Karcist – Inner Sanctum Immolation [US, Blackened Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-21-17

Blackened death is a strange genre to play and even to seek out. While it sounds similar to the black/death style, there is a maddening difference between the two to the point that when seeking one out will lead to dissatisfaction with the other. This is what I find so interesting when bands like Karcist knowingly employ the less popular of the styles and ultimately succeed with the sound.

Inner Sanctum Immolation is the debut EP from a Los Angles based act that is not interested in the tomb of low fidelity. Though Karcist does not have the top tier of production on their debut, Inner Sanctum Immolation could work with high fidelity as much as medium. The fact that the band succeeds at a medium range and manages to make their sound interesting is a testament to a band that has their shit together. Though I think their black/red muddy aesthetic works well visually, the fact Karcist manages to travel outside what is expected for underground metal and still make entertaining music is a near surprise.

Ill be interested to see where this band goes and if they align with any popular trends. Songs like “Incursion of Christ” sounds like it is from a high profile metal band with different art and probably not on Bandcamp. the fact that this sound can be achieved by an unsigned act is exciting to hear if the sound will be explored in the future. Whatever the case, I am sure Karcist will land on their feet somewhere as it seems this band has competent members aboard their horrid ship.

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Sørgelig – Forever Lost [Greece, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 6-1-17

There are sometimes a great record comes out at the very end of the year and other a great record comes out in June and I just completely missed it. There will never be a time when I can be certain I heard most or even half of the lesser known metal this year even in the styles I enjoy. Sørgelig fits everything I enjoy about black metal with a kickass cover and I still missed it. This is what is hilarious about new music as something that is destined to be enjoyed is sometimes impossible to keep track of. For me I am glad I got the opportunity to catch this miserable record of despair.

Forever Lost is the debut EP by a greek depressive black metal act that leans on the side of raw production. The only member connection I can see is a shred member with Isolert. It does not really matter as Sørgelig is unique in the fact it plays depressive black metal that does not stale under its common narratives. Songs like “The Hill Where I’ve Buried my Casket” are unashamedly purple in its description but the energy and emotion within the track never becomes silly and out of place. With the addition of the non-DSBM aesthetic of “Alcoholic Invasion,” Sørgelig does a fine job in a style that is overrun by mediocrity. Even though two of the four songs sound similar to the point of being twins, Forever Lost is a fine EP for a new band to start the new year. I am sure I will be seeing their name again as long as I do not wait until the last day of the year to finally pick up their release. While writting this review, I am sure I managed to miss three great releases from other bands.

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Agonic Death – Under the Mark of the Devil [Chile, Death / Thrash] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-7-17

Let us be entirely honest and say this is not from 2017. Back in September of 2016, 100 tapes of Under the Mark of the Devil EP were released probably to a small group of people. In 2017, the band put out the Ep again with different art to the protest of no one. Actual release dates get murky when you deal on this level and for all intents and purposes, this death/thrash release can occupy two spaces.

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Faruln – Faruln [Sweden, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 11-23-17

I find it amusing and comforting that the Banedcamp header is the famous still from The Seventh Seal which is a movie that has become known for its vintage depiction o death and mortal pondering. This maybe a perfect place to start for black metal and in fact, is probably one of the more honest framings of the sound as beyond costuming lies the dance of life and death.

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Apologoethia – Pillars [Spain, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 11-24-17

Listening to records is important .. obviously. I base my initial searches based on album art so I find the visual compenet to be just as important. Though the artwork for Pillars initially grabbed my attention, it wasn’t until after diving into this Spanish act’s music that I found my judgement wrong. Here I thought I was in store for some raw lo-fi black or death metal and what I got was decent production that holds court in the backwaters of black and death metal and doesn’t swear allegiance to anyone in particular.

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Vaabnet – Den ed du har svoret [Denmark, Black / Punk] (2017)

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Self Released | 10-14-17

I think it was the cover art for Den ed du har svoret which initially drew my eye with its runic and esoteric markings. It was most certainly the combination of depressive black metal and raw punk rock that kept me locked in the world of misery and strife. Vaabnet is one of of a few Danish black bands found in recent memory with the other being Fanebærer, Lesion, Gabestok, and Blot & Bod. In fact, all of these bands recently played a show together which is how I found the connection. Whatever the hell is happening over there is scary and wonderful.

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Antichrist Siege Machine – Morbid Triumph [US, Black / Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 08-17-17

It seems that I am late with this release as Decibel already picked up the stream for it as well as being out for a couple of months. I should have been more aware as I praised the shit out of their demo in 2016. I should have been more on top of this as this group of ruffians is local to my area and I should have heard them making noise. What began as an independent black / death explosion in the middle of Virginia has quickly wrapped into an underground sensation or at least deathcult centered around the immediate snuffing of life.

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Atavisma – On the Ruins of a Fallen Empire [ France, Death] (2017)

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Blood Harvest | 6-9-17

Well, it seems like this band has all of the boxes ticked. From album art to album name, the debut EP from this French death/doom oufit shows a band willing to mold themselves in the eyes of the listeners. This is not to say Atavisma conforms to any trends rather their brand of music is perfect for anyone seeking an extended stay in the catacombs of the dammed.

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Animo Aeger – Ab​-​Fakt [Germany, Black] (2017)

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Cirsium Kollektivet | 6-25-17

By any means necessary. The German outfit known as Amino Aeger may not be a household name but it only takes a few minutes into their work for it to make an impression. Sure this all falls under the realm of black metal but by the first minute of the Ab​-​Fakt EP, the listener realizes that this is not really a release but the ravings of a wild animal and all of the doors are now locked. Continue reading

Rotten Tomb – Necropolis [Chile, Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 5-3-17

I must have made mention of Chile at one point. For the last year or so, the influx of great death and black metal from Chile and also surrounding South American countries has been staggering. Already this year we had a fantastic demo from Hypnosinosis with Putrid Coffin a close memory in 2016. While metal exists in many countries without pause, the type of metal and the bands that nail the aesthetic and sound is the most important. With the tone and timbre of Rotten Tomb’s first EP, these guys are ready for something perhaps anything.

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