Dapper Dan Man…

October 19, 2009

Necrophobic – Satanic Blasphemies

Posted on Friday October 16th, 2009 – Scenepointblank.com – Link to review

Necrophobic are one of the classics of the legendary old school Swedish death metal scene, along with underground titans such as Entombed, Dismember, and Carnage. They remained slightly less known then the aforementioned compatriots but nonetheless command great respect in underground circles and bring a lot of history with them. If you are at all familiar with and love old Swedish death metal then you will instantly know where the gratification will come from here.

Satanic Blasphemies has nine songs brimming with evil vibes and the trademark buzz saw guitar riffs that are so prevalent in the genre. Think Entombed circa Clandestine or Carnage’s Dark Recollections for further reference. The songs are never too fast here but rather fluctuate in tempo and always remain savagely raw.

This collection is comprised of re-mastered material from the band’s infant years. It contains songs from their first two demos: 1990’s Slow Asphyxiation and 1991’s Unholy Prophecies along with The Call 7” EP from 1992 and a deluxe twelve-page booklet.

It’s enough old material to have fans salivating, and listening to it you are struck with how the band seemed to find their voice so early on. One of the reasons these guys get so much respect is, apart from the great music, the fact that they have never changed their sound. It has always been based on death metal with a heavy touch of black metal, which is where they also slightly differ from the above mentioned colleagues. They may have found their feet fully later in their career and sound a tad unpolished here but still recognizable.

This is most evident in the melodic, heavily frostbitten guitar melodies in the title-track but they’re also interspersed throughout the album. It is cold sounding as only music made in Scandinavia can be. Bands like Necrophobic never excelled technically but with small means they have always managed to outdo most modern metal bands that think it’s important to sound as technically adept as possible.

A song like “Sacrificial Rites” with its swarm-like riffs, shifting tempo and sick growls will always sound more savage. The guitar playing gets even grimier and scuzzier in “Unholy Prophecies” but still maintains the underlying melodic quality. The guitar harmonies are one of the band’s best features and contrast well to their otherwise feral attack. Get involved.

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October 16, 2008

Woven Hand – Ten Stones

Here is a theory that may be disregarded but that seems more plausible the more time is spent thinking about it; Truly good artists, musicians and bands can be recognised by how many people and other artists, from completely opposite spheres of music are their firmest admirer. Truly good artists span genres and can gain followings from the most unexpected of places. This theory came from the following facts: David Eugene Edwards plays dark but mellow rock with distinct folk and classic American overtones and gothic tendencies, is a deeply devout Christian which comes through in his lyrics, among many other places. Yet I have heard of so many rockers and metal lovers, read a few record collector pieces in extreme metal magazines, where his bands have been mentioned, with the fondest of love, by black and death metal musicians with a south-of-heaven type of approach to religion.

This can make you believe that Wovenhand are something special before you have even heard the music. Luckily, upon hearing any of the albums you will find the music very captivating. Edward’s voice also adds emotion. It is, at the same time husky but trembling which makes the music sound even more dark and poignant.

“The beautiful axe” starts of very slow burning before going into more heavy rock territory with pounding drums and an a chorus that even verges on the anthemic. It is a more straight forward rock song and it isn’t until the second track, “Horsetail” that Wovenhand’s folk and traditional influences make themselves known. The stark and bleak lyrical imagery is, on the other hand, present throughout.

Ten Stones is an affecting listen. Listen with the utmost concentration you will almost see a film playing from inside your eyelids. It’s a film where a man sits alone in a dark room, an empty gaze vivid on his face, as he tries to figure out how his life went so horribly wrong. This image is at its strongest point during the heart-rending “Cohawkin Road” and “Iron feather”.

It isn’t an intention to make this sound like a thoroughly depressing experience because it isn’t and Ten Stones certainly does not lack variation. The heavy stomp and rhythm of “White Knuckle Grip” will get pulses raised and suggests that, along with the lounge-like bossanova of “Quiet Night of Quiet Stars” there is a lightness and sense of fun in this band.

No matter what style is purveyed on Ten Stones one thing is always certain; the power of the songs. This is a truly great album. There are only a few months left of the year, before that annual list of the best albums is compiled but here is one recording that will at least make it to the top five.

This was published yesterday on Blogcritics. The album is absolutely amazing, as is probably quite obvious from the review. Check it out on the site and by all means read the comment below. The guy mentions that just because you play extreme metal then it doesn’t mean that you can’t be influenced by artists from vastly different genres, which of course was my point as well. Maybe it isn’t clear enough in the actual review but I suppose that it’s such a normal point of view that it doesn’t need to be mentioned. Hell, I’m in all ways mostly a fan of extreme metal and hardcore yet I find the utmost satisfaction in calm and mellow music and some of my favourite artists play music that is as far away from black/ death metal as you can get.

My point was that many openly satanic musicians are very candidly expressing their admiration for David Eugene Edwards and his bands and he is deeply religious. This may not be so strange to everyone (I find the cultural spanning highly encouraging) but most of the black metal musicians are not exactly known to have an open mind about these things. In hindsight maybe I expressed my self clumsily in the review and it doesn’t come across very clear but it’ll have to be this way for now.

Still and mesmerizing record, mind you.

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