Feb 29, 2016

Totten Korps (2015) Supreme Commanders of Darkness

Band: Totten Korps
Country of Origin: Chile
Status: Active
Genre: Death metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD Ltd. Edition Digipak
Length Approx.: 43:00 min.
Release Date: 12-04-2015
Current label: Apocalyptic Productions
Release label: Apocalyptic Productions

IR Classification: Good (4.0 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Chilean death metal uncompromised brutal and oppressive

It's a real shame that an album like this "Supreme Commanders of Darkness" has come so late in 2015 and has had very little promotion, but to be honest I was completely unaware of this band Totten Korps from the southern hemisphere, natives from Chile, it turns out that they are one of the pioneering bands of death metal beginning their career in 1989, in that year they recorded their first demo and so they continued recording two more demos until 1991, during 1992 they recorded their first EP, entitled "Our Almighty Lords" for Toxic Records and after that it took them nearly a decade to release their album debut entitled "Tharnheim: Athi-Land-Nhi; Ciclopean Crypts of Citadels" this occasion to Repulse Records, since then they had not recorded any new material.

After twenty-six years it is normal that Totten Korps has undergone several lineup changes, but always aiming to deliver a brutal and oppressive death metal as only they are able to bring it, the current band members are Francisco Torres and Cristian Soto on guitars, Sadax on vocals, Alejandro Arce on drums and Al Azif on bass.

"Supreme Commanders of Darkness" contains ten tracks full of ravishing savagery, vicious riff takes over since the first moment, the first track is the self titled album, the intensity released here can be compare only with main acts such Nile, Cannibal Corpse, Cryptopsy or Suffocation followed by "The Black Flame of the Underworld" limitless brutality, discharges layers of chaos and darkness inside your mind, next is "El Antiguo Maestro de las Pestilencias" is aggressive and dynamic, keep the balance to receive "Hastur’s Voice Echoes in Our Minds" a cut very fast, violent with blistering drums the vocals are malevolent, "The Journey through Styx on the Arms of Hades" and "The Legacy of Leviathan (Shadows from the Depths)" blends evil with darker ambience to set the proper passage to the underworld, "Nailing" is the antechamber to hell that everyone expect from an album of this magnitude completely possessed by demons, the closing track is "Tortured Souls from the Paths of Perdition" drenched in slow riff and merciless drums we witness some of the most doomstastic and brutal vocals which differ from the rest of the album, excellent way to put an end.

This album is rooted in the old school death metal with frantic outbursts and as I stated in the beginning of this review, it is a real shame this album was released at the end of 2015, without any doubt this is a remarkable album, I hope everybody who is looking for real underground, take this review seriously because these Chileans deserve to be heard.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. Supreme Commanders of Darkness
2. The Black Flame of the Underworld
3. El Antiguo Maestro de las Pestilencias
4. Hastur's Voice Echoes in Our Minds
5. I Dwell in the Middle of the Gullible
6. The Journey Through Styx of the Arms of Hades
7. Amarduk
8. The Legacy of Leviathan (Shadows from the Depth)
9. Nailing
10. Tortured Souls from the Paths of Perdition


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Feb 28, 2016

Borknagar (2016) Winter Thrice

Band: Borknagar
Country of Origin: Norway
Status: Active
Genre: Progressive metal / Viking Folk metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD Ltd. Edition Digipak
Length Approx.: 57:00 min.
Release Date: 01-22-2016
Current label: Century Media Records
Release label: Century Media Records

IR Classification: Excellent (4.7 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Winter Thrice grant the listener a satisfying experience

Has passed quite a bit of time since we heard the latest Borknagar production "Urd" released almost four years ago, "Winter Thrice" is their tenth full length, Yes! You listened right, they have just released a new album starting this 2016 in the best shape as they could and being honest with you guys, during the last fifteen years I haven't heard anything that matched their opus titled "Empiricism" back in 2001, were Borknagar began to experiment with some progressive elements rooted into Viking mythology, cosmos and nature.

It is undeniable how Borknagar has evolved over time, polishing their sound that wanders between a mixture of progressive rock, black metal, folk and atmospheric among some other elements, "Winter Thrice" grant to the listener a satisfying experience taking them through a varied landscape of soft tunes built over complex musical structures, vocally speaking they lead you to an epic climax that lingers from the beginning to end.

Borknagar current lineup seems to be the most talented they were able to put together, such an alliance would have been impossible to see a decade ago, but time and space work in wonderful ways and today we can appreciate their work with Øystein Garnes Brun on lead guitars, Jens F. Ryland on rhythm guitars, ICS Vortex on bass and vocals, Lars Are Nedland on keyboard and vocals, Vintersorg on vocals and Baard Kolstad behind the drums all together offer nearly a masterpiece in my opinion.

The first track of the albums is "The Rhymes of the Mountain" built over melodic guitar riff and blasting drums, while the clean vocals battles the harsh vocals, the keyboard layers some fine tunes striving to create an epic ambience, followed by "Winter Thrice" which opens with a soft keyboard and suddenly explodes in your face, seriously this track takes you into a journey between heaven in hell, formidably aggressive and calm at the right moment the wide vocal range gives the whole album another feeling, next is "Cold Runs the River" speed takes over by infected black metal riff layered brilliantly, powerful drums while the growl vocals stand out with terrific clean backing vocals, the remarkable part of this track comes in form of a superb guitar solo, "Panorama" goes more experimental, diving into a more deeper progressive current, but still sound refreshing for a midway album, then comes "When Chaos Calls" with a slightly reminiscence of Vintersorg, it seems that few riff were borrowed by Borknagar and these were infused in this cut, "Erodent" teases the listener with a varied harmony that rarely blast the moment, "Noctilucent" the shortest track in the album reflects the calm and grandiosity that simplicity can achieve, subtle vocals with lilting pace, "Terminus" delivers some vicious black metal riff blended with clean vocals engaging the listener, with countless twist here and there to sound interesting, the limited edition digipak contains a bonus track titled "Dominant Winds" which is an excellent closing track because simply doesn't break the balance crafted along the whole album making worthy to get this version.

While "Winter Thrice" can be really appreciated by fans of Opeth, Enslaved, Mastodon among others, there is another fact in the other hand for fans who want to join the progressive metal wagon this is a excellent choice to start with, for old fans lovers of "The Olden Domains" is not yet time to live those glorious days of yore, but I firmly believe there will be a time for it.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. The Rhymes of the Mountain
2. Winter Thrice
3. Cold Runs the River
4. Panorama
5. When Chaos Calls
6. Erodent
7. Noctilucent
8. Terminus
9. Dominant Winds (Bonus track)

Century Media Records

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Feb 24, 2016

Abbath (2016) Abbath

Band: Abbath
Country of Origin: Norway
Status: Active
Genre: Black metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 48:00 min.
Release Date: 01-22-2016
Current label: Season of Mist
Release label: Season of Mist

IR Classification: Excellent (4.6 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Abbath sounds aggressive, chaotic with dark melodies

Being objective when we are about to talk about Abbath the new band of former member and co-founder of Immortal, best known by his artistic name Abbath is nearly impossible, because his legacy precedes him, last year when he announces his way out of Immortal, took it by surprise their international fanbase, the questions began to spread and few or sporadic answers came out, but no one suspected what's coming up and in a sign of good faith, I will avoid discuss or mention worn-out statements.

The band Abbath was formed in Bergen, Norway by guitarist and vocalist Abbath, bassist King Ov Hell former Gorgoroth and drummer Creature (Kevin Foley) former Benighted, who finally left the band in late 2015; With this lineup they rapidly sign a deal with Season of Mist to record what will be their album debut self title "Abbath" the guitar and bass was recorded at Bergen Lydstudio,  in Norway while the drums were recorded at Dugout Studios, Uppsala, in Sweden and the mixing, engineering and mastering were done in September 2015 at Dugout Studios by Giorgos Nerantzis.

If I have to place Abbath self titled album alongside with an Immortal's albums, certainly will be between "At the Heart of Winter" and "Sons of Northern Darkness" because reminds me the fast melodies, catchy riff and overwhelming drums, the album start defiant "To War" a corrosive riff hits the speakers while the drums get ready to unleash furious beats, the vocals are raspy and direct, "Winterbane" injects some kind of riff along the cut and the bass shows up with a landscape of disharmonies that plays superb while the drums steadily keeps the pace, "Ashes of the Damned" is aggressive and hyper melodic, "Ocean Wounds" kick off with a solid drums session follow by the bass just to achieve the right ambience for a killer guitar riff, "Count the Dead" without any doubt is the best track in my opinion feels like a frantic race to build a wall of sound and when reach it's pinnacle doesn't fall and returns to pick up the pace once more, "Fenrir Hunts" will slaughter your senses with relentless blast beats, "Roots of the Mountains" slows down the pace a bit just to allow you to catch your breath, here you can enjoy the guitar riff while the bass play eerie tunes in the background, "Endless" is a classic black metal cut mixed with some crust punk riff, more properly to the sound developed early during the second wave of black metal, this album contains two bonus track one of them is "Riding on the Wind" is a Judas Priest cover, and "Nebular Ravens Winter" is an Immortal cover, both track are not listed in the track list printed on the back cover.

Abbath releases a crushing debut album which sounds aggressive, chaotic with dark melodies, undoubtedly Abbath the man has reinvented itself, projecting strongly and willing to leave behind Immortal or perhaps Immortal spirit will remain inside him? Not sure, I dare you to find out by yourself, this album is a must have to own it, get your copy and save a spot for the best black metal albums of 2016, I know it's to early to say this, but I am not making mistake about it.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. To War
2. Winterbane
3. Ashes of the Damned
4. Ocean of Wounds
5. Count the Dead
6. Fenrir Hunts
7. Root of the Mountain
8. Endless
9. Riding on the Wind (Bonus track)
10. Nebular Ravens Winter (Bonus track)

Season of Mist

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Feb 23, 2016

Exmortus (2016) Ride Forth

Band: Exmortus
Country of Origin: US
Status: Active
Genre: Thrash Metal / Death metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 43:00 min.
Release Date: 01-08-2016
Current label: Prosthetic Records
Release label: Prosthetic Records

IR Classification: Good (4.2 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

All the instruments delves into a complexity and texture that makes you goose bumps

I can tell you one thing, no one could imagine fourteen years ago that a band such as Exmortus will become one of the most successful bands nowadays and they have achieved due to their dedication, technique and vision, clearly apart from the pack their mix of thrash riff, death growl vocals and their particular fusion of neoclassical and metal elements, makes "Ride Forth" another exciting piece to listen in their discography.

"Ride Forth" was released last January 8th under Prosthetic Records and contains nine killer tracks with a solid structure of thrash and palm muted riffs, an impressive repertoire of arpeggios all over the tracks, ceaseless double bass drum and vicious growl vocals, the production is top notch, clear, tight and all details meticulously maintained, the songwriting seems to be a follow up to their previous album "Slave to the Sword" released almost two years ago, the time gap between the albums, brought a slight change in the band's lineup adding a new bassist Mike Cosio (ex-Abysmal Dawn) the remaining members are drummer Mario Moreno, guitarist Jadran 'Conan' Gonzalez and last but not least the guitarist and vocalist David Rivera, with this lineup changes seems like they took care of the deficiencies they suffered in the past, giving more personality and potential to their sound.

The album opens with "Speed of the Strike" which is made of infectious riff, fast heavy and their neoclassical touch, mercilessly hooks you up with "Relentless" the second track and keeps a straight forward attack to your senses sharp guitar riff, powerful and aggressive drumming, while the bass resounds distinctive in the background, the growl vocals complements this cut, "For the Horde" is the catchiest cut off the album, intricate melodies engage the listener for a lethal dose of soloing, "Let us Roam" delivers a solid drumming foundation for the guitar work which excels due to the ferocity inflicted, "Black Sails" and "Hymn of Hate" retains the listener with power of ceaseless exchanging riff for what's coming ahead a crushing and electrifying cover of "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven, I have mentioned before and keep saying the musicianship this guys have reached it is unmatched, all the instruments delves into a complexity and texture that makes you goose bumps, next is "Death to Tyrants" and "Fire and Ice" both are the closing tracks and tends to lose somehow the ecstasies created, the riff sounds recycled and the impact is minimum or perhaps the listener is broken after such symphony, that makes you remain senseless.

Exmortus, "Ride Forth" is the fourth full length in their discography and call it a masterpiece would be very risk to say, but will exceed your expectations if you like to appreciate the guitar work loaded with arpeggios, resonant riff infected by their unique neoclassical approach and fully engaged with a refined bass notes that shine by itself and supported by thunderous and devastating drum section, then you should listen to this album, if you ask for highlights I can consider seriously "Speed of the Strike", "Relentless" and "Appassionata" however there are couple things to mention the first one if you listened their previous work and compare to this album they offer a smooth transition, which work for me because picks up where they left, but opinions differ and second one the closing tracks in the album will leave you wanting more, anyway it is a highly recommended album.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

1. Speed of the Strike
2. Relentless
3. For the Horde
4. Let us Roam
5. Black Sails
6. Hymn of Hate
7. Appassionata
8. Death to Tyrants
9. Fire and Ice


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