Fortress Of The Olden Days – Night Of Sacrifice [Germany, Raw / Atmospheric Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 4-15-18

I do not think I am completely on board with the artist name for this German project or even the song titles which make up a large part of the aesthetic. From something that looks like it could be dungeon synth to an aesthetic which looks moody in its disposition. Night of Sacrifice, the debut from Fortress of the Olden Days seems like a release which has a lot of problems. Perhaps the thing which makes it okay is the uncompromising howl of misery.

Night of Sacrifice spreads itself over three lengthy tracks with two interludes acting as segment. Similar to the texture of things like Paysage D’hiver, Fortress of the Olden Days takes the mystic qualities of atmospheric black and rubs soil into open wounds giving it a distinct primal quality which feels like the onset of hypothermia. The production and direction of this demo (?) excels due to the creators command over both the music and oddly enough the aesthetic.

Fortress Of The Olden Days is one of the multiple projects piloted by the creator known as Stulpert. While no projects such as Zalmoxis, Ås, or Fortress Of The Olden Days have reach critical attention, the work and aesthetic , as a collective, seems to be working towards something grand. If anything you can rest assured known there is vile dissonance being made in Germany and it is as terrifying as you think.

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Gestank – Rathymns [Sweden, Black] (2018)

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Cirsium Kollektivet | 3-28-18

“”Gestank returns with even darker atmosphere and a thinner production than on the previous recordings.
Enjoy or don’t !” — I have been laughing about this for the past few weeks as it is clear this is not meant for enjoyment. I mean, I enjoy it but it is nice to know no one cares. Also from the Metal Archives, “Gestank” is the German word for stench. Fantastic.

The description of this EP is correct as the band’s previous demo “Hail Intoxication” was more involved in the production. Rathymns is closer to the band’s almost meta demo “Anti​-​Aesthetic Warfare,” though this current release is much more focused in a productive direction. There is so much to do when you point your gaze towards hate and destruction and explore the endless misery of human existence. We are going to go with the genre of black to start but really Gestank can be thought of a lumbering wretch of music which oscillates between lurching misery and rabid violence.

Gestank comes to us on the leathery wings of Cirsium Kollektivet, a Swedish tape label who already brought us things like Kwestia Kwasu and Vomit Kult. Gestank fits into the this weird collective which seems to be centered on unearthing some of the weirdest ways to cry out in anguish. I am sure that I will enjoy this and it is good to know no one cares if I do or don’t.

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Ordeals / Daethorn – Split [US / France, Death / Black] (2018)

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Blood Harvest | 4 -20-18

“Whatever goes to Hell…stays in Hell.” What a great fucking way to start a split of rotting death. The Ordeals / Daethorn split is more a promotional tape to showcase talent represented by both BLOOD HARVEST RECORDS and HELTER SKELTER PRODUCTIONS. The Bandcamp is presented in true underground fashion with one track being three songs running continuously. The cover art is also hilariously on point int erms of design that I am just having a blast partying in this morgue.

It is not until the second “track” in the Ordeals side that things sort of lock in place for this split. While “Night of the Ghoul” is a great opener in its chaos and decorations, the opener for “Dark Slumber” allows the full extent of this split to be seen as its riffs and classic aesthetic is overwhelmingly fun and effective. Ordeals is death metal fitting into a door half its size to it takes some of the wall with it. It is the definition of nasty which has people problems.

French black metal does not sound like it would fit onto a split full of rotting death. Daethorn is a one man black metal act who has been around since the late 90’s making all of two demoes. Aside from engineering work with Antaeus and various stints in bands like Merrimack and Purge, this artist has kept on the dark side of recognition. In fact the Daethrorn project breaks a 15 year silence with the release of this split. For all intents and purposes, this small split is the return of a feiry black metal sound that seems to run on the fuel of hate and despondency. While French black metal does not seem like a perfect fit for the opposite side, its sound is a perfect compliment to the anti social nature of this whole release.

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Olm – Ruin of Scepter – Chasm [US, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 3-19-18

I am always on the lookout for cool black metal despite falling had over heels for recent rotting death. Finding Olm was special as it allowed me to embrace the hatred and anger associated with black metal without any pretense. Finding Olm was fantastic as it seems to be the prototypical subject matter for black metal just done in a way which feels fresh and genuine.

Ruin of Scepter – Chasm is a demo comprising of two songs that are surprisingly named “Ruin of Scepter” and “Chasm.” This sort of unceremonious naming sequence fits the band’s quest for earnest and simple delivery as the music is black metal presented without any bells, whistles, or plates. The dips and dives of “Ruin of Scepter” has enough riffs and atmosphere to make it harsh but with hooks as well as entertaining while still grating against skin.

“Chasm” is a good example of the direction and potential by this band. What seems like a routine black metal demo soon turns into turbines of ferocity but a drumming section that sounds hazardous. The lengthy tracks make this demo into a destination for anyone wanting to bath in self hatred and damnation. It takes a special band to make a raw demo about darkness feel like something new and by the raw feeling after listening to this demo is any indication, Olm did a fantastic job.

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Altar of Gore – Demo [US, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 3-15-18

Aww yeah here it is. Demo name – Check. Release type – check. Tone – Check. Band name – triple check. I have to admit that I am reviewing this based on the preview track as the actual demo comes out in 6 days from writting this article. There is a possibility that the rest of Altar of Gore’s demo could be lackluster and boring. From the sounds of the preview track “Foul Dwellers in the Sacrificial Pit,” this demo is going to be nothing less that the drowning of the world in ripped flesh and fouled blood.

Though I would be perfectly happy with this songs beginning tone which is grindy and has the vocals of a cave demon but it is really the downshifting of pace around the 1:50 mark where the riffs drape over the song and the full extent of atmosphere is revealed. This demo makes the sound seem so effortless and from at least this preview, seems like Altar of Gore are winning without even trying.

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Burial Stone – Lost History [US, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 2-27-18

Alright this is what I am fucking talking about. Death metal which has the sentiments of a caveman hunting on the unforgiving landscape where death and life are locked in an inseparable embrace. All of the information regarding Burial Stone indicate this is death metal from New Jersey without any serious mention of the doom aspect. Perhaps we have moved past the point where we are considering doom a genre and this is just death metal played out in agonizing slow motion.

the three tracks which make up the Lost History EP are of exceptional quality with the raw nature of the cover, production, and instrumentation only adding to the mystic surrounding this band. With song titles like “ATLANTEAN ASCENSION,” Burial Stone summons primordial sprits to help them weave their tale. When doing so however the world becomes turgid with the haze of sorcery. Lost History is the work of death magic and I am so pleased to be in its wake.

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Dearth – Of Martyrdom and Polluted Faith [US, Black / Death] (2017)

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Transylvanian Tapes | 4-20-18

There is a point where I consider a rerelease of an obscure demo to be apart of the current year. Things released late in December of the past year or even things that went generally without any sort of attention usually gets grouped into the current year since no one is really going to care. Of Martyrdom and Polluted Faith is different for many reasons with the largest one being this digital demo was released in August of 2017 and got minor attention on its initial release. This is why Of Martyrdom and Polluted Faith will be a 2017 demo which is seeing its first physical run in 2018.

If you were the majority of people which missed this when it first released, Dearth is the combination of two members making black metal much like a swirling kaleidoscope of horror and rot. Situated on the US west coast and with members from bands like Xenotaph and Torture Chamber, this demo is more than enough to put you in a foul mood if foul mood is what you desire. For only being a three track demo, Dearth manages to make its 20 minute running time feel like a near eternity spent in some hellish chasm of fear and confrontation.

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Golgothan Remains – Perverse Offerings To The Void [Australia, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 2-8-18

I usually enjoy finding Bandcamp pages with little to no discussion so I can be one of the first to write a review. This is my bizarre sense of accomplishment. While seeing the massive amount of discussion on still unsigned debut from Golgothan Remains was sort of a let down, the fact we have a strong contender for one of the best albums of the year being released in February sort of makes up for it.

Comparing the band’s debut to the demo shows leaps and bounds in terms of production. While the songwriting is still present, the immersion of sound is one of the strongest aspects of a record which desires to ensnare ones attention. With a few steps above the cavernous sound but a few feet down within grave, Perverse Offerings To The Void succeeds by all merits in being a full sounding death metal record which is near cinematic in its running time.

I find it wonderful when the aesthetics of a band coalesces into a successful record. The closing quote on this Bandcamp page declares “…we live in dust of these remains…” which is colorful and fun in the revel in darkness sort of way. People who enjoy realms of dust and decay will be in for a wonderful surprise come the passing of a thousand years.

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Mortuus Umbra – Omnipraesent [Israel, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 1-11-18

Mortuus Umbra is from Israel which is not that much of a unique factor though the western Asia is on the lower end of metal exports. Looking at statistics for the county, there are around 250 metal bands in Israel which contains a bevy of genres and even more diversity in quality. Judging by this recent EP as well as their 2015, Mortuus Umbra maybe notable not just for the country of origin but stellar black metal which feels like dark hypnosis.

Omnipraesent is Mortuus Umbra’s second EP which builds upon their fantastic debut in 2015. The lyrical themes registered on Metal Archives has Luciferianism and sorcery as their subject matter which gives a dark undertone to an already present unholy aura. One of the more enjoyable aspects of Omnipraesent was the groove of the music which was similar to a less costumed Melechesh as well as a less erratic Deathspell Omega. Songs like the preview “Void II – Burning Fire of Ecstasy” see a cohesion in sound as well as vision as this unsigned band has the potential to ensnare the hearts and spirits of unsuspecting listeners.

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Sixes – Methistopheles [US, Sludge / Doom] (2018)

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Self Released | 3-1-18

It can certainly happen. I enjoy sludge / doom at times in between bought of raw death and black metal. It takes a certain record though to break the spell of things I usually enjoy. I have little reason to stop on Sixes in my daily search through new releases seeking out xeroxed black metal releases. Perhaps I did so due to the warm cover which featured a vintage demon. Perhaps I stopped today since this was doom that did not have a bong or demon smoking a bong anywhere in sight. Whatever the case, Mephistopheles was a welcome chance of pace which still retained the misery and discretion of other forms of music now just in monolithic riffs.

Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoyed Sixes compared to other sludge doom of recent memory is the ability to work within a space. Songs like “A Cross To Burn” doesn’t really start until 3 minutes into its 10 minute running time with the intro churning violently building up momentum to finally crash on some dark sand. The band deals in expected themes such as despondency, violence, drugs, and occultism but aside from the well treaded path of the lyrics lies an entertaining approach at the sound. Sixes channels the ghosts of southern sludge such as Grief, Eyehategod, and early Sleep into an hour running time of complete misery which is both entertaining and stunning.

I am sure Ill get back to my schedule of crypt dwelling black and death metal but for now I am certainly fine with sinking into the lightless waters of this record and not coming up for air until my lungs burn. Sixes offers conflicting emotions which range from excitement, apathy, and desire for indiscriminate annihilation.

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