Hexerei – Oath [?, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 4-19-19

I am going to be honest in saying finding this demo was happenstance as I was saw the German translation for Sorcery was Hexerei. Hexerei actually is more akin to witchery / witchcraft but Sorcery is one of the easiest connections. I may have been searching for it when seeing a German Magic the Gathering card and seeing the word “Hexerei” and finding it cool. Whatever the case, I stumbled upon a 2019 that is full of grief and grime that has an attitude from here to the dark woods it probably crawled out of. This drips with aesthetic and the fact I found it randomly makes me wonder what other hellish treats are scattered in those woods.

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Rothadás – Rothadás [Hungary, Death / Doom] (2019)

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Self Released | 10-1-19

Unsurprising, Rothadás translates to “Rot” in the native tongue or maybe something like putrefaction or putrescence. whatever the case, it is gross and the sound of this new demo (?) is nothing but the warm smell of death. Rothadás is new to the point of not having any reliable points of information. I know there isnt going to be volumes written on this Hungarian death/doom outfit but it would be nice to see if they look as spooky as they sound. Here in the States, it is getting a little cooler and October is just around the corner. Rothadás is the sound of dying and for all intents and purposes is everything you need to get in the mood for death.

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Skravl – Fire Besværgelser mod Menneskeheden [Denmark, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 8-26-19

The Danish translation for the album title is something to the akin of “Four Problems against Mankind.” This isn’t a reference to any book or literary work so it is a mystery until I learn Danish. This semi cryptic beginning is an overture to a black metal release that is wrought with tension and obscurity. Skravl is wound in emotion and uses its black metal structure as a sort of tension/release which is far from unique though works in every sense for this record. The 5 minute track is the only one available on the ultra dark Bandcamp page and I do not expect any more information from this project rather Skravl will be entirely shrouded in cathartic mystery.

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Void Wraith – I [US, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 9-28-19

Cool Name. Cool Art. Cool Sound. This is a good start to a one song demo preview for an album releasing in a month. Usually I do not care too much about singles but Void Wraith’s first impression is immense and potential for a full album of haunted ice makes my soul shiver. Whether or not it is the razor sharp vocals or the near chaotic collapse of the percussion, “I” is an explosion of spectral fury which is both icy and boiling hot with emotion.

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Gravkväde / Deadlife – Grav​|​Rafn [Sweden, Black / Doom] (2019)

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Death Kvlt Productions | 10-1-19

This is not new as this split was released in June and is seeing a 12″ release from Death Kvlt Productions. Gravkväde wouldn’t be considered obscure nor I would guess no one would consider them mainstream as their 2018 full length was supported by Avantgarde Music but if that means nothing to you then here we are. Gravkväde’s melodramatic black doom has finally found a prom date by the likes of Deadlife, a depressive black metal act whoese rain wall guitar tone is a fitting contrast to the glacial pace of Gravkväde. Its a party on this split and Im glad no one else is here.

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CIVEROUS – Raw Demo [US, Death] (2019)

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Self Released | 8-6-19

I feel that this is an artifact that may get reworked into something else. Perhaps the raw aesthetic is a destination rather than a product. Despite having the name raw in the title and also one track of a supposedly cassette rip, the music for Civerous’ demo is pretty well produced in terms of clarity. This is important as the band excels as making dirty sounding music with rhythm and energy. I do not think they need to explore the raw side of death metal as it is scary and infectious. This is fine for now.

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Dodenbezweerder – Zwarte Sluiers [Netherlands, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 7-28-19

While I do not think this will go away, I am always hesitant about reviewing things that do not have a Metal Archives page since they could be lost to the wind and everything I loved just lives in memories. It has happened before so I will be specific about what I like regarding this Dodenbezweerder record. Here we go. Zwarte Sluiers is a haunted parlor room where the ancient furniture is occupied by spectral visitors who maybe familiar but can’t recall due to the catatonic horror which grips my very soul. This is what is is and what is sounds like condensed in two songs of absolute spiritual ruin. there. Hopefully that preserves my records.

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o.T.s – Untitled [Switzerland, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 7-23-19

Another day, another band that does not seem to exist outside fo this one page. All information I have regarding o.T.s is from the Bandcamp page which could be pulled down at any moment. For record keeping purposes I will say this demo is noisy, raw, and full of deadly venom as it rips across the wall much like a hunting knife. o.T.s’ aesthetic resides much in its un produced quality as it feels that this shouldn’t even be approached for another few weeks as it is still feral and chained with a wall. Perhaps the possibility of this disappearing leaving only a memory is adding to the excitement but this Untitled demo hits with mythical force probably because it feels temporal in its existence.

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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.

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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.

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