Vahrzaw - The Trembling Voices of Conquered Men 9/10
To label Vahrzaw Death/Black metal you’d be right but also wrong. Very wrong. The opening riff to Vultures is a combination of pure Teutonic/death thrash metal with some excellent METAL solos to raise the hair on your neck! The pure metal they bring to Waiting with the Wolves is mighty headbanging glory along with some neck snapping time changes and glorious tight riffing.
The Trembling Voices of Conquered Men is a massive album, and the level of musicianship is mind boggling. Every track fresh and inspired, listening to Death of An Unknown Architect and its journey through the realms of extreme music to its acoustic coda pushes the level of musicianship to new heights and heaviness. There isn’t a style on this album that isn’t conquered with energy and ferociousness. It is also excellently recorded so you can hear all those freaking amazing riffs and excellent drumming.
The Pessimist and its military like precision is the chaotic insanely fast epic of the album even at nine minutes plus it certainly doesn’t feel like it, that middle section commands you to get involved with its mid-tempo ferocity and Van Dooms nihilistic vocals.
Not a moment is wasted of its entire 34-minute run time. Its short sharp and so aggressively heavy that it rises above its peers in a master class of technical black/death metal that offers so much more. Memorable and unmissable.
Aeon – God Ends Here 9/10
Nine years? Nine years since Aeons Black. We’ve barely recovered form that nihilistic work! After various line-up changes Aeon is back and have delivered us 16 tracks of pure hate, vitriol, and gloriously tough Death Metal.
Its not all one dimensional carnage the interludes of Orpheus Indu Inferis, and Into the Void add grandeur and scale to the work, a respite from the aural assault that is Just One Kill, and Church of Horror (A condemnation of abuse occurring) a predatory, lethal strike that is musically punishing.
Aeon’s musical dexterity and mastery of the genre shines thorough out, it is short harp and refreshingly direct. Whilst others try to be subtle, let it Burn, and Deny Them Eternity (that stomping momentum man) mean exactly what they say. The intent is clear and the music as a weapon ferocious and unrelenting.
This is everything you could hope for in an Aeon record. Yet it contains quite a few surprises as well, Queen of Lies is a perfect example whilst the texture of The Nihilist is countered by the sheer power of Severed (so heavy!) and the title track God Ends Here that takes that riff and destroys everything with it.
God Ends Here is brutally honest and uncompromising album, that offers no excuses and demands utter respect. A death metal feat of intensity, ferocity, and heaviness.
Häxkapell – Eldhymner 8/10
Hailing from Northern Sweden and the use of their native language Haxkapell is the result of Oraklet’s (everything) passion to create an album around the concept of fire and its different aspects, destructor, life bringer, enchanter, and deceiver.
From the ominous traditionally instrumented opener Kallet (the calling), Ur malströmmens famn (maelstrom) is pure Swedish black metal with that military execution the is reminiscent of Marduk, and of course Bathory. The riff an instant recognizable classic pulled from the excellence of the second wave of Black Metal full of fury and prowess. Solraviner pulls it back a notch into that mid-tempo Nordic feel that captures the spirit of the homeland along the abyssic subject matter. Haxkapellet (Fire/Blaze) is fury and destruction with a blazing end section that is rousing and passionate full of speed and anger.
Eldskapt (Fire- made) continues the assault with its dynamics that merge from full blown speed to some nicely added acoustic texture, Askans Drothing (Thunder), reduces the speed without sacrificing the intensity, triumphant and proud complete with guitar solo. Yet it’s not all northern darkness Sanningen (faithful) with guest violin is the perfect yet surprising closer, a traditionally inspired piece that is uplifting and powerful and yet devoid of any distortion at all.
Eldhymner is the perfect album for fans of Swedish Black Metal that is traditional, powerful, and heavy.
Rivers of Nihil – The Work 8.5/10
Terrestria IV: Work is the track where they tie it all together. The final riff brings it home, all the ideas, the jazzy moments, the progressive elements, and the technical death metal performed with musical prowess and dexterity.
Why start a review with the last track? sometimes it’s better to look back and you understand the whole concept better. The Work is not an easy listen as it is a piece of art that needs to be viewed as a whole. The work is conceptual in nature, a cinematic offering that uses reprises and various repetitive elements to tell an unidentified almost introspective tale.
All the textures are here, the keyboards, the excellent percussion the Avant Garde to the progressive nature of their music. Dreaming Black Clockwork is a highlight of sonic power and complexity, whilst Episode offers the duality with some stand out softened saxophone. Wait is a quiet moment, almost a pause before the journey continues. Whilst the Tower is the main theme with softer moments and Maybe One Day take this accessible element to its zenith with its uplifting dynamics almost Pink Floydian in depth. The Work is still crushing heavy however More? Brings the mayhem with aggression, blast beats and the harsh vocal work of Jake Dieffenbach.
The Work is tough rewarding album, multifaceted and able to seamlessly combine the progressive with the aggressive. Peaceful, yet unsettling, tangible yet ethereal, the closer you get to grasping it the further it moves away. The Work demands more than a casual listen, an evocative and evolving album.