain the origin of its strengths and faults. This becomes especially useful with an album displaying averageness on all levels, showing no prominent ideas that distinguish it neither in the abstract nor the actualized, and furthermore, certainly not being more than the sum of its parts. The situation is one in which all that remains are the references that these streamlined and pre-fabricated pieces meant in their original contexts, and how this commercial product attempts to play on them for maximizing revenue.

Sodom has earned a solid reputation among the metal crowd through the years. Most fans of the metal underground will probably have heard about Sodom, or that of Tom Angelripper, and will express respect at the mere mention of either name. Their newest album displays traits which one would associate with their own brand of speed metal (a.k.a. thrash metal, incorrectly dubbed), but these seem filtered through mannerisms borrowed from styles acquired over the last two decades and a half while Tom Angelripper explored the mainstream side of metal. Decision Day is catchy, and every step and turn is a hook optimized for comprehensibility and mass consumption.

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Gridlink – Longhena (2014)

gridlink longhena cover

Longhena is grindcore that is actually musical. Takafumi Matsubara (Mortalized) became the sole guitarist after Orphan and brought a longer, more narrative, heavy metal sense of songwriting to Gridlink’s hyper proficient blend of their musical influences. The riffing varies from post-hardcore chord progressions to New Wave of British Heavy Metal harmonies of the type originated by Thin Lizzy. Somewhat shocking for a grindcore band not Carcass or Bolt Thrower, Matsubara actually progressive his riffs to tell short narratives in short, cyclical compositions varying from one to three minutes in length, usually climaxing in a bittersweet, often melancholic solo. The drumming is blasting, inspired, and semi-tasteful, with fills that feel almost as if they are about to go off the rails but return to be properly enslaved by the riffing. Vocals are reminiscent of Assuck with lyrical topics ranging from nuclear holocaust to anime and lamentations of the destruction of the player-controlled spaceship in shoot ’em up arcade game. All melodically and lyrically reflect upon listeners certain Buddhist mental concepts of the emptiness, nothingness, and meaninglessness of human existence and suffering.

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Itzamná – Maldito Predicador (2016)


Article by Anton Rudrick.

Originally babtized as Amerindio at its time of conception in 2014, the project today known to us as Itzamná presents us with one of the forms of Thrash that are most authentically crude. This flows from an inner knowing of violence and adversity which foundation upon personal experience can alone provide. As per Thrash tradition (not to be confused with Speed Metal, also known as “Thrash Metal” in less versed circles), Itzamná channel the spirit of hardcore punk through the phrase-like riffcraft of underground metal. This lends a more apocalyptic character and a bloody thrust to the music in the form of heaviness that it would otherwise be remiss to lack, given the unapologetic finality of the propositions to be found herein.

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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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