Enscelados – The Devouring God [International, Black / Ambient] (2018)

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Self Released | 4-30-18

Souls are drowned in the ever-rotating continuum / Alas, for they knew not of the end… / Tears are shed for whom the devouring god awaits / Ululating for eons, those who went… / Rites will be held for him once again / Never will they know, for all will remain unraveled…

I do not know why I enjoy the lyrics for The Devouring God so much. Perhaps they are written in such away as to convey dread and wonder all with a sense of timeless drama. Perhaps it is because it sounds like the beginning of a chapter from Malazan Book of the Fallen. Perhaps it is because it feels perfect for 23 minutes of swirling chaos. Whatever the case, Enscelados, named after the Enceladus the 6th largest moon, flies in the same trajectory as Darkspace and tries to depict the vastness of space and the possibilities of horrors lying beyond.

I enjoy albums, EPs, and Demos consisting of one song as I feel the release is centered around a theme. Enscelados’ theme is obvious as it portrays a Lovecraftian notion of a sleeping god whose power is divine and terrible. IT is these types of themes that make a blend of atmospheric black and hypnotic ambient work specially when combined with blown out production with feel ritualistic in its design.

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Висельник – Despair [Russia, Raw Black / Ambient] (2017)

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Self Released | 1-26-18

I think changing the tag of DSBM to Black / Ambient is better for longevity purposes. Depressive Suicidal Black Metal sometimes drops the Suicidal portion of the name and even though some bands do bask in the macabre of self harm, they do so often without the tag of DSBM. At this point DSBM has become a genre that was a thing but is no longer needed. This isn’t to say that depressive black metal or even the sounds that were heralds to the genre aren’t being used. Take Висельник who has all of the hallmarks of the genre from the tin razor guitar sound, to the anguished wail, to the catalog of demos that have gone unnoticed.

Despair is the 26th proper demo for an act that has only been around for 10 years. In the larger picture, Despair does not charge into any new landscapes fro the artist rather continues a small incremental march towards well rounded black ambient. the fact that most all of these 16 demos have gone unnoticed frames the work of Висельник as a personal endeavor with some grief stricken results. Beyond the wall of torn sound that inhabits most of the music, there are some wonderful melodies which flies around music that is a near textbook example of depressive black metal.

I am usually not a seeker for this type of music and in fact find a lot of the tropes used in this genre ruin the aesthetic and mood. Висельник manages to make depressive music without succumbing to cartoons or edge laded tropes. the final few songs are covers by other obscure depressive black metal acts which again allows the user to go further into the dark cellars of emotion. Despite this demo probably being apart of a larger book from an artist who will likely bask in shadows, Despair is a fine pick for the gloomiest of days.

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Voces Magicae – Atavisms [UK, Black / Ambient] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-2-17

there is a lot of weird shit to discuss with this record. Just by the Bandcamp alone, we have a set of polyhedral dice, strong allusions to ancient magic, and an album cover that looks like a grind record which even has two purple strips on the edges. I do not know why these things are grabbing my attention other than it seems to add to the mystery of a project which seems to be casting spells via black metal.

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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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