Liminal Shroud – All Virtues Ablaze

All Virtues Ablaze Album Cover Art

Liminal Shroud – All Virtues Ablaze
Willowtip Records
Release Date: 05/08/22
Running Time: 40:03
Review by Laura Barnes
7/10

Although Black Metal has its roots planted firmly in Northern Europe, recent years have seen some ground-breaking bands coming out of North America. The likes of Wayfarer and Panopticon have revolutionised the Black Metal scene, creating music that is equally as thoughtful as it is extreme. This prospective third wave of Black Metal (and Christ almighty, that is not a debate I want to get into) is one that is philosophical, unashamedly political, and unafraid of experimentation.  It goes beyond the sinister; it is black metal that connects you to the wind in the trees and the dirt beneath your feet. Canadian Black Metal act Liminal Shroud fit neatly into this tradition. 

Liminal Shroud’s version of Black Metal is far more earthy than it is hellish, but is equally as crushing. “All Virtues Ablaze” is an album designed to be listened to loudly and intently. That said, it is certainly an easier listen than their previous album “Through The False Narrows”. The production is far more polished while managing to avoid veering into an overly glossy terrority, but more importantly Liminal Shroud sound fuller and more confident than ever before. The bass and snare combo used throughout this album gives “All Virtues Ablaze” that feeling of vastness and enormity that makes Black Metal special. Album opener ‘Hypoxic’ feels like standing under a waterfall, almost drowning but not quite. Lyrically, the song is a reflection on imprisonment and solitude, and – in my opinion – can be taken both physically and metaphorically. While this may be well-travelled territory for a Black Metal band, it is clear that Liminal Shroud have approached this topic with care and attention. The free and natural world is one that has been destroyed, and replaced with one of tall grey towers and stagnation. As the instrumentals reach their bone-chilling conclusion, an epiphany is declared: ‘We built these towers / and we must tear them down’. 

The rest of the album maintains it’s heavy impact, but also adds in a slightly melodic kick. Although three out of the four tracks exceed the eight minute mark (for me, eight minutes is the border between an ‘easy listening’ song and a ‘lay down with all the lights off’ song), they never once forget that they are songs above all else, weaving the instruments together to create a tapestry of atmosphere, emotion and story. ‘Transmigration I – Pelagic Voids’ features a brief but significant moment of clean singing, and ‘Transmigration II – The Cleansing Ash’ incorporates piano and church choir-esque vocals into a track that is otherwise a twelve minute exploding volcano of sorrow. This is a phenomenal way to round off the album, and those final fading notes will have you wishing that “All Virtues Ablaze” was just that bit longer. 

Although this album is one that I am proud to have in my collection and will no doubt turn back to whenever my skies grow that bit darker, I still feel that Liminal Shroud have more to give. Their sound has become more full and consistent, yes, but I believe that Liminal Shroud can grow their sound even higher, till it reaches snow-capped mountains and is tall enough to look down on those grey, lifeless towers. On a less metaphorical level, there is also a case here for bringing the vocals forward slightly. Whilst there are some Black Metal bands in which the vocals are just one instrument among many, designed to be incomprehensible and mysterious, Liminal Shroud’s lyrics seem too relevant and poignant to be completely buried. These minor gripes aside, “All Virtues Ablaze” gives something that I, personally, will always want more of: big Black Metal with a big black heart. If you’re anything at all like me, then I promise you: this will be worth your while. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hypoxic
02. Mists Along Florencia
03. Transmigration I – Pelagic Voids
04. Transmigration II – The Cleansing Ash

LINE-UP:
Aiden Crossley – Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Rich Taylor – Vocals, Bass
Drew Davidson – Drums

LINKS: 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Laura Barnes 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.

Grima – Frostbitten

Frostbitten Album Cover Art

Grima – Frostbitten
Naturmacht Productions
Release Date: 29/07/22
Running Time: 48:55 
Review by Rick Eaglestone
10/10

The bleak and nightmarish duo return with new album “Frostbitten”.

I will be 100% transparent immediately, Grima’s last release “Rotten Garden” was phenomenal. And when it comes to this album, I have seen the cover, watched the first released video, and pre ordered the album, along with the repress of the previous album. So already I am expecting big things from this, so let’s go… 

The first track ‘Gloomy Heart of the Coldest Land’ is an ambitious nine and half minutes, and I have to say it has already justified top marks – it is just a plethora of bleak, foreboding black metal and still carries the air of mystery that surrounds the Russian duo. 

‘Giant’s Eternal Sleep’, the first released track from the album,  starts off with sweeping melodies which engulf into absolute fury, the accompanying video is wonderfully cinematic and worth more than one viewing. 

My highlight track of the album comes in the form ‘Into the Twilight’. The start has clean vocals and is full of atmospheric parts, and for me it just slots in so well with the overall aesthetic of the album. The heavier parts later effortlessly mould themselves in between swirling guitar parts. Heavy and rampart ‘Hunger God’ grips the listener for the entirety of the track, the melodic parts weave throughout only making the heavier parts feel even more unrelenting.

The howling winds of ‘Moonspell and Grief’ captivate and honestly, I would not have minded if this track has been completely instrumental, as it has some very well-structured elements, again the torment returns but this time it is slightly less harsh and does not entirely take over the track.

I am absolutely obsessed with the opening part of ‘Winter Morning Tower’ this maybe largely due to the introduction of the Bayan – I am a complete sucker for its inclusion, especially with black metal, and the gentler guitar laden throughout only justify why I cannot stop playing this track over and over, even at 10 minutes long.

Lastly, the album concludes with the short instrumental ‘Mana’ which is so well placed with the previous track that I had not realised it was a separate track after the first listen, but it is just a perfect way to end such a wonderfully prefect album.

A conceptual nightmare of human detachment.

‘Giant’s Eternal Sleep’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Gloomy Heart of the Coldest Land
02. Giant’s Eternal Sleep
03. Into the Twilight
04. Hunger God
05. Moonspell and Grief
06. Winter Morning Tower
07. Mana

LINE-UP:
Vilhelm – Vocals, Guitar
Morbius – Guitar

Studio:
Serpentum – Bass
Vlad – Drums
Valentina Astashova – Keys
Sergey Pastukh – Bayan

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone 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.

EMQ’s With ANTHEMS OF GOMORRAH

Anthems Of Gomorrah Logo

EMQ’s With ANTHEMS OF GOMORRAH

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA Melodic Black/ Death Metal project, Anthems Of Gomorrah. Huge thanks to them for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

We are Anthems of Gomorrah. We play Black/Death Metal with a melodic sound. The band first started in the early 2000’s but split in 2012 before reactivating in 2022.

How did you come up with your band name?

It represents a parallel between modern society and that of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed by God for their vanity, excess, hedonism and sin.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from the Tampa Bay area in Florida. The metal scene here is thriving and it has decades of very important history

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our third album, “Aelvica II” will be released on August 15th. It’s our most dynamic work yet. We are very proud of it.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Musically? Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal, Belphegor, Zyklon, Limbonic Art, countless OSDM bands and black metal bands.
Non-musically? History, cultures, literature, fantasy etc…

What first got you into music?

The first time I heard Van Halen play a guitar solo, that was where it all started with music. For extreme metal, I discovered that in middle school. There was no looking back after that.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

We would love to work with Erik Rutan or anyone from Morbid Angel. MA is a huge influence for both of us.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Wacken, without a doubt. Most amazing Metal festival in the world.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Never received any gifts.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to pursue your passions.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Peter Steele. I miss Type O Negative so much.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I enjoy the freedom of creativity the most. What I hate about it is how an audience will base their expectations or opinion of your music based on someone or something else they have heard before. Every band has its own sound.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Artists deserve to be taken care of. Labels have killed the music industry and musicians are screwed over by them every day.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“In Abhorrence Dementia” by Limbonic Art.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

It really depends on your preference. People support physical format because it’s something that can accrue value. Others support digital because it’s convenient and not obsolete. There are countless arguments you could make for each side. I support digital because of the convenience but also because it’s easier for artists to release music on their own.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I haven’t played any shows since I was a teenager.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Probably a writer, maybe a teacher.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Tomas Haake, David Vincent, Ihsahn, Henri Sorvali and Devin Townsend

What’s next for the band?

We are hard at work on several different projects. Some will release later this year, and some will release in 2023. Our third album “Aelvica II” releases in August and the Debasement record will release in September.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

You can follow us on Facebook, BandCamp, Instagram and my personal SoundCloud where I post solo material and clips from upcoming tracks.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/anthemsofgomorrah
Instagram: @anthemsofgomorrah
Bandcamp: www.bandcamp.com/anthemsofgomorrah
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/tucker-kilpatrick

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I’m going to say biscuit because I believe ‘biscuit’ is the UK equivalent of US ‘cookie’ and those things definitely look like cookies to me.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for this interview! Please continue to follow us. We have a lot of music to share and look forward to doing so with you all.

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Gates To The Morning – Walk Between Worlds

Walk Between Worlds Album Cover Art

Gates To The Morning – Walk Between Worlds
Self-Released
Release Date: 22/07/2022
Running Time: 42:57
Review By Alex Swift
8/10 

New Jersey-based trio Gates To The Morning, the project of multi-instrumentalist Sean Meyers, plays an atmospheric form of progressive black metal, and their most recent release, “Walk Between Worlds” is the subject here today. 

Opener ‘King Obscure’ is comprised of clear guitars and tense background ambience. The light background parts fade away as the piano enters, leaving us with an endearing and melancholic tone. Next, ‘Piscean Daydream’, begins with more clean guitars and soothing background tones. Tom’s drums maintain a constant presence as the song progresses. Clean vocals and upbeat, optimistic guitar chords open ‘Moon in the Mid-Day Sky’,  the layered  lead guitar work wonderfully complementing the songs cerebral nature. 

‘Paradigms Fall’ begins in a quiet, peaceful manner. The vocal harmonies are seductive,   transporting you to far-off realms that you can only imagine, the soothing music, helping you put your troubles out of your mind. ‘Sacrament’ has a poignant presentation with a number of components that eloquently complement one another. A gloomy tune with vocals that sound ritualistic, ‘Chapel Perilous’ gives you the impression that you are being punished for the faults you have done in life. 

This is followed by ‘Chasing Shadows’, which moves like a dancer who has memorized their routine. Nothing goes wrong, nothing is made wrong, and everything seems planned. This transitions into ‘Terra Incognita’, which features beautiful vocal harmonies. The piano led ‘Return to Earth’ is quite charming with the beautiful  poetics and skilful ebb and flow. Finally, we come to the last song, ‘Fortress’, which begins with a funk-laden groove. As the song progresses, layers grow and swing to the music, slowly enveloping and swallowing you in the serene tones.

Great music should provoke thought and challenge your preconceptions. The album’s ability to walk the tightrope between hope and despair was one of the things that challenged me. The majority of the tones were atmospheric, but there were murky parts in the background that occasionally reared their head. Through this combination, “Walk Between Worlds” delivers a diverse and intriguing listening experience.

‘Paradigms Fall’ Official Video 

TRACKLISTING:
01. King Obscure
02. Piscean Daydream 
03. Moon In the Mid-Day Sky
04. Paradigms Fall
05. Sacrament
06. Chapel Perilous
07. Chasing Shadows
08. Terra Incognita
09. Return To Earth
10. Fortress

LINE-UP:
Sean Meyers – All instruments and vocals
MPMD – All instruments and Engineering/Mixing
Jon Salluce – All instruments

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alex Swift 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.

Cruentus – Fossilized

Fossilized Album Cover Art

Cruentus – Fossilized
Kvlt Und Kaos Productions
Release Date: 15/07/22
Running Time: 41:00
Review by Paul Hutchings
8/10

Formed in Norrköping, Sweden, in 1998, Cruentus is a two-man project comprising Martin Öhman and Petter Bocian. Originally a three-piece, the band draw their influences from the Scandinavian extreme scene of the 1990s. Listen to “Fossilized” and you’ll catch glimpses of bands such as Edge of Sanity, Dissection, Entombed, At the Gates, Amorphis and Dark Tranquillity. 

It took over a decade for the band to deliver a full-length album, 2020’s “Night Embrace Me,” which one might suggest was drawn very much from the rather similar sounding Emperor album. With album number two, Cruentus have drawn even deeper on their old school roots, for this is a record that belongs deep in the underground. Over the 41 minutes which the ten tracks cover, you’ll find everything that you’d expect. Shimmering banks of tremolo riffing, harrowing, strangulated roars of pain and despair, and frantic explosions of blast beats that speed the songs along. 

“Fossilized” is unsurprisingly a viciously aggressive release. Intro ‘Ascending’ leads into the potent ‘The Catalyst,’ followed quickly by the punishing ‘Nihil Extra,’ which ebbs and flows but generally maintains the intensity, the slower tempos accentuating the sinister feel of the track. There’s more than a nod to the likes of Entombed as the album progresses. ‘Prey’ is a sprawling monster, whilst there is a savagery that broods with malevolence under the surface on ‘Relentless Scourge.’

It does change pace several times. The likes of ‘Averted Reality’ demonstrates the more complex and intricate writing that the band have developed, and there is a real organic flow to the music. Combining pace and melody isn’t something that many bands do well, but this album does capture that. 

With a third album already in the works, it’s fair to say that Cruentus are homing in on the black metal upper echelons. An album with heart, albeit a dark and blackened one. Go get it.  

TRACKLISTING:
01. Ascending
02. The Catalyst
03. Nihil Ultra
04. Mot Altets Slut
05. The Lost Ones
06. Prey
07. Relentless Scourge
08. Averted Reality
09. Doldrums
10. Primordial Reprisal 

LINE-UP:
Petter Bocian – vocals, drums
Martin Ohman – guitar, bass, vocals

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings 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.

Saor – Origins

Origins Album Cover Art

Saor – Origins
Season Of Mist
Release Date: 24/06/2022
Running Time: 41:18
Review by Chris Galea 
10/10

It was abundantly clear, when I had reviewed Saor’s debut album back in 2013, that this was not your average run-of-the-mill one-man-band.  Andy Marshall, the driving force behind Saor, is one extremely talented chap who doesn’t seem shackled with any genre expectations. So while it’s awkward to pigeon-hole the music of Saor (actually a major selling point for me), there certainly are clear elements from Black Metal, Folk Metal and Death Metal.

With “Origins”, Mr.Marshall has truly outdone himself. The album’s songwriting is impeccable and the atmosphere is bewitching. There are a lot of folksy elements, such as the guitar melodies in the title-track or chants and the bagpipe sounds in ‘Fallen’, but those elements never steal the limelight. Indeed everything is always done with the compositional aspect of the song as the ultimate beneficiary. And it’s not just the atmosphere that intrigues: the riffs, for example, are both catchy and aggressive. Production-wise, “Origins” is very well balanced too and it’s hard to find fault with anything about this release. 

“Origins” is over in a jiffy and In fact, my only gripe is the album’s brevity. We need more of this great music!

‘Origins’ Official Music Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Call Of The Carnyx
02. Fallen
03. The Ancient Ones
04. Aurora
05. Beyond The Wall
06. Origins

LINE-UP:
Andy Marshall – songwriter, vocals & all instruments
+
Dylan Watson – session drums
Sophie Marshall – female backing vocals

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture

Hostile Architecture Album Cover Art

Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture
Code 666 Records
Release Date: 15/07/22
Running Time: 44:00
Review by Paul Hutchings
7/10

This was a punt in the dark as although I’d heard the name, the music that Glaswegian’s Ashenspire produce was a bit of an unknown entity. Within minutes of the opening track, ‘The Law of Absestos’, I’d realised that this was no easy listen. For Ashenspire play a complex, rage filled Avant Garde Post-Black Metal style that jars every few seconds. 

Formed in 2013, “Hostile Architecture” is every bit as unorthodox as you might imagine. Their debut release, 2017’s “Speak Not of the Laudanum Quandary” has received high praise, with Metal Temples giving it a 98% no less.  

‘The Law of Asbestos’ is a chaotic, sprawling eight-minute oratory, with brass, violin and raging riffage, which all combine to force the harrowed vocals to spew forth in a passionate and visceral approach. It’s uncomfortable listening, and as the track crashes straight into the second song, ‘Beton Brut’, you realise that the organic combination of poetry, soapbox and thrusting Black Metal interlaced with that violin and startlingly creative elements provide a chilling and completely left of field experience. 

Whether you like this or not is almost academic. For Ashenspire is an experience, even just on a digital release. It needs to be experienced and one can only imagine the frenetic explosion that a live show must bring. 

“Hostile Architecture” is described as a ‘sonic exploration of the ways that subjects under late capitalism are constrained and set in motion via the various structures that uphold stratification and oppression in urban contexts.’ Think of the designs that are used in social spaces to deter the public – remember the anti-homeless spikes? 

Three drivingly cacophonic pieces give way to choral voices on ‘How the Mighty Have Vision’ and it’s all a bit weird, yet strangely intriguing. I guess there is an audience for this music with its total unpredictability and bizarre switches of tempo, passion, and style. The tempo and temperature increase as the album develops. And yet, there is no pause from the angular time signatures, the crazed vocals, and the combination of instruments that really cause consternation. I suppose this is the kind of music you either get or you don’t. 

‘Apathy as Arsenic Lethargy as Lead’ presents more confusion, with some extreme and even more confusing interplay, before the penultimate track ‘Palimpsest’ takes us on an instrumental journey that harks back to the psychedelic journeys Hawkwind embarked on in the 1970s, without the aggressive and threatening edge. If you’ve managed this far, then the nine-minute explosion of ‘Cable Street Again’ is likely to drag you screaming across the finish line. It’s pure raw ferocity combined with a selection of instruments that don’t always pull in the same direction. 

I guess Ashenspire are something of an acquired taste. In “Hostile Architecture” they have delivered something that just feels a little bit too complex and intricate for this reviewer. But if you like your music to put you on point from start to finish, then this complicated Scottish outfit are something that genuinely deserve some exploration.

‘The Law Of Asbestos’ Official Lyric Video 

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Law of Asbestos
02. Beton Brut
03. Plattenbrau Persephone Praxis
04. How the Mighty have Vision
05. Tragic Heroin
06. Apathy as Arsenic Lethargy as Lead
07. Palimpsest
08. Cable Street Again

LINE-UP:
Fraser Gordon – guitar, vocals
James Johnson – violin, vocals
Alasdair Dunn – drums, vocals
Ben Brown – bass
Matthew Johnson – saxophone, vocals 
Scott Maclean (Falloch) – Rhodes, prepared piano
Rylan Gleave – t/b voice
Amaya López-Carromero – S/A Voice
Otrebor  – Hammered Dulcimer

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings 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.

Harmoniaq – The Forest of Torment

The Forest Of Torment Album Cover Art

Harmoniaq – The Forest of Torment
Self-Released
Release Date: 30/04/22
Running Time: 28:00 
Review by Paul Hutchings 
6/10

Blending a variety of styles, the debut release from Ottawa Quintet Harmoniaq is something of a mixed bag. There’s Thrash, Death, and Black Metal fighting for air alongside more traditional metal styles here, and whilst it works at times, there are distinct sections that leave you scratching your head. 

The release opens with “The Forest of Torment”, a seven-minute blast which combines cookie monster Death Metal vocals of the Corpsegrinder nature with some rather unsavoury screamo-style screeches which don’t add to the delivery. I’d have much preferred if the band had chosen the former style and left it at that, for as a Death Metal delivery, laced with some searing lead guitar work, it stands up well on its own. The decision to drop into the more ethereal Black Metal standards is interesting and generally works okay. There is plenty of heaviness, an underlying groove, and some frantic drumming. 

‘Warmageddon’ follows, a blustering bag of bruising aggression that breaks early for some crisp clean guitar work before descending the depths whilst the solos continue to play. The strangulated delivery that is placed on top of the solos isn’t ideal, distracting from some decent playing. It’s a schizophrenic song that once more isn’t helped by the more feral vocal style.

And it continues. ‘Death Knell’ is a shorter, more straightforward blast of extreme, whilst ‘Calamity Unfolds’ temporarily broods before thundering into a blisteringly fast song that is an explosive beast of a track. It’s as close to pure Death Metal as we get although the unconventional starts and stops make it less orthodox. The track develops with an elongated groove vibe and some more lead work. It’s frantic stuff. 

The finale is ‘The Void’, which starts with an intricate guitar piece before segueing into even more groove-fashioned thrashing. It’s another song that combines numerous styles, incorporating elements of thrash into the mix before almost slowing to a crawl and instrumental section and then climbing once more. I appreciate the variation; it works on several levels although I’m still struggling with the vocal delivery at times.

There are some interesting concepts and styles within this release. It’s certainly of interest and I genuinely like parts of the songs. The abrupt stop-start in parts grated. There is potential here,  and a second release would certainly be on my list for a listen.  

‘A Calamity Unforetold’ Official Visualizer

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Forest of Torment
02. Warmageddon
03. Death Knell
04. A Calamity Unforetold
05. The Void

LINE-UP:
André Dubien – All Vocals
Miguel Marcheterre-Pina – Rhythm/Lead/Clean Guitars
Jean-François Lévesque – Rhythm/Lead/Clean Guitars
Jacob Collins -Drums
Adam Semler – Fretless Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings 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.

Iselder – Metel Du Gwir Cymreig (True Welsh Black Metal)

Metel Du Gwir Cymreig Cover Art

Iselder – Metel Du Gwir Cymreig (True Welsh Black Metal)
Marwolaeth Records
Release Date: 15/04/22
Running Time: 28:58
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Well now. Dark Juan here, and in an unwarranted moment of sensibility I have not yet started drinking and it is a quarter past eight on Easter Monday. Clearly either age is catching up to me or my liver has cried enough and will only accept tea from now on, which is a shame as there are 40 pints of brown ale waiting to be bottled in the pantry at Dark Juan Terrace. We will put this theory to the test in around ten days when it has conditioned in the bottle and becomes drinkable. Also, I am eyeing up the single malts that Aldi are selling for a mere £16 per bottle. I quite fancy attempting the Islay. In the meantime, the latest album on my review list is playing and I am giving it my consideration…

Ladies, gentlemen and gentlepersons, may I introduce Iselder. Iselder is a one-man Welsh Black Metal project and the man in question, Gofid (Distress in English, or possibly Trouble), is FUCKING ANGRY about what has happened to his proud nation historically at the hands of English governments and the wealthy English who came and bought all the houses and priced the rural Welsh out of their own fucking country. Now, it should be pointed out that I am English, but I lived and worked in Wales for years (even to the point of attempting to learn the language and mainly failing because I simply cannot wrap my head around all the mutations) and I have a certain sympathy for Gofid’s position because I love Wales, I loved living there and I loved the sense of community and the people, especially when Mrs Dark Juan and I opened Flibbertigibbet Tattoo (Tatw Flibbertigibbet Cymru) in Castell Newydd Emlyn many moons ago. I have many Welsh friends and was a part of the South Wales Metal scene when I played in Doomcrow. I could be considered a Welsh nationalist without actually being Welsh and I’m not sure how that could be viewed. Anyway, I’m very pro-Welsh and indeed our Head Honcho and Chief Wrangler here at Ever-Metal, Beth “Cymru Am Byth, Bitch” Jones is as Welsh as it is possible to be without being born in Splott.

Anyway, Iselder is Welsh for depression or lowness. And the music is heavily Punk-edged Black Metal, very much in the vein of the early years of Black Metal, although at least the production job is miles better than the early BM stuff that sounded like it was recorded on a 10 watt Starforce amp, with a badly tuned Stagg guitar, on a kids’ karaoke set from the opposite end of a massive, echoey hall. The description of the sound is by NO MEANS autobiographical. Iselder do still have the Lo Fi Black Metal aesthetic, but have thankfully managed to pull off a coherent sounding album.

Opening with ‘Cyflwyniad’ (‘Introduction’ – should have thought about it instead of running through Google translate with that one) Gofid reminds us just who tried eviscerating and killing off the Welsh language, who destroyed the laws of Hywel Dda and who vanquished Owain Glyndwr, who drowned the village of Capel Celyn, among others (cofiwch Dryweryn!) to create a reservoir to serve the city of Liverpool and just how Wales has been brutalised and exploited historically by England before crashing headlong into ‘I’r Gad’ (‘To Battle’ or ‘To Arms’. I actually knew that without recourse to online translators, so I’m probably wrong) and subjecting us to the kind of fury that normally can only be achieved by a lady with an arse like two poorly parked Volkswagens complaining about something trivial. Instead Gofid does it all himself – waspish, razor guitars, pounding martial drumming and rumbling, threatening bass underpin his visceral, hate filled bark on all the songs but especially vitriolic are ‘Rebecca’ (remembering the Rebecca Riots against the Turnpike Trusts in Sir Gaerfyrddin (Carmarthenshire), Sir Benfro (Pembrokeshire) and Ceredigion), ‘Llosgi Bwriadol’ (roughly translates as ‘Arson’ referencing the holiday home burnings of the late Eighties and early Nineties) and ‘Gwlad y Meirw’ (‘Land Of The Dead’ probably referencing Llanelli. The only good things to come out of Llanelli are Felinfoel Double Dragon cwrw and the roads to Swansea and Carmarthen).

I’m not sure whether saying I enjoyed this album is correct. I enjoyed the music and hearing about Wales again, but this is a record that spits hatred towards the English government. I can’t help but agree with Gofid about it all. It just goes to show how long injustice can live on in the memories of an oppressed people and how music can be a powerful reminder of that injustice.

A good record that is venomous in tone and savage in execution and has a powerful political message. It will always be an outsider in anyone’s collection but it’s a worthwhile listen and I’m with Gofid all the way. Cymru am byth, er mai Sais ydw i a cofiwch Dryweryn!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Iselder 8/10 for a great record that reminds us of the history of Wales, bloody and otherwise.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Cyflwyniad (Introduction)
02. I’r Gad (To Battle or To Arms)
03. Cofio (Remember)
04. Cont (Cunt)
05. Brad y Llyfrau Glas (Betrayal of The Blue Books)
06. Llosgi Bwriadol (Arson)
07. Rebecca
08. Gwlad y Meirw (Land Of The Dead)
09. Rhyfela (War)

LINE-UP:
Gofid – fucking everything, butty bach!

LINKS:

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.

Meslamtaea – Weemoedsklanken

Meslamtaea – Weemoedsklanken
Babylon Doom Cult Records
Release Date: 25/02/2022

Running Time: 40:57
Review by Wallace Magri
8.5/10

“Weemoedsklanken”, the fourth release from the Dutch based Black Metal band Meslamtaea, is very influenced by the Norwegian Second Wave of Black Metal, however exaggerating in brighter and soft solutions among the songs’ parts, taking advantage of avant-garde elements to the mixture, through fungelhorn, vocoder and saxophone on some musical passages, as heard on ‘Moegestreden’, which imposes a jazzy approach to the song. I must confess that I am not a fan of the inclusion of wind instruments on Heavy Metal songs, but I think I got the band’s point here, considering the freedom to flirt with unusual arrangements in the whole album concept.

Don’t get me wrong, I always believed that Black Metal is one of the Metal styles that are more accessible to have a dialog with other musical genres – Industrial music layers and textures, Symphonic elements, sometimes distilling Doom and Death Metal patterns in the song’s composition, etc. On “Weemoedsklanken” it felt to me that this kind of stylistic transgression brought an epic and Progressive flow to most of the songs. There are always unexpected conduction brakes, and sometimes there are a healthy transition between Black Metal and some Doom Metal to give to the song a dragged musical conduction. Sometimes it works, sometimes, it does not.

In the song ‘Verstoten’, the vocals are declaimed in a dismal vibe and then you hear the intervention of traditional Heavy Metal guitar riffs. Then we are relapsing in some atmospheric synth arias with lots of rhythm brakes, invoking then, the Second Wave of Black Metal at the end of the song. I think the band could have avoided the insertion of too many dissonant musical arrangements here, however. 

Meslamtaea have definitely carried forward a peculiar stylistic option on “Weemoedsklanken”, which sounded to me like a band trying to find his own musical identity but, maybe, going way too far on the experimental direction, on a lot of occasions. Aligned to that, the contemporary production technique turned out everything way too clean to my ears, considering what I look for when I put on a Black Metal album. Maybe a dirtier mix and production could have given the songs a proper Black Metal ambience.

That said, if you are into making a little research about bands who are willing to break up the boundaries of the orthodox Black Metal, on “Weemoedsklanken”, you can get in touch with Meslamtaea’s proposal to bring a peculiar progressive jazzy vibe to the style. If you are up to that kind of musical incursion, check it out and just let me know your impression on that. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Weemoed
02. Rad des Tijds
03. Grauwe Muren
04. Schone Lei
05. Moegestreden
06. Nevelsluiers
07. Verstoten
08. Uiteengevallen

LINE-UP:
 Floris – All Instruments, Vocals 
Izzy – Flugelhorn 
Ward – Vocals 

Guest contributions: 
Otto Kokke (Dead Neanderthals) – Saxophone 
Kevin Kentie (Ibex Angel Order) – Vocals 
Fraukje Van Burg (Doodswens) – Spoken Words

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Wallace Magri 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.