Gestank – Rathymns [Sweden, Black] (2018)

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Cirsium Kollektivet | 3-28-18

“”Gestank returns with even darker atmosphere and a thinner production than on the previous recordings.
Enjoy or don’t !” — I have been laughing about this for the past few weeks as it is clear this is not meant for enjoyment. I mean, I enjoy it but it is nice to know no one cares. Also from the Metal Archives, “Gestank” is the German word for stench. Fantastic.

The description of this EP is correct as the band’s previous demo “Hail Intoxication” was more involved in the production. Rathymns is closer to the band’s almost meta demo “Anti​-​Aesthetic Warfare,” though this current release is much more focused in a productive direction. There is so much to do when you point your gaze towards hate and destruction and explore the endless misery of human existence. We are going to go with the genre of black to start but really Gestank can be thought of a lumbering wretch of music which oscillates between lurching misery and rabid violence.

Gestank comes to us on the leathery wings of Cirsium Kollektivet, a Swedish tape label who already brought us things like Kwestia Kwasu and Vomit Kult. Gestank fits into the this weird collective which seems to be centered on unearthing some of the weirdest ways to cry out in anguish. I am sure that I will enjoy this and it is good to know no one cares if I do or don’t.

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Hexagon – I [Sweden, Death] (2017)

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Living Temple Records | 12-21-17

The landscape of death metal is being changed or at least has always been changing. What once was old school went into cavernous and now is moving into slimy grime. Tagging this as death is sometimes confusing for anyone following the developments of the genre so saying the phrase Swedish old school maybe a little it more telling.

The debut demo from Hexagon is perhaps as it should be — a demonstration of potential. In the release, one can hear a band unhappy with the the production with music that sounds bigger than what is being presented. This is not muddy death metal which drips grease rather a dynamic sound which could excel given a boost. It is not like this demo isn’t fun as songs like “Chambers of Torment” are so nostalgic in their riffs and energy that one could imagine a second, third or fourth renaissance in the direction of death metal. At this point I am still undecided on Hexagon and their direction. For a demo that is being released at the end of the year, I think it is safe to say this is the first step to something else. Be it a more fleshed out EP / Full Length or maybe even a continuation of old school Swedish death on bare bones production is something we will see in 2018. For now I will be cautiously entertained.

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Faruln – Faruln [Sweden, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 11-23-17

I find it amusing and comforting that the Banedcamp header is the famous still from The Seventh Seal which is a movie that has become known for its vintage depiction o death and mortal pondering. This maybe a perfect place to start for black metal and in fact, is probably one of the more honest framings of the sound as beyond costuming lies the dance of life and death.

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Malakhim – Demo I [Sweden, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 10-18-17

At thius moment, it appears everything is working in this band’s favor. Not only does this Swedish act have a bit of a following for a debut demo but everything from the aesthetic, to sound, to just general presence seems to be working together. This is probably why this demo is making its rounds in small internet circles as Malakhim doesn’t ask for patience rather throws a chair at its listener within the first few seconds.

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Ockultist – Present Day Neglect [Sweden, Black / Sludge] (2017)

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Self Released | 4-15-17

That is quite a sound. I have not been shy regarding my opinion on stoner doom and sludge as I feel the field is flooded with similar sounding bands and ideas. This is not unlike other styles such as black and death metal though stoner doom feels tired and worn unless completely onboard for the sound. This is why a band like Ockultist is intriguing as the shackeling between stoner sludge and black vocals works so well I am wondering why this hasn’t been more of a thing.

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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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Heavydeath – They Had No Names [Sweden, Death / Doom] (2104)

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Caligari Records | 11-21-14

Caligari Records | 11-21-14

I believe this is the deciding factor. My favorite demo from 2014 is going to be from Swedish band Heavydeath. I know this seems a little early to claim but Heavydeath has had so many good demos, all released in a year, that the competition is slowly being eradicated. I was ecstatic when I found not only Caligari Records but also Heavydeath’s first demo. It has now been a couple of months since and this band has not ceased to release a steady stream of demos. Heavydeath begs me to make sure I have all of my demos lined up and ready to listen to as this death/doom band is one of the better metal acts to come out of left field in 2014.

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Heavydeath – Demo II – III [Sweden, Death / Doom] (2014)

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Self Released | 5-9-14

Self Released | 5-9-14

I think I found Caligari Records as well as Heavydeath as the same time. It was a wonderful afternoon / early morning. Caligari Records is a spectacular label / distributor which specializes in lesser known cassettes of a particularly rotting variety. Heavydeath is a band made up of members of Runemagick and Necrocurse who specialize in a particularly rotting variety of death/doom. Though death/doom isn’t entirely novel, Heavydeath’s approach to the style is not only refreshing but it is a cause for feverish excitement as their 2014 trilogy of demos far surpasses most releases this year.

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Heavydeath – Demo I [Sweden, Death / Doom] (2014)

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Caligari Records | 4-5-14

Caligari Records | 4-5-14

I have already raved about Caligari Records. Not only does this label dedicate their existence to underground black, death, and doom but the quality of material they release is fantastic. Take this demo from the Swedish group Heavydeath, with members from both Necrocurse and Runemagick. If not for Caligari records I would not be aware of this project. Heavydeth comes with much excitement, as every member involved in the process of this record comes from bands with much veneration. Heavydeath’s first of three 2014 demos not only surpasses expectations but shows how much is possible on a cassette series.

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Suma – You’re Such a Disappointment [Sweden, Stoner Doom] (2005 – 2012)

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Tartarus Records | 2-28-14

Tartarus Records | 2-28-14

I feel compilations are important as they could potential be an introduction to a little known band. Suma is a Swedish stoner doom act who spent the bulk of the 00’s making splits with other psych, doom, and sludge acts of similar fame. This is to say relativity obscure. For all of the time Suma spent in the shows, You’re Such a Disappointment is here to remind everyone compilations are important and potentially slap to the face that everyone needs to look harder for these types of bands. Prepare oneself for a trip in the ether where monsters are capable of materializing.

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