During black metal’s most creatively fertile period in the early 1990s, a handful of Greek musicians forged an alternative musical path noticeably different from that of their Nordic peers. Their efforts would subsequently crystallize into the Hellenic black metal sound or style.
Sombre Doom is the new EP from Dead Congregation. The riffing is in the same Immolation and Incantation style with simple but effective variations as on their past releases while the production is a less compresssed version of Dead Congregation’s prior album, Promulgation of the Fall, some of The Best Underground Metal of 2014. Thankfully gone are the cheesy Kerry King style leads and guitarists AV and TK have markedly improved the song structure.
Death Metal Underground contributor Max Bloodworth has edited, mixed, and mastered the cassette tapes of the Peckerwood Boys’ review of Metallica’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct for our loyal readers enjoyment.
2016 has been a dismal year for metal in terms of albums one might want to carry with them for the rest of their aimless and futile material embodiment. Fortunately, other genres are not so bereft of endearing symbolic language. Kretchmer is an electro composer who draws from the “braindance” acid of middle period Aphex Twin and the romantic melodic sensibilities of Kraftwerk. Each track possess an underlying narrative whose structure reveals itself via the gradual buildup of layers to a moderate density. A primary motif is looped or varied upon through the course of a given track. To further fill space, chords occupy the background and often provide a resolve to the melody as it cycles. Par for the course for this music, the drum and synth bass tracks play with the open space in between musical themes and function as harmonic rather than strictly rhythmic components. The emergent polyphonic circuitry pays tribute to classical sensibilities but eschews the theatrical; drawing instead from the grounded drama of the moving body.
Prior releases from Antaeus displayed an alien weltschmerz like an outsider looking into the world and finding nothing of value. It had an air of royalty as well as an air of embarrassment in its simplicity. Intuitive destruction of an end-in-itself, the music delivered a perspicacious view of the bleakness embodied in the microcosm and macrocosm, with the nature of man clinging onto its pitiful existence. Ultimately the value of such an inquiry is in the unraveling of itself to the threshold of exhaustion, then being untoward to the world-as-it-is as its conclusion. Such bold statements of violence to humanity and to the self led to its unique logogenesis which thrusted them above most of their peers as a more realized and apt style of music like Von. Antaeus had the face of an outsider in a sea of complacent faces.
Deathspell Omega return with another uninspired and uninspiring record entitled The Synarchy of Molten Bones. Their last record, Paracletus, was built on a foundation of Voivod-lite chords executed with the alt metal sensibilities of The Dillinger Escape Plan. In an effort to build ambience, additional guitar tracks would attempt to produce a microtonal effect without actual production of microtones; just more dissonance. These techniques were then deployed over pop-leaning melodies which become pronounced should one decide to hum the otherwise atonal morass.
Tarnkappe‘s Winterwaker (“Guardian of Winter” in English) is another Dutch black metal album aiming to extend the victories of the old forward into a modern world deluged with genericized and masqueraded jingle rock. Most modern black metal recordings consist of typical verse chorus verse hardcore punk songs with occasional tremolo-picked, hopefully minor key riffs and raspy vocals to differentiated it from the punks with their spiky hair and Sharpie-drawn straight edge Xs in the same way that modern opposing political parties mostly present two sides of the same leftist coin merely aiming the public towards financially catering to differing oligarchic leagues. Tarnkappe, a duo composed of members of Kaeck and Kjeld, aim to bury the bodies of the mainstream-media promoted black ‘n’ roll and “war metal” themed crossover thrash groups in an unmarked, shallow mass grave in the forest-tundra.
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.
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.
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.