Weng’s Chop #5 (magazine review)

Heeeey, have you finished reading the first Spooktacular issue 4.5 of this great cinema megazine? I sure as hell have given you some time to do so since my review of it. Yeah, time flies.

We’ve got to experience the “mega” starting with the issue we’re gonna review, the “what-the-hell-is-that” issue #5. And to imitate Ripley – believe it or not, it’s worth every last piece of your currency accepted by either WK Books or Amazon. It’s that good.

But sure, one shouldn’t just take my word for it, right? Right! Therefore, let’s see what goodies wait for you in it.

I got the variant cover B, which presents a nice illustration by Jolyon Yates for the arcticle “Jungle Ladies Gone Wild” and it’s really beautiful.

Of course, by the time you’re gonna explore the issue in your hands you’ve already noticed it was not a mere magazine anymore, yes, you can witness the transformation into the megazine straight here. 265 large pages, that’s book, not a magazine!

I have to say editorials are usually among the last texts I usually read, but with WCH I always make an exception, as I am genuinely interested what Tim, Brian and Tony have to say. Not saying it to brown-nose the guys, but I think a lot of editors can take notice. I’ll spell it for you – if you connect with your readership, people do care. Capiche? I know you do.

“Articles” section belongs to Steve Fenton and the part One of his amazing article about aforementioned “Jungle Ladies Gone Wild” under the title “Jiggle in the Jungle (Part One)” and with it’s supplement it takes breath-taking 22 long pages (pages 4-26). And remember, that’s only the first part! I became interested in those movies just reading about them, and that’s just the proof you need about the quality of the material presented. I am pretty convinced I’ve said it before, but with reference books/mags like this one, you’re gonna find the love for movies you hadn’t even known they existed (unless you are like some of my friends, then it doesn’t apply, but it’s their loss).

Pages 27-31 belong to Dan Taylor’s experience with Exhumed Films‘ 24 Hours Horrorthon (it’s the 2013 Horrorthon) and I agree with him the guessing game of the titles (of course, I wouldn’t attempt it myself, as I would suck badly) is exciting! But I’d like to experience such an event, alas, I am kinda short-changed for the trip to the good ole US of A.

32-73 is a mega-section (another, “mega”, yes) dedicated to Pollygrind 2013 and I remember I was leaving this one for the last. There’s a shitloads of information, movies I will probably never watch (not that I don’t want to), but such a festival is every movie junkie’s wet dream. And not to forget, let’s give credit where it’s due, this mamooth piece comes from the pen of Tony Strauss!

And that’s not the last report from the movie fest, as the next (and the last) one is Steven Ronquillo’s piece on 2013 Knoxville Horror Fest. It‘s funny when you imagine I am writing this lines in 2020…7 long years after that and this stuff is still interesting – and I’d argue, still valid. Also, it reminds me to go back to stuff I wanted to get and watch, but for some reason or another I’ve forgotten about it.

78-85…what do you think you can read in these pages? Well, I am not gonna keep you hangin’ on (unless you’re Kim Wilde fan), and I’ll tell you it’s the one and only Brian Harris writing about hopping vampires. Readers of the Rubber Axe will remember the review of Kung Fu Vampire, although for some reason they were referred to as zombies, but you’ve got the picture. Brian here reviews Ricky Lau’s 5 movies’ series about hopping vampires, called Jiangshi – Mr. Vampire, Mr. Vampire 1992 (a.k.a. Chinese Vampire Story), Mr. Vampire II, Mr. Vampire 3 and Mr. Vampire Saga. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday…are you still here? I’ve thought you’d already bought your copy….damn, I need to go on then! OK, OK!

Do I need to pretend we stop short of discussing the adult cinema? I could do so, but luckily we are all adults here and if done right, you can read stuff like James Bickert’s short take on The Devil’s Ecstasy without feeling dirty (but you can watch it, if you miss the feeling). Not that I will, but to each their own.

Phillip Escott’s input “Thrift Shopping” is a welcome addition to Brian Harris’ adventure in bargain basement buys and there are not many sections of WCH I read with the most interest (you know I’m lying, right? I read and re-read every copy with the undying interest). But still, yes, I’d say these bargain buys are fun not only because of the atrocities you can find, but also, for a budding cinema enthusiast, it provides a surefire way to get some – albeit indeed trashy – little items to start with. And let’s not shit on those movies (at least, not too much)! Some of them are nice in their own way – and I’d prefer many of them before some artsy farty would-be serious high-brow cinema. Yes, I’ve said it. Right here! And not to mention, they indeed cost almost cents or pennies…which – in my book – spells “priceless”, if you ask me.

Pages 90-92 are dedicated to the discussion about the restoration of one of the movies described as “the worst movies ever made” – Manos: The Hands of Fate. I will admit I haven’t seen this legendary movie (well, not yet), but I have to say I am glad for a lot of old movies getting restored and being brought back for a modern audience to enjoy. Yes, even the trashy, “WTF I’ve just watched” variety of movies. You know what they say…one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. For me, I appreciate such efforts, there’s no doubt about that.

Next sections are a dividing line for many. Why, you ask? Well, first, pages 93 to 97 contain Steve Fenton’s article about Filippino vigilante flicks (among those The One Armed Executioner, just to mention probably the most known one from the lot here). As for the aforementioned dividing line – many such movies are without English dubbing (which is not that problematic, I’d say, those cinema junkies reading publications as WCH are accustomed to it), but most of the times even without subtitles (and that might pose a problem now). Yes, you know, if you really want to see some movie, you’re gonna watch whatever you can get, in some cases you’re lucky to even get unsubbed/undubbed copy in any watchable quality. But I am pretty sure that for more mainstream oriented public this would be really a deal-breaker. People got accustomed to first-class handling of their cinema diet, which is OK, sure…but they might really miss on some gems.

And I’d say Filipino or other Asian are still more available in dubbed or subbed form, than cinematic pieces from yet another exotic country – Turkey. Despite having tremendous cinema, we’re not really accustomed to watch Turkish movies or TV series, except for those brought to our collective concience by Onar Films or bits here or there. But once seen, these movies can’t be unseen. Jeff Goodhartz in his article “When Turkish Ninja Strike!” talks about two of such movies – Son Savasçi and Ölüm Savasçisi, starring one and only Cüneyt Arkin. That’s the Turkish movie legend, if you don’t know, and thse on pages 98-100.

And we’re not done with Turkey yet, for Jared Auner, who is known, for example, for his work for Mondo Macabro film company, and on pages 101-105 brings to your attention two more Turkish movies, namely Iblis and Hamal, under the title “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”. And, of course, as with the other articles, also this one has nice graphic material to go along with the text. Always a bonus.

Not enough? I’ve thought so – Vicky Love offers her take on the marriage of horror and science fiction in the article “For Better For Worse” with the subtitle, well, “The Marriage of Hooror and Science Fiction” (pages 106-108).

By the way, if you want to know why publications such Weng’s Chop are important, there is no better example as the piece done by Jeremy Richey titled “Where’s Ringo?!: The Saga of Johnny Wadd in film, print and popular culture”. In 5-pages long article (accompanied by the covers of the movies) those avoiding the world of adult video pictures gonna find an interesting story about John C. Holmes and hist Johnny Wadd series of movies. Sure thing, it might be not everyone’s cuppa, and I’m not gonna dispute it, it just serves as an example how the previously unknown world of underground cinema (because, that’s what it was) – and not only – from golden era of adult video is getting recognized in 21st century. The article alone is nothing short of fantastic and again, it’s an example of how to write a sensitive and non-offensive article about quite a sensitive – and for many an offensive – topic.

Seven of the Best Horror Films Shot in the State of Georgia, that’s the subtitle of the article of “Peaches, Peanuts & Cinematic Panic” by Eric Matthew Harvey, in which you’ll gonna encounter movies such as Grizzly, The Visitor and others (and if you count with me, I have left 5 titles intentionally).

No lying – I love doing interviews, I love reading interviews. Therefore the next segment here is one of my favourites, and it contains these interesting interviews:

One with with Mikhail Ilyin, the owner of the Wrong Side of the Art, which is a website containing shitloads of high resolution images of movie posters – horror, sci-fi, exploitation, cult, trash, b-movies..you’ll find it there. Absolutely fascinating viewing!!!

Another one with John Alan Schwartz, the writer-producer-director of infamous shockumentary series Faces of Death, which I guess many of readers at least heard about. Here you can learn thing or two about this gruesome docu, something you’ll probably never have guessed. Check this out!

And because third is the charm, the long (and I mean long) interview with Leon Isaac Kennedy will definitely shut any moaning mouth up. Who is he? Well, hints…Penitentiary, Penitentiary II, Lone Wolf McQuade and quite a few more should give you some insight into who Mr. Kennedy is and what movies he’s starred in. And although I might not seen all of them, I sure as hell have read this cool intie with interest. And you should too (should I really repeat myself?).

Now, next three short interviews belong to graphic artists. And although this is something one probably doesn’t think immediately about, when talking about movies, there’s no doubt the graphic art plays a vital role in the marketing of movies and other related stuff. Just see the awful state of movie posters/DVD covers nowadays…Honestly, if I am picking stuff for the covers, I will dismiss good 80 per cent of movies for their horrendous art. But I digress….Megh (the creator of “Machete Nun” variant of WCH #5), Jolyon Yates (the creator of the Jungle Girl cover of the same issue – the one I have with me) and late Bill Chancellor (the Jiangshi cover of the same issue, who, unfortunately, has died shortly after doing this short interview, R.I.P.).

Geek Roundtable is a feature of the magazine where various experts give their opinions on one particular film. This time, it’s a legendary I Spit On Your Grave, and it occupies pages 147 to 159. And even if you don’t like rape/revenge movies, this section is worth of your reading time.

Short, but one of my fave – that what I can say about Brian Harris’ “Beatdown/Heads Up” feature reviewing 4 budget boxsets from Mill Creek Entertainment. I wanted to get them before, but thanks to writing this review, I feel the fresh urge to get them now, finally. Might be not the best quality, but for the price, you’re not gonna complain. Why would you, hm?

Delving into an Asian cinema’s waters, Louis Paul introduces us to movies such as Blood Ritual, The Clones of Bruce Lee and few others (but Ninja in the Claws of the CIA is my absolute favourite). Brief and to-the-point discussion of each flick here are a delight to read and as it’s almost a rule in the WCH…you’re not only craving to see the movie discussed – you also want to get and see the movies referenced! Welcome to the world of movie junkies, lol. At least now you know why we have never enough money 🙂

Douglas Waltz continues his series about Mexican monster movies with 3rd installment of Mexican Monsters on Parade and I want to have his knowledge. Again, this is something I was not even aware of a few years ago, thanks to contributions like this one I at least have a dim knowledge of its existence. You can’t go wrong with that.

Stephen R. Bissette reviews (in a detailed review, that is) a few space themed movies. Ever heard of Rocketship X-M? 12 to the Moon? Me neither. That’s why I am re-reading it again. And if you are a fan of sci-fi movies, I have no doubt you’ll find this article fascinating as well.

Slowly, but steadily, coming to the end of this info-packed issue, we can’t finish without mentioning my total favorite column – Jeff Goodhartz’s Pimping Godfrey Ho. Enough said. Even with bad moviemaking, reading about this crazy guy’s movies is THE experience. And this is, really, no kidding, one of my favourite colums in the WCH and luckily, there are a lot of movies to write about still!!!

24 long pages. Imagine that. 24 long pages and that’s Tim Paxton’s detailed walk through the cinematic output of Kanti Shah, in yet another installment of his on-going, breath-taking series about Indian cinema. If you call yourself a movie lover, you owe it to yourself to read it. Obviously, this is a very limited area here, because majority of these movies are hard-to-find and even then without dubbing or subtitles, but still…that’s just unbelievable. But even more unbelievable is Tim’s detailed knowledge here. There’s some example for you, young ones. Go, read, weep and learn.

Exploitation has many faces, one of those is southernsploitation and although I haven’t heard the term before, it’s only logical, as Steven Ronquillo, a long time contributor to WCH will prove in his article about Moonshine Mania discussing titles like Thunder Road or White Lightning (among others).

I’ve said it before and I might repeat it here as well, another well loved colum for me is Greek VHS Mayhem by Christos Mouroukis. And well placed title, because it’s really a mayhem! What titles, what movies, what an art!!!

Pages 212-234 are reserved for movie reviews, so if you still don’t have enough to digest, here you can find some more to chew on.

The mini poll on pages 235 to 238 is a nice time capsule with many interesting and important people giving their opinion on what they considered their favourite film of 2013. That’s kinda nice to see in the retrospective and there are a few items mentioned I have missed when they were a new ones…and there’s also a few names to learn and note down as well!

The same theme continues from 240 to 249, but this time it’s WCH contributors talking about their faves in 2013. Should I repeat myself? I’ve thought so.

Print section is the last one, and it’s always a bitter experience for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read it, as I am a print publications’ fan…then you check the price – OK (unless we’re talking McFarland, their stuff is great but pricey as hell, we’re talking an arm and the leg sometimes), but the postage! Fu*kin’ hell, they have to be kidding me! And yes, folks, it’s got worse since 2013. Therefore, even with not liking Amazon’s policies, it’s really hard to buy some stuff nowadays, if it’s not available through Bezos’ empire.

Anyway, enough mourning.

This long review should give you a detailed view of what you can expect in this fantastic issue. Now go get it. I mean it.

Order here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wengs-Chop-Jungle-Girl-Cover/dp/1497332060/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=weng%27s+chop+5&qid=1589797816&sr=8-2

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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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 bit..so 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQupuFFlbOo

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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malauriuofficial

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!

Bandcamp: https://strangulationfurrowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/costectomy-nyctophagia-split

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: https://www.facebook.com/unauthorizedsurgeonsclub/

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?

https://nosevomitrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gorenoise-megasplit-vol-i

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: aniquilacionsatanicapro@yahoo.com

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