VARIOUS COMPILATIONS
 

IN CONSPIRACY WITH SATAN
«A Tribute To Bathory»
Hellspawn / No Fashion Records
rating: 2 of 6
Idiocy. After listening to «Hellas Salutes The Vikings», an amazing compilation of Greek bands paying tribute to BATHORY, I thought that this one also will be quite excellent stuff, but unfortunately I was wrong... IN CONSPIRACY WITH SATAN features mostly Swedish bands such as MARDUK, OPHTHALAMIA, DARK FUNERAL, SACRAMENTUM etc, and most of their covers are repulsively boring, hence the more you listen to this CD the less intrigued you become. First and probably the principal mistake consists in the following fact: 14 tracks of 15 were taken from demo and first three albums by BATHORY. EMPEROR are the only ones who stand out against a background of this gathering - firstly, they covered «A Fine Day To Die» and secondly, it’s definitely the best cover on this CD. Others didn’t offer anything interesting at all - their interpretations can’t be called as that since majority of these bands stupidly re-played BATHORY’s songs without even making an attempt to perform them in such a way so they could be distinguished. However, few bands sound a bit better than others, f.ex. GEHENNAH with «Reaper», LORD BELIAL with «Massacre», THE ABYSS with «Armageddon», UNANIMATED (surprisingly alive!) with «Raise The Dead» and, of course, NECROPHOBIC with «Enter The Eternal Fire» and SACRAMENTUM with «13 Candles»... I don’t know if I should recommend you this compilation; anyway, as always - the final decision is up to you. (Herr Stalhammar)

MACHINES IN THE GARDEN
“Part I Of The Cataclysm Singles”
Blacklight Records
rating: 5 of 6
Well, I believe this CD will please each fan of experimental / ambient / industrial / noise stuff. Lasting for 65 minutes, it includes sixteen songs from sixteen bands which, being rather various, in fact sound the same slowly turning into the soundtrack of pure insanity and hymns to the unearthly deities… Perhaps, with an exception only for TORN SKIN somehow stand out of the whole background with their more techno-oriented kind of self expression, as well as RED RUM TRANCE with their “Out Of The Ashes” which seems to be almost a vanguard piece, FATAL BLAST WHIP sounding like an industrialized DEPECHE MODE, JOSHUA BOURKE whose stuff is also more in the vein of usual industrial / techno stuff and EVONICE whose “The Elven Moon” tune appears as pure ambient without any alien influences. However, others also have something to offer. At least, I can’t mark out anyone since all of the bands here are more than worthy. Not being a maniac of suchlike “music”, but just a lover, I can say only one simple thing: this compilation truly kicks ass! If you’re into this sort of music, buy it without thinking twice. (Herr Stalhammar)

ROOTS
Summer ’98 promotional CD compilation
Root-O-Evil Records / Left Alone Creations
This compilation is the first CD released by newborn US label Root-O-Evil in coopeation with Left Alone Creations. Well, despite the poor package and layout, it’s one of the most interesting compilations I’ve heard during last couple of years. No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all bands represented here are worthy ones - no. But all of them are at least interesting... even those who suck... suck in an interesting way.
DISTURBED «Consequence Of Ignorance» - if I’m not mistaken, this band is a project of Root-O-Evil’s chief so I believe that there’s nothing strange in the fact that DISTURBED’s track have been included in this CD. Concerning music... it’s rather average death metal, composed and performed in typical US vein. Nothing more to say...
(rating: 3 of 6)
NOCTUARY «Black Bleeding Soul» - ahem, this is much more interesting! NOCTUARY play interesting form of black metal, fast and almost mind-blowing, but with certain melody. Let’s don’t forget that these guys are very good and talented musicians... Unfortunately, «Black Bleeding Soul» has it’s bad sides. Vocals are too expressionless, and the song in the whole becomes easily forgotten after a couple of hours... Nevertheless, this band has something to say, and I hope that they’ll take account of their previous drawbacks.
(rating: 4 of 6)
WOLFTHORN «Suicidal Somnium» - hmm, isn’t it the same WOLFTHORN which used to be BAAL THEROCLES before? Something tells me that I’m right. «Suicidal Somnium» begins with mysterious intro and later turns into rather melodic though sorrowful and dark black metal with both, whispering and screaming, vocals and certain atmosphere of misery. Very good stuff, I’m looking forward to their debut CD on Left Alone Creations. (rating: 5 of 6)
AUTUMN «Seconds» - ah, together with LUGHNASADH’s «Drommerskog», «Seconds» strikes as my favorite piece on this CD! It is very depressive, anxious and dreary tune, with ‘ghostly’ and a bit distorted though still tremendous female vocals somehow reminding of Diamanda Galas, ‘floating’ guitars in the background and keyboards impregnated with immortal spirit of bereavement...
(rating: 6 of 6)
CARRIER FLUX «Skies» - not bad sympho-black metal with diverse kinds of singing and splendid musical accompaniment. There’s nothing special here, as well as nothing irritating. That’s already a good thing, don’t you think so? At least, CARRIER FLUX know how to force the atmosphere...
(rating: 4 of 6)
AS THE SEA PARTS «Our Home No More» - this is also black metal, but this time of another kind - more doomy, soothing and deliberate. Vocals vary from guttural growls to ‘mild’ BM screams and recitatives, the music is a bit dreamy and somehow even romantic, in the same time being rather gloomy. Keyboards prevail over guitar sound on this track, but surprisingly it doesn’t harm the music... Talking about the comparisons, I’d name such bands as f.ex. GONTYNA KRY, SUMMONING (circa «Minas Morgul») and CEREMONIUM... This band is worth your attention, believe me.
(rating: 5 of 6)
GOTTERDAMMERUNG «Amphion» - erh, this is weird. Try to fancy ‘unholy industrial’ with live drums (!), plenty of vanguard and almost art-rock elements... I don’t even know what to say in regards to «Amphion»... The only thing I know is that I’ll definitely buy «Twilight Of The Gods», GOTTERDAMMERUNG’s debut CD (out soon on Root-O-Evil Records).
(rating: 3, 5 of 6)
GLASS «Howl» - it seems like «Howl» was performed by the AUTUMN’s members, however this time under another name. Unfortunately, it’s not that impressive as «Seconds» track... Female voice is truly outstanding, but the music itself doesn’t appear as the impressive one. It’s done in the vein of LOVE SPIRALS DOWNWARDS, i.e. primitive gothic rock based on weak synthesizer’s sound... I don’t know, maybe someone will like it, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
(rating: 2 of 6)
LUGHNASADH «Drommenskog» - US band entitling it’s songs in Norwegian? Smells with following the «Norse» trend... Anyway, I don’t care if this band is true or not, because LUGHNASADH’s music is the one which devoured my very soul (literally speaking, of course). Of course, I can’t say for sure, but while now, «Drommenskog» is one of the darkest and most ‘true’ black metal tunes I’ve ever heard from an American BM act. Just like WOLFTHORN’s «Suicidal Somnium» (b.t.w., LUGHNASADH (as well as DWOLE) is the project of the same guy which formed WOLFTHORN), this track is opened with impressive keyboard intro, and right after it’s over, we have a chance to listen to fierce and mayhemic black metal - simultaneously very atmospheric. Let me assert that such bands as LUGHNASADH personify the future of United States’ black metal scene.
(rating: 6 of 6)
REV. POKEY BUNGE «Shitkicker!» - does anyone of you remember a band called SODOM? And what about IMPALED NAZARENE? Now mix these two bands, add shitty sound and vocals, varying from black metallish ones to hardcore, and you’ll get Rev. Pokey Bunge and his project. I don’t like this kind of stuff at all, and there’s nothing interesting in it for me. I guess, the rating speaks for itself.
(rating: 1 of 6)
LORDE OF ALL DESIRES «Sins Of The Flesh» - look at the band’s name and song-title and tell me, what kind of music do they play? What? Black metal? Well, you’re quite right... I’d better say - dark metal. The evocative one, harassingly slow, bringing back to memory South-American leading figures of this genre, like TENEBRARUM or PROFANE CREATION... The ‘atmosphere’ appears as the main thing in «Sins Of The Flesh», however ‘melody’ was not forgotten... Just like in case with AS THE SEA PARTS, vocals differ from displeased grunts to tortured shrieks, while drumming looks like one of the strongest sides of LORDE OF ALL DESIRES... It is magnificent... As magnificent as the whole piece.
(rating: 5 of 6)
DWOLE «Foacithog» - as I already said, DWOLE was created by Von Lilith, a guy from WOLFTHORN (ex-BAAL THEROCLES) and LUGHNASADH, and it’s obvious that «Foacithog» also captures inexpressible atmosphere of pure bestiality and darkness, however, in contrast to aforementioned bands, DWOLE is not black metal, it’s more ambient alike project, you know. This is a kind of music you should listen at night, with black candles burning around... and the loaded gun near you.
(rating: 4, 5 of 6)
STATIC GREY «Sick Submission» - I never liked industrial, but this song appealed to me in rather positive way. Probably, the reason consists in the extremely morbid rhythms featured in «Sick Submission»? Anyway, it is enough memorable and pleasant for the ear to rate it as you see...
(rating: 4 of 6)
VORPAL BUNNY «Reign Of The Lepus» - funny thing. First it sounds like hateful grinding death metal, then like a kind of parody on BM... In fact, it’s just an attempt to create something original within the bounds of death metal. Nice for the beginning.
(rating: 3 of 6)
WOLFTHORN / LORD-FUR «Lupus98» - ................................... Did you understand me? No? And I also didn’t understand these guys (Von Lilith and Lord Fur from CARRIER FLUX / VORPAL BUNNY)... If I got everything right, this tune is only an experiment... Hopefully, I’m right. This is sick at 100%. Beginning with some radio static, «Lupus98» turns into some sort of techno, then it gets more and more delirious... It’s interesting to listen to such stuff, but only once in a lifetime, heh heh...
(rating: - )
IMPALER «Meatwagon» - can you conceive CLAWFINGER whose aim is to play death metal? I couldn’t before listening to IMPALER. Now I can. Yes, «Meatwagon» features excellent production, but I don’t care since I utterly dislike this band musically. I thought that Root-O-Evil deal only with death / black metal and ambient / dark wave acts... hence why did they decide to release IMPALER’s CD???
(rating: 1 of 6)
REPUGNANT CORPSE ODOR «Abomedor» - gore death / grind, usual for US band, ordinary to the bone. If you’ve heard f.ex. early DEEDS OF FLESH, you should know what I’m talking about. I prefer more professional and thoughtout stuff - listen to DYING FETUS and you’ll see that REPUGNANT CORPSE ODOR have no future.
(rating: 1 of 6)
DOGONKET «I Am Teknogod (Hear Me Roar)» - «Lupus98» reincarnated. It’s also an experiment, however this time not only a ‘collaboration’ but a band (a side-project of Worthless Crap (nice name!) from REPUGNANT CORPSE ODOR). I believe that most of you had to understand what DOGONKET is all about already after looking at the song-title... Just like WOLFTHORN / LORD-FUR, this band performs some kind of experimental (read - delirious) techno-stuff... What’s most interesting, it’s not bad, however I’ll better leave it unrated.
(rating: - )
(review by Herr Stalhammar)

STORM OF NEBIULA
«Compilation Of Malaysian Black Metal»
Nebiula Productions
rating: 3 of 6
Malaysian black metal?? Hmm, I already got used to BM bands coming from various exotic places, though I’m still wondering why black metal is the only kind of extreme music which spawns everywhere man lives…? By the way, it’ll be interesting to listen to the BM band coming from the North Pole, ha ha! But ok, here’re we have five bands with a couple of songs from each. RIUSGNAL appear as most uninteresting act here with their monotonous and boring cross between black, death and doom metal. The second ones are AS SAHAR, most well-known band among others. In short, they can be characterized as melodic and atmospheric black metal band – quite pleasant… VOCIFERATION ETERNITY strike as the best ones on this compilation. Their style is fast and melodic BM with mystic declamations and grim atmosphere created by few keyboards… They remind me of EMBER a bit, you know… ARADIA and SIL KHANNAZ, two bands left, sound quite similar to each other. Both bands feature old heavy / thrash metal-influenced music with hypnotic rhythms, splendid guitar work and weird, almost non-black metallish vocals… I really like SIL KHANNAZ’s “Eastern Barbaric Skullcrusher”! All in all, I should admit that I didn’t expect to discover that Malaysian bands can record their stuff so skillfully – I mean both, performance and production! The bad thing is that all of them sound rather ordinary and typical. (Herr Stalhammar)