torsdag 15 december 2016

Apnea - Ethereal Solitude

This is the debut album from the New Zealandic Post-Black Metal/Shoegaze band Apnea...yeah for the people that has been reading reviews here at RAW WAR some time know my dislike with much of the inclusion of "modern" post and shoegaze into the realm of black metal and yes i dont like this release either but that dont mean it is a bad release as this review is just a reflection of my personal taste. (if anyone did not already got that)

First, this is not black metal and i cant understand why in hell bands like this are so adamant saying they are black metal?! It just feels so bullshit hipster behavior to do so and they at the same time just looks dumb and shows that they have no clue what black metal is....

Anyways! Back to this release, Apnea has a very atmospheric spacy sound and as the genre tags mentioned earlier they sound just as you would expect them to do and if you like that stuff i dont think you will be disappointed here as they are technically professional and their emotive spectrum has that 00´s post glimmering and long building compositions, best thing for me here is the guitar parts (and the production is nice) and the worst (besides that they call themselves Black metal) is the emo-hardcore vocals (again not bad but if i like to listen to hardcore i listen to Gallows or something, and if i like to listen to Shoegaze i listen to Joy Division or The Horrors album Primary Colours or Skying) so it is not an objectively a horrible release per se just not for me.

So if you like a mix of post emotional metal that gazes their shoes for between 4 to 8 minutes in a shimmering veil of light go for it! I know there are many out there that like this so...

...and i read a raving review of this somewhere online and he besides the praises describe parts of "Ethereal Solitude " as "ambient darkness, blackened grimness" !!! What? Where?  I dont think we have listened to the same album then.

1.Trees 06:53   
2Hearts Sea 04:16
3.Blackest Oceans 05:06   
4.Celestine Tides 08:07    
5.Fields At Fall 05:00  
6.Warm 05:48

Released by Immortal Frost Production

söndag 11 december 2016

Khaospath - ...for the Devil Speaks the Truth

Here we have the second album from the three-member horde Khaospath which is two parts Swedish (Döden on Bass & Gheist on Drums) and one from Malta ( Hellcommander Vargblod is on Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards  and his other projects is/are Draugûl, ex-Martyrium)

First time for me hearing this band so i cant compare it to the first album but i dont think it matters as this album feels like a concept album and works fine alone.

First i want to say is that this release has many great things going for it, it has a interesting and dynamic mixture of first wave black metal (mostly in the vocals i think) and second wave BM (quite Swedish sounding) and also much 80´s satanic heavy metal! Yeah i know there has been a annoying trend for some years with bands to suddenly include a very 70´s-80´s heavy metal (and heavy metal ballads) styles in black metal and most of them just comes out looking stupid and hipster"ish"... i puke demon diarrhea on them! BUT i dont hate that out of some principle but out of that weak trend following behavior, that said this band does it pretty good and i dont feel like puking on them haha!

Second track and forth show the bands strengths the best with a very catchy but foul dramaturgy, strong guitar riffs and melodies and overall splendid compositions. As i said earlier that this is a concept album reasons that i drew that conclusion is that all the lyrics more or less paint one big story, a story of greed that leads to making deals with the devil (or demonic forces as in devil´s whores) with blood sacrifice( and i guess soul selling) in exchange for power (humans are so feeble minded and simple), this concept is as old as humans i guess but it will also be relevant one as long humans exist, it is well written and be sure to read them as you listen to it for the maximal enjoyment.

Besides all this great things there are some minor sour thumbs sticking out and that is a couple of instances where the band bursts out in some pagan clear vocals that sounds just silly to me...and the last song could almost fit as some mid-act in the Eurovision song contest...yeah just skip the last song.
 And as a big creation this is (feels like it took quite much work and efforts to do it) with all the dramatic storytelling (almost like a black metal musical) i think it deserves a better package design with artworks etc just to get a more complete feeling to it. If it was me i would done it in a A5 booklet style with matte paper and original drawn art.

All in all a worthy purchase as it is quite different and brings much to the table which i am sure many would enjoy. It also holds up very well with multiple spins also.

Track list:
1.     Verbis Diaboli     05:58      
2.     Into the Devils Claws     05:15      
3.     Under a Bloodstained Nightsky     05:00      
4.     A Blade at the Edge of Sanity     05:46    
5.     The Stench of Betrayal     05:46      
6.     Twenty Stabs for a Fruitless Crown     05:07    
7.     Oraculum Strigoi     06:00      
8.     Lunacy Triumphant     06:22      
9.     Ravens Downfall     10:06      

Released by Immortal Frost Production

måndag 5 december 2016

Archaeos - Forgotten Art of Sacrifice

From Greece comes the black metal band Archaeos and this is a review on its third and latest release the Ep " Forgotten Art of Sacrifice".

If you are looking for a band that mixes with good result both pagan rustic tunes and harsh evil black metal this is a fine place to start, From the start with the atmospheric intro to the blasting cold first song you know this could very likely turn out great and it does! it flows solid and strong all the way through the six tracks.

There is some great use of  keyboards, pan flutes and similar sounds fills the night sky in a very organic way  and in the next minute bestial  hell fires bursts out! Epic and harsh, ancient and proud.Vocals are also just right with its raspy war style. Also some nice mix of relentless aggression and moody grooves and the cold shreddings are effective, this release honors both the first and second black metal wave and even some heavy metal i feel sneaks inside the compositions... in other words it has a little of everything but at the same time feels like a cohesive whole.

A solid  release that gives big promises for what they could create on a full album in the future.
I hope it will be here sooner then later.

Released now by the great Lower Silesian Silesian Stronghold- on CD
and by - War Productions- on Tape (Later in December!)

söndag 4 december 2016

Cambion - Unfold Chaos Supreme

Damn this is an exploding and entertaining release!!!

This is a "international" group with band members from El Paso, Texas, United States / Munich, Germany that plays a blackened speedy thrash death metal inferno, as they themselves describes their sound  as "Inspired by the molten records of ancient Slayer and early millennium evil Death Metal - Krisiun, Angelcorpse, Hate Eternal, Ophiolatry, and others" ...but besides worshiping these old kings Cambions own relenting song creations glows so very bright and hard that past band inspirations dont matter.
Blasting but fun drumming and very tight and killing riffs is hurling around like a warbeast twister, vocals are evil and fits the sound perfect! It is raging from the get go and every song is filled with ambition and quality!

This Ep or demo or whatever you like to call it is just what the doctor ordered today and it will for sure last until the next attack (like Scourge of Power ?)! I cant really complain about anything it is just splendid from the start to the end!

It will blow your skin off!

Track list:
1.Bend the Knee (To Molech) 03:15
2.Harlots of Hell 02:40
3.Unfold Chaos Supreme 02:41
4.Perfected Aggressor 03:17
5.Kometen Von Czaxukluth 03:26

Now available on pro CD format (includes lyric booklet) from Lavadome Productions or directly from the band


lördag 3 december 2016

Astral Winter - Forest of Silence

Here we have a new album from the Australian one man band Astral Winter....

Ok lets get one thing straight i did not get any positive impression and hope that this release would be any good at all after witness the cover...sure there are many other worse covers out there but this taste of style with the over photoshopped logo and the title font and all just screamed super cheesy crap to me! Looks like some Nightwish or something similar horrendous.

Now when we got that out of the way i have to say this is a pretty good album despite all said, the good parts here reminds me of some 90´s epic black metal like Mjölnir or Crimson Blood or Spell Forest with the heavy use of forlorn fantasy keyboard busting out of the speakers but is contrasted greatly with the harsh screaming black metal vocals (Josh vocals is killing it here), first track is one of the better examples of this grand mix. It is really an over the top assault with the synth and vocals, really over kill in the drama department but it does not makes any excuses so you just have to take it as it is or not try at all i guess.

The things that hinder me to really think this is a great album only comes down to personal taste as all is very professionally done and is created with a firm for me the "bad" things is that much of the music sounds like a calmer version of Dragon Force or Rhapsody or similar silly stuff.... so yeah if you like these bands but like to include a black metal touch this is for you without a doubt.

Also some guest vocals from Atra Vetosus does not help me to enjoy this as his vocals sounds (to my ears) more like some post screamo....not for me and also that type of singing clashes a bit to much with the medieval atmosphere Astral Winter the last track though he does some impressive singing/screaming.
oh and i almost forgot to tell there are a lot of masturbating guitar solos AND keyboard solos  hehehe i might laugh here but my ears are crying.

All in all a this is a long epic melodic atmospheric fantasy album that has some great grand black metal parts but also many ingredients that is far from my own taste,  for me the main mans superb vocals is almost the best thing on this release! 

Track list:
1.     Pathway to the Ancient Forest     11:29    
2.     When Moonlight Evokes the Frozen Nights     10:56    
3.     As I Embrace the Winter Winds     06:34    
4.     Defenders of the Astral Kingdom (Part II)     12:48    
5.     The Summoning of Arcane Magic     09:28    
6.     Within the Frozen Streams of Time     04:10    
7.     The Palace of the Prophets     15:04    
Released by Immortal Frost Production

fredag 2 december 2016

Lykaionas Interview!

1. Hailz and greetings from the cold Sweden!

-Hails from Hellas Jan!!

2.How did Lykaionas start in 2009? was it all three members from the start?
As all of you have an extensive background activity in black metal band
(and others genres) i assume all this experience has payed off when creating
musical spells for Lykaionas?

-Lykaionas started by me, having the concept idea, writing the music and lyrics, and told some others to help with the things I couldn’t play (like drums etc). None was member or anything. Basically, I was planning to release just some demos, nothing more, nor I wanted something more, but then Nergal told me they are looking for a band to release a split. I was honored to be accepted for the other side of that split. So it happened! I have been and still am in some bands, but the important thing is not to getting repeated and to do different stuff, otherwise it has no meaning. All were very different bands from each other. Yes experience helps a lot, in many aspects besides creation, but the biggest achieve from all these years is to have philosophized the essence and the meaning of BM, and to have the wisdom to avoid all the unnecessary rock-star stuff and gay attitudes we see today. 

-We all despise democracy in general, so why this has to change here?

4. First release was the "Mesaionas / Legions of the Serpent Race" split with
Nergal (Greece) How do you feel about these tracks now after around 7 years ago?
I have not heard Nergals part and i think the only release i heard of them was
"Absinthos" which was cool but that was like ten years ago.
How would you describe this band in your words?

-I really like those tracks because they were one of the few that were totally written and performed by me. I rarely do that. Most of my stuff, I don’t release them at all. After all these years, I wouldn't change anything! Nergal's part is solid, believe me! Absinthos is a very good come-back after 10 years of silence. Generally Nergal always were something different and isolated from the rest of the scene, even if they were one of the first to contribute in the old Hellenic BM. In their first recordings and EPs they used distorted bass, later they passed on in more guitars. 
When the Hellenic scene was gaining worldwide attention, they from the other hand, disappeared! They always had a cult status!! There were some problems with the police when the Satanists murders took place in Greece and were under police observation for many years, so that took them back as a band. We are working now on new material, and surely you will have a new Nergal release in '17. 
This band is one of the very few that I'm proud for Hellenic BM!!! Hail Hellas!! 
Cult never dies!!

5.Then it took almost 5 years for the tape "Arcane Bloodcult Mysteries" to
surface, was there some problems or too active in other projects?
Could you explain a bit what the cover symbolizes and i am curious about
what Ancient bloodcults is of interest...something that has to do with Saturn?

-No, nothing as that. It just happened. I have many recordings in the meanwhile, I just didn’t release them. Lykaionas is an underground band, and it will remain that way till the very end. So when it comes, it comes. I have no plans nor do I care. But now that Lykaionas are a full-member band, I think we will release stuff more frequent than 5 years maybe.
The cover is medieval alchemy origin, and represents the Salamander (The first breath of the Dragon). As a symbolic value this creature originates from the first Fire that created the Universe. About Saturn you got it right! There are six stars left of the Moon (Space), so it means the sixth planet (Saturn). In the tail (Earth) there are 5 stars, meaning the 5th element (Aether/Αἰθήρ). When you manage to reveal those secrets hidden and unnoticed, you have the whole idea of alchemistic originate of the Cosmos.

6. The 7" "Litanies of the Black Occult" was a great release and it was this one
that got me interested in Lykaionas, can you shed some light into the lyrics
of Apethantos & Baron of the Black Occult?

-Eternal Hails to Giannis & Fistbang rec and Jalec & Eastside rec, for made that happened! After this release many people got interesting in hearing Lykaionas. With this release I wanted to establish a more obscure touch of the glorious Black metal past. That eerie touch of total Darkness, that has marked me. Apethantos is a Hellenic word, which means Undead. Basically my whole feeling when writing the lyrics of this EP, was the bizarre atmosphere that originates from the old Hammer films, which I'm very fond of. A reality in a world of Vampires, Werewolves, Undead and macabre people's beliefs, majestic castles in misty forests and vintage Satanism blends within the prism of reality.

7. How would you describe your own spiritual beliefs and how important are they in
your life?

-Well, spiritualism is more than having some beliefs; you should always research and evolve as much as you can. In sort terms, I’m generally a follower of Left-Hand Path. This can include many things and many approaches of one on how he apprehends the religious aspects. A narrow-minded would not understand. I’m in and above all things. I embrace all my instincts, as I’m totally balanced with my inner Nature and the deeper aspects of it. I embrace the results of my Works, and I know I was born that way, so my Path is about my own self-development and self-empowerment so as to conquer my destiny. I prefer my individualism and I’m opposed to mass reaction.

8. This year Hass Weg Productions released your first full album "Luciferian Fullmoon Necromancy"
Tell me all about it! I have yet to hear it all of it but it sounds like the strongest
material so far! And who did the cover art?

-Yes I consider it the best release until now too. Great musicians and friends got involved in it, so it was sure it will be the best stuff. It has some differences from the past material (to the best), but it still holds strong the obscure, occult and abysmal feeling of the past. And that's what is important for me. The feelings you get after you hear the whole record, and not the music itself. It has been released by the French Hass Weg in 500 copies. All the critics I have heard and read about it are very positive at least!
The cover is made by a very unique artist called Jonathan Guthmann and it’s a part of his “The Last Judgment” painting. He has nothing to do with BM, but he’s truly an artist worth checking out!!

9. What lies in store in the bands near future?

-Well nobody can tell for sure. The only sure thing is that we will keep going. No plans or however. Just a main idea to release another full, not very far, and apart from that, whatever comes along too in this journey. The only thing I know for sure is that it will be Black Metal. That's all I need.

10. Thanks for your time answering these questions!

-Thank you for this very interesting interview!!! Keep the black flame burning and spread total hatred!! 

The Dark Ages will rise again!