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

Pungent Shroud – Demo Collection [US, Black / Death] (2022)

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Weregnome Records | 2/25/22

This is funny since it feels like both of my worlds are closing in on each other. Weregnome Records is a dungeon synth label who fervently features outsider and weirdo synth records to the delight of everyone. Over the past few months, the label has been branching out showcasing a more diverse selection of strange. Pungent Shroud is an Ohio based black / death act which spawns from the local Ohioan underground. Demo Collection is a tape compilation of all existing demo material plus three additional tracks. Demo Collection in an introduction into the haphazard and often times hazardous world of Pungent Shroud who leans on the the aesthetic of eternal rot. Whether or not its extended guttural intonations, near collapsing production, or ripped sound clips from the film Blue Velvet, the style of Pungent Shroud is one of freedom from all social contracts. This is music of the feral which will attack you in the daylight and it is everything you need at the moment.

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.

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.

Extinguished – Vomitous Manifestations [Finland, Death] (2022)

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Caligari Records | 2-24-22

As of writing this review, Extinguished is without a Metal Archives page. I am sure this will change though it seems like the band is just getting together and going through some sort of metal customs area. Extinguished comes by the way of a confluence of Finnish black / death bands namely Obscure Burial, Sickness, and Sadokist. While the sound s of grinding death maybe new for this venture, the energy of chaotic nausea might be a an aesthetic waymark. Though only one preview track available the power and force at which this music is delivered is enough for interest. At the moment of this writing, there are tapes available for preorder which I am sure will sell out soon. I am sure of it as I can see this sound hanging in the air like dangerous miasma.

Albionic Hermeticism – Brittonic Ways [France, Black] (2021)

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The Hermetic Order of Ytene | 10-15-21

The Hermetic Order of Ytene is a collective of black metal and experimental music bands based out of the UK and France. Naturally, their lyrical themes primarily explore esotericism with a distinctly UK volkisch bent. As far as can be told, the primary creator behind most of these projects goes by the pseudonym “O.W.G.A.” – of which Auld Ridge’s Consanguineous Tales of Bloodshed and Treachery has ended up being one of my favorites of the year with its blend of furiously riffy black metal and neofolk. Albionic Hermeticism is another (awesome) part of the Order – though this band plays more straightforward black metal with some minor death metal influences. Where Auld Ridge is sublime, Albionic Hermeticism is raucous; this release has far more discord and way less gorgeous melody compared to Auld Ridge, though still firmly within “classic” black metal aesthetics. Two stand-out tracks include “Ciele Uppan Fells” with its tupa-tupa beat and “Summon’d Orlaeg” in the brash 11 minutes of fire.

Memorandum – Menhirs… Affres [Canada, Funeral Doom] (2021)

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Self Released | 6-27-21

Did you find that Tardus Mortem album too long? Well, time for some funeral doom! That’s not a joke (for real this time). Memorandum is funeral doom metal, but it’s the most bite-sized funeral doom out there. Menhirs… Affres is a two-track release in under 30 minutes that fits right in with Worship and Ahab. This is a one-man project from Caleb Simard – and if you’re willing to feel bad about your life so far, he’s only 17 right now. Yep, 17, and put out what I currently think is one of the best funeral doom metal albums of the year. The second track brings in a wonderfully dirge-esque piano lead. That can sound hokey when does poorly, but – as both Skepticism and Memorandum demonstrates – when pulled off, it’s pulled off well. Try this out if you’re interested or already into funeral doom but you don’t want to carve out a weekend to finish an album. One can only imagine where Caleb will be in five years, let alone ten or twenty.

Menhirs… Affres by Memorandum

θoʊθ – Ruins of Gubla [?, Death / Doom / Sludge] (2021)

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Kellerassel Records | 2-1-21

Let’s see if I can get through this review without using the word “goobly”. The enigmatic θoʊθ (purported to be an ancient name for the god Toth) plays “ancient death metal” with a Phoenician and Babylonian lyrical bent. “Ancient’ is certainly a good self-descriptor: there’s no lack of dust on this production. Note that I use the word “dust” instead of “filth” or “grime” – it’s tempting to interchangeably use those words, but I think “dust” better demonstrates the thick, brow-beating grotesqueness. I would go so far as to call some of these riffs positively stoner – the very beginning has that kind of hypotuned chunkiness I closely associate with Sleep. Most of the demo is the kind of death / sludge embodied by Boy Body (pun intended!), though with a less caustic affect. Track three (“Trumpets of None Ѭ Kingdom of All”, very nice) brings back that stoner-doom quality again with all the grinding criticality that good death metal evokes. This is the kind of release that perfectly fits the demo aesthetic, and I can only hope this isn’t a one-off release; hence why I am making sure there’s a Tape Wyrm write-up for this prior to end of the year shenanigans. There, I did it.

θoʊθ – Ruins of Gubla by Kellerassel Records

Perdizione – Descend Without Fortune [USA, Black / Punk] (2021)

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Spiritual Disease | 4-16-21

A Xeroxed photo of a hanging as the album art? Tell me, is this black metal or a Controlled Bleeding demo from 1984? Oh, it’s black metal – and oh boy is it spooky. This year, there’s a plethora of black metal and punk rock hybrids that are immensely unsettling. Not that the hybrid has ever been amiss from disturbing subject matter – I’m not going to play Bone Awl at my little brother’s wedding – but it tends to be more intense in visual art and subject matter than the sound itself. Perdizione is an example of a demo where it’s just straight-up unnerving. Diavolo Odioso (translation: “Hateful/Hated Devil”, implying both qualities at once) presents 17 minutes of pain to music. Did you check out the Grinning Death’s Head EP from earlier this year? Like that, but as a demo, and far more misanthropic. There’s a delay effect to the vocals that I’m not usually into within extreme metal, but it works here for a similar reason to Arckanum; almost like a more evil, intense, and obscene version of that band. Recommended for fans of the aforementioned Grinning Death’s Head as well as the Леший demo from this year.