torstai 30. maaliskuuta 2017

Svartsyn - Aandens melankoli MLP '96 (2015 Remaster)

Svartsyn (nor) - Aandens melankoli mini-album 1996, "unreleased" CD remaster 2015
1) Forhekset av nordlyset
2) Den monumentale horde
3) Mektigens herskere
4) Døden...jeg våkner!

Sendspace / Depositfiles

Gnarled Records

Third post on this mini-album?!? Surely you jest? - must be what many of you are thinking even while this certainly isn't the first time the Coven emulates TV broadcasting with reruns. Now it is, however, perhaps more justified than ever as what we have here is both the best sounding version of the material in question as well as an officially endorsed upload. You see, as I (finally) updated to the write up of the previous version of "Aandens melakoli" here, Gnarled Records hailing from Germany did a very faithfully remastered vinyl re-release in 2015 which I urge you to order if you have a preference for the format and/or a player. There was also an unofficial CD release on Burznazg which I've been told is no good at all. Anyways, I was recently approached by Steffen of Gnarled Rex via email and he informed me that a CD remaster had been made as well but it was decided against releasing it in that format. However he decided to make it available for people with no vinyl player or preference for the digital and sent me the files which I've now uploaded. He has also put up a link at the Gnarled site, see link above. Thank you for sharing, Steffen!

The music has been discussed already here and here, so I'll just repeat it is slow and gloomy material, quite unfit for sunny spring days perhaps but recommended. And the remastering is excellent work, by Patrik W. Engel at Temple of Disharmony. It really brings out details and nuances buried in earlier versions. Yeah, so if you still haven't heard this but like black/doom metal, or just slow and dreary material in general it is about time to give this a try. Next post will be in the more usual vein and most likely old Finnish material. Unless I change my mind again or heavy protests arise.

tiistai 28. maaliskuuta 2017

Kraina Wiecznego Mrozu - Ziemia ojców demo I '98

Kraina Wiecznego Mrozu - Ziemia ojców demo I 1998
1) Pruskie leśne królestwo
2) Nigdy mu się nie poddam
3) Wojna
4) Ziemia ojców

RGhost / Yandex

I think I owe you folks some black metal and this item is a bit overdue, I was supposed to post it pretty much right after me and sister Borderline finished the discussion over at her blog. If you actually took time to skim through the conversation in the comments and the update note on the write up, excellent - you know what's going on and why! If not, I suppose I'll tl;dr even though I really don't want to: this is an early version/first edition of Polish pagan black metal band Kraina Wiecznego Mrozu's demo "Ziemia ojców" which was re-released, possibly remastered or mixed or something but at least expanded (sound effects, acoustics et all added) by Reakcjonista Magazine in 1999. That is the version you see on M-A and has also been ripped and posted on Dorosłe Dzieci blog. The split by Werewolf Promotion was also based on this version of the recording but he messed the tracklisting up as told by sis B. I've not added a cover image for this since I do not have it and I'm not sure if it had one different from the '99 version. Would obviously appreciate a scan. Interestingly the title of the second track comes in two variations: Nigdy mu się nie poddam and Nigdy mu się nie poddać and both can be correct as first one translates "I will never give up" and second flavour "Never give up" so one is more of a statement while second one would be advice. I went with the version on the tracklisting I got.

Ok, so if you're already familiar with the other version it's the same four tracks but in different order and slightly more stripped down, the interludes and special effects are missing as well as some acoustics. This is roughly two minutes shorter in all. If you are new to the band, good since it's probably better to first hear this rougher take and then the extended one. Generally the sound here is rawer and somewhat more clear and audible than on the split. Music is Polish pagan black metal, of the slightly crude and almost primitive sort with patriotic flair. It's quite METAL too, just check out the very heavy metal break on the second song, halfway through or a little later. It's one of those things that on certain days you dislike and on others adore. Today is strongly the latter. I like the honest enthusiasm you can clearly feel (especially on this version) complimenting the earnest and frantic playing style. Recommended for folks into Polish black metal, pagan black metal and raw screaming coupled with youthfully eager musicianship. Next time again something Finnish. Unless you absolutely want something else, then it will probably be old US stuff. Or a 'zine.

torstai 23. maaliskuuta 2017

Nattvindens Gråt - Där svanar flyger MLP '95

Nattvindens Gråt - Där svanar flyger cassette mini-album 1995
1) En avlägsen stjärna
2) I tysthetens kalla rike
3) Fjälldalen
4) Där svanar flyger
5) 66,5° N

Depositfiles / Mediafire

The Fennoscandian tour returns to Finland and here's a post somewhat similar to other recent ones in spirit; it's an item I originally didn't think I'd post as rips exist online already, but having ripped it for my own use in early '15 I decided to upload it here as well. In the end Nattvindens Gråt isn't as well known as I thought and especially not their earlier style of... of... uh, let's call it atmospheric Nordic metal? Our good old fallback term "dark metal" fails today as this isn't really that dark. Not at least in my opinion... then again some of the things people do call dark metal aren't so dark at all. Oh leave it already and move on! We could vote on it? No, I'm not setting up a poll for that. Cover scans included and they ended up a bit larger than I meant, sorry!

Right, as you see from the title line there this is a (a horrible term follows brace yourselves) 'cassette mini-album', which is something you don't really encounter that often. I guess it's a bit long to be called an EP and too short for a full album, plus it was never intended to be one. Sound is much, much more refined than on the promo track I posted earlier. Waaaay earlier. Wow, that's almost eight years ago! Then again this was recorded in the well-known Astia Studio and features a full line-up instead of a solitary Teemu like on that promo. Including a certain Tuomas on keyboards. Other familiar names to pop up are Nattfursth of Sorhin who helped with the lyrics (they're in Swedish if you did not notice) and the logo artist whom we know by a different name herein the Coven.

The recording runs for roughly 31 minutes and is divided into four longer "proper" tracks and one slightly shorter instrumental that ends it. The longest of the bunch is the already familiar En avlägsen stjärna (remember, small letters apart from the first for Swedish titles!) which kicks the album off and shares the A-side with I tysthetens kalla rike, a somewhat similar song moodwise. Both are mostly in slower midtempo, with slight variations, feature a plenty of synth (well everything does) and are led by Teemu's croaky main vocals. They have a certain epic feel to them. B-side starter Fjälldalen is slightly different as it feels somewhat more aggressive and also the voice is different here, sounds a bit more forced, barky and violent even. Many traditional heavy metal riffs. I think it's been equally audible all the way through, but here I paid extra attention to the very clearly distinguishable bass. Title track is slower again and more melancholic and features an extremely unprofessional male angel choir which I somehow don't find extremely disruptive today?! I recall cringing and fearing I grind away all the precious enamel in most earlier listens but now it's sort of endearing. I must be growing soft. If we don't count the hit-and-miss nature of the clean vocals I think this might be my second favourite from the songs here. The final song is a synth instrumental and very nice. Winter synth. Ok, so if you like melodic, moody, not-exactly-dark-but-almost... dim? wan? obtuse? metal with that certain northern feeling this might be for you. And listening to the advance tape for the first album now directly after this I must say the music does not change that much between them, main thing must be the vocals which on the album are... let's leave that for another time, I was so close to end this write up, dammit! And I do end here, just try and stop me!

sunnuntai 19. maaliskuuta 2017

Lamented Souls - Demo '95

Lamented Souls - Demo 1995
1) Var
2) Eternal Existence
3) Nemesis
4) Hybris

Yandex / Sendspace

Bandcamp (compilation)

Did you think it would be something non-metal today? Too bad, it's more doom as we traverse from one land of Vikings to another. And it's also another item that's been sitting idle for five years. This is Lamented Souls fra Norge and to be honest kind of pointless entry as this demo '95 was released as part of the compilation CD 2004 "The Origins of Misery" on Duplicate Records, a label run by Einar Sjursjø whom you may remember from Beyond Dawn, a few other bands and his Dawnrazor 'zine. Hmm, now I kind of want to see issues of that, I don't think I've ever read one? I was thinking about ordering a copy back in the dark ages but didn't as I recall it was pretty expensive like Norwegian 'zines tended to be. I guess they printed those on baby seal skin with oil or something like that. Anyways, the CD version at least has this too, not sure about the digital version on Bandcamp as it looks like it's missing 4 tracks? You may consider this a preview, the CD can be ordered via the Bandcamp page. /commercial messages

Ok back to topic, Lamented Souls is probably mostly known as the former band of Simen Hestnæs aka ICS Vortex whom you might recognize from a bunch of Norwegian bands like Penthouse Petz (I'd really like to hear that) and Artisan as well as being married to the cartoonist Lise Myhre whom I presume to be the "Lise" credited for the cover art on this demo. The line-up also included Ole Jørgen Moe aka Apollyon of Aura Noir and Dødheimsgard fame, among others, and finally Olav Knutsen aka Bestial Tormentor of Infernö who shared the bass duties with Hestnæs here. As an aside, Sjursjø joined later to play drums while Apollyon switched to guitar which has really nothing to do with this demo. Or sort of does, as that line-up re-recorded two of the songs here on their 1997 session which was finally released as the first half of the compilation.

Good demo sound, recorded in some sort of studio in two days, usual doomy slow tempo that speeds up a little but never goes beyond careful mid pace. Well, maybe a little on the groovy ending track Hybris. Their doom is of very traditional sort, even moreso than Tristitia featured recently. Closer to Black Sabbath, Godsend and say Saint Vitus than anything deathly. I must say due to vocals it brings flashbacks of certain grungy stuff to mind like Alice in Chains. Poorly qualified to discuss that so let's not go further. I think that's enough for now, I strongly suggest getting the compilation if you enjoyed this and if you were here for dungeon synth or black metal I guess you were dissappointed. Next time, probably.

lauantai 18. maaliskuuta 2017

Blazing Eternity - Over sorte heder demo '96

Blazing Eternity - Over sorte heder demo I 1996
1) Over sorte heder
2) Towards the Thorns of Melancholy
3) Da håbet blev borte for altid...
4) Enthralled by Sorrow
5) The Romantic Forest Is Darker Than Sadness

Sampo / Zippyshare

Sometimes it really takes me ridiculously long to do things. Like today's item; I ripped the tape this was on five years ago. I wasn't actually going to post it but somehow the previous entry inspired me so here we are. It's been a while since our last visit to Denmark so about time we return to those shores with Blazing Eternity's first demo. Called black metal by some careless individuals this is probably as close as they got to that, doing a few years later a full-Katatonia wimp out. Or so I've been told, I actually never heard the second album but the development certainly seemed to lead to that path. Anyways, on this debut they play dark metal with harsh main vocals (primary reason people labeled this black metal I suppose), plenty of atmospheric breaks and generally quite mellow mood.

The title track is actually the most aggressive of the songs and gives a bit misleading idea of the release. Personally, I think it's the best of the bunch as well. It does have a slow part in the middle too so perhaps not as misleading as I implied. Interestingly, the other song with Danish lyrics, the short middle track When Hope Was Gone Forever is quite aggressive too while the English tracks tend towards slower, even doomy tempos and generally more... oh hell, look at the damned titles! Melancholy thorns, enthrally sorrow, romantic forest sadness!!! Need I really elaborate? I'm for some reason starting to get really annoyed, this demo has an odd habit of being "oh nice, why don't I listen to this more often" on every other listen and "isn't this girly crap going to ever end" on those less favourable moods. I don't really like the clean vocals, he sounds more like a kid trying his hardest which I suppose will appeal to some folks with strong parental instincts but it's not at all having the effect I'm sure he was striving for. Curiously, years ago I liked this demo better than their second one.

Right, enough of content, I'll just mention this is made from a dub and has generally decent quality but it really could be better. And there are no scans, unfortunately, just a cover image I think I picked up from Discogs. It's a pretty nice cover. That font though. This is all for now, if you like romantic sort of dark metal by cute *I don't know if they're really cute, they do wear corpsepaint on the pic!* young Danes pick this up. If you want manly, harsh war black metal stay at least 10' (~3 meters) away from this!

keskiviikko 15. maaliskuuta 2017

Tristitia - Reminiscences of a Mourner demo '94

Tristitia - Reminiscences of the Mourner demo II January 1994
1) Envy the Dead
2) Reminiscences of the Mourner
3) Ashes of the Witch
4) Mark My Words

4shared / Mediafire

I was going to post another Finnish item but ran into a minor problem which I need to tackle first. So instead let's do some Swedish doom and a contribution that had also waited a while to be finished - not that there was much to do than slightly adjust volume and convert it to mp3. This is Tristitia and the second demo from the very beginning of '94. If you're acquainted with the earlier releases of the French label Holy Records you've probably encountered Tristitia, the '95 debut got a fair bit of attention back then for the blend of Candlemass-style classic doom, gothic elements and (very slight) black metal influence. To be honest, the black metal influence was really just some vocals used here and there in addition to the deeper, traditional doom singing. But I'd label this more directly under traditional or possibly gothic doom. Not an expert, feel free to argue if necessary. A large cover scan was also sent, thanks again to the contributor!

Four songs that run for almost 25 minutes, the two middle ones re-recorded for the debut album and the other two appeared on the second so nothing new really if you're familiar with both albums. If not, this is not a bad place to start. Very good sound, pretty covers and melancholic, in places sinister even, doom metal performed at appropriatele speeds. I'm not really sure what to say about the vocals, I'm notoriously picky with clean voices but on the other hand I've gotten accustomed to this fellow's voice in the last twenty years so I'm hard pressed to say how good a singer he actually might be. The Swedish accent still occasionally jars in my ears but otherwise he does fine I suppose. Can't really come up with anything sensible to write, if you dig doom metal in the classic vein try this and don't buy that "blackened doom" crap at M-A! Unholy was black doom, this is barely grey!

perjantai 10. maaliskuuta 2017

Mörkö - Mörön maa demo I '00

Mörkö - Mörön maa demo I 2000
1) Prologi
2) Syvälle Pohjolan maille
3) Kurjan tuomio
4) Raivo ei kuole
5) Epilogi

Mega / RGhost

I thought I'd do some more Finnish items. This is a freshly dug corpse, dubbed among the tapes I borrowed and ripped from brother Grev the other week, thanks again! Mörkö was and is a Finnish... I'm not going to call them a black metal band, nowadays they do some sort of experimental / psychedelic post-black metal whatever thing and here they played somewhat crude and straight in-your-face "black" metal or more accurately dark metal, maybe even fantasy metal? See the lyrics at M-A to see what I mean. I've been aware of the band for the longest time but didn't bother to check them out back in the early 00's as I thought they'd be some sort of joke. See, the name Mörkö translates as "boogeyman" (which is not exactly the most kvlt thing ever) as well as being the Finnish name for Tove Jansson's The Groke (who is obviously mvch more kvlt). Then when I finally listened to the 2013 album "Itsensänimeävä" I didn't like it one bit.

Ok, so I was not enthusiastic with the band, why post this demo? Well, I was quite surprised how rough and listenable it was, enjoyable even! The sound is somewhat barbaric, especially the drums and also cold, grim and other such delightful things. The lyrics were entertaining as well (in Finnish, sorry) so even if it were a jest it was a pretty good one. I am actually interested in hearing both the "Paluu" demo, also '00 and the first album "III" ...which is easy to do as it's on their Bandcamp page... I'll be back in a moment... ok seems like they were more black/doom at that phase, quite neatly in the middle ground between the two extremities of this demo and the last album. Instant judgement; this is the best release. Standout track: Raivo ei kuole. Give it a try, it's not as ridiculous as you might think. No really, it's not!

One more thing: cover scans would be nice. Assuming it had a cover in the first place.

tiistai 7. maaliskuuta 2017

Jääportit - Halki lumisen metsän demo '98

Jääportit - Halki lumisen metsän demo I 1998
1) Kulkue varjojen
2) Vaellus porteille Tuonelan
3) Läpi lumimyrskyn
4) Yömustaa
5) Jään kirous
6) Sade lumen mustan
7) Hänen jäätävä katseensa

Sendspace / Sampo

Alright, let us for change fulfill a request practically immediately, without (much) extra tarrying. Here are some more ambient sounds for you, the debut demo CD-R of Finnish Jääportit who are at least moderately well-known ...I think? It was a request by comrade pagan made a few days ago and as expected, our reliable frater Grev sent me a link to a rip he had burned on a disc before I could even ask him about it! Thank you for you vigilance and generosity. There was a cover image as well, but no full scans which as always are welcome so get in touch if you can provide one.

The rip has a low bitrate (CBR 128) but with this sort of music it's not a big issue. Later Jääportit material sees the sound expanded to various dimensions while this debut is pretty much in the dungeon synth camp though of course with a wintry flair. It still feels more appropriate for the DS label than the tape album that followed in 1999. Suitably down-to-tomb yet grandiose synth sounds, plenty of variation without going overboard, atmospheres ranging from very dark and menacing to almost tribal sleigh ride-esque (more somber than the xmas piece you probably now think of!) and generally that wandering in nocturnal winter forest-feeling. Just add a black robe and some corpse paint. Warm underwear is recommended too. I really really enjoy this but am horribly distracted right now so I can't really come up with more witty banter. Go on and download it already!

sunnuntai 5. maaliskuuta 2017

Drunemeton - Recital to the Shinning Moon demo '96

Drunemeton - Recital to the Shinning Moon demo '96
1) The Wolves of Winter: Part 1: Chorus During Early Nigth
2) The Wolves of Winter: Part 2: Leaving the Forest
3) The Wolves of Winter: Part 3: The Hurting
4) The Wolves of Winter: Part 4: The Last Breath
5) The Dancing Fost
6) The Hand's Cuting
7) Triumph of the Ice

Zippyshare / Yandex

Today I wanted to do an item that has been bothering me for almost twenty years but finally some weeks ago the matter was lain to rest, thanks to the contribution by comrade Dead Christmas! The bothersome item in question was this '96 demo by "Polish" (so I was told back in the tape trading days) synth project Drunemeton of which I had a very questionable dub. Fortunately DC had acquired the demo during his quest for Nazgul Productions items and judging from the information on the covers I believe this too was a French artist after all. The rip also revealed how hopelessly lacking my dub was. Cover scan is enclosed and I have uploaded a very slightly edited version of the rip; I increased the volume just a notch and cut away a bit of noise after the first song that was not part of the demo.

At roughly 42½ minutes this easily reaches album length and is divided into two halves so to say, first twenty minutes consisting of the epic The Wolves of Winter parts 1-4. Instrumental, somewhat neoclassical sounding dungeon synth mixing (I'm taking this from the covers directly) Akai, Oberheim and Roland synthesizers with grand piano and some flutes. I've cut each part into individual tracks as the tracklisting gives them separate running times and they divided easily enough. The second half is made of three tracks with slightly more individual character to each of them. The Dancing Fost (I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be ...Frost but I didn't go and correct the titles, like I always say it is Necromansy and that's it!) starts almost harshly and proceeds to change to more introspective moods before slowly picking momentum again, only for it to drop while approaching the end. Synthesizer sounds rather than piano dominate The Hand's Cuting (again, should be ...Cutting but no correcsies!) giving it an aura of menace that changes to desolation as the instrumentation gets scarcer and more minimalistic, developing to a trippy dark ambient end. Last song Triumph of the Ice is the longest of the lot and reprises some of the moods from the first parts while featuring a very distinct classical guitar part in the middle before a long build up to a slow but triumphant ending with percussive elements and orchestra hits. Wintry, melancholic and rather nostalgic stuff, decent enough sound though not by any means polished. Reminds me at times of Emglev (again!) and in places even Lamentation. Few places. And just a little. But much more Emg than Lam. Recommended for fans of French synth projects, dungeon explorers and Nazgul Productions enthusiasts.

lauantai 4. maaliskuuta 2017

Charontaphos #1

Charontaphos zine, issue 1 (early 1993)
Malefic Oath
Ceremonial Oath
Dark Tranquillity
Belphegor (Dutch)
Nembrionic Hammerdeath
Spina Bifida
Nuclear Death
Throne of Ahaz
+ Norwegian scene report by Amnizu, reviews


Apologies for the unintended absence but I have been busy. Some of that will even be beneficial to the Coven so it was not in vain. Alright, it's already March and we start this month with another 'zine contribution by our comrade Pawel, thanks once again! He has scanned and merged to single .pdf the first issue of the Dutch classic Charontaphos 'zine, made in the late '92 / early '93 (when it was released as well) by a group of five people... in theory, in practice Mahakala, Ndizi Na Nyama and Al Daimonaero did most of the work while the duo of Asmodeus and Nemesis contributed only one interview due schedule issues. Sounds like typical school group work to me! I haven't seen later issues of Charontaphos so I don't know if the work was distributed more evenly on those or if they thinned the ranks a bit.

A lot of bands as you can see and I must say that for a first issue they did an outstanding job! The layout is simple and traditional, but very clear and easy to read. Just as I like. The interviews are also very good and mostly they've even received decent answers (well, Sathanas was pretty bad and Abigail barely knew English) so it worked out nicely. The roster is mostly death and black metal as the names may reveal and not too many seen-everywhere-staples. Well, Sigh does appear on a lot of 'zines even on this site and Burzum is always popular, but at least this one is a classic, filled with highly quotable pearls by Greven. "Dead did not have a life to take, only an existance to end" must be one of my favourites. Among top 3 Burzum interviews for sure! Overall a highly recommendable 'zine.