Totalitarian – De Arte Tragoediae Divinae [Italy, Black / Death] (2017)

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All hail the gloom of tomorrow! It seems odd for an underground band to begin their career with a full length. In a genre full of demos, splits, and EPs, starting with a 56 minute record feels novel in a style where most do not reach that length with their longest releases. Totalitarian is different in the fact they want nothing else than to slowly step on the necks of their listener.

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Ockultist – Present Day Neglect [Sweden, Black / Sludge] (2017)

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Self Released | 4-15-17

That is quite a sound. I have not been shy regarding my opinion on stoner doom and sludge as I feel the field is flooded with similar sounding bands and ideas. This is not unlike other styles such as black and death metal though stoner doom feels tired and worn unless completely onboard for the sound. This is why a band like Ockultist is intriguing as the shackeling between stoner sludge and black vocals works so well I am wondering why this hasn’t been more of a thing.

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Mouthgate – Fungal [US, Black / Experimental] (2017)

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Self Released | 2-28-17

Enter the vaults of the odd with a band and album title that is way beyond any metal aesthetic you are used to. Coming from New York City comes a band that is experimental but is too weird to have any sort of pretension about their work. Caught somewhere between a hangover migraine and a lost Lovecraft story comes Mouthgate and they are here to ruin your fucking day.

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Blood of Sokar – Blood of Sokar [US, Black/Doom] (2017)

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Self Released | 4-2-17

I get pretty enthusiastic about black/doom as it is a style which sounds transcendental when done right but whose chemistry is tough to master. Add to this the fact that there really isn’t a defined recipe for black doom as black/death or even black/thrash rather when combined it could sound as melodic or as harrowing as intended. Enter Blood of Sokar whose debut (?) is nothing short that a getting lost in a cursed forest with creatures of the night occasionally stealing parts of flesh from the listener.

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Sickdeer – The Wretched of the Earth [US, Black / Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 3-20-17

I am going to be completely honest and say my attraction to Sickdeer comes from they are local to my area and I am scheduled to see a few shows with them as a support. Finding local music is fantastic as you can both enjoy music, support music, and possibly drink beers with the creators in a parking lot outside the show. I am just joking, that would be illegal and that sort of thing never happens.

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Cold Fell – Irwell [UK, Atmospheric Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 03-02-17

This is the second “atmospheric black metal” record I have reviewed this week and it is only Tuesday. I would like to say I am not opposed to the style whatsoever rather I find that atmospheric black metal is very easy to imitate but very difficult to make interesting. Uk based band Cold Fell doesn’t really sound like your typical atmospheric black metal act with most of their drama coming from raw emotion. Still there are blurred crescendos, long songs, and a general lean towards the narrative. With that said, Irwell, the band’s debut is far beyond any tree laden album covers and comes with a heavy claw to the face.

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Time Lurker – Time Lurker [France, Atmospheric Black] (2017)

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Les acteurs de l’ombre production | 06-02-17

This review takes some projection as this whole album will not be out until June but all of its material is already available as of late 2016. I have some sympathy for bands who put out material late in the year when the years are turning. I am pretty neutral on rereleases on wider distribution. I also have less sympathy for atmospheric black metal bands. Time Lurker pulls at many emotions for me and if it wasn’t for this French band being so enthralling, I probably would have moved on by now. The fact I am still here must mean something.

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Mort aux Gueux – Beuverie, Musique du Diable et Misère Crasse [Canada, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 2-3-17

I feel I am going to have a good handle on some of the darker works in various languages. From what I can surmise, Mort aux Gueux means “Death to the Beggers (?)” and the album title starts out with “Music of the Devil” and then gets really patchy from there. It could have something to do with misery or mother Earth. Whether or not I would actually do well in France or the French Canadian territories is one thing, the tone and theme of Mort aux Gueux is quite another.

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Funeral Chant – Funeral Chant (US, Black / Death) (2017)

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Self Released | 2-3-17

Funeral Chant is already experiencing a small queue of interest from the internet and this can be directly related to the feature from Cvlt Nation. Aside from that however, the interest for Funeral Chant and the growing popularity for this bay area black death act seems to be catching like fire die to other reason. Perhaps this is an example of a quality record that is gaining popularity through its own merit. I am still skeptical.

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