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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Lightpath – Children of the Void [Italy, Death / Doom] (2018)

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Self Released | 6-5-18

I think I can count the number of doom albums on this site with relative ease as I could probably use two hands. Doom is not a genre I travel into or at least have patience to surround myself with. This does not mean there are not good records being made and great bands making them. For me there has to be something else outside of the doom to snare my attention. Lightpath, a very new Italian act, seems to have doom coming with their death metal friends and they all have rusty knives. This is the type of party I enjoy.

Children of the Void is listed as a promo which could very much fall under the classification of demo. It is a three song showcase which lays out the tenets and intentions of the band which all are malicious and ugly. The female(?) vocals come snarling and add a rotting edge to music that is already adversarial. Outside of this sort of unique presentation is music that is well constructed and consistently remains intriguing. If Lightpath was intended to get attention with this promo/demo they have done so with music that is more fitting of a broken leg than anything resembling fun. It is nasty, harmful, without morals, and completely entertaining.

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Burial Stone – Lost History [US, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 2-27-18

Alright this is what I am fucking talking about. Death metal which has the sentiments of a caveman hunting on the unforgiving landscape where death and life are locked in an inseparable embrace. All of the information regarding Burial Stone indicate this is death metal from New Jersey without any serious mention of the doom aspect. Perhaps we have moved past the point where we are considering doom a genre and this is just death metal played out in agonizing slow motion.

the three tracks which make up the Lost History EP are of exceptional quality with the raw nature of the cover, production, and instrumentation only adding to the mystic surrounding this band. With song titles like “ATLANTEAN ASCENSION,” Burial Stone summons primordial sprits to help them weave their tale. When doing so however the world becomes turgid with the haze of sorcery. Lost History is the work of death magic and I am so pleased to be in its wake.

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Alkymist – Spellcraft Ceremony [Canada, Black / Doom] (2018)

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One of the more confusing things about this project is it sharing a name with a progressive sludge band from Denmark. Though this is not the first time two bands have shared the same name, the fact both of them are unsigned and relatively on equal levels in terms of popularity makes it confusing at first. Just make sure you are in a cathedral of sadness before listening. Check your surroundings. Are there bells tolling in the distance masked by rain?

Spellcraft Ceremony is a debut 30 minute album (?) from a one man project heavily influenced by the works of Ruins of Beverast. I only say that since the tape version of this comes with a Ruins of Beverast cover. Even outside of tribute songs, the general atmosphere of gloom and inescapable doom which permeates this record is palatable. The atmospheres created by one person never feels stretched or thin and works well as a declaration of sadness voiced by one lone soul.

Spellcraft Ceremony currently is up for tape preorder limited to 100 copies. This tape is being released in collaboration with Moriendi Music and Corde Raide Productions. The only familiar thing I found with Corde Raide is being the only label to release Labyrinthique’s Demo MMXVI. Even if you do not want the Ruins of Beverast cover, the digital version for Alkymist is priced at 2 CAD which will buy you a ticket to a land of perpetual dusk.

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RUTSA / POHJAMUTA / CICUTOXIN – Cold Case [Finland, Sludge / Punk / Noise] (2018)

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Rämekuukkeli-levyt | 2-1-18

…and here we are in some far flung corner of the world with a three way split of things that may or may not be metal. I do not think it matters as it is 100% effective. I adore not only the quest for weird and caustic thing but also when there is a breakdown between genres to achieve an end goal. The Cold Case split is a three way collaboration with three Finnish underground acts whose seems united in their own unorthodoxy.

If there was any track to catch attention it would be RUTSA with its bombed out landscape of noise and terror. Outside of the aesthetic of harsh noise that populates the air like a swarm of hornets, the structure of the music is a churning machine of broken gears and mechanical fluid. Further investigation into the band’s demo tapes reveal a similar sound but without the level of abrasiveness present in this recent split.

I could not find the selection by CICUTOXIN in any streaming form though the band’s sludge / doom seems fitting for the collaboration. POHJAMUTA, on the other hand, does have their song available which is horrifying amalgamation between sludge and some sort of rabid punk which sees vocals screamed with irreverence and tensions wound tight around necks. All three make up a motley crew of Finnish underground acts which seem to pledge to the same monstrous god which lives in sewers and in runoffs next to graveyards. The unaligned seems to be a theme with a split that can certainly be used to scour the grime from metal.

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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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No Funeral – Mankind is Carrion, Fit for Nothing [US, Sludge / Doom] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-30-17

Genre: Sludge/Doom Metal. Lyrical themes: Drug addiction, Nihilism, Depression, Death, Misanthropy. You already know what you are getting into just by the summary of this release. Even looking at the band photos, one can assume most things about this sound. I have been more than honest about my stance on sludge and doom as a whole and while I have an aversion to most of the genre, hearing well done sludge doom about Drug addiction, Nihilism, Depression, Death, and Misanthropy is more than welcome.

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Phantasmagorum – Glare [Russia, Black / Doom] (2017)

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Self Released | 11-29-17

Album art is important not only as an initial invitation but also as a showcase for music. Though I can not find any information on the artist “P. Seliverstov” since the band itself has no information, it is going to remain a mystery. The cover for Glance however is entrancing and artfully skilled at pulling the listener into a world of gloomy mastery.

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