Olshanoe – Канун [Russia, Dungeon Synth / Neoclassical] (2020)

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Shum Derevyev Records | 7-8-20

This release is actually from late 2019 but now is seeing a wider distribution via a Russian tape label called Shum Derevyev Records. I am not familiar of the other releases on this label save for the fact that if they are the same quality as Olshanoe, then I can be eternally excited. Olshanoe is not traditional dungeon synth rather a marriage between neoclassical, ambient, folk, and a variety of nature based instrumentals dedicated to the breathing world. Shum Derevyev Records supports this with a small batch release of Russian(?) artists dedicated to myth, lore, and new age devoted synth. If shipping wasn’t so expensive from Russian, I would own more tapes, but Olshanoe should keep me entertained for a while.

IIIXK – Demo 2020 [Russia, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 7-9-20

I have unfairly been critical to Russian black for a while due to various circumstances. I feel this is because black metal, for me, has been cast aside for other forms of heavy metal. This does not mean I ignore interesting releases, especially when it rains down in heavy drops of blood. IIIXK is a brand new act and the Demo 2020 is the introduction to a world carved with angst and a penchant for noise. Rather than surrendering to raw black, IIIXK manages to dance around dissonance with a release that echoes with sonic disdain.

TOSS – Черный Поток Семени Ада [Russia, Black / Death] (2020)

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TEMPLE OF MORBID SOUND/ХРАМ БОЛЬНОГО ЗВУКА | 8-8-20

One of the reasons I am so hesitant about Russian based releases is there sometimes cryptic existence which is buried in their insular social media. Add to this the already cryptic nature of occult based black death and you have a hilarious investigation trying to figure out even the band name. I THINK the band’s name is Toss and this is the second 2020 from ХРАМ БОЛЬНОГО ЗВУКА (Temple of Morbid Sound) with the first being from НЕЖИВОЙ. Toss, as of this moment, isnt anywhere on social media I can find so the two songs are going to have to speak for the band. With that said and aside from all of this nonsense piecing information together, Toss’ debut(?) is a hellish ride through the gates of damnation with stopping points at torment and oblivion. Somewhere between obscurity and clarity rests this release and it gets more interesting by the moment.

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Cenobite – Soul Torn Apart [Russia, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-6-20

I think this is one of the few times I am 100% with the music even if I have some criticisms about the aesthetic. I do not think Soul Torn Apart fails in its aesthetic rather I feel a band devoted to Hellraiser could be more arcane with its song titles. I only mention this since the more generic album and song titles do not reflect the absolute monster of a release this is as Cenobite channels old school death like they were summoning devils in a lab. Riffs like spires and an attitude which drags across the floor, Soul Torn Apart is one of the nastiest demos in recent memory and I almost passed it over.

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Elador – The Last Journey [Russia, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-14-20

It is sort of charming the new Elador comes with the frank apology of being inactive due to school and service in the Army. I always like it when dungeon synth drops its veil of secrecy and reveals very real people with real lives playing apart in this elaborate escapism. Back in 2015, Elador released a split with Medhelan called ​A Crown of Ice and Stone. That was my first dungeon synth tape purchase which led me into a frantic collector phase which I still have today. Elador’s last proper release was 2017 and like some other artists, are slowly getting back into the scene with fantastic records. Elador for anyone new is an orchestral styled artist who takes large cues from the soundtracks of Skyrim. In fact, I think there was an EP dedicated to the world of Skyrim. The Last Journey is the return of Elador but unlike the last few records, this one has pronounced sound effects and wandering melodies which is a bit jarring at times but seems to be working towards something greater. I always enjoy listening to Elador and nit just because of my history but rather this is n artist who is honest and genuine and is just a real person making fantasy ambient.

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Pyre – Chained to Ossuaries [Russia, Death] (2020)

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Memento Mori | 4-27-20

Before we begin, this is a full length scheduled to come out on Memenoto Mori on April 27th, which was a few days ago. There is no current option to purchase, support, or even own a digital copy of this sample (?). This makes it a little frustrating since this release is crispy and rotting at the same time. Russian death is not unheard of rather is exists dwarfed by other underground genres coming from the country — nameley black metal. This is why when Pyre presents a slick old school worship in the same vein as Massacre or Pestilence, it is going to hit harder than normal. This is what I want from my death metal, something that comes with the force of a rusty tire iron.

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Utred – Citadel ◊ Forest ◊ Sovereign [Russia, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Gondolin Records | 4-6-20

This is a compilation collecting the early work from Russian artist Utred. The span of material in this compilation ranges from 2016 into 2017 with various unrleeased material. I remeber when Firest was released in 2016 and I became aquaninted with Utred. Now as we enter into 2020, Gondolin Records has collected a majority of work and segemented the releases with unreleased and remastered material. Regardless of your familiriaty with this artist, this current compilation is a wonderul journey from lo fi court music to majestic romps in magical woods and even to kingdoms far beyond the mountains. Forest was one of my favorite releases from Utred, aside from the 2017 cover album, and now I get to experience that memeory collected in one place. Take up your arms once more brave knight.

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Porcha – Demo [Russia, Raw Black] (2019)

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Self Released | 1-13-19

I am sometimes hesitant to put the “raw” in from of black metal when describing music as it often comes down to a subjective judgmental what is processed and what is not. I believe we can all agree which side this Porcha demo falls. If someone disagrees with me, I would love to see something else that is less structured, chaotic, and fucked up. Seriously, this isn’t a challenge, it is a request as I love this type of music which borders on the collapse of structure and nears being a concept rather than something to listen to. I do not even know if I enjoy this but it certainly is something to stop and gawk at like a horrific car accident.

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Constrained Ferocity – Dusk Of Humanity [Russia, Death / Grind] (2018)

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Self Released | 9-3-18

It looks like there is little information regarding this act so we are just going to start making things up about this act which seemed to come from nowhere. I believe it was the cover which got me in ensnaring my attention. The underground comic violence cast in blue shades was something that could only come from a band which the right mindset. This was shades of humor cast from a large imposing object of death / grind. Dusk Of Humanity is the band’s debut EP. I think. In the summer the band released a rehearsal demo which was poorly recorded even for fans of lo-fi extreme metal. Dusk of Humanity sounds full which allows the bleeding style of music to shine and even showcases the band’s biggest aspect; filthy death metal riffs in the worship of bands like Autopsy and Asphyx. The marching beat of the EP’s (?) title track is something that could only come with a cover of cartoonish violence and devotion to disaster.

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Cist – The Frozen Casket [Russia, Death / Thrash] (2018)

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Camo Pants Records | 3-16-18

I do not think I have so thoroughly entertained with music while being baffled by the name of the record label. Camo Pants Records is either a goofy name with no meaning or some hidden tongue and cheek reference to death metal fashion. I think I spend so much time discussing this aspect as Cist’ Frozen Casket is the inaugural release for the UK label and if subsequent records are going to be as good, then we need to get this name thing worked out.

Cist is a Russian outfit with an unabashed infatuation with 90’s US death metal and 80’s European thrash. I know this because their Bandcamp page states they are “high speed, manic, death thrash, forged through an uncompromising meld of eighties era Tampa death metal and aggressive European style thrash.” Cool, we know where to start. Pestilence, Death, Solstice, and Obituary are all ghosts which hang around this newcomer and by the sounds of their first EP, this band nails everything about the sound. Though I usually applaud bands for not becoming too absorbed in costume, my love for old school death eclipses everything else and songs like “Antisceptic” are sugary and sewery in its enjoyment.

I still have no idea what the record label name means but I am willing to waive them through as long as things like The Frozen Casket keep getting produced. Camo Pants and Cist make a strong declaration for the beginning of the year and provides a wonderful soundtrack for Valentines Day. This holiday, spend it in the arms of 90’s era death / thrash and die a thousand times.

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