May 17, 2015

Review - 'Blood Harvest Triple-Header: Maleficence/Ascended Dead/VoidCeremony'

From Malmo, Sweden, Blood Harvest is being typically prolific at the moment as from May to June they’re set to bring us three releases dragged from the very lowest depths of the underground for our listening pleasure. Ghoulgotha, Shroud of the Heretic and Ævangelist are a few bands from the label’s release roster so quality underground music is no new thing from them and to, a certain degree, somewhat expected.

Maleficence: Journey to the Depths (Tape) 

First up is Belgian black/thrash band Maleficence who are re-releasing their second demo, “Journey to the Depths” which follows their first demo, “First Spit” which was self-released in 2012. I used the term re-releasing as Journey to the Depths was also released independently via the band in July 2014 but subsequently signed up for an official release by Blood Harvest. 

Maleficence’s music is a fairly straight forward full-on blackened punk-infused barrage that shows some influences from German and South American bands whilst dripping in enough of its own filth to give it a degree of individuality. The tape features four tracks clocking in at just less than twenty minutes, just about long enough to whet the appetite and spark an interest as each track flies by - no dicking about, nice tempo thrash delivered with plenty of angst and passion. 

Enjoyable and most definitely one to blow the cobwebs from the brain, this is a release definitely worth checking out. Blood Harvest will bring us further nastiness from Maleficence later this year in the form of their first 7” EP. Whilst fellow countrymen, Possession, are currently setting very high standards with this type of music, given time, Maleficence could well start snapping at their tails. Promising. 


Side A  

1 - To Hell and Back
2 - Primitive

Side B 

1 - Blood Rituals
2 - Drowning in the Styx

Journey to the Depths was released on May 11th.

Ascended Dead: The Advent (Tape)

Ascended Dead are another band set to get the cassette treatment from Blood Harvest on the 11th of May. Formed in 2011, California’s Ascended Dead first achieved a degree of prominence last year when Blood Harvest brought us the “Arcane Malevolence” 7” EP, which garnered them much praise and recognition. A feat even more impressive when we consider this was only their second ever recording, following a 2012 demo. 

Ascended Dead play the finest of Death Metal, lyrically dealing with the topics of Occultism, darkness and fantasy. The Advent will come as something of a bonus for fans of the band as it’s a compilation featuring two sessions originally intended for separate split releases. The demo-like quality to these tracks sees Ascended Dead sounding their most potent and raw – with production levels suitably primitive and murky it’s a case of no frills whatsoever attached.

The tracks have that rehearsal room feel and when coupled with the harsh vocal makes for quite an intense listen – this is for fans of early Morbid Angel with an odd nod in Necrovore’s direction and is a must for both fans of Arcane Malevolence and new-comers to the band. Raw as fuck Death Metal.  


Side A  

1 - The Promised Time
2 - Perdition
3 - Dawn of Armageddon
4 - Mortification of Souls

Side B 
1 - Arcane Malevolence
2 - Emanation from Below

The Advent was released on May 11th

VoidCeremony: Dystheism (7” EP)

California’s VoidCeremony first self-released Dystheism on cassette last October but are getting it officially re-released from Blood Harvest on 7” this June. The band was formed by Garrett Johnson and Jon Reider in 2013 following the split of their previous band Portalgeist, the four piece plays black/death metal with lyrical themes focusing on Occultism, Anti-religion, and Dark Spiritualism. 

The EP features four tracks of twisting and writhing, bilious death metal that shifts from tempo to tempo, avoiding predictability or monotony. The vocals are intentionally rough and a bit like Ascended Dead’s release this recording has quite a coarse feel to it and was accurately described on the press release as a “diamond in the rough.” 

For a debut this is more than admirable with the only negative I have being the acoustic section at the very end could have been a touch longer than the few seconds it lasts…hopefully future releases from VoidCeremony will see them explore this side a little more. Brilliant debut and hopefully more to come. 


Side A

1 - Ceremony of the Void
2 - Profane Accumulation of Execrable Reverence

Side B

1 - Dystheism (Anti-Worship of the Demiurge)
2 - Lunar Qliphoth

Dystheism is released on June 12th

All three can be ordered, or pre-ordered, directly from Blood Harvest 

No comments: