LISTCRUSH 2019: Dex’s Top 25 EPs and Demos

Back again lords and legends, this time with my favourite EPs and demos that saw foul birth during the last twelve months. All of these are very, very good, summoned and sent out by some great artists and incredible labels that deserve your support – so you should definitely listen to any that you’ve missed, post-haste. I mean, you already missed them the first time. Why make that mistake again?

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25. HIMELVARUWEHet Ondenkbare

The always-outstanding T gave us a new piece of the raw kosmiche black metal puzzle that he’s been slowly assembling over the years. As mystical as the cover art suggests.

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24. BLASPHEMOUS COVENANT – Disruption … Havoc (Grey Matter Productions)

The unholy union between members of Byyrth and Thy Sepulchral Moon. I reviewed this a while back (read it here) and gave it a 4/5 – I like it even more now that I’ve sat with it even longer. To lift from that piece: “By its very nature Disruption… Havoc takes the foundations of both original bands and drops a fucking nuke on them. This is another prospect altogether, existing on its own wavelength of pure experimentation and hatred, expression for the sake of it. It blows everything to pieces; and as the rubble crashes to its final resting place… there stands Blasphemous Covenant, vomiting all over the remains, annihilating the weaklings that still somehow cling to life, and trying to tear open the fabric of existence with its own bare hands. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Only the strong survive.”

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23. ABYSSAL VACUUMMMXIX (Egregor Records)

In a genius move on my part I made the mistake of writing up a set of interview questions for Sebastien of Abyssal Vacuum BEFORE I asked if he was free – turns out he wasn’t, but the fact that this is an astonishing EP still stands. With a fantastic concept surrounding the project (all the artwork depicts eerie subterranean caverns that perfectly echo the exact sound of the dissonant abyss found within) this is still one of the best hidden gems in the underground, and this EP is equally as great as the first two.

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22. THECODONTIONJurassic (Xenoglossy Productions, Glossolalia Records, WOOAAARGH)

War metal. No guitars. Only bass. Lyrics about… dinosaurs? You better believe it, and it fucking slaps. Their second EP Jurassic is a monster, and they have a full-length album coming soon too – so read this interview I did with the beasts earlier in the year and let this dino-stomp crush you.

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21. HEXEKRATION RITESDesekration Manifesto (Atavism Records)

I’m amazed the world is still standing after this vicious blast of annihilating hatred dropped last month. Read my review here if you want to know more, but as I said there: Just listen to it. It fucking sounds like someone beginning to recite the words that will end us all.

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20. PA VESH EN – Cryptic Rites Of Necromancy (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Honestly, I thought this EP was better than Pyrefication, the full-length unleashed by Belarusian wraith Pa Vesh En a few months later. Disturbing, mesmerizing, anguished; exactly what I wanted from this excellent project.

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19. BYYRTHCold Autumn Shadows (Iron Bonehead Productions, Grey Matter Productions)

BMD had the privilege of premiering this seething opus a couple of months ago, and it’s still just as impactful now. Go play ‘Parasitic Twin’ right now and tell me it isn’t great. Go on. Do it.

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18. CELESTIAL CONJURATION – Demo 1 

Stellar synth-driven rawness; sorrowful, abrasive, and oh-so-cold. The second best blend of Dungeon Synth and raw black metal in demo format this year (see number 12 for the best). More proof that Australia exports top quality rawness.

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17. ANDVARI – Fimbulvetr (Fólkvangr Records)

This six track debut EP from new raw pagan USBM duo Andvari (aka Nokturn and Meghan Wood) is an elemental blend of folk melodies, riffs that lockjaw on your neck and won’t let go, plus a great introductory ambient piece to boot. I don’t own this yet, but it’s the item on this list that I’ll be picking up next. You should too (from here) if you know what’s good for you.

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16. ULTHABelong (Vendetta Records)

Confession: I’m a big fan of what these guys do… and even with that weight of expectation Belong did not let me down in any way. This “EP” is not only excellent but 40 minutes long, too – that’s an album if you ask me, but hey, I ain’t complaining.

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15. NIMBIFER – Demo I

Raw black to tug at your soul. I really do need more of this. Side note: that dude on the front is me after realizing I missed out on the extremely limited tape. Repress please?

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14. CARVED CROSS – Sapped Of Strength, Left To Wither And Fade Away (Perished Soil, Livor Mortis)

More astonishing raw black from Australia (Tasmania, to be precise). This might be my favourite of the Hobart horde’s recent works… which is really saying something. Powerful emotion.

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13. MALAKHIM – II (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Annihilates their debut tape, which was already great. These menacing Swedish mystics have absolutely mastered what they do and are already one of the most exciting acts of their ilk, channeling powerful forces into electric compositions. Intense.

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12. FALLEN FOREST – Both Demos (Lost Armor Records)

Yes, you certainly do need to hear both of these stunning demos. No, I don’t care if it’s cheating listing two releases like this. Dungeon (or “mountain”) synth and raw black done incredibly right – but it’s a side project of Coniferous Myst, so would you expect any less?

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11. GEHEIMNISVOLL – Venomous Sorcery Through Hidden Darkness (Knife Vision, ASRAR)

Music to wander long forgotten hallways, haunt tombs AND run wild across moonlit landscapes to. Cold, yearning melodies and an irrepressible energy, with riffs to die for.

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10. LVCIFYRESacrament (Dark Descent Records)

Can black metal be brutal? Nope. Black death however, like Lvcifyre‘s Sacrament (their first work since 2014’s Svn Eater), can be brutal as fuck. This doesn’t stop until every bone in your body has been ground to dust.

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9. LAMPIR – Demo III (Perverse Homage)

I love lamp. Especially necrotic, wretched, howling lamps like Demo III. I can’t see myself getting sick of this project anytime soon.

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8. ATEIGGÄR – Us d‘r Höll chunnt nume Zyt (Eisenwald)

As someone else described it, which made me check it out in the first place – this sounds like Kvist with spooky choirs. You best believe I’m all in for that shit.

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7. DÉLÉTÈRETheovorator: Babelis Testamentum (Sepulchral Productions)

This Quebecois crew have been near faultless since their inception, and this latest three tracks of hyper-melodic pestilence and fervor keeps their streak of superb releases going strong. Almost revelatory in its glorious, ecclesiastical filth.

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6. KapalaTermination Apex (Dunkelheit Produktionen)

“Hvmanity is heading towards the ultimate end and will, in time, walk in a world of only ash and death. Hvmanity is an arrogant parody of itself, writhing gleefully in a cesspool of its own making.”

So said the commandos behind Kapala when I interviewed them about Termination Apex earlier this year. This EP, like most others from the Kolkata scene, is some of the most violent music I’ve heard in my life. Pure carnage.

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5. HAJDUK – All 3 EPs

I’m cheating again by including all three tapes of this Bulgarian solo project here, but you really need to listen to the trilogy in order to understand just how good the raw atmosphere here really is. Originally self-released, I believe Not Kvlt records is doing an LP soon… I’m crossing my fingers It’ll be a comp of all three together because I’d throw money at that shit so damn hard my arm would fall off.

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4. BLACK SPIRIT – Behind The Light That Fades (Infinite Night Records)

If you dig raw black metal and haven’t heard this Spanish solo project, fix that immediately. Second demo Behind The Light That Fades may be unassuming at first but with repeated visits its mastery of crumbling, melodic riffs and subtly venomous vibe will sink deep into your psyche and take firm root. A great, well-rounded tape. Side note – the first demo is also amazing.

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3. LAMP OF MURMUUR – Melancholy Howls In Ceremonial Penitence (Death Kvlt Productions)

I managed to score the tape of this and proceeded to almost wear it the fuck out. The other two demos released by this mysterious US spectre were also quite good, but it was Melancholy Howls In Ceremonial Penitence that resonated just right with me. Quintessential stuff.

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2. DOLD VORDE ENS NAVN – Gjengangere i hjertets mørke (Soulseller Records)

Have you ever seen a reviewer use the phrase “does more in X amount of tracks than most bands do in an entire album”? The debut EP of Norwegian supergroup Dold Vorde Ens Navn is the epitome of that statement. The shades and styles this EP travels through whilst still remaining gloriously coherent and rooted in early ’90s black metal fire would warrant its place on this list alone; however there’s also the utterly undeniable talent of its esteemed creators Håvard Jørgensen (aka Haavard and Lemarchand, co-founding member of Satyricon and early Ulver member), Vicotnik (Dødheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende), Cerberus (ex- Dødheimsgard) and Myrvoll (Nidingr) to contend with. Their collective powers combine, shining through and summoning unforgettable tracks with passion, integrity and energy – I wrestled with whether or not to have this as number one, and it might even have been on a different day.

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1. PLOUGHSHARETellurian Insurgency (I, Voidhanger Records, Night Rhythms, Brilliant Emperor)

To some this will be a surprising choice for number one. Why? It’s largely death metal (well, blackened death, really) and as an EP, it’s a little… odd. But I fucking love it.

Readers of a certain vintage might recall trekking down to the local music dispensary as a kid to spend a few dollars on a now-unfortunately-mythical artifact known as a “CD single”. These typically took the form of the titular single, a b-side that half the time was better than the actual single, then a couple of remixes or some super experimental track that the artist would never dream of chucking on an actual album. Some of these singles were fucking excellent due to their weirdness, and that’s what Tellurian Insurgency feels like to me. There’s opener ‘Abrective Trance’ which begins in a haze of noise and proceeds to cave your head in, then ‘Indistinguishable Beast Of Flight’, which is even better… then an industrialized remix of the title track from In Offal, Salvation and the sleek experimental electronic hybrid abomination thing ‘Xeno-Chemical Insider’ to hammer the final nails in. It’s truly compelling, totally fearless, stands on its own AND leaves me salivating to see what they’re going to come up with on their next full-length excretion if they choose to dive a little deeper into these particular experimental elements and incorporate them into their sound more than ever before.

But yeah, all that aside you could only play the first two tracks and it would still likely hold up as the best of the year. Buy this, I did. Hails.

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Honorable Mentions: 

Wampyric RitesReflections Of A Frostbitten Moon

WolcensmenFire In The White Stone

DecoherenceDecoherence

GrabesruheRemnants Of Primordial Knowlege

Goat TerrorUnholy March

Triumvir FoulUrine Of Abomination

AludraMass Stellar Graves

OmbrageWitchsickle Swung Low

UnrestCold

HamelinHamelin

LifvsledaManifest MMXIX

PlaguewielderSuffering From Self Inflicted Wounds

…with one extra note: the new Sargeist EP just dropped and would probably have clawed its way to somewhere around the top of this list if I’d had more time to spend with it, and thus judge it fairly. Suss it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. Hails.

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

LISTCRUSH 2018: THE EPS

Still propping up what remains of 2018 for everyone to stare/point/laugh at as it decomposes in the summer heat – the next segment of Black Metal Daily‘s favorite releases of the year, LISTCRUSH 2018: THE EPS.

For a quick recap: Last year we had the all-too-short lists for splits and EP’s crammed into the same article, this time I’ve decided to give them a little breathing room as there were far too many excellent releases in both of those categories to not give enough of them the proper attention they deserve. Hails to all of the artists involved for bestowing such incredible music upon us once again, I listened to all of these far more than I can remember and I’ll no doubt continue to for years to come. If you missed any of these check them out; if I missed any other great EPs then by all means, feel free to let me know.

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25: Cult Of ExtinctionBlack Nuclear Magic Attack

(Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

Thirteen minutes of sonic carnage and destruction at borderline megaton levels. Sheer bestial fucking violence.

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24: LampirBeneath The Flesh Of Dawn

(Black Gangrene Productions)

I don’t think I’ve disliked any of the foul excretions from this project yet. Oppressive, hate-filled majesty. Like your entire body is filled with burning ash.

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23: Serpents LairPerpetual Hunger

(Fallen Empire Records / Amor Fati Productions)

Ominous torment from the Danish horde, swarming from the abyss and devouring with lethal, arcane accuracy. Ravenous.

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22: WindsweptVisionaire

(Ván Records)

Drudkh mastermind does good again. New album drops in February, will undoubtedly be incredible.

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21: UrarvArgentum

(Svart Records)

Opens with a didgeridoo, never gets any less off-the-wall than that. After all these years there’s still nobody doing it like Bjørn ‘Aldrahn’ Dencker.

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20: SarkristaUnder Sentence Of Death

(Purity Through Fire)

Another exemplary pair of songs from the Germans, who never let me down. Rocking, ripping, melodic and morose all in one.

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19: Aparthiva RaktadharaAgyat Ishvar

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

What the hell is this, I thought – and then my head was blown off my shoulders with the force of a thousand suns. Keen for more from these Indian annihilators.

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18: Ill Omen The Grand Usurper

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

Returning to blistering, esoteric black metal rot after the black-doom miasma of Æ.Thy.Rift was a stellar move for these Australians. Sounds like the creature on the front cover, with added solos.

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17: Gevurah Sulphur Soul

(Profound Lore Records)

After the Canadians’ astounding debut album Hallelujah! they strip back, condense their energies and focus on their more ferocious side… and it fucking works a treat. Devastating.

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16: Human Agony Goring Christ

(Invictus Productions)

Ravenous vocals? Check. World-ending riffs? Check. The best damned war-metal release of 2018? Quite possibly.

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15: Nächtlich Second Ritual of Night Worship

(Knife Vision)

One of my favourite raw projects I discovered last year. Consistency and excellence from mysterious Canadian U.E.

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14: Faceless Burial Multiversal Abbatoir

(Blood Harvest Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records)

Absolutely brutal Australian blackened death with its own unique twist. To quote a friend of mine: “Totally original… kings of Aussie metal.”

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13: Cénotaphe Horizons

(Kuunpalvelus)

This French duo are on a roll, nailing everything they put out. Their split with Circle of Oroborous was great, this EP/MLP is wonderful and the teaser track from their next EP Empyrée is also top notch (listen to that here). Why I haven’t seen more hype around this band is beyond the limits of my comprehension.

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12: Alruna Relieving The Altar

(Tour de Garde / Voidland Shelter)

Incredible, hypnotic and dust-laden atmospheres are conjured with ease by this shadowed Austrian cult on their first release in five years. Spells Cast Unto The Silver Gleam Of The Mountains is immense.

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11: SVRMЗгарище

(Trismus Records)

The unsung Ukrainian master does it again. I could have just as easily put his also-amazing previous EP Лихиї вітри стогнуть без упину, so check that out too. Forever flying under far too many radars.

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10: Khandra There Is No Division Outside Existence

(Redefining Darkness Records)

“The concept of the release is the flaw and inability of consciousness to reflect the boundlessness of the nothingness in the frames of reality that (reality) only exists within and in the sanity. It is a sort of an attempt of exceeding the limits of imagination, which makes the lyrics unavailable for criticism from the point of view of logical thinking. The musical vessel here is a result of expression that has no bonds with any personal emotion of social nature.” Fitting, because the debut EP from this Belarusian duo will blow your mind.

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9: Olxane Primitive Casket

(Nebular Carcoma Records)

Another absolute gem from T of Kaffaljidhma. I also loved his Himelvaruwe EPs plus the follow up Olxane EP Vermilion Ruin (and they all could deservedly be in this spot), but this is probably the one I threw in the tape deck the most times this year, so it wins by default. Magical.

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8: The SecretLux Tenebris

(Southern Lord Recordings)

Six years off and these Italians aren’t messing around. Black doom grind for the connoisseurs, probably would have been higher if I’d been able to spend even more time with it than I did. The last track Cupio Dissolvi will dissolve you.

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7: Vessel Of Iniquity Vessel Of Iniquity

(Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

The mysterious A. White may destroy us all. I’ll pull from my review of this insane sensory assault: “…an all-out sonic assailment of inevitable destruction whipping your flesh to dust. It is fucking terrifying. Percussion teeters on the brink of becoming flat-out physical punishment as disembodied howls ride escalating waves of panic-inducing power electronics noise carnage; until it all collapses in on itself and you’re allowed to breathe for a brief, precious moment.”

As an aside – his upcoming new album is equally as good, the man is unstoppable. Review of that coming soon.

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6: Horna Kuolleiden Kuu

(World Terror Committee / Blut & Eisen Prod.)

Some leftover tracks from the 2015 Hengen Tulet sessions, and it’s all just as great as you’d expect. Also contains an excellent and surprising cover of popular song ‘Tähdet Tähdet’ (‘Stars, Stars’) originally released by Rauli Badding Somerjoki in 1983. Dropped on the same day as their split with Pure. That was a good day.

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5: Μνήμα The Remains Of Human Bones

(Harvest of Death / Signal Rex)

“You want hell on Earth? This is hell on Earth. Released quietly back in May, the second demo from Hellenic solo act Μνήμα (or MNHMA) is one of the most vicious, caustic stabs of howling cacophonous bile committed to tape this year – three tracks of rawer-than-raw black carnage that sounds like the audio equivalent of being torn limb from limb on a rack” …is what I said about this savage little EP in Indy Metal Vault‘s Albums You May Have Missed article. Just press play – see for yourself.

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4: AkashaConsuming The Soul

(Grey Matter Productions)

Before the Vibrations Of Blood And Hate split, Akasha‘s sole practitioner Leech was Consuming The Soul. With riffs for days, this excellent debut slice of vampyric hatred cemented him as one to watch and placed him fourth on this list, while the split with Unrest was also fourth on that respective collection of ordered releases… will Akasha also take out that position or higher on the 2019 albums list when the debut full-length drops this year? Time will tell.

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3: Voëmmr Sombr Moebrd

(Harvest Of Death / Signal Rex)

“Blood-curdling, ritualistic old-school crypt-dwelling misfit music of the macabre.” …so says a review on the Bandcamp page of the Aldebaran Circle-ites, and it is rather eloquently spot on. Like summoning ancient spirits and letting them speak through you, Sombr Moebrd is a fantastic follow up to Nox Maledictvs… and perhaps a great lead-in to their next full-length, sometime in the near future?

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2: Kommodus From The Ashes Of Empire

(GoatowaRex)

I’ve only listed the Australian’s third demo here, but please also take this to mean the preceding One Thousand Years Of The Wolf too – both are equally deserving of this position. With a primal kinetic energy like nothing else, surprising and artful interludes scattered throughout and some mighty songwriting chops to boot, both of these demos are beyond astonishing. Easily my favourite raw Australian project. Fucking great.

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1: Pa Vesh En A Ghost

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

As I said when Belarusian enigma Pa Vesh En landed in 8th position during LISTCRUSH 2018: THE SPLITS for his superb offering with Temple Moon, I liked everything he released last year. Perhaps none moreso than his 7″ A Ghost – two tracks of cursed black obscurity that I listened to again and again, and then some. On the surface this might not appear much to many, but with time the raw emanations of this project burrowed their way deep inside my head and nested there, growing deeper roots with every listen and becoming exactly what I wanted when I didn’t know I wanted it. The stale lingering scent of dust from centuries past, an echoing howl through cryptal darkness… Give it a shot and listen deeply. Let A Ghost into your soul.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS:
ObskuritatemNekrofilm
ArchaistCosmogonic Eyes
EnshroudedThe Emergence Of Crawling Shadows That Lurk Within Your Festering Soul
Funerary DescentOv Chasms Beyond
Häxenzjirkell – …von Glut und Wirbelrauch
GraveirCenotaph
CalvaireJe Me Souviens
VonlausVonlaus
Brood In BlackBlasfemas
Soul DissolutionNowhere

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Almost done. Arriving soon (well at this rate I’m just hoping it’s before 2020), the final chapter – LISTCRUSH 2018: THE ALBUMS. Hails.

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

LISTCRUSH 2018: THE SPLITS


Lo and behold, we’re back. Before we end up past the point of no return on the treacherous roads of 2019, let’s poke the already rotting carcass of 2018 a few more times – kicking off Black Metal Daily‘s favorite releases of the year is the next segment of LISTCRUSH 2018: THE SPLITS.

Last year we had the all-too-short lists for splits and EP’s crammed into the same article, this time I’ve decided to give them a little breathing room as there were far too many excellent releases in both of those categories to not give enough of them the proper attention they deserve. Hails to all of the artists involved for bestowing such incredible music upon us once again, I listened to all of these far more than I can remember and I’ll no doubt continue to for years to come. If you missed any of these check them out; if I missed any other great splits then by all means, feel free to let me know.

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20: Precaria / Deathspiral of Inherited Suffering / Dominus IraMetamorphosphoros

(I, Voidhanger Records)

I reviewed this beast earlier in 2018 (check that out here) and it only grew on me even more whenever it found its way back into my playlist. A conceptual trident, of which every sharpened point is unique – yet equally lethal as the others.

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19: Crurifragium / Abysmal LordSplit

(Hells Headbangers)

A blasphemic pairing of unholy bestial vomit from hell. Both back with their first new material since their last great respective albums, they don’t so much fly out of the gate as smash it up and devour it. Savagery incarnate.

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18: Cénotaphe / Circle of Oroborous Split LP

(Final Agony)

Perhaps surprisingly if you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing them yet the Cenotaphé side of this split is the standout for me, but overall it’s a stirring display that’s both as mesmerising and curiously obscure as its lithographic cover art.

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17: Inferno / Devathorn Zos Vel Thagirion

(World Terror Committee)

Mystic power and rage from these two behemoths. Stunningly complementary, bewitchingly coherent and of the utmost quality from beginning to end.

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16: Ancient Moon / Prosternatur Secretum Secretorum

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

Almost an album’s worth of ritualistic occult mania. Ancient Moon open with an immersive 18 minute piece of diabolical hypnosis while Prosternatur continue the incantation with a tryptich of resonant revelations. Fantastic work from both sides.

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15: Lampir / Gormanudr Infection At Dusk / Apocalypse (Höllenfeuer)

(Skjold / Hatework)

The sensation of nails on a blackboard, balanced on a razor blade as it glides over your skin… and it is beautiful. Gormanudr take the more orthodox route over Lampir‘s miasma, complementing and enhancing this split’s raw power.

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14: Occelensbrigg / Spiral Staircase Occelensbrigg / Spiral Staircase

(Harvest of Death / Signal Rex)

Aldebaran Circle-ites Occelensbrigg are as undeniably great as ever, but it’s Spiral Staircase’s understated raw black emanations that demand their appearance on this list for me.

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13: Jute Gyte / Spectral Lore Helian

(I, Voidhanger Records)

Two stunning compositions inspired by a 1913 poem by the great Austrian expressionist poet Georg Trakl. Mind-bending microtonal madness from the master Jute Gyte… and I think I even enjoy Spectral Lore’s side more, which is saying something.

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12: Unholy Vampyric Slaughter Sect / Black Aura Unholy Vampyric Slaughter Sect / Black Aura

(Infinite Darkness Productions)

Here we see the always-compelling UVSS taking things to an insanely new level of raw bleak filth, and the mysterious Bosnian wraiths in Black Aura don’t let the team down one iota either.

NO DIGITAL AVAILABLE

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11: Primitive Man / Unearthly Trance Split

(Relapse Records)

To play this split is to know obliteration. Blackened doom noise of the most crushing order, from two of the heaviest bands in existence. I saw some people ambivalent towards this split… I loved it. Absolutely apocalyptic.

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10: Kaffaljidhma / Gethsemane Split

(Zeitgeists Publishing)

Priceless Dutch raw black. An immaculate journey of transcendence through the heavens from T, as you would expect – then Gethsemane get more raucous, but no less astonishing. These recordings apparently took two years to see the light of day. It was worth the wait.

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9: Horna / Pure Split Album

(World Terror Committee / Blut & Eisen Prod.)

New Horna is very, very good Horna. LRH brings something special to the table (or drum stool) on his first recordings with the band and they sound all the better for it; Pure bring the grim fury like nobody’s business. Released on Jan 4th and still held its spot on the list.

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8: Pa Vesh En / Temple MoonPa Vesh En / Temple Moon

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

I’ve liked everything I’ve heard thus far from Belarusian enigma Pa Vesh En, and this murky, stifled offering is no different. Temple Moon also nail it, especially on the fantastic ‘Maze of Decrepit Trees’.

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7: Paysage d’Hiver / Nordlicht Schnee (III) / Füür Rouch Ruäss

(Kunsthall Productions)

Yeah, yeah, Schnee (III) did admittedly first surface on Myspace back in the day… but in 2018 it finally copped a long-awaited proper release, plus the first new Nordlicht music in 15 years is equally as stunning. Ice cold.

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6: Vilkacis / Turia Split

(Haeresis Noviomagi / Psychic Violence Records)

There’s something incredibly gripping about Vilkacis’ approach to USBM, I couldn’t get enough of it last year. And Turia… well, they’re Turia and are seemingly incapable of putting a foot wrong.

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5: Turia / Fluisteraars De Oord

(Haeresis Noviomagi / Eisenwald)

…case in point, another unbelievably great track from Turia. I also played the absolute hell out of this tape, a conceptual split based on rivers that flow through each of their respective hometowns. Could have (and probably should have, along with the aforementioned Vilkacis split) finished much higher up the list on a different day. Both sides are superb.

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4: Akasha / UnrestVibrations of Blood and Hate

(Grey Matter Productions)

“…Akasha brings an incredibly physical, riff-driven and abrasive chaos that crackles with power as it sounds like it could fly off the rails at any second; whilst Unrest conjures an unspeakable evil and dark magic through noise-oriented rituals, savage voodoo that will terrify and mesmerise in equal measure, and a primitive black assault straight from the hate-filled primordial core of man. Oh, and to cap it off Akasha smash out a cover of Motörhead‘s ‘Ace Of Spades’.” Like raw black metal? You need to hear this split.

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3: Volahn / Xaxamatza Gods of Pandemonium

(Iron Bonehead Productions / Crepusculo Negro)

Okay, I’m cheating with this one because I heard it late and didn’t realise it dropped on 24th December 2017, but fuck you: this fucking KILLS. The kind of shit that makes you want to howl a primal scream and hurl yourself through a wall. These Black Circle members complement each other perfectly and do more with one song apiece than most bands of the like can achieve in an entire album.

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2: Forbidden Temple / Ultima Thule Massacre Winds / Untitled

(New Era Productions)

Flemish and Dutch hordes unite in an unholy raw union for the ages. The atmosphere on this is nigh on unbelievable with both sides drawing sustenance from the black blood of ages past; Ultima Thule’s side alone would make this one of my favourite things I’d heard this year so the fact that Forbidden Temple also kill it is merely the icing on the diseased, pestilent cake. Thirty minutes all up and it still isn’t long enough. True black metal.

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1: Crawl / Leviathan CRAWL / LVTHN SPLIT

(Red River Family Records)

Utter death. Exactly twelve minutes each side, twenty-four minutes of spiralling downwards into a hell more wretched than anything you could ever conjure in your most feverish nightmares. Crawl’s At The Forge Of Hate wants to slowly tear off your skin and eat you alive, while the mighty Wrest does what he does better than anyone with Igneous Ashen Tears and inflicts such immense psychological wounds that you’ll never be the same again. If you call yourself a fan of either project and this isn’t your split of the year, you probably haven’t heard it yet – in which case, fix that right fucking now. Untouchable.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Norse / Host Norse / Host Split

Obsidian Grave / Unholy Vampyric Slaughter Sect Lupine Musings of a Dying Faith

Krieg / Integrity Split

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Coming soon – LISTCRUSH 2018: THE EPS and THE ALBUMS. Hails.

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