Ancient Meat Revived – A Tribute To Cold Meat Industry [Black / Death / Ambient] (2016)

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Iron Bonehead / Nuclear War Now | 09-01-16

Iron Bonehead / Nuclear War Now | 09-01-16

As the story goes, Cold Meat Industry was a Swedish label founded in 1987 which specilized in some of the more obscure fringe genres of heavy metal including ambient, martial music, industrial, power electronics, and various iterations of noise. Cold Meat is interesting because this loose affiliation with heavy metal because while never being a true heavy metal label has had its memory carried on by metal bands and prominent metal labels. Enter Ancient Meta Revived, a compilation put together by Nuclear War Now and Iron Bonehead to celebrate the ruminating existence of this nihilistic flagship.

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Kutná Hora – Assign the Rebels [Israel, Black] (2015)

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Self Released | 8-20-15

Self Released | 8-20-15

I want you to take a deep breathe and count to three. By the time you exhale, you will already be surrounded in a deluge of drum blasts and snaking guitar riffs. If anything it is interesting about Kutná Hora and the fact they are Israeli is the possibility of there being a silent but growing traditional black metal scene in West Asia. Sure there is always bands like Melechesh but Kutná Hora upcoming show with Dim Aura and Eretz makes the possibility of unsigned Israeli black metal more tangible. If all the music is this fierce consider me interested.

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Shaidar Logoth – Chapter II: The Ritualist [US, Black/Drone] (2015)

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Self Released | 3-1-15

Self Released | 3-1-15

Well, okay. This is something interesting. Shaidar Logoth seems to be the side project for Adam Clemans current front man for the Profound Lore act Wolvhammer and onetime vocalist for Veil of Maya and Steven Henningsgard who already collaborated with the singer for Iron Thrones. Though all bands involved are under the extreme metal umbrella, the work for Shaidar Logoth is something different. Chapter II: The Ritualist continues the band’s near silent lamentation of noise, despair, and complete obliteration of the self.

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Eternal Valley – Ascend To The Unknown [US, Black / Ambient] (2015)

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Self Released | 3-18-15

Self Released | 3-18-15

Sometimes one knows they are going to enjoy a record. A one man black metal project who self releases black metal records about cosmic themes and obliteration? Yep, this should be simple. Eternal Valley was already halfway in the door just by glancing at previous records and album artwork. The deal was sealed however at the oozing synth which washed over the album’s opener “Path To An Astral Existence.” Sometimes riding on convention allows like minded people to flock in droves to a star which just about to collapse and die.

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Erang – Within The Land Of My Imagination I Am The Only God [France, Dark Ambient] (2014)

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Self Released | 6-25-14

Self Released | 6-25-14

This maybe perhaps one of the furthest explorations outside of what is considered heavy metal. Erang’s music has no instances of harsh tonality or dark vocals as there are none. What the French project does is create soundtracks to worlds that exist on within the memory of its creator. A project that seems hinged on nostalgia, Erang makes music which is apart of a niche style called “Dungeon Synth.” The possibility of people creating self produced fantasy landscapes out of low tech equipment could be frightening to some and fascinating to others. Whether or not Erang’s music is actually metal, in the traditional sense, is still up to the person listening. I do however feel music hinged on dragons, dungeons, and the frontiers of fantasy is best suited for somewhere at least close to here.

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Saðr – Unascended Master [US, Dark Ambient] (2014)

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Self Released | 11-21-14

Self Released | 11-21-14

This maybe one of the strangest and unconventional releases of the year. I only say that since Saðr (Sathr) is borderline heavy metal with more devotion to experimental electronic and avant garde music. If it were not for the tortured cries fo what sounds like wood ghouls deep within an overgrown forest, I would reconsider Unascended Master‘s place on a metal blog. While the album lacks any heavy distortion, the looming death makes up for any absence of traditional sound.

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Aureole – Alunar [US, Black / Ambient] (2014)

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Fallen Empire Records | 9-29-14

Fallen Empire Records | 9-29-14

I count my blessings each day that I stumble across a label like Fallen Empire. Here is a label that has consistently been proven to put out, if at the very least, interesting black metal. Additionally, the releases from Fallen Empire are usually either lesser known or completely new talent. Take for example Markov Soroka, who goes by the name M.S. in the project Aureole. Here is a very young newcomer who has taken the past couple of years to seclude himself in a castle of solitude. If the brilliant cover was not enough indication, the album Alunar is an institution dedicated to loneliness in the reaches of mystical space.

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Darkspace – Darkspace III I [Switzerland, Black / Ambient] (2014)

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Avantgarde Music | 9-6-14

Avantgarde Music | 9-6-14

This is how the universe collapses. Darkspace is similar to Dead Congregation, as they are both relatively well known metal bands that have legacies attached to their records. Darkspace’s legacy is rooted in their interesting exploration of ambient black metal, as well as one of their guitarist’s work in the seminal side project Paysage D’ Hiver. It also helps that the band has an air of mystery, with their releases becoming increasingly more sparse. Darkspace’s previous record Darkspace III was released in 2008, and for the past four odd years fans have been awaiting the arrival of whatever the fourth installment would be called. In thematic fashion, the band’s announcement of their new record came in cryptic transmissions, with the full album being released almost immediately. I think I would have been happy with anything but this is something else entirely.

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Spectral Lore – III [Greece, Black / Ambient] (2014)

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I, Voidhanger Records | 5-2-14

I, Voidhanger Records | 5-2-14

Well, this is it. This is how the world ends. With an 80 minute ambient black metal record. Spectral Lore is a Greek black metal act who has had a wonderful couple of years. Not only was the 2012 record Sentinel highly reviewed but this project was apart of some fine splits including the cosmic hour long collaboration with Mare Cognitum. III is a conceptual continuation of numeric releases which pick up after the 2007 release II. Sentinel saw a break in this formation but the creator, Ayloss, saw it necessary to return stark and mysterious album titles. If one needed any further indication to the amount of detail which is put into this record, please make yourself comfortable for the next 87 minutes.

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