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(Century Media)
Release Date: 3rd March 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus


Do you recall those gory glory days of Celtic Frost? Do you feel that Triptykon is awesome but lacks the more primitive and naive energy that Celtic Frost brought to the table in those heady days? If yes is your reply to both of these questions, then joining me on this quest to review this dark predator is something you should do.

Their self-titled debut is a bit of a tasty surprise as we gluttonise over the veins of a poor maiden sucking up every last droplet of her crimson juices. These Swedish fans of black Metal and the more shadowy of spectres had their demo profiled on the Band of the Week blog by none other than Fenriz of the mighty Darkthrone!

After a particularly prickly week, I was really up for this controlled collection of aggression and throwback horror atmosphere. Lead vocalist 'Hand of Doom' (yes, you read that right) isn't Thomas Gabriel Fischer the second, but his rasping and enthusiastic grunts and growls are more than sufficient for the music that backs him up.

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This remarkable quartet is rounded off with Black String pummelling the guitar, bass player Command and atmospheric drum abuser Ratwing. You've got to love this band before you even hear one note from this cellar-dwelling music machine.

I couldn't quite discern their lyrical directions, but according to the press release they like to explore the ideals of the dark and the unknown, along with inspiration from traditional horror literature and some rather disturbing visual material you'd not be lightly advised to place near your DVD player! With that all said and done, let's explore some of their twisted audio slime.

There's something novel about the guitar solo in 'The Fen' which appeals, and as for the 'trackula' they call 'Cellar Grave Vampire', well it bounces along like Dracula ate too many bananas when he rose from his coffin. 'Under The Grudge' gallops along like the headless horseman and is glorious because of the fact, whilst leaving a truly astonishing surprise at the tail end which I adored. Now that's the way to end an album. King Diamond would have approved whole-heartedly.

'Orexis' isn't just a word that I had to look up, but is a frantic way to open an album. I found out that this could either be a drug for men to assist with certain sexually related functions, or it's more than likely a word to sum up the mental process of change or how the action is affected. To follow such a compact assault of evil as that opening manifesto, there's a 'trackula' called 'Howl From The Coffin' which includes the real-time noises from Hand of Doom as he crawls from an actual coffin.

Apologies, my imagination began to fill in the blanks after hearing his vocal delivery just over halfway through this song. 'Ungodly Warlock' does the business and contains some truly Gothic sounding lead guitar whilst retaining a dirty groove worthy of a gravedigger on a busy day.

'The Bestial Anyss' provides another memorable highlight (or should that be lowlight?) from an album that packs in entertainment and grime within all of its crevasses. 'Vampire' is an album for those who yearn for something as downright 'gorious' as the earlier Celtic Frost music, or perhaps are hungry for some audio equivalent to warm blood. Listening to this album over the past few days brought out grey clouds, thunderstorms and frightened my cat. It can't be all that bad then can it?

Howl From The Coffin
At Midnight I'll Possess Your Corpse
Ungodly Warlock
The Bestial Abyss
Black Deserts
Jaws Of The Unknown
The Fen
Cellar Grave Vampire
Under The Grudge

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