PROJEKT203 – Replay (2000-2016) (digital release review)

Projekt203 is a band I didn’t know of until recently, when my friend and Rubber Axe’s editor-in-chief Rudolf turned me on to them. He knows my love of female-fronted pop acts, and suggested this band.

From what I gather online: Ondrej Pešek is the main composer of the music. Vocals are handled by the beautiful, angelic Sissi Enns.

Track by track:

Prečo Ty (Why You) – Starts out slow and powerful with a foreboding background creeping up like a fog. Sissi’s voice hits wonderfully. She takes this track into the build-up… the power gets stronger, and with this first song you get exactly what Projekt203 is: Absolute power. I love the high harmony vocal she performs behind the main vocal in the second chorus.

The way the chorus vocal is overlayed is masterful. What Ondrej has done with the music is made a foreboding, almost undanceable track – in the western sense of dance tracks. It’s a slow, horror dirge like what I would envision being on a Hammer film from the old days. This is a good way to start your journey into Projekt, if you’re up for it. What a good song, I can’t say enough about it. Struck a chord with me and reminded me that true artists still indeed exist.

Vlčia svorka (Wolf Pack) – The tempo of this song is more upbeat and fast but not in a shitty way: I mean that this song has a driving beat in addition to a dark, dingy, dirty sound, almost as if a murderer were creeping up upon an unsuspecting victim.

The verse slowly creeps up into a faster, “run the hell away from the killer” vibe. 2:30 in and it reminds me of werewolves. You have to understand I have absolutely no command of this language. I’ve not one clue what they are saying, and I don’t care. I don’t need to. Maybe this song is about werewolves stalking their human prey at night – that’s what I get from it. Seems that Ondrej may be singing backup on this track harmonizing with Enns vocal line. It really gets this kind of Middle Eastern thing going with her vocals. Very good.

Bolesť (Pain)- Oh, is that guitar I hear? The vocals lift you up in the beginning as strings swell, and bring you floating to a dark storm cloud above right before the rain floods your soul. Around the 1:10 mark we get some keys reminiscent, to me, of old stuff like Depeche Mode. That is a good thing in my mind. Vocals harmonizing with one another, slinking in and out of ecstasy like a snake. I fell in love with Sissi with the first song but I felt as if it was just puppy love… but NOW I know it’s real. The music builds to almost war march disco, if such a thing exists today? Really comes to a plateau around 2:50 or so. Favorite song so far…

Sirény (Sirens) – Electron cellphone territory here in the start. Sissi is already shining here, extremely fucking bright, like the power of the sun. It’s the sun but it’s the moon – this is extremely dark pop stuff. You may be accustomed to my reviews of light-hearted pop but don’t paint this review in the same vein: Understand this is extremely dark music that I could see being in many dark movies, etc…

I like the breakdown around 1:49. It complements what has happened so far and adds a difference to drive the song with as the (dark) angel begins to sing again. This is a dance song…for ghosts and demons.

It’s a spiritual vocal performance mixed with music made by someone who is clearly a bit off – and I mean that in a good way. Again, Sissi’s harmonies are perfect.

Zmyselná (Sensual) – Hmmm what do we have here? Reminiscent of K-Pop at the start, but quickly evolving at 30 seconds into darkness again. This music is very distinctly different from the pop I usually listen to (1980s American/English, 90s-00s Japanese, and 00s-010s Korean) and I love it!

Becomes very rock and roll at the 2 minute mark… a muted, chugging, rhythmic guitar perturbing your ears, making you suspicious of what’s to come. These songs really are masterpieces. I don’t get to hear much music like this. When it gets to the end of the song and her voice is almost alone with just some faint hints of music behind it, it’s a total ascent to a heavenly realm, lifting you up from the dark Hell the song just took you to.

Upírska váš (Vampyric Desire) – Back into upbeat territory, but not too much. Verse is very dancey. This is a song people could dance to, while being taken across the river Styx. There is still dread here as the song goes on after the first verse. The vocal collapses into the song and reminds me of a sped-up timelapse of a dying forest.

I’m not quite sure that’s what they’re going for here. It goes into a forceful rhythm that also makes me think of a bloody battle where no one wins. This seems to be a war march of sorts when translated from audio wave to these ears. An abrupt ending which is pretty cool.

Dokonalá (Perfect She) – Video game type sounds on this track mixed with alluring vocals by Sissi again. I swear she hasn’t missed one beat on this album yet. Usually I can find something to pick apart on something I review, but I’m seven tracks in and have enjoyed every minute. I love the way the sound alternates from left to right in the breakdown of the chorus and then it hits you with an extremely hardcore dance, robotic part which reminds me of J-Pop/Japanese Hip-hop, but the good, alternative kind, and not the overtly cutesy trash kind.

Sissi Enns is one of the better vocalists I’ve heard in pop or other styles. She is able to find a melody to sing over the bleakest of backing music. She can probably pull songs out of thin air. Many musicians can but most won’t be as pretty as what’s coming out of her.

Svetlo (The Light) – Reminds me of the start of some Korean stuff, and that is a good thing, but the melody sung over what is just basically one sound and a bass drum, takes me by surprise here.

This is produced very well. Top-tier production; extremely professional in all ways. Ahhhhh, splendid harmonies as she layers her voice. I love when singers harmonize with themselves – it’s something that, excuse these references, Rob Halford, King Diamond, and Ozzy are so good at. It’s a distinct sound that makes everything just sound better and more personal, charming, delicate.

This song fascinates me as it weaves in and out of the beauty of her harmonies, into a flighty adventurous musical quest for what seems like a sword that a dragon is hoarding amongst its gold and treasure. I had no other words…

Resistance – The 1980s have returned and the driving beat pushes us into the territory of Pat Benatar! That was the first thought I had upon listening to this song. It reminds me of her best stuff. An extremely, suspense-inducing cool duet vocals around 1:10 mark. Then we move up into major happy territory with the vocals. I was NOT expecting this tune. What the fuck? It’s kinda hard not to dance to this. I am going to get up out of the chair and just start my horrible Illinois dancing right now, and that’s why the review of this song is going to end right now…the build-up to the major chorus portion is just too much for me to handle… this is 1980s video arcade land and I can’t handle it… if you aren’t dancing by 3:30, you are a lifeless joke!

Posledné (The Last One) – Luckily for you, I am done dancing now. This song begins with vocals that remind me of a Hong Jin-Young trot number! It definitely isn’t a song in that musical vein, though. We have a staccato rhythm flowing through both speakers strangely as the disco drum pushes us forward into Pleasure Island. I’m reminded of long boat trips while listening to this song, and I don’t know why. It’s a night-time boat trip in the darkest waters ever but I get the sense that a positive uplifting vibe has now hit the shores of this album. It’s like looking toward land while on a very long boat trip, knowing that the uncertainty of the weather and the rocking motion of the sickness-inducing waves will be over before you know it. And then the song ends extremely abruptly before you get to the island…

Píšem Ti (Writing to You) – Sissi’s bewitching voice is dragging me into a delightful place. It has a graceful allure to it that I don’t find in much music today. Many singers are just imitating other western pop singers. Sissi is not doing that and instead, she is herself through and through. All the way through this I haven’t found any parts in the vocals where I can make comparisons to other artists. That is extremely hard to find as a music listener and die-hard collector.

Píšem Ti, musically, is pleasing, gorgeous, pretty… and vocally it’s these things multiplied by 100,000,000.

I find it hard to find more words to describe this song. I like the ending of it with the little bits of piano. Near perfect. Good song that will stick with me for a long time.

Pohladenie (A Caress) – It’s dance time again! Yeah, dancing with the fuckin’ devil. Don’t be confused by the overwhelming saccharine taste of this track. It is just as dark as everything before it.

The vocals here are as ideal as you can get for a “rising power” type of track such as this one. Duet harmonies again in the chorus of an almost overwhelming and dazzling quality. I’m reminded again of Depeche at parts, and even 90s American insdustrial? This song just ends itself quite fast again.

A lot of these songs, for me, could be longer – but please, Projekt – don’t listen to me when I say that! I think I am the only person left that enjoys extremely long compositions. The world loves shorter songs of the 1 to 4 minute duration variety. Please keep up what you are doing, and do not take my criticism to heart.

Rúž a vodka (Lipstick and vodka) – Vodka? Yeah, vodka! I love some vodka. Okay, I don’t love “some vodka.” I love “a lot of vodka.” In fact, I’d love to drink vodka while listening to this music on a cassette tape.

It hits really hard and then the vocals hit softly over a harsh landscape of noisy synths and a huge bass drum punching your nose in.

I especially love what happens at 1:44. The song changes direction just a little bit and the vocal layers coming in around 1:58 are stellar…

This is, for me, one of the top songs on the album. I like everything about it. And I really love vodka. So this song speaks to my heart and mind. Enticing vocal performance over sublime dance music in the back. The music here is German sounding in the Warning fashion.

I like it.

Mrazivá (Chilling) – Fourteen songs in and we get another different beat! They haven’t stepped over themselves yet; nothing sounds like another track on the album! That’s something you don’t find much in the modern world of what passes as art. 1:12 vocal… climb a bridge to despair with this melody/harmony. Industrial style music going on, reminding me of Reznor or Zombie? I wasn’t a fan of their music – they could’ve benefitted from Sissi being the vocalist!

Almost a frightening and alarming way of singing in this song. It’s gloomy and will hit you hard if you aren’t prepared. The chorus to Mrazivá might the bleakest-in-a-good-way point on this album and now I have another favorite. Public Enemy drumbeat during the last vocal that I’m sure only I picked up on. “The drummer get wicked” and they bring the fucking noise!

My Job – Engaging dance song rhythm starts this one out. The background male vocal stands out, as I wasn’t ready for it. Once again they surprise the shit out of me with this song. I was expecting a doldrum, dull ballad about how working a job sucks, and instead I get a pretty, airy, refined pop tune? It’s got the ethereal vocals but with a rare grace that wouldn’t be had in any other band’s song with the title of “My Job.” I’m struggling to find more words to this so I prepare to get up and dance. I start to dance and realize I’m alone, so I can really start breakdancing around the 3:07 mark. Wait a minute here. Stop dancing now. Is he saying “Fuck My Job”! Hahaha!

Yeah, you’re fucking right about that. Fuck everyone’s fucking job. Just goddamn dance while everything explodes and the world blows up!

Vnemy (Perceptions) – We are back in the heart of evil and darkness with this song. Reminding me of Warning mixed with Lipps Inc!

Very dark, but happy to be dark. I imagine this is the kind of song a sexy witch queen would sing right before casting a destructive spell upon her kingdom, and watching everyone burn alive into piles of smoldering cinders as she yells out the chorus. There’s no yelling here – far from it, it’s beautiful singing as usual – but the feeling I get from it is “screaming as you watch people burned by a Satanic spell cast by an Evil Witch Queen.”

Maybe I’m overthinking this. I suppose this is the gift of Sissi’s voice; the capabilities of Ondrej’s music and production.

Pure, true, art.

Už vieš to (You know it know) – I can make no comparisons to much else with this song as they have once more composed something different from the rest. Very dynamic from the loud kind of start of the music.. to the soft yet extremely INTENSE vocal skills of Sissi.

Her voice takes you into a different place than the music does. The music here is kind of “2000s Video Game” to me (which isn’t a knock against it, quite the contrary in fact) while the vocal is very unique and I love the harmonies and backups here. She really knows what she’s doing – and she’s playing with my heart! I’m completely in love with her at this point. I suppose that’s what is supposed to happen. Most singers collapse under the weight of the music when you’re dealing with techno pop stuff. The vocals always seem to take a backseat to the electronic music pouring through the speakers but in the case of Projekt203 you have exactly the opposite. The vocals are in the FRONT of this vehicle. The driver of the bus is Sissi Enns… she’s driving you right off the side of a cliff to your demise…and making you love it.

Starý obraz (Old Painting) – Spacey song here that kind of makes me think of traveling to another planet. Think about it this way. Suppose we make that first manned mission to Mars.

The first song played on that planet should be this one. It’s like a river of sadness that is backed up over a dam of happiness; a dream of hopefulness not stifled by the ever moving current.

This song, to me, sounds like man’s progress toward the conquering of space, and time. The best part about this song for me is that it clocks in at about 6 minutes, which, as hinted, could be just enough to give mankind time to reflect on the fact it has landed on Mars.

Yes, I’m sticking with the “People going to Mars” comparison here. When you’re five minutes into a song and don’t even realize it, that’s potent, strong stuff.

A strong vodka, perhaps? This song ends very forceful in its melancholic melodious stringy, brassy but not overtly, forceful energetic yet flowing slowly, sounds over a trippy beat.

Odistený granát (Grenade Released) – Try not to move during this song – that is an order. Try not to bop your head. Sissi has now taken control of the spaceship, and you can’t do anything about it.

The applied force of this deadly rhythm in combination with the virtuous, violent vortex of the vocal provides enough fuel to get to another dimension – and there’s even a siren-type laser noise in places, reassuring me that we are indeed in a spaceship right now, with our omnipotent leader Sissi at the helm, ensuring the mission is a success.

I wasn’t ready for the album to end, but it has, and I’m going to listen to it once more.

I’m not done. Buy this album now.

Active musician, the person responsible for - or involved with - cult projects as Tjolgtjar, Xexyz and many others, and the main person behind our wrestling coverage.

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Drowning: Lost City Riders (a 2008 TV movie review)

Lost City Riders, well, its title, has caught my attention almost immediately. I admit, I am a sucker for “lost city” stuff.

I’ve watched the movie once before, but I don’t remember anything of it, which is usually a bad sign, however, with the plethora of movies (and other spare-time-killing activities) available, that’s not really something to go along with – and you probably agree, you remember movies from your childhood, but hardly something you’ve watched a month ago on Netflix.

That might have to do something with the overall quality of the modern cinema, but I guess I am digressing here a let’s get back to our flick.

The movie was directed by Jean de Segonzac, mostly known for directing episodes of various TV series, and starring James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder, Bettina Zimmermann, Jamie Thomas King, Elodie Frenck, Michael Mendl, Jeremy Crutchley and Benn Cross,

Well, Lost City Riders is not a movie you’re gonna remember. A co-production between German TV channel ProSieben and Sci-fi Channel (before its rebranding to SyFy Channel), you’ve seen the plot rehashed a million times before (and couple hundreds after 🙂 ).

The global warming caused the flooding of the Earth, only 10 % of the surface is habitable, and we’re encountering our – you’ve guessed it – Lost City Riders, a family unit (a guy with two adopted sons), raiding the submerged buildings for profit.

Our family unit planning the entering and escaping.

Unbeknownst to his two adopted sons Jack (Ian Somerhalder) and Thomas (Jamie Thomas King), their stepfather John Kubiak (James Brolin) is on the mission of finding the legendary scepter of Sobek, Egyptian god of Nile, who – according to legend – controlled by it the rising and falling down the waters of the great river.

And as it’s usually the case, he’s not alone! Enters Nicholas Filiminov (Ben Cross) as a nefarious businessman trying to claim the scepter for himself to – well, you’ve guessed it again – make money!

Our villain Nicholas Filiminov (Ben Cross) confronting Giovanna Becker (Bettina Zimmermann)

To complete the picture, we have Bettina Zimmermann as Giovanna Becker, Jack’s old love, and because it would be bad to leave the other boy alone, here comes the rescue in the form of Elodie Frenck (Cara Cahill).

You know how it plays, right? Yes, it’s pretty straightforward, with a bad underwater CGI effects, the story doesn’t allow for any twists or surprises, but the scenes in the Chinese cave (yes, we are all over the world, from Vatican to Dresden to Chinese cave system) with the secret room built in it got me in stitches. The acting there was on the level I’ve expected it turning to a scene from a adult video movie any second! Anyway, don’t shoot at the pianist for the piano not being in tune, as they say.

Putting the rod into the hole…or something like that.

I am not sure if it’s me getting old and more tolerant of everything, but I myself was surprised to actually watch the whole movie without any interruptions. I think I can safely state it was due to the level of watchable silliness on the TV screen, quite certainly unintentional by the creators of the movie.

But it’s about entertainment, right? In that case, they’ve succeeded.

Not that I’m gonna re-watch it any time soon (if ever).

Official trailer:

Fragment Soul – Axiom of Choice (a review)

The link for these Greek doom melancholics arrived to my mailbox a long time ago, and I’ve almost forgotten about it. Yes, I know. Im am irresponsible sometimes.

However, I’ve started my spring cleaning also in my accounts and so I’ve come across Axiom of Choice – and what a beautiful album it is.

4 long compositions in 3 seconds over 42 minutes, that’s the progressive doom dessert from Greece. No feta cheese, though, that’s for sure.

You might know already that my musical tastes are all over the place, and although some might argue it won’t allow me to concentrate fully on a particular genre, I think it gives me an opportunity to enjoy music without too much of a comparison.

And therefore I can enjoy Fragment Soul and their work of art for what it is. And it’s a beautiful, melancholic, gloomy collection – however, not a depressive one, I’d say. It’s something you would play during the rainy day, laying alone in your bed and just floating in space of your thoughts and memories. For the fans of Draconian it might be pointed out, that Heike Langhans collaborated on this album, and there’s also a guest person – Egan O’Rourke from Daylight Dies.

I like it a lot. For a seasoned fans of the doom genre it might not be earth-shattering, and I’m not gonna argue it is. But if you want to spend 42:03 minutes of your life with an aural balsam for your ears and soul, this might be something you might like to check.

Album stream:

Malauriu – Malauriu (a 2022 album review)

Recently I’ve lent my ear to some nice black metal releases, so when I’ve got this promo from Italy for a review, it’s been only a matter of time when it will attack both my ears.

…and the day has come.

Malauriu are certainly no new-comers, haling from the Italian underground since 2013. I am not familiar with their previous output, but with the opening track, “Morto Era L’oro”, it is clear what they meant by “a new chapter of experimentation between dark ambient and Mediterranean sound”, which was the description they’ve used in the promo e-mail. Well, they haven’t lied.

The album contains 4 long compositions, the shortest one clocks in 10:52 (“Corpo Tempio), the longest will stay in your aural orifices for almost 12 minutes (11:50 long “Specula”).

A mix between ritualistic darkwave and a poetry reading, lyrics in Italian, along with the music itself, evoke the best moments of watching Italian horror/occult/supernatural movies – minus the video segment, of course.

Not much of a black metal per se, nevertheless, this is right in my comfort zone, as I’ll never say no to the atmosphere inducing soundscape.

The album will be released on April 1st, 2022, in a CD and digital format via the Italian label Nero Corvino, so if that’s your kind of music, you definitely won’t go wrong getting it.


Costectomy/Nyctophagia – “Drone Hunting Missionaries For Sport” (a 2021 split review)

After some time spent checking not so usual music with my other webpage Indokult, dedicated to the Indonesian music , I’ve started craving some more unhinged underground music again. To be precise, good old goregrind and gorenoise. No, I won’t call it a “fix”, haha, but truth is – sometimes it’s just what the doctor has ordered. You know…going full circle and so forth…

Now, with the genre selected, the next important question was – with so much to choose from, what to play? For that, I’ve checked a Olga Lazarus’ new label Strangulation Furrow on Bandcamp. You might remember Olga from the interview I did with her for the Rubber Axe webzine here. Since then she’s relocated to the USA and started a new label, it’s only logical to show her some support! Yes, freaks, some support!!!

Olga is a busy bee and so far she has released some nice releases (mostly tapes, but also a CD and a 7” EP), plus she’s printing the t-shirts herself. Talk about some dedication here!

So, with that being said, I’ve chosen to review a split between Costectomy and Nyctophagia titled “Drone Hunting Missionaries For Sport”. 14 groovy tracks in total.

A tape version from Strangulation Furrow label

First to offer the putrid sonic fruits is Costectomy, which is Chud’s (Ulcerated Offal, Cystoblastosis, ex-Hit-Run Drivers etc.) project based in Eliot (Maine, USA). 6 tracks in total of great sounding goregrind (yes, the aforementioned groovy kind), enriched by the samples from the horror/gore movies, exactly the way I like it. You know, I love intros/outros! Damn, thinking about that, I am pretty much easily pleased, haha! Well, it’s true. However, when you are faced with stuff like this, that’s not so hard. Great stuff here. Oh, not to forget, the last song is a cover of Dysmenorrheic Hemmorage, “Affliction”.

The rest of the release belongs to Nyctophagia, currently an 1-man unstoppable grinding machine from Ohio and if you can count on your rotten fingers, you know that means 8 tracks left to enjoy!

Unlike Costectomy, Nyctophagia plays more of a little faster death/grind, more of a bulldozer than a groove, however I can’t complain here neither and so won’t you. Really, what’s here not to enjoy?

The split is over almost in no time – which is probably the only negative I can say about it. For those collectors of the physical release, this was released in 2021 on a pro CD-R by Costectomy Records (but according the info it’s already sold out) and Olga’s label has released it on in a tape version. Go check and grab it while you can!


VA – Gorenoise megasplit vol. 1

It’s been quite a while since I’d reviewed anything gorenoise related. Gorenoise Megasplit volume 1, the compilation I’m going to write a few words about, was sent to me by our friends in the Italian label Nosevomit Records quite a long time ago, and I am ashamed to have waited for so long before reviewing it. Well, time to wait is over, let’s have a look how ugly this boy turned out to be!

Opening the compilation is Italian gorenoise project Bronchospasm with the track “Pneumoconiosis”, the cool 4:05 track and it’s quite interesting, not the typical blasting sh*t I’d expect, it’s more like an experimental noise track, with drums beats here and there, but straight away, I am impressed and I need to check this project little more closer. And, by the way, they are associated with this little record label:

The second to dissect is another Italian pathology combo – Conforming To Survive – with the three tracks, “Severed Mutation of the Upper Limbs”, “Gnawing the Intestines” and “Cursed Flesh Grimoire”. Rehearsal recording, with a rather goregrind/noise chaos, and again, I am revelling in this! Building from the shortest track to the longest one (which clocks in 3:39), there’s plenty of filth to like here!

But then…it’s a gorenoise proper! American project Hydroencephalocystocele steals the show with its “13 Traxx Untitled” and for all those looking for a really cool gorenoise, now it’s the time. Bubbles and noise, what can go wrong, right? I’d welcome more variability here, but otherwise, can’t complain.

Mucopurulence’s section opens with a cool intro, which intro-duces (lol) us to to f*ckin awesome goregrind track “Copro Corpse Copulation”. This stuff raises the dead! Mucupurulence hails from Finland and because they kick ass, they offer 5 tracks here – Copro Corpse Mutilation, Putrid Bile of Shit, A Collection of Colons and Entrails, Ceaseless Violent Defecating, Choking on Swollen Tongue and Vomit – all the future classicks, I am sure! Not too long, not too short, they are perfect! I really enjoy these, and the song titles remind me of the times we used to come up with the most insane titles too!!!

This nice compilation closes with 5 gorenoise tracks (Adiction, Another Disease; Ear Atrocities, Head Hole, Inhuman Glass and Taenia Solium) from Saccopharynx. This Mexican project offers an interesting mix of blasting drums, bubbling, gurgling vokills…and probably even a kitchen sink thrown in for a good measure, and it works.

The whole compilation can be heard on the Nosevomit’s Bandcamp, and what’s even better, you can get a CD-R of it too!!! What are you waiting for then?

Where fire burns eternally: Eternal Kingdom of Fire, volume 5 (digital promo review)

Those of you who read the Rubber Axe regularly, will might recall the review I’ve written for a previous release of this compilation series, namely volume 2.

Well, time flies and a few days ago a new batch has arrived to my mailbox, this time it was the latest invocation, namely the volume 5.

10 bands, 10 songs. However…what songs these are!

Opening this compilation tape is Winter Eternal from Greece (lately of Scotland, according to available information) with the song “Crown of Stars” (also on this project’s 2021 full length “Land of Darkness”). F**king brilliant tune, I can hardly think of a better opening. Interesting, well thought of, well played. And a well received here, that’s no doubt about that. I like the use of instruments and the melodies.

Russian strikeforce Ophidian Malice, on the other hand, take no prisoners and relentlessly bash the listener with their furious black metal vibe. “Saviour” is the song from their debut 2021 full-length “Disgusting Ritual” and it definitely shows the band in the good (un)light.

So far, I am really enjoying the comp.

With Skorbvstr, the raw black metal ferocity from Kentucky (USA) we have first exclusivity here, as I think their song “Diskusjonen er avsluttet” is available here only. I might be wrong though. I am little surprised with the use of, what is it Norwegian language?…but the guy might be from Scandinavia, so there’s that. As for the music, I have to admit I am starting to develop a certain liking for the raw BM (which, as many might know, is not one of my favourite subgenres), and there are some elements I really enjoy here.

“Pain Enshrouded Dirge” from Desecration Rites is our very next song, and the second longest offering from this compilation. I’d say there’s a certain inspiration from old Burzum (which is not a bad thing, what do you think?), and even it delivers the goods (so to speak) even with the simplicity of melody, riffs and hypnotic drumbeat. Well, you know…the old school, the good way.

Alpgeist hails from Bavaria (Germany) and presents to you their hymn “Moor in der Todtenau”. Yes, I can definitely say I like this approach a lot more than the raw BM subgenre. Dark, melancholic and melodic, I really like the guitar riffs here…the whole song is one welcoming energy boost in my current depressive mood. Can a black metal song be viewed as a positive booster? I’d say so, so this applies. I am really loving this one.

Zmyrna can be classed as Alpgeist’s neighbour, as guys come from Czech Republic, and their “Pagus Maledictus” offers yet another fascinating look into the black metal subgenre – guys not only sing about mystical stuff and medieval life, their music also evokes the fires of the dark ages and the suffering through the ages. This song is certainly a weird one, very unexpected, but as I’ve said – fascinating (in a good sense). The song itself comes from their only material to date, the 2021 self-titled EP.

And now, ladies and gentlemen – the longest track of this compilation. Necrodes and “Swept Away”, from its 2021 full-length “Isolation”. Wow, what a vocal! Imagine maniacal, hysterical cries with some gurgling and you might start to have an idea. Although, I guess the best bet is to have a listen. However, I think more of DSBM than atmospheric BM here, but that’s just my opinion. Unfortunately, these days I am rarely fond of long compositions and I’ve got a little bored here, sorry.

Necrocarnation hails from Germany now, but from what I could find, they are from Argentina, and on this nice compilation they bring to your attention their black/death metal sacrifice with their song “Antarctic”, which is also the opener of their 2020 EP “Fragments of Dark Eternity”. And I have to say, I like this stuff! Especially vokills, which sound really killer! Kudos to the compiler, as I really welcome the diversity of the subgenres while still being true to the black metal genre as a whole.

Finnish duo Svartheim play strict black metal, which might sound a little generic nowadays, but I think they are aware of that, so they enrich their song “Vaiettu” (which comes from their 2021 full length debut “Black Metal Finland”) with the interesting dual vocals. And it works. Personally, I don’t really give a damn about similarity between songs or bands – if I like it, I like it, period. And Svartheim would be on my playlist. It’s simple, yet effective.

And the last band to enjoy from this compilation is Necro Forest from Croatia, with the song “Hate Divison”. Raw black metal, with little NSBM leaning, I’d guess. I am little disappointed with the sort of a ripping off Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon” in the beginning of the song , because when it starts properly, it’s not bad at all! But I think Norwegian legends have their impact on many bands…it’s not that big of an issue, but I thought it would be good to mention that. Also, likeable song.

So, that’s all, folks. Good, bad? Well, for me, undoubtedly a great compilation. I think I can safely say – I can play this without skipping a song. And that’s quite a feat.

Get it from Ancient Cult Records, while you can. Get in touch with the label via e-mail:

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. i came upon “Sirény” accidently when i searced ghotic music from slovakia in “youtube”.
    usually i don’t listen to electro pop but “projekt 203” music is very impressive.
    my comment to “Sirény” was one word – ADDICTING and so is the band “projekt 203”
    the music of “projekt 203” is very impressive.

    gad from israel.

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