Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues: The Codex Necro/Total Fucking Necro

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Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues
The Codex Necro/Total Fucking Necro
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 44:45/49:25
Review by Dark Juan
10/10
10/10

Greetings and salutations once again, dear acolytes, followers of the Left-Hand Path and my army of zealots! It is I, Dark Juan, and today I have returned to regale you with information about why you should in fact give your soul to Satan (Hell has the world’s best lounge band, you see) eat all the delicious food and gorge yourself on the finest wines, spirits, meads and beers (fuck it all, you only live once and you give FAR too much of your lives to fucking wankers in suits and ties telling you that you aren’t doing enough to earn the pittance the capitalist scum pay you. Burn down their house) and play with the genitals of whichever sex tickles your fancy as often as humanly possible (just fucking because, OK? Trust me on this…) Also, listen to heavy fucking metal until your eyes bleed.

However, you should not attempt to have sex with Anaal Nathrakh being the soundtrack. There are several VERY SOUND reasons for this. Firstly, if you are a man above the age of forty and you try rattling the bones of your beloved at the insane tempos of an Anaal Nathrakh song then frankly you’re guaranteed a spell in hospital due to exhaustion and also, you’ll put your back out which is not a good thing. Maybe this is what happened to our Glorious Leader, Air Chief Marshal Richard “What I get Up To In My Bedroom Is No Concern Of Yours, You Fucking Northern Ape” Tilley. Secondly, your significant other’s pelvis will be reduced to rubble in short order, unless you are enjoying some oral action in which case there will be an immediate requirement for emergency dentistry and she (or he, or xim, them or any other pronoun that is inclusive. However, I am a heterosexual male so I will write primarily from my point of view) will end up sounding like Phyllis Pearce instead of the winsome, lilting voice she previously stole your heart with…

A lilting, winsome voice is something that V.I.T.R.I.O.L (unsurprisingly his real name is Dave) does not have. He sounds like a demented banshee screaming pure unadulterated hatred at pretty much the entire world and surrounding galactic environs. I am privately convinced that he is solely the reason that extraterrestrials haven’t yet contacted us, because they got wind of “The Codex Necro”, listened to it once and then had to go back to wherever the fuck they came from to repair their ship because V.I.T.R.I.O.L and Irrumator (Mick Kenney) basically fucked it to the point of structural failure with the power of their music. Which is a term I use advisedly.

Yes, I am currently turning my brain to soup with a reissue of Anaal Nathrakh’s utterly classic “The Codex Necro” on Metal Blade and by God it has just reaffirmed just how savage metal can be. This is ultra-primal, martial black metal of the very highest caliber, easily rivalling anything Scandinavia had to offer for sheer sonic violence. You will all no doubt remember that I don’t normally score reissues highly, normally viewing them as a cynical cash grab (hello, Paradise Lost) for bands that were financially not too badly off, but this is going to be disregarded today because of this motherfucking shitty arsed pandemic pushing our music to the brink. Frankly so many of our bands need some form of income to keep going and if you’re going to bang out a reissue during these straitened times, I say have at it. And to be fair to Anaal Nathrakh, reissuing their utterly classic debut album is a smart move. It makes everything released nowadays look wimpy and insipid, and still shows the righteous way for unrelenting brutality in music. I have always regarded them as one of the most sonically dense bands there has ever been, in company with The Berzerker (and now The Machinist).

Everything about “The Codex Necro” is fucking perfect. Unparalleled vocal fury from V.I.T.R.I.O.L is underpinned with nothing less than the aural equivalent of messy and explosive murder by Irrumator (who does everything else apart from the vocals). Rarely does the album’s velocity drop below Warp Factor 9 and the rageometer NEVER drops below a full on ten, and it is a testament to the quality of this album that after 20 years, it is yet to be challenged by any pretender to sonic Armageddon. It is also a testament to just how unrelentingly murderous full on black metal can be when it is underpinned by a proper production job, rather than the production being handled by a corpse painted heroin addict from Oslo who has put all the microphones in fishbowls while stoned out of his gourd and forgotten to turn up the bass on the mixing board. “The Codex Necro” still sounds fresh as fuck, mate. Everything is clearly heard, even though they go that fast there are times when you simply can’t take in the savagery and horror.

Everything about (he gaily repeats himself) “The Codex Necro” is perfect. EVERYTHING. It is a landmark of black metal and the perfect distillation of the rage that fuels heavy metal, stripped back to speed and aggression. If I were scoring this by itself, it would always be full marks, it is that seminal a work.

On to “Total Fucking Necro” then…After you, please.

A rather rawer recording composed of pieces from three demos (“Anaal Nathrakh”, “Total Fucking Necro” and the unreleased “We Will Fucking Kill You”) including two cover tracks from Mayhem (‘Carnage’ and ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’) compared to “The Codex Necro”, this album nevertheless showcases what was going to become the absolute last word in British brutality to devastating effect. With a sound not unlike being on the wrong end of an extensive and long lasting carpet bombing campaign with added incendiaries, Anaal Nathrakh set a fucking marker that the rest of the world could not ignore – here we are, we can play black metal better than you pasty faced, skinny limbed, church burning Scandinavian lightweights and we dare you to fucking come at us with your swords and your Satanism – we will destroy you with merely our teeth, for we are not warriors of Satan, we are fucking feral and we are going to chew our way through your faces.

Where “The Codex Necro” had a superb production that enhanced the power of the music considerably, “Total Fucking Necro” does not. The sound is woolly as fuck and instruments drop in and out of the mix willy nilly and at times curiously poppy sounding cymbals overpower everything – it must be remembered that this record is a collection of demos and they are still absolutely uncompromising in power and savagery. The speed of the playing sometimes impacts negatively on precision and there are a few dropped notes here and there, yet they don’t compromise just how promising the young and thrusting Anaal Nathrakh of 1999 was. V.I.T.R.I.O.L relies more on the classic black metal strangled yowl vocal on the demos before finding that hate fuelled roar that made him one of the finest BM vocalists ever and Irrumator clearly hadn’t learned the finesse he later displayed on AN recordings, appearing to be flailing desperately at every instrument he could lay his hands on, rather than playing them as he struggles to maintain the punishing tempos Anaal Nathrakh became famous for.

That’s not to say it isn’t good though. Raw, untamed Anaal Nathrakh can still kick the arse of pretty much every single modern black metal band with ease. This is absolutely fucking classic black metal from a band that desperately deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Mayhem, Emperor, Burzum (may Varg Vikernes forever rot in some endless fiery hell specifically for right wing murderous fucknuggets) and Darkthrone as black metal luminaries and leading lights. And they did this without recourse to corpse paint and pseudo-Satanic silliness… It also has to be said that Anaal Nathrakh are considerably better when they are ploughing their own massively furious musical furrow than aping their contemporaries, although this reviewer has an incredibly soft spot for the classical and expansive nature of Emperor and Dimmu Borgir, yet AN display touches that move them ahead of the black metal crowd even this early in the development of the band and their sound. Absolutely fucking irreplaceable.

And there we have it. Anaal Nathrakh have reminded me just why they will always be one of my favourite bands. As a retrospective recording of their early days, these two records are an essential purchase if you don’t already have them. If you don’t and you are the kind of masochistic person who will enjoy having your face reduced to its component atoms by concentrated musical hatred, fucking buy these albums. If you’re dipping your toes into the water of black metal and you ignore the fucking idiotic gatekeeper kvltists (who are all frankly boring dickheads) who will inevitably claim that AN aren’t black metal because they weren’t hanging around a certain record shop in Oslo in 1995, you really can’t do much better than Mayhem, Emperor and Anaal Nathrakh as your gateway into a scene that has pretty followed its own path in isolation from mainstream metal for decades. I can’t believe these records are over 20 years old – both still sound as fresh, vibrant and exciting as they did when this (at the time) teenage Hellpriest discovered them and Cradle Of Filth at the same time and made my parents wonder just what the unholy fuck was going on in my bedroom. And that was before I had managed to lure any teenage girls up there…

Absolutely superb. Absolutely fucking superb. I’m blown away as much now as I was then.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System can do nothing but award Anaal Nathrakh 10/10 for both fucking records. Both are absolutely uncompromising slabs of concentrated murderous hatred that get full marks for different reasons – 10/10 for “The Codex Necro” because at the time it was THE gold standard for brutality, and 10/10 for “Total Fucking Necro” for the sheer juggernaut raw power and untrammeled talent it displayed. By golly I’m proud to be British right now!

TRACKLISTINGS:

The Codex Necro:
01. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance
02. When Humanity Is Cancer
03. Submission Is For The Weak
04. Pandemonic Hyperblast
05. Paradigm Shift Annihilation
06. The Technogoat
07. Incipid Flock (sic)
08. Human, All Too Fucking Human
09. The Codex Necro

Total Fucking Necro:
01. Anaal Nathrakh (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
02. Necrodeath (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
03. Ice Blasting Storm Winds (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo)
04. Carnage (“Anaal Nathrakh” demo; Mayhem cover)
05. The Supreme Necrotic Audnance (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
06. Satanachrist (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
07. L.E.T.H.A.L.: Diabolic (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
08. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (“Total Fucking Necro” demo; Mayhem cover)
09. The Technogoat (“Total Fucking Necro” demo)
10. Necrogeddon (“We Will Fucking Kill You” unreleased demo)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Lucid Sins – Cursed!

Cursed! Album Cover Art

Lucid Sins – Cursed!
Totem Cat Records
Release Date: 03/05/2021
Running Time: 38:41
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Alright my old muck spreaders? It is I, the Ipssisimus of All Things Groovy, Dark Juan, and having got over what can only be described as a colossal sulk yesterday, I have returned to vent my spleen to you all in the NAME OF SATAN! I hope you are all wearing your cilices, because I am going to have you all tightening those fuckers around your collective thighs until you pass out from lack of blood. Yes, I am feeling very nihilistic and you lot are going to bear the brunt of my disapprobation. I am distinctly displeased and someone has to pay. However, that person will not be our esteemed lord and master, Field Marshal Sir Richard “Are You Still Whining About People Not Liking Your Herr Nox Review? Pull Yourself Together Or I’ll Give You Something To Fucking Moan About, You Ridiculous Northern Arsehole” Tilley, who has threatened me with being left in a Welsh field, wearing nothing but wellington boots and a disarming grin. He’s nothing if not a motivational genius, that man. A prince among men I tell you. A fine gentleman and a true friend to boot…

This is nothing to do with the fact he’s a fucking man mountain and could break me in half with little effort – especially after I have been vegetarian for so many years and now have a skeleton composed of dust and muscles like pipe cleaners…

Anyway, today marks a change of tone from the previous couple of reviews where I have been hovering around the more industrial and gothic side of things, and I am currently worshipping at the altar of Groovetastic Grooviness and echoes of the early days of heavy metal with Lucid Sins, who are based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Now, my computer appears to have put track two ‘Joker’s Dance’ of the album as the opener, and although particularly good indeed, the opening track is entitled ‘The Serpentine Path’ and is that rare thing, a rock record that requires no more cowbell. It has an infectious central riff, which is allowed to expand and breathe, rather than being composed of 40 billion notes in a single second before it segues into an extended psychedelic central part, with ethereal, phased vocal and some tasty soloing and oodles of Hammond organ… If you regularly read my drivel, you’ll find I’ll have a soft spot for Hammond organ and classic riffing. Lucid Sins have these in abundance. The band have a deceptively simple sound – their particular blend of classic metal, hard rock, the blues and psychedelia really rewards close listening with cans on, otherwise you are going to miss some exquisite little touches in the music. It is rather more complex than it seems upon a first listen. Simple sounding guitar work blends seamlessly with a bluesy, clean vocal from Andreas Jonsson, whose voice reminds me greatly of John Kay of Steppenwolf at their most acid fuelled in places, and the music reminds this Hellpriest greatly of Wishbone Ash, a more muscular Hawkwind during the extended psychedelic passages and even in places, The Doors – especially on the more organ and keyboard led parts of the record.

The whole record is lushly produced and everything is perfectly legible and easily heard and the guitar work of both Andreas and Ruaraidh Sanachan (I’ll be honest here, I am literally just copying and pasting his name because it’s a bitch to spell) rich and easily defined, without the overabundance of fuzz that usually accompanies classic sounding hard rock records.

Fifth song in is the title track, ‘Cursed’ and although very enjoyable, it’s where the major flaw of the record is. There’s an almost pathological desire to go exploring off piste and meander around mist filled, mescaline fuelled psychedelic hinterlands. Lucid Sins are at their most effective when they are rocking out and hinting at their desire to wander off the beaten track. The sixth song on the album ‘Snake Eyes’ is a banger and is reminiscent of Ghost (shut up, Ghost are fucking brilliant) in places as are the vocal line and pattern of ‘By Your Hand’. This is of course a Very Good Thing indeed as I am of the opinion that Ghost are responsible for bringing back a bit of melody and interest to heavy metal, as opposed to every band sounding the same with guttural vocals and speed. Plus, I’m an old fart now and it is nice to have a change of pace and not have my brains cudgelled all the time…

The final track is entitled ‘The Forest’ and eschews any attempt at heavy metal and is remarkably similar to The Doors. Of course, this is not a bad thing because The Doors were a formative influence of metal – it’s an extended jam of ethereal vocals, gentle grooves, trippy guitars and atmosphere before an acoustic guitar break and tambourine and gentle swathes of electric alchemy wash over you. If you’re fond of chemical enhancement of the enjoyment of music (hello, 420 fans) might I suggest you partake of some perfumed hash before you listen to this record. It may well take you to places in your mind you haven’t visited before.

In short then – nothing spectacularly new or original, but damned good fun and very pleasing to the ear if you truly know your metal heritage and don’t think that metal started with Slipfuckingknot or Avenged fucking Sevenfold. This is a well-crafted paean to the early days of heavy metal and it is rather splendid in that regard. I hope Lucid Sins become the gateway drug to psychedelic and blues rock for a lot of young people who think that metal starts and stops with Gojira.

I like it a lot.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Siostam measaidh splat fuil dorcha Juan patent – bet that’s wrong hahaha) awards Lucid Sins 9/10. One point was deducted for a slight overemphasis and reliance on wandering off in the middle of songs, otherwise top notch bluesy, acid tripping hard rock of excellence.

‘Sun & The Moon’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Serpentine Path
02. Joker’s Dance
03. Sun & The Moon
04. The Devil’s Sign
05. Cursed
06. Snake Eyes
07. By Your Hand
08. The Forest

LINE-UP (For the purposes of recording this album – core members are in bold):
Andreas Jonsson – Vocals & Guitar
Joe Gallagher – Guitar
Martin “Eggy Beard” McKenna – Violin
Ruaraidh Sanachan – Guitar, Bass, Keys and Percussion
Sondre Berge Endegal – Bass
Stuart Coleman – Keys

LINKS:

Lucid Sins Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Dead Coyote – Apparitionata EP

Apparitionata EP Cover Art

Dead Coyote – Apparitionata EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 13/03/2021
Running Time: 12:31
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Good morning, you beautiful bunch of fiends, miscreants and performers of derring-do, wizardry and providers of potions. I trust I find you all hale and hearty? Excellent…

A word if I may, about myself and what I do. Doubtless, some people would state that it is a red flag for me to talk about myself in a review, but this needs to be said. First of all, I find that reading a review that isn’t imbued with some form of humour to be fucking boring, frankly. Secondly, most of the time in my preambles I am busily taking the piss out myself and I don’t see a problem with this. Thirdly, and this is most important – I am a reviewer of records and a music critic. It is my fucking JOB to offer my opinion about the music I am listening to and to inform you poor souls who actually read this shit (granted, in my case this is in a long winded and hopefully amusing way which frequently veers off the path of what I am ACTUALLY SUPPOSED to be doing) whether or not it is worth you spaffing your hard-earned cash over the music I am privileged to hear. I am not here to be popular and to just gush and tell you every single album and EP I listen to is fucking terrific.

Some aren’t. Some are awful. Warrior Soul know this.

Despite the (on average) three hundred words of random shit that you have to plough through before you get to the actual review, I take this fucking SERIOUSLY, because it is you people out there who may well spend oodles of wonga on the word of a Northern pseudo-Satanic twat with delusions of grandeur. Therefore, I make no apology for what I do, the way I do it, or whether or not I like something. I’m not even bothered if you’re offended, to be honest. Like I have said before:

ALL ART IS SUBJECTIVE AND I CAN ONLY GIVE MY OWN OPINION. Some of you pay attention. Others don’t. Which is fine.

Now I have got this off my chest, I want to tell you about the cavalcade of mad bastards that are Dead Coyote. They come from the extremely diverse Portland, Oregon in the good old US of A, formed in 2008 and appear to be stuck in a bizarre otherworld of draughty twilight castles, harpsichords and gorgeous, alabaster fleshed vampiric beauties. Yes, “Apparitionata” is (as the mad twats themselves describe it) “A Gothic Dance Poperetta”. In ACTUAL English this means we have a four track EP, so I shall default to my usual method for EPs and describe it track by track. Let us clasp hands and plunge in together…

‘Prelude’ is track one and is a minute and fifty-five seconds of scene setting with swirling keyboards, vocals done in the manner of a circus ringmaster or narrator and atmospheric electronic backgrounds undercut with subtle bass playing. It is very good indeed, like a Cradle Of Filth keyboard intro with added juvenile humour. I’m all about juvenile humour.

‘Leave Me In The Ground’ is the first song proper on the EP and if you could please exercise your imagination for me, that would be grand. Thank you… Imagine David Byrne dressed like The Damned’s Dave Vanian fronting an extravagantly gothed up Talking Heads (I have to admit, the thought of Tina Weymouth in a gorgeous black taffeta gown and gothic eye makeup has made me come over all unnecessary. I’ll be back in a hot minute…) with the humour that is endemic to the Tiger Lilies’ lighter moments. It’s chamber goth played at pop tempos and it is frankly superbly amusing, with well thought out lyrics that do not fail to raise a smile if you listen carefully, delivered with that slightly manic energy that Byrne was famous for.

Track three is ‘Lazy Ghost’ which opens with a single repeated piano note and spooky swirling keyboards and minor notes and the seductive whispers of a lady in the shadows before crashing into “Phantasmagoria” era The Damned sounds and yet more gothic David Byrne histrionic vocals, again shot through with idiosyncratic humour and pacing not unlike a 70’s punk band. It is also supremely danceable, with a sneaky nod to disco in the middle eight and the end of the song. Don’t think I haven’t noticed, you black clad scamps! This is also extraordinarily good.

The last song is ‘My Hiding Place’ and now the drumming reminds me of Talking Heads, yet with a guitar break that nods in the direction of HIM and keyboards that remind this Hellpriest of the more gothic electronic stylings of Psyclon Nine when they were a gothic industrial band in their early career. Dead Coyote throw the kitchen sink at this tune, with pop hooks in the chorus, piano twinkling throughout and a menacing undertow of bass and synth, before ending on a gentle piano glissando that finishes on a disturbing discordant note. Marvellous.

How the fuck do I quantify this band for you? Metal it certainly is not, but fun and amusing it certainly is. Imagine the pop sensibilities of Talking Heads, the experimental nature of The Damned when they were exploring goth, the bombastic nature of The Sisters Of Mercy, the classical sensibilities of the barely sane gothic pixie that is Emilie Autumn and the humour and wry sideways glances of The Tiger Lilies, and you have a rough picture of what Dead Coyote are. And, as a sad old goff, I cannot recommend this EP to you enough as an amusing change from blasting your brain with metal. I love this EP. It’s fucking brilliant, but it is NOWHERE near long enough.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System will be following Dead Coyote closely and awards them 9/10, deducting a mark simply because this EP functioned more as an amuse-bouche rather than a musical banquet, and such is my enthusiasm for this band I couldn’t help but want more…

“Apparitionata” (Official Full EP Video) – It is a work of art (Rick)!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Prelude
02. Leave Me in the Ground
03. Lazy Ghost
04. My Hiding Place

LINE-UP:
Zach Retzl – Piano, Guitar, Vocals
Jonathan Ventrella – Drums, Additional Vocals
Izabella Weiss – Bass, Additional Vocals
Adrian Retzl – Synthesizer

LINKS:

Dead Coyote Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Baron Crâne – Commotions Reissue

Commotions Album Cover Art

Baron Crâne – Commotions Reissue
Mrs Red Sound Records
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 31:20
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

I am being rather more productive than I have any right to be on a Sunday when I had a Saturday night imbibing significant quantities of fine British ales and was up early this morning, due to various hellhounds wanting to be let out to piss up my fuchsias and generally be rather irritating and shout at the passing Pomeranian (this was Hodgson Biological-Warfare doing this. He takes his guard dog duties very seriously, and passing chonky floofs are clearly out to murder the entire household). He takes his duties that seriously that I once suffered a bite wound to my previously perfect posterior when I was engaged in a mutual act of closeness with Mrs Dark Juan. This, after he had basically head-butted his stupid trundletank way through the CLOSED bedroom door. Suffice it to say, the fucking door was reinforced. Also, thanks to him and also Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, KCMG, MM, DFC and Bar, Croix De Guerre, you are not permitted to bathe alone in my castle. You must be observed by demented canines at all times. Unless you want to hear pitiful wailing from behind the closed door for as long as it takes you to break and open it, at which point Zeus will try to eat the toilet paper, for he is as dumb as the hole in a cow’s arse. Suddenly, your bath is not relaxing anymore…

I am listening to an interesting proposition in Baron Crâne. This French trio of progtastic musicians formed in Paris in 2014 and offer a spasmodic, jarring journey through the sounds of psychedelic rock, jazz fusion and noise rock. Frequently moving between all these several times in the same song. Normally, Baron Crâne are an instrumental act, but on two pieces on this record, they have added an extra dynamic with the addition of guest vocalists.

In all honesty I had never heard of Baron Crâne before, and just plucked it from the extremely large and diverse review list we get to choose from at Ever-Metal Towers simply because I liked the name of the band. Sometimes it’s good to just grab something at random and experience something new, don’t you think?

The record opens with ‘Firmin’ which immediately brings to mind Primus (but slightly less mental than Les Claypool’s bunch of sonic terrorists) with some glorious jazz bass and clean guitar intertwining with each other and slamming in and out of distortion dripping rock guitar and frequently changing time signatures and just generally messing with your fucking head because you have no idea where this trio of demented French auteurs will take you next, musically speaking. Saying that, I like to be challenged and this is already not a record to be slammed on when you want to rage. No, this song is best savoured by yourself, with some fine cognac and some headphones, where you can bask in the frankly egregious levels of talent on display. The second song is entitled ‘Acid Rains’ and features the vocal talents of Arthur Brossard. This is where the record begins to confound your expectations somewhat, because the first track invites you to expect more of the same demented bass work and riffing, but what you get is in face some kind of desert rock/ psychedelic rock/ prog fusion of killer hooks, a fantastic vocal performance from Arthur who deals with some extremely esoteric time signatures with aplomb, a savage distorted guitar and a drummer who appears to be composed entirely of arms and feet and nothing else, such is the complexity of his playing. It does still float off into prog territory with echoey drums and guitar in some parts but always come back to the central hard rock element and absolutely slams when it does…

‘Closing Doors’ is more musical psychopathy that roams realms normally explored by Gentle Giant and King Crimson with more jazz fusion, but it is also bloody good fun as it expands minds and soundscapes with ever more intricate passages and guitar lines but essentially treads the same ground as the opener to the album.

The next piece of music is called ‘On Rase Les Murs’ (‘We Shave The Walls’) and yet again Baron Crâne confound your expectations and deliver a vitriol fuelled piece of music that harks, vocally, back to the days of the Judgement Night soundtrack, “Stacked Up” era Senser and Clawfinger with a heavily charged, socially aware and spittle sprayingly angry French language rap performance from a young chap called I.N.C.H. overlaid with spectacularly furious guitar work. Yet again, the drumming and bass playing are superb and I.N.C.H. does an amazing job keeping up with a band that appear to be hell-bent on stretching musical boundaries as far as they can and Baron Crâne can add urban music to an already expansive portfolio as this complex, living thing of a song is by far the highlight of a highly technical record because of the sheer power and throat ripping intensity of I.N.C.H. adding a magnificently grimy sense of urban menace.

The album closes out with ‘Fifth Stone’ and starts with the kind of paradiddles and Hammond organ that old folk dance the four square to before entering the territory of Tool (but with considerably more Gallic panache) of odd time signatures and muscular riffage before jazz once more rears its ugly head briefly and then phaser wah dripping soloing on the guitar happens before the song abruptly changes tone and returns to the central riff…then there is a false ending, some post rock noise, a mental bit where the whole band loses their collective shit, mad atmospherics not unlike mescaline fuelled Hawkwind jams before musicality returns and the guitar chimes gently over languid bass and soft drums. Then it goes into some of the chunkiest sounding guitar and slow paced metal, with screaming electric alchemy before dropping back and fading out everything except simple notes played on the bass. And then silence.

I basically gave you a blow by blow account of the final track just to demonstrate the sheer dynamism of Baron Crâne. All three are virtuoso level musicians, and although the jazzier elements sometimes threaten to overwhelm the rock and roll, they have managed to thankfully avoid prog overload. If you are a fan of balls to the wall, straight ahead metal, you’re not going to enjoy this record at all. If you like the left field, you will. If you like to be challenged by a record you will enjoy this. J’adore Baron Crâne!!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang de Dark Juan) awards Baron Crâne a whopping 8/10 for a splendid record that unfortunately will only find a niche audience because of its sheer complexity.

‘Firmin’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Firmin
02. Acid Rains (featuring Arthur Brossard)
03. Closing Door
04. On Rase Les Murs (featuring I.N.C.H.)
05. Fifth Stone

LINE-UP:
Léo Pinon-Chaby – Guitar
Léo Goizet – Drums
Olivier Pain – Bass

LINKS:

Baron Crâne Promo Pic (Credit Emilie Mauger)
Photo by Emilie Mauger

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Dark – Inside The Void EP

Inside The Void EP Cover Art

Dark – Inside The Void EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 30/04/2021
Running Time: 14:25
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Once again I return to the fray, to put more music to the sword, to exhort you metal fiends to ever greater frenzies of worship at the altar of heavy fucking metal and to remind you to love each other endlessly and without reserve. Fear not the wankers in fake Burberry scarves and tracksuits. You are all metal warriors and therefore you have a denim (interestingly the computer thought I meant demon and put that instead of denim. I imagine there are a significant number of you all who might be clad in demons) and leather and lace clad army of friends around you. You are my people, my family and the special ones that keep our music alive. Just thought you needed a bit of a motivational pick me up after what could charitably be described as a reasonably challenging year. Just like Ann Widdecombe could be described as a reasonably challenging wank.

In other news, I have coerced my new gothpooter into behaving itself and justifying the text where I fucking put in it the first place. Whilst the verbal threats seemed to leave the gothpooter unimpressed with my sincerity and it flat refused to do what IT WAS FUCKING TOLD TO, the physical threat of a combination of the window, gravity, just how far it could fly when propelled by a strong right arm and the nearest sledgehammer appeared to do the trick and it is now happily defaulting to my will. If I could get away with hand-writing this nonsense, I would. But no, microelectronics and swearing are the way forward. In other news fuck knows what’s wrong with me. This is my second review of the day and I seem to not be able to stop writing. Oh well, here’s hoping our feudal Lord and Master Rick “Don’t Big Yourself Up So Much, Simon Writes Seven Reviews To Your One, You Northern Oik” Tilley will bestow his favour upon me (I’ll think about it – Rick 😊). Just this once. Failing that, I’ll just ask Victor instead. He likes me. He says this, but he’s in Brazil where he is safe.

Dark are a gothic rock band from Sweden and this is a four track EP so I will dispense with the usual platitudes about production and the like (because it is particularly good and doesn’t need hundreds of words writing about it) and I shall do a blow by blow (form an orderly queue to the left, ladies. I will get to you presently…) or should I say song by song account of this four track…

‘Finally Home’ (or ‘My Town’, as Groove Music is confused about what the actual fucking song is called) is the opening number and it starts with a jaunty, almost carnival like riff that references surf rock and post punk and the vocals kick in, in short order, and it’s like “Fuck me! Is that Dave Vanian?” Yes, vocalist Erik Molarin appears to be the vocal doppelganger of the erstwhile The Damned crooner circa “Phantasmagoria”. This means that you can expect overtly sexual baritone singing. There is NOTHING wrong with this at all and I’m a boy who’s strictly hetero. An excellent and promising start to the record with a rousing chorus and it’s like I’m back in the late 80s again.

The second song is called ‘One Of Us’ and it could best be described as the more emotional moments of Paradise Lost (think ‘One Second’ or ‘Mercy’) meets The Damned (specifically on ‘Sanctum Sanctorum’) with lots of choral backing vocals on a bleak, bleak chorus where Erik approaches Peter Steele levels of baritone menace. Far and away the best song on the EP, even with the false ending. It will be one for a driving playlist and no mistake. It’s a good old goth song, as in it could have been played in The Batcave in 1990.

‘Die Together’ is the charmingly named third song and is possessed of the weakest chorus on the record (“You wanna die together, because it turns you on” which is a bit banal to say the least. Most gothic girls I know are proper interested in living because you can’t get drunk and put on your finery if you have carked it over some hirsute idiot with overly elaborate eye makeup) but the music is a pleasing amalgam of The Mission, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and HIM (without Ville Valo ruining it by opening his gob) with yet more Vanian-channeling on the vocal. Good, but not exceptional and somewhat out of step with the other songs on the EP.

The final cut on this rather splendid little black gothic pearl is ‘Memories’ and Dave Vanian…. Sorry, I mean Erik croons in magnificently moody fashion over a mid-paced musical ménage a trois of the Jesus And Mary Chain, Fields Of The Nephilim and The Sisters Of Mercy before an abrupt and clattering end that frankly cut short a prolonged and powerful eargasm, because I am a sad old goff and having this sort of music with this sort of deep baritone vocal returning to my attention in 2021 is more exciting than prolonged and deviant sex with the ENTIRE Brazilian AND Australian beach volleyball teams AND the main cast of The Craft.

On that happy mental image, I’ll leave you. Your husbands and wives will thank me later.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterade värderingssystemet Dark Juan blodsplatter) awards Dark 9/10 for a gothtastic four tracker. The usual mark for leaving me hanging when I’m totally into the music has been deducted, because I wanted MORE!!! (A concerted effort had to be made to not sing “And I need all the love that I can’t get to” after that.) Apart from that, generally masterful short, sharp post-punk shocks with added heavy rock.

Best of all, this review is less than one thousand words long. You’re welcome. Oh, it’s not… Fuck. Sorry, not sorry.

‘Finally Home’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Finally Home
02. One Of Us
03. Die Together
04. Memories

LINE-UP:
Dave Vanian… NO!!! SORRY!!! Erik Molarin – Vocals, Guitar
Jonas Strömberg – Guitar
Mats Törnebohm – Drums
Jörgen Ström – Bass

LINKS:

Dark Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Moral Collapse – Moral Collapse

Moral Collapse Album Cover Art

Moral Collapse – Moral Collapse
Subcontinental Records
Release Date: 02/04/2021
Running Time: 34:48
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Alright, me old muck spreaders? Jolly good…I trust you all have (in the UK at least) given your livers the kind of pummelling that only a sunny afternoon and evening in a beer garden can provide? I myself am avoiding it until such time as all the yahoos have got bored of being outside and have returned to their homes and I can sit in a corner nursing a pint and glowering fiercely at the rest of the patrons at my local hostelry, unless it’s the Puzzle Hall Inn in Sowerby Bridge, where you might in fact be just as likely to find me glowering or playing a glorious kazoo solo along with The Devil’s Jukebox when they play live. Hopefully Dr. Ezekiel Bordello has packed in his wont to strip out of his magnificent 1920s zoot suit down to posing pouch, sock suspenders and nipple pasties…

This indent on my word processor is doing my fucking swede in because I didn’t tell it to do it and it has just decided all by itself that my writing will be enhanced by bollocking it up (NB: fixed in the edit. Fucking computers). Also, my new computer won’t tell me the runtime of records anymore and Admiral Sir Richard “Enough Of Your Fucking Excuses, Do It On A Calculator Like Everyone Else, You Fucking Muppet” Tilley requires that runtime be provided for you lovely people (You add it up or go to Spotify – Rick 😊). Anyway, time to stop moaning and talking about roots jazz bands who like playing dress up (and subsequently removing their clothes in the name of entertainment) and instead tell you about Moral Collapse, who are from India, with a very famous German contingent as well. That German contingent is one of my very favourite drummers, being the mighty, multi-armed and clearly insane Hannes Grossmann (Necrophagist, Obscura, Blotted Science). This is a man who has obviously sold his soul to as many devil analogues as he possibly could (probably leading to the first ever set of lawsuits between demonic entities when it comes to soul ownership upon his death) because he is a fucking prodigiously talented man. It will not surprise you to learn that I fucking hate him for precisely this reason, as well as loving his skills at the same time.

Disclaimer: I don’t hate him. It’s self-hatred because I am such a benightedly awful musician. I’m sure Herr Grossmann is a lovely man.

Upon first listen, Moral Collapse have a major super tech death vibe not unlike Necrophagist with a dirtier production (Necrophagist were always arctically pure in production value) but then repeated listens reveal hidden depths, and unfamiliar instruments (Indian instruments featuring in more than a couple of places to absolutely spectacular effect) and timings lifting a record I was afraid of being a Necrophagist clone up to heights that easily enable Moral Collapse to stand alone and proud. This is something like the third or fourth death metal record I have listened to recently that has cheerfully chucked out all the preconceptions of what had become a very moribund style of metal and replaced them with a childlike glee in exploring new sounds and textures and showing the purists a massive middle finger. ‘Suspension Of Disbelief’ especially shows this off with traditional death metal drumming overlaying mental percussion, jazz fuelled madness, droning keyboards, the boingingest bass I have ever heard and howling guitar insanity. There are so many timing changes I can’t keep up and frankly I’m struggling to type fast enough to keep up with what the mad bastards are going to do next. It’s fair to say that Messrs. Grossmann, Natarajan and Mankad are utterly batshit, judging by this record and the fact that it stomps happily over all known preconceptions and still manages to melt off your face with considerable aplomb.

Yeah, this record is indeed a Very Good Thing. The production is solid as fuck, giving the music added punch simply because it is a thicker and dirtier sound than most tech death bands would employ – Moral Collapse have a warm and muscular sound compared to the metronomic, robotic sound bands like Protosequence and Fractal Generator use. However, everything is clearly legible (even the mad bits) and it gives you a good kick in the guts with hobnailed boots. The drums are perfectly produced (even if I don’t like the curiously lifeless snare sound) and cut through the guitar and vocals cleanly. The vocals are standard gut rumblers but delivered with purpose and power and the guitar work of Arun Natarajan and Sudarshan Mankad is just sublime. Controlled, yet aggressive, but bursting out of the confines of death metal every single fucking chance they get, they are sharp, original, breathtaking in complexity and speed and just fill this tired old Hellpriest with something approximating joy. ‘Trapped Without Recourse (Rumination)’ is another song that proves that the band requires serious medication to stop them killing anyone, starting as it does with an eerily plucked violin which is an unusual counterpoint to some demented and actually quite disturbing nonsensical babbling bubbling over Whitehouse-esque electronic soundscapes. What makes this band even more incredible is that significant passages on the record are spontaneously improvised. IMPROVISED!!!!

So, ladies, gentlemen and gentlepersons, we have on our hands a bit of a banger. If you like exploratory music that still pays homage to its roots, you’ll fucking love this. If you like technical death metal, you’ll fucking love this. If you are a drumming geek, you’ll fucking LOVE this. In short, Moral Collapse are intense, powerful, absolutely original and heavier than my fat arse after the two quarter pound chilli burgers I just ate. In underpants made of plutonium. Technical mastery meets absolute savagery. I love it.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (पेटेंटेड डार्क जुआन ब्लड स्प्लटर रेटिंग सिस्टम for Hindi readers and ਪੇਟੈਂਟਡ ਡਾਰਕ ਜੁਆਨ ਬਲੱਡ ਸਪਲੈਟਰ ਰੇਟਿੰਗ ਸਿਸਟਮ for our Punjabi friends. I do so love Google Translate) awards Moral Collapse the full beans 10/10. I fucking love where death metal is going these days. Apart from Six Feet Under.

‘Suspension Of Belief’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Anechoic
02. Abandoned Rooms Of Misspelled Agony
03. Your Stillborn Be Praised
04. Suspension Of Belief
05. Vermicularis (Interruption)
06. Sculpting The Womb Of Misery
07. To The Blind, All Things Sudden
08. Denier Of Light
09. Trapped Without Recourse (Rumination)

LINE-UP:
Arun Natarajan – Guitars, Bass and Vocals
Sudarshan Mankad – Guitars
Hannes Grossmann – Drums

LINKS:

Moral Collapse Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Herr Nox – Where Shadows Fade

Where Shadows Fade Album Cover Art

Herr Nox – Where Shadows Fade
Self-Released
Released Date 26/02/2021
Running Time: 32:41
Review by Dark Juan
3/10

Mr Editor Rick here – Usually, I wouldn’t intervene in one of my writer’s reviews because, as Dark Juan mentions below, “music and all art is subjective” and a review is only one person’s opinion. But I actually really like this album and I feel somewhat guilty because I sent it to him thinking he would too. DJ has a considerably broader knowledge than I, in the ways of Goth, Synth, and Industrial music, but I think that 3 is an incredibly low score for this release! Anyway, I shall now hand you over to the man himself and he can tell me off later!!

Good afternoon, ladies, gentlemen and all other genders! It is I, your favourite Satanic satyr and enfant terrible and all round shiny headed exuder of bonhomie, occasional good cheer and more often than not emitter of nonsense that I find hilarious, Dark Juan, and I am here to regale you with tales of derring-do and extreme courage perpetrated by my good self. Yes, I am drinking my own home brewed stout and jolly fine it is too. The only problem with it is that I left it fermenting for rather longer than I should have and the fucker could be successfully employed to fuel ICBMs. It is not a beverage for the faint hearted. It is, however, fucking lethal and I have broken my own rules and have waited until after 5pm to start drinking it otherwise I’d be fucked by half six. Just for your information, it’s now twenty past, so expect this review (that we will eventually get on to, I promise) to precipitously drop in quality, grammar and syllabification as more of my brain cells are destroyed by the rocket fuel I am imbibing rather freely. Already the power of physical speech is failing me. I’d best crack on before muscle memory is also defeated…

Herr Nox, then. A gentleman with EXTRAORDINARY cheekbones and some equally extraordinary musical friends, in the persons of Jørgen Munkeby of Norway’s Shining, and the estimable Canadian multifaceted musician that is Lindsay Schoolcraft (ex-Cradle Of Filth, Antiqva), both of whom offer their talents as guests upon this most eclectic record. “Where Shadows Fade” has confused me. Herr Nox makes a lot of noise about Lindsay Schoolcraft regarding him as “The Bowie of our times” in his blurb and I don’t just see it apart from the odd bit of phrasing that sounds a little bit like the Thin White Duke. In fact, I’d say his vocal owes more to Brian Molko than David Bowie with occasional added screaming. But that’s just me, and music and all art is subjective, is it not, dear friends?

The actual music is equally confusing as it appears to be some sort of chimerical creation formed by the fusing of “Devils” era Xmal Deutschland, The Cure, Paradise Lost and Placebo with added metal guitar, and Herr Nox swaggering all over the front of it. I’m left somewhat cold by it all as well, to be honest. It feels artificial and contrived, as if Herr Nox has thought to himself, “What can I do to make my stuff a little different? I know, I’ll phrase the odd word like Bowie and set it to a soundtrack of mournful strings and saxophones and lift the 80s goth sound, lock, stock and fucking barrel. And then I’ll throw some heavy metal guitar in there to keep the long haired herberts interested. Yeah, and I’ll make myself look like the guy from Blutengel but with a different haircut. That means there will be teenaged goth girls in Hello Kitty knickers hanging off every word I utter and emo boys swapping their dreamy, droopy emo-Hitler haircuts to look more like mine. Fucking brilliant.”

By rights, knowing my somewhat gothic bent and general adoration of anything gothic and miserable (I’m looking at you, Andrew Eldritch, and your steadfast refusal to accept that you are The Gothfather), you’d think I love this so much I’d want to fuck it and have its babies, wouldn’t you?

You’d be wrong. Quite, QUITE wrong.

The whole album feels contrived and forced and not well thought out. There is promise, however. The intro to the album and first song (‘Doomsday’) has an absolutely kick-ass 80s synth part at the start that is evocative of nights at The Batcave or The Banshee and has an epic, swooping, cinematic quality. And then it’s ruined by a choppy, shittily produced guitar riff that just sets my teeth on edge and makes me want to murder motherfuckers with a big ass flamethrower. The title track, and second song on the record has a much superior guitar riff that segues into the kind of droning, shoegazing introspection that Type O Negative did so well before adding a chorus over music that could have been lifted from the quiet bit of a Cradle Of Filth middle eight and then crashes into some bombastic fucking about before returning to the chorus and by that point I don’t care anymore.

And I don’t like Herr Nox’s voice. This music needs baritone crooning, not high pitched “emotional” histrionics. His voice has no soul in the same way that Ville Valo’s didn’t. Hang on…I’ve just deduced the underlying influence to all of this. HIM is pervasive throughout this record – pop goth fluffiness meeting rock hooks with pseudo-cathartic lyrics. I bloody hate HIM. They were turgid and pointless. Their influence is most evident on ‘Black Butterfly’, which is a song written SPECIFICALLY to relieve goth girls of their Powerpuff Girls panties, if I ever heard one, being danceable and almost cheerful in its misery. It can’t even be saved by Lindsay Schoolcraft.

‘The Art Of Noise – Silence’ is a right shocker though, being a horrible sucky power ballad with added 80s synth twinkles saved only by the fact that part of the lyric is a quote from O’Brien to Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Lindsay Schoolcraft can’t save this pile of foetid rat wank either. On we sojourn to ‘Gotta Light’ and here the Herr dips into his capacious and black (lace trimmed and gorgeous) silk bag of goth tropes and pulls out the saxophone that The Damned employed on “Phantasmagoria” before taking a hard left turn into ‘Kiss The Butcher’s Hand’ and basically becoming a Coheed And Cambria cover band with added dramatic eye makeup and much worse hair than Claudio Sanchez before dragging out the obligatory choir to do the ‘Ride of The Valkyries’ sound. It is disjointed and displeasing. ‘The Burning’ is the only song where I can hear a Bowie influence, and even then, just on a few words, although I did enjoy the guitar work in the quieter parts, which manage to reference yet another band in The Cure before ruining it with an attempt to be Paradise Lost AND Nightwish simultaneously. Gothic music should be a predatory, beautiful and sinuous thing emerging gorgeously and elegantly from the shadows to rip out your throat with perfectly white teeth surrounded by carmine lips and wearing a sumptuous gown. You’re supposed to fall in love with the glamour of it even as your straining heart pumps out the last of your lifeblood down its avid throat. Instead, we have this arabesque with ill-suited limbs, this Frankenstein’s Monster of poorly sutured parts shambling around and clumsily breaking shit in its prison, its own personal chamber of horrors.

In summary then – very poor, but with promise. The production is horrible and woolly and barely listenable and there are TOO MANY influences at work here and the result is not something fabulously original or magnificent, it’s a jarring, jumbled mess. It’s a musical cut-and-shut of the worst kind. Someone please take away this man’s record collection and don’t let him have it back until he realises it is not possible to mix, goth, metal, emo, prog and shoegaze together into one big lump.

I’m so disappointed. I wanted to love this record so bad and all that has happened is that I have drunk a shitload of wicked strength beer and now I want port and cigars and to whip a voluptuous young nubile to within an inch of their lives because I cannot sustain this level of disappointment and someone has to pay…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System’s nihilism has reached new heights of horror and violence and awards Herr Nox 3/10 for a cluttered, messy record. My disapprobation is strong and this album neatly encapsulates the dangers of trying to incorporate too many different genres into your sound. Jack of all trades and master of none, and all that.

‘Black Butterfly’ (feat, Lindsay Schoolcraft) (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Doomsday
02. Where Shadows Fade
03. Black Butterfly
04. The Art Of Noise – Silence
05. Gotta Light
06. Kiss The Butcher’s Hand
07. Heads Will Roll
08. The Burning

LINE-UP:
Herr Nox – Vocals, Synth, Keys, Programming, Additional Guitars, Songwriting, Lyrics

Jonathan Guillemette – Guitars & Bass
Lindsay Schoolcraft Vocals on Tracks 2/3/4/7
Jørgen Munkeby – Saxophone on Tracks 1/2/5
Fred Bédard – Guitar solo on Track 3

LINKS:

Herr Nox Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Thunder Horse – Chosen One

Chosen One Album Cover Art

Thunder Horse – Chosen One
Ripple Music
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 54:17
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

It is 10:42 in the morning at Dark Juan Terrace and for some unaccountable reason I am a) awake, b) already walked the hellhounds and c) cowering in fear at the great shiny hot yellow thing in the sky because yesterday it was grey and snowing and absolutely more suited to the black gloom and morbid humour that normally characterizes my days rather than the superheated ball of gases and minerals that some folk bizarrely like to cook themselves under on the beach. I don’t like beaches. Sand is gravely inconvenient and more than a little unpleasant. Especially in crevices. In mitigation of the horror of the colossal ball of fire trying to kill me with its rays, the moors above my little village look absolutely fucking stunning in their beauty and wild, barren charm with the sun shining on them. So, it is with unaccustomed good cheer and more than a little pleasant bonhomie I present to you the latest collection of pithy platitudes and tortured metaphors that constitute the bulk of my pathetic ramblings about people with actual talent doing marvellous things and entertaining me mightily while I am a snarky bastard about their art.

Today, it is Thunder Horse being given the dubious benefit of my attention while I accompany them with a splendid bucket of Yorkshire’s finest tea and Hodgson Fartpants (number three furry son) basking in the rays streaming through the window and emitting the kind of smells that would have you up on charges of crimes against humanity in The Hague in next to no time if the CIA hadn’t bought the rights to his anal emanations for use against banana republic leaders first.

So, Thunder Horse are an American band hailing from Texas and are fronted by a man whose primary musical bent is industrial metal, being one Stephen Bishop, frontman of Pitbull Daycare. Thunder Horse has absolutely FUCK ALL to do with industrial metal, so get that idea out of your pretty little heads now. Thunder Horse play a peculiar hybrid of superdoom mixed with proggy elements and a fair bit of psychedelia and you will be no doubt unsurprised to hear that it’s right up my perverted and poorly lit street. Abandon hope all ye who enter here…

I have to say that the production on this album is absolutely sublime. I can hear everything perfectly. Normally doom metal sounds like the entire band have been recorded while they have been immersed in oxtail soup with croutons. This production is absolutely crystal clear (mixing done by Caleb Bingham and mastering by Joe Bozzi) right down to the single, quiet china hits on softer passages, yet maintaining such a huge sound that it’s like a wall of steel hitting you at 800 miles an hour. It’s not so much sound, as a weapon designed to reduce your flesh to liquid and your bones to a strange jellylike substance. And the riffs. OH, THE FUCKING RIFFS. Black Sabbath meets a bit of Jane’s Addiction, who’s been knocking off Pink Floyd and Cromagnon whilst simultaneously courting Mountain, Crowbar and Deep Purple in their darker moments make for an intoxicating mix of elements for the seasoned metal veteran to enjoy. And a slightly worrying mental image. The bass (by Mr. Dave Crow – hereby confirming my theory that EVERY band has had a Dave in them at some point) is a fuzz fuelled, rumbling beast bent on evisceration, the drums (Jason “Shakes” West) not unlike a titanic, explosive belching war machine stomping entire companies of men flat in its inexorable desire to reach you and stomp you out of existence and the guitars similar to armoured, flailing beasts with adamantium tipped claws disembowelling their foes with snarling precision. The solos of T.C. Connally are just fucking awesome as is all the guitar work on the record.

The music is also superb. The songwriting is fucking expert level and the lead vocal engaging and easy to listen to, as Stephen Bishop has a voice not unlike a mélange of Ozzy, Kirk Windstein and Dave Winegum (sorry, Wyndorf. Mrs Dark Juan and her penchant for ruining metal has always called the Monster Magnet frontman Dave Winegum and it has kind of stuck. She managed to turn the lyrics of the chorus to Ghost’s ‘Year Zero’ from “Welcome to Year Zero” to “Welcome to New Zealand”. The shit I go through for the love of metal, I tell you…) and this is the perfect mix for a doom vocalist, rather than the roaring battle machines that are normally employed.

There is a weak point, however, and that is ‘Texas’. Saying it’s a weak point is a bit churlish, but an acoustic, wah dripping paean to your home state sidles perilously close to Dark Juan’s pathological hatred of ballads and his penchant for dropping marks off scores because ballads utterly fucking ruin the magic of metal records. I mean, who, when they are happily being plastered against the opposite wall of their room by a concentrated and lethal wall of sound, wants to suddenly drop to the floor in a boneless heap while some long haired twat wails about their lost love/ being on the road all the time/ drink/ drugs/ drink AND drugs/ their home/ the 15-year-old groupie they shouldn’t have touched/ their pet fucking hamster over some delicately plucked acoustic guitar? Not me, buster. Otherwise, the music is absolute motherfucking savagery in aural form. The arrangements are uncommonly powerful and the performance absolutely top notch in execution. I particularly enjoyed the progressive elements and the way they integrated into the heaviness, providing a counterpoint to the power with melody, Hammond organs and musicianship and the simple acid fuelled joy of psychedelia.

I can’t give you any stand out tracks because the quality is so fucking extremely high, although opener ‘Let Them Bleed’ should be ranked among one of the most venomous statements of intent I have ever heard. Touches of Sir Lord Baltimore and Cream and Hendrix creep out of the background of songs and lodge themselves in your subconscious – they even use a fucking voicebox on bonus track and ode to the joy of metal that is ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ and this sends goosebumps down the spine and reminds you of the time when Aerosmith were amazing (circa 1972) and rock and metal were expansive and exploratory.

There’s also a bonus and extended version of ‘Texas’. This is a much better and more cohesive version than the version earlier on the record and reminds me greatly of the wonderful Hawkwind’s ‘Hurry On Sundown’ and bizarrely, hints of The Mamas and The Papas. Thunder Horse have redeemed themselves with what actually has turned out to be a mighty fine psychedelic little acoustic number, rather than a pants wettingly awful unplugged lighter waver.

Well done, gentlemen, well done indeed. Dark Juan is a Thunder Horse convert. You magnificent bastards.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (y’all) awards Thunder Horse a stonking 10/10 for a fucking monster of a record that it will be singing happily along to in its grave.

‘Let Them Bleed’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Let Them Bleed
02. Among The Dead
03. Rise Of The Heathens
04. Chosen One
05. Broken Dreams
06. Song For The Ferryman
07. Texas
08. Halfway To Hell
09. Remembrance
10. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Bonus Track)
11. Texas (Extended Version)

LINE-UP:
Stephen Bishop – Guitar/Vocals
T.C. Connally – Lead Guitar
Dave Crow – Bass
Jason “Shakes” West – Drums

LINKS:

Thunder Horse Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

mvsic2mvrder2 – BlakGoD EP

BlakGod EP Cover Art

mvsic2mvrder2 – BlakGoD EP
Self-Released
Released On 22/02/2021
Running Time: 14:40
Review By Dark Juan
9/10

Hello, ladies, gentlemen, gentlepersons of all other genders and germ-free adolescents! It is I, Dark Juan and I have returned from my bed of pain and suffering to bring you this freshly minted piece of absolute nonsense masquerading as knowledgeable writing! Age appears to be catching up with your favourite pseudo-Satanic metal hack and I have been laid up with a spasming back. Now, it’s fun when you have applied a bullwhip to the back of some whimpering Neophyte for a considerable and tiring length of time and you watch their blood soaked back twitching and spasming in anticipation of another lick or two, but not so much when your old assed back cries enough when you have mainly been sat down swilling gallons of Yorkshire tea and barking orders at your “pack” (I use the term loosely as far as my bunch of misshapen misfits goes) of dogs. Except in the case of the Dread Lord Sir Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, who appears to be trans-species, seeing as he variously barks, meows, moos and on one memorable occasion chirped. He is one confused creature. Anyhow, I have mainly been mainlining diazepam and reclining on my chaise longue in my Fourth Incantation Robes (Spring Weight) and being fed vegetarian burgers by the estimable and formidable Mrs. Dark Juan, who has finally insisted in the strongest possible terms (by means of threatening me with a number of weapons including the Dread Lord Sir Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover and the towel rail that I HAVE STILL NOT REPAIRED after the last Ever-Metal online group shenanigans. If you are a regular reader of my bullshit, you will be aware that I got so profoundly drunk that my memory is one long blank after half past eleven. Apparently, according to the gentlemanly and erudite Simon “I Take No Perverse Glee In Telling You This WHATSOEVER” Black, the picture of me went sideways and then faded to black and stayed that way. Our erstwhile and surprisingly large mentor and leader General Sir Richard “I Run A Tight Ship But Frankly I’m That Sick Of Telling Dark Juan Off Because It Happens So Often That My Mouth Does It On Automatic Nowadays” Tilley commented thus, “It’s just like his personality.” Fuck you very much, gentlemen!) that I finally register with the local doctor. Which I have duly done on pain of a savage and meaningless death at the hands of Mrs. Dark Juan. If she says she can murder you with just a spoon, you may rest assured there is a trail of corpses and unsolved murders somewhere where the weapon was a simple teaspoon.

Where were we and what am I actually supposed to be doing?

For my delectation today I have been provided with an EP from a Bulgarian madman who is resident in Belgium called mvsic2mvrder2. As a grammar Nazi of the highest possible calibre, (if you don’t know what third person indicative is, then we are going to have problems) you cannot even BEGIN to imagine the amount of pain it has caused me to type that. Therefore, for the remainder of this increasingly wordy and long winded review, he shall be referred to as m2m2. The lowercase M in place of the correct capital hurts my eyes and my soul grievously yet I shall push on for you, dear friends and readers of twaddle. I am listening to “BlakGoD” (This being a reference to Chernobog, a Slavic black god) and it is a five track EP (although the last song is a remix of the previous song, so technically it’s a four track EP with a bonus tune.)

As this is an EP, I am going to follow my usual format and talk about each song in turn. First up is ‘KvltLeader’ and if you are expecting some pure heavy metal you are going to be very much mistaken, considering the ravening howling mad bastard who has recorded this. Instead, we have a particularly vicious mélange of black metal lo-fi guitar, terror EBM vocals in the vein of God Module and Grendel and gabba techno and electronic industrial. Think Mayhem fucking Combichrist and Suicide Commando until The Berzerker, Throbbing Gristle and Unter Null burst in and throw themselves into the meat triangle and turn it into a meat sexagon (sic) with viscera and bodily fluids being flung everywhere during this most uncongenial congeniality. Yes, it is a particularly savage coupling, this one. This is to be applauded.

This sound (or wall thereof) continues on the second song, ‘Coffinwhispers’, which has an especially virulent sound composed of chopped up guitars, re-sequenced into something possibly illegal and the kind of industrial beat that causes sex wee to erupt in colossal quantities from the fucked up specimen writing this. The flood sirens are blaring and my neighbours are looking balefully at me as they are forced to evacuate AGAIN. This is a Very Good Thing and the sex wee tanks off the coast of Alaska are rapidly filling, due to the well-built and capacious nature of the Dark Juan Sex Wee Extraction System that has been built on to the end of Dark Juan Terrace.

Track three is ‘Fällsilent (EP Version)’ which is slightly less demented and takes a (very slightly) more relaxed form reminiscent of Ministry around their “Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste” era with more modern electronics overlaying an 80’s beat and some less savage guitar work, being rather more slow burning than the mental maelstrom that the first two songs were. Still, it is a very uncompromising slab of…whatever the fuck it is, and I commend it to your august attention.

‘BlöD (EP Version)’ (no, it is not a typo) is the final track, and this is where the savagery of hardcore techno comes to the fore, being the mutant love child of “Come To Daddy (Pappy Mix)” Aphex Twin and Johnny Violent and Ultraviolence’s insanely pounding beats overlaying the kind of demented riffing you would find on a Misery Loves Company record. Squeals, squelches and machine gun percussion combine to just stave your fucking crust in whilst the vocals roar and coruscate around your head and the guitars approximate the sound of an approaching main battle tank that will pass mere inches from your helpless head…

Then it’s the bonus track ‘BlöD (Video Edit)’ which is a much more relaxed and a lot more electronic state of affairs. Sheer, unutterable sonic murder is traded in for something approaching musicality as the beats approximate early Nine Inch Nails and Die Krupps instead of the sound of high revving diesel engines and it makes for a far more sedate listening experience. All in all, I prefer the manic one although as far as remixes go, this is perfectly enjoyable.

So, there you have it. Four songs and one remix version of sheer sonic horror. Purists of heavy metal will be fucking appalled at the (as they will see it) desecration of metal with extensive electronics and a wilful disregard for convention that would test even the most sainted of temperaments. However, if you’re into extreme music like what I am (extreme is not just metal, boys, girls and all other genders) then you’ll fucking love the single minded desire displayed by m2m2 to just remove your fucking head and dance all over your blood-soaked and battered corpse as he grins like a loon and paints his face with your arterial splatter. Assuming it’s a him. Yes, I have just assumed someone’s gender. You can shoot me once I have cleared my review backlog. Rick will be most relieved.

Savage doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan – Sorry, other Belgians. Google Translate doesn’t do Flemish and I can only speak French. Патентованата система за оценка на пръски от тъмно Хуан – Google Translate does happily do Bulgarian though!) awards mvsic2mvrder2 (sigh… I’m going to have to read a lot of Colin Dexter to get over this mangling of the English language and rules of grammar) 9/10 for an absolutely uncompromising bit of sheer ravening madness. I deducted a mark because I wanted more and there were not enough songs to satisfy my craving and this is entirely unacceptable. An album of this music would have garnered a score of several trillion out of ten and a right bollocking for me, as, “We have a scoring system out of ten for a reason, you absolute twonk.”

I may have paraphrased.

TRACKLISTING:
01. KvltLeader
02. Coffinwhispers
03. Fällsilent (EP Version)
04. BlöD (EP Version)
05. BlöD (Video Edit)

LINE-UP:
mvsic2mvrder2 – Does fucking everything. What a bastard. I hate talented people because I’m not. Also, a significant amount of internet trawling has not enabled me to find out m2m2’s identity, so he shall forevermore be known as Dave, as is my wont.

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Demon Head – Viscera

Viscera Album Cover Art

Demon Head – Viscera
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Running Time: 36:23
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon, you smiling hordes of Satanic satyrs and succubi! It is I, Dark Juan, who is still currently in recovery from what could only be described as a joyfully messy online gathering of the good denizens of Team Ever-Metal. Our Liege Lord Sir Richard “What The Fuck Are You Talking About This Time, Juan” Tilley, Statistician Beth “This Wine Is Rank But I’m Still Drinking It” Jones, Sheri “The Gigglefox” Bicheno, Alun “If It’s Liquid I’ll Drink It” Jones, Simon “Look At My Suggestively Named Beer” Black, Wing Commander James “Tally Ho, Bandits At Four o’ Clock” Mealor, Martin “The Sexual Tyrannosaurus” Bennewith, Arturs “Thank Fuck I’m In Canada, The Brits Are Mental” Feists and our resident luchador and Brazilian contingent, Victor “I’m Not Going To Stop Putting Mango In IPA, Despite What That Wanker Dark Juan Says” Augusto had a bit of a gathering. I assume it was a success because my friend Jim Beam has chosen to block any fucking memory of it after 11pm. I hope there was no undressing. However, the long-suffering current Mrs Dark Juan has gleefully informed me that I was shouting incoherently at my tablet and also that, whilst trying to visit the lavatory, I turned on every light in the upstairs of Dark Juan Terrace, told the door off for being (I quote), “A cunt because I kicked it”, bounced off the wall and then (she was ensconced in her eyrie in the attic) there was a loud banging and crashing from the bathroom.

I discovered the next morning that, unaccountably, the towel rail had detached itself from the wall and was lying next to the lavatory. This was a mystery that has proven insoluble.

Anyhow, this has absolutely fuck all to do with what I am supposed to be doing, which is telling you about the latest musical offering I am currently listening to, in my somewhat fragile state. Demon Head are a Danish “demonic rock” band. Immediately I started thinking, “Please don’t be trying to copy Ghost. Please don’t try and copy Ghost because that would just be fucking lazy and an effort to get on the bandwagon that Papa and the ghouls have made their own.”

Demon Head have NOT copied Ghost, and this is indeed a Very Good Thing because they would have immediately earned a low score and my enduring disapprobation and I would not have been very nice about them either, and Dark Juan is all about peace and love. And mescaline. Lots and lots of mescaline. Anyway, Demon Head employ a sound that it somewhat unique and very pleasing to these slightly malformed ears, seeing as they have chosen to create a sound from a melange of doom metal, trad rock and lots and lots of gothic rock in the classic style – think about Paradise Lost,

Fields Of The Nephilim, The Jesus And Mary Chain, “Phantasmagoria” era The Damned, The Mission and the more metal iterations of Coven having a suitably Satanic and mopey orgy with lots of tears in a dingy basement in front of a cheaply moulded and poorly painted plastic statue of Baphomet and you have an idea of their sound. It is actually quite a refreshing noise and owes as much to post-punk as it does to metal. Opening tune ‘Tooth And Nail’ seduces you with swirling, religious sounding keyboards and a classic rock riff of some splendour, before the impassioned vocal of Marcus Feirrera Larsen kicks in and lends the whole thing the post-punk fuelled emotional depth that so much modern gothic music lacks. It is very good indeed, and the song changes forms like a shadowy predator glimpsed through gaps in the mist in the middle of a forest. Marcus reminds me of the 5’10” of unkempt contempt that is The Cure’s Robert Smith at full chat in parts with his deeply impassioned wail.

It is well known that Dark Juan is a bit of a sad old goff, and this record makes me want to go paint my fingernails black, leather on the eyeliner and stay out of the sun and wear long leather trenchcoats and big brimmed hats everywhere. The production on this record is wonderful with a full on 80’s feel and the keyboards and guitars vying for attention throughout in a glorious wall of sound. It’s all spectacularly overblown and I fucking love it. The more I listen, the more and more I hear a classic goth band and less of a metal band, but this should not be counted as a demerit because these Danish miserablists are plenty heavy enough to please a metal audience. The riffs on ‘The Feline Smile’ are rather splendid, as is the solo on the guitar. There are the odd moments of similarity with Ghost, but this is because they operate from a similar love of classic hard rock and heavy metal and therefore the occasional moment can be forgiven. ‘Arrows’ opens with some lovely 12 string acoustic and has an almost psychedelic vibe, with electric guitar cutting in and out of the gorgeous, almost choral vocal and the 12-string enhanced only with staccato stabs of percussion before segueing into ‘Magical Death’ which has the most Ghost-like riff on the record, but it is carried through by Marcus’ howling and the drumming which borders on the sound of industrial, such is the mélange of influences. The guitars, oh the guitars, one of which goes for the throat with a satisfying meaty sound as the second guitar chimes with phaser wah and the keyboards beguile and seduce you with the sad romanticism that all good goff music employs. However, ‘The Lupine Choir’ is a keyboard segment that sounds like it’s been lifted wholesale from a Cradle Of Filth middle eight. Seeing as I am a massive Cradle fan, I’m letting that slide…

‘In Adamantine Chains’ is by far the best song on the record, and is also the one where the curious conjunction of The Cure and Paradise Lost can be heard to best effect, and the whole thing is a glorious and gothic anthem of significant proportion and fuck it, I’m now beguiled and I think I love Demon Head more than chips.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterede mørke Juan-blodsplatter-klassificeringssystem) has been frantically rooting in the wardrobe for the 80’s “People’s Republic Of West Yorkshire” Sisters Of Mercy t-shirt and the leather trousers and trenchcoat it knows is in there somewhere and awards Demon Head a supremely gothic and black 10/10. Now, where’s those aviator shades with the black lenses?

TRACKLISTING: (There are some amusing titles…)
01. Tooth And Nail
02. The Feline Smile
03. Arrows
04. Magical Death
05. The Lupine Choir (Listen to them, the children of the night. What sweet music they make.)
06. A Long Groaning Descent (Sounds like the last time I got laid.)
07. In Adamantine Chains
08. Black Torches (Light emitters or dark suckers?)
09. Wreath
10. The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony (I am somewhat confused. This chariot would be lethal and any warrior riding it, triumphally or otherwise, would soon be dead of heavy metal poisoning. Well, shit. It literally would be the most heavy metal death ever! Heavy metal charioteer killed by heavy metal chariot by heavy metal poisoning. I’ve changed my mind, that’s fucking genius, gentlemen. Fucking genius.)

LINE-UP:
Mikkel Fuglsang – Bass
Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen – Guitars
Marcus Ferreira Larsen – Vocals
Thor Gjerlufsen Nielsen – Guitars
Jeppe Wittus – Drums

LINKS:

Demon Head Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.