#1 Tardigrada - Widrstand
Pictures of tapes are from my very own personal collection
. When first listening to "Uftakt," the two-minute intro, I swore I thought I was getting ready to listen to a post-rock demo, which would be... different. It sounded like something off an Aesthesys album. Then the two minutes passed, the sound faded out, and melodic black metal took over. But in a beautiful way. There is a ton of melody and atmosphere in this demo. Aside from the screeches and the rawness, there is a lot of beauty, and that mesmerizing guitar tone always manages to reappear throughout the tracks and heighten the sense of melancholy. Examples being at the 2:50 or so mark and 5:45 mark in "Hoffnunglos." I also love the 5:00 minute mark in "Widrstand." That same note slowly strummed a few times...
The quality is very nice. It sounds good. It's not one of those "grab that practice amp and that guitar and we'll record it on a tape player" types of releases (even though it comes on a tape). Dynamics are a must for any type of black metal to work, and this demo has them. Track this down or visit the band's bandcamp here
and give this demo a listen. I can't wait for a full-length from these guys.
#2 Bruja - Twisting and Convulsing
Bruja's first demo in 2011 was an hour and six minutes in length. This one is a mere thirty-five minutes. I haven't listened to the first one, but judging from this one, this band needs to be done with the demos. This isn't spectacular or anything, but this band has the potential to put out a really good album. Very unapologetic, very gritty and heavy, muddy, doomy.
#3 Witch in Her Tomb - Witch in Her Tomb
Usually I don't like this type of blistering black metal, but for this demo I'll make an exception. The sound is raw and poisonous, the guitar is crunchy (the first part of "II"), the atmosphere is suffocating, grim, and black, but under it all lies melody, which is usually enough to make any kind of sound worth listening to. There's also a piano and a violin used on this demo (the end of "II"). I do despise when bands only use roman numerals for track titles. It's not as bad when it's a demo, but still, it seems uncreative and uninspired. Or like Krallice's new album... what the fuck is up with that?
The ghost inside my head will never cease to exist
You are forever apart of me, regardless of my will
I will never forget you, and you will die within my heart
Along with me
#4 Maléfices - Povr le Sangs
"This tape is a huge FUCK OFF to all the posers who forgot that black metal once was an audial weapon forged of pure evil and total darkness. Fuck off your mainstream crap, your useless webzines, and your pathetic so-called symphonic bullshit. The fakes and the weaks will be crushed!!!" -Maléfices, as written on the inner part of the j-card, provides a description as accurate as any.
Putting aside that one statement about "symphonic bullshit" - some of which I happen to like - being crap, and the overall portended intolerance of this band toward anything not pure evil, I happen to like the demo. It's definitely a remedy to the Alcest's and Enslaved's of the world. The sound is okay
for a demo. I've heard much, much lower-fi stuff, but this still definitely maintains an underground feel that's required for releases like this.
Halo of Flies Records has put out the best split of the year, featuring two bands I was completely unfamiliar with coming into 2012. Enth, a funeral doom band from Poland, and Amarok, a sludge/drone/doom band from California, have created quite a record with this, and I have to say at some point into my first listen of Enth's track, "Cavern of Advices," I thought I'd struck gold. Enth's track is rooted in My Dying Bride and Corrupted style doom, using long loping riffs, drawn out piano passages, and a violin for the outro - all of which go extremely well with this style of doom. It's extremely somber and melancholic, and it's 18 minutes of some of the best music of the year. I don't like Amarok's track quite as much, but it's definitely worth listening to. It's much more thick, droning, and heavy... kind of like Thou with multiple vocalists.
Interesting cover art of a man tied to a moon with a face, with the moon's nose boring painfully into the man's scrotum. Honestly, "Mephestora," the track on this split by Graad, is one of my favorite songs of the year. It can be heard here:
Absolutely brilliant instrumental black metal with lots of melody and sense of direction.
This features some of Atriarch's best stuff yet. One of the songs on this split, "Offerings," was put on their full-length, but this version is better. It's longer and more drawn out. I dig the atmospheric doom metal + death rock.
Another awesome song. And I just discovered it a few days ago when I revisited Graad's bandcamp. "Summoning" actually has vocals, which start out as Middle Eastern - sounding chants, but eventually turn into black metal screams. Listen if you're a fan of noise BM that moves along at a slow grinding pace.
Barghest is fused punk and death metal without any bass, and it's a side project of members of Thou. Which screams "this will be fucking awesome." Except it was underwhelming and pale in comparison to the False portion of this split, which is 17:38 of devilish atmosphere and meticulous ferocious black metal. I haven't heard Barghest's debut, and I doubt I'll bother. False, on the other hand... at some point I'll get around to listening to their untitled debut EP, with high expectations.
1. Ghost Society - Your Hands
"I don't feel it..."