Lord Rot / VHS – Split [Scotland / Canada, Death / Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 2-13-18

I do not know why this makes sense but it does. The split between Lord Rot and VHS allows one to experience two different types of horror. This is why I have constantly praised the ideas of split as you are allowed the opportunity to come into a release that is curated by more than one band. For the most part the aesthetic is aligned and in other cases, it is the synergy between two types of horrors which sets the tone.

Lord Rot is a Scottish based one man death metal band whose sound is bleeding into black / thrash metal with all of the flourishes indicative of a full pice outfit. The two songs belonging to this act are not only electrifying but sharp as a rusty knife that is being waved as a threat. This split acts as the first release in a few years following a successful EP all the way back in 2015. This is most likely due to the fact that James Mcbrain is also behind the more renown Hellripper whose 2017 release Coagulating Darkness was the toast of the underworld. The Lord Rot project is similar just with more pulp / slasher flair.

VHS stands for Violent Homicidal Slasher though I feel the band loves the nostalgic acronym as horror movies and Video tapes sort of go hand in severed hand. The VHS side of the split is dedicated to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with 4 songs and about 5 minutes devoted to Leatherface and chainsaws. If one was looking for irreverence and the sound of tripping while watching horror movies then VHS just might be the insane time you need.

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Evil Priest – Black Seeds​.​.​.​of Creation [Peru, Death] (2018)

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Caligari Records | 3-1-18

I feel at this point I could run quarterly feature going over all of the new Caligari material and still be pretty happy. I try not to hover too much on certain labels like Fallen Empire and Vrasubatlat as constant coverage would make me seem like a fanboy despite the fact thier output being above average. This is the case for Caligari records who have consistently gone above and beyond in finding gems from around the world which worship at the altar of death and disease.

Evil Priest is from Peru and two years ago this trio released a stellar demo of classic sounding death metal. Since we are past any era of a genre resurgence, the classic death sound for Evil Priest is a thematic celebration of death metal’s most famous competent which is riffs and darkness. Guitar solos, 5th gear snare drumming, looming intros, and guttural vocals all make their appearance in a demo which sounds between here and 1991. Aside from the sound, Evil Priest is young and virulent enough to be a force which will be around for much longer as Black Seeds​.​.​.​of Creation sounds like the band is halfway having fun and half way really serious about this whole death thing.

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ABYSSAL VACUUM – MMXVII [France, Black / Death] (2018)

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Solar Asceticists Productions | 1-22-18

Well, that is it. Janaury is offficially over with perhaps the coolest looking release of the month. Add to this the forcoming coverage by No Clean Singing and the fact this band has no Metal Archives page, and yhou have the [potential for a hype explosion that will be celebrated by a small group of people on the internet. Whatever the future holds for the oddly named Abyssal Vacuum, it will be marked by an explosive demo that again has the coolest looking cover in recent memory.

Very much like their name, the sound for Abyssal Vacuum is cavernous and akin to falling backwards through chasms that never seem to end the suffering. Even though the cavernous death style has been mined excessively over the past few years, Abyssal Vacuum is not apart of that sound rather chooses deep arcane sorcery performed in a lightless void. The addition of the subtraction of information adds to the band’s mystic allowing a single track to act as a beacon for anyone seeking this type of aesthetic. Abyssal Vacuum knows its audience and delivers well.

Solar Asceticists Productions, by hook or by crook, has managed to release two demos with great success in a style that is only popular with a select group of people. The Cendres demo, released lat month, is swirling hypnotic black metal which again is super cool but also super niche. I have no idea who is hyping this label so early but the end result is decent demo releases with above average tape covers. I will not complain rather relish in the glow of arcane sorcery.

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Dead Void – The Looming Spectre [Denmark, Death / Doom] (2018)

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Self Released | 1-17-18

From their Bandcamp page, Death Void states “Recorded (mostly live) in October 2017. Cassette release will be available to order after we return from The Abyss Underground Festival.” It is as if we caught this band going out of the door and had little time for us being in their place. Add to this a photocopied demo and one wonders if we should just come back in a few months. This nonchalance regarding their demo only serves to heighten interest as The Looming Spectre, while not a perfect demo, is more than fun to listen to with a band that seems to have tons of potential hidden away under a cool visage.

As the rule with demos goes, one could be getting a 4 minute or 70 minute release. The Looming Spectre falls somewhere between with 33 minutes being dedicated across 4 tracks of rotten death / doom or just slow moving death. As far as sound goes, this is music that works as low fidelity as it would with better production since there is a thesis under these corpses and it is one of existential obliteration. This is music to dance to if dancing mean wearing your ankles down to the nub.

One of the band’s promo pictures has the tag line of “non ritualistic death metal” and since this band is the only one using that tag, I can only assume it is a step away from occult black / death to something more primal and ultimately festering. One may think there is not much separating Death Void from the likes of bands like Temple Nightside and QRIXKUOR but in the world of death metal, Dead Void is far beyond civilization hidden under the stench of verdant decay.

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CAVURN – Rehearsal [US, Death / Doom] (2017)

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Self Released | 10-14-17

If one hasn’t noticed by now, the last few reviews for this year are things that I initially missed. These things are still under the radar for the greater scope of heavy metal but still fit into the strange idea of Tape Wyrm material. Cavurn is an unsigned/independent death doom band from Washington whose demo/rehearsal is one of the top tier releases of the year and for that they need revisiting.

Death / Doom is a strange genre since each time it is employed, it is unique among the practitioner. Some bands lean more on the side of doom with harsh vocals while other played a rotted form of death. Cavurn is in the middle as they employ both aspects of the genre and seem to glean the most interesting aspects of both. From the monolithic atmosphere of doom married with the classic riffs of death, this demo shows a band that already has everything figured out and is ready for the next challenge.

There is little way, anyone can kep up with everything released in the year. Other well known releases like Witch Vomit, Vanum, and Cult of Eibon are still excellent just out of the range for what I hoped for this blog. Cavurn seems to fit well inside the other releases with a demo that is worth anyones attention despite their attraction to lesser known metal.

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Another Dead One – Tomb of a Thousand Sorrows [US, Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-29-17

This is perhaps my sixth review today trying to not only get up to a certain number but review all of the material that is being released at the end of the year. While most of the lists have been published and writers have gone home to celebrate another year of releases, the backwaters of the internet are still alive with festering releases. One of these is Tomb of a Thousand Sorrows, the very late introduction to Another Dead One.

I am not entirely sure about the band’s name nor the album title. For a year spent with the rotten warehouse death, Another Dead one seems to be on a separate plane with aesthetic. This is furthered by the fact their guitar solos and dynamic presentation is not only unorthodox but it is fun as hell. when was the last time you heard guitar squeals into double bass riffing? For that matter when was the last time you heard a chainsaw in a song with people screaming? For as much as I am uncertain about the name, Another Dead One has gone above and beyond the call for entertainment with an EP that would be fun for drinking embalming fluid with.

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Hexagon – I [Sweden, Death] (2017)

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Living Temple Records | 12-21-17

The landscape of death metal is being changed or at least has always been changing. What once was old school went into cavernous and now is moving into slimy grime. Tagging this as death is sometimes confusing for anyone following the developments of the genre so saying the phrase Swedish old school maybe a little it more telling.

The debut demo from Hexagon is perhaps as it should be — a demonstration of potential. In the release, one can hear a band unhappy with the the production with music that sounds bigger than what is being presented. This is not muddy death metal which drips grease rather a dynamic sound which could excel given a boost. It is not like this demo isn’t fun as songs like “Chambers of Torment” are so nostalgic in their riffs and energy that one could imagine a second, third or fourth renaissance in the direction of death metal. At this point I am still undecided on Hexagon and their direction. For a demo that is being released at the end of the year, I think it is safe to say this is the first step to something else. Be it a more fleshed out EP / Full Length or maybe even a continuation of old school Swedish death on bare bones production is something we will see in 2018. For now I will be cautiously entertained.

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Agonic Death – Under the Mark of the Devil [Chile, Death / Thrash] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-7-17

Let us be entirely honest and say this is not from 2017. Back in September of 2016, 100 tapes of Under the Mark of the Devil EP were released probably to a small group of people. In 2017, the band put out the Ep again with different art to the protest of no one. Actual release dates get murky when you deal on this level and for all intents and purposes, this death/thrash release can occupy two spaces.

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Left Cross – Chaos Ascension [US, Death] (2017)

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Self Released

Oh my. I think I would have stumbled on this eventually due to the album cover but Left Cross is a name I have an eye on due to their addition to the Blood of the Wolf Fest in Spring of 2018. Blood of the Wolf has become a fast way of learning about new Midwest/east coast metal/punk/??? bands that drink from the same cup of slime. By the sounds of Left Cross’ debut, the covenant of grime is real.

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Taphos – Premonition Promo MMXVII [Denmark, Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 11-3-17

Taphos almost feels well known and well liked among friends I probably do not have. Perhaps it is the sound of grimy death metal with a tone that looms in empty warrens and caves. Perhaps it is the fact their logo looks similar to bands like Grave Miasma. Perhaps it is because there is so much good metal coming from Denmark within the last few years. What ever the case, the third release from this group does more to cement their place in the underworld.

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