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 eighteenth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy.
Year: 2017 / 2018
Does starting off with an all-female depressive trio from the French Alps sounds good? Good. ‘Mes Racines dans le Désert’ (‘My Roots in the Desert’) is the debut demo from Bovary, and a ridiculously promising debut it is. Queen Thrash‘s hateful, impassioned vocals virtually bleed over Petri Ravn and Gwen de Bovary‘s raw, black misery; which itself is perfectly and liberally adorned with somber acoustic melodies and passages of ambient melancholia they also show a wonderful knack for. The overall effect is one of haunting atmospheres and violent desolation, and there truly are some fascinating moments to be found within. The band are also rather fittingly named after the central heroine of Gustave Flaubert‘s famous work of literary realism ‘Madame Bovary’ (the reasons of which are too numerous to dive into here, but are worth looking into if you have the time and inclination).
This probably deserves more space and attention than I can give in these few short paragraphs. So, let your ears do the work: these women are on to something very good already and I for one can’t wait to see what they do next. Originally released on CD last year from Nar Production (available here), it’s also up for name-your-price download and reissued on gorgeous limited “Edelweiss” cassette edition (containing traditional incense, textile pouch and dried Edelweiss flowers) from the always astonishing Solar Aescetisists Productions.
Next up: nihilistic black death by a member of Australia’s Siberian Hell Sounds. For a project named after a Pokémon this goes hard as shit; Snorlax‘s debut, unmastered demo wants nothing more than to rip your arms off and beat you to a twitching pulp with ’em, possibly while vomiting blood on you for good measure. The intensity and punishment levels are through the roof with a blatant (and probably intentional) disregard for human safety, while some utterly savage throatwork caps it all off deliciously. And just listen to that drum sound… Ugh.
I really enjoyed this, hope he whips up something else post-haste. Up for one dollar download. What else are you gonna do with that dollar?
Next up, some mystical atmo-black from Germany’s Skognatt. A one man project seething with mystery and dramatic darkness, debut album ‘Ancient Wisdom’ sounds like exactly that: You’ve stumbled across a hidden room deep in the bowels of the ancient earth where gnarled, hooded figures beckon with crooked fingers, ready to impart the esoteric and long forgotten knowledge of the ages.
There’s a feeling that main man DZ has attempted to pull off something unique here, and for the most part, he achieves it. Unlike the majority of atmospheric releases these days he goes the slow and eerie/menacing melodic approach, peppered with flashes of mid-paced strength and even some solid grooves provided by assistant drum beast Gerileme (of Asche der Welten) creeping in.
The production suits the album well, everything sounds great. Lush eastern instrumentation and melodies lend a mystical vibe and are utilised far more effectively than I’ve heard in a while. I’m not entirely sure of this man’s musical background but he brings some good ideas to the table and has executed his vision convincingly; this is an entertaining and adventurous debut and you’d do a lot worse than to cop this at name-your-price download. Oh, and throwing in a little spoken word of 19th century romantic poet Lord Byron‘s work is a plus for me too. Nicely done.
Artist: Woeful Echo
Howling back at you from the darkness inside, Woeful Echo is one man DSBM from the USA and ‘Dreaming In Eternal Sleep’ is his sophomore EP. Now when you see the DSBM tag and that cover art, for better or worse you automatically have a rough idea of the sound in mind, right? Wrong. Hurl that right out the window.
Opener ‘Sounds of Despair’ begins innocuously enough with fairly familiar sombre melodies and a hefty dose of melancholy. However, you’ll soon notice things start to switch up. There’s a symphonic leaning to proceedings and the layered guitars have a satisfying crunch to them, slightly unusual and very welcome; although still raw-ish it’s apparent a relatively fair amount of production work has gone into this. The vox are also varied, often layered and with a range far from the archetypal howls or shrieks.
All of which will make the astute listener’s ears prick up already, but something small I also noticed while idly researching: on the band Facebook page, the only bands listed in the ‘artists we also like’ section are Ukrainian project Bezmir and Finns Ajattara. Now, this strange (although they’re both great) combination could at first seem inconsequential, but with more thought it’s possibly quite informative as by the time we get to third track ‘Hymns of Sorrows’ he has eschewed completely the traditional trappings of the genre and goes for the throat with Bezmir-like intensity. In a word (or three): It’s fucking excellent. This definitely isn’t your typical ‘tortured wailing into the abyss’ raw misery, this is a furious hurt, lashing out with rage and strength and if he has indeed taken inspiration from the likes of the violent space project then I completely applaud him, he’s pulled it off in spectacular fashion.
The last two tracks then go off on their own equally great tangents but I’ll let you discover that on your own (especially the final/title track). I really dig this, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Physical copies are available from Share Your Pain Records or support with name-your-price download. You may just be surprised.
Side note – He also now has a much better logo courtesy of the “Lord of the Logos” himself, Christophe Szpajdel.
Finally unleashing their long awaited split, US werewolf Vilkacis and mysterious Dutch act Turia have generously thrown their respective tracks up on Bandcamp at name-your-price, and PSA: you need to jump on this shit without hesitation.
Vilkacis (the solo project of Michael Rekevics of Yellow Eyes) has already released one of the records of the year with the killer ‘Beyond the Mortal Gate’ and he continues that stellar form here with two absolutely essential tracks. Sorrow-filled and powerful, opening track ‘Into the Night’s Grip’ is worth paying any price for alone before ‘Final March Into Flame’ only becomes even more majestic and agonized. At this rate this is fast becoming one of my favourite projects, I could honestly listen to this all day.
Now for Turia. Are their two tracks any good? If you’ve checked out any of their past work you’ll already suspect the emphatic answer to this: Fuck. Yes. They’re part of the Haeresis Noviomagi collective, who along with many others in the Dutch scene are riding the forefront of the modern metamorphosis in experimental black metal sound. A core of subtle, transcendent rock-influenced melody shimmers within the black fury; this band is much more than appears at first glance and if you’ve never experienced them, then what better place to start than here?
Artist: Revelation None
When Myrdin Cerphas of US cosmologists Synodic isn’t blasting through the vastness of space and hailing Sagan, he’s plundering the depths of hell and throwing infernal hails at Satan with solo project Revelation None. ‘Feasting Upon The Cosmos’ is his irresistible new single and this time around some fresh blood has been injected directly into the black vein via the capable throat of Harslingoth from Maeskyyrn, who proves himself a great fit for the Rev None sound and seems to understand well what Myrdin has been trying to achieve. Good phrasing accentuates the riffs and he has a surprisingly solid clean voice to boot; the two men appear to work well together so here’s hoping this is the merely the genesis of a long and heretical partnership.
Some good news too, for those who like their black metal a little more vivid: when compared to previous album ‘Blasphemy & Pain’ a bolder production style has also come into play. This is thanks to Noctis of Nachteule/Alkymist/Maeskyyrn fame, who has done some killer mixing and mastering work on this particular track. The tremolo leads are clearer for example and shimmer almost crystalline over a more physical bottom end. The whole thing ‘pops’; less kvlt, more power and it works well. There’s an irrepressible rhythmic/almost industrialised pulse to the track that’s catchy as fuck too, so be prepared to find yourself humming this one for hours after, which seems to be a phenomenon attached to much of Myrdin‘s work.
The B-side of the single is ‘The Mirror’s Pale Reflection’. An atmospheric instrumental number, it’s a solid, almost melancholy piece and I kinda hope to hear it complete with vocals on a future album. Those who have purchased the single also get two additional versions of it in a solely acoustic run-through and the original 2015 demo recording of the track. Both are interesting inclusions, with the original recording especially giving you a good idea of the evolution of a composition before it ends up the final product. I actually strangely dig the beefy, raw sound on this one myself; definitely a nice little bonus for paying supporters who sling them the required $1.50 and help them get the next album done. Support.
“Thoughts of Shattered Dreams is about sight, blindness, self-elevation and denunciation of modern society.”
…And following on from Revelation None, it would be remiss of us to not check out ‘Thoughts of Shattered Dreams’, the debut three track EP from Harslingoth‘s main project Maeskyyrn.
Kicking off with ‘Tainted Shores’, you’re immediately struck by the sound: this is some heavy stuff from the Canadian trio. Despite still semi-adhering to traditional black metal ideals the riffs have some meat to them, low tuning and a few palm muted chugs creating a memorable point of difference while thankfully keeping just the right side of the border to deathcore-town. It’s a good track, but the following ‘My Path (No Longer Linked)’ is where it’s at for me and contains both my favourite and least favourite moments of the EP; my least favourite being the first couple of minutes (it isn’t bad, however something about that early mournful guitar noodling just doesn’t sit quite right for me and the track could easily start at 1:50 or so and still be equally as impactful) and my favourite being Harslingoth‘s clean harmonizing with himself over the acoustic break. It’s exactly what the song needs and ties the whole composition together, providing both brilliant contrast and startling emotional connection to the fury and melancholia that permeates the rest of the track.
Aptly-named final piece ‘Wretched Sounds from Below’ takes us out on an ambient/noise inspired note, disembodied screams echoing from planes unknown and capping off a neat first offering that leaves you suitably intrigued to hear more.
Worth the $3 asking price. Anti-human, anti-life, anti-innocence. Hails.
Warped, ancient and almost tribal vibes waft fuzzily from your speakers as this offering from enigmatic Dutch (see what I mean about the Dutch scene?) maestro T begins its 16 minute journey. But Zwaluwenvesting doesn’t stay there; before you know it everything has descended into a beautiful, washed out and trancelike rhythmic drone that reaches in and caresses your deepest soul. As always, the devil is in the details as each subtle movement in the immersive piece is stunning, the overall intended effect less cosmic than his main project Kaffaljidhma but not an ounce less devastating.
I know it seems I spurt effusive praise all over the place whenever this man so much as sneezes, but he really does take black metal to wonderful places and if you have any interest at all in how far the boundaries of this incredible genre can go, you need to give this project (and his many others) your attention.
EDIT: Because I am extremely slow at wading through submissions and compiling these things the prolific genius released another great track while I was writing this; listen to the equally as compelling ‘Het Onkenbare‘ here.
Both releases at name-your-price.
Artist: No Lower Place To Fall
Tasty fresh post black/blackgaze from the talented Tasmanian Sam Dishington of Départe. Inspired by seeing a news report on a little girl named Malak who was orphaned in the Syrian conflict, he picked up a guitar and thus the solo project No Lower Place to Fall was born. Written and recorded over the space of four cold evenings, debut single ‘Lost in Sinai’ is a beautiful, sincere piece filled with heart and spirit. Everything about this is sublime; if he can knock something out at this level in just four days I really hope he continues with it and there’s a full-length somewhere on the horizon. Or new Départe. Or both, I wouldn’t complain.
Up for name-your-price and because he is a genuinely great guy proceeds from all paid downloads will also be donated to the Preemptive Love Coalition to aid in their work providing emergency food, water, and medical care on the frontlines of conflict and disaster. A wonderful and much needed cause. Support.
Another favourite here at BMD, Ukrainian S. Tkachenko has done it again with his latest release ‘Лихиї вітри стогнуть без упину’ (‘The Wicked Winds Moan Without Incline’). Longer than his usual efforts at five tracks and an intro, few artists do this type of melancholic autumnal fury as effortlessly well and songs like the title track are simply exquisite, demanding replay after replay. You’ve heard me bang on about this project more than enough already, so if you’re even remotely a fan of the elemental Ukrainian atmospheric style… Why the fuck are you still reading this? Hit that name-your-price download below. Total support.
Artist: My Deathbed
And finally, a new/old offering from Greek raw depressive artist My Deathbed. You may remember I covered the project’s last self-titled album ‘My Deathbed’ a short time ago and gave particular praise to the album’s mesmerising final piece ‘Sleep Paralysis’, which was a unique and powerul journey achieved with only one guitar. Well the shadowed creature behind it all (known only as Void) has just released ‘Disease’, a two-track preview of sorts for that piece; he originally recorded these tracks at the same time as his first demo ‘Sickness’ and they’re more of the same harrowing, experimental, single-guitar horror.
I asked him about his inspirations for the tracks: “There is only one inspiration behind My Deathbed, and this is my own struggle with my demons. The demos are how I feel at the moment I am recording.” he says.
“Have you ever been lost in your own thoughts? When you get lost, you don’t hear good sounds. I mean, you get drowned in your thoughts. You can’t stop thinking about things. That’s why My Deathbed is Monotonous Black Metal. It’s like a stucked head.”
Listening to the two tracks on offer here, this makes perfect sense. Both are a challenging and rewarding listen, one that it’s easy to spiral down into if you’re of the right (or wrong) state of mind… But be careful, you might not know where you’ll end up. Name-your-price download and as always, check out the rest of his superb output while you’re there. Hails.
Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes are welcome.
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