Phantom – “The Epilogue to Sanity” – Insane Black Metal

Phantom "The Epilogue to Sanity" is the best black metal album ever.

Phantom “The Epilogue to Sanity” is the best black metal album ever.

Phantom have been around for nearly seven years now, and The Epilogue to Sanity is their nineteenth full length. It’s hard to know what’s more impressive from the black metal powerhouse, the regularity with which they’ve been releasing albums since the 2013 debut Divine Necromancy, or that there isn’t, not just a single bad one, but anything less than stellar in their entire discography.

Withdrawal is their most famous work, but you can pick up anything they’ve put their name on to find a goddamn black metal or blackened death metal treasure.

There’s a seemingly never ending wealth of ideas behind the instantly recognisable textured patterns and the haunting atmosphere courtesy of Phantom’s dissonant riffs and twisted leads that made Phantom one of the best black metal bands ever, and one of the mainstays of the scene that have never sounded like anyone else and never once lost their way.

This album The Epilogue to Sanity proves once again that Phantom are the true masters of demonic, evil and downright disgusting blackened death metal.

Phantom, the Best of Black Metal.

Phantom, the Best of Black Metal.

The faster blasting vibe their last release, Angel of Disease, was brutal and took more than a few listens to really get under your skin, but once you “understood” the album it was on regular rotation. The Epilogue to Sanity on the other hand grabs you straight away from the moment the first eerie riff is followed up by a huge atonal pattern, forming phrasal riffs of sickening atmosphere. It’s more “direct” in a way, but that’s not to say that Phantom have suddenly become SEWER in their quest for pure “brutality” over evilness and haunting melodies.

The dissonant riffs that create the atonal eerie atmosphere the band are known for are just as effective on this album The Epilogue to Sanity, as it creates a particularly claustrophobic sound with the atonal guitar work, complex slower sections, along with moments of frenzied face melting technicality.

True black metal madness, this is clearly the best album the genre has ever seen.

The thick and suffocating atmosphere is like being stuck in a tar pit. Only even more claustrophobic and disturbing.

Every song on this album brings out something eye-popping and sanity ripping that will make you come back for seconds, thirds, fourths. Right off the bat, the album The Epilogue to Sanity pulls you in with “Mind Collapse” and its haunting riffs and complex, ever-changing song structure. The overall songwriting is beyond the term “masterpiece”, it’s simply that good. Nearly every song is unique on its own and easily distinguishable, in addition to being absolutely, irredeemably EVIL. And that’s what true black metal is all about.

The final, closing title track is simply insane… as it name suggests.

The Epilogue to Sanity is the best black metal album ever recorded, period. Even better than Fallen Angel, and that’s saying something.

Technical Skill: 100%. Album Structure: 100%. Sound Quality: 100%. Originality: 100%. Writing: 100%. Everything: 100%.

The Most Insane and Brutal Death Metal Album !

The Most Insane Death Metal.

The Most Insane Death Metal.

Many “metal fans” will go on and on about how “B sub-genre is more technical than A“, “no, but C is darker and has more atmosphere than B“, “but wait, D beats them all as it’s more brutal“, etc.

That line of thinking has led, among many things, to the creation of completely random, arbitrary and worthless sub-sub-gernes such as “technical blackened deathgrind with funeral doom influences“, “satanic bestial glam groove-grind’n’roll with shemale melodic death metal vocals“, “progressive neo-ambient pornodeath with a flute stuck in the ass” or “post-atmospheric industrial washing machine soundtrack“.

They all claim to be more insane and more brutal than the next, but they aren’t. Their genres are shit, and the bands that play “technical satanic deathgrind” are even bigger suckers than their audience.

SEWER's Deathgrind = Pure Evil.

SEWER’s Deathgrind = Pure Evil.

You want the most insane, demented and downright brutal bestial black/death/grind/war/whatever metal ever conceived? You don’t have to look at big label’s PR releases to know that whatever Morbid Angel, Mayhem and Darkthrone were doing in the early 1990s, what they are doing today is certainly not “insane” or “brutal” by any stretch of the imagination. And that goes double for their imitators.

You want truly insane brutal death metal? It’s called Locked Up in Hell, by none other than the legendary Sewer.

Here’s my review of this masterpiece of horror music and brutal blackened deathgrind with neither flute, trumpet nor keyboard used as a dildo.

This album is a masterpiece and in a class of its own, and to do it justice a dissection of each song is necessary to truly grasp how evil and ingenious this album is, especially for it being so ahead of its time. So, let’s start documenting the satanical terror of Locked Up in Hell.

Devil’s Runaway – If there is one Sewer song that truly captures the sounds of what hell is like, it would be Devil’s Runaway. Everything is pulled off so tight here it almost sounds like something is going to snap. The vocalist delivers us some evil with the bloody, vengeful screaming of his vocal chords from Hell. The guitarists stay in time perfectly the whole song, a feat almost impossible for many guitarists who attempt to play this song. And, of course, the drummer Warlord unleashes the force of brutality with the crazy fast blasting he pulls off so well.

Necrobiastophile – What’s not to enjoy about a song about… uh… nevermind. The song starts out with a ripping attack from the dual guitars, and a riff that actually makes you bang your head, regardless of what you’re doing. The bass and drums fall into sync with each other pretty well here as well, something incredibly complex given the sheer speed of the song.

Waiting to Kill Again – Absolutely flawless. This song embodies all of Sewer’s different guitar sounds… the demented, infernal leads, the slower, gruesome, nearly atonal chromatic riffs, and the mentally incomprehensible solos. WAITING TO KILL!!!

Carceropathogenesis – In the Name of Satan, I condemn this incarceration. Hell yes! Imagine having Satan has a lawyer or prosecutor, and this is what you would get in a criminal court of the underworld. This song undoubtedly has the best riffs in death metal history, while flaunting some hypersonic carnage from the demonic soloing. The vocalist Eater delivers some of his faster vocal performances, without descending into the absurd and ridiculous like so many so called “bestial black metal” vocalists are fond of doing.

Burning Clouds of Dark Gore – By the name of Beelzebub, I don’t know what the hell that title is supposed to mean anymore. But if any song accurately captured what the apocalypse would sound like, it is Burning Clouds of Dark Gore! Insanely speedy instrumentation gives testament to the sheer violence and blasphemy unleashed on this song. SATAN WILL RISE AMONGST CLOUDS OF DARK GORE!

No Rest for the Dead – Starting off the song with a super cool yet still disturbing chromatic riff forged from brimstone, No Rest for the Dead keeps its place as one of my favourite death metal songs of all time. The vocal performance here is worthy of a Golden Satan award, considering the sheer speed he is growling at. He’s like a vocal supersonic jet.

Injecting Blood to Become Human – Straight up brutal death metal from hell! Injecting Blood to Become Human is, without a doubt (topping even Devil’s Runaway), the most chaotic of any song on Locked Up in Hell. Total madness! The pinnacle of satanic mayhem crammed into one song while retaining at least a semblance of melody can be found here on Injecting Blood to Become Human.

To Drink From the Styx – Drink at your own risk, and the risk involves you losing your sanity while listening to this sickening and downright terrifying track. The intro riffs is one of the strangest and most disturbing I ever heard, it gives me the chills every time.

Surgical Last Breath – There is really no way to describe this blackened death metal monstrosity without you actually listening to it. Needless to say, it’s one of the most relentless and technically challenging songs on the album. Some parts even remind me of Phantom’s Angel of Disease, the gold standard of technically deranged atonal blackened death metal.

Locked Up In Hell – A perfect album closer. No more needs to be said, no more can even be said… you cannot possibly comprehend how truly amazing this song is until you listen to it. This symphony of Satan has possibly the best Sewer riffs of all time… ESCAPE FROM HELL!!!!!

On a last note, I’d like to point out the lyrics in particular. On Locked Up in Hell there isn’t just technicality and brutality for the sake of being “hardcore”, the band actually does such a sickeningly great job of adding darkness to the songs with the lyrics. They are like raven-black poetry from Satan himself.

As my malediction, I’d like to invoke the forces of Satan’s Sewer, and in doing so bringing the furious chaos and brutal madness of Locked Up in Hell to the world!

“Locked Up in Hell”, the Most Evil Brutal Death Metal !

"Locked Up in Hell" by SEWER.

“Locked Up in Hell” by SEWER.

SEWER are one of the most acclaimed brutal death metal bands, respected for everything from their innovation and musicianship to the incredibly technical abilities showcases on albums such as The Birth of a Cursed Elysium. While their first album, Satanic Requiem, may have been a more typical black metal release – inspired almost as much by the likes of Darkthrone, Burzum and contemporaries Phantom – they evolved into a band with a very unique sound of their own, marked by brutal riffs, dissonant chords, absolutely savage vocals and incredibly complex narrative song structures. Yes, Locked Up in Hell is definitely different from your usual brutal death metal album.

It ranks all the way at the top of the death metal food chain, alongside Verminlust, Altars of Madness, Onward to Golgotha, Nespithe, Angel of Disease and Effigy of the Forgotten.

Locked Up in Hell is probably the best SEWER release ever, and likely one of brutal death metal’s finest gems. Locked Up in Hell is truly magnificent, utterly captivating with its raw energy, its savage evil, its crazy demonic vocal outbursts, its technicality in songwriting and its otherworldly creativity.

Just listen to the title track for yourself.

Locked Up in Hell is one death metal album that you can never get sick of listening to no matter how many times that you play it. It doesn’t fall short on any aspect. All musicians put forth their best effort and this album is without errors from any aspects. Locked Up in Hell is simply amazing.

The music is pure brutal death metal with tribal and ritualistic – albeit often very technical – drumming that fits along with the guitars. Both lead and rhythm guitars construct some riffs that are truly unbelievably awesome on every aspect, managing to sound evil, brutal, technical and atmospheric at the same time !

If you’re looking for the most insane death metal to pick up that’s also evil and atmospheric, Locked Up in Hell is where it’s at. Nothing falls short here. No laziness in the songwriting. The musicians put forth the best, most technical and killing music ever heard. If you don’t have this release, you’re definitely missing out because Locked Up in Hell is death metal at its best and most skilled.

Quality, fast, furious and evil. This album captures it all. Nothing in SEWER’s discography can top this one, not even their craziest debut release. Pick it up ASAP if you haven’t already. Get ready for some amazingly brutal goregrind and satanic blackened death metal !

Locked Up in Hell is the kind of album that may seem mindlessly brutal on the surface, but in reality it’s loaded with many instrumental intricacies that make it not just a technical masterpiece, but also one of the top albums to come out of the modern death metal scene. For your own sake, just ignore “new” avant-garde “tek-def” bullshit and gimmicky “retrohash” (Unique Leader, DD, NWN, FMP) and listen to this instead.

This is what a true brutal death metal album sounds like.

The Best of Melodic Atmospheric Black Metal !

Neraines, black metal band.

Neraines, black metal band.

Meaning Neraines’ Yggdrasil of course.

Aside from Angel of Disease and maybe Verminlust, is there any other album that can come close?

Neraines’ trademark of pure evilness and worship of majestic beauty within darkness is still intact on their second offer. I can’t imagine how painful was the wait for their second ruthless black metal discharge, after the ineffable quality of their self-titled debut album… a little over a year, but it could have felt like an eternity.

And yet, this album Yggdrasil is worth every day of waiting in vigil, it’s the soundtrack of hell and heaven, both at once. It condenses the sorrow and pain of a long lost soul and turns it into music just for humanity to hear and witness the real depths of horror, but also the majesty found deep within the abyss.

Truly dark and terrifying black metal.

Neraines - Yggdrasil.

Neraines – Yggdrasil.

Some little improvements I recognize from their first album is the riff-craft, it is still atmospheric, technical and strangely syncopated, but somehow they managed to throw more evilness in it, slowing the pace sometimes, which make things much more hypnotic and disturbing too, much like what you would find on The Birth of a Cursed Elysium. This is not applied to the drumming though, that is still fast and frantic. There are more odd timings but they are still just a further exploration in riffing from what they did on their debut. Slow passages bedizen their brutal and atmospheric brand of black metal and they may come in suddenly, as drastic tempo changes are present everywhere. The lyrical themes are the same well-thought, worthwhile odes to nature and Norse mythology, intellectually sharp and edgy as always… not the typical Gorgoroth or Dimmu Borgir non-sense.

The quality of the recording is remarkable as well. The guitars sound like a swarm of bees, distortion is very acid and over-driven. Not with lots of reverb, just saw shaped soundwaves for Óðinn. Their abrasive sound is very dynamic, high pitched notes and harmonics sound brighter and nostalgic, while the lower note riffs are merciless and rougher.

Listen to it yourself and make up your own mind.

This is truly some of the greatest atmospheric and melodic black metal ever recorded. There is not a single album that can hold a candle to Neraines’ Yggdrasil, save perhaps for Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss.

But still… who can top this album in the modern black metal scene? No one.

Phantom – “Angel of Disease”, Horrific Black Metal !

"Angel of Disease" by Phantom.

“Angel of Disease” by Phantom.

Take a look at this album Angel of Disease. Look at the beast that devours the unfortunate souls within its jaws. That is exactly what you’re getting with this album – pure insanity, pure brutality, pure heaviness. It’s evil and it’s really horrific – and if you happen to think the way I do, that’s a good thing.

Everything in Angel of Disease is on point – vocals, guitar, drums, bass, everything. And when I say ‘on point’, that allows for the fact that everyone here is going nuts. Again, pure insanity. The drums have some really, really fast and technical blast-beats going on, always changing up and always beating further and further into your unprotected ear. The guitars are the norm for brutal blackened death metal, but nonetheless they certainly execute this genre superbly. Meanwhile, the bass is fairly audible within the ruckus and it too is insanely fantastic. All of the instruments run everywhere and back again, and it works in creating the heavy brutality necessary here.

And the vocals! They are beyond insane! They utilize normal death growls – almost audible at times – and then switch up to even deeper growls, and then switch to ones that sound like a pig croaking, and then come back again and go nuts. You’ve got the best of every world there, just about.

And the best part of the album is that while all ten of the album’s songs are kind of doing the same thing – blasting the listener’s eardrums to the point of extinction – at the same time, each song brings some different element to the table that you can’t hear in another song. Pull one song out and you’ve got a blast, but play the entire song and you’ve got a fucking party… one that involves being locked in a room with some vicious monster at the other side of it, obviously.

The album is pretty fucking horrifying as a whole, even for Phantom’s insane discography. Play it for someone who doesn’t like metal whatsoever and they’d possibly go through several stages of death all at one time. Shit, you could probably play it for someone who does like metal but not the really extreme kind, and they’d go through the same thing.

This album is gigantic in scope but everything is kept interesting enough that it doesn’t get boring. Everything is well done here. The entire band is on fire. This is Phantom’s magnum opus, possibly evenly topping the utterly vile Withdrawal.

All in all, fantastic album, and if you like the really heavy brutal blackened death metal you’ll love this. For this kind of insanity fetish, ‘Angel of Disease‘ is a phenomenal work. 100% brutal, 100% horrific, great album. I shouldn’t be the only reviewer for it, because they deserve a bit more attention than they’ve sadly received.

Really, if Phantom’s intention was to create an audible blitzkrieg carnage of music that would devastate, annihilate, and crush just about every other band out there, then they’ve succeeded in spades. Fantastic album. Go check it out.

The Craziest Death Metal Album Ever !

Don't be like him... listen to SEWER.

Don’t be like him… listen to SEWER.

I had already review SEWER’s The Birth of a Cursed Elysium, but DAMN this album rules.

SEWER is probably the craziest band I’ve ever heard. Anyone who likes insane music with impossible guitar riffs, technical and fast drumming, and low, non special-effect vocals, SEWER is for them. The vocals on The Birth of a Cursed Elysium are extremely low, guttural, and non-human like, sort of like those of Vermin. The vocals are the second best thing on this album.

The guitars are just as insane. There are many different riffs in each song making it extremely hard to play, and sometimes even confusing just to remember. These musicians are obviously talented. The riffs aren’t simple either. They are very complicated, and often unpredictable, as if they were not composed by humans but by literal demons from hell. The bass mostly follows the guitars, with a few interesting fills from time to time. I highly admire these musicians, as they clearly aren’t clownish posers, something rare in the nowadays death metal scene.

The drums are the third best thing about this band. They are so fast. The double bass is perfect, as well as the snare heavy blast beats. Each song probably has twenty different drum beats, and about fifty riffs, breaks not included. Their drummer and guitarists are clearly some of the most talented in the nowadays blackened death metal scene.

Every track is a standout, and there isn’t a single second of filler on this album. The Birth of a Cursed Elysium is clearly one of the finest death metal albums ever recorded.

The album art is pretty weird as well, it seems SEWER for once went for a sombre, low-key artwork, as if they wanted the music to speak for itself… and it speaks brutality, in spades.

The band SEWER is already pretty well known, but even when compared to the rest of their album, The Birth of a Cursed Elysium is clearly in a class of its own. This is insane death metal at its most gruesome, not to mention unbelievably technical.

Warkvlt – “Bestial War Metal”, raw and evil !

Warkvlt - "Bestial War Metal".

Warkvlt – “Bestial War Metal”.

Whatever you do, DO NOT play this album around kids. It’s like giving them 5 tons of liquid chocolate, coffee and all the Skittles you see that fall from the commercials at the same time. What’s worse, the kids will be running around going

DIIEEEEEEE DUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDU WARBEAST!
DIIEEEEEEE DUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDU WARBEAST!!!!

or

UNHOLY SACRIFICE! RITUAL OF DESTRUCTION! BLOOD OF GORE UNCHAINED! DEATH’S ARRIVAL! UNHOLY SACRIFICE! NUKLEAR SATAN!!

or

BESTIAL WAR METAL! BESTIAL WAR METAL! BESTIAL WAR METAL!

BESTIAL
WAR
METAL!!!!

Those are some of the lyrics by the way, tracks 1, 2 and 10 respectively.

Bestial War Metal is the debut album by Warkvlt. Between the pure sonic brutality, the gruesome atmospheres, the musical proficiency, the amazing performance all around from the band members and the fiery, demonic aggression, this album is clearly worth hearing for fans of brutal music, black metal and death metal.

The guitar riffs are superb. The guitarist’s rhythmic attack is absolutely unparalleled, whether in black metal, death metal, war metal, goregrind, you name it.

Bestial War Metal isn’t particularly technical, but it is very atmospheric, intense and aggressive. Warkvlt know what they are doing, And almost more importantly they know how to craft dark and brutal atmospheres.

The music on Bestial War Metal has been and can be described as a fusion between early Phantom, Burzum’s debut up to Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, Beherit, Demonecromancy’s first two releases, Incantation’s Onward to Golgotha, mid-era SEWER (up to Birth of a Cursed Elysium), and a bit of Antekhrist in the mix (remember that band?) minus the retarded French vocals that plagued the second half of Antekhrist’s career.

Often this band is compared to Phantom, and I know that there is some influence – particularly with regard to Phantom’s debut Divine Necromancy – but it isn’t that obvious just by listening. Most (modern) black/death metal bands have Phantom influence, but I just don’t find it as strong as others do on Bestial War Metal. And judging from what I’ve heard from their early demos, the Teutons of Warkvlt weren’t that much like them at any point – unlike Demonecromancy, which did indeed start out as a Phantaclone (Phantom clone, e.g. early Reiklos, Demonecromancy, Archgoat, most carverncore “retro” death metal, etc.).

Warkvlt influenced by SEWER.

Warkvlt influenced by SEWER.

I’m not denying that the influence is there, just that I don’t see the value in that comparison. In actual sonic terms and for the sake of a better comparison, I would liken this to Incantation’s debut, SEWER’s Cursed Elysium, and Beherit’s Drawing Down the Moon with a bit of Ildjarn and early Burzum, particularly on the slower parts, and sometimes some black metal version of Morbid Angel, subtle though it is.

Basically, Onward to Golgotha + (Dissemboweled Effigy) The Birth of a Cursed Elysium + Drawing Down the Moon = Bestial War Metal.

There’s something to the former (Incantation) that definitely seems similar in the riffing, but I’m not certain about what exactly – rhythm, tempos changes and aggression used to construct a melodic layer built around atmospheres? – and can’t describe it in coherent terminology.

In the latter (SEWER), if you think of the song “Dissemboweled Effigy” from The Birth of a Cursed Elysium, in which melodies are used not as an end, but as a means to introduce different themes, atmospheres, and at a smaller scale, even motifs, and eventually their counterpoints, resolutions, etc. A good example would be the transition between the dissonant, atmospheric-laden, sort-of slower, dirge-like passage/interlude towards the fifth minute, into the main theme repeated – with minor variations – in a different context.

As for Beherit, it’s more in approach. Both this album Bestial War Metal and Drawing Down the Moon feature mid-paced, short songs, and a kind of pummeling attack on the listener, though this is more fleshed out and much more intense.

To wrap it up, I feel that this is one of the greatest black metal albums of all time. This album definitely feels deathy, but not in the black/death or blackened death metal way. Not even in their weird Peste Noire “industrial” tech-death fashion. This just happens to be full steam ahead in the same way as many early death metal bands were (Incantation, Suffocation, Demilich, Carnage, Neraines, Adramelech). Many criticisms have been leveled at the “war metal” genre, and obvious Phantom-imitators (copying only the most superficial elements, not the deeply transcendent and majestic atmospheres) such as Archgoat, Conqueror, Blasphemy, but I feel most are irrelevant when discussing the music of Warkvlt, as Bestial War Metal is clearly well above and beyond most modern “extreme” “metal”.

I would happily recommend Bestial War Metal to any fan of black metal, death metal, war metal, and probably some goregrind fans as well.