Album Review – Angra Demana / Triptych Of Decay EP (2019)

From the the boundless darkness of hell, here comes an infernal Black Metal duo armed to the teeth with their sulfurous and violent new EP.

Formed in 2007 in the city of Karaj, Iran, but currently located in Innsbruck, capital of Austria’s western state of Tyrol, Ambient/Atmospheric Black Metal entity Angra Demana is unleashing upon humanity a brand new EP entitled Triptych Of Decay, marking a new beginning for the band such is the difference between this EP and the band’s debut full-length Dissolve Into Nothingness, released in 2012. For instance, the meaning of Angara Damana (which by the way was the band’s past name) is based according to Zoroaster’s book, stating there are four levels of hell, with the first three levels, Malicious, Scurrility and Malfesant, being the upper levels and beneath them is the boundless darkness, which is Angara Damana or “Angra Demana”.

Lead singer Atöm Krieg and guitarist and bassist Radman, together with guest drummers Jocke Wallgren (Amon Amarth) and Fredrik Widigs (Marduk), turned Triptych of Decay into a handful of surprises with their creativity, rage and dexterity, successfully avoiding to enter the mined fields of eccentricity or elitist avantgarde. Featuring a Stygian artwork by Vojtěch Doubek (Moonroot), Triptych Of Decay will lacerate your damned soul without a single drop of mercy, elevating the name of Angra Demana to new heights in the underground Extreme Metal scene, and leaving you eager for more of their intricate and vile Black Metal.

Brutal and raw from the very first second, Rupture is a true headbanging massacre featuring the demolishing Jocke on drums, or in other words, it’s a classic Black Metal composition where Radman fires sulfurous riffs from his guitar, not to mention how Stygian the lyrics vociferated by Atöm are (“Darkness emerged – enlightenment of my sight / It granted me a world , far beyond this life / To the seclusion atmosphere of flawless awareness / In resistance, transgression against this mortal breed / In a world of forgotten deserted mankind / I start a battle between glory and corruption”). And Jocke once again lends his refined technique to the ominous Erode, where the riffs by Radman will cut your skin deep while Atöm continues to bark rabidly, sounding wicked and diabolical from start to finish. Furthermore, its background keys give it an extra touch of obscurity, with the bass lines by Radman dictating the song’s lugubrious rhythm. Then it’s time for Fredrik to kick some ass on drums in Extinction, and the final result is a berserk onrush of Black Metal sounds. Radman sounds infernal on the guitar, as well as Atöm with his deranged roars and grim vocalizations, effectively giving life to the song’s apocalyptic words (“And the sickness will be erased / When the last scream drift away in the eternal cosmos / Peace through extinction of flesh and blood / And finally all is drenched in thy wisdom”). In my humble opninion, Angra Demana couldn’t have ended the album in a more hellish manner.

In a nutshell, the music by Angra Demana is evil, frantic, chaotic, ritualistic and sulfurous, exactly how we expect a good Black Metal band to sound, and Triptych Of Decay is the perfect depiction of their obscurity. With that said, let’s show our support to such distinct underground duo by following them on Facebook, and especially by purchasing their brand new EP directly from their BandCamp page, keeping the flame of devilish and atmospheric Black Metal burning bright for centuries to come, it doesn’t matter if it’s in Iran, in Austria or in any other part of our decaying world.

Best moments of the album: Extinction.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Rupture 7:06
2. Erode 5:55
3. Extinction 6:05

Band members
Atöm Krieg – vocals
Radman – guitars, bass

Guest musicians
Jocke Wallgren – drums on “Rupture” and “Erode”
Fredrik Widigs – drums on “Extinction”

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Album Review – Funeral Hearse / In Devotion of… (2019)

A fantastic album of 80’s Hardcore and Crust Punk-infused Black Metal by a one-man army from Singapore, paying homage to the terrifying Aghori sadhus.

Hailing from Kovan, a neighborhood located within the town of Hougang, in the northeast region of Singapore, Black/Death Metal one-man army Funeral Hearse plays a diverse mix of 80’s Hardcore/Crust Punk-infused Black Metal with themes ranging from religion, politics, nuclear annihilation and society. Formed in 2016 as a two-piece outfit comprised of multi-instrumentalist Azrael (also known as Imran Manaff) and vocalist and lyricist Deadwax, who decided to leave the band in early 2018 leaving Azrael as the sole member, Funeral Hearse returns in full force with its first full-length album, entitled In Devotion of…, fresh off its 2017 successful double EP Heralding the Death Winds and The Fist, The Spit, The Sword, paying homage to the Aghori sadhus, a sect of Hinduism with left-hand path rituals, practices and philosophy towards life and death, bringing their attributes to life through a series of musical onslaught accompanied by sounds of nature interwoven to create a surreal journey.

Written, recorded and produced by Azrael himself, and featuring a dark, straightforward artwork by Czech artist Vojtech Doubek (Moonroot), In Devotion of… follows a similar pattern as the band’s 2017 releases by exploring a recurring theme of religion, this time focusing on the aforementioned Aghori sadhus. “The Aghori Sadhus theme was actually suggested by Deadwax, who was intrigued by this religious sect. He brought the idea to me and after reading more about them we became captivated and enthralled by these Aghoris who would display their devotion through indulging in left-hand practices such as residing on cremation grounds, acts of cannibalism and the list goes on,” explains Azrael on the theme of the album. Musically speaking, In Devotion of… is an ode to all things extreme music, inspired by iconic names such as Marduk, Immortal, Celtic Frost and Darkthrone, among others, leaving you completely disoriented after its infernal 37 minutes of music are over.

A ritualistic, tribal intro morphs into pulverizing sounds and tones in the opening track Into the Eye of the Serpent, where Azrael begins roaring like a demonic entity while at the same time he shreds his guitar chords in a dark and vile manner, not to mention how organic the programmed drums sound, with chaos reigning supreme from start to finish. And a classic Black Metal riffage dictates the rhythm in Burning Embers from a Funeral Pyre, an ominous and dense creation by Azrael that grows in intensity and rage as the music progresses, all enhanced by his visceral growling attack, and with the guitar sounds slashing our ears and minds mercilessly until the song’s cryptic finale; followed by In Worship of the Divine, which already begins at full speed with Azrael smashing his ax in great fashion, adding a touch of Atmospheric Black Metal to his already visceral sound. In summary, this is that type of storm of heavier-than-hell sounds we all love to hear in Extreme Metal.

Then delicate sounds kick off the also demolishing Under the Eclipse of a Pale Moon, where Azrael is on absolute fire delivering aggressive riffs and bass punches inspired by the greatest bands of the genre such as Immortal and Marduk, sounding at times like a dark waltz of extreme music. All that sonic havoc gives place to serene notes in Cleansing a Damned Soul, but that peace doesn’t last long as Azrael fires sheer violence and rage from his guitar lines and screams, with the music remaining obscure and sharp until the very end, proving our talented lone ranger loves extreme music from the bottom of his (blackened) heart. And last but not least, simply inhale and exhale deeply for a few seconds before Alternate State of Consciousness puts a ferocious ending to the album, with its old school Black Metal-inspired riffs being flawlessly accompanied by gruesome Death Metal vocal lines, flowing like an arrow in flames through the night, and with an acoustic passage giving us a chance to breathe before Azrael’s final onrush of crushing Black Metal.

I’m a huge fan of one-man bands, not only because it’s impressive how some people are capable of generating a full-bodied sonority all by themselves, especially in the Black Metal scene, but also because those lone wolves (and lone she-wolves, of course) are usually extremely creative when composing their music and writing their lyrics. Who else on earth would be able to bring forth an album of extreme music based on the practices and uniqueness of the Aghori sadhus if not a black metaller like Azrael? Having said that, please don’t forget to show your support to such talented musician by following Funeral Hearse on Facebook and, above all, by purchasing In Devotion of… from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Spy Satellite Records’ BandCamp page, as well as from iTunes or from Amazon. It’s a world of cannibalism, religion, devotion, life and death in the form of top-of-the-line Black Metal. What else can you ask for in underground extreme music?

Best moments of the album: Burning Embers from a Funeral Pyre and Under the Eclipse of a Pale Moon.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Spy Satellite Records

Track listing
1. Into the Eye of the Serpent 6:46
2. Burning Embers from a Funeral Pyre 7:01
3. In Worship of the Divine 4:39
4. Under the Eclipse of a Pale Moon 7:08
5. Cleansing a Damned Soul 4:57
6. Alternate State of Consciousness 6:20

Band members
Azrael – vocals, guitars, bass, drum programming