Last month we conducted a complete overhaul of our website. From the feedback we have received, it would appear that the redesign has been well received and that you find the information much more easy to access. Since the initial launch we have, of course, added a number of features, and improved the news section, allowing for longer news articles with accompanying photography. New features will be added over time, as and when needed. Our aim is to update the website every day, as long as there are news to report, and to keep our internet presence dynamic. As it seemed people miss our printed catalogues, particularly because they enjoyed our reviews, last month we decided to reintroduce them in digital form, now using this very useful publishing tool we have found on the internet. The advantage of this is that it enables us to do a colour catalogue that looks and feels like a magazine and to make it available far and wide without the costs of printing and postage, the latter of which have increased considerably in the past few years. Finally, last month we also launched a new blog at http://www.supernalmusic.blogspot.com. The new blog is edited and operated by AK-47, so you can expect a different style and content, which we hope you will enjoy. The purpose of the blog is still to provide additional information and reflections, indirectly
CHURCH BIZARRE (Dnk): "Sic Luceat Lux" CD (Hells Headbangers)
BLODSKALD (Swe): "Vidundred" CD (Death Dealers Association)
Along with the excellent SNÖTÅRAR (reviewed below), BLODSKALD represent the Swedish Black Metal underground in its most reactionary and nostalgic form, for this band faithfully reproduces the style of that scene as it existed prior to 1995: the sad atmosphere, the demo-level production values, the sadistic minimalism, the rasped vocals echoing into the darkness, the epic and strumming-oriented song constructions... it is all there, reminding us of SORHIN's excellent second demo, "I fullmånens dystra sken" and even the Demo '94 efforts by the German MAYHEMIC TRUTH. It is that type of sound and feeling we are dealing with here, transporting our minds to a simpler, purer age, when Black Metal existed mostly on rare cassettes and obscure CDs pressed by elusive, semicriminal, here-today-gonetomorrow bedroom labels. And there is no trace of the kind of cynical or unimaginative copycatry that leaves you cold and is never as good of the originals: this sounds absolutely genuine, drenched with the cold darkness and the harsh emotion of that golden era. Must own. Reviewed by AK-47. £7.99
related to the music, but which fall outside straight label news. Said blog will be updated frequently. Label news will appear on our website. In sum, new year, new website, new catalogue, new blog, new headquarters (already mentioned last year), and... new releases. The first of the latter will follow soon, coming in the shape of FIDEI DEFENSOR’s “Cognoscenti” - a very impressive album and a good way to begin 2009. What can you expect from us this year? After the abovementioned release we have, among others, not necessarily in this order, and on dates which will be announced closer to the time: FANISK’s “Insularum” CD, BEHELL CD, WOODS OF INFINITY LP, and a new ELDRIG CD. The latter, incidentally, will no longer be titled “Wyrd”; we’ve been informed that the album will be titled “Urlagarne”. The latter was recorded some months ago and the artwork is currently being worked on. As to the long-awaited FANISK follow-up to “Noontide” (we still have copies in stock of this elusive masterpiece, by the way), the music for “Insularum” is now complete. We have been given no indication as of yet as to what we can expect.
I was sceptical of this Danish outfit when I first learnt of them, so I never bothered to give "Sinister Glorification" a try. I did, however, notice that the latter cam with an attractive presentation (cut-out gates that opened on the front cover), and that each time the CDs were stocked (in cautious amounts) the locusts came and devoured them swiftly. These observations motivated in me a desire for further investigation. I discovered here in archaic Black / Death Metal in the classic underground 1990s fashion, filled with Occult and Satanic themes, exploding with energy, and recorded with raw but good sound. The overall feeling is quite nostalgic: a mixture of euphoria, pugnacity, and sadness, which works remarkably well, for the latter affords depth to the music and emphasises its underground origins. "Sic Luceat Lux" is not a brand new album but rather a loving collection of all of the band's recorded material (excluding "Sinister Glorification") plus live and unreleased tracks. The tracks are broken down as follows: CD1: tracks 1-3: The Liberating Darkness -7"EP; tracks 4-10: Live in Svendborg, July 2007; tracks 11-13: rehearsal tracks 2007 from the never recorded second album 'Sic Luceat Lux'; CD-2: tracks 1-6: Evoke Or Not - Evil Will Come - 7"EP; track 7: bonus track from Enigma Of Hades 7"EP; track 8: unreleased Nunslaughter cover, recorded during the 'Sinister Glorification' session; tracks 915: live in Svendborg 2006; tracks 16-19: Demo 2004; and track 20: Nunslaughter cover from South American version of 'Demo 2004'. The presentation is up to Hell's Headbangers' high standards: a 12-pannel fold-up printed on thick card and with silver leaf on the cover. The only minus is that the fold-up is so bulky that you cannot properly close the jewelcase. In all, a chance for the devoted enthusiast to complete his collection. ("Sinister Glorification", by the way, is nearly sold out: it was limited to 1000 copies and we are down to the last 5, so when those are gone, re-stocks will not be possible.) Reviewed by AK-47. £10.99
DOOM:VS (Swe): "Dead Words Speak" CD
QUERS DAY's first album, "The First Snow". This was mainly because of the layered vocals, the melancholy atmosphere, the rough guitars, the varied drumming, and the lenghty tracks with many rhythmic changes and acoustic segments. FALLS OF RAUROS does, however, have a distinct feel in relation to the abovementioned band, which make me think of label mates SIG:AR:TYR. The inspiration is distinctly pagan, and this is reflected in the gloomy nature photography of wooded and wintry settings, but, unlike bands in this mould, the riffing does not quarry the legacy of ancient folk songs to reflect this: rather, they are of purely emotional origin. The album therefore exudes genuine artistry and deep introspection (think DRUDKH), of a type we do not hear too often in times when Black Metal has concentrated at the polar extremes of misanthropic rawness and Viking raucousness. An excellent album worth investing in. Reviewed by AK-47. £7.99.
(Firedoom Records) Second album from this Swedish Funeral Doom project. Here we have probably one of the better exponents in this style, offering megalithic tempos, dolmen-like heaviness, and an - aptly - an oppressive atmosphere of dismal obscurity, but also variety in the song-writing, something the style, because of its preoccupation with evoking the most crushing feelings of sorrow imaginabe and because of its roots in the 1993 album by THERGOTHON, is not generally best-known for. This album will satisfy fans of SKEPTICISM and MY SHAMEFUL, the only difference here is that, for some reason, one thinks of dank crypts and icy cellars and echoing catacombs and deep dungeons when listening to this album. As can be expected, given Firedoom’s other releases, this album comes with excel- NFIMBULTYR (Swe): lent production and a professional and suitable murky pres- "Gryende Tidevarv" CD entation, confirming that this is (Unexploded Records) a quality release. Reviewed by This album offers you energetic AK-47. £7.99 and thoroughbred Nordic Viking Metal from Sweden, with raging guitars, crystalline leads and acoustic arpeggios, typically Scandinavian-Folky melodies, subtle and limpid synth highlights, and aggressively screamed vocals. The production is clean, the songs are absorbing and epic, and your body responds to the sounds in a synchronous rhythmic fashion; your mind is, therefore, instantly transported to a virginal northern landspaces, lost in a remote past of mysticism and heroism. Fans of THYRFING and MIDWINTER will appreciate the work of this talented sextet. A high-quality release that revives the nostalgic underambiance of a decade ago. FALLS OF RAUROS (USA): "Hail Wind ground Reviewed by AK-47. £7.99
and Hewn Oak" CD (Morbid Winters Records)
When I first heard this album, I was reminded of NIGHT CON-
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Reviews thick, matt card, which is to Cold Void's credit. So, for the collector, this is a worthwhile opportunity to complete the collection. Reviewed by AK-47. £7.99.
GRAVDAL (Nor): "Sadist" CD (Unexploded Records)
It has been quite a while since we have heard anything new of quality coming out of Norway, following the mutation of the classic Norwegian Black Metal sound during the late 1990s and its eventual disintegration during the early to mid 2000s. GRAVDAL is a pleasant surprise, offering raging and semi-melodic Black Metal, combining aggression with melancholy, pathos and insanity, as well as modern elements with archaic ones. The final result is akin to what we would have heard coming out of a respectable underground label circa 1997, complete with song titles in Norwegian, albeit with traces of techniques developed in years following. The guitars are rough and loud, but also clear; they dominate the mix, along with the screamed vocals, which come second. The occasional effect or synth can be heard as the album progresses, mainly as an aetherealising and space-generating highlight. Presented in a glossy digipack format and with professionally-executed artwork, you will happily grow your own vegetables and use the funds to invest on this fast-moving escape vehicle. Reviewed by AK47. £7.99
LEVIATHAN (USA): "A Silhouette in Splinters" CD (Moribund Records)
It came as a surprise (althought it explained a number of things) when I was told by the owner of Tumult Records, who happens to be friends with Wrest, that the latter had been influenced by BENIGHTED LEAMS. Yes, apparently, this is true. And this might explain why I found a particular guitar technique that had been developed for "Astral Tenebrion" (and present in the technically superior successors, "Ferly Centesms" and "Obombrid Welkins") replicated in LEVIATHAN's albums. Be that as it may, "A Silhouette in Splinters" is not exactly a new album, but rather a collection of previously unreleased tracks, which had previously seen the light of day (in 2005) as a limited vinyl of Profound Lore Records, and which has now been re-issued as a CD. If you are familiar with LEVIATHAN's work, you will not be disappointed, for here you will find the trademark Black Metal horror, only in this instance dragging you with its lugubrious atmosphere and Metalised Dark Ambient to the deepest chasms of hell. A very interesting, obscure, and mentally-involuted work is the result, and a different approach to this dark art, particularly as the Ambiance is produced with a creative use and layering of the the guitars, rather than with electronics. Excellent for losing oneself in the blackest fog of shock-induced catatonia. Reviewed by AK-47. £7.99
GORGOROTH (Nor): "The Beginning" CD (Cold Void Productions)
If you are a fanatic worshipper of this Norwegian band, you will not find anything unfamiliar here, for this CD offers you nothing more and nothing less than the chance to own the EPs and promo from the early-to-mid 1990s, plus five live tracks from 1996, on this practical and durable physical format. If you never got the chance to own the abovementioned recordings ("A Sorcery Written in Blood", 1993; "Promo '94", and "The Last Tormentor", 1996), or the first and second albums, then you will hear here the quintessential Norwegian Black Metal sound, as it was in the days when it occupied the nether regions of the extreme Metal underground: a sound full of hatred and hunger, violence and melancholy, like you never heard before. The sound is very good and the printed parts, which are as minimal as those of the original versions of "Antichrist" and "Pentagram", have been done on
SIG:AR:TYR (Can): "Beyond the North Winds" CD (Morbid Winter Records)
"Beyond the North Winds" is in a similar style as its predecessor - it is still Folky Black Metal, blending the Nordic Metal style of yore with and brilliant acoustic passages, synth ambiance, and folky riffing but it is notably superior, in terms of the song writing and the capacity of the melodies to completely absorb the listener and transport him away from the modern world. Not only that, but musicianship is stellar, and we can hear dazzling guitar solos thrown in, both in amplified and acoustic forms. This features are further enhanced by a crystalline production, which balances the heavy, distorted crunch of the electric guitars against the scintillating acoustic arpeggios. From the references to the "ruins of the modern world" and brief correspondence, it is clear SIG:AR:TYR draws its inspiration from Radical Traditionalism, of which Guenon and Evola were well-known proponents; this is by no means unusual in the scene, but, it does suggest that the artistic activity in this case is underpinned by a higher level of intellectual sophistication. Certainly, we cannot complain about the artwork, whose minimal excellence is well in accord with the general feel and atmosphere of the compositions. Giving this a miss in favour of something else would be hard to defend. Reviewed by AK47. £6.66
SIEGHETNAR (Deu) "Kaltetod" CD (Nordsturm Productions)
I thoroughly enjoyed this band's previous and this one has not disappointed. Once again, this enigmatic German formation offer us freezing, atmospheric Black Metal, volatilised almost to the threshold of Dark Ambient, and of an almost abstract quality, given the long and near-instrumental compositions. This album is designed as a vehicle for your imagination to transport itself to vast, pristine, majestic, and solitary landscapes. It is an emotionally-driven agenda, carried out with heartfelt inspiration and absorbing effectiveness. Not to be missed. Reviewed by AK-47. £7.99
SNÖTÅRAR (Swe): "Vredeslusta" CD TRIST (Cze): "Sebevrazedni Andile" (Death Dealers Association) (De Tenebrarum Principio) If there is modern a band that most intolerantly captures the feeling of the ancient Swedish Black Metal underground, in all its reactionary orthodoxy, that band is SNÖTÅRAR. Everything about this band exudes the archaic aesthetics of that era and style: the messy logo, the murky analogue sound, the strict minimalism, the song titles, the epic-length tracks, the degraded black and white snowbound forest landscapes, the corpsepaint and bulletbelts... You cannot help but think of long-forgotten gems like VARGAVINTER, early DARK FUNERAL, and SETHERIAL's 1994 demo. Martuz is not only able to reproduce the style, but he does it with the same angry fanaticism, the same cold cruelty, the same obscure nostalgia that permeated these legendary recordings. It is, consequently, enormously satisfying to hear this album, and more than worth every silver penny. This album makes it impossible to go wrong and you must have it! Reviewed AK-47. £7.99
What an awful experience! By listening to this record you enter a torture chamber echoing with this gentleman's howls of agony, set against a backdrop of slow, cavernous guitars and slow, ponderous drums. The entire three-quarters-of-an-hourlong album offers only two colossal tracks of suicidal Black Metal, each equally bleak and miserable. This album is only for those of you with a morbidly masochistic hunger for exquisite pain and the most bestialising depression. Reviewed by AK-47. £7.99
This is one of the most outstanding records I have heard in 2008. Their debut album exuded quality and, having previously exchanged emails with the man behind the music, I knew the moment I learnt of its availability that this new opus would be something remarkable. Despite my high expectations, however, these were quickly exceded by what came out of my speakers.
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