You take the midnight subway train….

•April 1, 2015 • 9 Comments

You’re callin’ all the shots….

This song has been rotting in my brain and driving me nuts all day, no matter what I play to get it out. Don’t you hate that?

Back with another, although short, update. Jim and his family are on vacation and left me to hold down the fort. Didn’t get as much free time for listening to new releases like I wanted to, but 3 reviews are better than a long cold silence.

But we shall return next week with a bit more for you to consume. In the meantime, hit me with those playlists as I’m always curious to see what I’m missing out on.

You’re struck by lightning’…. you’re in love!!!! There…. now it’s in your head as well. You’re welcome. -Marty

Marty Rytkonen – Playlist
Thulcandra – Ascension Lost
Monstrosity – Millennium
Satanic Warmaster – Fimbulwinter LP
Naglfar – Vittra LP
Astrophobos – Remnants of Forgotten Horrors
Absu – Absu
The Accused – Oh Martha
Immortal – Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
Angel Corpse – Hammer of Gods
Perdition Temple – The Tempter’s Victorious
Bak De Syv Fjell – S/T
Cemetary – Godless Beauty
Sacrilegium – Wicher
Gorefest – Rise to Ruin
In Flames – The Jester Race
Kenn Nardi – Dancing With the Past (GAH!!!! Rules!)
Leviathan – Scar Sighted
MGLA – Groza
Joy Division – Still 2LP

Hypothermia – Svartkonst

•April 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

hypothermiaI have always been curious about this band, but have never pulled the trigger when releases would surface for purchase. When the mood for depressive black metal hits, it is nice to have a variety to pull from, especially if there is a hint of originality arising from the audial misery. Gothenburg, Sweden’s Hypothermia are indeed walking their own path when it comes to the dreary side of black metal, but as I absorb Svartkonst, the bands 5th full-length, I’m left understanding the vibe and direction this trio is going for, but I can’t help but desire something more out of the journey.

Svartkonst is depressive black metal in spirit for sure, as the mournful progressions drift along in a shroud of darkness, but the material is presented with nearly clean guitars as Hypothermia allow the natural distortion of the amps to model their sound. This allows the compositions to take on a spacious atmosphere, but the songs are so stripped down and based on repetition and straight forward drum work, that I would quickly become bored with the songs. Even when harsher distortion creeps in to infect the lazy gate of these tracks, it does little to break the monotony. The biggest void Hypothermia did not fill and would have possibly made a huge difference, it the absence of vocals. I have heard in the past that they are an instrumental band, which is likely the main reason why I haven’t investigated their previous work. In the case of Svartkonst, vocals would have been a welcomed addition to this material, for the overall flow of this album steadily stirs like a river, but it is slow moving and lacking in dynamics.

Hypothermia know how to pile on the mope and sound like no one else that comes to mind which is a very favorable quality. However, I really wanted to like these guys more than I do, but I just can’t get around the fact that their songs really go nowhere/sound interchangeable and when pressed into the construct of an album, they struggle to find their muse early on and never seem to recover. Hypothermia is neither trance inducing or particularity innovative leaving Svartonst to simply wallow in a pool of boredom. -Marty
Agonia Records

Perdition Temple – The Tempter’s Victorious

•April 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

perdition templeGene Palubicki is a death metal warrior. One cannot deny his blazing riff swords and ear for crafting furious hymns that devastate with intricate complexity, while never losing site of memorable songwriting. Angel Corpse was a demon of a band on stage and on CD that stands the test of time as if hurled forth by the very winds of hell. Though that band will always hold a special place in my DM arsenal, time marches on and you simply cannot destroy a warrior and his work.

Enter Perdition Temple, a band that strikes me as the natural progression of Angel Corpse, but everything seems even faster and more intense/urgent. Bill Taylor has even re-joined forces with Gene on this album to further seal this twin guitar union with fire. As the Coroner-esque technical fills explode from the tracks Extinction Synagogue and Devil’s Blessed, where the bass follows the guitar mayhem perfectly, my mind is blown and it is hard to deny the astounding technical proficiency on display. Gene maintains his obvious Morbid Angel influence on this material, but you can tell he went into the creation of The Tempter’s Victorious with the intention to create some of the most fierce material of his career, while effortlessly laying waste to countless heavy hitters in the modern death metal world. The speed is teetering on the brink of chaos, but drummer Ronnie Parmer holds things together with his crushing double bass work and machine like blasting style. The riffs are endless and with so many tremolo shifts and whammy bar shrieked solos arising from the battlefield, Perdition Temple ask a lot of the listener to absorb and comprehend. The songs are very complex and at times alienating, but with that violent pulse in the guitar work twisting thoughts into an almost hypnotic trance, multiple listens are demanded and one begins to discern the subtle hooks to eventually heed the command. Even though I found Impurath’s (Black Witchery) vocals to be a bit dimensionless in his mid-ranged, reverb drenched croak, I soon realized that this style and performance worked well with the overly busy nature of the tracks he was attempting to empower. In the end, the music becomes the focal point and every meticulously shredded note and crushing break from the speed is crafted with madness in mind and violence in heart.

The Tempter’s Victorious is a lot to take. 8 hefty tracks that feel like there is a 30 riff minimum will leave you feeling winded and a bit battered sonically. Granted, I don’t find myself listening to modern minded death metal much these days, for my preference is typically for the old days and style of death that is more grit than flash, but having said that, Perdition Temple has created a very interesting and hammering body of work that I find very appealing and meticulously sculpted. A brighter, more live sounding production would have given this material even more of a raging attack, but this is a very minor point to be made about an impressive album. Crushing. -Marty
Hell’s Headbangers

Perdition Temple – Sovereign of the Desolate 7”

•April 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

perdition 7 inchThis 2 track 7” was the precursor to the Tempter’s Victorious featuring a new, non -album track and a fitting cover of Blasphemy’s Weltering in Blood. Both tracks are exclusive to this release which makes the 7” even more relevant and worthy to acquire. The title track is right in line with the material that followed it due to the searing movement and blasting perfection. The one thing that sets this apart is a sharper production which gives this material even more of a spark to become an inferno. Perdition Temple nailed Weltering in Blood, somehow making it sound more formed and intense at the same time. Perdition Temple are definitely a band to further inspect if bands like Angel Corpse, Revenge, Black Witchery and Tyrant’s Blood adorn your battle jacket. -Marty
Hell’s Headbangers

Again Shall be…

•March 25, 2015 • 3 Comments

It has been far too long. Seriously. It wasn’t until I sat down and began to write my first review in ages that I realized how much I missed Worm Gear. The interaction with all of you and being able to sit and singularly focus on someone’s piece of music. Though this is a smallish update, Jim and I are back in spirit and mind. So what inspired the hiatus? Burnout. Busy family life for both of us. And the fact that Bindrune Recordings has been picking up steam. Finally. Been working since 2000 to see this happen. You will never hear me bitch about that. I’m just going with it and we had to step away from WG to realize how much it meant to us. So yes, should we go silent again, do know that we will return at some point. This has been slogging on since 1995… how could we stay away?

One thing that was a bit overwhelming, is to realize the amount of releases that we missed out on spewing about while we were gone. so not all of these reviews will likely be current in moving forward. We will likely pick and choose to keep it interesting.

I can’t even wrap my head around what came out last year, although there was a lot of great stuff. Jim took the time to throw a list of favorites from 2014 and I may do the same at some point, but for now the year is a clouded mess in my head other than the stunning (in my perhaps not so humble opinion) music that we have released.

So for future plans… the whole thing. Massive amounts of reviews. Select interviews. Band discography retrospectives. Album streams. Perhaps some goest writers? Sure! We’re back. -Marty

Marty Rytkonen – Playlist

Ahamkara – The Embers of the Stars
The Sex Pistols – Flogging a Dead Horse
Monstrosity – Imperial Doom
Waldgefluster – Femundsmarka – Eine Reise in drei Kapiteln (Test press 2LP)
Alda – Passage (master)
Panopticon – Autumn Eternal Demos
Kjeld – Skym
Darkenhold – Castellum (My god this rules!)
Fall of the Leafe – Evanescent, Everfading

Jim’s Favorite Albums of 2014

Since it’s been too long in coming, I’ll spare everyone descriptions of these albums’ sounds and any attempt at putting them ‘in order’. Here are the 2014 albums that have had me take the most notice – enjoy:

Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere
Waldgeflüster – Meine Fesseln
Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall
Mare Cognitum – Phobos Monolith
Woman Is the Earth – Depths
Panopticon – Roads to the North
Krieg – Transient
Falls of Rauros – Believe In No Coming Shore
Thou – Heathen Spectral Lore – III
Howls of Ebb – Vigils of the 3rd Eye
TrenchRot – Necronomic Warfare
Heavydeath – Demo I (Post Mortem in Aeternum Tenebrarum)
Ifing – Against this Weald
Skogen – I Döden
Nachtreich / Spectral Lore – The Quivering Lights

Darkenhold – Castellum

•March 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

darkenholdThe term “Castle Metal” is a relatively new one to me. The first time I ever heard it was from Tanner Anderson who half in jest described Obsequiae as being a Castle Metal band. We laughed. But it stuck. The thing is, opening up a clever new sub-genre for the sake of sticking bands that fit such a title into it’s descriptive dungeon is good for floundering “writers” like myself who are always eager to add something colorful to their metal vocabulary. Yes I know… needing to describe something with a tidy tag is lame and often cheapens the art so painfully toiled over by the musicians creating it, but for the sake of making my life easier, fuck it. Enter the French Quintet, Darkenhold. With a brooding castle adorning the cover of the very enjoyable Castellum, I feel very confident in dropping the Castle Metal bomb right here like a 13′ tall iron gate.

Having never heard this band before, the opening minutes of Castellum instantly enchanted me due to Darkenhold’s truly great overall atmosphere that harkens back to the early and exciting years of black metal. The band possesses the spirit of the genre perfectly and fill the 10 tracks on this album with endlessly memorable “medieval” scales that unfurl hooks that you simply cannot get away from. Add colorful synth work to accentuate these melodically charged riffs and you are indeed ushered away from this plane of existence back to the romantic dark ages where sword met shield and honor burned in the hearts of men… well those men who didn’t happen to die from the plague that is. There is that moment where I realized that in some way, Darkenhold had united the viking metal spirit of Bathory with For All Tid era Dimmu Borgir as the opening Bathory tribute riffs on “Glorious Horns” nodded to their influences with majesty and conviction. And that is fine with me! The lions share of Castellum is mid-paced which allows all the songs to develop and lope along within vibrant layers of melody. You can hear the bass lines perfectly and the synths add so much feeling to these songs. The vocalist maintains that higher register screaming style which suits this material perfectly and further points to the 90’s as main their era of influence.

Darkenhold nailed a style of black metal that I still hold dear and upon spinning this opus, one cannot deny Castellum multiple spins. The songwriting rings out as so mature and patient. These tracks really develop nicely and slowly, to eventually soar within a metallic majesty that has become their own style. Castellum are great. No joke. Castle fucking metal yourself into oblivion with this truly epic treat. -Marty
Those Opposed Records

Devilspit – Grim, Hateful, and Drunk

•March 25, 2015 • 3 Comments

DevilspitBlack metal punk continues to be well-explored in the modern era, but rarely has the style been fleshed outward enough to hold my interest long. Around comes Brittany, France’s Devilspit with a heavy enough dose of originality for me to keep my finger away from the virtual ‘stop’ button on the available stream of it’s second release (and first for Caligari Records), Grim, Hateful, and Drunk. While a linking vibe of necro-debauchery drips from each fetid track as its title implies, you will be pleasantly surprised by sole member Körpserizer’s inclusion of early ‘80s post-punk guitars and vocals (displayed prominently on opener ‘Dedicated to my Enemies (Prelude to Ignorance’) and that style’s accompanying solemnity, adding weight to the alcohol-infused delivery of grim guitars and mid-tempo drumwork. And in the midst of dark punk stompers like ‘A Tout Les Faux’, don’t be surprised to hear a somber, dark synth interlude with a reverb-laden, roving-medieval riff carrying out the latter portion of the song. Körpserizer just plays upon expectation well, for while you’ll hear the familiar three-chord beer-guzzle on ‘A.R.P.M.’, as the song nears its end, a melancholy melody-line rides over said riff, seguing into what sounds like bagpipes being played by a hammered-on-Springbank Scotsman. It’s as if Devilspit sonically tells honest during-and-after tales of over-indulgent nights spent in seedy metal/punk dives of choice: there will be Satanized-frivolity in the moment, but all shall be eclipsed afterward by the hellish hangover awaiting the next day.
The final two tracks, ‘’The Witching Stone’ and ‘Mon Caveau’, give themselves fully over to the eeriness hinted upon in earlier tracks, each driven by strange, reverb-drowned guitar-realizations that creep into the mind but have little in common with albums of the black metal punk ilk. And the resultant feeling that, taken on the whole, Grim, Hateful, and Drunk is indeed something uncommon will resonate well after the final sound you’ll hear on the album – namely, that of (fittingly enough) Mr. Körpserizer actually ‘devil’-spitting.

Caligari Records


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