Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nekrokrist SS

Nekrokrist SS - X-mas Ritual
Spread Evil Distribution, 2016
Genre: Black Metal

1. Itsemurha jouluaamuna
2. Renki

Well, this is an usual thing, two Nekrokrist SS releases in a year?! "X-mas" ritual was released on cassette and is limited to 88 copies. This tape comes with a pro booklet and dubbed tape with stickers. I'm actually surprised it's not hand-numbered. "Itsemurha jouluaamuna" begins with a sort of medieval folk sample, before launching into a scream where the song truly begins. It's probably one of the shortest Nekrokrist SS songs clocking in at under three minutes. However, it's a fast and catchy tune. "Renki" on the other hand is a slower more morose jaunt that has a bit of the older folk feel in the guitar arrangement. Unlike some of their long songs that start off slow and pick-up later, this song never does that, so just enjoy plodding arrangement. I'm not sure this is a must have in the Nekrokrist SS arrangement, but if you like collecting their material and hearing everything they put out then it's worth it.

Nekrokrist SS & Infamous Split
Hammerbund, 2016
Genre: Black Metal

Nekrokrist SS:
1. Lähtölaukaus
2. Antakaa Jo Kuolla
3. The Circle
4. Herrani Viha
5. Decadenza I
6. Decadenza II
7. Among these Cold Walls

Side Infamous: ...coming eventually...
Side Nekrokrist SS:

This year brings us an excellent split from Nekrokrist SS along with another project I really love Infamous. This was originally released on tape, but was later released on CD by Obscure Abhorrence. I have the CD edition (pictured above). Even though this is being released in 2016, these really aren't new Nekrokrist SS songs, since this was recorded way back in 2011, so this is more in line with the material we heard on the split with Nattfog. I do wonder how much material Nekrokrist SS is just sitting on and not releasing. Either way, once again this has some solid material on it and "Herrani Viha" has some of the more excellent riffs Nekrokrist SS has ever written! An absolute must have split.

Nekrokrist SS & Vöedtæmhtëhactått - I am the Chaos, the Abyss and the Gloom
Darker Than Black, 2015
Genre: Black Metal

1. Christ Promised Never to Return
2. I came to Call Sinners, but Not the Righteous
3. And He Said - Satan!
4. The Divine Blighter
Nekrokrist SS:
5. Viimeinen Rukous
6. Tuomiolla
7. Tappajan Laulu

Side: ...Vöedtæmhtëhactått...
Side: Nekrokrist SS

Starting with a scream and launching into the catchy riffing I've come to expect from Nekrokrist SS we begin our journey of three new songs. As usual we have the yearly split from this project and this time it's pressed into 12" vinyl similar to the split with Nattfog. This release is also limited to only 333 copies. As with the other Nekrokrist SS releases nothing has changed really and we simply get three more songs of their usual style, although I feel their compositions are getting stronger as the band continues to write new material. I feel like the songs have a more cohesive element to them than when the project first began and their blending of droning riffs with catchy riffs is becoming more and more seamless as they write more material. Nekrokrist SS is, basically, a mark of consistently well performed Black Metal for me and while some listeners may gripe about the lack of change over the years, I'm pretty happy with this approach! I hope they stay this way for many years to come, although it doesn't give me much to talk about when it comes to reviewing individual releases.

Förgjord & Nekrokrist SS Split
Hammer of Hate, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Jättäkää minut korpeille (osa 1)
2. Kasketun maan laulu
3. Mieltensä sairastama
4. Kerpeikkari
Nekrokrist SS:
5. Musta viha
6. Tyhjyys
7. Hyljätty
8. Jättäkää minut korpeille (osa 1)

Side Förgjord: ...coming eventually...
Side Nekrokrist SS:

Now that we've got the full length out of the way we can return to our regularly scheduled split program! Nekrokrist SS has really hit a solid writing point and that continues with this split. "Musta viha" begins rather normally and nothing ear catching, but once we get a minute into the song we hit this exceptional riff sequence and the song really takes off. Easily one of the stronger Nekrokrist SS riffs in their catalog. Then we delve into the slower song "Tyhjyys", which doesn't pick up the pace until well into the song, but that's fine it has kind of an interesting contrast from the faster opening of their side. After this we delve into the lengthy dark and plodding "Hyljätty" which is an excellent closer to their side of the split. While it's not the usual fast paced hateful style, it's a little slower and has a lot more elements of melody in the song. This might create a bad contrast, but it really does work very well for their style and just like "Tyhjyys" the song does eventually pick up its tempo about half way through. Unfortunately, to me, nothing could match the majesty of that spectacular riff in "Musta viha", but the other two tracks didn't try to hit that mark, which was probably a good idea, because we can just simply enjoy them in their own right, instead of trying to compare them back to the opening song.

Nekrokrist SS - Der Todesking
Primitive Reaction, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Perkeleestä Syntynyt
2. Crematory Hymn (Burn in Hell)
3. Satan Calls Your Name
4. Kuolontanssi
5. Vala
6. Kirous
7. Der Todesking

Finally we hear a new full length from Nekrokrist SS and it's everything I ever hoped it would be! Raw Black Metal doesn't get much better than this and "Der Todesking" is an absolute must have album in my book. From start to finish it's probably one of the finest albums recorded in this realm of Black Metal. If you've always been a fan of the Finnish sound and enjoy bands such as Horna or Behexen, then Nekrokrist SS' "Der Todesking" should land high on your list as a must have.

"Der Todesking" falls in a very similar vein as the material we heard on the split with Faagrim, only this time we get the full length experience I truly wanted to hear when that split was released. My one and only complaint is that this could have been one song longer to get us closer to that forty minute mark, rather than just squeaking over the thirty minute mark. Either way, I'm grateful for a full length and I find myself playing it regularly as one of my go to albums for the more raw style of Black Metal. It really does sit on a similar level to Horna's "Envataangs Eflos" or Behexen's "By the Blessing of Satan" although "Der Todesking" doesn't sound exactly like these projects. "Der Todesking", while not re-inventing the Black Metal wheel, manages to put together a series of extremely strong songs that really make the album stand apart from other bands in this genre. I think some people will be overly quick to dismiss this project since it sounds similar to the bands above and early Satanic Warmaster, but I manage to find enough difference in the way Nekrokrist SS approach the genre that I find it immensely well done. And then there's the quality of songwriting. Not every Black Metal clone can write like this, while there are hundreds that sound like this, there are very few who write like this and that's what sets them apart. Just listen to the riff that hits about three and half minutes into "Vala" and you will know what I'm talking about. That song hits the raw Black Metal sweet spot so perfectly.

So, if you like your Black Metal vicious, raw and harsh, filled with all the hatred Black Metal was meant to filled with then "Der Todesking" is an instant classic, in my opinion. As usual, I will continue to look forward to anything else that comes from this project. They have yet to let me down and I can't imagine them changing anytime soon and that is why "Der Todesking" will be in consideration for my top ten.

Nekrokrist SS & Faagrim - Strike of the Northern Legions
Darker Than Black, 2012
Genre: Black Metal

Nekrokrist SS:
1. Dawn of Purification
2. Liekki
3. Gates of Insanity
4. Through the Snow
5. Warriors of the Unlight
6. Comes Winter, Comes Sadness
7. Der Größte Bastard

Side Faagrim: ...coming eventually...
Side Nekrokrist SS:

I'm getting fairly accustomed to the yearly Nekrokrist SS release, but the split trend is only okay, I feel pretty ready for a new Nekrokrist SS full-length release. This split with Faagrim is in truly high order with both projects putting some great Black Metal into the release.

This split has some of the strongest Nekrokrist SS songs so far, they're extremely catchy yet viciously cold all at once. It's a perfect blend into their raw Black Metal style, which is why I am so ready to hear a full length now. The main reason is because three songs just isn't enough, I just want a solid forty or so minutes of this kind of material and I know the band can certainly deliver. While the music is not changing much, their overall songwriting structure has steadily been improving, so with each new release I enjoy it even more than the last and this split is no exception. Just listen to how excellent "Liekki" sounds!

Nattfog & Nekrokrist SS
Primitive Reaction, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Yöni usvassa
2. Ancestral Echoes
3. Under the Cross of Woden
Nekrokrist SS:
4. Path of Depression
5. Gas Chambers, Crematory and Hell
6. Talviyössä

Side Nattfog: here
Side Nekrokrist SS:

Another year another split, but I'm usually always excited to hear new material from Nekrokrist SS and this time they teamed up with the mighty Nattfog. Nattfog is also an extremely excellent project and I highly recommend their material as well. This was released on 12" vinyl only and limited to 500 copies.

Nekrokrist hasn't changed, at all as you'd expect, but this split does have some nice features. "Path of Depression" and "Talviyössä" are all new songs and they sound very good, as you'd expect. "Gas Chambers, Crematory and Hell" is a re-recording from their demo and with this line-up and quality it really shows that the song was actually quite good and merely marred by very poor production and probably performance at that time. "Path of Depression" is our usual faster paced Black Metal, but the lengthy "Talviyössä" takes a much slower term. Predominantly a mid-paced track it has a very sorrowful feel to it as we dragged down this plodding path.

In the end we get three great songs from two great bands, and you can't go wrong with that. Half the time the splits only have one good band, but not in this case!

Four Chapters of Satanic Evil
Azermedoth Records, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. Battlefield
2. Deadly Riders
Nekrokrist SS:
3. Scars
4. Nekrokrist
Khaos Abyssi:
5. Into...
6. The True Signs
7. Dead Gods
8. Plague and Pest
Calvarium Funestus:
9. Kult ov Funestum Spiritus
10. Call of the Imperial Throne

Side Mystes: ...coming eventually...
Side Khaos Abyssi: ...coming eventually...
Side Calvarium Funestus: ...coming eventually...
Side Nekrokrist SS:

Participating in Finnish Black Metal just wouldn't be complete unless you get involved in a long string of split releases. This begins Nekrokrist SS' foray into the deluge of split releases that surround the Black Metal scene. I actually enjoy splits from time to time, but I'm not that fond of four way splits. I, personally, prefer two bands on a split, but here we have four. The only other band I've heard of on this split is Mystes and I quite enjoyed the material I heard from them.

Nekrokrist only offers up a couple songs for this, but things are a little different this time around. First off, the band has a full line-up now, so that is an interesting change. I wonder if the project will be more consistent in recording and releasing music. Another major change is that they tried to clean up the harsh production quite a bit. I think they've managed to strike a good balance between being absurdly harsh and just harsh enough to give your songs some nice chainsaw edge to them. Here we get one new song called "Scars" and it is quite an excellent song, picking up pretty closely to where the self-titled EP left off with the first three songs. The other track is a re-recording of "Nekrokrist," which first appeared on the demo from 2003. Cleaned up, this track actually sounds considerably better than the original tape.

Nekrokrist SS - Nekrokrist SS
Satan's Millennium Productions, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. Knife
2. Divine Light
3. There's No Place for You
4. Cremation
5. Cold and Black Grave

After waiting a couple years we have the pleasure of hearing a new Ep from Nekrokrist SS. I was hoping "Suicide" wasn't just a fluke in their discography and instead would indicate the new direction for the project. It really has! This self-titled release is spectacular. The first three songs are newer, written and recorded in 2007, while the last two date all the way back to 2003.

The first three songs have a more sorrowful feel to the riffing style. In many ways it's a bit more reminiscent of something Sargeist would do, or the way they tend to structure their riffs. Nekrokrist SS manages to have their own sound, relatively speaking, throughout this release. As you might expect things take a very drastic shift on the last two songs. The production is far worse then the opening three. The rawness actually works against the songs in this case, even though the riffs are still pretty good. I'd love to hear these songs re-recorded, everything just sounds so wish-washy as it pushes through this song with a weird wave-like feel to the overall sound and production. I'm kind of surprised they didn't bother to re-record the material so that it fit better with the first three songs, because now this isn't going to end on a very high note... but it's not like they could just put them at the beginning, because in most cases people wouldn't wait to discover the rest of the release, which is very good.

Ah well, it might not be the greatest thing, but I really did enjoy the opening three songs. If you're a fan of that Finnish style of raw Black Metal, then those are definitely worth hearing, the last two are only good if you really like extremely raw and poorly produced music, to the point where it's hard to hear what's going on.

Nekrokrist SS - Suicide
Primitive Reaction, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Suicide is Only Way
2. Itsemurha
3. My Blood on Altar
4. The End is Disgusting Life
5. Let Churches Burn
6. Stench of the Burning Corpses
7. Waiting the Mass Destruction
8. Shoot Yourself

"Suicide" is the debut release from Nekrokrist SS and it does not come on the heels of their demo. The demo was originally released back in 2003. So, it's been quite a wait to get an album out of this project. Topically I feel like this project has changed quite a bit. Despite the "SS" in the name, this really isn't an NSBM project and the band has even said as much. So, don't get confused with the demo tape, I think they were going more for the standard fair celebration of mass death plus being offensive all in one go. At least, that's the aesthetic I was getting from the demo.

Now, onto the music. Compared to the demo this is a huge step up in quality. "Suicide" presents us with some very fine Finnish Black Metal, hitting all the right chords that make me love the music from this particular region of the world. The demo tape felt like it had more of a punkier edge to the songwriting, but "Suicide" has more of a Horna type of edge to the music. I much prefer the Horna way of things, so I feel like this project is certainly trending in the right direction if they keep this up! They have one moment that has that Punk feel in "Waiting the Mass Destruction" but the style is more subdued this time around.

All in all this is a surprising change from the demo, but it's a pleasant surprise on my end. They also managed to keep the ultra raw style of recording for this release and it worked with the style very well. Don't expect anything except raw hatred from this project. "Suicide" has great riffs and great harsh atmosphere, so I'm definitely interested in following this project to see where it takes them next.