Sunday, August 19, 2018

Witch King


Genre: Black/Death Metal
Country: U.S.A.
Locale: Rhode Island
Formed: 2008
Label: Independent
















Reviews:

Voice of the Ossuary (2018)






















Review: Witch King - Voice of the Ossuary

Witch King is a three-piece black/death metal group that hails from Warwick, Rhode Island USA. Formed in 2008, the band has released six demos, a split, and an EP before finally landing themselves a record deal with Blood Harvest. That said, Voice of the Ossuary is their debut full-length offering, and surprisingly only one song from any of their previous efforts makes an appearance.

Genre: Black/Death Metal
Label: Blood Harvest
Release Date: September 14, 2018
  1. Rejection of the Light
  2. Void Emissary
  3. Apocalypse Tribe
  4. Voice of the Ossuary
  5. Savage Conquest Upon Holy Lands
  6. Jehovah Grinder
  7. Howling Beyond the Veil
  8. Mocking the Seraphim
  9. Final Annihilation
  10. Astral Desecration
Total Playtime: 36 minutes, 15 seconds






Rating: 4.0/10



Witch King is a three-piece black/death metal group that hails from Warwick, Rhode Island USA. Formed in 2008, the band has released six demos, a split, and an EP before finally landing themselves a record deal with Blood Harvest. That said, Voice of the Ossuary is their debut full-length offering, and surprisingly only one song from any of their previous efforts makes an appearance.

Forget wondering where to start at with Voice of the Ossuary, there's really only one thing to talk about regarding this album. There is something terribly amiss with the production quality on this release, and I'm not even talking about your typical raw black metal style, which is an acceptable artform, either. The bad sound comes across as overly-purposeful, to the degree that it's viable to believe that it was faked in post-production as a vain attempt to assume a rawer value than the original recording.


I don't know about you, but I've come across my fair share of shitty audio over the years; be it YouTube compression or old school Bearshare/Kazaa downloads with bad bitrates. That's exactly the kind of sound that Voice of the Ossuary has. It sounds as though it's highly compressed, maybe even a couple times over for good measure, even though my version runs at 320k. It's horrendously congested, the drum hi-hats and guitar riffs sound like pure, unrecognizable static. In fact, if there wasn't a bass player listed in the credits you'd never know there was one.

From what can be heard, the entire album has a typical blast beat set up with the drums, but they do hit hard and in a blaze of fury; "Apocalypse Tribe" is the perfect example of just how well the drummer conveys his passion for the skins. Most of the guitar riffs stay indiscernible for almost the entire duration of the album, but there are a few strums here and there that manage to rise to the surface. There's quite a bit of tremolo picking that's present and a few decent solos here and there.

Honestly, the guitar is so fuzzy and unrecognizable that casual listeners will find themselves only being able to pick out the static-laden drums and deep, gnarls of vocals. Everything in between is a totally muffled void. Voice of the Ossuary sounds like it could be an excellent album if you could actually hear anything that the majority of the members are doing. Don't get me wrong, raw production is great; Beherit? Old Mayhem? Darkthrone? All great raw quality entries. This is not, and this is very obviously bad production that has been faked.

Digital Download Provided by: Blood Harvest

Review: Archgoat - Eternal Damnation of Christ

Given that Archgoat's fourth EP release, Eternal Damnation of Christ, is just under eleven minutes in length, there's unfortunately not a whole lot to say. For one thing, the content leaves audiences thirsty for more, and it's an excellent anticipation-builder for their upcoming fourth full-length album, The Luciferian Crown, which is due out in just under a month at the time of writing.

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: September 29, 2017
  1. Black Mass Mysticism
  2. Eternal Damnation of Christ
Total Playtime: 10 minutes, 45 seconds




Rating: 8.5/10

Given that Archgoat's fourth EP release, Eternal Damnation of Christ, is just under eleven minutes in length, there's unfortunately not a whole lot to say. For one thing, the content leaves audiences thirsty for more, and it's an excellent anticipation-builder for their upcoming fourth full-length album, The Luciferian Crown, which is due out in just under a month at the time of writing.

The content kicks off with the slow and doomy beginning of "Black Mass Mysticism", and right from the get-go it seems that my prediction that Archgoat would move in a more well-produced direction was correct. While it's not shined to a sickening polish, the production quality of Eternal Damnation of Christ is miles ahead of all previous releases from the band. The material still hangs on to a lingering grittiness that pushes Lord Angelslayer's evil guitar tone to new levels of diabolicalness.


For the first true time in the history of Archgoat, the drums finally get the place in the sound mixing that they deserve. Though very little more than blast beats are present on this release, the solid thumping of the bass drum and snare, combined with the slightly muffled hi-hats all work well to enhance the guitar riffs. The bass guitar is still barely noticeable, however, but it sits just between the drums and guitar with a mild, woody tone.

Of course of the two songs offered on this short EP, the title track is the most noteworthy and menacing. Eternal Damnation of Christ is a solid effort by Archgoat and one that has kept us on the edge of our seats in anticipation for 2018's full-length release. However, it's agreed on by many of the band's fans that it's still no Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration). The line-up for The Luciferian Crown suggests that the band have added a keyboardist to their ranks, along with a new drummer, so we'll just have to wait and hear how it all works out in the end.

Review: Archgoat - The Apocalyptic Triumphator

Finnish black metal trio Archgoat have had a long history in the metal underground. After forming in 1989, the band broke up in 1993 only to resurrect eleven years later in 2004. Their catalog is by and large made up of splits and EPs, with a couple of demos thrown in for good measure. The Apocalyptic Triumphator heralds the band's third full-length release, coming in nine years after their first, Whore of Bethlehem, and six years after their second, The Light-Devouring Darkness.

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: January 27th, 2015
  1. Intro (Left Hand Path)
  2. Nuns, Cunts & Darkness
  3. The Apocalyptic Triumphator
  4. Phallic Desecrator of Sacred Gates
  5. Grand Luciferian Theophany
  6. Those Below (Who Dwell in Hell)
  7. Intro (Right Hand Path)
  8. Congregation of Circumcised
  9. Sado-Magical Portal
  10. Light of Phosphorus
  11. Profanator of the 1st Commandment
  12. Funeral Pyre of Trinity
Total Playtime: 41 minutes, 17 seconds


Rating: 9.0/10

Finnish black metal trio Archgoat have had a long history in the metal underground. After forming in 1989, the band broke up in 1993 only to resurrect eleven years later in 2004. Their catalog is by and large made up of splits and EPs, with a couple of demos thrown in for good measure. The Apocalyptic Triumphator heralds the band's third full-length release, coming in nine years after their first, Whore of Bethlehem, and six years after their second, The Light-Devouring Darkness.

To say that The Apocalyptic Triumphator is the most improved release in Archgoat's library would be an understatement. Audiences saw the band moving away from their overly raw and basic black metal sound with their second full-length offering, but this third installment takes it a step further. It's as though the band is gradually ushering their fans into their new era of sound, rather than make any abrupt changes to their formula.

Ritual Butcherer's guitar tone is much beefier on this release in comparison to everything that came before it. The chunky tone and equally as heavy riffs that he produces moves the content in a more death metal direction, while still allowing the album themes and lyrical content to remain devoted to the black metal spectrum. Lord Angelslayer's vocals also reach an all-time low here, with powerful gutturals and even some powerful spoken-word commandments. There's also a fairly noticeable reverb applied to the vocal tracks, which gives the album a cavernous effect.

Another huge change in the band's songwriting is the inclusion of even more synthesizer effects. Eerie choirs are the staple here, but there's also a lot of ambiance in the background. Much of it does get lost due to the chosen lack of production, but it makes songs such as "Grand Luciferian Theophany" all the more captivating. The trio would really benefit from adding a keyboardist into their ranks in the future. It should also be mentioned that this is the first release that sees Ritual Butcherer performing on both guitar and bass.


Archgoat has thrown out their signature slow riff that appeared on nearly every single release prior to The Apocalyptic Triumphator. In its place are copious amounts of groovy patterns that range from slow, doom inspired tempos to chaotic frenzies. This album also marks the reintroduction of small solos, a technique that hasn't been present in any Archgoat release since Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration); "Nuns, Cunts & Darkness", "The Apocalyptic Triumphator", "Grand Luciferian Theophany", and "Sado-Magical Portal" are all great tracks to hear these small, haunting excursions.

It's usually fairly easy to pick out a handful of songs that really help to carry an album to success, but with The Apocalyptic Triumphator, almost every song is worthy of being chosen. With that said, "Nuns, Cunts & Darkness", "Grand Luciferian Theophany", "Those Below (Who Dwell In Hell)", "Light of Phosphorus", and "Funeral Pyre of Trinity" are all excellent offerings, each with wildly different reasons as to why they stand among the other tracks. There's an amazing fusion of slow and fast tempos, and "Those Below (Who Dwell In Hell)" has a really unique full stop just over the halfway point which ushers in an entirely new set of patterns and speeds.

When it comes down to it, the only bummer about The Apocalyptic Triumphator is its production. There's nothing wrong with raw, bad production quality, so long as the content that lies within is fit for it. However, that's the problem here; Archgoat's craftsmanship of the death and black metal arts has started far exceeding the compression that low production values entail. The drums and bass become, for the most part, an entangled mess of deep thumps that carry the guitar and vocals to success. That also doesn't mean that the material has to be shiny, pristine, and overproduced, either. A good balance would've pushed this album even further.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Review: Archgoat - Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites)

Archgoat's third EP offering comes in the form of Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites). The album itself was recorded over the course of three short days in September of 2011, at a place known as The Temple of the Black Moon. This release also marks Archgoat's first record deal with Debemur Morti Productions, the label that they've stood by ever since.

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: October 14, 2011
  1. Intro
  2. Blessed Vulva
  3. Goddess of the Abyss of Graves
  4. Penetrator of the Second Temple
  5. Day of Clouds
  6. Passage to Millennial Darkness
Total Playtime: 16 minutes, 04 seconds




Rating: 7.0/10



Archgoat's third EP offering comes in the form of Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites). The album itself was recorded over the course of three short days in September of 2011, at a place known as The Temple of the Black Moon. This release also marks Archgoat's first record deal with Debemur Morti Productions, the label that they've stood by ever since.

Of course, Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites) wouldn't be an Archgoat release if it didn't open with an ambient track filled with disturbing keyboard work and backward speech; nevertheless, tradition is tradition. Instead of a harsh transition into hell, listeners are greeted with the tolling bells and slow, chunky groove riffs of "Blessed Vulva", one of the stronger tracks on this short excursion. It's right from this moment that audiences can tell that the band has moved away from their overly raw sound, and into a slightly higher production quality.


Not many songs stand out on their own here, but "Penetrator of the Second Temple" manages to hold its own. It brings with it the same 'ol hot and heavy/slow and dreamlike pattern that Archgoat has made their signature sound over the years. Haunting choir synths and deep, brooding guitar hooks keep listeners engaged and interested, not to mention there's also some amazing bass drum work in action, and Sinisterror manages to be all over the place on his drumkit at all times.

Even though Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites) isn't the best weapon in Archgoat's arsenal, it's still not a bad one. In fact, this short-but-sweet EP marks a turning point in the band's career; to higher production values and less repetition. It's nice to hear a solid release that doesn't have that one particular slow groove riff in it that has appeared in almost every other offering by the band. There are few tracks that stand out, but the ones that do are great to listen to time and time again.