As contaminating as they are sickening…
Iron Bonehead Productions bring unto an unsuspecting world more destructive delights and MR’s Jason Guest lends his surely-by-now demolished ears to three more releases:
- Nocternity – Harps of the Ancient Temples
- Radioactive Vomit – Ratsflesh 7″
- Grá / Gnosis of the Witch – Split 7”
Nocternity – Harps of the Ancient Temples
Release date: 17 April 2015
And with no sense of urgency, Greece’s Nocternity deliver their first album in twelve years. A few splits and EP in the interim that varied in quality – the 2004 split with Akitsa being good but not great and the 2012 eponymous EP being more “meh” than menacing – mainman K.D. has returned to the title track of his 2007 EP Harps of the Ancient Temples for inspiration. Sadly void of the cover of ‘Crystal Tears’ from the incredible Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis, this full length proves to be a more than worthy successor to 2003’s Onyx.
The tempos low, the atmosphere dark and oppressive, the tracks are hypnotic and heavy and the torpidly paced album is more stripped back than its predecessor. Instead of rampaging riffs and blastbeats and a world-burning vocal, this album leans heavily on the slow and the sinister. Repetition is key and utilised very well, K.D. strategically crafting each track – and so the album – by adding layers and textures as they evolve. With ‘Titans’ raising the tempo as well as the menace, the drop in tempo of ‘River of Woe’ maintains the menace with the use of keyboards bringing a mystical aura to the bleak aesthetic. The journey continuing, the blackened depths of the album continue to evolve as Nocternity’s more ritualistic and hypnotic focus becomes increasingly and inescapably enthralling.
Apparently a decade in the making, K.D. has clearly taken his time with this. Pre-produced digitally in Switzerland, Hellas, and Sweden and finally recorded on analog equipment in Athens, the work that has gone into this is readily apparent. Though the occasional variation in tempo and a few more blastbeats and savage riffs wouldn’t have gone amiss, it can’t be denied that Harps of the Ancient Temples is an accomplished piece of work. If the next one takes this long, it’s got a lot to live up to.
8 out of 10
- The Black Gates
- Harps Of The Ancient Temples
- River Of Woe
- Blood Rite Tree
- Opaline Eye Of Death
Radioactive Vomit – Ratsflesh 7″
Release date: 27 April 2015
Bookended by the abominable noise, feedback, and maniacal growls of an ‘Intro’ and an ‘Outro’ are four tracks of bestial and primeval rage. Chaotic and unrestrained abomination, feedback and noise coagulate into some amorphous toxic form that is as repellent as it is devastating. The “Radioactive” part of their name is as apt as the “Vomit” part, the black mucus that spills forth when the play button is hit as contaminating as it is sickening.
Unless I’m much mistaken, there are parts where there seems to be the occasional stray into structure, a groove emerging briefly, a rhythm, maybe even a rhyme in the lyrics, but this is very quickly destroyed by chaos consuming anything that resembles order, shape or form. The experience of Ratsflesh is of the world collapsing. Samey more often than not but it does a seriously damaging job.
7 out of 10
- Pestis Malevolus
- Stench Of Treachery
- Speak With Tongues Of Flies
Grá / Gnosis of the Witch – Split 7″
Release date: 27 April 2015
Sweden’s Grá are a new one on me. Formed in 2010 with two EPs and a full length in 2011 to their name, I’d have expected the new album to arrive instead of one track on a split. A hauntingly ominous intro smashed to bits by growling guitars and vocals and passages of pummelling drums and darkly melodic riffs are given space to breathe their blackening breath. If ‘Valitus ja kaipuu’ is a portent of what’s to come – apparently an album is in the making – then the band are about to deliver something well worth lending an ear to.
Interviewed in July 2014 (here), USA’s Gnosis of the Witch’s sound was much more formed by their second release, the 2014 Dauðr Burðr Þrysvar EP (reviewed here). That foundation well in place, here they tread further into blackened territory for another menacing and mighty piece of work. Again dragging fire from the skies for aggressive, ablaze, and harrowing experience, as a taster of the forthcoming album, it promises to be astounding.
7 out of 10
- Grá – Valitus ja kaipuu
- Gnosis of the Witch – Fórn Dauðaorð