Self Released | 3-15-18
Aww yeah here it is. Demo name – Check. Release type – check. Tone – Check. Band name – triple check. I have to admit that I am reviewing this based on the preview track as the actual demo comes out in 6 days from writting this article. There is a possibility that the rest of Altar of Gore’s demo could be lackluster and boring. From the sounds of the preview track “Foul Dwellers in the Sacrificial Pit,” this demo is going to be nothing less that the drowning of the world in ripped flesh and fouled blood.
Though I would be perfectly happy with this songs beginning tone which is grindy and has the vocals of a cave demon but it is really the downshifting of pace around the 1:50 mark where the riffs drape over the song and the full extent of atmosphere is revealed. This demo makes the sound seem so effortless and from at least this preview, seems like Altar of Gore are winning without even trying.
Transylvanian Tapes | 4-20-18
There is a point where I consider a rerelease of an obscure demo to be apart of the current year. Things released late in December of the past year or even things that went generally without any sort of attention usually gets grouped into the current year since no one is really going to care. Of Martyrdom and Polluted Faith is different for many reasons with the largest one being this digital demo was released in August of 2017 and got minor attention on its initial release. This is why Of Martyrdom and Polluted Faith will be a 2017 demo which is seeing its first physical run in 2018.
If you were the majority of people which missed this when it first released, Dearth is the combination of two members making black metal much like a swirling kaleidoscope of horror and rot. Situated on the US west coast and with members from bands like Xenotaph and Torture Chamber, this demo is more than enough to put you in a foul mood if foul mood is what you desire. For only being a three track demo, Dearth manages to make its 20 minute running time feel like a near eternity spent in some hellish chasm of fear and confrontation.
Self Released | 1-9-18
there are sometimes inklings of things one is going to enjoy. Seeing the color used in Superstition’s logo and artwork wasn’t the reason for enjoying this demo rather an inkling that t was going to be intriguing. Perhaps it is because that warm sickly grey was a gateway into a certain aesthetic. Perhaps I am drawn to certain shades of off white. Whatever it is, Surging Throng of Evil’s Might is a triumph and offers sanctuary in the creepiest, most dilapidated cathedral this side of the afterlife.
Did I mention, I adore spooky organ music? If not, I would like that noted on the record. One of Superstition’s greatest assets it the sense of atmosphere which compliments their mastery on the music. Songs like “Outer Mutation” comes out of a gothic style organ interlude and have enough flair and flounce to make it a towering monstrosity in rotting velvet. This is weird fiction death metal and with songs like “Grave Portal,” it is a place which I want to stay forever.
Sentient Ruin Laboratories | 3-2-18
This single came via a colleague with the comment of “Sentient Ruin refuses to stop.” For the past couple of years, this US label has been the source of some of the weirdest and more horrifying forms of music with their roster being obscure black / death and their distribution net unearthing even more arcane material from around the world. Misrule is one of them and if the entire demo is anything like the preview track, Forced to Suffer will be right at home with its catastrophic family.
The tag of grind in the music only touches on the chaotic aspect of the music. While part so the preview track “Led To The Grave” are very much like a whirlwind, the core structure of Misrule seems to be death. Additionally, the production for Forced To Suffer is vast and seemingly endless with its depths. Though the preview track is under 3 minutes, it is a free fall through bottomless chasms inhabited only by the denizens of darkness.
I sometimes do not looking at new releases from Sentient Ruin as it is more I have to process. Already the label has put out some stellar work and the potential for a killer death/grind demo with the power of a demon is even more exciting. It still is a couple of weeks away until the entire demo is up for streaming so right now, Ill sit and wait with anticipation or maybe even trepidation.
Caligari Records | 3-1-18
I feel at this point I could run quarterly feature going over all of the new Caligari material and still be pretty happy. I try not to hover too much on certain labels like Fallen Empire and Vrasubatlat as constant coverage would make me seem like a fanboy despite the fact thier output being above average. This is the case for Caligari records who have consistently gone above and beyond in finding gems from around the world which worship at the altar of death and disease.
Evil Priest is from Peru and two years ago this trio released a stellar demo of classic sounding death metal. Since we are past any era of a genre resurgence, the classic death sound for Evil Priest is a thematic celebration of death metal’s most famous competent which is riffs and darkness. Guitar solos, 5th gear snare drumming, looming intros, and guttural vocals all make their appearance in a demo which sounds between here and 1991. Aside from the sound, Evil Priest is young and virulent enough to be a force which will be around for much longer as Black Seeds...of Creation sounds like the band is halfway having fun and half way really serious about this whole death thing.
Self Released | 1-26-18
I think changing the tag of DSBM to Black / Ambient is better for longevity purposes. Depressive Suicidal Black Metal sometimes drops the Suicidal portion of the name and even though some bands do bask in the macabre of self harm, they do so often without the tag of DSBM. At this point DSBM has become a genre that was a thing but is no longer needed. This isn’t to say that depressive black metal or even the sounds that were heralds to the genre aren’t being used. Take Висельник who has all of the hallmarks of the genre from the tin razor guitar sound, to the anguished wail, to the catalog of demos that have gone unnoticed.
Despair is the 26th proper demo for an act that has only been around for 10 years. In the larger picture, Despair does not charge into any new landscapes fro the artist rather continues a small incremental march towards well rounded black ambient. the fact that most all of these 16 demos have gone unnoticed frames the work of Висельник as a personal endeavor with some grief stricken results. Beyond the wall of torn sound that inhabits most of the music, there are some wonderful melodies which flies around music that is a near textbook example of depressive black metal.
I am usually not a seeker for this type of music and in fact find a lot of the tropes used in this genre ruin the aesthetic and mood. Висельник manages to make depressive music without succumbing to cartoons or edge laded tropes. the final few songs are covers by other obscure depressive black metal acts which again allows the user to go further into the dark cellars of emotion. Despite this demo probably being apart of a larger book from an artist who will likely bask in shadows, Despair is a fine pick for the gloomiest of days.
Solar Asceticists Productions | 1-22-18
Well, that is it. Janaury is offficially over with perhaps the coolest looking release of the month. Add to this the forcoming coverage by No Clean Singing and the fact this band has no Metal Archives page, and yhou have the [potential for a hype explosion that will be celebrated by a small group of people on the internet. Whatever the future holds for the oddly named Abyssal Vacuum, it will be marked by an explosive demo that again has the coolest looking cover in recent memory.
Very much like their name, the sound for Abyssal Vacuum is cavernous and akin to falling backwards through chasms that never seem to end the suffering. Even though the cavernous death style has been mined excessively over the past few years, Abyssal Vacuum is not apart of that sound rather chooses deep arcane sorcery performed in a lightless void. The addition of the subtraction of information adds to the band’s mystic allowing a single track to act as a beacon for anyone seeking this type of aesthetic. Abyssal Vacuum knows its audience and delivers well.
Solar Asceticists Productions, by hook or by crook, has managed to release two demos with great success in a style that is only popular with a select group of people. The Cendres demo, released lat month, is swirling hypnotic black metal which again is super cool but also super niche. I have no idea who is hyping this label so early but the end result is decent demo releases with above average tape covers. I will not complain rather relish in the glow of arcane sorcery.
Exit Fetish Tapes | 1-19-18
I am going to start tagging tape reissues rather than try to cram them into the current year. Acts like Khragkh are current working black metal bands who are having their demos released by DIY labels like Exit Fetish Tapes. This does not mean Šlach Anihilacyi can slide into 2018 as a release as the band already has their debut LP planted in 2017. For this and for future releases that transcend an actual year, I hope this makes more sense. I am only spending so much time to get this right as things like Šlach Anihilacyi are worthy of attention in both years.
Going through the band’s 2017 full length one can hear things that are slightly askew. Despite a jump in production and a step up in terms of album design, the core of Khragkh remains maniacal with black metal twisted by sorcery. From the vocals which sound as if from a boneclad shaman or the tendency to get lost in hypnotic instrumentals, Khragkh is a wonderful gem hidden under the blood of a sacrificial altar.
The Šlach Anihilacyi demo is going to offer one everything in terms of aesthetic looking for lesser known black metal that was heard by 20 people in its original run. This does not mean, however, later records on “bigger” labels are not worth ones time. Khragkh is probably the only belarusian band I can think of off the top of my head and with that distinction, they are the best Beleariusian band at the moment.
Self Released | 1-17-18
From their Bandcamp page, Death Void states “Recorded (mostly live) in October 2017. Cassette release will be available to order after we return from The Abyss Underground Festival.” It is as if we caught this band going out of the door and had little time for us being in their place. Add to this a photocopied demo and one wonders if we should just come back in a few months. This nonchalance regarding their demo only serves to heighten interest as The Looming Spectre, while not a perfect demo, is more than fun to listen to with a band that seems to have tons of potential hidden away under a cool visage.
As the rule with demos goes, one could be getting a 4 minute or 70 minute release. The Looming Spectre falls somewhere between with 33 minutes being dedicated across 4 tracks of rotten death / doom or just slow moving death. As far as sound goes, this is music that works as low fidelity as it would with better production since there is a thesis under these corpses and it is one of existential obliteration. This is music to dance to if dancing mean wearing your ankles down to the nub.
One of the band’s promo pictures has the tag line of “non ritualistic death metal” and since this band is the only one using that tag, I can only assume it is a step away from occult black / death to something more primal and ultimately festering. One may think there is not much separating Death Void from the likes of bands like Temple Nightside and QRIXKUOR but in the world of death metal, Dead Void is far beyond civilization hidden under the stench of verdant decay.
Self Released | 12-19-17
Sorgspell is an ambitious demo from a band that seems to have everything checked and ready to go. This is not uncommon though some bands choose to enter causally with a debut demo. For a debut demo released in the twilight of 2017, Cultum Interitum is ready to go when everyone else is going to sleep.
Sorgspell is a decent display of mid-fi black metal that has great vocals and sobering melodies which are draped over its body like funeral shrouds. Songs like “Agony” show a band that is playing above a ate December demo with music that is fitting for a full length. I am not complaining about the demo quality as I love hearing a variety of sounds at the starting level. Aside from the placeholder Dore album art and the placeholder old english font and the placeholder placement of the name and album title, Cultum Interitum seems like the first one up and ready to start on 2018.