Witching Metal Webzine

Witching Metal Webzine

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sewercide Interview

Recently, i received an email from Nick, the drummer of Sewercide promoting his band. Despite the retro sounding name I was surprised to hear classic death thrash and, having watched a promo video earlier in the day by "thrash clowns" Head in a jar and was disappointed, i found that Sewercide's promo fucking ruled so I replied and offered to interview Nick in regards to Sewercide.

How did Sewercide form? Why did you choose death thrash instead of say crossover thrash, black thrash, teutonic/bay area worshipping thrash ?

Funnily enough we all met on a Melbourne website designed to help like-minded musos get together. Tom and Tobi (guitar, bass) found each other first in 2010 I think, then myself (drums) and Hugh (vocals) joined the band about a year later. The idea of playing death thrash was Tobi's  originally. He's a HUGE Demolition Hammer fan, among other bands like Solstice and Morbid Saint. I think he really converted the rest of us to the ways of Death Thrash. We're all big fans of Crossover, Black, Teutonic and Bay Area, but there was just something about the incomparable violence of Death Thrash that had us all sold.

What are your main influences?

 Our main influences are oldschool US Death/Thrash bands like Demolition Hammer, Morbid Saint, Solstice, Sadus, early Cannibal Corpse, Obituary etc. Having said that there are loads of non-American bands we love too!

Those bands all fucking rule, I still love old Cannibal Corpse.

What are plans for future releases

We're doing a split 7" with a great Tasmanian thrash band called Randomorder. That should be released some time in June. After that there's nothing set in stone, but we hope to split with some more killer bands from around the country and world before we record our debut album.

What do you think of the current metal "scene" both in Melbourne and Australia wide? What bands would you recommend to the readers of witching metal webzine

I think the scene here in Melbourne is quite good. There are a bunch of great bands, particularly in the grind/crossover/punk department. As for 'thrash' metal there are only a few bands who really get it and do it properly and well. I guess Melbourne's greatest contribution to thrash is Hobbs' Angel of Death, and it's been fantastic that they've come back and played a couple of local shows recently. It seems to have really revitalised the thrash scene. Australia wide I think the metal scene is really losing out to metalcore and Lamb Of God rip-offs. We're producing some really world class metal bands but none of them seem to get much international (or even national) attention unless they drop-tune to B and chug breakdowns. For anyone wanting to check out some good contemporary Aussie bands I would recommend Hellbringer (blackened thrash), The Mung (slam/grindcore), Party Vibez (crossover) and King Parrot (thrash/grind).

What has the response to the 2 track digital promo been like?

We've had a really good response to the demo. We had been garnering attention from the scene for over 6 months before we had anything recorded so it was great to finally have something for the fans, and even better that they liked it! It's also received positive reviews from several local and international metal communities and blogs which is really encouraging!

What has the response been like to the live shows you've done?

Live shows are always tricky. For the most part we've had a really receptive crowd with mosh pits and even stage diving on occasion. But there are always times when it just doesn't click. It often depends on the venue, the timeslot, the day and the other bands on the bill. On a good lineup though we'll usually have a big crowd and they'll really get into it!

Come to Sydney, bring Maniaxe with you. Somehow convince Teratornis, Hellbringer, Rampage and Kill For Satan to be on the same bill.

Are there plans to play interstate?

We actually played down in Tasmania a couple of months ago with Randomorder whom we're about to do our split with. That was our first experience of 'touring', and it went really well! The crowd down there really loved it. We were told Randomorder are the only thrash band in the city, so it was really great to give the locals something new to mosh to. We'd love to play some east coast dates in the future, hopefully toward the end of the year we'll have a chance, if not next year we definitely will.

What have been some highlights for the band so far?

As a band I'd probably say the whole Tasmanian trip and the great response we had. A personal highlight though was having a crazy group of headbangers knock over a foldback at a 2am show when we expected a dead and deserted room. Another highlight would be playing Sonic Forge (A well established local festival) for only our third gig. Our biggest highlight to come however will be later this year, although we can't say what it is just yet (sorry)!

What long and short term goals do you have for Sewercide?

Short term we'd like to belt out a few more splits and do some Australian touring. Long term I guess the ultimate goal would be getting a record deal and/or overseas touring. We wanna stay true to the music we love and have as many people enjoy it as possible.

Best of luck with the band, is there anything you'd like to say to conclude this interview?

Thanks for the opportunity, and don't forget to check out our music video for Pyrocataclysm (I linked it above)
If you like it you can download the 2 track demo from our facebook for free:

Get into these guys, they're fucking good and deserve much more sapport.

Any band after an interview or review, don't hesitate to email me at PRMTVLTRS@hotmail.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kill – Burning Blood

Kill is a 4-piece black metal group hailing from Sweden who have been going strong since 1998, Consisting of current and former members of bands such as; Bestial Mockery, Necroplasma, Church Bizarre and various others. “Burning Blood” is their most recent full length album, and their “come back” after going on hiatus for a while.

The opening track “Veni Satana” drew me in quickly with its stinkin’ evil riffs and vomit-poisoned vocals. Yup, this definitely sounds like Kill, alright! However, the band has clearly progressed stylistically with this release, having combined together their more aggressive and almost thrashy sound found on “No Catharsis” and some of the infectious doom-laden riffage found on “Inverted Funeral” together, resulting in a rather varied album that suits the bands sound perfectly, and may just be their best effort yet.

Production-wise, the band goes for a “live” edge similar to what they used on “No Catharsis”, but they have utilized a thicker and more “full” sounding mix this time around, ensuring the listener doesn’t miss a beat.

The songs sound disgustingly catchy and drenched in evil atmosphere. Highlights would be the aforementioned opener “Veni Satana”, “Nails of Cursed Steel”, the doomy “Beckoning Grave” and the 11 minute closer “Poison Chalice”. This is so far the best new black metal release I’ve heard so far in 2012. I’ve nothing to complain about; this is simply killer black metal, the way it should be played.


Holodomor - Témoignages de la Gnose Terrestre

Holodomor is a black/thrash metal band hailing from Plymouth in the UK. “Témoignages de la Gnose Terrestre” is their first EP which has recently been unleashed upon mankind.

Simply labeling Holodomor as blackened thrash metal would be very unfair to the band, as I definitely hear more black metal than thrash in their sound, as well as a lot of early Morbid Angel, Angelcorpse, Bestial Warlust, Gospel of the Horns. The thrash influence really only shines through in the construction of the faster guitar parts, which fly along in a similar manner to “Pleasure to Kill” era Kreator, which fits in rather well with the other influences and strives to give Holodomor a more “unique” sound.

The production is pretty much what you would expect from this type of band, raw as fuck but crystal clear in terms of being able to hear what’s going on. The vocals are a sort of raspy sneer smothered in bludgeoning anger and powered by pure aggression. Guitars have a sort of typical tone for this style of metal, and the bass isn’t super-audible and mostly follows the guitars. I’m not sure what to say about the drums, but they do their job very well.

This is only a short EP, clocking in at roughly 16 minutes, but each track has something to give and none of them overstay their welcome. Any fan of old-school bestial black/death/thrash should be able to enjoy “Témoignages de la Gnose Terrestre”. It’s not original, it’s not sophisticated or flashy, but it’s fuckin’ good fun. Highly recommended for fans of old-school Australian extreme metal, especially.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Desaster – The Arts of Destruction

Hmmm, Desaster; the unsung heroes of Germany’s underground metal scene. If you’re a fan of black metal or thrash metal, you should certainly be familiar with these legendary metal titans by now. Having been active since 1988, they have released 7 full lengths as well as a bunch of splits, demos, live albums and EPs in their long career thus far. “The Arts of Destruction” is their most recent full length, which came out back in February.

“The Arts of Destruction” is a great album and probably the best the band has released in years. If “Angelwhore” was considered a disappointment with “Satan’s Soldiers Syndicate” being a return to form, then, “The Arts of Destruction” is the long awaited follow-up that blows both aforementioned releases out of the water, pleasing old fans and winning new ones.

The production is crisp and clear, but not overly clean. Each instrument has its own chance to shine in the killer mixing job that was done on this record. The signature guitar tone that Infernal is known for reigns supreme as each riff crushes and every solo rips… not to mention; those odd medieval guitar parts are back! Sataniac’s vocals are on top form, sounding more on the death metal end of the spectrum than their previous vocalist, which is either a good or bad thing, depending on what the listener prefers. Personally, I think Sataniac suits the band just as well as Okkulto did on “Hellfire’s Dominion” (my personal favourite Desaster album). The rhythm section is equally as impressive, with the bass and drums sounding solid as ever and intense as hell.

Special mention must be made for the track “Possessed and Defiled”, which is an eight minute epic along the lines of the legendary song “Teutonic Steel”, albeit played at a slightly slower pace, which results in a more sinister sound and proves beyond all doubt that Desaster are at the top of their game on this album. My other favourite song on this release is “Queens of Sodomy”, which almost sounds like Swedish death metal in parts and ferociously destroys the listeners’ neck. I would also recommend looking up the songs “The Splendour of the Idols” and “Troops of Heathens, Graves of Saints” if I haven’t already convinced you that this album is instantly worthy of your money and time.

It’s albums like this, and Aura Noir’s latest that convince me not to give up on thrash metal just yet. Who needs shitty retrothrash when you have amazing bands such as Desaster still putting out killer stuff?


Monday, April 16, 2012

Aura Noir - Out to Die

Aura Noir is a thrash metal group from Norway featuring members and ex-members of well known bands such as Immortal, Mayhem, Satyricon, Gorgoroth and others. Aura Noir has also been around for nearly as long as the aforementioned black metal acts. They started off playing a very punky form of black/thrash in 1993 and not much has changed since then; however, on their latest album “Out to Die” and previous effort “Hades Rise”, the band has gravitated towards a similar direction to later-era Darkthrone, having injected a lethal dose of Motörhead into their rotten blackened sound.

If you’ve heard any previous material from the band, you should have an idea what to expect and have no problem buying this record without even hearing it. For the uninitiated, here’s an example of what you’re in for; fast and evil tremolo-focused riffage, punky as hell drumming, raspy vocals fueled by a “take-no-prisoners” attitude, the occasional ripper solo and some of the catchiest thrash metal you’re gonna hear this year. The band does slow it down occasionally, but most of the songs fly along at a balls-out thrashing charge.

Aura Noir are not an original band by any means, but with songs like “Trenches”, “Abbadon”, “Priest’s Hellish Fiend”, “The Grin from the Gallows” and “Withheld”, I sincerely doubt anyone in their right mind will give the slightest fuck about originality. They’ll be too busy banging their heads and having one hell of a time.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ketzer - Endzeit Metropolis

Ketzer is a blackened thrash metal band hailing from Germany. They’ve been active since 2003 and released a few demos between 2005 and 2007, following up with their excellent 2009 debut album “Satan’s Boundaries Unchained”, which was easily one of the best underground releases that year. “Endzeit Metropolis” is the bands second album and the follow up release to “Satan’s Boundaries Unchained”.

So, I guess the first question to be asked regarding Ketzer’s follow up to their absolute smasher debut album is; does it disappoint? The short answer would be “No, not at all.”, but, as a reviewer it’s only fair that I expand on that. Anyone expecting a rehash of “Satan’s Boundaries Unchained” may feel slightly disappointed, however, as the band has moved in a slightly more melodic and epic direction to their previously more straightforward Gospel of the Horns, and Desaster influenced black/thrash attack.

You could be forgiven for thinking, upon hearing the opening title track, that you’re listening to a new Deströyer 666 release. Furious vocals and melodic yet harsh and powerful riffs storm through the speakers, instantly grabbing your attention and giving you an idea of what you’re in for. Picture, if you will, a sprinkling of Possessed and Venom, pinch or two from each of the “big three” German thrash bands, a very healthy dosage of Gospel of the Horns and Desaster, a large helping of Deströyer 666 and an underlying Bathorian atmosphere. That’s what “Endzeit Metropolis” sounds like.

All band comparisons aside, Ketzer take all of the aforementioned influences and really mould them into a sound that they can truly call their own, I can’t think of any other black/thrash bands that sound like this, and I listen to a lot of black/thrash. It’s hard to point out exactly what makes these krauts stand out from the over-saturated crowd that is the blackened thrash subgenre, but it would have to be the little things that can only really be discovered after listening to the album multiple times. A cool bass fill here, an interesting change in the drumming there, unconventional vocal placements in that song, etc. etc. The sort of things you don’t notice, at first.

This is one of those albums that is consistently good all the way through, and thus, difficult to choose stand out tracks, but special mention has to be made for the instant ball grabbing title track, “Aesthetics and Ecstasy” and the epic closer “He Who Stands Behind the Row”, which may very well be Ketzer’s own “Teutonic Steel” or “Trialed by Fire”.

This album is a must-buy for all the blackened thrash maniacs out there. You really do not want to sleep on this gem!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trial - The Primordial Temple

Trial is a traditional heavy metal group from Sweden who I’ve been following since last year when I first heard their 2010 demo and interviewed their drummer. Back in January they finally released their debut album “The Primordial Temple” on Australian label The Coffins Slave.

Stylistically, Trial follow a similar path to their contemporaries In Solitude and Portrait, bringing forth some great 80’s style heavy metal influenced majorly by Mercyful Fate. On this album, you’ll find classic riffs, soaring vocals, catchy melodies and killer solos – all the makings of a great old-school metal record! The guitars and vocals take centre-stage, being pushed to the forefront of the mix, however; the drums and bass are very audible and drive the rhythms along flawlessly.

The songs themselves flow well together, mostly plodding along at mid-pace and occasionally speeding it up or slowing down when the band feels the need. “Witches”, the title track, “The Sorceress’ Command” and “Opener of the Way” stand out the most, to me. All in all, though, this is a killer record and I wasn’t disappointed with a single track. There are not many criticisms to be made, except that the production may seem a bit “clean” to some old-school purists and I’ve heard a few people say the vocals could use a bit more “power”, but really, that’s just grasping at straws and letting small potatoes effect an otherwise great record in a negative manner because people are picky.

“The Primordial Temple” earns a solid 5/5 from me and stands out as the best traditional metal album I’ve heard since In Solitudes’ self-titled and Portraits’ second full length.


Head on over to the Coffins Slave Webstore and get yourself a copy of the CD and a nice pretty shirt to go with it!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cauldron Black Ram - The Poisoner Maxi-EP

Cauldron Black Ram is a side-project featuring members of Australian bands Portal, StarGazer, Mournful Congregation and various other acts. They play a blend of black/death metal with a sludgy vibe and tone. Most importantly; they sing about pirates!

They’re not a fast or “brutal” band by any means, which is a good thing in CBRs case. They tend to keep it slow-to-mid-paced and chug along with loose and heavy riffage. The vocals sound a bit like Abbath from Immortal if he were to front a death metal band, which gives CBR an even more unique feel. There’s a real punk-ish attitude in the way the band presents their music and you can tell they do this side-project purely for the fun of it and the love of all things filthy, raw, old-school and ugly as fuck.

Since this EP is only 4-tracks and 17 minutes long, I can’t really choose a stand-out song. They flow well together and each one has something to offer the listener. I’ve no complaints at all towards this EP and would urge anyone looking for something different in their death metal to check these ravenous death metal pirates out.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Devil's Arcana festival live review

I have begun writing this review almost a week after the festival, in this time I have had opportunity to think things over but also i have had other rather stressing engagements and I have only just gotten over a bug I seem to have picked up over the weekend, so my memory is somewhat hazy. This review will not be free from bias and I certainly will not paint every band in the most positive light however I will try my best to illustrate each band as best I can for those that were not there or simply like reading reviews. The pictures included are my own shots, unless it is noted otherwise. None (of mine anyway) have been edited.

I arrived somewhat early to the event on the first night, so i spent the intervening time until the bands started, catching up with friends i had not seen for some weeks and checking out what was on offer at the distro stalls. I eventually picked up a Drowning the Light split 10” record I’d been meaning to get for some time.

By 7pm i realised that the first band, Tamerlan, a new symphonic black metal band whose first show was tonight, had started. Heading in I immediately noticed that this new band was headed by a, for lack of a better word, veteran of the black metal scene in NSW, having served in one capacity or another in Astaroth, Nuclear Winter and Vrag over the years. I could not find any particular fault with their music, their keyboardist had a patch at one stage which reminded me of Mindless Self Indulgence of all bands which was amusing and the sample that was played later on was unexpected, I hope to see more of Tamerlan in the future!

After their set someone pointed out the similarities in appearance between Varg Vikernes and Tamerlan’s guitarist in a negative light. As amusing as this similarity was, I’m not sure how intentional it was, or whether it was really important but nonetheless i felt it worth mentioning.

After Tamerlan was Nontinuum. Whilst their 2010 demo was rather good, if I wanted to listen to early Woods of Desolation (Towards the depths era in particular) i would do just that instead of listening to some guy who prior to this project played in death/grind bands in Orange and Melbourne, one of which I had seen some years before and had been left thoroughly unimpressed after the experience.

 I did hear later that Nontinuum had transformed their woods of desolation worshipping songs into post-rock songs and that of those who had witnessed them, only a handful had been impressed or appreciative. I on the other hand took the opportunity to catch up with people in the beer garden until Moon took the stage.

Moon is a project which has been around in some form or another for the past half decade however it has been only recently that Miasmyr, the entity performing on all instruments on the releases had assembled a live version of Moon. This was their first time in NSW, after the infamous debacle in late 2010 which resulted in their initial show being cancelled and then subsequently their pulling out of the replacement show.

Being a fan of Caduceus Chalice and previous works (But Chalice more so) I was looking forward to witnessing them in the flesh. It was at this point in the night that a vast number of bones had been spread across the stage, on equipment and strung up on the walls. Numerous candles had been lit as well.  Looking over the notes i made earlier in the week when my memory was fresher there had been 7 candles lit, which was to be a recurring theme for most of the acts in the next two nights.

 Moon’s set could be summed up as 30-40 minutes of screaming over fuzzy guitars and keyboards whilst wearing hooded cloaks with absolutely no crowd interaction, however to some, such as myself this was exactly what I was expecting and wanting to see. I hope to see this band live again someday.

Wardaemonic are a band i have known about since they played in 2010 for the gig that replaced Black Mass and as of this festival, witnessed thrice, however i still have not found the time (and to be honest, the interest) to listen to their albums. They have always had a good live show whenever they have made the trip over from Perth so I was looking forward to seeing them.

This performance made every other time i had seen them pale in comparison. Last year I had seen them at the factory theatre, and really their act translates better to the smaller stages. Their singer, Old was utterly possessed in this performance. Creeping about the stage, drinking beers handed to him, smashing the glass on the stage and jumping into the crowd, he was absolutely intense, as was the rest of the band. Being unfamiliar with their material, i did not catch the names of the songs played in their set, unfortunately.

 It is a shame that this performance was the last time Old and guitarist Regnator would be on stage with Wardaemonic, having opted to concentrate on their work in Pestilential Shadows. I hope the remaining members (Blitz, Maelstrom and Anharat) find suitable replacements for them, as Old proved to be a vocalist that was a hard act to follow. I do wish I had gotten some good shots of Old jumping into the crowd. I deleted the ones I did take as they were terrible shots.

Up next after Wardaemonic and closing the first night was Drowning the Light. I have always had mixed feelings about this band, Azgorh’s sizable discography in particular (personally i prefer material from 2009 onwards) however after witnessing them two times in the same number of nights last year (the first being a secret set which even included a brilliant and utterly unexpected cover of Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger!) I knew to expect a live show that delivered the goods.

 The live band was exactly the same as last year’s shows, Azgorh was accompanied by Blackheart and Balam on guitars, Wraith on bass and Nihilifer on drums. Each individual functioned in various other (no less fantastic) projects; Atra, Nazxul, Pestilential Shadows, Erebus Enthroned and as such was perfectly comfortable on stage. I must admit I had been surprised last year in discovering Nihilifer was a competent live drummer as I have gotten used to him functioning solely as a vocalist in Erebus Enthroned, and many, many years ago I witnessed him demonstating his abilities on acoustic guitar rendering a faithful cover of a song by a Swedish band I won’t name in the context of this review.

 Photo of Nihilifer taken from the DTL facebook page. Used with permission from Azgorh. 


The setlist was composed of the following songs; Oceans of Eternity, Night of Never ending Turmoil, The Key Still Not Found, The Cult of Shadows (a personal favourite), As Plague Upon the Sheep, This Darkest Hour, Entrance to Illumination,The Poison Kiss, Of Celtic Blood and Satanic Pride and one more song, the name of which presently escapes me. It was a fantastic performance, made more memorable by Azgorh’s barbwire crown and coat with coyote stole and fantastic musicianship.

I have just realised that DTL’s performance last week was a week off of precisely half a decade since the albums A world long dead, To the end of time and Through the noose of existance were all released in limited numbers on tape by winterreich productions on the same day. I’m more set on finishing this entire review by Good Friday now. It certainly has been quite an interesting journey for Drowning the Light through the intervening years

The next day of the festival started at 4pm, two hours earlier than the first night so despite my lack of sleep and travelling somewhat immense distances just for a shower and some food i still managed to arrive early. Before the bands started i bought a record from The Coffins Slave’s stall that i had been looking forward to buying for some time, a couple of t-shirts from the Séance Records stall and hung out with mates until the bands started.

Sorathian Dawn opened the second night. Like Tamerlan, they are a “new” band, despite having been in existence for three years this was their first time on stage (at least under their current name) however unlike Tamerlan their stage presence was very impressive. Composed of members of Bane of Isildur and Ouroborus, this was a much more blackened, far less technical (but no less ferocious), far less melodic mixture of the two bands.

Aaron, the singer/guitarist of Bane of Isildur was only on vocals in this performance. His presence was demanding, with bones strung up on his person, commanding attention through his intense performance, Michael Conti of Ouroborus had much more subdued bass lines here, which was good to see and Shea Cramer, (apparently now formerly) of Bane of Isildur was also much less relaxed than his role in Bane of Isildur, playing his guitar fiercely and looking very intense, the other members were no less great, I seem to remember being impressed by the drumming patterns on display, but my memory has faded in the last few days.

Their songcraft was amazing, and personally i came away thinking this collaboration was far greater than the two bands of which the members came from.
Next up were the enigmatic entity known as Crowned. An atmospheric black metal band from Toowoomba, now Brisbane, this trio had come down last August to open another Séance  Records show to a great reception. This time around they walked on stage wearing cloaks to conceal their identities.

 I enjoyed their show last time around however, having seen Moon just the day before i knew precisely what 30-40 minutes of fuzzy guitars accompanied by screams whilst wearing hooded cloaks sounded like and catching up with friends was more important at that stage of the night, plus Ill Omen were on next and I was looking forward to witnessing them much more. Crowned have a debut album coming out via Séance Records in a few months which i am looking forward to hearing very much.

So finally Ill Omen were up. I had been a fan of this one man band formed by Desolate/IV (Whose credits include, but are certainly not limited to Nazxul, Pestilential Shadows and Austere) since September 2010 when I got my hands on the compilation of the first three demos. Since then they they’d released two more demos and a debut album, all of which I found to be incredible material, mixing cathartic black metal riffs with dark ambient and chants.

The live lineup included Desolate/IV decked out in ceremonial garments accompanied by members of Nazxul and Sorathian Dawn, plus two (fantastic) guitarists who I did not recognise. They played primarily from the debut album Divinity through un-creation (Sins of the flesh, Decrepit Heart Of the Shadow-sun, Sentinels Beneath a Heaving Earth and Gnosis) plus the title track off the wrath of a thousand suns demo and a great Bathory cover; The return of Darkness and Evil.

 If anything, I was a little disappointed that the first four demos were  left untouched but overall it was a great performance and every bit worth the 19 month wait. I can only hope that Ill Omen may manifest on the live arena once more in the future.

After ill Omen was Erebus Enthroned. I had seen this band a handful of times last year (and regrettably missed their rituals in previous years when I could have easily seen them) so I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. Before their set had begun, the lights were dimmed, seven candles and incense had been lit on a bone altar, filling the room with heavy smoke. Then Erebus Enthroned took to the stage, having completed their pre-performance rituals.

Wasting no time in beginning their set with an as yet unreleased (brilliant) track I can only assume will be on an upcoming split 7”, Nihilifer is usually a commanding frontman, and this time was no exception. Singing without relent as the music surged forth remorselessly, his lanky frame no hindrance for his powerful screams. After the first song, they dug out old favourites from their previous releases.

Decay busted out a few excellent guitar solos and the rhythm section (Darash, Versipellis) never lost a beat despite the minimal lighting.  At the end of the ritual Nihilifer grabbed a chalice which turned out to be filled with blood and drank heavily, spilling blood all over himself and the stage before tracing a sigil in the smoky air. This was the fourth time I had had the opportunity to witness this band in action and it was in my opinion their best performance so far.

Erebus Enthroned was a hard act to follow, and this was all too obvious with Order of Orias. No doubt a great band, their debut being deemed worthy enough for World Terror Committee to release(who have in past released gems such as the Chaos Invocation Lp) so it was obvious these guys weren’t kidding around


Decked out in corpse paint and their stage props limited to two Order of Orias banners, they were rather visually bare compared to Erebus Enthroned and I must admit, despite catching these guys two years ago at the Black Mass replacement show (where they replaced Moon at the last minute) and receiving a promo version of their Birth ep at last year’s festival I was (and still am) wholly unfamiliar with their material so i had no reason to catch their entire set. For what i did stay for, Order of Orias were very intense and abrasive, definitely a band to see live if possible.

Spire were next, yet another fuzzy cloaked atmospheric black metal band from Queensland .(is there something specifically grim in that state’s water supply that makes people form atmospheric black metal bands?) I had first seen these guys at the black mass replacement gig where they blew me away.

This time was no different. I had picked up their second ep some weeks beforehand and the only disappointing thing about it was that it was too short. The songs were incredible and leading towards something higher and greater, when suddenly the cd finished the final track and I almost cried out of sadness.

Presuming you’d have read my reviews for Moon and Crowned, then you would know what to expect. Fuzzy guitars, fervent drumming, and a vocalist who mixed things up a little. I hope this project releases an album someday, it would devestate.

Pestilential Shadows were one of the bands i had been looking towards very much. I had the pleasure to witness them last year when Desolate was still in the band and they were fantastic. Despite being rather prolific on the live front last year, more than any other year of their existence, playing two shows in Sydney and one in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth I had still only been able to see them that one time on the first night of Armageddon festival. 

Pestilential Shadows set was fantastic. Opening with a yet unreleased track; Mill of Discord which i can only presume is either a track off their album coming out later this year or their side of the split 7” with Corvus, also coming out later this year.

The rest of the set was composed of some of their greatest hits; Plague eclipse, depths, With serpents I lay, amongst famine and beautiful demise off of equally chart topping albums Embrace after death, Depths and In memoriam, ill omen which is my personal favourite album by Pestilential Shadows. I even found myself singing along to With Serpents I Lay.

 I was a little disappointed that nothing off Cursed was played live this year and after Azgorh, their former vocalist did guest vocals on Depths i’ve always hoped that he might appear for at least one song onstage but nonetheless this incarnation of Pestilential Shadows played fantastically and without any fault.

After Pestilential Shadows, Vassafor took the stage. Perhaps they had lent out all the bones on night 1, as they had made use of all the space onstage by stringing bones everywhere and lighting candles and incense on their bone altar. The lights were also dimmed for atmosphere. The rest of the band were ready long before V.K, as he spent a good 10-15 minutes making sure his guitar tone was just right. This did not go to waste as despite the overwhelming volume (My ears were still ringing the next day) Vassafor retained perfect clarity.

Their setlist was composed of songs (Rites of ascension, Obsidian King, Sunya, Craft of dissolution and Archeonaut’s return) selected from Demo II, Southern Vassaforian Hell ep and promo MMX/Obsidian Codex which were played extremely well and without fault.

One disappointing thing was that at one point I looked around the room from the front and realised that there was roughly half the number of people present for Vassafor than there was for Pestilential Shadows. Fools, they did not understand what they were missing out as this was Vassafor’s first venture into Australia. Their loss I suppose. I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on the Obsidian Codex LP. The two songs i heard on the Promo MMX tape were almost too much to handle at the time for me.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my rather long (At least 3008 words!) review of the recent two night black metal festival “The Devil’s Arcana”. I certainly enjoyed writing it in less than a day whilst still suffering headaches, a sore back and a nasty cold. I have also just realised that i’ve put much more effort into this article in minimal time than anything i’ve done at university in the last three years.

In closing, this festival was a fantastic experience, I wish all the best to the folks at Séance records and their future releases, congratulate them wholeheartedly for putting on such a spectacular event and hope that an equally fantastic event (and smaller ones along the way) occurs next year as I get the impression that the black metal live scene in New South Wales was somewhat poor until Séance records stepped in. To the bands i hope they continue in their excellence and hope to see them live again someday in the weeks, months and years to come.

If any individuals or bands wish to receive full sets of any particular band, feel free to email me at prmtvltrs@hotmail.com and I'll get back to you when I have the time. I took almost 200 shots over the course of two nights and I only could justify putting 34 here.

I suppose I should rate this festival too, as every other article here has ratings


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Proclamation- Nether Tombs of Abbaddon

Readers of Witching Metal, if you are the NWN/Detest Records/underground die hard maniacs that I assume make our fanbase, should already be quite familiar with Proclamation. Next to Revenge, Diocletian, and Blasphemophagher, they are among the contemporary bestial black/death metal elite, and one of the flagship bands of NWN. Their fourth opus, Nether Tombs of Abaddon, completes their "AMEN" (the first letters of all their album titles spell it out, nifty eh?) tetralogy. What exactly this means or how the albums fit together outside of the title acronym, I'm not really sure, but let's have a look.

I've been putting off writing this review for a while, because, well, I wasn't sure exactly what to say. I listened to Nether Tombs a couple of times and came to the conclusion that this sounds like Proclamation. That's not a criticism. I love Proclamation. You will not find a more ardent Proclamation (or war metal in general) fan than yours truly. However, this is the same kind of hyper-chaotic, pulverizing black death found on the last 3 Proclamation records. Echoing the blasting fury of Blasphemy and the pure evil of Beherit, Nether Tombs of Abaddon follows the formula we've come to expect from Proclamation. The riffs are hard to follow and sometimes almost intangible, and the songwriting is unpredictable in it's borderline incongruent changes. The drums sounds like wet cardboard recorded in a cave in Hell. In between or in the midst of songs are samples of religious chorals to let one catch one's breath before plunging into further rituals of desecration. All that said, it's not completely the same as the rest of their discography, and is definitely worth listening. Proclamation aren't stale, just very consistent.

One semi-prominent difference is that the production doesn't seem as bass-heavy as on previous releases. This isn't a huge issue, but I have always loved Proclamation's style of Production and I think the heavy low end definitely helped things sound bigger and more ominous. Additionally, the vocals are less drenched in reverb than, say, Advent of the Black Omen.

A piece of advice I must give to anyone who is going to listen to this or any other Proclamation is that you have to really pay attention to it to enjoy it. The music is so violent and intense that if you just put it on as background music and only half listen, it will sound like noise occasionally interrupted by Gregorian chants. A more attentive listener will be able to pick out drum fills, dramatically barbaric dual vocals, and even some quite catchy riffing (the opening of "Christ Death Ceremony", or the first riff in "Regurgitated Bibles", which may be the slowest Proclamation have ever played).

At the end of the day, if you don't like already like Proclamation or this kind of black metal in general, Nether Tombs of Abaddon is probably not for you. It's another very extreme release by one of the most extreme bands out there. Fans of bestial black metal and Proclamation's dedicated cult following will be somewhere between appreciative and smitten. I give this a 3.75/5.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Impious Baptism- Path of the inverted trinity

 Anyone up for a second, more potent dose of tasty black/death?
Path of the inverted trinity is the second ep released this year by Impious Baptism. I originally thought that this ep would be the better ep given it was released on a more recognised label (Hells Headbangers, VANVDA was released by Ordo MCM, who were unknown to me up until then) though after listening it is clear that both eps are mandatory listens.

This ep does away with intros and kicks straight into a maelstrom of killer riffs, solid drumming and reverberated vocals. I swear i heard the lyrics include “summon the war god” but because the insert does not include lyrics for this one i can’t be sure. Another killer solo within the first minute, something about “iron doctrine of the antichriiiist” which is fitting, given this is the title of the song.

The second and third tracks, Descend from Hades and Path of the Inverted Trinity are just as great, there is no filler material present on this ep. Path of the inverted trinity has a demonic, spoken word sample before about 15 seconds of war metallish (in that its several deep voices) vocals before the standard fare present in the rest of the songs. Jarro has tapped into a potent source of inspiration for these EP's. I can only hope that Jarro chooses to take Impious Baptism to the stage one day!

There is an album in the works for this entity, these eps are just a taste of what is yet to come!

I should add; I am working on a rather long review of the recent two day Black metal festival that I interviewed S. Slaughter in regards to last week. This week my free time is somewhat limited however I shall endeavour to publish a lengthy article accompanied by select photos when appropriate, as soon as I am done.

Black Cilice-A Corpse, a Temple

Portugal is not exactly seen as hotspot for metal (Alastor, a black/thrash band is from there, but not much else is that well known) so why am I reviewing the debut LP of a black metal band with one (or from the back of the record sleeve,possibly two) anonymous member/s? Because, to be blunt this LP fucking rules

Co-released by Bubonic/Discipline and Cocainacopia,  highly revered (in some circles) black/doom labels, this LP has six morbid tracks of chaos and destruction. Each track is drenched in reverb, there are maybe 3-4 riffs per song. I should probably state here and now that this LP is not accessible to most or full of melody. This band hates you.

 There is no real semblance of order, just an overwhelming maelstrom of noise and disharmony that somehow works. The Gate of Sulphur opened with a nice open note before diving straight into the maelstrom, Night’s Veil followed, in a similar pattern as did Blood to Murder. Side B is roughly the same, “resurrection of dead curses” being the highlight here. The vocals are highly notable as well, the vocalist moaning, shrieking, howling, screaming and doing everything other than standard “singing”

Indeed, whichever Lusitanian demon recorded this, he/it has taken the Black Cilice concept from a series of short run (seven tapes, all but one limited to just 33 copies each) two song demos and  1-2 song 7”eps and splits with likeminded artists to a fully realised, cathartic experience.

There is a personal touch to this LP too. Each copy comes with a sizable insert that is handnumbered (I have #158) and dedicated to the recipient. The insert itself features a thanks list and a two page rant about the intention of this recording. This recording is not for everybody, specifically this is for those freaks into the obscure, dirty and primitive side of black metal .

9/10. Because it isn’t longer.

Impious Baptism-V.A.N.V.D.A

Anyone up for some tasty black/death metal?
Impious Baptism, the band formed from the ashes of Nocturnal Graves by Jarro, based apparently around the Macedon Ranges in Victoria. This project released a demo back in 2010 and was silent for all of last year. In the first two months of 2012 two eps were released by this project. V.A.N.V.D.A (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit, or Invoked or Not, the God is Present) ep is one of them.

Side A (V.A.N.V.D.A) started off with a noise intro that made me check whether the record was playing at the right speed before kicking full speed into the actual track. A killer multitude of riffs, excellent drumming and reverberated vocals are the order here. Top notch.  A short but enjoyable solo occurs midway through.

Side B is entitled Quinon Proficit Deficit (He Who Does Not Advance, Goes Backwards) which kicks off with a killer riff, brief guttural roar before the song begins. The reverberated vocals are deep, roars. Within 40 seconds there is another brief solo followed by another verse. I must restate how killer the riffs and drumming are.

Lyrics are fantastic too. The lyric sheet is in a slightly illegible script but with lyrics such as “The dragon’s blood flows through me. I have the waves of a cosmic tide embrace...”  and “The age of fire smashing the shores of lust for knowledge on iron clad storm crush the insipid fools of the age”
This release is great but far too short, however it achieves its goal of introducing Impious Baptism to a wider audience.