Filed under: Reviews | Tags: Asenheim, Dødsengel, Flagellant, Lucifugum, Mutilation Rites, Tulus
A day late, a dollar short. I had to move, so you’ll all just have to live with it.
Lucifugum-Od Omut Serpenti
Country: Ukraine (Mykolayiv)
This record could be called “When Drum Machine Black Metal Goes Horribly Wrong”, which, now that I think of it, could be the name of the first Deildegast demo as well. However, the drum machine, no matter how shoddy of a device it is, is not this record’s downfall. That distinct honor falls on just about all of the other elements on the record. There is very little continuity in the riffing. That is to say, at the end of every riff, there is a brief pause before the next riff stops. A little bit of post-production could have erased that problem, but I guess the producer went on a kvass run when he was supposed to be erasing the sad byproduct of putting 800 different riffs into each song but not recording them sequentially. The male vocals on this record sound too silly to have been delivered seriously and the female vocals are almost all just spoken. The culmination of these two factors results in a traffic jam of black metal mediocrity that I probably could have done without. Disappointing, since I distinctly remember enjoying Stigma Egoism. It seems odd that a black metal band would release an album of this caliber this far into their career.
Country: Norway (Ålesund)
Label: Terratur Possessions
Fuck this record is long. I’m sure Dødsengel had a perfectly good reason for releasing a 2 disc full length this year, even though if you deleted all the nonsense spoken word cum-new Burzum tracks this would probably only be an EP. That being said, I actually enjoy this record. Automatic 5 point addition for being a full band and not some douche in a bedroom. When this record isn’t skipping merrily down memory lane with “old Europa” chanting and fucking Greek song titles, it’s actually doing a damn good job at being a punishing black metal record, albeit a punishing black metal record with some pretty fucking odd vocals. When compared to the current state of many of Dødsengel’s fellow Norwegians in the field that they pretty much sowed, this record is fucking exceptional. I come away from this effort feeling generally pleased. If only it wasn’t so fucking long.
Mutilation Rites-I Am Legion
Country: USA (NYC, NY)
Label: Gilead Media
I’ve been hearing a lot about Mutilation Rites, presumably in anticipation of their full-length that comes out in May. I figured it was high time I give these guys a good solid crack. And once again, like Salo, I was pleasantly surprised. I walk into listening to this EP with the same assumption I have of all black metal from my soon-to-be home: hype+black metal band from NYC+beards=big fucking letdown. You see a lot of bands that are just art school dummies who watched that Vice documentary on Gaahl or old hardcore bands that decided to change format because this is 2012 and no one goes to fucking hardcore shows anymore (although I hear they’re coming back). But, it would seem that Mutilation Rites falls into my coveted “Third Category” which at the moment, as far as New York City is concerned, only consists of Mutilation Rites, Salo, and Negative Plane. But with this three song EP, I am totally sold. The music is complex, yet stripped down. Equally melodic and blood-curdling. I am now entirely excited for the full-length, this EP left me desiring so much more. Why couldn’t this have been the 2-disc release instead of Dødsengel?
Tulus-Olm og Bitter
Country: Norway (Oslo)
Label: Tabu Recordings
I like that Tulus became Khold, then became Tulus again, and are now both. Way to avoid all possibility of a Gorgoroth-style name fight. Tulus suffers from Taake Syndrome which is what I’m going to call it from now on when Norwegian black metal bands just keep rereleasing the same album over and over again. Like Taake, the album Tulus wrote is a good one and they made a pretty good choice ditching the candelabra Cradle of Filth aesthetics. I also have to give Tulus a lot of credit for not buying into trends in black metal and turning into a pale carbon copy of a band that is trying to sound like them (that was directed squarely at Varg). Tulus is very heavy. This album refuses to relent, partially at the hands of an audible bass. Now, that may damage their “trve” credentials, along with decent production, non-photocopied album art and not 45 minutes of unbroken blastbeat, but this record sits just fine with me anyway, even if it is just a little bit unadventurous. Better than the new Immortal record. Better than basically all of Emperor’s records apart from In the Nightside Eclipse. It’s always these bands that weren’t hugely controversial and on the fringes of the Black Metal Evil Guys Club that actually managed to make records that are not only listenable but enjoyable.
Country: Germany (Mosbach, Baden Württemberg)
As someone with a one man black metal band forced to use a drum machine and with way too much time on my hands, I have a number of tips I would like to share with Tiwaz of Asenheim. Tip 1: always make sure your guitar is in tune, especially if you’re going to dump a ton of piano interludes on your record. People WILL notice. And not in a good way. Tip 2: bury the shitty computer drums as low in the production as possible. They sound shitty. You might want to put a ton of distortion and reverb on them too, it’s the only way they are going to sound remotely real. But still bury them under everything. Tip 3: you are the only one who wants to hear any forays into neo-classical/folk music. No one else does. Do not use them ad nauseum. Tip 4: If you have a friend who sounds like Nico, do not let her do female vocals. Nico sounded like a man. Tip 5: Do NOT under ANY circumstances use “claps”. Tip 6: google the name you want to give the album and make sure no one famous has used it already. Not so important but I’ve now listened to this demo all the way through and I still can’t help but think of Rammstein. Follow these steps. Anyone thinking about paying real tangible currency for this record should probably just not do that.
Country: Germany (Munich, Bavaria)
Wimpy guitars can go fucking die. The guitars on this rip about as much flesh as a Buddhist monk in a pillow store. This record is troubling to me because it’s yet another release that sounds more like post-hardcore than black metal, a trend popping up a lot these days. Thing is, if this were actually a good post-hardcore record, I’d probably still listen to it (though it would be struck from this review immediately for lack of relevance). But it’s not. It’s repetitive, the guitars are weak (see above), the drums are slow and boring, and the vocals are basically non-existent. Why even have a vocalist? It’s not like I can hear it beneath the gigantic pile of weak guitars and shitty drums. I thought I would at least sort of like this record based on nothing of concrete merit. I was wrong. I hate this record. This band also broke up after this came out. Good. They were not a good band.