Qual – An Unfathomable Darkness [US, Punk / Black] (2020)

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3-23-20 | Self Released

It is difficult sometimes to parse out where black metal and punk rock meet since its middle is a battleground of trashed vocals and even more trashed riffs. At some point the genres meet in a riotous demolition of sound making it hard to distinguish between the two. Qual fits into this nebulous category as it is just basement punk rock with even more guttural vocals. the funny thing about all of this, is that An Unfathomable Darkness fits so well with its sound. It is groovy in a shredded shirt way and catchy in a bleeding wound sort of fashion. This all is a party with a broken bone and it is wonderful.

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Disrotter – Plague [US, Death / Grind] (2020)

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Self Released | 3-25-20

It is funny to think of heavy metal being topical at any point but the title of this demo as well as the Bandcamp message of “Confusion blinding the panic is rising. Disruption commencing this chaos ascension” gives the music a sharper edge not to mention the dissolving human artwork on the front. The interesting part about this whole thing is Disrotter could have come out at any point and its music would be classic death grind worship with well mixed production and killer riffs. Now, in the middle of this whole “chaos ascension,” the music feels reflective on rising tensions which is far beyond exploitative and more reaching reflective. Come throw yourself into this storm of stress.

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Fratricide – Horrible Deformities [US, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 3-19-20

This is perhaps one of the starkest examples of a demo whose music is the best thing about the presentation as the logo, band name, and album artwork fail to live up to the experience of the music. It is not that Fratricide has a terrible presentation rather the music goes beyond the confides presented by its cover. Where one would think you get mid shelf death metal that is sloppy but kind of fun, Fratricide presents winding journeys in rotting flesh. Heavy metal, like most music, is about musical and visual presentation and though I feel that one if severely lacking, I am glad for the other to be so strong.

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Impetuous Burial [US, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 3-16-20

Yes. Is really gross death metal still going on? Well, i guess that is the thing about rotting death, is that even if it is slightly hip with bands like Blood Incantation and Tomb Mold, that its presence is eternal regardless of what mortals think of it. Enter Impetuous Burial and a demo that sounds like the sounds of the last 5 years in death metal distilled down into a punchy record. We are all mature enough to realize that despite this demo not breaking any new ground from its name, cover, or sound, if the riffs are solid, which they are, then it is going to be a fantastic ride in the dark.

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Ukcheansalawit – Tekipuk [Canada, Atmospheric Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 1-20-20

From the cold gloomy lands of Canada comes a slightly atmospheric black metal release with…you guessed it….a black and white tree on the cover. Outside of this very obvious joke, Ukcheansalawit (ûkcheânsâlâwit) debut demo has everything going right to be a memorable exploration of black metal themed after indigenous cultures. While most of these summations could be wrong, the majority of Tekipuk is centered around words of the Mi’kmaq tribe which was one of the largest Native people centered around Canada’s Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island). Outside of some vague references to Canadian native people and the use of the language, most of the work of Ukcheansalawit remains a mystery aside from a 17 minute demo of synth heavy lo – fi black metal. Perhaps 2020 will see more releases but for now, this release is enough to spark interest in a relatively unexplored area of pan American culture.

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Spirit Possession – 2020 Demo [US, Black / Punk] (2020)

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Self Released | 1-21-20

Sometimes there is a release which comes along that affirms your dedication to an aesthetic. Spirit Possession has everything I could possibly hope for in a release — raw black / punk, blistering attitude, near zero internet presence. All of these combine into an 11 minute release which feels like clenched teeth and an image which makes you the coolest ghoul in the graveyard. If one is in the mood for a party where everyone has limbs falling off then you are in the right line.

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Miserable Creature – Miserable Creature [ Australia, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 1-19-20

It should be noted that all proceeds for this cassette release will be going to the Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) Bushfire Emergency Fund. Despite the monetary contributions from this new death metal act, I can appreciate the sentiment, especially given the band being from Australia. This cover is everything I love about finding tapes on the internet. Ripped from an old RPG manual and photocopied 10 times, the aesthetic of thick death over thin pages is something that has always drawn me. Miserable Creature has something here and I am excited to see this band progress over the next year in a crowding genre of lo-fi death. If anything this band possesses a party spirit which is sure to shake coffins and wake the dead.

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Empyreal Forest – Divinations [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 1-4-20

I have had a long sordid history with dungeon synth which is both weird and amazing. I do not think I have covered any dungeon synth on this site since the first Erang record which sent me head first into the genre. At this moment I do not wish to cover the genre as extensively as I did but hearing Empyreal Forest ‘s 15 minute release not only dredges up foind memories but also aesthetically fits with some of the other records on this site also adorned in dismal black and white album covers. Dismal Ruin is a new label which specializes in dungeon synth, dark ambient, and second wave black metal which is varied across the label’s four releases. Empyreal Forest seems to be a new entity but is already entrenched in its worship of DS luminaries like Depressive Silence and Thangorodrim just cloaked in more atmospheric noise. The result is something that intimate but also cold in its wanderings through fog veiled forests. I do not think Ill ever get back into dungeon synth like I did but maybe perhaps there is room on this blog for more things like this.

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Mental Casket – Demo 2019 [Poland, Death] (2019)

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Self Released | 6-11-19

With a name like Mental Casket, one is going to except a certain level of grime that hopefully covers a coffin in a basement. This is it. It is all here. With a dedication to Florida style death and less of a concern for actually cropping their cover, the debut demo from Mental Casket comes just as you expected and always wanted. Though the production is lacking as per the style, the strength of Mental Casket rests in the bands ability to write riffs that stalk through the night and animate these corpses that are strewn upon the ground.

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Hexerei – Oath [?, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 4-19-19

I am going to be honest in saying finding this demo was happenstance as I was saw the German translation for Sorcery was Hexerei. Hexerei actually is more akin to witchery / witchcraft but Sorcery is one of the easiest connections. I may have been searching for it when seeing a German Magic the Gathering card and seeing the word “Hexerei” and finding it cool. Whatever the case, I stumbled upon a 2019 that is full of grief and grime that has an attitude from here to the dark woods it probably crawled out of. This drips with aesthetic and the fact I found it randomly makes me wonder what other hellish treats are scattered in those woods.

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