Friday, 27 October 2017

Marduk - Panzer Division Marduk

MARDUK - Panzer Division Marduk (OSMOSE - CD 1999 / BLOODDAWN - LP 2008)
I have not heard this album for almost ten years, I think! But yesterday I decided to play it again and damn, it was a good choice, because I needed this enormous dose of power, which these sounds unleash and which helped to wake me up on this rainy and cold Autumn day. The pleasure is even bigger, because I have discovered that this record has not lost anything from its strength and sheer, uncontrolled viciousness and aggression. Originally released in 1999, "Panzer Division Marduk" was quite spectacular effort from Marduk. After slower and more epic "Nightwing" the band recorded an album, which turned out to be the fastest and most uncompromising black metal, which has ever been created. I suppose no one expected to hear such a violent and utterly aggressive, non-stop blasting black metal. Everybody knew that Marduk can play fast, but to carry such a massive attack and unleash such fury for the entire album and in such quality was unheard of. 
When I listen to "Panzer Division Marduk" nowadays, I have to say that everything on this album sounds incredible and it's not a mindless show off of blasts. This music can be ruthless and truly crushing, but it has many splendid riffs, with great arrangements, great work from the vocalist Legion and the drummer Friedrik Andersson... and it's interesting that many of these songs are insanely memorable, despite their ferocious, grinding force. I have to also mention that I love the concept, with which the band came up with. Second world war imagery, intros with tanks, junkers, machine guns - all these things correspondent perfectly with the savage black metal riffs played in the most insane tempos. Many of these songs are absolutely fantastic to listen to. "Panzer Division Marduk", "Christraping Black Metal", "Baptism by Fire", "502", "Beast of Prey"... And the icing on the cake, "Fistfucking God's Planet". There's basically no time to take breath, no time wasted for slower parts or whatever. This is why it all does sound like a fierce attack, which Marduk has unleashed on their enemy, in order to slay, not to take prisoners. No forgiveness, no mercy, kill them all!!!!!!! 
"Black, fearsome and grim and mighty 
Panzer division Marduk rolls over enemy land 
Striking hard and fast against your lines 
We blow your fortress into sand" 
Oh, my vinyl from Blooddawn Records, 2008, contains couple of bonus tracks, which I was surprised to hear, because I didn't know they're here. Good. Tempo wise they're also fast, so they fit the whole record perfectly! I have to mention also that this is the last album with Legion as vocalist, which I really like a lot. Their next two records - "La Grande Danse Macabre" and "World Funeral" - although have their great moments and some killer songs, are not quite as good as "Panzerdivision Marduk", "Nightwing" or "Heaven Shall Burn". I was even glad to see the change of vocalist after "World Funeral", as it definitely brought something fresh to this band. But that's another story. 
Standout tracks: "Panzer Division Marduk", "Christraping Black Metal", "Baptism by Fire", "502", "Beast of Prey" 
Final rate: 85/10 

Arkhon Infaustus - Passing the Nekromanteion

ARKHON INFAUSTUS - Passing the Nekromanteion (LADLO Productions CD 2017)
It's been pretty long time, since Arkhon Infaustus was last seen alive and active. Let me remind you that their last album "Orthodoxyn" came out in 2007 and then the band was put on ice for almost seven years. But now Arkhon Infaustus are back... but with only DK Deviant left from the old line up. Neither Toxik Harmst nor Torturer are involved in Arkhon anymore. I don't really know the reasons, but I can say that it definitely is good to see Arkhon back and with new recording, which is "Passing the Nekromanteion" EP. Another surprise is the fact that it isn't released by Osmose, who unleashed all the previous Arkhon Infaustus pestilence. Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions is their new label and looking at their roster it can be quite surprising choice. But for me it's also good news, because LADLO is great, constantly improving record label. Enough of all that bullshit, let's check "Passing the Nekromanteion", shall we? 
And yeah, I have to say that from the beginning this EP really blew my head off. It surely is a worthy and great comeback, even if this new Arkhon music is a little bit different from their old stuff. Sure, you'll find here these ultra fuckin aggressive and vicious black / death metal pieces, which could be compared to the likes of Belphegor or Angelcorpse and which characterized also the old Arkhon albums. Such "The Precipice Where Souls Slither" will rip your guts out instantly. Great, blasting, ferocious track, filled with killer riffs and such a good performance from both Deviant and Skvm (drums). Pure violence and intensity. Obviously, the other songs have also a lot in common with the Arkhon Infaustus of old, but tempo wise it isn't necessarily at constant full speed. There's a lot of variation about not only the tempos, but also about the riff style, the atmosphere of the music, etc. Sick blasts come together with almost ritualistic aura, but there are also some quite memorable and even slightly melodic parts. "Corrupted Épignosis" can be even controversial for the old Arkhon Infaustus fans, as this ten minutes long epic monument is instrumental and so different to the black / death metal savagery this band usually delivers. It has almost modern style black metal feel, but damn, I like this song a lot. I like all four songs, which are on "Passing the Nekromanteion", this EP is impressive and very damn well written and performed. It has this epic, but vicious and sick feeling, which works very well.  
So, if I am allowed to give my verdict, then I can only say that this is a great return and a killer new recording from Arkhon Infaustus. I'm waiting for more, I believe there will be more, there must be! 
Standout tracks: all are equally good 
Final rate: 80/100 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Revel in Flesh / Under the Church - Beyond the Gates… Death Awaits

REVEL IN FLESH / UNDER THE CHURCH - Beyond the Gates… Death Awaits (PULVERISED Records - split 7"EP 2017)
I love split seven inches, especially when two killer bands meet and deliver two crushing death metal songs. On "Beyond the Gates… Death Awaits" we have an alliance between Revel in Flesh and Under the Church. And I hope I don't need to remind those, who read my reviews, how much I like these two bands. I try to collect everything they record, they're both quite special for me and both belong to my favourites. My hands were almost shaking, when I played this vinyl for the first time haha! And damn, both bands didn't disappoint and blew my head off! 
Both acts recorded one cover, so it's not a typical split with your own exclusive songs. But I have to say that I like their performances. Revel in Flesh decided to record "Deny the Light" from Brazilian commando's Headhunter D.C. "...in Unholy Mourning..." album. And I love this cover. It's got a Swedish flavour due to the characteristic Swedish sound, which Revel has. And musically it would be one of the fastest, most vicious and brutal songs that Revel has ever recorded. Fuck, I love it, it may be even better than the original, although I know I may be risking my head writing that haha! But it's a great song and I have a lot of respect for Headhunter D.C. for writing such killers. Sure they did deserve this tribute and Revel in Flesh did splendid job! 
With Under the Church we move to Canada to pay tribute to an old thrash metal classic, which is "Evil Invaders" by Razor. I have not listened to the original for a long time, I do admit it, because I kind of stopped listening to thrash metal at all for some time. Don't ask me why. Anyway, Under the Church's cover is rather close to the original, it may not be so utterly archaic but when you listen to it, you just know that it must be an old classic thrash metal tune, because nowadays no one plays like that! It sounds very good, you can grab a beer and sing the chorus with the band... and then switch the side to get blown away by blasting death metal of "Deny the Light" haha! 
All in all, I am happy to add this seven-inch vinyl to my collection. I know some of you may feel disappointed that it contains just covers, but I don't. I like them both, especially what Revel in Flesh has done here, so thumbs up for both bands! 
Final rate: 70/100 

Dagorath - Glare of the Morning Star

DAGORATH - Glare of the Morning Star (UNDER THE SIGN OF GARAZEL CD 2017)
It's always cool to get CD, which you would probably never buy, because you simply don't know the band and you wouldn't even bother to check it. But you get a CD for review and it turns out that the music is pretty damn good and you like it. So, it's good to add it to your collection. This is what happened to me with Polish Dagorath and their debut album "Glare of the Morning Star". I never heard of them before, although I think they only released one demo prior to this CD, so there wasn't much to hear about. Anyway, my expectations for this band and this CD were rather small, but it turned out to be a nice surprise and pretty solid and worthy black metal. I am grateful then that Under the Sign of Garazel sent me a copy. 
Newcomers or not, but Dagorath plays some killer riffs here, I like the whole cold and obscure aura of their music a lot. They definitely lurk a lot into the past and take influences from the classic Scandinavian black metal with full grasps, from the likes of Gorgoroth or Mayhem. But on the other hand, there are many fragments, which remind me some nowadays black metal bands from Germany or Sweden, with their occult, vicious black metal style. So, it's good combination and definitely good performance of Dagorath. I like the harsh production of "Glare of the Morning Star", I already mentioned also that there are some really great riffs and songs... and probably only vocals could have been better, but that's a small complain from my side.  
A lot of this album is fast and aggressive, but slower songs are also here, so there's at least a little bit of variety to make the album more interesting. It does help, especially because "Glare of the Morning Star" is a bit too long for my taste. Three songs - "Crushing the Falsehood of Divinations" (9 minutes), "Przemienienie" (8,5 minutes) and "Black Magick Covenant" (12 minutes) are particularly long, but I have to say that Dagorath does well in such longer tracks and their compositions always have some interesting riffs, some melodic accents or whatever, that gives a positive and good result. Especially "Black Magick Covenant" is interesting, with its diversity from blasting parts to marching, monumental black metal. And in "Przemienienie" towards the end of the song, there's a melodic riff, which I truly like a lot! But as I already mentioned, basically every song has its moments, so I did enjoy "Glare of the Morning Star". Give it a chance also, a nice band to remember and support. 
Standout tracks: "Whore's Throne Successor", "Przemienienie" 
Final rate: 70/100