Svangur Kvöl – Wreck Of The World [Australia, Black] (2017)

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Coming across a band like Svangur Kvöl happens completely by chance. A debut album by a what could be a one person black metal self released project can be hard to keep track of. I think it was the cover and the fact that this album has been made into atleast 6 tapes, which drew my attention. Now that I have it, I am mesmerized by the call of the weird frontier.

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Convulsing – Errata [Australia, Black / Death] (2016)

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Self Released | 11-26-15

Self Released | 11-26-15

Convulsing was a surprise this year for many reasons. First of all it came out of nowhere and second of all, this is the first release from an otherwise unknown solo artist from Australia. With a lot of things working against Convulsing, the artists debut is a furious take on black / death with both grooves and horrid abstractions.

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The Slow Death – Ark [Australia, Death/Doom] (2015)

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Chaos Records | 3-16-15

Chaos Records | 3-16-15

Before traveling into The Slow Death’s third full length release, one has to note the band members and their billion projects. Because this is Australia, bands like Mournful Congregation, Temple Nightside, Murkrat, and Nazxul dot the resumes of the band members involved. Brett Campbell from Pallbearer slides in an the American guest who has been working with the band since 2012. This all seems really odd considering the Slow Death has never been a high profile band seeing their first two releases gone independent and their third being released under a Mexican extreme metal label Chaos Records. I am just going to sit here sitting on my hands and listening to time slowly unravel.

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Ur Draugr – The Wretched Ascetic [Australia, Black/Death] (2015)

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Self Released | 1-5-15

Self Released | 1-5-15

From this moment forward, the visual style of pop surrealism as seen in the work of Jeff Christensen should always be used to compliment the sound of complex black / death. I cant imagine how we have gotten to this moment without it these two walking hand and hand. Though my raving of artwork is to be expected, it is enhanced when I feel the visual compliments the music perfectly. Ur Draugr is a lesser known band from Australia who has taken it upon themselves to release a stellar EP by their own hard working hands.

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Moon – Moon [Australia, Black] (2008)

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Self Released | 1-20-15

Self Released | 1-20-15

Listen, I do not know what the protocol is about older demos being re-released but suffice to say, Australian black metal project Moon has just re-released its first demo which actually came out in 2008. For this site, older material usually passed up in favor of current releases and I was really confused on where to put this. I think if it was not for the absolute stunning performance on Moon, I would have left this in the 2008 bin. If you are cool with it, I would like to rewrite history and consider this a fine and stellar 2015 release.

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StarGazer – A Merging to the Boundless [Australia, Black / Avant] (2014)

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Nuclear War Now Productions | 12-2-14

Nuclear War Now Productions | 12-2-14

StarGazer has a really weird history and presence. The band began in the mid 90’s but saw their first release decades later. The members of this collective also share duties in other bands including Mournful Congregation. 2010’s A Greet Work of Ages found its way on many end of the year lists with a large push from then current record label Profound Lore. Nuclear War Now is supporting the band’s third record which continues the development of the space between stars and and madness. In some strange world, StarGazer is the nexus between all forms of metal and everyone has no further need of air, food, and water.

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Aquilus – Griseus [Australia, Symphonic Black] (2014)

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Blood Music | 12-21-14

Blood Music | 12-21-14

The difference between symphonic black and atmospheric black maybe small to some but large to others. For the most part, atmospheric black metal has been the preferred style for musicians as it can work with varying levels of production. Symphonic or neoclassical black metal has had less of recent history only becasue it weighs down a band into a certain sound. I only make mention of this history as it seems symphonic/ neoclassical black is the more antiqued style. This is important because when returning to the sound, a well crafted record could bring back all of these warm and strange emotions.

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Ill Omen – Enthroning the Bonds of Abhorrence [Australia, Black] (2014)

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Nuclear War Now Productions | 6-30-14

Nuclear War Now Productions | 6-30-14

Listening to a lot of black metal can be taxing. The main reason is that a lot of things sound the same given similar production and aesthetic direction. Dark album covers, layered production, titles which evoke terror can become homogeneous after awhile. Ill Omen’s second full length is similar to a lot of other things which have also came out and to be quite honest does not have any immediate hooks which separate it from the rest of black metal releases. With that said, Enthroning the Bonds of Abhorrence does excel in subtlety with a record which is not only captivating to listen to but striking in its declaration of a no nonsense approach to black metal.

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Judd Madden – Everything In Waves [Austrailia, Stoner Doom] (2014)

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Self Released | 6-6-14

Self Released | 6-6-14

I have been privy to Judd Madden for a couple of years. Somewhere and somehow, I ran across these beautifully illustrated doom albums, for free, on Bandcamp. After some interviews and correspondence, I learned Judd Madden was the name of the creator and one man instrumental bedroom doom project. Along with all instruments, Madden illustrated each cover for records which seem to possess deep conceptual bearings. In the short span of 4 years, Madden has made 7 full lengths and is showing little signs of slowing until the lower half of the earth is cast in a perpetual red haze of slow decay.

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Vyrion – Geo [Australia, Progressive / Black]

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Self Released | 7-4-14

Self Released | 7-4-14

At this moment, unbeknownst to most people, there is something interesting happening in Australia. Plumbing the depths of lesser known heavy metal brings to light some wonderful acts and extraordinary albums which have gone may have been all together forgotten or never heard. Vyrion has been around since the late 00’s with their first release in 2011. I speak with surprise that there hasn’t been more of a commotion as Vyrion’s competency in making forceful black metal is astounding with Geo, the band’s second record, a continuation in a mid-fi progressive odyssey.

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