Saturday, September 26, 2015

REMAINS - Evoking Darkness (2015)

The Darkness Has Been Evoked

Only one year Remains needed to record a successor after mindcrushing debut “Angels Burned”. Fast doings and here I have “Evoking Darkness” before my eyes. And to put it briefly nothing has been changed: ten songs and one cover, the same label and recording studio, fantastic cover made by Raul Gonzalez this time, and the most important, if the line-up is concerned, only a drummer is a new face on the board. And while playing the first seconds of the opener “Dead Breed” I’m not dignifiedly invited by intro tunes just like on the debut, in the twinkling of the eye I am nailed to the ground! Well, well, I didn’t expect such an outbreak and massive furious sound cannonade striking my mind without any mercy. But, what is interesting, such fast tempo killer is an exception here. The production-wise is a bit different, I mean it is not so raw as compared to the debut, however its big advantage refers to the more vivid way of sound realization. I dare say if the “Angels Burned” reeked a smell of decaying, here I’ve got something curling, something ready to devour my senses in a slow but effective way…

Anyway musically I deal with death metal played the old-school way, yet the production luckily is a flat denial to the Sunlight / Skogsberg tone, so commonly overused nowadays. That’s true that entombedish “Clandestine” and “Wolverine Blues” reminiscences appear from time to time with genial parts in “The Darkness” (from 2:42 and 3:10), the beginning of “Pray & Shot” and the middle and ending fragments in “Wolf’s Pray”. Or just take a listen to the great “Human’s Darkest Creation” (with whispers!). But those influences aren’t the only thing I admire this beast. The musicians condensed the tunes, atmosphere became muggy yet still awestricken. You know, something similar to Incantation’s “Diabolical Conquest” or Spanish Graveyard. Although writing about these names doesn’t mean Remains duplicate more known acts. No, absolutely no, because Miguel & the crew can perfectly unite all pieces of the puzzle, spitting the purest form of death out. And there is no chance to be bored. The four emissaries of darkness spread musical infection with a heavy blow, grinding the neurons without any all-time blasts. I can’t be wrong: the band grew strong becoming a killing machine. Voice of Miguel seems to raise from the unknown crypt, and maybe it’s even deeper a bit, with apogee in “Atrocities” especially about 1:45 when I have impression he pukes his lungs up. A splendid while based upon such well-known parts of riffs. And yes, besides the first song, the tempos are varied here, guitarists took care of the well-thought riffs and leads. And maybe if the bass lines haven’t been marked the same way like on the debut, they whip my bones. The next praises go to the drummer Enrique, not only for a great opening in “Pray & Shot”, but for the solo in the middle of “Death Dealer”, which is completely unexpected while listening to this murderous track. His classic performance really impressed me.

And the more I listen to “Evoking Darkness”, the more I worship it. Howsoever my start with the album wasn’t a love at first sight. The music was evolving in my mind rather slowly, showing its potential successively with “R’lyeh” song as the best example (these hidden-like melodious guitar parts…). Now, after many spins, I turned out into being a slave of this darkness and I cannot live without it. So, can I gloze that this album is free from defects? No, I can’t, I am afraid. On the start I wrote about a cover song. And this is not “Morbid Visions” by Sepultura, it’s “Embraced by Moonlight” recorded by Centinex originally. No matter if I always considered Swedes as of secondary importance band that has been spawned in the land of Sweden, but all I wanna say is that Remains scored an own goal. This song is very mediocre, supported by the melody lines I really don’t like and it definitely doesn’t fit to the entirety, softening needlessly the thing and giving really unpleasant impression on the end. After smashing “Death Dealer”, the eleventh appears as a pop music radio hit. I’m just angry at this ending as I always review albums as a whole. Aaaa! It’s like a root canal treatment being hung over. All right, let’s leave it behind and put the button stop after song with number ten…

Well, it seems I started to boil myself, so let’s turn the fire down and do some conclusions. The irrefutable fact is that Mexicans recorded the best stuff to date. Their maturity struts around in a right direction. And it’s great to hear such music the young Mexican blood can deliver, you know, maybe I’m not Nyasasaurus parringtoni of the present scene as my first meeting with death metal was in 1991 (yep, “Left Hand Path”), but I can value another band executing this form of deathly art. Surely the third full-length will be a challenging task for the band. I do hope they will manage to give another splendid album, but without any ruining cover. Full consent, guys? And on the end, let me quote some Horace’s suggestion: eheu, fugaces labuntur anni. It stands to reason, so don’t hesitate anymore, put a hand on this slab and let the darkness possess your senses. I beg for more!
(written in September, 2015)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

R'LYEH 12 (2015)


Let me start the thing in such a way: this issue, however slightly, but beat the previous one. And unhesitatingly I can say that Adrian has infected the underground tissue with the bettermost venom (yes!) in his zine career so far. Though there are no any surprises, since the first letter I have been devoured by obscure slimy R’Lyeh might. Anyway, it’s not a secret that zine reviewing section is the first thing I embark reading paper issue upon. This time Adrian delivered 52 pieces of press, although one title made me wonder. Namely “Astronomia amatorska” bringing some cosmic dimensions on the table. Is it necessary here? I don’t think so… It would be definitely better to see “Nurkowanie amatorskie” with great pictures of R’Lyeh itself and heart-to-heart talk with Cthulhu. Sounds perfect, isn’t it? All right, then music section with 262 reviews (18 of them written by Von Mortem, Open Casket). The Adrian’s style didn’t change, that’s good for sure, but alphabetical order is missing unfortunately. The second novelty is displaying the best albums on almost each page with Polish Exorcist as a winner with the highest mark.

The reading black-white content is enormous, it gave me many fruitful hours and if the interviews are concerned, there’s no shameful defeat in Anal Vomit vein. Maybe two or three chats are with few short laconic answers, yet overwhelming majority is good or very good reading with the best Evil Machine (number one I guess!), Fanthrash, Von Mortem, Headhunter D.C. (did Sergio give shitty intie at any time?), The Dead Goats, Perdition Temple, Equinox, Zemial (good as always!), Incantation, Varathron, Illdisposed or Impaled Nazarene. So, if the reviews and interviews are the base of every zine, it’s good that the title has some added values. And R’Lyeh isn’t poor fellow in this regard. Just take a look on first pages where Artur Szokalski, like Mr. Kolonko, gives us reportage on Blake Judd. Interesting! Furthermore many live reports, mainly from abroad done by Artur again, however his memories from 1987 (Kat in Lublin) could crush the hardest rock. Applause! For sure this die-hard definitely improved his style as compared to #11. Continuing archeological subject, there’s a need to mention about Drrrama gigs. Then many articles: about metal conversions to Christianity, about rip-offs and cheaters, about money in Underground (“Biznes Metal”), report from the frontline (yes, Ukraine…), “Metal from the jail” with words coming from two sides of barricade, “Uważaj gdzie pijesz” which seems to be a some kind of warning to all nice drinking metallers, “Golden lips” (Entropia from Oleśnica fuckin’ rulezzzz!), interesting inquiry concerning xeroxing xeroxed paper zines, losing battle with daily paper Fakt. In turn in “Kawaii metal and tentacles” Adrian assures us that Empheris won’t be a part of world-wide tour with Baby Metal. Of course, the pages couldn’t get along without Northern Plague syndrome, this time War-saw is a hero with their blanket offer. Well, let’s allow my imagination run wild, I’m just closing my eyes and… I’m on my hometown square and see the stage. The names? Yeah, Northern Plague, War-Saw and Terror Tactics covering the whole “Reign in Blood”. The whole (?) should be propagated in the underground by Entropia (flyers, for zine’s sake!), recorded and released by Bloodwritten in tape format exclusively. Fuck, time to descend upon the ground…

Has R’Lyeh any drawbacks? I’m not going to stickle (fewness of misprints, typos), yet some spelling serious errors made my eyes open really wide. In addition, the orthography of nouns and adjectives concerning nationalities hasn’t been dissolved to date, showing a complete free choice. But changing into a totally different field, I have to admit that R’Lyeh starts to evolve: not only conflagration and death, not only horns and hooves or antennae, but a health and sanity. I’m not claiming the Adrian’s child becomes health-focused underground program, yet health-improving side is noticeable. Not being proofless, I invite you to catch a glimpse at Beer-o-metr with hangover as the main topic. To fight with this ‘the morning after the night before’ is more challenging task than giving some money on your local parish-priest’s tray. To the point, from quail’s eggs, fruits like Chinese gooseberries, peaches and melons to fluid replacements (even by alcohol according to some freaks). Then James Murphy goes with a handful of advices in the last his answer that should be taken into consideration. In aforementioned article about Japanese inventions Adrian shows deleterious influence of tentacle (?!) porno on our minds. And the last thing from that subject: there is a note about Rytmonorm, commonly used medicine to treat arrhythmia. Adrian gives us another really good and accurate (!) indication, yet he didn’t convince me about selling it without prescription. Although I wonder if all those advices have any sense in time of reading Korean Nocturnal Damnation prophecy that reveals the only truth: Mephistopheles and his earthly reigns by means of nuclear weapons. Anyway, I’d like to convince all of you to purchase this great title until is not too late and support Adrian’s undergroudish doings. Number #13 is more than welcome. Only in paper version. As always. 

P. O. BOX 20


(written in September, 2015)                 

Friday, September 18, 2015

ENFORCER - From Beyond (2015)

The Beyond Comes to Town

Forgone holiday time became very memorable not only because of offensively high temperature here in Poland, but due to three heavy metal albums that conquered my senses. About “Popioły wiar” and “Dreamstealer” I wrote some days ago, now it’s time to praise “From Beyond” created by Swedish Enforcer. But, it wasn’t a quick enchantment or easy love. Hard to explain that, as it was shooting forth sluggishly, at first I was skipping the first track even, claiming that is not good enough and needless one (?!). Then tracks 2 – 6 made my day, making me forget the bloody rest. Some days passed, I tortured only “The Banshee” and “Hell Will Follow”. Finally, the opener convinced me, and now I worship the whole album building an altar for this. A total madness, isn’t it?
Strange and crazy moments indeed, as the Swedes don’t deliver difficult tunes. Again ten songs in the heavy and speedy sauce, and this time with the longest LP in their career. These 43 minutes run very quickly because “From Beyond” contains of ten fascinating compositions deeply rooted in the UK / US scenes of the mighty eighties. They base on well-known patterns and designs, yet Olof Wikstrand & company know how to bespice the entirety with their hot-tempered youth, talent and skills, avoiding becoming stupid retro clone. So I got really fresh dish, not an old rechauffe. And it is very hard to choose the leader amongst the unleashed crowd as each song has something to be another heavy metal pearl. No matter if I talk about speeding firecrackers like “Destroyer” (yes, after all!), “One with Fire” or smashing “The Banshee”, or the tracks with slower tempo “Undying Evil”, mysterious title piece or the ending “Mask of Red Death”. The miraculous ennead is split up by instrumental “Hungry They Will Come” with all the best Iron Maiden memories.

That’s true they look like and play their sounds definitely the old-school way, but the most important is they perfectly know how to vitalize into the well-known tunes. There’s no monotony, no time to yawn, the whole is put cunningly and all these elements make the surrounding world seems to keep still. The mind flows to the Beyond.
This album is definitely the best Enforcer’s performance to date, I give it very high mark and I’m not afraid to place “From Beyond” next to the heavy metal classic. And it is a perfect antidote for many, many modern sterile productions. Beware, it lives!


(written in September, 2015)