Review by Jason Guest
With an ever-growing list of great bands to their name, Polish label Agonia Records have featured in the pages of Midlands Rocks many a time before (click here for a list). If you want to hear more from Agonia, you can check out their Bandcamp page here.
In the meantime, we’ve got three more releases from the ever-growing list of diverse acts signed to the label:
- Den Saakaldte bring us Kapittel II: Faen i Helvete, their upcoming second album.
- Belgium’s Enthroned deliver their tenth album, Sovereigns.
- And Norway’s Nocturnal Breed bestow upon us their second album – and first in seven years – Napalm Nights.
Read them all or click the band names above to go directly to their reviews. But most of all, enjoy the filth!
Den Saakaldte – Kapittel II: Faen i Helvete
Release Date: 27 May 2014
Album number two from Norway’s Den Saakaldte is intense and heavy throughout. If it’s not battering you with its ceaseless savagery – which it does a lot of – then it’s dragging you down with its near-doom heft. Awash with tortured melodies and galloping force, this is an unremitting assault, the album’s mettle becoming more pronounced as it proceeds. With the band’s writing abilities and their resolutely diverse approach in play, the atmospherics are as deep as they are hard and heavy. With blast after blast of raw energy dwelling in darkness and feasting on the foreboding, the band’s song-writing abilities drive the material, not once losing sight of their remit: utter devastation.
What comes across on Kapittel II: Faen i Helvete is the band’s command of their instruments and their capacity to create atmospherics that seethe with rage. And with the combination of varying vocal styles from the harsh to the clean and the spoken, the album is given a depth and a texture that enhances its menace. As it should be, the unwavering determination of Den Saakaldte is tangible and with its modern production to fortify rather than polish the album, Kapittel II: Faen i Helvete (“Chapter II: Bloody Hell”, appropriately) is a sturdy piece of work. Recommended.
7.5 out of 10
- Din Siste dag
- Forbanna Idioter
- Du Selvproklamerte Misjonær
- Endeløst Øde
- Djevelens Verk
- Som Ett Arr på Sjelen
- Ondskapens Nødvendighet
Enthroned – Sovereigns
Release Date: 15 April 2014
Twenty one years in and album number ten from Belgium’s bastards of black metal bastardness is upon us. After the good-but-not-great album number eight, Pentagrammaton, the blacker-than-blackly-entitled Obsidium saw Enthroned redeem themselves, its great production more than fitting for the standard of songwriting and musicianship contained within. An album of dark menace and uncompromising ferocity, it was an album that would take a lot to beat. Enter Sovereigns.
After the mandatory atmospheric intro to set the tone for the album’s forty minutes, it is Enthroned’s voice that leads this charge. Unlike the countless bands that idolise the genre and bask in its reflected glory, Enthroned embody its spirit and every track here bleeds black metal’s besmirched blood and resonates with Satan’s wrath. Like its predecessor, Sovereigns simultaneously burns the fiercest of flames and contains countless subtleties that slowly emerge to reveal each track’s individual character as well as the album’s diabolical shape. From the cacophonic lead work in ‘Of Feathers And Flames’ as well as its sinister atmospheric mid-section through the burning torment of ‘The Edge of Agony’ to the unyielding blastbeat vehemence of closing track ‘Nerxiarxin Mahathallah’, with album number ten, Enthroned have yet again proved themselves sovereigns of the black art.
8 out of 10
- Sine Qua Non
- Of Feathers And Flames
- Lamp Of Invisible Lights
- Of Shrines And Sovereigns
- The Edge Of Agony
- Divine Calculation
- Baal al-Muat
- Nerxiarxin Mahathallah
Nocturnal Breed – Napalm Nights
Release Date: 11 March 2014
Since the release of their third album, 2000’s The Tools of the Trade, Nocturnal Breed have taken their time between albums. Other than a few singles, splits, and compilations, it would be seven years before their fourth, Fields of Rot, reared its fetid head. An album that was blackened thrash to its malodorous core, it was a vicious and violent piece of work that was well worth the wait. Seven years later, with no other releases in the interim and a new line-up, album number five, Napalm Nights, is here. Worth the wait? Yep.
With riffs ranging from the arpeggiated and the atmospheric through the heaviest of metals right up into trem-picked lunacy, drums that crash, smash, and slam their way through the incessant slurry of heavy metal filth, and with a bilious vocal, a high-pitched melodic vocal akin to King Diamond, and someone doing a fairly good Lemmy impression on ‘The Bitch Of Buchenwald’ spewing their vicious delight, the mania of Napalm Nights is fully compounded. Balancing the heavy with the fast, the black, the savagely slow and a belligerent tongue-in-cheek humour, it may well be dated here and there, leaning heavily on nostalgia for its essence, but it’s still a solid and fun album. Delving deep into all-things old school that will bestow upon many a bullet-belt-and-leather-jacket-wearing black/thrash aficionado a raging hangover, the bastards of the night have made a welcome return. See you in 2021 for the next one?
7 out of 10
- The Devil Swept The Ruins
- Cursed Beyond Recognition
- The Bitch Of Buchenwald
- Napalm Nights
- Dawn Campaign… Flamethrower Ridge
- Under The Whip
- Dragging The Priests
- Krighisser (D.N.K.)