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.

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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Karst – Genesis of Nervous Decay [US, Death/Doom/Grind] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-1-20

“A portion of the profits from this EP will be donated to Mental Health America of Los Angeles in an effort to aid those suffering from anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and all struggles of mental health.” The small piece of text which accompanies this release is wholesome and shines a soft light on an otherwise obliterating release. If one has spent time with heavy metal, they will know the thoughts and escapist idealizations of the music is separate from the lifestyles of the musicians. This isnt to say the two do not cross over nor are musicians immune from the troubles of reality. This is why I find it interesting when musicians reach out beyond their own thematic veil and even though this is a small, and crushing, death/doom band from the US, little gestures like this make the whole of this release deeper than initially thought.

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Eternal Abyss – MMXX [Chile, Traditional Doom] (2020)

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Self Released | 4-16-20

I enjoy traditional doom. I also enjoy rough and raw production. the combination of the two is not something that is usually seen including a release of a traditional doom demo but here we are in 2020. Eternal Abyss offers themselves to the council of bands like Trouble, Pagan Altar, Pentagram, and even Candlemass. The only difference is, Eternal Abyss is running their hearts and souls through the filter of bedroom production with a demo that has all of the energy distant and flat. This, surprisingly, works int he bands favor with a charming demo of potential and personality which reaches to the proverbial skies of projection. With a cover that looks like a black metal demo, Eternal Abyss rides the undercurrent of home production with a sound that is exciting and fresh.

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Beelzebud – Beelzebud [Singapore, Black / Doom] (2015/2020)

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Cyclopean Eye Productions | 3-25-20

Special note that this 3 song full length from Beelzebud was released in 2015 but as most stories go, its distribution probably never left Singapore. This is okay since now we are going to get a second chance at this unltra bleak black doom record with a band whose name sounds like lame ass stoner doom. Listen, I get it, stoner doom plays at an aesthetic and weed themed band names are part and parcel for the genre. Beelzebud does play stoner doom though in a burned out shell of black metal similar to bands like Cough where the groovy vibes have long since dried and what are left are gnarled roots. Beelzebud also possesses the ability to make 10, 15, 25 minute tracks interesting though their protracted torture of rough production and gang vocals. Whether or not this release is actually 2020 or 2015, it seems to not matter as much as the weight of the hammer upon your head.

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Father Moon – 2 [Canada, Doom] (2019)

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Self Released | 1-13-19

This is not usually the type of music featured on this site. I do not think this type of music is really featured anywhere. I do not know what this is. It is weird and I love it. Father Moon is a Canadian act which seems to take its cues from Nightfall era Candlemass but the drug fueled days of Sabbath. The result is something that more difficult to explain but easy to enjoy. Additionally the near DIY production and presentation is something which makes this EP feel like a flea market discovery of the year since it is difficult to understand what is exactly happening. Come confused, leave delighted.

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Miscarriage – Imminent Horror [International, Sludge / Doom] (2018)

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Self Released | 12-31-18

I was initially repulsed by the email i got titled “Miscarriage” but later still repulsed when I finally listened to this record. This email I got from the creators stands as the only evidence this band exists outside of a Facebook page, Bandcamp, and perhaps some awful hovel in the middle of Hell. If you are here for the sludge doom tag, you are in the right place but pretend those things you love now chase you through a landscape of nightmares and nausea. Now take those feelings and extend it over an hour and you will be close to understanding the terror of this record. This is not for the faint at heart or even the fully stable in mind. This is perdition in musical form and I can’t help but love every second.

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Haunter / Crawl – Haunter / Crawl [US, Black / Sludge] (2018)

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Self Released | 11-6-18

Welcome to the horror show with two bands from Texas making music that sounds like the crawling chaos of mental collapse. Both bands, Haunter and Crawl have spent the bulk of the last few years releasing impressive collaborations and splits with LVTHN and Sovereign. This recent split is to commemorate the tour both bands are undertaking which will bring them around my area which will allow me to spend a Wednesday night in the depths of darkness. Haunter plays a style of black metal suitable for a labyrinth filled with monsters while Crawl sounds like drowning in a swamp while being pulled beneath the fetid water. Both are horrible and utterly fascinating. So just to be clear the songs available on this split are two songs (Gilded Medulla/Echo-Chambered Corroboration) credited to Haunter while the last (At The Forge of Hate) being from Crawl. I felt that I needed to make the distinction as splits on Bandcamp can be a toss up of what is featured. Also the music is swirling and inverted so it is easy to get lost.

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Svartmálm – Svartmálm [Faroe Islands, Atmospheric Black / Doom] (2018)

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Tutl Records | 2-2-18

I think I just wanted to type in the place Faroe Islands which the description of atmospheric black / doom once in my life. Svartmálm certainly comes from a place not known for its metal and is one of 14 metal bands registered in the history of the Faroe Islands. It is not like this small island is out of reach of the rest of the metal world as it is positioned between Iceland, The United Kingdom, and Scandinavia which all have their histories steeped in extreme metal, it is just the island is now know for bands like Tyr and its breathtaking beauty.

Svartmálm is certainly cinematic in its approach to combine both the edge of black metal to the soothing atmosphere of both doom and folk metal. which the vocals are crips and stalk across the music, the band employs theatric elements which allow their self titled debut to become something more than just the black metal record from the Faroe Islands. The three part closer, “Svartideyði” allows the band to stretch out and shine in becoming the band they truly want to be — which is the weird witches on an isolated island. The only difference between that dream and others like it is this island seemd to be well produced and come with dramatic hooks.

Disgusted Geist – Reign of Enthrallment [US, Death / Doom] (2018)

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Self Released | 6-18-18

Check. Check. Check. This band has everything I look for in a potential match including a badass name, grimy looking album art, and a tone which carries clout in the tomb stalking world of death metal. At this point in my existence the presence of bands like Disgusted Geist immediately draws my attention since they travel to place where I would like to rot in eternity. Shrouded in atmosphere and with the weight of stone sarcophagi, Reign of Enthrallment is a genre piece which provides the soundtrack to subjugation by an evil necromancer.

With all of the aesthetics aside, Disgusted Geist does a fantastic job at combining Vastum style riffs with the frenzy of complete annihilation. Though I believe the band has room to grow in this underground tomb, the premiere of their morbid world is enough for attention and possible courtship int he afterlife. Come for death, worship eternity resurrected as a thrall.

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