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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Festival Spotlight: Black Mourning Light (Edmonton, AB Canada)

There are a million fests out there with dozens more of varying quality popping up every single day. Black Mourning Light of Edmonton, Alberta Canada landed in my inbox last week and upon investigation I was struck not only by the sweet poster and impressive lineup, but also the attitude and passion of organiser Dustin Ekman. The man loves his music and is genuinely excited about what he does, not only organising and running this successful fest now in its third year but as the creator of Crown of Viserys, a promotional site that goes far and beyond the average.

As does his festival. This year running on the 13th and 14th of October, previous Black Mourning Lights have included nice touches like the option to hang around for a group breakfast with all the artists the next day, dubbed ‘The Mourning After’. A meet and greet? Fuck it, have a chill breakfast and nurse your hangover talking shit with your favourite band. Now that’s a good festival experience.

With this year’s lineup featuring Revenge, Blasphemy, Fortress, The Projectionist, Rites of Thy Degringolade and many other excellent artists, we somehow convinced Dustin to take a breather for five minutes and tell us a bit about the fest, Crown of Viserys and give a little advice for anyone looking to start their own festival. So take a look at the promo clip for Black Mourning Light 2017, and read on below.

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Hey Dustin! Hope you’re well, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. The next assembling of Black Mourning Light is near at hand and you have two absolute heavyweights in Blasphemy and Revenge as headliners, among other great black, death and doom acts! You must be pumped about the lineup this year, any particular favourites?

– I am super stoked on this year’s fest. It is going to be batshit crazy. I’m excited to see the big guns of course, Revenge and Blasphemy, but Rites of Thy Degringolade is a bucket list band achieved. I’m also excited to see Fortress, from Montana. This will be their first time in Canada, and they are not playing anywhere else in the country this year. 

The fest is now in its third year. What inspired its creation, and back then did you know it was going to be a success?

– Black Mourning Light was inspired by the lack of black metal and doom fests in Western Canada, a niche I now share with Covenant who also just celebrated their third year.

I had no idea it would be even remotely successful and in some ways I don’t call it completely successful. Success to me would mean an end, all my goals achieved. I have too many things I want to do with BML, too many amazing bands to bring to Edmonton. 

What can your average fest-goer expect this time around, are there any big new changes from the previous incarnations?

– The biggest change is the venue. Instead of Rendezvous Pub, we are at Starlite Room this year.

Also, the sheer size of the fest itself is a big change. I mean, realistically, fuckin’ Revenge man! They are huge in black metal, and with them is Blasphemy, making it truly a huge pair of unholy nights. 

Last year amongst others you had UADA destroying the stage, another incredible band. Is there a past BML performance that stands out and really sticks in your mind as absolutely killing it?

– From 2016 I’d have to say Helleborus. They are a band I listen to almost daily, and have since before getting them onto BML. 

From 2015 I’d have to say Numenorean, such an amazing depressive post black metal and wonderful people. 

Outside of organising the fest you somehow find time to do some more great work for the scene with Crown of Viserys. Can you tell us a little about that, and where people can find you?

– Some days I have no idea what Crown of Viserys is anymore, but you saying it is great work is very appreciated. 

CoV started as a vehicle for music reviews and interviews, and now it’s a combo of that and putting on shows. 

The best place to find Crown of Viserys is Facebook. 

www.facebook.com/crownofviserys

Where do you see the fest heading in future? Any grand plans?

– I can see BML growing into something bigger, a festival that has over a thousand attendees. And that is my grand plan, I guess, to build a festival that brings the biggest and best in black metal and doom and the unheard gems under one roof. 

If you could pick one black metal band to headline next year and they would come and play, any band in the world, past or present… Who you got?

– I’d love to get The 3rd Attempt or Endezzma, but I’d also be happy if UADA could return. 

What would you say to anyone out there thinking of starting up a similar festival in their local area? Any advice?

– Know your limits. Know what it is you want to do. Don’t do it because it’s cool or whatever. Do it because you love the music. Make sure you know what else is happening around you at the same time. I wasn’t paying attention in 2016 and had to compete with another more established festival, and I lost patrons to that. 

And finally, the big question: Is the Mourning After breakfast happening again this year?

– The Mourning After is not happening again this year, but it will return next year and every year after. 

Thanks for your time! Hope BML goes off this year. Any last words?

– Thank you for your support of BML and CoV by extension. If you or your readers are planning on coming, tickets are available directly through the Crown of Viserys Big Cartel at http://crownofviserys.bigcartel.com.

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FESTIVAL INFORMATION:

Oct 13 / 14 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room – Tickets On Sale Now!

BML organizer Dustin Ekman comments:

“This year we are taking Black Mourning Light to a new level of brutality, and I couldn’t be more honoured to have true legends in black metal on the festival. Revenge and Blasphemy are two of the biggest names in black metal and with them are some of the best bands in the world to create an absolutely killer lineup. This is a year to not be missed, that’s for sure.”

Tickets are available at the following Edmonton locations: 

Starliteroom, Blackbyrd Myoozik, Rendezvous Pub and online at the following link:

One Day Ticket or Two Day Pass – https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1434131/ 

Tickets are $45 for one day, $75 for both days.

BML 2017 Line-Up:

Friday, October 13th

Blasphemy, Antichrist, Amphisbaena, The Lucifer Project, Fortress, Sorguinazia, Evilheart

Doors @ 5pm

Saturday, October 14th 

Revenge, Rites of Thy Degringolade, The Projectionist, Xul, Funeral of God, Scythra, Goathammer

Doors @ 4pm

For more info, please visit https://blackmourninglight.wordpress.com.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 12

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 twelfth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

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Artist: Insanity Cult

Year: 2017

Kicking off, we have what could end up being my favourite Hellenic black metal release of the year. Insanity Cult formed in 2011 and I’ve just discovered their second full-length ‘Of Despair and Self-Destruction’ that was released into the ether about six months ago. To be honest, I wish I’d discovered it earlier. 

This album is a brooding, violent, elegant and somber beast with a deep, dark emotional intensity that grips your soul. Everything has been stripped back, each note drips with passion distilled down to its purest and most potent form. Just try not to feel something while listening to this; it’s a truly moving piece of black art.

The five piece includes Sacreligious from Sores (who were featured in Volumes 2 and 10) on vocals and he absolutely nails it here, sounding both distraught and envenomed in one. The lyrics are despairing and introspective, nihilistic and beautiful. The acoustic introductions and interludes are exquisite and some of the best I’ve heard of late. The production is perfectly done, the songwriting almost flawless.

I could continue to spew superlatives, but I’ll just say: check this album out. Every track here is a winner, they have created something bordering on breathtaking. Name-your-price download with limited tapes still available from Unholy Forces Productions and CDs from Ogmios Underground.

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Artist: Bubonic Cult

Year: 2017

Another cult, but this time we sink down in a different direction: Sri Lanka’s one man orthodox occultist Bubonic Cult channels total raw death and Satan worship inspired by the horror and destruction of the bubonic plague. 

Not by any stretch is this your typical raw black metal foray. ‘The Grotesque of Desolation’ is two tracks imbued with a twisted sense of wretched melody that truly embodies the despair and inevitable decaying consumption of life caused by the disease, and revels in it. The desolate yet almost jaunty riffs weave a captivating death incantation, ensnaring mind and flesh alike as depraved vocals swathed in reverb devolve on occasion into otherworldly guttural croaks. The overall effect is both haunting and immediate, an esoteric and irresistible evil.

Total death, total support. Up for name-your-price download, as are his other two great releases. Hails.


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Artist: Crafteon

Year: 2017

You may have seen this one getting a bit of coverage already, unsurprisingly for good reason. USBM four-piece Crafteon self released their debut album a couple of weeks ago and it’s eight tracks of excellent Lovecraft worship with Swedish-style finesse. 

The man HP and his tales of dread have provided inspiration to countless bands since the dawn of heavy music but seldom has it been done this convincingly. Melodic atmosphere reigns supreme here, the exquisitely crafted assault deftly conveying the eldritch horror and dark wonder of the subject matter. You know how it feels when you read Lovecraft? Crafteon is the audio equivalent of that feeling. The moment ‘The Outsider’ bursts from the gates like a storm you’re drawn into this world; from the intensity of the aforementioned opener to the glorious, brooding ‘The Colour out of Space’ and the creeping riff-fest that is ‘From Beyond’, each track has a life of its own and captivates from go to whoa. 

While the savagely mellifluous guitar work is a major strength, it isn’t the only thing that shines. Vocals that vary wildly between commanding rasps and a malignant Abbath-like croak tell the tales with suitable intrigue. The audible bass pulses with nefarious life, pumping blood through the tracks while the driving mostly mid-paced rhythmic drumming provides a powerful backbone for the great old one as it rises from the murky unknown depths to rend your mind asunder, gibbering in incoherent cosmic terror.

Another release where it’s frankly hard to believe it’s their debut due to the level of quality on display, I’d wager these wraiths get picked up by a label fairly shortly. If you’re a fan of Lovecraftian mythos and/or good Swedish black/black metal in general, pick this up without hesitation. If not, you’re a weirdo but pick it up anyway. Name-your-price download with a few physical copies also remaining if you’re quick.

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Artist: Void Terror

Year: 2017

Who doesn’t like a bit of death metal, blackened, old school as fuck and reeking of the crypt? Nobody, that’s who. US cult Void Terror’s first demo ‘Soul Harvest’ is a two track tour-de-force of sick riffs that will flay off your skin and crush your bones to dust.

With a sound verging between pure headbanging pulverisation and tomb-rotting miasma rattling from decaying ribcages, the four piece have summoned an absolutely killer as fuck demo. I’m a huge fan of everything about this, from the drums to the vocals to the actual songs themselves. And it isn’t just a nostalgia trip, oh no; while it pays homage to the greats it more than holds up in the modern death/black arena. Play this for anyone and you’re almost guaranteed a result.

At name-your-price, get on this shit stat. And to these gents: Kindly hurry up and release a full length, I’ve played the shit out of this already. Cheers.

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Artist: Intrinsic Light / Expurgatory

Year: 2017

And finally in the tradition of keeping the most challenging release ’til last, we have the experimental split between Australians Intrinsic Light and Expurgatory. Both of these artists have a few releases behind them, but I’ve only recently discovered them with this split… And what a split it is.

Intrinsic Light have the first side and the duo label themselves ‘Blackened Zen’, saying they “alchemically meld exploratory entheogenic improvisation with sporadic shakra-surges of blackened mantra metal vibrationally filling the air with necromindfulness so dense it blasts directly into the Third Ear, forcing one’s spirit to simultaneously ascend North of Nirvana and descend South of Hell”. What that means is over the course of their two tracks it sounds like you’re riding a wave of consciousness in raw black metal form that devolves and reconstructs through transcendental stages, varying in intensity.

When I say transcendental, I don’t mean the polished or cosmic transcendentalism prevalent in many acts; it’s more raw, the “earthy meditating Buddhist monks in a forest temple” type. It isn’t rushed or immediate, it’s made to alter your consciousness and reach new inner planes of existence; and it balances the knife edge of it’s proto-black Jekyll and Hyde side perfectly.

Expurgatory however, are a whole different proposition that somehow still works and flows seamlessly on from Intrinsic Light’s already mind-blowing side. The seven piece’s first track ‘Grand Union’ is blackened noise rock, dreamlike female vocals over a harsh concoction of laconic whimsy. Great stuff, swathes of distortion helping the etherial quality of the music wash over you and tangibly loosen all your muscles, both mental and physical as you relax into the noise.

If Intrinsic Light’s side is more meditative in its black intentions, Expurgatory’s is like a daydream that becomes progressively more disturbing. It eventually culminates in their second track: a spectacularly dark, disassociative ambient spoken word cover of a track by a deceased pop artist (!) that I won’t say too much about as it simply has to be experienced for yourself.

A raw, authentic and exploratory release, it’s like nothing I’ve heard before and for those who aren’t afraid to listen to a wider scope of darkness than just blast beats, quite mind expanding. At first glance it may not be for the faint at heart simply by way of the stratospheric tangents it fires itself off into, but spend some time with it and you’ll find it incredibly rewarding. The sheer range of emotion and styles this release goes through in four tracks is spectacular, unfolding like a flower hidden away for centuries that you discover at the perfect moment as it blooms and then dies; a captivating and humbling event only your eyes have ever seen, and ever will. And you’ll never be able to adequately explain it to anyone.

Released through label YNTPM (You Need To Practice More) there’s only one single physical copy left for purchase; if you miss out console yourself with a name-your-price download available from Expurgatory’s Bandcamp below, or Intrinsic Light’s here.

EDIT: All physical copies now sold.

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Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes are welcome.

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com 

Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 11

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 eleventh installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

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Artist: Suicide Forest

Year: 2017

What better way to kick off than with some grim, cold misery? Suicide Forest is a one man DSBM project that’s only been active for a year; during that period he’s conceived three demos and slowly built himself a live band. ‘Apathy’ is the third and most recent of those demos, unleashed at the dawn of July.

The cover art gives you a good idea what to expect before you dive in to first track ‘Apathetic’, and it delivers. A stunning composition of beautiful sorrow, a waltz made of tears and suffering. Frozen, melancholy riffs run as an ice stream underneath gorgeous piano lines; it’s an epic and completely entrancing experience. Second and instrumental track ‘Entranced by the Blood Moon’ then employs the kind of unsettling and introspective atonality that wouldn’t be out of place on a Xasthur album, acting as a portal into a world you may not wish to explore.

The whole demo is only two long songs and two instrumental pieces so at this point you’re halfway through the agony. Third track ‘Lucis Absentia’ gives you a thought-provoking break for a few minutes, with an intro of spoken word by a gentleman of dubious sanity that believes he is the reincarnation of the mind of Jesus descended from heaven. It perfectly illustrates the delusion of fanaticism before the last half blossoms into another slab of glorious depression that almost takes on transcendental qualities; another ambient piano piece then gracefully and solemnly closes out proceedings.

Main man A. Kruger originally conceived/posted the first demo with no expectations of it ever going anywhere and it’s been great to see all the well-deserved attention his project has received in the last 12 months, with his demos finding releases through War Against Yourself Records and Fólkvangr Records. All releases including this are also up for name-your-price download, so immerse yourself in the pain and beauty and prepare for the full-length, which is being created as we speak. Hails.

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Artist: Dyadhem

Year: 2017

Next up we have a one man project from Belgium, Dyadhem. Corentin is the sole member of this beast and he smashes out blackened sludge metal with the fury of ages inherent within. Debut full-length ‘From Essential Bitterness’ is posessed of a great vibe that has just the right balance between rockin’ sludge/stoner riffs and raw black metal; occasionally the album flow can come across as ever-so-slightly disjointed due to the juxtaposition, but overall it works. The vocals are great from the main timeless sludgy roar to the stirring cleans scattered throughout, he even harmonizes with himself later on to surprising effect.

If you’re up for something a little different you could do much worse than this. His second outing in total and a very solid release; the first EP from last year is also at name-your-price like this and is worth checking out. Interesting stuff, I’ll be following along to see where the project goes.

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Artist: Liittouma

Year: 2017

Excellent folk-infused atmospheric fare from Finland. Liittouma are masters of melody, this is simply a fantastic listen; emotive, engaging and powerful. First track ‘Oleva’ starts of with beautiful folksy overtones that want to carry you away on the breeze, before darkness falls and the track eventually collapses into thunderous double kick and hellish rasps. By the end of it, you realise what’s spiriting you away over the mountaintops actually has jet-black wings and reeks of sulphur. The EP’s only other song ‘Tähtiäiti’ is posessed of diabolical melody so immediate and crazily infectious you’ll swear you’re humming along to the theme of some favourite old television show you used to watch as a kid. Seriously, if there’s been a riff that hits that button more than this one so far this year, I want to hear it.

Incredible stuff. My only problem with this is that clocking in at under ten minutes total it’s far, far too criminally short. More please, and soon. Available at name-your-price download.

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Artist: Diplegia

Year: 2017

“With the mistakes I’ve made, I’ll follow you to the grave…”

US depressive/post black duo Diplegia have followed up their two track EP ‘Squander’ from earlier this year with a neat new single, ‘Follow’.

Getting straight into it with some descending tremolo over a solid mid- paced blast and vocals that aren’t a million miles from old Hecate Enthroned/Cradle style shrieking; it then doesn’t take too long to devolve into post-black territory with acoustic emotion and introspective vibes pushing to the fore. The music here is great (especially enjoyed the minimalist piano tinkering over the finale) but I have a feeling the vocals may be a sticking point with some. Personally I don’t mind them; check it out at name-your-price download and decide for yourself. 

They’re also elbows-deep in birthing their debut full length, so if you dig this little teaser keep an ear to the ground for further information.

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 Artist: Elkenwood

Year: 2017

Progressive black folksters from Australia Elkenwood just dropped their eponymous debut album, and two odd musical references popped into my mind while listening to it. The first is Gothic-era Paradise Lost/early My Dying Bride and the second is a band that I’ll be surprised if any of you have heard of: Chalice, also from Australia around the turn of the century. Of course more obvious comparisons with the standard black/folk acts could be made but their natural melancholia and plaintive, despondent tone is reminiscent of the early work of the old gothic doom masters; and I’m probably just thinking of Chalice ‘cos they were a progressive black folk band with a vaguely similar feel from the same country. Lazy? Possibly, but if you’re one of the precious few who know what I’m on about you may see some parallels.

Anyway: The four piece skillfully create fantastic, epic compositions that draw you deep into their world, conjuring vivid images of dark fantasy lands or falling Autumn leaves depending on their shifting moods. They have a great organic sound that suits the music exceptionally well. The clean vocal sections could possibly use just a touch more polish, but conversely the scattered choral vocals work like a charm and that yearning guitar tone is a real feature. As a side note, opening track ‘Uncreation’ also features guest drumming from one Sid Falck. Yep, “skinsman for thrashers Overkill from ’88-’92” Sid Falck. Ace.

At name-your-price download this is a thoroughly enjoyable debut and definitely worth your support. Fans of the sub-genre take note; on the strength of this I reckon they’ll be one to watch.

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Artist: Daemon Rising

Year: 2017

And now we head back to some orthodox punishment. I was given the heads up to these guys from a close friend, and when I witnessed live footage of main man Baal anointing the foreheads of entranced audience members with inverted blood crucifixes I simply had to check ’em out.

Birthed in 2015 with the express mission to “liberate those poisoned by religion through the power of black metal”, theirs is a mission they take seriously. Their raw assault seems crafted for maximum hypnotic effect, mesmerising rhythms leaving you stunned and receptive to their message as they pulverize black salvation into you and Baal howls his wretched mantras. 

Incidentally the group also features Wojtek of Nowhere (featured in Volume 9) on bass and he does an admirable job of holding down the evil pulse, aiding especially in the sinister vibe of the more mid-paced passages on offer. While not album of the year material by any means these gents have created a fine foundation, subsequent releases are only going to get better and better. Free streaming available on Spotify, or cop an album download for a few bucks below and follow the path to darkness.

~

 Artist: Yagan

Year: 2017

And finally (because I love subjecting myself to unusual things) we have the latest album by Yagan, an odd solo depressive and atmospheric project from Mayanmar/Burma.

The project’s second release ‘Vore’ is a ponderous, raw and weird mix of primitive, rasping DSBM and a kind of proto Tiamat-esque Goth rock with some deadpanned lyrics like “I don’t laugh the way you do, what I find funny would only disgust you”. The riffs behind it are mostly pretty solid and the whole thing can be fairly infectious, as even on the more DSBM tracks like ‘The Autumn Moon’ he keeps it unorthodox with some out-there melody. As icing on the strange cake, track 7 is actually an upbeat/depressive The Dubliners cover: ‘McAlpine’s Fusiliers’, a jaunty gaelic ditty given a necro workover with croaked vocals. Seriously, give this a listen, it’s honestly one of the weirdest things I’ve heard in a while and probably the most entertaining track on the album. Or the worst, depending on your point of view.

Borderline bizarre stuff that’s definitely not dull, check out the Dubliners track at least. Name-your-price download, limited tape is also available from Vintage Cult Records. Cool cover art too.

~

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com 

Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 10

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 tenth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

~

Artist: Buioingola

Year: 2015/2017

Easing into it, we have some atmospheric blackened darkwave/post-doom from Italy. Buioingola (“Darkness In My Throat”) recorded their sophomore album two years ago and have since split up; the album laying dormant until it was finally shown the posthumous light of day in March by Shove RecordsSentient Ruin LaboratoriesSangue Dischi and Unquiet Records

When I say “easing into it”, don’t get me wrong. This is still a intense release although the black metal isn’t quite at the forefront; in fact, it may even be one of the least ‘BM’ things I’ve ever covered here. Instead, the depressive and atmospheric black elements rise and fall as waves within at key moments, perfectly weighted; Il Nuovo Mare (“The New Sea”) is a beautiful, brooding and flowing album with equal parts calm waters and raging storms. Black metal and doom meshes with industrial, neocrust and shoegaze; a multitude of different influences from Killing Joke to Altar of Plagues collide and create something wholly unique and unrecognizable as the sum of its parts. 

A stunning new beast, spectacular if you want to expand your horizons. Few physical copies are left at the above mentioned labels, however if it’s available at name-your-price download from their Bandcamp below. Want to know what drowning feels like? Dive in, and breathe deeply.

~

Artist: Coffinshade

What we have here is raw DSBM from the US and Poland, who they are is Coffinshade: Lord Psychosis and Cmentarna Dusza, and what they do is create audio misery. Their third release ‘In the Darkness I Shall Dwell’ is subdued and solitary melancholic blackness with wraith-like howls that reverberate into the night air like the wretched screams of the dying. 

Their three lengthy journeys into the darkest and most hopeless end of the emotional spectrum are bookended by atmospheric instrumental pieces. Whether the instrumentals add too much value is debatable as they’re probably the weakest material on the recording, but the proper songs themselves are deceptively good and very enjoyable. While not a masterclass of the genre by any stretch they do create a wonderfully cold air of despair, ephemeral melodies hanging like mist to be breathed in through hacking sobs as your body is wracked with pain. By the end of the titular fourth track it had wheedled its way into my mind, and I had to press play again for another trip through suicidal agony.

Raw and flawed it may be, but that’s just part of it’s charm. It’s been out for about six months now at name-your-price download, so reach out with gnarled hands (or a mouse click, whatever) to pick one up and lurk the void, forgotten and scorned.

~

Artist: Grave Circles

Year: 2017

Ukrainian duo Grave Circles are not messing about with their blistering atmospheric debut EP ‘Tome I’; this is some thrilling stuff. All three tracks are a furious barrage of powerhouse drums, impressive guitar work (just listen to the dissonant first leads in opening assault ‘Transfixing Inward the Human Essence’), more than capable vocals and flowing, volatile songwriting that will make you sit up and take notice.

Who are they? Nobody knows anything about them, bar their names: Virus and Baal. Whoever they are, they effortlessly switch from sinister to dangerous to emotive with consummate skill; this is an extraordinarily accomplished first EP. You can hear the passion in every note and it is utterly enthralling. Physical copies are apparently coming in November but at the moment it’s available at name-your-price download, so check this one out stat. You won’t regret it.

~

Artist: Vox Malorum

Year: 2017

Solo USBM hellion Shinigami wants YOU. His project Vox Malorum’s debut EP ‘A Call to Arms’ is just that; mid paced raw melodic black metal anthems that demand you rise up and join the foul crusade of death, blasphemy and destruction.

A stirring piano intro allows a minute to steel the nerves before the battle begins. ‘The Beginning Ov The End’ is the first salvo, marching inexorably towards the enemy while second track ‘Summoning the Black Winds’ is great atmospheric fare, a mystically charged mid-pacer and probably my pick of the bunch. The third and title track is epic, majestic and hateful; perfect for slaughtering the enemies with impunity as fourth offering ‘Gaia’s Disease, Humanity’ then aims for eradication of the entire human race.

Great and varied layered vocals, melodic death influences, old style synths that sit just right in the mix; the whole thing is put together well for a first demo and has an epic feel to it. Overall an entertaining and spirited debut assault, new material is already being written and physical copies are on the way, but for now get your hands on a name-your-price download and heed the call. 

~

 Artist: Sores

Year: 2017

We had a quick look at Greek misanthropic duo Sores’ two track debut ‘Demo I’ back in Volume 2; luckily for us they’ve now performed a quick follow-up and unleashed a second double-pronged assault ‘Demo II’ a mere few days ago.

Similarly to their first release they blast straight out of the gates with a hellish scream and impressive explosion of raw hate, fitting since the tracks are called ‘In Depths of Aggression (Parts I and II)’. The crazed, impassioned vocals are still in full force and more immediate than last time, railing and raving with blood-curdling and throat shredding intensity. The riffs are still killer. The song is structured in several sections that devolve until it slowly grinds down, which ultimately serves as the perfect lead-in to Part II where here, instead of upping the ante on the second track into a blistering assault like they did on ‘Demo I’, they drop back into a swaying 3/4 tempo with atmosphere pushed to the fore and some great bass work that simply makes the track. A excellent display of another facet of their sound, it’s my favourite of their four offerings to date and leaves me keen to check out what they’ll do with a longer-form release.

Having lost none of what was great about the first demo and instead slightly refined and expanded their formula; at name-your-price download this is well worth a pick up. Get involved and support the spread of the Sores.

~

Artist: Enbilulugugal

Year: 2000 – 2017

And finally, an absolutely mammoth name-your-price download from “the most hated band this side of the universe”, US goatsodomy experimentalists Enbilulugugal.

Destroying minds, eardrums and other orifices since 2000, for all the masochists out there they’ve decided to release every single thing they’ve ever shat into existence in one foul (sic) swoop. I’m going to lift from a great review here, as it describes them perfectly: 

“…This is utter shit! You should be paid to listen to this! I have seriously never heard something so awful and it nearly ruined my view of music for a little while. I almost vomited when I listened to them… The most immature piece of garbage I’ve ever had the displeasure of laying my ears on. Please save yourselves from this hell; heed my warning! There is nothing here for you to enjoy!”

Seventeen years of ear-raping black noise-grind shitfucking carnage, an entire discography of 260 tracks, free download. What more do you need to know? Pure sonic hell, zero fucks given. Consume at your own risk. Hails.

~

Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes welcomed.

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com 

Abandon All Hope – An Interview With Aversio Humanitatis

“Transcend a fraudulent reality – 
let fear and pain penetrate and go through 

Deconstruct your being – 
resign all perishable aspirations 

Dissociation from all that surrounds you – 
become an impassive entity 

Accept your purpose in this world –
you are here to destroy and suffer”

– Aversio Humanitatis, “Advent of the Inescapable”

~

Back in March, enigmatic Spanish nihilists Aversio Humanitatis released an unequivocal contender for EP of the year. Originally only available in their home country, ‘Longing for the Untold’ was their brand of subtly mind-bending black metal continuing its metamorphosis into a cavernous, devouring new form: a perfect sickening balance between abyssal, disassociative chaos and an undeniable physicality as if punishing you for simply existing. Now the wretchedness is unleashed ever further as it sees a full vinyl, CD and die-hard cassette release through both BlackSeed Productions and Sentient Ruin Laboratories; expanded with the three great dissonant and sonorous tracks from their 2013 ‘Three Ways of Conciousness’ split with Selbst and Nihil to boot. 

We all know black metal has, by its very nature, always contained an element of the ‘anti’: anti-christian, anti-music, anti-trends, anti-life. Well, Aversio Humanitatis go one step beyond; you’ll understand when you listen. This is an EP that will pull your skin off slowly to force you to see what’s underneath, directing your gaze both inwards and outwards. I can’t get enough of it, I simply had to dive into the black infinity to make contact and find out more.

So direct your senses towards the official video for the title track ‘Longing for the Untold’ to prepare yourself, and read on below for a glimpse of clarity in the maelstrom of terror and introspection that is Aversio Humanitatis.

~

Hey guys, hope you are well. I’ve recently experienced your latest EP ‘Longing for the Untold’, a imposing release of progressive and powerful destruction. Given it’s been out for a few months now, are you happy with the reception it’s had?

– Absolutely, ‘Longing for the Untold’ has been a great step forward in all aspects, what we have achieved with this work is better than anything we’ve done before and that’s been reciprocated in terms of recognition and popularity.

The main EP itself is four tracks of punishing, cerebral despair and bleak agony. Can you shed a little light on the creative process behind such madness? Were there any specific inspirations that informed this release, or any particular challenges/influences that affected its writing/recording?

– Well, the composition of this EP started after some important events and changes inside the band: a member in a new very complicated personal situation, another one having to move out of Spain, etc. Personally, being the main composer in the band, I wasn’t able to create a song during 2-3 years, until 2015 when I managed to gather enough riffs to complete ‘The Ever Shifting Path’ and later the rest of the songs during 2016. We wanted to make a full-length but as result of what I’ve said things were going too slow; so when we had those four songs finished, we felt that we had to record them and give a push to the band as soon as possible. To restart our work after some difficult times, wounded but stronger than before.

Usually the composition process starts by me -S.D.- doing a fundamental structure of the songs with my guitar riffs; then I show them to the drummer -J.H.- who almost always suggests changes and contributes with ideas that end up modifying those first versions of the songs. -A.M.- is responsible of creating and performing all vocal aspects, bass lines and many of the lyrics. Although we barely rehearse together, except just before concerts.

The production is especially impressive to me, it sounds absolutely monstrous. Terrifying yet still deliciously obscure. Where was the album produced and who took care of the whole process?

– The EP was completely produced at The Empty Hall Studio, which I personally run. The studio was founded around a year and a half ago and ‘Longing for the Untold’ was the first full production ever done there. Of course this has many advantages and gives us complete control during the recording and post-production processes.

Some things went pretty straight forward, for example almost all vocals you can hear were recorded by A.M in the first take. J.H. also recorded the drums for all the four songs in a single day. But other things got complicated, I had to re-record the bass and guitars a couple of times until I found the right sound, and also made countless versions of the mix. We knew exactly how it had to sound and we got pretty close. It was a tough but satisfactory process.

I’ll take this opportunity to blatantly promote myself and tell all interesting bands to visit http://theemptyhallstudio.com and get in contact if they want to work with me for their album.

The EP originally came out on CD through BlackSeed Productions and is now seeing a vinyl and tape release with Sentient Ruin Laboratories also on board. Two absolutely killer labels, are you pleased with this arrangement? How did Sentient Ruin become involved?

– Sentient Ruin got in contact with us just after the CD was released and proposed us to do the vinyl and cassette editions. We didn’t know the label but after checking it has edited a bunch of interesting bands in the last years we had no reason to say no. BlackSeed was already going to do the vinyl on their own but they thought it was a good idea to cooperate. So now each label is focused in their own distribution, that is SR in America and BS in Europe.

There’s an added bonus on this enhanced re-release, included is your side from the great 2013 three way split with Selbst and Nihil. I love the idea, showcasing previous work. What was your thought process behind including the older tracks?

– From a practical point of view there was enough space to include more music in a 12” vinyl, and since the EP’s length is only 21 minutes we thought it was a good opportunity to put new listeners in context showing them some of our previous work.

You can immediately hear the difference from the EP tracks when the older songs kick in. How do you feel your sound has developed, and how has your approach changed in comparison to the new material?

– You definitely can perceive a difference, but it isn’t something we were looking for, I think it’s due to the sum of several small changes. In the first place, there’s a lapse of 3-4 years between the composition of the previous split EP from 2013 and new songs (with the exception of ‘The Ever Shifting Path’, that was composed in between those), so this implies more experience as musicians, new ideas and, above everything, another vital state that is reflected in our creations.

I think there’s a common feeling in all our works, but there are also new nuances that appear or dissapear in every one of them, as well as new approaches to the same core ideas. Probably with the time we have given more presence to certain kind of riffs in detriment of others.

Finally, there are some more technical aspects that has changed our sound, such as a different guitar tuning, a lower vocal register, sporadic use of synths and the overall production, that makes everything sounds deeper and stronger. The result is that the new work is just better.

The EP feels like it transcends humanity and simple hatred, something alluded to not only in the lyrics but the name of the project itself. It’s a less misanthropic, more nihilistic feel. What are your thoughts on the current state and future of humankind?

– That’s correct, the lyrics of this EP are more oriented towards reflection on our existence, the passing of time, the capitulation of our pretensions before our own insignificance. I’d say that it’s beyond hatred, it’s closer to acceptance of our pain and the contemplation of our falling and the grandiosity of the universe. Our lyrics tend to be short but they ‘hide’ personal experiences and deeper reflections of what you can perceive at first. It’s also good to give enough space for everyone to find their personal meaning to the songs and own them in their unique way.

It’s difficult to make a diagnosis about the state of humanity, there are too many facts and data to ignore, it could be a really long discussion.

On a period of time the vocals have switched to a deeper deathlike assault, which sounds great and adds a whole other level to proceedings. What in particular instigated this change?

– Nothing in particular, as we started to make more low-tuned guitar riffs I think A.M. unconsciously adapted his vocals and started singing that way at some point, which is good since as you said it sounds deeper and stronger. With the years he has improved his vocals and got a wider range, which allows him to sound like that.

While listening through your discography I’ve been struck by thoughts of artists like Italy’s Lorn. Singular, subversive bands that work within a familiarity spectrum to ensnare but then create something subtly new and warped that infiltrates, unsettles and exhilarates. Quite unique. I know everyone takes something different from art, would this be similar to how you perceive your own work or hope it is perceived by others?

– You have a good ear and intuition, I’ve listened to Lorn since a lot of years ago and really enjoy it. I usually read a lot of absurd comparisons but this one makes sense to me. The funny thing about that band is that when I discovered their first album arround 2008 I thought it sounded similar to the band I had at the time (Eterna Penumbra), then they made a shift with the second album and when I listened to it I thought “this is kind of what I’m doing with Aversio Humanitatis right now!” so, there seems to be a ‘subconscious’ connection with them, hahaha. Although we don’t have any kind of relation.

I think your description hit the nail. We move in familiar territories for all who listen to extreme music, we are comfortable there and do not seek to transgress it but we definitely try to permeate our own personality into what we do; just enough to create something slightly new, as you said. I know everybody says this shit about their band, but whatever.

We don’t “hope” to be perceived by people in any particular way, I don’t even think the three of us conceive the band in exactly the same way, we just join forces and try to our best in every aspect. Once the work is finished, it’s an independent opus susceptible of being judged and interpreted in almost infinite ways. We don’t want nor need to like everybody, we’re confident of our ideas and skills, so we know that if we are satisfied with what we’ve done, other people will join us too.

The original cover showed a piece of Fabio Rincones art. However, for this reissue you’re using a sleeve of stunning, bleak photography; and I for one think the unexpected offset against what would be the usual genre tropes symbolises perfectly the music contained within. What’s the story behind the artwork, who is the photographer?

– That picture was taken by our singer A.M. during a journey he started just days after recording the voices for ‘Longing for the Untold’ (he hasn’t come back yet). By the moment I was doing the layout for the CD edition (in which this pictures can be found in the inner part), I had the Fabio’s figures, but we needed something more to complete the artwork, and there’s where these magnificent pictures appeared, they were taken just days before. I won’t say the exact place/country where they were taken to keep it more enigmatic, although perhaps someone recognizes it.
On one side, you have the Fabio Rincones’ art: deformed silhouettes that are being oppressed by their inner conflicts, by the pains of existence, although there’s also a certain attitude of opposition in their fall. On the other side, you have these impressive landscapes that transmit a relentless strength and beauty, they put us as beholders of what’s unknown and bigger than us. I think both parts of the artwork complement each other and make a good contrast, accompanying different aspects of our music and lyrics.

Your members have spent time in a few other luminary projects. Why does Aversio Humanitatis exist, how did it form, and what does it mean to you?

– It exists because we have nothing better to do, and probably there is nothing better to do. I don’t care about perpetuating myself through my art; as many says, I don’t want to perpetuate anything, especially not my name, but I do want to transcend as much as possible my everyday life full of stupid, useless and repetitive stuff, to create something out of my hands and head that can be appreciated by other people and make me proud of myself. A pinch of beauty and creativity in this world of shit. Having a band can be exhausting and very expensive, but it becomes an obligation to yourself, it’s a part of you and you can’t let it die, every time you want to make it better, bigger, more significant. It’s really hard to find another better way to spend your time, I will create music as long as I live. I can’t speak for the other members but I think they feel the same.

This EP is truly astonishing, and has definitely whet some appetites. Will there be another full-length materialising to shatter our realities any time soon?

– We are already working on new compositions for an album and probably a couple of other smaller releases. However, I don’t know how soon this will happen, since quality is first and a full-length are big words. So, except if the death interferes, we are definitely going to release an album at some point.

Sincerest thanks for your time and the incredible music. Anything else you’d like to add?

– Thanks for your interest in Aversio Humanitatis.

~

Purchase ‘Longing for the Untold’ on digital, cassette and vinyl from Sentient Ruin Laboratories in the US here, and on vinyl and CD from BlackSeed Productions in Europe here.

Support Aversio Humanitatis:

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Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 9

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 ninth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy. 

~

Artist: Christ Dismembered

Year: 2014/2017

Kicking off with some Australian hellfire, blasphemic horde Christ Dismembered recorded their debut album back in 2014; which to the misfortune of all that’s holy has now finally manifested itself upon us in a blaze of sulphur and burning ash.

The self-titled slab of impiety is pretty much everything you could imagine from looking at that cover art, satisfying blast-and-slash odes to the Lightbringer and the total and utter destruction of Jesus Christ. But it’s not just an all-out antichristian war assault; the whole thing takes a multi-style approach with great songs, killer riffs all over the place and a healthy dose of more-infectious-than-aids melody; all allowed to shine like a sacrificial blade in the moonlight from a tasteful, surprisingly restrained yet totally raw sound. And to top it all off, this thing fucking grooves; ‘A Slap in the Face to God’ is an absolute monster. You’ll be banging your head for Satan one minute and searching the floor for the shattered remnants of your cranium the next.

I’ve had this shit on repeat and not one single track is a dud. An extremely pleasant surprise that’s more than worthy of your support; physical copies are available if you message the band but it’s also up at name-your-price download, so grab yourself a copy of the carnage and revel in your disgust for God.

~

Artist: SVRM

Year: 2017

I don’t know about you but I’ll always make time to check out an atmospheric project from Ukraine because nine times out of ten it’s pure quality. One man force of nature SVRM keeps the streak going strong: latest EP ‘За смертю’ (‘For Death’) is three tracks of beautiful rage. 

Sergiy Tkachenko proves himself a master of his art. At just over ten minutes for the whole EP all fat has been trimmed, no unnecessary noodling to be found here. Songs have been distilled back to their bare essence of what makes them great. There’s not one unnecessary note, not one second is wasted. The overall effect is thrilling as he mixes etherial flourishes and pained emotion with an all-encompassing elemental fury; the first track alone will have you jumping out of your seat. The vocals are attacked with passion, the emotion dripping from his anguished, strained roar palpable; the whole experience seethes with an underlying power that ensnares and captivates, repeat listens only getting better and better. 

One of the unsung gems of this year so far that deserves much more attention than it has been getting. He’s already writing the next EP and has apparently been listening to The Cure, so I guess we’ll see what direction he goes in next. Up for name-your-price download.

~

Artists: Dead and Grey / Nowhere

Year: 2017

Both of these solo projects have recently fallen into my lap, and upon investigation not only do both hail from Oklahoma USA and play raw-as-fuck black metal, but they also put out a split in January and have a show together soon. So, given the split seems a decent jumping-off point for their respective discographies, we’ll check that out.

Released in January, ‘The Fall Ov The Empires Ov Man’ kicks off with Dead and Grey’s brand of raw, nihilistic depression. Suffering and misery abound with some solid DSBM wretchedness before opener ‘Cold and Aborted’ devolves around the halfway mark into what this project does exceptionally well; harsh noise influenced ambiance enters the fray and carries us out to the end of the track, creating a suitably miasmic vibe. Listening to his other releases I always find myself enjoying them the most in his noise moments; he has a knack for dragging the depravity of humanity howling and thrashing into the sunlight so you can witness it melt and decay in horrifying violence. Second track ‘Piss Covenant’ takes a different approach, blasting drums smash you senseless at maximum velocity while atonal meandering melodies and tortured screams wind around with discordant abandon. It’s effective, but I can’t help but wish he’d relaxed or humanized the drums a little more; as is true for the rest of his discography he always nails it more when going for diseased misanthropic atmosphere than when attempting to beat the shit out of you.

Now onto Nowhere: A militaristic dungeon synth-esque introduction leads into some super raw black-thrash styled carnage with ‘Summoning’. Riffs are in abundance here with great chaotic solos enhancing the frantic vibe; aggression and annihilation are the order of the day. ‘I, Theist’ continues the assault in admirable fashion as the hateful energy never lets up for a second; the thrash elements take a backseat to more traditional second wave blasting. My only qualms here are I wish the vocals were fuller and the production a touch more beastly, get those great riffs out there and tear my fucking face off with your bare hands.

Aside from the couple of small things I mentioned, overall, it’s a solid split (up for name-your-price download) and a great place to start with these two artists. If Dead and Grey is the rotten fallacy of human existence, then Nowhere is the artillery razing it all to the ground. As a side note Wojtek from Nowhere is also doing some stellar work promoting underground artists; as well as his latest releases on his Bandcamp you’ll find a great compilation of bands from all over the world that deserve more exposure. Check that out here and support. Hails.

~

Artist: Névrose

Year: 2017

Frenchmen Névrose are painting a picture, and it’s a disturbing one. Beginning their career as blackened death then switching it up, debut EP ‘In Vitro’ deals with themes of madness, misery and the decay of the mind by means of raw, melodic black metal with unhinged from-the-asylum vocals and avant garde-isms rife throughout.

Unfortunately I haven’t kept up my French since high school (and I was shit at it anyway), so whatever lunacy being said in the lengthy introductory track is lost on me, and it suffered slightly for it. The atmosphere is solid, but seven minutes of incomprehensible spoken word eventually begins to wear thin and makes you reach for the skip button, itching to hear what’s really in store… Which thankfully, does not disappoint. Showing that they haven’t completely left their past behind, a great blackened death riff recurring throughout the song’s avant-garde theatrics is enjoyable on the first proper track, but it’s when ‘Eulogie Défaillante’ kicks in that the EP really hits its stride. Brilliantly emotive melodic atmo-black with agonized vocals howled from the darkest corners of delirium and dementia, you can feel your mind unravelling and when a ripping solo appears it’s a testament to their compositional skill that it doesn’t distract in any way and only adds to the crazed vibe.

From there the EP only dissolves further into madness and melody with excellent final track ‘Temple Amorphe’, but I’ll leave that for you to discover. Depraved and despairing, it’s a great EP that only mildly suffers from communication breakdown; mental illness speaks a wordless language and traverses all barriers. Up for name-your-price download.

~

Artist: Hands That Lift The Oceans

Year: 2017

And finally: It’s great when you connect with an album. When you feel it, when it gets into your head. German post-black experimentalists Hands That Lift The Oceans go one better: debut album ‘Impetus’, in its deepest moments, becomes your thoughts. 

What the hell are you on about, you may ask. Well, one of my favourite things about this album is its excellent use of space; sounds hang like delicate yet violent explosions in an endless cold void. Every instrument has room to breathe and each note rings off into infinity. Couple this wall-of-black production with nuanced, patient songwriting and this album can become so captivating it instills a mental quiet; you become so immersed it melds with your mind and the sonic space blends with the black infinity of thought. 

But it’s not all transcendental meetings of sound and cerebral cortex, the atmospherics and ambiance are perfectly balanced out with a cavernous, aggressive roar. The album plays through like a single piece, tracks all creating a fascinating, incredibly dynamic larger work that holds your attention from atonal opener ‘Furrows’ to stunning final track ‘Spectral Attitude’. Admittedly, the vocals may take some getting used to but once they sink in they only add to the distant, disaffected quality also present throughout proceedings.

If post-black is your thing, these gents have created an enjoyable album that verges on breathtaking at times. Up for name-your-price download, snap up this little gem and drift away.

~

Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes welcomed.

Like Black Metal Daily on Facebook for more kvlt sounds and tonal blasphemy.

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com 

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. 

~

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.

~

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.

~

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.

~

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.

~

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.

~

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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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. 

~

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.

~

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.

~

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.

~

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.

~

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.

~

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.

~

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!

~

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.

~

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.

Support Fell Ruin: 

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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.

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

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