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 sixteenth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy.
Kicking open the gates, we begin with some weaponized modern black death from the USA. Savage trio Karcist dropped their debut EP ‘Inner Sanctum Immolation’ in a burst of flame and sulphur at the end of January, and it’s pretty damn solid.
Whether they’re in death mode (‘The Leech’), black mode (‘Absent Muses’) or a menacing blend of both (the demoniacal final track ‘Incursion of Christ’), they do a great job of it and they’ll only get better from here. I personally hope subsequent releases see them either adding a touch more guttural filth to their sound, or honing it even further to where it could slice through bone with lazer precision. As it is however, it’s an impressive debut and you’d be remiss to not throw them some infernal hails on their Bandcamp for a name-your-price download. Neat cover art/logo too.
Yet another excellent project from Netherlands-based maestro T, the shadowed mastermind behind Kaffaljidhma, Himelvaruwe and a multitude of others. The debut Olxane release ‘Primitive Casket’ sees him in fine form, although whilst he still taps the rich vein of transcendent raw black that he does so well this may have an even stranger subversive feel than anything I’ve heard from him yet. The melodies are almost uplifiting; while everything still retains a bleakness, both tracks on offer have a certain odd warmth to them and call to my mind images of sunlight glinting off dust motes as it streams hazily through an old, paint-peeled window in an otherwise darkened room. Weird to describe a raw black metal album like that, I know; but just have a listen and you’ll see what I mean.
The dissonance between the hum of the layered guitars is fascinating and I love the beautiful little outros to both tracks. Few artists are able to intrigue me like this; a truly unique vibe. Up for name-your-price download with a cassette release coming later this year. I’ll be buying it.
“Man does not deserve this earth he inherited
We accept it and spread this word”
The Frenchmen in Heir know we are fucked. They also inject ‘Au Peuple De L’abîme’ (“To The People Of The Abyss”), their debut album of intense post-black sludge, with a tasty progressive approach resulting in an engaging and kinetic debut album that’s heavy and unpredictable, suitably nihilistic and altogether thoroughly enjoyable music for us to listen to as the ship we have built for humanity is sinking inexorably down into the irretrievable depths, with us chained to it. Hey, how thoughtful of them.
Thrilling, sinister, creepy and furious; they can transition seamlessly between moods at the drop of a hat. The whole thing just gets better the further you travel on its winding roads, to the point where final track ‘Cendres’ is frankly spectacular. If these were the men that stayed and played as the Titanic sank, I’d stand there and listen. Do yourself a favour and hit up a name-your-price download available from the link below. Top notch.
Heading off on a different tangent: some blackened drone sludge from Zeit (‘Time’). I can’t find much info on this, but it is the second part of a two part EP series titled ‘I’ and ‘II’ and has a slightly clearer production than you may be expecting, giving it an almost relaxing feel like laying listening to rain fall at night. Which, incidentally, is how I’ve been listening to it; the hypnotic properties of the recurring riff-mantras have lulled me off to sleep more than a few times now.
With no drums and no pesky vocals there are no distractions from the drone, so cop this at name-your-price download and drift away on swathes of distortion.
“…We still remain anonymous for now. We want the music to speak for itself – we wish the art and the nature to represent Bloodbark. The nature portrayed is our home and we want it to be yours as well.”
It may not surprise you after reading the above quote that there is precious little information available about this project. Luckily ‘Bonebranches’, the debut album from Bloodbark, speaks far more eloquently than mere words would convey. This is a beautiful, cold and awe inspiring creation; you don’t so much listen to it as experience its harmonious winds caressing your ear drums, whispering to you everything you could ever need to know.
“Majestic” is a term that gets flogged to death in atmospheric/epic black metal reviews by any idiot who pretends he can write about music (ahem), but the music these mysterious folk create is the very definition of the word. See the picture on the front cover? Each of the three lengthy compositions here are the perfect musical counterpart to it. The grand sweeping songs, mostly mid-paced and tinted with sorrow and wonder, are just so damned majestic and will make you yearn for places you’ve never been.
The performances are wonderful, but even they play second fiddle to the overwhelming atmosphere conveyed by this release. Seriously, if this music portrays their home, I want to move there. Available at name-your-price download and in even better news has been picked up for an extremely well-deserved vinyl release by Northern Silence Productions.
Tolkien themed blackened crust from Australia? Alright. Solo berzerker Drugoth has spurted out his second EP ‘Legions of the Great Eye’ like ichor from a dying orc. With most tracks around a minute or less in length plus some great knuckle-dragging ignorant riffs that will make you want to throw down and club someone’s skull in with a spiked mace, your average Summoning fan may not find much to like here, but in my opinion this is fun as all fuck.
Solid vocals, great tone for what it is; there’s nothing I can say is wrong here. If you dig it and want more bone crunching black punishment you’re in luck too, his debut EP is also killer and both are up for name-your-price download. Hail the Drugoth. More please.
A split borne of pure savagery. Canada’s The Projectionist open proceedings and lull you into a false sense of security with a dungeon-synth-esque intro, before the most hellish and pulverising sound they’ve ever conjured explodes from your speakers. Lord Matzigkeitus is in fucking stellar form with some almost unbelievable sounds vomiting forth from his inhuman vocal chords while every one of their tracks is diabolical fire; almost primitive brutality melded with spiteful speed and hate-filled cold melodic riffs. Good shit, but it isn’t over yet: Brazil’s Féretro are here to continue bludgeoning you to death in the name of Satan, stripping further back to riff-heavy levels of blasphemy. With a great no-nonsense sound they hammer the final nails in this impure coffin with ease; your death is complete.
One of the best splits I’ve heard so far this year; grab a name-your-price download below or hit up Appalachian Noise Records to grab the limited tape. If there’s any left.
Up next, an excellent blend of ambient atmospheric post-black from India. Formed in 2016 Nightgrave is the work of one man, the mysterious R; which is somewhat unbelievable given the variety and depth of textures on display here and proves to be even more impressive when you realise he drops an album every couple of months.
And all of those albums are great. I’d not yet heard any of his previous work before pressing play on latest offering ‘Nascent’, a grave oversight on my behalf that has since been rectified; but for the purpose of this article we’ll stick to this release.
The lush tones and yearning tremolo of charming opener ‘Forbidden Truth’ lull you into a placid state before he brings the hammer down harder for the second half of the track; a few intriguing and unusual melodies are at play here too, something which carries on for the rest of the album. Second movement ‘Darklight’ continues and as you listen to its raw, driving blackness it’s now that you realise this is going to be one dynamic journey; especially when the song turns seamlessly on a dime into transcendent Isis-like post-sludge. Superb, and completely unexpected.
I also need to make mention of the vocals, as I found them quite versatile. Whatever style/mood he is creating R has a delivery to suit, from depressive rasps and howls to distant, echoing spoken word, they do more than get the job done. The crushing savagery of ‘In Extremis’ is another particular highlight and how it then manages to perfectly flow into the introspective ‘Cold Hands’ is gorgeous, while the switch-up towards the end of ‘Purification by Fire’, where he trips from whimsy and melancholy post rock into the most furious black metal on the album and back again is impeccably executed, and a spectacular note to finish on.
How does one man constantly churn out songs this compelling, you ask? I’ve no idea, and it’s not even his only project: have a listen to the similar-yet-different Raat EP ‘Selfless’ here, and trek back through his name-your-price Nightgrave discography via the link below.
Artist: S U T U R E
People are pollution
Death is the solution.
This savage little French black crust/powerviolence EP was originally set off on its destructive mission digitally 12 months ago, and is finally dropping physically any day now through Black Pandemie Prod’. Featuring members of recent BMD favourites Karne and Névrose yet more vicious than either, S U T U R E‘s debut only exists for two reasons: to fuck you up, and to see the total eradication of the human race.
The track titles are a dead giveaway of their intent: ‘Miserable Insect’, ‘Human Slaughterhouse’ and ‘Wrong Life’. No, there will be no mercy here; each one is a pure hate-filled blow to the face, bloody teeth scattering on the floor. The grinding ‘Human Slaughterhouse’ is a personal favourite, and after all the carnage the trio have one final surprise in store in the form of a fucking killer Urgehal cover. Their more powerviolence infused version of ‘Goatcraft Torment’ is an inspired and worthy interpretation.
At name-your-price download you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose picking up this slice of vitriol and giving it a shot. If you survive, keep an eye on Black Pandemie Prod’ for more info on CD’s and merch.
And to bring proceedings to a suitably morose close we have a triple one-man-project split by UtenHåp of Norway, OOO of NZ, and Apothecary of USA. Entitled ‘Through the Fog of Endless Desolation’, desolation proves to be just one of the feelings that will wash over you once you submit to the waves of this split, drowning in its hopeless waters.
UtenHåp opens rather aptly with first track ‘Desolation’, and it truly is the very embodiment of the word. Depressive, solitary but also transcendent and with hints of an at-times uplifting breath hidden deep in its black lungs, it’s an excellent start, but it’s what comes next that is the real surprise: ‘Affliction’. A stunning piano composition, it somehow seems so right amidst the carnage… Until the song erupts into a surge of raw euphoric black metal, soaring into the heavens on burning wings and obliterating your soul. Simply breathtaking, perfectly beautiful. Third track ‘Torment’ follows suit, and UtenHåp has effortlessly seared its name into your memory as a project to watch extremely closely.
Then 000 arrives to push things in an altogether stranger direction. The atmosphere conveyed here is hard to describe; imagine a hundred haunted toys and other random objects clicking and whirring autonomously, creating a ponderous, mechanical and solemn ode to the miseries of the world, moving inexorably closer and suffocating your sanity as the bleak cacophony becomes all you can hear, all you can feel; all you are. Intriguing stuff with creative guitar work, I’ve never heard anything quite like it. Listener beware: you may find yourself consumed by this beyond all hope of return.
Closing out by delicately unraveling the fabric of time through madness and despair is US artist Apothecary. Already featured on BMD once before with his excellent EP ‘Heims Ventis’, his two lengthy pieces presented here are more of the same, just refined and expanded to even more mind-altering states. Truly tortured vocals reverberate through twisted, dismal and ethereal soundscapes that expand and constrict like the breath of a great beast; pouring everything he has into each composition, I thoroughly enjoy what this man does. Mesmerising.
Three unique and gifted artists from the deepest subterranean catacombs and furthest most inhospitable reaches, combining talents that perfectly complement each other’s particular darkness to create an esoteric triptych of immeasurable worth and power. If you want music that will affect you profoundly, look no further. Available at name-your-price download, so do yourself a service and grab one now. Total support.
Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes are welcome.
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