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.

Helleruin/ De Gevreesde Ziekte – Invincible / Ω

Helleruin/ De Gevreesde Ziekte – Invincible / Ω
Babylon Doom Cult Records
Release Date: 07/01/2022

Running Time: 45:00
Review by Wallace Magri
9/10

Hey, you all! It’s been a while since I wrote my last review for Ever Metal. No big deal, I just couldn’t find the right time and vibe to sit my ass down, to listen to an album and talk about my impressions on that. The funny thing is, when people ask me what I am, I get a little confused answering that question: because I can’t define myself by telling you about what I do for a living (I am a lawyer and I teach philosophy of law, when I get paid for it). What I do know is that I write a lot, most of the time. So, basically, I guess I am a writer. 

The point here is: when I am not able to write, I know that something is going wrong in my mind. Because, If I define myself as a writer, I must write the goddamn texts, right? That is why, in order to reactivate my writing ability, instead of starting over posting on FaceBook, complaining about this and that on my wall, I decided to fight against my procrastinating tendencies by finding inspiration on what brings colour to my life: listening to Heavy Metal music – Black Metal, actually… not really colourful, I know… but black, white and grey seem like a full rainbow, in my blue sky world, at least.

While I had the writer’s block, I was listening to, from time to time, the split album from Helleruin and De Gevreesde Ziekte, “Invincible/ Ω”: 3 songs from each band, inspired by lots of second wave of Black Metal, which sounded heavy, fast and dirty enough for my old school metalhead ears. 

Helleruin is the typical one-man-band project experience – performed by Carchost, who is in charge of everything here: composing, arrangements and he also plays all the instruments – that is what I call a man who is taking on enough for himself! It seems like closing himself into a shell makes things easier for the musician to give birth to his own ideas, with nobody bothering him with details that would perhaps make the songs richer and more accessible. And, at the same time, if you are the only one who is able to understand your own composing process, it is possible that fewer people would get connected to the songs. 

Possibly, Carchost doesn’t mind about any of the arguments above and neither do I, because I loved his 3 songs, ‘Invincible’, ‘Mijn ziel aan de duivel’ and ‘We Rush Ahead’. That is it, my friends: raw producion, rough mixing, painful blast beats, tremolo-lead guitar fingering riffs and somebody screaming throughout this wall of noisy Black Metal atmosphere. There are some calm rhythm sections here and there, which helps to increase the sense of heaviness of the songs as a whole. Pretty simple, it is true, and that can’t get any better than this, I tell you! 

The 3 songs delivered by Eindhoven based De Gevreesde Ziekte are also related to the second wave of Black Metal, but with a more post-Black Metal approach on the composition process. Just listen to the 8 minute self-titled ‘De Gevreesde Ziekte’ and you are going to understand exactly what I mean. 

Fun fact: on the contrast to Helleruin, De Gevreesde Ziekte have 5 musicians giving life to the band, but they are named only by a single letter each, instead of using their actual names: L, M, T, R, K … 

Yeah, definitely “Invincible/ Ω” is a split album that either is going to blow your mind away, or make you realise that something went wrong in the history of civilization… So, if you are into bizarre Black Metal performed by anonymous / nameless individuals, just go for it and rejoice yourself with mayhem and emptiness’ momentum consuming your life!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Helleruin – Invincible
02. Helleruin – Mijn Ziel Aan De Duivel
03. Helleruin – We Rush Ahead
04. De Gevreesde Ziekte – Zwartgallig
05. De Gevreesde Ziekte – Zelfhaat
06. De Gevreesde Ziekte – De Gevreesde Ziekte
 
LINE-UP:
Helleruin:
 
Carchost – All instruments & vocals
S. – Photography
Carchost – Recording, mixing & mastering

De Gevreesde Ziekte:
 L – Guitar
M – Guitar
T – Vocals
R – Bass
K – Drums

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.

TUGT – Ved Lysets Ophør

Ved Lysets Ophør Album Cover Art

TUGT – Ved Lysets Ophør
Onism Productions
Release Date: 11/02/2022

Running Time: 57:09
Review by Wallace Magri
10 /10

Tugt’s Bandcamp profile gives us just enough information to get in artistic touch with “Ved Lysets Ophør”; there is only written the words: “Negative vessel of Skoggangr”. The guy, who is the only composer for Tugt, is well known for playing on renowned Danish Black Metal bands –  not even one that I have ever heard of, I must confess. 

But I definitely know one thing or two about music that fills ‘negative vessels’, which is pretty much what I look for when I choose songs to listen to.  So, in that case, “Ved Lysets Ophør”, from Denmark based band Tugt feels like ‘home’ for a Brazilian delusional brain, just like mine!

And to be honest with you, what scares me the most about that kind of music is how the darkness and negativity comes from simple musical choices, such as … the Blues… yeah, you read it right; basic Blues music structures, as it is heard on ‘Gråsind’, which brought to my mind the scariest Robert Johnson’s songs that I am able to remember. I can’t exactly remember those songs’ names, but how do I feel when I am reminded of that kind of dissonant, melancholic devilish music… 

As everybody already knows, Robert Johnson was the Blues guitar player that, around 1930, allegedly sold his soul to the Devil, sitting on the crossroads somewhere around the Mississippi Delta… from where the sound of the electric guitars that we (Metalheads) love so much nowadays comes from (at least, some say so)!

Of course, a minimalistic production, lots of distorted riffs, melancholic guitar phrases, ethereal and chaotic screaming vocals, conducted by double bass drum and a couple of blast beats helped to make that old musical atmosphere thicker, getting back to 2022, on songs like ‘Mareridt’, ‘Sjæledød’ and theirs post-Black Metal approach, and some Bathory-like reminiscences here and there, as far as my Black Metal memoirs can reach, while I listen to “Ved Lysets Ophør” over and over again… feeling myself pretty sick for enjoying this kind of ‘dark trance trip’.

Basically, that is my ethereal impressions about this solo project by Skoggangr, that relates to what I am looking for, when I want to release some negativity from my mind. Very therapeutic, indeed.  

Afterwards, reading the press release from Tugt, I learnt that it took 8 years for Skoggangr to come up with “Ved Lysets Ophør”, what made it even clearer to me is that it takes lots of effort and resilience to produce an album with such soulless and legitimate content of plain and simple negativity, as is the case of this masterpiece. 

Bravo!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sorte Stunder 
02. De Hvide Sale 
03. Gråsind 
04. Mareridt 
05. Fortabt
06. Sjæledød
07. Efterspil 

LINE-UP:
Skoggangr – Guitar, Vocals
Saxtorph – Bass, Atmosphere
Ahnstøm-  Drums

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.

Abbath – Dread Reaver

Dear Reaver Album Cover Art

Abbath – Dread Reaver
Season Of Mist
Release Date: 25/03/2022
Running Time: 39:00
Review by Rory Bentley
8.5/10

Splish splash I was taking Abbath! Right, now that I’ve got that out of my system, it’s time to review the third solo record from the former Immortal frontman, entitled “Dread Reaver”. 

There’s a lot to like about Abbath, he sings like a zombified Lemmy, he has the charisma of David Lee Roth and he looks like a disgruntled badger. I’ve never been a huge Black Metal guy but Immortal are definitely one of the bands that I can get down with. They have a cool atmospheric feel, the production is normally just the right side of dirty without becoming an unlistenable mulch and they have riffs and hooks for days. A big part of those hooks was their gurgling rockstar frontman, who brought a sense of fun and down to earth relatability to Black Metal – and that has definitely carried over into his solo career.

“Dread Reaver” represents perhaps the most cohesive collection of songs Abbath has produced as a solo act, melding Hard Rock swagger and Extreme Metal menace perfectly to create an acerbic attack that makes you want to shake your hips. As ‘Acid Haze’ fades in with pounding drums and lead work straight out of the Stadium Rock playbook, it hits you with a nasty riff and things kick into warp speed as Ukri Suvilehto proceeds to smash the absolute shite out of his kit. By the time Abbath caps everything off with a blood curdling sustained scream you’re left in no doubt that he and his band of Nordic warriors can still throw down hard.

‘Scarred Core’ begins with gurgled shamanic vocalisations and some Eastern sounding melodies while continuing the relentless pace of the opener. Abbath has never sounded better on the mic here, bringing in a hint of melody to his guttural croak that somehow makes this cacophony into a cast iron sing-along rager. This canny ear for a good hook is all over the record with ‘Myrmidon’s’ perplexing meld of Classic Rock and nihilistic filth providing another showcase for a vocalist that oozes starpower without neutering the deathly croak that made us all love him in the first place.

Although most of the songs stay in the same lane and there’s less experimentation than previous releases, there’s still plenty of rhythmic shifts and tonal twists and turns to stop the record falling into monotony. ‘Dream Cull’ has a lilting flamenco intro and strong tremolo melodies to go with its tribal chanting verses and ‘The Deep Unbound’ turns on a dime from full pelt fury into a jaunty swing that makes you want to ride into battle and drink the blood of your enemies. Maybe that’s just me. I should probably get help. We also get a beefed up version of Metallica’s ‘Trapped Under Ice’ that sounds exactly as one might expect, but is a delight nonetheless.

The finale of this eminently danceable slice of evil comes with the title track which is the best song on here for my money. The main riff is a scalding exercise in pit-starting songcraft with squealing harmonics Kerry King would be proud of. With the anthemic chorus and seductively occult grooves, this may be the best ‘mainstream’ Black Metal bop since Satyricon’s ‘Fuel for Hatred’. Lovely stuff!

With a punchy runtime, laser-focused writing where no song breaks the five minute mark and just enough new tricks to keep long term listeners engaged, ‘Dread Reaver’ is the shape-throwing necro soundtrack we need in these fucked up times. Crack a beer, slap on your corpse paint and get your dancing shoes on- there’s a party in the frozen woods and everyone’s invited!

‘Dread Reaver’ – Official Streaming Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Acid Haze
02. Scarred Core
03. Dream Cull
04. Myrmidon
05. The Deep Unbound
06. Septentrion
07. Trapped Under Ice
08. The Book of Breath
09. Dread Reaver

LINE-UP:
Abbath – Guitar, Bass & Vocals
Ukri Suvilehto – Drums
Ole André Farstad – Lead & Acoustic Guitars
Mia Wallace – Bass on Acid Haze, Scarred Core, The Deep Unbound & Dread Reaver

LINKS:

Abbath Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley 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.

Midnight – Let There Be Witchery

Let There Be Witchery Album Cover Art

Midnight – Let There Be Witchery
Metal Blade Records  
Release Date: 04/03/2022
Running Time: 34:50

Review by Rory Bentley
8/10

I’ve ruffled plenty of feathers during my time writing about music / generally being an obnoxious dickhead over the years. I can’t help myself, I was born a horrible little rotter with a big gob and it’s peeved plenty of people, but if I think something is derivative or painfully average and people are drooling over it I have to say my piece, and I usually phrase it like an absolute bell end. Just ask my new friends in Veonity. To illustrate what I mean, I think the last two Exodus albums are inessential cack with no songs, I’m never going to listen to the new Saxon album and I couldn’t give two shits about 99% of Thrash revival bands that everyone raves about. It’s predictable, boring and doing nothing to move things forward. SO WHY THE FUCK DO I LOVE MIDNIGHT SO MUCH??!!

Honestly mates, I’m not sure I can accurately answer that with anything more eloquent than they fucking rip! Sometimes the execution is more important than the idea and nobody executes evil, thrashed up proto-Black Metal with as much joy and shit kicking charm as Midnight. They sound like the band I want Venom to be. Don’t get me wrong – I respect Venom and their importance to the evolution of heavy music, but they can’t play their instruments and the records sound like shit. Midnight brings the cartoonish horror fun of The Misfits, throws in some NWOBHM riffing, filters it  through some Black Metal scuzz and chucks it back in your face with the grizzled swagger of Motörhead. The resulting mutant sonic ooze is something that even a snobbish hack weasel like me can’t resist.

‘Telepathic Nightmare’ has me tapping my foot and mean-mugging straight out the gate with mastermind Jamie ‘Athenar’ Walters barking ghoulish chants over disorienting Voivod style riffs. ‘Frothing Foulness’ sounds like Lemmy and the boys fronted by somebody suffering from severe tourettes and ‘In Sinful Secrecy’ sounds like a group of swamp monsters decided to form a Hair Metal band. Three songs in and I can’t get enough of this filth.

By the time the Garage Punk sleaze of ‘Nocturnal Molestation’ oozes out of the speakers I give zero fucks about the lack of innovation here, I just want to chug a beer and drop kick the can into my neighbour’s garden  while my better half screams at me to turn this racket down! You see the clever thing Midnight does is act as a sort of 80’s Metal magpie, shrewdly curating the choicest licks and gnarliest riffs from classic bands and blending them into a satisfying cocktail that makes every record feel like a greatest hits album of a forgotten Thrash legend. By casting the net deceptively wide into the annals of classic Metal, Athenar is able to season his core template of Speed Metal filth with spicy samples of satanic-panic staples so every song has a distinct feel even if it’s not deviating wildly from the core sound.

‘More Torment’ has a lurching Danzig groove that breaks up the more savage moments of ‘Let There Be Witchery’, while ‘Let There Be Sodomy’ has an evil sounding tremolo intro and the kind of chorus I wouldn’t allow my nieces to listen to. This is an album bursting with moments that will make you punch the air and grin like an idiot and those moments will be stuck in your head whether you want them there or not!

Like a kebab after leaving the pub too late, I don’t need a new Midnight record, but if you give me the option I will run through a brick wall to gobble one up. I’m shouting ‘Villainy Wretched Villainy at my cat now and I couldn’t be happier, so what are you waiting for? Give in to another helping of grimy, tongue-in-cheek, life-affirming speed metal written by one bloke with a bag on his head! You won’t hear a more fun 35 minutes all year.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Telepathic Nightmare
02. Frothing Foulness
03. In Sinful Secrecy
04. Nocturnal Molestation
05. More Torment
06. Let There Be Sodomy
07. Devil Virgin
08. Snake Obsession
09. Villainy Wretched Villainy
10. Szex Witchery

LINE-UP:
Athenar- Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley 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.

Fall Of Stasis – The Chronophagist

The Chronophagist Album Cover Art

Fall Of Stasis – The Chronophagist
Self-Released
Release Date: 25/02/22
Running Time: 49:31
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon. I have exiled myself to the lounge of Dark Juan Terrace as Mrs Dark Juan has taken over the kitchen for the baking of many brownies for our petite enfant terrible. I don’t mean The Dread Lord Igor Egbert Brian Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, either, much as he might want to be hand fed brownies as he reclines upon his chaise longue, which is covered in the skins of his previous victims. I am mildly aggrieved because I have been made to engage in physical labour (on a Sunday! For shame!) whisking eggs, because the drive shaft to the food processor has magically vanished as soon as it was required. And the company that makes the damned machine would charge a mere £2.99 for a replacement, but don’t have any in stock because they are a colossal bunch of German wankers. Anyway, my plan for today was not to write the bollocks you are now reading, but to in fact bottle 80 pints of beer I have had brewing in the cellar. However, Mrs Dark Juan has taken over the kitchen so it won’t be happening till at least tomorrow as I have to go and babysit later and I’m fucked if I am washing and sterilising 80 beer bottles this evening.

In other news, I went to visit my daughter last week and discovered that she earns significantly more than me at half my age. Make of that what you will, but it appears that wrangling young gentlemen is not the industry I need to be in. Neither is writing entertaining opinion pieces, because I do this free, gratis and for nothing apart from now having one of the most kick ass underground Metal record collections in the world nowadays…

…Which leads us neatly into the reason you’re ploughing through the usual stream of consciousness drivel that prefaces what you have actually come to read about. Today it is Canadian (Montreal-based) Metal pioneers Fall Of Stasis, debut is fizzing angrily away through my headphones. This six-piece list Finntroll, Fleshgod Apocalypse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Unexpect and Ne Obliviscaris as bands whose fans might enjoy their music. I’d agree in the main, especially Fintroll, but there is a major and powerful influence on the music they haven’t mentioned, whose fans would absolutely fucking adore Fall Of Stasis, and that is Cradle Of Filth. Lead vocalist Jessica Dupré’s waspish, wide-eyed scream is very reminiscent of the demented howling of one D. Filth, Esq. and the music reminds this mad bastard of the Vaudeville qualities of Suffolk’s finest Gothic mentalists as well, with the loud / quiet / loud dynamic, Gothic overkill, lush orchestration, classic Metal components and outlandish speed of The Filth all faithfully displayed. 

Where Fall Of Stasis differs from Cradle Of Filth, though, is in the vocals. Although Dupré faithfully can reproduce the range of shrieking of the Tiny Suffolk Terror, the deeper ranges and clean singing are left to guitarist Gabriel Bernier and this is to the benefit of the music, as his rich, deep roar and actual genuine ability at emoting when singing cleanly, complements the howling histrionics of Dupré rather nicely. In fact, the band’s sound is rather more interesting than just a Cradle Of Filth analogue. While there is a major Filth influence, there’s nice little touches of Anathema (mainly from the emotional sound of the clean vocals, and when the band take the foot off the accelerator) and The Blood Divine, as well as the inventiveness of arrangement of The Black Dahlia Murder. 

‘Baron’ is the most Cradle-like track on here, being a full-velocity blast through Black and Death Metal with lush, velvet draped gothic keyboards swirling underneath the music and the vocals closely following the Filth blueprint. ‘Swarm Of Casualties’ introduces a Hardcore chant into the Gothic madness and ‘The Last Waltz’ introduces a carnival-like element during the middle part of the song. This is also where Fall Of Stasis differ from Cradle Of Filth. They write about modern social issues and personal experience, where Dani Filth and Darren White et al would be much more likely to write about the light of the moon, or a fictional vampire, or something equally ethereal. I like both, to be fair.

Although the music is similar to Cradle Of Filth in a big, big way (especially their stuff around ‘Thornography’ and ‘Damnation And A Day’) I find the lyrical component and the arrangements different enough to allow Fall Of Stasis to stand apart and to be judged on merits that have nothing to do with Suffolk’s manglers of Gothic Metal. Now then, I mentioned the “G” word. Regular perusers of the verbose nonsense I write know that Dark Juan is a hide-boundcard carrying Sad Old Goff who was wearing black nail polish before emo’s were even fucking BORN and therefore is generally all over any gothic release on Ever-Metal.com’s release lists like a predatory vampire is after a consumptive, alabaster skinned young girl who shrieks a lot instead of getting the fuck out of Dodge. Quite a lot of the time this is disappointing, because quite a lot of Gothic Metal bands simply don’t have the chops to manage it. Schysma were a notable exception (mainly because they are all bat shit insane), and so are Fall Of Stasis. FOS return speedy Gothic Metal back to being interesting after some time in the doldrums (mainly because only Cradle Of Filth do it well enough to be of interest) and I for one am fucking happy about this. My favourite era of Metal is the early to mid-90’s where Death, Black and Alternative Metal all exploded at once, and Fall Of Stasis exhibit just the kind of sound that floats my black-painted, rusty boat.

However, the production job on the album is also early Cradle of Filth. Remember the sound of “Cruelty And The Beast”? That wispy, cluttered, yet powerless production that seemed to forget that bottom end even existed? Yeah, that. This album would have very much benefitted from a heavier, more bassy sound, as well as a tiny bit more treble. The mid-range is where everything is at and it all becomes a bit muddy at times, normally when the band is at full chat and clarity is lost in favour of clattering. This is only a minor point of order though, because this is a debut album, and it is an astonishingly self-assured one, chock full of gothic splendour, blurred speed and music that will take your eyes out at a hundred metres. The arrangements of the songs are interesting, varied and inventive, the lyrics thought provoking and intelligent and the musicians all absolute masters and mistresses of their craft and once more Dark Juan has been transported to the heavens on frothy purple waves of enthusiasm for yet another new favourite band. It’s still only February and already I have a candidate for the top ten releases of 2022. I love this album that much, and so should you fuckers!!!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour mes amis canadiens-français) awards the first 10/10 of 2022 to these Canadian madmen and women for an album that is contemporary yet brings back memories of when Metal was at the height of its powers, and yet slays with as much ease as a tactical nuclear weapon. Also, I fucking love the idea of a time-eater as a concept (a chronophagist, if you will).

I wanted to say a personal thank you to the band for the extremely professional EPK they sent, complete with listening notes for each song, which really enhanced the aural experience of their album. So here it is. Merci, mes amis!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Wilted Forests
02. Fall of Stasis
03. Drunken Howl
04. Baal Arise
05. The Cult
06. Twilight Carnival
07. Baron
08. The Last Waltz 
09. Swarm Of Casualties
10. The Chronophagist (Featuring Viky Boyer)

LINE-UP:
Jessica Dupré – Lead Vocals
Gabriel Bernier – Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Tristan Bergeron-Boucher – Rhythm Guitar
Mathieu Groulx – Bass
Sergei Lecours – Drums
Mélissa Bissonnette – Keyboards

LINKS:

Fall Of Stasis Promo Pic

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.

Black Altar/ Vulture Lord – Deathiah Manifesto

Deathiah Manifesto Album Cover Art

Black Altar/ Vulture Lord – Deathiah Manifesto
Odium Records
Release Date 15/02/22
Running Time: 27:00
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
7/10

A quick search on the ever-dependable Metal Archives site tells me that both despicable Black Metal outfits have been around for some time, their darkened tentacles stretching back into the abyss of the mid-late 1990’s. That’s unsurprising as soon as you listen to this split EP, for both bands are anchored firmly in the era of old school Black Metal, albeit that Vulture Lord are closer to the Blackened Thrash that is dominating parts of the Black and Thrash Metal crossover now.

Comprising 27 minutes in total, each band contributes four songs. Polish outfit Black Altar take the first hit, with their tracks including an intro and outro. The intro builds in a demonic manner, plenty of whispering in the shadows, enough to chill the spine. The band then launch into the frenetic paced ‘Sacrilegious Congregation’ with the shimmering walls of tremolo riffing, blast beats and jarring edges. There’s a similar pace to ‘Nyx’. Both songs thunder along, the vocals as expected, glass gargling growls. Throw in some wolfen howls, harrowed screams and the darkness simply envelopes the listener whilst the temperature drops. There’s some nice changes of tempo and some Tom G. Warrior grunts which all add to the delivery. It’s nothing that’ll shake the world but for aficionados of the first wave of Black Metal, this may be a reassuringly icy blast. The skin crawling outro ensures that you’ll be uncomfortable whilst waiting for the next part of this split EP. 

Vulture Lord have been plying their trade since 1995, although the Norwegians have a mere two full-length releases to their name, alongside a plethora of compilations and other output. No messing with this lot, the thunder is rapid and instant, huge dirty blackened riffs cascade, the relentless pace providing no hiding place. It’s ferocious stuff, with the first three tracks grabbing the listener with their ferocious speed and visceral delivery. ‘Hark! The Hymns of War’ rages, a combination of Venom, Motörhead and some punishing Black Metal edges bring this band roaring into the modern day. 

As one would expect, both bands bring anti-religious and Satanic themes through their music. Vulture Lord carry a rawer edge, with their explosive Black Thrash threatening to veer out of control. The demonic snarl of vocalist Sorath is hideous, all croaks and roars, but he brings the message with his overall barbed wire croaks. There is plenty of Slayer kicking around in the band, with brutal time signatures and ferocity in the overall aural assault. And if all of that isn’t enough, there’s some dramatic cinematic score to conclude the EP in ‘Usurper, Thy Name is Death’ with a classic Vincent Price quote as Prince Prospero in the legendary 1964 film ‘The Masque of the Red Death’

TRACKLISTING:
Black Altar
01. Intro
02. Sacrilegious Congregation
03. Nyx
04. Outro

Vulture Lord
01. Dominios of Death
02. Hark! The Hymns of War
03. Bloodstained Ritual Knives
04. Usurper, Thy Name is Death

LINE-UP:
Black Altar 
Shadow – Vocals, Bass

Vulture Lord
Sorath – Vocals
Uruz – Drums
Enzifer – Guitars
Malphas – Guitars, Bass

LINKS:
Black Altar

Vulture Lord

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.

Theatres Des Vampires – In Nomine Sanguinis

In Nomine Sanquinis Album Cover Art

Theatres Des Vampires – In Nomine Sanguinis
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 19.11.21
Running Time: 40:24
Review by Dark Juan
3/10

Yes, I know. It is February 2022 and this is a review for a record that was released in November last year. There is a good reason for this. I was a massive fan of Italian vampire metallers Theatres Des Vampires for years and years in their early days, when Lord Vampyr was the head honcho and they played Melodic Black Metal. I jumped at the chance when I saw this album appear on the list at Ever Metal HQ, having remembered the dark joys of “The Vampire Chronicles” and then having contemplated reviewing “In Nomine Sanguinis” many times since. Frankly, I’m doing it now because I am sick of it clogging up my fucking review list. I have been somewhat afraid of looking at it because I loved the early incarnations of Theatres Des Vampires and I am bloody suspicious of what they have become, compared to the claret-craving Black Metal maniacs they were…

Oh.

It is exactly as I feared. Fuck. 

It appears that the band have found CDs of every single Gothic cliché there is (plucked violins, harpsichords, mournful cellos, bellowing Gothic choirs) and sampled the fucking lot, and then dropped them liberally all over some really fucking generic industrial metal. Anyone who reads my bullshit regularly will know that I am a card carrying Sad Old Goff, and also that I am a rabid fan of industrial music. Theatres Des Vampires have melded them together, so you’d think I’d be all over this record like a bloodsucking, predatory gentleman of the night in a devastatingly elegant silk suit. 

No.

This is too painful for words. I’m utterly destroyed. I don’t like Theatres Des Vampires anymore and this album is simply not good. I can’t get on with the singing of Sonya Scarlet, whose range goes from high-pitched to totally-fucks-with-bats’-sonar-and-makes-them-crash-into-trees with added screeching. She’d be a fucking brilliant countermeasure to ballistic missile submarines. I don’t like the arrangement of a single song, all of which are so utterly and boringly predictable I knew where the songs were going EXACTLY from the first bar and could confidently predict when the male/ female interplay vocal lines would come in (Track five ‘Lady Bathory’, fact fans!) I don’t like the production of the record, which is muddy as fuck apart from an omnipresent crash cymbal that cuts through everything and resounds annoyingly in my left ear throughout the ENTIRE fucking record. I didn’t enjoy the clear afterthought that was the guitar solo on ‘My Cold Heart’ (which, judging by the sound of it was recorded in a different studio by a rather more competent producer and then just slammed into the middle of the song without any fucking equalization or attempt to make it sound vaguely like the rest of the composition). The bass is too loud. The fret buzz on the bass makes me wonder whether the bass player is using wet spaghetti instead of strings. The drums aren’t loud enough. The vocals fade in and out of the mix like the producer kept wandering off for extended toilet breaks because he didn’t want to hear the music anymore either. I didn’t even enjoy the choir on the title track because it made Theatres Des Vampires sound like a Poundstretcher own brand version of Nightwish and I normally fucking adore Gothic choirs. Still, at least the cymbal moved into my right ear briefly, so thank Satan for small mercies…

It gets worse. ‘Golden Cage’ sounds like Deathstars with a female singer and added stabby gothic keys and is truly unpleasant to hear, Sonya Scarlet’s vocal being flat and uninspiring in the extreme. In fact, the whole feeling I get from the record is one of disinterest and music-by-the-numbers. Gothic music is supposed to have passion and raw emotion bleeding from every tortured pore. Theatres Des Vampires appear to have decided that squealing counts as emotion. Squealing is what pigs do on a honeymoon. Or teenagers on rollercoasters. Or excited young maids on “Downton Abbey” when they receive an unexpected gift from a rakish young bounder. ‘The Void Inside’ highlights another problem. Both the male and female vocalists are simply poor as fuck. I can’t put it any more succinctly. 

The music itself is competently played and if you had let the likes of Paradise Lost or Type O Negative get hold of the songs and work them, you might have had fucking Imperial levels of gothic majesty. Instead you have tepid, turgid yet still pompous and overblown Industrial Goth Metal that has been done to death over the years. Theatres Des Vampires – how could you do this to me? They even have the utter fucking temerity to suggest, in their blurb, that fans of The Sisters Of Mercy would enjoy this record.

They really wouldn’t, and this one (the Gothfather, Andrew Eldritch is my hero, even if he is STILL refusing to admit the Sisters are the quintessential goth band) really doesn’t. At best, young teenage girls who think black lipstick, fishnets, bat shaped hair accessories, coffin shaped handbags, colossal boots, and Wednesday Addams dresses make them goths, might find something to enjoy in Theatres Des Vampires. Mainly through torturing their parents with it.

I am seated here in Dark Juan Terrace, trying desperately to find a redeeming quality to “In Nomine Sanguinis”. Honestly, the best I can come up with is that it has ended. Now, it is time for me to sort out the tinnitus that fucking cymbal has caused in my left ear.

I don’t want to write about Theatres Des Vampires any more. I’d rather listen to the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Brian Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover snore and fart. Which, incidentally, is what I am doing right now.

Have a splendid evening, dear ladies, gentlemen and gentlepersons.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Il sistema brevettato di valutazione degli schizzi di sangue di Dark Juan) is barely registering and awards Theatres Des Vampires a deeply unsexy 3/10. If this record is supposed to exemplify the passion of being in the throes of adoration with vampires, I think I’d rather stick to building Airfix models in my kitchen, because, frankly, it’s more fun and you don’t even need to die.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Death In Venice
02. Endless Darkness
03. Christina
04. Bride Of Corinth
05. Lady Bathory
06. My Cold Heart
07. In Nomine Sanguinis
08. Golden Cage
09. The Void Inside
10. Till The Last Drop of Blood (A re-recording of a TDV classic that has been butchered beyond all recognition)

LINE-UP:
Sonya Scarlet – vocals
Zimon Lijoi – bass
Gabriel Valerio – drums

LINKS:

Theatres Des Vampires Promo Pic

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.