Friday, 19 January 2018

Necrophiliac - Chaopula - Citadel of Mirrors

NECROPHILIAC - Chaopula - Citadel of Mirrors (THE CRYPT Productions LP 2015)
There never were that many Spanish death metal bands from early 90's, which I would really like. Yes, I can mention Avulsed, Rotten Flesh, Sacrophobia or Unbounded Terror - they were all pretty good, but far from being my favourites. Spanish scene was just very mediocre. But there's one band, which I think was better than all the other. NecrophiliacCertainly I can say that they are my favourite Spanish band from these old days and their "Chaopula - Citadel of Mirrors" album from 1992 is the best thing, which Spain has unleashed back then. Originally putted out by Drowned Productions, "Chaopula..." offered a very fine dose of sick death metal played the Scandinavian way, so maybe this is why I enjoyed - and still do - this album so muchBecause it's my most preferred sound! In 2014 a vinyl version of this legendary album came out from The Crypt Productions and I have to say that it was a mandatory purchase for me. And I got everything I imagined from this release. A nice gatefold cover with the layout that is very, very close to the original LP – I like when it's done this way!! There're some cool archive photographs, lyrics, bonus material on the second vinyl... This is how such reissues should always be like in my opinion. For that, I give this vinyl repress honest 10/10. 
Presentation aside, I have to say that after all these years, I still like "Chaopula - Citadel of Mirrors" a lot. This album may sound slightly archaic nowadays, especially with that messy, harsh production, but it doesn't affect the listening and I enjoy the music totally. As I mentioned, Necrophiliac sounded quite a lot like Scandinavian band, with many Swedish-esque riffs or melodic accents in the music, which are always so characteristic fpr Sweden. But Finnish and Danish death metal must have also influenced these guys strongly, if you think of these more gory, sick and darker fragments of "Chaopula...". Especially the vocals sound quite nasty, Bongo came up with many different growls, beastly vomits or shrieks, but the effect is awesome and gives the music a sicker, more brutal and repulsive character. These diverse vocals fit the riffs very wellespecialy when their styles and atmosphere changes from gory brutal stuff to more doomy and melodic. And with songs like "Gorefruit Treasure" or "Necrotic Narcosis", I can just assure you that we deal here with a cool classic death metal. The drumming is slightly sloppy, the production could have also been better, to be honest, because sometimes the music sounds just messy and even have a primitive feel. But I cannot say that it would have a negative impact on these songs or on how I perceive the music. As I already mentioned, I like this album, it doesn't get boring for me.  
With this awesome LP from The Crypt, I finally had a killer opportunity to listen to some Necrophiliac demos also. You can find here "Infernal Exorcism" demo 1988 and "Visceral Fruit" demo 1991 on side C and D. I never had a chance to listen to them before, so this is why I appreciate such bonus material on the second vinyl. As I write this despite the fact that not always these demos are really good. For instance "Infernal Exorcism" is nothing really special, stylistically it's very different to "Chaopula...", more thrash / death oriented, much much more primitive and obscure than the album. It's listenable and interesting from the historical point of view, but not as good for its strict musical aspect. "Visceral Fruit" is slightly better, but again we can hear that they were rather first attempts to achieve anything interesting, quality wise, not just production, but also the way these songs have been played, is just far from what we can find on the album. And mind that most of these songs have been used for the "Chaopula..." Also. So, I cannot say that I've been much impressed by this demo content of Necrophiliac, I'll rather treat it as a nice bonus, bot necessarily something really worth to listen to. Nevertheless, a fine vinyl reissue from The Crypt, definitely nice to have it in my collection!! 
Standout tracks: "Gorefruit Treasure", "Necrotic Narcosis", "Depressed in Crimson Climax", "Image Control In Biosphere of Unreal" 
Final rate: 75/100 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Altarage - Endinghent

ALTARAGE - Endinghent (SEASON OF MIST - LP 2017)
Altarage are band, which plays this unique, utterly obscure, sepulchral and dissonant death metal. And like these few other similar acts (Portal, Mitochondrion, Abyssal, Antediluvian and so forth), they also managed to find their own path in this dark dimension and more so, their music has great quality. I do have to admit that their previous album, "Nihl", was damn solid, I enjoyed it, even though it wasn't the easiest album to get into. But the music was getting better and better with each listen. I liked that monstrous sound, some incredible riffs, inhuman vocals and the aura, which was almost terrifying. Now Altarage are back with their second full length album, "Endinghent". The band signed a pact with Seasons of Mist, which surely is a step forward for them. And musically I have to say that "Endinghent" is a good follower to "Nihl". Again, not the easiest music, not the catchiest and most memorable death metal. But if you give it time, it may click and impress you. And provide some most unpleasant experiences.  
Listening to Altarage music always feels like a journey into the darkest and most desolate, deepest pits. Riffs are creating a frightening claustrophobic feeling, if the walls were coming closer and closer to you and they're getting heavier with each next minute. The vocals are echoing like monstrous grunts or tortured yells of something inhuman and unknown, yet terrifying. This music does not want you to abandon this horrid place though, it wants to bury you in this most eerie place, so you keep listening to it. In the end, it will crush and suffocate you. It's almost unreal how it feels to listen to this music, especially if you provide it proper conditions (headphones and total fuckin' darkness!). But this is exactly why Altarage - and many similar bands - are so exciting to listen to. Because this is fantastic experience and something almost uncanny. 
From the strict musical point of view, Altarage doesn't provide a pleasant and catchy sound. Again they use many discordant, abrasive chords, many blast beats, chaotic and truly heavy parts... There's also a lot of diversity in this album, whether we speak of tempo variations or riff style. And once more you can hear vocals, which work almost like another instrument and are responsible for creating this sinister atmosphere just as much as the rest of Altarage music. You won't find any melodic parts here, hardly any riff can be described as memorable! More so, some parts sound like pure cacophony. But again, when combined with that feeling of eeriness and insane heaviness, it all works perfectly and becomes a main strength of Altarage music.  
Just as "Nihl", "Endinghent" is also very violent record and played at fast pace in many fragments. And I have to say that I like how Altarage sounds there, especially in anthems such as "Spearheaderon""Weighteer""Fold Eksis" - pure, relentless force, sheer brutality and insanity. At the same time the focus on slower playing is more careful and omnipresent, especially with songs like "Incessant Magma", "Rift" or the fantastic "Barrier", which show incredible strength and viciousness. So, there is enough variation on "Endinghent", but when playing it you need to focus on this music, spend time with it, not use it as an enjoyable background for your daily routines. It won’t work that way. This album demands your attention. 
Let me also say that it's just unbelievable how did death metal evolve, creating such vicious and savage forms. At the same time, it answers the question "whether it's still possible to create something new in this style of music". With bands like Altarage the answer is "yes, definitely!". Of course, it's not music for every death metal fan, I am sure than most of them will think of it as too chaotic and "unpleasant". If you expect to hear classic death metal riffs, forget about "Endinghent". But if you want something different, then give it a chance. 
Standout tracks: "Spearheaderon", "Barrier", "Rift", "Weighteer" 
Verdict: 80/100 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Crusm - Stench of Decompose

CRUSM - Stench of Decompose (self released demo 2017)
I got this CD from London, although all members of this band are Polish. They call themselves Crusm and here's their debut recording titled "Stench of Decompose". Well, I won't write an indepth and lengthy review of it, because there's not much to write about, to be honest. There are ten minutes of grindcore / crust on this disc, with five songs plus two covers (of Disrupt and Disfear). The whole music and the attitude is to keep everything simple, energetic, raw and aggressive. And have some fun, while playing it. I suppose that Crusm achieved that exactly, because this is what we get from this demo. Very short, right to the point slabs of filth, with almost primitive, ugly feel, bit of groove, brutality and sick, disgusting vocals. And it sounds pretty solid. Nevertheless, I cannot say that I like this music. It's just not my style, really, I've never been fan of grind core, maybe except very, very few exceptions, so I can't think of any reason why would I like Crusm. I'm not saying their music sucks or something, I'm not saying it's unlistenable... Maybe it's pretty cool, but just not my cup of piss. 
Verdict: 60/100