ZEMIAL – ‘Nykta’ [4]

To say that Zemial enjoy pushing boundaries is quite the understatement, and whilst every aspect of black metal was explored on 2006’s ‘In Monumentum’, the Greeks break out into every genre they can possibly think of to blend with the dark base.

‘Nykta’ is capable of messing up your head, with bizarre changes kicking in as soon as you’ve settled into that black metal part, or a slow instrumental. Whilst tracks such as ‘Breath of Pestilence’ take on a stable yet exciting twist of black ‘n’ roll, the likes of ‘Pharos’ stutter with schizophrenic tendencies, with this particular track screaming blackened opera, progressive silliness  and ambience all in one.

As mind-bending as it all sounds, their experimentation is commendable and at times makes the likes of Ihsahn look totally sane particularly on opener ‘Ancient Arcane Scrolls’. Beginning with blackened themes, the extremity stays throughout the eight minutes but convulses between melody, brutality and technicality before burning down into something atmospheric. Despite a strong production and aura aplenty, the overall album is a struggle to embrace due to the sporadic flow and overwhelming elements. It’s still dark and will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat but like a bad horror film, the overall conclusion is that it’s not worth your attention.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Nykta’ is out 31st October on Hells Headbangers

You’ll like this if… you fancy something Greek and confusing that isn’t related to economy

published for soundshock.com


Satyricon – ‘ Satyricon’


Likely to divide fans, this self-centred and self-titled release from Satyricon was certainly not written to please. Instead, it’s obvious that the duo’s art has undergone some serious experimentation, with flickers of their grim past and mannerisms that we haven’t seen from the Norwegians before. There is a large chunk of their irritatingly infectious black’n’roll apparent with simplistic drumming from an ever-militant Frost and the usual mid-tempo, fist pumping, stompy riffs. ‘Nekrohaven’ is likely to be as anthemic as ‘KING’ when in front of an audience, while ‘Pheonix’ offers an epic ballad akin to what ‘They Rode On’ is on the latest Watain. The album from here on in gets more interesting with some blackened doom in the form of ‘Nocturnal Flare’ and a complete change in tempo from frenzied ‘Ageless Northern Spirit. It’s this almost schizophrenic, primitive approach that stops listeners assuming this is just another ‘Now, Diabolical’ and whether or not it is for the better, Satyricon have evolved once again.

Small review published in Iron Fist

King Parrot – ‘Bite Your Head Off’

On first listen, Aussies King Parrot are like an annoying younger sibling running around, causing havoc and making an unnecessary amount of noise. But eventually you see the charm, embrace the madness and give them a big loving hug. The thrashing grind of ‘Bite Your Head Off’ only lasts around twenty minutes but it leaves a more than lasting impression. Opener ‘Bozo’ is an ideal example of the intense grind coated in death thrash riffs and your first experience of the bizarre vocals of Youngy, who we assume caused the name King Parrot with his nasty, punk-tinged squawks.

There isn’t likely to be many albums that combine these scummy styles in a serious manner and King Parrot pursue this with tongue-in-cheek titles such as ‘Silly Ol’ Mate’ and ‘Shit on the Liver’. Don’t let this cause an avoidance though, as every single track is a short, sharp blast of intensity and great musicianship. The power of ‘Bite Your Head Off’ is stronger than the largest wingspan frantically flapping and one can only assume their live shows would be absolutely mental. Invite please.

4 out of 5 fists

Lecherous Nocturne – ‘Behold Almighty Doctrine’

The technical trail through the death metal plains continues to lengthen with bands desperate to out-widdle one another. Whilst many continue to amaze with obscure time patterns and fingers faster than a serial masturbator, Lecherous Nocturne are probably not a name you think of as leaders in the field. They should be though, as third full length ‘Behold Almighty Doctrine’ balances the brutal urges with technical intelligence without being plain silly. Further to add to the commendable traits is their obvious loyalty to the old school death scene that clearly influenced the band. Smatterings of Morbid Angel are aurally spotted, as well as the odd hint of blackened tremolos akin to Marduk. ‘Those Having Been Hidden Away’ is stellar proof of how underrated Lecherous Nocturne are and records like this are worthy of meeting the likes of Immolation in the highlights of 2013 for death metal.

4 out of 5 fists

Impiety – ‘Vengeance Hell Immemorial’

Sometimes a compilation may seem like a money-grabbing scheme but when the band in question’s tunes are as hard to hunt down as an endangered species, it can come as a blessing. Singapore’s black/death exports Impiety go out of print with ease and ‘Vengeance Hell Immemorial’ is the ideal portrayal of their evil reign over more than two decades. For those unfamiliar with Impeity, this record starts from the bestial beginning with exhibits from their ‘Salve the Goat’ EP and ‘Ceremonial Necrochrist Redesecration’ demo containing Blasphemy worship aplenty.

As the album progresses, so does the death metal flavours through ‘Funeralight’, into ‘ Kaos Kommand’ and into their split with Abhorrence, the most deadly yet. Despite their often elitist following and ridiculously raw speed, the interludes amongst the darkness shows the opposite, with renditions of “Eye of the Tiger” and people flushing the toilet. If an infographic were to be made of this album, it would be Darwin’s image of evolution smothered in corpsepaint, wedged firmly in any black metal fan’s shelf.

4 out of 5 fists.

Necronomicon – ‘The Rise of the Elder Ones’

After crossing the hurdles of second and third album releases, Canada’s Necronomicon have returned with an album likely to crush any of their predecessors. ‘The Rise of Elders’ is arguably one of their strongest moments, with a blackened death blast-fest that will undoubtedly result in tinnitus. Although there is an array of monstrous drumming that could give the likes of Behemoth’s Inferno a run for his money, and guitar parts delicately laced with technicality, the album as a whole is nothing particularly thought provoking. Unlike similar sounding artists like the aforementioned Behemoth or the beautifully brutal Nile, the Canadians lack a distinctive atmosphere despite divulging in majestic yet slightly cringey keyboard parts. Although competent, ‘The Rise of the Elder Ones’ slowly falls into a repetitive loop by the latter half of the album and it wouldn’t be surprising if this album was lost in the murky depths of extreme metal.

2 out of 5 fists.

All reviews by Lily Randall

Sonne Adam @ Boston Arms, London

Tonight’s one off show at The Boston Arms sees a swelling audience from the doors opening due to a couple of exclusives in this evening’s proceedings. With an ever evolving underground sound thriving in the capital, what better way to start than with homage to OSDM, courtesy of Decrepid. The band fills the stage with Swedish rawness and a slight tinge of crusty grind, with frontman Cris Bassan stomping the stage into the ground like a bald Barney Greenway.

Craven Idol need no introduction for most who reside within London, with a consistent showcase of their blackened thrash on stage in recent years. As always they dominate clad in studs and leather, with buzzsaw riffs and echoing gnarls of hatred consistently pummelling the venue. With such a tight set and influence from legends such as Destroyer 666 or Bathory, we can only hope a full length will soon haunt us with its existence.

The fact that this is Grave Miasma’s only UK show this year is likely to have been a pulling point for many tonight and it soon becomes apparent why. Whilst much of the atmosphere on their EPs is created by an old school production, the murky depths of their blackened death seem to intensify in a live environment. The gloom-riddled guitars and rasps of the occult on the likes of ‘This Tomb Is My Altar’ become almost hypnotic as the set encases you in total darkness.

Sonne Adam’s previous journey to our shores supporting Grave was a show to be reckoned with but their first headline show in London is destined to push into another dimension. As soon as the intensely low riffs of ‘We who Worship The Black’ commence, the crowd are under the Israelis’ spell, with every ounce of evil seeming effortlessly brilliant. Nothing is forced here, with every track from incredible debut ‘Transformation’ sounding as crushing, if not more, than on record. Despite Dahan’s departure last year, the current four piece are meticulously bound with Davidov’s vocals harrowing every ear tunnel within venue. Tonight is a perfect example as to why Sonne Adam’s entrance into the spotlight was such a breath of fresh air for doom death.

Review by Lily Randall

Published in Iron Fist

Vreid – ‘Welcome Farewell’ [8]


After the sad events involving the death of Windir’s vocalist Valfar in 2004, Vreid was resurrected from the ashes of the remaining members to continue the black metal legacy of their lost warrior. However, for anyone that had hoped for a continuation of the folk-infused BM, a sixth album moving further away from their roots proves it is not likely Windir will be revisited in the Vried catalogue.

Admittedly, the Norwegian tradition still runs in the band’s blood and so the passion for darkness is as prominent as ever but, in a similar vein to previous record ‘V’, ‘Welcome Farewell’ relies more on melody than just straight up fury. The speed is still very much in tact, with tracks including ‘Sights Of Old’ seeping with Aura Noir tendencies for a thrash-driven tune, whilst ‘The Devil’s Hand’ is just one example of the black’n’roll fusion Vreid are most likened to. Honourable Windir influences can still be heard whispering in the background of ‘Way Of The Serpent’ and it would appear that the band have managed to embed enough outside influences to further evolve their slightly more accessible black metal. Unlike their forefathers, Vreid continue to use a clean and modern production which helps even the often forgotten bassist amidst the black metal mist in being heard. The overall record may not be a huge leap into unique realms but ‘Welcome Farewell’ is enough to prove that despite being coined as melodic black metal, Vreid are far from the wishy washy symphonies one might imagine and are likely to persist in pleasing with strength.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Welcome Farewell’ is out now on Indie Recordings (?)

You’ll like this if… you welcome the farewell of black metal stereotypes and embrace the changes the genre has taken.

Published at http://www.soundshock.com

Enslaved/Winterfylleth,Ancient Ascendant live @ The Underworld 2013

Enslaved, Winterfylleth, Ancient Ascendant


The Underworld, London

With the weather refusing to jump into Spring, we continue to brace ourselves for a Nordic winter evening and once again, Scandinvian sounds prove as the perfect soundtrack. After supporting Dimmu Borgir back in 2010 and doing a few shows along the way in the UK, tonight sees a sold out show for Enslaved, allowing both crowd and band to embrace a headline set.

Ancient Ascendant’s origin may not be as Viking-esque as they look and sound, but the Reading death metallers do their influences proud with an energetic onslaught of melody-riddled brutality with smatterings of black and thrash for extra kicks. The youngsters choose to play latest EP ‘Into The Dark’ in its entirety despite releasing a full length in 2011 but the tunes on show tonight prove the deathly developments made. The band grab the heart strings of the crowd with a cover of Bathory’s ‘Flash Of The Silver Hammer’ and an ideal scene is set for the rest of the night.

Winterfylleth have grown to become one of Britian’s most loved exports and with last year’s ‘Threnody of Triumph’ being so, ahem, triumphant in the annual album charts, the anticipation is buzzing this evening. This is only further increased thanks to a few technical difficulties when starting but as soon as the intro tape kicks in on the second time round, the ‘Fylleth four are all guns blazing/ Known for their adoration of the homeland and its natural beauty, the Northerners black metal streams with an organic effortlessness, as frontman Chris Naughton smiles and gnarls through tracks such as ‘The Swart Raven’ and ‘The Fields of Reckoning’ with pure enjoyment.  Despite a predominantly fast tempo, the band slows down for fist pumping patriotism and closer ‘Defending The Realm’ from debut ‘The Ghosts of Heritage’  is a prime example of pride, as it creates an epic intimacy between fans and band.

If you want prove of a band that refuses to stick to their regional stereotype, look no further than Enslaved. After bursting from the second wave of black metal cocoon that Norway produced, their roots laid deep within the nature and history of their surroundings, in a similar vein to Winterfylleth now. After a Viking-fuelled few albums, the band’s experimenting into more progressive realms continued to grow and tonight’s set is dominated by the evolution of Enslaved. With last year’s dark yet pristine release ‘RIITIIR’ showcased through tracks such as ‘Roots of the Moutain’ and ‘Thoughts Like Hammers’, the progressive pummelling sounds even more monolithic  than on record, which seemed impossible prior to tonight.

Albums ‘Ruun’ and ‘Axioma Ethica Odini’ are visited briefly and are presented with style, whilst the band banters between itself in a manner that is not very “krieg” at all, yet it causes the crowd to adore them further. There are likely to be a few in attendance this evening who are disappointed by the lack of true, raw black metal Enslaved used to conjure, however they are extremely outnumbered by the looks of the sweaty and eclectic crowd that are lapping up a Led Zepplin cover of ‘Immigrant Song’ as the night draws to a close.

Review by Lily Randall

Published at http://www.Metal-Rules.com

Svart Crown – ‘Profane’ [9]

Despite being a lesser known act compared to many that have been bred in France in the last decade, Svart Crown are by no means flagging when it comes to producing to a first-class metal record. Their previous two albums received rave reviews from those who could be bothered to embrace the blackened death they conjured up and this instalment certainly breaks the third album curse. In a similar vein to 2010’s ‘Witnessing The Fall’, the French four piece entwine death metal brutality with a blackened melody, as vocalist JB’s deep growls engross your aural passages alongside tremolo picking and chunky riffs. The tempos twist and turn a lot more than on their sophomore effort, creating a more organic and technical feel and the layers flow from one track to another with a pleasant unease.

‘Genesis Architect’ is a prime example of blastbeat-fuelled fury full of sinister undertones and ‘Profane’ continues to creep up on you with sudden break downs and slower, more evil-sounding entities. Svart Crown have stayed loyal to their proposed weapon of soul destruction and instead of experimenting with their style, have continued to evolve when room for improvement has been suggested. Hopefully 2013 will be the year that underrated Svart Crown burst into action, just like the pregnant woman on the front cover.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Profane’ is out 22nd April on Listenable Records

You’ll like this if… you like your blackened death brewed to a dark and modern blend of tastiness.


Published at http://www.soundshock.com