Trest – Ordalium [Germany, Black] (2019)

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Caligari Records | 7-4-19

I drafted this review to remind myself to listen to the whole album when it was released. Caligari Records has always been reliable in finding music that is demanding existentially. In fact, if there was some sort of blind subscription service when I received tapes in the mail, I am sure I would never be disappointed. Trest is another testament to the strength of Caligari as this German black metal project is centered around the persecution of witches and sounds like a riot of emotions. Ordalium is centered around “the last people sentenced for magic & witchcraft in Europe,” and while this subject matter could lend itself to be celebratory and superficial, Trest’s somber attitude regarding the subject in multiple stages of “ordeal” and “pyre” makes for a record which was not only anticipated but something that is one of the best black metal albums of the year. With a combination of hypnotic rhythms and occasional soundclips, Ordalium is an emotional journey that was by and far worth waiting for.

Gwoid – Gwoid VI – Aurora Borealis [Germany, Atmospheric / Raw Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 7-16-19

I wrote about Gwoid earlier int he year with the January release of Gwoid V. This release was tagged under “Raw Black” as the demo was filled with a spectral cloud. v took me by surprise as it is still rooted in the camp of bedroom black metal but the newest release travels towards the stars. Gwoid VI – Aurora Borealis takes its inspiration from bands like Darkspace which throws the template of atmospheric black into the vacuum of space allowing the terror and uncertainty of the void to become the centerpiece of music. there certainly is still the raw edge present as the vocals are still shredded and the music is akin to a ripped drapery. I realize that every time I talk about this project, I am just presented with haunted imagery which is perhaps the best way to describe this type of music.

White Death – III [US, Atmospheric Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 6-18-19

If anyone has reads this site for any amount of time, the inclusion of atmospheric black usually comes with some degrees of lofi production. White Death, compared to other raw atmospheric black is relatively clean yet the slime and grime of whatever dirt from outside still lingers on its production. White Death is a bedroom production whose name is unfortunately running up against the Finnish White Death on Werewolf Records. This White Death is from Iowa and its bleak location serves as a setting for a brilliant demo that is full of raw emotion and noise.

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Himelvaruwe – Het ondenkbare [Netherlands, Black] (2019)

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Self Released, 6-3-2019

Do not let the cover fool you. This is not woozy new age though both have a penchant for mystical soundscapes. I reviewed Himelvaruwe in 2017 with the demo CCIII. I was pleased and surprised there was so much activity between that demo and this as the operator T.J seems to work the best in mania. Just the work in Himelvaruwe alone constitutes productivity let alone his other work in Kaffaljidhma, Ancient Morass, and Mirre.

I enjoy how people approach records and coming from a long background in dungeon synth, the serial release schedule is just something that some bands do. Het ondenkbare is the 7th release in a few short years and the 5th demo for the project. It continues, visually, a motif that shares a design with 2018’s Het onkenbare. Together the two demos translates roughly to “The Public / The Unthinkable” and at least as of now share the same surreal approach to raw black metal with a heavy use of dreamy synth. I found myself drawn to this release the more and more I listened to it and is something that will be pleasing for people with very narrow interests.

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Grim Existence – Expansion of Reality [UK, Death / Hardcore] (2019)

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F H E D, 6-04-19

Worship bleak existence. This is the second EP from a UK outfit that has taken their time between releases but in reality doesn’t give a shit what you think. The realm of hardcore punk and death metal have a weird little scene when forced in the same jail cell. Grim Existence seems to be coasting on the thin line between both embracing the swirling riffs of death metal with a glacial approach to hardcore’s structure. The result is a mind bending journey into the psyche that is devoid of the morbid themes as well as the interpersonal drama of both styles. While this EP is only two real songs, the presence of both is more than enough to warrant interest if not guarded awareness.

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Witches Hex – Rituals Under The Red Moon [Canada, Raw Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 5-3-19

I feel that the tag Raw Black is less a genre and more of a sign post for interested parties. Rituals Under the Red Moon is black metal just fed through a filter of noise and chaos. One can still hear the riffs and structure just now with rough edges which bleed like static. I do not know much about this band other than their desire to play into a genre. From their cover to names, Witches Hex embraces the thematic elements of underground black metal. What is interesting about the band however is their ability to make those thing still seem sinister and raw perhaps with the help of shredding noise.

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Sněť – Promo [Czech Republic, Death] (2019)

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Self Released | 4-8-19

It takes a certain cover for me to assume that everything, musically, inside will line up with my interests. While this is not a guarantee on quality, the craft of an aesthetic is a good indication on the care the band will have on the music. Sněť’s promo / demo pays close attention to crafting the look of vomit drenched death metal that sounds like it was recorded in a flooded warehouse than anywhere natural. This type of grimy concrete death metal, which comes with photocopied tape covers, is something that is specific to an audience who will love every second. There really is only one song on this demo as the first is a long introduction to the world of disease, sickness and endless riffs. If you are here then we do not need to say anything as we all have heard the call of wretched death.

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Ghriéving – Chimére de Hypnos [Venezuela, Black] (2019)

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Vigor Deconstruct | 4-1-19

Vigor Deconstruct is a new label which seems to be what is left after the dissolving of the venerated label Fallen Empire. From few Facebook posts, Vigor Deconstruct seems to be taking up the mantle, and remaining roster, and being the aesthetic torchbearer and dealers of obscure madness. Many things are uncertain but adie from a few signed bands without new material and older albums pressed onto vinyl, the only thing attributed to Vigor Deconstruct is this new Ghriéving. Alright, I can stick around to see what this is about.

Chimére de Hypnos is an EP following a debut that was released on a perhaps more obscure label — Ascetic Visions. Ghriéving ‘s stormy disposition fits the swirling unease of terror with high occult visions and a growing sense of unease. Metal Archives similar artist tag already has a connection with Skaphe which could be for music or visual aesthetic or both. whatever the case, Ghriéving is a a fantastic parade marshal which will hopefully usher in year’s worth of material from bands I never knew existed. I do not expect this to be another Fallen Empire but if it continues to unearth terror long bound in crypts by spells, I will be okay with whether this label is going to be.

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Tenebro – Demo [Italy, Death] (2019)

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Desert Wastelands Productions | 5-1-19

Allow the reverberations of instinct to take over. I think this is from Italy since the tag indicates it is “Horror Glorifying Death Metal from Fulci’s Land.” This demo comes by the way of Desert Wasteland which also released Astriferous’ demo. If that Costa Rican massacre was any indication then Tenebro is going to be of the same caliber. We will go with that. If the lack of information is offsetting, it is just apart of the luddite style death metal that I have come to love and worship. If any sound was akin to kunckledragging ogres then Tenebro is one of the grossest abominations to stalk the land. Heavy, inattentive, and only concerned with the lust for violence, this is death metal with a 10th grade reading level that dumps intelligence for strength.

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Hexivoid – Disdain From A Burning Cosmos [UK, Black] (2019)

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AHPN Records | 2-19-19

Alright, lets get fucking weird. It takes a special album to break my visual obsession with black and white JCard covers that feature rotting corpses. It also takes a special album that is going to rip my attention away from rotting death metal that sounds like it shoveled from the floor of an abattoir. This is it. One of the weirdest things I have heard all month and it is not just noise or left field black rather something that just pulses oddities from the cover to the bedroom style laboratory which makes up the bulk of its music. Disdain From A Burning Cosmos is a journey and one that can be enjoyed by a majority of people if they leave a few things at the floor. In here, production is meaningless, band members play everything, and all pageantry when it comes to visual design melts in a peyote vision quest. Fuck it all, lets get fucking weird.

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