Forbidden Tomb – Demo I [Indonesia, Raw Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-18-20

This is the sound I love. This is also the album cover I am inherently drawn to. Forbidden Tomb is a new(?) one member (?) black metal act from Jakarta which sounds lie it could have been unearthed out of any place among the world. Its cold and desolate sound throws itself on the altar of bands like Judas Iscariot with a presentation that is as visceral and astringent as the albums in which it worships.

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Vale Minstrel – Warden of the Vale [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-18-20

I do not want to be critical but I feel the only thing I dislike about this release is the logo as it does not truly capture the magic which floats around this release like magical pollen. Vale Minstrel has tagged this release with “JRPG” among other things. The more I think about it the more I am inclined to believe this music would be perfect for a cozy new gen RPG set in some distant land. Warden of the Vales full dedication to fantasy themes is evident with music that is both immersive and competent.

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Torture Tomb – Killing to See How It Feels [US, Death Metal] (2020)

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Transylvanian Tapes | 6-6-20

First of all I would like to give this band 10 points for their name as it is really cool. Second of all I would like to give this band 5 points for artwork. Last of all, I will be scattering points here and there for riffs that are scattered throughout this EP. Torture Tomb is listed as “Blackened Death Metal,” so I will throw that out there despite not really hearing black at all in this new EP. Genres though do not matter when you are being flung against the wall by encroaching zombies. Embrace the undead.

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Enbarr – Sage [Algeria, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-20-20

Sometimes a cover says it all. Having paged through many dungeon synth and other self released records, if one has a mastery of a cover, it usually is an good indication of the music that would follow after. This is not always the case but it at least gives me hope that the music will match what was visually promised. Hailing from Algeria (!), comes Enbarr who on the third release this year, presents a conceptual record devoted to the imagery of Crystal Towers. The music is a more of old school dungeon synth which sketches a moat around the hazy image of a spire veiled in fog. Even outside of this probably being the first African DS release I have personally encountered, I am just struck about the design and the music which seems to be as promising as the front cover.

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Cynfyd – Ever So Long Ago [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-9-20

I feel I know who this is or atelast the universe from where this came. I saw this release yesterday but then on other social media outlets that I have it narrowed down to a few suspects. Investigations aside, the release of Ever So Long Ago marks the debut for the Cynfyd project which begins its journey with classic sounding dungeoon synth devoted to the heathen gods of old. In its short running time (~10 minutes), Cynfyd commands your attention and weaves spells in the air outlining worlds far away. In this short demo, you are compelled to follow this stranger who you think you know but cant be sure.

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Cenobite – Soul Torn Apart [Russia, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-6-20

I think this is one of the few times I am 100% with the music even if I have some criticisms about the aesthetic. I do not think Soul Torn Apart fails in its aesthetic rather I feel a band devoted to Hellraiser could be more arcane with its song titles. I only mention this since the more generic album and song titles do not reflect the absolute monster of a release this is as Cenobite channels old school death like they were summoning devils in a lab. Riffs like spires and an attitude which drags across the floor, Soul Torn Apart is one of the nastiest demos in recent memory and I almost passed it over.

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KRAAPIDES NAHKA – MANIFESTATION I [Canada, Raw Black / Punk / Dark Ambient] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-26-20

From the cold lands of neverwhere, comes a cassette filled with icy black punk / dark ambient. Black / punk has always been a favorite of mine though the tone and style has always been scathing and alive. KRAAPIDES NAHKA takes the same idea of black / punk and buries it in a winter forest for a few decades before returning with a shovel. Through cracked ground and howling winds, Manifestation I is a haunted cassette of tortured memories and frozen emotions that hang motionless upon evergreens. This cassette just came out and it is currently limited to 2 per customer. I have no idea how popular this will be but I am in awe of its scope and effectiveness at being unreachable.

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Enucleacion – Adelanto Demo 2020 [Chile, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-20-23

This is absolutely 100% rotten. If the eye gouging yellow bordered Bandcamp gore profile picture is not enough to indicate this is the realm of dripping violence, then I do not know what will keep you safe. Since this band is not on Metal Archives yet, we are just sort of shooting from the hip and the tag of black/death could mean many things including slam/death or just a gross combination of everything vile in the metal world. Enucleacion seems to be less concerned with distinction than they do pushing chainsaws into the face of listeners. Gross.

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Anatomia / Pazuzu – Indwelling Morbidity [Japan / Costa Rica, Death / Doom] (2020)

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Jubokko Productions | 3-13-20

So I am going with the current Bandcamp on this release and who is supporting it. Anatomia is fairly well known with a 2017 full length from Nuclear War Now but Pazuzu is a bit more obscure. This split was self released but then is also tagged as coming out from Cain Records and now Jubokko Productions. Let us just assume that there are around 100 tapes floating in the ether with some nasty riff filled death /doom. I do not think I could come up with a more perfect pair as the fatalism from Anatomia combined with the sledgehammer kick of Pazuzu makes for a split that is both intriguing as injury inducing.

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Drycholaeth – Bestial Psychosis [US, Black / Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 12-5-19

LEt us all go through this together. If you release a demo late into the year and/or it was so limited that it never made a mark on the internet, then you get to release it again and I get to include it in the current year for end of the year lists. Now that we have that out of the way, welcome ruin and rot. Much like what the Bandcamp page said, this demo is for fans of Grave and Morbid Angel but I am going to go a step further and say it is for fans of Grave and Morbid Angel and haunted unfinished basements. Drycholaeth (Old Welsh? for Spectral?) is a imposing presence which emanates weirdness and ferocity at a lo fi length. I am glad I didn’t catch this late last year since I would be frantically calling everyone I knew.

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