Himelvaruwe – Het ondenkbare [Netherlands, Black] (2019)

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Self Released, 6-3-2019

Do not let the cover fool you. This is not woozy new age though both have a penchant for mystical soundscapes. I reviewed Himelvaruwe in 2017 with the demo CCIII. I was pleased and surprised there was so much activity between that demo and this as the operator T.J seems to work the best in mania. Just the work in Himelvaruwe alone constitutes productivity let alone his other work in Kaffaljidhma, Ancient Morass, and Mirre.

I enjoy how people approach records and coming from a long background in dungeon synth, the serial release schedule is just something that some bands do. Het ondenkbare is the 7th release in a few short years and the 5th demo for the project. It continues, visually, a motif that shares a design with 2018’s Het onkenbare. Together the two demos translates roughly to “The Public / The Unthinkable” and at least as of now share the same surreal approach to raw black metal with a heavy use of dreamy synth. I found myself drawn to this release the more and more I listened to it and is something that will be pleasing for people with very narrow interests.

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Witches Hex – Rituals Under The Red Moon [Canada, Raw Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 5-3-19

I feel that the tag Raw Black is less a genre and more of a sign post for interested parties. Rituals Under the Red Moon is black metal just fed through a filter of noise and chaos. One can still hear the riffs and structure just now with rough edges which bleed like static. I do not know much about this band other than their desire to play into a genre. From their cover to names, Witches Hex embraces the thematic elements of underground black metal. What is interesting about the band however is their ability to make those thing still seem sinister and raw perhaps with the help of shredding noise.

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Sněť – Promo [Czech Republic, Death] (2019)

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Self Released | 4-8-19

It takes a certain cover for me to assume that everything, musically, inside will line up with my interests. While this is not a guarantee on quality, the craft of an aesthetic is a good indication on the care the band will have on the music. Sněť’s promo / demo pays close attention to crafting the look of vomit drenched death metal that sounds like it was recorded in a flooded warehouse than anywhere natural. This type of grimy concrete death metal, which comes with photocopied tape covers, is something that is specific to an audience who will love every second. There really is only one song on this demo as the first is a long introduction to the world of disease, sickness and endless riffs. If you are here then we do not need to say anything as we all have heard the call of wretched death.

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Tenebro – Demo [Italy, Death] (2019)

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Desert Wastelands Productions | 5-1-19

Allow the reverberations of instinct to take over. I think this is from Italy since the tag indicates it is “Horror Glorifying Death Metal from Fulci’s Land.” This demo comes by the way of Desert Wasteland which also released Astriferous’ demo. If that Costa Rican massacre was any indication then Tenebro is going to be of the same caliber. We will go with that. If the lack of information is offsetting, it is just apart of the luddite style death metal that I have come to love and worship. If any sound was akin to kunckledragging ogres then Tenebro is one of the grossest abominations to stalk the land. Heavy, inattentive, and only concerned with the lust for violence, this is death metal with a 10th grade reading level that dumps intelligence for strength.

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Rotted – Pestilent Tomb [US, Death] (2019)

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Maggot Stomp | 2-22-19

There is a joke among the ten people on the internet that listen to this music about caveman death and specifically heavy death metal with large riffs and a primal instinct and possibly a low reading level. The inspiration for these bands isn’t really clear though if you start at Rottrevore, Grave, and Obituary and make your way forward, you will have a good idea. This is not a genre nor even a style rather a direction some bands are flinging themselves into much like an oncoming bus. Maggot Stomp is a US label that seems to be the dealers in this killing floor style death metal with releases this year from Encoffinized and Frozen Soul. Whatever it is and if it differs from the other niche sounds of current death metal seems to be secondary to the monolithic riffs and and a drive for cosmic violence.

It is worth mentioning that this album was released in 2018 first on Headsplit Records and then in various states of pressing. I wont say that this Maggot Stomp Release is the most popular but it is the first time I have heard it so I am including this in the year 2019. If anyone has a problem with that they can find me by the greasy fire weilding a club.

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Torso – Demonic Vomiting [UK, Death / Black] (2019)

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Me Saco Un Ojo Records | 2-21-19

This is so fucking gross. I do not even know where this band is from or if they are from 2019 or if there is any black metal in this tornado of filth that is devastating everything in front of it. Demonic Vomiting may only interest the few who can stomach gross imagery but what separates Torso from the other depraved brutal death metal bands is a knack for filling their atmosphere with killer riffs and having a general attitude which is cool rather than twisted and edgy. It maybe a line that is not necessary for others but those who want that vile downpour but can stand the sound of brutal death, maybe interested more in this demo.

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Astriferous – Raise High the Scepter of Indulgence [Costa Rica, Death] (2019)

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I make jokes about being married to a genre and upon seeing the cover for Raise High the Scepter of Indulgence and seeing the genre tags, I immediately sent it to 3 friends. I am fully aware that not all grimy death metal that emphasizes riffs and attitudes is going to be good rather grimy death metal that emphasizes riff and attitude even at its mediocrity is still enjoyable. Lucky for everyone involved Astriferous not only hits the topes of its genre and aesthetic but also makes for an enjoyable demo full of looming riffs and snarling attitude. I am not familiar with the current black and death metal scene in Costa Rica as compared to other places in South America but if anything else sounds like this and comes clad in leather jackets, then I am going to be marked down as incredibly interested.

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Vile Spirit – Promo 2019 [UK, Punk / Metal] (2019)

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Quality Control HQ | 1-21-19

I do not even know where to put this so Ill just throw it on the counter and let anyone pick it up if they want to. I have to say I love the color red as I feel it works really well for any album covers. The front of this promo is an example as it exemplifies the visceral qualities of music that is caught between hardcore punk and slow death. Perhaps one of the better examples is the longest track on this promo as “Bite Down” revels in the chaos of noise before lurching into a disjointed march across what I feel could be a wasteland strewn with corpses and nuclear waste. There are few genres this neatly fits into but it perfect music for the apocalypse.

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Defacement – Deviant [Netherlands, Death / Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 1-19-19

And so this break a nice running streak of black and white covers. It is okay. This is completely worth it. It is nice to get surprised and even knocked down by a sound. Defacement seems to be the new band created by members of a black metal outfit called Deathcrush. While I only listened to a few songs from Deathcrush, I feel the direction of this new outfit is much more appealing to a wider audience. Who is that audience? Well, people who like to hear nightmarish terror in musical form. From song titles, to the abstract cover, Defacement offers inexplicable unease which can not be described or discussed rather just embraced in swirling madness. This is a release which is both simple in its execution and cavernous in its success.

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Heinous – Demo [Belgium, Black] (2019)

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Medieval Prophecy Records | 1-10-18

another day, another black and white demo. Jokes aside, this shit rules and it took me a little bit to crack into the depths in which this Belgian act offers. We are also right at the beginning of a career which seems to offer swirling black metal which far from produced is still easily to discern and surprisingly enough easy to approach. With declarative vocals that are gruff and festering but not repellent, this demo might be one of the easier avenues into the grim world of lesser known black metal demos. I could also be wrong and way off course but Ill have a soundtrack to accompany my madness.

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