On Friday, Dec. 10, Killbot hosts an all-ages CD release show with Dead Vessel and BruteForce at The Sugar Shack. $5, tunes underway at 7 p.m.
Also Friday night, Club Vegas will host a Dimebag Memorial Show with A Balance of Power, Toxic Dose, Denots and Jataka. $5 gets you in, music at 8 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 16, Club Vegas Benefit hosts another benefit show with Ravings of a Madman, DarkBlood and Arsenic Addiction. $5, gets you in music at 8 p.m.
Label Spotlight: Hammer of Hate
Finnish black metal record label Hammer of Hate closed out their release year this November with a trio of highly potent and invaluable black metal releases dubbed the “AVE Trilogy.” The trilogy features debut full-length albums from Evangelivm, Valotch and Anguished. Each album is a full representation of the bands’ abilities and own unique sound, but they are crafted, intentionally or not, to be played in succession. It doesn’t matter what order, the releases are from solo black metal outfit, Anguished, album titled aptly, Cold, the unknown line-up and kvlt mysterious Finnish black metal force by way of Valoton’s Beastificate, and the dark lurking and menacing black metal from Russian duo, Evangelivm’s Nightside of Eden, the label’s first signing of a non-Finnish band. All three albums are the bands debut full-lengths and additionally they’re the debut of any material of all three bands. As for my order of listening to the Trilogy, I’d start off with the Evangelivm, then the Valoton and close it out with Anguished.
Hammer of Hate records is strongly focused on the underground Finnish bands, with the current exception being Russia’s Evangelivm. The music is, as the label name suggests, hateful black metal. I received a quintet of releases from the label, three being the “AVE Trilogy,” and two being label spotlighted artists and releases. While Hammer of Hate is stylistically focused on “true” black metal, there is really no focus on being too underground or elitist—basically it’s a home to black metal that every facet of the scene can enjoy. Do yourself a favor and go to www.hammer-of-hate.com, for music samples.
Hammer of Hate
Anguished = Bethlehem + Shining + Cradle of Filth (early)
Cold is an appropriately titled album for this project fronted by female vocalist Possessed Demoness. The record starts out raw, harsh and hateful with “These Gray Days,” and it quickly moves to mid-paced black metal tunes with razors edge production quality. The guitars literally sound like they’re slicing through flesh and the bass is highly inaudible or just too fuzzed out to clarify, not a bad thing at all. This album is one of the few instances where the music comes second to the vocal performance. Don’t get me wrong, the musical performances are stark, but after repeated listens you’re not going to remember riffs, you’re going to remember the voice— scowls to screeches, to just painful howling—all of which are just completely devoid of happiness and full of excruciating pain. Cold is something that deserves to be heard—it’s not a gimmick. The fact that it’s a mostly solo album from a Finnish female black metal artist, there’s huge merits here, the album can set a great mood into a horrible one and as far as depressive black metal goes, that’s a hugely successful feat. –Bryer Wharton
Hammer of Hate
Valoton = Katharsis + Setherial + Dark Funeral + Belphegor
Some might say this is fairly standard European black metal, which could be a safe assessment for deaf people. Stylistically it runs in realms that have been conquered by many bands before, but the songwriting and sheer album potency are rife with devious black metal nature, with an extreme and agile ability to brim the blackest of evil feelings from your soul. Beastificate punches through black metal mediocrity with a rusty, bloodied, barbed wire covered fist. There is a wealth of layered sounds – be it in the masterful tremolo picking, the bass guitar and the vocals or the drum that sounds supremely natural and hellish. I unfortunately listened to this record too late to include it in my top albums of the year, but it has definitely earned a top spot. Everything you could want in black metal is on this album—the hate, the atmosphere and just full-forced power. The albums pacing teases and frustrates listeners going from satanic possessed speed to some lurking menacing mid-paced and a few small melodic breaks. This, without question, is the best of the “AVE Trilogy.” –Bryer Wharton
Nightside of Eden
Hammer of Hate
Evangelivm = Behexen + Deathspell Omega + Funeral Mist
The Russian duo of musicians that make up Evangelivm simply go by I and II. I handles all the instruments, while II is the vocalist. Nightside of Eden is a dismal offering with dissonant guitar tones that swirl themselves into self-induced frenzies of scary hatred; the stuff that makes you cross the street when you see it coming your way. The songs are mostly in the mid-pacing range, but they do build up in momentum at times to be considered fast. II’s vocal gravelling is low and bloodied, a nice break from the over saturated screeching and howling black metal vocals. The album offers a fantastic conjunction of atmosphere and directly memorable songwriting and riffing, meandering tremolo riffs to blazing ones and stuff you could attempt to call melodic, I’d just call it downright evil and scary. There’s no attempt to sound peaceful or happy, no room for any sort of light at all. Lyrics are definitively focused on Satanism in its truest sense. The albums drumming can feel a bit mechanical and out of place at times, but repeated spins can lead one to ignore the mechanics and just focus on quality of satanic atmosphere and strong songwriting within. –Bryer Wharton
Hammer of Hate
Vitsaus = Horna + Bathory + Burzum
Vitsaus debut full-length offering, Sielunmessu, is perversely lo-fi and I’ll be damned if I don’t love every raw, ear bleeding moment of it. The album is a frosty produced piece that roots itself well in atmosphere as well as some gnarly, dissonant and ugly songwriting. It’s not pretty or pleasant in any sense, but it satisfies the urge for cold, true black metal. The vocals feel like the vocalist/guitarist/bassist, Inho, is literally shredding his vocal chords. While you’re not going to find anything really scathingly stylistic or technically new here, the end result is pretty much the main type of Finnish black metal that I think of. The band is another great entry into the black metal world and is a strong cut to defining the scene from Finland. Sielunmessu is also a great example of the veritable buffet of black metal that Hammer of Hate has to offer. In the case of Vitsaus, it’s the lo-fi side of black metal where songs aren’t played to their cleanest and nicest effect. This record captures the raw live quality of black metal that is severely hard to replicate. It earnestly feels like it was a one-take live recording, but considering the fact that Inho handles the vocals, guitars and bass and Vainaja (who is the current drummer for the mighty Horna, Sargeist and Neutron Hammer) handling the drums, one might consider the lower quality production an exercise in futility by mixing instruments to create the “live” sound aspect. That isn’t the case at all, it’s what gives Vitsaus it’s power and the real desire to return to it after you’ve already given it a spin. –Bryer Wharton
Hammer of Hate
Sacrilegious Impalement = Behexen + Archgoat + Funeral Mist
Listening to Cultus Nex in full (initially and in re-visitations) is a conquering feat of ravishing, grim satanic pounding and melodically beautiful black metal. It’s less than 45 minutes in length, but it feels much more epic than said fact. There is clearly a wealth of experience with the band members serving time in other Finnish black metal acts like, Uncreation’s Dawn, Urn, Evil Angel and a plethora more. The album is strong within it’s initial listen, although you’ll have to adjust your volume knob (the sound mixing is a bit low) it’s equally if not more powerful during repeated listens because initially it’s strength and massive depth of sound overwhelms you. Repeated spins brings the songwriting together and almost derives a ritualistic listening experience. Amongst flying, crazy, satanic fueled speed and tremolo riffs are some great melodic guitar riffs. The middle of the album is fantastically good, starting with the punishing “March of Doom,” then “Baptism by Blood,” a completely fascinating and beautiful melodic track that screams out in some otherworldly passionate yearning. These are followed by the napalm blistering cut, “Revelations... the Coming!” and the equally as visceral, “Utterly Rotten.” The album may play to the usual black metal expectations and sounds, but don’t let the stylistic similarities sway your thoughts, there is a vast black landscape in wait on Cultus Nex that easily can swallow your soul. –Bryer Wharton
Elitist, Cough, Subrosa
Sat., Dec. 4, 2010 @ Burt's
Opener Elitist from Portland, on Relapse Records, is a furious, wounded tornado, a screeching, booming plague of pummeling hardcorethrashgrindarkmetal, a bad slide on ice towards a cliff overhanging the blackened abyss. Bands have amps and amps and amps, and we all know it’s just a show, but Elitist makes use of every one of those amps and every one of those tubes; they need them in order to scoop out a big sonic hole through your chest; they know that’s the real sworn way to a man’s/woman’s heart. There are faint echoes of Gaza in the confusing swirl of cacophonous guitar riffs that circle overhead like relentless carrion, or the whirlpool in Poe’s “The Descent into the Maelstrom”; they’re friends with Gaza and I’m sure they all sup at the same sacred headwaters of Botch, Converge, and Pig Destroyer. They’re heavier than Converge, though, and live, the lead singer lets out an alarming deathly caterwaul that could kill the undead miles away; a sincere, non-pretentious, dark, rasping death caterwaul that got under my skin, as the guitarist’s fingers raced across the bridge of the neck in familiar, easy perfection.
Cough, another heavy-as-hell band, is from Richmond and also on Relapse, but the two bands aren’t on tour together; they crossed ways on a date in Florida and joined up again to play a show together in Salt Lake. Cough is heavy in a completely different way, their shadowed sludge-metal grooves planting crampons deep into the ice walls of your soul, wantonly cracking you apart at any cost– another way to a man’s heart, I guess. They place an ice pick here, an ice pick there, wait a season and destroy, with all the obscene patience in the world. Their heavy, slow riff worship is some parts Electric Wizard, true, but with less focus on the melody of the riff and more on the might and power of it. I’d also throw in a Rammses comparison, too, but with less despair, more poisoned moonshine from the pit of a deep black bog. The lead singer strikes an imposing figure, and kept reminding me of John Haughm from Agalloch onstage. It must the long, well-shampooed hair and uncompromising stage presence. Glyn Smith just did the artwork for Cough’s latest album, Ritual Abuse, and I’m pleased to say that I own the double vinyl now.
I’m in Subrosa, so I’m not gonna review my band. –Rebecca Vernon