Cultum Interitum – Sorgspell [Poland, Black] (2017)

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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.

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CAVURN – Rehearsal [US, Death / Doom] (2017)

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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.

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Attrition – Demo I [Canada, Black / Death] (2017)

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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.

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Mûspellzheimr – Nidhöggr [Denmark, Black] (2017)

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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.

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Another Dead One – Tomb of a Thousand Sorrows [US, Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-29-17

This is perhaps my sixth review today trying to not only get up to a certain number but review all of the material that is being released at the end of the year. While most of the lists have been published and writers have gone home to celebrate another year of releases, the backwaters of the internet are still alive with festering releases. One of these is Tomb of a Thousand Sorrows, the very late introduction to Another Dead One.

I am not entirely sure about the band’s name nor the album title. For a year spent with the rotten warehouse death, Another Dead one seems to be on a separate plane with aesthetic. This is furthered by the fact their guitar solos and dynamic presentation is not only unorthodox but it is fun as hell. when was the last time you heard guitar squeals into double bass riffing? For that matter when was the last time you heard a chainsaw in a song with people screaming? For as much as I am uncertain about the name, Another Dead One has gone above and beyond the call for entertainment with an EP that would be fun for drinking embalming fluid with.

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No Funeral – Mankind is Carrion, Fit for Nothing [US, Sludge / Doom] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-30-17

Genre: Sludge/Doom Metal. Lyrical themes: Drug addiction, Nihilism, Depression, Death, Misanthropy. You already know what you are getting into just by the summary of this release. Even looking at the band photos, one can assume most things about this sound. I have been more than honest about my stance on sludge and doom as a whole and while I have an aversion to most of the genre, hearing well done sludge doom about Drug addiction, Nihilism, Depression, Death, and Misanthropy is more than welcome.

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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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Morta – The Descent of Innanna [Spain, Black] (2017)

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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.

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