Oh man, things are about to get dirty and by dirty I mean we are all going to be covered in grave soil and coffin dust. Seclusion is a pretty new band from the lands of Texas and by their unassuming debut, this act is aiming low to subterranean levels with a sound that feels as claustrophobic as a tomb collapsing with the weight of the Earth. Seclusion’s sound rests on an air of attitude and style as the muddy production does less to draw people in as the heavy themes of occult ritual and slow death does for listeners to stay. At only two tracks, Occultess Unknown presents a band that has all of the right aesthetics and beginnings for potential releases and while this demo does not punch through the soil and grab an unsuspecting leg, it does enough to raise interest or at least a little bit of trepidation of the things that are going on under one’s feet. If the sounds of “Burning Human Incense” are of interest to you, imagine what this act can do when they finally break out of their imprisoned tomb.
Alright we have to talk about it. Lyrical themes: Historical mining. In all of my years spent in heavy meta, this is perhaps the first mining centered metal band I have come across. In fact, looking through the Metal Archives for other bands which share the aesthetic, Dauþuz is one of five and the second German band to explore this topic. Germany’s Die Knappen did a similar dive into the traditions of mining in 2010 and Spain’s Astigarraga Thrower delved into mining and extractive metallurgy with their 2015 release Aiako Harria. With something so specific and off the beaten path for heavy metal, it is almost arresting in its use since most listeners are wondering what mining has to do with anything.
Des Zwerges Fluch is the band’s third release following a short string of full releases that no one really paid attention to. This is surprising as the preview track from Des Zwerges Fluch is chilling black metal probably played at the bottom of a cave. While the cave jokes could write themselves, the combination of crips black metal combined with an odd lyrical approach makes for engaging listening which urges listeners to revalature the aesthetic traditions of lower class occupations. Dauþuz seems more connected with the primal qualities or unrefined earth with music that feels arcane and chaotic in its slumber. Since the lyrics are in German, I will never know the true answer but there is sometimes a feeling which transcends languages.
Check. Check. Check. This band has everything I look for in a potential match including a badass name, grimy looking album art, and a tone which carries clout in the tomb stalking world of death metal. At this point in my existence the presence of bands like Disgusted Geist immediately draws my attention since they travel to place where I would like to rot in eternity. Shrouded in atmosphere and with the weight of stone sarcophagi, Reign of Enthrallment is a genre piece which provides the soundtrack to subjugation by an evil necromancer.
With all of the aesthetics aside, Disgusted Geist does a fantastic job at combining Vastum style riffs with the frenzy of complete annihilation. Though I believe the band has room to grow in this underground tomb, the premiere of their morbid world is enough for attention and possible courtship int he afterlife. Come for death, worship eternity resurrected as a thrall.
I wrote about this band way back in 2015 with their 2015 EP which turns out was not their first nor their last record. I remember being impressed with the ferocity and sound this Irish band brought to their recording. In 2018 I have learned new things, mainly this band shares many past and current members with the Icelandic black metal band Sinmara. While Slidhr is itself a separate entity, the grounding in the Icelandic sound makes sense as the band’s second full length winds down the rivers of hell into complete oblivion.
One of the more interesting aspects about Slidhr and the thing which really allows The Futile Fires of Man to make a connection are the lengthy tracks which fill this 46 minute record. Each song unpacks a lot of material which twists and winds its way through corridors of sound. Even some of the shorter tracks at 5 minutes, takes its time to craft mood and elaborately set the stage for presentations devoted to metaphysical darkness. While the band’s sound is obviously heavy given the nature, the lyrical and vocal content matches the weight of its subject matter. This is not fleeting occult references rather a reverence to forces unseen and potentially unknowable.
This is the second full length release for Changeling as of yet unsupported by a label. In 201, there is less of a need for label support outside the desire for more resources. Though I can see this band being at the attention of many more interested in winding atmospheric black, finding Changeling’s second album with few other around was interesting. Perhaps this is the sleeper hit of 2018 or even the album that will feel like cold water to the face.
Even though I added the tag atmospheric black as to fit the Metal Archives description, Changeling shares little in common with the other forest dwelling hermits that have typified the genre. Though there are still instances of sweeping texture and arching guitars, the turns taken by Changeling is more reminiscent of bands like Altar of Plagues than Wolves in the Throne Room. Perhaps this is why II is so refreshing as it uses whatever tools necessary in any genre to accomplish a unique picture of mystery and destruction. This is also why I find the need for labels to not be a priority as Changeling has presented a fully competent and fluid second release on their own with little help from the outside and from outsiders.
I think I can count the number of doom albums on this site with relative ease as I could probably use two hands. Doom is not a genre I travel into or at least have patience to surround myself with. This does not mean there are not good records being made and great bands making them. For me there has to be something else outside of the doom to snare my attention. Lightpath, a very new Italian act, seems to have doom coming with their death metal friends and they all have rusty knives. This is the type of party I enjoy.
Children of the Void is listed as a promo which could very much fall under the classification of demo. It is a three song showcase which lays out the tenets and intentions of the band which all are malicious and ugly. The female(?) vocals come snarling and add a rotting edge to music that is already adversarial. Outside of this sort of unique presentation is music that is well constructed and consistently remains intriguing. If Lightpath was intended to get attention with this promo/demo they have done so with music that is more fitting of a broken leg than anything resembling fun. It is nasty, harmful, without morals, and completely entertaining.
We are going to be honest and say that from the surface and on paper, Oxygen Destroyer looks goofy. With a gimmick surrounding kaiju films and some beer drinking promo pictures on their Metal Archives page, this band looks to be funny if not disposable. Lucky for everyone involved, Oxygen Destroyer has thrown themselves onto the altar of old school death / thrash and made an album that is wild and eviscerating first with fun coming close second.
It is difficult to be picky when it comes to aesthetics surrounding metal. Most of heavy metal’s imagery is goofy with part of it being heralded as classic while all others being gimmicky. Nuclear abominations are not a far reach for thrash and monsters born of radiation seem to be in the wheelhouse for death / thrash. While Oxygen Destroyer probably lost a large audience not being over the top parodies dressing in Godzilla or Mothra costumes, the main draw for Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death is the complete worship for bands like Morbid Saint, Sadistic Intent, and Demolition Hammer. What Oxygen Destroyer lacks in marketable gizmos, they make up for with an absolutely crushing record that would be perfect for drinking beer and chewing concrete.
Sure, the entire album could be terrible. It is a possibility. Döda Drömmar actually releases in a few days and all we are hearing from this debut full length is one horrid sounding track. While it is entirely possible that the rest of the album could be boring and uninspired the raw filth which exudes from the preview track is enough to cover a couple of album’s worth of releases. If I were going to put my money on anything it would be on the music that has mucus hacking and throat choking as ambience.
” ‘Mylingar’ is the plural of ‘myling’. In Scandinavian folklore the word “myling” indicates a wandering ghost of an unbaptized child.” This is the factoid on the band’s Metal Archives page and it is mildly humorous in how far it goes into its own aesthetic. Little is known from this band outside of a 2016 EP so the band’s first full length, being self released, does not come with much attention of hype. Perhaps this is what underscores the raw sound which makes up the first track. From a style which sounds like OSDM drug through sewage to the raspy witch like vocals which actually make up the song, the release of Döda Drömmar is going to be interesting even if only to figure out just what the hell is going on inside of this world. Sure, this entire album could be terrible but I am a good judge of character and right now I am scared for my safety.
A quick note before we begin. This album was released in 2015 by the Italian label Nightbreaker Productions at about 1000 copies. While re-releasing albums is not a new phenomenon, the fact this album is being re-released independently is odd. Perhaps the band was unhappy with the initial run or 2018 ft more into their idea of cosmic devour. Whatever the case, Nex Carnis is giving their debut another spin, on their own merits, and with the year of 2018. With punishing sounds of old school death, who am I or anyone else to argue?
One of the more relaxing things about Nex Carnis is the fact they are from a place not known for its metal scene but also exceptional in their field. Researching global metal can bring one to bands that are from exotic places yet with mediocre sounds. The embrace of the location rather than the sound can be troublesome when documenting heavy metal from non western countries as one can fall in love with an idea rather than reality. Nex Carnis does everyone a favor with greeting everyone with pulverizing death metal that could be at home in any warehouse, dive bar, or putrid cemetery. While death metal is currently experiencing a surge in hipness, Obscure Visions of Dark has both the cooleness of the current sound combined with unique variations to make them stand out of a ghastly crowd. With song titles ripped from the 90’s and artwork that could fit perfectly on a tape, Obscure Visions of Dark not only stands as model for current death but also makes the whole thing fun as hell to listen to. Open coffins and welcome welcome the swarm of darkness.
Holy shit, this thing is not going to be released until late August. Why am I so excited for this record despite the fact there is only one song for preview. What is it about death metal riffs which makes me wait on the front steps until the doors open? I usually balk at the idea of albums no being available to me whenever I want. I am also wary about the prospect of preview tracks for albums that are months away from release. This all goes out the window when it is death metal, being released on Unspeakable Axe Records, and really fucking good.
Act of Impalement is from North Carolina and has been seen up and down the East Coast putting in work around local venues. Perdition Cult is to be the bands debut and by the sound of the first “single” Pax Romana, it is going to be a hellish hootenanny which will end with at least a few injuries. Fans of old school and grimy concrete floor death will appreciate the tone and structure of a song which waves the standards of music meant to immerse and suffocate. I still can not believe I have to wait here until August but I am sure once the leaves begin to die, it will be time for the world to rot.