Vessel Of Iniquity – Graveyard of Dead Gods [UK, Black / Death / Noise] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-12-22

Back in 2017, I wrote about the debut from UK project Vessel Of Iniquity. The self titled debut came out on various labels and I believe I wrote about the Xenoglossy Productions version. I was blindsided by the force and reckless abandoning of the sound. Graveyard of Dead Gods and Architecture of Existence are two “new” EPs for 2022 consisting of songs that were “An old unused EP I found on my hard drive.” The dichotomy between the music and the seemingly carefree attitude of its creator is striking as both EPs feel like a terrible storm. v operates without constraints and the sound of both new EPs has a driving rhythm that feels more like a mounting wave of chaos and confusion. The addition of the music being without a time or place of conception adds to its other-worldly-ness as these two EPs have appeared in our world and now are set loose among the population. This project is unpredictable as it is intriguing and I fully expect to be terrorized by it in the near future.

Extinguished – Vomitous Manifestations [Finland, Death] (2022)

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Caligari Records | 2-24-22

As of writing this review, Extinguished is without a Metal Archives page. I am sure this will change though it seems like the band is just getting together and going through some sort of metal customs area. Extinguished comes by the way of a confluence of Finnish black / death bands namely Obscure Burial, Sickness, and Sadokist. While the sound s of grinding death maybe new for this venture, the energy of chaotic nausea might be a an aesthetic waymark. Though only one preview track available the power and force at which this music is delivered is enough for interest. At the moment of this writing, there are tapes available for preorder which I am sure will sell out soon. I am sure of it as I can see this sound hanging in the air like dangerous miasma.

Phenocryst – Explosions [Portugal, Death] (2021)

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Blood Harvest | 12-17-21

Blood Harvest is a pretty well known label for many and also the source of some great releases in 2021. In fact many of you already know the mode and operation of this label and can probably guess this new release is going to sound gross. Explosions is the debut EP for this Portuguese death metal band which has been released late in 2021. I have designated all December releases apart of a cusp of the year which includes them into the next one. this way even a stellar death metal EP being released on the 17th of December can be celebrated with all of the blood and lava as fitting. Phenocryst revels in the sound of subterranean death but now instead of graveyards, metaphysics or alien landscapes of ruin one is confronted with the violence of geology. Lyrical themes are always fun when engaging with a band as what they chose to base their music around can be illuminating to the way they see the world. As of writing this review, Phenocryst is the only band listed on the Metal Archives with Volcanology as a theme. While this theme sounds wild and random, the type of grinding death fits perfectly with images of pyroclastic flows and igneous fluids. It is truly music that makes me feel underground being pulverized into oblivion by emotionless phenomenon.

Smoke – Ralvurahvavuimago [Netherlands, Raw Black] (2022)

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The Throat | 1-5-22

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This is where we are going to have to clarify a few things. Ralvurahvavuimago by the Dutch black metal project Smoke was released on tape in 2012. You might have missed it. The Throat is a Dutch label that not only releases new works but unearths obscure releases from the past that you might have missed. I believe I would have remembered Ralvurahvavuimago as it has the capacity to make its lister physically ill. With a wall of noise and chaos which pull at the core of its audience, Smoke is the embodiment of of terror. Part of my excitement comes from discovering this label as one more resource into Dutch black metal as it continues to be a region of dark and never-ending misery. This is said in the highest regard as after listening to Ralvurahvavuimago, I need to lay down for a bit and rest.

Kjedsomhet – Reh. MMXXII – Horrors Of The Dungeon [Italy, Raw Black] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-4-22

We are going to start the year off right with some exercise, better eating, and horrid sounds from the dungeon. Kjedsomhet is an Italian black metal project that might be one person or a group of musicians working at a very quick pace. Since November 2021, this project has released four full lengths, two EPs, and one Rehearsal/Demo we are reviewing here. The way Kjedsomhet uses releases is reactionary as the tracks tend to be quite lengthy resulting in a lot of material that might not even be distinguishable from each other. The world of Kjedsomhet is bleak and tracks like the 20 minute opener “Fangehullets Redsler” (Danish for Horrors Of The Dungeon) feel like magical invocations to some horrid creature from the void. It is noisy, repetitive, and ultimately devoid of compassion. Horrors of the Dungeon poses lots of questions with not all of them being answered. Perhaps 2022 will bring closure to these inquires but for now we have a very gross declaration of putridity.

θoʊθ – Ruins of Gubla [?, Death / Doom / Sludge] (2021)

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Kellerassel Records | 2-1-21

Let’s see if I can get through this review without using the word “goobly”. The enigmatic θoʊθ (purported to be an ancient name for the god Toth) plays “ancient death metal” with a Phoenician and Babylonian lyrical bent. “Ancient’ is certainly a good self-descriptor: there’s no lack of dust on this production. Note that I use the word “dust” instead of “filth” or “grime” – it’s tempting to interchangeably use those words, but I think “dust” better demonstrates the thick, brow-beating grotesqueness. I would go so far as to call some of these riffs positively stoner – the very beginning has that kind of hypotuned chunkiness I closely associate with Sleep. Most of the demo is the kind of death / sludge embodied by Boy Body (pun intended!), though with a less caustic affect. Track three (“Trumpets of None Ѭ Kingdom of All”, very nice) brings back that stoner-doom quality again with all the grinding criticality that good death metal evokes. This is the kind of release that perfectly fits the demo aesthetic, and I can only hope this isn’t a one-off release; hence why I am making sure there’s a Tape Wyrm write-up for this prior to end of the year shenanigans. There, I did it.

θoʊθ – Ruins of Gubla by Kellerassel Records

Perdizione – Descend Without Fortune [USA, Black / Punk] (2021)

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Spiritual Disease | 4-16-21

A Xeroxed photo of a hanging as the album art? Tell me, is this black metal or a Controlled Bleeding demo from 1984? Oh, it’s black metal – and oh boy is it spooky. This year, there’s a plethora of black metal and punk rock hybrids that are immensely unsettling. Not that the hybrid has ever been amiss from disturbing subject matter – I’m not going to play Bone Awl at my little brother’s wedding – but it tends to be more intense in visual art and subject matter than the sound itself. Perdizione is an example of a demo where it’s just straight-up unnerving. Diavolo Odioso (translation: “Hateful/Hated Devil”, implying both qualities at once) presents 17 minutes of pain to music. Did you check out the Grinning Death’s Head EP from earlier this year? Like that, but as a demo, and far more misanthropic. There’s a delay effect to the vocals that I’m not usually into within extreme metal, but it works here for a similar reason to Arckanum; almost like a more evil, intense, and obscene version of that band. Recommended for fans of the aforementioned Grinning Death’s Head as well as the Леший demo from this year.

ꙂꙨѮŮӜŮѮꙨꙂ – ŶᾦϚӾѺᾦѺӾϚᾦŶ [Iceland, Experimental Black / Death] (2021)

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Self Released | 10-8-21

Alright, I’ll be frank: I hate the aesthetic here. Esoteric letter-dumps make me think of hard drive failures, not occultism. Anyone can use alt codes! But if this demo were judged on cover alone, then it would be a mistake; this is some serious experimental shit. When people hear the phrase “Icelandic black metal”, they’ll either think “oh you mean hollow, dissonant black metal with complex song structures” or “what’s a black metal, and what are you doing in my kitchen”. ꙂꙨѮŮӜŮѮꙨꙂ (please don’t crash my browser) hits different: instead, we have lo-fi black / death with significant drone influence. Imagine a Sunn O))) and Ride for Revenge crossover album (at the risk of entertaining Pitchfork-esque analogiers): you have the drone and hoarse vocal collaborations taken by the former and the Tartarean black metal of the latter. Bassy chomps serve as the analogue to guitars, with filtered protestations serving what can only be loosely described as a vocal mix. This demo is far up there for anyone even remotely interested in the “experimental” tag, and at 28 minutes it’s the perfect length for wanting more without having less. Tracks 3, 4, and 7 are the most awesomely unsettling; but that’s like asking “which episode of The Prisoner should we watch tonight”. It’s going to be weird no matter what.

ŶᾦϚӾѺᾦѺӾϚᾦŶ by ꙂꙨѮŮӜŮѮꙨꙂ

Exsanguinated – Millions of Tortured Souls [USA, Death] (2021)

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Self-Released | 11-3-21

New York death metal’s brutal, pummeling aesthetic comes to the forefront on Exsanguinated’s first-ever release. This two-track demo recalls the hollow horror in the production of Immolation and Morpheus Descends, but with a spacious (though I wouldn’t say cavernous) approach to death metal songwriting that’s distinctly contemporary death metal. “Demon Infested Tomb” is like Pan.Thy.Monium after listening to too much Cop-era Swans; perhaps not industrial, but definitely churning, and with the open-throated hoarse growl that invoked Raagoonshinaah. Pinch harmonics buried under dust abound, as if the metal is entombed beneath the cemetery’s centerpiece. In nine minutes, Exsanguinated hits the autumnal nature of things ending; or perhaps here, they’re already rotted.

Millions Of Tortured Souls by Exsanguinated

Vaticinal Rites – Vaticinal Rites [UK, Death] (2021)

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Caligari Records / Dry Cough Records | 11-12-21

A little birdie told me (read: one of my fellow death metal nerds and I exchanged links on Discord) about how there’s a hell of an underground death metal scene in the UK right now – especially in Leeds and London. Well, I guess there’s always been a hell of a scene in London: and Vaticinal Rites is a next-level addition to that pedigree. This debut EP take significant influence from South Florida death metal circa-1993; not so much your Morbid Angels, but definitely your Monstrosities, Malevolent Creations, and Brutalities. It’s all wrapped up in crunchy production that lends itself well to dive bombs and guitar squelches, as awesomely shown on “Burning Elysium”. Like this year’s Antediluvian LP, this release is even cooler given that it’s a bit of a product of information sharing: two of the members live in southwest England within Devon (according to Ye Olde Metal Archives), so the release was primarily recorded through sharing tracks back-and-forth. And here I thought my Top 50 demos/EPs/splits was firmly established; here comes four tracks that completely shook down the rest.

Self-Titled EP by VATICINAL RITES