Album Review – Ragehammer / Into Certain Death (2020)

It’s time to head into certain death to the sound of the new album by this insane Polish brigade, offering us all ten slabs of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal violence.

Kraków, Poland’s own Black/Thrash Metal institution Ragehammer is finally back to the battlefront after four years of studio inactivity (since the release of their 2016 opus The Hammer Doctrine) and a year-long live hiatus with the same lineup comprised of The Hellstörm on vocals, Bestial Avenger on the guitars, Corpsebutcher on bass and Mortar on drums to once again spit with scorn at the trend-ridden scene, where aesthetics took over the ethics, armed with their sophomore full-length album entitled Into Certain Death. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mikołaj Żentara at No Solace, featuring an enraged artwork by Devinez, and consisting of ten slabs of sonic violence with variable pain levels in the characteristic of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal style which continues the path Ragehammer chose when starting almost 10 years ago, Into Certain Death will offer the listener exactly what the band has always promised to provide in their rebellious career, a raw, warlike fusion of Black and Thrash Metal without compromises, unnecessary distance or mercy, and of course a very good reason for getting drunk and raising our horns in the name of evil.

Metal troopers are marching to the beats by Mortar in the uprising intro Beneath the Red Suns, suddenly exploding into a lesson in Blackened Thrash Metal titled We Are the Hammer, with Bestial Avenger extracting endless savagery and electricity form his stringed weapon, therefore providing The Hellstörm exactly what he needs to shine with his raspy, berserk growls. Moreover, when they speed things up it’s time to simply crush your skull into the pit, and there’s no sign of those four horseman slowing their music down as they blast a furious hybrid of Black, Death and Thrash Metal titled Jesus Goat, with Corpsebutcher and Mortar being thunderous with their respective bass punches and blast beats. In Peace let’s say the name of the song doesn’t match with its infuriated rhythm, with the band bringing forward a potent display of extreme music led by Bestial Avenger’s razor-edged riffage while The Hellstörm vociferates rabidly from start to finish in great blackened, thrashing fashion, whereas the band’s frontman roars viciously in his mother tongue in the sick Black and Thrash Metal extravaganza titled Na Pewną Śmierć, which is Polish for the album’s title “into certain death”, tailored for admirers of the heaviest side of thrash, with Mortar sounding utterly demented behind his drum set.

In the fulminating 616. TerrorKorps the band drinks from the same wicked fountain as thrashing masters Exodus and Slayer, but of course with the band’s own Polish twist, while the stringed duo Bestial Avenger and Corpsebutcher will at the same time pierce your ears and smash your head with their extreme aggression and speed. It’s clear that slamming is their business, and business is good, as in the high-octane Fear Toxin we’re treated to more of the infernal screams by The Hellstörm and the unstoppable drums by Mortar in what’s perhaps the song with the most Black Metal riffs of all, while tribal beats and a hellish atmosphere are offered to the listener in Omega Red, sounding darker and more introspective than its predecessors, and showcasing another brutal job done by Bestial Avenger armed with his devilish guitar. Ragehammer keep distilling their demonic hybrid of extreme styles in the fast and furious Dragon City, where the rebellious gnarls by The Hellstörm are effectively supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals while Mortar doesn’t stop hammering his drums not even for a single second. And finally, a Stygian, somber intro darkly evolves into a massive wall of sounds in the imposing 8-minute aria titled Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal), the sequel to “Prophet of Genocide” from their 2012 demo War Hawks, with The Hellstörm investing into more anguished vocal lines while its second half presents Ragehammer’s usual sonic devastation.

I bet you can’t wait to join Ragehammer and head into certain death to the sound of their warlike metal music, and in order to do so simply pay the guys a visit on Facebook and (soon) purchase a copy of their breathtaking new album from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp or webstore in CD or LP format. The Hellstörm, Bestial Avenger, Corpsebutcher and Mortar nailed it once again with Into Certain Death, elevating their status in their homeland (and anywhere else in the world where ass-kicking extreme music is appreciated) from just a promise to one of the best and most entertaining acts of the underground scene, beautifully translating into their wicked creations exactly what Blackened Thrash Metal is all about.

Best moments of the album: We Are the Hammer, Jesus Goat and 616. TerrorKorps.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. Beneath the Red Suns 1:45
2. We Are the Hammer 3:58
3. Jesus Goat 3:29
4. Peace 4:25
5. Na Pewną Śmierć 4:28
6. 616. TerrorKorps 4:00
7. Fear Toxin 4:38
8. Omega Red 5:46
9. Dragon City 4:47
10. Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal) 8:54

Band members
The Hellstörm – vocals
Bestial Avenger – guitars
Corpsebutcher – bass
Mortar – drums

Album Review – Kult Mogił / Torn Away the Remains of Dasein (2020)

An unrelenting Polish entity returns with their sophomore full-length opus, presenting a new sound directed towards classic Death Metal from the 90’s.

Almost three years after the release of the EP Portentaque, Tarnów, Lesser Poland-based Blackened Death Metal entity Kult Mogił is back from the pits of the underworld with a brand new full-length album entitled Torn Away the Remains of Dasein, presenting to the listener a new line-up and, more important than that, a new energy and sound directed towards a more classic Death Metal style from the 90’s when compared to their debut full-length opus Anxiety Never Descending. Mixed and mastered at Satanic Audio by Haldor Grunberg and featuring a stylish cover artwork by Polish artist Sars (Gruzja, Odraza), Torn Away the Remains of Dasein reeks of pure violence from start to finish, showcasing all the talent and passion for extreme music by lead singer and bassist Deimos, guitarists Rzulty and Thisworld Outof, and drummer The Rays. “Instead of following trends of fashionable playing, we’re heading in the opposite direction, going back to the roots of death metal even more than before. This is our most essential recording, devoid of layers of sludge and other popular additions from previous releases. We want the new songs, stripped of these ornaments, to defend themselves with strong, load-bearing riffs. This album is 100% devoid of the desire to be avant-garde or experimental. We are destroying the previously developed formula so that we can on its ruins pay homage to the classics of the genre,” commented the band about their vicious new album.

And the opening track Hunger of Pride is the perfect depiction of this new version of Kult Mogił, sounding and feeling absolutely ominous, disruptive and violent from the very first second, with Rzulty and Thisworld Outof showing no mercy for our souls with their infernal riffage while Deimos roars and growls rabidly, resulting in a putrid Death Metal feast infused with Black Metal nuances. Then wicked sounds ignite another awesome display of brutality titled White.Death.Implosion, where The Rays sounds vile and demented on drums by blasting sheer havoc through his beats, therefore providing his bandmates all they need to shine with their venomous growls and sick riffs and solos, and not giving us a single second to breathe, the quartet fires the also hellish Blackened Death Metal tune Torment of Dasein, bringing to our ears pure savagery flowing from all instruments, with Deimos doing a fantastic job with both his guttural vocals and his menacing bass punches. In Idols in Blood we’re treated to an austere onrush of Black and Death Metal sounds spearheaded by the rhythmic and groovy beats by The Rays, while Rzulty and Thisworld Outof don’t stop extracting razor-edged riffs from their axes, reminding me of the total darkness of the early days of their countrymen Behemoth, whereas in A Wax Reverie the band adds hints of Doom Metal to their already otherworldly sonority, smashing our skulls once again and blending the gore of bands like Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under with their own share of dementia. And lastly, the rumbling bass by Deimos ignites the closing tune Fountain of Affliction, where the band’s guitar duo fires an endless amount of sulfur and rage from their stringed weapons while The Rays sounds like a bulldozer on drums, ending the album on an utterly obscure and aggressive note.

In case you’re not familiar with the music by Kult Mogił, I highly recommended you go take a good listen at their previous releases before listening to Torn Away the Remains of Dasein in full on YouTube to have a clear understanding of the musical evolution explained by the band until reaching their current shape and form, showing that the adjustments they made to their sound were more than welcome and spot-on, therefore pointing to a bright future to such obscure unity hailing from Poland. In addition, don’t forget to give the guys from Kult Mogił a shout on Facebook, and to grab your copy of Torn Away the Remains of Dasein from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp page or from their webstore in CD, black LP or red LP formats. After such pulverizing album, I wonder if Kult Mogił will continue to venture through even more classic Death Metal lands, if they’ll succumb to the darker side of Black and Doom Metal, or if they’ll simply merge all of their influences and all those styles into something new and fresh. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t matter what the final result is, as long as they keep bringing forth amazing records like Torn Away the Remains of Dasein we can rest assured the underground Polish scene will remain alive, vibrant and as brutal as it can be.

Best moments of the album: White.Death.Implosion and Idols in Blood.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. Hunger of Pride 5:43
2. White.Death.Implosion 4:57
3. Torment of Dasein 6:33
4. Idols in Blood 4:38
5. A Wax Reverie 6:24
6. Fountain of Affliction 5:37

Band members
Deimos – vocals, bass
Rzulty – guitars
Thisworld Outof – guitars
The Rays – drums

Album Review – Odraza / Rzeczom (2020)

A unique and caustic album of Black Metal made in Poland about myths, projections, appearances, fears we fight, and the legacy we cannot deny.

Formed in the year of 2009 in the obscure basements and gray courtyards of the charming city of Kraków, in Lesser Poland by vocalist, guitarist and bassist Stawrogin (Gruzja, Massemord and Totenmesse) and guitarist, bassist and drummer Priest (Massemord, Totenmesse and Voidhanger), the Stygian Black Metal duo known as Odraza, or “disgust” from Polish, returns from the pits of the underworld with their sophomore studio album Rzeczom (“things”), the follow up to their 2014 debut opus Esperalem Tkane. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Impressive-Art Studio in Beskidu Małego, Poland, and portraying the stunning Polish model Dorota Maria Kuźmicka as its cover art, Rzeczom will take you on a dark and captivating journey through the wicked world of Odraza. “We dedicate Rzeczom to ourselves, the authors. It is a diary; excerpts from our lives and the lives of the people once close to us come across the words by the authors that inspire us. It is about myths, about projections, appearances, fears we fight, and the legacy we cannot deny. It is also about the lie – after all, it is but us who decide how many of those memories reflect what has never been,” darkly commented the duo about their new and weird creation.

In the opening tune titled Schadenfreude (“malicious joy” or “spitefulness” from German), an eerie, cryptic intro quickly explodes into modern and visceral Black Metal led by the duo’s scorching riffs, with Priest blasting savagery and intricacy through his beats nonstop. The album couldn’t have started in a better (and more venomous) way, I might say, with the duo’s rumbling bass igniting the title-track Rzeczom, sounding as if Triptykon went full Blackened Doom. Moreover, Stawrogin growls and barks like a true demonic beast throughout the entire song, spiced up by somber passages and vicious backing vocals, resulting in a song definitely not recommended for the lighthearted. Then back to a more ferocious and berserk mode those Polish metallers fire the Behemoth-inspired W Godzinie Wilka (“at the hour of the wolf”), bringing to our ears Blackened Death Metal at its finest with Stawrogin’s harsh gnarls being effectively supported by Priest’s pounding drums; whereas a serene, acoustic intro permeates the air in …Twoją Rzecz Też (“…your thing too”), evolving into a metallic and alternative, almost circus-like onrush of sounds showcasing the band’s versatility and their will to never sound outdated or repetitive.

Once again sounding wicked and vile form start to finish, the duo surprises us with another round of unusual extreme music in Długa 24 (“long 24”), where Stawrogin does a very entertaining job with both his darker vocals and his clean vociferations, followed by Świt Opowiadaczy (“dawn of the storytellers”), offering the listener six minutes of obscure passages and endless violence flowing from their damned instruments, with Priest stealing the spotlight with his frantic and intricate drumming. And venturing through the realms of Doom and Stoner Metal to give their core Black Metal an even more badass vibe, they offer us all Młot Na Małe Miasta (“a hammer for small towns”), with both Stawrogin and Priest extracting electricity from their stringed weapons and, therefore, keeping the album at a high level of obscurity and madness.

After such demented tune, we’re treated to Najkrótsza Z Wieczności (“the shortest of eternities”), a contemplative and melancholic display of extreme music made in Poland where Stawrogin devilishly declaims the song’s Polish words, being multi-layered and grim just the way we like it in Extreme Metal. Following this cryptic composition, a phantasmagorical storm is about to begin in Bempo, growing in intensity until morphing into ass-kicking Blackened Death Metal led by Priest’s always fulminating drums, also showcasing a razor-edged guitar solo by guest musician Azar. And last but not least, it’s time for Odraza to stun us once and for all with eight minutes of absolute darkness in the instrumental aria Ja Nie Stąd (“I’m not from here”), starting in a progressive and atmospheric manner and flowing beautifully to the riffage and beats by the band’s dynamic duo until its inevitable and ethereal end.

This precious gem of contemporary Black Metal made in Poland can be better appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course you should definitely buy a copy of the album from Odraza’s own BandCamp page, as well as from the Godz Ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore and from Discogs, showing your true support to the talented Stawrogin and Priest and to the entire underground scene. Also, don’t forget to follow Odraza on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for news, tour dates and more of their distinguished music. It doesn’t matter if you are a native Polish metalhead or if you don’t understand a single word said by the band in Rzeczom, this is the type of album that’s a must-have in your collection of dark and acid extreme music, and just like Odraza dedicated the album to themselves, you can go ahead a dedicate it to your own Black Metal persona in your most introspective moments in life.

Best moments of the album: Schadenfreude, W Godzinie Wilka and Młot Na Małe Miasta.

Worst moments of the album: Długa 24.

Released in 2020 Godz Ov War Productions

Track listing
1. Schadenfreude 4:18
2. Rzeczom 5:21
3. W Godzinie Wilka 4:50
4. …Twoją Rzecz Też 5:43
5. Długa 24 2:06
6. Świt Opowiadaczy 6:01
7. Młot Na Małe Miasta 5:41
8. Najkrótsza Z Wieczności 5:06
9. Bempo 6:29
10. Ja Nie Stąd 8:01

Band members
Stawrogin – vocals, guitars, bass
Priest – guitars, bass, drums

Guest musician
Azar – guitar solo on “Najkrótsza Z Wieczności” and “Bempo”