Sarcoptes – Prayers To Oblivion 9/10
Californian duo Sarcoptes, after releasing their excellent EP Plague Hymns in 2020, have unleashed their eagerly awaited follow-up; Prayers To Oblivion, five tracks of utterly devastating technical blackened thrash that overflows with energy and purpose.
This is intelligent music of the highest standard, where the subject matter ranges chronologically from the horrors of World War One to Vietnam. It marks all of society’s greatest tragedies in this time period and delivers them with one hundred percent conviction. From the relatively short ‘’Spanish Flu’’ through to the lengthy compositions that are ‘’The Trenches” and “Dead Silence “, both over thirteen minutes in length, these are epic explorations of their subject matter. What they are not is self-indulgent or bloated in any way. They are razor-sharp ( The production is simply excellent ) explorations of cataclysm that combine excellent riffs and keyboard subtleties with fantastic time changes and tempos. Sarcoptes music is as vibrant as it is punishing, brilliantly thought out and executed. Each tack is stirring and stimulating, and the symphonic texture adds to the importance without being a distraction. Sarcoptes ability to combine tumultuous speed with dread and misery is excellent. The time changes and drumming, along with great riffs, make thirteen minutes so damn breathtakingly good they demand to be heard again.
Utterly intoxicating and incredibly memorable Sarcoptes leave a lasting impression in the psyche. Their music is up-tempo mayhem that is incredible, memorable, enjoyable and epic in its scope. Sarcoptes ability to deliver energetic visceral music combined with an ear for melody to create musical Armageddon is simply spectacular!
Telesterion – Myesis 9/10
The ever ambitious and ever evolving Telesterion release another mini album that is part of the complete journey that concludes with Epopteia, a full length due in September.
Taking their name from a building in which religious mysteries were celebrated Myesis is a release that is Inspired by the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries (a set of rites conducted during a multi-day festival) a track form this EP will be released every two days from March 12 to 18th which coincides with the Lesser Mysteries in the 2023 calendar.
Myesis borders on brilliance . It is a spiritual journey that is unhurried and purposeful, every single note has its part in the overall tapestry that is their rich textured music. the vocals resonant with a chant/ choiresque gravitas, that are a celebration and part of the building sense of grandeur that is at times as simply beautiful as it is heavy and sombre. Telesterion tackle their subject matter with a seriousness and a passion that is to be acknowledged. It combines the physical act of initiation and elevates it with the metaphysical, the harmonies are underlined by the weight of the guitars as if tying it to the earth as on the majestic “Offerings/Diasia.” ” Libations/Fleece of Zeus’’ with is stunning mystery and sublimely heavy , superiorly heavy main riff is part of the enigmatic journey that defies description. Yes It is remarkably heavy and powerful, epic in scope yet also ethereal and intangible, it celebrates yet also remembers, it is as intellectual as it is passion and fire.
Myesis commands your attention with its subtleties and its candidness. It is a celebration of hymns to Demeter that is the simply brilliant ‘’LInknon/Purification’’ every moment is unique and emotional. Simply a must listen
Torches of Nero – Mokk 9.5/10
From the depths of Rio Grande do Sul in Rio Grande Torches of Nero do not fan the flames of Extreme music, but are its blow torch . Uncompromising unafraid and one hundred percent pure underground metal.
Steeped in tradition and intellectual darkness Mokk takes its inspiration from many sources especially the unhinged death/speed metal of the eighties and combines it with their hellfire to create something new visceral and uniquely their own.
This not just a tribute to the iconic underground figure Rok and SadistiK Exekution it furthers the chaotic intentions. The guitar alternates between great rhythms and shrieking style leads whilst the percussion is barbaric and the vocals conjure and celebrate the demons both figuratively and literally with wails and guttural howls. This is definitive intense heavy music for those who indulge in the abstract and the turmoil.
The black metal horde will celebrate Mokk with its purity and confrontation. This is extreme metal raw and steeped in the occult. Call it old school at your peril, the blasts beats and tremolo picking are an added layer of intensity to some atmospheric moments. Mokk is an album without respite that is antagonistic, disruptive and simply brutal
Ensanguinate - Eldritch Anatomy 8/10
Slovenia’s Ensanguinate know a thing, or two about old school pure death metal and Eldritch Anatomy is a debut full of the things that make death great. From the opener “Hunted” their blazing style of death is steeped in the traditions of the originals with a thrash energy that recall moments of Bathory and the mighty Death along with a modern technical edge.
Not ones to stay stuck in the traditional style “Vile Grace” is an epic that touches upon the Polish moments of excellence with some malevolent atmosphere yet the energy never dips, the thrashy elements give it some great impetus and the riffs are gloriously heavy. Eldritch Anatomy is a journey into the horrid depths of the underground, the riffs are precise and on Cadaver Synod the menacing intent is tangible. The guitar leadwork is inspired bordering on the technically classical as on the excellent “Ghoul Presence” and the whole thing bristles with intent courtesy of a production that captures their essence and the primal fury that is Andrej Čuk’s vocals.
'Sublimation' is a dip into the doomier moments and there is something about Ensanguinate’s music that makes you return to them. Yes at times its recognizable but its excellently executed and there is definitely much on offer to explore at ear shattering volumes. Eldritch Anatomy is a textured journey that uses some black metal chaos to distinguish it from the masses. It is a dark brooding offering for those who dare venture into its depths.
Lotan- Lotan 8/10/
Drawing upon Mesopotamian myths and existential philosophy, Copenhagen’s Denmark unleash their debut offering to the dark lord after two highly regarded EPS.
Lotan (the seven headed dragons and the origin of chaos) is aggressive as in their delivery of Melodic black metal . Ashera (a banished goddess) mixes their black n roll with an urgent sense of chaos whilst it lyrically commands a revolt against the oppression of females in religion. Martin Rubini’s vocals are vitriolic in the extreme and completely unhinged in places, ‘’Ishtar’’ ( the goddess of love sex and war ) receives her praises with a slower more determined approach that is no less powerful whilst the longer Servant of Yammu (the god of the sea) combines their mid pace attack along with a thoughtful purpose that takes flight with the bands speed and fury. The guitars attack like snakes upon their prey whilst the rhythm section is solid and lays the perfect foundation.
Lotan is both forlorn and anguished yet also a herald for those forgotten who deserve praise and recognition. It is unsettling as Ignis (fire) unleashes itself upon you. Its memorable, heavy and it is able to carry its black n roll as on The Faithless along with some true blackened horror. The Incendiary, accusatory vocals and mayhemic compositions make this a commanding release, that becomes more vital and demanding upon every listen. Lotan is hostile in every sense of the word!
Darkthrone – Goatlord: Original 8./10
The ever-present stalwarts of extreme metal Norway’s Darkthrone have re-released their ‘’Lost “second album Goatlord.
Righto time for some context. Goatlord is the unreleased second album from Darkthrone that was intended as the follow-up to the stunning debut of ‘’Soulside Journey’’ when the band was a four-piece. It was scrapped in 1990-91 when their death metal style was dropped for the cold Black metal aesthetic for which they are most recognized. Debuting as the third disc on the Frostland Tapes ltd release (1996), it has then since been released as a standalone with vocals as an album release for the sake of it.
Is this the latest version? Featuring the gorgeous ‘’Painted art” work of Zbigniew M. Bielak, which links it to Soulside Journey. It ditches the vocals (including the terrible female impersonations- thanks, Satan) and is a master of the original instrumental demo tape recordings. You can hear some of the riffs that made their way onto Á Blaze in the Northern sky ‘’ but the overwhelming metal component of the recording links it to the band’s later output of recent years.
So, is it any good? Being a big fan of pure music without studio interference and the raw passion before songs become polished and over worked it works as the definitive version of the band’s history trimmed of all the added excess over the years. It’s raw and furious, at times a little uneven, but well, it’s supposed to be it is a demo recording, after all. The progression (regression?) of Á Blaze in the Northern Sky ‘’ is the ultimate example of the evolution of a song and a mindset as things and people ultimately change. It works as the bridge between technical death metal and the cold black fury inspired by Celtic Frost and the environment around them. Its melodic and technical yet also primal in its riffing and rhythms and makes sense as a release now where the band is recognized for being a death doom celebration of all things metal and it puts their history into the proper context.
Is it essential? For fans of the band and those fondest of their death metal style, then the ultimate third and definitive version Goatlord is a must have and highlights the talents of the band during their death/doom metal years, vital and visceral in its proto form and pure Darkthrone.