Affliction Vector – Death Comes Supreme [Netherlands, Black] (2020)

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ARGENTO RECORDS | 9-25-20

There is something about artwork depicting Jesus getting run through by demons. This description and accompanying artwork might be ostentatious but it is fitting to Death Comes Supreme, a grand declaration of bestial noise. The Bandcamp page sports names like Mayhem, Voivod, and Bolt Thrower which are three different styles but all fall under one focus of ruinous chaos. While the page only has one song, which cuts off at the end, Affliction Vector comes shambling to the forefront like some stuttering specter with claws and a terrifying presence. Affliction Vector reminds us of the dangerous quality of black metal only in the fact that its rough edges have a chance of carrying disease. This is a haunted releases and the fraying of ones minds under intense spiritual stress.

Ænigmatum – Adorned in Wrath [US, Black / Death] (2020)

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Burning Coffin Recs | 9-22-20

Before wandering into this release expecting blistering black / death, allow me to explain all of these noodles. Ænigmatum is a Us based band that does play a variety of black / death but it leans more inteo blackened death. I do not like to differentiate between the two that much but for this instance it is best to think about the combination of black/death to be one sound with progressive melodies running on top. Think less Blasphemy and more Behemoth. That might all be confusing but what is not is a fantastic followup demo to a 2019 debut that sort of went ignored. Adorned in Wrath is seeing a tape release from Burning Coffin Recs based in Chile so it is my hope that this demo sees a larger audience that can help with sound differentiation.

Cruel Master – Demo IX [US, Black / Death / Punk] (2020)

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Self Released | 7-14-20

First off, let me preface this demo review with the aesthetic of home entry and stalker killings is not something I am completely on board with. I usually just write off weird metal aesthetics as idiosyncratic escapism but that is is something about a knife wielding maniac entering into windows that unnerves me. With all of that out of the way, take that sense of unease and give it a sleazy metal punk vibe and you have something that is unwholesome and catchy as fuck.

Diabolic Oath – MMXIX [US, Black] (2019)

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Sentient Ruin | 6-26-20

So the way I found this record was first finding the band’s 2019 demo and being upset that such a great sound went missed int he year it was released. I was then shown a dark light which led me to the band’s 2020 full length from Sentient Ruin which is now allowing me to drown in a sea of ghosts. Diabolic Oath is the extension of Shroud of the Heretic, an Oregon based death metal act that has their noses in grimoires. Diabolic Path continues that obsession with a sound that is both polished but ragged with rough edges. Black, death, and doom swirl around this release much like its cover in a declaration of spectral malice.

TOSS – Черный Поток Семени Ада [Russia, Black / Death] (2020)

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TEMPLE OF MORBID SOUND/ХРАМ БОЛЬНОГО ЗВУКА | 8-8-20

One of the reasons I am so hesitant about Russian based releases is there sometimes cryptic existence which is buried in their insular social media. Add to this the already cryptic nature of occult based black death and you have a hilarious investigation trying to figure out even the band name. I THINK the band’s name is Toss and this is the second 2020 from ХРАМ БОЛЬНОГО ЗВУКА (Temple of Morbid Sound) with the first being from НЕЖИВОЙ. Toss, as of this moment, isnt anywhere on social media I can find so the two songs are going to have to speak for the band. With that said and aside from all of this nonsense piecing information together, Toss’ debut(?) is a hellish ride through the gates of damnation with stopping points at torment and oblivion. Somewhere between obscurity and clarity rests this release and it gets more interesting by the moment.

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Ataudes – Merecemos La Extincion [Death / Black] (2020)

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Desert Wasteland Productions | 6-22-20

I do not think i have reviewed a DWP release in a while. Fleshrot at the beginning of the year was an exciting way to begin the year but now looking at the catalog of material which has been released these past months, it seems like I have much more to digest. If you are familar with DWP material, this digestion is going to be like chewing concrete as this New Mexican label specializes in horrid radioactive death that has little rhyme or reason to exist other than pure destruction. Ataudes is an Argentina duo that brings the force of black/death powered by crude oil in what sounds like a machine of torment. Black smoke pours from this machine and it is all wonderful.

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OČI VLKA – Demo [Czech Republic, Black / Death] (2020)

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Caligari Records | 6-12-20

Another day, another Caligari demo that is mind boggling and soul shredding. I wont bore people about my infatuation and uneasy crush on Caligari records save this label has been consistent in its dealings of death and dismemberment for years. Today we have a genre bending trip into the cold and unforgiving Czech wilderness which sounds like frozen earth and fires that billow black smoke. This is a sort of primal aggression which is distilled into a demo with one song for preview. By now, I trust Caligari enough that this whole demo is going to be something I will discuss later in the year.

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Drycholaeth – Bestial Psychosis [US, Black / Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 12-5-19

LEt us all go through this together. If you release a demo late into the year and/or it was so limited that it never made a mark on the internet, then you get to release it again and I get to include it in the current year for end of the year lists. Now that we have that out of the way, welcome ruin and rot. Much like what the Bandcamp page said, this demo is for fans of Grave and Morbid Angel but I am going to go a step further and say it is for fans of Grave and Morbid Angel and haunted unfinished basements. Drycholaeth (Old Welsh? for Spectral?) is a imposing presence which emanates weirdness and ferocity at a lo fi length. I am glad I didn’t catch this late last year since I would be frantically calling everyone I knew.

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Ænigmatum – Adorned in Wrath [US, Black / Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-22-20

There is something about the palette of grey, black and blue that makes a cover so enticing. Even before listening to the newest demo from Ænigmatum, one knows what they are in for. Rather than a blistering black-white-red palette of black/death, one is treated to the twisting catacombs of an alien landscapes where walls breathe and the floors arrest your movement. Adorned in Wrath manages to build a non euclidean temple on the border between accessibility and harshness with melody, hooks that dance in macabre circles with dissonant elements and angular songwriting.

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Antiquary – Celestial Fire / Le Palais Noir [Spain, Black/Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 4-20-20

Even though the Bandcamp page is sort of a mess, these two releases constitute the 2020 output from Spain’s Antiquary. Both of them are short demos with a total running time of no more than 20 minutes. Within those 20 minutes however, the listener is treated to a whirlwind experience of black / death leaning towards melody and structure just with a hanging veil of raw production. I feel this band could exist in another production sphere and be even more striking as their ability to stretch their legs musically collides with a catastrophic production. Still, both demos (?) are well worth your time if you have nothing else but gravedigging to do.

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