My top 10 favorite Rotting Christ songs

Rotting Christ is one of my favorite bands. They surely have too many great songs. Today i’m going to make a list of what i think is their top ten songs. So here goes:

Number 1 : The forest of N Gai

 Here’s one classic song from ”Passage to Arcturo” ep.

Number 2 : Archon

There can be no Rotting Christ list without this song.

Number 3 : Mephesis of Black Crystal

This is my second favorite track from ”Non Seviam” Lp.

Number 4 : Saturn Unlock Avey’s Son

And here is my all time favorite song from Non Serviam. I think this song speaks for itself. An epic, dark masterpiece

Number 5 : Exiled Archangels

Is this the best song Rotting Christ ever written? Some say it is. Personally i’m not sure. One thing is for sure. It is a great song.

Number 6 : Among Two Storms

Many die hard fans don’t like the ”A Dead Poem” Lp. Personally i disagree with them. It’s a great album with many great songs.

Number 7 : The Mystical Meeting

Have a taste of early Rotting Christ with a raw, obscure masterpiece.

Number 8 : In Yumen/ Xibalba

Intense, dark and heavy as shit

Number 9 : The Old Coffin Spirit

Another from ”Passage to Arcturo” ep.

Number 10 : Transform All Suffering Into Plagues

I kept this killer song for the end. Just turn up the volume and listen to these ten songs.

Korsakov%vol. – N.E.O.

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Korsakov%vol. is a two piece band from Cagliari, Italy. The band was formed back in 2012. Their new album, which is called ”N.E.O.”, was released on the 16th of april. The band sent us a message requesting a review thus i decided to listen to this album.

You can find five tracks in this album. The band’s music is a blend of doom metal, a bit of ambient and psychedelic rock. First song is called ”Phoenix”. Something is reborn here in a strange way. I mean this is an interesting track no doubt where you can find many good ideas like some riffs or those synths. The song has a great intro and from a certain point it keeps ”building”. Nevertheless it didn’t culminate the way i wanted it. I was ecpecting a strong post metal/sludge outbreak. I certainly did not expect those synths at 06:21. Next track is called ”Frankenstein”. I’d like to think of this song as an attempt to describe Dr Frankenstein’s peculiar ways. Or perhaps, i’m totally wrong about this. I have to say i ain’t that sure. ”Patient 0” is the album’s next track. I think it is the album’s most interesting track. It is for sure the track i liked the most. The next track sounds like a small tribute to Deep Purple. It’s perhaps what you’d get if you you’d mix deep purple with drone metal. Last but not least we have ”Mermaids”. Suddenly the mermaids’ song came to an end and as if i were Ulysses i continued my journey to find Ithaca.

O.k i have to be honest. I didn’t really like this album. You can find one or two interesting songs (like ”Patient 0” for example) but the rest of the songs were just ok for me. Gentlemen, i’m sorry but i didn’t get it. Please note though that it’s just one man’s opinion. It’s not necessarily the right opinion. Below you can find some links where you can also listen to ”N.E.O.”:

Interview with Chronoboros

Please introduce your band. When was the band formed?

The band was formed back in late 2014 by Iasonas (drums) and Nikos (guitar, vocals). Later on Giannis (bass) joined the band and we named it Chronoboros. An ad concerning the northwestern sector of Athens, 3 guys and sludge becoming mathcore.

Can you tell us about your main influences?

Musically we’ ve been mainly influenced by Melvins, Unsane, Neurosis, Breach, Botch, but also Jesus Lizard, Birthday Party, Butthole Surfers, Today is The Day, Ved Buens Ende, Candiria… anything that sounds good to us. Oher than that, we are constantly influenced by our everyday life, our different time schedules, objects of various kinds, film, literature, things that sometimes damage us and other times keep us intact.

It is believed by many that this ongoing crisis makes people create art. Do you agree with that?

I’m not sure if we agree with that. If anything it makes people more prone to substance abuse and mental disorders. It might make people create more interesting art as the economic crisis has absolved any commercial gain from the production of art, weeding out the people who could otherwise be producing art with other aspirations in their minds, thus making any creation of art for the sake of art itself rather than as means to an end…but even that is arguable.

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A few months ago you released your first ep ‘’Dialing Up the Cutter’’. Is there any particular concept behind the album you would like to discuss ?

‘Dialing Up The Cutter’ is our first record. It was recorded live at Ηχοβρύχιο studios by Giorgos Pavlidis and Giannis Pasakalidis. Mixing was handled by Giannis Pasakalidis and mastering by Carl Saff. It consists of five songs that were written in a relatively short period of time while we were still experimenting with our sound, and seemed like a good bunch of songs to introduce the band with, that also flowed quite well together sonically. The digital download is up for free in our bandcamp page and this summer it will also be available as 12” vinyl by Body Blows Records. There is no concept behind the music, besides perhaps the artwork, made by our good friend Sealitwithsilver, which might pertain to the qualities of the title but even that is only vaguely related to it and not necessarily related to the tracks of the album.

What inspires you the most?

Individually the trials and tribulations that each of us goes through, as a unit building our sound is an inspiration in and of itself.

What are you listening to these days?

A lot of Full of Hell, Kendrick Lamar, The Body, Cherubs, Miles Davis, Zu, Throwers, Saccharine Trust, Pigs and Rita Mosss…

Any live shows planned for this year?

We are playing at Encore Fest on the 28th of May at six d.o.g.s of Athens, then we are doing our annual secret BFFEST on the 11th of June, and last we are playing at New Long Fest in Nea Makri on the 15th of July.

What does the future hold for Chronoboros?

We intend to record, what is gearing up to be our first full length, sometime during 2016, to support the release of ‘Dialing Up The Cutter’ on vinyl with a tour, preferably abroad, and generally to keep playing live, writing new songs, and keep evolving.

Omega Monolith – Fungus

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I remember the first time I saw Omega Monolith play live here in Athens. It was some months ago at An club. They made quite an impression on me so I decided to check out their stuff.  For the record let’s just state that Omega Monolith is two piece, instrumental band, formed in Athens, Greece back in 2012.

‘’Vile’’ ep came out last December. That was the album that introduced me to the band’s music. Charmed by its dark and experimental nature I decided I wanted to listen to more songs from this band. ‘’Fungus’’ is the band’s debut Lp. It was released on May 14. First of all what caught my attention here is the album’s artwork. I think it is more than great. In my opinion it gives you a first taste on what’s going on inside this album. I would like to consider it a  concept album. Time devours everything. Or does he? Three songs are included in ‘’Fungus’’. The band’s music is a blend of different styles. I mean they have filtered their influences in such a way that they have achieved to create an identity of their own. The band states that ‘’Fungus’’ is a journey. I must say I agree with them. This may be a bit of a cliché line but it is an album that you have to experience. You must be patient and you have to let it grow on you. This journey is definitely worth taking. For me it’s one track cut to three pieces. Each track tells a story of its own. As for favorite tracks? I believe I’m gonna pick all three of them. You need to experience all three tracks. That’s what I think. Listen to this album and discover your own truth.

So the question is, what do I think about this album? Well, there’s no doubt in my mind that the band delivered. Apart from heavy ‘’Fungus’’ sounds really fresh and inspired. Personally I loved it, I enjoyed it, therefore I wish to recommend it. Here are some links where you can also listen to ‘’Fungus’’:

Project Mono: C++to C# pointer passing in Linux

Hey there,

today’s assignment is to pass C++ object pointers to a C# dll and back, while running in Linux. What? Linux? Yes! You read it right! By using the Mono runtime, you are able to use C# libraries from a C++ program, passing objects & callbacks, setting & retrieving data and so on. The only thing you need is embedding Mono (its logo is shown above and it depicts a gorilla,yeap), C++ and your C# dll, and that is all. Mono will allow you to control the way that your C++ program will interact with the dll, by calling different exposed dll functions from your C++ program.

Why to exchange data between C++ and C#?

Software reusability could be one reason. Imagine that you have a C# application that implements a basic GUI and an engine, which is responsible for all calculations that are performed by the program, based on the user input. At some point, you figure that your application’s performance could be better and that some of your calculations could be optimized. After optimizing your C# code, you decide that your program could be more performant if it is implemented in a more lower level language, such as C and C++. Although, you wouldn’t like to implement both the GUI and the engine subsystems from scratch. Indeed, the GUI could be reused while the engine could be reimplemented in C++. You could wrap all your GUI operations in a DLL, implement the engine in C++, glue Mono between them in order to exchange information and you are ready to go!

The availability of a specific library could be very limited to only some platforms/languages and that platform (C#, Windows) is not your project’s native (C++,Linux). Instead of reinventing the whole functionality in C++ & Linux, why not just fetch the C# dll, wrap it up in another C# dll (that you will write) and then expose all the API/exported functions to your C++ programs/environment? This is a way better solution, allowing you to:

  • reuse code,
  • treat the C# dll functionalities as a black box,
  • limits the amount of new code to just code that sets up Mono & performs calls through Mono.

Assignment Description

Create a C++ program in Linux that passes a C++ object pointer (Container*) to a C# method, which fills up the object with data that were produced in the C# side. So basically, you will need something like this:

Untitled Diagram (1)

One nice question that could come in mind is, why is there a shared library (*.so) and not just one executable that calls Mono-runtime and the DLL, why do we need the shared library in the middle? Because we decided that only the shared library implements the actual store data function, which also is exposed to the DLL. After calculating the data, the DLL calls the shared library’s exported store function, by passing the pointer that was received during the initial Mono call from the shared library to the DLL. The C# side does not know the actual data structure implementation of the container that was passed to it, actually it doesn’t know that an actual object pointer was passed into it at the first place. Why is that? Because we decided to pass the pointer as an unsigned int of 64 bits (uint64_t)! The C# side just needs to call the exposed stored data function, pass the pointer-integer and the data into the C++ function. The exposed C++ static function will convert the integer back to pointer (Container*), add the data in the container and return. After the initial call of the C++ shared library function to the C# dll, the container object in the C++ side is filled up with the data that the C# side just generated. Sounds interesting & challenging enough? Let’s see how it can be done!

Requirements

Windows

Linux

  • C++ 11
  • Mono runtime: apt-get install mono-devel
  • Makefile

 

Demo Time

1. The DLL (C# .Net side)

Our DLL contains one class, the class Program that contains three functions:

  • superCalculation, the actual functionality that we would like to reuse from C++ through Mono to C#
  • storeResults, the function that is exposed through our C++ shared library and knows how to restore the actual C++ object pointer and store the data that we received from a call to the superCalculation method
  • process, the entry point method that is called from the C++ side and triggers the calculation and the data storing scheme
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using RGiesecke.DllExport;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

namespace TestDLL
{
    class Program
    {
        public static List<int> superCalculation()
        {
            //Actual name of the function should be: "dateNowToIntegerList"

            List<int> result = new List<int>();
            string dateString = DateTime.Now.ToString();
            for(int i = 0;i<dateString.Length;i++)
            {
                if (Char.IsNumber(dateString[i]) == false) continue;
                result.Add(Int32.Parse( dateString[i].ToString() ));
            }

            return result;
        }

        [DllImport("./Kazelib.so", EntryPoint = "storeResults")]
        public extern static void storeResults(System.UInt64 container, int value);
        
        [DllExport("process", CallingConvention = CallingConvention.Cdecl)]
        public static void process(System.UInt64 container)
        {
            List<int> results = superCalculation();
            for (int i = 0; i < results.Count; i++)
            {
                storeResults(container, results[i]);
            }
        }
    }
}

 

By using the attribute DllImport, you allow the C# compiler to know that at some point, a storeResults method implementation will be available to the DLL from somewhere outside the DLL. By setting the name of the shared library and the entrypoint string, you map the method implementation & a method name symbol  with an external library, allowing the compiler to know where exactly to find the implementation of the storeResults method, that is inside the shared library “Kazelib.so”, in the entry point method “storeResults” of the shared library.

 On the other hand, by using the attribute DLLExport before the declaration of the method process, you inform the compiler that this method should be publicly exposed to the outside world, allowing other programs that load the TestDLL to call the process method from the outside. The attribute DLLExport is available through the RGiesecke module that we fetched earlier through NuGet.

After creating a new project in Visual Studio that contains the code above, build it. You will get a nicely packed dll. Now copy the dll to your Linux box, in a new directory, where our Mono project will live.

2. The shared library (C++ Linux)

Our shared library consists of one header file (Kazelib.h) and one implementation file (Kazelib.cpp).

2.1 The header (Kazelib.h)

The header contains the implementation of the Container class, which is the object that will store the results that we retrieved by calling Mono and C#.

#include <vector>
#include <cstdint>
#include <iostream>

class Container {
    private:
        std::vector<int> m_Values;
    public:
        Container(){}
        
        void storeValue(int value)
        {
        	m_Values.push_back(value); 
        }

        void dump()
        {
        	for(auto &i : m_Values)
        	{
        		std::cout << i << std::endl;
        	}
        }
};

//Entry point for C++
extern "C" void process(void);

//Used by C# to store the results
extern "C" void storeResults(uint64_t container,int value);

The header exposes two functions, the process and the storeResults public functions. The first will be exposed to our client program to call; the user program after loading Kazelib.so, will call the function process in order to trigger the whole function call sequence. The storeResults function is exposed to the C# universe, allowing us to call it from the C# side. As parameters, storeResults will accept the container object pointer-integer and an integer value that will be stored in the instance of the container object.

2.2 The implementation (Kazelib.cpp)

The logic written in the implementation file knows how the Container object looks like (it includes Kazelib.h) and knows how to set up Mono and invoke the exposed C# method in order to fill the Container object. Kazelib’s entry point is the function process, which is publicly exposed for anyone that would like to use Kazelib.so. A call to the function will call the private function processThroughMono that will perform the following steps:

  • initialize Mono runtime by loading our dll by name
  • load the appropriate assembly from the dll
  • traverse through the symbols of the assembly by scope, in order to find the MonoMethod object process located in namespace <TestDLL>, class <program>, method name <process> ( the “TestDLL.Program:process” string)
  • instantiate a Container object
  • reinterpret cast it to 64-bit unsigned integer
  • fill the container as void* argument that will be passed to the C# side
  • call process through Mono
  • close Mono runtime

Tip: during a lifetime of a program, the function mono_jit_init should be called only once, this means that you cannot turn Mono on and turn off and then turn on etc. It is allowed only once, meaning that a second call in the same process will fail.

#include "Kazelib.h"
#include <mono/jit/jit.h>
#include <mono/metadata/assembly.h>
#include <assert.h>
#include <mono/metadata/debug-helpers.h>

static void processThroughMono(std::string& dll)
{    
    //Initialize mono runtime
    MonoDomain* domain = mono_jit_init (dll.c_str());
    MonoAssembly *assembly;

    assembly = mono_domain_assembly_open (domain, dll.c_str());
    assert(assembly);

    MonoImage *image =  mono_assembly_get_image  (assembly);
    assert(image);
    MonoMethodDesc* desc = mono_method_desc_new ("TestDLL.Program:process", true);
    assert(desc);

    MonoMethod* method = mono_method_desc_search_in_image (desc, image);
    assert(method);

    //Create our container
    Container* c = new Container();

    //Cast to uint64
    uint64_t ptr = reinterpret_cast<uint64_t>(c);

    //Fill it as an argument before the mono method invokation
    void* args[1];
    args[0] = &ptr;

    //Invoke C# code
    mono_runtime_invoke (method, nullptr, args, nullptr);

    //Clean mono runtime
    mono_jit_cleanup (domain);

    //We did it!
    c->dump();

}

void process()
{
    std::cout << "process()!!" << std::endl;
    std::string dll("test.dll");
    processThroughMono(dll);
}

void storeResults(uint64_t container,int value)
{
    Container* c = reinterpret_cast<Container*>(container);
    c->storeValue(value);
}

The implementation of the exposed function to the C# universe (storeResults) casts the integer back to an object and then stores the integer value that was passed to the object. The DLL will call it as many times it needs to fill all integer results from the superCalculation C# call.

3. C++ Client Code (main.cpp)

The client code loads (dlopen & dlsym) the shared library by name (process) and then triggers the whole function call sequence by calling the shared library’s process function. Then it unloads (dlclose) the shared library and returns.

#include <iostream>
#include <assert.h>
#include <dlfcn.h>

bool process(std::string &lib, std::string &function)
{
    void *handle;
    void (*process)(void);
    char *error;

    handle = dlopen (lib.c_str(), RTLD_LAZY);

    if (!handle) {
        fputs (dlerror(), stderr);
        return false;
    }

    process = (void (*)(void)) dlsym(handle, function.c_str());
    if ((error = dlerror()) != nullptr)  {
        fputs(error, stderr);
        return false;
    }
    process();
    
    dlclose(handle);
    return true;
}

int main(int argc, char** argv)
{
    std::string lib("./Kazelib.so");
    std::string function("process");
    assert ( process(lib, function) );
}

4. Compile (Makefile)

The Makefile consists of the following commands:

all:
g++ -std=c++11 -Wall -fPIC -O2 -c Kazelib.cpp Kazelib.h  `pkg-config –cflags –libs mono-2`
g++ -std=c++11 -shared -o Kazelib.so Kazelib.o   `pkg-config –cflags –libs mono-2`
g++ -std=c++11 main.cpp -ldl

The “-ldl” switch is used in order to link our executable against the dynamic linking library, allowing the compiler to find the symbols of dlopen, dlsym and dlclose. The `pkg-config –cflags –libs mono-2` part of the command allows us to find & link against lib Mono’s runtime, allowing us to use any Mono symbol.

5. Run

gclkaze@tzertzelos:~/Desktop/Projects/Tzertzelos/Mono$ make all
g++ -std=c++11 -Wall -fPIC -O2 -c Kazelib.cpp Kazelib.h  `pkg-config –cflags –libs mono-2`
g++ -std=c++11 -shared -o Kazelib.so Kazelib.o   `pkg-config –cflags –libs mono-2`
g++ -std=c++11 main.cpp -ldl
gclkaze@tzertzelos:~/Desktop/Projects/Tzertzelos/Mono$ ./a.out
process()!!
5
1
5
2
0
1
6
1
1
0
7
2
5
gclkaze@tzertzelos:~/Desktop/Projects/Tzertzelos/Mono$

 

Yes, we did it! We were able to pass our new container C++ object through Mono to C#, fill it with data & print its contents in the C++ side by calling the dumps method call. If you may have noticed, the actual “super calculation” performed in the C# side consist of the conversion of the current date time during execution into an integer list, thus, every time you execute the client program, the Container object will be filled with different numbers. It seems that the previous screenshot was taken at exactly 15th of May 2016,11:07:23.

Summary of what we have learned

I hope i gave you an idea about the following:

  • what is Mono & how can we use it in Linux
  • load shared library and call a function from it
  • compile shared library in Linux
  • the DLLImport & DLLExport attributes
  • cool usage of reinterpret cast
  • export functions from C++ to C#
  • export functions from C# to C++
  • how to pass pointers from C++ to C# and back to C++

In the Linx section below, you will find a github link that points to the actual repo that contains all source files that were shown during this demo.

As you read, this post was quite colossal in terms of information and tried to keep it short as much as possible. Based upon all of this information, i could easily think and write about at least 5 articles for different subjects encountered in this post. I tried to focus in the high-level goal and its sequence of high-level steps and not in the lower-level ones, such as detailed information about “MonoImage” and “MonoDesc” objects. I am sure you will find what you need by clicking the attached links.

Now, go & reuse some code by using Mono in Linux!

Kaze

Linx

Kvelertak – Nattesferd

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Kvelertak is one of our favorite bands here in Tzertzelos.  A few years ago a close friend of mine recommended them to us.  Since then we were lucky enough to see them play live in both Athens and Amsterdam. ‘’Meir’’ , namely their second, full length release was a killer album. Yesterday was the release date for ‘’Nattesferd’’, their long anticipated ,third, full length album.

So yeah, the band from Norway finally released a new album. Here’s what we think about ‘’Nattesferd’’. First of all the album’s artwork is excellent. Personally it gave me a nostalgic vibe. Nine songs are included in this album. It starts with an epic track called ‘’Dendrofil for Yggdrasil’’. I think this song is beyond great. It has become one of my Kvelertak favorites. ‘’1985’’ is the album’s second track. This is more of a classic heavy metal track. ‘’Nattesferd’’ is what would someone call as black n’ roll. Perhaps that’s the song you would get if someone combined black metal and Turbonegro. ‘’Svartmesse’’ is another great song by Kvelertak. I think it’s a perfect song for a party. I don’t dj right now but if I did this song would get a lot of airplay. Same goes for ‘’Bronsegud’’. Really nice one as well. The album progresses greatly and you should rest assure you’ re not going to lose interest at any point whatsoever. Both Merciful Fate fans and Judas Priest fans are going to like ‘’Ondskapens Galakse’’. ‘’Dendrofil for Yggdrasil’’ and ‘’Berserkr’’ are my two favorite songs from Nattesferd. Two great songs definitely worth of your attention. Make no mistake though, all nine songs are great.

Overall I must say I quite enjoyed this album. I loved it, I rocked it therefore  I wish to recommend it. In my opinion ‘’Nattesferd’’ is a strong candidacy for album of the year. Exaggerating perhaps? Check out this link: