LISTCRUSH 2018: THE EPS

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

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

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25: Cult Of ExtinctionBlack Nuclear Magic Attack

(Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

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

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24: LampirBeneath The Flesh Of Dawn

(Black Gangrene Productions)

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

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23: Serpents LairPerpetual Hunger

(Fallen Empire Records / Amor Fati Productions)

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

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22: WindsweptVisionaire

(Ván Records)

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

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21: UrarvArgentum

(Svart Records)

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

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20: SarkristaUnder Sentence Of Death

(Purity Through Fire)

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

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19: Aparthiva RaktadharaAgyat Ishvar

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

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

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18: Ill Omen The Grand Usurper

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

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

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17: Gevurah Sulphur Soul

(Profound Lore Records)

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

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16: Human Agony Goring Christ

(Invictus Productions)

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

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15: Nächtlich Second Ritual of Night Worship

(Knife Vision)

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

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14: Faceless Burial Multiversal Abbatoir

(Blood Harvest Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records)

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

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13: Cénotaphe Horizons

(Kuunpalvelus)

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

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12: Alruna Relieving The Altar

(Tour de Garde / Voidland Shelter)

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

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11: SVRMЗгарище

(Trismus Records)

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

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10: Khandra There Is No Division Outside Existence

(Redefining Darkness Records)

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

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9: Olxane Primitive Casket

(Nebular Carcoma Records)

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

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8: The SecretLux Tenebris

(Southern Lord Recordings)

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

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7: Vessel Of Iniquity Vessel Of Iniquity

(Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

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

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

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6: Horna Kuolleiden Kuu

(World Terror Committee / Blut & Eisen Prod.)

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

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5: Μνήμα The Remains Of Human Bones

(Harvest of Death / Signal Rex)

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

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4: AkashaConsuming The Soul

(Grey Matter Productions)

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

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3: Voëmmr Sombr Moebrd

(Harvest Of Death / Signal Rex)

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

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2: Kommodus From The Ashes Of Empire

(GoatowaRex)

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

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1: Pa Vesh En A Ghost

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

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

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

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

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

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Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 16

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 sixteenth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy.

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Artist: Karcist

Year: 2018

Kicking open the gates, we begin with some weaponized modern black death from the USA. Savage trio Karcist dropped their debut EP ‘Inner Sanctum Immolation’ in a burst of flame and sulphur at the end of January, and it’s pretty damn solid.

Whether they’re in death mode (‘The Leech’), black mode (‘Absent Muses’) or a menacing blend of both (the demoniacal final track ‘Incursion of Christ’), they do a great job of it and they’ll only get better from here. I personally hope subsequent releases see them either adding a touch more guttural filth to their sound, or honing it even further to where it could slice through bone with lazer precision. As it is however, it’s an impressive debut and you’d be remiss to not throw them some infernal hails on their Bandcamp for a name-your-price download. Neat cover art/logo too.

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Artist: Olxane

Year: 2018

Yet another excellent project from Netherlands-based maestro T, the shadowed mastermind behind Kaffaljidhma, Himelvaruwe and a multitude of others. The debut Olxane release ‘Primitive Casket’ sees him in fine form, although whilst he still taps the rich vein of transcendent raw black that he does so well this may have an even stranger subversive feel than anything I’ve heard from him yet. The melodies are almost uplifiting; while everything still retains a bleakness, both tracks on offer have a certain odd warmth to them and call to my mind images of sunlight glinting off dust motes as it streams hazily through an old, paint-peeled window in an otherwise darkened room. Weird to describe a raw black metal album like that, I know; but just have a listen and you’ll see what I mean.

The dissonance between the hum of the layered guitars is fascinating and I love the beautiful little outros to both tracks. Few artists are able to intrigue me like this; a truly unique vibe. Up for name-your-price download with a cassette release coming later this year. I’ll be buying it.

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Artist: Heir

Year: 2017

“Man does not deserve this earth he inherited

We accept it and spread this word”

The Frenchmen in Heir know we are fucked. They also inject ‘Au Peuple De L’abîme’ (“To The People Of The Abyss”), their debut album of intense post-black sludge, with a tasty progressive approach resulting in an engaging and kinetic debut album that’s heavy and unpredictable, suitably nihilistic and altogether thoroughly enjoyable music for us to listen to as the ship we have built for humanity is sinking inexorably down into the irretrievable depths, with us chained to it. Hey, how thoughtful of them.

Thrilling, sinister, creepy and furious; they can transition seamlessly between moods at the drop of a hat. The whole thing just gets better the further you travel on its winding roads, to the point where final track ‘Cendres’ is frankly spectacular. If these were the men that stayed and played as the Titanic sank, I’d stand there and listen. Do yourself a favour and hit up a name-your-price download available from the link below. Top notch.

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Artist: Zeit

Year: 2017

Heading off on a different tangent: some blackened drone sludge from Zeit (‘Time’). I can’t find much info on this, but it is the second part of a two part EP series titled ‘I’ and ‘II’ and has a slightly clearer production than you may be expecting, giving it an almost relaxing feel like laying listening to rain fall at night. Which, incidentally, is how I’ve been listening to it; the hypnotic properties of the recurring riff-mantras have lulled me off to sleep more than a few times now.

With no drums and no pesky vocals there are no distractions from the drone, so cop this at name-your-price download and drift away on swathes of distortion.

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Artist: Bloodbark

Year: 2018

“…We still remain anonymous for now. We want the music to speak for itself – we wish the art and the nature to represent Bloodbark. The nature portrayed is our home and we want it to be yours as well.”

It may not surprise you after reading the above quote that there is precious little information available about this project. Luckily ‘Bonebranches’, the debut album from Bloodbark, speaks far more eloquently than mere words would convey. This is a beautiful, cold and awe inspiring creation; you don’t so much listen to it as experience its harmonious winds caressing your ear drums, whispering to you everything you could ever need to know.

“Majestic” is a term that gets flogged to death in atmospheric/epic black metal reviews by any idiot who pretends he can write about music (ahem), but the music these mysterious folk create is the very definition of the word. See the picture on the front cover? Each of the three lengthy compositions here are the perfect musical counterpart to it. The grand sweeping songs, mostly mid-paced and tinted with sorrow and wonder, are just so damned majestic and will make you yearn for places you’ve never been.

The performances are wonderful, but even they play second fiddle to the overwhelming atmosphere conveyed by this release. Seriously, if this music portrays their home, I want to move there. Available at name-your-price download and in even better news has been picked up for an extremely well-deserved vinyl release by Northern Silence Productions.

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Artist: Drugoth

Year: 2018

Tolkien themed blackened crust from Australia? Alright. Solo berzerker Drugoth has spurted out his second EP ‘Legions of the Great Eye’ like ichor from a dying orc. With most tracks around a minute or less in length plus some great knuckle-dragging ignorant riffs that will make you want to throw down and club someone’s skull in with a spiked mace, your average Summoning fan may not find much to like here, but in my opinion this is fun as all fuck.

Solid vocals, great tone for what it is; there’s nothing I can say is wrong here. If you dig it and want more bone crunching black punishment you’re in luck too, his debut EP is also killer and both are up for name-your-price download. Hail the Drugoth. More please.

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Artist: The Projectionist / Féretro

Year: 2018

A split borne of pure savagery. Canada’s The Projectionist open proceedings and lull you into a false sense of security with a dungeon-synth-esque intro, before the most hellish and pulverising sound they’ve ever conjured explodes from your speakers. Lord Matzigkeitus is in fucking stellar form with some almost unbelievable sounds vomiting forth from his inhuman vocal chords while every one of their tracks is diabolical fire; almost primitive brutality melded with spiteful speed and hate-filled cold melodic riffs. Good shit, but it isn’t over yet: Brazil’s Féretro are here to continue bludgeoning you to death in the name of Satan, stripping further back to riff-heavy levels of blasphemy. With a great no-nonsense sound they hammer the final nails in this impure coffin with ease; your death is complete.

One of the best splits I’ve heard so far this year; grab a name-your-price download below or hit up Appalachian Noise Records to grab the limited tape. If there’s any left.

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Artist: Nightgrave

Year: 2018

Up next, an excellent blend of ambient atmospheric post-black from India. Formed in 2016 Nightgrave is the work of one man, the mysterious R; which is somewhat unbelievable given the variety and depth of textures on display here and proves to be even more impressive when you realise he drops an album every couple of months.

And all of those albums are great. I’d not yet heard any of his previous work before pressing play on latest offering ‘Nascent’, a grave oversight on my behalf that has since been rectified; but for the purpose of this article we’ll stick to this release.

The lush tones and yearning tremolo of charming opener ‘Forbidden Truth’ lull you into a placid state before he brings the hammer down harder for the second half of the track; a few intriguing and unusual melodies are at play here too, something which carries on for the rest of the album. Second movement ‘Darklight’ continues and as you listen to its raw, driving blackness it’s now that you realise this is going to be one dynamic journey; especially when the song turns seamlessly on a dime into transcendent Isis-like post-sludge. Superb, and completely unexpected.

I also need to make mention of the vocals, as I found them quite versatile. Whatever style/mood he is creating R has a delivery to suit, from depressive rasps and howls to distant, echoing spoken word, they do more than get the job done. The crushing savagery of ‘In Extremis’ is another particular highlight and how it then manages to perfectly flow into the introspective ‘Cold Hands’ is gorgeous, while the switch-up towards the end of ‘Purification by Fire’, where he trips from whimsy and melancholy post rock into the most furious black metal on the album and back again is impeccably executed, and a spectacular note to finish on.

How does one man constantly churn out songs this compelling, you ask? I’ve no idea, and it’s not even his only project: have a listen to the similar-yet-different Raat EP ‘Selfless’ here, and trek back through his name-your-price Nightgrave discography via the link below.

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Artist: S U T U R E

Year: 2018

People are pollution

Death is the solution.

This savage little French black crust/powerviolence EP was originally set off on its destructive mission digitally 12 months ago, and is finally dropping physically any day now through Black Pandemie Prod’. Featuring members of recent BMD favourites Karne and Névrose yet more vicious than either, S U T U R E‘s debut only exists for two reasons: to fuck you up, and to see the total eradication of the human race.

The track titles are a dead giveaway of their intent: ‘Miserable Insect’, ‘Human Slaughterhouse’ and ‘Wrong Life’. No, there will be no mercy here; each one is a pure hate-filled blow to the face, bloody teeth scattering on the floor. The grinding ‘Human Slaughterhouse’ is a personal favourite, and after all the carnage the trio have one final surprise in store in the form of a fucking killer Urgehal cover. Their more powerviolence infused version of ‘Goatcraft Torment’ is an inspired and worthy interpretation.

At name-your-price download you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose picking up this slice of vitriol and giving it a shot. If you survive, keep an eye on Black Pandemie Prod’ for more info on CD’s and merch.

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Artists: UtenHåp / 000 / Apothecary

Year: 2018

And to bring proceedings to a suitably morose close we have a triple one-man-project split by UtenHåp of Norway, OOO of NZ, and Apothecary of USA. Entitled ‘Through the Fog of Endless Desolation’, desolation proves to be just one of the feelings that will wash over you once you submit to the waves of this split, drowning in its hopeless waters.

UtenHåp opens rather aptly with first track ‘Desolation’, and it truly is the very embodiment of the word. Depressive, solitary but also transcendent and with hints of an at-times uplifting breath hidden deep in its black lungs, it’s an excellent start, but it’s what comes next that is the real surprise: ‘Affliction’. A stunning piano composition, it somehow seems so right amidst the carnage… Until the song erupts into a surge of raw euphoric black metal, soaring into the heavens on burning wings and obliterating your soul. Simply breathtaking, perfectly beautiful. Third track ‘Torment’ follows suit, and UtenHåp has effortlessly seared its name into your memory as a project to watch extremely closely.

Then 000 arrives to push things in an altogether stranger direction. The atmosphere conveyed here is hard to describe; imagine a hundred haunted toys and other random objects clicking and whirring autonomously, creating a ponderous, mechanical and solemn ode to the miseries of the world, moving inexorably closer and suffocating your sanity as the bleak cacophony becomes all you can hear, all you can feel; all you are. Intriguing stuff with creative guitar work, I’ve never heard anything quite like it. Listener beware: you may find yourself consumed by this beyond all hope of return.

Closing out by delicately unraveling the fabric of time through madness and despair is US artist Apothecary. Already featured on BMD once before with his excellent EP ‘Heims Ventis’, his two lengthy pieces presented here are more of the same, just refined and expanded to even more mind-altering states. Truly tortured vocals reverberate through twisted, dismal and ethereal soundscapes that expand and constrict like the breath of a great beast; pouring everything he has into each composition, I thoroughly enjoy what this man does. Mesmerising.

Three unique and gifted artists from the deepest subterranean catacombs and furthest most inhospitable reaches, combining talents that perfectly complement each other’s particular darkness to create an esoteric triptych of immeasurable worth and power. If you want music that will affect you profoundly, look no further. Available at name-your-price download, so do yourself a service and grab one now. Total support.

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Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes are welcome.

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