Sunday, 24 September 2017

Tiil Sum - I nie ma śmierci, i sen jest tylko...

TIIL SUM - nie ma śmiercii sen jest tylko... (DARK OMENS Production CD 2017)
Tiil Sum's "I nie ma śmiercii sen jest tylko..." is another release of Dark Omens Production and I have to say that it's also yet another project from this label, which intrigued me a lot (I recommend also Beorn!). I have not had a chance to hear Tiil Sum's previous releases, but this new EP is very good and I am happy that I was able to get a copy and give it a listen. 
Obviously, just like most of Dark Omens Production releases, this is also a black metal band. But it has to be said that almost every band on this label sounds different. And so does Tiil Sum, whose music may have a slight Scandinavian feeling, but its dark and melancholic aura can bring some US black metal projects to your mind. But at the same time Tiil Sum sounds original enough to have their own identity. I like the fact that Tiil Sum mostly focuses on more aggressive styles of black metal and damn, some riffs on this EP are truly fantastic, especially in my favourite track "Lecz oto żyjesz", which is a real highlight of "I nie ma śmierci...". I really like this track, with mixture of vicious and aggressive, often fast black metal, some great melodies and more melancholic and sorrowful parts. The riffs are superb, the atmosphere is just hypnotizing... and the only problem is that not always Tiil Sum is able to keep that quality and tension equally high through the whole song. In this track they have succeeded with it, actually, but I cannot say the same about such "Wyprowadźcie mnie" (that introduction for this song... what the hell??!!). I also feel like the vocals could have been better, but I am that some of you will like their very harsh sound more than I do. But these are all minor complaints and generally I think that Tiil Sum came up with truly interesting and highly enjoyable and worthy release. It's pretty short, so I think I played it at least 20 times and I am looking forward to hear more from them. It's another very promising black metal project from Poland. 
Standout track: "Lecz oto żyjesz" 
Final rate: 75/100 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Gravehammer - Morbid Obscurity

GRAVEHAMMER - Morbid Obscurity (Demo 2007)
As Gravehammer, this band may be completely unknown. It's not a surprise, because they only did one demo and one seven inch single under this moniker. But if I say that from 2010 Gravehammer exists as Ensnared, then many of you will know, where are we. Yes, this is the same Ensnared, which crushed with "Ravenous Damnation's Dawn" MLP and more recently with absolutely fantastic "Dysangelium" album (which I this is one of the best 2017 releases!!). Some years ago, before we knew of Ensnared, I was lucky get Gravehammer's "Morbid Obscurity" demo for review. It's quite rare and unknown release, so let me write few words about it! 
Honestly there's very little in common between "Morbid Obscurity" and what Ensnared does. But one thing is certain - both bands play death metal in the old school way, but Gravehammer did that in much more primeval and obscure way. They not only had raw and morbid death metal influences, but there are many thrash riffs in their songs, even sort of thrashing black metal aura of some sort, so it's quite deadly mixture, I would say. And I have to say that "Morbid Obscurity" is really cool. It's really fuckin short, with three songs and just six minutes of music, so there's not much philosophy nor the most wonderful songwriting. But Gravehammer had some great riffs, I like that harshness and aggressive style of their death / thrash / black metal, so it is a decent stuff. These guys were very young then, but they surely had good skills and ideas for writing this kind of obscure metal of death. Which is cool! And it's nice to have this demo, as it's very rare, I suppose. 
Oh, you can still read my old interview with Gravehammer 
Final rate: 70/100 

Beorn - Triumph of the Will

BEORN - Triumph of the Will (DARK OMENS Production CD 2017)
Despite how attractive it is, you don't always need fancy ritualistic image, hoods, skulls, candles or whatever else to bring attention. Sometimes your great music is enough to make the best impression. Polish Beorn image and style are simple, but the band plays some old school black metal, which infected me from the very first listen. "Triumph of the Will" is sort of compilation with two 2015 Beorn recordings: "Awakening" demo and "Warriors of Fullmoon" EP. Both recording complete each other very well and together these are some worthy 45 minutes, believe me. 
I have to say that when I started to listen to "Triumph of the Will", I was quite surprised. I expected to hear some very raw and primitive black metal, but Beorn is completely different, although their music is soaked in the traditional, old school means. Stylistically you can find influences from bands like early Samael, Burzum, even a bit of the likes of Christ Agony or Graveland. But "Triumph of the Will" is not only far from being just useless copy, but it can surprise with great songwriting, performance and sound quality. The music is often quite majestic and almost epic, but it's also dynamic and varied, with not just slow or mid paced parts, but more aggressive and faster songs as well, to get more impressive result. There are harsh riffs, but you can find here also few melodic fragments and even some keyboards, which give deeper and darker atmosphere. And even longer compositions like "Wilczyca" do not bore, because there's always enough variety and good riffage to give an interesting result. I have to say that I especially liked these more atmospheric and more obscure songs like "The Ritual of Forgotten Shadows", which is just amazing song and for me the best piece of the whole CD. The first part of it is very calm and atmospheric, later it turns into more aggressive stuff, with almost Darkthrone'ish riffage, but it sounds godly! And also "In the Arms of Madness" is a real highlight of the album for me. Of course, when it's fast and nasty, it's also damn good like "Victory Over Dying Sun" - song, which again is far from being one dimensional and where you will find many tempo and atmosphere variations. 
What else can I write about Beorn? Well, I definitely like the vocals of the man, who's behind this project - sorry, but I have no idea who he is, so I won't give you his nameBut he's got great throat and his raspy, harsh voice fits this sort of black metal perfectly. I am also surprised how well it all sounds, the production is just fantastic. It's harsh, but clean and powerful, and even though the songs are from two different recording sessions, there's not much difference in the quality, which is great. So, I can truly say that this CD is very recommended and for me it's a real highlight of the Dark Omens Production roster. 
Standout tracks: "The Ritual of Forgotten Shadows", "In the Arms of Madness", "Wilczyca" 
Final rate: 85/100 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Archives of the Dead part XXVI - Acheron - Deprived of Afterlife (EP 1991)

Archives of the Dead part XXVI - Acheron - Deprived of Afterlife (EP 1991)  
Line upSimon Dower (vocals), David Abbott (guitars), Tim Aldridge (guitars), Justin Wornes (bass), Jason Dutton (drums) 
Recorded between the 19-20th of April, 1991. Produced by Acheron. 
This may be my favourite piece of death metal that ever came from Australia. Yes, I do know that it's only a seven inch with two tracks and an intro, but I don't care. It's fantastic death metal and truly special stuff, which blows my fuckin head off every time I play it. Acheron was great band, I like this single even more than the stuff they did under the name Abramelin, whose debut album is legendary. But I prefer "Deprived of Afterlife" a tiny bit more.  
Generally, I think that these two songs, which are on this single, smash a lot of the old school death metal to pieces. It's nasty, brutal shit, which stylistically may have a bit of the European dark and sick vibe, but it's also strongly influenced by the US brutality and technicality. So, maybe if you think of bands like Sinister, Nihilist, Immolation and Suffocation, then maybe you will know what it's like. I love the first song especially, with its savage, blasting parts, but also some slightly melodic parts in one fragment, which sound truly great. I like the production of this EP a lot also. It's harsh, but good enough even for a death metal full length of these old days. Mind that Acheron recorded this single in 1991, so it's very early days of the genre yet! And time, when some of the best classics were recorded. For me "Deprived of Afterlife" is also such classic and essential release. 
Originally "Deprived of Afterlife" was released by French label Corpse Grinder Records, which released also great singles from Ceremonial Oath, Macabre End and Dissection. It's hard to find, expensive, but worth getting. It surely is on my wantlist! 
Final rate: 85/100