Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hooded Menace - Never Cross the Dead (2010)

Full Length, Profound Lore Records

With the sudden upsurge of bands playing the old school style of death metal over the years, it's practically difficult to come across bands who really are something worth listening to. Bands whom you can call as fairly genuine and not just another imitation of the older hordes. The mighty Razorback Records has been a sort of hub for most of these neo-old school death bands with constant releases from the abysses of US, Sweden and Finland. The label has given a lot of cherishing audial devastations to the staunch aficianados of the ancient death reign and Hooded Menace is no exception.

The band is no stranger in the death metal underground since their frontman Lasse  has been a formidable part of the Finnish death wagon from the past 2 decades or so. He started off with the underrated death/thrash band Phlegeton in 88 and released a few demos and a compilation album till date. But his fetish for the macabre didn't seem to cease as he has associated himself in a number of old school death metal projects namely Acid Witch, Claws, Vacant Coffin, Shrouded, Hooded Menace etc. He roared back into the scene with √©lan through the debut CD of Hooded Menace entitled as ''Fulfill the Curse'' which was a gargantuan lesson in true horrific death metal typically fashioned in the 90
s and cult horror sounds-capes influenced by the Blind Dead and other classic horror series. But the recent release ''Never Cross the Dead'' which saw a change in label to Profound Lore Records, is even a step ahead than the first edition in terms of the compositional prowess which the trio unleashes upon the listeners.

Clocking around almost 51 minutes, the album oozes with a sludgy and extravagantly doomy slab of death metal reminiscent of the epochal American and Finnish doom/death sound sauced up with a fairly modern production which actually provides an ominous shrill to the delicious down tuned riffage. Lasse's vocals are something which I find pretty unique and interesting among most of the death metal vocalists. I remember reading a recent interview where he stated that growling isn't really something which he cherishes doing and hence went for a more ''lazy'' and creepier sounding growling tone. But this reluctant laze has certainly been a blessing in disguise for the overall music of the band since the dense growling patterns lay a bizarre and ''zombified'' impact on the listener which can be perfectly related to the style of music they play.

The riffs are pretty lush and crushingly heavy with the grooves reminding of Cianide's A Descent into Hell juxtaposed with subtle melodic leads in vein of more traditional acts like Sabbath and Cathedral. Tracks like ''Never Cross the Dead'', ''Terror Castle'' and ''The House of Hammer'' are dripping with solid Iommi style leads which enhance the heavy demeanor to a great extent.

Pekka's drumming has been pretty minimal and straight forward as per the musical needs and it has just been a necessary support to the musical onslaught. Their obsession with the horrific realms have been again displayed to a good extent with their version of ''Theme from Return of the Evil Dead'' which manages to sound spooky and grotesque enough pretty much like what the original them but with a death metal tinge. A fantastic cover art by Putrid and great lyrics from the Razorback honcho Billy and Lucio provide an added dimension to the tenebrus atmosphere of Never Cross the Dead and makes it a perfect sountrack to listen to on a funeral night by the old cemetary and invoke the embalmed entities infested beneath earth's abyss.

Check out their tunes here -

Final Verdict : 8.7/10

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Twilight - Monument to Time End

Full-length, Southern Lord
April 27th, 2010

What month is it? April? Seems early to claim that this release would be one of the top 5 releases of the year. But to be honest, the more I hear it, the more I feel this will be right up at the top of the pile come the end of the year.

Twilight is known as a USBM super group with members from the most prominent bands playing for them. The band roster consists of Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), Wrest (Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice), N. Imperial (Kreig), – and new recruits Stavros Giannopolous (The Atlas Moth), Sanford Parker (Minsk, Buried At Sea) and Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom). The band released a self titled album in 2005 with members of Nachtmystium, Leviathan, Kreig, Xasthur and Draugar to some rave reviews, only to disband a year later. With no reunion in sight, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard in early 2009 that some members decided to resurrect the band with a modified lineup. And the ‘modifications’ are the main reasons why this release has turned out to be nothing short of a masterpiece.

While the debut was very good, it lacked something. It appeared disconnected and incoherent at times; and that led to its downfall. Thankfully, these hitches have been ironed out in this release and the results are staggering. What we have here is one of the most impressive “dark” black metal albums to be made in a long time. It consists of the best of all of the aforementioned bands: An oppressive atmosphere screaming of despair and anguish, pounding riffs, intense psychedelia and a sick, filthy torturous layer of vocals. The band manages to create a blizzard of emotion and torment without compromising on any of the brute force.

Any inhibitions regarding this release were put to rest after listening to the opening track, ‘The Cryptic Ascension’- the song is descriptive of what the right lineup can do. It starts in a mid tempo pace until around 6 minutes in and it is extremely detailed in its structure. The vocals are tortured screams and are used excellently. Melodic and harmonic, without disrupting the overall atmosphere of the song. This track helps in setting up a perverse vicious mood for the rest of the album.

‘8000 years’ is intense. As the sound explodes from the speakers, you cant help but be smothered by the atmosphere of pure suffering and torment and you will struggle to get out of the state of emotional limbo imposed by the atmosphere. The mood is evil, yet so frantic and beautiful, its hard to escape.

‘Convulsions In Wells Of Fever’ and ‘Decaying Observer’ are similar to the songs in the debut album. They feature the speed and the atmospheric texture of the songs from the debut album. Although they are a lot more experimental, they are the closest to the primal sounding songs in this release.

Probably my favorite song on the album would be the closing track ‘Negative Cell Omega’. It leads to a change of direction, to a mood of depression, hopelessness and despondency. You are transported to a cold harsh place. A place where time stands still. A place where there is no light at the end. A place where there is only one escape –Death.

‘Monument to the End’ is a stunning release. Throughout listening to this album, the listener is made to step into the demented, maniacal realms of madness. It is mesmerizing and powerful. It is devastating and the feeling is of having the soul sucked out of your body as you listen. By the end of it, you are in a state of emotional emptiness. A state where happiness and joy is replaced by nothingness and vacuum. A state of nonexistence and nonbeing.

This release is not for the elitists who scorn experimentation in Black metal. If you approach this with an open mind, you will love this.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Interview with Matti Way [Disgorge (US), Pathology, Cinerary etc)

Infernal Dominion unleashes an interview with the legendary Matti Way, a charismatic persona without whom it'd be sacrilegious to even think about today's brutal death metal scene. 

Conducted by
Ankit Sinha

ID: Hello Matti, how are you? What are you doing these days?

Matti: Good bro thanks…get ready for the Pathology tours and the release of our new album "Legacy of the Ancients" on Victory records coming July 6th...

ID Fans of Pathology are stoked to hear about your dramatic comeback after a pretty mysterious exit after ''The Age of Onset. Would you throw some light on the phenomenon’s responsible for those events?

Matti: Really nothing exciting to tell…Iam moving back down south with a lot more time available for music…Dave hit me up and asked me to come back and after hearing the new material I was in, and I brought Diego with me too...

ID : What are the current projects which you are working on?

Matti: Pathology, To Violently Vomit & Obscured Secretions…

ID :You achieved a cult status ever since Cranial Impalement saw the light of day back in the mid 90's with your disgusting and innovative gurgling vocal style. It was almost unbelievable to accept the fact that there weren't any vocal effects used to enhance those gutturals. How did you achieve such kind of a vocal tone and what was the inspiration behind it? And do you use any kind of drinks  to keep your throats in good shape?

MattiI don't really use any drinks…And inspiration wise Carcass Symphonies of Sickness, Broken Hope & Cannibal Corpse all were something I was really into and I just kept going to try and take it to another level

ID: The Disgorge camp later recruited vocalists like AJ and Levi who did a great job in carrying forth the guttural mayhem which you made as a trademark for the band but I still think that the peak days for Disgorge were with your vocal services. So I was always curious to know as to what reasons were behind your departure?

MattiThank you for the kind words…We were touring a lot and I just wasn't able to keep up with my bills and responsibilities at home to make it work…

ID: What thought process do you undergo before recording an album? 

MattiI  always have a concept and write all the lyrics around that subject matter...

ID: What is the news with Cinerary? Is the band still active?

Matti: We are currently in the process of writing another album now...

ID: It was pretty appalling to know the untimely demise of Infantiphagia. I had a lot of expectations after hearing the 3 track promo which kicked ass! What reasons were behind the dissolving of that band?
Matti: All the guys moved to different places and just didn't want to do it anymore…Dain and Alexandre remain very close friends of mine so who knows what the future might hold...

ID: Disgorge is revered as the band which revolutionized the modern guttural brutal death metal scene and has got countless admirers and musicians who idolize your music but there are also some puritans who detest this ''trend'' altogether and condemn it as nonsense. What are your views on this criticism?
Matti: People tend to criticize anything they don't understand…Just because they don't like it doesn't mean its not good…Almost all music is created from inspiration(trends), to me we've touched people in a positive way to give them inspiration to write music…
Iam truly thankful for the countless fans and bands that support us, without them this music is nothing...

ID: Which vocalists inspired you the most and made you recreate the monstrous rumble in an extravagantly vile manner?

Matti: Bill Steer , Joe Ptacek & Ross Dolan

ID: Have you ever visited India? Any thoughts about doing a gig here?

Matti: I have never been there but would be honored to play some shows down there…Hopefully that will happen…

ID: What other types of music do you like to hear apart from death metal?

Matti: Classical & old jazz mostly...

ID: Who would be your favourite vocalist/vocalists from the current BDM underground?

Matti: Konni - Despondency, Corey - Flesh Consumed, A.J - Defeated Sanity, Angel - Condemned, Obie - Inherit Disease, Mike - Devournment...
ID: Five bands/albums which you have been listening to lately?

Matti: Inherit Disease, Flesh Consumed, Condemned, Slaughterbox & Despondency...

ID: Well, thanks a lot for spending your precious time to answer this questionnaire. It was a great honor for me to have your interview for my petty blog. Cheers and best of luck for the future!
Matti: Thank you very much and it was a honor for me as well…And thanks to all the fans that keep this great scene alive…Thank you..

Friday, April 2, 2010

Indesinence - Noctambulism (2006)

Full Length, Goat of Mendes Records

Noctambulism is the Ist full length by British death/doom ensemble Indesinence. The band started off during late 2001 with mutual influences ranging from old school thrash, black, doom, heavy and European style death metal along with ambient music. With a common aim to spew out some of the most uncompromising extreme metal from UK, they released their first release ''Ecstatic Lethargy'', a demo CD in 2003 and later an EP entitled as ''Neptunian'' in 2006. The very same year, ''Noctambulism'' saw the light of day and took the UK underground with storm. Raging like a vile beast, the album architectures  somber scenarios for over an hour and extinguishes the burning flames of sanity with its cold and morbid ecstacy. 

Featuring some of the best death/doom symphonies you'd ever hear during this decade, this record is a straight-forward Evoken and diSEMBOWELMENT worship and yet it greatly manages to be not just another shameless ''clone'' but instead. a very intelligent and inspiring collection of cacophonous dark rhythms. The amount of heaviness which it boasts off is awe-inspiring with insane riffs, blasting straight off on your ears and giving no room to recover from their menacing onslaught. What really intrigues me is an avid usage of darkened acoustic riffs which flow beautifully along with the abysmally heavy rhythms which adds a subtle dimensionality to the overall musical feel. Juxtapositioned with an enduring vocal and percussive devastation and a sharp and crispy production, it comes out to be an overwhelming listening experience. An experience which would rape your happiness and drown you in surreal state of melancholy which would continue to haunt you forever and ever! 

So If you like your doom criminally underrated and uncompromisingly heavy, Noctambulism would be just the perfect erotic pleasure for your ears.