Brief Reports from April 2022

            The second quarter of the year is underway, and as time continues passing at full speed, the moment now arrives to focus on some great works from April. Styles extending from raw and primitive origins toward progressive areas are highlighted in this selection of concise reviews, and they likewise explore ruins of ancient lore while traversing our vile present, along with the outer fringes of the future and otherworldly realms between. Many shades materialize through their dark potency, and of course, this is only a small sample of worthwhile releases that became during the last month.

GOLGOTHAN REMAINS     Adorned in Ruin

            Darkness swells within the cursed realms of Australia as GOLGOTHAN REMAINS unleashes their second full act of unholy chaos, and various aural shadows compose its ruinous impact. An atmosphere takes underworldly shape from the harsh and brooding emanations of its riffs, with thick tremolo and chord structures interacting across a turbulent course, and doom is imposed when the blasting fury relents for mid-paced and slower grooving points of hostility. Dissonant notes glare from the depths of this abyss, where a core of malign arpeggiated melodies thrive alongside other unsettling and discordant tones, and vocals further enforce these energies with a dynamic variety of guttural, raspy, and anguished howling expressions. A myriad of notable heavy developments is paralleled by the intricate fretted patterns weaved throughout, which occur both on the low-end and higher frenzied levels for a complexity that augments the madness. Some epic vibrations also evolve on later tracks, along with the clean vocals to reflect their radiance, and they combine with the prominence of blackened doom and eeriness to complete a diverse exhibition. A raw and malicious potency drenches the modern edge of Adorned in Ruin, and it empowers the genre’s roots to form an exemplary death metal incarnation.

FACELESS ENTITY     The Great Anguish of Rapture

            A malevolent presence has cast its second full-length affliction over the Netherlands, and it projects distortions to reflect the enmity of a malignant void. These form venomous hymns from a mass of riffing currents, where sinister tones and melodies are revealed throughout a mutating course, and this lo-fi aural plague is carried across somber processions to induce varying trancelike states. Those slower paces compound the influence of dismal arpeggiated notes, along with other grim developments while also sustaining them for maximum effect, and areas of grooving flow are occasionally produced by including detailed cymbal and drumming patterns. Different rhythmic alterations often coincide effectively with brooding progressions to leave a lasting mark, and their fierce disposition advances when blast beats or quickened percussive forces ensue. There are unsettling vibrations that evolve amid the chaos of multiple riffs, with certain points of convergence also creating more epic moments, and the vocals echo those qualities with clean sung features to contrast an array of rasps. Inhuman and disembodied possession takes hold of tortured screams that venture into a guttural abyss, which all corresponds to the unyielding instrumental wrath, and its icy culmination strikes to affirm new life for the blackest core of the genre.

ARCHGOAT     All Christianity Ends

            This new infernal work premiered just in time to taint Christ’s day of undead transformation, and it supplements last year’s mighty Worship the Eternal Darkness with a primeval spirit that hails other past rites, while also seizing continued modern glory. An ominous atmosphere with scenes of ritual perversity are conjured by ambience and other sampled recordings, which introduce the barbaric exercises to follow, but they also surface amid the fury to augment its evolving course. Organ keys and other notes creep through the growing aura of “Ascension Towards the Promethean Fire,” and choral emanations are noted during a sinister riff on “Nightside Prayer.” A variety of riffing structures take shape as primitive sliding currents expand into detailed progressions, and frenzied intricacies are integrated alongside heavy purposeful strikes. Accented notes occasionally pierce from beneath the heavier layers, with “Crown Cloaked with Death” exercising this method in sections of pronounced headbang inducement, and tremolo elements forward a fierce edge when tearing across the madness. These formations coincide with drumming that blasts or grooves to magnify areas of direct savagery, along with multiple complexities glimpsed among the chaos, and a groove employed on “The Semen of Anti-Mastery” effectively highlights its melodic counterpart. Inhuman guttural possession and echoes are among the dynamics used to deliver Luciferian ideals vocally, and a decisively hocked articulation ends the ceremony on a note of pointed sacrilege. Offerings from ARCHGOAT remain satisfying, and the brief but concentrated dose here succeeds at hammering nails deeper into sacred flesh.

BLOODRED     Ad Astra

            Germany rushes toward the stars with this new opus from BLOODRED, and its blackened death embodiment traverses an array of atmospheric manifestations. The opening arrangements conjure a setting of desolation and despair, with ambience and clean-stringed gloom reinforced by the notorious quote from J. Robert Oppenheimer, and a majestic presence is also noted as these elements later morph for areas with medieval folk expressions. Tremolo melodies and riffs layer effectively to culminate within the evolving tracks, and they parallel the aural features with their bleakness and grand formations. Dissonant notes haunt realms of brooding heaviness, and the intricacies of epic melodic sections are encountered alongside riffing that advances through muted and chugged rhythmic patterns. Striking passages are formed when the drumming pairs those influences with the flow of detailed grooving rhythms, and blast beats are seamlessly employed for moments of elevated intensity, along with various double bass pulses. The prevailing vocal rasps carry a pitch to balance the black and death aspects of the sound, and a specific death metal aura is especially pronounced when thick tremolo currents ensue. Dark and strange vibrations persist throughout, and some psychedelic or industrial effects are further integrated in the mix, which certifies Ad Astra as a widely varied yet cohesive and memorable venture.

THE SPIRIT     Of Clarity and Galactic Structures

            Another German entity has launched a third full journey into the endless void, and a cosmic immensity is reflected in the detailed extent of its compositions. A myriad of intricate fretted and tremolo shapes proceed across enthralling meanders, and they invoke a calculated galactic splendor while merging with the driving power of riffs. These utilize heavier and thrashing formulas to capitalize on the mighty vibrations produced melodically, and their rhythms are magnified by the corresponding percussive elements. The speed of blast-beaten and other rocking groove tempos give the work a fierce edge, and chaos is revealed through numerous sudden and unpredictable shifts, but slower paces endure with a complexity that often harmonizes with the melodic paths. This is where brooding arpeggiations take effect, along with calmer areas highlighting an inherent progressive quality, and other moments advance leadwork and soloing toward transcendent points of perception. Harsh vocals maintain a blackened fury, with an overtness in the delivery also leaving many lyrics understandable, and brief ambient appearances heighten the overall atmosphere alongside clean-stringed effects. The closing strike is noted for combining synths with an arpeggiated menace and other elevated patterns, which seals the black and death fusion with progression making Of Clarity and Galactic Structures a colossal and highly worthwhile undertaking.

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