Misrule – Forced to Suffer [US, Death / Grind] (2018)

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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.

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Evil Priest – Black Seeds​.​.​.​of Creation [Peru, Death] (2018)

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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.

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Висельник – Despair [Russia, Raw Black / Ambient] (2017)

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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.

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ABYSSAL VACUUM – MMXVII [France, Black / Death] (2018)

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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.

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Khragkh – Šlach Anihilacyi [Belarus, Black] (2013) [REISSUE]

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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.

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Dead Void – The Looming Spectre [Denmark, Death / Doom] (2018)

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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.

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Cultum Interitum – Sorgspell [Poland, Black] (2017)

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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.

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CAVURN – Rehearsal [US, Death / Doom] (2017)

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Self Released | 10-14-17

If one hasn’t noticed by now, the last few reviews for this year are things that I initially missed. These things are still under the radar for the greater scope of heavy metal but still fit into the strange idea of Tape Wyrm material. Cavurn is an unsigned/independent death doom band from Washington whose demo/rehearsal is one of the top tier releases of the year and for that they need revisiting.

Death / Doom is a strange genre since each time it is employed, it is unique among the practitioner. Some bands lean more on the side of doom with harsh vocals while other played a rotted form of death. Cavurn is in the middle as they employ both aspects of the genre and seem to glean the most interesting aspects of both. From the monolithic atmosphere of doom married with the classic riffs of death, this demo shows a band that already has everything figured out and is ready for the next challenge.

There is little way, anyone can kep up with everything released in the year. Other well known releases like Witch Vomit, Vanum, and Cult of Eibon are still excellent just out of the range for what I hoped for this blog. Cavurn seems to fit well inside the other releases with a demo that is worth anyones attention despite their attraction to lesser known metal.

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Attrition – Demo I [Canada, Black / Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 11-3-17

This demo was released in November of 2017. I am reviewing this in addition to the Barbarian single which was released in December of 2017. All four songs consist a body of work that is around 16 minutes. I know all of you war metal fans need to keep your dates and facts straight which music that is the equivalent of steel wool on the psyche.

Before we go any furthur, I want to say this type of music is exciting and entertaining despite the fact that it may not sound that way. War / Bestial black metal rides an aesthetic which, like noise, maybe challenging to hold. If the orcish figure on the front was not any indication, this demo is going to be a plunge into some of the harsher music in the heavy metal. If you made it this far take a moment to look up at how far you have fallen. For anyone keeping track, Attrition is the work of the creator behind Atomic Grave which also released a demo this year. Attrition seems to be the continuation of a similar sounding project or at least a second front in the spiritual war. If you are here, you came on your own accord and Attrition delivers everything that is expected.

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Morta – The Descent of Innanna [Spain, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-29-17

Lowfidelity or lo-fi is an interesting aesthetic to embrace since for the most part it is a concious desicsion one employs on their sound. My vierw on lo-fi has always been positive as I feel it can enhance an already raw record to the point of being sublime. OPther times it xould muddy the sound to the point where things are not as effective. I am still unsure where I stand on Morta and their debut demo.

The Descent of Innanna is a fantastic beginning with a sound that is well structured. From the atmosphere to the wailing shrieks for vocals, Morta has all of the right tools for a fair shot in the world of black metal. The only drawback for this demo is the lack of clarity with the energy stifled under a blanket of fog. This isn’t to say their music would be enhanced by better production rather the guitars and even drums could use a step up in the mix. At the end of the year, I find it humorous who I am giving bands advice on production when just being a reviewer on an internet blog. I have no sway when it comes to band’s future rather just predictions based on initial presentation. The Descent of Innanna is a fine first start and I wish the band luck on their descent in 2018. If Morta is the next Tomb Mold or any other underground hit, I will be pleasantly surprised and thrilled.

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