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  • Writer's pictureSparky

Resonance - Artanor - Ekrom - Haradrim - Corrosive

Artanor – In Servitude of Darkness 9/10

Menelyagor is the creative force behind Australia’s one individual project Artanor (formerly involved with the excellent Fen Hollen). In Servitude of Darkness is not merely the long-awaited debut release (fourteen years after the ‘’Imperial Hordes’’Split) but a six-track masterwork, a concept album taken from his own creation and novella The Rise of Meklarah.

A narration of the Meklarah saga and based on the stories and the characters, In Servitude of Darkness, is a completely focused journey that is stirring and powerful with huge epic passages that are rousing and image-conjuring. From the majestic opener ‘’ ‘’Consumed by Time’’ as with reading a book, you are slowly consumed by the tale. Musically this is a riff-based masterclass of sheer black metal prowess. The riffs unfurl themselves, at times ethereal, others openly predatory. Complete with excellent timing and tempo changes as on the excellent ‘’Despondent Echoes of Misery,’’ the sensations of loss and melancholy are present against a slower tempo. ‘’ From the Roaring Fire’’ is exactly that, unrelenting yet dynamic, earthen, and authentic against the drama of necromancer Rakinar, who plans to destroy all life in the universe. At times bleak and others filled with hope, it is uncompromising and epitomises the utter freedom of Black metal and the individual’s desire to express themselves freely.

Haunting, chilling, atmospheric and sublime in its texture, layers, and raw singular focus. In Servitude of Darkness is not a one-listen wonder. It is immediate yet you are drawn, compelled to revisit it as it resonates and lingers within the subconscious. You are drawn to its brightly burning flame and complete tale within. Unmissable.

Ekrom – Uten Nådigst Formildelse 9/10

Without appeasement ‘’ Uten Nådigst Formildelse’’ is the debut album of Norways Thomas Ødegaard (Nocturnal Breed) and vocalist, guitarist, bassist, and keyboards Kharon (ex-Covenant). It is an album that comes with it the expectations and weight of its country of origin and the musicians involved.

From the chaotic fury that is opener ‘Bell Witch,’’ Ekrom dispel any fears of mediocrity with such an uncompromising display of might. The riff is fantastic, and the atmosphere is suitably uninviting, with Kharon’s vocals the epitome of black metal anger. ‘’ The Black Flame Of Seth’’ and ‘’ Abyss Of Eternity’’ pursue their music’s intention to pursue different time signatures and moods. The tremolo is a constant throughout, yet on ‘’Abyss,’’ some well-placed keys pour into the atmosphere, making it a thick, dense offering that dwells in the darkness offering little respite.

Drawing on the essence of pure nineties black metal Ekrom excel in delivering on first listening. This raw, primal offering becomes denser and more multi-layered as you progress through its atmosphere. “I Djevelens Skygge” explores the diversity of keyboards and rhythmic patterns, whilst The guitar domination of ‘’Misanthropy Void’’ combines the atmosphere with touches of beauty and utter malice. “When I Enter The World Of Unknown” is a highlight that encapsulates everything that has gone before ending the record on a high note of grimness and malevolence that further explores their atmosphere and authenticity.

‘’Uten Nådigst Formildelse’’ is the perfect modern black metal record and a very strong debut that combines the spirit and essence of the movement and its history whilst adding its raw vitriol and invocations of forbidding.

Haradrim – Death of Idols 8.5/10

Death of Idols is the debut offering of Haradrim. Inspired by a race of men from Lord of the rings. The core duo of Swedes Anton Palmborg and Dennis Sjögren have created a raw furious debut record that intones the grandeur of raw black metal along with the defiance of punk and hardcore.

‘’Ashes of Warsaw’’ is a track with its slower tempo that allows the crust and deliberate picking room to breathe and seethe with its vitriol and intent, the doom touches adding weigh to and already very heavy track. The vocals are raspy and pained yet clear as on the suitably furious “’Venus Falling’’, the guitars are clear and powerful with some great solos as on the excellent ‘’Godless”. ‘’ ‘Nero’’ is ninety seconds of utter rhythmic chaos that allows the crust and punk to shine through, along with ‘’Price of Compliance ‘’ it is a measured sound that balances the energy of punk and hardcore infused by black metal along with an ominous undertone and impending threat of violence.

‘’Defiling of Spirit’’ captures that Marduk, Behemoth relentless march of inevitable Armageddon whilst ‘’Tyrant’’ is suitably arrogant, infused with pride and again some excellent percussion that hurtles the track towards its frenetic goal with another great solo and war like vocals.

Vicious and Riddled with malcontent, Death of Idols a fist to the constraints and deceptions of modern society that has failed to progress throughout history. Riddled with atmosphere and excellent musicianship it is a debut that heralds Haradrim’s arrival and leaves a lingering mark upon the listener.

CORROSIVE – I’m Bleeding 8/10

Missouri-based (USA) CORROSIVE is the latest to receive the Awakening records re-issue treatment. Initially formed in 1991, Corrosive issued just one album, which beautifully persevered in all its ugly glory, the underrated ‘’I’m Bleeding”.

Gloriously raw an unapologetic, the utterly unapologetic throat of Jim Erxleben spews forth the obscenities on ‘’Nick’’, ‘’ No Surprise’’ and the aptly titled ‘’ Skull Fucker’’, whilst musically it carries a strong thrash element with rapid 4/4 beats and some great riffs, ‘’I’m Bleeding’’ is a pure thrash death metal tinged moment complete with a bit of Kerry King inspired madness in the solos.

Originally released in 1994 ‘’ I’m Bleeding’’ is truly a product of its time with hyper-kinetic drumming and bass rhythms. It’s musically demanding yet also purely metal. The death metal and elements of hardcore were creeping into their predominately thrash-inspired mayhem. The slow sections are brief, and the fast tempos are manic and also demanding. ‘’ The stop-go antics of the epic ‘’Death Dream “is complemented by the more furious ‘’ Asphyxiated’’.

The tone is dark and unapologetically raw. Faithfully reproduced it captures that kinetic demo quality energy that represents Corrosive without unnecessary polish. Given a lavish booklet and original cover art for fans of the true death metal underground that drove the early nineties, this cannot be overlooked.

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