Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hornagest - Blask Pioruna demo '98


Today I am, once again, sharing with you rip of another one of my all time favorite tapes/demos and it is, once again, from Polish band. Hornagest was formed in 1996 in Kościerzyna, Poland and members weren't involved in many other bands, the ones they were involved with that I know of and have actually enjoyed at some point of my life would be very obscure melodic black metal band Angrenost and excellent death metal band Calvaria (I don't often enjoy death metal, but even considering that - I still must admit Calvaria is very enjoyable for me).

Hornagest only released two demos, and I've been after the first demo tape titled Z krainy zapomnienia... for many years but it was released in only 50 copies so it's very hard to get. The songs which are on this demo are also on that first Hornagest demo, but different versions of them which were (obviously) recorded in '97 and not in early '98 like Blask Pioruna demo was.

Hehe, I am starting to annoy myself writing similar stuff so many times, I really feel like I've already wrote "this is an excellent melodic black metal" million times, but I can't help it - I love melodic black and black metal Polish people created is and was more often melodic than not and that may be one of the reasons why I love that country as much as I do.

The thing is, I don't know how else to describe it without saying it's excellent or/and melodic because it is. I, once again, enjoy each and every part of this 36 minutes long demo, vocals and guitar riffs are great, and there's enough rawness in music to make me enjoy instead of cringe (yes, even though I love melodic black, I'm picky so if it's too melodic I don't like it at all). I think black metal should be brutal and extreme music, so there should always be some rawness in it if it's good, but too melodic is bad to me just like too brutal is. I have nothing against orthodox raw sounding bands like Bael for example, I enjoy that too, but raw black metal/ritual/noise and such is something which just bores me to death. Good and talented musicians will, in my opinion, almost always end up making melodic music because it is not easy/simple and it's much more of a challenge to express yourself through melodic and technical music, than to just make simple, raw black metal which basically has 2 main riffs in each song. From my perspective, intelligent and talented artists just can't help not to make their music melodic - and I do recognize the effort, time and talent behind such black metal music and that would be why I love more melodic side of black metal rather than orthodox even though orthodox is often technical too. Ah... I could go on about this for hours, but the point is - it's one of the reasons I love black metal - genre is so complex and there's at least a little bit of beauty in so many different styles while melodic is just more enjoable to me personally.

The tape was bought from Greek seller I mentioned several times before in my reviews, I paid 10€ for it and would pay even more if I had to because it's worth it. The glossy layout is colorful and pretty big with so much info, and I even got a sticker with it. The tape is regular with sticker. The shape or condition is good enough, but I can feel it's aged and I like that. I'm truly proud to have this demo tape in my physical collection and will never trade it or sell it (it's mine, my own, my preciousssss!). Hehe.

I feel time has come to end this review, I know I haven't said much even though I've wrote plenty but eh, I'm not really a philosopher, reviewer or poet so the conclusion is - this is one of the best Polish demos I've heard and I think most of people should like it. See for yourself if you enjoy it.

                      Download my tape rip (mp3@CBR320kbps + pics and scans) @ yadi.sk

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sarkel - The Last Glory demo '98


Sarkel was Polish pagan black metal band active in mid to late 90's and The Last Glory was the only demo they officially released until recently in 2016 when a compilation CD simply titled 1994-2002 was released by Hell is Here Production. This compilation contains all Sarkel material: this demo and other previously unreleased rehearsals. Unfortunately I haven't bought this CD yet, and rip of it hasn't leaked on web either so for now we only have this demo '98 to enjoy.

The Last Glory was originally self-released as cassette in '98, and then re-released by Nawia Productions (also as a tape) in 2000. What I have is the re-release which is regular tape with pro cover. I don't like cover artwork that much, it's kind of too boring and too normal. Also, tape's not hand-numbered so I've no idea how rare it actually is. People still sell this re-release on Discogs, and the price is low so grab it if you like it!

The demo contains 8 songs and lasts for almost 31 minutes including a short intro and an outro. The music is really enjoyable mid tempo keyboard driven black metal. Single thing I like the most about this demo is how loud the bass is, I wonder if it's only me always paying so much attention to bass sound and bass lines; maybe the result of that is me thinking bass sounds louder here than on most other black metal demos - but I can hardly even notice the vocals, 80% of what my brain registers while listening to this demo are bass and keyboards. It may be because I used to, long ago, play both of those instruments, who knows?
I also can't single out anything that's bad about the demo - for me, everything is exactly on it's place.

Let's just make conclusions even though I could write about this demo for another hour, I do feel very inspired by it. So - what we have here is interesting atmospheric black metal mixed with pagan black metal and it's obvious that Sarkel had lots of potential - song structures are interesting, little bit complex and technical which makes me able to listen to this demo many times again and again without getting bored. Each instrument is very well played - especially keyboards which just proves Sarkel wasn't some forgotten band which released one boring demo with simple unoriginal music like many other bands obsure as Sarkel sometimes are... I really think there's nothing that could had been done better here, everything is very good and even though this isn't one of my all time favorite Polish demos, that's not because the demo isn't good enough but because Polish people just make so much amazing music. Recommended!

Edit: I've just found the 2016 Sarkel compilation to download in flac, I will add it to web this evening, but I won't be reviewing it on my blog. If you're registered on metalarea site, you will be able to download it from there after I add it. :)

                      Download my tape rip (mp3@CBR320kbps + pics and scans) @ yadi.sk

Thursday, March 16, 2017

De Occulta Philosophia - Obscura Simphonia demo '95


De Occulta Philosophia was a symphonic black metal band from Milan, Italy formed in 1994 and this demo is their only release. I discovered this band years ago thanks to Velkaarn's blog, I really enjoyed it and recently a seller I was ordering some other tapes from was selling this demo too and for very fair price so I just couldn't resist not buying it!

Everything about this demo and this band is just the way I like it - from the colorful cover artwork, band's funny picture on metal archives (just looking at pictures like this one makes me feel warm around my heart), also the band being obscure mid 90's Italian sympho black which in my world translates to "interesting and potentially amazing", and the music itself is just my cup of tea - it is very melodic with dominating keyboards and very good enjoyable vocals.
This tape was released by label called  Beyond... Productions as a pro cover + pro tape but it's not hand numbered so I've no idea how limited it is. I noticed that the band, on the layout, thanks to bands which inspired them: Cradle of Filth, Slayer and Rotting Christ. I do like Rotting Christ! But this demo, for me, is much more enjoyable than Cradle of Filth and I don't really get reminded that much of Cradle of Filth listening to this demo. I am reminded of Evol though, and I really love Evol. I'm even somehow reminded of legendary Mortuary Drape at some parts, which is of course a good thing!

Anyway, rip of this demo has been circulating the web thanks to brother Velkaarn, so some of you may have heard it before, and today I'm just sharing my own rip of it - afterall, I never said my blog is only about sharing demo rips that haven't leaked before, I said it's about music I enjoy and I enjoy this demo a lot. Even though the band is obscure and has only released one half-hour long demo tape, De Occulta Philosophia has a special place in my heart so I'd really recommend listening to this, especially if you enjoy melodic black metal.

                     Download my tape rip (mp3@CBR320kbps + pics and scans) @ yadi.sk

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Skoll - Through the Mist We Come Back album '99


Skoll is in my opinion one of the best Italian black metal bands. Band was formed in '94 under the name Ragnarok, changed name to Skoll in '95 and released first demo in '96. Members were involved in many other bands, you can check all of them on metal archives so I won't talk about that too much, I'll just say that from all the bands members were involved with, Huginn is my favorite and you should check that band out!

Skoll is still active and so far they've released 4 full-length albums, 3 compilations, 1 ep, 2 splits and 2 demos. What I'm sharing is their first full-length album and it was self-released as a CD and as hand-numbered tape limited to 300 copies by French Chanteloup Creations. What I have of course is the tape, and it's the usual Chanteloup tape - regular dubbed cassette and glossy cover printed on one side only. Plenty of people are still selling this tape on Discogs, and it's cheap so buy it if you enjoy it.

The rip of this first full-length hasn't leaked on web until now, and on it Skoll still sounds the way they did before they changed their style later in 2000s. Skoll now, actually for over a decade, plays viking black metal but their early style was much better in my opinion.
Whenever I listen to Skoll, I listen to old stuff from them so I'm really not an expert when it comes to their newer work as I haven't listened to it properly, maybe only once. I probably should have listened to entire discography again before writing this review but I just didn't feel like it.

The first full-length album continues and kind of completes the first demo which you must listen. Oh, ...in the Mist I Saw... demo is truly pure perfection; I've heard many good 90's demos but that one is one of those that I keep coming back to, and never get tired of. Each moment of the first demo is so good, so fucking enjoyable and interesting and so, so beautiful, the keyboards are so playful and gloomy! Seriously, listen to that demo.

There are 7 songs on this album and it (only) lasts for a bit over 30 minutes. The style is keyboard driven atmospheric dark black metal. 
Vocals are in pretty raw black metal style, mixed with some cleaner speaking parts, nothing too exceptional and too special but they fit the music very well. 
The music is what's special about this album, I haven't heard such good, dark and melodic music in long time: from programmed drums which aren't annoying or bad at all, to excellent guitar riffs and powerful and loud bass lines. I love it when bass is actually louder than guitar, and it doesn't happen often but it happened on this album and I'm glad it did.
The synths are what makes this album as good as it is, and - I know I'll probably never say this again but - synths remind of Grausamkeit. Grausamkeit is very unique band and that's mostly due to synths, and I've never really heard a band which has such similar synths to Grausamkeit as Skoll does. It's just the style of playing, the melodies, they are done the way Grausamkeit used to make. The production is, of course, much better than Grausamkeit. Except of Grausamkeit, synths also remind me of very obscure band from Brazil called Evocation which released one demo which became one of my all time favorite demos because it is extremely powerful and atmospheric.

My favorite part of the album is the last song A Vision of War Through the Mist which is too perfect to even try to describe. The combination of fast paced black metal and excellent riffs with mid-tempo atmospheric parts on synths just makes this song one of my favorite, if not the favorite, Skoll song.

The conclusion is - Skoll is a very good band, but their early material was the best by far and I really recommend listening to this album and the first demo because they are both excellent.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lukemborg - Forau demo '97


Lukemborg was a Swedish black metal band formed in 1995, they released 3 demos before splitting-up in 1999. I'm sharing my rip of their first demo so people can listen to this band. I've also listened to other two demos and they were short but sounded okay, probably enjoyed them more than this first demo.

Forau tape I got is a dub of the original tape, so it's not an actual original like I believed when I was ordering it. The cover layout I got is good, so I scanned it and took pictures of the tape and included in the archive I'm sharing, like I normally do. The main problem is - the tape (once again) plays on one channel only, I'm sorry for that. If you have a rip of this demo which plays on both channels, please let me know.

The style is pure Swedish black metal, pretty standard and heard-before-million-times kind of black metal, but still okay and pleasant to listen to. The production is okay-ish, vocals are actually better than average, the tempo is mostly fast-paced with some slower parts, guitar parts are pretty melodic in usual Swedish 90's way, and even the bass is loud enough to be noticeable. Song structures are interesting and each song doesn't sound like the previous one which makes this an okay demo, especially if you like your black metal pure and cold.

Would I recommend this demo? Well, it's not bad, that's for sure. Is it good? Not for me, no. And it's way too short as well, only lasts for 12 minutes. It's average. It's actually exactly what I expected, it sounds the way I had predicted before I even heard it. So, basically, it's okay and that's it. Download it if you're curious and like Swedish black metal.

                       Download my tape rip (mp3@CBR320kbps + pics and scans) @ yadi.sk