† And then the Curse swept the Earth

quinta-feira, 31 de maio de 2012

Azoic "Gateways"

Here is one of my recent and amazing discoveries, i totally lost track of a good handful of albums while i was abroad, and on one of my music updates i found this. Thanks to JGD over at the unachievable The Living Doorway, who's recent blogging spree has overrun every single music related blog on the planet, and how i envy you for finding this.

What an amazing album this is. Coming out of nowhere, arrives simply one of the most devastating albums for the year. And from where you might ask? From Iceland. At this point, if you're a regular blogger follower of FxC or over at the social-snitch-for-the-masses aka Facebook, you know I'm a sucker when it comes to Icelandic black metal. Coming from one of the most restful countries in the World, Azoic are a band formed by two members coming from the icelandic extreme music background from bands such as Atrum, Beneath & Offerings. "Gateways" is the debut album from Azoic, and it just took me like 20 seconds of it to realize that this was some serious and powerful stuff. One very serious candidate for those end of the year Lists, winner for the "Revelation of the year" award maybe. Every single aspect on this album is excellent, starting from the artwork that basically sums up what you're about to hear; a great sound production; great song structure and powerful performances. The album opens with "Apeiron", an authentic blast of black/death metal that will suck you straight into this frozen portal of icelandic terror, the influence of the, let me call it, neo-classical black metal from Deathspell Omega is more than obvious on Azoic's sound, but unlike his icelandic brothers, it also carries that avant-garde, progressive side that we can find in this new black metal generation like Dodecahedron for example. The songs once again have each one, their unique personality which i enjoy the most on a record, because it makes, i don't say all of them, but at least makes a big part of the tracks, memorable. The riffs on "Gateways" are powerful enough to open breaches from one side to another of the Earth, and that allied with the intense and devastating drumming and that growling and demoniacal voice, it goes beyond your darkest thoughts. No matter what side we look into this beast in, what we'll get is always this malevolent, transcending, powerful black metal that will blow you into smithereens. Amazing, amazing album. Highly Recommended! Be sure to follow Azoic here.

terça-feira, 29 de maio de 2012

Whorls "Demo"

Perishing from the same malady that affects their fellow country mates, Hexis and other-newly acts like Ajuna (from whom i already talked about here) are Whorls. Whorls started as a "non-serious" sideproject to Putrifier by the two guitarists Emil and Mads in late 2011. But as Putrifier was dissolved in the beginning of 2012, Whorls became a full band. All five members, with the same approach to the music. 

Hailing from Denmark, Whorls are a new band that is now starting to take its first steps on the post-black-chaotic-sludge-metal scene. These guys drink from a lot of different influences, but the most obvious are the influences from Celeste, The Secret or even Altar of Plagues. The band presents itself, for now, with only two themes: "Irreversible" a spiral of an authentic blackness that it is ingrained to the bone and lashes some serious blackened riffs with its powerful core with some hints of a more progressive sludge so characteristic in bands like Celeste, but at the same time it possesses, on the second half of the track, some massive yet sharp sections reminding me a bit of the riffs living in the "777" saga from Blut Aus Nord. It's almost inevitable talking about Whorls without mentioning these two bands, Celeste and Hexis. First, Celeste, who were practically the precursors of this kind of sound, this plethora of flesh melting blackened sludge that erodes deeply into to our bones. Second, Hexis, being countrymen of this band, with whom they have already shared stage with, such mental image of this joint venture is completely devastating in my mind, just thinking that if there was someone who came out of that show in one piece and lived to tell about it, and for being a copy, well i don't like to use the word "copy" i think it's not fair to use it on Hexis, because they took that "Celeste sound" and give it their unique and innovative sound, but what i'm trying to say here is that Whorls also share that sonority. In the second track, "Sitgma" we are immediately dragged in that chaotic wave of sound, which through repetitive riffs, crushes us completely. It is a very short range track but at the same time it is devastating. The tracks presented by Whorls are dark and very dense, so dense that they become almost suffocating and rarely leave us a little breathing room. Whorls are another brilliant sample of what Northern Europe has to offer and judging by the quality of this sample, i look forward to hear much more from this young band. The Demo will be out soon through Bookhouse Records. Meanwhile you can stream and listen to the tracks on the Whorls Bandcamp. Keep an eye on this one.

sábado, 19 de maio de 2012

Aldebaran "Embracing The Lightless Depths"

Words can't exactly express what i feel at this moment. After last year's astonishing "Buried Beneath Aeons", Aldebaran are back with another monumental piece of doom. "Embracing The Lightless Depths" is the second full length from this Portland band... and what a piece it is.

The album begins with “Occultation of Hali’s Gates”, an instrumental that serves as appetizer, sharpening our hunger for doom as it hits us gently with an embedded gloom. "Forever In The Dream Of Death" an almost 25 minute length track, drags us down into Aldebaran's morbid universe filled with a breathtaking atmosphere filled with shades of dusk and misery at a snails pace. "Occultation Of Ocular Tauri" is the instrumental interlude that follows, basically this album has the scheme of interlude-track-interlude-track-interlude, those three interludes help separate and yet link the two massive dirges. On "Embracing The Lightless Depths" one thing you'll notice is the song titles, which have connections to the short story “An Inhabitant of Carcosa” written by Ambrose Bierce, whose post-apocalyptic tale and fictional planet influenced many writers, including H.P. Lovecraft among them. Opener “Occultation of Hali’s Gates”, “Occultation of Occular Tari” and closer “Occultation of Dim Carcosa” are clean and haunting, making you feel totally alone yet oddly at peace.  Throughout the whole album,  there are measured and processional beats that cut the thick funeral air, the haunting vocal that hits with precision, striking in the hollows of the soul and each instrumental element is given space to coil and surround with a monolithic power. Moments of calm permeate the twilight offsetting the moving and commanding builds to exaltation. Rolling drum beats pound deeply in a morbid essence before sliding back to make room for deep breaths of doom. Beautiful.

Although Aldebaran have done a lot since their first release in 2004, this is only the band's second full-length. One of their biggest and brilliant milestones was "Buried Beneath Aeons" EP from last year. Aldebaran have consistently produced some of the most intoxicating funeral death doom. "Embracing The Lightless Depths" is a wonderfully majestic album composed of two great tracks surrounded by three graceful passages involving this album making it one of the brightest of 2012. Don't sleep on this one. Highly Recommended album. Buy it here.

quinta-feira, 17 de maio de 2012

Ajuna "Incomplete Circles Becoming Dead Ends" & "Perpetual State Of Disbelieve"

Ajuna is a Copenhagen, Denmark, based quintet, dedicated to grey toned harsh music since 2009. Hard working and committed to assault both listener and live audience, they have earned the reputation of being a rather chaotic and aggressive act live. They assimilate a lot of genres, like black metal, shoegaze, post rock, post hardcore and maybe some post metal side to it too. It all results in this great post experimental blend that culminates in this energetic atmosphere. The sound of Ajuna is indeed fresh and it has that nordic european touch attached to their sound that i personally love. 

So far they have launched these two Demos last year, "Incomplete Circles Becoming Dead Ends" and "Perpetual State Of Disbelieve", and now they are preparing to launch a debut EP called "Death In The Shape Of Winter" that will be launched thru Neh-Owh Records very soon. I must enhance that the production of these two Demos is excellent, the sound is very clean and sharp, you can hear every instrument very clear. I'm glad to witness such great acts like Ajuna sprouting from countries like Denmark from where also come of of my favorite and delicious killer bands, Hexis. I can sense a brilliant future for this band as well, as you dive into their songs you will notice how technically brilliant musicians they are. Their songs might not grow on you at a first listen, but you must listen to it with very attention, and then you will find details like that muscled bass sound, those keen guitars, the vigorous drumming and that harsh voice, that will make you say in the end: "This is great!". There are some slight differences in these two Demos, it really shows the path the band is taking, and you can tell the evolution as they are finding their sound, Ajuna's sound, and i enjoyed a lot these last tracks featured on the single "Death In The Shape Of Winter", it presents us a more dense, blackened kind of depressing, bleak sound. If this nordic beast evolves even more, then we will be facing another monster in the new post black metal wave scene here in Europe. I like it and i wish to hear more please. Thank you. Meanwhile you can check what these guys are doing here. Recommended! In the download link below you will get all three releases. Enjoy!

quarta-feira, 16 de maio de 2012

Tardigrada "Widrstand" Demo

Tardigrada are a atmospheric black metal band from Switzerland and holds in its current line-up Kryptos (vocals, guitars and lyrics), Threnos (guitars) and H.A.T.T. (drums). "Widrstand" is their debut demo and i must say already at this point that this is one of the best Demos i've had the pleasure to hear this year.

I surrender and deliver my soul to Tardigrada. They create music that pierces my body, reap my soul and elevates it to the heavens, to the level of the Norse gods. This is absolutely amazing and genuine music. It feels always like the first time, everytime i hear this wonderful Demo. Tardigrada's sound is full of genuine and raw emotions that inspire sadness, shapes it, with those thin, sharp and cold riffs, and spits it out through an incorporeal storm of raw energy through Kryptos desperate screams. It starts with "Uftakt" a beautiful, deep and dreamy atmospheric instrumental intro that is totally overshadowed by the following track "Hoffnungslos",  this track absolutely swipes me away. Its atmosphere is painted in shades of grey and charged with melancholic sadness but at the same time it holds an almost poetic side to it, as if they were always connected together. It's this attraction to sadness and depression that draws us closer and closer to the edge, as we are under the spell of Tardigrada. The title track "Widrstand" follows it's ancestor and continues that ravishing storm of negative energy, as Kryptos screams tear through the icy thin wall of the guitars and the drums unloads all of its fury upon us mere mortals. The end arrives at the sound of "Einsamkeit", the epitome, the compendium, the end. Only tears. No life. No salvation. No ascension. Just loneliness. Tardigrada's music seems simple but the way they craft it is absolutely beautiful and filled with emotion. I will never get tired of asserting that this is one of the Demos of the year. 

Tardigrada "Widrstand" Demo tape is available at Fallen Empire, few copies left, so hurry. Follow the band here. Highly Recommended. 

segunda-feira, 14 de maio de 2012

Hammers "Vardøgr"

No, just because the title of the album is "Vardøgr" it doesn't mean that UK's Hammers have sold out to the black metal hipster scene... and thanks God for that. "Vardøgr" is the brand new release and full-length of this terrific band. It's been quite some time since these guys released something and i'm glad they did because they just made my day much better. I fuckin' love this band, i loved  the Demo "Year One" and "Orogeny"  from 2010, and the minute i saw that Hammers had a new album out i new that it was going to sound like an atom bomb was dropped right above our heads. As the guitar feedback starts in "Casting Spells" i feel like a little boy anxious to open his presents on Christmas morning... shit... this is going to be good. The crust approach that Hammers do to their sound is by far one of best out there. It's dirty, fast, mean and vicious as hell. The assault continues along the other 9 tracks, where Hammers simply won't surrender and they just won't give you one second of rest on "Vardøgr". An excellent return that shows that the band hasn't soften at all and that they are still in great shape. One of the finest albums of the genre for the year, for sure. The band was kind enough to give this new excellent album for free, so please thank them here. Highly Recommended! For fans of Masakari, Black Ships, Cursed, Perth Express.

domingo, 13 de maio de 2012

Bereft "Leichenhaus"

Here is another great debut album for the year, Bereft's "Leichenhaus". LA's Bereft is a sludge/doom band that has in its formation Sacha Dunable of Intronaut and Graviton, Derek Donley of National Sunday Law and Graviton, Charles Elliott of Abysmal Dawn and ex-The Faceless vocalist Derek Rydquist. Such an eclectic formation could only result in something very interesting. But if even after seeing where these guys come from, if you're still skeptical but you love some good sludgy doom, trust me... give it a listen. Believe me, this is one dark and bleak journey you want in. Bereft is all about dark, grieve-full, depressing doom. Just for curiosity, one thing that came into my mind immediately as i saw this bands name and artwork was Esoteric's "Epistemological Despondency". Why? It features one track called "Bereft" and the artwork is also in black and white. But that's just one of my theories. Leichenhaus” is a conceptual album thematically revolving around a waiting mortuary and one thing that stands out of this record is the whole instruments work. For example, the guitars, besides having that classic doom tone that i love, they can be as crushing heavy as they can also deliver some mourning melodies, or even when they blend those two tones together, the balance is expertly done. The drum is pounding heavy and it blends perfectly with the bass in the background although there are some parts where the bass stands out and shakes the soil under our feet with those stout chords. The voice is deep and dark as as open grave, it fits perfectly in this whole orchestra of gloom. Although their sound sounds familiar or might give you that dejá-heard impression, the songs are good enough to make this album stand out in the ocean of releases of this year. "Leichenhaus" is in fact and outstanding debut for this band from whom, judging by this sample, i hope to hear many more. Highly Recommended. For fans of Aldebaran, Asunder. You can buy it here. Follow'em here.

sexta-feira, 11 de maio de 2012

Esoterica "Idololatriae" EP

From the U.S arrives one of the most amazing surprises i had the pleasure to discover just a few days ago. "Idololatriae" is the debut EP from Esoterica formed by Esoterica (ex-Chaos Moon, Coffin) who does guitars, bass, keyboard, vocals and J. Blackburn (Inferi, Vital Remains) on drums. As i started to hear this EP, my jaw fell off instantly right on the first track. Soon i realize that i stood before some true esoteric black metal. It has some real crushing and amazing guitar and drum work, the voice is beyond great and those atmospheric, ambient keyboard sounds are just the cherry on top of the cake. Genius!

The constant storm of riffs on tracks like "III", "Dilated" and "Idololatriae" automatically bring to my head well known acts like Blut Aus Nord, the sound of Esoterica's guitar, when it's not shredding some cosmic universe in half, it morphs into this serpentine hiss that allied with that whole atmosphere conjured by the drums and keyboards, simply elevates us into this whole cosmic and intangible level of heretic black metal. What i love the most in this EP, besides the sound and production that is absolutely awesome, is the dimension that the music of Esoterica has. The use of instrumental/ambient interludes although some people find them useless, when used wisely i believe that enhances and it gives to the whole record a solid and unique personality. Don't expect that this band fits into that traditional black metal doctrine, where the tremolo picking sound and the usual avalanche of blastbeats sound flat and repetitive, Esoterica's sound is much richer and full of layers and layers that will delight every single fan of this breed of black metal. Every detail is as important as the next one and within them lies the success of this EP. The whole atmosphere of "Idololatriae " is breathtaking. It's by far one of the best EP's i've had the pleasure to hear this year. Not sure if the band will release this as a physical copy, i'll try to get that info and will update that soon. Meanwhile you can check their Facebook page here. And please Esoterica... we want more. I was blown away by this. Total winner. The download link was given by the band, so the least you can do is thank them. Highly Recommended!

quinta-feira, 10 de maio de 2012

Immemorial "The Downfall of Astral Radiance"

Immemorial is a brand new project coming from France. It features some members from bands like HKY, Eibon, Comity and Arms Of Ra. Initially formed by D. (main responsible for astral radiation, keyboards and sounds of dark matter) this collective have drawn "The Downfall of Astral Radiance" that will be paired with the dark ambient project Leben Ohne Licht Kollektiv, which features I. luciferia of the band Reverence and Ende (that i talked about some days ago here on FxC about his amazing debut) in a split release cd entitled "Quantum of Abstract Physics".

Described by the band as "total terror funeral drone", Immemorial present us an amazing sonic experience throughout half an hour. Feeling like almost an out-of-body experience, "The Downfall of Astral Radiance" starts off with a kind of atmosphere that it would suit perfectly into a terror-sci-fi-thriller movie like "Alien". This whole spacial atmosphere takes our mind far until we hear nothing but this electronic, industrial, dark ambient sounds. Dark and cold sounds that wraps us in about 5 minutes until the first droning riff crushes our skull and opens the gates of sheer space horror. From there on the tracks develops into several moments distributed between some peaks of more vigorous and crushing doom riffs and the dark atmospheric side of drone/ambient music,  culminating in this claustrophobic environment of pure terror and darkness. Certainly a release you must not miss. Follow this project steps here and visit their blog, where you will find more info about this awesome project. Hopefully the cd will be available this summer, and there will be three labels producing it Cold Dark Matter Records, Frozen Wings Records and Le Crépuscule du Soir Productions. It features a great artwork by Dehnsora. Could not recommend this more. Check it out below.

Batillus & Whitehorse "Split"

Two fine doom heavyweights team up for one record, Batillus and Whitehorse. Australia's Whitehorse deliver one track of their brutal corrupted influenced sludge/doom, always filled with those creepy noises that give Whitehorse that sinister personality. Batillus on the other hand, wrecks it up with 2 tracks of their cold atmospheric sludge/doom. Love those two bands and this split just made my day. Mastered by James Plotkin and released by Vendetta Records,  this split release is available for purchase here. Play it loud.

terça-feira, 8 de maio de 2012

Cult Of Occult "Cult Of Occult" EP

Cult Of Occult are a evil quartet coming from France and this is their first EP, delivering 4 tracks of the most hated-filled and poisonous sludge made in Europe.  I've seen this floating around a lot when it came out last year, so when i got this request coming straight from one of the members of the band i really couldn't say "No". 4 tracks featured on the digital release, there's a 5th extra track available in the CD that you can order here. Not sure if there are any copies left, please email them or the band, to know if are there any copies before moving on with the order. The EP starts off with "Blurry And Muzzy" where these thick riffs chop their way into this very dense and smokey atmosphere while in  "I Hate You" the band punishes our ears with some real guitar feedback while the voice spits all of this hate towards us. "Walking in the Desert" is a more slow, trippy but groovy track, it has indeed a more stoner facet attached to it. The last track "Cult Of Occult" is an epic track that drags itself at a slow snail paced rhythm that reaches almost the 10 minute mark. Basically this EP presents us a band making very well made sludge with a more stoner/doom-ish approach. Good sound production, good voice, all instruments played right. In general a very tight and effective release that strengthens even more the european sludge scene. The only band i can think of that are playing as equal good sludge as Cult Of Occult right now, are probably the italian Grime. And i really dig that "occult" approach the band made with the cover art on the EP, it reminds me a lot of this amazing album. So check this band out, you won't regret it and most of all... Support! 

domingo, 6 de maio de 2012

Thou/Hell "Resurrection Bay" Split

Holy crap, this is just too good to be true, one of my wishes have became real. A split release between two of my favorite doom doomsters, Salem's Hell and Baton Rouge's Thou. Hell, who have two full length albums out on Pesanta Urfolk (i've talked about them right here on FxC, i might open an exception and re-up those two) have quietly become one of the best bands playing truly unique doom metal today, and they bring a new track, "Sheol" on this wonderful split. Incredible riffage, heavier than heavy. Thou deliver a new unreleased track, "Ordinary People", and Thou is Thou. Two tracks, two abysmal, crushing tracks of the purest doom being made nowadays. Co-released between Pesanta Urfolk and Gilead Media,  the package speaks for itself, a beautiful all white folding jacket, letterpress/embossing on both sides, embossed obi strip, white vinyl, white labels, screen printed patch, limited to 1000 copies. This one is surely a must-have for every fan of these bands. Mine is already ordered. Support by buying it here or here. Highly Recommended!

Flagellant "Monuments"

Here is an album i've been revisiting a lot lately, "Monuments", the debut album of Sweden's Flagellant released back in 2010. Carrying 6 tracks only, which in my opinion is the only flaw on this album, "Monuments" delivers with success pure straightforward black metal forged within the fires of Hell. If you're looking for some comparisons, well i could say it resembles with Watain, Sargeist or even Valkyrja, sharing the same frozen melodies in total celebration of evil. "Monuments" is quite good and a strong debut album, the good news is that the band is working on a new album as you read this, you can preview a new track here,  just hope it doesn't come out as they say on their Bandcamp, in 2037... well at least they have a sense of humor. If you dig the traditional Swedish black metal, then this an album for you to check out. The work here is done right, melodic yet harsh guitars and a voice spitting poisonous words of blasphemy on every refrain. You can buy this here or in a dozen other distros out there.. just google it.

Hellvetron "Death Scroll Of Seven Hells and It's Infernal Majesties"

Spewing from the Mouth of Hell, Hellvetron's debut full-length ritual emerges through the threshold into a manifestation of obscure hell psalms of death. "Death Scroll Of Seven Hells And Its Infernal Majesties" will be a tribute to the Qliphothic Tree of Death, Seven Hells, and it's infernal hierarchy. This release will be a curse on all who dare to possess this unholy relic. Praise the ten horns upon the seven headed beast. This is the intro presenting the debut full-length of Hellvetron, a band formed by two members of Nyogthaeblisz. Hellvetron passed the Demo phase, "Ceremonial Crucifixion", launched back in 2005 by Satanic Skinhead Propaganda but now these guys have joined the ranks of Hells Headbangers Records. "Death Scroll Of Seven Hells And Its Infernal Majesties" is a conceptual album that focus on the Qliphothic Tree of Death, Seven Hells, and it's infernal hierarchy, and that's precisely what each track carries, the unholy black flag of blasphemy with each title written in blood. Although i must confess this album didn't blew me away on the first listen, it carries a very dense and phantasmagoric atmosphere, so dense you can almost smell the sulphur along each track. Always filled with some creepy atmosphere on the background, the sound is deep as if it was recorded on the deepest catacombs of Hell. Imagine a more slow, doom-ish version of Goat Molestor or a more demonic version of Necros Christos (is that possible by the way?). No matter what this is a good death metal album, i really missed listening to something with such a maleficent personality as this one. You can buy it here

sexta-feira, 4 de maio de 2012

Ende "Whispers of a Dying Earth"

Based in France, Ende is the project of I. Luciferia that also plays in Reverence, Osculum Infame and Leben Ohne Licht Kollektiv. I.L basically does almost everything on this album except the drums. And the result is quite remarkable. Somewhere between Kvist, Taake, Emperor or even Bathory, Ende performs a melodic, atmospheric and above all violent and extreme black metal. This debut album,  "Whispers of a Dying Earth" was recorded during the spring a summer of 2010, except the two last tracks, recorded in 2004. It begins with the classic spacey atmospheric intro before dragging us into this dark vortex called "De Profundis" that suffocates us in this blastbeat and tremolo picking whirlwind, while this wicked chorus of voices yell deafening screams at our ears as we are submersed into his darkness. The track "Thorns" is a remarkable track and the most Emperor-esque influenced to me, maybe due to the proportion of keyboards used. But there are also other great tracks featured on this awesome debut by Ende. We are already used to witness great black metal acts coming out of France, and Ende, although it shows a more nordic influence (this band could easy come out of Finland or Norway) is no exception. For a debut album, "Whispers of a Dying Earth", is well above average black metal releases. "Whispers of a Dying Earth" is available at Obscure Abhorrence store. Recommended to all puritan black metal fans.

Tree Of Sores "A Cry Of Despair" EP

Hailing from Leeds, Tree Of Sores deal in epic, dark and ambient soundscapes moving from moments of sombre refelection to unrelenting nightmare, and "A Cry Of Despair" is their brand new EP. After a very well received first EP, released last year, i instantly became a fan of this Leeds triad. This time the main dish is something very different. Featuring one track only, "A Cry Of Despair" is an ambitious track that will delight every atmospheric sludge fan for almost half an hour. It begins with some inebriate notes that give rise to this heavy and dense atmospheric sludge avalanche, that along its 27 minutes, glides on some more melodic or even post rock atmospheres. "A Cry Of Despair" is indeed a delight and a beautiful sonic experience for our ears particularly to the fact that it sounds genuine and pure. If you seek honest music coming straight from the heart, then you found it. Limited to 250 copies, this CD comes in a clear sleeve with a 240mm x 240mm double-sided print that showcases the art of the amazing Black Uroborus, that you can visit here. It is also available as pay-what-you-want download through Bandcamp. If you wish to support the band by buying the EP in physical format,  then contact them here. Or buy it here. Highly Recommended.