Review/Vukari/Divination

What started off as a studio project by vocalist/guitarist back in 2013 Marek Cimochowicz,   resulted in the release of the debut album “Matriarch”, with the help from bassist Spenser Morris and a sit-in from the former Weekend Nachos vocalist John Hoffman on drums. From there, Vukari evolved into a full blown band-outfit on the follow-up EP, “En to pan”.  A release that first caught my attention on one of the many Facebook pages I follow.

On “Divination” the line-up features, besides Spenser and Marek,  Rich Stancanto on guitar and Mike DeStefano on drums. The band picks up from where they left us on “En to pan” – this time around perfecting their intense sound of atmospheric blackened metal, with hints of post-rocks influences from time to time.

The post-black influences shines brightest in the first few minutes of “Invictus maneo” and the intro to to album closer,  “Bathe in the divine light”. The first of these two, works its way from melodic post-black – to a haunting closing in the space of it’s near six-minute playtime. Why does the last couple of minutes on this one, makes me think of Behemoth..? I’m not pointing fingers here. They aren’t copying anything – it’s rather a case of the dark and gloomy atmosphere, for a short while resembles the one on Behemoths masterpiece of an album, “The Satanist”. Great stuff.

Excluding the intro “Divination I” and  interlude “Ad delerium I”, this album features six tracks, including my own favourite; The eight minute tour-de-force “Cursus Honorum”. Halfway through the song the pace might drop, but the combination of harmonics and unearthly roars of Marek makes sure that the intensity is preserved.

Vukari has already caught the attention of the underground scene over the last couple of years, that leading to sharing a scene with Vattnet Viskar, and opening for Taake back in february. This album could might be the ear- and eyeopener of a bigger audience – shooting them to a bigger stage; at least I hope so. They deserve it.

Pick up the early released digital version of this album on Bandcamp,  and/or buy the cd (august 1st) og vinyl (TBA fall 2016) – both to be released on Bindrune Recordings.

Video/Interview/Jon Nödtveidt

In one of his last recorded interviews, Jon speaks about Dissection‘s triumphant last tour, his time in jail, the process of writing the Reinkaos album and the case of using himself and Dissection as a channel for the Misanthropic Luciferian Order, and the writings of Frater Nemidial.

In hindsight, he may also have given a hint of what was to come later; the self-inflected/self chosen death of one of metals greatest geniuses.

Review/Dark Funeral/Where Shadows Forever Reign

Some times it just sucks to be small in the big world of (black) metal; in this case that translates to being the nobody, that doesn’t get an example of the album prior to the date of official release. I had all the intentions of getting this review out a week ago, but it clashed with other projects, so it had to wait..

It’s been a while since we’ve last heard something from the Swedish legends Dark Funeral; “Angelus Exuro pro Eternus” being their latest offering, dating back to 2009.  In the time being since then, they have been making most headlines when changing members; an almost ever changing  lineup, that today is made up of Lord Ahriman (guitar), Chaq Mol (guitar), Dominator (drums) and  Heljarmadr(vocals).

Heljarmadr made his recording debut in Dark Funeral, on the late 2014 single “Nail them to the cross”; taking over the vocal duties from Emperor Magus Caligula who left in 2010, and those are some big shoes to fill. Nachtgarm of course filled the slot just prior to Heljarmadr – without resulting in any released material. So the big the question is whether this a match made in hell, as they intended..?

The short answer would be, yes. The former Cursed 13 vocalist does a great job on this album, and I consider him to be a great successor; his shrieky vocal, as well as growls, fits the Dark Funeral universe perfectly.

Earlier this year, the band celebrated the twentieth anniversary of their magnum opus “The secrets of the black arts”, one of my all-time favourite black metal albums. This time around they have asked Necrolord who did the cover-art back then, to work his magic yet again.  Using the similar color scheme, and resulting in a quite similar look of the two covers.

dark funeral necrolord covers

To be honest, it’s not just the cover that resembles something from 1996; this is Dark Funeral as we know them. Lord Ahriman and the rest of the band aren’t the ones to expect big surprises from, but in this case it isn’t a bad thing. Make no mistake, the still know how to make a catchy riff and write dark satanic lyrics – and they definitely haven’t got any worse at it, over the last twenty years. Quite the opposite in fact.

While this review is written by a fan, I would consider this to be an album for all fans of melodic black metal. Some of the strongest tracks on the album counts the previously relased singles “Unchain my soul”, “Temple of Ahriman”,  “Nail them to the cross” and the closing title track, “Where shadows forever reign”. Neither of them are a bad place to start if you want to hear what Dark Funeral sounds like in 2016.

You should go and judge for yourself, but in my opinion; If you thought this band was a has-been, you were wrong.

“I open the doors to the other side,
where everything is so old
I’m leaving this world and I enter the void
where the shadows forever reign.”

Video/Vice/True Norwegian Black Metal

The renowned photographer and producer Peter Beste teams up with Vice Scandinavia correspondent Ivar Berglin, and pays Kristian Eivind Espedal, a.k.a. Gaahl, a visit in his hometown Espedal, Norway in this short documentary from 2007.

After the release it did receive some critisism, for leaving the viewers with the impression that Gaahl had chosen to live his life in almost solitude – while it’s well known that he has a flat in Bergen, and actually spends most of his time there. It does, however, gives us a short introduction, to the upbringing of the controversial Gorgoroth vocalist, his thoughts on christianity, time in prison and black metal in general.

Review/Erudite Stoner/Self-titled

Regular visitors of this blog will be in for a different kind of treat this time, let that be known from the start. Matheus Novaes is the twentysix year old Brazilian guitarist working under the alias Erudite Stoner, and the following words will be all about the self-titled debut from december 2015.

I spend a lot of my time listening to demos and new releases. Much of it is, genre wise, very much up the same alley, and sometimes I have to give my ears a break, and freshen up before getting on with review and other writings. The last days of mind-clearing has been taken care off, by everything from Twisted Sister and Gary Moore to Queen – and this..

Wanting to become a guitarist myself when I was younger, I’ve definitely wasted my fair share of time, listening to guitarist-driven instrumental albums, by the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Van Halen. So what is one to do, when you receive a message on facebook; getting asked to take a listen to yet another one..?

To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect. The unusual, but very nice, cover artwork is created by  Nando Freitas; Depicting a backpack wearing man looking out on the world before him. Standing next to an umbrella holding Lego man-like looking robot – it doesn’t give away to much info on what to expect music wise.

I’ve seen this album tagged as “doom”, “shoegaze” and “metal” on Bandcamp – and while this music is able to create emotions quite similar to the above mentioned genres. I would  prefer to describe it as “instrumental acoustic post rock” myself.

Matheus let his guitar to do the talking on the entire album; no bass, drums or vocals – leaving the acoustic guitar as his only voice to the world. Despite the obvious fact that Matheus  is a skilled guitarist, this doesn’t turn out to be a musicians only album. The excellent compositions are in the spotlight, and are far more than just short showcases of his talent on the six string.

In truth it would be unfair to single out any of the songs for special attention, as the album works beautifully as a whole; shifting moods smoothly between the dark intensely rousing  and the silently introvert.Should I choose to do so anyway, it  would be tough to leave out “Waiting for the storm” – the only track to feature some mildly distorted tone to build tension towards the end. Another one worth mentioning would be “Far away from the city walls” that takes my mind on a trip to a Brazilian beach, far away from Denmark where I live myself.

If you aren’t afraid to drop the barricades, and has got an open mind, you should definitely do yourself the big favor, and check out this album. It’s something else – and it’s absolutely brilliant in my honest opinion.

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Review/Sol Sistere/Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum 

A couple of months has passed since I shared the lyrics video to “Death knell”, the opening track on the debut album by Sol Sistere, on the PLBM Facebook page, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this release ever since.

South America has given the world it’s fair share of metalbands; Brazil probably being responsible for the the majority of exports to the rest of the world. But now it’s time to turn our attention to Santiago, the captial of Chile.

“Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum” is the debut full-length by Pablo Vera (Drums), Ricardo Araya (Rhythm/lead guitars), C. (Rhythm guitars/vocals)and finally Juan Diaz (Bass); having only released the ep “I” before this, back in 2014.

If you liked, the before mentioned first single, “Death Knell” this album probably won’t disappoint, or surprise, you in any way.

In my opinion a great riff, equals one you unintentially end up humming along within the second time you hear it. Sol Sistere knows how to do just that; mixing great memorable riffs with nice melodies – resulting in an intense and dark atmospheric record.

Second track on the album, “Relentless ascension”, is the only song , being brought over from the previous released Ep. Having listened a to the the EP a few times, I would say that the guys chose wisely, by picking that track; not only being my favourite from “I” – but also among the strongest songs on this album too. Other noticable songs features “Deliver Us” and the two beautiful instrumental  pieces “Towards the morning star” and “6th Replicant”; the first one is a beautiful melodic semi-acoustic, featuring cello. The latter being a sun charged atmospheric monster.

So what’s the sum of all of this..?

With this album Sol Sistere  doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, with their melancholic harmonics mixed with take-no-prisoners-style traditional black metal..

But.. It’s so well executed that it ends up being an album, you end up playing over and over again. We are only halfway through 2016, but I have to admit, that this is one of the best things I’ve heard so far, and already a possible contestant for record of the year.

If in doubt after reading this little review – take a listen to the bandcamp audio-stream below, and judge for yourself..

“Unfading incorporeal vacuum” is out now on Hammerheart Records.

 

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Video/Dark Funeral/Unchain My Soul

Dark Funeral makes a run at the throne of black metal with this, their first music  video since the release of “Nail them to the cross”, back in december 2014.

Their latest offering, in support of the upcoming album, is a video to the song “Unchain my soul” – and shows a Dark Funeral in great shape, and ready for battle.

“Where shadows forever reign” is set for release on June the 3rd.

 

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