Altar of Gore – Demo [US, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 3-15-18

Aww yeah here it is. Demo name – Check. Release type – check. Tone – Check. Band name – triple check. I have to admit that I am reviewing this based on the preview track as the actual demo comes out in 6 days from writting this article. There is a possibility that the rest of Altar of Gore’s demo could be lackluster and boring. From the sounds of the preview track “Foul Dwellers in the Sacrificial Pit,” this demo is going to be nothing less that the drowning of the world in ripped flesh and fouled blood.

Though I would be perfectly happy with this songs beginning tone which is grindy and has the vocals of a cave demon but it is really the downshifting of pace around the 1:50 mark where the riffs drape over the song and the full extent of atmosphere is revealed. This demo makes the sound seem so effortless and from at least this preview, seems like Altar of Gore are winning without even trying.

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Burial Stone – Lost History [US, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 2-27-18

Alright this is what I am fucking talking about. Death metal which has the sentiments of a caveman hunting on the unforgiving landscape where death and life are locked in an inseparable embrace. All of the information regarding Burial Stone indicate this is death metal from New Jersey without any serious mention of the doom aspect. Perhaps we have moved past the point where we are considering doom a genre and this is just death metal played out in agonizing slow motion.

the three tracks which make up the Lost History EP are of exceptional quality with the raw nature of the cover, production, and instrumentation only adding to the mystic surrounding this band. With song titles like “ATLANTEAN ASCENSION,” Burial Stone summons primordial sprits to help them weave their tale. When doing so however the world becomes turgid with the haze of sorcery. Lost History is the work of death magic and I am so pleased to be in its wake.

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Golgothan Remains – Perverse Offerings To The Void [Australia, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 2-8-18

I usually enjoy finding Bandcamp pages with little to no discussion so I can be one of the first to write a review. This is my bizarre sense of accomplishment. While seeing the massive amount of discussion on still unsigned debut from Golgothan Remains was sort of a let down, the fact we have a strong contender for one of the best albums of the year being released in February sort of makes up for it.

Comparing the band’s debut to the demo shows leaps and bounds in terms of production. While the songwriting is still present, the immersion of sound is one of the strongest aspects of a record which desires to ensnare ones attention. With a few steps above the cavernous sound but a few feet down within grave, Perverse Offerings To The Void succeeds by all merits in being a full sounding death metal record which is near cinematic in its running time.

I find it wonderful when the aesthetics of a band coalesces into a successful record. The closing quote on this Bandcamp page declares “…we live in dust of these remains…” which is colorful and fun in the revel in darkness sort of way. People who enjoy realms of dust and decay will be in for a wonderful surprise come the passing of a thousand years.

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Mortuus Umbra – Omnipraesent [Israel, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 1-11-18

Mortuus Umbra is from Israel which is not that much of a unique factor though the western Asia is on the lower end of metal exports. Looking at statistics for the county, there are around 250 metal bands in Israel which contains a bevy of genres and even more diversity in quality. Judging by this recent EP as well as their 2015, Mortuus Umbra maybe notable not just for the country of origin but stellar black metal which feels like dark hypnosis.

Omnipraesent is Mortuus Umbra’s second EP which builds upon their fantastic debut in 2015. The lyrical themes registered on Metal Archives has Luciferianism and sorcery as their subject matter which gives a dark undertone to an already present unholy aura. One of the more enjoyable aspects of Omnipraesent was the groove of the music which was similar to a less costumed Melechesh as well as a less erratic Deathspell Omega. Songs like the preview “Void II – Burning Fire of Ecstasy” see a cohesion in sound as well as vision as this unsigned band has the potential to ensnare the hearts and spirits of unsuspecting listeners.

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Alkymist – Spellcraft Ceremony [Canada, Black / Doom] (2018)

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One of the more confusing things about this project is it sharing a name with a progressive sludge band from Denmark. Though this is not the first time two bands have shared the same name, the fact both of them are unsigned and relatively on equal levels in terms of popularity makes it confusing at first. Just make sure you are in a cathedral of sadness before listening. Check your surroundings. Are there bells tolling in the distance masked by rain?

Spellcraft Ceremony is a debut 30 minute album (?) from a one man project heavily influenced by the works of Ruins of Beverast. I only say that since the tape version of this comes with a Ruins of Beverast cover. Even outside of tribute songs, the general atmosphere of gloom and inescapable doom which permeates this record is palatable. The atmospheres created by one person never feels stretched or thin and works well as a declaration of sadness voiced by one lone soul.

Spellcraft Ceremony currently is up for tape preorder limited to 100 copies. This tape is being released in collaboration with Moriendi Music and Corde Raide Productions. The only familiar thing I found with Corde Raide is being the only label to release Labyrinthique’s Demo MMXVI. Even if you do not want the Ruins of Beverast cover, the digital version for Alkymist is priced at 2 CAD which will buy you a ticket to a land of perpetual dusk.

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Superstition – Surging Throng of Evil’s Might [US, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 1-9-18

there are sometimes inklings of things one is going to enjoy. Seeing the color used in Superstition’s logo and artwork wasn’t the reason for enjoying this demo rather an inkling that t was going to be intriguing. Perhaps it is because that warm sickly grey was a gateway into a certain aesthetic. Perhaps I am drawn to certain shades of off white. Whatever it is, Surging Throng of Evil’s Might is a triumph and offers sanctuary in the creepiest, most dilapidated cathedral this side of the afterlife.

Did I mention, I adore spooky organ music? If not, I would like that noted on the record. One of Superstition’s greatest assets it the sense of atmosphere which compliments their mastery on the music. Songs like “Outer Mutation” comes out of a gothic style organ interlude and have enough flair and flounce to make it a towering monstrosity in rotting velvet. This is weird fiction death metal and with songs like “Grave Portal,” it is a place which I want to stay forever.

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Misrule – Forced to Suffer [US, Death / Grind] (2018)

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Sentient Ruin Laboratories | 3-2-18

This single came via a colleague with the comment of “Sentient Ruin refuses to stop.” For the past couple of years, this US label has been the source of some of the weirdest and more horrifying forms of music with their roster being obscure black / death and their distribution net unearthing even more arcane material from around the world. Misrule is one of them and if the entire demo is anything like the preview track, Forced to Suffer will be right at home with its catastrophic family.

The tag of grind in the music only touches on the chaotic aspect of the music. While part so the preview track “Led To The Grave” are very much like a whirlwind, the core structure of Misrule seems to be death. Additionally, the production for Forced To Suffer is vast and seemingly endless with its depths. Though the preview track is under 3 minutes, it is a free fall through bottomless chasms inhabited only by the denizens of darkness.

I sometimes do not looking at new releases from Sentient Ruin as it is more I have to process. Already the label has put out some stellar work and the potential for a killer death/grind demo with the power of a demon is even more exciting. It still is a couple of weeks away until the entire demo is up for streaming so right now, Ill sit and wait with anticipation or maybe even trepidation.

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Cist – The Frozen Casket [Russia, Death / Thrash] (2018)

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Camo Pants Records | 3-16-18

I do not think I have so thoroughly entertained with music while being baffled by the name of the record label. Camo Pants Records is either a goofy name with no meaning or some hidden tongue and cheek reference to death metal fashion. I think I spend so much time discussing this aspect as Cist’ Frozen Casket is the inaugural release for the UK label and if subsequent records are going to be as good, then we need to get this name thing worked out.

Cist is a Russian outfit with an unabashed infatuation with 90’s US death metal and 80’s European thrash. I know this because their Bandcamp page states they are “high speed, manic, death thrash, forged through an uncompromising meld of eighties era Tampa death metal and aggressive European style thrash.” Cool, we know where to start. Pestilence, Death, Solstice, and Obituary are all ghosts which hang around this newcomer and by the sounds of their first EP, this band nails everything about the sound. Though I usually applaud bands for not becoming too absorbed in costume, my love for old school death eclipses everything else and songs like “Antisceptic” are sugary and sewery in its enjoyment.

I still have no idea what the record label name means but I am willing to waive them through as long as things like The Frozen Casket keep getting produced. Camo Pants and Cist make a strong declaration for the beginning of the year and provides a wonderful soundtrack for Valentines Day. This holiday, spend it in the arms of 90’s era death / thrash and die a thousand times.

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Lord Rot / VHS – Split [Scotland / Canada, Death / Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 2-13-18

I do not know why this makes sense but it does. The split between Lord Rot and VHS allows one to experience two different types of horror. This is why I have constantly praised the ideas of split as you are allowed the opportunity to come into a release that is curated by more than one band. For the most part the aesthetic is aligned and in other cases, it is the synergy between two types of horrors which sets the tone.

Lord Rot is a Scottish based one man death metal band whose sound is bleeding into black / thrash metal with all of the flourishes indicative of a full pice outfit. The two songs belonging to this act are not only electrifying but sharp as a rusty knife that is being waved as a threat. This split acts as the first release in a few years following a successful EP all the way back in 2015. This is most likely due to the fact that James Mcbrain is also behind the more renown Hellripper whose 2017 release Coagulating Darkness was the toast of the underworld. The Lord Rot project is similar just with more pulp / slasher flair.

VHS stands for Violent Homicidal Slasher though I feel the band loves the nostalgic acronym as horror movies and Video tapes sort of go hand in severed hand. The VHS side of the split is dedicated to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with 4 songs and about 5 minutes devoted to Leatherface and chainsaws. If one was looking for irreverence and the sound of tripping while watching horror movies then VHS just might be the insane time you need.

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Kwestia Kwasu – Kwas Topi Czas [Poland, Black / Experimental] (2018)

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Cirsium Kollektivet | 2-8-17

I feel the best way to start this review is to reiterate the description from the label and their confusion and excitement is all I need “Here we are…, I don’t even know how to describe the music of these sociophobic polish junkies. Imagine a underproduced blend of blackened ’70’s Punk and dirty Ska with occasional sprinkling of noise or at least something which’s only purpose is to confuse your dull mind… ” If that short description didn’t capture your imagination, then you and I are on different life paths.

Kwestia Kwasu, for all their bizarre antics, is a competent and cohesive band. Their collective vision pushes the music into the realm where experimental music should always aim. Being weird for the sake of being weird does not guarantee success. Challenging oneself to make music which lies on the outside of orthodoxy which triggers confused emotions and even more troubled mental images and being successful is worthy of merit. Kwas Topi Czas excels as an exercise in depravity with its sonic landscape a blistering wasteland of shooting alleys, punk basements, and haunted polka bars.

I was struggling to actually fnd the “experimetnal” tag since I never really use it to describe heavy metal. Though the tag of “avant” is sometimes use, Kwestia Kwasu seems uncomfortable even with that description. There seems to be little quest for art in the realm of Kwas Topi Czas and more of a primal embrace of weirdness. Experimental seems more feral in its description at least that is what I hope to use to describe music that is near indescribable.

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