without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Released in May 2007, the second offering from France's Gestapo 666, Nostalgiah, covers much the same ground as before. This is raw black metal that owes a lot to the mid-'90s LLN bands, and one can say that this band serves almost as a tribute to glorify and preserve what those musicians accomplished, so long ago.
Musically, this record is similar to the Black Gestapo Metal in that it utilizes a lot of the same type of maddening tremolo melodies and soul-tearing palm-muted riffs that combine to send the listener directly into Hell. This time around, there is a little more variation, both between the different tracks and within them as well. Nostalgiah is very riff-oriented, with a fair amount of memorable riffs to be found. There are times when the band members' other bands can be heard filtering in, somewhat; “Scriptures of Our Black Melancholy” sounds very reminiscent of Satanic Warmaster, while traces of Celestia and Mortifera can be heard from time to time. The vocals, for the most part, try to keep in the old LLN spirit and add to the miserable feeling that is conveyed by the music. One might refer to this as National Socialist black metal, as some of the lyrical themes refer to a “corrupted jewish world”, as well as eliminating “judeo-life values” and the wonderful topic of reopening death camps and inviting various sub-races. However, to do so would be rather foolish. One primary characteristic that has long existed in black metal is that of hatred toward mankind. Those that would miss out on a decent album like this, due to such a moronic reason, should hop down from the high horse and get a life.
The production of Nostalgiah seems to be a little bit clearer and more dynamic than on the previous record. That is not to say that it possesses a slick, modern feel, for it does not. This is still pretty raw and not at all easy to digest for those unaccustomed to the sounds of underground black metal. The production succeeds in putting the guitar at the forefront, even moreso than on Black Gestapo Metal. The drumming can still be heard, but it never distracts. The vocals are a little louder than on the last record, but this suits the music quite well, and they never get to the obnoxious level of some of the old LLN recordings. Even if they had, it would have fit in with the theme and not really been a problem anyway.
Nostalgiah is somewhat of a diverse album, with some riffs that seem catchy and remain in your skull for days, while others are so bleak and dismal that you find yourself carving into your flesh without realizing it. Much like its predecessor, it does well to maintain the old Black Legions sound, without really adding anything to it. In this case, that is a good thing. If you want to hear a slightly clearer and updated version of what Mütiilation, Vlad Tepes and Belketre were doing a decade or so earlier, pick this up. Highlights include "Dethroned Tyrant Will Return", "Shadow Hate Division" and "Bestial Rites of Sacrifice".
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com
Gestapo 666 are somewhat of an underground 2 man black metal 'super' group, featuring none other than Satanic Warmaster's (and the countless other bands he's featured in) Satanic Tyrant Werwolf, and Noktu of Mortifera/Celestia/Peste Noire fame. Also, Meyhna'ch of Mutiilation used to feature in the earlier line up, so the band's heritage certain has some meat on its bones to say the least. Their debut album from 2005 was certainly a contender for The Black Legions sound-a-like for the year award, with its fizzing evil riffage and its low-fi sounding recording certainly grabbing my attention.
This, the band's 2nd album comes in a very similar fashion to its predecessor, albeit with a slightly better production quality and more varied pace between songs. Although it features the aforementioned Finn Werwolf, this is a very French black metal sounding album again, with all the miserable occultism and chiming, discordant riffage you would expect (nay, demand) from such a band. The guitars are strangulated, battered and feeding back one moment, before slipping into a Transylvanian Hunger-like riff-o-rama the next (this is a very riff based black metal album, as opposed to a hypnotic, repetition reliant Burzum-like affair), adding to the fury with time changes, fast non-palm muted riffage, deep gurgling black metal vocals and tumbling drums which cascade throughout the whole album, adding defiant stability to the free-flowing waves of riffs.
As you may guess with the bands politically correct-provoking name, they do have a NS edge to their artwork and lyrics, but one with an seemingly out-of-place Satanic theme running through it too, giving the whole thing a slightly tongue in cheek feel (I mean, come on – they're called Gestapo 666? How much more cheesy can you get?!). It's not even that they're promoting Nazi occultism when you read the lyrics; it seems that they just wanted to incorporate both NS and Satanism into their lyrics, as well as their band name. However, let this somewhat hard to take seriously approach put you off from what is an excellent album, well worth any black metal fan's attention.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com
Gestapo 666 are one of those bands that may force a listener into a philosophical corner. Some are undoubtedly attracted to the band for their glaring anti-semitism. So, finding exactly what they expected front and center on this record, they blissfully avoid any moral quandary and are left to bask in a National Socialist wet dream. Others, of an indignant and overly dramatic character, totally intolerant in their finger-wagging crusade for tolerance, will seize on this recording and vilify it as a perfect example of all that is wrong with black metal (and to a larger degree France, which is second only to Germany on the Jewish Defense League's European shit-list). And then there are people like me....
I see all Abrahamic religions as part of the problem. From the hypocritical, anal retentive slave-masters for Christ, to the crazy-eyed amputee fetishist theocratic mullahs of Iran, to the avaricious porcine puppet masters of Israel and their apologist American lackeys, I'd execute 'em all if I could. So an album whose lyrical content contains anti-semitic sloganeering doesn't bother me anymore than an album which extolls the virtues of church burning would. Now, enough political bullshit. What's it sound like?
In short, this album kicks ass! While not perfect by any means, the good here easily outweighs the bad. It would be tempting to classify this as satanic war-metal and be done with it, but there's some subtle shades of mood happening here that are surprisingly unexpected. Black metal, after all, is not a genre known for its subtlety. The first hint comes with the album's title. The word "Nostalgiah" suggests a melancholic longing for a different time, now lost. A theme one might expect from a depressive/suicidal black metal album, but is unusual for the type of goose-stepping boot to the skull metal aural assault I was anticipating. And it's not just a reflective after-thought of a title either. This music bristles with bitter and despairing melodies which weave like a corrosive thread through the songs. The guitars careen between picking out these strange, sad figures of notes and lashing out flailing riffs which always seem to contain the perfect atonal occultation. Just enough to create the image of ancient blitzkrieg machines of destruction slowly coming back to life.
There seems to be a temptation for some bands when making an album like this, one which wears its earnest ideology on its sleeve like some swastika arm-band, to try and sound "kult" or "troo" by mixing out any semblance of bass and by making the guitars as thin as possible. Gestapo 666 avoid this conceit and their album is the better for it. The guitars have a thickness here which feels appropriate to the militaristic spirit of the record. The vocals are dead-on as well. Nothing novel or ground breaking, just a satisfyingly malevolent and hateful bark which really does sound like some sort of demonic brown shirt shouting orders to his regiment. Especially when he snarls, "HAIL SATAN, HAIL GESTAPO!!!!" Fucking bad ass.
Even the missteps here tend to serve the overall mood of the record. For instance, the drums are sloppy, sometimes dragging behind the guitars, sometimes rushing ahead of them. Anywhere else and this would be a distraction. Here, the clumsy drumming seems in keeping with the thematic construct of a malignant force lurching forth towards inevitable battle. The record also sounds like it was recorded in a hurry. These songs, for the most part, sound like first or second takes. I understand that Gestapo 666 consists of a relatively fluid line-up, with most, if not all, band members committed to other projects as their main gig. Again, where elsewhere this might be annoyance, here it seems to lend an urgency to the songs. Giving them a chaotic momentum which serves to propel the listener along as well.
The only disappointment is the last track. It feels uninspired and grows repetitive upon subsequent listening. But, one skipper out of the bunch is not bad at all. Give this one a listen if you're of a mind. It's become a mainstay in my metal record rotation.