Himelvaruwe – CCIII [Netherlands, Raw Black / Ambient] (2017)

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Self Released | 5-25-17

Yes. this is the weird shit I come to the internet for. From the very fitting grainy cover to the fact that since its release back in May, I have heard very little of this project proves that this is a great find. to be honest, I started this review months ago and let it go to draft only to find it sitting waiting for me. What I realized is this sound is still pleasing and still exciting even after these many months.

The ambient side of this project is important as the swirling atmosphere is completed by the distant and fading memory of black metal. Similar to things like Paysage D’hiver, these types of releases rely on the support of people who want to hear music that is closest to white noise as possible. When discussing fidelity and choices in sound production, Himelvaruwe succeeds at brining the sound perhaps to the edge of music/noise while still retaining its emotional components. I am glad I found this after so many months.

there are a lot of releases in 2017, and sometimes releases just sit on shelves without he attention it deserves. This band has not done anything outside of this demo but still has some updates regarding physical copies of this demo. I am going to strive to make it a point to follow this act and make sure I listen and report the same month as their next release. No promises though.

Holokauston – Yersinia Pestis [India, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 11-23-17

“Yersinia pestis (formerly Pasteurella pestis) is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped coccobacillus, non mobile with no spores. It is a facultative anaerobic organism that can infect humans via the oriental rat flea. It causes the disease plague, which takes three main forms: pneumonic, septicemic, and bubonic plagues. All three forms were responsible for a number of high-mortality epidemics throughout human history, including: the 6th century’s Plague of Justinian, the Black Death, which accounted for the death of at least one-third of the European population between 1347 and 1353, and the Third Pandemic, sometimes referred to as the Modern Plague, which began in the late 19th century in China and spread by rats on steamboats claiming close to 10 million lives.”

Aside from the name of this project and some of the original covers with the frontman looking gloomy, this project is pretty alright. I say this know that breaking into nihilistic black metal with a soft spot for bleak history as your theme can be tough given the flooded market. It is true that this project is from India and could possibly make itself distinct given the location. With that said, I feel the strengths of the Yersinia Pestis demo rests in the bands ability to make nihilistic black metal interesting and not stale.

One of the largest strengths for this demo is the mixing as the one man metal template sounds full given the harsh yet manageable DIY production. the vocals from 17 year old Arjun Somvanshimakes this whole project sort of exciting given the young age of its creator as well as the level of quality in its finished project. If one wanted to sttle in for the night with plague ridden black metal, this is a fantastic addition to your night. The extra sound effects and “oriental” flair of songs like “Harvest Of The Departed” makes this a demo that swims in waters with plague rats and laughs while doing it.

Xenotaph – Media Morte in Vita Sumus [US, Black] (2017)

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11-13-17 | Transylvanian Tapes

It is strange to talk about music in terms of temperature but since being shared and sharing this band with others, the description and atmosphere of coldness reaching the point of ice is an apt description. Xenotaph is a west coast black metal project supported by the ritualistic Transylvanian Tapes. Media Morte in Vita Sumus is the debut full length after a brief round with a demo and split and proposes to be many peoples introduction into the cold unforgiving world of Xenotaph.

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Malakhim – Demo I [Sweden, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 10-18-17

At thius moment, it appears everything is working in this band’s favor. Not only does this Swedish act have a bit of a following for a debut demo but everything from the aesthetic, to sound, to just general presence seems to be working together. This is probably why this demo is making its rounds in small internet circles as Malakhim doesn’t ask for patience rather throws a chair at its listener within the first few seconds.

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Vaabnet – Den ed du har svoret [Denmark, Black / Punk] (2017)

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Self Released | 10-14-17

I think it was the cover art for Den ed du har svoret which initially drew my eye with its runic and esoteric markings. It was most certainly the combination of depressive black metal and raw punk rock that kept me locked in the world of misery and strife. Vaabnet is one of of a few Danish black bands found in recent memory with the other being Fanebærer, Lesion, Gabestok, and Blot & Bod. In fact, all of these bands recently played a show together which is how I found the connection. Whatever the hell is happening over there is scary and wonderful.

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Luceran Lycan Haunt – Arcane Arts Bleach The Skulls Of Forbidden [US, Raw Black / Noise] (2017)

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Self Released | 10-13-17

Well, this it is. I think I have finally lost my mind as the first reaction to all of the tags was unbridled excitement at the possibility of diving into a pool of raw noise and black metal with overt occult themes. Over the course of 2017, I have gravitated towards more power electronics, and noise based projects in a search to keep scaring the shit out of myself. I think October maybe the high water mark or depending on how you want to cast it, the lowest depths of darkness.

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DSKNT – PhSPHR Entropy [Switzerland, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-4-17

Alright. Fine. Im interested. when I can not find any information on the band or album and it comes steeped in mystery and occult sensibilities, I am embarrassingly in love with it. It certainly helps when the music is a swirling void of focused chaos and well planned ruin. This is where we are with DSKNT, a band that is running on spirits of ghosts and anticipation.

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Cult of Extinction – Black Nuclear Magick Attack [Germany, Black / Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 9-23-17

I do not review a lot of war / bestial black for a few reasons. Firstly the pummeling sounds of Blasphemy worship can become overwhelming when not ready for the sound. Given that even high profile acts like Teitanblood and Revenge can become endless cascades of torment, bestial black or war metal is directed at a very niche audience. For this reason, it is a style of music that isn’t practiced much and when it is, the earth seems to open up and consume everyone around.

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Ignis Umbrae – La Sombra del Fuego [Chile, Black] (2017)

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Vestigia Flamæ | 06-23-17

Vestigia Flamæ is a newish label that actually has a few other releases which are extremely current including Theurgia’s Genómasis and Saturnus’ Impetum Chaos. I only mention the label since those other two releases were not only of interest but also have been released within the last few months. This time period seems to be the high water mark for a label that has four albums to its name. With all of that said, La Sombra del Fuego and related material on Vestigia Flamæ has kicked up enough dirt for everyone to be aware of their presence.

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Graveflowers – The Hyacinth Garden [US, Raw Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 09-17-17

This release first came to me via Path of Silence who is heading up the limited physical release. Path of Silence is well known in my other life as a dungeon synth label who cryptically releases weirdo and outsider music to a handful of fanatics. The label has released black metal before with Bruid’s Cogadh but this type of music is not common for the label. Despite my surprise, the whole thing makes sense as Graveflowers, while not dungeon synth, possesses a charm for people at the very end of their mental rope.

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