Music Review: DEATH REQUISITE – Revisitation

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death requisite - revisitationDEATH REQUISITE
Revisitation
Rottweiler Records
2016

After one out of print full-length and a handful of EPs, Florida death metal outfit Death Requisite released their first full-length on Rottweiler Records, titled Revisitation, in 2016. Being released on Rottweiler Records made it a bit more available on other sites for purchase than the previous two EPs. If only they would make the first earlier releases available. But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get to what’s on Revisitation, shall we?

Popping this onto the media player and pressing play, immediately during the opening track “Revisitation”, I can already tell the major plus this release has over the other releases: the production makes this sound fantastic. This works in favor of the style of metal Death Requisite has been honing, as you may recall from the previous reviews, is a tasty blend of melodic and technical death metal, with touches of symphonic and flolk, with a bit of black metal for texture. “Revisitation” has a good opening solo + riff, some tight technical Death Metal going with a nice folk / symphonic midpoint. “Vivens Sanctuarium” features a fantastic mid-paced riff, blastbeats and technical solo work, and has a good atmospheric mid-point. “Veneration” leans more towards a black metal riff and features a blistering shredding solo. “Nova Creatione” has some good use of synths to give this a dark hue, with a bit of a melodic mid-point while remaining good and heavy. “Redemptio Per Deicide” continues with the nice dark, heavy pace with some doomy and symphonic bits, while “Ineluctable Castigation” starts with an acoustic flamenco-style opening, then blasts into a blackened doomy death metal riff. The last track on here, “Recapitulation”, is a 17+ minute epic classical style symphony instrumental, complete with strings, brass, piano, percussion, and eerie choral vocals which is an interesting way to end the album.

Overall, I found Revisitation a good, solid and satisfying Death Metal album, making good use of various musical techniques and throwing in a bit of a curve by the full-on mini classical symphony at the end. This makes me look forward to more releases in the future, hopefully there shall be more of this caliber. Recommended.

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Music Review: DEAD IN CHRIST – Summer Of Murders

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dead in christ - summer of murdersDEAD IN CHRIST
Summer Of Murders
Independent
2008

Third and final release by Dead In Christ, and…okay, look. Let’s just get right ot the review and get this over with.

Released in 2008, Summer Of Murders, pretty much follows the same low-fi black metal and doom formula of the previous two releases. Like those previous releases, Summer Of Murders begins with an instrumental; unlike those two, however, it’s only 55 seconds long and features some clean guitar pickin’ and ambient backgrounds. For the most part, the songs maintain the band’s standard doom metal / black metal switch-up style, sometimes within the same song, like on the 10-minute long “Drowning In Shame”, “War Within”, “The Death Of Me”, and “Pray For Death”. There’s some interesting use of clean guitars and water ambient sounds on the instrumental “Through The Eyes Of The Rejected”, with “He Remains” being a black metal song utilizing a kind of hardcore shouting and black metal shriek tag team for the vocals. The album ends with “Victim Mentality”, a bizarre outro instrumental featuring background black metal and soundclips.

Overall, while there was a bit more musical texture on some of the tracks on Summer Of Murders, it still seemed a bit long in the tooth when all is said and done. I do think that, of the three Dead In Christ releases, Summer Of Murders is the best one, despite the production value.

Music Review: DEAD IN CHRIST – Steps

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dead in christ - stepsDEAD IN CHRIST
Steps
Independent
2006

The second release from black metal / doom band Dead In Christ, and if you recall from the review of their first release, I got Steps from the long-gone Blabber Jesus download section, along with the other demos from the band.

Looking at the track listing, it’s understandable if you mistake Steps for an EP. There are only six tracks, with the first track (“Something In October”) being a brief 42-second-long intro of urban sound effects. But, lest you think you’re getting short-changed on the music, I assure you, Steps clocks in at 44 minutes, roughly the same length of a standard LP album. Then again, this having been a free download, I don’t know why I’m bringing this up.

Anyway, the first proper track, “Forgive”, continues on with the caustic blend of doom metal and blistering black metal featured on Funeral For The Flesh, only the production sounds a bit better on this release. “Sounds Of The Cross” is more straight-forward black metal that has several breaks. One thing to point out, that with this and the previous track, both songs just cut off suddenly, like no one figured out how to fade out properly. It’s kind of jarring, really. Which may have been the intent, I don’t know. This is black metal, after all. Anyway, “Pain” has enough changes going on, I began to wonder if this was a bunch of song ideas slapped together. “The Murdering Of One’s Faith” is a doomy, droning instrumental, while the album ender “Steps” is more straightforward blistering black metal.

Overall, I did find this a bit more…listenable, I would say, mainly because of the slightly better production and the fewer tracks included. There are times where I once again checking the time on certain songs to see how much longer we had left, but not as much as with the first release. Still, not really seeing this back in my playlist any time soon.

Music Review: DEAD IN CHRIST – Funeral For The Flesh

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dead in chirst - funeral for the fleshDEAD IN CHRIST
Funeral For The Flesh
Independent
2005

Well, here we go with another group that mysteriously appeared and then disappeared, leaving nary any information to find online. Do a Google search for Dead In Christ band, and you just bring up links to more, shall we say, blasphemous reworkings of the name. Do a search for the band and this album we’re reviewing — Funeral For The Flesh — and you get funeral information for Catholic churches. The Encyclopaedia Metallum has nothing on Dead In Christ; about the only place that has even a modicum of information on this band is the Firestream Music Vault. And besides the album listings, the only other bits of information involve them hailing from Pennsylvania, and the band members having the names “Exorcism”, “Phantasm”, “Haunted”, and “Crow”.

I came about discovering Dead In Christ back in 2009 or so, when Blabberjesus was still up and running and offering free band demo downloads. They had Dead In Christ’s three independently released demos available, and I decided to download them and check them out. While I know some songs of theirs found their way into NECRO SHOCK RADIO Sessions, I just now found time to listen to them. Sorry.

So, Dead In Christ’s first demo release, Funeral For The Flesh. I have to admit, the cover art used does nothing to give you an idea what to expect with the music. It’s rather generic looking, and looks like it was assembled on MS Paint. Believe me, this is not a criticism, as I understand using what you have available to you at the time; it’s rather an observation. One would maybe think, this could be Death Metal. But, you would be wrong, as I was when I hit play on the media player.

The first track, “Funeral For The Flesh”, opens things up with a five-minute-plus instrumental track that alternates between slow doom metal and a black metal riff, with not much variety in-between. It’s pretty basic, and made me worried that the entire album was like this. If it was meant to be an introduction…well, it’s overly long for that. Moving on to the second track, “Speak To Him”, we get a pretty decent black metal riff, filled with atmosphere, with a first showcase of the vocals utilized in the metal. Which, I should say, is not exactly your standard black metal shrieks and banshee screams. For the majority of the tracks on this album, the vocals alternate between a chillingly atmospheric whisper and a kind of processed growl effects that lend to more of an otherworldly feel to the music. For the most part, the songs are standard lo-fi Black Metal with some doom bits thrown in, very repetitious, with the songs seeming to go on for long periods of time, which tends to get monotonous, where I would lose focus and begin wondering how much longer this was going to be. Especially with “Tears From God”, which is a ten minute instrumental that takes a doom riff and drones on and on and on…yeah.

I hate to say this, but Funeral For The Flesh was a bit of a slog to get through. If they were going for more atmospheric and ambient background music to set a mood, sure. I can see that. But, for the most part, I got bored too early on to really want to give this a replay any time soon.

Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Australian Metal Compilation: Godspeed

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australian metal compilation - godspeedVARIOUS ARTISTS
Australian Metal Compilation: Godspeed
Rowe Productions
1994

Back in 1994, Steve Rowe — the founder of the band Mortification — started up his own indie label named Rowe Productions, as a means to help promote the underground Christian metal bands, not only in Australia, but all over the world. As such, the first release on the fledgling label was a rather ambitious compilation of Australian metal bands called Godspeed.

I purchased my copy back in 1997, at a much-missed record shop that specialized in Christian metal. I figured it was time to get about doing a proper review for this one, as I’ve already reviewed the second in the compilation series. Here goes, then…

Cry Mercy – “Shut Up And Listen”
Decent groove metal tune, good hook; this one seems slightly different than the version that appeared on their self-titled release…

Mortification – “Time Crusaders”
This is the studio version of the song that originally first appeared on the Live Planetarium release. This is the first time the studio version showed up, as it wasn’t included on the Blood World release, like “Symbiosis” did, for some reason. Anyway, good cut regardless…

Nu Humans – “Shattered”
Decent heavy metal cut, good riff, bit tinny on the production, but listenable…

Discarnated – “William Melancholy”
Melodic death metal with a pretty good groove and some doomy bits hither an yon, good cut…

Doxology – “Fight”
Melodic heavy metal with a good riff and decent, if muddled, production…

Deracination – “Fourth Dimension”
Rather good straight-forward death metal tune, from their four-song demo that came out after the full-length. You know, it’s really high time that and the four-song demo get the remaster/re-release treatment. But, I digress…

Harbinger – “The End Is Near”
good NWOBHM riff going, builds up to a rather good straight heavy metal cut…

Krioni – “Black”
Melodic metal cut, female vocals, bit of a poppish veneer to it. Catchy hooks, not too bad for what it is…

Screams Of Chaos – “Eyes Of Chaos”
Interesting industrial cover of the Light Force song. This was my first exposure to Screams Of Chaos, by the way, one of the better finds to grace my collection…

Beheadoth – “Mine Heart Doth Beseech Thee (O Master)”
This cut is actually an early incarnation of the better-known Black Metal project Horde. This song is in keeping with the blistering, face melting second wave Black Metal sound, and is one of the best cuts on this compilation…

Rockin’ Rabbies – “Be Alert”
Representing the quirky hardcore punk genre is Rockin’ Rabbies. The sound is befitting the name, really, as it’s straight forward and snotty…

Embodyment – “Dishallowent Grounds”
Not to be confused with the American post-hardcore band Embodyment, this Australian Embodyment (they would go on to change the “y” to an “i” later) features a doomy death metal cut that is pretty good…

Justice – “Proven Infallible”
Straight-forward hard rock cut, good hook and riff going, but rather bland in the execution…

Metanoia – “Ripped In Two”
Really good Death Metal cut, originally from the Screaming Fetus demo; this also was my first exposure to this great Death Metal band, who fortunately didn’t just release one full-length like Deracination and Discarnated did…

Ignite – “Sanctuary”
Now, this is a good doom metal cut, with a raw and heavy groove and baritone vocals…

Thrash Puppies – “Fastest Song In The World”
Crossover thrash, again with the interesting name choices. This one is decent, if a little standard, if you get what I’m saying, here…

Rosanna’s Raiders – “Mr. Magic”
And ending the compilation with something of a wet splat is this early cut from Rosanna’s Raiders, which is an odd addition to the collection, as the band was more commercial rock than actual metal, per se. Regardless, kind of a weak cut to go out on…

So, here we are. For a compilation, it’s a pretty decent collection, running a good portion of the Metal spectrum with the styles and genres represented on here. For the most part, there’s nothing too bad with the production quality with each song, as I think Steve just took the songs directly from the demos and didn’t do much tweaking. But, I could be wrong about that. Overall, the Godspeed collection is something to get for the fact that there are some good rare cuts on here, including the first instance of Mortification’s “Time Crusaders” studio cut, with only a couple of cuts I’d skip over.

Music Review: A HILL TO DIE UPON – Via Artis Via Mortis

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a hill to die upon - via artis via mortisA HILL TO DIE UPON
Via Artis Via Mortis
Luxor Records
2017

A Hill To Die Upon has, over time since their first release Infinite Titanic Immortal, grown and matured as a band into something quite epic while still maintaining a high quality of extreme blackened death metal. As such, their most recent release, Via Artis Via Mortis, finds the band at another level with what could possibly be their masterpiece release to date.

Here, the sound of the music is very much still rooted in the melodic blackened Death Metal that is the hallmark of the band, on Via Artis Via Mortis there’s a focus on the songwriting that shines through the technical aspects while having a much darker atmosphere. There’s less on bombast, with the blastbeats used sparingly, but nevertheless maintains the brutality and heaviness. Songs like “The Garden” and “Artifice Intelligence” build slowly with intensity, with songs like “I Was There When You Went Under The Water” and “Great Is Artemis Of The Ephesians” showing a more progressive side to the band’s music, while “Jubal And Syrinx”, “Sorcery And Sudden Vengeance” and my favorite cut from the album, “Mosin Nagant”, show that they can still pummel you with brutal goodness. The lyrics of the songs also continue to be well-written, with a lot of thought and passion put into them, complementing the music.

Unlike the aforementioned Holy Despair, I purchased Via Artis Via Mortis the weekend after it was released, effectively dominating my media player for a few weeks thereafter. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I do believe Via Artis Via Mortis is A Hill To Die Upon’s best release to date. Highly recommended.

Music Review: GRIM – Vespers

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grim - vespersGRIM
Vespers
Black Metal Underground
2013

I don’t know if anyone of you reading this have ever experienced a good old-fashioned Midwest winter. Or any season in the Midwest. Right now, here in my dwelling place of Nebraska as I write this, it’s a balmy -6 degrees Fahrenheit on this sunny Sunday morning. It’s full-on frozen tundra weather here in Nebraska, and the only thing that makes this more Black Metal than its Scandinavian birth place is the fact that we lack the mountain ranges to block the skin-stripping wind chills that can freeze you instantly. None more bvtal.

Which brings me to GRIM. This was the name of a one-man Black Metal project by one Thomas Eversole, who released one album previous back in 1999, entitled Scepter Of Blood, which was re-released again in 2013. Around this same time, one other album was recorded and released, Vespers.

Musically speaking, Vespers is not your typical Black Metal album. It does feature a blistering second-wave style of face-melting guitar riffs, blastbeats and rhythms with focus on the ambient feel of the music; the vocals, however, is a Gregorian Chant choir. You see, as it turns out, Vespers is essentially a performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, with ambient Black Metal used to great effect. The combination of Black Metal and Gregorian Chant is inspired and unique, giving an ambient feel of, say, the wind of a dark midwinter blizzard blowing through wind chimes. It works.

Now, the way the first paragraph ties into th review is, I was listening to this album while driving through the bleak and cold Sunday morning to church. It was overcast, gray, and all around me the barren frozen farmland stretched out, giving a strong feeling of isolated beauty. Playing Vespers just enhanced the scene wonderfully. I got my copy from Bandcamp, and I would recommend checking this out.

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