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Saturday, 30 December 2017

Reviews: Ghost, Apophys, Bestialord, Deathcult (Reviews By Paul and Rich)

Ghost: Ceremony & Devotion - Live In The USA 2017 (Lorma Vista)  [Review By Paul]

Love them or hate them, there is no denying that Ghost have made a massive impact over their time on the rock scene. Headline tours across Europe and the USA, controversy around the identity of the band and the legal challenges against Papa Emeritus, Tobias Forge, by former band members as well as the lukewarm response on social media to the decision to award them the Saturday night headline slot at Bloodstock; it’s been interesting and entertaining all the way. Ceremony & Devotion captures the band live in San Francisco on their 2017 US tour and mighty fine it is too. There is clearly some polishing on the recording, but this is a fine double live release which provides an accurate audio experience of the band in the live arena.

Cutting out some of the in between song pauses which often slow the pace of their live show, Ceremony & Devotion is a lean beast, clocking in at 72 minutes for their complete set. Kicking off with Square Hammer, the band move swiftly through an opening salvo of tracks before slowing the pace a little with Body And Blood, one of the weaker songs in their repertoire. An enthusiastic crowd enhances the show throughout although it’s only when things get a little chunkier with Year Zero that the pace increases. Papa’s humorous chatter is always entertaining, and it is captured with skill on this release. Mummy Dust allows the band to rock out with their heaviest song whilst the double whammy of Ritual and Monstrance Clock conclude a solid live recording in style. If you like Ghost, this will be a must have release. If you don’t, you’ll hate it. 8/10

Apophys: Devoratis (Ultimate Massacre Productions) [Review By Rich]

Devoratis is the second album by Dutch death metallers Apophys who feature members of God Dethroned and Erebus. This is an album which will definitely be getting things off to a good start in 2018. It’s an absolute cracker. Apophys have perfected a sound on Devoratis which is equally brutal, technical, atmospheric and melodic. It retains the brutal and evil roots of the genre but is not afraid to mix in elements from other genres.

The playing is very proficient and technical throughout the album but the songs are all structured extremely well so it is technical for the sake of it. Particular highlights for me were Xiux – The Parasite and Retaliate. Lyrically the album is science fiction themed with a concept running throughout. The album boasts a massive production which positively burst out of my sound system with crippling intensity. Overall Apophys have absolutely nailed it with Devoratis which is a prime example of how good death metal can still be in the 21st century and that the genre is far from stale. 8/10

Bestialord: Lord Of The Burning (Symbol Of Domination And Cimmerian Shade Recordings)[Review By Rich]

Lord Of The Burning is the debut album of Kansas based doom metal band Bestialord. Bestialord were formed by members of Sanctus Infernum and play self styled occult horror metal. Bestialord offer up a very old school sound with 80’s doom metal being the prevalent influence though there is a big influence from old school death metal and black metal. The pace of the songs alters throughout the album giving a bit of variation and helping to retain interest. You get slow burning doom such as What Is The End to faster paced ones such as the title track.

The performances are great throughout the album. The harsh vocals by frontman Mark Anderson really add to the evil and malevolent feel of the album. The performances are complimented by a fine production job which is clear but not too clean sounding. Bestialord have a great debut album to put out in January which is a pure love letter to 1980’s extreme metal. Lord Of The Burning oozes pure nostalgia and by the end of it you will have an overwhelming urge to grab your Celtic Frost and Candlemass records and give them a spin. 8/10

Deathcult: Cult Of The Goat (Soulseller Records) [Review By Rich]

Ten years after their debut album, Deathcult return with a second album of black metal filthiness. With a line up that includes members and ex-members of Taake and Gorgoroth, Deathcult definitely know their black metal and deliver it in spades on this record. At its core Cult Of The Goat is very much a classic sounding Norwegian black metal album but it also has a few twists and turns and a couple of tricks up its sleeve which may take you by surprise but doesn’t detract from its primal black metal core.

 There’s a definite punkiness running through the album but there’s moments such as the rock breakdown in The Oath, the middle eastern instrumentation throughout Devilgoat and the xylophone led atmosphere of closing instrumental Laudate Hircum. Cult Of The Goat is a bold album mixing gnarly Norwegian black metal with some different styles and ideas. Whilst one or two tracks could do with trimming on the whole it works and is a very enjoyable album. 7/10

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