Friday, May 23, 2014


Sepulchral Productions, 2014
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Wendigo
2. Le Bois des Belles
3. La Griffe du Diable
4. Murmures Nocturnes

Side Forteresse: here
Side Chasse-Galerie: ...coming eventually...
Side Monarque: here
Side Csejthe:

This is one of the most ambitious 4-way splits I've come across. This split contains all new material from some of Québéc's best Black Metal projects. My friends know I am big fan of all the bands involved, so I was very excited to see this imminent release. Here we have Sepulchral putting out some of the finest material again. This time it comes in two 7" vinyl limited to 500 hand-numbered copies. I own copy #69. The two 7" grey splatter vinyl are housed in a gatefold sleeve and when opened we find a picture of a beautiful landscape along with lyrics for the songs.

Given the fact that these are only 7" I knew the Csejthe track wouldn't be an epic song in length. Despite that we still get a wonderful nearly six minute majestic track. It is definitely in line with what we've heard on the last album, but you can see how it wouldn't have really fit well in the flow of the entire release. It is certainly consistent with the beauty and majesty we've come to expect from Csejthe's compositions and strangely most of the song doesn't sound nearly as somber as the usual Csejthe material. That somberness doesn't really kick in until the latter half of the song. Naturally it's a beautiful edition to this split and if you're fan of these bands and the atmospheric style of Métal Noir Québécois then this is a must have split if you can get it.

Csejthe - Réminscence
Eisenwald Tonschmiede, 2013
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Oraison
2. Réminiscence
3. Chasseresse
4. L'Antique Blason
5. Adjuration
6. Dorko, la Malveillante
7. Maléfice
8. Chant des Martyres

Here it is, after a three year wait we get one of the finest albums ever recorded. It seriously is that and I'm not kidding. "Réminiscence" was my album of the year for 2013, though it was sort of a tough battle with the new Plaga being released. However, the fact that Csejthe somehow managed to move their style forward with this release is, frankly, astounding to me. This time we have a beautiful multi-page booklet featuring lyrics, but there isn't as much art to have. However, this really fits with their overall presentation, so it works well.

I really don't know where to go from here. I think one of the more shocking things about this release is that the tracks just keep getting better and better. We are blown away by the majesty of "Réminiscence" and we think "this just doesn't get any better", then "Chasseresse's" lead section kicks in and we're immediately proven wrong. I think the most impressive part is that the level of awe never really leaves the listener while experiencing this album. I figured Csejthe would improve over time and advance their craft, but I wasn't expecting the improvement to be this stark. The album even closes with a, nearly, ten minute instrumental proving that Csejthe's compositions are so strong they actually don't need vocals to move them forward. Csejthe paints some the most beautiful and majestically somber passages within their musical palette.

I really can't think of anything else to say for a release this immense. Words don't do this justice, they just don't. If you are looking for one of the finest performances of Black Metal today, then this is something you should look into. If you enjoy that bleak nature and majesty that Black Metal can create, then this is exactly what you want to hear. There is little better out there for that. Coldworld's "Melancholie" competes pretty well with this, though, if you want a reference point for how strong this release is.

Csejthe - Transcendence
Morbid Winter Records, 2010
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Souterrans
2. Déréliction
3. Transcendance
4. Mémoires

Well, it appears we didn't have to wait too long for some new material from Csejthe. This time all we get is an EP after a year. I don't know when the songs were composed, but if these were extra tracks they had that didn't really fit on "La Mort du Prince Noir" that would make sense as to why this came so fast.

There really isn't much deviation in terms of their sound from the full-length. I think in some respects I can see why some of these were cut, if they were. I feel like "Transcendence" evokes a slightly different feeling from "La Mort du Prince Noir." Things aren't as sombre and desolate on "Transcendance." The EP opens with "Soulterrains", which actually evokes a more typical Black Metal aesthetic, but it's not long before we're back buried in the more usual Csejthe sound with "Déréliction". "Transcendance" keeps that momentum up for the rest of the release and we are given some truly beautiful music once again from Csejthe. The EP closes with some beautiful piano work and reminds me of the closing of their first demo with the song "Réflexion."

Overall this is a very solid release. It has great songs and a great mood and we'll see what this means for a new full-length someday. For now we have three beautiful tracks to add to our Csejthe collection. Even though these don't advance their style much, I definitely prefer having more if they can at least keep up the quality!

Csejthe - La Mort du Prince Noir
Mankind's Demise, 2009
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Invocation
2. La Mort du Prince Noir
3. Le Sang d'Harczy
4. La Comtesse
5. La Redoutable Ascendance
6. Destin Funeste
7. La Dernière Parade
8. Sans Croix et Sans Lumière
9. Conjuration

This is the only Csejthe release I am missing from their discography and it is truly a sad thing to have missed out on the chance to get this set. Luckily I was able to at least hear the music by finding it on a download in 320kbps. However, this just isn't the same as having my own copy. Perhaps someday I will get lucky like I did with the split below, but I sort of doubt it given how good this album is. The cover features, I assume, a picture of Elizabeth Bathori, since Csejthe is the name of the castle she tortured people in. Probably a nod towards the project Bathory, which felt like a major influence on the demo.

In any event, after hearing the split I had mentioned it was probably time for Csejthe to get some proper studio treatment on their songs and "La Mort du Prince Noir" delivers that to us! It's basically everything I had hoped it would be. Csejthe have really developed their sound and writing with care. A lot of the tracks from the split appear on this studio recording as well. The only track left off is "Bator", unfortunately, because I quite enjoyed that song. Where the earlier tracks sounded somewhat primitive, this was clearly due to the recording quality, because they stand with the new tracks perfectly on this album. With the new quality we really get to see how majestic Csejthe really sounds. There are very few bands out there that can perform at this caliber and Forteresse is the only other one I can think of off hand that truly stands out. Csejthe manage to combine some of the desolate and somber feelings typically found in the Depressive ends of Black Metal and really cast them in an epic light. This marrying of the two feelings creates a very unique experience. In some respects it's as if they took the desolate nature of Burzum and combined them with the majesty Viking era Bathory evokes. It's a wonderful experience. This was really one of the biggest releases I've missed out on and I wish I was paying more attention to the Black Metal scene in 2009.

In the end, Csejthe give us an incredible debut. I highly recommend checking them out in light of what they can truly compose. I look forward to hearing other releases from them and hopefully it won't be too long between full-lengths. However, I would prefer care being taken in crafting a new album rather than just throwing songs together... so I'd rather be patient for such a prolific project.

Csejthe & Ziel Bevrijd - Le Sang de l'Alliance
Les Productions Hérétique, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. L'écho des Ruines
2. La Mort du Prince Noir
3. La Redoutable Ascendance
4. Bator
5. Destin Funeste
6. Réflexion
Ziel Bevrijd:
7. Straal Vanhoop
8. Oppression Lointaine
9. Un Chant d'Agonie
10. Perdu à Jamais
11. La Parfum des Larmes

Side Ziel Bevrijd: ...coming eventually...
Side Csejthe:

I've become quite the fan of Csejthe over the years, but I never thought I would come across their original split. I was lucky enough to find a copy on discogs and I purchased it immediately. This is a split with, the also amazing project, Ziel Bevrijd. The reason this CD is so difficult to find is because it is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies and I happen to have #95.

One of the interesting aspects of this release is that this is a debut for both projects. So, instead of just a single demo, we get to hear two interesting projects. I'm usually pretty skeptical when it comes to split demos for new bands, but this works out quiet well in the end because Csejthe and Ziel Bevrijd are both pretty good projects. As I'm listening to the Csejthe side it's sort of hard for me to divorce my impression of their more modern material as I try to go back and think about how this played into the array of material being released in 2007. I don't think Csejthe's first work is as inspiring and fresh sounding as their material became. After a haunting intro track we delve into the first metal song "La Mort du Prince Noir" and strangely this sounds more typical of a Black Metal song. We don't really get into the sound that I consider Csejthe until "La Redoutable Ascendance" sets in. Here we find a project fairly influenced by the groundwork Forteresse laid out with "Métal Noir Québécois". Their sound is melancholic and enchanting, but in a darker way than I think Forteresse was going for. A lot of sections actually remind me of some the Viking Metal era Bathory, but without really being that related to Viking Metal. Finally this ends off with a piano piece named "Réflexion" and it sort of fits with the music, but in terms of production its's way louder than the rest of the recordings!

The only thing holds this release back at times is the nature of how raw the recording is. The guitars can be a bit on the underproduced end and the vocals are certainly too loud. As demo work goes, this gives us a good idea of what Csejthe have in mind for us. It's definitely something that could use better studio treatment and I think their songs are composed well enough to warrant that. So hopefully a debut full-length will be imminent after this short taste of the project.


Sorhin - I Fullmånens Dystra Sken
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Melodic Black Metal

1. I Fullmånens Dystra Sken
2. Den Mörke Härskaren (Svart Lyser Tronen)
3. Ett Fornnordiskt Rike

What began in the "Svarta Själars Vandring" release sees more development in the new demo. This time we have a live drummer in the form of the mighty Shamaatae known for his work on the Arckanum project. This makes this particular demo pretty heavily sought after in the collectors community. Here we also see Daimonic Occasus from the prior demo change his name to Nattfursth and from here he would be known under this name. I feel like "I Fullmånens Dystra Sken" is really where Sorhin started to truly come into their sound and from here they would develop things further with each release.

This would certainly be amongst the classic demos of the early 90's and this is one of the finest out there. They've greatly improved upon the foundation laid down in "Svarta Själars Vandring". The songwriting is far more mature and well constructed than ever before. I think by 1994 the notion of a Black Metal style was more globally understood. In the early days I think the Swedish bands still had a lot of Death Metal in their early influence, but by '94 things were a lot more solidified around the world motivated by some key releases out of Norway. This album feels a lot closer to what we would expect from a solid Black Metal demo and for '94 it is a truly incredible release for it's time! The riffing on this release is simply spectacular and at this point you can really tell Sorhin is ready for some proper studio treatment and hopefully a full-length not too far in the future.

I would class this as one of my must hear early demos in Black Metal. The style Sorhin laid down here would influence so much in the future, even if they would become a more forgotten band twenty years later. I don't think Sorhin ever had great distribution and you really had to know someone in order to find the new releases if you lived overseas. At least that's how it felt to me when I was trying to get their material.

Sorhin - Svarta Själars Vandring
Self-Released, 1993
Genre: Melodic Black Metal

1. Svarta Själars Vandring
2. Enectum
3. I Skuggan av Nattens Herre

If you followed Swedish Black Metal in the 90's there's almost no doubt you've heard of the mighty Sorhin. They were one of the first to play a sort of melodic style in their Black Metal. I am pretty sure this demo uses programmed drums. Here it is listed as "Drums by an unknown spirit", which would make sense if they used a program. This tape was limited to 400 copies and I honestly have no idea if my version is a bootleg or not. It actually may not be.

The music is actually quite good for 1993 and we can hear that Sorhin are more rooted in a Black Metal sound, but with a lot more melody to their writing. This is probably influenced by the early works of Marduk and bands of that nature, aside from the standard Norwegian issues. It's incredible how much their sound has advanced over the years. Going back and listening to this demo is challenging after hearing such polished and wonderful work of their debut full-length. Naturally the production is incredibly harsh, but the real problems show up because the vocals are way too loud in the mix and it really mars the experience. What you can make out, musically, is quite good and different though.

A curious aspect of this demo is that it was recorded at Dark Abyss studio and it makes me wonder if this was a pre-cursor to The Abyss studios. I actually don't know the history of that famous studio very much. In any event another classic band of Black Metal begins with this release.


Sanctuaire - Le Sang sur l'Acier
Tour de Garde/Les Productions Hérétique, 2016
Genre: Black Metal

1. Graver sur les pierres, les souvenirs d'hier
2. Le sang sur l'acier
3. Lune
4. Chasse sauvage

If you wanted more of that intense Québec styled Black Metal, because Forteresse and Cantique Lepreaux just weren't enough this year, feast your eyes on the new Sanctuaire! Instead of a new Monarque recording, we are graced with a new EP from Sanctuaire and it is a truly wonderful release, as I expected based on what I heard with "Helserkr".

This would probably easily sit in my top ten this year if it were a full length, but alas it is not. Each song is an excellent journey in the realms of Black Metal. Some parts are definitely more atmospheric than others, but for the most part this release is a bit more straight forward. It's very heavy and intense sounding, and blended in with the usual atmospheric feel of Monarque's compositions it makes for a very enjoyable journey. One of the things that stands out quite a bit is the pounding drums this time around. In "Graver sur les pierres, les souvenirs d'hier" they even went after the Mayhem thing where you blast beat, but record tom work over the blasts. It makes for a very intense listen in the grand scheme of things. The closing track "Chasse sauvage" isn't as intense as the opening two, but it sits as a very majestic closing to the EP.

The only real complaint I have with this release is that it is far too short. With "Lune" being a short instrumental, we really only have three songs on this and it's just not enough. Monarque creates a sweeping and majestic environment that just demands to be engaged for more than twenty minutes. Despite this, I can't recommend this enough. The packaging and layout are actually quite beautiful, making this well worth the purchase as far as I'm concerned.

On a side note, I read a review complaining about how the songs weren't that memorable. And that's possibly true, but the thing is, with the more atmospheric style of Black Metal, they aren't creating "grooves" or riffs to remember, they're creating entire sonic landscapes and you listen to an album as whole, rather than song by song. At least that's my opinion on this part of the genre. I'm not sure anyone listens to atmospheric Black Metal for the catchy riffing...

Sanctuaire - Helserkr
Tour de Garde/Hammerbolt, 2015
Genre: Black Metal

1. Ô Hérésie, ma lame
2. Garden du Nord
3. Souffle de Sidhgard
3. Ivresse
Echo I:
4. Ultima Thule
5. Mysticisme
6. Sidhgard
7. Terre Celts
8. Éteiles dans le Brouillard
9. Le Labyrinthe
10. Je vois l'Épée
11. Aube du Solstice
12. Bergelmir

If you've missed out on the first two releases from Sanctuaire well now is your chance to hear them on CD. Sanctuaire have finally pressed the material on to CD and really made it worth our while to pick this up even if we have the tapes already. The entire layout and design is incredible. It comes in a digipak with a beautiful booklet inside. This is well worth the cost if you've already got the tape editions of the material.

Sanctuaire - Helserkr
Les Productions Hérétique, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Gardien du Nord
2. Souffle de Sidhgard
3. Ivresse

This is the second release I have from Sanctuaire. You may wonder what the point of having two releases was, but I think it was a really wise decision. The two tapes are of a totally different style, so it makes sense for them to be released separately. "Helserkr" is Monarque's foray into total Atmospheric Black Metal and it truly is a wonderful experience. The tape comes with a full fold-out booklet in a very old styled fashion. Absolutely worth getting in my opinion.

This was the first piece of Sanctuaire's material I heard from a sample shared from Monarque himself. I knew this was something I needed to buy immediately. If you are a fan of Monarque's style then I don't think this would steer you wrong... not that this really sounds anything like Monarque. In fact this is more akin to what I see bands like Forteresse and Ephemer producing. The production is a lot more raw, but it really works for a gritty atmospheric edge. There are some sections that hit a little harder beyond the usual atmospheric style in the song "Gardien du Nord", but it seems to work out quite well. The real shining moment for me is "Souffle de Sidhgard", which has some beautiful and expansive riffing. I could just listen to this epic song endlessly. I hope this is a sign that more material will be written in the future, since there are only a couple full tracks on here to tease us. The demo eventually closes with the haunting instrumental "Ivresse", which is where the longing for more begins.

I am sad that there are only three tracks on this release, but in the end I doubt there is a better demo I'll hear all year. If you can really consider this a demo from such a highly experienced musician. I suppose it is sort of unfair to say that in the face of a new band just starting out... very few can write at the caliber Monarque can after years of honing his craft as a writer and musician.

Sanctuaire - Echo I
Les Productions Hérétique, 2014
Genre: Dark Ambient

1. Ultima Thule
2. Mysticisme
3. Sidhgard
4. Terre Celts
5. Éteiles dans le Brouillard
6. Le Labyrinthe
7. Je vois l'Épée
8. Aube du Solstice
9. Bergelmir

Sanctuaire is a new project with releases this year. Two vastly different cassette demos. Since, they were released at the same time I'm just going to review "Echo I" first. I'm not sure over what time range this material was recorded, but given the two releases I imagine it was longer than just the year. I usually follow releases from Les Productions Hérétique pretty closely and when I saw this hit, I listened to a sample and ordered as soon as it was available. Now, I first heard a sample from "Helserkr" and I was expecting two Black Metal releases, but "Echo I" is a full Ambient album. It's got a beautiful silver booklet on silver tape and is limited to 50 copies. Surprisingly, it is not hand-numbered.

"Echo I" is actually a very old style of Ambient in my opinion. It feels fairly rooted in the methods of Mortiis' early works. It's a very somber and dark composition. Amidst the droning backdrop of Ambient some parts really shine through like the passages in "Terre Celts" that paint some beautiful imagery. These parts feel more reminiscent of Mortiis' "Crypts of the Wizard", which had a more whimsical approach to his usual dark and brooding style. However, Sanctuaire has a more degree of seriousness with this and the mood never truly lightens in the same way. I truly do love the this minimalist Ambient journey and I miss taking it from time to time. There are a lot of great Ambient musicians out there today, but none of the ones I've heard really tap into that early 90's style performed by Black Metal musicians. Sanctuaire is a project from the might Monarque from the band Monarque and I think the work in Black Metal gives a slightly different perspective on things like Ambient. At least that has sort of been my impression when Black Metal musicians delve into the genre. I really do like that Monarque has kept things simple compared to all the technology he could level at this kind of release. That simplicity generates a sort of beauty in some respects and the part I really do like is that the music flows in an interesting fashion rather than drones on. It never really gets to a point where all the songs sound the same, I feel like this is the problem I ran into with Vinterriket releases as more and more material was being released.

Even though "Helserkr" is a Black Metal release, and a very good one at that, I really do hope Sanctuaire continues to intersperse their releases with full Ambient works and Black Metal works. Bringing them together at times and, hopefully, keeping the releases at times. I think this would be a very interesting project to follow and I hope Monarque continues to work on it, despite his obligations to work with his main project. Recommended for fans of Ambient that grew up with the older days of Ambient.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Erebus Enthroned

Erebus Enthroned - Temple Under Hell
Seance Records, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Sorathick Pentecost
2. Trisagion
3. Crucible of Vitriol
4. Black Sword
5. Void Wind
6. The Temple Under Hell
7. Return

Beautiful. That's the first thing that comes to mind when I put this album on. It doesn't matter that my notion of beauty is a twisted and destructive variation on what people typically think of. Needless to say, after hearing the split with Blaze of Perdition, I was highly anticipating this release. The artwork alone is eye catching enough to draw a listener in. When I saw the pre-orders hit on Seance Records, I immediately place my order. Based on the cover, I sort of expected a well made booklet and Erebus Enthroned do not disappoint. The layout is quite wonderful and gives the listener all the lyrics with some additional art as well.

Erebus Enthroned have always had a sound rooted in the Watain methods, and I'm just going to say this now. "Temple Under Hell" is the album people wish Watain would have released someday. Erebus Enthroned take that core sound and advance it even further, casting it into even darker tones and far more vicious passages than you would even expect. The tracks on the songs are actually quite long for the most part, but strangely I never felt like anything really dragged too long. I actually walked away feeling that each riff was played an appropriate amount of time. I think if things went any longer then they would have pushed their luck with the solid riffs. It's quite refreshing to hear Erebus Enthroned push themselves further, rather than just sticking with one approach. They would still have solid riffs, but it wouldn't feel like anything different. While "Temple Under Hell" is heavily rooted in Black Metal that has come before, I feel that Erebus Enthroned are writing in their own fashion and really just being influenced by prior bands, rather than just assimilating a collection of riffs that have basically already existed.

One of the real stand out aspect of this album is N's vocal performance. This really launches the album into higher realms for me. To marry such exquisite riffing with a wonderfully dynamic vocal performance really ups the ante on an album for me. This is usually why I really like the material Arioch produces in his projects. N's vocals, while not on the same level, he does have a great range and he really knows how to lay the lyrics out in a song. There are many bands that just have the vocalist, basically, "talk" over the guitar lines, but Erebus Enthroned really think about where the vocals will appear in a riff and try to present them to the maximum effect.

While I can see many reviewers sort of casting this as extremely well made, but "nothing new to Black Metal", I say that given how well this is written makes up for that. If I listen to an album and I can easily see myself listening to it again in a few years, then I think it's more than just a meaningless addition to the genre. I think Erebus Enthroned has more to offer than that assessment and I think many Black Metal fans out there would highly appreciate the effort and care Erebus Enthroned have put into their craft.

Erebus Enthroned & Blaze of Perdition - Accession of Fire
Pagan Records, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

Erebus Enthroned:
1. Deathless Sin
Blaze of Perdition:
2. The Night of Nights

Side Blaze of Perdition: ...coming eventually...
Side Erebus Enthroned:

When I saw this 10" hit the Pagan Records "upcoming release" list, I immediately put in an order for it. As any of my friends know, I am quite a fan of Blaze of Perdition and I was hoping they would do a split with a solid band. What I got was totally unexpected. This was my first experience with the mighty Erebus Enthroned and shortly after hearing this one song, I was ordering the rest of their discography! Unfortunately, I was only getting one song here... I really needed more.

As I have been discussing with the prior Erebus Enthroned albums, I figured it was a matter of time before they broke with the more blatant Watain-ish worship and here we see their first deviations from that style. "Deathless Sin" is a very welcome change and progression of the Erebus Enthroned sound. I think they're really starting to blend some Ondskapt influence into the sound, because it has a far more haunting feel during many sections. Just opening with that haunting guitar line and chanted section is enough to send chills down your spine. In the end, this is an incredible new direction for Erebus Enthroned. It's been a couple years since they've released anything new, so hopefully a new full-length will be imminent. If it's anything like "Deathless Sin" it will truly be a monster of an album. This is a highly recommended split!

Erebus Enthroned - Night's Black Angel
Seance Records, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Enthroning the Harbinger of Death
2. Pillar of Fallen Flesh
3. Nil (Solve Non Coagula)
4. Horns of Severity
5. Blackwinged
6. Virus
7. Zealotry in Death
8. Temple of Dispersion
9. Night's Black Angel

After the strength of the material found on the split I am not surprised a full-length was next in line for Erebus Enthroned's future. Freshly signed to Seance Records, I was excited to hear this album in full, beyond the samples I heard online. Well Erebus Enthroned didn't really disappoint and perhaps I am biased, because I really do quite enjoy this style of Black Metal a lot, so perhaps I am a little less critical than I should be.

Erebus Enthroned continue to travel down the path of Swedish Black Metal and conjuring similarities to bands like Dissection with a slight infusion of Death Metal in their sound from time to time. I can hear peoples complaints of a Watain rip-off on this album a lot more, and albums like "Casus Luciferi" seem to have a stronger presence this time around for Erebus Enthroned, however, I think they fall more towards a Dissection feel. Some of the chord structuring is distinctly reminiscent of Immortal though, so I think there is a decent dose of variation on this album to give it a strange place in the realms of Black Metal. I do tend to agree with other critics that this material lacks any kind of real originality or voice of it's own. Instead Erebus Enthroned is falling back on their ability to write good riffs, but arranged and molded from material we've all heard before. Sometimes a unique blend in styles is enough to give a band its own presence, but Erebus Enthroned seem so trapped in Sweden that there's no way out of the style for them at times.

Even though a lot of that sounds very harsh, I say all this because I hear a lot of potential in this project. They write great riffs, have solid arrangements, and have art and lyrics I quite enjoy... I just think "wow, this band would be a top tier group if they could somehow distill their influences down to something a little more unique." Now, I'm not looking for Black Metal to be redefined or anything that crazy, but they can draw from so many sources I think they could produce something truly stunning in the future.

I really do think it's a question of "when" and not "if" for Erebus Enthroned to produce a seminal work that makes the world turn to them.  I just hope they can survive the "fame" and not go the way of "Watain", which has lead to a lot of their original fanbase being entirely disinterested in their later works. I genuinely love the atmosphere "Night's Black Angel" is establishing amidst the cold and hateful style... now let's harness that style even more. I think this is a solid debut release, overall, and I think I will enjoy listening to this more than once.

Erebus Enthroned & Nekros Manteia - Spiritual Deconstruction
Self-Released, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

Erebus Enthroned:
1. Worldly Wounds
2. Rebirth of the Plague
3. Angelus Pestilentia
4. Spirit Arason
Nekros Manteia:
5. Slowly it Stains, the Foul Dye of Madness and Illumination
6. Spiritual Deconstruction
7. Skin Temples Inked in Obscurity (Rehearsal)
8. The Shining Pearl of Sadism (Rehearsal)

Nekros Manteia: ...coming eventually...
Erebus Enthroned:

After a year Erebus Enthroned return with some new material and a re-recording of a song from "Divine Legions of Satan". I think this is in recognition that the demo was a weak recording for the type of art they are truly able to bring to the world. What a difference a year makes though, the writing is easily much stronger than anything from the demo and the new studio quality really lets the material shine through so much better.

I think Erebus Enthroned's song writing has basically matured over night. For the most part they've really managed to harness the core of their sound. It's not terribly original work, but it still sounds very solid and the riffs are well written at least. The groovier riff in "Wordly Wounds" sounds like something I've definitely heard before... but I can't place where I've heard it. If I figure it out I'll come back and update this section. I actually see a lot of complaints about this band and how they are just a blend of Watain and Marduk, but I'm not sure that's entirely an accurate description of their sound. Their sound is heavily rooted in the Swedish vein, for sure, but I think they draw more from bands like Ondskapt, Malign, Funeral Mist and so on. The popular Swedish groups are, no doubt, an influence in some regards, but I do not thing Erebus Enthroned is trying to be them. Furthermore, I think their music can come across as more disturbing than usual as in "Angelus Pestilentia", which makes me think of a distinctly French approach to Black Metal. I also think "Angelus Pestilentia" is basically a re-thinking of the song "Nocturne Pestilentia" from the demo. "Angelus Pestilentia" is absolutely brilliant and probably one of the best songs on this split.

In the end I am much more interested in seeing what Erebus Enthroned has for us in the future. I think they have a lot of solid ideas brewing and I'd love to see the band grow into their own sound in the future. They clearly have the songwriting skillset, now they just need to harness the blend of bands they like into a more unique style. This could take a while, but that's part of being a new band when you've got over fifteen years of background music and influence to account for!

Erebus Enthroned - Divine Legions of Satan
Self-Released, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Thus Spake Chaos
2. Tyrants, in His Glory
3. Divine Legions of Satan
4. Ascent from Everlasting Flames
5. Nocturne Pestilentia
6. Rebirth of the Plague

I consider myself lucky enough to have actually gotten a physical copy of this. A user on discogs saw my praises for Erebus Enthroned and upon noticing that I didn't have the demo offered to send me a CDr copy. This is one of the major reasons the underground scene can be truly wonderful. Since I love doing discography reviews, he felt this band absolutely needed to have their catalog done justice and I will do my best to make that happen.

I often wondered where Erebus Enthroned got their start and I wasn't sure how primitive "Divine Legions of Satan" would turn out to be. Sometimes modern bands start off on a really strong note, because all the early evolution bands go through is just never released. Instead they immediately start off with truly strong piece of art. I wouldn't say that's the case for "Divine Legions of Satan". The recording quality isn't the best, as one would expect with self-recorded demos. However, the riffing quality is fairly good for a debut effort, albeit it is material we have all heard before. I would definitely be interested in seeing where the group goes on future releases because it sounds like they have a strong foundation in the writing section.

In the end I feel that "Divine Legions of Satan" is rooted fairly heavily in the Swedish sound of Black Metal blending the more occult and haunting styles with the vicious and fast paced styles. Erebus Enthroned seems to offer a lot across the spectrum, so we'll see where they trend towards in the future.

Medieval Plague

Medieval Plague - The Harvest
Garazel & Triumf Prod, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. Upon the Dusk
2. Forest of Hangmen
3. Morbid Devotion
4. Popioły Zbawienia
5. Hail to the King of Flies
6. March of the Martyrs
7. Witchcraft
8. Medieval Plague
9. Sanctvs, Sanctvs in Nihilvm
10. The Dawn
11. Unknown cover song

After having quite a few excellent releases from Under the Sign of Garazel, I've decided to take on acquiring quite a few more of their releases. I feel this label is a great force for the underground Polish Black Metal scene. This is a pro-printed tape limited to 200 hand-numbered copies and I own #123. The booklet is actually really well made and quite beautiful. It comes with picture and a lyric sheet.

Medieval Plague play this very old style of Black Metal that sounds like it was recorded in the early 90's. They really have that gritty under-produced Black Metal feel as well, which only adds to that early atmosphere. The guitars are actually very thin in tone, so it really captures everything that is ancient about the early days of Black Metal. The riffing has elements that are clearly blended from the early Thrash blend and sometimes this can work out very well. The riffs in "Witchcraft" are some of the better found on the album.  To be perfeclty honest, the old school Thrash/Punk styled riffing really isn't something I'm after. Medieval Plague seem to have a bit more of that style than interests me. Sometimes bands like this will have very compelling riffs, but most of the "Harvest" doesn't have that kind of strength. Songs like "Sanctvs" have really great moments though. Just about anytime they really have a good medieval feel in their art it comes out pretty well and I wish they had included more of this on the album. After this the album closes with a cover song that I don't recognize... it's very old school and has a very 80's feel to it... but I just don't recognize it. If anyone wants to clue me in that would be helpful.

So, in the end I wasn't terribly into "The Harvest", but they really are playing a brand of Black Metal that isn't entirely interesting to me. If you are a fan of the much older style that was still in a Thrash transition then you might get more out of this album than I did. The riffing wasn't always catchy or intoxicating though and I think that's where this album is pretty weak. I think this might apply for fans of this genre... but who knows. Give it a listen and judge for yourself!


Warnungstraum - Eripe Ferrum
Nykta Records, 2012
Genre: Black Metal

1. Nocte
2. Gran Naufragio
3. Orda di Arimane
4. Via d'Occidente
5. La Caccia Eterna
6. Altare del Disgusto
7. Ad Ditis Regna

After a debut album that did have some promising moments I hoped that checking out "Eripe Ferrum" was going to be worth my time. Happily "Eripe Ferrum" seems to sort out some of the problems I found with "Inter Peritura". The riffing doesn't feel nearly as dry as the prior release and I found this a much better presentation for their brand of Black Metal.

"Eripe Ferrum" opens with the incredibly haunting "Nocte" and I really thought this was going to give way to some seriously wonderful Atmospheric Black Metal, but to my surprise it didn't really do that. The riffing style definitely borders on the Atmospheric Black Metal range, but there's enough viciousness to keep this rooted into the more standard Black Metal camp, in my opinion anyway. Even though there are some lengthy Ambient tracks, it's kept separate from the Black Metal entirely, which is sort of unfortunate given how strong the two tracks on "Inter Peritura" were. I was hoping to see them move in that direction, but I am happy with a solid Black Metal album at the very least. The riffs are a lot more interesting and well crafted this time around. Albeit the riffing is still fairly standard and nothing new to the Black Metal scene, their writing is far stronger making this a fairly solid effort in the end. The blending of the rhythm and lead sections gives this a much more interesting palette for us to engage in and gives the album a much more dynamic feel rather than the dry feel I got from the debut. I think part of that problem stems from the fact that the band clearly wants to write fairly lengthy tracks and if you don't have interesting riffs to back that up the whole album is torn down completely.

This album is an excellent follow-up with major improvements in place. I still would really like to hear this band blend this into a more atmospheric setting, because it would really work in there. Maybe someday in the future that will see the light of day. For now, if you want to hear a fairly solid Black Metal album "Eripe Ferrum" won't really steer you wrong, but I an understand some people complaining about lack of "originality" as is often the case with this kind of material. Either way, I certainly don't regret having this album in my collection at all.

Warnungstraum - Inter Peritura
Nykta Records, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Ingresso
2. Il Sacrificio del Tempo
3. Il Monde è Cenere
4. Hoc Unum Scio
5. Grave Regina Immonda
6. La Maschera del Nulla
7. Ultimo Corno di Guerra
8. Congedo

For some reason I don't seem to get very much Black Metal out of Italy despite the fact that there are some very strong acts from that region. It seems Warnungstraum is built from two members in Obscure Devotion, though I have not heard of that project before. When I was ordering some new albums Warnngstraum's name and album covers caught my eye. Upon listening to a sample I decided to give the band a try.

"Inter Peritura" is the debut for this band and even though I've seen this classed as Ambient Black Metal, I certainly disagree with that. This is just Black Metal through and through aside from the all keyboard intro and outro, which is hardly enough to give the band a style change. The track "Grave Regina Immonda" and "La Maschera del Nulla" do a descent job trying to blend in the Ambient though and has some of the best guitar work on the album. While "Inter Peritura" isn't a bad album, I don't think I found it to be a compelling album. It is merely a good Black Metal album, and in that range it unfortunately is more subject to the feelings of "this is fairly generic." It does have standout points and some riffs are quite excellent, but there just aren't enough of them to really capture my imagination. The lyrics being in Italian is a definite bonus, for, like Tenebrea in Perpetuum, I love hearing romance languages utterly perverted. Upon reading the back it says someone performs clean vocals and this could go very wrong or very right in my opinion. Luckily it goes very correctly with Warnungstraum because the clean vocals are all chanted in this very haunting fashion giving the album a much deeper presence.

Overall the album is merely average. It has a lot of elements that I like, but I think the writing has a lot of room to grow. The two songs that cross into the Atmospheric/Ambient Black Metal range are by far the strongest on this release. I would really like to see them build into this direction, because I think an entire album of that blended with touches of chanted vocals will really create a beautiful release. They certainly have the potential to pull this together, so hopefully in the future this will see the light of day.


Paimonia - Disease Named Humanity
Humanity's Plague Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. As Plague Scourge this World Apart
2. Contagion through Aeons
3. Ruined Form Catharsis
4. Depth within Nothingness Called Life
5. Resurgence of Malice
6. Funeral of Decaying World
7. Opus VII (Through the Endless Phantasmagoria)

If anyone out there is familiar with the Black/Death Metal band Bane from Serbia then Paimonia is something you're going to want to hear about. As many Bane fans know, the "band" has basically been moved to Canada. However, this move left behind one of the members, B.V. and he teams up with drummer N.PV. to bring us a whole new project of Serbian Black Metal. There aren't too many bands I listen to from Serbia, but the ones I've heard are quite exceptional and Paimonia is quickly added to my list of recommendations from that region next to bands like The Stone.

"Disease Named Humanity" is the debut album from Paimonia and, unfortunately, I missed out on the the debut EP, but the music was strong enough on here that I believed it needed a more immediate review. As you can imagine the guitar work does hearken back to a feeling of Bane's efforts, but on here they've stripped out all the possible Death Metal elements Doing this gives Paimonia a far more cohesive atmosphere and theme to their music. With an album titled like "Diesease Named Humanity" I was expecting an unbridled level of violence and Paimonia, basically, manage to deliver on that concept. The problem that you can run into with this kind of Black Metal is things can become fairly monotonous pretty quickly, however, Paimonia do a really great job with style. There isn't a moment where I clearly get bored with the music, because Paimonia pay careful attention to keeping their dynamics interesting. Interspersed in the songs you can find some wonderful acoustic guitar work and some very melodic passages blended with some of the more typical dissonant styled Black Metal out of Norway. At times this makes me think if Dissection and Dødheimsgard blended themselves together because Paimonia's music has a sort of beautiful melodic quality while also having a very disturbingly haunting quality. It actually makes for quite a different atmosphere due to the types of blending they are executing with all of it cast in a very violent light, which really seals the presentation together. Just listen to all the elements being included in "Depth within Nothingness Called Life"!

If I had to complain about something, I would probably complain about the vocals. B.V.'s vocals are merely okay. They're pretty thin sounding and, for me, they really lack the necessary attack to complement music of this nature. I feel some work in this area could lead to some incredible improvements if done correctly, even a good studio vocalist would add an entirely new dimension to this.

Other than that the album really is entirely top notch and they are definitely a new Black Metal band to be watching in the future. Hopefully, starting off with a debut full-length this strong won't mar future releases... and if they manage to actually improve on what they've written here, I'll be very pleasantly surprised.