Weathered Crest – Blossoming Of The Paths [Austria, Raw Black] (2021)

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Self Released | 10-13-21

Somewhere in the dark forests (?) of Austria lies a hovel in which a creature stirs. This creature has bene apart of projects like Brånd and Kinga and is the work of Vritra. While also running the label that releases work from all of these projects, Vritra seems to be at the center of a dark and uncaring world. Blossoming Of The Paths is the first full length from the project Weathered Crest and similar to other entities, it is a sharp and crude extension of unprocessed emotions. With a wall of noise that the music barley breaks, Weathered Crest makes music in the same way objects fall downhill with the momentum of emotion and mood dictating the direction. Abrupt starts and stops are only respites from an avalanche of black poison which is at the center if this recording. I have already expressed my love for noisy black metal and the tone employed by Weathered Crest is so fitting to its atmosphere as Blossoming Of The Paths is the underside of a cinder block left out in some cold field for years. It is ugly, raw, and entirely cathartic.

Winter Lantern / Possession Cult – Split [US, Raw Black] (2021)

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Self Released | 9-1-21

Both Winter Lantern and Possession Cult are from the US and both of them seem to be drawn together by an shared interest in vampyric blood letting. The tag of vampyric black metal may seem obvious or even too niche for mention but its combination produces, mostly, raw black metal that has thrown itself to the whims of aesthetics. I enjoy when artists allow themselves to be carried by theatrics and the undying love for the undead has broad appeal for people outside the raw black sphere of interest. The union of both artists is ugly only in that the sound for each side is raw and soiled and complexly fitting for its intention. Possession Cult is the hideous creature locked away in some basement while winter Lantern is the specter that haunts the spires of this castle. Both are entirely unique and each one is terrifying in its approach.

Sovnya – Sovnya [US, Raw Black / Punk] (2021)

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Self Released | 8-31-21

I fist would like to give a special thanks to whoever designed the cover for Sovnya’s self titled debut as I feel it is a magnet for anyone who seeks out visual low fidelity. The raw cover is similar to other raw black metal but its use of mostly white and light blue is unique especially when paired with more of a punk sound. Sovnya is from New Jersey and their debut only totals about nine minutes with three of it being spent in noisy space. It is within these nine minutes though, the band has ample time to lob a brick at its listeners. With as much attitude as ample chaos, Sovnya positions themselves in an interesting space where the ruin of sound propels the music towards entertaining conclusions. As mentioned before, the use of noise and space in such a short timeframe shows a band that is not in a hurry to make anything commercial or even accessible to listeners. Sovnya is making music the way they want to and with the time they have they have chosen things that deconstruct reality.

Void Column – The Chasmic Death [Canada, Death / Doom] (2021)

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Self Released | 8-2-21

All hail death and grime. Void Column is from Canada and from the very stark design and name of this release, The Chasmic Death is a frank and heavy opening statement for the band’s vision for the future. Blending the best aspects of death and doom adorned with a cover that could be of any grim genre, Void Column falls in line with all of the cool aesthetics but also manages to present music that is just as satisfying. this is of course if you do not mind subterranean riffs and vocals buried under pounds of grave soil. Void Column is new and this first demo has yet to receive physicals copies which are planned in the near future. We are all here early and the band is just getting started but this feels like a great place to stand for the show.

Bleeding Shroud – DEMO I [US, Raw Black / Neofolk] (2021)

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Self Released | 7-13-21

This came out today and I think I am the only one that listened to it thus far. This is noisy and offensive and it is wonderful. It is difficult sometimes to explain to people the aesthetic of things like this. Bleeding Shroud is a dungeon synth, black metal, and neofolk project with all of those elements twisted around each other and smudged with noise. There is certainly a level of mastery that goes into a production like this as it should be immersive for people without being repellent. Well, maybe a little repellent. The whole of DEMO I isn’t longer than 5 minutes and I have a feeling that it isn’t even finished as there are tracks that feel like they are cut off before finishing. This demo is a fucking mess and for a debut it is certainly a grand statement that is full of violent outburst and layers of complexity blurred under a collapse of noise. Come for raw black and stay for the car crash.

Kerasfóra – Denn Die Todten Reiten Schnell [Chile, Black] (2021)

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Self Released | 7-7-21

As of this moment when typing this, there is no information for this band. I am sure things will change in the future but at this moment in time, Kerasfóra has one streaming track and the blackness of space around it. Even purchasing the album as of this moment only allows access to the preview track. Things are a mystery. This is a perfect place for this Chilean act to thrive as its music lends itself to intrigue. By the closing acoustic guitar of the track, “Night’s Symbol” one is left with more questions like what is the rest of the release going to sound like. Pulling tougher noisy black metal, ethereal soundscapes, and the hints of dungeon synth, this band managed to pulls in the ghosts of many sounds under the banner of a title which comes from Stokers novel Dracula. “For the dead travel fast” is a perfect place to start with as a vague overture to a sound which has yet to be defined yet is still enticing.

Ancient Tome – Final Tome [US, Black / Doom] (2021)

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Transylvanian Recordings | 7-27-21(?)

I sure hope that the 2027 release date is not a typo and stays up on the Bandcamp forever. I can safely say this is the best black / doom release of the late 2020’s. the combination of black and doom metal has come with a sense of wild abandonment when it comes to expectation of sound. Unlike black/death or death/thrash, there is no agreed upon meeting point and the combination can be any mixture of the elements. Final tome, the second Ep from US based Ancient Tome further complicates this with a 23 minute exploration into a landscape of slowed black metal with punctuations of violent outburst. Final Tome comes with the endorsement of Transylvanian Recordings which has ceased to be a reliable storyteller of horrid tales and a dealer for rotten sounding music. Whether or not this is coming out next month or in 6 years is little consequence since the clouds are gathering on the horizon and things are about to get fucking dismal.

deathandserenity. – Endless [US, Post Black] (2021)

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Self Released | 6-11-21

The tags for deathandserentiy.’s third release includes an umbrella of styles including DSBM, skramz, and raw black metal. This all sounds wonderful and is something I have been waiting for. The history of screamo is separate from black metal and aside from a few crossovers, the overlap between the two remains on opposite ends of impassable divide. Endless is not the crossover that is going to bring the two styles together rather the new demo from deathandserenity. allows raw black to have emotive tones and offers a chance for depressive black to be played without the need for morbid clichés. Endless is a powerful 7 minute release which not only offers an interesting path forward for wayward genres but also a chance for the band to make a bold statement for 2021.

Mortuary Spawn – Spawned From the Mortuary [UK, Death] (2021)

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Chamber of Emesis | 4-23-21

UK death metal has always had a strong history and its current scene is continuing a legacy that has already been written in blood. When I first heard the name Mortuary Spawn and saw the cover art for their debut EP, I had a feeling it would be craved by a certain fan of heavy metal. This fan might be undead and with ravenous claws which make their way out of cracked coffin. If all of this sounds silly and ridiculous, wait until you are sent down a rollercoaster of riffs with the tension gripping the back of your neck. For 15 minutes, you are at the whims of revenants who mean to entertain you with bloody magic tricks which ends in one person cackling and the other sickened. Mortuary Spawn worships at the altar of old school death metal with a tribute to its looming atmospheres which rolls over cemeteries like fog. This is a sound which will be familiar for some and pleasing to many as it focuses on the parts which makes death metal so successful. If the black and white cover that looks like old Dungeons and Dragons modules is any indication, Spawned From the Mortuary is going to be a party for some but those are going to be the ones chasing others down blood splattered halls.

Vorvadoss / Magic Find – Moondrawn, Foul​-​Crescent Rapture [US / Australia, Dungeon Synth / Dark Ambient] (2021)

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Attic Shrines | 1-21-21

When I found Attic Shrines, I knew I wanted to highlight this tape label. Lucky for me, there was only one release this year which makes it easy to frame in terms of releases since this is the best Attic Shrines release in 2021. I have always had an interest in drone/noise/ritual ambient and find its relation to dungeon synth fascinating since this type of synth is always lying underneath other genres like some interconnected catacomb that anyone can enter if they get lost enough. Attic Shrines may release more infrequently to the average dungeon synth artist yet their tapes are from some of the more intriguing artists. This combined with a underground black metal aesthetic and one has dungeon synth that has been left in crypts for centuries. Moondrawn, Foul​-​Crescent Rapture is a split between Australian Vorvadoss and US Magic Find. both tracks which equal to around 30 minutes are a wonderful blend of depressive noise and dissonant memories which float through ruined cathedrals at dawn. I look forward to following this label even though they remain ghostly and elusive. Dungeon synth comes in many varieties and it is always wonderful to find more to be haunted by.