Vast Night – The Mountain’s Shadow Demo [UK, Raw Black] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-3-22

The Mountain’s Shadow Demo is the first release from solo artist Vast Night, who claims to have worked on the demo for two years. Nice! Congratulations on your first release. Now what is it? Well, this demo is six tracks of raw black metal with a bit of an “atmospheric” black metal sound. But that atmosphere comes not through muddling riffs, but through a commitment to sharp guitar aesthetics (like Ulver) and significant dark ambient influence. Vast Night has a snow-tearing shriek, but the album also features a lot of reverbed spoken word that evoke an appropriately creepy tone. While the demo doesn’t really have much in terms of straight-up riffs, that’s also not entirely the point; the pain and frost is a feature, not a bug. Ever been lost at night on a talus slope? Well, with Vast Night, you could be.

The Mountain's Shadow Demo by Vast Night

Blood Upon Thorns – The Sanguinarian Oath [US, Death] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-9-22

Here’s three tracks in eight-and-a-half minutes (great Dismemberment Plan song!) from Blood Upon Thorns, a one-man death metal act based out of Tennessee. Making up superlatives would be silly: this is no-frills, straightforward death metal that hits hard. With a slightly brutal death metal aesthetic in the percussive vocal delivery, Blood Upon Thorns produces exactly what it sets out to do. The drum programming is on target, with ending track “Daemoneum” having a great echoing snare. Not much to say, but that’s not a bad thing: those looking for a crude, vicious time will be more than happy with what’s here.

The Sanguinarian Oath by Blood Upon Thorns

Vintlechkeit – Is Vidder… [Norway, Black / Ambient / Drone] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-18-22

It’s been a weird week in the Chesapeake Bay. While we had a lovely month of suitably winter weather (with not a few days getting down in the single digits at night), we’ve been slapped in the face by weather that sadly can no longer be called “unseasonable”. And next week it’ll only be weirder, with highs like a late spring and lows like an late autumn. In times like these, I stick to my frozen vegetables: Paysage d’Hiver, DarkSpace, Arkhtinn, and Lunar Aurora – anything that can trick me into believing it’s actually a frosty wonderland outside (there’s a reason I no longer live in Florida). We can also add Vintlechkeit to that mix. Is Vidder… is just one part of a very, very large discography of instrumental black metal + ambient music – like a low-key (and lo-fi) version of Paysage d’Hiver’s Einsamkeit. These three Norwegians specialize in that kind of slow-burn (or slow-freeze?) type of dirge-ish but not necessarily depressive black metal, being more a long gaze toward an obfuscated sun. The first track is more guitar-oriented, whereas the second track is oscillating drone. It’s icicles made from frozen tears all the way down.

Is Vidder… (demo) by Vintlechkeit

Blood Ouroboros – Demo MMXXII [USA, Black / Death] (2022)

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Self Released | 2-14-22

This is one of the coolest demos I’ve heard in the last few years – and that superlative isn’t for its own sake. Blood Ouroboros put out their first equally-awesome demo in 2020, which captured the attention of not a few extreme metallers who like their guitar leads at that curious superposition of melody. Two years later, and we have another – the appropriately titled Demo MMXXII. This leads from the very start with pseudo-punky black / death rhythms and chugs that show remarkable songcraft abilities within this two-piece. The production has that ever so slight guitar crunch to it, which only adds to the wrung-out growls. It’s all full and fire – and full of fire. On their Bandcamp page, the band implores “any label” who wants to release on tape to get in touch with them. I can only hope that this write-up into the aether will help them with that goal. Besides, I want one.

Demo MMXXII by Blood Ouroboros

Begravement – The Anaphylaxis Demo [USA, Death / Thrash] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-7-22

Ah, I’ve now hit that point in my life where I look upon ye band photos and despair, for I cover musicians ten years younger than me who have far better taste than I had at their age… and have been in more bands than I’ve been in now. To quote a famous extreme pop punk band – well, I guess this growing up. Enough blather. Begravement is a four-piece from Minnesota, a place so well-known for cold and ice that a bunch of Scandinavians moved there in the 1800s. This demo is their fourth release since forming in 2018, and it demonstrates one hell of an evolution. Three tracks riff between mid-90s death / thrash rippers, some terrifying spoken word (about whom I assume to be Jeffrey Dahmer), and a dual-vocal attack. The band describes the release as “represent[ing] our transition into a more intricate and technical style”, and I’m inclined to agree – a comparison to Morbid Angel would not be inappropriate, along with some punk-laden thrash on the mid-track break of the title track. There’s a slight undercurrent of melodic death metal, especially in how the vocal tactics are slightly reminiscent of an early Black Dahlia Murder (think “Funeral Thirst”). One would be tempted to say this is impressive given their age, but I find that an unnecessary (and condescending) qualifier – this is impressive, stop. While one may point to the stitched-together riffs being a little too stitched-together, it’s very exciting to hear a band so fresh with ideas that they want to include all of them in as much time as 15 minutes will allow. Suffocation, no breathing – this is my anaphylaxis demo. (go home, booo, you’re not funny sunn_bleach)

The Anaphylaxis Demo by Begravement

Dracoempericon – Dracoempericon [Australia, Death / Black] (2021)

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Self Released | 11-14-21

Kap started off the year with reminding us that vegetables are a decent addition to one’s diet, and exercise will occasionally benefit your body and mind. I’m going to kick off my first post of the year with one of those albums that I’m pretty sure all 40 listeners on YouTube are people I know from the Discord network where it was shared. (Indeed, a Google search of this album brought up all of their Last.FM networks.) Dracompericon has no page on the Metal Archives, no member information, and no presence on social media outside of a lonesome Instagram account… and yet they are undeniably rooted in the fiery bowels of Australian black / death. Even the release date is suspect; the YouTube videos say November 2021, but that’s likely the date of upload and not the date of release. Even more so, one must wonder who is a part of Dracoempericon – this LP blasts out the gate with that ever-so-slightly reverbed production and exceedingly constructed extreme metal. To what other bands can I compare Dracompericon – and perhaps muse on potential membership? Well, I hear a bit of the frenetic spider-hand guitar playing that might point to Horror Illogium of Vomitor and Portal. There’s a bouncy bass aesthetic that doesn’t sound too out of place from StarGazer, though with such an emphasis on capital-A Atmospherics with hints of melody poking through the discord on the longer compositions such as “The Moon Is An Eye”. Whether a late addition to 2021 or an early favorite for 2022, Dracoempericon is an out-of-nowhere masterful addition to the Australian black / death canon.

Check out the LP on the band’s YouTube channel here.

Mharasiidr – En Uggles Blick [Denmark, Raw Black] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-22-22

i wonder if I could capture the essence of ugliness in a sound. Mharasiidr is from Denmark and for the debut EP, this project has decided to smear the world with black gashes. With a ferocious typhoon wall of raw black, En Uggles Blick embraces atonality, dissonance, and also the inclusion of two musicians who play traditional northern European folk instruments which are paraded in the EP’s last track like some condemned prisoner being drug through the streets. Mharasiidr presents a world where everything is horrid and there is little chance of redemption. What is left is a riot of chaos which takes its form as a debut EP from an intriguing band of misfits.

Profane Ruination – Profane Ruination [US, Death / Doom] (2002)

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Self Released | 1-19-22

I would like my demo as raw as possible while still being safe to consume. Profane Ruination comes from a very complex tree of Tennessee based death/black/grind/void music and this venture seems to be the start of something sinister. At only three songs for its debut, Profane Ruination makes an opening statement which is full of not only spastic violence but also veneration for old masters of death metal. Wild solos, eternal riffs, and a drum sound that lives in the basement, this debut demo shows a duo that is ready for many sweat drenched nights in a places I can only assume are dim and humid with death.

Deadyellow / BOBAK – Unbound [US, Black] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-20-22

There is something rotten in the state of New Jersey. I do not know where Bobak calls home but I am going to assume it is near an overpass in the northeast section of the United States. Both bands Deadyellow and Bobak had under reviewed full length debuts in 2021 and this followup EP might be a way to call attention to both projects. Deadyellow brings accessibility to this EP in only so much as the sound inst ear shattering upon arrival. The two songs from the New Jersey project shows the remnants of a post black sound with hints of melody. this is of course dissolved in the second track “Aporia” which is more visceral and ultimately more interesting. The two tracks leads into three from raw black act Bobak. In the style of Bone Awl and other acts found on this site, Bobak screeches and claws violently through three tracks leaving nasty gashes and a lasting impression. This EP does its duty by highlighting two up and coming acts that may have been forgotten throughout the year. Unbound is a reminder that there are horrid things hiding in grisly places.

Phlegmesis – Sewer Pop [US, Death] (2022)

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Self Released | 1-10-22

Somewhere in Massachusetts is a festering wound. This wound is spreading to various projects all centered around the vague notion of death and maybe drugs. Joey Cinz participates and leads various projects such as Morgued, Inhalement, Cacophonia and Phlegmesis which all more or less strive for the same thing which is the gross unease in ones stomach after learning something awful. Sewer Pop is the debut demo from Phlegmesis which strikes a balance between gross aesthetics and irreverent tone. Billed as music one can fuck to, the two songs from Phlegmesis tiers to recreate the manic laugh one gets while watching slasher movies in the dark with just a bong as company.