Keep It Short, Stupid – EP Round-Up: October 2013

The Extended Play has a long and rich history in heavy metal music, particularly within the underground realms. From Deathcrush  and Apocalyptic Raids to Pieces and even Breeding Death, countless great and legendary careers have been started by or greatly enhanced through keeping it short. Besides, there’s something to be said for a young band aiming in on just a few songs, and letting the goods create anticipation for a full length. Hand out a sample; hook ’em.

In what will surely be only the first in an ongoing-but-unscheduled series, the Last Rites team dives into six short platters of metal, ranging from the nastiest black metal to pure trad worship. Give it a read, give it an ear. With this range of sounds there ought to be something for everyone in here. Not like it’s going to take up much of your time…

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För’s membership? “Unknown.” This raw-dog BMer’s location? “Unknown.” These answers, of course, appear on the group’s well-maintained Metal-Archives page which also happens to place the band in Sweden and lists its unholy DOB as this year. Surf on over to the links section and one will find their Facebook. Oh. Seems like even an anonymous black horde needs a web presence these days.

Blakaz Asko Hertô is the second För release this year and, Dio, is it bleak. Treming guitars tumble down the steps to hell, unmastered war-drum thuds ping-pong around the mix like Portal playing squash with a basketball, and a freshly unfrozen saber-tooth tiger harfs up Pleistocene hair balls right in the middle of the room. Tempo? Pffft. It’s more off-kilter than a person with palsy trying to land a plane with one engine. It’s almost as if someone took a NYDM classic and removed all signs of time. The ten minute “Lineage of the Amorphous” is the dessert, powering pummeling body punches with the searing dissonance of Abandon. Spelunkers, here’s your next cavern. – Ian Chainey

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On Goliath, New York’s Imperial Triumphant play something outside of any convenient genre labels, so it goes without saying that the modern underground ought to find it instantly appealing. At their most basic, they sound like a mash-up of Kénôse-era Deathspell Omega and the wonkier Gorguts material. Fitting, as the Pyrrhon rhythm section contributes to the EP while Colin Marston provides a solo. The band’s main man, Ilya Goddessraper (seriously), plays with a flair for jazz and dissonance similar to Kevin Hufnagel, but adapts it through the filter of unrelenting, progressive black metal.

The greatest attribute of Goliath is the structure of these two tracks. By the time “Sodom” descends into a Vindsvalian deconstruction that sounds like the result of warped vinyl, it is clear that this band gets composition. “Gomorrah” likewise features a similar descent into the black, trading off sections of deep atmosphere with those that focus on nothing but hitting the fucking gas. Without hearing full length Abominamentvm, it must be stated that a full album of this quality would be something to behold. Absolute monstrous madness. – Zach Duvall

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High Spirits lungbox Chris Black has teamed up with a duo of Finnish weirdos (Jussi Lehtisalo and Tomi Leppänen) to form Aktor, getting their career started with I Am the Psychic Wars, a couple of rocking rollicks that are just shy of four decades out of place.

The title track itself is nice enough (if not a little basic), but the real jewel here is B-Side “Buried By the Sea”. This one is just straight-up fun, with enough weird noises and bleep-bloops in the mix to make Vicky from Small Wonder nod her mechanical cranium back and forth with glee. Both tracks provide an odd twist to the classic metal formula, but “Buried” is the one that has the curiositomer piqued for the potential an LP might hold. – Chris Redar 

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NWOFHM: The “New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal.” Yeah, that’s a thing. Bands like Steel Mammoth, Lord Fist and Krypt Axeripper are all part of it, among others. Nope, you ain’t gonna find any of it next to those $30 Daft Punk LPs over at American Apparel.

Lord Fist first connected with faces by way of 2012’s four-song demo, Spark for the Night, which holds the lofty distinction of being the only metal release you’ll ever own to contain a song called “Super Sailor”… Probably.

Jump forward approximately one year later and the Wordless Wisdom of Lord Fist EP finds the young Finns essentially holding true to their original course: Four slices of hoary throw-back metal that sounds like something you’d expect to peal from Adrian Smith’s garage on any given Saturday afternoon via his ripper progeny. These are bright, melodic, RAW, blitzing charges that’ll transport you directly back to Britain in the late 70s. And I don’t give a shit how often that method gets thrown into our laps – I’m falling for it, hook, line and sinker.

Released through Jussi Lehtisalo’s (Circle, Falcon, Arkhamin Kirjasto) Ektro Records, Wordless Wisdom of Lord Fist will reinforce any night spent shot-gunning & crushing cans alongside troupes such as Züül, Borrowed Time and Metalian.

May thine high-tops profaned be never; may thine tights remain well-nigh masculine. – Michael Wuensch 

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Raise your hand if you think “Profane Cult” should be the name of this band, and “Praise the Flame” the title of the EP. Right? Seems backwards. Anyway, you can guess from both of those monikers what Praise the Flame is cooking up down in Chile, and it isn’t about to end up on the menu of a papal banquet. Debut EP Profane Cult brings a very of 2013 mix of the death and black metals, leaning more on the death side of the coin with a modern, half-murk production. Bits of Immolation and Incantation seep into the fluttery, blasting, trem-picked chaos, while a real Absu influence can be heard throughout, especially in the snare-happy drumming. The band is at their best when combining the maelstrom with some well-placed drops in tempo, such as during a muddier passage in “Endless Scourge.” 

While Praise the Flame is more than competent, and often quite rippin’, it says something that the bonus Unleashed cover might be the best track on the EP. Still, the band shows a knack for the riff, and with a bit more experience and refinement we might be hearing something really substantial from these cats. – Zach Duvall 

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If further poisoning the blood with a hot fix of vulgar black-ish/thrash-ish death metal sounds like a snappy way to spend your sunny afternoon, then Belgium’s freshly formed Possession stands at the ready to tie off your arm. Isn’t that sweet of them?

His Best Deceit crams three carvings of crude, ill-birthed blasphemy into your earholes in hopes of tainting the brain with the sort of bestial riffs, coarse flailing and sparse, bleeding leads that quickly align them with sinners such as Black Witchery, Bestial Mockery, Nifelheim, Nuclear Desecration, et über al.

Seventeen minutes of raw desecration that’s rounded out with a blistering (and fitting) rendition of Sepultura’s “Necromancer” – these hellish Finnsters and the toppling Iron Bonehead Productions stab straight for the ticker. You want fresh? Go get a pack of goddamned strawberries at your local farmer’s market. This is strictly for those who like it old-school, lowbrow & loathsome. – Michael Wuensch

Posted by Last Rites


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