Mortualia – Blood of the Hermit album review

Mortualia - Album cover

Under-produced and sounding like it was recorded in a cave MORTUALIA shows that true Black Metal never actually disappeared – The pure rawness of the album in general is downright beautiful in each and every sense.

“Blood of the Hermit” is actually a hypnotic album, especially with the opening track “Becoming Meaningless”. The whole entire release is haunting, melancholy and you can sense the pain that Shatraug is demonstrating throughout not only his music but the almost distressed screams and cries he’s pouring into “Blood of the Hermit”.

It may not be the strongest release yet it’s because it holds something new, a different essence so it seems. It captures hopelessness, pain, sorrow and devastation and just seems to throw it all out and enchants you with its dark beauty.

8 minutes 40 seconds into “Becoming Meaningless” there’s an all of a sudden appearance of a guitar solo, despite being extremely simplistic – it’s beautiful and endearing. It’s something that takes away the repetition of gruelling depression and throws in something Black Metal musicians try to avoid it seems, hope.

Another thing that has captured me with MORTUALIA is the album cover, it’s perfectly graceful and peaceful, it shows the closeness we have to animals, yet, how they are far more beautiful. Funnily enough, any other Black Metal musician might have a bit of a scoff at it “Oh, how pretty a picture of a fox drinking water, not as cool as our picture of Satan” – you get the idea. I’ve always pictured Black Metal to be more in touch with nature, well, what’s the other reason for them all hiding in forests and mountains?

Overall, “Blood of the Hermit” becomes increasingly enchanting and the fact that it’s incredibly under-produced, the way Black Metal was intended – makes you more unable to turn it off. It’s hypnotic, dark, it’s practically sitting on a tightrope between Black Metal and Depressive Black Metal and that’s what it should be about.

Rating 7/10


Desecration – Cemetery Sickness album review


DESECRATION are back with their release of “Cemetery Sickness” – 11 tracks of gore-filled Death Metal. Now, let’s get this straight shall we? DESECRATION have already been targeted and even arrested over their infamous album cover “Gore and Perversion” for offensive content, so, if you don’t like offensive content, gore and graphic imagery then I think the correct term for this is to either man up or don’t bother with these Welsh Metallers.

Of course Death Metal isn’t for everybody and it’s pretty damn difficult to see who can ‘out-gore’ one another, whether is CANNIBAL CORPSE, ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY  or WHORETOPSY, you’re going to be competing but with DESECRATION – every listener is a winner and listening to the guys who do it right.

Start to finish, “Cemetery Sickness” is thoroughly heavy, damn right messed up and bloody fantastic! “Recipes of Horror” “Cabletie Castrator” and “Cut Up and Fed to the Dogs” are three of the strongest tracks on the release, just like the others they show the pure fury of DESECRATION and nothing less.

If you’re one of those kids that always have the question “How can you listen to all that screaming noise?” popped at you, hand that person a copy of “Cemetery Sickness” and tell them it’s because you have a pair of fucking balls and you’re not afraid of something heavier than their mother.

have consistently been strong and furious throughout their entire career, they haven’t lost their touch and with “Cemetery Sickness” you can obviously point out that they’re not going to lose it any time soon.

The album is full of goretastic, face-melting brutality and THIS is how you do a Death Metal album right! “Cemetery Sickness” is an outstanding release but as usual with Death Metal, not for the faint hearted or pansies.

Rating – 8/10

Darkside – Inferno album review


“From the cross comes salvation” – symphonic, chilling and haunting music follows, preparing you for what you’ve all been waiting six years for from DARKSIDE.
Immediately from the chilling words uttered, the haunting music seeping out of “Slaves of God”, “Black Halls of Infancy” kicks in with sheer brutality, all of a sudden – six years was worth it before you’ve even got through the hefty two disk release.

The album concept is based upon Madeleine de Demandolx de la Palud, an Ursuline nun whom had a love affair with Father Louis Gaufridi, when found out, Madeleine was a main victim for a ‘demonic possession’ along with various other nuns. Father Louis Gaufridi was found guilty of sending demons into the convent of Aix and burnt alive. 30 years after his execution, Madeleine was found and charged for Witchcraft, imprisoned yet released shortly after.

Why the little background there? Reading into the story, more indepth – it shows how dark and sinister the whole thing actually was and how perfectly DARKSIDE portray that in “Inferno”. From start to finish, disk one to disk two, the entire thing is chilling, dark, furious and pretty damn demonic itself should I say.

“Inferno” is a pure Melodic Death Metal release, it seeps hatred, it seeps evil and it seeps pure fucking awesome (oh look, a swear word).  It isn’t just constantly heavy though, there’s a fair amount of gaps in tracks such as self-titled “Inferno” where it mellows down and captures not just “Oh look at how heavy we are!” but “Yeah we can actually play melodically and beautifully too”.

If there’s one this that you want from this release however is maybe a really cool film based on the concept with DARKSIDE’S tracks being played. Imagine that, being possessed by a demon, probably puking out fire and blood or whatever these possessed people actually seem to do to tracks such as “Hosts of Depravity” “Crowned in Torture” and Malleus Maleficarum”.

“Madeleine” is beautifully played, this right here is where you can feel the true essence and get to know the person that the young nun was. Madeleine was an emotionally unstable young woman, plagued by depression. “Madeleine” is played with such beauty and emotion that dives right in there and actually focuses on more than just the possessions and the whole jumbo about Witchcraft, it focuses on the actual victim as they were. It’s a magnificent track with no flaw to it.

DARKSIDE have captured and bought the tales of Aix-en-Provence possessions back to life and provided us with more than just a fantastic double-album, they have reached right into the concept, showed us through music, helped educate us and open our minds.

Rating 9/10

A Hill To Die Upon – Holy Despair album review


Merging Death and Black Metal together, A HILL TO DIE UPON take after so many doing the exact same thing, what’s different? “Holy Despair” is an absolute bone crushing, dark and furious album from start to finish.

This time round, A HILL TO DIE UPON seems to follow to footsteps of other Black Metal bands in a more melodic approach such as BEHEMOTH and WATAIN. This can easily be noted throughout the album but more so in tracks such as “Let The Ravens Have My Eyes” and “Satan Speaks” – this is always a touch and go situation for the more dedicated Black Metal fans who despise anything to do with good production and hearing any form of melodic composition throughout the release however A HILL TO DIE UPON have done this magnificently and infused two wonderful genres together to create their masterpiece.

“O Death” is definitely a more risky track, bringing in soft, clean female vocals to accompany the harsh darkness within. It brings out a more haunting, chilling side to the album – in fact, it’s beautifully unsettling.

“Somme” also is a definite beauty on the album too, A HILL TO DIE UPON has really demonstrated that for an album to be chilling, dark and yet utterly thrilling, you don’t need to have constant distorted guitars, blast beats and screams. They have stripped down fully and offered a track that is beautifully presented, that stands out and sends shivers down your spine. “Somme” is no longer about banging your head, throwing up the horns and trying to be as Metal as the actual artist, it’s about appreciating musical talent and almost allowing fans to open their minds to the creativity and diversity within the darker genres of Metal.

A HILL TO DIE UPON have kept sheer brutality, they have rode through the gates of hell and come back out with a release that seems worth selling your soul to the Devil for.

Each track on “Holy Despair” flows magnificently into the next one, keeping a continuous power throughout the entirety. “Holy Despair” has that power that makes you physically not care about anything in your life but the music you’re listening too, that’s the way it has been and the way it should have remained when it comes to the music industry.

A HILL TO DIE UPON have released a genuine beauty, inside and out, it’s simplistic yet technically superb.

Rating 9/10

Incantation – Dirges of Elysium album review.


Settling in somewhat gently, INCANTATION uses a dark and dismal atmospheric way to introduce the album “Dirges of Elysium” with their title track however all is not what it seems when “Debauchery” kicks in, keeping it dark yet thunderous this time round.

Immediately from the drastic change between intro and second track, you can tell that this album is going to be a complete arse-kicker to other Death Metal albums being released around the same time, but then again, what can we expect from veterans of Death Metal? Half-arsed, mellowed albums because they’ve been going for 25 years and should really ‘slow down’? I don’t think so and neither do they. In fact, they only seem to have grown more fierce.

Throughout the entirety of the album it’s almost as though you’re bowels are about to explode with the many “Holy shit, this is good, shit, this is really good” you’re doing to each track and as you get more into the album, the darker it gets and the more evil it seems to be.
Does this mean that the band and you are evil murderous gits though? No of course not, everybody has evil in them, it’s how you channel it and this band, this beautiful release makes you channel it out through furious headbanging, horns in the air and if you’re watching any of this live? Through the God damn pits.

INCANTATION release the passion of what they do through their music so well that you can feel it when you listen making “Dirges of Elysium” an absolute masterpiece so to speak. It’s not easy to make the listener feel what the artist does but with INCANTATION it’s almost effortless – especially with the track “From a Glaciate Womb”.

Throughout the entire album you feel somewhat powerful and stronger and that’s a damn good thing right there. When “Dominant Ethos” approaches, getting you prepared for the beastly last track “Elysium (Eternity is Nigh)” – you feel yourself getting lost in everything that has been perfect about this album. A 16 minute stomper, “Elysium” is the darkest and almost ritualistic track on the album, everything is suddenly slower, the bass is ringing out, the guitars are sustaining some beastly, demonic sounding riffs, the drums are pounding and the vocals? Well I think the Devil arrived on that one.

Filled with dark fury, power and pure evil, INCANTATION have really exceeded their hopes in wanting to “push the limit of darkness”. “Dirges of Elysium” is proof that a band never loses their passion for what they do, it’s a genuine Death Metal masterpiece and let’s put it this way, if you’re a fan of Death Metal and don’t like this release, you’re doing it wrong.

Rating 10/10

Out now via

Rahu – The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows album review.


In Hinduism, Rahu is a severed head of an Asura, portrayed as a Serpent who swallows the sun to cause an eclipse. In this case? RAHU is a Finnish Black Metal band swallowing power, fury and all of those little hipster children who think they’re ‘kvlt’ for wearing a shirt with an upside down cross on it.

My first initial thoughts when coming across “The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows” was that it could be an absolute master piece and an excellent addition the world of Black Metal or that it would be another Black Metal album that made a sheer mockery of the genre. I’m glad I stuck with my gut instinct to the first as to call RAHU a mockery to Black Metal would be disgusting.

Not knowing much about Hinduism, RAHU immediately had me researching about it and opening my mind to what their music is all about. With a raw production and complete in having a chilling atmospheric Black Metal vibe, this record is one I highly recommend.

For Black Metal the use of melody here is flawless, It’s something that can be subtly pulled off or completely diabolically failing and thankfully, no, it doesn’t fail The whole listening experience of “The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows” is a chilling one at that. Usually Black Metal can only stereotypically be good if it comes from the depths of Norway yet these Finnish demons have proven that fact wrong.

The release of “The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows” has kept the essence of true Black Metal, it has a burning passion oozing out the seams of each track. It’s dark, chilling, evil and everything about it, is in its own right, absolutely bloody genius.

There’s not much else to say other than the release can’t be recommended enough to any lover of Black Metal.

Rating 8/10

Signed to




Sarcofago – Rotting Reissue

Note : Check out more reviews for the online magazine I write for at

Originally released in 1989, “Rotting” was considered one of the most extreme records by authorities – even having it seized by them just down to their now harmless cover (let alone at their lyrical content and the fact authorities were getting out their crosses and arming water pistols up with holy water).

During the crossing overs of Black, Thrash and Death metal in the 80’s, SARCOFAGO were a familiar trio who were pushing the boundaries of just how extreme they could push themselves, the authorities and terrified parents of listeners. After the release of “I.R.N.I” the band had a lot to exceed in terms of expectations, considering it was thought of as one of the albums that helped shaped the Black Metal genre.

Despite “Rotting” being majorly underestimated in terms of the bands abilities, passion and views – it is possibly their best release and one of the most important records for the Black/Death/Thrash genres.

SARCOFAGO created a ton of controversy in terms of their lyrical content which themes such as anti-religion, death and necrophilia. These can be most noticeable in the iconic track “Tracy” with lyrics such as “Your rotten flesh is now so sweet, too cold you are driving me to a intense orgasm, licking your body I realize my dream, why did you force me to kill?” – Such lyrical content is noticeably influential in Death Metal unless you take routes from “Rotting” in which it is influential for Black Metal or “Alcoholic Coma” for Thrash.

“Rotting” is iconic, inspirational and the best release of SARCOFAGO in my opinion.
If you’re faint-hearted, highly religious, easily offended or just a plain fuddy duddy then you’re not going to take to this masterpiece but come on, this record wasn’t created to please you guys now was it?

Overall Rating 10/10