Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Disciple In Extremis - UKEM Records Part 2

It's time for the second part of my feature on UKEM Records. This time it features the label's two most recent releases. As I said yesterday, UKEM Records has a pretty stellar record when it comes to releasing music by solo-projects and tonight's two reviews feature thrash metal project Morti Viventi and black metal entity Angmaer.

Morti Viventi - The Day The Dead Returned...




Tracklist:

1. Hell On Earth
2. The Day The Dead Returned...
3. Whorehouse Of The Undead
4. Maniac/Face The Shape
5. Spawn Of Another Kind
6. The Arrival Of The Anti-God
7. Thrash Or Die

Morti Viventi hails from Lincolnshire, which isn't really known for it's metal pedigree. That being said, The Day The Dead Returned was recorded by a lifer. As with many solo bands, MV retains sole control of the music recorded and the overall vision created. That means that a lot of care has gone into the whole package.

I needed this to keep me awake, as I’ve had one too many beers this afternoon. Morti Viventi is a solo thrash band that pulls no punches. Opening with the battery that is Hell On Earth, MV fills the speakers with semi-clean thrash vox, fast-as-hell blasts and virtuoso lead work. In fact the band’s sole protagonist plays all the instruments here. The so-called thrash revival may have come and gone. but there’s still people that hold it in high regard. The title-track is a melodic thrash masterpiece. It may begin in a mid-paced style, but the sweep picking of MV soon takes over and rules all. The melody gives the song a great accessibility throughout too. Even the seven-minute+ length is no issue, as MV plays with real quality, which in turn improve the listening experience. It hits you as Whorehouse Of The Undead that MV is treading a fine line between the mainstream and the underground. A line where the band’s credibility isn’t compromised and nor is the music. It’s not aimed at the heavier-than-thou crowd yet it’s still graciously extreme. Maniac/Face The Shape is weirdly industrial. MV clearly hasn’t been paying too much lip-service to the recent thrash revival and has written songs that he want’s to hear. It’s pointless trying to dissect it too much though, as once that epic solo kicks in, you’ll have forgotten what the hell you were trying to say anyway! Spawn Of Another Kind is furious from start to end. There’s pace aplenty and a welcome no-nonsense approach. What follows is a thrash-opera of epic proportions. The Arrival Of The Anti-God is how you do instrumental thrash and it’s hard to believe that it’s all being played by one person! There’s one final exhilarating dip into the fast stuff on Thrash Or Die. I remember seeing Evile play their first ever gig in Leeds, before I’d even heard them and my jaw hit the floor. I get the same feeling from this record. Morti Viventi might have just released the best thrash album of the year. Don’t miss this!

Stream The Day The Dead Returned... here:-



Morti Viventi Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mortiviventiuk

Angmaer - Towards Darkness' Paradise




Tracklist:

1. Towards Darkness' Paradise
2. Hvitulven
3. Necromantic Summoning
4. Den Guddommeligens Riket
5. Helvete
6. Astaroth
7. The Rebirth Of Pagan Lands
8. Transcending

Following the theme above about one-man projects, Angmaer is the latest UK black metal band to release a record this year. Residing in Wolverhampton, Angmaer channels all of the misery and bleakness that comes with living in "the black country", via the best possible outlet. This is the second release from the band since it's formation in 2013 and following the debut EP Sorg, Trolldom, Vinter last year.

It all starts with a brooding and atmospheric intro that also features as the title-track. Subtle ambience sits atop of swirling rain to set the scene. What follows is the raw black metal of Hvitulven, which straddles nearly fourteen-minutes. It begins with a rousing opening section of black-thrash that bombards you and that pace is carried throughout, save for the odd drop in tempo. The vocals are used sparingly too with the instrumentation doing most of talking. In the middle it extends into a lengthy full of clean and sombre guitar that’s really good, prior to Angmaer launching a final assault. It’s a full-on intro to the band, but one that will easily stay planted in the memory. The blasts that follow are all together shorter. Necromantic Summoning harks back to the glory days of Dissection and Darkthrone, but also features added groove for good measure. It’s actually very impressive hearing the amount that’s shoehorned into Angmaer’s shorter songs. Necromantic Summoning flows straight into Den Guddommeligens Riket, where the atmosphere turns more insipid (in the best possible way). It’s gloomy and dark, as black metal should be, yet it ends with the most raging black-thrash possible! Helvete features a fist full of great melodic riffs that really command attention. There’s quiet chanting hidden in the depths of the music, which also provides a more haunting feel (at least I think there is!). The almost unnoticeable gaps between songs really help the album flow. Astaroth’s powerful drumming and engaging sound carry that momentum forward even further. As with a lot of more traditional black metal, Angmaer infuses folk and medieval musical influences into Towards Darkness’ Paradise. The Rebirth Of Pagan Lands pays tribute to the early days once again. The album closer is aptly titled Transcending and that’s exactly what Angmaer does. This album is well-written, well-produced and well-played throughout. It’s got the right amount of raw feel to stop it from sounding gimmicky and it demonstrates that the UK is still throwing out top quality black metal. Get this!

Stream the album here:-



Angmaer Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AngmaerBlackMetal

Finally, to complete this half of the feature I give you the compilation that inspired it's name -



All of UKEM's releases and comps can be downloaded from the label's bandcamp page and physical releases can be purchased via the online store here - http://www.ukemrecords.co.uk

UKEM Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ukemrecords

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