Album Review – Crypts of Despair / All Light Swallowed (2021)

Behold the breathtaking sophomore opus by a ruthless Death Metal unity from Lithuania, embodying the perfect combination of face-melting aggression and electrifying atmosphere.

3.5rating

crypts-of-despair-all-light swallowed-2021Formed in 2009 in Kaunas, a city in south-central Lithuania, the ruthless Death Metal band known as Crypts of Despair has made a quantum leap from their well-received debut full-length opus The Stench of the Earth, released in 2017, to their brand new one, entitled All Light Swallowed. Produced by the band itself, recorded at Lapės Records, mixed and engineered by Alexander Sarychev at DTH Studios, mastered by Arthur Rizk, and featuring a classic, somber artwork by Néstor Avalos, All Light Swallowed is at once ferocious, rife with unearthly and dissonant sounds, and punctuated by hair-raising, eerie ambience, embodying the perfect combination of face-melting aggression and electrifying atmosphere, with song structures remaining unpredictable and yet strangely coherent, all carefully brought into being by vocalist and guitarist Dovydas Auglys, guitarist Benas Juskus, bassist and vocalist Simonas Jurkevicius, and drummer Henri Mall. Put differently, if you’re an admirer of the music by bands the likes of Incantation, Anaal Nathrakh and Morbid Angel, this album is a must-have in your personal collection.

Get ready for total annihilation to the sound of the pulverizing opening track Being – Erased, a lecture in modern-day Death Metal led by the blast beast by Henri while Dovydas and Benas extract piercing, sulfurous Black Metal-inspired riffs from their guitars, and there’s no sign of slowing down as the quartet continues their path of devastation in Anguished Exhale, even more brutal and infernal than the opening tune with Dovydas and Simonas roaring manically nonstop. In Choked By The Void a cryptic start morphs into another visceral Death Metal feast led by the strident riffage by the band’s guitar duo, smashing our cranial skulls and dragging us into eternal darkness, and more of their furious sounds comes in the form of Condemned To Life, where Henri pounds and crushes his drums in great fashion, sounding very violent but at the same time technical and melodic and, therefore, resulting into sheer Death Metal awesomeness.

crypts-of-despair-all-light-swallowed-black-coffin-shaped-wooden-cd-box-set

Crypts of Despair All Light Swallowed Black Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Engraving

Living up to the legacy of renowned acts such as Incantation and Immolation, the quartet fires the visceral Synergy Of Suffering, once again presenting the dynamic (and bestial) vocal duet between Dovydas and Simonas, and if you thought those Lithuanian metallers couldn’t sound more demonic you better get ready for The Great End, a sinister, neck-breaking tune that blends their trademark Death Metal with Black Metal nuances. Then venturing through more obscure lands we’re treated to the venomous Disgust, a beautiful Death, Black and (even) Doom Metal creation by Crypts of Despair where the vocal lines sound and feel utterly satanic, not to mention the thunderous drums by Henri. Dovydas and Benas definitely know how to send shivers down our spines with their wicked riffs, generating a menacing ambience in Excruciating Weight, putting a grim smile on the faces of the damned and flowing into the Stygian instrumental outro Bleak View, sounding as if it was taken from the most horrifying psychological thriller you can imagine.

crypts-of-despair-2021It’s quite easy to put your hands on such amazing album of Baltic Death Metal, as All Light Swallowed (which you can by the way stream in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify) is available for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, but if I were you I would definitely go for the ass-kicking, limited Black Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Engraving by clicking HERE, HERE or HERE (depending on where in the world you are), containing an 8-panel digipak CD with sandalwood scent, an autographed card, a shaped silver sigil patch, a keychain with bottle opener, an album artwork badge, a beer coaster and a metallic sticker. Also, don’t forget to give the guys from Crypts of Despair a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, showing your support to such incredible band from the Baltics. And you better hurry, before all light is finally swallowed and you’re trapped in eternal Death Metal darkness.

Best moments of the album: Being – Erased, Condemned To Life and Disgust.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing   
1. Being – Erased 4:33
2. Anguished Exhale 4:13
3. Choked By The Void 5:17
4. Condemned To Life 3:27
5. Synergy Of Suffering 2:57
6. The Great End 5:32
7. Disgust 4:23
8. Excruciating Weight 3:57
9. Bleak View 3:37

Band members
Dovydas Auglys – vocals, guitar
Benas Juskus – guitar
Simonas Jurkevicius – bass, vocals
Henri Mall – drums

Album Review – Sullen Guest / Chapter III (2021)

An excellent album of old school death and doom mixed with brighter melodies and alluring rhythms, representing unexpected experiences and emotions we are forced to face in our lives.

3.5rating

sullen-guest-chapter-iii-2021Formed in 2013 in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, Death/Doom Metal entity Sullen Guest has just released their third full-length opus, simply titled Chapter III, based on the foundations of old school death and doom sounds while at the same time mixed with brighter melodies and more alluring rhythms. One of the most important roles in the album is the emotional vocals, which inevitably forces the listener to experience the emotion of the lyrical character, not to mention the main inspiration for the lyrics has been the ailment of the soul, death and fragility of life. Mixed and mastered by L. Baškys at Lapės Records and featuring a cryptic life-and-death artwork by Lithuanian artist Arūnas Staugaitis, Chapter III flawlessly translates into music the meaning behind the name Sullen Guest, representing unexpected experiences and emotions we are inevitably forced to face in our lives such as pain, death, loneliness, fear and betrayal, with even the group members themselves having symbolic “guest” names in Latin that reflect these emotions, those being Inanitas on vocals and guitar, Tenebra also on the guitar, Demissio on bass and Doloribus on drums.

The Stygian guitars by Inanitas and Tenebra ignite the black mass Nothing Will Be Forgotten, as sluggish and somber as it can be, living up to the legacy of classic Blackened Doom while also reminding me of the early days of Tristania (but of course without the female vocals). Doom Metal lyrics are always a thing of beauty, and it couldn’t have been any different than that in Dewfall (“Dew grace once has fallen upon me / You were my friend, but I could not be with you / I reached for emptiness / Looking to the past wishing all could be different”) while the music remains dense and grim from start to finish, with Doloribus crushing his drums with tons of rage and melancholy; whereas Mortal Cord is another brutal creation by Sullen Guest where Inanitas keeps vociferating like a demonic entity while Demissio and Doloribus dictate the pace with their infernal kitchen until the very last second.

Even more doomed and nocturnal than its predecessors, Footprints brings forward a beautiful melody accompanied by the lugubrious bass lines by Demissio (which will certainly please all fans of 90’s and 2000’s Doom Metal), and with the anguished roars by Inanitas being the icing on the cake. Then blending the ferocity of Death Metal vocals with the darkness of Doom Metal riffs we’re treated to Limbonic Perdition, where Inanitas and Tenebra are once again on fire with their stringed axes, generating an enfolding atmosphere that lurks in the dark ready to attack; whereas the venomous Doom Metal riffs by Inanitas and Tenebra are the main ingredient in the funereal hymn Samsara, while Doloribus keeps pounding his drums slowly and steadily, therefore generating a neck-breaking, obscure rhythm while the stench of hopelessness permeates the air. And closing the album it’s time for a serene and gentle instrumental tune titled October Lullaby, where the band darkly jams until all fades into the unknown.

sullen-guest-2021I bet you’re more than curious to know how the fusion of death and doom made in Lithuania sounds, and luckily Chapter III is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify for your total delight. Also, don’t forget to check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their unique music, and above all that, to put your filthy hands on Chapter III by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, allowing such distinguished band to haunt your damned soul for all eternity. Because, as you might already know, as soon as you start listening to Chapter III there is no light in your window anymore. You have been visited by Sullen Guest.

Best moments of the album: Dewfall and Samsara.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metallurg Music

Track listing
1. Nothing Will Be Forgotten 7:39
2. Dewfall 7:01
3. Mortal Cord 5:03
4. Footprints 6:37
5. Limbonic Perdition 7:00
6. Samsara 5:45
7. October Lullaby (instrumental) 4:54

Band members
Inanitas XII – vocals, guitar
Tenebra I – guitar
Demissio XIII – bass
Doloribus XI – drums

Guest musician
R. Budriūnas – flute

Album Review – Pekla / Boogie With Satan (2020)

It’s time to boogie with a rebellious Heavy N’ Roll squad from Lithuania, rocking until you drop to the sound of their electrifying new album.

Founded in 2010 in Šiauliai, a city in northern Lithuania, by members of the distinct local underground bands Stranger Aeons (Progressive Metal), Argharus (Black Metal) and Virus (Hard N’ Heavy), the unrelenting five-piece act known as Pekla, which by the way means “heck” in English, plays what can be described as a fusion of Heavy and Speed Metal with a Rock N’ Roll attitude, drawing inspiration from iconic bands like Motörhead, Tank and Venom with a touch of social critique to their lyrics. Now in 2020 the band currently formed by Mindaugas Jurkevičius on vocals, Marius and Rokas Girčius on the guitars, Gytis Šimkevičius on bass and Justinas Jakubauskas on drums is unleashing upon us Boogie With Satan, the fourth full-length effort in their up-and-coming career. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Lapės Records by Laurynas Baškys, and featuring a beyond direct artwork by Gintarė Narga and an array of guest musicians form the local scene, Boogie with Satan goes straight to the point, sounding fast, acid and fun from start to finish.

Featuring lead guitar solos by Juozapas Bočkus (Alcotopia), #rapidez is a Motörhead-infused Punk-ish feast of demented beats and pulverizing riffs led by the inebriate vocals by Mindaugas, inviting us all to slam into the mosh pit like there’s no tomorrow, followed by Goddamn Suicide Zombies, bringing to our ears more of their frantic, visceral Rock N’ Roll blended with 80’s Speed Metal, with Marius and Rokas doing a great job with their incendiary riffage, resulting in a great option for breaking your neck headbanging while also enjoying a cold beer. Back to a more insane sonority, guests Lina Vaštakaitė and Paulius Navickas from Phrenetix lend their guitars skills to the band in Scrollers, while Mindaugas and Lina keep barking rabidly for our total delight, whereas in the rhythmic, dark and metallic The Game the unstoppable Gytis is kicking ass with his bass jabs, accompanied by the venomous beats by Justinas in a heavier-than-hell Rock N’ Roll extravaganza. And guests Matas Jančauskas and Minvydas Bindokas from Tručas are on fire with their respective deranged screams and sick guitar solos in The Tube Is Red, a frantic display of classic Heavy and Speed Metal by Pekla.

It’s definitely impossible to stand still to the adrenaline and fire flowing from the scorching title-track Boogie With Satan, where Marius and Rokas sound like two sharp swords slashing everything and everyone that crosses their path with their guitars, while the band puts the pedal to the metal in another high-octane metal hymn titled The Stuff, featuring guest solos by Jurgis Sakalauskas from Cunabula, sounding like Megadeth and Motörhead had a bastard son baptized in fire by Slayer and The Exploited, or in other words, it exhales pure heaviness and electricity. Then let’s all go to school and crush our skulls into the pit together with Pekla in School Of Rock’n’Roll, where Mindaugas’ roars are nicely supported by the song’s Punk Rock backing vocals while Justinas dictates the rhythm with both his fast and furious drums and more rhythmic, intricate beats; and guest Kostas Balčiūnas from Cunabula also fires a sick guitar solo in Swype Rite, while guest vocalist Domantas Žvinys from Orb brings a touch of rebelliousness to their music. In addition, Gytis is once again precise with his bass, showcasing all his dexterity with his low-tuned strings. Albeit not as electrifying as the rest of the album, it’s still a very enjoyable composition, flowing smoothly before the sinister outro …and Cut puts a sinister ending to such vibrant album of rock and metal music.

You can explode your ears with the inebriate and insurgent Boogie with Satan in full on Spotify, follow Pekla on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, and of course purchase this precious gem of Lithuanian Heavy N’ Roll from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Inferna Profundus Records’ webstore or from Discogs, supporting underground metal not only from Lithuania but from anywhere else in the world where the words “heavy” and “fast” always make a delicious combination. If you have what it takes to boogie with the guys from Pekla, then Boogie with Satan is a must-have album to be added to your collection, inspiring you to headbang, drink and rock until you drop and, consequently, making your life slightly better.

Best moments of the album: #rapidez, Scrollers and The Stuff.

Worst moments of the album: Swype Rite.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. #rapidez 2:23
2. Goddamn Suicide Zombies 3:53
3. Scrollers 3:15
4. The Game 4:38
5. The Tube Is Red 3:20
6. Boogie With Satan 2:51
7. The Stuff 3:13
8. School Of Rock’n’Roll 3:22
9. Swype Rite 4:23
10. …and Cut 2:30

Band members
Mindaugas Jurkevičius – vocals
Marius Godelis – guitars
Rokas Girčius – guitars
Gytis Šimkevičius – bass
Justinas Jakubauskas – drums

Guest musicians
Juozapas Bočkus – lead guitars on “#rapidez”
Lina Vaštakaitė – lead guitars and vocals on “Scrollers”
Paulius Navickas – lead guitars on “Scrollers”
Matas Jančauskas – lead vocals on “The Tube Is Red”, backing vocals on “The Tube Is Red” and “Boogie With Satan”
Minvydas Bindokas – lead guitars on “The Tube Is Red”
Jurgis Sakalauskas – lead guitars on “The Stuff”
Kostas Balčiūnas – lead guitars on “Swype Rite”
Domantas Žvinys – lead vocals on “Swype Rite”, backing vocals on “#rapidez”, “Goddam Suicide Zombies”, “Scrollers”, “The Stuff”, “School Of Rock’n’Roll” and “Swype Rite”

Album Review – Luctus / Užribis (2020)

Are you ready to dive into the cold waters of the Beyond together with one of the meanest Black Metal hordes of the Lithuanian scene?

Formed in the already distant year of 2001 in Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania located in the south-central region of the country, by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kommander L. as a one-man band, the incendiary Black Metal act that goes by the somber name of Luctus (a Latin words that means lamentation, mourning or grief) has evolved into one of the most important metal institutions of the Lithuanian scene through the years, becoming a mature and stable creature with a trademark sound that has already toured extensively across their homeland and all over Europe. Currently comprised of Kommander L. on vocals and bass, Šatras and Dovydas on the guitars, and Vytautas on drums, this talented “Nihil Black Metal” brigade is back in action after five long years with their long-awaited fourth album Užribis, or “The Beyond”, conceptually continuing the path taken by their 2015 album Ryšys while musically representing a further step in the search for the purity of sound and an emotional impact. Recorded at Lapės Records Studios in Lithuania, mixed and mastered at Necromorbus Studios in Sweden, and featuring a cryptic artwork by José Gabriel Alegría Sabogal (also known as Hathrul), Užribis is a spiritual journey through the obscure depths of the soul, breaking through any boundaries of social life in search of what the band calls the “Other World”. Having said that, are you ready to dive into the cold waters of the Beyond?

Just hit play and the ethereal and cryptic intro Gilyn (or “into the depth” in English) will embrace your damned soul and set the tone for the devastating and hellish Sušiurpintas Ano Pasaulio Nuostabos (“stunned by the awe-inspiring Other World”), with the entire band providing their welcome card through their infernal blast beats, scorching Black Metal riffs and vicious vociferations, not to mention the song’s disturbing, phantasmagorical vibe. And the slashing guitars by Šatras and Dovydas ignite the sulfurous Kas Tu Esi? (“who are you?”), a demonic display of old school Black Metal with Thrash and Death Metal nuances where Kommander L. rabidly barks the song’s lyrics (always in his mother tongue, by the way); then a disturbing beginning will darken the skies in the title-track Užribis (“the beyond”), before Vytautas begins hammering his drums furiously in a dense fusion of Black and Thrash Metal. Furthermore, Kommander L.’s vile roars get deeper and more demented as the music progresses, resulting in a lesson in Blackened Death Metal the likes of Behemoth and flowing like the fires of the underworld until its fulminating finale.

Už Sapno Ribų (“beyond the limits of the dream”) is another pulverizing blast of extreme sounds by Luctus led by the evil riffs and solos by both Šatras and Dovydas, once again living up to the legacy of crushing Blackened Death Metal, whereas the band’s rumbling bass lines and berserk beats dictate the rhythm in Tikėjimo Paslaptis (“the secret of faith”), filling our ears with sheer obscurity and blasphemy in the form of classic Black Metal, sounding and feeling truly reverberating and dense from start to finish. Then we have Liejasi (“merging”), an absolutely sinister tune showcasing cryptic passages, eerie background sounds and strident guitars, exploding into a demented feast of Black and Death Metal titled Vandens Paviršiumi (“skimming over the water”), one of the most detailed songs of the album, bringing to our ears multiple layers of darkness, hatred and fury piled up by the quartet, with Kommander L. taking the lead with his deep guttural roars and suddenly morphing into the cadaverous outro Fascinatio Mortis, as Stygian and grim as it can be, putting a cinematic ending to such detailed album.

The gates to the “Other World” ruled by Luctus are open thanks to the amazing job done by this sulfurous quartet in their new album Užribis, available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify. Hence, don’t forget to show your true support to those Lithuanian metallers by paying them a visit on Facebook and on Instagram, and especially by purchasing Užribis from their own BandCamp page or from the Inferna Profundus Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (in  CD or LP format), as well as from Apple Music or from Discogs. And then, but only then, after putting your hands on Užribis, you’ll be ready to cross the barriers of the Beyond together with one of the most prominent hordes from the Lithuanian scene.

Best moments of the album: Sušiurpintas Ano Pasaulio Nuostabos, Užribis and Vandens Paviršiumi.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Inferna Profundus Records

Track listing
1. Gilyn 2:07
2. Sušiurpintas Ano Pasaulio Nuostabos 5:09
3. Kas Tu Esi? 7:06
4. Užribis 7:54
5. Už Sapno Ribų 7:40
6. Tikėjimo Paslaptis 6:45
7. Liejasi 2:39
8. Vandens Paviršiumi 7:11
9. Fascinatio Mortis 2:30

Band members
Kommander L. – vocals, bass
Šatras – guitars
Dovydas – guitars
Vytautas – drums