Album Review – Tristwood / Blackcrowned Majesty (2020)

Behold the final part of a saga about the return of a legendary ruler named Ar’ath to Ma’haxul through the eyes of an infernal Industrial Black and Death Metal band from Austria.

Blasting their venomous hybrid of Avantgarde, Black, Death and Industrial Metal with Grindcore nuances (being even labeled Blackened Grindcore by some fans and critics) since their inception in 2001 in the city of Linz, Austria, the cryptic entity known as Tristwood is ready to raise some hell with their fifth full-length opus entitled Blackcrowned Majesty, a musical journey led via Nihilist, early Bathory, Oxiplegatz, Morbid Angel, Hellhammer, Skinny Puppy and Killing Joke into the world of the real underground of the rough 80’s and early 90’s. Representing the final part of a saga about the return of a legendary ruler named Ar’ath to Ma’haxul, born out of pure blackness and disaster, the album describes in a musical way how she flows to the north after her destruction and is crowned again by her faithful. The album art, created in the summer of 2019 in the Alps by Ani van Sunnjurck, is the basis and building block of the story, showing the anti-hero Rauthra and hinting at his outer appearance as well as his quest from northern shores to the interior of the country to join Ar’ath. Comprised of Deimon on vocals, synths and flute, Jegger on vocals and guitars, Neru on guitars, backing vocals and synths, JD on bass and fretless bass solos, and HMG on drums, Tristwood are on fire throughout the almost 40 minutes of music found in Blackcrowned Majesty, uniting a very entertaining concept with their usual musical madness and rage.

Arising from the underworld like evil creatures of darkness, Tristwood begin blasting their fusion of industrial, electronic and extreme music in Re-Enthronement Of The Damned, bringing forward an infernal sound masterfully crafted by all band members, with HMG being beyond pulverizing on drums while Deimon and Jegger keep growling like true demons. In the heavier and more caustic He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion, the scorching riffs by Jegger and Neru will pierce your ears mercilessly in a frantic and chaotic fusion of Industrial and Black Metal, whereas wicked, uncanny sounds ignite the electro-dark title-track A Blackcrowned Majesty, before all hell breaks loose in another hellish extravaganza by Tristwood. Moreover, the background synths and keys by Deimon and Neru add a touch of dementia to the music, while JD simply hammers his metallic bass nonstop. And it’s time to bang our heads like maniacs to the obscure and futuristic Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands, where Deimon and Jegger are once again berserk on vocals, supported by the classic beats by HMG and the venom and acid flowing from the band’s stylish guitar riffs.

The quintet keeps smashing our skulls in The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate, a vicious fusion of Black and Industrial Metal presenting machine gun-like blast beats, razor-edged riffs and demonic gnarls and roars, sounding as dark and grim as it can be from start to finish; and there’s no sign of Tristwood slowing down at all as they continue to fill every single space in the air with sheer darkness, hatred and lunacy in Acherontic Deathcult, with the whimsical keys and synths by Deimon and Neru bringing a welcome balance to their sonic havoc. Then inhumane, desperate screams are potentialized by the band’s high-octane guitars and drums in the visceral Bone Cathedral, a lesson in contemporary Industrial Extreme Metal by Tristwood, not to mention how thunderous the bass by JD sounds during the entire song, followed by the Stygian and captivating Nightshade Eternal, the epic finale to the saga of Rauthra, where the sick and deranged harsh growls by Deimon and Jegger are effectively spiced up by all background elements and the always pounding beats by HMG, flowing smoothly and infernally until its abrupt and somber ending.

Will Rauthra join the Nightshade? All you need to do to have the answer to that question is listening to Blackcrowned Majesty in full, and in order to do that simply go to Tristwood’s official BandCamp page, where you can obviously purchase your copy of the album and show your support to such talented Austrian band. In addition, don’t forget to give the guys from Tristwood a shout on their Facebook page, where you can get more details about the band, their future releases and tour dates. In summary, Tristwood undoubtedly reinvented themselves in Blackcrowned Majesty, adding another solid stone to their ever-growing castle of Industrial Black and Death Metal with such multi-layered and distinguished concept album and, consequently, paving a promising path for those Austrian veterans who know how to make some reverberating and loud noise when armed with their weapons of sonic destruction.

Best moments of the album: He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion, Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands and The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Re-Enthronement Of The Damned 4:16
2. He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion 4:23
3. A Blackcrowned Majesty 5:18
4. Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands 4:54
5. The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate 4:08
6. Acherontic Deathcult 4:24
7. Bone Cathedral 4:24
8. Nightshade Eternal 6:16

Band members
Deimon – vocals, synths, flute
Jegger – vocals, guitars
Neru – guitars, backing vocals, synths
JD – bass, fretless bass solos
HMG – drums

Album Review – Plutonium / Born Again Misanthrope (2016)

Extremely toxic, flammable, unorthodox and unique. That’s the transuranic radioactive Industrial Extreme Metal engendered by Swedish multi-instrumentalist Mr. J.


albumcoverBAMThe “most common” form of plutonium known worldwide is the transuranic radioactive chemical element with symbol Pu and atomic number 94, with very harmful effects on the human body due to its radioactivity and heavy metal poison effects. However, what would happen if those lethal characteristics were converted into heavy music? Well, I guess the result would sound pretty much like the eccentric Industrial Extreme Metal by Swedish one-man band Plutonium, as you’ll be able to experience while taking a listen at his brand new full-length album, entitled Born Again Misanthrope.

Plutonium was formed in 2003 in the city of Karlskoga, Sweden by Mr. J (also known as J. Carlsson) as his creative oasis and getaway, and since them the world has already witnessed the uprise of a demo named Wind Of Change (2004) and the full-length albums One Size Fits All (2007) and Devilmentertainment Non-Stop (2011). Featuring nine songs that not only have an unorthodox approach but also present idiosyncratic names, Born again Misanthrope signs an evolution in the music by Mr. J and his radioactive Plutonium, and if you’re expecting something easy to listen and absorb I must warn you this album is definitely not for you.

You can feel how experimental the album is from the very first notes of the opening track, Born Again Misanthrope, a fusion of Black and Industrial Metal with Blackened Doom where a hellish ambience together with demonic (and somehow robotic) growls and traditional Black Metal double bass will pulverize your mind. And even more electronic and deranged, Cortex Vortex would be an excellent soundtrack to a futuristic horror flick, with Mr. J crafting what we can call “Extreme Disco Metal”. Besides, its guitar riffs keep the song at the right level of heaviness in its almost eight minutes of violent experimentations.

The Inverted Panopticon Experience, a demented march of evil that goes on and on for six minutes, is a modernized version of Atmospheric Black Metal with an extra dosage of metallic noises, which might also be called Industrial Black Metal, while Casque Strength presents a hellish video-game sounding in a more melodic form of Industrial Metal. In addition, its constant electronic riff and the hobgoblin-like vocals by Mr. J are very interesting and end up working really well in this high-octane tune. And just when you think Mr. J will bring forward another blasting tune, he delivers the Blues-ish Progressive Doom Metal chant The Masque Of The Green Demon, a weird and obscure tune completely different from the rest of the album, sounding like a psychedelic voyage inside the mind of this crazy Swedish multi-instrumentalist.

plutoniumThe second part of Born Again Misanthrope is as otherworldly as possible, starting with the semi-acoustic and totally ominous composition Renuntiationem, another wicked surprise in the album where the music feels like a representation of a desolated planet, with Mr. J whispering the lyrics instead of screaming, followed by the vibrant Electric Barbwire Crown Of Thorns, a rawer Black Metal chant with the impact of its blast beats and harsher growls being enhanced by huge amounts of progressiveness. Then we have Alice In Plutoniumland (Two Minute Hate Part III), a two-minute instrumental track full of eerie noises and a somber atmosphere (and that’s basically it), before Confessions Of A Suicidal Cryptologist, which is perhaps the most brutal of all tracks, closes the album in the darkest way you can imagine. I’d like to see more of this blackened side of Mr. J, growling like an old school Black Metal vocalist while delivering blazing guitar riffs that will rip your soul apart.

Maybe an extra dosage of electronic background effects and a better sound recording for the drums would elevate the overall quality of the album to a whole new level, but we must acknowledge that Born Again Misanthrope is at a very decent standard taking into account the fact Mr. J is a 100% independent artist who recorded and produced everything without any external help. In other words, imagine what this guy could do with some proper support? And if you’re interested in knowing more about the transuranic radioactive Industrial Extreme Metal engendered by Mr. J, go check his Facebook page, SoundCloud and ReverbNation, and buy Born Again Misanthrope at his BandCamp page. As aforementioned, this is not an easy listen at all, being extremely toxic, flammable and unusual, but I’m pretty sure Mr. J has never wanted his uncanny Plutonium to be anywhere close to the mainstream. Quite the contrary, he is extremely comfortable with where he stands today with his music.

Best moments of the album: Electric Barbwire Crown Of Thorns and Confessions Of A Suicidal Cryptologist.

Worst moments of the album: Renuntiationem.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Born Again Misanthrope 4:37
2. Cortex Vortex 7:53
3. The Inverted Panopticon Experience 6:08
4. Casque Strength 7:35
5. The Masque Of The Green Demon 5:30
6. Renuntiationem 5:32
7. Electric Barbwire Crown Of Thorns 6:34
8. Alice In Plutoniumland (Two Minute Hate Part III) 2:00
9. Confessions Of A Suicidal Cryptologist 7:13

Band members
Mr. J – vocals, all instruments