Blaze of Perdition continue to survive, distribute black metal chaos on ‘Conscious Darkness’

Tragedy can have a lot of different effects on people, and everyone reacts to it in a different way. It’s something that could break you down and erode your strength, leaving you a shell of yourself. Or it can make you stronger emotionally and psychologically as you try to carry on and drag yourself to the top of the heap again.

Polish black metal power Blaze of Perdition have seen their share of challenges over their time together, but nothing compares to what befell the band in 2013. While traveling on tour in Austria, a road accident took the life of bassist Ikaroz, and the other members—vocalist S and drummer Vizun (XCIII also is a member, on guitars)—were left severely injured, themselves on the brink of demise. No one would have blinked an eye had they decided they’d had enough. It’s very similar to what happened to Baroness, and like that band, Blaze of Perdition decided their fires still raged, and they were hellbent to prove that. They did so on 2015’s “Near Death Revelations” and they continue that intensity on their new full-length “Conscious Darkness,” a four-track, 43-minute record that challenges you mind, body, and spirit. The shortest track here still is 7:58 long, so you can imagine what awaits you on the other three cuts that delve into death and its black hands, a force with which the band is all too familiar.

“A Glimpse of God” opens with a line speaking about getting to understand what god even is before the song opens up into boiling black metal and wild shrieks from S. Gruff singing snakes its way in, as the song goes back and forth from gruff to eerie, and it starts to feel like you’re being lured into the void. “Sacrifice is suffering!” S wails, as the anguish spills, and the song manages to get even uglier. Whispered growls and pained noise break through, while S writhes in torment as the trudging terror fades. “Ashes Remain” is the longest cut, spilling over 14:48 and starting with a violent blast. “Nothing survives the flame, the fire!” S howls, as melody and nastiness combine, and the storming assault begins to threaten the horizon. The band then settles into a filthy death groove as sickening wails get into your guts, the singing takes on a Tom Warrior morbidity, and the track rushes to the gates.

“Weight of the Shadow” is the aforementioned “short” song, beginning with the music surging, rough growls blackening eyes, and the band slashing away dramatically. The vocals crush while the pace tramples, and then the assault begins to penetrate your organs. Cold guitars pelt the ground with ice, while the track spirals into desolate space. “Detachment Brings Serenity” ends the record with a volcanic charge, as frosty melodies bring a wintry feel, but then we’re right into the heart of a relentless fire, as the growls rumble and a hazy melody covers everything with fog. Chaos stretches into the atmosphere, feeling cleansing and true, while the song tears into your heart and numbs your bones. Shadowy singing gives the song a proper New Wave feel, while the final minutes draw blood and eventually moan away.

Blaze of Perdition have come a long way since they nearly were ripped from existence, and “Conscious Darkness” is a harrowing, dark tunnel that swallows you and drags you through its sickening twists and turns. This is challenging black metal that pushes the limits of the genre and makes the listener stare down something uncomfortable. It’s coming for us all, death, and music like this only can serve to ease our path in nothingness.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/blazeofperdition

To buy the album, go here: https://www.agoniarecords.com/index.php?lang=EN&pos=shop

For more on the label, go here: http://agoniarecords.com/

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Krallice keep giving surprises, team up with doom legend on mind-warping destroyer ‘Loüm’

Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Fool us three times? Come on now. There’s no such thing anymore as a surprise when it comes to NYC-based black metal experimentalists Krallice. They’ve lulled us to sleep too many times only to hit us with unexpected new music, so our guards are up now, you see.

Well, to their credit, the band did let us know this was coming. A new full-length record called “Loüm,” the band’s seventh album, was warned in social media posts by Krallice, but they didn’t say when they’d strike. Oh, and they did tell us they’d have a special guest on this one handling pretty much all of the vocals, that being Neurosis bassist Dave Edwardson. No big deal, you know? Just one of the most inventive black metal bands in existence teaming up with a doom demigod. Probably won’t be too many high expectations for this collection. So, this past Friday, there it was on their Bandcamp site, these gargantuan five new tracks along with one of the most intriguing guests spots ever, just waiting to be scrutinized. And wouldn’t you know it, but Krallice—guitarist/vocalist Mick Barr, guitarist Colin Marston, bassist/vocalist Nicholas McMaster, drummer Lev Weinstein—raised the bar yet again, and Edwardson fits right in with them, like a grisly, weathered glove. Make no mistake: This is decidedly a Krallice record, only with some extra layers of noise and a burlier voice out front. This is the next step in their evolution, one that should excite the piss out of all of their fans.

“Etemenanki” begins the record in the midst of a punishing tornado, as the pace blisters, and the bass playing rollicks. Edwardson’s furious growls then begin to pound away. “Consciousness resuming at a deeper level, forgotten realms remembered, false constructs revealed!” The music swims beneath that and fully disorients, while scathing cries and nasty shouts mix within a synth bath, giving off ample heat before the song comes to a gruff, but fiery, finish. “Rank Mankind” has guitars pouring generously, as a terrifying assault later is tempered so that control can be had momentarily. “Little man, you’re useless to me, I hate you, you have no value,” is shouted, a line that feels disgustingly spot on these days, while guitars spiral, and the tempo tramples. Synth rises out of that torment, finally floating off and glimmering on the horizon.

“Retrogenesis” is equally as pissed off and caustic, as tricky playing leads to delirium, and the song itself applies an ungodly amount of pressure to your tender temples. The bass flexes its muscles again while noise flutters, and then the thing is torn to shreds, coming to a devastating end. The title cut blasts from the gate, but it takes its time building its foundation, letting you take a beating for a while first. The vocals tear into the flesh of the song as the music goes cold, leaving chills all over your body. Screams and growls smear together, while the band unleashes a monster out of that calm pocket, and the playing gets even more dangerous and compelling. The speed increases, sounds hover, and the track stings right to its final moments. Closer “Kronus Deposed” has an insane beginning, as melodies twist, chaos spreads, and again, we’re trapped at the heart of the storm. Guitars create a thick fog, while the rhythms chop put of that, and a perplexing stretch picks up. The final few minutes of the song are some of the most exciting of any Krallice record as the elements combine and set off explosions, while lightning-fast guitar work lays in a beating, and your senses are drilled until you beg for submission.

Just so you know, there’s yet another new Krallice record expected before the year’s up, because apparently they have a lot of time to kill? But “Loüm” is our first stop, and it’s a hammering display that’s as inventive as it is fun. Krallice only knows how to destroy boundaries and obliterate expectations, and the fact they give us almost no warning makes it impossible to fully prepare.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/krallice

To buy the album, go here: https://www.facebook.com/krallice

Or here: https://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: APMD smother and unleash devastation with earth-blasting ‘Hostage Animal’

It’s the end of the week, so why not cap things off with a venomous burst of audio violence? I know we’re supposed to be getting to relax for the weekend and think of some fun Halloween shit to do, but you can’t shake the frustrations of the week that easily, right? Right.

So, it’s an ideal time for All Pigs Must Die to walk back into our lives after four years away. Their massive third record “Hostage Animal” is another feral blast of metal, hardcore, noise, and death, 10 tracks that’ll knock out your teeth and pour salt all over those gaping wounds. Recorded at Kurt Ballou’s GodCity Studios (naturally), this band of veterans has plied their trades in tons of bands you know and love and unleash savagery and chaos over this 35-minite album. The combination of vocalist Kevin Baker (The Hope Conspiracy), guitarists Brian Izzi (Trap Them) and Adam Wentworth (Bloodhorse, ex-The Red Chord), bassist Matt Woods (also of Bloodhorse), and drummer Ben Koller (Converge, Mutoid Man) just unloads on this record, an album that sets fire to the path they carved with “God Is War” and “Nothing Violates This Nature” and leaves shrapnel and blood behind. It’s a total demolition job, a record that’s perfect for helping alleviate the pressure building up in your brain.

The punishment begins with the title track, as the cut rips open, and Baker howls about “crawling in the cages of misery.” The band hits a thrashy burst, as the riffs ensnare, the drums blast, and everything comes to a dramatic finish. “A Caustic Vision” is packed with raspy shouts and relentless speed, as the band chops away and brings wind milling guitars. A final gallop from the band takes us into the collection’s shortest cut “Meditation of Violence,” a 52-second scorcher. Gnarly violence unfolds, as Baker shouts, “Total chaos unfolds!” a line that might as well be the song’s summary. “Slave Morality” has an eerie, ghostly start, and the song builds from there as the guitars heat up, and we’re full bore into the thing about two minutes into the track. The growls gut punch while the riffs sprawl, and a monstrous, metallic pace is the tidal wave that drags everything under. “End Without End” has drums rustling and throat-mangling growls, as the pace tempers, and the feedback spreads. Voices echo before the song turns a chilling clean, and mechanical guitars take over from there and push into a stunning haze of noise.

“Blood Wet Teeth” is a quick charger, demolishing everything in its way and setting the room on fire. Baker wails about a force that “devours all flesh” while the band hits a death-thrash groove and leaves bodies convulsing. “Moral Purge” is another quick one, lasting just 1:38 but packing enough insanity, explosive playing, and threatening madness to last you a few hours. “Cruelty Incarnate” simmers in doom at the start before wild shrieks pierce the curtain, and the tempo burns faces. “Let them burn!” Baker insists, while savagery and melody wage war over the final minute. “The Whip” is unhinged, tearing open and speeding toward the gates with reckless abandon. Baker shouts about “the lambs to the slaughter,” a common saying but one even more apropos considering what’s in the news and on social media every day. The back end of the track begins to liquify, flowing into its noise-marred end. “Heathen Reign” closes the album, and its 6:36 run time makes it the longest song here. A black metal boil generates heat, while the track begins to stomp bones. Baker screams of a “killing machine ready to die” as the guitars gain atmosphere before going ugly again. The band turns up the heat one last time, unleashing pain and charred emotions, as the song bleeds its way into the sewers.

A thunder-storming wave of power is perfect for getting us ready for a weekend after a tumultuous week, and All Pigs Must Die have the sickening fury to accomplish just that. “Hostage Animal” is another destructive building block in their jackhammering fortress, and a few years away only galvanized their chaotic hearts. This band continues to smash bones and smear blood, and their fires don’t appear anywhere near being extinguished.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/apmdband/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.southernlord.com/store

For more on the label, go here: https://www.southernlord.com/

Lustre thrust into fantastical realms, layer mind with murky dreamland on ‘Still Innocence’

A massive degree of heavy metal is ensconced with horrors, anger, sadness, and darkness, mostly because the times in which we live also are flooded with those things. It’s difficult to indulge in social media, watch the news, or even have conversations at work without talk going black in a hurry, and it’s a shame it’s come to that.

But it doesn’t have to be that way all the time when indulging into more extreme sounds, and long-running project Lustre has returned with a record that easily could take you out of the doldrums. “Still Innocence,” the new five-track, 35-minute record from sole creator Nachtzeit, who has helmed this journey ever since 2008, doesn’t mind pushing back against the anguish and violence of much of the music that surrounds him. Instead, he presents a record that might as well be a surging trip through a fantasy land that might only exist in your mind but still acts as an escape. The record purposely puts a murky sheen on the music, which reminds a bit of Alcest’s work, as this can enable you to return to a time when things weren’t so grim and life wasn’t a constant struggle. It might not sound extreme, but this heavy synth-laden music is the polar opposite of what so much of heavy music has become, that’s it’s downright rebellious. It’s also relaxing and wholly intoxicating.

“Dreaded Still” opens the record on a fantastical note, as cosmic weirdness and lush keys spread, while the vocal hiss sizzles under the music, with the words barely audible at all. Mystical keys and shimmering notes brighten the scene, while whispered calls emerge from the darkness, and the enrapturing melody slowly fades away. “Nestle Within” has magical keys and growls swirling amid the atmosphere. The hypnotic tones feel like a 1980s Saturday afternoon fantasy film, while loops of a baby crying dash more hints of the innocence ingrained in this piece. The music turns into a strange cloud, as growls lurch beneath, and the song’s essence transcends into the stars.

“Let Go Like Leaves of Fall” is lush and dreamy, a secret pocket from which a mysterious mist forms. Keys bounce through, while the music has an alien feel, and the swimming synth mixes into your subconscious and lulls you into slumber. “Reverence Road” is the longest cut, gushing over 10:15 and bringing synth that sounds like it arrived from decades passed, and an ambiance that makes your imagination swell. Voices again hiss below the surface, while a shiny coat is applied to the music, giving off gold beams, and then things rush open. The fantasy scape grows larger and bolder as it goes, enchanting its entire path and stretching its wonder to its washed-out finish. Closer “Without End” has synth glow, smearing melodies, and a glistening finish that shoots sparks. The track then sends you into a trance state, soothing the chaos in your mind and leaving you floating down a tributary to numbing solitude.

It might be a stretch to consider Nachtzeit’s work under the Lustre banner as metal, but certainly it crosses over into those boundaries and can have an impact on any apostle of whatever sub-genre you can name. Escaping the darkness can be healthy and necessary, and “Still Innocence” is a record that stands out from the rest of the extreme music pack simply by being its own thing. It’s a record that could soundtrack a fantasy videogame you indulge in all night while in a calm drunken haze, and the music is a refreshing change of pace from the pressures of harsh reality.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/lustresweden/

To buy the album, go here: https://nordvis.com/lustre-a-10

For more on the label, go here: https://www.nordvis.com/

Tetragrammacide spread terror by noise, black metal with scary first opus ‘Primal Incinerators…’

Metal is a loud, violent business by trade. It’s why we’re here for a lot of reasons, because we want music that’s loud, destructive, and in your face. That’s one of the reasons why metal has gotten darker and gnarlier as time has gone on, because everyone has tried to one up whatever they thought was the heaviest and most terrifying before them.

That being the case, black metal terror trio Tetragrammacide just might be upping the ante. This band, based in West Bengal, are indescribable in many ways. Their brand of audio horror is massive and impossible to penetrate. It’s heavily noise based and marred beyond recognition, and the music sounds like it’s coming from an inhuman force that has only devastation in mind. The band’s debut full-length “Primal Incinerators of Moral Matrix” finally is here after a series of smaller releases, and every ounce of this nine-track, nearly 39-minute album is hellbent on ripping flesh from the body. The architects of this madness—vocalist M.Opium, guitarist S(d)S(t), and drummer U. Eliminator—put together a ferocious record that has many elements of their Indian homeland packed into the songs but also take black metal to a new level of violence that wants nothing but blood.

“Hyper-Spatial Mandala of Intuitive Latencies” is a strange opening that’s packed with buzzing noises, weird speaking, and overall strangeness that spills right into “The Prognosticators of Trans-Yuggothian Meta-Reasoning.” Horrifying growls and a death hammer strike immediately bring chaos, while the guitars spit lines of fire. The pace is relentless, as the guitars char, the tempo defaces, and the song spills into a thrashy hellscape that leaves a dizzying end. “Radicalized Matrikavyeda Operation: Militarized Cosmogrids Destabilization (Heralding Absolute Contraction)” has guitars smothering, drums feeling like a death rattle, and the scene incinerated by the hellish playing. The growls destroy, as another voice emerges behind that, and the punishment rolls down the hill. The strength remains thick until the sound is swallowed in echoes. “Cyberserking Strategic Kalpa-Terminator (Advanced Acausality Increment Mechanism)” is jackhammering from the start, as the music boils, growls corrode, and everything in its path takes a tremendous beating. Disorienting riffs makes your head spin, while the vocals rush to the surface at the end.

“Transcranial Ka’abatronic Stimulation Collapse” is another quick interlude, as noise-scarred singing and weird noises sprawl toward “Intra-Dimensional Vessel of Were-Robotics, N-Logics and Assorted Lattice Intelligences” that’s jammed with gargantuan growls and an unforgiving pace. Guitars spiral and screech, while the tricky pace chugs hard, and the song tears itself apart as it crushes to the end. “Meontological Marga of Misanthropic Computation & Extensive Backwards Physics” has mechanical cries that reach into the void, and the pace mashes fingers. The track is total sensory decimation, as the guitars are mean and disorientngi, and the track comes to a stinging end. “Imperial Cyanide Voltigeurs (Quantum Threshold Leapers of Hatha-Sorcery)” has sounds swirling as the band begins mauling, and violent cries chew at bones. The guitars burn, while the song brings on the nausea, and the drums clobber everything in its path. More hellish growls team with scintillating lead work to bring the track to an infernal ending. Closer “Dismal Ramification of Metamathematical Marmas and Sandhi” is a final instrumental cut that brings together eerie racket, strangeness, and a glimpse into damnation you’d been trying to avoid.

Tetragrammacide’s forcefield of madness cannot be understated, and the music on “Primal Incinerators of Moral Matrix” could frighten even the brawniest, burliest of listeners. This is music that should be used to gain submission from people who cannot take the torture any longer and will give you whatever info you’re seeking. Or, on a less damaging means, this music should be used to frighten and put ungodly nightmares in the back of people’s minds.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/tetragrammacide/

To buy the album, go here: http://shop.ironbonehead.de/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.ironbonehead.de/

Talv’s freezing black metal is reminder of coming snowfalls on ‘Entering a Timeless Winter’

As has been obnoxiously pointed out on this site, the cold weather never is coming to the East Coast. As I write this, we are a little more than a week from Halloween, and the temperature is 76 degrees. I just cut the grass. Winter? What’s that? I want to have an autumn first.

That said, there remain musical elements that instill a deep freeze in my soul, and one of those is Italian black metal band Talv, who have returned with a third platter of coldness with “Entering a Timeless Winter.” That sentiment is smeared all over this five-track, nearly 44-minute opus, as you feel like you’re deep in the forest during a blizzard, with you barely being able to see you own hands in front of you, and any traveling by foot is a shot in the dark if you’re even on the right track. The music, the creation of sole member A, is entrancing, as the noise-marred black metal rolls out on loops, and it’s impossible not to feel like the room is spinning away. Over this project’s five years, the darkness has flowed generously from A, and the music has kept everything frozen solid, with no hope of any warmth.

“Dreaming a Funeral in Another Life” is instantly awash in murk, as the music bleeds, and the growls are buried beneath 15 feet of snow. Things are unforgiving and frigid, with the music creating a disorienting haze, the pain and anguish hanging like a cloud, and the pace pounding you into submission. “A Sad Moon Concealed by Pines” bleeds into the picture, with a similar tempo leaving bruising and the beginnings of frostbite. The music spills darkly, while the growls well up and threaten, and a wave of mournful playing is spread out like a fog. The cries drown in chaos, while the pain is dealt relentlessly and in great supply.

“An Eternal Snowfall Will Come” runs a hefty 8:49 and is the second-longest track on the album. The track is heavily mournful at the start, with wild cries exploding behind the wall of murk, and mesmerizing tones and melodies causing your brain to question reality. You might find your head swimming in the clouds as this track goes on, and it’ll stay there as the song numbs before fading into the night. “Sidereal Hypothermia” is the longest track, punishing over its 14:24 run time. Brutal cold causes your face to lose feeling, while the music spins and stymies, with everything blanketed in a heavy snowfall. Eerie noises begin to zap, while the tempo causes drowsiness, but not because it lacks excitement. It’s just easy for the playing to work its way into your mind and set you at a false sense of ease, as your eyelids get heavy. The song is relatively unchanged through its whole run, another element that causes weariness, and as the track reaches its end, the snow collects, and soon you can’t feel or move. A cover of ColdWorld’s “Winterreise” finishes the record on a proper, icy instrumental note, lulling you back into the middle of the forest to freeze forever.

We probably are still six months away from any hint of winter here in the eastern United States, but a new record from Talv at least teases that it’s possible. “Entering a Timeless Winter” perfectly summarizes the music that swarms you on this record, and it leaves a numbing chill over your entire body. We might not be physically digging out of a winter nightmare anytime soon, but at least this record can bring that chilling assault to us mentally.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/TalvBlack/

To buy the album, go here: http://eshop.atmf.net/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.atmf.net/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Blut Aus Nord continue warping black metal with stormy ‘Deus Salutis Meæ’

In the spring here on the East Coast of the United States, we get some fairly insane storms. People in the Midwest will be laughing since their entire houses get destroyed, so, sorry. But staring out at a violent storm cell, with swirling winds, chaos in the skies, and utter blackness pouring over what used to be a bright, promising afternoon is unsettling to some, but to me, it’s a season highlight.

I commonly think of this scene any time I indulge in French black metal institution Blut Aus Nord. Any record from them. That’s always been my takeaway from their tornadic black metal, a style that often comes off like a mix of darkness in the sky that mars the sun and threatens sanity. The band’s new, 12th record “Deus Salutis Meæ” (translated means “god of my salvation”) continues that storm-bursting ambiance. At 10 tracks and 34 minutes, it’s one of the most concise records in this project’s long history (Vindsval brought this project to life in 1994 after Vlad fell by the wayside). The music takes you on a journey into a vortex, one that transports you to a different dimension, even if that’s only in your mind. The band also has maintained its ridiculous level of creativity these 23 years, with the project morphing and folding into different forms, with this one spilling smearing, chilling black metal.

“δημιουργός” is a strange opener that is a haunting soundscape, with muffled voices, spilling toward “Chorea Macchabeorum” that slips right into warped growls and enrapturing melodies. Clean calls sit behind a wall of madness, feeling darkly spiritual, and then the song implodes, bleeding out into darkness. “Impius” has brain-warping guitars chewing right away, as well as odd howls that get into your bloodstream. Melodies warp and spin, while growls gurgle, the strangeness rises, and the growls disintegrate. “γνῶσις” is another ghostly interlude based on cosmic oddness and a spreading cloud of noise, heading right into “Apostasis” that tears its guts right out onto the floor. The guitar work sickens and causes vertigo, while the growls go beastly and gurgle blood, the melodies confound, and chants feel like they’re from another dimension. That leads to a final burst that’s downright demonic.

“Abisme” is slow driving and quite cold, sending freezing drizzle to coat your body. The singing is smeared in a dreamlike fashion, while a bizarre melody line snakes through the murk, leaving a haze of confusion. “Revelatio” erupts right away, as the guitars make their way through the tension before the melodies hit a dark groove. The song continues to fold in on itself, looping away and creating panic. Gravelly growls leave scrapes on the skin, while chants return and lift the song into another plane. “ἡσυχασμός” is a final interlude track, this one simmering in sounds and stinging the senses before “Ex tenebrae Lucis” barrels in with crushing playing, noises crackling, a scary ambiance firing off. Robotic voices blend into the mix, with a room-spinning assault of sounds, guitars lighting fires, and the singing numbing. The final moments are frigid and unsettling, ending as abruptly as possible. “Métanoïa” is a cloud of confusion, as vocals lurch out like a blaze from a furnace, and the ferocity levels are multiplied by a thousand. Vocals spill out, sounding like they’re spun backward (which makes this even creepier), while weird calls burst through the song, and the track comes to a violent, sudden finish.

Blut Aus Nord’s immersion into dark waters and cavernous mysteriousness continues more than two decades into their monumental run, and “Deus Salutis Meæ” is the next, harrowing chapter into their psychological horrors. This quick burst of black metal ferocity is infectious and otherworldly, a beast of a record that burrows into your brain and stays there. This band’s journey always steers into unexpected corners and crevices of the universe, and these 10 songs are unforgiving entries that stretch your mind even further than it’s been before.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/blutausnord.official/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.debemur-morti.com/en/12-eshop

For more on the label, go here: http://www.debemur-morti.com/en/