Hammer Crime – MMXX [Canada, Black / Thrash / Punk] (2020)

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Self Released | 10-16-20

Hammer Crime is strange and wonderful all at once. Resting at a confluence of black, thrash, punk, and groove metal, this Canadian band makes a demo that really just is an ugly brick thrown into your window. Now will I say all of this is refined and perfect? Absolutely not. Is it effective in its window smashing and ability to command attention? Yes. Look at all of this glass. From name, to sound, to just general vibe, Hammer Crime is delinquent in its behavior and probably shouldn’t be trusted around sharp objects or flammable materials.

Dust Drinker – Sky Burial [US, Ritual Ambient / Noise] (2020)

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Self Released | 10-7-20

This fits in both camps for this blog and possibly neither. I do not know if this album is correctly tagged as ritual ambient but the Bandcamp used the tag “ritual” and I am going to run with it. Ritual ambient has been an interest for me partially due to its nebulous nature. Caught between drone, noise, and dark ambient, the style has been noted for its spiritual undercroft combed with a pageantry for the bizarre and supernatural. I have no way of knowing if Dust Drinker’s Sky Burial possesses these qualities but its songs regarding death and passage is certainly in the correct unsettling ballpark. With a churning drones and a rattling cacophony, Sky Burial is less an album and more of a call from the ether. I do not know if this possesses the spiritual natural akin to most ritual ambient but it certainly is possessed.

NECROTUM – May The Dead Rise [Romania, Death] (2020)

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Unholy Domain Records | 9-21-20

I am writing about the cassette release of Necrotum’s May The Dead Rise. It is limited to 100 tapes and can be purchased for 6 Euro plus whatever shipping. If you are not interested in picking up this tape, then you can travel over to the band’s page to pick up the digital for 4 euro. I make mention of this as Nectorum has 4 releases this year, two demos, one single, and a full length. All of this momentum seems to be have done through the veil of Covid and unaffected by whatever safety measures are in order. Nectrotum is unconcerned with the living world and is instead focused on the rotting version which is scrawled into a notebook at the back of the class. May the Dead Rise is a great entry point for the band who have laid at the foot of the altar of old school death and want nothing more to play riffs inside a tomb.

Deathevn – Deathevn [Poland, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-20-20

This is a striking and exhilarating demo from a new Polish band that I most certainly shared to make a joke regarding the name. Deathevn is the work of Warped Blasphemer who also lends his talents to Dagorath, Nurt Ognia, and Xarzebaal. Detheven was said to be created in three days and the immediacy of it is apart of a network of standoffish atmosphere that makes me feel bad for mentioning their name and similarities to popular post black metal bands. Detheven doesn’t give a shit about my jokes and this 22 minute demo is a crawl against the fiery floors of damnation. It is unrelenting, without compromise, and above all else not in the mood for humor.

Veriluola – Demo [Finland, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-28-20

Yes. Yes. Yes. The stars align and we are given a rough black metal record from a band that has yet to have a Metal Archives page or a second supporter on Bandcamp. These are the moments where I feel I have found something that will be of interest to a lot of people and I am excited to see its journey. Veriluola is a Finnish black metal act which worships the noisy and chaotic beginnings of its genre with a demo that is spilling with attitude and atmosphere with a demo that sounds like Possessed, Celtic Frost, and Venom all are locked inside of a closet and told to punch their way out. I will be the first to admit the band has a lot of things to work out of their sound as Demo feels like a scouting mission to survey the terrain of first wave worship. I have a strong feeling they will find their way and set up a new town on the edge of the frontier between life and death.

Charnel Ascension – Spectral Dances Towards The Coffin [US, Raw Black] (2020)

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Old Spire Records | 8-22-20

“Charnel Ascension is a member of The GraveLight Order along with Mortevexis, Slaves To The Enchanted Fog, Vampyric Bvrial and others.” With this being kinda local to me, I often wonder if I pass the basement or abandoned church that houses these record labels. Spectral Dances Towards The Coffin is the debut demo for the Charnel Ascension project though its sole member is most likely apart of other other bands maybe even on the same label. The Gravelight Order is an esoteric name for the roster of Old Spire Records and much like other musical scenes, all bands fall under the same stylistic banner. This banner just happens to be raw and mutilated black metal. Spectral Dances Towards The Coffin is for a certain listeners who is wanting black metal before it goes into the refinery. The caustic dissonance both from its music and its cover allows the release to fall back onn an aesthetic that is theatrics but ultimately enjoyable to be apart of.

The World is Burning and I’m Just Sitting Here Making Grindcore Songs – The End of the World [US, Grind / Noise] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-15-20

At some points, I wonder where music stops and where weird art projects begin. The World is Burning and I’m Just Sitting Here Making Grindcore Songs is most certainly a bedroom art / music project with irreverence a weapon that is wielded around with abandon. The End of the World is a remix / re imagining / pastiche of the 1962 Skeeter Davis song inter fused with noise grind. The cover fits this motif with Davis’ cover super imposed with the horrifically crafted logo of the project. Though the end result is something maligned and aggressive, the idea and ultimate balance between melodic 60’s country pop and noise is something that I could see continuing in further exploration. One of strangest aspects about this whole affair is the reverence for the original song and its placement between the bits of noise and destruction. It is something that could have fallen into imbalance but for now it oddly works.

Sulfure – Neurotisme [Canada, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-15-20

I am excited beyond belief for this demo. Not only is it blistering black metal from Canada but it is also the debut demo from a elf released entity. These are all things which this site strives to showcase and Neurotisme could be the embodiment of this mission as it gallops on spectral horses to trample its listeners. Rather than let a sound run itsway through 3 or four tracks, Sulfure continues to confound its listeners with multiple tracks of snaking black metal that slithers its way through a dynamic landscapes of rot and ruin. This is a release that will live in memory if for nothing else than it is sure to haunt its listeners.

Ascended Master – What Was .​.​. And What Shall Be Again [US, Death /Thrash] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-14-20

Fuck yes. Even though it took me a few seconds to decide where to jump, once falling inside this record became an absolute joy. Ascended Master is an Ohio based death/thrash act that worships at the altar of the old masters while making a blistering demo that is nothing short of fun and excitement. It might be odd to describe a death/thrash demo like that but for as fierce as What Was .​.​. And What Shall Be Again is, at the core of its existence, a desire to astound the listener with riffs and musical prowess. Ascended Master is up for this task with 25 minutes of a raucous party in the underworld that is here to shred and slash their way through listeners.

OTDHR – REHEARSAL II [France, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-13-20

I am not usually down with unfinished products. I understand raw black metal (and to some extent other genres) has an aesthetic that embraces unfinished work as it simultaneously showcases potential while celebrating unpolished atmospheres. OTDHR’s sound was enough to grab interest and this 9 minute rehearsal showed enough talent that I start to wonder what a full length would sound like. Some bands never move out of the demo and rehearsal realm content to keep exploring unrefined landscapes. OTDHR is different in the fact their angular approach to black / doom could be exquisite with the right framing. Rehearsal II (Previous one was a year ago) projects a band that is brimming with angst and airs a sense of mystery through 9 minutes of near sonic misery. Perhaps this will be a story of a band that climbs out of rehearsals and makes a demo (or full length) that amazes everyone. Even without that future, OTDHR is a rare find of a band that warrants putting up their practice recordings as they are interesting enough to sit and listen.