Written by: Blackie Skulless
The third full-length offering by Vanik somewhat came out of nowhere, but seeing how much I liked Vanik II: Dark Season, this became a priority. Simply titled III (or Vanik III), it delivers more of what they’re great at. Since the beginning, Shaun Paul Vanek and Co. have delivered hefty blasts of heavy/speed metal residing on the rustier side. Picture something like Venom but not quite as abrasive--or in other words, lose the blackened atmosphere.
A notable difference that could be spotted right away is the cleanliness of the riffs and even the vocals a bit here. Though still raspy, the layering is better placed to allow every part to stand out in its own merit, even if it loses a little bit of the bass prominence from before. That also forces room for a tiny drop of melody boost and passages that feel a bit more comprehensive. No worries though, because you still don’t lose that spooky undertow that coats everything this band does.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Here's an interesting question: why are we as human beings fascinated with serial killers? Is it the psychological aspect? Perhaps maybe the impulsive nature of said actions? This is something that we all differ on, but it's still a fascinating subject.
That brings us to Macabre. For 35 years, the masters known as Macabre have been serving up their "murder metal" to the masses--and excelling at it, I might add. Here's another interesting aside: Macabre were one of the first death metal/extreme metal bands I was fond of. I can't recall the first time I ever listened to them, but I do recall that the first album I ever bought from them was Dahmer. I believe I was either 12 or 13 years old, so as you can imagine, I have a soft spot in my heart for them. With regards to that, it's always a momentous occasion when the masters release a new album. And here we are with Carnival of Killers, their 6th full-length. Are you ready for the circus to come to town?
This review was originally published in January of this year. Moribund Kingdom's forthcoming physical release via Trepanation Recordings, however, is an occasion worthy of republication. Since the time of writing, my appreciation of this album has only grown, and it remains a frequent companion in the many, many times throughout the day where more extreme music simply won't do. Pre-order here! - Ed.
Written by: The Administrator
If you, much like the ravens lurking outside our drafty scriptorium, are on the hunt for something new and shiny, I'm happy to present an alternative from our standard fare. Today on the docket: a healthy platter of horror-tinged gothic dungeon synth, conjured from the mind behind the (equally stellar) Order of the Wolf. In this newfound context outside the underground black metal sphere, he goes by Spectral Child. Moribund Kingdom is the first haunted creation of this alter ego.
I like to think of Spectral Child's Moribund Kingdom as an alternate soundtrack to the horror-themed action games that (only partially, I swear) defined my adolescence. While it certainly isn't a sonic match to, say, the grossly high-octane riffage of the equally high-octane Painkiller series, the mood is similar. Consistently menacing, in a word. Frightening in a sincere sense--like if the more intense moments of the soundtrack to Amnesia were distilled and reproduced in synth-based form. That comparison, again, is a bit of a stretch, but the fact remains: there is something about Spectral Child that feels intrinsically attached to the world of video games wherein a lone protagonist braves a world designed exclusively to confound and cause harm.
Written by: Volt Thrower
“In the novel, Frankenstein's creation is identified by words such as 'creature,' 'monster,' 'daemon,' 'wretch,' 'fiend' and 'it.'” Thanks, Wikipedia, for describing this album cover so that I don't have to. I know these guys don't take themselves too seriously, and I mean no disrespect to the artist, who upon a cursory search has some really nice artwork, but this is just too cheesy. Maybe I'm just a lame grouch, taking it too seriously. And I get that they're going for the old school sci-fi horror covers look, which are usually cheesy, but just slapping the antagonist of each song onto the cover, feels like a bit of a blunder. Let’s hope that the tunes are out of this world.
The album itself is a bit of a mishmash of songs, a new tune in the album opener and title track, two reworked songs from their 2017 demo For God Snakes, and a couple other tracks that the band has had in their back pocket for a while, giving them a little modern touch.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!