Groteskh – Code:End

Band + Logo_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Not startling but certainly striking and a captivating torrent of imaginative and enticing ideation, Code:End is a rich and creative persuasion which ensures its creators close attention within the black metal scene. The second album from Austrian metallers Groteskh is an intimidatingly immersive and malevolently seductive offering, one of persistently intensive craft and enjoyment but with a dramatic and inventive adventure pushing band and release well away from the crowd. Released via Austrian label Cursed Records, the album is a wake-up call to a broader audience and attention with Groteskh proving themselves as a potent emerging force.

Coming out of Sankt Veit an der Glan, a small town within the Austrian state of Carinthia, Groteskh was formed by vocalist/guitarist Malthus Holytoxicomaniac (ex-Hellsaw) and guitarist Goreman (ex-Obscure) in 2010. Within the band’s first year the line-up was joined by bassist Necrosodomizer (Vomition) and in 2012 drummer T. Martyr (Irdorath). The following year the recording and release of debut album Unconsciousness drew well-received responses and acclaimed interest, its success followed by the addition of guitarist Isiul (ex-Hellsaw) and an European tour with Demonical, as well as numerous show and festival appearances. It is fair to say the band’s stature and recognition has grown which every passing year, 2014 being an eventful one for Groteskh with Necrosodomizer leaving the band to be replaced by Mike Hell (Sakrileg /Disastrous Murmur) before the recording of their sophomore full-length. Now unleashed and increasingly impressing with every listen, expectations are that Code:End will take spotlights and awareness to new demanding levels whilst musically the album suggests the quintet has the presence to be a potent name within black metal.

CD_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     The sonically irritated and intriguing lure of Mystery Orbs is the first rapacious persuasion to the album, the opener an increasingly volatile maelstrom of riffs and melodic toxicity governed by the intimidating vocal scowls of Malthus. Equally though, there is a composure within the song which allows moments of tantalising beauty and calm to entangle with the ravenous black hearted hostility and erosive intensity. It is a seriously magnetic start to the album, guitars like rancor soaked troubadours in the design of the song and rhythms a barbarous framing to an impending apocalypse.

Delusions Of Immortality follows and quickly reveals itself a unique character to its predecessor, clean prowling vocals matched in tone and intent by spicy grooves and menacing rhythms. As in the first song though, unpredictability is prominent bait and exploited by the open craft and imagination of band members and the song’s own dark almost psychotic intent. Tagged as black metal, and rightly so, there is also as shown by the opening pair of songs, a wealth of additional flavours to the Groteskh sound, a progressive/doom exploration creeping across this track alone.

Next the imposing climate and ferocity of Displaced Axis transfixes ears and thoughts, its initial clearer air soon a muggy tempest of intensity and uncompromising emotion but still open to scythes of sonic magnetism and warped melodic enterprise. It keeps the impressive start to the album on a lofty plateau, pushing it higher with its ferociously invigorating second half before a calm of sorts comes with Posthuman. Expected turbulence is never far from the surface of the song though, throughout creating fierce whirlpools of rabid discontent which further ignites the relentless technical and provocative landscape sculpted and twisted across the absorbing encounter.

Both Doomdevil and Nothing Exists entwine ears in their own involved and insidious trespasses, the first a senses winding seducing of rock ‘n’ roll grooves bound in blackened voracity and its successor a proposition which is part savage beast, part infectious revelry, and all irresistible enthralment. As with all tracks, every listen reveals new nuances and dark resourceful corners, increasing persuasion and enjoyment a welcome result but fair to say the second of these two is an instantly inescapable thrill; much as the bestial might of Oblivion Of Being straight after. At times there is a similarity between tracks but again with continual focus an unveiling of individual creativity helps every song develops its own distinct character, this song a prime and fascinating example.

The album’s title track lays down another peak to the album with its almost revengeful ambience and prowl of sound whilst Illumination, from a deliciously grizzly bass opening courted by solidly jabbing beats, expands into a cancerous and venomously addictive incitement on body and imagination. Both songs come equipped with toxic grooves and contagious hooks within waves of creative and emotional enmity.

Moral Pessimism is the same, a tsunami of bad blood and ill-willed grudges skilfully crafted and delivered, if without the same spark of certainly the previous pair of tracks. Nevertheless it has the listener ensnared before the powerful beauty of Abandoned Mines closes things out with its melodic romance bred from superb guitar craft and expression. The instrumental is bewitching, a tantalising epilogue and temper to the creative malignancy before, and further evidence of the depths of Groteskh’s invention and imagination.

Code:End is maybe not the release to thrust Groteskh to the forefront of black metal, though it has the potential, but it is a notable and highly pleasing marker in the band’s continuing ascent to that destination. Both are proposals genre fans should definitely be checking out.

Code:End is out now via Cursed Records digitally and on CD @

RingMaster 14/06/2015

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Hellsaw: Trist

Black metal comes in many malicious dark shapes and sizes to generally stretch and twist the senses. It is a genre that plays with fears, toys with emotions and intrudes with caustic effect, numbing and violating from the ear inwards. Austrian black metal band Hellsaw does this and much more. Their fourth album Trist, released February 24th via Napalm Records, is a blistered beast that eats away at the flesh, consumes all feelings and leaves one a scattered pool of depleted energy and numbed emotion. It is an album that one finds hard to know if they liked it as all that is left at the end of its extreme and unpredictable sounds is a shell devoid of being able to conjure rational thought, it is that demanding, consuming and powerfully effective.

Formed in 2002, Hellsaw influenced by early 90s black metal bands began their destructive ride with their debut release Sins of Might, this coming a mere few months after forming, and  first album Spiritual Twilight in 2005. The band drew and gathered up strong attention, their uncompromising sounds setting them apart from other similar bands. Initially a project consisting of just drummer Svart and vocalist Aries, who also took the guitar and bass roles, the band had to evolve and began touring throughout Europe with session musicians, the expanded band garnering more solid acclaim and growing fan base. Subsequent albums Phantasm and Cold, this their first with Napalm, increased their musical stock and popularity. Guitarists Malthus and Isiul as well as bassist Desderoth were now permanent members of the band and the full force of Hellsaw being unleashed as shown with Trist.

The album is a gnarly beast, a release that rips at and abuses the senses with an evil intent that is openly and proudly carried like a flag of combat. Trist runs with traditional black metal sounds a lot of the time but avoid predictability by veining it with unexpected and intelligent intriguing diversions. It teases and taunts, never giving you what you assume, and just when it looks like becoming slightly formulaic the album will turn on its tail and writhe with something unexpected and diverse. It is these touches which makes the album worth full attention throughout.

The Devil Is Calling My Name opens up the infernal damnation of the senses, though at first its slow awakening is a deliberate falsehood to entice and beckon. As soon as one is hooked the track explodes into scorched riffs and a flurry of bullying drumming. The rasping vocals of Aries spew every word with acidic venom, coating the lyrics with sonic bile complimenting the razor sharp guitars. The song is malevolent, the bass of Desderoth lingering behind the assault of the guitars to grab its prey periodically, though that is more due to the fact that at certain times it is hard to consistently hear the growling basslines.

It is an impressive start to an album that maintains a strong level throughout but with definite peaks in the likes of the brilliant Doom Pervades Nightmares, A Winter Cold, and the imaginative closer Silence. The first of the three is an excellent nasty aural corruption, and the first of the more varied tracks offered within Trist. The groove and razor sharp guitars slice through the senses whilst the grouchy basslines are insistent and intimidating. Aries is pained and bitter, his demonic delivery distressing and enticing, a force as potent as the sounds. It is when the track steps off track into a melancholic mandolin led instrumental climax that the song truly unveils its beauty and uniqueness.
A Winter Cold is part chant, part frosted celebration, and all direct bitterness. The song is less about the violent assault than the creative melodic grandeur the band can also summon. At times it ventures into a blackened thrash sound that is inspired and a welcome diversity. Silence brings a wonderful melodic opening song but soon erupts into a full on confrontation but still with a melody driven core that is impressive, further proof that Hellsaw are musicians that can write and realise well crafted songs of blended beauty and malevolence.

The album does have its flaws, mainly in the drums production which is annoyingly tinny, and the slightly predictable vocals of Aries. There are moments one wishes his delivery was as diverse as the sounds within Trist. Despite those things, which are more personal preferences, the album is an impressive release that puts recent black metal releases in the shade. It is creative and at times adventurous within the defined limits of the genre, it is also ultimately enjoyable.

Ringmaster 20/02/2012 Registered & Protected


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