MORTEM ANIMALIUM – Mgła w/ Lepra, Dunkelheit, Svoid @ Dürer Kert, HUNGARY ( 6th February 2016.)

Live report by Lupus Canis – MMXVI.

Our story goes way back in time when the Presence EP came out from Polish black metallers Mgła and it had tremendously rich memories left behind. My first encounter with them was the magnificent Crushing The Holy Trinity compilation, but I did not pay that much attention to the Polish musicians. (Well, DSO and Clandestine Blaze were more in the focus.) I just kept in my mind that I should really watch out for them for future releases. The Mdłości EP came out in the same year as Presence (in 2006 more correctly) and I came to realize that I found some kind of a hidden treasure. My fascination grew stronger towards them with each record they created. Full-lengths, like Groza, With Hearts Toward None and their latest opus Exercises In Futility holds a big status in the so called black metal universe.

So the day came. Only the Polish formation as the headliner and some fine acts of the Hungarian black metal underground. Weeks before the event all the tickets were sold out, it seemed that there were much more people would like to attend the show than the actual settings could possibly allow. Maybe a bigger venue could simply solve this next time… and hopefully that was not the first and last time we saw them on tour in our motherland.

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Svoid from Miskolc entered the stage first. There were a little change in their line-up: the guitarist from black metal fellow-band Karst, Balázs played bass live, while vocalist/mastermind S only handled the microphone. This was my second time I saw them (the first was at IAC Fest Szeged last year) and they played a pretty decent set. Sound was not on the top: drum parts were buried under the distorted guitar riffs, was a bit impossible to hear out the well written themes Dániel played on percussion. Vocals were all-right, frontman S’s stage presence is intense as usual and devoted to the BM phenomena. Besides their own songs, Watain’s classic, the Devil’s Blood seemed a correct choice for cover again. All in all, Svoid is a nice example how black metal should be played: raw and energetic with full on spirit.

Then Dunkelheit followed the Left Hand Path. They are a four piece BM assault sharing members with Lepra and playing in the traditional way. The room began to fill up with people, almost full-house. Simple, raw & sharp stuff, some kind of old school BM tunes filled with cold, isolating emotions. I don’t know who the local engineer was at that night but the sound changed a bit: guitars and drums were quite okay, quite balanced, but vocals were somehow lower in the mix. I really had to concentrate on what was happening, maybe with louder vocals it would have been better. They played only new tracks from the upcoming Dunkelheit album (an intro plus a set of 6 songs) which will be possibly out at the end of the year. Promising.

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Lepra was the third on the list. Despite hailing from the City Of Sun – Szeged, they gave a slab of rotten, but somehow fresh, black meat. Black metal, to be precise. I have to mention their „faceless & anonymous” stage appearance: I know that there is some kind of trend wearing shrouds, robes, hoods and black balaclavas and stuff these days, so literally speaking, Lepra’s obscure eradication can be witnessed as a whole only with these elements. That is my point of view, of course. (Cavemen drone masters SUNN O))) was the first in the early days and then dozens of bands followed, partly in the black metal genre, which is okay for me.) A huge fucking banner at the background, a smell of incense, seeing of red wax dropping from black candles, human bones… we were given a cryptic death ritual. Sound of the PA got better, still I could not be able to hear out the vocals. Whatever. One more thing to mention: the guitarist on the right side of the stage had special skills. Great and tight guitar work, it was pulsating through the entire set. Wrecked On The Ruins Of Time is still my favourite one. The closing track was a cover from Norway’s finest: Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Svoid’s frontman came up on stage to take part in vocals. A memorable moment, then I left the swarming crowd.

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After waiting more like 10 years to see the Mist live, I stood astonished when they began their set. The concert hall was full of people, was nearly impossible to go forward, towards the stage. I felt like a fucking herring among fucking herrings in a small, plastic lutch. Not a good situation. Besides this one negative thing, the concert was nearly flawless. While Mgła only started touring a few years ago (expanding the core-duo with two talented session members live) , they have never had weak-points on the production. I only saw some live videos on the net, so I was about ready to witness this. No song titles just roman numbers on each record, so please let me set aside a valid set-list. This was just all about the experience, because it was an experience. I must say it was like a precise operation on the mind’s eye. They sounded great enough to enjoy. Drumming was extraordinary (same hit-ups and cymbal crashes, even the timing, tight parts) songs like the second one from Exercises In Futility, was hitting me really hard inside. Total cruelty. I have to pull out mastermind M, his charisma shined through his vocals and through his guitar tone. Incredible. Lyrically Mgła has the most well thought lyrics in the black metal industry and musically they operate with an absolutely understandable formula. This worked out pretty well. The closing track (ending) was like a high kick unto the head, more exactly unto the chin. They won with a knock out.

To sum it up, I still feel a little bit unsure about the event, I am vacillating between two things: too much people in one crowded small place contra an almost perfect black metal concert. Nevermind. One thing I know, next time if they come across our motherland, let these great bands get what they deserve (I mean circumstances and organization, etc.) and not for just the bands, us, for the listeners, too.

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KATHARSIS – “The ever spiraling dark vortex” – Fourth Reich (LP review)

Let me clear something up: our personal aim here at Chamber Of Lost Sounds is to show past, present and future acts (such as bands, records, events, etc.) that we really adore as powerful, occult sound & art. The so called list is eternally expanding itself as time passes by and our specific taste is the only strainer that counts here…

I continue my work.

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One word: menacing… the ever spiralling dark vortex of Germany’s black metal unit KATHARSIS unleashed this insane beast called Fourth Reich more than 7 years ago but it’s still mind-crushing with every listen. Complex, ferocious (but less cacophonic) songs of total black metal and Devil worship in its purest, immaculate form. Their previous release VVorldVVithoutEnd (for me the ultimate highlight of their career, the synapse of a death rite) left the listener in the middle of a world of harsh, chaotic, noisy savageness while Fourth Reich has a slightly different approach in structure. I think Katharsis is one of those bands whenever I hear their music I exactly and absolutely know that ’yeah, this is Katharsis, they’re gonna fuck your mind up pretty hard’. If I have to strip down their body of work, I have to begin with the drum parts: raw, ritual-like and destroying as hell, not useless, out-of-time hyper-speed blasts, just the drumming that the song really needs. Bass parts are buried and tortured on each record, a perfect base together with the percussion for the next element: guitar riffs. Catchy, pan-demonic, excoriating guitar themes that can be recognized even from miles away. Imagine the best killing riffs from A Blaze In the Northern Sky or Under A Funeral Moon but like 100 times more violent. Pure fire. And last but not least the crown of the satanic work: vocals. Untouchable. I mean the style as they play the Devil’s music is extremely noticeable. For example, the horrid Spanish BM assault Teitanblood also has its own signatures and special features when writing obscure music. There are not so many bands that have such massively strong individuality. Katharsis is one of the oldest pioneers of this underground BM genre.

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Fourth Reich starts with So Nail the Hearts which is one of my favourite tracks, an absolute punishment, wherein you can find all the above mentioned features. The song ends with a nice, head-nodding, mesmerising riff and a guitar-solo which delivers a hypnotizing, cathartic atmosphere together with the unearthly woman chants. Yes, there are some female vocals on the record, which adds another layer to their music. There are a lot of great moments on Fourth Reich (but less trap and hooks than on VVorldVVithoutEnd), the (only) instrumental organ-play mediatation, Emeralde Graves gives us a deeper view into the wicked world of KTHRSS. My other favourite track is the closing one, Sinn Koronation, it’s a monstrous, slowly creeping, then destructive BM bedlam. The guitar solo is just perfect. And the eerie ending…

The other strength of this record besides the music, is the unique and well-written lyrics. On their last releases the words morphed into something different than usual English written texts. It’s like a new language (basically it is some sort of distorted English) developing itself under strict laws and circumstances. Every time I read them, they blow me away.

Fourth Reich is officially considered to be an EP, but on the basis of its length and vitriolic content this could be even a full length. I really hope, that there will be a next opus, but rumours say they silently split-up or on-hold, I don’t really know, and others say that they share members with fellow musicians Ascension, which is also a splendid formation.

All in all, I highly recommend Fourth Reich and its antecedent, VVorldVVithoutEnd to everyone who likes well-thoughtly written and quality BM music.

„ this is the nyghte of nyghtes, & all shall beare vvitnesse, the sunne vvill drovvne in the ray=ging sea, & the moone vvil follovv the finallie… „

Lupus Canis – MMXVI

No contact..No updates..No information..KATHARSIS

Profundi – The Omega Rising – A devastating piece of delicious death rage (LP review)

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I remember when this came out almost 10 years ago by Profound Lore I did not pay that much attention to it. Maybe it was my lack of information about this band or my disinterest towards the overplayed black metal at that time. Since I really do give respect to labels such as Southern Lord, N.E.D., W.T.C. or Profound Lore, I listened to The Omega Rising a few months later after it came out.

Profundi is a one-man band hailing from Stockholm/Sweden. The main character who stands behind this project is widely known from Swedish cult black metal act Naglfar. His name is Jens Rydén and The Omega Rising is his one and only debut under this banner. As you might know, Jens was the incredible vocalist and founder of Naglfar for many years and after quitting his band he decided to make music of his own taste. Besides his other project Dead Silent Slumber (which survived one album, too) and Swedish Viking black metal Thyrfing (done vocals for the last 2 albums), Profundi focuses more on the raw and terrific side of black metal.

The Omega Rising opens up with the power of a maelstrom: the dark Swedish signature guitar tone in ’…Of Flesh & Blood’ ensures the listener that there will be no fucking around. The second track ’Unanimation’ follows in the same style with less blast and with more obscure harmonies. Songwriting in its finest form, vocals are heavy and horrid as fuck. Listening to the complex vocal techniques he used on this record, Jens has an amazing talent in music writing. It still doesn’t fit into my mind how the hell he was able to play (and how well he played!) all the instruments on this record, including drums and percussion (inhuman work, even if it’s programmed) Nordic styled guitar playing (as I mentioned before, an orgy for ears) pulsating bass themes and sick vocals. There are a few majestic key-board parts also to strengthen the atmosphere.

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Of course, this is not impossible if we know multi-instrumentalists like Peter Tägtgren but Jens worked under the radar and in silence. He knows the very essence, it is in his blood vessels and with Profundi he shares the musical empire of such bands as Setherial, Dark Funeral, Sacramentum, Dissection and even Naglfar. Songs like ’Coffinborn’ (a devastating piece of delicious death rage) ’Lifeless, Cold & Crimson’ (a solid destruction with a few slower parts) prove us that Profundi is a heavy-weight player in the ring. The closing track ’Out Of The Evening Mist’ is the last punch: a right Northern fist in the face before knock-out. An absolute destroyer and an elegant ending for a darkly magnificent release.

The only weak point I found in The Omega Rising is the sound. It’s quite good and enjoyable but the cymbals (rider and crash) are a bit up and front in the mix and they sound a bit somehow artificial. The rest is okay, the drums are on high speed level, the guitars shred (those guitar solos and themes are fucking beast!) and vocals are very well balanced, even with the echo effects. All in all this is a tremendously evil album with great moments, coming from a time when black metal was not just an over-hyped, commerce piece of product but a way of living and a way of thinking.

Hail Satan.

Lupus Canis – MMXV

NIGHTBRINGER – „The Devil is in the details” – Apocalypse Sun & Hierophany of the Open Grave (LP review)

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I’ve watched the US black metal underground always with skeptical eyes, maybe because I am just too stubborn for not seceding from my fascination of the Scandinavian and European BM scene, I don’t know. Of course there are bands I really respect musically and artistically: Krieg, Leviathan, Judas Iscariot, Cobalt, Kommandant, Averse Sefira, etc., to name a few. Also,the subject of my review belongs here: Nightbringer, but for the rest – I don’t care that much. Nightbringer hails from Colorado and plays a special blend of black metal music, „Apocalypse Sun (2010)” is the second and „Hierophany of the Open Grave (2011)” is the third full-length of their work.

Belonging to Finnish label Blood Music, now these two magnificent albums were re-released extremely limited on vinyl in 2013 – now totally sold out – but if you acted fast you could add both of them to your collection.

„Apocalypse Sun” opens with a signifying guitar theme and after 1.30 minute mark, the album begins to reveal its devilish face in a storming, ravaging motion. The dominant speed factor is mainly focused on a high level: the excellent, tight drum work is like a flowing dark matter, fits perfectly together with the wicked themes of guitar-player and vocalist Naas Alcameth. His skillful guitar-work has an eerie touch; you can feel that „something is lurking hidden”, the high pitch notes are swirling in sublimity, like an invocation of the very Self. The viperish tounge of vocal shrieks reminds me to Ihsahn of Emperor from the old era. Nightbringer’s approach is quite similar to Emperor’s; except that they don’t use any of the keyboards. All these stylish soundscapes are coming from the teamwork of the stringed instruments and percussion, which show us great song-writing potential. Massive aural paintings. The whole sound of „Apocalypse Sun” is dense and impressive, it almost has an organic feel. Ten occult hymns of majestic and well-thought black metal. A powerful monolith.

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Some might say that the third record is the watershed in a band’s life and I say, Nightbringer’ s „Hierophany of the Open Grave” succeeded in its goal. Menacing and chaotic are the first two words appearing in my mind while listening to this album, which is a dark, terrifying world to dive and submerge into. I clearly hear a lot of progression, too. The vocal structures vary from high cathartic screams to a low-toned singing, it’s like a huge storm of destruction coming while you watch it from a distance.

The song-writing is musically more complex than on previous releases and more „colourfuly” created, especially the guitar sound. It’s outstanding. Absolutely sinister in all aspects, sometimes these guitar-themes have a strange dissonant vibe, which reminds me to Deathspell Omega’s trademark riffs, but no need to worry, Nightbringer has and is a different personality. In contrast to their previous stuff, „Hierophany of the Open Grave” has much more slower parts and hypnotic elements embedded in its body and also has nice layers of ambience hidden in it. The Devil is in the details and they know that. The ambient compositions or piano pieces are as well written as the music. (Just a little reminder: Nightbringer members have an obscure, dark ambient project named Temple Of Not, a really promising act, only two releases; an album and a split with Nightbringer, which shows an unknown face of the band. Highly recommended.)

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The drum sound on „Hierophany of the Open Grave” is a bit low and mixed into background while the stringed instruments together with the demonic vocals lay in the forefront. Not that annoying at all, it’s just my observation. The whole production is a work of art and craftsmanship, from the first minute to the last. The final track „Old Night” is a decent ending of the album, the closing piano/guitar theme together with the distracted vocals are chilling to the bone.

All in all, this is a great continuation of „Apocalypse Sun” (which I find stronger in some aspects) and as the third full length in Nightbringer’s discography, will not disappoint the listeners. „Hierophany of the Open Grave” is a haunted, yet glorious release.

LUPUS CANIS – MMXV

A reflection on the past. Triumphator – Wings of Antichrist (LP review)

Around the turn of the millennium and in subsequent years began one of the most fruitful and memorable periods in underground black metal music. Some may call these the waves of BM (first wave in the 80’s, second wave in the 90’s and so on…) but I only remember the splendid albums that were released. Watain’s raw debut, the Rabid Death’s Curse or Antaeus kult classic – CYFAWS, the first full lengths from Katharsis, Khold, Thorns, even DHG’s 666 International could be on the list and so too does the one and only album Wings Of Antichrist by Sweden’s Triumphator. An absolutely terrifying and untouchable release from that time.

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Their one and only demo, The Triumph Of Satan and the following EP, The Ultimate Sacrifice came out before Wings Of Antichrist crushed the eardrums of BM fanatics with its savage, devastating attitude of mind. I remember when I first heard WoA in its entirety, it brought to mind Marduk’s fastest and shortest album Panzer Division Marduk – similar in vein, in speed but different in aura and approach. (Just a side-note: both albums were released in the same year). If you look up the line-up for WoA, you will see that long-time Marduk drummer, Fredrik Andersson (he left Marduk after La Grande Danse Macabre ), played on this record together with vocalist/guitarist Arioch and Deathfucker on bass. If you know Fredrik’s style of drumming, you know what to get from him – hyperfast blastbeats, no fucking around, even the sound he used on WoA for his percussions, is somehow similar to PDM’s drum patterns and even Arioch’s guitar themes remind me a lot of Morgan Hakansson’s (Marduk guitarist) style. Maybe it’s in the notes he plays, or the tuning he uses, but don’t get me wrong, it’s not about copying or stealing riffs from another BM musician, no. The truth is, that the poisonous light that shines through the essence of the swedish black metal realm, cast a shadow upon them. (For example, if you want to know more of Arioch’s work I recommend the whole Funeral Mist discography and you will get what I mean.)

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The eight songs on WoA stand massive as an evil monument and bring sonic destruction with each listen, no empty passages, no unneeded things. The darkly suffocating, torturing atmosphere is really punishing sometimes and Arioch’s unearthly, demonic voice strengthens this feeling. His trademarks of devilish choruses, eternally long screams into the abyss, show the listeners that he is really a talented musician. (Maybe that was the reason why he was chosen to be a full-time member and vocalist in Marduk, under the stage-name Mortuus, I don’t know, but I think it was a great choice, since Legion’s vocal qualities were getting low after Nightwing came out – this is just my opinion, of course). The overall production of WoA is very well balanced, you can hear every instrument in the mix, even Deathfucker’s nasty bass lines, Fredrik’s drumwork is extremely brutal, blast after blast – as it should be. The only moment when you can take a sip of rest or star-gaze is the beginning organ piece from Heralds Of Pestilence which is one of my favourites from the album.

First and last, this is still a significant release in Swedish black metal history, even if it has been lurking in the shadows for more than 15 years.

LUPUS CANIS – MMXIV