Albums of the Month: January

Welcome to a new section of The Metal Gamer! You’ve already noticed two changes these past few months with both interviews and gaming reviews being new segments to the TMG camp. I’ve always thought something has been lacking, that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Especially in the sense of finding new great underground metal in a quick and easy way, which is one of the key things for me when starting this blog. Each month you will find the five albums I’ve enjoyed the most, a few lines on why and of course a link so you can listen to it yourself.

Album of the Month

Desecravity – Anathema

As a fan of the technical and brutal this is a no brainer for me. Japan’s heavy hitters Desecravity has made their best album yet and is a must have for fans of Cryptosy, Origin and Defeated Sanity. Released January 25th via Willowtip Records.

Runners-up

Malist – In the Catacombs of Time

Atmospheric, dark and sinister. This black metal band from Russia is one of the most promising new acts I’ve heard in a long time. Released January 25th via Northern Silence Productions.

Festerday – Iihtallan

What can I say I am a sucker for old school death metal. Finnish Festerday are veterans of the scene and shows the old dogs got bark. Their blend of death metal with both punk and even hints of grind elements to it makes it stand out. Released January 4th via Season of Mist Underground Activists.

Rendered Helpless – Suffer, Seraphim

With a new direction from their previous releases and lyrics that draws influences from Warhammer, Diablo, Doom the third album from Rendered Helpless became an instant hit to me. A change that was much needed for me to get into the band for real! Released January 25th, 2019 as an digital independent release. Out on CD February 25th via
Inherited Suffering Records.

Malevolent Creation – The 13th Beast

It was my most anticipated album of 2019 and while it didn’t quite live up to those it’s still a very solid death metal album. Seeing the loss the band had I am honestly surprised they are still going, and going hard too! Released January 18th via Century Media Records.

I also need to name some honorable mentions that I’ve had a few spins with but didn’t quite make it. Who knows if they would of knocked one of those mentioned above if I had more time with them though?

Noctambulist – Atmospheres of Desolation
Altarage – The Approaching Roar
Barshasketh – Barshasketh

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy this new segment of The Metal Gamer and that it gives you some new great music! Did I miss any great album? What’s your top five of the month? Feel free to comment metal gamers!

Spider-Man

It’s taken me some time to write this review for a few reasons, all being positive ones. The main one is that I enjoyed this game so much I had to grab that platinum for it. Many of you will probably ask yourself “is this the best Spider-Man game ever made?”. The quick answer is yes, yes it is. End of review right? No I will tell you some reasons to why it is the best Spider-Man game ever made.

It’s not just how Insomniac have managed to get a good combat system, sure for some it might just be like an Assassin’s Creed game. You counter when an indicator shows up on the screen then attack. In some ways that is correct but there is more depth to it than that the further you get into the story, the tougher the enemies get, then you need to know all the tricks up Spider-Man’s sleeve. Obviously that’s a big reason to why the game is fun to play, a good battle system can get you a long way. Easy to learn but takes some time to master. New York looking stunning is a plus too but graphics is never something that is a deal breaker to me, but a plus nevertheless. The swinging though, damn does it feel satisfying just to swing around the city even if it is just holding down a button and Spider-Man can do everything himself. You can of course do tricks and there is more to it than that but to get from A to B you just have to hold swing, release, hold again. Still it gives a Spider-Man fan great joy just to swing around, even with ease.

What makes me say this is the best Spider-Man game ever made is not those things I previously mentioned though. No what makes this game incredible is the story, atmosphere and how it truly feels like you are Spider-Man AND Peter Parker. That last part is something every game has lacked. You have the romance with Mary Jane, Aunt May has an important role, the friendship with Harry Osborn etc. It’s all there and that is what makes this a complete Spider-Man game in my book. You need the Peter Parker parts to get into the characters, the love, the hate and feelings. That and how you face some of Spider-Man’s greatest villains of all time of course. I won’t spoil which though because for that you need to experience the game yourself.

The only real negatives I got is I encountered quite a few minor bugs (parkour bugs, missions bugging out so I had to redo them) which did get tedious at times but mainly since I was going for the platinum and they happened more often along the way of side missions. Also initially the game did seem to be a very vanilla storyline that you’ve seen, read and played more than once before but trust me it gets better!

Pros

  • It’s a complete Spider-Man experience.
  • Really fun to play.

Cons

  • I encountered quite a few small, but annoying bugs.
  • Some of the storylines have been done a couple of times too many.

Graphics: 4/5
Music: 3/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Story: 4/5
Score: 4/5 Incredible

Interview: Enthroned

There is really no introduction needed for the band I managed to get an interview slot with next. Belgium’s mighty black metal act Enthroned was probably one of the very first bands you heard within the genre. Since the bands creation in 1993 a lot has happened, but one thing stands true, Enthroned will always deliver uncompromised trve black metal! Interview done by: Nornagest.

You recently signed with Season of Mist and got a new album coming later this year. Can you give us some details on the upcoming album, when can we expect it?

The new album is due to be released this spring. We had planned to release the opus earlier but you know how it goes: you get delays with this or that, things that just “happen” which are out of our and record company’s control… but all in all, it’s coming out and that is the most important. It’s a record different to what we have done so far, but it’s also a record that has all the elements of anything you would expect from Enthroned. It’s got our signature yet it is different. We’re really proud of the material that we wrote and the atmosphere we captured. There are some heavy, fast songs, some really dark almost ritualistic paste, some mid-tempo tracks, some strange eerie stuff… I honestly think it’s a good album.

It’s been four years since Sovereigns came out, since then you’ve added a new bass and guitar player. How much have these changes had an impact on the sound of the new album?

Fresh blood always makes a difference, each individual brings his own touch to the music, even if they are not composing – their style and vibe will always have an impact on how the overall music sounds. Those guys are experienced individuals within the exteme metal scene, I can definitely feel that they have had their share of experiences when I hear them playing, both from a spiritual and musical point of view.

Will we hear any material from it anytime soon?

It depends on the label really, I am sure it won’t take long for the first songs to be revealed. In the meantime, we have been performing one song from the album during our live ceremonies and the reaction from the audience thus far has been simply tremendous, so I am pretty confident.

Enthroned is a big name, and veterans of black metal. How do you think black metal has evolved during the years?

The Black metal scene is not what it used to be, that’s one thing, for sure. Back in the early days, BM was seen as dangerous and mostly because the people involved were simply “different” and themselves, Satanism and its currents were not an accepted thing nor a source of boosting for one’s ego. Music was made out of guts, faith and spirit, no one cared if their band would be successful or not and the entire scene was pretty much aiming for the opposite of success, which resulted in bands sounding like… themselves and not copycats. Creativity was born out of life experiences and the belief of the composer, whereas now you have 90% of copycats and 10 % of those dedicated individuals. To be honest, I stick to the 10%. Personally, there are a handful of bands that I like and that I really appreciate, mostly older bands but most of today’s black metal doesn’t appeal to me at all just because there is a lack of authenticity, most bands sounds like fanboys copying their idols.

Will we see an Enthroned tour this year?

Certainly, it is still a bit early to be specific but we are working on different projects in the matter. There is a lot of demand for Enthroned to perform in countries where we have actually never set foot, as well as our usual touring places. We are hoping to tour the US this time, which is never an easy thing for a band like us, with our message and the philosophy behind the band, but I am sure we will manage.

I am quite unfamiliar with the Belgian metal scene apart from Enthroned, Ancient Rites (who you’ve even done a split with) and Aborted. How is the state of it?

Belgium is not a nesting place for Black Metal or metal like Sweden for example, but we definitely have some bands worth checking out. You have a lot of clone bands like everywhere I am sure, but there are a few acts that I appreciate and support. We have an atypical scene, bands that are different for their approach or style, which is something I can appreciate. I would definitely recommand bands such as Emptiness, Iteru, Paragon Impure, Possession, Goat Torment, Saqra Cult, Amenra, Bathsheba, Coldborn, A Thousand Sufferings, Marginal, Carnation…

Enthroned celebrated 25 years last year, congratulations! How has the journey been, any specific highlights or lows you remember?

Thank you, it has been a wild ride up to now and more intense experiences are to come, I’m sure. There were a few highlights and lows for the last 25 years… Highlights would be being part of the early Black metal current back in the early 90’s, it was another world, surrounding. Touring the world and visiting some amazing places would be another one and meeting interesting people along the way. As for the lows, backstabs and betrayals but that’s one of the things that you should expect, something that gets quite irritating after a while, but it’s a lesson learned. The death of our former member and brother Cernunnos and on a personal level, the day I had to stop playing guitar live due to chronic tendinitis.

If you had to choose you’re favorite black metal album of all time, which one would it be?

It’s impossible for me to choose one single album. I certainly have my top favourites, but they all have something different and unique. I would have a hard time choosing between Mayhem “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, Darkthrone’s “A Blaze in the Northern Sky” and Funeral Mist’s “Salvation”. Those albums have their unique twist, approach and feelings that I really do appreciate.

You don’t happen to do any gaming when you’re not creating great Satanic black metal?

Haha… when I have litterally nothing to do, which is not very often, I read or watch documentaries etc… but it might happen that I play now and then games such as The Witcher series, Assassin’s Creed and the God of Wars games. But I am no gamer, I prefer visiting places, walking in nature, reading and being busy with physical/ material matters.

I want to thank you for your time on answering my questions. Any final words?

All hails, the next thousand years will be ours, it is time for people to realise that BM is not “another music genre” but a limb of Satanism and the Occult. Liftoach Sitra De-Smola B’Shem Ha-Raviasamin H.Stn

Desecravity – Anathema (Technical Brutal Death Metal)

Japan’s very own answer to Origin are back with their third full-length album! After a change in the line-up since their last critically acclaimed album Orphic Signs I was interested to hear what that would do to Desecravity’s sound. I mean not only is Shogo Tokita a great guitarist, he also did vocals in the band so it’s not an easy member to replace. Now the growling duty falls solely on Yujiro Suzuki (who plays guitar as well), while they’ve added Yuya Takeda (Deadly Spawn) on guitar to the band.

After a beautiful intro on the epic side in Aeon and Ashes the technical brutality is unleashed on Impure Confrontation, the single I’d heard many times before but still haven’t got tired of. The utter chaos is created with such a technical precision it’s almost silly. Bands like Defeated Sanity, Origin and Cryptopsy will be proud to know there are bands like Desecravity out there that keeps the legacy going for years to come. If you think Impure Confrontation left you breathless then wait for Ominous Harbinger and Bloodthirsty Brutes which are two of the heaviest tracks I’ve heard in a long time and an instant favorites of mine. Anathema never lets you breath either, track after track it hits you with fast, technical and skull splitting tunes for you to devour and after the ride is over you will need to sit back, relax and take in just what the hell just happened to your now blown mind. It isn’t an easy feat to create such well crafted, well balanced, brutal techdeath that Desecravity has done. While their previous efforts were good in their own rights they weren’t finding that sweet spot between chaos and order. Now they have and we as metal fans can only be joyful that Japan gives us a band that can challenge any 2019 best of the year list in January already.

This is Desecravity’s best album yet, a band that keeps exploring and striving for improvements, and I only wish they can keep this lineup intact so that we can get even more of this insanity for years to come! A must have for any fan of the technical death metal scene.

Written by J.B.

Label: Willowtip Records
For fans of: Origin and Cryptopsy
Release date: January 25th, 2019
Favorite song: Bloodthirsty Brutes
Score: 4/5 Incredible

Interview: The Great Old Ones

A band that’s been on the forefront of Post-Black Metal for a few years now is The Great Old Ones. With crafty songwriting, a love for H.P. Lovecraft and always striving for improvements they’ve captured the black metal community. I managed to get in touch with the creator of The Great Old Ones Benjamin Guerry (guitar, vocals) and have a few words with him on the upcoming album, the new lineup, Lovecraft and, of course, gaming.

Tell me some history about the band. How did it all start?

I started the project alone in 2009, composing songs without a particular goal. I quickly linked these songs with my Lovecraft readings, and it seemed obvious to me to link these two passions. When I had enough songs to make an album, I recruited musicians and the chemistry was instantaneous. Since the lineup has moved a lot, but the envy has never been so strong.

Seeing as The Great Old Ones is influenced by H.P. Lovecraft I was wondering what’s your favorite work by him? Is everyone in the band into Lovecraft and his work?

This is a question that is often asked, and it is very difficult for me to answer it! I like the vast majority of Lovecraft’s work but If I have to choose some, I can say “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Color Out of Space”, “The Outsider”, and “Azathoth”. Each one of them has something that touches me.

Your latest album EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy was your darkest one yet, both due to the atmosphere and it leaning even more towards black metal than ever before. Was this intentional or did it just become that way when creating it?

When I started writing the songs for this album, I actually wanted a darker, more violent atmosphere. Moreover, it corresponded well to the atmosphere of the story from which they are inspired. And the goal is never to do the same thing twice! We are really satisfied with the result.

You’ve bought in two new members to the line-up with Alexandre “Gart” Rouleau on guitar and Benoit Claus on bass. How much has their involvement had an impact on the sound on the upcoming album?

About the composition, it does not change anything because I always write the majority of the songs alone. But they have a musical level and a very artistic feeling that brings a lot to the interpretation. This will be heard on the album!

You’ve had an album based on the novel “At the Mountains of Madness” and now lately it was the Esoteric Order of Dagon (with “The Shadow over Innsmouth” for example). What will you base the next one on? The Dunwich Horror?

I can’t tell you much because I have to keep the surprise intact. But I can already say that we will propose some things a little different in terms of concept. But still in the lovecraftian universe of course.

What can fans of The Great Old Ones expect from the upcoming album?

Something very epic, violent, but very immersive and varied. Each song has its own soul, and this makes, to our eyes, the whole thing captivating. We are currently in studio with Francis Caste in Paris, and the sound promises to be gigantic!

Can we expect a tour anytime soon?

We take a break after the studio, the time to prepare well and come back with a show worked and powerful. But wait for us for the autumn of 2019!

Any particular bands that inspire you guys when writing music?

I can tell you Emperor, Opeth, Satyricon, but also classical music, movie score, etc.

Do you follow the music scene? If so what was your favorite albums of 2018?

I can’t speak for the band but only for me. I really liked the last Gorod, a band in which our current bassist plays. A real sense of melody! I often listen to the latest Spectral Wound album. A real trip.

As the blog is called The Metal Gamer I have to ask. Are anyone of you gamers, and if so got any favorite game?

Yes, there are some gamers in our band. Gart is a true lover of retrogaming for example. Personally, I have less time to play than before. However, the last blast I had with a game was surprisingly with a mobile game. I really recommend “The Last Door”, which is a point and click in pixel art with a fantastic atmosphere, a great soundtrack, and a very lovecraftian atmosphere.

That’s it, do you have anything to add?

Thanks for the interview. Be ready for a new journey even more intense and epic.

Vanha – Melancholia (Atmospheric Doom/Death Metal)

Back to the pit that belongs to the everblossom music of Doom. The band on the menu is the Swedish act Vanha. The name means old in the language of Finland. The band was formed in Trollhättan (outside of Gothenburg) 2016 by the multi-instrumentalist Jan “Janne” Johansson, who started his musical career in the Black/Folk band Frostvang as guitarist and vocalist.

By 2016 Janne got a taste of doing his own musical journey. Together with drummer Jesse Oinas they released “Within the mist of sorrow”, which became a very respectful and solid debut. Since 2017 Janne has been on his own, and I will say that it has not been an negative impact on the music. Now we can hear all the talent and skills from this Swede. So in the last days of 2018 Vanha returned once again with it’s second full-length album Melacholia. A great follow up to his debut, and everything is sharper, darker then it’s precursor. A strong effort indeed.

The six songs are wonderfully produced. With a great depth of symphony and melancholic despair. Every track have been through a dark mist that containing feelings of lost love, hate, sorrow and constant suffering. Slow as Doom should be, still it feels very modern. I can hear that it have been written and produced recently…but the soul is old. The soul of Doom is a pale, bleak spirit that never gives up on you. It continues to make all of those that listen at it to always fight on his/her journey in life.

Vanha’s latest album is a beautiful example of Atmospheric/Symphonic Doom. This sound takes me back to my teens, when this was something new and extraordinary for me and it still gives me the same haunting feeling today.

And as a reminder, check up Jill Colbert-Manfish inc. Who have done a delicate artwork on the album sleeve.

Written by K.P.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Altars Of Grief and Second To Sun
Release date: December 30th, 2018
Favorite song: With Your Heart In My Hand
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

Mass Infection – Shadows Became Flesh (Brutal Death Metal)

It’s not often I stumble upon bands that’s been going for quite some time but to me they are completely new. Mass Infection from Greece is one of those bands that I’d honestly never heard about until just over a couple weeks ago. What’s more, and just as rare, is that Shadows Became Flesh hit me so hard that I had to make an order for it straight away, while listening through the rest of their discography. Where has Mass Infection been in my life? What I found is that this is band that leaves no riff to chance, has a perfect blend of classic death to the brutal ways and are superb songwriters.

Sometimes you find an album that might not revolutionary the genre but they do just about everything right, Shadows Became Flesh is such an album. As I just had to listen through the rest of their discography, which is also incredible and much recommended, I found this being their most complete work yet. Everything is better all the way from how the snare sound, how the guitar is tuned to production. Also the addition with the very talented Giulio Galati (Hideous Divinity, Blasphemer (live), Bloodshot Dawn (live)) on drums have worked wonders as him and the band seems to be a great fit right from the start.

From Omnious Prevision to Shadows Became Flesh every single song is a massive bulldozer of quality death coming at you. One of the most complete albums of 2018 where every song stands well on their own and it’s a great example of how to create a near perfect album in the genre. Even the cover art is astonishing and helps paint the full picture as one say of what is to come from Shadows Became Flesh.

If you like Severe Torture “Slaughtered” era, Monstrosity, Deeds of Flesh or just death metal overall then Mass Infection is right up your alley. Simply put this is brutal death metal done right with all the punishing blast beats, technical riffs that you can’t get enough of and crushing growls for your needs. One of the best albums in the genre that came out a bit too late to hit my yearly list.

Written by J.B.

Label: Comatose Music
For fans of: Severe Torture and Monstrosity
Release date: December 7th, 2018
Favorite song: To the Lords of Revulsion
Score: 4.5/5 Near Perfect