Numenorean – Home Review

Released by: Season Of Mist

Genre: Post black metal

Release date: Out now!!!

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/Numenoreanofficial/

https://numenorean.bandcamp.com/

 

Line up:

Byron Lemley – guitar, vocals

Brandon Lemley – vocals

Rhys Friesen – bass, vocals

Roger Leblanc – guitars, vocals

David Horrocks – drums

 

Tracklist:

  1. Home
  2. Thirst
  3. Shoreless
  4. Devour
  5. Laid Down

 

I’m going to start off this review on a strange note. Not going to lie, the album cover art literally took my breath away. I don’t believe that has ever happened to me before (not in recent memory anyways). I try not to let my emotions get involved being a huge fan of the black/post black metal scene and the gory imagery usually involved, but it’s a bit different being a parent of a toddler. If you’re a parent of a small child and/or possess an ounce of humanity, and you’ve seen this album cover, you might (or might not) get what I’m saying or feeling as I write this. I’m not going to get into the usual lengthy discussion of whether metal is supposed to be offensive or shocking. Metal can be whatever it wants to be. We’ve certainly seen all manner of gross out imagery that most fans don’t bat an eye at. Here’s the difference with “Home”: The album cover is a real crime scene photo of the real, murdered body of a two year old girl. The victim is Kristen MacDonald, who, along with her pregnant mother and sister, were brutally murdered in 1970. Her father Jeffrey was convicted of these murders. Controversial artwork aside (album cover art here *proceed with caution*), it’s an album that deserves further discussion for its admirable motives and thoughtful execution.

It’s fascinating that Canadian post black metallers (Calgary based) Numenorean brings us out of our comfort zones in order to aid us in finding a better one. Through a meditation on life’s turmoils, the band leads a valiant effort to guide listeners nearer to a sort of existential peace. It isn’t reached necessarily, but the door is at least opened. “Home” opens up the album with a downright sunny-sounding riff and a push and pull throughout its length, dancing between quiet and loud. It’s a tactic that can fail spectacularly if you’re not careful, making for a grinding and repetitive listen, but they use it skillfully throughout not just this song, but the length of the album, and it gives the music a sense of compelling motion. The album almost rushes by, in spite of some over ten minute long songs (“Devour” and “Laid Down”). Numenorean also manage to blend black metal and pop/alternative rock almost seamlessly. How do you mix that sensibility with blast beats and tortured screams roiling over top? It’s no mean feat, and Numenorean’s take on it is one of the best I’ve heard.

As you’d expect, the album takes a darker turn as it progresses, matching the band’s stated theme. “Thirst” has a darker, more classic black metal feel to it, and after a brief respite in “Shoreless,” “Devour” rolls in with an even darker feel, mixing in some low growls and shouts in the vocal lines. “Laid Down” is appropriately both ferocious and elegiac, marking the end of the album and, metaphorically, life, quietly drifting away.

Though it’s a brilliant album, and here’s to hoping Numenorean can follow it up with something equally compelling, but without staining it with such a repulsive visual. I’ll let one of Decibel’s commenters, T, sum it up much more concisely: “Great tracks, great band, fuck your album cover.

Essential Tracks: Home”, “Devour” and “Laid Down

 

 

Written by: Danielle Bates

Ratings   9/10

Baptism – V: The Devil’s Fire Review

Released by: Season Of Mist

Genre: Black Metal

Release date: Out now!!!

Links:

https://www.instagram.com/baptismofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/baptismofficial/

 

Line up:

Lord S – vocals, guitar, songwriting

SG.7 – guitar

TG – lead guitar

Syphon – bass

LRH – drums

 

Tracklist:

  1. Natus Ex Ignis
  2. Satananda
  3. The Sacrament Of Blood & Ash
  4. Devil’s Fire
  5. Abyss
  6. Cold Eternity
  7. Malignant Shadows
  8. Buried With Him

 

Baptism is a black metal band from Finland. The band was formed in 1998 by vocalist/guitarist Lord Sargofagian and drummer Demonium. The summer of that year the band released their first demo, “Satanic Rituals”, although very few copies were released. Following a two year hiatus the band released their second demo, “Sons of Ruin & Terror”, in 2000. Similar to the last demo the release was limited. After the addition of bassist Slaughterer the band released their first full length album, “The Beherial Midnight”, on June 12, 2002. 2004 would see three releases, from the band, a split CD with “Uncreation’s Dawn” and the EPs “Wisdom & Hate” and “Black Ceremony”. The band released their second full length album in 2005 entitled “Morbid wings of Sathanas”. Currently Slaughterer and Demonium have left the band leaving Lord Sargofagian as the only official member.

Baptism returns after a four-year absence with their fifth album, “V: The Devil’s Fire”. You can be forgiven for needing a second listen of the latest offering from Finland’s black metallers to fully appreciate the explosion of noise to grace on this album. Like most to come out of this dark genre it takes a while to settle in, to be at ease with what you are hearing but once you do it hits you and you are drawn into the deep dark depths of their inner conscious. V: The Devil’s Fire optimizes everything we urge to feel, our desire to see differently, to live courageously. All sugar coated with insanely textured riffs and vocals that will tingle you to the very core. It’s a fascinating journey and you sure as hell will love every minute of being on the ride with them.

Each song has distinguishing characteristics that make the album enjoyable to sit through from start to finish, guest vocalists Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun) and Mynni Luukkainen (Horna) appear on “The Sacrament of Blood and Ash” and “Satananda” respectively, these touches add a human feel to the Satanic like depths that are reached early on. “Cold Eternity”, has an equally appealing yet ear piercing industrial grind, like the Devil himself striking steel on steel, while the solo on “Devil’s Fire” is memorable and unique for this genre. The song heaves and pulses with deep, resonating strength, with panoramic waves of dark melody that roil and rush like storm clouds – and rocking rhythms that will get heads moving. The song’s surging intensity is bolstered by a deep, thumping bass lines and gripping drum work, as well as the ferocity of Lord S.’s serrated vocal tirades and a striking guitar solo that’s worth waiting for all by itself. For me, what makes the song truly stand out is the dark majesty and melancholy emotional sweep of the song’s central melody – it has pulled me back to this devilish fire repeatedly.

Don’t skip any tracks, but a particular favourite for me has to be “The Sacrament of Blood and Ash”. You don’t get more spine tingling and chilling than that. “V: The Devil’s Fire” in my opinion is the best release of Baptism’s career to date.

 

 

Written by: Danielle Bates

Ratings  10/10

Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust EP Review

Released by: Season of Mist

Release Date: May 13th, 2016

Genre: Extreme Metal

Links: http://www.gorguts.com/

 

Line-up

Luc Lemay – Guitars / Vocals
Kevin Hufnagel – Guitars
Colin Marston – Bass
Patrice Hamelin – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Pleiades’ Dust

 

The band Gorguts is fairly new to me despite having been around since 1989. A buddy of mine suggested them to me a couple years ago as I was starting to really dig deep into the lesser known bands of death metal in particular. I was really taken by the level of skill of their musicianship as well as the aggression of the songs. I found myself listening to them quite a bit for a period of time after my discovery. When I saw they had some new material coming out I was eager about it, but when I saw it was one song I took it for granted that it was just a single, and I tend to avoid writing about a single track. Imagine my surprise when I finally broke down and gave it a spin when I realized not only was it just one song, but likely the longest death metal song ever.

Pleiades’ Dust is a one song EP that takes the contraints of technical death metal deep into the realm of progressive music. Bands like Dream Theater, Yes, and King Crimson are noted for sprawling epics, not bands that share similarities to Death, Cannibal Corpse, and the like. Clocking in at a whopping 33 minutes, “Pleiades’ Dust” demonstrates everything that makes Gorguts one of the most amazing bands of this genre. Ironically enough, my only complaint is that the song is so long that there are moments that plod on a bit, however beyond those few moments is some of the most intense death metal around, with bone crunching riffs, blistering solo’s, and even moments of shocking quiet that create this tension. The aforementioned King Crimson were pretty on point utilizing quiet moments during many of their songs to create stark dynamics, and a building crescendo that often led into a very chaotic rush of notes.

The sheer audacity taken by Gorguts with Pleiades’ Dust is something not many bands would endeavor to take on. Then again, they aren’t a band that is typical in the type of music they create, often attempting new things with each release. This will either be one of those rare moments in metal where a band dares to try something unique, opening doors for others to attempt, or be a one off attempt at ultimate creativity. Only the future knows if this groundbreaking EP will start something or stand alone. I look forward to seeing the end result.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

 Ratings:  Chris   9/10

 

Abbath – Abbath Review

Released by: Season of Mist

Release date: 22 January 2016

Genre: Metal

Links: Facebook , .abbath.net

 

Lineup:

Abbath – Vocals & Guitar

King – Bass

Creature – Drums

 

Track Listing:

01. To War

02. Winter Bane

03. Ashes of the Damned

04. Oceans of Wounds

05. Count the Dead

06. Fenrir Hunts

07. Root of the Mountain

08. Endless

09. Nebular Ravens Winter

Since the moment I saw his iconic make up, Abbath has fascinated me. There was nothing spectacularly fantastic about how he looked, but for some reason I found it captivating. When I learned about the man, mostly through his music with the band Immortal, I was further intrigued at not only his persona but the man behind the corpse paint. Immortal was one of the few Back Metal bands that I took to almost instantly when I stated dipping my foot into this genre. Again, much like the persona, there was something coming out of the speakers that connected with me. I was saddened to hear that he departed from his longtime band. As far as I am concerned, he was the focal point of Immortal. He is embarking on his eponymous return to the metal realm with his s/t debut.

When an artist goes solo, they often decide to try something different, experiment with different styles. Abbath stayed true to what brought him to prominence releasing what I find to be as strong an album as anything he has done in the past. This album demonstrates why he is held in such high regard in this genre, utilizing the same interpretations he has for ages, brutally aggressive guitar riffs, attacking the strings with a vengeance, vocals pulled straight from the bowels of hell, blast beats capping it all off, featuring lyrics of war, death, and the glory of all things dark and cold. From album opener “To War” to the very last strains of “Eternal,” it is a pummeling, unrelenting, Black Metal assault.

Anyone that was afraid that Abbath would soften on his own probably doesn’t have a clue about Abbath to begin with. This is another opener of 2016 that I have found myself returning to before moving on to other albums. Hopefully in a couple of months I will finally get to see him live as he tours for this album. Until then his s/t debut will get me through.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

 

Ratings: Chris 9/10