Saturday, September 12, 2015

Field of Spears - You'll Always Find Me EP

So this is kind of a b-side from the new record (which is almost finished, hurrah for once), just didn't really fit with the vibe of what I've been coming up with. It does feel like it could have been on Cairns for the Lost.

Wholy Failure - Sand In Our Eyes

A new Wholy Failure experiment to boggle the mind and fuck the ears. Almost an hour long noise/drone ritual.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Most Holy Death - Even in the Blossoms of My Sin EP

A new day, a brand new record from our friend Most Holy Death. This just released EP focuses more on the noise/experimental side of MHD. A harsh, unyielding slab of noise that entices and destroys, as hypnotic and transfixing as anything on Forsake Your Blood, Death Knell, or the split with Wholy Failure

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mur - Athabasca

Wow. Not often do I find a band who can make the content or subject of their music feel as cohesive and alive as Mur has on his first release. Cam Sather is the artist known as Mur and from his Minnesota base he has created some of the best and most compelling black metal I have heard in a long while. Athabasca tells of the relation between the Grey Wolf and American Bison, and if you are going to tell an American story, you best have an american sound. Mur has that in spades, from a drone influence recalling Scenics' Aquatica (a very desolate southwestern drone sound, fitting for description of the great plains of the US), to banjo and acoustic guitar working together, to black metal sections that just sound like they were born between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Appalachia with Cascadia, none overwhelming the other. This is just top notch music here. Well done. Very well done.

Kormeth - Despond

This may be the worst guitar sound that I've heard in a long time. Sounds like it was played with a first act guitar through a 2 watt practice amp (the shitty solid state ones) and recorded with a computer mic. Its so thin and non-realistic and just noodles on pointlessly and tunelessly. Also the mixing seems to be an issue as well. If you are going to feature midi instruments, you want your music to either sound as good or the midi to sound as bad as your recording. This is just a mess of superclean synths and midi vox over said superthin guitars, bass that stands out (of the mix, and the song, but not in any sort of way you'd want) and surprisingly decent vocals. I get the feeling that this is supposed to be experimental but only the bass really succeeds in sounding put together, and ends up overplaying over everything else. The leads are just out of tune jazzy noodling. Its like getting your dick sucked by someone with a mouth full of bitting ants (or for a less fucky example like getting your dick sucked by a teenager with braces and no clue how to suck a cock). Yes, its still a blowjob, but its so bad and painful you'd have been better of just rubbing one out or learning how to fuck your own ass. This is kind of up its own ass, but going limp at the same time. A little more time to focus on songwriting, a lot more cohesiveness on the mixing, better guitar playing, and reign in the bass, and this project could improve a lot. Until then, pass the lube.

Rasha'im - An Invocation

Like Murphy's Law, back with a bong! Rasha'im kicks us off with some basic ass demo of basic ass satanic black metal. Sounds like a single take rehearsal demo. Hopefully you like your snare drums with no snap and your bass drum played with a stuffed animal on a stick. Nothing too offensive, pretty much black metal 101 mixed with some doom metal elements. Actually the longer, doom-ier songs are more enjoyable and flow better. A pretty middle of the road, but enjoyable first release from these kvltists from Colorado.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wholy Failure/Most Holy Death - Split

I'm back (for now). I just wanted to make sure this release fell into your hands. WF drops the weird electronic beats, the post-punk flourishes, and electronic attitude that have become a hallmark of its sound as of late. In fact, there is no percussion anywhere on the WF songs. Just a latter/mid-period SWANS vibe run through a drone-y filter mixed with the dark noisy post rock that WF has played with before. Most Holy Death serve up two mammoth slabs of his suffocatingly beautiful blackened dronedoom, another monument on how to perfect the blending on those styles.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Zeugen der Leere - Seelenwanderer

Big production "dark metal" from Germany. Sort of an Agalloch meets Katatonia via Woods of Ypres vibe going on. Well performed, well written, not super cheesy, most of the lyrics are in German so I can't tell what they are about. If you are a fan of the style, you probably will cream yourself over this. I think its pretty cool and will revisit it at a later point, for sure.

Endzeit - Years of Hunger

Apocalyptic raw black metal from Finland. It's definitely not the reinvention of the wheel, but godfuckingdamn, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rival Youth Cults Emerge - Harp

Aside from a fucking goofy name, RYCE is a pretty neat band. This London, UK based one man project blends Post-black metal sounds with noise and drone, creating a compelling and entrancing listen. Plus, Alien references on at least two of the songs, possibly this entire release is about Ripley, but I don't know without the lyrics. I think this is a solid release despite a slightly uneven production throughout, and definitely worth checking out.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Natanas - Cmertnost (Смертность)

A gracious and delightful new year to you all. We start this year off with a project from the frost-bitten (from the cold and the meth) depths of Wyoming, the black/doom Natanas. Eh, definitely not great, or good, or listenable for the majority of the run time. This sounds like if Lord Wherewolfe from Kill Violate Mutilate decided to stop worshiping at the altar of GG Allin/not legal teenage girls and started to write black/doom about quantum physics and demons and Gadsen flags, then decided his already shitty guitar tone wasn't shitty enough, so he cuts through the speaker on his 10w yamaha practice combo and then drinks another handle of whiskey before starting to record. Yeah. I won't say it's completely without its charms. The drums are usually doing their own thing and that thing is usually more interesting than the guitar/vocals (not "better", just more interesting), and the last song is kind of cool with a sort of Eastern European folk vibe going on via a mandolin mixed with a post punk vibe from the drums. Like I believe though, I'm not the king of good taste, so you should check this out yourself.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dahakara - Lone Aeon

Dahakara is an experimental black metal band from Turkey. Or something like that, I'm still not quite sure. Electronic beats and bloops, sounds that look like they came from the nebula on the cover, MIDI guitars; they all converge to create something that, while not great enough to love, is so blatantly off the wall that it actually enhances the listening experience. The songs aren't long at all, but while that keeps things from getting stale too quickly, it also prevents most of the songs from realizing themselves fully.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Among the Rotting Trees - The Cold, Misty Morning

My word, what a terrifyingly bad album cover. The logo, the title text, the photo itself. Ick. Fortunately, this Polish instrumental black metal project composes better music than their album artwork design talents. AtRT plays atmospheric black metal of the long and rather repetitive variety, without vocals. While not being a derivative of the Burzum school of hypnotic black metal, this does suck you in via its repetitive passages and well thought out melodic composition. The only real issue I have is some of the riff transitions can jar you out of your listening trance rather harshly, if that's what they were going for I don't know. Also the production on the drum programming could be a little better, but to be honest with atmospheric bm I would just rather it be there and decently mixed, and not to sound like it did on the original mix of "Dawnland" (that might be my one terrible, wish I could fucking correct that shit back in time, mistake). All in all, if you like the style, give it a shot.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Basalte - Vestige

French Canada, I love and hate you so much. You have given us such wonderful things like Montreal, with its numerous bars (of both the standard and titty variety). We also must give thanks for that sloppy heart attack known as poutine. However, you are also responsible for the worst tourists I have ever encountered, including the actual French. Waves of classe-moyenne blanche Québécois clog the streets of Southern Maine, driving like a retarded southerners trying to traverse London in a giant SUV, looking for tacky shirts that state the place they visited in neon, and abusing sales people when they can't understand rapid-fire French (and these salespeople can barely converse in English for the most part, cut 'em a little slack). Despite you exporting the worst portion of your population for their vacations (which is basically the same thing America has done to the rest of the world), I still love you, French Canada. You have given me slutty young women on vacation with their obtuse parents, you have given me Malveillance, you have given me Metal Noir Québécois, and now you give me Basalte.

Basalte don't really fit alongside the rest of the Metal Noir Québécois scene. Yes, all the lyrics are in French and they seem to have a decent amount of pride in their culture. Musically they are along the Atmospheric black metal tip, but with loads of progressive undertones throughout. What sounds like improv jazzy runs come to life in the middle of powerful tremolo picked riffs, but manage to do so in completely natural ways, never sounding like it was thrown on as an afterthought or to just be in there. The composition and performance is solid and unwavering. My only gripe is the sound of the guitars. It seems that they are lacking the extra gain needed to cut in black metal. However this gripe is not even that big of a deal to me, I have done the same thing with some of my recordings and love some bands who use low wattage tube amps to play black metal. It just feels that this recording could use that extra "oomph".

I think this is a great first release overall, and one definitely worth picking up. And these dudes can come visit me in Maine any time, first Timmys on me, but leave the speedos at home.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Numenorean - Demo 2014

New day, new band. Numenorean comes out of the gate from Calgary, Canada. On this first demo, they unleash well composed and executed atmospheric black metal of the more woodsy variety. Agalloch would be a really good template to base their sound on. Just add hints of Falls of Rauros and Alda, and you are basically there. The one fault I'd find with this release is that it's way too good to just be a demo, it sets up expectations, ones that I really hope they can exceed with their coming full length. Highly recommended if you are into the sound.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mutter - Trashed Body

Within two days I have received two EPs that, while each of them not being totally or wholly black metal, are definitely going on my year end list. Most Holy Death's "Forsake Your Blood" and this, Mutter's follow-up to the already best of the year "Grief Songs". This is not "Grief Songs: Pt 2" thought. Benjamin Roney-Yeager continues to craft a completely inorganic take on industrial black metal, one that here finds itself snaking through soundscapes of noise, ambient, and triphop. What seems like random beeps and bloops are deftly pieced together to help assemble the whole sonic picture. This is adventurous music to say the least. Don't go into it with a static mindset.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Most Holy Death - Forsake Your Blood

It's 3:55 AM and the battery backup that makes sure my server stays on all the time is dying, emitting a chirp every second and a half. My teeth are set on edge, this is the sound of my life ticking away, slowly driving me insane. Of course, it'd probably not be such a quick trip to madness if I wasn't listening to Most Holy Death's follow up to Death Knell. Forsake Your Blood continues with the seething, malignant take on droning, blackened doom/post rock, heartbreaking and claustrophobic and crushing in equal measure. The noise component comes more into play with this recording, helping to create a more desolate and stark sonic landscape. The chirp behind me is fading with the crescendo of the music. Or maybe I've finally reached my destination. If so, what a fine time to get there, listening to this EP.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Aires/Rui P. Andrade/Earthly Beasts - Split

Not Black metal, but related and still fucking good. This three way fuckfest is all Portuguese all the time. Much like the delicious bread I get from the bakery a block away from my house. Would this music be good with marmalade and eggs. Probably. However, it is more similar in its harsh, noisy crust, rather adept in concealing the sweet wheatflesh inside. The Aires track would be most like this, the main bulk of the song is harsh phasing, but beneath it and finally pushing to the front at the end of the movement is a mournful, yet sweet, melody. Rui P. Andrade puts out what is basically a very good and long ambient interlude on a black metal album. Earthly Beasts rounds out this trio with dense soundscapes, and spacious beats, all with the intent to put the listener in a state of high tension. Free Download:

Writhe - The Shrouded Grove

Writhe is a Atmospheric black/Post Black artist from Bedfordshire, UK. The first song starts out like Isa-era Enslaved, before settling back into a more familiar note, kinda Altar of Plauges-esque with hints of fellow countrymen Caina. Far from a carbon copy though. The songwriting is top notch, carrying at times a mournful, yet triumphant feel. A march to a war, to victory, but knowing the loss that will come and not ever forgetting. Definitely one of the better examples of the style, great production and exquisite composition. This will be on my playlist for a while.

Ambergris - S/T

Ambergris is a byproduct of sperm whale digestion, a rank, reeking hunk of whale bile that is used in the manufacture of some of the most iconic and/or expensive perfumes. What does this have to do with this (now basically defunct) 2-Piece from San Diego? Their filthy, repetitive riffing can be as oppressive as being locked into a room with their namesake with no ventilation. However their melodic lines can shine through like the sweetest notes of your lover's (or, in some of your cases, the lady of the night you forked over 200$ to)perfume. Quite an interesting blend of rawness and avant-garde black metal here, but one well worth your time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grst - Plague Seed

How do you follow up an ep where you cover one of USBM's sacred relics and receive heaps of praise for it? You release an LP that cements the fact that you are one of the best and brightest acts in the USBM scene today. Grst manage to find that perfect balance between melody and aggression, atmosphere and production, and technicality versus letting the songs shine over the musicians. Josh, Nathanael, and Kenneth have really pushed themselves out here and it paid off. I'm not even asking you to buy it, I'm fucking telling you. There are only 100 copies and it's vinyl only so get the fuck on it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Phobonoid - Orbita

A black/doom/industrial band writing an album about the end of civilization on Mars as witnessed by Phobos (which is both the satellite and the God of Fear)? As offputting as that may sound to some (not me, that is what hooked me on this fucking beast before I even listened), give it a chance as this is one of the better submissions I have received, ever. This is well written as fuck, equal parts beautiful, claustrophobic, oppressive, and terrifying. The production is not typical in its unevenness, but goes beyond its primary purpose for the delivery of the music, essentially becoming an instrument, drawing you deep into a hypnotic trance before blasting into your skull, digging deep. All of the other instruments are performed adeptly and concise, wasting nothing on flourishes while delivering the intended result razor sharp and taut. Highly recommended, and buy the fucking CD/Tape too.

Nostalgique - Veil

First record of this one man act from Baltimore. Playing "Atmospheric depressive emotional black metal", it truly sounds much like you'd imagine. Muffled, uneven production, a guitar tone that somehow sounds too sharp and too dull at the same time, drums and vocals both overpowering and falling below the mix, and despite a pretty traditional black metal vocal attack, the dreaded DSBM sodomized birdcall vocals appear occasionally. And some of the melodies sound like Fear of Eternity played on a guitar instead of a "My First Casio". However, the rest of the songwriting is pretty spot on, some really good ideas being fleshed out. If you are a fan of the style go for it.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dunnock - The Rainy Season

Raw atmospheric and depressive black metal. Most of the parts on here were first take and/or improvised. Beside the logo, which looks like the female reproductive system with wings, this is actually pretty bearable. It's fucking noisy and uncomfortable, and the lyrics aren't as bad as most depressive acts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kitties of Death - Blue Flame

This is going to be a difficult one. In order to look at what Kitties of Death (and before I get into the review, for ill or good, I just want to state that "Kitties of Death" may be the stupidest name in the history of black metal, and up there for all of the metal genre) have produced with "Blue Flame", we need to define the main question in regards to my quandary: What is black metal, and what defines it? Nearly no one can agree on a set of criteria, seeing as the wide range of artists who are classified as black metal. What makes VON and Falls of Rauros belong to the same genre of music, beside the use of tremolo picking? Even the ethos and spirit of black metal varies from artist to artist. So what does this have to do with Kitties of Death? KoD describes themselves as Avant-Garde Black metal. As far as I can tell, the only thing relating this music to black metal is Jud Winter's vocals and a lackluster production. The music is avant-garde for sure, and they aren't lacking in talent, but the "metal" in the music is less Sigh and more "Reinkhaoss" era Dissection style melodic death metal, with added galloping drums and breakdowns galore, while keyboards add gothic swells, and random electronic beats and synth runs flitter in and out. Despite the lack of black metal I'm still posting this because it's not totally without merit. This doesn't sound as absolutely shitty as it could have with less talented individuals composing and performing it. Some of the songs are sticky as fuck too. All in all, not for everyone or even most, but if anything seemed to grab you, go and give it a listen.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Anti-Freeze - Aftermath

New meat. Anti-Freeze is a Canadian one man project. He plays a brand of raw melodic atmospheric black metal on Aftermath. The first half more atmospheric and melodic than the second. Overall, the production and composition are tight, based in the tradition of the 2nd wave, but with enough new ideas to make this more than just some throwback. The only weak spot from a performance standpoint is the drums, occasionally falling out of step with the music just enough to jar you from your concentration. A pretty good release on the whole, and enjoyable to boot.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


CAPA has given us another dose of their post-blackened everything. What's new here, or what will keep your interest? This record is definitely a lot harsher with regards to the music and composition. Wrapping around the post rocky-pretty atmospheric parts are harsh, dissonant squelches from the guitars, riding atop inorganic and cold drums. This evokes anything from noise/hardcore band Anodyne's supremely underrated Quiet Wars LP to Blut Aus Nord's middle period to The Axis of Perdition to Caina (who probably comes the closest to a reference point). Give it a shot.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Twilight Fauna - Hymns of a Forgotten Homeland

Another repeat offender. First time around I thought Ravenwood needed to work on the black metal parts of his songs, his personal brand of Appalachian folk black metal was pretty good at the appalachian folk part. On this follow-up, he pulled an audible and kept the same formula, not making the black metal parts more fleshed out, but let them breathe into what feels less like a song than a ritual chant or incantation. He'll probably get compared to Panopticon for as long as people talk about his band, but Ravenwood just needs to focus more on making his music his. Less Appalachian Folk Black Metal, more Blackened Appalachian Folk, like this recording is.

Emerald Weapon - Part II: Earth Encrypted

Its our buddies from the PNW back at us with a new recording. I was kinda tepid on their S/T EP. There were a lot of flaws in it, and a shit ton of improvements that needed to be made, but there were some bright spots in the songwriting, especially the guitars. Now we have their second release. Most of the complaints I had have been addressed. The songs seem to flow better, the mixing is improving at a good rate (the exception is the hi-hat, which needs to be reigned in a little, because it overpowers the rest of the drum track and even bleeds into the main focus), and the guys seem to want to be seen as standard Cascadian black metal no more. The drone part of their sound seems to fit more naturally as well. However, "Cement Rivers" suffers from a problem their last EP had in general; the song ends rather abruptly, it doesn't seem to flow to a natural end. This is only a minor setback to what, in my opinion, is a great follow-up recording. Let this be a reference point if you are looking for a band that matured naturally in a very short span of time.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Aires - Aires

Not black metal, but I sometimes like to post things from artists who are involved in, related to, or influenced by black metal. Aires claims influence, but it is only really notable on the epic closing track "Contraplacado". Up to that point, this young Portuguese band plays a pretty standard yet powerful brand of drone, keyboards and sound manipulation and field recordings being the only instruments/sources. "Contraplacado" is the real gem here. Swelling waves of droning melodic keys wash over you again and again, building and tearing away, crushing you beneath their mournful pall. Each swell brings the melody that much closer to its apogee and each ebb pulls it down to a sparse continuation of what it was, until the "tide" of the music is fully in, then you are stuck beneath the surface indefinitely. The swells continue but you are already under and breathing the salt, the crushing weight. This whole release is good, the last track is fucking brilliant.


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