Metal!: Von, Lair of the Minotaur, Azure Emote and Freedoms Reign

Written by Metal!, Music

The controversial Von releases a new record and Victor Arduini is back in the game!

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On the 25th day of the 12th month of 2012, the Six-Tongued Hellgoat was summoned to rise from the ashes and bring darkness to this place called POPdose. Join him in his quest.

Ritual Thrust into the Profane Maw of Churning Filth

AlbumAlbum: Von, Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves
Label: Von Records
Release: March 22, 2013
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 7/10

If you know metal, you know Von and/or the mastermind behind Von, Venien. Von was one of the great old school black metal bands having existed initially from 1987-1992. In that time, they only released some demos but became a favorite underground band. Venien started the project back up in 2010, as well as a Von Venien solo name (and original member Goat, also started his only project, Von Goat). Since that point all von has done is pretty much rehash old material, re-releasing the tracks from 20+ years ago. Even on their first LP in 2012, Satanic Blood, they remade a lot of the old demo tracks. And that’s where the problem has been for the group. Von almost became a mockery of themselves by showing almost no creativity in their “new” music.

Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves is the first part of a trilogy of records from Von and this is really the album that needs to help them rebuild their image. They’ve created new songs on this record which is a big key to moving towards the future. Long gone however is the raw black metal that won them their following decades ago. The music they create now is dark and creepy but produced well. Von’s song structure reminds me a lot of Burzum. They take a riff and repeat it ad nauseum throughout the song, often very minimal in nature but also very precise. Every note seems to have a purpose behind it.

Some of the riffs on the record are great (“Hands of Black Death”) while others sound kind of gimmicky (“RawRot”). The production tends to different across the album as “MONSTER!” is recorded extremely loud, but the following song, “Devilwhore” is less polished and therefore doesn’t flow very well together. What they really need more of are songs like “Black Eyes.” The six-minute album closer is slow and dark, plodding along in a creepy horror flick kind of way. Most of the album is mid-tempo to fast paced tunes, which butt heads with each other on occasion.

The Hellgoat tends to like the repetitive minimalism of the music overall but at 54 minutes long, the album does drag a little by the end. But the key here once again is that Von has come up with something new finally. essentially starting a new chapter. Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves is at least a promising start to the trilogy if not good enough to warrant multiple listens.

Somnolent Regurgitation of the Scrolls of Proselytism
(The Hellgoat wishes to convert you to the ways of the metal. But he prefers to let the press release and bio do most of the talking on these nefarious black circles.)

AlbumAlbum: Lair of the Minotaur, Grindslayer EP
Label: The Grind-House Records
Release: April 20, 2013
Genre: Thrash/Sludge

Press: While the members of Lair of the Minotaur have been skulking around in the back-alleys of the underground over recent months, the band has been far from dormant. To commemorate a full decade of demolishing eardrums on record and on stage this year, the band will hammer their fanbase with a brand new EP for this year’s Record Store Day. Entitled Godslayer, the new 7” release bears two new tracks, with the surge of “Godslayer” opening up, and the monolithic “The Black Heart of the Stygian Drakonas” on the B-side, both tracks mastered by Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer). A limited edition of 300 copies will be pressed as a 7”, in addition to the digital download through iTunes, Amazon MP3 and the like, and as with their latest album Evil Power will be released on their own The Grind-House Records with distribution from previous label home, Southern Lord, for Record Store Day this April 20th.

The Hellgoat’s Take (8/10): A quick two song burst of energy. Both are vicious attacks on your senses. Just the way metal should be.

AlbumAlbum: Azure Emote, The Gravity Of Impermanence
Label: Selfmadegod
Release: April 3, 2013
Genre: Avant-garde Death Metal

Press: The Gravity Of Impermanence is fueled by pummeling blast beats, haunting female vocals, violins, saxophone, harmonica and a barrage of other eclectic surprises brought together into one melting pot of misanthropic darkness that defines the Azure Emote ethos. Possessing fourteen songs encompassing over an hour of devastatingly original extreme metal…

The Hellgoat’s Take (7.5/10): “Original” is the key word there as I doubt you will hear another record like this one anytime soon. The Gravity of Impermanence is both strange and extremely interesting at the same time. The unrelenting attack of non-traditional metal instruments, death growls, female vocals, audio samples, technicality and overall chaos yields something that is simply mind-boggling. The Hellgoat fears they are reaching a little too far here though as drawing back even a little could have made for a more consistent record and still be totally fucking unique. Either way, the Hellgoat likes groups that push boundaries and by hell, this surely does.

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AlbumAlbum: Freedoms Reign, Freedoms Reign
Label: Cruz Del Sur
Release: April 30, 2013
Genre: Heavy Metal

Press: Cruz Del Sur Music is extremely proud to have signed a deal with Fates Warning’s original guitarist and founding member Victor Arduini for the release of the self-titled album from Arduini’s new band Freedoms Reign. Freedoms Reign marks Arduini’s comeback to the Metal world since he left Fates Warning after the release of The Spectre Within in 1985. Keeping his original, charismatic and unmistakable guitar-style untouched, Arduini returns under the spotlights with fresh enthusiasm and dedication, producing a notable effort of true American-styled heavy metal with a classic Ozzy/Sabbath’s flavor.

The Hellgoat’s Take (7/10): Nice to see Arduini back in the game. This isn’t any sort of groundbreaking record but it’s solid old school heavy metal from start to finish. Arduini definitely sounds like Ozzy singing, at least at the start of the disc. Unfortunately, he really isn’t a fantastic frontman but he’s good enough to make Freedoms Reign work.

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