Voidsphere – To Await | To Expect [International, Black / Atmospheric] (2018)

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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.

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Psyche – Een pathologie van de geneesheer [Netherlands, Black / Death] (2018)

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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.

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Negativa – 03 [Spain, Black] (2018)

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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.

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Svartmálm – Svartmálm [Faroe Islands, Atmospheric Black / Doom] (2018)

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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.

Disgusted Geist – Reign of Enthrallment [US, Death / Doom] (2018)

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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.

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Slidhr – The Futile Fires of Man [Ireland, Black] (2018)

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Ván Records | 6-26-18

I wrote about this band way back in 2015 with their 2015 EP which turns out was not their first nor their last record. I remember being impressed with the ferocity and sound this Irish band brought to their recording. In 2018 I have learned new things, mainly this band shares many past and current members with the Icelandic black metal band Sinmara. While Slidhr is itself a separate entity, the grounding in the Icelandic sound makes sense as the band’s second full length winds down the rivers of hell into complete oblivion.

One of the more interesting aspects about Slidhr and the thing which really allows The Futile Fires of Man to make a connection are the lengthy tracks which fill this 46 minute record. Each song unpacks a lot of material which twists and winds its way through corridors of sound. Even some of the shorter tracks at 5 minutes, takes its time to craft mood and elaborately set the stage for presentations devoted to metaphysical darkness. While the band’s sound is obviously heavy given the nature, the lyrical and vocal content matches the weight of its subject matter. This is not fleeting occult references rather a reverence to forces unseen and potentially unknowable.

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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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