Various – Black Steel from the Heart of the World [Finland, Raw Black] (2022)

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Sol / Deviant Records

“Local scenes have always been crucial nuclei of the Black Metal underground. Separated from their contexts many of the most important releases we know would not have emerged the way they eventually did. Mutual inspiration, reciprocal challenging, the creative flux of ideas and at times decades long personal ties of comradeship form invaluable dynamics – a rich multitude of perspectives on the one hand, common distinctive sounds and patterns on the other. One of such spheres that constantly managed to excite us over the past years is the obscure Black Metal underground of the Jyväskylä area in the western Finnish Lakeland. Here at the dark, cold, hilly and forested slopes of the Jyväskylä ridge already plenty of Deviant Records releases originated. “Black Steel from the Heart of the World” offers a gathering of seven closely connected entities, each deeply rooted in ecstatic Black Metal yet each with their very own share of this somewhat intangible moonstruck lunacy that is born under the same moon, the same stars, the same night sky.

I feel including the Bandcamp description was important for this compilation as it captures to scope and thesis for this collection. This is also important since the music from this compilation is cast without much information. From far as I can tell most of the material is new or unreleased from these seven acts. This is exciting especially when given a focus as this is a very interconnected scene of Finnish raw black from a local region of a country. Some of these bands share members and most all of them have probably played on the same shows. there is a cohesiveness when presented with a time and place and Black Steel from the Heart of the World does just that in the loudest way possible.

Black Steel from the Heart of the World by Various

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.

Brainspoon – Monstrous Chains [Finland, Death] (2021)

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Self Released | 2-12-2021

Ah, this one almost passed me by. If Ye Olde Metal Archives are to go by, then Brainspoon has been around for almost a full decade with two EPs and two demos to their name. “Monstrous Chains” is the second emo – three tracks demo of monstrous Finndeath with slight crossover elements. Dirty and sloppy, but in the way I’m into. And with a name like Brainspoon, you know well what to expect: hoarse vocals, Autopsy-esque production, and punky rhythms that are firmly grounded in death riffing. This is a great example of a demo with more ideas in 12 minutes than what others do in 40; the nigh-3 minute “Graveside” swaps between Sempiternal Deathreign-style death/doom elements (read: not just quarter-speed riffs!), fast as hell switch-ups, and even a couple quick solos for good measure. There’s a slight hollow production to the sound that gives an extra paunch not usually heard in this type of death metal; I like it, beat the bloated corpse. The title and closing track matches cycling solos alongside chugging-engine rhythms. So come on! Do it!

Black Mass Pervertor – Sodomiittien seura [Black / Punk] (2021)

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Self Released | 3-21-21

Writting about this review is a reminder to myself to finish my black/punk — punk/black primer. I love this sound and the more I explore in the rotted afterparty of the fusion between black and punk, the more I find the sound as varied as something like death metal. Black Mass Pervertor leans towards a thrash driven speed style of black metal with an aura of perverted partying rather than occult rituals. With tags like “sodomite rock,” and themes such as blasphemous revelry both in the flesh and in spirit, Black Mass Pervertor continues to hold the soiled flag of black/punk as it chucks liquor bottles at the ones who are cheering them on.

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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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.

Silent Cabin – Echoes [Finland, Dungeon Synth / Drone] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-30-20

You know the story. Obscure bedroom artist. Stellar quiet minimal sound. Handmade and handnumbered edition of 20 copies which have all sold out. By now I should brace myself not to be upset when this happens rather relish in the fact that those 20 people are apart of a collective that has supported a DS artist that not only has embraced the cold sounds of traditional dungeon synth but also sent it further into the freezing wasteland. Quiet and contemplative, Echoes is a monolith on the horizon on the grayest of days.

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VERIKYYNELEET – Ilman Kuolemaa [Finland, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-21-20

I would like to think of this site as a place that we all find new music that is scattered among Bandcamp. VERIKYYNELEET is not new and their debut on I, Voidhanger Records is not the typical self release on 10 cassettes that is normally seen on this site. It is okay since VERIKYYNELEET has spent a considerable amount of time in the shadows of the 00’s making raw depressive black metal demos. 2019 saw the first release in more than 10 years with Melacholic and Ilman Kuolemaa is the proper debut for the artist. For as long as this record took to be made, it feels like there is a lifetime’s work build into the very structure of the music. Harsh and abrasive, Ilman Kuolemaa breathes catharsis as a depressive black metal offering that feels like it needed to be made rather than wanted.

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ESTOC – Chapter I [Finland, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Dungeon Deep Records | 6-5-20

So a few things. this was late 2019 record that was fairly popular but now with the batch release from Dungeon Deep Records it has skyrocketed in popularity leading to it selling out of its tape quantity in probably a day. this is both wonderful and frustrating but also expected with this type of dungeon synth. For those who did not get a chance to grab a tape, you are still left with the digital version that still exudes a soft and melodious air of magic. Somewhere between dungeon synth, new age, and bardic music for adventures lies ESTOC and a release that came out of left field and went straight into my heart for all time.

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Burzygóry – Burzygóry [Finland, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Naturmacht Productions | 5-28-20

Bookmarked for greatness. I am going to precede this review with the fact I dislike the cover for Burzygóry as well as the name. I do not know what it is amaboutt both of them but they are repellent and I do not think I would have listened to this had I not been intrigued by the label. With all of that out of the way, I am glad i did listen. Burzygóry is thew work of Zannibal who is one third of the folk/black act Marrasmieli. In true fashion of dungeon synth, Zannibal sets out to create familiar and alien landscapes with the mastery of someone who has been doing this for years. Burzygóry is not only refined but it is effective at its settlement in the colony of dungeon synth.

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