Collapsed Skull – Eternity Maze [US, Punk / Hardcore] (2022)

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This is the type of kickstart I need everyday. All I need is coffee and a swift kick to the jaw. Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of this release is the non sequitur samples that are thrown in to segment the power violence which spills out of its speakers. Collapsed Skull has a good handle on harsh music but also the ability to mesh disparate styles together in some sort of horrid quilt. Both Collapsed Skull and the label Closed Casket Activities seems to be on the same page of presenting hardcore / punk / ??? in the most antisocial and dangerous way possible which is both scary and exciting.

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

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4-8-22

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

Brånd – Wo draht da Weg? [Austria, Experimental Black / Punk] (2022)

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Self Released | 2-4-22

This is positively bizarre black / punk from Austria. Wo draht da Weg? is a completely out-there EP in five tracks. Though raw black metal on paper, the vocals completely eschew the typical harshness of either black metal or punk. There’s baritone prostrations to whatever god of Faust might be listening at the moment. Perhaps it’s better to describe this as black / post-punk. The title track certainly demonstrates this, with an echoing guitar lead that is slowly buried under the cacophonous percussion and lo-fi aesthetic. And then it rips right back into tupa-tupa-tupa beats that place it alongside a deranged Raspberry Bulbs. Give this a listen if you enjoy your black metal raw and wriggling.

Wo draht da Weg? by Brånd

Rose Cross – Rosicrucian Song [US, Raw Black] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-17-22

Pull out your copies of Foucault’s Pendulum. Rose Cross is a raw black metal-cum-punk band from Florida that plays three tracks exploring the arcane. In contrast to the more rapid-fire black / punk of bands like Bone Awl or Raspberry Bulbs, Rose Cross is a bit more mid-tempo. “Ceremonies for Ancient Knowledge” is nearly ritualistic, and “Madathanus” could be described as plodding. But that doesn’t mean to imply boredom; check this out for some of that dirty raw black and punk rock sound that just might have strong feelings about prime numbers. The Templars do not hold a stake in Tape Wyrm.

Rosicrucian Song by Rose Cross

Sovnya – Sovnya [US, Raw Black / Punk] (2021)

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Self Released | 8-31-21

I fist would like to give a special thanks to whoever designed the cover for Sovnya’s self titled debut as I feel it is a magnet for anyone who seeks out visual low fidelity. The raw cover is similar to other raw black metal but its use of mostly white and light blue is unique especially when paired with more of a punk sound. Sovnya is from New Jersey and their debut only totals about nine minutes with three of it being spent in noisy space. It is within these nine minutes though, the band has ample time to lob a brick at its listeners. With as much attitude as ample chaos, Sovnya positions themselves in an interesting space where the ruin of sound propels the music towards entertaining conclusions. As mentioned before, the use of noise and space in such a short timeframe shows a band that is not in a hurry to make anything commercial or even accessible to listeners. Sovnya is making music the way they want to and with the time they have they have chosen things that deconstruct reality.

Torturers’ Lobby – Again [US, Black / Punk] (2021)

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Self Released | 1-23-21

Upon reviewing my list of so-far-listened releases in the first half of 2021, I noticed that I had missed writing on one of my favorite demos so far. Torturers’ Lobby is certainly an evocative name for a band – let alone a photo of a half-decapitated (strangled, perhaps?) dove. The group comes from the hot and humid land of Tampa (though not as bad as Tallahassee, lemme tell ya from experience). The sweat and grime is all over this 18-ish minute demo, throwing screamed black / punk vocals and some serious guitar licks. “Pro War” has a psuedo call-and-response break to it that ends in a dive bomb before blasting back into the fray. Love it. The four-minute outro is nice as well, being a slow burn of guitar feedback, cycling clean-ish progressions, and percussion going on the down side. Lots of that intense, manic black / punk on “Again” – the kind of raw fury that keeps me focused on furiously typing those Tape Wyrm reviews. Get at the power, get at the sound. It rips. Do you? Yes, you do. Believe in yourself, you cad.

AGAIN -DEMO- by TORTURERS’ LOBBY

Cruel Master – Repeat Offender [US, Black / Punk] (2021)

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Self Released | 1-22-21

Black / Punk hybrids often fall into a trap. The inherit rawness of the fusion’s forebears in Ildjarn plus the contemporary sounds of Bone Awl (et al.) have inspired lots of bands to record the harshest sound they can make with sticks-and-stones instrumentation. Which is fine, there’s absolutely a base for that – in addition to the axiom that artists should make the music they want to make. And (not “but”), I hugely enjoy hearing a black / punk artist who pushes a little out of that murk. As the album and track titles demonstrate, “Repeat Offender” is a bit scarier, a bit more disturbing – bringing in abuse, harsh sex, and stalking. I don’t mean to imply voyeurism. If anything, Cruel Master sounds like a band that actually can pull off the “this stuff is pretty horrible, and it’s actually disturbing” aesthetic. If you’re not on board with that, then I can absolutely understand.

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.

Hammer Crime – MMXX [Canada, Black / Thrash / Punk] (2020)

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Self Released | 10-16-20

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.

Cruel Master – Demo IX [US, Black / Death / Punk] (2020)

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Self Released | 7-14-20

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.