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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Alkymist – Spellcraft Ceremony [Canada, Black / Doom] (2018)

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One of the more confusing things about this project is it sharing a name with a progressive sludge band from Denmark. Though this is not the first time two bands have shared the same name, the fact both of them are unsigned and relatively on equal levels in terms of popularity makes it confusing at first. Just make sure you are in a cathedral of sadness before listening. Check your surroundings. Are there bells tolling in the distance masked by rain?

Spellcraft Ceremony is a debut 30 minute album (?) from a one man project heavily influenced by the works of Ruins of Beverast. I only say that since the tape version of this comes with a Ruins of Beverast cover. Even outside of tribute songs, the general atmosphere of gloom and inescapable doom which permeates this record is palatable. The atmospheres created by one person never feels stretched or thin and works well as a declaration of sadness voiced by one lone soul.

Spellcraft Ceremony currently is up for tape preorder limited to 100 copies. This tape is being released in collaboration with Moriendi Music and Corde Raide Productions. The only familiar thing I found with Corde Raide is being the only label to release Labyrinthique’s Demo MMXVI. Even if you do not want the Ruins of Beverast cover, the digital version for Alkymist is priced at 2 CAD which will buy you a ticket to a land of perpetual dusk.

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Kwestia Kwasu – Kwas Topi Czas [Poland, Black / Experimental] (2018)

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Cirsium Kollektivet | 2-8-17

I feel the best way to start this review is to reiterate the description from the label and their confusion and excitement is all I need “Here we are…, I don’t even know how to describe the music of these sociophobic polish junkies. Imagine a underproduced blend of blackened ’70’s Punk and dirty Ska with occasional sprinkling of noise or at least something which’s only purpose is to confuse your dull mind… ” If that short description didn’t capture your imagination, then you and I are on different life paths.

Kwestia Kwasu, for all their bizarre antics, is a competent and cohesive band. Their collective vision pushes the music into the realm where experimental music should always aim. Being weird for the sake of being weird does not guarantee success. Challenging oneself to make music which lies on the outside of orthodoxy which triggers confused emotions and even more troubled mental images and being successful is worthy of merit. Kwas Topi Czas excels as an exercise in depravity with its sonic landscape a blistering wasteland of shooting alleys, punk basements, and haunted polka bars.

I was struggling to actually fnd the “experimetnal” tag since I never really use it to describe heavy metal. Though the tag of “avant” is sometimes use, Kwestia Kwasu seems uncomfortable even with that description. There seems to be little quest for art in the realm of Kwas Topi Czas and more of a primal embrace of weirdness. Experimental seems more feral in its description at least that is what I hope to use to describe music that is near indescribable.

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Wojtek – Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old [US, Black / Punk] (2018)

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Self Released | 1-29-18

there are a lot of things I enjoy about Wojtek. I love the fact they lay music in a way that is feverish and maniacal. I love the fact their aesthetic clings to a crossover between occult black and anarchopunk. I love the fact all of the song titles and album cover could be slight parody if not backed up by blistering chaos. I love the fact their band is named after a WWII bear adopted by the Polish military. With everything to love, listening to Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old is similar to reaching for a hug but only getting arms full of razorwire in return.

similar to the tag of black/doom, black/punk is varied in its final mixture and can be different for each practitioner. While some blackened punk retains the musical structure of punk with shrieking vocals and others black metal with predilections for chaos, Wojtek is right in the middle with a record that could honestly be a black sheep in each of its parent genres. With nothing to call home, Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old turns into a molotov cocktail of alchemist fire and hammers in the aesthetic of a city devoured in the flames of sorcery.

I do not know if I would like this better with a more orthodox album cover. I have been staring at the cheap Xerox quality drawing wondering if it would be better just with a black and white sigil of some sorts. After deep meditations, I feel the cover for Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old is fitting as it showcases all of the wants and needs of this record and really acts an overture for the album. Prepare for nothing you are preprepared for.

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Mûspellzheimr – Nidhöggr [Denmark, Black] (2017)

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Amor Fati Productions | 10-30-17

Holy shit, how in the world did I miss this. Not only is the album cover fantastic and everything I dreamed of but the sound is swirling black metal madness. Add to this the fact I am completely in the dark to what the name and album title means which means this is my new favorite record. It takes a special album to meet the aesthetic requirements of intriguing and an even greater one to slip by detection.

Mûspellzheimr is not new, rather this is the second full length along with a handful of demos. The lack of band members is to be expected as well as their absence on social media. Nidhöggr (the dragon/serpent who gnaws at a root of the world tree, Yggdrasil) follows the similar under the radar release Hyldest til trolddommens flamme in 2015. Nidhöggr is very apparent in its presentation that the madness which is flung at the listener at the beginning is going to be a theme throughout the record. From wailing to music that feels like it is about to fall apart, Mûspellzheimr redefines the idea of mental erosion with a record that is frayed sanity and composure. Nidhöggr is for a select audience. There really isn’t a single or unique track which would encompass the thesis of this record. Mûspellzheimr , despite a lack of information regarding themes and even the erasure of album tracks for roman numerals, one can surmise the summary of the band’s intent. Through some easy guesswork, Mûspellzheimr ‘s intentions are nothing less than malefic as well as hellbent on being ghastly.

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