Archive for Black Metal

At The Gates and Behemoth live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 31st January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Wolves In The Throne Room, At The Gates, Behemoth
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
30th January 2019

My first gig of 2019! I have been waiting for a long time for a chance to see Behemoth again. The last time I saw them live was Tuska Open Air 2012 on their first tour shortly after their front-man Nergal’s recovery from leukemia. I have kept up to date with all their releases and news and last year I could not believe my luck when I discovered that they are coming to my home town.

The venue was sold out on the night and the there was already a sizable crowd right from the start. I could not really get into the first band – Wolves In The Throne Room. Their sound can be described as a mixture of atmospheric black metal and dark ambient. Some of the songs they played were incredibly slow and more ambient than black metal. While this kind of music might be fine to listen to at home, it’s not really something that I want to hear live 2.5/5

I guess that most people who are into melodic death metal are familiar with At The Gates. They are after all one of the forefathers of the genre with some genre-defining releases to boot. This was not the first time that I have seen them live and I hope that it will not be my last. They had a few issues with their performances. First, their vocalist Tomas got the name of the city wrong, a minor mistake which he spent the rest of the night apologizing for. The other issue they had turned out to be more serious – a broken drum set.


It took some time to fix the problem but luckily they managed to sort it out in time to play a few more songs. A very good show overall despite the setbacks. 4/5

Finally came the moment I have been waiting seven years for. Behemoth started their set a little later than planned but it was definitely worth the extra time. They had an impressive amount of visuals and various props all contributing to a wonderful performance. They played some of the hits such as ‘Decade of Therion’(my personal favourite), ‘Chant For Eschaton 2000’, ‘Slaves Shall Serve’, ‘Lucifer’ along with lots of songs from the new album including ‘Bartzabel’ and ‘Wolves of Siberia. What a fantastic show! It was even better than the last time that I saw them live. 5/5

In summary, the only band I did not enjoy watching live was Wolves In The Throne Room. It was a little too slow for my liking. At The Gates managed to overcome their technical problem and put on a great show. Behemoth were everything that I hoped for and more. I absolutely loved their show. This was their first time in Tampere and I really hope that they came back again in the future.

Iza Raittila

 

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Inferitvm – The Grimoires

Posted in Metal with tags , , , on 8th January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Inferitvm
The Grimoires
Released 25th January 2019
Atmospheric Black Metal
Released via Inverse Records

Inferitvm - The Grimoires

The Grimoires’ is the second album from the Spanish black metal band Inferitvm. The group was formed in 2014 and they are based in the Balearic island of Mallorca. It’s been a long while since I last heard any Spanish black metal. The main band of the genre I knew from there was Asgaroth, who called it a day back in 2007. So I guess it’s about time that I check out some of the current black metal scene in that region.

One quick glance at the cover and the song titles gives you a good clue about the themes of this album. This is very much centered around the occult, witchcraft and mysticism. As for the music, what we have here are eleven tracks of atmospheric black metal which appears to draw inspiration from the Nordic black metal scene, most notably Emperor, Satyricon and to a lesser extent Immortal. The vocalist has a similar style to that of Abbath. There are a fair few melodic elements on here such as the guitar passages and the keyboards on Malleus Maleficarum. They even included a short keyboard solo at the end of the track.

Another song that caught my attention is Goetia of Shadows. The pace is a bit more varied on here, ranging from slow and atmospheric to mid-paced and aggressive. The melodic guitar and keyboard parts at the start and mid-way through the track really reminded me of early Emperor. This song also marks a turning point in the album moving towards a faster, more guitar focused black metal sound enhanced by Vltra’s grim croaking and less keyboards.

In summary, ‘The Grimoires’ is a good example of modern atmospheric black metal that is heavily influenced by Northern European black metal from the 1990s. I reckon that fans of Emperor and early Satyricon would enjoy this album. I certainly do.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Agon – Hollowed Lake

Posted in Experimental, Metal with tags , , on 6th December 2018 by izaforestspirit

Agon
Hollowed Lake
Released 21st October 2018
Atmospheric Black Metal
Self-Released

Agon - Hollowed Lake

‘Hollowed Lake’ is the debut album from the American atmospheric black metal artist Agon. The project is the brainchild of solo musician and vocalist Andre Basora, based in Miami, Florida.

Miami is hardly the place that you would typically associate with black metal. It offers a sharp contrast to the grim and frostbitten northern landscapes where the genre first became popular. Straight from the start of the opening track My Yearning Heart you get a sense of the haunting atmosphere. If I were to imagine a setting which would fit this kind of music, it would be a dark forest on a stormy autumn night. The guitars sound raw, abrasive with an eerie feel and the bleak keyboard only adds to the gloomy ambiance. The vocals are fairly sporadic, coarse sounding rasps and yet they are still clear enough for you to follow the lyrics. Tunnel of Desolation is a bit of an acquired taste – if you are a fan of avantgarde metal with lots of distorted guitar noise then this is the song for you. Personally speaking that track gave me a headache and I would rather skip it.

Luckily what follows is more atmospheric black metal. We are still roaming through the dark forests, desperately searching for shelter from the ongoing storm. There is constant sense of fear and dread of what might be lurking in the shadows. The title track also caught my attention mainly due to the shift in style from black metal to early Burzum-esque dark ambient in the first half before returning to raw and eerie black metal for the remainder of the song.

In summary, ‘Hollowed Lake’ is a decent black metal album which succeeds in creating an eerie atmosphere whilst offering enough variety to keep the listener interested. However, at times it feels as though the avantgarde elements have been taken a bit too far, making the music disjointed.

3/5
Iza Raittila

Huoripukki and Goatsodomy live

Posted in Gig, Grindcore, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 25th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Warfare Noise, Huoripukki, Goatsodomy
Varjobaari, Tampere, Finland
24th November 2018

Just when I think that I will not be attending any more live shows this year, something new pops up unexpectedly. Varjobaari, a small pub in one of the largest districts of Tampere, was the venue for a night of extreme metal with three Finnish underground bands performing. This was my first time at the venue and I was unfamiliar with the bands but the names and the descriptions of the music sounded intriguing so I decided to check them out.

Warfare Noise were up first. They are a fairly new band with only a few self-released demos. The best way I can describe their sound would be a mixture of grindcore and black metal with an emphasis on the grindcore. I’m not the biggest fan of grindcore but I have to admit that the drum work was really good. 2.5/5

Huoripukki were the main band I wanted to see. I haven’t heard their music prior to the show but I liked their name, it means “whoremonger” in Finnish. Anyway theirs was the most energetic show of the night. They played good mix of blackened death metal and to a lesser extent thrash metal. There was no space to form a moshpit but more than enough for some headbanging. 4/5

Last up was a black metal outfit called Goatsodomy. They played raw black metal which is not the easiest stuff to play live. They started out a little later than scheduled and I only stuck around to hear a few songs so there is not a hell of a lot that I can say about their show. What I heard was raw, minimalistic black metal which seemed a bit one-dimensional at times. 2.5/5

Overall I am glad that I took the time to attend the gig. I liked the venue and Huoripukki were entertaining to watch. It’s good to see that Finnish underground extreme metal scene is alive and well.

Iza Raittila

Hypocrisy and Kataklysm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 11th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Spirit, Hypocrisy, Kataklysm
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
10th November 2018

This time I opted for an evening of melodic death metal. My exposure to Hypocrisy’s music is limited a handful of songs from their old albums but I am fan of Peter Tägtgren’s other side projects so I figured it was about time that I checked out his main band. Similar things apply to Kataklysm – I discovered them via their singer Maurizio Iacono’s side project Ex Deo. Out of the two bands I am more familiar with Kataklysm, particularly their mid-career works such as ‘Epic (The Poetry of War)’ and ‘Shadows & Dust’.

First up was a German melodic black metal band called The Spirit. I have never heard of them before but I really enjoyed their show. Their music reminded me of Dissection and Taake. 4/5

Hypocrisy drew in a sizable crowd and rightfully so because they put on one hell of a show. They started off slow with the first song but then they really got going. Mr Tägtgren is quite the show-man and these guys did a good job of entertaining the audience. I stayed clear of the mosh-pit but I did do a fair amount of head-banging. The only thing that could have made their show better is if they had played ‘Osculum Obscenum’ but I guess you can’t have everything. 4/5

This was Kataklysm’s first time in Finland and I guess that if you like their current style you probably would have enjoyed their show. They played a lot of tracks from their recent albums which I am not particularly fond of. I actually prefer their older material. Luckily they played ‘Shadows & Dust’ which was the only highlight of the performance for me. This was not what I expected and I was left feeling a little disappointed. 2.5/5

Overall, it was a fun night out but I did not enjoy all the performances as much as I thought I would. The Spirit were surprisingly good and probably the best show of the night. Hypocrisy also put on a good show. As for Kataklysm, I do not like their latest album and I was really hoping to hear more old stuff. Maybe the next time I will check out Ex Deo live instead.

Iza Raittila

Behemoth – I Loved You at Your Darkest

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 8th October 2018 by izaforestspirit

Behemoth
I Loved You at Your Darkest
Released 5th October 2018
Black Metal/Blackened Death Metal
Released via Mystic Production/ Nuclear Blast


It’s been four years since the Polish blackened death metal horde unleashed their masterpiece ‘The Satanist’ onto the world. Now they have returned with a new, long-awaited full length release entitled ‘I Loved You at Your Darkest’. I absolutely adored their previous opus so I have high hopes for this…

As far as themes go, this album offers the usual array of topics present in Behemoth’s music, including: Satanism, the occult, critical views on Christianity, particularly Catholicism. One new addition is the reference to alchemy on the opening and closing tracks aptly named ‘Solve’ and ‘Coagvla’.

The children’s chanting at the start of the first track ‘Solve’ gets a little irritating after a few seconds. I was relieved to hear the guitars reminding me that this is in fact an intro to a Behemoth album and not to some children’s choir. ‘Wolves Ov Siberia’ is a savage beast of a song with packed with aggressive, coarse guitar riffs, Nergal’s bleak shouts and Inferno’s relentless drumming. It sounds as harsh and bleak as a Siberian winter. ‘God = Dog’ is more complex and melodic than its predecessor and it features some progressive tones in the guitars. It has the hallmarks of a classic Behemoth track, including the eerie atmosphere, aggressive yet melodic guitars and powerful vocals. The one thing that I could have done without is the children’s choir which essentially continues from where it left off in the intro.

Oddly enough one of the slower tracks, the gloomy sounding ‘Bartzabel’, has quickly become one of my favorite songs on here. I can’t get enough of that eerie mid-tempo groove guitar in the chorus and Nergal’s haunting vocals. The rest of the album varies in pace depending on the song ranging from the fast and abrasive black metal on ‘Sabbath Mater’ to the slower, more melodic ‘Havohej Pantocrator’.

In summary, ‘I Loved You at Your Darkest’ is very different from its predecessor ‘The Satanist’. Parts of it reminded me of Behemoth’s black metal era while others show the band’s willingness to experiment with some new styles. It is not the easiest of albums to listen to, and it requires a lot of patience from the listener. But rest assured, patience will be rewarded.

4/5

Iza Raittila

SVARTIDAUDI live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 23rd September 2018 by izaforestspirit

Antimateria, Sacrilegious Impalement, SVARTIDAUDI
Olympia, Tampere
22 September 2018

It’s been several months since I last attended a black metal show. The last one was Behexen back in January. Black metal tends to be something that I usually listen to at home. Some of my favorite black metal bands never play live shows and out of the ones that do tour, not all are worth seeing. I’ve had mixed experiences of black metal shows, ranging from the really good, decent to the downright abysmal. This time I decided to check out a bunch of black metal bands whom I have not heard of before. Svartidaudi was the only name that I recognized from the line-up but I can’t say that I am familiar with their music.

First up was Antimateria, a solo artist with session musicians playing atmospheric black metal. This turned out to be my favorite performance of the night. It was the most melodic-sounding out of the all the bands and their style reminded me of Moonsorrow mixed with hints of Mustan Kuun Lapset. 4/5

Krypts was the only death metal band of the night. I had high hopes after looking them up on The Metal Archives. ‘Death Metal’ and ‘Lovecraftian horror’ listed in amongst the lyrical themes seemed promising. I was disappointed when I actually heard them. Yes, they played death metal but the music was slow, droning verging on doom metal at times. That might sound decent when played in the comfort of your own living room but when it comes to death metal live, I would have preferred to see something with more energy and aggression. 2/5

Luckily Sacrilegious Impalement were much better. They certainly put on an energetic performance. Their style wasn’t anything super unique; just good, old school black metal. Some songs featured some melodic elements but not quite as melodic as the first band. They reminded me of Horna at times. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the main act of the night. Svartidaudi also put on a good performance. They are essentially the Icelandic equivalent of Deathspell Omega. So if you like that kind of black metal, then this would probably be the band for you. Personally I found them to be a little bit one-dimensional despite all the technical greatness. 3.5/5

 

 

In summary, this was a good night out and I made some new discoveries. I wasn’t sure what to expect from these bands. Antimateria was the show that I enjoyed the most and the main one that stood out for me. Svartidaudi are good live but not really my type of black metal.

Iza Raittila