Saturday, April 25, 2009

Promos From Pulverised Records...

Singapore's Pulverised Records has been busy of late, and continues the hard work with a slew of releases. Most of the releases from Pulverised concentrate upon bands that are treading traditional sounds within various sub-genres of death metal, thrash metal, and black metal, and those trends continue with five new releases.

First up is Sweden's Axis Powers with the release of their second full-length, entitled "Marching Towards Destruction". Axis Powers are a side project of most of the members of Suicidal Winds (also on Pulverised) and are pure, old school Swedish death metal in the vein of Grave and early Entombed. That's just fine as Axis Powers write some catchy, simple songs that hit all of the requisite elements of the easily recognizable Sunlight Studio-era sound. Nothing groundbreaking is to be found within the war-themed material on "Marching Towards Destruction", but the album is nice example of the genre and will appeal to anyone with a penchant for that old Sunlight Studios sound. Good stuff.

Axis Powers MySpace (Official)

Outbreak Of The Blitz

The second promo in the pile is from Assaulter from Australia. Assaulter is mostly the side project of S. Berserker, formerly of Destroyer 666, and T. Hellfinder. Primitive blackened thrash with '80s production values immediately comes to mind with "Salvation Like Destruction", the duo's debut full-length. In fact, "Salvation Like Destruction" sounds as if S. Berserker was spending a lot of time listening to "Endless Pain" and "Hell Awaits" while putting together Assaulter. Throw in some tempo variation that concentrates upon mid '80s- style thrash gallops along with some rasped vocals, and that pretty well summarizes "Salvation Like Destruction". Overall, the result is not bad, but not great, and is quickly forgotten.

Assaulter MySpace (Official)

Third in line is "Concordat", the second full-length from Conspiracy. Conspiracy is the project of Al'Hazred, a member of Melechesh until recently. The music on "Concordat" is mildly symphonic black metal with considerable amounts of guitar melody. Somewhat notably, the album was produced by Andy LaRoque. Vaguely reminiscent of Melechesh, Conspiracy completely lacks any punch, energy, or interesting songwriting. In short, "Concordat" is quite weak and not worth your time.

Conspiracy MySpace (Official)

Sweden's Vanmakt is next with their second full-length "Ad Regnum Luciferi". Pure symphonic black metal, Vanmakt are obviously treading the same territory as Dimmu Borgir and a host of others with a bombastic style, a beefy production, all out blasts, some female operatic vocals, and so on. Surprisingly, Vanmakt do not incorporate keyboards into the style, yet still manage to project an over the top image. In addition, the fast riffing, all out speed, and vocal style bring to mind Dark Funeral, as Vanmakt ends up as a collision between Dimmu Borgir and Dark Funeral. Throw in some well written songs and guitar melody, and "Ad Regnum Luciferi" is a good album. Those of you familiar with the band's first full-length will be pleased to note that a live drummer has replaced the drum programming.

Vanmakt MySpace (official)

The second full-length from raw black metal band Burial Hordes is the last promo on the pile. Entitled "Devotion To Unholy Creed", the album is a well played example of raw black metal with plenty of tempo variation and a surprisingly clean production that still, somehow, manages to sound rough. Burial Hordes are from Greece and consist of most of the band Enshadowed with a different vocalist. Although well played, "Devotion To Unholy Creed" from Burial Hordes is not terribly original as Darkthrone and similar bands seem to be the obvious template. Still, a good album for the genre.

Burial Hordes MySpace (Official)

A decidedly mixed bag from Pulverised this time around.

Upcoming (assuming that swine flu doesn't end up cancelling the event, a realistic possibility)...

Banished From Inferno Review

Another assault from Clawhammer PR and Ibex Moon Records...

Banished From Inferno- Self Titled EP

(Ibex Moon Records)

Here’s a quick, five-song debut EP from Banished From Inferno, a side project consisting of members of various Swedish and Spanish acts coming together to form a project focused on “old school, death fucken metal”, in their words. That’s exactly what you get on this self titled EP from the trio, misspellings and all; that is, fast, bottom heavy death metal based around long listening sessions of old Sodom, Hellhammer, hints of old Death and Cannibal Corpse, and a host of others.

None of this is all that original, but that’s not the point as Banished From Inferno tackle their chosen genre with enthusiasm and gusto while hitting all of the requisite genre elements. Catchy songs based around simple riffs, good variations in tempo to spice things up a bit, and decent production that, although intentionally rough and sloppy, retains a great deal of power and heft. Strangely enough, there’s even the odd moment of melody or two (well, sort of), and a killer cover of “Into The Crypts of Rays” at the end of the last track (hang around for it).

Other than that, what else is there to say (this is, of course, right up my alley)? What the Hell are you waiting for?!

Banished From Inferno (Official)

Next up...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review: Black September/ Winters In Osaka "Hordes Of Flesh And Bone"...

Black September/ Winters In Osaka- Hordes Of Flesh And Bone


Chicago’s very own blackened stoner/ doom outfit Black September very quickly follow up their two-song split with Thou with a self-released EP. “Hordes Of Flesh And Bone” is a one-song affair that also involves a contribution from Winters In Osaka. Winters In Osaka is a duo, also from Chicago, that appears to focus on electronically generated horror sound effects, and nothing more. At least, that’s the contribution heard on this EP as Winters In Osaka supply a mechanized blizzard that rises and fades at certain points in the 11-minute song.

The effect works, but that’s entirely due to Black September in that “Hordes Of Flesh And Bone” is a very well written song with catchy riffs, just the right mix of blackened touches with stoner riffs and pacing, and a crushing production. In short, this is a great song and only gives rise to two questions. First, is there anyone out there planning on signing Black September? (Southern Lord, where are you?). Second, when are we going to see a proper debut full-length? Buy or die.

You can hear some audio samples at...

Black September MySpace (Official)