Funereal Moon "Satan's Beauty Obscenity" Reviews

Satan’s Beauty of Obscenity consists of nine tracks of occult, ritualistic black metal. The Mexican two-piece group of Impure Ehiyeh and Darvula handle most malefic manipulations, although Demogorgon pounds away his earthly frustrations on the drums, and Lucifera provides sexual moans and lust-filled narrations on “The Lust.” The first four tracks of the said album were recorded in 2007, and comprise the recording of the said album name. The latter half of Satan’s Beauty of Obscenity was taken from the Grim…Evil… EP, which the group recorded in 1996 and limited to five hundred, 12” copies. Like an antiquated record, all nine tracks of Impure’s unclean creation move behind a thick shroud of low-fi production. These production values instill a distant, haunting atmosphere. In most cases, Funereal Moon utilizes all instruments to uphold this atmosphere. The guitar strings ring hollow and loosely, and whine with eerie dissonance or provide a low drone in the background. The deliberate drone and echo of the guitar characterize the first half of the album, with the exception of the hypnotic, tribal pound of the drums that lead “Black Sphere.” These bizarre guitar tones fit well with the percussion of “Luna Funebre,” which conjures images of the dripping water in a musty, webby dungeon. Impure’s vocals animate these macabre scenarios with ghoulish groans. The Grim…Evil... portion, surprisingly, offers an even murkier production than the first portion of the album. Although atmospheric in every way, this part of the album, especially “Obscure Dominion,” is more akin to early nineties black metal such as Emperor when Ihsahn still wore his hair long and the group donned black robes. The album does, though, end on a ritualistic note with “The Lust” and “I Came From Darkness to Conquer.” Orgiastic moans and female narrations appropriately fill “The Lust,” which takes its words and (probably) its music from Church of Satan founder, Anton La Vey. Savage drums, wind instruments, and monstrous growls give the latter track a voodoo vibe. Many black metal albums of a ritualistic nature describe their contents as some of the darkest ambience ever put on wax, but often do not deliver. If you have ever been mislead in to believing these falsifications and came away disappointed, look no further than Satan’s Beauty of Obscenity. Exactly like black metal’s early deviants, Funereal Moon’s music is not just an entertainment front. Lucifera died in 1999 by her own hand, and according to Darvula on the group’s Myspace page, Impure Ehiyeh has died. With Samhain approaching, Satan’s Beauty of Obscenity may provide the necessary black magic to reanimate the blackened marrow in their brittle bones *Note: Impure is not dead, but in a coma, as validated by members of Funereal Moon

Not to be confused with the Polish band Funeral Moon, this is the equally obscure occult black metal band from Mexico, in existence since 1993 but hardly a household name by any means, and this disc is actually two releases in one. The label approached the band about reissuing their 1996 vinyl-only release GRIM... EVIL..., and ended up with not only that, but a whole pile of new recordings, essentially an EP entitled SATAN'S BEAUTY OBSCENITY. The new stuff comes at you first, four tracks of unnerving darkness that veer from ambient soundtracks to mordant plays based on satanic philosophy to grim, lo-fi bursts of hypnotic, misanthropic black metal that takes all its cues from the old school (Bathory, Burzum, etc.). There's a fair amount of the lurching, dissonant unpredictability you'd find on any early Abruptum release, though, and that's what makes them stand out from the rest of the blackened hordes. This is creepy-sounding stuff; the opening track, "The Last Prophecy," is a spoken-word piece swaddled in depressed ambience, the track that follows ("Black Sphere") is fast and blurry but also riddled with strange-sounding guitars, and "Poison in My Heart" is a slow, crawling beast somewhere between Abruptum and Burzum at half-speed. ("Luna Funeral," the last of the recent material, continues in much the same vein.) The earlier material (five tracks worth) is similar in intention and execution, only recorded in a fashion even more exquisitely lo-fi -- near-static guitar riffs float over barely-audible drums as the vocalist croaks in an appropriately grim fashion, and while the drums are a tad more present on the faster songs, the production is still suitably primitive for such unfashionably hateful songs. Bonus points for the grotesque guitar sound and a sick vibe that's vaguely reminiscent of Beherit (even if the playing is better). This is excellent stuff, and it's a mystery why they're just now coming to light. Hopefully this and the forthcoming new full-length album will gain them the attention they deserve.

The first thing you notice about Funereal Moon, a long running black metal horde from Mexico City, is main man Impure Ehiyeh's amazing corpsepaint, each eye in the center of a black upside down cross, a pentagram in the center of his forehead, his nostrils painted huge and animal like, the mouth outlined like a dripping bat, the whole face lined with cracks, making him appear as some 100 year old demonic black metal ghoul. Which suits the music, as their sound is totally unhinged, a raw, lo-fi, fucked up grim black metal that has more in common with a band like Necrofrost than any of the classic Scandinavian elite, which is most definitely a good thing. Murky, mysterious, stumbling, damaged, the guitars washed out and muted, the vocals a raspy croak, the drums solid and simple, the whole sound twisted and off kilter, the sounds panned dramatically from left to right, so sometimes the band swerves back and forth making the music totally dizzy and unhinged. This collection gathers up 4 newish tracks from 2007, and 5 more tracks from a 1996 demo. The first four tracks are, as described above, woozy, and gloriously fucked up, long stretches of Abruptum- like ambience get all tangled up in blasting black weirdness, giving way to droning plodding black doom, finally turning into some strange sort of spaced out abstract psychedelia, growled vox over noodly reverbed guitars and swirling spaced out effects. Weird, and so cool. It's the older stuff where it gets REALLY weird. The guitars impossibly processed and lo fidelity, pulsing like some strange electronic transmission, the vocals even more croak-like, doused in echo, it's an intro of sorts, but maybe our favorite track here. The next track is more straight ahead, but again the production is insane, the vocals louder than anything else, the drums and guitars tumbling and roiling way down in the mix only occasionally exploding to the surface. It's all very droney and hypnotic and textural. And somehow it only gets weirder, culminating in a seriously amazing and fucked up two song finish, first, the tripped out "The Lust", with its stumbling tribal drumming, its droning electronic buzz in place of guitars, and haunting female spoken words, while a voice growls and grunts demonically in the background, and another female moans in ecstasy! And finally the 11 minute "I Came From Darkness To Conquer", a woozy synth drone, with some troll like vocals over the top, what sounds like programmed drums and flute (?), the vocals get weirder and weirder, high pitched and alien one second, growled and cookie monster like the next, finally the drums drop out, and the record closes out with synthesized strings and an orchestra of growls and grunts and howls, easily one of the most seriously fucked up ambient black metal rituals ever. If you read this far we shouldn't even have to say it, but yet another essential record to add to your collection of freaked out, far out, damaged and demented, confusional and inspired genius black metal what-the-fuck. Which means ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL!

Mexico's answer to Abruptum? Yeah, pretty much, as this obscure black metal outfit from Mexico has been playing a similiarly fucked-up, improvised mutation of black metal as that of the Swedish improv-black metal weirdos. Funeral Moon has been around since 1993 but they've only been known to a handful of necro-trogs in the black metal underground due to the difficulty of tracking down Funeral Moon's recordings and the fact that underground metal from south of the U.S. border is usually ignored here in the States. This amazing new disc from Autopsy Kitchen seeks to remedy the situation and actually combines two seperate releases from Funeral Moon into one for a heavy dosage of bizarro black metal abstraction, which I have been playing virtually non-stop since this came in last week. The disc combines Funeral Moon's long out of print 1996 vinyl only LP Grim...Evil... with an unreleased collection of new songs titled Satan's Beauty Obscenity, which actually starts this off. These four new tracks are weird and unsettling blats of shambling blackness that move from grim, crude black metal to creepy dark ambience, 80's horror movie keyboards, odd electronic noises, and sardonic spoken-word peices dealing with Satanic ritual thought performed over weird synthesizer pieces; you can hear the influence of early black metallers like Burzum whenever the former appears, but the demented, stumbling riffing and atonal ambience that make up most of this stuff is pure Abruptum, albeit with FM's own fucked-up vision. The opening track "The Last Prophecy" starts the disc off with a spoken word piece enshrouded by dismal droning synths and strange vocoder voices, then shifts abruptly into the thrashing low-fi skuzz of "Black Sphere", it's mutoid black metal smeared with robotic screeching and strange, almost synthetic-sounding guitars. The last two of the newer recordings are slower and creepier, lumbering through deformed blackened riffage and more of FM's trademark satanic funhouse atmosphere. The Grim...Evil... material is generally along the same lines, but the recording is even more wrecked and low-fi, the guitars rendered as a mosquito hum over distant, muffled drums and a thick veneer of shit and blood, while vocalist Impure Ehiyeh croaks his obsceneties in a hateful spew over the rush of primitive, hideous buzz. The filthy, diseased sounding guitar tone and hellish atmosphere gives this early recording a nasty vibe that recalls the out of control chaos of early Beherit as much as the formless dungeon skum of Abruptum. Man, this is some top notch outsider black metal/ambient that fans of weird BM will love - it's amazing that these recordings have been hidden for so long. If you're a fan of the weirder, more abstract end of black metal like Abruptum, Beherit, Nordvargr, and Subliminal Murder, check this out.

I may be the only one to think that the freaky sounding psychedelic guitar in this album recalls Peter Frampton’s 70’ s vocoder indulgences, but through the seven and a half minutes that it takes for the first track to get over its Star Wars laser shooting blackness I could not shake the chorus of “Show Me the Way” off my head. I kid you not, not sure what these muchachos endiablados were doing, but whatever that crashing sound is, it sure sounds like laser swords clashing in a clanky 70’s sci fi air space. It’s a wicked aura that Mexican underground duo Funereal Moon produces, distorted and smeared not only by a lo fi crappy recording, but also by the rudimentary nature of bedroom claustrophobia. The whole thing is washed by background grunts and an electric guitar played with mongoloid-level skill. Now that I think about it, this is kind of cool. Funereal Moon are a Mexico City based ambient/experimental black metal group. The album in question includes four new songs recorded in 2007 and five tracks taken from their 1996 Grim Evil EP. The song that I reference in the first paragraph is “The Last Prophecy” and it belongs to their newest material. Their noise is very much in the vein of Blut Aus Nord, where heaviness – and to a degree proper playing - is implicit and eerie sounds effectively reflect the band’s perverse ideas. The five songs from the Grim Evil EP underline an interesting point; these cabrones malparidos were as fucked up a decade ago as they are now. Funereal Moon didn’t just jump into the weirdo train. “Witchery” is strange; it may be an intro but it may just be Funereal Moon being their bizarre selves. The vocals sound like an old troll reciting a prayer with a mouthful of cake. Randomly, drums shoot off for about three seconds only to disappear. No guitars in sight. The four tracks that follow reveal a band with both a lo fi straight forward black metal style; “Obscure Dominion” is straight up normal, a fuzzed up razor sharp average 80’s guitar sound with gargling vocals, but more interesting is “The Lust”, a pornographic venture into ambient black metal via moans, groans and morose organ. Nope, not that organ.

I've been looking forward to work on this release for ages it seems, and it's through my new association with Sea of Tranquility that this was finally made possible. This album is a split made of two different recordings done by the same artist. You have first a recent, Satan's Beauty Obscenity , recorded in 2007- then an earlier (1996) five track EP called Grim…Evil…, which was recorded in Mexico City, only to be distributed as a limited 12 inch of 500 copies. Funeral Moon is a Satanic duo made of Impure Ehiyeh and Darvola. The first one appears to be the main madman behind this project. The entire booklet, as well as the wicked cover art, makes no doubt about their state of possession. The same is applicable for their lyrical content. Funeral Moon went as far as dedicating a song ("The Lust") to Anton Szandor La Vey, founder of the Church of Satan. The recent music shows a more refined production, whereas Grim…Evil… has more of a demo sound. The music of this duo is rather twisted and different from the usual Black Metal I'm listening, and that is what makes this split interesting, especially in the case of Satan's Beauty Obscenity. You won't find too many fast paces on this disc, but more moderate ones to accompany the ambient, and somewhat psychedelic, although sick as hell, Black Metal arts. Some electronics, keyboards included to walk hand in hand with distorted guitars, various effects and highly efficient vocals. Those vary from spoken, ghostly rasps, whispers, growls, bestial and son on. Pretty scary stuff! "Luna Funebre" is even done in their native tongue. Grim…Evil…has also its moments, like on "The Lust", with female incantation done by Lucifera, backed by woman sighs. "I Came From Darkness to Conquer", is the longest song at 11 minutes +, filled with ritualistic parts and some wicked and spooky keyboard ambiences. This release is simply a great wickedness from Mexico. Can't wait to get a copy of their debut full length!

It was a dreary and lonely hour of the night as I lit two black candles in the corner of my room. They were purchased in a small witchcraft shop in Tijuana, Mexico as a gift from a friend while I was visiting there. Midnight had just passed, and the entire day had been spent in the isolation of my room, as constant rainfall kept me in doors and alone; with my own misery as my sole companion. A CD had just arrived a few nights ago from Mexico City, a band called Funereal Moon. The cover of the album depicted the face of a figure with the best corspepaint I've seen, two inverted crosses upon each eye and an inverse pentagram between the eyes. Almost subconsciously I held the album in my hands, Satan's Beauty Obscenity… and it naturally found its place into my stereo. I was greeted by the tolling of a church bell and maniacal laughing, and synth effects which seemed to be shooting at random intervals from all corners of the room. A demonic presence now enters in the form of a voice, “I'M THE SUPREME MOCKERY IN THE SHIPWRECK OF THE HUMAN INTELLECT!” I stare at the black candles burning, their flames slowly flickering against the Blasphemy, Venom, and Hellhammer posters hanging on my wall; the black wax slowly creeping to the trudging beat of the music. Now dual vocals begin to spew from the stereo, both talking at the same time, creating a subliminal and insanely delirious atmosphere. A low and simple guitar riff slowly emerges from the background, and still no drums or bass; simply guitar, synth, the tolling of the bell and voices that seem to be swirling around my head like spectres. It becomes clear to me that the voices speaking are real, and serious… they speak with conviction and emotion like a fascist leader attempting to sway his people into an inspired frenzy, every word completely audible and comprehensible and spat forth with the venom of hatred infecting the room with its malign presentation. “THIS IS THE PSALM OF THE HYPOCRITE, WHO IMPLORE WITH TEARS MERCY, AND WITHOUT COMPASSION RAPE AND TORTURE WOMEN IN VICIOUS ORGIES!!!” About seven minutes go by, trapped in this vicious circle, before the next track begins. This time, there is no synth, an actual metal song begins with a simple black metal beat and extremely distorted guitars. Simple and atmospheric Hellhammer-esque solos are complimented by vocals executed in the same style as early Darkthrone or possibly even the Dutch band Countess. The entire song carries a somewhat similar feeling to early Darkthrone, except even more primitive and carrying a stranger atmosphere. The next track, "Poison in my Heart", sends the album back to a slow pace, with ambient guitar sounds and a simple, extremely slow drum beat. The vocals begin as tormented moans and lethargic screams, before turning into a narration which sounds like a dying, hopeless man in the corner of a dank and forgotten tomb, mumbling the miseries of his life into the dark in an unconscious delusional state. “YOU ARE THE CANCER IN MY BLOOD, YOU ARE THE VENOM IN MY VEINS”… as the black candles cast a dim light across my face. "Luna Funebre" begins in a similar fashion as the previous track, again with an atmosphere that will appeal to fans of the Funeral Doom Metal subgenre. This song sounds almost ritualistic with its cavelike drumbeat, low creeping synth, and ambient guitar sounds which slither like a serpent across the recesses of the mind. The sound of howling winds blow as Spanish lyrics escape from this corpse of a musician. The fifth track marks the beginning of the second half of the album, which was recorded in 1996 in a recording titled Grim… Evil…. The track "Witchery" begins with synth and vocals only, before moving on to the next track "Forbidden Rites". At this point in the album, my interest and captivation begins to decrease. While the tracks from the Grim…Evil… recording are not bad, they are more in the vein of the second track on the album ("Black Sphere"), extremely minimal black metal offerings that will appeal to the fans with the most primitive of tastes. While I don't dislike these tracks, they do not create the same morbid and schizophrenic atmosphere of the first four tracks (which were newly recorded). The standout for the second half of the album is definitely track eight, "The Lust". This song is in the same slow, ritualistic presentation of the earlier tracks, with female narration's, moaning and speaking blasphemies, with a demonic death metal growl accompanying the seductive and evil nature of her profanity. The album then ends with a keyboard outro as the demonic vocals slowly fade into nothing after tribal drums and flutes disappear into the air… leaving me alone in the silence of my room, black candles still shining. Funereal Moon have created a very unique album here, and the first four tracks especially carry a morbid and disturbing atmosphere, similar to what I would imagine dropping acid in a Satanic ritual would be like. The music unravels as if you are aimlessly wandering a maze, unaware of what awaits around the next corner, constantly in the presence of a sinister and maniacal spirit. This is not music for every day listen, only for the most lonely of nights, the most miserable of nights, when you wish to escape into utter darkness and become lost in the black ambience of evil. Black candles shall burn to this, indeed…

Black metal always seems to have a new face. Every time you think you've defined a genre, something else arises with completely new characteristics that changes it. Though Funereal Moon are by no means a new project, having begun their descent into hell in 1993, they are certainly underground enough that you're lucky if you've heard them prior to this release. I'd only personally had one experience with the band until now, having purchased their 2005 10th anniversary compilation on Winterreich Productions, Luciferian Symphonies of Destruction: 10 Years of Audio Blasphemia. It struck me as perhaps one of the most strange albums to really ever represent ambient black metal. Friends that I'd introduced it to had laughed it off as simply another bad underground release from Mexico, but to me there was something a bit more to it, and Satan's Beauty Obscenity has confirmed that. Satan's Beauty Obscenity is comprised of four new tracks followed by the five tracks from the 1996 Difuntes Productions endeavor “Grim... Evil...” This album does nothing to represent cold and depressive evenings, but rather it absolutely decays emotion all together This release is overwhelmingly satanic in nature. It feels like a combination of American early BM'ers Black Funeral, Acheron's early interludes, and perhaps the earliest South American extreme metal act, at least Colmbia's, Parabellum. Its a fairly open record. There's nothing truthfully trying to be musical or impressive here, but rather its an atmosphere creator. The compositions are uneasy, disharmonic, trudging. Its all very astral, and at the same time seems to have a hint of drug influence. At least if Poison in my Heart is any view into the artist's state of mind, drugs play a huge role in the music of Funereal Moon. And, perhaps, that is the special point of this album. There's some unique qualities to be found within because of this somewhat different approach. A much darker, ritual, and certainly more believable outward attitude in the tracks themselves. Its very strong in its own disembodiment. The tracks project outwards, they don't simply flow out of the speakers. They're an entity on another plain, an existing dimension unto themselves. This is not good music, not in terms of how civilizations around the world generally view music. But its not meant to be. This isn't about the pretty ride through the atmosphere of the journey into oblivion on death hymns. Satan's Beauty Obscenity is so much more personal. Even typical Ambient Black Metal fans may find this a bit too abrasive for them. This is recommended, but only to the most seasoned of black metal veterans into the strangest and most ideologically profound satanic belief systems.



Thou "Peasant" Reviews

Its hard to be amusing and funny when you encounter something so seriously awe-inspiring that you have to switch a gear or two. And lo, twas was begotten a fell and slavering, many legged beast with horns of lead, and teeth of poisoned wood. And I heard this terrible beast utter a shriek, and my mind cracked apart, to forever be savaged by demons speaking at angles I can’t comprehend. And I reeled with horror at the calamity, but the demons tore at my mouth to make me smile in spite of myself. Let me just post-preface this with: Slampenisdunkskulldrunkfucksludgebeastrapefeastorgyporgypuddingdie! Buy this fucking disc! Go! Do it now! Sooooo Heeeeaaaavvvyyyy. Thats what you want right? That is what I want. I want to hear something so heavy it sounds like the gravitational pull of planets colliding, and will pull my entrails through my ears. Isn’t that why we listen to heavy music. To get flogged by extremely disturbing and terrifying sounds? Well… If you can’t run, jump, walk, or crawl, then drag your lame ass to the nearest computer and just download it from the net. Thou don’t seem to mind, as they have posted not only this album, but nearly everything they have recorded. If you don’t read past this, don’t worry, you won’t be ripped off. Thou owest Thou, whether or not thou knowest it yet, for creating something that shows the forest from the trees whilst bestriding the ground within that same cosm of grief, and doom. In other words, they don’t sound like anyone else. No one I heard of anyway. Ok, I take that back, but Eyehategod are a bit uglier in a one-eyed-bearded-woman-with-a-hunchback-and-foul-odor type of uglier. Maybe dISEMBOWELMENT. Same amount of awesome to say the least. I know not everyone enjoys really slow music. I have to pick my jaw up from the below-ground, an unholy sound as forceful as a NoLa-cane pounds, my ears, epically gatored. A scowling nightmare of measureless proportions are the towering sculptures of loss and misery that scrape their way into my ears as I take “Peasant” in. A rasping wraith assaults my senses as I try to unravel the huge, creamy, yet minor chords and fifths that wrap everything in a thick fog. The drummer recalls John Bonham in his singular pursuit for heavy-handed thudding bliss. But slower. The cymbals are prominent and tasteful exclamations that describe each lamentation with a clarity that is surprising with such a rhythm section so enamored with bubbling mud fuzz. To top it off, the bass is a distorted, freakishly huge wasp that angrily buzzes at a near subsonic range. It sounds to me that these guys are pretty fucken serious in their pursuit to explain a chronically broken culture that upholds values of despair, avarice, prejudice, and a malaise of troubled acceptance that things will always be as they are. No where is this better illustrated than the fiercely somber first track, “The Work Ethic Myth” with its cynical mapping of an optimistic sounding chord progression being utterly canceled out by an ever-deepening spiral of depressed realization that the very masters that you work for to support are the ones who are unhesitating in their contempt for those who wish a decent and simple life. “They Stretch Out Their Hands” starts out as a herd of wooly mammoths stampeding through the LeBrea tarpits, their terrified pace succumbing to the unyielding black glue that sucks them ever below. Very few bands can fuck with tempos subtly and make it work, these guys just drag their instruments through muck, and twist the tuning pegs south towards trudge oblivion. I am not going to explain every track, but I will say that the cohesion of the six lyrically and sonically paint a very horrible portrait of our fastly approaching self-made dystopia, but somehow makes the entire album very easy to immerse yourself in this yawning pit of bleakness and dark living situations. 10 mud and blood-covered penii out of 10. Global Domination note: We here at GD are strongly against handing out 10’s in a review. And since you are all dogcocks we actually forced Col Dubh to explain his decision for giving Thou a bull’s eye score. This is what he had to say: - “Well, I guess context is needed. As far as it being an album of its sludge/doom genre, I am going to have to say its flawless. Compared to like “The Wall” or “The White Album”, or something closer to say “Master of Puppets” or “De mysteriis Dom Sathanas” or even “The Angel and the Dark River”… yes, I would stand by its classic potential and its ability to age very well. The thing is, outside of the fans of this style of music, I would venture that its not a ten. But within its contextual field, yes, perfect, touchdown, penis. I haven’t gotten bored by it, but I like slow music, so I suppose you could say I am a bit biased in my assessment. It has certainly opened up musical avenues that are dying to be explored. Thou’s album is in my top 10 albums right now, but I haven’t really given it enough spins to tell if its the best in my collection. It is up there though. And I promise you, I won’t always be enthusiastically handing out shining reviews to every band that comes around, I have only had the opportunity to eviscerate one mediocre band so far, and it is only a matter of time. Its just that I have been choosing bands that I figured I would like at first, to get warmed up.”

Another band of slow heavies from New Orleans, following in the deep muddy footprints of the original NOLA sludgelords Eyehategod, and while Thou do in fact share much sonically with their legendary forefathers, they inject way more melody into the proceedings, some stretches are downright pretty, still caked in filth and crust, but weirdly melodic and pretty. In fact in some ways, Thou seem to be drawing on true UK doom for inspiration as much as their fellow NOLA noisemakers, Paradise Lost, old Cathedral, My Dying Bride, sure the vocals are harsh and throat shredding, the drums a lugubrious pound, the rhythm a lurching almost groove, but the melodies and the arrangements almost soar at times, the sound epic and massive, the melodies expanding what might otherwise be more of the same old sludge, in fact there are long stretches of undulating heaviness where the riff becomes a sprawl of near static buzz, and harmonies glisten and drift over the top, but it's never long before the band slip back into their grinding downtuned lumber and pummel. Fans of the usual dooooooomy crawl will not be disappointed, if you love Moss, Monarch, Corrupted, Trees, Bunkur, you'll pretty much definitely dig this, but Thou mix it enough to maybe convince some of the more skeptical freaks out there, that there's more to sludge than just pummel and pound. Definitely recommended.

Baton Rouge Louisiana natives Thou are one of the reasons that the South seems to be a serious Mecca for heavy music. Thou are one part doom, one part noise and one part pure-chaos. As the world of doom music begins to shows its age bands like Thou, Corrupted and others are taking the next logical step in the evolution of the art form. There are several things about Thou that impress me not the least of which is the fact that they seem to operate under a certain veil of secrecy most bands would avoid like the plague. As I went to research the band I found very little about who they are as individuals or even really what they look like beyond some cloudy live shots. You’d think being a writer I’d find the whole thing seriously annoying but to the contrary I found it refreshing. Most bands spend just as much time playing dancing bear for media vampires like me as they do making music by posing for pictures, writing lengthy bios and so forth. Thou do have a my space page but it only contains music, their website is either straight ahead info on their releases or lyrics but little else. From what I could piece together Thou has been around since about 2005 or so playing local shows and refining their sound which is made up of thick slabs of guitar that take the idea of the “riff” and solidify it into a wall of pure destruction. From there they add down tempo drum work and then crush the whole thing together with a bottom end so heavy it might actually tear the fabric of the space time continuum. Vocally Thou sound like Satan caught in a bear trap or the sound you might imagine Cthulhu to make when he’s angered. It’s primal, elemental and actually unsettling. So many bands in extreme music try to be scary and unnerving but Thou actually pull it off. Thou’s first release came in 2007 in the form of something called the “Tour Demo”. From there the band wrote and released their first full-length album titled “Tyrant”. Tyrant came out first on vinyl via One Eye Records and then CD through Morbid Massakre. The Tyrant album was a brilliant launching pad for Thou who used it to establish themselves as a massive new force in music. From there the band released a few EPs and continued to tour before recording their newest full length “Peasant” out on Kitchen Autopsy Records. Once again Thou have outdone themselves with brutal, heavy, and epic sounding music. Peasant is the raw power of Tyrant but with a new appreciation of both dynamics and negative space. Part of what makes the new album so wonderful isn’t just what’s there but also what isn’t. The way each note hangs suspended over your head before caving it in. Peasant isn’t just a doom record or a noise record, it’s something else and trying to discover what this is becomes part of the beauty of the record. Finding beauty in ugliness is never easy but Thou have found a way to do it and thankfully they’re letting us in on it.

They come from Baton Rouge, which isn't too far removed from NOLA, so if "Eyehategod" is the first thing that comes to mind, well, there's a good reason for that. This is classic, fuzzed-out sludge / doom very much in the vein of Eyehategod, fueled by nasty fuzz guitar soaked in gasoline, leviathan basslines capable of making refrigerators levitate, assloads of alienation, and lots of pained shrieking. Like a lot of Louisiana doom bands, their sound is basically the blues slowed down to 16 RPM and played through a towering stack of amplifiers set on maximum fuzz; this is music made to be felt as much as heard, and they certainly have a tremendously physical presence. The six long, lumbering tracks here are periodically leavened with keening feedback, and at times the heaviness factor resembles a black hole collapsing. Their strategy most of the time is to share their alienation by erasing the listener's face one slow, tortured riff at a time, but they throw a few curve balls from time to time; on "The Work Ethic Myth," they incorporate uneasy waves of dissonance into their brontosaurus stomp, and on "Belt of Fire to Guide Me, Cloak of Night to Hide Me," they open with a relatively clean bass line and borderline jazz drums before descending into subsonic audio hell. On "Burning Black Coals and Dark Memories," the guitar has a dark, psychedelic feel at the beginning, and the initial riffing of "The Road of Many Names" is much faster than anything else on the record (although the tempo slows to a crawl soon enough). There's nothing spectacularly new happening here -- this is standard-issue doom -- but it's very, very convincing and supremely relentless in its soul-crushing intensity.

What we have here is a stinking, festering, mossy slab of sludge. From Baton Rouge, Louisiana, no less. With Peasant, Thou prestents six tracks of fuzzy, yet heavy doom. It’s really nothing we’ve never heard before, but they do some things pretty well (though not often enough). Like a lot of new doom acts, Thou is sort of a genre blender mixing classic southern sludge with post-rock and extra bluesy riffs. Yeah, I know blues isn’t anything new to the genre, but I swear, some of these riffs sound like a Muddy Waters tune. Unfortunately, they don’t quite blend enough. Opening track “The Work Ethic Myth” had my hope up pretty high. Its like a mix between Graves At Sea and Pelican. The lilting, bittersweet melody is really effective. However, without many turns in the songwritting and just being under 6 minutes, it does try my patience. Second cut “An Age Imprisoned” introduces that bluesy stuff I was talking about. It’s actually kind of happy. Reminds me of Jesu a little bit. Unfortunately that riff only shows up twice in the entire 11 minutes of this track. The closing 3 minutes are pretty cool, though. A droning, feedback ridden funeral dirge which makes you wonder if it’ll ever end (in a good way). “Belt of Fire to Guid Me Cloak of Night to Hide Me” didn’t really strike me as anything too special. Just some more heavy sludge riffing. There is a nice slow down section in the middle that does well to add vartiation in the songwritting. “Burning Black Coals And Dark Memories” marks a return of the post-rock influence. The first half of this track is really quite wonderful. After a soft, plodding opening, it explodes into a downpour of meloncholly. Unfortunately, the second half is back to the same ol’ sludge as usual. Last two tracks “They Stretch Out Their Hands” and “The Road of Many Names” are pretty much the same deal. No frills, monotonous doom. Though, the closing to “The Road…” is pretty sweet. Shrill, staticy feedback rings out and fades as a solitary melody is played on a clean guitar, which also fades in time. Thought that was a pretty haunting closer. If you’re just looking for sludgy doom, then look no further. These guys deliver. But if you’re looking for something more, don’t bother. Peasant comes really close to being something special, if they’d only have gone the extra mile. More blues and MUCH more post-rock influence could have made this a stand out album. Like a Jambalaya without enough spice, it really doesn’t stand out. Just the same old sludge, unfortunately (wow, I’ve said that word a lot in this review).

Thou is the howling sound of eternal isolation, forged in steel with the knowledge that the mind that controls the blade is more powerful than the blade itself. These four tracks are monumental acheivements in metal/post rock song structuring. Monolithic and majestic, they crawl by at a Brontosaurus pace, unstoppable and life-changing. Pan down, and a vile beast, a gremlin troll hangs from the underside of the behemoth, howling his miseries in a reflecting of the utter horror and ruin that the peoplescape below him presents. “The Work Ethic Myth” questions the yoke that we are all born into, the one that Christianity tells us is our “cross to bear.” Centuries of blind worship of the rich are held in intense contempt: “We drag boulders a thousand leagues to erect their palaces.” Far from a communist polemic, the singer proclaims everyone who is under this yoke to be guilty by participation, “spineless bastards, all” including, presumably, the author himself. “An Age Imprisoned” recalls both Arthur Rimbaud and Rudimentary Peni in the comparison of the human body to a tomb. The somewhat uplifting (for a doom riff) sound of the music underlies an exorcism of immense proportions. A life spent under horrifying distractions, a life at war with society. Imprisonment not only of the body, but of this planet. The song ends on a sobering note, the steady rhythm slows to a crawl and the listener is engulfed in the tide of ages. If the four tracks on this record can be compared to seasons, then this is the long, dark, and beautiful snowy winter. Side B opens with the astoundingly catchy “Belt of Fire” riff, somewhere between Black Sabbath and perscription-strength Tibetan Quaaludes. From the perspective of an individual at war with society, this track destroys any previous notions of adventure metal. Thou's guitarists follow one classic riff with another, in record time. For such a slow record, it is amazing how much ground is covered, and how many incredible riffs are dispersed. The fantastical lyrics are evocative of battles far away and battles nearby, swords cleaving flesh and burning villages. This is where life and war become one, a never ending battle for peace, an illusion achieved by the doings of the iron fist. Thou stands up among its peers, picks up the bone, and slaughters the competition. The final fourth of this record is the rather introspective “Burning Black Coals and Dark Memories.” Having a more wistful sound than the other tracks, it is a surprise when the harsh vocals and solid drums come in after a short bit of ethereal guitar. The inside artwork of a Promethean man floating downstream comes to mind during this song. Fans of New Orleans Heavy Metal will find much to love in the straightforward and brutal music that Thou presents on this disc. Much in the “No Gods, No Masters” attitude of Amebix, Thou represents a search for meaning among the human wasteland, and “Peasant” is a cathartic diary of transformation and self-awareness. A groundbreaking release from an important band.

Depois do brutal Tyrant que já falei aqui,segue agora mais um marco na carreira desta banda norte americana que aos poucos se tem tornado uma das minhas preferidas dentro do universo Sludge talvez mesmo a favorita hoje em dia. È inegavel mais uma vez o legado EHG (um dos pioneiros do genero) tal como no album anterior mas para alem do obvio existem outras coisas que convem destacar. Para alem do tsunami sonoro comparavel a um rio de lava que vai queimando tudo por onde passa é adicionada uma certa melodia para dentro daquele vortex sonoro que lhe confere um carisma sufocamente e profundo. E estas duas palavras são as que mais se identificam com este "Peasant" que de camponio nada tem a não ser que nos sintamos seguidos por uma personagem ao jeito de um Leatherface no meio de uma aldeia perdida, daquelas á maneira americana. Um sonho que se vai transformando num pesadelo e que se arrasta por entre cada nervo que possuimos no corpo nos deixa de rastos sem vontade para seguir em frente ou de olhar para fora da janela. Mais uma vez com uma capacidade lirica fora do comum e a qual se envolve de uma maneira sinistra por dentro de cada nota musical que a banda atira para fora das colunas só engrandece ainda mais este conjunto de musicas melancolicamente excelentes todas elas. É incrivel mas aquilo que conheço desta jovem banda (toda a discografia,depois deste album ja sairam mais dois eps) não encontro um unico tema que não encaixe na minha mente ou não tenha algo que me faça trepar as paredes. Sinistro,alucinante,pesadão,obscuro e demente são palavras que definem uma das melhores bandas dos dias de hoje dentro do genero e herdeiros quase naturais do legado EHG e Burning Witch. Soa a excesso não soa? Pois bem para mim não,nada mesmo....

Another excellent disc of ultra slow heaviness from Thou, the young Baton Rouge outfit that has been taking the doom/sludge underground by storm this year with their debut Tyrant and recent U.S. tour, reports of which have been coming back with the assessement that Thou kill fucking everything. Louisiana and New Orleans have been the breeding grounds for leagues of sludge metal bands, Eyehategod and Crowbar obviously the overlords of that particular little pocket of underground metal, but every once in a while we get a band that comes out of that scene and pushes the swampy sludge/doom sound further out, putting their own unique stamp on it, and such is the case with Thou. I hear alot of NOLA's Eyehategod in the deep, bluesy sludge, but the riffs are even heavier, more metal, with a massive fucking tone that sounds like none other than the mighty Warhorse, whose guitars were some of the heaviest ever heard. But it is the amazing melodies that Thou brings to their pulverizing slomo metal that really makes them stand out, each song possessed by gorgeous sections of near-pastoral prettiness, or soaring, majestic leads. Peasent delivers six long tracks of crushing, crusty doom and viscous sludge, and fans of Tyrant will find more of what they loved about that album...blackened, evil shrieks and raspy, shredded near-whispers, ultra-crushing detuned riffage, sprawling song structures that move dramatically from epic crush and bluesy riffing to bittersweet melody. Opener "The Work Ethic Myth" evokes the sorrowful dirge of Crowbar but with delicate guitar filigree wisping out from the grinding undercurrent, while "Burning Black Coals and Dark Memories" opens with a beautifully moving clean guitar melody a la Mono before descending into a morass of tarpit droneriffage, feedback stretched into massive warbling whale songs and swirls of spacey effects. Fans of extreme doom and sludge metal have a lot to dig in to here, if yer already a devotee of bands like Corrupted, Monarch, Khanate, Trees, but Thou take it further than that, bringing a majestic, Temporary Residence/Mono/Explosions In The Sky sort of melodic beauty to their music that never takes away from the sheer grinding, lumbering CRUSH of their music. Like the last album, this is accompanied by terrific red-and-black imagery taken from old woodcut style art, which illustrates the social/political undercurrents in Thou's lyrics through apocalyptic visions and symbols, rendered in eye-popping high contrast. Recommended!

Thou make a brand of gut rumbling doom/sludge with a distinctive American tinged flavour to it, adding in elements of bastardized country rock, grunge, dramatic/ atmospheric American rock and blues. Peasant is this five pieces second album. But please don’t be put off by my mention of other musical genres than doom; this doom through and through, it’s just the band nicely and distinctively manage to mix in theses other flavours with out taking away from the choking, bog pulling and led weight doom vibe. On offer are 6 tracks that run from around the 5 minute mark to near on 12 mintues; the pace goes from rumbling deep doom chugs and low scapes littered with sand paper vocals, to feed back lit harmonic country rock risers that sink into doom Myers, to sludgy slow doom groove rides down and down. A competent and original sounding second album of doom craft that balances swamped sludgy doom vibe with more atmospheric and tuneful grains.

Like a real-life 50's EC comic begging to get banned by itself (the state legislature passed a law in the 80's making it a felony to sell any record that advocated committing a crime), Louisiana oozes death, corruption, saturated color and animal sensuality. Is it any wonder the state is fast becoming America's top doom producer? Or that demand for the most potent stuff is such that Thou's summer tour found them playing in California?
The number might seem odd, but only until you've heard the Baton Rouge-based quintet's second album. "We have paved the roads that have led to our own oppression / Fear of the unknown, of rejection, has put brutes and villains in power", singer Bryan Funcke rasps as if pushing 300 year old air out of mummified lungs at the beginning of "Work Ethic Myth". Terry Gullino's black-hole drumming and bassist Mitch Wells' ocean-floor riffs anchor the creeping polemic, keeping it's suffocation factor high enough for guitarists Matthew Thudium and Andy Gibbs to post-rock the endless night away with gorgeously chorded passages the likes of Explosions in the Sky could only learn from.
Not everything on the album is dense; the power of "Belt Of Fire to Guide Me, Cloak Of Night to Hide Me" lies largely in the tension between Wells' Mesozoic field-hollers, the guitarists' poignant, classically informed melodies and the masses of air between them. But consistently generating variety in constricting situations ("slow" plus "slow" always equals "slow") is one of Thou's innumerable strengths.
Rod Smith - Decibel Magazine

Holy all things that are slow and heavy please welcome Thou. This is again a genre crossing Doom project . There are elements of Black Metal (in the Vocals and guitar movements), Sludge/Crust in the Bass and lumbering Drums all wrapped up in the dark metal genre bands like Bethlehem, Shining, Dolorian and Deinonychus have mastered over the years. Autopsy Kitchen is a label of extremen and Thou fit that mold perfectly with Peasant. I know some will call me crazy but if Thergothon and Xasthur could merge as one unit I think it would sound like Thou!!!. You can feel the suicidal winds blow in the tone and riffs that are coming at you like a sloth about to die.. Some here also love Khanate and Burning Witch very much as well. If your a doom fan that likes atmosphere and blackened vocals you will put this on your top 10 for 2008 for sure.
Absolute Zero Media -

Don't know what it is about Louisiana that brings out the mired-in-tar thickened sludge sound, but whatever, keep it coming. Thou are on their sophomore album -- the first for these ears -- and seem to have their sights set on the top of the blackened doom / earthy sludge heap. Primarily sticking to the kind of slow, unworldly tempos mandated by the use of massively detuned guitars, off rhythm, improvised percussion (heavy on the hi hats) pulling down the diversifying quota, _Peasant_ does little to telegraph its evolution from one song to another, but whether listening actively or passively one never gets a sense of repetition. "The Work Ethic Myth" has an almost Crowbar-like sense of undertow and dirge-like sorrow. And while the lyrics don't delve too deeply into the plight of the blue collar class, I've certainly heard much worse lyrics this year than "We are the accomplice class: footstools for our masters, spineless bastards all". Thou offer that relatively brief opener before diving right into the album's magnum opus, "An Age Imprisoned", an extended gaze into a musical abyss in which the guitars drop one chord after another into the fathomless black, pausing a bar or two to listen for an echo that isn't coming. By the seven minute mark even the drums and vocals have been swallowed whole. "Burning Black Coals and Dark Memories" retains the blackened doom foundation while adding a veneer of shard like post-metal guitar riffs. "The Road of Many Names" ultimately finishes things off with a quicker, more typically southern feel, maybe early High on Fire played with old Carcass / Bolt Thrower tuning. Throughout it's the instrumentation that shines, Bryan Funck's vocals being subsumed by the sheer vacuum of brutality the guitars and rhythm section generate in their wake. It's difficult to say whether this is due to Funck's merely serviceable chops or whether it's the production itself hamstringing his abilities. Tell you what though: next time they roll through town I'm up for giving him a chance to prove himself where it counts.

Louisiana’s Thou return with their second full-length, entitled “Peasant”, and released as a joint effort between Level Plane and the anxiety inducing Autopsy Kitchen Records. Thou play a melancholic version of bludgeoning, droning doom with vocals patterned after Michael Williams’ tortured shrieks from fellow Louisiana residents Eyehategod. Not being familiar with Thou, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but “Peasant” is mostly intoxicatingly heavy doom with a few touches of melancholic riffing, a generally glacial pace, and a crushing atmosphere. Throw in the aforementioned vocals, and you end up with a sound on “Peasant” that basically comes across as a slower version of Eyehategod with, perhaps, more emphasis placed upon an oozing heaviness. Overall, “Peasant” isn’t all that bad, but I do find my attention wandering some as the album tends to lose focus and meander around somewhat. At times, however, Thou seem to really nail what they’re doing in terms of songwriting, and I find myself taking great interest. It’s almost as if the band awakens from a wandering stupor and realizes that they’re supposed to be writing some interesting riffs. Most of these moments come when the pace picks up a bit, or when the riffs take on a melancholic tone without becoming too saccharine or patterned after the British melodic doom bands. These moments are all too fleeting, however, and, ultimately, I come away from “Peasant” somewhat disappointed. I get the impression that this album could’ve been a lot better, and a great deal of potential may lie within Thou. In short, “Peasant” does have it moments, but, for now, I’m afraid that I really can’t recommend this album except for the hard core doom fanatics out there.



Ensepulchred "Suicide In Winter's Moonlight" Reviews

There aren't a whole lot of grim black metal hordes who call Indiana home as far as we know. In fact we can't think of any, other than this here trio, Ensepulchred. But these guys don't really sound like they're from Indiana at all. In fact they don't really even sound like they're from Norway. Or Sweden, Or Finland, Or any other nation of renowned musical blackness. They sound a whole lot more like they're from Italy, and from the mid seventies. Where they spend all their time wandering in fog shrouded graveyards, lurking in crumbling old cathedrals, terrorizing nightgown clad boarding school girls, digging up dead bodies, AND SCORING IMAGINARY SEVENTIES BLACK METAL ITALIAN HORROR MOVIES!! Ensepulchred weave their buzzing blackness from thick walls of horror-movie synth, so much so in fact that most of the time, we're hard pressed to hear any guitar at all. Little bits of buzz here and there, but the riffs are mostly handled by keyboards. A creepy midnight world of gauzy, dramatic and cinematic Goblin like sweeps and swells, over simple programmed beats, howled harsh vocals, the melodies haunting and minor key, evoking all sorts of chilling atmospheres and blood curdling ambience. Suicide In Winter's Moonlight indeed. Dark depressive, doomy, but eyes closed, this is the sound of some misty moor, some darkened castle, a haunted bog, the world painted red with blood, the air alive with the terrified screams of dying virgins, the rattle of bones and the whispering wind, the sound of death, and dying, of misery and hopelessness, the sound of panic and mayhem and terror and horror. Ever wonder what a black metal Goblin might sound like... Or if Argento had Nortt or Xasthur score Suspiria...

Lo-fi black metal is always hit or miss with the critics. Such is the case with Ensepulchred, a band that mixes bizarre and creepy vocals with keyboard work that sounds like it was done with a Casio keyboard. Opinions of this group’s numerous releases have been divided, and now Autopsy Kitchen Records is issuing their latest album, Suicide in Winter’s Moonlight. Though it may not be for everyone, if you don’t mind something different and extremely lo-fi then give this one a go. As soon as the album begins, it becomes clear that Ensepulchred is not your average black metal band. There are no blasting guitar riffs to be found here, though there is a hint of guitar here and there. Rather than focusing on guitar, the band has made every song driven by keyboard and drum machines. Though these may be extremely lo fi, they add quite a bit of atmosphere to the music and make Ensepulchred sound nothing like anything in the black metal genre. Some people may hear the sometimes cheap sounding keyboard arrangements and feel that they could do better themselves, but others will find it strangely addicting. Even if the instrumentals don’t stick with you, the vocals are sure to. Even for black metal, the vocals are some of the craziest fans will have heard. The majority of the vocals consist of electronically manipulated screams, giving the music an almost alien feel. But on songs such as “Land of the Unholy” the manipulation is turned off and the vocals become a soft and menacing whisper. This group’s ideas are quite innovative, and there is nothing else out there that sounds quite like it. Suicide in Winter’s Moonlight is one of those albums you immediately love or hate. If you enjoy lo-fi sounds that sound as though they were generated using MIDI format and want to hear a vocal style that sounds like nothing else out there, definitely check out this new album from Ensepulchred. It can’t be said that this is an overly technical album, but that doesn’t stop it from being a strangely entrancing listen and is worth experiencing simply for a change from the norm.

I’ve had a soft spot for Ensepulchred Mix of keyboard heavy almost guitar stripped Black Metal, Horror film synth grimness & electro noise since their excellent debut album in 06- So it’s a really treat to have another hit from them so soon. This brings together near on an hour of rare out-of Print Cdr only material & I’m happy to report it’s as good as the material on their debut. With all the tracks having their own merits, with no throw away tracks which can sometimes appear on this type of compilation. What you get is a mix of creepy, grim and often memorable synth work , galloped over by competent drum machine playing that fits the material well & of course nice ‘n’ nasty black metal growls and grunts. Guitar and bass elements are used sparingly letting the three key focus be the synth, drums and vocals. They also put horror film samples here and there that for the most part are effective and not over played, on one track they even use the epilogue narration from the original Texas Chainsaw massacre which in theory shouldn’t work but somehow it does fit in well at the end of a track as grim and sinister synth ebbs around it. I guess if you were to compared the material here with their debut album this is a little bit more approachable and less burnt by noise elements. All in all a band who are managing to sound grim & true but also original and creative. This like their debut is a must have item for those who enjoyed their black metal atmospheric and a little different.
Roger Batty -

Self-released sometime last year, Autopsy Kitchen records has seen fit to reissue Ensepulchred’s (formerly Blood of Transylvania) debut full-length, featuring sixteen tracks of unique electronic ambient black metal. The approach is very similar to 2006’s The Night Our Rituals Blackened the Stars, with harsh, processed vocals lurking just below the distorted, symphonic mid-paced digital riffs, and fans of that album would do well to pick this one up.

As metal continues mutating in different directions for a new century, sometimes it's all down to the mix. That's definitely the case on Ensepulchred's Suicide in Winter's Moonlight, originally released on CD-R in 2006 and re-released with an expanded track list the following year on Autopsy Kitchen. While the mix of dramatic, minor-chord keyboard parts and raging feedback and breathless screaming is familiar, prioritizing the former over the latter might seem counterintuitive. But it gives the album a weird, compelling feeling throughout — if the love for the Cure's synth-heavy Seventeen Seconds album had long been a modern metal touchstone via acts like Misery Loves Co., Katatonia and many compatriots, its impact is redoubled here. Dustin Redington's descending or minimal melodies, set against the straightforward, older sounding drum programming by Owen Barker, makes for a through the looking glass experience given their lead roles. The church organ feeling on a variety of songs such as "Asylum" and "Land of the Unholy" calls deeper roots forward, from religious music to the likes of Procol Harum. In contrast, Redington's guitar work acts most often as buried glaze and at other times is entirely absent, while Johnathan Shipley's vocals are swathed in murk and distortion, turning the still strong stereotypes of what metal "should" sound like on their heads as a result. Again, none of the elements are new, while the album suffers from a perhaps inevitable one-note feeling as it progresses — variety is there but is often quite subtle, like the calmer keyboard/vocal break on "The Tormented Mind" — yet Suicide in Winter's Moonlight still has its place as an intriguing listen.

The American Midwest (Indiana) brings us a relatively new Black Metal outfit called Ensepulchred, originally formed in 2005. Late last year Autopsy Kitchen Records re-released the bands 2006 album Suicide In Winter’s Moonlight which is a creepy sounding collection of sixteen songs which musically comes across more like a B-Horror movie soundtrack than a traditional sounding Black Metal album. The vocals, if you want to call them that, are handled by Johnathan Shipley, and to be quite honest his gargling, raw throat delivery is pretty much the only amusing thing about Suicide In Winter’s Moonlight. There are pretty much no guitars to speak of as the band instead allows a heavy dose of simplistic and repetitive sounding keyboards along with a drum machine to dominate the mix. This lack of diversity renders the songs interchangeable and as such the act begins to wear thin pretty quick, certainly before well before you reach track number sixteen. Pass on this one.

Autopsy Kitchen Records has decided to reissue the first album by Indiana’s Ensepulchred. What you get here is the perfect mixture of ambience and black metal. The keyboards are used heavily and create a very depressing melancholic and mysterious atmosphere. The black metal portion of the album is mostly the drums (which are done with a machine) and vocals. The guitars are not very noticeable on here and when they are they are going along with the ambiance rather than the black metal influenced side of the music. Most of the songs seem to follow a similar structure while each song remains unique from the others i.e. not one of those cds where every song sounds exactly the same. There is really not a bad song on this cd. This entire album is a good listen that will take you on a journey through the minds of these artists from Indiana. All in all this is a very good cd that has a unique mixture of ambience and black metal. I would recommend this cd to anyone who has an interest in ambient music such as Boreal and early first era Mortiis. Some black metal fans may be drawn to this release too.

This one was originally released as a CD-R in just a few copies, but the autopsy weirdoes picked it up, launched a new layout and added a couple of new songs, and it´s available for even more weird people. Scary vocals with guitars, drums and keyboards sort of embracing the vocals in a way. Weird shit, but still pretty cool. It´s not music as we know it, but more of a strange thing that you could have as background music, I would assume. (b)

Ensepulchred frappe très fort avec cet album impressionnant de maîtrise, qui nous renvoie à l’essence du vrai black métal comme il devrait l'être pratiqué !!! On a affaire à du dark métal qui s'inspire aussi des ambiances sonores de certains films d'horreurs tout en restant de haut vol, plutôt orienté black métal mysanthropique certes, mais sans qu’on puisse réellement le résumer et c'est sans doute pour cela que cet album s'écoute assez facilement au final. Chaque morceau regorge de trouvailles et cet opus nous réserve même quelques moments d’anthologie comme les titres "Eyes And Shadows", "Macabre", le puissant et hypnotique "Suffer In The Embrace Of The Cold" et "The Cruel Silence Of The Sky" qui laissent place à un black plus violent et aux tempos plus soutenus tout au long de l’album. Voilà donc un groupe qui possède un potentiel énorme, alors ruez vous sur cet album car il est tout simplement viscéral.

When I heard I was receiving a re-release of Ensepulchred's debut album, I didn't quite know what to expect. The Night Our Rituals Blackened the Stars proved quirky and somewhat flawed, but evoked a sense of cinematic playfulness that made the album's wildly inaccurate hype of "Emperor meets Xasthur" seem like a pale dismissal in comparison. Suicide in the Winter's Moonlight is more or less more of the same, which is probably a poor way to start this review, considering it's intentionally unlike anything else out there. Imagine dreary stretches of Casio dirge, stuttering electronics, and the occasional unassuming (what sounds like) xylophone counterpoint swelling around tinny programmed drums and tweaked out static manipulation, sprinkled with the occasional sample from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and various documentary clips of morbid subject matter, and you'll come pretty close to where Ensepulchred lie. It's sort of a noxious stew of Limbonic Art, Merzbow, and Goblin. Clearly, polarizing genre purists need not apply. The performance itself is skeletal. The vocalist sort of sermonizes with a trollish, effect-loaded croak; nothing terribly exciting or bad, but it would be nice if he didn't feel the apparently insatiable urge to be saying something every second of the album. The beats are metronomic. The bass...? don't look at me. These minimalistic arrangements exist to singlemindedly evoke an atmosphere that's quite harrowing and eerie, but not necessarily in a skin-crawling Abruptum kind of way; some parts -- the last minute of "Land of the Unholy," for instance -- are quite pristine, while the song "Macabre" sounds like it could have come from one of the sweeping chamber music segments of Sigh's Hail Horror Hail. 90% of the time, the guitar's close to inaudible. At the climax of the song "Flesh," some vague traces of what sounds like a lead emerge, but buried as a spectral blur streaking beneath layers of 70's Italian horror cheese. Most of the time, the guitar's limited to a hint of white noise in the foreground trailing behind the keyboards as a lead instrument, similar to the German dark ambient/black metal act Vinterriket, except inspired by Dawn of the Dead rather than winter and forests. It's sorta bad at face value, but in a good kind of way -- anyone who's grabbed by movie titles like "Boa vs. Python" should know what I mean. (Not to say Boa vs. Python was a good movie, because it was far from it. I wanted to see exploding helicopters and terrified pedestrians as promised on the DVD cover, not GCI snake cunnilingus. But I digress...) Balance is something Ensepulchred need to work on. There are sixteen songs here, most of which are barely three minutes. Aside from a few highlights, they tend to plod along without allowing themselves room for much development, therefore they tend to bleed into eachother. And even when they do have enough space, it's like they don't know what to do with it. Just when the last song gains momentum and broadcasts some well-structured material -- *bzzfhhzhzz* -- the track is abducted by a sheet of bubbling, hissing noise drone. This is scarcely forgiven by the virtue of the fact the album comes off as a fictional soundtrack, which doesn't really have to play by the compositional rules if it achieves the atmosphere for which it sets out. Ensepulchred are often kind of stumbing and inept, but also weird and strangely addicting. I recommend this as more of an obscure curiosity than anything. Like a monster suit in an old horror movie, Suicide in the Winter's Moonlight is not always convincing, and sometimes you can even see the zipper on the back, but it's not without its esoteric charm.

Indiana's favorite (maybe only) black metal band is definitely different, with a sound that's built around the unashamed use of a drum machine and heavy keyboard dirges; the result is a cinematic sound perhaps matched only in American black metal by Wormwood, who apparently share their fascination for creepy foreign horror soundtracks. This "new" album is actually a reissue of the band's first release, which was originally released on cd-r in an extremely limited run, with the addition (I think) of a few extra songs, but the sound is not terribly far removed from the sound of their earlier AKR release, THE NIGHT OUR RITUALS BLACKENED THE STARS. One of the most interesting things about the band's sound is how they invert black metal's classic sound; here the keyboards and pounding drum machine are way up front in the mix, so much so, in fact, that the guitar is buried so far in the background as to be nearly or completely inaudible most of the time. They're from the lo-fi school, though, which means you're not likely to mistake this for Dimmu Borgir or anything like that (a good thing in my book), and in a genre cluttered with eccentric vocalists, theirs is one of the more unique ones, with a (often processed) voice that you will either love or hate, without much middle ground. The dominance of keyboards comes close to putting this in ambient territory at times, and they completely nail the lost, mournful sound endemic to the best keyboard-heavy lo-fi proponents of black metal. While the songs are nowhere near as layered and ornate as those of Xasthur, they're certainly in the ballpark of that band's legendarily depressed sound; structurally they have much in common with Striborg without descending to that band's level of awesomely no-fi production. A lot of people seem to be agitated about the lack of guitar and preponderance of horror-flick keyboards, but those people are wrong. This is great stuff, simultaneously faithful to the ideals of lo-fi black metal while forging a unique sound of its own, no mean feat given how cluttered the genre has become with bands strip-mining the same raw material. At sixteen tracks, this is probably too long -- with such repetitive music, a little goes a long way -- but given how good the individual tracks are, I'd rather have it all even if it does make the album a tad too long for its own good. Bonus points for the pounding drum machine, and for not attempting to hide it, either.

This album is actually a CD reedition of the first 2006 limited CD-Rs. New layout and some newly recorded tracks, according to Autopsy Kitchen Rec. website. The anatomic depiction of the cover might make some think we're going to get some bloody gore/grind: not at all! Althoug Ensepulchred is ambient black metal, one must admit the morbid isn't absent from this album although it shows more facets. “Suicide In Winter's Moonlight” rather consists in short tracks. The sound of synths is prominent, the guitars are a bit secundary, they don't have a massive or rich sound, but tend to remain discrete. Guitars may sound rather electronic as on “The cruel silence of sky”. Let's notice this bass/guitar variant in the end of 5th track: interesting, so that we'd like to have more of such fineries. No tremolos or agitation in the playing: calm guitar's riffs are placed usually at the same time as synths' chords... It may seem minimalist, but it sounds quite good. Some hi-hat sounds f.i. don't sound really nice: artificial, electronic. Black metal listeners sometimes don't mind sometimes can't bear it. Therefore, the point that could improve the music is the sound of the drum machine. Of course, this is a typical problem: either finding a good drummer, or finding good drum's sounds. As there's a tendency to get inspired from ambient and noisy musical genres, other sounds, alien to usual metal genre might be used instead of electronic hi-hat and crashes. Effectively: the integration of noise, samples to the music is rather successful (05). The introductory track (01), the beginning of “Flesh” or in the “outro”, the end of the last track they are well used, they fit the atmosphere and the concept. But let's note the whole album but synths' part has some parasites here and there. Together with the sound, the voice, this builds an interesting noisy experimental approach. By the way, let's have a couple of remarks about the voice. The voice is quite crushed, aggressive, more or less hateful, much modified. It may remind Emperor's on “Wrath of The Tyrant”, although less hateful, less scorched, more discrete and distant. It also shares some similarities with Abigor's vocals on the collection of demos “Origo Regium” (10, 14), but it is calmer, a bit more electronic sounding, with some noises, parasites... A distorted whispering sometimes replaces the usual scorched voice, as on the intro of “Blood from the North”. Although it could be more hateful and expressive, this voice is a positive point! But the voice wouldn't be that nice if it couldn't oppose to something sweeter. Synths tend to play simple melodies, but quite efficient tunes. Their melodies usually develop slowly and/or they rather consist of repetitive parts. It will sound too repetitive, even monotonous for some listeners. But, tracks' melodies such as on “The Eulogy of One Poignant Rapor” are definitely catchy and are able to make us forget it. This music appears to be based on synth, it's ambient black metal, not symphonic (except maybe on Twilight of War). It invokes dark insane malefic atmospheres (06), rather not depressive, slow, steady, not brutal, sometimes gore (Macabre), more often mysterious (Asylum), or funeral (Eyes and Shadows)... This may be strange looking at the title of the album. Specificity of Ensepulchred, on “Twilight of War”, the ambiguousness of atmosphere is particularly well developed. The listener is trapped between an anguishing and a rather melancholic melody... It creates a weird atmosphere (Flesh f.i.). This album contains lots of good ideas. But, fussy listeners may get bored 'cos of the linearity of rhythm, the absence of changes in tempo, some sounds, the monotonous playing of guitar chords, key chords together and the global repetitiveness. But, this simplicity/minimalism cannot remove the value of some atmospheres! They are dark and weird, often original and they make us forget almost all negative points of this album. Simplicity is not a flaw in itself: it depends whether the essential is present or not. In terms of atmosphere, this album does reach an original one, although maybe not as suicidal as the title suggests... Thus, to avoid having false expectations, “Suicide in Winter's Moonlight” has to be taken as ambient black metal: dark, mysterious and morbid. Let's keep an eye on this formation. It might hide some good surprises for the future. For the moment, have a listen on Autopsy Kitchen Records' myspace.

I don't know 100% how to explain Ensepulchred its equal parts creepy synth based halloween music mixed with drum machines and black metal vocals. I don't really hear any guitars at all. This is synth based music for the dammed. I wouldn't say this is something I would listen to a lot but its vastly different to 90% of what is coming from the Black metal world currently. electro goth black symphonic and just plain grim. The vocals are effected in a way that actually make you sick and angry at the same time. Ensepulchred is very much a love/ hate project you need to hear it for yourself and see what side of the fence you sit with them. I know I will look for another release to see where a band like this can take a very interesting style.
Absolute Zero Media



Torch Of War "The Principle of Cosmic Instability" Reviews

The Principle of Cosmic Instability (Autopsy Kitchen, 2007) is probably the harshest recording I've ever heard. The music is plenty scathing, but the sound is an icepick in the ear. Imagine inverting metal's usual scooped EQ into a "frown," then boosting the midrange until something bleeds. This shit is painful. In fact, the sound is so blown out that I asked Autopsy Kitchen boss Jeffrey if it was a mistake. He said no, that he had mastered the album himself, and that the sound was originally even rougher!Given that it makes Darkthrone sound like Def Leppard, this record is beautifully clawing nastiness. It's one-man black metal, from a German named F. Nachzehrer. There are drums (probably from a machine), but they're really poundings for help inside walls of metallic abrasion. The vocals, too, are sandpaper as wallpaper.Once one acclimates to such scratchiness, melodies emerge. They're slicingly mournful, though, and not a concession to anything. Such extreme lo-fi sound is not normally my taste, but it's integral to these songs. In fact, it's kind of addictive. It hurts too much to turn up loudly, but it's marvelous as a grim, mid-level buzz.

Throughout my time reviewing music at Cosmos Gaming so far, I’ve reviewed some of the most extreme metal acts out there and enjoyed many of them. As far as I know, we were one of the few sites to enjoy Ensepulchred’s latest album, and even give Khlyst a semi decent review. So when I have to give something a negative review, it goes to show you just how bad that album really is. Such is the case with Germany’s Torch of War and their new album The Principle of Cosmic Instability. So what’s the big problem with this release? Nearly 10 seconds into turning the disc on this becomes immediately apparent: the instrumental work. Listening to Torch of War’s guitar work is similar to a buzz saw slowly drilling through your eardrums. Yes, it physically hurts to listen to this CD for extended periods of time, even at a semi low volume. In addition to this, this is a very low fi release meaning that the drums are barely audible over the screeching guitars. Not only that, but every song sounds the same meaning the same ear splitting riff will meet listeners on the entire album. The vocals are of your traditional black metal variety, though as with many low fi releases the shrieks of the vocalist sound as though they are far off in the background, with the instrumentals being the loudest element. Admittedly the shrieks are well done and fit the style of the genre, but most people are unlikely to notice this due to the ear shattering instrumentals. There also are some interesting lyrical ideas from time to time, but once again the instrumentals will prevent most from discovering this. I really wish there were more redeeming factors that I could talk about for this album, but The Principle of Cosmic Instability is honestly one of the worst releases I’ve heard make it out of any record label, underground or not. Apparently Autopsy Kitchen Records saw something in this band but I’m not seeing what it is, as this release is purely headache inducing. Skip this one and go for Ensepulchred or Marblebog, as Autopsy Kitchen has put out so much better.

One thing that has been baffling me lately is the increasing number of black metallers that record under multiple one-man bands. It's one thing if you are recording material that is so far removed from black metal (or whatever) that you would begin a new project to maintain the consistency of your vision, but I've been coming across more and more one-man bands all operated by the same dude that don't differ all that much from their "main" bands. F. Nachzehrer is a German black metaller who records under a couple of different names, including Regnum and Torch Of War, but this is the only thing that I've heard so far from him so it's impossible to state how this compares with his other projects. I can say, however, that Torch Of War delivers some of the harshest fucking black metal this side of Revenge and Diametregon. Seriously, when The Principles Of Cosmic Instability first kicks in with "What Is Sleeping In Bloodlines", Nachzehrer delivers a swift steel-studded gauntlet to the grill with ultra-distorted razorblade riffing that slices off this disc like a fucking cheese grater. The guitar is so trebly and overloaded that it really borders on white noise, a particular brand of guitar tone that I love to hear in black metal, and the savagery is ratcheted up a notch by the harsh distorted shrieks and buried drumming that switches back and forth between primal blastbeats and doomy breakdowns. Buried behind the harsh treble furnace, however, are catchy, melancholy melodic hooks and ripping riffs that'll stick top your ribs - totally top notch loner black metal that makes me think of Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger, if it had been mixed by Merzbow's Masami Akita with all levels pushed beyond the red. Total war scorch.

I had the unfortunate timing to hear The Principle of Cosmic Instability while in my car after listening to something on pretty loud volume. The sound that came out of the speakers was painful. Good thing I held onto the wheel with two hands, as Torch of War unleashes pure audiotorture slicing the eardrums with so overly shrill and piercing guitars the rest of the music may not even need to have been written. I am all for lo-fi black metal production as much as the next guy. There is absolutely something wrong with music called upon to express the person’s most inner feelings to be produced in a sterile environment on a cushy budget. I wonder, however, if Torch of War ran the eight tracks which compose The Principle of Cosmic Instability by anybody, and if that anybody, if he/she was not totally deaf, gave an approving opinion that the stuff here is really listenable. It is one thing to be raw, but it is totally over the top when you can be physically injuring yourself if experiencing this album under wrong circumstances. Germanic War Black Metal is supposed to be bruising, but one has to be able to listen to it all the way through to feel the impact. Taking it all in, multiple listens of this album, etc. weren’t something that appealed to me in the least. One neverending buzzsaw with the setting cranked to the max is what The Principle of Cosmic Instability sounds like. And it is not the buzzsaw which will slowly hypnotize you, eventually bringing on the trance. This is some of the worst kind you will find in the rundown hardware store, on clearance sale, the one that simply makes one level of noise, with or without cutting through any material. Not that the vocals would be of essence here, but Torch of War stuffs them deep. Bass – non-existent. Drums – whatever the blasting, D-beating, punk infused Darkthrony patterns are invoked, you only hear feeble clapping. Melody and riffs flow? If any of it is here (Wolf Among Sheep), an almost concerted effort is made to bury it under the wall of trilly and scathing guitar. You can’t listen to it loud, as mentioned above, for the risk your ears will bleed and you will have a day ruining headache, and you can’t listen to it quiet, as you wouldn’t be able to hear much, except the buzzsaw turning to hiss. Torch of War is the effort of one German F. Nachzehrer, the person behind a few other one-man black, occult and underground projects (Mensch Schmerz Interaktion, Moriturus/Regnum, Vexillum, Weltenkampf). Maybe if F. Nachzehrer’s attention was more focused, The Principle of Cosmic Instability would have been afforded a better production? That will remain a mystery, but if you are trying to communicate your ideas to the world, a more intelligible pathway will certainly garner more listeners paying attention. I could be completely and totally off my rocker here, so here is the challenge. If any of you black metal kvlt aficionados are interested, drop me a line, I will gladly mail you the album, postage covered, you will form your own opinion and a rebuttal will be posted.

Herr F. Nachzehrer released quite some demos, vinyl EPs and splits with his other bands Regnum and Weltenkampf, but this time his black metal one man band Torch of War released the debut full length “The Principle of Cosmic Instablilty”. According to Nachzehrer himself this album should have been released early 2007 but it got pushed back to late 2007. This album is filled with lo-fi minimalist black metal in the vein of old Judas Iscariot and Darkthrone’s “Transilvanian Hunger”. The sound is so scratchy, rough and ultra thin (drum computer and no bass) that it will actually hurt your ears when you turn up the volume. Still, the underground fanatic will be able to judge the potential of the music itself, which is sufficient enough to sit out the whole album. Torch of War is definitely for purists only as it doesn’t sound good…in a good way.

While the first full length release for Germanys Torch Of War, The Principle of Cosmic Instability may appear on the surface (black and white cover art, intriguing song titles etc...) to be a top quality production, looks in this case certainly are deceiving. After one listen to this mess it’s pretty apparent that the main man behind this creation, F. Nachzehrer, was a) either operating on an extremely low production budget or b) unwilling to make his music even somewhat listenable. My guess is it’s probably a combination of both. So what exactly is the problem with The Principle of Cosmic Instability? Well for starters, the guitar work is not only extremely repetitious throughout; it’s also mixed way up front so it drowns everything else out, making the drums and vocals practically inaudible. As for the bass, well its non existent. The guitar tone is so thin and tinny it actually makes for painful listening. Then there’s the songs themselves which practically all sound the same. You can’t determine where one song ends and another begins. I've probably said too much already but there just isn’t anything I can really recommend about The Principle of Cosmic Instability; except to avoid it.

Autopsy Kitchen Records has gone out sifting through the depths of Germany for some very harsh black metal in the form of one-man act Torch Of War. A highly abrasive collision between older Darkthrone and the “Az-I-Dahak”/ “Ordog”-era thinned out sensibilities of Black Funeral, Torch Of War effectively combines the elements of those classic acts into a fierce blast of caustic, cold air. What’s immediately striking about Torch Of War is the atrociously thin, fuzzed out production that hits you as a wall of noise that will literally hurt at high volume. Exceptionally low-fi in production quality, the guitars on “The Principle Of Cosmic Instability”, the debut full-length, virtually disappear in a sea of white noise, as would be the case with latter-day Black Funeral. However, Torch Of War eschew Black Funeral’s jarring, industrial approach for a more straightforward blast of Darkthrone- style black metal with, strangely enough, a full drum sound despite the thinness of the production. The combination of muted, higher pitched rasps, thin guitars, and full drums actually works here, and the songs are further enhanced by some downright catchiness to the riffing (which you can just barely make out of the static). As abrasive as the music is, you may actually find yourself humming along to some of the tracks! However, this is definitely an album to take in measured doses and a rather short running time of about 40 minutes or so definitely works to Torch Of War’s advantage. Any longer, frankly, and this album would be an exercise in auditory masochism. Recommended with the caveat that Torch Of War is an acquired listen, even for the “kvlt” amongst the readership.

This disc is the most poorly recorded and played black metal I've heard in a long time. It sounds as if it was recorded out in the woods somewhere on a Fisher Price tape recorder circa the 1970's. I've heard better drum sound from an old crappy Snoopy drum kit (it's worse than St. Anger, even!), and the guitar sound is absolutely horrendous.Save yourself the 35 minutes of aural torture and avoid this disc.

Straight in your face Black Metal, with crispy sound and pretty ugly vocals. This German act have put together a full album of aggressive music, lit by chaotic and monotonous inspiration. I was surprised by this album, and think they are doing something that is interesting and appeal to my Black Metal interest. Not original, but they do this with conviction and precision, and that must be saluted. Recommended for you who enjoy raw and uncompromising Black Metal.(s)

Cold frosty, grim and furious black metal from Germany. Total Transylvanian Hunger worship, and we LOVE it. Taking the feral blackness and primitive old school buzz of Darkthrone and somehow making it even more blown out and black, more drenched in hiss, this is total vacuum cleaner whir, hailstorm on a tin roof ambience, the band blasting away behind thick sheets of dense gritty distortion, at low volume, it almost sounds like a TV between stations, but listen closer, and the abstract buzz coalesces into killer riffs, howling hellish vocals surface, the drums are buried WAY down and stay buried, a distant clatter beneath the suffocating maelstrom of blackened riffery, this one is not weird or fucked or damaged (although the extreme buzz might just set the record for the most buzz drenched disc we've heard), but it is as we said above, buzzing, cold, grim, cvlt, frosty, hateful, brutal, old school, TRUE black metal.

Disponible depuis 2005 uniquement au fomat K7, le label Autopsy Kitchen a décidé de resortir cet album de Marblebog au format CD pour toucher un public plus large et une édition vinyl pour les fans les plus découés. Tout en sachant que ces éditions sont en édition limitées !!!. Donc, je ne serais que vous conseiller de vous procurer ces disques au plus vite. Quoi qu'il en soit, on pénètre comme à l'image de la pochette, dans un univers obsolète fait d'un black métal traditionnel et pourvu de mélancholie, à des passages plus atmosphériques, laissant présager de l'évolution du groupe. Et même si Marblebog n'invente rien, ce disque possède une aura particulière, surement offerte par la production totalement underground, qui pourrait placer ce disque parmis les oeuvres cultes du black métal atmosphérique.

Once in a great while, that one innovative, boundary-shattering black metal album will come along and force us to redefine the ways we think about the genre's constructs, and to question its very centricity as an artistic movement. This is a black metal album. Torch of War belongs to that ultra-elite and/or grim handful of black metal acts who are so black, they forgot all about that whole "metal" part. There's more of an emphasis on abrasive tremolo buzz than riffs here, which sometimes go through the motion of a sing-songy Nattens Madrigal-esque melody, and other times, in the case of the last song, fall upon a scuzzy forcefield of psychosimple one-riff war metal minimalism a la Revenge and Von. The bass, as per usual in raw black metal, seems like a faint obligation trailing behind the guitars, while Nachzehrer's rasp creaks painfully throughout. The (most likely programmed) skinpounding leaps between distant snare abuse and d-beat battery, only doing anything interesting with the recurring bass drum warpound in the song "The Struggle Inborn," but the fact drums are irrelevant in this kind of black metal is simply a matter of style. Music this minimalistic can't risk wasting a note, which is where Torch of War falls flat. These songs could be anywhere from three to eight minutes with no significant alteration in the expression of Nachzehrer's artistic vision. For example, the song "Wolf Among Sheep" is a rather valid piece, opening with an adventurous, melancholic hook -- certainly the best and most well defined riff on the album -- but the song's laced with meandering filler and just drags on... and on... Sure, this kind of bleak expressionism worked when Darkthrone, Thorns and Burzum were doing it in 1994... when I was learning cursive in grade school. I'm all for artists who dismiss experimentation and revel in traditionalism, when they do it right. Take modern neo-second wave acts like Blodulv, Satanic Warmaster, Dodsferd, and Somrak [review] (namedropping a promo, I somehow feel like the circle is complete), for example; they take the pre-2000 sounds they like and twist them into albums with their own sonic identities, rather than simply pander to the nostalgia of disillusioned norskaryskblakkmetal devotees by paraphrasing Transilvanian Hunger. To breathe life into old cliches is an act of love for the music you play; to simply blow the dust and cobwebs off is an act of antiquarianism. On a brighter note, the production hurts so good. Think back to the last raw, demo-quality black metal album you heard. This is probably twice as trebly and brittle. Honestly, when I'm listening to this album, my mental facilities are more occupied by the headache I'm slowly developing by subjecting my eardrums to such shrill noise than the by-the-numbers Darkthrone/Judas Iscariot worship at the core of what I'm hearing. Every time this CD skips, I actually involuntarily flinch. Noise fanatics, masochists, and Guantanamo Bay, take note. I must give The Principle of Cosmic Instability some credit, as it does get pretty absurd in its ear-grating extremity (if you're into that sorta thing), and Nachzehrer clearly understands the form of the music, but I can only wholeheartedly recommend this drab affair to those who worship at the altar of early Darkthrone with a level of enthusiasm that renders monotony imperceivable.

It seems that AKR has a distinct taste in the raw, mechanical style of black metal. While I can admit that tracks like Wolf among Sheep have a moving melody that shows promise and gives off an impressive atmosphere, the overall sound of the album is pure shit. It may as well be a guy in his bedroom playing through a mini Marshall practice amp and playing the same repetitive drum samples over and over again. There is hardly any mixing up at all sounds the same and it becomes amazingly tedious to get through after about track 4. With the right production, this album could easily reach its goal of anti-Christian blasphemy and evil words, but with this kind of production it really just comes off as childish. I must say though that I can appreciate any band that will devote the room that they have to talk to you through the booklet with a paragraph giving reason to nothing but the downfall of the Christian Church. The message is blatantly cryptic and the church is never really named, but its quite obvious what the “lie” F. Nachzehrer is talking about is. Now, the man has a great number of projects apart from this one and I can honestly say I'm not familiar with a single one of them, but judging from research he seems to be an electronic-based musician, playing industrial noise and ritual ambient projects as well. So perhaps there is reason behind the kind of harsh sound and noisy guitars found in this album. Black Noise has become a powerful subgenre as of late. But for what this has been advertised as, I cannot recommend it. If you're looking for an AKR record to purchase, give Ensepulchered a shot. You'll still come across drum machine sounds but they've got a unique flavor.

Though the production & feel of The Principle of Cosmic instability is extremely nasty and lo-fi there some very dramatic, grimly tuneful and well put together slabs of black metal craft going on here that have an added atmospheric edge with the recorded in a steel crypt vibe. The tracks are mainly fast, furious and battle hunger slices of black metal that usual clock in around the four minute mark each. At the front of the sound is this great harsh sounding cymbal abuse going on, which is joined by barbwire blacked guitar fuzzes and seemingly none existent bass, all topped off with brought back to angry life ragged throat demon vocals, that burn and carve at your ears. They manage to create a sound that very much brought to mind Darkthrone or Ulver at their most ghastly and lo-fi, but this still has it’s own prime evil and grim vibe with at times some of the riff caft bringing to mind bleak and wartorn Russian type melodies. A seething and unforgiving, yet memorable and atmospheric slab of black metal that use it’s nasty production very effectively to heighten and intensive it’s power.
Roger Batty -

Tired of bands who claim to be extreme but turn out to be more of the same tired riffs and shrieking you heard already on the last seven thousand black metal albums? Here's the band for you, then. It's difficult to imagine how you could be more extreme than this without being Nunslaughter -- the eight songs here are all one hyperkinetically fast blur of harsh, tinny sound after another, propelled by a clanking drum machine set on "blastbeat" and adorned with scraping guitars possessing no low end whatsoever and far more midrange than anything else, topped by hoarse screaming from a guy who sounds like he swallowed a whole roll of sandpaper. Combine the monomanical (and monochromatic) fury of Corpus Christi with the deliberately lo-fi sound of Nunslaughter and you get this, the furious sound of a one-man band who wants to be Marduk on a basement budget. The effect is more akin to someone testing the musical potential of a bandsaw than anything else, which automatically renders it far too obnoxious for most people, even black metal listeners, which I'm sure was exactly the intent. If you can hang with it, though, there's plenty to latch onto here; the blurred and smeary guitar sound yields plenty of pleasing harmonics and even an actual melody or two from time to time, and the obsessive drum clatter is truly punishing. I'm all in favor of bands that bridge the gap between primitive black metal and outright noise, and this is one of the best such bands I've heard yet. It's true that there's not much variety from one song to the next, and the sheer repetitive minimalism at work where the guitar is concerned is bound to piss off lots of people (in fact, from the reviews I've seen of this so far, I'd say that's already happening), but what do you seriously expect of something that reaches for the far ends of extremity? Recommended, but mainly to people already steeped in noise and down with endless repetition.

Ok folk this one I just don't get . There is zero production value. It's sounds like it was recorded on a boom box with a radio shack mic. Every fucking song sounds the same with the same god damn drum sound total un-effected and dry to the point the drummer may as well be hitting the top and side of a dryer and not a drum kit. The guitars are just static??? I know it ultra cool and elite to be True Raw Black metal but Torch of War has just taken this badge of honour too far. This is really just the same song 8 times with different tempos. I just can take no more .
Absolute Zero Media



Marblebog "Forestheart" Reviews

Since we first heard the name Marblebog, we somehow just knew this obscure Hungarian horde would be a fast favorite, before we had even heard a note of music, and man were we right. The last record, 2004's Csendhajnal, now unfortunately out of print, was a huge hit at AQ, the perfect balance of swirling synthy ambience, and mournful melancholy Burzumic buzz, so we had been anxiously awaiting the reissue of 2005's Forestheart ever since, and now it's finally here. This duo from Hungary mix traditional Hungarian folk, modern grim black buzz, and blissed out ambience into epic swaths of blurry blackness, woven from loping minor key guitars, simple mostly midtempo drumming, strangled croaked vocals, and while the parts might sound similar to black metal obsessives, it's not just the parts, it's how they're played, and recorded and arranged, the mood and the timbre, the sound and the feeling as much as the actual riffs. And while the riffs are of course amazing, it's the feel more than anything that make Marblebog so special. Everything is dripping with such sadness and sorrow, not just minor key, but whole arrangements and progressions perfectly assembled to evoke strange feelings, heartbreak and woe, death and destruction, so mournful and melancholy, sweeping swells of buzzing sound, with incredible dynamics, and bits of melody that swoop in out of nowhere and are immediately swallowed up again. The appropriately titled "Opening" is a brief stretch of swirling krautrocky synth, peppered with haunting animal like FX and creepy scrapes and groans, all drenched in reverb and delay, hovering beneath a pale moonlit sky. This intro opens up into the sort of title track "I Am The Forestheart", a glorious blast of melancholy blackness, with a main riff as catchy as it is dark and depressive. Part way through the band shift gear, and slow down into a strummed folky interlude, a jig like melody, Jew's harp, the sound of wind and rain, a haunting spare drift. There are three more longish tracks, all channeling the same forest spirit, looped cyclical black buzz, suffused with hypnotic drones and unlikely little melodic flourishes, everything muted and murky and dreamlike, often breaking down into simple acoustic guitar drifts, before picking back up again. The harrowing over the top vocals of the first records are now much more settled into the background, more a part of the music, almost like another layer of buzzing drone, but still just as harrowing and anguished. The final track is a 13+ minute ambient soundscape of shimmering synths, and mad scientist lab FX, burbling and gurgling beneath, dreamy washes of high end drift, strange muted percussion, some seriously Goblin like keyboard creep, and eventually some awesome lurching downtuned guitar, not so much crushing and heavy as creepy and thick, cyclical and hypnotic, a gorgeous lurching dream doom.

In the course of a few weeks, I’ve not only reviewed more black metal solo projects than ever before, but also black metal from Hungary, a place that seems to be a budding scene for the genre. Marblebog is one of such project, and now the group’s albums are finally starting to see release in North America thanks to Autopsy Kitchen Records. The first of these releases is the band’s sophomore album, Forestheart, which was originally released on cassette tape in 2005. And though this release is very low tech, it is still an intriguing and unique album. The majority of the material on this disc is fairly straightforward black metal, but there are several elements that help Marblebog’s material stand out from the rest. First, the opening and closing tracks are dark ambient tracks, helping to establish an ominous atmosphere that serve as a perfect compliment to the pounding black metal. As with some of the better low fi black metal acts, Forestheart features a session drummer resulting in compositions with slightly more variation. Combined with the catchy riffs, those who don’t mind the low fi recording and mixing qualities will find Marblebog’s latest to be quite satisfying. If there is one thing holding Forestheart, it would be the slightly average vocals. Vocalist Vorgrav has a similar harsh style to the more bizarre black metal groups out there, making use of an extremely demonic sounding shriek. Unfortunately, while this style fits the music well it isn’t anything new that fans haven’t heard before. Additionally, the ambient sections of the album feature no vocals at all and perhaps could’ve benefited from some experimentation. It may not be the absolute best black metal release of the year, but there’s a good reason that this album is seeing release outside of its native country nearly two years after its original pressing. Despite two years having passed since Vorgrav and his session musicians finished this album, Forestheart is still a noteworthy album that the black metal underground of North America will embrace. Autopsy Kitchen plans to release more Marblebog albums starting next year, and this one’s a great introduction to an underrated and lesser known black metal solo project.

The journey through the murky underbelly of Hungarian black metal continues. Today, with the help of the DIY label Autopsy Kitchen Records we have a totally kvlt reissue of Marblebog’s Forestheart. Many a metal band record their first demos on tape only format and make them available only in a superlimited number of copies. Marblebog was no exception, as the originally released Forestheart was limited to only 500 CD copies back in 2005. The truth is, for many bands 500 copies would be 499 too many to be heard by people, but in the case of Marblebog the evidence of quality songwriting is there, its melancholic tremolo riffs are some of the best washing ashore in the sea of atmospheric black metal. I had a chance to glance at the cover art before hearing the disc, so the intro’s Opening buried voice sounds like a wounded depressed animal who has gotten its feet caught in the frozen marsh which will never let go. I Am the Forestheart, the flagship track of the album, and A Tempest Never Calming Down present some of the most profound melancholic riffing I have heard in the last several years. For reference, although practically a one-man band, Marblebog (i.e., Vorgrov) sounds like Sapthuran with a ton more power or Nachtmystium on Demise with more nascent atmosphere. Acoustic riffs, guitars at times sounding like horns, arrangements, mouth harp, shaman drum of I Am the Forestheart, all of it combined with Vorgrov’s cutting voice, paint a complete picture of a lonesome wretched forest creature trapped in between the contradiction of forest’s beauty and forbidding nature. This track alone would have been worth the price of admission, or re-issue in this instance. I can certainly see how hearing this piece of music the label was getting in touch with Vorgrov asking for the rights. While Howling of Purity is a lot less melodic, and is as kvlt as they come, title including, Flame of Wisdom borders on funeral doom with its slowdown pace and melody played on the occasion when the body is placed six feet under. Vorgrov has a chance to stretch and rip those vocal chords here, the animal inside of him getting his last earthy breathing chance to grunt and groan. The album ends rather unexpectedly, when Closing quits its synth pattern of deep water bubbling and immersion, switching to a grim grating bass laden riff, which drones on for no less than the last 10 min of the record, minimalism coming out over the top. Some may construe it as experimentalism, others would hear guitar torture and repetition. Forestheart is a fine example of a one-man black metal band, Eastern European or not, done right. Killing Songs : I Am the Forestheart, A Tempest Never Calming Down, Flame of Wisdom

Hungary is not Norway or France, but it has a thriving black metal scene of its own. Recent releases by Vorkuta and Aetherius Obscuritas, both on Paragon, were of high quality. Now Autopsy Kitchen has reissued Marblebog’s 2005 full-length Forestheart, originally released on cassette and limited-edition CD. The reissue reworks the layout of the original and gives it well-deserved wider distribution. The change in artwork is significant. Instead of bleak darkness, sunlight now streams through the forest canopy. This is a perfect representation of Marblebog. “Marble” is hard, “bog” is soft, and together they compose this band’s duality. Such contrast occurs in the use of keyboards vs. guitars. The first and last tracks are mostly ambient, with achingly astral keyboards and voices bubbling in the distance. In between are four tracks of raw black metal. These are outstanding, with some of the catchiest metal riffs you’ll ever hear. At higher tempos, they’d be anthemic. Here, they’re mid-paced, droning, and hypnotic. Eerie clean tones interject occasionally. “I Am the Forest Heart” is lofty, imperial, with a primal breakdown that features, of all things, jew’s harp (”doromb” in Hungarian). The vocals are an acquired taste, a cross between gargling and crying for help. However, their ineffability works. The point is sound, not text. Marblebog weaves together something at once both homemade and mystical. As the liner notes reveal, Forestheart isn’t about black metal’s typical negativity: “Heart of the forest is always silent / Heart of the forest includes always the whole.” This is a patient record in service of deeper powers. Expect not to be hit over the head but to be fed inside it.
Cosmo Lee -

Forestheart is an highly enjoyable, epic, memorable & atmospheric trip into mid-pace black metal craft weaved with elements of atmospheric rock, ambience & folk. This Original appeared in 2005 in cassette form here it is for all to hear in cd form and a rather nice clear vinyl pressing too. It brings to mind an mix of Burzum earthy epic-ness & Bathory at his more midpaced and Viking obsessed and dramatic- but also bringing on board very their own grim sound and identity too, Marblebog are far from been a copycat band. In all there are five tracks mostly hitting around the 6 to 10 minute mark & each being as atmospheric, creative and downright memoroble as the last. Favourite tracks are difficult to pick as it’s all superb and highly repayable & really works best as a whole - but if forced I guess I go for I'am the Forsethreart with its epic black metal meets tuneful and grim metal chug. It drops down into acoustic guitar elements and some rather atmospheric Jews harp playing and wind sound effects towards the end. The last track Closing with it’s bubbling ambience synth unfold that mid-way drops into a doomy blacked guitar crawl ending the album in fitting grim melancholy tone. An album that mangers to pay tribute to the old blacked masters, but at the same time creating it’s own atmospheric, inventive and distinctive vibe. I see from Autopsy Kitchen's website their due to reissue Marblebog debut album shortly too I can’t wait.
Roger Batty -

Available originally only in tape format and then a super limited CD pressing, Marblebog’s 3rd full length release Forestheart now sees a wider re-release courtesy of Autopsy Kitchen Records. The material on Forestheart was recorded 2003-2004 and at the time this Hungarian Black Metal outfit consisted of basically one member, Vorgrov who played pretty much everything on this disc except for drums which was handled by Gelal. One listen to Forestheart is all it takes to understand why the folks over at AKR were so eager to get their hands on this BM gem and expose it to the masses. After the atmospheric instrumental, titled appropriately enough “Opening”, the listener is thrust headlong into the maelstrom that is “I Am The Forestheart”. This track is an eight minute, mid tempo epic complete with richly layered guitars, Vorgrov’s tortured vocals and some cool sound effects that conjure up feelings of being alone with nature in where else, a forest. “A Tempest Never Calming Down”, “Flame of Wisdom” and “Howling of Purity” all demonstrate Vorgrov’s skill for crafting lengthy, trance inducing Black Metal compositions, but in this reviewers opinion he left his final surprise for the end of the disc. The last number entitled “Closing” is another minimalist, keyboard driven instrumental, but unlike “Opening”, this final composition is a thirteen minute experiment in atmospherics that ventures out into lengthy periods of nothing but pure drone. Overall Forestheart stands as a very impressive disc from beginning to end. The production is very solid and this is not your average run of the mill lo-fi, self produced at home BM release. Fans of the genre will want to seek this one out.

Marblebog is a mostly single entity, sometimes duo, from Hungary playing ecologically-tinged, Burzum-styled black metal with plenty of atmospherics and a raw edge. “Forestheart”, the third full-length and the sole creation of founder Vorgrov, was originally released in a very limited tape edition in 2005, re-released by Tanhu Records on CD in 2006 (also a very limited edition), and now finds a wider audience after being picked up by U.S. label Autopsy Kitchen Records. “Forestheart” is re-released with re-worked cover art and a new layout, as well. “Forestheart” comes across as a somewhat slower, dreamier version of “Filosofem”- era Burzum with droning riffs, typical rasps in the background, simple drum patterns with barely any fills or rolls, a fuzzed out production, and atmospherics aplenty with some simple acoustical work. A mix of tempos occurs from song to song, with some slow, dreamy tracks and a few set at a faster pace. The quality of this release varies, though. A few of the songs, particularly “I Am The Forest Heart” are quite good, with some memorable riffing and plenty of droning atmosphere. Also, the song finishes with a nice flourish of acoustics. Periodically, some strange, haunting melodies emanate from a song or two, particularly “Howling Of Purity”. However, the remainder of the six track album is rather uneventful with some sub-par, non-memorable songwriting, and a few really sloppy, amateurish moments when the riffing noticeably drifts away from the accompanying rhythm. Unfortunately, these qualities detract from what initially promised to be a solid release. Essentially, although very promising at moments, “Forestheart” falls a bit short of a recommendation. I know that some place this album in high regard, but “Forestheart” does not quite stand up to the classics of the genre.

Don´t know much about this band really, but again Autopsy Kitchen is standing behind a re-release, as this one´s previously been available on tape only. Well, I find this to be extremely one-dimentional and simple Black Metal. There´s nothing new here, and I think the lack of creativity and the sheer overdose of rehash material is obviously making this one for the utter die-hards who never get tired of this. (w)

Hungarian black metallers Marblebog first releases Forestheart in 1995 on cassette tape only. It has since been released a couple of times in very limited quantities. Enter Autopsy Kitchen Records, who are spreading this out to the masses on CD, and in a limited edition clear vinyl release. The opening track (simply titled "Opening") is an organ intro, completely different from the assault that is awaiting when the music really kicks in on "I Am the Forest Heart". This track has a doomy feel to it, mainly having to do with the recording, which is a bit murky sounding. Mid-paced, with a multi-layered, super fuzzed out wall of guitar sound, the song has a recurring guitar riff that is downright brilliant in it's simplicity. There are a couple sections where they drop in acoustic guitars, and even what sounds like a mouth harp, which is a very interesting addtion to a black metal song. "Flame of Wisdom" slows things down quite a bit, yet is heavy as fuck, and still retains the wall of sound from the guitars. Closing the disc is the brilliantly titled "Closing", a 13+ minute bit of ambiance that begins sounding like an old monster movie soundtrack (might fit into Frankenstein), then transitions into a distorted bass solo for the last 8 minutes or so of the track. Thanks to Autopsy Kitchen, many more people will have the opportunity to hear this great disc. If you like you black metal with a side of doominess and a bit of ambiance, then Forestheart should be made part of your collection now. B+ -Goz

Torch Of War est une entité à part entière, jouant sur deux facettes que sont le black métal dans la droite lignée d'un Darkthrone, mais aussi sur l'ambiguïté. Il n'y a qu'à voir la pochette qui annonce presque rien, mais reste effrayante par son décor de destruction. On aborde donc un disque en terrain conquis, où tout est impressionnant, à commencer par le son, vraiment très underground. Des titres comme "Wolf Among Sheep", "The Principle Of Cosmic Instability" ou encore "Blazing Wounds of Earth" titre qui représente le plus fidèlement le style du groupe séduisent par leurs riff épurées et leurs haines qui se dégagent des ambiances malsaines véhiculées par la musique d'une part et par les vocaux d'une noirceux apocalyptique. Au final, cet opus reprend le black metal sauvage d'époque, en allant beaucoup plus loin dans la brutalité mais aussi dans la technicité et la richesse des ambiances. Avec autant de qualité, on ne va pas faire la fine bouche.

It takes some pretty good music to live up to a band name as bizarre and stupidly vivid as Marblebog. Fortunately, this Hungarian act seems to be up to the task. First, Marblebog's gloomy black metal doesn't deviate much stylistically from the blueprints set by more quintessential woodlands- inspired outfits like Hate Forest, Through Chasm, Caves And Titan Woods-era Carpathian Forest, and obviously, Burzum. But much like a forest, the only way to fully appreciate its wealth of life and color is to see it from beneath the canopy and investigate the weirdness lurking beneath the surface; which is in Forestheart's case, a host of exotic hooks, folk accents, a vocalist who sounds like he's regurgitating dead soldiers, and unorthodox steel/electric guitar interplay not unlike the kind practiced by Finnish genre crossbreeders Misantropical Painforest and Dead Reptile Shrine. In short, think the most recent sonic escapades of Tasmania's one-man black metal phenomenon Striborg, but imagine if the lo-fi shamanic weirdness was subservient to the music rather than the other way around. All you post-Filosofem Burzumbabies out there would do well to pay attention to this album and see how it's really done. Meditative though Forestheart may be, Marblebog negates the element of monotony inherent in cookiecutter Varg worship with grandiose riff developent and a host of dramatic dynamic shifts, rolling in with something menacing and dissonant just when you've been swept away by the album's transcendental bliss, as well as vice-versa. For example, half-way through the song "I am the Forestheart," the metal gives way for an introspective doromb and steel guitar cigányzene refrain, which is masterfully restated and incorporated into the song's main riff by means of electric blurs of drowsy tremolo buzz. Then there's the sprawling 13 minute closer, appropriately titled "Closing," an eerie departure from the despondent Burzumisms preceding it, opening with swampy synth broiling around aquatic ambience and a distant death knell pound that sounds like the soundtrack to a zombie outbreak in some tropical fishing village, which then laboriously combusts into a murky, alien bass jam that trudges on and on for the rest of the song as if threatening to coat everything in thick mist and the shadows of mossy branches. It's all so utterly dreamlike. Or nightmarish. I don't think Vorgrov knows the difference, which is what makes Marblebog so intriguing. In a way, Forestheart is reflective of the listener's intentions; if you enter seeking instant gratification, you will find the listening experience to be as shallow as your own expectations, but if you're involved with what's going on, Forestheart allows you to become an active participant in the music. When you hear the nauseous, slow-motion swirls of disorienting Burzumisms pervading the song "Flame of Wisdom," or the spacey gauze of shimmering FX comprising the opening track, you think "what the fuck's going on here?" -- it compels you to think, and once you begin to understand the clashing elements at work, you're not just listening, you're engaged. Even the lyricism is competent, expressing some fiercely anti-dualist sentiments riddled with naturalistic imagery that's sincere and poetic, rather than the usual "I roam through the forest with my pagan wolf brothers" fluff. It's a shame Marblebog intend to release most of their future work on tapes. This is music that deserves to be heard by more than just scene-drifting black metal kids.

The third full-length album from Hungary's Marblebog has been getting plenty of attention lately, and well it should -- this is a classic example of lo-fi and minimalist black metal, deliberately primitive in sound and pagan in nature. The album opens and closes with eerie ambient tracks filled with desolate moaning and grim, fogbound keyboards, but the other four tracks are long and repetitive explorations of pagan wisdom in the vein of early or mid-period Burzum. Buzzing, fizzy guitars playing opaque and subtly unusual riffs and mournful synth play out over tinny drums playing simple patterns, all to hypnotic effect, as vocalist Vorgrav mines the pained, shrieking territory perfected by Varg Vikernes. "A Tempest Never Calming Down" is one of the heaviest tracks here, anchored by a mutant descending riff; the slower but equally heavy "Flame of Wisdom" opens with one of the best riffs on the album, a bizarre stab of dissonance, and shifts in mood and intensity at regular intervals. By the time you reach the final real track, "Howling of Purity," it's obvious that the band seriously worships Burzum, but this is not a bad thing at all. It's true that excessive Burzum-worship is not exactly an original move at this point, but little in metal is, really, and they are far more successful than most Burzum-inspired bands at capturing the dark and melancholy feel that made those albums such classics. Their penchant for minimalism may obscure their songwriting talents for those not attuned to the nuances of such repetitive music, but trust me, the attention to songwriting is definitely there. They also make excellent use of the keyboards without allowing them to overwhelm or interfere with the eerie guitar sound. Some may consider this the equivalent of reinventing the wheel, but it's certainly worth hearing.

This also start out with a very Dark ambient/ Synth based intro but from there his is more of an old school low fi Raw Black metal monster in the works. The vocals are that you would hear in bands like Graveland early Bathory or even releases many releases on labels like No Colours or Moribund Cult. The rest of music and percussion is very simple and repetitive but it works for that droning BM feel. MarbleBog are not the most original band out there but that is not what Black metal is about. Its about the feel and bleak world around them and this my friends MarbleBog creates very well. The folk and nature element in the music works very well too. I can see myself listening to MarbleBog often. This is very well done heathen Black Metal.
Absolute Zero Media



Stalaggh :Projekt Misanthropia: Reviews

The mysterious Dutch collective known as Stalaggh return from obscutrity with their third full-length, and first album of new material for Autopsy Kitchen, completing their planned trilogy and thus bringing an end to their current configuration. As with their previous releases, the group present some seriously disturbing epic noise with a slight black metal influence, though this is only really felt near the conclusion of the thirty minute piece as the violent disjointed percussion yields to frantic blast beats and distorted droning guitars come together to hammer out some pure old-school worship. The vocals once again consist purely of tortured shrieks and moans (famously believed to be recordings of actual mental patients), creating an extremely uneasy, but ultimately rewarding listen.

Second disc from this Dutch black ambient doom outfit and it's just as harrowing and horrific as the first. For more on the band and their strange ways, see the review of the last record Nihilistik Terrror elsewhere on the website. But, in a nutshell, these guys are brutal, harsh, extreme and really fucking scary. Musically as well as in their modus operandi. Not content with coaxing the harshest of sounds from their instruments (there are instruments?) and emitting harsh demonic howls and hysterical maniacal shrieks themselves, these guys managed (through some dubious connections) to recruit a handful of inmates, in local psychiatric hospitals, to supply the 'vocals' and much of the artwork. And it sounds like it. Stalaggh's sound is a harsh swirling drone drenched freaked out noise, raw and hissy, loads of buzz and shriek and industrial whir, all whipped up into a dense stormcloud of sound, but it's the vocals that truly disturb, and this time they're everywhere, male, female, howling, moaning, weeping, wailing, sometimes barely audible, sometimes ferociously way up in the mix, always completely freaked out and brutally intense. This is like wandering through some old school mental institution, wandering the halls, all set to the sounds of SPK or Throbbing Gristle. This is the sound of human suffering, not just musically, but in every way, this is hate and confusion and misery and loneliness and sadness and despair and depression all channelled into a single 35 minute track. This record is sad and scary, and thus pretty fucking amazing. It definitely takes a strong stomach, and a lot of mental resolve, and some seriously iron clad ears, but it ends up being worth it. Very little music is this raw and intimate and frightening and seriously scary. It's really pretty fascinating, as well as a little bit repugnant, definitely hard to listen to, but almost equally hard not to. Limited to 100 copies, each one hand numbered and the inside features a reproduction of a piece of artwork drawn by one of the mental patients.

Hey, any album that opens with people screaming like they're being disemboweled with a rusty potato peeler and angry lunatics breaking shit is okay by me. We're talking serious, highly perverse Abruptum-style weirdness here, with lots of howling and shouting and smashing stuff and pure sonic ugliness over the course of one long track clocking in around thirty minutes. The band members like to remain anonymous (although they are supposedly well-known musicians from the Dutch and Belgian extreme metal scene), and they claim their vocalist to be a madman who murdered his mother at the age of sixteen (they want all that psychopathic rage to be real, see), although I'd take that tidbit of info with a grain of salt. One thing is unquestionably clear, though; this is a seriously demented work of anti-commercial art, and one of the most deliberately obnoxious sonic endeavors since the first masterwork from Abruptum. It takes a good five or six minutes for the track to resolve into anything resembling music (and then it's mostly fuzzed-out guitar hell and primitive drumming), and even then the musical content is strictly touch 'n go... but the wailing, screaming, and near-ritualistic gnashing of teeth never lets up. Bonus points for the truly gross-sounding bass that shows up about ten minutes into the track and the moments of pure white noise (not to mention all that endless screaming). It's nice to see I'm not the only one who still worships Abruptum, even if the band is loath to admit as much.

Just when I thought it was safe to come out of my hiding place, another dose of NOISE from the beast known as Stalaggh has been unleashed again. And just like the Nihilistik Terror album, the new disc, Projekt Misanthropia is noisy, loud and fucking wacked out beyond words. This time around the band chose to add a few beats and droning guitar riffs over all the screams and noise. Yeah, it makes the album a little more tolerable, but the guitar work doesn't last long enough - then we're right back to the screams of the dying. If you've ever seen the new Dawn Of The Dead remake, imagine the sounds of all those rabid zombies being recorded and put to tape. That will about sum the album up. Sure it's eclectic and it's definitely out there but you have to be one fucked individual to listen to this on a daily basis or even sit through it more than a few spins. Sadly, I look at it as more of a novelty act more than I do a band, but that doesn't mean you will. If you take large amounts of drugs and like being surrounded by chaos then Stalaggh's latest, Projekt Misanthropia will please the hell out of you. As for me, I feel like I've been raped, chewed up and spit back out!

‘Projekt Misanthropia’ is, according to the press release that came with this recording, the ‘final’ masterwork from this Dutch / Belgian act. They billed their music as Ambient Black Metal but have more to do with the Power / Extreme noise bunch of weirdos who walk planet Earth. Anyone who has subjected themselves to their previous releases ‘Projekt Nihil and Projekt Terrror’ will be pleased to know that the anonymous horsemen of the apocalypse haven’t mellowed one iota. In fact they’ve gotten harder if that was possible. By keeping their identities a secret, got something to hide boys, they bow out with no-one knowing who to blame for the aural damage they have inflicted. A great tactic and one sure to be repeated by others somewhere allow the line. The making of ‘Projekt Misanthropia’: The guys went into the studio. They had at their disposal guitars, amps, percussion and some electronics. They battered the fuck out of the instruments for 35 minutes in totally random abandonment. The feedback squealed like a stuck pig. The electronics blistered like paint in the blazing sun. The one responsible for the percussion went on a destructive spree of random pounding. Everyone did their own thing, blissfully unaware of the others, until their arms ached and they grew tired. The one responsible for the percussion even found some glass to smash. Which he proceeded to do. Then the vocals were laid down. All of them grabbed a microphone and started to scream and moan until their throats hurt and were red raw. Happy with progress they then mixed everything together and added some echo effects and phased bits in and out. Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. We have finished our latest effort in double quick time. Stating the bleeding obvious: Maybe that wasn’t exactly factually accurate. Having dragged myself through this latest effort it definitely gave off that impression. I’ve never fully got under the skin of this act. I find their music compellingly repulsive in so many ways that I battle against myself over whether I think they are fucking talent less nut jobs or creative geniuses. Their three full length releases offer, in reality, nothing new from each other. Each a wall of desolate horrendous noise from start to finish. The continual battering from the instruments and vocal delivery, such as it is, beats one to a bloody pulp. The relief when the music finally stops is hard to describe. The silence cleanses off the degrading shit that had polluted the airways. Their noise making you feel dirty and tainted. I’ve known people to walk out of the room when any of their music has been playing. And there aren’t many groups around who have that same effect. I think it boils down to the fact that the demonic / maniacal vocals gets into your head and stays there. Stamped onto the memory cells that want to recoil in horror at this unwanted intrusion. Couple that with the sound of lunatics given free reign to a variety of instruments and you can pretty much guess that this, like the other releases, is no fun time walk in the park. How often have I played ‘Projekt Nihil and Projekt Terrror’? Not much over the years. Could count the times on both hands. How often will I play ‘Projekt Misanthropia’? Not many. As with so many releases that falls under the banner of ‘noise’ this will lay in wait for when I need purging. I’ll play it to beat out the depressive blues that sometimes cloud my existence. I couldn’t play any of their releases just for pleasure. I’m not into that masochistic scene. I don’t endure personal pain on any level well. Call me a wuss if you must. In my opinion anyone who says they could play ‘Projekt Misanthropia’ for fun on a daily basis is one sick fuck who I do not want to meet down a dark alleyway at night. Maybe that’s you. I don’t know or rightly care. Know what to expect and approach this release with the utmost caution. Your sanity is on the line. The anonymous protagonists of Stalaggh await you.

Before I even get started I suggest that if you are unfamiliar with Stalaggh look up an interview. To those completely unfamiliar with the band they dub themselves nihilistic misanthropic audio terror. Each of the bands albums consist of ambient noise with the occasional instrumentation and the supposed screams of the mentally insane. Looking beyond the hype, beyond the possibility that these are actually the screams of the insane, at its core it is an extreme lesson in emotional expression through sound. At times sounding like a bunch of maniacs rampaging through a factory tearing everything to pieces, and at other times like people cornered by a monster with nothing left but the absolute fear of impending death. It is at times unsettling, but also one of the most engaging things I have ever listened to. The desperate screams over oppressive soundscapes is utterly engaging. It is very easy to question whether or not this is actually music but is none the less an enjoyable listen. Don't ask me how it is enjoyable, it just is. I'm sure there are some people out there that will just think I'm a complete fucking idiot for liking this, but for the fanatics out there that know, you probably already own this. :) -RD

Ik heb hier voor mij een tot duizend stuks gelimiteerde handgenummerde digipack editie van ':Projekt Misanthropia:' van het Nederlands/Belgische "audio-terror" noise project Stalaggh en ik heb zo'n donker bruin vermoeden dat die duizend kopietjes niet zo een twee drie over de toonbank zullen verdwijnen. Waarom niet? Om dat Stalaggh het meest zieke, walgelijke, panische, enge, manische stukje herrie op de mensheid heeft losgelaten dat ik in jaren (wat zeg ik, ooit!) heb mogen meemaken. Dit derde en laatste album van Stalaggh gaat na de eerdere projecten 'Nihil' en 'Terror' dus nu met 'Misanthropia' over mensenhaat, en na eerder al (naar eigen zeggen) een moordenaar en een suicidale anorexia patient de vocalen te laten verzorgen, hebben de heren van Stalaggh (als je ze moet geloven dus) nu de hulp ingeroepen van een heel orkest mentaal gestoorden. Deze zieke mensen mogen ruim een half uur lang kriskras door elkaar heen hun buitenproportionele mensenhaat over de luisteraar uitkotsen, bijgestaan door bloedstollende overstuurde teringherrie (sorry hoor, maar een verantwoorde muzikaal-technische term hiervoor bestaat gewoonweg niet). Halverwege de huiveringwekkende trip begint ergens in een achterkamertje ook nog een blackmetal band te spelen, dit tot slechts lichtelijk sfeerverhogend effect. Stalaggh, gezellig genoeg vernoemt naar concentratiekamp, zal nooit optreden, vanwege de reden dat men er geen voorstander van is om mensen met elkaar te laten socialiseren. Waarom dit soort rare lui überhaupt dan nog cd's uitbrengen mag joost weten, laat staan dat ze ze die in een gelimiteerd digipackje naar een e-zine sturen. Willen jullie aandacht jongens? Blijkbaar is niets menselijks deze mensenhaters vreemd...

Before me lies the hand-numbered, limited (1000 copies), digipack edition of ':Projekt Misanthopia:' by the Dutch/Belgian "audio-terror" noise allegiance Stalaggh and I have a sneaking suspicion that these 1000 copies will not sell out instantly. Why not? Because Stalaggh just released the most revolting, scary, manic, sick piece of cacophony on humanity which I have experienced in years, if not ever. This third and last album in the trilogy is after 'Nihil', and 'Terror', a project about misanthropia; the hate for mankind and after already (according to the band themselves) having had a murderer and a suicidal anorexic do the vocals, this time the Stalaggh gentlemen have called in the help of a whole bunch of mental patients. These sick minds were allowed to vomit out all their unlimited hatred against human life for over half an hour, assisted by a very eerie kind of fucked up noise (Excuse my French but there is not a decent word to describe it). Halfway the record it seems that a black metal band starts rehearsing in the next room, just slightly enhancing the overall mood. Stalaggh, cozy enough named after a German concentration camp, will never perform live because they don't support human socialization. It makes you wonder why true kids like this release records in the first place, let alone send their work in a limited edition Digipack to an e-zine well-read by lots of fellow humans. In need for some attention guys? Apparently nothing human is strange the manhaters either.

One track and 35 minutes. After this I was putrified in pessimism. STALAGGH is rumored to be formed by some major Black Metal and Indus bands members. What they offer in "Projekt Misanthropia" is a journey through an asilum with a completely mad mind. The singer of STALAGGH is also rumored to be a man who killed his mother at the age of 16. True or not, these vocal works are pretty sick. It might be these of a man being buried alive. I can't label their art as music without talking about them as an Ambient Noise band. The ambience is dark and the noise is dark, so STALAGGH is pure darkness. They use some real instruments over the whole thing but in a minimalistic approach. Those padded rooms inhabitants have nothing to do with headbanging. Their thing is more headdrilling. They lobotomize their listeners. Its as good to listen as javel water to drink. You really have to be initiated to the Noise scene before enjoying STALAGGH. This great CD will decieve everyone except Noise fans that will ALL offer their reverence to the innovative Noise of "Project Misanthropia". This is experimental stuff, that have to be judged in its own artistic category (just like a Pollock painting as to be judged). Personaly, I really appreciated the new gate to Noise that STALAGGH created. NOTE: This is the last ever STALAGGH release. The next one will be released as GULAGGH and will switch musical style to perverted Classical music always with this sick voice of the damned.

This power electronic / black metal band began in Holland (around the year 2000) and takes their name from the German stalag prison camps (short for Stammlager), while adding a 'g' and 'h' at the end to abbreviate 'global holocaust', as their message is total human annihilation. While they hate the comparisons to Abruptum, they are apt (though Abruptum uses lyrics). Stalaggh's methods, as well as layouts, and ideology are usually the same: black layout with a face on the cover cover (the artwork of Netherland artist Jeroen van Valkenburg), digipack limited to 1000 copies with titles such as Projekt Terror and Projekt Nihil (originally released by New Era Productions from Holland, and Total Holocaust Records in Sweden), along with a thirty to forty minute composition of harsh noise under violent screams of pain, with a little bass, drums and guitars leaking through every now and again - usually improvised. This is their final release, and a good one, but nothing that far different from past efforts. This, plus previous works, is a true insight into harsh noise, as well as dementia.

Um, time was, a few years ago, when bands would spend every waking moment of interviews in the big mags discussing their “hatred” of “this miserable planet.” The end of Earth was cause for celebration because, apparently, we’d be rid of all those folks in motorized carts flocking to Sunday morning buffets and worshiping The Lard. I mean, I’ve seen Mike Judge’s Idiocracy and it has swept fast and furious fear into my heart the way a sexy maid sweeps broken glass into a dustpan. But I’m in no hurry for Armageddon or Cindy Crawford (whichever, as Chuck Biscuits once said, comes first) and thus the torturous but artful representations of outfits such as Stalaggh aren’t manifestos of hate as much as they are curious statements about the state of music and the state of mankind. What we have here is a 35-minute, single-track exploration of what it must really sound like in a haunted house or a haunted hell. There’s minor rhythmic variation, not much in the way of harmony or melody and certainly not much in the way of toe-tapping goodness. But it is intelligent, it does come across like John Cage and maybe Xasthur getting together to compose music for an art opening featuring paintings by Mayhem’s Hellhammer made from the blood and brains of his fallen bandmate Dead. A niche record to be sure, but an artfully constructed one that, as they say, rewards repeated listens. Just don’t take more than one dose in any one 24-hour period.

Violently claustrophobic and brutal conceptual Dutch/Belgian/etc avant-something-or-other black'n'blue metal. This thirty-something minute attack is supposedly their final outing in this incarnation, after which they plan to adopt a new moniker and tweak/decimate classical music, though with "mentally insane" folks on vocals. What they've been doing already sounds like an over-packed, under-staffed asylum burning to the street, so the shift ought to be...interesting. It's a favorite, but perhaps more for the noise-nuts then straightforward metal folk.

Projekt Misanthropia is a trip into noise, myriad of screams and moans, dark devil loving psychedelia, black metal, doomy soundtrack element and all manner of hellish chaos. All Severed up in one 35 minutes brain melting dose. From the outset you unshaw exactly what you’ve dropped into, as layers upon layers of screams, moans, bays, groans and death rattles surround you. It’s like treading the very corridors of hell, or been lost in some maze like dungeon. As the track progress Black metal guitar chugs, doomy horror soundtrack drifts, crashing cymbals, weird noises and anything else they fancy throwing at your melting mind, is added into the sound soup. With through out the noise and scream element are kept constant and dense. There really are some very inspired moments along the way like at about the 19 minute mark where an eerier 70’s like occultic moog drift can be heard at the base of the chaos, before a slow black/doom haze is added on top. An enjoyable long form piece that manages to keeps one's attention through out, with the ideas always flowing and growing never becoming too stale or safe. One for those who enjoy noise, black metal and horror soundtracks, preferably all mixed up together into one gruelling and atmospheric dark sludge. To enter into Stalaggh’s dark trip fall into this dark pit of the mind.
Roger Batty /

Conceptual, blackened, pure noise bands are not my thing. Much of the time the point is to deliver the most painful expressions of life itself in a collage audio format. Rarely, and I mean RARELY would I ever listen past 2 minutes of such drivel without turning it off. This is the second time I have endured such a record and made it past the usual 2-minute mark, the first being Abruptum’s ‘Vi Sonus Veris…’ record (which was total shit). I made it to 13 minutes and 32 seconds of Stalaggh’s final release, :Projekt Misanthropia:, before having to turn it off. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it was horrible, but the only thing I could liken it to is listening to 10 stereos playing the same ‘Spooky Halloween’ tape in a wind-tunnel. Sounds cool for a few minutes, but not for repeated listening (in my opinion, of course). There are moments when some guitars enter the picture, lots of banging and things smashing about, and constant wailing and screaming. Yet, there’s no substance to support the atmosphere. I do have to say that listening to :Projekt Misanthropia: is definitely unnerving at times, but I was more annoyed than anything.
Left Hand Path -

This is a limited edition release by the scary Dutch act, and reportedly their last. If this is the end, it is a suitably dour and raging finale for a band whose work has always been extreme and assaultive. If anything, this outraged blend of noise and barely-audible instruments is a fuck you and a goodbye. This is all about unvarnished and uncompromising rage; NON wishes their nihilism had this much balls and cred. Brutal is always a word thrown around this type of noise, but it fits. They may be leaving before most of us got to know them, but that may be safer for us all. Relentless and oppressive. Check out the label too, which has more to offer that challenges the squeamish.

If you have never heard Stalaggh before be for warned that this is recorded insanity and will scare the shit out of you and you know what it just what I want from Stalaggh as this is the 2nd full release I've heard by the band and is yet again a terrifying experience. There is shit exploding, being thrown around and beating to death. The cries and screams coming from this CD are not of a soul that is in any stable manner. Fuck I just love what Stalaggh does. In no way is this music , Projekt Misanthropia is Harsh Noise and Industrial sounds and what I mean by industrial is machine noises with moments of guitar and drum bursts in a very doomy black metal feeling. If Krieg was a Noise band I think they would be Stalaggh. Yet another stellar release from the label of Autopsy Kitchen. There isn't much more extreme then this anywhere that's all I can say. To top it all off is one 35 min track.

I’m going to keep this one short and simple, as what is contained on Stalaggh’s third album Projekt Misanthropia is not music, much less metal, and therefore reviewing it as such is not really a relevant task (hence the lack of scoring). What we have here is one 35-minute noise piece, and whether or not you get anything out of this release or find it a waste of time (or a joke) will depend entirely on your appreciation and/or tolerance for the noise genre in the first place. “Projekt Misanthropia” consists entirely of piercing walls of static interspersed with a few other noises and effects, and layers upon layers of distorted shrieks, screams, coughs, moans, and various other wordless vocalizations provided by real mental patients. I’ve always found this aspect of Stalaggh to be gimmicky (not to mention in extremely poor taste), but I do concede that there is something that feels more disturbing and genuine about these “vocals” than the shrieks and grunts you would hear on a metal release. But its not that big of a deal. And it gets old after four or five minutes anyway. At a couple of points during the mayhem, actual recognizable guitar riffing and drums (even some blasting towards the end) wander in and out of the mix. While I found these moments to be the most enjoyable parts of the disc, for the simple fact that they gave the endless static and screeching some actual structural context, it quickly hit me after I was done listening how ridiculous and random these segments actually were. Its almost like the guys behind this project didn’t even have the balls to make a straight noise record, so at the last minute threw in some cut-and-past “black metal” segments just so they could still consider themselves somewhat related to actual music. I will give Stalaggh credit for this: there were a couple of times during my first listen where I did feel kind of uneasy, and that was obviously the whole point of these albums in the first place. The thing is, this piece is so long and completely one-dimensional that what starts out as creepy and strange quickly degenerates into boring and obnoxious. Even as a big fan of some of the less musical sides of metal and other music, I really can’t recommend this as anything more than a one-listen curiosity quencher or something trippy to put on while you and your friends light up a joint. Fans of noise artists like Merzbow and Whitehouse might want to hear this for themselves. Everyone else, don’t even bother. It really isn’t that cool, trust me.

How does one define the work of the mysterious entity known as Stalaggh? Is it black metal? Is it industrial noise? Maybe just extreme metal stripped of all semblance of rational composing? Forget all that shit, this is the soundtrack to human torment. Stalaggh’s “final masterwerk” (as described in Autopsy Kitchen’s info sheet), Projekt Misanthropia is one of those horrifically frightening works of dissonant sound experimentation that somehow ends up as much more than the work of a cloistered artist fucking around for the sake of fucking around. Its purpose and worthiness is in the ear of the beholder, as only a smattering of brave souls across the globe will ever grasp its point. One 35-minute track of swirling machine-like sounds and noise terror, and including for the first time the use of conventional instruments like guitar (heard only at certain points as a foundation of sorts for the aural rape that hovers ominously above), “nightmarish” isn’t descriptive enough. Left alone in the dark with the disc blaring, the images conjured bring to mind the portrayals of Hell seen in a host of horror movies. Scenes of eternal torture with no semblance of reason, contorted faces and howls of human suffering beyond the comprehension of mortal man, and feelings that transcend mere dread begin to capture the album’s essence. Be careful with this one and for Christ’s sake check out some samples before making a purchase decision. Projekt Misanthropia defies statements like “not for everyone” and moves into terrain inhabited by the few truly disaffected worshippers of extremity.
Scott Alisoglu / Metal Maniacs

Stalaggh's Projekt Misanthropia is by no means a conventional album, and as such, there is no way I can possibly analyze it in any conventional fashion. I've heard nervous whispers and frightened conversations about this act for some time now, and having heard it myself, the one conclusion I've made is that never before this album has fear been properly conveyed in an album. The thirty-five minutes of recording featured on this disc are nothing short of aural torture. There is not even another phrase for it! Never before have I heard such exquisite agony, such hopeless despair! Projekt Misanthropia as a disc almost writes its own press release; the number of sick and perverted methods used to require a sound this soul-crushingly harsh are many indeed. First and foremost, the members of Stalaggh (long rumored to be a cabal of the Dutch/Belgian BM scene's finest) are sworn to absolute secrecy. This complete masking allows the various "members" to engage in acts so unwholesome, foul, and outright wrong no music has ever been made like it before. Such horrors are best manifested in the band's legitimate take on misanthropy---describing their sound as the only true representation of the depravity, hatred, and sickness of Earth, the band have stooped to unfathomable lows in crafting their music. Extreme music lore has it that Stalaggh manipulate the vocals of the mentally-ill and convicted murderers in an effort to add realism to their chaotic hatred and despair. Something so violently counter-culture in my first opinion could be naught but shocking hype; after hearing the finished work, there is no doubt in my mind concerning the truth in the band's various media outputs. With all this in mind, what to do with Projekt Misanthropia now? Digesting the CD, can a reviewer like me laud it for its daring originality, or is it better to condemn for its unyielding isolationism? The answer, I think, is a little of both. Projekt Misanthropia is easily one of the most polarizing, strange, and raw albums I've heard. I'd even dare say it is years ahead of its time. The horrendous, frightening, and even sad howls of people utterly consumed by illness of the mind and soul is beyond anything I've ever heard in terms of blatant extremity, yet in some perverted way it makes sense. Stalaggh have taken these surprisingly varied moans, wails, and shrieks of anguished hatred and turned them into a sort of cacophony symphony, replete with passages of thundering percussion, abrasive noise, and hypnotic guitar chords. The most frightening aspect of this work is not the fact that honest human suffering was used to craft it, but rather that it can be so memorable, even catchy, in places. Finding one’s self humming a slithering chord briefly interspersed amongst the cries of the damned is exceedingly unnerving, and raises issues of personal ethics. So manic and chaotic is the sound, the mere thirty-five minutes will warp into and around itself, feeling infinitely longer. I have never used the phrase deprivation of the senses in a review before, but this is a sound place to start. Even by listening to something like this, I wonder if enough is enough. After mulling it over, I think he answer is a resounding no. The spirit of music in my opinion has (and will always be) the complete destruction of convention and tradition in some form or the other. Such rebellion and danger is essential to solid songcraft in this or any era, and Stalaggh are merely the product of an age where that much more annihilation of current thought is required. I'm also inclined to see a twist of irony here in the band's mantra. By giving the mentally-ill, the deranged murderer, or the self-mutilating misanthrope a chance to voice their very real, very personal hatred/sadness, Stalaggh are finding a sort of twisted beauty in the very humanity they seemingly seek to destroy. Yes, such pain in another human is both terrible and godless, yet we as listeners can find something higher in it too. I have a feeling I'm simply interpreting the disc in a much more positive light than was intended by its authors, but I'm going to conclude with a single thought. A disc like Projekt Misanthropia is essential insofar as it makes us realize how low we as human beings can sink. The work is not always pretty, and surely never fun, but one might learn something along the way. Projekt Misanthropia is truly out of this world, and must be experienced firsthand. I guarantee you won't enjoy most of it, but the suffering of others won't have been for naught and there is a strange comfort in that if nothing else. Much like the events of say the Holocaust, the sounds on offer here give us realistic and honest human suffering so that we can step back and respect it, understand it, maybe even cure it. After this, maybe we at last have a start.

Back for one final slab of mind-expanding, ear-exploding terrifying black noise, Dutch/Belgian now 'kult' act Stalaggh have released perhaps one of the most soul-destroying anti-life pieces of music you are likely to ever come across. Like most of the Stalaggh back catalogue the aptly titled “Projekt Misanthropia” compiles masses of organic incomprehensible static, industrial bangs, hits, scrapes and squeals, and inhuman moans into a somehow structured 35 minute slice of complete aural destruction. To say Stalaggh have progressed from the washed out white noise of “Projekt Nihil”, “Projekt Terror” and “Nihilistic Terror” is somewhat of an understatement, thanks to the addition of real instruments into his locked, cocked and ready to explode musical arsenal. More, dare I say it, refined yet still able to strip skin from bone, elements of traditional black metal and pure blast sections are thrown into his volatile brew that for a few fleeting moments, give you something to cling onto, something to decipher through the hissing, screaming, mechanical jungle that makes up the majority of this disk. More intense than a thousand black, death, grind, industrial bands put together, “Projekt Misanthropia” is certainly no easy listen. It takes a lot of patience, a good set of ears and an incredibly open mind to fully come to terms with what is happening deep within the bowels of the Stalaggh sound, and most certainly will not appeal to all and sundry. “Projekt Misanthropia” is a release for those seeking something that exceeds the boundaries of, well…everything…making this a more than perfect funeral for the sonic soundscape genius that is Stalaggh. Insanity prevails!

I distinctively remember being very pissed off at Stalaggh’s previous release Projekt Nihil. The Dutch ambient noise black metal band seemed too bent on shapeless sonic mayhem and anarchic noises and not preoccupied enough on creating a quality piece of work. Its potency was undeniable, but so was its obtuseness. On their second release, and reportedly last before they change their moniker to Gulaggh, the anonymous trio known as Stalaggh doesn’t veer too far off their initial recording. Needless to say Projekt Misanthropia is absolutely insane. Perhaps more so than Projekt Nihil; it bases its power on razor sharp sheets of ambient noise and bases its terror in painful screams and ear shattering screeches. Without exaggeration; Projekt Misanthropia sounds like a bloody orgy in the crazy house. If we must establish some sort of distance between the band's two releases then it would be fair to say that Misanthropia, which by the way is comprised of one chunky thirty-five minute long track, is more of an infernal trip. A sort of voyage with a beginning a middle and an end. The cut seems to pass through several phases; with parts relying on noise, then on screams, then on both, then on screams and beeps, and halfway through, on drums and screams. Thus far, this is as close as Stalaggh ever gets to actual music. Then the same clanky clash sounds that inundated Projekt Nihil break in only to unceremoniously exit and give way to more screams, drone, some low-key tones, and eventually standard black metal. Yes, towards the end Stalaggh gives way to a blazing riff and hectic blast-beat filled drums, while on top we don’t find a black metal singer but more screams and then…more screams. What prompted the band to finish up their latest product under the moniker Stalaggh in a kind of generic fashion? I don’t know but perhaps it has to do with the way they’ll pick up music under the name of Gulaggh.

Oh, no, not again! Yep, Autopsy Kitchen Records issues yet another “music” album from, I’ve heard, the same bunch of lunatics (once again, perhaps literally) that brought us “Transformalin” from Diagnose: Lebensgefahr earlier this year. This time, the project is called Stalaggh and is rumored to consist of members of the Belgian black metal underground. “Projekt Misanthropia”, believe it or not the band’s third full-length (!), consists of the same deranged screaming, moaning, hollering, and caterwauling at an even more disturbing and frenetic level than “Transformalin”, if you can believe it. However, “Projekt Misanthropia” actually begins to include some guitar and drums that begin to make an appearance about five minutes into this album, and periodically reappear, after the most disturbing round of screams from the asylum (once again, perhaps literally) that you can possibly imagine. The overall deranged atmosphere continues throughout the one 35 minute long track with a few moments of ambient black metal and a few blasts making muted appearances far in the background. There are also a few moments of industrial/drone with some muted bass tones that seem to come out of nowhere later in the album, as well. Is this any good? Well, that depends, how screwed up in the head are you (to be blunt). It certainly is interesting as an exercise in hallucination inducing auditory expression and it’s probably as “real” as it gets, but this will not garner many repeated listens. Given that this is Stalaggh’s third full-length, there certainly seems to be an audience for this out there somewhere (preferably behind bars), but I can’t really say whether or not you’ll actually like “Projekt Misanthropia”. That’s entirely up to you as an individual. As a side note, the band claims to have used a criminally insane man who has murdered his mother to provide the vocals as a means of achieving authenticity. Whether or not this practice is ethical is probably up to you.

Generally speaking I hate almost all the noise bands and practically everything that hasn’t been produced with so called normal instruments. I need the rhythm, the riff or melody to grab my lustful soul. I can enjoy some ambient stuff and so on, but when it comes to noise, I just can’t take it. Maybe I find it too extreme or whatever, but that should explain why Stalaggh from Netherlands gets nothing from me. That being said, I must emphasise that “Projekt Misanthropia” is probably one of the most extreme and disturbing pieces of art you will ever heard. This is not music, but some kind of atmospheric dark ambient noise, that consists of screeching metal, sudden bangs, cracking noises, raucous and rattling voices, loony screams and dark oppressing soundscapes. The so-called vocals are extremely disturbing, filled with agony, despair and insanity. You can really imagine a bunch of people being tortured and haunted in some kind of chamber of horrors. And the torture just goes on and on and on… Supposedly the band uses mentally disturbed and insane people to produce all the screams and human voices. True or not, it certainly feels like that. The negativity, hate and total disgust towards human race this album possess is something I can’t handle. Probably the worst stuff you could listen to when having a hangover. If there is Hell, this is how it sounds like.

My advice to you is to not pop this disc into any music player expecting any form of music whatsoever. Or maybe you should, if you like to be shocked and proven wrong. Stalaggh's "Projekt Misanthropia" is a one track 35 minute recording of pure audio torture, literally. Every minute of this 'album' is laden with tortured screams in no musical context whatsoever, the sounds of likely a person getting their wedding tackle stung by scorpions and rubbed around on a frying pan while being licked all over by Brian Peppers. Clatters and clashes like pots and pans and various tools smashing together provide some sort of rhythmic percussion at certain points in time, and the underlying backbone of the album is pure static, white noise and general dronery. Every now and then a riff sneaks in, but it's very sparse and sneaks right out for another chorus of torture shrieks. My personal favorites are the occasional gritty ambient melodies that come up about you and disappear just as you're aware of it, sounding like demo clips from German Oak's "Shadows Of War"... these come about especially towards the end as the album starts to pick up some semblance of ghostly structure. I thought that this would be messed up black metal along the lines of Blut Aus Nord, Krieg or even earlier stuff from The Axis Of Perdition, but Stalaggh takes it even further on this release by making an album that is nothing but unadulterated hatred and agony. If you're into Wolf Eyes, Whitehouse (think "Quality Time"!) or even the last couple Axis Of Perdition releases, plus films like Salo and Titicut Follies, this is your calling. If you haven't heard the former, this might be the most messed up album you'll ever hear. Not for the weak of heart and stomach.

I believe 99 percent of all metal heads don´t like this. It´s a fucking weird state of mind meets a nightmare you never want to experience again. Sick shit for sure. But so real! Those unreliable voices, that presence of uncontrolled human voices chanting its way towards necessary medication. This is not something you put on in a romantic setting, well, unless you are sick. These 35 minutes feels like a voyage through a paranoid mind that is on the verge of a mental breakdown, and it´s so real I am wondering if it´s the CD I´m playing, or if it´s my mind! (w)

When John Zorn released his Kristallnacht album, it contained one track of sheer horror, anger, and sorrow all rolled into one. Entitled “Never Again,” Zorn did his utmost to convey his interpretation of the “Night of Broken Glass.” The track is essentially just that: over eleven minutes of the unbearable sound of glass shattering. Zorn even went so far, though not in a sensationalist way, of warning the listener against repeated or prolonged plays for fear of damage to the unwary listener's ears. The same such warning should have been included with Projekt Misanthropia. This is the final work of the collective known as Stalaggh that also serves as the final nail in humanity's coffin - bringing about an aural apocalypse that takes thirty-five minutes to hear and a whole lot longer to forget. What can only be described as extreme, this one-track cacophony of destruction and anger and despair leaves an indelible impression unlike any structured album you're likely to hear this year. Stalaggh can no longer be referred to as “ambient,” unless in addition to the traditional definition of “surrounding” and “encircling” you include “stifling” and “oppressive”. Take everything you heard about black metal hatred, everything you've read about doomsday cults, every quaint little anecdote about the nihilists of Poison Idea and Killing Joke members moving to Iceland to avoid the end of mankind. Stalaggh relishes the end of the world like most of the sheep they despise look forward a new season of Grey's Anatomy. Taken from a recent interview with Unrestrained Magazine: “It's not important to know who's behind Stalaggh or what other bands we're in. Only our message of warfare against humanity is what matters. You'll never know our human names, no photos, not even how many humans are a part of Stalaggh. We're ashamed to be part of the feeble human race”. Sure, anyone can say it. But five minutes into Projekt Misanthropia you'll know that they mean every single word that they utter. Every sound made has a very distinct purpose. Every scream from the myriad of mental patients they seem so fond of using on their albums has a reason, despite the collective's claims that no project is ever thought out before recording. Most albums are released by artists with the intention of instilling a sense of longing and need for repeated listens. The sole purpose of Projekt Misanthropia is to fill the listener with unease, dread, and disquiet. To that end, the album is a masterpiece. To practical ends, however – you will find great difficulty listening to this album for any reason but to scare your vacuous, worthless capitalist-economy-driven friends.

This is fucking freaking me out! I was curious since I heard that this is hard to listen to. The first few minutes of Stalagghs :project misantrophia: are pure noise. This is what it has to sound like in the deepest and scariest part of hell. Or in a pretty sick mind of somebody incredibly sadistic who worked in a factory with noisy machines for too long. So anyways, the first few minutes are noise, mostyl screaming, shouting, crying and smashing stuff and then some (but reall reeeeally few) instruments begin to add some more substance to the sound. But it still stays creepy as hell. Imagine Merzbow, bastard noise, sunn 0))) and xasthur getting crazy and starting to slaughter and set everything ablaze in their way in a dark and gloomy nigth. Now that's a nice picture isn't it? It scares the shit out of me, it goes really deep and it is insane. There are no musical means I could describe to you, this is all about the atmosphere that is being created and they've done their job very well in creating a horrible and noxious atmosphere. It's making me feel unwell. I'm impressed.

Okay, was geht hier ab? Ein 35minütiger Klangcorpus, der eigentlich nur aus Maschinengeräuschen, gesampelten Schüssen und gequälten Schreien besteht. Gaaaaanz selten vernimmt man einige wenige monotone Töne. Das war’s. Das ganze über die gesamte Distanz? Wer das ist? Was das soll? Ich hab keine Ahnung! Wem ABRUPTUM zu abwechslungsreich war und wer sich an menschlichen Schreien nicht satt hören kann, der greife zu. Meine Fresse, nach welchen Maßstäben soll man dat hier bewerten? Womit kann man heute bitte noch Geld machen? Doch halt, ich tue den Burschen unrecht! Die Kreativität reichte dann doch noch dazu, ab der 15. Minute einen langsamen Drumcomputer-Takt unter dat Geschrei zu legen – dieser verläuft sich aber auch schon bald wieder im klanglichen Sande. Plötzlich unerwartet explodiert der angestaute Haß in monotone, aber schnelle Black Metal-Klänge, die das nötige Ventil für den Druck liefern. Naja, vielleicht doch nicht so verkehrt dat Ganze. Über die gesamte Dauer des einzigen enthaltenen Stückes sind durchgehend diese gequälten Schreie zu vernehmen. Dann endet alles wieder abrupt, wie es angefangen hat – nur Maschinen, Schüsse, Schreie! Wer sich aus dieser Odysee meiner Gedanken einen Reim machen kann, der wird wissen, ob diese Scheibe für ihn taugt.

Med ett namn som minner om fritidsgårdens enda corpsepaintade band i till exempel Finspång 1995 är det ganska lätt att avfärda ett band som Stalaggh. Det som hindrar mig är skivetiketten, Autopsy Kitchen Records har bjudit på spännande anrättningar förut. Och visst, det här är ingen dåligt inrepad fylleblack. Faktum är att det inte är särskilt mycket till musik överhuvudtaget, förutom den ensamt malande gitarren som kommer på blixtvisit ungefär sex minuter in på spåret som utgör hela plattans längd, för att sedan försvinna lika snabbt som den dök upp. Det är snarare en odyssé i torterade själars sargade medvetanden, ett statement som säger att sinnessjukdom ÄR inget att skämmas över. Och det är det ju inte. Ändlösa skrik av tomhet och separationsångest blandas med hjärtskärande gnissel av saknad, desperation och en välbehövligt stor dos av den misantropi som titeln utlovar.
Slavestate Magazine





Diagnose: Lebensgefahr Reviews

666 Fucking Skulls Oh, such serious faces, studious save for the one at the far left. He is bored with this “lebensgefahr”, this so-called diagnosis of “danger of life”. They look to each other for guidance but find only more disturbing questions. Then begins the clattering, clanking sounds of machinery outside the realms of pain. “Steal my voice, it can not be heard/Remove my eyes, you can not be seen.” There is sleep in formalin, the slumber of juicy death. But to transform, this requires something else entirely. Perhaps you glean my meaning, kind onlooker? Or are you like the others, assiduous and cynical and filled with your own internal dialogue, corrupted only by the stench of knowledge! There is but one transcendental path: “Enlighten me, Lucifer!” Those of you familiar with Silencer should heed these words, right now. Close your eyes and let the Transformalin do its work. It’s better this way. Much better. The drone is the key, embrace it and the machinery may stop. It may. It’s simply another face, one with eyes that reek of Diagnose: Lebensgefahr. (OR)

This seems to be the new Dark Industrial project from Nattramn of Silencer. It reminds me of a mix of MZ412, Bethlehem and Godflesh. Its rather noisy and drone heavy with metallic elements but the percussion and electronics that throb and pulse through the tracks are where the the MZ412 vibe comes in. Silencer always had heavy Bethlehem or Deinonychus elements to me . This just take a much more experimental less metal trip down the same skin crawling feeling Nattramn gave us in past projects. The vocals are done in the very Occultish, Dark Industrial style, very reverbed and extremely tortured. If your a fan of the very bleak drone / noise side of older Cold Meat, Cold Spring or even Dark Vinyl projects then this is a must listen. I really think Autopsy Kitchen is making a name for themselves in the non metal realm with Stalaggh and now Diagnose: Lebensgefahr. This is a must listen as it will open doors in your mind and soul you never thought could be open....

Enter the bottomless depths of a twisted yet oddly genius mind, that of Nattramn. Formerly fronting the Shining-esque group Silence, after being committed for some time he now returns to torture us with the droning cacophony of Diagnose: Lebensgefahr. The soundtrack to your everlasting coma, Diagnose: Lebensgefahr mixes elements of miltant industrial, darkwave, and even a dash of club electronica to foment the suicide cocktail 4 out of 5 doctors recommend. Remember, the eye in the triangle on the cover is making sure you follow through! About as polished as the floor of a sewer and as sexy as an Anna Nicole Smith autopsy, Diagnose: Lebensgefahr accomplishes the eerily addicting spin after spin that many Pro Tools-savvy jokes of projects similar in nature only wish they could! (FA)

Nattramn from Silencer’s new project is spacious and dark ambient experimental metal. Dense sounds populate each track and haunt the songs with dank drippings of evil mental traumas. Melancholy hasn’t been this low in a long time. This is not for the faint of heart nor those who just like blast beats. Processed insanity with an industrial slant.

Diagnose: Lebensgefahr is an extremely dark, unnerving ambient drone project from the twisted mind of Nattramn (singer for the black metal band Silencer). According to his website, "Nattramn was offered to write and record music as therapy and rehabilitation during one year. With no regards to his own health or personal integrity Transformalin is an insight into a mind lost many years ago - resulting in 11 disturbing and personal audio tracks, when compiled given the name "Transformalin". Diagnose: Lebensgefahr is a co-operation between Nattramn and the Växjö Psychiatric Ward and Växjö Health and insurance office." That's pretty creepy stuff if you ask me. After listening to the album it becomes even creepier.
The album is extremely dark and would work as great background music for an incredibly scary music. The fact that the album is honest and sincere, makes this a genuinely disturbing listen. It is a real cool concept and its purpose is definitely achieved, I just don't know if I would ever want to listen to this again. I like to listen to dark music, but this is too much. It is too eerie and doesn't contain enough actual "music" to make me want to run back for more. Most of the songs are long droning soundscapes. There will be an industrial moment here and a melodic moment there, but not nearly enough for me to rush and pop this back in my CD player. If you like dark, weird music, I suggest you listen with caution.
Transcending The Mundane

I Diagnose: Lebensgefahr segnano il ritorno sulle scene musicali di un personaggio sconosciuto ai più, ma ben noto alla stretta cerchia degli amanti del Black Metal: si tratta di Nattramn, ex-singer dei Silencer, una band svedese il cui unico album “Death – Pierce Me” è ancor oggi valido, ad un lustro dalla sua pubblicazione, come metro di paragone per tutte le bands che provano a creare opere di tale intensità e morbosità in quel particolare filone del Black denominato “Depressive”. Dopo la pubblicazione di quell’ottimo disco, tuttavia, la band si sciolse, e le uniche notizie capaci di filtrare riguardavano l’internamento di Nattramn in un istituto per malati mentali: in seguito, a quanto ci è dato sapere, l’ospedale psichiatrico di Växjö ha proposto al musicista svedese di comporre un disco come cura terapeutica: il risultato? I settanta minuti che mi accingo a presentarvi, riuniti sotto il nome di “Transformalin”. Aldilà delle certamente inusuali condizioni in cui (pare, e sottolineo pare) essere stato registrato, “Transformalin” è un disco che mantiene le promesse, che profuma di alcool e aghi sterilizzati, che rievoca incubi neri capaci di cancellare intere giornate di ricordi, che lascia udire i singhiozzi di chi ha perso la lucidità e si muove solo istintivamente. Nei Diagnose: Lebensgefahr, Nattramn abbandona completamente i già oscuri territori del Black Metal per affondare nelle più nere acque della musica atmosferica e industriale; infatti, in “Transformalin” ascolterete il più tetro, monotono e sottile Dark Ambient (esemplare la seconda “Flaggan På Halv Stång I Drömmens Västergård”) alternarsi a sezioni in cui potrete vedere formarsi ossessionanti ritmi – con percussioni a volte monotone, a volte guerresche, a volte quasi tribali – e declamazioni del più vario tipo: Nattramn ha abbandonato lo screaming lancinante dei Silencer, e si esibisce o in lunghe narrazioni con voce profonda, o in rantoli e sussulti che appaiono sinceramente disturbanti e perfettamente adatti all’atmosfera macabra e insana del disco. Musicalmente, a regnare sono drones pulsanti e interminabili (sovrani assoluti della recitata titletrack “Transformalin” e della rumorista “Anoxi”, conclusa da urla femminee poco rassicuranti), alcune gelide tastiere d’atmosfera e i già citati respiri affannosi e moribondi, posti anche in apertura della mortifera “Upon The High Horse Of Self Destruction”; ma avremo anche richiami al Martial Industrial (come in “Situation Lebensgefahr”) spesso orchestrati sobriamente ma talvolta dotati di un ritmo quasi ballabile (il riferimento è alla sfaccettata “The Last Breath of Tellus”). L’ascolto di “Transformalin” è straniante: esattamente come accadeva nei Silencer, sembra di assistere ai deliri di uno squilibrato ma a differenza della precisione chirurgica che caratterizzava le lame Metal di “Death – Pierce Me”, qui abbiamo una confusione di sottofondo, causata dai Drones e dalle sezioni Dark Ambient, capace di rendere il disco più inospitale e sfuggente di quanto ci si aspetterebbe. “Transformalin” è un parto (o aborto?) interessante, ma consigliato solo ai ‘duri di stomaco’, a chi riesce a sopportare simili torture musicali e trova di proprio gusto le deviazioni più morbose e inquietanti dell’Industrial e dell’Ambient.

Another creepy release by Autopsy Kitchen records. This time, it is really, really good. D:L is ex-Silencer Nattram, who, so the info says, was being institutionalized due to mental health problems. This record originated because his psychiatric wards and doctors thought it might be a good therapy. What came out is experimental, ambient metal, very malancholic, very dark, and very sinister. It feels like your deepest depressions and mental traumas have been formed into sounds. You won’t get fast metal and you won’t get common metal sounds. It is a way more ambient, drone and sightly industrial but calm approach. I really don’t care about the stories behind it, but for what I know, this is a hugely scary record. I still can’t get the „Transformalin“ screamns out of my head. Strongly recommended for the open minded and the slightly insane.

Diagnose: Lebensgefahr invite sthe listener into the demented and padded cell world of the mental disturbed. Coming off sometimes vaguely disturbing and often unintentional funny with it’s mixed of ; stale sanatorium ambience, industrial surgical throb, overdulgent theatrical deep and often affected vocal rant and rave. Also later touching down in neo-classical rhythmic marching flare and the odd almost doom dips in sound. The mix of sounds here are quite original and there’s no doubt about it they do managed to conjure up every now and then a disturbing & tangible rocking in chair freak-outness on tracks like Anoxi, that’s starts with a sinister throbbing purring drone, before chattering eerier and distirbing hyper-ventilation sounds are added. As the drone takes on almost a doom like guitar throb and chanted voices builds the ill and stale atmosphere. But on the other side of the coin we have the plainly snigger inducing over-the-top theatrical B-grade thudding industrial soundscape/ bloody surgery smock ambience of Flaggan På Halv Stång- which has the singer ask us to “Pull out his teeth, peel back his skin etc” which just comes across as been utterly ridiculous and not in in the least bit sinister or macabre, which I presume was the desired effect. The whole album tends to walk the thin line between been convincing and atmospheric and laughable and a little hammy. So a rather mixed doctors bag of an album, that offers up some heady abounded sanity and decaying psychiatric ward chills, but sadly ruins some of the atmosphere with it’s comic edges.
Roger Batty/

"Nattramn was offered to write and record music as therapy and rehabilitation during one year. With no regards to his own health or personal integrity "Transformalin" is an insight into a mind lost many years ago - resulting in 11 disturbing and personal audio tracks, when compiled given the name "Transformalin".Diagnose: Lebensgefahr is the project of Nattramn, best known for his supreme and highly regarded black metal project Silencer. Reading the promo sheet you would think that “Transformalin” is to follow along much the same lines but as it becomes evident within seconds of the play button being pressed, this is a different cauldron of black molten lava altogether. Playing what would best be described as black industrial ambient (though in truth this writer has no fucking clue), “Transformalin” proves to be a refreshingly original and immersive journey into the mind of a man with more than a few demons to battle. Disturbingly dark, what Nattramn has conjured here has an atmosphere thicker than a fog in Hades layered with unearthly sounds/samples, sparse ritual-esque percussion and Nattramn’s spoken/wailed nihilistic vocals. From the distorted, repetitive intensity of the title track to the pitch black ambiance of “Tillsammans Hen Ensam I Stillhetens Kapell”, you get the feeling that there is some deep emotional attachment to each and every sound on this album. Whether it be a deep bass rumble, a sample or distant synth, everything sounds like it’s there for a purpose, to portray something that goes far beyond just music, far beyond understanding. And it really, really works. Not an easy album to describe in a few words, “Transformalin” simply must be heard for yourself and by yourself so you can make up your own mind as to what it all means. Turn it up, turn the lights off and be prepared for a long, dark night. A masterpiece of modern music.

This is strange, strange shit -- black metal with eccentric, even avant-garde, ideas and execution. It's the work of Nattramn, a former member of Silencer, who apparently made the album with the cooperation of the Vaxjo Psychiatric Ward in Sweden -- what that says about the state of his own mental health is a good question, but that knowledge is certainly interesting, to say the least. The album is certainly disturbed, pointing to a disjointed and scattered mental state, resulting in a series of peculiar and uneasy slices of irrational thought disguised as music -- is it the result of therapy for mental illness, or a concept album about the same subject? It's hard to tell (which is probably deliberate), but if this is calling to mind the likes of those depressive types in Bethlehem, that's probably because this resembles (at least in concept, if not the actual execution) that band's similar album SCHATTEN AUS DER ALEXANDER WELT. The music itself incorporates a wildly diverse palette of sounds -- found sound, unearthly screams, operatic wailing, industrial rhythms, creeping noise, and just about everything but the kitchen sink -- to create an unsettling and highly textured work situated at the far reaches of experimental metal. "Upon the High Horse of Self Destruction" is one of the strangest tracks, with an industrial rhythm, vaguely black metal ambience, and a mildly distorted vocal fed through a Leslie cabinet (or something similar), with morose lyrics that end with him intoning, "Throw my bones to the pigs" over and over. "The Last Breath of Tellus" comes dangerously close to outright techno, and several tracks owe more to the sound collage techniques of Stockhausen than to anything resembling traditional black metal. To say this is "out there a minute" would be a severe understatement, but it's well done and highly unnerving, not the least because there's no way to predict what will happen next -- only that it will be disturbed and misanthropic. Fans of Bethlehem, Ulver, and other left-of-center black metal bands will want to hear this.

Hmmm…Autopsy Kitchen Records. A urine tinted, monochromatic album cover with a photo depicting a man with mutton chops strapped to a bed in a dirty hospital room looking as if it’s right out of an old, buried KGB photo archive from the Soviet Union. A weird, vaguely German sounding band name with another weird, drug reference sounding album title. Hmmm…goregrind, right? Nope, not even close! What we have here is the deranged, industrial noise/drone manifestations of one Nattramn, who apparently wrote, and performed, this album as part of his own psychotherapy during a stay in a psychiatric hospital called the Vaxjo Psychiatric Ward. Nattramn is apparently also the brains behind the sole release of Silencer, an over the top, suicidal (perhaps literally) black metal project from Sweden whom I’ve never heard of. In addition, one look at the MySpace profile of Nattramn reveals a “fan” base that may just think that suicidal black metal is more than a commentary on society, but a cause to be championed and realized. Whatever. At any rate, there’s no black metal to be heard on “Transformalin”, which consists mostly of droning noise with a periodic, deranged voice over from Nattramn. Frankly, this is pretty boring stuff. Nattramn spends most of the first five minutes or so saying “Transformalin” over and over in a gravelly voice that eventually gives way to sub-harmonic tones that persist for several “songs” before some additional, droning, mindless ramblings/mumblings/deranged screams make various appearances. Muted tones are sprinkled throughout the rest of the album, which fails to raise my interest. As an entry in the drone genre (I’m assuming that’s what we have here), this is nowhere near the brilliance of Sunn O))). Ultimately, there’s no music here to really speak of, and it goes on for, get this, 68 plus minutes! Somebody shoot me now! Are you kidding me?! Perhaps another stay in the hospital is in order.

When Silencer mainman, Natramn, was sent away to a psychiatric ward, he was given a chance to express his deepest, most inner feelings and thoughts. Thus is the birth of drone/ambient project, Diagnose: Lebensgefahr. Where Silencer was a mix of eerie black metal and ambient elements, Diagnose: Lebensgefahr is a pure example of drone and ambient noise. But does that make this project any less effective, potent or harsh? Absolutely not! The form of drone that Natramn showcases with Diagnose: Lebensgefahr’s Transformalin is a very eerie, honest, even downright horrific, ambient drone. This is an allegory of the complex (using the simplest, most minimalist musical methods), most inner psyche of a tortured maniac, lyrically as well as musically. ..:: Track By Track ::.. The constant change of pace in the album shows an almost schizophrenic state of mind. Take the title track, Transformalin, for instance. The noisy, distorted soundscape mixed with a techno beat conveys a tortured, closed in, horrific emotion. You could almost picture a cold, wet, mildew infested room with dead, disfigured bodies scattered throughout. This is almost the aural equivalent of a sadomasochistic torture snuff film. The lyrics, spoken in a tortured, gritty whisper, fit the soundscape of this track like a glove (Pull Out My Teeth, Inhuman Grin, Peel Of My Skin, Break The Bones Beneath etc). Then the album shifts completely with Flaggan På Halv Stång I Drömmens Västergård. A new-age track that is so different than Transformalin, yet so similar. On a musical level, this is the complete opposite of the previous track. This soundscape is very laid back, hypnotic, and even relaxing. Yet there is still a feeling of disparity, and horror. Right after, the album takes another shift with Upon The High Horse Of Selfdestruction. The “music” on this track is so deep in the background, you can barely hear it. What drives this soundscape are the disturbing lyrics, conveyed in a very tortured spoken word vocals, which sound possessed, almost dead. Situazion: Lebensgefahr conveys a very proud, nationalistic emotion. This song is almost uplifting with beautiful, folk inspired melodies. The spoken word vocals here do not sound tortured, but dignified and commanding. This is the only track on the album with a sound like this. While I will not give an in depth analysis for the rest of the tracks here, they mostly shift between a new age-esque sound, and a tortured, droning ambient sound. If you are a fan of drone and ambient, or ever wished that you could put the Silent Hill game soundtracks onto your iPod, this is one of the best releases you will find. The soundscapes are full of honest emotion that you will rarely ever find. Each song conveys its own feeling of insanity that is very real and disturbing. The atmosphere is second to none. Transformalin is a mood album. So don’t expect to listen to it at a random time and expect to be taken on a journey. This is an album you have to listen to in the right conditions, and an album you must listen to in full so you can absorb everything it is trying to tell you. I give this an 8 out of 10. Enjoy.

This is fucking weird, but in a great way. Gritty synth tones surge rhythmically, layered soundscapes, and truly disturbed vocals giving way to painful lyrics – true evil genius! D:L is the new project of Nattramn, former vocalist of the Swedish band Silencer, and is apparently the outlet for his recovery after being institutionalized in a mental hospital some years ago. The album begins with ‘The Level Beyond Human’, a short intro track that starts with a voice stating, “Welcome to beyond human – the last call.” The track builds with a single droning note that sounds like it’s been raked through a bit-crusher, eventually subsiding into the sound of an orchestra. ‘Transformalin’ then begins with a heavily distorted single beat before a manic atmosphere fades in and Nattramn sings, “Pull out my teeth/Inhuman grin/Peel off my skin/Break the bones beneath.” The sound of his voice, though nothing like his vocal style in Silencer, is extremely disturbing in the way it mixes with the music. The bulk of the D:L tracks are uncomfortable experiences on first listen, which does not change with repeated spins. The music is always shifting gears, but constant elements are droning background noise, machinery-like grinding, atmospheric tones, and tortured vocals. Any further sort of verbal description wouldn’t do this record justice, as likening it to other artists or genres makes no sense. Nattramn has captured something unique with Transformalin, which is quite worthy of checking out.

Anyone expecting a repeat of Silencer will be seriously disappointed. Death Pierce Me is one of the most ear-shattering oddities of European black metal ever recorded. Upon its conclusion, vocalist Nattramn was locked up in a mental institution for a long stint where he composed all of the material on Transformalin for the purpose of therapy and rehabilitation. The vocals are nothing like the piercing Landfermann-like shrieks of yesteryear, but of a synth-processed, industrialized talking. Or perhaps an obscure reading of self-destructive poetry. The music is ambient industrial, pulsating a deep, low-end assault of fuzz and cyber-dismantling. The vocals are washed away in a violent sea of turbulence, and one can only envision a deluded, drugged out landscape of electro shock therapy machines, fluorescent lights, white-coats with syringes and grimy, padded cells. It is less an album and more a cry from hell with avant-garde tailspin of hellish noise. Hard to listen to in any conventional setting, but an excellent delve into sonic horror by every standard.
- Ryan Bartek -

Autopsy Kitchen Records might get you think about a brutal death metal underground label. Well it is not thanks devil! With a name like this though, you can expect some sick and weird releases. I was totally unfamiliar with Diagnose: Lebensgefahr before getting Transformalin. This is a solo project of Nattramn of Silencer, a black metal band that I would be curious to discover as well. Diagnose: Lebensgefahr is actually far from being a black metal opus and pretty distant from most of what I receive to review. Transformalin is some sort of experimental / nightmarish schizo soundtrack. Pictures from mental institutions make on believe the concept is based on a horror story taking polace in a well hidden section of a mental institution somewhere deep in a lost area of Europe. Pretty cinematic, intense and sick as far as music goes. Electronics, vocal samplings, keyboards, spoken words, and some percussion take part in this psycho story. Nicely dark and ambient passages are included amongst my favorite moments such as: Flaggaj Pä Halv Stäng and Hillsahhans Hen Ensami Stillhetens Kapell. Symphonic key & epic feel are heard on the title track but the most melodic composition still with a ghostly atmosphere is on another highlight by the name of The Last Breath of Tellus.
Harm Magazine -

I can picture it now: Somewhere, a man feeds I WANT TO BELIEVE posters into a dieselharp-powered gimmick machine that pumps out ridiculous backstories for every new black metal-related project. After inputting the name Diagnose: Lebensgefahr, the machine sputters to life, howls “Hype ist krieg!” like Robby the Robot molesting a vocoder, and spits out the following: “Nattramn was offered to write and record music as therapy and rehabilitation during one year. With no regards to his own health or personal integrity "Transformalin" is an insight into a mind lost many years ago - resulting in 11 disturbing and personal audio tracks…” Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Not to be Mr. Skeptical, but the first solo release from the ex-Silencer shrieker sounds far too calculated. A damaged individual comes to grips with his own insanity? I think not. More like Transformalin is manufactured to meet expectations. It’s the exact album that you’d want a batshit insane artiste to put out: basically, “creepy” music meets an “unstable” view of reality. Add a bit of industrial, ambient, and drone together and you get an off-kilter, nightmarish listen that replicates the suffocating atmosphere of the most oppressive Hollywood insane asylum. In other words, it’s trying too hard to be disturbing, trying too hard to cover all the bases, and trying too hard to make sure that noise/ambient fans are fully satisfied, no matter what subgenre they favor. Plainly speaking, it isn’t genuine, which could’ve been a huge problem if the atmospheric soundscapes weren't executed this well. True, when measured against the concept, it's less than convincing, but Transformalin is able to tread water because it successfully acts like a decent sampler of what’s currently hot in the noise/ambient scene. No kidding. Transformalin is tough to swallow as a therapeutic examination of the troubled mind, but it works as a catch-all mixtape of popular artists and styles. All of these tracks have a distinct parent, a recognizable outfit that has been bred with Nattramn’s supposedly damaged vision. Natty is able to isolate the basic elements of the source material, and that enables him to add his own meat to the bones. In a way, it’s almost like he clearly planned out his borrowing, letting the influences guide him while using them as the creative catalyst. So, you end up with a track like “Flaggan På Halv Stång I Drömmens Västergård,” which recreates the sinister emptiness of Lustmord, or “Tillsammans Men Ensam I Stillhetens Kapell” which is heavily indebted to the white noise-obscured beauty of Tim Hecker, just a little blacker, bleaker, and more bonkers. Predictably, these turns don’t quite measure up to the highs of the original artists’ work (although, the gorgeously chilling beginning to “The Last Breath Of Tellus” is like a tranced-out Fennesz and is the album’s undeniable highlight), but taken as a collection, as a one-stop-shop of various styles, it makes for a well-balanced intro to the world of noise. Sadly, those expecting to hear the eccentric vocal style employed on Silencer’s Death – Pierce Me should prepare themselves to be thoroughly bummed. While there are a variety of styles used--from spokels, to groans, to J.K. Broadrick-styled yells--nothing is as wonderfully bizarre as Natty’s old strident screams. But, if you’re going to believe the original sales pitch, Transformalin is less about Nattramn the artist and more about his mental state. If that’s really why we’re here, the portrait painted is that of a man who can’t quite figure out who he is; a conflicted contradiction who is tragically trying to walk too many paths at once. How else could one explain the mechanical grinding of the Anenzephalia-influenced “Anoxi” following the marching, militaristic “Situazion: Lebensgefahr” that’s the audio equivalent of a wet dream collectively experienced by the members of Laibach? But, again, the supposed mental instability is misleading. Transformalin lacks the indulgent fat of your typical bare-all, “Help me!” project and is altogether too focused on the quality (and listenability) of the music to be true self-exploration. It's not the raving lunacy of an ill man (at least in this reviewer’s eyes) so don’t buy into the hype, but if you’re a fan of well-crafted noise/ambient or interested in seeing what a good chunk of the genre(s) is all about, this might be worth your time. / Ian Chainey

This is a very interesting release, especially from a black metal label. Though I do see a larger and larger meeting up between the music worlds of dark metal and those of noise / ambient music. When you think about it (or listen to it) some black metal is so distorted that it almost sounds similar to power electronics. Still, this is no simple power electronics project. Diagnose: Lebensgefahr is the side-work of Swedish black metal vocalist Nattramn (of the band Silencer). Self-releasing a limited and hand numbered CD-R demo (of 50 copies) in 2005, it caught the ear of Indiana label Autopsy Kitchen in '06. Transformalin is an eleven track descent into true industrial ala Throbbing Gristle or early Current 93, not to mention a bit of a reformation of said genre. At times it's electro-sizzle drowned in a sea of modulation, with waves of feedback as cracks and hisses pop in and out of audio range ("The Level Beyond Human" or "Mani Vs Apati"). Other times it has a beat and marches to new dawn of pain and suffering, as the vocals reveal a psychotic twist of sadism and masochism entwined (as in the title track and "Situazion: Lebensgefahr"). While others still, make a beautifully haunting wash of soundscapes and ambient lulling drones of calm that wash over the listener into an eerie sadness ("Flaggan På Halv Stång I Drommens Västergård" and "Tillsammans Men Ensam I Stillhetens Kapell"). As much as I thought Silencer was pretty good, I'd rather have that band stay disband and keep this project going, instead of reforming Silencer and seeing this go the way of the wind.

This is fucking weird, but in a great way. Gritty synth tones surge rhythmically, layered soundscapes, and truly disturbed vocals giving way to painful lyrics – true evil genius! D:L is the new project of Nattramn, former vocalist of the Swedish band Silencer, and is apparently the outlet for his recovery after being institutionalized in a mental hospital some years ago. The album begins with ‘The Level Beyond Human’, a short intro track that starts with a voice stating, “Welcome to beyond human – the last call.” The track builds with a single droning note that sounds like it’s been raked through a bit-crusher, eventually subsiding into the sound of an orchestra. ‘Transformalin’ then begins with a heavily distorted single beat before a manic atmosphere fades in and Nattramn sings, “Pull out my teeth/Inhuman grin/Peel off my skin/Break the bones beneath.” The sound of his voice, though nothing like his vocal style in Silencer, is extremely disturbing in the way it mixes with the music. The bulk of the D:L tracks are uncomfortable experiences on first listen, which does not change with repeated spins. The music is always shifting gears, but constant elements are droning background noise, machinery-like grinding, atmospheric tones, and tortured vocals. Any further sort of verbal description wouldn’t do this record justice, as likening it to other artists or genres makes no sense. Nattramn has captured something unique with Transformalin, which is quite worthy of checking out.
Left Hand Path -

Bleak and dreamlike, twisting down into a dark pathway of wonderfully designed music. This is not music you can sit and dig, it´s more a state of mind, a feeling of something unexplainable. A dream you don´t want to be pulled out of, until you know how it will end. It is a very controlled album, more or less totally lacking hope and energy. A mental case might be a more correct description. A mental case that without doubt is intriguing, real and honest. (w)

We love weirdo black ambience almost as much as we love weirdo metal. So when a member of one of our favorite damaged fucked up black metal bands, strikes out on his own and spits out a completely cracked ambient drone record, that veers wildy from fierce and freaked drug drenched delirium to gorgeous blown out bliss, we hardly need to tell you that we are ALL OVER IT. This particular slab of cracked sonic chaos comes courtesy of Nattramn, vocalist for Swedish doomic suicidal black metallers Silencer, most notable perhaps for Nattramn's outrageously over the top falsetto shrieks. Here, the vocals aren't so much the focal point, although there are plenty, and while they may not be as hysterical and harsh, they are just as bizarre. In fact this whole record is pretty strange, and if you're a fan of labelmates Stalaggh, this could easily function as Stalaggh's dreamier dronier, equally demented cousin. The disc begins with a big smear of SUNN-y downtuned guitar crawl and some dizzying warped carnivalesque warble before morphing into a simple plodding throb. Gradually, that throb transforms into an Autechre meets Amon Tobin skitter, albeit much filthier and more industrial sounding. Scuzzy and crusty and grinding, all beneath a cloud of buzzed out crumbling synths, and hoarse raspy vocalizing. The next track is almost the polar opposite, a dreamy, wispy ambient drift, minor key melodies and strange blown out whirls of frosty whir and strange, spacious, almost majestic sounding drones. Later moaning mysterious chantlike vocals are woven into a warm murmury backdrop, with muted percussion, while over the top a distorted voice intones all manner of strange prophecy. Not soon after the record shifts gear again and becomes a eerie neo classical slab of militaristic folk industrial, all epic and grandiose, almost like the sound from some old newsreel footage, but much more haunting and damaged sounding, a looped march, beneath thick swells of sound and that voice again, howling out invective, the various notes and chordal shimmer becoming more and more dissonant, eventually fading into a grinding low end drone buzz, that hovers beneath the terrified sounds of a weeping child, and a dungeon's worth of mournful wails and creepy clatter, all wrapped in thick reverb, making it feel like wandering through some ancient keep, wreathed in fog. As we reach the halfway point, the sound shifts again, this time an inadvertent homage to the glistening glimmer of Tim Hecker and Philip Jeck, those beautiful sounds quickly sucked into a black void, a swirling morass of dark sound and low tones, and that voice again, reverbed and distorted, the whole thing sounding like a low end Whitehouse spun lazily at 8rpm, when all of a sudden, proceedings are shockingly disrupted by a super distorted techno pulse, some sort of ultra aggro industrial pound, with shouted sloganeering and more buzzing synths, before reverting to a super distorted, glitchy, crumbly low end glacial rumble, a synth drenched SUNNO))) style crawl with bits of vocal fragments and buzzing streaks of groan and grind, until the whole thing becomes a dense roiling cloud of black ambience. And it's still not over. Gorgeous washed out clouds of gorgeous gauzy atmospheric shimmer drift in, all sepia toned and dreamlike, a long expanse of lazy blurred soft focus bliss, left to sort of float weightless before being overtaken by a confusional collage of overlapping vocal snippets and out of tune, distorted piano, eventually building into a dense squall of swirling spinning sounds. The finally, the epic final track, more black ambience, rife with mysterious sound samples, more disembodied vocals, distant rumbles, weird electronic FX, the whole thing building to a massive damaged doom drone, with epic sheets of keening feedback and thick washes of distorted guitar and churning industrial whir, while over the top, the most demented, damaged, drug addled vocalizing yet, like an inmate in an insane asylum ranting and raving incoherently, the sort of vocals that most certainly wouldn't be at all out of place on one of the Stalaggh records. A seriously damaged and ultra fucked up sonic trip, as beautiful as it is baffling. In other words, AWESOME.

This is the newest project of former Silencer vocalist Nattramn. I don't know the back story or anything about Silencer but apparently Nattramn was committed to an asylum which broke up the band. This album is supposed to be part of his recovery. This actually explained a lot because this is a very disturbed record. There is no music to be described on this album, but rather a combination of synthesizer noise and twisted lyrics that make listening to this album rather uncomfortable. There are not a lot of these lyrics, seven of the eleven tracks are instrumentals, but they are delivered in a voice that sounds as though it could only come from beyond the grave. It's something of a ghostly chant if anything. It almost plays like an amalgam of the dark atmosphere of Mortuus combined with Bastard Noise. Honestly, this record makes my skin crawl. I still don't quite know if I like it or not, in that sense it reminds me of the movie Eraserhead. I saw it, I don't know if I liked it or not and I doubt I ever will. It did leave quite an impression however, and one that won't be forgotten anytime soon. Also for the love of Satan do not listen to this album in the dark; you will have an attack of some kind. It’s bad enough that the temperature in the room has dropped a few degrees since I put this on while I write the review. This is the perfect album if you need to screw with your own head but don't have any hallucinogens handy. Now if you'll pardon me I either have to cry, shit my pants, throw up or jerk off, I don't know which.

Freedom is a way of life and term that we all take for granted every day. Of course most of us are thankful for our freedom, but how often to we stop to actually understand just what freedom means? To actually taste the air in our lungs and know that the outside world is ours to grasp and embrace. We go through our every day lives, committing our own personal petty sins and never think twice about what kind of confines or restraints that we could face the next day from any individual, or any framed crime. Without reason, we can all be incarcerated against our will. It seems fitting to me that this review finally be conducted now that Nattramn has be acquitted of the false accusement that he assaulted two men when he merely acted in self-defense. Nattramn nearly lost his right to freedom, even though innocent, and I can promise you that he now tastes every breath of air that enters his being like it was his last. Freedom... what is your personal bondage? Diagnose: Lebensgefahr is the solo project of (generally) black metal enthusiast Nattramn. Many of you may know him from his other project (involved ex-Shining and ex-Deinonychus members) called Silencer, of which I may add has one of the most interesting promo photos that I have ever seen to date. According to reports, the band was ended because of the fact that Nattramn was institutionalized. Whether these claims flow from his charges of assault or a different incident, I do not know, but the fact is he's back with a new, incredible project. The debut album from Diagnose: Lebensgefahr is this, Transformalin, release in August of 2007 on Autopsy Kitchen Records. The music explores minimal drone and dark ambient atmospheres with a touch of gore interest thrown in for good measure. Most of the album seems to focus on self-destruction/mutilation as well as a physical transformation. There is a great deal of submission and physical torture seen through the scarce lyrics on the album, and a recurring theme to pigs. Half of these almost seem sexual in nature, as if an extreme submissive man is pleading to be ripped apart and shredded through some insane death fetish. The flesh is ripped apart and left to bleed dry on the hooks of Nattramn's own discontent. On top of this, there are also a great deal of luciferian overtones. The Last Breath of Tellus is the prime example of this, through the blatantly said words "Enlighten my Lucifer!". Now so much beauty as filthy, the true allure in this album lies with Nattramn's compositional talents. IT isn't necessarily the music itself that makes this release memorable, nor the gritty and foully descriptive lyrics, but his ability to build the listeners senses continuously through important tracks only to have them cut away and be taken back down to Earth for the dark ambient pieces. This is a world of sincere discernment. This is the world after your final judgement on the way to hell. This is the path you must cross on your journey to your own prison in your filthy afterlife...torture and pleasure await you in the same passionate frenzy of dismemberment. Beg for your soul... / Lord Lycan

Und Suizid-Gejammer die 50.! Hier wird die momentane Selbsmordwelle auf die Spitze getrieben, ziert doch schon ein Krankenbett mit Ärzteteam und diverse Tabletten-Verpackungen von Anti-Depressiva das Heftchen. Angeblich würde das ganze auch vom „social insurance office“ und einem Team an Psychiatern gesponsert und wurde folgerichtig während des Therapie- und Rehablilitationsprozesses aufgenommen. NATÜRLICH IST ES DAS! Langsam geht mir diese ganze aufgesetzte Heulsusenkacke aber ganz schön auf den Kecks! Nichts gegen guten Depri-BM wie ABYSSIC HATE, WIGRID oder XASTHUR, aber das hier ist echt nur noch Imagereiterei! Ich muß jedoch auch betonen, daß es sich hierbei um kein BM-Album handelt, sondern sich industrialartige Klang- und Lärmcollagen (erzeugt von Maschinen- und Krankenhausgeräuschen) mit VINTERRIKET-ähnlichen- Atmosphäregedöns abwechseln. Der seltene Gesang ist wimmernd, klagend jedoch nicht geschrien. Bei „Upon the High Horse of Self Destruction“ ist er zunächst röchelnd herausgepreßt, um dann in einen technisch verfremdeten Monolog zu verfallen. Gitarren finden keine Verwendung, der Rhythmus wird meist von maschinellen Einspielungen, seltener auch von gesampelten Paukenschlägen getragen! Nur sehr selten finden sich auch mal richtige Melodien (wie bei „Situazion:Lebensgefahr“), so daß es hier wirklich nur um die Erzeugung von Trostlosigkeit geht, was auch gut gelingt. Ob ich mir das Ganze jedoch eine Stunde lang geben muß bleibt fraglich! Fairerweise sollte ich dazu sagen, daß ich nur wenig mit Industrial anfangen kann und ich auch im Ambientbereich ansprechendere Sachen kenne. Daß es sich hierbei um ein neues Projekt des Herren Nattramn von SILENCER handelt, kann diesen Umstand nicht sonderlich ändern. Wer jedoch von Selbsmord-Portraits immer noch nicht genug hat und keine Musik, sondern materialisierte Atmosphäre sucht, der ist hier richtig!

Med låttitlar som ”Tillsammans men ensam i stillhetens kapell” och ”Flaggan på halv stång i drömmens västergård” behöver man nästan inte ens lyssna på plattan för att hamna i rätt stämning. Diagnose: Lebensgefahr rör sig någonstans i gränslandet mellan dröm och verklighet, mellan psykisk sjukdom och ren, medveten ondska. Konvolutet visar bilder av svunna tiders sjukvård, och efter att ha vandrat ensam med skräckblandad förtjusning i Nattramns värld av övergivna sjukhuskorridorer är det nästan så att jag ser fram emot den dag min ångest tar mig till en institution. Att något så skrämmande och så sinnessjukt kan vara så vackert är näst intill obegripligt. Så otroligt att jag nästan inte tror att ”Transformalin” egentligen finns.
Slavestate Magazine





Ensepulchred Reviews

The thoughts of Halloween, Samhain and the seasons of Autumn and Winter sure as hell brought out the spookiness in somebody because the latest disc from the notorious Black Metal label, Autopsy Kitchen, is anything but calm and soothing. This unsettling release entitled, The Night Our Rituals Blackened The Stars, comes from a band called Ensepulchred (formerly known as The Blood Of Transylvania). I can't tell you much about the band outside of this, there's not much information on the band and what little I found is vague. What can be said about Ensepulchred and their newest release, The Night Our Rituals Blackened The Stars is that it's noisy but in a strange way that beckons me a little more than I'd like to let on. Naturally, it's what I'd like to call "Kvlt" Black Metal due to the screeching vocals that have been overloaded with effects, but it also borders closely on the experimental side of the spectrum. The nine tracks present on this disc are completely keyboard driven, with little to no guitar added into the mix which is something I'm totally not accustomed to, but I can deal with. However, I find it really hard to swallow that the bass and drum tracks take a backseat to the vocals and keys. Yes, the music is great for what it is, but there's not a stout beat to beef up the overall effect of the songs. In essence, the band seems happy to creep the fuck out of you with melancholy keyboard melodies that would make old Fang-face one happy camper. While I am not fond of the particular way the band chose to produce the album, I'm quite enamored with the music and emotions portrayed here. On a disc such as this there are no highlights, instead we've traded them in for "darklights" and those are "A Chapel Overlooking The Abyss", "Graves Upturned", "Unforgivable" and "Our Final Nightfall and Then Silence Eternal". If you like it spooky, bleak and manic then you'll enjoy Ensepulchred. Just think somewhere between Xasthur, Eyes Of Legeia, Striborg and Burzum and you'll find the niche.

Another strange foray into outsider black metal weirdness from the same label that brought us excellent recent releases from Stalaggh and Silencer; this new disc is the debut from Ensepulchered, an atmospheric basement BM outfit who were formerly called The Blood Of Transylvania and who had released a bunch of sub-underground CD-Rs prior to changing their name and hooking up with Autopsy Kitchen. Looking at the case, there's no doubt that this is going to contain some strange, dramatic BM action...the booklet cover features Ensepulchred's wicked logo over a blurred classical painting, and the fog-enshrouded landscape and 19th century photo in the booklet are just as blurry and indistinct, like gauzy images from a dream. The song titles are equally dramatic: "Graves Upturned", "Embrace Your Decaying Children And Weep", "Along Paths Where The Infected Lurk". All very fitting for Ensepulchred's highly individualistic take on symphonic blackened dread, which is a sort of weird, wandering, low-fi electro-black metal with ghoulish, electronically distorted vocals and ambient, atmospheric keyboards WAY UP in the mix, the guitar almost non-existent, rendered a far-off, distorted drone that sounds like it's being run through a wall of effects to the point where it's really indistinguishable from the keyboards. It really sounds like the band is made up of just keyboards, tinny drum machine, processed distorted noise buzzing off of everything, and those weird, phased vocals, the keyboard acting as the lead instrument with great, grim hooks. The combination makes Ensepulchred sound almost like some gloomy 80's post-punk/goth outfit unearthed from a dank tomb, like a bizarre, raw Fields Of The Nephilim with damaged black metal vocals and blastbeats. Definitely something different, this album has continued to grow on me all week.
Crucial Blast Webstore Symphonic Black metal with some of the most soul reaping Vo Kills I've heard in a long time. You know what all this has alot of harsh noise elements to and its just down right fucking creepy and unnerving in the presentation and aural effects given to the music. Ensepulchred knows how to get and keep the listener. I really like that the synths are the main focus of the project with the vocals buried just enough behind them and the very cold robotic Drums to make is all something you will not hear that often and an absolute breathe of fresh air in a scene of who can blast and lo fi record into more cultdom. Its great to have another USBM band that is out to prove that were here for the long haul and making music to match anything overseas.
Absolute Zero Media

Ensepulchred's music is very minimalist yet the artist generates a shadow drenched atmosphere. Ensepulchred mixes distant, raw black metal elements fused with electronic melodies for music that is darkly beautiful and exceedingly grim. It's low-fi proceedings are wickedly underground in flavor but will easily capture the mind's eye in a wash of blackness.

This ghastly beast of a black metal outfit write impressive tunes that darken the soul and haunt your dreams. I wish music like this was the soundtrack to some horror music instead of cheesy hard rock crap. Dark melancholic apathetic bleakness with twisted vocals and eerie synths swirling amid a mass of cloudy distorted guitars and hate-filled pounding percussion. In other words, perfect music to perform a Satanic ritual with.
Editor's Pick on

Better late than never, the autumnal release of Ensepulchred’s The Night Our Rituals Blackened The Stars was intentionally released on Halloween of 2006 to sort of encapsulate the vibe of the season. I guess I can understand why Autopsy Kitchen came to this decision, but now as we step deeper into winter, the thin, symphonic but gritty black metal suits the cold season admirably as well. Of varied pace and consistently despondent mood, this elusive trio (?) perform a solemn and vibe-driven kind of black metal the likes of which Blut Aus Nord, Leviathan, and Nortt fans might find quite appealing, as I have. Dominated almost entirely by keyboards, along with a respectably decent drum sound, the nine tracks lunge along with no hurry, alternating between slower doom and more old school up-tempo charges of speed here and there, peppered with light blastbeats and paper-thin tremolo, accompanied by a rarely inactive snarling vocal performance. An occasional test of endurance comes by way of jarring distortion, feedback, or sparse but noticeable special effects, which unfortunately, sound-wise, is where …Rituals is at its most forceful. The bass and guitars are more of an enhancement, and when the bass does make its presence known, the rhythm section forms a very tight and catchy backbone to the tunes, “Unforgivable” in particular. To be honest, this is a very good release, but it also isn’t an easy one to latch on to right away. The dismal production is an acquired taste, but admittedly does complement the desolate, parched and unwelcoming atmosphere Ensepulchred set out to achieve. If it had been given a heavier and more guitar oriented treatment, I doubt the material would be as effective, as “Twelve Kingdom” kicks in just enough of a heavy groove towards the end of the track, bringing the more claustrophobic Vampiric theme they somewhat embody to fruition. They were formerly known as The Blood Of Transylvania, after all. An increase in variation with the pacing of the vocals would have helped to break this album up a little bit, and an additional boost and balance of the sound might have improved the overall product, but Ensepulchred show some impressive and forward thinking traits, along with a firm understanding of how to set powerfully melancholy moods and maintain them as far a songwriting goes. They’re a good band to turn to if Xasthur rubs you a little raw, and in case you find yourself interested at this point, then I’d recommend you just go ahead and check out some samples of The Night Our Rituals Blackened The Stars if you have a few spare minutes, and possibly dollars, if you’re sure this is what you’re into.

8 Skulls Originally known as The Blood of Transylvania, Ensepulchred makes its debut with The Night Our Rituals Blackened the Stars, an experimental Black Metal CD that fuses the keyboard-driven style of atmospheric bands such as Fear Of Eternity and Xasthur with the harsh Black Metal of bands such as Gorgoroth and Aborym. O. Barker's and D. Redington's keyboards take center stage, with the washes thick and juicy if overtly repetitive. The remaining instruments are fuzzy, with the percussion tinny (drum machine), the bass washed out, and the guitars laden with distortion. J. Shipley's vocals are hissed from a demon's ass. The principal flaw on The Night Our Rituals Blackened the Stars is the lack of variety. The song structures are solid and the instrumentation is on par with the dirtier facets of Black Metal, but repetitive keyboard riffs make this one difficult going. The resultant ambiance, one of despondence and dreary oppressiveness, works well, but the music would be served better with different melodies interspersed throughout the principal washes. Tracks such as "Along Paths Where the Infected Lurk" and "Unforgivable" pack a potent punch when ingested separately, and perhaps this is the best way to listen to this CD. As a collective, it is flawed, but each track can and should stand alone. Truly misanthropic, which should attract the attention of the forlorn among you. (OR)

Ensepulchred make grim and noisy keyboard based Black metal, but don’t let the mention of keyboards make you run to the hills as everything here is so fuzzed and distorted to hell- there’s nothing close to commercial black metal about it. It feels like a cross breed between Burzum’s more keyboard laden moments, distorted 80’s synth horror sound track work with a few noise like traces. It claims to have guitar on it, but it’s so low mixed that most of the time your unsure if it’s there atall. The dominate prime evil forces here are keyboards, electronics and drums, which gives this quite a distinctive grim sound. Hats really must be taken off to the production as it sounds like it was recorded in a dank crypt, then played back and once more and recorded through a tinny stereo on its last legs. All giving great distorted banks of evil harmonics buzzing and twisting together the grim tones into a black soupy cold and grim sound. Add on top vocals that what sounds like GGFH vocals gone Black metal, sudden eruptions of noisy matter and crude atmospheric dwellings. All to make this an highly enjoyable shadowy and atmospheric grim and brutal trip . Really worth a look if you like any sort of mess up and fried black metal, or for that matter any corrupted synth work or noisy grimness. To find out more and hear sound samples walk this ( dark web corridor.

Formerly operating as The Blood of Transylvania and releasing a few splits and a self-released full-length CD-R, this band's proper debut comes under the new moniker of Ensepulchred. Having never heard The Blood of Transylvania I'm unsure as to how the material might compare, but this is very atypical black metal whose chief literal connections to the genre come in the form of the vocal approach and the general atmospheric tone of dark, somber aesthetics. The compositions are actually dominated by murky synth melodies and programmed drums, with only minimally noticeable traces of tangible guitars or bass throughout. The distant snarls of the vocals are quite strong, and the drum programming suits me just fine, but I'm definitely torn on the use of keyboards, as in general I simply don't care for keyboards and would certainly prefer not to hear them as a lead instrument. On occasion some of the melodies are quite effective, and the ambient/industrial leanings of some of the harsher experimental noise elements are more promising than the musical applications of the synths, but the mix favors the more straightforward and "musical" side of the keyboards. It sounds like there are some curious bass runs (synth-based or otherwise) happening in there on occasion, but along with some of the more "industrial"-laden textures that I find to be of interest, the mix tends to drown them out. Also, visually the band's logo is great, but I do find the rest of the packaging to be somewhat lacking, as the imagery is all rather blurry - which only seems intentional/appropriate in the center spread of the booklet (whose photograph actually looks rather nice). So in the end, I very much admire Ensepulchred's creativity and refusal to fall back on the simple standards of tried and true black metal, but I feel like they still need to further develop their attack - figuring out a way to let some of those dirtier and more aggressive keyboard textures work with the intensity of the vocals to power up the core of the material to create a more convincing and forceful manifestation of their vision. This one's definitely outside the norm…

With their debut full-length album, Ensepulchred have proven that, despite the genre’s massive popularity and genrefication over the last few years, there is still room for originality within ambient black metal. The music presented here does an excellent job combining elements of traditional black metal with harsh noise and vocals, all with an ever-present undercurrent of tasteful, melodic keyboards that give the album a folky ambiance at times, but never feel out of place amongst the bleakness. Standout tracks like “Embrace Your Decaying Children and Weep” and “Along Paths Where the Infected Lurk” show a young band at the start of what should hopefully be a long and fruitful career, and best of luck to them! (On a unofficial side note, everyone should check out vocalist Akgath’s solo project, Whispers From a Dead World, boundlessly epic atmospheric folk metal)

For the longest time now, the only good black metal that I knew of to be in my back yard (Indiana) was black funeral. Suddenly, in my last package from Heathen Harvest Headquarters, I receive a release from Indiana-based BM label, Autopsy Kitchen Records, with yet another good black metal band from my boring little state full of cows and corn; Ensepulchred. While we're on opposite ends of the state, it still amazes me that bands like this exist in my section of the middle of nowhere. It does make sense, though, that an area like this, away from civilization (albeit Frankfort isn't exactly a small town), would breed some pretty fucked up and crazy people. When all your family knows is generations of their own traditions, beliefs, and lifestyle, as is the case with many families in this area, you tend to have a tangent build away from modern views of society. Ensepulchred plays a unique style of black metal that seems rather off the wall. While the promo sheet marks them as "perhaps some of the most metal in years", I would not necessarily agree with this. Unfortunately, the music itself doesn't really come off as sad. They keyboards are way too high in the mix and the guitar work is far too low to accomplish the atmosphere that depressive black metal brings out. However, this is what makes the band unique in sound. The drum blasts have been slowed down to be mid-paced and the keyboards help to bring out the synthetic atmosphere of the band. It almost reminds me of with raw industrial black metal should have been when MZ 412 set their sites in that direction. The music does fit the atmosphere created here in the winter months though. Endless dead fields of mud and forgotten crops covered in snow and ice, with not a person around for miles during the season. Its a very desolate and cold atmosphere that somehow seems very open-ended, not closed off like a winter-forest atmosphere that most bands attempt to evoke from their sound. More than a melancholy or hateful/evil atmosphere, this music puts forth an almost child-like dementia, with simple but beautiful melodies flowing endlessly throughout the album, sometimes reminding one of what a musicbox may be remembered as sounding like in a child's mind years after its destruction. Ensepulchred is a group of talented individuals making ground in a genre that has long since been stagnant. They are taking old ideas from black metal and reinventing them to sound unique to their individual style. The music found within is definitely worth the experience. It also doesn't get much more underground than a black metal act from fucking Indiana. There's a hundred reasons to buy this release. This is definitely an interesting, almost occult release for your collection.

"Hailing from the United States, Ensepulchred are a relatively new band who previously went under the title The Blood of Transylvania. This, “The Night Our Rituals Blackened The Stars” is their frankly scary debut. Melding sub-zero drum machine loops with vast, stately keyboards and a nihilistic black metal screech, Ensepulchred paint terrifying pictures of ancient horror stalking a modern world. The sound on this release is strongly driven by the keyboards, which soar over the rest of the elements and provide the songs with their depth and melody. Guitars are mainly used to provide a harsh, distorted texture, and are buried quite deeply in the mix. The drum programming can be quite complex, easily replicating the thunderous rumble and ominous fill that are such black metal favourites. The vocals are relentless, with scary growler John providing a constant, harsh-as-hell counterpoise to the clean sound of the keys. In terms of songs, the album starts strongly with “Graves Upturned”, which is well-structured around an eerie keyboard progression. The keys on these tracks are oppressive in a good way; the sound is heavy and evocative. The keyboards give not just melodic leads, but also tons of terrifying atmosphere. “Embrace Your Decaying Children and Weep” and “In A Dark Place With No Escape” keep the ball rolling with insistent beats, moving, depressive keyboard leads and a tendency to build up all their elements quite impressively into a textured fluency by the track’s end. I feel the album loses its way a little around the middle, with the keyboards becoming messier and less inventive. However, everything is recovered by the time of bassy, evil “Unforgivable”, and the final two tracks are exceptional. “One Nightfall, And Then Silence Eternal”, especially, shows the keyboards back on top form, with a groovy, insistent lead and some evocative atmosphere- a stand-out track. “The Night Our Rituals…” is ambitious and creative. The oppressive keyboards effectively replace guitars, but the result is still very much a harsh, black metal sound. Personally I don’t enjoy listening to drum machines, and I feel that there are some fairly characterless programming moments on this album, but nevertheless I found myself playing it repeatedly. A frozen, pitch-black atmosphere, serial killer aggression, the harshness of the vocals, and the truly awesome titling of the songs, combine to keep this interesting, and the electronic elements make it fresh and different from the usual run-of-the-mill black metal debut. A commendable push in a frightening and inventive new direction.

Lo-fi, slow, synth driven, ambient black metal reminiscent to the first few Limbonic Art records, Ensepulchred presents a concept that's interesting in theory but fails miserably in practice. Non-existent guitars, poorly programmed drum machine, shitty vocals, and amateurish songwriting make The Night Our Rituals Blackened the Stars sound like it was written by a group of suicidal teenagers with a $200 Casio keyboard. I suppose Ensepulchred is not your typical run of the mill band but the quality, or lack thereof, leaves me with nothing positive to say. The songs are drenched in keyboards, not a bad thing per se had the band any idea how to compose a song, but Ensepulchred just hits random keys and holds them for two to three seconds while average black metal shrieks and poorly programmed drum machine pace in the background. Once this formula becomes repetitive (middle of the first track), the band throws in an ambient keyboard part or a spoken word passage. This repeats for almost forty minutes. Ensepulchred will certainly appeal to the band members' families, friends, or those who don't know a single thing about good black metal. Any discerning fan should stay away.
Mike.S -

As you might guess from the title, Ensepulchred move in the orbit of Black Metal, but they are pretty far out there with their music. Their songs are being carried by a vast keyboard sound, pretty monotonous, the guitars are far away and distorted and barely audible. The drum(machine) is continuous and slow and the vocals are screamed in the background, from deeeeeep, deeeep within and have a certain distorted sound to them as well. Actually the music is pretty cool, but the songs sound too much alike. This record is simply too boring to be good. I’m surprised myself, because usually I am the one listening to the monotonuos, eerie and slow music, but nothing happens here. NEXT!

Ensepulchred’s music brings us a unique but simple minimalist atmosphere that would creep out even the best horror composer, in fact this would fit really well into a horror move travel scene or something. Ensepulchred have a very raw BM feel to the mix fused with electronic synths and melodic/doom scenes that make for a pretty wicked setting. To me it sounds like a couple dudes that can play keyboard pretty well and have a good sense of song structure as far as grim atmosphere goes. They also seemed to have found a decent vocal effect that will make their lyrics go more into the background rather than take over the tracks. As raw and primitive as this may sound I actually enjoyed this album is has a neat sound and well worth checking out if your into obscure music and underground bands in the rawest forms of black metal. The recordings are actually pretty good for what they used to work with so horns high for those guys. I will say the album gets pretty boring after a few tracks because of the over speed and atmosphere so it’s a bit of a hard listen to get threw the whole album.

If there's one thing I really hate, it's when a label (or the band themselves) hype a band by trying to rewrite history. ENSEPULCHERED are described as what EMPEROR would have sounded like if they had XASTHUR for an influence. Stuff like that just comes off as really lame, and I find it to be completely ridiculous. Except this time. ENSEPULCHERED are a case where a statement like that is actually true. They really do sound like what EMPEROR could have been if XASTHUR had come first. The music is dark, haunting, and generally depressing. Yet the main instrument seems to be their keyboards. They're extremely high in the mix, and play a major role in every single track. Which is how EMPEROR used to do things in their early days. The drums though are definitely done by a machine, and have a strong industrial influenced backbeat. It does work, and I think it was a good idea the band had to record them the same as if they were playing live. Not having a human drummer really adds to their sound, and for once I would like to see a band keep things that way.

Ensepulchred’s music is very minimalist yet the artist generates a shadow drenched atmosphere. Ensepulchred mixes distant, raw black metal elements fused with electronic melodies for music that is darkly beautiful and exceedingly grim. It’s low-fi proceedings are wickedly underground in flavor but will easily capture the mind’s eye in a wash of blackness.

Formerly operating as The Blood of Transylvania and releasing a few splits and a self-released full-length CD-R, this band's proper debut comes under the new moniker of Ensepulchred. Having never heard The Blood of Transylvania I'm unsure as to how the material might compare, but this is very atypical black metal whose chief literal connections to the genre come in the form of the vocal approach and the general atmospheric tone of dark, somber aesthetics. The compositions are actually dominated by murky synth melodies and programmed drums, with only minimally noticeable traces of tangible guitars or bass throughout. The distant snarls of the vocals are quite strong, and the drum programming suits me just fine, but I'm definitely torn on the use of keyboards, as in general I simply don't care for keyboards and would certainly prefer not to hear them as a lead instrument. On occasion some of the melodies are quite effective, and the ambient/industrial leanings of some of the harsher experimental noise elements are more promising than the musical applications of the synths, but the mix favors the more straightforward and "musical" side of the keyboards. It sounds like there are some curious bass runs (synth-based or otherwise) happening in there on occasion, but along with some of the more "industrial"-laden textures that I find to be of interest, the mix tends to drown them out. Also, visually the band's logo is great, but I do find the rest of the packaging to be somewhat lacking, as the imagery is all rather blurry - which only seems intentional/appropriate in the center spread of the booklet (whose photograph actually looks rather nice). So in the end, I very much admire Ensepulchred's creativity and refusal to fall back on the simple standards of tried and true black metal, but I feel like they still need to further develop their attack - figuring out a way to let some of those dirtier and more aggressive keyboard textures work with the intensity of the vocals to power up the core of the material to create a more convincing and forceful manifestation of their vision. This one's definitely outside the norm…

From Indiana come those hunchbacked gravediggers of ENSEPULCHRED. The world of this band is to be taken, by concept, lyrcis, and music, as an homage to 50's B&W vampires flicks or as the bloodstained pages of a Bram Stocker's novel. They play some unusual transilvanian horror Dark / Black Metal. The kind of atmospheres this band created on "The Night Ours Rituals..." are the ones that would soundtrack a walk by the light of a lantern in a sinister graveyard with a shovel on your shoulder. The guitars are distorted and barely audible. The whole music of ENSEPULCHRED is driven by two keyboards played like old creepy church organs. The vocals have been recorded as if the singer was in three rooms away from the microphone and are filled with lot of reverb, maybe a little like Finland's VINTERSEMESTRE. The lack of tempos change from the drums program on another hand got me lethargic. The less we could say is ENSEPULCHRED is melancholic, dark and macabre. Real untypical but dead downing, "The Night Our Rituals Blackened the Stars" is an average release that will appeal peoples seeking for something that has never been done in Black Metal.

Really one-dimensional stuff, Black Metal vocals on top of some distant monotonous synth/metal soundscape, that in my ears are dated and not worth much attention. And I don´t think this work really well, either. I don´t get the feeling they mean what they are doing, it doesn´t feel real. (w)

When I pop in a current black metal band’s CD I am anticipating the usual: high-speed picking, drumming at a million beats per-second and some goofy mystical keyboard in the background keeping up appearances of true “Norsk Black Metal”. I’m almost always disappointed because nothing ever changes! Upon popping in Ensepulchred’s current offering “The Night Our Rituals Blackened the Stars” I am surprised to hear an atmospheric landscape ala Burzum’s Filosofem. In fact, I go as far as to say that this is faring much better in my opinion than the Varg Vikernes production simply because this offering, to me, sounds less forced and more introspective in itself. That is to say, this CD has many great moments of clarity and creates amazing visual pictures Vikernes simply didn’t accomplish from his prison cell. Introducing the band, we have J. Shipley: vocals O. Barker: keyboards, drum machines, guitar D. Redington: keyboards, noise, bass. These guys have their proverbial shit together and can lay a claim to the term “black metal music” and have it actually be true! The typical shrieking and gasping vocals, while nothing new, fail to hinder this CD in any way. Sometimes, in layman’s terms, the stuff just works, and it works nicely here. Now, the kicker for me is that these guys are from the U.S.! I’m always a big proponent of saying that U.S. bands know nothing of the Scandinavian metal scene save for what they’ve read, watched, heard or gossiped about since the early 90s. Again, some acts can pull it off, but that is a VERY rare commodity in my opinion. The United States can finally hold its head high and say we have a pretty damn good black metal band representing us! The sound is evil: pure, unbiased, red-handed, black-hooded, church-burning evil at its finest. This band could certainly hold its own with the likes of early Emperor, Darkthrone, Morbid, Behemoth. I’m more than impressed! The band recently underwent a name change; you can find out more at the band’s My Space page address below, along with information on how to find other releases, like the soon to be CD issued "Suicide in Winters Moonlight", which the band will give more information about soon. Nine hammers up – Pure American Black Metal…at last!
Chris Pratl

Der Zugang zu dieser 38minütigen CD stellte sich für mich etwas schwierig dar. Das könnte daran liegen, daß dieses amerikanische Trio elektronisch angehauchten, sphärischen, suizidal-melancholischen Midtempo BM fabriziert, es aber draußen fast 30 Grad sind und ich eigentlich gute Laune habe. Jaja, das Leben ist kein Ponyhof. Abgesehen von den Temperaturen, zeigt sich das Klangbild des Albums aber auch etwas gleichförmig. Auch erweist sich das symphonische Tasteninstrument streckenweise als zu aufdringlich und leicht kitschverdächtig. Die neun Stücke erreichen das Hirn des Hörers als massiver, leidensverstärkender Klangkörper und sollten wirklich nur in einer angemessenen Gemütslage aufgenommen werden. Ansonsten werden die eigentlich homogenen Kompositionen wohl eher als uninspirierte Geräuschkulisse wahrgenommen. Das synthetische Schlagzeug klingt stellenweise ebenfalls etwas unschön, was zusammen mit der dominanten Stromorgel zu nervigen Abschnitten führen kann. Doch klingt das alles negativer, als es wirklich ist. Wenn man die Scheibe schon ein wenig kennt und sie dann in der entsprechenden Stimmung konsumiert, sollte sie nicht entäuschen. Mal wieder keine Platte für jeden Tag, welche dafür aber auch kraftvolle und berührende Momente aufweisen kann. Als Vergleich muß schon wieder XASTHUR herhalten, obwohl ENSEPULCHRED doch genügend Eigenständigkeit vermitteln. Die Gestaltung ist kein Einheitsbrei und weiß außerordentlich zu gefallen. Somit lautet das Fazit mal wieder: Kein Fehlkauf, aber auch kein Muß.







Chemikiller Reviews

In the evergrowing world of one-man Black Metal bands, I've stumbled upon one of the best I've heard in a very long time! Chemikiller is a one-man wrecking ball from Delaware, who brings back the glory days of real, evil Black/Thrash Metal. And I don't mean the weak shit either, I'm talking about Venom, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Exodus, Impaler and Motorhead. Hell, you could add a bunch more to that list, but I'm sure you're getting my point. The band's latest full length entitled, Evilspeak comes to us courtesy of the label who brought the world Nachtmystium - Autopsy Kitchen! Where to begin with Evilspeak? I'm totally blown away by the entire album. There isn't a track here that comes across half-assed. I've been spinning it non-stop since it came in. Mainman - Ramrod, vocally, sounds like a cross between Cronos of Venom, Lemmy of Motorhead and Gruesome of Impaler. You just can't fucking beat that. Grunts, growls and snarls of obscenities and atrocities rain down like the blood of the lamb on almost every song. Those of you who fancy the war movie "Full Metal Jacket", will indeed enjoy the band's tune that goes by the same name. The track is packed with catchy, killer riffs and hooks that beckon the early eighties Metal scene. The lead-breaks are also a back-breaker that lead right back into the smash and crash of the tune. Lyrically, the album is pretty explicit and sometimes a little over the top, but then again Satanic Metal should be this way. The lyrics for the track "United Satanic America", are as patriotic as it gets for the satanic community. Here again the track is loaded with great guitar riffs and leads that further strengthen the lyrics. The track "Spider Queen" sounds like a left over track from Motorhead's Ace Of Spades album and that's fine by me. The rhythm section and song structure here shines the brightest, it's loud, thunderous and mean. "Last Temptation" is yet another phenomenal tune that's obscene as shit and crushing. The breakdown see's Ramrod singing in a monotone voice much like Glenn Danzig and given the lyrics could have been written by the man-beast himself, I'm awe-struck. Chemikiller's, Evilspeak is fourteen tracks of pure, blackened, Thrash Metal! There is something to be said of a man who truly speaks his mind this day and age. Now a days there is more mysticism and rambling in the majority of heavy music about the occult and satanism, which sometimes hinders and leads me to believe that it's not heartfelt. You won't find that on any of the tracks on this album, it's all laid out in the open for you to take in. One listen to "Enemy Of Christ", "Stronger Than God" or "The Blackest Night" and you know exactly what you're listening to and what it's about. However, I can't say that I'm whole-heartedly into all the lyrics on this album. One thing is for sure, I admire anybody that stands up for their beliefs with real and pure intent. Evilspeak is one of the best fucking albums I've come across this year and I highly recommend that everybody who likes Metal seek this cd out. I can only hope there is more where this came from!

Very much borrowing from the Venom playbook, Chemikiller plays the "it's so old-school that it might be tongue-in-cheek" brand of metal that 3 Inches of Blood and Goat Horn have been reviving. The production is god awful, the lyrics are ridiculous as well as satanic, and the musicianship could probably be cranked out by a competent eight grader, but Evilspeak, much like the aforementioned groups, at least continues much in the vein of past bands that had a simplistic, delightfully tacky signature sound to them. By no means breaking down boundaries of metal music, Chemikiller's archaic take on what would be dubbed 'black metal' back in the early 80s (seriously, it's very traditional meta-based), is a surprisingly refreshing jump back to a time when 30 metal records would come out in a given year versus today's lord-only-knows how many 300+ releases that somehow get put out by nearly as many labels. Mixing it up with classic metal solos, piss-poor production, and a gravelly, throaty delivery that should make 2006-era Venom jealous, Chemikiller somehow keeps it original by liberally borrowing from the past. Sure, it's a throwback to a time when metal music was simpler and it pales in comparison to today's ultra-polished 'metal' that's being churned out in droves, but that doesn't mean Evilspeak is any less fun than it would have been in 1982. While it is significantly less terrifying than it would have been in said era, Chemikiller is still a nostalgic nod to the past while keeping it refreshingly original by digging into a past sound we haven't heard in ages. Delightfully tacky but tastefully executed, this one is okay in my book.

CHEMIKILLER – EVILSPEAK (THE PASSION OF THE ANTICHRIST) The coming together of Venom and Kiss would most likely produce the bastard offspring Chemikiller, a one-man project (with session members) envisioned by a rather talented fellow named Ramrod. Revisiting the glory days of classic metal as it get stepchild mistreatment by the media in favor of hair rock, only to lurk in the shadows and emerge the survivor over the course of the next few decades (of course, many hair rockers had to resort to whoring themselves out even lower by appearing on reality TV shows to regain a bit of spotlight). Chemikiller is a fist down the throat of all pussy-poser metal, the proverbial Ramrod up the ass of today’s nu-metal mall rockers and their pathetic ilk. Track titles like “House of Blood” and “Enemy of Christ” prove that Chemikiller mean serious business when paying homage to the gods of true metal and their wrathful judgment. BOW DOWN! (FA)
Dirt Culture Magazine

7 Skulls Right from the opening, Chemikiller flips off Black Metal (the opener, "KVL + ENVFF?," is a short fuck you to the style) and instead sets down what many consider the prototypical style of Satanic Metal, once performed by acts such as Venom, Possessed, and Mercyful Fate. This old-school combination of Thrash and NWOBHM, as well as a dose of Motorhead, works well enough, but for some reason Chemikiller's approach is perhaps a bit too laid back, too lazy feeling. The rawness of the production can be felt, but the music also comes off as a bit stale, with the guitars and drums running over each other and pushed to the background while the snarling vocals step to the forefront ("United Satanic America" is a good example of this approach). One reason for this approach could be that mastermind Ramrod handles all the instruments, except for the drum samples, which are contributed by Chris Donlon. Can't really recommend this one, but I can't condemn it, either, as there are flashes of skill, such as the guitars on "Spider Queen" and the basslines of "Stronger than God." Fans of 1980s "Black Metal" should check this one out.
SOD Magazine

When you take out the CD, beneath it you can read the following: no Vikings, no corpsepaint, no keyboards, no bullshit, just black fuckin thrash. How can you not love the guy? If you listened to any of Chemikiller demos you’ll know what to expect, and that’s exactly what Ramrod stated. It helps also if I mention the names of his influences for the band and this particular recording: Venom, Piledriver, Bathory, Possessed, Mercyful Fate. Chemikiller music has always been (and it’s the case this time too) rather simplistic, but very effective. As well as before, you’ll encounter stuff mostly reminding of early Venom (actually, really just sum up all the mention bands, minus Possessed probably and you’ll get Chemikiller), only with a bit clearer playing and production, but Ramrod sounds like a son, or at least a cousin of Cronos. Besides that, music can mostly be connected with heavy metal and some thrash outbursts here and there. Drum sampling (although I could swear these were real drums) has been done by Chris Donlon, Ramrod took care of everything else and it seems that these one-man projects are awfully popular in Delaware, as there’s also Joel Grind’s Toxic Holocaust, and both guys are excellent at what they do. Lyrics are always very evil sounding, anti-god, as Ramrod seems to have a major issue with him. Normally, I would find 14 songs (13 + intro) too long, but somehow this never gets boring. I can’t say that Chemikiller music is amazing or legendary, but it’s damn fun and nice to listen to. When so many songs are included, you’d expect them to be around 3 minutes each, but that isn’t the case either, as most of them are around 4 and a half. After several demos that Chemikiller did, it’s nice to see that Ramrod gathered a nice collection for the debut album to take his project of the ground and to another level. “Evilspeak” is more than a fine continuation of the demo period and the future also looks bright. (8/10)
Metal Sound Magazine

Delaware's Chemikiller is a solo project of little or no real ambition, the sole purpose being to turn out some gritty, oldschool thrash with Satanic elements. It therefore comes as no surprise that Evilspeak isn't pushing the envelope or pioneering new territory in metal; it's just 58 and a half minutes of mostly competent headbanging material. This CD is the kind of thrash most likely appreciated by those in denim jackets with back patches, beer can firmly in hand.
A 38 second, vocal driven intro leads to "Full Metal Jacket", a song based on the Vietnam War flick of the same name. "Jacket" immediately lays it all on the line: Raw guitar sound, extremely coarse vocals, decent drum samples that dedicated skinsmen will undoubtedly find boring and simple thrash riffs sometimes marked with melody. Comparisons to Venom and Motorhead are possible, but Chemikiller has a certain underground edge and cheap, DIY atmosphere that will turn off a lot of thrashers from the get go. It's just a little too abrasive for the average fan. That's not to say it's a CD without value, just that a lot of listeners probably won't be able to handle it, and the ones who can will be the true thrash maniacs.
Song titles like "United Satanic America" and "Enemy Of Christ" make it pretty clear that the classic Satan-inspired imagery fuels the band, but the anti-God stance is helped along by doses of horror. "Spider Queen" clocking in at over 6 minutes, is a straightforward mid-tempo thrash number about the "venomous fangs" and "hairy legs" of an arachnid killer. "Knee Deep In The Dead" was inspired by the old PC game Doom, with references to Mars' colonization and the ensuing battle against hell-spawned creatures. Throughout the disc there's plenty of vintage thrash worship, with Sodom-like riffs much in evidence. Old Celtic Frost is probably an influence, and there's even some traces of Show No Mercy era Slayer to be heard among the 14 tracks.
The packaging of Evilspeak flies the flag of oldschool thrash in every way it can, including the message, "No Vikings, No Corpsepaint, No Keyboards, No Bullshit, Just Black Fuckin Thrash". The black thrash moniker is a good one, as this CD sounds more like the early roots of black metal than anything this side of Aura Noir, but the distaste for Vikings is puzzling when you realize the insert's sole photo shows Chemikiller mastermind Ryan Weiss sporting a Bathory shirt. Astute observers will notice the order of the lyrics doesn't remotely match the actual track listing, but if you're into this kind of thing, that just makes it better, and summarizes the aesthetic of the band in general: Don't think, just thrash. Chemikiller may not be on par with vintage Kreator, but anyone wanting to explore the deepest, dankest corners of thrash should pick up Evilspeak. It's raw, crude and true to it's mission.
Metal Maniacs Magazine / Keith Russo

Chemikiller main man Ramrod makes no bones about it: He loves Venom and hates Jesus. The band’s (and I use the term loosely, the project is mostly Ramrod) second album, Evilspeak: The Passion of the Antichrist is a collection of fourteen unabashed and unapologetic retro metal anthems that offer little in the way of originality. Or depth. Or technicality. Fun, on the other hand, is where it’s at, and sometimes that’s enough. Aside from the proud, "No Vikings, No corpsepaint, No keyboards, Just black fuckin’ thrash!" credo on the band’s website, little about this project indicates that Ramrod takes this all that seriously, which is just about right. Although it’s probably a safe bet that Chemikiller have a seriously genuine and unshakable passion for the metal of yore, Evilspeak definitely comes across as more beer swillin’ than blood spillin’ metal. For that reason, and because of its unfettered hero worship, this album often comes across as campy and lowbrow. And that’s basically both what I like and don’t like about Evilspeak. It seems a lot of people these days believe pure old school, true metal songs automatically equate to good metal songs. Chemikiller steps up nicely on the former, and is a little less consistent on the latter, although it’s not from lack of trying, and they’ve definitely gotten several things right. The game plan is built around songs in the key of V, as the mark of Venom seems to be the prevailing influence on Ramrod and Co., and the fervid and steadfast devotees of Cronos and the gang will find much to bang their heads to on this affair. There’s also a tangible Motorhead flavor on some of the material, especially the main riff found on "Spider Queen", one the disc’s true highlights. Evilspeak doesn’t really do itself any favors out of the gate with a messy intro track ("Intro: Kult Enuff???"), the goofy "Full Metal Jacket" and the even goofier scene-flag waving "United Satanic America", but once the album actually warms up, it kicks into gear nicely. Three-minute sing-alongs like "Stronger Than God" and "Burned at the Stake" are actually quite catchy, and make it hard not to shove criticisms out of the way and simply bang your head. Much of the record employs vocals that are too high in the mix, and ridiculous lyrics with leanings on threadbare satanic themes, and at just under an hour long, Evilspeak is too long, especially for an album in this style, and considering there are several weaker tracks. But it’s also an unwavering assault of beer swilling, original metal, and for that reason alone, it's likely to sink its claws into some listeners. If you find yourself with a few extra bucks, you could do worse than this fistful of metal.

If you search for "Evilspeak" on the web, what you'll find is that old horror movie where a misfit from a military academy find a way to unleash hell on Earth through a satanic network on his computer (See interview for details). But if you search for CHEMIKILLER's "Evilspeak: Passion of the Antichrist", what you'll find is an American Trash Metal band, released through Autopsy Kitchen Records. CHEMIKILLER described itself as a "No Viking, No Corpsepaint, No Keyboard, No Bullshit" Black Metal band. I was myself like "what the fuck has this Ramrod guy against Black Metal"? In fact, CHEMIKILLER is a FIRST wave of Black Metal influenced Trash Metal band. And the result sounds real good. CHEMIKILLER sounds like VENOM played by SLAYER's Kerry King. The guitars composition are truely addictive. Some metal that will give you a pain in the neck for weeks, for we can't listen to this music without banging our heads. The vokills are in the vein of VENOM and VOÏVOD, dirty and sleazy, no classical singers in there, just pure punkish alchool driven voice. The whole thing, recorded in The Digital Dungeon (DE), is envelloped in crystal clean production. CHEMIKILLER is to be considered as a survivor from an almost extincted Metal style. If, you are crazy about that Pre-Black Metal era Old School Trash Metal, this band will offer you great party times. Get the beer out the frig and just bang your head until blood tears from your eyes.

Wenn ich es nicht besser wüsste, könnte ich schwören, dass ich hier ein paar alte VENOM-Demos höre, Songs, die es nicht auf die frühen Werke der Band geschafft hatten. Aber nein, stattdessen was ich hier höre ist “Evilspeak: The Passion Of The Antichrist”, das zweite Album von Amerikas CHEMIKILLER. Von Track 1 bis 14 ist “Evilspeak” 100 Prozent VENO-Verehrung, nur sind die Songs nicht so eingängig und es gibt auch nicht so viel Charme. Die Vocals sind beinahe identisch mit Cronos’ und der Gitarrenton ist so wie Mantas’ früher klang. Während es etwas klarer ist als viele der 80er Aufnahmen, ist die Produktion doch rau und dreckig. Die Lyrics sind kompletter B-Movie/Horror/Satan/Schrott und das Cover ist einfach und Old-School. Hölle, alles auf “Evilspeak” ist Old School, was die größte Stärke des Albums ist, da viele Old-School-Headbanger hier einen Kick rauskriegen. Ich kann auch sagen, dass „Evilspeak“ das Album ist, das VENOM statt „Metal Black“ hätten rausbringen sollen. Ich entschuldige mich dafür Englands Lieblingssatanisten so oft erwähnt zu haben, aber wenn man „Evilspeak“ gehört hat, wird mich verstehen. Wenn ihr alle alten VENOM-Alben (ja, ich weiß, schon wieder) habt und damit zufrieden seid, dann wird es auf CHEMIKILLER’s “Evilspeak” für euch nicht viel geben. Aber wenn euch nach unterhaltsamer Old School, Punk-beeinflusster Heavy (Black?) Metal-Attacke steht, dann ist “Evilspeak” absolut etwas für euch.

No Vikings, No Corpsepaint, No Keyboards, No Bullshit," says the traycard of Evilspeak. The manifesto, which also appears on Chemikiller's goofy website, ends with, "Just Black Fuckin' Thrash." Ergo, a purely (and I mean purely) old-school homage to Venom, Motörhead, Bathory, and so on. Down with "kvlt," up with Satan! Chemikiller is a one-man blasphemy machine, Ryan "Ramrod" Weiss. I'm curious how he got that nickname, but I'm kind of afraid of the answer. For something recorded using cheap software, this album sounds pretty good. The drum programming is a surprisingly accurate simulation of human playing. The highlights, though, are the riffs, of which Weiss has a seemingly endless supply. Each song has a distinct identity, which seems to be a lost art in metal these days. The lyrics are more than over-the-top: "Mother Green and the killing machine / Born again hard, fighting mean / Tossing bodies into empty holes / Keeping Hell full of fresh souls." Nearly an hour of "Stronger than God," "Enemy of Christ," and "Devil's Reign" gets old after a while, but it's damn funny at times. You can get this diabolical disc directly from Chemikiller's MySpace, as well as Autopsy Kitchen.

Chemikiller is a blakk thrash rampage! Harking back to the days of olde dark glory, these badboys show us how it’s done down in Delaware!! Heavy on the blakk n’roll and doom metal delivered with arrogant Satanic swagger and a serious punk sneer. Motörhead meets Venom meets Celtic Frost meets Bathory: Ramrod’s guitar work is just sick! Riffs range from superheavy to a Rhoadsesque fluidity. Vox is battery acid corroded killer!! and was immediately added to my list of fav’s of this genre which includes the likes of Cronos, Von, Tom G.Warrior, Pat Lind, Mille Petrozza, Nocturno Culto and Fenriz to mention a few. Powershift into fifth with the pedal to the metal!! ‘Full Metal Jacket’ takes no prisoners and will have most shouting “One Nation Under Satan!” before speeding off into hell on a custom Harley chopper! Another highlight is the guitar solo of Spider Queen. In the doom saturated groove of this creepy number, axeman Ryan is reminiscent at times of protometal ‘BBC Sessions Live’ era Jimmy Page. ‘Knee Deep’ is an excellent slab of blakkened thrash metal with a slight death metal flavor to the guitar solos. The wrath of ‘Stronger Than God’ has a serrated hardcore punk edge rage to the vocals and lyrics with some interluding that takes on a rather heavy metal vibe. My favorite: The retro bell tolls and ‘Devil’s Reign’ ignites the nightsky with a “Hear ye hear ye!” summoning Satan’s most faithful! At full throttle the guitar solo burns rubber as it slides into the sickest of spins, the kind you never want to come out of, keep a hand free to hit repeat! Lyrically this is also my fav track as it evokes the best of old school blakk n’roll imagery. ‘Enemy of Christ’ is a hard driven doom thrash classic with the vocals a bit more eroded, distorted and disintegrated into the other components giving an authentic 80’s feel. ‘Burned At The Stake’ is another awesome throwback to the day, although the lyrics are a bit more over the top gore than I personally care for. “Hammer Crushing Death’ is superbly stained with doomstonerrock sludge elements of Black Sabbath (circa 1968) type protometal. Overall, there really isn’t a bad track on this cd. The guitars are smokin’ all the way and both Ramrod’s vox and compositional skills are consistent throughout. Sidenote: although Chemilkiller’s first release was back in 2001, Ramrod’s first descent into the blakkness was with Defcon circa 1986. All that being said, he’s got to be one of the most talented and prolific guitarist/vocalists in the underground today. In a perfect world, Chemikiller would not be placed on the backburner, as per their recent News announcement. Hopefully ‘the corpse’ is exhumed at some point.
Scarlet of

If the very essence of “Bush-league” was a band, it would be Chemikiller. While the man behind everything in the band may be an aging worshipper of black metal’s elder guard, there is not an ounce of maturity on the entire ‘Evilspeak’ album. Leaning heavily on a foundation of Venom, Celtic Frost and Bathory rip-off riffs, ‘Evilspeak’ is all that Metal is when put in incompetent hands: sloppy, under produced, unoriginal, and overall pathetic. While there is the occasional catchy riff, it is quickly slaughtered in the name of what is at best, mediocrity. The lyrics are even worse. If the album’s subtitle, ‘The Passion of the Antichrist’ wasn’t hint enough, Chemikiller’s ringleader, Ramrod, couldn’t write a decent song to save his life. Whether it’s the intellectual anthem that is “United Satanic America,” or the brilliantly original “Enemy of Christ,” Ramrod manages to barely tread water in a choppy sea of suck. Looking for a bottom line? This album is terrible. Looking for the bottom of the barrel? Look no further. Eric Bryan




Stalaggh Reviews

Here's some of the darkest, most horrifying experimental noise collage stuff I've ever heard. There's no peaceful shadow here to drift off to; this is here to inspire sheer terror. With chaotic metallic clankings creating a disharmonic orchestra and mad white noise covering the screams of the damned, you know you're in a wicked place. For those so inclined, this is an interesting listen. The textures are thick and haunting and the atmosphere is impenetrable, recordings from the corner of Hell reserved for the criminally insane.

Nihilstik Terror features both previous Stalaggh full lengths remastered on one horrible disc. (remixed by Xardas of Veinen) From word go this disc has a feeling of nothing but your greatest possible fears, vocals are done by the mentally deranged to add a real feeling of hate, you can hear this deep deep under layer upon layer of Noise and Fuzz. Nothing like any of the other child-like Black Noise bands coming out of every bedroom in America; here you will find nothing but true feeling. Project Nihil is the first track and like Project Terrror this is near 35 minutes in length, this track has no sort of structure and no usual instruments are present [guitars, drums etc.] Here and there you can hear some dungeon like sounds as if the vocalist is trapped; ready for death, but thats about as normal as this recording is... This track really is a nightmare coming from your speakers; the noise element here is very strong and this is the main point of this track, the foreground if you prefer. Somehow this merges into nothing when combined with the other distortions going on and if in the right mind frame the over-volumed noise simply disapears and all you can hear is the screams, have to focus in quite a bit for this to happen though. Project Terror starts off similar to Project Nihil in the sense that the noise element here is very strong, again the vocals are very deep down in the mix but are more present than ever before. This time alot more hissy and distortions can be heard and the track allthough no rythm or tune is obviously going on it feels almost like a faster track; as if things are changing quicker... Within this track the feeling of schizofrenia isn't near, but is present, who knows what the layered screams are telling you to do without you even knowing, what messages are hidden in the darkest depths of this song whilst you are trying to focus in and listen the way it should be done. The 3rd track is nothing like the above tracks, this time its a 5 minute journey without the noise, just layer upon layer which have been distorted, twisted, put backwards, slowed, fasten etc. etc. I can even here some sort of Bass present behind the vocals, this is by no means a structured usual song of course; but I think this is about as normal as Stalaggh will ever get... the best vocals are found in this track also. This CD is not a Black Metal release... Whatever music you are interested in this is defiently the worst nightmare you will ever hear. Somewhere between a usual noise artist and then mixed with the most fucked up vocals from any Black Noise release you can ever imagine.

Joining their previous ventures “Projekt Terrror” and “Projekt Nihil” together for one release, Stalaggh unleash a torrid display of distortion and noise. Unfortunately the first two tracks are literally the entire album’s that were previously mentioned, so it’s thirty minutes of tortured sounds remixed by Xardas followed by a previously unreleased tune by Stalaggh. The recording is just horrible so you can’t make out a lot of what’s going on. Maybe it would be more terrifying if you didn’t think it sounded like a fat teenager in his basement downloading movie samples from horror movies he can’t rent at Blockbuster.

We've had records from some hateful, extreme, heavy and truly black bands in the past but Stallagh definitely out-hate and out-black them all. Named for WWII concentration camps (the extra 'g' and 'h' stand for 'global holocaust'), this Dutch blackdoom industrialnoise horde, are often compared to Abruptum, for their extreme and ultra personal approcach to music making, but they take it even a step farther. Not content with harsh hateful vocals, Stalaggh actively set out to recruit mental patients and convicted murders, by using connections working in mental hospitals and carefully planning their recording sessions to coincide with the two days a month patients are allowed to leave the hospital. Woah. The main vocalist featured on the first 30+ minute track (originally released as Projekt: Nihil) is a convicted murderer who stabbed his mother 30 times when he was 16 years old, and subsequently spent the next 11 years in prisons, juvenile detention facilities and mental hospitals. Apparently he suffered from an extreme aggresion disorder, anorexia nervosa and a host of other mental problems. During the recording sessions he indulged in very excessive self-mutilation while howling and wailing through all his hate and pain and fury. Sadly, he killed himself mere months after the recordings were made. The second half hour track (originally released as Project: Terrror) features vocals from three different mental patients, one female. Wow. That's some seriously intense and messed up shit for sure. A rare and maybe problematic instance of music that straddles that blurry line barely dividing art and exploitation, a stretching of the boundaries, an exploration of how far one can go to tap into primal emotions and create music that is emotionally pure, no matter how hard it is to listen to or understand. But the results do definitely convey that hate and despair and misery, which probably can only actually be attained by going to such great lengths. This stuff is so bizarre and so fucked up but somehow strangely beautiful as well. The sheets of noise smear and shift, occasionally attaining an almost drone like quality (albeit an extremely harsh one) . Nihilistik Terrror is a massive, mind frying, soul shattering, freaked out, slab of droning, fuzzy, buzzy, whitenoise brutality, not black metal, not even metal really, more a sort of industrial noisescape, most definitely black, and bleak and harsh, but these are not songs, they are slow shifting sonic fields of squealing shrieking distortion, grinding ear shredding ambience, crunchy and gritty and NOISY! Definitely one for the extreme noise fanatics and lovers of the harsh and brutal, but black metallers who dug later Abruptum might check this out as well. There might be riffs here, maybe even songs, but if there are, they are buried under an impossibly dense ocean of sound, layer after layer of white hot noise and sonic sludge, all swirling maniacally around the terrified, vitriolic, angry, hateful, freaked out howls and screams of real human beings with truly damaged psyches. So intense! Includes both original releases, remastered and sonically even more harsh and aggressive, with a previously unreleased bonus track.

The content at hand makes this a fairly difficult review to write. One should probably track down an interview with Stalaggh before giving the release a spin, because the recordings will be better understood if the listener is familiar with the band’s ethos. Stalaggh intend to spread hatred and terror via their recordings and advocate global holocaust; in short, the usual. Their bio alleges that they use people who are committed to mental asylums to do the vocals, which is supposed to allow them to convey real despair and hatred, et cetera. Naturally, peculiar misspellings also advance an aura of extreme nihilism. Bombastic and pretentious statements of intent are only interesting if the band has the musical goods to back up their remarks; see Arghoslent. Stalaggh bill themselves as ambient black metal, but this is more of a noise recording with a mild black metal influence. The scoring is extremely subjective, because it is difficult to assess a release that arguably does not take any skill whatsoever to compose or perform. In reality, I am grading the band on their concept, not their execution, and the best word to describe Stalaggh is “interesting”. Production is nonexistent; the album is fraught with static and its piercing mix, which is difficult on the eardrums, is obviously intentional. I am unable to pick out any instruments; this sounds like static that modulates in pitch with an occasional scream or high-pitched electronic trill. This recording struck me as fairly interesting and amusing, but far from impressive. I might put it on as background noise from time to time, but I would say that it has little replay value. After over an hour of this ambient static drone, it felt pretty strange to experience silence, and to be honest, that was the most rewarding thing about listening to this. I can’t really recommend this record, and it isn’t metal anyway, but I imagine that readers will probably want to check it out to see what it’s all about. In essence, Stalaggh are a curiosity and not much more. But hey, they use insane vocalists, and gimmicks are everything these days. Good luck spreading global terror with a noise record that only a few hundred people will listen to, dudes.

This is a really strange band. These guys play some really bizarre & experimantal Noise type music. The music is really chaotic, static & crazy sounding all through out. This album is re-mixes of "PROJEKT NIHIL" & PROJEKT TERRROR" & includes an unreleased track from 2003. There is some really insane noises, sounds or screams that are the vocals. I'm not a fan of this style of music, so I didn't really get into it much. If your into experiemntal Noise projects then you might enjoy this release, it's quite out there!!!

Line-Up: Unknown, the vocals are performed by insane people. Reviewed by Herzebeth As a reviewer, I receive constantly good and bad albums, I’ve also received the most amazing and the most stupid releases of course; but every once in a while I receive albums which do not fit in any of those categories, albums which are so bizarre and so estrange that the words “good” or “bad” become useless for them. ”Nihilistik Terrror” is one of those albums, I’ll do my best to explain it with details. This album is the remixed version of both ”Projekt Nihil” and ”Projekt Terror created by Xardas, this guy is worldwide unknown but apparently he has a couple of Black Metal bands doing well in the underground scene. So anyway he remixed both albums and ”Nihilistik Terrror” was the result; this album is ambient/darkened noise in the vein of Merzbow at times, but when everything becomes more rawer and drowned by white noise bands like Whitehouse pops into my mind. So you have here a really weird release which is really difficult to digest, in fact I think most people won’t be able to hear more than 13 minutes of this record. That’s exactly where everything gets interesting, the rarity of this album is priceless as well as the concept; Stalaggh’s objective is to create terror via their noise, they were smart enough to add shivering shrieks, trembling noises, upsetting moans and a lot of weird things to make your intestines feel unhappy about themselves. Also, apparently those moans, cries and screams are performed by the mentally ill, yes indeed, taken directly from the asylum to add weirdness to the album, or so they say. The last track is the only 100% Stalaggh’s work, it’s a little more digestible than the previous remixes, but that does not mean less shuddering as the screams become even more noticeable and scary. And so that’s it, we have here one of the most unusual releases I’ve heard in years, I can’t say it’s good or bad as I explained in the first paragraph; if you belong to the “I like noise and sky-high volumes in my stereo” group, then you’ll love this album and you’ll play it on a regular basis. But if you just like weirdness and atypical stuff in your collection you’ll probably play this album once and then you’ll go around saying “dude I have the oddest album in my pile of CD’s but I can’t show it to you”, just like a Star Wars collectible if you know what I mean. The most abnormal form of music I’ve heard this year.

The question that arises is in response to the extremist activities of Stalaggh -- do they constitute the purest form of artistic terrorism known to man? Not since Laibach has any European band brought such a bleak, head-scratching mystique to the fold (well, apart from the obvious black metal chaos of the early 90's). Although not fascist (or holding any direct political meaning whatsoever), Stalaggh are named after the gas chambers the Nazi's used in the extermination camps as a symbol for their work. They are unidentified assailants who find willing volunteers to complete their aesthetic. Locking the mentally insane in a pitch black chamber to vent all of their inner horror through primal scream therapy, Stalaggh create spontaneous atmosphere's while this chaos goes on that can only be related to the simplistic ambient works of Merzbow and Aphex Twin. This is not music then, but anti-art that presents living, breathing emotion of the rawest, most malevolent nature. Nihilistik Terrror is a joint disc combining their first two releases of Projekt Nihil and Project Terrror. Although it will easily cause most humans to plunge themselves off a 34 story building after repeated listening, there are many among us who inject this abysmal descent like raw dog to a dope sick junkie. This is a one-of-a-kind ride to hell that even Dante Alighieri could never have imagined. Perhaps the most evil record in existence, Project Terrror will remain so provided Stalaggh doesn't once again outdo themselves as will surely be the case in the following years. And if their revolution succeeds as they so aspire, audio stalag's will appear in every country by unofficial "franchises" beyond their control to launch their lunatic assault permanently burned into the minds of the international underground. So my direct plea to the "members" of Stalaggh: unveil yourselves and run for political office immediately. I solemnly approve your candidacy.
- Ryan Bartek / Metal Maniacs

A remixing and rerelease of their two album/song/masterpieces thus far. In all truth, I don't know what to make of it. This is not music, this is not enjoyable, and there is very little in the way of redeeming characteristics in this at all. What Stalaggh have done is successfully capture the sound and feel of utter despair, hatred, madness, insanity and so much more all at once. Utter schizophrenia committed to tape in more ways than one. Stalaggh use a very dense and obscure drone/white noise aesthetic to assault the listener. While guitars and drums swirl in and out of the pure hellish din, this is more noise than music. The vocals, if one wishes to call them that, are the product of real-life mentally sick people. A homicidal maniac confined to a mental hospital and a depressed schizophrenic who has since suicided are but two of the many tortured souls who let out all their anguish and misanthropy (reportedly with the help of drugs and razorblades slashing their flesh). This is not healthy, and the listener is left feeling uneasy and exhausted at the end. This album is frightening, unsettling and completely mind-altering. I can honestly say something like this might change you forever. And probably not for the better. Approach with caution.

I'm not quite sure what I'm witnessing here. This maybe the most terrifying music I've ever heard in my existence. Ultra harsh noise and feedback with screams and cries of a mentally unstable creature . I'm not even sure it's human at this time. I'm truly unnerved and a bit envious that one project and make this kind of anti music so well. I bow at there altar. Stalaggh is a sickness that will grown under your skin and fester if your into harsh extreme non music releases. I really can't wait to hear more and I think this CD may have made me deaf to all other noise in the world . Noise release of 2006 for this reviewer. Get this now or be left always wanting.

Today, it's the birthday of Little boy, and Mummy have prepared a very educating gift for him. He opens the package, and seems to be quite confused with the content... What is this dark looking CD doing there? Why did she offer him strange things like that, while he's very much a fan of mellow and cooool Carebears' music... Little Boy: "Mummy!! I'm afraid! What is this CD with 3 ugly faces!! Was this gift really for me? It's so evil looking, I don't feel convenient keeping it in my bedroom! Mummy!! What about the bad vibrations?! Huuuuuuuuu..." Mummy: "Don't be afraid little boy. You have to face the craziness of Harsh noise to become a little man. This STALAGH CD could be the first step in your future life of prostrate masochist." Little Boy: But Mummy!!! It's written "Nihilistik terror" on the CD! I'm afraid!!! I really don't want of this gift!! And it's written Re-mixes on the back cover... I'm afraid to be mashed in the meat grinder!!! Muuummyyy!!!" Mummy "Don't be so afraid, and listen to these educating audio recordings. Don't you hear these metallic sounds? It seems we are slaves in a deserted factory, and some madmen are playing with iron pipes, disjoncting the electric elevators and crushing iron sheets with car-assembling machines... It is funny, don't you like it?" Little Boy (Pissing his pants): "But Mummy!! Why are there so much noises and larsens??? And why are there peoples screaming so loud? I'm afraid!!! Mummy!!! What will happen to meeeeee???!!" Mummy: "Stop crying little boy, the screaming peoples are strongly deranged patients coming straight from the asylum, and they scream so loud because they like the noises of torture. Keep that in mind, and you will understand and appreciate their messages and the vibrations of noises". Little Boy (Almost fucked in the head and sleeping): "How often will I have to listen to that?? I want my Carebears!!! Mummmy!!!! My Carebears!!!! Please stop it!!! Mummy!!!! My hears!!! It bleeeeeds!! Muuuummyyyy!!" Mummy: "Strop crying, it's a waste of good suffering! You will have to listen only once, for the purpose of experience and education... Unless you want more, or you have some strong psychological troubles. Then it should at least be heard one time per week." Even if it's only the afternoon, Little Boy goes to bed and promises himself to never ever listen to any strange looking CDs... unless there's a pink Carebear on the cover. Mummy wasn't nice enough with him to put so harsh sounds inside his hears. He will cry for hours and grumble the desecration of his Carebears' world.

Judging from what I hear on Stallagh's Nihilistik Terror disc, the band attempts to make electronic/ambient/black noise music. Where this comes from I am so uncertain, I've never heard anything quite like it and I'm not sure I ever want to again. In my research I found that this album combines both of their previous releases, Projekt Nihil and Projekt Terror as well as a new track. According to the press sheet the disc has been remastered, I can't really tell as I've never heard it before. One thing I can tell you is if you like film scores of hack flicks, snuff films and weird late night shows, then this will definitely be something you'll enjoy. I'll even go abit further and say if you liked Ministry's tune "New World Order" this may be right up your alley. As for me, I can't get into it. All I hear is noisy distortion, screeches and a fuckload of buzzing and screams of people dying. If the sound of Stalaggh's Nihilistik Terror is anything like hell is gonna be, I ain't going!

Funny thing happened to me the other day: I was cleaning my apartment when I happened upon this release from Stalaggh. Thing had been hanging around in a stack of discs that I'd put on the shelf for a road trip that never materialized. Stalaggh looked like the kind of thing you might want to put on when you're winding around the woods of Indiana, looking for a bear or some other large animal to tame. Reckoned that any record without a track listing on the sleeve might in fact have something at least mysterious to offer. Boy, how I was not wrong. Taking a listen to this album, which combines an updated remix and remaster of this outfit's two previous outings, Project Terror (very big Christmas item last year) and Project Nihil (perfect present for the graduate in your family), plus a freakin' brand new bonus track, I was compelled to wonder if the experiments I'd once done back in high school, recording the sound of grease in the deep fryer at the fast food joint where I worked really mighta amounted to something if'n I'da only hung onto 'em. Dunno, but I bet you I coulda shared 'em with this lot and we would have gotten along famously--though, in truth, these boys don't really seem to like nobody, hence the music that's bent on inspiring bitterness, morbidity, insanity and hatred, all the usual suspects for this lot. Well, God love 'em (Is that the wrong thing to say?) 'cause these boys will make your average trip to a sadistic endodontist seems like a walk in the park with sunshine, puppy dogs and bloomin' flowers. Make sure you play it for your special lady too, she'll probably get a right bang out of it. If'n you give it to her in small doses.

There's one golden rule in the world of noise: never ever mix it with black metal unless you're Abruptum or you have incredibly new ideas, and even there, try to avoid doing so. There's not much to do about it, once you start making black metal/noise, or what some call "black ambient," you'll start lacking in musical quality. And it's even worse when your cover looks like a cheap rip off of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" video. And even worse when you rip off Blut Aus Nord and release your album with a plain black booklet with nothing on it. Not cool. Again, we'll split noise in two: actually original noise, and "let's distort everything by turning up the volume to 400%" noise (quite liberal usage of the word "noise", beware). Masonna used stuff like just saturating everything to make it noisier, but it was only one of the hundreds of different things he did, so we'll say it's actual noise. On the other hand, in the second category, we'll include Stalaggh. There's a complete lack of concept, it seems like they are just fucking around – making random noises for the sake of releasing an album and putting their faces on it. And, as opposed to Masonna, everything here is just stuff saturated just so it seems like noise. Nihilistik Terrror is the perfect example of teenager cheap noise. It's almost sad to describe the album in the same paragraph that Masonna is being described. Nothing even remotely original can be found here, and even if it were possible to do so, you wouldn't notice anyway, as the volume is way too high. And I mean Guitar Wolf / Jet Generation-levels or more. But anyway, let's imagine what would happen if Nihilistik Terrror had a "better production," for a lack of a good term to describe the abomination they call production here. Nothing. Nothing would happen. For the most part, we'd hear retarded sounding black metal shrieks mixed with random noises and clicks. Oh yeah, maybe even a guitar sound or two. Back to the Masonna example. Yes, Masonna was completely random at times, but he had a complete understanding of what he was doing, more than merely distorting sounds to seem satanic and evil. The sounds of you tuning your guitar have more atmosphere than the whole Nihilistik Terrror release. It might be billed as an abrasive and aggressive atmosphere, but it’s in fact a blatant lack of an aesthetic idea. (-10/10)

The original Stalaggh albums are all recorded on single track masters which means that the re-mixing must be done by isolating and then manipulating the frequencies of whichever sound is intended for change. Not only is this a monumental task requiring almost superhuman patience and dedication, but ultimately it also restricts the amount of change that can be achieved and directs the albums to have a more one dimensional sound when compared to their originators - something of a double edged sword. On Xardas' re-mixes this generally means that more stress is placed on the high-end static and white noise side of things whilst sacrificing the deeper electronics and vocals to a certain extent, preferring them to sink into the background for the most part, although it does have some surprising side effects at times. As I alluded to earlier, it works better in some areas than others... Projekt Nihil: The main occasion for me listening to Nihil is when I'm trying to use it as a catharsis: to relax and empty my mind. The "natural," original version's gentle, convulsing, rippling electronics are pretty much the cause of using this for relaxing, but on the re-mix they're simply outweighed by the hiss and distortion of the static noise with the end result being that the record is much lass varied. However, I do enjoy the "faster" parts towards the end where Stalaggh are turning the thumbscrew and cranking the pressure up, and the transition from these sections to the succeeding "slower," calmer areas where the sound tears apart and loses some of its coherency to a distorted mess. Transforming the earlier, previously calmer sections into a "lite" version of the later areas changes the whole emotional reaction to the Projekt and opens up new scopes for listening and while I still prefer the original and the mental effect it has on me, having a greater perspective to listen to it can only be a good thing. Projekt Terrror: After listening to Nihil I figured Terrror would suit the less varied and violent sound much better as the focal point of the Projekt is more on the higher-end static side of things. Sure enough it did, although I was quite surprised to note that the bass/guitar/keyboard drones were in fact more prominent in the mix. Indeed, some of them I hadn't even noticed on the original. I also greatly liked the ending; what can I say, as soon as I heard the last fading echoed static scream I instantly thought of a mushroom cloud. Definitely more appropriate than the sudden cut-off that concluded the original. Something I disliked about both re-mixes was the volume of the screaming in the mix, as for a majority of the time they were simply indistinguishable from the noise. However, the largely absent female screaming is somehow - and confusingly given the nature of the re-mixing method - dragged further to the foreground in Terrror: something which I feel works well in conjunction with the white noise. I should mention that during both re-mixes, the moans and sobs were roughly as discernible as the originals due to their more frequent appearance during the "calmer" sections. As with Nihil, it provides a greater mental scope for listening. However, unlike Nihil, the scope isn't as broad and perhaps is the reason I view the re-mix of Terrror to be just about on par with the original; albeit slightly better and slightly deficient in some areas. The unreleased track: This isn't one of Xardas' re-mixes, but an "unreleased track created in 2005 by Stalaggh" that's also featured on the New Era version of the Projekt Terrror Visualization DVD and apparently soon to be released on Supernal Music's Anti Live-Aid compilation CD. The impression I get of it is that of a testing ground for some new ideas and/or vocalists. It sounds like a vocal collage with the numerous vocalists being given a prominence not afforded in any of the previous Stalaggh releases and therefore accords with my view of a testing ground, as in an interview Stalaggh have stated that for Projekt Misanthropia they will attempt to find at least ten mental patients and so will presumably be much more vocal-orientated. As such, the electronics are noticeably reduced and the drums pound away in a more traditional manner; in fact when the drums get going I have to say that it reminds me of Emit in an odd way. However, the electronics that are present have a flickering effect and are unlike anything I remember Stalaggh using before. All of a sudden it abruptly cuts off, seemingly in the middle of things, exactly on the five minutes mark. Very strange - this isn't a Projekt Misanthropia sample and it's certainly not the five minute B-side of the self-titled 7", so maybe this is indeed just a bonus sample of "behind the scenes footage/tests/deleted scenes" for Stalaggh maniacs?

This album is fucking nonsense. Over an hour of screams and weird noises, and we call this music? Pardon me, but what Stalaggh is doing is not music, it is an aural assault (although that sounds like a positive thing). Stalaggh is rumored to consist of musicians from the Dutch and Belgian black metal / industrial scenes, and Nihilistic Terror is like the band's "Best Of" as it combines both Projekt Terrror and Projekt Nihil full-lengths together with remastered sound. Right, like sound really fucking matters when all you hear is screams and murky fuzz! For a point of reference, think Black Funeral's Ordog, although that shitty album is a musical masterpiece compared to Nihilistic Terror which is impossible to listen to without immediately wanting to turn it off. Disturbing, filthy, and uncompromising? No, just silly. If you listen to Stalaggh you are not kvlt, you are stupid! Mike.S /

This is one of the most freaked out, ferocious discs we've ever heard, a hateful, misanthropic blast of blackened industrial doom noise, a sonic tapestry of total hell on earth. The notorious Project Nihil and Projekt Terrror albums from Dutch nihilists Stalaggh were originally released on New Era Productions and Total Holocaust Records in limited editions, each one a half-hour track created from recordings of the screams of actual mental patients backed by an ultra abrasive swirl of improvised black/noise/industrial/doom, which for this U.S. re-issue has been remixed by Xardas of industrial-doom designers 20.SV (whose excellent Acid Vomit Human Genocide CD was listed in our last catalog update). The addition of Xardas' extreme electronic noise textures makes Nihilistik Terrror an immensely suffocating and distressing sonic event: deep within the swirling chaos of hateful blacknoise and those horrific, anguished screams and moans, you can almost detect snatches of damaged doom metal riffs and beyond-distorted blastbeats and minimalist percusssion drowning in the crashing, buzzing maelstrom of grinding distorted drones, molten guitar noise, sparkling electronic hiss, shrieking feedback, and stygian tone waves. Stalaggh's formless, hateful scrapescapes make for an extremely challening listen, something like the damaged blackness of Abruptum being dragged through walls of Merzbow strength noise, but if you can handle both their controversial use of genuinely mentally ill people as members, and the confrontationally abstract vibes that seep with an utter contempt for humanity, there is a deep void of black sound to immerse yourself in with these two 30-minute constructions. This US re-issue also features a previously unreleased five minute track at the end, which has more wailing voices of the damned layered over a particularly damaged and stumbling free-doom-noise jam. Amazing. Crucial Blast Records

This is noise of the unkindest variety. Nihilistik Terrror (four Rs is the correct spelling) will infect your ears with HIV, will break out lesions and scabies on your thighs and buttocks. This isnt music, this is sonic terrorism and torture of the highest order. Imagine Prurient breaded in the scabs of Abruptum, Masonna flogged for hours with an electrified coat hanger. Youll love it or youll literally be nauseated. You have been warned.
Ben West - Oaken Throne

Stalaggh have become fairly well known in noise and ambient black metal circles due to the circulating rumor that a homicidal, institutionalized sociopath was providing their vocals. The veracity of this claim is uncertain—it really does seem far from likely—but it has brought Stalaggh into the public eye, and therefore fulfilled its purpose. And the truth of it hardly matters on ‘Nihilistik Terror’. The static character of these remixes is so harsh and industrially cold that the vocals that do exist sound as if they are miles beneath the surface, screaming up through cavernous steel chambers. Fans familiar with the original compositions, put aside any expectations; compared to the remixes those tracks are downright soporific. Both were rather sparse compositions to begin with in almost all respects but for the sickly vocals, and also featured trace remnants of traditional guitar and percussion, very rarely indulging in vehement noise. Now, worked over by noise artist Xardas, ‘Project Terrror’ and ‘Project Nihil’ are howling furies. Aside from the similar vocal presence, all traces of compassion are scoured away, and the listener is instantaneously attacked by a barrage of misanthropic noise fury. In fact, it is so misanthropic that it is almost impossible to endure. Most noise (and this is truly noise, the ‘ambient black metal’ tag applied to most Stalaggh does not apply here at all), despite its rejection of traditional techniques, still tends towards human instinct. It therefore often utilizes, perhaps unconsciously, rhythm, dynamics, and if not melody, at least discernable climaxes and focal points. Not so, here. Built upon an omnipresent bass drone, Stalaggh erect a towering construct of twisted, shrieking steel—almost a constant wail of dissonant, shrill mechanics. This single sound grounds the majority of the album, while some intermittent instances of background noise are scattered throughout—crashes here and there, echoes, and towards the beginning and end of both tracks cacophonous wails and moans, that, despite their agony, are a relief to hear. At a few points, this pent-up agony converges, churning upwards in mock harmony towards a high-pitched roar, like a jet turbine on maximum output. These moments function ‘Nihilistik Terror’s peak, and their imprint upon the mind remains a looming shadow throughout the rest of the album. And at that point, literal perception ceases. Stalaggh have made it clear that this work is not to be approached as an even remotely musical experience. ‘Nihilistik Terror’ is a doomed attempt to exorcise the soul and its emotions from the body— desperately slaving away to create a façade of dispassionate calm and exploding in a mad rage when its efforts collapse into raw humanity. This realized, the oxymoron of ‘Nihilistik Terror’ becomes obvious. In their vast wasteland, Stalaggh unveil two polarized and absolute states of being. The first: a cold, passionless look into an empty and soulless existence that is neither life nor death: nihilism. The second: a maelstrom of all humanity’s humors—blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm—where wrath, fear, anguish, bitterness, jealousy, passion, and even ecstasy are all warped and shaped into a cold and brutal weapon: terror. As powerful as each of these are, Stalaggh cannot embody at once. ‘Nihilistik Terror’ is a paradox, each term essentially the antithesis of the other, and so too is this album caught between two extremes: the conscious rejection of all man’s constructs, (the first choice unveiled, nihilism) and the suppressed, emotionally steeped anguish that motivates its very creation (the second, terror). The actual experience of ‘Nihilistik Terror’ is similarly inexplicable. It is both amorphous and stubborn, puerile and profound. Combative and cathartic. And however much a critical, uninvolved analysis may validate this torture endured, the sadistic id within is provoked by this tempest and it yearns to be released.

Industrial/black noise mongers Stalaggh released ‘Nihilistik Terrror’ (sic) in 2006, combining their two previous full-lengths ‘Projekt Nihil’ and ‘Projekt Terrror’, with the inclusion of an unnamed five-minute track to bring the total running time to a migraine-inducing 74 minutes. The sheer audio terrorism was remixed by Xardas of Lebanese horde Kafan and the result is – frankly – an infernal racket. The identity of the band members is shrouded in secrecy, though rumour has it that they reside in or around the nether regions of Europe. Probably in asylums, somewhere, I would imagine. This is the harshest ambience I’ve heard; the aural equivalent of having an axe grinder shoved up your ass while your plumber goes to work on your eyeballs with a blow torch. Without labouring the point, Stalaggh’s music is totally and utterly insane, comprising weird frequency manipulations, stressed white noise, insane electronics, droning strings and keyboard effects, demented screeches and all manner of distortion, reverb, static and feedback. The truncated bonus track stands out because it’s essentially a collage of suffering sounds; like a pack of human wolves being tortured, yelling in endless agony as they are butchered into oblivion. You’ll go a long way to find music with less charm. So extreme it’s close to unlistenable. It you think you’ve got a high tolerance level for crazy, crazy noise, try this one for size. And the really goods news? Autopsy Kitchen Records drops Stalaggh’s brand spanking new fourth exercise in dementia this year. Watch your back: ‘Projekt Misanthropia’ is nigh.




Octagon Reviews

8 Skulls SOD Magazine Bondage, sadism and masochism, and pain and strife permeate every facet of Octagon's debut effort, Artisans of Cruelty. The CD's title, the cover art, and the lyrics reflect an obsession with the underground culture of BDSM, an ideal topic for seething extreme music. A loose concept album of sorts, Artisans of Cruelty consists of 10 tracks of overt perversities. There's the interaction between master and slave in "Black Leather Mask," a sexual game of asphyxiation described in grisly detail in "The Error that You are," and the nature of a submissive in "Futuristic Sadistic." Rough shit to be sure, but also strangely compelling. Musically, the band borrows from a gamut of extreme genres, such as Thrash, Death, Black, and even facets of Gothic and NWOBHM. Emphasis is on the harsh and heavy, with mastermind Mortigan handling the bass, guitars, and raspy vocals and Krimson executing the percussion. Production is not the best, but the brashness of the knob turning does add a certain ambiance to the proceedings. Octagon won't rip balls or tits off, but it will whip the shit out of them so that you can heal and come back for another day of torture.
SOD Magazine

A delightful romp through lo-fi U.S. black metal, heavy on the sadomasochism, misogyny and good old-fashioned violence. This is that bottom-of-the-trashcan stuff you either love or hate, with almost comically bad vocals and sub-basement production, but OCTAGON manage to be creepily compelling in their orgy of primal lust and murder. Musically, OCTAGON capture the off-the-rails ludicrousness of old VENOM at times, but also evince a weirdly pretentious, melodic streak (see the last two minutes of "Psychotic Erotic") and a mastery of tempo changes that keeps things interesting. And really, "The Error That You Are" would be a standard verse-chorus-verse rock and roll song, if you hosed off all the dried puke and graveyard dirt. The vocals aren't any worse than what you've heard on countless old-school BM releases, but they are pretty weak and silly sounding at times. It's also kinda hard to take these harrowing tales of S&M, murder and molestation too seriously, given their general air of eighth-grade Goth poetry (to say nothing of the Jack Skellington tattoo on the singer's arm). It's a nice change from the usual pseudo-satanic heap of mystical bullshit, but should be taken with just as much of a grain of salt. Those aforementioned bits of primitive arrangement and churning, sometimes disturbingly off-key melody make OCTAGON a cut above most subterranean "tr00 kvlt" black metal out there. It'll all be academic to 99.99% of the world, of course, and that's as it should be — this is for an elite (read: nerdy) few to pick apart and enjoy for its deliberately sickened, mud-and-blood vibe. 7/10
Keith Bergman /

Octagon is the creation of two evildoers that go by the names of Mortigan (lyrics, vocals, guitar, bass) and Krimson (percussion) and “Artisans of Cruelty” is the act’s first release on Autopsy Kitchen Records. The style is fundamentally primitive black metal with grim atmosphere, a raw sound mix, and an (un)healthy amount of doom. The doom element is found largely in certain segments of the music though, as well as in the disc’s overall feeling, as opposed to the tempos or chord progressions. Punk-based primitivism surges through the old school black metal arrangements. “Teachings in Cruelty,” “Black Leather Mask (The Spear Headed Avenger),” “The Error that you Are,” “Futuristic Sadistic” (probably the album’s best groover) and “Chloroform” are up-tempo and to-the-point, Mortigan’s distorted guitars and throaty vocals and Krimson’ furious drumming a welcome punch in the nose from which you are guaranteed several hours of tear-shedding pain. “Psychotic Erotic” and “Spike Swallower” are of the longer (around six minutes a piece), mid-tempo variety, although both incorporate effective tempo shifts. Shades of Leviathan ambience can be heard on each of the tracks. The album-ending “Thornscar Rebuttal” is a sorrowful march that gives one visions of a barely-living victim resigned to his (or more likely her in the case of these sadists) fate. Incidentally, Azentrius (Nachtmystium, Twilight, Battle Kommand Records) is credited with mastering the disc (Krimson mixed it). Lyrically, Artisans of Cruelty is a celebration of sadomasochism and personal misery, the tales of painful pleasure and domination not intended for the easily offended (or then again, maybe it is). It is an album in which the term “misanthropy” cannot be used often enough. Artisans of Cruelty is highly recommended for those that like to get their groove on in the most twisted, amplified, and utterly repulsive of ways.
By: Scott Alisoglu /

Octagon is a confusing band. The album cover is kind of cool. The inner sleeve art and pictures are kind of cool too. But the music is just a letdown. Artisans of Cruelty definitely has potential at times, but there are too many songs that just bring this album way down. I suppose you’d call Octagon a black metal band, but I’m not sure if there’s any point to classifying them. Their music just isn’t worth classifying. I like the idea of a concept album about S&M and other erotic issues, but when songs like ‘Psychotic Erotic’ are the result of that concept, I just can’t join in the fun. Seriously, though, ‘Psychotic Erotic’ is so bad it ruins the entire album for me. Why did Octagon even include the song? To be fair, there are moments of what I’d almost call “inspi ration” on this album. Maybe Octagon was just in too much of a hurry, or maybe these are just the first songs they ever wrote. Either way, 90% of this album shouldn’t have been recorded. The other 10% leaves me wondering if maybe, just maybe, these guys could come up with a good EP or something. Trying to jump into another album would be a mistake, I feel. It’s clear that ideas worth recording do arise in this band, but those ideas need to be separated from the ideas that shouldn’t be recorded. If this band decides to move on with their career as musicians, I’d suggest taking their time crafting songs. The moments of “inspiration” are there, you just have to dig deep . . . very deep. I can’t say that nobody will like this; it’s just way to generic and immature for me. 3/10
Nathan Pearce /

US Black Metal misogynists Octagon finally unleash their debut release on AKR. A concept album described as bleeding misogyny, sadomasochism, anger, pain and strife. Listed as ten tales of depravity that will leave the listener with a deep sense of unease...agonizing listening for depraved minds. With all that said I was at unease as to if I should give a shit about this band or not. You can’t expect to hell of a lot from a two man project but it a notable effort to say the least. The sound is very primitive & raw sounding black metal with an overly to distorted production for it to be really great. For me it’s like the band mixed a huge punk influenced groove and turned it into black metal which is weird. They do have a gloomy side that has pretty decent sound with the tracks “Spike Swallower” “Thornscar Rebuttal” & “Premeditation”. Over all not a bad effort but not really a great effort either they need better production and less volume in the distortion of the mix. I would like to see the band collect a few more members to maybe widen the sound range. 5/10
-Esoteric Ed / Necrometal Webzine

I know a handful of bands with the same name. But this is here is unknown to me. Maybe ‘cause „Artisans of cruelty" is their first album ever, and because the two sick-heads (Mortigan und Krimson) obviously do everything to hide any info about themselves. They are probably US americans from the south, I couldn’t find out more. Okay, let the music speak. The album with ten songs got a partly really dirty sound. It’s called Lo-Fi I guess. At least OCTAGON do not freeze on to „underground" stuff. And after all this is good for the weird atmosphere of the album. OCTAGON deliver a mix of various styles. Mostly there’s Black Metal, they often straggle in Doom Metal, and now and then you can hear Thrash parts. It’s convenient that the songwriting is very conclusive. The guys do not need any sick break or kinky transition to show their obsession. „With hate" as well as „Teachings in cruelty" (both at the beginning) are pure Black Metal. „Black leather mask..." springs out of the speakers in Thrash manner, with a small Punk attitude. „Psychotic erotic" and „Spike swallower" are the longest tracks here and quite Doom monsters. The first is more melodic and faster, the second one is very viscous with an outbreak of violence in the middle part. Between these songs you can listen to „The error that you are" which is a brief, fast, pitchblack bullet. „Futuristic sadistic" sounds like the songs from the start of the album. „Premeditation" is a dragging instrumental with hard distorted guitar. „Chloroform" comes again in uptempo Black Metal with a Thrash feeling. The last song is called „Thornscar rebuttal", an agonizing, dragging Doom song with the hating, cold atmosphere of Black Metal. OCTAGON’s lyrics deal with sadomasochism, lust and pain in many facettes. If you can imagine this connected with blackmetallic coldness and a certain melancholy - this is the right album for you. I wouldn’t say that OCTAGON can thrill me specially. But, at least, there’s an interesting concept and earthy, not overblown music, which will find its fans for sure.
Klasma Zine

They say the first step is often the hardest, but equally, in music at least, it often turns out to be the best because bands, through the demo process, have years to refine their songs before debuting their full length. With American Black Metallers OCTAGON this is not the case. Theirs is a somewhat edgy start, but one that shows great potential for future development. The production is sharp and filthy, but crisp, with a particularly well-balanced drum kit. The dirty atmosphere is echoed in the audible lyrical content, with plenty of reference to filthy sexual practice. Though the music reflects this, and they are at their best when they embody the attitude of the experts CARPATHIAN FOREST. It is the Mid-tempos, the weighty rhythms and the simple, precise, percussion that drives these tracks in their finer moments. Thematic content aside, there is a wealth of confusion about the musical direction of the band. Their progressive, melodic DISSECTION rhythms are at odds with the overall old-school approach to their songs. In general however, OCTAGON have taken much more from CELTIC FROST and DARKTHRONE in creating the template for their basic, riff-driven sound. The faster sections lack the blunt nastiness of the slower passages and are little more than average. Indeed, this is far from the only problem. I have heard OCTAGON lauded for adding progressive, wilted and gloomy pieces to the puzzle. In fact, they do this rather well, particularly in the free-flowing driven instrumental section of “Spike Swallower.” Though, unfortunately, they are but little boys in comparison to the majesty of countrymen and contemporaries, XASTHUR and LEVIATHAN, in creating the perfect, brooding air. Their attitude is a similar story. The “no-brainer” approach to their music is them at their finest, with majestic filth decimating your speakers, but it never lasts. It has none of the ingenious single-minded focus of later DARKTHRONE, or the inspiring hooks of NATTEFROST and Co and the hostile depravity is somewhat at odds with the sections of melancholy. The stereotypical handyman is capable at anything, but a master at nothing. It seems that OCTAGON have taken up that mantle, they are Black Metal’s “handyman” and have, as such, created an enjoyable album that shows promise and ample aptitude in all aspects. They just lack the class and finesse of a master craftsman. Though the score may seem harsh, I am hereby tightening up and being stricter regarding the allocation of precious points.
Niall from

Want to know what black metal's been missing all these years? Two words "Nun Cleavage". Octagon's got it on the back cover of "Artisans of Cruelty", and the bare bones black metal duo of drummer Krimson and vocalist, guitarist, bassist Mortigan boast a classic "Recorded in the basement on a Teddy Ruxpin" sound that makes short work of blocking out the sun and casting the unexpecting earth in permanent darkness. Or something like that. In any case the lo-fi black metal purists should find plenty to litter their Myspace pages with from the more epic tracks like Psychotic Erotic or Spike Swallower. JJ Koczan

Put together in the late 90's yet having released nothing until now Octagon vomit forth 'Artisans Of Cruelty' apon Autopsy Kitchen Records... part 1 it says of a multi album deal inked in 2005... this is just the beginning.... on this... the 1st official release you will find music in the style of misanthropic blakk metal, laced with sadomasochistic overtones and very harsh cruel atmospherik, melancholic vibes intertwined within the freeflowing blakk metal assault of guitars, drums, bass, and vocals.... slightly melodic lines jump out from time to time.... but, my favorites are the riffs that sound just the way the opening riff to track 4 'Psychotic Erotic' start out.... something ambient and heavily based on a metal foundation.... wicked vocals.... rather predictable in a good way..... oldschool sounding black metal, kind of a lo-fi sound coming out of Black House Studios.... hell I'm not even sure where Octagon is from... I guess it doesn't matter, the muzik keeps getting played around here ever since the cd arrived.... forget about geographic location..... just turn it up, load up some weed, break out some alcohol and give this a good listen from beginning to end.... Underground blakk metal peaking out from a cave somewhere.... just enough light to survive and plenty of darkness to keep ones soul anchored in filth. From what I can gather its a two man projekt.... Mortigan taking care of vocals, guitars, and bass while this dude named Krimson plays all the drum parts. Pretty good two man blakk metal band. I know nothing of any kind of 'official site' they are probably to underground or 'kvlt' to have a hellsite, but the album can be obtained through Autopsy Kitchen Records what else could ya wanna know..... just buy the fucker and give it a listen damnit!!!!!!! Rabishu Rating: 7.5

New band from a New label. From the 1st track sounds like we have some Black Death going on with elements of Doom mixed in. The Vocals are grim and cold and the drums anf guitars are either very black and raw or at time slow and doomy. This is some pretty over the top metal. Well done and not over produced to keep whats true to the black metal creedo. Octagon give me the same feeling early Marduk did then at times Octagon give me this Deinonychus or Bethlehem worship esp in the guitar and bass workings.. The artwork is all of fetish or blood and pain images. I think this is something the more underground Black/ Death fan will really enjoy. seek this out I have another release I will be reviewing from this label. So now they have sparked my interest.

Cold satanic death metal that meets black metal in a dark alley with throat destroying growls and yelps. Octagon is an eight-sided abyss of darkness fronted by a two-man crew that write great death metal tunes. Ridiculously fast blast beats and fills slay the recording punching it with pops and clicks as the tunes clip. The guitars are huge but again the recording is your typical black metal lo-fi affair so it doesn’t sound as proper as it ought to. Damn shame.

The original Octagon was, of course, that bad-ass Ninja movie with Chuck Norris from 1980. It had the guy with the metal mask, who spit mouthfuls of razors at people. Crazy shit. This Octagon is pretty crazy too, being a no-fi American black metal band who eschew the usual devilry-do and crypto-fascism for sadomasochistic sex and torture. I guess that’s not a big stretch, but it is a refreshing change from all that relentless Viking-wannabe gunk, and the gonzo, shoot-the-hostages, black n’ roll approach to BM the Octagon takes here is pretty bracing, if not outright outrageous. Imagine “Welcome to Hell” era Venom, complete with Cronos’s witchy, Listerine gargling vox and Mantis’s mutated, demonic Chuck Berry riffs being mangled by some savage threshing machine from…well, from Hell, I suppose. Now imagine that sound being broadcast over a paper cup-and-string telephone. Now imagine this whole hoary mess as a pornographic nightmare of “Shit stained boots” and “Heartless cunts”. Got it? That’s this record. It’s a fucking pisser, man. Now, if the singer/guitarist/bass player dude, Mortigan, did not show off his Jack Skellington tattoo in the booklet, we’d have an awesomely sleazy, scary record on our hands. I guess we still do, but it kinda blows the whole torture killer image. Ah well. They’re young. Maybe they’ll get to that later.

The 2 piece u.s band have released a interesting and original black metal cd.with lots of variety..the 3rd song on here sounds as if dave mustane {megadeth} were playing the track while the others are more mid-paced musically.their is also a dark/creepy feeling displayed in some tracks that could have been used in a a movie soundtrack.. This is a label to keep an eye on as their releases are different from one another and showcase alot of talent....
Bleed the Freak zine

OCTAGON plays some really harsh & raw sounding Death Metal music. They do mix in some elements of Black Metal here & there. The influences are mostly old school Black Metal with a war like rawness. The music has a cold, harsh vibe to it all through out. There are some slight touches of Thrash Metal present at times in the guitars sound. The vocals are done in a very cold & throaty Death / Black Metal type growl/scream style. There is a lot of old school influences all through out this disc that took me back to the days of when I was really getting into this style of Metal music. This is one for all old school Metal fans, but new schoolers will enjoy it as well. Check it out!!!

This Alabaman black metal cult are destined to make a name for them- selves in the US scene through their perverted and morally-impaired take on avant garde black metal. Not going too over the top on the avant garde scale though, Octagon do have a very sinister yet quirky vibe that ruminates throughout their bizarre musicial histri- onics. Elements of such acts Shining, Deathspell Omega and Forgotten Woods can be found on occasion as the suicidal, depressive and angry aura of such a release gets under your skin and tears you from the inside out. Chris Bruni (7.5/10) Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles

...Another transformation, albeit one wholly sonically, occurs on Octagon's latest, "Artisans of Cruelty" (Autopsy Kitchen). Largely gone is the bewildering, kaliedoscopic angularity of the band's prior, alchemical self-releases, to be here replaced by a blackthrashing base more in line with the modern black metal zeitgeist. Taken as such, a fairly throttling work, although no where near as singular.
-Nathan T. Birk, Apokalyptik Raids section, Metal Maniacs

Debut CD from U.S. black metal misogynists. They combine a lot of different styles of metal...imagine Celtic Frost, Venom, Darkthrone, Clandestine Blaze, Deathspell Omega and putting it all into 10 cruel and angry tracks.

In some ways, the progression of metal over the years is a double-edged sword. Certainly, we have a wider, more complex set of choices and techniques (like more paints on a pallette) to choose from than ever before. This has most certainly led to compositions that would never have been dreamed as possible merely a few years before. However, it has in some respects created expectations and standards that at times are unnecessary or illogical. Octagon seems to fall into one of these nigh-invisible cracks, where an attempt to live up to modern expectations undermines an otherwise brilliant album. Perhaps a little background would help. Octagon is a two-piece experimental black metal project from, of all places, Mississippi, U.S.A. At first, while in the process of being distracted by the heavy S&M theme and ultra low-fi production, you might not notice how very different Octagon is from the majority of black metal. This is because Octagon's differences shine very subtly, not through novelty ('Every song on 'Artisans Of Cruelty' features a brutal kazoo solo') or gimmick ('Every member of Octagon is an albino'). Strangely enough, Octagon's music resembles grindcore more than black metal, conceptually. Single ideas are given variance through slight alterations in delivery in tone, presenting an idea that is at once fragmentory and complete. Combining this with the agonizing, cold atmosphere of artists such as Silencer or 'Transilvanian Huner'-era Darkthrone, and you create a uniquely disturbing atmosphere that doesn't resemble much else in the scene today. When they're playing to their strengths, Octagon can devour the competition. The atmosphere is both sorrowful and hateful, not entirely unlike mid-era Mutiilation. The instrumentation is trancelike, in the technique of Darkthrone, but without the same goals. Snatches of other styles such as punk or thrash will peek in from time to time without dominating the music. In all honesty, I've listened to this album numerous times, trying to wrap my head around precisely what it's trying to say. But I have come to the conclusion that this is in fact 'Artisans Of Cruelty''s central problem; namely, a lack of focus and an unnecessary attempt at variety and modernity. Octagon is trying so hard to cover all the bases that they often lose sight of what they are so great at doing; namely, making dark, self-loathing black metal. In general, the leaps of quality on this album are staggering. 'Artisans Of Cruelty' starts off with a very boring, generic block of three songs in the form of 'With Hate', 'Teachings In Cruelty', and 'Black Leather Mask'. However, a bizarre shift occurs when Octagon decides to present us with what might be one of the best black metal songs ever written in 'Psychotic Erotic', with it's lonely, decrepit atmosphere and Silencer-inspired melodies. For every time-waster like 'The Error That You Are', we get sick, disfigured majesty in 'Futuristic Sadistic'. Octagon is at their best when they simply do what they're good at, without heavy-handed attempts at variety. You'll notice that the best songs on the album sound similar. Perhaps Octagon should go the way of Bolt Thrower. So in general, Octagon, while a good band, has a ways to go. If they can more closely tie their concept in with their music and simply play on their own merits, they could change the genre. Currently, however, they remain simply a curiosity due to the expectations of the metal community. Noah

Octagon - Artisans of Cruelty - Autopsy Kitchen - 3.5/5 This is Octagon's debut release and the fourth disc out for the fledgling Autopsy Kitchen records. It's sadomasochistic in nature, filled with perverse imagery and nasty sexual themed lyricism. The closest analysis I can offer is if the Marquis De Sade joined late 90's Marduk. I really like the lyric "the smell of leather will keep us together." This is the high point here for myself. For other comparisons, I have to point out some early Impaled Nazarene, Grand Belial's Key in general and Ghallskag. It's a prominently guitar-led unrelenting U.S. black metal assault that spares no prisoners.
- Ryan Bartek / Metal Maniacs

This is that late 90's variety of Black Thrash not for the faint of the heart as its as punishing and brutal as its powerful and raw!!! I really like the vocals as there very throaty and crackling where they need to be and sometimes there drown by the blistering drummer and thin crispy noisy guitars. There still is enough bass to give it a full sound all on its own. I really like the heavy verb on the vocals on most of the tracks it gives it that early 90's demo sound. If you can remember those early tape trading days . I'm not really sure what to say more then this is a good big or retro black thrash with some killer guitar riffing and sound writing. Autopsy Kitchen strikes again with another winner for this reviewer.

Masochistic black hate metal, Octagon bring to the table dirty, tough black metal seeking to rip out the innards of the lesser (wo)man. Recorded with the intensity of rubbing a hunk of granite across a nun’s asscheeks, Artisans of Cruelty is blunt and muddy, and ready to explode. With lyrics like “Who are you to contemplate? Take your punishment, ingrate. Each blow brings me closer to you; Dressed in skin that's black and blue”, Octagon are out for blood and they are bringing with them a box full of whips and leather. Music wise, thinking less of the agenda, the environment reeks of the Canadian war throngs (Revenge, Feldgrau) with something special; a sense of melody and direction. In that sense, it has done wonders. Think of a horny Vociferian taking a few downers and mixing it up with Buffalo Bill. Put the fucking lotion on your skin.

Octagon's message of domination and misery will become clear to anyone who drops the laser on this half-hour blast of primitive metal from Mortigan and Krimson--and that's all without having a gander at the lyric sheet. Based on primal black metal with doses of raw, unadulterated and thoroughly underground punk to be found in the grooves, Artisans Of Cruelty demolishes preconceptions about what black metal should and shouldn't be and turns the listener onto a world of repugnant hatred and sin. It's a blast for anyone willing to look at their own dark side, second by second, note by note.

The duo of Octagon, which is based out of Alabama of all places, was due to issue a debut album called The Truest Offensive Gesture through another label two years ago before shelving those plans and instead issuing this CD through Autopsy Kitchen. The band – singer, guitarist and bassist Mortigan and drummer Krimson – gives the impression that it happens to be more technical and avant-garde than it is, but the act nevertheless is a noisy extreme metal band specializing in S&M imagery, lyrics and entertainment. On a musical level, Octagon touches upon acts like Darkthrone, Blasphemy and Carpathian Forest (sorry, no Bathory!), complete with a noisy production that smacks as much of death metal as static, while the screamed vocals utter average lyrics dealing with sadism and masochism. The lyrics could be better because lines like “The smell of leather keeps us together” are hardly exquisite, although it could be said that it is better than grammatically wrong ones like “Who’s throat is just outta my reach”. On the other hand, not many Americans might notice the grammatical mistakes anyway. The song Psychotic Erotic has a main riff lifted off an old death metal tune whose name is just not coming to me no matter what; otherwise songs like Teachings In Cruelty, Black Leather Mask and The Error That You Are represent abrasive metal with an uncommon and unusual twist. – Ali “The Metallian”

Octagon proffers a handful of songs dealing with perversion, sadomasochism, and deviant sexuality; the other half is basic nihilistic Black Metal rendered in a style that owes much to Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger. Leather fetishism and misogyny are thrown into and out of the mix as often as thrash and punk structures are; some of the songs work extraordinarily well: “Psychotic Erotic” and “Teachings in Cruelty,” to name two; some are just laughable, such as the juvenile “Futuristic Sadistic,” whose chorus—“Cumming, cumming / Cumming all over you / Cumming, cumming / Such a filthy whore” is real Neanderthal bullshit. The musically proficiency is there. Were Octagon to eschew the leather porn and read a bit of de Sade, the lyrics—and the music—could benefit enormously.




Darkness Eternal Reviews

Darkness Eternal – Misanthropic Annihilation (Autopsy Kitchen) Based on that band name and title, could you venture an educated guess as to the style of music performed on the disc? Bluegrass, right? Sorry, that would make you wrong as a fat guy wearing a thong at the beach . If you guessed death metal in the style of Incantation and, to some degree, Immolation you would be absolutely correct. Now go buy yourself a vile of crack and celebrate what is probably the biggest win of your miserable life. On Darkness Eternal’s third full-length album, Canada’s answer to Drawn and Quartered (or Incantation…you get the picture) deliver nine, often lengthy tracks of filth-covered death metal that like its aforementioned contemporaries, is peppered with doom and gloom plod and tortured hymnals. Songs like “Darkness Conquers,” “Upon the Throne of Eternal Blasphemy,” and “Unholy Trinity” may be anchored in sickening mid-tempo churn, but move from bursts of blasting mayhem to waves of despondent riffs. The seven-minute “Suicide Unto Infinite Euphoria (Descending into Forever II)” sticks largely to a misery plod, the morbid sounds emanating from the speakers enough to cause even the eternal optimists among us to question the point of living in this disease-ridden, battle-plagued earth. Vocally, the low, throaty growl of George Valaetis is similar to John McEntee (Incantation) and Herb Burke (Drawn and Quartered), the addition of chilling screams adding ambience and depth to the arrangements. Bits of The Chasm’s metal of death slither in and out of the compositions as well, mainly in some of the guitar tones and chords progressions, but at times vocally as well. Speaking of The Chasm, the graphic art/design and layout will seem vaguely familiar to some, as it was created by none other than Daniel Corchado. And by the way, did I mention that Velaetis plays ALL the instruments? We’re talking guitar, bass, and drums, people, and a damn fine job he does of it. A line from the biographical page of describes the sound crafted by Velaetis better than I ever could: “He created this unholy piece of work to spit in the face of God, blaspheme against any and all organized religion, and to crush this graveland called earth.” Yep, I’d have to say that is pretty much the attitude conveyed through the obsidian sounds of Misanthropic Annihilation. Convinced yet?
By: Scott Alisoglu

8 Skulls SOD Magazine Playing a style of Death Metal rich with the flavors of depression and doom, Darkness Eternal is the sole devotion of mastermind George Valaetis. Misanthropic Annihilation stays true to Occult Doom through its playing time - this isn't so much fast as it is heavy: not so much brutal as it is intense: not so much filled with raw fury as it is saturated with seething bitterness. Although firmly established in Death Metal, facets of Black and Doom Metal are mined at will. The former genre brings into the mix the dissonant flair of raw guitars played with that tinny flair. The latter genre sets the pace, as each composition plods along like a funeral during a heavy thunderstorm at dusk. Vocals are growled through the back of the throat, giving them a robust cadence. There seems to be too much distance between the percussion and the guitars, giving the sound a certain coldness that may not be intentional. Still, it worked for me. Lyrically, most songs spit upon Christ. For example, "Cold . . . End . . . Dead" points out the vacuum that is death ("Where is the promised land?"), "For all the False Promises" points out the folly of dying for sin, and "Unholy Trinity" celebrates the end of days. Rather straightforward stuff and less than inspiring. Despite the hackneyed style exemplified in the lyrics, Misanthropic Annihilation works well from the musical end, which means that it's worth more than just a background listen. Valaetis needs to hook up with some other dudes and create something that I am sure would blow us all away.
SOD Magazine

Darkness Eternal is a one-man Death Metal band, which was created in Alberta, US in the Gregorian year of 1997. George Velaetis is the responsible for executing all the instruments and creating such a technical Death Metal in the veins of godfathers Immolation and Incantation. Misanthropic Annihilation is the third full-length album. Previous albums were titled Dawn of Suffering (2000) and Satanchrist (2001). Darkness Eternal lyrical themes are always about hatred, darkness, death and antichristian. The songs, as I previously mentioned, are technical, fast and very well composed. Suggest to all appreciators of American Death Metal! 8.5

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to hear the North America returning to a more old school sense of death metal, for the brutal Suffocorpse mid 90's, through 2000 and beyond era really killed my taste for a large portion of this whole genre. The European bands seemed to weather this storm as well as can be expected, by never losing site of the old years musically, where the US so willingly fell into the sinkhole of redundancy. Canada's Darkness Eternal, featuring sole member George Velaetis (all guitars, drums and vocals), possesses a dark death metal aura that can also be found in the Chicago area of the US being so skillfully wielded by the likes of Cianide and The Chasm. George's shallow death growls strike me as the only real negative strike on "Misanthropic Annihilation". He certainly gets the job done with a touch of variety in a mid-ranged scream, but he simply lacks the depth and snarl in those pipes to help push this otherwise excellent material over the edge since vocal prowess is undeniably at the forefront of a death metal album. Musically, there are some monster riffs and atypical guitar melodies that come off with the malevolent aura of being composed in a crypt. Tracks like "Darkness Conquers All" start out almost simplistic, but develop into very complex compositions thanks to what seems like infinite guitar layers where these melodies climax into a powerful acoustic moment. Such a fluent and emotive movement in the guitar lines, once I got past George's valiant attempt at screaming, I was completely sucked into the depth of his music. If he could find a charismatic and diverse vocalist, I'm certain the potency level of Darkness Eternal could rise to overcome the greatness of some of the bands previously mentioned, along with others like Incantation and even Sadistic Intent. With "Misanthropic Annihilation", there's a definite spark of greater things to come. Expect a solid production and expertly varied tempos/intensity on this well considered and true old death metal release. Exhume and consume you fuckers!
- Marty / Worm Gear

Of the few one-man acts in death metal, Darkness Eternal stands unparalleled, but not confined to its niche, giving caution to ensembles throughout the genre's sulphur tomb. Maestro George Valaetis' sequel to 2001's _Satanchrist_ weaves fevered patterns of the same: lengthy constructs of clean six-string rhythms crawling on stacks of BC Rich flavored crunch. Each track sweeping away trails to escape in intricate forlorn passages. Gloomy melodies overrun frequent time changes heavily influenced by the schools of Incantation, Immolation and The Chasm, but contain their own internal vision and spirit. Unfortunately, this attention to craft and detail is struck by a frequent happenstance of underground soloists -- fairly stunted by production, with Valaetis and Bob Moore (Nile) working to give _Misanthropic Annihilation_ a sound, less sanguine perhaps, but near to Sunlight Studios. A warmly padded sound, favorable to the melodic edge of most tracks. Most noticeably, there's a fallout between the drums and guitars, the latter either dangling in hollow space with little back up at all or the former sounding mechanically inserted ("Unholy Trinity"), deadening the momentum carried by the strings. Even though such textures complement tracks rooted in that early Scandinavian vibe (the Hypocrisy tinged "Thy Will Be Done"), its monotonous push could turn off some listeners. Not radically different from previous material, this album treads the nervous borders of doom with technical strength and incisive melody, as if translating nocturnes through the electric void. A unique combination worth bearing some missteps for. 7.5/10
Todd Depalma

Canadian madman George Velaetis is back with a new onslaught of music from his one man project, DARKNESS ETERNAL. For the uninitiated, DE sounds like what you might get if you mixed INCANTATION with THE CHASM. Yeah... I thought that might get your attention. George is still using two different guitars to record the rhythm and lead tracks, and it's a great idea that works extremely well. Each song also has its own identity, and that alone sets DARKNESS ETERNAL above a whole lot of the competition in death metal. If I was impressed with Satanchrist, then I am positively blown away by Misanthropic Annihilation.

I have long lauded the skills of DARKNESS ETERNAL mastemind (and sole member), George Velaetis, and shall continue to do so as long as he keeps releasing material of this caliber. On Misanthropic Annihilation, the man turns in more solid performances on each and every instrument than many bands comprising of a full lineup. We all know that scenario... a guy that can play guitar fairly well decides he doesn't need anyone else and can bash the drums good enough that he figures no one will notice or, even worse, gets a $100 drum machine used at some local music shop and programs it to play faster than any human being could ever hope to play. Such is not the case with DARKNESS ETERNAL. Quite the opposite, actually. Not since the sadly-overlooked BLOODSHED DIVINE has a one-man band turned out material this consistently good and solid. Velaetis has a gift for writing creepy, dark death metal in the vein of INCANTATION, though more polished and not quite as chaotic, with a little of VOIVOD's quirkiness thrown in for good measure. The project is not a showcase for his virtuosity on any instrument. Rather, Velaetis concentrates on writing good material, and the result is an album that delivers with each listen and has yet to grow tiresome. Velaetis and DARKNESS ETERNAL are a powerful force in death metal, and proof that there is still quality material still coming out of the underground. - Rating: 8.5/10
Al Kikuras / Unchain The Underground

We have reviewed previously two Darkness Eternal releases and on each of them this band has become more aggressive and brutal. And this newer one is no exception. This is ultra brutal death metal with fast guitar riffs and extremely bestial guttural vocals. The guitars deliver fast riffs with good technical skills that create the right feeling for the total aggression that George Velaetis unleashed here. There are also some slower mid paced riffs that change the mood of the compositions but never making them less brutal. Intros like the one in "Unholy Trinity" are really welcome to add a darker feeling to the music. There are good changes and interesting arrangements that set Darkness Eternal apart from bands of this brutal style. A band that always show progression but always keeping in mind that they are an extremely aggressive and brutal outfit.

What's most unfortunate about this album is that "Eternal" is in the band's name, because it makes it utterly impossible to listen without thinking of Hate Eternal by whom Darkness Eternal has been considerably influenced. A one-man band there's also schooling by the likes of Immolation, but if this unrelenting onslaught were better produced, it would be a dead ringer. Still, for US-style death metal purists who go for this sort of thing with little thought on band distinction, it's more or less a sure bet, and all the more impressive for the lack of personnel involved.
JJ Koczan

'Pure American Death Metal'! This one man unit of hellish demonic metal releases his 3rd full length under the Autopsy Kitchen Records Label.... a wise choice eigh..... so anyway.... to the point.. . . this is fiendish, wicked death metal in the vein of stuff, oh.... say such bands as possibly Incantation, Immolation, Satyricon (just something about the riffings here and there remind me of Satyricon some weird doomy type open notes ringing out all hypnotic like at times).... I don't think that will accurately describe the sound, but, it will give a general idea. Plus, attached to this review there will be some tracks to listen to I'm sure.... your probably listening to one of them now while you read .... or at least ya should be so you can see just how 'un-accurate' my review probably is... haha.... proper wordage is hard to come by sometimes. Since this is my first time to hear Darkness Eternal I can't say much about the other releases... but this one here having been recorded at the world famous Sound Lab Studios (Nile, Darkmoon...etc) I'm sure it has the best sound, how could it not. So, you will not be disappointed in the sound department.... everything is mixed well, strong production... etc...etc... the music deserved to be represented in the most professional manner possible.... this is probably a classic already in the making. It digs into your musical brain and attaches itself like a friggin tumor or something. Kinda doom laced at times, melodic guitar lines, excellent distorted tone, cool acoustic parts too, the drums came out sounding fucking great..... basslines blended nicely into the mix.... what can I say.... this is a perfect death metal masterpiece. I'd highly advise that any and every metalhead on the planet give it a listen... your bound to enjoy some of, or all of it. The man behind all of this is some cat named George Velaetis. I've never heard of him but I'm sure his name will only become more scarred into the history of death metal with the years to come. You can get the album of course from Autopsy Kitchen Records or contact George directly darknesseternal666(at)hotmail(dot)com Rabishu Rating: 10/10

Twisted death metal that unleashes gravity-defying guitar filth, “Misanthropic Annihilation” has deep dark vocals with gruff growls. Armed with fast drums that aren’t overkill and don’t sound like a bunch of triggers, and a virtual wall of distorted guitars, Darkness Eternal is another death metal band to reckon with. Sick!

This is really a great Death Metal release, the album “Misanthropic Annihilation” will kick you in the ears hardly and will leave you almost unconscious. The music is filled with powerful guitar riffs, catchy drum beats, incredible vocal work, crushing bass-lines and awesome structures; everything performed by only one character, a musical master called George Velaetis. This is actually the first time I ever hear that name, shame on me actually, this individual is really talented, he manages to create great backgrounds and implausible music by himself. Ok, I already know this is not new or original at all, there are many “one man” bands out there, but most bands have awful sound, raw execution and the music in the end sounds empty in many ways; George Velaetis fills the tunes extraordinarily and then every breakdown, every riff and every tone sounds crushing and outstanding. This album was way more than I expected, the music is actually remarkable in almost every way possible, most tracks are really mind-blowing, you’ll be head-banging hardly with one riff and then you’ll have to stop due to the awesome breakdown in the track, the structures have incredible balance and splendid scales. For example, the fifth tune “Suicide Unto Infinite Euphoria (Descending Into Forever II)” (the best track in this album by the way) starts with a mellow riff, then after a couple of minutes (2:12 to be precise) a breathtaking bridge enters creating a whole new atmosphere towards the track, the song changes a lot giving us from melodious riffs to blast-beats, the structure in this song is amazing, you’ll love this track from the beginning to the end for sure. The production is also amazing, the sound is really loud and clear, and even those backgrounds sound truly clean. So this album is a shot in the head in every way, the music will drill your brain deeply and then you’ll even try to stand up just to head-bang along the outstanding riffing and drumming. This is one of those albums every Metal fanatic will love, it does not matter if you are not into Death Metal or whatever, this CD was created for everyone to like. So I highly recommend “Misanthropic Annihilation”, you can’t lose with an album like this one, so fucking go now and buy it. Best Tracks: "Misanthropic Annihilation", "Suicide Unto Infinite Euphoria (Descending Into Forever II)", "Thy Will Be Done" 9/10
Herzebeth /

Being one of the few one-man metal bands to actually display talent on more than one instrument, Darkness Eternal is the sole work of George Velaetis, who started the band nearly a decade ago. Many of the 9 songs here have an underlying vibe similar to "Formulas Fatal..."-era Morbid Angel, with a healthy dose of New York death metal adding dense gloom. The melodies in "Darkness Conquerors All" are very much in the Incantation vein, as is "Unholy Trinity" with its classic girth lost on many bands today. The closing riff of "Cold...End...Dead" is also the songs' best and "Worship Us" is a crushing choice to end the album with. Much like some of his influences (e.g. The Chasm), Velaetis skirts the boundaries of many genres and simply plays metal, and does it very well.

This is the bands 3rd full length album & first for AUTOPSY KITCHEN. These guys play some really good agonizing & heavy Death Metal music. The music has an old school brutal rawness mixed with some new school technial styles. There are some grooves & breaks in the music which I dug a lot. they have a really cool almost Grindcore sound to their Death Metal music it's just not as fast or noisy as Grindcore. I liked the solid sound the drums had also. The vocals are done in a mid ranged Death growl with some slightly harsher ones at times. Fans of old school & new school Death Metal will really enjoy these guys!!!

This is fucking crazy. A one man band with this much talent. Must be all this fine gent does is jam because one would assume that this is a full band. Nuts I tell you! Ass kicking Incantation styled fucking death metal with some slow parts, but still good. Amazing artwork, professional packaging. Pick up a copy, you won't be disappointed whatsoever!! Satan approves!
Worship Satan Fanzine

D.E .is proably the heaviest band on the autopsy kitchen roster. 100 percent brutal,semi technical death metal performed by one visionary {musician} drums go back n forth from break neck speed and then slow down to almost pounding doomish are well played with some extremly interesting solo's and chords..i would recomend this to anyone into death metal espically fans of {early} death,{old} incantation,grave,immolation.etc....
Primitive Ways Zine

DARKNESS ETERNAL is a one-man project from Canada and although the act had been around for such a while, “Misanthropic Annihilation” is the first contact I have with this wicked offering. Imagine incredibly disturbing Death Metal, a neurotic and blackened atmosphere, long, all-fulfilling songs and a low demonic grunt that makes me remember INCANTATION and you’ll have an idea. The cover art of the album shows a scary spider-like devil, staring at you with dreadful red eyes and that’s the sensation you’ll feel while listening to this. You will feel insecure, threatened by the nervous guitars, creeping bass sound and schizophrenic undefined rhythm. This is not a fast album at all and the obscurity it encloses is so deep that will have you soon sitting in a corner of your room, in fetal position with hands on your head, screaming for shelter. Somehow, “Misanthropic Annihilation” makes me remember the debut album of HYPOCRISY, which I truly admire and worship and for me that was a very positive point. Just like happens with “Penetralia”, this release is filthy as hell and makes you smell evil and suffering. Absolutely recommended for those who praise the most obscurantist branch of Death Metal.

When it comes to one-man metal bands the choices are as slim as women with the good looks of Jennifer Connelly, but the selection is even smaller when it comes to solo acts that are actually any good. Now, this writer would be the first to admit that the name of the ‘band’ and the album’s title are cliché-ridden and hackneyed in this day and age of religion propagation and expansion, but fact is that bands like Darkness Eternal are probably needed more than ever for two reasons. First, acts like this are needed to counter the very same religious offensive that is currently underway. Secondly, a blackened brutal death metal disc is like a breath of fresh air after suffering the release of 50 Christian metalcore albums… just this last month! What Canada’s George Velaetis has put together is a good old blasphemous death metal album a la Infester and Incantation with a cover artwork to match the anti-Christian lyrics. The growls and screams, the guitars and the very real drums are all played by the same man and are quite impressive. While the majority of tracks follow the formula laid out by the above-mentioned bands, Unholy Trinity, perhaps appropriately smacks of Deicide, while Thy Will Be Done injects more melody and a crazy solo into the proceedings. For All The False Promises too adds to the relative variety by contrasting the brutality against a dash of acoustic guitars. Darkness Eternal might have little relation to originality or innovation, but as far as the thirst for heaviness and brutality goes the band has the damn thing nicely wrapped up in one fine package.

Hailing from my current residence of Edmonton, Canada, comes one man band Darkness Eternal. This band is the vision of George Velaetis, with everything written and performed solely by himself. The goal of Darkness Eternal is to create well written black/death metal, and with Misanthropic Annihilation, that goal is certainly achieved. The album starts off with a sample from the classic “The Omen” (and some may note that Deeds of Flesh used this sample on their 2003 release, Reduced to Ashes). The sample is followed by an awesome mid-tempo riff, and then explodes. Immediately, George’s riff writing really shines through, and shows that he definitely can write some catchy yet demonic sounding riffs. The album continues on, balancing mid paced areas with blasting death metal parts. George takes advantage of using dual guitar parts, as one guitar plays a rhythmic riff while the other plays an evil harmony over it. This makes the songwriting all the more intricate, as there is much play on this duel guitar idea. Not to mention, the drumming and basslines go along perfectly with the riffs, and everything comes together in superb form. Darkness Eternal seems to have much influence from bands such as Angelcorpse, Immolation and Incantation, with it’s odd riffings, and balance between blasting and droning. Fans of the aforementioned bands will instantly fall in love with this well crafted death metal offering. If Darkness Eternal keeps releasing material like this, the band will definitely be getting more recognition, as they rightfully should.
Nihility Webzine

This album is amazing. In the process of reviewing metal albums, I attempt to hyperbolize as little as possible. However, occasionally an absolutely monumental album will emerge from the underground and shock even the most jaded among us. I am overwhelmingly pleased to say that Darkness Eternal's 'Misanthropic Annihilation' is such an album, and one that should be revered alongside such legendary death metal releases as 'Covenant', 'Effigy Of The Forgotten', and 'Left Hand Path'. But what is Darkness Eternal, precisely? Well, it is in fact a single man, George Velatetis of The Chasm playing all instruments. The music is majestic, sweeping death metal, with a developed sense of romantic melody and subtle black metal influences. This is a distinctly riff-based album; vocals and (somewhat clumsily played) drums always take a back seat to melody (probably the most definite black metal element on this LP), but 'Misanthropic Annihilation' is refreshingly devoid of any 'old school' sentiment. While this release is in no way modern, there's still no Obituary or Autopsy to be found here. Imagine for a moment a near-flawless combination of Incantation, Deicide, and Immolation coalescing into a single band and then deliberately incorporating influences from Immortal's 'Pure Holocaust' and Burzum's 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss'. The result is massive, melodic, epic death metal, with intriguing neoclassical touches. The songs are long, sprawling and elegant, and genuinely patient in their development. Tracks start and finish in luxurious, grandiose fashion, and run for 5-9 minutes, giving the narrative plenty of room to breathe and grow. The melodies created are vast and apocalyptic (aided in no small part by the roomy, atmospheric production), as well as surprisingly emotional, an unusual but not unwelcome addition given the genre. The tempo is overall rather slow, with sections of deliberate blasting. Portions of atmospheric riffing are used vividly, such as the outro to 'Cold...End...Dead', with an Egyptian-inspired melody that Nile could only dream to match in beauty in power. The tracks are all fairly similar to each other, but not to the album's detriment; this feature is used in a way similar to that of Bolt Thrower, where similarity is used to strengthen a core atmosphere. Despite this, certain tracks truly stick out in my mind: first and foremost being the stunning 'Darkness Conquers All', the melodies and development of which are some of the best death metal has ever seen. Also of note: the immensely dark 'Suicide Unto Infinite Euphoria', and the cascading finality of closer 'Worship Us'. I have no qualms with saying Darkness Eternal have created a masterwork with 'Misanthropic Annihilation'. This album should join the pantheon of great metal albums throughout history. While one might doubt that such an unknown project could produce such brilliance, I assure you: they can, and with 'Misanthropic Annihilation', they have.

If for the sole reason that Darkness Eternal’s George Velaetis handles all organic (i.e., real musical instrument, electronica-free) instruments by himself, does he deserve a certain praise and definitely even some greater respect than most. This underground veteran has created with Misanthropic Annihilation one of the most menacing, ear-tearing, soul-crushing albums of recent times. This album is so heavy, it actually forces the listener to turn down the volume due to extreme inconvenience it generates with its surgeon's blade-wielding sharp sounds and the bloody, morbid, buzzing chainsaw guitars, distorted all the way to hell and back. Velaetis offers his vision to heavy metal and by doing so, also a clue as to his own enormous talent as a song-writer and musician. This assembly of nine tracks showcases an assorted assembly of abyss-dark, brutal-yet-melodic death metal hymns that do differ from one another but all share the same core qualities: the magnificent production; the never-neglected sense of melody, be it twisted, hinted, blurred or muffled by the metallic terror of the overall sound; progressiveness and the ever present feel that there are many molds and dogmas within this genre that should be broken and indeed are broken throughout the songs; the motley stylistic approaches, sometimes hyper-speed songs, sometimes the songs drag to an almost funeral pace. All that embodied within this work, makes this particular album a phenomenon by its own merits. What's more, it has finally succeeded in breaking the boredom barrier most brutal death metal bands suffer from. Even though Velaetis' vocals do sound somewhat generic in the context of this sub-genre (but adequate enough for this specific recording and NOT your usual ridiculous cookie monster blabbering), the music compensates on that fault, big time. Misanthropic Annihilation is the best brutal (yet not generically brutal by any means) metal release for quite some time and surely the best for the year 2006 in that particular section. If Mortician had actually been much, much more progressive and added a sense of melody and genuine darkness (other then the horror flick intros) into their retarded-yet-extremely-sharp sound, you'd have had a slight, inadequate, remote idea of what this behemoth of an album sounds like. Good work. (8.5/10)

DARKNESS ETERNAL - Misanthropic Annihilation Autopsy Kitchen Records Death Metal 9 songs (56'41) Release year: 2005 Darkness Eternal, Autopsy Kitchen Records Darkness Eternal is a one-man band solely consisting of George Velaetis who does, well, everything in the band including playing drums (no drum machine here). Velaetis has spent time, on and off, as a session member for the Death Metal band The Chasm (who are an excellent band by the way) but this, Darkness Eternal, is entirely his own creation. Misanthropic Annihilation is actually the third release but the first I’ve been exposed to so I cannot comment on earlier work. Naturally, I can comment on this release though, and I think I can sum it up in one word: brilliant! So what makes this CD stand out amongst the throngs of Extreme Metal CD's being released? It’s a number of things and cannot be pin-pointed to one specific aspect of the music. One could call this Death Metal but after only a few songs it is clear to me there is a heavy dose of Doom Metal and Black Metal mixed in for good measure. So let’s talk about the Death Metal influences first. The style of riffing mainly stays in the Immolation camp and does not venture far from the off-beat, hypnotic, and atmosphere inducing riffs that Immolation helped make famous. Given that the music takes on a progressive, atmosphere heavy mood and context, this works out really well. In between the Death Metal riffs there are slowed down, plodding moments of Doom. It is true that the aforementioned style of Death Metal riffing lends itself well, and seamlessly I might add, to Doom Metal (just look at Incantation). What I liked most about the Doom Metal or just simply the slow sections is they are there to further enhance the mood and atmosphere of the music. Never once did I just want the Death Metal to return, because everything, musically, played a part in the song structure. Lastly, Black Metal plays a part as tremolo styled riffs can be heard either as a lead-in to more traditional Death Metal riffing or a theme that certain songs can be built around; the best example is the track, Darkness Conquers All. The song structures are masterfully crafted as each tempo change and riff change builds on an ever imposing dark and haunting atmosphere that remains consistent, but the brilliant part is how completely different tempos and riff styles maintain that atmosphere. Darkness Eternal might be a gimmicky name to some but it sums up the feel of the music perfectly. I also have to mention some excellent vocal work. It might be expected that the vocals may be an after-thought with the music taking precedence; but this is not the case. There are not many moments where there is not some vocal work being done. The vocal style of Velaetis comes across as an intelligently done traditional Death Metal delivery with some easily understood vocal lines. I’m actually reminded a little bit of the more understandable moments of Nile’s music from a vocal perspective. Taking a cue from Glen Benton there are many instances of two vocal tracks, the second being more of a high pitched version of the typically deep vocals. The use of the two vocal tracks to accentuate adds lot of dynamics to the music and insures the vocals remain interesting and not one-dimensional. After all, if the vocals were mono-tone it would disrupt the ever-changing music; instead we are treated to a vocal performance that is in-line with some of the better performances from Benton and Corpsegrinder (when he was in Monstrosity). The production also lends itself very well to the music. Everything is mixed well and it feels like a really well-produced early 90’s Death Metal release. There is enough of a raw factor to enhance the atmosphere without making the CD sound like it was recorded through a boot or tin can. What’s also great is that the drums sound real and the technical break-downs and blasts are loud enough to appreciate but not overpower the guitars or vocals. Considering Darkness Eternal is one person writing and performing this music makes the overall result all the more impressive. Sure, the drumming is occasionally sloppy but there’s a lot of you, including me, who feel slightly sloppy playing is a good thing on occasion. If I wanted supreme and flawless musicianship I’d go listen to Spastic Ink or Spiral Architect. As it stands the Doom Metal leads, tremolo riffing, and various Death Metal styles all blend together to create a mesmerizing and unique listening experience. This CD is not for everyone, and I must stress this. If you want the type of Death Metal that bludgeons you over the head with every passing second go listen to the new Deicide or any Blood Red Throne release. If you’re the type of listener who occasionally, or perhaps always, wants something that is just a little different than the norm I can highly recommend this CD to you. This release came highly recommended to me by seasoned and some times hard-headed Death Metal listeners (which I can be as well) and I have to say by the second listen I was hooked. Admittedly I was not convinced after just one-listen but as I gave the CD time to sink in I was impressed by the subtle complexity and overall feel the music gave off. I made one half of an analogy a few reviews ago whereby I stated the latest release from Chrome Division is the type of music you put on as back ground music and is not something that you put on your head phones for to pick out every detail and fully expose yourself too. Well, Misanthropic Annihilation, as you probably guessed, is the latter. As background music it might sound plodding, with not enough “head banging” moments, but as you give the music its full attention I feel most listeners will appreciate the atmosphere the music evokes. I thus highly recommend this CD and I hope that if you give it a try you enjoy it as much as I and others have… however, as was already stated: this is not for everyone.




Superchrist Reviews

It was unfortunate to discover, only a few years ago, that my favorite pejorative for metalhead had been employed by a piddling alt-rock band for the services of poor American television. "Dirtbag" had become somehow empathetic, defined as anything less than 90 pounds with bad skin. It's some consolation then that Chris Black, Whorepuncher and Hank Bitchlover offer this sleazy pastiche, reminding if not repairing the images long faded. Forging unrepentant rock as The Ramones meets Motorhead plus, whom they ape with grizzled voice, sideburns and Rickenbacker blasting for duration. While I understand the urge to play _It's Alive_ or _Orgasmatron_ instead of this glorified cover-band shit, their performance is keen and the production superb. Something like Karaoke superstars, Superchrist, like Turbonegro, is the idiot's legend of rock 'n' roll. Alright then, let's get stupid. Opening with a cover of "Where Eagles Dare" (not that band from Jersey) and continuing on through nine more tracks of rhythmic nostalgia modeled on such potent archetypes, clanging guitar springs off into bouncing blues leads while full-mouthed bass leads the trio on in anthemic misconduct. Adding some credence, _South of Hell_ establishes a resonant mix of voices in clear, divided sections allowing the passion and ample drive of its three-man jam atmosphere unquestioned on record. As loud and lyrically foul purveyors of old school, Superchirst add humor and historic riffs for peak effect (a bastardized version of "Countess Bathory" surfaces late in the record) bringing to mind not only their forerunners but contemporary acts like The Mobile Mob Freakshow and filled with vibrant play that follows a growing reputation as a live act. Yes, this would be the perfect music to get shit-faced with at your local beer-dive, screening the unwed mothers you knew from high-school; perfect for letting off steam and sweet shame. You can't say that about "Bomber" or "Jailbait" anymore. Not since Lemmy admitted he was queer. Another point for Superchrist. 5.5/10
Todd DePalma /

Well, things have been a bit boring here for the past week or so, having to go through a couple of good but slightly too happy/over polished heavy/power metal offerings, for which I just couldn't find any words (yet.) Then THIS came in the mail. Just what the doctor ordered. Total fucking Motörhead worship motherfuckers! I've often heard bands described by some as "just like Motörhead", but it usually wasn't the case and none ever came even remotely this close anyway. This is about 30 minutes that sounds very much like late 70s Motörhead: Strong punk and rock 'n' roll influences added to a full pot of burning blue-collar metal. Even the vocals are in the same style as Lemmy's, but a little less raucous. It's raw, it's dirty, not overproduced, and, quite simply, it rocks. At times you'll wonder if you're supposed to headbang or dance (in a rock-ish fashion, of course), or even both. I mentioned that this is about 30 minutes of music, even though it clocks in at nearly 40 minutes. The last song - "Don't Ride with Superchrist" - is over 13 minutes longs, but the last 10 minutes are just the kind of cacophonous all-instruments-banging sound that some bands often finish the last song of a set with. That's OK in a live setting, it's fucking annoying on an album. So that leaves about 30 minutes. But not all of it is original: The album opens with a cover of Iron Maiden's "Running Free" - at first I even wondered if this was a cover album, since opening up with a cover is quite uncommon. They made this version even more raw than the original, and Di'Anno fans will be happy to hear that the vocals are closer to Paul's than to Bruce's. Not a great cover, but it still rocks, which is all that songs was meant to be anyway. And that's not the last surprise, as there is a cover of Motörhead's "Metropolis" also included. Not bad, but the original still rules over this one - I don't think they were trying to outdo them anyway. So despite the fact that the number of original track is limited in length and number, and the useless 10 minutes at the end, this is a damn good album. Short songs designed to rock your socks off, nothing more, nothing less. And sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered. This one brightened my day.

According to the band’s website, this album was recorded on a broken eight track. Despite the rather grainy sound, the production fits the music on “South Of Hell” perfectly, as SUPERCHRIST dish out ten cuts of raw and dirty Punk-infused Metal that just screams “MOTÖRHEAD!” SUPERCHRIST wear their influences on their sleeve, but manage to provide enough ass-kicking Heavy Metal that this isn’t much of a problem. “South Of Hell” gives us eight originals and two covers (IRON MAIDEN and, of course, MOTÖRHEAD), though the songs are all pretty much in the same vein. We get lots of distortion, a fast pace and a Punk attitude which will appeal to fans of the old school as much as it will to Metalheads. The structures are simple and the songs are catchy, making this a record more appropriate for mindlessly thrashing about than for reflective listening. SUPERCHRIST aren’t trying to challenge their listeners, but it’s hard not to give these guys a horned salute. It won’t take long at all to wrap your mind around this album, but it takes even less time to sink your teeth in. Conjuring images of dive bars, cigarette smoke, cheap hookers and lots of beer, SUPERCHRIST may not appeal to many fans interested in the Metal scene’s more “cultured” offerings. If, on the other hand, you like MOTÖRHEAD, old school Punk Rock, or just down-and-dirty Heavy Metal, you owe this one a spin. 7.5/10
Wesley /

Here's the most recent full-length from this diehard heavy metal trio that lives to fuckin' rock. Think classic heavy metal with a little bit of a punk rock sort of thing coming in via a major Motörhead influence. They don't fuck around and actually kick things off right away with a cover of Iron Maiden's classic "Running Free" (starting a record with a cover is a pretty god damn bold move, too), which sets the pace for most of their original material as well. Expect really catchy, rocked out metal tunes with simple chord progressions, bluesy lead breaks, tempos that tend be energetically speedy but do offer a few more moderate paces, and gruff singing that's pretty comparable to Lemmy's patented delivery. "She'd Look Better (With a Black Eye)" is midpaced and maybe a little more straightforward (not that any of this stuff strays from the formula, per se); and "Aim Low" is another of the slower pieces and has a few different styles of lead passages, from those reminiscent of Kiss at their best to those with more of a British dual guitar harmony aesthetic. But "None For You", "Strangers in the Night", and "Don't Ride With Superchrist" are among the outright catchiest songs herein, standing out as the most memorable and consistently fired up (with the covers of course leaving a mark as well). Speaking of which, towards the end of the disc is another cover, this time "Metropolis" by Motörhead, which of course fits in perfectly with the band's originals – albeit a bit slower and darker. The recording's a little dry and has a bit of a dated sound to it (possibly intentionally), and it works, but the vocals benefit the most from the recording techniques. The drums sound alright, but most of the instrumentation needs a little more meat to it. The guitars are pretty thin and have a lot of upper-midrange going on, the bass can get lost in the shuffle, etc. The solos sound perfect, and as mentioned the vocals are dead on, but a bit more crispness and low-end would really help out the instrumentation. The layout keeps it really simple with some live band shots (black and white) and plain text over gray backgrounds for the lyrics and such. As song titles like "She'd Look Better (With a Black Eye)" and "Drink or Drown" might suggest, expect tongue-in-cheek tales of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll for the lyrical content: "Don't ride with Superchrist, 'cause we don't swing that way, Don't die with your dick in your hand, at least not today, We're useless and you need to learn, You think it's love, but you're getting burned…" Good stuff. These guys are definitely awesome songwriters (Okay, well, the lyric could use some work, but…) who are very good at what they do and pull off this approach without a hitch. I'll be looking forward to hearing more. And seriously, with a little more oomph to the recording? Shit, they'll just hammer it on home… (7/10)

If you’ve never heard Motorhead before and you like metal or punk, Superchrist will probably sound awesome. Straightforward, chugging, hook?lled music with a nasty attitude that harkens back to a time when metal and punk had yet to form boundaries between one another. The trio from Chicago’s third selfproduced and distributed album, South of Hell, sports ten songs full of classic rock n’ roll excesses like guitar solos and admonishing threats. One representative lyric from “Aim Low” goes: “I’ll put it in your ear like I did last year/It’s gonna get worse.” I’m not sure exactly what he wants to put in said person’s ear, but it reminds me of the “Touch Me, I’m Dick” Mudhoney parody from Cameron Crowe’s Singles. If you’ve heard Motorhead before, then there’s no need to listen to Superchrist. They sound exactly like Motorhead, from the Lemmy-like vocals right down to the bass solos. Superchrist cover Motorhead’s “Metropolis” on the album and even sometimes play as a Motorhead cover band. Enough said. So, if you want the real thing, I’d go get some Motorhead. Still, if you stumble upon this CD at a bargain price, I’d go for it. It’s still good rock ‘n roll, even if it is ridiculously derivative.

Alot of rock bands discover a good formula that they don't stray from for years. AC/DC are one of the most influancial rock and roll bands out there, but from album to album they've never really re-invented themselves. Even though there isn't really an AC/DC album I don't like, it wouldn't work for everyone, so it's refreshing to hear other bands take a new prespective on things. That's how I see the difference between Superchrist's "South of Hell" compaired to last year's release: "Black & Black." Don't get me wrong, they're still the same rowdy rock band; Superchrist havn't gone PC on us (as proven with songs like "She's look better (with a black eye)," "Brown Eye Sees All," and "Drink or Drown") and they definetly haven't lost their edge. But where they sounded like Motorhead before, this time around they throw a little more punk rock into the mix, and they also seem to have a little more variation in the tempo of the music. Another big difference is the vocals, Chris Black's voice sounds less like Lemmy's and more unique. The end product is another heavy-ass rock album that's a little more catchy than the last effort, and shows off a little more varied influance. This is the sound of a band who's not afraid to let themselves develop a little. And check out that ten minute long finale! That's rock and roll at it's finest. Luckely, dispite their development, the vibe, attitude and overall feel hasn't changed; if these guys don't quench your thirst for rock and roll, i'm afraid it's terminal. Go grab a beer, crank the volume and head out looking for a fist fight. Superchrist will lay the soundtrack down, nice and thick.

Initially released by the band themselves, "South of Hell" has been given a wider birth by Autopsy Kitchen Records. Even though it strikes me as a bizarre choice to open this album up with the bands cover of Maiden's "Running Free" which sounds like Motorhead took a stab at this NWOBHM classic, Superchrist get over their idol worship quickly and get back into their metal version of grab your ass and go rock-n-roll. With every release, it seems to me that Superchrist get better and better at realizing their strong points and are tightening up the loose ends. Chris Black's vocals are getting a lot stronger and tuneful as he hits those backing harmonies on the chorus while maintaining a nicotine and booze tortured Lemmy jr. battle yell. This is the best-produced album by these guys to date and it really gives a lot of power to the hook oriented, verse/chorus/verse/chorus nature of this well written material. So much power erupts from Black's thundering Richenbacher bass tone, it injects the power chord dominant affinity in the guitar lines with that extra kick in the ass. It all boils down to the songs and Superchrist have established a simplistic formula that really works well for them. The simplicity and rocking vibe works great on album and you know it'll get even more aggressive/raw live. The solos have noticeably stepped out of the Frehley worship of the older material, to get a lot bluesier and more complex, though not losing sight of being tuneful enough for the listener to walk away from a track with the solo stuck in their head. After a dead nuts cover of Motorhead's "Metropolis", Superchrist makes it know as to what alter they bend their knee and they don't give 2 shits that they wear their Motorhead worship on their sleeves. In fact... this band benefits from the influence and have dug in at the ready to carry the torch for their idols once the seemingly indestructible Lemmy finally escapes this mortal coil. Superchrist rule... plain and simple.
- Marty / Worm Gear

Yeah, I know I reviewed this one back in issue sixteen. So what? Now that it's got an official release, it deserves another look and listen. Let me put it this way... if you're into MOTORHEAD, THE HELLACOPTERS, or TURBONEGRO, then you owe it to yourself to check out SUPERCHRIST. They're really fun hard-driving rock and roll and make for a welcome change from whatever doom and gloom you're currently listening to.

They can make fun of "South of Heaven" all they want, as mediocre a follow up to a fucking classic as that ever was! Trust me, if these guys keep doing what they're doing, they'll be on the map and leave little room for anybody else in no time! True fist pounding, skull banging, ear bleeding metal done like Motorhead did once, with touches of early Venom and Slayer and all other rowdiness that made this cesspool of metal great many a decade ago! Riff-heavy with just the right touches of punk to keep it pure, Superchrist is right on the money in every way you could imagine! Good choice of "Running Free" for an Iron Maiden cover (oddly enough the first track instead of the closer), instead of that played out "666" song that younglings associate Maiden with. Strap in and get ready to be beat to a miserable pulp! Superchrist is an aluminum bat to the skull of all these pop-metal morons coming out of the airwaves these days, with their satirical approach to our craft. Heavy metal, it's what's for dinner!
Dirt Culture Magazine

while superchrist will not win any awards for the most intense,evil or brutal bands around.they are defintly entertaining and is similar to 80's style hard rock {not the glam shit!!} very catchy sing-along chorus's.gutairist and drums that are well-played and can hold their own against anyone.chris black's vocal style reminds me of lemmy k.{motorhead} although chris is much easier to understand and nowhere near as rough sounding...if your into energetic,catchy metal music..superchris are for you!!
Primitive Ways Zine

This is seriously no-frills, catchy as f*** metalpunk, all songs clocking in at around 2-3 minutes, supercharged blasts of fastpaced 3-chord destruction, boozed up and unwashed, like Motorhead hijacking Iron Maiden's guitarists, and transplanting themselves into middle America circa 1988, immersing themselves in classic 80's Midwestern hardcore....but with a weird, unexpected detour into skull melting droneology at the albums end!!!
Crucial Blast Records




Nachtmystium Reviews

We recently listed the newest release from midwestern black metallers Nachtmystium on Southern Lord a few weeks back, but we also managed to get just a few copies of the previous Nachtmystium cd, a wrist-slitting slab of ultra suicidal depressive, lo-fi black metal, suffocatingly bleak and buzzy, thrashy and chaotic. Mostly midtempo, with occasional stretches of blasting black metal, this is melancholic and miserable, grim and sorrowful, the riffs blurring into near-drones while distant melodies drift in the background and the drums sort of plod along contributing to the mesmerizing feel. A brutal mix of classic old school norwegian black metal (Immortal, Emperor, etc...) and more modern suicidal-drone black metal (Xasthur, Leviathan, etc...)
Aquarius Records

Well this is some cold black metal album if I ever heard one. Nachtmystium's latest is about as cold and grim as it gets, and a agonizing and depressive atmosphere is omnipresent from the first to the last second. Add to this some screeches that sound so remote and despaired that it'll send shivers through your spine. Think of early 90s Norwegian BM - the slow, agonizing stuff, not the hyperspeed one - mixed with early Graveland and you get a pretty good idea of what this sounds like. The raw production only help intensify the feeling of helplessness that this album leaves behind for the listener. The intro and outro are particularly mind-screwers, especially the outro which is one long noise-fest that's not without reminding me of the "music" used in some horror-suspense movies when the victims are lost in the woods with some killer/monster/whatever hunting them down - a feeling of isolation and of impending death. Extremely effective. It's been damn long since I heard something that sounded remotely like this. Hell, I'm not even sure I have. This album will leave you drained after only a couple of listens. Avoid if you're depressive. ;)
Michael Renaud /

If you consider yourself a Black Metal fan, and you haven’t gotten yourself acquainted with Wheaton, Illinois’ Nachtmystium, it’s time to wake up and smell the brimstone. After three full-lengths, two splits, two EP’s, and two live albums, founding member, Azentrius, has certainly made his mark on the USBM scene. To the passing Black Metal fans’ ear, this project may seem like many others who’ve already burned a path through the forest, but there’s much more behind this man’s dark vision. What sets Nachtmystium apart from the rest of the heap, is the level of misery that’s conveyed through Azentrius’ caterwauling vocals, and the genuinely bereaved nature of his songwriting. Demise, Nachtmystium’s third full-length venture, is a perfect example of this. For those keeping score at home, this is actually a re-release of this album, which was initially birthed through Autopsy Kitchen Records in 2003 as a digipak (sold out). AKR has since re-released this fine endeavor in a jewel case, featuring color graphics, but no extra musical content. A pertinent quote regarding the album from Azentrius himself: “Demise is definitely a landmark for the end-of-an-era for Nachtmystium. This was our last straightforward ‘raw black metal’ record. I was trying to create atmospheres and feelings similar to that of classic albums such as Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Abyssic Hate’s Suicidal Emotions, two albums that have been a big influence on lots of the early Nachtmystium works. I knew that Demise would be our last album that was strictly written in this vein, so I did my best to make it all that it could be”. (From the Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation interview in 7/05, by Delirium) The question is, does Demise reach the lofty goal Azentrius set for himself? You bet yer fuckin’ bippy it does. From the moment Demise begins, to the moment it sadly ends, this work drags the listener through the dirtiest of dirt. No matter how jovial a mood I might (miraculously) find myself in, if I pop this disc in the player I’m sure to fall into a more somber, morose state. It’s a hopeless, dismal pill, just right for the popping when you’re tired of being surrounded by people filled with holiday cheer. “Scorpio Incarnate” and “Rise and Fall” give heavy nods towards early Burzum, with their relentless, hypnotizing rhythm, while tracks like “Solitary Voyage” and “The Glorious Moment” attack with more of a ‘romping’ Black Metal flair. Also on display throughout Demise is the fine battery work of Wargoat Obscurum of fellow American Black Metallers, Cult of Daath. His addition to the album gives it the extra punch of life that would otherwise be sorely missing if someone of lesser talent were used in his stead. The album closes with an 8-minute noise piece that features strange fluttering distortions and feedback, leaving the listener with a fine tumultuous buzz. So, is this truly Nachtmystium’s last plunge into the ‘raw’ Black Metal genre? I suppose it’s not wise to say never, but it certainly seems that way. Since the release of Demise, we’ve seen the tasty riff-riddled EP, Eulogy IV, which follows a completely new path for Azentrius, and apparently there’s a new full length waiting to touch ground in January of ’06, via Drakkar Productions. It’ll be quite interesting to see what's in store for fans. In the meantime, if you like your Black Metal dirty, dark, and dismal, you’d be foolish not to investigate Demise.

Having been released on LP by Australia’s Asgard Musik and on picture disc by Goatowarex, stateside Autopsy Kitchen lays down the goods in an excellent reissue of Nachtmystium’s 2004 recording, Demise. Nachtmystium frontman Azentrius has previously stated the intent of Demise: to craft Black Metal in the tradition of Burzum, especially the epic Hvis Lyset Tar Oss—long droning compositions sheathed in static buzz. While the songs on Demise don’t even come close to aping or rivaling anything on Hvis, they do offer homage to Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger and the sort of ice encrusted malevolence typified by Judas Iscariot’s The Cold Earth Slept Below. This record’s finest moments are realized in its longest compositions: “Rise and Fall” is one of those less-is-more affairs, where pleasure and intent is realized in seemingly banal sonic contributions—rattling hi-hats, repetitive guitar figure, morosely anguished cries, all of which grate and plod for over nine minutes. Same for “Solitary Voyage,” a seven-minute foray that transliterates Moonblood’s “In a Bloody Night of Fullmoon” into an even more oppressive syntax—unforgiving and as ferocious as the rest of the lot.

Nachtmystium is an American Black Metal band that has gained some well deserved attention recently due to the release of this album. In this album we find Nachtmystium playing some quite depressing Black Metal in the vein of bands like Xasthur; although with a totally different approach to it. Demise is in general a mid paced, melancholic album. The album is totally guitar oriented, thing that distinguishes the band from the previously mentioned Xasthur; there are no keyboards here; all the melancholic soundcapes are created via guitar, mostly by combining tremolo picking with other common Black Metal techniques. The drum work is absolutely nothing special but that’s how I like it in this kind of releases; the drums are there, but that’s it, no solos, no flashiness just some nice simple drumming. The vocals are cold and deep, quite good actually, but nothing really special. I don’t think there’s something really special or original in this album but it has a very melancholic feeling to it and the atmosphere created is very sad, thing that I enjoy a lot. If you take the mid/slow pace of the album, the sad, melancholic riffs and the perfectly fitting production you have a deep sound that succeeds on creating a very engulfing mood any fan of depressive Black Metal will enjoy a lot. I don’t find anything that I could say I didn’t like in the album, the music is solid and in general the album maintains a very steady quality level with a few highlights like a very sad, sad guitar in Scorpio Incarnate. For those of you who feel you need a bit (or a lot) of darkness after all the joy of these festivities I can’t think of a better way for you to return to a negative state of mind. Demise is an album where darkness and depression fill your mind, if you feel up to it, be sure to pick it up. Fans of depressive Black Metal shouldn’t miss this one; you’ll devour this cold, sad and grim piece of art day after day for quite a long time; if you're looking for something more aggresive and faster don't look here, this is slow and depressive Black Metal at it's best.