Tuesday, 30 August 2011

[ALBUM REVIEW] Womb of Decay - Descent into Obscure Nihilism

1. Geomagnetic Erosion Beyond the Fields of Horizontal Solar Eclipse
2. Cyclical Sado Nature of the Planets
3. Unearthly Existence
4. Massive Particle Transcendence Indepths Through Wormholes
5. Minimalist Isolated Lifeform
6. Swallowed Into the Shattered Dusk
7. Inharmonious Frozen Sunlight Over the Cathedral Neptune
8. Descent Into Obscure Nihilism
9. Fall Into Sinister Spheres

With the impossible to ignore extravagant song titles such as “Geomagnetic Erosion Beyond the Fields of Horizontal Solar Eclipse” and “Massive Particle Transcendence Indepths Through Wormholes” you’d be forgiven for thinking this album was a bunch of art fags playing some tech prog death garbage or a new Bal-Sagoth release. Far from it, in fact pretty much the polar opposite. Womb of Decay, now central point of focus for former Cenotaph vocalist Batu Çetin, have recently unleashed their debut offering on Turkish label Extreminal Productions. Although it never threatens to break new ground, Descent into Obscure Nihilism is a commendable effort, if at times slightly predictable release of festering funeral doom.

Turkey is not a country which is known for its funeral doom, but Womb of Decay certainly make a fine stab at it. The out and out highlight of this release is Batu’s stunning death gutturals, monstrous and crushing in their execution, they add an interesting dimension to an otherwise fairly passive release. He is obviously experienced in this area and as a result I’ll certainly be looking at his work with Cenotaph, they do just enough to save Descent into Obscure Nihilism from becoming another inoffensive release in a genre which is notorious for its plethora of sub-par Thergothon clones. The music itself is heavier than a pair of concrete boots, passages of dense bass heavy dirges of hypnotic down tuned riffing with Batu’s inhuman roaring on top, of which there is very little variation throughout the full fifty minutes, save for the useless outros to the end of each fucking song. I presume they’re in there to help create atmosphere, but rather than adding anything they end up performing the complete opposite, synthetic organs which rather jarringly interfere with the evil, cavernous atmosphere which Batu manages to execute very well with just a bass, guitar and his vocals. They just serve no discernable purpose whatsoever and are completely obsolete. Other than that, the other major bone I have to pick with this release is the production; it’s just too damn... good? For this type of music I find a much dirtier, low-fi production would help push the atmosphere which Batu is aiming for.

Originality and diversity never is a priority in the funeral doom genre and Womb of Decay don’t try to be anything else. Descent into Obscure Nihilism does succeed in dragging you kicking and screaming into its filth laden clutches for a while anyway at least. Each song manages just about to never overstay its welcome which is a significant problem with a lot of bands in this genre as if there’s an unwritten rule that no song should be shorter than ten minutes, but after a while you realise that it’s all been done before, and better. Fans of Thergothon, Evoken and Dismebowelment may well find something in this, but if you’re a newcomer to this genre, there are better, more established bands to begin with. There’s a lot of promise here, unfortunately it just doesn’t capture the imagination for long enough.


Originally written for Metalcrypt


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

[ALBUM REVIEW] Kriegshetzer - Panzer Vorwarts

1. Unser Rommel
2. Der Gott (der Eisen wachsen ließ)
3. Flamme Empor
4. Wenn alle untreu werden
5. Hohe Nacht Der Klaren Sterne
6. Schwarz ist unser Panzer
7. Mutspruch
8. Mutter
9. Kameradschaft
10. Einmal im Jahr
11. Panzerlied

Kriegshetzer are a Ukrainian black metal band who appear to have an extreme infatuation with Nazi Germany. Obligatory German band name (even though you aren’t German yourself)? Check. Cover depicting some item of Nazi military hardware and/or personnel? Check. Adoration of prominent Nazi figure? Check. Hell, we even have a reworking of a classical piece by the German poet Hans Baumann who coincidentally also happened to be heavily involved with the Hitler Youth. Now that is dedication to your ideology, never mind that poor Hans would be rolling in his grave if he ever heard this shit-encrusted, vacuous take on his work. Infact, the only thing this album is missing is the token Burzum cover which every single fucking NS band under the sun seems to have, as if it’s a prerequisite for releasing shitty, inane NSBM.

The music on display here really is nothing at all to write home about. There have been countless bands past and present who have performed and tuned this style of black metal that Kriegshetzer are aiming for to perfection; sadly you have to wade through all the muck to get to them in the first place, and unfortunately for Kriegshetzer, you better stick on your waterproofs.

The style of black metal for the most part revolves mainly around the fast break-neck riffing of Anders, which is a relief because the guitarwork is the only area on this release with any discernible quality whatsoever. Occasionally among the stock riffing, something half-decent will creep out and threaten your neck muscles, but before you know it you’re back to a jumble of derivative riffs again. The guitar tone is somewhat similar to that of Satanic Warmaster, the only difference is Satanic Tyrant knows who to write a decent track.

The vocals have (suprise suprise!) that unmistakable low, gruff German slight to them that so many black metal bands from Germany seem to like, and it’s not a style I’m a massive fan of. Too laid back and without any backbone or delivery. A tad more forceful and some genuine conviction behind them and we may be getting somewhere. This leads me on to the subject of the lyrics, which usually are something I never make a point of paying attention to in black metal, but when you hear “Deutschland ist der schönes Land” which pretty much literally translates to “Germany is the beautiful land”, it’s pretty hard to take seriously. The drum work isn’t too bad, but all too often it just ends up lost in the banality of the whole thing.

Panzer Vorwärtz all in all is just a bit of a non-event. It’s just flat out unremarkable and hollow. When most of the songs aren’t even five minutes long and they still drag, that’s not a good sign. It may be the case with a lot of black metal, but in all honesty you could play the album back as many times as you want and you still wouldn’t be able to pick out an individual song. It might as well be one song on repeat eleven times for all I’m concerned. There is much better coming out of Ukraine at the minute, with bands such as YGG, Ulvegr, Khors and the ilk, there’s really no need to bother with this.



Originally written for Metalcrypt