Album Review – Argesh / Excommunica (2021)

Behold 31 minutes of the most solemn, majestic and uncompromising kind of Black Metal you can think of in the form of the debut album by an unrelenting horde from Italy.

3.5rating

argesh-excommunica-2021We live in a world corrupted by moral dogmas which, unconsciously, influence and create the rotten society in which we find ourselves, a vicious circle of self-destruction and self-castration. Fortunately for all of us metalheads, Varese, Italy-based Black Metal entity Argesh stands against all that, bringing forth now in 2021 their debut full-length opus entitled Excommunica, a stunning display of “Apostate Black Metal” blasted by HHG on the guitars, drums and voice reinforcements, Il Rakshasa on the guitars, and Azghal on bass and orchestrations. Recorded at Downstreet Studios, mixed and engineered by Simone Marzullo (also known as HHG) and Nicolò Paracchini (also known as Azghal), and mastered at Wavemotion Recordings by Federico Ascari, not to mention the more-than-special guests Michele Spallieri (Kenos), Lucifero Fieri (Tregenda), Vama Marga (Depths Above, Bhagavat), Chainerdog (Grendel) and Matteo Gresele (Ad Nauseam), Excommunica is a must-listen for fans of bands the likes of Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir and Deathspell Omega, bringing to our ears 31 minutes of the most solemn, majestic and uncompromising kind of Black Metal.

The opening track, titled Abiura, works as a tribal intro that will put you in a trance, with the guest vocals by Vama Marga making things even more tenebrous and flowing into the visceral Suffocate in Oxygen, a fulminating aria of extreme music where guest Michele Spallieri’s vocals are nicely complemented by the celestial voice of Lucifero Fieri, while HHG, Il Rakshasa and Azghal generate a pulverizing wall of sounds. Put differently, this is what I call a bestial display of Blackened Death Metal by such talented horde, and HHG and Il Rakshasa continue to extract sheer malignancy from their guitars in Source of Miracles accompanied by the thunderous bass by Azghal, while Michele keeps growling like a demonic entity and also featuring a kick-ass guitar solo by guest Matteo Gresele.

And HHG once again sounds infernal with his blast beats in the beyond fantastic Praelatorum Pedophilia, another austere, sulfurous creation by the trio showcasing slashing riffs and rumbling bass lines, therefore living up to the legacy of both old school and modern-day Black Metal; whereas in Apocalypse 20.7-8-9 a Cradle of Filth-inspired ambience becomes even more imposing thanks to the amazing job done by HHG on drums and all background orchestrations by Azghal. Furthermore, Michele proves once again why he was chosen to record most of the vocals for the album with his vicious roars adding an extra touch of evil to the overall result. And last but not least, closing the album we’re treated to the multi-layered, bold and Stygian tune The Elohim’s Mark, featuring guest vocals and guitar solo by Chainerdog, and reminding me of some of the best creations by Dimmu Borgir. Needless to say, HHG and Il Rakshasa are relentless with their wicked riffage, ending the album on a truly sulfurous note for our total delight.

argesh-2021“Excommunica wants to point out how much can be spiritually self-sabotaging being born and grown in a religious context bare of awareness and consciousness. Its concept is based on disrupting these restrictions in order to find the human need to evolve and become something different from the herd, expressing the harsh hate against the hypocrisy which this moral society proves to be with its values. We’re all suffocating in this oxygen ruled by corrupted divine idols,” commented this talented Italian horde about their newborn spawn, and if you want to show them your utmost support and admiration you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course purchase Excommunica from their own BandCamp page, letting the world we live in rot in chaos and darkness while you enjoy their undisputed Black Metal.

Best moments of the album: Praelatorum Pedophilia and Apocalypse 20.7-8-9.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Nero Corvino Records/Sepulchral Silence Digital Music Distribution

Track listing 
1. Abiura 2:11
2. Suffocate in Oxygen 4:04
3. Source of Miracles 6:30
4. Praelatorum Pedophilia 5:51
5. Apocalypse 20.7-8-9 5:05
6. The Elohim’s Mark 7:13

Band members
HHG – guitars, drums, voice reinforcements
Il Rakshasa – guitars
Azghal – bass, orchestrations

Guest musicians
Michele Spallieri – vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen”, “Source of Miracles”, “Praelatorum Pedophilia” and “Apocalypse 20.7-8-9”
Lucifero Fieri – celestial vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen” and “The Elohim’s Mark”
Vama Marga – vocals on “Abiura” and “Apocalypse 20.7-8-9”
Chainerdog – vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen” and “The Elohim’s Mark”, guitar solo on “The Elohim’s Mark”
Matteo Gresele – guitar solo on “Source of Miracles”

Album Review – Depths Above / Ex Nihilo (2018)

Crafting Black and Doom Metal “out of nothing”, this Brno-based band is here to introduce us all to their gloomy vision of underground metal with their debut album.

Ex nihilo is a Latin phrase meaning “out of nothing”, often appearing in conjunction with the concept of creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning “creation out of nothing”, chiefly in philosophical or theological contexts, but also occurring in other fields. It’s with that concept in mind that Depths Above, a Czech Black/Doom Metal band formed in 2015 in the city of Brno by current and former members of the bands Bhagavat (Italy), Desert Witch (Slovakia) and Inferno (Czech Republic), are releasing their debut installment, the 32-minute 4-track album Ex Nihilo, introducing us all to their gloomy vision of underground metal in which genres like Black, Death and Doom Metal mix in various dosages and moods. The wicked album artwork, created by the band’s own vocalist and guitarist Vama Marga, is a very good indication of what to expect from Vama together with guitarist Dreamancer, bassist Ivan Teleranko Dvorsky and drummer Sarapis, but it’s when you hit play that you’ll actually be able to feel all the madness and fury flowing from their distinguished music.

Ominous and cavernous sounds ignite the Black and Doom Metal aria Here and Everywhere, morphing into a gargantuan feast of extreme sounds led by Sarapis’ frantic drums and Vama’s and Dreamancer’s choleric riffs, before Vama begins growling like a demonic entity. And the music remains menacing and austere until its Stygian finale, being flawlessly followed by the flammable The Descent, where Ivan and Sarapis make the ground rumble with their thunderous instruments, being perfect for breaking your neck headbanging. Furthermore, the music gets more atmospheric and eccentric as time goes by, also showcasing a beautiful and impactful work done by the band’s devilish guitar duo.

Almost tribal, but always hypnotizing and obscure, A Prayer presents Vama, Dreamancer and Ivan complementing Sarapis’ nocturnal beats flawlessly with their piercing and dense strings in an instrumental extravaganza of Blackened Doom and classic Doom Metal, infused with elements from Progressive Metal the likes of Tool and Mastodon; whereas the title-track Ex Nihilo closes the album as demented and vibrant as the other songs in the form of a massive wall of darkened sounds spearheaded by Vama and his enraged roars. Moreover, it’s by far the most Black Metal of all songs, spiced up by the utter melancholy and anguish of Doom Metal, without a single space being left empty, invading your ears mercilessly and therefore closing the album on a high, cryptic and malevolent note.

You can get in touch with the talented Vama and his henchmen through their Facebook page, and grab your copy of Ex Nihilo exclusively from their BandCamp page. As aforementioned, Ex nihilo means “creation out of nothing”, and Depths Above explored that concept to perfection when creating the music found in their new album, showing the world the band is here to stay, proudly carrying the flag of Black and Doom Metal as high as the sun, but of course with their hearts and minds being as blackened as extreme music demands.

Best moments of the album: The Descent and Ex Nihilo.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Here and Everywhere 7:30
2. The Descent 7:04
3. A Prayer (Instrumental) 7:31
4. Ex Nihilo 9:04

Band members
Vama Marga – vocals, guitars
Dreamancer – guitars
Ivan Teleranko Dvorsky – bass
Sarapis – drums