DIRENOTES DIGEST #1: Age Of The Wolf, Catafalque, HEX, Kavara, Handful of Hate, and EVIL ANGEL.



Welcome to the first Direnotes Digest! I'm very excited to announce that this will be a Bi-weekly thing on Weds and Fridays of every week. I will be looking at six albums twice weekly and reviewing them in digestable bites (see what I did there?).  This will allow me to write on other things and keep the zine diverse but also keep the reviews flowing!

Anyhow, check out this Friday's reviews for some awesome music from across the board!

-KEITH H.


THIS ISSUE: FRIDAY, MAY 24th, 2019

Age Of The Wolf - Ouroboric Trances
Aural Music

Ouroboric Trances is a cumulation of all the most hectic and dark moments of Stoner/Doom and noise rock. Age of the Wolf has created something sinister, foreboding, and heavier then even the heaviest efforts put forth by the subgenre's heavyweights. It's borderline sludge metal at times, but knows when and how to pull back the reigns when the moment calls for something a little less abrasive.

It's a damn good album, in all honesty. One you could easier listen to over and over, there is a certain air and quality to the production and tone here. A genuine experience with Stoner/Doom that I haven't really had since Mastodon's 'Crack the Skye.



Catafalque - Catafalque
Trepanation Recordings

To be honest, I'd long thought drone was dead. But, here it is - a thunderous monstrosity transmitted directly to my e-mail. What a appropriate description as well, seeing as the opening track 'Ruptured Spleen' is just a few notes of distorted bass repeating over and over. Which, doubtlessly sounds terrible to some, I suppose - but that is what drone is all about.

In fact, bass is the highlight of this album and put to pretty good use. Catafalque's self-tilted release sounds like the soundtrack to some gritty grindhouse horror film. It's unsettling and ominous in all the right ways, giving the listener a sense of looming terror with every track. Most impressive is the variety of atmospheres that Catafalque actually accomplishes here - everything from thick and industrial to looming or claustrophobic soundscapes.



Kavara - Weathered & Lost
Self-Release

Kavara is a step back to late-90's and early 2000's metal, dishing out a lot of melodic tunes with just a light shaving of hardcore to provide listeners a tremendous and almost nostalgic album. It's definitely a lot more abrasive then something like In Flames, Soil Work, and (maybe) Tracedawn - closer at times to Heaven Shall Burn. I'd even argue that tracks like 'Scarecrow' and 'Mark my Words' outshine the majority of the singles I've heard from those bands recently.

Off the topic of comparison, Kavara is still it's own beast entirely. No amount of what happens on Weather & Lost offers is anything close to imitation. Each track has it's own strengths and, at times, weaknesses. For instance, the track 'Tormentor' feels oddly lacking punch compared to other songs - it does, however, boast some impressive guitar work and shows off the bands impressive songwriting skills. Most surprising trait of this group? There are moments they really let the bass shine and have a voice of it's own. That is something I can really get behind!



HANDFUL OF HATE - Adversus
code666

Furthering the ever blurring line between black and death metal, HANDFUL OF HATE is a thunderous example of the former that lets itself drift in and out of the subgenre's notorious tropes. Clearly, there is nothing holding back this Italian bands vision, which has been alive since 1993! Adversus is the groups attempt at spreading the word of blasphemy and hate. Even if you can't understand what the majority of what's being said, partially due to the nature and intensity of the vocal style, it is very much expressed through the band's strong attempt at expressing their meaning through music.


HEX - God Has No Name
Transcending Obscurity Records

Unforgiving death-doom from Spain! Hex nearly broke my head when I put this on, as I was immediately met with a chuggy onslaught with 'Thy Kingdom Gone.' Things just get better from the onset as HEX ramps up the intensity with every track. I don't know what's going on overseas, but HEX is pissed and ready to let the world know.

While it could have been a whole lot of power chords and 4ths, doubtful even I'd complain, HEX also manages to incorporate a good deal of unique yet simple guitar work. Surprisingly, some of God Has No Name has a almost nu-metal sound at points - especially with 'Soulsculptor'. Which isn't bad at all, but certainly got my eye brows raised when I heard a few sections of what resembled Coal Chamber in there. I suppose it happens when you're giving those lower strings such a heavy workout.

Some of the best modern death metal you could hope to hear!




EVIL ANGEL - Unholy Evil Metal
Hells Headbangers

Fitting perfectly in with the Hells Headbangers roster (in which I own quite a few CD's, LPs, and compilations of theirs), EVIL ANGEL has that thrashy down-laden sound the label likes to grab up. Luckily, it just happens to be one of the more interesting releases in a little while. While a lot of these bands are good, feeling almost always like distant relatives to either first-wave black metal or proto-death/black metal legends Celtic Frost, EVIL ANGEL has this marching pace to it all  - at least on Unholy Evil Metal. It seems like such a small stylistic choice, but it makes all the difference in this case - somehow adding a commanding tone to the whole thing.

With names like Orgasmatron, Dr. Evil, Too Loud, Von Bastard, and Revenant - I wonder if I'm supposed to take this seriously? Honestly, everything about the music feels and sounds serious on Unholy Evil Metal. The vocal style even mirrors a lot of other HH releases and general black-thrash groups. Either way, it's worth a listen.



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Disclaimer:
Extreme music occasionally means extreme views. Direnotes does not support hate crimes, church burnings, pedophilia, or other acts of supreme stupidity and depravity. Occasionally, a band or individual will do something like this and there will be no knowledge of it. Feel free to contact me if you feel a group or individual has done something that would make their presence on this blog unwelcome.

That being said, reviews and posts will not be removed for the reasons of difference of opinion, religious viewpoint, or targeted dislike.

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