One of the more confusing things about this project is it sharing a name with a progressive sludge band from Denmark. Though this is not the first time two bands have shared the same name, the fact both of them are unsigned and relatively on equal levels in terms of popularity makes it confusing at first. Just make sure you are in a cathedral of sadness before listening. Check your surroundings. Are there bells tolling in the distance masked by rain?
Spellcraft Ceremony is a debut 30 minute album (?) from a one man project heavily influenced by the works of Ruins of Beverast. I only say that since the tape version of this comes with a Ruins of Beverast cover. Even outside of tribute songs, the general atmosphere of gloom and inescapable doom which permeates this record is palatable. The atmospheres created by one person never feels stretched or thin and works well as a declaration of sadness voiced by one lone soul.
Spellcraft Ceremony currently is up for tape preorder limited to 100 copies. This tape is being released in collaboration with Moriendi Music and Corde Raide Productions. The only familiar thing I found with Corde Raide is being the only label to release Labyrinthique’s Demo MMXVI. Even if you do not want the Ruins of Beverast cover, the digital version for Alkymist is priced at 2 CAD which will buy you a ticket to a land of perpetual dusk.
Self Released | 1-9-18
there are sometimes inklings of things one is going to enjoy. Seeing the color used in Superstition’s logo and artwork wasn’t the reason for enjoying this demo rather an inkling that t was going to be intriguing. Perhaps it is because that warm sickly grey was a gateway into a certain aesthetic. Perhaps I am drawn to certain shades of off white. Whatever it is, Surging Throng of Evil’s Might is a triumph and offers sanctuary in the creepiest, most dilapidated cathedral this side of the afterlife.
Did I mention, I adore spooky organ music? If not, I would like that noted on the record. One of Superstition’s greatest assets it the sense of atmosphere which compliments their mastery on the music. Songs like “Outer Mutation” comes out of a gothic style organ interlude and have enough flair and flounce to make it a towering monstrosity in rotting velvet. This is weird fiction death metal and with songs like “Grave Portal,” it is a place which I want to stay forever.
Sentient Ruin Laboratories | 3-2-18
This single came via a colleague with the comment of “Sentient Ruin refuses to stop.” For the past couple of years, this US label has been the source of some of the weirdest and more horrifying forms of music with their roster being obscure black / death and their distribution net unearthing even more arcane material from around the world. Misrule is one of them and if the entire demo is anything like the preview track, Forced to Suffer will be right at home with its catastrophic family.
The tag of grind in the music only touches on the chaotic aspect of the music. While part so the preview track “Led To The Grave” are very much like a whirlwind, the core structure of Misrule seems to be death. Additionally, the production for Forced To Suffer is vast and seemingly endless with its depths. Though the preview track is under 3 minutes, it is a free fall through bottomless chasms inhabited only by the denizens of darkness.
I sometimes do not looking at new releases from Sentient Ruin as it is more I have to process. Already the label has put out some stellar work and the potential for a killer death/grind demo with the power of a demon is even more exciting. It still is a couple of weeks away until the entire demo is up for streaming so right now, Ill sit and wait with anticipation or maybe even trepidation.
Camo Pants Records | 3-16-18
I do not think I have so thoroughly entertained with music while being baffled by the name of the record label. Camo Pants Records is either a goofy name with no meaning or some hidden tongue and cheek reference to death metal fashion. I think I spend so much time discussing this aspect as Cist’ Frozen Casket is the inaugural release for the UK label and if subsequent records are going to be as good, then we need to get this name thing worked out.
Cist is a Russian outfit with an unabashed infatuation with 90’s US death metal and 80’s European thrash. I know this because their Bandcamp page states they are “high speed, manic, death thrash, forged through an uncompromising meld of eighties era Tampa death metal and aggressive European style thrash.” Cool, we know where to start. Pestilence, Death, Solstice, and Obituary are all ghosts which hang around this newcomer and by the sounds of their first EP, this band nails everything about the sound. Though I usually applaud bands for not becoming too absorbed in costume, my love for old school death eclipses everything else and songs like “Antisceptic” are sugary and sewery in its enjoyment.
I still have no idea what the record label name means but I am willing to waive them through as long as things like The Frozen Casket keep getting produced. Camo Pants and Cist make a strong declaration for the beginning of the year and provides a wonderful soundtrack for Valentines Day. This holiday, spend it in the arms of 90’s era death / thrash and die a thousand times.
Self Released | 2-13-18
I do not know why this makes sense but it does. The split between Lord Rot and VHS allows one to experience two different types of horror. This is why I have constantly praised the ideas of split as you are allowed the opportunity to come into a release that is curated by more than one band. For the most part the aesthetic is aligned and in other cases, it is the synergy between two types of horrors which sets the tone.
Lord Rot is a Scottish based one man death metal band whose sound is bleeding into black / thrash metal with all of the flourishes indicative of a full pice outfit. The two songs belonging to this act are not only electrifying but sharp as a rusty knife that is being waved as a threat. This split acts as the first release in a few years following a successful EP all the way back in 2015. This is most likely due to the fact that James Mcbrain is also behind the more renown Hellripper whose 2017 release Coagulating Darkness was the toast of the underworld. The Lord Rot project is similar just with more pulp / slasher flair.
VHS stands for Violent Homicidal Slasher though I feel the band loves the nostalgic acronym as horror movies and Video tapes sort of go hand in severed hand. The VHS side of the split is dedicated to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with 4 songs and about 5 minutes devoted to Leatherface and chainsaws. If one was looking for irreverence and the sound of tripping while watching horror movies then VHS just might be the insane time you need.
Cirsium Kollektivet | 2-8-17
I feel the best way to start this review is to reiterate the description from the label and their confusion and excitement is all I need “Here we are…, I don’t even know how to describe the music of these sociophobic polish junkies. Imagine a underproduced blend of blackened ’70’s Punk and dirty Ska with occasional sprinkling of noise or at least something which’s only purpose is to confuse your dull mind… ” If that short description didn’t capture your imagination, then you and I are on different life paths.
Kwestia Kwasu, for all their bizarre antics, is a competent and cohesive band. Their collective vision pushes the music into the realm where experimental music should always aim. Being weird for the sake of being weird does not guarantee success. Challenging oneself to make music which lies on the outside of orthodoxy which triggers confused emotions and even more troubled mental images and being successful is worthy of merit. Kwas Topi Czas excels as an exercise in depravity with its sonic landscape a blistering wasteland of shooting alleys, punk basements, and haunted polka bars.
I was struggling to actually fnd the “experimetnal” tag since I never really use it to describe heavy metal. Though the tag of “avant” is sometimes use, Kwestia Kwasu seems uncomfortable even with that description. There seems to be little quest for art in the realm of Kwas Topi Czas and more of a primal embrace of weirdness. Experimental seems more feral in its description at least that is what I hope to use to describe music that is near indescribable.
Caligari Records | 3-1-18
I feel at this point I could run quarterly feature going over all of the new Caligari material and still be pretty happy. I try not to hover too much on certain labels like Fallen Empire and Vrasubatlat as constant coverage would make me seem like a fanboy despite the fact thier output being above average. This is the case for Caligari records who have consistently gone above and beyond in finding gems from around the world which worship at the altar of death and disease.
Evil Priest is from Peru and two years ago this trio released a stellar demo of classic sounding death metal. Since we are past any era of a genre resurgence, the classic death sound for Evil Priest is a thematic celebration of death metal’s most famous competent which is riffs and darkness. Guitar solos, 5th gear snare drumming, looming intros, and guttural vocals all make their appearance in a demo which sounds between here and 1991. Aside from the sound, Evil Priest is young and virulent enough to be a force which will be around for much longer as Black Seeds...of Creation sounds like the band is halfway having fun and half way really serious about this whole death thing.
Rämekuukkeli-levyt | 2-1-18
…and here we are in some far flung corner of the world with a three way split of things that may or may not be metal. I do not think it matters as it is 100% effective. I adore not only the quest for weird and caustic thing but also when there is a breakdown between genres to achieve an end goal. The Cold Case split is a three way collaboration with three Finnish underground acts whose seems united in their own unorthodoxy.
If there was any track to catch attention it would be RUTSA with its bombed out landscape of noise and terror. Outside of the aesthetic of harsh noise that populates the air like a swarm of hornets, the structure of the music is a churning machine of broken gears and mechanical fluid. Further investigation into the band’s demo tapes reveal a similar sound but without the level of abrasiveness present in this recent split.
I could not find the selection by CICUTOXIN in any streaming form though the band’s sludge / doom seems fitting for the collaboration. POHJAMUTA, on the other hand, does have their song available which is horrifying amalgamation between sludge and some sort of rabid punk which sees vocals screamed with irreverence and tensions wound tight around necks. All three make up a motley crew of Finnish underground acts which seem to pledge to the same monstrous god which lives in sewers and in runoffs next to graveyards. The unaligned seems to be a theme with a split that can certainly be used to scour the grime from metal.
Self Released | 2-1-18
The fact I can’t listen to more than one song from this EP is hilarious as it is infuriating. The mail order distro which is attached to this band, Blud Auk also has its samples on Soundcloud. It seems to be my fate finding really awesome music that sails international waters in terms of formats and presentation. What is important however is that I have found some clues and leads to a cavern of death and rot whose location is only known by those already infected with spiritual sickness.
Despite Goring Christ only having one song, listening to the Final Laceration demo shows a band ready to smash windows and use the pieces to inflict harm on whoever is closest. This is the trenches of black / death / punk / war / bestial and whatever other avatar of horrid music that comes from the lose of goodness. It is fast, gross, and undeniably fun. Goring Christ and the greater Blood Auk label has found an aesthetic and a distribution method that seems to work for fanatics of slime and grime. I will make any addendum to this review if the rest of the EP turns out to be any different than what is present on the previous demo or preview track. If the band suddenly changes to symphonic progressive, Ill be sure to post a follow up. For now and until that point sit back and die a thousand times over.
Self Released | 1-26-18
I think changing the tag of DSBM to Black / Ambient is better for longevity purposes. Depressive Suicidal Black Metal sometimes drops the Suicidal portion of the name and even though some bands do bask in the macabre of self harm, they do so often without the tag of DSBM. At this point DSBM has become a genre that was a thing but is no longer needed. This isn’t to say that depressive black metal or even the sounds that were heralds to the genre aren’t being used. Take Висельник who has all of the hallmarks of the genre from the tin razor guitar sound, to the anguished wail, to the catalog of demos that have gone unnoticed.
Despair is the 26th proper demo for an act that has only been around for 10 years. In the larger picture, Despair does not charge into any new landscapes fro the artist rather continues a small incremental march towards well rounded black ambient. the fact that most all of these 16 demos have gone unnoticed frames the work of Висельник as a personal endeavor with some grief stricken results. Beyond the wall of torn sound that inhabits most of the music, there are some wonderful melodies which flies around music that is a near textbook example of depressive black metal.
I am usually not a seeker for this type of music and in fact find a lot of the tropes used in this genre ruin the aesthetic and mood. Висельник manages to make depressive music without succumbing to cartoons or edge laded tropes. the final few songs are covers by other obscure depressive black metal acts which again allows the user to go further into the dark cellars of emotion. Despite this demo probably being apart of a larger book from an artist who will likely bask in shadows, Despair is a fine pick for the gloomiest of days.