Alhistja – Alhistja [Netherlands, Black / Punk] (2022)



I don’t think I have ever been so surprised by a guitar riff than in the middle of “TERINGFRIEDUS.” Perhaps that is follows a sinister laugh from the guttural pit of vocals or that the song abruptly ends following this bright implosion of melody. There are many things wonderful and wild about this Dutch black / punk band and at the top of the list is the ability to be surprising in offering flowers in one hand and bricks in the other. Alhistja comes partially from the black metal band Botulism and filled in with the vocalist from German death metal act Chapel of Disease. the collision of talents plus an unorthodox approach to an unorthodox style results in a very short but brilliant demo that is full of bats, piss, and searing attitudes.

Alhistja by Alhistja

Faceless Entity – The Great Anguish of Rapture [Netherlands, Raw Black] (2022)


Argento Records | 4-15-22

We do not have much to go on at this point. All we have from the Netherlands based Faceless entity is one track from their new full length, a previous release, and a bunch of images and thematics that seem really fucking cool. From just the sound profile of the preview track “Decaying Banners of Existence” when compared to the multipart segments for their 2017 full length In Via ad Nusquam, Facelsss Entity has made great strides in terms of sound. While both of them are still in the raw black universe, “Decaying Banners of Existence” cuts with a more robust sound while still sounding as menacing as recently freed banshees. Combine this is the spectral ectoplasm cover and and air of mystery which builds walls around this release and one could be excused from becoming excited. I will wait until April but everything for this new full length is a promising escape into the void.

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


The Throat | 1-5-22


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.

Affliction Vector – Death Comes Supreme [Netherlands, Black] (2020)



There is something about artwork depicting Jesus getting run through by demons. This description and accompanying artwork might be ostentatious but it is fitting to Death Comes Supreme, a grand declaration of bestial noise. The Bandcamp page sports names like Mayhem, Voivod, and Bolt Thrower which are three different styles but all fall under one focus of ruinous chaos. While the page only has one song, which cuts off at the end, Affliction Vector comes shambling to the forefront like some stuttering specter with claws and a terrifying presence. Affliction Vector reminds us of the dangerous quality of black metal only in the fact that its rough edges have a chance of carrying disease. This is a haunted releases and the fraying of ones minds under intense spiritual stress.

Old Tower – The Last Eidolon [Netherlands, Dungeon Synth] (2020)


Profound Lore | 4 -24-20

Old Tower was one of dungeon synth’s biggest success stories. From the 2017 release of The Rise of the Specter to the 2017 Bandcamp article, which for a time feature the album cover as its main graphic, to the 2018 release of Stellary Wisdom on Profound Lore, Old Tower seemed to propel from the basement to playing real live shows at real live festivals with real live people. This success story was also cheered on by the community as Old Tower’s music, despite its increasing popularity was never maligned or questioned in terms of authenticity as this Dutch composer paid tribute to dungeon synths history with dark ruminating passages of dungeon dwelling symphonies. The Last Eidolon comes after the composer’s foray into the bleaker dark ambient genre with the result being a slower, darker, more minimalist take on traditional dungeon synth. This is dungeon synth as it is suffocated by dark ambient as the last few regal breathes are consumed by the void.

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Ulk – This Divine Shelter [Netherlands, Dungeon Synth] (2020)


Self Released | 3-15-20

Note: This is perhaps going to be the start of me getting back into dungeon synth. I have written about this genre for many years on various sites and got really involved with the scene. For the past few years I have strayed away from the sound but with the current climate and the fact I will be home most days for the next few weeks, maybe this will be a good time to settle in with some new releases.

Ulk is relatively new with only a few albums released since last year. This was on the new and notable section of Bandcamp and was particulary striking even from the cover as its worn green saturation promised the viewer immersion into a fantasy world filled with regal horns and hazy landscapes of spires. This Divine Shelter fufilled this promise with a dreamscape of a record that is majestic in its undertaking and completely unassuming in its approach.

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Himelvaruwe – Het ondenkbare [Netherlands, Black] (2019)


Self Released, 6-3-2019

Do not let the cover fool you. This is not woozy new age though both have a penchant for mystical soundscapes. I reviewed Himelvaruwe in 2017 with the demo CCIII. I was pleased and surprised there was so much activity between that demo and this as the operator T.J seems to work the best in mania. Just the work in Himelvaruwe alone constitutes productivity let alone his other work in Kaffaljidhma, Ancient Morass, and Mirre.

I enjoy how people approach records and coming from a long background in dungeon synth, the serial release schedule is just something that some bands do. Het ondenkbare is the 7th release in a few short years and the 5th demo for the project. It continues, visually, a motif that shares a design with 2018’s Het onkenbare. Together the two demos translates roughly to “The Public / The Unthinkable” and at least as of now share the same surreal approach to raw black metal with a heavy use of dreamy synth. I found myself drawn to this release the more and more I listened to it and is something that will be pleasing for people with very narrow interests.

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Defacement – Deviant [Netherlands, Death / Black] (2019)


Self Released | 1-19-19

And so this break a nice running streak of black and white covers. It is okay. This is completely worth it. It is nice to get surprised and even knocked down by a sound. Defacement seems to be the new band created by members of a black metal outfit called Deathcrush. While I only listened to a few songs from Deathcrush, I feel the direction of this new outfit is much more appealing to a wider audience. Who is that audience? Well, people who like to hear nightmarish terror in musical form. From song titles, to the abstract cover, Defacement offers inexplicable unease which can not be described or discussed rather just embraced in swirling madness. This is a release which is both simple in its execution and cavernous in its success.

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Psyche – Een pathologie van de geneesheer [Netherlands, Black / Death] (2018)


Self Released | 11=6-18

From the very rough dutch translation the title reads something like Pathology from the Physician or Physician’s Pathology. Furthur translating Psyche’s songs titles reveals a litany of similar themed words such as “Insane,” “Bestial,” “Mercury (?)” and “Cranial.” I am not here to hack my way through Dutch translations rather put into context the debut full length from Psyche, a one metal black metal act that seems to use a variety of different projects for various voices. Psyche’s voice is also the one that sounds like hellish screams inside an abandoned asylum. Aside from the medical themes and metal health motifs which stalk around this record, Psyche’s segments the blistering black / death with moments of guitar solos, soundclips, and a general entertaining approach to something that is rather abysmal on paper. The vocals are something unique and almost entirely inhuman throughout its running time. Despite this however, Een pathologie van de geneesheer never becomes repellent as Pscyhe has found a way to make the collapse of mental structures under the chaos of bestial screams quit pleasing to listen to.

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Himelvaruwe – CCIII [Netherlands, Raw Black / Ambient] (2017)


Self Released | 5-25-17

Yes. this is the weird shit I come to the internet for. From the very fitting grainy cover to the fact that since its release back in May, I have heard very little of this project proves that this is a great find. to be honest, I started this review months ago and let it go to draft only to find it sitting waiting for me. What I realized is this sound is still pleasing and still exciting even after these many months.

The ambient side of this project is important as the swirling atmosphere is completed by the distant and fading memory of black metal. Similar to things like Paysage D’hiver, these types of releases rely on the support of people who want to hear music that is closest to white noise as possible. When discussing fidelity and choices in sound production, Himelvaruwe succeeds at brining the sound perhaps to the edge of music/noise while still retaining its emotional components. I am glad I found this after so many months.

there are a lot of releases in 2017, and sometimes releases just sit on shelves without he attention it deserves. This band has not done anything outside of this demo but still has some updates regarding physical copies of this demo. I am going to strive to make it a point to follow this act and make sure I listen and report the same month as their next release. No promises though.