The Post / Sludge genre is permanently growing, and for sure the French scene is one of the most prominent ones worldwide. One of my most beloved acts from France is Dirge, hailing from Paris, and active for almost twenty-five years. In the earliest years, the band brought some kind of industrialised and psych-grinding Metal (also quite ‘popular’ in their home country), yet throughout the years they evolved a lot. Dirge recorded and released six albums in the meantime, but the last one, Hyperion (*), was released four and a half years ago.
Debemur Morti Productions
Cultus Profano is the name of a new entity from the Californian city of Los Angeles. It is meant to promote cocktails on the beach, fast cars and colourful bath fashion… Not! No, it is an outfit by Arthur Mendiola aka Advorsus, knows as (former or current) drummer (and vocalist) in e.g. Sadistic Intent, Vesterian or Blaskyrkh. He joined forces with (female) guitarist / vocalist Strzyga with Cultus Profano as moniker.
One of the first Black Metal formations from New Zealand was (is) Vassafor, a band that has a limited curriculum vitae during the nineties. At the very end of last century, they broke up, but in 2004 Phil Kusabs decided to resurrect his main project. The guy, FYI, is involved with quite some other bands and projects too, but this review deals with higher aforementioned Vassafor, so I’ll stick to this one.
I’ve always been impressed by bands and projects that involve Matron Thorn: Crowhurst, Benighted In Sodom, Midwinter Storm, Andacht and, especially, mighty Ævangelist. And hurray, recently he started a new project, called Death Fetishist.
If I’m not mistaken – and since I’m a smart guy the chance is almost nihil – ‘Arkona’ is the name of a cape on the Rügen island, nowadays in Germany (Baltic Sea, close to Poland), where the Slavic fortress Jaromarsburg was built. Like many castles, it has been a source of inspiration for many Metal bands. Behemoth’s first recordings, for example (at the time that they did still play ‘real’ Black Metal), referred to that era / area, but there are quite some bands named after that specific historical place too.
In their five year of existence, German act Porta Nigra did release a couple of mini-releases, one full length, and they contributed on one of the Elemental Nightmares splits. Now the duo returns with the second full album, Kaiserschnitt, a Decadent Dark Metal album that lasts for more than three quarters of an hour.
Finnish horde Archgoat was formed at the end of the eighties, and after the recording of some demo tapes, they wrote some new material that was supposed to be released via Necropolis Records (which, at that time, was one of the most impressive underground labels, I think), along with some older stuff that appeared on the demonstrational recordings. Normally it would come out in 1993, but because of some specific circumstances, the release got postponed.
I’ll keep this introduction very short. Manes hail from Norway and released quite differing / different stuff in the past. I was truly obsessed / possessed by the debut Under Ein Blodraud Maane (1998), but the other recordings showed another side of etc… You know, or you do not, but there’s the .net to help you out.
One of my personal favourite labels from France are Debemur Morti Productions, active for about a decade and, to my humble opinion, grown up to one of the most important Dark Music labels with more than one hundred releases on their roster, in mean time. In 2012 the label signed French Doom-act Monolithe, resulting in the release of the albums III (review: see update February 6th 2013) and IV (review posted on October 26th 2013).