As you have maybe noticed, there hasn’t been so much action in my blog lately… Well, I haven’t been lazy, I have just used my all spare time to pack copies of Kaleidoscope #11! Thanks for all these orders, just keep ‘em coming (read more). But enough talking, let’s get ready for winter with these four (yes, four!) releases!
WEAPON: Embers and Revelations (Relapse 2012)
From Canada to Bangladesh and back… Vocalist/guitarist Vetis Monarch knows the both sides of this world, and other worlds too. Weapon has been a melting pot for death metal, black metal, melodies, Greek BM legacy, Satanism and Eastern occult, and Embers and Revelations is the band’s latest triumph. Although the murkiest elements of the last two albums (Drakonian Paradigm 2009 and From the Devil’s Tomb 2010) have been partly withdrawn, Weapon’s style is still very dark and obscure. Yes, you can find quite modern and stompy riffs here and there, but the general atmosphere of Embers and Revelations is still miles away from plastic black/death bands. Also the use of guitar melodies and guitar SOLOS makes a stand here. Add some oriental spices, heavy metal attitude, a really good blastbeat/highspeed song (Liber Lilith) and a nice slowdown in the end of Disavowing Each in Aum, and you have a devilish album in your hands. Listen to Vanguard of the Morning Star if you don’t believe my words.
Vetis Monarch describes the dualism of clarity and obscurity with these words:
– When you make a record with a clear, powerful production and still retain obscurity, that’s when you know you have done something right. Anyone can hide behind a murky production and call something obscure, mystical, cult, et al. The question is, would they still sound draped in darkness even with a stellar production? The new album does just that; it hides nothing in terms of musicianship, and in fact, enhances the overall obscure FEEL that is a fundamental pillar of death and black metal.
TERVAHÄÄT: Kalmonsäie (Anima Arctica 2012)
They are here again. Wandering troubadours Antero Kaarna and Ilmari Riimu shaked the Finnish (neo)folk territories with their shapeless but oddly hypnotizing debut album a couple years ago, and Kalmonsäie is another walk into the old Finnish landscapes and mindscapes. This time their approach is a bit more concrete, and chants, percussions and occasional electric guitars give a few guidelines to a listener to follow their path. You could see this a downside or an improvement: Tervahäät has lost an inch or two of their mysticism but same time the songs stick to your head easier.
The vocals steal the main part on Kalmonsäie. A cappella Marrasvirsi (A November Hymn) starts the album daringly but oh so touchingly, and also the last song Saattaja (Pallbearer) and its few lyric lines flatten your mind splendidly. I could say that there are hardly any misses in Kalmonsäie – only Lumelleluvattu (Promised to Snow) stands from the line a bit disturbingly with its black metal approach. But generally, Kalmonsäie is – as the debut was – an honest and original portrait of a darker side of a Finnish mind.
This is how the duo of Tervahäät analyzed the concept of melancholy in Kaleidoscope #10:
– We don’t see our music melancholic, and we know for a fact that excess and overtly romantic melancholy is indeed paralysing instead of energising. We consciously try our best to avoid melancholic states of mind. Maybe melancholy is one of those mantels of martyrdom that Finnish people like to carry with some twisted pride.
PUSTULATION: Under the Shadow of Death 7” / BEYOND: Enter Transcendence 7” (Iron Bonehead Records 2012)
And I’ll finish this month with the dual dose of death: these both EP’s were put out by Iron Bonehead and almost the same time, and how they work together! While Pustulation (DEN) makes filthy Scandinavian dödsmetall clash with horror-themed heavy metal solos, Beyond (GER) takes its inspiration from the murky swamps, berserk rhythms and guttural throats (and an insane solo on Hidden Temple of Obscurity!). Be the way this or that, these both bands deliver A-class battery which can be described as ‘traditional’ but it still sounds fresher and more honest than the most of today’s ‘original-sounding’ bands. And they both give an important lesson: brutality doesn’t exclude catchiness, and a simple attack is sometimes better than tons of gimmicks, at least in the case of 7”s.
And if you want to read more about Pustulation, why don’t you order the second issue of Serpentscope magazine, a sinister work of yours truly and A. Korpinen (read more)? Here’s what Executor (guitars/vocals) said about reason and death metal in the interview:
– It’s very important when writing music that you control your lust to keep adding details. If you master that you are bound to create something great (if you have the talent of course haha!). I’d agree that many bands have put too much thought into their music. Over-thinking kills music.
Beyond: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C29L4EvkEsM (Hidden Temple of Obscurity)