Of Antler And Oak – Midsummer [Canada, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Realm of Sleep Records | 6-21-20

This review is going to encompass all of the Realm of Sleep catalog even though I am focusing on just one release. I might not like every releases from this label (which is really just one artist) but I support the idea of using a tape label as a hub for creativity. Realm of Sleep is a creation of J. Browne who uses various avatars to create music from the woozy melodies from Of Oak and Ash to the raw noise of Hermit Of The Black Wood. Even though most of the tapes are already sold out, the limited quantity of these releases fits the aesthetic of an intimate spellcaster doing cantrips in the woods. Midsummer is Browne’s dedication to the solstice and the pagan overtones are as narcotic and dreamy as the music itself.

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Phthisis – Embodiment of Decay [US, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-22-20

This is rotten. Well, I guess that is the point. Phthisis is named after the deity of rot and decay and has even put that deception as the demo title. Along with a cover that exudes rot and a sound that sounds slimey, this act is ready to be disciples of doom smoked death metal riffs that is as dark and dank as the basement in which all of this stuff is created. I love this sound and despite the band not really breaking any new ground, Embodiment of Decay is a fantastic demo from a competent set of individuals who may or may not be skeletons playing in a band.

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Nuovaerav – Arcadia [Italy, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Faberglade Records | 6-21-20

Imagine my complete anguish when I learned that the Faberglade Summer Tape Batch was sold out in a day. This is okay since more people seem to be clued into this mystical series of releases from a very wonderful label. Additionally, the Summer batch came with Fogweaver’s Spellwind which is a fantastic release. Nuovaerav is a new artist for me but just from the few opening tracks, it already fits within the comforting world of Faberglade and while missing this series purchase by a day, I shall try again for the fall.

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Bergtrollets Gravferd – Bergtrollets Gravferd [Sweden, Experimental] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-18-20

I would like everyone to be aware before entering into this record that looks like raw black that you are stepping into a world of dark ambient, post punk, blackwave, and noisy goth. Things are about to get weird and spooky in the realm of abstract bats and conceptual castles. Welcome Bergtrollets Gravferd, a new outfit that has just released this tape today and I feel I am staring at a non euclidean building and its giving me anxiety. I will be honest in saying I do not know what this demo is trying to be but I believe it is operating on a parallel time frame from a intrademension.

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Longmoan – Longmoan [Canada, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-16-20

“$2 from every cassette sold will go to the NAACP legal defense fund.”

I enjoy conscientious pledges like this even when its from a sub niche tape release in an already obscured genre. Welcome Longmoan, a 16 bit themed DS release that is styled after a Sega game that never existed. CRPG music and video game worship is something that is not talked about a lot in the DS community though I secretly feel everyone is slightly into it. Longmoan welcomes the listener into a world of bright dark blues and top down dungeon crawling that is littered with deadly skeletons and ghouls. This is Saturday afternoons spent in the living room trying to beat the level and strategy guides opened up on the carpet.

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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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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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Alkymist – Spellcraft Ceremony [Canada, Black / Doom] (2018)

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One of the more confusing things about this project is it sharing a name with a progressive sludge band from Denmark. Though this is not the first time two bands have shared the same name, the fact both of them are unsigned and relatively on equal levels in terms of popularity makes it confusing at first. Just make sure you are in a cathedral of sadness before listening. Check your surroundings. Are there bells tolling in the distance masked by rain?

Spellcraft Ceremony is a debut 30 minute album (?) from a one man project heavily influenced by the works of Ruins of Beverast. I only say that since the tape version of this comes with a Ruins of Beverast cover. Even outside of tribute songs, the general atmosphere of gloom and inescapable doom which permeates this record is palatable. The atmospheres created by one person never feels stretched or thin and works well as a declaration of sadness voiced by one lone soul.

Spellcraft Ceremony currently is up for tape preorder limited to 100 copies. This tape is being released in collaboration with Moriendi Music and Corde Raide Productions. The only familiar thing I found with Corde Raide is being the only label to release Labyrinthique’s Demo MMXVI. Even if you do not want the Ruins of Beverast cover, the digital version for Alkymist is priced at 2 CAD which will buy you a ticket to a land of perpetual dusk.

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Evil Priest – Black Seeds​.​.​.​of Creation [Peru, Death] (2018)

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Caligari Records | 3-1-18

I feel at this point I could run quarterly feature going over all of the new Caligari material and still be pretty happy. I try not to hover too much on certain labels like Fallen Empire and Vrasubatlat as constant coverage would make me seem like a fanboy despite the fact thier output being above average. This is the case for Caligari records who have consistently gone above and beyond in finding gems from around the world which worship at the altar of death and disease.

Evil Priest is from Peru and two years ago this trio released a stellar demo of classic sounding death metal. Since we are past any era of a genre resurgence, the classic death sound for Evil Priest is a thematic celebration of death metal’s most famous competent which is riffs and darkness. Guitar solos, 5th gear snare drumming, looming intros, and guttural vocals all make their appearance in a demo which sounds between here and 1991. Aside from the sound, Evil Priest is young and virulent enough to be a force which will be around for much longer as Black Seeds​.​.​.​of Creation sounds like the band is halfway having fun and half way really serious about this whole death thing.

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Human Agony – Goring Christ [Canada, Black / Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 2-1-18

The fact I can’t listen to more than one song from this EP is hilarious as it is infuriating. The mail order distro which is attached to this band, Blud Auk also has its samples on Soundcloud. It seems to be my fate finding really awesome music that sails international waters in terms of formats and presentation. What is important however is that I have found some clues and leads to a cavern of death and rot whose location is only known by those already infected with spiritual sickness.

Despite Goring Christ only having one song, listening to the Final Laceration demo shows a band ready to smash windows and use the pieces to inflict harm on whoever is closest. This is the trenches of black / death / punk / war / bestial and whatever other avatar of horrid music that comes from the lose of goodness. It is fast, gross, and undeniably fun. Goring Christ and the greater Blood Auk label has found an aesthetic and a distribution method that seems to work for fanatics of slime and grime. I will make any addendum to this review if the rest of the EP turns out to be any different than what is present on the previous demo or preview track. If the band suddenly changes to symphonic progressive, Ill be sure to post a follow up. For now and until that point sit back and die a thousand times over.

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