keskiviikko 17. toukokuuta 2017

Storm - Wintermoon demo '93


Storm - Wintermoon demo I 1993
1) Underworld
2) Desecrator
3) Encomium

Sendspace / 4shared

I was going to post something utterly different but then a comment left yesterday caught my attention; it simply said "Happy Syttende Mai!" and I thought to myself: "Damn it you old fool, had you noticed this before it would've been a great time to post Norwegian... something". That kept nagging in the back of my skull which is really exasperating so I gave in and decided to upload this. Yeah, it's pretty old hat and most of you have probably encountered this debut and only demo by Stavanger's Storm while looking for the better-known but equally short-lived Oslo Storm (Fenriz, Kari & Satyr if you manage not to know). Done from a dubbed tape, no surprise there, so it's also rather poor quality soundwise but at least I got it to slightly more listenable levels than the extremely muffled rips I've encountered online before. Can't help but wonder how all copies, both dub and rip I've encountered managed to have such a terrible sound seeing how it was recorded in Soundsuite studio with Terje Refnes. Did they lose the master and dubbed everything from a copy accidentally made to a cheap, worn old tape?

Alright, in the rare case you might not actually be familiar with this demo I'll start by saying it's short. Slightly less than eight minutes and last, short instrumental song probably qualifies as outro. For such a brief demonstation, however, it manages to be remarkably all over the place. First track, which is also the longest, plods away at slow midtempo at first before sweeping synths speed it up to a temporary flight. Some of the riffs sound like they were borrowed directly from (old) Thorns and the vocals remind me of old Ancient and Gehenna, hoarse, growly sort instead of screams, shrieks or screeches. It's later, but the Kvist album actually comes to mind as well. Nice and atmospheric, curious piece. Then the second track kics in and what the hell, it's full HD old school black metal worship, first album Bathord meets Venom sort of thing that every other band would start to do a few years later when the mid-90's retro boom hit. So I guess they were really ahead of their peers and time. And last song is an instrumental, calling back the first proper track. Would have been interesting to hear another recording by these fellows but they split up and went to various other bands. So, happy, late syttende mai I suppose!

maanantai 15. toukokuuta 2017

Orion Nightfall - Eye of the Snowstorm demo '07


Orion Nightfall - Eye of the Snowstorm demo V 2007
1) Mankindslayer
2) Hail the Old Hate
3) Wolf of the Wrathmoon
4) Spiritual War
5) Eye of the Snowstorm

Yandex / Zippyshare

I decided to post more Finnish material but cut the re-runs to the previous post for now. This is an unusually fresh cadaver to examine, mere decade old. Fifth demo of the Finnish band Orion Nightfall, released as a CD-R and recorded in August '07. I was handed a copy at the Mayhem gig in Kuopio, same year November I think? They did a little tour of three shows back then, which I recall was a bit challenging experience to the fellow organizing it. Odd venue at Kuopio too, very unusual but sort of nice if you don't mind it being kind of far away from the centre. Our adventuring party fortunately included a driver so it was ok. It was an enjoyable evening though I spent most of it outside smoking and chatting with more or less random people. And didn't really see shit when Mayhem played, barely the top of Attila's head. I'm digressing like crazy. Anyways, ripped from an original copy, covers scanned and included within.

Five tracks for seventeen minutes here, moderately melodic "black" metal (well, I suppose the themes and lyrics are vaguely black metalesque enough if you're lenient but I'd say it falls in dark metal region - then again it's not too dissimilar to various popular Poles who still get counted as black metal) with hints to the bands roots as dark melodeath unit still audible. Quite heavy and dominant guitar sound, though it all blends into an aggressive wall if walls could steamroll all over you - wait, they can and will do that, Final Fantasy VII Demons Gate (Demon Wall) never forget! Back to this, it's not all just in your face aggression, they can slow down a bit too. Vocals are hoarse screams and yells and quite good, at least when set snugly within the fluffy grim dogpile of other instrumentation. I kind of like this now, second time playing through while typing and again wonder how I keep forgetting to dig up their other demos to check out. I noticed some of them have really, really long songs and wonder how they pull those off. That's it for now, next something older again and probably a contribution.

keskiviikko 10. toukokuuta 2017

Perkele - Saatanalliset himot reh/demo '94


Perkele - Saatanalliset himot rehearsal demo I 1994
1) Kalevala (Morningstar cover)
2) Pagan Fire
3) Nainen pimeydestä
4) Seductive Eyes of a Wolf
5) It Will End...
6) Eternal Moonfog
7) Witchcraft (Morningstar cover)

"raw" version: Mediafire / RGhost
"edited" version: Depositfiles / Sendspace

Ok, I said I'd do some reposts of old stuff I've ripped again with hopefully better results than the first time around. This time we return to December 2008 and the first demo by Finland's Perkele. The old write-up actually does decent job giving background so I'm not repeating that. Instead let's move to what's different this time: generally a superior rip (original was in mono) and just in case new scans as well. Except that I just could not make it that simple so there are two rips. Or rather the other one is a slightly more "produced" version while the first is the raw rip with minimal meddling.

The edited version is basically tidied up, I cut out the various clicks, snaps and pops in between the songs and... did something else I already forgot! Maybe I adjusted the levels a little? It's very marginal whatever it was. The end result is 15:11 while the so-called raw version has all the tape recorded noises and such in place for the hopeless romantics to gush about and lasts a whopping 15:15 so I guess you get four seconds more for your money. Except that it costs nothing.

Other observations: listening to the improved rip I noticed that this actually has quite a decent rehearsal sound, sure it's a little on the messy and raw side but at least it has certain amount of balls to it. Vocals are a little buried and to be honest you really have to know the songs to be able to make out the lyrics. I don't even want to start guessing how many times I've heard the songs Pagan Fire and Nainen pimeydestä that reappeared on the second demo "Pohjola" so obviously I've no problem following them. I'm starting to get a feeling I'm just typing now for the sake of it so better stop here

sunnuntai 7. toukokuuta 2017

Endoki Forest - Demo '95 + Rehearsal '96


Endoki Forest - An Evil of Nordic Frost demo 1995
1) I
2) II
3) III
4) IV
5) V
6) VI
7) VI
Rehearsal for Upcoming Album '96
1) Advance I
2) Advance II

Mediafire / Depositfiles

More non metal, this is a contribution I actually received quite long ago but it has been a bit troublesome, delaying its time to appear on the altar. This is Endoki Forest from the United States and the (only) demo from 1995 plus a bonus of two rehearsal/advance tracks that were planned to appear on a full length album scheduled for 1996. As far as I know, it was not completed after all. Endoki Forest remains active to this day, or possibly more accurately re-activated a few years ago releasing a compilation also named "An Evil of Nordic Frost" in digital format (only, I think) which was not this demo redone but rather a compilation of material from different years and more recently a full length album "Black Sorcerers Fortress" on Darker Than Black. Unfortunately I can't check the details on the compilation anymore since it appears Bandcamp has either purged Faunus Amadeus Loki out or he has chosen to diminish his online presence. Whatever the case, his former email is not working either so I could not get hold of him to check facts. I could've probably pestered DTB with it but decided against that and just went with what I got.

Why would Bandcamp give master Loki the boot you wonder? Well, he was and is somewhat notorious for his NS associated projects like Berzerker and label of old Black Sorcerers which released tapes around mid-90s... I should actually have a flyer or maybe two somewhere but I didn't find them on my admittedly hasty and careless search. I probably find them the next time I look for something else. DTB has released also a CD from his other, more recent project Herrenvolk which I believe is slightly better known and from what I've heard more in the martial industrial/ambient vein while Endoki Forest falls, in my humble opinion, into the dungeon synth category on the old material and more in dark ambient vein on the new album.

Cover image from Discogs entry!

So much text and quite little on this actual item so far! Right, to the issues I mentioned right in the beginning: first off, no cover or tracklisting. Apparently my contributor had gotten this tape dubbed by F.A.L. and instead of a cover he had sent the pic seen cropped way up there decorating the post and slightly reduced down below in its whole while Discogs entry gives a different sort of cover which you may see above this paragraph but fails to deliver a tracklisting either. So I went with good old Roman numerals, as usual, and divided the rip into what I believe to be seven tracks. Most have easy to spot breaks between them but the last one was a little tricky. Secondly, the rip was unfortunately not very good, being done slightly too loud and then converted to low bitrate as coup de grâce. This leads to a major thing to point out in the download; there are two folders within, one labeled "Scott" and one "Velkaarn" which contain two versions of the demo. Mine is practically unedited, just chopped up into tracks and slightly adjusted the volume while "Scott" is more heavily reworked, courtesy of master Scott, formerly known from December Wolves, later Serpent Eclipse and nowadays an audio editor and a fine sportsman. Thanks for taking time to fiddle with this and the other thing! Scott's version... well, I'll just quote him: "I cleaned up some of the noise where it was distracting from the music, balanced the L/R channels, restored some of the low frequencies, and most importantly I added back some of the dynamics so that the synth has room to breathe." So yes, it has notably less of the brickwall effect of a too loud rip, less hiss and generally sounds more "airy" while retaining the necesssary desolation. Unfortunately the tradeoff is the usual issue with noise reduction causing certain "fraying" of the sound especially on the high end, most audible on the storm sound effects on track... was it 4? You'll notice. But it can't be helped, it's the best we could manage with the material for now.
The full picture scaled down, original scan is huge.

To the music itself, half an hour of somewhat cold and grim dungeon synth with that slightly crude sound that fits the music perfectly. It's not fully instrumental, II features some appropriately sinister hisses, whispers and shrieks that actually fit very well so for once I'm not complaining. V has more vocals, this time odd echoing, almost moany "singing" that again sounds surprisingly suitable before metamorphosing to the form familiar from second part. Among top 3 dungeon synth vocals! Aside from that there's the storm and rain samples and if you listen to the unpurified version you can think of the hiss as additional sound effect? The moods the tracks paint vary from witnessing clandestine rituals under the cold full moon to carefully navigating old dungeonscapes of stone, cobwebs and dust to picnic in the Carpathians with the Lamentation crew. Think whatever you will of master Loki's other works, politics, belief systems, orientation and favourite foods, I don't care, this is a good demo and I'd really like to find an original copy of it! Or a good dub would do. I forgot to talk about the bonus tracks! Well, they're similar to the demo material. Recommended for all into old school dungeon synth sounds.

lauantai 6. toukokuuta 2017

The Shadow Dance - Stormy Visions demo '95


The Shadow Dance - Stormy Visions demo I 1995
1) Temple
2) Sea-Horse
3) Hologram Song

Sendspace / Yandex

Ok, time to do something non-metal for change and it's an accidental discovery, sort of, found among the tapes I borrowed from brother Grev some months ago. This is The Shadow Dance from Finland, Helsinki to be more precise. Check out their old school late 90s/early 00s webpage! No, really, you have to see it! Takes one back, that does. And yes children, back in the day pretty much all webpages looked like that. Or worse. Now that's been taken care off let's return to music. This is their first demo recorded in the fall '95. No cover I'm afraid, their site didn't have an image either. But it did have the band photo seen above which I decided to use to decorate the post. That's about as goth as you can get!

Three songs in roughly thirteen minutes, the first one "Temple" was also featured on a few compilations and a 1998 MCD of the same title. It's a slow building, moody and atmospheric piece with slightly ethereal quality and a bit more intense middle part. Main voice is clearly amateurish female singer who comes across borderline awkward but pleasant enough to swing the performance more to "innocent" side rather than "annoying" - that really sounds (reads, you old fool) vague, doesn't it? Second song is more upbeat, almost busy even. It almost brings some new wave song I've long forgotten to mind, almost but not quite! The final song, shortest of the lot, resembles the first one more but generally sticks to the same vein. Maybe a bit catchier, in the end. Reminds me a little of the Finnish Neverwood, less trippy and polished though. But simple is good sometimes and I actually enjoy this on occasion. Check it out, but bear in mind it is neither dark nor grim. Next one will be. Unless I decide to do another re-run, which I actually thought would've been a hilarious post after a hiatus but then wimped out.

tiistai 25. huhtikuuta 2017

Bathagor - Die Spuren des Krieges demo '02


Bathagor - Die Spuren des Krieges demo 2002
1) Leidenträger
2) Schattenzorn
3) Blutsturm
4) Die Spuren des Krieges
5) Nachtgedanken
6) Wege die Misanthropie
7) Rosetränen
8) Bathagor (Kaltes Licht)

Mega / RGhost

I decided to stick to black metal contributions for now. Sort of, for this tape by Germany's Bathagor is quite unusual after all. Rip and scans sent by LKS, thanks as always, and further processed (I think I just separated it into tracks) by me. What is so special about this then? Is it the cool sword-stuck-in-snow cover? No, though I like the neat simplicity of it, it's the line-up of the band. Or more like what they do, as this consists of a fellow doing vocals and lyrics who calls himself Daron and another guy called Dima who does guitar. And that's it. They're not using any other instrumentation besides the aforementioned guitar and (mainly harsh) vocals. And this tape runs for more than 45 minutes! It's pretty much since this is essentially stripped down raw black metal. Of course you can imagine a steady lifeless cold ticking of a cheap drum machine to back this up but it's just not the same thing as actually having it there!

Sound is decent for what it is, the guitar tone is pretty strong and rough, not thin razor sharp or cold and wispy like some forms of raw black metal prefer it. The primary black metal voice is a hoarse croak, not too dissimilar from Abbath's actually. There are attempts at melody so it's not just monotonous raspy gargling. Only mostly. The riffing is varied enough to not bore listener to tears but album length is still too much. I can't help missing a bit more ingredients, but it works better than I remembered and does not lead to scurvy, merely slight malnourishment. Pack something more well-rounded for your ocean voyages but feel free to sample this while on port. Minimalists and eccentrics rejoice, as well as gatherers of German obscurities.

lauantai 22. huhtikuuta 2017

Maniac Butcher - Live in Annaberg '97


Maniac Butcher - Live in Annaberg 22nd March 1997
1) Zrada / Treachery
2) Půlnočni říše / Midnight Empire
3) Lučané / Lučans
4) Žatecký hrad / Castle of Saaz
5) Poslední bitva / The Last Battle
6) Soudný den / The Judgement Day
7) Jáma pekel (cover from Master's Hammer)

Depositfiles / Zippyshare

A black metal sending this time, courtesy of our reader PaganiusI, thanks for the rip and cover scan! This is the venerable Maniac Butcher from Czech Republic and their performance from Annaberg one month (and twenty years) ago which was released as official live cassette on Barbarüd's Pussy God Records. It's not at all hard to acquire, as at least recently B. was selling copies of the covers with a master CDr to underground distros so you should be able to get a copy cheaply should you feel like wanting one after listening.

The sound on this live is quite violent and in your face, the rather loud rip further enforcing the fact. Then again, Maniac Butcher isn't exactly subtle and gentle kind of music to start with so it's appropriate enough. The recording, which I assume to be the full show, runs for a bit under 40 minutes which is above average for Maniac Butcher albums and features all the songs from "Lučan - antikrist" album, the most recent release that time, including a cover version of Master's Hammer classic Jáma pekel. Not much more to say here, it's raw no frills, bells whistles keyboards or female vocals black metal, but by no means mindless dull warlike pounding like too many "stripped down" raw war hordes tend to be. Next might be about time to do some non-metal music again, what do you think?