The Link-Up Spell: Spell Recommendations from the Month of October
We are greeted today to receive new magic skills from the scrolls of Necromante, Saiva and Power Quest.
Welcome, my fellow magical acolytes! October had a good amount of diverse music for us, so accompany me while we unearth the necromantic secrets of a Brazillian cult, the mystery behind a Swedish entity, and the energetic shot of a UK group. Are you interested? Go get your magical items and let’s check out these three spells recommendations from last month!
Spell book: Necromante – The Magickal Presence of Occult Forces
Type of spell: Necromantic berserk frenzy
A black/thrash metal necromancer group from Belo Horizonte, Brazil? Sign me in and let me rot, please!
As many of you may remember, the capital of Minas Gerais, besides being a natural treasure, was one of the dark citadels of the burgeoning extreme metal global scene of the 80s. Iconic bands like Sepultura, Sarcofago, Holocausto and Impurity mixed dark themates with a raw, passionate and very visceral performance. In addition, the traditional warfare attire of spikes, leather and corpse paint was also led by these young rebels, along with the mytical Vulcano.
Sure, satanic and obscure occult topics in this style have been done to death, but Necromante is not late to the ghoulish party that terrorized all the parents and Christian people over their area. This is a power trio, sporting a no fucks given and uncompromised attitude to praise the darkness within mankind’s magical history.
The Magickal Presence of Occult Forces, is divided in two half in an old school fashion, and begins the ceremony with an invocation of the dark “Secret Eye”. The first aspect that jumps out of this album, perpetrated with a distinct rancid style, is the distinct echoing voicing of Arquimedes666, which enhances the experience and cements him as the twisted conductor of this ritualistic material.
Instrumentation is always on point, with brutal drumming, competent bass playing and dirty guitar work doing the job, but if you are here to wait for plain and vain song writing, you have to check something else, because Necromante are not mere acolytes. I was honestly surprised how good they make the songs flow within sections without making them tiresome. Throw in a couple of minor melodies, subtle tempo changes and a very moody approach and you get a refreshing outtake to the hard black/thrash metal niche.
The album itself is really concise, delving into the sweet spot of barely 40 minutes of running time. The shining tracks are “Occult Cult”, “Baphomet Movement”, “Initiation” and “A’arab Zaraq”, four intense songs that compliment the extreme passages with cultish voicings. In fact, I felt that Necromante made the impossible to shake the monolithic foundations of their style and reinvigorated it.
Do not miss The Magickal Presence of Occult Forces; if you need to punish some demonic transgressions, you better put this on your requirements! Brazillian madness at its finest.
Acquire this Spell book on Iron Bonehead Productions. Follow the trails of these magicians on the Book ov Skulls.
Spell book: Saiva – Markerna Bortom
Type of spell: Naturalistic magic flowing
There is something mystic about the Swedish folk/black metal scene recently. Employing vast amounts of ambience, acoustics and expansive extreme monuments, the projects set them aside from the Cascadian sound of America and established their own voice by exulting the beautiful nature worshipping with burned doses of melancholy and darkness.
Built with isolation and evocation, Saiva’s new record, Markerna Bortom, is a piece to get into if you delve regularly into this obscure brand of metal. Their label, Nordvis Production, is nothing short of quality, and they probably monopolized this exact kind of music, but their inclusion of this one-man project really put another good name in their awesome roster, which includes incredible underground acts like Panopticon, Grift, Falls of Rauros, Izah and Forndom.
Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist Andreas Petterson, Saiva’s first full-length is a twisting dark metal rendition of the Northern folkloric style. The low-key production values and the usage of ambiance put everything into the guitars, which are constructed with a minimalistic and hypnotic framework, employing some post-rock influences into the heavily harmonized Swedish folk traditions. This is one of those albums that easily sounds “black metal” without being strictly made with growls, blast beats and tremolo all the way.
Riffing is religiously built with a pastoral chord voicing, counterpoint guitar duels and frosty minor key soloing but still sounds sincere. Also, besides the solemnity of the melodies, the touching vocal work is mediated by towering chorus-like baritone voices provided by Petterson itself. This adds another layer of impressionism and honesty to the mix which is truly precious. At par, the songs tend to build up along the arcane riffing and explode with ominous and nostalgic moments in each track. The rhythmic section, while somewhat tribalistic, adds to the core sound a hard sentiment of nature regression, even when guitars and chorus are up at the front of the mix.
The closing track, “Nordan” is a true example of this folk brand. The most aggressive cut of the track list is correctly ominous and shockingly full of breathing darkness in every corner. So, if you enjoy the aforementioned bands, do not sleep on this Saiva release and find solace in the shadow behind the tall trees.
Acquire this Spell book on Nordvis Produktions. Follow the trails of these magicians on the Book ov Skulls.
Spell book: Power Quest – Sixth Dimension
Type of spell: Uplifting blessings of power
This was, in fact, a cool surprise to add to my October playlist. For those interested in shiny melodic power metal, stay with me until the end and check if Sixth Dimension moves your feet and head like it did to me.
To those unaware, this band is related to Dragonforce (a band that released one of my favorite records of this year!). Keyboardist Steve Williams formed it in 2001 when he left DragonHeart, the former name of the fiery power metal titans, and even shared some members and tour dates in the United Kingdom. Of course, that approach to the genre got inbred into the new project, so that could explain those charismatic speedy bravado runs in their verses.
What sets the difference between these two acts right now is the deep 80s hard rock injected into their hooky and flashy style. In consequence, Sixth Dimension is a masterfully written codex of recollections from all the years of this project.
The album starts strong with “Lords of Tomorrow”, a song that can be the deal sealer for most power metal enthusiasts. Williams’s keyboards are always prominent and are played with a distinct 80s flavor with a wide library of synth goodness. But, even when you may be distracted by this retro feel, the guitars have plenty of bite to satiate the need for Europower. Guitars are handled wonderfully by Andy Kopczyk and Glyn Williams, constantly trading solos and supporting the keys or vocal melodies, and adding, at the same time, some snarky agro riffing in some songs, as in the fun “Face the Raven”, one of my preferred choices off the record.
Vocalist Ashley Edison has a unique timbre in his deep voice, and his vibrato reminds me of Timo Kotipelto, of Stratovarius fame, but the man can really belt some seriously good highs and has a nice cadence to follow the songs, complimenting every melody in such a nice way. He can go from cheerful to energetic and falling into emotive in a matter of seconds. At first, I was a little bit shocked by his gruff tone, but on the whole record he demonstrates his great skills behind the mic. Also, the album closer has a nice featuring of Anette Olzon (ex-Nightwish) that complements his voice well.
It really seems that Power Quest was so inspired in the writing because the album has everything. Hard hitting moments, fun sections, happy melodies, mid-tempo drives and a magnanimous catchy gloss, it has all of that in a 52 minute ride. As a whole, Sixth Dimension feels varied, yet still feels like home.
From time to time, power metal bands tend to forget that strong songwriting and correct track placement are two of the magical catalysts need to craft a good record. Luckily for us, the melodic hunters, this year Power Quest delivered one of the best unexpected comebacks of this style.
Acquire this Spell book on Inner Wound Recordings. Follow the trails of these magicians on the Book ov Skulls.
Did you like these spells? Which were your favorite scrolls crafted in October? Scribe thy comments and remember to stay here at Toilet ov Hell for more inspired contents and new recommendations.
The Link-Up Spell is a weekly Toilet ov Hell column about music, movies, books, retro video games and guaranteed Elfic nonsense. If you want to contact the author to send your material, mail us at toiletovhell [at] gmail.com with the subject “The Link-Up Spell” or message him on social media.