Archive for the colombia Category

Review: Inquisition- Obscure Verses for the Multiverse

Posted in black metal, colombia, Reviews, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

Hello again, ladies and gentlemen. Now that I have survived the semester from hell round three (there’s been one in every program I’ve been in), I have time to think again and can start on some of the tons of reviews that have piled up on me. I’m going to start this round off with Inquisition, because their new one is a great album and it’s been earworming me lately.

When I first heard the teaser trailer clips for Inquisition’s new album, Obscure Verses for the Multiverse, I was positively giddy with excitement. I had heard a song off of the new Satyricon album earlier that day and wasn’t that impressed (you can tell by my year end list, I presume, that I have since rescinded that opinion), and I was overjoyed to hear the otherworldly, largely mid-tempo chants that are so familiar, and often so soothing, to me. “At least some things never change,” I thought.

[This one.]

I thought wrong, I discovered when I actually got a copy of the thing in my hot little hands. There’s plenty of experimentation and lots of surprises on Verses, although Inquisition’s instantly identifiable sound is still there. Songs like “Darkness Flows Towards Unseen Horizons” contain instantly recognizable drum patterns and guitar sounds.  “Arrival of Aeons After” is another track that utilizes traditional Inquisition guitar riffs, and the guitars in the verses oddly remind me a lot of latter-era Immortal (which is, I think, probably the closest you can ever come to comparing the two bands, Season of Mist. Seriously. I need to have words with whoever is coming up with those “For fans of:” labels. They don’t know what they’re on about /end rant).

Although parts of the album are pretty standard, Inquisition is doing some really cool things on Verses, particularly with sound editing and guitar distortion. “Spiritual Plasma Evocation” starts off a mid-tempo dirge with some really cool and innovative riffs that couple nicely with the drums, and then shifts into the song proper, which is faster and fueled with blast beats. Likewise, “Infinite Interstellar Genocide” incorporates one of the weirdest guitar riffs/distortions I have heard on a black metal album, let alone an Inquisition record. This song is also incredibly fast for the Colombian/American band, who seem most comfortable with slower paces. “Inversion of Ethereal White Stars” is another big hit for me, as I adore onomatopoeiaic music. The riffing and the high pitches in the guitars makes this song sound exactly like stars twinkling (like this one, in particular).

The production on Verses is pretty standard for Inquisition. I have a good friend who wanted to hear a little better production this time around, since Inquisition is now signed to a bigger label. I am okay with it though; although it would be cool to hear what Inquisition can do with a better sound quality, I like their rawer production as it feels very true to my idea of the band. The production is good enough to highlight the guitar distortion while blending with the drum sound and without becoming overbearing, and that’s what’s really important.

Perhaps the biggest bummer for me in terms of this album was that Antichrist Kramer didn’t do the artwork. I only know hearsay, so I can’t confirm anything, but I heard that the label heard that Kramer had some somewhat unpopular political leanings and axed him from doing the cover art. And that the band later backed them up. Whatever it was, the cover art, to me, is a little bit silly looking, and not nearly as awesome as Kramer’s artwork has been on past Inquisition albums.

Like this one. This is awesome. Someday I think I'll get it tattooed down my side (CultMetal.com)

Like this one. This is awesome. Someday I think I’ll get it tattooed down my side (CultMetal.com)

I purchased the fangirl edition, which helps. This edition was quite pricey; however, it comes with a real, goat-leather keychain and the packaging is really nice.

Fancy pants.

Fancy pants. The box is textured.

The back is really cool. I like how the song titles fit in with the pentagram.

The back is really cool. I like how the song titles fit in with the pentagram.

And this. This is cool.

And this. This is cool.

Everything that came in the box set. Including that silly album artwork on the liner notes.

Everything that came in the box set. Including that silly album artwork on the liner notes.

Inquisition's use of constellations and stars is really cool. They're even in the liner notes!

Inquisition’s use of constellations and stars is really cool. They’re even in the liner notes!

Skulls n' stuff.

Skulls n’ stuff.

Devil Nebula

Devil Nebula

Inside artwork.

Inside artwork.

The patch that came with the box set.

The patch that came with the box set.

Goat leather keychain. Maaaaaaa.

Goat leather keychain. Maaaaaaa.

Overall… Well, I nominated Obscure Verses to the Multiverse as my second favorite black metal album this year. Because it’s good. It’s really, really good. Easily a 5/5 Baphomets for me.

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks:

Spiritual Plasma Evocation
Inversion of Ethereal White Stars
Infinite Interstellar Genocide
ALL OF IT.

-Hagalaz

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Hagalaz’ Favorite Black Metal Releases of 2013

Posted in black metal, blackgaze, canada, colombia, DSBM, france, musings, norway, sweden, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

In 2012, I felt like the overwhelming theme among the best black metal releases were the ones that took big risks- bands like Marduk and Deathspell Omega doing really interesting experimental stuff. This year, for me at least, the heavy hitters were bands that have traditionally been heavy hitters; the only difference is, in many cases, these are comeback albums. Satyricon, Arckanum, and Rotting Christ all put out albums that are, in my opinion, superior the their other recent releases. I decided to keep it to  ten this year- Horna and Woe were among those I cut, and I haven’t gotten to spend enough time with the new Sadgiqacea album, otherwise I’d probably have to revise again.

So without further ado:

Gehenna- Unravel

Gehenna’s mid-tempo dissonance has really peaked in this new album. Unravel is a dirge-like, doomy album, perfect for a funeral or a rainy day. I really like the influences I hear in this one- namely, French black metal and funeral doom- and the way that Gehenna has made them their own.

Satyricon- Satyricon

I didn’t expect much from the new Satyricon. The Age of Nero was okay, and I am one of the few people, I think, who genuinely appreciates Now, Diabolical. Still, Satyricon’s sound has been too polished for me lately, and even though the production is still a little *too* good on this new one, they’ve got their bite back for sure. There are some lovely black metal riffs in there, the ballad is not bad (seriously. What is it with ballads? So far those that have done it have done it well, but I hope this doesn’t become too much of a thing), and holy crap Frost’s drumming. That’s all I have to say about that.

Watain- The Wild Hunt

I was seriously doubting whether Watain would ever be able to surpass The Waters of Ain, and for me, I still don’t think they have. Nevertheless, the Swedes have proven their mettle with The Wild Hunt, experimenting with ballads and clean vocals and sticking it to those people who think they are simply Dissection clones.

Rotting Christ- Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Do What Thou Wilt) [No, I would not like to take a stab at it in Greek]

The new Rotting Christ was one of the first albums that I listened to this year, and I really wasn’t crazy about it. But then, a couple of months ago, I threw it on so I could have something good to work out to (Rotting Christ is great, I find, for inspiring one’s sit-ups), and all of a sudden it clicked. I haven’t been able to get enough of it since.

Deafheaven- Sunbather

Yup. I’m putting Deafheaven on my list. Sorry I’m not sorry, Trve Kvltists. Sunbather is a phenomenal album; I mean, Irresistible reminds me of Placebo, even (yes, the pop band. The awesome pop band).  The commentary that this album makes on American materialism is just proof that USBM never ceases to find interesting new ways to address darkness.

Summoning- Old Morning’s Dawn

Old Morning’s Dawn pretty much knocked my socks clean off when I heard it. This album is one of those that you should keep on reserve to put on when your unbeliever friends tell you black metal is just noise. Beautiful.

Arckanum- Fenris Kindir

Arckanum’s new album, Fenris Kindir, serves as a reminder of all the reasons why Arckanum is fantastic. Tungls Tjúgari is a churning, atmospheric nightmare, and Hamrami’s gorgeous soundscape evokes the mountains and forests in the way that only Shamaatae can pull off. (Listening to it right now reminds me that I need to spend more time in the woods. Wish it wasn’t so freaking cold out.)

Gris- À L’Âme Enflammée, L’Äme Constellée

Quebeçois DSBM masters Gris have graced us with a brilliant and lovely new album in the form of a 2 disc set (!!!!). In case you didn’t hear that right, that’s two whole discs of atmospheric, depressive loveliness. My brain doesn’t really know how to comprehend how cool that is, but I’m doing my best.

Inquisition- Obscure Verses For The Multiverse

Although I am still mourning the falling out between Antichrist Kramer and Inquisition that resulted in what I find to be some pretty silly cover art, Obscure Verses is an incredible album. Good old fashioned Inquisition mixed with some really cool effects with the guitar.

And, last but not least, my favorite black metal album of 2013, the album so nice, I bought it twice….

Aosoth- IV: An Arrow In Heart

Anyone who read my review of Aosoth’s newest back in June has the slightest inkling of just how crushingly hard-hitting this album was for me. As I was reflecting on my top ten again today, I spent some time listening to it again, and it’s still just as fraught with tension and cold as the first time I heard it. Brilliant. (And yes, I really did buy it twice. CD and double LP.)

***

Well, fellow kvltists, there you have it. My best of in 2013. I’m coming up with a not-just-black-metal list for Burning Fist, which is… difficult, to say the least, but I am working on it. And I’ll try to get caught up on the reviews, because I’m sure there are some people who haven’t bought the new Woe yet who wonder if it’s worth their buck (but not Inquisition. Everyone’s already got that one. Or they should. If you don’t, you should hand over your spiked gauntlets, because you’re not trve). Have a lovely new year, and I will see you soon, and often.

-Hagalaz

The ABCs of Black Metal (Round One)

Posted in black metal, colombia, DSBM, finland, france, funeral mist, local, musings, norway, poland, sweden, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

So about a month ago on Facebook I decided I would do an ABCs of black metal. It started out with me thinking I wanted to post Averse Sefira, and then it went from there. I figured I would document that here, in case anyone else was interested. I might do it for albums and songs too, someday. My goal was to pick bands that were not the obvious answer, and as a result I found some pretty cool stuff out there (I was not going to post Xasthur for X, for instance; I was determined to find something else, no matter how obscure). So here you go:

A is for Averse Sefira (US)

B is for Behexen (Finland- they have a new one out!)

C is for Craft (Sweden)

D is for Deathspell Omega (France- this might be the obvious choice for me, but it’s not Darkthrone)

[From the new EP]

E is for Enslaved (Norway)

[This one is also new]

F is for Funeral Mist (Sweden)

F is also for False (US)

[Minneapolis metal FTW]

G is for Gehenna (Norway)

H is for Hypothermia (Sweden)

I is for Inquisition (Colombia/US)

J is for Judas Iscariot (US)

K is for Krieg (US)

L is for Leviathan (US- I always forget Leviathan)

M is for Mgla (Poland)

[Also new. Gotta get this one. Wow]

N is for Nifelheim (Sweden)

O is for Ofermod (Sweden)

P is for Profanatica (US)

[The fun thing about Profanatica is trying to find a video without an image or title too offensive for Facebook]

Q is for Quintessence (France)

[This project was a lot of fun because it resulted in my discovery of great bands like Quintessence]

R is for Ragnarok (Norway)

S is for Samael (Switzerland)

[Love that video]

T is for Teitanblood (Spain)

U is for Urn (Finland)

V is for Velnias (US)

[Live in the woods]

W is for Winterfylleth (UK)

X is for Xerces (France)

Y is for Ye Goat-herd Gods (Canada- is that not the greatest name ever?)

Z is for The Zephyr (Mexico)

***

Well, that’s the list for that project. Like I said, I may do another one, and if I do I’ll post it here. Working on a post about French post-black/blackgaze metal for Thursday.

Until then,

Hagalaz

Band Spotlight: Inquisition (Colombia/US)

Posted in black metal, colombia, featured artist, underground, united states with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

I don’t expect any of my readers to remember this, but in a few weeks (on the 19th) I will be seeing Inquisition and Melechesh, two underground black metal bands that are both really remarkable in their own right (of course, I’ll also be seeing Ex Deo, Krisiun, and Septic Flesh, but that’s like dessert). Since they are pretty far underground, I decided I needed to do features on both these bands leading up to the show. First up, Inquisition, AKA “and you thought US black metal couldn’t be kvlt.”

Dagon, who is originally from the United States, formed Inquisition in 1988 in Cali, Colombia, while he was living there. The band started out as thrash metal, and then in the mid-90s shifted drastically to start playing raw black metal. Dagon moved back to the United States in 1996 in search of a drummer. That search resulted in Incubus joining the band, and thus the Inquisition we have come to know and love was born. Here sixteen years later, the lineup has not changed (Encyclopedia Metallum).

[This is what Inquisition’s early thrash stuff sounded like. This is *mostly* nothing like what they sound like now, but is an interesting artifact nonetheless]

Inquisition’s debut full-length album, Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult, came out in 1998, after two thrash demos and an EP and split portraying the beginnings of their black metal dalliances. By this point, the band had largely abandoned their thrash beginnings for black metal, though a lot of the riffage in the guitars still carries hints of Inquisition’s thrash background.

[Trve]

Inquisition’s music is characterized by Dagon’s croaky, frog-like vocals and musical cadences that switch from slower, sludgier passages to fast riffing and blast beats. In an interview with ThatsHowKidsDie.com, Dagon claimed that rather than the shrieks that are traditional to black metal, he wanted his vocals to sound more like an inhuman chant. He also added that he was flattered when people described his vocals as frog-like because his goal was for them to be as inhuman as possible.

[You can hear the thrashiness in the riffage here]

Also interesting about Inquisition is their use of corpsepaint, a tradition that has been less prevalent in USBM. The band’s lyrical themes explore Satanism, spirituality, and the cosmos, and Dagon argues that corpsepaint helps them to realize these goals. “[Corpsepaint] represents the fact that black metal is more than music and is a form of magic and ritual,” he claims. “It represents the fact that the spiritual self is unleashed” (ThatsHowKidsDie.com). Corpsepaint then, at least for Inquisition, symbolizes something more than simply a black metal fashion statement. The tiny ritualistic things that enter into black metal performance are fascinating, and one of the reasons why I love this subgenre so much.

[From Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer (2004)]

Another fun and cool aspect of Inquisition is their really impressive album artwork. The artwork is painted by Antichrist Kramer, who Dagon met in 2002 and asked to be Inquisition’s artist. He was interested in having someone do the album covers who was not working with any other bands, and who could evolve as the music evolved. As a result, Kramer has done the last few album covers for Inquisition, surrealist paintings with diabolical imagery (from ThatsHowKidsDie.com). I love that Inquisition has worked with the same artist for so long; as someone who considers the album artwork and liner work to be an essential part of the experience of black metal, it is cool to see a band working closely with a particular artist in the way that Inquisition does with Antichrist Kramer. Kramer’s work really encapsulates the essence of Inquisition, and it is as though the two art forms feed from each other.

[From 2007’s Nefarious Dismal Orations]

Inquisition’s newest album, which came out last year, is called Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm, and it is awesome (and speaking of album art, this is one of my all-time favorites). If you get a chance, you should really try to catch Inquisition on tour this fall. They will be opening on the Conquerors of the World Tour alongside Melechesh (who I will also feature on here soon), Ex Deo, and Krisiun in support of Septic Flesh. Despite the fact that Inquisition has been based in the United States since 1996, this upcoming tour is their first full North American tour. Ever. Now that Inquisition is one of your new favorite bands, you can understand how momentous an occasion this is. So get thee hence and buy yourself a ticket, because this is a huge deal. You’ll be a part of black metal history.

[Brilliant. And tell me that album art isn’t ribcage-tattoo worthy]

[Here’s some old footage, and a preview of what you’ll be missing if you don’t catch this tour]

Check out Inquisition. Stay true. Support the underground.

Until then,

Hagalaz