Thursday, February 25, 2010

MANTAK "Diabolical Psycholust"

MANTAK "Diabolical Psycholust" (Chalice of Blood Angel)
Numerous EPs and splits aside, I'm really sure that this is only the third full length of Borneo overlords MANTAK. To put "Diabolical..."side-by-side, say, with the first long player "Polymorphous Perversion", stark enhancements can easily be found. But if you follow them close enough with those EPs and such, you get the scenario quite well. "Polymorphous..." is thick with eastern extreme Metal characteristics, "Diabolical..." is the continuation of the direction shown in its predecessor the "666" MCD/EP. A harsher, faster, hornier, to-the-point MANTAK without so much of the alienating, mechanised drive of "Sabahell's Blasphemer", their second album. In "Diabolical...", it can also be seen as some sort of a MANTAK grab-bag. There are some reworkings of old songs, thus a blurred polarity between the present sound and the not too distant past are bridged. I do find the production a bit tame compared to "666", it's a bit controlled so to speak. No mistake it's MANTAK in and out though, the sexually-driven extreme Metal perverts from Sabah, Malaysia. That cover of BLACK SABBATH 'Paranoid' is unbearable. Old Cemetery Records for the CD version, Chalice of Blood Angel Records for the LP, and Evildead Production for the tape.


EASTERN DAMNATION 4-way split CD (Eternia Recs.)
Split releases are good. They give you the chance to discover more than a band in a single release. And most of the time they're full of surprises. Bands that you've never cared about suddenly became the one to watch. Or the other way around. "Eastern Damnation" gathers four black Metal-insinuated bands, two each from Malaysia and Singapore respectively. NEFTARAKA initiated the damning , and rightly so they deliver. NEFTARAKA is the unofficial 'budak jahat' of Malaysian black Metal at the moment. One of the few bands able to infuse the rawness and eastern nuances effortlessly. These enormous capabilities, however, is dampened by the 'oh-so-obvious' low-bitrate compressed MP3 sounding of the tracks. I'm pretty sure the master-audio source for NEFTARAKA's part is in MP3 format of the lowest bit, and no matter how hard you try to salvage, whatever has been compressed is not going to come back. It's a real pity, all three tracks of them here show what NEFTARAKA is capable of. It's a pain to hear such fine song as 'The Knoll' being badly bruised by this MP3-to-cd audio format banality. EIBON is up next, and let's just be clear that this is not 'The Garden of Theoprastus' part two, all over these years EIBON has transformed into a different beast altogether. It is still black Metal, prevailently on the more personal side. It's like a mix-and-match of their various influences into one. Obviously more aggressive than before, a bit dreamy and drifting in places, with the synths very much in use, EIBON is somewhat of an acquired taste these days. They did it alright, just. 'Damnation (Heart Whisper)' is not a song though. A slightly different looking NEFARIOUS AZARAK comes next, they're way into the blackthrash realm nowadays, hardly the NEFARIOUS AZARAK in their earlier releases. And as before, you know that they can pull it off, as the way it is before; but the somewhat weak production prohibits them to destroy you into pieces. Well-executed production is somewhat vital for 'thrashing' it all out, if you know what I mean. 'Enslaved by Satan's Reign' rips. Last on the line is the veterans AS SAHAR, and these years of experiences show in the three tracks here. If you're familiar with them, it's still the typical AS SAHAR minus 'Baku Karama', especially the trademarked guitars sound. It is quite positive to see AS SAHAR on the path discovered once again with the last album "Tir", it might be possible sooner or later classics like 'Tinggam', or 'Depressive Moonsoon' will surely be reincarnated in another form. "Eastern Damnation" is presented in a nice digipak format with 12-pages booklet, typical Kompgraphner graphic arts (think HAYAGRIVA's "Red Heaven"), and a poster for the first few hundreds.