Bands - Black Abyss: 9 comments

Posted at 1:24 AM in

My favorite sub-genre of Heavy Metal music is with out any shadow of a doubt would be Black Metal. The most controversial and the most terrifying form of heavy metal there is. It felt closer due to the gloomy and melancholic atmosphere that I tend to appreciate so much besides certainly being able to relate to its palpable constituent of self empowerment echoing through the prominent utilizations of the corpse paints, bullet belts and spikes. Terrifying but enchantingly autonomous.

One of Malaysia’s most assiduous Black Metal regiment was this band called Black Abyss. Despite the simple and memorizable name that the band opted to use as a moniker, it also gives you an idea about the music they play; straight to your face raw and deep rooting black fucking metal.

I personally am very idyllic to witness the continuing existence and the survival of Black Metal bands in Malaysia. This was despite the burdening pressure and constant prejudicial scorns from both the fearful society and the powers that be upon the music, to the extent of the outright banning of the music a few years ago. At one point, I even thought that I will never be able to see another Malaysian Black Metal band again. I was so wrong. Malaysian Black Metal survived. Thank God for that (Oh, the irony. Haha)

Black Abyss is a black metal assault team hailing from Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, playing black metal in the veins of Burzum and Darkthrone except Black Abyss tends to go faster. The band also put forward one local Black Metal band, Bazzah as one of their favorites. Bazzah’s album Death Is All I See was one of those sought after rare oriental Black Metal gems from Malaysia, popular due to the fact that it was told that a huge amount of the album were seized and burned by the Malaysian authority during the government’s crusade against Black Metal back in those days. Bazzah gained cult status shortly after that.

According to Impaler, the band’s drummer, Black Abyss, formerly known as Goatvomit, was founded in 2003 as a guitarist and drummer duo band. It was only in 2006 that Black Abyss finally managed to secure a stable and steady line up to record their eponymous debut, When Sky Comes Black demo.

For a Malaysian band playing evil music in a country where all things black were despised and cursed to die, being able to sell and clear out 500 copies of compact discs containing 3 goat worshipping hell plundering black metal tracks, in my opinion deserves a bragging right and Black Abyss did just that.

The “When Sky Comes Black” demo received mainly positive reviews from all over the world especially from those lurking fanatic black metal fans from China, Sweden, Colombia, Singapore and United States. One review mentioned that the sound quality of “When Sky Comes Black” demo was so well polished for a black metal band that it would be a minor obstacle for the more primitive black metal fans to enjoy, an indication that sound quality was an important and fundamental substance to each and every one of the talented gentlemen behind Black Abyss.

Black Abyss have been playing gigs and shows to support the demo and one of the highlight was when they were given the opportunity to open for As Sahar, one of the most renowned and celebrated black metal band in Malaysia during the latter’s showcase a few months ago to support the release of their latest album. As a new and upcoming assault regiment war fronting the Malaysian black metal battle horde (I love using all these cool black metal phrases), the fans have been more than eager to support this talented band.

All their sweat, blood and hard work in putting out and promoting “When Sky Comes Black” finally pays off when Black Abyss was offered a record deal by two prominent black metal labels expressing their interest to release future materials by Black Abyss, one from Sweden and the other being Funeral Moonlight Productions, a dedicated pure underground black metal label hailing from Shanghai, China, with China’s own highly acclaimed depressive black metal band Original Sin in the label’s band roster. Funeral Moonlight Production will be distributing the debut full length of Black Abyss. The album entitled Funeralchrist, which will be released somewhere in December this year, will, hopefully, provide international exposure and worldwide recognition for Black Abyss thus once again putting Malaysian Black Metal on the map.

Besides the full length under Funeral Moonlight Production, Black Abyss will be involved and participating in numerous split projects and one of the projects being a split cassette release with Thailand speed raw black metal, Plaguebringer under Hellhouse productions. Another split cassette release with a Columbian raw black metal band, Tzelmoth, will also be released somewhere in September this year under Florida’s Lux Ferre Records. A four way split release under local’s Kvlt666 Production are also on its way subject for release by the end of this year. I guess it will be a very busy year for Black Abyss.

I do believe that this hard working band have what it takes to succeed. Feel free to visit Black Abyss and taste the conquering assault and triumphant sound of Malaysian Black Metal under the deathly siege of conservatism and narrow mindedness of Malaysia. Black Abyss current line up consist of Abyssic War on vocals and Guitars, Impaler on drums, Mordhthurnum on bass and Nershymn on guitars.

Black Abyss Myspace page:

Covers - Cromok's Forever In Time: no comments

Posted at 1:31 PM in

One of the first few heavy metal records that I bought when I was still a younger version of me was this record of a local thrash metal legend called Cromok. I was caught awed when I first knew of the band and later on succumbed to the beauty of the oriental melodies neatly incorporated in every thrash metallic notes, chords and riffs in each and every song in this album. Mesmerizing. The album was released in 1993 by EMI.

Cromok was considered by many local metal heads as a legendary band in its own right. The band was formed in the late 1987 when all the founding members were still these four young long haired foreign students struggling to survive Australia. The good ol’ down under. By time, they have harvested a huge underground following and gained reputation and respect as the most popular Asian Thrash Metal band amongst the blond underground Australian head bangers at that time. They were so popular; to an extent the band was offered an opening slot for a Motorhead concert when Lemmy Kilmister and co was touring the country. The gig was unfortunately turned down by the band.

Enough about the band let us now examine the artwork. The cover depicted the head of a metal unicorn in its entire splendor. The unicorn has been a known trademark for the band since day one and appeared on the entire discography of the band except for one record which was Engraved in Eternity, a best of compilation released in 2003. I think it was indeed a very creative attempt to amalgamate the element of mysticism (unicorn being a mystic and mythical animal) and heavy metal (the metallic clad). To say that the artist envisioned an amalgamation between east and west would be a bit far fetched since I can’t really remember seeing unicorns being popularized as icons in any local myth or mystic tales.

It was rather odd to have a unicorn as a mascot since most of the Thrash Metal bands from that particular era, what more playing that type of music, were more keen towards explicit, horrific and sometime shocking images to embellish their record. The use of unicorns would give an impression that this was a tame band, although I have to admit that the band’s first record, Image of Purity which was released in 1991, was rather atrocious and ferocious in its own right compared to the songs available in Forever In Time. Maybe it suits the style, I don’t know. But still, it was one of the best cover for a local band, it is still is.

Bands - Wabak 5 comments

Posted at 12:23 AM in

Wabak is a Malay word for plague and I do believe that they have the potential to evolve into one mammoth plague if they can figure out the correct ingredient and formula that they wanted to employ for their music. Wabak is a heavy metal band hailing from Banting, Selangor, Malaysia. I have to say that the lead guitarist can really execute his instrument judging from the Youtube clip I saw of them, although the songs on their Myspace page were far from impressive, well, at least to my ears they were not. Maybe I was expecting crazy note progressions and killer complex riffs from a band of heavy metal musician that have a John Peter Petrucci playing lead in it.

I have personally informed the band of my distastes of the melodies constructed for their vocals. I was utterly awed with the vocalist’s competence to get in contact with all that bloodcurdling high note screams, but melody wise, nothing out of the vocals stuck in my head. It was just sheer high note screams and that was it. The vocal melodies on the song, take Blindness Heart for example, had no more than 3 notes on a single bar. Yes I am no position to judge since I myself am not a qualified musician but hell I can still make a distinction between what’s listenable and what’s not. Maybe I was expecting good sappy but hummable melodies from a band that have a Michael freaking Kiske singing their songs. Sigh.

Apart from that I honestly believe that Wabak can still cut out as a decent Malaysian heavy metal band if they can give a little bit more effort on writing better songs with better riffs and strong melodies for the vocals. I was also informed by their axeman, Mr.Fuzzlee, that Wabak is currently writing and compiling original materials for their upcoming debut album. Wabak consist of Shah on the vocals, Fuzzlee on the guitar, Hanif on the guitar and Mizi on the bass. I hope these guys can decorate their repertoire and gain more experience as a good live band by playing more and more gigs in the future. It is hard to get gigs in Malaysia, if you got one, take it.

Get in touch with this band through their Myspace page:

Videos - Anvil: The Story of Anvil: no comments

Posted at 2:51 AM in

Gosh, I have been so busy I totally forgot to update this blog. For this entry, it is going to be a short one. The other day, I received an email from Simon Owens of Bloggasm, ushering me about this yet to be released 2008 documentary by Davis Guggenheim, who directed Al Gore’s The Inconvenient Truth for those who don’t know him. The documentary revolved around three greater than great guitarists, all three well known for their fondness of conducting weird and bizarre experimentations with their respective guitar sounds, all three were from three different eras of rock n roll, getting themselves cramped into a garage somewhere to talk about guitars, its unique sounds and their journeys in trying to get the guitar sounds that they have always wanted for their respective bands. It’s a must watch for those who are passionate about their guitars. It might get loud dude. Thank you, Simon.

Enough with the introduction let us go straight to the main content of today’s entry. I reviewed the book in my previous entry, now it is time to review the actual video. Anvil:The Story of Anvil is basically a documentary depicting the trials and tribulations faced by a forgotten Canadian Heavy Metal band comprised of two childhood friends, singer and lead guitarist, Lips and drummer, Robbo, in accomplishing their teenage dream to someday become rock stars. The book was like a more meticulous, prolonged and detailed excerpts of the video, so on the whole, what you got in the book is basically how it was in the video, except you will be getting a more thorough, detailed and comprehensive chronicle about Anvil in its earlier formation, the struggling years and their victory in Japan from the book. But still, the video was a fun watch.

The movie was directed by Sacha Gervasi who wrote Tom Hank's The Terminal. Gervasi was a friend they met while they were on tour back in the 80's.

There was this one part in the movie where Anvil was set to play at Metal Festival somewhere in Sweden, we can see Lips running around like a little kid trying to greet heavy metal personalities that he idolized and knew. Some of them didnt even know who he was. He was just like an innocent little boy running for Ozzy Osbourne for autographs.

Japan has always be a point of fascination to me for their fanatical fans, not to mention that it has the second largest music industry in the world, hot on the heels of good ol’ Uncle Sam. Note this all you heavy metal bands in Malaysia, if you really want to get rich with your unique music, try and get a distribution deal from any heavy metal record labels up there in Japan.

It was a good movie. I have to admit though that through out the whole This Is Anvil, I chocked in tears. You got to see it for youself to experience it.

Covers - Necrotic Chaos's Regime Grotesque: no comments

Posted at 9:42 PM in

I am writing this entry while Regime Grotesque is destroying my speakers and spontaneously my eardrums too. The next album cover that I wanted to share is Necrotic Chaos debut full length entitled Regime Grotesque. Necrotic Chaos is a brutal death metal band hailing from Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. The band was formed in 1992, along with the surfacing of quite a number of Ipoh based Heavy Metal bands in the likes of Langsuyr (Black Death Metal), Athotorgh (Thrash) and Profane Creation (Death Metal) (Ipoh Metal militants as they called themselves), with 5 official releases under its belt. Regime Grotesque was released in 2003 by the cult label Ultra Hingax Productions containing 8 absolutely blistering, brutal, sick and quite technical death metal tracks. Oh there are no sappy or memorizable melodies here.

The undomesticated excellent drumming, which had always made an impact on me, was of the courtesy of one of the most brilliant and highly respected heavy metal drummer ever to emerge from Malaysia, the iconic Mr.Wira aka Old-T. On the other hand, the guitarist and one of the band’s founding members, Mr. Jadam, is also a legendary producer, highly regarded and well respected within the Malaysian heavy metal circuit. It was quite a disappointment that their Black As Incest EP failed to top the intensity shown in Regime Grotesque. The sound production was horrible too. Well, at least for me it was.

Now, enough about the band let us now examine the artwork. The cover illustration on this album was drawn by Desmond Sia, a local prolific illustrator known for his killer artworks battle fronting the epic releases of such distinguished bands in the likes of Impiety, Angel Corpse, Abhorrence and Profanatica. I have been a fan of Desmond Sia’s artwork since I first knew that he was a local and for his superb artwork in Impiety’s Skullfucking Armageddon. Total cult.

The cover gives a picture of images of skulls and ghouls the old school and analog way, if I may put it that way. Is there any other better ways to illustrate a cover for a death metal band than having skulls and ghoulish faces splattered all over the sleeve? Simple, horrifying and one look at the cover you know that you will be in for a sick treat. Decapitated bodies are so over rated these days.

With out any doubt, the illustration has managed to give proper justice to the title of the album. Notice two of the skulls were drawn to wear war helmets. I believe that would the interpretation for the word Regime. Do I need to point out that entire artwork is monstrous, gruesome and horrendous? That would be the artiste’s elucidation of the word Grotesque. Straight to the point.

Apart from the killer album cover, I have to say that this album was a very well defined album. From the name of the band, album title, cover artwork and the songs. Sick!

Get in touch with the band at:

Videos - Metal : A headbanger’s Journey: 1 comments

Posted at 12:31 AM in

Metal : A headbanger’s Journey, Banger Productions, 2005.

I know it is kind of late to write down a review about this incredible documentary. I watched this one last year and that is kind of late too taking into account that the documentary was released way back in 2005. Where the hell was I in 2005? What ever it is, I have to say that this is the documentary that everyone should spend some time watching to really understand what heavy metal is really all about. Either for those who long to appreciate and value the history and origin of this wonderful music we call heavy metal, or for those who, out of innocent curiosity, wanted to read through real reason why it had such an immense or superlative cultural impact on its devoted listeners, this is the documentary that will explain and answer some of your questions.

The video follows Sam Dunn, a devoted metal listener and a Canadian anthropologist turn film director, on a journey to all the significant places through out the globe, England and Norway for instance, both remain closely significant to the birth of New Wave of British Heavy Metal and the second wave of the Satanic Black Metal respectively, while dictating the origins of the music, the musicians and its cultural impact on youths to the viewers.

The video was neatly divided into several parts and primary contents where Dunn would help and introduce to the viewers to the inside world of heavy metal, step by step. I enjoyed the segments and it appears to me that the video was produced as a very much viewer friendly documentary by manipulating the easiest but the most effective and best ways, the mechanism to reach for the curious cats out there who really wanted to understand heavy metal, without just vomiting the superiority of the music all at one go. Dunn and his team really do want to edify and educate rather than doing a one off shot documentary with crappy contents and footage quality. It was this quality and dedication that impressed Iron Maiden, whose singer Bruce Dickinson also appeared in the documentary, so much that they invited Dunn and his crew to film the mighty Maiden on tour. The film was later produced and released as Iron Maiden: Flight 666.

There was also this chart on the evolution of Heavy Metal that really made me fascinated. The chart explained how heavy metal evolved from Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple to Dio, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest to Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth to Mayhem, Darkthrone and Immortal so on so forth. Dunn and his team also released another documentary called Global Metal in 2007 as a follow up. I shall write a late review on that video too. This is recommended to all you Malaysian Heavy Metal enthusiasts out there.

While I was writing this entry, i listened to the newest album by a Greece melancholic and depressive Black Metal band called Sad, entitled Enlightened by Darkness. Really sets the mood. Haha.

Covers - Langsuyr's The Eastern Cruelty: 3 comments

Posted at 7:09 PM in

Hey, I am definitely getting the hang of doing this cover review series. Thank you MetalMark for this awesome inspiration. When I first had the idea to do this cover reviews series, there were a few album covers that flew straight into my head and made its way straight into my best album covers top ten list and this was one of them. Langsuyr’s The Eastern Cruelty EP cover which was released by Nebiula Production in 1996.

I was still a very naïve and young aspired metal head back when I first discovered this album in its cassette format on a shelve in a record store somewhere, and I have made it a mission to go and get this album. Why? Because I was attracted to the killer and evil cover artwork. Langsuyr is a Black Death metal band hailing from Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia and one of the earlier bands whose music prototyped a whole new genre, the Eastern Metal. Eastern Metal basically was heavy metal, usually black metal with the incorporation of Malay occult and mystical theme usually lyrically and rarely image. It may sound a bit trendy today to have occult and mystical Malay poems as lyrics, but back then it was a very unique and original phenomenon. The name Langsuyr or langsuir was taken from the name of the deadliest banshee, the deadliest version of the numerous versions of Malay female vampires available in the Malay folklore.

If my memory serves me correctly, the artwork was drawn by the band’s drummer at that time and the logo was designed by the guitarist. I have to prefer the logo on this release compared to their original logo on their first demo or any of their later releases. The Eastern Cruelty logo depicted the name of the band covered in flames. I loved the details and for me it has a very evil, wicked and eastern black magical atmosphere.

Let us examine the cover. The cover consists of the image of a seven headed dragon most probably as a reverence to one of their songs included in the EP entitled The Seven Headed Dragon of Pelangi. Pelangi is a Malay word for the rainbow. In the middle of the chaotic swerves and swirls of the dragon’s heads, sits a menacing looking female figure with a sinister grin which I believe to be a Malay female shaman. This was due to her being drawn holding an incense tray with her left hand in a position to cast a spell. It could have been the lady langsuir herself. Notice the long, sharp and disturbing fingernails?

I adored every bit of details available in this artwork. It seems that the dragon drawing and the female figure drawing were actually two pieces of artwork pasted together. Note the white line outlining the female figure? Although another explanation would explicate that the method of outlining a figure in an artwork is actually normal in order to highlight a particular character. Fair enough. Although I am no expert in art and the quality of an artwork, I would really like to believe that the whole The Eastern Cruelty artwork was drawn using colored pencils. The precision is excruciatingly well decorated. This cover will always be one of the best decorated album cover in my view.

Get in touch with Langsuyr:

Covers - Claw's Summoning The Darkness: no comments

Posted at 4:39 PM in

One of my favorite blog is MetalMark. I enjoyed reading his thoughts and personal views on all things metal. There is this one column in his blog that I enjoyed reading called Clash of the Album Covers, where MetalMark would post two or more album covers and later let his readers choose and decide their preference. It was fun reading the hilarious and side-splitting comments from his readers and MetalMark would occasionally give his own personal views and favorites. I decided to put out something similar but it would not be another Clash of the Album Covers rip off. It would be much more comparable to what MetalMark and his friends were doing in A Whole Lotta Album Covers, but since The Bullet Belt will only be concentrating on Malaysian Heavy Metal scene, it is obvious that I will only write about Malaysian Metal album covers. This will be fun I hope.

I shall start with Claw’s Summoning the Darkness 2009 demo cover. Claw is a promising grim and raw black metal band from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In Malaysia, this grim and raw type black metal sound is popularly known and labeled as Black Metal Hutan. Hutan is a malay word for forest. The sound was so grim, raw and primitive it must have been recorded primitively in some deep jungle some where, thus the term Forest Black Metal. Hey, that might just have been a new unique genre there if the bands could just throw in some unique trademarks. Well, as for the band, they have managed to release two well received demos and a four way split tape in 2008 since their inception into blasphemy in 2004. Summoning the Darkness was their most recent demo released through the dedicated Morbid Invasion Records. Some native tribesman out there in the deepest jungle, who must have engineered the demo, must have been really proud.

I personally loved the new Claw logo. I personally think that it caught the grimness of the band. It’s definitely eviler and desecrating compared to the old 2007 logo. The old logo reminded me of a logo used by a death metal band from South America, unfortunately I forgot the name of the band. The fact that the logo was nicely designed in symmetry and was colored white rather than the typical black, made it more captivating, if I may say so. Let us examine the picture on the cover. The cover depicted a grayscale photo of a dusky, foggy and yet very icy mountain top complete with its dry and rather pale forestry gloominess. The fact that the mountain was kind of covered with snow was a bit a turning off switch for me since there are no icy mountains in Malaysia. Or is it me being bad in geography? This is not Norway mates. Again, this was also, to my eyes, a perfect illustration and representation of the band’s style of music. The cover was indeed very atmospheric. The perfect mishmash of dark, cold and gloomy atmosphere made it to be as one of the most perfect album cover in 2009, well at least for me if we were to exclude the snow.

Get in touch with Claw: