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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Sanctuaire – Le Sang sur l’Acier [Canada, Black / Ambient] (2016)

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Les Productions Hérétiques | 5-28-16

Les Productions Hérétiques | 5-28-16

I feel that putting Ambient and Atmospheric on top of an album as a description can be akin to pushing it in certain direction that may not be appropriate. Le Sang sur l’Acier is not ambient in the same way as lets say Darkspace but it is not atmospheric in the same way as the thousands of other bands that share that style. There is a small knoll of earth reserved for bands that not only love atmosphere but also rotting vocals, organs, and perhaps some woodsy chants. For all of that, this space of earth is perfect for Sanctuaire.

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Eichenwald – Eichenwald [US, Black / Ambient] (2016)

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Self Released | 3 - 27- 16

Self Released | 3 – 27- 16

I have made jokes in the past about black metal’s obsession with nature sounds and landscape arrangements. This sort of joke never gets old as long as bands keep putting in field music into their records. Case in point, Eichenwald’s debut demo/album opens with an honest to goodness, all hands on deck, wind/rainscape that extends into a 12 minute meditation. I feel the desire to lampoon things like this would be so much greater if the artist was more well known as well as if things like Eichenwald’s debut were anything less than exquisite and interesting.

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决裂 (Rupture) – Death to Peace [China, Death / Thrash] (2014) [Reissue]

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PolyWater Productions | 7-19-14

PolyWater Productions | 7-19-14

The Compilation/Reissue section of this site is important to lesser known heavy to the point that I feel bad for not reviewing more off year releases. This goes especially true for albums that saw a very limited release in their initial year and are now seeing another limited release by a marginally larger label. If you know this sites visual aesthetic by now, this album with bright reds and a cartoonish looking cover is not something that is normally seen. there has to be something special abut a 2014 brightly covered album to break the continuing set.

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Sunsunmoon – Pagans in Medieval Times [UK, Black / Ambient] (2015)

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Self Released | 10-31-15

Self Released | 10-31-15

Doing end of the year planning can be disheartening because I know quality releases do not care about months and schedules. Take Sunsunmoon, a British black metal band which oozes as much charm as it does synth. This demo came out in October and it just surfaced on a larger radar. We are entering into the cusp era where great 2015 releases are going to be buried until next year or even the year after. If bands could just stop releasing things now until January 1st, that would be wonderful.

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Skialykon – Vestigio [Italy, Black / Ambient] (2015)

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Naturmacht Productions | 7-26-15

Naturmacht Productions | 7-26-15

Calling Skialykon atmospheric black metal is a bit misleading for anyone familiar with the term. When one uses the term “atmospheric,” the usual path leads to soaring tremolo guitars and songs about nature and transcendental themes. I guess Skialykon has its fair share of nature themes and tremelo but this one man project seems different. Whether or not it is the moody synth or the slow plodding vocals trails which lead into dark patches of brambles, Vestigio becomes something much different than its siblings. Skialykon soon resembles the ugly child of the atmospheric family.

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Hermóðr – Himlen mörknar [Sweden, Black] (2015)

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Self Released | 5-5-15

Self Released | 5-5-15

I believe this is the first single that has been reviewed on the site. Singles are still utilized across the rock and pop spectrum but it is sort of odd with black metal. This especially is true when it comes from a self released source from an already obscure artist. The fact that this single comes with a 5 minute instrumental b-side on an already 14 minute a-side is comforting. Also the fact that it costs around 1$ to buy is still very much apart of the aesthetic. I hope more bands do singles like this.

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