Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trauma


Trauma - Karma Obscura
Witching Hour Productions, 2013
Genre: Death Metal

1. The Prelude to Annihilation
2. Renewal through Collapse
3. The Nightmare of Your God
4. After Death
5. Renegade
6. Veil of Obliteration
7. Spiral of Extinction
8. The Edge of Depravity
9. Awakening of Masses







Chudy's back!  I was really sad to see him not involved in the last two Trauma releases, but I think that lack has only made this album all the more crushing.  I really do think Chudy is the right vocalist to complement Trauma's sound.  Kopec did a great job for what he was doing, but I still think Chudy is the vocalist that was meant to mesh with Trauma's sound.

As bands get older and the members mature I think they trend towards trying to write a little more thoughtful music.  Music that means more to them than just cool songwriting.  At least that's how I feel when I look back through Trauma's discography.  Trauma have, throughout their career, always maintained a strict discipline of quality songwriting and "Karma Obscura" is no exception.  I do think that what they started writing on "DetermiNation" has resulted in the culmination of their sound and they've been staying in this direction for quite some time.  As with "Archetype of Chaos" this album trends more to the groove and more atmospheric elements that have been growing in Trauma's age.  Some fans may be disappointed at the lack of pummeling sections these days, but I do like the devastating and punishing rhythms Trauma manage to drive home to the listener.  The major difference with "Karma Obscura" is they've thrown in some more of the Melodic Death Metal riffs amongst their usual crushing Death Metal.  Trauma basically have this kind of songwriting down to a science and I enjoy their modern form as much as their old, I know not everyone will feel this way.

I usually don't mention lyrics and since I've been playing catch-up with their discography I'm going to take the time to put this out there now.  One thing I have always appreciated about Trauma, and to a larger extent a lot of the Polish Death Metal I follow... the lyrics aren't total shit.  Behind the broken English is some creative song writing.  Certainly the writing has gotten better on the newer Trauma, but with age you gain different appreciation for things and sometimes a different perspective.  I like that Death Metal, for this region especially, doesn't mean solely writing about violence/gore or about how awesome Satan is.  Those lyrical topics get so tiresome in the genres, so I like seeing people spending time thinking about other things in life.  Trauma's anti-religious stance comes across as far more well thought out criticism than just swearing at Christians.

If you liked "Archetype of Chaos" you will love "Karma Obscura".  I love hearing Chudy's vocal treatment behind Trauma and he gives a very dynamic voice to Trauma's sound.  He hasn't lost his edge at all in the past few years and I would say he has even gained a bit more strength.  I would definitely recommend this to fans of modern Death Metal fans.  If you want Death Metal that blasts through songs then modern Trauma is certainly not for you and you should skip this.


Trauma - Archetype of Chaos
Witching Hour Productions, 2010
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro (White Architect)
2. Cortex Deformation
3. A Dying World
4. War Machine
5. The Slime
6. The Truth Murder
7. Tabula Rasa
8. Portrait of the Lies
9. Destruction of the Demented World





After the demise of Empire Records, I imagine Trauma was left looking for a label and it seems out of the ashes Witching Hour Productions has stepped up to become the new staple of Polish Death Metal.  Trauma couldn't have picked a better label, in my opinion anyway.  Their dedication to the artistic end of things is highly appreciated by buyers like me and many others.  However, I feel like this leaves Trauma in a similar situation they were in before in the sense that little recognition beyond Europe will happen for them.  Witching Hour releases really don't end up in my country that often and I really don't think the label is on anyone's radar.  This is a huge loss to the metal world given the record labels roster and attention to quality.

Maybe the obscurity is worth it, because I hold in my hands a beautiful digi-pack release for "Archetype of Chaos".  It comes in a four panel digi-pak along with a full booklet.  The cover is clearly eye catching and the rest of the graphic design is more than worth getting!  Truly a beautiful product.

Like "Neurotic Mass" this album opens with an incredibly haunting intro.  I actually wish this was a lot longer and built into "Cortex Deformation" even more than it currently is, but the intro alone was enough to set my senses alert for changes to the Trauma sound.  It's been a while for them and they're only returning to the studio as a three piece this time with Mister handling all the guitar work by himself.  It was nice to hear the bass get in some licks in songs like "The Slime", but it is still woefully under-represented since the days of "Suffocated in Slumber".  That sort of Middle-Eastern flare shows up in "The Truth Murder", but I feel like they just use that kind of stuff to set a tone for the intro before the song swiftly changes into something else.  For the most part Trauma sticks with catering to the groovier side of Death Metal, but part of me misses some of the intense syncopation they messed around with in the past.

"Archetype of Chaos" is pretty much a finer re-working of "Neurotic Mass".  I don't feel like they've necessarily released the same album, but it's pretty similar.  The only difference is that I would choose "Archetype of Chaos" over "Neurotic Mass", because the overall listen is more cohesive.  There is nothing on "Archetype of Chaos" that is as hard hitting as "Greed" though, so "Neurotic Mass" definitely has that advantage.  They've sort of dropped off a lot of the more fast and hard hitting material to favor the groovier side of things.  This isn't that bad of a thing, in my opinion, it makes the album a little less varied in favor of developing a cohesive song structure.  So it's a lot easier for the listener to get immersed in the overall album, rather than taking it one song at a time.  At any rate, I found it quite enjoyable and I would recommend the newer material as well.


Trauma - Neurotic Mass
Empire Records, 2007
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro Monument
2. Greed
3. Altar of Vanity
4. The Eternal Quest
5. Unexpected Lie
6. Neurotic Mass
7. Immolated
8. Edge of Vegetation
9. Dead macrocosm







Here we have the new Trauma and we have, yet again, more line-up changes in the vocal department.  I don't know why Chudy wasn't able to do vocals on this, but I imagine he gave permission to use his lyrics.  It makes me wonder if this is sort of a last minute change, because the new vocalist, Kopec, didn't write anything on this album.  Most of the lyrics are actually by Chudy, but Kopec from Perverse, is performing all the vocals.  To be honest he's not a bad replacement and he's clearly an experienced vocalist in the field of Death Metal.

"Neurotic Mass" starts off with something we've never heard from Trauma, an intro that is heavily laden with powerful classical elements.  In fact these elements sort of show up throughout the album, though they are quite subtle in some areas.  Others are quite apparent like the intro to "Immolated".  I think this is clearly influenced by Vader's "Impressions in Blood" and I think "Neurotic Mass" winds up being one of the most Vader influenced albums in Trauma's discography.  Granted the music is basically a combination of "DetermiNation" and "Imperfect Like a God", because we experience a lot of those atmospheric rhythms from "DetermiNation", but we also hear some of those heavy syncopated riffs from "Imperfect Like a God".  At the same time the vocals have these spoken word styled sections that are just so taken from the book of Vader that the influence is obvious.  As usual Trauma do things incredibly well and starting off by launching into the immense song "Greed" is very memorable.  One thing I do like about Trauma, is that despite the heavy Vader influence, Trauma still manages to come across as their own band.

I think I am safe in saying that this is probably one of the most diverse sounding albums Trauma have put out.  They can easily pummel us into submission with "Greed", but they also have a serious degree of rhythmic atmosphere in the title track.  There are even subtle hints of the keyboard in there with some strange electronic sounds.  Then "Edge of Vegetation", while heavy and brutal, has touches of some of the lighter more Melodic Death Metal elements we saw Trauma play with on "Craving".  Then things change up quite a bit more with "Dead Macrocosm" with a sort of a Middle Eastern flair to the opening riffs.  Perhaps influence from Nile has worked it's way into their rotation?  It is not long before the song switches into that heavy rhythmic Death Metal in the usual Polish style.

As usual everything is written and performed at the highest quality of an experienced Death Metal band.  While you certainly can't go wrong in getting this album, I personally think "DetermiNation" may have been a little bit better.  Not by a huge margin, mind you.  "DetermiNation" felt more consistently cohesive and "Neurotic Mass" feels a lot more varied, so I guess it depends on the listener.  If you want to hear fairly varied and well executed Death Metal, you may find more merit with "Neurotic Mass".


Trauma - Hamartia
Empire Records, 2006
Genre: Death Metal

1. Craving
2. Decayed by False
3. Demanufacture (Fear Factory Cover)
4. Stripped, Raped and Strangled (Cannibal Corpse Cover)
5. Davidian (Machine Head Cover)









After only a year Trauma were back in the studio recording a small EP with a two new tracks and a few cover songs.  I think this EP has actually become quite scarce in recent years due to the fact that Empire Records is no longer around.  If it makes anyone feel any better, I'm not sure I would consider this essential for the Trauma discography compared to their full lengths.  Still, it is certainly worth having in the collection if you're a true Trauma maniac like myself.

Listening to the two original songs makes me wonder when the tracks were written.  "Craving" sounds like a throw-back to the days of "Comedy is Over" with the Melodic Death Metal touches.  I feel like it's sort of blended with the writing of "Suffocated in Slumber", so I can see why it wouldn't have really fit on any of the current albums if it is an older song.  I get the impression that "Decayed by False" sort runs the same problems, but sounds much more akin to their modern material.  Still, I don't see how this would fit on any of their albums, so if these are lost songs recorded for the fun of it, this EP is a perfect place to put them.  I don't think either of the songs stands out as strong as the material on prior full lengths, so in that regard this EP doesn't deliver as much as one would hope.  The real interesting factor to this release are the cover songs!  I feel like Trauma is sort of breaking with Metal tradition a little bit with some of the covers of more popular American metal acts, but they do a pretty good rendition of the material.  First they covered my favorite Fear Factory song "Demanufacture" and they did a pretty good job with this.  For some reason I feel like the guitar tone was thinned out a little bit, this is probably in attempt to get it closer to the Fear Factory tone, but I really wish they used the really thick tone of "DetermiNation".  I think that would have given it a much more interesting and Death-ier feel, which is a recasting I would have appreciated.  Another part that is sort of fun is that it's like listening to Fear Factory with a Polish accent!  Next they covered my favorite Cannibal Corpse song and, wow, they really did a stellar job on this.  This is the best cover on the EP by far.  They kept that excellent and thick tone we'd expect from Trauma, so it sounded even heavier than the original.  Next they covered a Machine Head song and I'll confess I was never too into this band.  They didn't do a Death Metal version of the song, instead they had another vocalist handle this song to do more of a "clean" sound.  I, personally, would have much rather heard the Death Metal rendition of this song, so this was something I wasn't super into.

In the end the EP brings to light some of Trauma's more diverse influences.  You can really see the Fear Factory interest with their interest in syncopated rhythms.  Naturally I think Trauma takes the influence and casts in a far more interesting way and with a far more devastating application.  While I do enjoy Fear Factory, I will not lie that I enjoy what Trauma has done quite a bit more.  One of the other features on this EP is that it includes a music video recorded for "Elegy for Doom" from the album "DetermiNation".  This certainly makes this an interesting release to have.  Check this out if you're a collector, but, again, it is not essential if you just want all the quality Trauma material available.


Trauma - DetermiNation
Empire Records, 2005
Genre: Death Metal

1. The Elegy for Doom
2. The Solitude Remains
3. Wings of Frustration
4. An Act of Providence
5. The Loneliest
6. As Never Before
7. Frozen God
8. Determination








I always think it is very curious when two different bands essentially release very similarly styled albums in the same year.  As if the culmination of their sound resulted in some logical progression to this new form.  The two albums I'm comparing are Trauma's "DetermiNation" and Hate's "Anaclasis".  Both of these album's are monster outputs for the each project and I absolutely consider them must have for any Polish Death Metal maniac!  Each output is slightly different, but I can't help but marvel at the similarities that are suddenly appearing.  I would even dare say that both projects were evolving what Trauma and other Polish acts were doing on their prior albums, because it was an entirely shocking direction for Hate to some degree, whereas Trauma was already performing something in that vein.

"DetermiNation" changes up the format from "Imperfect Like a God" ever so slightly.  There is a lot less toying with syncopation on this album, but what they've started infusing into their sound is some more atmospheric feeling riffs.  Just listen to the title track to see what I mean.  In some respects I feel like what Trauma have developed would influence what Hate does more of in the future, because I feel like they adopted this more than the direction Trauma went in.  This is actually really great, mind you, because, while I love what Trauma have put out here, I like that Trauma continue to evolve their sound while another band takes up the mantle of what was written here!

A lot of what Trauma is doing on this album is infusing some elements from Morbid Angel (mostly "Domination" era) into their sound.  The reason I feel this sounds a bit more unique, because they're blending it with that patented Polish sound and atmosphere only the Poles seem to know how to add to their Death Metal.  Once again we get another album with expertly written Death Metal songs, and while I miss the interesting syncopation, I do think this album manages to outdo "Imperfect Like a God".  Chudy's vocal work is certainly much more inventive and dynamic throughout the album.  This only adds to the interesting listen and the drum work is always superbly done.  I really like that Maly doesn't feel the need to blast and play as fast as possible throughout and album and instead thinks up ways to vary up the drums to make it a far more interesting listen.  This only enhances the guitar performance.

Trauma have certainly hit their stride in writing music.  I really can't wait to hear what devastating masterpiece they have in store for us next!  One thing I love about Trauma so far is that every album has sounded different and quite distinct.  The influences can be very apparent, but the arrangements and infusion of different styles gives each album a distinct sound.  Trauma's discography, so far, is like a "best of" Death Metal history in the making!



Trauma - Imperfect Like a God
Empire Records, 2003
Genre: Death Metal

1. Blade Under Your Throat
2. The Hidden Seed
3. The Madness Here
4. Beyond the Perception
5. Imperfect Like a God
6. Make Me Blind
7. Spiritual Disorder
8. Perplexity of Truths
9. Outrage to Fools







After four years of waiting we finally see Trauma return with a new full length.  Once they put out "Suffocated to Slumber" I thought the band might pick up more steam and really start getting material out there.  Granted I'm more than happy to wait for quality material, because that's always preferred to mediocre quantity.  I'm happy to report that "Imperfect like a God" is absolutely worth the wait, but it comes with some bad news.  Piotr has left his place as a vocalist, just when his vocals were getting immense, but I'm happy to say they found a suitable replacement in Chudy.

I love the title of "Imperfect Like a God" and unlike it's namesake this album is nearly the incarnation of Death Metal perfection.  Trauma have taken "Suffocated in Slumber" to the next level.  They've really started to compress just about all the styles of Polish Death Metal into one insane onslaught.  Here we see brushes with technicality mixed with intoxicating rhythms.  They even have some of that groove Vader throws into their songs, but Trauma experiment with syncopation between instruments a little bit more.  While I'm not sure I would say this brings them to a highly original form, but I will say this is exactly the kind of Death Metal I want to spend my time listening to.  Trauma have the unique ability to distill the greatest sounds in Death Metal into a single album, which might get them overlooked with regards to originality, but it really shouldn't.  Every time a classic band experiments too much and puts out a dud album or gets locked into a sequence they can't get out of we must turn to bands like Trauma.  Trauma takes the very best of any bands experimentation and recasts it with other elements to really make their songs stand out.

I'm not sure about anyone else out there, but when I want to listen to a solid and perfect album through and through I tend to turn to these bands that manage to take what others have done and really harness it.  There's a huge difference between wholly unoriginal bands and those that are exceptional songwriters.  Trauma find themselves in the latter category.  I certainly don't mind bands pushing the envelope and experimenting, but if I want to hear how a band's influence fell to the (sometimes) better songwriters than the original, I turn to these bands.  The refinement in quality is sometimes an immense pleasure and you really can't go wrong with an incredibly solid album like this.


Trauma - Crash Test-Live
Pagan Records, 2001
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro
2. Unable to React
3. A Gruesome Display
4. Incertitude
5. Swallow the Murder
6. Dust (Kill Me)
7. Silent Scream (Slayer Cover)
8. A Deep Scar
9. Suffocated in Slumber
10. Possessed
11. Bloodshot Eyes





After a few full lengths Trauma have returned with an explosive live performance in guise of "Crash Test - Live".  Personally, I'm not usually too big on live albums, because a lot of times the recording quality comes across as sub-par.  However, that is not the case with this live recording.  This is extremely well recorded and mastered and it just goes to show that Trauma can easily compete on stage with bands as mighty as Vader (whom I've seen many times).

This is quite an interesting show because the opening band was Decapitated!  To give people that historical perspective, Decapitated were just starting to make a name for themselves amongst the locals of Poland.  Headlining was, none other than, Vader!  What a show this must have been!  I'm sure this is nothing new to the Polish metal fans, but where I'm from something like this would be unheard of.  Trauma's set list sticks mostly to "Suffocated in Slumber" with some tracks taken from "Daimonion".  I think "Comedy" is sort of ignored a bit more than the others because the writing doesn't fit as well with their newer material.  It certainly isn't as devastating to listen to and the newer material make for a much better live show.  To make this even more precious Trauma do an incredible cover of Slayer's "Silent Scream".  This was extremely awesome because this is one of the songs that often gets overlooked when people think to cover Slayer, so it was great to see someone do this.

The booklet comes with a lot of live photos.  Some of which were taken by Decapitated's Witek.  I'm not surprised the instrumentation sounded great, but I was especially impressed with Piotr's vocal performance.  He's come a long way since the days of his work on "Comedy is Over".  He's really harnessed a spectacular vocal tone over the years and it just sounds perfect!  I was surprised to see that the use of Mesa Boogie amps yielded a performance this heavy.  My experience with these amps has seen them trend towards the more Treble end of things, but Trauma might be using a processor combination that really punches up those amps distortion.

As far as live albums go, this is absolutely worth the purchase.  If you're a Trauma fan I would even consider this a must buy and the recording quality actually isn't too different from "Suffocated in Slumber," so to hear some old tracks in that guise is quite a treat.


Trauma - Suffocated in Slumber
Pagan Records, 2000
Genre: Death Metal

1. A Gruesome Display
2. Unable to React
3. Suffocated in Slumber
4. A Deep Scar
5. Swallow the Murder
6. Words of Hate
7. Tools of Mutual Harm
8. Dust (Kill Me)
9. ...Bloodshot Eyes







Oh my... I don't know what happened to Poland in 2000, but for some reason just about all their Death Metal bands just started to release some of the most exceptional sounding Death Metal around.  While a lot of them weren't doing anything original, the modern take on the tried and true Death Metal theme came across as being unoriginal, yet refreshing at the same time.  Lost Soul, Nomad, Decapitated, etc. started to produce seriously quality material around this time.  Vader started doing extremely original work around "Black to the Blind" and it seems to have taken a few more years for the rest of Poland to catch up with that level of quality.  "Suffocated in Slumber" is a monster of a Death Metal album and while my interest in the U.S. scene has started to wane... I feel turning to Poland is going to be in my best interest.  Next to Sweden that is... whom I've always found putting out quality Death Metal.

If you had asked me where I thought Trauma was going after "Daimonion" my answer certainly wouldn't have been "Suffocated in Slumber."  "Suffocated in Slumber" is a heavy assault of Death Metal, which is not a direction I was expecting.  Trauma has definitely been getting more influenced by Vader, but they've been blending that with a more standard Death Metal sound, which gives this album a far more fresh feel and doesn't feel completely generic.  A lot of the strength of this album comes from the fact that Trauma really understand how to compose excellent Death Metal.  They always manage to keep the songs interesting and change up sections enough in order to keep the listener from getting bored.  I tend to gravitate towards the more rhythmic style of Death Metal and to hear Trauma infuse it into their sound is quite a treat for me.  Strangely once in a while I feel like there is some Fear Factory in the rhythmic parts here and there.  There are rhythmic sections that I think Decapitated and Yattering would eventually start using on their later releases.

I feel like they really upped the ante when it comes to musicianship on this album as well.  Piotr's vocals are much better on this release than anything he has done prior.  He has managed to get down a solid Death Metal growl, whereas on "Daimonion" his performance comes across as feeling a little weak.  One thing I was surprised to hear show through a bit was the Bass work.  "Suffocated in Slumber" has moments where you hear that Bass guitar shine through and add this extra layer to the music that just needs to be there now.  On "Unable to React" we even get a nice bass lick in the opening section, which is very reminiscent of a Suffocation thing to do.  The drum work has always been solid with Trauma, but I think Maly's drum work is so much more punishing on this release.  Not only has the technical proficiency of the writing been increased on the guitar, but even the complex rhythmic elements make this a truly special album.  They've even started to include some haunting sections like the intro to the title track.

"Suffocated in Slumber" is one solid Death Metal album.  It's a shame that I feel Trauma often gets overlooked by the Death Metal listening public.  Perhaps they do get overshadowed by the more major Polish bands, but this really shouldn't be the case.  If I honestly had to choose, I would say Sweden is presenting us with the strongest Death Metal scene and Poland is by far a close second.  The style of Death Metal from both regions are vastly different, so I don't hear that much overlap.  If you're looking for a more modern take on traditional Death Metal, this is really what you're looking for.


Trauma - Daimonion
Pagan Records, 1998
Genre: Death Metal

Part One: Daimonion
1. Intro (Suicide)
2. Dust (Kill Me)
3. Contradictions
4. Possessed
5. Name
6. Outro
Part Two: Invisible Reality (1992)
7. Intro
8. The Dawn / No Way Out
9. Hidden Instincts
10. Human Race
11. No Hope
12. Escape Into the Shadow


After a debut full length that I found less than interesting Trauma have returned with a sort of half & half type of release.  Half of  this is new songs while the other half is their 1992 demo and certainly lost to history at this point.  I think this is a great idea since I usually like to hear what bands were doing in their demo days and Trauma wasted no time in releasing the material.

While this may not be bringing anything new to the Death Metal scene, I will say the new songs are a massive improvement compared to what was done on "Comedy is Over."  I think Trauma are finally getting into their writing groove where they manage to write interesting songs that don't feel overly re-hashed.  The opening riff of "Dust (Kill Me)" is simply excellent and vaguely reminiscent of something Malevolent Creation might be doing, especially "Retribution" era.  They sort of switch their sound up a little bit with "Possessed" which is more of a Melodic Death Metal styled song.  It has those very catchy moments, but they also add in some darker more atmospheric elements that make the song stand out with the others.  It also has some Thrashier elements, which persist into "Name."  I think Trauma is merely okay at this style and they don't really compare to the hard hitting "Dust (Kill Me)."  I really think Trauma is still exploring the style of Death Metal they're very good at playing.  The varied nature of the writing is what really leads me to believe this to be the case.  Either way, they're moving in the right direction when it comes to quality metal finally.

The second part of this is a re-release of their original demo, which first came on Cassette.  In looking this up I see they didn't include the full track listing on this re-release.  There is a track seven called "Beerguys."  I can sort of understand why they would choose to omit this kind of track if it's nothing interesting, but I do like to hear everything from the original demo days if possible.  "Invisible Reality" is some very primitive sounding Death Metal, which only shows how young the genre was at the time.  I think they drew a lot of influence from bands like Obituary or Entombed and a few others in the scene when writing this.  It hearkens back to those early days when Thrash was also a much more distinctive element in Death Metal's sound.  Just listen to "Hidden Instincts" to see what I mean!  The really sad part is that I found the demo material to be better than "Comedy is Over."  Their original vocalist, Bubi, was actually pretty good and it makes me wonder what the newer recordings would be like if he did the vocals.

This is really where Trauma starts to pick up speed for me.  I definitely recommend checking this album out if you found "Comedy is Over" to be rather lackluster like I did.  This is absolutely a must have if you really like that old school Death Metal sound of the late 80's/early 90's solely for "Invisible Reality."


Trauma - Comedy is Over
Pagan Records, 1996
Genre: Death Metal

1. Intro
2. Incertitude
3. Relief
4. This Can't be True
5. Perfection
6. Comedy is Over
7. Naked Truth
8. Outro








I usually like to review a band's demo before getting started into their albums, but I've decided to skip over Trauma's and delve right into the discography.  Trauma hail out of Poland and they are one of the earlier Death Metal bands from that country.  On that note I find it sort of baffling that this band is relatively unknown.  I had never even heard of them until 2012 and I can't believe how much I've missed out on!  So now I've back tracked and picked up their early releases to see how they've changed over the years.

Even though Trauma is pretty much a Death Metal band, the band used to be called Thanatos in the early 90's and were a Thrash Metal group.  I feel like that has a lot of bearing on how Trauma's first album took shape.  "Comedy is Over" actually feels more like a transitional type of album.  There is a huge amount of Thrash influence seething throughout this entire album, but it's not applied in such a way that I would term this a "Death/Thrash" album akin to what Defleshed could churn out.

As I listened to this album I realized that this was going to be extremely hard for me to describe.  Yet there was a clear primary influence, but I just couldn't figure out what it was.  After some real deep listening it dawned on me that I think this band's primary influence is from Megadeth.  Honestly, it's what I would sort of expect if Megadeth were to play Death Metal.  A lot of the chord and riff structuring is very similar to what I hear from Dave Mustaine's writing.  Some of the stuff sounds like it could have been taken right from "Countdown to Extinction".  Having a much heavier take on Megadeth actually sounds like a really cool idea, but I'm not sure it really worked out on "Comedy is Over".  I feel like the ideas are there, but the writing just isn't up to doing it justice.  I feel like it's structured a little too haphazardly in the sense that they play a Megadeth styled riff then play a fairly typical Death Metal sounding riff to make it sound more "brutal".  But these switches and changes don't really work in the albums favor, and instead gives the writing a fairly amateur feel.  One thing I liked a lot, though, was the use of some very eerie clean guitar blended into the compositions.  These are the parts of the album that really made the music shine and I really wanted more of that.

In the end this probably isn't a buy, unless you really have to hear how Trauma began, like me.  I think this is a decent starting point for Trauma because at the very least you aren't going to get what has been established as standard Death Metal.  There is a degree of innovation going on here, but it just isn't fully formed.  I have no idea if they'll stick with this because I haven't really listened to the albums right after this.  I am interested to see where they go with this though.

I chose the title track as a sample, because I think it best represents what I described above.  Other tracks would work, but I felt this had everything I tried to discuss.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Besatt


Besatt - Czarci Majestat
Seven Gates of Hell, 1996/2006
Genre: Black Metal

1. Wieki Ciemne
2. Zbuntowany Anioł
3. Gniew Demona
4. Sabat
5. Święte Ognie
6. Apokalipsa
7. Błędny Dekalog
8. Ostatnia Łza
9. Sarcofag
10.Prorok






I am reviewing the re-release of Besatt's demo from 1996.  It was finally repressed on CD, but only limited to 300 copies.  This is sort of a shame because this is an extremely different sound for Besatt.  I am quite used to the vicious and blisteringly intense Besatt in the more modern form, so I never would have guessed they got started like this.

This is actually very difficult to describe, because it is actually quite a different sound for the time it came out. It's so different, I am, in fact, hesitant to call this Black Metal.  The only riff that sounds truly Black Metal doesn't show up until "Ostatnia Łza" and it is the only riff in that song like that.  So what is it?  I've had to listen to this a few times to try and lock down an explanation that might make any sense.  This, to me, is on the verge of being Blackened Doom or even full on Dark Metal.  I would actually liken this to being similar to Bethlehem, minus the heart wrenching vocal performance from Landfemann.  I think this is a fairly apt comparison, even though the bands sound different enough where I would never say Besatt was trying to copy Bethlehem.  However, Besatt's use and interplay of the clean guitar passages within their music just sounds like such a Bethlehem thing to do.  The major difference between the two is that Besatt has a lot more melody within their music, whereas Bethlehem sounds outright somber and depressive.  Besatt seems to blend that Bethlehm idea with some melody ideas found in My Dying Bride or Paradise Lost.  It actually generates a rather unique listen.

I guess the one major complaint I would have for this is the guitar tone feels really thin.  So when Besatt tries to use some crunching palm muted parts it doesn't sound that powerful.  I feel like this sort of hurts the presentation a little bit.  The pacing of the music is quite slow, so a much heavier guitar tone would have made the songs sound a bit more powerful at least. Despite that the production on this is actually fairly good. I don't know if they brought the original demo in for remastering because the booklet doesn't say, but I imagine some re-mastering has taken place.

Despite this description the pictures throughout this release are totally Black Metal.  So even at these early stages I assume Besatt would identify themselves as a Black Metal band.  Listening to "Czarci Majestat" does make me wonder how Besatt's career would have changed if they stuck with this style. I am not complaining, I quite enjoy what Besatt evolved into, but it makes me wonder how things would have turned out if they had progressed along this path.

In the end I am don't feel blown away by this, it is more of an historical oddity that I greatly appreciate having been able to hear.  I don't think the overall writing is strong enough to keep me coming back and listening to this over and over.  I feel that other bands have pulled this off better and maybe if Besatt had stuck with this style I would prefer that.  However, Besatt evolved into a great Black Metal band and their writing is much stronger in later releases, so I will almost always choose those over this demo.



Monday, February 11, 2013

Inferno


Inferno - Omniabsence Filled by His Greatness
Agonia Records, 2013
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Perversion...
2. The Firstborn from Murk
3. The Funeral of Existence
4. Revelations through the Void
5. The Vertical Fissure of the Most Distant End
6. Metastasis of Realistic Visions






After a four year wait, which is probably due to Azazel leaving the band, Inferno return with their most immense album ever. I'm sure replacing a founding member is no easy task, so much of Inferno's sound has been shaped by this one musician. However, no replacement was necessary since Ska-Gul stepped up and took over all writing. This put the band down to a three piece for recording. It is interesting to note, though, that Silva Nigra and Inferno have essentially switched musicians at this point.

The album art is immediately eye catching. The booklet is beautiful and laid out like an old book, sort of. Actually the design is extremely similar to Rêx Mündi's booklet from 2009's "IHVH". The music isn't very similar though, but the layout and imagery is similar. Daniel's design work is far more elaborate though, building on the simplicity of what some others have done. The feeling of the occult is very present on this album and, luckily, the album really backs up this aesthetic.

With "Omniabsence Filled by His Greatness" Inferno explore an even more haunting sound. I think they really draw a lot of ideas from the world of Atmospheric Black Metal, but Inferno turns around and really ups the intensity. I still get an immense Atmospheric approach from this album, which is why I've labeled the genre as such. It's incredible to hear all the atmosphere being mostly generated by the lead guitar sections. I get the impression this is sort of a trick picked up from Mgła, which is awesome! Inferno have an entirely new application for this idea, so that gives this album a really fresh feel. Just listen to how "The Funeral Existence" builds with a really catchy riff, then transitions entirely with the lead section placed over it. We hear some serious Darkspace influence with the opening of "The Vertical Fissure of the Most Distant End", which further solidifies my opinion on this being an album between Atmospheric Black Metal and Black Metal. The closing track "Metastasis of Realistic Visions" gives me a sort of Septic Flesh vibe for some reason, but Inferno does it a bit differently than they would.

This incredibly dark atmosphere is enhanced by the production value and the way Adramelech's vocals were handled. This album was recorded in the infamous Necromorbus Studios in Sweden. If you like the sound that studio puts out, then you won't be disappointed with the quality behind this album.  Adramelech's vocals sound so much more haunting than ever before. A heavier layer of reverb is used this time around, but he puts it to good use in crafting the vocal lines. I was disappointed to see the lyrics all in English, but they are more well written than the translations of "Black Devotion".  It turns out the lyrics are still sung in Czech though, so that is great news. The lyrics have a deeper occult quality and even invoke the use of Latin at times. It is interesting to see Inferno get interested in this element of Black Metal, because it was never really there before. If you had asked me without hearing this album, I would say it looked like they were riding Watain's coattails, but the music is entirely different from that band. I feel like Inferno draws from a more intense Ondskapt or Mortuus, with some elements of Deathspell Omega for good measure. It's not as ugly and disturbing as French Black Metal, so it does lend more towards the Swedish or Polish approach as "Black Devotion" does.

In the end we really have a stellar album. It's clearly built on many other sounds, but the combination feels very fresh and different. It's so well written I can't help but put this as a clear winner in my top 10 for this year. An incredible amount of work and effort has certainly paid off in the end for Inferno... now I am left with the obvious question: "Now that they've reached this point... where will they go form here?" Honestly, I wouldn't mind if they played around with writing in this vein for a little while, because it is fairly different from what others are doing. Maybe refine this style a little more... if that's possible. Either way, I am very interested in what they might have in store for us next.


Inferno - Black Devotion
Agonia Records, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. Prolog
2. Superior Will
3. Whisper of Hope in Bloody Tears
4. Holy Poison
5. Eaten by Rats Forever
6. Loyalty of Honour
7. Altar of Perversity
8. Message to Ages
9. Sign of Hell
10. Way to Illumination Lies in Darkness
11. Epilog


After hearing "Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti" I was really looking forward to hearing a new Inferno album. Well after a mere year it is finally upon us. This time they return signed to the mighty Agonia Records, who lets bands put a lot of effort into their album artwork. Inferno is no exception, this comes in a beautiful digipak with a thick booklet. Everything in this aesthetic is dark and immense, you can just see that behind this wonderful art is a great album.... if anything is to be said about judging a book by its cover. Luckily "Black Devotion" does live up to its album art.

I was a little worried when I saw that the track titles were in English, but I'm happy to report that Adramelech sings the entire album in his native language. The booklet has English translations for the lyrics though. I'm not sure they translated very well though... On "Holy Poison" one of the lines translated to "Binding mind in randy obedience." No one really uses the word "randy" in English anymore, so the translation comes off as comical to some degree. That's one of the main reasons I'm thankful Adramelech stuck with singing in his native language. One thing I was sad to see was that there is an e-mail for contacting the band. I liked the old days where Inferno was strictly "No contact, no interview". In fact, I think it would be incredible if every single Black Metal band had this outlook. Could you imagine the scene where you never saw a single interview with a musician? You'd have to personally meet them and have a discussion and that's the only option you have! That would be really intense in my opinion...

Inferno have really transformed their sound for this album. I think they sound a lot more Scandinavian than ever before, leaning more towards a Swedish feel. Sometimes solid Norwegian parts show up like in "Altar of Perversity", but for the most part I feel the blend is heavier towards sweden. The Czech isn't lost entirely though, riffs in "Message to Ages" has some excellent sections I would expect to hear on any solid Czech release. It's interesting to hear an older band transforming a little bit in this way. I figured Azazel wouldn't write material very different from the past, if you asked me a few years ago... then "Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti" hit and changed everything. "Black Devotion" changes again, but I'm not having the same initial response. I think it has to do with the heavy Scandinavian feel and this style has been done over and over. Perhaps that's why this album wasn't talked about very much in 2009. The most I ever heard of it was that it was a good and solid album, but it didn't capture the imagination. I think that's what Inferno is striving for, but they just aren't quite hitting the perfection level yet. The sections are a lot more haunting than prior releases, where everything was very straightforward Black Metal. "Black Devotion" plays a lot more with subtlety and crafting an atmosphere. It really is almost like hearing a newer band start out.  It's like Inferno is sorting through the baggage of all their influences trying to sort out what direction they truly want to go. The good part about this is that Inferno is such a highly skilled and long running band that the music is going to sound great while they figure this out. It's not exactly like amateurs fumbling around with different styles, Inferno do have serious writing experience and they'll probably put together something sooner than new bands.

I really do like "Black Devotion" a lot, but if you were expecting material rooted in the Czech sound you might be disappointed. I think many people will write this off as "unoriginal" in some ways, because this is really the same type of Black Metal we've all been listening to for many years. The difference for me is that Inferno is just so good at writing and perform, I can't help but enjoy what they've put together here. Ultimately, if you want to hear a truly solid Black Metal performance, this album will not steer you wrong.


The True Endless & Sekhmet & Tundra & Inferno - United in Hell
Aphelion Productions, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

The True Endless:
1. Introdusion - Al Fock d'la Vita
2. La Peste Nera
Sekhmet:
3. Pohřební Bouře
4. Pochod Krvavé Temnoty
Tundra:
5. Nothing
6. Room 1977
7. Burial Night
Inferno:
8. Hřbitovní Prach
9. Démonické Požehnání k Smrti


Side The True Endless: ...coming eventually...
Side Sekhmet: ...coming eventually...
Side Tundra: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

When I saw the Inferno tracks listed on this split, I almost got pretty angry about it. I literally just wrote about this on the last split with Naburus... and even then those tracks weren't new! The thing this material has going for it is that it has never appeared on a CD format before. The other thing is that these were re-recorded in 2008. So, the production quality is much better than before. These songs are definitely good enough that it makes it worthwhile to share them in this kind of format. So, Inferno's addition on this split is a little less ridiculous than I first though.

Inferno & Naburus - Through the Shadow of Deadly Sparks
Hell is Here Production, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno:
1. Hřbitovní Prach
2. Démonické Požehnání k Smrti
Naburus:
3. Powrót Antychrysta
4. Noc Upadku Chrześcijańskich Wartości









Side Naburus: here
Side Inferno:

Another year, another group of Inferno splits. This time Inferno introduces us to a great new Polish band Naburus. I really have discovered quite a few good bands from the splits Inferno has put out over the years, so I really shouldn't complain about them so much when they re-release material. This tape comes with a professionally done booklet and a dubbed cassette with stickers on it. I actually do really like the cover of this tape though.

If the Inferno material sounds familiar, then you'd be correct once again. This material has already been heard on some prior splits. "Hřbitovní Prach" is taken from the split with Front Beast, but was called "Graveyard Smell". I assume this is the Czech translation for that title. "Démonické Požehnání k Smrti" was already released on the split with Tundra. So the real worth of this release is the Naburus material and the nicely made booklet. Naturally, completing an Inferno collection also helps.

Winter Blasphemer & Inferno - Blood Poisoned by the Glorious Evil
Hail Satan 666 Productions, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

Winter Blasphemer:
1. Armia Pekieł
2. Przeklęta Krew
Inferno:
3. Uctívání Bezbožného Kultu
4. Pochodem k Vlastnímu Pohřbu









Side Winter Blasphemer: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

Inferno has certainly been no stranger to doing splits, but this time they've delved into doing split tapes rather than split 7". In some respects tapes are a little better, because I can at least look at these releases on a shelf and read the spines, instead of digging through vast amounts of vinyl. I've never heard of Winter Blasphemer before, so we'll see how they are when I listen to them later. For now it's Inferno with their new tape that is professionally pressed with a dubbed tape that has stickers on it. This material is limited to 444 hand-numbered copies and I have #8.

If this Inferno material seems familiar to some of you, you'd be correct. This material was originally released in 2005 on the split with Fagyhamu. There isn't much more I can say about this release other than that. I've already reviewed the material, so you can scroll down and see what I thought about this already. As usual, though, I do like to list every release I have, even if I don't have much to say about it.

Inferno & Tundra - Infernal Belief
Long Ago Records, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno:
1. Rituál Temnoty
2. Pouta Nenávisti
3. Tyranie
4. K smrti za zvuku ocelového pekla (Moonblood Cover)
Tundra:
5. Awakened from the Eternal Rest
6. The Cabin Behind the Lake
7. Intermezzo
8. On a Cold October Morning
9. Sadismus (Slavia Czechia Version)


Side Tundra: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

Inferno actually released a lot of material in 2008 and I'm not sure which hit the shelves first. Discogs says this was first released on January, 31st, so it's likely this is the first release. Either way this is actually a pretty good split with two great bands. It would make sense for this to have been written first, because the material on here sounds like more of a transition into "Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti".

Inferno has been steadily improving as of late. This split material is very strong and if it was released first, this is still written in the tried and true method of the Inferno style. I hear some play with guitar layering, but it is still very minimal. These sections really stand out compared to the rest of the songs, like in "Pouta Nenávisti".  When that lead part hits in "Tyranie" it is just perfect and easily launches this track as my favorite on the split.  Some of the rhythms have a bit more of a vicious edge to them compared to their other releases. This really works within the realms of Inferno's writing style. Either way, I've been saying Inferno need to develop more layering into their guitar lines and it is truly high time they did this. They finally did this with the "Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti" album, and for that I am grateful. Inferno closes their section of the split off with a cover of a Moonblood song, which was also submitted to the Moonblood Tribute album.

As with prior Inferno splits, this split has some of their stronger material from the old style. For some reason this style works very well in split form, but the prior albums weren't as strong sometimes. This split does have two great bands on it and you can't go wrong in that regard. All the new Inferno songs point to a good full length and they are certainly putting forth some strong material here.


Inferno - Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti
Undercover Records, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro - Nekonečné Hlasy Z Temnoty
2. Když Zima Přichází
3. Vidím V Plamenech Tvou Víru Zkrze Černý Kov
4. Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti
5. Píseň Krve, Ohně A Odporu
6. Tyranie Nesvatého Umění
7. Apokalyptický Oheň Pro Novou Etapu Života
8. Nejtemnější, Krvežíznivý
9. Ve Vřavě Války
10. Peklo Na Zemi
11. Outro - Požitek Ze Smrti A Pekla



And suddenly Inferno decides to launch themselves into being of the premiere Black Metal bands of the world. Inferno has certainly built a name for themselves in general, but it is with "Uctívání Temné Zuřivosti" that people will start to talk about this band a lot more. I feel like this is the album Inferno's writing has been trending towards for a while now. In some ways I think I was getting a little tired of their tried and true sound, or maybe I was just listening to far too much Inferno in one sitting as I tried to review the discography.

After a long intro bringing us into the atmosphere of this album the first thing I notice is truly how much Azazel has stepped up and put a huge amount of work into the guitar sections on this album. No more do we get a single guitar opus on this album, but instead we have masterfully layered guitars. I truly do mean masterful, he did the work of a truly veteran musician, and to be honest, based on the prior albums I didn't think this level of composition was in him. The organization of some songs is a little fragmented to me, but overall this is a pretty outstanding album.There are some great sections where a simple acoustic guitar is blended in and it just changes the entire atmosphere for all the more haunting. A truly chilling addition to their material and I've been wanting this to show up from quite a few splits ago when it was first introduced, but then never truly built upon until now. Adramelech's vocal performance is probably his strongest ever. On this album he really gets to shine with how strong his voice really is and I think, since Azazel upped the ante everyone else has as well. Even some of the older elements with the bass showing up stronger comes back here. We can really hear how different the bass mix is compared to their old material because this album closes out with a re-recording of "Peklo na Zemi" from the early demo days. This, unfortunately, is the last full-length album Belphegor appears on behind the drum kit. He truly does a stellar job on this recording and he really gives an intense fire to the songs.

This, truly, is a must have album in the Inferno discography. If you've been a long running Inferno fan, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. The writing actually feels quite fresh and different, as opposed to them riding another bands coattails.  Nor does this change Inferno's overall sound/intent, it just increases some of the levels of complexity in the writing. It's like hearing a whole new dimension of their music for the first time ever and having that dimension change everything for the better. I'm really looking forward to Inferno's next material!



Inferno - Live Plague...
Grom Records, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro / Fanatizován Lidskou Moderností
2. Starý Řád
3. Neživé Stíny Naší Duše
4. Na Znamení Černého Rohu
5. Posedlí Po Svaté Krvi
6. Ohnivé Vize O Upálení Světa
7. Géniové (Master's Hammer Cover)
8. Krev Za Krev






For Inferno's fourth release in 2007 we get their third live album. They actually haven't released a live album in quite a few years, so it's about right for them to release one after so many album releases. "Live from the Woods" sounded okay, but I am expecting this more modern recording to have higher quality. This concert took place on the first of December, 2006 in Serbia. A lot of live recordings come out of Serbia, they must have some really great shows out there! Even though "Intro" is listed as a separate track, it really is on the same track as track 2.

The recording quality on this album is actually very good. The strange part about an Inferno live performance is that the set list is almost entirely what their latest album is. I, personally, find this somewhat annoying, because I prefer to hear an array of songs from a bands career. But with Inferno you hear the album that just came out... except now it's live, so the recording quality isn't nearly as good. The recording is great and I imagine being at an Inferno concert would be amazing, but listening to a recording of one like this, just isn't the same. If you present your set list like this, it's one thing to be there to watch this unfold before you, but it's entirely another to listen after the fact.

In the end, this isn't too different from the idea that Inferno's prior live albums presented. In some ways it's kind of silly to me, because I just bought this album the year before. On the other hand it is a well recorded live performance, which is nice to hear. I guess this is worth getting if your die hard fan or, like me, obsessive about having a complete discography.

Amalek & Inferno Split
Self-Released, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

Amalek - Feuervogel:
1. Feuervogel
2. Aus alten Tagen
Inferno - Gold Tribute for Idea:
3. Předurčení K Temnotě A Vítězství
4. Hymna Války









Side Amalek: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

And for the third Inferno release this year we don't get any new material. This is actually material found on "Legie Nesmrtelných," but the material is missing the first track. I'm sure this 7" is limited in some capacity, but I can't find out how many copies were ever made. At the very least the packaging is better and it actually has a normal 7" housing for your record.

I guess I can understand wanting to have this material released in some capacity if it's long out of print, but this is seriously the third time this material has been made available and it's not even the complete track listing. I normally wouldn't complain about this, but I think this is the most worthless release Inferno has done. This material appears in it's entirety on the "Fucking Funeral Attack" compilation. I guess it makes sense in the context of being a tribute to Old Legend Productions, but I would have rather heard some new material out of this. I really hope Inferno have something good coming on the next full length at least...


Front Beast & Inferno Split
Front Beast Records, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

Front Beast:
1. Messages Written in Blood
Inferno:
2. Graveyard Smell












Side Front Beast: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

Another split from Inferno... and really, I'm just shocked at the huge volume of these that I've had to do. I can't believe how many splits this band does. The only thing I'm thankful for is that a lot of it is unique material, so at least I'm getting new Inferno material out of it. This one is using the typical bad packaging that looks like a folded piece of paper over the vinyl. As usual with vinyl, this is limited to 500 copies. Again, this is not hand-numbered... which I still find strange.

Inferno have begun offering a single track to the vinyl releases now. I actually thought this song was an instrumental track because the vocals don't really show up until after half the song is over. The good news is they really give a solid build up to the song. The songs they've been writing lately have been trending to a more haunting atmosphere than the vicious material they've been recording before. The viciousness is certainly still there, but I think they're blending the elements a lot better now. I am definitely looking forward to a new Inferno album more so than ever if they're consistently writing material like this.

Inferno & The Stone - Triumph-Dark-Brotherhood
Undercover Records, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno:
1.Pohanské Meče
2. Příliš Hrdí Pro Pozemský Život
The Stone:
3. Bogovi od Srebra
4. Unveiled Evil









Side The Stone: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

Inferno release their first split for this year, but it is not entirely new material. This is actually live material from a concert they played in Serbia with The Stone and some others, but only The Stone appears. This 7" is limited to 200 copies according to some sources I've found, but no numbering appears on the release. It is released in two different vinyl formats, a standard black and a clear splatter. I own the regular black format. I will say the packaging is a lot better than the usual folded paper approach the prior Inferno 7" splits. This time we have nice gatefold packaging with slots to put your record in.

The recording quality of the live performance is actually very good. It is certainly better than some of the live recordings I've heard from other Inferno performances. There really isn't much to say about live performances, which is why I usually don't bother buying live albums unless I'm a huge fan of the band. Naturally, it sounds like it would have been an incredible show and I wish I could have been there... but there's that ocean between Inferno and I that just makes it so hard to go to concerts frequently.

Inferno & Tundra Split
Slava Satan Records, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno:
1. Démonické Požehnání k Smrti
Tundra:
2. The Triumph of Black












Side Tundra: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

After a pretty decent full length Inferno return to doing splits again, this time with Tundra playing raw Italian Black Metal. Given the fact that I've quite enjoyed a lot of the material they've put out on splits, even compared to full-lengths, I rather welcomed this. As usual with the 7" splits this is also limited to 500 copies. Surprisingly a lot of the Inferno vinyl splits have not been hand-numbered. I feel like this is unusual at this point of my reviewing career!

As I guessed, Inferno's track is actually very good. Rather than put two tracks towards the split, they've done one long song clocking in at over six minutes. I'm not sure why, but I feel like their single tracks are very well composed. It launches in with a fast section, but with a guitar line that is fairly well written. The closing guitar sequence is simply spectacular which generates a truly beautiful atmosphere for us. I still think Inferno is missing quite an opportunity by not using a second guitar on their recordings. I think they could generate even stronger material if they did this, but what they do with just one on these recordings is actually quite impressive. I think one of the major differences with some of these split tracks is that the bass guitar does a really solid job of playing that role of second guitar and at times this is true of this song. A lot of times the bass mainly follows the guitar and that's not as interesting as when it tries to accommodate for a missing second guitar.

In the end this is still an excellent song and I would love to hear this kind of writing hit future albums. I would just like to see them write a collection of ten songs this strong, because I know they have it in them to pull it off! I do like a lot of Inferno's albums, but I can't help but notice the strength of the material being released on the splits.

Inferno - Staré Bezbožné Emoce
Long Ago Records, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Temná Poselství Dávných Předků (1997)
1. Intro / Ztracený Ve Lžích
2. Čekání Na Smrt
3. Pomsta
4. Věčný Pláč
5. Smrt Ve Jménu Boha / Outro
6. Burzum - Remixed
Peklo Na Zemi (1996)
7. Intro / Peklo Na Zemi
8. Checkotylo - Rudý Rozparovač
9. Ježíšův Konec
10. Město Nazaret / Outro
Bonus:
11. Staré Bezbožné Emoce

If you've missed out on Inferno's two legendary demos, now is your chance to hear them again! The real treat with this material is that it's also been remastered, so it sounds a lot more clear compared to the original demo material. As an even more added incentive they've included an entirely new bonus track, so at least we get to hear some new music out of this release. The new song is pretty decent and could have easily appeared on "Nikdy Nepokřtěni". It's kind of a stark change though, since Inferno's first demo appears second on the release and then all of a sudden we get a newly recorded song from 2006. The production difference alone is jarring. I still quite enjoy their first demo though, so that certainly makes this compilation worth getting, especially with the remastered quality.


Inferno - Nikdy Nepokřtěni
Die Todesrune Records, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

1. Nikdy Nepokřtěni
2. Starý Řád
3. Neživé Stíny Naší Duše
4. Na Znamení Černého Rohu
5. Příliš Hrdí Pro Pozemský Život
6. Posedlý Po Svaté Krvi
7. Ohnivé Vize O Upálení Světa









After a three year wait we finally get to hear a new full length from Inferno. Based on some of the material I've heard on their splits, I was pretty hopeful for this release. At least I was sure it wasn't going to sound like "V Návratu Pohanství...", which I had found pretty disappointing.  Well I am happy to announce "Nikdy Nepokřtěni" is a return of the solid Black Metal Inferno had been putting out for many years.

"Nikdy Nepokřtěni" is a raw and harsh album in the wonderful Czech form and it has moments that clearly feel reminiscent of what Maniac Butcher has been doing. At this point there isn't a lot to describe, because Inferno have settled into their sound of being a no frills fast and intense Black Metal band. What they do, they do very well, but over the years not much has changed with Inferno and this focus. The music is more well written than some prior material, but the one complaint I have is that on some of the splits they would write some truly compelling and haunting material, but that never seems to make it onto the full lengths. I truly wait for the day when they start bringing that into the realm of their full lengths.

In the end if you're looking for consistently solid Black Metal, Inferno is a good place to stop and listen. Given their vast amount of releases so far finding a good one has pretty high chances. I feel like a lot of their discography around this time has somehow been lost to history, but it's important with regards to this projects development, because future releases are bringing truly stunning material.


Inferno & Fagyhamu Split
Terranis Productions, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno: Sacrifice for Black Metal Magic
1. Uctívání Bezbožného Kultu
2. Pochodem k Vlastnímu Pohřbu
Fagyhamu:
3. Flames of Torment










Side Fagyhamu: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

Inferno have been fairly quiet for a little while. Even though this music was recorded in 2005, it isn't released until 2006. I feel like a large amount of releases is being published, but very little of it is original or tells of a new full length being imminent. For their new onslaught they choose to do a split with the great Hungarian band Fagyhamu released on vinyl 7" and limited to 500 hand-numbered copies, of which I own #381.

I feel like Inferno's style has sort of been waning a little bit in the past few years. They have gotten a little complacent in their writing and the excitement I felt in the past just isn't the same. Well, I have incredibly good news for this release. I feel like the fire is back. They are not writing Black Metal that tends towards a boring composition, instead "Uctívání Bezbožného Kultu" launches into the change with a very haunting acoustic passage. It is reminiscent of the brilliant song "Bitva O Měsiční Trůn", which also had an immense and haunting atmosphere. The music is more than just vicious and intense, it's well written and thoughtful. Adramelech's voice has returned to it's fiery passion that was so perfectly complementary to Inferno's sound. I certainly don't mind a dynamic vocal performance, but I feel like Adramelech was pushing it a littler further than needed.

I am very happy with this release and I feel like Inferno have brought their original sound back into the fold that made their music so wonderful to begin with. If their writing continues in this fashion, I truly hope a full length is imminent in the future. My one and only complaint about these songs is their length. I want them to be longer so I can have more Inferno!


Inferno - Fucking Funeral Attack 1997-2004
Forgotten Wisdom Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

Legie Nesmrtelných:
1. Legie Nesmrtelných
2. Předurčeni k Temnotě a Vítězství
3. Hymna Války
Split with Infernal War or Apolokia:
4. Hrdi A Silní
5. Sjednoceni Vírou
Split with Moonblood:
6. Ve Znamení Ohně
7. Géniové (Master's Hammer Cover)
Split with Celestia:
8. Bitva O Měsiční Trůn


If your a fan of Inferno, but just couldn't get a hold of their vinyl releases, well this is your chance! Here are all the splits and Ep's they've done over the past few years. I think it's interesting that they've included "Legie Nesmrtelných" since that also came out this year. The only down side to this is you don't get all the music on the splits, but at least we essentially get an Inferno "full-length" out of the deal.

This CD is limited to 500 copies and I really feel like I've reviewed this music to death, so I'll just leave this as an informational post.

Inferno - Legie Nesmrtelných
Eclipse Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Legie Nesmrtelných
2. Předurčeni k Temnotě a Vítězství
3. Hymna Války













This year Inferno finally return with a taste of some new material they've been working on. I'm not sure if this is a sign that a new album is imminent, but for now we have three songs to see what Inferno has been up to. There have been a lot of releases from Inferno, but not much in the way of new material. This 7" is limited to 500 copies and I own #291.

First, I am happy to report that Adramelech is back to his usual vicious vocal performance. Sometimes he hits points that were similar to "V Návratu Pohanství...", but it is not nearly as oppressive as before. I don't think the guitar style has changed much, but the music feels like it hits a lot harder this time around. The recording is more raw than some of their other material and really has this razor edge to it that gives it a pretty interesting feel. I think Inferno is trying to compose with a single guitar in mind most of the time, whereas in the past I feel like they wrote for two. So this particular block of Inferno's career feels a little different from their earlier material. The three songs offered here are still very solid and more well done than the prior album in my opinion.

On the back of the vinyl it is stated: "This EP is dedicated to those Pure, True Black Metal hordes that are wit their Black Art to be the first in the face of God forever... We pay a hold to the underground scene from the end of 80-ies and the beginning of 90-ies... Vinyl is Pure BM Underground." While the very last statement might be true, it's interesting that they published this material on CD in the same year.



Inferno - Chrám Nenávisti
Unholy World Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro: V Prach A Popel Vše Obráceno Jest
2. Krev
3. Krajina Zasvěcená Ďáblu
4. Vládce Hor
5. Chrám Nenávisti
6. Outro: Dovršení Křesťanské Zkázy










After two full lengths and a multitude of splits, Inferno return to some of their earliest material for a re-release. I think "Chrám Nenávisti" is a great piece for reminiscing about Inferno's roots. While this isn't exactly like what they've been playing lately, it's always great for me to hear a bands origins. If you missed out on the very limited releases from 1999, then this was your chance to hear this material again. Once again this is being released in a limited format, but this time it is on cassette, limited to 500 copies. It comes on pro-printed cover and mine is with a dubbed cassette (which is pretty common if you live overseas from the issuing band). The original pressings featured lyrics for Inferno's material, but on this re-press there are no lyrics. However, one of the cool things you see on here is the statement "No contact. No interview." I think this is great! I really like bands that don't feel the need to pay into the media pandering and just let their music speak for itself, whether a listeners interpretation be right or wrong.

I don't know if this material will ever be realized in another format in the future, so I would have recommended getting this while it was available. That might not be true at this point, since I'm writing this nearly ten years after the re-release.

See video linked with original release below.

Inferno - Pure Serbian Hell
Unholy World Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Právo Ohně A Nenávisti
2. V Návratu Pohanství...
3. Žádná Naděje Pro Lidskost
4. V Ohraně Dědictví
5. Rouhání, Jednota, Bratrství
6. Za Krev Za Kraj
7. Pohanské Meče
8. Géniové (Master's Hammer Cover)
9. Hrdost Válka Nenávist







Around this time a lot of bands are putting out tape recordings of their concerts in Serbia. So, I'm not worried that Inferno will be releasing a live album after every full length! I'm sure this is limited in some capacity, but it isn't stated anywhere.

Most of this live performance comprises of the "V Návratu Pohanství..." album and has a few tracks from "Duch Slovanské Síly" towards the end. The booklet basically explains the intentions behind this recording: "This tape is a live record of Pure Serbian Hell in the rawest underground form. The aim of this material is to give all the orthodox BM maniacs a chance to listen that unforgettable atmosphere of that bestial night. We are to come together in hell!!!" That being said, the recording quality is not very good at all. In fact it is extremely raw and things are quite hard to hear. The one major benefit is Adramalech has used his more usual style of Black Metal vocals and not the ones featured on "V Návratu Pohanství...", so that made a big difference on how those songs sounded.

Given how raw this recording is... this is really only for die hard Inferno fans. I would not recommend people rush out to buy this unless you are trying to complete your collection!


Apolokia & Inferno Split
Sombre Records, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

Apolokia:
1. Acherontas Avari
Inferno:
2. Hrdi A Silní
3. Sjednoceni Vírou











Side Apolokia: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

So... this is kind of a pointless release for me. I guess if you missed out on the 2002 split with Infernal War, you get to at least have access to the Inferno tracks again. However, now we have a split with Apolokia instead. I have no idea why they did this, other than perhaps the legendary Sombre Records wanted to publish a split and they wanted to take that opportunity. Like most of the Sombre Records releases this is limited to 500 copies. I've already reviewed these songs, so I'm not going to bother doing that again.

See track featured below with the original pressing.

Inferno - V Návratu Pohanství...
Old Legend Productions, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Právo Ohně A Nenávisti
3. V Návratu Pohanství...
4. Žádná Naděje Pro Lidskost
5. V Obraně Dědictví
6. Krev Našich Králů
7. Rouhání, Jednota A Bratrství
8. Triumf Temnoty
9. Outro







After a couple years of quiet from Inferno they've written eight new tracks for their second full length. Given that "Duch Slovanské Síly" was a fairly solid release, I had relatively high hopes for this album... but, alas, it was not as good of an album for me. I was sort of expecting some very intense Black Metal given the burning church on the cover and written inside the booklet "The burning of churches is no longer accepted... explosives are the future." Rather than having a raging album that complements the statements, I feel like this album is a little dry.

The album starts off with a recording of fire and really sets a powerful stage for the artwork, but the music doesn't seem to live up to this setting. The guitars saw away at riffing that just sounds the same track after track, but they are not trying to play an atmospheric style and without that intent it mars the atmosphere. There are some tracks that bring up the intense levels I would expect to hear, and some areas that have interesting riffing, but there just isn't enough of this. It leaves this album sounding thin and dry. I'm not sure what the deal with Adramelech's vocals are, but they do not work at all. He's singing in such a way that often he hits into higher pitched wails that are just distracting with this style of music. It flat out just doesn't sound good and the frequency with which he does them really hurts everything more.

In the end this is a very unmemorable effort. Not even the atmosphere they are generating is something I will remember years from now. I had a lot of hope based on their last full length, but I hope they change in the future from whatever they were trying to do on this album...


Inferno & Infernal War Split
Death's Abyss Productions, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno:
1. Hrdi A Silní
2. Sjednoceni Vírou
Infernal War:
3. Jewhammer
4. Satanic Martial Terror










Side Infernal War: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

Even though 2002 wasn't a very active year for Inferno, they still took the time to record two new songs in the studio to be presented on this split with Infernal War. One thing I do like about Inferno is that they seem to make fairly wise choices on who they do splits with. I have discovered great music from this band and who they choose, unlike my experience with Horna. Anyway, this 7" is limited to 500 hundred hand-numbered copies of which I own #299.

The two tracks submitted by Inferno are pretty good. They're recorded a lot more raw than I was expecting. But we first heard "Hrdi A Silní" on the previous live album (actually I'm not sure which was released first...) The studio version isn't that much better in quality than the live version, but it's still done well enough to know what's going on. This newer material reminds me more of what Germany was producing for Black Metal, because that slightly upbeat feel for Czech music is gone. The riffing sort of plods along with nothing really cutting through. It really needs a good second layer over the guitar playing a wonderful lead section. The second song "Sjednoceni Vírou" is an entirely new track. It's very similar to the first and hopefully this is a style Inferno can sort out in the future. At least Adramelech's vocals are still very solid as usual.

These are by no means bad songs, they're just not as interesting as what Inferno has normally written, in my opinion. The songs were originally recorded in 2001, so it's a lot closer to "Duch Slovanské Síly" than the upcoming album, I'm sure. However, I do wonder if these were tracks that just didn't fit well with the album?


Inferno - Live from the Woods
Forgotten Wisdom Productions/D.U.K.E., 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. Pohanské Meče
2. Hrdost, Válka, Nenávist
3. Ve Stínech Vlků
4. Za Krev Za Kraj
5. Do Srdce Temnoty
6. Peklo na Zemí
7. Duch Slovanské Síly
8. Hrdí a Sílní







Naturally after recording their first full-length it was time for Inferno to record a live album the following year. One of the interesting aspects is that this is the legendary French label D.U.K.E.'s first release. It actually prints the full length of the name of the label on the back before they switched to just using D.U.K.E. instead of Die Unaussprechlichen Kulten Editions. This release is limited to 500 hand-numbered copies, of which I own #461.

This was recorded live  in Anerschutz, Germany 2001. One of the big questions about live recordings, especially with regards Black Metal is "can you even hear anything?" "Live in the Woods" is actually quite well recorded and you can hear everything that is going on for the most part. The drums are a little quiet, which is strange, because often they're too loud in these kinds of recordings.  The strangest part of this live performance that it is pretty much the entire album "Duch Slovanské Síly" played in the same track order. I don't know if this was some sort of CD release party or what, but it really just is the prior album. Perhaps this is why this live recording isn't considered entirely interesting, when it came out we had just heard this album. Given Inferno's vast track catalog, I was surprised to see this track listing. It does feature one of their popular songs from the early demo days "Peklo na Zemí" and it has on new song we've never heard "Hrdí a Sílní". The new track is quite good, but it is basically something that could have appeared on "Duch Slovanské Síly."

The more interesting aspect of this is found in the booklet where Inferno make some statements about a few things. On the picture of the band photo it says "Inferno supports the pagan faith and white Europe!" Then turning the page we have a lengthier statement: "There, many wars have been waged and rivers of blood have been shed... For that, our nation, our Slavonic pride and our traditions could have been preserved and didn't die out. There, many ones were trying to destroy our Slavonic roots, but we have no gone under! Therefore, not even you go under!" These days this would probably get Inferno labeled as an NS band, but I think that would be a mistake. (Actually referring to them as NS would be a massive insult and you would really show you knew nothing about this topic.) A lot of people mistake "white pride" as outright racism, but I'm not sure that's the case with a lot of these bands. It's such a charged idea in my culture, but I have no idea how it is interpreted over in Europe. Here, I think Inferno is talking about preserving their culture and traditions and I can understand why they would want to do that. When you've been on the end of being ethnically cleansed, you can see how you would fight against this idea very intensely.

In the end this is a decent live album. I think it is sort of unnecessary though, given how closely related to the prior album is. I was worried that with only one guitar Inferno's sound would be pretty thing, but it worked out pretty well. I think this is really only for the die hard Inferno fans, like myself, so I wouldn't recommend everyone rush out and buy this.


Inferno - Duch Slovanské Síly
Eclipse Productions, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. Příchod Slovanského Ohně
2. Pohanské Meče
3. Hrdost, Válka, Nenávist
4. Ve Stínech Vlků
5. Za Krev Za Kraj
6. Do Srdce Temnoty
7. Pro Syny Této Země
8. Duch Slovanské Síly
9. Krev A Síla Našich Předků







Here it is! Inferno finally made it to the debut full-length stage of their career. I think this took a lot longer than most bands and it's kind of shocking how long this took. Nonetheless, this is a long overdue release and I'm pleased to see this finally see the light of day. This is one of the few Eclipse Production CD's I don't own, instead I own the Long Ago Records version, which is a repress from 2004. These are basically the same thing because Eclipse Productions eventually formed into Long Ago Records.

I don't think I would ever class this as a classic amidst the history of Black Metal, but it's a solid first release and Inferno's sound has evolved quite a lot over the years. In the beginning I think Inferno was going for a more majestic and haunting sound of Black Metal, similar to early Dimmu Borgir on some levels, only with less keyboards. However, keyboards were certainly present to add that layer of atmosphere. At this point they changed into favoring a more traditional and raw style of Black Metal, which they are far better at writing, in my opinion. Inferno were never content to just play blasting intense Black Metal through an entire album and actually most of the songs on "Duch Slovanské Síly" are fairly mid-paced. This means the band focuses on writing solid riffing that listeners can get behind, and in that category I think Inferno really succeed. Is it original? No. Is it a very good listen otherwise? Yes! They are definitely solid writers and know how to craft an excellent Black Metal song. The raw nature of their recording style creates a sense of viciousness within their music, especially in the faster sections, but the mid-paced approach actually generates a more haunting aspect. I think the latter is what they were trying to achieve by adding keyboards, but the band really doesn't need that to evoke a more powerful atmosphere.

One of the things I find interesting is how thin the distortion settings are. One of the guitars seems to have barely any distortion on it, yet there's just enough to create a great Black Metal atmosphere. This is a little different from the usual high-gain guitar settings I'm used to in the Black Metal genre. They do stick with creating their usual Ambient driven into and outro though... I will say the outro track "Krev A Síla Našich Předků" is really weird and something I would expect more from the mind of Lord Morbivod if he ever made this kind of music.

In the end Inferno's debut is a great success to me. I like this band a lot, and even though they may not be re-inventing the scene or breaking down barriers, they know how to craft good Black Metal. I don't need a band to always be adding to the scene in order for me to find enjoyment in their sound and since they're following in the footsteps of what the guys in Maniac Butcher are performing, I can't complain if it's well written.


Inferno & Celestia Split
Sombre Records, 2000
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno:
1. Bitva O Měsiční Trůn
2. Outro
Celestia:
3. Spectra











Side Celestia: ...coming eventually...
Side Inferno:

We're almost to Inferno's debut full length, but first they needed to get in one more split!  I think throughout their career Inferno is one of the bands that has done an incredible amount of splits.  This time they do their split with France's Celestia limited to 500 copies.  The cover looks like a fantasy novel, which is quite different from previous Inferno material where the focus has been on fire.  I think the only thing I don't like about this is that it's not the usual 7" packaging where you put the record in a sleeve, instead the covers are more like a booklet you put the record in between, but nothing is really holding the record in place very securely.

I was expecting more of the same type of Metal Inferno had been playing, but I think this track is a little bit different.  It sounds extremely good and feels even more thought out than some of their previous works. It starts off with a plodding bass line, which launches into an extremely  haunting riff.  Despite the tremelo picked chords and blast beats, the whole song has a rather  mid-paced feel.  Inferno still managed to craft an arrangement that was actually interesting to listen to and it sounds a lot darker than their other material.  I hope this is indicative of the direction the band is taking for the upcoming full-length!

Even though it is not listed on the booklet, I think there is an outro track.  There's a distinct space between the Black Metal and this keyboard arrangement. The keyboard piece that introduces the song is their most impressive arrangement thus far.   I really hope to hear more of this type of music in the future from Inferno, because I think they're on their way to writing some very compelling Black Metal.


Moonblood & Inferno Split
Sombre Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

Inferno:
1. Ve Znamení Ohně
2. Géniové (Master's Hammer Cover)
Moonblood:
3. Kingdom Under Funeral Skies










Side Moonblood: here
Side Inferno:

Inferno have truly hit legendary status now, doing a split with the mighty Moonblood!  I was very excited to see this split given my love for both projects.  The vinyl edition of this is limited to 500 hand-numbered copies and I own #425. I also own the tape version where the tapes are limited to 555 hand-numbered copies, of which I own #521.

Inferno graces us with one new track and gives us a cover song of the legendary Master's Hammer.  This track seems in line of the type of material found on the previous split.  Their Black Metal is heavier and more vicious at times than before.  They are using keyboards in certain sections to emphasize certain guitar phrases, or add to the atmosphere a little more.  The vocals feel every so slightly different to me for some reason.  I think Adramelech is going for a higher ranged scream than previous recordings.  He actually achieves a slight Ihsahn styled scream in some sections.  The close the album off with a cover of Master's Hammer and given that bands legendary status, it makes me see how they really helped define that special Czech sound I hear in all the area bands.  It's one of the major reasons I love Czech Black Metal so much and find it to be fairly unique!

In the end, this is a great collectors item.  The songs are great from both bands, which is a rare thing to achieve with splits, at least in my opinion.  A lot of times I buy splits because I love one of the bands and they do the split with a terrible project or a project that doesn't complement their own.  In this case, I feel a Moonblood/Inferno split works very well because both bands writing works well together.  Definitely a solid split and worth owning if you can find it.


Maniac Butcher & Inferno Split
Sombre Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

Maniac Butcher:
1. Metal from Hell
Inferno: Chrám Nenávisti
2. Intro: V Prach A Popel Vše Obráceno Jest
3. Krev
4. Krajina Zasvěcená Ďáblu
5. Vládce Hor
6. Chrám Nenávisti
7. Outro: Dovršení Křesťanské Zkázy





Side Maniac Butcher: ...coming eventually...

Side Inferno:
If you happened to miss out on the 3-way split from this same year, then you had a chance to get some of the material on vinyl. Unfortunately, the material from Sezarbil was not included, perhaps due to the length. This is a full LP in size, so I'm not sure all of the material could have fit form all three bands. However, you get to hear the material presented by Maniac Butcher and Inferno at the very least. In the same fashion as the CD, this is also a limited released, but this time it is limited to only 350 copies. This is all the same material so I won't bother reviewing it again, but for the sake of making my discography complete, I am including the release and at least telling of it's existence and what it looks like.

See video linked with original release below.

Maniac Butcher/Sezarbil/Inferno - Proti Všem...
Pussy God Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

Maniac Butcher:
1. Metal from Hell
Sezarbil: Temný Sen
2. Varování
3. Temný Sen
4. Příprava K Boji
5. Zničení Církve Svaté
6. Immortality
Inferno: Chrám Nenávisti
7. Intro: V Prach A Popel Vše Obráceno Jest / Krev
8. Krajina Zasvěcená Ďáblu
9. Vládce Hor
10. Chrám Nenávisti / Outro: Dovršení Křesťanské Zkázy

Side Maniac Butcher: ...coming eventually...
Side Sezarbil: here

Side Inferno:
By 1999 Inferno was probably starting to make a bigger name for themselves and they managed to get onto this split with the big named band Maniac Butcher. I think Maniac Butcher is pretty interested in helping out the lesser known projects from their region, so the split with Sezarbil and Inferno was released. This is the first time Inferno has had a release pressed onto CD and it will certainly not be the last. This split is limited to 666 hand-numbered copies and I happen to own #483.

I think the music featured on the split is a logical progression from Inferno's demo material. It's not too much faster, but still maintains that sort of mid-paced approach to Black Metal. I think Inferno are trying to generate a more haunting and sinister atmosphere, but that more up-beat Czech style plays through a little bit in some ways for this release. Listening to the second track you can hear a more haunting atmosphere play through to show that Inferno is experimenting a bit more, but it doesn't stay haunting the whole time. As with the demo material it does have some keyboard material playing under their songs and their application of the material distinctly reminds me of early Satyricon, which is certainly not a bad association. The pacing is certainly similar to Satyricon, so it wouldn't surprise me if that was a major influence to Inferno. Inferno mixes it up a bit more and saws away at the guitars similar to some of the Swedish acts and other Czech bands, so it really creates a rather interesting blend. As Black Metal would progress I think this blend would become rather overused, but in these still semi-early days bands like Inferno managed to bring something fairly good to our ears.

Inferno is still improving quite a bit and the production on this recording is naturally better than the cassette demos. If you enjoyed their demo material, I highly recommend checking out the material on the split. For me this is where Inferno really started to take off a bit, even though I like their later releases a lot more, I think this is where their writing started to show through in a strong way.



Inferno - Live in Bitterfeld
Eclipse Productions/Sombre Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Krev
3. Krajina Zasvěcená Ďáblu
4. Peklo Na Zemi
5. Vládce Hor
6. Géniové (Master's Hammer Cover)
7. Pomsta
8. Ve Znamení Ohně
9. Chrám Nenávisti
10. Stemmen fra Taarnet (Burzum Cover)
11. Ztracený ve Lžích
12. Géniové (Master's Hammer Cover)




After only two demos Inferno went right into releasing a live tape.  This is fairly impressive since they clearly had enough material to perform eleven songs without performing both demos in their entirety.  On here we get to hear a few new songs before their studio recordings would come to light.  This tape is limited to 333 hand-numbered copies and I have copy #291.

If you really want to experience Inferno live in the early days this tape is an excellent way to do just that!  Whatever system they were using to record this live performance came out pretty damn good.  They certainly didn't have access to high quality live recording equipment like you would hear on something like Emperor's "Live Imperial Ceremony", but that's not the point.  Here we capture a raw and vicious performance from this great band in their earlier days.  This is before they even put out their first full length!  They really put forth a rather flawless performance as far as I can tell and I think it would have been great to experience this live incarnation of Inferno.  Luckily it is forever saved on this tape, so that others can feel some of the experience even if it is not exactly like being there.

I feel like this is when Inferno really started to strengthen with their music.  Even the early demo stuff sounds more vicious than the actual recordings.  There's no keyboards or any kinds of effects going on like you heard on the demos, so you get nothing but a raw and intense performance.  In order to flesh out their live show a bit more they did perform a couple cover songs; one from Master's Hammer and the other from Burzum.  Naturally this really stick out because they sound quite different from the other Inferno material, but there's nothing wrong with throwing some classic songs into your live performance.  They did a great job on them anyway.

I really have no complaints about this live recording and if you're an Inferno maniac like I am, then this definitely needs to be part of your collection!  It's just a shame it's limited to so few copies.  The tape is probably long gone, but I was lucky enough to procure copy, so who knows maybe someone else will get lucky and find it as well.



Inferno - Temná Poselství Dávných Předků
Self-Released, 1997
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Ztracený ve Lžích
3. Čekání na Smrt
4. Pomsta
5. Večný Pláč
6. Smrt Ve Jménu Boha
7. Outro
8. Burzum (Remixed)








This is Inferno's second demo and it is certainly as good as the first if not a little better. I am actually fortunate to have an original copy. It has a professionally printed booklet which folds out and has all the lyrics inside. An interesting fact is that Barbarud Hrom from Maniac Butcher did the cover layout for this demo.

Musically this demo builds on what "Peklo na Zemi" was trying to put forth.  I feel like the writing has matured a little and the songs feel a lot more cohesive than before.  As if they are starting to build into the Black Metal band they will eventually become, basically.  Things are a little more aggressive on this demo, they don't hesitate to do some serious blasting sections upping the intensity that extra level for the listener.  There are still some very catchy guitar sections though and I feel they've managed to blend them in such a way they have more of a cohesive flow.  The one element that surprises me is the amount of keyboards they've decided to add into their music.  Now the keyboard isn't going on the time to make this a Symphonic Black Metal release by any means, but it's going often enough to add that different kind of atmosphere only a keyboard can.  I think it makes Inferno seem more like early Emperor with the way Inferno tends to use the keyboards.  They usually try to stay away from using keyboards in their catchier riffs, which is something I certainly appreciate because they never seems to work out too well.

If I was listening to Inferno for the first time and I heard this I would be worried they would start to overuse the keyboard and become a Symphonic Black Metal band. By this time we should all know that doesn't happen, instead Inferno turns into something much different. It is certainly interesting to hear Inferno experiment a bit with their sound and watch them develop as a band though.

The last track on this demo is called "Burzum-remixed". To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what this means and if someone wants to leave a message telling me, feel free. I listened to the song "Burzum" from the album "Filosofem" and I'm not entirely sure if they are attempting to cover this song. The Burzum song is around seven minutes in length and the Inferno version is about three minutes, so clearly it's not the whole thing... I really don't know what this is.

This demo was recently (2012-ish) re-released and since I own that I'll post the cover below:


It sort of makes me wonder if they're the same castle... I think they might be!



Inferno - Peklo na Zemi
Night Birds Records, ? (1996 Original)
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2.Peklo Na Zemi
3.Checkotylo Rudý Rozparovač
4.Ježišův Konec
5.Město Nazaret
6. Outro










Here begins a set of reviews for another band with a monstrous discography! Even though Metal-Archives lists many bands with the name "Inferno", as far as I am concerned the Inferno from the Czech Republic is the only one that exists! Unfortunately I missed out on getting the original version of the demo for this band, so the cover featured above is a recent repress on Night Birds Records, which is limited to 300 copies. As far as I'm concerned this is an excellent repress. It's on a pro-printed booklet which features pictures of forest fires throughout.  Based on pictures of seen, the original booklet was a little more interesting and featured lyrics and band photos.  This booklet merely has the track listing, but still looks quite nice with the professional printing.

Inferno get their start in the mid-90's along with other major notable Czech bands like Maniac Butcher and the groups surrounding them.  Inferno got their start around when bands were skipping the Death Metal phase of their careers and Black Metal was known enough to just start in that genre.  This works out great because Inferno start off releasing a very solid demo.  There's no phase the band goes through in order to get used to writing and composing, they just work seamlessly well together.

I don't know what it is about Czech bands, but they have this very distinct Black Metal sound unlike any other country. You hear this in Maniac Butcher, Stíny Plamenů, and others.  At times the music can have a sort of up-beat feel, yet the atmosphere creates a huge contradiction to this because it is so dark in nature. So these bands must be touching upon something right. I'm trying to remember back to things in 1996 and I think this is also a little before Black Metal really got known for blasting their way through an album, so while Inferno has fast sections, "Peklo na Zemi" doesn't depend on speed to generate the atmosphere.

In the end we have quite a strong beginning for this band and I look forward to hearing their future works.  I know this band only gets stronger as they continue to release material in the future, but I hope their original offerings aren't completely lost to the annals of time. This is some absolutely classic material as far as I'm concerned.