Monday, May 6, 2013

GONZO CATATONIC DOOMHEAD

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GONZO CATATONIC DOOMHEAD
A heretic capture of Copenhagen's HEAVY DAYS IN DOOMTOWN
02.05.2013-05.05.2013
København, DENMARK
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Flow, my tears, Sylvia said. Sylvia had just come out of CONAN's performance and she was shaking and shedding tears of joy. That's how intense the performance had been. That sound engineer sure as hell knew what he was doing, too. I'd never seen somebody cry because of a heavy metal show. This event changed quite a few of my perceptions and misconceptions on what a heavy metal is, the potential it has, and the effects it can have on your mind.

Doom metal is a very special branch off the great heavy metal tree. The music is slow, solitary, and repressed. When other metal subgenres just blast away at thousands of beats per minute, doom metal sits there in its cage choking under its own unmanageable gravity. "It's too much man, too much too much" as that rotten attorney of Hunter S. Thomspon's would have put it.

Festivals, however, do not quite cut it for me anymore. I try to do one festival a year, and it's mostly to catch up with my heavy metal people. I don't get to see them all that often these days. A metalfest is a wonderful excuse to do just that. But what does cut it these days? That is tough to answer. There are not that many things to cling on to as I see it. Music provides an easy anwser to the quest for identity. It is hard, and painful, to be nothing but your naked self. Music, arts, football teams (just sayin), dress styles, drinks, hobbies, ideologies, they all ingeniously cover one's soul like a silk blanket. Once one stops using all these identity supplements semi-religiously - like I have done with Heavy metal and hardcore punk for about 15 years - one finds oneself staring at the void.

Only the void is not staring back.

So what is left, then, of the self, if you strip it off all these culture supplements? What do people fall in love with, if not the collection of all that, even if the sum is - potentially - bigger than its parts? I do not know the answer to that but I would be very curious to find out.

They say timing is everything, and I usually agree with this statement. I generally dislike sweeping generalizations, and the presence of the word "everything" is a clear indication that this is one very good example. So let's just say that timing is extremely important and sometimes it can be almost "everything". At the doomfest, timing was neither on GRAVES AT SEA's, nor SHADOW OF THE TORTURER's side. Both band had balls the size of the twin towers before Osama's buddies decided to refurbish them. But played after MOURNFUL CONGREGATION. It was too much to take in. My friends and I, we had no space left; our soul was used up thoroughly, spent over the course of the last two days, feasting in an endless frenzy of beer, weed, talks with randoms, photos with the brown hat, marveling - as DEPHOSPHORUS would have put it - at the great starless canvas above us. So when GRAVES and SOTT took the stage all we could do is admit that we couldn't handle it and hope that the bands would understand. We were certain that they would.

 
Now, I am not the most politically sensitive person on the planet but I do get sensitive when it comes to immigration. It's not just that I have lived many years as an immigrant myself; it is a deeper desire to link and protect with the most unfortunate of my fellow citizens. Those who are last in the queue and have nothing to cling on. Immigration is one of the great equalizing forces in this god forsaken planet, so that the massive accumulations of power can eventually be lessened out.

I live in the nice part of town in an old house with a garden. But, one god forsaken day, I decided that I want to move flats. I have always had a bizarre desire to pick a derelict area to live in. I always felt a bit of a hypocrite with my rhetoric on solidarity to the immigrants and the unfortunate, while living in a nice neighborhood myself and thought that if I ever want to take myself seriously I should take personal responsibility and align myself with the most neglected of my fellow citizens. I went online, spotted a flat in the worst neighborhood of the inner city, went to inspect it and booked it already the next day. It's kind of hard to describe just how bad this neighborhood is. It's really ran-down, with plenty of extreme right wing nutjobs plus huge numbers of illegal immigrants, junkies (but note here that we are talking junkies at the point of no return, with open wounds, pardon me for being graphic), Christian fanatics, bitter old farts, homeless vagabonds, and various other assorted (low)-lifeforms.

I did all this alone without asking anybody else's opinion on the project, and was quite excited about the move. However, when I started mentioning this decision to friends and family, everybody more than raised an eyebrow and started worrying. About safety, and how they hell they could ever come visit. I started receiving large quantities of negative energy regarding this from everybody, more than I could possible manage. And I had to give up on this project. There will always, be a part of me that is disappointed at me for not being enough of an idealist (martyr?).

While we are at the immigration topic, FUCK YOU band member performing Saturday - you know who you are, I won't say any names - for blaming your misfortunes on the Polish and Romanian immigrants, who are happy to do 16-hour shifts when you only want to do 8.

 
As Oscar Wilde put it "To appreciate good wine, one does not have to down the whole barrel". This is precisely what Shawn and I did when BELL WITCH took the stage . We sampled BELL WITCH for about 20'. The quality of the material was outstanding. We needed no more. Bought the t-shirt. The t-shirt kicked ass, too. This all happened at the small stage over at Copenhagen's legendary youthouse. To be precise, that particular building is not legendary as it was offered to the youths by the government. The previous one, the one at Jegtvej however, is indeed a legendary squat; it being claimed by a religious organization in 2007 triggered what reportedly were the worst riots Copenhagen has seen in decades.

Just how many metal t-shirts can one own and be eventually happy with their collection? I keep losing my fucking t-shirts. It's not that I give them away to friends or leave them deliberatly in pockets of airplane seats, like I did with PKD's outstanding "Flow, my tears, the policeman said" on my way to Copenhagen. My metal tees simply tend to disappear. I had a beautiful FUCK ON THE BEACH t-shirt - bought in Japan - in 2005 but I have no idea where it's gone. I had more. Had a white GALLHAMMER t-shirt, perhaps the only white metal tee I have ever owned. Well that is not counting my first custom made CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and WHITE ZOMBIE tees when I was 17. I had LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR, NACHTMYSTIUM and much more. Wish they are happy wherever they are.

Then there was the other thing. One hot summer day, I de-sleeved all my metal t-shirts. Took off the damn sleeves. Every single one of them. TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION, YACOPSAE, MAGRUDERGRIND, the lot. So when autumn came, I had no metal t-shirts left. It's a truly frustrating feeling, having no metal t-shirts to put on, when you feel you are at the crossroads of misanthropy: A plain black t-shirt will not suffice, but the right metal tee will work wonders.

 
As luck would have it, MOURNFUL CONGREGATION's performance coincided with the Orthodox Easter's culmination moment, which is celebrated precisely at midnight on Good Saturday. The Australians took the stage, sombre, faithful to their own handle, and delivered all of us punters from the evils of this world. The guitars wept for what felt like hours; it was captivating, and liberating at the same time. Theirs was one of the best gigs I have seen in my life. Some were breathtaking, like GRIEF's performance in Loppen, Copenhagen in 2010, if memory serves.

Thank you, from the heart, Copenhagen and HDDT crew, for having us; thank you for putting this feast together for us. It was our honor to be there. You inspired us, and reminded us of the good things in life. Hugs, laughs with friends, a few beers too many. A few moments in that corner of the world, on that mellow Saturday night, somewhere between people who had passed out, empty beer cans, and grim-looking vinyl records, were enough to give us immense chills.

We bit our lips and promised to throw ourselves, afresh, out there in the minefields of the world that we love to hate.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Hell Comes Home 7"EP subscription club: LAUNCH OFFER \\\ €10.- OFF /// VALID UNTIL MAY 31, 2011

If you are a vinyl lover you should definitely consider subscribing to this 7"EP club! You can pay in one go or over three months. For more info: www.hellcomeshome.com

<<" March 2012 consecutively, each subscription will receive two new splits 7-inch vinyl with new and original artwork in the post every month... And because life is good the first package will include an exclusive t-shirt along with a special limited edition box to complete the set.


Volume 1 features: Akaname (AUS/NZ) • Black Sun (UK) • Burning Love (CAN) • Coffinworm (USA) • Dead Elephant (IT) • Dephosphorus (GR) • Dopefight (UK) • Dukatalon (ISR) • Fight Amp (USA) • Fistula (USA) • The Fucking Wrath (USA) • Great Falls (USA) • Kowloon Walled City (USA) • Lesbian (USA) • Mose Giganticus (USA) • Pyramido (SWE) • Rabbits (USA) • Suma (SWE) • The Swan King (USA) • Tellusian (SWE) • Thou (USA) • Throat (FIN) • Ultraphallus (BE) • Union Of Sleep (DE)

In short your subscription includes:

24 exclusive and unreleased songs from 24 bands
• 12 splits 7-inch vinyl in a special limited edition box
• Digital coupons of high quality mp3’s (320 kbps) with each vinyl
• An exclusive t-shirt
• Original artwork & design by Kuba Sokolski>>>

Monday, May 2, 2011

OUTLAND

OUTLAND is a new exciting video game for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 available exclusively as a digital download for the moment.

I am a fan of old-school 2D action/platformers and this one got me really happy.

First of all it has top notch, high quality aesthetics and presentation, starting as a mystical trip into the jungle guided by a shaman.

Then the mechanics are precise and accurate. It is part of the new generation of action/platformers such as BRAID, LIMBO, SUPER MEATBOY, SHADOW COMPLEX, combining great story & characters with a meaty playground.

OUTLAND will please for sure fans of old METROID and CASTLEVANIA games. The areas to explore are huge and the learning curve is smooth.

The novelty here for this kind of game is a polarity system a la IKARUGA which combined with bullet hell-style obstacles add a totally interesting twist to the gameplay and the aesthetics.

For the moment I am still at the beginning so I cannot really go in depth, but what I can say for the moment is that this one is a jewel, as well as a slap in the face for the old men whining that "video games are not done anymore like they used to".

I bought it for Xbox 360 and 800 M$ points is a very reasonable amount.



Saturday, April 30, 2011

CAVE STORY


If you're into gaming you must have heard of CAVE STORY (DOUKUTSU MONOGATARI) by now. It's a great japanese platformer/RPG developped initially on the PC circa 2004 and distributed for free! It's in the veins of the early 2D installments of the Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man, The Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania series. It is an important influence for other contemporary indie games, such as the wonderful Braid.

It was met with such public and critical acclaim that it's been ported since to most popular platforms: Mac OS X, AMIGA OS 4, Linux, PSP, GP2, original Xbox & even adapted for the Texas Instruments TI-83/84 Plus scientific calculators! All those versions as freeware.

The Wii (Wiiware) and Nintendo DS (DSiware) ports are commercial versions but most will agree that the author, Daisuke Amaya (aka Studio Pixel), deserves some cash at the end of the day...

The inconvenience of playing the Windows version is that is configured by default to be playable on the keyboard. When I was younger I actually played action games on the keyboard, but not anymore, it is pure masochism! If you want to play with a gamepad, you'll have to configure it by running DoConfig.exe. You must click on "Use Gamepad". Underneath you have a matrix which represents the button maps. You must basically try to figure out which action corresponds to which button or trigger on your controller by trial & error: extremely user unfriendly! Alternatively you can use one of those utilities who map the keyboard keys to your gamepad but I did not want to bother.

Anyway, ideally I wanted to play Cave Story with my gamer's pride: the X-arcade dual tankstick. No fuckin'way! The beast being programmable, I will try one day to map the keys but maybe not: alternatively I can upload the game to one of my two original Xboxes and play it with the tankstick after hooking it up using the Xbox adapter (I have the old, standalone version but nowadays you can purchase the 2in1: PS3 + Xbox adapter).

Since I'm not playing much on the PC, the other solution was a wired Xbox 360 controller. Luckily there is a comprehensive mapping guide in configuring it, actually posted on an excellent Linux blog, Helpful Linux Tidbits! Eventhough it's been written for the Linux version, the same mapping applies for the Windoze version. You will find it here, complete with pictures and everything.

If you manage to do the mapping for other controllers/gamepads, please let us know! Until then, if you're caught by gadget consumerism you should know that a 3D version of Cave Story is being prepped for the Nintendo 3DS and will be available on the 9th of August!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

THE HOWLING WIND "Into The Cryosphere" review



Me and some other devotees have been expecting this album since 2006, the year when has been released the swan song of Thralldom, “A Shaman Steering The Vessel Of Vastness”. After their break up, guru Ryan Lipynsky (Unearthly Trance, Villains) has formed The Howling Wind with a similar line-up, ie. him on guitars/bass/vocals/noises plus a drummer. In this particular case, another cult figure of the US underground has joined forces: Τim Call from Parasitic Records and Alderbaran. “Into The Cryosphere” is such a pleasant surprise because the band’s debut “Pestilence And Peril” was good but not exceptional.

 

The Howling Wind are playing the exact kind of music and of black metal that I want to hear, and with “Into The Cryosphere” they are imposing themselves amongst the very best of ALL TIME. Lipynsky has conceived this album as a primeval voyage in Antarctica, not from a banal Νational Geographic-like perspective, but from the mystic/symbolic side of things.

 

The result chills the soul as music has rarely achieved. I believe that quite a few of the older black metal fans have to be submerged in such a way since the era of the early Dark Throne albums. “Into The Cryosphere” has the frozen aura of the familiar/classic, a part of it being based upon the aforementionned norwegians, but also upon Bathory, some particular Swiss and Autopsy. Tracks like “Teeth Of Frost”, give us hints of early Unearthly Trance, which make us hope for their return back to the roots.

 

Familiar, yet alien. Scattered ambient/noise invocations constitute an important part of the arsenal. The atmosphere of the album is inhuman, introvert, minimal and majestic. Its listening cuts you down instantly. Your wounds will remind you of riffs such as the sublime grandeur of instrumental number “Impossible Eternity”, the awesome thrash-iness of “A Dead Galaxy Mirrored In An Ice Mirage”, and the guitar solos-curses of “Ice Cracking In The Abyss” and “Will Is The Only Fire Under An Avalanche”.

 

Like you must have understood by the songtitles alone, the album concept leads into deep waters – the lyrics will be studied thorougly by the more perseverant. The artwork is austere but fuctional, while the logo has been designed by the allies of the band, our very own visionaries Viral Graphics.

PFL, PO Box 12046, Mississauga, Ontario, L5C 4R7 Canada, www.profoundlorerecords.com

http://www.myspace.com/thehowlingwind

http://sincontinuum.blogspot.com/

 

·        Review by Panos Agoros, originally published in greek language for the column “Underground Kommandoz” of Metal Hammer Greece issue#309 (September 2010), used with kind permission.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

GREEK SCENE REPORT 2007 --- Burnt By The Sun: The new extreme Greek scene

  • DISCLAIMER

This report was commissioned by Terrorized magazine back in 2007. They did not publish it and I was not communicated the reasons why - except that somebody in their headquarters fucked up and assigned a part of this project (black metal to be exact) to somebody else. I think it's about time that it gets out of my drawer.

Some of its content is outdated, since it was written 3 years ago... All the bands mentionned are worth checking out even if some of them do no longer exist. I've put a lot of time, effort and all my heart into it. I love the Greek scene and I've tried hard to support and promote it ever since I started Chaotik Webzine - back in November 1995. If you take the time to read it please comment. If the response is positive then a 2010/2011 version might see the light of day. 

Last but not least, you'll notice that I write about the bands/projects that I was involved with back at the time Straighthate, Paraside, Kommpound, Blast Beat Mailmurder/Prod). This self-promotion was supposed to be handled deontologically by a short bio of myself which would mention them as part of my activities. So, it's not that I would write about my bands in a sneaky way.

  • INTRO

The age of innocence is long gone for Greek  hard/extreme music. After the glorious era of the late 80’s/early 90’s, when bands from Hellas such as Rotting Christ, Necromantia, Varathron, Nightfall, Septic Flesh have had quite an impact on the underground scene proposing a fresh and mystic sound, creative sterility and low standards have been pretty much all that most of the new bands who came after them had to offer. A new breed of Greek bands is here though - and they kill everything! Hopefully this article will make you want to dig under the sunny façade of ouzo and tzatziki – Hell-as is here!

  • BACKGROUND

Greece has had until now a timid contribution to the worldwide extreme and hard music scenes. The country being located in the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East, separated from central Europe (where things are happening for metal) by the Balkans. Evolution in music -and in general- has always arrived around here delayed and distorted. In the 80’s the metal shows from foreign bands were extremely rare. Quite naturally, most local bands didn’t have a clue and the newborn local metal scene was dominated by ultra-kitsch. When the country finally has entered the metal map with its share of influential second wave of black metal bands and later on with a bundle of noteworthy atmospheric doom/death acts, few bands have taken advantage of the momentum to pursue a durable career. Actually there has been only one: Rotting Christ.

The christian conservatism of Greek society, the mandatory military service, the ridiculously low salaries versus the cost of life, the obligatory Greek lyrics that any musician aspiring to a serious career must have, are some of the factors explaining why being a professional metal musician in Greece is a utopia. Under these terms, it’s not surprising that guys such as Nightrage, Firewind, Biomechanical’s John K. sought a better chance abroad...

  •  BAND FEATURES

 DEAD CONGREGATION

What is like to play death metal in Greece? A.V., the guitarist/vocalist of Dead Congregation, one of the finest Greek metal bands of today, declares: “Death Metal is something that springs from within and manifests esoterical powers; it’s the channel that links the worldly with uncanny dimensions. So it doesn’t matter if you play in Greece, in any other country or in your basement. That’s how we perceive it.”  Their debut album will be soon released by Nuclear War Now!, what should we expect? “Graves Of The Archangels” should be finally available by the end of this year. It is consisted of 9 odes to Blasphemy, Darkness and Death , artwork is done yet again by Timo Ketola, who has also contributed lyrics for  two of the songs. MkM of Antaeus fame has also written one for us. Expect pure Death Metal Massacre. There are also plans for a split 7”EP with Hatespawn from Germany.” 

 






Sonichaos Aeon is possibly the most cult underground Greek band. Ninja-singer 9:Death Of The East:9 tells us that is all about: “Cool music. Mostly heavy. David Mack’s comic books.Sho Kosugi movies. Documentaries about Buddy Rich and the fine art of drum-kit desecration. We steal from the best!!!” The band has a certain exotic character, but the term being subjective, what does this mean to them? Is there a way to sort out the exotic from the kitsch bands? “We’re the kind of people who acknowledge that a surf-rocking riff can have parallel dynamics, or even common spiritual roots, with a loooong, uncut, railroady-track blackmetal riff. I don’t know if that’s exotic for you. To us, it’s crystal-clear. Separating the exotic from the kitsch is pretty much a matter of consumer subjectivity. My idea of kitsch is putting two inverted crosses on your band’s logo so it looks symmetrical -and claim to praise chaos!!! Mayhem excluded.”

What about local bands who don’t want to be known by locals and refuse contact with most of the scenesters here... Can he understand this? “Frankly, no. It kinda reminds me of the general up-tightness of German people about all things Nazi. Relax people! Every country had its share of trend-jumping, character-void bands in the past. Concealing identity and origin, changing your name from, say, Piotr Warzawzychklikz to Terry Suspenders is so ‘80s. A Guilt trip does not a scene improve.”

What comes next is “an album-length demo called “Trabuki:The Living Hell Of Sonichaos Aeon”. Thrash metal with cool chorus lines and a pinch of Commodore 64-SID sound. Thrash Metal with synths !”

RAVENCULT

Ravencult’s debut album “Temples Of Torment” (Karisma Records/Dark Essence Records) is one of the finest examples of modern Greek black metal. Ravencult, like Greek black metal in general, had to redefine themselves by taking a step back from the established Rotting Christ formula. Bass player S. confirms: “Things are possibly are like that, if you consider that the original incarnation of what has what been known as “Greek black metal” stopped to exist around 1995, twelve years ago. It took Ravencult five years and a few demos to establish their current style. This path has included in the beginning the passage from the Greek sound and as time was passing by, it faded away. It wasnt done on purpose, but rather as a result of natural evolution and redefinition of our collective expression.” 

Playing classic northern black metal, one can safely bet that killer riffs are more important to Ravencult that originality… We don’t try to reinvent the wheel throughout our music but to play pure black metal, fanatically attached to the true roots and authentic feeling, adapted to contemporary reality.” The band is currently composing its second album, which most likely will be recorded next summer at Mølla studio with Knut Valle (Arcturus).  

 

HIBERNATION

Greece has been widely known for a strong DIY punk/crust scene. Hibernation is the most notorious band continuing this tradition. Their music is soaked in melancholy, often accompanied by synths. How much is this related with the country? “It is indeed linked with the Greek reality but also with the worldwide situation”, guitarist/vocalist Alekos responds. “As a worker and a parent I live the humiliation and disgust of this country and the majority  of its inhabitants. How can the youth survive with meaningless salaries, huge expensiveness, without social benefits, health system, education, justice? Modern Greeks stay apathetic towards the non-existing human relations, the loneliness, the alienation, the assault of televisual studpidity, the burned forests, the poisoned rivers… How not feel a sadness considering all this? And of course, it’s not happening only here but all over the world. We also express anger and a voice of resistance, as well as a message of unity and cooperation with those that fight…” Hibernation, like all bands of this scene sing in Greek, which obviously “allows a more direct connection with the local audience. On the other hand all of our records have been released by foreign labels, and to both of our European tours we realized that people like the fact that we sing in Greek.” The band is currently playing shows in Greece and has plans for tours in the US and in Europe, as well as for a 7”EP. [hibernation_hc@yahoo.com]

 

SUN OF NOTHING

Sun Of Nothing popped out of nowhere and changed the way everybody (including the locals) perceived Greek metal. With mentors stated by guitarist Yannis such as Electric Wizard,Neurosis,Carl Michael Eide,Varg Vikernes,Shora,Cult Of Luna,Joy Division,The Melvins,Aldrahn's vocals,Breach,Stephen O'Malley,Cliff Burton,Peter Murphy,Roger Syd Barrettand a singer “who makes Dani Filth sound like Pavarotti” (like a webzine so sharply remarked), they indulge into majestic yet crude sonic excess. What can somebody immediately point out is the cyclothymia of their compositions. Its origin can be traced “back when we were composing the songs of our debut "And Voices, Words, Faces Complete The Dream" we were actually starting to realise how the world around us works, and how the image of the world we had as kids or teenagers collapsed giving away the real thing, plus the realisation that a lot of our dreams were probably futile. We tried to describe this through music; since then we had various experiences as individuals and as a band, that enhanced the past realisations and feelings.” And how is it to be a young person in Greece anyway? “It sucks major ass”. 

 

FAMILY BATTLE SNAKE

Greece might sound as an improbable destination for noise music in the first place, but the reality is rather different. UK-based act Family Battle Snake, are amongst the most active Greek noise acts. Bill Kouligas initiates us to the whereabouts of this scene: “Oldest and favorite label is by far Absurd. Nicolas Malevitsis is one of the first people who got into the scene. He started as a huge gore/grindcore fan and slowly turned towards experimental/noise .  I should also mention Ilios/Antifrost (ed-also located abroad) , P.S.Stamps Back/Cities in Desolation/Croatan Ensemble/tiltrecordings.org, Nokalypse/Triple Bath, Mecha-Orga/Echo Music, Tasos Stamou, Red Needled Sea/Heavensore, nixilx.nijilx, Dead Traveler, Wand & The Princess and many more I must be forgetting.”  

To what extent did the country itself influenced F.B.S.? Material such as the limited release "Larvae" has a majestic/dramatic overtone that can beam somehow the listener back to ancient Greece and beyond… “Nowadays urban surroundings don’t necessarily provide such a heavy influence: with the web, the location itself doesn’t matter so much. However there are inevitable influences from my environment over the years. "Larvae" is a mixture of different influences. The use of reed instruments  is inspired by some traditional roots, not only Greek but also some other far out weird sounds from places like Cambodia, Java/Bali, Laos, etc) and the whole free form of jazz. One thing for sure is that the UK is fertile ground for creativity. There are more opportunities to be active and it is a lot easier to travel and play shows.” Furthermore, what are the duo’s ambitions and intents? “To keep being creative and to run naked in the wind.” 

  •   GENRE BREAKDOWN

BLACK METAL

Greek black metal is back! A new generation of black hearts found its own way, getting past the obligatory Rotting Christ syndrome. Some seriously dark vibes are in play here. This new breed sounds less exotic than the forefathers, but a lot more extreme and crude.  Naer Mataron is a name that should be familiar to a lot of you. They are the best known band of this generation, very Norwegian sounding indeed - plus  they got harsher over the years. Same thing applies to Ravencult, one of the finest exports for the genre. End have been on hiatus for the last couple of years, but they are responsible for some of the most chilling and grim black metal sounds that have ever been recorded in Hellas. Check out their self-titled mini-CD and the awesome debut album “II” (both out at Iso666)! Two of their members play now with Sun Of Nothing, and the latest news are they’re getting back together. Burial Hordes are amongst the most brutal in the bunch… Their debut “War Revenge and Total Annihilation” (Asphyxiate Recordings) is a punishing and unrelenting experience for fans of Carpathian Forest, Cadaver, Aura Noir, and (old) Mayhem. They will release their next album on Pulverised Records.   Injekting Khaos are another great brutal outfit, but they are more influenced by the French scene - especially Antaeus and Arkhon Infaustus. Their first official release is the sweet self-released mini-CD “Salvation Through Violence ”.  Acrimonious are a lot influenced by all things orthodox. They have a bunch of solid and consistent releases with fine majestic riffing and bombastic drums. Their debut full-length is scheduled on Ajna Offensive.  This Is Past is a new one-man band, pretty much in the psychedelic veins of Ved Buens Ende, Virus. Their debut album is expected to display appropriately their intents. Wormspit is another new black metal act influenced by Dodheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende, Thorns, on top of the usual Norwegian classics. Goat Vomit  excel in the art of chaotic chainsaw black metal in the likes of Blasphemy, Beherit, etc. A handful of ominous releases helped them get a reputation in the relevant underground circles. Dodsferd’s new album “Cursing Your Will To Live” out at Moribund Records, is a lot better than their previous efforts, with nice riffs and everything. Check them out if you can’t get enough of claustrophobic black metal…

  DEATH METAL

It’s almost embarrassing to say but Greeks have never been good at playing pure death metal... There have been a few exceptions of corpse and old tape-traders still remember Death Courrier, Stigma, Septicemia, Sadictic Noise. With the new millennium a new era has dawned. Inveracity ‘s debut demo "Defeated Humans Raped" settled the score in the age 2000. This kind of brutal death metal  onslaught was something unheard in the country. One cult split 10”EP/MCD with Swedes Insision and a fantastic debut CD ("Circle Of Perversion") helped them secure a deal with US’ Unique Leader Records. Their brand new offering, “Extermination Of Millions” confirms a band that stands out with a focus on killer riffs and frenetic beats. Many remarkable acts have followed the way that Inveracity paved. Vulnus convince with their American style and mentors such as Dying Fetus, Vile, Disgorge. Their debut release is a luxurious digi-book split-CD with Brazilian porno-grind combo I Shit On Your Face.  Extreme Violence from Lamia, destroyed everything with the amazing debut album “Ecstasy In Pain” out at New York’s Sevared Records. Mass Infection are from Livadia and have developed a quite personal sound. Their debut CD “Atonement For Iniquity” has an unpolished and thrashy edge a la Malevolent Creation and Deicide. The fans of ultra-brutality will appreciate Atavism from Volos. They are big fans of Mortician and also have a touch of Brodequin. You can find at the appropriate distros several splits of them with other obscure gore bands. Blustery Caveat from Larissa play US-style brutal death  metal  a la Hateplow, Deeds Of Flesh, and these dudes blast just fine. A 7”EP is due out soon as well as their debut CD at Revenge Productions. Human Rejection will appeal to the fans of guttural death  metal. Their debut CD “Torture Of Decimation” is out now.Cerebrum are another new band but more technical and Soulskinner are Thou Art Lord vocalist Gothmog’s death metal band. Necrovorous hate modernity, and worship instead everything related to Hellhammer and Autopsy. Sickening Horror was until recently the technical and jazzy local band for which Nile drummer’s John Kollias was drumming for... 

 NEW HELLENIC EXTREME SOUND: hardcore,grind,sludge,drone,noise

 Partly because of the obsession of the local audience and distributors with classic metal, the modern heavy sounds of the 90’s, as well as metallic hardcore, remained largely underground in Greece. Around the end of the century, fans for whom hardcore and grind were points of reference, started out a new scene. Nowadays they blend a diverse spectrum of influences and these combinators do not hesitate to associate elements that initially appear hard to put together tastefully (like say, black metal with hardcore). Eerie soundscapes versus sheer brutality anyone? Please also notice, that recurrently  the surrounding musical tradition (Mediterranean, black sea) often shines through…

 Innermost are one of the bands that started the local metallic hardcore scene. Forged with healthy amounts of Kickback, Converge, Earth Crisis, Carharsis influences, they released a couple of inspiring demos, the second one of those, "Menschenkenntnis" is so good that it is a shame it never made it as a professional release. The band currently rehearses material which is more progressive and extreme. Straighthate is a unit in the heart of the modern Greek sound. Past and current members of numerous bands mentioned in these pages have served their dues amidst their ranks. After dramatic line-up changes, the band crafted a supersonic, relentless concoction of death/grind/hardcore with a touch of psychedelia. Definitely very Swedish sounding indeed, they’ve been described as the golden section between Nasum, Breach, and Napalm Death. 2007’s “Indigenous” debut CD is already praised as a local classic.  Stagnate are also part of this generation. In their early days they were playing killer metalcore in the veins of Stampin’Ground or Unearth. They have gradually turned into a death metal act and the news are that they’re getting even more brutal.  Konkave are another local hardcore band that has evolved a lot. Their mini-CD “Idiocy Mode” was all about tasteful aggression with black metal vokills a la Zao, Converge, Burnt By The Sun. A debut album will be out soon, displaying a wide array of soundscapes - from Anodyne to Enslaved and everything in between. Vodka Juniors have had a lot to do with the current shape of the Greek punk/hardcore scene. They are by all standards an excellent skatecore band and have many cool releases out. Slavebreed are one of the oldest grind bands in Greece, and they are only getting better! They have dual vokills and a thick sound. For those who like southern beatdowns assorted with a technical touch, there’s Tardive Dyskinesia, somewhere between Crowbar, Pantera, Meshuggah,  and A Life Once Lost. 

 If we take the ride up north to Thessaloniki, Homo Iratus released two great albums and an EP that had a big impact on the local scene. Kvazar stand for Napalm Death-like grindcore brutality with a jazzy technical edge and one of the best vocalists in the country. In a different register, Erectus are purveyors of dense brutal death  metal  not unlike Origin,  and Greet The Dead deliver solid crust/hardcore a la Tragedy/Wolfbrigade. 

 Now as far as the new kids go, Formikation is a killer grindcore combo and one of the biggest hopes of the local extreme scene. They combine the Swedish sound with some Discordance Axis tech madness. Devastation Of Life are a political grindcore outfit from Larissa which sounds totally raw and brutal. Lotus Circle in this year’s debut CD “Bottomless Vales And Boundless Floods” take the listener to an occult trip, with drone sounds and black metal vokills. Mahakala in their self-titled mini-CD (Parade Records) play very enjoyable sludge that sounds very british, like Iron Monkey and early Raging Speedhorn. Voidhead are an experimental instrumental drone duo influenced by Neurosis and Earth. They produce songs influenced by the local environments, immersing the listener to beautiful soundscapes. Their beautiful “Land” CD-R EP  (Head to Avoid Recordings) is sold-out by now and is an evidence of one of the greatest new local bands. … Paraside propose pre-cataclysmic heathen rituals with sludge, black metal and rock’n’roll overtones. They’ve never played live but are one of the projects to keep an eye on.For more down-tempo and experimental atmospheres, there’s -amongst others- Universe 217, National Pornografik and Noiselust. Finally, the noise edge of this scene is expressed by projects such as Appes, Hellboy 106 (both of them based on guitars/effects) ,  noise/ambient field recordist Kommpound, hacker freak extraordinaire Pascal Cretain who turns security code and binaries into noise, etc.

 

EPILOGUE

The main purpose of this feature is to draw your attention towards an interesting but unknown European music scene. The list of the bands proposed here is by no means exclusive. There are also plenty of the old classic Greek bands who are still active and you might consider checking out, even though some of them are not as brutal or groundbreaking as they used to be. Except those already stated, there’s Thou Art Lord, Zemial/Agatus (both relocated in Australia), Horrified, Nordor, Elysian Fields, etc.

 

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