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 eleventh installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy.
Artist: Suicide Forest
What better way to kick off than with some grim, cold misery? Suicide Forest is a one man DSBM project that’s only been active for a year; during that period he’s conceived three demos and slowly built himself a live band. ‘Apathy’ is the third and most recent of those demos, unleashed at the dawn of July.
The cover art gives you a good idea what to expect before you dive in to first track ‘Apathetic’, and it delivers. A stunning composition of beautiful sorrow, a waltz made of tears and suffering. Frozen, melancholy riffs run as an ice stream underneath gorgeous piano lines; it’s an epic and completely entrancing experience. Second and instrumental track ‘Entranced by the Blood Moon’ then employs the kind of unsettling and introspective atonality that wouldn’t be out of place on a Xasthur album, acting as a portal into a world you may not wish to explore.
The whole demo is only two long songs and two instrumental pieces so at this point you’re halfway through the agony. Third track ‘Lucis Absentia’ gives you a thought-provoking break for a few minutes, with an intro of spoken word by a gentleman of dubious sanity that believes he is the reincarnation of the mind of Jesus descended from heaven. It perfectly illustrates the delusion of fanaticism before the last half blossoms into another slab of glorious depression that almost takes on transcendental qualities; another ambient piano piece then gracefully and solemnly closes out proceedings.
Main man A. Kruger originally conceived/posted the first demo with no expectations of it ever going anywhere and it’s been great to see all the well-deserved attention his project has received in the last 12 months, with his demos finding releases through War Against Yourself Records and Fólkvangr Records. All releases including this are also up for name-your-price download, so immerse yourself in the pain and beauty and prepare for the full-length, which is being created as we speak. Hails.
Next up we have a one man project from Belgium, Dyadhem. Corentin is the sole member of this beast and he smashes out blackened sludge metal with the fury of ages inherent within. Debut full-length ‘From Essential Bitterness’ is posessed of a great vibe that has just the right balance between rockin’ sludge/stoner riffs and raw black metal; occasionally the album flow can come across as ever-so-slightly disjointed due to the juxtaposition, but overall it works. The vocals are great from the main timeless sludgy roar to the stirring cleans scattered throughout, he even harmonizes with himself later on to surprising effect.
If you’re up for something a little different you could do much worse than this. His second outing in total and a very solid release; the first EP from last year is also at name-your-price like this and is worth checking out. Interesting stuff, I’ll be following along to see where the project goes.
Excellent folk-infused atmospheric fare from Finland. Liittouma are masters of melody, this is simply a fantastic listen; emotive, engaging and powerful. First track ‘Oleva’ starts of with beautiful folksy overtones that want to carry you away on the breeze, before darkness falls and the track eventually collapses into thunderous double kick and hellish rasps. By the end of it, you realise what’s spiriting you away over the mountaintops actually has jet-black wings and reeks of sulphur. The EP’s only other song ‘Tähtiäiti’ is posessed of diabolical melody so immediate and crazily infectious you’ll swear you’re humming along to the theme of some favourite old television show you used to watch as a kid. Seriously, if there’s been a riff that hits that button more than this one so far this year, I want to hear it.
Incredible stuff. My only problem with this is that clocking in at under ten minutes total it’s far, far too criminally short. More please, and soon. Available at name-your-price download.
“With the mistakes I’ve made, I’ll follow you to the grave…”
US depressive/post black duo Diplegia have followed up their two track EP ‘Squander’ from earlier this year with a neat new single, ‘Follow’.
Getting straight into it with some descending tremolo over a solid mid- paced blast and vocals that aren’t a million miles from old Hecate Enthroned/Cradle style shrieking; it then doesn’t take too long to devolve into post-black territory with acoustic emotion and introspective vibes pushing to the fore. The music here is great (especially enjoyed the minimalist piano tinkering over the finale) but I have a feeling the vocals may be a sticking point with some. Personally I don’t mind them; check it out at name-your-price download and decide for yourself.
They’re also elbows-deep in birthing their debut full length, so if you dig this little teaser keep an ear to the ground for further information.
Progressive black folksters from Australia Elkenwood just dropped their eponymous debut album, and two odd musical references popped into my mind while listening to it. The first is Gothic-era Paradise Lost/early My Dying Bride and the second is a band that I’ll be surprised if any of you have heard of: Chalice, also from Australia around the turn of the century. Of course more obvious comparisons with the standard black/folk acts could be made but their natural melancholia and plaintive, despondent tone is reminiscent of the early work of the old gothic doom masters; and I’m probably just thinking of Chalice ‘cos they were a progressive black folk band with a vaguely similar feel from the same country. Lazy? Possibly, but if you’re one of the precious few who know what I’m on about you may see some parallels.
Anyway: The four piece skillfully create fantastic, epic compositions that draw you deep into their world, conjuring vivid images of dark fantasy lands or falling Autumn leaves depending on their shifting moods. They have a great organic sound that suits the music exceptionally well. The clean vocal sections could possibly use just a touch more polish, but conversely the scattered choral vocals work like a charm and that yearning guitar tone is a real feature. As a side note, opening track ‘Uncreation’ also features guest drumming from one Sid Falck. Yep, “skinsman for thrashers Overkill from ’88-’92” Sid Falck. Ace.
At name-your-price download this is a thoroughly enjoyable debut and definitely worth your support. Fans of the sub-genre take note; on the strength of this I reckon they’ll be one to watch.
Artist: Daemon Rising
And now we head back to some orthodox punishment. I was given the heads up to these guys from a close friend, and when I witnessed live footage of main man Baal anointing the foreheads of entranced audience members with inverted blood crucifixes I simply had to check ’em out.
Birthed in 2015 with the express mission to “liberate those poisoned by religion through the power of black metal”, theirs is a mission they take seriously. Their raw assault seems crafted for maximum hypnotic effect, mesmerising rhythms leaving you stunned and receptive to their message as they pulverize black salvation into you and Baal howls his wretched mantras.
Incidentally the group also features Wojtek of Nowhere (featured in Volume 9) on bass and he does an admirable job of holding down the evil pulse, aiding especially in the sinister vibe of the more mid-paced passages on offer. While not album of the year material by any means these gents have created a fine foundation, subsequent releases are only going to get better and better. Free streaming available on Spotify, or cop an album download for a few bucks below and follow the path to darkness.
And finally (because I love subjecting myself to unusual things) we have the latest album by Yagan, an odd solo depressive and atmospheric project from Mayanmar/Burma.
The project’s second release ‘Vore’ is a ponderous, raw and weird mix of primitive, rasping DSBM and a kind of proto Tiamat-esque Goth rock with some deadpanned lyrics like “I don’t laugh the way you do, what I find funny would only disgust you”. The riffs behind it are mostly pretty solid and the whole thing can be fairly infectious, as even on the more DSBM tracks like ‘The Autumn Moon’ he keeps it unorthodox with some out-there melody. As icing on the strange cake, track 7 is actually an upbeat/depressive The Dubliners cover: ‘McAlpine’s Fusiliers’, a jaunty gaelic ditty given a necro workover with croaked vocals. Seriously, give this a listen, it’s honestly one of the weirdest things I’ve heard in a while and probably the most entertaining track on the album. Or the worst, depending on your point of view.
Borderline bizarre stuff that’s definitely not dull, check out the Dubliners track at least. Name-your-price download, limited tape is also available from Vintage Cult Records. Cool cover art too.
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