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.
Amor Fati Productions | 10-30-17
Holy shit, how in the world did I miss this. Not only is the album cover fantastic and everything I dreamed of but the sound is swirling black metal madness. Add to this the fact I am completely in the dark to what the name and album title means which means this is my new favorite record. It takes a special album to meet the aesthetic requirements of intriguing and an even greater one to slip by detection.
Mûspellzheimr is not new, rather this is the second full length along with a handful of demos. The lack of band members is to be expected as well as their absence on social media. Nidhöggr (the dragon/serpent who gnaws at a root of the world tree, Yggdrasil) follows the similar under the radar release Hyldest til trolddommens flamme in 2015. Nidhöggr is very apparent in its presentation that the madness which is flung at the listener at the beginning is going to be a theme throughout the record. From wailing to music that feels like it is about to fall apart, Mûspellzheimr redefines the idea of mental erosion with a record that is frayed sanity and composure. Nidhöggr is for a select audience. There really isn’t a single or unique track which would encompass the thesis of this record. Mûspellzheimr , despite a lack of information regarding themes and even the erasure of album tracks for roman numerals, one can surmise the summary of the band’s intent. Through some easy guesswork, Mûspellzheimr ‘s intentions are nothing less than malefic as well as hellbent on being ghastly.
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.
Xenoglossy Productions | 12-29-17
Something I always enjoyed about this time of the year was the complete lack of caring by labels and bands for end of the year lists. December is usually a dead zone for larger labels and bands as most of the year lists are being generated. there are some who do not care about frivolous cycles of release and there are others who will wait until the last hours of the year unleash terror.
Self Released | 12-19-17
I saw Erlkonig this year at a local festival in the woods. The band is comprised of most of members of Genevieve plus a smattering of other local Baltimore metal musicians. I now feel weird since I not only know these guys but their music is really fantastic leading me to assure people Im not just talking up a band I know.
Oh my. I think I would have stumbled on this eventually due to the album cover but Left Cross is a name I have an eye on due to their addition to the Blood of the Wolf Fest in Spring of 2018. Blood of the Wolf has become a fast way of learning about new Midwest/east coast metal/punk/??? bands that drink from the same cup of slime. By the sounds of Left Cross’ debut, the covenant of grime is real.
Xenoglossy Productions | 11-3-17
This is a weird split. weird not in a grotesque or horrible way but more in a creeping sense of uncanny atmosphere. Xenoglossy Productions is a newish label from Italy representing a slew of underground European acts. One of their missions is to hammer out a visual style to unite all of these releases under one aesthetic banner. Until this happens, most of the releases on Xenoglossy range from the odd to the bizarre with the Illuminated Manuscripts / Deathvoid being a solemn photo of a canopied bed. Again nothing outright and shocking just a growing sensation that not everything is right.
Self Released | 11-24-17
I need to ease up on my pre judgements surrounding atmospheric black metal. For a style that has a ton of directions, I feel I have been jaded to a legion of albums with trees on the cover and a fawning for post rock melodies. Mammon is tagged at atmospheric black on Bandcamp yet does not walk the line of nature reverence, philosophical transcendence, or emotional longing. Rather this Detroit based band feel cold as concrete, full of disease, and possibly undead rot.
11-13-17 | Narbentage Produktionen | The Hidden Art
Krÿs is from Germany and I do not think the band’s name has any easy translation into English. The name Hexen is already known enough not to be mysterious and most of the song titles do not hold any deep level of esoteric meaning. For the most part this demo is a pretty transparent package of black metal without many gimmicks or talking points. I feel for this reason, it succeeds beyond similar releases of this year.
Ván Records | 11-24-17
For the sake of brevity, I decided to just put “black” as the genre as a full explanation would be too long for the post. It only takes a couple of minutes into the opener “Vaporous Flame” to realize that Almyrkvi’s debut operates on a different level than most atmospheric black metal as well as what has become known as Icelandic black metal. With no real place to stand, this act seems content in gazing up at the stars or most specifically the void between stars.