Cyclopean Eye Productions | 3-25-20
Special note that this 3 song full length from Beelzebud was released in 2015 but as most stories go, its distribution probably never left Singapore. This is okay since now we are going to get a second chance at this unltra bleak black doom record with a band whose name sounds like lame ass stoner doom. Listen, I get it, stoner doom plays at an aesthetic and weed themed band names are part and parcel for the genre. Beelzebud does play stoner doom though in a burned out shell of black metal similar to bands like Cough where the groovy vibes have long since dried and what are left are gnarled roots. Beelzebud also possesses the ability to make 10, 15, 25 minute tracks interesting though their protracted torture of rough production and gang vocals. Whether or not this release is actually 2020 or 2015, it seems to not matter as much as the weight of the hammer upon your head.
Self Released | 5-23-18
A quick note before we begin. This album was released in 2015 by the Italian label Nightbreaker Productions at about 1000 copies. While re-releasing albums is not a new phenomenon, the fact this album is being re-released independently is odd. Perhaps the band was unhappy with the initial run or 2018 ft more into their idea of cosmic devour. Whatever the case, Nex Carnis is giving their debut another spin, on their own merits, and with the year of 2018. With punishing sounds of old school death, who am I or anyone else to argue?
One of the more relaxing things about Nex Carnis is the fact they are from a place not known for its metal scene but also exceptional in their field. Researching global metal can bring one to bands that are from exotic places yet with mediocre sounds. The embrace of the location rather than the sound can be troublesome when documenting heavy metal from non western countries as one can fall in love with an idea rather than reality. Nex Carnis does everyone a favor with greeting everyone with pulverizing death metal that could be at home in any warehouse, dive bar, or putrid cemetery. While death metal is currently experiencing a surge in hipness, Obscure Visions of Dark has both the cooleness of the current sound combined with unique variations to make them stand out of a ghastly crowd. With song titles ripped from the 90’s and artwork that could fit perfectly on a tape, Obscure Visions of Dark not only stands as model for current death but also makes the whole thing fun as hell to listen to. Open coffins and welcome welcome the swarm of darkness.
Fortriu Productions | 2-1-16
Andy Marshall is a busy person. In 2014, his project Saor broke out of the relative thicket of atmospheric black metal and gave a larger audience something to hope for in that style of music. Saor’s Aura was a wonderful record which did not do so much new things int he style rather just do them very well. Fuath is another project from Marshall and seems to be a repository for all of the music which doesn’t fit , thematically, with Saor. From the folk laced atmospheric black metal of Saor we dive into a pile of snow surrounded by ritualistic statues.
Iron Bonehead Productions | 1-16-16
In my various years of reviewing heavy metal records, few times have I ever been unnerved like I was when hearing the opening recorded shrills of Sacrocurse’s Destroying Chapels. The shlocky prerecorded screams of victims quickly drops into a brief 13 minute EP of madness and despair. Sarcocurse is being sponsored by Iron Bonehead for this EP but seems to be supported by Hells Headbanger for others. With those two in their corner, there is nothing but profane blasphemy in their future.
Blood Harvest | 12-11-15
There is no reason to wait until January to do a top 10, all of the ood albums come out before November. Ack! This is why I need to stave off best of the year lists until well after the year. I have been discussing the cabal of evil formulated by a few guys from Ash Borer. M and R both make up a slew of interesting black and death projects ranging from Serum Dreg, Urzeit, and Uškumgallu. Triumvir Foul was the most death related on the spectrum of noise created by the duo and the self titled debut is nothing short of a chaotic masterpiece.
Self Released | 10-31-15
Doing end of the year planning can be disheartening because I know quality releases do not care about months and schedules. Take Sunsunmoon, a British black metal band which oozes as much charm as it does synth. This demo came out in October and it just surfaced on a larger radar. We are entering into the cusp era where great 2015 releases are going to be buried until next year or even the year after. If bands could just stop releasing things now until January 1st, that would be wonderful.
Haeresis Noviomagi | 11-15-15
I can say with certainty I have loved everything the Dutch label Haeresis Noviomagi has released. I can say this since it has only been two cassettes. they have been really good cassettes though. the last Haeresis Noviomagi cassette was Lubbert Das, a particularly mind melting black metal which seemed to be dedicated to an old Bosch painting. Turia follows Lubbert Das in continuing the undercurrent of harrowing Dutch black metal which sounds like the last bastion of sanity being razed to the ground.
Pulverised Records | 11-13-15
Look at all this room I have to stretch my legs. Oh goodness. Look at this space I have for intros, interludes, and outros. Holy shit. Whenever I see track lengths which range in the 10, 15, and 20 minute lengths I immediately look to see if it is stoner doom. If it is not then my interest is aroused since things like black and death metal make for engaging compositions given the longer format. I also make sure it is not atmospheric black metal before continuing further. Oh my, but when the track lengths are long and they contain some deeply rooted orthodox Grecian black metal, I must say that my heart skips a beat.
Graceless Recordings | 11-1-15
I find genres funny sometimes. Not in the sense that they are useless rather they can be a wonderful tool once people find the right way to speak. Luminous Vault is listed under death / black rather than black / death since this US based act shares more in common with slow plodding death than bands who owe more the black metal. This could be needless hair splitting but the fact remains that Luminous Vault is unique in their crypt walking variety of death / black.