Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MORT DOUCE - The Valley of Blood and Death (2013)

Haemoptysis


Although the previous Mort Douce tape release had two songs only, it was really gorgeous stuff for all worshippers of old school death metal. Nine months have passed and this Plock crew attacked the foundation sills of the underground kingdom once again. This time it is a longer material, lasting almost 22 minutes, yet it isn’t fully new slab as the two songs “Hemophobical Fear” and “(I Walked Through) The Valley of Blood and Death” are well-known from the tape. Such a frame should exclude any stylistic changes. And actually, there is nothing to be afraid of. Musically Mort Douce wallows in the vortices of the old but still undead death metal, emphatically on the United Kingdom (Benediction, Bolt Thrower) and Dutch scene with perceptible touch of mighty Asphyx. Whilst it has been materialized at present, but the ancient spirit still emanates with its deathly breath.

And with this element, the band is in splendid form, beginning from the front cover to the last seconds of “Murderous Lust”. But the opening track “Treatment by Decapitation” surprised me a bit. However it isn’t caused by horror introduction that invites me with nice words hell is behind that door, but a very slow cruel tempo. And if several band’s names have been already mentioned above, the musicians managed to transfer the whole heavy doomish atmosphere from… Candlemass self-titled white album. Hard to believe it, but Mort Douce executes here killing piece of powerful doom, even the production wise is very similar to the Swedish effort. In addition I start to ask myself: where the hell is Mr. Messiah Marcolin? The song, with simple structures and riffs, doesn’t seem to take a run, though cramming its ancient venom into my neurons, unexpectedly it erupts a short speedup on the end.

The second track in this bloody menu could be a twin brother of the opener, yet after twenty-five seconds the band gives a signal to start a musical massacre. And basically it lasts through the next two songs too, based on fast tempos, guitar leads and sporadical slowdowns. But the real icing on the cake is the last “Murderous Lust”. It is definitely my personal favorite here, as it contains of everything I praise in such music: good devastating riffs, pounding rhythm section, tempo changes. Nothing new, but all these components fit each other in a perfect way. The second part of this monstrous track has wonderful long guitar lead, with the slow pace in the background. And when the whole ends in gradual muting, I can do nothing but to push a button ‘play’ once again…

The stylish front-cover that is made by Bartek Kurzok is in the vein of the era of the nineties, and with Rafal’s poetry where blood wields control, the picture becomes a complete, being the next bloody good offer to the underground titles. I realize that getting some new young metallers can be very difficult, in spite of current trends or fashions. Such music is still uncomfortable: there is no crystal-like sound realization, no 666 riffs per minute, no breakneck blast beasts or keyboards passages. This stuff is only for the old guard I guess, for people 35-45 years old, however I’d like to be wrong… Anyway, I mentioned about present endless avalanche of such bands, but I am really lucky guy to hear new (in the case of Mort Douce not young musicians, though) outfits that serve a splendid music. And believe me or not, listening to such tunes is a kind of sick obsession or mania, where the ancient touch and spirit are the key. I have no choice but to enjoy and praise it… For good and all!   


90/100 
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written on October, 2014)

Monday, October 27, 2014

TRIBAL CONVICTIONS 10 (2014)



April 2014, 44/A4 pages, pro-printed, Polish, interviews: KRYPTS, THE OLD CRONE, G.U.C. RECORDS, WEAK ASIDE, HORDES OF THE BLACK CROSS, SOLOTHUS, SANCTIFYING RITUAL, KROWNN, MYTHRONE PROMOTION, MARK RIDDICK.

I have to own up to all concerned and swipe my chest: I’m not a regular reader of Tribal Convictions zine, because this issue is my barely the second one beside the number 8. And from this place it is very hard to explain such a conjuncture. Anyway, number 10 is some kind of anniversary and good time to put a layer cake on the table, however Robert, the chief editor, would prefer to see ten cold bottles of beer I guess. In this world of internet and countless webzines, ten issues make a splendid score nowadays, what is more, Robert has been started his own press crusade since 2009, so a real respect for this hard-working maniac. Hard-working? Yep, this guy also run a label (Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho), hold bass guitar in devastating Mort Douce act and, after all, has a normal life with children and work. So, please tell me, how the hell is it possible to find a time for all these activities???

Ok, let’s drown into TC content. Robert prepared pretty varied assortment of bands: alongside pure death metal acts, also can be found Krownn, representant of doom (really good intie with witty pizza admirer Michele), Australian black crew called Hordes of the Black Cross (interesting as well, sometimes the answer went strange way…) or Polish stoner/sludge/doom The Old Crone. But one of the best things here is interview with Mark Riddick done by debuting Bartek Kurzok (known for his underground artworks). He provided 39 questions, although it’s a pity that Mark didn’t answer fully in several cases. The second one is the friendly Robert’s conversation with Marcin from Mythrone Promotion. It consists of many long, full-informative and pretty interesting answers, also Marcin gave us very daring idea to verify all written words about metal in Polish underground. I mean, he wants to establish some kind of trade union or zine-maker metal guild. And to institute an examining board (he gives member names as well) within the framework of this structure. Then exams and licenses. I confirm his words, this is really ‘diabolical’ project… It would be a revolution in the state of Poland.

Number 10 is a tidy and see-through piece of paper, decorated by drawings dedicated to such topics as undead and decay. The read is pleasant without any needful disturbers. There is a place both for humour and uneasy interrogations, especially when Robert tries to get something about history of nations (Poland – Germany) or musical complexes (it’s a pity that Anti from Krypts didn’t manage to answer...). By tradition of TC, each interview is ended by question about five different albums. Of course, the salt of every zine are reviews: Robert attacks with 106 of it (88 / 18, music to press). Some shorter with several sentences, some longer ones rather refer to written words. It is directly to the point, honest and with passion of experienced maniac. And about Graveyard’s review and their second album “The Sea Grave”: Robert, you’re damn right!

On the end one thing must be mentioned as well. The last page isn’t next commercial fortunately, and it shows victorious flying battle of Polish PZL P.11 (with a metal die-hard freak as a pilot) over German Bf 109. It’s really great idea that Robert decided to pay homage to all Polish pilots fighting with predominant Luftwaffe forces during September 1939. Simply I felt better, not only because my father is a pilot too…   
  

ROBERT LEGOWIK
P.O. BOX 61
09-400 PLOCK
POLAND 
robert@wydawnictwopsycho.com

8/10
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written on October, 2014)  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

BALAM AKAB - Xibalba (2006)

Entering the Beyond of Horror


This album isn’t my first meeting with Balam Akab, as I have been sacrificed on the blood altar by their second album “Sacrificio”, released on 2010. This memorable slab of devastating metal was an immediate cause I bought the debut album. Fortunately American Line did a splendid work once again to re-release “Xibalba” with a new front-cover and remastered sound. And what can I say about it? Ha, for sure it is worse than “Sacrificio”, though it is easy to notice that the band developed in a good musical direction…

Musically the debut resides in the chains of black metal. And as compared to the next Balam Akab’s work where black influences are in minority being a small supplement to the whole, “Xibalba” is drowned in such a musical form. And it makes the album just mediocre in the final opinion. Yes, the base here is extremely fast tempo, it seems that Omar is close to destroy his own drum-kit, and it is beyond reproach. The main complaint is the way of guitars playing, simply melodies and riffs that soften general musical transfer. In corroboration of my words, listen to the “Ixquik” song with cloying riffs that make me really piss off and think about “Xibalba” as a good place for children to spend their free time on playing innocent games. It effectively ruined this track, although the middle part (played after 1:48) is definitely better, in death metal way, which brings some new fresh blood to the song. Unfortunately Balam Akab returns to the beginning, bringing this awful melody and lousy (‘melodic’) black metal parts. It’s a pity that this track isn’t made of the middle crushing parts only…

Anyway, I’m not gonna cry over split milk, because the rest of Xibalba is just better! For sure it’s not a boring stuff, every song is decorated by different tempo and two kinds of vocals: Alex Balam uses his throat in black metal screams mostly and deep deathly vomits. Musicians decided to put some short introductions to the whole (first track, the beginning of the “La Ășltima batalla”), and it helps to have a better insight into it. All lyrics are written in Spanish (it’s good!) and refer to the Mexican history and beliefs. Well, I called the “La Ășltima batalla” song and I have to admit that is like a security zone as it brings slow monumental riffs reminding me a bit of newer offerings of Kataklysm. Yes, this track is different here and it’s a good counterbalance to this overall madness. In turn the first part of “Xibalba” that consists of the title track and “Ek” has characteristic guitar themes and strong black metal influences turning into melodic side of it. The best moments can be found on the end, two songs “Vision de conquista” and “Balam” destroy the rest, both with definitely more interesting riffs, the last track is even a germ cell of the things to come on the next album. It means: more death, less black. And this is the only way for this band.  

Summing all the things up: the main conclusion is that Balam Akab needed this album to create such a relentless album called “Sacrificio”. The debut has defects, especially when the (melodic) black metal parts are poured into the forefront. Sometimes it is digestible, sometimes it is too sweet to be swallowed and makes the music astrand. But, knowing the tunes of “Sacrificio”, it is easy to arrive at a conclusion that Mexicans did homework precisely. Although this process was lasting four years, they chose the right way for its deathly development. The way I followed…  

70/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written on October, 2014)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

THE DEAD GOATS - Ferox (2014)

Meet Thy Final Death!


This demo came to me together with the previous The Dead Goats title. And after so many pleasant moments with the children of the fungus and their bizarre biology, the whole content of “Ferox” isn’t a surprise for me. Modestly released on cdr, with xeroxed cover, it is limited to 300 hand-numbered copies (also the tape is available with the limitation of 100 copies). Musically this Bialystok travel agency offers old school death metal with the stamp of mighty Sweden. As compared to the previous stuff, there are two intros (one from old “Dracula” movie, it precedes the first song and it works here really good!), the titles became shorter and there is no such a song like “Children of the Fungus”. The rest is without a change. Speaking of the production way, “Ferox” has been recorded during two days only, but it has a proper force to devastate my speakers.

Hm… the rest is without a change… Yeah, because the new tunes are also played in a killer way, again served by simple means, again with an ancient touch, again without any redundant musical notes. Just three straightforward shots. And all right, let’s see, the last piece has rather slow tempo, but its heaviness is really overwhelming the senses. And only after three minutes, the goats wake up to present some hysteric kind of vokills. Then we have a comeback to these marching passages. In turn, “Bonesower” has a beautiful relevancy to Entombed, especially in slower rhythms played after 3:05 – ah, I just love it! Generally the band has a specific ‘lightness’ in creating such recognizable tunes. And it refers to the guitar layers and the chorus parts: both things breathe together giving a deathly piece of metal. But what a pity! “Ferox” has somewhat less than fourteen minutes only, in addition two minutes are taken by mentioned introduction. Demo gets my mind unobstructed, causing serious beautiful damages. It runs too fast, but it makes me push the button ‘play’ once again to feed me. However I look into the future hopefully. Soon, by Selfmadegod label, another goatish anthem will be thrown to the underground viscera. It’s time for a 7” split with Revel in Flesh. I started to count the days out…

But now the bonesower is knocking at my door’s haven… The final death is approaching… 

85/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written on October, 2014)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

THE DEAD GOATS - Children of the Fungus (2013)


The Goats, the Fungus, the Swamps


…children of the damned, children of the damned…

Yyy, stop that, it’s not about the damned, it’s not about the famous Maiden’s song, it’s about a fungus. So, what we have here? Goats, mentioned fungus, swamps. One could say a good thing for the biologists. And maybe such an opinion is right, however this material is a real temptation for all disciples of old school metal of death. Thus my ears are entranced beyond the shadow of a doubt! But it is very hard to explain before myself why the hell I met the band few weeks ago only… Anyway, this piece of black wax is my first date with the goats. Instant Classic made a really good work with the issue, all looks perfect, and the front cover is memorable. In addition, cd version also has been included, but the download key didn’t arise my interest though (wonder why?!?!).    

Musically I got another splendid tribute to the times were the debuts of Entombed and Dismember were reigning (in blood) on the scene. Perfect production of sound, the whole sick atmosphere, this specific guitar tone that can be recognized by the deaf ones, easily takes my flesh and throw it into the beginning of the nineties. Even the vo-kills are some kind of mixture of L-G Petrov and Klas Morberg, being supported by deeper guttural exhalements from time to time. The credo of the band isn’t taken from the nowhence. The musicians are pretty experienced (Neuropathia, Incarnated, Squash Bowels, Abused Majesty), but, as they say in the interviews I have found, they don’t give a shit about nowadays music trends and fashions. They play what they feel. And even the music isn’t original and new, even it has such well-known core (don’t even think about the metalcore, you bastard!), children have taken me by a real storm! Yes, I found in these 21 minutes all the things I needed: quality, determination and furious metal that dismembered my tissues and entombed my remains in a grave. Clear? The riffs are sparkling with harshness and crudity, but also with great catchy moments on the other hand. The fast tempos dominate through the song structures, yet the opening of “Fistful of Goats” gives some hope for a breather. No! A dozen or so seconds pass and the goats shows a musical blitz once again. But do not get me wrong, the short slowdowns are present, especially with the bass lines audible through the wall of the sound.

Six tracks and 21 minutes: for sure the title song is the most recognizable due to its catchy guitar parts that remind me of the biggest highlights from Dismember discography, “Of Fire” is a good example here. Add the perfect bass lines and my senses starts to fly to the “Dreaming in Red” lands. Or captivating slowdown in the second part of “Thou Shalt Have No Other Goats Before Me”: pure entombedish recollections. Sometimes the Spanish masters from Haemorrhage enter the board (due to the similar vocal duo in “On the Unhallowed Ground” and “Fistful of Guts”), sometimes a nice solo lead takes its place. But if all the influences are well-known and clear, children become very, very solid release. There is no time for yawn or ass scraping. My attention is still maintained on the proper level, even if the band offers something different a bit. Namely the last delicious hot dish is Napalm Death’s nice song “Instinct of Survival”. Do not expect any sounds of mercy. I guess the task was to kill the listener off, and believe me, the goats did it…

It is impossible not to recommend this rotten piece of metal. The Dead Goats is another young band that gives me so many whiles of satisfaction and joy. And being drowned in such tunes since the very beginning of the nineties, I still need this kind of musical expression to live. The band satisfied my wants even though the fungi aren’t my most delicious main dish. Moreover I hate to mushroom. But this species coming straight from Bialystok area, I swallow with a smile on my face. Good appetite! 




90/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written on October, 2014)