Various Artists – Metal Is Forged Here

Metal Is Forged Here Album Cover Art

Various Artists – Metal Is Forged Here
Metallurg Music
Release Date: 13/02/22
Running Time: 1:07:42
Review by Dark Juan

Hey up, folks, it is I, Dark Juan, and I am drinking Yorkshire tea. Proper tea that comes out of the tea mines just up in t’hills past Otley way, like. I am combining this with a Lindor chocolate bar and from this position of extreme sybaritic luxury, I am feeling quite pleasantly disposed towards my fellow man. Apart from Vladimir Putin. He can get to fuck, the sawn off Soviet shite. I’d like to say that you can’t go around invading other countries all the time, but considering Britain has spent most of the past few centuries dealing out bloody noses to other peoples and then strip mining their countries of as many resources as we could muster, it seems somewhat disingenuous of me to have a proper bash at Daddy Vlad, the ex-KGB Lieutenant-Colonel who might or might not have been involved with the terrorist Red Army Faction and the Stasi… But that isn’t going to stop me because what is happening in Ukraine is just plain WRONG, just as it was when Britain pillaged its way around the world.

I am not Ukrainian, but I stand with Ukraine and I also stand with all the Russian people who are shocked and appalled at what their sawn-off Soviet nutjob of a leader has done this time.

Anyway, I have defaulted to my usual method of dealing with unpleasant and dangerous geopolitics by putting on my cans and listening to music while Mrs. Dark Juan crafts what she calls “Beelzebugs”. These look as you might expect, apart from being considerably LARGER than the creatures they are based on. She left one mounted on the wall from photographing it last night. I came downstairs from my bedchamber this morning, shat myself to the point I was four pounds lighter and thought that I had been transported to fucking Australia, a land well known for having utterly hostile and unfeasibly large insects and arachnids that all want to eat your face from the outside in.

Once again I have digressed. I am in fact listening to a compilation record celebrating 13 years of Metallurg Music, a combined Ukrainian / Polish label and agency with bands from all over the globe on their capacious roster. As I normally do with compilations, I’ll offer a short description of each song, rather than an overarching critique.

With your permission then, dear readers, we shall dive in and see whether this album is worth your time.

Mental Torment – ‘Black’: Gentle, spellbinding noodling on the guitar leads to long drawn out chords and a lead bass line. Ultra guttural, sepulchral vocals and also a high-pitched growl not unlike the early stylings of one Dani Filth esquire overpin a listening experience not unlike My Dying Bride dancing with Red Harvest with a bit of added Audioslave, but with an unusually bluesy guitar solo stuck in there for good measure. In other news, I fucking love how incredibly meaty the bass is on this song. Like being smacked in the face by a side of beef. In short, seven minutes of splendid deathly Doom Metal with brains from Kyiv in Ukraine.

Stealth – ‘The Fake News World’: Italian genre-benders combine Thrash, Groove, Death and Nu-Metal, seemingly by the simple expedient of sticking it, screaming and protesting, into an Industrial blender and hitting the on switch while giggling maniacally and being splattered with gore. Good tune, absolutely horrible DJ scratching that does not enhance the listening experience and seems like an afterthought, or at the very least a terrible idea they had while rat-arsed.

Tempest Rising – ‘Kingdom’: At The Gates style Scandi-metal has the kinkiest and most unholy ménage-a-trois with Math Metal and bizarrely, Linkin Park, when the vocalist stops roaring like a Viking warrior and actually sings. Soaring Chester Bennington-esque vocal power overlays complex rhythms and vice like, ball squeezing metallic power. Even more surprising and slightly worryingly considering I had a bash at Australian fauna in the preamble, these fine gentlemen are from Perth. Surprisingly, the melding of melodic vocals, demented roaring, fractured tempos and jagged riffing works extremely well.

Riff Action Family – ‘Push The Fuck Button’: I am trying to work out whether or not this is a song about stimulating the clitoris none too gently, or unleashing nuclear Armageddon upon a cowering world. While I ponder that admittedly existential question, I can tell you that this bunch of Russian bruisers come from Saint Petersburg and play an intoxicating mix of Thrash and Hardcore with more bottom end than an entire herd of sedentary pachyderms. A speedy, exhilarating blast that sounds like the whole lot of them are having shitloads of fun, and that, therefore, makes it a shitload of fun for me as well.

Dying Vision – “Horrifying Pattern Of The Mind’: The British contingent send it and send it large with some splendid technical Death Metal that is reminiscent of The Black Dahlia Murder and a slightly less technical Necrophagist. Top notch vocals lacerate the throat of the lead singer and the whole song is a satisfying blast through five minutes like they never happened and Dying Vision almost made me spill my tea and upend my crumpets. The bastards.

Advorsa – ‘Unutterable Hideousness’: Old School Death Fucking Metal. Played fucking loud by worryingly hirsute American gentlemen from Chicago, USA. The vocalist really shouldn’t have any voice left (or be alive really) after what he’s just done to his throat in the name of METAL (!) and clearly they are a bunch of mutants with extra arms and legs considering the velocities they attain. Advorsa prove that OSDM done right is still fucking magnificent.

Minneriket – ‘Sorg Og Savn’: Norwegian Romantic Black Metal band Minneriket is the work of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Stein Akslen, who appears to need to get out more instead of messing with all his toys. Classic BM is mixed with outlandish, strangely melodic piano and haunting, yet gorgeous female vocals. High-pitched, scratchy male vocals and a disturbingly lo-fi production combine to bring you an experience not unlike Emperor courting Leaves’ Eyes. In a Norwegian pine forest. In winter. Whilst wearing corpse paint and a bullet belt. And carrying a greatsword for no reason whatsoever. A fabulous song, though, and one well worth your attention.

Curse Of Eibon – ‘Whispers In The Dark’: Remaining in Scandinavia, this time casting my attention upon Sweden, Curse Of Eibon serve up a blistering slice of Gothic Death Metal that slays and charms in equal measure. Keyboards swirl and coruscate around some incredibly chunky riffage and a guttural, earth-shaking primal roar emanates from the bowels of hell (as the lead vocalist will now forever be known in my head). For fans of The Blood Divine and early Anathema, this is just what they have been waiting for. Fucking brilliant song.

Sullen Guest – ‘Come With Me’: A band that appears to have been named after exactly what I am like whenever I am dragged out visiting until there is tea offered to me due to my extreme misanthropy, Sullen Guest hail from the Baltic state of Lithuania and appear to operate from the principle that if you’re going to play Metal, your vocalist must sound like they are at the point of death by aneurysm at all times and that guitars are great but bass guitars are better. Rarely do I hear bass played on record that’s as dense as a pair of your mother’s plutonium undergarments. Or as far forward in the mix as it is here. The music is fairly standard 2000’s Death Metal with interesting nods to classic Black Metal, but with an exceptional vocalist who sounds constantly like he is going to explode and shower the room with his own viscera.

Chris Maragoth – ‘Tales Of My Demise’: The brutality is taken down a few notches with this offering from Germany’s Chris Maragoth and this instrumental piece takes us into the realm of the spectacularly Gothic. All sybaritic production, luscious keys and brooding, frowning guitar, this tune beguiles and seduces with touches of the baroque and the abstruse. Surprisingly unemotional in delivery though and lacking a certain je ne sais quoi that elevates it beyond merely good. Enjoyable if you like bats and snakes and perverted fantasies involving Peter Steele and Pete Murphy.

Mario Rossi – “Nemesis” Well, fuck me sideways. Classic metal is not dead yet. This Brazilian blues guitarist brings back the good old days with a cracking slab of blues infused rock and roll with incendiary, finger bleeding solos and serious grooviness oozing out of every pore. Very, very good, even if it sounds like it could have been recorded at any point between 1978 and 1989. If you love classic Whitesnake and Deep Purple, you might be getting a bit of a treat here.

Neptune – ‘Fallen Nations’: Intro sounds like “Hey Man, Nice Shot” by Filter before we are transported into the hairy chested, gloriously coiffed realms of 80’s Power Metal inhabited by Doro Pesch (who, incidentally, is NOT hairy chested. Or wasn’t the last time I checked. Admittedly, that was in 1987 when I bought Warlock’s “Triumph And Agony”) and Europe. And any number of Italian bands who just CAN’T LEAVE THAT SHIT ALONE!!! The overwhelming feeling I had from this offering was that it was a more muscular “Final Countdown”. Passable, but dated and disappointing mid-paced stompalong.

Artwork For The Blind – ‘The First Supper’: Well, fuck me crossways with a rusty chainsaw and call me Roger. The Septics have discovered Grindcore and called it Death and Roll. I love this song and the, ahem, “homespun” production job which is not unlike the experience of listening to “Exhume To Consume”. That is to say, every instrument appears to have been recorded in a different state of the US with equipment that is made out of bits of four-by-two, Lone Star beer bottles, elastic bands and tobacco juice and cobbled together by a YTS trainee who’s been left to his own devices with an 8-track mixing desk and told to not come out until his trainer gets back. The trainer has not yet returned after three weeks and the trainee is hungry and thirsty and does the best they can before expiring on the studio floor. I love this song because of the sheer exuberance of it and the fact that it has all the charm and wonder of Carcass’ debut simply because the production is so rudimentary.

Still Runners – ‘Messed Up’: We return to Lithuania now and an “exuberant rock trio”. Welcome to 1978 if Muse had been teleported back there and Matt Whateverhisnameis had had his guitar-synth taken away from him by the KGB. I’m being mean. There is nothing wrong with this song at all. It is entirely appropriate and well put together and it has a certain naïve charm. It’s fun and bouncy. But it’s 2022. 

Freakshow – ‘Built 4 This Shit’: San Diego based Nu-Nu-Metal band with absolutely fucknugget song titling try to make Korn fuck Static-X and Adema roughly up the chutney ferret. Distinctly unimpressive and somehow I JUST KNEW this was going to be a Nu-Metal song by the boneheaded sweary song title involving a number and the very first opening downtuned chord. Tedious. Very fucking tedious, although the baggy trousered and wallet chained brigade will no doubt hold it up as a marvelous example of the genre, as they buy their umpteenth Team Satan 666 football jersey. Like the guy I once had an argument on the internet with when I postulated that Nu-Metal only lasted a couple of years because it was a bit shit apart from Static-X and a couple of others, and he was ABSOLUTELY ADAMANT that Nu-Metal was amazing and that Downset were the greatest band the world had ever seen. They fucking weren’t, and neither are Freakshow. I’m not built 4 this shit. Next.

Nihilum – ‘Sunless Death’: Fuck’s sake, Dorothy. Pick up your fucking dog and clear out because you ain’t gonna want to be in Kansas anymore. Nihilum are, and they are tearing Kansas City a new arsehole with some savage and uncompromising True Black Metal. This is a timely reminder of just how powerful and martial unconstrained Black Metal can be. Especially when there is a producer who knows what he is doing and doesn’t make the music sound like a load of pissed off wasps in a bathysphere. What a finish to an excellent compilation with only a couple of missteps along the way.

Well then, I have passed a most entertaining afternoon and evening in the company of Metallurg’s roster of talent and it has made me hungry to discover more of what they have to offer. I’m off to go and do some internet sleuthing and to go and have a gin and tonic. Cos that’s how I roll. Don’t you judge me.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is always thrilled when it gets to enjoy compilations of such quality and diversity. Even if there are infantile moments on there, FREAKSHOW. 9/10 for a really bloody enjoyable set of songs and artists. 

01. Mental Torment – ‘Black’
02. Stealth – ‘The Fake News World’
03. Tempest Rising – ‘Kingdom’
04. Riff Action Family – ‘Push The Fuck Button’
05. Dying Vision – ‘Horrifying Pattern Of The Mind’
06. Advorsa – ‘Unutterable Hideousness’
07. Minneriket – ‘Sorg Og Savn’
08. Curse Of Eibon – ‘Whispers In The Dark’
09. Sullen Guest – ‘Come With Me’
10. Chris Maragoth – ‘Tales Of My Demise’
11. Mario Rossi – ‘Nemesis’
12. Neptune – ‘Fallen Nations’
13. Artwork For The Blind – ‘The First Supper’
14. Still Runners – ‘Messed Up’
15. Freakshow – ‘Built 4 This Shit’
16. Nihilum – ‘Sunless Death’


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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