Candlekeep – The Death of the Gatekeeper [France, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-7-20

I am not going to say that it is perfect, but I am beginning to hone the craft of picking out records based on their cover. Not in terms of quality but sound as a noisy record can be distinguished from a more melodic one. I knew what Candelkeep was going to sound like before I opened the page. I was surprised, however, at how much I enjoyed the sound of Candlekeep as it whisked me away to a magical, lo-fi kingdom where its gold sparkled with worn flare. At the moment, Candlekeep has no supports on their page and this debut just came out yesterday. Finding things like this make me enjoy what I do as I feel like someone who just stumbled upon a cozy cottage far into the woods.

Amnutseba – Emanatism [France, Black] (2020)

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Iron Bonehead Productions | 3-27-20

Welcome Oblivion. One of my colleagues gave this full length to me and asked if I remembered this band from a few years back. I have to be honest in saying that my recollection of Amnutseba is relegated to foggy fragments of angular and ruinous black/death. I do not remember much and looking at old demos I am even more confused since I partially remember the cover for Demo II. This could be a phantom band which is a specter sent to haunt me. In any case, Emanatism is certainly able to make an imprint on the psyche as the far out surreal qualities of this record are terrifying and will live in nightmares for many years to come.

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Atavisma – On the Ruins of a Fallen Empire [ France, Death] (2017)

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Blood Harvest | 6-9-17

Well, it seems like this band has all of the boxes ticked. From album art to album name, the debut EP from this French death/doom oufit shows a band willing to mold themselves in the eyes of the listeners. This is not to say Atavisma conforms to any trends rather their brand of music is perfect for anyone seeking an extended stay in the catacombs of the dammed.

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Merdam Boten – Jeux de Morts [France, Raw Black] (2016)

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Self Released } 9-29-16

Self Released } 9-29-16

I have a running joke with some of my friends on which of us can find the most inaccessible band with little information available on the internet. I think I win at least for today. I do not know a lot about this band but what I can tell you about this release is that it is from France, made by two people, and is frightening as hell.

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Venefixion – Defixio [France, Death] (2015)

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Iron Bonehead | 10-18-15

Iron Bonehead | 10-18-15

Oh my goodness. either I am slowly becoming an Iron Bonehead fanboy raving about multiple demos just this year or there is a palatable stream of good material being unearthed by this label. Both may be true. I also maybe a sucker for hilarious blasphemy in artwork and Defixio, the debut from Venefixion has an oddly comedic spin to their artwork. Come towards the skeleton bearing a crucifix.

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Fhoi Myore / Wyrms – Les Limbes Pourpres / Mehxôhorr – Les IV Dimensions Cosmogoniques [France, Black] (2015)

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Self Released | 3-1-15

Ossuaire Records | 3-1-15

If the album cover and even title for the Fhoi Myore / Wyrms split, this experience is going to be intense. As said previous times, splits are a great way to experience new bands and even new experiences. Les Limbes Pourpres / Mehxôhorr – Les IV Dimensions Cosmogoniques sees two French underground black metal bands joining forces to present some of the most emotionally bare and rotting black metal in recent times. If the cover is any indication it will consist of ghoulish nude orcs and horrid looking bats.

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As We Draw – Mirages [France, Sludge / Hardcore]

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Throatruiner Records | 10-4-14

Throatruiner Records | 10-4-14

Before we begin, it is important to note that As We Draw is not like many things on this site. Sure, this French band has elements of atmospheric sludge and could draw their lineage to bands like Neurosis but other than that things get blurry. As We Draw fits into the disputed territories which lie in the middle of metal, hardcore, and heavy experimental music. In these borderlands are things which sort of resemble traditional genres but have long gone feral. Mirages may have been a sweet record at one point but is now rabid and out for blood.

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Fange – Poisse [France, Sludge / Noise] (2014)

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Self Released | 4-14-14

Zugzwang Productions | 4-14-14

Yes. Yes. Yes. This is what I like to hear. Fange is a three piece French act who plays impossibly loud sludge to the point of becoming a noisy act of violence. Sludge has always been very confrontational by design though Fange has decided take the angst and misanthropy which nurtured the style and make it monstrous. What is contained within Poisse are looming spires of hate and misery which rain down on listeners like crumbling hell rain. That is right — hell rain.

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Etoile Filante – Traité sur le Monde et la Lumière [France, Black / Ambient] (2014)

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Self Released | 3-21-14

Self Released | 3-21-14

I am not going to lie, Traité sur le Monde et la Lumière, the debut EP from French act Etoile Filante is weird. I am going to say this again, em>Traité sur le Monde et la Lumière is weird. It takes 4 minutes into the four song EP to get to any sort of metal instrumentation. Though ambiance and introduction are usually used by metal bands, Etoile Filante concerns itself with sci fi clips and a preoccupation with synthscapes. Though space has been explored in black metal, this is probably the first time I have heard it so cosmic, wondrous, and bright. If one likes Darkspace, it is time to meet their younger and oddly dressed brother.

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Skelethal – Deathmanicvs Revelation [France, Death] (2014)

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Iron Bonehead | 3-4-14

Iron Bonehead | 3-4-14

Hooray French death! It should be noted that this band has two releases in 2014. One is this EP and the other is a reissue of the band’s 2012 demos packaged together with Swedish death act Inisans. That other release is being handled by Caligari Records while Deathmanicvs Revelation is headed up by our trustworthy friend Iron Bonehead. Enough time spent hopping around lesser known labels will reveal a network of filth, evil, and interconnected madness. By Hook or crook, Skelethal is entering in through your front door.

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