Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Alastor - Ceremonies of Ancient Wisdom (NEW WRITER!)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first post by new TBO contributor TheCount. This dude's been following the blog since day one, and he's one of Noktorn's online metal bros. He "gets it," for real. I'm proud to have him alongside us. For more info on our expanding lineup, see the "Manifesto Part II" post I just wrote, below. - Pavel

This is terrible but it's really hard to hate it. If you have any appreciation for Eastern European NSBM then this is just something you have to hear, as it is pretty much the perfect representation of the style. A very high-pitched, screechy vocalist sears over very poorly recorded, poorly played semi-directionless folk riffs of the building, epic variety. A super obvious drum machine rattles out war beats beneath it and synths seep in and out as intros and interludes.

Don't like NSBM? Then avoid. Every stereotype is examplified here. Super raw, trebly production? Check. High raspy vocals? Check. High end dominance with distinct lack of bass? Check. Very amateur playing and poor timing? Check. Propaganda lyrics? Check. Epic, mystical Zelda interludes? Check. The list goes on and on. It's cheap, unprofessional, cliched, predictable and sometimes quite silly.

Why can't I hate it? Because they're so damned passionate about it. It has the same quality as Absurd's early demos, where passion alone endured where playing, composing and recording did not. It's so cliched that it's fascinating, hearing so many of these tried and true NSBM riffs, some of them actually quite neat and chilling. I'd never put this and the well crafted works of Dub Buk and Fullmoon on the same level, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't find some of these riffs kind of cool, and the ambient interludes especially. And the riffs are just about indistinct enough to keep this sounding like a brand new album every time you play it.

I can't exactly say that this is good (most NSBM, besides a few key artists, is pretty terrible) but if you love black metal as much as I do this is a worthwhile curiosity, especially if you've never heard NSBM before and want a good example of how the average demo sounds.


  1. Hmmm, a comparison to early Absurd, eh? I really like early Absurd (Facta Loquuntur), though I find it a bit hard to articulate exactly why (oh gosh, it might (just might!) have to do with some non-musical things/events having some weird effect on my perception of the music.) I'll check this out, but *sigh* I've checked out so much of this kind of thing that it's like "Oh, kitschy casio folk intro? Rejected Graveland riff circa Thousand Swords or Following the Voice of Blood? No thanks. NEXT BAND." It's just constant disappointment for me with this kind of stuff, but...I will give this a chance.

  2. How does The Count feel about Chyna's anal movie?