LISTCRUSH 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors – Part Two

Deck the hails, we’re back again with Part Two of our LISTCRUSH series. You know the drill – a whole heap of BMD‘s favourite artists, labels and contributors all share their thoughts on which releases clawed their way scratching and howling to the top of the heap in 2018. The only rule they were given was: no rules. No genre restrictions, list as many or as few as they liked, in any format they chose.

As you can imagine there’s some seriously great selections to be found below (if you missed Part One, check that out here) and some surprising choices; all of which give you great insight into the minds behind some of our favourite releases. So grab yourself another glass of eggnog or whatever and read on... there’s plenty more to come yet.

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RICHARD MCMASTER (Mar Mortuum / Impure Sounds)

In no particular order:

Svartidaudi Revelations of the Red Sword
Essenz – Manes Impetus
Hissing – Permanent Destitution
Abigor – Hollenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition)
Urfaust The Constellatory Practice
Chapel Of Disease – And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye
Mare – Ebony Tower
Ascension – Under Ether
Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence
Funeral Mist Hekatomb

Best Australian releases:

Golgothan Remains Perverse Offerings to the Void
Ploughshare – In Offal, Salvation
Graveir – Cenotaph
Encircling Sea – Hearken
Convulsing – Grievous
Nocturnal Graves – Titan
Grave Upheaval – Untitled

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WRATH (Dødsferd)

1: ArchgoatThe Luciferian Crown
2: Funeral MistHekatomb
3: Master Vindinctive Miscreant
4: Craft White Noise And Black Metal
5: Harakiri For The SkyArson
6: SathanasNecrohymns
7: At The GatesTo Drink From The Night Itself
8: High On FireElectric Messiah
9: Fu ManchuClone Of The Universe
10: The Pineapple Thief Dissolution

~

ASKNT (DSKNT)

The traditional exercise – but never done so far – of listin’ audial efforts of the current but dying year.

2018 extract:

Necros ChristosDomedon Doxomedon
“A very long -and abyssic- journey into ruin. One of the most monumental and fulfilled release to date.”

TaphosCome Ethereal Somberness
“A very powerful old-school death metal album, highly surprising efficiency.”

PortalION
“Fuzzy logic and Non-monotonous death wave.”

MessaFeast for Water
“A real dive into nightmarish depths. Cold flowing darkness.”

WindhandEternal Return
“Ether sounded massive vibrating hallucinations.”

AbigorHöllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition)
“Well, in respect to all their works. Don’t need to put word on this.”

CraftWhite Noise and Black Metal
“Unconventional dissonances and pulses. Excellent opus.”

YOBOur Raw Heart
“Heavy weighted, you need to dig into this.”

Notes and remainders for coming year:

Atrament
Temple ov Perversion

22XII18 – asknt/DSKNT

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SIN NANNA (Striborg)

1: Penance StareScrying
2: LyciaIn Flickers
3: Ash CodePerspektive
4: SelofanVitrioli
5: Soft KillSavior

~

WREST (Leviathan / Martröð)

Here’s the records from 2018 that I think will stand the test of time.
Titles only… it will force people to research and find these gems themselves…

Hailsz,
W.:.

– Hekatomb
– Disinterred Horror
– Credo
– Mandy (score)
– Antimoshiach
– Ancient Records comp II
– Ion
– The Incubus of Karma
– Deep Blood
– Sinister, O.T.D.P.
– Maniacal Winds
– Into Vermillion Mirrors
– Black Metal Warfare
– Upgrade (score)
– Upon Desolate Sands
– Permanent Destitution
– Goring Christ
– Vertical Helix Scan
– Lustful Vengeance
– Window
– Inhüma
– Surging Throng of Evil’s Might
– Tranquility of Death

~

MICK KENNEY (Anaal Nathrakh / Feto Records)

“All I’ve listened to this year is Elvis and that’s it.”

~

IMBER (Aludra / Synodic)

1: Crawl / Leviathan CRAWL/LVTHN Split
2: Mavorim Silent Leges Inter Arma
3: Farsot / Coldworld – Toteninsel
4: Devouring Star – The Arteries of Heresy
5: Knokkelklang – Jeg Begraver

~

WEST MADDOX (Ovnev)

When I pick my favorite black metal albums of the year I run them through three categories:

1. How it makes me feel
2. Production
3. Musical skill

Feel is the most important because I can forgive bad production and skill if the band has the ability to make me feel something strongly. If all of these categories are met then I determine if every single song on the album is great and it doesn’t have any filler. The more filler that I think is in an album, the lower it is on the list. The majority of these barely have any filler though. These are my top 50 based on that criteria.

Honorable mention for In the Woods…Cease The Day since it technically is not black metal but has black metal roots. Awesome album.

1. EneferensThe Bleakness of our Constant (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
2. WiltRuin (Black/Doom Metal)
3. DrudkhThey Often See Dreams About The Spring (Atmospheric Black Metal)
4. Spectral WoundInfernal Decadence (Traditional Black Metal)
5. KrahnholmGranting Death (Atmospheric Black Metal)
6. PathsIn Lands Thought Lost (Atmospheric Black Metal)
7. Cosmic AutumnCosmic Autumn (Atmospheric Black Metal)
8. The Nightly DiseaseSmell of Burning Wood (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
9. WayfarerWorlds Blood (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
10. ElderwindThe Colder the Night (Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal)
11. AvslutDeceptis (Traditional Black Metal)
12. DewfallHermeticus (Melodic Black Metal)
13. TrnaEarthcult (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
14. MidnartiisWith Reverence and Will… (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
15. Pure WrathSempiternal Wisdom (Atmospheric Black Metal)
16. RunespellOrder of Vengeance (Traditional Black Metal)
17. Infernal CoilWithin A World Forgotten (Blackened Deathgrind)
18. Soul DissolutionStardust (Atmospheric Black Metal)
19. DauþuzDes Zwerges Fluch (Traditional Black Metal)
20. Cân BarddNature Stays Silent (Atmospheric/Epic Black Metal)
21. A Flock Named MurderAn Appointed Time (Black/Sludge Metal)
22. UngfellMythen, Mären, Pestilenz (Folk Black Metal)
23. Mourning by MorningMourning by Morning (Atmospheric Black Metal)
24. Deus VerminMonument to Decay (Black/Death Metal)
25. Realm of WolvesOblivion (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
26. Cantique LépreuxPaysages Polaires (Atmospheric Black Metal)
27. Rebel WizardVoluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response (Black/Heavy Metal)
28. ChoriaBlack Secret Beyond of Nature (Atmospheric Black Metal)
29. MorrowThe Weight of These Feathers (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
30. SargeistUnbound (Traditional Black Metal)
31. FirtanOkeanos (Pagan Black Metal)
32. ConvulsingGrievous (Black/Death Metal)
33. WindsweptVisionaire (Atmospheric Black Metal)
34. NachteuleBergdorf (Atmospheric Black Metal)
35. OublietteThe Passage (Melodic Black Metal)
36. AntlersBeneath Below Behold (Atmospheric Black Metal)
37. ArchgoatThe Luciferian Crown (Black/Death Metal)
38. PanopticonThe Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
39. WindfaererAlma (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
40. AfskySorg (Depressive Black Metal)
41. VerheererMaltrér (Traditional Black Metal)
42. SolitvdoMilitia (Melodic Black Metal)
43. ImmortalNorthern Chaos Gods (Traditional Black Metal)
44. Black ReaperCelestial Descension (Melodic Black Metal)
45. CzortCzarna Ewangelia (Traditional Black Metal)
46. AniconEntropy Mantra (Progressive Black Metal)
47. UadaCult of a Dying Sun (Melodic Black Metal)
48. Wild HuntAfterdream of the Reveller (Post Black Metal)
49. Untamed LandBetween the Winds (Epic Black Metal)
50. ОктябрьОктябрь (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)

– West Maddox

~

GIUSEPPE D’ADIUTORIO (Batrakos / Deathvoid / Thecodontion / Xenoglossy Productions)

At first I just wanted to pick 10 albums, but I couldn’t decide so I ended up with 40. Also most of the positions are rather random after a while, since I suck at making “best of” lists. I’ve mostly listened to non-metal music this year and I think it shows in this list (especially for the first place!). Many thanks to Aaron for reaching out and giving me the opportunity to write this article, it means a lot.

40: HISSINGPermanent Destitution (experimental black/death metal)
Profound Lore Records
hissingseattle.bandcamp.com/album/permanent-destitution
Chaotic and swirling riffs, like a noise band gone death metal.

39: SELVANSFaunalia (atmospheric black metal/progressive rock)
Avantgarde Music
selvans.bandcamp.com/album/faunalia
A huge step forward from Lupercalia. It sounds like a Morricone movie soundtrack mixed with progressive/atmospheric black metal, in the best way possible.

38: PORTALIon (experimental black/death metal)
Profound Lore Records
profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ion
An improvement over Vexovoid, although Swarth is unbeatable. Actually, I want a Portal album made entirely of songs that sound like the 7th track on here, Spores. This track shows that Portal has the potential to excel in raw black metal too.

37: TIM HECKERKonoyo (experimental/electro/ambient)
Kranky
timhecker.bandcamp.com/album/konoyo
Not as good as 2016’s Love Streams, sadly, but Tim is a man of absolute talent and it shows even when he’s slightly less inspired.

36: AEVANGELISTMatricide in the Temple of Omega (experimental black/death metal)
I, Voidhanger Records
i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/matricide-in-the-temple-of-omega
Honorable mentions to their other 2018’s full length Heralds of Nightmare Descending, their compilation of re-recorded songs Veneration of Profane Antiquity and the reworked version of their debut Oracle of Infinite Despair, it has been a very productive year for the duo, both quantity and quality-wise. It was difficult picking between Heralds and Matricide… actually.

35: CONVULSINGGrievous (experimental black/death metal)
– self-released –
convulsing.bandcamp.com/album/grievous
Unexpected and much awaited follow up to Errata, and an excellent one too. A desperate and dark black/death metal emotional rollercoaster.

34: MALTHUSIANAcross Deaths (black/death metal)
Invictus Productions
malthusian.bandcamp.com/album/across-deaths
If Antediluvian (Haasiophis did the cover art by the way) is “prehistoric chaos”, this is the equivalent of Earth cracking open and swallowing everything at the end of the world.

33: AKSUMITEVinegar Perimeter (punk/black metal)
Colloquial Sound Recordings
colloquialsoundrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/vinegar-perimeter
Furious punk metal. I love Colloquial Sound Recordings’ output and it’s a bit of a shame they slowed down with the amount of releases over the years, they have many interesting oddballs in their roster. Honorable mention to DM‘s main project A Pregnant Light‘s compilation Lucky All My Life/Devotion Unlaced.

32: SVARTIDAUDIRevelations of the Red Sword (black/death metal)
Vàn Records
svartidaudi.bandcamp.com/album/revelations-of-the-red-sword
Excellent follow up to Flesh Cathedral. The melodic leads and passages in the riffing are superb on this.

31: DAGGER LUSTSiege Bondage Averse to the Godhead (black/death metal)
VRASUBATLAT/Invictus Productions
vrasubatlat.bandcamp.com/album/vt-xix-siege-bondage-adverse-to-the-godhead
Notable mentions for the other VRASUBATLAT material out in 2018 as well: Utzalu, Pissblood, Filth Column, Adzalaan and Serum Dreg, but Dagger Lust‘s album was the one that impressed me the most. Furious primitive black/death metal, as brutal as its title.

30: PANDISCORDIAN NECROGENESISOuter Supernal (experimental black metal)
Gilead Media
gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/outer-supernal
Improvised black metal played all simultaneously, courtesy of Ephemeral Domignostika (also a member of Mastery and Pale Chalice). And it almost sounds like a full band! Notable mention to PN‘s EP Eigenwelt, also out in 2018.

29: MAMALEEKOut of Time (experimental rock)
The Flenser
mamaleek.bandcamp.com/album/out-of-time
Mamaleek has become something similar to an experimental rock band by now, but I really appreciated their progression during their career and this album is so damn weird and uncategorizable.

28: ALTAR OF PERVERSIONIntra Naos (raw black metal)
The Ajna Offensive
altarofperversion.bandcamp.com/
Three hours of black metal are a tad too much to endure in the long run, but this album is so damn ambitious and grandiose.

27: DAVID GARLANDVerdancy (experimental folk)
Tall Owl Audio
davidgarland.bandcamp.com/album/verdancy
This is four hours long experimental record, but’s a damn beautiful experience. Absolutely check out the different versions of the CD packaging, great choice of colors and “verdant” aesthetics.

26: SLUGDGEEsoteric Malacology (melodic/progressive death metal)
Willowtip Inc. –
slugdge.bandcamp.com/album/esoteric-malacology
Surprisingly good melodic death metal with clean vocals. It’s also about SLUGS!

25: JUTE GYTE/SPECTRAL LOREHelian (experimental black metal)
I, Voidhanger Records
i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/helian
It’s more of a collaborative album than a standard split for its ambition. Jute turns all he touches into mictrotonal gold.

24: CALIBRO 35Decade (funk/jazz)
Record Kicks
calibro35rk.bandcamp.com/album/decade
Their music is inspired by Italian ’70s crime movies, their most recent albums have some space-rock elements as well. You should absolutely check them out.

23: BARSTThe Endeavour (drone/experimental rock)
Consouling Sounds
barst1.bandcamp.com/album/the-endeavour
Layered, multi-formed and ever transforming during the course of its 43 minutes, while keeping its “drone jam” quality.

22: BODIES ON EVERESTA National Day of Mourning (experimental/industrial rock)
Third-I-Rex
bodiesoneverest.bandcamp.com/album/a-national-day-of-mourning
The description on their Bandcamp reads “Dedicated to a car park in Sarasota FL, a wall in Harrisburg, PA, a chlorine tank, a photograph of a fishing net, a fire extinguisher, a lawyer at a railway station, a section of the pacific ocean near the coast of Chile” and the album is the experimental/industrial equivalent of these evocative vignettes.

21: HIMELVARUWEHemelpoort (raw black metal)
– self-released/The Throat
himelvaruwe.bandcamp.com/album/hemelpoort
Notable mentions to his two EPs also out in 2018 as well: Zwaluwenvesting and Het Okenbare. This is a project of the mastermind behind Kaffaljidhma, with an unique aesthetic and a weird approach on raw black metal.

20: SOLAR TEMPLEFertile Descent (atmospheric black metal)
Haeresis Noviomagi/Eisenwald
solartemplehn.bandcamp.com/album/fertile-descent
Notable mentions to Haeresis Noviomagi‘s other two major outputs this year: Iskandr‘s Euprosopon and Fluisteraars/TuriaDe Oord. All of them are great but I think I like Solar Temple‘s “sunny” take on atmospheric black metal the most.

19: EHNAHRE and HADEANRites for Winter (freeform/experimental rock)
– self-released –
ehnahremetal.bandcamp.com/album/rites-for-winter
Collaborative mini album, with lyrics adapted from the eponymous poem by Weldon Kees. A continuation of the recent Ehnahre dissonant jazzy style like on The Marrow, which I loved last year.

18: SUMAC & Keiji HainoKeep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On (noise rock)
Thrill Jockey
sumac.bandcamp.com/album/american-dollar-bill-keep-facing-sideways-youre-too-hideous-to-look-at-face-on
Notable mention to SUMAC‘s Love in Shadow, also out this year. It was hard picking between these two, but I think I like Keiji Haino‘s crazy noise input a bit more.

17: HERE LIES MANYou Will Know Nothing (psychedelic rock/afrobeat)
RidingEasy Records
hereliesman.bandcamp.com/album/you-will-know-nothing-2
Afrobeat mixed with psychedelic rock. Weird, but I’ve never heard something like this before. These guys are criminally overlooked.

16: ASSUMPTIONAbsconditus (funeral doom metal)
Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Everlasting Spew Records
everlastingspewrecords.bandcamp.com/album/absconditus
A proggy and even more atmospheric take on dISEMBOWELMENT, which I love, so I like anything inspired by them almost by default. Best Italian metal album this year.

15: ANICONEntropy Mantra (melodic black metal)
Vendetta Records
anicon.bandcamp.com/album/entropy-mantra
Impeccable mixture of melody and technicality in black metal. Great drumming by Krallice‘s Lev Weinstein.

14: S U R F I N GINCUBO (vaporwave)
– self-released –
surfing.100percentelectronica.com/album/incubo
Vaporwave did its time by now, but I wasn’t expecting a comeback album from S U R F I N G. They mostly work with original material without relying on samples and manage to avoid vaporwave’s usual trappings, so this doesn’t feel like a “meme” album at all, quite the opposite.

13: SLEEPWALKER – 一期一会 (experimental rock/metal)
Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Annapurna Production
sentientruin.bandcamp.com/album/-
New Sleep? More like new SLEEPWALKER! This is the real deal, an insane fusion of psychedelia, progressive/kraut-rock, jazzy passages and dISEMBOWELMENT. Many things I love condensed into 24 minutes.

12: DAUGHTERSYou Won’t Get What You Want (industrial/noise rock)
Ipecac Recordings
daughters.bandcamp.com/album/you-wont-get-what-you-want-
Everyone is talking about it and rightfully so, it’s that good.

11: DEATH GRIPSYear of the Snitch (experimental hip-hop)
Third Worlds/Harvest Records
youtube.com/watch?v=rX3rmlHG4XM
Another unpredictable album by the guys. This time they even throw in a dose of krautrock for a change.

10: ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVERAge Of (experimental/electro)
Warp Records
youtube.com/watch?v=tN4mV_jB-y0
Sadly it’s a huge step back from Garden of Delete and it’s not some of his best material, but it’s slowly growing on me and when it works, it’s stellar.

9: SAINTE MARIE DES LOUPSs/t (raw black metal)
Fallen Empire Records
saintemariedesloups.bandcamp.com/album/sainte-marie-des-loups
Raw black metal album of the year hands down. The ending of Sermons Sanglants might go on forever for all I care.

8: ZEAL AND ARDORStranger Fruit (r’n’b/spirituals/metal)
MVKA Music
zealandardor.bandcamp.com/album/stranger-fruitManuel Gagneux really knows how to make a catchy chorus and make the improbable mix of metal and spirituals/r’n’b work.

7: TETHERSIt Bows By Day (guitar ambient)
Lurker Bias
tethers.bandcamp.com/album/it-bows-by-day
These guys deserve more credit and exposure. Their guitar-ambient perfectly recreates the melancholic serenity and desolation on the cover artwork.

6: KNELT ROTEAlterity (grindcore/black/death metal)
Nuclear War Now! Productions
youtube.com/watch?v=2NHO41PQa9Q
An ultraviolent equivalent of a brick to the teeth. A shame these guys split up (the album is posthumous, actually), but that’s an excellent way to end your career on a high note. It’s probably going to be a landmark on the subgenre for years to come.

5: RANDALL DUNNBeloved (electro/ambient)
Figureight
randalldunn.bandcamp.com/album/beloved
Beautifully soothing album. Plus it has Zola Jesus and Frank Fisher from Algiers as guests, what’s not to love?

4: IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANTVile Luxury (jazz/black/deathmetal)
Gilead Media/The Alchemy Lab Records
imperialtriumphant.bandcamp.com/album/vile-luxury
Oh man I love jazz mixed with extreme metal, A swirling mix of black/death metal and saxophone madness. Their Metropolis-influenced imagery of vintage New York goes along perfectly with the music.

3: TOBY DRIVERThey Are The Shield (experimental/ambient rock)
Blood Music
blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/they-are-the-shield
I really like the direction Toby has taken both with his solo project and the most recent Kayo Dot albums. Delicate yet intricate. Notable mention for his darksynth side project Piggy Black Cross‘s Always out of R.E.A.C.H. with Bridget Bellavia.

2: CHAOS ECHOESMouvement (jazz/black/death metal)
Nuclear War Now! Productions
chaosechoes.bandcamp.com/album/mouvement
An instrumental black/death metal album that plays like a free-jazz jam. Ornette Coleman goes blasting. Notable mentions for their collaboration EP with Mats Gustafsson and OCRE‘s s/t 7″, a collaboration between bassist Stefan Thanneur and Michel Langevin from Voivod.

1: CLARENCE CLARITYThink: PEACE (experimental pop/r’n’b)
Deluxe Pain –
youtube.com/watch?v=C8Z_arswO4w
Same as 2015, the first position belongs to him. While probably not as good as No Now, and also less layered and more accessible, Think: PEACE is a super catchy, yet complex pop album. Clarence Clarity is once again the absolute master of choruses, every single one got stuck into my brain for days. It’s nice to hear mini-suites, guitar solos and prog-rock-like reprises in r’n’b.

~

Parts One and Two down. Stay tuned for part Three. Hails.

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LISTCRUSH – Part One: Splits and EPs

It’s that wonderful time of year: The time when every man and his dog has been splattering their ‘best of’ lists all over every available surface with joyous abandon. It’s also handy to find out if you’ve missed anything outstanding, as perusing lists from like-minded souls with similar tastes often yields overlooked gems. Last year I probably listened to more music than ever before and I still definitely would have missed plenty of gold standard releases; so, far from being comprehensive ‘best of’ lists here are BMD’s humble lists of superb black/blackened splits, EPs and albums that more people should hear and you should hunt down if you slept on. Some big names, some clandestine arts; my favourite shit from one of the most stacked years in recent memory, and every single one of these artists/releases I wholeheartedly recommend for your full attention. Part one: Splits and EPs. Enjoy.

~

~~ TOP 10 SPLITS ~~

10: GRAVEIR / MAR MORTUUM (Impure Sounds)

The first of three (!) all-Australian splits to make my top 10. An uneasy journey from Graveir knocks you around a bit before Mar Mortuum come through with absolute strength and astonishing quality. How neither of these bands are bigger than they are is beyond the limits of my comprehension. 

~

9: PAYSAGE D’HIVER / DRUDKH (Season Of Mist)

A single lengthy piece of windswept hypnotic atmosphere from Paysage D’Hiver that’s still absolutely essential; the only thing that prevents this being higher up the list is Drudkh not meeting their usual lofty standards. Which means by average plebian standards, it’s still fucking great. Even sub-par Drudkh is excellent music.

~

8: INTRINSIC LIGHT / EXPURGATORY (YNTPM)

Zen transcendence and blackened noise-rock experimentalism from the bowels of Melbourne, Australia. No other split intrigued me like this did; an almost indescribable experience. Those scared to stray far from the black metal blueprint need not apply.

~

7: WHITEWURM / TRUE LOVE (Les Fleurs Du Mal Productions)

Two solo USBM artists combine for one of the most caustic double stabs of hate you’ll have heard last year. Everything starts off disgustingly well with Whiteworm (featuring guest vocals from Eric Baker, who I daresay will also pop up somewhere in part two) then descends even further into new depths of hell with True Love. This was actually how I discovered True Love, so I like this split even more for that. 

~

6:  SUTEKH HEXEN / BLSPHM (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

Yeah I’m cheating throwing a vinyl reissue in here, but the original release from years ago was ridiculously limited and barely anyone heard it, so fuck you, this counts in my book. Like listening to the destruction (Sutekh Hexen) and aftermath (BLSPHM) of the end of the world; strangely calming and terrifying all at once.

~

5: SINMARA / MISÞYRMING (Terratur Posessions, Vánagandr)

The Icelandic masters knock it out of the park on both sides. Sinmara‘s track ‘Ivory Stone’ is somehow even better than anything on ‘Within the Weaves of Infinity’, which is saying something.

~

4: HOWLS OF EBB / KHTHONIIK CERVIIKS (I, Voidhanger Records, Iron Bonehead Productions)

Khthoniik Cerviiks and Howls of Ebb try to outdo each other for pure black death avant-garde psychic obliteration. Utterly batshit.

~

3: ABIGOR / NIGHTBRINGER / THY DARKENED SHADE / MORTUUS (Self Released)

Four great artists, four tracks that blend seamlessly into a mesmerising and magickal whole, one stunning split. Reverential. Immerse thyself.

~

2: CONVULSING / SIBERIAN HELL SOUNDS (Art As Catharsis, WOOAAARGH)

Sheer masterful carnage. I still haven’t wrapped my head completely around these twin Australian black holes, and it’s been out for a month. It’s also another one that introduced me to one of the artists; I fucking love Convulsing and am forever grateful to Brendan for finally making me check out Siberian Hell Sounds through this release. Be warned: this will consume you from the inside out.

~

1: BLOOD TYRANT / DEPARTURE CHANDELIER (Nuclear War Now! Productions)

Unequivocal and irrefutable split of the year. Raw vampyric elitist art from Dutch duo Blood Tyrant, and the triumphant return after six years of Canadians Departure Chandelier. It may only be a single track from each (and a short intro) but I can easily flip the 7″ over and over and listen on repeat for hours, and have done so many times. Near perfection.

~

Near Misses: Sutekh Hexen / Hissing, Funeral Moon / Hordes of the Black Cross, Thy Darkened Shade / Chaos Invocation.

~

~~ TOP 10 EP’S ~~

10: HEXIS – XII (Self Released)

The unstoppable Dutch blackened hardcore pulverisers somehow topped ‘Tando Ashanti’ from earlier in the year with this. I’m still mightily pissed I missed them when they came through my area last year too. Brutal.

~

9: HIMELVARUWE – ‘Gewrocht’ (The Throat)

I could have easily put Dutch enigma T‘s  other raw demo for this project (‘CCIII’) up here, or his release from the also-stunning Kaffaljidhma; but this captivated me from the minute I heard it. How does he do it? Beats me, but I hope he never stops.

~

8: MALEFIC LEVITATION – ‘The Ancient Plague’ (Sentient Ruin Laboratories, Dawnbreed Records)

This came in relatively late but I’ve been playing the shit out of it. In a great year for war metal, these US berzerkers blew me away. Ultimate destruction; more please, stat.

~

7: AVERSIO HUMANITATIS – ‘Longing For The Untold’ (Sentient Ruin Laboratories, BlackSeed Productions)

“This is an EP that will pull your skin off slowly to force you to see what’s underneath, directing your gaze both inwards and outwards.” 

I said that in the intro piece for when I interviewed them earlier in the year and it’s still a perfect description of their nihilistic, transcendent black/death assault to me. Need a new full-length from these demons. 

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6: LORN – ‘Arrayed Claws’ (I, Voidhanger Records)

I’ve been communicating sporadically with Radok of Italians Lorn for almost a year now in regards to an interview; he’s a fascinating person. Perhaps one day it will eventuate, but in the meantime let the intricate, silvery ‘Arrayed Claws’ sink needle-like into your brain. Unique and unsettling; this project just gets better and better with each release.

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5: SINMARA – ‘Within the Weaves of Infinity’ (Oration, Terratur Possessions)

Intricate, deeply melodic in its bleakness and utterly captivating in the tale it tells, this wrapped its rich tapestries around me and didn’t let go for some time. Bodes extremely well for the upcoming full-length.

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4: GNIPAHÅLAN – ‘I Blodets Kamp…’ (Ancient Records, Mysticism Productions)

I would have put the Swedes excellent self-titled full length in the top albums list but that originally came out in 2016 despite the ’17 vinyl release, so luckily this EP more than makes up for that omission. Raw black with perfect atmospheric clarity; listen deeply.

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3: VOIDSPHERE – ‘To Call | To Speak’ (Fallen Empire Records, Amor Fati Productions)

I said in the last Bandcamp Misanthropy this was one of the greatest EPs to drop last year and it easily would have been the greatest if the next two on the list hadn’t been released. The production gets me every time. Pure void worship. I need to pick this up on vinyl.

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2: THANTIFAXATH – ‘Void Masquerading As Matter’ (Dark Descent Records)

The first time I heard ‘Cursed Numbers’, my reaction was simply: Wow. The Canadian trio could have released that track as a single and I still would have put it somewhere on this list; add the rest of the EP and you’ve almost taken top spot. Follows up ‘Sacred White Noise’ in the best way possible. Stunning. 

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1: SKÁPHE – ‘Untitled’ (Mystískaos) 

I feel like many have forgotten about this outstanding single track EP, the third release from the duo of Alex Poole (another name that may pop up in part two) and D.G of Martröð, Misþyrming and Naðra. Black metal to me is all about feeling; this makes me feel like I’m trapped in a nightmare hell trip through the worst kind of hallucinatory psychosis. Easily the best of the year. Yeah DMT and LSD are cool, but have you tried Skáphe?

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Near Misses: Serpent Column – ‘Ornuthi Thalassa’, SVRM – anything he released last year, Kaffaljidhma – ‘IV’, Rür – ‘Rür’, Somnium Nox – ‘Terra Inanis’, Abkehr – ‘In Asche’, Thy Sepulchral Moon – ‘Contemptuous Retaliation Storm’, Nordjevel – ‘Krigsmakt’, Endalok – ‘Úr Draumheimi Viðurstyggðar’, Svartidauði – ‘Untitled’.

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And that’s Part One wrapped up, hope you found at least one new blackened delight to pleasure/annihilate your ears with. Let me know anything I’ve missed, should have heard, or just how terribly shit you think my listening tastes are in general and stay tuned for Part Two: Albums, coming soon. 

Hails to 2017.

– A.

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Get in early for 2018. Submissions welcomed.

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com