Tag Archives: Horror

Mercyful Fate – Mercyful Fate EP (Review)

Released in 1982, Mercyful Fate’s self-titled debut is often referred to as the “Nuns Have No Fun” EP but I reckon even Mother Theresa would be hard-pressed to not get a kick out of this. The Danish band battered out a high-energy update on the pace-shifting, riff-laden approach of bands like Diamond Head and Priest but earned recognition as one of the “first wave” black metal bands by virtue of being extremely, extremely evil. While their style is fairly traditional, Hank Shermann’s riffs and solos are pure malevolence and the unique range of corpse-painted vocalist King Diamond is alternately threatening and ghostly, hitting high notes only Rob Halford can hear on Devil Eyes. A Corpse Without Soul and Doomed By The Living Dead are thrashing, twisting workouts with wonderful vocal hooks. Try not singing along with “I’m a corpse, I’m a corpse, I’m a corpse without soul”. The band’s seminal albums would be more cerebral and progressive occult offerings, but the four songs here have a more boisterous and naïve sense of blasphemy. The graveyard scares, pentagram pants, “fucking angels” and a C-word laden ode to religious sisters make Mercyful Fate a uniquely diabolical, gleeful and headbanging entry in their impressive career. None more fun.

HMO Rating: 5 out of 5

[Mercyful Fate – A Corpse Without Soul]

*Buying Note: This EP is also available in its entirety as part of the compilation The Beginning, which is a must-buy too.

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New Releases – 13th July 2018

Quality over quantity today!

Blasphemy – Live Ritual: Friday the 13th and Victory (Son Of The Damned)

Nuclear War Now! Productions offer up two exciting archive reissues from the Canadian bestial black metal terrors Blasphemy. Live Ritual: Friday the 13th was recorded on a mini-disc recorder at a show in 2001 and the recording became the first release from the fledgling NWN! Productions. Following the show, the band were given the mini-disc recorder and put it to good use, recording a basement rehearsal (by placing it on top of then-bassist Bestial Saviour of the Undead Legions’ washing machine). The recordings sounded brilliant and were released as a bonus disc with the live release. Both of these recordings are sought-after rarities and rightly so, they’re a magnificent and unholy racket. Much more in-your-face than the band’s studio albums. Essential stuff for black metal fans. CD and Tape editions were already released back in May but the vinyl editions are released today. Looks like maybe Europe is getting these later. It’s all a bit confusing. Look out for them, anyway!

Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury

Don’t know much about this band but I remember their previous album Abyssal Gods getting rave reviews. It’s avant-garde black metal with synths and horns and all that kinda stuff. They’re from New York and supposedly they trying to embody the sound of their city “from top floor luxury to the rotten underground.” Sounds pretty interesting so I’ll be checking this one out.

That’s about the lot for me this week. What will you be buying or checking out today?

Now Playing: Blasphemy – Fallen Angel Of Doom

Today’s listening of choice is Blasphemy’s 1990 seminal debut album Fallen Angel Of Doom. This one still gets regular spins at HMO Mission Control. A ferocious and cult mix of grindcore and early black metal like Bathory and Sarcofago, it’s not especially memorable or kind to the ears but it’s totally addictive. And it’s massively influential too. Tons of bestial black metal and/or war metal bands still devotedly follow the template set here.

Ghost – Prequelle (Review)

Ghost – Prequelle Ltd. Edition with bonus tracks and 3D cover thing

Hard to believe it’s already eight years since Ghost’s debut album Opus Eponymous. Time flies when you’re having satanic fun. And on the plague, death and apocalypse themed Prequelle, Ghost are still all about fun. Like on its excellent predecessor 2015’s Meliora, Ghost’s fourth album is full of blissfully catchy theatrical rock that laces its spiritually uplifting hooks with diabolical twists. But it doesn’t do much that Meliora didn’t already do better. Two flat instrumentals pad out the running time, Pro Memoria is beyond Muppety and the fiendish lyrical slants aren’t as keen or effective (replacing “be with” with “bewitch” isn’t enough to add depth to the ABBA-tastic Danse Macabre). But all gripes are rendered churlish when faced with the excellence of tracks like the glam metal Rats, the passionately defiant See The Light and majestically melodic Witch Image. Prequelle might be a weak facsimile of its predecessor but there’s still enough devilish fun in its diminishing returns to make it worthy of devotion.

HMO Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5

New Releases – 4th May 2018

Happy Star Trek Day! I’m a doctor not an escalator! …Let’s see what new releases are out on this glorious day.

Ihsahn – Ámr

New releases from the prog/black metal wizard are always big news. But I’ve grown a bit wary. I really enjoyed 2010’s After and subsequent releases have been good but I’ve rarely went back to any of them afterwards. Don’t feel a pull there. Reviews for this have been good but… they always are. I might revisit the previous albums again first and see if they put me in the mood. Otherwise, might just pass.

Dimmu Borgir – Eonian

Another big name in black metal but I never got massively into this band. I’ve heard enough to want to hear more but I doubt I’d start here so I’ll likely pass on this one. Title is apparently all about the illusion of time and rifts (hehe) in time. I preferred it when black metal bands just spent all their time telling Jesus to fuck off.

Various Artists – We All Want Our Time In Hell

I don’t find tribute albums all that compelling and there aren’t many bands on this that I know about (Midnight and Joel Grind stick out though). But it is a tribute to Glenn Danzig’s less-celebrated “other” band Samhain which is cool. Cover is also cool. I might have plumped for a digital copy on Bandcamp but Fonzig has apparently forbade that option. Not so cool. Looks like it’s vinyl or nothing… I vote for nothing.

Dead Cross – Dead Cross EP

Dave Lombardo, Mike Patton and some other people drop this surprise EP. Dunno… found the debut album pretty underwhelming so can’t see me bothering with this. I mention it because I know you love them though. You totally love them don’t you? Not you… you.

That’s about the lot for me. Until next time, live long and prosper!

Tribulation – Down Below (Review)

When Sweden’s Tribulation premiered their new single Lady Death in late 2017, it left me expecting a bland, streamlined follow-up album to 2015’s excellent The Children Of The Night. I shouldn’t have worried. Their follow-up Down Below is definitely streamlined but, far from being bland, it hones their horror metal to perfection: simplifying their music and making it more accessible without sacrificing depth. No mean feat.

There are a lot of comparisons to be drawn with other Swedish bands. The melodic horror and direct, memorable riffing is akin to Ghost but tracks like Nightbound and Cities From The Underworld use layers of sinister instrumentation and harmony to add a thick, nocturnal atmosphere of gothic horror. Johannes Andersson maintains his ghoulish, gargled vocals style too. A crucial move that stops things getting too slick, giving the album a gritty, filth that brings to mind In Solitude’s superb Sister. And on the centrepiece track Subterranea the band conjure the kind of evil magick that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Watain album.

The Ltd. Edition version features excellent bonus track Come, Become, To Be

I can’t blame anyone for trying to pick out a single but this is best experienced in its entirety. Tribulation juggles variety and consistency, accessibility and obscurity with accomplished ease. It’s a major statement from a band that has come a staggeringly long way in just four albums and Down Below will cast a long, haunting shadow over the metal scene of 2018.

HMO Rating: 5 Out Of 5

Lady Death – New Tribulation EP To Be Released In Dec 2017

A double-whammy of release news from the excellent Swedish band Tribulation. January 26th 2018 will see the release of a new full-length album entitled Down Below. And, if you just can’t wait that long for new Tribulation music, then they will be releasing a brand new 7” EP on December 22nd 2017 called Lady Death.

The EP, their first release with new drummer Oscar Leander, will include album track Lady Death and also a B-Side track called Skärselden. The artwork is also from Tribulation’s guitarist Jonathan Hultén and is pretty nifty. You can pre-order the usual rainbow varieties of vinyl colours from the label website here or the band’s own merch site here.

The band’s last album The Children Of The Night was one of the better, more durable releases of recent years so it’s exciting to have the band back. My only question is… I’ve seen a few bands do this recently… since when did one A-Side track and one B-Side track constitute an EP? Answers in the comments please.