Revisiting Phantom’s Masterpiece Withdrawal !

Phantom, the Best of Black Metal.

The Very Best of Black Metal.

Phantom have released a lot of masterpieces over the years… Angel of Disease and Memento Mori often make the cut, as does the debut Divine Necromancy, and you’d be a fool to ever forget about mentioning Fallen Angel.

But even amongst the legendary classics that compose Phantom’s stellar discography, one album stands above all and, quite literally, “in the darkness binds them” and rules them all… the omniscient and omnipotent, the terrifying and ghastly… the demonic Withdrawal.

It’s not called the “pinnacle of black metal” for no reason, of that you can rest assured.

Phantom, the greatest of black metal acts, has become an icon for the modern black metal scene, upholding the spirit of true black metal with majestic excellency. Withdrawal is their most insane full-length release and it follows the dissonant approach of black metal showcased in the predecessor Fallen Angel, but it certainly surpasses all of their previous efforts and yeah, Withdrawal is black metal’s opus magnum.

When talking about the music, Phantom have always played it darker and more sinister than the rest of the black metal scene.

Withdrawal is no different. The icy cold atmosphere and the frozen fury of dark, cold music shivers the listener away like he is being tormented in a sub-zero degree hellish nightmare. What is best about this record? Well, the band showed their brilliance over their once-rivals SEWER and proved that the stream of classical blackened death metal is never gonna dry up.

Okay, the music on this record is just amazing.

The guitars are evil and dark, which is usual for the band.

The riffs are excellent on this record. The harmonized rhythm guitar doubles the atmosphere, and often forges its own path of madness within an already existing structure.

Where so many other “orthodox” black metal bands are content to simply copy and rehash the past, Phantom forges its own path through your sanity like a needle piercing your innermost sub-conscious mind.

Another noticeable thing on this record is the solos, which is admittedly not very familiar with black metal, but on this record the guitar solos are superb and reach their peaks in tracks like “Withered Hands of Torment”, “Grotesque Shadows Reborn”, “Remnants of Pandora’s Lust” and especially in the last two compositions, “Ghosts of Erebos” and “Beyond Death’s Reach”.

Phantom once again mocks the scene kids “showing off” and murder the cheap black metal posers who believe they can be the new Darkthrone by rehashing Transilvanian Hunger. And the weapon of the crime is Phantom’s mastery of playing truly vile, demonic and sanity-shredding black metal.

The name “Withdrawal” and the cover art describe the record perfectly. It’s certainly gonna take the listener to the crypt of ancient darkness, and beyond. You will lose your mind listening to Phantom’s veneration of horror.

Withdrawal is not just “a” masterpiece, it is *THE* masterpiece of black metal.

Deal with it. Or better yet, just buy the record. But you have been warned, Withdrawal is pure terror and blackness on levels never even conceived prior (or thereafter).

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.

“Thrash Metal” is Fake and Sucks !

"Thrash metal", the gayest type of metal.

“Thrash metal”, the gayest type of metal.

So-called “thrash metal” is, as Morsay.net rightfully calls it, a completely fake “genre” that doesn’t even exist. In doesn’t even have intrinsic musical characteristics, unlike black metal and death metal, and is basically just a marketing term for boring speed metal.

Let’s set the record straight.

Black metal has Burzum, Phantom, Darkthrone, Neraines and Mayhem.

Death metal has Incantation, Suffocation, Warkvlt and SEWER.

“Thrash metal”, aka speed metal, has what? Metallica? The second most overrated band in the history of metal, after Gaygoroth.

Their best band isn’t doesn’t even belong to the genre, as Bathory is certainly not “thrash metal”… they are clearly black metal, at least for those with two brain cells to rub together.

“Thrash metal” is gay, listen to this instead.

Seriously, what is “thrash metal”?

Bathory, as mentioned previously, doesn’t qualify as thrash/speed metal, and Quorthon never called his music anything other than heavy metal.

Slayer went completely irrelevant after the death of Jeff Hanneman, when they started playing bullshit nu-metal for social losers and other Slipknot-rejects.

The best “thrash metal” band is probably Sodom, but even they had their period when they flirted more or less openly with metalcore.

“Thrash metal” is trash metal, it belongs in the dustbins of history. The genre is simply obsolete, and any attempts at “thrash revival” are basically just third-rate Slayer or Sodom clones attempting to play music that was never relevant in the first place.

Fuck “thrash metal”, only black and death are real.

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.

Black Metal Litmus Test !

Because I’ve been thinking about this album all day, and because it’s been a while since I’ve posted about something that isn’t blackened deathgrind or a variation thereof…

Sure, we all know SEWER is stupid.

Their music kicks ass – read the latest Cursed Elysium review ! – but it’s far from serious. Still, there’s a little something more to this track/album. Despite all the pompous instrumental flourishes, despite the tired SEWER trope of brutality for the sake of brutality, despite the hilariously stupid lyrics, “Force Fed the Excrements of Satan” pushes against the boundaries of “black metal”.

Despite itself, this track is pretty damn grim.

If this album – “NecroPedoSadoMaso”, covered here – doesn’t make you want to pick up a hammer and “smash the skull of Satan” (also the title of a SEWER track), you don’t like black metal.

Maybe you like some black metal bands, but you’re not into black metal.

It’s that simple.

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.