Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 13

The bottomless wellspring of Bandcamp is overflowing with great shit just waiting to be discovered. This series aims to shine light on the freshest emanations and foulest incantations from its darkest corners, a few artists at a time. Here’s the thirteenth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

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Artist: Void Tendril

Year: 2017

First up in a cluster of releases I’ve been immensely enjoying: Uk blackened doom duo Void Tendril have just dropped their first ever demo ‘Ensnaring the Demiurge’. For an embryonic first recording it’s a doozy; the four tracks as a whole are a raw, crushing experience with a great sense of melody and an inherent theatricality or ‘storytelling’ vibe to both the vocals and composition that captivates for the entire 30 minute length. 

‘A Crone’s Reptilian Eye’ is a suitable introduction to the wiles of their ways with some absolutely killer riffs massaging your mind, before the misery really begins to hit home on second track ‘Shivering Residue’. Everything gets darker and more intense, the harmonized vocals between the two are a noteworthy addition and when that flows into the artfully morose layered guitar that closes out the track you know these fellas are on to something special. It only gets better from there too as the last two tracks ‘The Vampyric Embrace of Flame’ and ‘The Hourglass Catacomb’ pull you deeper into the abyss; the latter taking my pick for tune of the bunch.

I should also mention the cover art is a great evocative piece from Stephen Wilson/Unknown Relic, superbly meshing the demo’s concept with an expansion of the tarot card ‘The Tower’. I’m already a huge fan of his work, go check it out if you haven’t already. The whole package is soon to be released on cassette by Rat King Records UK, but for now grab yourself a name-your-price download and be ensnared by the searching grasp of the Void Tendril.

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Artist: Prison of Mirrors

Year: 2017

Pure satanic devotion in black metal form. Occult Italian triumvirate Prison of Mirrors released their first great EP ‘Nothing’ back in 2014 and they’ve now followed up with an reverential new two-track of unholy vehement rites, ‘Unstinted, Delirious, Convulsive Oaths’.

From the very first seconds of opener ‘Wounds of Radical Abnegation’, their statement is perilously clear. Spectacularly impious riffing spider-crawls under a percussive assault so thick you can almost feel the blows, weaving a sorcery both horrifying and irresistibly mesmerising. Lord Svart’s vocals are also a feature as his otherworldly, haunting rasp seeps from the abyss behind the cacophony; delivering paeans, curses and dark blessings alike.

The EP, over the course of its two lengthy compositions, feels laid out like a ritual. If the first track is worship and calling the dark light into you, then second offering ‘Litany of Consecration’ is the feeling of having entered into the necessary transcendent state. It crackles with diabolical essence. The powers have been drawn, the work must be done; welding and weaving the forces, bending them to your will and that of the master. It takes the honours of track of the EP for me, the atmosphere and fury inherent in this is nothing short of electric.

Recorded at Sonic Temple Studio and mastered by Stephen Lockhart at Studio Emissary, everything sounds incredible and I highly recommend you spend some time immersed in its intricate arcane mysteries. Released on cassette through the dual forces of Signal Rex and De Essentia Diaboli you can grab a physical copy through either of those esteemed establishments; or score a name-your-price download through Signal’s Bandcamp below/support them directly for 2€ through their own Bandcamp here

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Artist: Nowhere

Year: 2017

You may recall I featured raw one-man US destroyer Wojtek’s project Nowhere on his split with Dead and Grey (who also has another EP on the way at the end of October in a little cross-promotion for those interested) back in Volume 9; well, the new single from his upcoming album ‘Eternal Black, Infinite Void’ landed in my inbox a short time ago, so I figured I’d squeeze it in here.

The track ‘All Hail the Void’ represents two significant changes: a revamp to a somewhat denser, more chaos inducing sound and someone else behind the producer’s desk for the very first time. Myrdin Cerphas from Revelation None and Synodic is twiddling the knobs here and the result is noticeable, the raw essence of Nowhere’s assault is still very intact but now it’s a blistering skin-flaying maelstrom. Wojtek’s creative and at times disturbing guitar work sounds great and his vocals have never been better; the song itself is a muscular, serpentine hell-trip that flows into a bleak, warped acoustic section for the last minute and a half. A suitable close out for the scathing pandemonium that preceeded it, the cherry on top of a track that’s probably the best material I’ve heard from him yet.

All in all it’s an interesting development from the Nowhere camp and one that leaves me intrigued to hear the rest of the album when it drops next year. If you’re into raw chaos, show some support for a single dollar from his Bandcamp below and help him get this thing made.

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Artist: Ulg

Year: 2017

If you’re in any way a fan of atmospheric black don’t even bother reading this, go straight down and hit that download link at the bottom. If for some reason you still need convincing or just have some time to kill while you’re in the waiting room at the clinic or something, then by all means, read on.

Ulg’s debut release ‘Windark’ is one I didn’t know I was craving until I heard it. Released back in January but somehow escaping my attention until now, sole member J. Marshall has crafted four “odes to mystic naturalism and the folklore of the wilderness” and each and every one is simply stunning. He spends the majority of his time in the wild and it shows, his compositions bleed sincerity, reverence and awe from every note. If I had to draw a lazy comparison I’d say it’s similar to Russians Walknut or possibly Ygg, but that would be doing the material a disservice. Artfully restrained rhythmic drumming from session man Vladyslav Usyk provides the perfect backbone and induces a trancelike state while the majestic layered guitars effortlessly tap into the spirit, danger, shadow and mystery of the natural world. The sound is simple and effective, raw but not totally underdone. Both repetition and melody are utilised with skill, all tracks will likely have you spellbound from beginning to end. Hell, I could listen to ‘Eternal Winter’ alone for days on end and not get tired of it.

I’d hurl my wallet at any label without hesitation to get my hands on a physical of this and I’m sure many others would too, so hopefully someone steps up to the plate and gives this release the treatment it deserves. He’s also as I type this putting the finishing touches on his follow up album due out in January 2018, so rejoice; not long to wait for more of this goodness.

Oh and did I mention he records all his vocals outdoors, immersed in the solitude of the forest? He does. If I haven’t convinced you yet, just grab a name-your-price download anyway and let the music do the talking. Hails.

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Artist: Graveflowers

Year: 2017

Enigmatic raw USBM act Graveflowers released their third bouquet of scented laudations ‘The Hyacinth Garden’ just over a week ago. I don’t know much about these artists (or artist?), but they call their sound ‘experiments in nocturnal sound and energy’. Well, they’ve nailed the nocturnal part: What instantly came to mind listening to this was Ulver’s seminal classic collection of hymns to the night, ‘Nattens Madrigal’.

Which isn’t saying it’s a straight rip. I mean that more as as compliment. There are many similarities between the two: from the short acoustic interludes to the almost nakedly harsh sound, to the composition of the tracks themselves (tracks like ‘Fear Death By Water’ definitely hark back to the old Norwegian style). Even the folksy natural undertones are present, although switch out Ulver’s Norwegian woods for a more Americana-infused influence. 

They have the experimental part of their descriptor covered too. Their last EP ‘Oleander’ (released four years back, also good) had a heavy noise influence which they’ve toned down this time, but ‘Then Spoke the Thunder’ for example waltzes into earthy post rock/black territory and fucking owns it. On the flip side of that, ‘April is the Cruelest Month’ is total, intense, paranoia inducing terror.

Whoever they are, they’ve sucessfully upped the ante from their previous releases in every aspect; this is an excellent EP. Or mini album, the eight superb tracks on show clock in at a total of twenty-one minutes combined. Check it out at name-your-price download from their Bandcamp with their other releases, tapes are also available from Path of Silence. Great stuff.

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Artist: Voidcraeft 

Year: 2017

This is pure quality. German microtonal mentalist Voidcraeft has just conjured his fifth slab of furious insanity, ‘Indoctrination of Emptiness’; up for free download as usual. This time around he’s collaborated with US ambient/black metal artist Agonanist and the result is nothing short of mind blowing.

Taking a similar path as Jute Gyte (but far blacker sonically), he also has some interesting and detailed diary-like liner notes on his Bandcamp, describing the release and its creation. I’ll lift some of them here: 

“…I was fascinated by the idea of using dreams as a source of inspiration because I was also reading lots of psychoanalytic drivel by C.G. Jung at the time – most of which I consider highly pseudoscientific in nature, I must add. In fact, I tried to imitate him for a while and started making notes on my own dreams, right after waking up at night. This process is supposed to preserve the narrative of the dream with greater accuracy. I can attest to its necessity. 

My most vivid account from that period was a dream in which a procession of people were accompanying me and a brown cow to a table that resembled the one in the painting The Last Supper. Somebody had placed a colourful crown of flowers on the head of the cow. Nobody spoke a word. Other than the shuffling of our feet, there was no sound to be heard. The expression on their faces was one of complete apathy. It was an eerie atmosphere. They had me take the seat of Jesus in the painting. One of the women milked the cow and placed the bowl of milk in front of me. Then she took the crown and placed it on my head. It seemed like a festive moment but nobody applauded or said a word. I knew they were honouring me for something but I was unable to tell what it was. I drank the milk and placed the empty bowl before me. 

At that point, the dream ended and I could not sleep for another four hours. What does it mean? Are these the religious delusions of an atheist? Hardly so…”

They get far more technical and weirder than that too, just like his music. He has several other releases of intense atmospheric black experimentalism also up for name-your-price download on his Bandcamp, all with fascinating backstory (his previous release ‘Dogma’ is based on a set of composition rules he imposed upon himself after an email exchange with Luciano of I, Voidhanger Records about the Dogme 95 Manifesto of Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg). A compelling artist that’s well worth investigating; I won’t say much more, start here and dive in.

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Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes welcomed.

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