Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fallen Christ - Abduction Ritual (1995) + Demos

Ahh, Fallen Christ. The NY-based blackened death metal quartet who played some of the most incomprehensibly evil, iniquitous, and downright sadistic death metal ever committed to tape. If you are unfamiliar with the mighty Fallen Christ, just imagine what it would sound like if you took Abominations of Desolation -era Morbid Angel, fused it with the relentless, bestial, and barbaric nature of Blasphemy's war hymns, and gave it a mangled, yet technical flair ala Insanity (US), though while completely staying in its own realm. Just take a couple of moments to think how malicious of a beast that would be. Now imagine it sixty feet taller and bearing dozens of monstrous tentacles, contorting and violently flailing about, obliterating everything within their reach, all the while, the very same city which they are destroying is also being engulfed by a continuous torrent of ultramafic lava, though this tentacled, monolothic creature remains unharmed due to how fucking badass it is. Pretty beastly, right?

What I have here for you are the two demos from '92 and '93, as well as their full-length, which was released in '95. The recording quality on both demos is rather crude, but it's nothing us underground fiends can't handle. The production Abduction Ritual is great, however. It has a very disorienting and swampy feel to it and really draws you in to the unique realm of hyperspeed, Satanic death metal this band was brewing. It really highlights the demented, mangled riffing this band employs 90% of the time. Like I said, this is some truly fucked up stuff.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ghost (Swe) - Elizabeth 7" + Demo 2010

Ghost are an exceptionally awesome, new band from Sweden, who play early 80's-styled heavy/doom metal. Though clearly inspired by the likes of Witchfinder General, Cirith Ungol, Cloven Hoof, Pentagram, Black Hole (Ita), etc., they infuse plenty of their own ideas and Satanic themes, creating their own sound that delves farther beyond the general confines that many of today's doom bands feel the need to stick to.

Under their belt thus far, they have a three-track demo, a 7" EP that came out on Iron Pegasus back in June, and a full-length due in October, which is to be released on Rise Above Rec. Needless to say, it's going to be mindblowingly great, as the Elizabeth 7" is honestly one of the most interesting metal recordings I've ever heard. And the demo, though lacking a bit of the atmosphere they achieved on the EP (which is understandable), is still an excellent offering of early 80's occult-themed, heavy doom metal! Seriously, if someone put on that demo for me and told me that it was some long-lost, obscure doom gem from 1982, I would have no second thoughts about it. It's amazing how sinister and menacing they manage to sound while retaining such a restrained vibe.

I have both the demo and 7" compressed in one folder. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming LP, Opus Eponymous, due out October 18th!! It's going to be a sizzler.

And how fucking great is this logo?! This band is PERFECT.

Mortify (Gre) - 1990 - Dizziness of the Occult (Demo)

Dizziness of the Occult is the first recording by the obscure Greek black metal band, Mortify. Although it certainly is not anything incredibly special, that is not to say that it isn’t a more-than-decent listen, nor is it unworthy of the thirteen minutes of your time spent listening to it a couple times through.

The production is expectantly muddy and lo-fi, and there is an overtly noticeable amount of tape hiss, but that could also be from generations-old tape dubs. Either way, it’s still not overbearing to the point where the music is just buried in it, as you can still get a good idea of what was going on. Also, the fact that the leveling and mixing isn’t too bad or disproportionate doesn’t hurt either.

The demo’s strongpoint is definitely in the songwriting department. When you look at each song structurally, you see more of a death metal influence rather then the simplicity often found in black metal. But when listening to the music itself, it is undeniably black metal in execution, just with a death metal edge. They mix the tempos up quite a bit, ranging from mid-tempo chugs, triplets, and a palm mutes (not in a groove metal fashion, of course) to faster blasting sections. But each tempo is contrasted with another opposing one coming after it, keeping each song moving along at a decent pace that will hold your interest.

Musicianship wise, they could be tighter, however their sloppiness is far from overbearing. This mostly comes out in the transitions from one section into another, but this does not occur consistently enough to sink the whole ship, and their knack for songwriting certainly makes up for it. If you can handle a bit of metallic slop, then this surely should not be a big deal to you.

One of the cool things about this demo is the fact that not only does the drummer take care of vocal duties, which is always a respectable feat (assuming it’s done correctly), but he also contributes a lot to the more atmospheric sections, where they utilize synthesizers and even bongos on the beginning of “The Occult”. He’s also not a bad drummer, nor a bad vocalist, making the whole drummer/vocalist situation work perfectly. The riffing is a great permutation of death metal with a black metal touch, mostly in the chromatic, higher-note sections. It actually reminds me a bit of Profanatica, though only in the sense that the slower, chugging sections stick to a primitive death metal feel while the tremolo sections have a down-tuned black metal sound, creating the same sort of black/death contrast Profanatica's riffing is/was known for.

Overall, all departments work well with one another, and each element is arranged nicely. However, rarely does it give you that “something special” feeling, thus rendering this a decent listen, but nothing too special. I definitely recommend it to anyone into ancient black/death, but don’t expect another Abhorer, Fallen Christ, or Mystifier.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Katedra - 1989 - Mors Ultima Ratio LP

Greetings my fellow old-school metal addicted brethren. I am proud to say Lizards & Beans is back for real this time, and what I have for you here is a very special LP from an underrated act hailing from Lithuania, the mighty Katedra.

Maybe it's the location? I'm not quite sure, but for some reason this band seems to be highly overlooked, which is odd considering how fucking awesome their debut album is, Mors Ultima Ratio. Their second outing is supposedly just as good, though I have yet to hear it. Anyway, what we have here is a very exciting blend of traditional heavy metal, 80's power metal with plenty of progressive elements, fantastic riffing and song composition, melodic chops, tight musicianship, and an atmosphere that, when it comes to comparisons, leaves me at a loss for words.

This truly is an incredible album. The vocals are soaring and powerful, and are definitely one of the album's most notable traits. They are sung in their native Lithuanian tongue, which, to me, always gives albums a more majestic feel (partly why I love all those great Czech bands so much). The vocalist also seems to be keen on what I call the "King Diamond" effect, which consists of more than one vocal track going at once, one maybe doing a falsetto scream and the other bellowing in a lower voice, but always with great conviction, or maybe two falsettos during a nice harmony with no lyrics. The guitars never seem to run out of steam, as they just seamlessly pump out riff after riff of non-stop melodic-yet-pummeling riff fests with some very impressive lead work and dual-harmonies. The drumming is tight and far from redundant, with some great tom use during the bridge and soloing sections.

If you dig classic, swords-n-steel, skullfucking METAL, there is no way you won't like this.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New blog


Don't worry, I'll be getting back to this one eventually.