Cruor Vexillum – Cruor Vexillum [New Zealand, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 10-21-18

So from rumors, conjecture, and pure speculation, the work of Cruor Vexillum is from “VK” who also may be the spirit behind bands like Diocletian, Temple Nightside, Vassafor, and maybe Irkallian Oracle. I do not know and maybe other people don’t as well. Actually knowing is sort of second to music which is grim and fills a void with more void. Cruor Vexillum is a relatively short release with 4 songs flanked by a procession and benediction. Despite its running time, however, Cruor Vexillum wastes little time in constructing a desecrated temple in which foul offerings are to be made. Through its 4 tracks, the music for Cruor Vexillum weaves and wraps its way around the listener with its guitar work as one of its leading roles. While the vocals are grim and dripping with attitude, the clear guitar and its solos are one of the most interesting parts. Cruor Vexillum may also not be the work of VK which I mentioned before and if its not, that is alright since in the absence of another New Zealand connection we are left with a record which exudes filth and reckless determination.

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Barshasketh / Outre – Sein / Zeit [New Zealand / Poland, Black] (2017)

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Third Eye Temple | 12-18-17

Before beginning, I want to acknowledge the cover art/layout for this split as being one of the coolest covers of the year. Though I am confused who did the cover since the Metal Archives has the personal sort of mixed up, the artwork looks similar to Fenomeno Design which did Barshasketh’s 2015 album. I know someone is responsible and it fits aesthetically with this split. Even if this is just a rearrangement of classical artwork, the colors and layout are phenomenal and is something I want on all covers of metal albums.

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Vesicant – Shadows of Cleansing Iron [New Zealand, Black / Death] (2017)

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Iron Bonehead Productions | 7-14-17

I swear to Christ, I found these guys before I noticed they were on Iron Bonehead. Despite my best intentions in digging out disgusting black / death, Iron Bonehead seems to be doing the same with more attuned ears to filth and grime. Whatever the case or whoever first stumbled on this band s irrelevant since there isn’t much left of the world after they are done playing.

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Prisoner Of War – Rot [New Zealand, Death] (2016)

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Iron Bonehead | 4 - 18 - 16

Iron Bonehead | 4 – 18 – 16

Paging through new metal releases, there is a certain through process behind what to discard and what to put to the side for furthur investigation. Seeing the tags “New Zealand,” “Death,” and “Iron Bonehead” together made for an interesting proposals which was immediately followed by a fulfillment of all expectations. If the gross cover was not enough indication, New Zealand’s Prisoner of War is going to come to your house and fuck everything up.

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Creeping – Revenant [New Zealand, Black/Doom] (2015)

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Iron Bonehead | 8-28-15

Iron Bonehead | 8-28-15

It was only after admiring the cover for Creeping that I soon stumbled into a weird and tangled web of New Zealand based extreme metal. Creeping’s cover was made by handyman Jamie Saint Merat who not only plays drums for Ulcerate but also did design/sound for a bunch of related bands including Abystic Ritual and The House of Capricorn. Those two bands are sort of the two parts which make up Creeping. If a voucher from Iron Bonehead is not assurance for this band’s third full length is not enough, then put your trust in New Zealand’s ability to make no nonsense darkness.

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Vesicant – Edict MMXIV [New Zealand, Black / Death] (2014)

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Self Released | 6-6-14

Self Released | 6-6-14

Though heavy metal is filled with wonderful examples of artwork, some of the most memorable are ones whose artwork illustrates the music. Vesicant’s artwork for their debut demo depicts a skull or desiccated head obscured by high contrast and shadow. Though Vesicant’s demo Edict MMXIV is under 10 minutes, I can not think of a better cover image to convey horror inflicted by dark shadows.

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Verberis – Vastitas [New Zealand, Black/Death] (2014)

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Iron Bonehead | 4-3-14

Iron Bonehead | 4-3-14

16 minutes is not a lot of time for introductions. I mean what can this short span of time really communicate about ones’ intentions and plans for the future? With so much new music being released everyday, what can 16 minutes do in the face of hundreds of other demos? New Zealand’s Verberis has chosen to take this brief opportunity to make their sound memorable by hypnotizing their audience and showing them a world where black / death can be slightly psychedelic or at least mind erasing. This isn’t usually how I feel when listening to black / death but I will take it as a sign that things, for a little bit, are going to be from the land of strange.

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Heresiarch – Wælwulf [New Zealand, Black / Death] (2014)

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Iron Bonehead | 3-14-14

Iron Bonehead | 3-14-14

From the arms of Dark Descent Records to the equally loving hands of Iron Bonehead comes the maelstrom called Heresiarch and their second EP Wælwulf. Heresiarch was loosely related to follow New Zealand acts Diocletian and Witchchrist but since then their lineup possesses no connections. The band is free of ties and responsibility and possess a freedom to make primitive black noise. I understand sometimes people use the term “madness” and “barbaric” to describe metal music but it is important to realize what near lawlessness would sound like. It certainly would have the atmosphere yet be entirely without grooves or points for orientation.

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