Hexerei – Oath [?, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 4-19-19

I am going to be honest in saying finding this demo was happenstance as I was saw the German translation for Sorcery was Hexerei. Hexerei actually is more akin to witchery / witchcraft but Sorcery is one of the easiest connections. I may have been searching for it when seeing a German Magic the Gathering card and seeing the word “Hexerei” and finding it cool. Whatever the case, I stumbled upon a 2019 that is full of grief and grime that has an attitude from here to the dark woods it probably crawled out of. This drips with aesthetic and the fact I found it randomly makes me wonder what other hellish treats are scattered in those woods.

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Skravl – Fire Besværgelser mod Menneskeheden [Denmark, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 8-26-19

The Danish translation for the album title is something to the akin of “Four Problems against Mankind.” This isn’t a reference to any book or literary work so it is a mystery until I learn Danish. This semi cryptic beginning is an overture to a black metal release that is wrought with tension and obscurity. Skravl is wound in emotion and uses its black metal structure as a sort of tension/release which is far from unique though works in every sense for this record. The 5 minute track is the only one available on the ultra dark Bandcamp page and I do not expect any more information from this project rather Skravl will be entirely shrouded in cathartic mystery.

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Void Wraith – I [US, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 9-28-19

Cool Name. Cool Art. Cool Sound. This is a good start to a one song demo preview for an album releasing in a month. Usually I do not care too much about singles but Void Wraith’s first impression is immense and potential for a full album of haunted ice makes my soul shiver. Whether or not it is the razor sharp vocals or the near chaotic collapse of the percussion, “I” is an explosion of spectral fury which is both icy and boiling hot with emotion.

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o.T.s – Untitled [Switzerland, Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 7-23-19

Another day, another band that does not seem to exist outside fo this one page. All information I have regarding o.T.s is from the Bandcamp page which could be pulled down at any moment. For record keeping purposes I will say this demo is noisy, raw, and full of deadly venom as it rips across the wall much like a hunting knife. o.T.s’ aesthetic resides much in its un produced quality as it feels that this shouldn’t even be approached for another few weeks as it is still feral and chained with a wall. Perhaps the possibility of this disappearing leaving only a memory is adding to the excitement but this Untitled demo hits with mythical force probably because it feels temporal in its existence.

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Trest – Ordalium [Germany, Black] (2019)

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Caligari Records | 7-4-19

I drafted this review to remind myself to listen to the whole album when it was released. Caligari Records has always been reliable in finding music that is demanding existentially. In fact, if there was some sort of blind subscription service when I received tapes in the mail, I am sure I would never be disappointed. Trest is another testament to the strength of Caligari as this German black metal project is centered around the persecution of witches and sounds like a riot of emotions. Ordalium is centered around “the last people sentenced for magic & witchcraft in Europe,” and while this subject matter could lend itself to be celebratory and superficial, Trest’s somber attitude regarding the subject in multiple stages of “ordeal” and “pyre” makes for a record which was not only anticipated but something that is one of the best black metal albums of the year. With a combination of hypnotic rhythms and occasional soundclips, Ordalium is an emotional journey that was by and far worth waiting for.

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White Death – III [US, Atmospheric Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 6-18-19

If anyone has reads this site for any amount of time, the inclusion of atmospheric black usually comes with some degrees of lofi production. White Death, compared to other raw atmospheric black is relatively clean yet the slime and grime of whatever dirt from outside still lingers on its production. White Death is a bedroom production whose name is unfortunately running up against the Finnish White Death on Werewolf Records. This White Death is from Iowa and its bleak location serves as a setting for a brilliant demo that is full of raw emotion and noise.

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Himelvaruwe – Het ondenkbare [Netherlands, Black] (2019)

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Self Released, 6-3-2019

Do not let the cover fool you. This is not woozy new age though both have a penchant for mystical soundscapes. I reviewed Himelvaruwe in 2017 with the demo CCIII. I was pleased and surprised there was so much activity between that demo and this as the operator T.J seems to work the best in mania. Just the work in Himelvaruwe alone constitutes productivity let alone his other work in Kaffaljidhma, Ancient Morass, and Mirre.

I enjoy how people approach records and coming from a long background in dungeon synth, the serial release schedule is just something that some bands do. Het ondenkbare is the 7th release in a few short years and the 5th demo for the project. It continues, visually, a motif that shares a design with 2018’s Het onkenbare. Together the two demos translates roughly to “The Public / The Unthinkable” and at least as of now share the same surreal approach to raw black metal with a heavy use of dreamy synth. I found myself drawn to this release the more and more I listened to it and is something that will be pleasing for people with very narrow interests.

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Witches Hex – Rituals Under The Red Moon [Canada, Raw Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 5-3-19

I feel that the tag Raw Black is less a genre and more of a sign post for interested parties. Rituals Under the Red Moon is black metal just fed through a filter of noise and chaos. One can still hear the riffs and structure just now with rough edges which bleed like static. I do not know much about this band other than their desire to play into a genre. From their cover to names, Witches Hex embraces the thematic elements of underground black metal. What is interesting about the band however is their ability to make those thing still seem sinister and raw perhaps with the help of shredding noise.

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Ghriéving – Chimére de Hypnos [Venezuela, Black] (2019)

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Vigor Deconstruct | 4-1-19

Vigor Deconstruct is a new label which seems to be what is left after the dissolving of the venerated label Fallen Empire. From few Facebook posts, Vigor Deconstruct seems to be taking up the mantle, and remaining roster, and being the aesthetic torchbearer and dealers of obscure madness. Many things are uncertain but adie from a few signed bands without new material and older albums pressed onto vinyl, the only thing attributed to Vigor Deconstruct is this new Ghriéving. Alright, I can stick around to see what this is about.

Chimére de Hypnos is an EP following a debut that was released on a perhaps more obscure label — Ascetic Visions. Ghriéving ‘s stormy disposition fits the swirling unease of terror with high occult visions and a growing sense of unease. Metal Archives similar artist tag already has a connection with Skaphe which could be for music or visual aesthetic or both. whatever the case, Ghriéving is a a fantastic parade marshal which will hopefully usher in year’s worth of material from bands I never knew existed. I do not expect this to be another Fallen Empire but if it continues to unearth terror long bound in crypts by spells, I will be okay with whether this label is going to be.

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Hexivoid – Disdain From A Burning Cosmos [UK, Black] (2019)

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AHPN Records | 2-19-19

Alright, lets get fucking weird. It takes a special album to break my visual obsession with black and white JCard covers that feature rotting corpses. It also takes a special album that is going to rip my attention away from rotting death metal that sounds like it shoveled from the floor of an abattoir. This is it. One of the weirdest things I have heard all month and it is not just noise or left field black rather something that just pulses oddities from the cover to the bedroom style laboratory which makes up the bulk of its music. Disdain From A Burning Cosmos is a journey and one that can be enjoyed by a majority of people if they leave a few things at the floor. In here, production is meaningless, band members play everything, and all pageantry when it comes to visual design melts in a peyote vision quest. Fuck it all, lets get fucking weird.

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