Caligari Records | 7-4-19
I drafted this review to remind myself to listen to the whole album when it was released. Caligari Records has always been reliable in finding music that is demanding existentially. In fact, if there was some sort of blind subscription service when I received tapes in the mail, I am sure I would never be disappointed. Trest is another testament to the strength of Caligari as this German black metal project is centered around the persecution of witches and sounds like a riot of emotions. Ordalium is centered around “the last people sentenced for magic & witchcraft in Europe,” and while this subject matter could lend itself to be celebratory and superficial, Trest’s somber attitude regarding the subject in multiple stages of “ordeal” and “pyre” makes for a record which was not only anticipated but something that is one of the best black metal albums of the year. With a combination of hypnotic rhythms and occasional soundclips, Ordalium is an emotional journey that was by and far worth waiting for.
Self Released | 1-29-19
This is wild. This is also something I am starting to really enjoy despite all its attempts to repel listeners. Gwoid is one person raw black / power electronics outfit who has released 4 serialized self titled demos in 2018. Gwoid V is the first for 2019 which alludes to a year full of harrowing black noise. Structurally, Gwoid oscillates between distant black metal and the ever growing collapse of music under the pressure of noise and chaos. Gwoid V is more apart of the black metal family tree than power electronics which is important as one who enjoys raw black could potentially find enjoyment in 18 minute long tracks of chaos. If logos are any indication of the music contained within, Gwoid is erratic, confusing, harrowing, and capable of drawing blood.
Self Released | 1-2-19
What a name. I love everything about it. I love the artwork and the fact it is a bandcamp demo that will later have a cassette release. I love the energy and the fact that I was clued into the release by the creator via email. Vomit Spell is a newish act from Germany that combines both the ferocity and irreverence of grindcore and the raw approach of death metal. The result is everything you have wanted combined with an aesthetic that is less innovative than it is tested and true. According to the Discogs page the demo was “recorded in the band’s rehearsal room between September and December of 2018.” We are just going back to all basics with this one. This is the staring point for all things festering. There are hazy boundaries when something is decomposing and giving off an awful stench. Come for death. Come for speed. Come for the decay of offal from an unidentified source.
Self Released | 11-7-18
Got it. No Metal Archives page as of yet. Debut demo with two songs and a running time of 17 ish minutes. Nothing else I can find except for the initials of the band members. They are from Germany and that is about it. Its a good thing VerdensAske plays decent mid range black metal which is engaging to the listener otherwise I would have nothing to go on. If you enjoy the third gear pace of bands like Mgla, then you will enjoy the dismal atmosphere offered by VerdensAske. Somewhere between catharsis and a desire for self immolation, like these two tracks which are filled with emotional turmoil and a possibility for spiritual conflagration. Not much information is needed when one’s soul is on fire.
Naturmacht Productions | 09-15-18
Alright we have to talk about it. Lyrical themes: Historical mining. In all of my years spent in heavy meta, this is perhaps the first mining centered metal band I have come across. In fact, looking through the Metal Archives for other bands which share the aesthetic, Dauþuz is one of five and the second German band to explore this topic. Germany’s Die Knappen did a similar dive into the traditions of mining in 2010 and Spain’s Astigarraga Thrower delved into mining and extractive metallurgy with their 2015 release Aiako Harria. With something so specific and off the beaten path for heavy metal, it is almost arresting in its use since most listeners are wondering what mining has to do with anything.
Des Zwerges Fluch is the band’s third release following a short string of full releases that no one really paid attention to. This is surprising as the preview track from Des Zwerges Fluch is chilling black metal probably played at the bottom of a cave. While the cave jokes could write themselves, the combination of crips black metal combined with an odd lyrical approach makes for engaging listening which urges listeners to revalature the aesthetic traditions of lower class occupations. Dauþuz seems more connected with the primal qualities or unrefined earth with music that feels arcane and chaotic in its slumber. Since the lyrics are in German, I will never know the true answer but there is sometimes a feeling which transcends languages.
Self Released | 4-15-18
I do not think I am completely on board with the artist name for this German project or even the song titles which make up a large part of the aesthetic. From something that looks like it could be dungeon synth to an aesthetic which looks moody in its disposition. Night of Sacrifice, the debut from Fortress of the Olden Days seems like a release which has a lot of problems. Perhaps the thing which makes it okay is the uncompromising howl of misery.
Night of Sacrifice spreads itself over three lengthy tracks with two interludes acting as segment. Similar to the texture of things like Paysage D’hiver, Fortress of the Olden Days takes the mystic qualities of atmospheric black and rubs soil into open wounds giving it a distinct primal quality which feels like the onset of hypothermia. The production and direction of this demo (?) excels due to the creators command over both the music and oddly enough the aesthetic.
Fortress Of The Olden Days is one of the multiple projects piloted by the creator known as Stulpert. While no projects such as Zalmoxis, Ås, or Fortress Of The Olden Days have reach critical attention, the work and aesthetic , as a collective, seems to be working towards something grand. If anything you can rest assured known there is vile dissonance being made in Germany and it is as terrifying as you think.
11-13-17 | Narbentage Produktionen | The Hidden Art
Krÿs is from Germany and I do not think the band’s name has any easy translation into English. The name Hexen is already known enough not to be mysterious and most of the song titles do not hold any deep level of esoteric meaning. For the most part this demo is a pretty transparent package of black metal without many gimmicks or talking points. I feel for this reason, it succeeds beyond similar releases of this year.
11-24-17 | Ván Records
If the swirling and cacophonous introduction of “Indoctrination of Deaths Command” is not enough to get you in the mood for complete obliteration, then I do not know what to tell you. Miasmal Coronation is a split with two new and relatively unknown black / death outfits from Germany. with an embrace of war themes and a sneering disdain for most things living, this split is a ferocious explosion of anti-human sentiments.
Self Released | 9-23-17
I do not review a lot of war / bestial black for a few reasons. Firstly the pummeling sounds of Blasphemy worship can become overwhelming when not ready for the sound. Given that even high profile acts like Teitanblood and Revenge can become endless cascades of torment, bestial black or war metal is directed at a very niche audience. For this reason, it is a style of music that isn’t practiced much and when it is, the earth seems to open up and consume everyone around.
Cirsium Kollektivet | 6-25-17
By any means necessary. The German outfit known as Amino Aeger may not be a household name but it only takes a few minutes into their work for it to make an impression. Sure this all falls under the realm of black metal but by the first minute of the Ab-Fakt EP, the listener realizes that this is not really a release but the ravings of a wild animal and all of the doors are now locked. Continue reading