Album Review – Bane / Esoteric Formulae (2018)

Conjuring visions of darkness, pain and frost, this Montreal-based Blackened Death Metal horde has poured their charred hearts into spawning their third and most complete opus to date.

Originally founded in 2006 in Novi Sad, a city in northern Serbia on the banks of the Danube River, but currently based out of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, Canada, Blackened Death Metal horde Bane has poured their charred hearts into this third full-length release, entitled Esoteric Formulae, a masterwork that leads many influences to an evil culmination, with each track being atmosphere-evoking, filling the soundscape with nocturnal melodies and conjuring visions of darkness, pain and frost. With several tours under their belts as well as countless concerts and festival performances in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria and Poland, among several other countries, Bane continue to push the limits of their unique blend of Blackened Death Metal to the world of the underground, and Esoteric Formulae is the perfect depiction of where the band is headed to.

Featuring a classy artwork by Indonesian graphic artist and illustrator Bahrull Marta (Abomination Imagery), Esoteric Formulae not only showcases a sharp and malevolent duo comprised of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Branislav and drummer Honza Kapak (Master’s Hammer), but also the additional (and very welcome) devilish touches by guest musicians Giulio Moschini (Hour Of Penance), Amduscias (Temple Of Baal) and Canadian composer Ophélie Gingras, enhancing the album’s taste and impact considerably. Put differently, if you’re a fan of the dark, blasphemous and very melodic music by iconic acts like Dissection, Behemoth and Rotting Christ, Esoteric Formulae will bring you a lot of (evil) joy without a shadow of a doubt, placing Bane as one of your top picks from the underground and independent Extreme Metal scene.

Invocation Of The Nameless One is a beautiful, ominous intro embraced by the epic orchestrations by Ophélie Gingras, setting the stage for Branislav and Honza to deliver sheer darkness in The Calling Of The Eleven Angles, a brutal Blackened Death Metal extravaganza where Branislav’s roars get deeper and more demonic while Honza provides a huge dosage of heaviness with his beats and fills; followed by Beneath The Black Earth, and such powerful name could only be accompanied by a crushing sonority, of course, with Branislav doing a fantastic job with his pulverizing riffs and rumbling bass lines, resulting in a vibrant, modern and obscure display of extreme music for admirers of the genre.

Then drinking form the same fountain of iconic bands like Behemoth and Dragonlord, Bane offer our avid ears Bringer Of Pandimensional Disorder, where Black Metal blast beats are intertwined with very melodic and strident guitar lines, all embraced by the cryptic, hellish words vociferated by Branislav (“I call upon the currents – of Wrathful Chaos / Let the oceans of formlessness – into this world / Awaken by the esoteric formulae / Open the gates to the Astral plane of the dark Water / Bringer of Pandimensional Disorder!”). Wretched Feast keeps the album at a sulfurous level, presenting gripping guitars and nonstop beats, and with guest Giulio Moschini adding his own personal twist to the music with his fiery guitar solo, whereas in Into Oblivion, featuring Amduscias as a guest vocalist, Bane summon all evil through their violent Blackened Death Metal, also bringing elements form Symphonic Black Metal the likes of Dimmu Borgir to their already dense musicality.

And they keep scorching our hearts and minds with their visceral Black Metal in Burning The Remains, a mid-tempo, infernal tune where the guitar lines alternate between sheer malignancy and hypnotizing lines, while Honza adds tons of intricacy and strength to the overall result with his bestial drumming. Putting the pedal to the metal, Bane deliver a violent and thrilling tune titled Reign In Chaos, presenting hints of Melodic Death Metal and of the music by Cradle of Filth, which obviously boosts the song’s impact and taste considerably and, therefore, turns it into one of the top moments of the album. Lastly, like a bulldozer smashing our heads, Honza ignites the also vile and metallic Acosmic Forces Of The Nightside, where the duo makes their devilish waves fill every single empty space in a feast of instrumental darkness, before the atmospheric outro Wrathful Reflections brings back a massive wall of orchestrations, finally fading into absolute darkness and void.

In a nutshell, the excellent Esoteric Formulae, available from Bane’s own BandCamp page as well as from the Black Market Metal Label’s Big Cartel, is definitely a must-have album for fans of contemporary and sulfurous Blackened Death Metal, consequently setting the bar really high for the band’s future releases. After purchasing such excellent album, you can also show your utmost support to Branislav and his horde by following Bane on Facebook and by subscribing to their YouTube channel, letting all the aforementioned darkness, pain and frost flowing from the music found in Esoteric Formulae guide you on a one-way journey to the depths of the netherworld.

Best moments of the album: Beneath The Black Earth, Into Oblivion and Reign In Chaos.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Black Market Metal Label

Track listing
1. Invocation Of The Nameless One 1:15
2. The Calling Of The Eleven Angles 3:46
3. Beneath The Black Earth 3:35
4. Bringer Of Pandimensional Disorder 3:49
5. Wretched Feast (feat. Giulio Moschini) 3:46
6. Into Oblivion (feat. Amduscias) 4:34
7. Burning The Remains 4:01
8. Reign In Chaos 3:30
9. Acosmic Forces Of The Nightside 5:27
10. Wrathful Reflections 1:59

Band members
Branislav – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
Honza Kapak – drums

Guest musicians
Giulio Moschini – guitar solo on “Wretched Feast”
Amduscias – vocals on “Into Oblivion”
Ophélie Gingras – orchestrations on “Invocation Of The Nameless One” and “Wrathful Reflections”

Current/live lineup
Branislav – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Max Allard – guitars, backing vocals
Stéphane Deschênes – bass
Nicholas Wells – drums

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Album Review – Pestilent Reign / Pyres (2018)

Get ready for a feast of modern Death Metal blasted by a hardworking German act with their debut full-length opus, singing about the constant anger borne from injustice, human stupidity and religious bigotry.

It’s time to be absolutely pulverized by the frantic, modern and very technical Death Metal played by a German four-piece act known as Pestilent Reign, who are releasing their debut full-length album this year, entitled Pyres. Formed in 2013 by guitarist Lars Hägele and vocalist Christoph Sauner in the city of Sttutgart, in Southern Germany, Pestilent Reign released two EP’s after their inception, those being Shivering Chaos, in 2015, and The Zealot, in 2016, leading the band to play from local to international shows at festivals like Monthly Assault in Switzerland and Nice To Eat You in the Czech Republic, and sharing the stage with well-known bands like Benighted, Wormed, Unfathomable Ruination, Implore, Pighead, Analepsy, Omophagia, Spasm, Gutalax, Serrabulho, Deserted Fear, Rottenness, Warfuck and Abysmal Torment.

Across 39 minutes split in eight fulminating tracks, Pyres draws strength from a multitude of influences such as Psycroptic, Dying Fetus, Aborted and Revocation in a multi-faceted manner that’s as rewarding to listen to as it is fun. On Pyres, Pestilent Reign strikes the perfect balance between straightforward modern Death Metal, sledgehammer-like brutality, thrashy hooks, technically adept flourishes, and monstrous grooves. Featuring an obscure cover artwork by Bahrull Marta (Abomination Imagery) from Indonesia, and with lyrical themes based on the constant anger borne from injustice, human stupidity and religious bigotry, Pyres is the result of the band’s dedication and hard work, powerfully representing their passion and devotion to extreme music.

A song that starts with a crazy voice barking the sentence “PEOPLE ARE CANCER!” has to be violent and austere, and Martyr is all that, igniting the intricate and piercing devastation by the quartet with Sebastian Unić showcasing all his skills behind his drum kit, before Christoph starts firing his Barney Grimway-inspired growls in an entertaining exhibit of modern and aggressive Progressive Death Metal. And their sonic demolition goes on in You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood, a Death Metal tune with some Black Metal nuances where Lars sounds pulverizing with his metallic riffs. Moreover, it’s impossible not to love the breaks and variations presented by the band throughout the song, while Christoph keeps blasting furious gnarls and screeches nonstop. And the band offers another explosion of their scorching Death Metal in Saviour, which also sounds melodic and extremely vile at the same time, showcasing a beastly Sebastian on drums while Lars and his flammable guitar add an extra touch of dementia to the musicality. And in Ouroboros, it’s impressive how they master the art of blending the aggressiveness and rage from Death Metal with the intricacy of Progressive Metal, with Christoph sounding like a vile creature on vocals while the rest of the band will inspire you to crush your head into the circle pit.

Cleanse the Flesh presents razor-edged riffs and nonstop annihilation flowing from start to finish, with bassist Matthias “Mick” Figura together with Sebastian creating a dense background perfect for the rabid screams by Christoph; whereas in Zealot a brutal and electrifying intro morphs into ass-kicking Progressive Death Metal, with Sebastian and his blast beats adding a touch of darkness to the music. In addition, pay good attention to the interesting narration about going to a Death Metal concert and its connection with Satan, as it brings a pinch of comedic relief to their crushing music. A demonic screech ignites another circle pit-catalyst titled I.M.T.R.M., a great tune by this demented German squad with both Lars and Matthias grinding their axes like there’s no tomorrow. And last but not least we have Gutter´s Filth, perhaps the most intricate and wicked of all songs in Pyres, where all four band members are smashing and pounding their instruments mercilessly. Moreover, the level of complexity flowing from the guitar lines by Lars is outstanding, not to mention the demented performance by Christoph on vocals.

The fury spawned by Pestilent Reign can be better appreciated by following them on Facebook, and if you want to carry all the rottenness of old school Death Metal fused with the complexity of progressive music from Pyres (which by the way is available for a full listen on YouTube) with you wherever you go, you can buy a copy of the album at the Rising Nemesis Records BandCamp or Big Cartel, at the Rebirth the Metal Productions BandCamp or Big Cartel, as well as on iTunes, Amazon or City Disc, and keep supporting the always fun and always exhilarating underground Extreme Metal scene.

Best moments of the album: You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood, Ouroboros and Gutter´s Filth.

Worst moments of the album: Saviour.

Released in 2018 Rising Nemesis Records/Rebirth the Metal Productions

Track listing
1. Martyr 4:20
2. You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood 3:34
3. Saviour 5:28
4. Ouroboros 4:02
5. Cleanse the Flesh 3:08
6. Zealot 6:59
7. I.M.T.R.M. 4:58
8. Gutter´s Filth 6:07

Band members
Christoph Sauner – vocals
Lars Hägele – guitar
Matthias “Mick” Figura – bass
Sebastian Unić – drums