Reviews by Jason Guest
It’s a bunch of split releases this time. We’ve got nastiness coming out of every orifice and from every corner of the globe. From the UK comes a ménage à trois, Newark’s Baalbreith teaming up with Wales’ Hex Morbidity and Sheffield’s Forneus; Argentina’s Black Vul Destruktor have joined forces with Chile’s Et Verbi Sathanus for a double 7” split; and Finland’s Anal Blasphemy have teamed up with the Swiss/US duo Forbidden Eye. Now isn’t that nice? Can you feel the love?
Baalberith / Hex Morbidity / Forneus – In Satan’s Honour (Split Cassette)
Baalberith do atmospherics very well. They also do a nice line in melody. And they know how to make them work by sticking ‘em together in well-structured and well-executed tracks. With three full lengths to their name as well as a host of EPs and Splits, their art is well-defined. Here, while the first two tracks are good, at over seven minutes, ‘Apparition Of Skulls’ stands out as the band manage to balance and sustain their black metal might throughout. This is where their many strengths lie. A shame that they’re all concentrated in just one track.
6 out of 10
Hex Morbidity’s three short blasts reek of old school malice. While ‘Holy Shrines’, with its fairly straightforward structure and occasionally sloppy playing, is good, it lacks the bite that would give it an edge. ‘Unbaptized’ however, quickly finds that bite with a riff that is as dark as it is groovy and grinding. Here, there is the occasional sign that Hex Morbidity have something substantial in them, something that ‘Stench Of Lord And Lamb’ further indicates. It’s shift from down-tempo drudgery to rapid riffs and rabid vocals works well but the latter half of the track threatens to pull the whole thing apart. A young band (formed in 2013), there’s not much here to make them stand out at the moment, but there’s evidence that Hex Morbidity are on the right path.
5 out of 10
Forneus are easily the best band on this split. With only a few releases under their belt since their 2004 inception, they sound like they have been at it for a lot longer, or at least have spent a considerable amount of time honing their sound. ‘Litanies Of Hatred’ is five minutes of relentless fury, a track that as well as ‘Embrace The Covenant’, is nothing less than solid. The riffs are stunning, the atmospherics are intense, and the structural and dynamic control is second to none. And as if these two tracks aren’t already impressive enough, the eleven-minute ‘Blood Eagle (The Exile)’ is incredible, a lesson in song-craft if ever there were one. Forneus are a band to keep a close eye on.
8 out of 10
- Abortion Of Religious Futility
- Quest For Satan
- Apparition Of Skulls
- Holy Shrines
- Stench Of Lord And Lamb
- Litanies Of Hatred
- Embrace The Covenant
- Blood Eagle (The Exile)
Black Vul Destruktor / Et Verbi Sathanus – Apocalypse Towards Apocalypse (Double 7″)
Black Vul Destruktor
While the two tracks from Argentina’s Black Vul Destruktor sound about as murky as you can get, they are both a heaving mass of unearthly rancour and bile. At six- and seven-minutes in length, they plot interesting paths, their structures fortified with remorseless riffs and pummelling drums that are nothing less than colossal. But on repeat listens, the initially crushing effect starts to wear, admittedly not much, but enough to reveal two tracks that indicate the band are headed in the right direction but still have a way to go.
6 out of 10
Et Verbi Sathanus
Chile’s Et Verbi Sathanus have been at it since 1997, and it shows. The two tracks would make a suitably ugly portrait of warfare, such is their brutality. ‘Holocaust in the Paradise’ is a continual cascade of finger-breaking riffs and shin-splattering drum work shrouded in a murky production that enhances the band’s ruthless offensive. Compressing their ditties to desecration into three-minute bursts makes them all the more devastating. And when the rubble settles and the smoke clears, Et Verbi Sathanus, perhaps more thrashed than they anticipated, stand victorious.
7 out of 10
Black Vul Destruktor:
- Sword Of Luciferian Light
- Void Of Darkness
Et Verbi Sathanus
- Holocaust In The Paradise
Anal Blasphemy / Forbidden Eye – The Perverse Worship of Satanic Sins (Split CD)
Opening a track with the proclamation that “the one true god is what’s between a woman’s legs” is a pretty good way to get anyone’s attention. Making blasphemous and perverted black metal since 2002, Finland’s Anal Blasphemy – the one-man project of Molestor Kadotus – is dirtier than a Bombay brothel’s back passage. Both ‘Licking The C*nt Of Chaos’ and ‘Sperm Of Satan, Antichrist Semen’ follow fairly simple structures that were the dynamic range not so limited would have a much deeper impact. Fortunately the nine-and-a-half minute ‘Birth-Death-Rebirth’ goes someway toward making up for the shortcomings of the other two tracks by plotting an arc that is structurally, dynamically and texturally much more intriguing. While it may be convincingly delivered, it barely compels repeat listens.
5 out of 10
As for Forbidden Eye, the 80-second keyboard ‘Intro’ is disconcerting, but mainly in the sense that they appear to be trying too hard. It’s dark and foreboding, yes, but the three tracks that follow need no such introduction. Instead of attempting to lure the listener in, they should let the unremitting savagery of the fairly straightforward but strong opener ‘The Moon Of The Blood Serpent’ drag them in. And down. ‘Monastery of Satan’ retains much of the potency of the opening track but begins to reveal a young band still finding their feet. And so, almost predictably, ‘Hour Glass Of Black Tears’ is confirmation that they still have a way to go. But flaws aside, the three tracks burn with all the blasphemous majesty that black metal possesses and indicates a promising future should they nurture what they have here. But seeing as the band is “on hold”, we may never know…
6 out of 10
- Licking The C*nt Of Chaos
- Sperm Of Satan, Antichrist Semen
- The Moon Of The Blood Serpent
- Monastery Of Satan
- Hour Glass Of Black Tears