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Friday 15 December 2023

Reviews: Infernal Execrator, Mavis, Gula, Cyrax (Reviews By Paul Scoble, Zak Skane, Joe Guatieri & Matt Bladen)

Infernal Execrator - Diabolatry (Pulverised Records) [Paul Scoble]

To most people the words Black/Death/War refer to an absence of Colour or Light, the ending of a life and a horrific conflict usually caused by the privileged elites of different countries having an argument that leads to the mass slaughter of the working classes. However, if you are into extreme metal then Black/Death/War Metal is the most extreme and over the top sub genre of metal. Starting in the late eighties this genre was birthed by Blasphemy and their unbelievably influential debut album Fallen Angel Of Doom…. the genre has grown over the years to be a thriving sub culture within metal.

An important part of that scene since 2005 has been Singapore based Infernal Execrator. The band have released a load of splits, EP’s and 2 full albums before Diabolatry; first album Ad Infinitum Satanic Adherent in 2014, and their last album Obsolete Ordinance in 2018. The band is made up of Lord Ashir on Vocals and Guitar, Kommando Antichristo on Bass, Christslaughter on Drums and Helphas D. Nihilist on Guitars. It’s been over five years since Infernal Execrator released their last album, is the follow up crazy enough to fit in with their past discography?

The style on offer on Diabolatry is mainly super fast, very extreme Black Metal made up of fairly simple riffs, with completely unhinged Vocals, screaming atonal Guitar solos on all the tracks that have clearly been influenced by early Slayer, and some of the fastest and most aggressive drumming you will hear this side of Revenge. The albums opening track Aeternalis Diaboli Satanas is a good example of the style, the song opens with big slow Guitar chords before the song drops us into one of the super fast blast beats with nasty riffs and harsh and very angry vocals. The song boasts a shredding solo full of dive-bombs and one slow and heavy section to give the audience a bit of break before the song concludes in whirlwind aural violence. So to answer my own question: Yes this is crazy enough to fit in with the bands already ridiculously extreme history.

I did say earlier that this album was mainly super fast, the song that takes this from all super fast to mainly super fast is the track Infernal Storm Of Oblivion which has a much more measured Mid-paced pacing with a simple and nasty little melody that runs through the song. The song has an unstoppable and relentless feel to it, it’s simple and direct and reminds me of early Black Metal. One of the effects of having this slower track is that the material that surrounds Infernal Storm Of Oblivion ends up feeling faster and more savage, the juxtaposition works very well and the next two track Marauders Prayers Of Profanation, and Terrorized Consecration feel even more rapid than they already are (and they are both bastard fast tracks) due to this juxtaposition.

The other track that has some slower sections is the track Blazing Acheronic Tyrants which opens with a slow bass line which then morphs into a slow and heavy riff that batters the listener for a while before the song drops us into staggering fast war metal that shreds the listener before going into a fast and relentless section that reminds me a little of Von. The song has another slow and heavy section right at the end of the song, bringing it to an end in a heavy and powerful way.

Diabolatry comes to an end with the title track, which for the first half is a super bastard fast and simple track full of blasting riffs that have a bit of Grindcore feel to them, with another great screaming solo. The song then goes into a soundscape section featuring a Church Organ, Keyboards, A Choir, and harsh vocals, in some ways it remind me a little bit of the final track, Cremation, on King Diamond’s classic album Conspiracy. It’s an interesting and effective way to end a very extreme and very enjoyable album.

is a cracking piece of Black/Death/War Metal. It won’t be for everyone, almost by definition this style of music is always going to be a niche, but those that like this level of nastiness and aggression will be very happy with this album, it is savage, ridiculously fast and so extreme it only just counts as music and not assault and battery. If you are looking for an album that is the aural equivalent of being beaten death by 10000 maniacs, congratulations!!! You have found it! 8/10

Mavis – Grief Is No Ally (Arising Empire) [Zak Skane]

The German metalcore quartet have released their debut album Grief Is No Ally via Arising Empire. Through out this album guitarists Manu Weller and Mo Amrein go from silky ambient layered leads and Napoleon styled technical melodic riffs in their opening track Insight to djenty string skipping goodness on songs like Calypso, Reflections to the periphery styled riffs in Furry Tongue

When you start to think that this band are just another modern djent metal band they’ll come and provide you with some classic deliveries of nu metal riffs in the track Hollow Eyes and some thrashy goodness on the song Marcescence. From track to track their drummer Jakob Schulz-Klein can go from rudimental inspired snare fills to scuffled paced footwork on their opening track Insight. Bouncy beats that are collaborated with some trap beats and sprinkled with some metric modulation on Hollow Eyes, whilst the beats are locked in with the djenty stabbed chords in reflections. 

Finally lets talk about the vocal efforts by the one and only Phil Donay. From the emotional charging harsh vocals on their more melodic hardcore driven tracks like Insight and Furry Tongue to spitting bars on Hallow Eyes but it is not till their mainstream track Limerent which brings a more melodic side to their sound. Limerent showcases the bands ability to extend their sound to additional lengths with some classic whoa whoas chants, anthemic choruses alongside poppy infused chord structures, delayed guitars and dance beats. 

The bands debut release Grief Is No Ally shows a promising start to the German quartets journey. Each track shows the band executing each modern sub genre with absolute perfection. For fans of Northlane, In Hearts Wake and The Amity Affliction. 8/10

Gula - Birds Of The Apocalypse (Self Released) [Joe Guatieri]

Hailing from the Netherlands, Psychedelic Doom Metal band Gula brings us their second studio album Birds Of The Apocalypse

The opener Bhoga is my favorite song on the record. Immediately it’s reminiscent of the Alice In Chains classic Would as the bass echoes nervousness, feeling like something bad is about to happen. By 1:05 you are transported into a world of dread as heavy fuzzy guitars make their attack upon your ears, bringing the hazy feelings of bands like Bongzilla and Electric Wizard. The drums here are so precise making for a solid foundation for to build upon as a strained lead wah-wah infested guitar later enters the fray, coloring the track’s strikes of intensity. Despite its length this track never outstayed its welcome. 

Track three Ana Is Anna feels lost in the field that the album art depicts, eerie synthesizers fill your ear as something more strange is afoot. The groovy bass acts as your uneven steps as your jaggard walk then becomes a full on sprint with the booming drums quickly becoming more anxious in their pace as a beam from a UFO sees you as its next target. Jumping over fences as guitars descend the scale in a measured manner as if fate has decided this. The vocals are used very sparingly here but when they are triggered, they sound like a cry for help. Thankfully you managed to get away from the unknown for now.

The final track Pigs In Space is a much needed breath of fresh air using humor as its weapon of choice compared to the bleakness that came before it. A hilarious grouping of weird noises that feel in tribute to the Butthole Surfers is married to the classic sounds of Stoner Rock. The verses bounce along at a fun speed before the vocalist tells everyone to shut the fuck up and listen. 

Overall Birds Of The Apocalypse presents creepy soundscapes with a hallucinogenic tinge that is always presenting something new. While a lot of the changups work very well within the songs, a few miss their mark and feel unexpected and misplaced. 7/10.

Cyrax - Novo Deus (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

I don't know what this is? I'm genuinely stumped, Italian band Cyrax call themselves an experimental prog band, on this fourth album experimental is the operative word. World Music has always been part of the prog/art rock, from Peter Gabriel to The Tea Party, to newer acts such as The Hu and Heilung. The use of ethnic/traditional music has been a surefire way to bring interest. 

Well consider me interested in Novo Deus as the band seem to travel the world with their music from the Chinese influenced Yuéliáng, the African rhythms of Hewa Kunikosa, Indian influences on Bhagavad-Gita and it goes on like this. Each track taking us to another location on the globe and having all the trappings of that location. 

Of course there's metal, Marco Cantoni (vocals), Gianluca Fraschini (guitars) and Lorenzo Beltrani (drums), playing with the same verve as a band such as Haken. The second track, reminds me a lot of Diablo Swing Orchestra, adding Russian melody Korobeiniki (or the Tetris theme) to the song, while the title track has some Bossa Nova taking us into South America, the North American sounds starting with the country of Twelve Valiant Saints, through rap, sax-driven French New Wave, culminating in Germany. 

Mixed by Alessandro Del Vecchio it's musically impressive from a performance aspect but I have no idea why. Novo Deus is a journey, but ultimately doesn't seem to have a destination, yes they can turn their hand to many styles but this record would sound more coherent if there was more of the metal and less of other influences, or perhaps stick to one region. 5/10

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