Nighthaunter – Phantasmal Journeys into the Morbid Past [UK, Raw Black] (2021)

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Self Released | 1-2-21

Welcome to 2021. As this site develops into a dungeon synth haven, I want to make sure I dig into the grave soil for some truly horrid black and death metal demos. Phantasmal Journeys into the Morbid Past is the first demo from a UK project that could be a solo venture or a group but since Nighthaunter is without a Metal Archives or social media page, we are just going to guess. With the lack of information comes a vacuum of space that fills with thrashing and boney kicks to the face from an obvious ghast that has tracked you through this cemetery. Raw and unkempt is the perfect way to enter into this year with fear and terror.

Gravkväde – Grav | Ruin [Sweden, Black / Funeral Doom] (2020)

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Self Released | 11-20-20

Going to be real honest in saying, it took me forever to spell this band’s name. Perhaps it was the crushing weight of emotion which comes with this release. The below link to the Bandcamp page goes to the Transylvanian Tapes site which is producing the 2021 tape run for this 2020 release. Funeral Doom is a very distinct genre yet its scene, outside of the founder and a few disparate releases, is not as fertile as lets say black or death metal. This could be due to many things but hearing Grav | Ruin was a dark joy as the band combines the ferocity of black metal into the monolithic template of funeral doom. This makes songs like “Begravningskör” at 18minutes not feel like an eternity spent in darkness. While the previous description sounds wonderful, it is the variation which Gravkväde shines. In the landscape of ruin and despair, Grav | Ruin offers both passive mourning as well as more active despair which manifests itself into an extended stay in purgatory with only mixed emotions for reflection.

Vultures Ov Veles – Demo 2020 [US, Raw Black / Noise] (2020)

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Self Released | 12-3-20

All I want in life is to listen to ear shattering noises at 8:46 in the morning with a cup of black coffee and an overcast sky. I have no idea who Vultures Ov Veles is or why they decided to add anxious noise into their already caustic black metal but this declaration of ruin is everything I want right now. Demo 2020 perhaps will not reach many people as that initial welcome of noise is enough to send any sensible person in the other direction. For the weirdos that are still here however, Vultures Ov Veles is a sound that keeps people honest in their weirdness and allows everyone to revel in the pitch black.

Gorephilia – In the Eye of Nothing [Finland, Death] (2020)

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Me Saco un Ojo Records | 10-2-20

It is difficult not to get excited about this sort of thing. Death metal has been through its trails and tribulations for years with subtle niches and styles for any discerning listener. In fact, if one would like to hear a spectrum of death from the very bloody to the more abstract, they need not look far. Gorephilia, despite its name sake, resides in the middle of this spectrum with traditional death metal that is here for the sole purpose of playing riffs into the void. In the Eye of Nothing is the bands third release and despite some minor recognition at on end of year lists by internet users, the band has yet to break into the the larger public sphere. Perhaps this record, which is full of looming horror will do the trick. I am certain it has for me.

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Diabhal – M M X X [US, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-1-20

All hail the bulldozer. When discussing death metal from the last few years, there is a certain strain of hip rough edge death metal that relies mostly on riffs and gross looking album covers. This is wonderful death metal but has become apart of an aesthetic that bands can easily subscribe. Diabhal eschews this tradition with a more vintage style of death metal which crushes its listener with a steamroller. Instead of an album cover with two colors and a JCard layout, M M X X appears as if it came from 1995 from a semi mainstream label. Being from NYC, I had a preconception this band was going to be older and possibly with one or two shaved heads. Much to my surprise, the group appears to be young and spry and just into covering songs by Baphomet. Let’s hang out and get crushed by heavy machinery together.

Deathevn – Deathevn [Poland, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-20-20

This is a striking and exhilarating demo from a new Polish band that I most certainly shared to make a joke regarding the name. Deathevn is the work of Warped Blasphemer who also lends his talents to Dagorath, Nurt Ognia, and Xarzebaal. Detheven was said to be created in three days and the immediacy of it is apart of a network of standoffish atmosphere that makes me feel bad for mentioning their name and similarities to popular post black metal bands. Detheven doesn’t give a shit about my jokes and this 22 minute demo is a crawl against the fiery floors of damnation. It is unrelenting, without compromise, and above all else not in the mood for humor.

Töxik Death – Sepulchral Demons [Norway, Thrash / Death / Punk] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-22-20

The tags for this record are black / thrash / death / punk and to what percentage is anyone’s guess. Töxik Death care little for being balanced or even correct as the band’s second full length does more for their thesis of destruction than any previous release. Reviewing a band with a larger history is unique on this site as most bands are new or have a few releases before the one being reviewed. Töxik Death is approaching nearly 20 years of being formed and Sepulchral Demons feels like a fiery debut that is setting the stage for a whole career of madness. Sepulchral Demons sharpness the band’s focus from their earlier work and presents a future of old school heavy underground metal worship in a sound that doesn’t feel costumed rather galvanized by the the decades old quest for disorder. Come on and come all for the festival of the ruined.

Veriluola – Demo [Finland, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-28-20

Yes. Yes. Yes. The stars align and we are given a rough black metal record from a band that has yet to have a Metal Archives page or a second supporter on Bandcamp. These are the moments where I feel I have found something that will be of interest to a lot of people and I am excited to see its journey. Veriluola is a Finnish black metal act which worships the noisy and chaotic beginnings of its genre with a demo that is spilling with attitude and atmosphere with a demo that sounds like Possessed, Celtic Frost, and Venom all are locked inside of a closet and told to punch their way out. I will be the first to admit the band has a lot of things to work out of their sound as Demo feels like a scouting mission to survey the terrain of first wave worship. I have a strong feeling they will find their way and set up a new town on the edge of the frontier between life and death.

Evaporated Sores – Ulcerous Dimensions [US, Death / Noise] (2020)

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Sentient Ruin | 9-3-20

If I was going to guess where this act originates, It would be “different places” as the two members from the few bands listed on the Bandcamp profile hail from Mississippi as well as Oregon. We are going to assume Evaporated Sores is a digital project though I could be wrong as the sound is cohesive enough to be recorded live and by cohesive I mean a focused tornado of ruin. Ulcerous Dimensions is the debut (?) release from Evaporated Sores with vinyl and tape coming from Sentient Ruin. One may notice the noise tag in the headline with this release not being truly apart of the harsh noise genre but its sound is drenched enough in caustic chaos that it was worth noting. Evaporated Sores is a mystery in many things mostly for their existence and their ultimate plans on what they plan on doing here as their wake leaves scorched earth.

Sulfure – Neurotisme [Canada, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-15-20

I am excited beyond belief for this demo. Not only is it blistering black metal from Canada but it is also the debut demo from a elf released entity. These are all things which this site strives to showcase and Neurotisme could be the embodiment of this mission as it gallops on spectral horses to trample its listeners. Rather than let a sound run itsway through 3 or four tracks, Sulfure continues to confound its listeners with multiple tracks of snaking black metal that slithers its way through a dynamic landscapes of rot and ruin. This is a release that will live in memory if for nothing else than it is sure to haunt its listeners.