Album Review – EvnaR / E.V.N.A.R. (2016)

Two high-skilled Spanish brothers and their loyal Slovenian sledgehammer deliver a lesson in Blackened Death Metal, spreading darkness and destruction all over the world through their purely demonic and extremely refined technique.

cover artworkConceived in the minds of Spanish blood brothers R.M. (vocals) and J.M. (guitars) before founding Black/Death Metal band Between the Frost in 1993, and reignited in 2010 with the help of the impressive Slovenian drummer Robert Kovačič (Belphegor, Obduktion, Nothnegal), Blackened Death Metal act EvnaR is releasing their debut full-length opus, curiously entitled E.V.N.A.R., with the main objective of spreading darkness and destruction all over the world through their purely demonic and extremely refined technique, which will certainly please all fans of Behemoth, Belphegor and God Dethroned, among others.

The pitch-black artwork by Spanish artist César Valladares, whose pencils are also seen in the artworks for bands like Asphyx, Balmog and Graveyard, with the Reaper sitting on his throne waiting for the doomed to take unholy communion with him, not only represents the desire of the brothers to have a more primitive cover art based in the classic concept of the Grim Reaper, but it’s also a precise depiction of the unrelenting Blackened Death Metal discharged by this exciting band from Tarragona, Catalonia. As one final (but important) detail before all hell breaks loose, E.V.N.A.R. was recorded with a lot of patience and dedication for one year in different studios in Spain and Slovenia, being finally mastered by multi-instrumentalist and producer Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio in Sweden, just to give you an idea of how crisp and ear-splitting the compositions by EvnaR sound.

The sharp and fast riffs by J.M. ignite the Blackened Death Metal extravaganza named Blasphemia Manifesta, a feast of extreme music from the netherworld where R.M. personifies the song’s demonic lyrics through his gruesome growling (“Darkness unites us beyond / All human will / We should be strong as the evil in whom believe / Denial praises / Utter darkness / This is our grim black cult, grim black cult of death”), while in Contemptus Vitæ we are able to witness why Robert was the perfect fit for the band, delivering complex and vicious beats and fills. Furthermore, the whole song leans towards pure Black Metal due to its frantic speed and to the hellish sound of the guitar by J.M., an extra hint of devastation to an already solid composition.

Then we have a fantastic composition from hell entitled Infinite Dark Hatred, which name epitomizes its sounding. There’s a gargantuan amount of hate and despair in R.M.’s vocals, barking like a rabid demon most of the time, whereas the intricacy found in the drumming by Robert gets closer to what we can normally find in more progressive heavy music. In Death In The Air (Stench Of The Slain), rumbling bass lines are quickly followed by more satanic riffs and bestial beats, getting even more blackened than the previous tracks and, consequently, resulting in a nonstop havoc highly recommended for fans of old school Black Metal with a more melodic approach. If you’re a true fan of guttural vocals, I bet you’ll be screaming the chorus together with R.M. every single time you listen to this amusing chant.

band photoKing Of The Grand Uruk has as its main ingredient its epic lyrics about a powerful entity of darkness (“Two parts god, one part man / King of the Grand Uruk / The envy of the gods / Carved his story in stone / Dreams and visions fighting both / Against demons and men”), which will surely grab the attention of any listener avid for a good storyline behind a sonic chaos. Musically speaking, it’s another potent blast of extreme music, where not a single space is left empty, and if you know Robert from his previous bands you can imagine how astonishing his drumming sounds in this savage composition. And embracing total fuckin’ darkness, the Spanish brothers and their loyal Slovenian sledgehammer deliver traditional Black Metal with the most poisonous elements from Death Metal in Torment of the Damned, showcasing an amazing combination of metallic riffs and rhythmic beats.

Conceived In Fire provides a quick break for us to recover our energies in the form of acoustic guitars and less devastating riffs, but that’s obviously for a very short while as their menacing sounding returns to torment our souls ruthlessly. Furthermore, the complexity displayed through the guitar lines by J.M. will put a smile in the face of any guitarist who loves extreme music or even the ones who have never had any contact with the furious uproar of Blackened Death Metal. And last but not least, it looks like EvnaR have absolutely no mercy on our souls based on the demented tune that closes the album, named My Cremation, where the unstoppable beats blasted by Robert complement the hurricane of darkness led by J.M., while R.M. keeps vociferating his putrid words vigorously.

Although it might have taken a considerable amount of time for EvnaR to become a reality in the world of extreme music, every second was worth the wait thanks to the brilliant job done by this power trio when recording E.V.N.A.R., and in order to know more about their blasphemous and cataclysmic music, go check their Facebook page and get your copy of E.V.N.A.R. at their BandCamp page, at The Vinyl Division’s BandCamp page, or at Discogs. I won’t be surprised if I see this album among several rankings listing the top releases of 2016, it doesn’t matter if it will be on a list built by an entity specialized in extreme music or not, so compelling the content of the entire album is.

Best moments of the album: Blasphemia Manifesta, Death In The Air (Stench Of The Slain) and My Cremation.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Winter Demons/The Vinyl Division

Track listing
1. Blasphemia Manifesta 2:52
2. Contemptus Vitæ 3:49
3. Infinite Dark Hatred 4:36
4. Death In The Air (Stench Of The Slain) 3:25
5. King Of The Grand Uruk 3:10
6. Torment Of The Damned 4:44
7. Conceived In Fire 6:10
8. My Cremation 2:44

Band members
R.M. – vocals
J.M. – guitars
Robert Kovačič – drums

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Album Review – Festering / From The Grave (2015)

These undead Portuguese metallers are back from the grave to tear our flesh apart and provide us some high-quality old school Death Metal.

Rating5

Festering-FrontCover_smallJust like any gory and macabre zombie flick, there are times in our lives when people or things that we thought were dead and gone for good make an impactful return to feast on our flesh and haunt our souls. If you’re addicted to sordid old school Death Metal the likes of Dismember, Entombed and Grave, you won’t mind being devoured by the undead Portuguese Death Metal band Festering who, as per the name of their brand new album, are back From The Grave to tear all of us apart.

After releasing a split album back in 1992 and remaining dormant for almost two decades, this talented band from Santo António dos Cavaleiros, Portugal was reformed in 2011, releasing a demo tape entitled From The Grave and an EP named Exhumed, both in 2012. Now in 2015, following the same gruesome path of those releases, their debut full-length album From The Grave, which features cover illustration and artworks by renowned artist César Valladares (Asphyx, Nominon, Graveyard, among many others), will provide the listener a full-bodied portrait of what these cold-blooded Portuguese metallers are capable of.

The quick and sinister intro Festering initiates the sonic cannibalism that becomes extremely barbaric in Exhumed, an old school Death Metal song with absolutely no shenanigans, just straightforward devastation where riffs and growls take the spotlight (as expected), also showcasing drums highly influenced by the blast beats of Black Metal but slightly groovier. Following that promising start, we have the perverse Infected and its hints of Doom Metal, with the bestial vocals by Pedro Gonçalves inspired by old Sepultura and Morbid Angel. It’s a great song for headbanging led by its wicked riffs, where the band accelerates the rhythm, slows it down and goes on with that alternation a few more times, reaching an outstanding result in the end.

The Myth Of Creation can be considered a circle-pit generator chant, with drummer Norberto Arrais kicking ass behind his kit while the guitar lines by João Galego seem as if they’re going to decapitate us so sharp they are, not to mention the aggressiveness of the low-tuned bass lines by Koja Mutilator. And if you think Festering will give you a break you’re damn wrong, because they keep kicking you in the head with their nonstop viciousness in Consuming From Within, a very traditional tune with lots of groove, feeling sometimes like a tribute to Cannibal Corpse and other classic gory bands due to its lyrics (“Open sores all over my body and exuding a foul scent / With an intense suffering, the anguish spend my days / With the excruciating pain that runs through my body / And wanton my flesh like a cold steel blade”); followed by the “infected” musicality and dirty melody found in Submerged In Emptiness, with highlights to the rhythmic beats by Norberto. This tune lives up to the sanguinary tradition of Death Metal, or in other words, it’s fast, heavy and wicked, and we love all that.

Promo-PictureThe next track, Bloodline, has a deranged ambience boosted by the demented deep growls by Pedro, with its hardcore riffs and extreme violence being the icing on the cake of this sensational feast of blood and death that should work marvelously if played live. Moreover, kudos to João for his spot-on guitar solo, adding more electricity to the overall result. In the Blackened Doom Metal tune Proliferation Of Infected Leucocytes their demonic side arises, and if you pay good attention to the music you’ll find hints of Rock N’ Roll and Southern Metal in it, increasing its complexity and harmony but obviously always keeping it carnivorous. Lastly, closing the album we have the slashing Ascent Of The Blessed, where the combination of its direct shredding and high-speed drums turns it into an excellent option for mosh pits, with Pedro once again delivering his amazing sick roars to give life (or death) to the song’s lyrics (“The angels all ascended, / The demons left behind / A new generation was born / From their hatred and cruelty – We”), and the shortest of all tracks, Psychic Convulsions Of Neurasthenia, a beautiful name for a violent composition with highlights to the evil bass lines by Koja.

There are several places where you can find more details about the music by Festering, such as their YouTube channel and especially at their ReverbNation page, and grab your copy of From The Grave at the band’s BandCamp, at the Caverna Abismal Records BandCamp, or at the Caverna Abismal Records webstore. As aforementioned, these talented (and undead) metallers are back from the grave not only to tear our flesh apart but, more important than that, to also provide us all high-quality old school Death Metal. But that’s if you’re not afraid of living dead musicians, of course.

Best moments of the album: Infected, Submerged In Emptiness and Bloodline.

Worst moments of the album: Proliferation Of Infected Leucocytes.

Released in 2015 Caverna Abismal Records/War Productions/Sinais Produções

Track listing
1. Festering (Intro) 0:23
2. Exhumed 3:15
3. Infected 4:36
4. The Myth Of Creation 4:15
5. Consuming From Within 4:21
6. Submerged In Emptiness 4:36
7. Bloodline 4:13
8. Proliferation Of Infected Leucocytes 3:36
9. Ascent Of The Blessed 5:21
10. Psychic Convulsions Of Neurasthenia 2:53

Band members
Pedro Gonçalves – vocals
João Galego – guitars
Koja Mutilator – bass
Norberto Arrais – drums