Monthly Archives: January 2013

OLD, BOLD AND ROTTEN: AUTOPSY

 Serpentscope was all about death metal so it was necessary to get Autopsy included. Because I had experience that mr. Chris Reifert is a bit tricky interviewee, I decided to skip the plan to do a “serious” interview but just throw questions around and see what happens. Well, you can read the result below – quite mind-blowing but not so informative, or?

When I made another interview with Reifert when Abscess’ Dawn of Inhumanity was released, the guy talked with a bit more sober tone. Here’s what he said about the assumed difficulties to make another death metal album after all these years and releases. And by the way, Christ Reifert is one of those people who always write CAPS LOCK ON. The whole interview was published in Imperiumi.net (in Finnish).

–  As for inspiration, we don’t try to force it, it just happens when it happens which has always worked for us. And yeah, sometimes it does seem like everything has been done, but there is still an endless amount of ways to interpret death metal and make it your own creation. Just like rock and roll or punk or blues or whatever you like, there’s only so many things you can do before it isn’t what it’s supposed to be, however with some imagination you can still twist, turn, fold and mutate it into something unique and exciting.

Autopsy_logo(originally published in Serpentscope #1 2009)

There are some unwritten dogmas, rules and conventions in the world of metal magazines. For example, if you edit your articles, you are more sophisticated, but if you just cut and paste all the questions and answers (and maybe use some scissors and glue, add some pictures from the cheap black magic book and print this all on your work place’s copier), you are closer to the meaning of words like “true”, “old school” and “kvlt”. Well, if you’re doing an interview with a pioneer of true kvlt old school death metal, Chris Reifert of Autopsy/Abscess fame, what options do you have? Only one! So here you have it, the snarls, babblings and biting of the false teeth by the snow bong master himself. Enjoy!

 Okay, maybe the easiest way to start this interview is to discuss your latest output, Horrific Obsession 7”. How was the feeling and atmosphere in the studio while recording – are you now older, more mature and better… eh?

– Well, older anyways, heh heh… we had a great time in the studio and the atmosphere was the same as usual: making brutal music and having a killer time doing it. Plus Danny brought the shriveled apple from the Mental Funeral sessions which took us into a world that few death metallers get to step into…

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(Danny Coralles @ Hammer Open Air 2011)

I think Autopsy has always had an interesting line-up: one steady guitarist (Cutler), one insane guitarist (Coralles), looooots of bassists and you of course. My impressions here are only hunches but how would you describe these two fellowmen?

– Well, Eric is the smelly one and Danny is the confused one… or is it Danny that is the smelly one and Eric is the confused one… actually I am smelly and confused so maybe Eric is the quiet one and Danny is the drunk one… I’d better call those guys up and clear this conundrum up!

And who has been the best Autopsy bassist in your opinion?

– All the bassists did their job and walked over the hot coals that is playing in Autopsy, though Steve DiGiorgio can kill a fly from two hundred paces with his bass playing prowess….

Many have said that these two songs summarize quite well what Autopsy is all about musically. What is your opinion about these songs, and what would be that inner core of Autopsy which has kept its power from the start to this day?

– Many have said lots of things about lots of things but I personally love those songs like two-headed mutant children that constantly bite my ankles… The core is the bottomless pit of molten magma that springs from the ground any time Eric, Danny and I get together… Could have something to do with all the nachos with extra hot sauce though…

Of course it’s useless to start hoping that you will recreate Autopsy totally now, because you have done such a good job with Abscess for all these years. But what is that major difference between these two bands in your opinion? How did that change (the burial of Autopsy and the full concentration on Abscess) happen in the first place?

– It’s all metal under the bridge really… Autopsy has Eric Cutler and Abscess has Clint Bower and Joe Allen – all sick and nasty people. Abscess happened as a result of Autopsy making the choice of splitting up. Danny and I didn’t want to stop making brutal noise so we trudged onward and continue to do so, much to the dismay of the masses.

How about your other musical needs, have you thought about forming a band which would do something totally different?

– Well now that you mention it, we did do an album by the name of Mirror Snake, which is a psych-rock slab of brain warping fuzzness. Check it out through http://www.abscessfreaks.com as well as all our other indispensible records and such… you know you want to!

It’s obvious that Autopsy has a big meaning in the birth and evolution of death metal, and many bands and individuals hail you as a pioneer of death metal. How does it feel after so many years, that even legends like Matti Kärki and Uffe Cederlund wanted to do the Murder Squad thing with you for example?

– I am honored, humbled and getting a bit hungry for breakfast and another cup of coffee… I give the twirling thumbs up as I chew and sip!

At the same time it seems that death metal is getting bigger and bigger. Daniel Ekeroth wrote a noteworthy book about Swedish death metal, some death metal bands are getting their songs on soundtracks of pretty big films and people are selling some pseudo-dm to ignorant teenagers… Is this okay to you or do you think that death metal should be totally underground – or do you even care?

– As long as the music is good that’s the main issue. Personally I hope Abscess gets to do the soundtrack for the next Star Wars movie… Talk about a perfect fit!

autopsy_chris

Well, although you are a very influential person in the circles of death metal, even you haven’t come from nowhere. What bands/artists/genres have been the most important influences for you and why?

– Actually I did come from nowhere just like the Frank Zappa song… And you should go there for awhile… The people from nowhere always smile…

Well, one influence we can’t forget while talking about Autopsy… Drugs! At least it seems that “the snow bong” on the Dark Crusades DVD has become a small legend and there have also been clear and not so clear references to drugs in Autopsy’s music, lyrics and art work. Would Autopsy’s death metal have been so dirty and twisted without a little help from your friends, so to speak?

– Ah yes, the legendary snow bong speaks volumes, does it not… Gaze into its plastic opening and listen to what it says and it will grant you your sickest wishes… Wow, kinda sounds like an advertisement for a blow-up doll, huh? Yet another previously untapped market for death metal exploitation… And as for the last part of your question, we are what we is…

And now that I mentioned Dark Crusades… I think it was a trip down nostalgia lane to build up that behemoth, so what kind of memories/feelings/regrets did you live through while making this DVD?

– That fuckin’ thing was the biggest headache in the universe to put together… I never thought something so simple could present so many hassles, sheesh… But I’m glad it finally saw the light of day (or dark of night… this is a metal interview after all) though there was supposed to be so much more on there… The living room rehearsal seems to be an all around favorite and no, there aren’t any regrets except we never had a city street named after us… Let’s start a petition and make this crazy dream come true!

The certain, still unnamed dark perversion and sickness has always been one of those strong elements in Autopsy, but you’re not a young geezer anymore. How do the twisted views fit in the mind of a grown-up adult? Or could we say that the older you get, the sicker you are…?

– Boy would I whip some ass for that question if I could just find my prune juice, false teeth, cane, adult diaper, hearing aid, eyeglasses, loafers and checkerboard…

TENTACLES OF HORROR AND DEATH METAL: HOODED MENACE

In 2009 I and my very close comrade and a genius zinester too, mr. Antti Korpinen, decided to make a zine together. We thought that there is so much good death metal around that it must have a zine of itself. So The Serpent Bearer and Kaleidoscope united as Serpentscope and we had lots of fun while doing this. Lots of ideas, variations, try-out etc. It was very refreshing to do this “same ol’ thing” with somebody else after all these years.

And the result was very good – maybe a bit too traditional, but the content itself was strong, and the line-up was very impressive: Autopsy, Cauldron Black Ram, Daniel Ekeroth, Diocletian, Embrace of Thorns, Grave Miasma, Hooded Menace, Invidious, Portal, Rippikoulu, Sepulchral Aura and Teitanblood. The zine sold very well too, but it took three years when we got back to make the issue #2. But more about that later.

I was responsible of the interviews with Autopsy, Cauldron Black Ram, Hooded Menace, Invidious, Rippikoulu and Sepulchral Aura, and everyone except Invidious succeeded satisfyingly. Here is one of those interviews, a chat with Lasse Pyykkö from Hooded Menace. Although I have been little bit disappointed with the latest HM album Effigies of Evil – it keeps its quality but doesn’t get higher – this band is still quite unique in what it is doing.

And to beef this interview a bit, here’s something what Pyykkö said about Candlemass’ Epicus Doomicus Metallicus in an article about his biggest sources of inspiration (originally published in Imperiumi.net 2009):

– I bumped to this album around 1988 and with time it really hit me. The desperate, slow and heavy feeling of the music made a big impact. I guess the music had to be either extremely slow or extremely fast to make an impress, haha! Candlemass seemed to be a band which is dark and serious to the bone, and this really excited me. But then I saw the video of Bewitched from Nightfall album and this feeling flattened a bit, heh. I was like, “okay, it’s all about being pigs after all”! Well, you took every bit and piece very seriously back then, especially if it was your favourite band. Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is the best doom metal band ever, and it is a big influence on Hooded Menace too.

hoodedmenace_logo(originally published in Serpentscope #1 2009)

Horror has always been a great weakness but also a tool of power for us humans. You can control masses with the images and threat of horror, but if man wins his biggest fears, he grows stronger. But I guess there will never be a man without fear: there is always something that brings up horror and shivers, be it boogiemen, cramped places or simply death.

However, in this “modern” world we search for horror to bring us excitement and the feeling that we are still alive. There are amusement parks with their stomach-turning machines, there are bungee jumps and there are of course a wide variety of horror movies to satisfy our darkest and most terrifying needs. And there is music; I can remember that when I was younger I used to listen to Elend’s Umbersun while I was sleeping to get my imagination going and to create more horrible nightmares.

One expert on this topic is Lasse Pyykkö and his band Hooded Menace, which is however far from neo-classical music. No; if Elend’s musical realm of nightmares can be compared to The Ninth Gate, Hooded Menace travels with cheap horror movies full of witchcraft, deformed monsters and blood rituals. The band really lives up to its name: like an obscure figure in the window, this sludgy doom/death band stares at you with heavy, agonizing eyes, full of hollowness and torments. Pyykkö sees the unholy union between death/doom metal and horror as something quite natural:

– Fear and death will always be involved in our lives. As long as death metal sounds foreboding it evokes evil and horrifying imaginary. Horror is rooted to death metal.

But there is a gap between bands that are truly exploring the backyards of horror and fear and bands that are more or less playing with basic imagery of skulls, witches and nightly creatures – on the other hand you have Hammer movies, on the other hand you have The Silence of the Lambs; on the other hand you have somewhat childish vampire stories, on the other hand you have H.P. Lovecraft, who created his own twisted and occult world of extraterrestrial torments. I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other or that these genres couldn’t be mixed together, but it’s suitable to ask, does Hooded Menace try to be a truly horrifying band or is this all just a costume or a way of doing things.

– Horror films just go well with this stuff and it’s very natural for us to use them as an inspiration and an influence. I couldn’t even think of anything else. I have my up’s and down’s just as everyone else but I’m not a suffering artist that needs to cry out his anguish to the world. Perhaps that would give some depth and ”real” horror to Hooded Menace but that would be totally pretentious. Besides I don’t even write any of our lyrics. Fictional tales of horror is what we are all about and that’s all we need. It’s just perfect.

Oh yes, the lyrics. Lasse says that he’s extremely lazy when it comes to writing lyrics so it was better to leave the task for people who were more inspired to do the job. And so only the most devoted horror freaks were invited: Billy Nocera from Hooded Menace’s label Razorback, horror writer Lucio Holocausto and some other experts of guts and gore. Lasse is all slimy smiles when talking about the lyrical process:

– Billy asked his horror obsessed friends to write some lyrics for Hooded Menace so basically it was Billy who got this circle of horror fiends together. We’re really happy and grateful to have this crew of talented people around us helping us out. I hope they will stick around for a long time!

But was it easy to contour limits and orders to them about the themes or did you just give 100% freedom to the lyricists?

– Everyone wrote what they wanted to. I’m not sure if Billy had recommended a certain film to write about for someone. We just checked the lyrics and ascertained that they were great. Some of the stuff had to be scissored since there were too many lines. We never had any problems with the content itself. It was always perfect.

If the lyrics are painting canvases of death and terror, it should be asked, how much the main brain Pyykkö sees his music as pictures and visions before it transforms to riffs and actual songs.

– Yeah, sure some riffs/songs can paint a picture in a head. Since our stuff is closely connected to The Blind Dead films it’s obvious that the pictures from those films start rolling in my head once I hear or write Hooded Menace’s music. Gloomy graveyards, slow motion pacing of the zombies, riding blind dead templars, the swing of the sword, the undead rising from their tombs, virgin sacrifices… it’s all there.

hoodedmenace_fulfill

IT’S NOT A MATTER OF TIME

Pyykkö is talking the words of wisdom here. The aforementioned description suits very well with the audial assault of Hooded Menace: the pace of these songs is somewhere between slow crawling of the zombies and riding templars, the riffs are anguished and breath-taking like a moldy tomb around you, and Pyykkö’s hollow grunts and growls go well together with the first sounds of the rising undead. The reviews of Fulfill the Curse have been raving, and also Pyykkö says that this album turned out almost perfect and he’s pretty damn proud of it. However, before this blossoming season there were many dry years in Pyykkö’s musical life:

– I wasn’t musically very active during the years ‘96 – 2004. After Phlegethon (one of the Pyykkö’s first bands) was buried in ‘92 we started playing music with the same line-up under various names until half of the guys moved away from Joensuu. After that I jammed in occasional line-up, I was working and then went to studying. Making my own music was always in my mind but somehow I didn’t quite get anything that serious done until 2005 when I started working on new Phlegethon material. Before that I was just drifting without aspiration and true passion. After founding a spark to write metal again it felt very natural and right thing to do. I guess heavy metal has been dwelling under my skin all these years since Phlegethon split up and now it all needs to get out, ha!

hoodedmenace_band

So like a tumor in your system, the virus of true metal never dies but just transforms and evolves. You could say that Hooded Menace and Fulfill the Curse are the result of this progression and momentum, but Pyykkö doesn’t totally agree with my assumption:

– Basically I could have written songs like that because I dug the same bands back then. We (Phlegethon) just lacked the interest in forming a band or a serious project that was just doom/death. We wanted to be more versatile at the time. Obviously we knew Candlemass and we got into Cathedral very early since we were tape-trading and Teemu got the Cathedral demo in his hands when it was released. We liked that stuff much better than what Napalm Death was doing at the time, so we definitely thought that Lee Dorrian made the right move, ha! I didn’t care too much about Napalm Death after Dorrian and Steer left. We were just so focused on Phlegethon that we didn’t even consider a serious side-project.

– However we did a fun project in ‘90 or so and played “doomcore”, meaning extremely slow and short songs. That sounded like a stupid idea enough to execute, haha! Doom was an influence for Phlegethon anyway. We blended some doom to our death/thrash and that was it. We even recorded a Candlemass song with death metal vocals during the recording sessions of our first demo in ‘89 but it was never mixed. The vocals were pretty half-assed since it all became a big laughter. Death metal vocals in a doom song were a bit funny to us at the time… We were more interested in playing complex stuff with lots of tempo variations from slow doom to fast death metal (not blastbeat) than playing just slow and simple doom/death. Now as I’m older I enjoy playing simpler stuff. I don’t have to prove anything as a player. I might be a lousy guitarist but I am good enough for Hooded Menace and Vacant Coffin and that’s enough.

RETARDED RECYCLING

Like many of you know, Hooded Menace is not Pyykkö’s only band. There is a list of great or at least promising metal groups, which fulfill Pyykkö’s curse (eh) of creating metal, like the aforementioned Vacant Coffin with its splendid and nostalgic mix of death metal and grindcore, a death metal band called Shrouded with Decrepitath main man Elektrokutioner, and a psychedelic doom/death metal combo Acid Witch. This variety of bands gives a picture of Pyykkö being a hyper-active multi-instrumentalist who plays and writes and breathes and shits metal 24/7. Is this true or is there any space for other activities in your life?

– There’s space enough for other things as well. It’s about using the time efficiently. My occupation is a visual artist so I need some time to paint also but I have to admit that I spend more time on music. I also do some paperwork for a company and of course spend time with my girlfriend. Music is not everything though it’s a lot and every now and then I do get pretty stressed about it. When that happens I just take a break.

The man sounds quite rational after all, if we compare this to the teenagers’ way of thinking in the 80’s the 90’s or even today, who just go rampaging everywhere with their metal, spikes and gory lyrics – like the youngsters of Sepultura, Possessed or Nihilist. This progressing during aging has two different sides however: while others think that when you live and learn, you get a deeper picture about things, others say that only the young flame is pure and untamed enough to create significant works of art. This latter road got for example Repugnant to end their journey and move on to pastures new, if the rumors are correct. Pyykkö, who was involved in six releases in 2008, chooses the first road but always finds some reasons from the modern times also.

– I can remember that the urge to create music was extremely strong back then and it hasn’t changed a bit. Actually nowadays I’m way more productive but that’s very much because of this modern technique… Back then all I had was a crappy acoustic guitar and a recording tape player. Anyway, the passion to create music is still the same although it’s 2009 and all these ideas are used for many, many times before. It’s almost retarded, haha! However, the “flame” keeps burning just as it ever was but sure I’m not as naive as back then and I’m a bit more relaxed also and try not to expect too much. I guess I have realized that there’s more to life than just music, heh!

Still Pyykkö is not recycling the same ideas in every band, and so Vacant Coffin sounds different to Acid Witch, and these two bands are in turn miles away from Hooded Menace. Because Hooded Menace is still Pyykkö’s main love, I guess Vacant Coffin and Acid Witch have a some sort of effect – positive or negative – on Hooded Menace?

– The only negative effect or a negative thing is that sometimes I have hard time deciding which band I should use this and that riff for, Pyykkö answers surprisingly, and continues: – As I recently wrote songs for Claws (my solo project) I could have used a few doomy riffs for Hooded Menace as well. Sometimes things like that give me a headache.

Yes, Claws. Another name to be carved to Pyykkö’s musical tombstone. Explanations please!

– Claws is a pure death metal “band” in the vein of Crematory (Swe), Abhorrence (Fin), Incantation, Nihilist/Entombed etc. I wanted it to sound really raw and ugly. Just as it were a lost demo tape from the late 80’s/early 90’s. I also didn’t care too much about the mistakes, especially for the drums. The process was pretty unique. I improvised all the drum tracks except for one song that was written before the drums were recorded. So, I had to make the riffs match to the drums and also make real songs. Not just mindless riff after riff -thing though sometimes that’s what death metal is about, ha! Perfect arrangements aren’t needed.

– So, I tried to make good, solid songs and I think it turned out cool. Also my attempt was to write and record everything very fast to avoid the pickyness and perfectionism. As I said I wanted it to sound really nasty and not “perfect” in the modern terms, you know. Despite the fact that I had all the time in the world since I was recoding on my own gear I managed to be careless and impatient enough to get everything written and recorded in about two weeks. I only need to record vocals for six songs and then it’ll be ready for the mix. There will be eight tracks + an intro on the album. The process was quite easy though I hadn’t been playing drums much lately so I was a bit rusty and pretty worried about how it’s gonna work but it turned out ok. It is a cool performance for this type of thing.

– Working like this wasn’t a totally new thing to me because with Shrouded I improvised the drums and Elektrokutioner added guitars and created the actual songs. In Claws I get to play guitar to my drums and create the songs so this was more exciting to me. Once again I got lyrical help from Billy Razorback, Tanya and Elektrokutioner. The album is entitled Absorbed in the Nethervoid and it’ll be out this year on Razorback Records. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that also Claws’ The Funeral Barge 7” EP will be out this year by Doomentia Records. That stuff was recorded last year.

hoodedmenace_lasse

BACKWARDS BY NATURE

As they say, you have to strike while the zombie is hot, and it seems that Hooded Menace spewed out Fulfill the Curse when the time was absolutely right: reviewers like it, buyers like it and people are hunting down the vinyl versions like Attila the Hun his enemies. But at the same time we can see how bands like Reverend Bizarre are climbing to the charts here in Finland, and doom metal seems to be the new black in metal circles. The reasonable man he is, Pyykkö doesn’t care about naysayers and sees that the success of Fulfill the Curse doesn’t depend on today’s trends.

– Trends come and go. There are always posers within the scene. As time goes by they will be somewhere else.

But it is a bit surprising to notice how even people who usually prefer black metal are digging Hooded Menace like maniacs. You could almost say that this band is universal among extreme metal genres: all the people from doom, death and black metal are gathering to praise this slimy monster. Pyykkö doesn’t find any particular reason for this hype among black metal listeners.

– I guess we sound evil enough or something… Whatever it is, it’s cool that also black metal people can enjoy our stuff, although I only listen to a handful of black metal bands. Classic stuff like early Bathory, Beherit and some Burzum and Darkthrone are great but mostly I find the genre quite boring and sometimes tragicomical.

Besides the indifferent and weak second rate black metal, which Hooded Menace could crush with one heavy slab of the guitar, Pyykkö has also showed his despise to modern times in one or two interviews. The man himself backs up a bit and says that for example myspace and the modern recording equipment work fine for him, but the main spirit itself is coming from the dusty sewers of the past.

– I’m looking backwards by nature. That’s the stuff I know, that’s what I grew up with and what I love the most. It doesn’t even feel like I’m looking back or forth or anywhere. I’m only trying to make good music and I know that it usually turns out to be more like old fashioned than modern. It’s not a choice really.

 

THE CHOSEN THREE: DECEMBER 2012

Welcome to the year 2013. The world didn’t saw its end, but now we have the ominous ’13’… Let’s see what happens. Maybe Bathory’s Thirteen Candles will get a techno treatment by PSY and become a worldwide hit? You never know… But until that, here is real good music to start your year with. And because I’m such a generous guy, you will get four recommendations instead of three! Make this year a memorable one!

aurasaturnal_tohis

AURA SATURNAL: To His Kingdom (Versets Noirs 2012)

Luxixul Sumering Auter has painted his esoteric visions through the gate of Cosmic Church mostly, but also this “side project” called Aura Saturnal has existed for four years so far, and I must say that this debut album is almost overshadowing Cosmic Church material! These five long songs possess more sinister aura than Cosmic Church’s melancholic wailings, and the riffs share both majestic eeriness, hateful attacks and also slower mumblings. You could almost say that To His Kingdom has an “orthodox” feeling but in this case it is more about atmosphere than actual music. Clean chants and enjoyably rumbling production just grow this atmosphere stronger, and these songs become different phases of a ritual, or chambers in an ancient palace. Shrine of Elements is the definite hit song on this one, but also other songs shine like morning stars in the night sky.

But what kind of different goals does Aura Saturnal has if L.S.A. compares them to Cosmic Church’s purposes? Here’s the cryptic answer:

– Well, the ultimate goal is naturally similar as I see these bands as tools and channels towards spiritual progression same way as people use altars, prayers and holy places to concentrate their mind into the great work. Anyway, the creation process and energies around the bands are definitely different and this is why I needed to create Aura Saturnal alongside with Cosmic Church. With CC the creation process is often surrounded by quite peaceful yet longing and “natural” mindset but then again when creating AS my focus is always towards way more darker and destructive; “active” channels.

– For example creating To His Kingdom was a necessary process of keeping my mental sanity stable as during my path I encountered / entered certain layers of the universe which I was yet not ready to witness and this almost destroyed my psyche and being. So, in a way the whole creation was a purification ritual and I am very relieved to finally have the album released so I can detach myself from the whole process. A certain curse has been following this album ever since and after many strange delays, cancellations and difficulties it feels almost cathartic to end this and move on.

www.versetsnoirs.com

wither_necropolis

WITHER: Necropolis (Aurora Australis 2012)

Time flies – or crawls. I was impressed by Wither’s promo EP back in 2008; especially the song called Cosmos, which was a side step from the band’s general funeral doom / black metal combination, hit me with its melancholic goth rock atmosphere. Then this Australian band withered (eh) from my mind, and it took four years until Wither completed their debut album Necropolis. Now the album is here, Cosmos included, and what a rollercoaster ride of melancholic metal it is! Take BMD-era Katatonia, take modern “post-rock meets black metal” guitar screeches, take the gloomiest pits of funeral doom, take growls and howls, take goth rock, post-punk… Of course when you have such a wide palette, the whole is a bit fractured, but Necropolis has enough memorable moments that it is worth of checking. And Cosmos is still a fine song. Give Wither a try.

www.aurora-australis.com.au/releases/AAR_008.htm

horrendous_thechills

HORRENDOUS: The Chills (Dark Descent 2012)

I’m lagging behind with Horrendous. Dark Descent Records has pushed so many great releases out during this year so I just thought I’ll skip this band. Luckily The Chills found its way to my apartment, and now it has given me serious chills (eh pt. II)… Although you could say that everything has been done in the area of traditional (Swedish) death metal, this young US band shows that you can make miracles with old tricks too. This warmachine treads with crusty d-beat tempos and primitive riffs but they have a good taste with gloomy melodies and slower moments too. Think Autopsy for example, but this time more straight-forward and more dynamic. The drive on The Chills is so absolute that you just have to surrender to it and enjoy the ride. Although I have been looking at this recent USDM boom through slightly skeptical lenses, Horrendous bitchslaps me speechless with spikes, nails and broken glass.

www.myspace.com/horrendousdeathmetal

uncanny_splenium

UNCANNY: MCMXCI – MCMXCIV (Dark Descent 2012)

If the nice people of Dark Descent don’t introduce you new and shiny death metal bands, they drag some old gems to the sunlight. Uncanny was one of those countless death metal bands in Sweden in the beginning of the 90ies, and the band may be known for some because of the brothers Norrman (ex-Katatonia). Now Dark Descent has put about everything from this band into two discs, Splenium for Nyktophobia full-length (1994) being their masterpiece.

Well, Splenium for Nyktophobia doesn’t give you only classic Swedish dödsmetall but also sweet melodies, also from the depths of keyboards! This element injects a real drive to these songs, and these vicious hymns roll like a steam engine. Check for example a song called Timeless: a 100% instrumental, full of glorious solos and epic feeling! And Uncanny doesn’t shame its roots either – there are a few beats of grindcore and HC punk in the bowl too. Still every song from Splenium for Nyktophobia has the right to be on this album, and they make these 38 minutes very enjoyable.

The second disc includes two demos and a split with Ancient Rites and although this material has also some shiny pearls, it’s the full-length that makes this release worth of purchasing. Another example of how varied the Swedish scene was back in the days!

www.myspace.com/uncanny666