Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Vrtra - My Bones Hold a Stillness

VRTRA - My Bones Hold a Stillness (DAWNBREED Records LP 2017)
Completely unreadable, but quite good looking, logo and very austere design of the record caught my attention right away. And so did the music I have to say, because from the first spin I thought that "My Bones Hold a Stillness" is something worthier than your typical and average extreme metal release. And even though stylistically it's far from traditionally sounding stuff (which I usually prefer to listen to), Vrtra impressed me and didn't let change the record for different one for quite a while. Wow, what a great songwriting and performance from this unknown, obscure band. What a killer effort!  
In case of "My Bones Hold a Stillness" it's a hard task to really describe the music, as Vrtra definitely combine few styles of extreme music. But if I was going to describe "My Bones Hold a Stillness" in just few words, then I would say that it's a blackened, most obscure form of death metal, strongly infected by doomy, sludgy heaviness to capture the darkest and most frightening atmosphere. Yes, the aura that this music evokes is almost evil and malicious, it's going to possess you. I love how Vrtra uses dissonant and heavy riffs and blend them with more ferocious death / black metal parts, how they arrange their songs into lengthy compositions. Listening to them is like a journey through someone's nightmarish visions, which hypnotize the listener from the very first till very last second. You will find out that it's not easy to put this record back and do something else or to listen to something else. It draws attention and infects you with black mould. This sound is dense and bleak, with a lot of noise and good balance between slow, doomy heaviness and ferocious black metal blasts. Even the vocals merge screams, howls, growls and clean parts, adjusting them to the atmosphere of riffage. The twelve minutes long monolith from side B which is also the title track for this album is the most fantastic and thrilling part of "My Bones Hold a Stillness", I truly love what's going on in this song, with its most doomy and sepulchral riffage and killer vocals.  
It all is very intense, savage, very intriguing also, so personally I am surprised positively and liked this album a lot. I am not sure who's behind this band, because yet again we have some anonymous persons in the line up. I don't even know if there's going to be CD version. For the moment you can get Dawnbreed Records' vinyl comes with metallic gold ink, limited to 200 copies and the US press is from Sentient Ruin Laboratories with metallic silver ink, limited to another 200 copies. There were some tapes available as well. 
Standout track: "My Bones Hold a Stillness" 
Final rate: 80/100 

Centurian - Liber Zar Zax

CENTURIAN - Liber Zar Zax (LISTENABLE Records CD 2001)
Not so long ago I wrote few words about Centurian's debut and best album "Choronzonic Chaos Gods". Now it's time to do the same with their second full length, "Liber Zar Zax" from 2001. It's highly recommended album, for me personally these two Centurian albums belong to the best death metal releases of early 00's (and a decade later, after reformation, they did another killer record "Contra Rationem"!). I love that sheer violence and intensity of their music, I love how fierce and relentless it is and of course that evil, satanic aura around it is also impressive. From start to finish Centurian sounds killer and hardly anything has ever sounded as aggressive and savage as this band. 
I may like "Choronzonic Chaos Gods" slightly more, but "Liber Zar Zax" is also incredibly strong and killer album. The songwriting is very much on the same quality and just like on the debut we get a bunch of extreme and utterly powerful, vicious death metal songs that punch you like crazy until you bleed out and die in pain. Stylistically close to such Deicide, KrisiunMorbid Angel, Angel Corpse or Vital Remains, it is a fuckin death metal feast. Every song sounds like a furious beast, it's truly fast and extremely intense, but without sounding boring or pointless. Centurian does come up with many great riffs, a lot of them are quite memorable, sometimes they can even add a small melodic pattern.... And the arrangements are very good, without repeating the same ideas over and over again. Song structure is actually very simple, because usually every track is based only on three or four patterns, so maybe this is why this album is quite simple to get into and to remember (and all is spiced with many delicious guitar solos). But I prefer it that way, because I don't need to hear ten thousand riffs in every song to like it. More so, there's a good balance between blasting, tight parts and some slower, yet heavy fragments. Songs like "The Reading (Zarzax unto Zax)" and "Heading for Holocaust" and a bunch more are a must for you to hear. 
And right in the middle of the album Centurian decided to come up with "Feeding Flesh to the Vortex", which is a fantastic sounding instrumental piece, which gives you a time to gasp for breath, before another dose of carnage begins. I love these slow, sick riffs in it. Fuckin cool stuff. Good album then, not as good as the previous one, but still very damn worthy and recommendable release. Get it, if you love such sick and intense satanic death metal massacre! 
Standout tracks: "The Reading (Zarzax unto Zax)", "Heading for Holocaust", "Conjuration for Choronzon" 
Final rate: 75/100 

Friday, 18 August 2017

Autopsy - Mental Funeral

AUTOPSY - Mental Funeral (PEACEVILLE Records LP 1991)
This is going to be difficult question to answer – which Autopsy album is better: "Severed Survival" or "Mental Funeral"? Both are obviously fantastic, yes, and each has its strengths, but I personally cannot decide which of these two like more. Usually people like debut records more than the following releases. I can name dozens of bands, where first album is their best. They may have five, ten or even more albums released, but none of them equals the greatness of their first LP. In case of Autopsy it isn't that easy.  Yes, "Severed Survival" had some of the best and most classic songs, which this band has ever recorded. Yes, I love the primitive feeling and raw production of it. And of course, this record had an incredible influence on the entire death metal scene. But "Mental Funeral" is also damn fantastic and equals debut in every aspect. 
When you listen to "Mental Funeral" you have to admit that the songwriting has improved... Maybe this album doesn't have such classic tunes like "Ridden With Disease" or "Charred Remains", but some of the riffs that Autopsy rips the skin with are also fuckin' superb. And the fact that the doomy parts sound ever better is a big bonus for me. I love that crushing, nasty and truly obscure sound of slow paced, malicious death metal. When such slimy riffs come from the speakers, you can literally feel the blood coming from your ears and see the walls crushing to pieces. This incredible, devastating strength is in many songs from "Mental Funeral", I can for example name such cults like "In the Grip of Winter", "Dead", "Torn from the Womb" (which is the best song on the album!), "Destined to Fester" and "Robbing the Grave". More so, it is great that the music sometimes has tiny more melodic feel... Damn, these harmonies which are present in tracks such as "Torn from the Womband especially "Hole in the Head" are simply fantastic. When you will listen to this LP carefully, it may feel like someone wanted to make your old Black Sabbath's classics sound as primitive, repelling and insane as you can imagine. Crazy idea, but how well it works and what a delicious death / doom classic "Mental Funeral" is! 
If there's anything I like less about "Mental Funeral" then I would mention the instrumental pieces like "Fleshcrawl" or "Bonesaw", which I just think are unnecessary and I don't enjoy them so much. And I would say the production also, because I prefer the utterly disgusting and horrid sound of the debut album (drums sound especially). I'm glad though that the guitar tone is still so amazing, because I love it! And Chris Reifert's vocals are as insane and sick as you can imagine, he vomits like crazy maniac. You have to love it! So, I won't decide which of the two Autopsy early records I like more. They're just equally fantastic. Yeah! 
Standout tracks: "Torn from the Womb", "Hole in the Head", In the Grip of Winter", "Destined to Fester" 
Final rate: 90/100