Witching Metal Webzine

Witching Metal Webzine

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crimson Shadows- Glory on the Battlefield

Do you have the favorite staple food where you just love it as it is? You know, like rice or potatoes; they're great by themselves but a little added flavor just makes it even better. Well, let's take that potato and add some taco sauce to that bulbous orb! That's what this band does. Crimson Shadows are a melodic power/death metal group from Ontario, Canada. Yes, Power/death. Imagine 3 Inches of Blood, but even more aggressive. They take two classic styles and blend them together to create a zesty combo that they pull off very well. It's death metal with a hint of power. They aren't progressive like other bands that combine death metal with clean vocals, such as: Entropy, Into Eternity, etc. They're pretty much straight up power-death...if you can say that.

It all kicks off with the two minute instrumental track, "Glory on the Battlefield." Some acoustic guitars strum along as the drums and harmonizing electric guitars kick in. It's as if the bards are playing you a song before you head off into battle. Then it shoots off into "Battle Hard" where its galloping rhythm running off into a fast pace. The combination of harsh/clean vocals are used tastefully. The harsh growls and screams are used for the verses while the clean vocals take the lead on the catchy choruses. Not to mention, lots of widdly-wooing guitars. There's enough shredding to satisfy the guitar-geeks here, which is something that's prevalent in the power and death metal genres.

The guitar work on this album is stellar. Tracks like "For the Glory of the Throne," "Beyond the Mountain Wasteland," and "Quest for the Sword" have some awesome musicianship. "For the Glory of the Throne" has some slamming riffs, a little bit on the thrashy side when combined with the aggressive drumming. "Quest for the Sword" starts off with a slow, acoustic instrumentation and then BAM! it hits you right in the nads with some speedy riffs and growls. The power metal schooling really compliments the death metalness. There's a wee spot of a breakdown in "Quest" but I find it to be the only one and it's not like a breakdown you'd hear from an apple-core band. as it has some shreddy bits in it. They go out with a bang on the last track. They slow down the tempo and go with a catchy lead from the guitars, building up the tempo from a mid-tempo anthem to a fast gallop of shred.

I'm usually not a huge fan of death metal vocals, but when it's done in an interesting way such as this I can't help but like it. It's different. They aren't some generic Cannibal Corpse-rip-off death metal band nor are they like  the "flowery" symph-power metal bands. I would definitely recommend this for fans that like Helloween and are interested in getting into some "heavier" music without finding some schmuck band that plays 300 bpm the whole time. It's also for the death metal fans that are just plain tired of the watered-down br00tality-fest that plagues the genre. I would have loved to hear a bit more cleaner vocals and maybe one more slower song personally, but the music is still very top-notch. The clever combo of such genres is very well done and I'm looking forward to any new music by these guys.

Getchoo sum!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Black Jesus - Black Jesus Saves

Who’s up for some crusty grinding death metal that sounds like the bastard offspring of Repulsion and early Autopsy? Black Jesus was formed in Melbourne in 2009 and released their only release so far, entitled “Black Jesus Saves” on cassette in 2010. Recently “Black Jesus Saves” has been re-released on CD by New South Wales based label/distro The Coffins Slave.

Musically, you can expect to hear heavily distorted and slightly punkish riffs driven along by mostly mid-to-fast-paced drumming, barely audible bass that pretty much follows the riffs and some of the sickest death metal vocals I’ve heard since Repulsion. The production is damn good for a demo, allowing every instrument barring the bass to shine, although the vocals and guitars are definitely at the forefront of the mix… which suits their sound anyway.

It’s hard to choose a stand-out track on such a consistent release but the main ones which caught my ear upon first listen were the title track, “The Devouring” and “Dead in Their Tracks”. Each song has something to offer and shows immense potential; making this one of the best demos I have heard in a while. There’s not much else to be said about this demo, running at 18 minutes and 44 seconds the band really speak for themselves and if you’re not hooked and keen for more after a couple of listens then there’s not much I can say to sway your opinion.

Recommended for filthy death metallers, crusties and grindfreaks alike!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interview with S. Slaughter of Séance Records

I recently completed an interview with S. Slaughter of Séance Records/Le Cabinet Des Curiousities, a dedicated black metal label/store from Sydney, NSW.

What differences do you see in the current metal underground compared to when you first got into it?
When I first started getting into underground metal & Australian metal I had never heard of the internet and didn’t own a computer or mobile phone! In the 90s underground metal was booming in Australia without mobile phones, the internet, laptops, home computers, ipods, ipads, mp3s, myspace, facebook etc. Downloading music would have sounded like something to do when you were stoned. We found out about gigs and releases via street press, fliers, magazines, zines, radio shows, local independent record stores & fliers. There was lots of physical letter writing, concealed cash & returning of stamps. You couldn’t preview bands or albums unless someone made you a mix tape or you heard it on a radio show or at a friend’s house. 

Cds in Australia cost a fortune and you had to take a gamble on buying albums you had never heard, but when you did and they were good they were treasured. The price of an album meant that you could only purchase one or two at a time so you had to listen to them over & over, read the lyrics & fully appreciate the whole package so much more than now.
The internet has obviously entirely changed the way that we access music and the world is a completely different place which has changed in a relatively short window of time. Whilst the world was always linked by underground letter writing, fliers & zines it is even more so now. Technology has had both a positive & negative impact on the underground scene. It has made things easier and instant, you can access music 24/7 from anywhere in the world with no waiting time. It has become an invaluable tool for bands to make their music heard on a greater world wide scale than ever before. However the internet and its freedoms have negatively impacted the original vehicles of the underground such as print media, radio & the product of physical music.

Shows can be promoted to so many more people quickly via social networking however attendances to shows have dropped since the 90s. Arguably greater accessibility and technology may have created a general apathy & laziness among people. Access to a large amount of music via download can ultimately lead people to take music for granted.

Plus the internet has aided musical piracy on a large scale which has challenged bands, labels & magazines to adapt in order to be able to survive in the modern climate. These issues will continue to challenge anyone involved with music in the future.
What can you tell about your latest venture Séance Records? What plans do you have for this distro/label? How has the response been to the various releases on Seance records and what are plans for future releases?
Séance Records was founded to release the black metal that we feel strongly connected to. At this stage we have focused close to home by releasing only Australian Black metal however we are open to music from any where in the world. We began with the re-issue of Nazxul’s iconic Black Seed EP & demo material on this CD followed by Pestilential Shadows fourth album, ‘Depths’. Our latest release is the debut album by Erebus Enthroned, ‘Night’s Black Angel’.

All releases have been received positively, the Nazxul recordings were continually in demand warranting this re-issue and the ‘Depth’s’ digi pack by Pestilential Shadows has sold now to be re-issued in a regular jewel case format. Erebus Enthroned have produced a truly superb debut and has proved themselves continually with their intense live show which has made our job relatively easy based on the merits of the album and shows.

Our other focus is releasing high quality pro patches. We grew tired with the low quality of bootleg patches flooding the internet and the fact that none of the bands receive any return from these bootlegs. Therefore we began approaching bands to create these patches which are 100% official and provide the artist with royalties for the merchandise. We have released patches for Sadistik Exekution, Slaughter Lord, Nazxul, Absu, Hate Forest, Mournful Congregation, Portal, Drowning The Light, Mutiilation & many more.

Upcoming releases include ‘Vacuous Spectral Silence’ , the debut by Crowned, ‘Drowning in the Vampyric Sacrament of the Immortals’ a split CD release featuring Drowning the Light & Vampyric Blood (Finland) as well as a split 7” contributed to by Pestilential Shadows & Corvus. More releases shall follow later in the year in addition to more exclusive patches & shirts.

Those upcoming releases sound fucking killer! Crowned's performance in Sydney some months ago was stellar for such a new band.

Asgard musik, a Tasmanian label describes itself as a label that releases bands that it can support ideologically, that black metal is a war against monotheistic faiths and the blind followers which preach and propagate such lies (Since the time of writing this, Asgard's website, along with it's ideology statement has gone down in response to some amount of hacking).  Would you say the intentions behind Seance records are similar to Asgards and if not, what are Seance’s ideological intentions as an underground metal label?

I can not comment the ideology of Asgard as I have not read enough about their particular manifesto.
Séance Records does not have a political agenda; we are not interested in the banter of 20th century political parties, border disputes or race. Black Metal has always spanned the globe regardless of social, political, cultural & class confines. Contrary to the sensationalism of the mid 90’s some of the most interesting work of the genre can be found in the least likely places.
However we do have a strong vision for the bands that we release. First and foremost it is essential that we personally feel strongly about material which equates to deep enthusiasm.

All of our bands are dark in feeling & atmosphere with a leaning towards personal occult motivations & a true conviction in what they do which creates depth and aura to their music.
Séance Records is concerned with art and simply a conduit to expose the artist’s conviction & integrity to the world.
Indeed, the Séance releases in the last two years have been fantastic!

You recently organized and held Armageddon festival earlier this year? Do you feel this was a success? Will Sydney see a return of this festival in 2012 or in years to come? 
Yes we feel that Armageddon festival was a complete success especially after the debacle of the Black Mass cancellation in late 2010. It was a show of unity by all involved and the best line up of old & new Australian Black Metal in one weekend that has ever happened in Australia. It highlighted a true appreciation of the genre within Australia and great enthusiasm from the fans & bands around the country who supported the event.
2012 will host The Devil’s Arcana. This two night festival will again host a line up diverse in the interpretation of black metal ranging from traditional to symphonic, bestial, orthodox, modern & depressive.

Of the 13 bands gathered highlights include Vassafor from New Zealand who shall headline the event. With lineage from Diocletian and various other extreme NZ bands their live show will be a devastating barrage of black noise & bestial atmospheres. Drowning the Light headlines the Friday night event, offering again an exclusive show that shall not be repeated. Ill Omen will unleash their dark occult vibes in the debut live performance by this enigmatic band. The rest of the line up includes, Pestilential Shadows, Spire, Order of Orias, Moon, Wardaemonic, Erebus Enthroned, Nontinuum, Crowned, Sorathian Dawn & Tamerlan
The enthusiasm of every one involved has ensured the continuance of such live events after Armageddon.
I'm really looking forward to the festival. In particular I'm very keen for Vassafor, Moon and Ill Omen's sets, due to being a fan of their various works AND having not witnessed them live yet.
 Corvus are no longer playing due to unforeseeable circumstances.

What influences you to contribute to a scene which, as Hushy, and Luke from Hellbringer have stated in previous Witching Metal interviews before does not measure up to scenes overseas? If given the chance would you prefer to move overseas for another scene?
I can only comment from my own travel experience which probably has not included the same countries as these guys but I have always been proud of the Australian metal scene and have always strongly believed that it has produced more than its fair share of ground breaking, influential & excellent metal bands in relation to our small population. 
How can we compare to London for example which is populated by around the same number of people in the one city as the entire population of Australia. Sure they have the huge festivals and they can drive one hour right into the next country allowing bands to tour constantly but most people attend the festivals and often underground shows are poorly attended due to the apathy created by the attitude of ‘ill catch them next time.. or at that festival’.
 I fully appreciate the quality of life that we have in Australia and would not give that up for anything. I also feel that the scene which we have regardless of proximity to the rest of the world & geographical adversity is to be respected & deserves support.

Are the rewards significant enough in what you do or are your actions out of passion for such great music?
To be in this for the money would be like a delusion of grandeur. Like most bands we are just lucky enough to be able to do what we love and this is enough. I’ve always done a zine, label or shows through out the years so it’s something that I will always continue to do regardless.

With more and more Australian based labels/distros (more or less) closing their doors (Adverse Order Music very recently, Infinite Wisdom and Winterreich in recent years) this is great to hear!

What is your opinion of the NSW metal scene compared to Adelaide both past and present? In your many, many years in this scene, what are your standout memories?
Sydney has the population & economy to support a stronger scene and is really happening In terms of shows, festivals & punters at the moment. Adelaide has really died off over the years probably through lack of independent support from stores and venues for the music which is sad. I will always hold a torch for Adelaide, the brilliant bands from there like Mournful Congregation, Stargazer, Martire, Cauldron Black Ram, Nocturnal etc and the days of Armageddon Adelaide which were huge gatherings of debaucherous metal worship.

Armageddon Adelaide will always stand out despite the overall drunken haziness that clouds its fine memory. Bringing Misery to SA for the first time was truly memorable!! The turn out and response was incredible. People in Adelaide were just rabid to see these legends there.
There have been so many international bands that have been incredible but Black Mass was also a highlight, whilst devastating initially the replacement gig and partying that happened in its stead was outstanding and it ultimately created a larger & better festival. Seeing the reaction to what happened and reading the emails & comments that people wrote gave me actual belief in the fact that people actually care about what happens, the bands involved and what we do.

I'd agree, although i was not around to see the strength of Adelaide's scene at its peak, the bands that come from there (and the occasional brilliant gigs that are held and Martire's recently announced LP(!) ) do illustrate that it was once a lively place for bands

What are your future plans for Le Cabinet des Curiosities?
The store will continue to sell Séance Records releases, black metal, doom & dark music from all over the world. I will continue to force people to listen to obscure bands that I think are excellent and talk shit all day about this band and that album. I will put up your gig poster, stock your zine, demo, cd etc... We want to offer the support that independent stores used to offer the underground back in the day and break the mould of chain store music and killjoy practices like not being able to listen to albums before you buy and all of those listed above. 

Ha! There has been more than one occasion that you've "forced" me to listen to a band unknown to me until that point. Each time has been great and the zines i've gotten have been great reads.

What are some bands you would recommend to the readers of Witching Metal?
Currently in Australia besides our own bands and some of the better known ones I would recommend that people check out Spire, Wardaemonic, Midnight Odyssey, Order of Orias, Corvus, Moon, Thrall, Temple Nightside, Ill Omen, Grave Upheaval, Impetuous Ritual & Ignivomous. Over the waters from NZ try Blood of the Moon, Heresiarch, Diocletian, Vassafor & Witchrist.

Personally, I love Ill Omen's debut album, and demos.  Bands not mentioned; Barshasketh from NZ and Atra from New South Wales, are great too.

Thank you S. Slaughter for taking the time to answer these questions, For a first article, I enjoyed it writing it very much. Do you have any final words?
Thanks for your support! The Séance has concluded.
Séance Records releases are available online from – www.seancerecords.com
And in Sydney you can visit the Séance Records store at –
Le Cabinet des Curiosities
97 Enmore Rd, Enmore
Sydney Australia

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Undergang- Til Døden Os Skiller

Undergang is a name that started to circulate a couple years ago with the release of ther debut, Indhentet af Døden (translated: Overtaken by Death), a veritable nailbomb of an album that landed somwhere between Swedish death metal and the filthiest moments of Bolt Thrower's discography. They seem to have been steadily growing in stature since then, recently doing a split and euro tour with the colossal Funebrarum.

Til Døden Os Skiller (Til Death Do Us Part) starts off with menacing stop-start tremolo picking that in a bit of a stretch reminds me of the theme from jaws; it certainly evokes the same feeling of impending violence. Then the Undergang we know and love comes crashing down like the hammer of an angry god. Mid-paced, groovy riffage is the calling card of the band, something that is not uncommon in death metal, but I really cannot call Undergang generic. They play not quite fast, not quite slow, lumbering death that, as mentioned above, sounds something like a marriage of Realm of Chaos and Into the Grave. The songs, with one exception, are composed entirely of pounding, agile rhythm guitar riffing underpinned by d-beats. There is not one single guitar solo or lead section anywhere on this album. The band are one massive rhythm section, bludgeoning masterfully for 45-odd minutes. One prominent difference from the debut is a heavy use of samples in between songs- I imagine this would be pretty cool if I spoke Danish. The final twist is the last track, Kadavermarch, an instrumental which features nearly melodic riffs that slowly segway into an acoustic guitar part. Not the most unexpected or innovative way to end an album, but after about 40 minutes the cessation of pummeling makes you realize you've been holding your breath for the entire duration of the album- catharsis.

In addition to the concrete block to the face nature of the songwriting, there is something to be said for the production as well, and that is- FUCK, IT'S HEAVY. Maybe it's just me, but this record seems all together even more punishing than the debut, which is saying something. Overall, I would say that Til Doden will probably take a couple listens to really love on account of the extremely single minded nature of the music, but make no mistake this an awe inspiring display of skull-crushing violence.


Ocean of Zero – Where Sickness Prevails

Ocean of Zero is a death metal band from Queensland, Australia, consisting of a few guys who have been playing together in various punk, crust and death metal outfits for almost 20 years. Ocean… was formed in early 2009 and so far they have put out two very limited demos entitled “The Wake” and “Shun the Light”, both on tape. “Where Sickness Prevails” is a CD compilation of these two demos, soon to be released on German label Obscure Domain Productions.

Musically, the band plays in a style similar to early Morbid Angel. Straight up, fast, filthy and old-school sounding death fukkin’ metal is what these blokes are all about, and they showcase it pretty fucking well. The production on both demos is very raw and definitely sounds home brewed, which is refreshing to hear amongst the waves and waves of cleaner sounding DM being released all over the place these days.

Overall, the second half of this CD (the four songs from the “Shun the Light” demo) is superior to the first half, mostly due to production values but also from the band obviously sounding a lot more comfortable as a unit and sounding much tighter… you can really tell that they had evolved by this time. This half also features my favourite song of the bunch, “Crawling Bastard”, a quite varied number that showcases all the best elements of the bands sound ranging from their blasting Morbid Angel worship to their slab-dragging doooooooomy sections, which don’t pop up too often, but when they do, they sound very eerie and contrast the fast parts well.

All in all; Ocean of Zero aren’t about to reinvent the wheel, nor are they setting out to be your new favourite death metal band. These guys play death metal for themselves, not to follow trends. If you’re after something raw and ugly to bang your head to, I’d recommend buying this CD from Obscure Domain when it comes out.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Terminate - Thirst for the Obscene

Roughly a year ago I reviewed Terminates first ever demo, which really made the band stand out to me as one of the better new-old-school-death metal bands around from the US. It seems that Chicago is a bit of a hotbed for killer metal; currently boasting these guys and Bones, among others and legendary bands such as Master and Usurper originating from there. “Thirst for the Obscene” picks up exactly where “Demo” left off, bringing you some straight up death metal that reeks of early Entombed, Dismember, Asphyx and Bolt Thrower and luckily for us listeners; this EP runs a bit longer than the cock-teaser of a demo did, featuring four original songs and two covers (Slaughter - Incinerator and Celtic Frost – The Usurper, which are both executed rather well).

The songs on “Thirst…” are, by far, some of the catchiest material I have heard recently. The riffs hammer in your skull and stick around your mind for a while after listening to the songs, the bass pretty much follows the guitar but it compliments the Swedeath “chainsaw” guitar tone used here well enough, the drums are just as much of a draw-card as the riffs; driving the songs along at a good pace and enhancing the catchiness of the songs. The vocals are a sort of lower-ranged Van Drunen; audible and intelligible yet still very death metal. The mix deserves a special mention here as it’s absolutely killer, pushing the guitars and drums right in your face and making them the forefront of Terminates relentless OSDM assault. Pace-wise the songs vary from slower to mid-paced and occasionally all out neck-snapping speed, so there is plenty of variety to be found, and a bit of everything for most death metal fans.

The second track “Numb” is the main stand-out for me, but each song is stellar and will stick in your head for hours. I would certainly recommend looking up “Numb” on YouTube if I haven’t already convinced you that it is well worth preordering “Thirst for the Obscene”. I actually don’t have a single negative thing to say about this EP; every song held my attention all the way through, the production is great for the style and the covers are pulled off really well. Get your hands on this when it comes out next month!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Intestinal - The Rottening

Intestinal is a 4-piece death metal act from Sweden, formed in 2008. So far they have released a demo and 2 full length albums. “The Rottening” is their latest full length.

Their sound is pretty straightforward death metal, sounding like a cross between early Autopsy and early Dismember, I’d say, they also lean towards “brutal” death metal at times, but not too often and they stick mostly to OSDM stylings. The production is thick and murky yet still allows you to hear all that’s going on rather well, with the drums and vocals standing out the most. The guitar tone is pretty stock standard as far as DM guitar tones go, but it does the job and the riffs hammer along nicely. Bass follows the guitar and there’s not much to say about it. The real highlight for me is the drumming, which changes a lot during each song and just keeps things interesting (fuck off; I don’t know how to describe drumming properly, but this bloke does a great job!).

The songs are quite varied in terms of tempo and structure, ranging from slower tempos to mid-paced grooves to the occasional all-out speed-fest. Lyrically they tend to focus strictly on gore themes (the typical samples usually associated with gore-themed death metal are there, too), so there’s not too much to say about the lyrics, but they’re good fun and suit the music. There are no real stand-out tracks, as the album flows really well as a whole, even if it is a bit long and drawn out, running for over 40 minutes!

As far as death metal goes, you could do a lot worse than Intestinal, although there is a lot of better DM out there. These guys bring forth some good, solid beef. If you’re not after anything new and just want to bang your head, mosey on over to Hellthrasher Productions (great label!) and buy a copy of this CD. It’s worthy of any deathbangers collection.


AxeVyper- Metal Crossfire Review

Italian heavy metallers, Axevyper, have recently released their sophomore album Metal Crossfire. From the looks of the cover, which looks like something a bored teenager would draw in class, you can see that these guys are just a cheesy retro band. Let’s not judge the book by its cover, ‘kay?

The album starts off with a near 3 minute instrumental, called “Stygianuclear War.”It’s  not exactly something you would expect to kick off an album with. I think it should have been shortened, but I guess that’s small attention spans for you. However, the track does have a nice riff that builds up the energy for the next song and once that kicks in it’s pretty much a headbanging-fest. The album is chock full of speedy Maiden-esque riffs and this high voice that reminds me of Angel Witch on cocaine.

The power really starts to kick in towards the middle of the album beginning with “Agents of Chaos.” It’s a full-speed ahead, no holds-barred song. And the next tracks like “On the Wings of Glory” and “Victims of Tomorrow” are quite epic songs with catchy choruses and good songwriting. “Victims” is on the long side, just spanning over 8 minutes on the clock, but it’s not so drawn out as you would think. It starts off as a soft “ballad” and then in it socks you in the jaw, the energy really carries you through the song. This song really showcases the band, the vocals are superb, and the guitars are just fantastic.

Overall, this is a pretty solid album. It’s definitely true to its heavy metal roots. It’s a great blend between the early 80s NWOBHM sound and 90s power/speed metal. The album does tend to have its moments where it either runs together or leaves you wanting to skip a track, but the majority of it is great material. It may not add anything too fresh to the table, but if you just want an old-school sound without the complete Maiden rip off then go find this album.

Gitchoo sum!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sanguis Imperem – In Glory We March Towards Our Doom

Sanguis Imperem is a 4-piece death metal outfit from California. They’ve been going strong and steady since 2006 having released thus far; a demo, an EP, a split with Nocturnal Blood and finally, in November of 2011, a full length album.

The first thing you’ll notice upon hearing “In Glory…” (after the intro track) is the thick and muddy yet still clear as day production that is pretty heavily focused on the vocals and rhythm guitar parts. The second thing you will notice is that you’re listening to one of the best newer death metal bands out there. Sanguis Imperem bring forth a fierce and ugly sound that mixes the more mid-paced moments of Bolt Thrower’s discography with ferocious early American death metal tenacity and a bit of foul Swedish evilness.

One of the coolest things Sanguis Imperem do, is use multiple vocalists, which already sets them apart from the pack of generic death metal bands over saturating the metal market these days, it also allows for more range in the vocals than your average DM band, naturally. As mentioned before, the production focuses heavily on the rhythm guitars, which allows the crushing riffage to shine through in most songs and get the listeners head banging something fierce. The drums and bass sound a bit murky in the mix, but it only adds a darker element to their sound and I think it works rather well.

The songs themselves are all absolutely killer, ranging from all out blast fests to crushing mid-paced grooves and doomy gloomy passages. So, there’s really something for every type of death metal fan here and not a single complaint to be heard from yours truly.