Unfailing – An Interview With Départe

Black metal is an ever-changing beast; shifting, writhing and evolving, but always with the same cold heart. With last year’s stunning album ‘Failure, Subside’ on Season Of Mist, Tasmania’s Départe have made it their own: its cold heart is surrounded by swathes of gorgeous emotive post-metal and howling lashes of dissonant death, creating something both harrowing, uplifting, and wholly unique.

This also nestles them in quite nicely to the incredible and varied line up for Direct Touring‘s fifth birthday celebration, ‘Direct Underground Fest’: Marduk, MGŁA, Ulcerate, Gorguts and Départe. Vocalist/guitarist Sam Dishington was kind enough to sit down amidst preparations for the Friday night Sydney show to answer a few questions.

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Hey Sam! Thanks so much for your time. We’ll start with the shows you’re doing this weekend, Direct Underground Fest: Marduk, Gorguts, MGLA, Ulcerate and Departé. That’s the greatest line-up Australia has seen in years! How did that come about?

– It really is a massive line-up isn’t it? We are all very excited, and I’d be lying if I said we weren’t also pretty nervous – to be sharing the stage with some of the best in the business is not only a huge honour, but it’s a pretty big responsibility! We heard about the tour in its very early stages, back when it was only one or two bands. We eagerly expressed our interest in being a part of it, and thankfully David at Direct Touring found us to be a suitable support act.

You’ve toured with Ulcerate before. Which of the other bands are you personally the most excited to share a stage with?

– We have played with Ulcerate many times since we started this band, they are good friends of ours and we are incredibly thankful to be able to share the stage with them again. We also played with Gorguts once before in Melbourne back in 2014, and that was an amazing and humbling experience. I know everyone in the band is extremely excited to see Mgła, given that we are all huge fans of their work and we never thought we’d get to see them play, let alone in Australia. To top all that off, being given the honour of supporting someone as long-standing and influential as Marduk is very exciting for us.

Your last album “Failure, Subside” was an absolutely crushing, emotional beast that simply demanded its inclusion on many end of year ‘best of’ lists, my own included. How do you feel about the overwhelmingly positive reaction to it?

– Releasing ‘Failure, Subside’ to such positive response has been a very exciting and humbling experience for us. We didn’t know if anyone was going to like it, we worked so hard to make it happen, it took a very long time, and it’s a very personal album, so even handing it over to the label when it was finished was terrifying – at least for me. I remember starting to get really anxious when I heard about it being sent out to various websites and magazines for review, I felt like I wasn’t ready to know if people thought it was good or not. But, when the first track was premiered, and all the positive reviews started coming in, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. The support and encouragement we’ve received from this release has been a real blessing to all of us.

For an album so bleak and dissonant, the fascinating flipside of it is that it packs an incredible emotional weight, helped in no small way by the inclusion of your clean vocals. They’re quite frankly great. Do they come naturally to you, or is it something you’ve had to develop?

– Thank you! For some reason, I’ve always liked the idea of clean vocals in metal, though it’s not always particularly well executed. I used to be really awful at it, as is evidenced on the first album by Separatist, the band I used to do vocals for. Regardless, I stuck with it. Over the years my voice developed into something far more mature, and when Départe came to be my voice just happened to sit well in this style. As we developed the band’s sound we knew that that kind of emotive clean singing in our genre would be a little divisive, but as with everything we do in this band, we’re just doing what we love, and we loved that sound. Thankfully, it wound up being a fairly substantial point of difference for us, which has proven beneficial.

It seems to be a very introspective, cathartic album; and from a technical standpoint I’m a huge fan of the sound. Can you shed some light on the writing and recording process?

– I’m really glad you like the sound, we are incredibly happy with how the production turned out. Half Moon Productions, the folks that mixed the album, is composed of a friend of ours, Jamie Marinos, and his business partner Lance Prenc. They specialize in more of the modern metalcore/deathcore/djent style mixes – in fact, if I’m not wrong, I think we were the first band in the realms of black/death/post metal that they’d ever mixed. But, we had heard their previous work, and we decided they were the right fit for the job, especially based on their ability to dial in a really thick, heavy bass tone. So it was something of a gamble, but we really believe it paid off and that they nailed it. Drums were recorded at Red Planet Recording Studio in Hobart by a friend of ours, Nic White, and everything else was recorded in my bedroom, with assistance once again from Nic, who helped out with mic placement and allowed us to borrow some of his gear.

There seems to be a fair amount of great black/blackened Tasmanian bands vs. population. Do you reckon there’s truth to the thought that being amidst the isolated forest peaks at the bottom of the world fuels inspiration?

– Yes and no. I think being in such a small community that’s somewhat isolated from the rest of the country has the potential to cultivate particular styles and movements, but at the same time with advances in technology and connectivity we’re really not that isolated any more. 

Recently you guys have been doing a bit of charity work, raising funds for White Ribbon, which I reckon is fantastic. Is that something you’ll continue to do in the future?

– We plan to continue with that sort of thing, yes. It’s important to all of us that this band amount to more than just music and lyrics. People are starting to pay attention to us, and we all believe that in that situation, even though we’re still relatively new, it’s our responsibility to try to make a difference to the community around us. It’s all well and good for us to play music because we love it, and we do love it, but it’s far more fulfilling to know that we are able to reach beyond ourselves to make someone else’s life better through our words and our actions. We hope that our actions will encourage more people to do the same, not necessarily for the same causes that we stand for, but to find something that they’re passionate about, something that affects their community, their loved ones, and make a stand for change.

I’d imagine you guys have a wide range of influences and great listening tastes, I think it may have been you Sam that got me on to Hexis in an article I read once. Any other ace recommendations of artists you’ve been particularly inspired by, or have just been jamming lately that everyone should check out?

– Ah yes, I remember that article, that would have been the Bandcamp Bargain Bin list I contributed to. As far as bands that have particularly inspired me, and probably shaped what Départe became over the years, I’d have to say Celeste, Isis, Rosetta (we got our name from one of their early songs), Altar of Plagues, Deathspell Omega, Plebeian Grandstand, and Ulcerate. I’ve also always been a big fan of Deftones, they are a huge influence on my writing, and they have been ever since White Pony came out. As far as stuff I’ve been jamming lately, right now I am listening to ‘A Perpetual Descent’ by Greytomb, which is excellent. They’re good friends of mine, and it’s great being able to listen to and enjoy something so much that your friends have created. In addition to that, lately I’ve been listening to Dodecahedron, Ulsect, Varaha, Old Solar, Skáphe, The Drowned God, Zhrine, Kollwitz, Gevurah, Pianos Become The Teeth and, just to shake things up, the score to The Revenant.

Being that you guys are at the forefront of the current metamorphosis of the archetypal black metal sound twisting from its origins and assimilating other influences to devastating effect, what’s your opinion of the current state of the genre?

– I think this genre has so much potential, as is evidenced by the vast amounts of different bands moving taking the style in all sorts of different directions. There’s always trends, as with any genre, but above all I really believe the genre is growing, shifting, and evolving. It’s very exciting.

What’s in the forseeable future for the band after this run of shows? Thinking about the next album yet?

– We’re working on getting back overseas hopefully in the near future. Aside from that, I’m sure there will be a few more Australian shows before too long, though nothing confirmed yet. We actually plan to start work on writing for the next album fairly soon after Direct Underground Fest. We want to try some new things, new techniques, and get better at working together as a band as far as writing is concerned, so we are allowing ourselves a great deal of time to get used to that.

Thanks again guys, can’t wait to see you decimate this weekend! Anything else you’d like to add?

– Not really mate, we’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone at these shows on the weekend!

You really should catch Départe and the rest of the excellent line up at either The Factory Theatre Sydney on Friday 17th, or The Corner Hotel Melbourne on Saturday 18th. Tickets still available from http://directtouring.oztix.com.au/

Support Départe: 

Donate to White Ribbon: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au

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Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 8

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 eighth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

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Artist: Anhedonic

Year: 2017

First up, that cover image is immaculate. Credit to Mitchell Nolte Art, truly astonishing. Now to the music: Anhedonic is the blackened death brainchild of US artist Chase Funk and he’s just unleashed his debut EP ‘Metanoia’ to terrorise your eardrums. This is the stuff I like, blackened death that doesn’t just claim the title from some rasps and blasts but actually goes for a grim black metal atmosphere. The first track ‘I Belong to Chaos’ is the perfect mood-setter, an ominous cloud of negative energy slowly latching its tendrils into you before the universe caves in with the onset of ‘Stargazer’. The heavens open, transcendence takes hold; you can almost feel yourself rising up into the void as the music swirls around you, lifting you up on morbid cadence. 

As it’s a rather short EP and consists of just another quick interlude and a final track ‘A Dead Life Into A Living Death’, I won’t kill all the mystery by going into a blow-by-blow about it. I’ll just leave you with this: this EP is great. Dynamic, violent and refreshing; I haven’t heard so much done with two songs in a while. Head to his Bandcamp and support, the EP is at name-your-price but he’s doing it all independently so any donations go towards getting physical copies and merchandise printed. Hails.

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Artist: Ploughshare

Year: 2017

Australian black/death/doom trio Ploughshare released their debut EP ‘Literature of Piss’ a few months back now and holy fucking shit is it good. They descibe themselves as a “sepulchural din” and that overall nails it; there’s plenty of raw crypt-creeping bleak dissonance here but it’s balanced out with a savage, unhinged cacophony. 

Great riffs, feral atmosphere. Underlying it all is a black core of cruelty, too: this EP will tie you to a chair and beat the shit out of you until you can’t breathe, see or control your own bladder. Four tracks long with the third a monumental 17 minute trip through the spectrum of human despair and depravity; this is outstanding in every way. If you’re lucky there might be a few tapes left on their Bandcamp but either way, do not miss this.

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Artist: Devourer

Year: 2017

When I say Swedish black metal, what do you think of? Well, that’s pretty much what you get here, which is in no way a bad thing. Two man project Devourer has been at it for fifteen years and it shows. It’s furious and melodic with frequent forays into atmospheric or flat-out heavy deathlike territory. Nothing that reinvents the wheel so to speak, but hey, innovation is not the only way to make a great album. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a dynamic and exciting ride within the realm it plays in. From the atmosphere of the title track ‘Across the Empty Plains’ to the glorious attack of personal highlight ‘Deeds of Rancour’ that follows hot on its heels, Devourer take you through everything great about Swedish black metal. And they do it well. 

The project has been total DIY for fifteen years and I really can’t say a bad word about it, so grab a name-your-price download from their Bandcamp and help spread the scriptures of Devourer ever further.

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Artist: Blyh

Year: 2017

Fresh meat. German duo Blyh have smashed out their debut album ‘Transparent to the World’, and it’s a solid listen. An amalgam of many modern black/blackened styles swirled together and blended until they create a fresh tasty brew; conjuring a cornucopia of negative emotions that only get stronger as the album progresses. The glorious, sprawling title track is where everything really starts to hit home, and that continues until their interesting take on Songs : Ohia’s ‘Tigress’ brings proceedings to a close. It’s great when a band isn’t afraid to cover a song in their own style and they definitely succeed here as they twist and adapt the material to their own devices. 

Also a fair point of difference are the varied vocal samples lifted from what appears to be current sources like Dexter or Ghost Adventures; there’s even what I swear sounds like a sneaky “My Name is Jeff” in ‘So Willingly Dead’, which adds to the whole fuck-it nihilism that also runs through the project. Memes in black metal? Sure. It’s not much weirder than hearing Russell Crowe when you push play on Satyricon’s ‘Volcano’ (which might be a bad example, but that album had some bangers so fuck you).

Great stuff, you’d do well to remember the name Blyh. If everything stays together for them I’ve an inkling you’ll be hearing it many more times in future.

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Artist: Wounds of Recollection

Year: 2017

The pain of a solitary existence in the modern world has long been a topic of artistic expression, often by necessity. Another man finding cathartic release through isolation in sonic form is US atmospheric/post/depressive solo act Wounds of Recollection, who’s just released his fifth album ‘The Nail in the Meadow’. A yearning, at times savage tug at the heartstrings with some truly beautiful moments hidden within, it’s a creation made from all too familiar feelings of detatchment and dull aches that only gets better the deeper you delve into it.

Misery always loves company, so snap this up at name-your-price download and be embraced by its raw charms. If you dig it the rest of his discography is also well worth a look.

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Artist: Nokturnal Winter

Year: 2017

And finally, I was alerted to these fine young men by a good friend and I want to show ’em some support. Straight out of high school USBM hellions Nokturnal Winter may be fresh on the scene but they follow the old ways; debut demo single ‘Fall of Man’ is rawer than hell embryonic black metal made for the sake of it. No pretensions or put-on kvltness, just primitive, primordial evil. 

The track itself shows huge potential. Vocalist Abbadon Nokturnus has a fair rasp on him and the whole band will only improve with time; remember, it’s enthusiasm like this that created the genre and made it what it is today. 

I’d love to see these guys go further. Total hails gents, more power to you.

Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes welcomed.

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com 

Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 7

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 seventh installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

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Artist: Time Lurker

Year: 2017

French one-man atmospheric act Time Lurker has recently released what’s sure to be one of my personal favourite atmospheric albums of the year. Dynamic and pummeling, the eponymous debut is seven tracks of incredible rhythmic drumming and superbly unhinged vocals that bellow and howl with the fury of the ages as the guitars surge and fall underneath it all to create a myriad of mesmerising emotion. It sounds like the ebb and flow of the waves of time itself: violent and constructive, calming and crushing; somber melodies swoop into a grand aggression both bleak and hopeless yet as intrinsic and vital as life. It gets into every fibre of your being and won’t let you go.

Believe it or not, it wasn’t even written as an album. It’s comprised of two EP’s (‘I’ and ‘II’) rolled into one; although you’d never guess as the whole thing flows seamlessly from start to finish. Honestly, not one single track on this is a dud. Available through Les Acteurs de l’ombre Productions you can also snap up a digital copy for a mere €1 from their Bandcamp, which is why I’ve snuck it into this Volume. What are you waiting for? Treat yourself.

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Artist: Grimah

Year: 2017

Spanish three-piece Grimah have their debut full length due out later in the year and to whet the appetite of any interested souls have unleashed their first ever track ‘Serpens’. It apparently won’t be on the album proper and was released as a tribute to a struggling friend, with ‘M’ handling vocal duties as a one-off for this particular track, so expect a different oratory style on the album. The music itself is an impassioned take on the epic, emotive and melodic fury that MGŁA do so well; a hard task to match, but they do an admirable job of rising to the challenge. If this is what they’re capable of the debut could be an absolute hidden gem. Available for name-your-price download; check it out and support.

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Artist: Whitewurm/True Love

Year: 2017

I’ve spoken before about how great splits are where the artists involved complement each other perfectly; well, this is another one that fucking nails it. 

USBM one-man projects Whitewurm and True Love are a match made in a hell you’d never dream could exist. Whitewurm kick off proceedings with ‘Sentenced’, an onslaught of majestic, atmospheric hatred that’s filthy yet refined; sorrowful melodies drape almost elegantly atop the malignant savagery within. Breathtaking stuff that will have you searching up the rest of their discography before the track even hits the halfway mark.

But while you’re doing that, True Love arrive to ruin your mojo/day/life. Some severely creepy oscillations begin to emanate from your speakers, demanding your attention before an absolute torrent of raw atonal scorn and sludging depravity spews forth like an unspeakable leviathanic horror forcing its way into this existential plane. Aptly titled ‘Levitating on the Brainwaves of the Insane’, the harsh assault is offset by slithering grooves and interlaced with twisted scratchings designed to snap your synapses beyond all hope of repair. It’s the perfect foil to the atmospheres of Whitewurms’ side of the split, sonically matching it yet the flipside of a dirty coin you found stomped into the muck out the front of a graveyard. 

At ten minutes apiece each track flies by in what feels like three. Released just two weeks ago some limited tape copies were available, but they’ve already sold out; this release is that good. Luckily it’s also up at name-your-price download from Whitewurms’ Bandcamp, so head over there and get behind it.

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Artist: Demiurge

Year: 2017

US occultist Demiurge is currently working on new material for his eponymous depressive project, however he also released his first ever EP back in January. ‘Sitra Achra’ is solid melancholia; mystical, pained and miserable. Just the way it should be, right? Making good use of sombre repetition to create a mood that sticks throughout the whole EP and with a variety of arcane lyrical themes, I’m keen to see what he comes up with next as the project shows a lot of promise in the great ‘Repose of the Gods’ alone. Up for name-your-price download, he’ll keep perfecting his formula and it will only get better from here.

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Artist: Hyperborean Skies

Year: 2017

US solo artist Ben Stiles brings the feels on Hyperborean Skies atmospheric debut album ‘Empyrean Fracture’. Jam packed with majestic emotion and riffs that want to carry you off soaring and wheeling into the night sky, the songs flawlessly segue into each other creating an enthralling tapestry woven with the utmost care and skill. A well thought out and put together album that’s been three long years in the making; you can feel every drop of sweat and sleepless night he’s put into perfecting it, and it’s paid off.

Exceptional melodic guitar layers engage and enthrall while the driving (programmed) drums leap out and power the songs. It’s a varied and dynamic listen that’s adept at shifting moods; by the time the frankly gorgeous synth interlude ‘Mists of Memories’ (that would make Vangelis turn green and ends all too soon) ends you’re totally immersed in the sobering, yearning feel before the thrash-tastic ‘Betrayed by the Stars’ arrives, slaps you around the head and sends you packing on a whole new journey.

You know those releases that are almost fun to listen to? This is one of those. Highly enjoyable for a debut album, head on over to his Bandcamp and support. Oh, and check out the cover he dropped earlier in the year of Burzum’s ‘Dunkelheit’ while you’re there too. Hails.

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Artist: Faunus

Year: 2015/17

Nature inspired atmosphere abounds in this release from Faunus; one man project of Admetos from Elegos, the Hellenic duo I reviewed back in Volume 4. Based on the four Seasons and the cycle of death and Rebirth, ‘Where Everything Begins With An End’ kicks off with Autumn, its raw blasts and solid riffing settling you in for the ride nicely. Winter is up next; this is where the EP really comes in to its own. Epic and sombre, it reaches grand emotive heights before dissolving into eerie menace and is really the centrepiece of the album. Which isn’t to say the quality drops from here on in; the excellent Autumn is ponderous and introspective with evocative guitar work and vocals that almost turn guttural where necessary to add weight, before Summer closes out the album with alternating doom-y vibes and blasting fury.

Originally only self released on Bandcamp a couple of years ago, it’s finally scored an extremely limited run on CD and Tape through Apesxintipotapotis. Only 44 copies will be made of each; so if you dig the digital, snap one up while you can.

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Artist: Winterkyla

Year: 2017

I wasn’t sure if I was going to include this, but I’m throwing it in last minute because I find it quite interesting. Swede Requiem’s one-man project Winterkyla released its debut EP ‘Uppland’ about four or five months ago and for whatever reason I’m just hearing it now. What we have here is a great piece of varied and melodic black metal with some truly excellent, emotive guitar work perfectly in synergy with the bright cover image. Also notable is the vivid production that really leaps out at you… except for the drums, which sound oddly muffled in comparison. A small complaint I guess and one that I’m hoping will grow on me during further listens; it does give the guitars ample room to shine. The rest of the album is far above average and does more than enough to make me keen to hear what comes next (favourite moments: the Enslaved vibes that creep in at the end of ‘Frystad’ and the raucous Kvelertak-esque punk energy of ‘Winter In Bloom’) and at name-your-price download it’s well worth a listen. 

Edit: I’m several listens in and the drums are working more for me now. Definitely check this one out!

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Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes welcomed.

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Lucid Dreams in Savage Streets – A Review and Interview With Fell Ruin

Everyone loves a good story. But what if the story didn’t make sense? It sounded as if it did at first. At a cursory glance everything seems in order; but the closer you listen, the more things seem a little off. Words and sentences don’t seem to fit. Things seem to lose focus. The story drives on, but now something is definitely wrong. You aren’t following at all, are you losing your mind? Everything seemed normal. Why doesn’t this make sense? A feeling of dread creeps in. Is the storyteller insane, or are you? What’s happening? You begin to panic. Beads of sweat form. You have to get out of here, you can’t keep listening. What are they even saying? Why are they smiling? Their eyes seem dead. Your head feels like it’s unravelling. This isn’t normal. This isn’t happening. Run. RUN.

And so begins the musical journey that is US avant-garde four piece Fell Ruin’s harrowing debut opus ‘To the Concrete Drifts’. Released on March 17th through I, Voidhanger Records and Graven Earth, it follows a narrative and there are recurring motifs such as the gorgeous acoustic sections that lull you into a false sense of security; but that’s just a well calculated ruse to intensify the helplessness with which you tumble into its nightmare. The more you get lost in its intricacies, the more you realise it’s a staggering piece of art. 

Its five tracks begin with ‘Respire’, an intro of sorrowful and foreboding acoustic guitar before the terror begins to stir in second track ‘The Lucid Shell (Rite of Fertile Sand Coasts)’ with a savage, crawling doom rasping and grinding towards you. From then on the tale takes on a life of its own, subversively challenging your senses and nerve as it organically mutates from dystopian blackened doom to thrash to blistering pure black and even post metal, all within the same song. Brian Sheehan’s commanding, haunted and often sinister vocals drive proceedings; when he roars “I SUCCUMB” in third track ‘Spy Fiction Folds in Ready Streets’ you can almost literally feel yourself being swallowed by waves of concrete, shifting and crashing as the cityscape collapses and undulates, succumbing to the psychedelic horror.

Special mention should also be made to Jeff McMullen’s unique basswork and tone, winding around in fantastic interplay with Rob Radtke’s portentous guitar and adding a whole new level uncomfortableness, confusion and misery to proceedings as August Krueger expertly gives the songs what they need with dazzling progressive skinsmanship.

The whole thing works so well together, each listen gets better and better. Before you know it it’s dragging the pit of your stomach through the floor as it weaves a mesmerising spell, leaving you hopelessly ensnared by an unnerving and unhinged world you’ll be unsure of how you arrived at… and will never be able to catch your bearings enough to escape from.

I’ll be spending a lot more time getting lost in this album, I highly recommend you do too. In the meantime, check out the supremely unsettling official video for ‘Spy Fiction Folds in Ready Streets’ above; then read on below as we chat to vocalist Brian about all things Fell Ruin.

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Hi Brian, I hope everything is well in the world of Fell Ruin. You recently released your crushing debut album, ‘To the Concrete Drifts’. You guys pleased with the reception it’s been getting?

– Better than we could have hoped. Glad to finally have it out there.

The songs are absolutely mammoth, kaleidoscopic slabs of blight and avant-garde decay. What was the creative process like? Does someone handle the bulk of the writing or is it more of a democratic process?

– Writing is a collaborative process. Everyone brings ideas to the table, and we refine as a group. Listening back to rough recordings from the previous rehearsal for further elaboration. Everyone plays off each other pretty naturally.

The album title is a partial line from one of the songs: “To the Concrete Drifts, I Succumb”. All of the esoteric lyrics conjure up some great mental imagery, but can you explain why you chose that particular phrase to represent the album as a whole?

– Naming things has and will always be the bane of my (our) existence. Scouring over the lyrics, To The Concrete Drifts fit the album as a whole, ringing true to the synopsis of the story.

You guys have a unique and discombobulating sonic pallette, raw and immediate yet oddly disconnected and surreal. I find it occasionally akin to being on acid in a burning building, sitting surrounded by death as everything crashes in slow motion around you. How did recording go, did everything turn out exactly as you envisioned?

– Perfect! That’s relatively close to the atmosphere we sought to create. Recording, for myself anyways, is always the most trying yet rewarding part of making music. With that said, tracking this album was the most comfortable and confident I have been with my performance to date. I think as perfectionists, we all hear things later down the road we wish would’ve been done differently. Collectively, we have long come to peace with such sentiments and remain proud of what we’ve created.

Is there any particular piece of art, music or otherwise, that inspired your sound and/or themes on this release?

– We all have our influences/inspirations. Individually and collectively. Without naming dozens of bands, I would say we are all simply into a little of (almost) everything. Speaking for myself and lyrical content, I’ve always been into the raconteurial approach. Grand story arcs that span the album. To The Concrete Drifts was heavily influenced by pieces such as El Topo, The Dark Tower (specifically “The Gunslinger”), Begotten, The Seventh Seal, and a plethora of others. I don’t really get any inspiration from any lyricists in the metal realm.

The CD is out on I, Voidhanger Records; one of my personal favourite labels. How did that come about?

– Same here. Once we received the mastered version back in the fall, I inquired with a few labels that seemed like a suitable fit. Luciano got back immediately and enthusiastically expressed interest in collaborating. Same thing with Rachel of Graven Earth (whom released the cassette version). Both have been a pleasure to work with, and the finished products exceed expectations.

The suitably nightmare-inducing video for “Spy Fiction Folds in Ready Streets” also dropped recently. Can you tell us a little about that and the ideas represented in the video?

– Having grown up on old, black and white horror/art films, it always seemed natural to pursue similar aesthetics and themes. Including elements from the lyrics as well as the album artwork without painting too specific of a picture is difficult. Surreal horror that isn’t in the straight forward commonplace, allowing the spectator to come to his/her own conclusions. In this case, we are more than pleased with the result. As for specifics, I will let the viewer discern.

Were you there for the shoot? How was that experience, and how much creative input did you have throughout the process?

It was a collaborative endeavor between Nick Holland of Diamond Dead Media, myself and a few close friends. I wanted to make something that made me feel the same way I felt watching Begotten for the first time, without just ripping it off. Sampling bits and pieces from the lyrics, crafting masks and costumes, it was an elaborate endeavor that took weeks of planning and two days of shooting on location.

The album artwork is great, ties in fantastically with the video. And it was done by yourself (Legerdemain Art)! Did you have any prior ideas/direction for it all?

– Thanks! It’s been a luxury handling the visual interpretations of the music. I had a vague idea going into it, but it came down to experimenting with multiple elements and combining them. Once the main image was conceived, the additional art came together pretty naturally.

It’s been two years since your also-excellent EP ‘Devices’, which I felt was slightly more straightforward black metal influenced. This one seems like you’ve really let rip. What would you say the biggest change has been from the EP to the album?

– I feel like our songwriting has matured as a whole. Although, two of the tracks on T.T.C.D. were written before some of the songs on Devices. Refined and relentlessly revisited before making it to the recording.

‘Fell Ruin’ strikes me as a very emblematic name. What’s the meaning behind it?

– Again, naming things has never come easy. We completed the recording of Devices before agreeing on the moniker. ‘Fell’ in the old literary sense (savage, violent, cruel). ‘Ruin’ in its common use (decay, dissolution). Inciting the notion of empowerment through turmoil.

You’ve been around a few years now. How did Fell Ruin come into existence, and why does it continue to exist?

– Just three friends from various musical endeavors conspiring to do something new. In the fall of 2013, August, Jeff and Rob started writing songs. I tried out for vocals in the spring of 2014 and it’s been us four ever since. It will continue until we feel it loses its luster.

What’s the Black Metal scene like in Michigan, are there any other bands from the area that deserve more attention?

– There are some great bands, but very few black metal bands. We ourselves never really considered this band to be black metal though the influences are undoubtedly there. To name drop a few local friends and peers: IsenblåstDark WinterTemple of VoidMammonEndlingSunlight’s BaneHer Dark Host

And finally, what comes next? What lies in the future of Fell Ruin?

– Writing for our next venture is already well underway. More live shows in support of the album are being planned, but nothing we can share just yet.

Great news, looking forward to seeing the horror and wonder the next album brings. Thanks again for your time!

~

Purchase the excellent debut album on cassette from Graven Earth Records here and on CD from I, Voidhanger Records here.

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The Infinite Dark – A Review and Interview With Synodic

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.”  – Carl Sagan

Those who have been reading BMD for a while may be familiar with the name Synodic; the debut single ‘Large Magellanic Cloud’ by US duo Imber and Myrdin Cerphas was featured back in the heady days of Bandcamp Misanthropy Volume 1. Since then I’ve followed the project with interest and remained in contact, and now I’ve been extremely privileged to hear the full-length realisation of their vision and speak with conceptual creator, lyricist and vocalist Imber about the massive ‘Infinite Presence In A Violent Universe”, finally unleashed upon the galaxy at midnight last night.

But first, a look at the album itself. Space themed black metal projects are close to becoming dime-a-dozen these days; write some spacey riffs, slap on some psychedelic sounds, add vague lyrics and Bob’s your astronaut. Straight off the bat, with their debut Synodic surpass the majority of those projects by means of one key ingredient: a genuine passion for astronomy and the universe at large. A great deal of attention is paid to the scientific content of the lyrics and everything from the sound and production to the huge, expansive songs seems carefully planned to give the listener the most authentic cosmic experience still skillfully balanced with the raw black metal ethos and aesthetic. It’s violent and illuminating, light and dark, crushingly solid and eerily ethereal all at once. 

Introductory track ‘Descending On Titan’ sucessfully sets up the journey ahead, implanting images of an unfathomably huge object moving through space before the titular second track explodes as though you’re witnessing the big bang itself from afar. Think if Anaal Nathrakh were floating on a distant space shuttle instead of puking in the gutters of Birmingham and you’re along the right track; it’s one of the more intense songs on the record. It’s here you’re introduced to the unique production too, which eschews just enough of the total rawness of low-fi black metal for a more modern, distant and intricate effect. The guitars sound like planetary noise, a dense yet distant roar of raw sound while mechanical drums not often suited to black metal click and whir with savage precision like intricate parts of a spacecraft gliding effortlessly through the black void; shimmering cymbal crashes echoing throughout immensity. 

The fury of the song eases up for a moment to introduce us to another feature of the album; a synth interlude with a sound that isn’t a million miles away from the delicate cosmic tones of Limbonic Art’s ‘In Abhorrence Dementia’ introduction but which seems far more fitting here. These synths make a welcome return for the start of the absolutely epic third track; the lead-in single ‘Large Magellanic Cloud’. 

With the dust settled from the fury of the title track, now the stillness and vastness of the cosmos dawns upon you and you’re in awe of its magnitude. You’re floating in space, its wonders reaching out into infinity. It’s an epic, trance-like song, dense and heavy. Named after a galaxy that orbits our Milky Way once every 1500 million years, you know that feeling you get when your mind grasps the enormity of a fact like that? When you imagine yourself, an inconsequential mote of dust, drifting through the endless, terrifying yet beautiful nothingness of space? That feeling is this track. Magnificent, cold and awe inspiring.

The album continues with the two-parter of tracks four and five, ‘Cosmic Cataclysm NGC 6357’ and the instrumental ‘Cosmic Perspective’. The vibes are still sky high and Imber’s vocals taking a breather only allows pause to fully take in the sheer overwhelming vastness of it all. Speaking of which, Imber shrieks and rasps with the best of them and matches the tone of the songs with detached fury, her voice a vortex with it’s own gravitational pull; a vocal black hole.

I won’t say too much about the last two tracks so there’s still uncharted planes for the interstellar traveller to discover, just that the riffs in both are absolutely killer and the closer contains one of the catchiest riff/vocal combinations I’ve heard in aeons.

Overall, it’s a truly excellent debut that knows its subject matter and nails it better than some artists with ten times the experience. The songs are massive, expansive and really given time to breathe; the production is just right and doesn’t fall into the all-too-common trap of being too gaudy or bombastic, keeping its black metal roots intact and deliciously prominent. One of my favourite underground releases of late; I’ll be honestly surprised if this doesn’t get snapped up for a physical release by an ace label very soon. 

So without further ado, pick up the album from the above link (all funds go towards a physical release) then grab some headphones, go outside, look at the stars and float off into the atmosphere. Or alternatively, give it a stream as you read our chat with vocalist Imber below to delve further into its measureless mysteries.

~

Hails Imber! I hope you’re well. Your debut album ‘Infinite Presence In A Violent Universe’ has just been released, how does it feel to finally have it unleashed upon the world?

– As someone who has been very passionate about music my whole life it feels really good to release something that I am part of. Not just to be a listener but to be part of the creation itself.

Synodic is you and Myrdin Cerphas, who I believe is your partner, something you don’t often see in black metal. What’s it like working artistically with your significant other, do the creative fires burn brighter from your bond?

– It works well for us because we know and understand each other so well. When I presented the idea and concept to him he was able to translate that into music that was just how I felt it should be. He was able to create the right vibe and emotion it’s supposed to invoke. He is gifted in that way and we work well together.

It’s quite a strong debut, especially considering you take care of all aspects of the project yourselves. What roles do each of you play within Synodic? Do you offer any feedback on each other’s work or simply trust in each other’s ability and interpretation of the vision?

– A little bit of both. He writes the music and does all the sound engineering while I do all the vocals and lyrics. He always asks for my opinion and feedback on what he creates and vice versa. We take that into consideration and make something we both are happy as a result.

It’s been a couple of months since the excellent and trance-like first single ‘Large Magellanic Cloud’ was released. How long did the album take to complete? How was the recording experience?

– It took about 3 months from start to finish and since we record at home we can do it on our time so if we want to spend hours and hours creating and recording in a couple of days and then take a few days off we can. Recording at home with Myrdin on our own time is comfortable and it’s been a great experience because it’s something we do together creating music we are passionate about.

Synodic describes itself as ‘Cosmic USBM portraying the heavy, dark elements of the universe through music’. What is it about these universe that you find so inspiring, and why do you think these themes translate so well into black metal?

– There is nothing more violent, dark, and massive than the cosmos so it suits black metal perfectly. We are next to nothing in the grand scheme of things.

The lyrics of the album are quite unique; there are many space themed projects out there but this is the first one I’ve come across based largely on actual science. It really seems like you know your stuff and this is a genuine interest of yours. Have you had this project planned out for a while?

– I have always loved astronomy and the reality of the universe is so much more awe-inspiring than any fantasy or supernatural human creation in my opinion. Combining astronomy and black metal, my two favorite things, is really special for me. After listening to a few cosmic themed black metal albums last year we thought it would be perfect just do it in our own way using the science in a poetic way for the lyrical content.

One of the tracks contains a fitting sample of a Carl Sagan quote. What’s the significance of the quote, and what does it and Carl Sagan mean to this project?

– Carl Sagan is someone I admire and idolize really. He wanted the world to acknowledge our place in the universe and not fall victim to dogma. When you open your eyes and mind to the reality of the universe around you it is the most liberating feeling and he helped catalyze that during his time.

The instrumental introductory track ‘Descending On Titan’ has some interesting sounds in there. Can you tell us a little about this track, is it just something you knocked up in studio?

– We used actual sample sounds from the Huygens space probe that landed on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005. It was part of the Cassini mission to Saturn. Sounds of the probe entering the atmosphere and the landing, so it was appropriate to name the track “Descending on Titan”.

Music-wise, are there any particular bands/artists that have had a profound influence on either you or Myrdin’s vocal or playing style?

– My biggest influences range from early black metal artists such as Burzum to the newer artists like Mare Cognitum. Myrdin draws influence from everything as early as 60’s rock to a lot of early black metal and newer black metal as well.


You’re self-releasing at the moment. Any plans to shop around for labels or would you prefer to remain independent for now?

– We would gladly sign to a label that is right for Synodic if the opportunity presents itself.

Are there any plans for Synodic to one day become a live entity? Is performing with session members something you’d be interested in?

– There are no plans for us to be performing live any time soon but who knows what the future will hold if we meet the right people.

What do you hope the listener takes home from this interstellar journey?

– An appreciation for what we create and hopefully they become interested in doing their own research into cosmos.

Do you guys have any other active projects we should check out?

– Myrdin has a black metal project called Revelation None that is a completely different animal from Synodic. You can look Revelation None up on FacebookBandcamp, and most streaming services such as Spotify.

So what comes next; what does the universe have in store for Synodic? Are you thinking about a follow up release yet?

– We hope to release an EP this fall so follow us and we’ll keep everyone updated.

Thanks again for talking to us, congratulations on a stellar debut! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

– We’d just like to thank you for the interview and review of the album. We appreciate everyone that has been there for us through the process and all those that will support us going forward.

~

Purchase ‘Infinite Presence In A Violent Universe’ on Bandcamp here.

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The Threshold of Pain – An Interview With american

Personally, I’m a sucker for blackened noise. It almost seems a natural evolution from the early ‘fuck you’ sonics of the old days of black metal, trying to find the harshest anti-music possible to represent the hatred and agony portrayed in the lyrical themes. What better than squeals of distorted feedback howling at the limits of human ear tolerance to carry on the legacy of pushing boundaries in search of audio evil? Well, here’s where american come smashing through the door with a rusty, disease covered chainsaw: Pushing the blueprint of black metal deep into industrial territory and experimenting further with each release, they’ve always been out to hurt you; but on the absolutely savage ‘Violate and Control’ (out through Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Fragile Branch/Shove Records) they’ve found a fresh new hell. The Leviathan-esque black is blacker, the sludge sludgier and the ever-increasing use of power electronics and soul raping distorted noise plunges everything to a depth so sadistic it should probably be kept away from animals and small children.

It’s an astonishing assault, seemingly laid out to inflict maximum cruelty upon the listener. Songs land like blows from an abusive partner; when you’re exhausted, broken and crying and think it simply can’t get any more punishing, it does. Oh, it does. There are brief moments of respite, great riffs break through the industrial chaos and the agony lets up for a nanosecond… But ultimately, this is pure suffering, emotional and physical.

Nothing can save you once you’re deep into the album, it demands your soul as payment at the very least. The beatings begin unchecked on 23rd June and in the meantime they’ve generously sat down with us to answer a few questions, hot on the heels of the premiere of opening track ‘Visions of Great Faith’ that’s scored an exclusive stream through Metal Injection. Go check that out here, and read on below.

~

Hi guys, sincerest thanks for your time. First, a little history: What’s the story behind american and why does it exist?

Jim: Thanks for talking with us – We met through mutual friends in high school. We wrote the first few songs under the “american” moniker 6 or 7 years ago with no intention of releasing them. I don’t think we even have the tracks anymore.

Mike: We just started recording songs for the sake of recording in high school and eventually we cranked out that first demo for the fun of it.

Your new album ‘Violate and Control’ will be released on 23 June, and I don’t think I’ve heard a more punishing release in a long time. How would you describe this release and its intentions?

J: ”Violate and Control” explores our influences outside of the black metal genre. We set out to make the record we’ve been wanting to hear but had never been recorded and released by anyone else.


The album feels like it somehow has much colder, harsher and more depraved blood running through it than its predecessor. Was this influenced by anything or simply a result of natural evolution in the creative process?

M: I’d say natural evolution. We wanted it to be heavier. 

J: Definitely heavier and something with a lot more impact. We challenged ourselves to create something a little more full and daunting, rather than just a second LP containing some songs we wrote over the last two years. I’d like to think we succeeded in doing that.

Do you feel the bleakness and negativity are a result of a mirror being held up to the external world and your environment, or is it more an expulsion of internal darkness?

M: Both.

J: american has always been and always will be self harm in the audio format for me.

How long did the writing and recording process take for this album, and do you have a particular favourite piece of gear you used to create it?

M: Way longer than the other releases. I’ve been using the same Jackson Rhoads for as long as we’ve been doing this so I’d say that’s my favorite piece of gear. 

J: We have a lot of gear and other random stuff lying around our space and it’s hard to say what was used where. I think my favorite piece of gear on the album is the sheet of metal sampled on the track Submission Psalm. As for the entire creative process for this record, the overall experience was pretty intense. The whole thing took a little under two years, and started right after the release of Coping With Loss. We experimented with sampling ourselves this time around and that was an interesting dynamic for us. 

The album is to be released on tape and vinyl through the excellent Sentient Ruin Laboratories. You seem to have a great relationship with them. At what point did they come into the picture and what drew you to each other?

M: M hit us up after hearing the demo and mentioned he was starting a label. I think we agreed after hearing the other tapes he wanted to release along with ours, at least that’s when I got on board. 

J: M believed in us for some reason. I’ll never understand why, but we appreciate everything he has done for us.

You guys have recently done an absolutely fucked up cover of Amebix – ‘Spoils of Victory’. Total savagery, I personally prefer it over the original and would love to hear you mutilate more classics. What originally drew you to choose this particular track, and do you have plans for any more covers in the future?

J: Sean at Cvlt Nation approached us about covering Spoils for a comp after another band had backed out. Writing that cover was tough because we actually lived about 200 hundred miles away from each other at the time and composed most of it over email and then recorded it in a friend’s basement in one night. In terms of covers in the future, we have a special plan we’re hard at work on.

 You seem to have a knack for discovering samples that plumb the very depths of human suffering then pairing them with annihilating sounds so soul-draining they crush any hope left in the listener; there’s one track in particular on this album that’s almost impossible to recover from once you’ve heard it. Where do you come across these samples, and how do you decide which ones are perfect for inclusion on the album?

J: To be honest, I just collect these things and store them away until I need them. Having a library like that is just really useful, especially for us, when it comes to staying on point with what we’re writing. Could never reveal where these things come from, though. That would ruin my fun.

Amidst the various other black/sludge/noise influences, in places I can hear definite Ministry vibes on this album. Are you guys fans? Are there any other artists you’ve been particularly inspired by that you’d recommend?

M: Yeah Ministry is sick. 

J: I’m a big fan of Ministry. Depeche Mode, FFH’s “Make Them Understand”, and most of the releases from the Australian label Fanaticism (https://fanaticism.bandcamp.com) provided a lot of inspiration for me personally this time around.

Has american ever caved in some heads by performing live, or are there any future plans to subject audiences to that kind of sadistic onslaught?

M: Never have. I’d like to. 

J: We’re writing music that keeps getting more and more complicated to reproduce live. Someday we’ll do it. We only want people who share the same vision involved.

I find your discography, and even this album alone, becomes more intense as you travel through it. What’s next for the band, how far can you take this brand of audio agony?

M: Only time will tell. 

J: I’m sure it will only get worse from here.

Thanks again for your time, I look forward to you causing more misery. Any last words?

J: Paw aka øjeRum did the art for this record and he killed it. His music is beautiful too. 

Thanks for talking to us.

~

Pre-Order ‘Violate and Control’ through Sentient Ruin Laboratories (US) here, Shove Records (EU) here and Fragile Branch here.

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Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 6

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 sixth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

~

Artist: Baphometic Deathslaught

Year: 2017

What better way to kick things off than some bestial hellfire from Poland/USA? Baphometic Deathslaught is a side project of Grief from the also-excellent Nyctophilia, but on this self-titled debut instead of the grand depression of his main outlet he’s gone straight for the jugular of Christianity in the most unholy and primitive way possible. Six profane hymns of raw satanic assault and death worship prefaced by a suitably evil introduction, the sound of wolves howling over a grim Satanic ritual greets us before the absolutely lethal ‘Smog Obscures the Megalithic Temple of Arcane Fires’ comes slavering forth from the abyss swathed in savage black thunder and you can almost feel the Dark Lord entering your body. From there the aggression and loathing is relentless, rasping hatred and guttural exhortations driving the fury all the way to the somehow-even-more-unclean-than-the-original cover of Profanatica‘s ‘A Fallen God, Dethroned in Heaven’ that closes out the blasphemic proceedings. Kvlt stuff, support with a name-your-price download and contribute to the downfall of Christ.

~

Artist: Ungesehen

Year: 2017

If you’ve ever found yourself wanting some classic raw black metal without the pesky vocals, Ungesehen is the band for you. The German’s instrumental compositions are quite good; ‘Unaussprechliches Entsetzen’ reminds me of listening to the old vocal-less Burzum demos if the production was slightly better with more baleful tremolo melodies packed in. At nine tracks long their debut manages to remain interesting throughout, the tunes hold their own and definitely don’t lack in atmosphere or variety. Up for name-your-price download it’s well worth a listen; if you dig it pick up a tape release through Fallen Empire Records, which comes with a bonus cover of Armagedda‘s ‘At the Edge of Negative Existence’.

~

Artist: Ljuska 

Year: 2017

Serbian Sifr Shraddha’s one man project Ljuska has just released its debut EP ‘Husks of Light’, and if this one track and an intro is anything go by, it’ll be one to watch. The atmospheric introduction does its job with a suitably evil vibe before the first eerie riffs slither and smash out of your speakers; I say smash because they literally do, this is some great tone and production for a first demo. The intro is almost rendered unnecessary because the song itself is genuinely that good, twists and headbanging turns keep it more than interesting the whole way through as menacing blasts and thrilling, almost catchy melodies ensure it’ll be stuck in your head for days.

A cut above the rest simply by way of solid songwriting and good fucking riffs, keep an eye on this project, it’ll be worth it. Name-your-price download below.

~

Artist: Malphas

Year: 2017

Uk duo Malphas have just released their very first demo ‘Brimstone’, describing it as “raw black/doom metal for fans of Blut Aus Nord, Behemoth and Paradise Lost”. Although the project is barely past embryonic stage, this is fucking great, straight off the bat. Crushing blackened doom that splits open to release atonal wails calling forth the misery of the ages; the oppressive production only fuelling the ancient horrors within. Third track ‘Burning in the Shadow of God’ is where it gets blackest; the suffocating swarm and clattering drums eventually collapsing into a solitary guitar that tries to soar like a golden bird from the cavernous maw of the earth caving in on itself around it, struggling to escape its pull before the song ends abruptly, leaving the image hanging and you wanting more.

Support with a name-your-price download, this is epic stuff. More please fellas!

~

Artist: Himelvaruwe 

Year: 2017

You may recall the name Himelvaruwe from back in Volume 3, this is the second time we’ve covered the Dutch one man project and now he’s back with an EP just as fascinating as the first.

‘CCIII’ is apparently two tracks that deviated from the theme of other material he’s working on and this time the project drags us in a more Black Cilice styled direction. Bleak and raw, the vocals become barely discernable howls; hypnotic, pulsing drum patterns weave in and out lost in the waves of distortion. The second track ‘II’ is slightly lighter in tone with the whole thing still infused with the projects innate sense of creativity; the continued unique use of unexpected samples popping out and taking the style to fresh new dimensions.

Mesmerising, harsh stuff; this is still one of the more interesting underground artists I’ve stumbled across. One day soon this guy will nail his coherent theme, make an album, release it on tape and it’ll be hailed everywhere. Keep watching until he does, and grab this and the previous EP ‘Gewrocht’ for name-your-price download in the meantime.

~

Artist: Chiral

Year: 2016

Italian one man atmospheric project Chiral makes “Music for the Loners”. I’ve just discovered the artist with this release, but it certainly seems to be the case: the warm, organic, folky tones of ‘Gazing Light Eternity’ just invite you to get comfortable and drink in its particular brand of misery. A concept album about time, the vibe is great; the plaintive Cascadian melodies of ‘Part I – The Gazer’ giving a depressive feel, noticeably blackened folk influenced but more aggressive and depressive than that suggests. Soulful guitar solos splash amongst the pallette while other instrumentation like flutes and ponderous keys sit delicately over or amidst everything, giving it an otherworldly feel. ‘Part II – The Haze’ turns introspective, nature sounds and vocal samples like “the moment seizes us” flutter over acoustic guitars. To be honest I can often find these parts unnecessary and distracting, but this goes well with the flow and feels rich and vibrant. 

‘Part III – The Crown’ plunges more into the depressive vibe; which I should note is fairly unique due to the album’s raw yet warm nature, not often does melancholy music have such an immediate and lush sound overall. It’s a great point of difference and is quite enjoyable. As is this track, my personal favourite; repetition can become boring but here it’s quite successful and becomes transcendental, layered with gentle chanting towards the end. And now we come to my only minor qualm, which is frankly nitpicking but I’ll mention it anyway: Part III, after spending so long successfully lulling you into a trance state, decides to abruptly switch to an (admittedly epic) blasting and solo section to finish up. It’s a little jarring; would it be better served to fade out to the then epic short section, or use it as the intro to the water sounds and peaceful vibe of ‘Part IV – The Hourglass’ that close out the album? Who knows. It’s a minor quibble and still sounds ace the way it is, if slightly odd. All in all it’s a great, enjoyable, strangely comforting release well suited to solitary ruminations, that never overstays its welcome and leaves you wanting more. Which is handy as not only is it getting a tape re-release any day now through the excellent Fólkvangr Records, but the entire Chiral discography of 11 releases is available for download from his Bamdcamp at only €1.50, so pick up a bargain and check the rest of them out. I know I will be.

~

Artist: Chambre Froide

Year: 2016/17

And to close out proceedings, an orthodox kvlt smasher. French wraiths Chambre Froide’s debut orthodox ritual ‘Rouges Chapelles’ was originally only self-released on 100 tapes last year but is now getting a digi/vinyl run through Fallen Empire Records, with the digital copies available at name-your-price download from their Bandcamp.

Their name means ‘cold room’, but this room is not unoccupied. The stench of death lies thick in the air, their aggressive raw onslaught akin to a decaying corpse screaming in your face through the dark, flecks of fetid flesh spattering you in feral rage. Six tracks with enough variety in their buzzsaw attack to keep you coming back for more, you can even hear some welcome punk elements creeping in, which only increases the danger. A great release, snap one up while you can and support. Hails.

~

Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes welcomed.

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The Oath of the Goat – An Interview With Goath

Some bands mean what they say. They live it. You can hear it in the music, the integrity gives the songs an extra level of power. Many artists dribble on about Satan for the spooky image, to get more fans or attention from a scene that drinks up any band with a remotely scary t-shirt. Many bands ape Darkthrone and Mayhem when they weren’t even out of shitting their nappies by the time Ravishing Grimness dropped.

Enter GOATH: Exploding into existence in a blaze of blasphemic glory as 2015 slowly collapsed into its grave, the Germans have now unleashed their first full-length assault ‘Luciferian Goath Ritual’ and they couldn’t be more sincere. No carefully sculpted pseudo-image here: They play no-bullshit black death designed purely to whip you into a frenzy as a fist in the face of God. They’re inspired by the ’90s scene because that’s where they’re from. And they sing about Satanism because that’s what they live philosophically; its what they know and feel in their core.

And their album is very, very good.

Released through Ván Records it’s a raw, ferocious riff-fest; even just these three tracks I’ve posted don’t do the primal intensity and dynamism of this album justice. Get it and listen; in the meantime, bassist and vocalist Muerte has generously sat down to chat with us about their new release and much more. Read on below.

~

Hi! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. You’ve recently released your debut album ‘Luciferian Goath Ritual” and it’s an absolute smasher, possessed with an incredible dark energy… I can’t listen to it without wanting to either violently headbang, scream at the night sky or hurl myself through a wall. I believe you recorded it live, was this the effect you were going for?

– Hi! Thanks for the words. Yes indeed, we wanted to catch the atmosphere and I guess it worked well.

It must have been intense in the studio. Do you have any crazy stories from recording?

– Well, we recorded the album like our demo in the Goath rehearsal room with a lot of alcohol and so on. We recorded the whole album three times and took the best, intense and possessed version of each song. Not really crazy stories happened, we were just drunk and when I finished my part of the vocals, I felt immediately asleep cause of too much booze. I can’t even remember the whole vocal recordings.

The atmospheric intro to ‘All Became Nothing’ is great, sets the scene perfectly for the carnage that follows. Were the sounds taken from any particular piece of relevant art, or were they created in studio?

– Most of the intro sounds were samples of the movie Catacombs and some sounds of real exorcisms. Catacombs is a horror movie with a great atmosphere. It’s the sound of hell, and hell is unleashed when All Became Nothing starts.

The riffs on this album absolutely slaughter. When you write, do you start with a great riff and work from there, or is there a different process involved?

– Thanx. I’m always jamming some riffs until I think I found a good one for a perfect start of a song. I record it, wait some days, listen to it again and continue writing more riffs for the track. Goathammer and Serrator listen to the song when it’s finished and I guess that’s nearly the same way Goathammer writes songs. We meet at our rehearsal room when songs are ready and see how they work. 

Goath has been active since 2015 but some of your members have been actively calling forth the sounds of hell for quite some time. What events lead to the creation of Goath?

– To say it simple, we felt not really fully occupied with the bands we are and were involved. We had some plans and visions, but it was hard or nearly impossible to realize these visions. I had the idea for a band like Goath months or even years before I told Goathammer about my thoughts. He was 100% into the concept from the beginning and we found an excellent drummer in Serrator who also shares our ideas and visions about our blackened death metal. 


I’d like to delve a little deeper into your personal belief system, if I might. You can hear a deep sincerity in these paeans to the Lightbringer, it’s obvious you guys live what you say. Can you elaborate a little on your own path, and what it means to you?

– Worshipping Satan, Chaos & Death is a very important part of my life and I actually don’t talk much about my views with other people, ’cause it’s a very personal thing. I’m not a person who wants to tell people what they should believe in or not. My interest in the dark arts started when I was a teenager. It’s like a dark aura which surrounds me all the time. I can feel it when I write songs, it’s present when we rehearse and when we play live. We are surrounded by his light!  

What do you think of black metal straying away from satanic themes? Do you believe it can be true black metal without a satanic flame at the core?

– Black metal is the music of Satan and most of the black, death and even thrash or classic metal bands I listen to keep the satanic flames alive. It can sound like true black metal, if it’s only about the music of course, but black metal is so much more than just music. I can’t and I don’t wanna listen to bands that play this art, but don’t have satanic or at least dark, antichristian or misanthropic lyrics, except some old releases of bands like Enslaved maybe.   

Looking at your live shots, you appear to perform covered in blood on occasion. Is this purely for aesthetic value, or more to aid the frenzied ritualistic part of the performance?

– Using blood is an important part of our live rituals. Celebrating a ritual surrounded by the stench of blood and death brings the whole ritual to a higher level, and sometimes we add torches which makes it more intense. It creates a special feeling and if you don’t feel it, you will never understand.

The artwork by Misanthropic Art is absolutely superb. Did you come to him with an idea, or did you give him free reign to create at will from his understanding of your music and themes?

– Chris/Misanthropic Art made also our logo and I had some rough ideas about it and about the layout of the album. I know that whatever we need and whatever we want will be great, cause I know Chris and his art for many, many years now. We also sent him some advance tracks for inspiration, I think that’s also important for an artist to listen to the music for inspiration.

Muerte and Goathammer had another great recent project, the more death metal leaning Deathronation. Do you guys have any other projects on the go, or is Goath now the sole outlet and focus for your creative force? Do you feel it’s necessary to channel all your energies into one project?

– Yes, we were both part of Deathronation and even Serrator helped us for the last gigs we played, but we quit couple of months ago. Serrator and Muerte have still some other bands, Goathammer is now focused on Goath only. Doesn’t matter if we are involved in other bands and projects Goath is our main band and the one we are focused on 100%.

Your sound is deliriously old school, you can hear the classic ’90s black/death metal influences within. How do you feel about the modern-day evolution and interpretation of the Black Metal art form, and are there any ‘newer’ artists you listen to or feel an affinity with?

– That’s the sound we grew up with and still our main inspiration. Nothing’s better than the late ’80s early ’90s black and death metal. There are many newer bands we listen to, bands that keep the flame alive with an old school sound. We don’t like especially the modern triggered plastic computer sound. Not all of them are new or black metal, but you should check German bands like VidargängrIIMalignoHellburstVitriolRekrucifixionHorns of DominationMorbid PanzerGraveyard GhoulVenenumIndian Nightmare or Sacroscum

Any plans for a follow up record yet?

– We have about 5-6 new songs ready and will start the recordings of our 2nd strike in autumn/ winter to release the new album in the beginning of 2018. 

I cannot praise you enough for this album, excellent work and I hope to hear more Goath soon! Any last words? 

– Thanx for the interview and your support. Hopefully we will play some gigs in your country sooner or later! Hail Satan!

~

Stream and purchase Goath’s ripping debut album and demo on Bandcamp here.

Purchase physical copies of ‘Luciferian Goath Ritual’ from Ván Records here.Support Goath:

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Bandcamp Misanthropy – Vol. 5

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 fifth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

~

Artist: Caput Mortuum

Year: 2017

Another project from the unstoppable Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues. Caput Mortuum’s third release ‘Cold Winds on the Bare Mountain’ has just been unleashed and on this occasion we find the Dutch mentalist playing relatively within the realms of straight black metal. However, as you’d expect from a Mories release, all is not so simple: its cold heart is generously swathed in odd electronic and industrial influences. The drums vary wildly at times from standard black metal blasts to electronic skittering and driving industrial pulses, with the occasional sub-bass drone and noise squeals also popping up. All of which only serves to drive the morbid intent of the album home further as tracks lurch unexpectedly from sorrowful ambience to grim, menacing majesty and then uncomfortable headfuckery at the drop of a hat; make no mistake, one of the less weird weapons in his armory it may be, but this is still out to fuck you up. A fantastically strange listen at times due to the juxtaposition of straight/odd styles, at name-your-price download it’s more than worth your time to check out. Keep creating, Mories, and we’ll keep listening.

~

Artist: Sertraline

Year: 2017

US post-black crew Sertraline are named after a medication used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and anxiety; fittingly, their soothing and heartfelt debut EP ‘Shade’ does exactly that.
A baleful, melodic drone perfectly sets the mood before the EP launches into the first of its two proper tracks. ‘Azalea’ is a wonderful concoction of calming and sorrowful post black metal; its pensive chord progressions and tremolo melancholia slides on like a favourite pair of worn out old slippers on a miserable, rainy day.
Following this another short interlude leads into the title track, ‘Shade’, which somehow lifts the depressive post-rock infused black excellence to even greater heights. For me personally the whole start of the EP is almost an extended intro to this glorious beast. Wonderfully dynamic and progressive, the band’s three guitarists create some great textures and I’m a particular fan of the effective drumming that really drives the song; its eight and a half minutes build and crash into an extended outro that is, quite frankly, gorgeous. The whole EP is so chill, bleak and forlorn; highly recommended. Cop a name-your-price download at the below link and take as needed for pain.

~

Artist: ColdWorld

Year: 2017

After taking eight years between his last two releases, German Georg Börner has surprised us all by releasing a new Coldworld single so soon after last year’s superb long player, ‘Autumn’. Only available digitally on Bandcamp with no plans to be released elsewhere as yet, ‘Wolves and Sheep’ finds the project returning to a slightly more archetypal black metal sound: Not as polished as its predecessor, everything from the vocals to the guitar tone is a just a touch rawer, colder and darker. Which is always welcome. Agonizing pick slides over Latin choral hymns open proceedings before everything descends into trance-like depressive waves washing over and over; balanced out artfully with an air of reverence and hope, something this project always does so well. Also worth noting are the unsettling vocal samples fuelling the religious vibe. Excellent stuff.

Apparently takings from the sales of this are being used as funding for his next album too, so grab this quality teaser and help make it happen.

~

Artist: Effess

Year: 2017

Bursting from the gates with sinister intent, Effess play no-bullshit black metal like it’s going out of fashion. Formed in 2016 with all members living in different countries yet hailing from the same small town of Potenza in Italy, all lyrics are in the local dialect and are in some way inspired by their hometown. My Italian is a little rusty but the band say they cover themes like emptiness in everyday life, the void of the human condition and wrongdoings of the church with some local rituals and traditions also featuring.
Not taking themselves too seriously thematically (the title of track one literally translates to ‘The Altar of Sausage’ and the song itself is a paean to a local delicacy), the music takes care of that and then some: five tracks of blistering second wave style flame-grilled just the way you like it. With an energetic raw vibe captured on tape it’s a shame distance makes shows a logistical nightmare, this material would be a hell of a good time live. Track three is also an epic Italian cover of Moonspell’s ‘Alama Mater’, a nice touch to the EP that more than does the original justice; I think I actually prefer the vocals on this version. The band are currently searching for a label and recording their first full-length, in the meantime snap up the debut EP at name-your-price download and give them some well-deserved support.

~

Artist: Heidnir

Year: 2017

Hailing from the USA is Heidnir, the Slavic themed pagan/folk project of Svjatoslav the Black Wolf. His obscure third release ‘Thunder and Lightning, the Ancient Prediction” is dedicated to the memory of the late Tony ‘It’ Särkkä and therein lies a clue as to what awaits the listener: this is epic black folk with influences in the vein of Opthalamia, Falkenbach and Nokturnal Mortum being run through a filter of Abruptum’s brand of raw auditory evil and cacophonic abrasiveness. However even that doesn’t really do it justice; this is truly a unique and experimental melting pot of styles, and it does it very well. Check the eerie spoken word section exploding into a ripping guitar solo at the end of ‘…I Long for the Winter Frost’, which then heads straight into the staggered groove of ‘Under the Glare of The Eternal Flame’ to see what I mean. Sonically challenging though this album may be for the uninitiated, spend some time with it and all will be revealed. I’ll hand over to Svjatoslav the Black Wolf for some inspiring last words:

“The Abrahamic faiths are antiquated, archaic, and obsolescent. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and their respective sects… all weeds of the same seeds. 
All deserve antipathy, equally. Dogma rules with an iron fist through the mouths of shepherds with hordes of sheep that live in submission to nonexistent powers conceived by the minds of puppet-masters, swindlers, con artists. To give false hope and reward, through blood that has spread by the sword in the name of mere anthological pieces disjointed and contradictory with each other. 
It’s time the zeitgeist be slain and every atom of it annihilated.” -Свјатослав Црни Вук, 14 November, Anno 2016 CE. 

~

Artist: Mizmor

Year: 2017

I’m a bit late with this one, so jump on it quick. Here’s the deal, copy/pasted from the Bandcamp: 

“This Unabating Wakefulness” is a bonus track included on the digital download card of “The Psalter MMXVII – Five Year Commemorative Discography.” It is temporarily available for free download as a single to the public.

Now, down to brass tacks: Mizmor is a one man black-doom-drone project from the USA that plays some of the most punishing, exquisite audio hell that you’ve ever heard in your life. Last album ‘Yodh’ was almost pure agony to listen to, and this will pull your soul out through the very pores in your skin. Fifteen minutes containing every facet of their sound that makes them great and it’s only up for name-your-price download for a very limited time… Which I’ve already burned two weeks of by being so slow off the mark to share it. You know what to do, link below; check out the limited cassette box set discography while you’re there. Absolutely astonishing.

~

Artist: Atramentum

Year: 2016/17

And finally to finish off in a blaze of sticky satanic glory: Do you ever find your mind wandering to the thought that black metal needs more dick jokes? Well, Atramentum are the fucking band for you. Hailing from the Phillipines, sole member +Kai,ckul+ has awarded his project the title of “the unsoberest and most perverted as fuck metal band in the world”. Impressive. However, the man can write a tune; this is fortunately much more than just a running gag with some music donkey-slapped around it. His debut album ‘Phallosophy’ is a ripping ride of grim melodies and aggressive rawness with some truly great moments that more than rise to the occasion. Recorded a year ago it’s finally copped a limited CD and tape ejaculation through Erektrifying Produktionz; go pick that or a name-your-price download up from his Bandcamp, whip it out and hail the Atramentum.

Oh and he’s already named his next release: ‘De Clitoriis Cum Sluthanas’.

~

Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes welcomed.

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Walk the Forest Path – An Interview With Severoth

Some albums are, despite the creator’s intentions, simply background music. Others demand a little more involvement, they may grab you in a certain way. Then there are those rare, dark gems that speak to your very soul; from the moment you push play you become lost to this plane of existence. As you sit and listen it transcends mere attention and you become unwittingly and totally immersed in the experience; transported into the tapestry woven by the songs, another time and place. Relatively speaking there are only a handful of artists in the history of Black Metal that can or have achieved this effect. You know them. Now, with his stunning latest release ‘Forestpaths’, the enigmatic Severoth may just be added to those esteemed ranks.

Surpassing his first two already excellent releases under this project with ease, the Ukrainian maestro has crafted something truly breathtaking. You may recall that BMD recently shared a track from this new album; however, a release this beautiful deserves a much deeper look. Read on as we sit down with the man behind it all to glean further insight into its etherial, windswept mysteries and the mind of its creator.

Greetings Severoth, sincerest thanks for taking the time to speak to us. How are you, how is life?

– Hi! I’m ok. Thanks!

Your third full-length with the project ‘Severoth’ has recently been completed, ‘Forestpaths’. I dare say it’s a masterpiece. How do you feel about the album?

– I think I have achieved all goals that I wanted. Many days and nights were spent to build it. I like this album very much. It has part of my soul.

‘Forestpaths’ is again released through Werewolf Promotion, as with your other albums. They have some excellent releases, but what draws you in particular to keep working with them?

– We have strong partnership from 2009 or 2010, since he released first demo tape of Endless Battle. WP is great, dedicated and reliable guy, who understands this type of music.

One of the incredible things about your music is its ability to take you far away. To make you forget everything; you’re in another world while you listen, the world of the music. Is this intentional? When you write are you consciously trying to transport the listener, or is that phenomenon merely a result of you conveying the music and feelings in your head? 

– I always do all music for myself at first place. I just build song, and then arrange it. When I feel some mood of riff, or hear melody in my head trying to “catch” it. I spend much time working with “atmosphere” of album, but I don’t create particular mood in purpose, I just transport my minds and feeling of this world in musical form.

The themes of Severoth are deeply rooted in nature. What is it that makes the natural world such an inspiration to you, and to black metal in general?

– When night falls, she cloaks the world in impenetrable Darkness… A chill rises from the soil and contaminates the air. Suddenly… Life has new meaning. 


Why did you adopt the name Severoth, and what significance does it hold for you? 

– It was when I was 16 or 17 years old. “Sever” is North in several languages so basically it’s made up word, but for me it’s like my second name already. For now it contains all specters of emotions that my albums can give. 

You have a strong creative partnership with your wife: she is a great artist in her own right and has provided the incredible artwork for your projects. Do you feel it has been of greater benefit to work with someone so close to you, as she would know you and your music so well?

– Yes, no one will describe my music in visual form better than UD. I just got lucky here… She is great artist. And also I can minimize influence on me and my music from other people. And this is important.

You have several other projects: MorokGaldur and you also play drums in Endless Battle. What is your creative process like? Do you sit down to work on one project specifically, or does the art just flow across multiple projects when inspiration strikes?

– When I compose some riff or melody I already feel for what project it will be, so I record all this small parts and sort it for every project. When I feel that I have enough material – I start to work with and album concept and ignore all other projects until I finish album. Usually at first I build demo and then listen it for some time and throw away half of material… 

Severoth/Morok/Galdur/Endless Battle releases.

Severoth’s music invokes strong feelings of solitude. Would you consider yourself a naturally solitary person? 

– Yes. I don’t like cities and people. I’m trying to avoid it as much as possible. Grim silence of mountains or whisper of winds in the forest is definitely for me. 

You’re a talented multi instrumentalist and play everything on your solo projects. Do you find it easier to write the parts for some instruments than others? 

– Some instruments just made composing process easier or more interesting. I think that around 70% of material I compose on guitar and rest on keyboards. 

When did you first pick up an instrument and what inspired you to start playing? 

– My father was a drummer, so I grew up in musical atmosphere of Hard Rock/Glam. First were drums when I was a kid and then synth in around 17 years old. 

I’ve noticed you had a great track included on ‘A Tribute To Summoning’, but you have now decided Severoth will no longer contribute to compilations or tributes. Is there a specific reason behind this? 

– Yes, I participated in this tribute with both Galdur and Severoth. It was fun at first but then I just realized that I don’t very like to do cover songs. And also this compilation thing is not for me – too many bands and all with different atmosphere and level of quality. I think for me is better to do full albums where I can do whatever I want. 

Is there any possibility of Severoth ever becoming a live entity, or will it forever remain a studio project only? 

– Never say never. But for now I don’t have such plans. 

What is in your future plans, will we be expecting more Severoth? 

– For now I completed album of my new project BEZMIR and it will be released in summer, also I have many material for GALDUR and MOROK. So maybe something from that will be ready this year. For Severoth – It was pretty huge work and I need to rest from it. I think that those 3 albums of Severoth have many common things and they can be called a trilogy. So next album is new beginning that requires different approach. We will see. 

And finally: What do you believe is the true spirit of black metal? 

– For me it’s way of life. You just feel it or not. 

Thanks again for speaking with us. I wish you all the best. Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

– Be yourselves. 

Regards, 

S.

~

Purchase/stream Severoth’s stunning new album from Bandcamp here.

Purchase physical copies of ‘Forestpaths’ from Werewolf Promotion here.

Support Severoth:

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Bandcamp Misanthropy – Vol. 4

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 fourth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

~

Artist: Elegos

Year: 2016

Kicking off with an excellent melodic debut: The Hellenic duo of Admetos and Mantitheos have arrived to take you back to the days of battle and heroism with their masterful first full-length ‘Laments to the Fallen’, self-released amidst the dying embers of last year. Beginning with an air of solemn majesty and spoken word, we’re taken on an epic journey through legends of old before a sublime instrumental break leads to an explosion of yearning melodies of monolithic proportions… And that’s just the opening double track, ‘Ancestral Betrayal (PT. I and II)’. The rest of the album continues in this vein and that is by far its strength, it possesses a gripping dynamism and innate skill of storytelling-through-music that surpasses others of its ilk. Songs run the full gamut of emotion through sorrowful remembrance to galloping triumph to an uplifting sense of hope, power and peace and it works to fantastic effect; the best art is an immersive experience, and this is the case here. Just try listening to ‘Path of Immortality’ without feeling like you were right there in the blood and dust, living these elegies and defending your homeland with steel and honour.

A great debut, these guys will only go from strength to strength. Support at the link below, limited physical copies are also available direct from the band.

~

Artist: Cathedral of Light

Year: 2017

Here we have the new EP from Australian artist Sorg’s project Cathedral of Light. Six tracks of raw, minimalist black metal with traces of sludge and noise throughout; the end product is in actuality far more refined than that description suggests. Soon to have a tape release on Narcoleptica Productions, ‘Slaughter the Heretics’ has a grim, venomous black core of diverse moods and shifting tempos slathered in wretched echoing vocals and languid riffs, all of which gives way to grooves that make you bang your head more often than you’ll expect. Neat. This is an interesting one, cop a name-your-price download and check it out.

~

Artist: Kömmand

Year: 2017

US black thrash assault Kömmand have just unleashed their debut album ‘Nekrö Kömmand Attack!’, and this thing will rip off your head and shit down your fucking neck. Ten tracks of pure hell done like it used to be, I’d wax lyrical about the band for longer but I’ll let them have the final word as I couldn’t possibly be this eloquent: 

“Conjured from the ashes of various fake/trendy projects, Kömmand reared its ugly umlauts in 2013 to crush the weak and shred eardrums like hymens. There are altogether too many ‘nice’ bands out there killing metal, but… Old ways can’t be killed so easily. Stop triggering drums. This is metal, not a typewriting class.”

Now if that ain’t a sure sign of a good time I don’t know what is. Support the horde. Hails.

~

Artist: Negativa

Year: 2017

Spain’s Negativa have a great back catalogue of various releases up for name-your-price download on their Bandcamp, and they’ve recently put two tracks from their freshly minted album ’02’ up as well to entice you to purchase the vinyl edition. The first, called ‘IX’, is enjoyably raw and bleak before second track ‘X’ dives headfirst into waters so sublimely miserable that seeing through the gloom is impossible and breathing becomes a thing of the past. Sample the suffering and check out the rest of their work while you’re there.

~

Artist: Noč

Year: 2017

And finally, we have the weirdest demo that’s fallen into my lap for a while: one man post-absurdist black metal from Slovenia’s Noč. Ever wondered what terribly produced casio trap beats and sub-bass mixed with DSBM and a droll vampire rapping over it all sounds like? Neither have I, but here we are. ‘Demo X’ is, as the name suggests, the tenth demo from the project. All his previous demos are along similar lines but slightly less adventurous, more straight-up depressive black metal or electronica with odd poppy ambient/instrumental or melancholy acoustic/piano tracks thrown in; ‘Demo X’ is where main man ‘J.B’ finally lets loose and nails the truly absurd. The first two tracks are almost a study in the inability to find any sort of sense in the fact that this exists whatsoever, before the last track becomes a whole different kettle of fish with beautiful psychedelic folksy melodies whirring by and leaves you more confused at the end of it all than ever before.

Fascinatingly odd, full kudos to the artist for going for it and I’m intrigued to see how far the project will take this direction. All ten demos are up for name-your-price download, check this one out if you feel like a challenge.

~

Submissions for possible inclusion in future volumes are welcome.

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