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.

Funerary Decent – Tombreach [US, Black / Doom] (2020)

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Self Released | 11-28-20

It has been a little bit since I reviewed something that was not dungeon synth but I feel the return to something heavier is fitting that it is so gloomy. Tombreach, the first demo since 2016, marks the return of the Maryland based two piece in a time of great uncertainty and dread. “Unprofessionally recorded, rife with mistakes and experimental notes straight from our malignant dwelling to yours. A small respite from the horrid plague-ridden reality that has veiled the globe. Mourn with us and enjoy.” I can not think of a better demo to break the quasi silence form this band than a demo full of lingering sadness and tolling grief. Through its 24 minutes, Funerary Descent showcases a mastery over negative emotions with a demo that is far above the quality purported in the Bandcamp description. Tombreach is a dazzling demo that has the ability to astound and drown in the murk and mire.

Demon Goat – Messenger of Doom [US, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-11-20

I want you to forget a few things. I want you to forget the tags on this Bandcamp page. I want you to forget the fact that this creator played in Khemmis for a spell. I want you to forget the fact that Demon Goat has a dizzying amount of releases since 2016. I want you to forget about the name Demon Goat. I urge you to forget all of these things and take Messenger of Doom for what it is minus everything that it is attached to. With that you are given an entry into a world of depressive black/doom which is a deluge of catharsis and maligned emotions. I do not want to discount past work or any connection with other bands rather I feel Demon Goat works the best when given a chance to speak and shriek its way into the fabric on your soul.

OTDHR – REHEARSAL II [France, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-13-20

I am not usually down with unfinished products. I understand raw black metal (and to some extent other genres) has an aesthetic that embraces unfinished work as it simultaneously showcases potential while celebrating unpolished atmospheres. OTDHR’s sound was enough to grab interest and this 9 minute rehearsal showed enough talent that I start to wonder what a full length would sound like. Some bands never move out of the demo and rehearsal realm content to keep exploring unrefined landscapes. OTDHR is different in the fact their angular approach to black / doom could be exquisite with the right framing. Rehearsal II (Previous one was a year ago) projects a band that is brimming with angst and airs a sense of mystery through 9 minutes of near sonic misery. Perhaps this will be a story of a band that climbs out of rehearsals and makes a demo (or full length) that amazes everyone. Even without that future, OTDHR is a rare find of a band that warrants putting up their practice recordings as they are interesting enough to sit and listen.

Flesh Megalith – Flesh Megalith [Australia, Death / Doom] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-6-14

Tags: metal, cavernousdeathmetal, doommetal, Australia. I feel everyone can remember a tie when cavern death was rampant and both good and generic releases were flooding bandcamp with labels devoting their roster to bands and albums with slimy sounding names. Flesh Megalith could have been apart of that wave and perhaps if it would have been releases in the mid 00’s, it would be glanced over. Luckily we are in 2020 and the sound of subterranean gloom can be appreciated. Flesh Megalith is here to remind us what the sound of glacial doom can sound like and give veryone a chance 100 years to dig our own graves. Flesh Megalith is the solo side project of the solo raw black metal act Burier. It is these two bands that wecan start tomap themindofits creator and abovr and below ground seem to be haunted with creatures of pure darkness and demise.

Telluric Effluvium – Dissolution of the Threefold Self [US, Funeral Doom] (2020)

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Self Released | 10-3-20

I could probably count the number of funeral doom records reviewed on this site in the entirely of its existence. To be short, funeral doom is not a popular style despite its robust history as an extreme metal genre. This is for various reasons but mainly one might struggle to find an audience that is into lengthy tracks combined with a dismal atmosphere. This hurdle however does not stop the genre and with the success of bands like Bell Witch, Funeral doom remains a niche but fertile genre to sow the seeds of despair. Dissolution of the Threefold Self is the debut full length from Denver based Telluric Effluvium. Over the course of three lengthy tracks, the band manages to weave a tapestry of gloomy dirges and condenses funeral doom’s most memorable aspects into a record that is only 30 minutes long. This might seem unorthodox for a genre that is famous for its glacial running time but Dissolution of the Threefold Self works in its expedited state and manages to be effective at a quicker pace. All hail eternal mourning.

Celestial Sanctuary – Mass Extinction [UK, Death] (2020)

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Redefining Darkness | 8-28-20

Right now I am going to be talking to the three of you that recognize that this demo was released late year year and is thus not apart of 2020. I know and you know but for the rest of us that missed this short slab of looming riff worship. Aside from having one of the best names in recent memory, Celestial Sanctuary nails the related tags of kneeling at the altar of Benediction and Cancer with a short demo of horror and laid back decay. This demo is seeing another round of promotion on Redefining Darkness with a chance to get their out of print tape that was limited to 25 copies.

Sarin Bath – Sarin Bath [Canada, Black / Sludge] (2020)

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Self Released | 7-20-20

With a name and cover like Sarin Bath, one is going to have ready themselves for distilled emotion in the form of black tar. Similar to bands like Thou and to a lesser extent Couch, Sarin Bath delivers a torrent of raw blackened sludge which unlike the two bands listed, comes without any filter of production. This is just the listener and the band in a room together and one of them is waving a knife. It may take a bit but after a some time spent in the depths of madness, this whole affair becomes oddly desirable.

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Eternal Rot – Putridarium [UK / Poland, Doom / Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 7-6-20

Let the filth rain. If the stark black and white near cartoon cover was not enough indication, Eternal Rot’s second release is going to be akin to reading a horror comic with black and white gore strewn among its pages. Eternal Rot is a cross country collaboration between Polish and English musicians who have found a common language if filthy riffs. Putridarium is the second full length from this act even though their full lengths are only a few long tracks. There is no time down here in the torture chamber of eternity.

Diabolic Oath – MMXIX [US, Black] (2019)

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Sentient Ruin | 6-26-20

So the way I found this record was first finding the band’s 2019 demo and being upset that such a great sound went missed int he year it was released. I was then shown a dark light which led me to the band’s 2020 full length from Sentient Ruin which is now allowing me to drown in a sea of ghosts. Diabolic Oath is the extension of Shroud of the Heretic, an Oregon based death metal act that has their noses in grimoires. Diabolic Path continues that obsession with a sound that is both polished but ragged with rough edges. Black, death, and doom swirl around this release much like its cover in a declaration of spectral malice.