Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Glorior Belli - Manifesting The Raging Beast

Glorior Belli – Manifesting the Raging Beast
Southern Lord

I’ve been sitting on this record for quite awhile (long past it’s actual release), listening carefully and intently to the masterpiece that vocalist/guitarist/composer Infestvvs, bassist Dispater, and drummer M:A Fog have created. I was struck by the huge leap in maturity and originality Manifesting the Raging Beast has been crafted with in comparison to Glorior Belli’s first full-length, O Laudate Dominvs. Earlier Glorior Belli material is by no stretch of poor quality regarding musicianship or writing (on the contrary, the band has always slayed), but when listening to O Laudate Dominvs it’s not hard to liken the album to other’s in the ‘orthodox black metal’ genre. However, Manifesting the Raging Beast bursts through the speakers like a blackened punch to God’s dick, and all done with no shortage of well-honed dynamics and melodic guitar parts. This record smokes their previous effort easily, and anyone even remotely sympathetic to this style of black metal (or appreciators of metal in general) will most likely find themselves pressing the play button again on the cd player after the last track is over.

Opening the album is “From Darkness There Springs Light.” Beginning with a few moments of silence and swelling noise, a crawling guitar riffs drops out of the speakers before Infestvvs snarls “Light is sour blood spilled from pregnant skies. Frothing and turning, ignoring dead wings as they drift by, it reveals blood and rust from twisted faces,” then later “And now, from darkness there springs light.” The lyrics are written in an almost wholly poetic form over the course of the album, shrouded in cryptic personal meanings but all pointing to Him.

To give a song-by-song breakdown and description of the rest of the eight hymns contained on Manifesting the Raging Beast would be pointless. This is a work that should be heard in order to truly understand the feeling and craftsmanship. This is black art of the highest order and absolutely essential.

Monarch! - Dead Men Tell No Tales

Monarch! – Dead Men Tell No Tales
Crucial Blast

Dead Men Tell No Tales is a 2xCD collection of France’s noise/drone/sludge terrorists, Monarch!, the songs originally released as two separate full-lengths: 2006’s Speak of the Sea and 2007’s Die Tonight.

Fans of crawling, suffocating heaviness should take note. Monarch! tread the waters of previous greats like Khanate, Burning Witch, and Corrupted, but with a much more blackened and desolate atmosphere. The majority of the space in these sprawling 5 songs is constructed of droning guitar and bass chords. Vocals are sparse, alternating between soft whispers and wretching, powerful screams. Emilie’s vocal talents are vast and she fits the mood perfectly with each drawn breath or scream. Songs stretch anywhere from 11 to 26 minutes in length and sound like the apocalypse in slow motion. Ruling, and highly recommended!!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weedeater - God Luck and Good Speed

Weedeater – God Luck and Good Speed
Southern Lord Records

There’s a fine line that sludge and doom bands seemingly always have to be mindful of, which is a balance within the use of repetition and the simplicity of the riffs. Used correctly and the intent of playing slowly is effective and with purpose. Weedeater’s latest record, God Luck and Good Speed, seems ‘over the line’ to me.

The riffy ‘stoner’ portion of the genre gets boring and very quickly, and God Luck and Good Speed did nothing to hold my attention. While the music is heavy, there’s a definite lack of originality contained within this collection of songs (not counting ‘Alone’, a 2 minute track of banjo and low, clean vocals). The riffs don’t seem to go anywhere and vocalist/bassist Dixie’s throaty rasp just doesn’t do it for me.

I miss Buzzov*en

Bergraven - Dödsvisioner

Bergraven – Dödsvisioner
Hydrahead Records/Total Holocaust Records

2007 has been a year that produced many essential recordings from the trenches of darkness, doom, and death. Bergraven’s second full-length entitled Dödsvisioner is by far one of the best surprises of the year. I heard multiple descriptions prior to the release of what this one-man project was like, but none of them were even close to encompassing the sound or feeling contained within the record’s eight songs. Bergraven refuses to be backed into a niche corner like the hordes of many shitty extreme metal bands, playing off their image or making bold statements about nothing. The music speaks loudly and says much, none of which I can even begin to convey within the space of a review. Get this record immediately.