Winterstorm. – Demo II MMXX [Ecuador, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-28-20

Even though the Bandcamp page for this demo lists this as “raw black” and even “lo-fi black” I am going to lean towards this being less noisy that maybe what people are expecting. Yes, there is a dissonant production with the instrumentation flung up against the shredded vocals. For as primitive as the recording however, Winterstorm (with the punctuation?) presents a clear presentation of icy second wave black metal that even has room for some woozy vocal effects. This is great as should be stored at a chilled temperature.

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KRAAPIDES NAHKA – MANIFESTATION I [Canada, Raw Black / Punk / Dark Ambient] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-26-20

From the cold lands of neverwhere, comes a cassette filled with icy black punk / dark ambient. Black / punk has always been a favorite of mine though the tone and style has always been scathing and alive. KRAAPIDES NAHKA takes the same idea of black / punk and buries it in a winter forest for a few decades before returning with a shovel. Through cracked ground and howling winds, Manifestation I is a haunted cassette of tortured memories and frozen emotions that hang motionless upon evergreens. This cassette just came out and it is currently limited to 2 per customer. I have no idea how popular this will be but I am in awe of its scope and effectiveness at being unreachable.

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Black Candle Wax – Crematorium [US, Raw Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-27-20

Here is a release that is actively trying to get you not to listen to it. I love the cult aesthetic on some of these releases. From having a tape only exclusive, to only releasing a title-less sample, to even pricing your sample at the mythical 666$, Black Candle Wax takes no qualms in saying you probably do not need this in your life. It is funny I am more intrigued to a release like this. For all of the fanfare that precedes this demo, Crematorium rips through the air like an angry ghost with 3 minutes of violent nightmares.

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Enucleacion – Adelanto Demo 2020 [Chile, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-20-23

This is absolutely 100% rotten. If the eye gouging yellow bordered Bandcamp gore profile picture is not enough to indicate this is the realm of dripping violence, then I do not know what will keep you safe. Since this band is not on Metal Archives yet, we are just sort of shooting from the hip and the tag of black/death could mean many things including slam/death or just a gross combination of everything vile in the metal world. Enucleacion seems to be less concerned with distinction than they do pushing chainsaws into the face of listeners. Gross.

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Drycholaeth – Bestial Psychosis [US, Black / Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 12-5-19

LEt us all go through this together. If you release a demo late into the year and/or it was so limited that it never made a mark on the internet, then you get to release it again and I get to include it in the current year for end of the year lists. Now that we have that out of the way, welcome ruin and rot. Much like what the Bandcamp page said, this demo is for fans of Grave and Morbid Angel but I am going to go a step further and say it is for fans of Grave and Morbid Angel and haunted unfinished basements. Drycholaeth (Old Welsh? for Spectral?) is a imposing presence which emanates weirdness and ferocity at a lo fi length. I am glad I didn’t catch this late last year since I would be frantically calling everyone I knew.

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Foul Light – Blood Of Venomous Curses [Slovakia, Raw Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-13-20

I feel moments like these are reasons why I search for Bandcamp releases everyday as I feel I am starting to develop an attraction to certain aesthetics. Blood of Venomous Curses has an aesthetic that is not rooted in gore, evil, or anything immediate rather ancient misanthropy. With nothing to precede this release, Foul Light comes out of darkness with the force of a rain that feels like needles against skin. The shock of Foul Light, coning out of nowhere and with the aesthetics desired by a niche of fans, is something that is jarring and wonderful all at once. If you are only going to listen to one raw black demo this Spring to grate against your existence, make it this one.

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Maniac – Managed [US, Grind / Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-5-20

“Recorded in isolation..by choice.” Aside from the color palette of the cover, I enjoy the whole vibe of Maniac. This demo(?) is perhaps the living essence of not giving a fuck and that feeling firing like artillery shells. When Managled gets going, one is given the experience of 90’s style death just caffeinated and forced to watch more gore films than comfortable with. Maniac is perhaps a wonderful herald for times when things are uncertain and this is just a screaming harbinger for impending doom.

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Amargor – Cilicis fragmenten el que queda d’un [Raw Black, Spain] (2020)

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Self Released | 3-5-20

I think I enjoy the overall texture of this record. That sounds weird but as a whole, Cilicis fragmenten el que queda d’unis a grinding experience powered by raw emotion and even more raw production. This project also comes with the tag of depressive black but in reality when you are this far into the tunnel of raw production, there is no distinguishing emotions as you grope in the dark for anything only to find bare walls. This is the first release from Armargor and if this act keeps things up like the draining presence of “Cars fantasmes naixent amb la set que m’agita,” which seethes industrial animosity, then I feel we are going to be strained lovers.

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Antiquary – Celestial Fire / Le Palais Noir [Spain, Black/Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 4-20-20

Even though the Bandcamp page is sort of a mess, these two releases constitute the 2020 output from Spain’s Antiquary. Both of them are short demos with a total running time of no more than 20 minutes. Within those 20 minutes however, the listener is treated to a whirlwind experience of black / death leaning towards melody and structure just with a hanging veil of raw production. I feel this band could exist in another production sphere and be even more striking as their ability to stretch their legs musically collides with a catastrophic production. Still, both demos (?) are well worth your time if you have nothing else but gravedigging to do.

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Feral Light – Life Vapor [US, Black / Rock] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-22-20

This was tagged as “Black ‘n’ Roll” in both Bandcamp and Metal Archives but I am just going to tag it as rock until further notice. I have no idea what constitutes Black ‘n’ Roll but I feel it should be more of a cohesive sound than influences of hard rock. Feral Life is strange but it is their ambiguity which works in their favor. This Us act has a cover which is pulling into the harsh dissonant black / death direction but a sound which is pushing into post metal territory. The band also has a longer history than most of the acts covered on this blog with 3 full lengths in a few short years. Also with a lyrical shift from war to mysticism, it seems like this band is going to take a little bit to bloom into the horrid creature it is becoming. For now we maybe in the evolving stages and for that, Life Vapor is full of intrigue and crisp songwriting that I am strangely okay with all of this.

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