Album Review – Boarhammer / I: Cutting Wood for Magickal Purposes (2021)

May you enjoy the outcome of the cooperation of the men of the cave and the boar of the woods, speaking of wood mysticism, ancient folk magick, and the strangeness of liquids and herbs.

Consisting of seven songs in the span of 30 minutes of Ritualistic Black Metal primitivism, the infernal I: Cutting Wood for Magickal Purposes, the debut demo by a dynamic Black Metal two-headed entity hailing from the timeless darkness of the woods in Germany that goes by the name of Boarhammer, combines maniacal blasting and intriguing slower parts, all garnished with cavernous chants and hints of epic melodies. The lyrics speak of wood mysticism, ancient folk magick, and the strangeness of liquids and herbs. Recorded and produced by the band itself formed of The Vessel on vocals, drums and bass, and Wodwoz on the guitars and vocals, and featuring a cryptic artwork by Boarhammer together with an uncanny artist simply known as N, I: Cutting Wood for Magickal Purposes is an unhinged concoction of feverish bursts of primitive blasting and soaring epicness, offering fans of the underworld a unique blend of sounds inspired by the first-wave Black Metal hordes of old, but open for new approaches to the genre’s core ideas.

A sinister start evolves into a raw and heavier-than-hell explosion of Black Metal entitled Riding the Hedge, with The Vessel darkly declaiming the song’s wicked words while Wodwoz extracts pure evil from his guitar. Then continuing their path of darkness it’s time for Channelling Wormwood Spirits, another infernal Black Metal extravaganza led by the reverberating bass by The Vessel, who by the way also does an amazing job with his classic beats and fills; and putting the pedal to the metal our demented Teutonic duo fires the breathtaking Spirits on Black Wings, a lesson in underground extreme music showcasing pounding drums, metallic bass jabs and strident riffs, all spiced up by The Vessel’s grim vocals, setting the bar truly high not only for the rest of the album, but for all of their future releases so compelling it is.

Drinking from the same fountain of blood as the trailblazers of the genre Mayhem, the duo offers us Tatra Wolves, a bestial and sulfurous composition where Wodwoz slashes his strings nonstop for our total delight, whereas Ritual Tusks is another ritualistic chant where Wodwoz will pierce your damned mind with his sick riffs while The Vessel keeps adding rage to the music with his blast beats. There’s absolutely no time to breathe as they bring forward one more round of obscurity in The Trees are no Trees, adding even rawer and more primeval nuances to their core sound, and let me tell you that the final result is beyond devilish. As the icing on the cake we have their cover version for Black Funeral, from Mercyful Fate’s 1983 classic album Melissa (check out the original version HERE), and  Boarhammer more than succeeded with their Stygian rendition of such old school hymn, maintaining the essence of the original song with the band’s own Black Metal twist.

The ritualistic sounds crafted by Boarhammer in I: Cutting Wood for Magickal Purposes can be purchased from their own BandCamp page, inspiring you to join the band in the depths of the dark and sinister caves of their homeland Germany in the name of extreme music and, of course, our beloved black magick. May you enjoy the outcome of the cooperation of the men of the cave and the boar of the woods found in Boarhammer’s debut demo, and may such talented duo darken the skies even more with their undisputed metal music in all of their upcoming releases, keeping the scorching flames of Stygian and tribal Black Metal burning for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Spirits on Black Wings and Tatra Wolves.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Riding the Hedge 4:22
2. Channelling Wormwood Spirits 3:24
3. Spirits on Black Wings 7:07
4. Tatra Wolves 4:07
5. Ritual Tusks 3:57
6. The Trees are no Trees 3:52
7. Black Funeral (Mercyful Fate cover) 2:52

Band members
The Vessel – vocals, drums, bass
Wodwoz – guitars, vocals

Album Review – Yoth Iria / As The Flame Withers (2021)

Dark, diabolical, and majestic while taking a fresh look into 90’s Greek Black Metal with a nostalgia of the past and a twist into the future. That’s what these infernal veterans have to offer in their newborn spawn.

Forged in the fires of Athens, Greece in 2019 by bassist Jim Mutilator, a founding member of legendary Greek Black Metal band Rotting Christ, and vocalist The Magus, who formed Necromantia in 1989 together with Baron Blood (R.I.P.), one of the most influential and avantgarde bands of the scene, Hellenic Black Metal outfit Yoth Iria is an amalgam of the influences and visions of its creators, sounding dark, diabolical, emotional, powerful and majestic while taking a fresh look into 90’s Greek Occult Black Metal with a nostalgia of the past and a twist into the future. Now in 2021, the duet which developed and pioneered the underground scene back in the day is ready to crush our souls with their first full-length album, titled As The Flame Withers. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Pentagram Studio by Yoth Iria and George Emmanuel (Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, Lucifer’s Child), and displaying a Stygian artwork by Indian artist Harshanand Singh, As The Flame Withers represents everything this primeval entity stands for, supported by guest musicians George Emmanuel on the guitars, John Patsouris on keys and J.V. Maelstrom (Dephosphorus, Nigredo) on drums, dragging the listeners into the pits of the underworld and keeping them there forever in pitch black darkness.

The Children of Bodom-inspired riffage by George kicks of the melodic and infernal The Great Hunter, bringing to our ears old school Norwegian Black Metal blended with the epicness of Behemoth and Rotting Christ, whereas mesmerizing, imposing sounds permeate the air in the insane title-track Yoth Iria, showcasing beyond obscure lyrics growled by The Magus (“For aeons he laid dormant / speaking through dreams / conspiring in visions / watching from his Throne / Arch-Priest and King / of the Seven Hells / The Highest of Angels / the Brightest of them all”) while his bandmates keep the atmosphere as heavy and somber as possible. Then it’s time for George and Jim to slash their respective guitar and bass in the very melodious but of course heavy-as-hell Hermetic Code, a very atmospheric creation by the band offering our ears a good dosage of Doom Metal added to their core ferocity; and arising from the pits of the underworld like a demonic entity, The Magus and Jim bring forward Demonaz-inspired vocalizations and dirty, rumbling bass lines in The Mantis, with the background keys by John Patsouris sounding insanely epic while J.V. Maelstrom hammers his drums mercilessly.

In the excellent The Red Crown Turns Black we face more of their blasphemous lyrics (“From the deserts of Saturn / and the depths of the Abyss / the General of Chaos / the Devourerof Souls”) while the music sounds like a demonic fusion of Behemoth, Immortal and Children of Bodom, with George being once again sensational with his wicked riffs and solos, and rocking guitars and classic beats ignite the Stygian extravaganza titled Unborn, Undead, Eternal, reminding me of some of the most recent creations by Rotting Christ, with The Magus gnarling like a creature from the netherworld nonstop. The second to last explosion of their Ritualistic Black Metal comes in the form of Tyrants, where The Magus’ roars are effectively supported by the hellish kitchen by Jim and Maelstrom, resulting in another doomed, thunderous aria blasted by this talented Greek horde, while Jim continues to smash his bass in the closing tune The Luciferian, accompanied by the grim guitars by George. Once again blending old school Black Metal with Doom Metal and more contemporary styles, the song unfortunately loses its grip after a while, albeit nothing that could do any harm to such powerful album.

In the end, As The Flame Withers, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube, is exactly what such prominent duo from the Greek Black Metal scene is saying the album is, an ode to the early days of the genre without sounding outdated, tiresome nor bland at all. Hence, if you want to explore their obscure realm in more detail and stay updated with all things Yoth Iria, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course purchase your copy of As The Flame Withers from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (including the CD and black LP versions of the album), as well as from Record Shop X. It’s indeed a true pleasure witnessing two trailblazers of the Greek Black Metal scene generating such infernally dark music with so much punch and potency even after all these decades on the road, proving once again extreme music can be a true fountain of youth for many, while the flames of Black Metal keep burning the souls of the unbelievers for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Yoth Iria, The Mantis and The Red Crown Turns Black.

Worst moments of the album: The Luciferian.

Released in 2021 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. The Great Hunter 4:24
2. Yoth Iria 5:41
3. Hermetic Code 6:34
4. The Mantis 7:19
5. The Red Crown Turns Black 6:26
6. Unborn, Undead, Eternal 5:14
7. Tyrants 4:51
8. The Luciferian 6:32

Band members
The Magus – vocals
Jim Mutilator – bass

Guest musicians
George Emmanuel – guitars (session)
John Patsouris – keys (session)
J.V. Maelstrom – drums (session)

Album Review – Invocation / Attunement to Death EP (2020)

Let this vile and demonic breath of Ritualistic and Hypnotic Black and Death Metal from the infernal pits of Chile reach deep inside your damned soul.

Forged in the fires of Valparaíso, Chile in 2015, Black/Death Metal horde Invocation is unleashing upon humanity a sulfurous and absolutely obscure EP entitled Attunement to Death, the follow up to their highly acclaimed 2016 demo Seance Part. I and their 2018 EP The Mastery of the Unseen, offering fans of extreme music a short but fulminating blast of what the band itself likes to call “Ritualistic and Hypnotic Black and Death Metal” in the form of six original compositions. Comprised of Sense of Premonition on vocals and guitars, Sense of Clairvoyance on bass and Sense of Clairaudience on drums, Invocation reached a hellish harmony with their classic South American diabolism with Attunement to Death, while at the same time imbuing it with a deeper and more unique aspect that bountifully displays their authentic grounding in the occult, setting the tone for a very promising and infernal future for such talented band.

Ominous, cryptic noises permeate the air in the opening track Oppression, a phantasmagorical intro that will drag you to the pits of the underworld before the trio begins blasting their instruments mercilessly in Flying Ointments, exhaling pure evil and heaviness, and with the gruesome vociferations by Sense of Premonition being complemented by his own demonic riffs and Sense of Clairaudience’s intricate and sulfurous beats. After such demented start to the EP, scorching riffs and rumbling, metallic bass lines dictate the rhythm in the also Stygian and infernal Divine Transition, presenting a solid fusion of the darkness of Black Metal with the raw sounds of Death Metal, offering to our avid ears pure devastation in the form of music from start to finish, without of course a single second of peace just the way we like it in extreme music.

A putrid roar by Sense of Premonition kicks off the Death Metal extravaganza entitled The First Mirror, showcasing a great sync between Sense of Clairvoyance and Sense of Clairaudience with their respective bass punches and beats and fills, resulting in a true headbanging tune that lives up to the legacy of the genre. Then get ready for over seven minutes of obscurity and rage in The Officiants, where the classic riffage by Sense of Premonition gets even more impactful accompanied by Sense of Clairaudience’s infernal drums, whereas its vocals couldn’t have sounded more disturbing and visceral. And last but not least, Invocation summon all creatures of the dark in their most detailed and devilish creation, the heavy-as-hell Secret Tongues, uniting elements from Black and Death Metal in the name of evil. In addition, its guitar sounds will certainly darken your mind, while Sense of Clairaudience continues to crush our skulls without a single drop of mercy in this multi-layered aria that sounds absolutely ritualistic.

In a nutshell, while Invocation (hopefully) get ready for their debut full-length opus in a not-so-distant future, there’s a lot to savor in their brand new EP, which as already mentioned might be short in duration but reeks of violence and obscurity. Having said that, simply let the dark and demonic sounds blasted by this awesome Chilean horde penetrate deep inside your soul by following them on Facebook and by purchasing your copy of Attunement to Death from the band’s own BandCamp page, from Record Shop X, or from other locations as soon as the album is officially released in February, celebrating all things evil in the name of our good old Black and Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Flying Ointments and Secret Tongues.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Iron Bonhead

Track listing
1. Oppression 0:56
2. Flying Ointments 5:05
3. Divine Transition 7:46
4. The First Mirror 5:06
5. The Officiants 5:29
6. Secret Tongues 6:29

Band members
Sense of Premonition – vocals, guitars
Sense of Clairvoyance – bass
Sense of Clairaudience – drums

Album Review – Cult of Erinyes / Tiberivs (2017)

Inspired by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, here comes a ruthless Belgian Ritualistic Black Metal horde with their brand new and utterly fantastic concept album.

One of the most talented and prominent bands of the Extreme Metal independent scene in Europe, Belgian Ritualistic Black Metal horde Cult of Erinyes, is back with their unsparing music in the form of a concept album titled Tiberivs, inspired by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who ruled one of the greatest empires of mankind from 14 AD to 37 AD. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newcomer to the dark world of this Brussels-based band or if you’re already a fan of works such as A Place to Call My Unknown, Blessed Extinction and their latest EP Transcendence, the music found in Tiberivs will leave scathing scars on your skin and poison your blood, leaving you eager for more of the band’s mordant creations.

As commented by the band’s mastermind Corvus, “I always perceived Cult of Erinyes as a portal that allows my mind to connect with different universes. I had, from the very beginning of the creative process, to immerse myself in a definite time period – the Ancient Roman Empire, Tiberius era. Each song, melody, and riff had to refer to a variation of emotions forgotten by time itself. What sounded like a fantastic challenge ended as a nightmare where my subconscious got lost. Desperation, frustration, and madness raised dangerously. This third album is our most progressive effort so far, but also contains radical and intense parts sublimed by Mastema’s urges for ferocity. We both went as far as we could on this album and were lucky to be helped in our task by longtime devoted musicians Algol (bass, additional guitars), Baron (lead guitars, artwork), and Déhà, who handled the drums, some guitars/keys, and the the mix/mastering process. Last but not least, Alex (Kall, Hypothermia, Craft) offered us a five-star bass-line on the intro and Marc DeBacker, my brother in Wolvennest, added some crystal-clear guitar sounds on the end of the album. This album also marked the end of my longtime musical and spiritual journey with Mastema. I can only but respect his decision and salute the energy he shared on Tiberivs. This concept album was his idea, and I’m glad we end our collaboration on this high and digressive note. He will be replaced for future live and recording duties by the most extreme and mentally extreme singer I know, Déhà, who is known for his work with Yhdarl, Maladie, We All Die (Laughing), and shitloads of other good projects. For all those reasons, I will hate and cherish this album. For Centuries To Come.”

In the opening track, titled Archaea, 41 B.C., fires burn amidst some eerie voices and moans, being slowly joined by the band’s atmospheric instrumental and topped off with a narration about how Romans were raised by wolves and that wolves are born to hunt and kill, resulting in a beyond ominous intro to the devastating Nero (Divine Providence), offering the listener the band’s old school Black Metal with their traditional ritualistic twist in the form of a sensational tempest of slashing guitars and blast beats. Moreover, not only Mastema sounds more devilish and brutal than ever, but the song’s frantic sounds are effectively blended with its ambient passages, turning it into a full-bodied blackened experience that’s definitely worth a listen. And in Casvs Belli, which means “an act or situation provoking or justifying war”, we’re treated to an explosion of extreme music with the demonic riffs by Corvus together with Algol and Baron generating a truly belligerent atmosphere, all enhanced by the infernal growls by Mastema and the obscure keys by Corvus.

Bred for War connects instantly and perfectly with the previous song to the point they can even be considered one major composition split in two, with sheer bestiality flowing from the awesome drumming by Déhà. In other words, this is straightforward Black Metal perfect for Corvus and his horde to tell the story proposed in the album; followed by Loner, a song that kicks off like a raging bull, smashing everything through the blast beats by Déhà and the fast and cutting guitars by Corvus, with Algol strengthening the song’s melody with his bass lines. The final result couldn’t sound more amazing, a furious and occult creation by Cult of Erinyes with an excellent job done by Mastema giving life to the song’s dark lyrics. Germanicvs, with its almost 8 minutes of blackened sounds and a demonic aura, keeps up with the foundations of Black Metal, being one of the most obscure and dense of all songs of the album led by the sustained drums by Déhà and spiced up by dark vociferations by Mastema.

An eerie, dark intro ignites another menacing creation by this talented Belgian horde, titled First of Men, a hybrid of Atmospheric and Ritualistic Black Metal with hints of Blackened Doom. Moreover, although it doesn’t show the same fury that emanates from the rest of the album, it’s still essential for the storyline. In Damnatio Memoriae (or “damnation of memory” in English), the music grows in intensity and darkness until after one minute it becomes a feast of Blackened Doom sounds enfolding the demented gnarls by Mastema, remaining rhythmic and dynamic thanks to the excellent job done by Déhà on drums until its thrilling Stygian ending; whereas For Centuries to Come is an 11-minute aria where Corvus showcases all his abilities as a multi-instrumentalist, while Mastema elevates his evil growls and screams to a whole new infernal level. This is by far the most complete and detailed of all songs, with its second half being a work-of-art of extreme music, not to mention its atmospheric elements beautifully complementing the piercing guitar riffs and solos, flowing into a fantastic and climatic conclusion to the album.

In a nutshell, the implacable Cult of Erinyes sounds stronger and more menacing than ever in Tiberivs (which can be enjoyed in its entirety HERE) and, despite being their ultimate album with the demonic Mastema on vocals, I’m sure the band will still provide us a lot of amazing material like this in the future. Furthermore, this brilliant concept album can be purchased at the band’s own BandCamp page, at the Caverna Abismal Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and at the Aural Music Webstore, as well as on iTunes, Amazon and Discogs. The roots to the greatest empire in the history of mankind are deeply connected to the lives of wolves, and there’s nothing better than the austere extreme music by Cult of Erinyes to show you how harsh, ruthless and vicious wolves can be.

Best moments of the album: Nero (Divine Providence), Loner and For Centuries to Come.

Worst moments of the album: First of Men.

Released in 2017 Caverna Abismal Records

Track listing
1. Archaea, 41 B.C. 2:40
2. Nero (Divine Providence) 7:42
3. Casvs Belli 6:24
4. Bred for War 3:52
5. Loner 4:27
6. Germanicvs 7:40
7. First of Men 5:49
8. Damnatio Memoriae 6:04
9. For Centuries to Come 10:59

Band members
Mastema – vocals
Corvus – lead and rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards
Algol – bass, rhythm guitar
Baron – lead guitar
Déhà – drums, additional guitar & keyboards

Guest musicians
Alex – bass on “Archaea, 41 B.C.”
Marc DeBacker – additional guitar on “For Centuries to Come”

Album Review – Cult of Erinyes / Transcendence EP (2016)

High-quality Ritualistic Black Metal blasted by an up-and-coming cult of infernal goddesses that will definitely devastate your mind.

Rating5

CultOfErinyes-EPIn Greek mythology, the Erinyes (also known as Furies) were female chthonic deities of vengeance, sometimes referred to as “infernal goddesses”. Having said that, try to imagine what would happen if a cult dedicated to those hellish deities of the underworld decided to converge all their strength and energy into extreme music. The result would be the Ritualistic Black Metal bred by the skillful Belgian act Cult of Erinyes, who are just about to release a 19-minute opus in cassette format (limited to 100 copies) entitled Transcendence.

Hailing from the always pleasant city of Brussels, Belgium, Cult of Erinyes have always been crafting music in seek of the trinity, the purest form of the universe, which ends up providing a particular atmosphere of their sonority that explains the label of “Ritualistic Black Metal”. The band has already released an EP and two full-length albums since their inception in 2009, but in case you have never heard of them before I should say their new EP Transcendence is a highly-recommended option to join their cult. Featuring a distinguished artwork by Business for Satan, from the city of Strasbourg, France, this obscure EP doesn’t need more than its duration to devastate your mind and make you addicted to their eldritch metal music.

Cult of Erinyes come blasting their evil music from the very first second in Degree of Solitude, a solid fusion of raw Black Metal with a heavy and demonic ambience, with its second half becoming a bestial onslaught of Extreme Metal where lead singer Mastema growls like an ancient demon. In the title-track, Transcendence, the band’s mastermind and warlock Corvus fires his evil riffs and thunderous bass lines, while Mastema continues his vocal tribute to evil. This song showcases lots of elements from Doom Metal, Blackened Doom, Atmospheric Black Metal and Blackened Death Metal, resulting in a demonic composition that will definitely drag you down to the pits of hell.

CultofErinyes_official1And as a sophisticated bonus to admirers of Extreme Metal all over the world, this talented Belgian band offers us their kick-ass cover version for the classic chant Pagan Fears, originally recorded by Mayhem, known as the trailblazers of Norwegian Black Metal and one of the most controversial bands of all time (if not the most controversial one). This is undoubtedly an amazing tribute with the necessary amounts of darkness, despair and violence requested, and in case you want to compare it to the original song you can do that by simply clicking HERE.

To sum up, although Transcendence has only three songs, the quality of the music found in its 19 minutes of brutality and occultism is indeed beyond average, making us all eager for what this cult of infernal goddesses can offer us next. In order to know more about Cult of Erinyes and their high-end Black Metal, go check their Facebook page. And if you truly want to support the underground of extreme music, go purchase Transcendence at the Caverna Abismal Records’ BandCamp page (remember it’s limited to 100 copies only), and relish it while we all wait for another demonic rite by these talented Belgian metallers.

Best moments of the album: Degree of Solitude.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Caverna Abismal Records

Track listing
1. Degree of Solitude 5:46
2. Transcendence 6:40
3. Pagan Fears (Mayhem cover) 6:32

Band members
Mastema – vocals
Corvus – guitar, bass, keyboards
Baal – drums*

*Former member