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.

KRAAPIDES NAHKA – MANIFESTATION I [Canada, Raw Black / Punk / Dark Ambient] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-26-20

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.

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Narcömancer – Narcömancer [Portugal, Black / Punk / Speed] (2020)

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Self Released | 4-13-20

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.

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Witch Ward – Sacrificial Monolith [US, Punk / Metal] (2020)

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Caligari Records | 5-1-20

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.

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Qual – An Unfathomable Darkness [US, Punk / Black] (2020)

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3-23-20 | Self Released

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.

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Vile Spirit – Promo 2019 [UK, Punk / Metal] (2019)

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Quality Control HQ | 1-21-19

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.

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