White Death – III [US, Atmospheric Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 6-18-19

If anyone has reads this site for any amount of time, the inclusion of atmospheric black usually comes with some degrees of lofi production. White Death, compared to other raw atmospheric black is relatively clean yet the slime and grime of whatever dirt from outside still lingers on its production. White Death is a bedroom production whose name is unfortunately running up against the Finnish White Death on Werewolf Records. This White Death is from Iowa and its bleak location serves as a setting for a brilliant demo that is full of raw emotion and noise.

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Witches Hex – Rituals Under The Red Moon [Canada, Raw Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 5-3-19

I feel that the tag Raw Black is less a genre and more of a sign post for interested parties. Rituals Under the Red Moon is black metal just fed through a filter of noise and chaos. One can still hear the riffs and structure just now with rough edges which bleed like static. I do not know much about this band other than their desire to play into a genre. From their cover to names, Witches Hex embraces the thematic elements of underground black metal. What is interesting about the band however is their ability to make those thing still seem sinister and raw perhaps with the help of shredding noise.

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Gallery of Shame – Absolute Silence [Canada, Raw Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 09-31-18

There are few things in this world which get me interested like a one track demo that sounds like broken glass and looks like photocopied misery. Gallery of Shame barely exists with the only way of acquiring a cassette is to write and email to what I assume is the creator. I do not think Ill ever see this physically but at least int he digital realm, Absolute Silence is a harbinger of disease with a plague of lo fi misery following in its wake. I use the tag “raw black” only as a distinction between the other bedroom black metal that doesn’t reveal in the atmosphere of broken noise. Gallery of Shame not only reveals in it but seems to be empowered by antisocial guitar tones, trashcan drums, and razor shredded vocals. While these elements are at anyone’s disposal, it takes a certain project to turn mounds of debris into a kingdom of misery and rot.

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Lathliss – Demo [US, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 11-10-18

Now this is a demo. It is difficult to describe what makes one bedroom black metal demo different than another since to some it all sounds the same. I do not think it even has to do with the quality of the recording as there are some boring raw black demos as there are exciting ones. Lathliss is exciting and it is not just one aspect of this 5 track demo which makes it special rather a litany of aspects (such as the gong) which make it engaging and ultimately successful. From the album cover aesthetics, to ferocious energy, to the leadup in “IV,” Lathliss is a great start to what I assume is the start of a project. I have not found much information on this artist other than this Bandcamp page. With this being the only thing released, one can assume we are witnessing the birth of a bright horrible star which I hope burns in everlasting hatred.

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Changeling – II [US, Atmospheric Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 6-12-18

This is the second full length release for Changeling as of yet unsupported by a label. In 201, there is less of a need for label support outside the desire for more resources. Though I can see this band being at the attention of many more interested in winding atmospheric black, finding Changeling’s second album with few other around was interesting. Perhaps this is the sleeper hit of 2018 or even the album that will feel like cold water to the face.

Even though I added the tag atmospheric black as to fit the Metal Archives description, Changeling shares little in common with the other forest dwelling hermits that have typified the genre. Though there are still instances of sweeping texture and arching guitars, the turns taken by Changeling is more reminiscent of bands like Altar of Plagues than Wolves in the Throne Room. Perhaps this is why II is so refreshing as it uses whatever tools necessary in any genre to accomplish a unique picture of mystery and destruction. This is also why I find the need for labels to not be a priority as Changeling has presented a fully competent and fluid second release on their own with little help from the outside and from outsiders.

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Lightpath – Children of the Void [Italy, Death / Doom] (2018)

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Self Released | 6-5-18

I think I can count the number of doom albums on this site with relative ease as I could probably use two hands. Doom is not a genre I travel into or at least have patience to surround myself with. This does not mean there are not good records being made and great bands making them. For me there has to be something else outside of the doom to snare my attention. Lightpath, a very new Italian act, seems to have doom coming with their death metal friends and they all have rusty knives. This is the type of party I enjoy.

Children of the Void is listed as a promo which could very much fall under the classification of demo. It is a three song showcase which lays out the tenets and intentions of the band which all are malicious and ugly. The female(?) vocals come snarling and add a rotting edge to music that is already adversarial. Outside of this sort of unique presentation is music that is well constructed and consistently remains intriguing. If Lightpath was intended to get attention with this promo/demo they have done so with music that is more fitting of a broken leg than anything resembling fun. It is nasty, harmful, without morals, and completely entertaining.

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Oxygen Destroyer – Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death [US, Death / Thrash] (2018)

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Self Released | 4-5-18

We are going to be honest and say that from the surface and on paper, Oxygen Destroyer looks goofy. With a gimmick surrounding kaiju films and some beer drinking promo pictures on their Metal Archives page, this band looks to be funny if not disposable. Lucky for everyone involved, Oxygen Destroyer has thrown themselves onto the altar of old school death / thrash and made an album that is wild and eviscerating first with fun coming close second.

It is difficult to be picky when it comes to aesthetics surrounding metal. Most of heavy metal’s imagery is goofy with part of it being heralded as classic while all others being gimmicky. Nuclear abominations are not a far reach for thrash and monsters born of radiation seem to be in the wheelhouse for death / thrash. While Oxygen Destroyer probably lost a large audience not being over the top parodies dressing in Godzilla or Mothra costumes, the main draw for Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death is the complete worship for bands like Morbid Saint, Sadistic Intent, and Demolition Hammer. What Oxygen Destroyer lacks in marketable gizmos, they make up for with an absolutely crushing record that would be perfect for drinking beer and chewing concrete.

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Enscelados – The Devouring God [International, Black / Ambient] (2018)

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Self Released | 4-30-18

Souls are drowned in the ever-rotating continuum / Alas, for they knew not of the end… / Tears are shed for whom the devouring god awaits / Ululating for eons, those who went… / Rites will be held for him once again / Never will they know, for all will remain unraveled…

I do not know why I enjoy the lyrics for The Devouring God so much. Perhaps they are written in such away as to convey dread and wonder all with a sense of timeless drama. Perhaps it is because it sounds like the beginning of a chapter from Malazan Book of the Fallen. Perhaps it is because it feels perfect for 23 minutes of swirling chaos. Whatever the case, Enscelados, named after the Enceladus the 6th largest moon, flies in the same trajectory as Darkspace and tries to depict the vastness of space and the possibilities of horrors lying beyond.

I enjoy albums, EPs, and Demos consisting of one song as I feel the release is centered around a theme. Enscelados’ theme is obvious as it portrays a Lovecraftian notion of a sleeping god whose power is divine and terrible. IT is these types of themes that make a blend of atmospheric black and hypnotic ambient work specially when combined with blown out production with feel ritualistic in its design.

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Aseroe – Aseroe [Unknown, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 4-24-18

Well, here it is. Perhaps the weirdest thing I have heard all month. This band also comes with the distinction of be indistinct since their origin is up in the air with only the information that their band consists of Hungarian and Greek members. Whether or not they reside in Europe or the Us or in the depths of Perdition is still up for debate as Aseroe comes on the wings of disgust and demise.

Aseroe adds to its mystic by presenting two lengthy tracks that exude a certain madness which hides under floorboards. Similar to bands like Cultes Des Ghoules, Aseroe works because it leaves all sense of moral reservation at home, which I assume is a hovel, and goes running in the streets nude and covered in scratches. These two songs revel in darkness and have no qualms about being weird without going over the top in terms of theatrics. It is gross, unrefined, and utterly successful.

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Olm – Ruin of Scepter – Chasm [US, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 3-19-18

I am always on the lookout for cool black metal despite falling had over heels for recent rotting death. Finding Olm was special as it allowed me to embrace the hatred and anger associated with black metal without any pretense. Finding Olm was fantastic as it seems to be the prototypical subject matter for black metal just done in a way which feels fresh and genuine.

Ruin of Scepter – Chasm is a demo comprising of two songs that are surprisingly named “Ruin of Scepter” and “Chasm.” This sort of unceremonious naming sequence fits the band’s quest for earnest and simple delivery as the music is black metal presented without any bells, whistles, or plates. The dips and dives of “Ruin of Scepter” has enough riffs and atmosphere to make it harsh but with hooks as well as entertaining while still grating against skin.

“Chasm” is a good example of the direction and potential by this band. What seems like a routine black metal demo soon turns into turbines of ferocity but a drumming section that sounds hazardous. The lengthy tracks make this demo into a destination for anyone wanting to bath in self hatred and damnation. It takes a special band to make a raw demo about darkness feel like something new and by the raw feeling after listening to this demo is any indication, Olm did a fantastic job.

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