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.
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.
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.
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.
Living Temple Records | 12-21-17
The landscape of death metal is being changed or at least has always been changing. What once was old school went into cavernous and now is moving into slimy grime. Tagging this as death is sometimes confusing for anyone following the developments of the genre so saying the phrase Swedish old school maybe a little it more telling.
The debut demo from Hexagon is perhaps as it should be — a demonstration of potential. In the release, one can hear a band unhappy with the the production with music that sounds bigger than what is being presented. This is not muddy death metal which drips grease rather a dynamic sound which could excel given a boost. It is not like this demo isn’t fun as songs like “Chambers of Torment” are so nostalgic in their riffs and energy that one could imagine a second, third or fourth renaissance in the direction of death metal. At this point I am still undecided on Hexagon and their direction. For a demo that is being released at the end of the year, I think it is safe to say this is the first step to something else. Be it a more fleshed out EP / Full Length or maybe even a continuation of old school Swedish death on bare bones production is something we will see in 2018. For now I will be cautiously entertained.
Self Released | 12-29-17
Aesthetic is important when it coems to releasing metal records and Mal Du Siècle has thrown its lot in with one specific style. If the slightly lo-f production was not the biggrest tip off, then the distressed tape cover that looks right out of a photocopier should be a big indication that it is the cold winter of 1992. The more I look at the cover for Dark Ceremonies Under A Cursed Moon, the more I marvel at all of the ways it leans towards the Norsecore style. I think all of this effort in trying to achieve an aesthetic would be wasted in not for the fact that Mal Du Siècle plays a decent brand of black metal, one fitting of all of this work.
Dark Ceremonies Under A Cursed Moon is listed under raw black metal for Bandcamp yet their production is only cosmetically lo-fi. Aside from a muddy wall that softens the music, the levels in the demo (?) are surprisingly well adjusted. The music on Dark Ceremonies Under A Cursed Moon is fierce and effective and moves beyond just a recreation of Norsecore style black metal. For as much as I talk about working to an aesthetic, Mal Du Siècle excels in black metal without much effort leading me to believe they could do this for many albums. Mal Du Siècle is still a mystery as this is really the only record on Bandcamp aside from an earlier single. there is no personnel info nor any pictures of the band. I am guessing this is a on person act but it could be two. there is no Metal Archives and yet again we are at the end of the year with a mystery demo. Perhaps this is what was intended and for that I can not complain.
Self Released | 10-01-17
At this point, we can still consider this 2017 despite the fact the Bandcamp comes from a label rereleasing this demo in 2018. Rereleases are strange especially since you can already find this demo on the internet. Regardless, Oratorium is a label that seems to be gathering up Chilean acts for presentation and celebration. Nefast MCMLXXIX (It is 1979, I checked) is one of the newest addditions on the Oratorium roster and by hands of fire they seem to want to burn the world.
Death Kvlt Productions | 2-5-18
within the deadzone of album releases, there are moments when future records are released almost in their entirety 2 months early. Welcome Husk, a one man black metal project probably from the UK but not entirely sure (Actually Italy). Fangs is limited to 15 copies and is scheduled to release in February of 2018. What you can hear now, however, is almost the entire demo. If it were not for Death Kvlt being a really cool up and coming label, I would have questions about why they were doing it this way.