XUL – Extinction Necromance

Photo Credit – Jenna Hindley, Midnyte-Sun Photography

Photo Credit – Jenna Hindley, Midnyte-Sun Photography

Extinction Necromance is a release which wholly captivates whilst hitting the listener with a tsunami of malevolent sound and intent. Consisting of four tracks covering thirty minutes, the EP is a barbarous affair which at times defuses or certainly overshadows the invention and diverse textures within its depths through a continual tirade of vocal and emotional hostility. There is no hiding place from the encounter either, except the off button, but its creators Canadian metallers XUL, ensure that is never an option with their craft and fascinating enterprise.

XUL hails from Vernon, British Columbia and cast a merciless trespass of blackened death metal upon the senses. Influences to their intent include the likes of Behemoth, Dissection, Immortal, Emperor, and Watain, strong flavours noticeable in the band’s sound but without leaping miles away from such inspirations XUL has woven the spices into a sonic narrative built on the sole character of their imagination. Formed in 2008, the quintet released debut album Malignance four years later, a well-received encounter stirring up Canadian extreme metal especially across the Western side of the scene country, a recognition reinforced forcibly by the band’s live presence which has seen them share stages with the likes of Obscura, Exhumed, Vreid, Kampfar, Woods of Ypres, Macabre, Withered, Cephalic Carnage, Archspire, and 3 Inches of Blood. New EP Extinction Necromance sees the band explore their darkest depths and most malevolent emotions, filtering all into intensive examinations of ears and psyche.

It begins with Frozen, We Drown, an immediate consumption of the senses through prowling riffs and grooves punctuated by lurking rhythms. There is also an underlying swing to the opening baiting of ears, a trait which is regular bait whether in a gentle melodic persuasion, a rugged rampage, or an unbridled savaging. There is also thrash bred virulence at the start which with the rabid sonic intensity subsequently evolves into a melodically scenic landscape of constantly developing climates and unpredictable intent. The track continues to shift and switch its attack and sound, merging murderous sonic and rhythmic affairs with almost seductive hugs of calm and evocative suggestiveness. XUL’s sound, as each song upon the EP, is not suitable for a lightweight consumption. It is with continual examination that the busy terrains and almost insidious nature of the aural tapestries unravel for increasingly dramatic and impressive proposals. That is not to say it is not a potent first introduction made, just a matter of almost too much to digest and get a handle on initially.

Album Artwork done by Remy C. of Headsplit Design

Album Artwork done by Remy C. of Headsplit Design

It does ensure every listen is a slightly different and fresh adventure too, epitomised by the following Orbit of Nemesis. It rises from the release with a heralding fanfare of horns and celestial harmonies, the epic air suggested in the orchestral hints of its predecessor in full regalia here. Like a majestic bird soaring into an expansive and thickly coloured atmosphere the track sparks the imagination but like the same being swallowed by the jaws of a violent storm, the expressive opening of the track is devoured by a bestial sonic explosion. The band surges over the senses from within that assault; volleys of violent beats from Lowell Winters the spearhead of a hellacious onslaught brought by the bass predation of Marlow Deiter and rabid guitar causticity from Wallace Huffman and Bill Ferguson. With the raw primal tones of vocalist Levi Meyers leaving their own inhospitable residues in ears too, it is a gripping fury taken to greater heights by the toxic but sonically invigorating grooves and shards of melodic imagination spilled by the fingers of Huffman.

As the first track, though maybe not as openly tangible, there is an evolving aspect to the raging and another swing to its vicious stroll, an ingredient which marks each song in varying ways and degrees as shown by third song Chaos Requiem. Rolling in on a ‘gentler’ gait and intent than its excellent predecessor, the song is soon sledgehammering the senses as guitars weave a tempting lure of melodic intrigue and expression. The turmoil is exhausting, ensuring that the brief respites when they emerge feel like oases in the merciless storm. It is increasingly gripping and an intensive incitement which as mentioned needs time to fully explore but more than rewards the effort.

Final track Summon the Swarm coaxes with the calm of water and a reflective melody before unleashing sonic and rhythmic carnage, but a tempest openly and precisely sculpted by each element of the band. It also delivers a thick anthemic lure alongside its punishing tirade of sound and voice, the track at times as intoxicating as it is corrosive as it frees a maelstrom of emotion and musical drama, especially in the closing ravishing of ears.

The more time Extinction Necromance is given the more it impresses, an undeniable success which marks XUL out as a band to watch closely as they surely start luring in a more global attention, starting right here. It might not quite be the best blackened death metal protagonist you will meet this year but it will be the one of those enticing the most repeats plays.

Extinction Necromance is available from May 19th @ https://xulmetal.bandcamp.com/album/extinction-necromance

http://xulofficial.ca/   https://www.facebook.com/Xulband

RingMaster 19/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

 

Rages and condemnations: an interview with Jon Bakker of Kampfar

jon_bakker

jon_bakker

Norwegian pagan metallers Kampfar is a band which has persistently drawn fans and metal into fully immersive and startling provocations with their sound and releases over its twenty years, but in new album Djevelmakt  has possibly crafted their strongest malevolence fuelled incitement yet, one soaked in riveting imagination and uncompromising artistry. The sixth full-length from the Fredrikstad band is an enthralling soul stealing oppression for ears and emotions alike, a pestilential fury to fear or embrace. We strived to find out more with bassist Jon Bakker who kindly shared time with us to talk about Kampfar, their excellent new Indie Recordings album, and plenty more dark corners…

Hi Jon and thanks for talking with us.

Kampfar is at the beginning of its third decade since forming, can you take us back to those first days of the band and how it came to life?

Kampfar came to life after the separation of Mock in 93/94. Dolk had visions of a Black Metal band with elements from the Nordic heritage. He met a guitar player with a complete different background than himself, and they started composing. They remained a duo for almost 10 years, releasing 2 full lengths and a couple of EP’s. Kampfar became a quartet in 93, playing the first live show in 1994. The second wave included the albums Kvass and Heimgang, recorded in a local studio. Several tours followed both releases. The third wave in Kampfar’s cycle started with Mare, a fresh start both soundwise and lyrically. We found the right sound in Abyss Studios and followed up with the fresh released Djevelmakt. Between those albums, Thomas, the guitar player for the last 18 years quit the band. Ole was found after a long search and the match was perfect. Stronger than ever before we are now ready to unleash Djevelmakt.

What was the biggest spark or trigger to move from existing bands into starting a fresh adventure with Kampfar?

The previous bands were more or less stagnating; individuals with different priorities in life. Dolk wanted to go all the way!

How would you describe your sound and the band itself back then in comparison to the Kampfar who has just released the excellent Djevelmakt?

The two first albums were very right for the time. Dolk had a strong idea for the sound and what he wanted for the band back in the early 90’s. The second wave came with Kvass and Heimgang, they experimenting a lot with compositions and sound and with still plenty of folk references in the music. With the third wave came the anger. Mare was a more direct and right in the face album with very clear messages. The follow up with the fresh Djevelmakt continue where Mare ended, with even sharper melodies and more direct lyrics. We brought in elements like flutes and strings, but nothing in a jolly way. Just pure anger!

You have mentioned the three waves of Kampfar, can you explain and elaborate on that for us?

Photo © Sebastian Ludvigsen

Photo © Sebastian Ludvigsen

 

The first wave was Kampfar in the early stage, being a duo for almost 10 years; the second becoming a quartet and the third moving outside the comfort zone in every way, including the change of the main composer. Every cycle was right for the time, and Djevelmakt is Kampfar anno 2014 in every way.

Do you see those ‘waves’ as chapters in the band’s evolution or more dramatic turns, like restarts?

Both. The evolution of the band is of course certain, but unpredictable things always happen and coloured the band along the way…personal challenges, changes in line-up, getting more experienced and older of course.

Can we look at Djevelmakt more closely now, your sixth album;  it is fair to say that every one of your albums has evolved or stretched the band’s sound and creativity, how do you see that development with your new full-length in relation to its predecessor Mare?

Djevelmakt is in many ways a natural follow up of Mare. The biggest difference is the change of the main composer and guitar player, but still everyone in the band wanted to push it as close to the limit as possible with Djevelmakt. There are elements that are not to be found on any previous releases. We took a good look at ourselves, taking things all the way, unknown territories but still very confident that we were on the right track.

I believe Djevelmakt was written in the first half of 2013 with its release this past month. Was the rest of the year taken up solely with the recording or were there interludes in its emergence?

The second part was filled with recording and finding all the right elements for the record. Photo sessions, artwork, dealing with partners and making visuals for promotion etc… Putting an album together is a huge job, and we’re proud that we fulfilled all our visions

You are a band and musicians who spends intensive time on every minute aspect of your music then?

Every day there’s duties to be done within the band. Not only musically, but also promotion and dealing with partners, live appearances and press. We’re not living close together, so we meet for weekend rehearsals. We talk together every day though, thanx to the www.

Tell us about the songwriting and its general working process within the band.

There’s a lot of sharing files and ideas. A composition is changed many times before the final result where everyone is satisfied. A song has to fit both live and on record and we always aim for perfection.

1465218_10152005407195490_102457038_nWhat is the theme behind Djevelmakt and the spark which inspired its premise for the album.

The main message is condemnation of everyone that doesn’t follow the rules. The Church dooms you to eternal purgatory if you choose not to follow their word, and it’s the same with the dark side of Christianity. This goes for most religions as well as society in common. Be a sheep, don’t ask questions and follow the stream. Well, fuck that and fuck them! We tell you that it’s ok not to follow the masses. Make your own path! We dig into the darkest corners and the deepest pits of the underworld to picture you that message. It’s an anti-religious, but for sure not anti-human record.

How much do personal experiences contribute to the emotion or shadows of your songs and especially the lyrical content?

All of it is very personal!

With a rich dark breath consistently bringing shadows to devour thoughts and emotions in your music, has or is your songwriting in any way a cleansing of emotional issues for the band and equally a canvas to lay thoughts and experiences out to investigate and work through as well as dealing with more world, Religious, and society bred situations?

Very much so! Everything surrounding us has impact on the way we think and behave. We are able to use our music to fight that trend. It’s a lost battle, but we still have to speak up. At least we get some of our anger out!

Is there any particular moment or aspect of Djevelmakt which has you going ‘Oh Yeah!’ inside?

I have many of those moments listening to the finished product, but when the chorus of Swarm comes along, the warm shivers run down my spine.

As we mentioned at the start Kampfar has been unleashed dramatically provocative and feistily satisfying music for twenty years, looking back how do you see the journey of the band to this point?

The journey has been breath-taking. From being an underground band with many visions and goals, to become a touring band is very satisfactory. Being able to release records through good working labels and being on the road with great bands is what we were and are aiming for.

How has the metal scene changed in relation to the band and its personal experiences?

The metal scene is mostly about trends I’m afraid. What’s hot and what’s not. Many good bands disappear with those changes. Kampfar started early with folk elements in the music, but the Ompa happy Metal ruined that whole style very thoroughly. That’s just all very sad.

Obviously you are proud of previous albums etc. but do you look at them now and instinctively see elements or aspects you would have done differently second time around or see them as they are and only look ahead; and will you be looking at Djevelmakt the same way in the future do you think?

Personally I have never been as satisfied as with the last two albums. I really believe that will stay. The second cycle of Kampfar I can for sure pick out some aspects that we would do different, but they felt right at the time.

Excluding Djevelmakt from the memories, what have been the most inspiring and thrilling moments with Kampfar for you over Kampfarthe past two decades?

Being on the road, playing some of the biggest metal festivals in the world and meeting people that truly admire our music is way beyond inspiring. The whole trip from the basement and up to where we are now is the perfect adventure.

…And the forgettable or regretful ones?

We seldom regret, but there are for sure some places we’ll never visit again and some people we’ll never work with again. Impossible to sort those out some times, but we learn.

What does 2014 have in store for and from Kampfar?

There’s going to be massive work after the release of Djevelmakt. A tour in March/April is already announced. Several festivals are confirmed and more trips are in the planning.

Once again thanks so much for sparing time with us. Any thoughts you would like to leave us contemplating?

Follow your own path and keep your banners high!

www.kampfar.com

Read the Djevelmakt review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/kampfar-djevelmakt/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 18/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Kampfar – Djevelmakt

Kampfar_Press_1

    Ever had a nightmare where a pestilential like presence is suffocating everything around you, then you turn to the one solace and place of safety you can be assured of and that also feeds on you extinguishing all hope and escape?  Whether yes or no, Norwegian pagan metallers Kampfar gives the imagination a pretty strong sense of the experience with new album Djevelmakt. Oppressive and frighteningly uncompromising in presence and artistry, the eight track exploration of black and pagan bred metal is a breath-taking, soul stealing immersion into a malevolence fuelled incitement soaked in riveting ingenuity.

     2014 sees Kampfar marking its twentieth year and no stronger an impressive fall into the jaws of their filth soaked depravity from the blackest realms as explored upon Djevelmakt could you wish for. The sixth album from the band follows the acclaimed Mare of 2011, continuing the ‘third creative wave’ of the band. The years up to 2003 saw the band as a duo releasing a couple of EPs and the 1997 album Mellom Skogkledde Aaser followed two years later by Fra Underverdenen. Enlarging to a quartet Kampfar introduced a live aspect to their presence in its second cycle as well as two more well-received full-lengths in Kvass and Heimgang in 2006 and 2008 respectively. All the time the band’s sound has grown and explored darker intensive areas, each album an evolution and challenging venture which their latest album takes to yet another level and depth. Forged around the theme of condemnation, the Jonas Kjellgren recorded and Peter Tägtgren mixed Djevelmakt is an enthralling and impacting provocation which only leaves the healthiest intrigue and satisfaction breeding in senses and thoughts.

   The Indie Recordings released album opens with Mylder, a dramatic and sinister narrative of keys casting menace and magnetic Kampfar frontcover WEBtemptation into the air. It is a brief but potent coaxing into an immediately insidious brew of astringent rhythms and tempestuous riffs which consume the ears whilst driven by serpentine squalling tones from vocalist Dolk. Melodic acidity and ravenous causticity merge to create a storm which seduces and threatens before allowing the former trait to make a full invitation with great clean vocals, keys sculpted melodies, and an expressive welcoming ambience. It’s free reign is soon tempered though as scowling riffs and belligerent rhythms punctuate the continuing to lure folk radiance lighting the way. It is an immense start to the album which only gets stronger as subsequent tracks ravage the imagination.

    Both Kujon with its predacious stalking from the opening second and Blod, Eder og Galle, cement the capture of emotions aligned to an eager appetite for the release. The first swarms over the ear but with a premeditated reserve which simply accelerates its potency and venomous intent. Vocally too the track has a restraint to its ruinous persuasion which adds to the intimidation and intensity of the unremitting pestilential nagging. An undoubted impressive scourge it makes way for the second and an excellent electronically spawned intro. As with the first track that unexpected beckoning is soon under siege by a rasping intensity and concussive tsunami of energy and disturbing sonic provocation. Though not quite as commanding as the previous songs it agitates and ignites the imagination superbly with another vexatious soundscape.

     Swarm Norvegicus is another track which does not quite spark the passions as other songs, mainly because of their towering individual successes upon Djevelmakt, but with its dark stringed opening enticement and demonically honed spoken vocal delivery within a weave of acerbic sonic enterprise and a voraciously heavy and addictive bass temptation, the track can only excite and impress. Arguably with its again smouldering yet bestial like build up the track provides the most vivid evocation for thoughts to explore and delve deeply into and over time with patience it should be said that the song provides another exhausting but rewarding venture.

      The keys control and provide the strongest alluring flames to Fortapelse, just one more song in which Kampfar impressively entwine melodic and melodramatic beauty with a pit bred hostility, before the album dives to darker depths and higher plateaus through first of all De Dødes Fane. A dirty scuzz kissed riot of heavy rock riffs punctured by tank slapping rhythms provides the springboard to the expected but expectations avoiding fury of blackened rancor which simply abrades and abuses the senses. Twisting and wrapping those early aspects into its ravenous core of pestilence, the track is pure contagious devilry and invention, a sonic plague to fear and embrace greedily.

     The album comes to an equally scintillating conclusion through firstly the annihilistic stomp of Svarte Sjelers Salme and the anthemic yet destructively corrupting Our Hounds, Our Legion. Both provide a corrosive legacy to an exceptional album which devours and lights up the senses and imagination through to emotions. Twenty years is a long journey to get where Kampfar is today, a place on the evidence of Djevelmakt that lies on the frontlines of extreme metal.

www.kampfar.com

9/10

RingMaster 27/01/2014

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Vreid: Welcome Farewell

   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    Following up their immense 2011 album V, Norwegian melodic black metallers Vreid have in Welcome Farewell unleashed another impressive and enthralling encounter. Whether it is the equal of its stunning predecessor is debatable but certainly the new nine track journey of enterprise and invention is a masterful confrontation of the imagination and thoughts as well as the instigator of another wash of passion for the ingenuity of the quartet.

Across their impressive albums the band has shown that tagging them as merely melodic black metal is short changing their invention as the band weave a web of sounds which court varied flames of rock and metal across numerous decades. Often referred to as Black & Roll their sound once more upon Welcome Farewell explores and re-invents a varied spicery to create songs which are consistently compelling and perpetually thrilling. Since forming in 2004 out of the demise of Windir, the band has been a blur of releases and touring, Vreid having performed over 300 shows in 22 different countries across 3 continents, lit up numerous festivals, played alongside the likes of Enslaved, Pestilence, Marduk, Unleashed, Eluvetie, Belphegor, Einherjer, Paradise Lost, and Kampfar, and released acclaimed albums in the shape of Kraft (2004), Pitch Black Brigade (2006), I Krig (2007), Milorg (2009), and of course their tour de force V.

Released via Indie Recordings and produced by bassist Hváll (Jarle Kvåle), Welcome Farewell brings the senses into its arms with01framside the opening melodic mists of first track The Ramble. It is a gentle beckoning which before long opens up its muscles with rumbling rhythms, a seductive groove and sultry sonics weaved into a hungry rampant surging gait. The bass of Hváll growls with hungry saliva dripping from its carnivorous tones whilst the beats of Steingrim (Jørn Holen) jab, punch, and roll over the ear with merciless intent. Carved into compelling shape by the exceptional craft brought to bear by guitarists Strom (Stian Bakketeig) and Sture (Sture Dingsøyr) whose vocals grasp and rasp over the senses with serpentine malevolence to temper and compliment the heated melodic wash, the track commands attention and rewards with a mix of uncomplicated and finely crafted sounds.

From next up Way Of The Serpent with its rampaging breath and slight folk metal whispers, the album lights up thoughts and emotions with a perpetual cascades of flavours and invention. The following Devil’s Hand opens its claws with an energising punk rock abrasion ridden by venomous vocals before merging thrash and rock n roll into its blackened touch whilst the title track offers a classic metal and prog embrace within the intensive ravaging which breathes within the track. It is a continuing and enthralling blend of seamlessly entwined spicery which sets each song apart from each other and Vreid distinct within black metal.

The magnificent Sights of Old takes the album to one of its loftiest pinnacle, a song which challenges and rewards with fiery invention. From a slow stroking of melodic licks the track explodes into a furnace of vicious insatiable rhythms and a spiteful twisted groove which seduces and spears the senses with sabre accuracy. Across its corrosive journey the song evolves and shifts its character to ignite intrigue and unrivalled focus upon the tempting twisted wash of predatory and mesmeric splendour. It is a song you cannot predict one note of and continually keeps the listener off guard and absorbed with the dawning shifting landscape.

The virulent Black Waves also ignites the deepest richest rapture with its goth/blackened swagger and riveting aural shadows armed with lethal barbed hooks and melodic mischief. From drums to bass, guitars to vocals, the song entices and recruits the passions with a lure as catchy and as destructive as you could wish for.

Offering a final almighty slab of muscular grandeur in the best moment on the album, the brilliant At The Brook, Welcome Farewell is simply sensational. This outstanding song is another which breeds an addiction in the listener with its predatory stance and voracious groove amidst an all devouring and insatiable acidic progressive glaze. It with ease leads you right back to the start of the album as after its esurient rewards resistance to the band is impossible.

If there is to be a better black metal release this year than Welcome Farewell it will be something quite spectacular as Vreid yet again has set the benchmark impossibly high.

https://www.facebook.com/vreidofficial?fref=ts

http://www.vreid.no/

9/10

RingMaster 25/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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