Sunday, March 27, 2016


Aimer OBSCURA peut avoir quelque chose d’assez étonnant pour moi. Pour un bouseux qui aime quand c’est crade et que ça dégouline de partout, supporter un déluge technique aussi violent et massif une heure durant peut devenir aussi insupportable qu’un abonné Telerama fan de Ghost

Oui mais voilà, la vie n’est jamais aussi simple, et parfois, le compliqué peut se mêler à l’instinct, et le délire technique peut susciter une émotion forte, primitive. Et c’est exactement ce que je ressens à l’écoute d’OBSCURA. Attention, les allemands sont loin d’être les inventeurs du style, et rendons tout de suite à César ce qui est à César : le maître incontesté et incontestable de cette alliance Death/Technique reste Chuck Schuldiner avec DEATH.  Bien entendu, on est obligé de citer les mythiques ATHEIST et CYNIC également, même si leur impact restera inférieur à celui de DEATH.

Bref, OBSCURA fait partie d’une lignée bien identifiée d’un Death Metal technique et puissant à la fois, réconciliant enfin les bouseux et les nerds. Et si certains groupes du genre peuvent me tuer (NECROPHAGIST,  Aïe), OBSCURA me régale. En fait, mon histoire d’amour avec OBSCURA a commencé avec le premier morceau de leur précédent disque, Omnivium (alors que tout le monde les avait déjà remarqués avec l’album précédent, le non moins fabuleux Cosmogenesis, la loose). Ce fameux morceaux donc, "Septuagint", résume parfaitement OBSCURA, et m’avait littéralement pris à la gorge. Le reste de l’album est tout aussi excitant que ce premier titre. 

Cinq ans plus tard, OBSCURA revient donc avec une lourde tâche comme on dit : succéder à un chef-d’œuvre unanimement reconnu. Surtout que le guitariste Steffen Kummerer s’était retrouvé tout seul puisque les autres membres du groupe sont allés former Alkaloid, groupe de Metal technique, mais dont le premier album est beaucoup moins “Death” qu’OBSCURA. 

Bref, ça ne sentait pas bon pour OBSCURA. Mais vous l’avez forcément deviné, Steffen Kummerer s’en sort bien. On ne va pas passer des heures à décrire la musique d’OBSCURA, qui a finalement peu évolué dans le fond, ni à se demander si cette nouvelle offrande est plus ou moins puissante que la précédente. Akroasis est tout aussi excellent de bout en bout. On y retrouve l’essence du groupe, sa maestria instrumentale (cette basse freteless de Linus Klausenitzer est un pur bonheur), ainsi que sa furie. 

Mention spéciale au monumental “The Monist” : franchement, peu de groupes réussissent à si bien marier lourdeur abyssale avec une ambiance cosmique. On sent que le groupe travaille cet équilibre avec une utilisation intelligente des tempos, de la guitare acoustique, de la basse fretless et des différents types de chant. Personnellement, j’aime aussi beaucoup le très aérien “Perpetual Infinity”, avec son chant bidouillé et son riffing hystérique. 

Tradition oblige, l’album se clôt sur un épique titre de 15 minutes, “Welseele” qui met la basse fretless de Linus Klausenitzer à l’honneur. Le reste du morceau est une sorte de condensé du savoir-faire du groupe. 

OBSCURA est clairement un groupe unique, surdoué et qui sait clairement ou il va, avec une constance épatante niveau qualité depuis plus de 10 ans maintenant. L’attente de 5 ans en valait la peine. 


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Avatarium: Another vision of Doom by Leif Edling

That's a record I've been wanting to listen to for a while now. It was actually issued almost 1 year ago, and for some reason I just got a hold of the 2LP version a few days ago. That's a tremendous 180g-couple of vinyls packed in a beautiful silver gatefold. 

The reason I've been attracted to that record is quite simple: Avatarium is Leif Edling's new band. You know, the guy from Candlemass. So basically, if you like doom (and I like my Doom), you usually follow whatever this guy is up to. Besides that cult band he founded, he's also involved in Krux, another awesome doom band with Mats Leven on vocals. 

We all know that every record Leif Edling's been involved with usually deals with Doom Metal. And considering that Krux's latest album (III-He Who Lives Amongst The Stars) is pretty close to the latest Candlemass records, the obvious question is: what's the point in having another Leif Edling Doom band? 

Well, a quick look at the line-up should give you a hint: vocals on Avatarium are performed by Jennie-Ann Smith. This new talent (never heard of her before) is definitely a great surprise. Her vocals perfectly fit the typical heavy riffs, and she adds a very nice ethereal feeling to the music. I just love the way she sings; her voice is powerful, clear and pure, but she never "pushes" it too much. There's nothing too bombastic here, only perfectly balanced and in-tune vocals.

But there is more to Avatarium than those unusual vocals. In fact, Leif Edling has managed to write some pretty great "pop-doom" tunes. The kind of songs you've never heard before, with some awesome melodies. My personal favorites are title track "Avatarium" and "Birds Of Prey" (amazing keyboards on this one). The closing power-ballad "Lady In The Lamp" is also fantastic, as a last reminder of Leif's incredible talent for songwriting. 

The best illustration however of that pop color to the record is "Boneflower". this song will instantly convince you that the record is worth the investment. 

To make a long story short, Avatarium is obviously another great doom band formed by Leif Edling. And it is very interesting to see how the guy manages to explore slightly different shades of that very specific style with each new band he forms. Candlemass is probably the most "classic" one of them, Krux has this more extreme and psychedelic approach and Avatarium has a unique almost "pop" feeling. 

Leif Edling remains unchallenged as THE master of Doom with yet another fantastic record released, driven by a very clear vision of what his music should sound like. 

Folks, the man definitely knows what he's doing; next time he releases a record, just go grab it. 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back with Death Metal Vengeance.

Wow, it's been a while since I last wrote about Metal on this blog. But what can I say, some things just never change. When you love Metal music, you don't switch to Jazz or classical music just because you're grown up and mature. Sure, you can add some other styles and perhaps more socially accepted music to you playlist, but once you're Metal, it's for life, you're doomed. 

The fact that I haven't been around for a while doesn't mean I quit Death Metal. That just can't happen, and I'm about to prove it. 

You guys might remember how thrilled I was about Miasmal in 2011. These young swedes had just released their first album on Dark Descent Records and I was totally exited about it, as it sounded evil, nasty and somehow out of control. Perhaps "dictated by some sort of  great evil power". 

The band's second album Cursed Redeemer was issued earlier this year, on a much bigger record company, Century Media. Obviously, everyone could see the potential of this extraordinary band. And I have to say I was quite surprised by that record. Maybe a little bit disappointed as well. 

Don't get me wrong, this is still top-notch Death Metal; delivered with a bombastic heavy sound. But Miasmal has deliberately chosen to emphasize on the groove, the heaviness and an almost "dancing" beat. Nothing wrong with that obviously, but I sort of miss the darkened evil, black edge to their music. Even the artwork is more colorful than the 2011 s/t release. 

Cursed Redeemer is still a pretty cool record that will force you to headbang all along with tracks like "A Veiled Remembrence" or "Until The Last" (although that might not be such a good idea doctors say). But I'll always prefer the first record, because of the unbelievable creepy sound (maybe not even done on purpose) and it's very dark, evil atmosphere. It just had a little more personality! 

They even have some official videos now! 

If you want some truly evil stuff, you can't miss Degial's first album, Death's Stiking Wings (out on Sepulchral Voice in 2012). I was really waiting for this record to come out since Fred Estby from Dismember told me about them in 2009 during an interview, when I asked him about any new exciting bands he'd discovered. And guess what, he's credited as the producer on this first album! 

There is absolutely no need to write many lines here; you just need to know that if you like Death Metal, then you have to own this record. This is pure evil. If has everything: the speed, the heaviness, the riffs, the darkened atmosphere, the evil vibe and it will freak you out as soon as the opener "Eye Of Buril Tempest" tumbles down. 
All the songs are great on this one, but I particularly enjoy "Swarming", the VERY heavy "Death's Striking Wings", or the twisted "Black Grave (The Gateway)". 

I really enjoy bands like Degial that perpetuate the true death metal tradition, like Kaamos did before them, and Verminous continue to do (from time to time).  

One advantage of telling you about some records that came out a couple of years ago is that I can say it that without any doubt: "Death's Stiking Wings" is one of the best Death Metal records that came out lately. And if you have a chance to see these guys live, don't hesitate; this is the most promising young Death Metal band out there. 


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Corsair - Corsair review

Corsair have signed on Shadow Kingdom Records last year, and the label's first initiative was to re-release that self-titled record. Honestly, there isn't much I can tell you about this pure gem. Just look it up online, and try to count all the super enthusiastic reviews you can find. 

Corsair is totally unique, and I can guarantee you have never heard anything like it before. The band (Paul Sebring on guitar/vocals, Marie Landragin on guitars/vocals, Jordan Brunk on bass, and Aaron Lipscombe) have managed to create some sort of modern-retro rock. Yeah their stuff is that awesome. 

Corsair do sound like a 70's prog/hard-rock band, but they also have some typical Metal influences and psychedelic edges. They simply have mixed the old-school influences with the modern rock vibe of bands like Mastodon and Baroness. Really, if you are into these two bands, you MUST check out Corsair. 

Again, I don't know what to tell you; this music is awesome, groovy, melodic, progressive, heavy, original, catchy, fun, smart, different. 

Last but not least, the artwork is amazing and the lyrics are just as smart and interesting as the music. 

"Chaemera" one of my favorite songs on the album

There are dozens of interesting releases every month for rock,metal and prog fans, and this is definitely one that you absolutely have to listen to. Stay tunned as Shadow Kingdom Records will re-release a MCD by Corsair on April 30th this year. 

Yath - AWESOME - 9/10

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Deceptor - Chains Of Delusion

I haven't been really inspired by the latest Metal releases. In a more general matter, I'm just fed up with all these bands with fancy packagings and a new record every single year. 

As a result, I've been mostly listening to old stuff; or old bands newer releases (Angel Witch's As Above So Below is just AMAZING). OK, now you're thinking, "the guy's just getting old". Maybe. However, when a new interesting band comes along, I still know how to get all excited about it. 

And there is PLENTY to be exited about with DECEPTOR (despite the "WTF??" name). The Power-trio's second EP is one hell of a blast of pure Heavy Metal. 

There are 6 tracks here (2 intermissions, 4 actual songs) and each one of them is just FANTASTIC. 

There's plenty of traditional metal, some more sharpened stuff (Heatseeker) and a slight dose of epic and technical stuff. Paul Fulda does a great great job on Bass, and as is most of Power-trios, each instrument has a whole lot of space to express itself. And these young wolves sure know how to make a good use of it.

Honestly, whatever kind of Metal you like, you just need to check this young band out, I think fans of Heavy Metal, and Thrash Metal will appreciate it even more than anyone else. 

I can't really pick up a favorite song on this one, although "Sentinent Shackles" really impressed me (the most original song). I also love the opener "To Know Infinity" (very catchy one), and the powerful "Heatseeker". "Oblivion's Call" with it's epic&melodic edges is also a perfect way to close that EP. 

Check this band out right now, so that in a few years, when everybody will be talking about Deceptor, you'll say "Got to hell man, I've been following this band since 2013, when their second EP had just come out".

Yath - This is an easy 8/10

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review : Pale Divine – Painted Windows Black

If you’ve ever read this blog before, there are probably two things you might have figured out: first, I love doom metal, the classic kind of doom, the one with big groovy riffs, melodies and competent singers. Second, I love Shadow Kingdom Records, which is almost a consequence of the first statement. But that love is not blind, it’s not just a sentimental thing or a “doctrine” of loving small underground labels. It’s simply based on the quality of the records the label puts out; and the unbelievable amount of bands they made me discover (remember this? This? Or this?).
And yet, when I recieved this new record by Pale Divine, I didn’t get too excited. The thing is, I never really was a big fan of the band, and I never really got into their previous album, “Cemetary Earth” that came out 5 years ago on I Hate Records. To me, that record was just too academic although very well composed and played.
And I’m going to be get straight to the point here; Painted Windows Black is much better than it’s predecessor. Pale Divine has evolved, definitely in the right direction, they sound more powerful and more diverse. In fact, Pale Divine is not just a classic doom band anymore, call it whatever you want, their music is somewhere in between Doom, Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock.
And that fact is immediately demonstrated when first track “Nocturne Dementia” strikes; this instrumental masterpiece is one hell of a way to start a record, and I don’t know many bands capable of hooking you up that way with an instrumental. Everything here is perfectly executed and balanced. You’ve got the riffs, the leads, the big heavy sound and some tremendous melodic parts. Man that melodic break at 3 minutes is just PURE EXSTASY!

Anyways, after such an opener, everything is much easier, Pale Divine display their fantastic skills, playing some awesome slow-paced and Melodic Metal. The songs are epic, each musician is technically perfect (the power-trio line-up probably has to do with the band’s intrinsic groove), and singer Greg Diener stands out with his powerful and melodic voice. This guy is probably one of the band’s most improved elements by the way.
My personal favorites here are “Angel Of Mercy”, “Shadow Soul”, and of course the killer opener “Nocturne Dementia”. In fact, this fantastic record only displays a few flaws that a friend of mine pointed out. The guy found the songs a little bit too long and he thought that the music lacked feeling… And I need to admit he’s somewhat right. Some songs are a bit too long and the record would have been even stronger with a few faster and shorter pure Heavy Metal songs (the record is also pretty lengthy itself: 70 minutes of pounding Doom Metal might discourage some people). And yes, the music lacks a bit of spontaneity; but that goes with the progressive edge, everything is so nicely composed here… Bottom line is Pale Divine just needs to let it go from time to time and throw in a headbanging Metal hymn that would be an instant hit.

"The Prophet", taken from Painted Windows Black

Theses little flaws considered, I’m not going to change my opinion about that fantastic record that I just love listening to, everyday, over and over again. It’s great to see Pale Divine evolve in such an exciting direction!
See now why I love Shadow Kingdom Records? And more from that label is coming up very soon…

Yath – 8/10

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Revolting’s Hymns Of Ghastly Horror Vs Deserted Fear’s My Empire. And the winner is….FDA Rekotz !

Here are 2 tremendous records I’ve wanted to tell you about for a while now. Better late than never right? Anyways ladies and gentlemen, if you like Death Metal in general, you might want to check these two bands out.

And if you like Death Metal, you probably know about Revolting already. Or at least you know who Rogga Johansson is. This is the man’s 5th or 6th Death Metal record this year. Seriously, I lost count. I bought the new The Grotesquery LP earlier, I know about a new Ribspreader album, another one from Those Who Bring The Torture, plus some other new projects the man is working on. Anyways, the guy is a Death Metal universe on his own, and most of the time you can recognize his music just by the insanely heavy sound of his guitar riffs, the massive groove he puts into them and his special guttural voice. 
And the million-dollar question is: what the hell should you get the new Revolting record specifically, when you already have dozens of Rogga’s album, and when you already know that you will NEVER manage to get them all anyway?

Well, the answer is simple: Revolting is pretty different from his usual stuff, it’s more melodic, and kind of mainstream in a way. The melodies stick, they make you feel like dancing and the headbanging is constant. I personally love the choruses, the quick solos and some songs just kick ass, like “The Black Queen” that strongly reminded me of Evocation, another Swedish band that I love (the melodic break in the middle of that song is AWESOME). 

One last thing about this cool record: it’s full of funny references, like that FANTASTIC instrumental called “The Thing That C.H.U.D. Not Be” (man that melody’s so sticky!); or that moment where Rogga screams “MOSH” in the beginning of “Kinderfeeder”. Although there’s not much to say really about this very nice record, I really enjoy listening to it, over and over, it’s like my “mainstream” moment every day.

"The Black Queen" - The awesome song I just told you about! 

Deserted Fear is a new Death Metal power trio from Germany. And honestly, with all the old-school Death Metal bands bursting from all over the world I wasn’t expecting much from another 90’s-nostalgic band. But somehow, My Empire, the band’s first album really impressed me. Don’t get me wrong though, this is pure, classic, unoriginal and by-the-book Death Metal, no more, no less. But shit, the energy and the power on this one are so huge! Listening to this record is a guaranteed moment of pure pleasure. It's all in the heavy riffs, the epic melodies, and Mahne’s crazy voice, like some sort of John Tardy (Obituary) meets Martin Von Drunen (Asphyx). 

Yep, everything's perfectly classic here, even the old-school typical black and white artwork. 

Of course, the moments where these kids bang you head like hell with hammering riffs are great, but what I enjoy the most are the epic songs on this one, more specifically the final pieces “My Empire” and “Bury Your Dead”. 

Here it is; the might "My Empire" song

Don’t ask me to pick a favorite here, these two FDA-Rekotz releases are both fantastic in their own way, they are very complementary and they basically sum-up everything I love about Death Metal (since I’m not into the very extreme and super-fast stuff). 
One pretty impressive thing to note is that after all these years, when everything’s been more or less said and done, some young and hungry bands still manage to compose and record such great Death Metal records!

These are 2 highly recommended albums by Yath