Changeling – II [US, Atmospheric Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 6-12-18

This is the second full length release for Changeling as of yet unsupported by a label. In 201, there is less of a need for label support outside the desire for more resources. Though I can see this band being at the attention of many more interested in winding atmospheric black, finding Changeling’s second album with few other around was interesting. Perhaps this is the sleeper hit of 2018 or even the album that will feel like cold water to the face.

Even though I added the tag atmospheric black as to fit the Metal Archives description, Changeling shares little in common with the other forest dwelling hermits that have typified the genre. Though there are still instances of sweeping texture and arching guitars, the turns taken by Changeling is more reminiscent of bands like Altar of Plagues than Wolves in the Throne Room. Perhaps this is why II is so refreshing as it uses whatever tools necessary in any genre to accomplish a unique picture of mystery and destruction. This is also why I find the need for labels to not be a priority as Changeling has presented a fully competent and fluid second release on their own with little help from the outside and from outsiders.

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Oxygen Destroyer – Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death [US, Death / Thrash] (2018)

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Self Released | 4-5-18

We are going to be honest and say that from the surface and on paper, Oxygen Destroyer looks goofy. With a gimmick surrounding kaiju films and some beer drinking promo pictures on their Metal Archives page, this band looks to be funny if not disposable. Lucky for everyone involved, Oxygen Destroyer has thrown themselves onto the altar of old school death / thrash and made an album that is wild and eviscerating first with fun coming close second.

It is difficult to be picky when it comes to aesthetics surrounding metal. Most of heavy metal’s imagery is goofy with part of it being heralded as classic while all others being gimmicky. Nuclear abominations are not a far reach for thrash and monsters born of radiation seem to be in the wheelhouse for death / thrash. While Oxygen Destroyer probably lost a large audience not being over the top parodies dressing in Godzilla or Mothra costumes, the main draw for Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death is the complete worship for bands like Morbid Saint, Sadistic Intent, and Demolition Hammer. What Oxygen Destroyer lacks in marketable gizmos, they make up for with an absolutely crushing record that would be perfect for drinking beer and chewing concrete.

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Mylingar – Döda Drömmar [Sweden, Death / Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 06-09-18

Sure, the entire album could be terrible. It is a possibility. Döda Drömmar actually releases in a few days and all we are hearing from this debut full length is one horrid sounding track. While it is entirely possible that the rest of the album could be boring and uninspired the raw filth which exudes from the preview track is enough to cover a couple of album’s worth of releases. If I were going to put my money on anything it would be on the music that has mucus hacking and throat choking as ambience.

” ‘Mylingar’ is the plural of ‘myling’. In Scandinavian folklore the word “myling” indicates a wandering ghost of an unbaptized child.” This is the factoid on the band’s Metal Archives page and it is mildly humorous in how far it goes into its own aesthetic. Little is known from this band outside of a 2016 EP so the band’s first full length, being self released, does not come with much attention of hype. Perhaps this is what underscores the raw sound which makes up the first track. From a style which sounds like OSDM drug through sewage to the raspy witch like vocals which actually make up the song, the release of Döda Drömmar is going to be interesting even if only to figure out just what the hell is going on inside of this world. Sure, this entire album could be terrible but I am a good judge of character and right now I am scared for my safety.

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Nex Carnis – Obscure Visions of Dark [Iran, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 5-23-18

A quick note before we begin. This album was released in 2015 by the Italian label Nightbreaker Productions at about 1000 copies. While re-releasing albums is not a new phenomenon, the fact this album is being re-released independently is odd. Perhaps the band was unhappy with the initial run or 2018 ft more into their idea of cosmic devour. Whatever the case, Nex Carnis is giving their debut another spin, on their own merits, and with the year of 2018. With punishing sounds of old school death, who am I or anyone else to argue?

One of the more relaxing things about Nex Carnis is the fact they are from a place not known for its metal scene but also exceptional in their field. Researching global metal can bring one to bands that are from exotic places yet with mediocre sounds. The embrace of the location rather than the sound can be troublesome when documenting heavy metal from non western countries as one can fall in love with an idea rather than reality. Nex Carnis does everyone a favor with greeting everyone with pulverizing death metal that could be at home in any warehouse, dive bar, or putrid cemetery. While death metal is currently experiencing a surge in hipness, Obscure Visions of Dark has both the cooleness of the current sound combined with unique variations to make them stand out of a ghastly crowd. With song titles ripped from the 90’s and artwork that could fit perfectly on a tape, Obscure Visions of Dark not only stands as model for current death but also makes the whole thing fun as hell to listen to. Open coffins and welcome welcome the swarm of darkness.

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Act of Impalement – Perdition Cult [US, Death] (2018)

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Unspeakable Axe Records | 09 – 31 -18

Holy shit, this thing is not going to be released until late August. Why am I so excited for this record despite the fact there is only one song for preview. What is it about death metal riffs which makes me wait on the front steps until the doors open? I usually balk at the idea of albums no being available to me whenever I want. I am also wary about the prospect of preview tracks for albums that are months away from release. This all goes out the window when it is death metal, being released on Unspeakable Axe Records, and really fucking good.

Act of Impalement is from North Carolina and has been seen up and down the East Coast putting in work around local venues. Perdition Cult is to be the bands debut and by the sound of the first “single” Pax Romana, it is going to be a hellish hootenanny which will end with at least a few injuries. Fans of old school and grimy concrete floor death will appreciate the tone and structure of a song which waves the standards of music meant to immerse and suffocate. I still can not believe I have to wait here until August but I am sure once the leaves begin to die, it will be time for the world to rot.

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Blood Sacrifice – The Horned Goddess [Canada, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 05-14-18

At the moment, this Blood Sacrifice hasn’t been added to the Metal Archives which makes finding information sort of difficult. I am sure they will be added later but for now the sound of bestial torment which comes in the shape of a tornado is still but a mystery. According to the tape label which has produced the 133 copies of their debut, this project features members of Spectral Wound, Profane Order, Hashed Out, Taggarik, and Mad Parish. I know some of those words.

For as much mystery surrounding the actual release, The Horned Goddess is not complicated to comprehend. When one reduces the desires and wishes of heavy metal to a black ore, it would probably sound like The Horned Goddess. Violent, fast, and with a penchant for evil things, Blood Sacrifice is the sound of black metal which has just run out into the street, naked, and swinging weapons. Perhaps my vision for this album is influenced by the bizarre cover but in any case, this album is surely making itself unforgettable.

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U​.​N​.​C​.​U​.​L​.​T – אוּסִיפְרְטְנְסְמַאֶל קַנְטְבְס אַדְרַמַלַס אוֹסְטִיבְם [Brazil, Black / Death / Avant] (2018)

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Berserk Ritual Productions | 05-04-18

Technically, the full name for this release is “Uma Nulificação Catalizadora Ultrapassa os Limites Transcedentais – Ucifrtnsmael Cantvs Adramalas Ostivm : Anti​-​estrutual Formulas Da Genesis Do Anti​-​Mundo” just in case it is easier to do an internet search. Actually searching “אוּסִיפְרְטְנְסְמַאֶל קַנְטְבְס אַדְרַמַלַס אוֹסְטִיבְם” will most certainly bring you to this album as it stands among no others in the vast space of information. This is a weird one and I hope you are ready for some ritual magic.

U​.​N​.​C​.​U​.​L​.​T is theatric and the space of אוּסִיפְרְטְנְסְמַאֶל קַנְטְבְס אַדְרַמַלַס אוֹסְטִיבְם is filled with drama. Aside from the obvious incantations with soundclips of babies crying, the music is constructed in what feels like an impossible space. Strange angles and bizarre structures are hallmarks of a strange album that is made even more strange by ceremonial garb. The fact I can find little information about this band and a South Korean label is the only point of contact only fires my imagination. This could be an instance of dimensional sorcery.

Selling me on something strange is not difficult though U​.​N​.​C​.​U​.​L​.​T has a knack for its own presentation. Being weird does not translate to making a good record. When it does and the oddities and alien qualities of the music work in congress with the uncanny themes, then it is pure magic. I ad no idea what to expect from אוּסִיפְרְטְנְסְמַאֶל קַנְטְבְס אַדְרַמַלַס אוֹסְטִיבְם and looking back I do not know how I felt before opening up this strange portal.

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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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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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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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