Tag Archives: Agonia Records

The Moth Gatherer – The Earth is the Sky

The Moth Gatherer - The Earth is the Sky

The Moth Gatherer [Sweden]
The Earth is the Sky
2015
Full Length
Agonia Records
Atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metal

The first time I heard of The Moth Gatherer was 2 years ago with their last album, A Braight Celestial Light. Not knowing better then, the Swedes were a novelty in terms of the epic soundscape that they managed to create and the fusing of post rock elements into their style of metal. 2 years later, the band returns with their brand new effort The Earth is the Sky, which led me to revisit A Braight Celestial Light resulting in new insights, and better appreciation of these Swedes.

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Infernal War – Axiom

INFERNAL WAR - Axiom

Infernal War [Poland]
Axiom
2015
Full Length
Agonia Records
Black/Death Metal

When I first heard Infernal War on their 2009 EP, Conflagrator, I was absolutely blown away by the speed, aggression and intensity that these Poles manage to squeeze into a short 20-minute release. Since then, Conflagrator has pretty much remained one of my favourite Polish extreme metal releases. This year, Infernal War finally returns with their brand new full length release, Axiom, and it remains to be seen and heard if their third album is indeed a statement for the Polish underground.

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

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Interview with Den Saakaldte

den_saakaldte_cover

This interview comes in a bit late, being conducted back in April as Norwegian black metal band Den Saakaldte prepared for the release of their latest opus, Kapittel II: Faen i Helvete. Aside from the band’s Shining influences, along with the weird-fuckery that was on their previous release, All Hail Pessimism (which reminded me strongly of Japanese weirdos Sigh), the band goes back to their roots this time, and one can spot influences from compatriots Mayhem to the earlier works of bands like Ragnarok and Setherial on Kapittel II. Sykelig, founding member of the band enlightens us and tells us more about the creative process behind the album.

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Album Review: Origin – Omnipresent

Origin - Omnipresent

Origin [USA]
Omnipresent
2014
Full Length
Agonia Records
Technical/Brutal Death Metal

What a ridiculously good year for death metal this has been, with outstanding releases ranging from legends such as Misery Index and Hour of Penance to those of younger bands like The Kennedy Veil and ArchspireOrigin joins the party slightly late with their sixth full length album, Omnipresent, also their debut under the excellent Agonia Records.

With so many good technical death metal releases already, one’s standard would undoubtedly be set higher for veterans who have created and solidified the sound of technical/brutal death metal, and what more of a band of such stature as Origin. Fortunately, being the pros that they are, Origin more than manages to satisfy the ravenous hunger of fans, and Omnipresent leaves one hungry for even more. All Things Dead see the band continuing in the veins of the style that they had laid down on 2011’s Entity, and immediately the majestic riffs unleashed by Paul Ryan crushes the listener like a freight train, reminding one of the style of bands such as Nile or Hour of Penance. This especially so with that technicality and complexity that the band likes to infuse in the midst of all the crushing chaos, and that rather high mix of the bass ingenuity of Mike Flores. Interludes such as Permanence and Continuum especially give the band time to show off their abilities on their instruments, as Paul shows off his neoclassical chops on these tracks.

At the same time, the band retains that slightly grindish edge in their songwriting as well. The urgency in Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex and that sudden breakdown halfway through the track even brings to mind what Wormrot or Insect Warfare would have written, leaving a lasting impact on the listener as though the death metal of Origin weren’t sufficient to suffocate the listener. The usage of shrieks on top of Jason Keyser’s growls also help to reinforce this grind comparison, and is definitely useful in reinforcing the heaviness that is on Omnipresent.

If one loved the material that Origin presented on Entity, then Omnipresent will definitely impress, with the band further solidifying and polishing the sound on this new masterpiece.

[xrr rating=5/5]

Origin on the internet:
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Agonia Records

Album Review: Den Saakaldte – Faen I Helvete

Den Saakaldte - Kapittel II

Den Saakaldte [Norway]
Faen I Helvete
2014
Full Length
Agonia Records
Black Metal

The thing that brought Den Saakaldte‘s 2009 debut All Hail Pessimism to my attention was the ability for the band to fuse cold, depressive black metal with slight avant-garde of bands such as Sigh to create a unique and memorable release. Hence, I eagerly awaited the band’s sophomore full length, Faen I Helvete, after 5 long years, curious what they now have in place for fans.

Unfortunately, on Faen i HelveteDen Saakaldte takes the more well-trodden path, with most of the album sounding like classic Norwegian black metal, though this is not to say that there is any lack of quality material on the album. The elements that made All Hail Pessimism a record that stuck to my mind are now mostly suppressed or gone, but in all honesty this is about the only complaint that I have of Faen i Helvete.

Anyway, the band’s influences from compatriots are obvious, and the riffs of Skyelig and Kvebek all bear rather strong resemblances to pioneers such as Mayhem and Gorgoroth, though there are also moments where the band bring in some slight punkish vibe not unlike that of Satyricon‘s later works. The coldness emanated from Den Saakaldte‘s music would also ensure that fans of early Ragnarok or Setherial are satisfied. The more aggressive moments on the album even brings in some Swedish vibe, from the belligerence in the more frantic and high octane moments to the slower and doomish moments on Du Selvproklamerte misjonaer bringing Marduk‘s discography to mind.

To keep things interesting, Den Saakaldte also puts in some elements of ritualism and the occult, with the creepy clean singing that appear at times throughout the album, sending chills down the listener’s back. Songs like Forbanna Idioter even has some inhuman shrieks and howls to create that haunting atmosphere in the air.

Some of my favourite black metal bands of late (such as BehexenMarduk, Koldbrann, et al.) have seen a shift to an updated style of old school black metal with a slight modern touch to their sound, and it seems that Den Saakaldte is heading towards a similar direction as well. But the band has managed to keep the listener enchanted, and while it lacks the weirdness of their debut, Faen i Helvete is still a powerful album in itself.

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Den Saakaldte on the internet:
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Agonia Records

Heavy Metal Tribune #013

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OUT NOW: Heavy Metal Tribune #013

Returning after a 7-year long wait since their last album, Fields of Rot, Norwegian black/thrashers Nocturnal Breed grace our cover, with band mastermind S.A. Destroyer giving us a peek behind the scenes on what went on in the writing of their latest album, Napalm Nights.

In our chat with Matti and Jyri of old school Finnish death metallers Corpsessed, we uncover the history behind the band and their insights on the recent rapid growth of the Finnish death metal scene.

The departure of the Hoffman brothers from Deicide also marked the revival of Amon. While the band’s last release prior to the hiatus was in the 1989 demo, SacrificialAmon returns stronger than ever, and brothers Eric and Brian finally get to show their technical flair on their latest album Liar in Wait. Eric Hoffman, one half of the axe-wielding brothers gives us a short history lesson on Amon.

Marco’s reputation as ex-Blasphemy guitarist (aka The Traditional Sodomizer of the Goddess of Perversity), with even a track by the Ross Bay legends written in his honour (Goddess of Perversity off Fallen Angel of Doom), fans would expect Tyrants Blood to be equally bestial to Blasphemy‘s trademark war metal style. But Into the Kingdom of Graves proved to be a different breed of monster, and unlike previous releases of Tyrants BloodInto the Kingdom of Graves is a much more technically challenging release. Marco explains the difference in stylistics to previous Tyrants Blood releases, as well as his performance in Blapshemy.

Oriental extreme metal has quickly gained a foothold internationally, with ChthoniC amassing a sizeable fanbase. Over at Hong Kong, Evocation is slowly building up their brand of melodic extremity, and with comparisons of their newest album, Abracadabra to the early works of ChthoniC and Anthelion, the band is ready to leave their mark in the international metal scene. Tomy, guitarist and vocalist of Evocation, tells us what sets their band apart from other bands out of the region.

Swedish black metal band Necrophobic closes the 13th issue of Heavy Metal Tribune. In our second ever chat with Joakim, he explains the return of the style on their latest album, Womb of Lilithu to the one that fans of Hrimthursum are familiar with, as well as their quest in finding the void that has been left from the departure of Robert Sennebäck. (Read our previous interview with Joakim, conducted in 2010 right here.)

Read it all over here:

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Local friends of Heavy Metal Tribune, grab your copy of #013 from Inokii and Roxy Records soon! More outlets to be announced soon, so keep your eyes peeled! Foreign friends of Heavy Metal Tribune, as usual, cancontact us for a copy of issue #013 (P+H of USD2.00 applies).

Album Review: Nocturnal Breed – Napalm Nights

Nocturnal Breed - Napalm Nights

Nocturnal Breed [Norway]
Napalm Nights
2014
Full Length
Agonia Records
Black/Thrash Metal

For the past 7 years, Norwegian blackened thrash metal band Nocturnal Breed has been lying low, having all but disappeared with their previous output Fields of Rot. This year sees the highly anticipated return of the band with their brand new album, their fifth full length release in the form of Napalm Nights.

Right from the get go, the rock and roll attitude that the band takes in writing their music is rather obvious, with the swagger on opening track The Devil Swept the Ruins being rather reminiscent of fellow Norwegians Satyricon with the fusion of that simplistic playing and that black metal grittiness. But as soon as Speedkrieg begins, the band switches lanes into a more speed metal/crossover style, with the playing style of the band easily reminding one of bands such as Joel Grind’s Toxic Holocaust and Tiger Junkies, as well as Japanese blackened thrash bands Abigail and Barbatos. The Lemmy-styled vocals especially helps to reinforce that old school touch and rock and roll moments on the album.

Yet despite the entire rock and roll vibe that the band gives off, the band shows that there is a somewhat sensitive side to their songwriting as well. The lead guitars/solo moments on tracks like The Devil Swept the Ruins easily display this with these being some of the softest moments on the album, and the melodic sensibilities that are shown by Axeman and Fineideath. Songs like Cursed Beyond Recognition are also rather nice, melodic tracks, coming in nicely after the chaos of Speedkrieg, giving listeners a short respite from the high octane listening experience so far.

The title track, Napalm Nights is probably the most interesting of the lot over here, going for more than 12 minutes and showing the more atmospheric side of the band, what with the opening sound samples and the mid-pace, but heavy playing style that is utilised for the most part of the album. The heavy chugging playing style on the track at times even brings about comparisons with bands such as Metallica.

In fact, most of the tracks that are on Napalm Nights mange to sound somewhat different from each other, with each giving off a different vibe and showing off a different style of playing of Nocturnal Breed, and this is definitely something that captured my attention. There is no doubt something for everyone who is a fan of old school rock and roll music over here, and with Napalm NightsNocturnal Breed proves that the 7 years of wait has not been in vain.

Personal highlightsSpeedkriegThe Bitch of Buchenwald

Nocturnal Breed on the internet:
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Album Review: Glorior Belli – Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls

Glorior Belli - Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurs

Glorior Belli [France]
Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls
2013
Full Length
Agonia Records
Black Metal

The weirdness that the French black metal scene is capable of is nothing new, with bands such as Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega and their dissonant and rather avant-garde releases. And while Glorior Belli has also had quite a history, their fifth full length album, Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls is my first encounter with them.

Not knowing what to expect from the band certainly helps in making the listening of the album all the more surprising. Blackpowder Roars start off with a sludge/stoner metal groove, and instinctively, I had to check if I was listening to the right band. Upon realising that this was Glorior Belli indeed, I knew that this was gonna be a ride that I would enjoy a lot. Like all good sludge/stoner releases, the riffs that are unleashed are all extremely groovy yet can get rather heavy at times, sounding like Church of Misery with a black metal edge, courtesy of the snarling vocals on the record. Furthermore, the bass is mixed rather high in the album, adding to the overall heaviness and grooviness of the material of Glorior Belli.

Then without warning, with Wolves at My Door, the band goes into a full on black metal section, with all the chaos, coldness and desolation that is so familiar to fans of the genre. The dissonant chords that appear once in awhile like on A Hoax, A Croc! brings about comparisons to compatriots such as Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord, but that perhaps isn’t the least surprising Yet throughout, the band ensures that there is that groovy undertone that keeps the listener constantly engaged, and for a fan of sludge, stoner, doom and black metal, this only makes Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls all the more enjoyable than a conventional record of either genres.

Certainly, Glorior Belli‘s style of music fits the overall French style of quirkiness very well, but what made Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls more enjoyable for me compared to the others is the way the band has incorporated elements of so many different genres into one coherent and catchy release, without losing any of the French uniqueness and character of their sound.

Glorior Belli on the internet:
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Agonia Records

Album Review: Pest – The Crowning Horror

Pest - The Crowning Horror

Pest [Sweden]
The Crowning Horror
2013
Full Length
Agonia Records
Black Metal

The term “old school” has been thrown around rather indiscriminately and has come to be rather meaningless with the trend in extreme metal being the emulation of old school greats, be it in the black, death or thrash metal genres. But over the years, few have been as adamant about being old school as Sweden’s Pest, and 3 years after their last release, the band returns with their fourth full length effort, The Crowning Horror.

Honestly, Pest wasn’t the easiest Swedish black metal band to get into either, with their debut Desecration being one of the albums that really took me some getting used to. And The Crowning Horror is no different, with the band still taking that old school stance and approach in their songwriting and musical style. The dirtiness and filthiness in the atmosphere is quickly felt from the haunting opening track The Funeral Hours with its ominous melody, but as soon as the band starts their onslaught with A Face Obscured by Death, one instantly knows what he is in for. The entire sound and feel that Pest emanates on The Crowning Horror are old school as fuck, from the riffs that are unleashed by Equimanthorn and Necro to that gritty and raw production quality on the album.

Unlike many early second wave black metal emulators of late, Pest goes back earlier in time, and throughout the record, first wave elements from legends such as Celtic Frost could be heard. The rather simplistic and repetitive playing also bring about comparisons to Darkthrone‘s later punk-inspired works, and while the later works of Darkthrone aren’t that much of an attraction for me, Pest manages to balance the black metal with the punkish attitude, making for a more palatable listen. There are even moments where the riffs and the drums come together to bring about some early proto-heavy metal sounds. Just listen to the opening riffs of A Face Obscured by Death, sounding almost like what contemporary proto-heavy metal bands like Ghost would sound like, if only you put in more black metal elements and a dirtier sound. The lead guitar works on the album also emphasise the heavy metal elements that are included, like on Volcanic Eyes, and this is certainly extremely enjoyable for those who are looking for a more extreme variant of the heavy metal genre.

Despite the dirty sounds that are on the record, for the most part The Crowning Horror is a catchy as fuck album, with the band managing to keep the listener enchanted throughout. If you love old school heavy metal and old school black metal, Pest‘s latest effort would certainly not disappoint, bringing back the sounds of the early 80s once more.

Pest on the internet:
Official website
Agonia Records

Album Review: Aosoth – IV: Arrow in Heart

Aosoth - IV - Arrow in Heart

Aosoth [France]
IV: Arrow in Heart
2013
Full Length
Agonia Records
Black Metal

Aosoth was the true first black metal band out of France that managed to capture my attention, amongst all the weirdness that comes from the region with bands like Deathspell and Blut Aus Nord. The band this year releases their fourth full length album (not counting the instrumental Variations of Violence), IV: Arrow in Heart under Agonia Records.

The band doesn’t show any mercy as they hit the listener with the epic An Arrow in Heart right from the start, a black metal onslaught that lasts in excess of 10 minutes. The uneasiness that French black metal has come to be known for are still certainly present, and dissonant chords are frequently used by guitarist BST to maintain that high tension that is present in the air, not unlike their compatriots Deathspell Omega. Bassist INRVI helps in the effort as well with the high presence of the bass in the music creating a rather oppressive atmosphere on top of the already ominous feeling on the album. The focus of Aosoth on Arrow in Heart seems to be heavy on the atmosphere, and even the more silent moments are strategically placed, and on the title track with tribal-like percussions at the background as well.

At the same time, it seems that the band has toned down somewhat on their experimental/avant-garde side, with Arrow in Heart being an album that is rather easy to get into for those more used to the conventional black metal stylistics of Norway or the Scandinavian region, though the band often throws surprises at the listener, suddenly shifting to different stylistics when least expected throughout the album. There are even moments where there are slight similarities to bands such as Mayhem in the coldness and desolation that is emanated, or to Marduk in the more aggressive moments on the album.

For the most part, Arrow in Heart trudges along at a mid-pace, and the band often slows down even more in the middle of the longer tracks on the album. Combined with the atmospherics of the album, Arrow in Heart is a release that is not for the faint-hearted or those who lack the patience to slowly soak in the album in its entirety.

Aosoth on the internet:
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Agonia Records