Monday, February 24, 2014

THERMIT - Encephalopathy (2013)


For the first time I found a name ‘Thermit’ in Pure Thrash issue from October, 2013. Tomasz Woźniak, the editor-in-chief, interviewed this band, also he wrote a review of “Encephalopathy”. Everything seemed to be pretty gorgeous to me, so I decided to buy this EP. It was released by the band itself, and with an infinite patience, after some delays, I’ve got this piece of metal finally: a modest and solid digipak. Before writing anything about the musical content, there is a need to give some explanations concerning obvious coherency between the band’s name and the EP title. According to the English Dictionary, a word ‘thermit’ (exactly ‘thermite’) means:  a mixture of aluminium powder and iron oxide that produces a great deal of heat when ignited and is used in welding and in incendiary bombs; in turn ‘encephalopathy’: a disease of the brain, esp. one involving alterations of brain structure. Truly, what an adequate combination! Why? Because with the first seconds of the “Zombie Lover” song this Posen band serves an excellent piece of fiery brain-damaging thrash metal, fortunately not in the vein of retro thrash or being a Sodom’s crippled copyist.

I mean, I didn’t expect such a record. A good review isn’t enough to praise any slab, that’s for sure. Here I deal with a young band without a label deal, with self-financed EP. All the more, the final impressions and feelings concerning “Encephalopathy” entirety are so enthusiastic. What is more, Thermit doesn’t propose any cheap imitation, and when nowadays it’s obvious that thrash in the vein of old Slayer, Sodom or Destruction vomits its crude and hellish tunes and it is some kind of fashion or trend, this EP is a perfect evidence of, let’s say, more technical thrashing killings. With absolutely fine production (no modern artificiality is heard here!), all the instruments and vocals are given in a straight, crisp and energetic way to my hearing. Of course, you can get the best studio in whole universe, but you can’t hide the musical defects and failures of the sounds. Fortunately this band has enormous skills when I look at their stage experience…

…the skills that let them gain a splendid level. While thinking about their influences and possible patterns, a few names come to my mind. Metallica? Yes, in some guitar layers and the way of riff creating… Jendras, the guitarist, told about Metallica in interviews, even he said some warm positive words about “Load” and “Reload” albums. Yep, it seems he is a brave man, but all the influences are taken definitely from “Ride the Lightning” and “Master of Puppets” albums, and they refers strictly to the general dynamics and show. However totally different band attacks my mind when the “Now You See” song starts to rip the air: Artillery, the Danish dynamite. Just listen to the riffs appearing at 1:35, and compare it to the Artillery stamp. What did I get? A fascinating mix of two albums “By Inheritance” and “B.A.C.K.”. It is a really thrashing anthem, sometimes destroying the listener’s brain cells (encephalopathy, am I clear?), sometimes fearful, fretful, or just being prejudicious to the sanity. Giving such big names in the case of trying of describing Thermit’s tunes, it’s easy to realize that the music isn’t light or nice. It’s not simple as well, as the band diversify the music by adding many rhythm changes, twisted melodies, long solos and unexpected tunes. And it refers to the each track. Two of them (“Now You See”, “Second”) have also balladic introductions that brings back two first Flotsam and Jetsam albums, in turn “Holy Bomb” has adhan samples on the opening. And I have the only complaints about this song, it should be definitely longer as it ends too rapidly after a frenzied lead.

While rummaging in the band’s history, one information should be given during this review. Namely, Thermit used to be an instrumental crew. And after many vocal volunteers, Trzeszcz (non-Polish speakers, try to pronounce it smoothly!) has appeared on the board eventually. To put it briefly: he is a ripper. His parts are perfect to thrash metal in general meaning, mostly aggressive lines dominate, although it serves many melodious yet shrill moments in every song. It’s like a strange mutation of Brian Johnson, Steve Souza, Flemming Rönsdorf, and maybe Hetfield resounds somewhere. I’m exerting myself on giving some famous and definitely bigger names, however in this case it doesn’t make any sense: all is built on solid, strong and wall-crushing Trzeszcz’s own pharynx. He sings variably, and I really do like his modulation from high-pitched to low performance. All right, vocals are one thing, but what about the instrumentalists? No fear, as you probably felt it. For sure “Encephalopathy” is a perfect evidence how a good communication in the band should like. In consequence I got compact, complete (well-thought with beginnings and ends), straightforward and ass-kicking compositions. Simply they are very good and it is very hard to choose the best one, the leader. Maybe “Now You See” (due to this Artillery’s recollections)? Maybe “Other Man” with beautiful bifarious guitar lead reminds me of Running Wild (“Rivalry” era) and Iron Maiden? Maybe. Mind you, that through this mentioned realization of sound, I can admire the rhythm section’s scourge without any hindrance. This killing duo made of bass/drums wreaks the havoc in my brain cells, especially during all-powerful slow-downs (“Second”, “Holy Bomb”). Just then Thermit is like a brain damage inducing factor.

Writing about this release, there is a need to call “Thermitallica” song out. This ten minute colossus that ends this EP is very interesting medley of a dozen or so Metallica songs. During first listens, somebody could wonder how Thermit did persuade James Hetfield to sing on this track. How much did they pay him? Of course, it is not true, as James was busy creating a spectacular, mightful and universe crumbling sounds of “Lulu”, so luckily… Trzeszcz was forced to do that by himself only. And again I am under the impression his vocal universalness. A Polish James Hetfield? Definitely, but with a specific sense of humor. This song is a very good move, Thermit didn’t record one typical and many times heard cover-song, they choose a more difficult way to do it, and what is most important, this is not a “Thermita-Lulu-tica” or somehow I could call it. Short and sweet, the result is just great, guys!

Does this band have any chances to succeed? Will they survive amongst the infinite flood of countless crews trying to show their stuff? I repeat once again, it’s hard to believe that Thermit is still without a label. Here in Poland, there is a pressure to spit into the market (or underground) more brutal sounds and this kind of thrash played and executed by Thermit is definitely aloof. ‘Sory, taki mamy klimat’, as it was said by a classic not long ago. Reading interviews with Jendras, I arrive at the conclusions that he (and the rest of the band as well) is very ambitious, self-confident person with precise vision for the band. And I hope they have enough enthusiasm, persistence and inner strength to create such music. I’m not afraid about their musical side, but for sure the debut album will be a real test for this band. However, personally I don’t believe it will be released be a Polish label. What a pity! What a loss! This Posen based band is ready monster to be unleashed amongst the thrash supporters, but not only, as it can be used as a medicine for all old-school metal (in general) freaks. It’s a good and lethal weapon to destroy all this shitty pseudo-metal genres: with strong attitude, killing live performance and splendid music. Do I need more? No. “Encephalopathy” will burn your cerebrum. If you’re a (thrash) metal maniac, you’ll be addicted to Thermit sounds for good and all, if you’re a loser or moron, prepare your brain for an inevitable encephalopathy. There is no other way.  

…somewhere southward of the Sinai Peninsula…

…the unbearable heat was the only thing that was coming from the heavens and Moses was dog-weary, he raised a left hand and wiped the drops of sweat off from his forehead and looked ahead. He understood clearly the Decalogue, the main laws given by the God to him and the Israelites, but one matter really persecutes him. Namely there was another phrase that Moses had to engrave in the third stone board. He thought “n-a-p-i-e-r-d-a-l-a-a-ć…  what does it mean? What unknown language is it? What dialect? Good God…”. He was sure that his people wouldn’t understand it, just like him, yet he had a strong presentiment about importance and force of this inexplicable God’s message in the distant future…     


(written on February, 2014)               


Monday, February 17, 2014

XIPE TOTEC - In Moyocoyani (2012)

...I Praise Thee, O Grand Moyocoyani...

The first news concerning another Xipe Totec album really terrified me. The Mexicans changed a label and signed a deal with Italian DeFox. Of course, there’s nothing wrong in label changing, but this new company decided to release “In Moyocoyani” in digital form only. Then I thought: “fucking brutal truth about our modern times…”, however band’s members gave me a ray of hope: soon or later this album will be shown to the metal world on physical format. Fortunately verbum caro factum est and thanks to Mexican Helvete Records, “In Moyocoyani” visited my letter box eventually. Surprisingly and contrary to the previous “Eztlacuani”, a new album contains of full booklet with lyrics written in Nahuatl once again. The line-up is with no any changes, but the main question was shaking my brain cells unceasingly: did Xipe Totec manage to reach this masterly level of his predecessor? With some timidness I put the disc on my cd player. Still having absolutely great feelings about the debut album (and of course their first killing “Prehispanic Beg”), the first seconds of “Ehuacoatl” started to cannonade my senses.

This time Mexican duo prepared ten songs with two instrumental and quasi-intro tracks. Also the opening song is preceded by one minute well-known ominous tunes, then something different comes to me: realization of the sound. I mean, the same studio (M.A.T. Estudio), and the same sound engineer (Miguel Angel Tavera). As compared to the “Eztlacuani” album, I get a clearer recording, louder a bit, especially when it comes to the drums. And during all these minutes and hours, during all these careful and insightful examinations of “In Moyocoyani”, I can state most certainly that the drums are something wrong in this puzzle. Simply, the sound of drums failed. It seems that the album recording went two different ways. First off, the drums: the loudest, the most important. Then, on the second track, the mistreated remainder. I don’t want to exert myself on any professional descriptions concerning the sound engineering, because I even can’t do this. I’m writing such words as a usual music fan and supporter, knowing Xipe Totec act since the very beginning, since their first killing “Prehispanic Beg”. I repeat, the drums are simply bad: they sound artificially, very flat and one-dimensionally, the whole seems to be (digitally) compressed which makes “In Moyocoyani” a standard release of our modern sad times. What is more, it is worthy to pay attention on Martín guitar leads in tracks “Ehuacoatl”, “Atlcahualco” or “Xochitonal”, and listen to the bass drum sounding which is nothing but a dominating element that completely ruins the overall favourable impressions. Is it some kind of bass drum leads? Some dark thoughts gather in my mind while thinking about this… Even that all the drums were recorded (and profaned at the same time) by computer… Well, it isn’t the best opening of the review for the band, though I have to make a full confession that now I am accustomed to these wretched drums. And it’s hard to say who is responsible for that. According to the booklet, the band produced all the stuff itself, on the other hand, Miguel Angel is a sound engineer…

All right, let’s leave the production nuance and focus on something musical. But again, I’m not going to praise the creators of the album. It’s quite interesting, but I didn’t know about a surprise that was putted on the end of “In Moyocoyani”. Well, when the last “Huehueteotl” song (in compliance with track order) ends after about 4:40, almost one minute of silence appears, and while 5:30 is shown, tunes start to fill my senses anew. And what I get? Sepultura’s cover called “Roots Bloody Roots”. And exactly at that time I forget about drums calamity. But not because I’m a witness of great metal sounds that feed my senses. Quite the contrary, this is calamity number two. But from the beginning. Xipe Totec is a band deeply rooted not only in the underground, but also in the history of their land, Mexican land, as they make great play with Aztec beliefs and their customs. And every single tune and each single word is just an evidence for that. By recording “Roots Bloody Roots” they broke the rules. I’m not even convinced that this song is somehow dedicated to such topics, I mean, maybe in tribal general meaning. In addition, it is sung in English. Of course, I agree, the band made this track using their own vision, adding some folk instruments into structures, but all is for nothing. Why? Because I don’t like “Roots Bloody Roots”, just like all the Sepultura stuff recorded after “Arise” era. Naturally I wouldn’t change my mind if the Mexicans record something from “Schizophrenia” or “Beneath the Remains”. Guys, this song with almost no riffs included, where only irritating and pissing off groove dominates, doesn’t fit to your music and band’s concept. Am I clear? Probably it was considered as a curiosity during recording, now I consider it much worse than the drums production I’ve mentioned just above. And moreover, this poor effort adorns the end of the album. Although it’s a hidden track, I put it to the whole, as I always review any album from the first second to the last one. Damn it!

So, I described two elements that have enormous influence on the final mark, but what about the music itself? What about the quality? May I compare it to the previous mighty “Eztlacuani” album? Ha, there will be superlatives only! Well, I find my tongue: finally! While reviewing their first album, I was writing about the future performance as some kind of a real test. “Eztlacuani” had a blank card, I even didn’t wait for this album, because no informations about Xipe Totec were known to me. Only the “Prehispanic Beg” tape and that’s all. With the debut album, the Mexicans maintained and improved the killing death metal level from the demo. In consequence it brought crude, wild and dismaying piece of music; Martín, the author of all music, did a really great and unparalleled job: after pushing the play button, I close my eyes, and become a witness of the events I read in many books. This is a real force of “Eztlacuani”. In turn, the “In Moyocoyani” album was ripening in my head for a long time. I really needed many careful listens to get a proper insight into the whole and now I can write that this album hits me otherguess. As compared to the predecessor which is like a torture in a dark, fuggy room, “In Moyocoyani” seems to be a one shot killing experience, something unexpected, just like a sudden cross-cut of the spinal cord with a death as a result. Or, if “Eztlacuani” is an obtuse, rusted knife, then “In Moyocoyani” is a glabrous and shining dagger of a priest. Both equally lethal…   

I was sure as shooting about Martín’s composition creativity. And I am not disappointed:  now I know what this band is all about: a musical side of “In Moyocoyani” is absolutely perfect.  Alex didn’t change, and it’s good, because such form of vocals devastation totally work in with the musical form, but Martín showed, in some way, a bit different arrangements. As it was given earlier, only two introductions made of folk instruments (a fast glance into the booklet: tambores, palos de lluvia, cascabeles and flautas) are pushed in between the proper tracks, they are called “Nozahuah Ixpan Coatlicue” (number four) and “Tleica Tiyolih In Ahquin Onmic Onteotl” (number eight), whereat the latter has baleful and demoniacal Alex performance. But I have to signalize that such using these absolutely interesting instruments and short introductions can be heard in every song I guess, what is more, the overall reception isn’t disturbed at all. The songs are built on solid powerful riffs enriched with some twisted well known (from “Eztlacuani”) memorable tunes, which make each song has its own life, simultaneously being inseparable part of the entirety. It’s very important, you know it, no fillers, just killers. And it’s very hard to choose the best one amongst the “In Moyocoyani” brilliance as my opinion changes ceaselessly. The songs emanate really splendid guitar leads and this is sure that Martín, as a guitarist, still progresses. He doesn’t create complicated rhythms or show broken guitar wankery, nobody can call this band technical death metal, because it is not. This guy finds simple means and with such ‘ordinary’ thing conquers my senses in 100%. I can feel it, his passion, soul and creation joy. His leads are the salt of the earth and I have no words in English to write it in a good way. I could use many positive adjectives, but I’m afraid it would turn out into a boring counting-out rhyme. That’s true that the title song was the first one here which blown me off. It reminds me a bit of the opening killer “Aca Ihuitl”, where after great and astonishing guitar lead (lasting almost fifty seconds that bring a while of an anxious reverie), the change of riffs appear causing death metal carnage; really powerful and full of indomitable destructive force song, with rhythm changes and demolishing ending. To put it short: multilayer in every aspect.

But being on the track of an unbridled fury of the album, I could indicate each song, knowing that described piece isn’t worse than the title killer. Of course, it is not my intention, however some ‘things’ concerning all the “In Moyocoyani” flavors definitely should be published. Let me dive into the “Tlatecpilotoliztli Teezo Ihuan Teyomiyo” abyss, where Xipe Totec delivers pretty broken arrangements and fast, galloping, in total madness, solo lead with unmerciful drums. Or in “In Yoliatl Nochihtoc Ica Tecpatl”, when after almost three minutes blast crippling avalanche, the great slow down enters the stage: let me be damned if I don’t listen to mighty Swedish 80/90 years reminiscence here. Served in simple way, this fragment is one of the brightest on the album. Yep, as I called ‘Sweden’ to my review, there is a need to mention about more such influences “In Moyocoyani” is enclosed with. But in this place I’m vociferating: it is not a blame, it is not a poor imitation! Just listen to “Atlcahualco” and again the mighty slow down appearing during last forty seconds of this track. Or song called “Xochitonal” where some guitar parts put in mind of Dissection and their second famous “Storm of the Light’s Bane”. But “Xochitonal” is rather next to “Where Dead Angels Lie”, however these blackish-like riffs served in definitely more furious speed as compared to Nödtveidt’s offer make the Mexican version much, much better.

Hm… my journey with Moyocoyani deity seems to draw to end. It’s a good time to write something to sum all the things up. The first part of the review isn’t a profit for the band and has the decisive contribution while speaking about the final mark, stealing ten points unfortunately. I don’t play any wordy games, you know, what would happen if… The most important is the musical side of course and being totally conscious I can swear that the “Eztlacuani” level is maintained here.  With simple means commanding officer Martínez and his loyal lieutenant Camacho, raid and bombard effectively all the units of death metal supporters. They deliver everything I worship in this genre, and despite of hearing quadrillion of death metal slabs in my whole life, it’s absolutely great that such album like “In Moyocoyani” nourishes my nervous system, each cell and tissue. Thinking about Xipe Totec and any similarities in the recent death scene, probably one name, Nile, comes to my mind. Maybe Mexicans don’t have such dense and fast rhythm section and guitar layers, but they are definitely more reliable and authentic. The music of Xipe Totec is the evidence that death metal genre is the only one to praise the Mexican history before the conquest, without being comical and funny, without fucking stupid NS ideas in it that fill many Mexican black metal bands with their lame and dilettante pseudo-music. Just take a look on these deathly acts I’m writing in alphabetical order: Mictlan (with “Donde habitan los muertos”), The Chasm, Xipe Totec to name just a few. Death metal only! But what is the most important, to praise such a great and astounding culture and mythology you have to be very good musicians, just like the Martínez / Camacho duo is beyond all question.

The future looks promising. The band announced another album this year. What is more, Martín is launched out into many other projects (especially Yatrogeny and Eclectic Spawn), but I hope his head is still full of great ideas and conceptions. “In Moyocoyani” is the best example of this thesis. But production and music (absolutely without any useless intercalations) must be unity and one harmony. For sure Moyocoyani, He Who Creates Himself, raises a finger. Thus, beware! But I hope that it’s very easy to eliminate these little flaws. You know perfectly what to do… 

(written on February, 2014)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

R'LYEH 11 (2013)


This is my third meeting with Adrian’s child. And definitely the best one so far. To begin from an ominous and dark front cover, through the countless interviews and reviews, additional other things to the absolutely cult last page. This time Adrian serves 100+ pages once again, without any advertisings or commercials, but the whole number of the reviews really knocked me down: 326 with music and 47 with press. Of course, if I counted well… And the reviews are the first thing I see about on the start. Believe me, it’s not an easy task to break through this enormous wall of text, but I like Adrian’s writing style very much and it was nothing but a real pleasure. He doesn’t use superfluous words or exaggerated descriptions. Only direct to the essence. Though I don’t understand writing capital letters in the case of the adjectives, in Fester review “Norweski”, in Graveyard / Nominon “Szwedzki”, in Headhunter D.C. “Brazylijskich”, in Moder “Niemieckiego”, in Hell Press zine “Bizantyjski” to name a few.  Lowercase is the only way here!

Interviews. It’s not a surprise that this piece of underground contains of big names (King Diamond, Cannibal Corpse, Immolation) and some (completely unknown for me) crews coming straight from the depths of the underground as well . About quality, I read MANY very interesting, full informative talks, but the best ones are Rise for Victory zine (Mirek Górka) and Imperator (Adrian, the drummer of the band) conducted by Wojtek Lis. Then, also noteworthy, with good questions and answers: Parricide, Epitome, Ancient Rites… I’d like to point out on King Diamond interview, as it is not focused on bygone times, but the whole refers to the crucial events in King’s life and health. The transformation is audible, even I can write he is a wiser man now. It is a rather short talk, but forget about any unprofitable argle-bargle.  

While looking through the bands list in every zine, I always search for any crews coming from Middle and South America. This time R’Lyeh proposed four names: Apokalyptic Raids (Brazil), Masacre (Colombia), Master of Cruelty (Paraguay) and Anal Vomit from Peru. And even if the first trio gave good answers, Anal Vomit is a fucking disaster here: questions are much longer than ‘superb’ answers. And I wonder why Adrian decided to make them an opener for this issue? Alphabetical order reasons? Did they pay him? During all these one-sentence lame answering, I found really paralyzing information: Milo is a lawyer… No comments, ha, ha! It should be nuked definitely, as R’Lyeh is a very good brand amongst paper releases.

Reviews, interviews, but also many live reports not only from Polish land, well known columns from the previous issues like “Pomyłki undergroundu część XI i XII” (in English “The Underground Mistakes”), “Metal zza krat” (“Metal from Jail”), scene report (this time from Malaysia), a stirring letter to redaction and so on. But a separate subject is a case of Northern Plague band from Poland. They have been described as clowns of this issue, but when I started to read this fascinating story, I was convinced I had faced a thigh-slapper. Unfortunately, everything became a sad truth after a while… The band which looks for a sponsoring. The band which can offer many goods in return. Another mistake of underground? Absolutely. A sign of modern times? Yes… so beware of the Northern Plague, their sponsored debut album has been already unleashed! Business metal attacks!!!

To sum all the things up: poor are the non-Polish readers! You’re missing really great piece of underground press. R’Lyeh belongs to the best titles in Poland beyond the shadow of a doubt, with each consecutive issue it becomes a better shot of metal words. It’s simply great that it saw the light of the day, because nothing was obvious during the predecessor. Fortunately the duodecimo is planned by Adrian and company, I hope that any kind of misspelling will be eliminated in future and I won’t see another orthographic orgy like in Arkona review… So, I wait.   

P.O. BOX 20


(written on February, 2014)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

ASEDIO - Aversión (2012)

One Fury and Three Apathetical Sighs
Yes, I confess, I’m an Asedio addict. And here I have another chance to listen to their killing sounds, unfortunately it lasts fifteen minutes only. And what is more, among four songs, only one of them called “Días de furia” is a new one. The rest is just a collection of covers. In my opinion “Aversión” is a rather some kind of curiosity for the fans, and it can be considered as presentation of a new singer Daniel Maldonado who replaced Jorge Baez. Unfortunately the next line-up changing took place and Daniel left the band as well. Musically the opening track “Días de furia” is like a forgotten hoard from their second fantastic album “El orígen de todos los males”. For sure the production is weaker a bit, but the music is still in the same vein: straight forward guitar riffs maintained in thrash stylistics with a pinch of death madness (especially vocals and Samuel’s drum works). It brings really interesting, memorable guitar layers and solo lead: yes, all these elements I know by heart, thus there is no surprise. This explosive musical wall is supported by brave rhythm section and Daniel two ways of singing, and he can be compared to his predecessor and “Somos Nada” era mainly. To cut it short, this stuff has a great start, I got really cool song, simply another killer from this band…

…and that’s all. Even if there are three cover songs on the way, I lost my enthusiasm. I think Mexicans chose wrong bands. Simply! My complaint doesn’t refer to the Asedio musical performance, it’s beyond reproach, but unlike Mexicans, all the bands belong to the melo-death genre, and Asedio put too many soft melodic elements perforce, especially songs “Not Even Dead” of Dimension Zero and “Aurora” of Dark Lunacy soften the whole too much and bring negative emotions to my mind. The last of covers “Slaughter of the Soul”, taken from the At the Gates album, isn’t impressive too. In addition I consider this album as the weakest effort in career of Swedes, so it is the next evidence of Asedio’s wrong choice. Maybe it is a good idea to present such tracks during live performances, but here, next to “Días de furia”, this attempt failed. Also Daniel vocals don’t convince me, yet he sings in the vein of Thomas Lindberg vein all the time. Did he forget about the first track? Probably yes.

My main thesis about wrong choice gets out of not only of my individual musical preferences, but also the Asedio style is different. Of course, covers are some kind of diversity in band’s discography and musicians can do everything with this, but guys, all your own tracks are simply far better than mentioned cover songs! Do you need an example? Just take a listen to “Batalla contra la esperanza” from the first album, maybe it shows some similarities in melodic parts to the fourth famous At the Gates album, but it is executed in more brutal and mad way! So, songs from such bands as Sadus, Slayer and Dark Angel would be definitely a good view of your musical style and fascination as far as I am concerned. You can create really fine melodic parts and all this work refer to your music without hindrance and doesn’t make the music joyful, weak and soft. I treat “Días de furia” as another absolutely necessary brick in Asedio’s musical wall that falls down on me without any mercy, making my senses rapt and entranced. And this is the only direction for the band. I know that the band plans to release third album this year, thereby, my expectations are enormous, as their previous album was almost perfect. But is it possible to record an album which will be better than “El orígen de todos los males”? I’m deeply convinced that these Ecatepec metalheads will not disappoint me.       


(written on December, 2013)