From the Plutonian planet of the Yuggoth comes Tchornobog’s self-titled album.

Can we get one thing out of the way first? The album artwork.

maxresdefault (1)
That. Fucking. Eye.

It just downright creeps the ever-living blue fuck out of me. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get right into the music of this bad-boy. A one man band created by Ukranian Markov Soroka, Tchornobog isn’t exactly a band that is going to be re-inventing the rules of Black Metal. But what he does with this debut album is a hellish combination of Deathspell Omega and Napalm Death. That’s about as close as I can come to describing this outer worldly monstrosity.

The self-titled album only delivers 4 tracks. The first is fucking 20 minutes long. I have heard some people say “Spare me the long intro”, but for me I’m a patient kinda dude when it comes to music like this. Especially if I’m listening to this at 12:30 AM in the middle of the night whenever my fiancee is asleep and all the animals are curled up. It gives me the chance to fully take something like this in. Even the song titles alone; “I: The Vomiting Tchornobog (Slithering Gods of Cognitive Dissonance)” and “IIII: Here, At The Disposition of Time (Inverting A Solar Giant)” take a good amount of concentration to let your imagination get its gears turning properly. At least for me that seems to be the case.

The music contained in the album itself has many peaks and valleys much like what is shown visually on the album artwork. For such a huge album it’s a lot to take in. Tchornobog has the ability to appeal progressive/outside-of-the-box thinking metal nerds. I don’t say that as an insult seeing how I’m a sucker for albums such as “Operation: Mindcrime,” “Nothingface,” “Human,” etc, but this one is a bit more challenging. Tchornobog‘s self-titled album is a constant-changing riff terrain that demands your full attention. Mind you this is one of those albums that does automatically hits you right off the bat, but it’s still an album that I know will take many repeated listens just to get the mapped-out feel of the almost alien-like landscape. It’s a fucking maze of riffs ( and torment too!). One second you get the blastbeats, the next you get a really doomy breakdown, etc. But the way Mr. Tchornobog goes about arranging all of the riffs and compositions is actually a good contrast to say Germany’s own The Ruins Of Beverast. Where TROB are more doomier, Tchornobog adds in the extra little bit of Death Metal elements here and there. Not a lot, but enough to make the music more beefier and dissonant in some parts.

For all intents and purposes, this is mood music. I don’t see this album inspiring an ever-growing legion of fans who are going to be praising Mr. Soroka to ad nauseum any time soon. More like this is an album for the individual to sit back, and unlock doors in the mind that leads them to wherever. As space-y and nerdy as that sounds, that’s all I can really used to describe it. All and all, it’s a creepy fucking album, complete with crawling eyes and maze-like riffs.

Tchornobog‘s self-titled album is now available on Fallen Empire Records for digital release. I-Voivdhanger Records will be doing a limited edition CD pressing. Other than that, you can follow the one man band at his official Facebook page or his official Bandcamp page.

The Mortal Awakening Of Father Befouled on “Desolate Gods.”

A lot of people in 2017 scream “Too much Incantation-worship!“, and to that I say “Phooey!“. Truth be told, I don’t know what they are listening to, nor do I care. Like any self-respecting Death Metal fan, I can’t get enough of not just Incantation but their influence. Ever since I first heard “Mortal Throne of Nazarene” and “The Forsaken Morning Of Angelic Anguish” as a teen in the 90’s, I’ve wanted more. The feeling and desire of something like Incantation to completely blow me away and shatter my concept of Death Metal is always there. That’s not to say other Death Metal bands haven’t blown me away since, that would a lie. But I’m always yearning for that nice sweet spot that Incantation’s influence can always bring and brighten up my day if ever I am having a bad one.

download

Enter Father Befouled‘s “Desolate Gods” on Dark Descent Records. Right off the bat, can we discuss the artwork? I love the whole ‘ancient cave drawing out of a horror movie’ feel to it- like some primitive form of mankind worshiping creepy crawling things of the unknown world they live in. Artwork aside, the album itself just might be Father Befouled‘s best, as they mature while staying true and honest to their Incantation-inspired Death Metal roots. I have just described them with both “worship” and “influence”, but it’s apparent that on “Desolate Gods” Father Befouled have gone from “worship” TO “influence”, coming into their own while becoming more comfortable in their skin. That’s not saying anything negative about the band. Detractors be damned, because “Desolate Gods” is, for the lack of better terms, fucking sweet!

My personal favorite track on “Desolate Ones” is “Ungodly Rest.” The doomy-as-fuck deathly stomper is a form of sound that I personally love. It’s also a change of pace from the rest of the album and really shows the band’s writing chops -not relying on the same ol’/same ol’ that I’ve heard from a shitload of other more uninspired bands. Yes, I am going to throw the Lovecraft reference in here as well, but the slow, plodding, funeral dirge of the song just fits the concept of dark ancient entities and possible readings from books bound in human flesh and inked in blood. “Mortal Awakening” has a subtle tinge of blackened riffs before the headbanging breakdown kicks in.  Other songs such as “Exalted Offal” and “Desolate Gods” have twists and turns as well, but at the end of the day it remains true to the Incantation style of Death Metal which is never a bad thing.

I’ll say one last thing concerning the new Father Befouled (and I know I am not the only one who more or less felt this way) . In comparison to their last album, “Desolate Gods” is far superior. Superior artwork, superior productions, superior song-writing, and hands down the best the band has created. This is Death Metal for worshiping old ones while working around the house trying to beat the summer heat. Enjoy!

Father Befouled‘s “Desolate Gods” is out now on Dark Descent Records. You can follow the band on their official FB page and order their album at Dark Descent Record’s official Bandcamp page.

Impetuous Ritual will tear your soul apart!

There are times where you need ‘it‘. And by ‘it‘ I am referring to those sounds of sub-vexation that open up doorways to other worlds. Times where you need to exit this mere mortal plane and take the step into the vast chasm that stands before you and fall into the void itself. Completely swallowing all light and embracing the speedy descent into the depths of darkness. There you will find Australia’s Impetuous Ritual greeting you with otherworldly blasphemies and the crawling horrors of the unknown.

0010324102_10

Impetuous Ritual are ghastly members comprised of other devotees and worshipers of said void. Primarily Portal and Grave Upheaval. Where as the other two have their own left hand paths they have carved out for themselves, Impetuous Ritual dwell somewhere in the nether regions spewing forth obscene and disgusting death metal. Taking queues from bands such as Incantation, Immolation, and the ancient spells of Morbid Angel, IR have soiled upon past successful rituals to the adversary and warped it beyond anyone’s imagination. If you were to fall asleep tonight and dream of something worst than Hell itself, you would awake to IR’s newest album “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience.”

The opening track “Void Cohesion” is like standing right in front the immense and yawning gates to a world without hope. It is the sound of imminent and pre-ordained mental torture. Where as other bands aim to warp your mind to hymns of ancient ones and cosmic terror, IR are pure and undiluted desolation. To be able to perfectly follow the macabre concerto of “Blight…” would be nothing short of somewhere between total genius and absolute madness.  Upon listening to this album the first quarter of the album is like experiencing all the horrors and fear of the world at one blinding second. By the time songs such as “Synchronous Convergence” and “Sullen” blast through my stereo speakers, the message begins to become more clear. At best, I personally feel like I have been in a trance for the previous half an hour. That’s not putting anything in a negative fashion either. For me it’s a positive. I WANT to be lost in the absolute hellish noise. I WANT to be engulfed by the absolute darkness that bands like Impetuous Ritual are about to craft cohesively and methodically.

114

The last half of “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience” is where you might find yourself becoming desensitized to the mental torture Impetuous Ritual have done to you. By reaching your pain threshold, you plead to these deathlike apparitions to experience more blasphemous delights. The last track “Intransience” is a machinated memorandum of dementia presented as a last will of a non-living testament. The longest and most precisely concocted hymn of despair. An anthem of total extinction of life itself.

There is an old saying when dealing with the occult. And I am sure the members of Impetuous Ritual have taken this to heart; one is not born into the darkness, instead they are drawn to it  like a monolithic magnet. Enter the void and seek out “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience.”

Impetuous Ritual‘s newest album “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience” is available June 16th from Profound Lore Records. You can pre-order the album here as well as follow the band on their official Facebook page.

“Horizonless” but not directionless, Loss loses nothing and gains all with their 2nd album.

29198_photo

I do not remember a depression such as this
How many clocks has it been since we’ve last spoken?

Such is the question many have asked. 6 years of being silently and completely overcome by the band Loss have fans such as myself have not even heard a peep or a muster out of the US funeral doomsters. And the longing for the lights to dim in that room and for their particular brand of depressing darkness that has not been felt has been utterly painful. A split released in 2014 with Hooded Menace was nothing more than a red flag for the surfacing of possibly a new album. But again, more silence. Leaving fans such as myself in the best of words “horizonless” as implied by their newest album’s title. BUT…alas, the sorrow and melancholy never truly goes away and Loss are back and as bleak as they have ever been. Never letting up on punishing the listener and throwing them into a severe state of chemical imbalance…

Horizonless” picks right up where their 2011 debut album on Profound Lore Records, “Despond“, ended in absolute and total desolation. The tragic despondency of their 2nd album may seem as if they are stepping outside of their own brand of US funeral doom, but if anything, it’s adding 10 more layers of grief to the already sorrow-filled listener. The slow pounding drumbeats and retching vocals of the intimidating and towering Goliath of torment, Mike Meacham, breaks the quiet of the past 6 years with the opening track “The Joy of All Who Sorrow.” The next 10 minutes and 42 seconds, that dark room shakes with the knowledge that the stars have finally burnt out and fallen and the physical boundaries of the walls to the room fade into the shadows, exposing the entrance to the void appears, widens and opens once again, reaching for all of those who want to defy the damnable and disappear into the fathomless depths of abyss and all that lies there within. This is not to say this is the only song that you should not dread on this album. Songs such as the title track, “All Grows On Tears,” “When Death Is All,” and “Naught” are all songs reaching for the 10 minute mark and reaching past. “i.o.” is the almost a snippet of a horror film not yet been filmed. “The End Steps Forth” is an extension of “i.o.” and opens up all the doors to the endless halls in the maze-like mausoleum that Loss watch over in solitude but which hauntingly recalls Industrial legends Skinny Puppy‘s “The Killing Game” minus the electronics.

  Loss is not what one would call a traditionally conceptual band, but if you have noticed, or maybe it’s their music that is making me look past the sorrowful tunes into possibly deeper shades of darkness, their artwork adorning their release paints a grim story to a man via suicide (2004’s demo “Life Without Hope…Death Without Reason“) onto his mourning widow’s death bed (2011’s debut “Despond“) and then finally what lies beyond the end to whatever life they may have lived or led to a place without meaning, without light, without hope, without any thing that might resemble a light at the end of the tunnel they called life. A place where ravens, and vultures circle the lost wandering souls and ghost in a plane of existence that is beyond one’s comprehension. A void of absolute anguish with zero redeeming hope of possible redemption or deliverance from it’s shadowy realm (2017’s sophomore “Horizonless“). I don’t know if I am the only corrupted listener that has noticed this….but it’s something that has recently popped into my head as I review this album and quite honestly, it’s a bit disturbing. With their newest album, artist Adam Burke who’s visual landscaping talents have given other sonic heavy artists such as Gatecreeper, Artificial Brain, and Mare Cognitum album artwork eye-candy, has expanded the portrait that Loss has hung up in it’s rotting, mildew, moldy and decrepit funeral parlor.

0009834045_10
Bow your heads and worship. Hail to nothingness.

If anything the album “Horizonless” shows that the musicians have grown to the point where their music can inflict even MORE pain and hopeless struggle upon the listener. Vocalist Mike Meacham is the lighthouse, the welcoming dark light for the dismal, the heavy-hearted, and downcast. Guitarist Timothei Lewis has honed in further to his melodies that have become like a handful of blunt, rusty razors easily slicing up wrists and opening the veins to let the blood flow for the last time. John Anderson’s bass is the rumblings of absolute and impending doom which is makes any living mortal shudder in total despair and panic. Sound wise, drummer Jay LeMaire leaves no downward posture of the downbeat unweighted down without piling upon even more burden on their already broken backs, each kick or blast another pound of unhappiness forcing the listener to finally cave in and fall to their knees. Assisting these pallbearers with the recently deceased and parted on their funeral marches to their waiting lonely graves are none other than black metal’s Tall Man himself Wrest a.k.a. Jef Whitehead (Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice, Twilight), his wife/musical partner Stevie Floyd(Dark Castle/Devout/Taurus) and well-known producer Billy Anderson (Melvins/Asunder/Neurosis/Swans/etc.) all three whom providing vocals to the final curtain-pulling track “When Death Is All” which closes on another long, depressing chapter in the dust-and-cobweb-covered signature book in Loss’s funeral parlor where they are currently making a killing in their own personal business.

In the immortal words of Dante’sInferno“;

Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure
All hope abandon ye who enter here

Track Listing:
1. The Joy Of All Who Sorrow (10:42)
2. i.o (1:50)
3. All Grows On Tears (8:44)
4. Moved Beyond Murder (2:44)
5. Naught (9:52)
6. The End Steps Forth (4:08)
7. Horizonless (10:54)
8. Banishment (4:47)
9. Where Death Is All (11:00)

Horizonless” by Loss is now available on Profound Lore Records. You can listen to it streaming on Spotify, or you can order it on their Bandcamp. You can also follow them at their official website and official Facebook profile.

Enter Conqbine’s world of violence and prepare to fucking die.

20918_465105096973050_5748503092118052417_n (1)
“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…”

And that’s all there is to Delaware’s trio of crusty/post-black metal sounds of general misery and nastiness. I mean, I could go into detail and all the gory bits about just how downright disgusting Conqbine is? I’m sure you’re reading this JUST to be told to fucking die? Right? Ok, ok, I’ll get on with these rather misanthropic jamz that would make Mike Williams of Eyehategod cult it up by donning an Appalachian Noise Records t-shirt.

Conqbine (for the most part) seriously do not care about you as the listener.  They want you to feel all the pain and suffering…their particular pain and suffering and they want you to suffer in anguish with them. There’s nothing fake or weird about that. I personally can’t think of a single artist that have completely made me a fan of them without massacring my mind and shattering my sanity along with it, therefore sending me into a padded room via-H.P. Lovecraft style. And this is the kind of music that unflinchingly doesn’t care to do the same again even after I’ve successfully completed my last inpatient therapy/treatment. With only two demos under their belt, Conqbine is a confirmed convicted felon that is ready to batter and assault the senses to send me and the listener back to therapy for possible PTSD flashbacks.

R-7084361-1433341978-3718.jpeg
2015’s “Let Them Die” EP

Starting with their 2015 “Let Them Die” E.P., this is the heavyweight bruiser of the deadly duo of releases from Conqbine. 5 really professionally-mixed songs of out-right misanthropy. It’s not squeaky clean-sounding but it is beefy and audible enough to know that these guys are serious in their strong mixture of Crusty-Post-Black Metal. Imagine the likes of Tragedy, Krieg, with the bitterness of Thou and the effects of Neurosis and you wouldn’t be too far off from pinpointing the the lethal dosage of Conqbine’s sound even though they aren’t their direct influences(at least to my best guessing). With lyrics such as “If I were a god, I would kill you all,” off the song “Bastard” vocalist Erick Baker remind you of your insignificant existence and would swallow your fucking soul if he could. The song “Jettisoned” slows it it down to a funeral-like dirge but stays on the droning/chugging side rather than go at it and try to be another lame Sleep-worship clone that is currently clogging up the underground these days.

a4000072625_10

2015’s schizoid nightmare “Into A Void Ever flowing” EP

Into A Void Ever flowing” EP is where the blackness just oozes right thru the fucking speakers. This is where the beefy and “good production” of the first demo goes right out the fucking window and now we are getting down to what sounds like a straight-up well-produced lo-fi black metal demo. Again, it’s the same band but the first song “The Spine Of A Giant” is nothing short of what one could possibly find off Xasthur’s “The Funeral Of Being” or possibly “Telepathic With The Deceased” LPs. There’s a weird vocal effect on Eric Baker’s that is present on this digital-only-available demo that gives this particular showcase of fucked-up blackened jamz a serious Thorns(Norway) vibe as well. And the second song “Personal Non Grata” it’s seriously enhanced and gives the music a massively schizoid quality and rather detached feeling from reality itself.  “An Hourglass Vacant” is a look into the CPU brain of a robot with Alzheimer’s. Total and complete breakdown of an electronic brain into absolute dementia.

Conqubine just recently announced that they are going to re-release both of these EP on a compilation LP in the form of limited edition cassette tape via Appalachian Noise Records and are currently planning on putting out their first full length album. You can expect me to review it and be the first to read about it here first. In the meantime, pull out your debit cards and get on this band. It’s completely worth all the mental suffering that you will endure.

You can listen to both EPs at their official bandcamp page, and follow Conqbine on their official Facebook page. Also you can order their compilation cassette tape here.

FIN’s Arrows Soar High and Strike Down All that is False.

fin-Arrows-Of-A-Dying-Age

I’ll be the first to admit, if there is one thing that as an extreme music fan I dislike the most is hearing something in 2017 that I heard done better 15 years ago. Bargain bin black metal is a curse that unfortunately still exists. To be able to do straight-forward black metal is not really a challenge by any stretch of the imagination and often times I view it as borderline marginal somewhere between sheer laziness and unoriginality in this day and age, but to make it stand out? That is the challenge. While I will refrain from naming bands that should not be given the attention they crave, I will remind the reader that the bands that originally created the straight-forward US black metal style consisted of the likes of Judas Iscariot, Profanatica, Kult Of Azazel, Demoncy, Krieg, Black Witchery, etc. Or as some including myself have come to refer to them as “The Old Guard“….meaning these guys were doing straight-forward black metal while defining what was “cult,” sacred, secret, and special at least on the US black metal spectrum in a time when there was still a massive abyss inhabited by a handful of praise-worthy bands that unfortunately now is inhabited by and cluttered up by falses and would-be pretenders to the throne. Fortunately Chicago’s band FIN is here to set the record straight with a torrid reminder of what it meant to us back then and why we took pride in it.

ffea88_a7d8943b4585447ab102df95e5543cf6-mv2
FIN: M.K. (Guitars/Vocals/Piano) and D.F.K. (Drums)

What makes FIN the band to be praised and taken note of in 2017 is that they can be seen as definitely one of the better examples of a straight-forward, yet extremely melodic and an almost (shockingly) up-beat style of US-based black metal that doesn’t lose those great feelings of the days of said bands and even band rosters from record labels such as Full Moon Productions, Paniac Records, Sombre Records, No Colors Records, Hammerheart Records, etc and quite honestly I wish FIN would have been around during that time. The style of their music is obviously one of when bands that I mentioned earlier where still more or less going by the Nordic handbook (Black Witchery excluded seeing they were more towards the Canadian side of black metal) of the early 90’s before defining themselves even better (without taking away their earlier releases btw) as releases were summoned forth, but in actuality for FIN to be doing the style they are doing now is actually a nice little modern-day nod and hail to the days of yore. And no I am not snacking on a box of Member Berries here seeing again how I completely detest this bullshit idea “everything was better than before.” But what FIN do that is something that I have painstakingly discussed on my blog several millions times now as it seems is that while you should constantly go forward, never forget your roots, and FIN is a band that has not forgotten Black Metal’s dark European roots (including Graveland, Moonblood, Katharsis, Antaeus, etc.) while at the same time they are marching forward with it. They are a reminder of the days of 1998-2003. And that’s never a bad thing. In fact it’s something that should forever be praised and FIN is a band you should praise for succeeding in a genre where many have dared to enter yet failed at or did not make their mark as they should have been better aspired or motivated to possible heights(or depths depending on your viewpoint) that existed. “Arrows Of A Dying Age” is a testament and war-cry of a band that knows what they want to do, and they want to bring back the shadows and freezing melodies that captured your imagination and made you feel alive. Their arrows are not of a dying age, but a time and place that will forever live in the hearts and minds of those that stood on the historical battleground that comprised of the defenders and many infantrymen that waged a war against the weak and uninspired. Highly recommended.

Track-Lisiting:
1. Manias
2. The Sight
3. String Of Discourse
4. A Wall Of Stone
5. Hold Fast…Thy Lament
6. The Archer
7. With Spear, Arrow, and Oath
8. Arrows of A Dying Age
9. Clarity In These Winds
10. With Hammering Glance
11. Outlaws

FIN’sArrows Of A Dying Age” is out April 28th, 2017 on Germany’s Folter Records. You can stream the entire album here and follow Fin at their official Facebook page as well as check their official bandcamp page out.

Pallbearer is more alive and breathing than being “Heartless.”

Ever since the winter of 2012, Pallbearer has really been the the good ol’ US of A’s answer to the likes of Europe’s towering epic doom metal legends Candlemass. And not saying that Pallbearer is the only Doom Metal-type band to come out of the US in the past 5 years, but for a band to reach the critical and universal acclaim and welcome is pretty kick-ass and a boost to morale to us American metal yanks. Pallbearer is also one of the few bands to make that crossover appeal to the mainstream while still gaining kudos from the die hard maniacs and even get the stamp of approval by dudes such as Fenriz from Darkthrone. The fact of Pallbearer‘s almost universal appeal to just about everyone is a testament to the legacy that have already carved out in their name alone.

And now we’re on album number 3 by the Arkansas doomsters. Not as overwhelmingly melancholic and massively Debby Downer as their legendary debut “Sorrow & Extinction“, but definitely a more re-defined version of their forward-thinking sophomore album “Foundations Of Burden.” It’s more straight-forward and to the point while at times it’s -gasp-upbeat sounding! Nah it doesn’t get into the metallic double-kick crunch of say “Beyond The Crimson Horizon” by Solitude Aeternus, but it does get into the swinging grooves of Seattle masters of misery Alice In Chains while still retaining the heavy breakdowns of say your favorite Brooklyn bruisers Type O Negative. There’s even parts that wield a somewhat subtle psychedelic riff noodling around. As much universally appealing as “Sorrow & Extinction” is, there should be no fucking reason why you shouldn’t be hearing songs like “Cruel Road” on XM Satellite Radio and it providing a necessary little dark cloud all-over the rest of over-hyped-yet-never-really-doing-much-of-anything bands. And by saying that, that is NOT necessarily a bad thing either.

And can we talk about that album artwork for a bit?

pallbearerheartlesscd
Gives new meaning to the phrase “Carved Into Stone”, eh? Fuck!

The usage of the image of a man becoming a rock-hard-sized mountain and looking as if he’s been there agonizing as old as the earth speaks volumes on Pallbearer‘s ability to still bring upon the now decades-old but never aging demand to worship concrete-chunk-sized riffs originally laid down by 4 working-class British lads almost 45 years ago.

In short, if you need a little doom-laden and downtrodden tunes in your life or if you need something to balance out the more subversive and hellish-noise that is currently in your playlists, look now further than Pallbearer‘s “Heartless“; tune in, drop-out, and worship the riffs! Or if you need some new Doom Metal jamz, this will definitely hold you over until the new Loss and Spectral Voice drop later on this year.

Pallbearer’s “Heartless” is out now on Profound Lore Records. You can follow them on their official Facebook page and even grab some killer effin’ merch from Holy Mountain Printing.