Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Friday 1 March 2019

Reviews: Feral Light, Electrocution, Avathar, Vous Autres (Paul S & Mark)

Feral Light: Fear Rides A Shadow (Pulverized Records) [Paul S]

Feral Light are a black metal duo based in Minneapolis. Fear Rides A Shadow is the band's second album coming 2 years after their debut album Void/Sanctify. The album gets underway with a short instrumental called Woke, featuring strummed, dissonant guitar riffs. Next up is Arrow Beast which tips us strait into fast tremolo picked savagery. The track has a slower, but very powerful chorus before the tremolo picked insanity drops on us again. Spirit Initiate is a slower proposition, no less nasty, but with more of a black and roll feel rather than blistering fast attack. The song speeds up at the end, just in case you were missing the blast beats. Cold Monochrome starts in a measured, slow way, before it slips into insanely fast blasting again. The song moves between these blasting fast sections and slower black and roll effortlessly.

Psychic Dirt has a slow, melodic opening before getting more aggressive and pounding, then moves back to a slower melodic feel. This is a band that is all about dynamics, and this song showcases that very well. Carbonic Dust is aggressive, mid-paced and in places similar to crust punk, which is a really interesting feel for black metal. The album closes with the track No Refuge, No Reprieve which again is a mix of savage tremolo picked ferocity and slower black and roll sections, which works so well. The track is aggressive and pounding, and is a great way to end the album. Fear Rides A Shadow is a cracking piece of black metal. It isn’t particularly complex, there aren’t huge amounts of layers, this sounds like guitar, bass, drums and vocals, no gimmicks, just great riffs, made into great songs. I get the impression the band’s live sound will be just like it is on record. Simple, very well written black metal, no frills maybe, but also no crap, nothing more than what is needed, and that is what makes this a great album! 8/10

Electrocution: Psychonolatry (GoreGore Records) [Paul S]

Electrocution (just for the record, this is Electrocution the death metal band from Bologna, not the thrash band from Salerno), have been in existence since 1990, the band, who recorded their first album in 1993 was active until 1997 when they went on hiatus. The band reformed in 2012 and have produced 1 album in 2014 (Metaphysincarnation), before this album. The bands history is in some ways also an explanation of the bands sound. What we get on Psychonolatry is some fantastic old school death metal, but produced with a modern metal sound. I love old school death metal (in fact I’m old enough to remember old school death metal when it was just death metal), but one of the down sides of it, is the technology that was available in cheap recording studios in the eighties and nineties. There are so many great albums that were butchered by bad production and mixing. On this album we get great old school death metal, but sounding fantastic. The guitar sound is great, full and crunchy. The bass sounds like amplified thunder and the drums will make you dribble! The other great thing about old school bands still making music is the level of technical proficiency on offer here.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t technical death metal, all the riffs are old school, but the solo’s are fantastic, so well played and musical, they really add to the songs. And all this great sound and fantastic technical ability is beautifully mixed together so that it sounds exhilarating, thrilling and explosive. The tracks on this album are all fairly simple, old school death metal isn’t really about massive complexity, but the quality of the riffs and how well all this is put together makes complexity irrelevant. So, we get some absolute balls out fast death metal (Divine Retribution, Of Blood And Flesh, Warped and Premature Burial), more mid-paced, but powerful death metal, Psychonolatry (The Icons Of God And The Mirror Of The Souls), Hallucinatory Breed, and Bulåggna), and songs that are a mix of the two (Malum Intra Nos Est and Misanthropic Carnage). The overall feel of the album is a blast (in every sense of the word!), lots of energy, fantastic riffs that are tight as they get, and a band firing on all cylinders. Whilst listening to this I was repeatedly reminded of last years Monstrosity album The Passage Of Existence, which has a similar feel to it. That album was just about the best death metal album released last year, which should give you an idea of how good this is! Fantastic album! 8/10

Avathar: Bûrgulu kû-ghâra (Gollum's Treasures) [Paul S]

Avathar are a Finish band that formed in 2000. The band class themselves as epic black/folk metal. The seven piece released 2 albums in 2004 (Shadows And Where Light And Shadow Collide), and have had the last 15 years off (clearly puffed out after a 2 album year and needed some rest time) before releasing this album. As you’ve probably already guessed from the album title Avathar are one of those black metal bends that are obsessed with The Lord Of The Rings books. Musically the bands sound is a mix of what would have been called symphonic black metal in 2004 (Emperor and Dimmu Borgir) mixed with a more modern softer atmospheric black metal sound similar to Elderwind, Eldamar or Unreqvited.

A similarity to The Summoning goes without saying. So, what you get is a sound that is keyboard heavy, but with the keyboards often sounding like flutes and strings, the guitars are lower in the mix than in any form of orthodox black metal. The vocals are a mix of harsh and clean, and male and female. Pimeyden Aika kicks the album off with uptempo, very rhythmic black metal, fast tremolo picked riffs and lots of flutes, the track is very melodic and tuneful. Next up is Autumn Of Lothlorien which is slower, but again has lots of melody and is very keyboard heavy. Gloomweaver has a dramatic intro that feels like a soundtrack, the track is mid-paced with lots of keyboards (that sound like flutes). The Great Battle is a bit more bouncy that the other material on here, it has a neo-classical feel to it, and again is heavy on the keyboards. Kadotettu has a mix of clean and harsh vocals and some mid-paced tremolo picked riffs. The Wind is a little faster with that bouncy feel we first saw on The Great Battle. Tower Of The Moon is slow with chanted vocals, this track is a little more like symphonic metal. Houses Of Pain has a heavy, quite nasty beginning, before going over to a softer more measured feel. To The Land Veiled In Mist is slow with female vocals.

The track is very tuneful and gets faster as it gets closer to the end. Lost In The Waves is slow, melodic and tuneful. Come Down With Us is heavier and more rhythmic than most of the material on this album. Nan Elmoth is mid-paced with lots of keyboard flutes. Final track Sharp Glance feels like a soundtrack and has a slightly ridiculous radio play section (which would have been better with better actors). You might have noticed that I’ve gone through the tracks very quickly, in the hope that this band will take the hint. The main thing wrong with this album is how much of it there is. This album is FAAAAAAAAAAAAR too long. It comes in at 1 hour and 31 minutes long! 13 tracks, where the shortest is just under 6 minutes. It doesn’t help that the other major complaint is that a lot of the material is quite similar.

There are maxims in film editing - “Less Is More” and “If in doubt, cut it out”, this band need to learn to edit! If they cut half an hour from this it would be a much stronger album. They could do it by cutting 3 or 4 songs, or, what would probably work better, they could cut 2 minutes from each track (thereby cutting 26 minutes). I found I was looking at which track I was on after about an hour, thinking, my god 5 more tracks to go! This is not a bad album, in terms of what music is presented, there's just too much of it, and frankly, it gets boring. If this band could learn some Brevity, this would be a whole lot better. 7/10

Vous Autres: Champ Du Sang (Sludgelord Records) [Mark]

If there’s something I really love about music, it’s being taken to another place, getting lost in the moment, focusing on nothing but the songs as they shake the speakers and fill up your consciousness. Champ Du Sang is the best album I’ve heard in 2019, it hits all the right spots for me as a listener, dripping with reverb, more atmosphere than family dinner at the West's, it’s like being drowned in the bottom of a cave made of amplification and anger. This isn’t an album where you take a track and put it on a playlist, it doesn’t work like that, this is one of those long drives alone or sat in a dimly lit room just listening, completely and utterly engrossed. If you’re into dark, atmospheric music then this is going to be right up your street, though it’s not as simple as that just pinning this album down to one genre, it isn’t doom, it isn’t sludge or black metal, there are a lot of bases covered here, elements of shoegaze, industrial, death, and many more intertwined in 59 minutes of ruthless noise. The vocals are harsh and sit wonderfully in the mix, lyrically, I didn’t pick anything out, unfortunately, or fortunately, depending how you look at it, I just know I really enjoyed the noise coming out of β’s vocal chords.

Sans Lendemain opens the album, clocking in at a respectable 8:48, this track is a fantastic way to kick things off, heavy, slow, atmospheric, double kick drums all melding to provide a listening experience that leaves you almost breathless, a small respite opens up in the middle of the track with a slow build back into the crush of kick drums and distortion. Tes Jours Passés is another highlight, the intro is like sitting in the stasis room of a space cruiser that isn’t planned for a return journey, the melancholy guitar line and simple drum pattern kicks in and leaves you with a sense of foreboding, building for the first half of this 8 minute epic, then one of the doomiest numbers on the whole album kicks in. In all honesty, there isn’t a low moment on this well crafted slab of destruction, just listen to it and appreciate that it’s one that stays in your rotation. With only two members, I am not totally sure if this is a touring band, if they do ₣ is going to have their work cut out, all instrumentation on this debut album is completed by him. A bit of wankery in the naming of their members aside, I’ve followed them on Facebook and look forward to future releases. 9/10

No comments:

Post a Comment