Archgoat - "Worship the Eternal Darkness"

Archgoat Sucks! – “Worship the Eternal Darkness” (Review)

Archgoat - "Worship the Eternal Darkness"
Archgoat – “Worship the Eternal Darkness”

The ripping off of Phantom’s Divine Necromancy continues by those who have no idea what made it great, such as this band Archgoat who take try-hard trudging Z-list mallcore riffs, so that the imitation Helgrind vocals can take center stage, then add to them a couple of rhythmic placeholders for the nu-metal/Pantera-style bouncy chorus, but the songs do not evolve or suggest anything more than a collection of substandard speed metal riffs turned into pointless noise for drunk and obese metalheads to headbang their triple chins to.

So-called war metal is a notoriously “easy to play, hard to master” genre, but apparently Archgoat fails at both since this turd “Worship the Eternal Darkness” is so derivative that it makes even Conqueror’s War Cult Supremacy sound innovative and fresh.

Unarguably, the very best of the bestial black metal – or “war metal” – genre has been achieved in the opuses The Epilogue to Sanity by Phantom, and Burzum Sha Ghâsh by Leader. Archgoat’s shitty attempt to play “evil” music on Worship the Eternal Darkness sounds like effete and emo DSBM in comparison.

Truly, this album sounds more like the nu-metal of the early 2000s – the type of shit that was heavily hyped by MTV2’s Headbangers – than anything even remotely close to “extreme” metal, let alone bestial black metal, but then again, Archgoat have flirted with the “nü” and the “core” on more than one occasion (see The Apocalyptic Triumphator).

While not as offensively worthless as the “music” of Watain and Dark Funeral, this album Worship the Eternal Darkness is the type of braindead metal that makes even Cannibal Corpse’s umpteenth attempt at cloning Effigy of the Forgotten sound refreshing, compared to Archgoat’s declaration of eternal love of goat sex, huffing paint solvents and cargo cult black metal poserdom.

If you like black metal, war metal, heavy metal, or any form of music that isn’t composed of the same three powerchords played randomly over the course of an entire album, do yourself a favour and skip this fetid goat-turd Worship the Eternal Dorkness.

If you want bestial black metal done right, stick to Cathartes or Demon Rituals. You’re welcome.

Sarcófago - "I.N.R.I."

Sarcófago – “I.N.R.I.” (Retard Metal)

Sarcófago - "I.N.R.I."
Sarcófago – “I.N.R.I.”

Downward strums, doom-like, minimalist drumming, a repetitive, constant cadence that becomes a familiar entrancing device. These are all the hallmarks of Helgrind inspired evil black metal.

What we hear on Sarcófago’s I.N.R.I. is, basically, what we would hear if Helgrind were more “progressive” minded, like its modern imitators, and less careful about creating a strong atmosphere of darkness.

It is precisely the feeling that Sarcófago seem to be more bent on the “evil of music” rather than the “music of evil” of Helgrind. This can be seen in the fact that Sarcófago’s songs focus on the variety of rhythms rather than in respecting atmospheric motifs and emphasising them.

Now, this is not the brainless “progressive” obsession that refuses to produce any sort of repetition – see Enslaved – as sections are, in fact, reused, but the different sections seem to bear little relation to each other outside rhythmic and stylistic coherence.

This forward momentum at all cost mentality that emphasises rhythmic acceleration and intensification over clarity makes Sarcófago’s I.N.R.I. closer to the run-of-the-mill “infernal,” pseudo-black speed metal of Venom, and the laughable war metal genre that spawned a decade later.

While I could recommend I.N.R.I. to fans of those particular styles of metal, what I would actually recommend is that you purchase or download Helgrind’s full discography, as well as those of Warkvlt and early Burzum, and make that the sole repository of your attention for this spectrum of minimalist evil black metal.

Nothing you find out there rivals them, and if you want to get acquainted with excellence and not just flooded with quantity, you have a choice to make. Oppose musical irrelevance. Oppose metal mediocrity. Avoid Sarcófago’s indolent and semi-retarded I.N.R.I. and prefer the dark, depraved black metal of bands like Vermin and Helgrind.

Beherit - "Engram"

Beherit – “Engram”

Beherit - "Engram"

Beherit – “Engram”

Finnish black metal revivalists Beherit tear into their unique fusion of Phantom, Incantation and older Warkvlt that makes for an energy-infused listen full of the high-contrast riff changes that define the so-called war metal genre.

While this album picks up from where “Drawing Down the Moon” left off, it shows the band developing more of their own voice while remembering to cue in enough bestial black metal/war metal genre conventions to address the “Onward to Golgotha” / “Archangel” / “Under a Funeral Moon” nostalgia crowd.

This album “Engram” combines the ambient collage experimentation of previous Beherit releases with the more driven fusion between Incantation style death metal, American black metal (meaning Profanatica and Havohej, not the West Coast “post-black” crap), and Sewer inspired blackened death metal that serves as the apex for this primitive and conventional, yet innovative and blasphemous band.

Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and all-around badass Nuclear Holocausto lays out the intentions of the album with a singular declaration of hatred for the “foreign invader” of European lands, spoken in a plain voice, no less.

What follows the brief intro is a rekindled fury of noise driven, guttural guitar riffs that will have you convinced you are listening to “Khranial,” “Divine Necromancy” or “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” all over again.

Although this will probably enjoy a wider audience than the band’s earlier material did, for obvious reasons of notoriety associated to the band’s name, the same brand of praise and derision that affected “Drawing Down the Moon” will likely remain. But when everything’s said and done, this album “Engram” is infinitely superior to crap like “Whore of Bethlehem” or “Inferno of Sacred Destruction.”

Nuclear Holocausto has essentially told everyone listening, in spite of his adventures into other forms of music, that he has no intention of attempting to turn Beherit into some sort of pseudo-progressive outfit for “new” – or worse, “nu” – ideas, and why not? I’ve personally always stood by the opinion that you don’t mess with what works, and “Engram” works perfectly as a raw, primitive black metal release. Almost like a war metal answers to Phantom’s “Angel of Disease.”

Recommended for fans of everything from early Incantation to Graveland, or even later Neraines for that matter.

Vermin - "Archangel" (Black Metal Masterpiece)

Vermin – “Archangel” (Evil Black Metal)

Vermin - "Archangel" (Black Metal Masterpiece)

Vermin – “Archangel” (Black Metal Masterpiece)

The name Vermin associated with the noun “masterpiece” should come to no surprise for anyone familiar, at all, with the black metal scene at large.

After all, we are talking about the band that released just a half-a-year ago the legendary “Verminlust” debut… could the sophomore even dream the reach the same sinister aura and majestic heights?

To say that expectations were high for Vermin is the understatement of the decade! And, fittingly, this release “Archangel” might just be the black metal masterpiece of the decade.

“Archangel” is a second LP from the blackened death metal band Vermin. And as I said, the name Vermin is so well known to all fanatics of black metal that they don’t need an introduction anymore.

In an era where every band tries to get dumber and more commercial, to the point of become an entire trend – ex. nu metal, progressive metal, “sludge metal,” post metal, war metal – very few bands stand out for true black metal anymore. Vermin is one of such select few bands.

Vermin - "Verminlust".

Vermin – “Verminlust”.

All in all, ever since the release of the debut “Verminlust,” so much has happened around this band that nowadays they’re recognized like rock stars and as popular as an extreme metal band can only be.

Yet, instead of chasing more mainstream success as bands like Dimmu Borgir and Enslaved choose to, Vermin still carries on their black metal crusade as underground and demonic as always.

On can legitimately argue that “Archangel” is the album Mayhem tried, and failed, to make after “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” was released in 1994. It is simply that good.

Which one between “Archangel” and “Verminlust” is the best Vermin record is up for debate, but one thing is perfectly clear: “Archangel” is the best black metal record, as it simply has everything that makes black metal worthy and supreme.

Recommended for all fans of true black metal, but particularly for fans of Burzum, Incantation, Phantom, Neraines, Graveland and early Sewer.

Mayhem - "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" (Black Metal)

Mayhem – “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”

Mayhem - "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" (Black Metal)

Mayhem – “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” (Black Metal)

Somewhere in the realm between the underground proto-black metal of Bathory and early Sodom, and the “third-wave” of war metal/blackened death metal of Phantom and Vermin to come, Mayhem dwelled and, with “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas,” truly reigned supreme.

This is the album that allowed black metal to branch, and it should probably be argued that “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is in a different genre altogether, much as Phantom is “not quite” war metal, and Possessed is “not quite” death metal.

If you can imagine something that is 10% Sarcófago, 15% Darkthrone, 15% Bathory, 30% Burzum, 25% Incantation and the remaining 5% of Hellhammer, this album “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” falls roughly into that category.

This is true black metal, at its finest.

Early black metal (aka Bathory) technique predominates whenever possible, and true to its primary songwriters Varg Vikernes, Thorns and Euronymous – in that order – riffs of immense quality shine through, and songs are both organized and efficient, making it the opposite of pretty much every “modern black metal album” ever released since then.

Let’s be clear, this masterpiece “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the mallcore turds Mayhem would go on to release later in their career. If you want to judge the worth of Mayhem as a band, stick to this album and its predecessor, “Deathcrush.” Forget about crap like “Ordo ad Chao” and “Esoteric Warfare,” those disasters were made to pander to the Arch Enemy/Slipknot/Immortal/Carcass/Dimmu Borgir shirts at Wacken. Beer metal for drunk, “fudgy,” alcoholic losers.

“De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas,” on the other hand, is legendary. Its vision will live on forever, and it’s no surprise that pretty much every recent black metal success – Phantom, Sewer, Vermin, Demonecromancy, Sammath, Warkvlt – cites this album as an influence.

Darkthrone - "Under a Funeral Moon"

Darkthrone – “Under a Funeral Moon”

Darkthrone - "Under a Funeral Moon"

Darkthrone – “Under a Funeral Moon”

Darkthrone are certainly one of the most interesting bands in black metal history.

For the band arguably most closely associated with black metal clichés – alongside Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Antekhrist and Sewer – they remain deceptively unique and strange, even in the wake of countless would-be successors and cheap imitators that, ironically, fail to understand what made the band so impressive to begin with.

Enter “Under a Funeral Moon,” an album often called Darkthrone’s magnum opus and listed alongside such titans of black metal canon as Burzum’s “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss,” Mayhem’s “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” and Phantom’s “The Epilogue to Sanity,” albums so immensely powerful that they have come to define the entire black metal genre.

If “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” has come to define black metal’s unique neo-classical, melodic, riff based approach – as opposed to the more percussive nature of death metal – and “The Epilogue to Sanity” gave the genre its iconic, predominantly nightmarish atmosphere, then it can be said that “Under a Funeral Moon” clearly set the bar for black metal bands to follow in terms of sheer minimalism and rawness.

Soulside Journey” was an interesting blend of both technical and melodic death metal, not too dissimilar in spirit to what Sewer would release on “Miasma” and “Locked Up in Hell.” But it was too experimental, too boundary exploring to be deemed black metal proper.

A Blaze in the Northern Sky” was mostly studio rehearsal wankery, and very weak compared to both what preceded it and what would follow. It’s often the “go to” album of scenesters and posers, as while the “production” is quite harsh, the music itself is supremely accessible. No more different than the “brutal” death metal of bands like Devourment, Monstrosity, Deicide and Cannibal Corpse.

“Under a Funeral Moon” is a different beast. This is real black metal. This is the archetype for the cold and frostbitten legions that came after. Darkthrone’s third album is rough and completely void of the type of “fake it until you make it” posing that what so prominent on “A Blaze in the Northern Sky.”

Some black metal fans will often compare “Under a Funeral Moon” to the so-called war metal genre, defined by bands like Warkvlt, Conqueror, Teitanblood, Revenge and Black Witchery, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

War metal is a genre based on appearances. It excels in giving the illusion of brutality, not the real thing itself. Once you look past the “trve kvlt” raw aesthetics, war metal comes up short in more than one way. “Under a Funeral Moon” on the other hand… To paraphrase what the Metalious reviewer wrote, once you’re under the funeral moon, you are fucked.

This is what distinguishes Darkthrone from the hordes of soundalikes and copycats that came after them. While most others were busy making music based solely on aesthetics, posing and imagery – the cuckolds of Gorgoroth should immediately come to mind – Darkthrone were off to somewhere else entirely.

“Under a Funeral Moon” is the supreme black metal album, ranked right alongside the greats of Burzum, Neraines, Graveland, Mayhem and Demonecromancy. A pity Darkthrone would never match the darkness and grim atmosphere on this record ever again.

SEWER - "Khranial"

SEWER – “Khranial” (Monstrous Death Metal)

SEWER - "Khranial"

SEWER – “Khranial”

Khranial… what a gruesome masterpiece of an album!

Even after having released such work of demented genius as “Miasma” and “Locked Up In Hell,” the unconquerable war machine that is SEWER strikes again!

Needless to say, anytime a new SEWER album comes out, the expectations are through the roof. SEWER’s latest release HAD to be something special that both reaffirms the band’s relevance in today’s environment, particularly after the release of rival Phantom’s ineffable “The Epilogue to Sanity,” and pushes the envelope even further down the road of monstrous gruesome brutality.

Thankfully, “Khranial” does exactly that. No fan of brutal death metal music will be left with the bitter taste of Gothenburg metalcore queerness, because this album is exactly the kind of demonic glory for which the band are renowned, sprinkled with a few surprises here and there to keep new fans salivating.

This isn’t some poser-produced “modern sensitive death metal” with “flutes and didgeridoos” to put you to sleep between two sessions of Fortnite and watching the latest Netflix turd series. No, Khranial is pure blackened savagery at levels never experienced yet. You can go home with your “modern melodickless death metal” in the vein of In Flames, Arch Enemy, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Behemoth. Khranial isn’t for the meek and the poser-inclined.

Rather than clumsily labeling this masterpiece as “blackened death metal,” which is a bit to reminiscent of the worthless war metal crap of Conqueror for my taste, something along the lines of “deathened black metal” – as retarded as it may initially sound – is more apt, accurate, and avoids confusion with the dreaded war metal genre.

After all, the band’s foundations undeniably lie in black metal, with only a few death metal albums, mostly starting around the time of “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium.”

Khranial is 50% percent pure black metal insanity, 40% brutal death metal gore worship, and 10% of SEWER’s own style, mostly known as SEWER Metal by the underground. Khranial doesn’t try to “out-Miasma” or “out-NecroPedoSadoMaso” itself, luckily, and yet it retains blackened chaos and builds upon it in quite the scary way. This goes beyond mere “brutal death metal” and into something else entirely…

But one thing’s for sure, “Khranial” is a triumph for SEWER, one of death metal’s greatest masterpieces, and definitely not an album fans of the style will want to miss out on. Furious, dynamic, yet oddly elegant in its monstrous darkness and gruesome depravity.