Hammer Crime is strange and wonderful all at once. Resting at a confluence of black, thrash, punk, and groove metal, this Canadian band makes a demo that really just is an ugly brick thrown into your window. Now will I say all of this is refined and perfect? Absolutely not. Is it effective in its window smashing and ability to command attention? Yes. Look at all of this glass. From name, to sound, to just general vibe, Hammer Crime is delinquent in its behavior and probably shouldn’t be trusted around sharp objects or flammable materials.
First off, let me preface this demo review with the aesthetic of home entry and stalker killings is not something I am completely on board with. I usually just write off weird metal aesthetics as idiosyncratic escapism but that is is something about a knife wielding maniac entering into windows that unnerves me. With all of that out of the way, take that sense of unease and give it a sleazy metal punk vibe and you have something that is unwholesome and catchy as fuck.
From the cold lands of neverwhere, comes a cassette filled with icy black punk / dark ambient. Black / punk has always been a favorite of mine though the tone and style has always been scathing and alive. KRAAPIDES NAHKA takes the same idea of black / punk and buries it in a winter forest for a few decades before returning with a shovel. Through cracked ground and howling winds, Manifestation I is a haunted cassette of tortured memories and frozen emotions that hang motionless upon evergreens. This cassette just came out and it is currently limited to 2 per customer. I have no idea how popular this will be but I am in awe of its scope and effectiveness at being unreachable.
Bring me that black/speed/punk. I honestly love union between the ferocity of punk/speed with the ominous aesthetic of black metal. The result is something that is foreboding but also fun and exciting. Narcömancer is a new entity from Portugal whose demo (?) has yet to be registered most places. For now we are given 4 tracks of Motörhead influenced satanic worship. While Narcömancer doesn’t stray to far from other bands like Speedwolf or Midnight, it is all a party and you are never invited but expected to show up.
It is true that Witch Ward only has one preview track available. it is true that preview track is 9\around 90 seconds. It is true there are better descriptions out there than just “punk/metal.” It is true, there is a lot of uncertainty about this release that could give moments of pause. This, however, is alleviated seeing it is from Caligari, which is one of the top labels in the trade of absolutely vile material. Through that 90 second preview track, one is exposed to a blistering world of raw insanity that reeks of body odor, stale beer, and grave soil. I will patiently away the release of the whole record but I can already tell its going to be a party in Hell.
It is difficult sometimes to parse out where black metal and punk rock meet since its middle is a battleground of trashed vocals and even more trashed riffs. At some point the genres meet in a riotous demolition of sound making it hard to distinguish between the two. Qual fits into this nebulous category as it is just basement punk rock with even more guttural vocals. the funny thing about all of this, is that An Unfathomable Darkness fits so well with its sound. It is groovy in a shredded shirt way and catchy in a bleeding wound sort of fashion. This all is a party with a broken bone and it is wonderful.
I do not even know where to put this so Ill just throw it on the counter and let anyone pick it up if they want to. I have to say I love the color red as I feel it works really well for any album covers. The front of this promo is an example as it exemplifies the visceral qualities of music that is caught between hardcore punk and slow death. Perhaps one of the better examples is the longest track on this promo as “Bite Down” revels in the chaos of noise before lurching into a disjointed march across what I feel could be a wasteland strewn with corpses and nuclear waste. There are few genres this neatly fits into but it perfect music for the apocalypse.
Hello again Knife vision. I see you are looking particularly grim and vile today. It was only a week ago I stumbled on the Arnor demo and a whole page of interesting looking things. Now it is time for Skrawl and but the opening crash of black punk, this is something I can sign up for and enlist in whatever army they are forming. The recent influx of new black / punk bands as some nightmarish manifestation of raw torment is something that has never stopped being fun and horrid sounding. Skrawl continues this journey into the groovy madness with a sound that is like kicking televisions and an aesthetic that I want to put on a patch right away. It is only the first month of 2019 and Knife Vision needs to stop being so cool otherwise I am going to look silly when I keep writing about these releases.
there are a lot of things I enjoy about Wojtek. I love the fact they lay music in a way that is feverish and maniacal. I love the fact their aesthetic clings to a crossover between occult black and anarchopunk. I love the fact all of the song titles and album cover could be slight parody if not backed up by blistering chaos. I love the fact their band is named after a WWII bear adopted by the Polish military. With everything to love, listening to Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old is similar to reaching for a hug but only getting arms full of razorwire in return.
similar to the tag of black/doom, black/punk is varied in its final mixture and can be different for each practitioner. While some blackened punk retains the musical structure of punk with shrieking vocals and others black metal with predilections for chaos, Wojtek is right in the middle with a record that could honestly be a black sheep in each of its parent genres. With nothing to call home, Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old turns into a molotov cocktail of alchemist fire and hammers in the aesthetic of a city devoured in the flames of sorcery.
I do not know if I would like this better with a more orthodox album cover. I have been staring at the cheap Xerox quality drawing wondering if it would be better just with a black and white sigil of some sorts. After deep meditations, I feel the cover for Slaved In Eternal Obeisance To Gravelords Of Old is fitting as it showcases all of the wants and needs of this record and really acts an overture for the album. Prepare for nothing you are preprepared for.
I think it was the cover art for Den ed du har svoret which initially drew my eye with its runic and esoteric markings. It was most certainly the combination of depressive black metal and raw punk rock that kept me locked in the world of misery and strife. Vaabnet is one of of a few Danish black bands found in recent memory with the other being Fanebærer, Lesion, Gabestok, and Blot & Bod. In fact, all of these bands recently played a show together which is how I found the connection. Whatever the hell is happening over there is scary and wonderful.