Svabhavat – Black Mirror Reflection [US, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 11-5-18

I love not knowing what to make of things. It also helps when the band doesn’t have any information as of yet to guide my judgments. I guess we are going to have to evaluate the merits of Svabhavat on its own. What I can ascertain is a visceral yet refined approach to black metal which does not bog itself down in noise but in that clearing comes the opportunity for some dynamic attacks from what sounds like a swarm of ravens. While Black Mirror Reflection may not have the most unique approach to lyrics, being entirely devoted to necromancy and evil, they do have a novel path towards execution. Caught between the refined nature of production and an almost feral approach to music, this EP just might be a great introduction to a sound which is covered in soil and sticker bushes.

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Blosse – Solemne Tenebris [UK, Black] (2018)

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12 – 3 – 18 | Death Kvlt Production

Well, here it is. A band that yet again does not have any information aside from the baseline blurbs provided by Death Kvlt Productions. At some point I am relieved when I find bands without information since I can get to talking about the music and atmosphere rather than any local scenes. I know that Blosee is from Canada and that the previous demos (?) are available on the artists page. Solemne Tenebris is actually the combination of the two 2018 demos already self released by the artist put together by Death Kvlt in a lengthy compilation demo. I say lengthy since each of these songs averages around 10-15 minutes which makes the entire running time more like a full length rather than any EP or demo. I actually do not suppose anything with black metal demos since they can range from 3 minute to an hour. What is expected however is the free fall into swirling madness with a sound that is similar to acts like Paysage D’Hiver but less obscured by lofi noise and with interesting aspects like lost instruments (flute / violin) which wander in and out of the song drowned in unceasing ferocity. Death Kvlt has made it easier to discover artists and Blosee’s near obscurity makes this addition even more welcome as it is a wonderful way to say goodbye to 2018 — in the jaws of mental collapse.

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Cruor Vexillum – Cruor Vexillum [New Zealand, Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 10-21-18

So from rumors, conjecture, and pure speculation, the work of Cruor Vexillum is from “VK” who also may be the spirit behind bands like Diocletian, Temple Nightside, Vassafor, and maybe Irkallian Oracle. I do not know and maybe other people don’t as well. Actually knowing is sort of second to music which is grim and fills a void with more void. Cruor Vexillum is a relatively short release with 4 songs flanked by a procession and benediction. Despite its running time, however, Cruor Vexillum wastes little time in constructing a desecrated temple in which foul offerings are to be made. Through its 4 tracks, the music for Cruor Vexillum weaves and wraps its way around the listener with its guitar work as one of its leading roles. While the vocals are grim and dripping with attitude, the clear guitar and its solos are one of the most interesting parts. Cruor Vexillum may also not be the work of VK which I mentioned before and if its not, that is alright since in the absence of another New Zealand connection we are left with a record which exudes filth and reckless determination.

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Negativa – 03 [Spain, Black] (2018)

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Sentient Ruin Laboratories | 10-19-18

I probably will not get to hear this. Maybe. The idea of physical exclusive music is appealing in an age where one can hear anything they please for free. when I said appealing, I also mean frustrating for people who enjoy reviewing records. Still though the exclusive album from Negativa, which comes on 100 tapes, fits into the idea of intimate black metal and provides objects for collectors to seek. If one misses out on the album, it will not be the end of the world and for those who do find themselves in possession of this new record, well then I am sure it will be harrowing.

Negativa at least has given a preview track which is something that marks distinction from other bands pulling the same thing with zero preview tracks. The music is advertised as depressive black but has few characteristics from the DSBM sound which haunts Bandcamp. Rather than shrill basement black metal, the sound from Negativa is full with the weight of remorse and emotion providing the heaviest burden. The vocals from H.V (Wormlust/Mystískaos) offers shards of rust and violence which tear holes through the sound. This is depressive black but not out of style of pageantry rather depressive as lineage or birthright.

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Azath – Demo 2018 [US, Death] (2018)

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Caligari Records | 9-9-18

Malazan themed death metal? I have to know these musicians in some fashion. Yep. The world is not that strange. Malazan Book of the Fallen is a popular fantasy series consisting of 10 main books and dozens of related novels. I am not here to geek about fantasy literature rather put into context that as a thematic focus, it works for the raw unrelenting sounds of bulldozer death. Though the series sports high magic, gods, and thousands of years of history to go along side its thousands of characters, fans of the series will nod their heads and agree that “yeah, this makes sense.”

Azath as a band is related to the various world of Ripped to Shreds, Draghkar, Grave Spirit, and Begrime Exemious. The coalescence of talent and worlds could only result in high nerdy combined with what sounds like tombs being imploded and the dust settling on writhing undead bodies. This demo fits into the idea of a demo meaning it is a horrid stretch of things to come but for the people who digest this sort of thing on a regular basis, this is going to be filling for quite sometimes.

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Constrained Ferocity – Dusk Of Humanity [Russia, Death / Grind] (2018)

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Self Released | 9-3-18

It looks like there is little information regarding this act so we are just going to start making things up about this act which seemed to come from nowhere. I believe it was the cover which got me in ensnaring my attention. The underground comic violence cast in blue shades was something that could only come from a band which the right mindset. This was shades of humor cast from a large imposing object of death / grind. Dusk Of Humanity is the band’s debut EP. I think. In the summer the band released a rehearsal demo which was poorly recorded even for fans of lo-fi extreme metal. Dusk of Humanity sounds full which allows the bleeding style of music to shine and even showcases the band’s biggest aspect; filthy death metal riffs in the worship of bands like Autopsy and Asphyx. The marching beat of the EP’s (?) title track is something that could only come with a cover of cartoonish violence and devotion to disaster.

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Temple Ash – I [US, Raw Black / Noise] (2018)

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Self Released | 8-23-18

Who is ready for the abyss? I hope you are serious because we are going into the depths of madness. Temple Ash is a new band with, unsurprisingly, little information regarding members, location, and day to day functions. What we are given instead is a short deceleration of warfare on our philosophies, a bitchin cover, and a hellish 10 minute demo which raps apart the subconscious with a rogue bulldozer. Throughout my travels with extreme metal, I always find it refreshing when I find something that makes me wide eyed in horror and disgust and the death industrial black noise detonation of Temple Ash is something that I will most likely never forget.

Noise and noise related metal can be hard to do as its obscuring qualities can easily overrun the music. Temple Ash’s invocation of noise is much like a call for a plague which swarms its immediate area. Through the haze of blown out vocals and distant percussion is a discordant structure as well as harrowing soundclips. Through all of this chaos is an exhilarating push towards aggression as all of these replacement parts allow the first demo from Temple Ash to truly become a declaration of war on things once held true. Even if this demo does not achieve its philosophical goal, then once still has a demo which is shocking still in 2018.

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Svartmálm – Svartmálm [Faroe Islands, Atmospheric Black / Doom] (2018)

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Tutl Records | 2-2-18

I think I just wanted to type in the place Faroe Islands which the description of atmospheric black / doom once in my life. Svartmálm certainly comes from a place not known for its metal and is one of 14 metal bands registered in the history of the Faroe Islands. It is not like this small island is out of reach of the rest of the metal world as it is positioned between Iceland, The United Kingdom, and Scandinavia which all have their histories steeped in extreme metal, it is just the island is now know for bands like Tyr and its breathtaking beauty.

Svartmálm is certainly cinematic in its approach to combine both the edge of black metal to the soothing atmosphere of both doom and folk metal. which the vocals are crips and stalk across the music, the band employs theatric elements which allow their self titled debut to become something more than just the black metal record from the Faroe Islands. The three part closer, “Svartideyði” allows the band to stretch out and shine in becoming the band they truly want to be — which is the weird witches on an isolated island. The only difference between that dream and others like it is this island seemd to be well produced and come with dramatic hooks.

Seclusion – Occultess Unknown [US, Death] (2018)

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Self Released | 7-31-18

Oh man, things are about to get dirty and by dirty I mean we are all going to be covered in grave soil and coffin dust. Seclusion is a pretty new band from the lands of Texas and by their unassuming debut, this act is aiming low to subterranean levels with a sound that feels as claustrophobic as a tomb collapsing with the weight of the Earth. Seclusion’s sound rests on an air of attitude and style as the muddy production does less to draw people in as the heavy themes of occult ritual and slow death does for listeners to stay. At only two tracks, Occultess Unknown presents a band that has all of the right aesthetics and beginnings for potential releases and while this demo does not punch through the soil and grab an unsuspecting leg, it does enough to raise interest or at least a little bit of trepidation of the things that are going on under one’s feet. If the sounds of “Burning Human Incense” are of interest to you, imagine what this act can do when they finally break out of their imprisoned tomb.

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Dauþuz – Des Zwerges Fluch [Germany, Black] (2018)

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Naturmacht Productions | 09-15-18

Alright we have to talk about it. Lyrical themes: Historical mining. In all of my years spent in heavy meta, this is perhaps the first mining centered metal band I have come across. In fact, looking through the Metal Archives for other bands which share the aesthetic, Dauþuz is one of five and the second German band to explore this topic. Germany’s Die Knappen did a similar dive into the traditions of mining in 2010 and Spain’s Astigarraga Thrower delved into mining and extractive metallurgy with their 2015 release Aiako Harria. With something so specific and off the beaten path for heavy metal, it is almost arresting in its use since most listeners are wondering what mining has to do with anything.

Des Zwerges Fluch is the band’s third release following a short string of full releases that no one really paid attention to. This is surprising as the preview track from Des Zwerges Fluch is chilling black metal probably played at the bottom of a cave. While the cave jokes could write themselves, the combination of crips black metal combined with an odd lyrical approach makes for engaging listening which urges listeners to revalature the aesthetic traditions of lower class occupations. Dauþuz seems more connected with the primal qualities or unrefined earth with music that feels arcane and chaotic in its slumber. Since the lyrics are in German, I will never know the true answer but there is sometimes a feeling which transcends languages.

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