My Kingdom Music is a label that confuses me time after time. They do balance in between extremes; at the one hand, you have a lot of quasi-poppy, modernised and/or happily Pop/Rock/Metal material, and the other extreme balances towards the most obscure, underground-oriented Black-edged evilness. When I need to review a new record, released through this Italian label, I’m always worried: will it belong to the first category, or rather to the second one (or somewhere in between both of them). Sometimes it makes me nauseous, then again I’m getting horny, craving for more. In some cases even I am blown away (and that’s a positive element), cf. 2012’s My Kingdom Music-release Livsgnist by Norway’s So Much For Nothing (see update on July 23rd 2012 within Concreteweb’s Archives Section), amongst a couple of others.
Why such an introduction? Well, with Apolokia’s Kathaarian Vortex I’m having a comparable ecstatic feeling. You’ll find out why below.
First a short introduction on the band. This Italian project was formed in 1994 by Blackfrost, soon joined by Electrocution / From Depth / Ugluk’s Lord Verminaard. There were two demos during the second part of the nineties, followed by a period of inactivity for many years at the very beginning of this millennium. In 2007, both guys reformed Apolokia, and through the label The Oath, the duo released a mini-album, called Immota Satani Manet. When the project / band signed to My Kingdom Music’s roster in 2011, Blackfrost (residing in Bergen, Norway) started working on the debut full length (with long-time colleague / member Verminaard). Kathaarian Vortex is the first full length studio album, and hopefully (what a contradictio in terminis, the word ‘hopefully’ in comparison to Elitism Black Underground Metal) not the last one.
Kathaarian Vortex was recorded / produced by Blackfrost himself in his home studio, and lasts for about forty minutes. It brings back the atmosphere, spirit and sound of the early nineties; indeed, Kathaarian Vortex sounds as if it was recorded two decades ago. This goes for the songs too: song structures, lyrics, everything breathes the essence of Satanic Evil, sonically translated into Black Metal the way I get hungry from… One be warned, however: the production is dry and oh so primitive, and not everyone shall like that. And even I have to admit: the mix stinks; can you hear the bass lines, for example? Doesn’t it sound like it has been recorded on a tape recorded not used anymore since 1992? Unfortunately that’s the truth, and it will influence my final opinion.
The blasting drum parts interact sadistically with the ‘melodic’ guitars, the vocals are sulphurically venomous, and the primitive, nihilistic performance explores the definition of purity in its ugliest aspects.
Except for the insulting sound quality, I would recommend these beautiful lullabies to the sick-minded. Enjoy and destroy!