Tyrannus Records Triple Review: Black Grail, Austral/Cold, O.S.I.R.I.S.
A hat trick of new releases from the Chilean black metal label.
People send things to Joe. He listens. Sometimes Joe sends things to me. I listen. It’s part of the process of receiving a thing that musically-inclined people want us to listen to, then listening to that thing so that we may bring you reviews like this, which indicates that Joe, myself or another author got that thing someone sent us, we listened to it, then provided our opinion. I realize this is a heady concept full of twists & turns in logic, but just stay with me and I’ll explain the primary objective of this article: I listened to three releases from Tyrannus Records and provided my opinion on each below.
Once you get past the “early 90s point & click adventure game” look of the album art, there’s some great blackened thrash metal here. Black Grail slams down dirty old school riffs and greasy bass tones all with a hint of chaotic skronk thrown in, switching off between reckless abandon and ordered intensity with an air of malevolence at all times. And those guitar solos: heavy doses of Venom! The quality of the mix certainly won’t win any awards with its thin low end and scooped mids, although I admit I enjoy the way the vocals sound like they’re coming from around the corner of a poorly lit rehearsal space. Easily the strongest release of the three and worth checking out. Listen to “Plegaria Catártica.”
Austral is not out to impress with a shiny coat of studio polish: these guys play fast, loose & ugly with their brand of lo-fi black metal. The drumming and guitar riffs are strong, however the vocals are quite terrible, and sound like a mix of Immortan Joe and the deadite soldier from Army of Darkness who says “RAM THE GAAAATE!” Once you draw comparisons to Dave Ryder with your screams (track 4), it’s time for a new approach. Listen to “Decepción De Las Fuerzas Negativas.” Cold play a similar breed of filthy, mid-paced retro black metal but with a more focused attack (and noticeably better vocals, albeit with a few cracks), reminiscent of old Darkthrone. Some minimal synths are present in the din of the mix, and the last track is a self-contained dungeon crawler, which is a bit unexpected but appropriately aligned to Cold’s vibe of shadowy, cobweb-infested underground catacombs. Listen to “Witralnahue’s Rites.”
From the album art to the music itself, I’ll put this politely: this is a mess. Each track here is roughly several keyboard/guitar effects, sometimes a drum track, some found sounds and some bad echoed vocals. If the goal here is atmosphere, why ramble over it? If these are intended to be songs, where’s the friggin’ music? This is chaotic noise for noise’s sake, and not the good kind I normally listen to. Track 5 manages to achieve a cool Dark Shadows-esque vibe with its warbly church organ, but that’s not enough to redeem the randomness of the rest of the album. Listen at your own masochistic peril, and wonder aloud how anyone made it past volume 1. Listen to “Gold to Dust and to Gold Again.”