Saturday, July 27, 2013

Purgatory (Ger)

Purgatory - Omega Void Tribvnal
War Anthem Records, 2016
Genre: Death Metal

1. Devouring the Giant
2. Prophet of Demonic Wrath
3. Chaos, Death, Perdition
4. Nemesis Enigma
5. Codex Anti
6. The Curse of Samhain, Pt. II
7. Via Dolorosa
8. The Archaic Evil

It took me a little longer to get my hands on a copy of this new album, but ever since I saw this album hit, I've been wanting to hear it. That time is finally now and I am very pleasantly surprised. The artwork really caught my eye when the album was first announced, because it was so different from what I would expect from this project. I was definitely curious to hear how the music would reflect this art direction.

"Omega Void Tribvnal", I expected to be a fairly strong album, because Purgatory has always produced fairly strong albums over the years. However, "Omega Void Tribvnal" takes things to a whole new level. The music maintains a feel of crushing Death Metal, but there's this underlying extremely dark atmosphere replete throughout the album. It has that same crushing dark feel that we hear in bands like Hell-Born, but Purgatory isn't as groove laden, rather they're faster and more ominous in some ways. They really crafted an excellent album this time around that stands out amidst their discography. If I had to level a criticism at this, it's that the vocals are a bit too loud in the mix in sections and take over the guitars once in a while.

On the first few listens, this might actually launch itself into my favorite Purgatory album. Sure they have their classics, but the riffs on this album are just so intoxicating, I will definitely be coming back for me. They feel meaner and darker than some of the prior material, so if you're a fan of this project, I highly recommend this album. If you haven't heard of them... I recommend you start sooner than later.

Purgatory - Deathkvlt - Grand Ancient Arts
War Anthem Records, 2013
Genre: Death Metal

1. Onward to the Bvrning Shores
2. Grand Ancient Arts
3. Psalms of Invocation
4. Vnderneath Fathomless Depths
5. Pandemonivm Rising
6. Vnleash the Reaper
7. Into Starless Chaos
8. As I Behold I Despise
9. Of Reverence and Rvin
10. Consvmed by Ashes

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I am hardly a Death Metal aficionado and I like my Death Metal performed in a fairly specific way. A testament to this fact is that I only purchased between ten and twenty Death Metal albums, versus the one hundred plus Black Metal I acquired.  So, when it comes to Death Metal, you better be producing something worth my time and Purgatory have been very consistent in this regard over the years so when I saw "Deathkvlt" slotted for release, I was immediately intent on purchasing it.

When I started seeing all the u's replaced as v's, I did start to worry that Purgatory have started down more of a Behemoth path, which I didn't think would suit their sound. They should really be sticking to the Vader/Lost Soul styles of Poland, because they've made that work so perfectly. Fear not! "Deathkvlt" continues in this vein masterfully. Nothing has really changed in the Purgatory camp and they continue to strive to write simply solid Death Metal. They do seem to have some Behemoth influence show up in songs like "Underneath Fathomless Depths," but its a fairly subtle influence and focuses on borrowing from Behemoth's more hard hitting and atmospheric edge. I don't know what's different, but something feels different with "Deathkvlt". Things feel a lot more engaging than before, the riffs are just better all around and they draw the listener in far more quickly. They've always been good, but something just seems better on this album. Listening to "Psalms of Invocation" things seem a lot darker than previous compositions and this shift really strikes a chord with me for some reason. I usually think that solid projects can't help but stumble upon a really stand-out album and for Purgatory this might be theirs.

I think this might be my favorite Purgatory album. It just has everything I love and want from a serious Death Metal album. Maybe its because I don't consume as much Death Metal these years as I used to when I was younger, but something really stands out about this release. The atmosphere on the album is really striking and it just produces this amazing experience for the listeners. We have come to expect solid Death Metal from Purgatory over the years, but this year they've really outdone themselves. Highly recommended.

Purgatory - Necromantaeon
War Anthem Records, 2011
Genre: Death Metal

1. Arrival of the Undivine
2. Reaping the Diseased
3. Where Darkness Reigns
4. Glorification of the Lightbearer
5. Downwards into Unlight
6. Scourging Blasphemies
7. Calling the Grand Destroyer
8. Necromantaeon
9. The Collapse of Tides

Now that Purgatory's line-up seems solidified it has only taken a couple years to produce their next Death Metal assault upon the world. I feel like Purgatory are really setting into the sound that was first solidified on "Luciferianism" and they've really been hammering that transition home album after album.

"Necromantaeon" brings us more Vader infused crushing Death Metal. While, I don't think Purgatory will ever hit the higher echelons of Vader's greatest work, I don't think that is their goal. I think Purgatory just want to produce solid albums with material that is well written. This is Death Metal written with intent of just putting together an album that sounds great. They're not trying to blow your mind, they're trying to perform Death Metal as it is meant to played. In a time when far too many Metalcore bands are coming into existence, its nice to see mainstays of the Death Metal scene like Purgatory aren't changing anything in their repertoire.

If you want a band that consistently hits a solid point on every album lately Purgatory is the band you are looking for. If you just want solid Death Metal done right I can't imagine you'd be disappointed with "Necromanteon". There really isn't too much to say beyond that.

Purgatory / Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult - The Legion of Chaos
Animate Records, 2011
Genre: Death Metal

1. Purgatory - Ars Moriendi (Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult Cover)
2. Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult - Enslaved by Madness (Purgatory Cover)
3. Pugatory - Dawn of Eternity (Massacre Cover)
4. Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult - The Truth (Master Cover)

Side Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult: ...coming eventually...
Side Purgatory:

This is a really interesting treat. Here we have a really beautiful vinyl, which I am very proud to have in my collection. While some may argue that this really isn't "new" material from the bands in an original sense, the way this vinyl is etched on one side is just beautiful.

Each band submitted two cover songs and this is reminiscent of the old Season of Mist vs. albums, where each band had to cover the other bands songs. Purgatory opens with covering a song by Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult and this is interesting because we get to hear a Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult song recast into the realms of Death Metal. It actually works really well and it seems the well known Black Metal project can be recast almost seamlessly. For the second cover Purgatory cover the timeless classic "Dawn of Eternity" by Massacre. Now, Purgatory due a real stand-up job of covering this classic, but I honestly Naglfar's version of the song more. Where Purgatory's version is more brutal, I feel the Naglfar rendition just hit so much harder with the way the approached it. Either way, two great songs are offered here. The only real reason to get this is if you are a die-hard collector of either project.

Purgatory - Cultus Luciferi - The Splendour of Chaos
Animate Records, 2008
Genre: Death Metal

1. Realm of the Vortex
2. Chaos Aeon
3. Ruler of the Cast
4. Forbidden Wisdom
5. Red Prison
6. Hammering the Nails - Vengeance of the Damned
7. Pits of Utumno (Morgoth Cover)
8. Burial of a Plague
9. The Enemy Within
10. Seeds of Annihilation (Live, 2006)

I feel like the album every four years is working out for Purgatory. It seems a rather long time between releases, but as long as the releases are really stand-out and present excellent material, there is no reason to complain. This time there have been some serious line-up changes between the full-lengths. Long time vocalist Sick has left the band shortly after "Luciferianism" and has been replaced by Dreier. However, Sick's involvement hasn't totally ended, he seems to be heavily involved in the lyrical creation. Prior to this Dreier had worked in the band Seirim who Purgatory did a split with back in 1997, so he's no stranger to the Death Metal scene. I want to say this is somewhat unfortunate, because I was beginning to enjoy Sick's vocals a lot, but on the other hand Dreier really fits with the bands style very well.

Keeping up with their new found ability to have real art direction with their album layouts we get an even more involved booklet. Purgatory are sticking with the "Black to the Blind" style of band pics, but go a little towards the early Dismember stage with blood. Its almost like no time has passed between the two albums. Even though this album has a very similar musical presentation, it still sounds extremely well done. The riffing is cool and interesting. The guitar tone is where I would want it to be for the style, the Vader blend hasn't left their edge or anything. Dreier does a great job vocally and proves to be a very dynamic vocalist. He can do the Piotr screams pretty well, but he can also hit some seriously deep growls that were unlike anything in Purgatory before. He also does a great job with layering some higher range vocals into their sound, so it seems he fits with the band quite well. As usual, it seems Purgatory feel a compulsory cover song is needed on their albums these days and on this one we get a cover of Morgoth's classic "Pits of Utumno", which is far more fitting with the Purgatory style than Lemming Project from "Luciferianism". Morgoth doesn't totally disrupt the atmosphere of the modern Purgatory sound. Dreier actually does a rather impressive job hitting Marc's vocal style quite well.

Even though not much has markedly changed between albums, I'm perfectly happy to have Purgatory exploring this style for a few albums. They do a really great job with it and even though some reviewers may say this brings nothing new to Death Metal, that's fine for me, as long as its interesting and well written material.

Purgatory - Luciferianism
Animate Records, 2004
Genre: Death Metal

1. Bloodsoil Revelation
2. Death World Struggle
3. Seeds of Annihilation
4. In Fervent Eyes
5. The Serpent's Creation
6. The Inexorable Darkness
7. Judas Billygoats /Judasböcke (Lemming Project Cover)
8. None Divine Passion
9. Luciferic

"Luciferianism" is where I was first introduced to Purgatory. This cover really caught my eye in a distro and I decided to give the band a chance. I really liked what they were doing on this album a lot, so I really sought out and started following the project ever since I heard this. Its actually been quite a while since Purgatory have released a new album and I feel like a lot more time was spent working on this album, which shows. Moving beyond the new sound founded on "Blessed with Flames of Hate" Purgatory have changed to Animate Records leaving behind their long time record label Perverted Taste. With this the booklet has taken on entirely new art direction and it is far more interesting to look at this time. The images of the band are many, but the overall presentation hints at something more professional.

On the prior album I mentioned the guitar tone had this thinner quality which made the album more reminiscent of early Malevolent Creation, well "Luciferianism" changes that entirely. The guitar production is thick and extremely heavy this time, so this album feels like it emulates the mighty Vader. Even the band photos are reminiscent of "Black to the Blind". I feel like Sick has attempted to change his vocal approach to fit the music more and has instead defaulted to trying to sound as much like Piotr as possible. Just listen to the opening scream of "Seeds of Annihilation", that is a classic Piotr roar. The best part is he does a great job with it, so I'm not about to complain about this new massive infusion of Vader influence. They blend it with the guitar arrangement style of "Blessed with Flames of Hate", so it doesn't necessarily come off as a total Vader rip-off. I don't want to give the impression that he sounds like Piotr all the time, he doesn't, he varies up his vocal approach throughout the album. It certainly feels like it fits the album a lot more this time around. Lutz offers up a rather impressive drum performance, as usual, actually, but I feel like his arrangements are sharper and stand out a bit more on this release. I think he does make a valiant attempt at getting Doc's bass drum tone... but no one but Doc has ever been able to get that...

In the end, I really like the new direction Purgatory seems to be heading in. The only track that doesn't seem to fit in with the albums new atmosphere is the cover song they did from Lemming Project. It just interrupts this crushing style of Death Metal for something that isn't on the same level. I do like hearing it all in German though and like Vader, I think it would be really interesting for the bands to do an entire album in their native language. I am really looking forward to what Purgatory might have in store for us next if they're going to continue down this line of thought.

Polymorph / Purgatory - Hell Bastards
G.U.C., 2003
Genre: Death Metal

1. Lord of Lies
2. Hell Bastards
3. Fiend for Blood (Autopsy Cover)
4. Corporation Pull-In (Terrorizer Cover)
5. Captured Souls (Live)

Side Polymorph: ...coming eventually...
Side Purgatory:

After about three years Purgatory have brought us a new split. I feel like this was something just to show the band was still around because they really don't have much to offer on this split. Here we get two cover songs, which are painfully short because they are more from the Grindcore side of things, and a live recording from 2000. The cover songs aren't even new recordings, they are unreleased material from the "Blessed with Flames of Hate" recording session. Even though the Purgatory side clocks in at under seven minutes, they still decided to print this on a 10" vinyl. I'm sure its limited to some quantity, but nothing is stated on the release. Its nice to have everything from the "Blessed with Flames of Hate" recording session though, I guess I just wish there was more than three minutes of unreleased material or a new original song altogether. The live track is pretty interesting, because the guitar tone in the live track is a little thicker than the original recording. Other than that, this is really for Purgatory die-hards as far as I can tell.

Purgatory - Blessed with Flames of Hate
Perverted Taste, 2000
Genre: Death Metal

1. Damned and Betrayed
2. Visions Beyond Light
3. The Daimonion
4. March of the Eminent Beast
5. Pharynx of Evil
6. Captured Souls
7. Blessed with Flames
8. In Blasphemy
9. ...And Blood Flows

A new millennium and apparently a fairly new sound from Purgatory. It seems they've almost dropped the prior Carcass influences entirely for their third full-length. Here we get a full booklet with band pics and lyrics, so they're keeping up that theme from "Bestial" at least.

"Blessed with Flames of Hate" changes things up for the project in the sense that the guitar arrangements focus more on sinister scale patterns rather than their prior crunching guitar chord progressions. Some of that early style still shows up from time to time, but this gives a rather fresh blend to it. Think of the way Deicide, Malevolent Creation, or many Polish Death Metal bands write their music and you'll see where Purgatory is drawing more of their influences this time. I feel like instead of the crunching style we have more of a Thrash approach to the more rhythmic aspects of the album, which is similar to a lot of the early styles of Death Metal. The guitar tone is really thin, which is why I feel it is more reminiscent of the early Malevolent Creation style versus bands like Vader who have a much heavier guitar tone. The vocal style is virtually unchanged for the new approach and in that realm I'm not entirely convinced the vocals really work too well with the new style. At times they sound great, but a lot of times they just sort of feel out of place for some reason.

Musically I really like Purgatory's new direction. I think they're actually a lot stronger at writing in this style than some of their earlier works. I'm really interested to see how Purgatory will develop this style in the future, because it really feels like all the elements are falling in place for this band.

Purgatory - Bestial
Perverted Taste, 1997
Genre: Death Metal

1. My Blood
2. Ulcer of Hate
3. Immolation of the Weak
4. The Bestial
5. Back from the Shadowlands
6. Your Soul will Never Rest
7. Malignant Spawn
8. Enslaved by Madness
9. Tormented Flesh
10. Burned

I feel like Purgatory is one of those bands that can't let a year go by without producing some type of recording. This wouldn't be bad if everything was amazing... but I feel like the band could have just skipped to "Bestial" which is a little better than "Damage Done by Worms".  This time their booklet is fleshed out a bit more. There isn't any extra art in the booklet, but there are band photos and lyrics printed for us to read.

"Bestial" continues to plod along the same course of the prior material, but with some decent improvements here and there. I think there is an effort to work in some catchier guitar lines and I feel like I hear a distinct Unleashed vibe in some of the tracks. The primary influence still seems to be Carcass though, so if you really liked albums like "Symphonies of Sickness" or "Necroticism" then this might be worth checking out. This album is definitely a bit stronger than their debut, which is a good sign and we can only hope that improvement is constant with the project.

While this album is markedly better than the debut, I still felt rather lackluster about my listening to it. Its good Death Metal, but that's all... just good. Then again, I never really fiended for the early Carcass sound like some people did. Sure it's legendary, but I rarely ever listen to "Symphony's of Sickness" for example. It's incredibly influential work and I can't deny that... but it was never something that really drew me in wanting more and more That's how I feel about the early Purgatory work, it's solid stuff, but its hard for me to get really into it like I can with other bands.

Purgatory & Seirim Split
Perverted Taste, 1997
Genre: Death Metal

1. Ulcer of Hate
2. Tormented Flesh
3. Horned Demons
4. Son of a Eminent Beast

Side Seirim: ...coming eventually...
Side Purgatory:

Since Purgatory's second full-length is imminent they've decided to release a bit of a teaser in the form of this split with Seirim. It's a very basic 7" vinyl release, which I'm sure is limited to some specific number, but nothing says anything about it on the release.

The really interesting part about the two songs featured by Purgatory on here is that they are either demo tracks or they are pre-production tracks that the band recorded in the studio. Either way, these are far more raw sounding than even the production on "Damage Done by Worms". For some reason, when cast in this light their music actually sounds pretty good... there's something about the raw edge that really helps give them that something more to make it interesting. Maybe it's because their influences have pretty decent studio production, so to hear some of that stuff cast in a raw atmosphere sounds pretty different to me. Usually this kind of production doesn't work at all for Death Metal, but it seems to work fairly well for the likes of Purgatory. I doubt their next album will sound like this... but I'm glad they shared these demo tracks with us.

Purgatory - Damage Done by Worms
Perverted Taste, 1996
Genre: Death Metal

1. Orgy of Sickening Dreams
2. Deep Under the Light
3. Sodomizing Time
4. Robes of Skin
5. Psychopathia Sexualis Pt. II
6. Necrocannibalistical Insanity
7. Brood of Incest
8. Irresolute Subjection
9. The Final Breath
10. Frozen Braincells
11. Paroxysm of Mortal Lust
12. Sadistic Spell
13. Necronomical Necropsy

Purgatory have finally made it to a position where they can put out their debut full-length release. This sort of continues the journey they began with "Sadistic Spell" only now they finally have a CD out. The cover is strange, as we've come to expect from the project, but the booklet is rather weak. It just features pictures of band members, no lyrics or anything like that. The last four tracks on the CD are taken from "Sadistic Spell", so if you missed out on that EP you can finally hear it.

"Damage Done by Worms" simply given the fact that it came out in 1996 means this probably has a very old school Death Metal feel. This is certainly true and it seems Purgatory is picking up where the days of early Carcass left off. Purgatory to blend together some other styles from the early days, as I'm sure Morgoth are a clear influence. It actually sort of blends the early Edge of Sanity sound with early Carcass, to try and make something fairly interesting. For some reason, I found it really hard to get into this material. It's kind of strange because I do like a lot of the early Death Metal from the aforementioned projects.

In the end "Damage Done by Worms" blends a lot of the early Death Metal sounds under one umbrella. If that sounds really appealing to you, then this is a project that must be checked out. I thought they did a decent job, but it's not something I think I will listen to very often when it comes to my own preferences of Death Metal.

Purgatory - Sadistic Spell
Perverted Taste, 1995
Genre: Death Metal

1. Frozen Braincells
2. Paroxysm of Mortal Lust
3. Sadistic Spell
4. Necronominal Necropsy

Another year and another four songs from Purgatory released on clear blue 7" vinyl.  The cover is still just as ridiculous, but this time it's a sort of large fold out poster.  It's so big it doesn't entirely fit in my scanner, so the above is the end result of that.  I tried to get as much of the image as possible.  Again, there are no lyrics, but I assume they are still spending most of their time discussing sexual violence in a Sadean manner, though the cover seems more about bondage.

Musically we've had some good improvements.  Purgatory are no longer afraid to play faster Death Metal.  "Frozen Braincells" launches in with a whirlwind of blasting Death Metal.  It actually sounds really good and the riffs are much improved this time around.  I was hoping this would keep up, but it seems they trade off between this better style and the slower style we found on "Psychopathia Sexualis".  They really should just do away with the latter and focus on the former.  Maybe if their guitar tone was thicker it would sound better, I don't know, but for some reason I just can't get into a lot of their stuff.  When they start playing faster and take on some Thrashier aspects it sounds a lot better.  Janette makes her appearance on this release with the intro to "Sadistic Spell".  It's merely a spoken word section, but it actually works really well with their sound and stands out quite a lot.

"Sadistic Spell" is greatly improved from "Psychopathia Sexualis", so hopefully this is indicative of Purgatory's future efforts.  I may not find that much merit in "Sadistic Spell", but I do like seeing a band improve and Purgatory is certainly doing that.  "Frozen Braincells" and "Necromanical Necropsy" are actually pretty good tracks, but they do include to much of their slower material to make them great tracks.  Hopefully their future is brighter.

Purgatory - Psychopathia Sexualis
Perverted Taste Records, 1994
Genre: Death Metal

1. Masturbation of Bowels
2. Childs of Perversion
3. Necrocannabilistical Insanity
4. Psychopathia Sexualis

Looking up the band Purgatory will yield many results, but the only one I know of is the German Death Metal band.  Purgatory have been around for ages at this point and I'm not sure how I missed out on their work.  A large part of it is probably due to my focus on Black Metal and a lesser due to distribution with me living far away from Germany.  When I finally found this band I went into their back catalog and was actually able to track down this very early 7" vinyl release.  It's actually pressed on bright blue clear vinyl, which I thought was an odd choice when I took the record out.  The album cover is utterly ridiculous and portrays a scene that is up there with some sort of Sadean quality of art.

Prior to this Purgatory only had a live demo tape, which the band self-released.  I've never heard it and only one song appears recorded on this 7".  I don't know if the lyrics are represented by the cover, since they were never printed, but they probably are.  I feel like Purgatory is trying to be different by writing about things like sexual violence or something like that.  Anyway, the music is just okay.  I never found any of the songs to be outstanding or have any kind of endearing atmosphere.  The songs are a fairly slow form of Death Metal, which plods along to nowhere in particular.  The song "Necrocannibalistic Insanity" is a little faster and for some reason reminds me of Decameron, so maybe Decameron was influenced by Purgatory a bit.  The music isn't particularly heavy or crushing either, so I'm not entirely sure what they were going for.  Maybe they were after a sort of Grave type of effect, but Purgatory lacks that catchy aspect that made Grave so spectacular.  For some reason Janett gets a photo credit on the back and I was waiting for her to show up, but she only appears in the last track "Psychopathia Sexualis" and that's only around two minutes long.

Even for this early time the music is pretty well recorded, but my problems with this project were solely in the writing.  I found the music dry with very few interesting moments.  Unless your an absolute maniac for Purgatory I would recommend passing up this release.  Their later material is certainly much more interesting to me.

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