Ashen Chalice – Ritual Under The Blackened Moon [Croatia, Dark Ambient / Noise / Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 3-10-17

Ashen Chalice is more like a journey than a destination. Finding a Croatian black noise project that isn’t even listed on the Metal Archives is sometimes as exciting as listening to whatever was put to proverbial tape. The aesthetic of Ritual Under The Blackened Moon toes the line between dead serious and tongue in cheek humor. The tape design is there as well as the black metal tropes. If it was not for the effectiveness of the three songs, I would have moved on by now.

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Time Lurker – Time Lurker [France, Atmospheric Black] (2017)

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Les acteurs de l’ombre production | 06-02-17

This review takes some projection as this whole album will not be out until June but all of its material is already available as of late 2016. I have some sympathy for bands who put out material late in the year when the years are turning. I am pretty neutral on rereleases on wider distribution. I also have less sympathy for atmospheric black metal bands. Time Lurker pulls at many emotions for me and if it wasn’t for this French band being so enthralling, I probably would have moved on by now. The fact I am still here must mean something.

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Mort aux Gueux – Beuverie, Musique du Diable et Misère Crasse [Canada, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 2-3-17

I feel I am going to have a good handle on some of the darker works in various languages. From what I can surmise, Mort aux Gueux means “Death to the Beggers (?)” and the album title starts out with “Music of the Devil” and then gets really patchy from there. It could have something to do with misery or mother Earth. Whether or not I would actually do well in France or the French Canadian territories is one thing, the tone and theme of Mort aux Gueux is quite another.

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Myotis Occultus – Of Weeping Spells & Wounded Shrines [US, Raw Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 1-27-17

In the world of underground and lesser known heavy metal, newness is a relative term. To some the Arizona based one man act Myotis Occultus could be new with the weight of raw black metal making its first introductions. To others, the songs on the Of Weeping Spells & Wounded Shrines demo are just a recollection of past works that have been spread out on singles and demos released in 2016. If it sounds like I am complaining, I am not as Myotis Occultus was a mystery to me until today. Perhaps every once in awhile one needs new introductions as there will be more people coming in at various times.

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Noctis – Gamaliel [US. Black / Noise] (2017)

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Self Released | 01-26-17

One song releases are difficult to assess in terms of potential. For the most part single and 1 track demos are made by the dozen but hardly ever covered due to their insubstantial nature. there just isn’t that much one can do with 1 track that is even less than 5 minutes. what one can do is look at past works and compare the single track to surmise where the music could potentially travel. If one was doing that for Noctis, the answer would be the depths of chaos.

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Burial Ground – End of the World [Russia, Black / Speed] (2016)

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Self Released | 11-13-15

Self Released | 11-13-15

So even though this particular demo only runs three tracks, I would like to talk about Burial Ground’s body of work as we start to wind down in 2016. Burial Ground is interesting for the sheer volume of work that is put out. Looking at all of the demos which are available for 2016, an entire full length of black / speed could be available for people. Right now it is just spread out across multiple releases each with their own grim artwork.

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Vreemdeling – Demo [Netherlands, Black] (2016)

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The Throat | 9-15-16

The Throat | 9-15-16

Image is important in metal. while it is not a paramount aspect in music, it certainly helps an act stand out among the thousands of peers which all resides on the same Bandcamp page. There are sometimes when a lack of accessibility and information can be that edge which gets an act noticed. Take Vreemdeling whose lack of information and song titles and clear production has coalesced into a demo which is so repellent it makes me what to stay here longer.

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Iskandr – Heilig Land [Netherlands, Black] (2016)

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Haeresis Noviomagi |6-5-16

Haeresis Noviomagi |6-5-16

I love it when band names are autocorrected in search engines so finding them is even more of an adventure. No worries as I think myself and Iskandr have already met, or atleast have been introduced between friends. Iskandr is a tortured soul from the Netherlands who also does duties in Lubbert Das and Turia both excellent bands with excellent releases in 2015. Where Both previous bands were multiple in nature, the man known as “O” breaks out for a hellish ride through grief and suffering.

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