Category Archives: Reviews

REVIEW: AZARATH – IN EXTREMIS


REVIEW: AZARATH – IN EXTREMIS by Jessica Johnson / Dark Art Conspiracy

Release date: April 7th
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

The newest album of Polish black/death metal tyrants Azarath has the right name. “In Extremis,” meaning “at the point of death” or “under extreme circumstances” in Latin, is a non-stop assault of extreme death metal that takes no prisoners. The anticipated album arrives six long years after its predecessor, “Blasphemers’ Maledictions” (2011).

Azarath was formed almost two decades ago by drummer Inferno (of Behemoth fame), and he is currently accompanied by Bart (Armagedon, Damnation) on guitars, Necrosodom (Anima Damnata, Deus Mortem, ex-Infernal War) on vocals and guitars, as well as Peter (ex-Lost Soul) on bass.

Stylistically, the album is a demonic concoction of death metal influences: Polish extreme death metal with its relentless riffs, ominous melodies and unearthly growls, and old school death with its chaotic, screeching guitar solos the likes of Morbid Angel.

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REVIEW: BRUME – ROOSTER


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REVIEW: BRUME – ROOSTER by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy

 

California doom trio Brume have unleashed their anticipated debut album ‘Rooster’ which was produced by Billy Anderson. They have been honing their craft since the release of their 2015 EP ‘Donkey’ and this debut shows how they have sonically evolved and progressed.

The majority of the songs featured on this debut are quite hefty in sound and size, with most of the tracks coming in at nearly ten minutes. The opener ‘Grit and Pearls’ is one of the longest featured, at just over ten minutes and has a dark foreboding presence throughout and Susie’s haunting and beautiful vocals fit the atmosphere and backing perfectly. This is a great introduction and scene setter for the band and album which lulls you into a transcendent state of escapism.

Next song ‘Harold’ has a different feel to it, with a slightly more positive sound to it but with an ever present eeriness before the crushing instruments take hold.

‘Welter’ is very short compared to the other tracks. It is a sombre stripped back acoustic number with vulnerable vocals and soft guitars and helps add more diversity.

Closing song ‘Tradewind’ is the longest track at nearly twelve minutes long. It starts out mellow with beautiful delicate vocals before the massive chugging guitars come in, accompanied by soaring powerful vocals which you come to expect. It also further into the track features some great resonant and varied guitar work. The mood towards the end is perfect for a reflective closing that takes you through the motions.

This is a very sonic and atmospheric album which is well crafted, with its creeping slow doom crushing you from start to finish. Doom metal isn’t for everyone but this is more accessible than most offerings within this genre, making this a must hear.

 

Rooster is available on CD, cassette and digitally since April 20th from Brume drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis’s fledgling label, Doom Stew Records. The 2xLP will be available in a variety of limited edition variants via DHU in July.

 

SCORE: 4/5


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REVIEW: CORPSIA – GENOCIDES IN THE NAME OF GOD


REVIEW: CORPSIA – GENOCIDES IN THE NAME OF GOD by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy

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Brazilian thrash trio Corpsia have unleashed their debut album ‘Genocides In The Name Of God’. Following this release they are bringing their fierce sounds to Europe in September to unveil their new songs in the live setting, so 2017 looks to be a big and busy year for them.

The first single and opening track ‘Purgatory Scum’ begins with a dark and eerie acoustic guitar intro which builds in suspense before it all kicks off with pounding drums and fast furious riffs. This is a strong and powerful start to the debut with killer guitar work.

The title track is brilliantly belligerent and charges on throughout with great heavy rhythms and effective drums to accompany that are perfect for headbanging along too. This is simply crushing.

‘Holochrist’ again revisits the sinister vibes of the opener with creepy guitar work before going into full thrash mode, with hard-hitting riffs and strong consistent instrumentation, as seen throughout the album. The stand out ‘Snakes’ features resonant riffs and great tones. It has all the key elements of a top metal track and contains some of the best and memorable guitar work.

Closing song ‘Returns’ is a hefty slab of finely crafted thrash and may be one of their strongest offerings yet, making a powerful end to this debut.

This is a coherent and consistent debut album which has a lot of aggression and force behind it, which should appeal to both old school thrash and modern thrash fans as it embraces both. Corpsia should be proud of this full-length as it’s a strong release and it will be exciting to see what they produce next and how they expand.

 

SCORE: 3.5/5

 

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REVIEW: Nightland – Obsession


Review: Nightland – Obsession by Ekaterina K. / Dark Art Conspiracy

 

NIGHTLAND released their first EP “Knights Of The Dark Empire”, which had a great success among the audience, especially for its release party in Bologna (31st October 2011) in which they used for the first time scenographic elements. Back in studio, Nightland recorded their second EP named “In Solemn Rise”, that will be released in December 2012.

On the next album, called “Obsession” they changed their folk/power sound towards more aggressive one with bombastic orchestrations on the edge of Symphonic and Death Metal. As press-release states, album sounds dark, dramatic, sometimes unearthly with majestic musical digressions. The musical concept behind “OBSESSION” is a deep romance concerning the instability of the human mind derived from fears, obsessions and paranoia.  So, how does the band shape this into music?

It all starts with an intro “Benediction to Madness” leading to the “Tolkinish” epicness, suitable as a soundtrack for some heroic and battle movie. It gives a hunch of what solemn and huge orchestrations should we expect during the whole album. Worthy to mention, that all of them are perfectly written and fit into the main instruments. Nor orchestrations, nor drums, bass or guitars are above one another, their sound stays on the same level and are perceived equal in a perfect harmony. Choir parts are good example of bringing even more solemnness to symphonic parts and sound still isn’t overloaded, despite of having a lot layers of different instruments and details in the music canvas. Symphonic work echoes with the ones of Hollenthon or even Epica at some point, whose parts are “lighter”. Or some power and folkish elements as in “Last Dance of Treacherous Mind” reminding Turisas.  Carcass of intense riffs is still strong and don’t lose in between symphonic parts. They remind listener that the core genre is Death metal with its riffs, volumetric bass and aggressive drum work.

Nighland’s “Obsession” is good example of merging symphonic music with more aggressive one. As the result, we received strong and balanced album with 9 absolutely different songs with complex structure. Great work done, but regarding that it’s a debut album (even re-released with bonus-tracks) , it’s value rises.

Tracklist:

  1. Benediction to Madness
  2. Dreamless Life
  3. A.R.E.S.
  4. Icarus
  5. Alpha et Omega
  6. Cradle of Sufferance
  7. Obsession
  8. Quod Vita Celat, Mors Revelat
  9. Last Dance of a Treacherous Mind
  10. A.R.E.S. (Orchestral)
  11. Icarus (Orchestral)

SCORE: 5/5.

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REVIEW: Sorrow Plagues – Homecoming


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Sorrow Plagues is the brainchild of British musician David Lovejoy, who typically delivers atmospheric black metal. This new album ‘Homecoming’ marks Lovejoy’s second album and this time he dares to explore and venture into unexpected territory, expanding his elaborate black metal, this time throwing in elements of post-rock and more mainstream sounds.

The first song to kick things off is new single ‘Departure’ which opens on a resonant upbeat and impressive guitar intro. It immediately possesses a dreamy and ethereal atmosphere, aided through the textured instrumentation. The buoyant sounding instruments give it a more mainstream vibe, but Lovejoy’s dark distant shouts lurk in the backdrop to balance the light and the dark. The instruments remain at the forefront and make for a very compelling and impactful start. The song is about self-actualization and leaving behind the things that are holding you back in life, so it takes you on a great reflective path and the tones match this. Coming in at over seven minutes long, it is a rather epic introduction and scene setter for the album.

‘Disillusioned’ flows on nicely from the opener and again has that all consuming far-reaching sound, in what is the longest song featured on the album. It has a grand feel to it, with an air of optimism as before, which is very refreshing to see in this black metal rooted album. It is questionable if this can even be categorised as this at times, at is so serene and beautiful throughout, but maintains a dark essence through the bleak vocals.

‘Isolated’ has some of the most memorable and catchy riffs going, keeping up the light very positive sound, whilst ‘Irreversible’ packs a harder punch with a large almost symphonic sound.  It is extremely tuneful, with great rhythms which further highlight Lovejoy’s technical skills. First single ‘Relinquish’ soars from the off and dances around in epic glorious tones with menacing anguished screams to accompany, something there is no shortage off throughout, but it works wonderfully.

To close this insightful and cathartic journey is the title track ‘Homecoming’ which opens on an atmospheric quiet intro before later throwing in a curveball in the form of unexpected saxophones – definitely not something you expect to find on a metal album. This certainly stands out, and is both very pleasing and confusing. It ends on some of the most depthful and layered instrumentation seen on the album, making for the perfect closer.

This is not your typical black metal act, this is something new and exciting and should certainly be praised for this interesting exploration of sounds. It is very meaningful and layered through the instrumentation and lyrics, which looks at many aspects of the human experience, including death, loneliness and regret. The focus of the album is about finding strength and resolution through these difficult situations. This takes you on an unforeseen path and is a pleasure to listen to, whilst contemplating life and letting the resonant tones wash over you and take you away into a dream state. Lovejoy should be proud of what he has accomplished here.

SCORE: 4/5

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REVIEW: Danzig – Last Ride (Single)


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DANZIG release their second single ‘Last Ride’ from the new album ‘Black Laden Crown’ which came out on May 26th 2017. DANZIG is the outlet for Glenn Danzig, a singer-songwriter and musician from New Jersey who impressively is the founder of the well-known and popular punk rock act Misfits, as well as Samhain.

The new single ‘Last Ride’ slowly creeps along in a dark and sorrowful manner, with penetrating powerful vocals from Glenn Danzig, and fuzzy ambient guitars, executed by Tommy Victor, which escalate in intensity and skill as it draws to a close, ending on a high. This is one corpulent bluesy doom offering that you have to hear.

SCORE: 4/5

You can watch the audio video for the new single here: 

 

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