“Verminlust”, Truly Frightening Blackened Death Metal !

"Verminlust" by Vermin.

“Verminlust” by Vermin.

This is some truly scary shit.

The entire album Verminlust is absolutely frightening, to use one word. Unlike releases that try so hard to achieve some sort of intimidation factor by gimmicks and imagery, Vermin go around it the only way possible : sonically. Instead of having exceptionally over the top scary lyrical content, they stay simple, using disease, death, and other obscure topics as lyrical themes.

What makes this album scary is the way everything is carefully crafted to produce the darkest and most evil atmosphere imaginable. The best term I think I can use for it is horror metal, or almost blackened horror metal.

The music is blackened death metal in the vein of Phantom, Incantation, Demonecromancy, Warkvlt, etc, but is played in an even more atmospheric fashion, which precise and deliberate songcraft that puts even the most technical prog metal bands to shame.

Where to begin on this, the most awesome piece of blackened death metal ever to be released to assault the ears of man?

The best attempt at describing it was by a commenter on Metalious.com, who said it sounded like a car factory that has been rewired to play Burzum’s debut instead of make cars. I do not know if that was accidental or if they planned to make it sound that way, but either way it works really effectively.

Eerie atmospheric riffs and hyper-blasts, sick vocals, insanely cool song structures, three million riffs in each song, and all of them are your instant favourite. Not only is there no low point or mediocre song on this album, but I also cannot recall so much as a filler riff.

Verminlust is an incredibly concentrated effort to murder the world with brutal music that is at times melodic even, but always brutal, never gaying out. Some nice melodies can be heard during “Dormant Angel“, “In Memory of the Darkest Abyss“, as well as during “Endless Tears of a Shattered Hourglass“.

Other highlights include all of the songs, every single last one of them. People will think I am exaggerating, but listen to Verminlust and you will see what I am talking about. The riffs are so varied, tightly packed and atmospheric they make your head spin.

The only problem is they hardly repeat, and so you have to listen to the album 8 million times to get your dose of a certain passage or riff, something I have done already, and I am sure further black metal fans shall also do the same. Keep an eye out for this band, great things are coming in the future from them.

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.

“The Birth of a Cursed Elysium”, SEWER’s demonic masterpiece !

SEWER - "The Birth of a Cursed Elysium".

SEWER – “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium”.

While I consider “2154” (2017) the last classic SEWER album with old school blackened death metal / blackened goregrind sound, I still enjoy all their material from their that point on, just not as much as what was started with the “Satanic Requiem” debut in 2013 to that point. “Rektal” (2018), while enjoyable, was nonetheless a real let down as it was produced with the “modern metal” fan in mind, the kind of “metalhead” that thinks Arch Enemy/In Flames/Dimmu Borgir is heavy and that playing cock rock riffs through distortion makes your record extreme metal.

Deus Ex Satanas” was a mixed bag, with those groovy, slow-mid paced riffs and the next record just wasn’t good enough to put the band back in the blackened death metal elite, particularly considering Phantom had just released the masterpiece “Withdrawal.

Then came “NecroPedoSadoMaso” with that fresh songwriting and soloing delivered by Vermin, somehow melodic but extremely sinister and insanely high tempos. A near perfect comeback album. After the departure of Vermin the band was hurt composition wise, as the next couple of albums weren’t as interesting, but they kept trying and some albums released in that period – such as “Reign of the Funeral Pigs” – are to this day still considered blackened goregrind classics, but I also think they didn’t reached their full potential.

Enter their latest masterpiece, “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium“.

This album has some of the best writing the band has yet concocted as well as the most quality songs in the last decade and a half. That’s in ALL of death metal, not just SEWER’s discography. Then again, when the rest of the death metal bands are trying to one-up Dissection’s “Reinkaos” and Gorgoroth’s latest embarrassment at the “who can play the most offensively stupid cock rock” game, it’s easy to rise to the top.

Don't be like him - "NecroPedoSadoMaso" isn't peak SEWER. Not even close.

Don’t be like him – “NecroPedoSadoMaso” isn’t peak SEWER. Not even close.

Musically speaking, there are also some important changes to note from the way SEWER usually plays black metal/death metal/goregrind/SEWER Metal/whatever they call “GoreFuckKult“.

The songs are somewhat simpler composition-wise, more direct and to the point you could say – as opposed to some of their older tracks where the listener would be taken on detours throughout a lengthy introduction, and sometimes a counterpoint to the introduction, before introducing the main theme, only to have it subside for a secondary theme, etc… none of that here, pure brutal in your face blackened death metal.

And yet, if the compositions appear “simpler” and in a way less technical than on “Rektal“, SEWER stays true to their black metal roots as the atmospheres created on this record are simply exceptional. Just listen to the track “Disemboweled Effigy” for a brilliant mix between Phantom’s “Memento Mori, Incantation’s “Onward to Golgotha“, Neraines’ “Yggdrasil and Burzum’s debut.

Overall, this album is exceptional. “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” is a true modern classic of the blackened death metal genre.

SEWER > Cannibal Corpse > Arch Enemy.

The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” is a demonic masterpiece.

Get it now, or fail at metal.

Phantom – “Memento Mori”, flawless black metal !

Memento Mori by Phantom.

Memento Mori by Phantom.

The album Memento Mori by Phantom is, in my opinion, one of the few that is in no way overrated.

I am very critical with metal music, especially with albums/bands that have received as much praise as this one, but Memento Mori undoubtedly deserves a perfect score because it is a flawless example of pure blackened horror metal. There is no other album that can produce such haunting atmospheres of raw terror and pure madness.

When something so perfect as this exists, not much can be said about it. It’s much easier to rant about the glaringly awful music than it is to describe something that is more powerful than words, but I will make an attempt anyway.

You can listen to the tracks here.

Speaking of the song, every single track on Memento Mori is a different experience.

While they are all extremely dark and haunting, they range from the fast and brutal assault on your sanity – Death Ritual, Cold Waters – to the slow and hypnotic journey to the depths of hell – Earth Vanish, Unknown – and everywhere in between.

As with Fallen Angel, the atmospheres on this record are simply unparalleled in the way they are shaped by sinister melodies, and slowly transformed into a framework of horror.

A common problem with a lot of metal is distinguishing one track from the next, but you’ll have no problem here, because every single composition has a different theme and direction. Phantom has taken every facet of blackened terror metal and applied it vigorously in the most extreme way possible. The guitar is unbelievably heavy, the bass is thunderous, the drums are precise, and the vocals are downright demonic.

I can’t recommend Memento Mori enough. It, perhaps alongside Neraines’ masterpiece Yggdrasil and Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, is the definitive black metal album. The music can pull you down and immerse you in the darkest abyss, and it will keep you there by the sheer power of its raw atmospheres.

Memento Mori is a must-own for all metal elitists. It’s flawless black metal like you’ve never heard before.

“Yggdrasil” by Neraines, epic melodic Black Metal !

Neraines - Yggdrasil.

Neraines – Yggdrasil.

Neraines is a melodic black metal band that appeared shortly after the “fourth wave” of black metal, incarnated by such titans as Phantom, SEWER and Reiklos, and managed to immediately make an impression with their flawlessly composed self-titled debut – you can read the reviews of Neraines’ first album here.

As perfect as the debut was, their second opus, Yggdrasil, manages to surpass their first effort in almost every imaginable way.

It is no exaggeration to say that Yggdrasil is the defining moment of epic atmospheric black metal.

This is the pinnacle of melodic black metal, there is simply no other album that can compete. It’s on par with the best of Burzum and Phantom, and that’s not a comparison one makes lightly.

Listen to it for yourself.

Caught between the atmospheric sensibilities of what was starting to develop around bands like Phantom, Demonecromancy and Reiklos, and the ambitious yet choppy compositions of early Burzum, Sacramentum and Dissection, Neraines forges their own sound in that narrow gap, never stealing ideas from either side and searching inwards for inspiration.

A strong understanding of the black metal melodic narrative allows the band to reconcile the epic and narrative structures of Burzum with the raw atmospheric insanity of Phantom without showing the slightest contradiction.

Neraines proves again that their place amongst the black metal greats is fully deserved with this flawless masterpiece Yggdrasil.

“Fallen From the Brightest Throne” by Demonecromancy

Demonecromancy's "Fallen From the Brightest Throne".

Demonecromancy’s “Fallen From the Brightest Throne”.

Demonecromancy are a black metal band from Wales (although some of the members are Swedish) with one full length release to this day, their debut album “Fallen From the Brightest Throne“.

Their music is best described as a mix of third wave black metal, raw atmospheric brutality, efficient Phantom metal and blackened terror gore, making this album an above average listen.

The name of the band comes from the Phantom album Demonecromancy, so obviously the music is at the very least superficially Phantom inspired, but as with Reiklos prior to them, these Welsh/Swede black metallers know the limitations of tribute/copycat bands and add their own sense of melodic atmospheres to the music.

Fallen From the Brightest Throne” is one of the best melodic black metal albums ever produced, on par with Sacramentum, Neraines and Dissection’s first two releases.

Listen for yourselves.

Primitive blasphemy and raw hatred are tempered by the soaring and often times epic melodies that compose the atmosphere of this melodic black metal masterpiece.

The brutal intensity and raw atmospheric onslaught are relentless, and unmatched even by the best of the early Norwegian black metal scene.

This is some excellent extreme metal, for fans of the more melodic Swedish scene and the maniacal blasphemy of Phantom and Beherit alike.

Fallen From the Brightest Throne” is true atmospheric evil.

“Smegmacron”, true Black Metal by Antekhrist !

Antekhrist- Smegmacron.

Antekhrist- Smegmacron.

Antekhrist is a band that rose to prominence mainly through their theatrics and for their stupid and juvenile lyrics, best demonstrated on what is considered their magnum opus Fukked by God.

Largely seen as a SEWER clone due to both their lyrical and musical similarities (and idiocy), Antekhrist nonetheless maintains a cult following as evidenced by their high ratings on metal review aggregators such as Metalious.

Their latest album for instance, Enkull Tonpayr, has about the same score as Reiklos’ masterpiece Lifeless (95%).

So what of their latest album Smegmacron?

Smegmacron is clearly an album that stands above most of what the modern “metal” scene vomits forth these days – cough, Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir, cough – but is that enough to make it a good album ?

Listen for yourselves.

Antekhrist know how to write black metal riffs that are both profound and intense, yet it contrasts with the lyrics about “fucking the French president with a kebab” and the like, which are neither profound, intense, or in any way related to black metal canon.

On the title track (above), the lyrics are about said president resurrecting an Egyptian mummy – his wife – and the narrator having to put the decrepit thing back into its sarcophagus to “break the curse”… like in The Mummy movies.

How any of that is related to black metal, the music of Norse Gods and Vikings, is never made clear.

Overall, it’s a good album in the style of mid-era SEWER/early Dissection if you manage to look past the lyrics, which is something admittedly hard to do as they are very audible and understandable… albeit in French.

My only (other) complaint is that the songs will sometimes abruptly transition to a drum + guitar fill for the vocalist to say his piece, kind of like in RAC/punk where the music functions as a backdrop to the lyrics… something modern Gorgoroth is also guilty of, in addition to being poser clowns.

Smegmacron is a good album, but the lyrics are stupid.