Damnation Festival review

Despite their British brothers only just finishing over on the Eyesore stage and the layout of the Union being such a maze, the room is already buzzing by the time Winterfylleth take to the stage. With this year’s release ‘The Threnody of Triumph’ reaching the top of many metal fans’ charts, the band has plenty of positive energy to unleash in such a negative manner. Their black metal continues to flourish with atmosphere and guitar layers epic enough to become an ethereal alternative to the national anthem. LR

Extreme Noise Terror are next on the Terrorizer stage and despite sharing Winterfylleth’s nationality, this is all the bands share when it comes to sound. The crust titans showcase their earlier punk style along with their more modern grindcore twist and despite the loss of late frontman Phil Vane, the band do him proud, as Dean Jones fills his shoes and stomps them all over the stage, inducing the first major pit and crowdsurfing session of the day. LR

Vreid bring back the darkness to the Terrorizer stage with their melody tinged black metal and fly the flag for Norway in style. Despite three band members being previously associated with Windir, Vried have a much grittier attack, which is displayed even more so live with tracks like ‘Raped By Light’ and ‘Pitch Black’ getting heads banging. Their slightly more black’n’roll approach makes for a catchy set and we’re sure many new fans have been created tonight. LR

Norway continues dominate the Tez stage as Aura Noir unleash the black thrash attack we were expecting. 2012’s ‘Out To Die’ sounds as killer as it did when the album was launched and accompanied with a show a few months back in London and the leather clad lads cause the largest pit of the day. Classics like ‘Hades Rise’ receive a respectable shout-a-long as the speedy riffs tire us out further. LR

Belphegor bring their usual sadomasochistic themes to a frosty Leeds with a raw performance. Speeding through the likes of ‘Necrodaemon Terrorsathan’ and ‘Bondage Goat Zombie’ the blackened death metallers stripped down set seems to go down like a lead balloon for many punters with a lack of participation from the crowd. Then again, they have probably been drinking for hours. LR

Despite sharing a set time with the might Electric Wizard, the Terrorizer stage is still heaving as Pig Destroyer set out to have a sonic battle with the doom legends. This year’s instalment from the grind titans has been highly received and seems to have created quite a stir. Luckily, the recent video for ‘The Diplomat’ has not been an influence on any of the performance, but that is mainly down to the fact the music is already aggressive enough and gore aplenty. Admittedly the sound isn’t great, as the guitars get lost in the mix and overall the volume isn’t loud enough to melt faces like the record achieves. After a few technical errors, the band are back on track but there is still a little bit of regret after hearing about what went on upstairs with the ‘Wizard. LR



Album reviews published in Iron Fist #3 – Cobolt 60, Destinity, Saturnus

Seems silly to post each individually as they are such short reviews:

Cobolt 60 – ‘The Grim Defiance’

It may have taken a whole decade to unleash their sophomore record but for Norwegians Cobolt 60, it was certainly worth the wait. ‘The Grim Defiance’ is a perfect follow up to the equally nasty ‘Meat Hook Ballet’ and whilst the duo (made up of ex-Satyricon and Blood Red Throne members) have removed the full-on approach that was felt in their debut, it still has an undeniable groove to get you hooked.

Unlike fellow countrymen Aura Noir or Nekromantheon, Cobolt 60’s black thrash is definitely blacker than it is thrash with consistently bludgeoning blast beats and tremolo riffs akin to early Darkthrone. Tracks such as ‘Hammer The Creationist’ show an even blend of grimness and groove whilst closer ‘You Are, Therefore You Die!’ concludes that despite its polished production, ‘The Grim Defiance’ does as its title says, with a full execution of extreme sharpness and a darkened edge.

4.5 out of 5

Destinity – ‘Resolve in Crimson’

Sometimes too much of a good thing can go stale and it feels as though the number of melodic death metal bands is multiplying like unwanted bacteria. Despite Scandinavia tending to rule over the rest when it comes to merging melody and brutality, Frenchmen Destinity manage to have one of the more memorable releases of 2012. Unlike the likes of Dark Tranquility, who have stuck to, and perfected the Gothenberg style, the five-piece have dipped their toes into all areas of extreme metal throughout their previous six full lengths. After much uncertainty, the band appear found their strongest genre by taking certain elements from aforementioned experiments, with layers of thrash blended smoothly with heart-warming solos and clean vocals that aren’t reminiscent of a whiny teenager. ‘Resolve In Crimson’ certainly isn’t groundbreaking and its slightly worrying it can take a band over a decade to find themselves but compared to some modern bands forming, it’s fairly pleasant listening.

3 out of 5

Saturnus – ‘Saturn In Ascension’

Atmospheric tunes riddled with sorrow are the perfect soundtrack for the woes of winter, so this anticipated album from Danes Saturnus was released at the perfect time. Their previous three full lengths have received high praise and ‘Saturn In Ascension’ continues to ahem, ascend them into the metal limelight. Their harrowing hybrid of doom and death is Denmark’s equivalent to our own My Dying Bride, but frontman Thomas Jensen’s overtly deep voice is distinctively haunting. Opener ‘Litany Of Rain’ may be an epic ten minutes long, but it works as the perfect advert for what’s to come in the next hour and then some. Winding guitars evolve into a storm of emotions, with the vocals roaring through a pristine production. The keyboard parts and clean vocals create additional melancholy without becoming cheesy and acoustic breaks help to move along the album without making you too suicidal. Saturnus resurrect their more death metal influences from early records, which make for a great insight into a band whose legacy is somewhat underrated.

4 out of 5

Introducing – Black Skies Burn

Unlike the country bumpkin style county they reside in, Oxfordshire’s Black Skies Burn are full of ferociousness and ready to darken your day. The five-piece’s fusion of death and grind has been described by locals as “a band that could destroy a tank” and quite rightly so, with a lively stage presence that has secured them support slots with the likes of Chimaira, Flayed Disciple and most recently, thrashers Evile.  “This show came at the end of an insanely sick run of shows, supporting General Surgery in Camden, Cemetery Rapist in Bristol and playing three shows with our buds from Bristol, Merciless Precision”, reminisces guitarist Chris Marks. “We were already buzzing prior to this show and personally I think this was the best we have performed so far, watching a circle pit during our set from the stage of Oxford’s O2 academy is still one of my favourite moments on this brutal journey, Evile were all sound lads as well. It was definitely a highlight in our career so far.”

Since starting in 2006, Black Skies Burn have been managed to “Cause unrelenting chaos with full intent” at an array of shows, thanks to their eclectic influences throughout their music from early Slayer and Sepultura, to the more brutal likes of Dying Fetus and Pig Destroyer. Since a change in line up this year the band seem stronger than ever with Chris joined by Gavin on guitar, Simon on vocals, Will on bass and Steve on drums. They’ve come a long way since their first gig at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston and Chris tries not to cringe when he looks back at the show. “It was exciting at the time and great to finally get out there but I’ve seen some rare footage recently and it’s not good, it’s very slow in comparison to nowadays but we all start somewhere. I’m sure the footage is online somewhere if anybody wants a laugh!”

Not to be confused with Wes Borland’s latest awful side project Black Lights Burn, Black Skies Burn have plenty to look forward to in the new year. “Funnily enough we’ve had this trouble [with names] in the past from a US band called Skies Burn Black who we had never heard of, who gave us some abuse back in the day and they’ve now split up without making a dent on their scene2, Chris explains. “With any luck Wes and his Black Lights Burn will follow suit. I can only hope his fans (if there are any) buy our stuff by mistake and get blown apart!”

With their debut album ‘To Punish and Enslave’ near completion and expected to start destroying in the next few months, the boys are keen to continue evolving. “We recorded at Silver Street Studios (Reading) with Umair Chaudhry, who is a chilled out musical wizard! We also got lucky with the artwork as our mate Phil Tolfree from Flayed Disciple has designed the cover and has done a sick job!” Looking into the future, does Chris expect the skies to continue burning?

“I hope we can continue blasting venues up and down the country the same as we are today, it’s already been an insane journey . It’s a dream to play a festival so hopefully we can fulfil that and to tour mainland Europe; if there are any promoters reading this from Amsterdam get in touch, haha! We just want to thank everybody that has supported us so far and everybody that has made it down to a show to give us abuse, it’s been awesome so far!”

By Lily Randall








 Published on http://www.soundshock.com





Introducing – Seprevation

Last year saw a slight revival in the legendary sound of old school death metal and it would appear this genre is forever going to influence us. Bristol may not be Florida or Stockholm, but four piece Seprevation are grabbing people’s attention violently with a vintage death/thrash attack. Worshipping the brutality of Morbid Angel, the speed of Sadus and the classic heaviness of Maiden, Seprevation have put a freshly squeezed twist on the subgenre and live they have the same energy as the eighties. “Our music will either make you want to drink a beer and headbang or punch someone in the face”, explains bassist/vocalist Lluc.

Coming from different projects in the south west, the band is completed with Joss and Ian on guitar and Jamie on drums got the opportunity of a lifetime when they were asked to open the New Blood stage on the Sunday of Bloodstock Festival, despite only a year together. “The gig was badass, for 10:30am on a Sunday we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd.” Lluc recalls. “We actually had a circle pit and people seemed really into it. For our festival debut it was an insane experience for us all.” After a year together the Bristol boys have managed to plough through the local scene and have recently released their debut EP ‘Ritual Abuse’ but regardless of the chaos Joss still remembers their first gig clearly. “For me, it was one of my favourite gigs so far, because it was a fresh start from the bands I had done before and it was something which I felt confident in and really wanted to do.”

After recently supporting Onslaught in Portsmouth, it was more proof Seprevation practise what they preach with each song oozing with raw aggression and groovy speed. Supporting a band that had broken free from the Bristol scene and become big names is obviously aspiring for the band. “Sy Keeler is a beast of a vocalist so it was really cool to chat with him about his technique and see him perform. Of course playing with Bristol’s thrash legends was awesome for us too!”

With the new EP slowly creeping into the underground bloodstream, an equally gruesome mini tour awaits Seprevation with fellow extremists Craniation, as well as supporting Flayed Disciple and Arcrania. With a band still as fresh as this the future is bright and the band is looking towards bigger hopes. “Obviously five years is a long time but I’d like to think we would still be on the same path of destruction doing what we do best, creating and performing brutal death thrash for you crazy fuckers!! Hopefully a couple of albums in and a full world tour booked…. one day maybe!”

‘Ritual Abuse’ is out now available here http://www.seprevation.bigcartel.com/ or digital at http://www.seprevation.bandcamp.com/

Find out more at www.seprevation.com


Published on http://www.soundshock.com




Introducing – Darkcorpse

With the likes of Coffins and Abigail flying the Japanese flag in the underground scene, it was only a matter of time until more promising acts started to seep into the Western hemisphere.  Darkcorpse’s black metal angst fuelled by a DIY passion reminiscent of the punk era may have only started a couple of years ago, but the five-piece already have two demos under their sleeves. After playing in other bands and vocalist Kraahl setting up underground zine ‘Japan Metal Guide’, the band, now made up of Harbinger and Korvus (guitars), Marax  (bass) and drummer Skuld, were able to network around Yokohoma.

“Playing here has been an amazing experience. The sense of community within the scene is really strong and bands really look out for each other”, explains Skuld. “I suppose the only bad part is how expensive shows are here due to the prevailing pay-to-play system. Actually, this system has a seriously crippling effect on the bands, making it difficult for most bands to scrape together enough money for recording and touring.” Despite this, Darkcorpse’s independent approach has created two misanthropic records, with a third already in the pipeline. “As a band we tend not to mull over ideas too much, and as a result our writing process is typically rather quick. For us, the band is an outlet, a way to release and relieve various sources of stress and frustration, not least of which comes with living as an outsider in a foreign place. Although we have a strong black metal influence, we never want to subject ourselves to stupid, arbitrary rules and worry about genres. Darkcorpse is a cathartic expression of aggression and that’s reflected in the cold, dark tones of our music.”


 To be published in Iron Fist #3

Aeon, Dyscarnate, Voice and Ageless Oblivion @ London Garage 2013

The upstairs of the Relentless Garage is a clandestine little cave and as you enter the venue and look at the stage, it seems uncertain as to whether Aeon’s Tommy Dahlström alone will fit on the stage, let alone four bands filled with fury.

Ageless Oblivion manage to squeeze all five members on to the stage to warm up the frostbitten crowd and their British death metal oozes with technicality and progression, the perfect starting point for this evening’s proceedings. With a debut album to showcase, the band does so with energy, despite the lack of space and has confirmed that tonight is going to be loud (seriously, this venue is tinnitus-inducing).

Voices may be a strange choice for a line up compromising of death metal and ignorant hecklers confirm this but this latest London export are more than up for the job of continuing the extremity. The band, which features three former Akercocke members unleash their confusing yet dazzling avant-garde black metal with aggression and atmosphere galore. The constant contrast of clean singing and deadly shrieks, or melodic guitar parts over ferocious blastbeats proves that although the band may still be in development, the experience and musicianship that completes Voices is more than enough to make their debut album and exciting upcoming release.

By now the venue is packed with the queue for the bar (yes, a queue) getting engulfed by the eager troops awaiting home-grown heavyweights Dyscarnate. Despite only consisting of three members, the brutality created by the boys is probably the most cacophonous of the night, with each and every riff sounding chunkier than ever. Last year’s onslaught ‘And So It Came To Pass’ is visited frequently during the set and new favourite ‘The Promethean’ concludes the set with a small but satisfying pit at the front.

The clock is ticking and Aeon finally take to the stage about 20 minutes later than scheduled. The band was only given 45 minutes originally, so the eventual set is unfortunately stripped down immensely. The Swedish squadron are keen to exhibit newbies from the killer ‘Aeons Black’ album and do so with the likes of the title track, which proves to be an atheist’s anthem. They manage to squeeze in some classics, including the deadly ‘Soulburner’ but eight tracks is disappointing when you have been waiting all evening. The space issue comes up again when it causes the legends to lack energy, as they attempt to headbang without getting their hair caught in each other’s’ guitars and it feels as though both band and fans leave half full of their death metal needs.

Can be found published at Soundshock.com

Hell Militia continue to climb the black metal ladder -Interview


 You had said previously that when recording previous album Last Station On the Road to Death you could only record at night and when you were “fucked up”. Did you follow a similar sort of structure when writing Jacob’s Ladder?

 No, for the first time we almost recorded everything by daylight and in a more classical way of studio recording. We of course still got brainfucked but this time we had almost normal hours. One of the main reasons was that the Bayern in winter is freezing cold and we were warming up with wood and alcohol…

 Has the reaction to Jacob’s Ladder been as good as you had hoped?

Reactions have like always been great or flat. We aren’t doing a kind of music that can please everybody and anyway that’s not the purpose either. The main surprise for me was the reaction to the cover. I really thought people would hate it, and that’s what happened when a small preview was first out, but then the reactions were really good about it and I got many demands about why we didn’t use it for the LP or if we would do it as a poster. This proves that Black metal people are not just like usual metal heads that don’t give a shit about other kinds of perverted arts, or that people into Hell Militia have tastes close to ours.

How do you as a band feel your sound has progressed since the Last Station… record?

I really enjoyed recording both. Let’s say that the previous one needed a fucked up recording and this one needed a more focused recording. Of course we can’t record anything just like if we were going to some kind of work, but still this time, we were clear at least half the time of the recording. Also this time, I have followed the mix with the studio far of 9000 km. That was pretty interesting as a change and I think it gave the sound engineer more personal touch, even though we have given it our soul as well.

Jacob’s Ladder is a story from the Bible and it would appear almost mocked on the album artwork. How prominent is religion in the music of Hell Militia?

 Hell Militia is not meant to gather people to any faith. It is more directed to people that are already into the Faith or the great politic disorder. I don’t feel there is mockery on the cover, but I intended to show the twisted part of the prediction – vision of Jacob, and in a more modern way, how people appeal to high moral values in words, but have very different acts.

 Is there a particular reason as to why you have decided to play without a bassist?

 We have only changed our bass player. Now our VJ, S. is playing bass in the band as he is a bass player, and we are already working with our new VJ. In fact, the band is taking a new turn and I really believe the new line-up will be the best thing that ever happened to the band since I first recruited members.

 Many people complain that it is hard to do anything original with black metal nowadays. How do you feel you differ from the rest?

 A famous French writer said in the 17th century that all has been done and said, what is left is how it is done. You know, I’m into many different kinds of art, and nobody likes changes and things that have been done before are always better. Of course I loved the beginning of Black metal, but I am more excited now about many things. I think that there has been a lot of great works in all kind of arts recently. I like my old 1990’s records as I like many today. Most people who complain are people that have lost the flame and are stuck in a fake golden age.

 How do you feel about bands like Watain bringing the occult and black metal into the mainstream?

 Watain is a great band and they haven’t changed since their success. They didn’t sell their ass and deserve it. Who could blame them? No matter how much you sell, as long as you make it for a higher goal.

 The French BM scene seems to be ever growing. Is there a mutual respect between the bands?

 It depends, there are many bands that are linked with strong brotherhood like Hell Militia, Aosoth, temple of Baal, VI, Decline of the I and many others. I don’t think it’s growing especially, it’s mainly more known.

 You have all been known for taking on many musical projects at once. Has Hell Militia now become a priority?

 It has become my priority ever since the second album was out. Jacob’s Ladder is really the first album that has been made as a whole and with all my time. I have worked the artwork and the songs at the same time, taking all necessary time. Then we all rehearsed until we were satisfied and really felt it. This album has opened new ways of working for me, and I already see how my writing has changed since.

 2012 saw a large step for Hell Militia as you signed to Seasons of Mist. What are the plans for 2013?

 We are working with the new line up, and we have quite a bunch of shows and festivals, so time will be needed to take that new album on stage. Then I have started to bring new songs to the others, and I am starting the new artworks as well.


Published in Ghost Cult Magazine