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.
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.
Maggot Stomp | 2-22-19
There is a joke among the ten people on the internet that listen to this music about caveman death and specifically heavy death metal with large riffs and a primal instinct and possibly a low reading level. The inspiration for these bands isn’t really clear though if you start at Rottrevore, Grave, and Obituary and make your way forward, you will have a good idea. This is not a genre nor even a style rather a direction some bands are flinging themselves into much like an oncoming bus. Maggot Stomp is a US label that seems to be the dealers in this killing floor style death metal with releases this year from Encoffinized and Frozen Soul. Whatever it is and if it differs from the other niche sounds of current death metal seems to be secondary to the monolithic riffs and and a drive for cosmic violence.
It is worth mentioning that this album was released in 2018 first on Headsplit Records and then in various states of pressing. I wont say that this Maggot Stomp Release is the most popular but it is the first time I have heard it so I am including this in the year 2019. If anyone has a problem with that they can find me by the greasy fire weilding a club.
Self Released | 1-19-19
And so this break a nice running streak of black and white covers. It is okay. This is completely worth it. It is nice to get surprised and even knocked down by a sound. Defacement seems to be the new band created by members of a black metal outfit called Deathcrush. While I only listened to a few songs from Deathcrush, I feel the direction of this new outfit is much more appealing to a wider audience. Who is that audience? Well, people who like to hear nightmarish terror in musical form. From song titles, to the abstract cover, Defacement offers inexplicable unease which can not be described or discussed rather just embraced in swirling madness. This is a release which is both simple in its execution and cavernous in its success.
Self Released | 12-31-18
I was initially repulsed by the email i got titled “Miscarriage” but later still repulsed when I finally listened to this record. This email I got from the creators stands as the only evidence this band exists outside of a Facebook page, Bandcamp, and perhaps some awful hovel in the middle of Hell. If you are here for the sludge doom tag, you are in the right place but pretend those things you love now chase you through a landscape of nightmares and nausea. Now take those feelings and extend it over an hour and you will be close to understanding the terror of this record. This is not for the faint at heart or even the fully stable in mind. This is perdition in musical form and I can’t help but love every second.
Amor Fati Productions | 11-15 – 18
I feel that yesterday I didn’t even know what the ПРАВА Коллектив was and now I see it connected to a handful of really cool releases. The Prava Kollektivis a group of unknown musicians making spacey black metal in conjunction with Fallen Empire Records. Just this month there has been hot releases by Arkhtinn and HWWAUOCH which seems connected. Earlier this year, Fallen Empire released the debut by Mahr also known to be associated. This cloak and dagger aura surrounding the group of musicians only adds to the dramatic effect of the music which is serious, direct, and full of mystery. Additionally, all of the bands seem to be going for a visceral take on atmospheric black which has had a long history of being over saturated and formulaic. Taking their cues from bands like Paysage D’Hiver and Darkspace, these bands are out to explore the void and from what Voidsphere bandcamp pages urges, is to “INGEST THE VOID.” Well with an inviation like that I do not know if I could say no.
Self Released | 11=6-18
From the very rough dutch translation the title reads something like Pathology from the Physician or Physician’s Pathology. Furthur translating Psyche’s songs titles reveals a litany of similar themed words such as “Insane,” “Bestial,” “Mercury (?)” and “Cranial.” I am not here to hack my way through Dutch translations rather put into context the debut full length from Psyche, a one metal black metal act that seems to use a variety of different projects for various voices. Psyche’s voice is also the one that sounds like hellish screams inside an abandoned asylum. Aside from the medical themes and metal health motifs which stalk around this record, Psyche’s segments the blistering black / death with moments of guitar solos, soundclips, and a general entertaining approach to something that is rather abysmal on paper. The vocals are something unique and almost entirely inhuman throughout its running time. Despite this however, Een pathologie van de geneesheer never becomes repellent as Pscyhe has found a way to make the collapse of mental structures under the chaos of bestial screams quit pleasing to listen to.
Sentient Ruin Laboratories | 10-19-18
I probably will not get to hear this. Maybe. The idea of physical exclusive music is appealing in an age where one can hear anything they please for free. when I said appealing, I also mean frustrating for people who enjoy reviewing records. Still though the exclusive album from Negativa, which comes on 100 tapes, fits into the idea of intimate black metal and provides objects for collectors to seek. If one misses out on the album, it will not be the end of the world and for those who do find themselves in possession of this new record, well then I am sure it will be harrowing.
Negativa at least has given a preview track which is something that marks distinction from other bands pulling the same thing with zero preview tracks. The music is advertised as depressive black but has few characteristics from the DSBM sound which haunts Bandcamp. Rather than shrill basement black metal, the sound from Negativa is full with the weight of remorse and emotion providing the heaviest burden. The vocals from H.V (Wormlust/Mystískaos) offers shards of rust and violence which tear holes through the sound. This is depressive black but not out of style of pageantry rather depressive as lineage or birthright.
Tutl Records | 2-2-18
I think I just wanted to type in the place Faroe Islands which the description of atmospheric black / doom once in my life. Svartmálm certainly comes from a place not known for its metal and is one of 14 metal bands registered in the history of the Faroe Islands. It is not like this small island is out of reach of the rest of the metal world as it is positioned between Iceland, The United Kingdom, and Scandinavia which all have their histories steeped in extreme metal, it is just the island is now know for bands like Tyr and its breathtaking beauty.
Svartmálm is certainly cinematic in its approach to combine both the edge of black metal to the soothing atmosphere of both doom and folk metal. which the vocals are crips and stalk across the music, the band employs theatric elements which allow their self titled debut to become something more than just the black metal record from the Faroe Islands. The three part closer, “Svartideyði” allows the band to stretch out and shine in becoming the band they truly want to be — which is the weird witches on an isolated island. The only difference between that dream and others like it is this island seemd to be well produced and come with dramatic hooks.
Self Released | 6-18-18
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.