Dearth – Of Martyrdom and Polluted Faith [US, Black / Death] (2017)

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Transylvanian Tapes | 4-20-18

There is a point where I consider a rerelease of an obscure demo to be apart of the current year. Things released late in December of the past year or even things that went generally without any sort of attention usually gets grouped into the current year since no one is really going to care. Of Martyrdom and Polluted Faith is different for many reasons with the largest one being this digital demo was released in August of 2017 and got minor attention on its initial release. This is why Of Martyrdom and Polluted Faith will be a 2017 demo which is seeing its first physical run in 2018.

If you were the majority of people which missed this when it first released, Dearth is the combination of two members making black metal much like a swirling kaleidoscope of horror and rot. Situated on the US west coast and with members from bands like Xenotaph and Torture Chamber, this demo is more than enough to put you in a foul mood if foul mood is what you desire. For only being a three track demo, Dearth manages to make its 20 minute running time feel like a near eternity spent in some hellish chasm of fear and confrontation.

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Superstition – Surging Throng of Evil’s Might [US, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 1-9-18

there are sometimes inklings of things one is going to enjoy. Seeing the color used in Superstition’s logo and artwork wasn’t the reason for enjoying this demo rather an inkling that t was going to be intriguing. Perhaps it is because that warm sickly grey was a gateway into a certain aesthetic. Perhaps I am drawn to certain shades of off white. Whatever it is, Surging Throng of Evil’s Might is a triumph and offers sanctuary in the creepiest, most dilapidated cathedral this side of the afterlife.

Did I mention, I adore spooky organ music? If not, I would like that noted on the record. One of Superstition’s greatest assets it the sense of atmosphere which compliments their mastery on the music. Songs like “Outer Mutation” comes out of a gothic style organ interlude and have enough flair and flounce to make it a towering monstrosity in rotting velvet. This is weird fiction death metal and with songs like “Grave Portal,” it is a place which I want to stay forever.

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Wojtek – Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old [US, Black / Punk] (2018)

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Self Released | 1-29-18

there are a lot of things I enjoy about Wojtek. I love the fact they lay music in a way that is feverish and maniacal. I love the fact their aesthetic clings to a crossover between occult black and anarchopunk. I love the fact all of the song titles and album cover could be slight parody if not backed up by blistering chaos. I love the fact their band is named after a WWII bear adopted by the Polish military. With everything to love, listening to Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old is similar to reaching for a hug but only getting arms full of razorwire in return.

similar to the tag of black/doom, black/punk is varied in its final mixture and can be different for each practitioner. While some blackened punk retains the musical structure of punk with shrieking vocals and others black metal with predilections for chaos, Wojtek is right in the middle with a record that could honestly be a black sheep in each of its parent genres. With nothing to call home, Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old turns into a molotov cocktail of alchemist fire and hammers in the aesthetic of a city devoured in the flames of sorcery.

I do not know if I would like this better with a more orthodox album cover. I have been staring at the cheap Xerox quality drawing wondering if it would be better just with a black and white sigil of some sorts. After deep meditations, I feel the cover for Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old is fitting as it showcases all of the wants and needs of this record and really acts an overture for the album. Prepare for nothing you are preprepared for.

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CAVURN – Rehearsal [US, Death / Doom] (2017)

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Self Released | 10-14-17

If one hasn’t noticed by now, the last few reviews for this year are things that I initially missed. These things are still under the radar for the greater scope of heavy metal but still fit into the strange idea of Tape Wyrm material. Cavurn is an unsigned/independent death doom band from Washington whose demo/rehearsal is one of the top tier releases of the year and for that they need revisiting.

Death / Doom is a strange genre since each time it is employed, it is unique among the practitioner. Some bands lean more on the side of doom with harsh vocals while other played a rotted form of death. Cavurn is in the middle as they employ both aspects of the genre and seem to glean the most interesting aspects of both. From the monolithic atmosphere of doom married with the classic riffs of death, this demo shows a band that already has everything figured out and is ready for the next challenge.

There is little way, anyone can kep up with everything released in the year. Other well known releases like Witch Vomit, Vanum, and Cult of Eibon are still excellent just out of the range for what I hoped for this blog. Cavurn seems to fit well inside the other releases with a demo that is worth anyones attention despite their attraction to lesser known metal.

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Another Dead One – Tomb of a Thousand Sorrows [US, Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-29-17

This is perhaps my sixth review today trying to not only get up to a certain number but review all of the material that is being released at the end of the year. While most of the lists have been published and writers have gone home to celebrate another year of releases, the backwaters of the internet are still alive with festering releases. One of these is Tomb of a Thousand Sorrows, the very late introduction to Another Dead One.

I am not entirely sure about the band’s name nor the album title. For a year spent with the rotten warehouse death, Another Dead one seems to be on a separate plane with aesthetic. This is furthered by the fact their guitar solos and dynamic presentation is not only unorthodox but it is fun as hell. when was the last time you heard guitar squeals into double bass riffing? For that matter when was the last time you heard a chainsaw in a song with people screaming? For as much as I am uncertain about the name, Another Dead One has gone above and beyond the call for entertainment with an EP that would be fun for drinking embalming fluid with.

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Karcist – Inner Sanctum Immolation [US, Blackened Death] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-21-17

Blackened death is a strange genre to play and even to seek out. While it sounds similar to the black/death style, there is a maddening difference between the two to the point that when seeking one out will lead to dissatisfaction with the other. This is what I find so interesting when bands like Karcist knowingly employ the less popular of the styles and ultimately succeed with the sound.

Inner Sanctum Immolation is the debut EP from a Los Angles based act that is not interested in the tomb of low fidelity. Though Karcist does not have the top tier of production on their debut, Inner Sanctum Immolation could work with high fidelity as much as medium. The fact that the band succeeds at a medium range and manages to make their sound interesting is a testament to a band that has their shit together. Though I think their black/red muddy aesthetic works well visually, the fact Karcist manages to travel outside what is expected for underground metal and still make entertaining music is a near surprise.

Ill be interested to see where this band goes and if they align with any popular trends. Songs like “Incursion of Christ” sounds like it is from a high profile metal band with different art and probably not on Bandcamp. the fact that this sound can be achieved by an unsigned act is exciting to hear if the sound will be explored in the future. Whatever the case, I am sure Karcist will land on their feet somewhere as it seems this band has competent members aboard their horrid ship.

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Erlkonig – Demo 2017 [US, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-19-17

I saw Erlkonig this year at a local festival in the woods. The band is comprised of most of members of Genevieve plus a smattering of other local Baltimore metal musicians. I now feel weird since I not only know these guys but their music is really fantastic leading me to assure people Im not just talking up a band I know.

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Left Cross – Chaos Ascension [US, Death] (2017)

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Self Released

Oh my. I think I would have stumbled on this eventually due to the album cover but Left Cross is a name I have an eye on due to their addition to the Blood of the Wolf Fest in Spring of 2018. Blood of the Wolf has become a fast way of learning about new Midwest/east coast metal/punk/??? bands that drink from the same cup of slime. By the sounds of Left Cross’ debut, the covenant of grime is real.

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Wilt – Buried Amplification [US, Noise / Electronics] (2017)

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Self Released | 12-03-17

Before we begin, let us state for the record this release is technically 2010. From the Bandcamp: “Original cassette only available at the Heavy Focus festival in April 2010. Limited to 5 hand numbered copies.” The one video from Heavy Focus Festival is so bizarre and flabbergasting, the whole thing sort of makes sense. Buried Amplification is at this moment, a record that is for a small audience traveling to an intimate place miles below whatever graveyard we entered.

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Mammon – Luna de Sangre [US, Black] (2017)

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Self Released | 11-24-17

I need to ease up on my pre judgements surrounding atmospheric black metal. For a style that has a ton of directions, I feel I have been jaded to a legion of albums with trees on the cover and a fawning for post rock melodies. Mammon is tagged at atmospheric black on Bandcamp yet does not walk the line of nature reverence, philosophical transcendence, or emotional longing. Rather this Detroit based band feel cold as concrete, full of disease, and possibly undead rot.

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